A Nation of Malingerers: from Welfare Queens to Disabled Deadbeats

Paul Krugman remarks on the so far unsuccessful attempts Republicans are making in trying to change their rhetoric:

The growing number of Americans receiving disability payments has, for many on the right, become a symbol of our economic and moral decay; we’re becoming a nation of malingerers. As Jared Bernstein points out, there’s a factual problem here: a large part of the rise in the disability rolls reflects simple demographics, because aging baby boomers are a lot more likely to have real ailments than those same workers did when they were in their 20s and 30s. [...]

And let’s not forget our military veterans — fighting and getting wounded in the Bush Wars. They have also added to the disability rolls. Krugman continues:

What strikes me, however, isn’t just the way the right is trying to turn a reasonable development into some kind of outrage; it’s the political tone-deafness.

I mean, when Reagan ranted about welfare queens driving Cadillacs, he was inventing a fake problem — but his rant resonated with angry white voters, who understood perfectly well who Reagan was targeting. But Americans on disability as moochers? That isn’t, as far as I can tell, an especially nonwhite group — and it’s a group that is surely as likely to elicit sympathy as disdain. There’s just no way it can serve the kind of political purpose the old welfare-kicking rhetoric used to perform.

The same goes, more broadly, for the whole nation of takers thing. First of all, a lot of the “taking” involves Social Security and Medicare. And even the growth in means-tested programs is largely accounted for by the Earned Income Tax Credit — which requires and rewards work — and the expansion of Medicaid/CHIP to cover more children. Again, not the greatest of political targets.

Meanwhile, John Boehner jiggles a shiny thing at the GOP voting-base (which is filled to capacity with “malingerers”), to divert attention away from his party’s budget priorities:

In a special message to the annual anti-abortion protest March for Life, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) vowed that ending abortion would be one of the top priorities of Republicans this year.

“Defending life, of course, is about much more than voting the right way or saying the right things,” he said. “It’s about promoting a culture of life. It’s about understanding that abortion is a defining human rights issue of our time. Because human life is not an economic or political commodity, and no government on Earth has the right to treat it as such.”

“With all that’s at stake, it is becoming more and more important for us to share this truth with our young people, to encourage them to lock arms, speak out for life, and help make abortion a relic of the past,” Boehner continued. “Let that be one of our most fundamental goals this year.”

REALLY! Making abortion a relic is a “top priority” for Republicans this year? If that were true, Republicans would be funding Planned Parenthood and be supportive of educating young people on contraception – they’d be providing young people with free contraception, which has proved to be the best and most successful way to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

According to the GOP, life is sacred until it separates from the womb — it then joins the ranks of the makers or the takers.

Here’s something for the tax-paying ‘Mericans to keep in mind when sequestration hits in 32 days:

via seriouslyamerica

What women (don’t) want




Ann Romney hears women’s voices and listens very, very selectively

In an interview with KWQC-TV6 on Sep. 7, Ann Romney refused to comment on issues stemming from the ongoing War on Women. Romney tells the anchor that issues like same-sex marriage and contraception provided through an employer’s health insurance plan are irrelevant topics to women in this election.

Anchor David Nelson:  “What is your message to voters?”

Ann Romney:  “My message, really was, ‘women, I hear your voices,’ and the interesting thing about this economy, this tough economy that we’re going through, is that women have been hit the hardest.  And I wanted to make sure that women of America knew that we have been across this country for the last year and a half and we are very aware of how tough it is for them.

They are juggling so many things, and I think all of us know that women work harder than anyone and that they hold down jobs, they are raising the kids, they’re trying to get food on the table and everything else and they’re really being stretched and my message was really for women and it’s saying ‘trust my husband, he does not fail he will not fail’ and he is going to work harder than anyone to make sure that your economic prosperity and your future will be more sound with him.”

Anchor David Nelson:  “Here in Iowa, as you know, same-sex marriage is legal.  Do you believe a lesbian mother should be allowed to marry her partner?”

