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October 14, 2013

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This is a nation of ignoramuses.

The tea party caucus has no respect for the rule of law nor the legislative process. Their anarchistic approach to governance has been enabled by a right wing US supreme court, and mainstream conservative Republicans that initially encouraged white, right extremism within the Republican Party to build solidarity against the Obama administration. Sadly they have been very successful at harming both Obama 's leadership and the general welfare of the nation.

Smart column. I have almost no online time today, having arrived at the library 10 minutes before closing.

As a preliminary comment, I may be naive, but I don't think that the Republican leadership is stupid enough to allow default. Closing the government is a different thing -- it happened in the 1990s under very similar circumstances, with a Democratic (center-left) president Clinton and a divided Congress with House Speaker Newt Gingrich leading the obstructionists.

What the Republicans really want is to play to the sugar daddies and the base on the right, and extract the maximum in concessions while pushing the issue only a month or two down the road, so that they can start the same game all over again -- and again and again. This is the only card they have to play to shut down Obama's second term.

Gotta run.

I been saying since 2008. There are folks out there that are willing to die on the steps of the White House to get rid of that black socialistic commie dope smoking Muslim." I heard from one today. These folks may be nuts but they are dangerous nuts with lots of guns and they buy as much ammo every week as they can.
So U all got to quit thinking about how crazy they seem to be and get ready for how crazy they really are.

Things will go on as they are, until they can't.

Great column, Jon.

I love how people who didn't give a damn about "debt" from 2001 to 2009 are now obsessed with it. And for most of them "debt" or "spending" is a proxy for what they really don't like, which is usually what they call "welfare", ie, any and all assistance going to "those people". But blibbering about "the deficit" makes them feel smart, I guess. Gah.

Donna, this is not about the debt. Its about the one percenter's and the insane christian crowd they drag along to storm the White Castle occupied by, god forbid, a Black Man. A socialist, a Muslim, and not even a citizen.

Just ask Joe the Plumber about what color a person should be to be president of the US

It's time to start knitting.

Here's my political calculus on the default issue.

There are 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Two seats are currently vacant. A simple majority of voting members (not total members) is needed to raise the debt ceiling. Democrats control 200 seats, Republicans control 233 seats. Assuming that all sitting members vote, a simple majority is 217 yes votes. With the support of all House Democrats, that means only 17 moderate Republicans are needed to prevent default.

Early in the government shutdown, several independent, mainstream polling organizations asked House Republicans if they would vote yes on a straight-up, no strings attached "continuing resolution" (C.R.) to re-open the federal government at existing spending levels (no increase to offset inflation or population growth). Survey results repeatedly indicated that there were enough Republican "yes" votes to do this.

The C.R. never passed because the House Speaker, Republican John Boehner, refused to allow a floor vote. House rules allow a basic majority to force legislation to be released for a vote, but co-signing a discharge petition with Democrats to override their own House Speaker would have been tantamount to political treason and moderate Republicans who would have approved the C.R. to reopen government refused to sign the discharge petition.

The issue of raising the debt ceiling is a separate, and considerably more serious one than re-opening the government. If moderate Republican votes were there to re-open the government, then they are certainly there to prevent default by raising the debt ceiling.

This leaves just two questions: (1) Would House Speaker Boehner allow a floor vote on a straightforward bill raising the debt ceiling? (2) Would moderate Republicans override their Speaker by co-signing a discharge petition with Democrats if the Speaker refused to allow such a vote?

First, note that Boehner is not a radical tea-party conservative; he is a wishy-washy opportunist who initially said that these issues should not be used to blackmail the President, before caving in to well-funded highly mobilized activists on the right.

Second, note that regardless of the political hay to be made from saber-rattling, particularly over the shutdown issue, Wall Street and the big banks have overwhelmingly agreed that a default would be bad for business. Even the Koch brothers sent a letter to House Republicans saying that a default would be bad for the country.

Money talks, and the House Republican leadership is not composed of the kind of hard-core tea-party fanatics who would be willing to blow-off a broad spectrum of major Party donors just to make a point of principle. Boehner isn't going to commit political suicide just so he can be tea-party conservatives' Man of the Hour. The tea-party wouldn't save his bacon unless he became a full-fledged convert and that just isn't going to happen.

If he did refuse to allow a floor vote, House Republicans, likely led by a senior presiding member with an eye on Boehner's Speaker seat, would co-sign a discharge petition with Democrats, forcing a floor vote. These votes would then carry the day.

