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Republicans Are Bringing Back Their Plan to Gut Social Security and Medicare

A new budget proposal for the 2024 fiscal year makes sweeping cuts.

Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

Republicans have claimed over and over again that they are not trying to cut Social Security and Medicare. Heck, Joe Biden got them to agree they would not make cuts to the programs, in a memorable verbal maneuver during his State of the Union speech earlier this year.

And yet the Republican Study Committee (of which some three-quarters of House Republicans are members) just released its desired 2024 budget, in which the party seeks to, you guessed it, cut Social Security and Medicare.

And note their seriousness. “The RSC Budget is more than just a financial statement. It is a statement of priorities,” the party assures in the document, released Wednesday.

The proposed budget would effectively make cuts to Social Security by increasing the retirement age for future retirees.  The document seeks to assure people that there would only be “modest adjustments” but does not list what Republicans think the new retirement age should be.

On Medicare, Republicans propose requiring disabled Americans to wait longer before getting benefits and turning Medicare into a “premium support” system, a long-floated Republican idea that essentially turns the government program into a voucher scheme. Such a scheme would remove the guarantee for seniors to have affordable access to Medicare.

Republicans also call for “pro-growth tax reform” (read: cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations); “work requirements” (imposing more requirements on poor people trying to attain social services); and “regulatory reforms that increase economic growth” (encouraging the sort of deregulation that welcomes crashing financial institutions, corporate-poisoned rivers, and more than 1,000 train derailments a year).

As far as taxes go, the party wants to make permanent the individual provisions of Trump’s tax cut bill, which gave a roughly $49,000 annual tax cut to the top 1 percent and only $500 to those in the bottom 60 percent. In doing so, they’d add nearly $2.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The party also wants to eliminate the estate tax, which only impacts those who inherit assets worth at least $13 million.

On work requirements, the budget calls for “all federal benefit programs [to] be reformed to include work promotion requirements.” As in, food stamps, Medicare, you name it: They want it subject to work requirements. And sorry, Andrew Yang: The budget explicitly says it opposes any efforts to implement proposals like universal basic income.

The budget also takes issue with the “significantly lower labor force participation rate of 64.6% for those aged 55-64,” saying it supports extending work requirements for this group. There could be any number of reasons fewer people in this age group are working: physical or mental health issues, needing to help take care of their children or grandchildren, or just not wanting to work for their entire life on earth. Instead of imaging how to navigate or meet any of those reasons, Republicans’ solution is to force them to work more.

Speaking of families, the budget also aims to eliminate a provision that allows schools to provide free school lunches to all their students; instead, it aims to means-test which kids are allowed to have free lunch and which ones aren’t.

On regulation, the budget includes a litany of ways it aims to stymie regulation. One of many provisions involves reinstating Trump’s deregulatory executive orders, including a range of orders related to environmental protection. In the wake of smog enveloping one-third of the country, thousands of dead fish washing up on Texas’s shore, and East Palestine, Ohio’s waterways being poisoned, Republicans are pursuing less environmental protection.

And all this is just a sampling of Republicans’ explicit “priorities” they are pursuing in 2024.

Democratic Congressman Reveals the Fatal Flaw in GOP’s Biden Investigation

If you’re claiming someone has all the evidence, that person should probably agree with you.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Representative Daniel Goldman

A Democratic representative on Wednesday revealed the fatal flaw in Republicans’ latest attempt to smear Joe Biden: Their supposed informant has already debunked their so-called evidence.

House Republicans have accused the Biden family of corruption for months but have been unable to provide any actual evidence linking Biden or his son Hunter to any wrongdoing. Most recently, House members were allowed to see an FBI document, which the GOP claims includes audio recordings of Biden and Hunter Biden accepting a bribe.

During an Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday, Democratic Representative Daniel Goldman said he had been eager to see the FD 10-23, a form the FBI uses to note unverified information from confidential sources. But he soon realized that the document was “just a three-year-old secondhand, hearsay, uncorroborated rehashing of Rudy Giuliani’s bogus allegations that he got from corrupt Ukrainian officials.”

Giuliani and Donald Trump first pushed the conspiracy that the Biden family accepted a $10 million bribe to remove former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2016 to stop a probe into Hunter Biden’s role at the oil company Burisma Holdings. Several Republican lawmakers say that not only does the FBI form they saw last week mention this bribe but that a Burisma executive has audio recordings of Biden and Hunter Biden accepting the money. Both Anna Paulina Luna and Marjorie Taylor Greene said that executive is Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky.

