Archive for budgets

GOP Hypocrites: What's Good For The Goose Ain't Good For The Gander : The Unemployed

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Republicans don't care about the unemployed

Each party has its identity. The Democrats are thought of for their social programs. The Republicans for budget and military. There are cross-overs and overlaps but these are simple generalizations that seem to be commonly accepted. Dems care about the unemployed.

So along comes long-term unemployment extensions. The Democrats want to pass it, the GOP demands it be paid for by government cuts. So the Democrats agree and come up with a pay-for to accommodate the opposition. Sadly, the Republicans don't like the proposed method whereby Congress would extend the Medicare cuts from the budget sequestration into 2024, ten years from now at a savings close to $6 billion.

But that wasn't good enough for the Republicans. Their complaint? As told to HuffPo:

"I'm tired of these supposed pay-fors where you spend money the first year, and you don't pay for it, what, until 10 years later. It's literally a joke," said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). "If you think this emergency, temporary, 14th unemployment extension of benefits ... if you think that's so important, find a real pay-for."

"The reason we didn't agree to it is we actually have principles," Johnson added.

So the Red Party (not to be confused with the Communist Party) has principles. Well bully for them. I wish they'd show some a bit more often instead of their anti-women, anti-education, anti-immigration, anti-climate change, anti-gay, and anti-worker stands on every social issue. But let's take them at their word. They have principles and those include not spending money the first year, and you don't pay for it, what, until 10 years later. Got it.

Then comes the military pension cuts that were the result of the bi-partisan senate vote to approve their sweeping budget agreement (Patty Murray - D, Paul Ryan - R). This reduction in veterans' benefits didn't sit well with either party after the fact. So they had a vote to restore those benefits. But the Republicans again said, this program has to be paid for without tacking on additional deficits. But this time, the GOP had a way to do it.

How? The same method that they refused to use in paying for the long-term unemployment benefits extension that would affect two million out of work people and their families.

What? The same Democratic plan is now okay because it's military benefits and not the worker's benefits? Which side of their face are these hypocrites talking out of?

All but three other senators who were present Wednesday voted that day to repeal the military retiree cut -- and pay for it with the same extension of Medicare cuts at which they scoffed to cover unemployment benefits.

So, it comes down to issues, not principles. Don't worry about the 2 million unemployed and their families. Just take care of the retired military. This shouldn't be an either/or. It should be looking out for both. The Democrats would do it in a heartbeat. The Republicans don't have a pulse - only a mechanical brain in the shell of Ted Cruz. Can someone please tell me where have all the true Republicans gone?

And if you say, "To hell," you might be right.

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Starve The Old, Feed War Fever

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nuclear explosion 2

War costs money. And spending tax revenue on Defense is what the Republican party is all about. Certainly education, jobs, healthcare, immigration, women's right to chose, our infrastructure, science, technology, global warming, clean air, renewable energy can all go to hell in the GOP-run world. It's DEFENSE SPENDING that's the only thing that matters. They'll sacrifice all other things to keep war going and to stop peace at any cost -- even if it means killing seniors if that's what's necessary. Nothing has priority over the DOD. Go Pentagon!

If you don't believe me, The Huffpo reports this:

A pair of House Republicans have a new bill that would spare the military from sequestration by cutting the Social Security benefits of many Americans who already experience painful federal budget cuts.

Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) are introducing the Provide for the Common Defense Act on Tuesday. The legislation would cancel out the next two years of sequestration cuts for the Pentagon by putting a heavier burden on senior citizens and federal workers.

Through Secretary of State Kerry, the Obama administration has so far successfully avoided further confrontations in Syria over chemical weapons use -- the real WMD's that Bush only lied about. Those weapons, through negotiated peaceful means are being destroyed as of this writing. This, of course was done over the hawkish objections of the Republican party stalwarts and pro-war at any cost mouthpieces, McCain and Graham.

The cost of American human lives on that peaceful, negotiation front? Zero.

Now it comes to Iran -- our biggest threat in the middle east. For nearly 30 years, we weren't even directly talking. Now we are. On this Iran front, where the same GOP warmongers have been pushing for armed conflict, we've reached a tentative accord to curtail and perhaps even reverse the nuclear threat this country presents. A conflagration there would certainly lead to potential world war and resulting annihilation. One would think that a potential peaceful solution would meet with cheers and hosannas, but we're dealing in Congress with the GOP war merchants, and peace means they can't justify increases in military spending. Damn, they might have to legislate within their own designed sequestration restraints.

We're not finished with Syrian and Iranian threats by a long shot. But we've barely given peace a chance and the Republican military industrial complex is trying to starve our seniors, just in case. They want to cut their benefits substantially reducing their already meager existances. If there ever was, as Michele Bachmann claimed, death panels, it's got to this GOP goon squad. This time it's being chaired by Reps. Jim Bridenstine and Doug Lamborn. It's not called the Affordable Care Act. It's known as the Common Defense Act (CDA). The only thing common about it is the continuing war on the middle class and poor it propagates.

In the GOP/Tea Party world we need more nukes, less Grandmas and Grandpas.

BTW, rumor has it there's a secret bill being circulated as a fall back if this CDA doesn't pass. It's going to require the oldest Social Security recipients to work to qualify for senior benefits. Over 75 and you'll be forced to register to be outfitted with explosives and dropped as bombs in the Middle East if this bill doesn't pass.

Remember Slim Pickets in Dr. Strangelove? Just picture John McCain playing that iconic role of Major King Kong.

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Three Men And A Rabbi On Another Government Shutdown

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rabbi

The old story goes, two men are arguing their case to a third man over the disputed sale of a mule. The argument becomes heated until the third man spots the Rabbi walking by and asks him to arbitrate. As a buddy to both, the third man didn't want to risk his friendship over this battle. The Rabbi agreed.

The first man tells his side of the story and the Rabbi nods to him and says, "You're right."

The second man rushes to tell his side of the story. After hearing it the Rabbi says, "You're right."

The third man looks to the Rabbi questioningly, "Bill's right and Dave's right? They can't both be right?"

The Rabbi pauses and say's to the third man, "You're right too."

And for years, the argument continued.

That story is similar to the problem with Congress and their budgetary committees. They're never going to see eye to eye and neither party is going to give an inch. They both know the other has valid points, but they'll never agree despite both being right. We, the public, are left as the third man.

According to the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Since the end of World War II, more than a dozen high-profile bipartisan panels have been convened to tackle the nation's thorniest fiscal problems. Seldom have their recommendations spurred congressional action.

Their ambitious, high-octane reports and recommendations are mostly gathering dust on government shelves.

This doesn't bode well for the current 29-member bipartisan budget panel which faces a Dec. 13 deadline. What's at stake is another government shutdown. The current short-term spending bill is keeping the government running, but only through Jan. 15. The current debt ceiling runs only through Feb. 7. That last $26 billion debacle should have taught us something. But it's very unlikely if history is any indication.

One of the few special panels generally hailed as a success is the 1981-83 Social Security commission chaired by Republican economist Alan Greenspan, who later served for 19 years as Federal Reserve chairman under four different presidents. His panel is credited widely with rescuing the old-age benefit program from insolvency.

The panel quickly deadlocked, with Democrats opposing benefit cuts and Republicans opposing higher Social Security taxes. It came up with its big fix only after the direct, heavy intervention by Reagan and House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, D-Mass.

The two main participants in that agreement are both dead. And sadly, nothing we can do will bring them back. So we must move on, not die with them.

In 2011, the Simpson-Bowles Act was a result of a wide-ranging proposal that would have generated new revenues and made some social program cuts. But it's sitting, collecting dust after meeting with indifference from both parties.

It failed, Simpson later suggested, because Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike "all worship the god of re-election."

So what will it take to move Congress off the dime and start them on a path to true fiscal leadership?

The answer is actually quite simple. It's a threat.

The threat is for a Congressional clean sweep. Yup, dump the chumps who are gumming up the works. But to get out the bad, remove all of those who are victims of favors they owe or beneficiaries of favors promised by them.

Call it tossing the baby out with the bathwater, but I prefer dump the chump. We'll lose the good with the bad, but if they're really good, they can run for reelection after sitting out a term. Then we'll know who's really dedicated and who's just collecting a check.

Sit one out for the team. Make us miss you and your legislative magic and we'll return you to office.

Until then, fresh blood. No obligations to the gerrymandered farts who don't care about anyone but themselves. They line their pockets with graft and then proclaim they're going to cut unnecessary spending. They will take a cleaver to the fat and sinew in the budget. Sadly they can't distinguish a medallion of fat from a filet mignon.

Fat and gristle to them is defined as spending that doesn't effect them directly. They'll not move an inch to close corporate loopholes but will cut food stamps for the poor. They'll not increase minimum wage or pass a jobs bill which could take hard working people off the food stamp rolls but will enrich farmers and big oil with subsidies -- two places they enrich themselves either directly or indirectly. They favor bridges to nowhere, not roads to deliver kids safely to schools.

It's only a thought, a dream, I know. But movements begin with dreams. And if we're going to face another shutdown, maybe this dump the chump is a dream these elected officials should be hearing before they dig in, entrench themselves and align with the likes of Cruz, Rubio, Paul and the other Tea Party stalwarts. All promoting hard-line stands which will lead to another shutdown.

Let your voices be heard before the shutdown. We can't afford another $26 billion in waste while we're starving millions who live and perish in sickness and in hunger.

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Delusion Is Not A State Of Mind . . . It Is A Negotiating Tactic.

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Political satirist, and cartoonist Mark Fiore has taken a look into the near future where there exists a Tea Party Galaxy, parallel to reality, where facts are eight times lighter than on planet Earth, and where evil Captain Ted Cruz is at the helm of the Republican Party.

I hope you enjoyed this little adventure and that you'll check out some of Mark's other fun cartoons at his own Mark Fiorie site.

As you know, our Autumn fundraiser is soon coming to an end. We haven't yet reached our goal. So if you're planning on making a donation, we'd much appreciate it. As Laffy and Paddy say, "Without you there would be no us."



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