A Majority of Republicans in the House Want the US to Default on Its Debt

How do we know?  They just voted for it.  167 Republicans voted against the budget deal negotiated by Boehner and Obama.

All the Democrats voted in favor, as did 79 Republicans. It may or may not be a good deal but it beats the hell out of defaulting on our debt or shutting down the government.

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Dr. Ben Carson Offers $2.5 Trillion Federal Deficit

Dr. Ben Carson

Brian Tashman of Right Wing Watch points out that Tea-GOP presidential front runner Dr. Ben Carson’s federal budget numbers add up to an out-of-control annual deficit.

1. Carson proposes a 10 percent flat income tax according to the biblical practice of tithing. This would raise taxes on the poorest 47 percent of Americans, tax the rich at about 1/4 the current rate, and result in an estimated $1.1 trillion in annual revenue.

2. Carson wants a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which is unlikely to pass. Such an amendment would make deficits unconstitutional. Carson also says that, as President, he would never sign legislation to raise the debt limit.

3. Carson also would impose a federal hiring freeze, and order cuts of 3 to 4 percent across federal departments, except defense.

Slate’s Jordan Weissmann points out that even if “you were to cut all federal outlays, including Medicare, Medicaid, military spending, and Social Security, by 4 percent, you would save less than $150 billion.” Weissmann also noted that a strict government hiring freeze “would only save about $50 billion over a decade.”

Here’s the arithmetic:

Subtract 4% from the current approximately $3.2 trillion in non-military spending, and you get $3.072 trillion. Add the $600 billion Pentagon budget (which does not include the cost of overseas military operations, BTW). So President Carson would spend $3.672 annually to fund the federal government. Subtract $1.1 trillion in revenues. The answer: Carson would have a $2.572 trillion annual budget deficit, which is more than 6 times the FY 2015 $426 billion deficit.

But wait a minute, he’s for a balanced budget and not adding to the National Debt.

I really hope he gets called on this nonsense in tonight’s debate.

More info:
Ben Carson’s budget plan makes absolutely no sense


Budget Deal Might Stop Tea-GOP Wrecking Crew

Just before midnight on Monday, congressional leaders and the White House tentatively agreed on a major budget deal. The plan is to end debt limit standoffs through March 2017, and keep the federal government in operation with some sequestration relief. So-called “entitlement reform,” meaning cuts to Medicare and Social Security, was kept within limits.

Presumably, Speaker John Boehner will send this budget bill to the House floor before turning over the gavel to Rep. Paul Ryan.

The good news is, it looks like the U.S. government and economy will survive in the near term. We’ll avoid a looming default on our National Debt, and there will not be a government shutdown on December 11.

The bad news is the Shutdown Caucus, a key block of Tea-GOP members of Congress, still wants to bring about a government shutdown and/or default any way they can. Because of gerrymandering, they are likely to survive the next election. And nobody except Bernie Sanders is talking about taxing the rich anymore.

More info:
Final Major Budget Deal Of The Obama-Boehner Era Forces GOP To Release Social Security Hostages
Dean Baker: Paul Ryan Wants to Shut Down the Government, Permanently

Paul Ryan On Budget Deliberations: ‘I Think The Process Stinks’
A Whole Lot Of Face-Saving Theater
How John Boehner Saved Paul Ryan From Becoming Boehner 2.0


JEB! has a moment of unfortunate Bushiness

Over the weekend, Nancy LeTourneau at Washington Monthly highlighted an excerpt from an interview with JEB! Bush that is gobsmacking in its honesty while also demonstrating that JEB! has apparently no political instincts and has inherited the family’s propensity for saying awkward things:

If this is an election about how we’re going to fight to get nothing done, I don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to be elected president to sit around and see gridlock just become so dominant that people are literally in decline in their lives. That is not my motivation. I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around being miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.

By all means, JEB! head off and do those cool things.  FWIW, it’s clear that the Bush’s have lost control of the Republican party. Jeb was always perceived as the “smart” Bush, the one with the political chops, the policy know-how and the ability to lead. He’s been a stiff, unappealing candidate, an ineffective campaigner and oddly maladroit in is messaging.

LeTourneau makes an observation I find interesting:

Overall I get that folks like Bush, Sr. and many of his team are probably shocked at the GOP’s response to Jeb’s presidential campaign. But the truth is, they would be in much better shape right now if they had stood up to all this nonsense a long time ago (like before Jeb decided to run for president). At least then it wouldn’t have come off so self-serving and entitled.

