Stories to Watch: 10/7/13.
The White House says they’ll be ready to negotiate with House Republicans over the debt limit sometime between never and never ever. The reason is simple: if the President does, Republicans will come back every time and demand more and more crap. This approach turns the constitutional process on its head, allowing Republicans to wield a de facto line-item veto over pretty much anything they want. Republicans should appreciate this, since they probably aren’t going to be out of the White House forever (just the foreseeable future) and a Democratic House could just as easily and rightly hold a GOP president hostage over, say, gun control or abortion rights. If it doesn’t stop right here, right now, it never stops and democracy — already beat to shit by Republican gerrymandering — takes a blow from which it might never recover.
For his part, Boehner keeps defending his position by saying that there aren’t enough votes in the House to pass a clean CR and get government running again. This is almost certainly bullshit — and Pres. Obama called him on it. “Hold a vote,” he said in a speech. “Call a vote right now. Let’s see what happens.” This is a variant on the two words that tend to destroy conservative arguments: “prove it.”
Which brings to mind the GOP Debt Limit Truthers, who are busy telling the craziest lies about how default would be no big deal to anyone willing to listen. The debt limit posturing is a bluff and this sort of talk is a tell. The reason they’re talking down default is because they’re tanking in the polls and want to calm everyone down a bit. They wouldn’t stand a chance of dodging blame for default, because all of these crazy lies would instantly be exposed as crazy lies. To have disaster happen after they assured everyone that everything would be fine would only make their position like a billion times worse — so they have no intention of finding themselves in that situation. If push comes to shove, Plan B is to cave.
A federal judge tells Very Important Douche Darrell Issa that his very important “Fast & Furious” witchhunt is not so very important that it can escape the government shutdown.
More evidence that Sen. Ted Cruz is beloved by very few.
Stocks fall as it becomes clear that the shutdown isn’t going to be a mere momentary thing.
Actual headline: “Nebraska Decides 16-Year-Old Must Give Birth Because She Isn’t ‘Mature’ Enough For An Abortion.” Not mature enough for an abortion, but mature enough to be a mom, because that sort of reasoning makes perfect sense to the mentally helpless dipwads on the right. Three cheers for limited government that doesn’t get between a patient and her doctor, right?
Finally, you don’t only have to be a gullible fool to watch Fox News, you also have to be a gullible fool to work there,
[cartoon via Truthdig]
We have elected a national legislature in which Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann have more power than does the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has been made a piteous spectacle in the eyes of the country and doesn’t seem to mind that at all. We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade that believes that its opposition to a bill directing millions of new customers to the nation’s insurance companies is the equivalent of standing up the the Nazis in 1938, to the bravery of the passengers on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and to Mel Gibson’s account of the Scottish Wars of Independence in the 13th Century. We have elected a national legislature that looks into the mirror and sees itself already cast in marble.
We did this. We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons.
Stories to Watch: 7/9/13.
Rick Perry says he won’t run for reelection as Governor of Texas. Word is, he’s retiring to prepare for a presidential run — I suppose because he didn’t make a big enough ass of himself the last time.
The chance of House Republicans passing the senate immigration reform bill — or any immigration bill at all — are rapidly approaching slim to none. The big Republican idea now is to embrace their racism, give Latino voters the finger, and openly become — as brazenly as you please — the white people’s party. The demographic math hates this strategy, but math is a science and you know how Republicans feel about that. They march cheerfully and stupidly to their doom.
Somewhat related: as far as Senate leadership is concerned, Marco Rubio’s big abortion timewaster is already dead. This is really bad news for Thirsty McGulperton, as he’s rapidly becoming a has-been with GOP voters because of his immigration reform work. He desperately needs a heroically doomed conservative cause to distract the dopes.
Chuck Todd — the quintessential inflicter of “savvy Washington insider” journalism — comes to realize that Republicans are all politics, no governing these days. Todd seems to think in terms of the perpetual campaign, so when things even get too much for him, they’re way around the bend.
A truly massive hunger strike hits California’s prison system.
More fun from Wisconsin’s Scott “Ultrasound” Walker: he’s hired mercenaries to protect a mining project. Why would he do that? Because almost no one in the area wants it.
According to one hedge fund dickweed, homeless shelters cause homelessness. You know, the same way cancer wards cause cancer, fire departments cause fires, and grade school English classes cause illiteracy. Wall Street types really are America’s worst pricks.
An unnamed Texas man is today’s Second Amendment Hero. While trying to shoot his ex-girlfriend with a shotgun, he managed to shoot his current girlfriend with a shotgun. I’m sure one of them was some sort of tyrant who was planning to Communism, because we know that an irresponsible gun owner is so very, very rare.
I had no idea the FISA court was so poorly designed. Currently, the 11 FISA judges are appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court — who at this moment happens to be the supremely politically-biased John Roberts. This means that the FISA court is being loaded up with rightwing nutjobs. Rep. Steven Cohen has a remedy.
Finally, House GOP drop food stamps from the Farm Bill. It’s a really lousy idea.
[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]
Stories to Watch: 2/26/13.
It’s only been two weeks, but it feels like months of stupidity and craziness. In the end, the inevitable proved inevitable and Chuck Hagel is your next Secretary of Defense.
