Archive for category Republicans
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is running for president as a super-hawk, but this is just ridiculous.
The Senate Armed Services Committee held its own hearing today on the international nuclear agreement with Iran, which regrettably went about as well as the other congressional hearings on the issue. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Republican presidential candidate and one of his party’s most unyielding hawks, got especially animated during an exchange with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter:
GRAHAM: Could we win a war with Iran? Who wins the war between us and Iran? Who wins? Do you have any doubt who wins?
CARTER: No, the….
GRAHAM: We win!
The senator seemed pleased with himself, though this doesn’t exactly help the Republican cause. For proponents of the agreement, the concern has long been that GOP lawmakers want to kill the diplomatic deal because they want a military confrontation with Iran. Republicans usually make a point to deny this, instead saying they prefer a “better” diplomatic solution.
Graham, however, is less subtle – his line of questioning suggested the United States would win a war, which makes war an appealing alternative.
Reminder: Iran is larger than Alaska, with a population of 80 million people. They have an active duty military numbering 545,000, with 1.8 million reservists.
By comparison, the entire U.S. Army consists of 475,000 soldiers. To say a war of aggression against Iran is a bad idea would be a massive understatement. Like Iraq, it’s halfway around the world. Unlike Iraq, they have the capability to defend their country – making Senator Graham’s proposed invasion very costly and bloody.
As usual Donald Trump says out loud what the rest of us are thinking: Trump: Graham a ‘total lightweight,’ couldn’t get a job in the private sector
The Badr Organization, an Iranian-backed Shiite militia in Iraq, is in possession of at least one US M1 Abrams tank. The Iraqi government has lost control of many of those lately, mostly to ISIS.
Let’s “phase out” Medicare? Seriously? (emphasis added):
“I think we need to be vigilant about this and persuade people that our, when your volunteers go door to door, and they talk to people, people understand this. They know, and I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits. But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something – because they’re not going to have anything. And that argument I think is going to be a winning argument if we take it directly to people.”
Why do Tea-GOPers keep attacking Social Security and Medicare, the most popular and effective government programs that sustain the American middle class? How out of touch can you be?
The “new system” he’s referring to is the Tea-GOP’s idea of replacing Medicare coverage with cheap vouchers that don’t cover the cost of health care for seniors.
Bush answers my last question here: Jeb Bush: ‘Please Help Me’ Understand Sharknado
Hey, lately Tea-GOP presidential candidates have been desperate to get media attention, resorting to various lame attempts to out-clown Donald Trump (can’t be done, Trump is driving the clown bus). It’s sad.
The real reason conservatives want to do away with Medicare has always been political: It’s the very idea of the government providing a universal safety net that they hate, and they hate it even more when such programs are successful.
…Medicare is 50 years old this week. Conservatives have been warning that it will destroy American freedom for that entire time. Kind of a bizarre claim about a program that has been a lifesaver both financially and literally for many seniors and their loved ones.
While The Donald and the rest of the Tea-GOP are fond of freaking out over the supposed crisis caused by a massive influx of migrants to the USA from Mexico, the actual facts point to zero net migration from Mexico since 2010.
A combination of economic and demographic factors have changed the immigration trend, which is not likely to reverse again soon.
Barring truly massive shocks to the Mexican economy or political system, we are extremely unlikely to see another great wave of immigration for at least the next 20 year to 40 years. And that would only happen if Mexico reverses a half-century of declining fertility rates within the next few years.
Don’t expect to hear this from anybody in the Tea-GOP, even though it really might help them politically if the immigration issue went away.
I can haz nomination – trumpyourcat
Remember in the 2012 race for the Tea-GOP presidential nomination when Donald Trump briefly became the front runner even though he wasn’t a declared candidate? If you do, then you won’t be surprised that The Donald is again leading the pack in the latest USA Today poll.
Steven Rosenfeld on Alternet: “The open question is how much damage can Trump to do the GOP brand and the nominating process…”
Another question is when will one of the other 15 Tea-GOP contenders dare to criticize Trump or point out that he would make a ridiculously awful President? Are they afraid to take on such a luxurious, high-end top candidate for fear of being called a loser or a dummy? Do they think that by not attacking Trump they can inherit his racist supporters when Trump drops out?
What’s wrong with the American economy? If you ask presidential candidate John Ellis (“Jeb”) Bush, it has nothing to do with the Great Recession of 2008 during the most recent Bush administration — which put 8.7 million of us out of work. Nothing to do with Tea-GOP economic sabotage during the long, slow recovery that replaced many middle-class jobs with low-wage and part-time employment.
Our friend “Jeb! 2016″ says all that’s needed to fix the economy is for more people to work longer hours. Apparently he is not aware that productivity and worker compensation have been decoupled for about 40 years now. Working harder gets us nowhere, and makes CEOs and the 1 Percent richer.
The relationship between American workers’ industriousness and their economic security has eroded so severely in recent decades that the two concepts aren’t even on speaking terms these days.
