Bill USA's Journal
Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 3,436
Number of posts: 3,436
Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that
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Washington, D.C. – According to a new analysis released this afternoon by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Republican Leadership’s surface transportation bill that the House is expected to act on later this week would bankrupt the Highway Trust Fund by 2016 and create a $78 billion funding shortfall over a ten-year period.
“The Republican Leadership’s partisan signature ‘jobs’ bill is not sustainable, and would lead America’s transportation programs down a reckless path toward bankruptcy,” said U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “There is no doubt we need to pass a long-term bill that creates certainty, but the only thing this bill does is make certain the Highway Trust Fund will go belly up even before the end of the bill.”
New projections released today by CBO show the balance of the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund will go broke by fiscal year 2016 under the Republican Leadership’s controversial plan. Over a ten-year period, the bill would create a $78 billion funding shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, adding greater uncertainty to the future integrity of surface transportation programs.
“Despite attempts by Republican Leadership to cobble together a hodgepodge of funding that included giveaways to Big Oil, cutting pensions for middle-class American workers, and a bailout from the General Fund, the bill is going to create a huge funding shortfall that will jeopardize the ability of States and local communities to move forward with construction projects down the road,” said Rahall. “Instead of working with Democrats in a bipartisan fashion to create jobs, Republicans are advancing a partisan proposal that will destroy 550,000 American jobs while putting the future of transportation programs in doubt.”
Attached is CBO’s analysis of H.R. 7, which is also available on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Democrats’ Website at: http://go.usa.gov/QET
Posted by Bill USA | Sat May 31, 2014, 04:44 PM (2 replies)
TORONTO, Canada – The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) released their “Bioenergy and Climate Change Mitigation: An Assessment” report in Berlin on Sunday that confirmed that biofuels production is economically beneficial and that Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) modelling is unverifiable.
The IPCC report contained another significant finding regarding Indirect Land Use Change, an attempt to predict future land use patterns globally. The report stated that “These estimates of global LUC (Land Use Change) are highly uncertain, unobservable, unverifiable, and dependent on assumed policy, economic contexts, and inputs used in the modelling.”
Posted by Bill USA | Sat May 31, 2014, 04:41 PM (6 replies)
I joined, I went, I commented.
.... And yes, there are the typical Conservative Drools, but I would like to appeal to DUers to get on the site and start posting some sensible posts. If you don't want to comment on an ignoramous's post, then don't. But at least put up some sensible posts - just like what you would put up here - to show how grown-ups carry on a real discussion. By posting sensible comments and not responding directly (you can always put up a post that contradicts the idiot post you don't want to comment directly on) you are showing you don't think it is worth commenting on.
For those who are alright with it, you can comment on the idiot threads to show they are regurgitating Bullshit (provide excerpts from valid analyses by experts and show those who are open to it, how a real discussion of an issue is done) but it's not really necessary. It would be nice to see some more sensible posts/comments put up there. Put the same comments there as you would here. It may mean a few people might see something they would not ordinarily see.
Anyway, that's my plea.
Posted by Bill USA | Wed May 28, 2014, 06:57 PM (45 replies)
This week there were two carefully negotiated bills that appeared to satisfy both Senate Democrats and Republicans alike because there was broad bipartisan support for each. One bill, a business-backed bill to revive and extend tax breaks for companies doing research and development was filibustered (blocked) by Republicans on Thursday even though they unanimously supported it. The second bill, dealing with energy efficiency, was blocked by Republicans on Monday despite careful negotiations and compromise from both sides of the aisle. It is obvious the obstruction had nothing to do with the content of the bills and everything to do with bringing governance to a halt unless Republicans got their way.
On Monday, Republicans filibustered the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill by a 55-36 vote because Democrats would not allow them to insert stealth amendment forcing the President to approve the Keystone pipeline and eliminate the wind energy tax credit. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered to let Republicans have a vote on the KeystoneXL pipeline as a standalone bill, but it was not enough of a concession for Republicans so they refused Reid’s offer. Apparently there was nothing to prevent Republicans from making the Senate completely ungovernable. One can understand Republicans reneging on a bipartisan measure about energy efficiency, particularly because they could not satisfy the Koch’s coveted Canadian pipeline approval or eliminate tax credits for clean wind energy, but there is no accounting for any Republican blocking tax breaks for corporations.
