Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Well Kept Obamacare Secret: It's Good for the Deficit

This morning's New York Times signifies a new leap forward in editorial offices: Apparently, the editors have actually been reading one of the Times' own columnists, namely Paul Krugman. 
For some years, Krugman has been delivering a Jeremiad, saying the worst thing governments can do when faced with a recession is to stop spending and start trying to save, to start cutting government outlays.
The European Union did this over the past few years, cutting, singing the austerity song, only to provoke a slide into worse recession. The United States, well not the whole United States but the part of it which is the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, did what it could to imitate the European Union, pushing through a "sequester" and trying to push the country off the fiscal cliff, which hurt the economy some, but not as much as it would had there not been a little item called "Obamacare."
Here's a little secret: Obamacare has resulted in such dramatic cuts in health care spending that $1.6 trillion in budget savings are on schedule and the deficit has actually declined, despite a fall in tax revenues caused by the "sequester" and the Republican attempt at "austerity."
So, here's what the Times' editors have figured out: The Republicans, who are basically the Koch brothers and a lot of oligarchs who are supposed to be good at numbers and money and the economy are actually clueless, and they would shoot themselves not just in the foot, but about three feet higher up, thinking they are aiming the gun at the tax and spend Democrats.
Oh, well.
But keep it a secret, until after the election. Then it won't really matter. We'll have Kelly Ayotte and Scott Brown in the Senate letting the private sector lead the way. Tally ho!

Здравствуйте, Україна, від планети Нью-Гемпшир.
З різних причин відомим тільки Бог і inscrutable і невидимі Інтернет сил, більше поглядів The Phantom говорить і Хемптон Mad Dog демократ ніж зі Сполучених Штатів. У нас також невелика кількість хітів від Франції, Німеччині та Англії. Ми повинні повністю ігнорується Індії і весь субконтиненту. Південна Америка не має інтересу б то не було, але які б фігура, враховуючи закон взаємної незацікавленість. Але...Україна? Якщо хто-небудь в Україні пояснення скажена собака і привид б ціную почути про це.
З повагою
Фантом, esq.
Скажена собака

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Kynec Paradox: Republicans Enter the Orwellian World of Doublespeak

Who would Steve Vaillancourt predict would win this contest?

"McConnell has some difficulty with the Obamacare issue because the Kentucky version, known as Kynect, has been a huge success. About half a million Kentuckians signed up for health insurance, many receiving it for the first time. Fewer than 100,000 joined private insurance plans; that means the bulk of the population joined Medicaid, which was greatly expanded under the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. But at the same time, Obama is deeply unpopular in Kentucky and polls indicate that many Kentuckians do not associate Kynect with Obamacare. So McConnell threads a very difficult needle here, suggesting the Web site can continue while the law that created it must be scrapped"
Here is a place we all love to be:  Have your cake and eat it too. Kynect, the new healthcare system in Kentucky which took form as a result of the Affordable Care Act, is a huge success.  Even those folks down in the hollow can cotton to the idea of better coverage for a lot less money, which Kynect has brought them. 
So they love Kynect in Kentucky.
Trouble is, they hate Obama in Kentucky. So if you ask them if they like Kynect, it's, "Yes, indeed!" But if you ask them whether they like Obamacare, it's "Hell, no!"
And if you point out to them that Kynect is, in fact, Obamacare, they react thusly, "Say, what?"
This is the Kentucky version of, "Keep your damn government hands off my Medicare and Social Security!"
Why the visceral reaction against Obama in Kentucky?  Same reason, Mad Dog suspects, they hate him in Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and parts of Florida, Georgia and, yes even in some parts of  New Hampshire. You see, pssst...he's Black!
And, of course, he's a Democrat and he's in power. So Reince Priebus, if that is a real name--the guy who heads the Republican National Committee--was explaining yesterday to Robert Siegel, on NPR, the President is a complete failure, and everything he touches goes sour. So, the Ebola infections of those two nurses in Texas,  all those kids streaming across the Rio Grande (or wherever it is they stream across) the ISIS beheadings, the war in Syria, the financial collapse in the European Union (never mind our government kept us going into a recovery here in the USA), the refusal of Republicans to pass a comprehensive immigration package through the Republican House, it's all because Mr. Obama is a catastrophe as a President.  The worst EVER.
And he says it with such fluency and conviction, you just get carried along and you know he must be right, because he sounds so sure. 
Our local candidates are cast from the same agency:  From Fred Rice, who believes the best way to end pollution in New Hampshire is to build more roads, so automobiles will  not have be line up at red lights with their motors idling, to Scott Brown who believes we ought to solve all problems by letting "the private sector lead the way." 
Whatever that means.
If the the private sector were still leading the way in heath insurance, they'd be maximizing profits for their stock holders by excluding anyone with a "pre existing condition" or by charging prohibitively high rates for anyone who is guilty of ever having been sick or being of the female persuasion.  Remember those bad old days before Obamacare?
Edwin Muskie of Maine once remarked there are only really two opposing sides in politics, and they are not Democrat vs Republican, or even conservative vs liberal but of confidence vs fear.  
Franklin Roosevelt knew this, and he used this in his famous, "the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."  But somehow, the most vigorous, self assured fearless sounding candidates are the Scott Browns and Fred Rices and Mitch McConnell's who stand up tall and straight and intone the chicken little rap--we are all going straight to Hell behind this man who was conceived on Mars and borne in Kenya.
President Obama's Birth Certificate Ceremony

