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Politics! Politics! I love politics! Unapologetic Barack Obama enthusiast.

Missouri Mayor Says He ‘Kind Of Agreed’ With Alleged Jewish Center Shooter

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AP Photo / David Eulitt

TPM LIVEWIRE

Marionville, Mo. Mayor Dan Clevenger spoke warmly this week of Frazier Glenn Miller, who allegedly went on a killing rampage on Sunday in Overland Park, Kan.

“He was always nice and friendly and respectful of elder people, you know, he respected his elders greatly. As long as they were the same color as him,” Clevenger said while laughing, according to television station KSPR. “Very fair and honest and never had a bit of problems out of him.”

Clevenger said he sympathized with some of Miller’s views, but didn’t like to broadcast that.

“Kind of agreed with him on some things but, I don’t like to express that too much,” Clevenger, the owner of a local repair shop, said.

He told CNN this week that he didn’t buy some of Miller’s claims.

“He had a lot of hate built up inside of him,” Clevenger said. “And every time he’d come down here, he’d go on about different races — mainly Jews. He claims they’re all bad, but I don’t believe that.”

However, KSPR unearthed a letter to the editor that the mayor sent nearly a decade ago to a newspaper in Aurora, Mo. in which he expressed admiration for Miller’s mission.

“I am a friend of Frazier Miller helping to spread his warnings,” Clevenger wrote, according to KSPR. “The Jew-run medical industry has succeeded in destroying the United State’s workforce.”

Clevenger also reportedly wrote that the “Jew-run government backed banking industry turned the U.S into the world’s largest debtor nation.”

He seemed to stand by those positions in his interview with KSPR, blaming Jews for the country’s economic woes.

“There some things that are going on in this country that are destroying us. We’ve got a false economy and it’s, some of those corporations are run by Jews because the names are there,” he said. “The fact that the Federal Reserve prints up phony money and freely hands it out, I think that’s completely wrong. The people that run the Federal Reserve, they’re Jewish.”

But Clevenger denounced Miller’s alleged violence, calling the deadly shooting “terrible.”

“He didn’t have any right to do that and I think he should pay with his life,” Clevenger said.

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Allies Of Lawless Rancher Planned To Put Women ‘Up At The Front’ If Showdown With Feds Turned Violent

Former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack talks to Fox News Monday about plans for a militia uprising against federal officials

Former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack talks to Fox News Monday about plans for a militia uprising against federal officials CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM FOX NEWS

No words…

Think Progress

An uprising of militia members who were planning an “armed response” to federal enforcement of trespassing law ended peacefully Saturday after the Bureau of Land Management stopped rounding up cattle that a federal judge found have been illegally grazed on federal land for years.

But some allies of rancher Cliven Bundy were prepared to make as much of a media spectacle as possible if violence were to erupt, saying they would put women on the front lines in the event federal officials turned to deadly force. Former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack told Fox News Monday, as reported by the Blaze:

We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.

Mack, a self-professed Tea Partier, is one of a host of right-wing figures who stood behind Bundy and made him a conservative celebrity after he refused to pay grazing fees based on his claim that the federal government is not entitled to own land.

Mack served as sheriff for Graham County between 1988 and 1997, and is part of a groupknown as the “Oath Keepers” that denies the supremacy of federal law and has been deemed part of a wave of new militia groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was also aplaintiff in the lawsuit against the federal government that challenged the constitutionality of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

Court orders going back to 1998 have required Bundy to pay fees to graze his livestock on federal land known as the Bunkerville Allotment. After Bundy refused to obey that order for 15 years, the Bureau of Land Management obtained a new order last October mandating that Bundy remove his cattle within 45 days or face seizure by the federal government. Bundy declined to comply with the order, and ranchers had wrangled some 352 cattle by last Wednesday.

But after Tea Party public figures including Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity celebrated Bundy’s defiance, supporters that included several militia groups pledged to provide an “armed response,” culminating in a showdown Wednesday in which federal rangers deployed stun guns and police dogs.

