Sen. Lindsey Graham’s “Final Solution”

I hope people actually pay attention to what Lindsey Graham is proposing here, especially with all the effort that’s been going into the rebranding and remarketing of the Republican Party and their “message.”  Graham is saying that because of the sequester’s automatic cuts to the military (about 7.5% out of an astronomically huge defense budget), he thinks we should cut the health coverage of about 30 million people to pay for that shortfall and protect the DoD’s budget.

JOSH ISRAEL | THINK PROGRESS: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Sunday the government should protect the Defense Department from automatic spending cuts by slashing $1.2 trillion from the Affordable Care Act. During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Graham suggested that the sequester’s across-the-board cuts to federal spending, including about a roughly 7.5 percent reduction in military spending, would be “destroying the military.” But rather than agree to President Obama’s proposed alternatives to the sequester, the South Carolina Republican said we should save money by eliminating health care for the 30 million people covered by the Affordable Care Act:

GRAHAM: Well, all I can say is the commander-in-chief thought — came up with the idea of sequestration, destroying the military and putting a lot of good programs at risk. It is my belief — take Obamacare and put it on the table. You can make $86,000 a year in income and still get a government subsidy under Obamacare. Obamacare is destroying health care in this country and people are leaving the private sector, because their companies cannot afford to offer Obamacare and if you want to look at ways to find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade, look at Obamacare, don’t destroy the military and cut blindly across the board…

JOSH ISRAEL: But Graham’s “solution” also misses a key reality: Obamacare actually reduced the deficit. His proposal to put its elimination on the table would mean increasing the budget deficit by an estimated $109 billion over the same 10-year period, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

JOHN COLE: The notion that miniscule cuts to the most bloated military in the world [will destroy it] is, in and of itself, offensive to common sense. That this douchebag wants millions of Americans to die without health coverage to keep shuffling three quarters of a trillion to said military really says it all.

CHARLES JOHNSON: And if you’re tempted to believe Lindsey Graham’s risible statement that a 7.5% cut would “destroy the military,” just take a quick look at this simple chart showing the world’s top 5 military spenders in 2012.

Another thing, they can all freely blame Obama for the sequester on Fox ‘news,’ naturally, but they don’t get away with it so easily on other networks:

IGOR VOLSKY reports that “ABC News’ Jonathan Karl confronted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) over his past support for the sequester, just as the one-time GOP vice presidential candidate sought to blame President Obama for the automatic across-the-board cuts scheduled to go into effect on March 1.”

“Ryan’s argument is fundamentally dishonest, as he is one of the Republicans responsible for creating the sequester in the first place. In the summer of 2011, Republicans demanded spending cuts to offset a debt ceiling increase and refused to consider new revenues in those negotiations. That standoff produced the Budget Control Act, which Ryan voted for and promoted. The law included spending caps and a devastating sequester as a way to motivate a bipartisan Super Committee to find $1.2 trillion in spending cuts.

After the Super Committee failed to agree on a spending reduction package, Ryan — then the GOP’s vice presidential candidate — consistently railed against the sequester mechanism he previously supported, calling it “reckless” and “devastating.” Two months later, he wants the sequester to go into effect and may incorporate its savings in his upcoming budget.”

It’s as if Graham and Ryan would have us believe the sequester was never voted on and passed as law through Congress by Republicans.

Not only is Ryan’s argument “fundamentally dishonest,” but Paul Ryan, the man, is fundamentally dishonest. And I think most of us can agree that’s a standardized requirement for the chosen ‘rock stars‘ of the GOP.

Poll: majority of Americans want taxes raised on the wealthy, Republicans continue to stall

Reuters: “Negotiators warned the showdown could drag on past Christmas. A Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll released late on Wednesday …held the potential to shake up the stalemate. Three-quarters of those surveyed, including 61 percent of Republicans, said they would accept raising taxes on the wealthy to avoid the so-called cliff, as Democratic President Barack Obama is demanding.

“With Republicans in Congress already divided, that rejection by their own supporters of the core demand of Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner could further weaken his position.

“Both sides refused to give any ground in public, one day after what Boehner described as a “frank” conversation with President Barack Obama about the remaining hurdles to a deal.”


I’m quite sure the Republicans in Congress don’t give a damn what their base wants if it interferes with the happiness of their wealthy benefactors.

Also why isn’t there more discussion about cuts to defense spending — why are we now only discussing cuts to the safety net? And that goes for both Republicans and Democrats.

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 5.16.2012


George W. Bush finally endorses Romney at ornate elevator door-shutting ceremony — “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush told ABC News this morning as the doors of an elevator closed on him, after he gave a speech on human rights a block from his old home — the White House. [...] Romney already had the support of Bush’s brother and parents; he’s already hired Bush’s former team to lead his campaign; and he’s already adopted most of the same policy priorities of the failed former president. The Republican National Committee conceded recently that a Romney presidency would be the same as Bush’s presidency, “just updated.” — Steve Benen & Wonkette | Note: Read that first sentence again — George W. Bush gave a speech on ‘human rights‘!!?! 

THAT’S SO BAIN! The Tampa Bay Times reports on yet another example of Mitt Romney’s “heads I win, tails you lose” business model: Millions of dollars in tax subsidies given to Bain-owned Dade Behring for creating jobs in Puerto Rico … after which the company shut down its Puerto Rico operations. [...] Romney says he supports tax incentives at the state level, but note that this involved federal dollars—dollars that went to a Bain-owned company for creating jobs even though the company destroyed the jobs. Adding insult to injury: Romney’s firm “earned” $342 million on it’s $30 million Dade Behring investment, a profit of more than one thousand percent, even though it ended up firing 850 Floridians. — Jed Lewison

John Boehner and fellow Republicans want to play another game of “government shutdown” over the debt limit – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants Congress to raise the debt limit again later this year “without drama, pain and damage.” House Speaker John Boehner has other ideas. [...] “When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance. If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem. We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.”Brian Beutler | TPM

  • There will be no compromise: any tax increases to the wealthy or cuts to the DoD are completely off the table.
  • Why are Republicans flirting with Debt Limit Debacle 2.0? — Protecting The Bush Tax Cuts: This is a generational imperative for the GOP. The 2001 and 2003 Bush cuts are key to the decades-long conservative goal of redistributing wealth further up the income ladder and rolling back the federal government’s role in providing social services. All of the cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and if President Obama wins in November, he’ll have a lot of leverage to demand that the Republicans own up to the results and allow the cuts for high-income earners to expire.  — Brian Beutler | TPM
  • Under the current baseline agreed to in the Budget Control Act, the debt-ceiling deal wherein Boehner claims he received “98 percent of what he wanted,” every bracket of the Bush Tax Cuts will expire at the end of fiscal 2012. The only way any bracket, whether at the low-end or high-end, will be extended beyond fiscal 2012 is through an act of congress. If congress and the president simply do nothing, they will automatically expire. — Bob Cesca
  • Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY — “It is pretty galling for Speaker Boehner to be laying down demands for another debt-ceiling agreement when he won’t even abide by the last one. The last thing the country needs is a rerun of last summer’s debacle that nearly brought down our economy.”
  • Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-MD  — “The dollar for dollar limit, of course, led to the sequester, which none of us like. While it sounds good, the execution of that principle does not seem to be very disciplined. The Speaker, in my view, believes [in a broad, balanced approach] as well, [but] the Speaker’s party does not believe in balance. Mr. Boehner is responding to the same people who didn’t want the Export-Import Bank to pass. The Republicans are good at buying and lousy at paying. They borrowed a lot of money, as a result we owe a lot of money. They don’t believe that tax cuts need to be paid for so they give away revenues, they continue to spend money and inevitably deficits occur.”
  • The last GOP-led hostage crisis over the debt — It was, to my mind, the worst thing an American major party has done, at least in domestic politics, since the Civil War. It was a move without parallel. The entirety of a party threatened to deliberately hurt the country unless their rivals paid a hefty ransom — in this case, debt reduction. It didn’t matter that Republicans were largely responsible for the debt in the first place, and it didn’t matter that Republicans routinely raised the debt ceiling dozens of times over the last several decades. This wasn’t just another partisan dispute; it was a scandal for the ages. This one radical scheme helped lead to the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt; it riled financial markets and generated widespread uncertainty about the stability of the American system; and it severely undermined American credibility on the global stage. Indeed, in many parts of the world, observers didn’t just lose respect for us, they were actually laughing at us. It’s the kind of thing that should have scarred the Republican Party for a generation. Not only did that never happen, the Republican hostage takers are already vowing to create this identical crisis all over again, on purpose.– Steve Benen

The Andrew Breitbart Fail-Train chugs along — Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe released a new video today supposedly exposing voter fraud in North Carolina by highlighting non-citizens like Zbigniew Gorzkowski who have voted in recent elections. The problem: Gorzkowski is an American citizen. — Think Progress

Rove Group Drops $25 Million In A Single Month To Attack Obama — Crossroads GPS, a group backing Mitt Romney that is affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove, will spend $25 million this month on ads attacking President Obama on his spending record. The campaign will begin on Thursday with an $8 million ad buy that will run in 10 states. — Think Progress

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

The Obama Administration on Tuesday threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 over provisions related to Guantanamo Bay and same sex marriage. The House Armed Services Committee approved the $642 billion defense budget last week by a 56-5 vote. The budget is $8 billion over the military spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The legislation would continue to prevent the Obama Administration from closing down Guantanamo Bay by prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the United States or a foreign country. “The Administration continues to strongly oppose these provisions, which intrude upon the Executive branch’s ability to carry out its military, national security, and foreign relations activities and to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. — Raw Story 

Sen. John McCain wants campaign finance reform again, so guess where he goes for support:  McCain said Tuesday he could join Democrats once again to form a bipartisan coalition, even though it would annoy the Republican leadership. [...] The Disclose Act introduced by the Whitehouse in March would require any group that spends $10,000 or more on election ads or other political activity to file a disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours. Reports would detail the nature of expenditures over $1,000 and reveal the names of donors who give $10,000 or more. The legislation would also require that outside group advertisements include “stand-by-your-ad” disclaimers listing the biggest donors. Forty-three Democrats have co-sponsored the legislation, but no Republican has endorsed it. —

The DNC responds to complaints about Scott Walker Recall Election June 5 — Following a report that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is “furious” with the Democratic National Committee for not pouring more money into the Scott Walker recall effort, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will visit Wisconsin this month to campaign with Walker’s challenger — but there’s still no indication that the Wisconsinites can expect more help than that. [...] “We are confident that they will be here for us,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski when asked if the visit meant more monetary support from the DNC. — Buzzfeed

BREAKING NEWS: Despite the Republican Party, Congress passed a bill – The Senate approved legislation today that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank after rejecting five Republicans amendments, including a proposal to shut down the bank. The bill was approved 78-20 — with all 20 “no” votes cast by Republicans — and now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. The House passed the measure last week 330-93.  [...] “This bank is one of the most powerful tools that we have for manufacturing jobs in America,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said on the Senate floor. “In fiscal 2011 alone, the bank supported nearly 290,000 export-created jobs in America.” — Roll Call News

Only one party’s to blame? Don’t tell the Sunday shows — Last month, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published an Op ed and a book making the extremely controversial argument that both parties aren’t equally to blame for what ails Washington. They argued that the GOP — by allowing extremists to roam free and by wielding the filibuster to achieve government dysfunction as a political end in itself — were demonstrably more culpable for creating what is approaching a crisis of governance. It turns out neither man has been invited on to the Sunday shows even once to discuss this thesis. As Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum note, these are among the most quoted people in Washington — yet suddenly this latest topic is too hot for the talkers, or not deemed relevant at all. I ran this thesis by Ornstein himself, and he confirmed that the book’s publicity people had tried to get the authors booked on the Sunday shows, with no success. — Greg Sargent | See also:  Op-ed of the day — Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem

Reduce our workforce? Who do they think we are?! Teachers???

via: randomactsofchaosChris Weyant/The Hill (01/30/2012)


Here’s how you reduce spending

You don’t hold the debt ceiling hostage, threaten to shut down the government, or talk about new tax cuts for the richest one percent while deciding which services and benefits to cut for everyone else.  You cut spending where spending needs to be cut:

U.S. to withdraw about 7,000 troops from Europe

WASHINGTON — The United States plans to withdraw about 7,000 US troops of the 81,000 troops based in Europe, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

In an interview with the Armed Forces Press Service, Panetta said two brigade combat teams, or roughly 7,000 US troops, would be withdrawn from Europe, but rotational units would still maintain strong military presence in the region.

Joint chiefs support military downsizing

DURHAM, North Carolina (Reuters) – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Thursday that military leaders supported the reshaping of America’s military with a smaller force and did not feel victimized by it.