P.S. I happened to tune into CNN just as California Rep. Devin Nunes (R) was breaking news to their capitol hill reporter about a pending vote (scheduled for tonight). That someone like Nunes (who has been uncommonly critical of tea-party Republicans on this issue, calling them "morons" among other things), was chosen to be the face of the House Republican Party in a news-breaking interview with CNN, says a lot about changing positioning by the House Republican leadership. He was also allowed (or goaded into) repeatedly making the point that Boehner has, all along, thought the Obamacare-blackmail strategy was a bad idea.

When I last heard, the bill would raise the debt ceiling until February, re-open the government until December, and require income verification for Obamacare subsidies. (A provision delaying the medical device tax was subsequently dropped.)

The President is currently in a closed meeting with House Democrats, supposedly to establish the Party line and insure solidarity. Rep. Nunes (the Republican) seemed to think that no House Democrats would vote yes on this latest bill proposed by House Republicans.

This surprised me, and perhaps Nunes was the wrong person to ask about Democratic intentions, but on the other hand I think that Democrats resent having the government closure and debt ceiling issues revisited yet again in a few months, allowing House Republicans yet again to hold a gun to their heads.

If Nunes is right, it means that House Republicans will need enough yes votes to overcome Democratic opposition plus hard-core tea-party opposition. With 232 Republican members who need a 217 vote majority, the viability of such a bill would come down yet again to the number of tea-party diehards and the degree of their individual recalcitrance. How many could be peeled-off is a question I can't answer.

A failure at this late hour would likely require Boehner to offer a vote on the Senate version or something sufficiently similar to gain House Democrats' support.

In my initial comment above, I wrote:

"As a preliminary comment, I may be naive, but I don't think that the Republican leadership is stupid enough to allow default. Closing the government is a different thing -- it happened in the 1990s under very similar circumstances, with a Democratic (center-left) president Clinton and a divided Congress with House Speaker Newt Gingrich leading the obstructionists."

I was in error when I said that Congress was divided: Republicans had control of both houses from the 104th Congress through the 109th Congress, a period which includes the shutdowns of 1995 and 1996.

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. ... Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem."

Ted Cruz? Paul Rand? Nope: a freshman Illinois senator named Barack Obama, in 2006; he voted against raising the debt ceiling.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/11/obama-debt-ceiling-vote_n_847627.html

Tee-hee.

The Washington Post's "WonkBlog" has an item showing every federal government shutdown that ever occured (17 of them): when, how long it lasted, why, how it was resolved, and which party was in charge of each house of Congress and the Presidency.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/25/here-is-every-previous-government-shutdown-why-they-happened-and-how-they-ended/

Again, note that government shutdowns and threats to default are two different issues.

Amyl NitrateP, Do you talk to yourself often? Be careful keeping track of all those trees because it appears you've lost yourself in the forest.

Yeah, that's on topic AND responsive.

China: “It is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.”

"The world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites,”

“A self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas, instigating regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies,”

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-14/chinas-state-press-calls-for-building-a-de-americanized-world

Jon, for clarification, I would like to post that I have never posted on this blog as anyone but cal Lash, my real name. I'm sure that's verifiable and anyone who doubts that can contact you.

Cal. True. I verify that.

"If he did refuse to allow a floor vote, House Republicans, likely led by a senior presiding member with an eye on Boehner's Speaker seat, would co-sign a discharge petition with Democrats, forcing a floor vote. These votes would then carry the day." -Emil

Only Representative Eric Cantor can force a floor vote due to H.R. 368 which was passed before the shutdown began. It restricts the ability of any member of the House to call for a floor vote.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/13/house-republicans-rules-change_n_4095129.html

"House Republicans Changed The Rules So A Majority Vote Couldn't Stop The Government Shutdown"

This video has been circulating on various sites over the last few days.

No matter what President Obama said as a Senator, he did not engage in treasonous activity to nullify the will of the majority.

How the hell did the Democrats and whats left of "moderate" Republicans let the Kooks change the House rules?

eclecticdog, it was changed by the House Committee on Rules (Rules Committee). It is a Republican majority committee:

REPUBLICANS (Majority):
(1)Pete Sessions, Texas, Chairman
(2)Virginia Foxx, North Carolina Vice Chair
(3)Rob Bishop, Utah
(4)Tom Cole, Oklahoma
(5)Rob Woodall, Georgia
(6)Rich Nugent, Florida
(7)Daniel Webster, Florida
(8)Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida
(9)Michael C. Burgess, Texas

DEMOCRATS (Minority):
(1)Louise Slaughter, New York, Ranking Member
(2)James P. McGovern, Massachusetts
(3)Alcee Hastings, Florida
(4)Jared Polis, Colorado

One of my posts went into the spam trap.

