Tag: John Boehner

Paul Ryan opposed abortion rights for women impregnated by rapists during failed 2012 VP bid

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the unsuccessful Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012, is now officially considering a bid for U.S. House Speaker after previously having repeatedly refused to do so.

However, Ryan won’t negotiate with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republican right-wing extremists in the House that have refused to back a GOP establishment candidate for speaker unless said establishment candidate agrees to giving the Republican rank-and-file, which is chock full of right-wing nuts, more power in the House and cover-your-rear-end treatment from the GOP leadership every time someone in the rank-or-file says or does something incredibly stupid.

While Ryan considers whether or not to seek the speakership, I think it’s appropriate for me to mention that this is an actual quote from Paul Ryan from when he was running for vice president in 2012:

Well, I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.

What Paul Ryan effectively said was that he thinks that any woman who was impregnated by a rapist should be forced to carry the fetus(es) to term, even if she does not want to. That’s because Ryan was asked by an interviewer about his thoughts on whether or not women who are impregnated by a rapist should be allowed to seek an abortion, and Ryan said that he was strongly anti-abortion and that the “method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life”. That is an absolutely barbaric point of view. While there was YouTube video of Ryan’s remarks online back in 2012, the video has long since been removed from YouTube. However, I’ve been able to confirm that Ryan actually made the remarks, because the International Business Times, which is where I got the Ryan quote from, and several other websites with credible political reporting and/or commentary, such as the Huffington Post and AlterNet, reported on it back in 2012, and their articles are still online.

Paul Ryan’s view that women impregnated by rapists should be forced to carry their fetuses to term is barbaric and sexist. Now, he wants to be House Speaker so that he’s in even more powerful of a position to control women’s bodies by legislative fiat, especially if a Republican were to win the White House in next year’s presidential race.

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ENDORSEMENT: Kati Walsh for U.S. House Speaker

With Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner exiting stage right, I’m pleased to announce that I’m going to make a very special endorsement. I proudly endorse Kati Walsh for Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

Since I’m guessing that very few, if any, readers of this blog know who Kati Walsh is, I’ll talk a little bit about her. She’s a resident of Madison, Wisconsin and an elementary school art teacher in the local public school system in Madison. She’s also a very strong advocate for public education.

Now, many of you are probably thinking that Ms. Walsh is not a Member of Congress. Of course she’s not a Member of Congress. However, there’s no legal requirement in the U.S. Constitution that the speaker be a sitting member of the House, so anyone could legally be elected speaker by the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In fact, the U.S. Constitution could be interpreted as allowing for someone who doesn’t meet the constitutional requirements to be eligible to be elected a U.S. House member (at least 25 years of age, U.S. citizen for at least seven years, resident of the state in which he/she seeks to represent) to be elected speaker. Heck, there’s nothing prohibiting me from receiving votes for speaker, even though I’m not a Member of Congress, and I have zero interest in being speaker.

Do I think that Ms. Walsh will get a single vote in the upcoming election for speaker? Of course not. The vast majority of the Republicans will vote for one of their own House members, probably Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), with a few hard-line conservative Republicans voting for Tea Party-types in protest. On the other hand, nearly all Democrats will vote for Nancy Pelosi, with the exception of a handful of centrist/conservative Democrats who will vote for either a Republican or a different House Democrat.

However, I’ve always thought of the idea of a citizen speaker (i.e., a U.S. House speaker who is not a House member) would be interesting, as a citizen speaker would have the power to preside over the House, but not be able to vote on legislation before the House, effectively making the speaker’s post non-partisan and technocratic in nature. If Kati Walsh can teach a class of elementary school children, then she’ll have no problem presiding over the U.S. House of Representatives and its 435 adult members.

FOX News defends President Obama and slams Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Netanyahu using Congress as a campaign prop

Two weeks before the Israeli Knesset (Israel’s unicameral national legislature) elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak before the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives after being invited to do so by House Speaker John Boehner.