Ann Romney:  “You know, I’m not going to talk about the specific issues.  I’m going to let my husband speak on issues.  I’m here to really just talk about my husband and what kind of husband and father he is and, you know, those are hot-button issues that distract from what the real voting issue is going to be at this election.  That, it’s going to be about the economy and jobs.

And, frankly, the President said four years ago that if he doesn’t turn this economy around he’s going to be looking at a one-term presidency.  And I frankly believe that Mitt is the person that is so going to be focused on jobs and job creation and making sure that women’s economic prosperity is more certain and by the way their children’s future is because as we all know we’re facing this debt crisis.  Sometime, somewhere, somehow someone’s going to have to pay off these debts, and it’s going to be our children.  And we have to, it’s getting to be a desperate situation.  We will be looking at a Greece-like situation or a Spain situation if we don’t address these issues very quickly.”

Anchor David Nelson: “Do you believe that employer-provided health insurance should be required to cover birth control?”

Ann Romney:  “Again, you’re asking me questions that are not about what this election is going to be about.  This election is going to be about the economy and jobs.

Anchor David Nelson:  “Well, a Pew Research poll shows those issues are very important to women, ranking them either “important” or “very important.”

Ann Romney:  “You know, but I personally believe, and this is what I’m hearing from women all across the country that they are going to look for the guy that’s going to pull them out of the weeds and get them job security and a brighter future for their children.  That’s the message.

Listen, I’ve been across this country, I’ve been for a year-and-a-half on the campaign trail.  I’ve spoken with thousands of women and they are telling me, they’re telling me a couple of things, one they say they’re praying for me which is really wonderful, and then they’re saying, ‘please help, please help.  We are so worried about our jobs.’ So really if you want to try to pull me off of the other messages it’s not going to work because I know because I’ve been out there.

Anchor David Nelson:  “Well, I don’t want to pull you off any message.  You just told a reporter who was questioning you in Cleveland that you want women to have a secure and stable future.  I asked you about marriage and whether lesbian mothers should be allowed to marry.  Isn’t marriage a part of creating a stable future?

Ann Romney:  “You know, again, I’m going to talk to you about the economy and about job creation and about how my husband is the right person for the right time.  This is going to be an election that is very important for women, and we are going to make sure that their economic prosperity is more certain under a President Romney.”

(Via: Think Progress) Watch a four-minute video of the interview.


All these women supposedly telling Ann they’re worried about their jobs… it almost sounds like she’s been threatening to lay off her housekeepers, doesn’t it?

If only Mitt and Ann had listened to women (and men) who were worried about losing their jobs back when Bain Capital was in its heyday: bankrupting companies, laying off the workforce, offshoring their jobs to China and India. Oh, well! Better to pretend to listen now than never.

“As long as I’m President… I will never allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher”

“As long as I’m President of the United States, I will never allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher that would end the program as we know it. We will not go back to the days when our citizens spent their golden years at the mercy of private insurance companies. We will reform Medicare — not by shifting the cost of care to seniors, but by reducing the spending that isn’t making people healthier. That’s what’s at stake in this election…

On issue after issue, we can’t afford to spend the next four years going backward. America doesn’t need to refight the battles we just had over Wall Street reform and health care reform. On health care reform, here is what I know: Allowing 2.5 million young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan — that was the right thing to do. Cutting prescription drug costs for seniors — that was the right thing to do. I will not go back to the days when insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, or deny you coverage, or charge women differently from men. We’re not going back there. We’re going forward.

We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood — or taking away access to affordable birth control. I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons. We are not turning back the clock. We are moving forward.

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The Republican Party and women

via: gop-circus

When Dr. Rape-Doesn’t-Cause-Pregnancy-Because-Of-Spastic-Tubes endorsed Mitt Romney

Ladies, do you think being raped might make you a little “uptight”? That’s Dr. John C. Willke’s explanation for why rape doesn’t usually produce pregnancy — you see, when we’re “uptight” our “tubes are spastic.”

