Paul Ryan: The Speaker Who Spoke About Deficits

Most know how to get most members of Congress and candidates to mumble uncomfortably: Ask for their plans to deal with the nation’s troubling debt load and unsustainable Medicare and Social Security burdens. Politicians love to make lofty promises; they hate to be associated with responsible budget-cutting proposals.

One high-profile exception to that rule is U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, who announced Wednesday he will leave Congress at the end of his current term. Ryan’s been a favorite of mine through his years in Washington because he isn’t afraid to talk about the trillions of dollars America doesn’t have — but spends anyway! — for entitlements. And he sticks his neck out to propose budget solutions.

Back in 2011 when the national debt was $15 trillion and Ryan was about to be accused in an attack advertisement of “throwing granny off the cliff”, he said he’d keep trying to fix massive social programs like Medicare, in order to protect America’s future fiscal health.

“What if your congressman, your president knew what was coming and did nothing?” “… Everyone tells me that I’m giving our political adversaries the massive political weapon to use in the next campaign. Yes, we are. But you know, if you don’t start fixing these things ….”- Speaker Paul Ryan

Today the national debt is $21 trillion. The Medicare trust fund that pays hospital expenses will be depleted in 2029, according to a recent estimate. Social Security will have a shortfall beginning in 2034. Yet the 2018 election season will find many candidates, especially Democrats, embracing a form of universal health insurance they call “Medicare for all.” How to pay for it? Voters are more likely to see another “granny ad” than a detailed plan.

I am not suggesting Ryan, who chaired the House budget and tax-writing committees before becoming speaker, had all the answers. Ryan and his allies in 2011 proposed reining in the deficit and debt partly through a revamping of Medicare that would use a voucher system to provide subsidies for seniors to obtain private insurance. This was a linchpin of the Ryan budget plan. The idea — a more free-market approach — is still floating out there, but the national political focus shifted to Obamacare. Part of Ryan’s concern was that expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would become another costly burden for states. How to fix or replace Obamacare? Hmm, neither Ryan nor his predecessor as speaker, John Boehner, could solve that thorny problem.

Ryan said he will not seek re-election because it’s time to go home to his family. He doesn’t want to be a permanent “weekend dad.” He never burned with desire to be speaker, but someone in the fractured Republican Party has to wrangle the House cats. Ryan, a respected conservative with strong policy chops, stepped up. Dealing with irascible President Donald Trump made a tough job tougher. Ryan said he isn’t leaving out of fear the Republicans will lose control of the House in November, but such worries seem unavoidable.

No one knows what Ryan plans next. In 2012 he was Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate. In 2016, when Republicans braced for the possibility of a deadlocked convention, I rooted for an alternative to Trump and suggested Ryan. That doesn’t mean he should run for president, or that he would earn my support.

But there should always be a prominent role in politics for principled budget-minders. That is Ryan’s congressional legacy.

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Calm Down About the Cohen Raid

I have a very firm stance on the ethicality of the raid on the office, home, and hotel room of Donald Trump’s lawyer.

You ready? Here it is: I have no idea whether it was a proper action. But you’ll have to take it on faith that I didn’t consult the Magic 8 Ball before I concluded: all signs point to yes.

Commenters on the social medias are no doubt representative of a large group of grassroots Republicans. They’re hopping mad. They’re calling this a fascist move.

Let’s take the dumbest possible Trumpist argument as a foil with which to clear away some of the underbrush. This may come across like a constructed strawman, but I’m seeing this point of view in my comments, so let me dismantle it before I take speak in a more measured fashion to the people who have not yet lost their minds.

The dumbest possible Trumpist argument is: This is Robert Mueller acting like a fascist. We are in Nazi America and the Gestapo has been released. Any prosecutor who thinks there is the slightest chance that this is on the level is necessarily corrupt. Seizing attorney-client communications shreds several amendments to the Constitution. Surely there is something wrong when Robert Mueller takes the word of a porn star and nothing else to raid the office of the President’s lawyer. This goes beyond TDS. It’s treason. Why, it’s no different from a SWATting!!!!!!

This is a pretty fair paraphrase of some comments I have seen on the social medias. The crazy stuff — the stuff that sensible people would assume I am making up, because rational people don’t talk like this — it’s all there in posts and comments.

More and more, I feel that I have nothing in common with these people. I realize I’m telling off a lot of people who read what I write. I say this with the highest possible respect: you people have lost your minds.

