Post Romney win, Senate GOP Will Use 50 vote Reconciliation to Repeal Obamacare

The mandate is now a tax per the Supreme Court and can be repealed by the GOP via a 50 vote Senate reconciliation plus GOP VP vote, but can reconciliation repeal the whole bill? Reconciliation (a 1974 law) is interpreted under Senate Rules as reserved strictly for budget-related measures that involve spending or revenue and do not increase the deficit, albeit this rule, despite being a law, is like the filibuster where a majority of Senators can change the rules, or their interpretation, at anytime (changing the rules is the “nuke option” that Joe Lieberman threaten to use to stop real Democrats from rejecting Alito and Roberts as Judges). Using reconciliation eliminates the possibility of a filibuster, meaning Republicans would only need 51 votes to repeal that portion of the law – but could they, at the same time as repealing the mandate, repeal the whole law? Well that is what Jim DeMint and Senate GOP aides are saying is the plan, with Heritage’s Mike Franc agreeing that “the whole bill is now germane as a revenue bill and not subject to any Senate parliamentary point of order to strike non-mandate items from any repeal bill”.

If on appeal to the Chair of the Senate (the VP who presides over the Senate) the Chair rules reforms of the Insurance industry and mandated purchase of insurance (ignoring the tax penalty for the moment) don’t make the bill purely or primarily non-fiscal in nature, reconciliation can be used to remove the whole bill. But would the Chair so rule?

If the GOP plays by the current rules and attacks the pieces of the bill that are fiscal and thus could be in a reconciliation bill, Health insurance subsidies, Medicare payments, Medicaid funding for states and excise taxes on high cost insurance plans all leap out as candidates for repeal via reconciliation. So you could get rid of insurance subsidies but you’d still have the mandate, albeit you could get rid of the penalty for ignoring the mandate. But would the insurance companies still love you after you did this? Take away the Federal aid for the expansion of Medicaid and no state would join the program – and that would please the GOP base and appears to be doable legally and politically.

More likely the GOP will follow Joe Lieberman’s “nuke” approach but this time pull the trigger to get rid of the whole bill – change the rules (why talk about the effect on the deficit?) or overrule the parliamentarian if he were to deem a given change out of line (heck Trent Lott fired then-parliamentarian Bob Dove when he was displeased with his rulings and CBO findings about increasing the deficit could be ignored). And the politics for Democrats to say “not fair” – not really important to begin with – are clouded by the fact that after the Senate passed its bill and the House agreed to the Senate bill, the House passed changes and those changes were agree to by the Senate via reconciliation – with the “after the House agree” part of this statement clouded by the procedure used in the House to pass both the acceptance of the Senate Bill and the modifications in one vote.

Of course Romney has said that if elected, he will immediately grant states waivers from the law, then work with Congress to repeal it, but having control of the Senate makes total repeal more likely, albeit Red State Dem Senators are now sounding like loyal GOPers ready to “fix the law” – so getting control of the Senate may be not that critical.

The Right’s Dominance of France

The story of the 2012 French presidential election is quite interesting. Right-wing incumbent Nicholas Sarkozy entered the election deeply unpopular. Opinion polls consistently showed him losing by around 20%.

France’s presidential system has two rounds. In the first round, everybody can be a candidate. The top two winners of the first round move to a second round run-off.

As election day approached, Sarkozy’s deficit continually shrunk.  Opinion polls just before the first round showed Sarkozy losing by low double-digits. As the campaign for the second round began, they showed him behind by high single-digits.

Sarkozy ended up losing by 3.2%. That’s a pretty steep drop-off from the polls that showed him behind by 20%.

To be fair, Sarkozy’s opponent François Hollande isn’t the best politician. But the fact that Hollande barely defeated one of the most unpopular presidents in the history of France’s Fifth Republic says something about France.

Indeed, the right has dominated the left throughout the history of French presidential elections:


As this chart shows, the French right has won seven presidential elections; the French left has won just three. The right’s greatest election victory occurred in 1958, when French war hero Charles de Gaulle defeated hapless Communist candidate Georges Marrane with 79% of the vote.

The left’s greatest victory occurred in 1988, when incumbent François Mitterrand took 54% of the vote over Jacques Chirac. A French left-wing presidential candidate has yet to win by double-digits; the right has done this multiple times.

