September 23, 2013 at 8:37 am #96988
The President spoke at the CBC’s annual dinner on Saturday.
As you begin a new week, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate.
Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.September 23, 2013 at 8:42 am #96989
Good Morning, EveryoneSeptember 23, 2013 at 8:45 am #96990
Obama reminds GOP: U.S. is ‘not a deadbeat nation’
By Steve Benen
Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:00 AM EDT.
President Obama’s weekly addresses are generally rather laid back and non-confrontational, so it was all the more striking to see the president use the platform to warn Americans about the looming Republican-imposed crises, while chastising the GOP lawmakers themselves.
After arguing that the economy continues to find its footing, Obama added, “[A]fter five years spent digging out of crisis, the last thing we need is for Washington to manufacture another. But that’s what will happen in the next few weeks if Congress doesn’t meet two deadlines.”
The first, obviously, is keeping the government’s lights on, and that deadline is now just one week away. The president marveled that “a faction on the far right of the Republican Party” would “actually plunge this country back into recession — all to deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.”
The second is raising the debt ceiling, which makes it possible for the nation to pay its bills. Note how Obama tried to help the public understand the issue a little better: “This is important: raising the debt ceiling is not the same as approving more spending. It lets us pay for what Congress already spent. It doesn’t cost a dime, or add a penny to our deficit. In fact, right now, our deficits are already falling at the fastest rate since the end of World War II. And by the end of this year, we’ll have cut our deficits by more than half since I took office.”
And with that, Obama made his position clear:
The United States of America is not a deadbeat nation. We are a compassionate nation. We are the world’s bedrock investment. And doing anything to threaten that is the height of irresponsibility. That’s why I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States. I will not allow anyone to harm this country’s reputation, or threaten to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people, just to make an ideological point.September 23, 2013 at 11:08 am #96991
Ted Cruz’s shutdown scheme takes shape
By Steve Benen
Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:34 AM EDT
Intra-party tensions among congressional Republicans boiled over last week when House Republicans, after embracing a far-right government-shutdown plan, heard Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) declare that the entire effort will almost certainly fail.
As of now, however, Cruz is moving forward anyway, pushing a shutdown scheme he expects to flop. The right-wing Texan made his case on Fox News yesterday morning, and fleshed out his plan further in an op-ed this morning on a conservative website.
If Senate Republicans stay strong and hold true to their previous commitments to defund Obamacare, we will force Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make a choice: keep the government open, or shut it down in the name of funding a glitch-riddled health care takeover that is killing jobs, wages, and health care benefits all across the nation.
I always worry that writing about legislative procedures is too boring for readers, but in this case, it’s important — and there’s no other way to tell the story — so stick with me for a minute.
Congress has a week to pass a spending bill before the government shuts down. The House GOP leadership originally wanted to make it easy for the Senate to fund the Affordable Care Act and avoid a crisis, but rank-and-file House Republicans refused to go along. On Friday, the House majority instead approved the exact measure the far-right wanted to see, including the “defund Obamacare” provisionSeptember 23, 2013 at 11:11 am #96992
That’s not what ‘bipartisan’ means
By Steve Benen
Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:14 AM EDT.
Last week, the House approved a plan to defund the Affordable Care Act as part of a misguided government-shutdown scheme. Immediately thereafter, GOP officials had one adjective in mind.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) boasted, “It wasn’t just a group of Republicans. It was a bipartisan vote.” Soon after, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) hailed the “strong bipartisan majority” that “voted to defund Obamacare.”
I put together this chart in the hopes of clarifying matters a bit. In all, the spending bill passed with 230 votes — 228 Republicans and 2 conservative Democrats (both of whom voted against the Affordable Care Act three years ago). Meanwhile, 189 House members voted against it — 188 Democrats and one Republican. (On the image, it might look like only two columns, but there are actually four. The cross-over votes barely register.)
As a technical matter, was support for the bill “bipartisan”? Perhaps, though by the same reasoning, opposition to the bill was also bipartisan.
That said, if you look at this chart and see a “strong bipartisan majority,” you’re either (a) lying; (b) blind; or (c) so far gone that you no longer know what those words even meanSeptember 23, 2013 at 11:16 am #96993
Sometimes, a pox on just one house will do
By Steve Benen
Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:54 AM EDT.