This claim has been repeatedly debunked by multiple State Department and intelligence experts on Russia and Ukraine.

But Goldman highlighted the main flaw in Republicans’ argument: “You know who else also debunked these allegations? Mykola Zlochevsky”—the same man Republicans claim has the secret incriminating audio recordings.

When Zlochevsky was asked by Politico in 2020 whether Biden had ever assisted Burisma while he was vice president, he said simply, “No.” Zlochevsky also said that “no one from Burisma ever had any contacts with VP Biden or people working for him” while his son was on the company board.

Goldman also pointed out that the FBI, alongside a U.S. attorney appointed by then-President Donald Trump, had reviewed the bribery accusation when it was made in 2020 and found it to be unsubstantiated.

Republicans, led by Oversight Chair James Comer, have insisted that Biden is guilty of corruption, despite repeatedly admitting that they have no evidence, they don’t know if their information is legitimate, and they don’t even really care if the accusations are accurate. Comer barely seems to know how many supposed informants he has, but he still brings up the investigation every chance he gets.

“Chairman Comer has asked, ‘Why is this committee the only committee that’s investigating him?’ And that’s the right question: Why?” Goldman said. “Because everybody else who’s looked at it has found these allegations to be completely bogus. So let’s move on.”

Lindsey Graham: If You Can Indict Trump for January 6, You Could Go After Any Republican

… OK, and?

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Lindsey Graham is putting up a banner week of patheticness.

Earlier this week, Graham temperamentally snapped at a news anchor on live television after he was simply asked straight-up whether he believes twice-impeached and now twice-arrested Donald Trump did anything wrong.

Then, on Wednesday, Graham expressed a maximally incoherent version of the classic “if they can arrest Donald Trump for [any one of his dozens of lifetime crimes], imagine what else they can do”:

“If the special counsel indicts President Trump in Washington, D.C., for anything related to January 6, that will be considered a major outrage by Republicans because you could convict any Republican of anything in Washington, D.C.,” Graham told CNN’s Manu Raju.

Let’s break this down, step by step. Graham seems to suggest:

A) It’s outrageous to hold Trump legally accountable for helping incite an attack on the nation’s capital.

B) If he is held accountable, you could convict any Republican (which maybe says more about where he thinks the party stands in relation to Trump and his misdeeds).

C) It’s outrageous for any of that recourse to happen in Washington, D.C., the site where the January 6 attack took place.

Somehow, every step of Graham’s formulation sounds dumber than the next. To be holding onto some imagined reality in which a man who lost an election by 7,000,000 votes spent months spurring up conspiracies about said election, actively tried influencing officials across the country to help him overturn said election, and encouraged his loyal supporters to rise up on a specific day is not, perhaps liable for the ensuing chaos, is one thing.

To also argue that indicting that chaos in the jurisdiction where it occurred is for some reason out of bounds is another thing.

And of course, the cherry on top is Graham’s admission that if Trump was held accountable for such actions, there logically would be other Republicans to follow (even if Trump is held accountable, it’s unlikely any other members of Congress would really go down with him).

Graham’s commitment to a guy who has had the party lose over and over and over again is embarrassing. A reminder, once again, of Graham’s words in 2016: “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed … and we will deserve it.”

Conservatives Are Running Out of Things to Eat

A new right-wing boycott is going after Frosted Flakes because of Tony the Tiger.

Noam Galai/Getty Images for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes
Tony the Tiger

Another day, another right-wing call to boycott a brand for appearing even slightly tolerant of transgender people.

Conservatives are now calling to boycott Frosted Flakes cereal after their official mascot, Tony the Tiger, was pictured with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney at the Tony Awards on Sunday.

This is unfortunately not the first time that Mulvaney has been at the center of a far-right firestorm. Both she and Bud Light received backlash in March over a campaign she did with the beer brand. That incident has kicked off a spree of right-wing calls for boycotts.

But at this rate, conservatives are rapidly running out of places to eat, drink, and shop. Far-right podcast host Joey Mannarino announced he would be “dumping out my Frosted Flakes” over its association with Mulvaney and switching to Froot Loops. He did not seem to realize that both cereal brands are owned by Kellogg’s, so he’s not actually sending his money somewhere else.

People are also boycotting Chick-fil-A because it has an H.R. department. They are refusing to eat at Cracker Barrel after the chain posted favorably about Pride on social media.

