The Watering Hole, Monday, November 10th, 2014: Mitch Makes Plans

Today I’m just going to throw a few topics out here, good, bad, or meh

A few excerpts from yesterday’s Washington Post article by Lori Montgomery and Robert Costa, headlined (rather lengthily) “GOP crafts narrow agenda for new Congress, seeking unity, Democratic votes”:

“Within hours of solidifying their control of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John A. Boehner were quietly laying plans for a series of quick votes in January aimed at erasing their obstructionist image ahead of the 2016 elections.

Considering the previous unfortunate efforts of the Republican Party to slap a different varnish on their tarnished image, I can only cringe wondering what kind of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser(tm) “quick votes” these two have in mind. What would they deregulate first? IOW, what will be the Rs’ first BS “repeal this job killer” meme in 2015? And are Boehner and McConnell, while “seeking unity”, keeping an eye on their own far-right-flank tea-nut gallery? Megalomaniac Senator Ted Cruz (R-PlanetTexas) is not one to allow the limelight to stray far from him, and is already making obstructionist noises. Boehner and McConnell are fools – yes, I could stop right there, but – if they think that Cruz is going to bow to their so-called “leadership.”

“First up: Action on long-stalled bills with bipartisan support, including measures to repeal an unpopular tax on medical devices and approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Whoa, tortoise, whoa! [gets out baseball bat, “I said WHOA!”] Why you sly bastards! First, Boehner and McConnell know damn well that repealing the medical devices tax, however unpopular it may or may not be, will undermine one of the sources for funding the PPACA, aka Obamacare. Boehner has been shown by to have been lying about the negative effect that the Medical Device Tax would have on jobs. Repealing the Medical Device Tax is just one way that the Republicans would start to unravel the PPACA without actually repealing the act itself.

Now let’s get to “approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.” It seems that everyone, except the few people/companies who stand to gain from the construction of the pipeline, is against that. This is definitely an example of the incredibly ballsy, obviously and provably false claims that the project would be a “job creator.” Temporary American jobs, yes; a few (50 or so) permanent American jobs, yes; but nowhere near the thousands that the pipeline’s proponents would have us believe. There are so many good arguments against the Keystone XL, it’s truly amazing that any politician is still promoting it; unless, of course, well-funded interests are funding them.

There’s loads more from the WaPo article, but there’s also more information in the New Republic’s article called “This is How the New GOP Senate will try to Dismantle Obamacare”, by Jonathan Cohn.

So far everything points to the Rs major obsession for the past several years – if they can’t repeal the ACA, they’ll just kill it with a thousand cuts.

This is our daily open thread – talk about whatever you want.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 1, 2013 – A Place of Her Own

It’s moving day. My sister and I will be packing my mother up (for the third time) and moving her from the other side of my house to an apartment for low-income seniors just across town. Mom’s excited about the move and her new life. She’s really looking forward to it. I’m glad. She’s alone all day otherwise (unless Jane or I stay home sick, but then we don’t go visiting her when that happens), so at least she’ll have other people to talk to during the day. Or as I like to put it, it will give her a chance to be with her own kind. In this case that happens to be old deaf people. Should be fun to watch.

On another note, while we haven’t seen the pheasant that was terrorizing our stretch of road lately (he actually chased cars), I have seen a large snapping turtle out in the road a couple of times recently. We have a pond out back, and I’ve seen one in our yard a few times. I always worry that the cats are going to get into a fracas with it and get hurt. I also worry that some idiot (we have a few on our block) will deliberately run over a turtle if they see it crossing the road. Maybe not the snapper since it could take out an oil pan, but the smaller ones are in some danger. If you do see a turtle trying to cross a road, do it a favor and give it a hand.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about old deaf people, turtles, Mitch McConnell (combine the two), or whatever else tickles your fancy.

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…


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

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!

The Republican 2-Step..

What the Republicans want you to believe, and what they don’t want you to know about the Bush ‘Tax Cuts’ for the rich that by law are set to expire this year..

Last night Lawrence O’Donnell sat in for Keith Olbermann on Countdown (MSNBC). This particular segment was on the Bush Tax Cuts that by law are set to expire the end of 2010. The out and out lying (and utter hypocrisy) of the GOP has hit a new level. Watching the clips with “Meet The Press” host David Gregory trying to get Mitch McConnell to answer the simple question of how the Republicans plan to pay for the Bush tax cuts if they would be extended was priceless. To give Gregory credit, he continued to push for an honest straightforward answer.

Mitch McConnell continued to dance the 2-step and lie his ass off. At one point McConnell, in response, used the words “What we’re talking about here is raising taxes in the middle of what most Americans think is a recession..“. (Funny choice of words don’t you think?..)

This was in response to the question David Gregory continued to press him with:

“The extension of the tax cuts would cost 3.2 TRILLION dollars. That is borrowed money that adds to the deficit. Do you have a plan to pay for that extension?”

McConnell’s response?:

“You’re talking about current tax policy. Why did it all of a sudden become something that need [garbled] quote “paid for”..?”

Following this clip, Lawrence O’Donnell says this:

Of course the tax hike already scheduled for next year was written into law ten years ago by Republicans when they deliberately limited the cuts to ten years, which they had to do, because Senate Rules required them to pay for them if they lasted MORE than ten years. And in fact, Senator McConnell has suggested how he WOULD pay for tax cuts for the rich.

He voted early this month for a bill that would “decrease spending as appropriate to offset such permanent [tax-cat] extension.”

How? By cutting from Finance Committee spending, which MEANS cutting Social Security and Medicare, the only things in Finance Committee jurisdiction that COULD be cut to pay for the tax cuts.

A tax cut that would make the rich richer, and could actually make it HARDER for small businesses to hire because increasing the deficit could, as it has in the past, raise interest rates making it tougher for small businesses to borrow.”

Watch these videos.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Aside from O’Donnell’s clear explanation of what is ‘real’ (and what isn’t) about the Bush Tax cuts, I believe there is even more to this. I believe the GOP will push the notion that if the Bush Tax Cuts are allowed to expire, they will call this a huge tax hike in a time of Recession, and then gleefully run in 2012 against those pesky “Tax and Spend Democrats”.. If Congress makes the tax cuts permanent, or tries to extend them somehow without paying for them (as Bush did..), then they will point the finger again and say how the Democrats created this huge deficit and put our economy at great risk for a major Depression by running up the deficit. Then, while licking their chops, they will try to insist that they must be paid for (even though McConnell tries to insist that they don’t have to be paid for because they are already tax law) by going after Medicare and Social Security. This country’s safety net. By going after the most vulnerable and in need in this country. That is what they have wanted all along.

The Democrats have got to get real AND aggressive about this. They have to get in front of cameras and talk about how Bush gave the tax cuts to the very rich AND didn’t pay for them—not 1 cent—and how he started two wars at the same time—on a credit card. The GOP credit card mentality, the same GOP who is wailing about fiscal responsibility now. Bush deregulated everything he could, including the banks. He unleashed this enormous environment of monumental greed and corruption that imploded our economy and threatened to destroy our country. All you have to do is look at the charts. Putting it in perspective, the line for this particular recession in comparison to past recessions, the lines goes straight down.

Once President Obama got to office he faced a nightmare of epic proportions. And now that he hasn’t been able to put Humpty Dumpty together again fast enough, it is now all HIS fault, HIS recession, at least according to the Republicans…

This seems a no-win situation. What I do know is that the Republicans are lying their asses off about these tax cuts, and that these cuts MUST be allowed to expire. It is time for this shift of wealth upward to stop. The free lunch for the richest 2 percent of this country is over.

Hypocrisy Watch: Eric Cantor told a couple whoppers!

Sheesh, isn’t there even one member of the GOP that doesn’t tell lies?  George questions Mitch McConnell about a Budget and then Mitch talks about getting down in the weeds.  I guess George uses sentences with too many big words for Mitch.

Lieberman to be stripped of Committee Chairmanship

From TPM :

The Politico has just posted a story on Joe Lieberman’s battle to hang on to his plum committee slot, but Politico kind of buries the lede. The real story here is that Lieberman’s aides are now openly threatening Senate leader Harry Reid by saying that Lieberman will stop caucusing with Dems if his chairmanship is revoked:

“Senator Lieberman’s preference is to stay in the caucus, but he’s going to keep all his options open,” a Lieberman aide said. “McConnell has reached out to him and at this stage his position is he wants to remain in the caucus but losing the chairmanship is unacceptable.”

Reid Says Stevens Will Not Serve In Senate

Convicted felons are not allowed to serve in the Senate.  Harry Reid is asking Ted Stevens to step down in the middle of his re-election.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was forced into the middle of Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R-Alaska) re-election bid late Saturday night after a senior Senate Democrat endorsed Stevens and called on voters to disregard his seven-count felony conviction.

In a bluntly worded release from his office, Reid warned that Stevens would not only face an ethics investigation but also expulsion proceedings regardless of his efforts to appeal the convictions.

Reid’s decision to jump into the Alaska Senate race with both feet marks the first time a leading national Democrat has explicitly warned that Stevens’ ouster from the Senate would be sought. GOP leaders including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) have already called for him to step down or face expulsion.

Stevens is arguing he can serve Alaskans effectively while the court appeals are being heard.  “I have not been convicted of anything,” he told the cameras.  He made that statement during a live debate on Thursday.

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Sunday Talking Heads

Talking Heads – “Psycho Killer”

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