Officials released all the cattle Saturday to avert escalated violence, but both Bureau of Land Management officials and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have assured Nevadans that other legal action will be pursued. There are a number of legal avenues available to officials, including criminal charges. But Cliven Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that his family has no plans to pay fees now estimated at around $1 million, and that if arrests are made, “it will cause an uproar and it will be 10 times bigger than this.”

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10 things you need to know today: April 16, 2014

Rescue helicopters fly over the sinking ferry.

Rescue helicopters fly over the sinking ferry. (AP Photo/Yonhap)

The Week

A South Korean ferry sinks, a bomb scare disrupts the Boston Marathon bombing anniversary, and more

1. Ferry sinks off South Korean coast
At least four people died and 295 were missing Wednesday after a South Korean passenger ferry carrying 450 people capsized and sank off the country’s south coast. About 320 of the people on board were high-school students traveling with teachers to the resort island of Jeju. Search vessels and helicopters hurried to the scene to pluck people from the stricken ship. Authorities said they could not immediately determine what went wrong. [CNNThe Guardian]

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2. Boston Marathon finish line evacuated over bomb scare
Police evacuated the finish line of next week’s Boston Marathon on Tuesday, the anniversary of the bombing at the race’s finish last year, when a man chanting “Boston strong!” dropped a black backpack on the street. Police detained him and detonated the backpack, along with another unattended bag, as a precaution. The suspect told police his bag contained a rice cooker. The incident came after ceremonies honored the victims of the 2013 attack. [Daily News]

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3. New York drops controversial spying program in Muslim neighborhoods
New York City is getting rid of a secretive police program that used plainclothes detectives to spy in Muslim neighborhoods. The unit put together detailed files on people’s activities in the targeted areas. Critics said the squad treated innocent people like suspects. The team’s elimination suggested that the city’s new commissioner, William Bratton, is backing away from controversial post-9/11 policies. [The New York Times]

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4. Tensions rise in Ukraine as pro-Russian forces surge
Armored personnel carriers flying Russian flags entered the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk near the Russian border Wednesday. Several uniformed fighters said they were Ukrainian soldiers who defected to the pro-Russia side. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine had pushed the country toward civil war by sending troops to push pro-Russia protesters out of occupied government buildings. Diplomatic talks are scheduled in Geneva Thursday. [Voice of AmericaThe Washington Post]

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5. Video shows a large al Qaeda gathering in Yemen
Al Qaeda has released a video showing what appears to be one of the terrorist group’s largest meetings in years. The clip shows Nasir al-Wuhayshi, al Qaeda’s global No. 2 and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, addressing more than 100 armed men in Yemen and encouraging attacks against the U.S. Counterterrorism experts said they were surprised that al Qaeda could assemble such a big group without the CIA knowing. [CNN]

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6. Google Glass goes on sale to the public — briefly — for the first time
Google held a one-day sale of its Google Glass wearable computers on Tuesday. One version — the white “Cotton” model — sold out within a few hours. It was the first public offering of the widely hyped product yet. Select groups have been given the opportunity to try out the computer-enabled eyewear in the past, but on Tuesday anybody with $1,500 to spend had the option of blowing it on the Google Glass Explorer edition. [CNET]

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7. Authorities close 1971 South Dakota cold case
South Dakota investigators solved a 42-year-old cold case after finding the remains of two missing 17-year-old girls in a car pulled out of a creek. The girls, Cheryl Miller and Pamela Jackson, disappeared on a drive to a party at a gravel pit about a half-mile away from where the vehicle, a 1960 Studebaker Lark, was discovered after wet weather followed by a drought left it visible. Investigators concluded the girls died in an accident. [Reuters]

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8. Pot smoking linked to brain changes
Casual marijuana smoking can change the structure of your brain, according to a study published Tuesday in The Journal of Neuroscience. The researchers, led by Northwestern University psychiatrist Hans Breiter, examined 20 college students who didn’t use pot, and 20 who smoked a few times a week. Smoking altered a part of the brain involved with emotion and some mental illness, which “you do not want to mess around with,” Breiter said. [USA Today]

