Seniors in Florida and Ohio, GOP platform breaks Trump’s ‘no cuts’ promise on Social Security and Medicare

GOP platform breaks Trump’s ‘no cuts’ promise on Social Security and Medicare

But even more telling when it comes to Donald Trump’s disinterest in actual policy is what the 2016 Republican Party platform declared about health care and retirement income for future seniors. After a year of promising Americans he would “save Social Security and Medicare without cuts,” nominee Trump looked the other way as his party’s platform endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plans to gut both.

Next week in Philadelphia, Democrat Hillary Clinton will tout her proposal to expand Social Security financing and benefits, a position enjoying growing support in Washington.

That Trump rode the populist wave and promised not to erode two essential programs, and then blew off those promises is historically the kind of thing radical populists do. Bush 43, Mitt Romney and John McCain were all prolific liars, thus the competitive Donald has seen it as a contest to see if he can out do them,

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Oak Trees and Blue Bonnets wallpaper – Rand Paul (R-KY) and How The Conservative Cult Thinks

Oak Trees and Blue Bonnets wallpaper

Oak Trees and Blue Bonnets wallpaper

 

Straight to the sleazy serial liars and delusional fleabags, Rand Paul (R-KY) goes where few Republicans have gone: Howard University

Paul told the students he didn’t come to “preach” or “prescribe” a political point of view, but to ask each of them to write their own story in life and perhaps make conservatism a part of it. In other words: develop their own views of him, the Republican Party and their own political beliefs.

This is just another version of the Herman Cain and Dr. Ben Carson assertion that black Americans have been brain washed. If they would really “think” they’d vote for far Right ideologues. Nope, nothing insulting or wacky about that.

Few young minorities know the history of the Republican Party “chock full of emancipation and black history”. He talked about his passion for ending mandatory minimum federal sentencing for non-violent possession of drugs because they ruin the lives of kids who just make bad decisions. It was one of the most heavily tweeted and applauded lines of his speech.

How the two major political parties have changed since the 1860s can and has filled books. Rand probably has not read a history or political science book that does not regurgitate what he wants to believe his entire life – including his liberal college indoctrination. Rand Paul (R-KY) Must Think Blacks Have Amnesia

He left out the part that Republicans almost always leave out when they lament their lack of support from African Americans: the racial realignment that occurred during the 1960s, when Democratic politicians like President Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy became champions for equal rights, and Republicans reinvented their party as a harbor for segregationists.

The simple truth is that the present-day Republican Party has virtually no resemblance to the Republican Party of, say, 1960, when Richard Nixon got 32 percent of the black vote in his race against John F. Kennedy. Four years later, the Republicans nominated right-wing Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who based his campaign on opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By 1968, Nixon had wholeheartedly accepted Goldwater’s advice to “go hunting where the ducks are” by adopting a so-called Southern strategy dedicated to wooing segregationists like Strom Thurmond.

They consolidated their approach in 1980 when Ronald Reagan delivered the first major speech of his campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil rights workers were murdered in one of the 1960s’ ugliest cases of racist violence. Reagan gave a ringing declaration of his support for “states’ rights” — code words for resistance to black advances clearly understood by white Southerners. Ever since then, the GOP has been the party of white privilege.

I did a current check on conservative racism in that Ben Carson post the other day. Another interesting thing to do is search for Obama images in Google, then trace the racist filth back to the conservative web sites that posted them. I still don’t think all Republicans are racist, though they seem to be in denial about their racism problem. It is common for political zealots to rewrite history. You don’t want people looking back at what actually happened and, to use Rand’s words, think for themselves. The radical Right has their noise machine fired up 24/7 because that is how much is noise required to keep the sheeple as true believers. And of course there is the morally reprehensible Conservative problem with being serial liars, At Howard University, Rand Paul Falsely Claims He Never Opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Following an awkward, earnest speech to an audience at Howard University, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) insisted several times that he did not oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“I’ve never been against the Civil Rights Act, ever,” Paul told a questioner, following what was the first speech by a Republican legislator at the historically black university in decades. “This was on tape,” the questioner responded.

That’s true. It is on tape. Here it is:

In 2010, during an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal flagged by ThinkProgress, Paul made it very clear that he opposed a key part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned discrimination on the basis of race in “places of public accommodation,” such as privately owned businesses that are open to the public.

Such a short speech and meaningless in terms of actual substance. Though Paul did get a chance to repeat some of the dogma of the conservative cult,

He said after the Great Depression and Civil Rights Act, blacks wanted “economic emancipation” and began voting Democrat because Democrats promised “unlimited federal assistance”. He added: Republicans offered something that seemed less tangible-the promise of equalizing opportunity through free markets. After nearly 50 years of Democrat policies, Paul argued the evidence shows that big government is not a friend to African Americans. He pointed to persistent high unemployment among blacks, presently 13.3%, nearly twice the national average, blacks trapped in failing schools and their declining wealth.

Anyone want to guess what black unemployment would be now if the Civil Rights Act had not been passed. Rand believes, as conservatives dogmatists do, that the free market god will fix everything and anything if we all stand back and let it work it’s magic. Yet Rand supplied a example of a situation which proved that it does not work. It was about a hundred years between the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Act. The all knowing perfect gods of the market had a hundred years to wave the magic wand and make everything work for everyone. Certainly a hundred years of laissez-faire discrimination was a fair trial. Rand reminds me of the few remaining communists who claim that it never had a chance to work either.

Let’s move on to the next nutbar with as much integrity as rat droppings, Top Republican Blasts Obama Budget As ‘Shocking Attack On Seniors’

Well Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) — who also happens to be chairman of the House GOP’s re-election committee — just showed how it’s done, saying Obama’s budget “lays out a shocking attack on seniors.”

“I’ll tell you when you’re going after seniors the way he’s already done on Obamacare, taken $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare and now coming back at seniors again, I think you’re crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine certainly and around the country,” he said on CNN Wednesday afternoon.

That used to be the $500 million lie. I guess with inflation it has grown. These wackos have been telling that lie about Obamacare and Medicare since 2009,

National Review’s Lowry: Obama Made “Meat-Axe Cuts” To Medicare. On Fox News’ Hannity, National Review editor Rich Lowry said that “$700 billion in cuts on current seniors” have been made to Medicare, adding, “These are meat-axe cuts that the president passed to fund another unaffordable entitlement right now.” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/14/12]

Fox’s Hannity: “There’s Only One Candidate In This Race That Gutted Medicare.” On his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said, “There’s only one candidate in this race that gutted Medicare. Who is it?” Hannity later said, “There’s only one guy that cut Medicare, $741 billion, and that was Barack Obama.” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/14/12]

….FactCheck.org: Affordable Care Act “Stipulates That Guaranteed Medicare Benefits Won’t Be Reduced.” FactCheck.org noted that the Affordable Care Act “does not slash the current Medicare budget by $500 billion. Rather that’s a $500 billion reduction in the future growth of Medicare over 10 years”:

As we have written many times, the [Affordable Care Act] does not slash the current Medicare budget by $500 billion. Rather, that’s a $500 billion reduction in the future growth of Medicare over 10 years, or about a 7 percent reduction in growth over the decade. In other words, Medicare spending would continue to rise, just not as much. The law stipulates that guaranteed Medicare benefits won’t be reduced, and it adds some new benefits, such as improved coverage for pharmaceuticals.

