Republican leaders are recognizing that the sight of Republican lawmakers heckling the president of the United States didn’t do their party any favors. It not only called attention to their behavior, it prompted many news outlets to fact-check President Biden’s claim that Republicans had called for cuts to Social Security and Medicare or even called to get rid of them. Those outlets noted that while Republicans have repeatedly said they have no intention of cutting those programs, what Biden said was true: Republican leaders have repeatedly suggested such cuts, or even the elimination of those programs, in speeches, news interviews, and written proposals.
It amazes me how some folks drum up their own morality while toting their ill-gotten gains to the bank. Looking at you, Rick Scott, TFG, the flying monkeys of the House of Representatives, et al. As an acquaintance once said, "When someone tells me they are a Christian businessman, I hold onto my wallet and run." From Rupert Murdoch to Putin to the Christian Nationalists, when will they see that, despite calling us socialists and worse, they delude themselves most of all.
Your letter brings home once again how vital it is that we push back and hold at bay the Christo-fascists!
Christian nationalists like to refer to “Judeo-Christian values” and I am taking this opportunity to tell you how angry I feel whenever I see this term used! Most Jews do not - and I emphasize not - connect ourselves to “Judeo-Christian values."
I think that term may have been used as an effort to show that Christianity was a natural outgrowth of Judaism and had led to it. Although there are values that both religions share, Judaism is a distinct and separate religion.
Our views about abortion, separation of church and state, rights of LGBTQ+ members of society etc. differ from those of Christian nationalists and many fundamental Christian sects.
I'll be curious if anyone else shares my views and concerns.
“But the United States has traditionally backed democracies against autocracies. Today in Munich, Vice President Kamala Harris talked of the war crimes and atrocities the Russians have committed in Ukraine and said: ‘We have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt: These are crimes against humanity.’”
Yes, they are crimes against humanity, and Putin must be stopped!!!
Let’s not forget that before he went into politics, Rick Scott took over HCA, changed its name & ran it into the ground while personally benefiting financially. His behavior & goals haven’t changed.
Thank you once again for a wonderful summary of the last few days.
Barry Goldwater warned about Christian nationalism taking over the Republican Party and he was right:
"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the (Republican) party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me.
Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."
Facts About the Solvency of Social Security
'Social Security pays benefits out of its retirement and disability trust funds. Think of these as checking accounts, with funds flowing in primarily from the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA, which levies a 12.4 percent tax on wages that is split by employers and workers. The combined trust fund accounts are projected to be depleted in 2035.'
'Lower birthrates mean that fewer workers are paying into the system today than the growing number of people retiring and collecting benefits. Another cause of the shortfall is rising income inequality. Social Security collects FICA contributions only up to a certain wage ($160,200 this year), leaving a growing share of wages outside the taxable base.'
'Unless Congress acts by 2035, Social Security funds will be sufficient to pay only about 80 percent of the program’s obligations to retirees and disabled workers. The resulting benefit cut — estimated at 20 to 25 percent over time — would affect current and future beneficiaries alike, pushing up poverty rates among retirees by 60 percent, according to projections by the Urban Institute.'
'The cuts would be especially painful for today’s younger workers and people of color, according to the institute’s projections. If the financing gap is left unaddressed, 49 percent of workers born from 1980 to 1989, or early millennials, would lack the income they need to meet basic living expenses — a rate that jumps to 53 percent for Black adults in that age group, and 62 percent for Hispanic adults.'
“People of color depend disproportionately on Social Security, so if benefits are cut it’s going to be especially devastating for them,” said Richard Johnson, senior fellow and director of the Urban Institute’s Program on Retirement Policy.'
'Aside from the 2035 problem, Social Security is already on track to replace less pre-retirement income for today’s younger workers than for today’s retirees. That is attributable, mainly, to the last major changes to the program, which were enacted in 1983. That legislation put in motion a gradual increase in the Full Retirement Age, or F.R.A. — the age when you qualify to receive 100 percent of your benefit. Before 1983, the F.R.A. was 65, but for everyone born in 1960 and later, it is 67. Every year increase in the F.R.A. equates roughly to a 6.5 percent cut in benefits.'