The New York Times reported yesterday on the Sunday shows’ commentary, telling readers, “With eight days left to avert a possible government shutdown, Congressional leaders from both parties on Sunday passed around blame and resorted to name-calling…. Republicans and Democrats accused each other of being responsible for the impasse.”
Of course, this makes it sound as if the ongoing disputes on Capitol Hill are just the usual partisan bickering, instead of a debate in which one side is being needlessly destructive and extreme.
Late last week, Joe Gandelman raised a similar argument, saying the political center is “dead in America,” with both parties “veering toward the fringes and refusing to compromise.” For proof, Gandelman noted that the left disapproved of Larry Summers to lead the Federal Reserve, while the right is pushing for a government shutdown and the sabotage of the federal health care law.
But it was this Washington Post op-ed from Steve LaTourette, a former Republican congressman from Ohio, which pushed the “blame both sides” tack to the breaking point.September 23, 2013 at 11:30 am #96995
Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing
Sun Sep 22nd, 2013 at 11:46:42 PM EST
I don’t really know what to say about Alex MacGillis’s long piece on long-time Clinton right-hand man Doug Band. It’s a great work of journalism. It’s quite interesting. I’m just not sure what it means or quite why it matters.
I didn’t really get much of a feel for who Mr. Band is as a person. He doesn’t appear to be a liar or a scoundrel. He’s made some enemies, but not particularly dedicated ones, and not for anything particularly deplorable. He’s ambitious, possible more ambitious than is healthy. Maybe he’s walked along some precipitous ethical lines, but he hasn’t wandered right off the cliff. It’s possible that he abused President Clinton’s trust, but that’s between the two of them.
I’m not sure why so much attention is suddenly being paid to Mr. Band. He also comes up in Joe Hagan’s big Hillary profile in New York magazine. It seems like he’s being set up as the Fall Guy in case anything unseemly comes out of his time running the Clinton Global Initiative. We are to understand that Chelsea is in charge now, and she is none too happy with the mess she’s inherited from Mr. Band.
Whatever the case, he doesn’t seem like a guy who we should be worried about. I have always been concerned about some of the characters in the Clinton entourage. People like Dick Morris and Lanny Davis don’t inspire confidence. I never liked the Carville/Matalin schtick, and Terry McAuliffe makes my skin crawl. What can we say about characters like Doug Schoen and Mark Penn?
In comparison, Mr. Band seems somewhat better than average. He can probably take credit for getting Bill Clinton to function at a passable level. The one thing that actually concerns me is that this is just one more example of how much drama comes with the Clinton package. People occasionally try to make the Obama operation dramatic by saying that people were unhappy with Stephanie Cutter or that David Axelrod lacked confidence in Jim Messina, or whatever. But that kind of stuff seems like manufactured drama. It’s like people have to seek it out and amplify it to make it into anything at all. In Clintonworld, the drama is real, and it is everywhere.
And I am not looking forward to version 4.0, or whatever it is up to by now.September 23, 2013 at 11:31 am #96996
The Morning Plum: Why won’t the GOP establishment let Ted Cruz defund Obamacare?
By Greg Sargent, Updated: September 23, 2013
As we head into the week that will help determine whether House Republicans stick to their crusade to defund or delay Obamacare, which could result in a government shutdown and possibly default after that, Senator Ted Cruz has penned a new op ed piece for Real Clear Politics that provides new clues to where all of this is headed.
Embedded in Cruz’s op ed is a tacit admission that his scheme may well fail. But never fear — Cruz has figured out a way to keep right on blaming House Republicans, and the GOP establishment, if and when that happens.
As you know, House Republicans have passed a bill temporarily funding the government at current sequester levels while defunding Obamacare. Senate Dems are likely to amend that bill to strip out the Obamacare defunding and send it back to the House. But Cruz says that doesn’t have to happen. Cruz is calling on Senate Republicans to stand united in filibustering this bill before Reid can pass any changes to it via a simple majority vote:
The next step is critical. Senate Republicans should demand a 60-vote threshold for any effort that would add Obamacare funding back into the House bill. This is the battle line: Senate Republicans must stop Reid from rejecting the House bill and adding Obamacare funding with merely 51 votes.
