Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Daily Rant (October 28, 2015)

The New Budget Deal

USA Today reports on the new budget deal: "The deal provides funding to protect senior citizens from a predicted spike in the cost of Medicare premiums next year and would make changes to Social Security — particularly its disability program — to achieve $168 billion in long-term savings ... Part of the strategy to raise money under the deal is selling off 58 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve between 2018 and 2025." [But they don't say what "changes" will be made to the Social Security disability program "to achieve $168 billion in long-term savings."]

The Washington Post reports that the new budget will increase the debt ceiling, and is paid for by:

1) Savings from changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance fund (Again, I ask the question: How? Maybe the answer is here.)
2) Savings from changes to Medicare payments to doctors and other health-care providers

And new revenue would be raised by:

1) Auctioning off portions of the government-owned broadcast spectrum (What is this, and who are we selling it to, and why?)
2) Selling oil from the strategic oil reserve (So we'll be more "energy independent"? This is stupid since oil is at its cheapest in years. I say keep the oil and just end the oil subsidies instead. But nobody ever listens to me.)
3) Cracking down on audits of large business partnerships. (What is this? Shouldn't this say: "Have the IRS increase audits on large business partnerships"?)

Via BuzzFeed: Rand Paul says he will filibuster the new budget deal and said: “The right wants more money for the military and the left wants more money for welfare. Guns and butter — that’s what we’re going to have — guns and butter."

I'm not sure what "butter" we're getting and who gets the "butter", but I know where some of the guns are coming from via the L.A. Times:

The Air Force announced that Northrop will build 80 to 100 long-range strategic stealth bombers over the next decade for an estimated $60 billion. The company said the contract could mean 1,400 new jobs at its Palmdale, California facility. The bomber contract could increase jobs across Southern California, benefiting dozens of smaller companies that supply the major aerospace firms. Last year Rep. Steve Knight (R-Ca.) wrote a bill that will give Northrop (headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia) a tax credit of up to nearly $500 million in return for performing much of the work in Palmdale California. Analysts said they expect Boeing and Lockheed (who also placed bids for the contract) to challenge the decision. Critics say the cost of the contract is bound to skyrocket. Many experts also question why the Pentagon even needs a new bomber.

Oh, I see, this must be the "butter" here >>> In another article the Washington Post reports that all 2 million federal employees will get at least a 1 percent pay hike in January — and of those, about 102,000 will get a special pay raise because of new regulations affecting the locality pay zones. And state government workers will do even better than federal workers — but those on Social Security get no raise at all next year — so there will be no "butter" for old people and the disabled.

Here's what else is in the budget (buy why is it even in the budget?) Again, from the Washington Post: "For the better part of a year, debt collection agencies and student loan servicers have lobbied the Federal Communications Commission to exempt federal student loans from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a law that bars the use of auto-dialers to call and text people on their cell phones without permission." [But they got their way in the new budget deal. So I guess Donald Trump was right about our politicians ... they are just political puppets.]

Hillary Clinton

Last night on Stephen Colbert’s show, Hillary Clinton said: "I’m not running for my husband’s third presidency, or President Obama’s third term. I’m running for my first term.” [But she didn't say she was running on Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders best ideas to get herself elected.]

Fu*k Senator Sherrod Brown! From Politico: "One of the most outspoken progressives in Congress, became the 33rd senator to endorse Hillary Clinton. With Sherrod Brown — a prominent ally of progressive hero Elizabeth Warren — in the fold, Clinton can boast of support from Ohio's lone Democratic senator." [I used to respect that guy, but if he doesn't have any balls, and is only endorsing Clinton because now he has political cover ever since Hillary flip-flopped on the TPP trade deal and the Keystone pipeline, well then, all I can say is: fu*k Senator Sherrod Brown! Once Hillary is the president, it will be interesting to see how these political hacks get the favor returned.]

A new Monmouth University Poll: "Clinton currently garners the support of 65% of likely Democratic caucusgoers to 24% for Bernie Sanders." [It's interesting to see so many people vote against their own economic best interests. Hillary has had all her life to raise the middle-class. Of course, these corporate-sponsored polls might also be rigged. I predict Clinton will get 95% of the delegates/super-delegates to be the Democratic nominee because they think she has greater "electability" (but that she won't win the popular vote), and maybe she'll lose in the general to the Republican nominee because of very low election turnout by Democrats who weren't all that excited about seeing another Clinton the White House. I'd suggest a "write-in" vote for Bernie when you go to the ballet.]

