Weekly Update November 1st, 2015

Speaker Ryan Has Three Goals: Destroy Social Security, Medicare And The USPS
By  Bill Brickley

Koch Brothers darling Multi Millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan is leaping back on to the national stage as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr Ryan was initially hesitant citing family concerns (despite the fact he is an opponent of paid leave for ordinary Americans)  but eventually was swayed by other GOP leaders to take the job. Ryan, who seems fixated on reducing retirement benefits for both the American public and especially federal workers, will have a larger platform to try to make these cuts a reality. Clearly these ideas are unpopular to many but as Paul Krugman brilliantly stated, Ryan is “the best con man they got.”  Republicans are using him to sell their treasure trove of unpopular policies to the apathetic American Public

Ryan was an architect of George Bush’s  failed plan to partially privatize  Social Security in 2005. More recently Ryan has teamed up with Congressman Darrell Issa to push the idea of reducing Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) benefits for Federal Workers. In a letter to the Congressional Budget Office they emphasized that the CBO should consider “different options for reforming FERS, based on changes made in recent years to other large pension plans, both public and private. The report should include, but not limit itself to, adjusting the retirement contributions of federal employees, altering the formula for computing pension benefit payments, and expanding the defined contribution component while reducing the defined benefit component.” This sounds quite ominous for Federal Workers. The intent is crystal clear.

Read more at NH Labor News.
How the GOP almost forced a Social Security disaster: Everything you need to know about their disgraceful hostage-taking 
Prior to last week's budget deal, the GOP was doing everything it could to dismantle Social Security. Here's how 

The comprehensive budget deal that passed Congress last week involved the temporary release of three hostages: One hostage was the debt limit, which will not need to be raised before March, 2017. A second hostage was the federal government, which might not, depending on who you ask, experience another shutdown for two fiscal years. The third hostage was Social Security.

Like the hostage-taking over the debt limit and funding the government, the Social Security hostage involves something that should be routine. But these days, with this Congress, nothing is routine. To understand the Social Security hostage-taking, it is important to understand a technical aspect of Social Security with which no one but experts should be concerned.

When workers have Social Security contributions deducted from their wages, those deducted monies are premiums for Social Security’s insurance against the loss of wages in the event of death, disability or old age. Those deducted funds are sent by their employers to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Read more at Salon.

Ben Carson’s History as a Medical Malpractice Trainwreck

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson isn’t as good of a doctor as he’s made himself out to be. Carson is actually a walking medical malpractice suit waiting to happen. Thom Hartmann and Ring of Fire host Mike Papantonio discussed Carson’s shady history of medical malpractice.

Watch the video on YouTube.
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This man is not a wonk: Why Marco Rubio is just another intellectual fraud 
One prominent conservative pundit is ready to anoint the senator as the new Moynihan. Not so fast. 

After spending most of the past few months either kowtowing to Donald Trump or forestalling complete anarchy in the House of Representatives, Republicans now find themselves on the verge of what they hope will be a much better position. Former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is the new Speaker of the House and Senator Marco Rubio seems poised to overtake Jeb Bush as the establishment’s favored candidate. The adults, some elite Republicans hope, will soon be back in charge.

As you might imagine, this has got New York Times columnist and self-styled reasonable Republican David Brooks very excited. “So after all the meshugas,” he writes in his latest op-ed, “Republicans could wind up with two new leaders going into this election.” This, Brooks says, would be “a pretty excellent outcome for a party that has shown an amazing tendency to inflict self-harm.” Why? Because Rubio and Ryan, according to David Brooks, are not “celebrity candidates” but rather “wonks.”

Read more at Salon.
Bernie Sanders Launches His First Television Ad
"People are sick and tired of establishment politics and they want real change."
By Igor Boblic

The presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) launched his first television ad on Sunday.

The 60-second spot, titled "Real Change," is slated to go on air in the key early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and is backed by more than $2 million. The ad focuses on Sanders' background and policy record, stretching back to his time as mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

“People are sick and tired of establishment politics and they want real change," Sanders says in the commercial.

