Rand Paul’s big problem

Rand PaulAnother day and another example of Rand Paul stealing work from other people for profit. Doing it in political speeches and even newspaper op-eds is one thing, that’s the plagiarism part. But doing it in a for-profit book changes the offense to copyright infringement and demonstrates a clear lack of respect for the intellectual property rights of other people.

It puts to rest any notion that Rand Paul can be taken seriously when repeating the cute little stories that Republicans love to tell during campaigns about how people should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and be self-reliant instead of relying on government to help them.

Remember how Mitt Romney’s solution for young adults who can’t afford to go to college is to magically have a brand new set of rich parents to pay for it on their behalf? I guess Rand Paul’s version of that is if you can’t be troubled to do research of your own, just take it.

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When getting kicked in the balls counts as a win

Ken CuccinelliWho does this remind you of?

Republican Governors Association executive director Phil Cox, whose group has spent nearly $8 million boosting Cuccinelli, firmly rejected the idea that the Virginia race reflected any limitations of conservative ideas. But he allowed that there may be lessons to learn about how you go about delivering a conservative message.

Cox sounds like nearly every Republican in America I heard speak the day after the 2012 election. What people like Cox don’t understand is that there’s a difference between accepting the limits of ideology, and surrendering on everything you believe in and completely caving to the opposition.

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Poll details continue to show most Americans support Obamacare

Detailed non-entertainment polls continue to show the same results as they have every year since 2010, that most Americans actually support the Affordable Care Act if you dig down further than simplistic support/oppose questions.

If you only ask the topline question, you’ll keep finding the same thing: most people “oppose” the ACA. But if you ask what people want done with it, most want it either left alone (25%), or expanded (22%). The repeal and replace (13%) crowd is small, probably because the Republican Party hasn’t said what they would replace the ACA with. Only 24% want it repealed with no replacement.

Even 18% of Republicans want Obamacare left alone or expanded, more than the 11% of Democrats that want it repealed and/or replaced (the latter with single payer, which could easily fall under “expand”).

Add it up: 47% want the law left alone or expanded, 37% want it gone and/or replaced. Obamacare is not a train wreck or a disaster and it’s a law that most Americans favor.

There’s lots to be said about what’s going on, what we should take away from all of this, and then what should be done about it. Republicans are hammering the exchange roll out failure but they’re essentially shooting at themselves.

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GOP fiscal policy is the real disaster

CPBB deficit driversBush administration policies and the Lesser Depression account for virtually all of recent, current, and future deficits.

The media’s need to treat every story as an epic disaster to boost ratings and corporate profits is a two-fold failure. It hides the true scale and damage of real disasters by mixing them with minor problems the same way that Wall Street hid the danger of sub-prime mortgages by bundling them with good ones, and it overstates the impact of small problems even when those problems are predictable and can be fixed relatively easily.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare or ACA) is not a disaster. Anyone who pays attention to the private sector knows how common ineptitude is. Lehman Brothers and Bear Stern didn’t implode because of the government, they failed because the supposed best minds in finance calculated risk poorly, or were people who worked their way into positions of great power when they didn’t even care. Worldcom didn’t go under because of harsh telecommunication regulations, or Enron because of oppressive energy regulations. Instead, they both perpetrated great accounting frauds and market manipulation after significant deregulation allowed them to operate in the dark.

Asking a dozen or more private companies to create interconnected Internet-scale websites was unreasonable and begging for failure from the very beginning.

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Fox News gets into the propaganda business

Sean Hannity.Eric Stern knows a lot about the Affordable Care Act and couldn’t believe what he heard from callers complaining about it on Sean Hannity’s show last Friday, so he tracked them down and interviewed them for a story on his Salon column that went live today.

I expected some shenanigans, given how biased Fox News is. This is the network that acted as the official PR wing of the Tea Party in 2010, with Hannity himself speaking at events as an advocate and member.

What I didn’t expect was to find the country’s most watched “news” channel perpetrating a fraud on the American people.

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What’s in the deal that ends the shutdown tonight

John BoehnerI’m going to sort of synthesize the news I’m catching up on this afternoon. Here are the big points:

1. The House will vote on the Reid-McConnell deal at 11pm, and the Senate will take it up after. Nobody will say it, but we’ll definitely be in default by the time President Obama signs the deal, if you stick to the Obama administration timeline.

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GOP source: It’s over, Boehner will give in tomorrow (15th)

Robert Costa is the most GOP-wired reporter on the hill. There’s no point in giving examples, just accept what I’m saying and then listen to what he’s reporting tonight:

7:40p Member texts from Cap Hill Club basement, tells me the whole R scene is “depressing… everyone needs a drink after today”

7:45p “Boss heard Boehner will bring [Senate deal] to the floor… House action probably over.” –House GOP aide, via e-mail.

7:51p per sources, options for the House GOP are limited: accept what Reid-McConnell broker, or at last minute try for a short DL ext

I think it was always going to end this way. The House isn’t like the Senate, the Speaker can bring anything he wants to the floor for a vote and nobody can stop it. If John Boehner had brought the clean Senate CR to the floor on Sept 30, it would have passed with more than 300 votes — all Democrats and some Republicans voting for it and no government shut down.

That appears to be what’s going to happen tomorrow.

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Fiscal conservatism, fiscal sham.

Lots of things to say, but too late in the day to edit and post any of it.

There’s a great post here that I haven’t dug into yet that graphs mentions of terms like “balanced budget” from National Review Online over the past three administrations. I disagree that it’s a good measurement about what Republicans care about, especially since NRO is a policy-driven pundit site and not representative of what members of Congress are thinking, much less conservative voters.

But it’s still hilarious. At the very least, NRO writers don’t give a shit about balanced budgets or cutting spending when a Republican is in the White House, but can’t shut up about either when a Democrat is in office. It doesn’t seem to matter who controls Congress, either. Just the White House. Which says a lot about how fake these fiscal debates always are since Congress writes the budget.

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This is who shut down your government

Much of what the Republican Party has done in the past month takes me back to the day after the 2012 election. Like a lot of people, I listened to Rush Limbaugh in a sort of intellectual masturbation. I wanted someone to suffer for making me listen to Mitt Romney and his merry band of sociopathic primary opponents for six straight months.

A number of really awful events come to mind. At the Tea Party debate in Tampa, Florida, Ron Paul asked a rhetorical question: should a person without insurance be allowed to die? Paul’s answer was no, but several people in the audience enthusiastically shouted “Yes!” in response. Mark Williams, former chairman of the Tea Party group that sponsored the debate, was forced to resign from it in 2010 after displaying bigoted views of no fewer than three hot-button groups: Jews, Muslims, and African Americans.

A week later in Orlando, a gay soldier serving in Iraq asked a question about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The service member was booed by the GOP-friendly crowd and not a single Republican candidate for President spoke out against it. Rick Santorum didn’t answer the question and frankly didn’t seem to understand it, saying that “Any type of sexual activity has no place in the military.”

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Where Republicans will hurt the most in the next few years

The two lowest favorable ratings the Republican Party had during the Bush administration were 35% in 2006, when Democrats won a majority of seats in the House and Senate, and 32% in 2008, when Democrats expanded those majorities and Barack Obama won the White House.

Now it’s closer to 24%.

There’s no good news in polls for Republicans anymore. The Tea Party is more unpopular than ever before. The more people learn about Ted Cruz, the more they dislike him. President Obama’s job approval is up and Americans want Democrats to control Congress next year by the largest margin either party has had since 2009.

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