Another graduate of Rush Limbaugh University

For listening just three hours a day from your truck or assisted living center, you too can earn a Ph.D in Illogically Stupid White Males or a J.D. in Racist Comparative Theory for Dumbshits!

Here, Dr. Johnny Howard (RLU, summa cum laude), explains how affordable health insurance is obviously someone’s (!) punishment for slavery:

Balloon Juice — After Congress passed the debt ceiling extension and reopened the government, the owner of Smokin’ Joe’s Ribhouse in Rogers, Arkansas, Johnny Howard, decided to make this public statement on the road sign outside of his restaurant:


The sign was up for approximately 45 minutes, and after it was taken down, Howard apologized and said:

It’s the policy and I made the mistake of wording it in the wrong fashion. The policy. It’s not the person it’s the policy, … To me this health care plan is a job killer. I myself will have to eliminate at least one location if all the policies that were written originally go through.

You might ask yourself: Wait. WHY would Dr. Howard need to eliminate one location of his vast rib empire if people will be able to buy health insurance at a lower price? There are no easy answers… just know it will have to happen because, Obamacare.

Chart: what Republicans got out of the government shutdown

Here’s what Republicans got out of the shutdown, in one chart

Washington Post – Back in September, Republicans released a list of their demands for raising the debt ceiling. Today, the Rachel Maddow show went back to see how they did. And this chart doesn’t even show everything the Republicans lost in the deal… via @EzraKlein


Yesterday, President Obama put the GOP’s hostage-taking and demands in perspective:

CS Monitor —  “To all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change,” said the president. Obama said that politicians should stop focusing on lobbyists, bloggers, talking heads, and “professional activists who profit from conflict” to focus on creating jobs and getting the nation’s fiscal house in order. Specifically, he said Washington should now focus on a “balanced approach to a responsible budget,” passage of immigration reform, and finishing a farm bill.

[...] Obama went on to praise the work of furloughed government workers, saying they care for seniors and veterans, ensure workplaces, food, and toys are safe, and other numerous vital services. He said he recognizes that some people disagree vehemently with his policies. But disagreement needs to be resolved in the normal democratic process, he said. “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don’t break it,” he said.

Obama’s tough tone was hard to miss. He wasn’t singing “Kumbaya” and asking everyone to join hands. His message, in essence, was this: I won fair and square within the normal democratic process. If you don’t like it, take back the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016, if you can.

House votes to reopen government, delay default: 285 to 144

…WITHOUT repealing, defunding, or delaying the Affordable Care Act.

After the past two weeks (and the +40 votes on Obamacare prior to this), tea party relevance can be measured with the following EKG:

This vote could have been held two weeks ago, saving the American public at least $23 billion and much heartache, if not for the Republican House and their “Hastert Rule.”

Also notice over half the Republican House members voted for default and to keep the government shut down. That’s not leadership and it’s certainly not patriotic.

The Senate vote earlier was 81 to 18.

Speakership before Country: Boehner won’t take back the fate of the nation from the Crazy 80

Boehner still won’t allow a vote to go to the floor if a majority of the majority can’t pass it. He doesn’t want to face a mutiny on the Good Ship Teabagger. It doesn’t matter if a majority of the House would pass the Senate bill, Boehner’s pandering to the tea crowd extremists who, in reality, are never going to agree to anything that’s remotely acceptable to the Senate / Administration. So.

Meet John Boehner’s new problem. Same as his old problem. — The Fix 

After a more-than-two hour meeting with GOP members, Boeher emerged to tell the press that there was in fact no Republican House plan. “There are a lot of opinions about what direction to go,” Boehner said. ”There have been no decisions about what exactly we will do.”

According to WaPo’s Lori Montgomery, Boehner’s walk-back from a plan that seemed solid enough for the White House to release an official condemnation of it was due to worries that Boehner and the Republican leadership simply couldn’t wrangle the 217 votes they needed from within their own ranks to pass it.

House Republicans Poised To Spurn Senate Debt Deal — TPM

House Republicans look ready to reject a pending bipartisan compromise in the Senate and propose their own plan for re-opening the government and raising the debt limit.

Here are the details of the new House bill that the leadership presented to Republican members at a closed door meeting Tuesday morning, according to multiple House GOP sources.

  • Temporary spending bill to re-open the government until Jan. 15.
  • Increase the debt limit enough to last until Feb. 7.
  • A two-year delay of Obamacare’s medical device tax.
  • A requirement that the Obama administration verify the income of Americans receiving tax subsidies through Obamacare (specifics pending).
  • A revised version of the so-called Vitter Amendment, in this case requiring Congress members and executive department officials like President Obama — but not their staffs — to purchase insurance through the law’s marketplace without federal employer subsidies.
  • Eliminates Treasury Department’s ability to use “extraordinary measures” to avoid default.

The House is expected to vote on the bill today.

Market reaction: 

Down, down, down—which is great news for the tea party.

Pelosi, Reid slam Boehner’s reckless effort to sabotage deal to end shutdown, avoid default — DailyKos

In Pelosi’s words:

What you saw here earlier was a Speaker who did not have the votes for his proposal. So why are they doing this to the American people? Sabotaging a good faith bipartisan effort coming out of the Senate, wasting the public’s time. And in this case, time is money. Time is money. This is going to be very costly to our economy. [...] This Republican habit of sabotaging of any effort to move forward is a luxury our country cannot afford.

Of the GOP’s antics, Reid said it was “hard to comprehend this logically.”

The tea party driven part of the Republican party doesn’t follow logic. Why would they want to close the government for 15 days and have us default on our debt? Introduction of this measure by House Republican leadership is unproductive and a waste of time. Let’s be clear: The House legislation will not pass the Senate.

John McCain on polls: “We’re down to blood relatives and paid staffers now.”

“We can’t get lower in the polls. We’re down to blood relatives and paid staffers now. But we’ve got to turn this around, and the Democrats had better help.”Sen. John McCain

John McCain is right. It’s anyone’s guess how long the GOP will be able to hang onto the relatives and staffers though.

New WaPo/ABC Poll: 74% of Americans Disapprove of GOP Shutdown CrazinessLGF

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll provides more astonishing evidence of exactly how self-destructive the House Republicans’ shutdown games have been, as an amazing 74 percent of Americans disapprove of these clowns.

And more than that, the poll shows that there’s a kind of ideological war going on within the Republican Party, as the remaining sane members are repelled by the [antics] of the Tea Party crackpots.

You’d think that fiasco with Cruz and Palin at the White House yesterday would have repelled even more Republican members—in both houses.

Current Senate and White House negotiations cause markets to rebound

3 p.m. meeting postponedHuffPo

The White House says a meeting between Obama and congressional leaders has been postponed to give Senate leaders more time to resolve a standoff over the nation’s debt and the partial government shutdown.

From Slate’s Shutdown Liveblog:

12:05 p.m.: Afternoon Action as Congressional Leaders Head to the White House, via WaPo:

President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with the top-ranking House and Senate leaders in both parties this afternoon at 3 p.m., a White House official said. Obama will huddle at the White House with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

12 p.m.: Reid Makes an Offer, via Politico:

Harry Reid has privately offered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a deal that would reopen the government until mid-to-late December while extending the U.S. debt ceiling until next year, according to several sources familiar with the talks.