The Bushes are the Republican establishment. Their connections served to raise vast sums of money for Jeb’s campaign. By their thinking, he should have cruised to victory. But he isn’t. And the Republican base is having the time of their lives.


Marco Rubio non quitter quitting the Senate

In the category of “don’t the let the doorknob hit you on the ass on the way out” Marco Rubio has apparently decided he’s not running for re-election to the Senate.

Remember, Rubio arrived in the Senate as one of the GOP’s rising stars, he was going to be the future of the party.

This year, as Rubio runs for president, he has cast the Senate — the very place that cemented him as a national politician — as a place he’s given up on, after less than one term. It’s too slow. Too rule-bound. So Rubio, 44, has decided not to run for his seat again. It’s the White House or bust.

In an effort to put lipstick on a pig, he’s casting his decision to leave the Senate as virtuous:

Rubio is not a quitter, the argument goes.

In fact, that’s precisely why he’s quitting this place.

“He wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing now if he were a quitter,” said Norman Braman, a Florida auto dealer and one of Rubio’s longtime donors.


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Republicans live by the conspiracy theory, die by the conspiracy theory

I was in the odd position of being able to watch a sizable chunk of Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the House committee investigating BENGHAZI! If you wondered what was the big deal before the hearing, you were even more in the dark after it.

For 11 hours, Republicans grilled Hillary Clinton about all sorts of ephemera, trivialities and tangents. We heard a lot about some guy named Sidney Blumenthal, one Republican went so far as to ask if the US Ambassador to Libya had Hillary’s home address, email, fax and cell numbers.  Another Republican asked if Hillary had been home alone all night after the attack (the answer is yes).  The promised revelations of nefarious wrongdoing never emerged. At the end of the hearing, the Republicans looked foolish, Hillary looked presidential and we knew nothing about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that we did not know before.

The hearings made several other things abundantly clear.

  • Republicans are convinced that someone did something nefarious that resulted in the deaths in Benghazi and that something was deliberate, intentional and malicious.
  • Republicans have no idea what that nefarious action actually was.
  • Republicans aren’t sure who did the nefarious thing that resulted in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi.
  • Republicans have decided that the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing is proof of a successful conspiracy to do something nefarious and further investigation must, of necessity, unveil that nefarious action and the person behind it.
  • Hillary Clinton drives the Republicans completely and totally crazy.

Conservatives are convinced that Jim Jordan’s line of questioning was a “bombshell” that blew apart Hillary’s testimony. But they’re the only ones. Jordan read an email of Hillary’s to her daughter that said something like “some people are saying this attack was motivated by angry response to a youtube video demeaning muslims but we believe it is a terrorist attack.” Somehow that obvious statement has become proof of a conspiracy to mislead America.

In the fever swamps of the American right, the story goes something like this: while the attack on the consulate was still happening, the Obama administration, in cahoots with Hillary Clinton, spread a false story about the attacks in an attempt to win the 2012 election which Obama should have lost any way.  This false story is of monumental importance because, without it, Barack Obama would have been revealed to be a simpering, weak president and manly man Mitt Romney would have crushed him in the election. And, besides, the whole attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was the result of a nefarious, secret conspiracy that somehow resulted because of deliberate wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration.  If it doesn’t make sense, that’s okay because it’s not really supposed to. The lynch pin of the conservative theory of Benghazi is missing because in the real world it does not exist and in conservative world it has yet to be found.

Conservative politicians have done such a good job of convincing conservative voters that Hillary Clinton is a master at the arts of lying, deception, dishonesty and the dark arts of politics that those same politicians are now facing the impossible task of figuring out how to get out of a trap of their own making.  A story at Vox describes Benghazi as a political version of the classic prisoner’s dilemma. Conservative activists and voters simply will not and cannot accept the assertion that Hillary didn’t do something wrong. They support conservative politicians who promise to get to the bottom of the conspiracy. Conservatives who don’t promise to get to the bottom of the conspiracy find themselves facing furious  conservative voters and activists until they at long last promise to get the bottom of the conspiracy.  Lather, rinse, repeat.


The 4 Big Lies About Immigrants

Via HuffPo.

Don’t listen to the demagogues who want to blame the economic problems of the middle class and poor on new immigrants, whether here legally or illegally. The real problem is the economic game is rigged in favor of a handful at the top, who are doing the rigging.


Back To The Depressing Future

This is a time sensitive cartoon. You only have until tomorrow to watch it for the full effect.

