Oh man, this is too much!
Paul Ryan appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace today and admitted to that the new “Ryan Plan” budget is based on the assumption that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed along with the planned Medicaid expansion.
Here’s the transcript of the interview.
Ryan explains that he plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program and Medicaid, food stamps, and “49 different job training programs spread across nine different government agencies” into block grants and let the states decide what to do with the money. Wallace had some questions.
Let me ask you about a couple of the specific cuts that you made last year, and tell me if they’re not in the new budget — I assume that they are. You cut Medicaid by $770 billion, over the next 10 years. You cut $134 billion from food stamps. You cut $166 billion from education, training and social services.
WALLACE: Can you honestly say by turning Medicaid into a block grant and giving it to the states that you can cut $770 billion —
WALLACE: — out of that program, over the next 10 years, and that’s going to have no impact on legitimate recipients?
RYAN: These are increases that have not come yet. So, by repealing Obamacare, and the Medicaid expansions which haven’t occurred yet, we are basically preventing an explosion of a program that is already failing.
So, we’re saying don’t grow this program through Obamacare because it doesn’t work. Prevent that growth from going because it’s not going to work, it’s going to hurt people who are trying to help, it’s going to hurt hospitals and states and, give the states the tools that they are asking for.
I’m kind of surprised Wallace didn’t do a Ricky Ricardo-type double take after that.
WALLACE: I’m going to pick up on this because I must say I didn’t understand it. Are you saying that as part of your budget, you would repeal, you assume the repeal of Obamacare?
WALLACE: Well, that’s not going to happen.
RYAN: Well, we believe it should. That’s the point. That’s what’s — but this is what budgeting is all about, Chris. It’s about making tough choices to fix our country’s problems.
And here’s the really crazy part. Wallace points out that, you know, Obama won the election and Medicare was a huge issue during the campaign and the voters rejected the Romney/Ryan plan.
Ryan doesn’t buy it:
I would argue against your premise that we lost this issue in the campaign. We won the senior vote. I did dozens of Medicare town hall meetings in states like Florida, explaining how these are the best reforms to save the shrinking Medicare program and we are confidently this is the way to go. It has bipartisan support. It’s an idea that came from Democrats in the first place.
Wha– ?! Has this guy gone around the bend or what? Haven’t the House Republicans already tried to repeal Obamacare more than 30 times?
Here’s the video from Think Progress:
This is a completely wacko, insane, what-is-he-smoking open thread!
The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl, 34-31. I completely ignored it, so I didn’t see any of the commercials or the game. I did find this review of the commercials at the WaPo. I’m very happy for Ravens fans though–especially Janicen. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s see what else is going on in the news.
I’m sure everyone has heard about the Navy Seal sniper who was shot in by a marine he may have been trying to help. The NYT reports:
From his perch in hide-outs above battle-scarred Iraq, Chris Kyle earned a reputation as one of America’s deadliest military snipers. The Pentagon said his skills with a rifle so terrorized Iraqi insurgents during his four tours of duty that they nicknamed him the “Devil of Ramadi” and put a bounty on his head.
The insurgents never collected, and he returned home to become a best-selling author and a mentor to other veterans, sometimes taking them shooting at a gun range near his Texas home as a kind of therapy to salve battlefield scars, friends said. One such veteran was Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old Marine who had served tours in Iraq and Haiti.
But on Saturday, far from a war zone, Mr. Routh turned on Mr. Kyle, 38, and a second man, Chad Littlefield, 35, shortly after they arrived at an exclusive shooting range near Glen Rose, Tex., about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth, law enforcement authorities said Sunday. The officials said that for reasons that were still unclear, Mr. Routh shot and killed both men with a semiautomatic handgun before fleeing in a pickup truck belonging to Mr. Kyle.
“Chad and Chris had taken a veteran out to shoot to try to help him,” said Travis Cox, a friend of Mr. Kyle’s. “And they were killed.”
I’m sorry about these two meaningless murders, but I’m mystified as to why anyone would want to read a book about someone who shot hundreds of people from a distance in Iraq. Supposedly they were “insurgents,” but who really knows? All those innocent people at Gitmo and dead civilians in Pakistan suggest to me that the U.S. military isn’t so great at separating civilians from combatants.
I’m even more mystified as to why taking someone with PTSD from serving in Iraq and Haiti to a gun range for therapy would be a good idea. Anyway, I don’t mean to judge, just my two cents.
According to the Dallas News, Routh became aggressive in jail and was tasered by guards.
After eating dinner, Routh refused to return his food tray to jailers. He became aggressive and tried to attack them when they tried to get it back from him, said Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant.
Jailers tasered Routh and placed him in a restraining chair in his solitary cell. He is on suicide watch, Bryant said….Routh, a former Marine and Iraqi War veteran, is believed to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Investigators say that he shot Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield at point-blank range around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Please note Routh used a semi-automatic handgun to shoot the Kyle and Littlefield. Wayne LaPierre is outraged that there was no “good guy” with a bigger gun around to protect them. Sorry, I made that up.
