Archive for Boehner

Wednesday Links

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Photo: Eileen Blass, USAToday

              Photo: Eileen Blass, USAToday

Blocking the vote: Florida County eliminates minority-heavy polling places

Rain and Sleet Move into Metro Atlanta Area

Be sure to read the explanation of why the first recipe is called
The Sure Thing.
Red Red Gingerbread (Karen Noel Hearn's Food Blog

What John Mackey sees as fascism, I see as, finally, a health care law which lets millions of people get health care who would have been turned down before the Affordable Care Act.
Whole Foods Founder John Mackey On Fascism And 'Conscious Capitalism'

Why Boehner Gave Up on the Debt Ceiling

MSNBC confirms NJ Senator Gordon says no members of Christie's office will appear before committee

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Budget War or Civil War -- A GOP Confederate Ruse

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GettysburgThere's a growing, no, make that a festering train of thought chugging down the rails in this cynic's mind. It's called distraction and Reconstruction. It has to do with this funding battle raging in Washington. Is this all really a distraction -- something to erase our recent memories of the Republican party's attacks on our domestic rights? Things like immigration, the EPA, voter's rights, women's rights, fracking, big Wall Street regulations, Food Stamps, and subsidies to GOP's favorite charity, oil.

Referring to a recent article on The Hill:

Six months after the Republican National Committee (RNC) issued a post-election blueprint for rebooting the party and reaching new voters, top Republicans are worried their party is failing to meet its goals.

Party strategists and a number of Republican lawmakers are concerned about fallout from the GOP’s handling of the government shutdown, public infighting between lawmakers, attempts to reach out to female and minority voters and an overall lack of a positive vision for the country.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned that the GOP was “taking our eye off the ball” by failing to focus on boosting appeal with Hispanics, young voters and women — groups that voted strongly Democratic in 2012.

When your post-national election report card says you're failing in so many areas, how do you start things over, level the playing field and even force an advantage? You start a war. A form of distraction which unites the people and if you win, you gain more control. If you lose, people are so busy talking about the fight and battle that they forget all of the other issues that were derisive before the war. And then you can start Reconstruction.

Reconstruction

But starting a war is risky. A recent Talking Points Meme by Tom Kludt put it rather illustratively:

A Republican congressman drew parallels between the government shutdown and one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, saying Thursday that the GOP has "found itself embroiled in battle on a battlefield it didn't intend to be on."

"I would liken this a little bit to Gettysburg, where a Confederate unit went looking for shoes and stumbled into Union cavalry, and all of a sudden found itself embroiled in battle on a battlefield it didn't intend to be on, and everybody just kept feeding troops into it," the congressman said. "That's basically what's happening now in a political sense. This isn't exactly the fight I think Republicans wanted to have, certainly that the leadership wanted to have, but it's the fight that's here."

In this parallel, change shoes to Obamacare and the battle to the government shutdown. All that's left is the surrender at Appomattox which will be the debt ceiling. Then General Robert E. Cruz will be lost to the ages along with his deputy, Colonel Beauregard Boehner and Reconstruction under Abraham Obama will begin.

Reconstruction 2 rebuilding

At least that's the projection as the story is going along so far. Not exactly Tom Clancy or Bruce Catton, but it's pretty close.

It's an interesting ruse these Republicans are running. And we're seeing signs of it already. Who's talking about civil rights? Who's talking about women's issues. Who's talking about gun control or voter rights? Who's talking about clean air and water? Who's talking about immigration? Or fracking, for "fracking" sake?

This war is about distraction from those issues and consolidation into one battle -- one the Tea Party wing of the GOP has produced.

Fortunately, it didn't work for the Confederate South at Gettysburg. What we have to hope is now is that, 150 or so years later, the South doesn't rise again -- God help all of us all if it does.

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Repubs to La. -- Don't Worry About Hurricane Karen, Gov. Shutdown No Problem

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What, me worry

But Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) tweeted Friday there was "no negative impact trickling down from the government shutdown."

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) echoed that sentiment, telling National Review that he did not "think that many of my constituents even know that there is a shutdown — or even care."

