Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Clown, A Jerk, And 9/11

Rudy Giuliani is still a terrible person, just in case you forgot that fact for a sec.

Rudy Giuliani went straight for the jugular Wednesday night during a private group dinner here featuring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by openly questioning whether President Barack Obama “loves America.” 
The former New York mayor, speaking in front of the 2016 Republican presidential contender and about 60 right-leaning business executives and conservative media types, directly challenged Obama’s patriotism, discussing what he called weak foreign policy decisions and questionable public remarks when confronting terrorists. 
I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.

Well I don't love Rudy Giuliani either, you know.

How you know President Obama is winning the argument: GOP responds with "He's not like us!" directly from 2007. Might stop a guy with a weird-sounding name like Obama from winning a third term, I dunno.

This code-word racist crap is all they have now, and it's all they ever had against him in the first place. It's also why they lost.

Second City, First Blood

I've talked before about Kansas and the massive austerity regime of GOP Gov. Sam Brownback.  But Republican governors across the country are looking to austerity and are targeting the poor, college students, and the elderly for the biggest hits, and Illinois GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner is no exception.

Illinois' new Republican governor on Wednesday will pitch a plan for fixing the state's budget mess that includes deep cuts to Medicaid and higher education and a new plan for reducing pension costs, according to three lawmakers with knowledge of the proposal.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is set to deliver his first budget address since campaigning on a pledge to reduce taxes and get state spending under control and beating a Democratic incumbent. 
The three legislators, briefed on details of the plan discussed in a Tuesday meeting between Rauner and legislative leaders, told The Associated Press that the governor will recommend cutting Medicaid by $1.5 billion and reducing funding for higher education by nearly $400 million, or 31 percent. They said he'll also propose reducing state aid to local governments and ask lawmakers to approve a new pension reform plan he says will save Illinois $2.2 billion
The lawmakers spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to pre-empt Rauner's budget address. Rauner's spokesman declined to comment.

Now keep in mind cuts to Illinois's pension systems have already resulted in the state having the most underfunded pension system in the country, and Illinois having the worst credit rating of all 50 states. The state is in a six billion dollar hole, much like California was in 2008.  But cutting education, pensions, and Medicaid isn't going to make that any better, and the Democrats holding big majorities in the legislature aren't going to put up with Rauner's crap for much longer.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who was briefed by Rauner, said the governor warned he's prepared to deliver some "tough medicine." 
Madigan and other Democrats want to raise Illinois' income tax rate, which dropped on Jan. 1, to avoid some spending cuts. But he said Rauner indicated he won't propose raising taxes. 
"I don't think you can cut your way out of the problem," Madigan said. "I think you need some additional revenue, and that'll be my position (Wednesday)."

So we'll see which side wins.  I'm betting it's not Rauner.

John Kasich Just Disqualified Himself

How ridiculous is Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich, mentioned as a long-shot candidate for the White House in 2016?  Keep in mind these two things:

1) John Kasich's main talking point is that he is running on a federal balanced budget amendment.
2) John Kasich wants to put ground troops back in Iraq and Syria.

In a sign of his rising interest in a potential 2016 presidential bid, Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich (R) said Tuesday he is studying up on foreign policy and beginning to outline his worldview, which includes support for sending U.S. ground forces to fight the Islamic State.

“You will not solve this problem with only air power,” Kasich said in a phone interview from his office in Columbus, ahead of a trip to the early-voting state of South Carolina. “There needs to be a coalition of NATO, Arab states, and ultimately some boots on the ground to stop the advancement of that group.”

Kasich added: “The Western world and the Arab world need to get serious about stopping this kind of radicalism. If not, it will continue to spread and just bombing is imposing the status quo at best.”

Kasich cautioned, however, that he is recommending targeted and multinational strikes, rather than a drawn-out conflict against the Islamic State militants in Iraq.

"It is probably something that can be addressed without an extended affair and without nation-building or any of that,” he said.

The notion that we can invade Iraq again, and possibly Syria, Yemen, and/or Libya with ground forces to battle ISIS is ridiculous.  The notion that we can do any of this and balance the federal budget is an absolute joke to the point where Kasich must be laughed off the national stage.

“Instead of young people talking about Justin Bieber or how bad the Grammys were, maybe we could get people talking about Washington, Madison, and Monroe, and have a renewal of American history,” Kasich said of a possible constitutional gathering to consider a balanced-budget amendment. “The more and more states that sign on, the more hopeful I get.”

It's these same young people who would be saddled with a crushing tax burden and an endless war in the Middle East to fight under a Kasich presidency.

Sheer lunacy.  Meanwhile, Kasich and the GOP have total control over Ohio right now, so you have a pretty good idea of what the mess would look like in the future.

Hint:  Think Kansas.


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