Speaking of Crazy Wayne, he was on Fox News Sunday yesterday, and he managed to be so outrageous that Chris Wallace told him he was being “ridiculous.” From Business Insider:
Fox News host Chris Wallace and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre got into a heated exchange on “Fox News Sunday” this morning, as Wallace challenged LaPierre on a controversial ad involving President Barack Obama’s daughters.
Wallace played the clip of the ad, which called Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for sending his children to a school with armed protection while opposing it for other schools. (That ad has actually been proven false.)
Wallace asked LaPierre if he regretted putting up the ad. He avoided the question and said the point of the ad was “not to pick on the President’s kids.”
Here’s the most contentious exchange:
LAPIERRE: The President’s kids are safe, and we’re all thankful for that.
WALLACE: They also face a threat that most people do not face.
LAPIERRE: Tell that to the people in Newtown! Tell that to the people in Newtown.
WALLACE: Do you really think that the President’s children are the same kind of target as every schoolchild in America? I think that’s ridiculous, and you know it, sir.
Here’s the video of the interview:
It seems as if the entire gun safety debate has boiled down to a huge argument over the AR-15 rifle. What is it about that gun anyway? The New York Times has a very long read about it headlined The AR-15: The Most Wanted Gun in America.
THE phone rings again at Pasadena Pawn and Gun, and a familiar question comes down the line: “Got any ARs?”
The answer is no. Pasadena Pawn and Gun, a gun retailer and pawnshop 15 miles south of Baltimore, is pretty much sold out of America’s most wanted gun, the AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle. Since the massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December, the AR-15, the military-style weapon that the police say was used in the shootings, has been selling fast here and across the nation.
Before Newtown, the rifles sold for about $1,100, on average. Now some retailers charge twice that. At Pasadena Pawn, on the wall behind glass counters of handguns, are three dozen or so AR-15-style rifles. Dangling from nearly every one is a tag that says “Sold.”
Is that sick or what? Basically, the gun has become a fashion statement–like an expensive handbag or pair of shoes.
“The AR-15, it’s kind of fashionable,” says Frank Loane Sr., the proprietor. His shop has a revolving waiting list for the rifles, and a handful of people are now on it. “The young generation likes them, the assault-looking guns.”
Sick. I don’t know how else to react to that.
As everyone knows, the White House released a photo of President Obama shooting a gun–supposedly he was skeet shooting at Camp David–in response to demands from wingnuts like Marsha Blackburn.
Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, expressed doubt about Obama’s skeet shooting.
“You know, if you don’t have the photos, if this is not something that’s a new hobby, then I think he should invite me out to Camp David and I’ll challenge him,” Blackburn said on CNN, according to a transcript.
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace worked very hard to get a straight answer out of Republican Paul Ryan on the tax plan he and Mitt Romney are proposing, but he failed. Paul Ryan is nothing but a flim-flam man–a sneaky little weasel who couldn’t tell the truth if you paid him a million dollars. Never in my life have I seen such bullshit artist! He truly is Eddie Haskell. Here’s the video (via Think Progress):
WALLACE: So how much would it cost?
RYAN: It’s revenue neutral…
WALLACE: No no, I’m just talking about cuts. We’ll get to the deductions, but the cut in tax rates.
RYAN: The cut in tax rates is lowering all Americans’ tax rates by 20 percent.
WALLACE: Right, how much does that cost?
RYAN: It’s revenue neutral.
WALLACE: But I have to point out, you haven’t given me the math.
Ryan: No, but you…well, I don’t have the time. It would take me too long to go through all of the math. But let me say it this way: you can lower tax rates by 20 percent across the board by closing loopholes and still have preferences for the middle class. For things like charitable deductions, for home purchases, for health care. So what we’re saying is, people are going to get lower tax rates.
In the midst of refusing to give any specifics on what loopholes he would close and/or programs he would cut, Ryan brags that he’s been on the Ways and Means Committee for twelve years. So? Are we supposed to take that as proof that he’s not full of shit? And as a bonus, the throws out his favorite word “baseline” again. I guess we’re supposed to be impressed about how wonky he is? Give me a break! Just look at those Power Point slides he’s been using in his stump speech. They could have been created by a high school sophomore.
This guy has been in the House for twelve years and he has nothing but surface knowledge about the legislative process. But he knows exactly what he wants to cut–Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, plus even cent that goes into infrastructure or protecting the environment. What else is there now that he’s claiming the middle class will still have charitable deductions, mortgage deductions, and health care deductions?
Honestly, Mitt Romney is one of the most shameless liars I’ve ever seen in my more than fifty years of following politics; but I really think Ryan is worse. I can visualize him in the Old West, selling youth tonics and elixirs out of the back of his wagon to credulous homesteaders, then hightailing it out of town before the sheriff catches up with him.
Please use this as an open thread.