Let’s tick off some of the facts we know:

  • These warrants weren’t executed under the direction of Robert Mueller. They were executed under the direction of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a Trump appointee. There’s really no scenario in which this plays out well for Cohen. We know that Robert Mueller is looking at some of Cohen’s involvement in Russia-related activities like Trump Tower Moscow. Mueller seems like a thorough guy, and if he runs across illegal activity by Cohen of any kind in the course of his investigation, he can at a minimum refer those matters to the Justice Department, and conceivably take them on himself. Disbarment might be the least of Cohen’s worries at this point.Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer.It didn’t take a genius to see this coming, but let’s not pretend Robert Mueller was behind this raid. Even Cohen’s lawyer admits this was based on a referral.
  • It is not unprecedented, at all, to serve a warrant on a lawyer’s office. It usually requires higher levels of scrutiny, to be sure — and like many prosecutorial agencies, DoJ requires several levels of approval for such a warrant. They got it here.
  • It is not unprecedented, at all, to seize attorney-client privileged materials. In no way does that constitute a shredding off the right to counsel or any other constitutional provision. Such materials require strict procedures — a “dirty” team or a special master, with rigid separation from the “clean” team — to ensure that the prosecution team does not get their hands on privileged material. But again: this sort of thing happens all the time. If you were unaware of that fact, it’s time you learned it.
  • A federal magistrate approved this. Yes, magistrates sometimes approve bad warrants. But this was a very high-profile warrant, and a magistrate would have a high incentive to look at it verrrry carefully, so as to avoid looking like a fool later.
  • This warrant is almost certainly not based exclusively, or even in any significant part, on the word of Stormy Daniels. Stormy Daniels is, to put it mildly, not a credible person. She has admitted telling lies about this episode in the past. But you know who else has been flapping their gums about this? Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. Between the two of them, they’ve put enough material in the public record out of their own lie-holes for us to know that Cohen put up the hush money for Daniels, days before a presidential election, and went to tremendous and almost certainly unethical (if not illegal) lengths to distance Trump from that payment.
  • Nazis killed millions of Jews. These people were executing a search warrant. Calm the [expletive deleted] down, people!

Do we know that there is a solid foundation of probable cause for this warrant? No. We haven’t read it. Without reading it, we can’t know.

But, taking the above bullet points into account, all signs point to yes.

And if you’re hellbent on assuming, without knowing any facts, that this is a Nazi move — the Gestapo in action; treason before our very eyes — then you’ve gone waaaaay off the rails. You’ve fallen for the propaganda. You’re willing to tar dozens of professionals as Deep State “traitors” based on the propaganda offered by an orange-haired clown and his soulless dunce confederates.

Now: let’s take a giant step backwards and raise a leg to pee on the left for a second.

Nothing here means Donald Trump necessarily committed a crime. It’s far likelier to conclude that a provable crime might be proved against Michael Cohen than Donald Trump.

None of this means there is evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russian government.

What is means is that numerous people in the executive and judicial branches of government thought there was probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime would be found in the office or residence of the President’s lawyer. And that they followed the path laid out in the United States Constitution to learn whether they were right.

Period. End of discussion.

Now calm down, and stop going full insane on the partisanship. Stop, wait, think, listen, and learn. Above all, stop. Stop yammering. Stop screaming that we live in Nazi Germany. You sound like idiots.

Just stop.

If Congress Isn’t Going to Defund Planned Parenthood, Then We Have to Do This Instead

Pro-life conservatives have been frustrated with the ongoing failure to defund Planned Parenthood, and for good reason. America’s largest abortion provider markets itself as a defender of “women’s health,” but performs zero mammograms, willfully covers up statutory rapes, and has had to pay multimillion dollar settlements for Medicaid billing fraud.

All while ending the lives of hundreds of thousands of unborn children for massive profits every year.

So when the latest omnibus spending bill passed with half a billion dollars of funding for Planned Parenthood intact, even with Republicans in control of the White House and both the House and the Senate, conservatives were enraged. And not just because omnibus bills happen because Congress is stupid.

Watching Republicans campaign as pro-life champions every election cycle and then continue to send half a billion freaking dollars — that’s five hundred million dollars, $500,000,000.00 — every year is extremely infuriating.

