Discussion in 'The Senate Floor' started by Ghost, Dec 6, 2012.
what a mess this is going to be. huge, huge mess.
So, in other words, the health care system is a massive disaster, but the government better not try to do anything at all about the problem, because the insurance companies will retaliate by punishing everyone?
I think there's a case to be made that if John Roberts did not have epilepsy, the ACA would not have been upheld. It's only when powerful people are able to relate with ordinary people that real change happens.
Putting aside the compelling concept that "core functions" of the federal government ( such as unprovoked invasions of choice and "nation-building" ) by definition can never grow too large and must never be cut, ever, how exactly does providing access to health care "ensure equality of outcomes"? How does not snatching people's Medicare and Social Security "ensure equality of outcomes"? What planet are you thinking of? And the last time I checked taxation was also a function of the federal government. Where is it established that the role of the federal government is to ensure financial outcomes for the rich at the expense of the poor?
I think Roberts was more thinking about the Court's integrity than his own state of health.
The President has released his budget for FY 2014, which reduces the deficit by $1.8 Trillion over 10 years, and calls for...
-a fee on banks
-closing loopholes on fossil fuel companies
-closing loopholes on corporations who ship jobs overseas
-cap itemized deductions at 28%
-impose the Buffet rule (people making at least $1 million cannot pay an effective tax rate less than 30%)
-limits on tax-free havens for the rich (no more than $3 million in IRA's)
*$50 billion in Infrastructure, including a National Infrastructure Bank
*Universal Pre-School (fully paid for by doubling the cigarette tax to $1.95 per pack)
*$100 million proposed to be spent on "mapping the Human Brain"
*Minimum Wage increase to $9/hour
*Cut some Farm Subsidies
*Change the COLA/inflation formula for Social Security and Medicare to chained CPI
*Means-Testing for Medicare
*$400 billion cut to Medicare
*allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices
*can no longer get full Disability Benefits and Unemployment Benefits at the same time
Also, Sally Jewell was confirmed as the new Interior Secretary.
The Cabinet right now is...
State... John Kerry (previous: Hillary Clinton)
Treasury... Jack Lew (previous: Tim Geithner)
Defense... Chuck Hagel (previous: Leon Panetta, Bob Gates)
Justice... Eric Holder
Interior... Sally Jewell (previous: Ken Salazar)
Agriculture... Tom Vilsack
Commerce... Rebecca Blank (acting)(previous: John Bryson, Gary Locke)
Labor... Thomas Perez (to be confirmed)(previous: Hilda Solis)
Health & Human Services... Kathleen Sebelius
Housing & Urban Development... Shaun Donavan
Transportation... Ray LaHood (could be leaving)
Energy... Ernest Moniz (to be confirmed) (previous: Steven Chu)
Education... Arne Duncan
Veterans Affairs... Eric Shinseki
Homeland Security... Janet Napolitano
Chief of Staff... Denis McDonough (previous: Jack Lew, Bill Daley, Pete Rouse, Rahm Emanuel)
Budget... Sylvia Burwell (to be confirmed) (previous: Jeffrey Zients, Jack Lew, Peter Orszag)
EPA... Gina McCarthy (to be confirmed) (previous: Lisa Jackson)
UN Ambassador... Susan Rice
National Intelligence... James Clapper (previous: Dennis Blair)
CIA... John Brennan (previous: Michael Morell, David Petraeus, Leon Panetta)
Lastly, the fate of very important legislative proposals, such as Expanded Gun Background Checks and Comprehensive Immigration Reform, are likely to be decided this month.
Immigration reform will pass; gun control...won't. or if it does it'll be in an extremely minimalistic form; the assault weapons ban is already dead for all intents and purposes, and given how entrenched House Republicans are, they've got little direct persuasion to vote for much.
Both issues are probably going to take a back seat to the debt ceiling-it's that time of year again ( ) and the budget in general for at least a while.
Obama's budget will go nowhere. Neither will the republicans. The question becomes, will they compromise?
....or will there be more debt ceiling gimmicks?
I'm betting on the latter.
The Obama administration is considering reform of the drug laws... not legalization, but a step in the right direction, moving towards treatment instead of punishment.
So, anyone (KW, perhaps) want to try to defend Obama on the IRS and AP scandals. Maybe explain why Eric Holder deserves to stay on as AG? Anyone? Buehler?
Why would Eric Holder resign? He's doing his job. If you'll recall, there was a strong bi-partisan call for investigation into recent leaks. People asked for, and were promised, heretofore unparalleled depth of investigation. This is what it looks like.
