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Simpson/Bowles Snoopy-Poop Press Tour Based on a Big Lie

12:20 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

The Washington Post, in highlighting the Alan Simpson & Erskine Bowles Show rolled out in today’s “Snoopy Poop” press tour, swallows entire the lie at the heart of everything the two men say about their work leading Barack Obama’s Catfood Commission:

Former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), co-chairmen of President Obama’s fiscal reform commission, kicked off a campaign Tuesday to promote the panel’s final report and the efforts of a group of senators working on long-term deficit reduction.

Let’s remember one thing about the failed commission, which suddenly has a new lower case name as well: it did not issue a legitimate final report. There was no agreement among the commissioners, despite many avowed foes of Social Security in its stacked membership.

There was no actual final report approved by the Catfood Commission. The Simpson/Bowles commission failed. Their new roll-out press tour is based on a lie.

The Versailles Watchdog Media has bought this lie. Don’t you buy it too.

Pens Down, Papers Passed Front… or: Who’s Paying Your Rent, Alan & Erskine?

10:09 am in Economy, Executive Branch, Government by Teddy Partridge

photo: interpunct via Flickr

Government rules about expenditures are funny: if there’s no authorization to spend federal funds, you really can’t. As Dean Baker pointed out Wednesday morning, despite the Washington Post’s best efforts to cover up, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles will violate the Catfood Commission’s charter by pretending to extend the life of their little programme into December.

The Post reported that the commission expects to delay voting on a plan until December 3. This means that the commission will miss the December 1 deadline for a final report specified in both its by-laws and its charter.

Without a charter and in violation of its bylaws, the Commission really can’t keep its doors open or the lights on and expect the federal government to write its checks. Is the Catfood Commission now a 100% Peterson-funded effort? Have the chairmen gone to their patron for fundage for these last few, charter-free, outlaw-operation days? Are all the paychecks, rent, toner, and the light bill coming out of their generous benefactors’ wallet?

The American people, who had some small faith in our president’s goal of putting the nation’s financial house in order (despite who he asked to chair the thing), deserve to know if this now-illegal group of outlaws is, in fact, simply a billionaire hedge-funder’s vanity project. It tends to color how we view the ‘report’ and the Catfoodies’ ‘findings,’ both of which need to be in scare-quotes since the deadline has been missed.

In Defeat, Failed Catfood Commission Chairs Issue Flawed Report While President Travels Abroad

10:15 am in Executive Branch, Government by Teddy Partridge

Issuing any presidential commission report while the president himself is out of the country is bad form. The failed chairmen of the Catfood Commission, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, both avowed enemies of Social Security and Medicare, are holding a press conference on Capitol Hill today to issue their flawed ‘report,’ endorsed by no other members of the commission, while President Obama continues his Asia trip.

Utterly defeated in their attempt to build consensus among commission membership stacked with faux deficit hawks, Simpson and Erskine appear to be folding their tent as quietly as they can, while their presidential sponsor wrestles with the G-20 halfway around the world.

Bloomberg reports that Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois has dismissed the chairmen’s mark:

Schakowsky said no one outside of panel co-chairmen Erskine Bowles, former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, and Alan Simpson, a Republican former Wyoming senator, has endorsed today’s proposal.

Senator Dick Durbin, also from the President’s home state, made clear there isn’t really a way forward for the commission to approve this report:

“We’re not going to have an up-or-down vote on this,” said Durbin. “There are proposals in there that are painful. I told them I said there are things in here which inspire me and other things which I hate like the devil hates holy water. I’m not going to vote for those things.”

Let’s hope this is the last we hear from these doltish failures, who, after chairing a stacked commission rejected by Congress and appointed by a president with a mandate to avoid electoral consequences, may now slink off into the sunset never to be heard from again. This blot on both their copybooks will forever stain their public record.

Let’s hope this ends the Catfood Commission era in America.

WaPo Editorial Board Gulps the Simpson Catfood, Ignores Bernanke Bank-Robber Comparison

11:52 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

This is unsurprising. The primary journal of Versailles Media, Kaplan Test Prep Daily (the Washington Post, kept aloft by its for-profit education parent) backs Alan Simpson’s play on Social Security. Sure, he’s ‘brash,’ ‘colorful,’ and ‘intemperate.’ According to the WaPo. What the editorial overlooks is his ignorance: Simpson is wrong about Social Security’s solvency.

After reviewing the single e-mail Alan Simpson sent to Older Women’s League Executive Director Ashley Carson — ignoring: the missive he sent to Dean Baker, whose work on Social Security Simpson belittles; the phone call he made to Merton Berstein, who served on the 1983 Greenspan Commission which Simpson ignores; and his letter to Joan and Merton Bernstein which touts as gospel while missing the point of the Goss report — the WaPo editorial excuses the regrettable remarks this way:

This episode is as unfortunate as it is predictable; Mr. Simpson has a penchant for remarks that are colorful bordering on intemperate.

