H/t: Steve Marmel
I have no doubt that the actual chalkboard at a GOP strategy session looks much like the one depicted above. It is clear enough to anyone that’s been following the right’s clown show that Republicans have no desire to govern for the next three years. It’s all about obstructing and dismantling and what they can’t get done at the federal level, they’ll try to implement at the state level. They’ve already accomplished much with voter suppression and anti-choice laws in red states…but here’s a bit of good news breaking out of Texas.
A federal judge in Texas on Monday blocked an important part of the state’s restrictive new abortion law, which would have required doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The decision, one day before the provision was to take effect, prevented a major disruption of the abortion clinics in Texas. It was a victory for abortion rights groups and clinics that said the measure served no medical purpose and could force as many as one-third of the state’s 36 abortion clinics to close.
Nice but you know that this is going to end up in the Supreme Court soon enough. The crazy people refuse to take no for an answer.
144 Republicans Vote For Shutdown & Default… SURPRISE! Conservatives Rally Around Boehner… Senate GOP Leadership SPLIT… Cruz: ‘A Terrible Deal’… McConnell Sneaks In Earmark… POLL: Tea Party Hits New Low…
The government shutdown is dead. Obamacare is alive.
The Senate voted 81 to 18 Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, hours before the Treasury Department faced the possibility of being unable to pay all of America’s bills for the first time in modern history.
The House followed suit, voting 285-144, to end the latest damaging battle of divided government in a polarized Congress.
President Barack Obama signed the legislation early Thursday. He said he would reopen the government immediately to “lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease” that settled on the nation and start fixing the damage.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks,” Obama said in a brief speech at the White House.
The standoff began over the summer, when tea party Republicans, led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, demanded that the House of Representatives lock government funding in a chokehold unless Democrats and Obama defunded the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats opted for defend over defund, with Obama declaring he would not negotiate over his signature law, the budget or the debt while Republicans were holding hostages.
It set up 16 days of furloughed federal workers, closed parks, halted safety inspections, and the estimated loss of $24 billion in economic activity. The ugly headlines overshadowed the bumpy rollout of Obamacare.
Boehner and the tea party were finally forced to release their grip Wednesday by a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. Senate that said enough is enough, and the looming deadline of potential default starting Thursday.
“The House has fought with everything it has to convince the president of the United States to engage in bipartisan negotiations aimed at addressing our country’s debt and providing fairness for the American people under ObamaCare,” Boehner said after he finally waved the white flag. “That fight will continue. But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us.”
All that Republicans got for the bruising battle was a fig leaf provision on Obamacare and record low approval ratings.
The bill agreed upon by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will fund the government through Jan. 15 and extend the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling through Feb. 7. It also includes back pay for unpaid and furloughed federal workers and an agreement that both chambers would open a budget conference committee for the first time in years.
The lone change to Obamacare was minimal, and Democrats said they liked it. It involves putting tighter restrictions on income verification standards for people receiving subsidies in the Affordable Care Act’s new insurance marketplaces. It was a far cry from defunding or delaying the law, as many Republicans conceded the strategy to focus the fight on Obamacare had been wrong from the start.
Republicans did notch a significant victory in the final deal. It funds the government until mid-January at the sequestration levels specified by the 2011 Budget Control Act that ended the last debt showdown. But Republicans had won that concession from Democrats weeks before the House set out on its doomed effort to strangle Obamacare.
“The sad truth is, we ended up where we started,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “We achieved our goal, but at a cost. It never should have been this way.”
Cruz grabbed one final moment in the spotlight, railing on the Senate floor against letting the Treasury Department pay the debts Congress has run up and putting federal workers back on the job.
“This is a terrible deal,” Cruz said. “This deal embodies everything about the Washington establishment that frustrates the American people.”
But even as Cruz spoke, he conceded defeat by accurately predicting the bill would pass “by a big margin,” and accused his Senate colleagues of abandoning House Republicans in the fight against Obamacare.
