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Eric Cantor: “No Disaster Relief without Offsetting Cuts”

5:46 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor


2011-04-07-at-15-08-27-2 by republicanconference

To say that I don’t get House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is an understatement along the lines of calling the sack of Carthage a minor property crime. For all that he has one of the most powerful jobs in the nation he really seems to have missed the fact that he is supposed to work for the American people and specifically the people of his district.

Which is why is it is so appalling to hear him say that he will oppose federal assistance for the people in his district in response to the rare but large earthquake that hit Virginia this week. Okay, that is probably an overstatement, Rep. Cantor (R-Putz) is willing to let there be disaster aid, only as long as it paid for by cuts in other areas.

He is doubling down on this position (which he has expressed before when the tornadoes devastated Tuscaloosa Alabama this spring) that contrary to the long tradition of the US, there should be offsets considered when funding disaster relief.

The callousness that this betrays is shocking. Even when people in his own district are reeling from a completely unexpected event, he is still so worried about the deficit that he is willing to let them suffer. It is highly doubtful that anyone in Virginia has earthquake insurance.

He is standing by this position even as Hurricane Irene is due to chew its way up the East Coast this weekend. Maybe, just maybe if there is enough damage in his state and district he will change his tune, but don’t hold your breath on that.
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Republicans: Less Like The Joker, More Like Henchmen

5:42 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

the joker (based on a Dave McKean work)

the joker (based on a Dave McKean work) by Sick Sad M!kE

Sometimes it is easy to see the Republicans as bunch of super-villains, diabolically plotting every twist and turn to thwart the will of the American people with economic policy that only comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted. After all they backed down the President and the Democratically controlled Senate and got most of what they wanted, even given that they upped the ransom demands in the middle of negotiations.

Then they go and do something like what Majority Leader Eric Cantor did yesterday. After managing to force a deficit reduction plan that will force some cuts in Medicare and will put Social Security and Medicaid in the sights of the Super Congress, they had pretty much rehabilitated their massive political malpractice of forcing a vote for the Ryan Budget.

Remember the Ryan Budget? You know, the one that wants to end Medicare as we know is and replace the program with as system of vouchers (but leave the name the same so they can claim they are not ending the program). Well, the oft confused Majority Leader does and he is still pushing the idea.

He sat down with the Wall Street Journal editorial board yesterday and said the following:

“What we have to be I think focused on is truth in budgeting here,” Mr. Cantor (R., Va.) told The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal. He said “the better way” for Americans is to “get the fiscal house in order” and “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.”

There is it, the fact of the matter in one sentence. For all the talk of “preserving the programs” the reality is that the number two ranking Republican in the House is saying that they are going to break the promises that had been made.
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Water Cooler – Let The Political Self-Immolation Begin! – Ryan Budget Edition

5:05 pm in 2012 election, Elections by Bill Egnor


Whoomp! Whoosh! That was the sound of Tim Pawlenty self-immolating. T-Paw (what kind of presidential candidate gives himself a nickname like that?!?) was thought to be one of the “serious” candidates. While he had been a very conservative governor, there was still this impression that he was one of the smart ones, if also one of the most boring ones.

However today he drank the Republican Jonestown Kool-Aid. This is what ABC News is reporting he said:

“First of all, I applaud Congressman Ryan for his courage and his leadership in putting his plan forward. At least he has a plan. President Obama doesn’t have a plan. The Democrats don’t have a plan. And I really applaud his leadership and his courage in putting a plan on the table. Number two, we will have our own plan; it will have many similarities to Congressman Ryan’s plan, but it will have some differences, one of which will be we’ll address Social Security. He chose not to; we are addressing Social Security. And the Medicare part of our plan will have some differences, too. It will have some similarities also. So we’ll have our own plan. But if I can’t have my own plan — as president, I’ll have my own plan – if I can’t have that, and the bill came to my desk and I had to choose between signing or not Congressman Ryan’s plan, of course I would sign it.”

You know he is trying. You really have to give him that, he is trying. He takes a disingenuous swipe at the President and the Democrats by saying they don’t have a plan. It is true, the White House and the Democrats have no plan to privatize Medicare or Social Security. Those ideas are strictly Republican ones.

