Archive for gop obstructionists

Radioactive waste a toxic byproduct of fracking, drilling in N. Dakota

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headdesk radioactive waste fracking

Back in May I wrote, Hey Big Oil "pro-lifers": Fossil fuels may be killing babies! Today's Los Angeles Times has an extensive report about how, in North Dakota, fracking may very well be producing radioactive waste. Again, "pro-lifers," the question is: What do you value more, life or profits?

Did I mention that oil drilling and fracking are producing radioactive waste?

So you know how Republicans despise oversight? Because, freedom! Don'tcha wonder if they ever consider their fellow Americans' freedom to keep breathing? Especially those self-proclaimed right-to-lifers. It's hard to fathom that they are actually this okay with exposure to deadly toxins as long as their corporate gods make a buck.

Did I mention that oil drilling and fracking are producing radioactive waste?

Am I repeating myself? I tend to do that when I'm livid. And appalled. And sickened. But I'm not sickened in a way that will potentially kill me. No, that's reserved for the victims of Fracking, Inc. in North Dakota, the second-largest oil-producing state, right after Texas.

Did I mention that North Dakota doesn't have an environmental protection agency?

Did I mention that New Mexico GOP Gov. Susana Martinez weakened her state's rules on hazardous waste last year?

Did I mention that the EPA is not providing adequate oversight? That would be the Environmental PROTECTION Agency.

Did I mention that my head is throbbing from banging it on my desk?

Via the L.A. Times must-read story:

Nearly 1,000 radioactive filters were found last year at the landfill, part of a growing tide of often toxic waste produced by the state's oil and gas rush. Oil field waste includes drill cuttings — rock and earth that come up a well bore — along with drilling fluids and wastewater laced with chemicals used in fracking.

To many local and tribal officials, environmentalists and some industry managers in North Dakota, the dumping of the socks [filters clotted with radioactive dirt] and the proliferation of other waste shows the government falling short in safeguarding the environment against oil field pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency decided during the Reagan era to classify oil field waste as not hazardous, exempting it from tight controls and leaving it to be managed by widely varied state laws. Nationally, no one tracks how many millions of tons of waste the fossil fuel boom generates, or where it ends up.

There's that "leaving it to the states" beast raising its ugly head again. Republican-run states have done so well with the Affordable Care Act and voting rights. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for one thing, North Dakota situating "slop pits" of poison over "known aquifers" could be a teeny tiny problem.

Some of the people quoted in the article requested anonymity because they were afraid of repercussions-- like, you know, getting fired-- for trying to point out things like waste management failures, fear of carcinogens in groundwater, exemptions for radioactive elements being classified as hazardous waste, and for putting frackin' lives in danger. Things like that.

And then there's-- ta-daa!-- Congress:

The EPA says it cannot reclassify oil field waste as hazardous without legislative action, which, with the current Congress, is unlikely.

bangheadSee: "Not a skit! Our actual Congress! Gaaa!"

Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

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"Absence of a strong wave comes as something of a setback for GOP"

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democracy setback

A report just came out from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. It confirmed what many of us already knew: that Americans are "staying away from the polls in droves." Not good, not good at all. The prediction is that the midterm primary elections will set record lows in voter turnout. "Who cares?" many of you may be asking. Well, per the Los Angeles Times, that would be a real setback for democracy:

Why does that matter? “It presents a danger to our society insofar as democracy does thrive on the consent and involvement of the governed,” said Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan election research center and a decades-long student of voter behavior. “Leadership needs some form of mandate.”

The study says a major factor in the low turnout is a sense of futility: congressional districts consciously drawn to favor one party or the other, which leave many voters wondering why they should bother participating when the outcome is preordained.

Got that? Gerrymandering is a major culprit. Scroll through our many posts on that subject.

gerrymander definition

To repeat, low voter turnout is bad for democracy... and usually bad for Democrats, specifically.

Adjacent to that article was another one about a different kind of setback. It has a somewhat encouraging title (key word: somewhat), No partisan wave building for fall elections, but GOP gains likely:

[F]or now, the absence of a strong wave comes as something of a setback for Republicans, who had hoped earlier this year that the unpopularity of President Obama's healthcare law would guarantee big gains for them.  [...]

The public's dismal view of Congress probably accounts for some of that lack of enthusiasm about voting.

That last sentence is an understatement, IMHO. Our own Sherry Hardy wrote a great post about that here, and I followed up here.

Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

And from the Timing Is Everything Dep't., Steve Kornacki subbed for Chris Matthews on Hardball and treated us to his own "Let Me Finish" segment in which he opined on the long game for Democrats:

Kornacki:

Right now, at least, it doesn't look like a big Republican wave is building, and it does look like Democrats can at least hold their own this fall. And if they can do that, then it sets up the real battle in 2016...

In 2016, Republicans won't just get to take shots at the White House, they'll have to put up a candidate of their own. They'll have to write a platform of their own, run on an agenda that might not sit that well with most Americans. There could be a huge opportunity for Democrats...

2014 is important to [the Democrats], but 2016? That's the ball game.

You know what to do:

vote  turnout  gotv

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"Not a skit! Our actual Congress! Gaaa!"

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Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

Our own Sherry Hardy covered Rachel Maddow's edible take-down of the Worst Congress Ever in her post, 'Get Out and Push', Says Maddow of the Useless, U.S. Congress. Maddow went ballistic, and rightfully so. Wowee, do GOP obstructionists suck, and yes, I'm using the official elitist left vernacular. Before going any further, I have to share a couple of the best parts from the segment Sher put up. And by "best" I mean most relatable, because Rachel's Moment of Gaa! was surely felt by many of us. Here are four very short clips (under a minute each) that represent some of her best outbursts. Here she is, blasting Congress to smithereens, and by Congress she meant Republican members thereof:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow:

"Not a skit! Our actual Congress! Gaaa!"

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow:

"This is truly historic failure."

ding ding ding

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

All of this brings us to today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor in which readers responded to former Rep. David Dreier op-ed that was meant "to assure readers that it's not as bad as it seems in Congress. The nearly unanimous response from the nearly two dozen readers who sent us letters: Are you serious?"

Here you go, because our voices matter:

It's been tried many times before, the guilty claiming innocence by accusing the victim.

Dreier does just that. He blames the people for being divided, implying that the members of Congress themselves are not at fault. This is why only 13% of Americans approve of Congress, according to a January Gallup poll. Eighty seven percent of the people being of one mind in their disapproval doesn't sound like division.

Fewer laws have been passed by this Congress than by any other in the last 65 years, and Dreier says it's not really that bad. I think it is time for a reality check.

Frances Pin, Marina del Rey

..

Dreier deludes himself and, even more sadly, us.

We have a do-nothing Congress not because Americans are deeply divided. Important legislative efforts on immigration, the minimum wage and gun control did not die because of deep division, as a large majority of Americans favored these measures.

Is Dreier saying that shutting down the government and threatening its solvency came because of voter division? The failures came because the GOP was listening to the radical tea party members of Congress, who represent a very small minority of the population.

It is self-serving for Dreier to blame the division of the people — actually, insulting.

Jim Hoover, Huntington Beach

..

Dreier states that he is continually asked, "Is Congress completely controlled by big money and special interests?" and "Is it more partisan and dysfunctional than ever before?"

He never answers. Instead he tells us how there are always two opinions to every issue and groups of constituents on both sides.

I have to assume that he avoided answering because the answers are both "yes."

Ted Bacino, Palm Springs

..

Dreier blames the diversity of Americans for Congress' obstructionism.

Of course we are diverse, and we are better off for it. However, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated in 2010 that his main goal was for Barack Obama to be a one-term president, he revealed quite clearly what the Republican Party was all about: not diversity, but settling scores.

Robert S. Ellison, Arcadia

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"What Obama needs is a Rob Ford, Francois Hollande moment."

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La Cucaracha blame ObamaVia Lalo Alcaraz

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with the GOP's Obama Derangement Syndrome. Take it away, Will:

STUCK ON STUCK

“Just following the will of the people.” That’s been the GOP rationalization for accomplishing absolutely nothing for five and a half years. Doesn’t matter what the issue is. Immigration. Jobs. Infrastructure. Climate change. Banking reform. The proliferation of substandard dental schools in Nebraska.

