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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 03:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,691

Journal Archives

Krugman: Hurray for Obamacare. The great conservative nightmare has come true.

Was I on the edge of my seat, waiting for the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare subsidies? No — I was pacing the room, too nervous to sit, worried that the court would use one sloppily worded sentence to deprive millions of health insurance, condemn tens of thousands to financial ruin, and send thousands to premature death.

It didn’t. And that means that the big distractions — the teething problems of the website, the objectively ludicrous but nonetheless menacing attempts at legal sabotage — are behind us, and we can focus on the reality of health reform. The Affordable Care Act is now in its second year of full operation; how’s it doing?

The answer is, better than even many supporters realize.

Now, you might wonder why a law that works so well and does so much good is the object of so much political venom — venom that is, by the way, on full display in Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion, with its rants against “interpretive jiggery-pokery.” But what conservatives have always feared about health reform is the possibility that it might succeed, and in so doing remind voters that sometimes government action can improve ordinary Americans’ lives.

That’s why the right went all out to destroy the Clinton health plan in 1993, and tried to do the same to the Affordable Care Act. But Obamacare has survived, it’s here, and it’s working. The great conservative nightmare has come true. And it’s a beautiful thing.


Nice to hear from Krugman on the success of Obamacare.

Attacking the character of the poster rather than responding to content of the post.

The campaign rhetoric in the 1932 presidential race between FDR and Hoover was weird.


After making an airplane trip to the Democratic convention, Roosevelt accepted the nomination in person. In this history-making speech, Roosevelt promised to "abolish useless offices" and "eliminate unnecessary functions of Government", stating that "Government – Federal and State and local – costs too much", and promised to help facilitate the "restoration of the trade of the world".

... there emerges one great, simple, crystal-pure fact that during the past ten years a Nation of 120,000,000 people has been led by the Republican leaders to erect an impregnable barbed wire entanglement around its borders through the instrumentality of tariffs which have isolated us from all the other human beings in all the rest of the round world. ... By our acts of the past we have invited and received the retaliation of other Nations. I propose an invitation to them to forget the past, to sit at the table with us, as friends, and to plan with us for the restoration of the trade of the world.

Go into the home of the business man. He knows what the tariff has done for him. Go into the home of the factory worker. He knows why goods do not move. Go into the home of the farmer. He knows how the tariff has helped to ruin him.

Making matters worse for Hoover was the fact that many Americans blamed him for the Great Depression. For more than two years, President Hoover had been restricting trade and increasing taxes on the wealthy with legislation such as the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act and the Revenue Act of 1932.

Roosevelt lashed out at Hoover: "I accuse the present Administration of being the greatest spending Administration in peacetime in all our history." Garner (FDR's VP) accused Hoover of "leading the country down the path of socialism." ... His attempts to campaign in public were a disaster, as he often had objects thrown at him or his vehicle as he rode through city streets. In his addresses, Hoover attacked Roosevelt as a capitalist president who would only make the Depression worse by decreasing taxes, reducing government intervention in the economy, promoting "trade [with] the world", and cutting "Government –Federal and State and local". However, with unemployment at 23.6%, Hoover's criticisms of Roosevelt's campaign promises did nothing more than further lower his popularity with the public. Roosevelt himself did not have a clear idea of the New Deal at this point, so he promised no specific programs.


Apparently campaign rhetoric has always been an inexact science.

Thankfully, once FDR took office he governed like a true liberal which is way more important.

The EU imports more from developing countries than the USA, Canada, Japan and China put together.

The EU is the most open to developing countries. The EU imports more from developing countries than the USA, Canada, Japan and China put together.

The EU is the top trading partner for 80 countries. By comparison the US is the top trading partner for a little over 20 countries.

The EU benefits from being one of the most open economies in the world and remains committed to free trade. The average applied tariff for goods imported into the EU is very low, less than 1%. More than 70% of imports enter the EU at zero or reduced tariffs.

The EU’s services markets are highly open and we have arguably the most open investment regime in the world.

In fact the EU has retained its capacity to conclude and implement trade agreements. The recent Free Trade Agreements with South Korea and with Singapore are examples of this and the EU has an ambitious agenda of trade agreements in the pipeline.


All this and the best income equality figures in the world. FDR would not have been surprised.

Poor GOP - Latest Pew Poll: Broad Public Support for Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants

About half (51%) say immigrants today strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents, while 41% say immigrants are a burden because they take jobs, housing and health care. The share saying that immigrants strengthen the country has declined six percentage points since last year.

A majority of Republicans (56%) support a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. At the same time, far more Republicans say immigrants are a burden on the country (63%) than say they strengthen the country (27%).