Workers were a staggering 25 percent more productive in 2012 than they were in 2000. But over the same period that bosses started getting a full quarter more work out of their employees, the median wage grew exactly zero percent. Even those with college degrees saw their pay stagnate over the past decade. Over the five-year stretch encompassing the Great Recession and the first few years of the slow recovery Bush is criticizing, workers gave their bosses an 8 percent jump in productivity – and got back an outright decline in earnings.
Tea-GOP prescriptions like “work harder for less pay” don’t deserve to win any votes. Americans who work for a living are not at fault. We’re the victims of a financialized, de-unionized, 1 Percent economy that’s reaching Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality.
Newsweek: Does Jeb Bush understand economics?
Bush’s full statement was: “My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4% growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families.”
This word salad mixes together different economic terms as if they mean the same thing and reaches for statistics that are, quite simply, ridiculous. Perhaps Bush was just sloppy in his language, but whatever aide is prepping him on economics needs to do a better job–maybe by working longer hours.
…When it comes to productivity, American workers have been doing a great job. Productivity, which is the economic output per worker, has grown relentlessly since 1947 in almost a straight upward line. Implying that Americans aren’t being productive enough is about the same as saying McDonald’s doesn’t sell enough hamburgers. How much is enough to Bush? If record productivity–with a cumulative growth of almost 300% since 1947–doesn’t cut it, what does?
There is no context where “we have to be more productive” means anything other than “push yourselves past record levels, workers!” That is, unless Bush doesn’t know what the word means.
But with this full statement, he has also demonstrated that he has no idea of the real problem facing American workers. No doubt, he is blaming them for their stagnant wages–all that’s needed is more hours of work, and wages will improve significantly.
As history proves, that’s hokum. America went through nearly a century where the profits generated by growth in worker productivity was shared–the more they produced, the more money everyone made. What Bush and far too many Republicans refuse to acknowledge is that wages and productivity became uncoupled around 1973: Productivity goes up, corporate profits go up, the rich get wealthier, but the financial benefits don’t trickle down to workers.
…American history’s most productive workers are not responsible for the fact that they aren’t paid enough. Do Bush and his GOP cohorts really believe that the wealthy are sitting in their offices, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for workers to demand more money that will then be handed over gladly? Wages are growing at their lowest level since World War II. In fact, income inequality is worse today than it was in 1774, even when slavery is included in the numbers, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Thank goodness Obama got elected and was able to get two honest jurors on the supreme court. Everybody is stunned to see decision after decision coming down on the side of ordinary Americans for a change. Scalia is just beside himself and even mentioned “hippies” in his dissenting court opinion about gay marriage. Bizarre.
First came the ruling against segregation in housing. Then “Obamacare” was saved in a decisive vote. I can only remember one other such vote in over a decade, since we started to see all these 5 to 4 politically motivated votes coming out of the court. Then the stunning “marriage equality” decision.
Today we hear about a ruling which actually allows citizens to be included in redistricting discussions. This is really big! I hope something can be done in time for the next presidential vote, but I doubt it.
This should be a clarion call for people to get out and overwhelm the voting system by – you know – voting, so we can prevent a Republican president from stacking the court with partisan hacks again. If McCain and Romney had taken over the white house, none of these rulings would have been possible.
As R.J. Eskow points out on HuffPo, the Tea-GOP is dedicated to tearing down Social Security and Medicare on behalf of the 1 Percent. Seemingly obvious ideas such as eliminating the cap on payroll taxes are viewed as a threat by some wealthy people, so they’re not on the policy agenda.
Few political advisors would suggest running on a platform of open hostility toward the elderly. Most families include an older person, after all, and everyone who lives long enough will become older themselves someday.
Seniors vote in greater numbers, too.
That may be why the GOP isn’t openly presenting itself as the “anti-elderly party.” But how else are we to interpret its deeds and actions? Its leading presidential candidates are pushing cuts to Social Security, while its congressional budgets would end Medicare as we know it.
Most older Americans would lose out under these proposals. But billionaires would make out very well indeed.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker became the latest Republican to jump on the anti-Social Security bandwagon this week, and he did so in a somewhat tactless way — by suggesting that benefits cuts should be applied to anybody born later than… Scott Walker.
“We’ll talk about reform,” Walker said, “but only for those — I was born on November 2, 1967 — for anybody older than me, we’re not touching social security.”
(“Reform,” in case you haven’t noticed, is a euphemism some people are fond of using when discussing Social Security or Medicare. It means “cuts.”)
…Then there’s Medicare. The Republican House has repeatedly approved budgets which would cut Medicare’s budget and replace it with a voucher system for purchasing private insurance. That would impose severe financial hardship on the average enrollee.
These attacks on Social Security and Medicare come at a time when Americans are facing a retirement crisis. A new report from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), conducted at the request of Sen. Bernie Sanders, found that “about half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings,” and that “many older households without retirement savings have few other resources, such as a defined benefit (DB) plan or non-retirement savings, to draw on in retirement.”
