Following up on their threat, Catholic Charities of Rockford, IL, have voluntarily ended all their adoption and foster care services rather than comply with the civil unions law that will take effect next week. In doing so, the organization terminated $7.5 million in state contracts, fired 58 workers, and likely displaced 350 foster children.
Mitch McConnell has confirmed, beyond any doubt, what we knew all along — that the GOP is hell-bent on cutting social programs even if doing so is unnecessary.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says substantial Medicare cuts must be part of a spending and deficit cut package to get his support to raise the debt limit. [...]
"To get my vote, for me, it's going to take short term [cuts, via spending caps]… Both medium and long-term, entitlements.," McConnell said. "Medicare will be part of the solution."
To clarify, I asked "[If] [the Biden group] comes up with big cuts, trillions of dollars worth of cuts, but without substantially addressing Medicare, it won't get your vote?"
"Correct," McConnell said.
You can't put it into terms any clearer than that.
Mitch McConnell is plainly saying that yes, Republicans want to cut Medicare even if plenty of savings are found elsewhere.
Are you listening, Seniors?
Good. This is where it has to start.
Do not go gentle under that good bus
Gin and Tacos asks and answers:
Even among the unpopular solutions, why would they propose something like Medicare cuts – let's be honest, even the GOP knows this is political suicide – before tax increases, defense spending cuts, and so on?
The answer is pretty obvious: because when the chips are down, they will stab you in the back at the drop of the hat. They don't care about you, regardless of party. You are not important. They would rather try to ram Medicare reform down your throat than to bite the Pentagon and Wall Street hands that feed them or raise taxes on their own income bracket. The choice between cutting Social Security and lifting the payroll tax cap (without which Social Security would be solvent in perpetuity) is no choice at all. The default solution is always, always to throw you under the bus.
Here's the thing though: in most cases, Very Serious People don't benefit much from fucking over the poor and middle-class. Some of them get wingnut welfare gigs for serving as mouth-pieces for David Koch, but most don't. Increasing the highest marginal rate by 4 percent isn't going to put David Von Drehle in the poor house. Fiscal austerity is bad for the economy and that doesn't help Fred Hiatt's 401K anymore than it helps anyone else's. What's really in it for billionaire Pete Peterson to end Social Security? Why is he doing it? How much better can he eat? What could he buy that he can't already afford? (The future, Mr. Gittes?)
Part of it might be that everything is relative, that it's not enough for the rich to prosper, they must also be allowed to watch the middle-class starve. It might be that there's a powerful Village omerta at work, that Richard Cohen would rather live with declining pageview and investments than rat out his cohorts. Or maybe they honestly believe that destroying the middle-class is the right thing to do—they don't want to do it, they feel they owe it to us.
We already knew that David Brooks cares more about comity among elites than safety and health among the general population. But I didn't know until this day that he thought that World War I—which killed a particularly high proportion of English elites—was a big bipartisan success. Maybe it too was the right thing to do.
I've said before that fiscal austerity is the new Iraq War, unsupported by facts and data, but unquestionably a worthy, morally serious undertaking that only a hippie could oppose. Maybe that's wrong, maybe fiscal austerity is the new World War I.
Speaking the truth about austerity isn't "class warfare", it's a battle against the kind of insanity that destroys civilization and benefits no one.
After months of a laser like focus on capture and control of every uterus in America, the Republican Party decided to pretend to talk about jobs with a word salad garnished with pretty pictures. Nothing in it was new. In fact it was just a re-tossing of the same "tax-cuts solve everything" talking points that have become the Golden Calf of wingutopia.
Look at it and marvel at how silly it is:
It is being widely mocked. Last night Rachel Maddow had some fun with it. Steve Benen, Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein and many, many others are pointing out that it is a bad joke—devoid of any new ideas. It is a plan that will explode the debt while killing jobs. It is a plan that has been tried over and over again and one that has failed every time. The last time it was tried was in the Bush years and the economy has yet to recover.
And yet, this is all they have to offer. The shock is that anybody treats this as a "serious" document. I know that IOKIYAR is the rule for media coverage, but the way some folks treat these stale word salads as "ideas" is really getting silly.