The proposal would set up a framework for larger budget negotiations with the House over the automatic sequestration spending cuts and and other major deficit issues, the sources said. Moreover, Senate Democrats are open to delaying Obamacare’s medical device tax and a requirement that those receiving Obamacare subsidies be subject to income verification — but they would have to get something from Republicans in return, sources said.

McConnell is still reviewing the offer and is privately huddling with groups of GOP senators Monday who could be key to providing enough votes in the Senate. On Monday morning, McConnell met with Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

And, Markets, any comment?


Stock markets rebound as budget talks continue - via Politico

The stock market rebounded Monday afternoon following a weak opening, amid renewed hope that Congress was nearing an agreement to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department says needs to be done by Thursday.

By early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 20 points, having made up the ground it had lost in early morning trading when it was down as much as 100 points. The Nasdaq, which had also dipped in the morning, was up more than 12 points, while the S&P 500 was also up more than 2 points.

The bounce in the stock market followed new signals from the Senate Monday that an agreement could be reached soon. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — who had rejected a proposal from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) over the weekend — has offered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a plan that would re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling until next year, POLITICO reported.

Tea party throws public tantrum at memorial closed by their government shutdown

Tea party royalty Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin were a part of a very classy protest (i.e. disgusting display) by tea party radicals in Washington DC yesterday.  It was called the Million Vet March although, according to the Washington Times, only about 200 showed up (including stray tourists).

There were many wonderful photo-ops staged “on behalf of” elderly WWII veterans who were (sadly) in attendance, like: pushing over barricades, quoting The Gipper (Palin: “Yes, we can tear down these barricades!”), spittle-blaring The Pledge of Allegiance, and screeching patriotic songs. The tea party always seems angriest when they’re doing things they consider to be patriotic.

Coincidentally, these self-proclaimed patriots are the very people who, through their representatives in the House, caused the federal government to shut down two weeks ago which, they knew, would cause the memorials where they staged their protests to close. And, instead of insisting their representatives in Congress reopen the government to actually help all veterans (and elderly WWII vets specifically), they’re the very same “patriots” who are currently pushing their reps to let our country default on its debt in four days—something that’s never happened before.

As a weird kind of déjà vu, not only was yesterday’s protest redundant but there were flashbacks of “early Palin” and the types of people she attracted between the tail end of the 2008 campaign and the period after she quit her job as governor to pursue Money. Like then, the protesters yesterday brought their anti-Obama signs and an honest-to-God confederate flag to wave in front of the White House—that’s right: the stars and bars for the first black president. Note that no one in the crowd said a word about the flag. Then a tea party speaker told the crowd the President bows down to Allah and that he should put down the Koran, and the people yell, “Yea! Yeaa!”

But there’s more. From Mediate, here’s video taken by one of the goons, named Paul Longenecker. When police arrived, they were roundly booed. On the video, some yell “brownshirts” at the cops, while another man says, “Looks like something out of Kenya.” Go to the link for Longenecker, which is his Facebook page, and read the comments.

How’s that for respecting law enforcement in general or park police in particular? These are federal employees who are just doing their jobs (without pay) to protect our national landmarks and the White House—and they’re harassed and mocked for just standing there.

Worst of all, it sounds like the veterans’ march / protest was actually hijacked by “Washington elites” and “political extremists.” By the end of the day, the veterans’ group had condemned Palin, Cruz and the tea party:

A few powerful Washington elites? I believe that would be Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, and the political extremists are Sarah Palin and the tea partiers. The “incite or create panic” line refers to those tea partiers who tore down the barricades at the WWII memorial and marched to the White House. The extremists waved the confederate flag in front of the White House and chanted things like impeach Obama.Politicususa

North Korea and Al Qaeda working together couldn’t have created a better anti-government insurgent group than tea party “patriots.” Sedition is a gift to all Enemies of the State, both domestic and foreign.


Where there’s a buck to be made…

WASHINGTON (AP) — A crowd converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, pushing through barriers Sunday morning to protest the memorial’s closing under the government shutdown.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were among those who gathered Sunday morning, along with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, according to WTOP radio.

And without irony or even a hint of self-awareness:

Cruz said President Obama is using veterans as pawns in the shutdown.

Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) recite the Pledge of Allegiance at a rally supported by military veterans, Tea Party activists and Republicans on October 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) via Bob Cesca

Freedom Watch Speaker tells Obama to ‘put the Quran down’

Washington (CNN) – Angered by the closure of national landmarks due to the partial government shutdown, a crowd of conservatives removed barricades Sunday at the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial as they rallied against President Barack Obama and Democrats for their role in the ongoing stalemate. High-profile speakers with close ties to the tea party appeared at the event, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The rally, billed as the “Million Vet March on the Memorials,” drew far fewer than a million people and evolved into a protest that resembled familiar tea party events from 2009, with yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” flags throughout the crowd and strong anti-Obama language from the podium and the audience.

One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim and separately urged the crowd of hundreds to initiate a peaceful uprising. “I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up,” said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.


Charles JohnsonIf you want people to believe that the Affordable Care Act is the worst thing since slavery, maybe it’s not a good idea to wave a freaking Confederate flag at your White House protest. The symbolism is beyond appalling: the first black President of the United States protested with the Dixie flag.


Goldie Taylor: Still fighting the “War of the Northern Aggression”

Charles Johnson: Here’s Ted Cruz speaking in front of the flag of the extreme right wing Oathkeepers militia.
View image on Twitter

Charles Johnson: Were the Oathkeepers doing security for Sarah Palin?
View image on Twitter


Old what’s-her-face began her east coast Tour of Terror on Saturday in New Jersey, stopping by a racetrack near New Egypt to help Cory Booker win an election by campaigning for his competitor Steve Lonegan. As you can see by the photo below, she’s still as brilliant as we all remember:

The phrase, “leader not tweeter,” a reference to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, is seen on the palm of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during a rally supporting Steve Lonegan. (via Buzzfeed)



Stupidity, thy name is Tea Party: the reality of ObamaCare and the Shutdown


The GOP/TB realized they could never really expect their base voters to sympathize with the health insurance industry and its historical profiteering—an industry that would like nothing more than to continue pocketing billions of dollars with ever-increasing rate hikes and other greedy practices that have been accepted for decades. This industry donates heavily to federal campaigns, with 55% of their donations going to the Republican Party.  

So, with money in hand and a bunch of uninsured, low-information, red state voters—who would personally benefit from the ACA’s regulations on the worst practices of the insurance industry—GOP/TB politicians and their spokespeople decided that even if facts weren’t on their side, they could still keep the base loyal and distracted with a favorite strategy: “If you can’t beat ‘em, SCARE ‘EM!”

And here we are today.

Michele Bachmann: “When the federal government controls your health care, they literally control life and death. This egregious system, that will ultimately be known as ‘Deathcare’ must be defeated.”

Michele Bachmann: “… let’s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens. Let’s not do that! Let’s love people, let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.”

Ben Carson: “Obamacare is the worst thing that’s happened in this nation since slavery.”

Ted Cruz “…Do you think that is going to expand our health care if we do not see bright young students going to medical school? That is what ObamaCare is doing. Because you do not want an IRS agent deciding if your mom lives or dies. “

Ted Cruz: “Americans all over this country are suffering because of Obamacare. It is the single biggest job killer in America.”