That’s where Todd Akin got the idea for his “legitimate rape” defense.

Dr. John C. Willke, a general practitioner with obstetric training and a former president of the National Right to Life Committee, was an early proponent of this view, articulating it in a book originally published in 1985 and again in a 1999 article. He reiterated it in an interview Monday.

This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight,” Dr. Willke said of a woman being raped, adding, “She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.

More importantly, in 2007 Mitt Romney was proud to receive Willke’s endorsement, this Master of Lady Parts and Reproductive Magic:

Dr. Willke is a leading voice within the pro-life community and will be an important surrogate for Governor Romney’s pro-life and pro-family agenda,” the Romney campaign said in an October 2007 statement.

“I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country,” Romney said in the statement. “He knows how important it is to have someone in Washington who will actively promote pro-life policies. Policies that include more than appointing judges who will follow the law but also opposing taxpayer-funded abortion and partial-birth abortion.”

At the time, Willke called Romney “the only candidate who can lead our pro-life and pro-family conservative movement to victory.” 

Here’s what they really mean: 

via: armchairpatriots

“Women are not an interest group” — President Obama

Democratic National Convention to highlight GOP War on Women

Buzzfeed reports that “Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria will address the Democratic National Convention next month, according to a release… [she] has taken on a significant fundraising role for Obama, and has worked on Hispanic and women’s outreach for the campaign.”

Particularly in light of Rep. Todd Akin’s comments on rape this week, the Obama campaign has readied another push on women’s rights and women’s health, and is planning on using the convention to highlight the “War on Women.”

Among the other names announced on the all-female list announced today:

-Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
-Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth
-Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University Student
-Denise Juneau, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Montana
-Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America
-Caroline Kennedy
-Lilly Ledbetter
-U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, together with the women of the U.S. Senate
-Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

via: orbitingasupernova

via: christopherstreet

via: nickoftime

OFA ad: This isn’t the 1950s. Contraception is about a woman being able to decide.

Dawn: “I think Mitt Romney’s really out of touch with the average woman’s health issues…”
Alex: “This is not the 1950s. Contraception is so important to women…it’s about a woman being able to make decisions…”
Dawn “I don’t remember anyone as extreme as Romney.”
Mitt Romney: “I’ll cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.”
Alex: “I don’t think Mitt Romney can even understand the mindset of someone who has to go to Planned Parenthood.”
Mitt Romney: “Planned Parenthood. We’re going to get rid of that.”
Dawn: “I think Romney would definitely drag us back.”

Checking in with the RNC and Rand Paul

via: itsjustaperiod


There’s another V-word the Republicans don’t want you to use

Register to voteGottaVote.Org

via: reagan-was-a-horrible-president 

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 4.25.2012


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD) says he and his senate colleagues may push a government shutdown to get out of the debt deal agreed upon last year with President Obama. — TPM

ROMNEY SWEEPS GOP PRIMARIES (i.e. collects on his investments) Mitt Romney laid claim to the fiercely contested Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night with a fistful of primary triumphs, then urged all who struggle in a shaky U.S. economy to “hold on a little longer, a better America begins tonight.” Eager to turn the political page to the general election, Romney accused President Barack Obama of “false promises and weak leadership.” He declared, “Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less.”  The former Massachusetts governor spoke as he swept primaries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York, the first since Rick Santorum conceded the nomination. — HuffPo  

ROMNEY STILL WITHOUT RICK SANTORUM’S Holy Blessing and endorsement — “Logistically, there’s just no way,” top Santorum adviser John Brabender told POLITICO of an endorsement prior to Pennsylvania’s primary. “That won’t be happening … Look, the senator takes his endorsement very seriously. He feels there’s many things for he and Governor Romney to talk about. This isn’t just a five-minute meeting: How do you do, let’s endorse.” — POLITICO