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9. Indian court recognizes transgender people as a third gender
India’s Supreme Court has announced a landmark ruling officially recognizing transgender people as a third gender. “It is the right of every human being to choose their gender,” the court said. The classification could give India’s transgender population, estimated at as many as two million people, access to job and education quotas. The ruling came just four months after the high court was criticized for reinstating a 1861 ban on gay sex. [BBC News]

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10. The Stanley Cup playoffs are getting started
The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs get underway Wednesday night, with 16 teams vying for the National Hockey League’s crown. The Boston Bruins, who won in 2011 but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in last year’s finals, are considered a favorite. Nine different teams have won the Stanley Cup in the last 10 seasons, but odds are strong for a repeat winner in 2014, with the six champions from the last seven years in contention. [Daily News]

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I’LL SEE YOUR GUNS AND RAISE YOU $50 MILLION

attribution: Huffington Post

I’m not sure if his plan will work against this powerful (deep pockets) organization, but I admire his efforts…

The New York Times

Bloomberg Plans a $50 Million Challenge to the N.R.A.

Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.

Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said gun control advocates need to learn from the N.R.A. and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda — even Democrats whose positions otherwise align with his own.

“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’ ” he said of the N.R.A. “ ‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’ ”

He added: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”

The considerable advantages that gun rights advocates enjoy — in intensity, organization and political clout — will not be easy to overcome. Indeed, Mr. Bloomberg has already spent millions of dollars trying to persuade members of Congress to support enhanced background check laws with virtually nothing to show for it.

What is more, for many gun owners, the issue is a deeply personal one that energizes them politically, said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, who dismissed the mayor’s plans.

“He’s got the money to waste,” Mr. Pratt said. “So I guess he’s free to do so. But frankly, I think he’s going to find out why his side keeps losing.”

The N.R.A. had no comment.

Mr. Bloomberg’s blueprint reimagines the way gun control advocates have traditionally confronted the issue. Rather than relying so heavily on television ad campaigns, Mr. Bloomberg will put a large portion of his resources into the often-unseen field operations that have been effective for groups like the N.R.A. in driving single-issue, like-minded voters to the polls.

Women, and mothers in particular, will be the focus of the organizing and outreach, a path that he and his advisers have modeled after groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The plans call for a restructuring of the gun control groups he funds, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. They will be brought under one new umbrella group called Everytown for Gun Safety.

The strategy will focus not on sweeping federal restrictions to ban certain weapons, but instead will seek to expand the background check system for gun buyers both at the state and national levels.

The $50 million could be significant: In recent years, the N.R.A. has spent only $20 million annually on political activities. The political groups affiliated with the billionaire Koch brothers, who are seeking to help Republicans take over the Senate, have spent about $30 million in the last six months.

The group will zero in on 15 target states, from places like Colorado and Washington State, where gun control initiatives have advanced recently, to territory that is likely to be more hostile like Texas, Montana and Indiana. They have set a goal of signing up one million new supporters this year on top of the 1.5 million they already have.

Previous efforts by Mr. Bloomberg to push gun control have touched off tensions with national Democratic leaders, because he has run negative ads against incumbent Democrats whom he views as insufficiently supportive of gun control. The Democratic leaders argue that Mr. Bloomberg threatens to hand control of the Senate to Republicans, which they say would doom any hope of passing gun control legislation.

Mr. Bloomberg dismissed those fears, saying he was concerned only with the long term.

“You can tell me all you want that the Republicans would be worse in the Senate than the Democrats,” he said. “Maybe they would. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.”

Underscoring his desire to work with both parties, Mr. Bloomberg is bringing on a new advisory board with prominent Republican and Democratic figures. Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush; Eli Broad, the philanthropist; Warren Buffett, the investor; and Michael G. Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Mr. Bush and President Obama, will all be board members.

Mr. Bloomberg acknowledged that his new efforts would require a dedication not just of money but also of time — two things he now has in abundance.