According to them, the people want… zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And to mask their inaction, Republicans have coordinated a feeding frenzy that would make rabid hyenas jealous.

Something about Obama drives them crazier than chocolate banana fritters with raspberry sprinkles in a bento box. Maybe because he’s the smartest guy in the room and not the least bit shy about sharing that opinion. Maybe he’s the ultimate anti- Bush. Or there’s something about him that looks different. Extremely different. Could be the ears.

What it boils down to is… “Open Season on Obama.” The memos have circulated. The strategy is conspicuous. To derail any possible presidential accomplishment by stalling progress and tossing a continuous slew of dastardly insults onto and at his person. And the mud is flying faster than fingers in a steno pool. Different circus. Same clowns.

John Boehner plans to sue the President. For what? Not even he knows, but you can be sure, the term “smarty pants” will be bandied about. He did drop some tidbit about objecting to the President changing the employer mandate to Obama Care, but that can’t be the source of his irritation, since the GOP insisted on it. It would be like slapping some other family’s child for obeying you.

Dick Cheney called him the Worst President of his lifetime. Which is quite a coincidence, since many argue Dick Cheney was the worst president of Obama’s lifetime. Obama should actually take solace from this charge, since Dick Cheney has been pretty much wrong about pretty much everything since at least 1999.

Sarah Palin called for the POTUS to be impeached. And Sarah Palin demanding punishment of someone for not properly fulfilling an office is another of those “pot with the kettle and the color black” situations the Republicans are so renown. The needle on the irony meter just crazy spun then melted.

Rick Perry accused the President of orchestrating the conspiracy responsible for a deluge of Central American kids crossing the border. And he said it while wearing his new studious looking glasses, so you know he’s serious. Also, the fact he correctly pronounced the word “conspiracy,” is a huge upgrade.

These attacks are perfectly timed to kick the President while he’s down. Right now his approval rating has sunk lower than scorpion- infested, throw- pillows filled with mold spores. Like a tray of hickory smoked baby back ribs at a PETA convention. Tacks in a bath. What Obama needs is a Rob Ford, Francois Hollande moment. A video of him naked, smoking crack with Lindsay Lohan, to go viral.

Republicans even complain Obama is a do- nothing President. With Mitch McConnell stalling every advance in the Senate and the House and Supreme Court lined up against him, it’s a miracle they’re able to get Flag Day commemorations through Congress.

Makes a person worry this political paralysis may be the new normal and we’ll never be able to affect positive change ever again. Instead of the status quo, we got the status no. America has gotten stuck… on stuck.

Copyright ©2014, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about the new documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances including his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG.”

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Obamacare covers 8-11 million mostly "satisfied" Americans. #BlameObama

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obamacare is winning, anti-obamacare fight

As our own Sherry Hardy pointed out, Regressives Handed Out Emergency Care Death Sentences in North Carolina. GOP-run states have done everything they can to obstruct access to Obamacare from the get-go, including refusing to expand Medicaid coverage. As a result, those self-proclaimed "pro-lifers" are hypocritically and intentionally putting lives at risk. People will die without care.

Fortunately, millions are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. In fact (hide your ears, Republicans), they even like it!

gasp smaller

More and more Americans are signing up, and the numbers of insured will only grow. Some of our previous posts include reports like these:

In today's Los Angeles Times, there's a piece that reveals customer satisfaction that will drive conservatives to (more) drink:

President Obama's healthcare law has reduced the number of uninsured adults by 8 million to 11 million in its first year, according to three new studies, and the vast majority report satisfaction with their new health plans. [...]

Nationwide, roughly 1 in 4 people who were uninsured last fall now have received coverage, representing a significant first step toward Obamacare's goal of near-universal coverage. [...]

... [M]ore than three-quarters of those who had either enrolled in Medicaid or bought a private insurance plan in the new marketplaces reported that they were either "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with their new coverage.

gasp silent movie smaller

Why, that's positively unAmerican!

Here in my home state of California, the number of uninsured has been cut in half. In half!

And nationally, it's the young 'uns who have been signing up more than anyone else. Remember back when? Remember when there was a big question mark about under-35s signing up? Put that one in a Tupperware, burp it, and seal it.

By the by, 54% said that some or all of their preferred doctors were covered. And 58% said they were better off with Obamacare:

[R]oughly 3 out of 4 Republicans said they were also satisfied.

What

Clearly, with all that positive feedback, the GOP must be seeing the error of their blocky ways, right? I mean, who would deny the very people who trusted you enough to elect you, a longer and healthier life? What self-serving politician would prioritize his own ambitions and petty political games over the health and well-being of families and individuals? What kind of amoral, obsessive, insensitive, merciless sphincter of a person would deny their fellow Americans a lifeline?

[T]he remaining uninsured Americans increasingly are concentrated in states that have declined to expand Medicaid — primarily Southern and Midwestern states with Republican-controlled governments that have been hostile to the new law and, in many cases, have tried to impede its implementation. That political resistance could be a major factor in holding down enrollments in the next couple of years.

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Study: Young adults healthier after passage of #Obamacare

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obamacare is winning, anti-obamacare fight

Young adults and the Affordable Care Act are very compatible, despite all the Repeal Obamacare fanatics in the GOP-run House of Representatives. The Los Angeles Times has the story:

Expanding the number of young adults with health insurance appears to have improved their health and saved them money, according to a new study that is among the first to measure the effect of the healthcare law that President Obama signed four years ago.

Starting in 2010, the Affordable Care Act allowed adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans, the first coverage expansion to take effect under the law.

Previous surveys have indicated that this provision, which remains among the law’s most popular, allowed millions of young adults to get health insurance over the last several years.

The new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., suggests the coverage expansion also measurably increased the number of young adults who reported that they are in excellent physical and mental health.

What?! Why, that's crazy! Wasn't it the GOP that claimed Obamacare would destroy this country and kill everyone in it?

but wait there's more smaller

Additionally, per the article, researchers discovered that there was a "significant drop in how much young people were paying out of pocket for their medical care after the law went into effect."

Say it with me: Another GOP talking point bites the dust. And for you trolls out there who have literacy issues, here it is in pictures:

another talking point bites the dust

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Surge in insured CA students defies #Obamacare concerns

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obamacare is winning, insured students surge

Two words, GOP: Neener nanner. All those "repeal Obamacare" efforts in the House of Representatives are becoming more and more laughable as good news stories continue to emerge about Affordable Care Act sign-ups. Here in my home state of California, there has been a surge (a word John McCain and his "pro-life" buddies seem to covet when it comes to killing people, but not when it comes to saving lives here at home) in insured students.

Read it and weep, obstructionists, trolls, and Obama Derangement Syndrome sufferers. And while you're at it, take a gander at the story below this one, because it, too will annoy the hell out of you. First, the insured student "surge," via the L.A. Times:

New data show the number of students without health insurance on California State University campuses dropped by 60% after health insurance enrollment, defying concerns that not enough young people would sign up for health insurance. [...]

According to a poll released Thursday, at the 15 largest CSU campuses, between 25% and 30% of students were uninsured before enrollment began, and 10% were uninsured after. The drop accounts for 60,000 students who became insured, and illustrates the late surge of young people who signed up for policies. [...]

Walter Zelman, chair of the Cal State L.A. Public Health Department and director of the project, said that he believes the 10% uninsured rate among the students is "virtually unheard of in California." He pointed out that the 60% drop in the number of uninsured CSU students is vastly higher than the 26% reduction in the number of uninsured nationwide that was reported by a Gallup poll this month.

Twenty-three-year-old Natasha Buranasombati signed up through Covered California, and observed that "the issue is not invincibility, it's affordability." Which brings me to article numero dos from the L.A. Times:

In the strongest indication yet where Obamacare rates are headed, industry giant Anthem Blue Cross said its California premiums for individual coverage will increase less than 10% on average next year. [...]

The outcome in California will be closely watched because the state is a key barometer for the health overhaul nationwide.

Another GOP talking point bites the dust.

neener nanner smaller

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