JON HUNTSMAN HANDS OVER HIS TINY SPINE to the Republican Party establishment (disregard his comments of the past 48 hours) — Huntsman was asked on CNBC’s Squawk Box whether he was still 100 percent behind Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. “Absolutely, I am,” Huntsman replied. — Buzzfeed

SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R) seems to believe Elizabeth Warren’s personal finances are of the utmost importance in this year’s Senate race in Massachusetts. [...] Why should anyone outside Massachusetts care? Because it turns out, the Republican senator’s top political advisers are the same people advising Mitt Romney, who’s trying to keep his tax returns secretIn other words, the same campaign strategists telling Brown to push for more disclosure are also telling Romney to push for less disclosure. Eric Fehrnstrom, who advises both Romney and Brown, believes it’s wrong if Elizabeth Warren releases only two years of tax documents, but also believes it’s perfectly acceptable if Romney does the same thing. — Maddow Blog

GOP WAR ON WOMEN: FLORIDA GOV RICK SCOTT (R) celebrates Sexual Assault Awareness Month by cutting aid for Rape Crisis Centers

DARRELL ISSA (WHO BANNED A WOMAN FROM SPEAKING AT HIS ALL-MALE CONTRACEPTION PANEL) calls Obama Admin the ‘most corrupt government’ in history.  Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said: “But again, we’re very busy in Washington with a corrupt government, with a government that I said a year ago, because of the money, because of the TARP and stimulus funds, was going to be the most corrupt government in history, and it is proving to be that.” In spite of Issa’s allegations, he only cited two specific scandals. According to journalist Haynes Johnson, the “most corrupt” label actually belongs to the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Plagued by dozens of scandals like selling weapons to Iran, rigging federal grants, the savings and loan crisis and other assorted political skullduggery, it all ended with 138 officials having been investigated, indicted or convicted — the most of any U.S. presidency, ever. — The Raw Story

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

SLOW JAM THE NEWS with Barack Obama: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

OBAMA TELLS UNC CROWD he only paid off his student loans 8 years ago — His chief policy message was an appeal for Congress to pass legislation to stop interest rates on a popular student loan from doubling July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. “I didn’t just read about this. I didn’t just get some talking points about this. I didn’t just get a policy briefing on this,” the president said to laughter from the crowd. “We didn’t come from wealthy families. When we graduated from college and law school we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poor together. We added up our assets and there were no assets. And we added up our liabilities and there were lot of liabilities—basically in the form of student loans,” — ABCNews

FROM A NEW ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA — Given all that, what do you think the general election is going to look like, and what do you think of Mitt Romney?  “I think the general election will be as sharp a contrast between the two parties as we’ve seen in a generation. You have a Republican Party, and a presumptive Republican nominee, that believes in drastically rolling back environmental regulations, that believes in drastically rolling back collective-bargaining rights, that believes in an approach to deficit reduction in which taxes are cut further for the wealthiest Americans, and spending cuts are entirely borne by things like education or basic research or care for the vulnerable. All this will be presumably written into their platform and reflected in their convention. I don’t think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, “Everything I’ve said for the last six months, I didn’t mean.” I’m assuming that he meant it. When you’re running for president, people are paying attention to what you’re saying.” — Rolling Stone 

If the only thing separating evangelical Christians from the Taliban is a burka, women might want to re-think evangelical Christianity.

via: divineirony

Morning Bunker Report: Sunday 4.22.2012


ROMNEY CAN DOG-WHISTLE WITH THE BEST OF THEM. Romney appeared on stage in front of this official campaign banner: See, there’s a very racist stereotype about black people being “lazy and shiftless,” and another one that has to do with “welfare queens” who don’t want to work. So when you create a disgusting slogan like this one, it serves as a dog-whistle, stoking white racist anger while also offending every black person in the country. Yeah, it was probably intentional. The Republican Party’s use of the Southern Strategy is well-documented and verified by actual Republican leaders. [Racist Romney Campaign Banner | Bob Cesca]