Most of those savings come from a reduction in the future growth of payments to hospitals and other providers (not physicians), and a reduction in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans to bring those payments in line with traditional Medicare. (MA plans have been paid more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare.)

And it assumes they actually happen. There’s good reason to think that some of those reductions won’t be implemented. The law calls for cuts in the future growth of reimbursement payments to hospitals and other health care providers — that accounts for $219 billion of the Medicare savings in the law. But Congress has consistently overridden similar scheduled cuts in payments to doctors. [FactCheck.org, 6/28/12]
And Ryan Adopted The Exact Same Method Of Reducing Medicare Growth
    
Washington Post: “Paul Ryan’s Budget Keeps Obama’s Medicare Cuts. Full Stop.” In an August 14 post on The Washington Post’s Wonkblog, Ezra Klein noted, “Since the Romney campaign wants to run against President Obama’s cuts to Medicare, it’s something of a problem for them that Paul Ryan’s budget includes those very same cuts to Medicare.”

As far as Republicans who has previously demanded chained CPI and are now attacking the White House for offering it, well if the White House had checked with the people who voted for them first, we could have told you what to expect. You are not dealing with people who regard honor as a virtue, So the Obama budget is out, Social Security cuts and all. Why is this happening?

Well, it’s all about the positioning. Ezra Klein gets at what I hear from the WH too (and what’s obvious in any case):

Today’s budget is the White House’s effort to reach the bedrock of the fiscal debate. Half of its purpose is showing what they’re willing to do. They want a budget compromise, and this budget proves it. There are now liberals protesting on the White House lawn. But the other half is revealing what the GOP is — or, more to the point, isn’t — willing to do. Republicans don’t want a budget compromise, and this budget is likely to prove that, too.

The question is, to whom are these things being “proved”?

Since the beginning, the Obama administration has seemed eager to gain the approval of the grownups — the sensible people who will reward efforts to be Serious, and eventually turn on those nasty, intransigent Republicans as long as Obama and co. don’t cater too much to the hippies.This is the latest, biggest version of that strategy. Unfortunately, it will almost surely fail. Why? Because there are no grownups — only people who try to sound like grownups, but are actually every bit as childish as anyone else.

After all, if whoever it is that Obama is trying to appeal to here — I guess it’s the Washington Post editorial page and various other self-proclaimed “centrist” pundits — were willing to admit the fundamental asymmetry in our political debate, willing to admit that if DC is broken, it’s because of GOP radicalism, they would have done it long ago. It’s not as if this reality was hard to see.

But the truth is that the “centrists” aren’t sincere. Calls for centrism and bipartisanship aren’t actual demands for specific policies — they’re an act, a posture these people take to make themselves seem noble and superior.

If conservatives were adults I can see the centrist strategy making some kind of sense – in a bargain with zealots you end up with some of what you want, with some not completely reprehensible concessions. Only the White House seems unable or unwilling to accept the fact that they’re not dealing with people who care about most Americans. Conservatives are captives of the crony corporatists, the libertarian hucksters and fundamentalist quacks who have time traveled here from 1850.

Black and White Clock wallpaper – Republicans Deviously Frame the Deficit To Include All of The Safety Net

Black and White Clock wallpaper

Black and White Clock wallpaper

Blue Desk Clock wallpaper

Blue Desk Clock wallpaper

 

This is a good rant from Dean baker about the possibility of, depending on how you look at chained CPI and the coming debt ceiling negotiations, cuts to Social Security, Leave It Alone; It’s Irrelevant to the Deficit

While the promotion of budget hysteria is one of the largest industries in Washington, the most important and widely ignored fact about the budget situation is that we have large deficits today because the collapse of the housing bubble sank the economy. This is not a debatable point.

The budget deficit was just 1.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2007. Before the collapse of the housing bubble the deficit was projected to remain low for the next decade and the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio was actually falling. This would have been the case even if the Bush tax cuts were allowed to continue.

When the bubble burst and the economy plummeted, tax collections fell. We also spent more on unemployment insurance and other benefits for unemployed workers. And we had further tax cuts and stimulus spending to try to boost the economy. The automatic and deliberate steps taken to counter the downturn fully explain the large deficits we have seen the last five years.

Record low interest rates on government bonds demonstrate that the current deficits are not a real problem. But even if they were, it is difficult to see how cutting Social Security could to be part of the solution. Under the law Social Security is not supposed to be part of the budget. It is an entirely separate program financed on its own.

Let’s put aside the speculations about debt ceiling talks and what is up for cuts for a moment. Baker tackles two common myths – perpetuated by conservatives like the far-Right Heritage Foundation. The first myth is that President Obama has gone on some kind of wild spending spree, thus driven up the debt. As the chart above – I could draw this thing in my sleep at this point – shows, it is a combination of conservative spending from 2000-2008, the unpaid for wars, the housing bubble, the recession that started on Bush’s watch  and tax cuts that are driving 60% of the deficit. The second myth and this one will not die today, it is as common as Birtherism among conservatives – that some how Social Security is a driver of the deficit. That is not true. A few facts to know about Social Security

Social Security is a fifth of the U.S. budget …
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258
Social Security: Another 20 percent of the budget, or $731 billion, paid for Social Security, which provided retirement benefits averaging $1,229 per month to 35.6 million retired workers in December 2011. Social Security also provided benefits to 2.9 million spouses and children of retired workers, 6.3 million surviving children and spouses of deceased workers, and 10.6 million disabled workers and their eligible dependents in December 2011.

… but it is not driving the deficit …

Social Security and the Federal Deficit: Not cause and effect

Social Security can only spend what it receives in tax revenues and has accumulated in its trust fund from past surpluses and interest earnings. It cannot add to the deficit if the trust fund is exhausted because the law prohibits it from borrowing (if current revenues and savings in the trust fund are not sufficient to pay promised benefits, these have to be cut). Though modest changes will be needed to put Social Security in balance over the 75-year planning period, the projected shortfall is less than 1% of gross domestic product (GDP). …

There is burrowing, but it only goes one way. The government borrows from the trust fund to help finance day to day government operations. Which is part of conservative Social Security myths part II, subsection B, that there is no such thing as the Social Security Trust Fund. let me back up for a moment and look at the first deficit and spending nonsense. It is ironic how wealthy conservatives, and liberals for that matter, can manipulate the tax code down to the penny and yet, those same conservative use some weird martian math to make the case for Obama’s alleged out of control spending. Steve notes some math challenged spin from Politico, Understanding the ‘debt problem’

President Barack Obama won’t be able to enjoy much of a victory lap from his win over congressional Republicans on the fiscal cliff fight.