It seems that 221 Republicans voted for the rule change after the Rules Committee brought it to the floor for a vote. Rep. Pete Sessions (R) Texas, Chairman of the Rules Committee, authored the resolution which only needed a Simple Majority to pass.

The GOP:
"The researchers have even determined that Ötzi (man) died in an ambush after being bashed on the head, and then bled to death after a deadly arrow pierced an artery."

phxSUNSfan wrote: "Only Representative Eric Cantor can force a floor vote due to H.R. 368 which was passed before the shutdown began. It restricts the ability of any member of the House to call for a floor vote."

Not true. H.R. 368 applied specifically to House Joint Resolution 59 and was also limited to a specific period; it was neither a general House rules change nor a permanent change. It in no way would have prevented the use of a discharge petition if Boehner had not relented and allowed a floor vote.

http://www.ibtimes.com/government-shutdown-2013-hr-368-little-rule-change-house-republicans-guaranteed-federal-shutdown

Big Business and Big Government are only two sides to the same coin. The Teabaggers are just the current incarnation of the terminally stupid and psychotically angry.

The Silent Majority, Family Values people, the Christianist clerics -- all the same wine in a brand new bottle.

Emil, that is what the fight is over and why the shutdown could not be averted by a vote. Boehner could not call for a floor vote to reopen the government. Perhaps you inferred my quote applied to more than the shutdown, but it was meant to be specific regarding the government shutdown or as the artilce in the link you provided states, "the appropriations bill that the House of Representatives and Senate are currently in a fight over."

For those who haven't heard, Boehner relented and will allow a floor vote on a Senate bill reopening the government and increasing the debt ceiling. All three Republican House leaders told the general caucus to vote yes. Democrats will provide the bulk of the yes votes with moderate Republicans providing the fractional remainder necessary to pass. Boehner told a talk radio host that he expects government to be up and running tomorrow.

The Senate bill opens government through early January of 2014 and raises the debt ceiling through early February 2014.

Tellingly, Sen. Ted Cruz, who could have attempted to delay (via filibuster) the Senate bill past the debt ceiling deadline, stood out of the way.

Cruz's star is rising among the tea-party base but business interests are upset with him; Cruz's own city newspaper came out with an editorial this morning regretting its earlier endorsement of him and nostalgizing over former Sen. Hutchinson for her willingness to "reach across the aisle when necessary". Cruz would also have a tough time fundraising if the Republican establishment were to yank Party funds and support. So, for a small amount of obedience he gets to maintain the gadfly status that endears him to tea-party faithful.

So U wise and intelligent folks on this blog: Cruz was just playing politics? And his actions that seem to resemble bribery, blackmail and extortion do not rise to the level of impeachment?

As of yesterday (10/15) democrats were still adamant regarding the use of a discharge petition. As of Tuesday Democrats do not have the signatures required and "had amassed 196 signatures of the 218 needed on a complex petition to force from committee a six-month-old Republican bill to avoid a government shutdown, to which they would attach the Senate-passed 'clean continuing resolution' that could be signed by President Obama and reopen the government."

http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2013/10/amid-confusion-house-democrats-stick-discharge-petition/71912/?oref=dropdown

pSp, the rules change referred to a single bill, Joint Resolution 59 (dated September 30), not to the many resolutions that have been introduced or proposed since then. A dischange petition could have been used in the current instance to get the Senate bill to a house floor vote had Boehner not relented. Here's the relevent section:

"Sec. 2. Any motion pursuant to clause 4 of rule XXII relating to House Joint Resolution 59 may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee."

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c113:2:./temp/~c1131DdT6m::

A dischange petition is no longer relevant since House Speaker Boehner is allowing a floor vote on the Senate bill. Between Democrats and moderate House Republicans the votes are there. This is not even in question.

If, however, Boehner had not relented, the small number of Republican votes necessary to bring the number of discharge petition signatures to the 217 (not "218") needed would have been there, for reasons already explained above.

Sorry, that should read "discharge" not "dischange" as the typo in the previous comment shows.

Here, I'll fix 'em both:

pSp, the rules change referred to a single bill, Joint Resolution 59 (dated September 30), not to the many resolutions that have been introduced or proposed since then. A discharge petition could have been used in the current instance to get the Senate bill to a house floor vote had Boehner not relented. Here's the relevent section:

"Sec. 2. Any motion pursuant to clause 4 of rule XXII relating to House Joint Resolution 59 may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee."

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c113:2:./temp/~c1131DdT6m::

A discharge petition is no longer relevant since House Speaker Boehner is allowing a floor vote on the Senate bill. Between Democrats and moderate House Republicans the votes are there. This is not even in question.

If, however, Boehner had not relented, the small number of Republican votes necessary to bring the number of discharge petition signatures to the 217 (not "218") needed would have been there, for reasons already explained above.

