We find that enhanced expenditures have been excessive: to be deemed...– John Mueller and Mark Stewart report back after analyzing Homeland Security spending. Word.
I gotta tell you something: if you support Medicare the way it is now, you can...– Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) raising the budgetary hostage taking to a new level.
The Birther Disgrace | FrumForum →
Yet even now, the racialist aspect of the anti-Obama movement has not subsided. Trump has moved from the birth certificate to questioning the president’s academic qualifications for the Harvard Law School. Trump himself was a troubled student (at one point he attended a military school) who nonetheless gained admission to Wharton. His father’s wealth and business success cannot have hurt with...
Yelling at Congresspeople
squashed: The summer before last, Republican groups made huge political gains by showing up at Townhall meetings and acting atrociously. Now Democrats want to do the same thing. They shouldn’t. When I saw that MoveOn.org was organizing the same sort of events to target Republicans, I initially felt a certain glee. This will go well for the left. Then I remembered the August 2009 town halls...
A Foolish Consistency...
Boehner: [Multi-billion dollar subsidies to oil companies are] certainly something we should be looking at. We're in a time when the federal government's short on revenues. [Oil companies] ought to be paying their fair share.
Obama: Dear Speaker Boehner, Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, and Representative Pelosi: I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, and to use those dollars to invest in clean energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. [...] I was heartened that Speaker Boehner yesterday expressed openness to eliminating these tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Our political system has for too long avoided and ignored this important step, and I hope we can come together in a bipartisan manner to get it done.
Boehner through spokesman: Unfortunately, what the President has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump.
I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much...– Disgraced former Speaker Newt Gingrich, speaking in 2007.
Curveball II →
I’d say this paragraph pretty well sums up American “terrorist policy” from 9/12/2001 on: …whatever the truth about the detainee’s role before his capture in 2002, it is receding into the past. So, presumably, is the value of whatever information he possesses. Still, his jailers have continued to press him for answers. His assessment of January 2008 — six years after he...
Compassionate Conservatism →
Breathtaking. Words do not suffice: Under a new budget proposal from State Sen. Bruce Casswell, children in the state’s foster care system would be allowed to purchase clothing only in used clothing stores. […] His explanation? “I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his...
When Republicans reached basic consensus about what they wanted to do [relative...– Matt Yglesias on the key differences between how the GOP and Democratic Caucuses operate.
Two Peanuts Were Walking Down the Straße →
Brace yourself for The World’s Funniest Joke: Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, ‘My friend is dead! What can I do?’ The operator says ‘Calm down. I can help. First let’s make sure he’s dead.’ There...
In my fantasies, not only would the Republicans block all these...– Digby I actually think this is the plan. As I’ve said before, Obama is the outcomes President. If a package of spending cuts is presented that he and his advisers thinks makes sense, I have no doubt he’ll sign off on them; given the current environment I’d say this outcome is...
The Shinning →
In which Matt Miller channels The Shining: The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit. The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit. […] “The spending spree is over,” Ryan said the other day, after the House passed his...
Is S&P Running Interference for the Right? →
jasencomstock: […] Besides, Democrats could easily interpret (and should, vindictively) the warning from S&P as a call for higher taxation. Precisely. S&P is commenting on the inability of said gubmint to actually do anything and most definitely not on the underlying capability of the United States economy to produce growth and/or sustain a marginally higher tax rate necessary...
Confessions of a Climate Convert →
Forget all the road to Damascus stuff in the piece, this is what I find important: I’d argue that conservatives and libertarians should strongly support regulation to reduce carbon pollution, since pollution by one entity invariably infringes upon the rights of others (including property rights), and no entity has a constitutional right to pollute. It does not put America on the road to...
Birther Boogaloo: You Tell Me
Reality Check: Okay, now, what are the specific requirements in the [TN Ballot Access] bill?
TN State Senator Mae Beavers: That they have to have the long-form birth certificate.
RC: What is the long-form birth certificate?
Beavers: Now, you’re asking me to get into a lot of things that I haven’t really looked into yet.
RC: [...] Are you aware that a lot of states now only give the short-form birth certificate?
Beavers: No, I only know about Tennessee, and I was born in Alabama. So I only know what I have seen.
RC: What if someone was not born in a hospital? It wouldn’t have an attending physician signature, so they wouldn’t be eligible to run in Tennessee if this bill passes. Is that correct?
Beavers: But they would have a birth certificate.
RC: Sure, but your bill doesn’t say birth certificate. It says “an original long-form birth certificate that includes date and place of birth, name of the hospital, the attending physician, and signatures of the witnesses.”
Beavers: And that’s normally what’s on a long-form birth certificate.
RC: It used to be, but as a matter of fact, the state of Hawaii, where President Obama was born, for people born since, I believe, around 2001, only gives the time of birth, the name of the parents, and the place of birth. Are you aware of the section of the Constitution called the full faith and credit clause? It’s in Article 4, Section 1.