There are about 16.4 trillion reasons why.

The staggering national debt — up about 60 percent from the $10 trillion Obama inherited when he took office in January 2009 — is the single biggest blemish on Obama’s record, even if the rapid descent into red began under President George W. Bush. (Glenn Thrush and Reid Epstein’s Politico piece on President Obama’s “debt problem”)

[  ]…First, when there’s a global economic crash, and the government needs to invest to rescue the economy, large deficits are good, not bad, especially when borrowing is cheap and easy. Had the president focused on reducing the $1.3 trillion deficit he inherited from Bush/Cheney, instead of job creation and economic growth, the recession would have intensified, and yet, too many reports simply accept it as a given that higher deficits are worthy of condemnation.

Second, under Obama, as the economy started to improve, the deficit started to shrink anyway. Though the political establishment usually ignores these details, the deficit is $300 billion smaller now than when the president took office — marking the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II.

Third, Obama keeps pushing massive debt-reduction proposals on the table, as well as all kinds of policies that shrink the deficit (health care reform, cap and trade, Dream Act), but Republicans have opposed all of them.

As always we cannot have an honest discussion about how much deficits matter and when they matter because conservatives really do not care about deficit spending. We had deficit spending under Saint Ronnie, Bush 41 and Bush 43. If a conservative becomes president in 2016, we’ll have deficit spending. They run up deficits for the very purpose of creating this fake crisis where, gee sorry – the David Brooks line – but we just have to let seniors, vets, the disabled and low-income earners live in a ditch or die or whatever because look at the deficits…uh..conservatives ran up, we cannot afford a safety net anymore . That is not political science, it is a social pathology hiding behind the carnival tent of Conservatism. case in point. The fiscal cliff deal included a revenue giveaway to corporations totaling $9.4 billion dollars. That would pay for a third of the$27 billion emergency spending bill for Superstorm Sandy House Republicans might pass ( the Senate had approved a $60 billion relief package. The remainder may be approved eventually. Republicans in the House are still wrangling over the Sandy bill – When House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pulled his support of a massive Sandy aid bill, Republicans reacted: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the move “disgraceful”).

Other than that few days where we heard the President might consider linking future Social Security cost of living increases to chained CPI I have not heard anything else, but some people are already concerned, The Democrats’ Coming Civil War

Just as Republicans were so divided over taxes – from failing to pass their own “Plan B” bill last week, to their leaders splitting votes on last night’s legislative package – Democrats are about to endure an emotional debate about one of their own bedrock principles: the protection of programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

With the accord reached last night failing to address these programs, Republicans have said they’ll threaten to deny a debt ceiling increase in February — which would prevent the government from paying its bills, exacting a government shutdown and global economic consequences in the process — as leverage to advance their policy interests. In addition, with sequestration cuts set to hit in two months, there’s an additional, built-in point of negotiation between the parties.

The biggest reform Republicans have vowed to push for in these upcoming standoffs is so-called “entitlement reform,” a.k.a. “deficit reduction,” a.k.a., cutting social insurance and benefits for those in need.

That writer means well, but again let’s get this straight. Republicans are linking the debt ceiling to safety net programs, but  Social Security is not fiscally linked. Only a very small part of Medicare, under 3% of Medicare financing comes out of general funds. It is not the biggest driver of the debt. Even when we reach the point where there are more Medicare recipients than workers contributing to Medicare ( a known demographic trend), the total cost will still reach a maximum of GDP of  6.2% by 2080 ( currently it is 3.6%).  The coming battle will be framed by Republicans as one big all encompassing deficit that includes separate issues. Though he is probably correct in being concerned about what the White House will give away. This statement by Obama is technically correct. It is more overall health care costs rather than just Medicare that are to blame,

But we are continuing to chip away at this problem, step by step. Last year I signed into law $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction. Tonight’s agreement further reduces the deficit by raising $620 billion in revenue from the wealthiest households in America. And there will be more deficit reduction as Congress decides what to do about the automatic spending cuts that we have now delayed for two months.

I want to make this point: As I’ve demonstrated throughout the past several weeks, I am very open to compromise. I agree with Democrats and Republicans that the aging population and the rising cost of health care makes Medicare the biggest contributor to our deficit.  I believe we’ve got to find ways to reform that program without hurting seniors who count on it to survive. And I believe that there’s further unnecessary spending in government that we can eliminate.

But we can’t simply cut our way to prosperity. Cutting spending has to go hand-in-hand with further reforms to our tax code so that the wealthiest corporations and individuals can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans. And we can’t keep cutting things like basic research and new technology and still expect to succeed in a 21st century economy. So we’re going to have to continue to move forward in deficit reduction, but we have to do it in a balanced way, making sure that we are growing even as we get a handle on our spending.

Now, one last point I want to make — while I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed. Let me repeat: We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred. If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic — far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff.

Probably a matter of perspective. BuzzFeed sees the civil war and I just see the possibility. No one pundit or blogger did it, but it was probably the collective voices of all of us that pushed the White House away from using Medicare and Social Security in the fiscal cliff deal. So ringing alarms now is not a bad thing. Some more in that vain in this editorial at the NYT, For Obama, a Victory That Also Holds Risks.

For President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress, the fiscal deal reached this week is full of small victories that further their largest policy aims. Above all, it takes another step toward Mr. Obama’s goal of orienting federal policy more toward the middle class and the poor, at the expense of the rich.

Yet the deal, which the Senate and the House have passed and Mr. Obama is expected to sign soon, also represents a substantial risk for the president.

 

This is a rare day. I agree with that yellow rag The Washington Times, David Gregory walks free while Iraq vet was jailed. The strange aspect of this David Gregory controversy is that the far Right thinks liberals care about what happens to Gregory one way or the other. That is not the case. Gregory is just another Beltway villager entrenched in the right of center conventional wisdom. After the Newtown murders he got a little caught up in the outrage, most people did.

 

Republicans are a threat to American workers, grandparents and national security

Black and White Cloudy Night New York wallpaper

 

Five Practical Reasons Not To Vote Republican. Politics are practical for some of us. For many it is a form of endless hysteria, a set of dangerous myths wrapped in red, white and blue, the rantings of a drug addicted lunatic on radio, false indignation, urban myths, character assassination or resentment over pennies instead of resentment over hard scramble lives that don not need to be that way. So appeals to practicality seem out of place, a soft spoken plea in an era where we actually have very wealthy people complaining about how difficult times are for them. Apparently some may be ready to fire all their employees or move out.

1. Economic Darwinism — Republicans want the Poor to Pay

Paul Ryan’s proposed budget would take about a half-trillion dollars a year from programs that support the poor.

[  ]…The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), another vital program that serves 50 million “food insecure” Americans, would be cut by $16 billion under the House version of the Farm Bill. The average recipient currently gets $4.30 a day for food.