'Just this week, Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts introduced the latest version of their own Social Security proposal. It would extend solvency by 75 years, give nearly all beneficiaries an increase of $200 per month through a revision in the benefit formula and adopt a more generous annual cost-of-living increase. It would be funded by applying current FICA tax rates to incomes above $250,000, and with two new taxes on investment income.' (NYTimes)
Social Security and Medicare are dead if the Republicans ever retake both Houses and the Presidency
Yeah, well. Those Voldemort Scott cuts to government jobs and selling off of “non-essentials” is timed perfectly for the perfect storms we’ve seen due to climate change. Let go of those FEMA slackers and such and see how well that plays out in the midst of another Katrina, Joplin Tornado, now-typical season of wildfires in the West (and increasingly across the U.S.). Cut those emergency relief humans and capabilities when a Norfolk Southern trainload of toxic chemicals derails outside of Pittsburg or some other major population center and see how that goes. Republicans have set us up for this nightmare of having to play catch-up and unscrew after each Republican administration further hollows out the middle class by protecting the oligarchs -- our sacred one percent of the wealthiest Americans who are protected as if they are looking out for the rest of us, sharing the rewards of everyone’s hard work as opposed to greedily grabbing stock buybacks, record profits, and protecting shareholders over employees.
As God is my witness the battle between Carter and Reagan, and Reagan’s win, has haunted and continues to haunt us. It is perilously close to impossible to unscrew thanks to the sales job the great communicator mouthpiece put over on folks.
I love HCR, that you point out repeatedly the economic cluster-botch Reagan, Rove, Cheney and the Kochs engineered. It is in such contrast to Biden’s building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out.
As Jimmy Carter, our greatest American former President is hospice tonight, I hope all who lauded Reagan for his slick communications skills will stack that unctuous and fatuous acting talent against the 50+ years of Mr. Carter’s post-presidency, spent in earnest hard work on behalf of the poor, Democracy, Human Rights, Civil Rights, humanitarian endeavors to prevent River Blindness, homelessness, the relentless savagery of brutal dictators. This man stood fearlessly in jungles, he and his wife, counting votes and overseeing elections to encourage and protect democracy around the world. Oh! And there were Carter’s energy policies that Rove, Reagan, Cheney, Kochs and the rest scoffed at as they ripped solar panels off of the White House roof as soon as Reagan took office, as if to say Carter’s energy policies were a joke. Scores of oil spills, blow-ups, severe weather and countless climate crisis deaths and losses later, where are Republicans who have the sense and humility to own those energy policy disasters based on lies oil companies promulgated to protect the industry and profits while temperatures increase, ice gaps melted, and Miami and other sea level cities see flooding as the new normal?
I’m sad about Carter. I am a native Georgian who dropped out of college for a year in 1976 to work on his campaign, traveling and handling all manner of projects and events during the primaries, general election before returning to finish school while at the same time helping with the inauguration. In the run up to Carter’s inevitable passing and State Funeral, I hope he is remembered for being a leader with integrity, foresight, faith, genius, and an incomparable dedication to God, family, and humanity. I am so glad Biden made the visit to Plains in 2021. And that he was the first U.S. Senator to endorse Carter in 1976.
Thanks for educating us, Heather, and for evoking memories and stirring passions on a cold winter’s night.
We are so grateful for you.
I live in Georgia. I am so tired of and embarrassed by our state’s Republican politicians, especially Marjorie T Greene. I pray for clarity and sanity to return to the GOP. I have become an independent voter with Democratic leanings.
For several years I have suspected that, if given the opportunity, Republicans would sell off our public lands to private developers and the extraction industry in order to (ostensibly) pay down the national debt. It is likely they would even approve selling portions of the land to foreign entities.
This must never be allowed. Our public lands are a national treasure that, once lost, we will never get back. In an age of anthropogenic climate change and looming environmental catastrophe, we need to be more protective of the commons--whether that be land, water, air, or our fellow creatures--not less. We need less private ownership (or at least ownership contingent upon the well-being of the commons and of surrounding communities), not more.