Sarah Palin: “Of course there are death panels in there. But the important thing to remember is that’s just one aspect of this atrocious, unaffordable, cumbersome, burdensome evil policy of Obama’s and that is Obamacare.”

Steve Doocy: “…We see from your tax records that you support the Tea Party or conservative groups. You want a doctor’s visit? Three weeks. You want hip replacement? Four years.”

Now, imagine that noise when a needle scratches a record:

John McCain to a Fox anchor (on Friday): “On the debt limit, now there are things that we could negotiate with the president about, some entitlement reforms, some tax reforms, things that are achievable. Defunding Obamacare is not one of them.”


ABC’s “Nightline” touted a PolitiFact story… that rated the number one lie in 2010 politics: Republicans calling the health care bill a “government takeover of health care.”

When asked why the claim received the status of biggest lie of the year, editor Bill Adair answered: “It was so pervasive. It was said by the Republican leadership, by Republicans running for Congress, said by Republicans running for governor. And it’s just not true. This is a plan that uses the private health insurance system to expand health care coverage.” 

Clips played of notable GOP congressmen Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) calling the bill a “government takeover,” as well as party chairman Michael Steele and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) saying the same. “Congratulations to the lie of the year for its speed and effectiveness,” concluded Jake Tapper. “Way to deceive the public.”




Obamacare (i.e. the Affordable Care Act (ACA)) facts:

• ObamaCare’s goal is give more Americans access to affordable, quality health insurance and to reduce the growth in health care spending in the U.S.

• The fact is ObamaCare does not replace private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. If you have health coverage you like, you can keep it.

• ObamaCare regulates some of the worst practices of the for-profit health care industry.

• ObamaCare offers a number of new benefits, rights and protections including provisions that let young adults stay on their plan until 26, stop insurance companies from dropping you when you are sick or if you make an honest mistake on your application, prevent against gender discrimination, stop insurance companies from making unjustified rate hikes, do away with life-time and annual limits, give you the right to a rapid appeal of insurance company decisions, expand coverage to tens of millions, subsidize health insurance costs, and require all insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

• Over 100 million Americans have already benefited from the new health care law.

• Read more


Eugene Robinson: The reality of the Affordable Care Act

Someday, if the GOP captures the presidency and both houses of Congress, President Barack Obama’s health care law could be altered or even repealed. But it would be replaced by some new program that does the same thing, because there is no politically viable way to snatch away the medical insurance that customers are buying through the exchanges.

Quite the opposite: As soon as the glitches are cleared up and everyone becomes a bit less hysterical, the question will be how to obtain coverage for as many as 30 million people who will still be uninsured — including about 8 million ineligible for the ACA because of a sabotage campaign by Republican governors.

Look at Texas, which the state medical association calls “the uninsured capital of the United States.” An estimated 22.5 percent of the population lacks health insurance, a higher percentage than in any other state. Many will remain uninsured because Gov. Rick Perry — a once and perhaps future GOP candidate for president — refused to set up a state insurance exchange and turned down billions in federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage.

Rejection of the ACA may be popular in Texas now. But demographic trends are making the Lone Star State’s electorate more diverse, as the Latino population grows, and less reliably Republican. Small businesses that cannot afford to offer health insurance may soon worry about losing employees to states offering better coverage for the working poor through local exchanges and expanded Medicaid. Time is on the side of those who want to expand coverage, not those who want to restrict it.

I trust that conservative leaders will continue riling up the base with the untrue charge that the ACA is “government health care.” It is nothing of the sort. Obama decided at the outset not to push for a government-run health system, such as those in Britain and Canada, or a single-payer system of any kind.

Instead, all of Obamacare’s insurance plans are offered by private firms — the same companies that also provide employer-sponsored insurance. Disappointing his liberal supporters, Obama declined to include even a single public, government-run health plan. All the apocalyptic right-wing rhetoric about socialism and the end of freedom is nothing but hot air. Soon, no one will take it seriously.


On Thursday, Jon Stewart slammed the 26 states that chose to forgo the federal money that would completely cover the cost of expanding Medicaid over the next three years.

All the 26 states unsurprisingly have either GOP governors or GOP-controlled legislatures, and are guilty of “total dickishness” as Stewart put it. “[These 26 states] must be a pretty eclectic group with many different reasons to explain why they would turn down money to bring healthcare to the working poor.  Or maybe there was just one — spite: the emotion that makes you turn down millions of dollars that would go toward healthcare for the working poor — because you hate the president.”

[Note: if you leave the Hulu player open, the segments automatically load / play from the rest of this episode.]


Which states turned down federal money to bring healthcare to the poor? The Moocher States:

The Moocher States are most of the red states which already take in more federal money than they pay to the federal government. The residents of these states will be happy to know that uninsured people will continue to utilize the free “dine and dash” system of healthcare that’s endorsed by their party, and they’ll continue to have the opportunity to absorb those costs personally with their insurance rates and their doctor / hospital bills. It’s a win-win for everyone, I guess. Except for the working poor. 

image: view data detail

Your one stop Obamacare shop

In a mere 24 hours, the tea party town-criers have been reduced from dire apocalyptic warnings about the end of liberty and freedom, to whining ACA sites are loading slowly. The horror! That’s an interesting twist into arguably the biggest immediate threat posed by the ACA to the GOP naysayers. It isn’t just that people will come to like the low rates and guaranteed acceptance offered under the ACA over time. A more immediate problem for the usual suspects is millions of people have already found out that the dreaded Obamacare, the socialized government invasion that would bring Lady Liberty down on her knees, is really just a boring website full of insurance policies and coverage info.

    • If you only want to get a handle on what states are where with respect to Medicaid expansion, click the 50 state image above to go to a detailed bitmap showing that data.
    • If you want to actually shop for real rates, you’ll need to click the appropriate state exchange or the link, create a screen name and password, and then follow the prompts, where you will fill in lots more information. …Be prepared to verify your identity several times by answering a wide array of questions to help HHS or your state HIX keep your info secure. And in part because of record traffic, and in part because the HIX websites have to interlock with many other sites to help you apply, most sites are going slow and/or will be down intermittently.

The GOP’s unserious offers so far: why won’t Obama negotiate?

On Wednesday, Obama indicated Republicans could essentially set the agenda for budget negotiations, but only if Congress agrees first to a short-term spending plan to fund the government and to raise the federal borrowing limit to avoid a possible first-ever U.S. default next week. “I will talk about anything,” the president said.

Pretty simple, pretty clear. Right? Here’s what happened today:

House Republicans were furious with Senate Republicans and President Obama on Saturday for trying to cut a debt ceiling deal that leaves them out in the cold. Members emerged from a conference meeting saying Obama had double-crossed them by breaking off talks in order to shop for a better deal from the Senate GOP.

Oh, my. It’s terrible that the President should want to discuss solutions to a shut down and potential default in five days with both Senate and House Republicans! What a double-crosser. But what was the very serious deal offered by the official Budget Wiz of the House Republicans: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Groundhog Day)?

The House GOP framework, pushed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), would raise the borrowing limit for six weeks while replacing across-the-board spending cuts (known as sequestration) with cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits. It would also set up formal negotiations to resolve spending disputes and address the next debt limit increase. 