Read more at Huffington Post.

Join Us Wednesday November 11th for our regular SW Dems monthly meeting at the Greendale Library. 

We have invited several Judicial Candidates to introduce themselves to our members.  

Program begins at 7pm.
WhenWed, November 11, 7pm – 9pm
WhereGreendale Public Library, 5647 Broad St., Greendale (map)
DescriptionRegion 5 Democrats will hold their monthly meeting at the Greendale Public Library (enter through rear at 5600 Parking St.). Region 5 covers Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Milwaukee (Southwest), West Allis, West Milwaukee. For more information contact Rob Hansen, chair, robpdamilwaukee@gmail.com

Milwaukee County Democrats Monthly Meeting,
Mon Nov 16, 7pm,
J & B's Blue Ribbon Bar and Grill, 5230 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee
At this meeting the party's Chair, Vice Chair, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Membership Secretary and Treasurer will be elected for two-year terms. Any member who has paid their dues as of November 11, 2015, will be eligible to vote in the election and/or be a candidate for office. Persons wishing to have their name on the printed ballot shall submit a declaration of intent to run on or before 5:00 p.m. Sunday, November 8, 2015, via email, to elections@milwaukeedems.org.The announced candidates will be posted on the DPMC website http://www.milwaukeedems.org/ no later than 5:00 p.m. Monday, November 9, 2015. Registration will be from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Registration will close at 7:30 p.m. and no person arriving after 7:30 p.m. will be eligible to vote. Anyone still in line when registration closes may receive a ballot.

November 16, 2015 at 7pm - 9pm

J&B's Blue Ribbon Bar and Grill
5230 W Bluemound Rd
Milwaukee, WI 53208
United States

Google map and directions

Republican Translator: Your Go-To Guide For Understanding GOP Catchphrases

When you don’t have winning policy to run on, sometimes the only thing left to do is deflect and distract. One of the easiest ways of doing this for Republicans is by coming up with words and phrases that can easily be repeated. And ideally, repeated often enough to be believed, even at the detriment to the voting base that believes them.

As much as the GOP may not like this, it’s extremely important for voters to be aware of what they’re actually hearing when politicians and conservative pundits speak. To aid in understanding what’s actually going on, here’s a handy guide to understanding common catchphrases:

States Rights: This is often used with issues that conservatives want to throw hissy fits over (gun rights, marriage equality, slavery, etc.) and don’t want the silly federal government to pull its trump card — the Supremacy Clause.

Liberal Media: Any media outlet that isn’t Fox News and won’t cater to scripted questions and answers. Otherwise known as fact-based, honest reporting.

Gotcha Questions: You’ll hear this one a lot when Republicans are asked questions they don’t know the answer to, or know that an honest answer will hurt their image. It basically means they’re embarrassed they just got caught being an idiot.

Judicial Activism: Any time the Supreme Court sides with the Constitution over conservatives’ bigoted opinions on how they think things should be run (ex. Obamacare, marriage equality, etc.).

Playing the Race Card: When they know they’re racist, but want to blame whoever calls them out on it.

Entitlements: Programs citizens have paid for and are, in fact, entitled to (Social Security, Medicare), but the GOP wants taxpayers to think they’re somehow getting ripped off by the poor.

Right-to-Life: Control over the medical decisions of women. This phrase has nothing to do with “life” because the same people who claim to be “pro-life” are also pro-war, pro-death penalty and anti-taking care of people who are already born.

War on Terror: Sending troops to influence nations with an abundance of oil.

Liberty: To have the ability to control others, but still keep all of their own rights intact.

Freedom: To make sure Wall Street and the wealthy are taken care of and guilt-free in all of our economic woes. Basically, as Republicans seek to regulate women, gays and minorities, they seek “freedom” for corporations and big banks to flush our economy down the toilet while reaping all the rewards for themselves.

Socialist: Any words that come out of a Democrat’s mouth. The actual meaning is neither here nor there.

