Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Republi-CON Budget CON, CONtinued

UPDATE III:  "Republican leaders claim that all the new spending [$112 billion over two years] is offset by spending cuts elsewhere. But according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, that is not true. “We estimate that when interest is added and gimmicks are removed, only half of the bill’s cost is truly paid for,” the committee declared. . .

If the Republican establishment wonders why Donald Trump has been surging in the polls, they need only look in the mirror. They are the Dr. Frankensteins that created the Trump monster that is now wreaking havoc on the GOP village. They have no one to blame but themselves."

Read the Washington Post, With this budget deal, GOP deserves Trump.

UPDATE II:  "By now it’s a Republican Party tradition: Every year the party produces a budget that allegedly slashes deficits, but which turns out to contain a trillion-dollar “magic asterisk” — a line that promises huge spending cuts and/or revenue increases, but without explaining where the money is supposed to come from.

But the just-released budgets from the House and Senate majorities break new ground. Each contains not one but two trillion-dollar magic asterisks: one on spending, one on revenue. And that’s actually an understatement. If either budget were to become law, it would leave the federal government several trillion dollars deeper in debt than claimed, and that’s just in the first decade. . .
Think about what these budgets would do if you ignore the mysterious trillions in unspecified spending cuts and revenue enhancements. What you’re left with is huge transfers of income from the poor and the working class, who would see severe benefit cuts, to the rich, who would see big tax cuts. And the simplest way to understand these budgets is surely to suppose that they are intended to do what they would, in fact, actually do: make the rich richer and ordinary families poorer.

But this is, of course, not a policy direction the public would support if it were clearly explained. So the budgets must be sold as courageous efforts to eliminate deficits and pay down debt — which means that they must include trillions in imaginary, unexplained savings.

Does this mean that all those politicians declaiming about the evils of budget deficits and their determination to end the scourge of debt were never sincere? Yes, it does.

. . . [It's a] con job"

Read The New York Times, Trillion Dollar Fraudsters.  

UPDATE:  And read the Washington Post, House Republican budget: There’s a mysterious $1.1 trillion in spending cuts in the House GOP’s budget.

"Republican budget writers have learned over the years to leave out specifics — the budget does include cuts in taxes on capital gains and stock dividends (through the repeal of Obamacare), along with cuts for business income and the foreign earnings of multinational corporations.

Now, think about the math here. To get to balance, all those spending cuts have to cover all those tax cuts, and then, above and beyond that, take the budget deficit down to zero by 2024 (all this while raising defense spending). The only way to get there — and we’ve seen this in all the previous House budgets written by Paul Ryan — is the magic asterisk that assumes extra revenue comes from somewhere (i.e., somewhere other than higher tax rates): Don’t ask, they won’t tell."
Read the Washington Post, The House Republican budget departs from both economic and political reality.

But a close examination shows some of the Republi-con gimmicks.

"[The budget proposal] pretends to keep strict limits on defense spending — so-called “sequestration” — but then pumps tens of billions of extra dollars into a slush fund called “Overseas Contingency Operations.” That means the funds count as emergency spending and not as part of the Pentagon budget.

It assumes that current tax cuts will be allowed to expire as scheduled — which would amount to a $900 billion tax increase that nobody believes would be allowed to go into effect.

It proposes to repeal Obamacare but then counts revenues and savings from Obamacare as if the law remained in effect.

It claims to save $5.5 trillion over 10 years, but in the fine print — the budget plan’s instructions to committees — it only asks them to identify about $5 billion in savings over that time.

It assumes more than $1 trillion in cuts to a category known as “other mandatory” programs — but doesn’t specify what those cuts would be.

It relies on $147 billion in additional revenue from “dynamic scoring,” a more generous accounting method.

It doesn’t account for the $200 billion plan now being negotiated to increase doctor payments under Medicare and to extend a children’s health-care program."

Read also the Washington Post, The House GOP budget is a gimmick.  

The Many, Many Republi-CON 'Benghazi' Myths and LIES

UPDATE V:  "The Republican candidate’s claims about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi fall apart under scrutiny."

Read Slate, Rubio Is Lying About Hillary Lying.

UPDATE IV:  After years of investigations, and an eleven hour hearing, "the truth about Benghazi: Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong. And Republicans can’t stand it."

Read Slate, The Benghazi Hearings Sham.

UPDATE III: "If there were some truly damning piece of information that the committee had discovered about Clinton in the course of their investigation, then all the public relations and spin in the world wouldn’t save her from their efforts. For instance, for some time Republicans have been obsessed with a conspiracy theory which has it that Clinton issued a 'stand down' order to the military, telling them not to go save the Americans who were in danger in Benghazi. Had that been something other than a bizarre fantasy of the most fevered quarters of the right, Benghazi would have been her undoing.

But that turned out to be fiction, and all the other efforts to find some shocking malfeasance on her part failed. Why did it have such a profound effect when Kevin McCarthy justified the Benghazi committee’s work by saying it had brought down Clinton’s poll numbers? Not because he provided some theretofore unknown piece of information, or because everyone was shocked at the very idea that the committee was political. It had an impact because it supplied a vivid illustration of a fundamental truth. That meant reporters could repeat it, refer to it, and use it to frame their subsequent discussion of the issue.

Read the Washington Post, Why the Clinton Benghazi testimony isn’t accomplishing what Republicans hoped, which notes at the end:

"[O]ver the long run, the facts can’t be escaped."

UPDATE II:  "So now we know: One of the principal reasons Republicans spent so much public money investigating the tragic Benghazi episode was to bring down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the likely successor to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), told Fox News’s Sean Hannity explicitly on Tuesday night that the Clinton investigation was part of a 'strategy to fight and win.' . .

McCarthy’s statement gave Democrats what they have long sought: a rather strong public hint that this investigation was never on the level. 'This stunning concession from Rep. McCarthy reveals the truth that Republicans never dared admit in public,' said Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the committee’s ranking Democrat. 'The core Republican goal in establishing the Benghazi committee was always to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and never to conduct an evenhanded search for the facts.' Clinton’s defenders hope McCarthy’s statement might prod the media to pay attention to the current behavior of the accusers and not just the past behavior of the accused."

Read the Washington Post, Kevin McCarthy’s truthful gaffe on Benghazi.  

UPDATE:  Read also, the Wall Street Journal, House Report Finds No Attempt to Mislead Public Over Benghazi (subscription required).

"A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria. . .

The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel."

Read AP, House intel panel debunks many Benghazi theories.

The article quotes Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the committee's chairman, and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the ranking Democrat, in a joint statement saying that the committee "spent thousands of hours asking questions, poring over documents, reviewing intelligence assessments, reading cables and emails, and held a total of 20 committee events and hearings."