I try to bring it up from time to time, but I was reminded that it’s slipped my mind lately; if any of my links in these “Stories to Watch” posts seem a little spare on the info, hover your mouse over them to get the headline to the article it links to. It shows up as a tooltip near your cursor. Yes, the title tag in HTML really does have a use.
Michele Bachmann says, “I was very proud of the fact that I didn’t get anything wrong that I said during the course of the debates. I didn’t get anything wrong and that’s a huge arena.” Damned liberal reality! She’s basically just proved she still can’t get anything right. Good thing irony doesn’t hurt you any or Shelly’d be in the ER.
Mississippi GOP Rep. Steven Palazzo has introduced a constitutional amendment that would basically gut Obamacare. Normally, amendments are just ways for House Republican backbenchers to make headlines without risking all that much — amendments generally go nowhere. But Pallazzo’s is sure to earn a shunning from even many of his fellow Republicans for one simple reason: it kills dead the argument that Obamacare is unconstitutional. When SCOTUS ruled it constitutional, that’s one thing. It’s OK to disagree with a ruling. But if people were to actually vote on Steve’s amendment, they’d be admitting the opposite — you don’t need to amend the Constitution to make the unconstitutional unconstitutional. Palazzo is admitting that the Affordable Care Act is a perfectly cromnulent law — whether he meant to or not.
Right on schedule, the Republican freak out over the release of “low priority” immigration detainees begins. I’m a little surprised that Republicans aren’t urging restraint in responses to the move, because you just know this is going to go from zero to racist in no time flat.
Seth MacFarlane rules out another Oscars hosting gig. I kind of doubt they were going to ask him back anyway.
Finally, this is a short one tonight. I had to deal with a sink clog. Luckily, I had the headlines mostly done. A short stack will have to do.
[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]
It’s official: House GOP are ridiculous, incompetent clowns.
There’s little Republicans love more these days than falsely attacking President Obama for stripping work requirements out of welfare.
But in their zeal to slash and de-federalize safety net programs, they’ve advanced legislation that would do exactly that.
The bill — sponsored by Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Joseph J. Heck, (R-NV), and Buck McKeon (R-CA) and called the Workforce Investment Improvement Act — would allow states to lump moneys from state-federal employment and training programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, into a single fund. But by doing so, it could essentially nullify federal eligibility requirements for those programs, according to the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan analysis arm of Congress which reviewed the bill.
It’s ideologically consistent with other piecemeal GOP efforts to roll back and privatize federal support programs, and/or devolves them to the states. As such it would empower state and local workforce boards, and increase employers’ influence on those boards. But it goes farther than anything President Obama has done to TANF, which been accused — inaccurately — of eliminating welfare-to-work requirements.
“I don’t think the TANF work requirements were what they had in mind when they were working on the Foxx bill,” says Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Center for Law and Social Policy. “But it is sort of a collateral consequence.”
Anyone who’s watched Foxx’s career even briefly knows she’s a buffoon. The rest of her committee are no better. These people are empty suits, with intellects no greater than your average drivetime talk radio yacker. People who think these guys have any idea what the hell they’re doing or what the hell they’re talking about are even dumber than that ridiculous clown Virginia Foxx.
Judge restores early voting in Ohio.
A federal judge in Ohio on Friday granted a request from President Barack Obama’s campaign to give all voters in the swing state the option of casting their ballot in person during the three days before Election Day.
U.S. District Judge Peter Economus in Columbus issued a preliminary injunction in a case involving a state law that cuts off early voting for most residents on the Friday evening before a Tuesday election.
The judge’s ruling said that he expects Ohio’s elections chief to direct all county elections boards to maintain a specific, consistent schedule on those three days “in keeping with his earlier directive that only by doing so can he ensure that Ohio’s election process is `uniform, accessible for all, fair, and secure.’”
Obama’s campaign and Democrats sued the state’s elections chief and attorney general over the legality of the law. They argued that everyone should have the chance to vote on those three days. The law makes an exception for military personnel and Ohio voters living overseas.
This is a real blow for Team Romney and Republicans, who wanted to steal this swing state by changing the rules in the middle of the game. Like all Republican attempts to rejigger voting laws, this was meant to disenfranchise demographic groups most likely to vote Democrat.
Freedom and democracy win this round.
GOP economic theory in action.
The debt-plagued Republican Party of Minnesota is getting kicked out of its party headquarters near the state Capitol.
Massachusetts-based Hub Properties Trust filed paperwork in Ramsey County on Wednesday to evict the state GOP for failing to pay more than $96,000 in rent over the last year.
“Tenant remains in default under the lease by failing to pay in full when due, rent from April 2011 through the present,” the court papers read. “As of April 1, 2012, the tenant owes landlord a total of $111,192.14.” (A security deposit on the property and several partial payments since June 2011 have reduced the total outstanding debt to about $96,000.)
The eviction action follows a series of revelations last winter regarding debts accrued by the party during the reign of former RPM Chairman Tony Sutton. In December, an internal review of finances revealed that the party owes $1.23 million to creditors, plus more than $700,000 in legal fees accrued during the 2010 gubernatorial recount, and is facing possible fines from the Federal Elections Commission for undisclosed debts. The party is also currently being investigated by the state campaign finance board.
Yeah, lets give these economic geniuses the keys to the economy.