Your call: Obama sitting “Between Two Ferns”? Or Republicans standing for…?
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The current budget brokered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is up for a vote today. It will be interesting to see if it passes both houses.
Giving more tax break to the rich and cutting subsidies for the underemployed and poor seems to be a bipartisan effort these days.
Pope Francis has made yet another strongly worded statement on growing inequality and economic justice, this time slamming outsized salaries and bonuses for corporate executives while others survive on “crumbs.”
In a message to mark the Catholic Church’s World Peace Day, Francis called on international leaders and corporate executives to implement “effective policies” to bridge the growing wealth gap.
“The grave financial and economic crises of the present time … have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy,” he said. ”The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles,” he said.
Rush Limbaugh has yet to comment, but presumably he thinks President Obama is currently having an orgasm somewhere.
As a follow-up to the earlier post: The Right is going batsh*t crazy over Pope Francis’ agenda. Case in point…
“Tell Rush Limbaugh: We Support Pope Francis!” urges a petition which has already garnered almost 4,000 signatures on the website of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
Catholics and non-Catholics alike were infuriated by Limbaugh’s comments about Pope Francis on his radio show on Nov. 27, as the Pontiff has captured the hearts of many worldwide.
On the show, Limbaugh said that the pope “doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism,” and speculated that his latest apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” was overtly influenced by others who have “gotten to him.” He claimed the document was “pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.”
He’s not the only political conservative to take a dig at the pope and face the ire of his many fans. Sarah Palin publicly apologized a few weeks ago for saying she was taken aback by some of his “liberal” statements, and was unsure that she could trust media reports about him.
Reza Aslan, a religious scholar and author of “Zealot: The Life And Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” succinctly responded to Limbaugh’s comments by saying in the Washington Post, “Somebody did get to Pope Francis. It was Jesus.”
He also cited Palin, writing, “These two paragons of the far right – both of whom regularly invoke the teachings of Jesus to bolster their own political views – have suddenly turned their backs on the man whose actual job description is to speak for Jesus.”
In response to Limbaugh’s comments, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good started a petition, writing:
We are disturbed by Rush Limbaugh’s incendiary comments last Wednesday, November 27th about Pope Francis and are joining together with Catholics and other allies throughout the nation to support the Holy Father. To call the Francis a proponent of “pure marxism” is both mean spirited and naive. Francis’s critique of unrestrained capitalism is in line with the Church’s social teaching. His particular criticism of “trickle down economics” strengthens what Church authorities have said for decades: any economic system which deprives the poor of their dignity has no place within a just society.Contrary to what Mr. Limbaugh suggests, the Catholic Church isn’t built on money, but on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.
We call on Mr. Limbaugh to apologize and retract his remarks. We urge other Church organizations and leaders–both ordained and lay–to also condemn Mr. Limbaugh’s comments.
We proudly stand with Pope Francis as he provides prophetic leadership for the Catholic Church and the entire world.
They have already surpassed their goal of 1,000 signatures fourfold.
Signer Thomas Hofstad wrote, “I am not Catholic, yet this offends me. The Pope is a man of great honor and compassion. I cant say this about Rush L.,” and Vicki Goux said, “I have the MOST respect for your new Pope but I’m not a Catholic. He is amazing and deserves to be treated with respect.”
As usual with anything that the POTUS implements, the GOP has made an outrageous claim about the cost to build the Healthcare.gov website…
When he announced hearings this week into the troubled launch and implementation of President Obama’s health care reform, Rep. David Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, demanded to know why “after spending over $600 million” the online health care exchange portal, healthcare.gov, doesn’t work properly.
In light of the site’s systemic failures, that bulging nine-figure price tag ($634 million, to be exact) has produced endless guffaws within the conservative media, where the figure has been adopted as evidence of a policy debacle.
“Who pays $634 million and has three years and screws it up that bad?” asked Fox News’ Sean Hannity on October 18. Added Rush Limbaugh: “That website, by the way, the original projected cost: $93 million. The end cost: $643 million. I kid you not.”
Wow, $550 million in cost overruns for healthcare.gov since 2010 when the health care reform law was passed?
The life of the $600 million figure appears to be the latest example of how misinformation is fermented within the right-wing media and then adopted as quasi-policy by the Republican Party. After all, Rep. Camp is holding a hearing specifically to determine why the government’s $600 million health care website doesn’t work, even though the site didn’t cost $600 million.
