And Now They’re Coming for Your Social Security Money

Can’t say you weren’t warned:

A Republican lawmaker introduced legislation Thursday to shore up Social Security’s finances and boost benefits for low-income workers without raising taxes, a conservative version of reform that could gain attention under unified GOP government next year.

The bill put forward by Texas’ Sam Johnson, the chairman of the subcommittee on Social Security, would reduce costs by changing the benefits formula to reduce payments progressively for high earners. It would also gradually raise the full retirement age from 67 to 69 for people who are today 49 or younger. Lastly, it would change the inflation metric used to calculate benefits to one that shows lower inflation, essentially slowing the growth in benefits, and eliminate cost of living adjustments for high earners.

On the flipside, it would increase benefits for lower-income workers, and raise the minimum benefit for low-earners who worked full careers.

They want ALL the fucking money. ALL OF IT.

And Carlin is right. They’ll get it. Unless Democrats fight.

(via)



But What About the Children

This is disgusting, but par for the course with the Republican party:

More than a year after lawmakers originally ordered it, Texas announced Monday it will enact significant cuts to the money that it pays therapists who treat vulnerable children with disabilities in two weeks.

Medicaid reimbursement rates are used to pay for pediatric therapy services provided to disabled babies and toddlers. Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, said that Texas will apply cuts on Medicaid rates on Dec. 15 in attempt to achieve savings directed by the Texas Legislature in 2015.

“The most important job we have is making sure kids have the services they need and that we are responsible with taxpayer dollars,” Williams said in an e-mail. “We will monitor the reduction of rates to ensure access to care is not impacted and that Texans around the state receive the much-needed therapies required to improve their lives.”

***

“This is terrible news for Texas kids with disabilities and developmental delays and their families,” Rubin said. “Kids with autism, speech delays, Down syndrome, and other disabilities and delays rely on these therapies to learn to walk, communicate with their families, get ready for school, and meet other goals.”

Sociopaths.








HAHAHAHAHA NO ONE COULD HAVE PREDICTED HOOCOODANODE OH FUCK IT ALL

deficits

Anyone who is surprised by this should never comment about politics again. Ever:

A serious case of fiscal amnesia may soon be sweeping the GOP.

For eight years, Republicans hammered President Barack Obama for exploding the national debt. But now a GOP-led spending spree is coming, with Donald Trump riding to the White House on trillion-dollar promises and a Republican Congress that looks likely to do his bidding. It’s a potential echo of the last time Republicans ran Washington, when then-Vice President Dick Cheney memorably remarked, “Deficits don’t matter.”

Trump campaigned heartily on a spending splurge and nothing he’s said since his shocking election suggests he will reverse course. Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, are papering over divisions with the man who frequently tossed party orthodoxy aside on the trail.

“There is now a real risk that we will see an onslaught of deficit-financed goodies — tax cuts, infrastructure spending, more on defense — all in the name of stimulus, but which in reality will massively balloon the debt,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Everything he does is going to explode the deficit and debt, from tax cuts to building the wall to deporting millions to the infrastructure grift to his cronies to dismantling ACA and so on, and what makes it even better is that they will attempt to gut SS and Medicare at the same time under the guise that they are unaffordable. Ryan’s already lying about that shit:

When Baier asked Ryan about the Republican plans for entitlement reform, the Speaker took the conversation back to their plans to repeal Obamacare and said:

If you’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well. … Medicare has got some serious issues because of Obamacare. So those things are part of our plan to replace Obamacare.

Ryan went on to say that, “Because of Obamacare, Medicare is going broke.” That is a lie.

Health reform, along with other factors, has significantly improved Medicare’s financial outlook, boosting revenues and making the program more efficient. The HI trust fund is now projected to remain solvent 11 years longer than before the Affordable Care Act was enacted.

In other words, repealing Obamacare would mean that Medicare would become insolvent 11 years earlier than is currently projected by those who manage the Medicare trust fund (here is a link to their latest report). In terms of timing, it is important to note that right now the trust fund projects that Medicare will remain solvent until 2028. If Obamacare is repealed, that happens in 2017. So the plan is to roll back the savings that extended its solvency and simultaneously generate fear that the program needs to either be privatized or begin reducing benefits to current seniors.

Democrats should do everything in their power to protect SS and medicare, but I doubt they will be able to do anything because the Republicans will either use reconciliation to do these things without requiring the super-majorities they demanded of everything in the Obama era (I know they can do tax cuts, but am unsure if they can do medicare and SS reform that way), and if the Democrats filibuster, I have no doubt they will nuke the filibuster. They feel emboldened.

And if they do that, the only thing Democrats can do is oppose vocally and try to insert poison pills. Like, for example, any changes they make to Medicare and SS can not godfather current recipients. If privatization is so good, the people who de facto voted for it, our selfish elders, should get to experience it for themselves. None of this phasing it in bullshit so the people currently on get to benefit as everyone always has while those younger than them get fucked.

All Democrats should be focused on doing is fighting and shouting No. And, btw- that’s how we will find who the real leaders in the party are and who we should follow on our way forward.



Tabeletop Presidenting

alternatereality

I don’t know if there is a word for something that is both hilarious and horrifying, but were there such a word, I would use it to describe this:

Donald Trump’s cabinet-in-waiting is taking shape in the final days of the race, as aides eye a number of Trump loyalists for major posts should he win on Tuesday.

Among the names being considered, according to conversations with three campaign advisers who requested anonymity to speak freely: Rudy Giuliani for attorney general, Newt Gingrich for secretary of state, retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn for defense secretary or national security adviser, Trump finance chairman Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary, and Republican National Committee finance chair Lew Eisenberg for commerce secretary.

Trump himself has not taken an active part in transition efforts, in part out of superstition: He fears too much planning before a victory might jinx the campaign. In 2012, he was shocked to read detailed stories on Mitt Romney’s preparations for the White House long before election day.

But wait, it gets better:

Reince Priebus, the current RNC chairman, is under consideration as Trump’s chief of staff. Priebus earned Trump’s trust over the course of the campaign by steadfastly defending him while other top Republicans denounced Trump or shied away from brand.

“They’re thinking, ‘We need to find that balance between someone who knows how Washington works and someone who shakes things up,'” the senior campaign adviser said.

***

If Priebus leaves the RNC, two close Trump allies could be considered to take his position. Trump’s team is talking about former campaign manager and current CNN contributor Corey Lewandowski or current deputy campaign manager David Bossie as possible options.

But sure, kids. Vote third party. Because principles.



Comey’s Coup

I don’t mean to alarm you, fellow citizens, but this FBI business is starting to feel like a coup. Right-wing agents, either with the willing participation of Mr. Comey or emboldened and enabled by his inept leadership, are attempting to swing the election to Donald J. Trump. Consider the evidence that has emerged just in the last 10 days:

1. Comey’s extraordinary statement that reanimated the dead emails story

2. The dormant @FBIRecordsVault Twitter account that burped to life this week and spewed forth investigative reports on Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich

3. FBI leaks to The Hill about an investigation into an alleged straw donor scheme to benefit FL senate candidate Patrick Murphy

4. Leaks to the WSJ (link to TPM because paywall) by FBI agents who are furious that they weren’t given the green light to investigate the Clinton Foundation based on allegations contained in book published by a Breitbart editor

It’s almost as if our taxpayer-supported public servants were waiting to see if Russia’s interference in the U.S. election would bear fruit, and, in the absence of that, decided to hurl produce of their own into the gears of our democracy. This cannot — must not — stand.

Obviously, our first order of business is to win this election. Y’all know what to do on that score. You’re doing it, and I believe we will win. But after that, there must be a reckoning. I’m not sure how that can be accomplished, but this rot must be exposed and rooted out. It’s a bigger threat to our democracy than Donald Trump.



Putin’s Puppet and NFLG Harry Reid

Senator Harry Reid has just released a letter to FBI Director Comey that is utterly (and IMHO appropriately) brutal.

It contains two key elements.  The first is a direct assertion that Comey has engaged in partisan political action, and may (by implication, has) broken the law by violating the Hatch Act.

The second is this:

In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government – a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity. The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.

neuville_alphonse_de_-_the_spy_-_1880

Hillary Clinton’s aide’s husband sent dick picks from a computer that may or may not contain emails that may or may not add to our nation’s stock of risotto recipes.

Donald Trump, apparantly, has consequential entanglement with the former KGB thug-led Russian government and its klepto-thug circle of supporters.

We know hair-raising innuendo about the former.

About the latter, from the same institution?  Crickets.

Sauce for the goose damn well ought to be sauce for the gander.  And Comey’s a hack who needs to go at the earliest politick opportunity. (And yeah, that’s not a typo.  I like that old spelling.)

No BS here: if the FBI has pertinent information on Trump’s potential for conflict of interest due to his Russian encounters, we need to know this now.

Here is Reid’s letter in full:

Dear Director Comey:

Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another. I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.

The double standard established by your actions is clear.

In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government – a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity. The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.

By contrast, as soon as you came into possession of the slightest innuendo related to Secretary Clinton, you rushed to publicize it in the most negative light possible.

Moreover, in tarring Secretary Clinton with thin innuendo, you overruled longstanding tradition and the explicit guidance of your own Department. You rushed to take this step eleven days before a presidential election, despite the fact that for all you know, the information you possess could be entirely duplicative of the information you already examined which exonerated Secretary Clinton.

As you know, a memo authored by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates on March 10, 2016, makes clear that all Justice Department employees, including you, are subject to the Hatch Act. The memo defines the political activity prohibited under the Hatch Act as “activity directed towards the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”

The clear double-standard established by your actions strongly suggests that your highly selective approach to publicizing information, along with your timing, was intended for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group.

Please keep in mind that I have been a supporter of yours in the past. When Republicans filibustered your nomination and delayed your confirmation longer than any previous nominee to your position, I led the fight to get you confirmed because I believed you to be a principled public servant.

With the deepest regret, I now see that I was wrong.

Sincerely,

Senator Harry Reid

Image: Alphonse de Neuville, The Spy1880.



We’ll Just Go Ahead and File This Under “White Privilege”

You gotta be fucking kidding me:

Ammon and Ryan Bundy have been found not guilty of conspiracy. Their five co-defendants Jeff Banta, Shawna Cox, David Fry, Kenneth Medenbach and Neil Wampler have all been found not guilty as well.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on Ryan Bundy’s theft of government property charge.

The jury returned its verdict after some six weeks of testimony followed by less than six hours deliberations, and the last minute replacement of a juror after an allegation surfaced that he was biased.

The jury was instructed to disregard their previous work and to re-consider the evidence.

I got nothing.