On Thursday Republicans blocked a measure to revive expired tax breaks for corporations on research and development, among many other pro-business incentives; the measure failed by a vote of 53-40. Republicans liked the idea of more corporate tax breaks, but only if Democrats allowed them to insert a stealth amendment repealing the Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax, so they filibustered the legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stood on the floor of the Senate on Thursday and accused Democrats of “turning the Senate into a graveyard of good ideas and open democratic debate.” What McConnell failed to tell Americans was one of the “good ideas” was attempting to force the President to approve a foreign corporation’s pipeline that serves no American’s interest except the oil export industry, the Koch brothers, and Speaker of the House John Boehner’s portfolio. McConnell continued his rant in support of obstructing legislation for obstruction’s sake by blaming Democrats for eliminating the citizens of this country’s “say in what their government does.” He also claimed the Senate is “the citadel of our democracy — the place where we guarantee that no one in this country is cut out of the legislative process. Today, we have a Democratic majority that’s turned this body right on its head.” Apparently, the Democrats and Republicans who worked out two bipartisan deals only to have Republicans block their passage unless they got amendments that served special interests is not turning the Senate right on its head.
McConnell knows that there is no legislative process in the country with obstruction-minded Republicans involved, and citizens have not had a voice in what their government does because Republicans have obstructed myriad pieces of legislation the people, and Republicans, overwhelmingly supported. The “citizens” McConnell referred to have no interest, or benefit to gain, from Republicans eliminating wind energy tax credits, forcing the President to approve the Keystone pipeline, or repealing the ACA’s medical device tax that serve the GOP’s special interests. It bears repeating the Harry Reid offered Republicans an opportunity to have their vote to supersede President Obama’s constitutional authority over approving the Keystone pipeline, but they rejected his generous offer out-of-hand.
The Senate Republicans’ obstruction has reached a point that a professor at George Washington University and leading Senate expert, Sarah Binder, said, “This is what parliamentary warfare looks like. I think the filibuster of the tax extender and energy bills — both carefully negotiated by committee leaders in a bipartisan fashion — suggests yet another deterioration of the Senate’s legislative capacity. The combination of Senate rules and competitive, polarized parties makes the Senate near ungovernable.”One does not have to be a Senate expert to know Republicans have all but ground the upper chamber’s ability to govern to a screeching halt regardless what the issue is. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid certainly has had his fill of Republican obstruction, even obstructing bills they support and helped write. Reid said, “This useless, mind-boggling obstruction is what continually grinds the wheels of the Senate to a halt. So to my friends who want to know how we can make things better here in the Senate, I say: put an end to obstruction for obstruction’s sake.” Reid is correct that this GOP minority’s obstruction has escalated to unprecedented heights and there appears to be no end in sight.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu May 22, 2014, 03:11 PM (7 replies)
The health-care law's expansion of insurance coverage will cost $104 billion less than projected over the next decade, according to revised estimates from nonpartisan budget analysts Monday. Obamacare's lower-than-expected costs will come largely because premiums will be cheaper than previously thought.
Obamacare's coverage provisions in 2014 are expected to cost $5 billion less than the $41 billion the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation projected earlier in the year. The CBO now expects the federal government to spend about $164 billion less in the next decade on subsidies in Obamacare health insurance marketplaces. The CBO's expected costs of the Affordable Care Act's coverage provisions have declined since it was signed four years ago, as you can see in the below chart.
The CBO report points out that it previously thought Obamacare's exchange plans would look more like employer-based coverage, but that hasn't turned out to be the case so far — hence, the cheaper premiums. "The plans being offered through the exchanges this year appear to have, in general, lower payment rates for providers, narrower networks of providers, and tighter management of their subscribers’ use of health care than employment-based plans," CBO wrote.
Can that last, though? There's already some pushback on how narrow the 2014 health plans have been, so the networks — and, by extension — premiums will look different 10 years from now. The CBO itself said it expects exchange plans will start to look more like employer plans when exchange enrollment ticks up in future years.
Posted by Bill USA | Tue May 20, 2014, 08:56 PM (2 replies)
CHICAGO — A new analysis finds the nation’s health care overhaul deserves a place in advertising history as the focus of extraordinarily high spending on negative political TV ads that have gone largely unanswered by the law’s supporters.