Still he has done it, he has signed on with the suicide pact that is the Ryan Budget. He has said out loud and in front of reporters that if he were president and the Ryan budget came to his desk he’d sign it.

It is more than a little astounding that Republicans are starting their campaign season by defending and doubling down on a plan that is massively unpopular. No one is willing to see Medicare cut to give more tax breaks to the wealthy. We should always keep sight of the fact this plan does not just cut funding for Medicare so drastically that seniors would have to pay an estimated $6,000 year in out of pocket expenses, it does it so that we can give the wealth another massive tax break.

For a long time I and others have talked about epistemological closure in the Republican Party. It is the idea that no new information or information that contradicts a pillar of Republican orthodoxy is allowed into the world of Conservatives/Republicans or Teahadists. For a long time is was a question of having a very little opening to the real world where some new data could slip in through the cracks.

Now it seems the Republican informational horizon has sealed itself and is cut off from most of reality, like the other dimensions that are rolled up smaller than the Plank length and can’t really be seen.
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Water Cooler – Paul Ryan, Ending Medicaid And The Death Of A Joke Pathology

4:50 pm in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Paul Ryan - Caricature

Paul Ryan - Caricature by DonkeyHotey, on Flickr


I had a friend who had ambitions of being a comedian, the problem was that he wasn’t always that funny, even though he was convinced he was. This led the rest of his friends to develop the “Death of a Joke” pathology; which described how a not funny joke descended into an excruciating experience.

If joke does not get a laugh, tell it again.
If it still does not get a laugh tell it again, louder.
If it still does not get a laugh, tell it again and explain it.
Still no laugh, try telling it in a funny (as in odd not as in ha-ha) voice.

It was kind of sad to see Ricky do this, but it is going to be even sadder to see Rep. Paul Ryan doing his version of this with the Medicaid killing provision of his regressive budget.

He genuinely fails to understand that people don’t like the idea of changing the existing fee-for-service system of Medicaid into a voucher program that won’t actually cover the cost of insurance going forward. Rep. Ryan seems to think that people just don’t get the plan, just like Ricky thought that we did not understand the joke.

Today we saw part one, of this theater of the absurd where Rep. Ryan went and tried to re-spin the plan by retelling his “joke” saying that it his plan was going to give seniors more choice while the Dems plan will deny them health care.

This is of course the same BS that all the Republicans tried to spin about “choice” when they went home and got that grandma and granddad beat down at the Town Halls. What they seem to always fail to include is that this choice means a choice not just of plans (that won’t want to cover them because they are older and more expensive) but between Fancy Feast and that blood pressure medicine. But Grandma and Granddad weren’t fooled the first time, so don’t expect them to be fooled this time.
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Water Cooler – Going The Wrong Way; Ending Medicare Turns Out To Be A Loser

6:00 pm in jerks by Bill Egnor

Wrong way

Wrong way by Crystl, on Flickr

What do you do when you’ve completely overreached? Well if you are the Republicans you cave and hope like hell that the voters don’t remember in 18 months that’s what you do.

What am I talking about? The whole ‘privatize Medicare” plan that was one of the central pieces of Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, of course. You see after two weeks of getting one elderly person beat down after another it seems that the Republican leadership have figured out that just because you say the American people are behind your plan over and over does not make it true.

It is not like it should have been a surprise , after all the Republicans owe part of their House majority to the fact that they claimed that the Democrats were cutting Medicare as part of the ACA. It was the kind of thing that senior citizens don’t like to hear and remember when they go to vote (and they do vote unlike younger voters, especially in midterm elections).

Though it does seem to have caught the House Republicans flatfooted that the when they actually propose the plan they have been using a boogeyman for two years that seniors don’t just fall in line and let them screw the country out of one of the most popular entitlement programs of all time.

Today, the fourth day back from a two week recess, so Committee Chairs, Senators and the Speaker of the House himself basically saying that this plan was dead. After all when the House Ways and Means Committee Chair says that he is done laying down markers and his committee won’t take action on it, any plan is dead.

What is so startling is that the Republicans had to know that this plan was going nowhere. It was never going to get past the Senate, and it sure has hell was never going to be signed by this President. At best it was a political statement. Which is all well and good, but the House Republican Leadership didn’t just let it go at making a statement they introduced it and made their members vote for it.
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Time For A Bold And Ideological Democratic Budget!

5:32 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

FY2011 Budget

FY2011 Budget by TalkMediaNews, on Flickr"

So, now that House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan has unveiled his steaming tightly coiled pile of a budget the argument in the media is starting. It is to be strongly hoped that the Traditional Media outlets will look at the facts of this budget.

You know the little problems like the draconian cuts are not going to actual deficit reduction because they are being used to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. Just to raise your blood pressure a little this morning, let me give you and example. Under this budget a single person making $75,000 a year (a nice chunk of change) would pay the same tax rates as people who make multiple millions a year.

Another issue that has to be brought up again and again is that this budget would gut the newly minted financial regulations, would gut the EPA, would gut the Social Security Administration (setting up the argument that it is poorly run and needs to be ended all together) as well as ending Medicare and Medicaid as we know them within ten years.

As if all that shite were not enough, there is the fact that like all of the proposals that Rep. Ryan puts forward, the numbers don’t work. He assumes that if we pass his budget in 4 years, just 48 months, the unemployment rate will fall to 4%.

I’d love that to happen, but I have this mental defect, I can’t get behind something that has no basis in reality, or as in this case is actually counter factual. Over the last two years the only thing that has kept the economy afloat was major federal spending. Business is sitting on 1.4 trillion in cash and has shown no sign of wanting to use it to stimulate demand. Rep. Ryan wants to slash hundreds of billions from the budget every year for the next decade. Is there really anyone out there who thinks that the resultant loss of jobs is going to improve the growth rate or the unemployment numbers?
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Breaking News: Eric Cantor And Jethro Bodine Separated At Birth!

5:34 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Bodineism started as a way for me to highlight the nitwittery of the Republicans in the 111th Congress. They say and do really gob smacking things and I post about comparing them to that gormless but loveable hillbilly Jethro Bodine. But I have to wonder if I have actually, through some unintended and accidental sorcery called this disease into reality (I’m probably taking too much on myself with that, still)?

It is one thing to misinterpret the Constitution, it is open for interpretation and people can be honestly wrong, but it is quit another for a Member of Congress in a leadership position to propose action that is completely outside the boundaries of the Constitution. Which is exactly what Eric Cantor is doing.

He is proposing and will force the House to bring to a vote a measure he is calling the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act”. What this Act will say is that if the Senate does not pass a budget measure by April 6th, then HR 1, the Republicans draconian and job slaughtering bill (which, by the way the Senate has already voted down) will become the law of the land.

I hear you all going “But, but, but… Doesn’t the Senate have to pass a bill and the President sign it for it to be law?” Why, yes, yes it does. It seems that the raven haired, square jawed Virginia Republican who is the House Majority Leader does not understand how the body he has been part of for a decade now works.

If there were an “All Time Jethro Bodineism Award” it is certain that Rep. Cantor would be earning himself a place in the nominees. It is easy to dismiss this as insane and a stunt, but I see a bigger picture emerging among Republicans nation wide.

The lawless behavior of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin has shown that he and his Republicans have a shocking disregard for the laws of their state. They have broken and bent the rules to pass their union busting bill and have even defied a court order in the implementation of the law.
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Let The Bush Tax Cuts Expire, The Ultra-Wealthy Should Pay More

7:00 am in Conservatism, jerks, Politics, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

Republicans have a real problem. Well, they have a lot of them but we are not talking about moral, genetic or hygienic problems, we’re talking about a political problem. They pulled a fast one with their double round of tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. At the time we were told (against all evidence, and common sense) that if we cut the tax rate for the ultra-wealthy, if we allowed them to pass on their enormous wealth to their heirs without taxing it that there would be a robust economy, that millions and millions of jobs would be created. It was the old trickle down economy idea, dressed up for the big time.

The thing was even their own numbers showed that any positive effect would be wiped out in 10 years and then it would become a major problem in terms of budgets. So rather than face the music and the voters with this news, the Republicans put a sunset provision in the bill. It would only last 10 years, then revert to the same level of tax that the Clinton economic expansion had. This all looked pretty sweet to Republicans. They would be able to move the burden of paying for government to from wealth to work, and would have a whole decade to get these cuts made permanent.

"Originally posted at"

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