On February 28, the day after the Michigan primary, there were a number of news stories about Rick Santorum’s problem with women. In fact, Santorum lost the Michigan primary by 3 points and he lost women voters to Romney by 5 points. If he had done better with women, Santorum would have been the winner. Patricia Murphy at The Daily Beast wrote:
Female voters in Michigan spoke out Tuesday night, but they weren’t singing Rick Santorum’s tune. The former Pennsylvania senator lost the Michigan primary to Mitt Romney by 3 points due in large part to his weakness among Michigan women. Although Santorum lost among Michigan men by just 1 point, he lost the women’s vote by a full 6-point margin, leaving him well behind Romney and unable to close the gap with male voters in any way.
Not only did he lose among women voters, Santorum lost in every female demographic group.
Santorum lost every category of women polled Tuesday night, including working women, single women, and married women. He lost working women by 4 points, single women by 7 points, and married women by 3 points.
Of course it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that women are wary of Santorum. He has repeatedly talked about his opposition to abortion and birth control and his belief that feminists have fooled women into going to college and building careers instead of staying home and home-schooling the children who results from their many pregnancies.
Either Santorum spontaneously remembered that women can vote or his advisers reminded him before he gave his post-Michigan concession speech, because Santorum really laid it on thick about how much he respects women and how many “strong” women he has known and loved.
“I grew up with a very strong mom, someone who was a professional person who taught me a lot of things about [sic] how to balancing work and family, and doing it well, and doing it with a big heart and commitment,” he said. He also praised her for getting a college education in the 1930s and eventually a graduate degree in nursing.
“She worked all of my childhood years. She balanced time, as my dad did, working different schedules, and she was a very unusual person at that time,” Santorum said. “She was a professional who actually made more money than her husband.”
Clearly this was a deliberate change in strategy. Santorum’s advisers even spoke to the Washington Post about their plans to shift gears.
Rick Santorum does not plan to abandon the fiery Christian rhetoric or the shoestring campaign that got him to where he is today. But as a slate of high-stakes Republican presidential primaries approaches, he is being forced to shift his strategy to beat back perceptions that he is obsessed with controversial social issues and harbors outdated ideas about women.
The shift will test Santorum’s skills as a candidate as well as his bare-bones campaign operation, which is struggling to match his status as a top-tier candidate. The operation’s priority this week is to hold on to the candidate’s lead in polls in Ohio, which will vote on Tuesday.
Although Santorum sought to spin the Michigan results as a tie, it is clear that the contest revealed a significant challenge for him. He has been outspoken about contraception, abortion and his wife’s decision to leave her career as a lawyer to home-school their seven children….in at least three speeches in recent days, he has made appeals to women, recalling not only his wife’s career, but also that of his 93-year-old mother. On Wednesday, in Tennessee, he described his daughter Elizabeth as “one of the great women” in his life.
Santorum staffers also emphasized that there are women in senior positions in the campaign.
But as Rebecca Lawless, director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University told the Chicago Tribune, he “threw us a symbolic bone by saying, ‘Hey, I think my mom was great.'”
“It is one thing if it’s one statement, it’s another thing if it’s a broad range of statements that tap into the same problem and that’s where Rick Santorum finds himself,” Lawless says.
Not only is Santorum alienating women writ-large, she adds, but conservative women as well.
“In a lot of ways, the discussion about women’s roles and traditional family arrangements and the use of contraception have taken us back many, many decades,” Lawless says.
Despite his campaign’s recognition of the problem, it may not be possible to right the ship, she adds.
I honestly didn’t think Santorum could carry this off, because he just can’t seem to stop himself from lecturing us all about his 13th century ideas about women’s roles. And it looks like I was right. Santorum appeared on two of the Sunday morning shows and failed to steer the discussion away from social issues or reach out to women in any way.
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Santorum about the defeat of the Blunt amendment, and the former senator actually used the words “grievous moral wrong” in reference to contraception.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says an amendment put forward by Senate Republicans that would have allowed any business to exclude contraceptives from health care plans was not really about birth control.
“The Blunt amendment was broader than that,” Santorum told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday. “It was a conscience clause exception that existed prior to when President Obama decided that he could impose his values on people of faith, when people of faith believe that this is a grievous moral wrong.”
Wallace asked Santorum if he truly believed that 99% of American women have “done something wrong.”
“I’m reflecting the views of the Church that I believe in,” the former Pennsylvania senator replied. “We used to be tolerant of those beliefs. I guess now when you have beliefs that are consistent with the church, you are somehow out of touch with the mainstream. And that to me is a pretty sad situation when you can’t have personally-held beliefs.”
Although Santorum recently has been claiming that he doesn’t plan to impose his 19th century views on the rest of us, it’s important to keep in mind that he said in an October 2011 interview with a religious blog, Caffeinated Thoughts, that he would “repeal all federal funding for contraception.” In addition, he has repeatedly said that he does not believe in separation of church and state.
On Chris Matthews’ show Santorum apparently sidestepped a question about Rush Limbaugh and repeated much of what he had told Chris Wallace at Fox.
Right now, Santorum and Romney are “neck and neck” in Ohio. How will Ohio women vote after a couple more days of being preached at by true believer Rick Santorum? My guess is women’s votes will decide Ohio just as they did Michigan.