“You’ve got to work at it piece by piece,” he added. “One mom and another mom. You’ve got to wear them down until they finally say, ‘Enough.’ ”

Continue reading here…

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Fox News outraged that all the people it told not to buy insurance can’t get insurance until fall

attribution: REUTERS

Typical of Fox Noise

Daily Kos

Brian Beutler catches the latest Obamacare fauxrage from Fox News: millions of people won’t be able to sign up for health insurance until November. So all those young people who Republicans, and Fox News, told that they shouldn’t be signing up because freedom are now deprived of freedom by having to wait until the next open enrollment period. Here’s Fox News:

There is yet another ObamaCare surprise waiting for consumers: from now until the next open enrollment at the end of this year, most people will simply not be able to buy any health insurance at all, even outside the exchanges.

That’s not really news. The practice of enrollment periods, embraced by the law, was designed specifically to address those “free-riders” Fox News would in any other circumstance hate—the people who would wait until they needed health insurance to get it. The difference now, though, is that if those people get sick while they’re uninsured, they don’t have to worry about that preventing them from getting insurance once open enrollment kicks in again. (There are some exceptions: people who qualify can enroll in Medicaid or enroll their kids in SCHIP programs at any time, and people who have “qualifying life events” or other special circumstances asdetailed here can sign up.)

But of course, Fox News doesn’t really care about all the people it told not to sign up who didn’t sign up and now don’t have care. Nor do they care that they’re showing their rank hypocrisy in pushing this story. Just as long as they have some Obamacare outrage story.

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Florida House Passes Bill Making It Easier For People To Arm Themselves During A Natural Disaster

shutterstock_gun violence 3x2

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

I imagine Florida law makers  have the mind of little children during the 50′s and 60′s playing “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and Indians”.  To put it even more succinctly, these people are stuck on stupid.

Think Progress

“The bells of liberty are surely ringing throughout Florida today.” said state Rep. Heather Dawes Fitzenhagen (R). The cause of Fitzenhagen’s delight is a bill that would allow people with no criminal record to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in crisis or evacuation scenarios. Her bill, which applies to natural disaster scenarios such as hurricanes or forest fires and emergencies declared by the governor or local authorities, passed the state House of Representatives by a 80-36 margin.

Other lawmakers are not quite so excited about this bill. Democratic Rep. Victor Torres, a retired New York City transit police officer, opposed the bill noting that guns in places like storm shelters could be dangerous and increase tension in an already stressful scenario — “[y]ou are talking about introducing concealed firearms into an environment that is already teeming with tension. I hope that tragedy will not be a byproduct of our decision here today.” The bill’s opponents also noted that it would be difficult to check whether a particular individual has a criminal record in an emergency situation such as a hurricane when many technological databases would be unavailable, and that firearms could be used in robberies or other crimes at a time when looting is widespread.

While the bill received support from the National Rifle Association, several law-enforcement lobbyists, most notably the Florida Sheriffs Association, opposed the bill. When asked about their opposition, Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford offered “We don’t want to kill the bill, we want to clarify it. Does it mean when you’re moving out, when you check into your hotel?”

 

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10 things you need to know today: April 15, 2014

Snowden at SXSW in March. 

Snowden at SXSW in March. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

The Week

Snowden coverage wins a Pulitzer, Ukraine makes a move against pro-Russia separatists, and more

1. The Post and The Guardian win a Pulitzer for Snowden stories
The Washington Post and The Guardian were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service for their articles on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Columbia University announced Monday. The articles resulted in a review of the NSA’s mining of telephone and internet communications data, and sparked a debate on balancing privacy rights with the need to thwart terrorists. [The New York Times]

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2. Ukraine moves against pro-Russia separatists
Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, told the country’s lawmakers Tuesday that an “anti-terrorist operation” was underway against pro-Russia separatists occupying state buildings in the eastern Donetsk region. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said Ukraine was “on the brink of civil war.” President Obama, by phone, urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate tensions. Putin said he wasn’t meddling in Ukraine. [ReutersThe Associated Press]