Republicans also voted to end the Child Tax Credit, and favor a tax plan that would eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Almost from day one of the Wall Street meltdown conservatives have used the recession to declare war on the working poor. Only about 2% of Americans are chronically poor. The rest are near destitute for a while, get some kind of job and stop getting assistance. So those at the bottom of the economic ladder do pay their way the vast majority of their life times. If our free market system was perfect we would not need much of a safety net for the poor, but its not perfect. While the tea smokers complained about bailing out Wall Street you sure don’t here any conservative running for office this election cycle talk about how when they are elected they’re going to go after the people who siphoned off $15 trillion dollars or more of the nation’s wealth and are still living in their McMansions despite their bad decisions. In ConWorld workers have to be punished for being workers, while the wealthy are rewarded simply for being wealthy.

2. Payroll Tax — Republicans want the Middle Class to Pay

Encouraged by the steady Republican demand for lower corporate tax rates, big business has effected a stunning shift in taxpaying responsibility over the years, from corporate income tax to worker payroll tax. For every dollar of payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents.

It’s gotten worse in recent years, as corporations decided to drastically cut their tax rates after the start of the recession. After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, they’ve paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.

Republicans claim that almost half of Americans don’t pay taxes. But when payroll and state and local taxes are considered, middle-income Americans pay at about the same rate as the highest earners. Only about 17% of households paid no federal income tax or payroll tax in 2009. And average workers get little help from people who make most of the money. Because of the $110,000 cutoff for payroll tax deductions, the richest 10% of Americans save $150 billion a year in taxes.

3. Job Shrinkage — Republicans want Young People to Pay

The jobs that exist for young Americans are paying much less than just a few years ago. During and after the recession, according to the National Employment Law Project, low-wage jobs ($7.69 to $13.83 per hour) dropped by 21 percent, and then grew back at a 58 percent rate. Mid-wage jobs ($13.84 to $21.13 per hour) dropped by 60 percent and grew back at a 22 percent rate. In other words, the median wage is falling fast.

Unemployment for workers under 25 stands at 16.4 percent, twice the national average. Half of recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed.

Yet Republicans killed a jobs bill that was supported by two-thirds of the public.

An academic study of employment data over 64 years found that an average of two million jobs per year were created under Democratic presidents, compared to one million under Republican presidents. Similar results were reported by the Bloomberg Government Barometer.

4. Retirement Planning — Republicans want the Seniors to Pay

There’s a common misconception in our country that most seniors are financially secure. Actually, Census data reveals that elderly people experience greater inequality than any other population group, with the poorest one-fifth receiving just 5.5% of the group’s total resources, while the wealthiest one-fifth receives 46%.

The senior wealth gap is further evidenced by data during the great 30-year surge in inequality. The average over-60 wealth was five times greater than the median in 1995, as would be expected with a small percentage of ultra-high-net-worth individuals and a great majority of low-wealth people. Further confirmation comes from 2004 Harvard data that shows rising inequality within all age groups, including the elderly. Indeed, an MIT study found that about 46% of U.S. senior citizens have less than $10,000 in financial assets when they die.

For the vast majority of seniors, Social Security has been life-sustaining, accounting for 55% of their annual income. Because of this successful and popular program, the senior poverty rate has dropped from 50% to 10%, and due to life-long contributions from working Americans the program has a $2.7 trillion surplus while contributing nothing to the deficit. Yet Republicans want to undo it.

5. Public Fire Sale — Republicans want Society to Pay

The common good is threatened by the Republican disdain for public resources. Drilling and mining and pipeline construction continues on public lands, and the House of Representatives has voted over 100 times since 2011 to subsidize the oil and gas industry while weakening environmental, public health, and safety requirements. The “land grab” is pitting corporate muscle against citizens’ rights.

Sadly, most of America envisions a new era of energy independence that increases our world-leading consumption of energy while depending on a proliferation of dirty technologies to extract it. Threats of methane emissions, water pollution, and earthquake activity don’t deter the fossil fuel enthusiasts.

It gets worse. Republicans are eager to sell public land. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” proposes to sell millions of acres of “unneeded federal land” and billions of dollars worth of federal assets. His running mate Mitt Romney admits that he doesn’t know “what the purpose is” of public lands.

That brings us to the heart of the reasons not to vote Republican. Their reckless belief in the free market, and their dependency on corporatization and privatization to run the country, means that middle-class Americans keep paying for the fabulously wealthy people at the top who think they deserve everything they’ve taken from society.

There are some things which can be privatized, but for others the costs far outweigh the benefits – 5 Curses of Privatization That Will Be Haunting Us For a Long Time. Essential public needs are fast becoming the newest products on the market — with the benefits only going to those who buy them. At least in comment sections on the internet the conservative trolls have either never worked for a corporation or their meds are too strong. Corporations are monolithic monsters in many ways. The corporate culture of America is mired in inefficiencies, greed and inept management. I know because I live  and work in the real world. Like everyone else I have to deal with people like telecoms, internet service providers and utility companies among other industries as a customer. Sometimes things go smoothly, but there are also the nightmares of customer service. You hand over national parks to these people and think that some magic will occur that will make corporations better stewards of America’s natural heritage? Step away from the kool-aid. Corporate executives frequently make it to the top, not because they are great at what they do, but because they were the best manipulators, ass kissers or had the right connections.

Memo to Joe Biden about debate with Ryan

Emphasize these points: Ryan’s budget turns Medicare into vouchers. It includes the same $716 billion of savings Romney last week accused the President of cutting out of Medicare – but instead of getting it from providers he gets it from the elderly.

It turns Medicaid over to cash-starved states, with even less federal contribution. This will hurt the poor as well as middle-class elderly in nursing homes.

Over 60 percent of its savings come out of programs for lower-income Americans – like Pell grants and food stamps.

Yet it gives huge tax cuts to the top 1 percent – some $4.7 trillion over the next decade. (This is the same top 1 percent, you might add, who have reaped 93 percent of the gains from the recovery, whose stock portfolios have regained everything they lost and more, and who are now taking home a larger share of total income than at any time in the last eighty years and paying the lowest taxes than at any time since before World War II.)

As a result it doesn’t reduce the federal debt at all. In fact, it worsens it.

On top of all this, Ryan is on record – as is Romney – for wanting to repeal both ObamaCare (taking coverage away from 30 million Americans) and the Dodd-Frank law (thereby giving cover to Wall Street).

Your challenge will be get this across firmly and clearly, with an appropriate degree of indignation – on a medium that rewards style over substance, glibness over detail, and optimistic happy talk over grim reality.

My suggestion: Be cheerfully aggressive. Take Ryan on directly and sharply but do so with a smile. Force him to take responsibility for the regressiveness of his budget and the radicalism of his ideology.

Prepare your closing carefully (unlike the President seemed to have done last week), and tell America the unvarnished truth: Romney and Ryan plan to do a reverse Robin Hood at a time in our nation’s history when the rich have never had it so good while the rest haven’t been as economically insecure since the Great Depression.