RC: Well, do you know what it says about state documents?
Beavers: You tell me.
RC: It says that any state is required to accept the documents from another state. So that basically means that Tennessee has to accept a valid birth certificate from Hawaii or any other state.
Beavers: I have no knowledge of short-form birth certificates in Hawaii.
RC: [...] Mitt Romney may not be eligible under this bill. Are you aware of that?
Beavers: No, I wasn’t.
RC: Well, George Romney, his father, was born in Mexico. Mexico confers citizenship by jus soli, which is place of birth. So he was born with dual citizenship, and it also passes down. Unless George Romney somehow gave up his Mexican citizenship, Mitt Romney has dual citizenship.
Beavers: Obviously you’ve studied this whole thing.
The people most affected by [the drug war] are black and brown and poor. It’s...– David Simon
On Dana Milbank →
First they came for the welfare mothers, but I did not speak out, because I was a member of Skull & Bones. Then they came for middle-class manufacturing unions, but I did not speak out, because I had to get to a party at Marty Peretz’s. Then they came for the upper middle class people who didn’t have columns in the Washington Post, but I did not speak out, because Dennis...
You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We’ll have that debate....– President Obama in semi-private remarks to “supporters” as reported here. I, for one, welcome the arrival of feisty candidate mode Obama. Next thing you know he’ll grow a beard. An action beard. Plain and simple truths. America craves them. This urge to “look...
jeffmiller asked: I still don't like the cheap shots. My point, for example, isn't that he's "articulate" or any other similar code word . . . my point is that Obama talks a great game, but isn't concerned enough with delivering. Anyone who cares about Guantanamo, rendition, Patriot Act, war, etc. ought to agree with this. Anyone who cares about transparency or the influence of...
Beating "Beating a Dead Hobby Horse"
jeffmiller: I think this response is at times weird and at times unfair. 1. You may hate Ryan’s plan. You may agree with Krugman. (Whose criticisms, ironically, can be just as appropriately applied to the Affordable Care Act.) You might think its unserious, or that its ideological. I would agree that its ideological, and that it’s based on some fantasy numbers. But it is a plan and not a...
…the most plausible deficit reduction plan is to rely on gridlock rather...– Jonathan Chait, seemingly forgetting the part where Obama gets to campaign on the GOP eliminating tax cuts for the middle class because they weren’t getting tax cuts for the very richest of the rich. Who, you know, only destroyed the global economy and aren’t the most popular folks...
Obama: In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. And I refuse to renew them again.
Kevin Drum: Question: is Obama laying down a marker in hopes of getting a bill that extends only the middle-class cuts? Or is he laying down a marker knowing that Republicans will refuse to budge and therefore the entire Bush tax cut package will expire?
Lemkin: He is putting the onus of middle class tax cut extension or expiration squarely on the GOP House, which is where it should have been all along. We would have had a very different outcome last time around if this had been the shape of the negotiation. There is very real power in pursuing a "do nothing" approach if Obama and the Democrats at large will just deign to use it. Shrill, I know, but following such a path would really punish the GOP and force them to come out squarely against their own stated goals again and again and all in defense of the very richest people on the Earth.
Beating a Dead Hobby Horse
jeffmiller: […]Challenged to produce an actual plan, Obama produced rhetoric. As opposed to Ryan’s plan and its magical unicorns based solutions? Honestly and specifically please detail exactly which programs and federal initiatives Ryan is specifically cutting to get spending to 3% of GDP? Are you aware that current military spending is all on its own consuming about 3% GDP?...
Ygleisas dares to dream about the “ideal negotiating framework” for the debt ceiling: White House demands clean debt ceiling increase, House majority demands big spending cuts, Senate majority demands partial repeal of Bush tax cuts, and we all compromise on just doing the damn debt increase. That would be nice. But it would also require non-feckless Democrats in the Senate....
His Master's Voice →
The people actually in charge of Our One True Plutocracy seem to be getting antsy: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has had conversations with top Wall Street executives, asking how close Congress could push to the debt limit deadline without sending interests rates soaring and causing stock prices to go lower, people familiar with the matter said. […] The Wall Street...
Mr. Boehner may face just as much risk as Mr. Obama, if not more. He has...– Nate Silver Mr. Obama is most decidedly not a good poker player.
Did We Secretly Elect McCain? →
Softening the administration’s earlier insistence that Congress raise the so-called debt ceiling without conditions, officials now say they won’t rule out linking an increase of the borrowing cap with cuts aimed at reducing the deficit—even though they’d prefer to keep the issues separate. Honestly, it’s getting hard to tell. Whoever leaked this circular firing squad...
And so it begins: Obama will not blaze a fresh path when he delivers a much-anticipated speech Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University. Instead, he is expected to offer support for the commission’s work and a related effort underway in the Senate to develop a strategy for curbing borrowing. Obama will frame the approach as a responsible alternative to the 2012 plan unveiled last...
The producers [of The Spy Who Loved Me] approached Steven Spielberg, who was in...– Wikipedia describes the process of hiring a director.
I don’t think the [Ryan] plan goes too far. I think it’s disingenuous and...– Paul Krugman, responding to the “those who oppose it think it ‘goes too far’” nonsense the Serious People love to trot out when fellating Ryan and his plan.
Hell No It Doesn't
Elliot Spitzer (4/6/11): Congressman, thank you so much for joining us tonight….Look, I want to begin with the question that goes to a simple notion of fairness. And here's how I want to frame it for you. The top one percent of income earners in our nation get 25 percent of the income and control 40 percent of the wealth. Those numbers have gone through the roof over the last decade or two. And yet Paul Ryan's budget plan imposes two-thirds of its burdens on the poor. Two-thirds! Right after we gave a big tax cut to the rich. Does that violate your sense of fairness in a very basic sense?
Todd Akin, R MO: Well, no.
Health care is another matter. That has to be taken very methodically because...– Bill O’Reilly, apparently believing the notion that Planned Parenthood is merely the place one goes for on-demand partial birth abortions and the like. Pop quiz: Number of federal dollars used by Planned Parenthood to fund abortion? That would be ZERO. The Hyde amendment way back in 1976...
Shutdown Number One
jasencomstock: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday morning that he and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, have agreed on a deal to cut about $38 billion from current spending levels, but added that Republican insistence on including a policy rider blocking federal funding for Planned Parenthood, is the only stumbling block. “We agreed on a number last night,” Reid told...
Ryan's Motivations (or: Pie-O-My)
jeffmiller: lemkin: Kevin Drum wonders what drives Ryan to produce such a uniquely partisan budget document… There is this strange notion that Ryan should not have proposed the plan he actually wanted, but that he was supposed to compromise before the Democrats even come to the table. This is insane. You don’t go to the car dealer and figure, “Well, I’d like to pay $22,000 for the...
Ryan's Motivations (or: Pie-O-My)
Kevin Drum wonders what drives Ryan to produce such a uniquely partisan budget document: I don’t know what motivates Ryan, but it’s certainly not a genuine search for plausible grounds for negotiation. Instead, he’s produced a document carefully crafted to produce a universally negative reaction from Democrats, presumably because he thinks that will make Democrats look...
Ryan's Unicorns →
Krugman on Ryan: Ryan is claiming that unemployment will plunge right away; that by 2015 it will be down to the levels at the peak of the 1990s boom (and far below anything achieved under the sainted Ronald Reagan); and that by 2021 it will be below 3 percent, a level we haven’t seen in more than half a century. […] According to the CBO analysis, a typical senior would end up...
Tax Increases and Giveaways to Big Banks →
Ryan’s view of an ideal America on the Path to Prosperity really is a winning combination; aside from the top line items of eliminating Medicare, Medicaid, and (ultimately) Social Security, the GOP Vision of an America they want to live in includes: …lurking in the plan is a giant giveaway to Wall Street […]. Specifically, Ryan wants to repeal two key provisions of the...
Serious journalism is about having lunch with powerful people so you can write...– Matt Yglesias on the rigors of Serious Person journalism.
…the concept of “seriousness” in Washington punditry is...– Adam Serwer, exactly right on serious people.
Medicare and the Overton Window
This Pelosi post got me thinking about just what a Democratic response to a Ryan-style plan on Medicare should even be. After all, if you work from Ryan’s far right starting point and counter with “well, let’s just privatize x% of Medicare for this set of individuals” or some other “sensible middle” type compromise, then you’ve already lost. You’ve...
Never. Is never good enough for you?– Nancy Pelosi on when the Democratic plan to destroy Social Security would be introduced. This is the sort of Democrat we need a whole lot more of. And, as Atrios notes, the Bush administration hadn’t yet even offered their plan and wouldn’t, really, until after the whole thing was...
It's Courageous To Go Die in the Streets
David Brooks: Today, Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, is scheduled to release the most comprehensive and most courageous budget reform proposal any of us have seen in our lifetimes….His proposal will set the standard of seriousness for anybody who wants to play in this discussion….This budget tackles just about every politically risky issue with...
It’s going to be just like the Social Security fight, only worse: once again,...– Paul Krugman, on the coming Medicare privatization fight. Add to that an administration that has shown zero interest in coming out of a defensive crouch on such issues, even when 87% of Americans favor keeping Medicare as is or increasing funding. And, just to get a sense of where the MSM and its...
Welcome the Responsibility →
E.J. Dionne posits that the coming “Ryancare” enforced destruction of Medicare will either be Obama’s defining moment or the final end of progressive government in America: Americans are about to learn how much is at stake in our larger budget fight, how radical the new conservatives in Washington are, and the extent to which some politicians would transfer even more...
I don’t really want to propose revolutionizing the pension system based on one...– Matt Yglesias, former blogger, jumping the shark. Buy him out, boys.