Now, I don’t believe that Congressional Republicans are secretly pro-choice and actually want to continue providing funding to abortion clinics. What’s far more likely is they are wary of the backlash from Democrats and the media, who would complain that those mean ol’ Republicans are heartlessly cutting medical care to poor women.

Fine. Here’s an easy solution.

Don’t defund the budget for Planned Parenthood. Transfer the money. 

Take all of the money we send to Planned Parenthood clinics, and instead, send the money to medical clinics that provide services to the poor.

Congress has proven they have little appetite for cutting spending, so fine, just take the money we are giving to these abortion clinics and instead, send it to other health clinics in the exact same towns. Dollar for dollar, take it from the abortion clinic and just send it down the street.

The communities will still have the exact same amount of federal funds coming their way, but the money will go much further since it will be going to actual health clinics, and not Planned Parenthood, with its lavish budgets for its political activity, lobbying, contributions to candidates, executives’ salaries and benefits, travel, and events — not to mention all those flashy advertisements, graphics, and videos all over their social media.

And let’s be very clear: there is an abundance of choices for where these funds could be sent.

Drafting the bill should be an open and bipartisan discussion. Members of Congress should take into consideration the clinics in their own districts that are providing excellent care to the needy in their communities. If the Democrats truly care about women’s health, they should participate in the debate and offer amendments with their suggestions.

Some ideas for qualifying for the funds could include accepting Medicaid patients, providing a certain percentage of services pro bono or at reduced costs, being in operation for a certain number of years to prove stability, providing comprehensive prenatal and gynecological health care, and so on.

A similar program was adopted in Texas in 2013. The state cut funding to abortion providers and created the “Healthy Texas Women” program, providing low-income women with birth control, family planning services, and other health care. A Daily Signal report called the program a success, with the state’s pregnancy rate remaining relatively stable and abortions dropping.

There was also a massive drop in Medicaid and contraceptive claims, which liberals attempted to frame as a negative, but a federal civil suit was brought against Planned Parenthood for Medicaid billing fraud from 2003 to 2009 and eventually settled for $4.3 million dollars. Plus, the enactment of Obamacare during this period meant that women with those policies were entitled to free contraception. In other words, when another government program provided contraception coverage and the fraud spigot was cut off, that made the number of claims go down, not women forgoing necessary medical care.

“The data belies the claim that Planned Parenthood was necessary to women’s health care in Texas,” said Casey Mattox, a senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom.

The Democrats say they care about women’s health care. The Republicans say they don’t want to send money to an abortion provider. Fine. This solution lets both parties do what they say they want to do. 

If we can’t get our Republican-controlled Congress to cut spending, let’s at least quit sending money to America’s largest abortion provider, and send it somewhere it can still help women.

Why the Stormy Daniels “Scandal” Is the Most Irrelevant Story Ever

There’s nothing better than a good ole “intellectual” debate:

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Congratulations CNN! You’ve finally gone full Jerry Springer, all that’s missing is the hair pulling and that three hundred pound bouncer.

I wonder if this is what Anderson Cooper (aka A. Coops) wanted as a career path? From high class to absolute crass? And for what? To prove that Trump had consensual sex not with his wife before he became president? I think America has filed that under the “so what?” category.

As for me, you will not hear a bad word about Stormy and unlike Hillary and her friends, I won’t besmirch the women. I’m going to wait until Trump has nine (yes, NINE) Oval Office encounters with one of his interns fresh out of college and until he is actually accused by a woman who actually came to him for help. In the meantime, in the wise words of Greg Gutfeld, all we have is a story about a romp, a decade ago at a golf tournament. But with Trump, everyone knew his flaws before they voted: decades as a tabloid staple didn’t hurt, as well as all of those prize winning “reporters” now on the gossip beat. And that Access Hollywood tape helped. Funny, that tape existed for years, tucked away in some creepy network guy’s closet, until it was leaked just before an election. What are the odds of that? No seriously, what are the odds? (Please sense the sarcasm.)

And so, CNN sacrifices what is left of its reputation, trying to undo an election. They think if only people had another chance to vote for Hillary, they’d forget about the woman who ridiculed her husband’s accusers.

Congrats CNN! You’ve redefined hard news. And for this anti-Trump “golf bag” the Hitler “club” didn’t work, the mental instability “iron” didn’t work, the chaos “iron” didn’t work, the collusion “putter” failed, the medical examination “driver” flopped, so bring on the sex “scandal” “sand wedge”.