Among Democrats and independents – majorities of whom also support a path to legal status for people in the U.S. illegally – most say immigrants strengthen the country (62% of Democrats, 57% of independents).

Among Republicans, 42% think legal immigration into the U.S. should be decreased, compared with 34% who think it should be kept at its present level and just 21% say it should be increased. Fewer Democrats (27%) and independents (28%) think legal immigration should be decreased, with pluralities of both groups saying it should be kept at present levels.

..... .....


43% of republicans still oppose any legal status for undocumented immigrants. Apparently, Mitt's 'self-deportation' ideas still lives in conservative circles.

56% of republicans support a path to legal status for them. 86% of liberal Democrats support legal status with 58% of them supporting a path to citizenship.

Also, as many expected, republicans are moving from their concentration on opposing "illegal immigration" to opposing all immigration viewing legal immigrants as a burden rather than a strength by a 63%-27% margin. Democrats and independents view immigrants as strengths by almost exactly the same margins.

Favor fast track? Democrats: Yes-63%, No-32%. republicans: No-72%, Yes-27%.

The problem with republicans is that the solutions to inequality require government action, e.g. progressive taxes, support for strong unions, an effective safety net. They oppose all of them.

Head of Liberals and Democrats in EU Parliament on how to help liberals in Russia

As Vladimir Putin tightens his stranglehold on the Russian people, it’s more important than ever for us to speak out and defend progressive, liberal values, while standing by those fighting for fundamental rights in Russia.

In Putin’s Russia, members of the LGBT community and other minorities have good reason to fear for their lives, as they are forced to hide from mobs who hunt them down in the streets of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Putin must be the world’s only head of state who is an honorary member of a motorcycle gang, the Night Wolves. Its leader, Alexander Zaldostanov, is a personal friend of Putin and a fierce defender of Stalin’s political heritage. He is the driving force behind the anti-Maidan movement, who has previously declared “death to faggots.” Putin regularly shows up at Night Wolves events, giving implied support to this kind of hate speech.

The EU and Russia are in a stand-off, launching measures and counter-measures. Europe must not back down. This is the time to stay united and strong. Bullies like Putin do not respect weakness. All too often, the European Council has been slow to react to Russian provocations, resulting in sanctions that are agreed on too late or too hesitantly. Regrettably, the extension of sanctions linked to the continued Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine is still pending. The EU must be more proactive and should develop a clearer strategy. There is little hope that Putin will change his behavior.

We must never forget that the true victims of the regime are the Russian people themselves. ...The Russian regime is suppressing the country’s talented people, as if they were under communist rule. If Putin does not value the potential of his own people, we should.

The European Commission should come forward with a proposal to set up a vast program of scholarships for Russian artists, scientists, and students. The EU should also do more to support civil society in Russia, by actively participating in peaceful human rights protests. Loudly and with conviction, we must reject Putin’s narrow authoritarianism and boldly offer the people of Russian an alternative liberal vision of a global society based on freedom, democratic values, equality and opportunity.

Guy Verhofstadt, European parliamentary group leader for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), was prime minister of Belgium from 1999-2008.


Nice to see a representative of the European left take a stand for public, but peaceful, measures to stand up for liberals in Russia. One cannot expect the far-right parties in Europe to do the same since they largely defend Putin and his policies of 'family values' and nationalist authoritarianism and want it for their own countries.

Only in the sense that the EU Charter and the US Constitution were 'free trade agreements'.

They both introduced 'free trade' between states/colonies/countries which previously did not have it. Of course, both involved much, much more than just 'free trade' so the trade aspect was fairly minor compared to everything else. The backers of the Articles of Confederation were concerned with state sovereignty over trade and other matters, so we tried that before we adopted the Constitution with its 'free trade'. We don't think twice now about 'free trade' between Pennsylvania and Virginia but before the Constitution, it was a contentious issue.

One catch with the 'partnership agreements' like the EU and US is the enforcement mechanism for interstate/international disputes that goes with it. Some on the right are still fighting our own federal government when it enforces national legislation that some - usually conservative - states don't like. That was an even stronger argument in the early days of our country which is why we tried the Articles of Confederation first. The 'state sovereignty' was strong back in the day and it is an argument that will apparently never go away. Likewise in Europe, it is the right that is still fighting the role of the EU, preferring the good ol' days of supreme state sovereignty.

One question with the TPP is whether you can do today what the US did 225 years ago and what Europe did 50 years ago. Are corporations too strong? Are liberals too weak? Is international cooperation to deal with global problems - climate change, trade, repression, labor rights, human rights, refugees, etc. - a discredited mechanism in the eyes of the left and the right anymore? Maybe the FDR era of international organizations and agreements has waned and we have moved into more of a "You deal with your problems and we'll deal with our problems" frame of mind.
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