Capitalist: BFF who writes checks to make policy that will make them lots and lots of money. This has nothing to do with actual capitalism, which should be ethically regulated to keep things fair for all.

Obamacare: The scary word used to deflect from increased accessibility to private health care.

Democrat Party: This is used to get under the skin of liberals everywhere – and it does, because it’s simply bad grammar.

War on Religion: The hissy fit thrown when conservative Christians don’t get their way dictating the lives of others.

Religious Freedom: The thinking that you have the freedom to control others via your religion.

Job Creators: The very wealthy. This is the one of the oldest tricks in the books for the GOP. If they call all the rich on top “job creators” their imbecilic base will vote for them. When, in fact, if tax breaks for the very wealthy worked we’d have had an abundant economy at the end of President George W. Bush’s second term instead of the biggest recession since the Great Depression. (Hint: it’s a lie. Growth happens from the bottom up like everything else. Get money in the hands of those who need it most and the wealth spreads upwards. It doesn’t work the other way around, as has been proven time and time again. What we need to do is raise wages.)

Big Government: Republicans LOVE actual big government. Don’t believe it? Look at the Defense budget. Look at their love for controlling the lives of women and the LGBT community. Look at how much they want to spend on subsidies for the already wealthy. “Big Government” is another deflection word to make their voting base scared that the United States wants to control every aspect of their lives. When, in fact, that is what the GOP has been trying to do for decades. Democrats, on the other hand, don’t want “big government” they want functional government. However, that doesn’t sound nearly as scary.

“Taxes are stealing”: This is used to make people hate the government. Here’s the thing, without taxes how are we going to pay for things like say, the military, or oil subsidies, or $8 million/day in aid to Israel. It’s not that Republicans hate taxes, they hate taxes they themselves and their wealthy cronies have to pay for. They’d LOVE to make a regressive flat tax that would tax the poor and middle class more and the wealthy less. They’d LOVE to make sure 99% of the nation is paying for all the things the 1% is dictating through policy lobbyists. Republicans don’t hate taxes. No no. They hate actually being the ones to pay them. In an ideal society, we’d have a progressive structure that made it so more money stays in the hands of the less fortunate so they can stimulate the economy from the bottom up. Taxes should also be used for fixing infrastructure, education, health care etc. You know, things that actually benefit the taxpayers, not just the very wealthy.

Patriot: Warrior for the 1%.

Tax and Spend: The scary phrase they use with the GOP base who haven’t quite caught on to how things really work. The government has taxes so they can fund government. Tax and spend. Just like “get paid and spend.”

Elitist: Someone who had the audacity to learn the facts and repeat them.

Class Warfare: This is used any time someone points out that Republicans are hating on the poor in favor of benefiting the wealthy. “Stop with the class warfare.” Oh, you mean telling it like it is?

Family Values: The phrase used any time they want to be bigoted assholes and get away with it. The only “family value” the Republicans have is the dollar amount they can squeeze from middle and working class families to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

Free Market: Unregulated Capitalism.

School Choice: Privatization of education for profit.

Ronald Reagan: To make people think about the 1980s and distract from the mess they’ve created over the last 30 years through bad economic policy. Honestly? Any time someone hears “Ronald Reagan” they should think “mediocre actor,” “terrible leader.”

To be honest, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to words and phrases Republicans use to distract their voting base and the public at large from knowing their true intentions as policy makers. However, now you have this handy guide. Remember to pull it out whenever a Republican starts talking. Perfect for debates and family holiday gatherings.

A proven way to reduce poverty? Give poor people money

Poverty is such a longstanding, deeply-rooted problem that it’s hard to believe there could be a relatively straightforward way to address it. But here’s one: Give poor people money. 

That’s a highly controversial idea here in the United States, where so many social programs are focused on helping people find work, rather than offering them services or sending them checks.

But elsewhere around the world, things work differently. Virtually every developed nation has a lower poverty rate than the US. That’s not because all their citizens have jobs and earn a decent living. It’s because they provide direct assistance to those at risk, in the form of cash, housing subsidies, pensions, and child benefits.

Read more at Boston Globe.

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