Ryan, like Romney, is determined to defend every penny of people who are completely disconnected from the context of how they made their money. Conservatives are willfully blind to all the complexities of a modern economy. They have a Ayn Rand cartoon character view of how capital is created. They’re the saints of wealth at the top of the mountain who got their all on their own. And to make Barack Obama or any Democrat the demon determined to drag them down is laughable. Increasing taxes to what they were under the Clinton administration is no where near the end of prosperity or capitalism. The only reason that morons like Ryan get elected is that sadly, many voters are even dumber or more gullible them he is.

This is not some hot off the presses story that is going to change many minds, but just another tell-tale part of the Romney trail. How when it comes down to the choice between the values he says he has and money, Mitt always goes with the cash. Mitt Romney Lined His Pockets Pimping Big Tobacco In Russia

Which brings me back to my original question: Is there a moral question involved when profits depend on promoting a product clearly proven to cause health problems and which is banned from one’s own religion?

It’s not an easy question to me. If Romney were not Mormon, he would still have to wrestle with whether it was a good idea to introduce products into an emerging market which only harmed people. There’s no question now that tobacco does harm and there was no question then. So even without the Mormon ban on tobacco, how is pimping tobacco products in Russia a moral and right thing to do?

One last bit. It seems that House Republicans lead by the sleazy Darrell Issa (R), in their unhinged zeal to pin blame for the embassy attack in Libya, may have exposed the CIA to some blow back, Letting us in on a secret

Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.

…The Republican lawmakers, in their outbursts, alternated between scolding the State Department officials for hiding behind classified material and blaming them for disclosing information that should have been classified. But the lawmakers created the situation by ordering a public hearing on a matter that belonged behind closed doors.

Republicans were aiming to embarrass the Obama administration over State Department security lapses. But they inadvertently caused a different picture to emerge than the one that has been publicly known: that the victims may have been let down not by the State Department but by the CIA. If the CIA was playing such a major role in these events, which was the unmistakable impression left by Wednesday’s hearing, having a televised probe of the matter was absurd.

The chairman, attempting to close his can of worms, finally suggested that “the entire committee have a classified briefing as to any and all other assets that were not drawn upon but could have been drawn upon” in Benghazi.

Good idea. Too bad he didn’t think of that before putting the CIA on C-SPAN.

Republicans are a threat to grandpa and national security. That is not news, they been like this for years and have no plans to change.

Forest Waterfall wallpaper – What We Have Learned From Romney, Ryan and The Elite

Forest Waterfall wallpaper

 

Except for E.J. Dionne and Ezra Klein, WaPo seems hardly worth a visit anymore, so I was surprised to see this great piece of satire by Steven Pearlstein, I am a job creator: A manifesto for the entitled

I am the misunderstood superhero of American capitalism, single-handedly creating wealth and prosperity despite all the obstacles put in my way by employees, government and the media.

…I am entitled to a healthy and well-educated workforce, a modern and efficient transportation system and protection for my person and property, just as I am entitled to demonize the government workers who provide them.

I am entitled to complain bitterly about taxes that are always too high, even when they are at record lows.

I am entitled to a judicial system that efficiently enforces contracts and legal obligations on customers, suppliers and employees but does not afford them the same right in return.

…I am entitled to provide political support to radical, uncompromising politicians and then complain about how dysfunctional Washington has become.

…I am entitled to load companies up with debt in order to pay myself and investors big dividends — and then blame any bankruptcy on over-compensated workers.

I am entitled to contracts, subsidies, tax breaks, loans and even bailouts from government, even as I complain about job-killing government budget deficits.

Things we learned from Romney and conservatives

I skipped around a bit, the rest is at the link. Steven  could have just as well entitled it the Romney-Ryan World View or This is The Bubble of The Conservative Mind.

Maybe some day after scientists crack the fusion issue and we have all the cheap clean energy of our dreams they can plot the calculus  of Republican shrillness as a function of their desperation, Top Romney Adviser Criticizes Obama For Not Killing Bin Laden Fast Enough

Sununu said that Obama was “timid,” could have gone after the terrorist mastermind sooner, and attributed the successful operation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

The president is trying to take credit for following the strategy and the tactics put into place by George W. Bush. At some point the president is going to have to explain why he was timid on the first two or three opportunities that we had. Thank goodness Hillary Clinton was there was to convince him to do the right thing. […] His trying to take credit for having been decisive belies the fact that he wasn’t decisive until pressed by others.

But former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served in both the Bush and Obama administrations, described Obama’s decision to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden “gutsy,” saying that “people don’t realize” what a tough call it was and not everyone would have made the same call. Vice President Biden and Gates both advised Obama against taking the course he chose on the bin Laden raid, noting that “There wasn’t any direct evidence that he was there. It was all circumstantial.”

As TPro also notes Romney has said “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” Though conservatives certainly thought it was worth what will likely total $3 trillion dollars to invade a country that had no connections to 9-11 and no WMD. While most of the conservatives I know are more moderate they would never go back to a restaurant that served them a bad steak and order steak again. Yet they will continue the same disastrous foreign policies over and  over again. Lead by the same tin-foil wrapped thinking, guided by a nationalistic view of American exceptionalism that spends lives and money as though they hold little value.

CNN Paints Misleading Picture Of Ryan Medicare Plan

CNN’s Sanjay Gupta claimed that the proposed changes to Medicare that Congressman Paul Ryan has offered would allow seniors to choose between “a voucher” system and “traditional Medicare,” while keeping the system affordable. In fact, experts say the Ryan plan would threaten Medicare’s long-term viability and potentially would increase seniors’ medical costs by thousands of dollars.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has looked at the Ryan plan, as has The Brookings Institute. The Ryan plan guts Medicare. CNN should be up to date on the facts – if those matter anymore to modern broadcast journalists or infotainers. When you gut Medicare for most Americans, it also guts a good part of Social Security because seniors without a lot of retirement resources would be forced to dip into Social Security to pay for the new Ryan expenses. Conservatives are of course calling Ryan CBS interview a hack job, it is the only, and as usual lame excuse they have. That was Ryan on the screen with an opportunity to sell himself and Romney as the wiz kids with the answers. It was like watching a raccoon frozen, caught trying to put the lid back on the trashcan, The Paul Ryan Legend Dissipates 

Wallace is trying to do something that Ryan is not used to: ask him how the numbers in his plan add up. The Romney tax plan is premised on a mathematical impossibility. It promises to reduce tax rates by 20 percent and cover the lost revenue by eliminating tax deductions, exempting tax breaks for investment income. Even making a series of assumptions ranging from friendly to impossibly friendly, it can’t add up. The lost revenue from the tax rate cuts on income over $250,000 exceeds the available revenue from eliminating deductions. Even Republican attempts to disprove this finding have inadvertently confirmed it.