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ukraine: Mad Dog's New Best Friends



It is a wondrous age we live in. Writing from his shire in New Hampshire, a humble country peasant like Mad Dog can launch his thoughts into cyberspace like one of those rockets with the recordings of Doris Day and Frank Sinatra which the United States launched decades ago into deep space, hoping for intelligent life out there.

For years, Mad Dog has done this and he has attracted a suitably small coterie of respondents, mostly from New Hampshire, but scattered as far as Albuquerque, Seattle, North Carolina to complement the intrepid die hard from Hampton who actually occasionally comments. 

But now, perusing his statistics page, Mad Dog has discovered over the past few months his page views are coming, inexplicably, from, overwhelmingly, Ukraine, of all places. 

These viewers exceed in numbers all those from the United States, Asia, Africa and South America combined. 

You would think Ukrainians would be somewhat preoccupied.  

Mad Dog can only imagine this is some form of escapism.  It may simply be that with all the pressure from that mad dog across the border who seems to think putting on a good show at the winter Olympics is tantamount to a Nuremberg rally, the Ukrainians are simply cheered by the stories of how ridiculous American political figures have become. 

It must be of some comfort to a Ukrainian, when contemplating a Putin who says he is only responding to the pleas of Russian speakers, when he send tanks across the border, when he sucks up a seacoast port, when his surrogates blow a passenger jet out of the air like some modern Lusitania--it may be comforting to know there are jackasses in the public eye, vying for power even in a little Hobbit shire like New Hampshire.

Here, we have a state Representative who claims we elect Congresswomen by their looks and we have a candidate for United States Senate who is running on his own prettiness. 

Here we have the Koch brothers pulling the strings from afar as the puppets dance and gyrate in New Hampshire--In Ukraine, the strings are pulled by the man from St. Petersburg, now Moscow.

Somehow, misery loves company; even if Ukrainian misery exceeds that of New Hampshire, where all we have to suffer is fools, not homicidal fools.   

This is just a guess. It is possible there is an army of hackers in Ukraine who have discovered Mad Dog Democrat and are hoping to use it as a portal to infiltrate the United States strategic air command. 

Who knows?

Ukraine has, apparently, some very beautiful places, but it also has Chernobyl and it has Russia for a neighbor.  New Hampshire has very beautiful places, and it has a crazy man who is the governor of neighboring Maine, but even he has not tried to send tanks across the Piscataqua River to seize Portsmouth.  On the other hand, if Governor LePage is re elected in November, New Hampshire may have to blow up that bridge.  The man is dumb as a stick and if he weren't governor of Maine, he'd be the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.

So, Ukraine, you are not alone. You are just in a deeper hole. 

