Friday, November 15, 2013

Saturday Satire: Obama Healthcare Edition

Conan O'Brien: "Many scam artists are trying to take advantage of the problems with the Obamacare website. Experts say you can tell it's a scam site if you enter your information and it quickly and efficiently signs you up for healthcare."
"The ObamaCare website won't be accessible at night due to maintenance. And it won't be accessible during the day due to 'it sucking.'"
"Wal-Mart announced that this Thanksgiving they are opening earlier than they ever have. Because what better way to celebrate the pilgrims' arrival than buying crap from China."
"The Obama administration asks Hollywood to work positive mentions of ObamaCare into its TV shows and movies. So AMCs new zombie drama is titled: “The Walking Dead But Not Due to Preexisting Conditions.”
Jay Leno: "President Obama said he is sorry that some Americans have lost their existing health coverage due to Obamacare. I think he's getting a little desperate. Today he said if you like your complete lack of coverage, you can keep your complete lack of coverage."
"According to a new report, over a million Californians are losing their health insurance due to Obamacare. In fact, some are so angry they have already gone back to Mexico."
"Yesterday at the White House, President Obama met with various leaders of the American Indian tribes. He promised them, 'If you like your medicine man, you can keep your medicine man.'"
"According to CBS News, only six people enrolled in Obamacare on the first day of the rollout. Six! That means more people have walked on the moon than have signed up for Obamacare."
David Letterman: "Anybody try to sign up for the Obamacare? It's impossible, and everybody's furious. The Republicans are upset about Obamacare because something they tried to stop now won't get started."
Jimmy Fallon: "It turns out that a lot of children could lose their dental insurance under Obamacare. So kids might not be able to go to the dentist. Parents were really upset, while kids said, 'Four more years! Four more years!'"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Amazing what people at work will say about the ACA...

    From EastCoastProgressive1963 @ DailyKos

  I work in high tech for a prosperous New England instrumentation company. I am programmer. A late night working, pizza eating, cola swilling, occasional shaver who comes into the office one or twice a week (the rest of the time I'm telecommuting at home to my outsource colleagues in India and China).

I work on the ground floor - the actual and symbolic ground floor suitably removed from the decision makers on the second floor who power dress and fuel the company gossip.

Yesterday I made a rare trip to the second floor to hear a presentation on the new company health benefit for 2014. And I was exposed to the second-floor culture.

More below the orangy-squiggly thingy...

The presenter was a company employee and self confessed "non-expert" on the benefits package, and in her opening slide was entitled "Many Changes are Coming in 2014". As if we didn't know. She then said that health reform was having an impact on our benefits package. This, to the best of my recollection was how the conversation went next:

PA to the company VP: "what you mean Obamacare?"

Presenter: "well that is part of it not the whole story"

PA: "Is Obamacare part of the package 'cos we don't want that. That's a disaster, right".

Presenter: "No, we aren't going to Obamacare"

PA: "Well that's good 'cos it is such a mess and I don't want to be part of it".

I was going to say something, but got an attack of shyness and kept quiet. The presentation went on to make one thing very clear: that the company was passing more of the cost to us this year in the form of higher deductibles (up 50%), and higher premiums (up 6%). No surprises there, except for lower-than-expected premium hike.

Finally it got to the Q&A, and I held up last years plan and this years plan. And then I said:

Me: "Am I right in thinking there are some key differences in plan this year?"

Presenter: "In what way?"

Me: "Well I notice the lifetime caps have gone for one thing. And that I can bring my children on the plan when they are in college. And it's true that we've never had to worry about preconditions in this plan, but even those aren't allowed any more. Also, the max out of pocket has come down, so we aren't exposed to as much risk"

I then turned to the Obamacare-hating PA and said: "and all that is because of the Affordable Care Act. They can't do that to us any more".

The look on her face was priceless...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Democrats to Target Tax 'Loopholes'—But Not for Fossil Fuel Industry

  By Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Monday, November 11, 2013 by Common Dreams

A document obtained by several news agencies last week shows Democrats preparing to target tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations as part of congressional negotiations to meet a Dec. 13 deadline for a budget deal.

The Hill reported that the list

contains 12 examples of the types of “tax loopholes” that [Democrats] would like to see closed in a year-end budget deal. Most have been proposed many times before.

Combined, the items on the list would raise $264 billion in revenue over 10 years, more than enough to switch off two years' worth of the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

Bloomberg reported that

In addition to closing what Democrats call the “John Edwards/Newt Gingrich loophole,” the party’s list of options includes carried-interest treatment that allows hedge fund managers and private equity advisers to pay a 20 percent tax rate on their income instead of the nation’s top income rate of 39.6 percent. Ending that break would save more than $17 billion over a decade, according to the Democrats’ estimates.

Another lets U.S. companies deduct their expenses when they send their plants overseas, which Democrats say encourages offshoring of American jobs. It would raise $200 million. Ending preferences for corporate jets and subsidies for yachts and vacation homes, combined, would bring in another $19 billion.

"The list makes clear that Democrats believe they can win public support by targeting tax breaks that they can portray as subsidies for the rich," according to Reuters.

Republicans have been demanding cuts in Social Security and Medicare in exchange for changes to sequestration spending cuts, and that has failed to be met by a widespread Democratic pushback.

Progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have called for an "End [to] tax breaks and subsidies for oil, gas and coal companies to reduce the deficit by more than $113 billion over the next 10 years"—a call echoed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus's "Back to Work Budget," which calls for an elimination of corporate tax subsidies for oil, gas, and coal companies.

But preserving tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry appears to have widspread bipartisan consensus.

The fact that fossil fuel companies are not on the list of targets may be a result of Democrats' "embrace" of fossil fuels, the Financial Times reported.

James Politi reported at the Financial Times that the omission may "point to an increasing willingness among Democrats to embrace America’s domestic energy boom as a source of economic strength."

The FT also quotes the American Petroleum Institute as saying there is "growing bipartisan opposition" to taxes that target oil and gas industries.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

60 Minutes and Benghazi

Ex-60 Minutes Producer: "Discredited Story Aimed at Obsessed Benghazi Conservatives"

 By Heavy Mettle on Sat Nov 09, 2013

CBS was trashed and people lost their jobs over the George W. Bush National Guard story and conservatives still use this incident to prove the supposed liberal media bias, even though Bush's record was not in question - just the document's authenticity.

Now a former 60 Minutes producer who lost her job over that incident has spoken out about 60 Minutes' Benghazi scandal: pushing a story whose main witness turned out to be a liar:

Former 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes, who was fired for her role in a controversial 2004 story about President Bush's service in the Air National Guard, accused CBS News of pandering to a right-wing audience with her former program's recent Benghazi report, for which the network has been criticized and forced to retract.

"My concern is that the story was done very pointedly to appeal to a more conservative audience's beliefs about what happened at Benghazi," Mapes said by telephone from her Texas home. "They appear to have done that story to appeal specifically to a politically conservative audience that is obsessed with Benghazi and believes that Benghazi was much more than a tragedy."

Still, Mapes stressed that "what is concerning to me is the reason they went after that story in the first place. ... It so concerns me that it appears that story was done to appeal to a conservative element in the audience; that's not the way you should choose your stories."

CBS seems to have really gone off the deep end in pursuing a right wing audience. You know it's bad when Fox has to correct a completely phony Obamacare "horror story".

CBS stonewalled for over a week about this story, refusing to retract it until it was forced to by reporting from the New York Times

It was only when the New York Times last night reported that there were even deeper discrepancies in the report that Fager and CBS conceded mistakes were made with regards to its star witness. It wasn't until today's edition of CBS' This Morning that the network's Lara Logan finally admitted that the nearly two-week-old report had been a "mistake" and explained that CBS News had failed to fully vet that witness.
and is inconsistent with CEO News Chairman Jeff Fager's own previous pronouncements about how to deal with mistakes:
CBS's defensive, slow-footed response was difficult to match up with Fager's previous pronouncements. "When you do make a mistake, boy oh boy own up to it," Fager told Arizona State University journalism students in 2011. "Go out of your way to own up to it."  He added: "Credibility is what we sell."
Meanwhile, it took Fox, who lavished praise on this report for the mainstream media 'finally catching on', until 11PM that day to devote 26 seconds to inform viewers that the story was full of it:
By the end of Fox News' regular programming schedule at 11 PM EST on November 8, the network had acknowledged the fact that CBS pulled its 60 Minutes report in only one 26-second segment. On Special Report, host Bret Baier stated, "CBS is backing off a report on 60 Minutes -- we told you about last week -- that relied on a source whose credibility has crumbled."
Jeff Fager has finally admitted that this story has been one of its worst mistakes ever, but not until after
The network's irresponsible reporting quickly became fodder for the Benghazi-obsessed conservative media, aiding and abetting the right-wing's Benghazi hoax.

CBS's new business plan seems to be modeled on Fox's,  believing that telling  the rightwing nutjob crowd what it wasnt to hear will increase viewership.
Heads rolled for the National Guard story, and they damn well better for this one if CBS wants to maintain it is a credible news outlet.

Originally published on Daily Kos