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3. Tax day arrives
Midnight Tuesday is the deadline for filing 2013 federal income tax returns. One in four Americans waited as long as possible, according to a McClatchy-Marist Poll released Monday. Most who filed early were expecting a refund, said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Those who have to write another check for their tax bill are more likely to wait until the last minute,” said Miringoff. [McClatchy DC]

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4. Former Klan leader accused of Kansas City murders will face hate-crime charges
Federal prosecutors intend to file hate-crime charges against a 73-year-old former Ku Klux Klan leader, Frazier Glenn Cross (aka Frazier Glenn Miller), who has been accused of gunning down three people outside two Kansas City Jewish community facilities. All three of the people killed were Christian, but prosecutors only have to prove that the crime was motivated by an offender’s bias. [The Washington PostCNN]

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5. Underwater drone cuts short a dive to search for missing airliner
The U.S. Navy’s Bluefin 21 robotic submarine aborted its first deep dive to look for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 because the target area in the Indian Ocean was deeper than its 15,000-foot limit, leaders of the search effort said Tuesday. The underwater drone reached its maximum depth just six hours into a 16-hour mission, and its safety mechanisms sent it back to the surface. Another dive was planned for later in the day. [USA Today]

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6. Judge tells Ohio to recognize gay marriages performed in other states
A federal judge in Cincinnati ruled Monday that Ohio must recognize valid same-gender marriages conducted in other states. Judge Timothy S. Black said Ohio’s gay-marriage recognition ban amounted to “arbitrary discrimination” and was therefore unconstitutional. The decision, which Black had announced was coming earlier this month, does not require Ohio to authorize the performance of gay marriages in-state. [The Daily Record]

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7. Deficit projection shrinks due to reduced ObamaCare subsidy costs
Federal deficits will be lower than previously forecast over the coming decade, largely because ObamaCare health insurance subsidies won’t cost quite as much as was once predicted, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday. In February, the 2015 through 2024 deficit was forecast at $7.62 trillion, but now the CBO estimates the cumulative shortfall for the period will be $286 billion less. About $100 billion in savings comes from reduced subsidy costs. [Reuters]

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8. Teachers and students ordered to provide DNA in French rape investigation
A French prosecutor has ordered all male students and staff at a French school to provide DNA samples in an effort to catch the person who raped a 16-year-old girl in a school bathroom. As of Monday afternoon samples had been provided by 142 of the 527 boys and men who were at the private Catholic high school in La Rochelle at the time of the September attack. The move raised privacy concerns, but the prosecutor said DNA was all she had to go on. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

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9. Blood moon appears over the U.S.
The moon turned a coppery red early Tuesday as it slipped into Earth’s shadow. The so-calledblood moon was visible in different phases from 2 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Eastern time. Thousands showed up to watch at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. “Everyone is always looking down at their phones, their iPads,” astronomy teacher Gene Ireland said. “We want them looking up.” This was the first in a series of four lunar eclipses. The next will occur October 8. [CNN]

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10. Phelps fuels talk of an Olympic comeback
Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement to swim with fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte at a meet in Arizona next week, USA Swimming announced Monday. The news fueled expectations that the 28-year-old Phelps, who with 22 medals is the most decorated Olympic swimmer in history, would attempt to compete in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Coach Bob Bowman said Phelps thought racing “would be fun,” but wouldn’t confirm what he planned next. [Reuters]

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Very Bad News For Obamacare Opponents In The Government’s Latest Report

shutterstock_obamacare money

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Think Progress

Premiums for health care insurance in the Affordable Care Act are lower than the federal government had anticipated, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Monday when it revised its cost estimate for the health care law. The nonpartisan office now believes that the ACA will cost the government $5 billion less than projected in 2014 and $104 billion less for the 2015-2024 period. It also found “no clear evidence” that premiums will surge in 2015, noting that “enrollees in the future will be healthier, on average, than the smaller number of people who are obtaining such coverage in 2014.” The agency estimated that the national average premium for individual silver policy plans would increase by $100 that year.

The CBO attributes the additional savings to government, relative to the CBO’s last assessment from February 2014, to lower-than expected premiums, which in turn lowered the cost for exchange subsidies, and higher-than expected revenues from the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans.