Via Think Progress
The Campaign for Accountability (CfA) is requesting that the attorneys general of Utah, Arizona and Montana investigate Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory (R) for “solicit[ing] funds from local officials, falsely claiming the federal government can be forced to transfer public lands to the states.”
The complaints cite Ivory’s use of his role as president and founder of the American Lands Council (ALC), a Utah-based organization, to “enrich” his personal wealth and make “false or fraudulent representations to obtain money.”
Utah remains the only Western state to have enacted a law to steal our public lands, which would be utterly unconstitutional. Utah’s HB 148, signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012, violates the U.S. Constitution, the Utah Constitution, and the Utah Enabling Act.
Anne Weismann, executive director of the CfA:
“Ken Ivory has relied on his position and authority as a Utah state legislator to persuade unsuspecting local officials that if they contribute taxpayer dollars to his charity, they can help their states acquire federal land and increase revenues… He might as well be trying to sell them the Brooklyn Bridge.”
Ken Ivory and his wife pocket most of the money contributed to the ALC.
According to the AP, representatives for the Utah and Montana attorneys general offices are reviewing the fraud accusations.
SLT: Environmentalists claim Ken Ivory is scamming local officials
Rep. Ivory says he’s being bullied by the Campaign for Accountability.
“These types of organizations have just destroyed Western public lands through this kind of litigation and bullying tactics,” he said. “They’re so afraid of the success that the transfer of public lands movement is having that they’re stooping to these kinds of bullying tactics because they can’t tolerate basic political debate.”
Well, all I can do is speculate, since they won’t tell us why he’s being indicted.
As usual, I had NPR on this morning when I heard that the former speaker of the house, Dennis Hastert, had been indicted for undisclosed reasons. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of secret, public indictments before. Have you?
The indictment did not specify the nature of the misconduct. A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor in Northern Illinois declined to offer further detail about the alleged wrongdoing by the former speaker.
Hastert who was brought in as speaker of the house to replace Bob Livingston who had replaced Newt Gringrich a couple of weeks earlier, when it became known that both men, who had been attacking Bill Clinton during the hyper-media frenzy about his famous extramarital affair, were exposed for having more serious adultery. The kindly looking Hastert was billed as, sort of, a Jimmy Carter like moralistic figure that was going to bring dignity and moderation back to the mess on capitol hill.
Even though the media won’t, I think I can give you some background on what is actually happening here and why this is much more serious then most of us who haven’t been to my favorite website, BradBlog.com. know.
Here’s a paragraph from a story posted there in 2008:
It appears that these arrangements aren’t the typical ‘Revolving Door’ retirement packages, but rather specific quid pro quo deals. People like Hastert and Grossman and the others quite literally sell out their government while in office on the specific promise that they will be rewarded when they leave.
To make a long story really short: the indictment that must not be known is most likely about Dennis Hastert being bribed by Turkey while in office, and taking a lobbying job there after leaving office. If you want the long version, it’s unfolding in the real American news media at BradBlog right now: HERE.
Pertinent video primer from 2008:
UPDATE: What, they couldn’t let this out this morning? Is this a cover story cooked up to make this go away? Couldn’t happen in America.
UPDATE: Although this sixty minutes story doesn’t cover Sybil Edmonds’s allegations against Hastert in the previous video, it’s obvious she has credibility.
“Jade Helm 15″ exercise map
The office of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) told TPM on Thursday that he’s not buying into the conspiracy theory that the military is plotting a massive multi-state takeover in the western U.S.
The governor’s spokesman, Marty Carpenter, sent an email to TPM about the upcoming seven-state military training exercise known as “Jade Helm 15,” saying the state has “been assured this will be a standard training exercise.”
Conspiracy theorists have sounded the alarm about the exercise, which is slated to take place from July 15 to Sept. 15 in Utah and six other western states. The conspiracy theory this week led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to order the State Guard to monitor “Jade Helm 15″ to confirm that the operation is not in fact a military takeover.
According to speculation, in the “Jade Helm” Special Operations Forces exercise Utah represents Syria– which is why it’s labeled as hostile on the map. Texas is possibly a stand-in for Iran, and southern California may be Palestine.
Defense Sec. Ash Carter on Thursday disputed the idea from conspiracy theorists that the military exercise known as “Jade Helm 15″ was an attempt by the Pentagon to take over Texas.
Before the Iowa caucuses, the Tea-GOP might produce as many as 21 presidential candidates. There are five announced candidates now, including Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz, Randal (“Rand”) Paul, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson. Mike Huckabee is set to announce tomorrow, and James (“Rick”) Perry is expected to enter the race on June 1. Nine more are formally exploring a candidacy, and there are at least five possible fringe candidates.
Governor Perry would be the first presidential candidate in U.S. history to run while under indictment. Carly Fiorina’s candidacy has a “boss from Hell” problem – see CarlyFiorina.org
Republican clown car gets a little more crowded as Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina enter the race
GOP clown car runs into ditch
CarlyFiorina.org is literally just 30,000 sad faces — one for every laid off HP employee