In addition, there are two instances when the French left failed to make it into the second round. This happened in 1969 and 2002, which are colored darker blue above (the margin in these years indicates the first round). In both instances the second round ended up being between two right-wing candidates. So far a French presidential election has never featured two left-wing candidates in the second round.

Here’s a table of the elections:

French Presidential Elections Results: Second Round
Year Left Right Margin of Victory for the Left
1958 13.0% 78.5% -65.5%
1965 44.8% 55.2% -10.4%
1969 0.0% 100.0% -100.0%
1974 49.2% 50.8% -1.6%
1981 51.8% 48.2% 3.6%
1988 54.0% 46.0% 8.0%
1995 47.4% 52.6% -5.2%
2002 0.0% 100.0% -100.0%
2007 46.9% 53.1% -6.2%
2012 51.6% 48.4% 3.2%

France has generally had a reputation of being a very liberal place, and this analysis might seem surprising from that perspective.

To be fair, the French right is very different from the American right. France’s right-wing is probably to the left of America’s Democratic Party (at least on economic issues). France’s left used to be the Communist Party; today it is the Socialist Party. Both parties would never win a presidential election in the United States.

Finally, and ironically, as I write these words the French socialists have just won an absolute majority in Parliament. France’s socialists today hold more of the levers of power than they have ever held in the history of the French Fifth Republic. But historically, it has been the right and not the left in power in France.

Late Late Night FDL: Lambert the Sheepish Lion

Lambert The Sheepish Lion.  This Walt Disney Productions cartoon was released on February 8, 1952.

Directed by Jack Hannah. Produced by Walt Disney. Story by Bill Peet, Ralph Wright, and Milt Banta. Animation by Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Don Lusk, and Judge Whitaker. Visual Effects Animation by Dan MacManus. Layouts by Yale Gracey. Backgrounds by Ray Huffine. Voices by (in credits order) Sterling Holloway (Narrator / Mr. Stork). Original Music by Joseph Dubin (as Joseph S. Dubin).

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the seatback in front of ya, and aim your spitballs at the ushers please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?

WTO Un-COOL: Rules Against Popular U.S. Meat Labeling Law

Country-of-Origin Label

The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a final ruling today against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. This popular pro-consumer policy, which informs shoppers where meat and other foods were raised or grown, enjoys the support of 93% (PDF) of Americans, according to a 2010 Consumers Union poll. Now Congress must gut or change the law to avoid the application of punitive trade sanctions.

WTO vs. Consumers
The original meat labeling law passed as part of the 2002 farm bill and was expanded in the 2008 farm bill to apply to other foods like fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Canada, Mexico, and several other countries filed a complaint regarding the policy with the WTO in December 2008 calling the popular consumer measure a “disguised” barrier to trade. The organization initially ruled in their favor in November 2011, but the U.S. filed an appeal in March 2012. Today, a WTO tribunal made up of three trade officials ruled that the U.S. law is a violation of the WTO binding “Technical Barrier to Trade” agreement. The ruling is final. If the United States does not gut or change the law, the WTO can apply punitive sanctions, usually in the form of tariffs on U.S. products. The ruling also casts into doubt the WTO legality of other popular labeling laws.

Last week, the Obama administration invited Canada and Mexico to join the latest trade pact under negotiation, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), without an agreement to drop their attack on the popular U.S. consumer labeling. Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch at the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, commented: “The American public is desperately waiting for President Barack Obama to show some negotiating savvy, and to start fulfilling his campaign pledges and reconsider the so-called ‘trade’ model that his administration is pushing with the TPP.”

The ruling is the WTO’s third this year against U.S. consumer protection laws. In May, it ruled against U.S. dolphin-safe tuna labels, again, in a case that has been dragging on for over a decade. In April, it ruled against a U.S. ban on clove, candy, and cola-flavored cigarettes. “These three rulings — with the WTO slapping down safe hamburgers, Flipper and children’s smoking prevention policy — make it increasingly clear to the public that the WTO is leading a race to the bottom in consumer protection,” said Todd Tucker, research director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

ALEC Supports Foreign Trade Tribunals Operating Outside the Constraints of U.S. Law
The TPP is one of many free trade agreements pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the right-wing corporate bill mill, which approved a resolution supporting the TPP in 2010. ALEC has supported every free trade agreement for decades, including Most Favored Nation Trading Status for China. This free trade agenda has not only weakened U.S. consumer protection but cost the country millions of jobs as factories closed and moved overseas in search of cheaper labor. These agreements also allow public health, environmental, and worker safety rules to be challenged as “barriers to trade” in trade tribunals that operate outside the constraints of U.S. law and outside of the democratic process.