"The Senate bill opens government through early January of 2014 and raises the debt ceiling through early February 2014."

I'm expecting to have this conversation again after the new year. I'm not so sure that a long-term solution will be decided upon in conference committee.

As for this deal, the Senate will not be taking on this bill first which means Republicans in the House cannot object and the process is relatively simpler.

Thanks for that clarification Emil, and yes you are correct, now that House Speaker Boehner is allowing a floor vote on the Senate bill it will only require one cloture vote.

pSp wrote: "As for this deal, the Senate will not be taking on this bill first which means Republicans in the House cannot object and the process is relatively simpler."

The Speaker of the House could still have prevented a floor vote on the Senate bill, as he has been doing all through the process. At that point a discharge petition could have been brought into play. However, he did not, and THAT is the crucial difference.

I agree that it's an open question whether or not the same mess will develop again early next year. I suspect not, but it's entirely arguable. That the next deadlines occur so soon might be considered a Republican "win" of sorts.

My understanding is that the Senate bill contains language requiring applicants to Obamacare to have their income verified to obtain the cash subsidies. This concerns me, because I don't know the details. If every single individual applicant has to prove their income when applying (as earlier Republican versions of this proposal stated) then just imagine the delays and discouragement that will stem from having to jump through all those hoops and go back and forth with documentation. I hope the Democrats aren't shooting themselves in the foot with this one.

Emil, from what I understood as I helped a relative purchase a plan on the 14th, income will be automatically verified for up to 5 years. Permission for this verification process was done online after information from his most recent W-2 was entered and his social security number verified. It seemed to me that his identity, including address, was verified through a process similar to how a credit bureau verifies your identity when you ask for a credit report online. You have to answer questions about former employers, addresses, and current credit accounts.

I came to the conclusion that healthcare.gov verifies the identity of those applying online through a company like Experian or Equifax. There was an email message we received when he created an account that informed him if his identity could not be verified online, he would have to call to speak to a representative and may be required to submit paperwork verifying his identity.

Here's the detail on the NEW Senate income verification requirement:

"But while it may not be ransom, it was at least a payoff. Last month the White House issued a veto threat on similar income verification language which would have required the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General to certify that adequate income verification requirements were in place before providing subsidies under the healthcare law. A senior administration official said the Senate version would allow the HHS Secretary to certify that eligibility for subsidies is being adequately ascertained, and is therefore acceptable to the administration. A Senate Democratic leadership aide added that the IG would then have to produce a report on the income verification program."

http://swampland.time.com/2013/10/16/white-house-cheers-senate-deal-without-declaring-victory/

I suspect that the "NEW" verification process is internal. I'm not sure what other documentation would be required to signup for Obamacare if customers are providing SS#s and information from W-2s or tax returns.

I did notice that is someone was signing up for a state medicaid program healthcare.gov only started the application process since each state's medicaid office would then provide the final decision.

pSp wrote:

"As for this deal, the Senate will not be taking on this bill first which means Republicans in the House cannot object and the process is relatively simpler. . . now that House Speaker Boehner is allowing a floor vote on the Senate bill it will only require one cloture vote."

Actually, the Senate votes first, then the House:

"A Senate vote was set first on the legislation, which would permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer, and fund the government through Jan. 15. ...Across the Capitol, members of the House marked time until their turn came to vote."

Also, no cloture vote will be necessary since filibusters are off the table:

"Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others agreed not to use the Senate's cumbersome 18th century rules to slow the bill's progress."

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/vote-gop-plan-delayed-debt-deadline-nears-20581523

To clarify, it appears the Senate has obtained "unanimous consent" on an expedited procedure.

"What This Is", . .. . the Emil Pulsifer blog.

Seems a previous post is in the spam trap again.

"Actually, the Senate votes first, then the House."

That is correct which was not how the process was being discussed this morning. The bill, put together by the Senate could have gone to the House first then the Senate. Doing it in reverse order means the Republican extremist in the House can, in fact, object. I don't think that will happen at this point, however.

So U wise and intelligent folks on this blog: Cruz was just playing politics? And his actions that seem to resemble bribery, blackmail and extortion do not rise to the level of impeachment?

You talkin' to me? I don't see anyone else here. You talkin' to me?!

Haha.

Anyway - I think Cruz saw a wave, not unlike Hunter Thompson's wave (except for its politics, perhaps,) and the wave done crested before he could fully mount it, so it will be lucky for him if he skids sand before he polishes rock.

What this is, is f-cked=up, but not the worst crisis since 1861. That was McCarthyism.