Ryan PowerPoint has mostly had the kind of scrutiny that conservatives voters give conservative candidates  – they hang on every word with the unquestioning idolatry which has become a hallmark of the conservative movement. Now someone asks a simple questions about facts that he has laid out in PowerPoint to Republican voters numerous times and suddenly he cannot give even a snapshot of his plan or Romneys’.

And nobody has ever asked him. Because Ryan’s role in the budget discourse was not to be questioned, but to question others. If he was asked to comment, it was to express his sadness over Obama’s alleged unwillingness to enact the bipartisan debt plans that Ryan in fact killed.

Ryan is still an extremely skilled bullshitter — vastly better at it than Romney. But he’s actually seeing, for the first time, questions that attempt to pry information out of him, rather than the batting practice lobs to which he’s accustomed. He’s going to emerge from the race with his legend punctured.

As much as Ryan is being exposed for the clown he is, it’s a pretty safe bet he’ll be back in 2016 as a viable presidential candidate.

Mitt Romney: Free Speech Is for Billionaires, Not School-Teachers

What does a plutocracy look like? How about a leveraged buy-out artist who used his family connections – and gamed the tax code – to amass a $378 million fortune , and whose campaign is almost entirely financed by deep-pocketed conservative sugar-daddies, saying that while money equals Constitutionally protected free speech for his own donors, there should be limits on political spending by teachers making $75,000 per year.

That’s exactly what transpired on Tuesday at an education forum in New York. According to CBS, Romney said that “we simply can’t have” elected officials who may receive contributions from teachers’ unions negotiating with them. “I think it’s a mistake,” Romney said. “I think we have to get the money out of the teachers unions going into campaigns.” CBS adds: “He suggested that money should somehow be diverted or cut off,” but — as is typical with Romney — “he did not offer details.”

One would be hard-pressed to come up with a better example of rank hypocrisy.

Another entry for Steven’s next list of what the entitled think about the little people. Romney, the Koch brothers, BofA, whatever corporation has the right to spend more on lobbyists who have direct meetings with House and Senate staff, than they do on taxes, and teachers should not be able to negotiate with any elected official conservatives deem unfit to do so. I guess that inside the bubble of the noise machine this kind of rhetorical nonsense from themselves and other Republicans makes sense, not so much for non-kool-aid drinkers.

I only have so much time and so I post about my priorities. For those who would like to catch up on some good posts on the whole drone intra Democratic/liberal debate –  Droning on About Drones. Boo makes a fact based point that cannot be repeated enough – the U.S. military is not going around, under Obama’s direction, indiscriminately killing innocent Muslim villagers. Though one can get that impression from reading certain liberal bloggers. Ideals are great but there really is such a thing as real life day-to-day politics in which, yes, I’m sorry to break it to some people, you have to choose between what absolutely sucks and the less than perfect. There is that old saying to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Some bloggers don’t need to read that yet again, they need to really think about it. This is also a good post in that regard,  Dear Freddie: Politics Doesn’t just happen once every four years. Politics happens every day.

 

The Savannah River 1900 – Mitt Romney Has Declared That Sleazy Lies Are a Value

The Savannah River, c1900. While this may look like a painting it is a Photochrom color print. The Savannah River forms most of the border between the states of South Carolina and Georgia. Beautiful picture and from a distance still makes for a beautiful landscape to this day. While it was probably polluted in the early 1900s – dumping raw sewerage in river was pretty common, sadly in 2009 the Savannah River has the fourth-highest toxic discharge in the country.

Cony Island, New York c1910. If one had the free time and a little money this was the place to hang out at the time. I appreciate modern casual attitudes about fashion as much as anyone, but you have to hand it to the era for having a sense of style. Like mall watchers today, one of the biggest reason to be there was to people watch and to be seen.

Hand in hand with the Republican Party and conservative movement to the extreme Right has been its contempt for the truth. Since the conservative mind is perfectly capable of the most bizarre urban myths, from non-existent WMD as a patriotic reason to die, to the UN taking over the country, to believing that real rape does not get women pregnant, no doubt they have little problem rationalizing the increase in lies. Occasionally, so occasionally that it becomes news worthy, one of them will let some truth slip out – Republican Gov. Brownback admits Romney welfare ads are false.  I’m sure that Romney said something during his convention speech that had some truth in it, much like an apple pie has a pinch of cinnamon. That is not the way it is supposed to work. Romney made a pie out of cinnamon with a pinch of apple thrown in. The last I heard truth is a value. Though certainly since Saint Reagan’s welfare queen lie, or Nixon’s I am not a crook assertion, conservatives have been willing to throw most of what Americans consider values under the bus for the cause of the right-wing agenda. I’m going to list the three links and take a lie from each. Some fact checkers found more lis than others and some did a better job of explaining them: WaPO – Fact checking Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the GOP convention. ABC News – Fact Check: Mitt Romney’s Speech at RNC and CBS – Fact check: Mitt Romney’s convention speech

“And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.” (Romney)

This sounds like a pretty bold statement, especially considering that only two presidents — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — created more than 12 million jobs. Romney, in fact, says he can reach this same goal, in just four years, though the policy paper issued by his campaign contains few details. It is mostly a collection of policy assertions, such as reducing debt, overhauling the tax code, fostering free trade and so forth.

But, in fact, the number is even less impressive than it sounds. This pledge amounts to an average of 250,000 jobs a month, a far cry from the 500,000 jobs a month that Romney once claimed would be created in a “normal recovery.” In recent months, the economy has averaged about 150,000 jobs a month.

The Congressional Budget Office is required to consider the effects of the so-called “fiscal cliff” if a year-end budget deal is not reached, which many experts believe would push the country into a recession. But even with that caveat, the nonpartisan agency assumes 9.6 million jobs will be created between 2013 and 2017. (This is a revision downward; CBO had estimated 11 million in January.)

But Moody’s Analytics, in an August forecast, predicts 12 million jobs will be created by 2016, no matter who is president. And Macroeconomic Advisors in April also predicted a gain of 12.3 million jobs.

In other words, this is a fairly safe bet by Romney, even if he has a somewhat fuzzy plan for action. We have often noted that presidents are often at the mercy — or are the beneficiary — of broad economic trends, and Romney’s pledge appears to be an effort to take advantage of that.

As lies and conservative cleverness goes, this was a clever less than truthy statement. If elected president and the economy does not have a mini-recession, he can claim credit for jobs that would have been created if the Obama recovery continues.

‘His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today’s seniors, and depress innovation.’

The now-famous $716 billion is not a “cut” to Medicare, in the sense that it does not take from the “trust fund” or reduce the amount of money available to beneficiaries. Rather, the Obama plan, like Paul Ryan’s, puts caps on the amount the government will pay to health-care providers. And while some of those savings, which were codified in The Affordable Care Act, have been counted by the White House against the new costs incurred by health-care overhaul, there is no real connection; there are no dollar bills once marked “Medicare” that have been scrubbed clean and shifted to cover expenses under the Obama health care law.