Right-wingers are boycotting Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s for their Pride merchandise. Target has even received bomb threats. Nike and Adidas are selling trans-inclusive athletic wear, so they’re off the table too. The North Face did a campaign featuring a drag queen named Pattie Gonia, so conservatives are shopping elsewhere.

They may want to skip Patagonia too, since the company has also partnered with Pattie Gonia. While they’re at it, people on the far right will probably also have to drop Ruger, Black Rifle Coffee, Home Depot, and Molson Coors, all of which have teams dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

If conservatives really want to only support nonwoke businesses, their options are growing fewer by the day.

Even the Tennessee Firearms Association Found People Want More Gun Laws

Poll after poll shows Tennesseeans want greater gun regulation after the Nashville school shooting.

Apu GOMES/AFP/Getty Images

If there’s one thing most people in America agree on, it’s that we need more gun laws. And Tennesseans—even ones polled by the Tennessee Firearms Association—are no different.

Published at the beginning of June, the poll found a narrow plurality of people who felt gun laws are not strict enough. Sixty-two percent of people supported red flag laws, policies that stop people from owning a firearm if they are flagged to be a danger to themselves or others; only 25 percent of respondents were opposed.

The results follow two other polls with similar findings. An April poll conducted by Embold Research found 88 percent of respondents supporting background checks for all gun sales and 70 percent in favor of red flag laws.

Another poll conducted by Vanderbilt University found 72 percent of respondents supporting red flag laws, with a whopping 82 percent supporting Governor BIll Lee’s executive order to strengthen background checks. In the context of school shootings, a whole 50 percent supported banning assault weapons outright.

It’s clear that amid the Nashville school shooting that left six people dead, and the subsequent Republican failure to enact gun safety policy (and instead punish three Democrats who stood in solidarity with thousands of Tennesseans demanding action), voters have dramatically flipped their perception of the GOP-led state legislature.

Last year, the Vanderbilt poll found 55 percent of voters approving of the legislature, and 34 percent disapproving—a net approval of 21 percent. Their latest poll showed a net approval of negative 5 percent, with only 43 percent approving and 48 percent disapproving, a 26 percent dip.

The disapproval is unsurprising too given that, while scores of Tennesseans want red flag laws, state Republicans have been staunchly against them. In April, the party issued a incoherent statement announcing their total opposition to red flag laws. “[A]ny red flag law is a non-starter,” the party said, while also saying in the same breath they are “focused on finding solutions that prevent dangerous individuals from harming the public.”

Tennessee Republicans have repeatedly shut down such laws that could’ve prevented the school shooting: once two years ago, and again in April—right after the shooting.

The pattern of disapproval for Republican deregulation comes while 217 House Republicans—including all of Tennessee’s Republican representatives—voted to weaken gun safety regulation on Tuesday; the members voted to repeal regulation over attachments used in the Nashville shooting.

House Republicans Vote to Weaken Gun Safety Regulations as Trump Is Arrested

While everyone was distracted, 217 House Republicans moved to roll back gun regulations.

Seth Herald/Getty Images
A protester sits with an anti–assault rifle sign near the Tennessee State Capitol to call for an end to gun violence and support stronger gun laws on March 30, in Nashville.

While Donald Trump was being arraigned for the second time in months, the rest of his party was busy weakening gun regulations in a country that has suffered at least 291 mass shootings this year alone.

On Tuesday, 217 House Republicans voted to repeal a federal rule designed to curb such senseless violence. Two conservative Blue Dog Democrats, Jared Golden and Mary Peltola, joined Republicans. Two Republicans, Brian Fitzpatrick and Thomas Kean, voted alongside 208 Democrats to protect the gun safety measure.

The Republicans voted to overturn a Biden administration rule issued in January that clarified that any firearm with a stabilizing brace allowing it to be shot from the shoulder counts as a rifle and has to be registered with the government as such.

While the stabilizing brace has been used by gun owners without full use of both of their arms, the attachment has also enabled mass shooters to cause further destruction. One of the guns reportedly used in the Nashville school shooting that left six people dead, for instance, was an AR-15 pistol equipped with a stabilizing brace. Such an attachment was also used in the 2021 mass shooting at a Boulder, Colorado, grocery store that left 10 people dead.

Nevertheless, Republicans voted to weaken oversight over such weapons—just days after survivors from numerous mass shootings visited the Hill to ask members of Congress for even a smidgen of meaningful action on guns.