About the Author: Rebekah Wilce has a degree in writing from the University of Arizona. She is the lead writer for CMD’s Food Rights Network, with expertise in food and agriculture issues.

This article was originally published by the Center for Media and Democracy at

Raising Arizona – and Ohio and Kansas and Pennsylvania and Florida and …..

Laurel and Hardy - flickr

This is kind of a continuation of the previous blog I did but more of a comparison and I will freely admit from my perspective as a Baby Boomer.  I was fascinated by the article in the New Yorker on Spoiled Children by Elizabeth Kolbert. When I was growing up, spoiling your children was frowned upon. Even for grandparents to do so was considered bad form.

My father had his degree in psychology. Not clinical but analytical  psychology. He was also known as a second generation Finn, his parents coming from Finland. My mother likes to tell of how when asked by a friend if he was going to use child psychology when raising his children, his response was, “I’m not going to mess my children up with that junk, they’re going to be raises like Finns”

Well not quite actually.  We were raised pretty much like most of his generation raised their kids. In a typical middle class fashion.   My father was strict but not authoritarian but we were left pretty much to our own devices. More and more as we got older. An interview with Elizabeth Kolbert about this is downloadable here.  (It starts at 13 minutes into the show)

We were encouraged to explore and we did. We were encouraged to become self reliant. I and my brothers  and sisters would find our own amusements (I am the oldest of 5). We were lucky in the we lived in the country and had a lot of area to amuse ourselves.  In one instance when I as around 4-5 I was playing in a empty field next to our first house with one of my brothers. There was another field next to it and I decided to explore that as well.  I saw that a storm was coming and that I was closer to a neighbors house than ours so I took my brother there. The lady called my father who came to get us. I do not remember him being the least bit angry, just kind of surprised and a bit embarrassed.

We learned responsibility by doing chores around the house. Washing dishes and sweeping the floor and of course cleaning our rooms. After my father passed away,  doing laundry as well. And for me, fixing whatever needed to be fixed.  But even before that I remember helping my father when he modified a part of the house and had concrete poured on for a floor of what was to become a new room. I was there with him leveling it out. I was only 8 or so at the time.   My parents helped and guided when necessary but only when necessary.

And to my knowledge this was the case for nearly everyone I knew. There were no “Helicopter Parents” . Like this net humor says, we left in the morning and returned before dark and most of the time no one knew exactly where we were.   Farm kids knew how to drive tractors by the time they were 12 and I do not remember any of them ever getting injured.

We climbed trees, took a long excursion of the West Side of Cleveland with my cousin in search of balsa wood airplanes that nearly drove my grandmother ’round the bend.  Played in any creek that had water, rode down steep hills and built club houses and forts out of what ever wood we could find.

Lakes and ponds were much more fun that clean shiny pools.   We learned that giving presents felt good too. Especially if we made it ourselves. We learned that sometimes close friends leave and that is sad. We learned that sometimes we have to leave and that is also sad. Little of our lives were planned. Oh Boy/Girl Scouts and 4H maybe or a family vacation. Ours consisted of camping across Pennsylvania on the way to my grandparents outside Phillie.  We learned how to be bored and disappointed and sometimes frustrated. We learned how to share, not because our parents told us to but because it was what we did with friends and siblings and it worked.

In short we were aloud to grow up and mature.

But something happened beginning with my generation.  Either out of some resentment we had from our childhoods or fear of a more complex world, or maybe just some unrealistic expectations. I do not know. But parents began intruding on children’s lives and at the same time engaging in Affluenza. As baby boomers graduated from college and became more and more affluent, they also became more and more indulgent – with themselves and their children. Even to the point of putting up with behaviors that their parents would never have tolerated. And a group of adolescents masquerading as a political movement.

I remember beginning to hear of parents even filing law suits because their child was excluded from some group and/or event.  Or was being “picked on” at school or church or some other place.  A situation that we as children learned to deal with ourselves. With guidance only when necessary.