Netanyahu using the U.S. House as a prop for his party (Likud) in its re-election efforts is viewed so unfavorably here in the United States, even FOX News, a right-wing propaganda cable channel that masquerades as a cable news channel, is defending President Barack Obama, who is usually hated by on-air and off-air figures at FOX News, and slamming Netanyahu, who is usually well-liked by on-air and off-air figures at FOX News. Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace, who both host shows that are either aired on FOX News or produced by FOX News for the over-the-air FOX Network, blasted Netanyahu for using our country’s Congress as a political prop, with Smith quoting former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk:

You can read more about the growing backlash against the scheduled Netanyahu congressional speech from unexpected places here and here.

Over his long political career, Benjamin Netanyahu has shown zero respect for American sovereignty and institutions. We are not going to be a puppet state for Netanyahu’s Israel, we are not going to let Netanyahu run roughshod over the American people, and, most importantly, I am calling for Democratic U.S. House members to turn their backs to Netanyahu if and when he speaks before the House, even if it means getting expelled from the House.

How Republicans are going to turn the Congressional Budget Office into a right-wing propaganda outfit

Anytime Congress needs to obtain a cost estimate, an economic impact analysis, and/or other types of budget and/or economic information, Congress is legally required to turn to its own internal think tank on economic issues, the officially non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

However, the Republicans that won control of both houses of Congress in last November’s elections are about to turn the CBO into a part of their far-right propaganda machine that will probably be one of the most hyperpartisan government agencies in the entire country.

The director of the CBO is currently Douglas Elmendorf, who has run the CBO quite well for the past several years, having originally been appointed by a Congress controlled completely by Democrats in 2009 and then continuing on as CBO director even after Republicans took control of the House after the 2010 midterm elections. However, with Republicans now in control of both the House and the Senate, the House Speaker (more than likely to be John Boehner) and the Senate President Pro Tempore (which will be Orrin Hatch), who are jointly responsible for appointing the CBO director, will almost certainly get rid of Elmendorf and replace him with a new CBO director that will likely be very conservative and use the CBO to spew right-wing lies about the economy and the country’s finances.

What the Republicans want to do is appoint a new CBO director who will turn the officially non-partisan agency into a right-wing, non-partisan in name only agency and use dynamic scoring, a disproven economic theory that is based on the falsehood that cutting taxes for the wealthy results in more revenue to the federal government:

AS Republicans take control of Congress this month, at the top of their to-do list is changing how the government measures the impact of tax cuts on federal revenue: namely, to switch from so-called static scoring to “dynamic” scoring. While seemingly arcane, the change could have significant, negative consequences for enacting sustainable, long-term fiscal policies.

[…]

Such proponents (of dynamic scoring) argue that conventional projections are skewed against tax cuts, because they do not consider that cutting taxes could lead to higher economic output, which would make up at least some of the lost revenues. They maintain that dynamic scoring will, therefore, be both more neutral and more accurate than current methodologies.

In reality, the whole concept of dynamic scoring is built on a mountain of lies and false assumptions about how the economy and taxation work:

But the bigger problems lie deeper. Federal deficits are on an unsustainable path (as it happens, because of undertaxation, not excessive spending). Simply cutting taxes against the headwind of structural deficits leads to lower growth, as government borrowing soaks up an ever-increasing share of savings.

The most optimistic dynamic models get around this by assuming that the world today is in fiscal equilibrium, where the deficit does not grow continuously as a percentage of gross domestic product. But that’s not true. If you add the reality of spiraling deficits into those models, they don’t work.

To make these models work, scorekeepers must arbitrarily assume either that we tax more and spend less today than is really the case…or assume that a tax cut today will be followed by a spending cut or tax increase tomorrow. Economists describe such a move as “making counterfactual assumptions”; the rest of us call it “making stuff up.”

In reality, dynamic scoring encourages absurd economic policies that would decrease the amount of revenue the federal government receives, drive up the federal budget deficit and national debt, hurt economic growth, and wreck our country’s economy. The fact that Republicans want to turn the officially non-partisan Congressional Budget Office into a part of the hyperpartisan right-wing propaganda machine in order to lie to the American people about how legislation effects the economy and our country’s finances absolutely scares me, and Democrats need to start attacking the CBO at every opportunity if they do start acting like a right-wing organization.