But if you are out there, intelligent life in Ukraine, and you have heard this latter day Doris Day sing--here's to you. Good luck. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Steve Vaillancourt & Pretty Candidates: Oh, We Know What We Like In New Hampshire

The Dashing Mr. Vaillancourt: Is He Not Just So Pretty?

Steve Vaillancourt, a Republican member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives tells us that the Democrat, Annie McLane Kuster will not be re elected to the US House because she is "ugly as sin" and she is running against one of the most attractive women in the state. 

And everyone knows, Mr. Vaillancourt assures us, it's the prettiest candidate who wins in New Hampshire. (Presumably, this explains his own success.)

He goes on to elaborate about how the object of his derision looks like a "drag queen," and he knows all about drag queens because he visits drag queen bars, and many of the men who dress like women in those bars are prettier than this Democratic woman, who is ugly as sin, he says. Sounds like he spends significant time in bars.
She is Just Toast In New Hampshire

Wait, did he says he likes to hang out at drag queen bars? This Republican likes hanging out at drag queen bars? Where he sees pretty men? 

I think I got lost for a moment; there was just too much going on in the drag queen digression.

Mad Dog can only remind his many followers, around the world--we seem to have acquired a following in Ukraine, for reasons known only to Ukrainians--that Republicans are the party of "family values" which, apparently, includes those members of the family who like to dress up as women, when they are in fact men, and go hang out at drag queen bars. 

This is, presumably, what political parties are thinking about when they talk about "the big tent." 

In the Republican big tent everyone is welcomed, as long as they are pretty, or at least not ugly as sin.

Can you get elected in Ukraine, if you are ugly as sin?

Well, certainly not in New Hampshire, where the prettiest candidate wins. 

In fact, there is a youtube video about this: "Introducing Scott Brown: The Prettiest Candidate Yet."
Obviously Qualified: A Sure Winner

So there you have it: Once again, Mad Dog Productions has anticipated the most important trends in political thought in New Hampshire, namely, "Pretty Wins."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

ISIS, Ebola, Beheadings, Illegal Immigrants: It's All Obama

Driving home, listening to NPR on my commute, I heard a segment about Rush Limbaugh's latest effort to connect all that is wrong in the world to the liberals, namely the Democrats, most especially President Obama.
It went something like this (and I'm not sure I can ever reconstruct the logic): Mr. Duncan, who flew from Liberia infected with Ebola, is part of a conspiracy of the liberals and Democrats to make Americans feel guilty about our own history of slavery. 
You see, Liberia was set up to receive American slaves, as an effort to rid the nation of the problem presented by slaves. And now, that country is the epicenter of the Ebola infection, so the Obama administration is bringing some Liberian Ebola victims here to die among us and to spread the infection, as a righteous vengeance for America's role in slavery.  This is all part of the liberal doctrine, it's liturgy. 

Follow that? 

I'm not sure I do. But I do understand that any time a Central American child crosses the border, it's Mr. Obama's fault and the fault of all who vote with him (hint: Jeanne Shaheen.)

Mike Huckabee said as much: He said, (same broadcast) that it's totally easy for an Ebola victim to enter the United States, even with this half baked plan to screen people coming in from Africa at airports, because all the Ebola victim has to do is to fly to Mexico and walk across the border, which Mr. Obama has not defended.

And Rick Perry is very indignant about Mr. Obama and the Democrats failing to defend his border with Mexico. He can look out his house and see Russia, Rick Perry can. No, wait, that was Sarah Palin. Rick Perry can see Mexico City, or Juarez or maybe Colombia.  I don't know. But what he can see is all the droves of infected Central American kids walking across the border Mr. Obama refuses to defend, because Mr. Obama wants to make the Texans feel bad about the Alamo.

And don't even get me started about ISIS beheadings.  You know that's Obama's fault, right from the get go. If he had only followed up on George W. Bush's original game plan and kept surging and surging, why ISIS would have had no place to rise up from. 

And George W is looking out his window right now and what do you think he sees? Afghanistan? No, he sees Costa Rica, which doesn't even have an army and what George is thinking is, "If they don't have an army, why didn't I invade Costa Rica?"

And the ISIS militants hacked Morgan bank, and those Democrats just can't keep us safe and the country is going to hell in a hand basket and we need another surge, somewhere. 

Now, about Ebola. We are sending troops to build hospitals in Liberia and you know some of them are going to come home with Ebola and then the Democrats will be happy, because it will make all Americans sorry they ever had slaves. 

What we ought to do is get the Ku Klux Klan to secure our borders. Burn a few crosses down there along the Rio Grande and all those Ebola infected kids will go back home to their families in Honduras or wherever they come from. 

Maybe Costa Rica. What sort of people don't even have an army? Do they even own guns down there?

You know Obama can't even get Ebola, because he was born in Kenya, and he was conceived on Mars, so his blood cells can't be infected by earth born viruses. 

He's just got to be the worst President ever. Just ask Rush. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Scott Brown: The Carpetbagger Issue

Scott Brown on youtube: Don't Cry For Me, Massachusetts

Looking at the recent youtube posting from Mad Dog Productions, Mad Dog, who is of course a part of this, has to ask the question: Why should it matter whether or not Scott Brown has New Hampshire connections if he wants to represent New Hampshire in the United States Senate?

The word "Carpetbagger," of course, dates back to just after the Civil War, during reconstruction, when Northerners, carrying their stuff in carpet bag suitcases went down South to get themselves elected to local and national offices.

But, in more recent history, Hillary Clinton, who, if she had any genuine roots, had them in Illinois, ran for U.S. Senate in New York, as did Bobby Kennedy, from Massachusetts before her.

In fact, Daniel Webster, one of the most famous of all New England politicians represented New Hampshire before he ran for Senate from Massachusetts.

This is a national office, we are talking about, so what does it matter what state you've lived in most recently, as long as you represent the values of the state you are running in?

State boundary lines, drawn in the 18th and 19th centuries are hardly relevant today.

But, as the you tube piece suggests, we are talking here about character and motivations.  The real issue here is Scott Brown doesn't really care about which state he represents because he does not represent any state, really. He is in this for himself. 

There is a segment of this production, which lies on the cutting room floor,  in which Scott Brown and Kelly Ayotte talk, quite frankly about what really motivates them to want to be in the U.S. Senate, and, of course, it has nothing to do with any of the things they claim to be their motivations, publicly: Service, the desire to balanced the budget, a concern for your grandchildren and taking back the government for "the people." 

What they like is the attention, the great offices, the reserved parking spaces at the airport, the Senate gym and all the other goodies Senators get.

The fact is, these Senators do not represent the people in their states; they are looking for the perks the Koch brothers can provide.

So, it's not really carpetbagging we recoil from--it's the bald face self serving nature of what motivates Mr. Brown to run in the first place.

Of course, you can say everyone running for U.S. Senate, including Senator Shaheen, has the same motivations: They like the sense of power, of privilege.  But in the cases of some of these people, and Scott Brown has got to epitomize this, the PRIMARY motivation appears to be the desire for power and self aggrandizement. This, on the face of it at least, does not seem to be what drives Ms. Shaheen.

Perception, admittedly, is a tricky thing, but it sometimes approximates a certain truth.

The youtube link is "Don't Cry For Me, Massachusetts."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Hampshire Senate Race: A Greater Sense of Grievance

One wonders how fanatics can gain power over the masses. How does ISIS over run enormous swaths of Iraq, Syria in weeks and carve out a "caliphate" when American troops slogged through months of battle to win a single Iraqi city? How does a small group of odd balls, losers and misfits gain control over a German nation of seventy million to found the Third Reich?  How does a small group of billionaires gain control of the US Supreme Court, the House of Representatives and the US Senate, when they are so vastly outnumbered by the millions of work a day people who live in this nation?

One of the many mantras of which Mad Dog grew weary when he was a teenager on various varsities was:  "It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of fight in the dog."

Or, as Roger Butterfield noted in his classic textbook of American History, explaining the near success of the Confederacy, which was at overwhelming disadvantage at the start of the Civil War, those fighting for "The Cause" had a greater sense of grievance.  There was also that other sense of grievance, however, that of the abolitionist and the slave, which ultimately gained ascendance. 

Here in New Hampshire, as we see the overwhelming tsunami of Scott Brown lawn signs, internet ads, TV ads, radio spots and rallies, as we see the polls showing Scott Brown on his way back to the U.S. Senate,  we watch in dismay as the Democrats are missing in action, and we can understand how a minority party can win elections, has won elections and control of the government: they simply want it more.

We Democrats, in the immortal phrase of Maud, would rather stay home and make jello. 

Jello R us.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Scott Brown vs Elizabeth Warren: What is Past, is Prologue

The Man Is An Empty Suit

Looking at the youtube recorded debates between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, it was wonderful seeing the adage:  "The Worst Thing for a Bad Product is Good Advertising" come to full life.
Mr. Brown was asked who the perfect Supreme Court justice would be.
He paused, and you could see the lights are not all on upstairs, but eventually he came out with "Justice Scalia," but when the groans from the audience grew loud, he added, "Justice Kennedy." Silence. Then, "Justice Soto-Mayer."

Well, give him points for at least being able to remember the names of some Supreme Court justices--a feat you know would have been way beyond the capacity of Sarah Palin--but, when he was reminded he had traveled a long distance between Justice Scalia and Justice Soto-Mayer, he said, "Well, that's the thing about being a bi partisan guy who can cross the aisle."

Fact is, his first response was the honest one, the spontaneous revelation of just how conservative he is, if we can actually believe he knows anything about Justice Scalia's positions. More likely, he's just heard his backers say kind things about Scalia.

The fact is, he is an empty suit. He has learned the lines from the GOP script, the GOP Hymns and Verses, the GOP gospel, but he has no idea about what they really mean.

Anyone who continues to scream about deficits in a depressed economy has got to be able to answer Paul Krugman's lucid explanation about why deficit spending in our current economy is not a bad thing, and in fact, how much more government spending is just what we need right now, not forever, but now. 

But Mr. Brown is not interested in testing his beliefs, in critical analysis. All he wants is to be able to play the role of United States Senator, to be back at the Senate gym, to have his parking space at the airport and his nice office in the Senate office building.

For an airhead, this is the best job he can ever hope to get.

Just for fun:  go to youtube. Here's the link

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Scott Brown: The Ultimate Empty Suit

Mad Dog recently noticed on youtube, right next to the posting "Introducing Scott Brown: The Prettiest Candidate Yet," a youtube posting of a debate between Mr. Brown and Elizabeth Warren.

What was remarkable about this youtube was:  1/ It was 59 minutes long  2/ It had 92,000 views.

So many people were willing to sit through a candidates' debate. Well, actually, we do not know how long anyone watched, but so many people at least were interested enough to open the thing up.

And what you see there was this good looking man reading from a script which others had prepared for him. He started off by attacking Ms. Warren for having got into Harvard by claiming to be an American Indian or of American Indian origin. Mr. Brown kept repeating the only way for Ms. Warren to prove this was not true was to release all her personnel records or some such thing.  

Ms. Warren effectively destroyed the impact of this attack by recounting how her father was told by his family not to marry her mother because her mother was part Cherokee and Delaware Indian, which Oklahoma, in that time, was like having slave ancestors.  Mr. Brown simply kept saying what he had been prepped to say: You have to release your personnel records.

As the "debate" progressed Mr. Brown trotted out all the key speaking points about cutting taxes, not offending the "job creators" by taxing them, letting "private enterprise lead the way," and Ms. Warren deftly demonstrated that Mr. Brown had refused to vote for tax breaks for the middle class because, as he explained, the tax breaks were not also extended to the super rich, er, the "job creators."

"So you held the middle class tax break hostage to the tax break for the super rich."

There was no spontaneity in Mr. Brown. He had been so thoroughly coached, he might have been a puppet, controlled by other hands, speaking in someone else's voice.  

Which brings Mad Dog  back to the youtube video he had originally tuned in to see: Introducing Scott Brown: The Prettiest Candidate Yet.

Worth a look.