The report, released Friday by nonpartisan analysts Kantar Media CMAG, estimates that $445 million was spent on political TV ads mentioning the law since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Spending on negative ads outpaced positive ones by more than 15 to 1.
In the 2014 congressional races, 85 percent of the anti-Obama ads were also anti-”Obamacare” ads, the analysis found. In some competitive races, 100 percent of the pro-Republican TV ads aimed at Democrats contained anti-health law messages.
Over the four years, an estimated $418 million was spent on 880,000 negative TV spots focusing on the law, compared to $27 million on 58,000 positive spots, according to the analysis. Nearly all of the spending was on local TV stations, in races ranging from state offices such as treasurer and governor to Congress and the presidential election.
Posted by Bill USA | Mon May 19, 2014, 04:52 PM (0 replies)
I'm a bit late with this,and somebody may have posted this already, but I figure it bears repeating.
More than 12 million people will gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year, according to new projections released by the Congressional Budget Office Monday. And millions more stand to benefit from the law over the next decade.
At the same time, the law's costs to the federal government are shrinking. According to the new projections, the federal government will spend more than $100 billion less on Obamacare's coverage provisions through 2024 than previously projected. That includes a downward estimate of about $5 billion this year. Overall, spending on the federal and state insurance exchanges are projected to cost 14% less than originally forecast.
The CBO said plans offered through the exchanges are narrower, allowing companies to keep premiums low and the federal government to pay less in subsidies. The lower spending projections on the Affordable Care Act will help shrink deficits overall. The CBO said the federal government will now run a deficit of $492 billion in fiscal year 2014, which is almost a 33% decrease from 2013.
Through both the federal and state insurance exchanges and the expansion of the federal Medicaid program under the law, the CBO projects more than 12 million people now have insurance who wouldn't have normally been covered in the absence of the law. The CBO also projects 19 million people will gain coverage by 2015, 25 million more by 2016, and 26 million more by 2026.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/cbo-obamacare-report-how-many-people-are-insured-2014-4#ixzz320iGDLRl
Posted by Bill USA | Sat May 17, 2014, 05:27 PM (4 replies)
"New Records: IRS Targeted Progressive Groups More Extensively Than Tea Party"
Elijah Cummings, Darrell ("the Reptilian"_B USA) Issa
A series of IRS documents, provided to ThinkProgress under the Freedom of Information Act, appears to contradict the claims by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status “received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs.” The 22 “Be On the Look Out” keywords lists, distributed to staff reviewing applications between August 12, 2010 and April 19, 2013, included more explicit references to progressive groups, ACORN successors, and medical marijuana organizations than to Tea Party entities.
The IRS provided the heavily-redacted lists to ThinkProgress, after nearly a year-long search. From the earliest lists through 2012, the “historical” section of the lists encouraged reviewers to watch out for “progressive” groups with names like “blue,” as their requests for 501(c)(3) charitable status might be inappropriate. Their inclusion in this section suggests that the concern predates the initial 2010 list.
Explicit references to “Tea Party,” included in the “emerging issues” section of the lists, also began in August 2010 — but stopped appearing after the May 10, 2011 list. From that point on, the lists instructed agents to flag all political advocacy groups of any stripe. The documents instructed the agents to forward any “organization involved with political, lobbying, or advocacy” applying for 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status be forwarded to “group 7822″ for additional review. Groups under both categories are limited in the amount of of lobbying and political activity each can undertake.
Other types of groups received explicit scrutiny for longer than “progressive” or “Tea Party” organizations. These included applicants involved with “medical marijuana” but not “exclusively education” (19 appearances in the “watch list” section of the lists), which were to be forwarded to a “group 7888″ and groups believed to be possible successor-groups to ACORN, the now-shuttered Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (12 appearances on the “watch list” section). Those applications were also to be elevated to managers for further review. All 22 documents also flagged applicants with Puerto Rico addresses and certain types of “Testamentary Trusts.”
Debunking the Myth that the IRS Targeted Progressives: How the IRS and Congressional Democrats Misled America about Disparate Treatment
Posted by Bill USA | Fri May 16, 2014, 03:05 PM (4 replies)
So Republicans want a #Benghazi freak show? Give them a freak show. (hint: it involves Alan Grayson)
The idea started out as a bit of a gag on twitter and on the blogs: Rather than legitimize the new House GOP select committee on #Benghazi by sending a full slate of Dems to participate, Dems should instead send a single lawmaker who is well schooled in mixing it up with Republican crazy. In other words: Why not just turn Dem Rep. Alan Grayson loose?
It now appears that the Draft Grayson movement is gaining a bit of traction, with two major liberal groups giving some thought to pushing it.
A petition on the Credo Mobilize site calling on House Democrats to send only Grayson has now garnered 17,000 signatures. Credo officials say they think it’s possible the signatures could soon pass the 50,000 mark.
Meanwhile, a source at MoveOn tells me the group “has taken notice and is looking into the idea as a way of exposing the committee as the kangaroo court that it is.”
Alan Grayson: The perfect Democrat to fight back against Republicans' Benghazi witch hunt
To: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
We urge you to appoint Florida Representative Alan Grayson as the sole Democratic member of the House Select Committee to Investigate Benghazi, or appoint no one at all.
Why is this important?
Speaker Boehner bowed to the most paranoid elements of the right-wing by appointing a Select Committee to Investigate Benghazi to conduct yet another fishing expedition around the tragic 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This Committee is being pursued after bi-partisan committees in both the House and Senate have already generated tens of thousands of documents about the causes and events surrounding that day.
In protest of Republican rules granting Chairman Trey Gowdy unilateral subpoena power, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has yet to appoint minority members. Democrats received no guarantee they will be allowed access to interview witnesses before public testimony is given.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu May 15, 2014, 08:53 PM (6 replies)
Reid Remarks On Constitutional Amendment To Stop Koch Brothers’ Unlimited Campaign Spending To Buy Our Democracy
“The Kochs’ bid for a hostile takeover of the American democracy is calculated to make themselves even richer. Yet, the Kochs and their Republican followers in Congress continue to assert that these hundreds of millions of dollars are free speech.”
“There should not be a million-dollar entry fee for participating in our democracy.”
“I oppose the notion that a big bank account should give billionaires, corporations or special interest groups a greater place in government than American voters. That is why I support the constitutional amendment proposed by two Senate Democrats, Senators Tom Udall and Michael Bennet, that curbs unlimited campaign spending.”
Washington, DC – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today on the need for a constitutional amendment to curb unlimited campaign spending and the Koch brothers’ financing of shadowy political organizations. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
A memo from the Koch-funded political organization, Americans for Prosperity, found its way into the national press last week. The memo details Americans for Prosperity’s plan to spend at least $125 million ensuring the Koch brothers’ hand-picked candidates win elections this November. The memo was sent to a select group – the ultra-radical, mega-rich men and women who fund Americans for Prosperity. The memo was titled: “Confidential Investor Update.” How fitting a title for the Koch brothers’ hostile takeover of the American electoral system.
You see, for the billionaires and millionaires who are dumping unseemly sums of money into shadowy political organizations, their donation is an investment in an America rigged to benefit themselves at the expense of the middle class. The Kochs’ political expenditures are investments, much like any other that is listed in their financial portfolios. And they absolutely expect monetary returns on their investments. The Koch’s bid for a hostile takeover of the American democracy is calculated to make themselves even richer. Yet, the Kochs and their Republican followers in Congress continue to assert that these hundreds of millions of dollars are free speech.
For evidence of that, look no further than the Republican Leader, who has flat out said “In our society, spending is speech.” Let me pose the question to the Republican Leader: If this unprecedented spending is free speech, where does that leave your middle-class constituents? How could everyday, working American families afford to make their voices heard, if money equals free speech? Should voters mortgage their homes if they are worried about climate change? If they are concerned about their children’s education, should they max out their credit cards making political contributions? Is our involvement in government completely dependent on our financial resources? The answer, of course, is ‘no.’ There should not be a million-dollar entry fee for participating in our democracy.
As retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens noted before a Senate panel just two weeks ago, “money is not speech.” Justice Stevens went on to say that: “Speech is only one of the activities that are financed by campaign contributions and expenditures. Those financial activities should not receive the same constitutional protection as speech itself. After all, campaign funds were used to finance the Watergate burglaries – actions that clearly were not protected by the First Amendment.”
Posted by Bill USA | Thu May 15, 2014, 07:43 PM (2 replies)