The Watering Hole: Wednesday, October 9, 2013: Armageddon at Minus 8 Days and Counting.

Good News! The End of The World is Nigh!

In just eight more days, the United States of America will not have enough money to pay for all of its obligations. Technically, the world’s greatest superpower will be bankrupt.

This is going to really tick off a lot of people: China, Europe, Israel, all those countries we gave foreign aid to so they could buy U.S. made arms and seeds from Monsanto. Basically everybody who got any kind of benefit, directly or indirectly, from the U.S. Goverment.

Just think, no more government subsidies to Big Oil and Agribusiness. Oh, and all those Red States that received more in federal dollars than they paid to the U.S. Treasury? Not any more.

But the really good news, according to no less an authority than Michelle Bachman, is the end of the world. That’s right. Jesus himself will come down and all of His True Believers will be Raptured and go to heaven. And not a moment too soon.

With all those evangelical christians finally out of the way, the rest of us can get to work cleaning up the mess they’ve made of this planet.

OPEN
THREAD

(new post below)

BREAKING GNUS: PRESIDENT USES AUMF TO INVADE CONGRESS

Twitter, The Zoo's Top Investigative Journalist

Twitter, The Zoo’s Top Investigative Journalist

THIS JUST IN:

Earlier this morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he will not bring a clean debt ceiling increase bill to a vote in the House of Representatives, guaranteeing that the nation will default in its debt obligations.

President Obama was swift in his response. “This is like terrorists invading a bank and threatening to kill every hostage unless we negotate with them, meaning, we give the terrorists everything they want, knowing that the terrorists will be back in a couple of months, taking more hostages, making more demands.”

“We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” the President was visibly agitated. “Under the Authorization to Use Military Force, I have the authority to use all means at my disposal to deal with terrorists, and can even invade, if absolutely necessary, capture and detain in Guantanamo any suspected terrorists, whereever they are, anywhere in the world.

“And so, I have ordered an invasion of the House of Representatives and the immediate incarceration in Guantanamo every member of the Republican Party. They will be held indefinitely, and treated no different than the current detainees at that facility.”

With that, the Presdent left the Rose Garden without taking any questions.

More to follow as events unfold.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 19, 2013: Will Republicans Ever Get It?

Republicans met this week in Williamsburg, VA, to discuss how they could improve their image as a party. They recognize that they are not very popular with women and minorities and they decided that this would be one of the discussion topics at the retreat. Unfortunately for them, their utter cluelessness led them to schedule a discussion of the subject in the Burwell Plantation Room. Yes, that’s right. The “Discussion on Successful Communication with Minorities and Women” took place in a room named for a wealthy Virginia family that owned many slaves. The irony wasn’t lost on everyone. A Congressman interviewed about it said that though the panel discussion would include three white men, it would also include several women. Sadly, he could only identify them as “a woman from CNN” and “Sean Duffy’s wife.” Is it any wonder the Republicans’ approval rating is only 27%?

Then there’s the debt ceiling. Setting aside the issue of whether or not a debt ceiling violates the 14th Amendment, for years the Republicans have been trying to forcefully tie spending cuts to increases in the debt ceiling. No spending cuts, no debt ceiling increase. This is ludicrous because future spending has nothing to do with past debts, and there are plenty of unpaid bills that can be directly linked to GOP policies and laws. For example, the Republicans passed a Medicare prescription drug bill that not only prohibited the government from negotiating with drug companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients (like the Department of Veterans Affairs can), it also did not raise any taxes to pay for the new debt this bill brought. Add to that both the War in Afghanistan (which I refuse to describe as a “War on Terror” because that’s like having a “War on Fear”) and the War of Revenge in Iraq (which had nothing whatsoever to do with the people who committed horrific crimes on our soil on 9/11/01), wars that were kept off budget until President Obama put them in the budget (which is why right-wingers often like to falsely say that Obama increased the deficit) and you’ve got a huge mountain of IOUs. Some like to say the GOP spent like drunken sailors, but even sailors have credit limits on their credit cards, and the GOP happily increased the debt ceiling to cover their unfinanced spending without raising a peep about the effects on the nation’s credit rating. Their last standoff over the debt ceiling resulted in you and I paying billions of dollars more in interest on our existing debt. And just about everybody expected the Republicans to announce that they were drawing a line in the sand (again), putting their foot down (again), and refusing to raise the debt ceiling (again). So it was a bit of a surprise when GOP Leader Eric Cantor announced in a press release that next week, “We will authorize a three month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget.” I had always thought that this was a matter of some kind of principle (ill-defined and unspecified though it may be) with the GOP, but apparently they think nobody is paying much attention to what they’ve done in the past compared to what they’re doing today. I am.