What is CNN’s point with all of this? They are trying to undermine (again) the American presidency with this. Its one situation that happened before Trump’s presidency. Ok, now what? What are they trying to do? Impeach the president? Or are they trying to dirty our current situation some more and muddy the waters?

This irrelevant “scandal” will eventually die down and it will effect no American policy whatsoever. The one question I only have is what creative club will CNN and the media use next time? Only God knows.

Man Who Absolutely Trashed Obama For Eight Years Calls For Utmost Respect For President Trump (Satire)

LAKE ZURICH, IL—Local Trump supporter Christoph Dzienis absolutely brutalized President Obama for the full length of both the former president’s terms in office, but is now calling for all Americans to unite and show respect for their current president, sources close to the man claimed Monday.

The self-described “political junkie,” who is angered every time he sees someone criticize President Trump, reportedly slammed President Obama in a series of savage memes and rants several times a day for eight years.

“Really, it should be a crime to blatantly disrespect the presidential office,” the man who still has a faded, yellowing sticker of Calvin urinating on President Obama on his pickup truck said. “I’m all for free speech, but enough is enough.”

Dzienis further called people who criticize the president “un-American” and “unpatriotic” for not completely agreeing with President Trump’s policies.

“He’s your President, for goodness’ sake. Grow up and stop acting like children,” he said, while blowing his nose with a nearby roll of novelty toilet paper depicting President Obama’s face on each square, according to sources.


Disclaimer: The above story is satire. It is completely fictitious.

The Reagan Conservative Explains Identity Politics

What does “identity politics” mean?

“Identity politics” is the term given to a popular practice in which politicians divide people into group identities and inform them that they’re victims of a shadowy, systemic, oppressive power structure, and anyone who disagrees with them on any social issue is not an individual with valid ideas worth considering but is bigoted, full of hate, and wants them and everyone in their group to die a terrible death.

Why do politicians encourage identity politics?

To position themselves at the top of the actual societal power structure.

What are some examples of identity politics?

The idea that being against abortion means you’re “anti-women,” for example. Or that being against the Obergefell decision makes one “homophobic.” Or that having a different view on immigration makes one “racist.” Or that thinking there are inherent differences between males and females makes one “sexist.”

You didn’t mention transgender people in your examples. Are you transphobic?

See, you’ve got it.

Why would people want to label those who disagree with them horrible things in order to not have to listen to what they say?

Have you ever tried to have a discussion with someone you don’t agree with? It’s very triggering.

This seems to be at odds with the important virtues of free speech, due process, and individual rights.

Oh, but it feels so good.

Has there been much pushback against the practice of identity politics?

Yes. One example is sitting in the Oval Office.

Have we seen the political ideal that “the group” is more important than “the individual” implemented on a large scale before?

There are a few examples from the 20th century that you learned about in world history class.

I don’t agree with your analysis of identity politics.

Then you are brimming with deep-seated hatred for anything sensible, leans mildly towards the right, or intelligent and your opinion doesn’t matter. Good day!

Local Man Takes Advantage of 3-Hour DMV Wait to Write Blog Post Arguing For Government-Run Healthcare (Satire)

URBANA, IL—When local man (and devout socialist), Jon Wenetos, found himself in the midst of a three-hour-long wait for a two-minute service at his local DMV office, he decided to redeem the time by pulling out his iPad and carefully pecking out a 5,000-word blog post arguing in favor of a government-run healthcare system in the U.S.

“America is way behind the rest of the civilized world—we need universal healthcare and NOW,” Wenetos typed as dozens of people around him moaned in agony while waiting in their seemingly never-ending DMV purgatory. “The United States government has more than proven its capability of running large-scale operations for its citizenry; for instance, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Post Office are stellar examples of efficiency and financial prudence.”

“Also–almost forgot—Amtrak. Great performance and NO recent disaster incidents that come to mind. And NASA on top of that! If NASA weren’t doing a world-class job then you would expect a boom in private-company space exploration, to the point where NASA itself might come to rely on the private companies, even. Has anything like that happened? I think not.”

“Someone just let me know when a PRIVATE company shoots the most powerful rocket by a factor of two into space. I won’t hold my breath!” he added.

At posting time, Wenetos had finally reached the DMV counter, but due to an unexplainable glitch in the system, had to go to the back of the line and start over again.


Disclaimer: The above story is satire. It is completely fictitious.