It’s angering to imagine where we could have been by now:


The Ultimate Gaffe?

Trump gaffe NYT

Last Friday, presidential candidate Donald Trump committed what might be the ultimate Tea-GOP gaffe. A gaffe is when a politician says something that is true, but politically awkward to mention out loud in a public forum. For example, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Sean Hannity that the Benghazi committee was all about hurting Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. What could be worse than that?

Here’s the quote that’s causing so much heartburn: “When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said. “He was president, O.K.?” Uh-oh.

Tea-GOP orthodoxy clearly states that the Worst President Ever “kept us safe,” and never mind who was in the White House when America suffered the most devastating terrorist attacks in the history of the world. Trump’s mere statement of fact is therefore considered highly controversial, since he’s challenging the biggest big lie of the Tea-GOP.

Think Progress brings the snark: Was George W. Bush President On 9/11? An Investigation Into The Controversy Tearing The GOP Apart

GOP Presidential Field Split Apart By 9/11
CNN Anchor Asks Bush To Explain His Double Standard For Benghazi And 9/11. It Doesn’t Go Well.


Tea-GOPers Against ‘Free Stuff’ Unless It’s For The Rich

Monopoly man

Media Matters nails it.

Conservative media outlets are characterizing support among Democratic presidential candidates for raising the minimum wage, making college tuition affordable, and reducing income inequality as giving away “free stuff,” ignoring that tax plans favored by the GOP field are tantamount to huge giveaways for the wealthiest Americans.

In an October 14 article for The New York Times, CNBC’s John Harwood explained that the so-called “populist” tax reform proposals endorsed by most of the Republican presidential candidates are actually giveaways for top income earners. Harwood used estimates from the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation to show that tax plans put out by Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump primarily benefit the wealthy and reflect “a party still wedded to the theories of supply-side economics 35 years after President Reagan championed them under far different circumstances”…


Man Up, CNN

Show us the first Democratic Debate in the 2016 presidential election.

Maybe you really ARE “the Clinton news network”. I used to laugh at that designation because you guys attacked Bill Clinton with the same voracity that every other lame “news” network did during the Bill Clinton impeachment nonsense.

Hillary Clinton did pretty well in the debate. She was strong, attractive, defiant, unflappable, funny, human and all the rest. So why are you so averse to giving everybody in America, no matter their internet speed, the ability to see what happened instead of the chopped up pieces you present on your crappy internet website? Could it have something to do with “capitalism”?

I went to the union center in Salt Lake City, because I was afraid my internet connection was going to hang, but it was doubtful that the internet connection there was going to work in time there either.

I woke up early the next day to see if you had a full debate video and was unable to find one, so I went to YouTube and found one – in three parts – that was taken down a couple of hours later. There is a new one on YouTube that is in sixteen or more parts. Are you going to take this one down too, or possibly give the American people the right to see American political debates on your own domain?

I present number one of…

UPDATE: I have found an actual FULL version of the debate in one segment. The previous 17 part presentation is no longer needed. I still think CNN has enough help to offer the debate on their own website though.


Bernie Won the Debate

CNN debate poll

I know the media are going all out to claim that Hillary Clinton won the debate. Hillary held on and did well, but she didn’t win. Bernie Sanders won the polls, raked in the campaign contributions, and reached many more voters with his message (15 million people watched the debate).

In the debate, Bernie was the only candidate who identified climate change as the number one national security threat (not Russia, not ISIS, not China).

Remember when the USA PATRIOT Act passed the Senate 99-1? Last night Bernie proudly reminded us that he was the one vote against it. Hillary is still defending the USA PATRIOT Act.

Hillary doesn’t want to bring back Glass–Steagall. Lincoln Chafee said he didn’t even know what the Glass-Steagall Act was when he voted to repeal it.

Oh, and Jim Webb killed a guy in Vietnam. That was an awkward thing to bring up in a presidential debate, but it does carry commander-in-chief cred.

More info:
Ignore the Media Pundits: Bernie Sanders Won the First Democratic Debate
DC insiders think Bernie Sanders lost the debate. Here’s why they might be wrong.
CNN Focus Group Says Bernie Sanders Won The First Democratic Debate
Frank Luntz Focus Group Agrees: Bernie Sanders Won Debate
All Marco Rubio Heard At Last Night’s Debate Was ‘Free Stuff’

Bernie Won All the Focus Groups & Online Polls, So Why Is the Media Saying Hillary Won the Debate?


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