Well, that's saying a lot about your constituency. Don't they have newspapers, radio or television down in the Gulf coast area? Or is it you, Rep. Fleming, who's unaware of the shutdown? You voted for it and continue to do so. You voted to shut down FEMA which annually makes loans available to your storm-ravaged area. You don't you think your people are paying attention? Ask the Katrina survivors? You might just be surprised when you run for re-election in 2014. Be worried if they come up to you and say you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie.

Perhaps the reason these two Louisiana elected officials aren't worrying about the safety of their folks back home facing a possible Hurricane Karen is because of responsible, Democratic action, not their Republican party's. The disaster-relief safety net (FEMA), despite all of GOP game playing with governmental funding has been covered, along with Louisiana's collective derrieres.

THE HILL:

The White House announced Friday it had recalled and deployed federal liaisons to emergency operation centers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. It also recalled staff from furlough to a supply distribution center in Atlanta and activated its national response coordination center in Washington.

Of course, Mr. Vitter and Mr. Fleming, there's no problem. The Obama White House, not your Republicans fixed it. Somehow that got lost in the messages sent out by you two. I'm sure you'll be correcting that... soon. But no rush. According to Congressman Fleming's words, the folks back home don't even know what's going on, or care.

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Pied Piper Leads GOP Rats Into The River

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Pied piper 2

Rafael 'Ted' Cruz spent much, if not most of his summer on a "Defund Obamacare Bus Tour." It's lead spokesperson, the 'drawing card' or Pied Piper for this publicity stunt was the junior senator from Texas. His stump speech at ever stop included this message, reported by WCSH6-TV:

"And there is no more important piece of regulatory reform that we can do than to repeal every single word of Obamacare," said Senator Ted Cruz, (R) Texas.

Senator Cruz and the Heritage Foundation are hoping to whip up enough support to gut President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Now, taking an issue to the people is solid, time-tested strategy. It's peaceful, informative and instrumental in getting a message across. Nothing like pressing flesh and getting out there during a break from Washington -- especially if this timing coincides with your anticipated announcement that you plan to run for the presidency.

The general intentions of a bus tour like this include whipping up such a frenzied group of concerned backers, that movement on an issue in Congress will be the result. And Cruz's efforts have been used for just such motivation.

Cruz Wednesday became the Pied Piper of Washington town leading the House Rats on a march to their death in the Potomac River. The Canadian/American senator, along with Mike Lee and Marco Rubio, led wobbly-legged Speaker John Boehner to begin the political equivalent of the Bataan Death March.

rats drowning themselves

What makes it most interesting is that the House, which doesn't include Cruz, Rubio or Lee, is taking their orders from this trio. Three men who will be part of the messy defeat of this action when it reached the senate.

This all reminds me of the bully kids who egg you on to throw rocks and break a storefront window with, "It'll be fun. You want to be part of our gang, prove it!"

Then as soon as you commit the challenge, they call the cops and turn you in, laughing all the time you're being arrested. They're instigators.

Well now some of the saner (a rarity in the GOP party) members of the house are railing against Pied Piper Rafael C. They realize they've been sold down the river, or more appropriately, been pushed into it.

Here's a little taste of the vitriol coming from the house members who've just realized what's been done to them.

HUFFPO:

"House agrees to send #CR to Senate that defunds Obamacare. @SenTedCruz & @SenMikeLee refuse to fight. Wave white flag and surrender," tweeted Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.).

"So far Sen Rs are good at getting Facebook likes, and townhalls, not much else. Do something...," tweeted Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.).

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) also took to Twitter to vent. "House Republicans are turning words into action to defund #Obamacare. Ball will be in the Senate’s court," he wrote.

Another aide said Cruz's comment "exposes how [Senate conservatives] have deliberately misled their constituents and the grassroots for eight weeks. This isn't leadership, it's hypocrisy."

"We haven't even taken up the bill and Ted Cruz is admitting defeat?" fumed one senior GOP aide. "Some people came here to govern and make things better for their constituents. Ted Cruz came here to throw bombs and fundraise off of attacks on fellow Republicans. He's a joke, plain and simple."