This isn't 1787 anymore, and many of the assumptions upon which our American way of life is built, and especially our economic way of life--such as the infinite abundance and resilience of nature, and the notion that humans have, by divine entitlement, an unmitigated right, or even duty, to plunder and exploit the planet in service of our unquenchable lust for material gain, convenience, and amusements--have proven to be not merely wrong, but egregiously so.
It may be that law cannot make people see right, but it'll have to do until this fog of ignorance lifts from our public consciousness and we begin to realize that all things are connected and that we must attend to the world around us with a spirit of wonder, gratefulness, and reciprocity.
You know what gets me going, and going HARD?
The trope the phony debt hawks (everyone from Joe Manchin on right) trot out to frame their stinginess as compassion: "We just can't leave this mountain of debt to the next generation." How solemnly delivered these words always are. How eminently reasonable the speaker of them always imagines themselves. They always - always - follow this up with how we need to make some "hard choices" to "be responsible."
Except the right choice isn't hard to see. There are only two choices: cut programs, or raise revenue.
DEAR SWEET GOSH AND HIS SON JEEPERS... ****RAISE REVENUE!!!!!****
Almost every domestic program currently in place suffers from the problems of underfunding and redundant red tape, not superfluousness. It's not just SS & Medicare; almost every domestic program is there for a clearly identified reason, took a heck of a lot of effort to establish, and would be missed by a lot of suddenly sad and angry people if it went away, even if they didn't know it existed prior to it going away. The Repubs - cowards all, really - know this. When it comes time to cut, they can't seem to face the potential consequences. But the only alternative to piling on more debt is unthinkable to them.
You care about what you're leaving to future generations? Ask THEM what they think about the issue, why dontcha? I'm younger than almost every member of Congress, so let me briefly appoint myself spokesperson. Or actually, I don't have to. We already collectively spoke our opinion through our votes last election, and the one before that, and the one before that. Our opinion is that we want more programs, not fewer, we want them to be more robust and directly effective, and we want you to do this while ALSO lowering the debt by doing the only obviously remaining option:
Preferably on people who could dance gleefully around a bonfire of Ben Franklins bills each night and never burn enough to have to part with their planet-ruining jet. But, hey, I'll pitch in too. Whatever.
But if you refuse to drop the horsesh!t that to RAISE REVENUE is some kind of sacrilege, kindly shut your condescending wrinkly dry mouth, because we all know who is "responsible" for this debt, and it is you and your rich corporate friends.
In the name of dear sweet Yaweh, Allah, Vishnu, and Buddah, and whatever moon wizard they still pray to in some corner of the Amazon, RAISE REVENUE READ MY NIKES THEY SAY "JUST DO IT" I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU
"One person there told Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer of Foreign Policy, 'To me, the subtext was clear: We’re not the crazies like the small handful of House Republicans you see in the headlines so often.'"
Still, the thought simply must be emerging in anyone looking at the U.S. from the outside and possessing a mind with capacity to think: "How does a democracy of the people place such crazies into positions of power?" We need to clarify that answer for ourselves and plug whatever path of partisan corruption allows crazies to gain such access. We cannot afford the damage imparted by the "small handful" we already have.
OH yes lets send everything out to the private sector. I'm a Fed employee. I am in Aviation. (That's a huge hint... and no I'm not a controller) Last month when everything ground to a halt and peoples flights were grounded it was because of a Contractors equipment and its contractors maintained. Yeah... lets keep doing that. Did you know that the Federal Govt "GIVES" for free information that private companies then package up and makes people pay for it. Then when that agency has an issue like last month the private companies come back and sue the agency and they generally win and get money out of us. All because there was an interruption.
GOP Infighting. Let the games begin!! -- Can't wait to see what kind of budget proposal they can possibly agree on. The rift is growing if (as this Letter details) McConnell and many of the Senate Republicans are not going to follow the lead of the crazies in the House.
If the Christian Nationalists want an authoritarian government to support their world views, let them move to Hungary or Russia. They don't need to f*ck up the US just because they are scared of diversity. What about religious freedom? No one is telling them they can't practice their religion, what gives them the idea that they can tell others how they can worship? Christ would roll over in his catacomb at the very smell of these people. I bet he wishes he could throw lightening bolts like Zeus did.