The eye-popping $634 million figure was first trumpeted in a piece by Andrew Couts at Digital Trends on October 8. It pointed out that the Montreal-based company awarded the contract to build healthcare.gov, CGI Federal, had received $634 million in government contracts related to health care. (Digital Trends lateramended the article and lowered the figure to “more than $500 million” that was allegedly spent “to build the digital equivalent of a rock.”)
Stunned by the bloated figure, Couts noted “Twitter, created in 2006, managed to get by with only $360.17 million in total funding until a $400 million boost in 2011. Instagram ginned up just $57.5 million in funding before Facebook bought it for (a staggering) $1 billion last year.”
“As for cash, it appears that HHS spent over $600 million for the online system — more than it took to get Facebook started,” wrote John Sununu in a Boston Globe column, while the Washington Times reported, “The administration hasn’t said how much these efforts will cost; estimates indicate the website already has cost taxpayers more than $600 million.”
Even ABC News pushed the report, noting “The administration has not provided a final cost of the website, although some estimates place it between $500 million to $600 million.”
But the accounting employed by Digital Trends raised some eyebrows even within the conservative media. National Review Online contributor Greg Pollowitz tweeted that the CGI contracts Digital Trends pointed to included work that the firm had done for the U.S. government years before health care reform was actually passed into law.
Glenn Beck’s site, The Blaze, also debunked the number. “While the federal website to signup for Obamacare was riddled with errors and had a rocky rollout, it didn’t cost $634 million to build,” wrote Liz Klimas. Citing an official inside GCI, The Blaze reported the $634 figure “includes all of the company’s contracts for a Health and Human Services Department program over the last seven years.”
Independently, the Sunlight Foundation estimated it cost $70 million to build the much-maligned website, not $634 million. (Officially, CGI was awarded a $93 million contract for the healthcare.gov job.)
And today in his Fact Checker column in the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler looked at the question of the healthcare.gov cost and concluded, “A conservative figure would be $70 million. A more modest figure would be $125 million to $150 million.” Kessler noted that the cost for the entire health care project beyond the website would be “at least $350 million.”
As for the Twitter and Instragram comparisons, they don’t make much sense in terms of what those hugely popular and relatively simple social media sites do (swap updates and photos) as compared to what healthcare.gov is supposed to do. Noted Kurt Eichenwald at Vanity Fair regarding healthcare.gov: “The site is one of the most complicated Web-based undertakings ever envisioned not only by the federal government but possibly by any Internet product provider.”
Meanwhile, the $600 million misinformation has created some odd contradictions within the conservative media, where it is still regularly touted. For instance, on October 9, a report posted on Foxnews.com referred to healthcare.gov as the “$93M ObamaCare website.” Yet day after day, Fox hosts such as Hannity, Dana Perino, and Andrea Tantaros ridicule the “$600 million” the government allegedly spent to build its health care exchange website.
And then there’s Blaze news anchor Amy Holmes who appeared on CNN on October 21 to discuss the health care controversy. She said that “the website got over $600 million to be able to be set up.” Strange, right? On October 10, The Blaze debunked the “rumor” that healthcare.gov cost $600 million to build. Then eleven days later The Blaze’s Holmes told a CNN audience that healthcare.gov cost $600 million to build.
Sifting through the vast range of cost estimates for healthcare.gov, the Washington Post’s Kessler suggested, “readers should be wary of many cost estimates uttered by lawmakers.” That also holds true for estimates uttered by conservative commentators.
Another knee-jerk reaction from Rush Limbaugh and his supporters. I’m just waiting for the Obama’s to come out in support of air, simply to see what those folks would do.
Drink more water. It’s pretty simple advice, the type of thing any health-conscious consumer has probably read at least a dozen times over the last few years. It’d be hard to come up with a less controversial idea, until, of course, first lady Michelle Obama started advocating water.
Last week the first lady unveiled her new “Drink Up” campaign — an offshoot of her healthy “Let’s Move” advocacy to reduce childhood obesity. For “Drink Up” she traveled to Watertown, Wisc., to encourage kids and adults to add a little more water to their drinking habits.
“I’ve come to realize that if we were going to take just one step to make ourselves and our families healthier, probably the single best thing we could do is to simply drink more water,” she said in a statement announcing the program. “That’s it — it’s really that simple. Drink just one more glass of water a day and you can make a real difference for your health, your energy, and the way you feel.”
But according to the right wing’s resident conservative weathervane, Rush Limbaugh, this new campaign is simply “more command-and-control” from the White House.
“We have real trouble, real problems in this country and around the world. What is this push to drink more water?” he quipped on his program last Friday.