Also note that the House ALREADY acted on a discharge petition to release a bill that Republicans had filed earlier this year and that was amended by House Democrats. So, this whole meme going around that the Republicans' hands were tied by a dastardly rules change is complete hooey.

"When Democrats announced on the fourth day of the shutdown they were going to start a discharge petition to force a vote on a clean continuing resolution to open the government, it appeared like a long shot. But on the 12th day of the shutdown Saturday, more than 100 Democrats filed into the House chamber one-by-one to sign the petition. Even if all 200 Democrats sign the petition, they still need another 18 Republican signatories to jump on board...So far, no Republican has committed to signing it, even those who have said they would vote in favor of a clean CR."

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/house-democrats-sign-discharge-petition-government-shutdown-debt-ceiling-98219.html

Terry Dudas wrote: "What This Is...the Emil Pulsifer blog".

I'm not stopping anyone from speaking up on the issues. Got something to say, then say it. But please don't object because I do have something to say.

Petro, For Cruz I suggest how Johnny Depp handled Hunter Thompson.
Cremation and Cannon shot.

As a technical point, also note that Rule XXII (the subject of H.R. 368, which applied ONLY to Joint Resolution 59) of the House Rules deals with "House and Senate Relations" and specifically with "Senate Amendments".

Clause 4, reads "When the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged."

The term "stage of disagreement" refers to disagreement between the House and the Senate on versions of a bill.

So, it looks to me (and admittedly, I'm no expert) that this actually refers not to forcing a bill to the floor, but to "disposing of an amendment" to a bill.

Pretty wonky stuff, but the bottom line remains: the change in House rules applied only to a single bill, Joint Resolution 59, not to other bills opening the government which were introduced before or after.

See page 36 (internal page numbering) for details:

clerk.house.gov/legislative/house-rules.pdf

Emil, Joint Resolution 59 is the resolution that had been passed in the House and the Senate before being sent back by the Senate after changes were made on September 27th. The purpose of J.R. 59 was for making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014. The CBO reported that enacting H.J.Res. 59 would result in $986.3 billion in new budget authority.

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/hjres59amendment.pdf

http://www.gop.gov/bill/113/1/hjres59

Perhaps you could clear this up, but I was under the impression that any bill "opening the government introduced before or after" would be an amendment to J.R. 59 and therefore, H.R. 368 limited disposition.

John Birch and Ayn Rand buried again.
But due back as soon as it gets dark.
Darth

...and the reason they were able to end the impasse is due to drafting an entirely new bill.

phxSUNSfan wrote:

"Perhaps you could clear this up, but I was under the impression that any bill 'opening the government introduced before or after' would be an amendment to J.R. 59 and therefore, H.R. 368 limited disposition."

An independent House Republican bill introduced prior to J.R. 59 and subsequently amended by House Democrats to provide a clean C.R. to reopen the government is not an amendment to a joint Senate-House resolution. Bills originating in the House and amended only in the House are not joint bills nor amendments to joint bills. Note that this also applies to House bills originated after J.R. 59.

Nor was this the only House originated legislative vehicle offering a clean C.R. or amendable by the House to offer a clean C.R. to reopen the government. So, the (very specific) change to House Rules did not prevent House Speaker Boehner from allowing such legislation to go to a floor vote of the full House AT ANY TIME; neither a discharge petition nor the permission of Eric Cantor or his designee was necessary.

At the bottom of this whole meme, I see the fingerprints of Republican damage control artists, specifically those acting on behalf of House Speaker Boehner.

An imperfect but illustrative analogy would be the use of "strike everything" bills (which I have no doubt that pSp is familiar with in the Arizona Legislature).

Let's say that a bill dealing with a subject is not released for a vote by the Committee(s) with jurisdiction. It's possible to take previously introduced legislation, change it, and introduce it as a new bill. It is not an amendment to the bill which the committee sat on, even though it deals with the same subject matter.

At the bottom of this whole meme, I see the fingerprints of Republican damage control artists, specifically those acting on behalf of House Speaker Boehner." -Emil

I don't think that is the case because it was Democrats who were upset by H.R. 368. It was being circulated to show how Republicans had always intended to shutdown the government over the ACA. Some of the confusion over H.R. 368 began when Rep. Chris Van Holden (D) asked for a vote to end the shutdown.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Jd-iaYLO1A#t=234

Rep. Van Holder wrote on his YouTube page that "late in the evening on September 30, 2013, the House Rules Committee Republicans changed the Rules of the House so that the ONLY Member allowed to call up the Senate's clean CR for a vote was Majority Leader Eric Cantor or his designee -- all but guaranteeing the government would shut down a few hours later and would stay shut down. Previously, any Member would have had the right to bring the CR up for a vote. Democracy has been suspended in the House of Representatives."