“I ask you to imagine a world in which Senate Republicans united to support House Republicans,” Cruz said. “It is heartbreaking to the American people that Senate Republicans divided as they did and decided to direct their criticism, direct their attention, direct their cannon fire at House Republicans and at those standing with the American people.”
“They became the Air Force bombing our own troops — bombing House Republicans, bombing conservatives,” Cruz said.
One of Cruz’s top GOP critics, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), countered later that the Texan’s strategy is what did the damage to their party.
“The one thing that politicians want is approval from the people. They strongly disapprove of all of us — they just disapprove of the Republicans more,” McCain said. “So hopefully we learned the lesson not to do this. This is a hard blow to the Republican Party. We’ve got a real task ahead of us to dig ourselves out.”
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) voted with Cruz, but nevertheless said he thought the fiasco had been entirely predictable because it was obvious Democrats and the president would never end Obamacare, and they control two of the three relevant parts of government. He had a tart piece of advice for Cruz and others: “Have a coordinated strategy that’s based on reality rather than one that’s not.”
Obama promised to keep his pledge to negotiate once the crisis ended, and focused on the budget conference as the opportunity. “We now have an opportunity to focus on a sensible budget that is responsible, that is fair, and that helps hardworking people all across this country,” he said.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the House Appropriations Committee chair and a veteran lawmaker who has long bemoaned the abandonment of regular legislative procedures, sounded nearly as eager as Obama for the budget conference, which he has sought within his own conference.
“It’s time to take the threat of default off the table,” Rogers said before the measure passed in the House. “It’s time to restore some sanity to this place, to do this we all have to give a little.”
Most folks knew this since Robert Draper’s book came out. It’s not often that a GOP Senator spills the beans in this way though. Bravo Sen. Toomey…
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) revealed that some members of his party opposed expanding background checks for gun sales recently because they didn’t want to “be seen helping the president.”
Two weeks ago, only three Republican senators voted for the bipartisan background checks amendment sponsored by Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), despite overwhelming popular support for such a measure.
“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa.
The Times Herald noted that in “subsequent comments,” Toomey “tried to walk that remark part-way back by noting he meant to say Republicans across the nation in general, not just those in the Senate.”
Last week, Toomey placed more of the blame on the president himself, telling the Morning Call, “I would suggest the administration brought this on themselves. I think the president ran his re-election campaign in a divisive way. He divided Americans. He was using resentment of some Americans toward others to generate support for himself.”
Manchin has argued, however, that the National Rifle Association’s decision to score the vote was the main reason the compromise amendment on background checks failed. Without it, he believed, 70 senators — well above the 60-vote threshold needed for passage — would have supported it.
Opponents also pushed a significant amount of misinformation before the vote, including the myth that the legislation would lead to a federal gun registry. In fact, the bill would have made the creation of such a registry a felony carrying a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
Toomey was pessimistic on Tuesday about the prospects of gun legislation moving forward, saying it’s “not likely to happen any time soon.”
“The bill is available right now and Sen. (Majority leader Harry) Reid could bring it up for a vote at any time, but we need five people to change their minds,” he said.
Toomey, on the other hand, has seen his poll numbers rise.
Seems like an effort in futility to me. This demonstrates yet again, the GOP’s constant folly of walking the thin line between optimism and delusion…
A group state representatives in Georgia are proposing a resolution that would ask Congress to begin the process of repealing the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct election of U.S. Senators.
One of the representatives behind this effort, Rep. Kevin Cooke said, “It’s a way we would again have our voice heard in the federal government, a way that doesn’t exist now. This isn’t an idea of mine. This was what James Madison was writing. This would be a restoration of the Constitution, about how government is supposed to work. The fact that this coincides with the 100th anniversary gives us a pretty good snapshot of what has happened to the federal government since then. The federal government has grown exponentially since the amendment was ratified. This would restore the constitution to what it was in 1913.”
Of course, this isn’t really about states’ rights or the intentions of the Founders. The movement to take away the people’s right to directly elect their senators is about keeping Republicans in power. A recent PPP poll of Georgia found that if Max Cleland could be talked into running for his old Senate seat in the state, he would lead each of the top five Republican contenders. If the Democratic candidate is Rep. John Barrow, he would trail the Republican nominee by an average of four tenths of a point. Depending on who the Republicans nominate, the Democrats may have a chance at picking up a Senate seat in Georgia.