The primary scientific critic Limbaugh and a number of news outlets quoted, is Dr. Stanley Goldfarb of the University of Pennsylvania. He’s a nephrologist (doctor who specializes in kidneys) with a long history of bashing the Affordable Care Act.
As Limbaugh pointed out on his show, Goldfarb says there “really isn’t data to support” the claims that increased water consumption can achieve the goals of the “Drink Up” campaign. “To make it a major public health effort, I think I would say it’s bizarre,” Goldfarb said.
So where is Michelle Obama getting this data to support her new program? It comes from the Centers for Disease Control, which has found that one in four children don’t drink any water daily and that nearly half of all Americans are getting less than four cups of water a day.
The new “Drink Up” campaign is focused on positive advocacy, encouraging people to consume more water, rather than telling them not to avoid sugary sodas. And while you might think that positive message would assuage a nanny-state-averse conservative pundit, Limbaugh found a way to hate it anyway. His criticism? The campaign has her cozying up too much with Big Soda.
“It’s Big Bottled Water, or Big Bottled Water is Big Soft Drink,” Limbaugh said. “That’s who’s pushing this.”
As pundit Bill Maher joked on his Friday program, ”I think this is a test to see if the Republicans will come out against water. ‘That’s not water, that’s socialism juice!’”
At least one Republican managed to pass that test. Congrats, Rush.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, reading from media reports, observed that the press is calling out Hillary Clinton for engaging in an effort to increase enthusiasm among minority voters for Democrats by supporting the notion that there is a concerted effort to disenfranchise African-American and Hispanic voters. Limbaugh called the idea that there is an effort to disenfranchise minority voters “absurd.” “If anything, there is an effort to count their votes more than once,” he insisted.
Limbaugh opened the segment by reading a portion of a report in The Wall Street Journal, a publication which the broadcaster said “bends a little leftward” outside of the editorial page.
In a report which examined Clinton’s “racial politics,” WSJ highlighted her recent focus issues like voting rights and criminal justice reform. The WSJ report suggests that Clinton is directing her focus towards issues that resonate with minority voters in order to maintain the Democratic coalition which prevailed during the Obama-era.
“In other words, they need to cheat,” Limbaugh declared. “They need avenues to voter fraud.”
“This why they are so opposed to photo ID,” the host added.
“The idea here that there is still some effort out there to deny minorities the right to vote – if anything, there is an effort to count their votes more than once,” he insisted. “If anything, there is an effort to get people not even qualified to vote to vote.”
“The idea that there is an effort to squash minority voting is absurd,” Limbaugh continued. “It’s just the opposite. Everybody’s pandering to them”
“All of this is aimed at overwhelming an electoral system that can’t keep up with the fraud,” he concluded. “You could probably say that it is a wonder Republicans win anything.”
The conservative host concluded by saying that it was an “insult to intelligence” to assert that there is a concerted effort by some to restrict the rights of minority citizens to vote.
Listen to the clip below via The Rush Limbaugh Radio Show:
I haven’t published this Politico feature in a while. This particular one was from Friday 8-16-2013…
The top quotes in politics…
“I’m in this business to win.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reassuring Republican leaders.
“Reporting for #juryduty.” — Arizona Sen. John McCain tweeting about his afternoon in Maricopa County Superior Court.
“I think I’m too famous.” — Rush Limbaugh brushing off suggestions that he should moderate a presidential debate.
“Why does that make me not serious?” — Donald Trump defending his ongoing skepticism about the president’s birth certificate.
“I love an endorsement by Sarah Palin, what’s not to love?” — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paultouting support for “Team Rand” from the former Alaska governor.
“I want to be this really fly 80-, 90-year old.” — First Lady Michelle Obama dishing on her upcoming birthday.
“I’m kind of busy right now.” — “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson shutting down talks of a congressional run.
“Can you teach me how to do the Jackal?” — White House Press Secretary Jay Carneywelcoming West Wing star Allison Janney to Twitter.
I no longer get upset over these Reich-wing shills like Rush Limbaugh because everyone knows that ALEC, the Koch brothers and other corporate interests are behind the campaign to abolish the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”.
Conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh has gone on another rant against “Obamacare,” this time event attacking one of the law’s most popular provisions.
It’s safe to say that the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is the number one target for conservatives and Republicans across the country. While the new health care reform isn’t popular with those on the right, the law’s provision for insurance companies to covering pre-existing often crosses party lines and has shown to have approval across the board. While the idea of not being denied because you have a pre-existing condition is popular, not everyone approves.