For some reason, the GOP acts as though the American people want the GOP running the country, even though they know this isn’t true. They’ve even admitted that the only reason they currently control the House of Representatives is because of gerrymandered districts. Nationwide in 2012, the Democrats got more than a million votes more than Republicans. And despite this attempt at cheating (when, since 1980, has the GOP done anything honestly?), the GOP lost seats in both chambers of Congress. If the American people really wanted the country to be run by Republicans, wouldn’t both the White House and Congress be in GOP hands come Monday? So why do they continue to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite its constitutionality and popularity? Why do they continue to restrict women’s reproductive rights even further? Why did they hold a meeting to discuss how they can reach out to minorities in a room named for a slave-owning family? Maybe it’s time the Republican Party face the facts. They have no idea what they’re doing and they’re just no good at governing.

An amusing side note, on Wednesday night, the GOP had blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer give an inspirational speech. Mr. Weihenmayer did something amazing despite being blind, and that was to climb to the top of Mt Everest a decade ago. (Well, they told him it was Mt Everest.) I did not recall hearing about the story when it happened, but I do remember this classic blooper from a news program where he was about to be interviewed.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss clueless Republicans, pointless debt ceiling fights, or blind and/or gay mountain climbers.

Sunday Roast: January 6, 2013 – Permanent Campaigning

Will permanent campaigning remain to be the future of Politics? I seems so.

Take the upcoming fight about the debt ceiling. President Obama has said his piece and stressed he won’t give in again.

“While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed,” he said late Tuesday night. “Let me repeat: We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred. If Congress refused to give the U.S. the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic – far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff. People remember, back in 2011, the last time this course of action was threatened, our entire recovery was put at risk. Consumer confidence plunged. Business investment plunged. Growth dropped. We can’t go down that path again.”

But on the other hand Republicans don’t seem eager to take this for granted:

 

On Thursday, the Speaker, John Boehner, humiliatingly sidelined in the fiscal-cliff talks after he lost control of his unruly House membership, was re-elected to his post for the 113th Congress by just six votes, after a dozen arch-conservative Tea Partiers defected. Less than 24 hours later, Mr Boehner promised House Republicans he would use the debt ceiling to force Mr Obama to cut spending.

A recipe for the next disastrous showdown? Or, maybe not? Lately we have seen some active campaigning when it comes to several issues. In the matter of the debt ceiling we may have the most colorful and ingenious one. #mintthecoin that’s a gem. Although I am highly nervous about that one, here’s why.

The fancy of a $1 trillion platinum coin is so tantalising in part because it puts a monetary option in play. The larger attraction, though, is that it does so in a way that honours democracy by sticking to the letter of democratic legislation, yet also flirts with the heady unilateral decisiveness of fascism.

There was and is a very active campaign for the protection of social programs, as soon as the rumors were flying Medicare and and the Social Security COLA were on the table. There is active campaigning going on from both sides pro and contra when it comes to gun control. And there was a rather active but unsuccessful campaign from the very right to unseat Speaker Boehner. 

The powerful had done their lobbying for ages and activism played a very important part in American politics for a long while, so why is this different from what we had before?Politicians and activists understand, that in a media environment where nothing remains unseen or unheard of and twitter and facebook can get a message viral within seconds, political life is a constant campaign and you’re not campaigning only for office anymore, but rather for every bill and measure you are supporting. So, the campaigning goes on, after elections is before elections, no time to go back to some serious policy making.

Who uses the media best will get proclaimed the winner, even if in the process the people they are supposed to work for, loses. Politics has become about winning and losing in a constant campaign. Policies will be determined by Gallup Daily, Rasmussen, tv ratings or Nate Silver. (The latter would be a blessing though, because then we would at least have the unbiased majority decision on policy.)

All that’s missing is a full onslaught of tv ads, or do I only think so because I can’t get US television? If the media don’t pick up their responsibility in this this won’t change any time soon. But will they? Do I have to mention that this is a billion $$$ market, well worth to extend beyond it’s two and four year cycle for the National Elections? So no, I don’t think they will.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD, HAVE A GOOD SUNDAY AND JOIN THE DISCUSSION!