“Despite projecting that slightly more people will receive insurance coverage through exchanges over the 2015–2024 period than they had anticipated previously,” the report says. “CBO and JCT project that costs for exchange subsidies and related spending will be $164 billion (or 14 percent) below the previous projection, mainly because of the downward revision to expected exchange premiums.” The office also predicted that plans offered in the exchanges will provide wider provider networks and higher reimbursement rates to providers as enrollment increases. “That pattern will put upward pressure on exchange premiums over the next couple of years, although CBO and JCT anticipate that the plans’ characteristics will stabilize after 2016,” it found.

The office also concluded that the law’s so-called shock absorbers — reinsurance payments that are distributed to insurers that attract high-cost enrollees — “reduced exchange premiums this year by approximately 10 percent” and will “reduce premiums by smaller amounts in 2015 and 2016.” CBO found additional savings in Medicaid, revising downward government spending per adult enrolled in the program.

Ultimately, 12 million more nonelderly people will have health insurance in 2014 as a result of the law. Twenty-six million more “will be insured each year from 2017 through 2024 than would have been the case without the ACA,” the CBO concluded.

 

UPDATE

This post initially suggested that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) supports repealing the ACA’s reinsurance program. A spokesperson for the senator notes that the senator’s bill only targets the risk corridor provision of the law. Rubio has voted to repeal the ACA in its entirety, however, which would include the reinsurance provision. We regret the error.

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Paul Krugman slams Wall Street for “undermining our economy and our society”

Paul Krugman slams Wall Street for "undermining our economy and our society"

Paul Krugman (Credit: AP/Lai Seng Sin)

I know this is the second consecutive Salon article, but economist, Paul Krugman has something to say and I wanted to share it…

Salon

The New York Times columnist argues that America’s large financial sector has done more harm than good

In his latest column for the New York Times, best-selling author and award-winning economist Paul Krugman argues that the financial sector of the American economy is not only outsized but that it’s hurting the economy and making Americans’ lives worse.

Citing journalist Michael Lewis’ new book on high-frequency trading — which opens with a story about an expensive tunnel being drilled for fiber-optic cable to cut down the communication time between Chicago’s futures markets and the stock market in NYC by three milliseconds — Krugman argues that American public policy has become overly influenced by high finance, with inequality and economic instability as a result. “[American] society,” Krugman writes, “is devoting an ever-growing share of its resources to financial wheeling and dealing, while getting little or nothing in return.”

After claiming that the large financial sector in the U.S. doesn’t increase overall prosperity and doesn’t promote economic stability, Krugman writes that its primary function seems to be to prey off of less powerful economic actors. “[Wall Street's] playing small investors for suckers,” Krugman says, “causing them to waste huge sums in a vain effort to beat the market.” The result, Krugman posits, is a select few Wall Street players making a lot of private profits while contributing little to the overall public.

Krugman continues:



In short, we’re giving huge sums to the financial industry while receiving little or nothing — maybe less than nothing — in return. [NYU Professor Thomas] Philippon puts the waste at 2 percent of G.D.P. Yet even that figure, I’d argue, understates the true cost of our bloated financial industry. For there is a clear correlation between the rise of modern finance and America’s return to Gilded Age levels of inequality.

So never mind the debate about exactly how much damage high-frequency trading does. It’s the whole financial industry, not just that piece, that’s undermining our economy and our society.

 

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Filed under Economic Inequality, Paul Krugman

7 worst right-wing moments of the week — Stephen Colbert is destroying America, apparently

7 worst right-wing moments of the week — Stephen Colbert is destroying America, apparently

Stephen Colbert, Bill O’Reilly (Credit: AP/Alex Brandon/Kathy Willens)

Salon

Conservatives lose their minds over last week’s late-night shakeup, while a GOP candidate talks incest

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

1. Various conservative clowns: Stephen Colbert will single-handedly destroy America.

The hysteria on the right about Stephen Colbert’s elevation to CBS’s Late Night post has been nothing short of hilarious. Even before news hit that Colbert would replace David Letterman when he retires, Bill O’Reilly frantically declared that Colbert is responsible for the “destruction of America.” That’s quite a distinction, when there are so many other things vying for the title of “America’s Top Destroyer.” (Wait, reality contest show idea: “Who will be America’s Next Top Destroyer?”)