Cruz reiterated this demand on Fox News Sunday. As Jonathan Chait notes, calling on Republicans to filibuster their own defund-Obamacare bill is absurd on its face. It will fail in any case, because a number of Senate Republicans think the defund-Obamacare scheme is bat-bleep insane.
But Cruz’s strategy gets even more absurd than this. Pay close attention to what Cruz’s op ed says about what should come after that:
The House should stand its ground, and if Reid kills this Continuing Resolution then the House should pass smaller CRs one at a time, starting with the military. Dare Reid to keep voting to shut down the government.September 23, 2013 at 11:34 am #96997
The problems with white allies and white privilege
The anti-racist struggle needs to move beyond ideas of white privilege and white allies, writes scholar.
Tanya Golash-Boza Last Modified: 20 Sep 2013 10:50
…In general, I am not in favour of personal attacks on people as these attacks are not productive. Instead, I’d like to focus here on two concepts that I think deserve some reconsideration: “white allies” and “white privilege.” These concepts are at the centre of this debate about the role of whites in anti-racist activism.
The concepts of “white allies” and “white privilege” are problematic insofar as they rely on an individualist-based notion of how racism works when racism is a structural problem and needs to be addressed as such.
…You see, I think that calling people out for being racist should not be at the centre of the struggle against racism. I see racism as deeply rooted in structures of power, not in individual white bigots. Racism is structural and has to be fought against from that standpoint. We are not going to win the battle against racism one bigot at a time.
Furthermore, I don’t fight against racism on behalf of my
black, Latino, Asian, and Native American brothers and sisters. As Andy Smith pointed out on Twitter yesterday, people of colour are fully capable of fighting on their own behalf. Instead, I fight against racism because I want a better society for all. For me, it is not a privilege to live in a racist society.September 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm #96998
Miss America fights post-pageant racism with a beauty queen’s poise
By Maura Judkis, Published: September 22
Nina Davuluri is halfway out the door of one of the dining rooms at Sequoia in Georgetown on Saturday when the applause begins. She has just finished lunch with members of theUpakar Foundation — an Indian American scholarship foundation, her first nonmedia appearance since taking the Miss America title on Sept. 15 — and since she’s not wearing her crown, it has taken this long for the rest of the room to catch on to who she is.
“Oh!” she says, laughing uncomfortably. “Thank you!”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-america-fights-post-pageant-racism-with-a-beauty-queens-poise/2013/09/22/a90590ac-22f8-11e3-966c-9c4293c47ebe_story.html?tid=pm_labs_lifestyle_pop&_monetaClick=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-September 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm #96999
Charles Pierce: The Heavy Price Of Chuck Todd’s Ignorance
The gang at Media Matters has done a great job demonstrating how a faked-up Fox News “Special Report” on the food stamp program, starring a surfer straight from Moocher Central Casting, is having real-world consequences for the millions of people who depend on the SNAP program to eat everyday.
…. And this is what is really goddamn dangerous about what my man Chuck Todd said the other day. (Chuck’s feeling a bit put upon these days. Tough.) According to Chuck’s notion of what his job is, when conservative politicians latch onto a phony Fox News story in order to make policy, it is the job of the Democrats – or, perhaps, of the SNAP recipients themselves, who have, as we know, virtually unlimited access to the airwaves – to correct the arrant bullshit. Or, when politicians of both parties latch onto a phony “scandal” in the SSI program, it is the job of the embattled people running the program – or, perhaps, of Marcus Stephens’s parents, both of whom were, of course, important newspaper columnists of the day – to get out the truth. Chuck’s just the messenger. Thus does the oligarchy tell stories to itself.September 23, 2013 at 12:16 pm #97000
John Boehner Is Letting GOP Extremists Hold the Government Hostage
How could he allow the spending bill defunding Obamacare to reach the House floor? He’s not even trying to stand up to the GOP’s hostage takers—and he’s easily the worst speaker in modern history.
by Michael Tomasky Sep 23, 2013 5:45 AM EDT
Here are the two questions that really matter this week as we head toward a possible government shutdown. How many Republicans in the House really would consider a shutdown as some kind of victory? And what is John Boehner prepared to do about them? Whatever the answer to the first question, the answer to the second is almost sure to be “not much.” Boehner is easily the worst House speaker in modern history. Far from being the figure of perverse sympathy that some suggest, he embodies exactly what’s wrong with the GOP—mainstream conservatism’s total capitulation to the extremists. He’s a disgrace.
We’ve come to expect the Big Crazy from these Republicans, so we all kind of accepted the idea Friday that the House attached the defund-Obamacare provisions to its resolution to keep funding the government. But really. Stop and think about it. It’s totally outrageous that a speaker of the House of Representatives would even allow such a measure to get to the floor. The speaker is the second–most important person in the country in terms of making the country work. He’s more important than the Senate leader because spending bills must originate in the House, and the House, which in theory is closer to the people, was always envisioned as the body that would do more to drive the nation’s legislative agenda. It’s not for nothing that the speaker of the House is third in the line of presidential succession. He’s not supposed to agree with the president, but he is supposed to agree that the government should exist and do affirmative things.
And what do we have? A speaker who has permitted 40 votes repealing a duly passed law and who then agreed to let his extremists hold the operation of the entire government hostage to its fantasies. And fantasies they are. Everyone knows that. Obamacare is not being defunded. Even Ted Cruz knows it deep down.
Imagine if the Democrats had pulled something similar in recent years. Say, if Nancy Pelosi had threatened a government shutdown over some law that had passed while George W. Bush was president and Denny Hastert was speaker. Oh, the thunderation we’d have heard! The howlers on the right would have relished bringing up nullification, comparing Pelosi and the Democrats with the South Carolinians of the 1830s. They would have loved that chance to compare Democrats with the racist kooks who drove the country to civil war. They would have had the power to create a reality in which most Americans were persuaded that Pelosi was channeling Angela Davis, threatening the FBI with furloughs and the military with deep cuts because she caved in to her caucus’s looney wing trying to refight a battle she lost legislatively when it mattered.September 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm #97001
Al-Monitor ✔ @AlMonitor
Big news that Zarif will meet Kerry. Another sign of Iran’s seriousness. Hope US is too. – KP
9:10 AM – 23 Sep 2013September 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm #97007
Free to Be Hungry
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: September 22, 2013
The word “freedom” looms large in modern conservative rhetoric. Lobbying groups are given names like FreedomWorks; health reform is denounced not just for its cost but as an assault on, yes, freedom. Oh, and remember when we were supposed to refer to pommes frites as “freedom fries”?
The right’s definition of freedom, however, isn’t one that, say, F.D.R. would recognize. In particular, the third of his famous Four Freedoms — freedom from want — seems to have been turned on its head. Conservatives seem, in particular, to believe that freedom’s just another word for not enough to eat.
Hence the war on food stamps, which House Republicans have just voted to cut sharply even while voting to increase farm subsidies.
In a way, you can see why the food stamp program — or, to use its proper name, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) — has become a target. Conservatives are deeply committed to the view that the size of government has exploded under President Obama but face the awkward fact that public employment is down sharply, while overall spending has been falling fast as a share of G.D.P. SNAP, however, really has grown a lot, with enrollment rising from 26 million Americans in 2007 to almost 48 million now.
Conservatives look at this and see what, to their great disappointment, they can’t find elsewhere in the data: runaway, explosive growth in a government program. The rest of us, however, see a safety-net program doing exactly what it’s supposed to do: help more people in a time of widespread economic distress.September 23, 2013 at 1:40 pm #97008
In Law School, Ted Cruz Refused To Study With People Who Didn’t Go To Harvard, Yale Or Princeton
BY IAN MILLHISER ON SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 AT 11:20 AM
Contrary to the new image Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is currently presenting as theleader of a “grassroots tsunami” calling for a government shutdown if the Affordable Care Act is not defunded, a much younger Ted Cruz was far more reluctant to mingle with the hoi polloi. According to a lengthy profile of Cruz by GQ’s Jason Zengerle, “[a]s a law student at Harvard, he refused to study with anyone who hadn’t been an undergrad at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. Says Damon Watson, one of Cruz’s law-school roommates: ‘He said he didn’t want anybody from ‘minor Ivies’ like Penn or Brown.’”
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