OBAMA DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: A REPUBLICAN congressional candidate in Iowa told a TEA PARTY audience yesterday that PRESIDENT OBAMA does not love his country because he supports raising taxes on millionaires. [...] After distorting how much revenue the proposed Buffett Rule, which raises taxes on millionaires, would bring in, Dan Dolan used the president’s support for the measure as evidence that he is unpatriotic. “I have a hard time thinking that he loves this country if he’s willing to turn them against themselves for his own advancement…” [...] a new CNN poll this week found that 72 percent of Americans — including 53 percent of Republicans — support the Buffett Rule. We called Dolan’s campaign to inquire whether he also believes that the three out of every four Americans, and a majority of those in his own party, don’t love their country. We will post their response if one is provided. [Iowa GOP candidate doubts that Obama 'loves this country' because of Buffett Rule] — which reminded me of this:

Bill Maher: Save our children (if you won’t save our richest one percent, who will?)

REPUBLICAN JESUS IS ALSO INFECTED WITH ODS: First up is a look at Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Roman Catholic diocese of Peoria, Illinois, who caused quite a stir with a homily last weekend, when he compared President Obama to Hitler. And while that proved to be the part of Jenky’s hysterical tirade that generated the most attention, there’s a little more… [...] Jenky not only likened the president to Hitler and Stalin — a line that was not appreciated by the Anti-Defamation League — he went on to compare those who support the administration’s policy on contraception access to Judas Iscariot. But don’t miss the bishop’s conclusion: “This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries — only excepting our church buildings — could easily be shut down.” Now, the notion that contraception access might lead the government to shut down Catholic institutions is obviously ridiculous — someone might want to remind Mr. Jenky that there’s a commandment about bearing false witness — but in context, when the bishop concluded his harangue about his hatred for the president by giving the congregation voting instructions, that raises a separate legal question… [This Week in God]

SAY QUESTIONABLE SHIT ABOUT THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF, PASS ON ENTERTAINING HIS TROOPS. Fort Knox’s June 23rd concert was originally scheduled to have Nugent as the headliner. On Tuesday, Nugent said that he would be “dead or in jail by this time next year” if President Barack Obama is re-elected.” Forty-eight hours later, changes to the concert lineup were in the works. “After learning of opening act Ted Nugent’s recent public comments about the president of the United States, Fort Knox leadership decided to cancel his performance on the installation,” said a post on the official Fort Knox, KY Facebook page Thursday. [...] Nugent met with the Secret Service on Thursday, calling the get-together “a good, solid, professional meeting.” The agency added that any potential issues had been resolved. Outside his Secret Service comments, Nugent’s rough week included a guilty plea in an Alaska black bear killing case. .. [Anti-Obama Comments Lead To End Of Rockstar's Appearance]

CHARLES P. PIERCE COMMENTS ON Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods and the weirdo Secret Service agent — And then, with the shrewd self-awareness that’s marked her entire career, she continues… “The president, the CEO of this operation called our federal government, has got to start cracking down on these agencies. He is the head of the administrative branch and all of these different departments in the administration that now people are seeing things that are so amiss within these departments. The buck stops with the president. And he’s really got to start cracking down and seeing some heads roll. He has to get rid of these people at the head of these agencies where so many things, obviously, are amiss.” So sayeth the woman who found being the CEO of this operation called the state of Alaska too demanding to finish out her single term at the job. Historians are going to look back at this era of our politics and wonder why we all decided to start eating paint chips. Was there a famine or something? [Esquire]