One of the most out spoken critics of “Obamacare,” including the pre-existing condition provision, is Rush Limbaugh. Taking to the microphone during his radio show this week, the conservative mouth piece railed against recent reports that the Affordable Care Act has dropped insurance rates in many states and called covering pre-existing conditions “welfare.”
“Now, by the way, this claim here that residents of New York and California are going to have lower insurance rates under Obamacare? Folks, that’s an abject lie — and the news of the day is the evidence! The news of the day for the past month or longer has been all about rising premiums in California and New York and insurance companies pulling out of there. By design, by the way.
You would almost think with this story that CNN was going to commit a random act of journalism, but they don’t. Instead, they push with a bunch of myths. First they claim that rates are going to go down in New York and California under Obamacare, which has been debunked. They won’t. Then they claim that those states that have “bare-bones plans,” when in fact states have high rates because they already require insurance companies to cover a lot of the nonsense mandated under Obamacare.
That’s pre-existing condition stuff, which isn’t insurance. That’s welfare. That’s another story. From CybercastNewsService.com: “Blue Cross, Aetna, United, Humana Flee Obamacare Exchanges.” One, two, three, four insurance companies have pulled out of the Obamacare exchanges. It’s all part of the plan. Private insurers are being forced out of the market. This is part of the Obamacare long-term plan to make it so that only government has insurance to sell.”
According to US News, in addition to no longer denying Americans insurance because of pre-existing conditions, the law has ended insurance denials based on pre-existing conditions for the roughly 20 million children under the age of 19. The new health care reform is far from perfect and isn’t without its fair share of criticisms, but to call parts of the program “welfare” is as ridiculous as Limbaugh himself.
When conservatives come away from Fox News feeling ever more certain that climate change is a hoax, it may have something to do with an overall attack on scientists as authorities to be trusted.
So argues a paper published in the August issue of peer-reviewed journal Public Understanding of Science, which connects the conservative disbelief in man-made climate change to a media-driven effort by conservatives to foment broad distrust of scientists.
“Cause and effect is always perilous,” said Jay Hmielowski of the University of Arizona, one of the authors of the study, to Raw Story. But of the conservative media’s attempts to portray climate science in a negative light, “it’s clear that their communication about scientists and global warming is effective.”
The authors used a polling sample of media consumption habits and political views taken in 2008, then compared a smaller sample from the same group reinterviewed about two-and-a-half years later. Researchers asked them which media outlets they watched and listened to, along with their belief in climate science and their trust of scientists.
More consumption of media identified as conservative – Fox News, Rush Limbpaugh and the like – correlated positively with both a loss of trust in the scientific community and a lack of belief that climate change was happening, Hmielowski said. And more consumption of other kinds of news media led to more trust in scientists and a greater degree of belief in climate change. Attitudes polarized over time, in direct relation to the amount and type of media consumed.
“What you’re seeing at the first time point is leading to belief in the second time point,” Hmielowski said.
The irony, though, is that an academic study examining conservative media resistance to climate science may itself be likely to win an attack by the conservative media. Hmielowski, citing previous academic studies, noted that “this coverage often includes specific critiques of mainstream scientists such as ‘the denigration of peer-reviewed, scholarly journals and scientific institutions by contrarian scientists’.”
But Hmielowski thinks he’s probably safe. “We’re not going after them directly – I mean, we’re showing that their message is effective – so I can’t imagine that they’re going to react to it.”
This was just too good to pass up. Had to share with TFC readers…
Rush Limbaugh revealed last week that when he went on Fox News, the producers didn’t want him to talk about immigration reform, and he found this “quite telling” about the network. The experience clearly still fresh in his mind, Limbaugh told a caller today to stop watching Fox because it’ll make him too angry and that “they’re designed to make you question your sanity.”
Limbaugh caller Tony said if “a Republican had this miserable, destructive record that Obama has,” there would be marches up and down every street in the country. He also bashed “Alinsky-ite Obama Democrats” pushing solar and wind power at the expense of coal workers. Tony said, “It’s ideology über alles, and they couldn’t give a rat’s backside about the poor.”
Limbaugh agreed with everything Tony said, but when Tony mentioned that he was watching Fox News, Limbaugh interjected to share this piece of advice.
“You need to stop watching these people, because they’re not gonna change, Tony… Your blood pressure’s gonna suffer if you keep watching these people. I mean, they’re designed to get you ticked off. They’re designed to make you question your sanity. You’re gonna watch these people and you’re gonna say, ‘How in the world can we have such idiotic people?’ and you’re gonna think, ‘Maybe they’re not and you’re crazy.’ And I assure you, Tony, you’re not. Trust me on that.”
Listen to the audio below: