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AL-03: Mike Rogers Voted For Sequestration & Whines When Cuts Affect His District

by: countrycat

Fri May 31, 2013 at 10:30:00 AM CDT

Somebody needs to educate AL Rep. Mike Rogers on the law of cause and effect as it applies to the federal budget.  When you recklessly vote for a stupid bill that requires across-the-board budget cuts with little or no flexibility, don't be surprised when those cuts hurt your district.Mike Rogers FAILED Arithmetic

Yet the AL-03 Representative is whining about the announcement to furlough 1500 workers at Maxwell Air Force Base, calling the move "political:"

“I am convinced this is political … I am convince it is solely because the administration wants as many people as possible to feel the pain, so he can say ‘this is what happens when the mean Republicans cut spending, now give me more taxes,’” Rogers said at the event at the RSA Activity Center in Montgomery.

A report by Bloomberg News estimates the furlough of 22,600 workers in Alabama will result in about $75 million in lost wages.

Rogers also advocated for beginning work now to ensure the air base was protected during any future Base Realignment and Closures, which he estimated could occur again in 2016 or 2017. The air base was among the military posts considered during the 2005 BRAC process, Rogers said.
“I want to make sure Maxwell-Gunter has what it needs to never get on the BRAC list,” Rogers said.

Ok Rep. Rogers, thanks for that fascinating glimpse into the GOP psyche...

  • Rogers IS one of those "mean Republicans" who voted to cut spending and ignored repeated warnings that federal workers and the most vulnerable citizens (like low income seniors who now wait in vain for their Meals on Wheels deliveries) would feel pain.

    Good heavens, even Mo Brooks had sense enough to realize that sequestration was going to hurt the defense budget.

  • At the same time Rogers touts himself as a deficit hawk, he's beating the drum to keep federal money coming to his own district and laying the groundwork to keep Maxwell open.

    Federal spending cuts are apparently only a good thing when they affect other districts.

Rep. Rogers, basic math isn't a liberal plot.  The budget is zero sum: when you cut a department's budget and mandate - by law - across-the-board spending cuts, well, the department has to cut spending. 

This isn't a difficult concept to understand, but it doesn't seem to penetrate the GOP bubble.

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Huntsville Clergy Members Ask Brooks, Sessions, & Shelby To Behave Responsibly On Sequestration

by: countrycat

Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 10:05:46 AM CST

AL-05 Congressman Mo Brooks & Senators Sessions & Shelby won't listen to reason most of the time, but will they listen to Alabama clergy about the harm that "Sequestration" will cause?  Possibly not, since this group of Christians, Unitarians, and Rabbis is talking about helping the poor and vulnerable - not nosing about in other people's private lives. 

But at least they tried.  In an open letter to Brooks, Sessions, & Shelby, ten Huntsville-area religious leaders are pleading for compromise and a solution that helps the poor and middle class instead of hurting them.

I received a copy from Rabbi Bahar, who authored the letter with input from her fellow ministers.  AL.com has the entire text, but here are a few excerpts:

This crisis does not simply affect people in Washington. Families who are members of our congregations will face significant salary cuts. Some of these people are already living on the edge and cannot afford to have a reduction in their compensation. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that as a result of this act, 1 million people will lose their jobs, including not only government employees, but also small business owners whose clientele are government workers.

We are not arguing about the need to reduce the deficit, but simply that the use of sequestration -- a blind, massive spending cut which would hurt not only families who work as contractors but also programs affecting the poor and impoverished members of our community -- is not a responsible way of addressing the deficit situation.

Our approach to these serious problems needs to be rooted in our values of compassion and justice. We need to be good stewards of what we have. Compromise should prevail as the method to solve problems; grandstanding and the need to be correct fails to recognize the possibility that multiple approaches to problem-solving exist.


Please realize that you, as our elected officials, have been given power and a responsibility.


So we ask you, those whom we have sent to speak on our behalf, to speak loudly and clearly for the citizens of Alabama and work to resolve this impending crisis before the March 1st deadline in a responsible manner, a manner that considers the well-being of not only the citizens of Alabama, but also our entire nation.

Well said, but sadly, it will probably fall on deaf ears.


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Mo Brooks Says Cut Defense Spending

by: mooncat

Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 21:30:00 PM CDT

Well, this is pretty bushy-tailed, even for a deficit hawk like Mo Brooks (R, AL-05) ... especially if your district's economy runs on federal defense $$$$.

"Everything has to be cut, including defense."

Redstone Arsenal gets about $7 billion in federal defense spending and 36,000 Huntsville workers manage a whopping $100 billion in annual defense spending. 

Mo is putting it all on the chopping block.

Why?  So millionaires can keep their historically low tax rates ... a small fact he neglected to mention at his town hall meeting.

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Republican Congress Burned $1.3 Billion In Debt Ceiling Theater

by: mooncat

Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 08:33:52 AM CDT

Congressional Republicans like my own representative, Mo Brooks, love to rail against the national debt.  Last year they put on a big show of refusing to raise the debt ceiling.  At the time, Brooks even asserted that the debt ceiling fight would improve our credit rating.

“There should be no default on August 2,” Brooks said. “In fact, our credit rating should be improved by not raising the debt ceiling.”

Wrong-o.  What they did was get America's credit rating lowered.  As many of us suspected at the time, Republicans weren't doing diddly about the debt, it was all political theater.  

Expensive political theater.  Repubicans might as well have spent the time burning money ... it would have been cheaper for taxpayers.  That little spot of Republican play-acting cost taxpayers a minimum of $1.3 billion.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said Monday that the $1.3 billion in costs came as the result of increased borrowing costs for the Treasury Department. The final cost is expected to climb higher as multi-year obligations and other outstanding costs are added later.


For those of you who missed last summer’s political drama, lawmakers eventually agreed to raise the federal debt limit to $16.4 trillion, a $2.1 trillion increase that came with an agreement to cut a similar amount in federal spending over the next decade. Just under $1 trillion took the form of annual caps on agency spending. The rest is slated to come through even deeper, automatic cuts at the Pentagon and other agencies beginning in January.

Thanks, GOPers.  Y'all spent wasted burned through $1.3 billion we didn't have, did zip to put the middle class back to work and managed to lower our credit rating -- which will cost us more down the road.  Deficit hawks?  Congressional Republicans are more like deficit hogs. 

Yeah, we're looking at you Robert Aderholt (R, AL-04), Spencer Bachus (R, AL-06), Jo Bonner (R, AL-01), Mo Brooks (R, AL-05), Martha Roby (R, AL-02) and Mike Rogers (R, AL-03).

To put the icing on the cake, Republicans are now moaning and complaining about sequestration -- those automatic cuts to defense spending -- a key part of the budget compromise forged in response to the GOP-manufactured debt ceiling crisis.  Seriously, do these guys ever take responsibility for anything?

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The Spending Hypocrisy of Mo Brooks

by: mooncat

Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 08:46:37 AM CDT

Mo Brooks (R, AL-05) to a Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce crowd that the growing deficit is "the greatest threat our nation faces." 

Worse than Al-Quaeda, worse than nuclear arms, worse than natural disasters, worse than the rising cost of oil-based energy, worse than Iran or North Korea ... Brooks says the deficit is THE greatest threat facing our nation.  That's strong language.  

Did Brooks then call for immediately slashing defense spending, which accounts for a huge chunk of the budget, a chunk which has been growing at a rapid pace?  

No, he did not.  Quite the opposite.

Brooks also discussed sequestration, automatic across-the-board cuts to the Department of Defense and other federal agencies beginning in 2013.

"It's so dramatic, it must be stopped," said Brooks, who serves on the Armed Services and Science, Space and Technology committees.

US Defense spending dwarfs the restSo Brooks says the deficit is the greatest threat to our nation, then turns around and says automatic spending cuts to reduce the deficit "must be stopped."

Mo Brooks is either a pandering hypocrite or he's giving aid and assistance to "the greatest threat our nation faces."



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That Big Spender, Obama .... NOT!

by: mooncat

Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 15:00:00 PM CDT

If you get your news from talk radio or Fox or even from your GOP Congresscritter's "news bulletin," you probably believe Barack Obama is the biggest spender ever to occupy the White House. 

Let's inject a dose of FACTS to that conservative Kool-Aid.

Of the last 5 presidents -- including GOPers Reagan, Bush I and Bush II -- only one has reduced federal spending in his first term:  Barack Obama.

Barack Obama reduced federal spending

Source: How Congress Helps Republicans, But Not Democrats, Weather Bad Economies (Charts) by Brian Beutler.

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Spending Cuts: Mitt Romney Has A Truth Attack

by: mooncat

Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 08:09:02 AM CST

Mitt Romney Steve Pearce event 056If conservatives "couldn't warm to" Mitt Romney before, they must be ice cold after hearing his comment on deficit spending:

"If you just cut, if all you're thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you'll slow down the economy ..."

Yes!  Cutting spending, is bad for the economy, especially during a recession.  This is what Barack Obama has been trying to tell Congress for 3 years but all Republicans want to do is cut, cut, cut.  Deep down, Mitt knows conservative economic policies are a load of crap.  Unfortunately for him, the truth slipped out just as the GOP primary was heating up ...

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House Republicans Are Drowning In Tea

by: countrycat

Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:30:00 AM CST

House Republicans are drowning in a sea of Tea Party-induced legislative madness.  But instead of a lifeline, many of their allies in the Senate and the conservative press are tossing them an anchor.  The commentary from all sides is nothing sort of brutal.John Boehner

And I'm loving it.  Thanks for the best politically-inspired Christmas gift ever, Tea Party!

We don't often post just lists of links with snippets of other commentary here at LIA, but this week's stories are just too good NOT to share.  Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy:

Payroll Tax Tussle Stinks of Tea

A friend covering the Hill impasse over the payroll tax cuts insists that Speaker John Boehner's job has become a task of "herding squirrels." Not cats, the more typical go-to cliché for trying to organize the unorganizable, but squirrels: "Squirrels are panicky and prone to irrational running into traffic."

This is an apt enough metaphor, as no matter what the eventual policy outcome – an extension of the tax cut or no – Congressional Republicans are roadkill. The question is just whether or not Democrats will chase out into the street after them.

Karl Rove Says Republicans Should Fold

Rove said that no matter who is to blame, Republicans have lost control of the message. They’ve lost the optics on it,” he said. 

GOP In Damage Control Mode

Atop the House chamber Wednesday morning, the flag fluttered in the breeze. In his office underneath the Capitol dome, House Speaker John Boehner twisted in the wind.
That’s because the leaders were conferring nearby with their “conferees” – the people Boehner wants to negotiate a new tax deal with Democrats. But there is a problem with this plan: Senate Democrats already negotiated a compromise with Senate Republicans, and the House Republicans rejected it. And, to the Democrats’ delight, several of the “conferees” Boehner appointed are on the record opposing the payroll-tax cut.

Republican Frustration With House Mounts

"The House Republicans have painted themselves into a corner. They are on their own," a Senate GOP leadership aide told CNN.

"This is a lose – lose situation for us. They've let the Democrats get the messaging advantage and more specifically we've turned one of our key issues on its head. The Republicans look like they are the ones blocking tax relief," said the Senate GOP leadership aide, who also called it "inexcusable."

GOP vs GOP In Tax Cut Fight

The only people House Republicans have over a barrel are other Republicans. We are even about to make Obama a legitimate tax cutter.

I’ve said in the past that we were mishandling this, but I didn’t know that much of the GOP House caucus had become hypnotized by the president and were willing to do his bidding. We have gone from handling this issue in a clumsy way to creating a calamity for the party. The president’s political handlers could not have dreamed of a better scenario.

Dumping The Tea Party

This handful of mostly freshmen has demonstrably blocked progress on the twin challenges facing the country: economic recovery and deficit reduction. And they’ve become a useful new foil for President Obama. Like all zealots, they claim a purity and a higher purpose that resonates with their little slice of followers. But I now believe, sooner rather than later, Americans will dump the Tea Party.

"dump the Tea Party...."  That's a gift the entire world can appreciate!


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What Did Our Republicans Vote For Yesterday?

by: mooncat

Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 08:42:42 AM CST

Five of the six Republicans who "represent" Alabama voted to increase the deficit by $25 billion yesterday, passing a payroll tax bill so full of poison pills the Senate is bound to reject it.  So much for the deficit controlling rhetoric they used on the campaign trail last year.

What else is in the payroll tax bill Republicans voted for?

  • Means-testing Medicare so that recipients making $85,000 and above have to pay higher premiums
  • Making federal retirees pay more for health care and freezing federal pay for a year
  • Hiking fees on banks doing business with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Stopping clean air regulations estimated to save 20,000 lives
  • Circumventing an environmental review of the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline (this is just a sweetener to buy enough GOP votes to pass)
  • Slashing emergency unemployment benefits from 73 weeks to 33 weeks
  • Allowing states to force the jobless to prove they're not on drugs in order to get unemployment benefits and deny unemployment insurance benefits to those without a high school degree
  • Cutting over $21 billion from Medicare provider rates, over 50 percent of which fall solely on hospitals 

What is not in the Republican payroll tax bill?

  • One single penny of tax increases for millionaires and billionaires.

Why are Republicans voting for this bill, which is not only mean-spirited, but seemingly at odds with most of what they promised voters last year? 

It's that last point, raising taxes on the rich. 

Republicans just can't abide that and will go to any lengths ... cutting off jobless Americans, making retirees pay more, raising fees, even increasing the deficit ... to avoid asking the richest 1% of Americans to pay even a penny more.  There's another bill, one which cuts taxes on the middle class even more, but Republicans can't stomach that one because it pays for the tax cut with a tiny surcharge on the wealthiest Americans.

Democrats have proposed a larger payroll tax cut of 3.1 percent, paid for largely by levying a surtax on income about $1 million. At stake is a break worth about $1,000 to 160 million Americans, or $1,500 if the Democrats' proposal passes. The cut expires Jan. 1 if the sides cannot agree.

For some reason, Republicans believe that if you cut taxes on the middle class, you have to pay for it by squeezing that money back out of the middle class.  Can't actually HELP middle class Americans during a killer recession, you know.

Alabama's lone Democrat, Terri Sewell (AL-07), voted against the GOP payroll tax bill, saying:

“Before Congress breaks for the year, we need to pass a bill that solely focuses on extending relief to unemployed workers and middle class Americans who are still suffering in this recovering economy. This is no time to play with the livelihood of millions of Americans.

Our voters sent us here to make their lives better, not more difficult.  We were sent here to help create jobs, stimulate the economy and protect our most vulnerable.  ...

I look forward to voting in favor of a clean bill that extends relief to unemployed workers and payroll tax cuts to middle class families.”

Fifth district Republican Mo Brooks also voted against the GOP plan.

And on the way to passing their sort-of-paid-for-by-the-middle-class payroll tax bill, Republicans voted against the insider trading prohibition Rep. Spencer Bachus (R, AL-06) has been "working on" as a means to cover his ass since he got caught profiting big time off stock trades that just happened to coincide with Congressional business.  Bummer ...

But hey, Republicans will make any sacrifice, give up the things nearest and dearest to their talking points, to make the middle class pay for a middle class tax cut.

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Jeff Sessions Bloviates About "Tough Decisions," Refuses To Make Any

by: mooncat

Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 13:20:52 PM CST

Worthless GOPIf you need proof that Jeff Sessions is a pompous windbag full of poll tested, empty rhetoric, just go read George Altman's piece on the supercommittee failure, a version of which ran in the Huntsville Times under the headline Defense cuts, higher taxes or bigger debt.  Altman quotes Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, reciting a familiar empty GOP talking point:

"When you run out of money, you have to make tough decisions."

In the current situation ,which tough decision would Sessions make ... taxing the rich, cutting defense or living with the budget deficit?  Altman asked the question, and exposed Jeff Sessions as an worthless bag of soundbites:

But when asked which of the three conservative priorities he’d be willing to compromise, Sessions picked none of the above, placing his hopes on a Democratic retreat ...

None of the above.  Typical Republican ... whine and complain all day long but when it comes to offering solutions or making decisions it's "none of the above."  There's Republican leadership for you! 

Altman also questioned Alabama Congressmen Jo Bonner (R, AL-01) and Mo Brooks (R, AL-05) who sound like -- and are -- smaller versions of Sessions, equally devoid of ideas and the stomach for making, as opposed to talking about, touch choices. 

Asked about the three competing goals of deficit reduction, protection of defense spending and avoidance of tax increases, Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, said, "I think there’s a fourth option, and that’s called November 2012." 

What a cop out!  Bonner kicked the can down the road, effectively saying "The solution is beyond our capability, maybe the next Congress can do better."  We hope so, and if there's any justice, do-nothings like Jo Bonner won't be in the next Congress.

Mo Brooks, who has said, "Long term, our greatest national security threat is our budget deficit," won't make the tough choices either.  In the Huntsville Times version, Altman writes:

Like Sessions, Brooks shied away from saying whether he'd prefer to agree to tax increases, live with the automatic cuts to defense or settle for less deficit reduction.

Instead, he also hopes that Democrats back down.

That's called having cowardice of your convictions!  Nobody beat the deficit drum harder than Mo Brooks, but when it comes to making choices about how to reduce it, he punts.

For all the GOP talk about making tough choices, they're remarkably unwilling to offer any solutions except, "Maybe the tough choices will magically disappear."

Here's the GOP in a nutshell:  No leadership.  No ideas.  No courage.  No balls.


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Scare Tactic Backfire: No Confidence in Republicans On Deficit

by: mooncat

Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 08:20:00 AM CDT

Last week my neighbor was asked to take an automated phone survey on "the deficit crisis."  Ho hum, huh?  We live in Mo Brooks' district and no matter what our Congressman is asked, he manages to work "deficit crisis" into his response so we hear a lot about it.  Everyone hears it since Republican rhetoric has elevated the issue to the level of "existential threat."  The twist on this particular phone survey is that my friend was offered A FREE CRUISE (absolutely FREE except for a few minor "fees") for taking the survey.  We laughed about how the Republicans have hit rock bottom with their talking point when they have to bribe folks to take their surveys.

Turns out we weren't far wrong. Mo Brooks and his pals are still talking scary about the deficit, but after their antics last summer, Americans don't trust Republicans to deal with the deficit.

A new Pew Research Center poll out Monday finds only 35 percent of those surveyed have at least a fair amount of confidence in Republican leaders on the deficit, compared to 47 percent in May. Sixty-two percent have little or no confidence. 


Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said they have at least a fair amount of confidence in Obama on the deficit, close to his 53 percent rating last December.

Even more significant news from the Pew survey, two-thirds of Americans now believe the rich should pay more taxes to reduce the deficit and the debt. 

On top of that, 55% say cutting programs that help the least of these is the wrong way to reduce the deficit. GOP proposals to gut Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security have not won the hearts and minds of Americans.

Republicans have successfully drummed up concern about the deficit, but in just a few short months they've also managed to convince Americans they're incapable of dealing with the problem.  The more America sees the Party of Wealth Tea Party Republicans in action, the less we trust them.



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Mo Brooks Has No Idea How To Protect NASA

by: mooncat

Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:07:47 AM CDT

Congressman Mo Brooks, who went to Washington on promises to cut the federal budget, is now seeking ideas on how to protect NASA from the very budget cuts he has advocated.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, will ask senior members of the Alabama delegation for "guidance" on protecting NASA. "I would like their insight on the best path to take when you've got as NASA's foe an imperial presidency," Brooks said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

Cluelessness is becoming a pattern with Mo Brooks, not long ago he was asking how to create jobs.  One tip the old Washington hands might offer Brooks is to use less bombastic language when referring to political opponents.  Good news is that Brooks has finally figured out how that separation of powers thing works:

"The House can't force the president to do anything by itself," he said.

Yes indeed, that's in the Constitution.  You should have read that before you went to Washington, Mo. 

Brooks fails to address the fact that NASA is facing cuts because of Republcan insistence on balancing the budget through cuts alone, having repeatedly rejected any revenue increases -- Brooks himself has signed Grover Norquist's no new revenue pledge.  What he does say about the debt deal Super Committee and future spending cuts is incomprehensible:

Looking ahead at Round 2 of the fight to cut federal spending this fall, featuring a budget supercommittee and congressional voting deadlines, Brooks expects "this problem, too, will be resolved, although it might be painful in November and December. It probably won't be as painful as it should be to cure the disease."

It might be painful, but not as painful as it should be?  What the heck does that mean? 

North Alabama is learning that it's extremely painful to have Mo Brooks for a Congressman.

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

When Will the AL GOP Crack Down on Alabama's Welfare Queens?

by: countrycat

Wed Aug 10, 2011 at 06:00:00 AM CDT

Alabama is one of many "red" states that receives far more of that dirty Federal money than we pay in taxes.  Yet our Senators & Representatives continue to shovel pork with one hand as they make rude gestures towards DC with the other.  When will the madness end?

This handy map shows the states that contribute and those that pocket.  The "deficit hawks" in states like... well.... Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Wyoming, etc. have some 'splainin to do lest our benefactor states start cracking down on "welfare queen" states...

National Welfare States

The Republican Party's antipathy towards those in society who don't pay their own way is legendary:

Hey, all of us know that the only protected hammocks safety nets in the country are the health care and pension benefits enjoyed by the folks in Congress - many of whom are anxious to deny the same privileges to the rest of us.

But hey, we elected a new group of people in 2010, right?  They're committed to fiscal responsibility - even if it hurts their constituents.... right?

Let's end this fantasy with a quote from AL-05 Congressman Mo Brooks on his vote against of the recent debt ceiling bill:

National defense is the top priority of the federal government.  If the Debt Bill passes, there is an unnecessary and substantial risk that it will trigger risky defense cuts in just 14 months that undermine the defense capabilities of America.

uh huh... this interest in "national defense," we're sure has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that a large majority of his district is sucking on the Federal money bottle even as those pseudo-Libertarian engineers whine about Federal spending....

Nobody expects these jokers to be totally consistent - but they should at least be honest when they make political decisions at odds with their public statements.


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What Happens in a Bad Economy?

by: The Journeying Progressive

Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 02:10:31 AM CDT

Politicians like to talk in abstractions.

Come to think of it, they like to argue and obfuscate in abstractions, as well. They campaign in abstractions and make abstract pledges until those abstractions turn into something tangible, like a subprime lending crisis or a downgrade from a particular private rating agency.

We spend so much time wading through abstractions that we cannot get to the meat of the issues that face us today. Enough of that.

What really happens in a bad economy? And what is the public's role during these tough times?
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 656 words in story)

In Case You Haven't Seen One Lately: This is a Spine.

by: countrycat

Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 20:18:48 PM CDT

So there's a "deal" and now Democratic & Republican "leaders" are trying to sell it to their people.  You have to ask... what the hell do the Republicans have to sell?  It appears to be a wholesale capitulation to the worst of the right wing demands AND totally drops President Obama's insistence on a "balanced plan."

The only "balance" is that the poor, infirm, young, and old get thrown off the balance beam. Actually, "thrown off the cliff" is more like it.

Hunter at DailyKos - as always - puts it best:

As the GOP insisted, there are no new revenues. No tax increases. This had long been cited as Obama's own immovable requirement: budget cuts would have to be matched with new revenues. Not happening: it seems the committee will be able to reformulate the tax code, so long as they do it in such a way as to create no actual new revenue. Yes, I believe you read that right.

So let's see. Two more rounds of this, triggers, committees, no revenues, steep cuts, carve-outs for defense ... am I missing anything? The only major GOP demand of the last few months that seems left out is the ridiculous "amend the Constitution" pipe dream: we seem to have some form of literally every other far-right request shoved in this "compromise" now.

We even have managed to include overlapping concessions, piling McConnell's "it's Obama's fault" vote along with a separate trigger-triggering vote, even though they were originally separate proposals on the same vote mechanism.

In exchange for caving in to all those points—many of which were stated to be showstoppers, by the White House, a mere few weeks ago—here's what Republicans have conceded to:


Let's think back to recent history.... Just a few short months ago, the GOP handed the Democratic Party crazy on a silver platter when it passed the "Paul Ryan Kill Medicare bill". It's a loser with the American public as 19 different opinion polls show that citizens think that the wealthiest among us should pay their fair share if we're all asked to sacrifice.

The Republicans ignored all that and stubbornly pushed forward, cynically threatening to hold the entire economy hostage to their extremist demands because the TEA Party wing of the party apparently has photos of Boehner & company having sex with animals - or maybe Democrats - which would be worse?

Holding a winning political hand, the Democrats naturally FOLD.  The only Democratic "leader" yet to fully capitulate is Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

"I have to meet with my caucus tomorrow to see how they wish to proceed," Pelosi said. "We all may not be able to support it, or none of us may be able to support it. But we'll wait and see."

Got a spare spine?  Our President could use one.


Discuss :: (44 Comments)

What's Up With That 14th Amendment Question?

by: countrycat

Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 06:00:00 AM CDT

For weeks, Democrats and political pundits have dangled the "14th Amendment option" as the ultimate fait accompli to the debt ceiling crisis.  Is it really that easy?

Numerous commentators have called the option "unconstitutional" and advised against it.  Others (including President Clinton) see it as the only option to save the USA's credit rating.  Who's right?

Jeffery Rosen, writing in the New Republic, discusses this issue:

As Matthew Zeitlin has argued in TNR, if Obama invoked the Fourteenth Amendment to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally, the most likely outcome is that the Supreme Court would refuse to hear the case. The conservative justices have long required clear evidence of legal "standing" before opening the courthouse door—something they showed in their recent 5-4 decision rejecting a taxpayer’s challenge to an Arizona school vouchers program—and it’s hard to imagine who could establish enough of a legal injury to establish standing in this case. Individual senators and representatives wouldn’t have standing to sue on their own, according to a 1997 Supreme Court precedent, and although the House and Senate could, in theory, pass a joint resolution asserting that the president has injured Congress by usurping its power, they’re unlikely to find the votes to do so.

When it comes to individual taxpayers, they’re likely barred from establishing standing to sue by the definitive precedent on the debt clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the 1935 Perry case. In that case, a bondholder asserted that the Congressional joint resolution taking the U.S. off the gold standard violated section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment, [...] But the Court went on to say that although the bondholder had suffered a constitutional injury, he had no legal standing to sue, since it was impossible to calculate precisely how much of an economic loss he had suffered.

This issue is still of intense interest because - as of this writing (before I go to bed on Saturday night) - there is NO deal and the pundits are again floating the idea of the "14th Amendment backup plan."

Harkin joins a growing number of Democrats who have called on the president to broadly interpret a section of the 14th Amendment which says "the validity of the public debt… shall not be questioned" as justification for him to authorize continued borrowing if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.

What say you, LIA folks? Is there a solution in the offing that saves the "full faith and credit" of the United States of America?


Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Will the Real John McCain Please Stand Up?

by: countrycat

Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 06:00:00 AM CDT

Uh oh... the "Straight Talk Express" ran over a bunch of Teabaggers on the Senate floor!  After a drastic "run to the right" during is 2010 Senate rel-election bid and his disasterous decision to elevate Sarah Palin to VP candidate, the "Maverick" has returned. 

It's the same guy who told off the Christian political right at Bob Jones University and rode around on the "Straight Talk Express."  Now, THAT John McCain is taking on the TEA Party over the debt ceiling:

Mr. McCain mocked Tea Party-allied Republicans in the House for believing — wrongly, he said — that President Obama and Democrats will get the blame for a default if Republicans refuse to increase the nation’s debt ceiling.

By that flawed logic, “Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements and the Tea Party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth,” he said, quoting a Wall Street Journal editorial.

“This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into G.O.P. nominees,” he jeered, referring to two losing Tea Party candidates for the Senate in 2010.

Holy Crap.... The guy is either bi-polar, delusional, or - to paraphrase a famous Bill Cosby comedy routine "We're looking at an old person who's trying to get into Heaven now."

Over the weekend, Speaker Boehner wrote to his caucus and urged them to "not let the Democrats divide us."  Looks like he has problems in his own party to deal with first...

Meanwhile, be beleagured Big Orange man Speaker Boehner's main rationale for his debt ceiling proposal is that "Barack Obama hates it."

But Boehner said he couldn’t understand why any Republicans would position themselves with Democrats opposing his plan.

“Barack Obama hates it, Harry Reid hates it, Nancy Pelosi hates it,” he said, naming off the Democratic leadership.

Is it possible for the GOP "leadership" to sink any lower?

Hey... that's PRESIDENT OBAMA to you!


Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Remind Us Again.... WHO Is Responsible For That Debt?

by: countrycat

Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 16:31:19 PM CDT

Can't resist this one.  BusinessWeek - hardly a left-wing publication - reminds us: Republican Leaders Voted for Debt Drivers They Blame on Obama

I'd like to add some witty commentary, but the article speaks for itself.  A few money quotes to whet your appetite....

Yet the speaker, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all voted for major drivers of the nation’s debt during the past decade: Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts and Medicare prescription drug benefits. They also voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, that rescued financial institutions and the auto industry.

Together, a Bloomberg News analysis shows, these initiatives added $3.4 trillion to the nation’s accumulated debt and to its current annual budget deficit of $1.5 trillion.


Rank-and-file Republicans are eager to pin the blame on Democrats, frequently pointing to the economic stimulus signed by Obama in 2009. The total cost of the stimulus will be $830 billion by 2019, according to a May 2011 Congressional Budget Office report.

That’s half the cost of the Bush tax cuts and less than two-thirds of what has been spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And let's not forget the extension of the Bush tax cuts, which the GOP grinches who stole Christmas demanded in exchange for an extension in unemployment benefits.  In order to keep helping unemployed workers, Obama had to agree to $857.8 billion in continued tax breaks for millionaires.

Or, as the GOP loves to call them... job creators.  Well hell, tax rates are at the lowest since the 1950's.  Where are #$%$ jobs?  Those the "job creators" just haven't lived up their name and they're hardly over-burdened.

Bruce Bartlett, whose impeccable Republican credentials include stints as a policy analyst to President Ronald Reagan and staff positions under the libertarian Ron Paul and the supply-side champion Jack Kemp, recently wrote in The New York Times that "by the broadest measure of the tax rate, the current level is unusually low and has been for some time. . . . Yet if one listens to Republicans, one would think that taxes have never been higher, that an excessive tax burden is the most important constraint holding back economic growth and that a big tax cut is exactly what the economy needs to get growing again."

Before shedding any tears for those supposedly overtaxed corporate job creators, consider that taxes on U.S. corporate income as a percentage of GDP, at 1.8%, are the lowest among the 34 nations composing the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Hey GOP... want to try a new argument?  One that's at least fact-based?  Didn't think so.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

The Guys Who Drove The Economy Into The Ditch Are Trying To Grab The Wheel Again

by: countrycat

Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 06:05:00 AM CDT

The next time Mo Brooks or your local TEA Party member starts whining about "Obama deficits," here's a handy chart to remind them them exactly who was the big spender during the past decade.  Hint: it isn't President Obama. From the New York Times

Bush Deficits

Remember that President Bush kept a lot of his spending "off budget," meaning he refused to include spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in his budgets.  President Obama stopped this deceptive practice and included the costs in his budgets.

Last night, we saw President Obama ask the GOP to work with him for the good of the country and quoted Thomas Jefferson on the virtue of compromise.

In contrast, we then watched the glowing orange man Speaker of the House deliver this address: "blah blah blah   all Obama's fault blah blah blah."  At least he didn't start crying.

But we may all be left crying.  President Obama extended a hand across the aisle yet again and yet again the GOP slapped it away.

At some point, the President & Democrats in DC have to realize that they aren't negotiating with people of good faith, but rather a group who is willing to crash the economy if it helps them win the next election.


Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Still No Debt Ceiling Agreement. Will We Have Yet Another "Gang" Negotiating?

by: countrycat

Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 09:30:00 AM CDT

One of the panelists on the NPR show this weekend "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" had a great line about the debt ceiling negotiations: "Where I'm from, gangs get things done!"

That's certainly not true in Washington.  The "Gang of Six" plan was hammered out over months - yet appears to be dead. Now Senate leaders are mulling the idea of a "Super Congress" to break the impasse.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his counterpart Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), legislation to lift the debt ceiling would be accompanied by the creation of a 12-member panel made up of 12 lawmakers -- six from each chamber and six from each party.

Legislation approved by the Super Congress -- which some on Capitol Hill are calling the "super committee" -- would then be fast-tracked through both chambers, where it couldn't be amended by simple, regular lawmakers, who'd have the ability only to cast an up or down vote. With the weight of both leaderships behind it, a product originated by the Super Congress would have a strong chance of moving through the little Congress and quickly becoming law.

Great, that's just what the country needs - LESS ACCOUNTABILITY. Just so there's no misunderstanding: this process would give us a handpicked group who could hack away at the tax code, social safety net, defense budget, and any other part of the budget.  More closed-door meetings, lobbyist schmoozing, and truckloads of corporate cash filling campaign coffers.

This is a bad idea and it's only happening because Boehner has been an abject failure at herding his TEA Party cats.  Now, to be fair, he does keep slipping on Eric Cantor's strategically placed banana peels, but Boehner is the Speaker.  And he has repeatedly walked away from deals where the table was filled with platters loaded with items he wanted.  All because there were a few tiny saucers of items he didn't.

It's time Obama realized that he can't negotiate in good faith with people of bad faith, with people who announced that their top priority was making him a one-term president.  Hey, the economy, unemployment, war, etc?  No big deal....

The President's Friday press conference was a start - albeit a belated one - on laying out the case to the public.  Unfortunately, he's been placed into the role of parent more than political leaders and had to hold the line: giving into tantrums only encourages more extreme behavior!

And this idea of a "Super Congress?"  Sounds like the "cool kids" cliques that ran the show in Jr. High School.  They had their own rules, own codes of conduct, and woe onto anyone who challenged them.

Well, we aren't toddlers anymore and we aren't in Jr. High.  It's time for Congressional Republicans to grow up and face up to their responsibilities.  No more tantrums and no more "gangs."  Just suck it up and do your damn jobs.

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