October 10, 2013 at 8:34 am #97949
President Barack Obama nominated Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve’s vice chair, Wednesday afternoon to be chairman of the nation’s powerful central bank. She succeeds Ben Bernanke at a pivotal time for the economy and the Fed’s monetary policies.
As you make it through the day, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.October 10, 2013 at 8:34 am #97950
Good Morning, EveryoneOctober 10, 2013 at 8:45 am #97953
GOP sets trap, falls in, seeks way out
By Steve Benen
Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:00 AM EDT
Just a few weeks ago, congressional Republicans had high hopes about pending showdowns in Washington. They’d target an unpopular health care law; the public would rally behind them; Democrats would splinter; Republicans would unify; and President Obama would cave. It’d be … awesome.
We now know, of course, that none of these things actually happened. Indeed, as Rachel noted last night, yesterday seemed to mark a turning point — Republican leaders started moving away from their “Obamacare” demands; powerhouse conservative groups publicly distanced themselves from GOP strategies; and polls pointed to a flailing and failing party.
Last week, the consensus in Republican circles seemed to be, “We can win this thing.” Yesterday, party officials transitioned to, “We need to get out of this thing.”
House Republicans, increasingly isolated from even some of their strongest supporters more than a week into a government shutdown, began on Wednesday to consider a path out of the fiscal impasse that would raise the debt ceiling for a few weeks as they press for a broader deficit reduction deal. [...]
At the same time, Congressional leaders from both parties began some preliminary discussions aimed at reopening the government and raising the statutory borrowing limit.
It’d be an exaggeration to say a resolution is near. Rather, yesterday marked the point at which the prevailing winds started changing direction — Republican leaders who’ve pushed aggressive demands and made unprecedented threats shifted their posture, looking for a way out of the mess they created for themselves.October 10, 2013 at 8:47 am #97954
Editorial: Dear Rep. Yoho
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 7, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.
Dear U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho:
It has been nearly a year since you were elected to your first term in Congress. Given your Alachua County ties and two University of Florida degrees, we were cautiously optimistic that you would have a better appreciation of our community’s values and priorities than your predecessor.
We’ve been proven wrong so far. The latest evidence is your recent comments to The Washington Post about being one of the tea-party backed Republicans who forced a government shutdown over funding for the Affordable Care Act.
“Why in the world would Ted Yoho ever back down?” the story begins. You shared with the reporter messages from constituents supporting the shutdown, including a text message that said “Way to go, tiger” and another that simply said “Shutdown” with a smiley face.
The Sun has received very different messages from your constituents. We received 11 letters to the editor about you on Sunday alone, the day the Post’s story appeared on our front page. Every one of them opposed your position, with writers saying they were “ashamed,” “disappointed,” and “horrified” by your actions.
The Post story said you were “planning for a bigger act of defiance” in refusing to raise the debt ceiling before the Treasury runs out of money later this month. Your comment that the action would “bring stability to world markets” defies logic as well as the opinion of numerous economists who predict it would cause another recession.
Maybe you just don’t care what anyone thinks, whether they be economic experts or your constituents. The Post story included you taking a call from a Gainesville resident who asked you to support a “clean” funding bill that would reopen the government. After telling the caller that you’re “working on getting something resolved” as fast as possible, you hung up and told the reporter that you would not budge another inch.
Rather than give lip service to your constituents, it’s time for you to listen. End the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling without resorting to blackmail. If you’re so convinced that you’re right, do the right thing and go through the normal legislative process rather than threatening to cause a recession to get what you want.October 10, 2013 at 8:51 am #97955
Where there’s a Will there’s no way
By Steve Benen
Wed Oct 9, 2013 4:02 PM EDT.
A couple of weeks ago, President Obama gave a speech in Maryland, mocking Republican apoplexy surrounding the Affordable Care Act. He quoted one state lawmaker in New Hampshire comparing the law to the Fugitive Slave Act, causing the audience to audibly gasp.
It was an understandable reaction. What kind of person thinks of the Fugitive Slave Act when discussing a moderate health care law? What’s that, George Will? You have something to contribute to this?October 10, 2013 at 9:56 am #97956
October 09, 2013 5:02 PM
Race and Anti-Government Fanaticism
By Ed Kilgore
There’s a useful piece available at ThinkProgress today from Zack Beauchamp about the recent racial history of the Republican Party and its contribution to conservative radicalism. You should keep it on hand for the next time Rand Paul or Kevin Williamson tries to convince you that the GOP is the uninterrupted party of civil rights.
But Beauchamp’s piece is valuable beyond its utility as a mental laxative for use against revisionist histories and outright lies. He helps us understand how racial fears helped turn the white southerners who were busy switching parties from the 1960s to the 1990s into hard-core economic as well as cultural conservatives.
For one thing, obviously enough, long before Goldwater became the first GOP presidential nominee to oppose a major civil rights bill, southern segregationists got into the habit of cooperating with the more rigorously conservative northern Republicans who fought the New Deal and the Fair Deal much as they later fought the Great Society. So once they switched parties, their natural allies were the more conservative Republicans who shared their generally reactionary (in the literal and figurative senses of the term) outlook.
But in addition, after Jim Crow died, the anti-civil-rights agenda became more overtly anti-government:October 10, 2013 at 10:15 am #97957
Remember that young student from the HBCU that was at the center of the big North Carolina voter suppression case…he was running for city council and the GOP man tried to have him kicked off the ballot because him being a student didn’t qualify as residency.
Last we checked in…he had won his case at the State Board of Elections in North Carolina, so the next stop was the election..
HE WON the City Council Seat!!!
Here’s the Maddow segment with the update on him.October 10, 2013 at 10:20 am #97958
Ted Cruz struggles to explain fiasco of his own making
By Steve Benen
Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:11 AM EDT.
Back in August, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) assured his fellow Republicans that a “tsunami” of public support was on the way. If the GOP fought to take away health care benefits and shut down the federal government, everything would turn out great.
Cruz no doubt considers himself a man of many talents, but political prognostications don’t appear to be his strength. Neither, it turns out, is the ability to read a poll.
The “tsunami” certainly didn’t materialize, and Republicans’ popularity, which was weak before, is abysmal now. The party hoped to avoid blame for the shutdown crisis, and that hasn’t worked out, either. One would like to assume Cruz is feeling a little sheepish right about now.
Except, as David Drucker reports, the right-wing Texan is actually doubling down on his bad bet.October 10, 2013 at 10:40 am #97959
The Morning Plum: Boehner blinks
By Greg Sargent, Updated: October 10, 2013
The House GOP game on the debt limit has long been painfully obvious for anyone who cared to pay any attention to the ruse at its core. GOP leaders insist Dems must give them whatever they demand in exchange for averting economic catastrophe — without saying whether they will actually allow default in the end. This “strategic ambiguity” has allowed Republicans to claim the debt limit as leverage while shielding themselves from charges that they are recklessly putting the economy at risk to get their way.
Today brings more confirmation that, No, John Boehner will not actually allow default in the end.
Multiple reports this morning tell us that the House GOP is set to roll out yet another strategy. They appear ready to support a “clean” six week debt limit hike, while keeping the government shut down and using that as their leverage to keep up the fight against Obamacare. Byron York has this key tidbit from a private meeting, revealing why GOP leaders are prepared to take the debt limit off the table:
At the meeting, Boehner pointed to the events of September 2008, when the economy was in free-fall and lawmakers first considered TARP, to illustrate the risk of pushing past the debt limit. Back then, the House at first rejected the hastily-conceived TARP proposal, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 700 points. Now, with the House facing a debt limit standoff that could result in default, the Speaker doesn’t want a replay of unhappy events. “Boehner said it’s too hot,” said the House Republican of the debt fight. “He doesn’t want to go there.”
Right, so Boehner is not prepared to allow default in the end. But what happens after this clean debt limit hike? Per the Wall Street Journal, House Republicans want to set up talks that would use the next debt limit deadline as leverage:
Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, outlined a plan Wednesday to fellow conservatives to extend the nation’s borrowing limit for four to six weeks, paired with a framework for broader deficit-reduction talks, according to lawmakers briefed on the proposal. The greater the spending reduction the talks produced, the longer the next extension of the debt ceiling would be under Mr. Ryan’s plan.
This is a neat illustration of the basic disconnect here. GOP leaders won’t allow default — and are explicitly proving it right now by coalescing around a clean debt limit increase. Many conservatives prefer to use the shutdown as leverage against Obamacare. And yet, Republicans still won’t let go of using the debt limit as leverage to force other concessions later because … well, just because.
Meanwhile, some GOP leaders are backing off the idea of winning any substantial concessions on Obamacare, and want to “refocus” on entitlements and broader fiscal issues, while some conservatives want the war on Obamacare (via the shutdown as leverage) to continue. Republicans can’t decide where their real leverage lies, and they can’t agree on what concessions they should be using that leverage — wherever it does lie, if anywhere – to extract.
The new idea appears to be that if Republicans keep the government shutdown status quo alive long enough — deferring default for the time being — then vulnerable Dems will ultimately cave and give up…something. But what? No one knows. And at any rate, all of this chaos will only make it more likely that Dems remain united behind their insistence that there will be no negotiations until threat conditions are lifted.October 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm #97984
House GOP leaders look for a way out
By Greg Sargent, Updated: October 10, 2013
House Republican leaders just rolled out their new plan for a way out of the crisis: A temporary debt limit hike, through November 22nd, coupled with a demand that Democrats enter into budget talks. The government would remain closed.
The White House has said it is open to a short term debt limit increase, as long as it remains clean. However, in a statement today, a White House official reiterated that no negotiations would take place unless Republicans agree to a clean debt limit hike and to reopening the government.
Here’s the core point that remains unclear. Will Republicans agree to lift the debt limit temporarily and cleanly if Democrats don’t agree to enter into negotiations?
I put that question to a House GOP leadership aide. His answer: “We’ll see.”
For all practical purposes, what this means is that we still don’t know whether the House GOP plan to raise the debt limit temporarily is conditioned on what Democrats do. In other words, Republicans still appear to be trying to use the debt limit as leverage to force Dems to enter into talks, without the government getting reopened — even as they are suggesting they may be willing to raise it temporarily.
It’s also unclear how these talks would be structured, in the sense of whether they would be tied to any future raising of the debt limit. The embrace by House Republican leaders of a temporary debt limit hike would appear to indicate that they are not prepared to allow default under any circumstances. But Paul Ryan reportedly told Republicans in a closed door meeting yesterday that the next debt limit hike would be contingent on how much in spending cuts Dems are willing to concede.
At their presser today, House GOP leaders didn’t offer any clarification on how (or whether) the talks they desire would be tied to any future debt limit hike.
On CNBC this morning, Chuck Schumer gave the idea of a temporary debt limit hike the thumbs down, but didn’t rule out supporting it. “We prefer it to be much longer — the longer the better,” he said. “If they’re already admitting that we should raise the debt ceiling without these political fights that they’ve been causing, then why not just do it for a good period of time, and get it out of the way.”October 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm #97985
Former Detroit mayor sentenced to 28 years in prison
Detroit’s former mayor, convicted earlier this year on wide-ranging corruption charges, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to 28 years in prison.
Prosecutors had asked for at least that long a sentence.
Kwame Kilpatrick, 43, was found guilty March 11 of 24 of 30 counts of corruption, including five counts of extortion, racketeering, bribery and several mail, wire and tax fraud charges. On three counts he was found not guilty, and on the remaining three no verdict was reached.
Kilpatrick’s lawyer, Harold Gurewitz, had asked for 15 years. U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds made the final decision, commenting on the tens of millions of dollars lost to city workers’ pensions and how Kilpatrick took bribes from vendors. She said she would have a hearing within 90 days to determine restitution.
“One thing is certain,” Edmunds said. “It was the citizens of Detroit who suffered.”October 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm #97986
October 10, 2013 1:31 PM
The “Grand” Perspective
By Ed Kilgore
As we all go down our various rabbit-holes in trying to understand the fiscal crisis situation, much of which seems to be playing out in John Boehner’s nicotine-soaked brain, it’s appropriate to step back and look at it all from a broader perspective.
What’s ultimately going on here is that congressional Republicans (and their “conservative base”) are determined to do something big on “entitlements,” despite their loss of the White House and the Senate in 2012. Yes, they are strategically divided between conventional conservatives pursuing Paul Ryan’s well-trod path of indirectly undermining the entitlement status of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid though stealth and gimmicks, and Tea Folk determined to make a frontal assault on Obamacare as the “tipping point” after which America lurches into socialist slavery. But it’s all part of the same big policy goal of stopping any extension of the New Deal/Great Society legacy and then reversing it.
But the Republican obsession with their version of what is so imprecisely referred to as “entitlement reform” is exceeded by another obsession of theological dimensions: opposition to high-end tax increases. Their nemesis, Barack Obama, has refused to give them “entitlement reform” (even a pale version of it) without high-end tax increases. So they are stymied unless fearful liberals are correct that Obama will, with enough pressure, cave and give GOPers what they want without what they refuse to accept as a price. This whole hostage-taking exercise is a test of whether they can generate enough pressure to make Obama surrender his iron equation of “entitlement reforms” and tax hikes. That’s what the current Republican demand for “grand bargain” talks is really about, as Ezra Klein noted this morning at Wonkblog:
Republicans don’t want to raise taxes. They want to get the spending cuts they support in return for nothing. And that’s what the shutdown/debt-ceiling fight is about now. The Republicans believe that instead of trading taxes for entitlement cuts they can trade reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling for entitlement cuts. Since they actually support reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling that means they’re not trading anything at all.October 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm #97987
Big Business feels neglected by GOP allies
By Steve Benen
Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:44 AM EDT.
There are natural constituencies in party politics that have been cultivated for generations. In general, the Democratic coalition includes groups like labor unions and civil rights activists, while the Republican coalition features the NRA and evangelical conservatives.
But on the GOP’s side of the divide, there’s one powerhouse that’s generally dominated: Big Business. Private-sector industry leaders and corporate lobbyists are accustomed to getting their way in Republican politics, and it’s precisely why so many deep-pocketed donors spent so heavily in support of GOP candidates in 2010 and 2012, expecting an impressive return on investment.
Oops.October 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm #97988
Boehner wants to keep one hostage, briefly let the other go
By Steve Benen
Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:58 PM EDT.
Have you looked at the major Wall Street indexes this morning? As I type, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up over 200 points, and as a matter of percentage, the S&P and Nasdaq indexes are doing even better. After weeks in which stocks were on a downward trend, what caused the sudden spike?
Wall Street is now under the impression that congressional Republicans are not going to use the debt ceiling to crash the economy on purpose. This leads to a variety of questions, not the least of which is whether Wall Street’s exuberance is rational.
It may not be. Jane Timm reports from Capitol Hill:
On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner proposed a short-term debt ceiling increase — if President Obama will negotiate on opening the government.
That plan may be presented to Obama this afternoon, when a delegation of Republican negotiators will meet at the White House.October 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm #97989
So Kanye West was on Jimmy Kimmel Last Night
[ 2 ] October 10, 2013 | Luvvie
Last night, Kanye West went on Jimmy Kimmel‘s show to talk about their recent beef. Some people think it was the most brilliant interview they’ve ever seen and some wanna get Kanye to his therapist ASAPtually. We’ve all become armchair psychiatrists in the process.
Let me give a quick synopsis for those who missed the drama from last week.
The interview was really colorful though, as Kanye expressed himself in his best Kanye way. And it was great to see the two men hash out their issues, in a calm way. Kanye did admit that he may have overreacted and Jimmy seems to have been sorry for offending ‘Ye. But there were many moments of side-eye from my end.
* Kanye said he doesn’t do publicity stunts. THE DEVIL IS A LAH! As if his last three years haven’t read like one giant publicity stunt. I need him to STOP (drop, shut em down and open up reality).
* Kanye told Jimmy that since they KNOW each other, he doesn’t understand why Jimmy would make fun of him. Ummm… Mr. West, he’s a comedian and you’re RIPE for roast. Kimmel tells Kanye that he always does skits where he replaces celebrities with kids who say their words. He even did it to Lady Gaga.
* Kanye was talmbout “I’m not a rapper. I’m a messenger.” Lemme find out he’s also one of Jesus’ disciples because he will just stop short of that.
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