More than failing infrastructure, abject refusal to deal with the coming climate catastrophe, rampant, spiraling inequality to rival the Gilded Age, near daily mass shootings, the criminalization of poverty; or deportation of millions of legions of innocent undocumented immigrants [insert your favorite scourge here], it is Stephen Colbert who is ushering in the decline of this great nation. In addition, O’Reilly also said, Colbert is an “ideological fanatic,” a “deceiver” and responsible for the mayhem following UConn’s March Madness win.

No, we don’t really get that last one either.

Rush Limbaugh sputtered that Colbert’s promotion was “an assault on the heartland of America,” prompting millions of heartlanders to scurry to their bomb shelters with multiple firearms, canned goods and bottled water. He also said it represented a “redefinition of comedy,” a “redefinition of what’s funny.” This is true, Rush. Comedy has been redefined to mean something that makes actual people laugh.

And, after numerous attempts to identify the full extent of the outrage, Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro finally landed on this metaphor: In making a career out of pitch-perfect conservative pundit mockery, Stephen Colbert was guilty of no less than the moral equivalent of “vile political blackface.” Clever wordsmith Shapiro called this “Conservativeface,” a neologism that seems destined to catch on.

No word on whether Colbert is the Anti-Christ.Although a few years back a little outfit called Christfire implied as much, calling Colbert Stalinesque, Hitleresque and a bigger threat to America than Islamic terrorism.



All right ye liberals! You’ve been warned! Laugh your way straight into Satan’s clutches.

2. Advisor to Texas GOP gubernatorial hopeful: (OK, it’s Charles Murray): There’s no evidence women are significant thinkers.

It’s pretty well known that American Enterprise Institute “scholar” Charles Murray is a colossally dishonest thinker who shrouds claims of white intellectual superiority in pseudo-science. But he has proven himself offensive and wrongheaded on other topics as well. This week at a talk at University of Texas, he stood by his claim that women have not contributed much significant thought to the field of philosophy. But don’t feel too bad, gals, because Murray did allow that some of you are very good in literature.

Murray’s enlightened views on women naturally include his oppositions to equal pay laws. He argues that such laws would hurt women by discouraging companies from hiring them, and anyway he doesn’t even believe in pay discrimination—it’s a myth invented by liberals. “Women prefer to stay home with their children,” he says. And they also choose lower-paying jobs.

Who cares what Charles Murray says, you ask? Well, Texas GOP hopeful Gregg Abbott does. He takes some of his cues on education from Murray and specifically cited Murray’s work in his argument against universal pre-K. Of course, Abbott keeps some pretty questionable company in general. He’s also appeared with Ted Nugent, whose enlightened views on women and blacks are fairly well known.

h/t: RawStory

3. Virginia GOP candidate Bob Marshall: No incest exception for abortion because sometimes people want to have incest.

The good people of Virginia have themselves a real prize in Republican Bob Marshall, who is running to represent them in Congress. In fact, his views are so extreme on things like abortion and same-sex marriage that even his fellow Virginia Republicans can’t stand him. And that is saying something. He’s the one who introduced the bill requiring women who want abortions to have an ultrasound first, which helped make Virginia the butt of late-night jokes.

Still, he does have a following among other crazy social conservatives who could carry him to a congressional seat, where he could continue to embarrass his state. Marshall is anti-abortion, anti-same-sex marriage and anti-Planned Parenthood. He has some pretty bizarre religious ideas, too. Remarks of his that came to light this week include his opposition to abortions even in the case of incest, because, “How do you know it’s not voluntary? Sometimes it is.”

He has also said that disabled children are punishment for women having abortions. Here is his very science-based assertion: “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” he said.