The idea of repealing the 17th Amendment is just the latest extreme example of how far Republicans are willing to go in order to hold on to power. Instead of trying to appeal to the changing face of the electorate, a group of Republicans would rather takeaway the popular election of United States senators.
Georgia’s demographics are changing quickly. People of color make up more than 40% of the state’s population. There is also an age gap, as 73.2% of Georgia residents over age 60 are white, but only 46.9% of the state’s school age children are white. The electorate in Georgia is shifting towards the Democratic Party.
Instead of changing with the times, some state Republicans have decided that the answer to their problems is to roll back the constitution to 1913.
Why stop at 1913? If they really want to hold off the demographic wave, they should also seek to repeal the 13th Amendment.
After all, the Founding Fathers also intended for slavery to be legal too.
When Republican consultant David Avella tried to push the lie that Obama has not created any jobs, he was completely destroyed by Bill Maher and Howard Dean.
Here is the video:
David Avella of GOPAC tried to spread the Republican myth that Obama has not created any jobs, but Bill Maher called him out on it.
Maher said, “That’s not true. That’s just a lie. What are you talking about he hasn’t created any jobs?” Avella said that there are no net new jobs since he started his administration. Maher responded because he started from the hole, but Avella interrupted him and expressed the Republican point of view that it doesn’t matter how many jobs were lost before Obama took office. Maher said the Republican no net new jobs meme is categorically untrue.
Panelist Howard Dean jumped into the conversation and said, “This is like listening to Paul Ryan on the budget. It’s ridiculous. They were going like that. Finally, they leveled off. After what Bush did which was borrow us into oblivion. From the bottom of the recession, there’s about five or six million new jobs created under Barack Obama. Is it enough? No, we need to do more stuff. I think we ought to put the old campaign behind us and talk about the new one.” Maher built on Dean’s point, “Also this week, if Mitt Romney had been taking the oath this week, he would be taking credit now for the news we got this week. Housing starts are up. Stock market is way up. Unemployment claims are way down. He’s the worst socialist ever, this Obama.”
This idea that Obama hasn’t created any jobs is a favorite Republican lie. At the 2012 Democratic convention, former President Clinton took apart this falsehood, “The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the President’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero.”
As of last fall, even if you count all of the job losses that continue to pile up before the president could implement his own policies, Obama still had a net job creation record of +325,000. Republicans try to claim that Obama has not created any jobs by including 2009 and saddling Obama with Bush job losses from the first day that he took office. The stimulus wasn’t passed and signed into law until February 2009, but it just so happens that the job losses in January 2009 were the worst in 34 years. Before Obama has even had two full weeks in office, the economy lost 540,000 jobs. Those job losses belong to George W. Bush, but Republicans put them on Obama in order to make their dubious jobs math work.
A more accurate assessment of Obama’s jobs record should begin 2010, when his policies were implemented. By that standard Obama has created over 5 million jobs. The truth is that no matter how you slice the numbers, Republicans are still clinging to a flat out lie that Obama hasn’t created any jobs.
Voters didn’t buy the Republican funny math during the 2012 election. They aren’t going to buy it in 2014 or 2016 either. Bill Maher and Howard Dean were right on the money to call this out.
Republicans still haven’t figured out that they are only fooling themselves with their bogus statistics. You can fool some of the people all of the time, especially if those people watch Fox News and vote Republican.
One thing that can be said about Soledad O’Brien is that she does her job well…
While challenging former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani during an interview Monday morning, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien got Giuliani to admit to framing discussion of the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate for political gain.
Giuliani, a surrogate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, accused President Barack Obama’s administration of covering up the Sept. 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four people, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“Calling something a cover up kind of takes it a step further, don’t you think?” O’Brien asked.
