Russian Influence in Europe’s Economy Is Overstated to Avoid Sanctions | New Republic

“Oil and gas revenues make up more than 50 percent of the Russian government’s total revenue, most of it coming from Europe. If the Eurozone nations decided to reduce or end their purchases of Russian oil and natural gas, it would leave a massive hole in the nation’s budget.” If you add Russian metals and wheat exports, the Russian economy is 85 percent export-based.

Which is why most analysts agree that, if Europe and Russia both took the nuclear option in terms of trade sanctions, both sides would suffer but Europe would fare much better than Russia. “Russia’s economy would collapse faster and quicker,” says Weafer. “It would have an immediate impact on budget, and on food. The Russian economy would be in dire straights very quickly.”

This is also why most analysts will confidently tell you that Europe’s fear that Russia will turn off the energy tap is completely overblown. “Russia’s not going to cut of gas to Europe,” says Kupchan. “That would hurt Russia too much.”

Russian Influence in Europe’s Economy Is Overstated to Avoid Sanctions | New Republic.

Why Am I Moving Left? « Andrew Sullivan–The Dish

The conduct of the GOP during the Obama administration has been a nihilist disgrace. In 2009, Obama inherited crises on every front: an economy in terrifying free-fall, a bankrupted Treasury, an even more morally bankrupt foreign policy, and two failed wars. He deserved some measure of cooperation in that hour of extreme national peril and need. He got none. From the get-go, they were clearly prepared to destroy the country if it also meant they could destroy him.

In fact, from that first stimulus vote on, Obama faced a unanimous and relentless nullification Congress. If he favored something, they opposed it. Despite Obama’s exemplary family life, public grace and composure, and willingness to compromise, they decided to cast him as a tyrant, a radical, a traitor and an incompetent. Their demonization of a decent, pragmatic man simply disgusts me to the core. And, sorry, if you do not smell any whiff of racism in all of this, you’re a better person than I am.

Continue reading: via Why Am I Moving Left? « The Dish.

The Demographics Of Denialism « The Dish

Climate-change skepticism appears to be especially common in Anglophone countries:

Not only is the United States clearly the worst in its climate denial, but Great Britain and Australia are second and third worst, respectively. Canada, meanwhile, is the seventh worst. What do these four nations have in common?

Chris Mooney speculates:

One possible answer is that it’s all about the political ideologies prevalent in these four countries. … Indeed, the English-language media in three of these four countries are linked together by a single individual: Rupert Murdoch. An apparent climate skeptic or lukewarmer, Murdoch is the chair of News Corp and 21st Century Fox. (You can watch him express his climate views here.) Some of the media outlets subsumed by the two conglomerates that he heads are responsible for quite a lot of English language climate skepticism and denial.

Continue reading: The Demographics Of Denialism « The Dish.

Boehner: GOP ‘Not There Yet’ On A Plan To Replace Obamacare

House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that Republicans are still working on a plan to replace Obamacare that they can coalesce around.”

You know, the discussions about Obamacare and what the replacement bill would look like continue. We’re trying to build consensus around one plan,” the Ohio Republican told reporters. “Not there yet.”

The Affordable Care Act was enacted in March of 2010. In the more than four years since, Republicans have promised to “repeal and replace” the law but party leaders have not offered a health care reform plan of their own.

via Boehner: GOP ‘Not There Yet’ On A Plan To Replace Obamacare.

GOP’s Halbig Tantrum Is A Punitive Attack Out Of Soviet Communism

The subsidies are the heart of the Affordable Care Act; they’re what give people the incentive to get into the system, rather than just paying a penalty to avoid the individual mandate. The subsidies don’t just give people access to health care, they make the pools big enough to keep costs down. Destroying them would demolish the law, and the people behind this lawsuit knew that.

The two judges — both Republican appointees — admitted in their decision that the ruling would make the law “unworkable.”

The Republican response was predictable: a resounding “we told you so.” All along, they insisted that the ACA wouldn’t work, that it would raise costs — and when reality didn’t match with their scary stories, they took deliberate action to make the bad outcomes they fervently wished for more likely. In the case of the subsidies, which are helping real people get coverage, it took an extensive lawsuit, some friendly judges, and some twisted legal reasoning to undermine them.

There’s a name for this strategy, and it doesn’t come from the Heritage Foundation (although the individual mandate did). It comes from Soviet Communism: “heighten the contradictions.” The idea is to root for, and even enable, bad outcomes of your ideological opponents’ power, in the hopes that these bad outcomes will convince people to rise up against your opponents. It’s a grim way to look at the world, but here we are.

The Affordable Care Act is working pretty much as intended, and real people are benefiting, so Republicans are obliged to try and impose unnecessary suffering on their constituents so that they’ll demand repeal.

You can see the same thing at the state level, where Republican governors and legislators have done their best to interfere with the positive effects of ACA. That includes, of course, the decision by many governors to push off the process of creating their state exchange to the federal government. Not that there isn’t one big federal exchange; these are federally-administered state-level exchanges, which you’d think the D.C. Circuit Court judges would have considered.

Conservatives have even had the gall to claim that ACA’s not working because the numbers of people getting covered are too low, when those low numbers are thanks to completely optional decisions made by Republican governors.

Continue reading: GOP’s Halbig Tantrum Is A Punitive Attack Out Of Soviet Communism.

Tom Toles: Political Cartoons from Tom Toles – The Washington Post


Tom Toles: Political Cartoons from Tom Toles – The Washington Post.

Commentary: The fate of the Obamacare subsidies in the Supreme Court : SCOTUSblog

It seems inevitable that the Supreme Court is going to take up the issue.  The Obama administration has said that it will ask all the judges of the D.C. Circuit to rehear that case.  And there is a good chance it will win there.  The court is now tilted heavily in favor of Democratic appointees who are less likely to think that the rule exceeds the federal government’s authority.

But even if that happens, the case seems too close and too important for the Supreme Court to pass it up.  Whatever the right answer to the legal issue is, no one can doubt its significance to millions of Americans.  And while the administration publicly argues that the challenge is meritless and politically motivated, the language of the statute actually makes the legal claim very serious.

We can’t yet tell for sure when we will get a final answer.  For the case to be heard in the Court’s upcoming term, a petition for review would have to be filed by early November.  The challengers could easily meet that schedule by appealing the case they lost in the Fourth Circuit.  But the Justices may wait to step in until the D.C. Circuit is completely done with its case, which could take an extra six months.  If so, then a decision would have to wait another year.  Time is probably on the administration’s side, because as a practical matter the courts will be less and less likely to strike down the subsidies as more and more Americans get the benefit of them to buy health insurance.

Commentary: The fate of the Obamacare subsidies in the Supreme Court : SCOTUSblog.