Here's the latest summary of news and political tricks from TMDR. I do apologize that the "Reality-Free Zone" has escalated in size today. As Red Skeleton said, "I just do them; I don't explain them." If they're out there (really out there), they they're in here.
Raising the Medicare Age: 8 Reasons Why It's the Worst Presidential "Bargain" Since 1854
"Othe [sic] people are using our lives as bargaining chips. Whether it's the so-called Congressional 'Super Committee' or the president's push for that grandé-sized deal, they want to look 'grand' while we get stuck with the 'bargain.' The Capital's misplaced focus on austerity has led to plenty of bad ideas, but one of the worst is raising the Medicare retirement age to 67. It may be the most destructive deal to come out of Washington since the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. It's unfair, short-sighted, and will actually cost the economy more money than we're spending today."
Richard (RJ) Eskow gets it right. Read his eight significant reasons why messing with Medicare -- our well-earned, pre-paid public health care benefit -- is a really bad idea. But, as we've said here before, for far too many politicians, the Conservative Republican ideology is more important than is the common good of America.
Republicans Told To Support Medicare and Social Security
"As Republican lawmakers held constituent meetings in their home districts over the August recess, they were often confronted for taking hard-right positions on everything from taxes to entitlement reform, sending a message that at least Sen. John Thune (R-SD) seems to have noticed. Thune said the main things he heard from constitutes was frustration over Congress’ inability to work together and opposition to cuts to social safety net programs."
"Constituents waved signs and gave boisterous applause when one Iowan after another stood up and urged Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to strengthen Social Security rather than cut the retirement program at a town hall in Carroll, Iowa on Monday."
This is the feedback that Republicans in particular need to hear. They also need to know that if they truly support and strengthen Medicare, they will be re-elected. The important thing is that they not pretend to support Medicare by saying that future retirees would get something else or that the recent health care reform took money from Medicare. These lies cannot be allowed to stand. Simply admit honestly that the problems Medicare has are NOT eligibility problems. -OR- Simply admit honestly that you don't believe in pre-paid public benefits like Medicare and Social Security and that you believe the aged and disabled don't need or deserve the protections of Medicare and Social Security.
"Democrats and union activists have made a concerted effort to play the town hall game this summer, pressing lawmakers to preserve Medicare and end tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. In 2009, tea party activists overwhelmed town halls around the country, creating angry confrontations over health-care legislation that dominated the news." It appears that the the Democrats have gained a partial victory.
One of the most interesting results of the Medicare fallout for Conservative House Republicans was that so many of them had so few open meetings at home in their districts. The appearance is that they did not want to deal with constituents who were angry with them for trying to repeal or weaken Medicare.
Joint Committee Campaign Fundraising Continues
"The super committee created by the debt limit deal to plot $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts is set to begin hearings in the next two weeks. Members of the super committee are also set to continue fundraising -- despite calls from campaign finance watchdogs to stop seeking donations while negotiating the proposed cuts."
And, you should not be surprised to find out that it's both Republicans and Democrats who are raising campaign funds even as they take on what may be America's most important short- and long-term task. In fact, it appears that of the 12 joint committee members, the only ones not having fundraising events are Republicans. Remember, they all of the play this "game."
Of note: "'Super Committee' co-chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) have announced that the panel's top staffer will be senior Republican Senate Finance Committee aide Mark Prater."
The Republican Reality-Free Zone
Michele Bachmann: Hurricane, Earthquake Remarks Weren't Serious (Shouldn't the question be: Why are the people on stage laughing about these disasters?)
The Republican Reality-Free Zone - Hurricane Irene Edition