The vote, House Resolution 44, was part of Republicans’ efforts to restart House floor business amid internal party disputes, after some members last week voted down a rule for the first time in decades, putting House business at a standstill for days.

The vote now heads to the Senate. Even if it passes the narrowly split chamber, President Biden has said he will veto the attempt to weaken gun safety regulation.

Amid the drama and the Republican effort to weaken the government’s ability to protect its people, Democrats have filed measures to welcome floor votes on several measures seeking to reduce gun violence. Representatives Lucy McBath, James Clyburn, and Mike Thompson each filed their own petitions to force votes on things like increasing background checks and banning assault weapons. The Democrats would need just five Republicans to join them in triggering a vote on any of the bills.

9-Year-Old Girl With Short Hair Left Sobbing After Being Attacked for Being Trans

“This is where anti-trans hate leads.”

Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle/Getty Images

A 9-year-old girl was left sobbing after she was falsely accused of being transgender just because she has short hair, in a clear sign of how transphobia harms everyone.

The girl was competing in a shot put event at her elementary school in British Columbia, Canada, last week, when the grandfather of another girl demanded to know why a boy was competing in a girls’ event.

The girl’s two mothers allege that the man, who has been identified as a 68-year-old named Josef Tesar, shouted, “Hey, this is supposed to be a girls’ event, and why are you letting boys compete?”

One of the mothers, Heidi Starr, said Tesar insisted, “If she is not a boy, then she is obviously trans,” and repeatedly shouted for people to “get that boy off the field.” Starr said her daughter is female, identifies as a girl, and wears a pixie haircut.

Starr said that Tesar demanded to see proof her daughter was born female. “I said … ‘Are you asking for a certificate proving that my daughter was born with a vagina [and] you need a proof of her genitals?’” Starr told the CBC.

She also said his wife called her a “genital mutilator, a groomer, and a pedophile.”

As for her daughter, “she was physically vibrating,” Starr said. “She was sobbing. She was in and out of tears all day till bedtime that day,” which happened to be her birthday.

Tesar and his wife have denied that they yelled at the girl specifically. He accused the mothers of trying to “satisfy an agenda” and “fabricate the lies and hate towards us.”

His wife insisted she “said something appropriate. Not those words.… Maybe something like, ‘F off.’”

The Kelowna Royal Canadian Mounted Police are now investigating the incident. The superintendent for the Central Okanagan Public Schools, which hosted the sports competition, said Tuesday that they were in the process of banning Tesar from all school properties and events.

But the entire incident shows how far the effects of transphobia reach. People who push to ban trans girls from girls’ sports say they are trying to protect children. Instead, such policies give people permission to attack people of all ages, including children, to question their identities, and accuse them of somehow lying.

“Those who push anti-trans hate want to roll us back to an idealized version of the past,” Fae Johnstone, executive director of the Canadian social justice consulting firm Wisdom 2 Action, tweeted about the attack. “One where women are forced to look and act a certain way. One where gender conformity is enforced through hate, shame, and stigma.”

“Fighting anti-trans hate is key to a feminist future.”

Trump Is “Scared Shitless”

While Trump celebrates his 77th birthday, insiders say he’s actually terrified about facing accountability for mishandling classified documents.

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Donald Trump visits the Versailles restaurant in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami after being arraigned, on June 13.

Donald Trump might actually be looking down the barrel of accountability, for once in his life. And he’s terrified at the prospect.

“He’s scared shitless,” John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, told The Washington Post. “This is the way he compensates for that. He gives people the appearance he doesn’t care by doing this. For the first time in his life, it looks like he’s being held accountable. Up until this point in his life, it’s like, I’m not going to pay you, take me to court. He’s never been held accountable before.”

And while Trump faces 37 counts of mishandling secret government documents, the overcompensation is certainly evident. Inside the courtroom Tuesday, Trump reportedly remained silent, with special counsel Jack Smith’s eyes trained on him throughout the entire arraignment.

After his arrest, Trump fled to his Bedminster, New Jersey, private golf club, to deliver remarks to a mix of Republican donors, party members, and a slew of other allies (all people whose eyes wouldn’t make him feel uncomfortable, unlike earlier in the day).

The Post reports that the crowd included the likes of Senator Tommy Tuberville (whose attendance allowed Democrats to confirm Biden’s pick for the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, 50–49), conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, and Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno (who wants reparations for white people and whose family gave maximum donations to serial liar George Santos). All that to say, Trump enjoyed a friendly crowd to cleanse his palate from being in the courtroom earlier.