Here's a petition to Rachel Maddow and MSNBC: "In your upcoming presidential forum on Friday, November 6, we urge you to make raising wages central to the evening’s discussion. We want to hear each candidate’s plans to ensure that America’s prosperity is broadly shared." [Yes, and don't do as CNN's Anderson Cooper did in the first Democratic debate, and red-bait political candidates and let them off the hook on the subject of Social Security — like the way he did with Bernie and Hillary.]

Child Molestation

Why has the media been protecting the "legacies" of filthy and corrupt politicians? It's reported in the Huffington Post today that former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has pleaded guilty to “violations of banking laws”, but nothing is mentioned about his "child molestation" while he taught and coached wrestling at Yorkville High School in Illinois. The very last sentence in the HuffPo article only says: "The Associated Press and other media have cited anonymous sources in reporting the payments were to conceal claims of sexual misconduct" — "child molestation” was written as "sexual misconduct" (as if Dennis Hastert had propositioned a hooker rather than rape a boy). The Washington Post reported: "Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is expected to enter a guilty plea Wednesday for breaking banking laws to make payments to conceal past misconduct". They didn't even use the word "sexual", let alone "molestation" or "rape" (or that a "minor" or "child" was involved); they just used the word "misconduct" (as if Dennis Hastert had only spat on a sidewalk).


  1. The latest news from the media in explaining changes to Social Security and Medicare in the new budget --- mostly good news --- and the last link below is the best so far...

    Politico (Oct 28) Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wis) who is the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and will be the new Speaker of the House, said he'd support the new budget deal because it includes "meaningful reforms to strengthen our safety net programs, including significant changes to bolster Social Security ... and it would mean our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to carry out their mission." [Not very informative with any details.] Link below...

    NPR (Oct 28) "Democrats had to bend a bit ... on the Social Security Disability Trust Fund. They also did not get as much new domestic spending as they wanted, although they did get rough parity with the increases that defense hawks sought for the military. Steps were taken to avoid premium spikes next year for Medicare Part B recipients." [Not very informative with any details.] Link below...

    NewsWeek (Oct 28) "It funds increased spending through increased revenues ... he deal attempts to stave off the shortfall in fraud-ridden Social Security Disability Insurance by plundering from the Social Security trust fund for retirees. One hundred and fifty billion dollars in funds will be siphoned from Americans’ payroll retirement contributions and redirected to the mismanaged disability program." Link below...

    * My note: Sounds like right-wing propaganda. When NewsWeek says "fraud-ridden" and "mismanaged", this not accurate reporting. Two different reports show only 0.4% fraud in the program — far less than any other government program — and probably far less than employee theft in the private sector — and much less that's found in the defense industry. Link below...

    The Washington Post: "The bill would transfer some funding from the main Social Security fund while also reforming the disability program. Those cost-saving measures include allowing some recipients who can still work to receive partial payments while earning outside income and expanding a program requiring a second medical expert to weigh in on whether an applicant is truly disabled. The deal also includes several other changes intended to root out waste and fraud in Social Security." [Not very informative with details.] Link below...

    Wall Street Journal (the best explanation) : "About 30% of seniors in Medicare Part B were facing a 52% increase in premiums. The deal would prevent that, and instead raise those premiums by 15%. It would also limit an expected increase in deductibles for all enrollees" [and] "The agreement would divert a slightly larger share of the payroll tax to the disability fund for three years, providing sufficient funding until 2022." Link below...

  2. If you know a contact within Bernie Sanders’ campaign, can you pass this along?

    Bloomberg reported that Clinton had already unofficially locked up commitments from 500 of the approximately 713 super-delegates who will cast ballots at next summer’s Democratic convention. (Now we can include Senator Sherrod Brown.)

    Salon reported: "Bernie Sanders does not have the base of support within the Democratic party — a party that Hillary Clinton has been building up since her husband was a popular governor in Arkansas thirty years ago. Were Bernie running as a Republican, that wouldn't matter. Sanders and his campaign have been counting on generating enthusiasm, particularly among the 18-29 year-old demographic from which he draws the majority of his support, to carry him through. There is nothing wrong with that if it is part of a larger strategy. The problem is that this seems to be Sanders’s strategy for everything."

    Gallop reported that in U.S., a record number of voters are Independents (43%, with 30% Democrat and 26% Republican). Maybe Bernie should tell the Democratic Party to fu*k off — and run as an Independent and split the vote. I'm guessing (based on online polls and everything else I've read in the news and on social media) that Bernie would get 39% of the votes, Hillary 35% and the Republican nominee 26% --- and then we'd have a President Sanders. That way, Hillary can finally retire from politics to have more time to spend with her granddaughter ;)

    Facebook “Likes” (2.3 million for Bernie and 1.6 million for Hillary) Bernie might win the popular vote, but would lose the nomination with super-delegates if he runs as a Democrat.