As for the IRS scandal, I'd say the errors were more one of degree than intention. Campaign finance laws are in shambles. One of the few remaining restraints is that non-profit organizations are really supposed to be geared towards social welfare, not political activity. This provision is already pretty toothless, but it would be absolutely meaningless if the IRS can't even apply extra scrutiny to ensure that supposedly non-political organizations aren't actually just campaign vehicles. Tax exempt social welfare groups openly aligned with the newest and most popular political movements are an obvious and intuitive target for such investigations.
There's obviously more to be said on both subjects, but I don't see why either of them should be fundamentally disqualifying for anyone.
I will shock a few people and provide a partial defense on the AP scandal.
I don't see anything wrong with the accessing of phone records of reporters, as long as the proper legal requirements are followed. Being a reporter doesn't give you any sort of special protection against a valid search warrant or subpoena. The freedom of the press, like the other rights in the Bill of Rights, is an individual right, not an organizational right. The government cannot control the press or what they report, but that doesn't give the press immunity for any other laws. If they have direct evidence relevant to a criminal investigation, the Constitution still allows the government to issue a warrant or subpoena to get that information.
Where the AP scandal causes problems for me is in the claims that Obama knew nothing about it. At the very least, DoJ policy requires the AG to personally sign off on such requests. If Obama really knew nothing about what one of his top cabinet officials was doing, then he is either willfully ignoring the misbehavior of his subordinate, or he is simply incompetent. To claim that he only found out about it (as with so many other things recently) as a result of the news reports is a far greater condemnation of him.
Anyone trying to minimize or downplay the IRS thing is being dumb. I am not saying it really was terrible, but it is TERRIBLE PR for Obama and co. Whether in some platonic sense it actually means much...that question is pretty irrelevant in the world of politics.
What the IRS did was wrong... I wonder if they actually had a manager (the GOP has blocked a director for the last 4 years) if this still would have happened?
There's no news on Benghazi, I'm not sure why people keep bringing that up and calling this a "triple scandal."
As for the AP... the DoJ was investigating a national security leak, so they were looking through phone records. It's legal. What exactly is the scandal? Did the press really think they were immune to all of this? As for what Obama knew, I'm guessing he probably just told Holder to find the source of the leak, and Holder decided to investigate it in at least this way.
The AP thing cracks me up because it exposes how arrogant the national media truly is. If they want to have a discussion about 1st and 4th amendment rights then I am all for it, but don't act all shocked and outrage when the DOJ does stuff like this, because legally they can and has been that way since Smith vs Maryland 1979.
What I think is kind of funny is how everyone has gained a sudden onset of context, when none such existed before. I remember just a couple of years ago when national security was considered to be a dirty word by some around here, especially in relation to those who had a near absolute concept of privacy. My, my how an administration changes things. I think the media is reacting to their scandal because they expected special treatment from the administration after turning a blind eye and treating "he who shall do no wrong" as American royalty. This is the editorial cartoon the Chicago Tribune ran today, which is pretty harsh:
Again, I think people are forgetting what the focus of the various topics are:
1) The AP scandal was the result of the DOJ issuing blanket subpoenas for 2 months worth of telephone calls coming in on 20 separate lines, without having a specific target in mind or notifying the AP.
2)The IRS scandal should be self evident to anyone, it's just going to depend on how far up it goes
3) There is certainly new information that has come out of the latest Benghazi hearings, including the denial of military support and the editing of on the ground assessments.
I'm not saying that these are all scandal worthy, as it depends on the information that develops. But they should be explored within a reasonable limit. For the love of all that is holy, let's not have any more universal special prosecutors. The I think the scandals are growing because the administration is dropping the ball. It's completely strange that in order to insulate the President, all of his advisers and whatnot are claiming that Obama didn't know anything about any of them. Except it's backfiring, because in the past with stories friendly to the administration, Obama was always portrayed as a "roll his shirt sleeves up" kind of guy. Now, when there are negative things, Obama doesn't know anything about what anyone is doing, including the SecState, and US AG. It either works both ways or it doesn't. Stay tuned for the administration's version of 181/2 minute gap, which is coming, it just all depends on who the buck stops at.
That cuts both ways, you know.
I'm still against the government doing this without a warrant, but it's been accepted as legal for about a decade now... not sure why the media thinks they have special immunity status. Especially when I bet many of these complaining journalists are the same ones who complained about the Obama admin not doing enough to find out who's behind these national security leaks.
Agreed about the IRS.
What exactly is so new and damning about Benghazi? The emails were released today, between the State Department and the CIA, not really anything damning about the Obama administration in them:
How is the Administration dropping the ball on this?
There not suppose to be poking around the IRS, if they were that would be a major problem. And they aren't suppose to be involved with criminal investigations by the DOJ. These are two separate entities that are separate for a reason and blaming Obama for it seems like hackery IMO.
Benghazi will end up being more about Hillary Clinton than Obama, at least for the Republicans, anyway.
The question becomes, how far do the Republicans overstep in their bid to undo Obama's second term agenda, and does it cause a backlash which actually hinders the part come 2014?
The answer to that question is A)they'll probably go pretty far in trying to undo Obama's second term and B)Yes it'll hinder them in 2014.
This. I think it's actually wrong, but it's an acceptable practice post-9/11 sadly. Some of the details (I believe the size of the call lists and the breadth of those seized) make it slightly bigger than average, but it's nothing new. I, personally, view a lot of the uproar over this as journalists getting mad because it was other journalists. When it was civilians, it was fine. And also the need to find another scandal during the fake-Benghazi outrage and quasi-IRS scandal.
Krauthammer - who I normally do not agree with - had a good point about this today. If the Republicans want to be taken seriously on Benghazi, then stop screaming 'Watergate' and 'Iran-Contra' and 'impeachment' while trying to lay most of the blame at Hillary's feet. And release an attack ad ... aimed at Hillary. It's kind of obvious what you're doing.
They've already started releasing ads against Hillary, if you can believe that.
This is going to last through July, then I think Obama will "get his mojo" back when the debt ceiling fight returns. The budget fight is far more stable ground for him, and once the GOP starts screaming about entitlement cuts, he'll back them into a corner....again.
Impeachment would be the worst possible road to take; planning on a renewed push after 2014 should they win the Senate would be an even bigger disaster come 2016, as they will alienate a lot of people.
Also, once the media feels as if they have sufficiently humbled him, they will probably start showing the love once again.
Got it. Nothing wrong happened in terms of actual events.
Barack Obama is involved in the event.
. . .somehow. Okay then.
1. The fact is... I think it would have. From 2010-2012, Democrats were pushing for IRS review of the Tea Party groups seeking non-profit status. And while the Tea Party groups were kept in limbo, or faced intrusive questions, Obama's half-brother got approved quickly, as did a number of "progressive" organizations. And from one local news report, some of these Tea Party groups that got put into limbo were in major 2012 battlegrounds. The Tea Party was not the only group victimized by this politicized IRS. Back in March and April of last year, the National Organization for Marriage's tax forms got leaked and published. TheBlaze.com knew it was going on back in February of 2012. Pro-life groups were targeted going back to 2009! Hispanic groups with conservative leanings were targeted. The IRS actions had the effect of chilling political activity by those who opposed Obama's agenda. If it had a real director, confirmed by a Democratic Senate... it may have been worse. And a campaign of intimidation going back to June 2009 probably depressed political activity by conservatives enough to have made the difference in the 2012 presidential election. OH, and that local news reports? The agents they talk to say they were "just following orders." Orders from whom? Lois Lerner, who got $42,000 in bonuses? Or did the orders come from higher up? Did Harry Reid get a peek at Mitt Romney's tax returns? Who else is a victim that hasn't come forward? And with all this, can we really trust the IRS to run Obamacare?
2. Oh, you didn't notice Obama's claims of calling it an act of terrorism getting Four Pinocchios from the Washington Post? Or the fact that the released e-mails contradict the claims of the Obama Administration? Or the revelation that Greg Hicks briefed Hillary on the attack long before she began blaming a YouTube video? Benghazi is a scandal, probably not as big as the IRS scandal, but it is a scandal nonetheless. Somehow the original talking points morphed into Susan Rice's disingenuous spiel on the Sunday talk shows. How did that happen? Why did that happen? And as Secretary of State, is Hillary NOT responsible for the obviously misleading info that came out of her department? It sounds like after the Benghazi attack, the Obama Administration wasn't trying to protect our diplomatic outposts, or catch the perps, they were more worried about the threat to an Obama Administration campaign talking point!
3. The AP thing may be defensible, it may not. The worst thing I see here is the double standard. Had the George W. Bush Administration taken the steps that the Obama-Holder DOJ took to protect things like the CIA interrogation program, I can imagine Media Matters wouldn't be doing talking points in the Bush Administration's defense. But after 1 and 2, plus Fast & Furious, can Holder be trusted?
It is that lack of trust, by the way, which is gonna really kill compromise in DC. How do you propose to restore the trust, especially since a three-plus year intimidation campaign probably made the difference in the 2012 election?