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Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 03:28 PM PST

Did Reagan tell a TBager to "shut-up"?

by Ken Bank

I don't believe it was a dream, but I have a vivid memory from the summer of 1982 when Ronald Reagan was on TV talking to reporters while he was heckled by a rightwing, ultraconservative TBager (yes, TBagers were around even in those days because a TBager by any other name is still a TBager), who was mad at Reagan for his support of the 1982 TEFRA tax increase (yes, folks, contrary to TBager mythology Ronald Reagan DID increase taxes when he thought it was the right thing to do.) When the TBager kept going on and wouldn't stop interrupting, Reagan pointed his finger and yelled at him, Sit down and shut-up!" I never forgot that, or the angry look on Reagan's face.

I've always thought about that moment, and thought about it again today when Chris Christie was at CPAC bragging about how he told hecklers to "sit down and shut-up". Of course the hungry attack dogs at CPAC ate it up, but I wonder how they would have felt about their beloved Ronaldus Magnus doing the same thing to one of their own.

I've looked all over UTube for any video of Reagan's talk in 1982 but can't find anything specific. If anybody has more info about this, or how to obtain a video of it, please post it. I think we all would appreciate it. I always thought of it as the finest moment of Reagan's presidency.

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Megamillionaire and WWE Stupidstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson does a video on behalf of NJ Governor Chris Christie promoting Christie's plan to stiff public emplyees by cutting back on their pension benefits. Despite his promise three years ago to fully fund public emplyee pensions in exchange for workers paying more in contributions, Christie has reduced state pension funding by billions of dollars, putting the solvency of the state's pension plan in jeopardy.

Johnson has made millions of dollars from movies and wrestling appearances. He also works for Linda McMahon, a prominent GOP activist who spent fifty million dollars in two failed candidacies for US Senator from Connecticut. Linda and her husband Vince have gotten very chummy with Christie the last few years, even promoting their annual "Wrestlemania" event at the Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey with Christie as host.

As a 2016 presidential contender Christie has been trumpeting the "New Jersey Comeback" which is anything but. The state is broke, and Christie's solution to balancing his budget was on the backs of public employees by reducing their pensions. Three casinos in Atlantic City are closing their doors, despite 100s of millions in tax breaks and subsidies, as the crown jewel of Christie's economic "recovery" is turning into a ghost town. It seems desperate that Christie turns to a megamillionaire entertainer for an advertising stunt that does nothing but lay the "Smackdown" on the middle class, which is what Christie has been doing to New Jersey residents since he became Governor.

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This was alot harder than I thought. It took me a long time, but I did score 86%. It's almost eerie how similar these two characters are. Personally, my own feeling is that despite his yelling and screaming, I don't think Richard Sherman is nearly as much of a bully as Chris Christie.

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Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 04:06 AM PST

Emails expose Christie lies reGWB

by Ken Bank

Last week Chris Christie assured reporters that none of his appointees to the Port Authority were notified about a dangerous situation involving lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Subsequently the Mayor of Fort Lee contradicted Christie and emphasized that many calls were placed to Port Authority officials notifying them about traffic jams related to the closure. Now the Bergen Record has obtained emails which show that lower level Port Authority officials were aware of hazards created by traffic jams and did advise PA executives including Christie's political operatives, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein. These hazards included delayed responses to emergency calls which involved a missing child and a case of cardiac arrest.

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Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:25 PM PST

Iran deal conspiracy theories?

by Ken Bank

So how long before Teabaggers and Neoconservative Chickenhawks are all over Fox News accusing Obama of making deals with Iran to distract attention from Obamacare and Benghazi? Will the Israeli lobby unleash its attack dogs to try and derail the deal? When Congress holds hearings on Iran how many times will Republicans say "Benghazi"? Hold on to your seats, folks, and fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Poll

So how long before Teabaggers and Neoconservative Chickenhawks are all over Fox News accusing Obama of making deals with Iran to distract attention from Obamacare and Benghazi?

40%14 votes
20%7 votes
20%7 votes
5%2 votes
11%4 votes
0%0 votes
2%1 votes

| 35 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:51 PM PST

Update on ACA in New Jersey

by Ken Bank

Here's a link to a good analysis by the Bergen Record on the status of ACA in New Jersey. Although there are still isues to be resolved with reversing policy cancellations, medicaid expansion has gone well and is satisfying the increased demand. There is also a good explanation of alternatives to the fed website, including signing up directly with private insurers.

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Christie crony and top fundraiser, megabillionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen's firm, SAC Capital, pleaded guilty to insider trading and has to pay $1.2 billion, the largest fine in history. Aside from the money Cohen personally contributed, how many other employees of SAC donated to Christie campaigns? Assuming Cohen and his partners/associates all personally profited from those insider trades, how much of that money ended up in Christie's campaign account?

Hopefully some enterprising journalists and/or investigative reporters will provide some answers. We all know how, as US Attorney, Christie traded no-bid contracts in exchange for generous campaign donations. No reason to think he wouldn't take money he knew or suspected was derived from profits on insider trades, and there is no reason to think he would return that money unless he was publicly pressured into doing so.

Of course this will all likely come out as Christie prepares to run for President in 2016. I'm sure Rand Paul will do his due diligence when it comes to opposition research, just as Christie's Tea Party opponent Steve Lonegan did when he slammed Christie for those no-bid contracts during that nasty street fight known as the 2009 GOP primary for Governor.  

In the meantime it can't hurt for Democrats to demand Christie return the money he got from Cohen and his associates at SAC Capital. Anything that weakens Christie and tarnishes his image will make him more vulnerable and susceptible to accusations of cronyism and favortism, especially with regard to his association with Wall Street crooks and megabillionaires, who are even less popular with the electorate than lawyers and politicians. Also, assuming Christie is the GOP frontrunner who does better in the polls than any of the Tea Party favorites, knocking a few chinks in his armor may help the Democratic opponent who has to face him in 2016.

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Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 05:12 PM PST

Don't use healthcare.gov

by Ken Bank

Unless you qualify for a subsidized premium. If you don't qualify, you can shop around for the best deal, as I did, in the private marketplace. I did use healthcare.gov to find out whether I qualify, but there are other websites that are available to do that as well.

What frustrates me is that in all the news reports and complaints about healthcare.gov I don't see anywhere that states there is no reason to use it unless you qualify for a subsidy. If you don't want, or don't need, a subsidy then don't use it. I just wonder if alot of people are using the site who don't need to use it, and are just wasting their time not to mention the site's capacity.

I also wonder whether the 106,000 who signed up includes people who don't qualify for a subsidy and got their insurance, as I did, in the private marketplace. Although my current insurer did not cancel my policy, they raised my premium $300 a month. Since I did not qualify for a subsidy I shopped around and found an insurer, Health Republic, who offered me a "Core-Platinum" policy that provides essentially the same coverage I had before but $400 a month less than I would have to pay if I stay with my current provider. Health Republic is a nonprofit coop owned by its members/subscribers but, unfortunately, is not available in every state. They are in New Jersey, where I live.

I think there is alot of misinformation being spread around by Teapublicans and their fellow travelers in the media. My own experience has been fairly positive, so far. I just hope more accurate information is made available to the general public so alot of people don't have to waste their time using healthcare.gov if they don't need to.

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There is an interesting story posted on a political website about a GOP candidate for New Jersey State Assembly accused by a high school classmate of homophobic bullying and harassment.   The story speaks for itself, but what really strikes me is how GOP candidate Tom Campbell, who is only 23 years old, issues a nondenial denial saying he can't remember what he did in high school 5 or 6 years ago, but if he did anything wrong he apologizes. He also refers to "the alleged incident" that he doesn't remember as if it was a singular event, but according to the story it was ongoing over an extended period of time. Aside from the gay bashing itself, how can the GOP put up a candidate for State Assembly who is 23 years old but whose memory is so bad he can't remember what he did in high school only 5 years ago? I'm 59, but I can assure everyone that if I was accused of something similar when I was in high school I would definitely remember. You just don't forget those things.

Hopefully Democratic leaders in New Jersey, including the Democratic candidate for Governor Barbara Buono, won't let Governor Chris Christie and other GOP leaders forget they are supporting a candidate for State Assembly who's either lying through his teeth or whose memory is so bad he can't remember tormenting a high school classmate just five years ago.

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Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 06:10 PM PST

Rice gave Olmert political cover

by Ken Bank

I tend to believe Olmert's version of events though I don't believe it happened so dramatically.  First, there is no way that the US would not veto any resolution that the Israelis would not feel they could live with, so they must have consulted with them in advance.  The reason for the abstention was to give Olmert political cover to negotiate a cease fire without seeming to cave to US pressure.  

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Supporters of perennial loudmouth Alan Keyes, who received 33,000 votes as an independent candidate for President, are now urging him to run again in 2012.  Others are suggesting he return to Illinois and run for Obama's vacant Senate seat which they feel should have been his in the first place.  Some suggest he run for Congress as a stepping stone to the White House.    

Check out the poll questions and see what you think.

Poll

Quo Vadis Alan Keyes?

9%11 votes
10%13 votes
0%1 votes
14%17 votes
11%14 votes
1%2 votes
9%11 votes
7%9 votes
3%4 votes
5%7 votes
0%1 votes
4%5 votes
8%10 votes
1%2 votes
10%12 votes

| 119 votes | Vote | Results

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Supporters of Alan Keyes, the wingnut blowhard who is on the ballot in California and other states as an independent candidate, are angry at Priests For Life national director Father Frank Pavone for implicitly endorsing John McCain instead of their idol.   They're particularly upset that Father Pavone's pro-life voters guide compares John McCain favorably to Obama but neglects third party and independent candidates, especially anti-choice wingnuts like Keyes, whose extreme views put them at the outer limits of wingnuttery.

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