The kind of behavior that was depicted by Lumpy Rutherfords parents.   I started seeing bumper sticker’s saying “My child is an ________. At ______ School” on more and more vehicles.  In short giving praise for nearly everything for fear of hurting the egos and pride.  But risking their kids self respect.

So  we wind up with a generation of adults who expect to get their hearts desire all the time and raising children the same.   Add to this those who are overbearing and authoritarian and those who are willingly ignorant and we wind up with a pretty messed up society.

Afraid ther kids won’t get into the right school when climate change and nuclear radiation and war and inequality are much large risks to their children’s future than anything else.

My parents grew up with small pox, whooping cough,  polio, the depression and WWII. My generation measles,  chicken pox, nuclear war and Vietnam.  Nearly all of those are gone now. Somehow I think that children of the 1970s and on,  needed to be protected from their parents more than anything else and maybe we would not have Mitt Romney running for president and people who would vote for him.

Maybe we would have mature adults running this country and mature voters as well.



A Texas Abortion

Girl with pink hair holding 'Stand With Planned Parenthood' card
(photo: Badlyricpolice / flickr

This is my story of getting an abortion in Texas, of my rights being exercised. Even with the laws in place to convince me otherwise, I still made the right decision no matter how much it hurt. I believe I have the right to go through this painful experience without paternalistic intervention “for my own good” as I am solely responsible for myself and my body.

When I became unintentionally pregnant (40% of pregnancies in the US are unintentional), I wanted to keep the pregnancy but I am unemployed. The cost of raising a child to adulthood is over $220,000. I have two wonderful children already that would suffer if I brought another child into their lives. I would damn myself, and my offspring, to poverty and worse.

I had my pregnancy confirmed at Planned Parenthood. They told me that I was 6 weeks along, within the window for non-surgical abortions. For every conservative attack on Planned Parenthood as “promoting abortion,” my experience was that they assumed I would keep the fetus. They provided information and documentation so I could get assistance and didn’t mention terminating the pregnancy, at all.

I spent the two weeks prior to confirming the pregnancy looking at my life. I journaled about what I wanted and spoke to my closest family and friends about my pregnancy. I spoke to people who had made both life choices, who had been in my position and I listened to their experiences. One friend said, “You need to figure out what you want and then figure out how you’re going to make that happen. I love you and will support you, in whatever you decide.”

I knew what I wanted. I took two weeks to attempt to figure out how to make that happen. I couldn’t come up with a way that wasn’t detrimental to my current family, the potential child and myself, in that order, and there are physical and legal deadlines to making this decision to keep a child or have an abortion. So, I sat in the car with the father, as we got snacks after getting the pregnancy confirmed; and told him my decision. I wasn’t going to go through with the pregnancy. I value life and my focus was on the lives that would be impacted by addition of another child.

I called Planned Parenthood to schedule the procedure but they couldn’t offer me an appointment until after it would be possible to do a medical abortion versus a surgical abortion, because of the law in Texas mandating a twenty-four hour waiting period between a sonogram being performed and the medication or surgery being administered. I passed this information along to my partner, who was incensed and insisted that we go to a private clinic and talk to them. We drove over and they were able to see me that day for the ultrasound.

From talking to friends, as well as my own personal experience, no woman decides to have a medical procedure like this lightly. I agonized over how I could keep the child and realized that there was no way that wouldn’t harm people I cared about, including the child. Twenty-four hours didn’t change my mind and evidence suggests that it hasn’t changed anyone’s mind. When I found out that Planned Parenthood couldn’t get me in, in time; I felt hijacked into a riskier and more emotionally-charged abortion. I felt paternalized by the state. I was anxious. Luckily, all through this process, I was supported by the father; who attended every visit with me and was present for the process.

It takes about 5-6 hours, on the first day, to do everything required by the state before the waiting period; it cost about $450, from initial visit to follow-up. I had the free time but I don’t know how a low income, working woman could do it. If I had a job, it’d be difficult to take the time off. There was a lot of waiting involved and various steps to take: filling out the brick of paperwork, getting an ultrasound (mandated by Texas), talking to the doctor, getting vitals taken and counseling. We spent most of the day waiting and talking. There was a little patio outside, where the father and I talked and hugged and cried. Much as we both wanted this child (and discussed that at length), neither of us could see taking care of it. We were heartbroken.

There were journals in the waiting room. Entry after entry written, from women who had abortions. Years of revelations and testifying. Not one of the women were happy about the choice; every single one was grateful that they had the option. Married women with children, single women with no children, and every variation in between. Rape victims. Christians. Atheists. Women with dignity and honor. Women who had multiple abortions and were horrified to be in the same position again. Me? I wrote an entry, while I was waiting to receive my medication, twenty-four hours later. I sat there and I cried. I spoke from the heart. I gave solace. I tried to reassure the women who read my entry that they were not alone. [cont’d.] (more…)

#NatGat Livestream: Police Brutality

Police action at #NatGat.

from Scarecrow:

A group gathered at a location different from the park at Independence Hall. There was apparently an attempt to set up a tent. In these parks, setting up tents, camping, etc are prohibited without a permit, which they did not have. People linked arms. Police moved in. There were reports of police hitting people with their batons, and some arrests were made. Brian called us to relay request to up the live stream, which FDL did.

The crowd gathered to decide what to do, as many more police and paddy wagons started to arrive.

After an assembly, the crowd agreed to move to a property owned by the Quakers… Private property, and Quakers have been very helpful in reducing conflict. Most have now gathered inside the Quaker property, and only minor police presence now.


Jess Livoti-Morales ?@JessLivMo

Whose streets?! OUR STREETS! # natgat #ows


Kevin Gosztola ?@kgosztola

I believe @WikileaksTruck is going to put on a comedy show but there’s paranoia among few that attending show a trap # NatGat


Libor Von Schönau ?@LiborVonSchonau

14) Taking (arrestee) protester away # NatGat


jf ?@not_me

So we meet again wikileaks truck..i see you’ve had an upgrade! # natgat


netminnow ?@netminnow

# NatGat whose streets? our streets. W


jf ?@not_me

I told you guys Quakers were awesome # natgat #welcomeHome


Trixie79 ?@cindylewis1

philly pd is acting crazy so be careful # NatGat ( @codeframesf live at


Libor Von Schönau ?@LiborVonSchonau

10) They threw people to the ground, pushed people away and made arrests. # NatGat


opednews ?@opednews

Michael Moore speaking at Sicko 5 yr reunion in Philly “americans are good people. Problem is they are slow learners” #p2 #ows # natgat (more…)

America Unfriends K-Mart Kardashian

Looks like turnabout is fair play and so this time it is America that has quit on a Palin and not the other way around as Lifetime TV (Television For Idiots!) has moved Bristol Daenerys Meth-Born of House Palin and her baby dragon’s teevee show to a later time-slot because nobody really gives two poops about a deeply uninteresting single mom of one or possibly two children depending upon whether a season-ending cliffhanger is called for in order to capture the coveted Andrew Sullivan demographic:

On the heels of not-so-stellar ratings on the second week of Bristol Palin’s reality show, Lifetime has moved the docu-series out of primetime.

“Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp” spent two weeks in the 10 p.m. timeslot. Starting next Tuesday, it will air at 11 p.m., a network rep confirmed, followed by a repeat of “Dance Moms.”

The show’s June 19 debut tanked, drawing only 726,000 viewers, losing more than half of its “Dance Moms” lead-in.

This week, people bailed from two Levi Johnston-centric episodes (Levi — Bristol’s ex/father of her son — has a tell-all book published, Bristol tries to set up a meeting with Levi, etc.). The first episode at 10 p.m. attracted 586,000 people, and then dropped to 426,000 viewers during the second episode at 10:30.

Yes. And just like nobody showed up to get free autographed copies of Bristol’s book people are staying away in droves from her show during the summer … when everything on TV is repeats and there is nothing on.

And, speaking of repeats, and just to rub it into Bristol’s surgically-enhanced face a bit more, Lifetime will replace her show with Dance Moms repeats which is a show about moms and dancing; the only two things Bristol is really good at besides shot-gunning a Barokes and getting pregnant.

The good news is that monosyllabic sno-bro and half-term first dood Tawd Palin’s reality show Stars Earn Stripes is a go, so at least somebody in the family will still have a job besides Sarah’s occasional Fox News booty-calls. This is also good news at the Van Susteren household, where Tawd’s show will be called Greta’s Bean Flicking Hour.

I know. Ew.