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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Steve Benen, MSNBC: "I don't ever recall any distinction between federal and state exchanges in terms of the availability of subsidies," said Olympia J. Snowe, a former Republican senator from Maine who helped write the Finance Committee version of the bill. "It was never part of our conversations at any point," said Snowe, who voted against the final version of the Senate bill. "Why would we have wanted to deny people subsidies? It was not their fault if their state did not set up an exchange." The idea of denying subsidies to people who bought insurance through the federal exchange "was never discussed," said Charles M. Clapton, a lawyer who worked on both committees for Senator Michael B. Enzi, Republican of Wyoming. Clapton said he had difficulty accepting the argument advanced by the plaintiffs because it was "so contrary to the intent" of those who had written the legislation. read more

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Since 1980, wind energy costs have fallen by more than a factor of 20 in some regions of the country -- going from more than 55 cents per kilowatt-hour to less than 2.5 cents/kWh.

A new report from the U.S. Department of Energy shows how advances in wind power technology and deployment will continue to make wind power cheaper and more accessible -- and will make it possible to achieve at utility-scale levels in all 50 states by 2030.

The report, "Enabling Wind Power Nationwide," shows how taller turbines that reach stronger winds high above the ground will be able to unlock previously untapped resources, primarily in the Southeastern U.S., where wind speeds tend to be lower. Announcing the report on Tuesday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said that "by producing the next generation of larger and more efficient wind turbines, we can create thousands of new jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as we fully unlock wind power as a critical national resource."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Torture did NOT work PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A first-of-its-kind provision that prevents welfare recipients in Kansas from withdrawing more than $25 a day from an ATM might violate federal law, and could jeopardize the state's federal funding if not amended. The Social Security Act requires states to ensure that recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, "have adequate access to their cash assistance" and can withdraw money "with minimal fees or charges." At stake is about $102 million in TANF block grant funds that Kansas receives every year from the federal government.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

We Visited the Clothing Store in Kosovo That's Dedicated to Hillary Clinton's Style

Hillary Clinton is thought of as a sort of fashion guru around these parts -- so much so that there's a boutique right in the middle of the capital, Pristina, named Hillary and dedicated to the former Secretary of State's sartorial choices. Clinton visited the shop in 2012 and was gifted a dashing navy-blue pantsuit as a thank you for actually bothering to drop in. True story. read more


How is this an anti Obamacare thread?

When the Gruber story broke it was HUGE. I found it very strange that NYT had first crack at it and ignored it.

This thread is about the NYT blowing a scoop on a really big story.

Posted by JeffJ at 2015-05-29 06:00 PM | Reply

It's also untrue what Gruber said.



Health care economist Jonathan Gruber recently claimed at a policy conference that lack of political transparency helped Congressional Democrats pass the health care bill into law, attributing its success to "the stupidity of the American voter." The comments have caused a firestorm of criticism and may even spark a Congressional investigation into the law. But despite the uproar, Gruber's analysis does not reflect reality.

Here he is in his own words:

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it's written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I'd rather have this law than not."

Both of those assertions are false -- and demonstrably so.

The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation scored the individual mandate as increasing revenue by $4 billion in 2016, and, on average, "an estimated $5 billion will be collected per year over the 2017–2024 period." Whether they viewed the mandate as a "tax" or not would not have affected their analysis because the economic effect is the same whether it is called a tax or a penalty. That penalty is collected under the Internal Revenue Code and policy makers have always claimed -- and detractors complained about -- the fact that individuals would have report it on their tax returns "as an addition to income tax liability."


he grandly told her interviewer, "Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle." Nonsense. Not plunging into unconstitutional wars could have been a fine "organizing principle." Instead, she voted for the criminal invasion of Iraq, which boomeranged back into costly chaos and tragedy for the Iraqi people and the American taxpayers.

Moreover, the former Secretary of State ended her undistinguished tenure in 2013 with an unremitting record of militarizing a Department that was originally chartered over 200 years ago to be the expression of American diplomacy. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton made far more bellicose statements than Secretary of Defense Robert Gates did. Some career Foreign Service Officers found her aggressive language unhelpful, if not downright hazardous to their diplomatic missions.

After her celebrity election as New York's Senator in 2000, she was given a requested seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. There, unlike her war-like friend, Republican Senator John McCain, she rarely challenged a boondoggle Pentagon contract; never took on the defense industry's waste, fraud and abuse; and never saw a redundant or unneeded weapons system (often criticized by retired Generals and Admirals) that she did not like.

The vaunted military-industrial complex, which President Eisenhower warned about, got the message. Hillary Clinton was one of them.


Clinton's comments, along with those of ex-CIA and Pentagon head Leon Panetta -- "I think we're looking at kind of a 30-year war" -- show that "any doubts about whether Endless War – literally – is official American doctrine should be permanently erased," Glenn Greenwald writes at The Intercept.

Though she has centrist instincts on domestic issues, Clinton ran to the right of Obama on foreign policy during the 2008 presidential primary. She portrayed herself as the resolute hawk to his indecisive dove. As secretary of state, she continued to take more hawkish positions within the administration. In [her new book] Hard Choices, she emphasizes that not only can she make the hard (not easy) decisions but she's willing to adopt the hard (not soft) positions on security issues.


Fueling Conflict: Syria's War for Oil and Gas


Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern
Massacres of civilians are being exploited for narrow geopolitical competition to control Mideast oil, gas pipelines


WASHINGTON (AP) -- On a trip to Australia in 2012, Hillary Rodham Clinton lavished praise on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, calling it the "gold standard" in efforts to create open and fair trade.

She went from backing the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s to renouncing it during her first presidential bid in the 2008 campaign -- her positions on trade shifting several times over her decades in politics.

Clinton's support for trade deals has fluctuated with the political calendar.

As first lady, she trumpeted the North American deal brokered by her husband, telling unionized garment workers in 1996 that the agreement was "proving its worth." In her 2003 memoir, she noted that the deal was "unpopular with labor unions" but "an important administration goal."

She also repeatedly lent her support to the Pacific trade initiative at that time, saying she wanted to "expedite the negotiations as much as possible" and describing the deal as including "strong protections for workers and the environment."

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