“We the military are not being victimized by this budget issue,” Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin E. Dempsey said in an hour-long lecture at Duke University. “This is something we the Joint Chiefs have endorsed as best for America.”

[...] The United States is expected to draw down about 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by the summer of 2012, leaving about 65,000 American forces in Afghanistan.

If you vote Republican (or don’t vote at all)…

image: reagan-was-a-horrible-president

Colorado Republicans Join With Michele Bachmann, Attempt To Block Gay Service Members From Using Military Bases And Facilities For Same-Sex Marriages

Colorado Republican Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman joined Rep. Michele Bachmann and 83 other members of the House as signers of a letter to the U.S. Senate urging that body to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit gay members of America’s Armed Forces from using military facilities for marriage ceremonies.

The Department of Defense, in the wake of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, has indicated that it will allow chaplains and same-sex couples to use facilities on a “sexual orientation-neutral basis,” something Republican members of the U.S. House oppose.

The letter was authored by Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri and was signed by 86 members of the House.

“The Defense of Marriage Act was passed by a bipartisan vote in Congress and signed into law by President Clinton,” Akin said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this current administration is now directing the Department of Defense to ignore this law and perform gay marriages on military bases. I think this is wrong, which is why I offered an amendment to the House-passed defense bill making it clear that DOMA applies to the DOD. This letter calls for the Senate to add a similar amendment to their version of the bill. The Department of Defense should not be allowed to simply ignore laws they do not like.”

manicchill: How many attempts have Republicans made to subvert the clear intentions of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the last year or two? How many jobs bills have they introduced in that same period of time? If you vote Republican, you don’t support job growth, and you don’t support limited government. You support institutionalized bigotry, and the idea that a continuously growing community of your fellow citizens are somehow second-class.

Real talk. Occupy a voting booth in 2012.

OWS: Tax cuts for the wealthy? Spending cuts for the 99percent? Maybe cut DEFENSE?

LIVE NOW: Defense Chiefs Testify on Budget Cuts | C-SPAN

The DOD has blown roughly $1 trillion on shiny new tanks, ships, and jets since the 9/11 attacks—and it’s often done so with dollars that were supposed to be spent on those troops on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. — Report: Military Blew $1 Trillion on Weapons Since 9/11 | Mother Jones

Top congressional Republicans, Democrats and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are united in a single message to the special bipartisan committee looking for ways to cut the deficit: Leave military spending alone. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Thursday that the Pentagon budget was cut more than enough in the debt accord this past summer by President Barack Obama and Republicans. — House speaker to supercommittee: No more cuts to defense spending – The Washington Post

Of course the Republican Teaparty answer to the deficit — even after seeing the facts and politics — is to cut ‘entitlement’ spending and raise taxes on the 99%.

From: 15 Facts About Military Spending That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. America spends more on its military than THE NEXT 15 COUNTRIES COMBINED
  2. The total known land area occupied by U.S. bases and facilities is 15,654 square miles — bigger than D.C., Massachusetts, and New Jersey combined.
  3. By 2033 the U.S. will be paying $59 billion a year to its veterans injured in the wars
  4. In 2007, the amount of money labeled ‘wasted’ or ‘lost’ in Iraq — $11 billion — could pay 220,000 teachers salaries
  5. Defense spending is higher today than at any time since the height of World War II
  6. America’s defense spending doubled in the same period that its economy shrunk from 32 to 23 percent of global output*
  7. The yearly cost of stationing one soldier in Iraq could feed 60 American families.
  8. Each day in Afghanistan costs the government more than it did to build the entire Pentagon
  9. In 2008, the Pentagon spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earned in a year
  10. The pentagon budget consumes 80% of individual income tax revenue
  11. Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Defense Department still has more than 40 generals, admirals or civilian equivalents based in Europe
  12. The amount the government has spent compensating radiation victims of nuclear testing ($1.5 billion) could fully educate 13,000 American kids
  13. The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety
  14. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population — but almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure
  15. So where do they get all that money?


Who are the world’s biggest employers?

The Economist: Who are the world’s biggest employers?

America’s defense department had 3.2m people on its payroll last year, equivalent to 1% of the country’s population.

Recall that last week Sen. John Kyl said he’ll stomp right off the “Super Committee” if defense spending cuts are even mentioned.

Shorter GOP: small government (on your stuff only, my stuff stays)!