What Rep. Van Holder did not convey was that other bills were introduced that could have been brought to a vote. Since he brought up H.R. 368 on the 12th of October, it seemed to imply that the resolution affected voting to end the shutdown on a larger scale.

As for the newest bill introduced by the Senate, it is not a new bill but an amendment to H.R. 2775:
http://images.politico.com/global/2013/10/16/amendment10-16-13c.html

And there was in fact a motion to invoke cloture.

According to John Mccain it was congress WOMEN that forced this matter to a close.

Good piece in the Globalist by Uwe Bott on Ted Cruz being the Cruz Missle

Thanks for the info on the House committe phxSUNSfan.

“Ted Cruz, . . . the Canadians called it “Operation Cruz Missile.”” cal, the Globalist perspective is too good.

The President’s address this morning was good.

And, Hunter Thompson was a journalist I was not aware of until last night. I’ve learned that his tongue was sharp; I think, as a tribute, I will share his thoughts on Nixon. “For years I have regarded Nixon’s very existence as a monument of all the rancid genes and broken chromosomes. They corrupt the possibility of the American dream. He was a foul caricature of himself, a man with not soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad.”
I think there are some in congress today that could be described with the same verve.

Soleri if U R hound dogging this blog how about a few paragraphs on the shutdown?

Suzanne, U goggle Ted Cruz, interesting background, his dad fought for Castro but changed his mind and came to Austin Texas.

Probably Phxsunfan will swing at me but, I have some "Hispanic" friends who right or wrong keep telling me Cubans look down on Mexicans.

No problem eclecticdog.

No, you are right Cal. And it works both ways. Mexicans look down on Cubans, especially the older folk. My grandmother did not trust Cubans at all and always talked about how their Spanish was too fast. I think that was code for Cubans being untrustworthy and double-talkers. Latinos of different nationalities all had old rivalries and opinions of one another, it was all ridiculous. I thought it was about soccer but there is actually very older history between Mexico and Cuba.

In 1898 Mexico's president did in fact support Spain's efforts to maintain control of Cuba. There was even brief talk of Mexico taking over Cuba to secure Mexico's ports from overseas threats. Of course the U.S. stepped in to take over control of the Caribbean at the time after Spain started to lose its territories. However, there are even more insidious reasons for why older Cubans didn't like other Latinos, even some of their island: race. White Cubans looked down on Mestizos and that was no different from how White and lighter skinned Latinos of various nationalities treated people with darker skin.

Back to the government reopening, it seems that concessions on Obamacare will still be sought by Republicans. The question now is, will the Republicans drag this along in conference committee for the next few months? The next budget "crisis" is about 90 days away. Many tea party members of the House have been quoted as saying that the battle was lost but the "war has just begun."

http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/17/21006480-congress-the-war-has-just-begun?lite

In the long-run, I get the sense that these hardliners will endear themselves to their extreme base, but will alienate other Republicans and Independents.

This is where the Hispanics I talked to said . "White Cubans looked down on Mestizos and that was no different from how White and lighter skinned Latinos of various nationalities treated people with darker skin."

eclectic dog, otzi man related to 19 living people. As are the nuts in congress are related to John Birch and mother Ayn Rand.

Well, I am off to an article on forest restoration and saving by a group of German environmentalists.

I learned on the Daily Show that Chileans eat a lot of mayonnaise. If you let a Chilean in the house, hide the mayonnaise, or it'll all be gone in about 2 minutes.

Just a little additional cultural news.

And -- speaking of the most recent avoidance of worldwide financial ruin at the hands of the 'Teabaggers' -- we can all expect another replay of this idiocy a few months down the road.

Can't Obama just add a 'signing statement' to some bill doing away with this debt ceiling nonsense?

headless, you didn't tell us what type of Chileans like Mayo? All of them or just the White Chilean? That was some lazy cultural reporting. ;-)

As for doing away with the debt ceiling nonsense, the president cannot rid us of the debt ceiling since Congress is in control of that mechanism.

Remember the McConnell-Obama plan from 2011? It included a provision that would have given the White House the authority over the debt ceiling by transferring power. Well that plan was rejected by conservatives and it was declared by the extremists that McConnell was giving President Obama a "blank check".

Headless, U been eating to many poisoned shell fish?

A cynical Democrat might welcome a replay of these right wing Republican hillbillies ruining the GOP's brand in 2014 as the midterms approach. The Democrats were capable of controlling these racist fools when the south was in their party. The country club Republicans better figure it out for their own survival.

phxSunsfan wrote:

"What Rep. Van Holder did not convey was that other bills were introduced that could have been brought to a vote."