It's still too early to gloat, but the writing does seem to be on the wall. The house has been used by Cruz, Lee and Rubio, but the man blowing the flute seems to be Cruz. He's drowning his own people in hopes that if he's the only one left standing come 2016, he's got a shot at the White House.

That's some long-term, roundabout way to lead.

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Feed A Cold, Starve the People

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sneeze

Those Republicans are at it again. They don't have time for a jobs bill. They can't be bothered with immigration reform. They don't care about our crumbling infrastructure. What's the pressing issue they can't wait to get their hands on? It's SNAP -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

A Republican proposal to cut food stamp spending by 5 percent would eliminate benefits for as many as 6 million Americans, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal D.C. think tank.

starvation

They just don't get it. Many people on food stamps do work -- but they don't make enough on current minimum wage to rise above the poverty level and thus qualify for assistance. And who's fault it that? The Republicans. They refuse to vote on raising the minimum wage to a livable amount.

No matter how many times economists show them that raising the minimum wage increases productivity, these thick-headed morons refuse to listen. Instead, they unsparingly propose harmful cuts. Regardless of who they are hurting: Children, the elderly, and people who don't get 4 months of paid vacation a year, like Congress.

"House Republican leaders haven’t formally released the language of their plan, but the information they have made available makes clear that the proposal will be very harsh, denying SNAP to at least four million to six million low-income people, including some of the nation’s poorest adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors, and families that work for low wages," the CBPP's Dottie Rosenbaum, Stacy Dean, and Robert Greenstein said in a report published Monday.

Back in June, a proposal to cut SNAP (Food Stamps) funding by 20 billion dollars was voted down.

Scissor cut

BECAUSE IT WASN'T ENOUGH OF A CUT!!!

What is wrong with Boehner and his vigilante posse? Are they so callous they want to refuse to give us jobs and then watch us starve, writhing in a slow death, watching our families perish and making us dig their graves, assuming we have enough strength?

The Romans thought Caligula was a demon and barbaric. They intentionally looked the other way when he was jumped by the Senate and stabbed to death. What do we have in store for Speaker Boehner and his gang when they come back. I hope it's our votes and our voices to shout them down and rip them apart by taking away the thing they cherish most -- their seats on Capitol Hill. To them it's the gift that keeps on giving. And if they don't start giving back, wait until they walk among us.

Earplugs may not be enough to drown out our dissatisfaction. Disruptive town halls during August showed that. Our voices are raised and we're going to be heard. Tread on us and we'll tread on you. Don't be surprised if we go a little "mashed potato" on your behinds.

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Shhh. Listen. Hear Anything?

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Serenity

Ah, the quiet serenity of Congress on adjournment. No more harsh screaming across the aisles. No more chest pounding as to who's more right wing that the next guy. No more useless repeal Obamacare votes.

During this month long break from the frenetic Congressional world of gridlock, I'm going to go out on a limb. I think Congress is actually going to get a lot done -- by leaving town.

Kreskin predicts

My prediction is --  think Kreskin Predicts for you old enough to remember the Amazing Kreskin -- that the next "scandal" in Washington is going to be Recessgate. It's going to be all about recess appointments and Article II of the US Constitution.

I predict that executive orders are going to be flying fast and furious a week after the last stragglers of congressional legislators have left town. Obama is going to use the powers that he has to make appointments, activate portions of stalled bills and he'll force the GOP's hand.

I predict Obama's going to silence his liberal critics by doing this and showing some balls. He's going to upset the apple cart called the GOP Congressional Quagmire (or business as usual). They've already threatened to shut the government down. I predict Obama calls their bluff.

I predict he announces limitations on the NSA's snooping domestically. He'll have his fingers crossed, behind his back when he says it, but he's going to look to appease the left.

I predict there will be some sort of jobs authorization plan, a liberal/progressive interpretation of his powers. Even if these are reviewed by SCOTUS when they return in October for their constitutionality, the effects will be felt immediately. And public opinion will trump the GOP's austerity program.

I predict judges -- at least in the District of Columbia. After all, the President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

I predict he's arranged, in a gentleman's agreement with a few resignations coming in soon that he'll fill in August. Their replacements are already standing by.

I predict that under the Article II of the Constitution, the president appoints ambassadors, ministers, consuls, and other officers as allowed by Congress. The president can fill vacancies in offices without Senate approval if the Senate is out of session.

I predict wherever necessary, the President will issue rules, regulations, and instructions called executive orders, which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require congressional approval. Every opportunity will be tapped. Look for some sort of global warming or infrastructure plan to be put into effect.

I predict none of this will happen. How's that for playing it safe?

Fortune teller

Obama's only got three years of his final term left. He squandered away the first year trying to work with the Obstructionist party. He has found that like American Express Cards, his political capital isn't accepted here. He's too proud and intelligent of a man to want "I Couldn't Get Anything Done" to be  his legacy. The man's not a quitter. He may not be up to all of our expectations, but who is? There's Catholics right now running around scared because Pope Francis dared to ask "Who am I to judge" when asked about gay priests. So there's no pleasing all the people, all the time.

Capitol Building at night

Obama is fully aware that we the people elected him on the promise of change. Well maybe we're on the cusp of seeing that -- starting with the flexing of the Chief Executive's powers during the congressional hiatus, when the capitol has gone dark.

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Government: Shut Up Or Shut Down

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No budget no pay

The odds of a government shutdown this autumn are ever increasing. That's the scuttlebutt on Capitol Hill these days, with the White House and congressional leaders both digging in. And of course, little consideration is being given to the people this lack of approved budget will have on regular people.

Our concern and well-being are far down the list of considerations by Congress because they really don't care. Their pay is guaranteed. Or so  it seems. But the fine state of Illinois, led by Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka may have found a way around this -- at least temporarily.

Causing huge delays in passing a Pension Protection Act, Illinois congresspeople found that their paychecks were suspended. All it took was a simple stoke of the pen by the Governor who defunded the accounts that pay these legislators. With that, the comptroller ceased issuing checks.

An existing bill to the Constitution says changes in lawmaker salary cannot take effect during the term in which they were elected. But in the case of Illinois and with a similarly stated law, Quinn cited a prior court ruling and said he isn't changing their salary, he's just withholding the money to pay it. A technicality, but a legal one.

Article II

President Obama has executive powers, especially in what he can label a temporary state of emergency -- a lack of a functioning approved budget allowing the country to maintain law and order. A case of national security. We all know about that. He can suspend any constitutional rights (broadly interpreted as legal under Article II of the Constitution outlining executive powers). Just because Obama hasn't used these powers this way before, doesn't mean he doesn't have them.

Consider this excerpt re: Article II of the U.S. Constitution from Wikipedia:

A presidential proclamation "states a condition, declares a law and requires obedience, recognizes an event or triggers the implementation of a law (by recognizing that the circumstances in law have been realized)". Presidents “define” situations or conditions on situations that become legal or economic truth. These orders carry the same force of law as executive orders—the difference between the two is that executive orders are aimed at those inside government while proclamations are aimed at those outside government. The administrative weight of these proclamations is upheld because they are often specifically authorized by congressional statute, making them “delegated unilateral powers”. Presidential proclamations are often dismissed as a practical presidential tool for policy making because of the perception of proclamations as largely ceremonial or symbolic in nature. However, the legal weight of presidential proclamations suggests their importance to presidential governance.

(The words or phrases underlined above are mine -- just for emphasis.)

Maybe it's time to call the congressional bluff. Let Boehner and the GOP stand in the way of a reasonable budget and shut the government down. Then see their paycheck's funding withheld as a non-essential funding expenditure during the crisis. Congress will still eventually get paid because that's mandated by law, but WHEN can be determined by an executive order. Requiring a SCOTUS ruling to overturn it will require SCOTUS to be in session -- and if they're not funded, they won't be around to do that.

How fast will these obstructionists endeavor to do the right thing when they won't have a valid paycheck to come home to, just like so many of us? My bet is pretty fast.

Can this be done legally? We won't know until it's been tried. Boehner and the GOP seem to want to play a game of bluff. Maybe two can play at this. Care to  show your cajones, Mr. President?

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