This is a threefer lie. It lies about how Romney’s plan would gut Medicare and it lies about the fact that Paul Ryan’s plan to gut Medicare had cuts that Republicans in the House actually passed. The bill had no chance of being passed by the Senate or of President Obama signing it into law, but conservatives are happy to waste tax payer dollars on purely symbolic votes.

“His trillion-dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk.”

This claim is tied to the fact that the defense budget is facing $500 billion in cuts at the end of the year. As part of an agreement between Congressional Republicans and Democrats, the cuts are set to go into effect (along with roughly equal cuts to domestic programs) in January – unless lawmakers can agree on an alternate way to cut spending. It is not correct to call those “his” cuts, in reference to the president.

This was part of the infamous debt ceiling hostage deal. Republicans really blew that one. They could have gotten another trillion in spending cuts in exchange for raising a little revenue from taxes on millionaires. Republicans decided to look out for millionaires. Now that the conditions of their agreement are coming due, they’re screaming bloody murder that it’s all President Obama’s fault. When I was growing up we considering taking responsibility for our actions a value. Conservatives seemed to have thrown that in the sink and ground it up in the disposal along with a few other old American values.

Paul Krugman dived into Paul Ryan’s Medicare lies again. I think many of us are particularly concerned, angry, disappointed or whatever combination because the social safety net for seniors and the disabled are so important. It is not, for me at least, a way to score easy point, it is about the deep moral betrayal of America’s seniors and those soon to be senior citizens, by the Republican Party, The Medicare Killers

Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan’s brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless.

Some of his fibs were trivial but telling, like his suggestion that President Obama is responsible for a closed auto plant in his hometown, even though the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office. Others were infuriating, like his sanctimonious declaration that “the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” This from a man proposing savage cuts in Medicaid, which would cause tens of millions of vulnerable Americans to lose health coverage.

And Mr. Ryan — who has proposed $4.3 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, versus only about $1.7 trillion in specific spending cuts — is still posing as a deficit hawk.

But Mr. Ryan’s big lie — and, yes, it deserves that designation — was his claim that “a Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare.” Actually, it would kill the program.

Before I get there, let me just mention that Mr. Ryan has now gone all-in on the party line that the president’s plan to trim Medicare expenses by around $700 billion over the next decade — savings achieved by paying less to insurance companies and hospitals, not by reducing benefits — is a terrible, terrible thing. Yet, just a few days ago, Mr. Ryan was still touting his own budget plan, which included those very same savings.

But back to the big lie. The Republican Party is now firmly committed to replacing Medicare with what we might call Vouchercare. The government would no longer pay your major medical bills; instead, it would give you a voucher that could be applied to the purchase of private insurance. And, if the voucher proved insufficient to buy decent coverage, hey, that would be your problem.

As I mentioned in a post last year, any attacks on Medicare are also a backdoor attack on Social Security. If seniors and the severely disabled must bear a much larger share of their medical expenses they have no new source of income to turn to ( in most cases). So extra expenses will have to be paid out of Social Security. Conservatives have framed this – and it is echoed in every conservative site tha takes comments and by trolls in other places, that we must get Medicare cost under control – and of course the only way to do that is gut it. On the contra, a combination of increased revenue and while I don’t like it, some means testing for high income earners, would put Medicare on track. Medicare is the single greatest downward pressure on health care cost – costing about 14% less than other health care plans. The health care business has very little incentive to save money or offer discounts. Since 2001, employer-sponsored health coverage for family premiums have increased by 113%. The national rate of inflation has been around 1.5 to 2 percent.

E pluribus unum wallpaper – When It Comes To Women and Rape All Republicans Share The Same Immoral Agenda

E pluribus unum wallpaper. E pluribus unum  is from the Latin,  “Out of many, one”. For about the first 175 years it was the de facto motto of the United States.

 

To review, Rep. Todd Akin (R) the conservative candidate for Senate in Missouri  told a local Missouri station in an interview that “legitimate rape” does not lead to pregnancy.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin said in an interview with KTVI-TV that caused a furor online Sunday afternoon after being posted on TPM. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin’s comments came during a discussion of his hardline stand against permitting legal abortions for rape victims. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child,” he said.

McCaskill quickly rebuked him — “As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases, I’m stunned by Rep. Akin’s comments about victims this AM,” she tweeted — and Republican operatives on Twitter joined in the chorus decrying his remarks and speculating that he would need to be pulled from the race if the GOP wanted to continue to have any shot at taking her seat. Akin, who had been leading in polls, issued a lengthy statement explaining that he “misspoke.”

It may sound like snark but it is incredibly dishonest of the Republican Party and their cabal of commentators to scream for Akin to quite the race. Akin has said or done nothing wrong in the framework of what the conservative movement stands for and the goals of is agenda. As many have already heard, Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Akins (R-MO) co-sponsored  H.R. 3 .

Last year, Akin joined with GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as two of the original co-sponsors of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill which, among other things, introduced the country to the bizarre term “forcible rape.”

Federal law prevents federal Medicaid funds and similar programs from paying for abortions. Yet the law also contains an exception for women who are raped. The bill Akin and Ryan cosponsored would have narrowed this exception, providing that only pregnancies arising from “forcible rape” may be terminated. Because the primary target of Akin and Ryan’s effort are Medicaid recipients — patients who are unlikely to be able to afford an abortion absent Medicaid funding — the likely impact of this bill would have been forcing many rape survivors to carry their rapist’s baby to term. Michelle Goldberg explains who Akin and Ryan would likely target:

Under H.R. 3, only victims of “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions. Victims of statutory rape—say, a 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 30-year-old man—would be on their own. So would victims of incest if they’re over 18. And while “forcible rape” isn’t defined in the criminal code, the addition of the adjective seems certain to exclude acts of rape that don’t involve overt violence—say, cases where a woman is drugged or has a limited mental capacity. “It’s basically putting more restrictions on what was defined historically as rape,” says Keenan.

Although a version of this bill passed the GOP-controlled House, the “forcible rape” language was eventually removed due to widespread public outcry.

And just in the news today, Ryan Refuses To Say Abortions Should Be Available To Women Who Are Raped. Mitt Romney has condemned Akins, yet CNN Reports Republican Party Platform Will Include No Exception For Rape, ‘Legitimate’ Or Otherwise. This is Romney’s platform, the agenda on which his campaign rests. Akin’s has offered up yet another strange non-apology in the annals of strange apologies from conservatives,

“I feel just as strongly as ever that my background and ability will be a big asset in replacing [Sen.] Clare McCaskill and putting some sanity back in our government. I’m not a quitter, and my belief is we’re going to take this thing forward, and by the grace of God we’re going to win this race.”