Exactly. House Speaker John Boehner could have ended the government shutdown at any time by allowing a floor vote for a clean C.R. that would have had the support of Democrats and moderate Republicans. Regarding the latter, 87 Republicans voted for the latest deal to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling; 198 Democrats (of 200) also supported, with 2 not voting.

Here's why I continue to believe that the meme that "a House rules change prevented reopening of the government" is the work of Republican damage control artists.

Yes, House Democrats were initially the ones upset over this, and well they should have been, considering the way it kneecapped J.R. 59. But the big media hype over this broke as it became clear (at least to government insiders) that extending the debt ceiling without major Democratic concessions was politically inevitable.

The Republicans knew that the rules change did not prevent House Speaker Boehner from allowing a floor vote on other legislation that would reopen the government. So why introduce it? I think the answer shows just how sneaky and calculated this whole charade was.

Meanwhile, Boehner and the House Republican leadership in general wanted to gain credibility with the tea-party base and their donors, and refusing to allow a floor vote that would immediately reopen government was the way to do that. Boehner never intended to take this OVER the deadline even though he tried to create the impression that he was willing to.

When all was said and done, however, Boehner's political career would have been damaged by the perception of dangerous obstructionism: after all, he is the face of the Republican Party in the House and he is the Party's single biggest fundraising machine among congressmen.

Essentially, Republicans needed a way to have their cake and eat it too: Boehner needed to obstruct, but at the end of the day he needed some sort of scapegoat to take the blame.

I believe that the real purpose of the rules change was to build in a fallback mechanism, so that if this played out down to the wire, Boehner could be absolved of irresponsibility by blaming the rules change.

Obviously, spin-artists working for the Republicans aren't going to try to work up outrage in Republican circles over something that the Republican majority and leadership approved of. What they could do, using cut-outs (to borrow a bit of intelligence slang) was to seed the story among left-leaning media outlets and let them have a field day. If Democrats' media allies can convince everyone that Boehner had no choice, then the puppeteers' damage control work is done. Certainly, nobody would believe this if Republicans themselves were directly defending Boehner on this basis. They'd say, "The Republicans are just making excuses" and scrutinize the excuse until the flaw in the meme was widely known.

Incidentally, it's important to remember that Mr. Talton's underlying points here are true. A minority (even among Republicans) of tea-party fanatics took control of government by manipulating Republican leadership to commit the very act of political extortion that House Speaker Boehner had originally condemned as a tactic.

How did they get this power? As Mr. Talton noted, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing unlimited third-party political financing (often without disclosure) have given a few radical sugar-daddies (like the Koch brothers) far more power over the process.

The abolition of earmarks in the House also removed a tool formerly used by House leadership with success in bribing recalcitrant members with pork for their districts.

But another fundamental change in the dynamic is illustrated by the case of Christine O'Donnell, who, using tea-party support, defeated nine-term representative and former governor Michael Castle in the Republican primary leading up to the race for Joe Biden's former Senate seat.

O'Donnell was handily defeated in the general election by her Democratic opponent. But here's the thing: a political nobody, with no experience, no personal financing money, and no grass-roots organization of her own, who actually had to run a TV commercial to deny accusations that she was a practicing witch, beat an establishment shoe-in for the Republican nomination in the primary, because the most active voters in primaries are partisan fanatics.

The GOP didn't miss this lesson. The fact that this tactic cost Republicans a seat in the general election only proves that the tea-party and their financial backers are single-minded but very (politically) dangerous idiots. Idiots with a big club that will whack you in your next Republican Party primary if you attract their ire.

A loss of the House in 2014 might actually benefit the Republican mainstream by giving them a counterargument: this is what happens when you allow wacko-birds to run the process; and we're not going to allow it any more.

Meanwhile, they had better learn the lesson of the Mensheviks and focus on defeating their immediate competition (the tea-party) before they take up aim against their opponents (Democrats). Incidentally, the word Menshevik means "minority" in Russian, while the word Bolshevik means "majority". Ironic that at the time these labels were applied, the Mensheviks had a far larger following than the Bolsheviks. The Mensheviks stupidly allowed the label to stick. Today, something similar occurs as a comparatively small number of tea-party fanatics claim to be the face of the "real" Republican Party.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"This is a nation divided. Just as on the eve of the Civil War, regionalism has trumped nationalism. Only this time, the divisions are not necessarily along state lines. Separate the Puget Sound region from Washington state and you have Idaho. Reliably red Arizona is quite blue in the heart of Phoenix."

Another great point. I think it feeds into Mr. Talton's concerns about the possibility of some sort of extra-constitutional reaction by the political right.

At the moment, the right is consolidating political power at the state level: Republicans control the majority of governorships and state legislatures across the country.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/02/04/the-republican-partys-big-state-level-advantage-in-one-chart/

When the state/federal scale becomes severely polarized is when the potential for irregular action is greatest. That degree of polarization hasn't arrived yet but it may yet...

Ha, Arizona is starting to have a big implosion at the top of the GOP- Tom HOrndog going to pay back big bucks for conspiracy to steal the election with someone he later rewarded with a job- amazing how the Feds seem to not be interested in convicting him for obvious election fraud and blatant payoff for her criminal actions.

The Gov stonewalling the press during the Medical Board fiasco, along with the Public Safety Retirement Board scandal. I would note Lisa Wynn directly implicated the Gov's Staff in her actions in today AzRep.

So much more sewage is going to flow out of this dying administration over the next year.

Yet the Rep is strangely nearly silent on these faltering politicians.

I wonder if we will see Gov Bennett soon, if Jan takes early retirement- remember you heard it here first!

Out of all of the above I worry most about this:
"Another great point. I think it feeds into Mr. Talton's concerns about the possibility of some sort of extra-constitutional reaction by the political right.
At the moment, the right is consolidating political power at the state level: Republicans control the majority of governorships and state legislatures across the country." (and school boards and everything local in government they can seize control over as they think they may not be able to defeat Hillary.)

Railbird, so Brewer implodes? If they were both standing on the road Brewer to the left and Bennett to the right and I couldn't stop, I would swerve right. Bennett is much more dangerous than Brewer, more than a few points smarter and weird.

(Copied over from the subsequent Friday Saloon)

Cal Lash wrote:

"The petition argues that "the House GOP leadership's use of the Hastert Rule and H. Res 368 to shut down the government and threaten the US economy with default is an attempt to extort the United States government into altering or abolishing the Affordable Care Act, and thus, is self-evidently a seditious conspiracy."

There's no such thing as the "Hastert Rule":

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics-live/liveblog/live-updates-the-shutdown-showdown/?id=61993257-bb05-484d-9a58-1be81100f225

Note also that "the House passed a compromise to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling with just 87 Republican votes, well short of a majority of the majority" (supposedly a requirement of the fictitious Hastert Rule).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/10/18/the-hastert-rule-rip/

H.R. 368 applied only to one bill, Joint Resolution 59. It didn't prevent a clean continuing resolution (C.R.) from being brought to a floor vote to reopen government at any time during the shutdown; House Speaker Boehner is the one who was in a position to enforce or end the shutdown; he chose to enforce it for the duration in order to play to the conservative base and its donors.

There is something fundamentally nonsensical about this House rules change controversy.

First of all, it has NEVER been the prerogative of general members of the House to call a floor vote. That has always been the privilege of the Speaker of the House or his designee. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if any member could force the entire body of the House to a floor vote at will?

Even the unmodified version of the House rule in question (Rule XXII, Clause 4) says that its use "shall be privileged". So there was NEVER any possibility that the unmodified rule could be invoked by a general member of the House. H.R. 368 simply confers that privilege on House majority leader Eric Cantor, and only with respect to invocations of the rule with respect to J.R. 59, a single piece of legislation.

Furthermore, the modified rule in question governs the removal or modification by the House of a Senate amendment to a joint bill. It does NOT relate to the process of a straight-up vote on a joint bill as received from the Senate. Additionally, House Rule XXII, Clause 4 is not the only parliamentary procedure by which a move to bring a bill to the floor for a vote may be filed.

In ALL cases the final authority to call the whole body of the House to a floor vote rests with the Speaker of the House, in this case John Boehner.

If the rule had NEVER been modified by H.R. 368 and no mention of the supposed "Hastert Rule" had ever been made, the ONLY ordinary way for J.R. 59 or any other bill to reopen the government to make it to a floor vote is for the House Speaker to approve it for a floor vote. So, all along, Boehner was in charge.

As for extraordinary means, if the Speaker refuses to allow a floor vote, there are then two ways to force the legislation to be released for a floor vote: (1) If a simple majority of House members signs a discharge petition; (2) If the Speaker is removed from his position by a special action of the House, and the new Speaker calls a floor vote.

It's quite common in both federal and state legislatures for a bill which the majority party dislikes to be withheld from reaching a floor vote, particularly if it would pass a floor vote primarily through the votes of the minority opposition party along with a few votes by defecting majority members. In the House, the Speaker just refuses to schedule it for a floor vote..

It's uncommon for a faction of the majority party to join with the minority party to co-sign a discharge petition (a simple majority of the total House) to force a floor vote. It's truly rare for a Speaker to be deposed in order to force a floor vote.

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