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS—————————————————————-

DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY HEAR FROM REPUBLICANS, LISTEN TO DEMOCRATS ON SOCIAL SECURITY — Get ready for the pro-Paul Ryan austerity headlines that will predict an imminent demise of Social Security. On April 23, the Social Security Trustees Report for 2012 is expected to be released – and you can expect that the shills for the one percent will be blaring that seniors may need to live on cat food if the US is going to be saved from financial ruin. But an advance analysis of the report on the financial status of the program, posted on NiemanWatchdog, argues that “last year’s report projected that at the end of 2011, Social Security would have an accumulated surplus of around $2.7 trillion, which it now has. This year’s report will show that it will be even higher at the end of 2012.” That’s right, the current $2.7 trillion surplus of Social Security funds is expected to rise by the end of this year. [Forget the Scary Headlines: Social Security Has More Than a $2.7 Trillion Surplus]

HOW MAINTAINING TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY LEADS TO AUSTERITY FOR THE REST OF US (what the Democrats are fighting): The state budget gaps of the last five years led to $290 billion in cuts to public services and $100 billion in tax and fee increases. Those actions lengthened the recession and delayed the recovery. Because spending reductions were dominant, hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost; undermining education, health care and other state priorities, which likely will cause future economic harm to states. Federal aid mitigated the harmful effects of the spending cuts in the early years of the budget crunch, but its expiration last year had a catastrophic effect, making 2012 the worst year since the downturn began for cuts in funding for services. More federal aid and a more balanced response, with an equal reliance on revenues and on service cuts, could have mitigated these effects. These are the findings of a new analysis of state budget data and trends over the last five years. While the broad outlines of this story have been well-known, this is the first attempt to quantify how states collectively balanced their budgets in the face of the worst fiscal problems in at least 70 years. Since 2008, states have enacted almost $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in new revenues… [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

TAX REFORM: THE GOP REFUSES TO RAISE TAXES ON THE WEALTHIEST ONE PERCENT (i.e. restoring the American value of fairness): Republicans work from a baseline that includes a full extension of the Bush tax cuts. The Democrats’ baseline assumes the expiration of the tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000. The Congressional Budget Office uses yet another baseline, one that assumes that all of the Bush tax cuts will expire, because that’s what current law says will happen at the end of 2012. The difference in revenue between the Republican and the current-law scenario exceeds $4 trillion over 10 years. So before we can even discuss what a new tax code should look like, we somehow need to resolve the most polarizing question in American politics: Should taxes be higher or lower? [...] The Tax Policy Center estimates that if the Bush tax cuts expire, the average America will face a $1,749 tax increase in 2013. That’s not something you want in a fragile economy after a decade that’s been terrible for the middle class. But it may be something we need if we’re going to get real revenue-raising tax reform. The two parties would still have to settle on a final revenue number, but at least they could agree on one that would cut taxes on almost all Americans. No one would have to vote for a “tax increase.” That’s not the case in the current world of baseline confusion. It’s sad to think that the only way to save the tax code might be to let it collapse at the end of the year. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. [Ezra Klein]

image: americanprogress.org

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 4.19.2012


MITT ROMNEY, Who Spent 212 Days Out Of State One Year, Attacks Obama For Vacationing — Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took up a common conservative refrain against the president today, attacking Obama for supposedly vacationing too much. “I would think you could kind of suck it up for four years particularly when the American people are out of work,” Romney said …As of August of last year, when Obama’s vacations briefly dominated the news cycle, George W. Bush had taken almost three times as many vacation days as Obama, and Ronald Reagan had taken almost double the days at similar points in their terms. But the tact is especially odd coming from Romney, who is no stranger to taking leaves while in office. In 2006, his last year as governor of Massachusetts, Romney spent 212 days out of state — more than four days each week, on average — preparing for a presidential run. […] This vacation hypocrisy is nothing new for Romney, though, who attacked Obama last year for going to tony Martha’s Vineyard — even though it turned out Romney would be on the island on the very same day. More importantly, in this day and age, no president is ever out of communication, no matter where in the world they go. So any discussion of Obama’s vacationing is mere distraction and a weak attempt to make a scandal out of nothing.