Most of the Republicans in the presidential primaries said God told them to run. Now we have Akins claiming that a man who believes that women should be used as incubators for the babies of rapists thinks God is on his side. The real motivation for the clearly false outrage on behalf of Romney, Ryan and others is over the fact that Akins so openly and bluntly stated what they believe – and have believed for years ( a good history of the bizarre way conservatives view rape and women’s rights here – THE MAINSTREAM CONSERVATIVE ROOTS OF TODD AKIN’S PREGNANCY THEORY (sorry not my caps). They’re not outraged over the substance, they’re outraged at letting an unvarnished version of what they believe out into the world. Todd Akins (R-MO) has had his defenders. Defenders in the sense – with friends like these who needs enemies – Second CNN Contributor Scrambles To Deflect Criticism From GOP Rep. Akin’s “Legitimate Rape”

CNN contributor Erick Erickson jumped to deflect criticism from Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) after Akin said that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancies. In his response, Erickson used a discredited criticism of President Obama.

Asked during a local television interview whether he would keep abortion legal in the case of rape, Akin said:

AKIN: First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.

Akin has subsequently said: “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”

Erickson responded to Akin’s comments by writing:

Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, made an inarticulate and rather dumb statement about rape and abortion on television in Missouri.  He subsequently clarified his remarks. Congressman Akin, like many devout Christians, does not believe in a rape exception for abortion.

Erickson later added that he’d “take Todd Akin’s inarticulate remarks over an infanticide supporter any day of the week”:

Todd Akin was inarticulate. Some are now accusing him of being pro-rape. The people horrid by Todd Akin’s remarks are, I’m sure, thrilled to have a President who defended infanticide. I’ll take Todd Akin’s inarticulate remarks over an infanticide supporter any day of the week.

I’m not going to spend too much time parsing this grotesque word salad that Erickson thinks passes for a rebuttal and his lame deflection to a myth regarding president Obama’s service as an Illinois state senator. Many devout Christians, Jews and good folks from various religions support a women’s right to have dominion over her own body, especially in cases of rape, incest and medical issues that make pregnancy medically problematic for the woman. Conservatives, such as the perennially arrogant Erickson do not own Christianity.

Mike Huckabee also chimed in to Todd Akins (R-MO) defense with this stunner, Huckabee to Akin: ‘Horrible’ rapes created some extraordinary people

The former Arkansas governor and onetime GOP presidential contender suggested a couple of cases in which he suggested that rapes, though “horrible tragedies,” had produced admirable human beings.

“Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,” Huckabee said of the late American gospel singer. One-time presidential candidate Huckabee added: “I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.”

Huckabee left the seminary in 1976 to become director of communications for the fiery televangelist Robison, who once declared he was “sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals and the perverts and the liberals and the leftists and the communists coming out of the closet.” Robison called on “God’s people to come out of the closet” and re-take control of America.

I wish I could wash my brain of the number of times I have heard similar Republican rationales for treating women and their wombs as though they were petri dishes. In this bizarre Huckabeeian logic be thankful your house burned down and killed your dog, you can build a new house and get a new dog. Ya see folks everything has a silver lining. Be happy that mugger knocked out your teeth, now you can get dentures and never have to worry about cavities. In this upside down world all terrible tragedies are good because some good may come of it, so bring on some more tragedy. This philosophy fits in with the Republican tendency to see themselves as beleaguered martyrs. Like most Americans I believe in trying to make the best of bad situations, but like so many good things the concept can be carried to sick twisted extremes.

If you’re going to keep selling the same snake-oil to voters Rep. Akins (R-MO) should take lessons from Scott Brown (R-MS). brown seems to have had some success in conning the voters of Massachusetts into believing he is a nice guy, a moderate guy/ Like George Bush he even runs around in a work jackets and a truck – see I’m a stand-up guy, not a two-faced opportunist who drinks the same kool-aid as Todd Akins, Two Faced Scott Brown (R-MS) Supports Todd Akin’s Agenda Even As He Calls On Akin To Quit

As Rep. Todd Akin’s despicable comments on “legitimate rape” rightfully provoke outrage, the Massachusetts Democratic Party reminds voters that Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown has given thousands of dollars to other Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate who would redefine rape as “forcible rape” and threaten women’s rights if, with Brown, they gain control of the U.S. Senate.

Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan also supports the bill.

Brown’s PAC, SCOTTPAC, has made campaign contributions to four House members, including three U.S. Senate candidates, after they cosponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

Scott Brown is supporting a Vice Presidential nominee and three of his fellow senate candidates who want to redefine rape, excluding protections to victims of violent sexual assaults. Brown donated to current Senate candidates Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), and Rep. Rick Berg (R-ND), as well as Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA). The Republican nominee for Vice President, Paul Ryan, also cosponsored the bill.

…Scott Brown has made campaign contributions to the following supporters of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that would redefine rape:

Scott Brown’s PAC contributed $5,000 to Jeff Flake for US Senate Inc[OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 8/20/12]

Scott Brown’s PAC contributed $10,000 to Montanans for Rehberg [OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 8/20/12]

Scott Brown’s PAC contributed $5,000 to Berg for Senate [OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 8/20/12]

Scott Brown’s PAC contributed $10,000 to Denham for Congress [OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 8/20/12]

Brown – the moderate – has also joined his fellow Senate conservatives in blocking any jobs bills, including – Dem Jobs Bill For Teachers, Firefighters…….Republicans block Bring Jobs Home Act, protecting companies that outsource jobs…..Republicans Obstruct Third Jobs Measure in Senate….and Brown supports Romney’s Tax Plan Which May Cost U.S. As Many As 800,000 Jobs: Report.

This is the party and agenda of Romney, Ryan, Akins, Erickson, Huckabee and Brown – Eight staggering Conservative Republican comments on rape and women

7. When women sign up for the military to hang out with aggressive dudes, they are asking to be raped. Notoriously anti-woman Fox News talking-head Liz Trotta wondered of enlisted women who were assaulted, “What did they expect?” She also blasted feminist calls for infrastructure and support to help the increasing number of women in this position. And refused to apologize.

8. Santorum and Huckabee are all about rape victims taking one for team “Life.” Let’s not forget our Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, respectively, think rape victims should “make the best” of it and see the unwanted child as a gift and sometimes cool people are conceived in rape.

 

Krugman has a good blog post up today on the relentless Medicare –  Mediscare campaign of Romney-Ryan ( which many down ticket conservatives have adopted as talking points) – Understanding Medicare “Cuts”

Jackie Calmes has a very good piece about those Medicare “cuts” Romney promises to repeal. As she emphasizes, all of these involve reductions in payments to insurance companies and health providers, rather than reductions in patient benefits. So what are we talking about?

Sarah Kliff had a good summary. Most of the proposed savings come from reducing overpayments to Medicare Advantage and reducing reimbursement rates to hospitals.

What should you know about these changes?

Medicare Advantage is a 15-year failed experiment in privatization. Running Medicare through private insurance companies was supposed to save money through the magic of the marketplace; in reality, private insurers, with their extra overhead, have never been able to compete on a level playing field with conventional Medicare. But Congress refused to take no for an answer, and kept the program alive by paying the insurers substantially more than the costs per patient of regular Medicare. All the ACA does is end this overpayment.