Republican-run House committee slashes funding to USDA, FDA and other agencies by 14%

But of course there are exactly zero suggestions to cut defense, retire the tax cuts for the rich, or to quit subsidizing oil companies with our shrinking federal revenue. Besides, who needs safe food or drugs?

Taxpayer spending on the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration, and several smaller agencies would be cumulatively slashed by 14 percent next year under a spending bill approved Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee.

Full story…


Some Departments have posted Contingency Plans for Teaparty Government Shutdown

In no particular order for the following departments (will update as I find them):

Dept. of Interiror (DOI) 8 April 2011:

Based on the developed plans, approximately 52,300 of the 68,900 Department of the Interior employees projected to be in pay status will be furloughed at the outset of a suspension of activities. [...] Approximately 9,500 employees will be designated as excepted or emergency personnel to complete shutdown activities and to protect life and property.  This number will decrease if the shutdown goes beyond two to three days as facilities are secured and other shutdown activities are completed.  In addition, a limited number of employees providing administrative support for essential functions, such as budget, IT, finance, and contracting, will be considered essential.  Some of these employees may be required on an intermittent basis after the initial shutdown activities are completed.

Dept. of Treasury 8 April 2011:

In total, the Treasury Department has approximately 127,000 employees. In the event of a lapse in appropriations, approximately 92,000 would be furloughed and 35,000 would remain on duty. Because the possible lapse comes at the height of the annual tax filing season, the majority of these employees would be excepted from furlough to handle essential tax filing and service functions of the IRS, with the remainder primarily working in Treasury programs that are funded from sources other than annual appropriations. Treasury will continue to revise its plans as circumstances warrant. Each Bureau under the Treasury has discrete functions. Continue reading →

Dept of Agriculture (USDA) — PDF documents (all agencies / bureaus have separate plans listed)

More departments after the cut: Continue reading

Teaparty induced government shutdown: you KNEW they’d go there

The Republicans’ crap CR that they knew wouldn’t get anywhere today has now been re-branded the “troop funding bill.”  Pathetic.

Spending cuts & the deficit: Let’s not forget all the money lost during the Bush years

Do we even know for sure how much money the Pentagon and Department of Defense lost during the Bush years? This lost money has contributed in a big way to our deficit… where was the Repulican/Teaparty outcry over this news?

  • Fed News Radio | July 2010: The Defense Department is unable to account for $8.7 billion of the $9.1 billion in Development Fund for Iraq monies in received for reconstruction in Iraq. This according to a study published today by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

More amusing, given this information, the Republican/Teaparty House members are bringing another continuing resolution to the floor for a vote today (a bill written to be rejected by the Democrats) with one of the requirements being that the Department of Defense will be funded through the remainder of the year!

There wasn’t a threat of a government shutdown back then or threats to not raise the Debt Limit until someone “found” the money. Why not?

Tea party favorite Rand Paul wants to scrap the Energy Department, move the nuclear weapons program to the Pentagon

Seriously »

But the idea of shifting the nuclear weapons program to the Pentagon ignores a carefully considered posture, adopted after World War II and carefully maintained, to keep nuclear weapons under the jurisdiction of scientists and other civilians.

There are other security reasons for keeping nuclear weapons in a separate agency. Every year, Energy and the Pentagon conduct separate reviews of the nuclear stockpile. “By having two separate entities involved, you increase the chance that you get an honest, rigorous evaluation,” said Linton Brooks, the Energy Department’s undersecretary for nuclear security and the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration under President George W. Bush.

His assessment is that the move is probably a bad idea, especially paired with slashing the science and research programs. Sparing from the ax the labs most closely affiliated with nuclear weapons development, such as Los Alamos, and putting them under Pentagon control wouldn’t be much better.

“The [Defense Department] as it existed in the second half of the Bush term would not have been a very good steward” for the nuclear weapons program, Brooks said. “DOD does not have a particularly good track record at running multipurpose research labs… If you want Sandia, Los Alamos, and [Lawrence] Livermore to continue to be great institutions, you’re taking a risk with moving them.”

Aside from the whole “oversight” thing on NUCLEAR WEAPONS, I have to wonder at Paul’s thought process since the Pentagon has proven itself to be so excellent with budgets and money.

Is Rand Paul simply an idiot — or is he the biggest idiot, ever? Discuss.