REPUBLICANS PICK AND CHOOSE THEIR “CHRISTIAN” CONVICTIONS: Boehner to Catholic bishops: Take ‘bigger look’ at Republican budget –Referencing Matthew 25, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called on Congress to put the poor first in budget priorities and rethink cuts to programs that benefited the least among us. But Boehner, a Catholic, said at a press conference Wednesday the cuts were necessary, despite the impact they may have on the poor.  [...] The House Agriculture Committee approved a measure on Wednesday that would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food stamps, by $133 billion over the next decade. Approximately 2 million individuals would be cut off from the program entirely, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. Another 44 million would see their benefits cut. In a letter to House Committee on Agriculture members, Bishop Stephen Blaire described the proposed cuts to the program as “unjustified and wrong.” “If savings need to be achieved, cuts to agricultural subsidies and direct payments should be considered before cutting anti-hunger programs that help feed poor and vulnerable people,” he continued.

After Demanding Offsets For Payroll Tax Cut, GOP Won’t Offset ‘Small Business’ Tax Cut For Millionaires — Despite calls from some conservative members of the party, GOP leadership won’t demand spending cuts to offset the “small business” tax cut that is being proposed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Politico reports: Several Republican leadership aides say they have no plans to offset the tax cut, which a centerpiece of their agenda during these next two weeks in session. The payroll tax cut, which Republicans did everything to block until it became politically impossible to continue, primarily benefited working class Americans and has real economic benefits. Cantor’s tax cut, on the other hand, is supposedly targeted at small businesses, but will largely aid millionaires like Oprah Winfrey and the owners of professional sports franchises. According to the Center for American Progress’ Seth Hanlon, the bill gives millionaires an average tax cut of $45,000.

Cantor ‘Puzzled’ That Obama Would Threaten To Veto The Latest GOP Tax Cut For Millionaires — Due to its non-existent targeting to actual small businesses, the cut would benefit hedge fund managers, wealthy lawyers, professional sports teams, and Oprah’s production company. Despite all this, Cantor is still “puzzled” that President Obama would threaten to veto the bill, which he did yesterday. On CNBC this morning, Cantor accused Obama of not caring about small businesses due to his opposition to the tax giveaway: Well, listen, the President’s now issued a veto threat against the bill, which is kind of puzzling, because the President has continued to say he’s for small business, he’s for the middle class, and yet he’s now denying any help to small businesses, who frankly could use a 20 percent tax cut…

Republicans Give Up The Game: It Was Never About Deficits — The contrast is particularly stark this week: Senate Republicans blocked the Buffett Rule, dismissing its capacity to raise $47 billion over 10 years, while House Republicans are pushing a broad business tax cut that would add $46 billion to the deficit in just one year. On top of that, House committees are now looking for ways to override automatic cuts to defense spending they agreed to last August as a means of enforcing the controversial debt-limit deal. [...] Underlying this story is a broader GOP strategy of using deficits as a cudgel to attack Democrats when they come to power and use legislative leverage to force cuts to federal programs. Democrats yielded to the GOP for the first half of 2011. But small government isn’t synonymous with responsible budgeting, and when Democrats demanded that Republicans look to the other side of the federal ledger to reduce deficits, the GOP implicitly acknowledged that bringing the budget closer to balance wasn’t their real priority. Democrats say they’re still willing to address deficits with the GOP, but only under a more balanced approach. Republicans so far haven’t budged, and many would rather see wholesale changes to the rules of governing than make concessions to grapple seriously with the issue that they put on the national agenda.

RIP DICK CLARK — LET’S MAKE YOUR DEATH INTO A GOP TALKING POINT: GOP lawmaker: Dick Clark should be remembered as model of free enterprise — [House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.)] came to the House floor just a few hours after Clark’s death was reported, and said an ongoing Republican speech about the need to foster small businesses reminded him of the discussions he had with Clark over the years about taxes and free enterprise. “I just want to say that as I listen to your discussion, I was reminded of how he regularly said everyone should pay their fair share of taxes,” Dreier said of Clark. “He said that not too long ago to me. “I said I appreciate that, because he knew he was paying my salary,” Dreier said, adding that he had dinner with Clark just two weeks ago. “He was a believer in the free-enterprise system, he was a believer in encouraging individual initiative and opportunity on a regular basis,” Dreier said. “You guys are here talking about the need for tax fairness and the imperative to ensure that we encourage more people like Dick Clark. I think it’s important for us to remember the wonderful life that this man had.”