Giuliani’s remarks are part of a recent pattern of cover-up accusations from him; Think Progress reported that Giuliani also urged Romney to exploit the situation in a separate interview on Fox News Monday.
“The White House has fumbled this — whether it’s a deliberate cover-up or they’re making it look like a cover-up they have fumbled the ball four or five times here,” Giuliani told O’Brien and her panel. “Excuse me if being the fact that I’m a Republican, I don’t give them as you do, all the benefit of the doubt.”
Giuliani also accused O’Brien of bias toward Obama, asking aloud, “Am I debating with the president’s campaign?” when she challenged his version of the government’s handling of the assault, which, he said, had the president directly linking the attack to unrest over the anti-Islam short film “Innocence of Muslims.”
“He did not specifically say, ‘This was due to a movie,’” O’Brien said, before motioning backstage. “Miguel, why don’t you pull all these transcripts for me? We have them all in the back room, we can just pull them out.”
The U.S. State Department has conceded that some of the people involved in the fatal attack “were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to Al-Qaeda.” Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said last week she has set up a review board to determine whether the facility was properly secured.
Sunday, Steven’s father, Jan, denounced the use of the ambassador’s death as a political talking point.
I believe that everyone who keeps up with politics these days is quite aware of these five “cretins” (my assessment). For those who are merely part-time political junkies, this information from The Examiner is compiled in away that everyone can comprehend..
In the United States today, the political climate is very divided. As the Democrats seem more willing to come to the center and compromise, the Republicans in office take giant leaps to the right pulling their entire party and voting base with them.
1. Rick Scott (Republican-Florida)- Ah, the sunshine state. Florida has always been known as a “swing-state” in elections, but with the Tea Party wave running its way through the country in 2010, Florida was no exception. With a strong conservative base, especially in Central Florida, Governor Rick Scott was able to defeat the Democrat, Alex Sink in a tough election. One could only wonder how Scott was even able to get into office in the first place. Rick Scott helped create and was the Chief Executive Officer of the Columbia Hospital Corporation in the late 1980s and then merged with the Hospital Corporation of American in 1989. Fast forward to 1997 and Scott was forced to resign as CEO when his company was charged with the largest Medicare fraud in US history, $2 billion, while pleading the fifth 57 times in court. In addition to his issues before being Governor, Scott has shown that as Governor he has been just as bad. While giving massive tax breaks to the wealthy, Scott is requiring over 600,000 government workers to contribute 5% more to their retirement while cutting over $2,000 a year for public teachers to offset the lack of revenue coming back into the state government. Rick Scott also turned down $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money to build a high-speed rail that would have created nearly 25,000 jobs over the next decade. The icing on the cake for Scott is he has proposed completely cutting support for historically black colleges and universities and is shutting down state agencys that help minority small businesses.
2. John Kasich (Republican-Ohio)- The idea of a labor union is very important. Unions are a united voice for workers to create a fair environment with the top owners and executives of a company. Public unions are put together to create the same situation, but instead of collectively barganing against a corporation or business, it’s done with the government. In the current economic state that the country is in, it’s not unfair to ask everyone to contribute in getting the economy back on track. The main issue with Governor Kasich is that he doesn’t handle the situation fairly. While claiming to fix the budget for Ohio, Kasich has asked union members to take a cut in pay and contribute more to their pensions and health care, at the same time giving massive tax breaks to the most wealthy citizens in the state. Not only has Kasich ask unions to take a pay cut, he always wants to take away the ability of the unions to even bargain. If this isn’t enough, Kasich is the first Governor not appoint an African-American to a state cabinet post since 1962.
3. Scott Walker (Republican-Wisconsin) - Like his Republican friend in Ohio, Scott Walker has been known for his anti-union and anti-worker stance in his policies. Walker, like the Republican ideology, stands by the rich and puts his foot on the throat of the rest of economic class. For what seemed like months, thousands of Wisconsin citizens occupied the state capital in protests over Walkers anti-American plans for getting his budget under control. The reason that these workers were protesting wasn’t simply because they had to contribute more out of their paychecks, but because the wealthiest citizens of Wisconsin didn’t have to contribute much of anything.