“It’s part public relations and part babysitting,” Stephanie Grisham, one of Trump’s former White House press secretaries, told the Post. “He wants people to see the cheering crowds so they don’t think anything is going wrong. It’s also because the staff around him want to keep him busy and wants to have people cheering for him and giving him the ego stroke that he’ll need so they don’t have to deal with him being completely pissed.”

After the arraignment but before the lovefest, Trump also visited Versailles, a Miami Cuban restaurant. There, a reporter asked Trump if he was ready to go to jail, and hordes of loyal supporters immediately activated, targeting her like sharks smelling blood:

Most members of the press were kicked out from the event, perhaps to make sure Trump had the safest space possible, so he wouldn’t feel triggered or uncomfortable. Trump has weathered being impeached twice, indicted, and found liable for sexual abuse. But as he faced perhaps the strongest legal challenge yet—with more and more Republicans beginning to actually come out against him—all he could look to as a crutch was his final, most relentless fans singing “Happy Birthday” to him one day before his seventy-seventh birthday.

Fox News Calls Joe Biden “Wannabe Dictator” After Trump Arrested for Hoarding Nuclear Secrets

The conservative media network is ramping up its propaganda as Trump faces 37 federal criminal charges for mishandling classified documents.

Joe Biden / Donald Trump splitscreen
(Biden) Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; (Trump) Alex Wong/Getty Images

Donald Trump has been indicted, but all Fox News wants to talk about is Joe Biden.

Trump was arraigned Tuesday for allegedly mishandling classified documents. The investigation revealed that Trump hid hundreds of documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort, despite multiple federal subpoenas requesting he return them. Biden has mostly avoided commenting on his predecessor’s indictment and has kept his distance from the months-long investigation.

But on Tuesday night, just hours after Trump was arraigned, Fox News brazenly labeled Biden a “wannabe dictator” who had his political rival arrested.

Meanwhile, the network was one of the few to air live coverage of Trump whining about being charged for hoarding national security documents.

Trump was charged with a total of 37 counts for keeping national defense information without authorization, making false statements, and conspiring to obstruct justice. He also reportedly showed the documents off to people who did not have security clearance, such as a representative of his PAC and members of staff, potentially putting U.S. national security at risk.

Trump is also under investigation in both Washington, D.C., and Georgia for his alleged role in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. He has repeatedly falsely insisted that the election was rigged against him, and he should have stayed in power.

Someone’s actions definitely smack of political overreach and even authoritarianism. But it’s not Biden.

Rewind: Rubio Is Defending Trump for the Exact Thing He Once Accused Him Of

The Republican senator doesn’t remember his own prescient warning.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Seven years ago, Marco Rubio was sounding the alarm to warn America that Donald Trump couldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes. But today, in the wake of Trump being indicted for taking and mishandling secret CIA, NSA, and Defense Department documents, Rubio is screaming at us all for even imagining Trump should be held responsible.

Rubio also appeared on Fox on Tuesday to argue that we don’t actually know if Trump has caused damage by hoarding national security secrets.

It’s notable that Rubio has such strong words about Trump being held responsible, given that just a few years ago, he warned about this very misdeed.

“We’re about to turn over … the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual, and the conservative movement to someone who has spent a career sticking it to working people.… I would much more prefer not to turn the party over to a con artist like Donald Trump,” Rubio said in February 2016.

Rubio even doubled down on his mistrust weeks before Election Day in 2016. “I have deep reservations about the nominee of my party,” Rubio said at a Florida Senate debate.

Meanwhile, in July 2016, Rubio tweeted that Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified emails “DQ’d [her] from being Commander in Chief.” As a reminder, Clinton’s mishandling involved using a private email server for official communications. But under the Espionage Act, which Trump is charged under, the mishandling of national security documents must be willful. There has been scant evidence of her actively using the server for nefarious purposes, and James Comey, then the Republican head of the FBI, admitted as much. Meanwhile, Trump’s indictment exhibits the former president being actively involved in taking the secret documents out of the White House and flaunting them to numerous individuals without security clearance.

In September 2020, at an Intelligence Committee hearing, Rubio condemned the irresponsible declassification of classified information, saying it “endangers lives and our national security.”

Nevertheless, Rubio’s sanctimoniousness continues when it comes to Trump. His new argument? The indictment—not the crime, nor the relentless and hollow defenses of the crime—is “putting our country … in a really dangerous place.”