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OBAMA TO GOP: Abide By Debt Limit Deal Or Else Face A Government Shutdown — In a major escalation of a slowly building fight over funding the government, the White House has warned House Republicans, in no uncertain terms, that the government will shut down in September if the GOP does not adhere to an agreement they cut with Democrats in August during the standoff over raising the nation’s debt limit. “Until the House of Representatives indicates that it will abide by last summer’s agreement, the President will not be able to sign any appropriations bills,” writes Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, in a letter addressed to congressional appropriators Wednesday. The message is simple: The government will shut down just ahead of the 2012 presidential election if Republicans break faith with the debt limit deal. [TPM]

BERNIE SANDERS: Congress spends day and night worrying about the wealthy — “This country faces enormous problems, the middle-class is declining, poverty is increasing, we’re worried about global warming, we’re worried about health care, we’re worried about education,” he said, “and the American people are looking to Washington and saying, ‘What’s going on? We have enormous problems, and you’re not addressing those problems.’” “One of the reasons that Congress is not addressing those problems is the power of big money in terms of campaign contributions and in terms of lobbying,” Sanders continued. “Working people are trying to keep their heads above water, and here on Capitol Hill all kinds of money is flooding into this institution so that Congress spends day and night worrying about the wealthy and powerful, and forgetting about the middle-class and working families.” He blasted the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, which held that limiting corporate campaign spending violated the First Amendment. [...] Sen. Charles Schumer said at the summit that the Citizens United decision was the worst since Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld state laws enacting racial segregation. “Something like 17 people have given half the Republican super PACS half of their money,” he noted. “What is happening to America?”

I BLAME FOX NEWS: The latest Pew poll shows Mitt Romney leading President Obama by a full six points — 50% to 44% — among senior citizens. Ingrates. The president is saving Medicare recipients billions of dollars by closing the Medicare Part-D donut hole, and yet they’re leaning Romney. A new HHS report indicates that 3.6 million Medicare enrollees saved a total of $2.1 billion in 2011 thanks to these ACA provisions. And since the discounts are phased in slowly between 2010 and 2020, the savings will only increase in the future. Old people should be at the top of the pro-Obama roster because of this. After all, if Romney is elected, he’ll repeal the ACA and the donut hole will open up again, meaning senior citizens will have to pay for life-saving prescriptions out of their own fixed-income pockets for a period time every single year. [Bob Cesca]

Same Thing, Both Sides Do It, GOTCHA LIBTARDS! — So apparently, when Obama was a young boy, someone fed him dog meat in Indonesia. Which, according to wingnuts, is exactly the same thing as a grown man making the decision to strap his dog to the roof of the car and terrorize it on a cross country trip. SUCK ON THAT LIBERALS! And of course the WH press corpse is on the job mainstreaming this bullshit.

JOHN BOEHNER YESTERDAY: “This election is going to be a referendum on the president’s economic policies. They’ve not only not helped the economy, they’ve actually made it worse. When you look at his higher taxes, his refusal to deal with the debt, the regulatory regime here in Washington out of control, they’ve scared every businessperson and investor in America.” Speaker Boehner has an odd definition of “worse.” While Boehner talks about Obama’s “higher taxes,” Obama has actually cut taxes. While Boehner said Obama has refused to deal with the debt, Obama offered Boehner a $4 trillion debt-reduction plan that Republicans rejected. While Boehner frets over a “regulatory regime,” Obama has actually created fewer regulations than his Republican predecessor. And then there’s the notion that Obama made the economy “worse.”… [Time for Boehner to update his talking points]