Got it: they won’t shoot the hostages immediately, but one of the hostages has to stay in the hole in the basement, taking lotion from a bucket for six more weeks. Basically:

  1. the government remains shut down,
  2. and let’s do this again in six weeks when we hit the new debt limit,
  3. also, by the way, let’s take the sequestration cuts that are currently shared by Defense (and other GOP favorites) and replace them completely with cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

I’m sure the offer from the Republican Senators via Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who’s reportedly fluent in Moderate, was much better:

For Senate Republicans, the focus has been on the draft proposal by Collins to extend the debt limit through the end of the year and reopen the government for six months in exchange for a two-year delay of Obamacare’s medical device tax and granting flexibility to government agencies when it comes implementing sequestration cuts.  

Senate Republicans are promising to lengthen the ankle chains the hostages wear, so they can at least reach the bucket in the corner of the cell. Basically:

  1. let’s do this again at the end of December when we hit the new debt limit,
  2. then let’s do it again four months after that, when temporary funding will run out for government operations,
  3. and, in the meantime, let’s continue this ongoing damage to our government and the entire national economy just to delay a small 2.3% tax on a select group of medical device manufacturers, who will gain business after health reform,
  4. but, here’s a bonus!, agencies will get to decide where they won’t spend the money that they’re no longer given.

Obviously these are all exciting opportunities. Why won’t Obama negotiate?

It seems like Democratic leadership may have advised GOP leadership to “tread lightly”

Steve Benen summarizes today’s negotiations and Obama’s subsequent rejection of “the GOP’s new “offer” [which] is predicated on the same assumptions as the other “offers”: Republicans won’t talk unless the threat of deliberate harm hangs over the discussion.”

Boehner and his team came up with a plan. They’ll let the government shutdown continue, but raise the debt ceiling for six weeks. In exchange for not crashing the economy on purpose, Democrats will have to agree to participate in budget negotiations.

Will Republicans agree to let the government reopen during the budget talks? No.

Will Republicans take the prospect of a debt-ceiling crisis off the table? No.

Is there any chance in the world Democrats will consider this a credible solution? No.

Indeed, it’s already been rejected.

The White House indicated that while the president might sign a short-term bill to avert default, it rejected the proposal as insufficient to begin negotiations over his health care law or further long-term deficit reductions because the plan does not address the measure passed by the Senate to finance and reopen the government.

“The president has made clear that he will not pay a ransom for Congress doing its job and paying our bills,” said a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

What’s Evil Harry Reid have to say? 

Emerging from an almost-two hour meeting between the president and Democratic senators, Majority Leader Harry Reid had a very succinct answer when asked if there would be negotiations with Republicans as long… as the government shutdown continues—”Not going to happen.” …”The government should be open…. If that happens, we’ll negotiate on anything,” said Reid. Asked to respond to a House Republican proposal for a short-term raising of the debt limit, Reid mocked what he called the House’s “unique form of legislating — It is hour by hour.” He said he would have to “wait and see what the House does.” But he left no doubt there will be no negotiations under the threat of a continued shutdown.

Other comments: 

Pres. Obama: “The President had a good meeting with members of the House Republican Leadership this evening; the meeting lasted approximately an hour and a half. …The President’s goal remains to ensure we pay the bills we’ve incurred, reopen the government and get back to the business of growing the economy, creating jobs and strengthening the middle class.”

John Boehner: [Didn't speak] to any reporters. The quick exit is relatively unusual for the speaker.

Eric Cantor: “We had a very useful meeting, and we’re going to have more discussions on both sides tonight.”

Paul Ryan: “We’re going to keep talking tonight. We made an offer, we’re negotiating the rest, we decided to keep talking. …We’ve decided to continue talking, and continue negotiating.”

The Kudlow Report – BREAKING: @RepLynnJenkins just told Larry that House leaders hope to have the government opened by Monday

No insults, finger pointing or sound bites for the rabid base?

And from The Department of “Things Republicans Could’ve Done Months Ago” —  

Meanwhile, a group of Republican senators began meeting with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, to find a bipartisan solution to the twin fiscal impasses.

The senators are examining a yearlong resolution to reopen the government and finance it at levels that reflect the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, but with added flexibility to help government agencies and departments deal with the tight budgets. The plan would also include a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, reflecting the House’s plan, and would include a repeal of a medical device tax unpopular with some Democrats.

The strategy is similar to a plan proposed earlier this week by Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, but it would also tighten income verification rules for the new health care exchanges.

Wow. Be really, really quiet… don’t startle them. Maybe this is what it looks like when Republicans and Democrats “negotiate,” when Republicans realize Democrats have decided they aren’t going to be the ones bending over this time.

And even if something were worked out, would Boehner even allow a clean CR and debt ceiling increase go to the House floor for a vote if the majority of the majority won’t pass it? Would the Crazy 80 possibly be on board for such a deal?

I guess we’ll find out…


Who’s deserting the Good Ship Teabag?

The American public

Just 28 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the GOP, according to the latest monthly Gallup tracking poll. The number “is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992,” the polling company stated.

John McCain (who should be commended for speaking up, which is something many in his party have no spine for): 

“We started this on a fool’s errand, convincing so many millions of Americans and our supporters that we could defund Obamacare,” McCain said. While McCain didn’t name names, he faulted members of Congress — “tea partiers specifically” — for wrongly telling “millions of Americans” that Obamacare can be defunded. That “obviously wouldn’t happen until we had 67 Republican senators to override a presidential veto.”  McCain denounced the fight to defund Obamacare at the cost of a fiscal impasse even before the government shut down last week. McCain called out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his anti-Obamacare speech, and said “the people spoke” when they reelected President Barack Obama in 2012.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders: 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups have actively engaged lawmakers for weeks and say that while they agree with the need for reforms, the top priority should be avoiding the default that a failure to OK another debt ceiling increase would bring. “Our top lobbyists are continuing to talk to scores of members of Congress and their staff urging them to address this and stop kicking the can down the road,” U.S. Chamber spokeswoman Blair Latoff Holmes told Yahoo News. “It is up to lawmakers and the administration to find common ground and reach a deal that will fund the government and raise the debt limit to avoid default. We will continue to make that case to everyone who will listen.”

Wall Street

Peter King (R-NY), who has been urging his party to drop the fight against Obamacare and pass a bill to fund the government, told POLITICO that if his Republicans colleagues continue to tie Obamacare measures to a continuing resolution, this could “hurt” the GOP’s ability to “raise money from Wall Street and the business community” in the future. “This threat of government shutdown and not paying debt and defaulting, it’s going to have a real impact first of all economically, and it’s going to have a follow-up effect of Wall Street wondering why they support Republicans,” King said. As the government shutdown continued into Wednesday, market analysts warned that concerns about a debt default — initially dismissed by Wall Street as improbable, if not unimaginable — were beginning to intensify.

The ones who brought the Teaparty to the dance, but were left in the corner without a dancing partner – The Koch Brothers: 

The billionaire industrialists have funded a sprawling empire of libertarian-conservative activism; they’ve been dubbed the bankrollers of the Tea Party. Liberals frequently accuse them of seeking deregulatory policies to further their company’s financial interests. But what happens when the Tea Party’s ideological warfare threatens to plunge the U.S. economy into chaos?

The answer: The Kochs appear to be distancing themselves from the movement they’ve helped to create. In a letter released Wednesday, Koch Industries’ chief lobbyist, Philip Ellender, says the company does not favor the House’s push to defund Obamacare as a condition of keeping the government open. Koch Industries would prefer to see Congress focus on fiscal issues: “We believe that Congress should, at a minimum, keep to sequester-level spending guidelines, and develop a plan for more significant and widespread spending reductions in the future,” Ellender writes.

You might want to read the New York Times article that described the significant financial investment the Kochs made to stir up the torch-waving villagers against Obamacare, shortly after Obama started his second term: Freedomworks’ Blueprint to Defunding Obamacare. Maybe the Kochs thought they had pointed the villagers in one direction, but the villagers shambled off in their own direction. Whoops!

The Kochs Favorite Man-Boy, Paul Ryan: 

Ryan laid out a package focused on an overhaul of Medicare and a path toward a comprehensive simplification of the tax code.

[Flashback: this is a rehash of the "entitlement reform" granny-starving nonsense that helped Romney lose the last election.]

Ryan also wrote an op-ed in the WSJ on Tuesday without once mentioning the repeal or delay or defunding of Obamacare / ACA—as was his mission (see Koch Brothers above). He will now be considered a traitor to the Crazy 80 even as he tries to walk it back today, which only creates a longer list of ransom demands for his party.

[Another flashback: remember when Ryan and the Republicans refused any new tax revenues during the "grand bargain" negotiations with Democrats in 2011, even though Democrats were willing to bend on entitlements, and S&P downgraded the U.S. bond rating from AAA to AA? Remember how S&P assigned blame for the downgrade to Republicans refusal to compromise on new revenue? More good times with Paul Ryan!]

Finally, maybe John Boehner …at long last?

President Obama, who invited House Democrats on Wednesday, asked all House Republicans to the White House on Thursday, an invitation Speaker John A. Boehner whittled down to a short list of attendees he wants to negotiate a compromise.

The good news about the whittled down list is that not one of the attendees is from the “Crazy 80″ suicide caucus, which seems to be some kind of message. Of course, Boehner’s familiar bookends (Cantor & Ryan) will be there:

Elected Leaders:
McMorris Rodgers

Hal Rogers

This morning it’s been reported that Boehner is considering a six-week debt ceiling increase. So it seems the Koch Brothers have indeed dropped anchor on the sinking Good Ship Teabag, and are now looking for any transport that’s heading for safer waters.

GOP House considers temporarily releasing a hostage: a six-week debt ceiling increase


The Washington Post reports:

House Republican leaders are pushing a short-term increase in the debt limit, without any conservative strings attached, to calm jittery financial markets, according to senior GOP advisers.

The plan, which is being presented to the House GOP caucus Thursday morning, coincides with a warning to lawmakers from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that he will be unable to guarantee payments to any group — whether Social Security recipients or U.S. bondholders — unless Congress approves an increase in the federal debt limit.

If the GOP plan goes over well with rank-and-file Republicans, Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) could put the legislation on the floor for a vote late Thursday.

Financial markets soared on the first sign of optimistic news out of Washington in almost a month, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 169 points in the first 15 minutes of trading. The emerging plan would not deal with the now 10-day-old shutdown of the federal government, an issue that would move onto a separate track of talks.

The plan would meet President Obama’s demand for an increase in Treasury’s borrowing authority without any legislative riders, meaning Democrats would likely support the plan and it could be signed into law. But it would set the stage for tough negotiations, possibly until Thanksgiving, over bigger fiscal matters, since the tentative plan calls for a six-week increase of the debt limit.

Jonathan Chait explains how Boehner and Republican leadership might be able to spin this into a win for their side, rather than the “unconditional surrender” that Boehner has called such a compromise all along:

But the current Republican line does suggest a way out: if Republicans “win” a promise to negotiate the budget, with the debt ceiling not being subject to the outcome of the negotiations. That this has actually been Obama’s goal all along, and the thing Republicans have been trying to avoid, does not mean Republicans can’t talk themselves into it. The negotiation would probably end in a stalemate, or possibly a few small changes, but by the time it was finished the crisis would be over and conservative activists would have moved on to other issues — a new Obama scandal, maybe.

The insistent talking point that Obama won’t negotiate is a preposterous form of propaganda. But it has been taken up by a number of eager conservative pundits who seem to actually believe it. What if conservatives can be made to believe their own talking point — to believe that forcing Obama to negotiate the budget is the party’s actual goal here? Conservative self-delusion got us into this crisis. It could also get us out.

Is Michele Bachmann drinking all day long now?

On Saturday, she said the President is funding al Qaeda, which is a sign of the End Times:

Rep. Michele Bachmann accused President Obama of giving aid to Al Qaeda, which she said is proof that we are living in the Last Days. Of course, on the same day Bachmann gave the interview, a Delta Force operation approved by Obama nabbed a key Al Qaeda figure in Libya. [...] Bachmann said that the Al Qaeda funding (which isn’t happening) is a sign of the End Times: “This happened and as of today the United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists, now what this says to me, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history. Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand,” Bachmann continued. “When we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this; these days would be as the days of Noah.”

On Tuesday, she said she wants to impeach the President for “thuggery:” 

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said Tuesday that President Obama has “committed impeachable offenses” and that the House could hold a hearing to impeach. “We can have an impeachment hearing in the House, and in my mind the president has committed impeachable offenses,” Bachmann told conservative talk show host Rusty Humphries in an interview first detailed by Right Wing Watch. “I think we could be on the cusp of seeing civil disobedience — I’m not saying I want civil disobedience — but people aren’t going to take the thuggery of this president much longer,” she said. “We see thuggery going on in the White House, we’re not going to take it. We’ve drawn a line in the sand, and we’re telling the president you need to recognize … that you are a co-equal branch of government. You are not a dictator.”

Also on Tuesday, she said she was mistaken for 20-year-old Miley Cyrus: 

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said this week that people confused her with pop singer Miley Cyrus but she has “never done twerking” in her life. …“What was kind of funny is the Monday after Saturday Night Live aired, we had a lot of calls in the office [and] people thought that actually was me in the skit. And I will tell you as a 57-year-old woman, it’s been a long time since I’ve been confused for a 20-year-old.”


I guess I can see how some elderly folks who could use an appointment with the eye doctor might make this mistake. Brown hair, open mouth, idiotic…

The Republican Party’s dereliction of duty

President Obama’s Oct. 8 news conference on the shutdown and debt limit

“In the same way, members of Congress, and the House Republicans in particular, don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs. And two of their very basic jobs are passing a budget and making sure that America’s paying its bills. They don’t also get to say, you know, unless you give me what the voters rejected in the last election, I’m going to cause a recession. That’s not how it works. No American president would deal with a foreign leader like this. Most of you would not deal with either co- workers or business associates in this fashion. And we shouldn’t be dealing this way here in Washington.” [...]

“If Congress refuses to raise what’s called the debt ceiling, America would not be able to meet all of our financial obligations for the first time in 225 years. And because it’s called raising the debt ceiling, I think a lot of Americans think it’s raising our debt. It is not raising our debt. This does not add a dime to our debt. It simply says you pay for what Congress has already authorized America to purchase, whether that’s the greatest military in the world or veterans’ benefits or Social Security. Whatever it is that Congress has already authorized, what this does is make sure that we can pay those bills.” [...]

“Warren Buffett likened default to a nuclear bomb, a weapon too horrible to use. It would disrupt markets, it would undermine the world’s confidence in America as the bedrock of the global economy, and it might permanently increase our borrowing costs which, of course, ironically would mean that it would be more expensive for us to service what debt we do have and it would add to our deficits and our debt, not decrease them.There’s nothing fiscally responsible about that. Preventing this should be simple. As I said, raising the debt ceiling is a lousy name, which is why members of Congress in both parties don’t like to vote on it, because it makes you vulnerable in political campaigns. But it does not increase our debt. It does not grow our deficit, it does not allow for a single dime of increased spending. All it does is allow the Treasury Department to pay for what Congress has already spent.”

“We can’t make extortion routine as part of our democracy…Democracy doesn’t function this way. And this is not just for me; it’s also for my successors in office. Whatever party they’re from, they shouldn’t have to pay a ransom either for Congress doing its basic job. We’ve got to put a stop to it….We’re not going to pay a ransom for America to pay its bills.”

Charlie PierceBut the basic position remains the same. Nothing happens until the vandalism stops and the hostage gets released. This is to keep the presidency intact for future presidents. This is to maintain the delicate separation of powers guaranteed to us by our Founders. This is also because the other side is completely riddled with public morons.


HERE ARE OPINIONS about the shutdown and debt ceiling from some the hardliners of the Republican House, the extreme of the extremists, the mullahs of the anti-government insurgents. They fall into two main categories, depending on the audience: (1) breaching the debt ceiling is no biggie, or (2) the debt ceiling is an excellent hostage to negotiate with (which automatically negates position #1):

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) — debt ceiling is no biggie: “There’s always revenue coming into the Treasury, certainly enough revenue to pay interest. Democrats have a different definition of ‘default’ than what we understand it to be. What I hear from them is, ‘If you’re not paying everything on time that’s a default.’ And that’s not the traditionally understood definition.”

Michele Bachman (R-Mars) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations“President Obama can’t wait to get Americans addicted to the crack cocaine of dependency on more government health care,” she said in an interview with the far-right WorldNetDaily site where she regularly gives explosive interviews. Once they enroll millions of more individual Americans, it will be virtually impossible for us to pull these benefits back from people,” Bachmann continued. “All they want to do is buy love from people by giving them massive government subsidies. … “Now is the time to put it out of its misery. We have to do what we can do. Whether that means defunding it instead of repealing it, I’m for it. If it means delaying it, rather than repealing it. I’m for it.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: “As we look at the debt ceiling, we do have to look at tax reform, we do have to look at entitlement reform and maybe we’re at the point where we have to roll the CR and the debt ceiling discussion together.” In addition to healthcare reforms, the bill would attempt to rewrite tax codes and reform entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: Congressman Mo Brooks says he is not bluffing. If Congress does not slash welfare programs, or take steps to adopt a balanced budget, he will vote against raising the debt ceiling. “We address the cause of the problem or else I vote against it” … He said public benefits program would also include Obamacare.

Dr. Rep. Paul Broun (MD! R-GA) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: “Obamacare is going to destroy everything we know as a nation… Wolf, I’m a doctor. I’m a medical doctor!” [Blitzer then asked] “I know you hate it, but I just want to be precise. America is going to be destroyed, you say, by Obamacare. America? This United States of America is going to be destroyed if this law is fully implemented? Is that what I hear you say?” [Dr.] Rep. Broun finally answered: “Well, it’s going to take us off the edge economically. It’s going to destroy our economy and it’s going to push us into a total economic collapse of America. And that’s exactly what I mean by it’s going to destroy America.”

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: [Culberson] said he was holding firm in demanding major adjustments to Obamacare because he had been elected to defend “core principles.” Culberson could just as well have said he was defending core beliefs, for that is an essential element in radically conservative politics today.

Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: It’s anybody’s guess when the budget stalemate will be resolved. DeSantis was settling in for a long fight and hinted that passage of a spending bill may be linked to the Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: [DesJarlais said] that the government shutdown could last for as long as it takes to defund or at least delay implementation of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. “We’re pretty resolved in our position that this is a necessary step for the future of this country, really, in terms of the debt and deficit. If we don’t stand firm on this issue — we were in trouble financially before the health care law — it’s just going to be almost exponential if we can’t stop this,” he said.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: “The government’s been shut down 17 times in the past,” said [Duncan]… “The majority of those were controlled by a Democrat Congress.” His very next words: “This isn’t about shutting the government down. Republicans have a plan to keep government funded but also be responsible to American voters that spoke very loudly to us that they don’t like Obamacare. Obamacare is actually shutting down America.” In 20 seconds, Duncan had insisted that a government shutdown wasn’t a huge deal, and that of course Republicans would never be holding the smoking gun for such a devastating act. One reporter followed up with Duncan, asking why Barack Obama’s election didn’t prove that “voters” had also spoken loudly in favor of the law. “I was re-elected in 2012, too,” says Duncan.

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations:  [Fleming] reacted, “I just don’t think there’d be hardly any Republicans in support of raising the debt ceiling without cuts to spending, changes to Obamacare, and perhaps other issues.”

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: “They may try to throw the kitchen sink at the debt limit, but I don’t think our conference will be amenable for settling for a collection of things after we’ve fought so hard. If it doesn’t have a full delay or defund of Obamacare, I know I and many others will not be able to support whatever the leadership proposes. If it’s just a repeal of the medical-device tax, or chained CPI, that won’t be enough.”

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: Gingrey told CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that he and other House Republicans are “not posturing” when they say are willing to hit the debt ceiling in order to win concessions from Democrats, no matter the political consequences. “I mean, they seem to think that we will miss this opportunity for a ‘Braveheart’ moment to do the right thing for the American people and that we’ll back down for fear of losing the House and not gaining control of the Senate,” Gingrey said. The 1995 movie is based on William Wallace, who died in the 14th century after fighting in the Wars of Scottish Independence for Scotland’s freedom. “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” he bellows during the film’s most famous scene.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) – debt ceiling is no biggie (plus bonus conspiracy theory if it happens!): [Gohmert] asserted this week that the government shutdown could actually keep the U.S. from defaulting on its debts if and when Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling — unless President Barack Obama is plotting a conspiracy not to pay the nation’s bills. …“They don’t mind seeing America suffer. And when you know — as I know you do — that we have enough money coming in every week to pay our — to keep from defaulting — now, we may have to keep some folks furloughed. Because as we know now, 94 percent of the [Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)] is non-essential. You know, we may have to ask some folks that are non-essential to stay home for a while longer. But there is no reason we should ever, ever default on our debts unless the president and the treasury secretary conspire to make us default.”

Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: It was Graves who took charge earlier this month in demanding that the defunding of Obamacare be a requirement for keeping open the government, and it is he who rebuffed Speaker John Boehner’s attempt… to keep the government running and delay the Obamacare fight until the debt ceiling showdown… “I’d like to see us keep that focus there,” said Graves. “We’ve got a responsibility to finish this up and let it play out.” [NOTE: read further down in this story. Graves doesn't pay his own bills.]

Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: “The American people have spoken already on this. They do not want Obamacare …. It is hurting people.” said [Hartzler].

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations:  [Says] he would vote against raising the debt ceiling before the government runs out of money on Oct. 17 unless he sees a long-term fiscal plan to balance the budget that also puts some restrictions on Obamacare. “I have done that in the past, but I’m not going to sit by and let the president of the United States threaten to use our senior citizens as pawns,” he said.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations:   Jordan – a politician with almost zero national profile – has emerged as the commander the House GOP’s opposition bloc, says Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian-leaning 33-year-old Republican from Michigan… “Leadership understands that if his concerns are not addressed, there could be a large group – 40 to 50 – that doesn’t stick with leadership on big votes.” [...] A determined minority in the House today can command powers of obstruction far greater than even the filibuster in the Senate. The big, strategic votes in the House are party-line affairs. Leadership needs 218 supporters to even bring a vote to the floor. To block the Cantor Plan, Jordan and his outside allies need to pick off just 17 defections, or fewer than 10 percent of RSC members
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) — debt ceiling is no biggie: “I don’t think the credit of the United states is going to be collapsed. I think that all this talk about a default has been a lot of demagoguery, false demagoguery. We have plenty of money coming in to service the debt. When we stop servicing the debt that would be default, we’re a long, long ways from that. We need to have cool heads and get to a solution.” King is hinting here at the idea that, even if the nation hits its debt limit, it could prioritize payments — taking money away from a certain group or program to direct it at making payments on the debt. Analysts called this plan “essentially impossible” when House Republicans suggested it during the last debt ceiling fight, after Republicans started crafting legislation to prioritize debt unless the president caved to deep spending cuts. A debt-prioritization scheme doesn’t stop the United States from defaulting on its obligations.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: “As long as we understand we need to get something” for the stopgap spending measure “and something for the debt ceiling, then everything’s on the table,” the Idaho Republican said yesterday in an interview.

Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: “All that really matters is what my district wants,” Massie said. “And my district is overwhelmingly in favor of my position.” His vaunted position is to defund Obamacare no matter what. Shut down the government over it? Yep. Destroy the full faith and credit of the United States by not raising the debt ceiling unless he and his cohorts get their way? You bet.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: McClintock … has sponsored a bill that requires Treasury to prioritize payments in the event of default, said he wanted to address the debt limit in “small increments within the trajectory” set by the House budget resolution, which erases the deficit in 10 years. The incremental increases would be paired with “incremental reforms necessary to remain on that trajectory.” [NOPE. See Steve King above.]

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: as the shutdown drags on and Obamacare falls off the negotiating table, it’s left Republicans struggling to answer a basic question: What’s the fight even about? Even Rep. Mark Meadows, who spearheaded the fight in the House to defund Obamacare in exchange for keeping the government open, has a hard time explaining. “This fight now has become about veterans, and about National Guard folks that perhaps—reservists that are not getting paid. That’s where the fight is today,” Meadows told reporters. “Obamacare is mandatory spending, it’s going on.” Describing phone calls from constituents asking why the government is closed, Meadows doesn’t cite Obamacare, but blames Democrats for being unwilling to fund individual parts of the government. [NOTE: next week they can put it back on the table.]

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations:  Neugebauer’s the one who publicly berated a National Park Service Ranger for a situation created entirely by Congress, then excused his behavior away by telling a local radio host: “A park ranger was quoted, saying, we were told to make this as painful as we possibly can. And that’s just the Obama administration playing games with our heroes.” Not for the first time, an anonymous quote has been used to prove a theory that works for House Republicans.

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations:  “Unless we have major reforms for the way our government spends, I am not going to sign some blind check for irresponsible policy,” said [Salmon], describing himself as a “hard” vote to get for raising the debt ceiling.

Rep. Mark “Appalachian Trail” Sanford (R-SC) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations:  During a visit to Hilton Head Island on Monday, U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford blamed the federal government shutdown on a failed congressional appropriations process, denying that a Republican effort to limit or block the health care law is the culprit. “The current debate in Washington, at the end of the day, is not really about the Affordable Care Act,” Sanford, R-Charleston, told the Hilton Head Island First Monday Republican Lunch Group. “It is about a fundamental breakdown that has occurred in this country on the way we spend money in Washington.”

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations:  Funding the government and raising the debt ceiling “don’t need to be tied together,” study committee Chairman Steve Scalise, R-La., told Politico. “The debt ceiling will have to be dealt with, but it’s got to be dealt with in a way that also puts reforms into place.” The strategy meeting of about 170 conservative GOP House members comes eight days before Oct. 17, the date the Treasury Department says it will hit the limit for paying on debt already incurred.

Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) – debt ceiling is no biggie:“I will hear language like, ‘Well, we are heading toward the debt ceiling and you are going to default.’ Anyone that says that is looking you in the eyes and lying to you, either that or they don’t own a calculator,” Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., said in a House debate Friday.

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)  — debt ceiling is no biggie: some–mainly Republicans—in Congress [are reasoning]: if we don’t know what’s going to happen because the country has never been down this road before, how can we be sure it’ll be so bad? “We don’t know, we haven’t ever done it,” [Stockman] told ABC News, when asked what happens if the debt limit isn’t increased on Oct. 17. Part two of this theory involves “prioritizing” debt payments, so that the government is able to pay the interest on the country’s debt, and postpone other payments.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)  and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) and “grand bargain” hostage negotiations: Yet a number of Texas lawmakers representing communities in and around Houston continue to offer unalloyed support for Cruz’s drive to begin dismantling portions of Obamacare in time for the 2014 midterm congressional elections. “We do watch what Ted does over in the Senate and we’re behind him – go fight that fight, make that stand, stand strong in the Senate,” says freshman Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland. “He’s been encouraging us to do the same thing in the House. We’re on the same team. We’re on the same wavelength.”

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) — debt ceiling is no biggie:

Also this“Stay the course, don’t give in on it, that’s what the people in my district are saying,” says Representative Ted Yoho (R., Fla.). “We did a town hall the other day, and 74 percent of people said, ‘don’t raise the debt ceiling.’”


Let’s be clear: 74% of Yoho’s gerrymandered teabagging base wants to see the debt ceiling breached — should that even matter to the rest of us? Why are Boehner and the other Republican members allowing the anarchists in gerrymandered districts like Yoho’s to dictate what happens to the rest of the country? Read above and ask yourself if any of these members sound even slightly rational, like people who will “negotiate” with others they may disagree with to re-open our government and pay its bills? All of these members have constituents like Yoho’s, but they only account for about 18% of the population. These teaparty members are rewarded for acting like anti-government insurgents—but where are all the other congressmen and senators?

Money quote from National Review:

“I think you’d see at least 50 to 60 Republicans break with Boehner if he went for something small,” predicts a House GOP aide who works closely with conservative members. “They’re also reluctant to even give Boehner a short-term debt-limit extension unless he gets something big in return.”

50 to 60 members—so what?! SO WHAT? Out of a total of 435 voting members who represent all 50 states and two political parties (one of which won the presidency and the senate), HOW THE FUCK did 50 to 60 members (or 80, depending on how you’re counting) become the only voices that matter in the U.S. House?

There are a total of 232 Republican members of the House, and it’s becoming alarmingly clear that Speaker Boehner and 151 Republican members are guilty, individually, of dereliction of duty–along with any Democratic House members who vote with them on reopening only their favorite parts of the government. 152 Republican congressmen (and, by extension of party messaging, 45 Republican senators) have willfully neglected the people they are duty-bound to represent (ALL of them), have willfully abandoned the Constitution they swore to protect, and have willfully refused to perform their duties to the people they represent and the government and its treasury and obligations. Here’s what they swore when they entered office:

“I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God” (5 U.S.C. §3331).

At the request of only 18% of the people of this nation, these Republican House members and senators have, so far, willfully handed over their duties to an anti-government faction of 80 extremists in one branch of one house, a faction which has already demanded and won a government shutdown, and who WILL happily demand a breach of the debt ceiling next week for the sole purpose of political showmanship over the Affordable Care Act—a four-year old law that was passed by the House and Senate, signed by the President, affirmed in the Supreme Court, and reaffirmed by a majority of the American public with President Obama’s reelection—along with other random, non-specified spending cuts. It’s extortion, pure and simple.

The Speaker could bring a clean budget bill to the House floor for a vote today and reopen the government. He could also bring a bill to the floor today to pay the government’s bills, raising the debt ceiling.  But instead of performing his duties, Boehner–and all the Republicans (and some Democrats)–are choosing instead to do the bidding of “50 to 60 Republicans” to extend this shutdown and breach the debt ceiling next week.

If that’s not dereliction of duty, I don’t know what is.

The enemy within: the cowards and anti-government insurgents of the GOP

“If the United States government, for the first time in its history, chooses not to pay its bills on time, we will be in default. There is no option that prevents us from being in default if we don’t have enough cash to pay our bills.” — Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, adding “Congress is playing with fire.”

The New York Times reports that “shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.”

 Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told George Stephanopoulos yesterday that there’s no way he’s going to bring up a “clean” debt limit increase for a vote and warned “that the U.S. will default on its debt unless President Barack Obama agrees to make policy concessions.”

“We’re not going to pass a clean debt limit increase,” he said. “I told the president, there’s no way we’re going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit. And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us.”

Lie. Boehner means there aren’t a majority of Republicans who are willing to pass a clean CR. Why won’t he let it go to the floor for a vote?

Meanwhile on Fox News SundayRep. Peter King (R-NY) admitted “we are the ones who did shut the government down.”

But while he reiterated his opposition to the strategy, he also said he would not act to require a vote to reopen the federal government. [...] Though King and at least 19 fellow Republicans have said they would vote for a clean bill to reopen the government immediately, none have voted with House Democrats on repeated attempts to hold a vote on doing so. A discharge petition, a little-used parliamentary maneuver used by a majority in the U.S. House to bring a bill to the floor without the Speaker’s consent, would require 217 signatures.

Kevin Drum explains how the Republican Party as a whole, and with John Boehner as its House Speaker, has become the party incapable of accepting ‘yes’ for an answer: An unnamed Republican congressman interviewed by Bryan York said, “Instead, it’s no, we’re not going to negotiate, we’re not going to negotiate, we’re not going to negotiate. Which means effectively you’re going to try to humiliate the Speaker in front of his conference. And how effective a negotiating partner do you think he’ll be then? You’re putting the guy in a position where he’s got nothing to lose, because you’re not giving him anything to win.”

[...] Here’s the thing: I agree with our unnamed congressman about the device tax. It’s a fairly small thing ($2-3 billion per year) and completely nonessential to Obamacare. It could be eliminated without harm, and it would give Boehner a small bit of face-saving that might allow him to pass a budget. If this had been the GOP’s initial ask, Democrats probably would have given in.

But after weeks and weeks of tea party rage and intransigence, that became impossible. By the end of September, the Republican strategy had become crystal clear: demand unceasing concessions from Democrats at every opportunity without offering anything in return and without any negotiation. A month ago, Democrats might have shrugged over the device tax. Today, they know perfectly well what it would mean to let it go. It means that when the debt ceiling deadline comes up, there will be yet another demand. When the 6-week CR is up, there will be yet another. If and when appropriations bills are passed, there will be yet another. We’ve already seen the list. There simply won’t be any end to the hostage taking. As their price for not blowing up the country, there will be an unending succession of short-term CRs and short-term debt limit extensions used as leverage for picking apart Obamacare—and everything else Democrats care about—piece by piece.

Both King and this unnamed congressman wish their party hadn’t shut down the government, but seem unwilling to do anything about it themselves. And now our government hits the debt ceiling next Thursday. Is there not even ONE Republican member of the House with an intact spine?

Josh Marshall remarks on a profile the Post did on freshman Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL). The focus is how he’s part of the faction who forced John Boehner to trigger the government shutdown and now wants to move along to default on the national debt. How bad will default be?

“I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets,” Yoho told the Post

Absorb that for a moment. He’s on the team that’s driving this bus. What would at best be a huge jolt to the global economy and more likely trigger a global financial crisis and do irreparable harm to the country, he thinks will actually improve things.

Couple this with the Times article [above] detailing how the current shutdown and soon to be default crisis was planned by a working group of top GOP money men and the major far right and Tea Party pressure groups in the immediate aftermath of the 2012 election.

Brian Beutler details what will happen when America reaches its debt limit:

Once the Treasury can no longer borrow to finance deficits, it will have to arbitrarily slash spending on everything the government does — from defense, to social insurance, to medical research, and eventually to debt service.

The government currently borrows about 30 cents on every dollar, which means that irrespective of the impact on U.S. creditworthiness and global financial markets, the effects on these services will be enormous. Probably something like four or five times the impact of sequestration, but with no exemptions. And the only way to exempt anything (at least in theory) is to either force the administration to direct revenues toward favored services, which would mean much deeper cuts to everything else, or to allow the Treasury to borrow specifically to finance those services. In other words, to increase the debt limit but only for targeted purposes.

[...] The GOP’s current position thus boils down to to the laughable idea that nothing’s more important than reopening federal monuments, funding clinical trials, and spending money on veterans services for two weeks, until we breach the debt limit and they have to be shut down again.

Paul Krugman thinks that “GOP leaders fundamentally misjudged the situation (and Obama’s incentives). And now they have backed themselves into a position where they don’t know how to back down — they have to extract concessions or they’ll have been “disrespected,” in a situation where Obama simply can’t make any concessions without destroying his own credibility and betraying the fundamental norms of governance.”

So Krugman describes what the endgame will look like on Oct. 17: 

The assumption has been that Republicans will finally be moved to act by the market freakout. But given their behavior so far, why would you believe this? …My bet now is that we actually do go over the line for a day or two. And what ends the immediate crisis is not Republican action but a decision by Obama to declare himself not bound by the debt ceiling. He can’t even hint at this possibility until the thing actually happens, because he has to keep the focus on the Republicans, and he has to make them demonstrate their utter irresponsibility before he can take any extraordinary action.

But maybe I’m wrong; maybe Obama’s lawyers have concluded that there’s really nothing he can do. If so, God help us all.