This should be mocked and anybody who defends it should be celebrated as a fool.
While the bankers sleep soundly in their beds, the Feds are going after people who download shit.
The Vatican sees more action ...
…than most clubs south of Market:
(GENOA) — The latest sex-abuse case to rock the Catholic Church is unfolding in the archdiocese of an influential Italian Cardinal who has been working with Pope Benedict XVI on reforms to respond to prior scandals of pedophile priests.
Father Riccardo Seppia, a 51-year-old parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, was arrested last Friday, May 13, on pedophilia and drug charges. Investigators say that in tapped mobile-phone conversations, Seppia asked a Moroccan drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys.
I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger. Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues.
Sounds like a shopping list to me. But wait, there's more:
The priest is charged with having attempted to kiss and touch an underage altar boy and of having exchanged cocaine for sexual intercourse with boys over 18… In the tapped phone conversations, the drug dealer contacted the boys and gave their phone numbers to the priest, who paid them with cocaine or 50 euros each time for sexual intercourse.
Cash and carry? Anyway, I don't have a category for this stuff, and I don't think I want one.
Part time governor and full-time grifter Sarah Palin has released an ad for her bus tour featuring some of her army of orcs and dorks putting stickers on her bus while she tosses a word salad featuring the Constitution and St. Ronnie who has given you freedoms, or something, so you should give her money to come to your state. I think that's what this was about, but it was hard to hear her screeches because I was so dazzled by the shiny.
A judge appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan has struck down the ban on corporations contributing directly to candidates for office.
A federal court in Alexandria, Va. on Thursday struck down a federal ban on corporate campaign contributions, in a case with potentially dramatic ramifications for a campaign finance regulatory system under siege by legal and regulatory attacks.
The ruling, from the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia, piggybacked on a January 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that allowed corporations to spend money on ads supporting or opposing candidates.
Citizens United stopped short of allowing corporations to give directly to candidates, but it did find that corporations are entitled to free speech rights.
District Judge James Cacheris ruled that, based on Citizens United, corporations should be allowed to contribute directly to candidates' campaigns."If human beings can make direct campaign contributions ... and if, in Citizens United's interpretation ... corporations and human beings are entitled to equal political speech rights, then corporations must also be able to contribute within (the federal) limits," Cacheris wrote in a 52-page decision.
We really are well and truly fucked.
To Stop Climate Change, GOP Suggests Clearing World's Rainforests
Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is a senior member on the House Committee on Science, so it's no surprise that he's … uh, insane? This is Rep. Rohrabacher's big idea about how to fix the Global Warming crisis: "Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?"
Three months after voting to eliminate funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) now says he's outraged that the EPA isn't doing more to protect the health of residents in his district. Barletta is insisting that the agency pay special attention to an area in Pittson, PA, after one resident alleged that a tunnel near a Superfund site gave him cancer. The EPA held an open house and information session to address the concerns of residents in the area, but said it did not plan to conduct further testing. This outraged Barletta, who called their decision "unacceptable": http://thinkprogress.org/2011/05/27/barletta-epa/
Senate Republicans will prevent the Senate from recessing next week in order to halt President Obama's ability to make temporary recess appointments:
President Barack Obama won't be able to make any executive recess appointments when senators are home next week for the Memorial Day recess – including Elizabeth Warren, Obama's pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Senate will be in "pro forma session" because Republicans are threatening to block adjournment, Senate leadership aides said. A senator who lives in nearby Virginia or Maryland will be asked to briefly open and close the session on those days, during which time no business will be conducted.
It's difficult to read this move as anything other than an attempt to squelch the new consumer protection agency before it even gets off the ground. Earlier this month, all but two of the Senate's Republicans joined a letter announcing they would not confirm anyone President Obama nominates to run the CFPB, even if Obama nominates a Republican. Congressional Republicans' attempt to prevent Obama from making a recess appointment is a transparent attempt to prevent the president from ensuring that this essential office has the personnel in place that it needs to operate.
In the end, this kind of gamesmanship is nothing less than an end run around American democracy. The Constitution provides that the law creating the CFPB can be repealed if both houses of Congress and the president agree to repeal it — and not simply because the minority party in the Senate decides to throw a tantrum.