Watering Hole: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 – No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal

I went to a rally on Saturday.  It was held in front of the local office of Representative Jim Gerlach (R).  He represents the Pennsylvania 6th Congressional District.  Of course, neither Jim nor his staff were there as they don’t work on weekends.  The Republicans in Congress want us to work until we are 70 years old before we can collect our Social Security retirement money.  On the other hand, they only want to work 1/3 of the year and still collect full pay and full benefits.

Rep. Jim Gerlach was re-elected in November and that is because he tells his constituents that he is a “moderate”.  That’s bullsh*t.  He is a placeholder for Republican votes and he votes as he is told to vote by the House Speaker, John Boehner.  Gerlach voted to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid yet the local press was silent about his vote.  His opponent didn’t have much money and he had a large territory to cover to get name recognition.  The media area is the greater Philadelphia area which makes it expensive to advertise.  Rep. Jim Gerlach refused to debate his opponent because he didn’t want anyone to know anything about his opponent, Manan Trivedi.  As for town hall meetings, they are held via the telephone because Gerlach does not want to be confronted by unhappy constituents.  Yeah, I’ll say it.  Rep. Jim Gerlach is a coward.

Enough of my rambling.  Here is a picture of the poster that I was holding.  H/T to Outstandinginthefield for the wording and thank you to everyone else for your good ideas.  I will hold onto those for possible use at another time.

http://i336.photobucket.com/albums/n347/paforchange/DontBeaGrinch.jpg

Live in your strength!

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!  Be heard!  Contact your House Representative!

(this is cross posted at Pennsylvania for Change)

The Watering Hole, Thursday, July 26th, 2012: The Tortoise Turtle is Hare-Brained

Not to insult any tortoises, turtles, or hares who happen to be reading this; because, honestly, most tortoises, turtles and hares are more intelligent and have more integrity than the subject of this post, but…

MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY-TURTLEWAX) IS A MANIPULATIVE, DESPICABLE, LYING AND YES, TREASONOUS, UGLY BAG OF MOSTLY WATER. (As Wayne would say: ‘There, I said it, and I’m glad.’)

Yesterday’s “Quote of the Day” in the Washington Post:

QUOTE OF THE DAY
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defending his decision to drop the threat of a filibuster on a proposal to preserve tax cuts soley[sic] for the middle class:

“By setting these votes at a 50-vote threshold, nobody on the other side can hide behind a procedural vote while leaving their views on the actual bill itself a mystery to the people who sent them here…”

The Washington Post article states:

“McConnell acknowledged the unusual nature of his decision — Democratic aides could not recall another occasion when McConnell permitted a simple majority vote on a contentious issue. McConnell said his goal was to force vulnerable Democrats to support a plan to raise taxes less than four months before the Nov. 6 ballot.”

“By setting these votes at a 50-vote threshold, nobody on the other side can hide behind a procedural vote while leaving their views on the actual bill itself a mystery to the people who sent them here,” McConnell said.

Moreover, McConnell said, the tax bill cannot advance because it is a Senate-originated tax measure. The Constitution requires all tax measures to originate in the House.

“The only reason we won’t block it today is that we know it doesn’t pass constitutional muster and won’t become law,” McConnell said. “What today’s votes are all about,” he said, is “showing the people who sent us here where we stand.”

Yes, Mitch, it shows the people who sent you there that you stand against them, as poll after poll indicates that the vast majority of Americans are in favor of letting the Bush tax cuts for the extremely wealthy expire. Yeah, you show ‘em, Mitch.

According to a ThinkProgress article posted after the 2011 debt ceiling hostage debacle, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed this fear [of Republicans holding the debt ceiling hostage] when he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that Republicans will hold the debt ceiling hostage in the future, saying this debate “set the template for the future”:

MCCONNELL: “It set the template for the future. In the future, Neil, no president — in the near future, maybe in the distant future — is going to be able to get the debt ceiling increased without a re-ignition of the same discussion…”

“Discussion”? That was no “discussion”, Mitch, it was a deliberate act on the Republican’s part to undermine both President Obama and the American economy.

The same ThinkProgress 2011 post continued, “The debt ceiling has been raised dozens of times in the past without controversy, including 19 times under President Bush alone. President Reagan increasing the debt ceiling by 199.5 percent during his eight years in office — more than any executive to date — while Presidents Bush, Jr. raised it 90.2 percent and Bush Sr. increased it by 48.0 percent.” Of course, as everyone knows, IOKIYAR.

According to DailyKos, the debt ceiling fight:

“…didn’t just hurt the economy or disrupt the economic recovery, halt job growth, and wreck consumer confidence. It also cost taxpayers $1.3 billion and counting, according to the Government Accountability Office [GAO].

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said Monday that the $1.3 billion in costs came as the result of increased borrowing costs for the Treasury Department.

Ezra Klein at The Washington Post provided a link to the GAO’s “Analysis of 2011-2012 Actions Taken and Effect of Delayed Increase of Borrowing Costs.”

As a reminder to us all, this October 2010 ThinkProgress article quotes McConnell:

MCCONNELL: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” McConnell added, “Our single biggest political goal is to give our nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful. …

Apparently nothing else matters to Republicans: if trashing the U.S. economy, rising unemployment (where are the jobs, Speaker Boehner?), and undermining the rights of citizens to vote will help “to give [their] nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful”, well, if the Republicans spoke French (horrors!), they’d likely say, “c’est la vie” – or, more appropriately, c’est la guerre.”

This is our daily open thread — ladies and gentlemen, start your discussion!

Sunday Roast: The GOP owns the US debt downgrade.

TalkingPointsMemo

The GOP and their teabagger buddies are entirely responsible for the S&P downgrade of the US credit rating, from AAA to AA+.  They took this country hostage over a routine matter of paying bills they ran up, and threatened to crash not only our own economy, but economies worldwide.

Why?  It’s very simple.  It’s because they are chickenshit opportunistic liars.

When the GOP is in power, all is right with the world.  Deficits don’t matter — just ask Dick “Dick” Cheney — and it’s their time to run up the bills on the great big US credit card.  Borrow and spend, that’s the GOP.  But when the GOP is out of power, the deficit becomes the biggest and most important emergency we’ve ever had, and people are too stupid to understand that the Democrats are just cleaning up the aftermath of yet another drunken GOP spending spree.

Hell, give me “tax and spend” Democrats any day.  At least the shit they’re spending money on is paid for.  The borrow and spend GOP happily spends money our grandchildren haven’t even been born to earn, and then gleefully proclaims that the Black Democrat Socialist Commie Nazi Stalinist Muslim President has run up more debt than any president in history.

Bitch, please.

Here’s what the S&P says about who’s responsible for the downgrade:

“[P]eople in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” said Joydeep Mukherji, senior directior at S&P. “That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”

We all know that the S&P are a bunch of nefarious fuckwits, who enabled Wall Street’s merry joy ride with our national and personal economies, but since we were asking them a specific question about one event, let’s pretend like we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

Now, who are these “people in the political arena” who were “talking about a potential default?”  You know, the people who all of a sudden were just fine with not paying the bills they ran up, and letting the full faith and credit of the United States fall into a fucking sink hole?

Here’s a list:

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), May 18, 2011
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), May 19, 2011
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), June 24, 2011
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), May 18, 2011
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), July 13, 2011
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), June 26, 2011 — Hey, she wants to be president!
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), June 27, 2011 — He wants to be president, too!  Again!
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), July 13, 2011
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), May 16, 2011
Tim Pawlenty, July 15, 2011 — Another one who wants to be president!
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), July 18, 2011
Nebraska Senate candidate Jon Bruning, July 29, 2011

There are more, but you get the picture.

Oh look, they’re all Republicans/Teabaggers, but now they’d like you to think that those who were literally holding this country hostage — and will happily do so again — were President Obama and the Democrats. If it weren’t so sick and troubling, and if assholes like Mitch McConnell didn’t have their very own television network spewing bullshit to the idiotic non-thinkers in this country (no, I’m not linking to that trash), I’d be laughing my silly ass off.

Contrary to Republican/Teabagger “thinking,” things don’t stop being true just because it no longer suits their narrative or purposes.  We have to stop letting them get away with this shit.

No more being polite, no more taking the high ground, no more “both parties are at fault” fairy tales, and no more assuming that idiot America will look things up for themselves.  None of that.

Our media is worse than useless, they have become a destructive force in this country.  We are on our own, folks.

Repeat after me:  Republicans entirely own the S&P downgrade of the credit rating of the United States.  See above for a list of a few of the culprits.  Repeat often and loudly.  Don’t let anyone get away with saying anyone else had a hand in it — not even the President.