No clue as to what his source for this bizarre claim is. Voices in his head, perhaps.

h/t: RawStory and: RightWingWatch

4. Reince Priebus: There should be no caps on campaign donations at all!

The chairman of the Republican National Party, Reince Priebus, echoed the words of his master Charles Koch this week when he came out for removing all caps on campaign donations. He also suggested that donors should not even have to be disclosed. Well, theoretically, he thinks disclosure might be okay, but….

“I mean, you want to be for disclosure,” Preibus said. “But when you start to see some of the cases out there where people are targeted, and businesses are targeted and picketed and threatened for political contributions, then now you’re suppressing free speech through disclosure. So I mean, even things that I want to agree with are getting to be very difficult.”

So to summarize, money is speech and should therefore not be limited in any way (particularly when it is flowing into Republican coffers). But unlike actual speech, money should be spoken in secret and not be open to scrutiny or criticism.

Because that hurts money’s feelings.

5. Detroit columnist Nolan Finley: Woman candidate is “milking the vagina business.”

Detroit News’ editorial page editor and columnist Nolan Finley displayed his ability to keep it real classy this week. Notoriously anti-Democratic and pro-corporate, he has long been using his perch to rabidly oppose the candidacy of Democrats, most recently Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer and his running mate, Lisa Brown. This week Finley wrote:

[Brown’s] confrontational style will give the ticket the spunk the colorless Schauer lacks, but won’t broaden his appeal. Brown could help bring in campaign cash, however. She’s still milking the vagina business, and is a minor celebrity among feminists.

Wait, there’s a vagina business that can be milked? How come we did not know that?

What that curious term means to Finley is that Lisa Brown favors reproductive rights for women, which in his world (roughly the 1950s) makes her an extreme left-wing liberal.

Milking the vagina business.

What will the Republican woman haters club come up with next?

6. Minnesota GOPer: I’m running for Congress because no child should be exposed to science.

Aaron Miller loves to tell the story of how his daughter came home in tears from school on the day when she learned about evolution. That’s not what her daddy taught her. Determined that his daughter and other innocent children should never again be exposed to science that might be upsetting to them, Miller was galvanized to run for Congress. The government has obviously declared “war on our values,” he thought. Well, he was just going to declare war right back at them.

Miller has already gotten endorsements from other creationists in government, like Minnesota State Rep. Allen Quist, who has  argued that it is only reasonable people and dinosaurs coexisted and that the Book of Job offers science lessons.

He also joins a GOP field full of anti-science deep thinkers, like Paul Broun of Georgia who knows that  evolution is a lie “straight from the pit of hell.” In Texas, all four GOP candidates competing for the lieutenant governorship in Texas are  pushing to teach creationism in public schools. Even more plentiful are the climate science deniers. They even get to head up congressional science committees.

Because the GOP is determined that every child should grow up in blissful ignorance.

h/t: ThinkProgress

7. Florida Rep: Floridians can’t vote on solar ballot measure.  

Solar energy is increasingly popular among Floridians, which is why a Republican representative is hellbent on keeping the issue out of the polls. As we all learned in high school civics class, democracy means not letting people vote on things you don’t want them to vote on. A Senate committee in the Sunshine State approved an amendment for the November ballot that would give tax breaks to businesses that install solar panels. But Ritch Workman is using his power as the chairman of the House Finance and Tax Committee to prevent that from happening. His lame excuse?

“I just don’t see the need to continue to expand the incentives and underwriting of solar,’’ Workman said. “Solar is coming a long way and eventually it’s going to be able to stand on its own two feet. But right now it doesn’t.”

More likely, say proponents of the bill, Workman is under the sway of Florida’s electric utilities, which adamantly oppose rooftop solar energy because it will end their monopoly.

Ah well, it’s not as if there’s some big hurry to convert to clean energy or anything. It’s not as if climate change and global warming are some big urgent problem that the whole country needs to immediately address in no uncertain terms in order to avert what is certain to be catastrophic climate events, the likes of which we are only just beginning to see. No, no, no.

Anyway, we all know the sun is for frying your skin, not heating your home or running your appliances. Silly.

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