Then the editorial writer states as fact something that is simply not true:

But his fundamental point is correct: Social Security is not on a sustainable footing.

Of course, no federal spending is on a sustainable footing using the limited growth projections of the Trustees. As the Bernsteins point out in their excellent response to the Catfood Co-Chair:

Cuts are not necessary because the Social Security trust fund, now at $2.6 trillion and projected to grow to over $4 trillion, makes the funding outlook quite solid for another quarter century. Then, if necessary, a very modest FICA rate increase, about 1% for employees and a matching amount by employers, would banish the small Social Security long-term shortfall. Meanwhile, improved earnings — which are projected — would make such a change completely affordable. Why don’t we hear about that from commission members?

What other federal program is in such good shape for another quarter century? Why, none at all. So why is our national discourse directed at Social Security benefit cuts when trying to reduce the federal deficit?

Ben Bernanke said it best:

“Well, Senator, I was about to address entitlements,” Bernanke replied. “I think you can’t tackle the problem in the medium term without doing something about getting entitlements under control and reducing the costs, particularly of health care.”

Bernanke reminded Congress that it has the power to repeal Social Security and Medicare.

“It’s only mandatory until Congress says it’s not mandatory. And we have no option but to address those costs at some point or else we will have an unsustainable situation,” said Bernanke [...]

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) followed Bennett and pointed out that “there’s only really two ways you can deflect this deficit, and that’s either by cutting expenditures or raising income taxes or other forms of taxes.”

Reed asked him if he could think of other ways, but Bernanke returned to entitlement money as the way to balance the budget.

“Willie Sutton robbed banks because that’s where the money is, as he put it,” Bernanke said. “The money in this case is in entitlements.”

Why doesn’t the Washington Post editorial staff remember that it was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve who compared the Catfood Commission to a notorious bank robber? The Commission will recommend Sovereign Default on America’s bonds owed to our senior citizens in order to "reduce the deficit" for one simple, felonious reason:

because that’s where the money is

Obama White House Still Backs Catfood Co-Chair Alan Simpson After Vietnam Vets Slur

8:17 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

The Obama White House signaled Alan Simpson today that he can say whatever damn-fool thing he wants, and since he’s the GOP co-chair of Obama’s Catfood Commission, it’s to be expected that Simpson will say some things Obama "strongly disagrees with."

Even though the White House accepts apologies not directed to it from Alan Simpson.

Sounds like a Free White House Pass to mouth off, Alan: go for it.

This presages an exciting fall as no one is holding Alan Simpson back from his evening phone calls to folks who’ve written or called or emailed him. He’s not shy about writing to people. He’s also eager to call AP reporters with fun leads for stories about how Vietnam veterans aren’t doing their fair share to bring down the deficit.

Have you heard from Alan Simpson?

If you have, we’d love to hear from you here at Firedoglake. Put your correspondence with Alan Simpson in your own Seminal diary. Let the world know how Alan Simpson treated your concerns about America’s deficit, and the outsize role he sees for Social Security benefits in solving those concerns. Or perhaps you are a veteran who’s not doing enough to ease your country’s pain right now? If you’ve heard from Alan Simpson about your lack of sacrifice, please let us know.

Alan Simpson got his Free White House Pass today. It’s going to be a very exciting three months until the Catfood Commission presents its report to President Obama in December. Simpson can, apparently, say anything he wants without White House censure. Simpson, unbound!

You can send emails to Alan Simpson at commission at

Vets on the Tit: Simpson’s Found a New Target

10:37 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

It’s not only old women who are living too long and expecting too much from the federal government in their Social Security check every month. According to Obama’s Catfood Commission Chair Alan Simpson, veterans who expect their country to stand by them after poisoning them in-country during The American Troubles in Indochine are "not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess."

Digby’s got the AP story and has this to say about Alan Simpson’s new target, American veterans:

All those Iraq war vets had better shape up or ship out too. We can’t afford to keep supporting people with brain injuries and lost limbs forever. Get a job or be a man and relieve us of the burden of your care. (Oh right, there are no jobs. Well then I guess the decision’s been made, hasn’t it?)

Seriously, if poor, old, and sick people across the board would just do the right thing and die, we could reform the hell out all the "entitlements." Their selfishness is really brings down the country.

Joan McCarter at DailyKos also has the AP story, replete with lovely Simpson quotes about how we need more common sense in Washington about our obligations to Americans who served our country in uniform. She summarizes his superb comments about ‘irony’ this way:

Just like the irony of millions of Americans paying into Social Security on the promise that they would receive benefits back, while the rich get off the hook for repaying the fund they "borrowed" from for their tax cuts and wars. Disabled vets are just like seniors–those "lesser people" of Simpson’s, the ones who fought our wars. Those disabled vets that our own military poisoned while they were serving, can just shove it.

McCarter has a hope she’d like to share with the White House:

Maybe this attack from Simpson will be enough for President Obama to give Simpson the boot.

Okay, I’ll play: Maybe?

Oliver Willis suggests it’s time for Simpson to go:

Time to get rid of him from the social security panel…. Even if there’s no definitive agent orange connection, the idea that it is veterans who should sacrifice for this is moronic. Simpson may be a vet, but he’s also a former senator who is well off and doesn’t have to worry about such things.

Is there anything Alan Simpson can say that will cost him his job? And how do his fellow commissioners put up with this crap at meetings he chairs? Why haven’t they alerted us to the danger Alan Simpson presents to America’s financial future?

Time to can the whole catfood commission. Sovereign default is too risky to be in this man’s hands — and in the hands of people who’ve listened to this dangerous man all summer without speaking out.

White House Accepts Simpson Apology. D’oh!

7:13 pm in Financial Crisis by Teddy Partridge

This whole "I never intended" Alan Simpson apology has gotten entirely out of hand: the person to whom the insult was directed still wants Simpson to resign from the Catfood Commission, while the White House, an unrelated party to the insult or the apology, accepts Simpson’s apology.

But at the White House, Jennifer Psaki, the deputy communications director, said, “Alan Simpson has apologized and while we regret and do not condone his comments, we accept his apology and he will continue to serve.”

Ms. Psaki, you can’t accept an apology that was not tendered to you or the White House for an insult directed to someone other than the White House or you. It doesn’t work that way, not even in "I never intended" apology-world.

The organization headed by the person to whom Alan Simpson directed both the insult and the apology, on the other hand, has not modified its stance regarding Simpson’s continued "service" on the Catfood Commission:

OWL has said Simpson should resign from the panel, and if he will not, that Obama should ask him to leave.

As Alan Simpson’s younger, smarter, prettier, wittier, and less boorish relative, Homer, might say: D’oh!

Don’t Fire Alan Simpson — Dissolve the Whole Damn Catfood Commission

1:12 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Now that we’ve had a peek into the mind of Alan Simpson — several sordid and tawdry peeks, actually — we know the kind of talk that’s gone on in secret during the closed door meetings of the Obama’s Catfood Commission contemplating Sovereign Default on the bonds held by the Social Security Trust Fund.

We now know more about Alan Simpson than we ever wanted to know. These proceedings, secretive and hidden from the American people until after the November election, have been chaired by someone who is a disgraceful sexist, ageist curmudgeon whose "public service" should have been gracefully called to an end by his loving family long ago.

Don’t fire Alan Simpson, Mr President.

Dissolve the entire Commission that he chairs.

His taint on its work is irrevocable. There is no way the American people’s deficit future should be dealt with by a group of people who’ve been subjected to this kind of torturous "logic" and preening attitude. His poison has infected their deliberations, just as it has now infected the body politic. No one who has served with him could possible have escaped it.

He didn’t even really apologize to Ashley Carson, whose OWL constituency he brazenly insulted when writing about "310 million tits." Nowhere does the word "apologize" or "sorry" appear in this email. He simply excuses himself with his giant feet:  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Why Does Obama’s Cat Food Commission Hate Our Troops?

12:01 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Because there is a giant military contractor CEO on the discretionary spending working group who won’t let them cut his precious waste and fraud from the Pentagon budget, that’s why.

A source familiar with the proceedings of the working group on discretionary spending tells TPM that some commissioners, including one military contractor, would prefer to save money by freezing military pay and scaling back benefits, rather than by eliminating waste in defense contracting.

The source said that different members of the commission come down on different sides of the issue. The discussion group is led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), whose primary aim is trimming fat on the contractor side, but, according to the source, David Cote, the Honeywell CEO who was appointed to the panel by President Obama, is pushing to find savings elsewhere.

And where is "elsewhere"???

According to the source, Cote and other members, including the commission’s co-chair Alan Simpson, are focusing instead on "freezing military pay, making military people pay for their health care."

Why this group of oligarch millionaires hasn’t been run out of town on a rail yet — with their ‘solutions’ to the problems created by their own class entirely based on making innocent victims of their predation pay to top up their own hedge funds and pirate private venture capital firms, as well as (apparently) insulating our wonderful military contractors from paying their fair share — is beyond me.

Our best hope at this point is that the Sovereign Default Commission’s hatred of military servicemembers and veterans, old people, the disabled, and surviving children will yield a large enough coalition to laugh their December First proposal off the political stage.