Archive for the ‘Newt’ Category
I think we’re going over the cliff. It’s pretty clear to me they made a political calculation. This offer doesn’t remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy. It raises $1.6 trillion on job creators that will destroy the economy and there are no spending controls.
- Lindsey Graham, 0n CBS’s “Face the Nation,” December 2, 2012
There are so many lies and half-truths in Graham’s statement that it’s a marvel the zit on his nose in this Reuters photo is so small. You’d expect it would be larger than his nose, blocking his vision. Perhaps the photo was taken before he popped the whopper on national television.
Any blog post that rebutted all the fibs in that single paragraph would be tediously long. After all, it earned the Senator the Washington Post‘s coveted Three Pinocchios Award. But WC will dissect a few of Graham’s Big Lies in a doubtless futile effort to keep the conversation honest.
Dear Senator Graham:
On “Face the Nation” last month, you said that the then-current discussions on solutions to the “fiscal cliff” didn’t “remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy.” As you know, Senator, they aren’t “entitlements” and there is no threat of “imminent bankruptcy.” You are indulging in neocon Big Lies again.
Medicare and Social Security are both insurance programs. They are only “entitlements” in the sense that any contractual obligation entitles a person to performance. By your reasoning, the hefty salary you are paid by American taxpayers is an “entitlement.” WC and his fellow citizens pay premiums their entire working lives for the modest benefits that Social Security and Medicare provide. It’s insulting and dishonest to call the programs “entitlements.”
Medicaid isn’t an entitlement; it’s governmental prudence. Or do you and your fellow neocons intend to turn away health coverage for those who cannot afford it? Isn’t it clear that denying minimal health care to those who need it is contrary to everything America stands for? Because if we don’t turn them away, Americans will pay. Either in a somewhat sensible program like Medicare, or in the form of higher rates for themselves as the hospitals and clinics shift the cost of those who cannot pay. There are only three options: Medicaid, or something very like it; forced subsidization as insurers and medical providers pass the costs of treating the poor on to the rest of us; or turning the poor away at the health care door.
You call them “entitlements” because the term mischaracterizes what they really are in a way that you think is advantageous to you and your fellow neocons. It’s a trick straight out of the Newt Gingrich lexicon. It’s a ploy. It’s an attempt to make cuts seem inevitable, rather than a hard political choice. It’s an attempt to make treating the elderly badly a virtuous deed.
Nor is social security in imminent danger of bankruptcy. It’s fully funded, under existing contributions and existing benefits, through 2023. At least ten years. Imminent is the fiscal cliff. Imminent is the pending borrowing limit. A decade is forever. And there is a known, easily implemented solution to the social security funding shortfall: remove the limits on social security contributions by the wealthy. You claim to oppose it because it is a “tax increase” but your real objection is that it’s a easy fix to your non-crisis.
Medicare is fully funded through 2024. No imminent threat of bankruptcy there, either. And that’s just one part of the overall Medicare system. Congress has eleven years to act. As if there was anyone in Congress who can think and plan eleven years into the future.
So WC would appreciate it if you could stop the political showboating, including your vote against the interim compromise on the morning of January 1 and deal with issues like a statesman. Or at least use the truth instead of lies, false alarms and Newtisms. Call it a New Years Resolution.
Or that zit on your nose is only going to get bigger.
Q: Why does New Jersey have all the Superfund sites and California have all the lawyers?
A: New Jersey got to choose first.
The State Integrity Investigation describes itself as “a $1.5 million public collaboration designed to expose practices that undermine trust in state capitols — and spotlight the states that are doing things right.” It has conducted a study of the corruption risk – not the current level of corruption – in all 50 states.
The idea was to develop criteria to evaluate the risk of corruption. Judging by the number of convictions – Illinois’s four governors who have gone to jail; Massachusetts’ three consecutive house speakers who are in the pen – was deemed too variable. Aggressive prosecutors, federal enforcement when the state governments get corrupt; it was found to be an imprecise measure. Which is just as well, given Alaska’s recent history.
Alaska got a D+ and ranked 27th, just barely in the bottom half. Close call. We nearly flunked! New Jersey finished first.
The limits of WordPress won’t allow WC to put a full link to the graphic here, but here’s a screen shot of Alaska’s report card:
Oddly enough, WC finds the grading to be too generous. If you’ve ever tried to find recent campaign financial reports in the Alaska Public Offices Commission’s on-line database, you know better than to give it a C+, and if you’ve ever tried to find lobbyist reports you know a C is incredibly generous. From the track record of the Alaska Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which is in charge of policing state judges, you’d think the judiciary deserved halos.
Ethics Enforcement Agencies? Two words: Ben Stevens. See what WC means? A C- is very generous. WC’s teachers were a lot tougher with the red pencils than the SII.
If Alaska indeed ranks 27th, the 23 states that are worse must be very bad indeed.
(Memo to The Newt: Perhaps you could direct your considerable energies to your avowed “home state” of Georgia which, on the evidence, could use some help. You have that personal experience in corruption, after all.)
The Anchorage Daily News’ Sean Cockerham has written a nice article on Alaska’s rating, which WC commends to this readers.
Alleged human being, junkie, racist and misogynist Limbaugh crossed the line from crude and offensive entertainer to outright bigotry. His disgusting attacks on Sandra Fluke should be repudiated by every conservative.
He’s made a half-hearted apology, but what’s notable in this new low point in the national conversation is that no one from the conservative side has publicly disavowed Limbaugh’s sick comments, let alone disavowed the Gasbag himself. Sponsors have left him. The mainstream media he loathes have called him out. But, apparently, no one on the conservative side finds his appalling conduct disgusting enough to mention it.
Santorum? Romney? Gingrich? The silence is nearly as appalling, as shocking, as Limbaugh’s attacks.
UPDATE: George Will weighs in:
“It would’ve been nice if they had shared that with the larger public, the Republican leaders,” Will said on ABC’s This Week. “Instead, Mr. Boehner comes out and says, Rush’s language was inappropriate. Using a salad fork for your entree, that’s inappropriate. Not this stuff. I mean, and Rick Santorum says well, what he says was absurd, but an entertainer is allowed to be absurd. No. It is the responsibility of conservatives to police the right in its excesses, just as the liberals unfailingly fail to police the excesses in their own side. And it was depressing, because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran, but they’re afraid of Rush Limbaugh.”
Serious props to Morgen Richmond, who unearthed this clip of Newt Gingrich endorsing the key components of the health care plan he now reviles.
Once again, you can see the litmus test for Newt’s positions is how they benefit Newt. What’s changed since 2009? Nothing. Except Newt is running for an office that requires him to be opposed to a health care mandate…
The thing that makes Gingrich difficult for a blogger is that there’s such an embarrassment of riches. After more than thirty years of abjectly poor impulse control in the public eye, it’s hard to choose which scandal, outrage or ludicrousness to try to review.
But, seriously, this barely scratches the surface. Morality? He was in the middle of an adulterous affair when he led the effort to impeach President Bill Clinton. Family values? At least two affairs while married. What has the Republican Party come to that it will consider this wretched lump of excess as its candidate for President of the United States?
A man who blames his serial adultery on his patriotism is simply despicable. His single measure of conduct is, “What’s in it for Newt?” He should be the dictionary definition of opportunism. He’s almost always the most outrageous person in the room. But that isn’t a qualification for the presidency.