4. Rick Perry- (Republican-Texas)- Of late, Perry has been known as the candidate who can’t debate, has horrible policies and when all else fails, just claims that Democrats don’t love Jesus so he should be voted into office. Perry, like other governors of Texas, loves his guns and Bible and can’t stand much of anything else. Rick Perry, as the Governor of Texas, currently has a $27 billion hole into his budget, and in order to fix it has proposed cutting education by $10 billion while firing over 100,000 teachers. How much has Perry asked the rich to contribute? The answer is the same as other Republicans, zero. Perry also has talked about Texas actually seceding from the United States and now wants to run the country, ironic right? Perry has a strong stance on social issues as well. He loves the death penalty and has been in office while over 200 people have been put to death. As much as he loves the death penalty, Perry loves telling women what to do with their own body. Perry has tried to force a mandate that every woman getting an abortion must get a sonogram whether she wants to or not. Rick Perry might have multiple gaffes during a debate, but his time in office should be noted as one giant gaffe on the state of Texas.
5. Jan Brewer (Republican-Arizona)- Brewer is known for her ignorant immigration law that simply targets people because they are the wrong color. Illegal immigration is a serious issue and those that are here illegally should be dealt with accordingly and on an individual basis, but Brewers law paints each undocumented worker with the same brush and that is simply not fair. In addition to her racist immigration law, Brewer passed tax cuts for the wealthy that will cost the state over $500 million over the next decade and while claiming to create jobs, Arizona has done nothing but lose jobs while she has been in office.
Undermining Democracy is a very serious offense against our Constitution.
Yet Republicans, with the help of Right-Wing front group ALEC, have done just that on a massive scale.
The following is just a small segment of a brief the Center for American Progress compiled…
How Conservatives Are Conspiring to Disenfranchise Millions of Americans
Read the brief in your web browser (Scribd)
The right to vote is under attack all across our country. Conservative legislators are introducing and passing legislation that creates new barriers for those registering to vote, shortens the early voting period, imposes new requirements for already-registered voters, and rigs the Electoral College in select states. Conservatives fabricate reasons to enact these laws—voter fraud is exceedingly rare—in their efforts to disenfranchise as many potential voters among certain groups, such as college students, low-income voters, and minorities, as possible. Rather than modernizing our democracy to ensure that all citizens have access to the ballot box, these laws hinder voting rights in a manner not seen since the era of Jim Crow laws enacted in the South to disenfranchise blacks after Reconstruction in the late 1800s.
Talk about turning back the clock! At its best, America has utilized the federal legislative process to augment voting rights. Constitutional amendments such as the 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, and 26th have steadily improved the system by which our elections take place while expanding the pool of Americans eligible to participate. Yet in 2011, more than 30 state legislatures considered legislation to make it harder for citizens to vote, with over a dozen of those states succeeding in passing these bills. Anti-voting legislation appears to be continuing unabated so far in 2012.
Unfortunately, the rapid spread of these proposals in states as different as Florida and Wisconsin is not occurring by accident. Instead, many of these laws are being drafted and spread through corporate-backed entities such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, as uncovered in a previous Center for American Progress investigative report. Detailed in that report, ALEC charges corporations such as Koch Industries Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and The Coca-Cola Co. a fee and gives them access to members of state legislatures. Under ALEC’s auspices, legislators, corporate representatives, and ALEC officials work together to draft model legislation. As ALEC spokesperson Michael Bowman told NPR, this system is especially effective because “you have legislators who will ask questions much more freely at our meetings because they are not under the eyes of the press, the eyes of the voters.”
The investigative report included for the first time a leaked copy of ALEC’s model Voter ID legislation, which was approved by the ALEC board of directors in late 2009. This model legislation prohibited certain forms of identification, such as student IDs, and has been cited as the legislative model from groups ranging from Tea Party organizations to legislators proposing the actual legislation such as Wisconsin’s Voter ID proposal from Republican state Rep. Stone and Republican state Sen. Joe Leibham.
Registering the poor “to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.”
-Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum