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October 9, 2013 10:06 AM   Subscribe

With the government shutdown now well underway and the effects beginning to be felt, the first debt default by a major world power in modern history since the collapse of the Soviet Union speeding toward us in what could be as little as a week, what will Americans and the world think of the US Congress that refused to pay the nation's outstanding debts, making America look like a dead-beat nation to potential investors around the world? Polls show Americans overwhelmingly blame congressional Republicans for the political standoff and shutdown. With some Republican congressmen on the record arguing that a US debt default may actually be necessary to rein in further government spending, it's easy to see why many Americans blame them.

But would even an actual default really mean the sky is falling? So what if America loses its good credit on the international markets and its treasury bond values collapse spectacularly. How would it compare to, say, the Lehman collapse that triggered the global recession?
posted by saulgoodman (2833 comments total) 113 users marked this as a favorite

 
I know there's an older, open thread, but I thought a new one focusing more on the default possibility might be appropriate. No hard feelings, mods, if I was mistaken.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:07 AM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


The other one is getting to be a pain in the ass to read on phones, so I'm hoping this stays open.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:09 AM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


Good call on the new thread. The other one is long and less focused on the complete issue of the debt ceiling vis a vis the shutdown. It appears highly likely that the two have already merged, given we have 8 days until the next deadline.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:09 AM on October 9, 2013


Debt ceiling is superflous and stupid. A default would be catastrophic.
posted by wuwei at 10:10 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the President lets the debt ceiling expire without minting the coin or utilizing the 14th A option then he deserves severe criticism.
posted by wrapper at 10:11 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


RE polls, the majority of the American population live in places that already elect candidates with sense. But the country has been cut up into illogical segments founded on ideology in places with a small number of people. The radicals that represent that minority are the ones holding us hostage today.

What the majority of Americans think of this congress won't matter in most political races in 2014.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:12 AM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


I've called my reps multiple times saying "don't capitulate", what else can we do? I'm in SF so there are no Republicans I can picket nearby.

Does Boehner have local competition I can send money to?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:12 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


A better way to reign in government spending: Pass budgets with less spending. Here's an easy place to start brainstorming.
posted by anthill at 10:12 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Does anyone think it's possible some of the Republicans in Congress hope to back Pres. Obama into a corner and force him to use either the coin or the 14th A option to save the economy and then attack him for using constitutionaly dubious methods? I can see somebody seeing that as a way out, a way to declare moral victory without defaulting.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hitting the debt ceiling just means another shutdown. Income from tax receipts is more than enough to pay interest on the debt and social security checks.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


We already made massive cuts to government spending with the sequester. That's still a thing. It hasn't gone away.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


The majority of the American population voted for Democratic control of the House, and yet due to state gerrymandering, the R's hold it unless they're trumped with a 7-8% loss. It's a good thing they're prepared to lose the House since it seems they're going to bet the farm on this one. I just hope they don't take my economy down with them.
posted by msbutah at 10:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The tough part of this story, I tihnk, is the profound amount of.... nothing really happening.

As someone pointed out, it's like a game of chicken: whichever side flinches, loses. If the Dems flinch, then the Tea Party minority get all they want forever by repeated hostage-taking. If the Repugnicants flinch, they look like total idiots to everyone, impacting their election prospects, and - depending on the form of the flinch - causing a fundamental internal rift in the party to manifest. And if neither flinches, everyone loses.

But the two cars involved in the game of chicken started from Washington and San Francisco, and have currently only made it as far as Utah and Ohio, respectively. So there's still a lot of waiting before the big moment that everyone knows is coming. It's a really dumb time to flinch, so we keep waiting and biting fingernails...
posted by kaibutsu at 10:15 AM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


The other one is getting to be a pain in the ass to read on phones, so I'm hoping this stays open.

I refuse to take this to a vote until there are substantial changes to Obamacare!
posted by mazola at 10:15 AM on October 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


I work on Capitol Hill: We're going over that cliff. Get ready.
posted by Ghost Mode at 10:15 AM on October 9, 2013 [36 favorites]


Hitting the debt ceiling just means another shutdown. Income from tax receipts is more than enough to pay interest on the debt and social security checks.

What happens to your credit rating when you start picking and choosing which loans to pay back on time?
posted by Drinky Die at 10:15 AM on October 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


If the President lets the debt ceiling expire without minting the coin or utilizing the 14th A option then he deserves severe criticism.

Perhaps, but it's by no means an easy decision to make, and it's not necessarily the case that such action would preserve stability -- both of these actions would be subject to lengthy constitutional challenge, during the pendency of which it would be unclear whether government-issued debt were subject to full faith and credit or not.

Moreover, to do so would be to take great steps along an already-worrying trend of consolidation of Federal power in the office of the President. I'm nobody's fan of this Congress, but ultimately in the balance of things I tend to think Congress has already impermissibly abdicated both its power and its responsibility in a great many areas, to the detriment of the Republic.
posted by gauche at 10:16 AM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hitting the debt ceiling just means another shutdown. Income from tax receipts is more than enough to pay interest on the debt and social security checks.

No, we're already in shutdown currently. It's estimated we'll actually reach true default within a little over a week (give or take a few days either way).
posted by saulgoodman at 10:16 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I would also vote for keeping this one, the other was a shaggy dog.

If we're going to keep this one...can we make it "rein in spending" not "reign"?

posted by emjaybee at 10:16 AM on October 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


Then when the government defaults on its debts the House Republicans can crow SEE WE TOLD YOU GOVERNMENT DOESN'T WORK.
posted by chicxulub at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


Oops. Yes please!
posted by saulgoodman at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This aggression will not stand, man!
posted by tonycpsu at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


so is this going to be like "start researching Icelandic visa requirements" bad or "buy shitloads of ammo" bad
posted by theodolite at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


I just hope they don't take my economy down with them.

Haha nonono the Republicans are conservative and therefore know best about the economy silly
posted by Hoopo at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


A better way to reign in government spending: Pass budgets with less spending. Here's an easy place to start brainstorming.'

This has nothing to do with spending, at all.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [34 favorites]


I work on Capitol Hill: We're going over that cliff. Get ready.

How?
posted by Going To Maine at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


At this point, the GOP has become the action hero villain who says, all crazy-eyed "if I'm going down, I'm bringing you with me." In this case, the "you" is the American economy and people.
posted by lunasol at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [20 favorites]


If the President lets the debt ceiling expire without minting the coin or utilizing the 14th A option then he deserves severe criticism.

It is extremely hard to predict how the Supreme Court would rule on this issue if it came before them, and hard to figure how to find someone with standing (someone who has suffered a "particularized harm") who could force them to bring legal clarity. Meanwhile you've plunged the country into a constitutional crisis on top of the fiscal crisis. There are really, really good reasons for Obama to declare firmly that this is simply Not An Option, at least until such time as the Republicans prove themselves psychotic enough to throw the country over that cliff. At that point he may have to revise his stance for the good of the country, but it won't be a panacea by any means. It will be a question of just how jagged the rocks we fall on to will be.
posted by yoink at 10:18 AM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Can the public start a class action lawsuit against members of the Republican Party for economic damages?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 AM on October 9, 2013 [32 favorites]


It's all been downhill since they stopped challenging one another to duels. But like, they'd have access to tanks and shit now, there would be live news coverage, and sports statistics overlays and advertisements for Nike on their dueling jackets. Maybe they should just settle things over a battle on Eve Online?
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:20 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm actually really scared that this will pan out the same way as the sequester. First it was a thing that was so awful nobody could imagine it happening. Then people started to crawl out of the woodwork talking about how it actually wasn't a big deal. Then it happened. I'm seeing the same pattern here.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:20 AM on October 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


How?

You can get the supplies you will need for a default at many local stores.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:20 AM on October 9, 2013 [45 favorites]


I read about an interesting alternative to the platinum coin/14th amendment option. Essentially, create a bond with 23 percent interest:

The debt ceiling applies to the face amount of bonds, not the amount raised, so selling a $100 bond for $275 only counts $100 against the debt ceiling and gets you $175 in debt-ceiling-free money. There are rules against issuing premium Treasury bonds, but the rules are just Treasury rules and they can be changed unilaterally by Treasury with no notice and no Congressional approval. So Treasury could do an auction tomorrow seeking to sell $100 billion of 23 percent bonds for $275 billion and as far as I can tell no one could stop them.

Mint the premium bonds!
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 10:20 AM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


If the President lets the debt ceiling expire without minting the coin or utilizing the 14th A option then he deserves severe criticism.

I mean, sure, I'd like this as opposed to default, but even if he does that the rest of the world has no reason to place faith in the the US to pay their bills ever again. Either way, the full faith and credit of the US Treasury has been destroyed.

Hitting the debt ceiling just means another shutdown. Income from tax receipts is more than enough to pay interest on the debt and social security checks.

There are a hojillion articles pointing out how wrong this is, please do even the barest bit of research on this before barging into the thread. The absolute latest we could possible do this is November 1. And that's with prioritization, which is at best sets a horrific precedent (imagine if a Republican President decides to fund soldiers and let the old and poor get sick and die), and at worst is insanely illegal.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:21 AM on October 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


So what's the recommended course of action for people who'd like to preserve the current value of their retirement funds? My little 401k just recently got back to where it was in 2007-08 when the Great Recession started. It would be nice to not lose 30% of the value of my retirement fund when the markets finally catch up to the fact that the crazy people are driving the bus and are headed over the cliff.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:21 AM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


Here's the TPM post on why the 14th amendment and giant block of platinum strategies won't work, even if they were carried out. Answer: We need confidence in our system, and either move would be stuck in the courts forever, undermining confidence in the bonds etc underwritten by those moves, and thereby making them worthless even before they're issued.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:22 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


So what's the recommended course of action for people who'd like to preserve the current value of their retirement funds?

When do you want to retire? People retiring in less than 5 years and more than 15 years have drastic different courses of action when it comes to managing market volatility.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:22 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Regarding the crazy coin idea, wouldn't the coin need to actually exist on the 17th to be effective? Surely it takes a few days to physically accomplish this, or would the request to the mint be sufficient to assuage the fears?
posted by odinsdream at 10:22 AM on October 9, 2013


longdaysjourney: Probably a good idea to get cash out of the markets ASAP and convert it to a currency that isn't the dollar. But that's just my two cents...
posted by kaibutsu at 10:23 AM on October 9, 2013


"a US debt default may actually be necessary to reign in further government spending"

...say the people in charge of authorizing government spending.

I mean srsly do they even listen to the words coming out of their own mouths
posted by ook at 10:24 AM on October 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


It's all been downhill since they stopped challenging one another to duels. But like, they'd have access to tanks and shit now, there would be live news coverage, and sports statistics overlays and advertisements for Nike on their dueling jackets.

I think there is an anime about this now.
posted by curious nu at 10:24 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


You have two cents? Can I borrow one? I need to pay a few debts.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:24 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, assuming no major illnesses, I'd like to retire when I hit 65 (I'm 40 now).
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:25 AM on October 9, 2013


You have two cents? Can I borrow one? I need to pay a few debts.

Sorry, I won't let you borrow any more money unless you drop your kids from your health insurance plan.
posted by xbonesgt at 10:27 AM on October 9, 2013 [50 favorites]


My mom already endured losing everything her 401k accumulated in a single year back in 2009. I really am ready to call her and make sure she's talking to her financial manager. I just feel like I would have as educated a guess on what to do as he would.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:27 AM on October 9, 2013


Hitting the debt ceiling just means another shutdown. Income from tax receipts is more than enough to pay interest on the debt and social security checks.

Even if this were true, it's far from clear that the government can prioritize payments like this. Who has the right to choose? By what authority?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:27 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that currency speculation if the default really happens will be kind of worthless.

A more financially savvy friend of mine compared it to "duck and cover" in the case of an imminent nuclear strike. It'll make you feel better, and the money looks nice, but you're still holding worthless paper...
posted by lattiboy at 10:27 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean srsly do they even listen to the words coming out of their own mouths

I get the feeling they would rather be a homeless person with no debt than a rich person making a mortgage payment every month.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:28 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The thing that makes the little blood vessel on my forehead bulge about the Republicans hate-on for spending is that it's their guys (Reagan, Bush the Elder, Bush the Lesser) who MASSIVELY increased the debt. Things have increased under Obama, but that probably has something to do with the entirely new department and two wars his predecessor was kind enough to leave for him.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:28 AM on October 9, 2013 [27 favorites]


Do the markets expect a default? Have bond rates shot up lately?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:28 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


A more financially savvy friend of mine compared it to "duck and cover" in the case of an imminent nuclear strike. It'll make you feel better, and the money looks nice, but you're still holding worthless paper...

So...buy Bitcoin?
posted by Drinky Die at 10:28 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I rather enjoyed the parable of the whalers on Maddow's show last night. I still want Congress all hung on lamp posts, however.
posted by planetesimal at 10:28 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think there is an anime about this now

Girls und Panzer. It's far, far more fun than it has any right to be.

Probably the least helpful contribution to this thread so far, but there you go.
posted by garius at 10:29 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are we really panicking and talking about taking our money out of 401ks? Would that even work at this stage?

Because like longdaysjourney, if I stay healthy I've got 15-20 more years of work ahead of me. I am reluctant to start acting like an end-of-days survivalist.
posted by emjaybee at 10:29 AM on October 9, 2013


If the President lets the debt ceiling expire without minting the coin or utilizing the 14th A option then he deserves severe criticism.
The coin is a clever, nifty idea but it has problems. The one that gets overlooked the most is it wouldn’t actually make everything normal after it was invoked. It would be subjected to all kinds of challenges and litigation. As a straightforward matter the Federal Reserve wouldn’t give Treasury a trillion dollars for that coin. We looked carefully at it, but for both practical and legal reasons, the legal reason being the law obviously wasn’t meant for anything like this and the practical reason being that the Federal Reserve would need to cooperate and wouldn’t, it wouldn’t work.

The 14th Amendment shares similar problems in which you would invoke a constitutional crisis of sorts. One side would say the president broke the law and should be impeached. That would occupy all the oxygen in Washington. That’s not a reason not to do it if it’s the right thing to do. But if the objective is keeping our status as the safest and best investment in the world you’ve created all kinds of doubts about us. I don’t think proponents have thought enough about what would happen after you did it.
The whole article was pretty great for helping a non-American understand what's actually going on here.
posted by 256 at 10:29 AM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Polls show the GOP getting hammered for this as even the most isolated people know the basic facts of this manufactured crisis.

The democrats want nothing but an open government. The republicans want an open government after a laundry list of conservative policies and wet dreams are implemented. The best part being, they don't even know what they really want anymore. Defunding ACA? Delaying it? Social safety net cuts? Tax cuts?

Sadly, the Tea Party fringe already has what it wants and has had it since government shut down. You can't get a government much smaller than one that isn't there. This, then compounded by Boehner having enough moderate votes to pass a clean CR with democratic help but lacking enough moderate votes to keep himself in power in the fallout of such a move.

Madness.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:30 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hitting the debt ceiling just means another shutdown. Income from tax receipts is more than enough to pay interest on the debt and social security checks.

If you have a single credible and unbiased source for that then post it right now. If not, stop pasting fictitious talking points that will hurt- literally hurt- millions of people the more they are actually perceived as real.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:30 AM on October 9, 2013 [33 favorites]


Re: Retirement Savings: "The action that may feel emotionally comforting is often the one that sabotages your financial goals in the long term," Ritter said. "We've had situations like this one before. The people who prospered through the 2008 downturn are the people who did not react to the daily gyrations of the market."
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:31 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


On September 18, I positioned myself to buy like a motherfucker. Of course, so did many others.
posted by Ardiril at 10:31 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


With some Republican congressmen on the record arguing that a US debt default may actually be necessary to reign in further government spending

I think a lot of the general public doesn't grasp this part of the problem. There are a lot of Tea Party types out there (I know a few personally) that think government should do little besides defend our borders and enforce laws and contracts. (I realize this is ridiculous for many reasons, but they think like that anyway.) With this shutdown and the looming deficit ceiling they have accomplished that. They have no reason to change their postion on the matter; they think they have won. But that needs to be publicized so that people understand this isn't about a failure to compromise (as the news media keeps repeating, much to my chagrin) as a bunch of anti-government zealots forcing their program on everyone without going through the normal legislative process.
posted by TedW at 10:33 AM on October 9, 2013 [82 favorites]


So do I need to cash everything out and move to Somalia to become a warlord? Plz advise

i instinctively feel i would be good at warlording, idk
posted by elizardbits at 10:33 AM on October 9, 2013 [70 favorites]


I have a question about how realistic a particular theory is, but it's from the previous thread and hopefully not a derail in this one.

The NYT posted an article about how the debt ceiling crisis has been planned out by the Koch Brothers and the former Attorney General, Edwin Meese III for months. Then, death and taxes posted this article about the specific rhetoric being used. In the previous thread, oneswellfoop posted this theory about the Koch Brothers' business.

Is this an actually legitimate theory, or are these things purely conjecture?
posted by gucci mane at 10:34 AM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


"We've had situations like this one before?"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:34 AM on October 9, 2013


Tedw: spot-fucking-on.
posted by mazola at 10:35 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the funnest (for Dwarf-like definitions of Fun) solutions to the debt ceiling that I've heard was for the treasury to ignore the debt ceiling limit and wait for the court case/police to show up before actually turning off the tap.

There was equal parts desperation, self-deception, assumptions of willingness to be party to illegality on the part of all treasury members, assumptions of the feds to shrug their shoulders and tell the GOP, "Well, you stop them, we're not crashing the economy.", and an assumption that the eventual court case about it would result in the debt ceiling limit being abolished.

So a shitty plan, but Boatmurdered survived worse. I'm sure the capital will make do.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:35 AM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


Sadly, the Tea Party fringe already has what it wants and has had it since government shut down. You can't get a government much smaller than one that isn't there.

I get the feeling more than a few House tea-partiers see bringing the government down completely as a perfectly acceptable outcome. Then, kill-off social programs and privatize everything else. Mission accomplished.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:35 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Shutdown means no new craft beers.
posted by emjaybee at 10:36 AM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Meanwhile you've plunged the country into a constitutional crisis on top of the fiscal crisis.

Oh, it's already a constitutional crisis. There are laws on how the money must be disbursed from the treasury, and the President will be in violation of a whole lot of them once the treasury goes into default. This is the GOP Plan B - country goes into default, they get to impeach (tho likely not convict) the President, and then ride the wave of popular outrage over Obama's obvious badness into retaking the Senate and, eventually, the White House.

Delusional? The right wing? Were you not paying attention to the freak-out meltdowns on election night? These guys have no idea what reality looks like outside the echo chamber. The polls are skewed, the media is biased, and Ted Cruz has a plan.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:36 AM on October 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


A fucking default. Seriously. I had hope saner minds would prevail, but it's dwindling. Damn overly-ideological political purists. It's a sign of a weak and ignorant mind. (left, right, whatever you are)
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:36 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


So do I need to cash everything out and move to Somalia to become a warlord? Plz advise
Nah, no reason to go to Somalia. You'll be able to become a warlord here soon enough. Have patience.
posted by Flunkie at 10:36 AM on October 9, 2013 [51 favorites]


Koch Letter to Capitol Hill
posted by Drinky Die at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hitting the debt ceiling just means another shutdown. Income from tax receipts is more than enough to pay interest on the debt and social security checks.

Its the effect on the markets we are talking about.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dear America,
Your system is broken.
Love
from
Europe
posted by Dr Ew at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


In Soviet Russia Capitalist America, Somalia comes to you!
posted by enn at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


i instinctively feel i would be good at warlording, idk

If you're in need of a lieutenant or mad-scientist I might know someone who is currently dependent on the Office of Technology Transfer that might be available in the near future.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2013


I think a lot of the general public doesn't grasp this part of the problem. There are a lot of Tea Party types out there (I know a few personally) that think government should do little besides defend our borders and enforce laws and contracts. (I realize this is ridiculous for many reasons, but they think like that anyway.) With this shutdown and the looming deficit ceiling they have accomplished that. They have no reason to change their postion on the matter; they think they have won. But that needs to be publicized so that people understand this isn't about a failure to compromise (as the news media keeps repeating, much to my chagrin) as a bunch of anti-government zealots forcing their program on everyone without going through the normal legislative process.

Guys go with me on this but it just occurred to me that maybe electing several dozen stupid people who quite literally don't understand how American government works- I mean, actually operates on a civics level as opposed to conjecture- to run said American government was a pretty fucking bad idea.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:38 AM on October 9, 2013 [82 favorites]


the first debt default by a major world power in modern history since the collapse of the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union should provide a sobering example of just how quickly things can go south even for a superpower but I fear there are a lot of people in the US who may be doomed to repeat history.
posted by TedW at 10:39 AM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


So a shitty plan, but Boatmurdered survived worse. I'm sure the capital will make do.

American Fortress is a pretty good game, but it's best when you're starting out the country and have to fight off Indians and the British. Once you get into the endgame it's all just factional squabbling and Americans occasionally becoming obsessed with creating a masterpiece, not being able to find the requisite legislative coalitions, and going crazy.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:39 AM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Is there any 'nuclear option' the Democrats could throw back at the Republicans as a sort of reverse-hostage taking? Like 'Run us out of money and we sell an aircraft carrier to China.' Or an immediate total recall of all overseas troops, or something along those lines - something the Republicans would find totally and completely unacceptable but would be within the power of the presidency?
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:40 AM on October 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


i instinctively feel i would be good at warlording, idk

Don't you hate children? Where will all your soldiers come from?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:40 AM on October 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


Anyone else feels like this is the zombie apocalypse and night after night the Republicans are swarming outside the window calling out, "Brains! Brains!"?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Americans occasionally becoming obsessed with creating a masterpiece, not being able to find the requisite legislative coalitions, and going crazy

Sounds like they need more Craftsmericans to wall the offending Nobl-I mean legislators into sealed offices. With a single, shining, unknown, masterwork, lever.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2013


The Soviet Union should provide a sobering example of just how quickly things can go south even for a superpower but I fear there are a lot of people in the US who may be doomed to repeat history.

Huh? What is even remotely analogous to the fall of the Soviet Union and what is happening now in the US?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, I would like to default on my student loans without any penalties. Overall, I think this would be good to manage my further spending, yes?

In all honesty, I wonder if there prepper-types, who stock up on canned goods and ammunition in preparation of a doomsday fantasy are just a little bit excited right now.
posted by inertia at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


i instinctively feel i would be good at warlording, idk

Don't you hate children? Where will all your soldiers come from?


You make it sound like hating children isn't an incentive in that case.
posted by Etrigan at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


This shit keeps me up at night. After the whole Snowden NSA revelation thing, I listen a little more closely to the sky-is-falling conspiracy dudes.

We live in an RV, if the shit hits the fan we don't have too much room to stockpile food and such. OTOH, when the apocalypse comes, we can just drive our home far away from the rampaging hordes. We can live comfortably for days or weeks without access to water or electricity. Obviously, I hope it doesn't come to that, but I feel safer than I would in our old apartment.
posted by desjardins at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dear America,
Your system is broken.
Love
from
Europe


Sooo... anyone over there hiring? I'm getting furloughed next week and I'm pretty sure my company will have to lay people off if the debt ceiling is breached - either programs or going to get cut or the company's just going to stop getting paid.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2013


One of the funnest (for Dwarf-like definitions of Fun) solutions to the debt ceiling that I've heard was for the treasury to ignore the debt ceiling limit and wait for the court case/police to show up before actually turning off the tap.

This was one of the options that the DC government (the people that actually live here, not the shitbags the states send in) talked about (since the city budget is controlled by Congress). Not sure what's going to happen here if the default happens.
posted by inigo2 at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2013


In all honesty, I wonder if there prepper-types, who stock up on canned goods and ammunition in preparation of a doomsday fantasy are just a little bit excited right now.

I know a few. You have no idea. If there's a bullet left for sale in Tennessee after this weekend, I will be fucking amazed.
posted by Etrigan at 10:43 AM on October 9, 2013 [20 favorites]


"electing several dozen stupid people who quite literally don't understand how American government works"

Sounds to me like they know exactly how american government works.
posted by Ardiril at 10:43 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh? What is even remotely analogous to the fall of the Soviet Union and what is happening now in the US?

I think the strength of the analogy is dependent on how quickly unpaid-but-working employees/soldiers resort to selling government property.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:43 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Guys go with me on this but it just occurred to me that maybe electing several dozen stupid people who quite literally don't understand how American government works- I mean, actually operates on a civics level as opposed to conjecture- to run said American government was a pretty fucking bad idea.

As someone currently represented by one of the idiots, allow me to just say: we tried.

When moving to a third world country is looking attractive, we've done something fundamentally wrong.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:44 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


As long as we're seeking solutions from video games, I've been playing a lot of Crusader Kings II lately, and I've gotta tell you, I think marrying off John Boehner matrilineally is the way to go. To, I dunno, Burkina Faso or Guatemala or whoever will take him.
posted by Flunkie at 10:44 AM on October 9, 2013 [50 favorites]


What is even remotely analogous to the fall of the Soviet Union and what is happening now in the US?

Not so much an analogy as an example that even a large, powerful nation can fail suddenly, catching many people off guard. I think it is unlikely that things will go that far here, but not out of the realm of possibility.
posted by TedW at 10:45 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


2008 fucked my life permanently... my plan has become: hope everything else falls apart before I do.

looking good so far...
posted by ennui.bz at 10:45 AM on October 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


As I mentioned in the other thread, anything Obama and the Administration does to lessen the impact of the crisis when it comes can and will be spun as an argument that it isn't that much of a crisis after all.

And there's also a constituency of people out-of-work in the Private Sector who celebrate when the "protected class" in the Public Sector become equally unemployed. Of course, they forget that now they're competing for even less jobs with even more people, many far more qualified than you, Bozo.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:45 AM on October 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


Regardless of the convoluted schemes to keep the money flowing, the damage will and already is being done to our reputation and trust worthiness. We got downgraded (among various reason) because our government was ineffective at handling this mess the first time. And here we are again. Businesses don't hire, people don't spend, and everyone sits on their hands watching and waiting while our elected 'leaders' fiddle with their thumbs up their asses. A small cadre of elected individuals are causing real damage to our people and our country. I only hope that the vitriol they earn won't come at too high a price.
posted by msbutah at 10:45 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


something the Republicans would find totally and completely unacceptable but would be within the power of the presidency

We are where we are because Obama is already doing this; it's commonly known as "waking up in the morning."

It is very bizarre to see surprise from people over the idea that the Republican Party is deliberately destroying the country to make the president look bad, given that this is a thing the party literally said openly that they intend to do, and have attempted to do so for five years.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:46 AM on October 9, 2013 [70 favorites]


To, I dunno, Burkina Faso or Guatemala or whoever will take him

There's a House of Orange joke here that I can't quite put my finger on
posted by elizardbits at 10:46 AM on October 9, 2013 [24 favorites]


Ugh I'm still caught in a trap I stepped into in 2008, ennui.bz.
posted by Mister_A at 10:46 AM on October 9, 2013


As long as we're seeking solutions from video games,

U.S. MUST CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL PYLONS
posted by Going To Maine at 10:47 AM on October 9, 2013 [51 favorites]


The shutdown has already caused at least one prospective investor involved in government contracting to back out of a funding deal for my company at the last minute. There is a lot of panic in the DC money set right now.

The grim satisfaction that the extremists on the right wing derive from this impending calamity is so ugly. It's shocking to me. It reminds me of one of the worst things I have personally witnessed, when I saw a man jump in front of a subway train after being encouraged to do so by strangers. I don't think many people are contemplating the consequences of their actions right now.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:47 AM on October 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


As long as we're seeking solutions from video games,

US NEEDS FOOD BADLY
posted by Mister_A at 10:48 AM on October 9, 2013 [32 favorites]


FYI, we actually hit the limit back in May. We're waiting on the 'extraordinary measures' to no longer be sufficient to meet all obligations, which it looks like might happen sooner rather than later.

A very simple timeline for the debt-ceiling crisis, Brad Plumer, Washington Post Wonkblog, 8 October 2013

The Daily Default Dashboard is now ‘Getting kind of scary’, Zachary A. Goldfarb, Neil Irwin, and Darla Cameron, Washington Post Wonkblog, 9 October 2013
posted by ob1quixote at 10:49 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


As long as we're seeking solutions from video games,

YOU CAN'T CUT BACK ON FUNDING! YOU WILL REGRET THIS!
posted by backseatpilot at 10:50 AM on October 9, 2013 [39 favorites]


Actually, no one has really talked about this, from what I've seen, but one of the biggest problems that's going to happen is the petroleum trading markets. I can pretty much guarantee that they will likely start trading in Euro's should the U.S. default. Because I'm pretty sure all our "allies" in the oil producing countries are going to be a little bit, um, pissed off, if we completely tank the value of the dollar.

Maybe someone could correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the value of the dollar explicitly linked with the credit rating of the U.S. and how much interest we have to pay on any loans that we have to finance our government? So if the credit goes from AAA (or AA+ in the case of S&P) to, like CC- or whatever the ratings are (not the absolute bottom, but a significant drop), doesn't that mean that inflation will suddenly spike, like massively overnight? Or will it cause a deflation (I don't see how that would happen).

So suddenly all those billions of dollars sitting in banks around the world are worth a whole lot less than they were. At this point, we're not talking about Lehman Brothers, we're taking 1929 crash + hyper inflation + Weimar Republic levels of non-functioning government.

Those Republicans and Tea Party reps? They aren't playing to keep their jobs in government. They are playing to make those jobs worthless to hold. What good would it be to unseat them, when the power of the office is about as good as putting on a bozo the clown suit.

Then we get the "true libertarian/Real Americans" setting up feifdoms and trying to control their local communities through a) their ownership of guns, b) their stockpiles of food and fuel, and c) their "large church membership militia for Jesus".

Expect some interesting things to start happening as some wackadoodle fantasies start to manifest themselves.

Sometimes, I swear this is how CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN will actually manifest itself. I'm going to be pissed if I don't get to start casting awesome magic spells though.
posted by daq at 10:51 AM on October 9, 2013 [20 favorites]


You know, I got a new job this year and things were going ok and I was considering buying a new car for the first time in six years and maybe even starting to save for a house down payment, because renting gets old.

But in this climate? Fuck no. I'm not spending anything. My company relies on government contracts. Mostly state-funded at the moment, but it's not like that shit isn't going to roll downhill and affect us. Now I'm saving in case I get laid off. So that's less money going into the economy. How many others are there like me? How many big financial decisions are now on hold because fuck, we're all going over the waterfall, it's too risky?
posted by emjaybee at 10:51 AM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app14.html
posted by brent at 10:52 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


With some Republican congressmen on the record arguing that a US debt default may actually be necessary to [rein] in further government spending, it's easy to see why many Americans blame them.

If there were no other evidence of their insanity, this alone would be enough to illustrate it. To be completely oblivious of the impact of significantly raising the cost of the debt we already hold on our ability to afford the government at present taxation levels is wanton ignorance at best and schizophrenia-level delusion at worst.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:53 AM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Jon Stewart Tells GOP to Own the Shutdown: ‘Don’t Fart And Point at the Dog!’
posted by homunculus at 10:54 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


So we just started watching Revolution the other night and my SO was like "This is like a zombie show without the zombies" to which I responded "Yup, it's like our future!" At first it was a funny joke, but now, not so much.
posted by Big_B at 10:54 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


When moving to a third world country is looking attractive, we've done something fundamentally wrong.

Don't have to move; just stay put.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:55 AM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


I wonder what is going to happen to hospitals, when the 18 billion that Medicare would need to pay out on November 1, doesn't happen? Will they have to start sending patients home?
posted by mittens at 10:55 AM on October 9, 2013


If life turns into Revolution, I get to be Pollos Hermanos.
posted by Mister_A at 10:55 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


mittens: "I wonder what is going to happen to hospitals, when the 18 billion that Medicare would need to pay out on November 1, doesn't happen? Will they have to start sending patients home?"

No, silly, the market and/or churches will provide!
posted by Mister_A at 10:56 AM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


If life turns into Revolution, at least we will have unrealistically gorgeous hairdos.
posted by Think_Long at 10:56 AM on October 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


the rest of the world has no reason to place faith in the the US to pay their bills ever again.

And yet, the "United States" debased its money back in the day. Its why the phrase "not worth a Continental" exists.

Perhaps a default and a whole bunch of retirement funds/banks being reduced to $0 will get a whole lot of people suddenly interested in what happens in the halls of power and demanding accountability VS the present situation.

Investment advice for this possible time of trouble:
Rail based transportation. But you need the tar, feathers and some rope to tie 'em to the rails so they can be run outta town.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:57 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't have to move; just stay put.

Vietnam already had its wars.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:57 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many of our elderly relatives are hearing the words "debt ceiling" and defaulting to "dad-gummed Spend-o-Crats" in their minds. Should make Thanksgiving interesting.

Assuming there's still poultry by then.
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 10:58 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


The answer to almost every hypothetical question in this thread is "we have no idea what will happen." Which is, you know, horrifying.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:58 AM on October 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


This may be the gloom-and-doomiest MetaFilter thread since the 2008 financial meltdown. I'll don my hockey mask and put some spikes on our jeep in celebration.
posted by charred husk at 10:59 AM on October 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


The democrats want nothing but an open government.

They may want that but sure seem to do a poor job of making that happen.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:59 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was "lucky" enough to have had my life (health and financial, the latter following the former) fall apart some time before all you other people, and was "saved" by Social Security Disability and Medicare. Where it effects me is when the November 'check' does or does not come in. Now, without the Prioritization that the Treasury Secretary insists is "impossible", checks will go out but many will just bounce. How many? Which ones? I get Direct Deposit - don't know if that puts me at the top of the list, or if it'll hit the account on the 3rd and disappear on the 4th...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:59 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I wonder what is going to happen to hospitals, when the 18 billion that Medicare would need to pay out on November 1, doesn't happen? Will they have to start sending patients home?

I've been low-level irritated for the past 2 weeks because (at work) we keep getting "ohnoes emergency funding needed" spam emails from various local arts organizations, and I'm just like PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO DIE IN REAL LIFE SO I DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT YOUR FUCKING INSTALLATION RIGHT NOW.
posted by elizardbits at 11:00 AM on October 9, 2013 [26 favorites]


When you die in Canada...OH WAIT THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN THERE.
posted by inertia at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's like letting a guy drive your car who wants to prove to you that cars aren't safe. All he has to do to be right is drive into a tree. You'll both be terribly injured, but if he hasn't thought that far ahead--or if, in addition to his theory that cars aren't safe, he has another theory that trees aren't hard--then you're screwed. As we all are now.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2013 [30 favorites]


Do the markets expect a default? Have bond rates shot up lately?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:28 PM on October 9


Short Term Rates Rise as Investors Seek Default Protection
posted by Comrade_robot at 11:02 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app14.html

You posted a bunch of factually incorrect stuff in the previous thread; not sure what you're going for here?
posted by inigo2 at 11:05 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Its the effect on the markets we are talking about.

Just so "we" understand what "we" are talking about - "the markets" are 70% traded as computer programs that operate in milliseconds?

Or is this some other "the markets" involving humans of varying levels of rationality?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:06 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Do the markets expect a default? Have bond rates shot up lately?" - Let's just say that bond insurance salesmen are promising their wives a remodeled kitchen for Christmas.
posted by Ardiril at 11:06 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing that makes the little blood vessel on my forehead bulge about the Republicans hate-on for spending is that it's their guys (Reagan, Bush the Elder, Bush the Lesser) who MASSIVELY increased the debt. Things have increased under Obama, but that probably has something to do with the entirely new department and two wars his predecessor was kind enough to leave for him.

Had Obama done thing one to reverse Bush two, you might have a point. But we're into Term Two and we're still shipping back wounded and dead from overseas and are still shackled with the New Department Which Cannot Be Named. (And never mind his continuing cheek-to-cheek with Wall Street to the strains of Pennies From Heaven.)

NB also that the tea party types holding this up are not the creations of Reagan or Bush - they are a new breed entirely, as fed up with old line Republicans as with Democrats.

We are allowed to be furious at both parties. I know I am.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:08 AM on October 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


Tom Coburn: 'I'd Rather Have A Managed Catastrophe Now' To Force Budget Cuts
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:08 AM on October 9, 2013


Who supports the Tea Party? Baby Boomers, that's who.

I've been thinking about this shutdown and the craziness of the Tea Party. It seems to me to be a direct consequence of the continuing irrelevance of old white men in this country. Republicans are by and large an old party now. Their target demo is now white males in their 60's.

What allows the House to be so different than the majority of the electorate is the much lower turnout in midterm elections. The Tea Party won in 2010 because all the idealists who supported Obama in 2008 largely stayed home. You know who came out for the vote? Religious nutjobs and the Tea Partiers. It was the far Right that was able to marshal Boomers, racists, and evangelicals to create an unholy voting bloc bent on reclaiming the country and stamping out godlessness and women's rights.

What makes the Republicans so brash in their views is that they are beholden to no one. The gerrymandered districts a lot of the House Republicans come from are so red that nothing (except a challenge from someone even farther on the Right) can unseat most of these people. So why does Ted Cruz need to listen to anyone when he knows he'll be in Congress unless we are hit by the Apocalypse? Even big business doesn't matter because they don't need to spend all that much to win their seats again.

To tie all these points together, Boomers support the Republicans because they have no fear of any long term consequences. As long as Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare function satisfactorily, Boomers are fine. It's the selfish Boomer mentality that says "Cut benefits for everyone else as long as I'm not affected that much." So what if the debt ceiling is breached? Most of the Boomers will be dead soon enough. They don't have to deal with any of the fallout. Allowing these people to have a say in national affairs is like letting a roommate who's moving out pick out the new living room set.
posted by reenum at 11:09 AM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Jonathan Chait on the state of the shutdown: "The single most implausible element of the House leadership’s "let’s negotiate" gambit is the premise that a bipartisan budget deal would satisfy the Republican base. Any bipartisan deal, even one heavily slanted to the Republican side, would enrage conservatives. Even the tiniest concession — easing sequestration, closing a couple of token tax loopholes — would be received on the right as a betrayal. Loss aversion is a strong human emotion, and especially strong among movement conservatives. Concessions given away will dwarf any winnings in their mind. Boehner, Ryan, and Cantor have spent months regaling conservatives with promises of rich ransoms to come. Coming back with an actual negotiated settlement would enrage the right."
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:11 AM on October 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


What better way to show the world you love your country, I suppose, than by deliberately destroying its credit worthiness and ensuring the world knows it can't be trusted to pay its bills.

If you love something, sometimes you've got to chop off its limbs and starve it to death for a while, I guess is the theory. That's tough lough for you.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:11 AM on October 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


Who supports the Tea Party? Baby Boomers, that's who.

Oh brother. Sure that brush is broad enough for you, reenum?
posted by mondo dentro at 11:12 AM on October 9, 2013 [24 favorites]


Had Obama done thing one to reverse Bush two, you might have a point. But we're into Term Two and we're still shipping back wounded and dead from overseas and are still shackled with the New Department Which Cannot Be Named. (And never mind his continuing cheek-to-cheek with Wall Street to the strains of Pennies From Heaven.)

My point was kind of a remove-the-log-from-thine-own-eye thing. And don't tell me that the TP aren't creations of Reagan, because they still hold the senile old codger as some sainted leader and he loudly beat the drums of "small government" even as he spent like there was no tomorrow.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:13 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Drinky Die: “So...buy Bitcoin?”
If the unthinkable happens, I think the conservative Salt, Olive Oil, Beans, Rice, and Ammo heavy portfolio will be what pays off for the hungry investor.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Who supports the Tea Party? Baby Boomers, that's who.

I'd like to introduce you to the 20 and 30-somethings in my neighborhood (and family, ffs) who think the tea-party is the best thing evar. I mean, yeah, there are a shit-ton of boomers who back the TP. But, there's also a shit-ton of younger people who are just as on-board with the TP.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hey Tommy, look at this big box of Ohio Blue Tipped Matches. Can you believe they left these things in our control? We're only 5 years old. Let's start some fires in the woods. We'll see how big we can let them get and still stomp them out. If they get out of control, we'll just run like like hell and blame that Obama kid.
posted by caddis at 11:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/oct/09/back-door-secession/ - not worth a Continental if you ask me!
posted by mattbucher at 11:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


reenum, you're conflating Tea Partiers with Republicans as a whole. They're not one and the same; that's why Boehner's in the mess that he's currently in.
posted by xbonesgt at 11:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you love something, sometimes you've got to chop off its limbs and starve it to death for a while, I guess is the theory. That's tough lough for you.


The Republicans as Annie Wilkes? Sounds like one hell of a political cartoon.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 11:15 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Who supports the Tea Party? Baby Boomers, that's who.

Oh brother. Sure that brush is broad enough for you, reenum?


This baby boomer is less upset about being held responsible for the Tea Party than being told I'll probably be dead soon.
posted by TedW at 11:15 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


.
posted by localhuman at 11:15 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


US NEEDS FOOD BADLY

CRUZ SHOT THE FOOD
posted by Copronymus at 11:16 AM on October 9, 2013 [31 favorites]


The Republicans as Annie Wilkes?

Or as Nick Cavanaugh.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:16 AM on October 9, 2013


saulgoodman: "Polls show Americans overwhelmingly blame congressional Republicans for the political standoff and shutdown."

From the article: Overall, 62 percent mainly blamed Republicans for the shutdown. About half said Obama or the Democrats in Congress bear much responsibility.

It's clear they blame Republicans more than Dems. ~12% doesn't strike me as "overwhelmingly."

Also from the article: — Fifty-two percent said Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with Republicans to end the shutdown; 63 percent say Republicans aren't doing enough to cooperate with him.

I personally think the Republicans are 100% to blame for this bullshit. But the poll seems split in assigning blame.
posted by zarq at 11:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm wondering if there's whispered words being shared between the Dems and Republicans who want a vote on a clean CR about who would be a Boehner replacement they could all live with if they have to boot him from the Speakership at the 11th hour, quickly sub in a pro tem and hold the debt ceiling vote. That maneuver would make the fallout a House procedural crisis and not a Constitutional one.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:17 AM on October 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


If all those "necessary" but currently unpaid federal workers started refusing to show up to work I'd wager the gov shut down would be over in a day.
posted by edgeways at 11:19 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


"the poll seems split in assigning blame" - ... and the right soundbite could alter all of those numbers in either direction.
posted by Ardiril at 11:19 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


reenum, you're conflating Tea Partiers with Republicans as a whole. They're not one and the same; that's why Boehner's in the mess that he's currently in.

I don't think it's "conflating" to observe that the Tea Partiers are running the Republican Party right now. Operationally, Tea Party == Republican Party, even if there are individual Republican Congressmen who don't identify as Tea Partiers.
posted by Asparagus at 11:20 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah it's not "the boomers" it's "the racists" "the religious nuts" "the know-nothings" and those who manipulate them. Some of them are boomers, some are even older, some are younger. You can be a hate-filled destructive moron regardless of age!

I've blocked (and probably been blocked by) three of my fellow gen-xers in the last six months on FB. The funny thing is, I used to be more radical right than them! But I grew out of it, while they got worse. It's all "Jesus hates taxes and liberals just like I do!" all the time.
posted by emjaybee at 11:20 AM on October 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


The press coverage of this situation has been despicable and contributes to the misguided public who want to blame both sides. Reasonable reporters would point out that House Republicans had years to negotiate the budget situation, but instead waited to inflict the most damage on the country in hopes of holding a better bargaining position.
posted by exogenous at 11:21 AM on October 9, 2013 [38 favorites]


Let's just start our own country, based on America, but different, a reboot, a fan-fiction of America. It'll continue the plot but veer in crowd pleasing ways. There never would have been a war in Iraq, or any PRISM project, and the president wears a sash like an old timey mayor. We can do it. We can reimagine America, an America with political scandals modeled after yaoi plots, and textbook history books filled with ninja, and space samurai. I've already uploaded a few sketches on a deviantart account called BetterAmerica20xx, let's dream of worlds that don't need solutions. Let us imagine!
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:21 AM on October 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm still looking for concrete suggestions on how to put pressure on the process here. I've complained enough on metafilter, facebook and twitter. Called my Rep. Called my Senator.

What's left to do?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:23 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


US NEEDS FOOD BADLY

CONGRESS, YOUR LIFE FORCE IS RUNNING OUT
posted by ennui.bz at 11:23 AM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Why would the 14th Amendment option necessary be stuck in the courts "forever." The Supreme Court made an awfully quick decision on the election in Bush v. Gore. And it took about three weeks for it to order Nixon to hand over the Watergate tapes in U.S. v. Nixon. All this would dominate the news, and hearing about it would get old fast. But two or three weeks would not equal "forever."
posted by raysmj at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Welp, considering that as a child my first trans role model was a freedom fighter/female singer named Lance Belmont AKA "Yellow Dancer" in the Robotech anime series, I think I can figure out a way to be a t-gender freedom fighter in the forest of New-America, LOL.

...now where'd i put my damn mech-warrior motorcycle?
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


"a reboot" - Oh ferchrissake, we don't need a reboot. Just a Constitutional amendment or two. Giving the Supreme Court restricted powers to intervene would be a good start.
posted by Ardiril at 11:25 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The press coverage of this situation has been despicable and contributes to the misguided public who want to blame both sides.

Unfortunately, we're still living with the fallout from the heady days of conservatives constantly screaming about the liberal press. Media outlets seemed to bend-over backwards to make sure they appeared balanced, even when the issue was as unbalanced as this, by adopting the "they both do it" approach to reporting. Another mission accomplished by the right.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:25 AM on October 9, 2013 [20 favorites]


So, any mass protests planned in DC if this all goes down?
posted by edgeways at 11:26 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


It worked for Battlestar Galactica, it could work for America. Well, it worked until the inevitable descent into religious babble. Wait, maybe we already had a reboot, maybe we are living in someone else's fanfiction of America!!
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:26 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


we don't need a reboot

True, but we could really do with some Governor General intervention.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:28 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, we're still living with the fallout from the heady days of conservatives constantly screaming about the liberal press. Media outlets seemed to bend-over backwards to make sure they appeared balanced, even when the issue was as unbalanced as this, by adopting the "they both do it" approach to reporting. Another mission accomplished by the right.

And don't forget how many stations are owned by the right.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:28 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, WHAT IS THE HOLD UP HERE? LET THE BOY SLEEP IN YOUR BED! HE'LL WASH THE SHEETS!


I'm not going to wash the sheets.


HE DOESN'T NEED TO WASH THE SHEETS! HE'S A CLEAN BOY!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:29 AM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Wait, maybe we already had a reboot, maybe we are living in someone else's fanfiction of America!!


“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the United States are for and why it they are here, they will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:29 AM on October 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


I can't tell if this is a long con, actual panic from the less-wingnutty 1%ers, or just an attempt to pretend they're not the men behind the curtain. It skeeves me out no matter what, but if it's either of the first two, that could be a tell here:

GOP losing powerful allies in hostage crises
the Koch brothers' company sent a letter to Congress this morning, making clear that Koch Industries is not on board with the idea of tying the Affordable Care Act to the government shutdown. Around the same time, Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham told reporters he wants to defund "Obamacare," but he doesn't want this to be tied to the debt ceiling.
Under questioning at a breakfast with reporters, hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Needham, a product of the Stanford Business School, conceded that failure to raise the debt ceiling would indeed disrupt the global economy.

"I'm sure the markets will react negatively," he said, even if, as he suggested was possible, the Treasury could "prioritize" interest payments to foreign bondholders.... "No, we should raise the debt limit," he said, though he added that he would oppose an increase that extends until after the 2014 election, which is Obama's preferred outcome.

Soon after, FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe told the Huffington Post that he, too, believes Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling.
Huh?

It's worth remembering that far-right groups like these receive quite a bit of money from corporate allies and very wealthy benefactors, who (a) understand the consequences of default better than many congressional Republicans; and (b) don't want to lose an enormous chunk of their wealth as part of a feeble attempt to undermine a moderate health care law.

Many GOP lawmakers are reportedly worried about primary challenges, facing rivals financed by groups like Heritage and FreedomWorks. On the debt ceiling, it appears these Republican members can do the right thing without fear of blowback from these far-right powerhouses.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:30 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Night Vale seems like a comparatively sane place right now.
posted by desjardins at 11:31 AM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Koch Industries can say they don't support the shutdown/default all they want, but that won't stop them from funding a primary challenge to any House Republican who votes to end the shutdown/raise the debt ceiling.
posted by Asparagus at 11:32 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's worth remembering that far-right groups like these receive quite a bit of money from corporate allies and very wealthy benefactors, who (a) understand the consequences of default better than many congressional Republicans; and (b) don't want to lose an enormous chunk of their wealth as part of a feeble attempt to undermine a moderate health care law.

You assume that they can control the monsters they have unleashed.
posted by stevis23 at 11:32 AM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


This may be the gloom-and-doomiest MetaFilter thread since the 2008 financial meltdown.

Doom... hardly, my greatest fear is that things will just continue on as they have been. 2008 is when lots of people, like me, realized they could be just kicked out of the boat and no one cared. happened to textile workers, steel workers, auto workers, postal workers, semi-conductor workers, call-center workers, etc. then it happened to me. the boat continues on and i'm left to swim for myself.

the republicans try to push my head underwater, the democrats tell me to swim harder. if the boat sinks we'll all be in the same position.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:32 AM on October 9, 2013 [31 favorites]


I'm wondering if there's whispered words [about a] Boehner replacement they could all live with if they have to boot him from the Speakership at the 11th hour

I think we're going over the cliff with this one. It's like Krugman's comments on revolutionary power--what, 10 years ago?--and the inefficacy of liberalism in the face of it. Even now, people are not understanding the internal logic of what the hard right is doing. They keep talking about how "irrational" they are. That's totally wrong. The catastrophe is by design. On top of that, armed goon squads are in place. I expect them to be egged on shortly, as the chaos thickens. There's already a "trucker strike". We're only a few steps away from an armed march on Washington by Good Christian Patriots.
posted by mondo dentro at 11:32 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Shutdown Will Not Affect U.S. Creditworthiness, Moody's Says.

So what's Moody's angle here?
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:33 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, any mass protests planned in DC if this all goes down?

There's a mass protest against the planned for the 26th, but it relates to the NSA. The shutdown could make the coverage of that one go a little awry.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:33 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm longing for happier times when my biggest concerns about the government were its involving us in seemingly endless war and increasingly finding creepy ways to violate our privacy.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:35 AM on October 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


It is very bizarre to see surprise from people over the idea that the Republican Party is deliberately destroying the country to make the president look bad, given that this is a thing the party literally said openly that they intend to do, and have attempted to do so for five years.

Osama bin Laden was on the record saying that his plan was to bankrupt the U.S. by dragging us into conflicts in the Middle East. Despite knowing this plan, we launched two massively expensive wars (one the longest in U.S. history, and getting longer every day). When villains are caught giving monologues, we should adapt our strategies to deal with them, but we never seem to.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 11:35 AM on October 9, 2013 [29 favorites]


That Koch Industries letter is a red herring. It's not the activities of the actual companies that matter. It's the Koch Brothers themselves, and their use of personal wealth to finance things that matters. It does look like they are trying to deflect blame from them, though, which is interesting. Up until now, they haven't been at all public about their activities or their influence.
posted by daq at 11:35 AM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


"U.S. MUST CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL PYLONS"

Seattle is way ahead of you
posted by Blasdelb at 11:37 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


If life turns into Revolution, at least we will have unrealistically gorgeous hairdos.

Woot! The nanites fix the baldness!

We are allowed to be furious at both parties.

Not on The Blue sir. You can only hate on the one side.

The Tea Party won in 2010 because all the idealists who supported Obama in 2008 largely stayed home.

The idealists no longer had Hope because the previously discussed Change didn't actually happen.

A new pack of idealists will have to be lovingly nurtured, emotionally coddled, and then have their illusions crushed. If you can tie such an emotional rollercoster to providing nurturing to psychic succubi who look like a disco ball when they go into the sunshine, you've got the next Hunger games tween novel.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:38 AM on October 9, 2013


I do not trust the polls on this right now, I think that the people who do not hold the House Republicans responsible for this madness are exactly the ones keeping them in power: their specific constituents. I received a lovely phone call from my dad yesterday (in his early 70s, lives in Mississippi, has a Tea Party rep but no longer supports the Republican party) and just listened to him vent about Obama and the Congress and how all of them are to blame, for the better part of half an hour.* There are still many, many Americans who are not parsing this issue and are holding "the government" responsible.

Which means that the Koch brothers have spent their money extremely effectively. Their end game is to destroy the federal government as thoroughly as possible to create their libertarian, unrestricted free-market ideal. It's working.


*-it turned into a lovely shouting match because he wouldn't let me get a word in edge-wise to correct his mis/disinformation until I was quite verbally forceful. Which is fine, he and I kind of love to yell at each other about politics but he's a pretty well-informed guy, tries to find good information sources online but still gets sucked into the larger political culture of his region nonetheless. I have texted him his rep's phone number.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:39 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


@brianbeutler: Republicans will send 18 leaders and chairmen to the White House. AKA, enough electeds to reopen the government and increase the debt limit.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:40 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, any mass protests planned in DC if this all goes down?

I'm not sure if this counts as protest, per se, but I keep getting Facebook messages about a plan to annoy the shit out of congress with a mass vuvuzela orchestra on the Capitol steps.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 11:40 AM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


Night Vale seems like a comparatively sane place right now.

I mean at least they have libraries there.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:41 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think we're going over the cliff with this one. It's like Krugman's comments on revolutionary power--what, 10 years ago?--and the inefficacy of liberalism in the face of it. Even now, people are not understanding the internal logic of what the hard right is doing. They keep talking about how "irrational" they are. That's totally wrong. The catastrophe is by design. On top of that, armed goon squads are in place. I expect them to be egged on shortly, as the chaos thickens. There's already a "trucker strike". We're only a few steps away from an armed march on Washington by Good Christian Patriots.

The trucker strike thing has already been backed down from sensationalist tough talk to essentially a drive-by sign-waving. And the Republicans aren't a cohesive bloc on this issue, the hard right may want this badly but there are enough Republicans willing to vote it all away if Boehner lets the vote hit the floor and many in the GOP are publicly repudiating the Tea Party. Also, any kind of armed uprising would be incredibly short. This isn't the 1860's no matter how much some would like it to be.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:41 AM on October 9, 2013


A mass vuvuzela orchestra would be amazing! Let's get on this thing even if people sober up and play nice with our country.
posted by Arbac at 11:41 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


not worth a Continental if you ask me!

It's always annoyed me how Republicans and now even "mainstream media" started calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat" Party. Since the GOP can get away with renaming their opposing political parties, can Democrats now just call the GOP what it really is - the Confederate Party? I'm sure many Republicans would not object.


Jonathan Chait on the state of the shutdown

I thought the opening paragraph was enlightening:
One way to understand the dysfunction within the Republican Party is to think of it as a hostage scheme that spun out of control. The plan, originally formulated by Paul Ryan and other party leaders, involved a more aggressive reprise of the 2011 negotiations, where Republicans would use the threat of default, along with sequestration, to force President Obama to accept unfavorable budget terms. The plan was hijacked by Ted Cruz and transformed into a scheme using a less effective hostage threat (shutting down the government rather than defaulting) but tethered to the much more grandiose ransom of repealing Obamacare. As the Cruz scheme disintegrates around the Republicans, the original leaders are attempting to reassert control and revert to the original plan.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:43 AM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


C'est la D.C. I'm seeing the same pattern here.

See: posted by mmrtnt at 11:44 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


If the boat sinks we'll all be in the same position.

Latin proverb of the day: Commune naufragium dulce means "a common shipwreck is sweet".
posted by WalkingAround at 11:44 AM on October 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


reenum, I'm a boomer (whatever the heck that means; I don't think it means all that much really), a Democrat, and a Federal employee currently out on furlough. For what it is worth, there are 2 cohorts of baby boomers and those of us who were born in the second half of the baby boom and came of age in the seventies of unemployment and gas shortages are different from the sixties boomers (though Bill Clinton is a 60's boomer from the early cohort so there's that). So, yeah, you are way overgeneralizing.

Also, I know a heck of a lot of Gen Xers who are more conservative than I am and are tea party supporters.

Also, really hoping, since I'm in my fifties, that I am not going to die imminently, thank you very much.

Also, I and my husband and my friends of my generation happen to care about the country, and its future, and believe in public service. I want my younger friends, and my 20 year old niece, to have a future and a decent job in a country they can be proud of. I don't see the tea party as the answer to that, and never have.

I also agree with LooseFilter that this is absolutely maddening right now: There are still many, many Americans who are not parsing this issue and are holding "the government" responsible.
posted by gudrun at 11:45 AM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


So, any mass protests planned in DC if this all goes down?

Anonymous plans Million Mask March on Washington

(Oh and did you all see the date on the Mandiatory evacuation posterboard in the promo material for the PS3 game "The Last of Us"? )
posted by rough ashlar at 11:46 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anonymous plans Million Mask March on Washington

Oh, that's helpful. Are they marching for Rand Paul or something?
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:48 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, any kind of armed uprising would be incredibly short.

I don't think it would play out like that (with guns blazing). Intimidation is working. Armed intimidation will work even better. An armed march has been floated multiple times. It will happen. What would you imagine Obama doing if 20,000 armed Good Christian Patriots showed up in town? It's just too logical for the Right not to do it. Crank up the social pain, rile up the thuggishness. It's Rightism 101.
posted by mondo dentro at 11:49 AM on October 9, 2013


Is there anything I can do? Should be doing? To help myself not... I dunno, what? Not get fired from my job that depends partially on US government money? Not be eaten by roving cannibal gangs? Not die in a massive cholera outbreak? Or do I have nothing to worry about? Or should I go be an illegal immigrant in Canada? I'm so fucking confused and angry.

Like I've been all "oh, should I go back to grad school, should I change my ~career~" and part of me is like... what's the point? What's the fucking point of doing any of that? I'm just going to die in a postapocalyptic wasteland anyway so why fucking bother?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:50 AM on October 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


I have decided to panic and cry.
posted by elizardbits at 11:52 AM on October 9, 2013 [34 favorites]


Also, any kind of armed uprising would be incredibly short.

Thing is, any military force put against an armed uprising would play directly into many of the far-right's fantasies of the "government coming to get us" or "Obama's building concentration camps for conservatives" and all the rest. Any actual bloodshed would only make the rhetoric even more biblically apocalyptic. It's really a no-win for the government in this day and age.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:54 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


What would you imagine Obama doing if 20,000 armed Good Christian Patriots showed up in town?

I imagine him doing nothing. Let them mill around and protest things, and trust the police to do their jobs.
posted by Etrigan at 11:55 AM on October 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


elizardbits, sounds more effective than my current strategy of "have imaginary fights in my head with conservative relatives."
posted by inertia at 11:55 AM on October 9, 2013 [26 favorites]


Like I've been all "oh, should I go back to grad school, should I change my ~career~" and part of me is like... what's the point? What's the fucking point of doing any of that? I'm just going to die in a postapocalyptic wasteland anyway so why fucking bother?

Wait, are the 80s still back? I thought we had moved on to the 90s.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:55 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've got one last Ativan at home that I can't decide on taking now or later.

Maybe I should get some more before things get really scary?

But seriously, why should I be doing other than my normal day to day? Teach my kid how to survive thunderdome?
posted by furnace.heart at 11:55 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, uh, should I be buying a lot of canned food and gallon tanks of water or something? What the hell is your average citizen supposed to do in the event of economic collapse?
posted by sonmi at 11:55 AM on October 9, 2013


Is there anything I can do?

Be prepared to react.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:57 AM on October 9, 2013


i instinctively feel i would be good at warlording.....
I have decided to panic and cry.


The market for warlords who panic and cry is rather small.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:57 AM on October 9, 2013 [23 favorites]


Teach my kid how to survive thunderdome?

More like Blunderdome, amirite?
posted by Slackermagee at 11:58 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Practice by playing "The Last Of Us"
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:58 AM on October 9, 2013


I have decided to panic and cry.

What happened to drinking and masturbating?
posted by desjardins at 11:58 AM on October 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


Shouldn't we lie down, or put paper bags over our heads, or something?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:59 AM on October 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


What happened to drinking and masturbating?

So, maintain business as usual?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:59 AM on October 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


So, uh, should I be buying a lot of canned food and gallon tanks of water or something? What the hell is your average citizen supposed to do in the event of economic collapse?

I'd expect the problems to be more people-being-broke-and-homeless than Thunderdome - basically, the recession squared. Plan to do whatever you would do if you lost your job and were suddenly utterly broke and so were many of your friends. Would you squat your house until the bank kicked you out? Would you live with friends who have stable housing?

"Collapse" is just going to be "many, many people being immiserated" not "there is no more government". The Repugs - the ones who aren't actually stupid - are just relying on being rich enough and connected enough not to suffer.
posted by Frowner at 12:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Shutdown Will Not Affect U.S. Creditworthiness, Moody's Says.

Shutdown ≠ Debt ceiling breach
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


I don't think I'll be able to live without Elizardbit's Tumblr feed. Can we make sure that stays funded?
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I imagine him doing nothing. Let them mill around and protest things, and trust the police to do their jobs.
A Georgia congressman who is running for Senate said on Tuesday that he was fighting to delay, defund and repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform law because it would literally “destroy everything we know as a nation.”
So, you think people who believe this sort of thing will just "mill around"? The political box that right-wing populist violence will put the US government in is real power, and real power always ends up being used. The groundwork has been layed. It's just a question of will.
posted by mondo dentro at 12:01 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Winter is coming.
posted by nikoniko at 12:01 PM on October 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


It's tempting to fear that we really are wading into a Guns of August (perhaps Guns of November) scenario. There are already groups of people who gather in DC in relatively large numbers (less than 100, I don't really keep regular track of it) to protest with AR-15s and the like. It's not hard to imagine several state's worth of them getting together and trying to assemble somewhere closer to the Mall. The DC law enforcement apparatus already keeps these protests under as tight control as they possibly can. I can't imagine they would get a permit for such a thing on the Mall or anywhere a permit is required, which is pretty much everywhere.

I honestly don't know what to make of it at this point. No one really expected Sumner to be beaten nearly to death by Brooks. Events seem to have a force of their own right now.

The easiest refuge appears to be belief in self-interest. I continue to believe that there is too much personal wealth at stake to allow a default, not just of the upper echelons of the unelected leadership of the right wing, but on the floor of Congress itself and throughout DC.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:02 PM on October 9, 2013


See:
Communist Threat
Drug Threat
Oil Threat
Terror Threat
Fiscal Threat


Oooh, ooh also Africanized Killer Bee Threat. But you will also notice that like the killer bees, none of the threats you listed originated from Congress itself. And Congress seems to be pretty good on following through on its threats.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 12:02 PM on October 9, 2013


> The market for warlords who panic and cry is rather small.

It's a diversionary tactic. While you're distracted by the open weeping, the grain silos are being pillaged.
posted by davelog at 12:03 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guys go with me on this but it just occurred to me that maybe electing several dozen stupid people who quite literally don't understand how American government works- I mean, actually operates on a civics level as opposed to conjecture- to run said American government was a pretty fucking bad idea.

I can't find it now, but there was a news article shortly after the first wave of Tea Party members arrived in Congress where they actually had to start offering 101-style classes due to the insanely basic errors the new people were making.
posted by odinsdream at 12:03 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


BTW, I'm not panicking. I'm just trying to stay clear-eyed and prepared. I don't think there will be some sudden, massive national coronary, a la the USSR. For the US, it will be more of a chronic wasting disease.
posted by mondo dentro at 12:03 PM on October 9, 2013


What we are effectively seeing is the end of the Republican party as an legitimate opposition party. There was kinda this default assumption that because Obama has basically played along with previous hostage taking that the Republicans could bluster and threaten and Obama would cave (which I guess could still happen) but now Obama shows no sign of caving (never running for office again and having polling and your party squarely behind you does that) so that the House is either forced to give ground on this or risk being blamed for any number of dire events that not even Fox News will be able to spin as being Obama's fault.

But because Boehner and company have assured their back benchers and their constituents that Obama would cave and they would get concessions they feel like not getting concessions now would permanently transfer initiative to Obama and the democrats so they can't surrender their hostage without getting prizes.

So basically the only options outside of allow default (which the money guys propping up the Republican party will call in all sorts of markers to prevent) is to surrender control over the hostage or hope that Obama surrenders. Obama surrendering seems unlikely so the smart move is to just cut bait and realize that you lost out on this opportunity and try again on something else down the road because you still can block most forward Government movement. Also it has the potential of breaking the Tea Party's back so that Republicans are less beholden to them as kingmakers which will have lasting benefits for the party.

Unfortunately pride seems to be getting in the way of rational decision-making.
posted by vuron at 12:04 PM on October 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's tempting to fear that we really are wading into a Guns of August (perhaps Guns of November) scenario

Yeah, that book's been on my mind a lot, too... Same feeling of a bunch of idiots marching happily into hell.

I don't think this will wind up being apocalyptic; I think there'll be some sort of deal as shit approaches fan. But it's still disquieting as all get-out.
posted by COBRA! at 12:04 PM on October 9, 2013


Lord help us if a killer bee threat originates from Congress.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 12:04 PM on October 9, 2013


It's a diversionary tactic. While you're distracted by the open weeping, the grain silos are being pillaged.

Also the heads of my defeated enemies shall be displayed on stakes. We don't do that enough anymore and I feel it has become detrimental to society.
posted by elizardbits at 12:05 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


There are already groups of people who gather in DC in relatively large numbers (less than 100, I don't really keep regular track of it) to protest with AR-15s and the like.

Cite? There was that one guy over the summer planning something, but if I remember right he was the only one that showed up, with an unloaded shotgun maybe?
posted by inigo2 at 12:06 PM on October 9, 2013


Any actual bloodshed would only make the rhetoric even more biblically apocalyptic.

If the press opts to not cover the event - how would a wider audience know?

So, uh, should I be buying a lot of canned food and gallon tanks of water or something? What the hell is your average citizen supposed to do in the event of economic collapse?

The same kinds of things ready.gov tells you to do in the event of a natural disaster. Rather than storing water - understand how to process water to make it potable. The old advice was 10% of your money in metals like Gold. Other cultures had a %age in gold jewelry.

Meanwhile while The Blue is watching the "new" Democratic partiers, odds are you are not watching the old.
Jimmy Carter claims today's middle class Americans resemble the poor of the 1970s
posted by rough ashlar at 12:06 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, you think people who believe this sort of thing will just "mill around"? The political box that right-wing populist violence will put the US government in is real power, and real power always ends up being used.

Now you're shifting from "armed march" to "populist violence." That's different, and I expect that Obama's reaction to it would be significantly different.
posted by Etrigan at 12:06 PM on October 9, 2013


Give people ten years to relocate and then let the neo-confederates have their own damn country. Sometimes divorce is the right answer.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 12:06 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I hope the DC police defend us against heavily armed paramilitary groups which target minorities and the poor.
posted by gorbweaver at 12:06 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The easiest refuge appears to be belief in self-interest. I continue to believe that there is too much personal wealth at stake to allow a default...

I agree with this as a general principle, but... the only thing is, there's competition among the super rich. Who will be the King of the World? The risk-taking proclivities of someone who wants that title could indeed lead to such an event, precisely because they may be (or think they are) positioned to come out on top after the collapse. It's very logical, once you've abandoned the notion that leaders somehow always think in terms of the "greatest good for the greatest number".
posted by mondo dentro at 12:07 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now you're shifting from "armed march" to "populist violence."

Nope. That's what I meant in the first place.
posted by mondo dentro at 12:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's tempting to fear that we really are wading into a Guns of August (perhaps Guns of November) scenario

Honestly, what this reminds me of is France before WWII. If you read Janet Flanner's coverage of the various political and financial crises and scandal (in Paris Was Yesterday, which starts out being all about Josephine Baker and surrealist poets and flowers and ends up being about disaster, corruption and the run-up to war) the climate seems very similar - idiots and villains, phony populism, phony nationalism, countless regular people going broke and in a panic, and the rich doing whatever they please. Although in France there were a few more mechanisms for regular people to make their will felt - OTOH, the will of regular people was often pretty terrible and stupid.
posted by Frowner at 12:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


If the press opts to not cover the event - how would a wider audience know?

Good point. You'd think, in this day and age, there would be some mechanism for widespread communication that didn't rely on the mainstream press...
posted by Thorzdad at 12:10 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


If all those "necessary" but currently unpaid federal workers started refusing to show up to work I'd wager the gov shut down would be over in a day.

Not likely at the moment because people, myself included, still think the chances are better that eventually we will get paid rather than having to try to find a whole new job just to afford rent. But I bet the longer this goes on, the more likely it is that people will bail out of self-preservation.
posted by likeatoaster at 12:13 PM on October 9, 2013


Cite? There was that one guy over the summer planning something, but if I remember right he was the only one that showed up, with an unloaded shotgun maybe?

Here's one article about it. This started in 2009 and has been a recurring thing since then. To my knowledge, they've all been relatively sparsely attended and anti-climactic, nothing like the 20,000+ people fantasies being bandied about lately.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:13 PM on October 9, 2013


As long as we're seeking solutions from video games

REPUBLICAN RAMPAGE

DATELINE: PEORIA

YOU MUST EAT FOOD TO SURVIVE

CLIMB BUILDINGS AND PUNCH OPEN WINDOWS TO FIND FOOD

DESTROY ALL BUILDINGS TO ADVANCE TO NEXT CITY

When you die in Canada...OH WAIT THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN THERE.

You don't die in Canada? Holy crap, your healthcare IS good!

Give people ten years to relocate and then let the neo-confederates have their own damn country. Sometimes divorce is the right answer.

Yeah, I sometimes think that, but then I think about how having Neo-Confederate Liberia along the border is going to be pretty bad for us when it almost instantly collapses.
posted by Amanojaku at 12:14 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is there anything I can do?

Only park in reserved parking spots (not handicapped spots, of course; but those sweet executive spots right near the entrance)! That'll show 'em! /not really

(I really don't know what we can do. These maniacs don't seem to give two shits about the consequences of their ideological radicalism.)

Shutdown ≠ Debt ceiling breach

Exactly. If there's an actual material default (i.e. unpaid bill), some bond rating agencies are required to lower the US credit rating. Even Moody's has said it will have to do that much if Oct. 17th passes and a pending bill doesn't get paid.

Here's a Reuter's piece on all the credit agencies basically saying that if there's a default, the US's Bond Rating (basically its credit score) will be lowered. That will trigger massive treasury bond sell-offs, tanking the value of the bonds that the social security fund and many other large institutional investors are heavily invested in. It's a financial disaster scenario that could make the recent Great Recession look like a minor bump in the road by comparison.

It's very logical, once you've abandoned the notion that leaders somehow always think in terms of the "greatest good for the greatest number".

Or as I like to call it, "unenlightened self-interest."
posted by saulgoodman at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Now you're shifting from "armed march" to "populist violence."

Nope. That's what I meant in the first place.


Oh, in that case: it isn't going to happen. As feloniousmonk noted while I was typing the previous sentence, an armed insurrection of 20,000 people is staggeringly hard to put together. You can't just tweet "HEY EVERYBODY COME TO DC WITH YOUR GUN AND WE'LL KILL 'EM ALL" and expect an army to assemble.
posted by Etrigan at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2013


The treasury has this to say about the whole ordeal.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


dire events that not even Fox News will be able to spin as being Obama's fault

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA *whimper*
posted by ook at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


So what's Moody's angle here?

I think it's mostly "lalalala I cant hear you lalalalala stop touching me!"
posted by odinsdream at 12:17 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to read the links in Rhaomi's excellent earlier FPP on the subject of this whole political clusterfuck. Many of your questions about how and why this is happening (and theories/debunkings about how we can get out of it) are addressed in both the original post and in the comments.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:18 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


an armed insurrection of 20,000 people is staggeringly hard to put together. You can't just tweet "HEY EVERYBODY COME TO DC WITH YOUR GUN AND WE'LL KILL 'EM ALL" and expect an army to assemble.

Its a good thing that leadership learned from the whole Bonus Army issue back in the 1930's and no longer treats its past war vets poorly so such won't happen again.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:18 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's one article about it.

From that article: "Those in Washington, D.C., chose not to carry any firearms in compliance with the district's strict gun laws".

I just want to be clear that bringing their guns into DC is something they've been talking about for a while, but not that they've actually done. They'll talk the talk, but they're really a bunch of cowards. (The second half of which, frankly, I'm grateful for.)
posted by inigo2 at 12:18 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The place they did bring the guns was just about within rock-throwing distance of Reagan National and the Pentagon. Yes, technically not in DC, but just across the river on the GW parkway.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:20 PM on October 9, 2013


Jesus Christ.

Fidelity just sold it's government debt for November.
posted by lattiboy at 12:22 PM on October 9, 2013 [19 favorites]


Oh, in that case: it isn't going to happen. As feloniousmonk noted while I was typing the previous sentence, an armed insurrection of 20,000 people is staggeringly hard to put together.

Well, this is a massive derail, but again, it wouldn't happen like that. There is a range of things that could happen between people milling around and a full blown armed insurrection. 20,000 people (or 1000, or 5000, whatever) could go for the same reasons people are already showing up in public spaces with their AR-15s. To support their "constitutional rights" to... whatever.

That's the tinder box, right there. All you need is one fired bullet and one death at the hands of Obama the Usurper (and it really doesn't matter who fires the shot, BTW).
posted by mondo dentro at 12:22 PM on October 9, 2013


But in this climate? Fuck no. I'm not spending anything. My company relies on government contracts. Mostly state-funded at the moment, but it's not like that shit isn't going to roll downhill and affect us.

Speaking of downhill effects: I usually eat lunch at the same coffeeshop/bakery down the street. Sometimes I'm there when they have their all-hands meeting to discuss company status, upcoming events, whatever. Usually the meeting is things like "Hey so maybe we should start selling peanut butter cookies... those samples got a great response last week!"

This week, it was "We're going to start saving money instead of making new commitments" and it was entirely due to unease about the shutdown and the upcoming potential insanity.

A fucking coffeeshop/bakery with like 10 employees. I can only imagine the shitstorm this is causing for major multi-state employers that actually have direct government connections.
posted by odinsdream at 12:23 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Adding to the general sense of the whole country going to hell, I saw this on Twitter yesterday:

The top 1% of US earners accounted for 19.3% of all household income last year, breaking a record set in 1927.

The richer are getting richer faster than they ever have before in this country. They are beating the records set by the Robber Barons. Meanwhile, the wages of everyone else are stagnating. But the resentment of the poor and those in need of government assistance is more vigorous than the resentment of the rich. It's crazytown. And now, the Republicans may just blow the whole damn economy up because THERE IS NOW A SYSTEM IN PLACE FOR EVERYONE TO BUY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE. That's what is doing them in. Mandated private health insurance, with subsidies for the poor.

It's important to avoid sensationalism, but we are now at a point where we can look out the window and see a cultural, economic, and constitutional crisis all merging to create a superstorm. Can it be avoided? Yes. But is it just as plausible that it might not be? Absolutely. You get the sense that history books eighty years from now will have a section that begins in October 2013, and it'll be titled something like "Crisis: The Default of 2013 and the Long Aftermath."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:24 PM on October 9, 2013 [64 favorites]


Chill, lattiboy, they are a conservative organization that did the same thing in '11. I'm not saying everything is going to be fine, just pointing out that this isn't a harbinger of inevitable doom.
posted by Mister_A at 12:25 PM on October 9, 2013


It worked for Battlestar Galactica, it could work for America. Well, it worked until the inevitable descent into religious babble. Wait, maybe we already had a reboot, maybe we are living in someone else's fanfiction of America!!

The US is basically Good Old Cause fanfiction. When Ironmouth draws a parallel between the English Civil War and the US Constitution, it's not just a good analogy, it's the actual reason. But keep your spirits up, the original Commonwealth only lasted ten years, so you're doing twenty-something times better already.
posted by Thing at 12:26 PM on October 9, 2013


The top 1% of US earners accounted for 19.3% of all household income last year, breaking a record set in 1927.

1927? That's great news; we've got two more years!
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:26 PM on October 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


Fidelity just sold it's government debt for November.

The article points out that this also happened in the previous 2011 debt limit almost-default. So, not quite a sign of the apocalypse.

I suppose more worrying is that the interest rate on Tbills has gone to 0.3 -- the last time it was that high was 2008, as the article reminds us.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 12:27 PM on October 9, 2013


Chill, lattiboy, they are a conservative organization that did the same thing in '11. I'm not saying everything is going to be fine, just pointing out that this isn't a harbinger of inevitable doom.

Sorry, just about ready to cry in a corner at this point. I'm getting married in a few weeks and am really starting to think about the future. All this shit has me so on edge I can hardly concentrate on anything.
posted by lattiboy at 12:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I hear you, it's certainly not great news and I'm very worried as well.
posted by Mister_A at 12:29 PM on October 9, 2013


You get the sense that history books eighty years from now will have a section that begins in October 2013, and it'll be titled something like "Crisis: The Default of 2013 and the Long Aftermath."

Tip for future kids: it's easy to remember the date because 13 is an unlucky number and October is when Halloween is!
posted by theodolite at 12:31 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


As a moderate, establishment, pro-business, Rockefeller-style Republican, I hope this episode is clarifying for the party. Today's Gallup poll showing the GOP's popularity at an all-time low (28%) should be a wake-up call that whatever the merits of "Obamacare," banging our heads against the wall is ineffective both as a means of changing the law and of changing Americans' minds.

I was heartened to read Paul Ryan's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, in which he proposed trading the nonsensical sequestration cuts for structural reforms to entitlement programs. That's where we should have been focused all along. I'm hoping more brave Republicans like Charlie Dent and Peter King continue to speak out against the Tea Party-inspired bullies who lead us into Alamo-style showdowns meant to bathe their leaders in glory while leaving the troops to die.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:32 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Fidelity just sold it's government debt for November.

Not surprising. Money Market funds are supposed to be the safest possible. Given even a 1% risk of a default, any competent money market manager is going to get out of US Treasuries.

If Congress gets over this and raises the debt ceiling, they'll move right back in.
posted by eriko at 12:32 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ha

So a bunch of dudes are about to wreck the global economy and then hand the job of putting it back together to the first female fed chair.
posted by lattiboy at 12:33 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Right-wing coup: Deluded secessionists have already won, David Sirota, Salon, 9 October 2013
posted by ob1quixote at 12:33 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the armed extremist patriot types pose a bigger risk to dispersed Federal buildings than they do to anything in DC. Take for example the IRS facility in Ohio that was at the heart of the fake scandal earlier in the year. I don't see these types joining together en masse and marching on anywhere, but I can see a local group of them getting a big idea about forming a posse and sending a message etc., should a default occur and a worst case scenario transpire.

I think we're in a weird limbo this week. Nothing can break the logjam until a critical mass gathers and the only thing capable of gathering that is the dwindling amount of time before the global markets open on 10/18. I hope I'm wrong but I think we'll see another week or so of the same before anything breaks one way or another.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:33 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The ironic part is that in a crisis situation, the executive branch has far more power than it otherwise would. Obama can decide which federal employees are essential or not, he can ignore the debt ceiling, and if it comes to prioritizing spending, he gets to do the prioritizing. There is nothing to stop him from cutting funding for GOP-favorite programs like missile defense or farm subsidies -- or Social Security in red states only. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would be giving a massive amount of political power to the president, which is why I don't think it will happen.
posted by miyabo at 12:35 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was heartened to read Paul Ryan's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, in which he proposed trading the nonsensical sequestration cuts for structural reforms to entitlement programs. That's where we should have been focused all along.

That would be a great thing for Ryan to bring to the discussion the next time a budget bill is being assembled and debated. It's not a great thing to insist on as a condition in exchange for not blowing up the economy.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:35 PM on October 9, 2013 [36 favorites]


> the next time a budget bill is being assembled and debated

Exactly. This youtube video is a great soundbite for people to understand that yes, it's not about the spending.
posted by anthill at 12:39 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


As a moderate, establishment, pro-business, Rockefeller-style Republican...

That is, a contemporary Democrat? (I kid! I kid!)

...trading the nonsensical sequestration cuts for structural reforms to entitlement programs...

Why should programs that are proven to be economically sound for the country as a whole, and that benefit primarily the 99%, be axed to further enhance wealth and income inequality? Our economy is simply not in trouble because of "entitlements"... that is, unless you consider the huge amount of taxpayer money being funneled to the military-industrial-surveillance-prison-extraction-industry complex to be "entitlements". Going after welfare and healthcare is just another example of shit flowing downhill. Cut the military budget by 80%, shift it to a massive green energy program that creates jobs in the US and enhances our global security... then we can talk about "entitlements".
posted by mondo dentro at 12:39 PM on October 9, 2013 [60 favorites]


It's worth remembering that the best case scenario for Speaker Boehner right now is an above-average life expectancy in a state of wealth and security beyond the imaginations of 99.9% of the world, peppered with lunches and dinners held in his honor. The worst case scenario for him is exactly the same.

And this is true for the rest of the Tea Party/Republicans in the House who are responsible for this. To a one of them.

Literally a single government employee who misses a rent check because of this has greater stakes than the entire Republican Leadership combined.

And the debt ceiling just threatens to put the entire rest of the world in the same boat with that employee.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:40 PM on October 9, 2013 [42 favorites]


I was heartened to read Paul Ryan's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, in which he proposed trading the nonsensical sequestration cuts for structural reforms to entitlement programs. That's where we should have been focused all along.

House Republicans’ Ransom Demands Falling (emphasis mine)
The policy demands in Ryan’s op-ed are sufficiently vague that, if viewed as an opening bid, they would not completely preclude some kind of deal if he actually wants to bargain. The trouble is that Ryan’s entire history strongly suggests he does not want to deal. Every major attempt to create bipartisan budget negotiations has been quashed by Ryan. He voted against the Bowles-Simpson proposal, kiboshed a 2011 agreement between John Boehner and President Obama, then single-handedly blew up a bipartisan Senate budget deal.

Obama’s reelection has not prompted Ryan to veer from this strategy. Last spring, the president tried to spur bipartisan negotiations by compromising with himself in his budget, including cuts to Social Security and Medicare along with reducing tax deductions. Ryan waved it away and made no counteroffer. Instead, working through what Republicans called the “Jedi Council,” Ryan crafted a strategy of using the debt ceiling to extract unreciprocated concessions. He spent much of the year repeatedly turning down a budget conference on the assumption that he could get a better deal by threatening default. He confidently assured Republicans that Obama would fold and bargain for the debt ceiling. (National Review’s Jonathan Strong two weeks ago: “I asked Ryan if he believes President Obama’s steadfast vows that he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling. His reaction? You’ve got to be kidding me. ‘Oh, nobody believes that.’”)

Is it possible Ryan has undergone some deep-rooted mental conversion and now wants a regular, bipartisan budget negotiation where the two parties make trade-offs? It’s possible, sure. But then why would he be demanding that the debt ceiling and the government shutdown be part of the negotiations? This is very simple: If the implicit or explicit alternative to an agreement is that you blow up the world economy, then you’re not negotiating — you’re extorting.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:41 PM on October 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


TwelveTwo: "Let's just start our own country, based on America, but different, a reboot, a fan-fiction of America"

Why not? We already have the nation state slash fic ready to go.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:42 PM on October 9, 2013


Bobby, the more that Republican representatives hear from the silent majority that tends to be pro-business and moderate conservatives that simply aren't as vocal as their Tea Party brethren the more likely there is to be some positive movement in this regard. I understand that alot of 2010 freshmen got voted into office promising to try to stop Obamacare but at a certain point you have to realize that battle is lost and you have to choose other battles. Continuing to strive over the same battleground that you've continually lost skirmishes on is stupidity and if there is one thing I don't typically associate with old-school Republicans it's stupidity.

Yes ditching the Tea Party types will undermine the party in the short term but it's a much better long term outcome even if it means that from an electoral strategy Republicans are basically the opposition party. It at least gives you guys time to reinvent yourselves to make your message more palatable to the new demographic realities whereas the current course of action seems destined to result in a massive dogmatic schism among conservatives and a crushing blow to the Republican brand.

Personally as a liberal I'd like to see your coalition to get broken apart some but honestly watching you guys implode and take down the economy in the course of imploding kinda diminishes any enjoyment I'd get from the implosion. Couldn't you guys just have an internal fight over gay marriage, immigration, pot or any number of other fault lines that aren't going to result in a massive shock to our already weak economy?
posted by vuron at 12:42 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Thing is, any military force put against an armed uprising would play directly into many of the far-right's fantasies of the "government coming to get us" or "Obama's building concentration camps for conservatives" and all the rest. Any actual bloodshed would only make the rhetoric even more biblically apocalyptic. It's really a no-win for the government in this day and age.

So say an armed march goes from just so much talk to an actual thing. Obama calls a press conference and says that the protesters are well within their rights provided they are following existing gun laws, says that local gun laws and weapons restrictions on Federal property will continue to be enforced, and impresses upon the people that they should go about their daily business like normal because this is a good faith free speech demonstration and he expects the protesters to be responsible gun owners. He publicly orders the police and feds to meticulously exercise restraint, not to escalate use of force (hell, have them arm themselves with nonlethal weaponry only, they'd still have the capability to bring armed units in if real shooting broke out, they've got all sorts of rapid response capability from Homeland Security money), and to be an open book with the press covering the protests. Press and police and civilian cameras are everywhere because of the nature of the event. Document everything. Clear chain of command, 100% by the book. If an officer starts agitating in the slightest, make a public show of sending him away from the protest and into suspension. Treat the protesters like princes, and if they start firing it's on them. The false-flag crowd will go apeshit no matter what, but the administration can cover their ass. If something kicked off in a situation like that, the Federal forces would be, very publicly, on the defensive side of the whole thing. It wouldn't have the optics of a Waco or a Ruby Ridge.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:42 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sane people HATE HIM!!!

Ohio man discovers one weird trick that will collapse the world economy.
posted by gauche at 12:43 PM on October 9, 2013 [78 favorites]


I mean, really, I just can't wrap my brain around this line of thinking: "Well, we have a long term deficit we need to deal with, and debt that we would like to pay down. Over here, we have a group of insanely rich citizens who control massive amounts of wealth, and are richer than any similar group in American history. Looks like we should cut aid to the poorest Americans so we can pay down our debt." There's no way to say that with a straight face without incredible an incredible commitment to protecting the wealth of people who already have more money than they will ever need in their lives. But, yeah, let's make it harder for grandma to pay the water bill so the CEO's don't have to pay more than 15% on their investment income.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:43 PM on October 9, 2013 [67 favorites]


House Republicans’ Ransom Demands Falling...

True, but they've already achieved virtually the original Ryan budget because they outfoxed Obama on the sequestration.

Again, at that time the establishment viewed sequestration as "too extreme" and "illogical". It wasn't. It worked. Budget slashed.

Can't really blame them for trying again, can we?
posted by mondo dentro at 12:43 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Charles Pierce: Today In The Reign Of Morons - Paul Ryan Emerges

Chuck Todd End Of Shutdown Article - A Child's Garden Of Politics
posted by homunculus at 12:46 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am running for Congress in 2014. Here I am at a recent stump speech outlining my "Surrender to me your fuel -- or perish!" platform.
posted by Mister_A at 12:46 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mean, really, I just can't wrap my brain around this line of thinking: "Well, we have a long term deficit we need to deal with, and debt that we would like to pay down. Over here, we have a group of insanely rich citizens who control massive amounts of wealth, and are richer than any similar group in American history. Looks like we should cut aid to the poorest Americans so we can pay down our debt."

but...but the Rich are the JOB CREATORS! What jobs has grandma created? Paperboy?
posted by desjardins at 12:47 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


fwiw, I would totally make mad scientist things for warlord elizardbits in exchange for food.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:50 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mister_A I don't have permission to view that image. I demand increased transparency in your campaign!
posted by jacalata at 12:50 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


But, yeah, let's make it harder for grandma to pay the water bill so the CEO's don't have to pay more than 15% on their investment income.

"...and for our next trick, the propaganda wing of the party will convince a sufficient number of grandmas in key electoral districts that it's not our fault at all!"
posted by scody at 12:51 PM on October 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


fwiw, I would totally make mad scientist things for warlord elizardbits in exchange for food.

Release the ULTRAPUGGLE!
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:52 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thirty-odd Republicans have become the biggest threat to this country since the Cold War. Maybe even before that, the Soviets weren't this stupid.
posted by Mick at 12:53 PM on October 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


fwiw, I would totally make mad scientist things for warlord elizardbits in exchange for food

I hope you like macaroni and cheese and red velvet cake for all of your meals, actually this sounds great, elizardbits for emperor!
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:54 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Suppose for a moment that Obama has already decided that if worse comes to worst, he'll announce that his first obligation is to the constitution, and the 14th amendment, that he's going to pay the bills, and Congress can pursue the remedy of impeaching him if they don't like it. At what point would he say so?
posted by tyllwin at 12:54 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


jacalata, I will do as you ask once you surrender your fuel.
posted by Mister_A at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2013


> Mister_A I don't have permission to view that image. I demand increased transparency in your campaign!

The image request has to come from their server. Click the URL bar on your browser and hit enter.
posted by davelog at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2013


fwiw, I would totally make mad scientist things for warlord elizardbits in exchange for food.

Yeah, elizardbits, if you need a mage or a shaman I can provide references.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


What jobs has grandma created? Paperboy?

Clicking for cookies has employed hundreds if not thousands of individuals worldwide!
posted by elizardbits at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


that worked. Lucky, because for fuel I only have a bus pass and the front wheel of a poorly-locked-up bike.
posted by jacalata at 12:56 PM on October 9, 2013


Mister_A, doesn't that collar chafe a bit?
posted by mondo dentro at 12:57 PM on October 9, 2013


Grandma has kept Elmo & Patsy in business for way too long. FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY.
posted by mintcake! at 12:58 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


CHAFING IS AN OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD OF WARRIOR-CONGRESSPEOPLE
posted by Mister_A at 12:58 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fidelity just sold it's government debt for November.

These are the bonds that come due in November. This highlights the fact that those who say the government has enough revenue to pay the interest forget that we also have to pay off the principal when it come due. We probably can't do that without raising the debt limit.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:59 PM on October 9, 2013


We need a way to ensure our political representatives have some skin in the game—the same skin the rest of us poor mofos have in it. Their fuckups should hurt them at least as much as it hurts us.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think Obama would probably let stuff get bad but not horribad before pulling out some sort of 14th amendment hail mary. Basically he's immune to impeachment for doing so but it would create a massive amount of constitutional wrangling that would be unlikely to be worked out anytime soon.

That being said if we are heading down the collapse of American civilization road I'd really expect for him to pull out some sort of legal justification for protecting the full faith and credit of the economy even if untangling that mess could take decades.

After all there is few things that the public likes better than someone that can restore stability in the face of chaos and there is basically nobody on the Republican side willing to do that right now.

The only question is how badly would Obama want to break the Republican party before he steps in. Considering how badly he's been treated by them I'd be tempted to sacrifice a lot in the name of vengeance but that's also a good reason why I shouldn't be president.
posted by vuron at 1:01 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I agree with five fresh fish - flay them alive!
posted by Mister_A at 1:02 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh, CNN's got "a senior House GOP source" saying that Tuesday, Oct 15 is the date that a solution might be forced.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:03 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah...All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations...the darkness of black gold blurred [Dubya'] vision and insight, and he gave priority to private interests over the public interests of America.
--Osama bin Laden, November 1, 2004.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:04 PM on October 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


I agree with five fresh fish - flay them alive!

I am just happy I transferred my retirement plan into Guillotine Futures.
posted by scody at 1:04 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately Five Fresh Fish, the changes in how people get elected are rapidly changing the type of people that can actually get elected back into a wealthy aristocracy that are generally concerned with maintaining status quo rather than being responsive to the needs of the average American. As long as campaigns are won by whoever can fundraise the best or who can self-fund to get to prominence you are going to be reinforcing oligarchic principles rather than a truly representative democracy.
posted by vuron at 1:04 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


FLAY
posted by Mister_A at 1:06 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was going to say that everyone really can stop panicking, and that this isn't going to end up as some kind of mad max apocalypse where people are hoarding food and water. Then I realized that this kind of worry comes from the exact same place as the prepper's "worry" comes from. Hope. Hope that the hardship of their mundane daily lives will be transformed into a fantasy scenario where the hardship they face can be met with their own agency.

I'm sorry to say, but no, the worst case scenario isn't that the economy/society collapses and your debt will be wiped out. It's that everything goes on as it has, except now you don't have a job and your retirement savings are wiped out.

So you know. Yay!
posted by danny the boy at 1:07 PM on October 9, 2013 [30 favorites]


the changes in how people get elected are rapidly changing the type of people that can actually get elected back into a wealthy aristocracy that are generally concerned with maintaining status quo rather than being responsive to the needs of the average American.

Coming to a red state near you...Two-tier voting.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:07 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


BOBBY FLAY?
posted by mondo dentro at 1:07 PM on October 9, 2013


FLAY BOBBY FLAY
posted by Mister_A at 1:08 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


lay lady lay
posted by scody at 1:08 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Psychiatrists Deeply Concerned For 5% Of Americans Who Approve Of Congress.
posted by Iridic at 1:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


"Release the ULTRAPUGGLE!"

I was thinking an engineered strain of Gonasyphaherpaloids targeted to attack the junk of her enemies, or weaponized flying monkeys, or a gay virus (Requiring a new family of Fabuloviridae to be constructed), or a red velvet cake tree, or a smell ray (fart in the mouths of your enemies from a distance!), but I could totally get to work on a post-apocalyptic Ultrapuggle.

[NOTE: OTHER POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS LIKELY TO REQUIRE A VOLCANO LAIR IN ADDITION TO GREASY HONKEY PIE AND CAKE - SUBJECT TO NEGOTIATION]
posted by Blasdelb at 1:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


>...can Democrats now just call the GOP what it really is - the Confederate Party?

I like calling them "Republics" whenever the opportunity presents itself.

My larger take on the whole situation as a late-era boomer is that being the party-in-charge of the US is extremely intoxicating in its power and marvelously lucrative.

I think the Dems and Reps have been fighting over this for decades, probably since before I was born.

The Republics had it sewn up for most of the '80's, and again in the late '90's, early-aughts.

But now, their demographic - older, white, heterosexual Christians - is shrinking and it's causing panic.

Gays, guns and abortion is not enough to get out the vote and bring in the dollars like it used to and it's driving them batshit insane.

Make no msitake, I am outraged at the Obama administration's defense of the NSA, their war on whistleblowers and their willingness to act as Hollywood's Copyright Cops.

The only reason the Democratics are out ahead in any way is because of their inadvertent alignment with the Culturally Diverse, a group which may not be as dependable as the Straight White Christian Gun Club, but can be played for votes pretty much the same way.

posted by mmrtnt at 1:16 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Give people ten years to relocate and then let the neo-confederates have their own damn country. Sometimes divorce is the right answer.

~500,000 dead Indians/Pakistanis might beg to differ.
posted by acb at 1:17 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm so tired of living in a state of permanent exception. I think ending that is a necessary goal in America. Normality must eventually return.
posted by clockzero at 1:17 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


If one wished to be a Pollyanna and make lemonade one could see this as an excellent opportunity to drive a stake into the GOP heart (assuming it could be located) and send them the way of the Whigs...
posted by jim in austin at 1:19 PM on October 9, 2013


I made a perhaps ill-advised venture into a friend's Facebook status the other day to talk about politics. He's a self-made man who had terrific grades in high school and probably could've gone to any college he chose to, and instead volunteered for the Marine Corps out of a feeling of patriotic duty. He's currently supporting himself through law school. He posted about how the shutdown was affecting military families, and the rank hypocrisy of the American right in how its behaving. Unsurprisingly this attracted a few right wingers to come in and say how it's actually Obama's fault.

I decided to provide a few emotionally distant facts (emergency room waiting times and the actual functioning of the ACA), but I was struck by something in the process: these people have no idea what they're talking about. They're not operating in the same reality, and it seems that they live in the imagination land constructed by right wing AM radio instead. Whatever Limbaugh and company have waiting for them after death isn't nearly harsh enough to compensate for what they've done in life. American politics (for the worse) is no longer the domain of factual argument, but rather ideology. The American left's failure, I think, is largely a failure of ideology. Perhaps this is unavoidable, since the ideology of Limbaugh and company is usually just ginned up race hatred, so maybe it's best not to go down that path, but surely there has to be some morally consistent leftist ideology that would appeal to the people currently being brainwashed by their radios (no coincidence that it's a supposed trucker convoy to convene on DC this Friday - who else spends that much alone time with the right-wing ideologues muttering in their ears?). One person in the Facebook conversation actually quoted Thatcher in her screed - Thatcher who called the NHS one of the best parts of the government. The neo-liberals that these people look up to are just idols at this point - their actual beliefs are so far from each other that I'd welcome Reagan as a centrist Democrat and he'd be vilified and ejected from the modern GOP.

I also realized that in defending the ACA I was defending a policy that I don't particularly like. It's a market solution without much in the way of redistribution or socialism (two things that were claimed about "Obamacare"). The real irony of this is that the imagined demon that the right-wing has convinced their base about is what I'D LIKE TO HAPPEN, and what's actually happening IS THE COMMON RIGHT-WING SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM! It's so fucking backwards that it makes me want to drink just thinking about it.
posted by codacorolla at 1:20 PM on October 9, 2013 [89 favorites]


Osama bin Laden, November 1, 2004.

As long as we're continuing with this line of thought, his goal wasn't just to be able to laugh at how low the Americans could be brought, just like his goal wasn't to frustrate air travelers with more hoops to jump through. The end point of his plans was to unite the entire Muslim world behind one banner and to totally evict the US from the new Islamic Caliphate so that they would never again have a direct say in the doings of the Muslim world. On those front, his actual goals, bin Laden was somewhat less successful. If anything, Muslims are more divided and the US is more entrenched than 15 years ago.
posted by Copronymus at 1:20 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


ShowBiz_Liz I'm just going to die in a postapocalyptic wasteland anyway so why fucking bother?

If it's any help, I felt like this a lot in my early 20's during the mid-to-late '70's

posted by mmrtnt at 1:21 PM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


>...can Democrats now just call the GOP what it really is - the Confederate Party?

I like calling them "Republics" whenever the opportunity presents itself.


In my head I call them Royalists.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:21 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


This thread, to my mind, illustrates part of the problem that the teabaggers are exploiting: It is full of hyperbolic doom saying, but almost every single piece of it is generic and non specific, and largely not backed up. If you want to get people really engaged and believing, we need specific consequence that result from the loss of money. The previously mentioned timeline was a good source of such things. From it, we see that possibly social security cheques may not go out. That is real. That people can get their teeth into. That isn't just making your interest payments. So when the GOP says "we can make our interest payments" you can say "but not also pay social security". Just saying NO, OMG OMG OMG THE MARKETS WILL CRASH isn't really all that scary, especially after 2008. It doesn't seem real to them.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:21 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Elastigirl: Remember the bad guys on the shows you used to watch on Saturday mornings? Well, these guys aren't like those guys. They won't exercise restraint because you are children. They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance.
posted by Ghost Mode at 1:23 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Take for example the IRS facility in Ohio that was at the heart of the fake scandal earlier in the year.

Yes, the idea that the IRS would be used as a political tool was addressed with the reforms of the Church Commission after Nixon so now, under the Rule Of Law, the IRS could never EVER be used as a way to punish or reward.

That's why the scandal was fake - right?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:23 PM on October 9, 2013


"The only reason the Democratics are out ahead in any way is because of their inadvertent alignment with the Culturally Diverse, a group which may not be as dependable as the Straight White Christian Gun Club, but can be played for votes pretty much the same way."

The Democrats have almost accidentally become The Voice of Reason in modern American politics. They didn't ask for it, but when the other guys went from lawful evil to chaotic evil, pants on head, suicide vest wearing fantics, they didn't have much choice in the matter. Somebody has to keep the country running.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:24 PM on October 9, 2013 [20 favorites]


Somebody has to keep the country running.

I hope so.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:24 PM on October 9, 2013


Get back, honkey pie.
posted by box at 1:25 PM on October 9, 2013


Well, these guys aren't like those guys. They won't exercise restraint because you are children. They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance.

Are you saying that we're the wedding party in the drone videos and they are the drones?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:26 PM on October 9, 2013


That's why the scandal was fake - right?

The scandal was fake because in actual fact the IRS using a shorthand to look closely at a handful of political groups did not cost anybody anything and did not impinge on anybody's rights. It was further trumped up nonsense as the IRS during this time likewise scrutinized the filings of many groups alligned with progressive political causes as well.
posted by gauche at 1:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


Just saying NO, OMG OMG OMG THE MARKETS WILL CRASH isn't really all that scary, especially after 2008.

Oh, yeah, we're all just loving the extended unemployment with less and less of a safety net. The prospect of a major market crash doesn't bother us at all. Nothing scary there.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:28 PM on October 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


Also, re: the IRS scrutiny of Tea Party affiliates - kind of makes sense to scrutinize someone whose public position is that they are Taxed Enough Already.
posted by Mister_A at 1:28 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Atlantic has an interesting stat re: that Gallup poll BobbyVan linked to: No Party in Gallup's History Has Been Less Popular Than the GOP Is Now
posted by zarq at 1:30 PM on October 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


Let's end this IRS Scandal derail with an acknowledgement that it was a fake scandal since the IRS also scrutinized 'Democratic' groups. Plus, scrutinizing groups is sort of their job.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:32 PM on October 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


If one wished to be a Pollyanna and make lemonade one could see this as an excellent opportunity to drive a stake into the GOP heart (assuming it could be located) and send them the way of the Whigs...

But who's holding the stake? If the GOP implodes, it will be because portions of the GOP decide they don't want to stick with it, or because the Dems make a play for the moderates. The latter seems like it would be hard, given the report previously linked by Drinky Die which suggests that the moderates also hate Obama.

This thread, to my mind, illustrates part of the problem that the teabaggers are exploiting: It is full of hyperbolic doom saying, but almost every single piece of it is generic and non specific, and largely not backed up.

In fairness, members of the tea party also engage in hyperbolic doom saying. Everybody's doin' it! (I would also argue that the use of terms like "Very Serious People" as shorthand for people-who-are-very-serious-but-just-don't-get-it isn't helping.) But then, this isn't an inside-beltway discussion, it's a hodgepodge web forum where folks don't have to read the FPP before commenting when they want to blow off some steam. If you want some material discussion of consequences, the best thing to do is probably to read the FPP, write up a reasoned response to the content, and then put it in. Folks will read it, especially the thread-sitters.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:32 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


That Atlantic article: Interestingly, Republicans were twice as likely to view their own party unfavorably as were Democrats theirs.

Ouch.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:33 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, re: the IRS scrutiny of Tea Party affiliates...

Well, the scrutiny was in regard to tax exempt status for non-political non-profits. The organizations in question are, no doubt, political. Too bad the IRS/Obama administration whimped out and didn't emphasize this bit of dishonesty. Not surprising, though, Dem whimpishness.
posted by mondo dentro at 1:33 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wish I had picked a different Federal building to use as an example, sorry about the derail. I'm not interested in pursuing it myself.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:33 PM on October 9, 2013


So the Republicans are less popular than the Communists and National Socialist White People's Party have ever been? Or did they mean to write “neither party has been less popular”.
posted by acb at 1:33 PM on October 9, 2013


No Party in Gallup's History Has Been Less Popular Than the GOP Is Now

And yet, no party has every been more popular within its own carefully gerrymandered epistemic bubbles.
posted by mondo dentro at 1:34 PM on October 9, 2013 [19 favorites]


The Atlantic has an interesting stat re: that Gallup poll BobbyVan linked to: No Party in Gallup's History Has Been Less Popular Than the GOP Is Now

Great news for the Meadow Party!
posted by entropicamericana at 1:35 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


> none of the threats you listed originated from Congress itself.

I think I misread your original comment. I see your point.

It just seems to me that people have been being stampeded in one direction or another for decades now and that's the "pattern" I was referring to.

posted by mmrtnt at 1:36 PM on October 9, 2013


Guys, you can't be unpopular if no one knows who you are.
posted by Mister_A at 1:36 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the consequences of Fox News and company shifting the Overton Window so insanely far to the right is that more and more people that would ostensibly be aligned with old school Republicans are now solidly in the middle of the Democratic party. The Democratic party is the party of big business and status quo, yeah they are somewhat inclusive and not at all lily-white which makes some people uncomfortable because the beautiful people (who many conservatives at least imagine themselves being) like having people that look and sound like them surrounding them and black girls and boys that like boys and omg why does that person have piercings on their face are scary and uncomfortable because they remind you that you are turning into your parents and grandparents and aren't hip anymore and what not.

So even though the social and fiscal policies of the democrats probably align closer with your values you stick with the Republicans because of tribal loyalties but you've grown more and more uncomfortable with some of the overt racism of your right-wing friends and you are scared that the black guy might get your promotion and you keep voting republican even though paying for healthcare is really expensive and you are concerned your parents can't retire or even worse will want to move in with you.

Make no mistake Rockefeller Republicans are Democrats now. Yeah they hang out with crazy pot smoking liberal hippies and that makes you uncomfortable even though you secretly want legalized pot in your state and the new tribal identity the Tea Party is creating is scary as fuck so you tell your friends you hate Obama even though you actually voted for him last time (although you voted for your local Republican Representative because he's good at bringing home jobs and getting his friends government contractor cause you know business).

The sooner the last holdouts realize that dropping the ultra fiscal libertarians who also believe in controlling people's morality is better for their party's long term future the better for all of us. Our you could hold your nose and vote democrat long enough for your party's leadership to get a clue.
posted by vuron at 1:37 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


The scandal was fake because in actual fact the IRS using a shorthand to look closely at a handful of political groups did not cost anybody anything and did not impinge on anybody's rights.

IRS Puts Open Source Projects Under Microscope, Spawns Nonprofit Black Hole

Do explain the political group that was effected here. And do try to explain that my having to spend an additional 25 hours of time and $76 in postage because the one non-profit was tied to Open Source was not in any way an additional burden.

The Open Source hostility came to light because of the "fake scandal".
posted by rough ashlar at 1:37 PM on October 9, 2013


I have some questions here:
  1. What exactly does the Game of Thrones reference "Winter is coming" have to do with this? I don't follow Game of Thrones, but I've heard it dropped a few times.
  2. Ghost Mode: can you elaborate in any way???
  3. Should people be stocking up on non-perishable foods??? 3 month supply sound good if so???
I might have more later. I understand this is not AskMe, but this shut down business is getting serious. I'm not furloughed, but my work depends on many people who are.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 1:38 PM on October 9, 2013


Well, I decided to redistribute the funds currently in my 401k from the S&P 500 index fund to the sole available money market fund that's included in the short list of funds I can invest in in my employer's 401k plan, until things settle down. I'm aware that a default probably won't happen, but keeping the majority of my 401k funds in the index fund just feels like Russian roulette at this point.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:40 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


may I make the small request that the IRS derail be spun off elsewhere?
posted by edgeways at 1:41 PM on October 9, 2013 [19 favorites]


What exactly does the Game of Thrones reference "Winter is coming" have to do with this? I don't follow Game of Thrones, but I've heard it dropped a few times.

In the show/book, winter comes and it lasts for years. It's a time of hardship and suffering. The main protagonists' house uses the phrase as a motto, as a way of saying "be prepared for the coming suffering." I'm pretty sure that's how people are using it here.

Also, it's fall in the US, so winter is literally coming, which makes it more appropriate than usual.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:41 PM on October 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


What edgeways said. Take it to email or drop it.
posted by cortex at 1:41 PM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


I still don't see what Treasury's downside is in simply holding a bond auction that would put the country over the debt limit. Okay, it's "illegal". Say Obama issues an executive order to Treasury ordering it to ignore the debt limit (straight up, without any platinum voodoo or any justification other than "it needed doing" on prime-time TV five minutes after it's done).

Would there really be so much uncertainty around the value of the bonds auctioned under such terms that the auction would fail? Would that uncertainty cost more or less than an actual default?

Political worst case? Obama gets impeached and removed well after the fact. Yes it will take up all the oxygen in DC, but that's where we've been since 2010, and it's not like Obama's going to get anything done on his 2013-2017 legislative agenda.

There would be worse things for his legacy than being politically martyred saving the economy from a fully unnecessary collapse under ideological assault. And we'd end up with President Biden, who would at least be good for a laugh.
posted by Vetinari at 1:42 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Humor! BUG: Government occasionally shuts down
posted by Going To Maine at 1:42 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


How much longer can we pay the border guards and checkpoint workers to keep Americans from fleeing to Mexico?
posted by Mister_A at 1:42 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


It is full of hyperbolic doom saying, but almost every single piece of it is generic and non specific, and largely not backed up. If you want to get people really engaged and believing, we need specific consequence that result from the loss of money.

My entire neighborhood (historically solid middle class) has been reclassified a Title 1 school district (meaning, the area is now so impoverished the majority of kids are on supplemental lunch aid) since the first financial collapse. We've had some houses sitting on the market not selling at less than even half their pre-crash prices for years. That crash involved the crash of synthetic derivatives markets that only even came into existence within the last couple of decades. We're talking here about crashing the market for US Treasury Bonds, which have been viewed for many, many decades as the safest most secure investment in the world ("backed by the full faith and credit of the US Treasury"). There are laws that require some local and state government funds to be primarily or solely invested in treasury bonds. Institutional investors have long treated US bonds as the closest thing there is to a guaranteed investment. If we crash the bond market, we crash America. If that's not specific enough for you, read the Bloomberg article link from the original post.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:43 PM on October 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


Thanks Bulgaroktonos! The literal meaning was pretty clear, but I knew there was some literary meaning too.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 1:43 PM on October 9, 2013


Picking up my packages from my landlord today I was wondering if I should say something about ha ha having trouble paying my rent (SSD pays the rent and a few utilities; work keeps me and three cats fed, in meds).

I decided not to. My landlords quickly move to evict if a month's worth of rent is not paid.

The nice thing is that, thanks to my last name, my check comes in next week, not the week after. Next month though, yeah, you hear about some chick with funny hair who is homeless and is disrupting Philadelphia by wheeling through the streets, screaming, that'll be me.
posted by angrycat at 1:43 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


If that happens, angrycat, we can meet up in center city, get coffee, maybe flay some people.
posted by Mister_A at 1:47 PM on October 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


The 8 Most Plausible Ways a Debt-Ceiling Catastrophe Could Be Averted

The article is mostly serious, but I'm really hoping for #8.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:48 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread, to my mind, illustrates part of the problem that the teabaggers are exploiting: It is full of hyperbolic doom saying, but almost every single piece of it is generic and non specific, and largely not backed up.

Linked above, but Treasury has been pretty specific (emphasis added):

"As economic activity strengthens, labor market conditions should improve further, creating new jobs and maintaining the downward trajectory of the unemployment rate. The government shutdown that began October 1 puts that outlook at risk. Private-sector economists have estimated that a weeklong shutdown could slow GDP growth in the fourth quarter by over a quarter percentage point, while a longer shutdown could have a substantially greater effect, perhaps even causing a recession.1 If such projections prove accurate, the weaker-than-expected economic expansion would be even more susceptible to the adverse effects from a debt ceiling impasse than prior to the shutdown. A protracted debate about the debt ceiling could spark renewed financial market stress, and a fall in stock prices and wider credit spreads would depress spending from the private sector. In addition, increased uncertainty or reduced confidence could lead consumers to postpone purchases and businesses to postpone hiring and investments. A precise estimate of the effects is impossible, and the current situation is different than that of late 2011, yet economic theory and empirical evidence is clear about the direction of the effect: a large, adverse, and persistent financial shock like the one that began in late 2011 would result in a slower economy with less hiring and a higher unemployment rate than would otherwise be the case."
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:50 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mister-A, cool, I'll bring -- wait, can you flay with a potato peeler? I have one of those.
posted by angrycat at 1:51 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


C'est la D.C.: "We already made massive cuts to government spending with the sequester. That's still a thing. It hasn't gone away."

And I and forty of my co-workers almost certainly lost our jobs over it on Monday. I worked for a supercomputing company that relied a good chunk of its budget from sales to the Federal Government and those sales just dried up totally this year. The third quarter, which ended last week, is where most of those sales come in and as soon as that quarter closed, they laid-off at least half of the engineering staff.

The last time I got laid-off was in '08 right when the Republicans crashed the economy and no one could borrow any money. I'm getting tired of this crap.
posted by octothorpe at 1:51 PM on October 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


One handy tip for disoriented dimension-shifters who can't tell whether or not they've landed in a fanfiction dimension: check to see if Al Gore was ever President. If he was, you're probably in a real America. If he wasn't, you're in fanfic.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:52 PM on October 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


I look forward to elizardbits' ALL THE GRABBY HANDS looting initiative.
posted by emjaybee at 1:53 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


GOP begs for final debt limit concession: A shred of dignity
This afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor met with their Democratic counterparts Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer to discuss a short-term debt limit increase. Almost as quickly as the news broke, Republicans assured reporters that the Democratic leaders — not they themselves — had requested the meeting.

Maybe that’s really all there is to it. Maybe the top two Democrats in the House just wanted to check in on the latest state of play, or let GOP leaders know what their members will or will not support.

But that’s just it — the only thing for these four to discuss in a formal setting right now is Democratic votes. GOP accession to the need for Democratic votes would be a first in this standoff. And if we’ve reached that phase, then Republicans are indeed in rapid retreat. Or at least on the precipice of it.
[...]
Maybe Pelosi and Hoyer wanted to tell Cantor just how convincing they found his Op-Ed. But probably it’s the other thing. (Indeed, as this piece was in production, CNN reported that Republican leaders are accepting the need for a clean debt limit increase.) And if saying Pelosi and Hoyer requested that conversation is the thing GOP leaders need to prove their mettle — to prove they haven’t been disrespected — then it’s an easy thing for Democrats to give them.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:56 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


The only rational explanation for this mess is brain slugs.
posted by Mister_A at 1:56 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


"There would be worse things for his legacy than being politically martyred saving the economy from a fully unnecessary collapse under ideological assault."

Yes, but who would save the economy the next time somebody tries this? And if there is any perceived benefit to debt ceiling extortion (even if that perceived benefit is only destroying the career of the sitting President), someone will try it again. The Republicans have opened Pandora's Box, and the only way to shut it is to make it absolutely clear that nobody benefits from this shit. At all.

Obama has a duty to the people of the United States, but he also has a greater duty to preserve the institution of government. The only way to avoid weakening the Presidency (from his perspective) is to play this out, let the Republicans blow their vests, and deal with the consequences as best he can.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:57 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


14th Amendment
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Someone else may have posted it, but it's a long thread.
posted by theora55 at 1:57 PM on October 9, 2013


I'm getting tired of this crap.

I look back fondly on the days when I could not understand the rage that drove the French Revolution. They were good times.
posted by winna at 1:59 PM on October 9, 2013 [24 favorites]


I hope we see, in the very near future, legislation forbidding precisely this sort of Russian roulette approach to governance. I mean, it won't make it through both chambers, but I would like to see how congresspeople defend their right to hold the people of the US hostage.
posted by Mister_A at 2:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


As long as we're positing fantasy outcomes, my personal preference would be for everyone except cops, firefighters, and nurses to go on strike until Congress passes a clean C.R. and an increase of the debt limit of not less than $1 trillion.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]



US Antarctic Program (and everyone else's antarctic programs) fucked.

posted by xiw at 2:01 PM on October 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


Dems should press the issue now if the GOP is nearly ready to break. Demand a clean CR at the President's budget request levels for a year, threaten a veto of a short term deal. Or a total end to the debt ceiling. Tighten the screws and turn the table on these fuckers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:01 PM on October 9, 2013


James Fallows has a series of examples of the real-world impact of the shutdown, with more in his blog, which is always interesting.
posted by feloniousmonk at 2:06 PM on October 9, 2013


At this time, I am not willing to commit my allegiance to any one warlord.

I am, however, willing to work as an outside contractor providing bespoke strap-on feathered mohawks and rodent-skull necklaces.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Tighten the screws and turn the table on these fuckers.

I'll open the negotiation with Single payer universal healthcare with federally funded abortion services. To simplify negotiations, let's just say you dickered us out of the abortion thing so you can save some face, and we can call this done and go get a drink....
posted by mikelieman at 2:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [28 favorites]


So long as this showdown was inevitable, I'm kind of glad that it's happening now. Obama can still derive some authority from last year's election, the current senate class is standing strong, and the reactionaries haven't yet dragged the Overton window so far right that the Republican caucus is composed exclusively of vampires, undead slavers, and mindbending extradimensional changelings.

Dateline 2015, Earth 2:

"I'm just saying that the government could stand to learn something from the way I run my charismatic doomsday cult," said Holofernes X. Echthros (R-FL), who had no experience in electoral office before his 2014 election to the House. "Sometimes my broodwives can't secrete and sell our homestyle nacreous ichor fast enough to pay for all the facilities wanting building on the Compound. But if that's the case, I act the man and tell my creditors to hold their horses, now, and I'll make good on all my debts before the fire rises over the trembling heads of the oldhumans. People respect honesty, especially once I stick my pedipalps in their brains and overwrite their engrams."
posted by Iridic at 2:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [27 favorites]


Dems should press the issue now if the GOP is nearly ready to break. Demand a clean CR at the President's budget request levels for a year, threaten a veto of a short term deal. Or a total end to the debt ceiling. Tighten the screws and turn the table on these fuckers.

The Dems would royally screw the pooch on this if they pressed for any terms other than "pass a clean CR at current levels and raise the debt limit", it would wreck the narrative that's keeping them ahead in this which is that it's immoral use the debt limit and budget to force demands that you can't get legislatively.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:12 PM on October 9, 2013 [33 favorites]


I was going to say that everyone really can stop panicking, and that this isn't going to end up as some kind of mad max apocalypse where people are hoarding food and water. Then I realized that this kind of worry comes from the exact same place as the prepper's "worry" comes from. Hope. Hope that the hardship of their mundane daily lives will be transformed into a fantasy scenario where the hardship they face can be met with their own agency.

I'm sorry to say, but no, the worst case scenario isn't that the economy/society collapses and your debt will be wiped out. It's that everything goes on as it has, except now you don't have a job and your retirement savings are wiped out.

So you know. Yay!


I think the people joking about Mad Max-style apocalypse are just blowing off steam. It's a scary situation and people need to joke to stay sane, especially since a default would mean powering down the Command Center, and then we'd have no Zordon to oppose Rita Repulsa and her fiendish consort Lord Zedd.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:14 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Does Pass a clean CR at pre-sequester levels AND abolish the debt limit work for you?
posted by mikelieman at 2:14 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Dems would royally screw the pooch on this if they pressed for any terms other than "pass a clean CR at current levels and raise the debt limit", it would wreck the narrative that's keeping them ahead in this which is that it's immoral use the debt limit and budget to force demands that you can't get legislatively.

Then demand repeal of the debt ceiling statute as the price. Problem solved.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:14 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guys, wanting concessions from a defeated Republican party would be petty and counterproductive and probably likely to backfire. As much as I'd love for Obama to go Django on the tea party types that have fueled an incredible racist and personal series of attacks on Obama it's probably not in our best interests.

Besides looking magnanimous befits a statesman and let's be perfectly honest the knives will come out from within the Republican party against those party leaders that let this crap get completely out of hand, they'll just want the bloodletting to happen behind closed doors but it will be appropriately damaging to those caught in the crossfire.
posted by vuron at 2:15 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think the politically expedient thing would be to schedule another budget showdown this time next year, only make it a full budget and tie a bunch of needed stuff to it. Yeah the Rs are kinda hurting right now poll wise, but that means shit when the next election is just over a full year away. Lots of time for the ADD American memory to shift away.
posted by edgeways at 2:15 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did somebody (a hundred comments back) suggest the country do a Reboot?
relevance: zero - it's even a Canadian company involved, but geeez, we need some comedy relief here
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:16 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's probably not in our best interests.

There's a lot of range between "worst" and "best" interests, and maybe "best" isn't the most optimal goal sometimes? Just sayin'....
posted by mikelieman at 2:16 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


US Antarctic Program (and everyone else's antarctic programs) fucked.

This is just completely awful. People try for years and years to get those jobs, which don't even pay a ton and are often major steps down in job title (chief sysadmins working as line cooks, etc)- just for the chance to work on the ice and help advance the scientific mission of the USAP. For a lot of people, it's their passion and their life's work... and now those people are completely screwed. As he says in that post, they are out of work for the next year- and many of them rely on the money from their summer Antarctic work to get them through the rest of the year. Even apart from the damage to science that's being done, this is tragic.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:19 PM on October 9, 2013 [26 favorites]


"Does Pass a clean CR at pre-sequester levels AND abolish the debt limit work for you?"

That would be nice, eh? Avoid default, put everything back the way it was before the crazies started causing trouble, and make sure this particular crisis can't happen again. Like the ending of a Hollywood movie.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:19 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


14th Amendment
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


OK, let's break down, again, why the 14th Amendment does not work here.

First, the 14th Amendment, Section 4 does not explicitly authorize anything the President may do here. In fact, it was created to prevent a later Congress from refusing to pay civil war debts, especially bounties to people who hired substitutes in the draft.

The claim is that somehow there is an implicit power to issue debt in the 14th Amendment. There is not. First, it is explicitly stated in the Constitution, that the power to issue debt is in the hands of Congress:
SECTION 8.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
So any argument that the vague words "shall not be questioned" empowers the executive to issue debt requires that the explicit giving of those rights to the Congress in Article I, Section 8 is implicitly overriden by the 14th Amendment. There's no way any court would find that the explicitly enumerated powers of congress could be overriden by implication.

The defining rule of the Constitution is that only the Congress can raise revenue or borrow money. It is the basis for the separation of powers. Imagine George W. Bush with the power to raise funds by fiat. It boggles the mind.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:21 PM on October 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


Like the ending of a Hollywood movie.

Do we have any budget left over for Giant Robot VFX? Shit, let's kill the F-35 project and just build us some giant robots.
posted by mikelieman at 2:22 PM on October 9, 2013


I'm just saying that right now Obama is winning this battle based on the fact that he appears to be somewhat rational and isn't willing to engage with hostage takers. Turning into a hostage taker even if it might make some sense in terms of pressing his advantage both ignores the political realities as well as diminishes his own bargaining position because he'll look bad trying to take hostages (especially since a lot of Tea Party types don't even care if the hostage is shot).

Boehner having to pass a clean CR with democratic help and a smattering of Republicans will be victory enough because it means Boehner is toast as Speaker and the Tea Party Caucus would be effectively finished.
posted by vuron at 2:22 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like the ending of a Hollywood movie.

I'm thinking In The Mouth of Madness, personally.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:23 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Then demand repeal of the debt ceiling statute as the price. Problem solved.

It's just the beginning of the problems if they try to pull anything other than "pass a clean CR and raise the debt limit", that's what they've been asking for and anything else will only play as rank hypocrisy.

Anyways, following up this debacle with a purely legislative victory in good faith is the power move here, whether it's a budget victory or repeal of the debt ceiling or campaign finance reform, and the iron has never been hotter for the latter two.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:23 PM on October 9, 2013


There's a lot of range between "worst" and "best" interests, and maybe "best" isn't the most optimal goal sometimes? Just sayin'....

No. There is no range here. Attaching any demands to the passage of the CR or debt ceiling increase will set a terrible precedent that allows the minority party to completely subvert the legislative process by holding the nation's economy hostage. Either that precedent is set, or it isn't.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:26 PM on October 9, 2013


Then demand repeal of the debt ceiling statute as the price. Problem solved.

It's just the beginning of the problems if they try to pull anything other than "pass a clean CR and raise the debt limit", that's what they've been asking for and anything else will only play as rank hypocrisy.

Anyways, following up this debacle with a purely legislative victory in good faith is the power move here, whether it's a budget victory or repeal of the debt ceiling or campaign finance reform, and the iron has never been hotter for the latter two.


Really, the debt ceiling cannot be repealed. Congress' actual mechanism to issue debt is the debt ceiling statute. What we are looking for is a return to the "Gephardt Rule," which was a House Rule that stated that the debt limit was increased by the amount of an appropriation when an appropriations bill was passed. You'll never guess who got rid of that rule in 1995.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Imagine George W. Bush with the power to raise funds by fiat. It boggles the mind.

But Obama isn't raising funds arbitrarily to fund his own side projects, he is borrowing money to pay for the budget approved by congress. There is something broken when congress can pass a budget and approve spending and then refuse to raise the money to pay for it, putting the President and Treasury in a position where anything they do is illegal. I don't really know what I'm talking about, of course, but it seems like appropriations and budgeting, or whatever, and the debt limit must go together in a single bill. Congress can pass a budget without approving the taxes or debt to pay for it.
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


As long as we're seeking solutions from video games,

LINK

LINK

LINK

PLAY THE SONG OF TIME ALREADY LINK
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:28 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


A break in the story:
Washington (CNN) – A Senior House GOP source concedes to CNN that to get the White House on board with a debt ceiling deal, House Republicans would likely have to agree to a clean short term debt ceiling increase. In exchange, Republicans would need to get clear and specific parameters from the White House for discussions and negotiations on ways to reduce the debt and deficit.

This source believes that at the end of the day, enough people in the GOP caucus could be OK with this because the economic implication of breaching the debt limit "scares people." This source also acknowledged that under this scenario, House GOP leaders may have to agree to pass a debt ceiling bill without all Republicans on board, and with Democratic support.



The source also told CNN the key date to look for is Tuesday October 15. If nothing is agreed upon by then, it could be the day that forces a solution.

Why?

Because the bond market is closed Monday, Columbus Day, and if the markets are going to react to the lack of a deal, it would likely happen on Tuesday October 15. Also, October 15 is a federal payroll day.

That means serious talks and movement really have to happen by this coming long weekend.
Suspect this is the beginning of the end.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:29 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Either that precedent is set, or it isn't.

Hey, they wanted a 'conversation'. Here's the 'conversation'. Boehner LIED over the negotiating table during the sequester compromise. He reneged on that deal. He's not trustworthy **across a negotiating table**, so I don't think it's reasonable to -- behind the scenes -- insist: (1) Boehner's out. (2) Boehner's commitments are kept without any more bullshit and (3) the "conversation" is about Single Payer Universal with federally funded abortion services.

Publicly, yeah, you just keep a cool poker face and let them 'blow their vests' as it was so eloquently put upthread, but behind the scenes, at the very least you have to make sure people who can't be trusted across a negotiating table get their just deserts, and -- while not public publicly, in such a way that no-one ever THINKS about going back on a deal....
posted by mikelieman at 2:30 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yep, even dreaming of "turning this around on the Rethuglicans" is (1) way too early and (2) ill-advised. It'll take a lot of Things Falling Apart to get to the point where we can dream of rebuilding it better (Six Million Dollar Man reference, anyone?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:31 PM on October 9, 2013


Imagine George W. Bush with the power to raise funds by fiat. It boggles the mind.

But Obama isn't raising funds arbitrarily to fund his own side projects, he is borrowing money to pay for the budget approved by congress. There is something broken when congress can pass a budget and approve spending and then refuse to raise the money to pay for it, putting the President and Treasury in a position where anything they do is illegal. I don't really know what I'm talking about, of course, but it seems like appropriations and budgeting, or whatever, and the debt limit must go together in a single bill. Congress can pass a budget without approving the taxes or debt to pay for it
.

OK, this has a lot of misconceptions in it. First, the Budget is a framework that the House and Senate agree upon to deal with appropriations. It has no power. When the government authorizes the spending of funds, it uses an appropriations bill.

There is nothing broken when congress can pass a budget and approve spending and refuse to raise money. This is how the Founders wanted it--its a feature, not a bug.

There's simply no constitutional way for the President to issue unauthorized debt. It is 100% illegal.

Put simply, this is a political crisis of one party, not a Constitutional one.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:33 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


In exchange, Republicans would need to get clear and specific parameters from the White House for discussions and negotiations on ways to reduce the debt and deficit.

I can't see how this is the beginning of any good end. Any concession at all just tells the GOP to keep doing this every time. Our entire budget is already built on the principles of austerity economics, which have been proven to damage countries that implement them.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:33 PM on October 9, 2013


i think another aspect of this that sort of calls for a blowing off of steam is that, unlike the 2012 election, there isn't a narrative of o shit scary GOP oh shit Obama blew a debate HA HA BIDEN KILL THAT KID and then BUT CANDY -- CANDY and then HA HA LOOK AT THE LOOK ON THE FACE OF THOSE FUCKING LOSERS LOSING

now it's just, fuck this, fuck that, fuck these things in particular. I mean, what if we go through all this and there's a deal on the debt ceiling but the XL comes out of it. It will be just, oh my fucking God. Just, look, wake me up when another species evolves.
posted by angrycat at 2:34 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


so I don't think it's reasonable to -- behind the scenes -- insist: (1) Boehner's out. (2) Boehner's commitments are kept without any more bullshit and (3) the "conversation" is about Single Payer Universal with federally funded abortion services.

Even behind the scenes it's unreasonable. Just because the other guys tried to do it, doesn't mean it's OK to extract demands on what should otherwise be an entirely procedural vote.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:34 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bug fix requested
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:36 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


In exchange, Republicans would need to get clear and specific parameters from the White House for discussions and negotiations on ways to reduce the debt and deficit.

I can't see how this is the beginning of any good end. Any concession at all just tells the GOP to keep doing this every time. Our entire budget is already built on the principles of austerity economics, which have been proven to damage countries that implement them.


Uh, they have to negotiate appropriations bills at some point. Threat or no threat, the money has to be appropriated. What we're asking for is no threats. Will the House, Senate and the President have to agree on appropriations? Of course. Its how the Constitution works.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:36 PM on October 9, 2013


Suspect this is the beginning of the end.

Yes, but nothing likely to actually happen for the next six days, or to use a movie cliche, until the countdown timer goes down to 0:07... So I'm checking out of this for a while. Have fun storming the castle!
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:37 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, so assume the Republicans fold. They pass a clean bill with Democrat's votes. The Tea Party boots Boehner, which starts the long foretold splintering of the Republican party.

How exactly does that work our on a practical level? Do the Tea Party take over the Republican tent? Do they march off and start their own, for reals this time, party? Do the few moderate (hah!) Republicans cross over as Blue Dogs?
posted by Eddie Mars at 2:39 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ.

Fidelity just sold it's government debt for November.


Bill Gross: We're buying what Fidelity is selling.

We are not going to default on our debt.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:40 PM on October 9, 2013


OK, so assume the Republicans fold. They pass a clean bill with Democrat's votes. The Tea Party boots Boehner, which starts the long foretold splintering of the Republican party.

How exactly does that work our on a practical level? Do the Tea Party take over the Republican tent? Do they march off and start their own, for reals this time, party? Do the few moderate (hah!) Republicans cross over as Blue Dogs?


I think the Tea Party doesn't have the votes. There's enough votes to elect Boehner if they tried to force a vote.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:40 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the Tea Party doesn't have the votes. There's enough votes to elect Boehner if they tried to force a vote.

Yep. That'll be one of the the "concessions" he'll get out of the Democrats: that Pelosi will whip her conference to vote for him. If he can bring ~20 of his folks with him, he gets to keep the gavel and she gets to keep his manhood on her trophy shelf.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:44 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


/me wonders if she ought to move back to what might soon be called Cascadia
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:44 PM on October 9, 2013


I think the Tea Party doesn't have the votes. There's enough votes to elect Boehner if they tried to force a vote.

Yep. That'll be one of the the "concessions" he'll get out of the Democrats: that Pelosi will whip her conference to vote for him. If he can bring ~20 of his folks with him, he gets to keep the gavel and she gets to keep his manhood on her trophy shelf.


To be clear, what would happen is that the Tehadists would have to move a resolution to depose the Speaker. Then a majority would have to vote for the motion. Dems would just not vote for that, not vote for Boehner in a new election.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:53 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Like the ending of a Hollywood movie.

Complete with a visit to the Time Masheen and the Un's defeat of Charlie Chaplin and the Nazi dinos.
posted by raysmj at 2:54 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


This afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner and Mighty, Mighty Majority Leader Eric Cantor met with their Democratic counterparts Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer to discuss how to deal with the winged behemoths stalking the capitol. Armored wasps had risen to the sky amid a shrieking din and a short-term debt limit increase. Almost as quickly as the news broke, Republicans assured reporters that the Democratic pantywaists - not they themselves - had requested the meeting.

Gettin' all apocalyptic up in here.

posted by mmrtnt at 2:55 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


rough ashlar: "Just so "we" understand what "we" are talking about - "the markets" are 70% traded as computer programs that operate in milliseconds?

Or is this some other "the markets" involving humans of varying levels of rationality?
"

The system doesn't run autonomously. The legions of clerks they employ do produce inputs, and the managers do have control on the investment path.

All of those people react psychologically to crises.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:57 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is a ridiculous question, but if the House is voting on a new speaker, and the whole House votes, and the Republican party is split, is it possible that the Democrats could elect a Democratic speaker in a Republican majority House?

Like:

Boehner - 200 votes
Some Tea Party Guy - 34 votes
Pelosi - 201 votes

There must be some reason why that's impossible, right?
posted by Ragged Richard at 2:59 PM on October 9, 2013


The speaker could be anyone elected to the post. They don't even have to be a member of the House. It'll never happen, but it's technically possible.
posted by msbutah at 3:01 PM on October 9, 2013


There must be some reason why that's impossible, right?

I'd guess that members of Congress probably announce their intentions ahead of such a vote to prevent that scenario from ever happening.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:02 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the immortal words of Winston Churchill, Americans always do the right thing...after every other possible option has been exhausted.
posted by dry white toast at 3:02 PM on October 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


There must be some reason why that's impossible, right?
It may be implausible, but it's totally possible under the Constitution, which just says the the represantatives choose their Speaker and makes no mention of "parties".
posted by dfan at 3:04 PM on October 9, 2013


The tea party would keep Boehner rather than hand it to Pelosi. that would wipe the GOP out, because the speaker has a lot of power.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:06 PM on October 9, 2013


The way it actually works is that the parties vote for their speaker in caucus, and then everyone from the caucus votes for the winner in the House. It's sorta like a primary/general system. So, the only way for the Democratic speaker to win is if the party breaks ranks and refuses to vote for the speaker their party chose in the caucus.
posted by chrchr at 3:07 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


because the speaker has a lot of power.

Such as the power to prevent the House from voting on whether to pass a continuing budget resolution or raise the debt limit, for example?
posted by MoonOrb at 3:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking In The Mouth of Madness, personally.

I made this exact comparison a few days ago, in the wake of the driver trying to crash the White House and the guy who set himself on fire on the mall. We are most definitely living in some horror novelist's twisted mind right now.
posted by Roommate at 3:11 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


We are most definitely living in some horror novelist's twisted mind right now.

oh god no
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:12 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


because the speaker has a lot of power.

With great power comes great resp- ah fuck it!
posted by mazola at 3:13 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


US Antarctic Program (and everyone else's antarctic programs) fucked.


This is so fucking sad. I can only imagine how fucking terrible you must feel to get to Antarctica and be told it's time to pack up and go home, because the US is too fucking incompetent and broken to do science.
posted by inertia at 3:17 PM on October 9, 2013 [20 favorites]


Apparently this sort of happened in Australia, at least until the Queen fired everyone and started from scratch.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:17 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


As long as we're seeking solutions from video games,

US NEEDS FOOD BADLY


"I AM SINISTAR" - John Boehner, Speaker of the House
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:18 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


A Very Long List of All The Things Obama Is Comparing Republicans To
posted by zarq at 3:19 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


A Very Long List of All The Things Obama Is Comparing Republicans To

"Children who believe in magic" pretty much nails it.
posted by jnnla at 3:21 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


We are not going to default on our debt.

Wouldn't be too sure about that. The article includes an explanation by Bill Gross that the reason Pimco is buying government debt is that it is less sensitive to market volatility (such as might be caused by a default) than a money market fund:

"The difference in strategy has to do with how the two firms work, he said. In the case of a government default-even if it lasts just an hour or a day-a money market mutual fund is required to mark down its debt to zero. Pimco on the other hand, can stomach the volatility."
posted by longdaysjourney at 3:22 PM on October 9, 2013


This is so fucking sad. I can only imagine how fucking terrible you must feel to get to Antarctica and be told it's time to pack up and go home, because the US is too fucking incompetent and broken to do science.

Heh, allow me to introduce my brother. He may be spending some time on a dock in South America in the not too distant future.

posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:22 PM on October 9, 2013


So I finally got a form email back from my Congressman('s office). He really goes out of his way to avoid taking a side at all.

Thank you for sharing your perspective on the government shutdown, the issues surrounding the debt ceiling, and the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act.

We have heard from many constituents during this time and opinions vary, as one would expect, in a robust, participatory constitutional republic. But there is consensus on at least one issue: government is increasingly dysfunctional, and managing our fiscal affairs can be done in a more thoughtful way than a government shutdown over a continuing resolution, which even if passed, would fund government only through December 15, 2013.

To those the shutdown has impacted directly or indirectly, let me offer a profound and sincere apology for our failure to meet the basic duty to debate and pass funding bills. The issues being debated are important: fiscal responsibility, the role of government, accountability for the institutions of government, and treating people equally under the law. Our Framers envisioned that there would be differences in opinion and that those differences would be serious. But division is different from dysfunction.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives have voted to open components of the government including veterans benefits, cancer research, emergency and disaster recovery, paychecks for our National Guard and Reserves, nutrition assistance for low-income women and children, and our national parks and museums. In light of the very real impact decisions made by lawmakers have on the lives of the citizens they purport to serve, it is my hope that we can engage in the fact-centered debate and legislative process as envisioned by the Framers.

Thank you again for contacting our office. We hope you will let us know if we can ever be of assistance to you.

Sincerely,
Trey Gowdy

posted by Roommate at 3:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


As we read this thread very, very rich people are calling their pet Congressmen and chewing them out. There are far more sane rich people who do not want this to go on, and in particular for the debt to default, than there are self-absorbed jerks like the Kochs who want to burn down everything that doesn't lick their boots.

These people thought they had bought themselves a political party fair and square, and they are now feeling buyer's remorse. I believe at that at 11:59 they will prevail on 20 or 30 Republican House members -- perhaps the "leaders" mentioned above -- to throw in with the Democrats and pass a clean CR. This will be catastrophic to their careers but it will be made plain to them by people who can make it happen that the alternative will be catastrophic to their careers.

Then the fallout will come. Rather than the Teapublicans kicking out Boehner I expect it to be the Republicans kicking out the Teapublicans, and their separation into two caucuses both of which will be minorities. There is no way the mainstream Republicans will want to risk this again and we all know how well teh Teabaggers listen to direction. The Republicans will have no choice but to be completely rid of them in order to try to save their brand.

That will have the advantage, since the Republicans have a lot more control over their primary processes than the Dem leadership does, of giving some relief to those members who fear a Teabag primary. If teabaggers are excluded from the R primary it becomes a three way race in the general which dramatically shifts the outcome possibilities.

It's hard to see the votes emerging to kick Boehner out this year but the race for the Speaker of the next House could be more interesting than usual.
posted by localroger at 3:28 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


what will Americans and the world think of the US Congress that refused to pay the nation's outstanding debts

You can ask that after the last ten years?

If a certified enemy were doing the damage to us that our "leadership" has been doing (long, LONG list omitted), people would be doing more than disapproving openly on the Internet.
posted by Twang at 3:32 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hope Obama doesn't budge on not negotiating on the debt limit because the logical way for this to play out is for Tea Party Congresscritters to push the government to the brink, be forced to back down by Boehner, which will allow them to demonstrate to their voters that they remained ideologically pure and fought the good fight.

Even Congressmen with sterling Conservative records were ousted in primaries by Tea Partiers. Many mainstream Republicans are putting their jobs at risk by being seen to even negotiate with Obama.
posted by dry white toast at 3:34 PM on October 9, 2013


So I finally got a form email back from my Congressman('s office). He really goes out of his way to avoid taking a side at all...

It's time someone had the courage to stand up and say: "I'm against those things that everybody hates".
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:35 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


vuron: "Guys, wanting concessions from a defeated Republican party would be petty and counterproductive and probably likely to backfire. As much as I'd love for Obama to go Django on the tea party types that have fueled an incredible racist and personal series of attacks on Obama it's probably not in our best interests.

Besides looking magnanimous befits a statesman and let's be perfectly honest the knives will come out from within the Republican party against those party leaders that let this crap get completely out of hand, they'll just want the bloodletting to happen behind closed doors but it will be appropriately damaging to those caught in the crossfire.
"

You sound like... the Democratic Party.

There are some lows they will not stoop to. Some things they will not do - disenfranchisement of voting groups, spreading doubt about the legitimacy of the POTUS (and anyone EVER had reason to do so, the Dems in 2000....).

That's not the Democratic party I want. I want one that can win against the GOP, and show them that these tactics are a bridge too far. A gentlemen's agreement behind closed doors, or laws passed; I don't care.

I want the Democratic party to collect scalps of fallen Republicans. I want them to take every single strategic advantage they can from their enemies' weakness.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:35 PM on October 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


I think predicting a formal split is vastly underestimating how beholden your average Republican member is to FOX News and the conservative media. There's no real indication that there's some great block of "moderate" Republicans just desperately trying to find a way of of this and to get back to civil governance, and after whatever resolution comes it will be right back to the next obstruction ploy that plays well on Hannity's show. This is the Republican party now, there are no alternative policy positions that exist other than maximum destruction.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:38 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


To again go back to that report, there is a block of moderate Republican voters that makes up about a quarter of the party (mentioned in the report, citation needed). There are also blocks of Tea Party and Evangelical voters.

Formal splits don't emerge from nothing. Were a formal split to occur, it would require organization and a sense that this group could have some clout. Either a perception that they were the majority, or that they could snatch the Republicans who had gone over to the democrats or independents. As someone with no political background, I'd hypothesize that what you really need are some prominent politicians or former politicians to establish a new party or co-opt an existing one.

Of course, I'm just some jerk on the Internet saying things. Any historians / poly sci. folks care to weigh in?
posted by Going To Maine at 3:52 PM on October 9, 2013


One thing I don't understand about the shutdown is the nature of "essential" personnel. I had a friend who was off last week, but was recalled on Monday. It seems more workers are being recalled as need for them arises. Everyone's getting backpay (eventually), so the shutdown isn't actually saving any money, it's just deferring the payment.

So what's to stop Obama from just declaring everyone essential and de facto reopening the government? It would actually cost less than stopping and restarting everything.
posted by heathkit at 3:55 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty skeptical of any kind of public split coming in the GOP unless the Tea Party are the ones who force it. Keeping the GOP together with duct tape, denial and mutual need, even if it's nothing but a laughable facade, is the most likely path, IMO. Until a couple consecutive elections' worth of hard data show really convincing evidence that there's no more hope of securing a majority in either chamber, no point in staying together. And unless everyone involved is as dumb as a sack of hammers, I bet you'd first see some in the GOP floating trial balloons for ditching first-past-the-post voting and redistricting reforms to prepare for a survivable 3+ party future if they see it coming, because nobody's going to jump without a safety net. Or you'll see a mad scramble to court minorities from the moderate GOP.

I'd be interested to see if the Dems split into center and left parties in the event of a GOP split.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:56 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


And that's not even considering that they'd all be throwing away a state- and local-level machine that's still going like gangbusters by splitting over national-level issues.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:58 PM on October 9, 2013


Honestly, a split seems like a bad bet until you start seeing some kind of instant runoff voting.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:59 PM on October 9, 2013


U.S. nuclear agency to shut; reactor report not available.

I'm sure this will end well.
posted by zarq at 4:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


> maybe we are living in someone else's fanfiction of America!!

Maybe we are. In the fanfic America I live in, we went through this same exact threatened government shutdown, threatened default, threatened end of civilization posturing over raising the debt limit back in 2011, right down to the last overheated syllable. It's kind of spooky to think everybody here but me must have been born since 2011 because nobody else remembers that it's just same-old same-old.
posted by jfuller at 4:07 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


think predicting a formal split is vastly underestimating how beholden your average Republican member is to FOX News and the conservative media.

If they are gonna let the Dems vote the debt ceiling for them, its next years primaries where the war will occur.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:08 PM on October 9, 2013


If Paul Ryan can lead the GOP out of this mess, it probably makes sense to give him the speakership. I'd feel a lot more comfortable with him than Cantor.
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:09 PM on October 9, 2013


So what's to stop Obama from just declaring everyone essential and de facto reopening the government? It would actually cost less than stopping and restarting everything.

Given that much, if not all, of the federal workforce is unionized, I would assume who is "essential" is collectively bargained and pre-determined, despite others being recalled to work.
posted by dry white toast at 4:10 PM on October 9, 2013


If a certified enemy were doing the damage to us that our "leadership" has been doing (long, LONG list omitted), people would be doing more than disapproving openly on the Internet.

Yeah, and what would that mean? People talk about "riots in the streets," but we've already had Occupy! If something else happens, it's going to have to up the ante, and many of us don't want to think what that would mean.
posted by JHarris at 4:10 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


We've also had the Tea Party, which has clearly been the more effective model.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:13 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Occupy wasn't an effective protest. There can still be effective protests that are peaceful but much more pointed and directed. The challenge is that the people we need to protest, perhaps, are more our fellow citizens and less the people they elect.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:15 PM on October 9, 2013


Sorry, my comment was weird.

If you want to talk about how "the people" might take direct action to change things, you might want to steal a new page from the right, not the left, at least in America. While the Tea Party has benefited quite a bit from financial support and has dubious grassroots credibility, it has also had amazing success. It seems like that financially-supported playbook would be the thing to use for any future attempts at altering the country's direction.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:17 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Tea Party chose to dominate electoral politics, while Occupy dismissed electoral politics as a sucker's game. While Occupy was occupying public parks and staging battles with cops, the Tea Party was getting candidates elected at every single level of government. While Occupy asked for donations to buy pizzas to feed their campers, the Tea Party was effectively funding election campaigns. Electoral politics really matters, you guys.
posted by chrchr at 4:24 PM on October 9, 2013 [26 favorites]


My shrink was a kid during the Great Depression. Yeah, he's fucking old. Anyway, so he has this 3/4 century outlook that's really impressive, and because his mind is so sharp, I really sometimes wish I could interview him. As it is, he's like, "Yes, this is an unheard of catastrophe; now, let's talk about your anxiety" and it's kind of like, yeah, well, I'M ANXIOUS
posted by angrycat at 4:25 PM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


the Tea Party was effectively funding election campaigns

…with corporate money.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:26 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Golden Eternity: "If Paul Ryan can lead the GOP out of this mess, it probably makes sense to give him the speakership. I'd feel a lot more comfortable with him than Cantor."

They are both shitstains on the tighty-whities of the American Politic, the whities stitched with the waistband corporate name "GOP".

One shitstain is merely less darkly brown than the other, less ground into the fabric. But make no mistakes.

They're both still shitstains.
posted by symbioid at 4:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


heathkit and dry white toast -

The government shutdown is not saving money.

Also, much as we (and Obama) would like to consider people in places like the National Park Service and the Smithsonian as essential (the actual term is excepted), there are some specific definitions of who is excepted and who is not (and this is not determined by collective bargaining - most federal unions are pretty weak anyway - anyone remember the air traffic controllers when Reagan busted the union?).

See the section on Which parts of government stay open? here for specifics, some of which I've extracted below.

Excepted employes include:
- Any employee or office that "provides for the national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property." That means the U.S. military will keep operating, for one. So will embassies abroad.

-- Any employee who conducts "essential activities to the extent that they protect life and property." So, for example: Air traffic control stays open. So does all emergency medical care, border patrol, federal prisons, most law enforcement, emergency and disaster assistance, overseeing the banking system, operating the power grid, and guarding federal property.

-- Agencies have to keep sending out benefits and operating programs that are written into permanent law or get multi-year funding. That means sending out Social Security checks and providing certain types of veterans' benefits. Unemployment benefits and food stamps will also continue for the time being, since their funding has been approved in earlier bills.

-- All agencies with independent sources of funding remain open, including the U.S. Postal Service and the Federal Reserve.

-- Members of Congress can stick around, since their pay is written into permanent law. Congressional staffers however, will also get divided into essential and non-essential, with the latter getting furloughed. Many White House employees could also get sent home.

posted by gudrun at 4:28 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


jnnla: A Very Long List of All The Things Obama Is Comparing Republicans To

"Children who believe in magic" pretty much nails it.


Personally, I liked "Children Who Believe in Magic and Maybe Werewolves." Because the Republican arguments for government shutdown and default are about as grounded in reality as the plot of Teen Wolf.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 4:28 PM on October 9, 2013


Wouldn't be too sure about that. The article includes an explanation by Bill Gross that the reason Pimco is buying government debt is that it is less sensitive to market volatility (such as might be caused by a default) than a money market fund:

"The difference in strategy has to do with how the two firms work, he said. In the case of a government default-even if it lasts just an hour or a day-a money market mutual fund is required to mark down its debt to zero. Pimco on the other hand, can stomach the volatility."


Market volatility caused by fear of a default. Bill Gross wouldn't buy debt if he thought the government was going to default on it. Money market funds are cash proxies and it's important that they remain highly liquid and don't "break the buck". The Pimco fund can ride out that price volatility because it's not a cash proxy and the expectation that it won't fall below NAV isn't there.

Even Fidelity doesn't think we're going to default.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:30 PM on October 9, 2013


the Tea Party was effectively funding election campaigns.

Well, sure... because it's not actually a grassroots movement.
posted by scody at 4:30 PM on October 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


You know, one thing I can say is that I never thought that this crisis would lead me to a sight of George Clooney's naked erect penis, which was one of the stories on J Stewart's 'Wheel of Silly Stories' or whatever he calls it that he turned to after proclaiming that he needed to talk about something else than this fuckery.

Not that I was appalled by the sight or especially intrigued, it's just somehow I thought Clooney kept his junk under pretty tight lock and key, image wise.
posted by angrycat at 4:34 PM on October 9, 2013


This thread, to my mind, illustrates part of the problem that the teabaggers are exploiting: It is full of hyperbolic doom saying, but almost every single piece of it is generic and non specific, and largely not backed up

Along similar lines, I've been really disappointed with Obama's messaging w/r/t to the ACA and now the shutdown. I think the administration has a major problem with getting ahead on issues where they think it's patently obvious that their position is the correct one. Sure, the teapartiers & co are so clearly in the wrong that you'd hope the President wouldn't have to bother with such superficial matters. But he has to, because the TPers are masters of their message. TP talking points -- no matter how stupid -- always penetrate.

Obama needs to drop the usually comforting measured tone and amp this up to 11. I just listened to his latest press conference and he might as well have been reading the tax code.

This is one of those times where I wish Obama could tag in Bill Clinton
posted by snarfles at 4:40 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


This all feels a bit like Fail Safe, wherein the Tea Party is the crew of the bomber, moderate Republicans are the captain's wife and child on the phone pleading with him to stop and the President is the President.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:40 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Card Cheat, surely you mean the better adaptation, Dr. Strangelove?
posted by jokeefe at 4:45 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been reading Red State every day. They seriously do seem to be living in some kind of secondary universe where the shutdown is Obama's fault, his poll numbers are falling, and the few members or congress who are "showing some spine" are soon going to bring the sobbing Democrats to the table to concede to all demands.

It's mind-boggling.
posted by jokeefe at 4:47 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Bill Gross wouldn't buy debt if he thought the government was going to default on it.

Yeah, and his company's vaunted PIMCO Total Return Fund hasn't done so hot this year, although that was likely unavoidable with stocks doing well. I should know. (Sighs a bit, remembers to look at the long term, unless we have a default, in which case all bets are off.) I don't know the ins and outs of all that, am not a financial person. I do have a PoliSci graduate education, though, and I have no faith in Boehner or this Congress. Countless observers never thought sequestration would happen either.
posted by raysmj at 4:55 PM on October 9, 2013


Osama bin Laden was on the record saying that his plan was to bankrupt the U.S. by dragging us into conflicts in the Middle East. Despite knowing this plan, we launched two massively expensive wars (one the longest in U.S. history, and getting longer every day).

Well, he totally fucked up then, because the US is nowhere near bankrupt, and recession spending is good for the economy.

Funny, the only people who agree with bin Laden's hilariously wrong view of how the American budget and economy work are the Republicans.
posted by spaltavian at 4:58 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I feel like the most important thing about the possible trillion dollar coin workaround is how to best execute it in a memorable way. It's not every day you circumvent a federal and fiscal hostage situation through a dubious interpretation of the constitution.

Were I the Commander in Chief, I'd probably just schedule a press conference on the last day before the default, and invite Ted Cruz and Boehner.

Then, I'd wordlessly reach into my pocket, and toss a coin out to the Secretary of Treasury, and leave.

Ideally, it'd be a chocolate coin.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:58 PM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


My general fear is just that this is the new normal and that we'll go through this every couple of months from here on out, and the American public won't give a sufficient shit to vote the assholes out.
posted by klangklangston at 5:01 PM on October 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


What's likely to happen to cash (the stuff in our bank accounts)?

I know the answer is "no-one knows" but some crowdsource supposition would be useful.
I read some people saying that a default means the US dollar is no-longer backed by anything (because the treasury assets are debt in default) so the value will plummet.
I hear others pointing out that history, when people get scared, they seek the safehaven of USD, so the dollar will strengthen.

Thoughts? Speculations?

I note that in the 2007-2008 crash, a major part at the start was when finance people parked their money in a traditionally-safe place, then discovered they were going to get back only 98%, and they just collectively freaked the fuck out like the apocalypse was happened and fire was literally raining from the sky, and froze in the fetal position, paralyzed everything else in the economy.
A US credit default makes that look like a bump in road, so my expectation is that Wall Street has no fucking clue how to even begin to comprehend thinking outside their norms, and switch from panic to complete hysteria rather than react in any kind of productive way, or even a fails-to-be-harmful way.

So, I'm worried.
posted by anonymisc at 5:03 PM on October 9, 2013


My general fear is just that this is the new normal and that we'll go through this every couple of months from here on out, and the American public won't give a sufficient shit to vote the assholes out.

My fear is that gerrymandering and voter suppression mean there will be no way to get the 18% or whatever it is of Tea Party extremists out of their "safe" districts.
posted by immlass at 5:04 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it'll definitely be the new normal if the democrats give up anything significant. The real danger is the way this game of chicken plays out, it's all a gamble on how long the tea party will drag this out, and if they'll really let the nation default to prove a point.

I doubt they would, but their near-sociopathic rhetoric that we'd be fine if we only did everything they wanted makes me very nervous.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:05 PM on October 9, 2013


Were I the Commander in Chief, I'd probably just schedule a press conference on the last day before the default, and invite Ted Cruz and Boehner.

Then, I'd wordlessly reach into my pocket, and toss a coin out to the Secretary of Treasury, and leave.

Ideally, it'd be a chocolate coin.


And the value would be in the minted foil wrapper, so after everyone oohs and ahhs the $1T coin, you unwrap it, eat the coin in front of Cruz, scrunch up the trash, drop it in the bin, which is instantly swarmed by the Secretary of Treasury and a hundred secret service agents.
posted by anonymisc at 5:07 PM on October 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


I mentioned this in the other thread, but the end result of giving in to this sort of extortion is that the tactic will be used regularly and will ultimately lead to somebody making an extortion threat that is even worse than defaulting. Default, to whit, becomes inevitable. This must be stopped now.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:08 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


I owe Westpac two grand and they are on the phone to me five times a day, as well as sending me a letter a week. They're really hurting because of that two grand. Statistically, the US Government probably owes them money too, in the order of millions. But they call me five times a day. Gotta get that two grand. Hot damn.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't worry about personal bank/credit union accounts. As long as you're under the federally-insured limits, national default shouldn't have any effect on them. Assuming that we're talking about a momentary default here, like the Feds are late by maybe a week on payments before things start running again, rather than dragging it out for six months or something else totally absurd.
posted by indubitable at 5:10 PM on October 9, 2013


Boy it's going to be an awkward midterm election for some people if Obamacare actually turns out to be popular next year.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:15 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


> I owe Westpac two grand and they are on the phone to me five times a day

They don't have a right to do that, and you can shut them up.

This Google search has lots of resources.

Know your rights!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:30 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


the US Government probably owes them money too, in the order of millions. But they call me five times a day.

Maybe you should take a page from the US Govt's playbook and have your phone answered by a machine that puts the caller on hold for an hour, then informs them that office hours are closed and please call back tomorrow.

The more often you(r machines) invite them to call you back, the less they'll be inclined to do so!
posted by anonymisc at 5:32 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, and his company's vaunted PIMCO Total Return Fund hasn't done so hot this year, although that was likely unavoidable with stocks doing well.

Don't I know. it. I hold it in my 401k. Though bond markets have been bad this year in general and Pimco TRF has pretty much ended up with the same (negative) return as the bond index for the year to date.

I almost never find myself in agreement with what Bill Gross says but I agree with him on this. We are not going to default. I think the bigger concern (though less catastrophic) is that this is basically going to become a regular occurrence, as some people have already mentioned. And with the tea party living in a bizarro fantasyland, the chances of abolishing the utterly pointless debt ceiling are virtually nil.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:34 PM on October 9, 2013


Republicans seem to be moving towards raising the debt limit but keeping the shutdown going. David Koch and others have endorsed the idea.
posted by humanfont at 5:39 PM on October 9, 2013


Boy it's going to be an awkward midterm election for some people if Obamacare actually turns out to be popular next year.

Hence their desperation to delay it a year. If they actually thought it would be a disaster, I suspect it would be their own "please proceed, Governor Nazi Socialist Kenyan" moment.
posted by scody at 5:45 PM on October 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


As Obama said, they sure won't call it Obamacare.

Though, given that it's basically a spruced-up GOP plan, I don't doubt that some of them will have the chutzpah to try to take credit for it.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:48 PM on October 9, 2013


If the Republicans try a clean debt limit without a CR, expect the Senate and Obama to block it. Obama plays long-game poker and this is his move. If he had stood firm the first time he would have been blamed for any resulting catastrophe, but it's now more than plain that the Teabaggers never had any intention of dealing in good faith. That's what all that "giving away the house" stuff was about last time, which pissed off the Left so much. He made a bunch of offers he knew they would refuse to establish that no compromise was really possible.

If the Teabaggers force the mainline Republicans to sacrifice a score of their own to a Devil's pact with the Democrats to keep their true wealthy backers from eating them alive, there will be no forgiveness. If there is one thing these people don't do for anybody, it's forgiveness. They will know that it was the teabaggers' refusal to have their backs even at 11:59 that forced them to lick the Democrats' boots, and this will incline them far more to destroy the Tea Party than to hold a grudge against the Democrats.

So what I would expect, if it goes down that way, is that going forward there will be a purity test and any Republican that doesn't vote aye on a boilerplate must-pass bill when the Republican leadership says to will be OUT. No committee seats, no caucusing, no campaign finance money from the party. You are now an Independent, buddy. Then they will join with the D's in a nice bipartisan supermajority when necessary to not embarrass themselves again while the teabaggers take the blame.

It could go down differently, but I tend to think this is the most likely scenario. The wealthy moderate backers of the non-Tea Republican Party will exert enormous pressure, and the Tea Partiers are looking ever more like jihadists who are willing to take it all down rather than lose an inch.
posted by localroger at 5:50 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


localroger, no way the Democrats turn down a clean debt limit increase. Doing so would put them on the hook for the economic repercussions.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:53 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


localroger, no way the Democrats turn down a clean debt limit increase.

Is it 'clean' if it doesn't end the sequestration spending? That's horribly phrased but I think it can be parsed. Not 'clean', but 'acceptable'. You can't go onto new business before old business, right?
posted by mikelieman at 5:58 PM on October 9, 2013


We'll see, tony. I think the order of the day is going to be "no extortion." They will tie the CR and debt limit together and invite the Republicans to throw both into the river together.

I have written many times that Obama's strategy is poker-like. He has caved a lot because he has gotten nothing but really crappy cards, but he's managed to draw those terrible hands out into some decent wins, including the ACA. Right now he's rope-a-doped the Republicans into believing that he would always save the hostages, and now that he's folded his arms and said fuck you they have no response at all. Expect him to press that advantage to the maximum.
posted by localroger at 5:58 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


anonymisc: "Maybe you should take a page from the US Govt's playbook and have your phone answered by a machine that puts the caller on hold for an hour, then informs them that office hours are closed and please call back tomorrow.

The more often you(r machines) invite them to call you back, the less they'll be inclined to do so!
"

"The check's in the mail, hey! You're beautiful
Don't ever change you know what I mean
My girl will call your girl we'll talk, we'll do lunch
Or leave a message on my machine
So baby won't you sign on the dotted line
I'm gonna make your dreams come true
The check's in the mail, would I lie to you?
Oh, trust me!

The check's in the mail, hey! You're beautiful
Don't ever change you know what I mean
Why don't you leave a message with my girl
I'll have lunch with your machine

So baby won't you sign on the dotted line
I'm gonna make your dreams come true
The check's in the mail, would I lie to you?
The check's in the mail, would I lie to you?"
posted by symbioid at 6:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gallup: GOP’s favorability sinks into Clinton impeachment territory
posted by Artw at 6:04 PM on October 9, 2013


Is it 'clean' if it doesn't end the sequestration spending?

It's clean if it raises the limit with nothing else attached. The government remains shut down, and they argue over the CR/budget stuff in the mean time.

That's the best tactical move for the GOP, because the Democrats lose the "holding the global economy hostage" talking point. It then becomes "you're holding the country hostage", which works much better for the wealthy corporate donors who don't really care who wins the fight over the size of the deficit, the individual mandate, etc.

I have written many times that Obama's strategy is poker-like.

Meh, this is starting to sound a lot like the eleven-dimensional chess argument, where we were assured that Obama was winning by losing on the ACA, or the sequester, etc., but that we just weren't seeing his loses from the right perspective. I'm not buying it.

Yes, Obama had crappy cards (I see you, Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln!) and I'm not saying he could have gotten more out of Obamacare or the sequester fight, but the idea that any of these other losses sets the table for a win now seems very unlikely to me. I'll accept that Obama simply didn't have good hands, and in some cases, I'll throw my lot in with those who believe he really isn't all that progressive to begin with, but I don't think he's some grand master that's thinking 20 moves ahead as you seem to be suggesting here.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:12 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meh, this is starting to sound a lot like the eleven-dimensional chess argument

No, that's exactly what I have written about; Obama doesn't play chess he plays poker. Like poker, politics is a game of bluffing and imperfect information, and in this instance it's remarkably like a game of no-limit Hold'Em, because either side can get "stacked" in a single disastrous play. It is completely, and familiarly if you've ever studied the two games, unlike chess in any number of dimensions.

Advantage play gambling paid off my house. What Obama has been doing for the last few years is exactly how you play something like no-limit Hold'Em, where you play as if you have one strategy for a long time on relatively minor hands and then pounce and reverse when an opportunity arises and nobody is likely to expect you to do what you're doing. This is exactly how he got the ACA passed, and right now it's how he is trying to kill this extortion technique in the House.

And frankly, I think it will work. Obama's advantage this time is the hidden players, the rich people who aren't the Koch brothers who have always thought of themselves as Republicans but who are very much not down with this, who are his pocket Kings.
posted by localroger at 6:25 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Your mouth to God's ears, but the idea that the richies will devote more effort to destroying folks they agree with on 99 percent of issues than to those they agree with on 40 percent seems pretty far-fetched.
posted by klangklangston at 6:31 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


klang, most of the "richies" aren't self-destructive narcissistic assholes. It only looks that way because the most vocal ones are. Believe me there are a lot of people with seven-digit net worths who are used to writing 5-figure donation checks who are loudly telling their reps that they will switch parties if this thing crashes into the wall. I actually know a couple of people like that and this is causing them to do a lot of soul-searching politicswise. This is not a good thing for any fraction of the Republican party.
posted by localroger at 6:35 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


and then pounce and reverse when an opportunity arises and nobody is likely to expect you to do what you're doing. This is exactly how he got the ACA passed,

Yeah, I don't know what news channel you were watching in 2009-2010, but that's not how the ACA battle went at all. Far from some kind of lurk then pounce strategy, it was a constant battle to twist arms and Rube Goldberg the shit out of it to get people like Presidents Snowe and Collins to sign on, only to have them walk away anyway. Then there was the internal battles against Bart Stupak and Ben Nelson. If you want anyone to buy into your idea that Obama somehow pulled a fast one or used any kind of bluffing strategy to make the ACA happen, you're really going to need to provide some kind of citation that shows that strategy in action. I certainly don't remember it that way.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:37 PM on October 9, 2013


(The twisted arms, by the way, were Democratic arms. Obama's primary enemies were conservatives in his own party. He got zero GOP votes, because he didn't need any. How is this an example of good strategy on his part?
posted by tonycpsu at 6:40 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tony, the Republicans' intentions in 2009-2010 were to not allow Obama or the Democrats to pass any legislation, at all, full stop. Obama gave up a bunch of other very sweet stuff including better forms of the ACA but then pulled a last-minute jujitsu that got the ACA we have through both houses of Congress, a move almost everybody thought was impossible for anything more significant than naming a public square.
posted by localroger at 6:42 PM on October 9, 2013


I think it's really easy to underestimate the accomplishment inherent in Obama getting any legislation whatsoever through Congress, not to mention something that has the long term good will potential of something like the ACA.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:44 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a sizable majority in the house, so the Republicans' intentions meant nothing. I don't see how you can argue that he deftly outmaneuvered the GOP on a bill that got zero GOP votes.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:45 PM on October 9, 2013


feloniousmonk: "I think it's really easy to underestimate the accomplishment inherent in Obama getting any legislation whatsoever through Congress, not to mention something that has the long term good will potential of something like the ACA."

Oh, don't get me wrong -- I recognize that it's a significant achievement -- but the GOP was entirely cut out of it. There's no strategery involved in a 60-vote Senate majority falling from the sky.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:47 PM on October 9, 2013


The Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a sizable majority in the house

Their majority in the Senate was not filibuster-proof. That was the entire problem.
posted by localroger at 6:47 PM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


localroger: " Their majority in the Senate was not filibuster-proof. That was the entire problem."

58 D + 2 I(D) == 60
posted by tonycpsu at 6:48 PM on October 9, 2013


It was, if there had been unity behind the ACA on the conservative wing of the party.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:49 PM on October 9, 2013


The Democratic majority was a coalition including Blue Dog members, who had minimal to zero incentive to cooperate with the President on anything. It was really a majority in name only. It was a saner version of the GOP/Tea Party divide, really, and about as productive for the Democratic majority as the current state of affairs is for the Republican majority.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:49 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


58 D + 2 I(D) == 60

It was only 58 D for a couple of 5-minute periods, and one of the I was always Joe Lieberman. The Senate filibuster was 2009's version of 2013's Boehner House.
posted by localroger at 6:52 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


They had a reason, it was pragmatic for the party to work with the President. Harry Reid is keeping everybody in line with a much smaller majority these days in order to protect the same bill. Of course, that reason isn't as compelling as protecting your own seat for a Senator.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:53 PM on October 9, 2013


It appears we're talking past each other, localroger. If you're saying Obama outmaneuvered the conservatives his own party on the ACA, I can see what you're saying, but I'd counter that he just outlasted them and larded it up to satisfy them. But I've yet to see any prominent examples of him outmaneuvering the GOP, which is what I thought you were trying to demonstrate.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:54 PM on October 9, 2013


I mean, really, has "winning" been defined down to "making the bill shitty enough to get Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to vote for it?"
posted by tonycpsu at 6:56 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well Tony maybe we'll see soon. He outmaneuvered a system that was stacked against him, in such a situation the smart player draws no distinction between "enemy" R's and "unreliable friend" D's. You either win the hand or you don't. Obama won hands nobody thought could be won, several times.

One of the most significant differences between chess and poker, other than perfection of information, is that the position you establish in poker through successful play is one-dimensional, the size of your stack, which is a thing but not nearly as meaningful as an established board position in chess. You can play what looks to be bad poker for many hours and then leave everyone at the table wondering how you got their money.
posted by localroger at 6:57 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, really, has "winning" been defined down to "making the bill shitty enough to get Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to vote for it?"

If those are the people with whom you have to work to get past the Republicans, then it kind of has to be.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:58 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the other side's stated goal is to prevent you from accomplishing anything, I think getting anything accomplished is pretty close to winning. I think the ACA is better than no progress whatsoever.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:58 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean, really, has "winning" been defined down to "making the bill shitty enough to get Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to vote for it?"

That is what compromise looks like in a functioning two party system. Everyone leaves a little unhappy with the outcome. The irony being, of course, that the Democrats had to negotiate with Democrats since the Republicans washed their hands of their own health care plan.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Really though, this is kind of a derail into the same old fight. This is sort of the essence of why this issue is so frustrating: operating the government should not involve values debates over policy. They're related but orthogonal. If the government has voted to fund a policy one day, it shouldn't then refuse to implement the funding when the time comes.
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:01 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also, to elaborate a bit more on the poker analogy, an important part of good poker play is not being afraid of looking like a bad poker player. If you go out looking like a shark those opportunities you need will always be denied to you. This is a critical part of the current standoff; if this was the first time, Obama folding his arms and saying "unconditional surrender" would look unreasonable. But he's done the reasonable thing, everyone saw how that panned out, and now the reasonable thing might be expected but the hard line doesn't look like such a dick move.
posted by localroger at 7:02 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


operating the government should not involve values debates over policy

I hear you have an interestingly sane alternate universe. Are there lots for sale?
posted by localroger at 7:03 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Y'know, if your base is a weird marriage of the super-rich and resentful working white people who are losing ground, then prosperity and broad economic well being are not your friends. Rising income inequality and stagnant or falling wages are. I honestly think the Republican agenda is basically "fuck the country and blame the minorities and entitlements". Their biggest fear about the ACA is that it will work.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:03 PM on October 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


We lost the 60 member majority when a couple of prominent Dem pols got taken out early. The state GOP led a successful recall drive and got Scott Brown in, then of course, Ted Kennedy died. That brought the Dems below the veto proof majority early on. Link with more details here, but take with a grain of salt. Just some blog. But it cites credible media accounts.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:04 PM on October 9, 2013


localroger, your theory is fine as theories go, but you have no evidence that shows he was just pretending to be a bad player instead of actually being a bad player. I think someone who wanted to win the most progressive bill possible with a majority in both houses would have pushed harder for single payer, even if they knew there wasn't a chance in hell of it happening. The GOP has used this Overton window-stretching strategy to great effect on any number of issues. I see no benefit to starting out with a position of lukewarm support of a public option when we already have single payer for the poor and the elderly. That's just horrible negotiating.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:14 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's even worse negotiation to go in with an offer you know people on your own side can't support, which is why I think the public option was never included. There was a non-trivial percentage of the Democratic caucus who wouldn't support it.
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:17 PM on October 9, 2013


Assuming that Obama wanted the most progressive bill possible might be a stretch. Obama ran a campaign pledging bipartisanship, and has generally tried for that.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:17 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


you have no evidence that shows he was just pretending to be a bad player instead of actually being a bad player

He got the ACA passed when the opposition party was opposed to letting him blow his nose and every similar effort in 40 years had failed. Single payer was never a possibility because even during those two 5-minute periods when "we" had 60 in the Senate Lieberman was one of them. If Obama was a bad player there would be no health plan at all, just as there wasn't after Bill & Hillary, and the people who are now covered under their parents' plans until 26 would be screwed and the people who can now buy insurance despite pre-existing conditions would be screwed, and as it's turned out the prices would be higher, so yes, it was a win.
posted by localroger at 7:18 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Boy it's going to be an awkward midterm election for some people if Obamacare actually turns out to be popular next year.

Nothing is ever awkward for them. They just rewrite the past or decide they never meant it.

I mean, Noelle Nikpour looked like a crazy person on the Daily Show and then tweeted about how she'd had a great time doing a comedy show, relax people...
posted by mdn at 7:28 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Assuming that Obama wanted the most progressive bill possible might be a stretch.

Obama wanted a bill that could pass that was better than the status quo. He knows to play on the field of the possible. This is, in fact, how he beat Hillary in the 2008 primary; playing the long game he picked up so many singleton delegates in ones and twos that finally winning California couldn't put Hillary over. That was the thing that convinced me he had the chops to be President.
posted by localroger at 7:34 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah. If ACA is a success, the moderate GOP can claim they saved ACA by fixing the the country financially, helping to reform to medicare and the tax code, and expellling the bat-shit insane Tehadists from their party. That's fine. Obama should take the high road and allow them some way to save face.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:39 PM on October 9, 2013


For those talking about the filibuster proof majority, and those counter-arguing that two of them were not formally Dems., remember that several Democrats did not reliable vote with the rest of the Dems. and certainly did not have the president's back. See, in re to health care: Montana's Max Baucus Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and a lawmaker Obama had no choice but to try to work with), Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, former Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, etc.
posted by raysmj at 7:43 PM on October 9, 2013


I honestly think the Republican agenda is basically "fuck the country and blame the minorities and entitlements".

Yup. The national GOP leadership knows that they can't win another presidential election without changing this, um, platform. And after the election autopsy reports, they paid some lip service to the idea of broadening the party to appeal to people who aren't typically in their wheelhouse.

But the demographic "problem" isn't a threat to Repubs in House, where gerrymandered districts will continue to produce extreme rightwingers that probably couldn't get elected at the state level, let alone national.

These wingers are now the face of the GOP, further undermining the leadership's half-hearted attempt to create a more inclusive GOP party. And really, the teabaggers have no incentive to tone it down. Their seats are safe, and they seem to be more interested in tearing the govt down piece by piece than actually administering it.

This is why republican governors are trying to pull away from DC republicans, and why some think that the party's best shot at 2016 is a Chris Christie or similar, who can embrace a different brand of conservatism than the one Congress is selling. In that case, I think the question for a lot of moderates and independents will be whether such a person could or would stand up to the extreme right in Congress, and on what issues.
posted by snarfles at 7:44 PM on October 9, 2013


I mean, really, has "winning" been defined down to "making the bill shitty enough to get Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to vote for it?"

If those are the people with whom you have to work to get past the Republicans, then it kind of has to be.


You must have numbers. It is very simple, you must have 60 votes to pass it. The glory days of the dems, 65 votes most of the time.

This guy has grabbed the grail of we as a society owning our duty to keep our fellow citzens healthy. Clinton, failed. LBJ, failed. Kennedy, failed. FDR failed. Obama succeeded. And he doesn't win dramatic victories. He just wins them. He's dogged, he never gives up on getting his agenda passed. And he has. Stimulus, Dodd-Frank, ACA, DADT repeal. He really doesn't buy into the antics, and gives ground when it suits him. Traded austerity for a tax increase. He forced the GOP to allow a significant income tax increase. A permanent one. And they are as choked on it as we are, because he kept entitlements out of the deal.

So, I guess what I'm saying is votes count. So everyone HAS to vote in 2014. Vote against any GOP candidate.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:50 PM on October 9, 2013 [26 favorites]


"Their seats are safe" presumes many things. One of them being that The Establishment would never want to see a (D) in that seat than a (BatshitInsane), just to prove the point that (BatshitInsane) isn't tolerated.

Prove the point that they're not secure and they'll fall in line.
posted by mikelieman at 7:52 PM on October 9, 2013


I've been reading Red State every day. They seriously do seem to be living in some kind of secondary universe where the shutdown is Obama's fault, his poll numbers are falling, and the few members or congress who are "showing some spine" are soon going to bring the sobbing Democrats to the table to concede to all demands.

It's mind-boggling.


No, it isn't, it's a calculated strategy. Let me drop into metaphor here. In wrestling--stay with me--there are the fans, usually kids, who think it's real, and then the fans who know it's all scripted but enjoy it for various reasons be it the theatrics or the acrobatics or two behemoths pretending to pound away at each other.

For a long time, that's also the way politics worked here in the States. Rudy Republican would go home and bitch about the commies and Dan Democrat would go home and bitch about the nazis, and there'd be all this high-flown rhetoric analogous to the chest-beating speeches in wrestling. And then they'd go back to Washington and chuckle about the rubes back home and get some shit done.

However, the Tea Party actually believes that the metaphorical wrestling is real. This is something I really have to fight to get through the heads of my irony-drenched liberal friends. It's like that interview with Scalia where he literally believes in the Devil and people were chortling like "The DEVIL? Come on, man!" Like it was some ruse or gag. But I know dudes like that and I've lived in places where they sell self-help books for getting demons out of your home at the grocery store. And they aren't speaking metaphorically or being ironic. They believe in a literal, evil, supernatural creature that can haunt your house and cause bad shit to happen.

And yes, the Obummer Muslim Kenyan Communist Socialist thing is actually what some right-wingers think. There is a massive media complex designed to keep them inflamed with fear that everything they have is going to come crashing down around them and it also tells them that said media complex is the only source that can be trusted. All the people making fun of them and laughing at them and posting witty imagemacros on Facebook just reinforce how right they are in their own minds, coupled with the natural self-segregation people do, so all their friends talk about the same thing, all they hear are the same things, and the media they take in are saying the same things. I mean, the Romney campaign was well and truly convinced they were going to win and genuinely astonished when they were not, because the whole right-wing bubble is absolutely vicious when anyone speaks up against the groupthink, so everyone was telling them it was a sure thing. It goes all the way to the top. They are true believers.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:52 PM on October 9, 2013 [89 favorites]



And yes, the Obummer Muslim Kenyan Communist Socialist thing is actually what some right-wingers think.


And as mentioned upthread much more eloquently, their goal IS destroying the government. They honestly believe that they've won, and the more destruction to the government that occurs, the better off they'll be.

Seriously, if the GOP could purge the paleocons for **suggesting** that the invasion of Iraq might not be a good idea, they can do likewise with these morons.
posted by mikelieman at 7:55 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


and there'd be all this high-flown rhetoric analogous to the chest-beating speeches in wrestling. And then they'd go back to Washington and chuckle about the rubes back home and get some shit done.

However, the Tea Party actually believes that the metaphorical wrestling is real.


Totally, utterly true.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:59 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


However, the Tea Party actually believes that the metaphorical wrestling is real.

"MARANATHA! COME LORD JESUS COME!" - Michelle Bachmann

some actually believe they are helping to bring about their own mis-reading of Revelation.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:04 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yada yada yeah these people are my family members too. My mother in law is one of them, and she's coming to stay with us next week. Should be awesome.

The reason I make fun of them is becuase there is no reaching them. There is no website that you can show them that will convince them they are wrong. They've been convinced that Politifact is an evil George Soros funded deception machine. Snopes lies. Etc, etc.

Screw it. I'm pointing out the crazy from here on out. Ridicule is my only release.
posted by Big_B at 8:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dear MetaFilter: thank you for helping me win fights on Facebook, for whatever that's worth. Being able to toss out the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 and the history of the debt ceiling just shut down someone who was determined to blame Obama.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 8:31 PM on October 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


Fuck you, Congress.
posted by medusa at 8:36 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Being able to toss out the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 and the history of the debt ceiling just shut down someone who was determined to blame Obama.

my someone simply stated i'd better stop drinking the libtard kool-aid and left it at that. you cannot reason with unreasonable. especially not with facts.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:50 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


my someone simply stated i'd better stop drinking the libtard kool-aid and left it at that. you cannot reason with unreasonable. especially not with facts.

Whenever I have conversations like that, I am reminded of Proverbs 26:4 and 26:5. And I think for a few seconds that I understand what the author had in mind.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 9:02 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


"MARANATHA! COME LORD JESUS COME!" - Michelle Bachmann

"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." - Matthew 24:36 (KJV naturally)

If no one, including you Bachmann, doesn't know and can't know when he'll arrive ("like a thief in the night" - meaning Christ's return will be expected as much as the the Spanish Inquisition), then you can't expect to somehow nudge God into saying "Ok, you've laid the groundwork of fear, death, destruction, and cat + dog cohabitation. How can I resist?"

I suppose other parts of the Bible talk about signs and such, but I like to think the plot hinges on the complete surprise angle. The sort of surprise which, once it happens, was totally foreshadowed by earlier episodes and you should have known it was coming, but still, total shock at the reveal. Kinda like how Republicans will feel in the blast wave of the default.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


>Ironmouth: [Obama] traded austerity for a tax increase.

Some trade there. Tax increases and spending cuts are both austerity policies. In other words, he traded austerity for more austerity. And remember that one of those tax increases was the payroll tax on the poorest of wage earners.
posted by JackFlash at 9:32 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth: [Obama] traded austerity for a tax increase.

Some trade there. Tax increases and spending cuts are both austerity policies. In other words, he traded austerity for more austerity. And remember that one of those tax increases was the payroll tax on the poorest of wage earners.


The better deal you would have gotten? Look at these people. You think there was a better deal to be had with these people who are doing this now? Please give me the vote count on how your additional stimulus was going to pass. It will be some kind of crazy math.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:46 PM on October 9, 2013


Let me get this straight: If treasury bonds yield plummets below 0, we're all fucked. The number one stable investment is treasury bonds. Has it ever happened before (yield=0)?

Would this put the US credit rating so low that we can only shop at Fingerhut and Rent-A-Center? Does RAC even have tanks and black hawks?

Also, would that also mean our 'partnership' with oil is in jeopardy? Will it consider the US$ too risky? What will they use? Euro? Yen? Rupees? Septims? What will happen then? Hyperinflation? Where should I put my investments now so that this doesn't affect me as much as it would if I invested in US based instruments? Iceland? They seem to be on the up-and-up nowadays.

Anyway, my main point is: What can I do? My nest-egg is very tiny (lost most of it in '08). I live in a Confed-O-Public now, and have considered investing in Ammo for it's new-found economic value (I don't own a gun, but am not opposed to your right to own one).
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 9:50 PM on October 9, 2013


The better deal you would have gotten?

The Bush Tax Cuts were on a sunset. The better deal would be to wait and negotiate from there using new tax cuts as leverage for spending.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:54 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


i can't help but think the media exposure* (if not 'actual journalism' ;) and that gallup poll aren't unrelated; keep it up! sunlight being the best disinfectant and all.

even if it doesn't always seem that way, politicians are listening (to the polls at least) and ultimately accountable to the electorate.

like in a different context, obama seems to be thinking: "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

-Obama Can't Save Us From Crisis Himself**[*]
-Where's The Liberal Tea Party?
-Tea Party radicalism is misunderstood: Meet the "Newest Right"
While each of the Newest Right's proposals and policies might be defended by libertarians or conservatives on other grounds, the package as a whole—from privatizing Social Security and Medicare to disenfranchising likely Democratic voters to opposing voting rights and citizenship for illegal immigrants to chopping federal programs into 50 state programs that can be controlled by right-wing state legislatures—represents a coherent and rational strategy for maximizing the relative power of provincial white elites at a time when their numbers are in decline and history has turned against them. They are not ignoramuses, any more than Jacksonian, Confederate and Dixiecrat elites were idiots. They know what they want and they have a plan to get it—which may be more than can be said for their opponents.
-Back Door Secession
The people behind these efforts are imitating what the Confederate States did even before they formally seceded in 1861. Already they ran a parallel government, in which the laws of the national government were blatantly disregarded. They denied the right of abolitionists to voice their arguments, killing or riding out of town over three hundred of them in the years before the Civil War. They confiscated or destroyed abolitionist tracts sent to Southern states by United States mail. In the United States Congress, they instituted "gag rules" that automatically tabled (excluded from discussion) anti-slavery petitions, in flagrant abuse of the First Amendment's right of petition...

So we have one condition that resembles the pre-Civil War virtual secessionism—the holding of a whole party hostage to its most extreme members. We also have the other antebellum condition—the disproportionate representation of the extreme faction. In state after state in the 2012 election, there was a large vote for President Obama, but a majority of House seats went to Republicans. In Pennsylvania, for instance, Obama won 52 percent of the votes cast, but Republicans got over twice as many seats (13 to 5), thanks to carefully planned gerrymandering of districts by Republican state legislatures. This advantage will be set in stone if all the voter restriction laws now being advanced block voters who might upset the disproportion.

The presiding spirit of this neo-secessionism is a resistance to majority rule. We see this in the Senate, where a Democratic majority is resisted at every turn by automatic recourses to the filibuster. We see it in the attempt to repeal the seventeenth amendment, which allows a majority of voters to choose a state's senators. The repealers want that choice to go back to the state legislatures, where they rule thanks to anti-majority gerrymandering.

The Old South went from virtual to actual secession only when the addition of non-slave Western states threatened their disproportionate hold on the Congress and the Court (which had been Southern in makeup when ruling on Dred Scott). It is difficult to conjecture what will happen if the modern virtual seceders do not get their way. Their anti-government rhetoric is reaching new intensity. Some would clearly rather ruin than be ruled by a "foreign-born Muslim." What will the Republicans who are not fanatics, only cowards, do in that case?
-Why Are We Talking About the Debt Ceiling Crisis As If It's Normal Politics? "It's crazy. How do you get across how insurrectionary this is?" ...it's not something that should get written about as if it's just a modest escalation of normal political disagreements. It's not normal. At all. But how do you get this across? How do you get across just how non-normal it is that we're even talking about it?"

---
*Republican Hostage Negotiation: "The GOP holds the government hostage over Obamacare, so Jason Jones employs a former F.B.I. hostage negotiator to resolve the situation."
**FULL TRANSCRIPT: President Obama's Oct. 8 news conference on the shutdown and debt limit
***he needs help!(*)
posted by kliuless at 10:28 PM on October 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


> an important part of good poker play is not being afraid of looking like a bad poker player.

As someone who's played a lot of games and has studied a lot of these games mathematically, I see people making statements about games and I go, "WTF?"

NO, you don't want to be playing poker with people who think you're a bad poker player at any time, even if you (have the mistaken belief that you) aren't. If betting to send a signal to your opponent is to have any value at all, it has value precisely when your opponent believes you actually mean what you "say". If you know your opponents think you're a moron you have two choices - folding, or betting the maximum each time.

My guess is that your total cumulative losses (without wins, or wins without losses, take your pick) in poker are almost certainly less than four figures, and certainly less than five - am I right?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:44 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've found a good way to win at poker is to set the AI on easy.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:48 PM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


> If treasury bonds yield plummets below 0, we're all fucked.

I don't see it. Why is this a problem? This would be a good thing.

Defaulting is a serious issue involving fuckedness. A moderately negative interest rate indicates that treasuries are particularly valuable and strong. It means we, the People of the United States, can actually get paid for borrowing money. Excellent!

At some point if the interest rate became too negative, you'd have to hold cash (and I mean "cash" as in "bales of printed US dollar denominated bills in a safe" cash). But even then, negative interest rates means a "Treasuries are so solid, we're willing to pay to own them" world.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:49 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


You don't want people to think you're bad at poker, but you do sometimes want people to think that you've misjudged the hand, which is not the same thing.
posted by empath at 10:49 PM on October 9, 2013


A moderately negative interest rate indicates that treasuries are particularly valuable and strong. It means we, the People of the United States, can actually get paid for borrowing money. Excellent!

This is why I think the current drive to reduce the debt is insane. If you were any business and could borrow unlimited money at near or lower than 0%, you would be crazy not to borrow as much as you can and invest it.
posted by empath at 10:51 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


> you do sometimes want people to think that you've misjudged the hand

Even there, it's really not clear with serious players that this offers you any advantage at all.

All gambling games amongst strong, rational players involve hoping that your evaluation of your hand is better than your opponent's - even if only marginally. If you believed that your opponent was systematically better at evaluating the value of hands, you'd go home.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:53 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


And to jump to a bigger picture, I've been hearing for almost five years now that Mr. Obama is somehow playing this magical game where even though he loses consistently, he's thinking eleven dimensionally and taking less of a loss than a lesser, mortal player might take.

Occam's Razor says that he's just a bad player. Sorry, guys!

I think the moment this idea clarified for me is after he simply gave away the renewal of the Bush tax cuts without securing a debt ceiling limit raise - saying that his opponents were "honorable". At that point I just knew he was a moron. But I suspected it after a year of trying to get the Republicans to buy into the Affordable Care Act even though they were on TV every week saying that they would never agree to it - which they, no surprise, never did, even five years later.

Really, nothing has since then has had any hope of convincing me that Mr. Obama is not a moron who's simply capable of giving good speeches. (The other possibility is that he's a bright guy who's deliberately playing a bad game because he wants to get the bad results we are in fact getting. It's at least as plausible, to me.)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:01 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Really, nothing has since then has had any hope of convincing me that Mr. Obama is not a moron who's simply capable of giving good speeches.

Really? That's what we're going with? That Obama is a moron? I'm sure if you were president, you could get this sorted out over some beers. Please.
posted by empath at 11:04 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sigh.

I don't mean he's a literal moron. I mean he has dramatically underperformed in his position and is unlikely to improve in the future.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:08 PM on October 9, 2013


And this is what we keep getting. Not, "Our hero Mr. Obama has scored this amazing win!" but, "Here's the outcome. Sorry it's so shitty, but imagine if Mr. Obama were not President."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the 11th dimensional chess stuff and I think he has made some serious errors in judgement along the way, but the dude strikes me as an extremely intelligent and thoughtful and effective leader. He has done a lot of good things for this country and I think he has earned a decent amount of respect. Even if underperforming, you can phrase it better than calling him a moron I think.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:09 PM on October 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


Really? That's what we're going with? That Obama is a moron?

Well, he's a lot smarter than me, but his whole approach to Syria does indicate a somewhat lack of strategic thinking at times.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:10 PM on October 9, 2013


As to Syria, you know what they call a great success which is stumbled into through lucky breaks?

A great success.

And I say that as someone who as anyone reading Metafilter threads on the subject probably knows was harshly critical of the policies leading up to where we are now.
posted by Justinian at 11:11 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I could phrase it better than "moron" but frankly, this leader (or "leader") has not earned my respect for his negotiation skills, and more, has not impressed me in the slightest with his integrity either. "Moron" is a placeholder for a complex set of generally negative adjectives which would be too tedious to enumerate.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:12 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, he's a lot smarter than me, but his whole approach to Syria does indicate a somewhat lack of strategic thinking at times.

Not if you assume that he doesn't want to get involved. His main error from my point of view was drawing a red-line at chemical weapons, which he probably did because he didn't imagine that they'd actually use them, and it seems like he managed to extricate himself from having to intervene, perhaps accidentally, but either way, we aren't in Syria right now.
posted by empath at 11:12 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Moron" is a placeholder for a complex set of generally negative adjectives which would be too tedious to enumerate.

No, it's sloppy and pointlessly contentious.
posted by empath at 11:13 PM on October 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


As well, as per the YouTube link to President Obama's Oct. 8 news conference on the shutdown and debt limit, his rhetoric is pretty bellicose and non-conciliatory rhetoric (using conciliatory language, or at least toning down the rhetoric, is not the same as caving in to unreasonable demands) is pretty surprising, since it does not allow Boehner or moderate Republicans much chance to save face.

I guess the strategy is to literally hammer Boehner's credibility and hope cracks appear in the Republican caucus, but it seems like a pretty risky approach when the stakes are so high.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:15 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


> No, it's sloppy and pointlessly contentious.

Would you prefer "ethically compromised leader with almost pathologically bad negotiation skills and a pathetic desire to get approval from Important People no matter what the cost to the vast majority of humans"?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:16 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


but either way, we aren't in Syria right now.

I know this is derail territory, but as a non-American my point was American credibility was pretty seriously negatively affected by the various reversals and missteps by John Kerry and company.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:17 PM on October 9, 2013


Anyway, hopefully this will be resolved soon...

Republican Party leaders, activists and donors now widely acknowledge that the effort to kill President Obama’s signature initiative by hitting the brakes on the government has been a failure. The law has largely disappeared from their calculus as they look for a way out of the impasse over the shutdown and for a way to avoid a possible default on U.S. debt.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:20 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy:
Or, in reality, it could be that he has no actual ability to, you know, write laws, since that's not part of the powers enumerated in the Constitution for the Executive Branch to do. It is not his job to write laws. It is not within his realm of influence to do any of the things people keep blaming him for or saying he's not good at negotiating or whatever. It really does not matter what he says, or what deals you think he should be cutting or what games he should be winning. He has to have someone in his Party bring all this legislation that people keep saying he should be negotiating for. And since his party does not control the House, well, that just is not going to happen.

So yeah, great, he's the President, which kind of makes him the de facto Democratic Party leader, but it does not mean he can write laws or propose bills without a member of Congress sponsoring those bills and some chance of getting those bills past committee and for the Speaker of the House to allow that bill to be brought to the floor for a vote. That's just how this works.

So no, he's not playing poker, or 11-dimensional chess. All he is doing is running the Executive Branch, with the power of veto over anything that doesn't have a 2/3 majority to overturn the veto from both the House and Senate.

I mean, this is fucking 7th grade Civics shit here. I know the narrative in the media is all about Obama and how he needs to negotiate with Boehner or whatever, but in the really real world of how the sausage is made, his job is to either sign the bills into law, or veto them if he wants to. That is about it.

And buying into that bullshit narrative that he somehow has the ability to negotiate with anything is fucking stupid. It is the other House Democrats and their leadership that the Republicans are supposed to be negotiating with. Boehner is showing his media training by trying to misdirect all of this responsibility on to the Executive Branch when it is entirely not how this works. Boehner is the one mucking up everything by not allowing votes, and not allowing conference commiitees between the House and Senate to reconcile the budget that was PASSED in both the House and Senate in March '13.

There is no game here. This is full on obstruction of the way that Congress is supposed to work by the Republicans solely because they have enough votes to have the majority. And until they don't have that majority anymore, they will continue to stonewall and block any legislation. End of story.

Presidents are not kings. They don't get to dictate what laws the Congress will vote on UNLESS their party has the majority, or they can convince enough of the opposition to vote with them on their proposed policies. Ever heard of Lame Duck Presidents? Welcome to what that looks like. Only it's only half lame. Full lame would be if both the House and Senate were controlled by the opposition party to the sitting President.
posted by daq at 11:22 PM on October 9, 2013 [46 favorites]


> Republican Party leaders, activists and donors now widely acknowledge that the effort to kill President Obama’s signature initiative by hitting the brakes on the government has been a failure.

Thank goodness - though I also believed that they weren't going to actually go all the way, this time.

Each time they get closer to hitting an artery with the knife. They aren't going to be satisfied until they see the blood fountaining up into the air.

But at least time we dodged the bullet again.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:22 PM on October 9, 2013


Also, it is my theory that the office of the President was originally conceived of as a way to distract the populous from the things that Congress was doing by giving people a figurehead to distract them by either having them love or hate him and his antics. Very much like the Zaphod Beeblebrox President of the Galaxy thing, only it got all screwy as Congress kept giving more and more responsibilities and powers over to the Executive Branch throughout the 19th and 20th century. There was a reason George Washington thought that having a President was a bad idea, and that was mostly because he knew that it would end up distracting the public from being fully engaged citizens. He was an anti-monarchist to begin with, and having a President is something that is basically a surrogate King/Queen.

It's diabolical and for the most part, "it just works", because it is so much easier to manipulate people by focusing on a single actor, than on the collective actions of multiple actors either working in opposition or in cahoots.

But, well, whatever.
posted by daq at 11:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


When did we dodge a bullet? I'm not even remotely convinced that this is over by articles about cracks in the GOP.
posted by raysmj at 11:30 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Or, in reality, it could be that he has no actual ability to, [boring stuff I read and decided was pointless deleted]

blah blah "the President is powerless" etc etc.

The President of the United States is the most powerful person on the planet. The US is the most powerful country on this planet, but more, the Constitution and subsequent case law puts the executive branch into a position of unusual power over all democracies.

It's 2013. I gave this guy reasonable doubt for four years. He's a rotten, lameass champion. Your arguments amount to nothing more than "Failure is the only outcome."

The very first time they threatened defaulting he should have made it absolutely clear - "The only way I will allow the US to default on its debts is if I'm dragged from this office in chains. I will never under any circumstances give the order to default because it will destroy this country, and if you don't like it, impeach me."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:31 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Republican Party leaders, activists and donors now widely acknowledge that the effort to kill President Obama’s signature initiative by hitting the brakes on the government has been a failure.

They mention the Koch Industries PR letter, but I think they really do a disservice by saying it comes from the Koch Brothers themselves, and not their company. They are not one and the same, and conflating the two is dishonest.
posted by daq at 11:32 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Has anyone suggested that perhaps the mainstream republicans and democrats might just be happy to jointly throw the tea party under the bus here
posted by dougiedd at 11:34 PM on October 9, 2013


> When did we dodge a bullet?

Assuming this is resolved, as KokuRyu's link seems to indicate - and as I believe is the most likely outcome.

You have to play with the blade at your neck several times before you finally make the cut. We haven't, quite, got there yet.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:34 PM on October 9, 2013


The US President has enormous power in foreign policy, but far less inherent power than the legislative branch. Scalia was right about this in his recent, long interview, despite all the other wacky stuff he said. The presidency is a glorified clerkship (in the words of political scientist and former Truman staffer Richard Neustadt) in that capacity. This is what any I strong to American Govt. instructor or decent high school American civics teacher can or certainly should be teaching students. international affairs and Obama's role in them have close to zero influence here.
posted by raysmj at 11:43 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


The better deal you would have gotten? Look at these people. You think there was a better deal to be had with these people who are doing this now? Please give me the vote count on how your additional stimulus was going to pass. It will be some kind of crazy math.

Would that math be any crazier than one person risking our entire economy by not holding a stupid vote in the House for purely political and/or ideological and/or personal reasons? Because that's really crazy math.

Yes, there are extenuating circumstances surrounding the current crisis, and I'm loath to see Democrats resort to the same kind of hostage-taking that Republicans are engaged in, but it's just really, really, really, frustrating to always be told that the policies I support aren't politically feasible while the GOP/Tea Party is able to throw a tantrum and shut down the entire freakin' government.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:45 PM on October 9, 2013


My fellow Mefites, saulgoodman argues that this thread has more than five hundred comments, is more than twelve hours old, and provides significant loading time savings over the prior thread. But despite being ratified by the mods and by the community, I'm concerned that you've all made a terribly foolish mistake -- this topic is clearly mine, and best represented by the Real shutdown/default thread I posted last week.

Matt, please don't be alarmed that I've taken control of the site's billing account -- Metafilter, LLC's monthly server payment will clear just fine. Just as soon as saulgoodman requests this post be deleted, all favorites and comments transposed to my post, and that my post gets sidebarred and posted to the Best Of blog.



Or what? You don't want to be responsible for the catastrophic failure of Mefi's servers, do you? You can't honestly be that petty and irresponsible.

I'm waiting. As is The Planet's accounts receivable department.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:46 PM on October 9, 2013 [53 favorites]


Boehner has been embarrassed by his own party's failure to go along with him already, Cruz is unpredictable and has ludicrously strong Tea Party support, some lawmakers might not agree to anything without deep cuts to entitlements. Who knows with these folks? Until I see vote counts on a specific bipartisan agreement, I'm not believing that anything is over.
posted by raysmj at 11:49 PM on October 9, 2013


The American public should collectively sequester their work. Take two weeks off, just like the Feds. Shut. It. All. Down.

This would get the attention of The Powers That Be.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:51 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of Democratic legislation, America, at least it's an ethos."
posted by jason_steakums at 11:51 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Its The Republican Party's self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own America's destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order."
- Walter Benjamin
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:59 AM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


obama isn't a lousy poker player, he's just got a lousy hand
posted by pyramid termite at 2:41 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


if anybody saw the last 'dodged a bullet comment' and was like, 'hooooorraaay' there's no deal on the table, just the latest crazy about 'it's not about ACA after all' with a funny quote from Grover Norquist about Cruz because, outside of the realm of mental illness, it's funny to see crazy call crazy crazy.
posted by angrycat at 3:23 AM on October 10, 2013


You don't want people to think you're bad at poker,

Poker. Yeah I've seen it on tv now and again. Is it fun to play?
posted by mikelieman at 4:07 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe electing several dozen stupid people who quite literally don't understand how American government works- I mean, actually operates on a civics level as opposed to conjecture- to run said American government was a pretty fucking bad idea.

The US won't be the first empire to be laid low by the Dunning-Kruger effect. Probably not the last one either.
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:33 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't get Dave Weigel's latest update. He seems to say that there's a good chance that there will be a two/three week lift of the ceiling to negotiate on entitlements. How is that going to happen. Maybe I'm uninformed/too angry, but are there any areas of legislation upon which the crazy people and the Dems agree? There was some mention of the Baucus committee, but, honestly, I would really love to hear a Tea Party proposal and think, 'hmm that sounds reasonable.' Hasn't happened, to my knowing.
posted by angrycat at 4:36 AM on October 10, 2013


Those trying to use strained Texas Hold-Em metaphors need to realize there are two pots.

The GOP and the Dems are working a big pot. (The 2013 CR/Government Shutdown.) Suddenly, the Tea Party steals most of the GOP's remaining stack and goes all in. The President and the Senate Majority Leader call. (This is the Debt Limit.) The GOP, now short thanks to the Tea Party, is forced to call short and is now playing a side pot. The Dems now have to bet.

It is perfectly possible for the GOP to screw the Tea Party by voting an increase of the debt limit while continuing to not vote a budget or continuing resolution. This leaves the US in a bad place, but not a catastrophic one, does not involve an economic nuclear attack on the global economy, and would be a huge political loss for the Teabaggers as a whole and Ted Cruz in particular. John Boehner would only survive as speaker with the help of the Dems.

Both a clean CR and debt limit raise means the Dems rake both pots. Boehner gets fired.

A default (read, the Dems lose on the showdown) means the Tea Party rakes the main pot, the GOP rakes the side pot, and nobody cares because we're fucked.

If the Dems fold (read, agree to suspend ACA), then the GOP and the Tea Party rake and the Dems are busted out. Obama's presidency is doomed, the GOP will just use the same trick over and over, knowing Obama will cave.

This is why he won't. At least, god, I hope he doesn't, because we are fucked hard if he does.
posted by eriko at 5:06 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Believe me there are a lot of people with seven-digit net worths who are used to writing 5-figure donation checks who are loudly telling their reps that they will switch parties if this thing crashes into the wall.

The 2 party "system" is part of the problem.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:13 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm super-late to this thread, but I feel obligated to link CGPGrey's video explaining the debt limit, because I will use literally any excuse to link his videos I can find.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 5:24 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Amarillo Slim line gets quoted out of context a lot. Here it is (from the 2005 version of his 1973 Play Poker to Win):
It never hurts for potential opponents to think you're more than a little stupid and can hardly count all the money in your hip pocket, much less hold onto it. That's one reason why I wear a big cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and western duds--especially when I'm globe-trotting and looking for high action. People everywhere assume that anyone from Texas in a ten-gallon hat is not only a billionaire but an easy mark, a real hayseed. That's just fine with me, because that's the impression I'm trying to leave. This approach puts those dudes in the category of guessers, and guessers are losers in poker, guessers are losers! That's my meat, to make the other guy guess. If a player makes a bet, it's me who's guessing whether he's got a hand or not. But if this cat makes me a mediocre bet and I play back at him, he is the one guessing. He's saying to himself, "Well, reckon that slim son of a bitch has got a hand or not?" As a guesser, he's at a psychological disadvantage and getting into a situation where I can move in on him fast.
Note that he is talking about potential opponents who do not know that they are up against Amarillo Fucking Slim.

The worry for me is that Cruz, Bachmann & Co. aren't the proverbial suckers at the table... they are the Koch Brothers' ten-gallon hat.
posted by argonauta at 5:27 AM on October 10, 2013 [17 favorites]


I'm super-late to this thread, but I feel obligated to link CGPGrey's video explaining the debt limit yt , because I will use literally any excuse to link his videos I can find.

I was literally screaming at the radio on the way home yesterday when NPR was interviewing Sen. Susan Collins:
I certainly don't want to see the United States default on its obligations and not pay its bills on time. On the other hand, I don't think passing a trillion-dollar increase in the debt ceiling without doing anything at all about our $17 trillion national debt is the right approach. So what I would like to see is...,
...and Melissa Block failed to even slightly challenge this completely insane confusion over the debt limit versus the national debt.

It is despicable that legislators aren't being challenged on this basic, basic stuff.
posted by odinsdream at 5:35 AM on October 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


I don't get Dave Weigel's latest update. He seems to say that there's a good chance that there will be a two/three week lift of the ceiling to negotiate on entitlements.

This is the hope of the GOP - since the President refuses to work with the immediate threat hanging over his head, they hope it will work better when it's a looming threat. They think their problem was leaving it to the last minute, and if they can make their demands with some breathing room, Obama will now be willing to be bullied by the debt ceiling.

No dice, guys. I doubt any bill that doesn't push the next debt ceiling brouhaha past the 2014 elections won't make it out of the senate. The Democratic Party's primary goal is now to put the political process back on the rails by all means at their disposal.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:47 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


And to jump to a bigger picture, I've been hearing for almost five years now that Mr. Obama is somehow playing this magical game where even though he loses consistently, he's thinking eleven dimensionally and taking less of a loss than a lesser, mortal player might take.

Losing? Which planet are you on? Obama laid out a series of policy proposals: a stimulus package, repeal of DADT, Wall Street reform, Health Care Reform, killing bin Laden, closing Gitmo, repeal of DOMA and a tax increase on richer Americans.

He didn't get Gitmo closure because of his own party, and DOMA was gutted by the Supreme Court.

Can you name another Democratic President who gave out such a laundry list and got it passed?

Clinton wanted Health Care Reform and a whole laundry list. You have to go back to LBJ to see a President who got his agenda passed.

And this President got it passed with only 2 years of a far smaller majority than LBJ had for every second of his presidency. Think about how much resistance this President has had, yet he has still enacted his agenda.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:11 AM on October 10, 2013 [42 favorites]


want to see the United States default on its obligations and not pay its bills on time. On the other hand, I don't think passing a trillion-dollar increase in the debt ceiling without doing anything at all about our $17 trillion national debt is the right approach

Your excellent point aside, see how they are trying to shift the game to more cuts? It means they are losing.

Also, a clean short term increase is fine. In 1995 the GOP started really losing bad when they tried to push it again after an extension.

The problem here is that the GOP wants a situation where they have won the election and aren't splitting.

Also, question: would you trade a debt ceiling raise and opening the government for immigration reform?
posted by Ironmouth at 6:16 AM on October 10, 2013


I was literally screaming at the radio on the way home yesterday when NPR was interviewing Sen. Susan Collins [snip] ...and Melissa Block failed to even slightly challenge this completely insane confusion over the debt limit versus the national debt.

Imagine my surprise.

I would add that Block also failed to point out the fact that Senator Susan "National Debt Concern Troll" Collins thought it was hunky-dory to pay for two wars with a tax cut, and supported every massively-in-deficit budget to come down the pike as long as a Republican was in the White House.
posted by Gelatin at 6:27 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


No dice, guys. I doubt any bill that doesn't push the next debt ceiling brouhaha past the 2014 elections won't make it out of the senate. The Democratic Party's primary goal is now to put the political process back on the rails by all means at their disposal.

There's another option, and I think that absolutely nobody will like it except the Beltway press (who eat this shit up) and the less politically-involved, and seems too clever by half, but is exactly the kind of thing that will play well in Peoria:
1) Boehner and his Gang of 18 (c'mon, we know that's what they'll be called) tromp over to the White House this morning. While they're there, Obama tells them that Reid is going to introduce a CR with a rider that transfers debt ceiling raises to the President subject to a 2/3rds supermajority veto in Congress, an idea actually proposed by Mitch McConnell back in 2011.

2) With this bill, Reid and Obama will dare the Senate, and McConnell in particular, to filibuster it. In terms of "optics" it looks like not only is the GOP blocking the debt ceiling raise, but they're doing it to their own legislation. But Reid probably has the six GOP members to get away with cloture vote, and after that he just needs 51 (or 50+Biden if need be).

3) Obama promises the Gang of 18 negotiations, and probably budges on a couple things like the medical device tax (which is hated by everyone). Hopefully the latter part doesn't include scary shit like Keystone XL or Chained CPI, but with Obama it's depressingly hard to tell. Let's stay in our happy place and assume that he offers talks but nothing concrete (after all, he can't lose many Democrats on the left), just enough cover for Boehner to not go down in the history books as the man who started the Second Great Depression/World War Z/etc.

4) Obama (and Pelosi) promise that Boehner keeps the gavel as long as he can bring the Gang of 18 along with him. The same offer is probably extended to Cantor and/or Ryan, assuming Boehner retires and the GOP keeps the House as expected.
Like I said, this seems too clever to work well, is riddled with parliamentary back-and-forth that has multiple points of failure, and is completely opaque to 99% of Americans. But it's possible.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:37 AM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Losing? Which planet are you on? Obama laid out a series of policy proposals:

Your right. Obama and the Government isn't loosing.

There must be some loser with the NSA spying and the new bar set on government transparency however.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:50 AM on October 10, 2013


Greg Sargent: "Multiple reports this morning tell us that the House GOP is set to roll out yet another strategy. They appear ready to support a “clean” six week debt limit hike, while keeping the government shut down and using that as their leverage to keep up the fight against Obamacare.

...

The new idea appears to be that if Republicans keep the government shutdown status quo alive long enough — deferring default for the time being — then vulnerable Dems will ultimately cave and give up…something. But what? No one knows."

Sorry, essential workers. Keep working for 6 more weeks, but don't expect any pay after tomorrow.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:07 AM on October 10, 2013


I was literally screaming at the radio on the way home yesterday when NPR was interviewing Sen. Susan Collins ...

Oh, I hate NPR* with this kind of stuff. They always do this "here's the Democratic view" and "here's the Republican response" without any context or without bothering to point out that the Republican response is total nonsense wharrgarbl.

*On The Media excepted.
posted by octothorpe at 7:23 AM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's well known that reality has a liberal bias, and NPR can't afford to show any bias, soooo...
posted by entropicamericana at 7:50 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


No dice, guys. I doubt any bill that doesn't push the next debt ceiling brouhaha past the 2014 elections won't make it out of the senate. The Democratic Party's primary goal is now to put the political process back on the rails by all means at their disposal.

I don't know about that. I do think the Dems want to get the political process back on the rails, but I also think they don't want to do something that could lead to an economic catastrophe. They want to look like the responsible people here.

If I'm Obama and/or Reid, and the House passes a short-term increase, I'd say something like this: "We would prefer a long-term increase, but if we have to, the Senate will pass this and the President will sign it. We do not want to prompt an economic catastrophe. However, we also refuse to negotiate under threat, and a six-week debt limit is a ticking time bomb, and it still constitutes a threat. We'll pass/sign whatever debt ceiling increase the House gives us if we have no other choice, but we will not negotiate on anything until a long-term increase is passed."
posted by breakin' the law at 7:55 AM on October 10, 2013


The House GOP's Little Rule Change That Guaranteed A Shutdown
Late on the night of Sept. 30, with the federal government just hours away from shutting down, House Republicans quietly made a small change to the House rules that blocked a potential avenue for ending the shutdown.

It went largely unnoticed at the time. But with the shutdown more than a week old and House Democrats searching for any legislative wiggle room to end it, the move looms large in retrospect in the minds of the minority party.

"What people don't know is that they rigged the rules of the House to keep the government shut down," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, told TPM in an interview. "This is a blatant effort to make sure that the Senate bill did not come up for a vote."
posted by zombieflanders at 8:01 AM on October 10, 2013 [15 favorites]


The 2 party "system" is part of the problem.

Duverger's Law
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:26 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The GOP is on TV right now caving. I reiterate my comment from the other thread:

You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!
posted by Justinian at 8:26 AM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Is this debt ceiling only or a CR to reopen the government?
posted by cmfletcher at 8:35 AM on October 10, 2013


Debt ceiling only. Short term.
posted by Uncle Ira at 8:36 AM on October 10, 2013


The GOP is on TV right now caving.

Money talks, the GOP walks.

Same as it ever was.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:37 AM on October 10, 2013


Short-term debt ceiling increase to make time for more negotiations is my understanding. The government would remain shutdown.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:38 AM on October 10, 2013


Yes, they are hanging on to the governmental shutdown. But that's a face saving measure; I expect that in a few weeks or whatever when they get the longer term debt limit increase it will include the CR.
posted by Justinian at 8:38 AM on October 10, 2013



Oh, that's helpful. Are they marching for Rand Paul or something?
posted by superghost at 8:39 AM on October 10, 2013


So I shouldn't have liquidated my 401k to buy ammo and canned food?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:39 AM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


You can never have enough ammo.
posted by Justinian at 8:39 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or canned food. I mean, Spam is a staple of Hawaiian cuisine.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:40 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Awesome, everyone! Let's do this all again right before Thanksgiving, shall we?
posted by MoonOrb at 8:41 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are they gonna need D votes to pass this thing? Make them reopen the government.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 8:41 AM on October 10, 2013


Redstate: House GOP Preparing to Give Up

This is not going over well with the RedStaters.
posted by octothorpe at 8:41 AM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, snap!
posted by KokuRyu at 8:42 AM on October 10, 2013


This doesn't sound like caving, it sounds like they still want negotiations before opening the government. Unless that means just talks and no deals that's still a huge win for the GOP, because that means they've won the hostage taking war.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:44 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder if Obama could have the GSA cut the power, ac and heat off at the capital and congressional office buildings. Also suspend house keeping and janitorial services until things are re-opened.
posted by humanfont at 8:45 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


he better deal you would have gotten?

The Bush Tax Cuts were on a sunset. The better deal would be to wait and negotiate from there using new tax cuts as leverage for spending.


Except how do you convince the country they need their taxes raised if you want to use it on spending? If you don't, you lose too many seats.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:46 AM on October 10, 2013


So I shouldn't have liquidated my 401k to buy ammo and canned food?

It is possible that the increase in food costs will exceed what the investment would have made. Plus when you can't afford Obamacare and need to go onto Medicaid you'd need to liquidate the 401k anyway.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:46 AM on October 10, 2013


Except how do you convince the country they need their taxes raised

The taxes are on a sunset. You are convincing them to accept tax cuts.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:48 AM on October 10, 2013


So I shouldn't have liquidated my 401k to buy ammo and canned food?

Protip: with the right caliber barrel, canned food is ammo.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:48 AM on October 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


The WH is just said no dice unless the deal includes both debt ceiling and government reopened, which is exactly right.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:50 AM on October 10, 2013 [23 favorites]


link?
posted by Drinky Die at 8:51 AM on October 10, 2013


I wonder if Obama could have the GSA cut the power, ac and heat off at the capital and congressional office buildings. Also suspend house keeping and janitorial services until things are re-opened.

The Italian town I used to live in once hosted a conclave for a new Pope that went on for a year as the cardinals enjoyed their fine hospitality.

After a year, they apparently took the roof off the building and fed them nothing but bread and water. I hear it works like a charm!
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:53 AM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


I wish I could watch every moment of Boehner's humiliation.

I know that is bloodthirsty, but I am bloodthirsty.
posted by angrycat at 8:54 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


GOP plan will also prevent Treasury from taking "extraordinary measures" i.e. the only reason we didn't default ba ck in May. This isn't caving, this is a shady backstabbing that Obama should reveal for the sham it is. He needs to punt, then twist the knife by telling the public about the House GOP rule that forced shutdown.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:55 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The sheriff says you have to return the rancher's daughter and the cattle you rustled.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:55 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cue the GOP response that it's now Obama using the debt ceiling for leverage. The WH messaging team is surely prepared for this, and the "trading one hostage for another" talking point writes itself, but I worry about a strategy that depends on the press accurately reporting what's going on instead of just repeating what both sides say is going on.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:55 AM on October 10, 2013


Except how do you convince the country they need their taxes raised if you want to use it on spending?

When there is no political entity that articulates the reasons, via ideological parables and through political action, why such things should be happening, the answer is "you can't". That sums up the effete nature of the Democrats. There is no longer a significant US party that plays class warfare from the bottom up. So all we get is the perpetual rightward ratcheting that we see now. This particular event is hardly a victory, and I don't see the GOP as "caving" in any significant way. They've just punted. For now.

Obama and his party have failed us precisely because they have no interest in actually changing this dynamic--because they are beholden to more or less the same financial interests as the GOP. The process of relentless extraction--from the middle class as from the land--will continue.
posted by mondo dentro at 8:56 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


White House reaction
posted by cmfletcher at 8:56 AM on October 10, 2013


White House: No budget talks until government reopens
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 8:56 AM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Except how do you convince the country they need their taxes raised

The taxes are on a sunset. You are convincing them to accept tax cuts.


Yes, you explain to Americans that their taxes going up is a tax cut. Ought to go over like gangbusters.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:57 AM on October 10, 2013


The very first time they threatened defaulting he should have made it absolutely clear - "The only way I will allow the US to default on its debts is if I'm dragged from this office in chains. I will never under any circumstances give the order to default because it will destroy this country, and if you don't like it, impeach me."

The shutdown sucks, but hey the fanfics are great.
posted by Theta States at 8:59 AM on October 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


Yes, you explain to Americans that their taxes going up is a tax cut. Ought to go over like gangbusters.

I wouldn't be explaining that since it would not be what I was doing.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:01 AM on October 10, 2013


The shutdown sucks, but hey the fanfics are great.

"The only way I will allow the US to default on its debts is if I'm dragged from this office in chains." Boehner unravels a length of chain and starts to wrap it around the president. "No, please, stop!" President Obama cries, a coy smile on his face.

"Maybe we can come to a clean resolution," Boehner returns his smile. The Lincoln bedroom is just down the hall. . .
posted by Think_Long at 9:03 AM on October 10, 2013 [16 favorites]


yeah, that's just wrong
posted by angrycat at 9:04 AM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Maybe we can come to a clean resolution," Boehner returns his smile. The Lincoln bedroom is just down the hall. . .

does Obamacare cover brain bleach?
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:04 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think the brain bleach is administered by little death panels.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:05 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Obama and his party have failed us precisely because they have no interest in actually changing this dynamic--because they are beholden to more or less the same financial interests as the GOP. The process of relentless extraction--from the middle class as from the land--will continue.

Saying that Obama and his party have failed us because they haven't done something they aren't interested in doing sounds more like we have failed by not choosing leaders who have pledged to change that dynamic. The blame lies elsewhere.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:07 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, you explain to Americans that their taxes going up is a tax cut. Ought to go over like gangbusters.

I wouldn't be explaining that since it would not be what I was doing.


When the GOP plan is "no tax increase at all?" Really, now. Obama wanted to raise taxes. Playing up is down bullshit games just like the GOP? That's your solution? Call it a tax increase slimdown? Just like them? One thing I've noticed about the US far left--they actually admire the Tea Party methods and think its good for the country, as long as their policy priorities are the ones at the end of the lie.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:08 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fear is the little death panel.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:09 AM on October 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


When the GOP plan is "no tax increase at all?" Really, now. Obama wanted to raise taxes. Playing up is down bullshit games just like the GOP? That's your solution? Call it a tax increase slimdown? Just like them? One thing I've noticed about the US far left--they actually admire the Tea Party methods and think its good for the country, as long as their policy priorities are the ones at the end of the lie.

No. I would propose tax cuts from the rates after the sunset. Just tax cuts. Literal actual tax cuts.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:12 AM on October 10, 2013


Ironmouth, Obama did some of the very same "up is down" messaging with the fiscal cliff deal. Yes, the marginal rate went up on top earners, but the income level at which that rate kicks in doubled at the same time, depriving us of a lot of revenue for people in the $200k-$400k range.

Meanwhile, the payroll tax holiday expired, and, yes, I know it was only meant to be a temporary stimulus measure, but when you're increasing taxes more significantly (as a portion of income) on the working class than you are on people making six figures, well, that's not exactly a progressive win, even if it does hit the richest of the rich harder.

Maybe the blue team got all they could out of the deal, maybe they didn't, but I don't see it as a big win when, as Drinky says, they had the sunset to use as leverage.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:15 AM on October 10, 2013


The concession will be that Obama agrees to start calling this amazing money-saving, jobs-creating, Republican-tested, Heritage-designed, free-market-supporting law ReaganCare and then everybody can go home.
posted by gauche at 9:16 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Saying that Obama and his party have failed us because they haven't done something they aren't interested in doing sounds more like we have failed by not choosing leaders who have pledged to change that dynamic. The blame lies elsewhere.

What you're saying is formally true, but otherwise terribly glib. I certainly agree that US citizens have a large degree of responsibility for the state of our country, starting with a general apathy and ignorance when it comes to civic matters. But let's be honest here: who have the people actually had to vote for? It's been the Globetrotters vs. the Generals at least for 60 years now.

A basic principle of ethics is that those with more power have more responsibility. The fact is that both parties spend a tremendous amount of time lying (let's call it what it is) to the people to get their votes. "Change we can believe in" is not exactly a promise to abide by the status quo as much as Obama ended up doing, is it?
posted by mondo dentro at 9:17 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


If by "admire the Tea Party tactics" you mean "think it would be a good idea to organize and elect leftists to local and national offices and then use that to push the Democratic party leftward", then yes, I admire their tactics.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:18 AM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


One thing I've noticed about the US far left...

Ironmouth? Seriously? Channeling Bill O'Reilly? I wouldn't have expected that from you. WTF are you talking about "far left"?
posted by mondo dentro at 9:19 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


That sums up the effete nature of the Democrats.

Let's please not do this thing here.

If you mean weak, use weak, don't use a word that means "feminine" as though that was a synonym for weakness.
posted by emjaybee at 9:19 AM on October 10, 2013 [42 favorites]


As the government shutdown grinds toward a potential debt default, some of the country’s most influential business executives have come to a conclusion all but unthinkable a few years ago: Their voices are carrying little weight with the House majority that their millions of dollars in campaign contributions helped build and sustain.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:20 AM on October 10, 2013


so, sorry to add to the noise, but can somebody bottom-line this for me? The House GOP went to the WH and said, here are the terms of our defeat, we want some way to fuck with you some more later on, and the WH said, ha ha, fuck you, let go of all hostages or GTFO?
posted by angrycat at 9:20 AM on October 10, 2013


I think the WH is taking the six weeks to avoid default, but they aren't going to negotiate on anything until the shutdown is also ended.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:22 AM on October 10, 2013


You know what I would really love to see come out of this? A backlash against gerrymandering. I mean really, what more proof could you possibly ask for that setting up wildly extreme voting districts has really corrosive long-term effects, than all this crap? I would love to see the Dems and moderate end of the GOP reach the conclusion that they could be rid of all these whack jobs by passing even some mild anti-gerrymandering legislation.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:24 AM on October 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


One thing I've noticed about the US far left--they actually admire the Tea Party methods and think its good for the country, as long as their policy priorities are the ones at the end of the lie.

Cite pls.
posted by jessamyn at 9:24 AM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


so, sorry to add to the noise, but can somebody bottom-line this for me? The House GOP went to the WH and said, here are the terms of our defeat, we want some way to fuck with you some more later on, and the WH said, ha ha, fuck you, let go of all hostages or GTFO?

I don't know if this makes things easier or harder to follow, but here's what it looks like as of now: House GOP leaders look for a way out
House Republican leaders just rolled out their new plan for a way out of the crisis: A temporary debt limit hike, through November 22nd, coupled with a demand that Democrats enter into budget talks. The government would remain closed.

The White House has said it is open to a short term debt limit increase, as long as it remains clean. However, in a statement today, a White House official reiterated that no negotiations would take place unless Republicans agree to a clean debt limit hike and to reopening the government.

Here’s the core point that remains unclear. Will Republicans agree to lift the debt limit temporarily and cleanly if Democrats don’t agree to enter into negotiations?

I put that question to a House GOP leadership aide. His answer: “We’ll see.”

For all practical purposes, what this means is that we still don’t know whether the House GOP plan to raise the debt limit temporarily is conditioned on what Democrats do. In other words, Republicans still appear to be trying to use the debt limit as leverage to force Dems to enter into talks, without the government getting reopened — even as they are suggesting they may be willing to raise it temporarily.

It’s also unclear how these talks would be structured, in the sense of whether they would be tied to any future raising of the debt limit. The embrace by House Republican leaders of a temporary debt limit hike would appear to indicate that they are not prepared to allow default under any circumstances. But Paul Ryan reportedly told Republicans in a closed door meeting yesterday that the next debt limit hike would be contingent on how much in spending cuts Dems are willing to concede.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:26 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


starting with a general apathy and ignorance when it comes to civic matters.

How about trained via pain avoidance to avoid challenge?

How many of you are willing to subject your property (home, financial matters, emails) to the fine tooth inspections of the various regulatory bodies and the resulting judgements/enforcement actions?

How many of you think that if you stand up to your Local/State/Fed Government Officials there would not be a reaction by others not involved in the fight adding a bureaucratic compliance load to your life?

Locally at one time property taxes could not be charged - so the idea was to tax closet space instead. And to this day, taxes are paid to a man, not the City. Now why would that be, if the City seems to own the building and pay the people in the Tax office....why not pay the City directly?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:27 AM on October 10, 2013


Let's please not do this thing here...

Oh bother. Fine. I had no idea about this etymology. My apologies.

The word is not just used as a synonym for "weak", though. It refers to a power structure that has become exhausted, and lost its vitality over time--like, you know, the Liberal Establishment.
posted by mondo dentro at 9:28 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Trying to keep a bunch of neanderthals from dragging the country backwards a few centuries is hard work.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:29 AM on October 10, 2013


Don't liquidate your retirement accounts to buy ammo and canned food. If you instead purchase the ammo and canned food as your retirement account's portfolio, you get tax-advantaged growth, and can delay (or in some cases even avoid) paying tax on their capital gains.
posted by Flunkie at 9:30 AM on October 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


"...some of the country’s most influential business executives have come to a conclusion all but unthinkable a few years ago"

Great, welcome to the big tent and all, but a new source of funds from infuential businesses and other moderate-right defectors sure isn't going to help move the Democratic party any further back to the left.
posted by klarck at 9:31 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


dragging the country backwards a few centuries is hard work.

With the previous century built on cheap barrels of oil and the oil becoming more and more expensive to get and use part of the going backwards comes from certain physical energy gathering limitations that have yet to be overcome.

To go back "a few centuries" places you with actual physical slavery, no electric motors, not much metalworking/maching, no mass communications, and not much other than a bucket of leaches and bloodletting to cure the patient.

The bloodletting cure is going on right now, that I'll give you. But the rest of "a few centuries ago" - not so much.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:37 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Few comments removed - if you can't keep this conversation decent, please take a breather and come back later.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:38 AM on October 10, 2013


I apologize if it seemed like was calling you a liar personally. But it would be a lie to use the techincal operation of the sunset clause to act like there weren't two positions, raising taxes and not raising taxes.

It's not a technicality. It's a law designed with an expiration date. After it occurs the only position is to cut taxes. The final rates could be exactly the same for most people as they were before the sunset, it requires zero lies or deception. This is getting tiresome.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:38 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Saying that Obama and his party have failed us because they haven't done something they aren't interested in doing sounds more like we have failed by not choosing leaders who have pledged to change that dynamic. The blame lies elsewhere.

What you're saying is formally true, but otherwise terribly glib. I certainly agree that US citizens have a large degree of responsibility for the state of our country, starting with a general apathy and ignorance when it comes to civic matters. But let's be honest here: who have the people actually had to vote for? It's been the Globetrotters vs. the Generals at least for 60 years now.


I suppose my response was glib because I felt like your saying Obama had failed was also glib? I'm not really getting your Globetrotters vs. Generals metaphor, since that suggests the elections are staged match-ups where one side is guaranteed to win, which I don't believe to be the case. If you mean that both sides have been drawn towards being bland & gormless, I'd say that this is sort of true because both sides pull towards where they think they can get the votes, and that sentiments on both of these seemingly bland sides have become pretty polarized. With the wide split in Democratic and Republican opinion about who to blame for the shutdown as evidence for this. When Michael Lewis documented the outsiders in the 1996 presidential campaign, his conclusion was that for all that people claimed they wanted something different, they really wanted more of the same. Hardly scientific, but I liked his analysis.

Saying "Who have the people had to vote for" honestly seems to move the burden back to the people. Candidates are human beings, and they espouse the values they think play to them. If enough of the people haven't come forward to make a candidate that they'd vote for, well, the onus is on them. That is, us. Which would probably put us in similar camps I suppose. Perhaps the people should be getting behind instant-runoff voting and other changes?

"Change we can believe in" is not exactly a promise to abide by the status quo as much as Obama ended up doing, is it?

Quite a few people felt that way and made their opinions felt in the run-up to the 2012 election. But "change we can believe in" isn't a promise at all, and treating it as having more substance than the similarly vague "compassionate conservatism" is silly. (Quite a few people made that point in the run-up to the 2008 election...) We'd do better reviewing Obama's campaign promises and seeing which ones he broke & which one he adhered to, where there's more meat to be had for people on both sides. Indeed, fighting about that was occurring earlier in this thread.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:42 AM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


One thing I've noticed about the US far left--they actually admire the Tea Party methods and think its good for the country, as long as their policy priorities are the ones at the end of the lie.

Cite pls.


For example, any plan to let the tax cuts expire and then turn around and claim you're giving a tax cut for people. Its fakery when the other party is offering no tax increase at all. The American people would see right through that. The GOP would rightly say--we are for not increasing taxes, they are for increasing taxes. To then go before the public and claim that your refusal to extend the Bush tax cuts was not an attempt to raise taxes and you are really giving them a "tax cut?" that is the same as calling a government shutdown a "slimdown."

Obama wanted to increase taxes. He said that in every campaign he did. How can he then say "I'm giving you a tax cut"? seems impossible to me. and it seems like exactly the kind of deception our Republican friends are practicing.

Social Security must be paid for.

As one well known bureaucrat D. Vader has said "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it further."

What is anyone here going to do if the deal is altered? Make a FPP and respond to that - now that'll show 'em won't it?


There was never any intention expressed by anyone that the payroll tax holiday was going to be permanent. That's why its called a 'holiday'. So no deal was altered.
When originally enacted in December 2010, the 2% reduction was originally scheduled to last only one year, its finite nature evidenced by its description in the statute as a “payroll tax holiday."
posted by Ironmouth at 9:48 AM on October 10, 2013


For example

I was looking for any sort of example that the US far left admires the Tea Party methods, at all. You can follow up with me over MeMail if you like, I don't really need to make this thread more about you than it already is.
posted by jessamyn at 9:50 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


That sums up the effete nature of the Democrats.

Let's please not do this thing here.

If you mean weak, use weak, don't use a word that means "feminine" as though that was a synonym for weakness.


Uhh, effete doesn't mean feminine.
posted by aspo at 9:50 AM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


As the government shutdown grinds toward a potential debt default, some of the country’s most influential business executives have come to a conclusion all but unthinkable a few years ago: Their voices are carrying little weight with the House majority that their millions of dollars in campaign contributions helped build and sustain.

Ha, ha, ha! Oh, did Mephistopheles come back for his fee? Such fools. I'd actually be more mirthful except of course their foul bargain is dragging the nation I live in down the tubes.
posted by JHarris at 9:51 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


aspo: " Uhh, effete doesn't mean feminine."

Among other things, it means "resembling a woman."
posted by zarq at 9:53 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the same way the antonym of "effete" is "beefy"
posted by KokuRyu at 9:55 AM on October 10, 2013


Going To Maine: I'm sure we are more or less in the same camp. We appear to differ in where the center of gravity of responsibility lies. I put it with the ruling elites. You put it with the people. In a sense, this makes you a more properly idealistic citizen of a democratic republic than I. Your view is important because the people have to realize they are ultimately responsible, else they'll have no motivation to take action.

But I tend to think wealth concentrations and mass media (both the technological infrastructure and the techniques of mass manipulation)--and the governmental and regulatory capture that goes along with them--put the responsibility more on the elites. Part of the problem is precisely that we citizens are having a harder and harder time exerting any influence--and this is sort of by design (going back, say, to the infamous Powell memo, which leads in a meandering way to Citizens United).
posted by mondo dentro at 9:57 AM on October 10, 2013


For example, any plan to let the tax cuts expire and then turn around and claim you're giving a tax cut for people. Its fakery when the other party is offering no tax increase at all. The American people would see right through that. The GOP would rightly say--we are for not increasing taxes, they are for increasing taxes. To then go before the public and claim that your refusal to extend the Bush tax cuts was not an attempt to raise taxes and you are really giving them a "tax cut?" that is the same as calling a government shutdown a "slimdown."

When tax rates are high and then you make them low it is a tax cut. It doesn't matter how they got high, in this case because the Bush tax cuts always had an expiration date. This is not playing word games like calling a shutdown a slimdown, it is the literal truth. You are getting caught up in semantics here for no reason.

The main difference here with tea party tactics is that Democrats would be perfectly willing to continue negotiations right up to the day of the sunset to try and leverage a good deal. All that happens after the Sunset is the Republicans get less from such a deal. There is no need to lie or deceive, you can be totally open about what you are doing and what rates you are trying to implement. Nothing about the messaging Obama used changes, just the willingness to play hardball up to the deadline.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:58 AM on October 10, 2013


Effete does not mean feminine, although people sometimes confuse/conflate it with "effeminate".
posted by Perplexity at 9:58 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


GtM, mondo, you're both right. Obama oversold himself as a champion of progressive causes, but a lot of people were also reading things in-between the lines that simply were not there in his sales pitch. (I'd probably count myself among them.)

In 2008, it's fair to say that most Obama voters had the impression that he would govern a notch or two to the left of Clinton domestically, and I guarantee you very few of them predicted his heavy-handed drone-based foreign policy, or that the Afghan war would last as long as it has. I think we did expect him to wind down the Iraq war, given that those events were set in motion prior to his inauguration.

It doesn't have to be a simple one or the other explanation. His political team was happy to have everyone overestimate how progressive he would be, especially given the congressional opposition he knew he'd be going up against, which would give him a valid explanation for not getting those things done (whether he intended to do them or not.)

In conclusion, Obama is a land of contrasts.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:59 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: " There was never any intention expressed by anyone that the payroll tax holiday was going to be permanent. That's why its called a 'holiday'. So no deal was altered. "

But it *was* extended before, and with the sunset of the Bush tax cuts, Obama had a lot of leverage to get it extended again.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:00 AM on October 10, 2013


It refers to a power structure that has become exhausted, and lost its vitality over time--like, you know, the Liberal Establishment.

The word you're looking for is "etiolated."
posted by octobersurprise at 10:01 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The OED on effete:
Etymology: < Latin effētus that has brought forth young, hence worn out by bearing, exhausted, < ex out + fētus breeding.
1. Of animals: That has ceased to bring forth offspring. Obs.
2a. transf. Of material substances: That has lost its special quality or virtue; exhausted, worn out.
2b. Of strength, vital power: Spent, worn out.
3. fig. Of persons in an intellectual sense, of systems, etc.: That has exhausted its vigour and energy; incapable of efficient action. Also, of persons: weak, ineffectual; degenerate. More recently, effeminate.

Looks to me like it picked up the "woman-like" connotation because it looks kind of like "effeminate".
posted by dfan at 10:01 AM on October 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


Slouching Toward a Grand Bargain
But the idea that the President did something wily by refusing to defund Obamacare is pretty funny. If anyone's done anything wily, it's the Republicans who deployed Nixon's madman theory and seem to have persuaded the Democratic establishment that if they just pretend a "deal" to cut Social Security (and God knows what else) isn't a vindication of their shutdown strategy, the crazies will never do it again. I eagerly await the Democratic victory dance.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:04 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Folks, knock off the effete derail please.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:05 AM on October 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ironmouth: " There was never any intention expressed by anyone that the payroll tax holiday was going to be permanent. That's why its called a 'holiday'. So no deal was altered. "

But it *was* extended before, and with the sunset of the Bush tax cuts, Obama had a lot of leverage to get it extended again.


But it would be bad policy to not fund the Social Security trust fund. Especially the disability trust fund which has a 2 year cushion.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:09 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't we just say "the eff'ing Liberal Establishment"?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:09 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Obama and Reid have been saying "no negotiations until a clean CR is passed and the debt limit is raised" this whole time and it's been polling just fine, so I really don't know what the GOP thinks is going to happen if they offer to do anything other than exactly that. I think they just can't wrap their minds around even the idea that they can't have everything they want whenever they want it even if they kick and scream. Privilege dies hard.

But there's literally no reason for the Dems to do anything but stand firm on this until Boehner caves or is forced out of the way or a default actually happens, so if Boehner wants to play some idiotic short term debt limit raising game he's just going to have to keep on doing it every few weeks, looking worse and weaker every time someone in his party threatens not to, while eating the blame for the increasingly dire effects of the shutdown. As long as the votes are there to end this and Boehner's the only thing standing in the way, and as long as the Dems stay miles away from even the thought of leveraging their own policy gains with this stuff, it's completely on shoulders of Boehner, the Tea Party and the GOP.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:10 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "Slouching Toward a Grand Bargain"

I see the "Grand Bargain" thing as more of a centrist pundit wet dream than anything the Democrats would take at this point. It's not that some of the Democrats (and maybe Obama himself) don't want it -- surely some do -- it's that doing any kind of tinkering with Social Security heading into mid-term elections where a shit-ton of old people vote is electoral suicide. Even centrist pundits who believe in that shit are going to keep quiet about it now, especially while their opponents are loudly proclaiming they want to cut benefits to their most reliable voting bloc.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:14 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: " But it would be bad policy to not fund the Social Security trust fund. Especially the disability trust fund which has a 2 year cushion."

There's no impenetrable firewall between the trust fund and the rest of the government budget. Money is fungible. We've routinely borrowed against the trust fund for general spending, and if it ever ran a deficit, we could fund it from somewhere else with no changes to the current law.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:17 AM on October 10, 2013


does Obama have a version of Malcolm Tucker? I want to send, I dunno, psychic powers to this person so that he bollock the GOP like some sort of angry god.
posted by angrycat at 10:17 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


But there's literally no reason for the Dems to do anything but stand firm on this until Boehner caves or is forced out of the way or a default actually happens, so if Boehner wants to play some idiotic short term debt limit raising game he's just going to have to keep on doing it every few weeks, looking worse and weaker every time someone in his party threatens not to, while eating the blame for the increasingly dire effects of the shutdown. As long as the votes are there to end this and Boehner's the only thing standing in the way, and as long as the Dems stay miles away from even the thought of leveraging their own policy gains with this stuff, it's completely on shoulders of Boehner, the Tea Party and the GOP.

Cross Your Fingers That House Ultras Reject Short-Term Debt Ceiling Hike
The key to the whole drama thus far has been that while mainstream GOP representatives don't necessarily approve of the course the least-compromising segment of their caucus has chosen, they don't want to actually have a fight with them about it. The "true conservative" brand has enormous strength and prestige inside Republican Party politics, and very few members actually want to find themselves in an above-board intra-party fight in which they don't get to be the true conservatives.

But that's a problem for Boehner and Eric Cantor and their supporters. For the country, the leadership's focus on caucus unity is a disaster. As Robert Costa says, if this gambit fails then the leadership may have no choice other than to accept the need to split their caucus and come up with a plan that Democrats will also support. That's what the country needs—bipartisan center-out majorities to reopen the government and avoid default, not strategies built from the right-in whose purpose is to preserve the strength of the GOP caucus.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:19 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


One thing I've noticed about the US far left--they actually admire the Tea Party methods and think its good for the country, as long as their policy priorities are the ones at the end of the lie.

Oh, bullshit. You want an actual "far left" (i.e., socialist) analysis of the current Tea Party shenanigans? Read this: Does GOP spell "bad for business"? The Tea Party faction is driving Republican strategy during the shutdown circus--and no one seems capable of reining them in.

Then please cite precise parts of the article in which the author expresses "[admiration] for Tea Party methods and think[s] it's good for the country."
posted by scody at 10:25 AM on October 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


Well, the Tea Party method of grass roots involvement in local government (if that is truly a thing) is admirable, imo.

How about a compromise where Obama accepts 1% overall spending cuts, all of which will take place within the NSA and the Surveillance State (it would be hard to find anyone who would be against a few less Snowdens driving around in their Porsches while their not at work spying on their ex-wives), in exchange for a promise from Speaker Ryan (who may actually keep his promises) that the Houses next course of action will be to vote on their version of an immigration bill? To seal the deal and symbolize the new spirit of compromise in DC, James Clapper's head will be pounded onto a spike in front of the NSA headquarters as a warning not to betray the American people again.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:33 AM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Woah, scody. Flattering photo of Cruz in that SW link. Looks like he has fangs.

The part of the Tea Party that I'd like to see the left emulate is the whole "getting billionaires to bankroll all of your activism" thing. That would be awesome.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:33 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


By "far left" he means people who are tired of Democratic compromise, and wants to see the Dems push a hard game, is my guess. But I don't know why he thinks that any sort of hard-game is legit in the "far-left" view. It's quite possible, logically, that some hardballs are legitimate tactics, and others should be verboten. Every individual would have to take their own position on such things.

At least, that would be my reading on what I think is consistent with his past statements and stances on Democratic politics (i.e. compromise to get *something* done, vs "no-compromise" hardline which gets nothing done). I'm not saying I agree with that stance, but I think that's how IM views things. As usual, feel free to correct if I'm wrong...
-------
But as a Communist/Maoist, I utterly abhor the bullshit happening now. Not because I view the US deficit as some holy untouchable artifact but because in the end, it hurts too many people who are struggling in their day to day lives as it is, while those who get PAID still get paid... Default will make it harder on most of us, while it won't hurt the wealthy one bit.

Yeah - I'd rather tear the whole damn system down, but I don't want to destroy the bits that are working somewhat for the people if we're stuck in a system that isn't being torn down. Hell, I even know ANARCHISTS who take a position against this shutdown for the same reason: deleterious effects on the working population/the disabled/the elderly/children, etc...
posted by symbioid at 10:45 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


That SW article was a fun read - seriously. The tone showed only slightly less contempt for the Democrats than for the Republicans.
posted by klarck at 10:54 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


By "far left" he means people who are tired of Democratic compromise, and wants to see the Dems push a hard game, is my guess. But I don't know why he thinks that any sort of hard-game is legit in the "far-left" view. It's quite possible, logically, that some hardballs are legitimate tactics, and others should be verboten. Every individual would have to take their own position on such things.

At least, that would be my reading on what I think is consistent with his past statements and stances on Democratic politics (i.e. compromise to get *something* done, vs "no-compromise" hardline which gets nothing done). I'm not saying I agree with that stance, but I think that's how IM views things. As usual, feel free to correct if I'm wrong...


I think you're pretty much right on. If there is one thing John Boehner is having reinforced today, you need to have the votes to get something passed. The Left Ultras, in my mind, share one thing with the Erick Ericksons in this world, which is if you wish it hard enough, you can overcome electoral and legislative math. You cannot. Many of the counter examples that have been provided here over the years are LBJ and FDR. Except those presidents had gigantic, filibuster-proof majorities, majorities that neither party has seen for decades. The other thing is there is often fantastical "let's start with single-payer" in negotiations when the Dem caucus is not for it and Obama cannot be blamed for that. There was never enough votes for any of the nice stuff I would have loved to have in the bill. I'm for all of the great things if we can get them. However, I think that, like the GOP right now, those who have been calling for a harder brand of ball are unrealistic.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:08 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


One other point. One of my problems with the Left Ultras is that they do not bring the votes they claim are there. It is always up to Obama to magically provide those votes by some sort of power of a green lantern ring or something like that. This is not how legislative politics works. You need the votes first.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:10 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can't we just say "the eff'ing Liberal Establishment"?

No, because there is no Liberal Establishment in America.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:10 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


"There's no impenetrable firewall between the trust fund and the rest of the government budget. Money is fungible. We've routinely borrowed against the trust fund for general spending, and if it ever ran a deficit, we could fund it from somewhere else with no changes to the current law."

Well, we coulda voted for a president who would have put Social Security in a lockbox and also invented the internet, but…
posted by klangklangston at 11:10 AM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


"One other point. One of my problems with the Left Ultras is that they do not bring the votes they claim are there. It is always up to Obama to magically provide those votes by some sort of power of a green lantern ring or something like that. This is not how legislative politics works. You need the votes first."

While I generally share some of your skepticism toward the aspirations of the left — like, I don't really think there were enough votes to make Obamacare single-payer — you're also engaging in a lot of really dubious hippy-punching here, especially in your bizarre derail about the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.

And you miss the fundamental difference between hard left and hard right: Hard left people have almost zero actual power in America, and the comparison is therefore fairly shallow at best. There are literal secessionist neo-Confederates who hold elected office now — there are zero Maoists in Congress. You're engaging in the same false equivalency that poisons a lot of American discourse.
posted by klangklangston at 11:14 AM on October 10, 2013 [41 favorites]


I think that's actually part of his point. There are a lot of folks, myself included, pushing for more liberal policies in the US yet as you say there just aren't any politicians doing the same. Hence the "where are the votes" refrain every time this comes up. Either we're really bad at politics or there just aren't enough really liberal voters to sway things and it only seems like an overwhelming majority because internet.
posted by Skorgu at 11:19 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


And you miss the fundamental difference between hard left and hard right: Hard left people have almost zero actual power in America, and the comparison is therefore fairly shallow at best. There are literal secessionist neo-Confederates who hold elected office now — there are zero Maoists in Congress. You're engaging in the same false equivalency that poisons a lot of American discourse.

I feel like there is an effect on the politics. The GOP has a very narrow range of views and a large number of people holding them. This puts a premium on unity. Literally, they just walked in lockstep to the edge of an abyss.

The Dems, on the other hand are less unified. Every Jane Hamsher that signs a letter with Grover Norquist is literally weakening the Dems and the position of the left. If we don't stay together, they win. Especially now, that is critical.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:21 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


. One of my problems with the Left Ultras is that they do not bring the votes they claim are there. It is always up to Obama to magically provide those votes by some sort of power of a green lantern ring or something like that.

That is certainly what you accuse everyone who ever disagrees with you of wanting, but in years of reading these threads I've never seen anyone actually argue that. The problem you run into is thinking you "need the votes first". Obviously you need votes, but part of the legislative process is getting those votes. You make an assumption that everything Obama does is perfectly pragmatic and the best possible liberal policy achievable, but that is often not the case. It's certainly the goal Obama strives for but he has made mistakes along the way. Not everybody who thinks there are more votes to get in negotiations believes in magic. Not everybody who thinks a riskier game of hardball might earn more concessions from Republicans is a hard left whacko. Not everybody who thinks a particular issue is worth expending more political capital than a Centrist Dem would is unrealistic, they just have different priorities.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:23 AM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


If unity is so important, make fewer accusations of bad faith against people nominally on your own side.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:25 AM on October 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


Ironmouth: " The Dems, on the other hand are less unified. Every Jane Hamsher that signs a letter with Grover Norquist is literally weakening the Dems and the position of the left. If we don't stay together, they win. Especially now, that is critical."

This is true, but there's room for people to be critical of Obama and the Democratic leaders in Congress without literally joining up with Grover Norquist. You'll notice Jane Hamsher's sway over the leftosphere isn't what it used to be, with people like TBogg, Charles Pierce, and the LGM and Balloon Juice clans owning much more of the mindshare. These are people who, at the end of the day, are going to be "in the tank" for any credible Democratic candidate, but who also recognize the value of pointing out where the Democrats aren't playing above replacement level.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:25 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like there is an effect on the politics.

Really? You think the Dems are listening to the Socialist Worker editorial page? They don't even listen to Bernie Sanders.
posted by scody at 11:26 AM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


We wish they would!
posted by jessamyn at 11:26 AM on October 10, 2013 [23 favorites]


I feel like there is an effect on the politics. The GOP has a very narrow range of views and a large number of people holding them. This puts a premium on unity. Literally, they just walked in lockstep to the edge of an abyss.

The Dems, on the other hand are less unified. Every Jane Hamsher that signs a letter with Grover Norquist is literally weakening the Dems and the position of the left. If we don't stay together, they win. Especially now, that is critical.


The Republicans struggle with unity because of distinct factions. Tea party folks, the social conservatives, and the moderates. The Democrats are much more unified on what they want to achieve, disagreements are more about appropriate tactics with some folks demanding more action sooner and some preferring a more careful, pragmatic approach.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:26 AM on October 10, 2013


What really bothers me about Boehner "just asking the Dems to sit down at the table" or "just have a conversation" is that THEY ALREADY DID. And Boehner agreed to a clean resolution that was $70 billion less than what the Senate offered. And then he reneged. He admitted as much on This Week with Stephanopoulus:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Mr. Speaker, he says -- and he said it publicly on many occasions, that you came to him back in July and offered to pass a clean government funding resolution, no Obamacare amendments, that was $70 billion below what the Senate wanted. They accepted it. And now, you've reneged on that offer.

BOEHNER: No, clearly there was a conversation about doing this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Several conversations.

BOEHNER: Several. But--

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you offered a clean resolution.

BOEHNER: But I and my members decided the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand. And we took a stand.
Asshole.
posted by zakur at 11:31 AM on October 10, 2013 [16 favorites]


BOEHNER: But I and my members decided the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand. And we took a stand.

...and almost immediately decided to pretend like this was never about Obamacare but we're still standing for some reason.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:37 AM on October 10, 2013 [21 favorites]


So, not that I believe they need to, but...have any of them stated what effects they actually believe the ACA will have, concretely? I have heard a lot of completely empty "destroy everything great about this country" rhetoric, but I wonder if a single one of them has anything more substantial to say on the subject.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:38 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


BOEHNER: But I and my members decided the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand. And we took a stand.

...and almost immediately decided to pretend like this was never about Obamacare but we're still standing for some reason.


Also, we didn't actually take a stand, this is an Obama shutdown!
posted by Drinky Die at 11:39 AM on October 10, 2013 [13 favorites]


From when Boehner was first made Speaker, but I assume the reasons are the same today: “It will ruin the best health care system in the world. It will bankrupt our nation, and it will ruin our economy!”

They believe this.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:42 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


have any of them stated what effects they actually believe the ACA will have, concretely?

My rep is all, "Obamacare scared off the second-largest insurer in our state, because they couldn't afford to operate here!" Of course, we also turned down the Medicaid expansion.
posted by mittens at 11:43 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess WH Press Secretary Jay Carney was right: there's a subsection of Republicans who want to hold out for Obama to resign.
posted by emjaybee at 11:43 AM on October 10, 2013


As a lifelong liberal Democrat and lifelong Wisconsinite, it rocks me to the core of my being to see people apparently earnestly suggesting motherfucking Paul Ryan as a "moderate" successor to John Boehner. Dude is nothing but a Randian wingnut, and he has been that way since the start of his political career. I know the Overton window has shifted so far that I'm basically a legitimate Communist at this point, but have we already forgetten the 2012 election cycle? He's utterly off his nut, same as it ever was, and he is certainly not anything remotely resembling "moderate." A world in which his oversight and actions would be materially different than Boehner's has about as much chance of existing IRL as Galt's Gulch.

Just about the only "news" I can handle right now comes from extremely dark-humored lefty blogs, and TBogg seems to be getting his National Treasure on over at Raw Story right now. To wit, his latest: Paul Ryan has an unused agenda he thinks you might want to reconsider.
Returning from obscurity after having brought less to a presidential ticket since Joe Lieberman sandbagged his own national run, blue-eyed sociopath and former Oscar Meyer weinermobile chauffeur Paul Ryan is attempting to rise out of the ash and flame of the Republican party like a phoenix who wants to smother your grandmother in her bed.

[...]

You may remember all of this from before when Ryan called it the Path To Prosperity or possibly you played the EA Sports videogame version: Galtscape – Ayn Rand's Survival Of The Fattest. You may also remember that America rejected Ryan's innumerate plan and the Rafalca it danced in on. But now times have changed with a faction of Ryan's own House having shifted into Bachmann-Gohmert Overdrive and are threatening to burn the whole country down in order to save it at the behest of the Tea Partiers who figure they have enough bullets, bibles, and cans of Vienna sausages to ride out the Fiscal End Times when either Jesus or Sarah Palin returns. So Paul Ryan felt the need to step into the breach and use his "moderate" K St cred to go "Whoa, whoa, whoa there folks. Sure we want to destroy the safety net, deny people medical care, allow children to go hungry in the streets, and turn our country into a crumbling riot-torn post-apocalytic hellscape that will make Somalia look like the Hamptons, but let's not take down the T-bill market in our haste. I mean, c'mon."
posted by divined by radio at 11:45 AM on October 10, 2013 [43 favorites]


The US far left does not exist.. Puh-leeze, quit using those words together. There is no US far left, no US ultra left, no substantive US left at all. It is absolutely bogus to use terms like "ultra left" and "far left".
posted by five fresh fish at 11:48 AM on October 10, 2013 [26 favorites]


I guess WH Press Secretary Jay Carney was right: there's a subsection of Republicans who want to hold out for Obama to resign.

Yeaaah... they haven't thought through what happens when they're stuck with an angry President Biden without Obama to rein him in.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:50 AM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Well then who shut down Port of Oakland? The bridge club?
posted by KokuRyu at 11:50 AM on October 10, 2013


The Republicans struggle with unity because of distinct factions. Tea party folks, the social conservatives, and the moderates. The Democrats are much more unified on what they want to achieve, disagreements are more about appropriate tactics with some folks demanding more action sooner and some preferring a more careful, pragmatic approach.

I don't think that's so. We have a unique situation here where a few total nutjobs have taken over the GOP. And the Moderates came close to diving off the cliff with them. But generally, they are far more narrow and far more in agreement than the Dems are.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:50 AM on October 10, 2013


it only seems like an overwhelming majority because internet.

The Internet allows you to be the filter so you can find places that give your own believes reinforcement so it seems that your voice is a majority.

And using vague terms like "the left" and "the right" allow projection into them along with them being little boxes one can toss something into and therefore apply the "want the precious" and "hate the hobbit" emotions to with little more thought about things other than a broad nebulous label.

Well then who shut down Port of Oakland?

Because this is The Blue and a port shutdown must be bad I'll take a historic port reference and say "The Tea Party".
posted by rough ashlar at 11:51 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well then who shut down Port of Oakland?

Moderates, possibly social conservatives. These are truck drivers - they enjoy beer and football and shows about duck hunting. To imagine they're anywhere near socialist, or even mostly liberal, is idiocy. Just because someone doesn't immediately prostrate themselves whenever management walks into the room doesn't make them a leftist. The political discourse in this nation has been completely borked by Limbaugh and Fox News.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:02 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


The US far left does not exist.. Puh-leeze, quit using those words together. There is no US far left, no US ultra left, no substantive US left at all. It is absolutely bogus to use terms like "ultra left" and "far left".

Generally the terms are used in context. So you can talk about Labour's Right wing in the UK, etc. There is a far left in the US, unless you compare it to the USSR or something like that.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:02 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is a far left in the US, unless you compare it to the USSR or something like that.

Or the rest of the developed world.
posted by crayz at 12:04 PM on October 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


There is a far left in the US, unless you compare it to the USSR or something like that.

Yes, but the context here is you comparing them to the Tea Party, not just to centrists Democrats. In that sense it's a specious and false comparison, because the "Far Left" has no relation to the kind of Far Right represented by the Tea Party.
posted by OmieWise at 12:06 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


A Big Tent approach to building a political party means that you will have lots of people with different points of view - both in terms of what they want to accomplish and how they want to accomplish it. When you let in a wide range of people with a wide range of views and agendas, you're less likely to be able to move as a unit. Furthermore, you're likely to always be in the process of pissing off a certain portion of your party's membership.

The Republicans have been on a quest for purity in the last decade or so. That we would look at far right nutjobs like Ryan or King and say "that's a Republican moderate" while the Teahadists say "that's a RINO" kind of shows you where they are as a group. They're able to walk in lockstep because, in general, they are in lockstep. The purity brigade has burned off most of the impure Republican dross or at very least cauterized it enough to keep it from spreading.

Politics should be like herding cats, not cattle. Part of the electoral success of the Democrats is that they represent disparate groups of people.

Furthermore, if our elected representatives are doing their jobs correctly, we should be getting some stuff we want and some stuff we don't want all the time. That's what compromise is all about. I give up on single-payer (for now), the conservatives give up "all the poor people to of scurvy all the time." We're both unhappy, but we both got something.

There's very little dancing on the political corpses of your enemies and hearing the lamentation of their families in a functioning system. Wanting that and nothing but that is part of what has led the Tea Party to create this sorry impasse - how many times have we read of them doing something "just to piss off the liberals." Spite is a lousy central tenet on which to build policy.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:07 PM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


Paul Ryan as a "moderate" successor to John Boehner.

Well I was musing about Ryan being a better candidate than Cantor, but I never thought he was moderate. The feeling I get, probably completely wrong, is that faced with driving over a cliff: Cantor would drive right over it fueled by irrational hatred of Obama, Boehner would either agree not to go over the cliff but drive over it anyway or act like Baghdad Bob and announce that the cliff does not exist, and Ryan would more than likely not go over the cliff. Furthermore, he seems to be one of the few GOP congressmen who actually prefers legislating to playing golf, may be accepted by the tehadists, and may actually want to get a few things done that he can put his name on, which necessitate compromising on his Randian beliefs to make a deal with the Democrats. But who knows? (not me).
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:11 PM on October 10, 2013


Ironwood, I couldn't disagree more with your take on the macro aspects of US politics.

First, who the hell are "Left Ultras"? As has been pointed out, there are outright fascists corporatists, theocrats, and neo-Confederates in congress on the right, with serious sway on the party leaders, backed up by political platforms, movements, and heavily bankrolled. Who is there on the left? Bernie Saunders and Alan Grayson? What support do they have? Nuthin. Nada. Zilch.

There simply is no significant "ultra left" in US politics. Hell, I wouldn't even say there's much of a "somewhat left".

The deeper error, though, is that you talk about "votes" as if they are facts of nature, that exist out there in the world, so that political parties must cater to the holders of these votes in order to harvest them. This is bass-ackwards. Political parties are supposed to shape public opinion as much as they are to follow it. This is something the Right has been doing very successfully since at least Reagan/Thatcher. The Left, in comparison, has stood by mute, displaying alternating personas of "please don't hit me" and "me too!" in the face of right-wing policies. My own belief is that this is because the left foolishly abandoned "class warfare" (i.e. unions, circa Reagan) and decided to throw in its lot with financial capitalists (circa Clinton).

Case in point: the Occupy Movement (and the related WI movement against Scott Walker). It's fashionable to talk about how it "failed" and "didn't have a clear message", etc. But that's bunk. Occupy was a genuine grass-roots movement that cut across demographic lines, had reasonable positives among the masses, a very easy-to-digest message (the 99% thing--economic justice and equality), and did something very successfully: it created political energy. This energy was left to rot on the vine by the Democratic ruling class, yet it was there, waiting to be an Energizer Bunny of progressive politics. Why did the Dems never seriously support these successful mass activities? My belief is that it was because they dared not go against their paymasters in the financial industry.

Contrast the treatment of Occupy with how rapidly the plutocratic right co-opted the Tea Party, and the lesson is clear: the Dems don't shape public opinion because the "progressive brand" (which is really all they've got) is in dissonance with their money men. So they can't sell themselves ideologically, since to do so (so they think) would turn off their money spigot. And Citizens United has succeeded in making this situation even worse.
posted by mondo dentro at 12:15 PM on October 10, 2013 [30 favorites]


Ironmouth: " There was never any intention expressed by anyone that the payroll tax holiday was going to be permanent.

And then you turn right around and imply that the Bush tax rates were expected to be permanent. You can't have it both ways.

You seem to be quite confused on economic issues. Previously you claimed trading austerity (spending cuts) for tax increases as a good thing, failing to recognize they are both the same, austerity policies.

Look, everyone knew that the Bush tax rates were expiring. Obama didn't have to bargain at all if he wanted tax increases. He could get them for free by doing nothing, pointing out that the harm was coming from extortionate Republicans, just as he is doing now. After the expiration of the Bush tax rates, he could then campaign for tax cuts for the middle class, a lot easier sale than tax increases. From a position of strength, he might have even been able to extend the payroll tax holiday. Instead, in his misplaced eagerness to get tax increases, he ended up giving away the store.
posted by JackFlash at 12:16 PM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I do want Biden do to one of those moves where he rips his shirt off in shreds, paints his face with Jill's lipstick, bursts into the room where Cantor is bloviating. Secret Service scoots Obama out of there and then props the chair under the doorknob. The men stand stunned as they listen to screams, Biden roars, and finally silence.

That's what I want, if anybody asks.
posted by angrycat at 12:17 PM on October 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


Monstertrucks at dawn, sir!
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:19 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Spite is a lousy central tenet on which to build policy.

But a wonderful tool for rallying the base, especially if your base more resembles a mob of drunken, angry football fans than a well-informed constituency.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:20 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think that's so. We have a unique situation here where a few total nutjobs have taken over the GOP. And the Moderates came close to diving off the cliff with them. But generally, they are far more narrow and far more in agreement than the Dems are.

Not really. The social conservatives are there for issues like opposing gay marriage while the tea party folks have a libertarian streak that leads many to support it. The tea party wants to cut spending to the bone but many of the social conservatives and moderates are part of the mainstream that supports the major programs. They may be worried about spending too much, but they want the programs to be there. There is a reason every Presidential candidate they put forward in the primaries turns themselves into a walking joke. (If they aren't one already) To get the support of the party as a whole you need to incoherently try and get the support of people with conflicting views.

Meanwhile Hillary and Barack rip into each other on minor details of healthcare policy and who has the most preparedness for foreign policy.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:27 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm a bit ashamed of myself for thinking it, but I would almost rather see a default than see Obama back down on this. I remind myself over and over how bad this would be for so many people if it happened, and yet.

Also: Holy crap, I want to move to Vermont so I can vote for Bernie Sanders.
posted by Mooski at 12:28 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was a politico article tweeted a few minutes ago that I can't link to but described Susan Collins was putting something together that people are thinking would be more successful than the latest thing from the House GOP
posted by angrycat at 12:37 PM on October 10, 2013


Only 6% of tea party members support marriage equality. http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/08/20/713021/poll-tea-party-members-adamantly-oppose-marriage-equality/

Don't kid yourself about these people. They are reactionaries.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:38 PM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


You seem to be quite confused on economic issues. Previously you claimed trading austerity (spending cuts) for tax increases as a good thing, failing to recognize they are both the same, austerity policies.

A tax increase on the wealthy (which is what it was) is not austerity. Austerity is where the government spends less, reducing consumption. A tax increase on the wealthy pays for stimulus, which puts money in the hands of the non-rich, increasing consumption and jobs for the working and middle classes. The rich should pay for stimulus. And Obama sure hopes to have a majority for more stimulus. But he didn't when he made those deals.

Plus he did an end around with Quantitative Easing.

And if I had to choose between a tax increase for the wealthy or deficit-funded stimulus, I will take the long-term tax increase on the rich, thank you.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:45 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think they have painted themselves into a corner. That's what the 6 week debt ceiling bill proposal is about -- saving face. The real question is whether they will then feel enough heat to re-open the government too, because I believe Obama will in fact require that as well before he engages in budget discussions.
posted by bearwife at 12:46 PM on October 10, 2013


I would like to see the Republican Party irrevocably split into R and T factions. However, I fear the consequences of a party that is nominally theocratic while doctrinally vague and publicly libertarian while internally authoritarian. The Tea Party is a recipe for "freedom if you're white and as long as we say you're not a criminal."
posted by infinitewindow at 12:48 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only 6% of tea party members support marriage equality.

I've seen numbers as high as 26%, but for the most part the Tea Partiers I have spoken with who do oppose it see it as a very low priority. It might be better to describe them as Libertarian Republicans than TPers, since many people who do identify with the TP are just Republicans identifying with the fiercest opposition to Obama. It's not about their own views.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:50 PM on October 10, 2013


26%? That's the high end??
posted by Theta States at 12:54 PM on October 10, 2013


A tax increase on the wealthy (which is what it was) is not austerity.

No, all tax increases are austerity measures. They reduce the amount of consumer spending. Taxes on the wealthy have a smaller multiplier than taxes on the middle class, but they are still contractionary.

Whether you even need to pay for stimulus by raising taxes in a recession is debatable when real borrowing rates are near zero. That is another argument Obama failed to make.
posted by JackFlash at 12:56 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


zombieflanders: "GOP plan will also prevent Treasury from taking "extraordinary measures" i.e. the only reason we didn't default ba ck in May. This isn't caving, this is a shady backstabbing that Obama should reveal for the sham it is. He needs to punt, then twist the knife by telling the public about the House GOP rule that forced shutdown."

This is literally the only important thing in the proposal. Were it not for the extraordinary measures, we would already be defaulted. The Republicans are not being at all conciliatory, they are blatantly attempting to strengthen their ability to force a default at the time of their choosing.

They are still not ready to be serious. Hopefully the public can be made to understand why this isn't a deal that can possibly be accepted at the present time. It makes the situation worse, not better.
posted by wierdo at 12:58 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sen. Ted Cruz Vows Not To Raise Nation’s Debt Ceiling Until Union Admits To Losing Civil War
posted by Blasdelb at 12:59 PM on October 10, 2013 [16 favorites]


It might be better to describe them as Libertarian Republicans than TPers, since many people who do identify with the TP are just Republicans identifying with the fiercest opposition to Obama. It's not about their own views.

Look at who these TP people are running this shutdown. Mike Lee and Cruz. Not lining up to gay marry their buddies.

The people we are facing now are not the Paulites.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:00 PM on October 10, 2013


This energy was left to rot on the vine by the Democratic ruling class, yet it was there, waiting to be an Energizer Bunny of progressive politics. Why did the Dems never seriously support these successful mass activities? My belief is that it was because they dared not go against their paymasters in the financial industry.

FWIW, while the Democrats may have failed to harness Occupy's energy, that's as much the result of Occupy's insistence on staying aloof from electoral politics as Democratic neglect. I'm sympathetic to Occupy, but they dissipated their energies all on their own.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:02 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


The Republicans are not being at all conciliatory, they are blatantly attempting to strengthen their ability to force a default at the time of their choosing.

Accepting a clean raise for even a short amount of time establishes the precedent that there will not be negotiations to prevent default. Citizens are sick and tired of these crisis situations and the Republicans will pay a HUGE price if they try again in six weeks. They would be much better off passing a longer debt ceiling raise and playing out their hand on the shutdown as best they can.

Look at who these TP people are running this shutdown. Mike Lee and Cruz. Not lining up to gay marry their buddies.

The people we are facing now are not the Paulites.


Who said we were? Opposition to Obamacare is one thing Republicans are definitely unified on.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:04 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


(But if you can't see the Paulism in the air in the "Shutdown is not so bad" and "it would be okay to default" stuff than you are a political blind man)
posted by Drinky Die at 1:06 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


A tax increase on the wealthy (which is what it was) is not austerity.

No, all tax increases are austerity measures. They reduce the amount of consumer spending. Taxes on the wealthy have a smaller multiplier than taxes on the middle class, but they are still contractionary.

Whether you even need to pay for stimulus by raising taxes in a recession is debatable when real borrowing rates are near zero. That is another argument Obama failed to make.


First we are not in a recession. We are in a weak recovery where the fruits are not trickling down. So that money needs to be gotten from somewhere. Second, pulling money currently on the sidelines into the economy isn't austerity, its the opposite of it. The amount of consumption that it set aside is relatively low, as you said. The effect is countered when we get the kind of spending we need. For that we need the votes.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:09 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Folks, please be mindful of not letting this thread just be a referendum on your own views or arguments with one or two people? ]
posted by jessamyn at 1:11 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


Nine ways the shutdown will get more painful as it drags on
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:17 PM on October 10, 2013


"it would be okay to default" stuff

“You know what’s going on here, right? Everyone with two-cents worth of actuarial brains knows America needs a huge actuarial reset and there’s only going to be one way to get there. We need to default, have a crisis, wipe out 50-80% of the market value, force money out of dead pools in bonds and get things rolling again…”

Historic methods of reset were debt jubilees and the destruction from War. Got suggestions on how to have a reset that arn't the destruction of War?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:20 PM on October 10, 2013


Historic methods of reset were debt jubilees and the destruction from War. Got suggestions on how to have a reset that arn't the destruction of War?

Wage inflation.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:23 PM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


How about we just let 2-3% inflation per year effectively wipe out the debt over time? I'm not sure I'm going to take seriously analysis by someone who is essentially a professional doom predictor.
posted by Justinian at 1:23 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


When you're resorting to posting unhinged blog rantings from actual crazy people, perhaps you're not making your case very well.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:24 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why does everyone else have secret contacts on Wall Street that call them to confide secret information in them? I feel left out.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:25 PM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


What is a 6 am range phone call and how much tin foil is involved
posted by angrycat at 1:25 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


How much longer is air-traffic control expected to remain functional? I understand the employees are working, but without getting paid certainly at some point the individual employees are going to have to quit and move on to a paying job, purely for self-preservation.
posted by odinsdream at 1:26 PM on October 10, 2013


actual crazy people,

Meow.

Oh, but do show the link to actual clinical evaluation of this "crazy" label you are opting to attach to whatever post you were referring to. Bonus points if you can show how that "crazy" position will be cured under the ACA.

Cuz otherwise the label of "crazy" is just an attempt to associate negative connotations to whatever position you were responding to.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:30 PM on October 10, 2013


rough ashlar: " an attempt to associate negative connotations to whatever position you were responding to."

youve cracked the code
posted by boo_radley at 1:35 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, but do show the link to actual clinical evaluation of this "crazy" label you are opting to attach to whatever post you were referring to. Bonus points if you can show how that "crazy" position will be cured under the ACA.

From your link:
“It all comes down to this,” concluded my source, “You only have two ways out of this that have ever been invented. One is the Biblical Leviticus Jubilee where debts get forgiven and the other is Sharia law where interest is outlawed outright. The latter isn’t going to happen in the West and so that leaves what? Reset while its manageable or wait till it blows up on compound interest and hope it can all work out. That’s the choice and we’re there right now.”
As to the ACA, there's hundreds if not thousands of articles about how it contributes to deficit reduction. You're the one throwing out stuff to see what sticks all the time. You want to engage in your usual, tiresome "here's something crazy, now disprove it" shtick, by all means make the all-encompassing FPP you keep on threatening to make.

Cuz otherwise the label of "crazy" is just an attempt to associate negative connotations to whatever position you were responding to.

Well, yes, someone advocating for complete economic destruction leading to billions more being impoverished, in all likelihood millions of deaths, and a systematic dismantling of rational governance by rapacious market libertarians is both crazy and a negative.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:39 PM on October 10, 2013 [15 favorites]


rough ashlar,
The reason your link is called "crazy" is because there was a lot of reference to returning to a partial gold standard, and something about the German courts with ODR denoted in Euro direct transactions. This is, quite frankly, Coast to Coast AM radio levels of insane.

I don't doubt that a lot of people who do not actually work with high finance or who have grandiose notions of "how things work" are saying that we need an "actuarial reset" (yeah, that phrase deserves quotes), but for anyone who actually has real skin in the game, you are talking about wiping out several trillion dollars of wealth. That is plain stupid. That is Lyndon LaRuche levels of nutbaggery.

The entire world economy is fixed on the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. Dollar. There is no way in hell to switch off of this without a gradual emergence of a real, solid competing currency, which no one wants to bother with (see all the fuss about the problems with the Euro). And it would be civilization level suicide to try to force this "reset". This is full on post-apocalytic "in the dystopian future, I will be king" levels of delusion.

Oh, and do you know how I know this? Because I get those newsletters too. A lot of them. They all say the same thing. Buy gold. Watch out for the black helicopters. Don't trust the government. The New World Order is coming, arm yourself. Here's our 10 step way to be prepared for the coming (insert psychotic ranting about race, religion, nuclear annihilation here).

And it is all bunk.
posted by daq at 1:41 PM on October 10, 2013 [21 favorites]


How much longer is air-traffic control expected to remain functional? I understand the employees are working, but without getting paid certainly at some point the individual employees are going to have to quit and move on to a paying job, purely for self-preservation.

In 1995 I believe a bill was passed mid-shutdown to pay some essential employees including ATCs. Something similar may happen this time too. Tomorrow is the first check that will be officially disrupted, with employees getting paid only through Sept 30 rather than Oct 4. No one should miss a mortgage payment over 4 days, at least you'd hope. The next check on Oct 15 will be the one that really hurts.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:41 PM on October 10, 2013


"Oh, but do show the link to actual clinical evaluation of this "crazy" label you are opting to attach to whatever post you were referring to. Bonus points if you can show how that "crazy" position will be cured under the ACA.

Cuz otherwise the label of "crazy" is just an attempt to associate negative connotations to whatever position you were responding to.
"

Point taken about abling language; consider the pejorative revised to "fucking morons," in which case, the point is self-evident.
posted by klangklangston at 1:41 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm as critical of Occupy as anyone, but saying the Democrats "failed to harness Occupy's energy" when the Obama FBI coordinated a simultaneous, heavy-handed nationwide police crackdown is some really grade-A historical whitewashing.
posted by crayz at 1:42 PM on October 10, 2013 [30 favorites]


Why does everyone else have secret contacts on Wall Street that call them to confide secret information in them? I feel left out.

To be fair - I was being lazy....there is a group who've made arguments about a debt reset and I really didn't want to spent 2 hours filtering out the non-jubliee crowd and the student debt crowd doesn't answer the "how are ya planning on paying off 16 trillion?" question. But hey, feel free to answer the addressing the debt issue VS "deficits don't matter".

So far in however many comments are in this FPP - I don't recall anyone showing a way the present amount of debt will be paid beyond the latest "inflation" answer. Of course to do that spending would have to be controlled no? But then again, no one responded to the Carter comment - and that is a response to the offered inflation argument no?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:42 PM on October 10, 2013


I miss the mother thread.
posted by Theta States at 1:44 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh, but do show the link to actual clinical evaluation of this "crazy" label

Would you prefer "idiot" or "con-man" instead? Because looking at his Coast to Coast AM shows tells me he's one of three, at least.

Tell me, do you think he can predict the effects of a default as accurately as he did the events of 2010?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:45 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some in the Christian right straight up believe Obamacare portends the end times. Rick Phillips, writing for Christianity.com, hinted that Obamacare might be predicted in Revelations, though he held back from saying that was certain. Others are less cautious. On the right wing fundamentalist email underground, a conspiracy theory has arisen claiming that Obamacare will require all citizens to have a microchip implanted. While it’s completely untrue, many Christians believe that this means the “mark of the beast” predicted in Revelations that portends the return of Christ and the end of the world.
We may be missing an actual clinical evaluation of these people, but I'm pretty comfortable with calling them delusional.
posted by scody at 1:45 PM on October 10, 2013 [31 favorites]


And I forgot to add the response that shows that Carter is actually right.

Reality versus Belief (youtube video, showing income disparity versus what most people believe it to be).

So yes, some facts are valid in that screed, but the conclusions they are reaching based on those facts are as wild as feral cats. And probably have just as many toes.
posted by daq at 1:46 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


When is the new 'iPhone-friendly' thread due?
posted by mazola at 1:46 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why does everyone else have secret contacts on Wall Street that call them to confide secret information in them? I feel left out.

gimme your number. i got a few free minutes.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:51 PM on October 10, 2013


rough ashlar,
The reason your link is called "crazy" is because there was a lot of reference to returning to a partial gold standard, and something about the German courts with ODR denoted in Euro direct transactions.


The "crazy" comment is implied to be my link and I treated it as such - but the OP did not quote as I have.

And thank you for giving a reason.

The 'crazy' may not have a valid answer to the question of "How do you pay off 16 Trillion?" but other than the wage inflation answer, no one in The Blue brain trust has come up with an answer either. Which would be more damaging - inflation, a reset, austerity, or some other path not mentioned on The Blue in the comments here in this FPP? If a reset at 16 trillion is painful, would a 20 Trillion reset be less so? If stopping the bleeding via austerity would be painful, what is the alternative? 50%+ of FedBudget is on the Military, 25+% of the economy is tied to the Military - if that was reduced to 0% .... would the rest of the world care about the US Dollar for trade? What would be the effect on the US economy of no more borrowed money injected as make-work military related projects? The 50%/25% Military spending only got mentioned in passing with the Antarctica link.

If the present economic system needs no forced reset, what is the way out? Or is there no need for a way out, everything is fine?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:56 PM on October 10, 2013


I'm a bit ashamed of myself for thinking it, but I would almost rather see a default than see Obama back down on this

I'm not ashamed. I would rather see a default than have Obama back down. A default would be pretty bad, but Dems caving to the Repubs would set a precedent that would more damaging to this country in the long term.
posted by nooneyouknow at 1:59 PM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


"The 'crazy' may not have a valid answer to the question of "How do you pay off 16 Trillion?" but other than the wage inflation answer, no one in The Blue brain trust has come up with an answer either."

Over time, like the rest of our debt.

Which would be more damaging - inflation, a reset, austerity, or some other path not mentioned on The Blue in the comments here in this FPP?"

The other path is not having a default and largely proceeding as before. So, that one would be less damaging.

If a reset at 16 trillion is painful, would a 20 Trillion reset be less so?

If begging 16 trillion questions is tedious, would begging 20 trillion be less so?
posted by klangklangston at 2:01 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


rough ashlar: I mentioned the military budget earlier, and advocated for the swords into plowshares approach. We could right now convert a large amount (I dunno, 75%?) of that military budget into a massive green energy program (sending much of the money to many of the same defense contractors, to grease the skids politically), with the aim of getting us entirely on wind, solar, hydro by, say, 2050 (a la Mark Jacobson). This is win, win, win in terms of the economy, national security, and the environment.

The fact that this is possible but not being done is something that's made secular me come back around to believing in tangible Evil.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:09 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Over time, like the rest of our debt.

Fine, but doesn't that answer 1st need to have income exceed spending? And while raising taxes has been mentioned - what is the spending cut plan? 50% on the military is far more than the 23% spending at the start of the 21st century - where is either side on cutting the Military spending or justifying why the doubling in a decade and 1/2 as an example?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:10 PM on October 10, 2013


Senate GOP rallies around rival plan on debt ceiling, shutdown

"Senate Republicans are unhappy with a House GOP plan to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks without funding the federal government. They are coalescing around their own proposal to pair a short-term debt-ceiling increase with a year-long stopgap to fund the government.

Under their plan, the government would be funded for a year at the $967 billion level set by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

The package would also include a repeal of ObamaCare's medical-device tax and language to require income verification of people who apply for healthcare subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, said GOP sources familiar with the talks."

posted by madamjujujive at 2:10 PM on October 10, 2013


I think it's important to separate the question of paying off the national debt from the current shutdown fiasco. The answer is to pay it off slowly over time through gradually reducing spending and raising taxes in some areas. The desire to have some kind of massive, all-at-once reset is dangerous because the social and financial impact would be devastating and (as usual) disproportionately affect the poor and the middle class.

Public policy is boring, and it should be. People who are secretly hoping for some massive event (Rapture, government collapse, etc.) scare me. I think it stems from a desire to oversimplify the world ("... and then the war on terror will be won", "... and then the debt will be solved", etc.). In this case the Republicans seem to be trying to force some kind of bullshit Old West shootout. They got what they wanted with the ACA (pro-business "free-market" solution) but now they have changed their minds apparently. And now they have been de-emphasizing the ACA part of the showdown and are suddenly trying to re-frame it as being about fiscal responsibility - it reminds me of how quickly the Iraq war reasons changed from WMD to "liberate the Iraqis" once the intelligence on WMD was shown to be flawed.
posted by freecellwizard at 2:11 PM on October 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


Surely income verification was needed before, yeah? Or are we to praise Jebus the GOP figured out that there was none
posted by angrycat at 2:13 PM on October 10, 2013


Nate Silver on the shutdown
posted by box at 2:13 PM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


ideas? well in the other thread I put these out:

hard choice: capitol gains tax increase
hard choice: eliminating all loopholes for companies making over 5 million profit a year
hard choice: raise income taxes on top 3% of income earners
hard choice: reduce military spending so it is merely 50% of discretionary spending
hard choice: raise inheritance tax to those receiving more than 1 million
hard choice: income for congressional members is tied to personal income. the more you make outside of congress the less you make serving in congress, this includes benefits
hard choice: Social security benefits is tied to net worth minus primary residence.


I mean we have all manner of ways to increase revenues, but people tend to start panicking when the military budget is mentioned, and anytime increased taxation on those most able to afford it we get weird "job creators" and "real Americans" type of rhetoric. But I tell you honestly, I really think a healthy country needs less GDP geared towards military and much more skewing of the taxation system to stop favoring the obscene accumulation of wealth in the hands of so few.
posted by edgeways at 2:14 PM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


The package would also include a repeal of ObamaCare's medical-device tax and language to require income verification of people who apply for healthcare subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, said GOP sources familiar with the talks.

Nope. Nope. Nope. It passed into law, you fucking asshats.

/crosses fingers that the President feels the same.
posted by emjaybee at 2:14 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


...but people tend to start panicking when the military budget is mentioned...

That's why the green energy, swords into plowshares approach would be such a winner--everyone would still get their pork via largely the same mechanisms as they do now, but we'd be doing something productive with the money (and creating additional US jobs), instead of just dumping the money down the toilet.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:19 PM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Fine, but doesn't that answer 1st need to have income exceed spending? And while raising taxes has been mentioned - what is the spending cut plan? 50% on the military is far more than the 23% spending at the start of the 21st century - where is either side on cutting the Military spending or justifying why the doubling in a decade and 1/2 as an example?"

Well, not so long as interest rates are so low that other countries basically pay us to hold their money.

But the deficit is a mild, long-term problem. To paraphrase Charles Pearce: Fuck the deficit. People got no jobs, people got no money. Fix that and we'll see a real decrease in the deficit. Until then, it's a bunch of cranks worrying about an imaginary problem as a distraction from real, actual ones.
posted by klangklangston at 2:25 PM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Just as a data point, Canada successfully climbed down from a steep debt situation by a calm, prudent, and long-term plan of tax raises and expenditure cuts. But you do need the tax rises, which is why I have a hard time taking the Republicans seriously on their sudden intense concern about the debt.
posted by Erasmouse at 2:25 PM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, but... socialism. (!)
posted by mazola at 2:28 PM on October 10, 2013


America sure enjoys being exceptional, doesn't it.
posted by mazola at 2:30 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Maine
LePage declares civil emergency because of government shutdown; union calls move a ‘power grab’
With the proclamation, LePage has taken the authority to circumvent state laws or rules if he determines they “prevent, hinder and delay effective management of the emergency.”

"The way life should be" indeed.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:31 PM on October 10, 2013


...which is why I have a hard time taking the Republicans seriously on their sudden intense concern about the debt.

News flash: that's because they don't care about it! What they care about is weakening the Federal government and dismantling the New Deal (and then sowing salt into the soil so it can never grow again). This entire fiscal conservatism schtick is utter bullshit, and it's distressing how many people even actually debate it with them. The Democratic party, and even many rank and file liberals, have absorbed it as a legitimate issue. It just simply is not. And, to beat my favorite drum, it's why I say the Democrats are a zombie party: the reason this austerity narrative has legs, is that the opposition (supposedly the Democrats) never formulates the alternative story. And why do the Dems not do this? Because they're competing for the same capitalist largess as the GOP.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:32 PM on October 10, 2013 [20 favorites]


Canada successfully climbed down from a steep debt situation by a calm, prudent, and long-term plan of tax raises and expenditure cuts. shifting the debt to the provinces.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:36 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


That is certainly what you accuse everyone who ever disagrees with you of wanting, but in years of reading these threads I've never seen anyone actually argue that. The problem you run into is thinking you "need the votes first". Obviously you need votes, but part of the legislative process is getting those votes.

Why aren't you doing that then? Where are these votes for things that Obama never promised? That's my whole point. If Bernie Sanders or Grijalva wants these things passed, it is their job to get the votes, not Obama's. These members of Congress want Obama to take risks they don't have to take for their pet things, like the public option. If those members want something, they have to make the deals that will get the votes. Not Obama. Obama didn't run on the public option. He ran on a program that was nearly the same as the ACA ended up being. The idea that Obama is supposed to just burn political capital making deals for things that don't have enough votes in the first place baffles me.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:36 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Could start on cutting the debt by not giving states more than they pay in federal taxes. But I feel like red states might not like that.
posted by inigo2 at 2:36 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


[comment trawling just to eyeroll at other users considered harmful to civil discourse. Don't do that here.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:48 PM on October 10, 2013


Obama didn't run on the public option.

We had this debate before, and yes Obama did run on the public option.
posted by crayz at 2:49 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


symbioid: "Default will make it harder on most of us, while it won't hurt the wealthy one bit."

That is crazypants talk. Default absolutely will hurt many of the wealthy. It will not hurt them to the point of worrying about losing their home or where their next meal will come from, but it may force them to sell the Swiss chalet, if they even can.

The financial crisis also hurt the wealthy in a very real, but generally temporary, way. Although in reality it's actually been only the ultra wealthy who got through with pretty much no consequences. Many of the nine figure net worth set have seen some pretty nasty fallout from the credit crunch, housing bubble, CRE bubble, and their associated aftermath. Again, nothing like what the little people have been suffering, but still something.

tl;dr: Even (many of) the ultra wealthy will lose in a default scenario, even it will just be their score taking the hit, not a significant impact on their quality of life as the rest of us will have to bear. Take "comfort" that many of the eight or nine figure rich will share in our pain to a large degree, especially the owners of small businesses who will really be taking it in the shorts. Again.
posted by wierdo at 2:52 PM on October 10, 2013


Even (many of) the ultra wealthy will lose in a default scenario, even it will just be their score taking the hit, not a significant impact on their quality of life as the rest of us will have to bear. Take "comfort" that many of the eight or nine figure rich will share in our pain to a large degree

One would think paying a little more in taxes each year would beat the pants off of living in a situation where they might lose an assload of money because of legislative ineptitude.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:56 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obama didn't run on the public option.

We had this debate before, and yes Obama did run on the public option.
posted by crayz at 5:49 PM on October 10 [3 favorites +] [!]


Read your own link. if you think a single mention of "a public plan" in his first election campaign means he meant the public option, I'd love to see evidence backing that up. Every other mention is from after the election. I would have liked the public option. However, the Dem senator from Arkansas, deep in a re-election fight she lost, got on the Senate floor and said that she would never, ever ever vote for the public option, before the final passage. So Obama is supposed to use magic powers to get over that hump?
posted by Ironmouth at 3:02 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe he could have convinced a Republican to flip?

I keed!
posted by mazola at 3:04 PM on October 10, 2013


Nate Silver has posted a blog post to Grantland breaking down some polling data and trying to frame it realistically. I think the take-away is: results foggy, check back later.
posted by codacorolla at 3:04 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]



One would think paying a little more in taxes each year would beat the pants off of living in a situation where they might lose an assload of money because of legislative ineptitude.


Something about leading a horse to water and drinking applies here.

I really wish it was simpler, but the number of high rollers who are still in denial about the possibility of an actual default is staggeringly high.

I really hope I am not being Casandra.
posted by daq at 3:05 PM on October 10, 2013


The 'crazy' may not have a valid answer to the question of "How do you pay off 16 Trillion?" but other than the wage inflation answer, no one in The Blue brain trust has come up with an answer either. Which would be more damaging - inflation, a reset, austerity, or some other path not mentioned on The Blue in the comments here in this FPP?

Because the answer isn't paying off 16 trillion dollars. The answer is the economy keeps growing, general inflation kicks in and 16 trillion eventually looks smaller than it does today.

You know who was the last president to pay off the debt?

Andrew Jackson.
posted by Talez at 3:08 PM on October 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


general inflation kicks in

What is the present spending rate increase?

Who's looking forward to inflation greater than that rate and how does pending remain at less than that rate?
posted by rough ashlar at 3:14 PM on October 10, 2013


Ironmouth: "if you think a single mention of "a public plan" in his first election campaign means he meant the public option, I'd love to see evidence backing that up."

Here ya go.

Did Obama Campaign On The Public Option? Yes But Not Entirely
By December 2007, however, Obama clearly had endorsed a government-run option. In a speech at the Iowa Heartland Presidential Forum, the then-Senator declared that if he "were designing a system from scratch" he would "probably move more in the direction of a single-payer plan,"

"But what we have to do right now," Obama added, "is I want to move to make sure that everybody has got coverage as quickly as possible. And I believe that what that means is we expand SCHIP. It means that we extend eligibility for some of the government programs that we have. We set up a government program, as I've described, that everybody can buy into and you can't be excluded because of a pre-existing condition."

In January 2008, meanwhile, Obama submitted an issue form to Ebony Magazine, in which, as the third principle of his health care reform agenda, he promised to "require all employers to contribute toward health coverage for their employees or toward the cost of the public plan."

By that point, the press, commentariat and widely respected health care observers all were reporting the government-run plan as a component of the Obama agenda.

On May 31, 2007, Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and a New Yorker staff writer, wrote in The New York Times that both Obama and then-candidate John Edwards, were offering "a choice of competing private plans, and... a Medicare-like public option, too."

On September 20, 2007, Ezra Klein -- then a staff writer at The American Prospect and now with The Washington Post -- wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times in which he said that "all of the Democrats" in the primary field had offered the option of "a government-run insurance program modeled on, but distinct from, Medicare."

On February 12, 2008, Jonathan Oberlander of the University of North Carolina, told NPR's Fresh Air that Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton both "would create a new public plan similar to Medicare."
There's wiggle room, as there always is when a gifted politician is speaking, but the implication is clear.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:24 PM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


Inflation is only around 1.5% these days. I don't understand why we don't print some money to bring the rate up and use it as stimulus. I've heard pundits say we've been deeply afraid of deflation or hyperinflation, but isn't it at all possible to increase the rate without spiraling out of control or causing too much pain for the poor/middle class?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:24 PM on October 10, 2013


What is the present spending rate increase?

I think you ignored 50% of the factors Talez mentions. Or do you think the growth of the economy is a minor factor?

Look, I appreciate that you may have an ideological viewpoint, but you need to ask yourself at some point whether it may need some tinkering if you have to work so hard at making it seem plausible.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:25 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Obama to Boehner: No.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:26 PM on October 10, 2013


Nate Silver has posted a blog post to Grantland breaking down some polling data and trying to frame it realistically.
The best measure of this might be the generic congressional ballot, which measures overall preferences for Democrats or Republicans in congressional races around the country. However, very few generic ballot polls have been released since the shutdown began, and the exceptions are from dubious polling firms like Public Policy Polling and Rasmussen Reports.
I never thought I'd say this, but fuck you, Nate.

PPP are the most consistently accurate pollsters out there even when polling difficult races that no one else will touch. Even the controversial Colorado recall poll they were so unsure about that they declined to publish ended up being right on the money. Dismissing their polls and putting them in the same context as fickle, fallible, finger-ever-on-the-scales Rasmussen is ludicrous and petty.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:26 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Obama to Boehner: No.
Now we (kind of) know why: President Obama rejected the House's offer of a six-week increase in the debt ceiling because it would not also reopen the government. The announcement came after the markets, which had rallied today on news that the debt ceiling would be lifted, had closed. So tomorrow's opening bell will be fun.
Good on him for putting the screws to Boehner and Ryan. This is where Costa said the GOP caucus likely splits and Boehner is forced to get this done with Pelosi.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:26 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


...but isn't it at all possible to increase the rate without spiraling out of control or causing too much pain for the poor/middle class?

Leadership has historically proved great restraint is possible and they are firmly in control. :P
posted by mazola at 3:28 PM on October 10, 2013


@BenjySarlin: Looks like Third Debate Obama is running the show.

Let's hope so.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:29 PM on October 10, 2013


Obama Rejects G.O.P. Offer of Short-Term Debt Limit Plan.

Finally, the Obama we've been waiting for.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:29 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh, and as a way to understand the current Republican party, I found this report to be very helpful. It's not based on a representative sampling, but rather on a series of focus groups that uncritically elicited the world-view of three Republican subgroups: Evangelicals, Tea Party members, and self-styled moderates (basically fiscal but not social conservatives). It doesn't attempt quantitative analysis, but reports qualitative findings.

It really is an interesting read. Some of it reinforces my impressions that much of the fear these groups have is driven by the sense that their homogeneous local cultures are threatened by an influx of immigrants (including but not limited to those undocumented) and by the uncloseting of gays and lesbians. This idea struck me some years ago when I was driving down Lake Street in Minneapolis marvelling at the wide spectrum of Hispanic, Asian, and African people and stores on display and for some reason started to imagine how this would look to someone from an exurban community that was nearly uniformly white and Christian. I sensed the extent it would raise anxieties about the changes to be wrought eventually in their own communities and how disturbed that would make them, especially when they realized that it was too late to turn back the tide. Young people generally have the ability to adapt, but older people have more trepidation about change, especially such radical change. These anxieties are all expressed in the attached, with the added layer of perception that the benefits of social welfare programs, including Obamacare as the latest example, are a) mainly there to buy votes for the Democratic party, b) mostly going to cheaters and abusers who use them to avoid work, and c) these undeserving recipients are mostly of these non-white "others." Simple statistics, of course, easily prove b) and c) wrong, but a) is really not susceptible to fact-based debunking, because it resides in their subjective judgement and can't be argued away.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:32 PM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


The idea that Obama is supposed to just burn political capital making deals for things that don't have enough votes in the first place baffles me.

And this is the baffling part for me as a political outsider. Don't you spend political capital making deals so that there are enough votes for things? What's the difference between something not having enough votes and something not yet having enough votes? How does the debate in Washington ever change if everyone's being so pragmatic about what is and isn't feasible? What good is 'political capital' if the other party is just going to vote against whatever you're proposing out of pure spite?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:32 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


"But what we have to do right now," Obama added, "is I want to move to make sure that everybody has got coverage as quickly as possible. And I believe that what that means is we expand SCHIP. It means that we extend eligibility for some of the government programs that we have. We set up a government program, as I've described, that everybody can buy into and you can't be excluded because of a pre-existing condition."

In January 2008, meanwhile, Obama submitted an issue form to Ebony Magazine, in which, as the third principle of his health care reform agenda, he promised to "require all employers to contribute toward health coverage for their employees or toward the cost of the public plan."

By that point, the press, commentariat and widely respected health care observers all were reporting the government-run plan as a component of the Obama agenda.

On May 31, 2007, Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and a New Yorker staff writer, wrote in The New York Times that both Obama and then-candidate John Edwards, were offering "a choice of competing private plans, and... a Medicare-like public option, too."

On September 20, 2007, Ezra Klein -- then a staff writer at The American Prospect and now with The Washington Post -- wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times in which he said that "all of the Democrats" in the primary field had offered the option of "a government-run insurance program modeled on, but distinct from, Medicare."

On February 12, 2008, Jonathan Oberlander of the University of North Carolina, told NPR's Fresh Air that Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton both "would create a new public plan similar to Medicare."


So you're saying Obama ran on it because other people say he did? Look at the statements, some doctor, Ezra Klein. That's not Obama saying anything. And the stuff he's talking about, expanding current systems, is in the ACA. He's referring to techniques like raising the medicaid elgibility line, which is in the bill.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:42 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


"What the GOP needs now is a crazy plan to defund Obamacare - preferably one with no endgame."

"None of this bad news should prevent Ted Cruz winning the vital Ames Straw Poll."

both from @daveweigel

Also, holy shit this polling must scare the GOP.
posted by lattiboy at 3:44 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


So Obama is supposed to use magic powers to get over that hump?

I don't know how this stuff goes, so maybe the following is magic powers land, but what about (before Kennedy's death) convincing borderland Dems to vote for cloture but then vote against the public option? That way, they could have said, "I voted against the public option," while still providing the road forward for the public option to pass by making it possible to have an up or down vote. Didn't he have 50 votes supporting the public option, just not the full 60 needed to avoid a filibuster? (I don't have a very clear memory about how the votes looked with respect to the public option, so maybe he didn't even have 50.)
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 3:44 PM on October 10, 2013


He's referring to techniques like raising the medicaid elgibility line, which is in the bill.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:42 PM on October 10 [+] [!]


And how does this Medicaid "raising" interact with the 1993 Clinton era clawback?
posted by rough ashlar at 3:45 PM on October 10, 2013


So you're saying Obama ran on it because other people say he did? Look at the statements, some doctor, Ezra Klein. That's not Obama saying anything. And the stuff he's talking about, expanding current systems, is in the ACA. He's referring to techniques like raising the medicaid elgibility line, which is in the bill.

So, in the first bit, with two quotations from Obama:
We set up a government program, as I've described, that everybody can buy into and you can't be excluded because of a pre-existing condition.
And ...
In January 2008, meanwhile, Obama submitted an issue form to Ebony Magazine, in which, as the third principle of his health care reform agenda, he promised to "require all employers to contribute toward health coverage for their employees or toward the cost of the public plan."
How are you understanding "government program" and "public plan"? To me, those look like a public option, not an individual mandate to purchase private insurance.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 3:48 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


And also not like simply expanding Medicaid ...
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 3:49 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, holy shit this polling must scare the GOP.


From the article: Just 24 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion about the GOP, and only 21 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party, which are both at all-time lows in the history of poll.


When only an additional 3% of Republicans view the Tea Party favorably, yikes. (Although there's a little wiggle room in that not every person who identifies as a Tea Party member identifies as a Republican).
posted by MoonOrb at 3:52 PM on October 10, 2013


JackFlash: "No, all tax increases are austerity measures. They reduce the amount of consumer spending. Taxes on the wealthy have a smaller multiplier than taxes on the middle class, but they are still contractionary."

Not in a zero rate environment where cash is largely sitting in T Bills paying less than the rate of inflation. Taxing it and spending it increases the multiplier from zero to whatever it ends up being. (The same reason it is perversely inflationary in this environment) If you're taxing money that was being circulated in the economy, that is a different story entirely, of course.

Normal economics do not apply at the moment.

Drinky Die: "Accepting a clean raise for even a short amount of time establishes the precedent that there will not be negotiations to prevent default. Citizens are sick and tired of these crisis situations and the Republicans will pay a HUGE price if they try again in six weeks. They would be much better off passing a longer debt ceiling raise and playing out their hand on the shutdown as best they can."

It's not clean, though. It has the no-more-extraordinary-measures bomb that will continue to plague us long after this particular crisis is over.
posted by wierdo at 4:01 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ya know, Harry Reid is growing on me.
posted by angrycat at 4:02 PM on October 10, 2013


My guess is that your total cumulative losses (without wins, or wins without losses, take your pick) in poker are almost certainly less than four figures, and certainly less than five - am I right?

You'd be very, very wrong, but I may have learned the game in a slightly different environment than you. Before the limit game dried up the team haul was over $100K, and that was with only a couple of years at stakes.
posted by localroger at 4:03 PM on October 10, 2013


And this is the baffling part for me as a political outsider. Don't you spend political capital making deals so that there are enough votes for things? What's the difference between something not having enough votes and something not yet having enough votes?

First, what I'm saying is that Obama did not run on the things they say he did. Then they demand that he round up the votes for their pet projects, like the Public Option.

But to address your excellent larger point, the way to get votes is to trade them for things you'd rather not have enacted, but are acceptable to you as a trade. The House is easy if you have it. The Senate? Not so much. And if you look into the weeds of when the Dems had 60 votes, it turns out to be a very short time, nowhere near a 2-year term. That's a very short time. And during that time, deals were done. In early '09, they got stimulus through with 2 GOP votes. But that was it. And when Blanche Lincoln decides her entire future rides on her getting rid of the Public Option and she won't even vote cloture on a bill with it in there, there is nothing Obama can do about it. She is the 60th vote for cloture. Any threat is meaningless when Lincoln's polling said she had to break with the party or lose her seat.

And the rest is history. The GOP went bat-shit racist and ginned up the whitest electorate ever while fools claiming to be "Obama's base" said Obama should be taught a lesson and people should stay home. So the GOP House was here to stay and you see how that went.

The fact is many of the things people wanted were not attainable and the President had not run on them. For them to be upset that he didn't burn political capital on them when they were likely to be losers because Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln would not vote cloture on them seems foolish. And they tried to flex on Blanche, voting for a loyal ACA supporter in the Arkansas primary. Dude was whipped, so Blanche read her electorate right.

The other thing is the big Dem programs were marched through with 65-70 dems in the Senate. Clinton passed nothing but a tax increase in his time. Hillarycare never even made it to the floor. So, to all the Jon Stewarts, where are these votes that make single payer fly? Its not credible as a negotiating position if no one in the history of the country ever even came close.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:04 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, holy shit this polling must scare the GOP.

Brian Williams and Chuck Todd sounded gobsmacked on NBC News. I wonder if the WH got a hold of those numbers early.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:05 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Watching the network nightly news broadcasts tonight, I'm sickened by how wrong the reporting on the shutdown and debt ceiling are.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:05 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wonder if the WH got a hold of those numbers early.

Things have been drifting ominously in that direction for over a week. Anyone who didn't see it coming has been living in a cave.
posted by localroger at 4:08 PM on October 10, 2013


And when Blanche Lincoln decides her entire future rides on her getting rid of the Public Option and she won't even vote cloture on a bill with it in there, there is nothing Obama can do about it. She is the 60th vote for cloture. Any threat is meaningless when Lincoln's polling said she had to break with the party or lose her seat.

Well, that answers my question. If Lincoln wasn't even to vote for cloture, ... sheesh.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 4:11 PM on October 10, 2013


That is certainly what you accuse everyone who ever disagrees with you of wanting, but in years of reading these threads I've never seen anyone actually argue that. The problem you run into is thinking you "need the votes first". Obviously you need votes, but part of the legislative process is getting those votes.

Why aren't you doing that then?


I am out doing that.

We were talking about tax cuts so I have no idea how you translated my reply into some sort of commentary on the public option, but as you have been told the past 10,000 times you ran this script: In the 2008 Obama-Biden health care plan on the campaign’s website, candidate Obama promised that “any American will have the opportunity to enroll in [a] new public plan.”

Whether he ran on it is a totally different question from if it was appropriate to allow it to be dropped or not, but he ran on it.

Now do the Nader routine, I love that one.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:11 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


How are you understanding "government program" and "public plan"? To me, those look like a public option, not an individual mandate to purchase private insurance.

Well, what did Obama say in the cited paragraph? He referred to expanding current programs to reach people above the poverty line, which is in the bill, not a government-run subsection of the exchanges.

Where's the part where in 2008 he says "I want a government run plan that will compete with private plans on the exchange?" Where is it? Nobody's ever shown it to me and I searched long and hard in the discussions we had over all this in the past. I never found it.

I think what happened is that Obama would have loved to have such a plan. But he's not going to throw the whole ACA out when a member of his own party, Blanche Lincoln, said she'd vote with the GOP to filibuster the bill if it had a public option in it.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:11 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Watching the network nightly news broadcasts tonight, I'm sickened by how wrong the reporting on the shutdown and debt ceiling are.

Out of curiosity, which ones did you watch? I have my own feelings about which of the big network anchors is the worst. (Hint: He often appears on comedy shows and does shtick.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:13 PM on October 10, 2013


It's not clean, though. It has the no-more-extraordinary-measures bomb that will continue to plague us long after this particular crisis is over.

If we break their will to use the debt ceiling as blackmail, we shouldn't need the extraordinary measures in the future. If we don't...well we will have other problems.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:14 PM on October 10, 2013


Seriously tired of the Obama did he/didn't he derail.
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:22 PM on October 10, 2013 [33 favorites]


If we break their will to use the debt ceiling as blackmail, we shouldn't need the extraordinary measures in the future. If we don't...well we will have other problems.

Spot on. As you said, they can't come back in 6 weeks and do it again.

And that poll? Jesus fucking christ. Ouch.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:23 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The polling data is bad for the GOP and the Tea Party, but, as Nate Silver's post points out, things move quickly in American politics and today's numbers may have no bearing on the next election. Alas.
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:26 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


And that poll? Jesus fucking christ. Ouch.

The only poll that matters to an elected official is the poll in their district. They might lose the country for the Republicans, but they'll keep their seat.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:38 PM on October 10, 2013


The polling data is bad for the GOP and the Tea Party, but, as Nate Silver's post points out, things move quickly in American politics and today's numbers may have no bearing on the next election. Alas.

Alas nothing. It is simply up to us. We need to all out this thing like the 2008 Presidential Election. I mean really go all out.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:39 PM on October 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


My favorite bit of that poll is that ACA support has increased 7 points since Ted Cruz opened his idiot mouth.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:40 PM on October 10, 2013 [24 favorites]


Alas nothing. It is simply up to us. We need to all out this thing like the 2008 Presidential Election. I mean really go all out.

My state is reliably 100% blue, but I send my money to battleground states/districts. You can be sure I'll be targeting my money to turn some red spots blue.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:41 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Atom Eyes, I watched both NBC and ABC. NBC was by far the worse, but ABC wasn't much better. A lot of "both sides" bullshit. Made me angry. Plus they both reported the stock market news as if it were good rather than kind of troubling.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:43 PM on October 10, 2013


If you're interested in where to send your money, Sam Wang may have some ideas: Gerrymandering creates a point of weakness
posted by apcmwh at 4:44 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


Parks and Recs and Shutdown
posted by drezdn at 5:06 PM on October 10, 2013


Alas nothing. It is simply up to us. We need to all out this thing like the 2008 Presidential Election. I mean really go all out.

As with probably most of us in this thread, I live in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. There's nothing that I can do to help Mike Doyle do better. He won with 76% of the vote last year. Some years, the Republican haven't even bothered to field a candidate.
posted by octothorpe at 5:09 PM on October 10, 2013


Luckily for taking on shit I live in Pennsyltucky, a highly target-rich environment
posted by angrycat at 5:14 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


As with probably most of us in this thread, I live in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. There's nothing that I can do to help Mike Doyle do better. He won with 76% of the vote last year. Some years, the Republican haven't even bothered to field a candidate.

I think calling Mike Doyle and attaboying him for things you like helps a lot. Let's him know folks out there are supporting him in this fight this month. Giving behavior you like acknowledgement can only help.

Sadly, I have no congressman at all. My people have to inject themselves in this fight.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:20 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


> I never thought I'd say this, but fuck you, Nate.

PPP are the most consistently accurate pollsters out there even when polling difficult races that no one else will touch.


Nate Silver linked to this criticism of PPP by Nate Cohn.
posted by nangar at 5:21 PM on October 10, 2013


apcmwh's article reminds us that gerrymandering isn't always undefeatable, and in fact in times of national outrage it can produce surprisingly sudden reversals.

However I take issue with it being termed as creating a point of weakness. In truth, it creates situations where the electoral result doesn't reflect voter reality. It's not that it makes a weak point -- it's that it nudges the result over to where it shouldn't be. Of course the situation is weak, it shouldn't exist in the first place. When you take pains to forge a seat out of nothing, it's naturally going to be unstable.
posted by JHarris at 5:22 PM on October 10, 2013


octothorpe: " As with probably most of us in this thread, I live in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. There's nothing that I can do to help Mike Doyle do better. He won with 76% of the vote last year. Some years, the Republican haven't even bothered to field a candidate."

I'm just North in PA-12 (formerly PA-04), which was reasonably swing-y until they merged it with John Murtha's old territory, when it went from R+6 to R+9 partisan advantage. Not that Jason Altmire was anyone's idea of a reliable Democrat, but at this point, I'm not sure even a conservative Blue Dog could get elected here.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:23 PM on October 10, 2013


I'm just North in PA-12 (formerly PA-04), which was reasonably swing-y until they merged it with John Murtha's old territory, when it went from R+6 to R+9 partisan advantage. Not that Jason Altmire was anyone's idea of a reliable Democrat, but at this point, I'm not sure even a conservative Blue Dog could get elected here.

Stretch the field. Make them work. Wait for a good candidate and build organization and links. Liberal foundations give grants for this type of stuff, I know a guy who picks who gets 'em.

Really we are only helped by being involved.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:27 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, not saying it can't be done, just that the new districts make it a more uphill battle. I generally send my money to Actblue and OFA and other things that will put the money to better use.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:31 PM on October 10, 2013


Governorships and state offices help too - look at the mayhem that the recent crop of Republican state majorities have wreaked. I am hoping we can get rid of Scott in FL. If we want to undo the gerymandering, that happens at the state level. We need better state machines. Howard Dean was pushing that philosophy strongly.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:33 PM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


... says the woman from Massachusetts....
posted by madamjujujive at 5:34 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


At this point Obama should just tell the House that if they pass a clean CR he'll eat a bug.

Honor satisfied!
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:40 PM on October 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


"... says the woman from Massachusetts...."

worst limerick ever
posted by klangklangston at 5:51 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


Governorships and state offices help too ...

That is true. I went to see Allyson Schwartz who is running for governor of PA speak a few months ago and we very impressed. But I'll definitely contribute to anyone who ends up running against Corbett and if I'm able do some campaigning.

tonycpsu, you had to mention Altmire. I made phone calls for that guy for almost six months in '06 and was so excited that he won and beat Melissa Hart (a Santorum protege) and was never more let down when he voted against the ACA.
posted by octothorpe at 5:52 PM on October 10, 2013


wierdo: "Not in a zero rate environment where cash is largely sitting in T Bills paying less than the rate of inflation. Taxing it and spending it increases the multiplier from zero to whatever it ends up being.

This is just plain wrong. As shown here, the Bush tax cuts had a positive multiplier, although a small one, even if you limit it to the wealthy. You evaluate a policy choice on its own merits and tax increases are contractionary. Whatever else you do is a separate policy decision. You don't get to call a contractionary policy (tax increases) expansionary because some other policy choice (government spending) happens to be expansionary. Spending is expansionary. Tax increases are not. You don't smear them together when deciding which is better for the economy. And this has nothing to do with the zero interest rates.

But in Ironmouth's case, he wasn't even talking about more spending. He was saying that Obama traded spending cuts for tax increases. Both of these are contractionary.

We shouldn't be talking about tax increases at all. We should be talking about increasing spending and increasing the debt when rates are low. Tax increases do the opposite.
posted by JackFlash at 5:54 PM on October 10, 2013


msnbc.com - BREAKING NEWS: Barack Obama Eats A Bug
posted by Rhaomi at 5:59 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Boehner should offer the DREAM Act to the floor and 20 GOP votes. He's got them. What else do they have of value they can give up? They've coughed up a permanent tax increase on the highest earners and DADT repeal brought to the floor and passed. Part of the problem is they have nothing left to offer. All the other times Obama got something of value. Mostly policy and 1 political, a free hand for a year where the GOP stood still and passed Obamacare repeal measures.

Basically he traded for (1) DADT and extentding the payroll tax; (2) a year of none of this until after the 2010 election; (3) a permanent raise in the marginal tax rate on the top earners.

Those were some pretty good trades. And now the GOP has nothing left to offer. Except immigration reform. The problem is the impending GOP civil war. If they give us this, the GOP Establishment is weakened. But the Eastablishment must provoke the fight now.

If I were Boehner, I'd hand the Dems immigration reform for a 1 year delay in Obamacare.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:01 PM on October 10, 2013


Obama should tell the House that if they pass a clean CR he'll fart on command.

And then they pass the clean CR and then they're like, "okay, now fart," but then nothing happens, and Obama just smiles, so then the House looks into a mirror, and that's when they realize that THEY HAVE ALL BEEN TURNED INTO FARTS

(roll credits to closing theme from "Are You Afraid of the Dark?")

(all of America dies of fright)
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:01 PM on October 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


My favorite bit of that poll is that ACA support has increased 7 points since Ted Cruz opened his idiot mouth.

Apparently some people have heard about the Obamacare glitches and--I just love the delicious irony here--blame the problems on the shutdown. I have to imagine Cruz and Lee are getting an earful on this one.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:02 PM on October 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


that's when they realize that THEY HAVE ALL BEEN TURNED INTO FARTS

Sadly, this ship has already sailed...
posted by Pudhoho at 6:09 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's amazing to see how far the House is willing to sacrifice the Republican brand in the name of maintaining party unity and dedication to conservative dogma. Each of these stunts that they pull might gain them some short-term tactical advantage (although that's rapidly coming to an end because Obama has them by the short hairs now) at the cost of seeming more and more extremist.

Yes most House Republicans are basically immune to challenges except from the right due to pervasive and extreme gerrymandering which arguably insulates them from electoral backlash but also saddles them with a group of voters that simply doesn't see the current Administration as legitimate and are unwilling to compromise on anything. Sometimes having an ridiculous partisan district can actually be a long term hinderance.

These stunts are going to doom them in terms of gaining control over the Senate and makes their chances in national elections laughable. There is really no advantage in winning the short term battle if you lose the battle in the long term.

Basically conservatives basically are going to have to depend on the SCOTUS to undermine any sort of liberal shift in the country and let's be honest there is only so much that can do to New Deal and Great Society programs anymore. Considering that Scalia and Kennedy would likely retire in less than a decade the chances of a near permanent Democratic White House must be absolutely terrifying because that 5-4 advantage for Conservatives will probably become a 6-3 for liberals if Republicans keep on their current path.

So Republicans if you think this is only a short term game and the Rapture will signal an end to the game then keep on trucking on but man you guys need to look farther than 6 weeks into the future if you want to avoid a serious buttkicking in the coming decade.
posted by vuron at 6:20 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


JackFlash: "This is just plain wrong. As shown here, the Bush tax cuts had a positive multiplier, although a small one, even if you limit it to the wealthy. You evaluate a policy choice on its own merits and tax increases are contractionary. Whatever else you do is a separate policy decision. You don't get to call a contractionary policy (tax increases) expansionary because some other policy choice (government spending) happens to be expansionary. Spending is expansionary. Tax increases are not. You don't smear them together when deciding which is better for the economy. And this has nothing to do with the zero interest rates."

Move goalposts much? The conversation was about deficit neutral stimulus, which by definition requires a taxation and spending component. Obviously, if the tax revenue is not spent, it will make not one iota of difference whether it sits idly on the government's balance sheet or the balance sheet of some corporation.

My point wasn't that taxation is inflationary, it is not. It is that in some circumstances, it is not deflationary. In some circumstances, tax decreases are not inflationary, although they usually are. Just as money printing is usually inflationary, but is presently not. This has everything to do with both ZIRP and the persistent output gap. They are what enable tax increases to be not-deflationary, and therefore make deficit neutral stimulus useful in some economic conditions.
posted by wierdo at 6:37 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


, even if you limit it to the wealthy.

You meant to say "only if you limit it to the wealthy," I'm sure. /kidding

Wealth and income in the rest of the economy have stagnated or worse for years now, especially since the global financial collapse.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:24 PM on October 10, 2013


Wow, Ryan called discussions where the GOP plan was shot down as productive.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:06 PM on October 10, 2013


These stunts are going to doom them in terms of gaining control over the Senate and makes their chances in national elections laughable. There is really no advantage in winning the short term battle if you lose the battle in the long term.

As much as I'd love for this to be true, I've been reading this for... oh, years now I guess, about how this or that policy will surely doom the Republicans in the next election cycle. I don't know how much worse you can be than fucking up the entire government and the entire world economy twice.
posted by odinsdream at 9:08 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


One of the things that makes this time different (not politically, just in terms of ending the impasse) is that the people who are pushing for the shutdown actually believe that shutting down the government and defaulting on the debt are good things in and of themselves. They'd like nothing more than to destroy the federal government. Half of them sincerely believe that the end of world is nearly here, anyway. So saying "If you don't do this, then you will destroy the federal government" doesn't actually give you any leverage. It's a win-win for them.
posted by empath at 9:31 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


In which the NYT charges Boehner with an overstayment of welcome by suddenly, spontaneously realizing that Paul Ryan is smart, popular and has credibility with the Democrats:

“He's still the intellectual center of Republicans in the House,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, who serves as Mr. Ryan’s bridge between the House Budget and Appropriations Committees. “He’s a guy who commands universal respect in the conference and the trust of leadership, and he has credibility with the other side.”

I don't think anyone's going to believe that the GOP has an intellectual center at this point.

This doesn't really change anything important, to my mind. Ryan's position is still one of negotiation and thus is no more legitimate than the extortionate mechanism underlying it.
posted by clockzero at 9:34 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


So CBS ran this article "10 days after government shutdown, Obama and GOP start negotiating" (warning, obnoxious autoplay) and when you read the article and the other coverage of today's events, you see that Obama's part of the "negotiation" is the exact same thing it has been: clean CR, raise the debt limit. Is the new Boehner plan just to totally capitulate and pretend that he negotiated his way there?
posted by jason_steakums at 9:42 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bill O'Reilly is stepping up to avoid Armageddon in his own way
posted by Blasdelb at 11:41 PM on October 10, 2013


Is the new Boehner plan just to totally capitulate and pretend that he negotiated his way there?

Yes.

What is the downside for him in doing what is standard Public Relations?

The people who'd point it out are 'just haters' or the 47% who weren't gonna vote his way anyway as far as he's concerned.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:42 PM on October 10, 2013


Wealth and income in the rest of the economy have stagnated or worse for years now, especially since the global financial collapse.

One can go back to the 1970's for such an analysis.

If you are a Gold bug, the Nixon withdraw from Brenton Woods is the cited reason. If you have concerns about energy use, the conventional oil production peak in the US of A is your reason. Odds are there is an argument somewhere that would claim the UFOs are to blame somehow.

Global finance collapse - seems the top 1% are doing just fine. Your personal world may be collapsed, but the system is working just fine for others.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:50 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Paul Ryan isn't going to be able to deliver the tea party, I don't think, based on the comments on republican message boards (Paul RINO-- seriously).
posted by empath at 12:38 AM on October 11, 2013


I'm sorry, Blasdelb, could you please, um, link to a transcript or something. Or maybe link to some kind of summary. I started to gaga afer 13 seconds. Like, um. My brain locked up.

I don't know what the FUCK is wrong with right wing media, but seriously, it causes near epileptic fits trying to listen to it. It is almost like I am lacking some kind of antibody to be able to even listen or watch it.

What the fuck is wrong with me?
posted by daq at 12:38 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


realizing that Paul Ryan is smart, popular and has credibility with the Democrats:

The guys a fuckin' moron. Everyone knows it. They fluffed the dumbass into proposing the real GOP program of no money for Grandma. They ate it up and got pounded. Watching Denny Rehberg lose while running against the Ryan budget was a particularly good moment. On the record votes against it too.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:45 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, he's not smart or popular. The only reason that anyone pays attention to him is that Obama took his awful budget proposal out of obscurity and forced the GOP to stand behind it, since no one else in the GOP was willing to publicly admit that they supported a dogfood-for-seniors plan. And the GOP got suckered into making him a VP candidate!
posted by empath at 12:49 AM on October 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, he's not smart or popular.

Per the lens of The Blue. If one decides to look at him from the framing of the Republican party, he may very well be the best they've got.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:52 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Objectively, he's not that popular. The last polling done on his approval rating was in March and it was like 35% approval.
posted by empath at 1:11 AM on October 11, 2013


Is the new Boehner plan just to totally capitulate and pretend that he negotiated his way there?

That would be the most amusing end to this whole tempest.

Boehner statement to the press: "Today, I convinced the President to agree to sign a clean funding and debt ceiling increase bill because we, unlike Democrats, have always believed politics should not get in the way of funding the programs important to the American people. The President may have been willing to take the nation to the brink of destruction but we are not."
posted by honestcoyote at 2:13 AM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


The GOP has mostly been lying all along; why not just lie some more and say the GOP forced Obama to sign a clean CR. Hooray! We won! Everybody gets a car!
posted by angrycat at 3:23 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, I hate NPR* with this kind of stuff. They always do this "here's the Democratic view" and "here's the Republican response" without any context or without bothering to point out that the Republican response is total nonsense wharrgarbl.

I disagree. They don't always present the Democratic view.

The scary thing about that is, NPR seems to buy into the myth that its own reporting is somehow the "liberal view". At best it presumes that reality has a liberal bias, but as noted earlier, they don't bother to distinguish between objective reality and "he said, she said" nonsense.

This morning, Elsa Chang described Newt Gingrich as being "blamed" for the 1996 shutdown, as if it were some random event for which he took the fall and not something he deliberately orchestrated.

Feh.
posted by Gelatin at 5:04 AM on October 11, 2013 [22 favorites]


>Elsa Chang described Newt Gingrich as being "blamed" for the 1996 shutdown

Seriously, is 'responsible' not supported by the historical record or something?
posted by mikelieman at 5:08 AM on October 11, 2013


From that O'Reilly link @2:19...
"now after I said that [independents would be angry with Republicans if government shut down], I received a lot of angry mail from the hard right viewers..."

The TP is out of Koch Bros' control, out of Republican party control and now, out of Fox News' control. Wow.
posted by klarck at 5:11 AM on October 11, 2013


also from the O'Reilly link:

"Democrats are going to win the next election if Republicans do not begin to solve problems."
posted by skrozidile at 6:08 AM on October 11, 2013


What's the last problem the Republicans have fixed? (Honest question)
posted by edgeways at 6:25 AM on October 11, 2013


Budget surplus?
posted by caddis at 6:31 AM on October 11, 2013 [34 favorites]


What's the last problem the Republicans have fixed?
I honestly don't mean to be snarky because it's an interesting question, but in their view: Afghanistan, Iraq, WoT/homeland security. Maybe they also take credit for the economic recovery, such as it is.
posted by klarck at 6:35 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's the last problem the Republicans have fixed? (Honest question)

With an easy and obvious answer.
posted by Gelatin at 6:36 AM on October 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


What's the last problem the Republicans have fixed? (Honest question)

Snark aside (and oh the possibilities are endless) I think maybe their "tax and spend liberal" attacks pushed the Democrats into becoming the party of fiscal responsibility. Today, objectively, it isn't much of a question: compare the budget situations for Clinton or Obama vs Bush or Bush Sr. or Reagan... So maybe they get credit for making the other party better on at least one dimension?

Other than that I'm really drawing a blank. I disagree in the strongest possible terms on Iraq and homeland security, and I bet President Gore might have plausibly prevented 9/11 and at the very least not dragged us into the fascist security state that we're in today. ("Department of Homeland Security"? Really? Do people who named that even have any sense of history?)
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:40 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cruz Favorability Rating plunges

Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) favorability rating has collapsed as the public has become more familiar with him, according to a Gallup survey released on Thursday.

The survey found that 26 percent have a favorable view of the Texas Republican, against 36 percent unfavorable. That makes 62 percent of the public that has an opinion on Cruz, up from 42 percent in June, when 24 percent had a favorable view of him against 18 percent unfavorable – a 16-point negative swing.

posted by Comrade_robot at 6:51 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Comment deleted; maybe just stick to this problem for this thread, rather than open a discussion of every Gov problem, ever. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 6:59 AM on October 11, 2013


Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) favorability rating has collapsed as the public has become more familiar with him, according to a Gallup survey released on Thursday.

@sissenberg: THE MANITOBAN CANDIDATE: Canadians program one of their own as an American right-winger to infiltrate the Senate and destroy the US economy.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:00 AM on October 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


Other than that I'm really drawing a blank. I disagree in the strongest possible terms on Iraq and homeland security, and I bet President Gore might have plausibly prevented 9/11 and at the very least not dragged us into the fascist security state that we're in today. ("Department of Homeland Security"? Really? Do people who named that even have any sense of history?)

Actually, the idea of a Department of Homeland Security was actually a bipartisan idea first proposed under the Clinton Administration by Gary Hart of 1988 Democratic primary fame. Of course, the National Homeland Security Agency (as it was going to be called) as envisioned by Hart/Rudman was, at least on paper, a much better-designed organization than DHS. For instance, it was an independent agency instead of a Cabinet-level position, focused much more on HUMINT than SIGINT, and it called for reductions in DOD expenditures. Not perfect by any means, but a President Gore with a NHSA would have been miles better than what we have now.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:10 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just to be clear, the NYT's characterization of Ryan is obviously just bluster and a desperate GOP bid for dignity. I still regard him as the zombie-eyed granny-starver we all fell in nausea with last year.
posted by clockzero at 7:18 AM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


What's the last problem the Republicans have fixed? (Honest question)

Snark aside (and oh the possibilities are endless) I think maybe their "tax and spend liberal" attacks pushed the Democrats into becoming the party of fiscal responsibility. Today, objectively, it isn't much of a question: compare the budget situations for Clinton or Obama vs Bush or Bush Sr. or Reagan... So maybe they get credit for making the other party better on at least one dimension?

Other than that I'm really drawing a blank. I disagree in the strongest possible terms on Iraq and homeland security, and I bet President Gore might have plausibly prevented 9/11 and at the very least not dragged us into the fascist security state that we're in today. ("Department of Homeland Security"? Really? Do people who named that even have any sense of history?)


It depends at what level of government we're talking about.

State? Susana Martinez and Chris Christie are popular, so are presumably doing some good things in their respective states.

The Bush whitehouse? President Bush has been credited -right here on the blue!- with doing an unprecedented amount of good for AIDS in Africa. Bush also strongly backed immigration reform via a guest worker program, and I've seen his prediction drug benefit treated as both a horrible fiasco and a kind of partial sop to people wanting bigger forms of health care reform. (e.g. Slate calling it a "fiasco" that needed to be more statist, dailykos comparing it to Obamacare after getting reformed and improved once it was passed)
posted by Going To Maine at 7:21 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Democrats are going to win the next election if Republicans do not begin to solve problems."

What's the last problem the Republicans have fixed? (Honest question)


Well, he did say they have to "begin."
posted by malocchio at 7:21 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) favorability rating has collapsed as the public has become more familiar with him, according to a Gallup survey released on Thursday.

I guess maybe that's relevant if he runs for the Presidency but otherwise, who cares? All that matters is what the folks in Texas think of him. Same goes for Ryan. Sure, his national numbers may not be great -- but so long as he keeps his job, I'm sure he's not sweating it too much.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:21 AM on October 11, 2013


GtM: prediction drug benefit
YOU can be a precog! And YOU can be a precog. And YOU can be a precog! /Oprah
posted by zakur at 7:25 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, [Ryan is] not smart or popular. The only reason that anyone pays attention to him is that Obama took his awful budget proposal out of obscurity and forced the GOP to stand behind it.

I think he's a dolt, but one way or another the sequester that Obama walked into, thinking it would be too onerous to sustain*, gets the spending levels pretty much down to the original Ryan budget. So, maybe there's different kinds of "smart", eh? And as for popular: in our era, a politician needs to be primarily popular with the money boys. Most everyone else can just be bamboozled with lots of media buys and from friendly pulpits.
____
*One of his many excellent 11-dimensional chess moves, no doubt.
posted by mondo dentro at 7:26 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Paul Ryan is totally an empty suit but he's an empty suit with national aspirations so I think the thought is that he's more willing to wheel and deal in an attempt to seem more centrist than someone like Cruz (who couldn't be elected dogcatcher now) but still not a complete RINO like Christie (who is quite frankly their only hope in 2016 and he probably can't survive the nomination process). That Ryan has suddenly moved from an extreme right figure to a relative centrist speak volumes as to how extreme the shift that has happened in the Republican caucus. I don't think every Republican representative has drunk the proverbial kool-aid but they are terrified of those that have and the threat from people like Chocula that their seats aren't safe if they break ranks.

So you have leadership probably twisting arms to maintain some unity and PACs saying the knives are coming for them if they cave and it's basically destroying the party from within because all of a sudden Democrats have grown spines (they really haven't but this issue is so fucking bad for the Republicans the Democrats are enjoying applying the thumbscrews).

I can't even imagine how bad it will be for Republicans if stuff like Social Security checks don't get mailed out in time. Those human interest stories write themselves.
posted by vuron at 7:30 AM on October 11, 2013


PPP released a new MoveOn sponsored poll showing more GOP house seats at risk to generic Democrats.
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:31 AM on October 11, 2013


I can't even imagine how bad it will be for Republicans if stuff like Social Security checks don't get mailed out in time.

It depends how it's played in the media, really. I would foresee a ton of website comments "it costs more to hold the checks then to send them out! Washington Monument Syndrome! Obama's fault!"
posted by inigo2 at 7:36 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess maybe that's relevant if he runs for the Presidency but otherwise, who cares? All that matters is what the folks in Texas think of him.

Cruz is running for president, and don't kid yourself otherwise. I personally think we'll get a Rick Perry situation out of it--which is fine; he's got the potential for some ugly gaffes, though they're less dumbshit gaffes than mean jackass gaffes if I read the history right--but the signs are all there: the approach to the early primary/straw poll states, the national grandstanding, etc. Plus you may well have Rick Perry to kick around again.

As for my fellow Texans: we're stuck with him for another few years, but Battleground Texas is our option. (Also kicking a few to/volunteering for Wendy Davis and the statewide Democrats this election cycle to shift the tide.)
posted by immlass at 8:43 AM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


These stunts are going to doom them in terms of gaining control over the Senate and makes their chances in national elections laughable. There is really no advantage in winning the short term battle if you lose the battle in the long term.

As much as I'd love for this to be true, I've been reading this for... oh, years now I guess, about how this or that policy will surely doom the Republicans in the next election cycle. I don't know how much worse you can be than fucking up the entire government and the entire world economy twice.


Well the Republicans have looked pretty bad nationally for a while though. In the 2012 election, Democrats won the popular vote for the Presidential, House, and Senate overall, and Obama's first term wasn't even that popular with anyone. The GOP are currently dealing with a major schism between old-school Reagan Republicans and further right Tea Party Republicans, when long term nationally the demographics are going to force them to move more towards the center on a lot of their key platform positions (immigration reform, gay marriage, etc.). Instead of preparing a strategy for the future they are trying and failing to hold the government hostage to block a centrist law that they failed to block four years ago and wouldn't gain anything from blocking in the first place.

There are a ton of young people who are forming their opinions about the parties right now, and the main image of the Republican party they are getting at this point is that it's the party that is ready to commit suicide over letting them get health care. Thanks to the Republican strategy of spending eight years trying to stop anything from getting done on a national level, nobody from their side is going to be able to point to anything they have actually done to improve the lives of the people who would be electing them. It's not a coincidence that most of the even marginally popular potential GOP presidential candidates for the 2016 election are state governors, because nobody in the GOP at the national level right now even wants to get anything done.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:49 AM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cruz is running for president, and don't kid yourself otherwise.
I can't wait to hear TP excuses for why Cruz (born in Canada/American mother/foreign father) is eligible to run for President, but Obama (born in U.S./American mother/foreign father) was not.
posted by zakur at 8:53 AM on October 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


McCain To Fox News: No, The Shutdown Is The GOP's Fault

"Let's have a little straight talk, Martha," McCain said. "[The administration] wouldn't have had the opportunity to handle it that way if we had not shut down the government on a fool's errand that we were not going to accomplish. The whole premise of shutting down the government was the repeal of Obamacare. I fought against Obamacare harder than any of the people who wanted to shut down the government."

posted by madamjujujive at 9:00 AM on October 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's apparently racist, somehow, to even point out that little bit of Tea Party hypocrisy, zakur.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:02 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz was greeted like a rock star Friday at a major gathering of social conservatives, exhorting the audience at the eighth annual Values Voter Summit to stand firm against President Obama's health care law.... The summit, now in its eighth year, has become a showcase for the Republican Party's up-and-coming stars and a proving ground for White House hopefuls. A presidential straw poll will be conducted.

[Family Research Council president Tony] Perkins called Cruz, Paul, Lee and Rubio the "de facto leaders of conservatives, of the Republican Party even."

posted by argonauta at 9:07 AM on October 11, 2013


That article is rather oddly written. The headline is that Cruz was heckled by protesters, but then the first line states he was greeted like a rock star, and the reporter incuriously declines to mention who the hecklers were or what they said.
posted by clockzero at 9:16 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Ted Cruz: “How did a guy eight months in the Senate be able to dominate the House Republicans, Senate Republicans, tie up the country, and bring the government to a halt with no end game, no strategy, and then now just sort of walk away, as if he’s done his job?”
posted by exogenous at 9:23 AM on October 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Ted Cruz: “How did a guy eight months in the Senate be able to dominate the House Republicans, Senate Republicans, tie up the country, and bring the government to a halt with no end game, no strategy, and then now just sort of walk away, as if he’s done his job?”

When your buddies have been chopping away at a tree for long enough, it only takes one well-placed chop to bring it down.
posted by Etrigan at 9:27 AM on October 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


I can't wait to hear TP excuses for why Cruz (born in Canada/American mother/foreign father) is eligible to run for President, but Obama (born in U.S./American mother/foreign father) was not.
In the alternate reality that many on the right inhabit, "Obama (born in the U.S.)" is literally false.

I want to be clear that of course I find the idea ridiculous. But to them, Obama was not born in the U.S., full stop, and no birth certificate or anything else will ever convince them. The two situations are totally different to them.

And even for the relatively sane ones who now grudgingly admit that Obama was born in the U.S., they'd just say "Well, yeah, that's clear now, but it wasn't clear then. It's clear now that Cruz was born in the U.S." So again, the two situations are totally different to them.
posted by Flunkie at 9:31 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's the last problem the Republicans have fixed? (Honest question)

They haven't quite solved it, but they're working real hard on that "black people voting too much" problem
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:40 AM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Flunkie (quoting notional Republicans): "It's clear now that Cruz was born in the U.S."

He was born in Canada.
posted by dendrochronologizer at 9:42 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't wait to hear TP excuses for why Cruz (born in Canada/American mother/foreign father) is eligible to run for President, but Obama (born in U.S./American mother/foreign father) was not.

The ultra-right FreeRepublic.com has held this in such contention with their heavy nativist percentage of readership that a link to an article from CATO arguing that Cruz is eligible is permanently linked in bold red text at the very top of the site's home page.

It is, however, kind of a lot of nonsense. I'm not attempting a derail but there actually being a debate about Cruz, who literally has a birth certificate from another country, has honest to god fascinated me. It isn't a partisan issue to me in any way at all. I don't even understand how this came up as an argument any more than it did with Madeline Albright being taken out of the Presidential Line of Succession.

Ted Cruz wasn't born in the United States. Barack Obama was. That is why the former is not eligible and latter is eligible to be president. The latter, however, is the only reason this is even being discussed (well, that and 24 hours of cable news time to fill) because five years or so ago a large number of racists decided that being a natural born citizen was up for interpretation because they really didn't want a black man to be president.

This is ultimately going to be an amusing bar-trivia historical footnote, though, given that Cruz has no chance of ever being elected president, and should he run and a citizen in any state challenge his eligibility in court, every judge in the country will kick the hot potato while the Democratic Party candidates all unanimously say they obviously think Cruz should be allowed to run.

I honestly think there's a large portion of Tea Partiers who love Cruz, among other reasons, because they know their spinning of his eligibility is bullshit but they think that Obama's not "legitimate" either and Cruz running is some kind of moral revenge for them, like how they spent years excusing Fox News for being conservative by first pretending the rest of the collective media was liberal and so it's okay, so there, nyah.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:43 AM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


He was born in Canada.
So what? The point is they believe what they want to believe and facts are irrelevant, so putting the Cruz situation up against the Obama situation and demanding some sort of explanation for hypocrisy is, from their point of view, nonsensical.
posted by Flunkie at 9:51 AM on October 11, 2013


And at least Canada is in America.
posted by malocchio at 9:56 AM on October 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Also, what could be so bad about a place they call The Great White North?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:00 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ted Cruz wasn't born in the United States. Barack Obama was. That is why the former is not eligible and latter is eligible to be president.
What? "Natural born citizen" is what matters, not "citizen born in the US".

Just because being born in the US implies you're a natural born citizen does not mean that being born out of the US implies you are not a natural born citizen. In fact, relatively shortly after the Constitution was written, a law was passed that explicitly stated that certain people born outside the US are natural born citizens.

And here's a PDF a recent (2011) report for Congress by the Congressional Research Service on the matter. The upshot:
The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term “natural born” citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship “by birth” or “at birth,” either by being born “in” the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship “at birth.”
I don't know whether Cruz qualifies or not, having had one and only one parent who was an American citizen; I guess maybe it depends upon exactly what the law said at the time of his birth. But simply saying "He was not born in the US and therefore he is ineligible for the presidency" is not correct. John McCain, for example, also was not born in the US.
posted by Flunkie at 10:13 AM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


School the House Rock (a retro approach)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:14 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I start agreeing with Peter King, this may be a sign of the end of days.

And he's my rep, too.
posted by inertia at 10:21 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


But simply saying "He was not born in the US and therefore he is ineligible for the presidency" is not correct. John McCain, for example, also was not born in the US.

John McCain was born in the Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the American territory of the Panama Canal zone so, yes, he was born in the United States.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:36 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking of the apocalypse, if the failure of the US government portends the end of days, shouldn't folk be demanding chip implants and etc? I mean, fighting against them is, in effect, to fight against the return of Jesus. Which, I dunno, seems a little bassackwards. Two-faced.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:38 AM on October 11, 2013


George Washington was not born in the United States (they didn't exist at the time).
posted by Uncle Ira at 10:38 AM on October 11, 2013


An actual law was actually passed in 1937 explicitly stating that children of citizen parents born in the Canal Zone are citizens. So it's not as simple as you seem to be claiming.

Also, the John McCain thing is just an incidental side note. The main point is that your claim about Cruz being ineligible due to not being born in the US is not true.
posted by Flunkie at 10:41 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


George Washington was not born in the United States (they didn't exist at the time).
The Constitution explicitly takes this into account:
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President
posted by Flunkie at 10:42 AM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


He does appear to be eligible. He just isn't electable.
posted by bearwife at 10:42 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


An actual law was actually passed in 1937 explicitly stating that children of citizen parents born in the Canal Zone are citizens.

And McCain was born in 1936. CONSPIRACY.
posted by Etrigan at 10:43 AM on October 11, 2013


As tedious and weird as the arguments about Obama's eligibility for the Presidency were when he was running, him running for President was at least a thing actually actively happening. We don't really need to rerun that whole thing for a guy who isn't doing so at the moment.
posted by cortex at 10:44 AM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The problem is all of this down time requires us to be talking about something while we wait for something to happen.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:46 AM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I know a great Constitutional Law professor who can answer all of this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:47 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rumor has it that there is a whole giant world outside of this specific thread. It's okay to treat downtime in the process as downtime in the discussion.
posted by cortex at 10:48 AM on October 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


One of my FB friends, a twentysomething office functionary in the local office of a federal agency, is wondering whether she would be better off coming to work and getting paychecks after the shutdown is over, or taking the furlough and filing for unemployment. I'm guessing, but I'd say she makes around $30k/yr, and that she does not have significant savings. Anybody have any advice?
posted by box at 10:52 AM on October 11, 2013


We don't really need to rerun that whole thing for a guy who isn't doing so at the moment.

Just to be devil's advocate, I mean, come on. Are we really questioning if Ted Cruz is running for president?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:52 AM on October 11, 2013


box: check this AskMe for some discussion of that sort of thing.
posted by Etrigan at 10:54 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of my FB friends, a twentysomething office functionary in the local office of a federal agency, is wondering whether she would be better off coming to work and getting paychecks after the shutdown is over, or taking the furlough and filing for unemployment. I'm guessing, but I'd say she makes around $30k/yr, and that she does not have significant savings. Anybody have any advice?

box, I just came off unemployment. I live in Georgia right now but did get unemployment for DC a few years back.

I think the issue is how long you/the friend think the shutdown will last, and at what time you think the furlough will officially start. I ask because I assume the latter is the day you would actually have to declare as being "unemployed" and then it usually takes as much as 2-3 weeks before benefits start coming in. By that point, and god willing, the shutdown will be over, so I don't know at this point how much it's worth it.

Also, Congress' approval is already in the shithole. I find it very unlikely there's not going to be a bill that gives back pay.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:56 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


XQUZYPHYR: "Are we really questioning if Ted Cruz is running for president?"

I'm quite curious to see if he would actually run. The Right has been making a big deal out of him recently, and saying he'd clinch the nomination if he ran. But I'm not necessarily convinced he would, and I'm not sure he wouldn't consider seniority in the Senate more advantageous and powerful than the Oval Office, since he's trying to influence domestic politics.
posted by zarq at 11:03 AM on October 11, 2013


An actual law was actually passed in 1937 explicitly stating that children of citizen parents born in the Canal Zone are citizens.

John McCain was born in 1936, so it's possible to interpret this as a grant of U.S. citizenship after his birth. But both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton believe McCain is a natural born citizen, so this is basically a non-issue.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:04 AM on October 11, 2013


Thanks, Etrigan and XQUZYPHYR--the advice I gave her was basically that unemployment takes a few weeks to receive, and that, if I had to guess, I'd say the shutdown will be over before that. Additional opinions on this question are very much welcome.

Ted Cruz? As long as he doesn't come out of this thing totally disgraced (and maybe even then), I imagine he'll run. Look at guys like Gingrich, Cain, Santorum and Paul--running for president on the Republican ticket is a great opportunity for profile- and fund-raising, whether you have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the nomination or not.
posted by box at 11:07 AM on October 11, 2013


Our first seven presidents were British subjects when born.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:08 AM on October 11, 2013


So, are we going to endure another week of this, dreading that Obama will give up something for a tiny extension of the debt limit, meanwhile imagining what one would do with superpowers, determining whether one's great powers would require showing mercy to those who have fucked things up?

Sorry, I think that last part is just me.
posted by angrycat at 11:10 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rafael "Ted" Cruz is a Democrat plant! *adjusts tin-foil hat, drops mic*
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:11 AM on October 11, 2013


I'm quite curious to see if he would actually run. The Right has been making a big deal out of him recently, and saying he'd clinch the nomination if he ran. But I'm not necessarily convinced he would, and I'm not sure he wouldn't consider seniority in the Senate more advantageous and powerful than the Oval Office, since he's trying to influence domestic politics.

Cruz wants to be the Senate's Paul Ryan, with the difference being that the media and colleagues gush over Ryan like schoolchildren, while they all openly ask just how goddamn crazy is Ted Cruz, anyway. If Cruz wants to keep influencing domestic politics, he will have to run to increase his popularity, and make him so popular with the Republican base that other Senators will have to support him for leadership and more prominence in the party. They won't do that now, because they openly hate him.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:19 AM on October 11, 2013


Ted Cruz fan says: "When Barack Obama is finally exposed for not just only Who he is but"what" he is.Ted Cruz will go down in History as modern day Paul Revere."
posted by inigo2 at 11:20 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my god.

Obama's BLACK, guys.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:21 AM on October 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


"When Barack Obama is finally exposed for not just only Who he is but"what" he is.Ted Cruz will go down in History as modern day Paul Revere."

One of the lizard people?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:22 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I found this interested: The Debt Ceiling
posted by daq at 11:22 AM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Paul Revere: noted expositor of people's true natures.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:23 AM on October 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Captain Keith Colburn of the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch: Without government permits, we can't fish
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:26 AM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wish you needed government permits to manufacture duck calls and enter child beauty pageants.
posted by box at 11:31 AM on October 11, 2013 [17 favorites]


"When Barack Obama is finally exposed for not just only Who he is but"what" he is.Ted Cruz will go down in History as modern day Paul Revere."

Obama's BLACK, guys.

One of the lizard people?


A black lizard person?! That fiend!
posted by homunculus at 11:32 AM on October 11, 2013


Credit where it's due, though, those black lizard people published some pretty good crime fiction.
posted by box at 11:35 AM on October 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


box, I should probably also clarify, if this matters- if you file for, and get, unemployment, while it may take 2-3 weeks for approval and the first check to come, it usually WILL be backdated to the first week you filed. So your friend won't be, like, losing money, he/she just won't be getting it immediately. That said, assuming that Congress agrees to back-pay furloughed workers, I imagine that would be significantly more than even the maximum benefit allowance with unemployment.

I would also check what the terms are regarding first-time unemployment in DC. While my first round of Georgia benefits were paid by the state and my former employer, once you enter Federal extended benefits, those are reduced right off the top by 10%, thanks to... yaaaaay.... the sequester. I am not sure if this is immediate for DC, though, given the unique nature of the city's government offices.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:36 AM on October 11, 2013


A black lizard person?! That fiend!

His real name is John Obama from Grover's Mill, New Jersey.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:37 AM on October 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


In VA, if you later receive back pay on top of unemployment, you will have to pay the unemployment back to the state.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:38 AM on October 11, 2013


"Ted Cruz will go down in History as modern day Paul Revere."

Paul Revere: "The redcoats are coming! The redcoats are coming!"

Ted Cruz: "The white coats are coming to take me away, ha ha! The white coats are coming to take me away!"
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:40 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Without government permits, we can't fish

Without a government doing permitting, we can fish all we want!


for a little while.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:42 AM on October 11, 2013


If you give a man a government permit, he can fish for a day.

If you teach a man to run for office on an anti-government-permit platform, it's pretty much steak and lobster from there on out.
posted by box at 11:47 AM on October 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


Looks like the Rs are caving on the debt ceiling. But not -- yet -- on the shutdown.
posted by bearwife at 12:00 PM on October 11, 2013


"Ben Carson says that Obamacare is the worst thing to happen since slavery. And he's black, so he's allowed to say that!"
-- something called downtrend.com
posted by inigo2 at 12:06 PM on October 11, 2013


Reid pans six-week debt deal
posted by localroger at 12:15 PM on October 11, 2013


The Right has been making a big deal out of him recently, and saying he'd clinch the nomination if he ran.

Please oh please oh please...
posted by Rykey at 12:18 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Daily Show, Jason Jones, Hostage Negotiation

This is probably linked before, but I was finally able to make it through it. I have to thank the producers and editors of that bit, they kept the crazy coming from the GOP stooge down to a minimum. I loved that Jason Jones got to express a lot of the exasperation that I'm sure a lot of people feel listening to GOP or Tea Party representatives.

But, I have to say, that lady scares the living shit out of me. I mean, not trying to armchair psychologist anything, but the utter vapidity of her responses were frightening.

This is something I have been noticing a lot with all of the right wing pundits and all of their talking points. They will say their sound bites, and then they seem to just kind of grin like they've just explained everything and that we should now totally understand what they are saying. But the sound bites and catch phrases they keep repeating just don't go anywhere. There is not follow up. No explanation. Nothing. They say something, and then that's it. And the worst thing is that they know that this works. They don't have to give any examples, they don't have to give any chain of cause and effect. They just have to repeat the same thing, like a mantra, and people will nod their heads and agree.

It reminds me of the (ok, yes, I'm going to reference Family Guy) episode of Family Guy where Lois runs for office (can't remember if it was the mayor episode, or the school council or whatever), but all she said was "9/11" over and over again, and she won the election.

I really hate to be dumbfounded by this, but is this what has happened to our society? Are there really enough people that you can just say stupid simple catch phrases and people will just suddenly agree with you and nod and vote for you and cheer you on as you go about trying to destroy the country and the government?

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.
posted by daq at 12:29 PM on October 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


They will say their sound bites, and then they seem to just kind of grin like they've just explained everything and that we should now totally understand what they are saying.

As far as their base is concerned, they have.
posted by Rykey at 12:36 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really hate to be dumbfounded by this, but is this what has happened to our society? Are there really enough people that you can just say stupid simple catch phrases and people will just suddenly agree with you and nod and vote for you and cheer you on as you go about trying to destroy the country and the government?

Populist idiocy has always been there in society, and the real change is that government officials and the media now openly pander to it and encourage it. A sense of decency has been lost. There was a really good example on one of John Oliver's Daily Show segments about gun control in the US and Australia, where a member of Reid's staff saw winning as "being reelected", whereas the Australian pols who pushed gun control in the face of public opposition from their base saw winning as "doing the right thing but losing our jobs over it".
posted by jason_steakums at 12:39 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


and Bob the Angry Flower is on board with the debt limit...
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:45 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a few days old, but it still depresses me:

GOPer calls for ‘four’ branches to work together
posted by malocchio at 12:46 PM on October 11, 2013


Populist idiocy has always been there in society, and the real change is that government officials and the media now openly pander to it and encourage it.

Makes my blood boil. See my rant in the earlier thread.
posted by Rykey at 12:52 PM on October 11, 2013


Watch WH presser live
posted by angrycat at 1:00 PM on October 11, 2013


WH staying firm on not linking debt ceiling to negotiations on entitlements
posted by angrycat at 1:10 PM on October 11, 2013


Carney has such sad eeyore eyes.
posted by Think_Long at 1:10 PM on October 11, 2013


malocchio: "This is a few days old, but it still depresses me:

GOPer calls for ‘four’ branches to work together
"

Hey man, it's not fair to leave Minitrue out!
posted by symbioid at 1:11 PM on October 11, 2013


GOPer calls for ‘four’ branches to work together


Subject/verb agreement evades him, too, apparently.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:12 PM on October 11, 2013


Damnit, David Frum, why won't you let me hate you? 1, 2
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:19 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently Ted Cruz presented today his opinions to Obama regarding the evils of the ACA.

I have a whole revenge fantasy involving time travel and Ted Cruz but I think it's best to keep it to myself.
posted by angrycat at 1:20 PM on October 11, 2013


Apparently Ted Cruz presented today his opinions to Obama regarding the evils of the ACA.

In my head, Obama responded by staring at him blankly for a second, then laughing uproariously -- complete with slapping his knee and wiping away tears -- then finally turned to basically anyone else in the room and said, "Right. So, what were we talking about again?"

I suspect he did not actually do this.
posted by Etrigan at 1:24 PM on October 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Disaster capitalism in full effect: using default Armageddon to gut earned benefits programs
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:25 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Carney is like, 'we are very pleased that the Republicans are showing signs of recognition of how fuckingly wrong they are'
posted by angrycat at 1:26 PM on October 11, 2013


Think_Long: "Carney has such sad eeyore eyes."

Indeed.
posted by symbioid at 1:26 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


nice
posted by Think_Long at 1:30 PM on October 11, 2013


So – and I'm just curious – what if the Democrats sit down and say "sure, we'll lower taxes even more on the wealthiest 1% of the population, or we'll remit anyone who makes under $25K a year to the Koch Brothers' corpse farms to keep them in spare parts" or whatever it is the Republicans are demanding, and then they just... don't? It's not like we haven't seen what a Republican hissy fit looks like.
posted by Shepherd at 1:30 PM on October 11, 2013


Mark Knoller, what a right-wing annoying nut.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:46 PM on October 11, 2013


Democratic group sends snarky fruit basket to Cruz.
“Dear Ted,” said the card on the fruit and snack basket sent by the group’s president, Brad Woodhouse. “A Texas sized thank you!! Thanks to you, Obamacare is more popular and the GOP is less so. Keep up the Good Work!! Yours, Americans United for Change.”

Tea Party Group in deep financial trouble.
But the group’s financial troubles were less related to raising money in an off-cycle year and had more to do with extravagant spending, including a craft beer bar in the office and $80,000 Las Vegas hotel bills, by FreedomWorks’ top-heavy management structure, sources said. They also questioned the value in spending a reported $1 million a year to prop up Glenn Beck’s network, The Blaze.
posted by emjaybee at 1:54 PM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


So – and I'm just curious – what if the Democrats sit down and say "sure, we'll lower taxes even more on the wealthiest 1% of the population, or we'll remit anyone who makes under $25K a year to the Koch Brothers' corpse farms to keep them in spare parts" or whatever it is the Republicans are demanding, and then they just... don't? It's not like we haven't seen what a Republican hissy fit looks like.

That's actually what's being discussed, along with keeping the debt ceiling and shutdown tied together instead of being made piecemeal. For right now it's a bit unclear, but it sounds like Paul Ryan et al want binding talks, which is a small step away from the ledge. But it's a step away, which kind of gives away the game. If he makes the vote about "just talk" as it were, then that's game over. If the Dems hold firm and/or Reid gets the Senate to pass something this weekend, the pressure on the House GOP ratchets up and Boehner will hopefully be forced to call a vote passing with Dem support and enough of his folks to squeak a bill through.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:54 PM on October 11, 2013


If Ted Cruz did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
posted by symbioid at 1:58 PM on October 11, 2013


Interesting - percentage of people who perceive a need for a third party is the highest it's been in the 10 years Gallup's asked the question. 52% of Republicans, 49% of Democrats, 71% of independents. Possibly the most across-the-board-popular legislation they could pass right now would be voting reforms like instant runoff that would make third parties viable, which is unlikely to happen, but it's weird to be in a position where Tea Party delusional hubris could conceivably actually accidentally push positive reforms. As in, despite all the talk of a GOP schism, the Tea Party wouldn't be dumb enough to jump without a net - but building that net would actually poll really well right now and play into their insincere narrative about fixing broken government, and they're nothing if not enamored with dramatic shakeups. And Dems would be stupid not to jump on board if it looked like things were heading in that direction. Not really a likely thing to happen, but ahh, one can dream.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:01 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


emjaybee,
That Raw Story article is interesting. I hope it's at least somewhat accurate, though, from what I know of a lot of Tea Party and Republican activists, it sounds extremely close to reality.

I didn't know about the $1 million a year funding of Glen Beck, though I should have guessed (I haven't been following those networks for a while).

Armey seems to be cleaning house, though. He's sucked what he wanted out of those groups and is willing to leave for a $20 million payoff? They got off cheap.
posted by daq at 2:02 PM on October 11, 2013


Hmm, could states implement IRV for senate and house seats without a Federal constitutional amendment?
posted by jepler at 2:03 PM on October 11, 2013


It seems to me like the GOP may have found a way to call Democrats' bluff, i.e. pass a last-minute "clean" debt ceiling/maybe reopen gov't bill but for only 6 weeks, and then dare the Senate/Obama to let us default rather than continue this stupid hostage situation through Thanksgiving. The real question is a) whether they want to keep playing this game, b) what they think they'll be able to extract with more time to play.

We seem to be at a point where just about everyone acknowledges the situation sucks, but still quite a distance from any agreement on a way out.
posted by crayz at 2:07 PM on October 11, 2013


Update on 'Truckers for the Constitution' mass protest:
Dozens Of Truckers Show Up To Completely Shut Down DC; Constitution Likely To Survive Anyway
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:45 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


White House rejects key part of House Republican proposal on debt ceiling
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:45 PM on October 11, 2013


White House rejects key part of House Republican proposal on debt ceiling

Good, this is where I thought the WH was going to start going wobbly. The bit about small business owners is a little too pat and clever to me, but it works as part of their PR.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:51 PM on October 11, 2013


if you want to have a pretty horrifying thought experiment, think about the fact that the nutj obs in congress have a significant say in how the country addresses climate change. And because of gerrymandering, these nut jobs are gonna stick around for a while. U.S.A.! U.S.A!
posted by angrycat at 2:51 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking I could really get to like this "Hardball" Obama fellow.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:01 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had to drive on the Beltway today. I saw no protesters, nor was traffic slower, in fact it was running at speed, which is unusual during such heavy rain.
posted by humanfont at 3:04 PM on October 11, 2013


I had to drive on the Beltway today. I saw no protesters, nor was traffic slower, in fact it was running at speed, which is unusual during such heavy rain.

Friday before a long weekend (for many folks, anyway).
posted by inigo2 at 3:07 PM on October 11, 2013


Possibly the most across-the-board-popular legislation they could pass right now would be voting reforms like instant runoff that would make third parties viable, which is unlikely to happen, but it's weird to be in a position where Tea Party delusional hubris could conceivably actually accidentally push positive reforms.

Are there any examples anywhere of Tea Party types talking about IRV, or even election reform in general? Don't they rabidly oppose McCain-Feingold? I mean, this would be a nice development if it were remotely likely, but it just seems like completely wishful thinking.

A handful of states have pending IRV legislation. I think the best way to implement IRV nationwide is to have a sustained campaign to implement it locally, for municipal and state elections first.
posted by heathkit at 3:32 PM on October 11, 2013


GOPer calls for ‘four’ branches to work together

Congress, President, Courts, Bizarro Jesus.

That looks like four to me.

(In fairness to the schmuck, he probably meant House, Senate, President, courts. But he's still a schmuck.)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:34 PM on October 11, 2013


I had to drive on the Beltway today. I saw no protesters, nor was traffic slower, in fact it was running at speed, which is unusual during such heavy rain.

I bet Obama paid you to say that. I read that the Obama machine was probably controlling the traffic cams today:

I’m not sure I’d trust the traffic cams...I watched a few during the bikers’ ride into DC. Didn’t see much. Then, I read articles that suggested “someone” (in the DOT?) looped video to make it look like no bikers showed up.
Kinda like they did in the movie “Speed”.
Considering this administration and it’s use of Alinsky tactics, I don’t doubt it for a second.

posted by madamjujujive at 3:38 PM on October 11, 2013


LIve trucker thing

Keep in mind the trucker strike over petrol prices in the UK had some store shelves empty and in 2008 strike action by thousands of Spanish and Portuguese truckers produced ominous knock-on effects on food supplies, aviation and industry yesterday, as Lisbon airport ran out of fuel, car factories shut down and petrol stations and supermarkets reported shortages.

So some people will be taking a strike seriously.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:44 PM on October 11, 2013


I'm thinking I could really get to like this "Hardball" Obama fellow.

Indeed, considering they gobble every concession and pretend it didn't happen and then filibuster or block every goddamn thing anyway, there's no reason he couldn't have been hardass starting from term one day one. It's not like they would have been any worse: there's never been anything worse for them to be short of setting fire to their desks and firing guns into the air.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:46 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Um. These truckers are "striking". They are "protesting" and trying to stage some kind of PR stunt by 'arresting' Congress members (Democrats, I might add) and they want 'the evil kenyan dictator satan hussein osama/obama' to resign or something.

So, um, yeah.

Also, the truckers in those European countries are, well, actually organized labor, so they actions do have an actual effect. These yahoos are all high on Tea and Jebus and 'Merika. I swear those are all names for different kinds of crank somewhere.
posted by daq at 3:48 PM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Virginia state police say they stopped four tractor-trailer drivers on the Beltway, pulling them over after they began driving side-by side across all four northbound lanes of the Beltway in Fairfax County.

So this is basically Critical Mass, but with trucks?
posted by heathkit at 3:48 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


"So this is basically Critical Mass, but with trucks?"

Only there are just 4 of them, and they kind of don't have any realistic goal or agenda other than to try and make a lot of noise and be obnoxious.

So, yes, just like Critical Mass.
posted by daq at 3:50 PM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Interesting - percentage of people who perceive a need for a third party is the highest it's been in the 10 years Gallup's asked the question.

Well, in a sense we do have three. There's the Republican party, the Democratic party, and the Democrat party. Granted the last is a fantasy of the rabid right wing, but they truly believe it exists to give away rich people's money to lazy blah people and illegal immigrants.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:55 PM on October 11, 2013


It seems to me like the GOP may have found a way to call Democrats' bluff, i.e. pass a last-minute "clean" debt ceiling/maybe reopen gov't bill but for only 6 weeks, and then dare the Senate/Obama to let us default rather than continue this stupid hostage situation through Thanksgiving. The real question is a) whether they want to keep playing this game, b) what they think they'll be able to extract with more time to play.

Its not a winner. The '95 shutdown went bad for the GOP after they tried that.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:56 PM on October 11, 2013


I've spent a lot of time this week with one tab of my browser open to this thread, and another tab open to recaps of "Under the Dome." Sometimes it gets a little confusing as to which is the real world and which is the completely implausible clusterfuck inhabited by rank idiots.

Even more confusing is that under the Capitol dome, the Democrats are actually showing some spine, the Republicans are unravelling at the seams, and public reaction is leaning to the Democrats' favor.

I think I'll grab a canister of salt and go see what's happening in the old cement factory tunnels.
posted by malocchio at 3:58 PM on October 11, 2013


Out of all the dumb fucking talking points originating from AM radio and WND "Alinsky Tactics" makes me maddest of them all (I reserve the right to contradict or reverse that claim at a later date).
posted by codacorolla at 3:59 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Had to look up the reference for "Alinsky Tactics." (shakes head in wonder)

I really wish more 'liberals' would go old school and actually use some of these effective organizational ideas. They don't have to follow them to the letter, and I'm sure there is room for experimentation and improvement, but it seems that if someone is vilified by the right-wing media, it might be worth a look and see if it might actually be an effective way of countering the blowhards and know-nothings.

Maybe even get a real grass roots movement going to counter the teahadist.
posted by daq at 4:13 PM on October 11, 2013


Stop me if you've heard this one: Conservatives claim their lousy poll numbers are skewed.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:40 PM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


(shakes head in wonder)

Ever been to a community effort that does the "lets play a game" thing? Ever had 1/2 of the meeting be the "simulation game" or 2/3 of the meetings feature these "fun games"?

I don't see the 'Alinsky Tactics' as effective, the only way the non profit community group happened is because after 2 years of 'Alinsky Tactics' and the person using them pulling other stunts in their attempt to be the preconceived leader is 1 person drew a line in the sand and said "on this date I will put up the website and run the software - you can either get alongside me, behind me, or out of the way. I'd prefer alongside, but this delay crap ends." The crew with the 'Alinsky Tactics' never did get the 'community power' they were looking for and didn't participate in the community org they were otherwise talking about non-stop for a year.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:41 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pardon the source, but: what the whaaat?
Aside from reopening the government and agreeing to raise America's debt over the current $16.7 trillion limit, the Republicans made several other concession to President Obama and the Democrats. One such example is that Obamacare would receive funding. The Republicans would get to take out a portion of the president's signature legislation, but the law would substantially remain intact. The AP reports:

Under a proposal she and other GOP senators have been developing, a medical device tax that helps finance the health care law would be repealed, and millions of individuals eligible for subsidies to purchase health insurance under the program would be subject to stronger income verification.

In addition, some of the across-the-board "sequester" cuts would be reversed under the GOP plan. It has not been determined which specific cuts will be targeted at this time.


Rolling back the sequester, even partially? This isn't caving, it's spelunking.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:53 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


for me the thing that is the most disorienting is that, unlike the travesty that was the Bush II presidency, there's not an easy narrative to pluck out of this. During the Bush years, it was like, yeah, really freak people out with a gigantic terrorism event, they'll make a bunch of stupid decisions. But this...

This, it's just, you went into government so that you could just fuck everything up? I mean, don't members of the GOP faction sometimes look into the mirror and murmur, 'I am a little tired for just fucking things up for no clear reason. I do see impressive flag seals all over the place, as I am a member of Congress, and maybe that means that I should try to hold shit together a little bit.' I mean, it's one thing to fight on your ideology that is probably more about racism than anything, but Holy Crap, you do understand that it's the freakin' federal government and you're a part of it, right? No? Well, how the fuck not? I completely do not understand it.
posted by angrycat at 5:02 PM on October 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


I completely do not understand it.

Edward Snowden joined the NSA effort so that he could gather docs to drop.

If the Norquist idea is 'strangle and drown' perhaps they really believe in that? Perhaps this is why they are there and doing what they are doing.

And if your mind is narrow enough to buy the left/right view or even more dangerous "they are bad, I oppose them ergo I am good and guided by the hand of providence" mindset your more nuanced POV isn't going to register.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:16 PM on October 11, 2013


I mean, it's one thing to fight on your ideology that is probably more about racism than anything, but Holy Crap, you do understand that it's the freakin' federal government and you're a part of it, right? No?

They're neo-confederates, and their goal is to destroy the federal government. They don't consider themselves part of it. They went there to end it. Obamacare is just the latest excuse.
posted by empath at 5:18 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Rhaomi: "Rolling back the sequester, even partially? This isn't caving, it's spelunking. "

Maybe the Chamber of Commerce's open letter is just the publicly visible tip of the ice berg? Who knows what has been communicated by business/financial interests behind closed doors and off the record but I suspect that significant pressure is being exerted at this point.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:24 PM on October 11, 2013


Slavoj Žižek: Who is responsible for the US shutdown? The same idiots responsible for the 2008 meltdown. In opposing Obamacare, the radical-populist right exposes its own twisted ideology
posted by homunculus at 5:31 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rolling back the sequester, even partially? This isn't caving, it's spelunking.

No, most likely it's more of the Republicans' picking and choosing of stuff they like. The point of the sequester cuts was supposed to be that the cuts would be equally unpalatable to both Republicans and Democrats, so that both sides would have a strong incentive to come up with a negotiated solution. It didn't quite work out that way, but I suspect that the sequester cuts they're thinking of rolling back are the ones (like cuts to military spending) that were designed to be unpalatable to Republicans, leaving only the cuts that were designed to be unpalatable to Democrats.
posted by klausness at 5:36 PM on October 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


This, it's just, you went into government so that you could just fuck everything up?

yeah, where's the bathtub?
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:40 PM on October 11, 2013


No, most likely it's more of the Republicans' picking and choosing of stuff they like.

Exactly. One can easily imagine that the Republicans would try to slip in a repeal of all the defense sequester cuts while maintaining all the cuts in social spending.
posted by Justinian at 5:41 PM on October 11, 2013


This, it's just, you went into government so that you could just fuck everything up?

I'll tell you what, Angrycat. I write to my reps and my Senators. Because hell yeah, they are there to represent ME. That is what the REPRESENTATIVE part of Rep means.

So I am sorry about the state of things now. It sucks, I know it sucks. It sucks for you, and me, and a lot of our neighbors. I am not always proud of my Senators (being from Maine, but our reps are good, eh?).

I voted for Obama. And I voted for all the Dem candidates. And yes I voted for the Dem candidate for my Governor but we had a 3-way and I hope Cutler doesn't fuck it up this time or maybe he will get elected instead of Michaud and he can "bring it for business" who the fuck knows?

I am still standing behind Obama because I voted for him and he will get the job done as best he knows how, and I think he know a lot. I don't know about this money finance stuff, how the fuck should I? I know about Excel sheets and a bit of programming, but I don't know how to run a government, and now people are telling me I should know how to do that? Shame on you, Congress! I only know how to live my life! Call me a rube! Go ahead! Yes, I am a rube. I did accounts receivable with about $1 million but that was only a business, not the U.S. Government!

But I am rube who tries to understand these things. What they do up there. With their suits and ties. Do they do it for me? I hope so, but I fear not. Yet, if I write to them, they write back. They are far away, but they are very close. Doing what they do. Do they care about me? I think Chellie Pingree does. I know she does. The rest, I don't know. But, being a rube, I can only watch and take care of my own life and hope they work it out.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:59 PM on October 11, 2013


The New Republic: Death Throes of the Republican Party?
posted by localroger at 6:30 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the Norquist idea is 'strangle and drown' perhaps they really believe in that? Perhaps this is why they are there and doing what they are doing.

This This American Life episode made me feel like I had a decent perspective on the Norquist view. The useful takeaway was that starvation had to come first because it would force new thinking.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:33 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, most likely it's more of the Republicans' picking and choosing of stuff they like.

I bet it all gets rolled back and they come to the table. And trade. Basically this is a punt to regular order on the budget. Meaning it gets done.

And the sequester rollback! Obama's gotten something out of all of these trades. First, DADT repeal and other goodies. Second them moving the next date for this crap until after the election. Third, a tax increase on the highest earners. Fourth, an end to the sequster and a return to regular order.

I also think the power of the Tea Party is smashed, which is what Boehner and McConnell (and the USA) get out of the deal.

Man. They're giving up the sequester. Amazing.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:54 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Erick Erickson is spitting mad over at redstate.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:13 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


the power of the Tea Party is smashed,

The tea party this go round started as Ron Paul libertarians and 9/11 truthers who looked like they needed to be controlled and were offered media coverage by part of the monied interests. The branding was trending and some latched onto the brand.

If the monied interests backing the Tea Party message have been scared off, then yea its a broken model. If the Republican Party is a mortally wounded entity over this brew-ha-ha, the organization formed to support the tea party message will take a shot at being the replacement with some of the monied interests seeing a one time shot and below market rates to obtain better access to the levers of power.

The Constitution Party/Libertarian Party might have had a shot at being the replacement had their membership gotten off their butts and had some deliverables to the citizens so they could ask for more power based on their past performance. But they can't be bothered to show they can organize with things like a court watching program and give the citizens a deliverable of a fair court system, so what reason should anyone think the party has the skills to deliver elsewhere?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:15 PM on October 11, 2013


Erick Erickson is spitting mad over at redstate

There's a silver lining to everything.
posted by aspo at 7:35 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Man, those comments on Red State are some grade-A fury. One of my favorites was, "I agree, primary ALL the RINOs and once they are gone we can think about beating the dems." At this point in time, Obama isn't the enemy. Well, he's the Great Satan, but everyone knows to oppose him and his evil Healthcare. The greatest enemy are those treasonous RINOs/Moderate Republicans.

Party purity is going to kill the Republican Party because now they would rather lose the elections and remain pure than maintain the big tent and win. There's always been the idea that the Democrats are the big tent party, with a constituency of socialists to big business to Blue Dogs that often times had a hard time marshaling all of its forces at the same time (see the circular firing squad comments here or the entire dropping of single payer). There was the perception that no one would ever want to be a liberal so Democrats were always a frailer alliance the Republicans.

Only now is the truth that the Republicans, this whole time, have been a big tent party that marshaled big business, moderate soccer moms, pro-life evangelicals, libertarians, populists, nativist, fiscal conservatives, and other soccer moms so well that they made them seem like one monolithic block. It made them seem stable, unbreakable, predictable, and powerful. But that alliance is ending now, and each are going their separate ways. Some will head to the Dems, but many will spin-off to their own political parties, and some (like evangelicals) will return to being disillusioned about politics and withdraw for the most part. What will come next, I could not say.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:00 PM on October 11, 2013


Grade A Fury is my new band name.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:02 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ironmouth: "Erick Erickson is spitting mad over at redstate."

And seeming to have trouble with the arrow of time. He seems to get cause and effect backwards.
posted by wierdo at 8:03 PM on October 11, 2013


In addition, some of the across-the-board "sequester" cuts would be reversed under the GOP plan. It has not been determined which specific cuts will be targeted at this time.

Is there some reason I'm missing to read that as anything other than the GOP proposing to end the defense portion?
posted by Drinky Die at 8:07 PM on October 11, 2013


In addition, some of the across-the-board "sequester" cuts would be reversed under the GOP plan. It has not been determined which specific cuts will be targeted at this time.

Is there some reason I'm missing to read that as anything other than the GOP proposing to end the defense portion?


The agencies get to make the calls. That means the Administration does. Its just a collapse. The GOP centrists are basically using this to extract pain. They have to move now.

Next year's primaries are going to be a war zone. Paulite, Tehadist, Evangelicals and Business Republicans will fight it out for the soul of the party. Expect the usual Republican skullduggery in these intra-party fights. And how will they run a national campaign? Who gets the war chest? The 2016 primaries? Wow. Think about it.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:17 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Do what now? The agencies get to pick which cuts to roll back? How does that work?
posted by jason_steakums at 8:19 PM on October 11, 2013


Next year's primaries are going to be a war zone. Paulite, Tehadist, Evangelicals and Business Republicans will fight it out for the soul of the party. Expect the usual Republican skullduggery in these intra-party fights. And how will they run a national campaign? Who gets the war chest? The 2016 primaries? Wow. Think about it.

I'm as excited as anyone for a ratfuck orgy of epic proportions, but I'm going to hold my judgement until 1) we see what the final deal is, and if that's anywhere near as good as it sounds 2) wait until election season begins in earnest to see if the infighting and damage to their brand lasts.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:24 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do what now? The agencies get to pick which cuts to roll back? How does that work?

dunno. but i highly sense that the GOP Centrists are basically taking a chunk out of the nutjobs deliberately. If the GOP Senate collaborates with Dems, the pressure on the House rises incredibly. If the GOP Senate sides with the House, they become lumped in with them.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:29 PM on October 11, 2013


WaPo: Details were still fluid late Friday, but the latest 23-page draft of the emerging measure would immediately end the shutdown and fund federal agencies for six months at current spending levels. It would maintain deep automatic cuts known as the sequester, but give agency officials flexibility to decide where the cuts should fall.

Okay, the flexibility is good but I wouldn't call it ending the sequester, just making it less dumb. (But we weren't expecting to end it anyway so it's just gravy) Sounds like a deal Obama could take to me.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:34 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, the flexibility is good but I wouldn't call it ending the sequester, just making it less dumb. (But we weren't expecting to end it anyway so it's just gravy) Sounds like a deal Obama could take to me.

that is the sequester. across the board cuts. pure dumb cuts. now we get to fix things. Plus, they are aiming for a real budget. That means give and take and new funding level discussions.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:37 PM on October 11, 2013


The cuts are still there and still dumb, it's just less pure. And I will put my surprised face on if the budget negotiations don't lead to more cuts. Obama has to propose them to appear to be credibly negotiating after all this.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:39 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also in the article: "Another option under consideration but not included in the latest draft would reduce the number of workers required to receive health coverage from an employer, by changing the definition of a full-time worker from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week." Yeah, there's a reason that wasn't included in the draft, because the Dems would have laughed in their faces. That 30 hours definition is a cornerstone of the whole thing.

And: "But House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) quickly blasted the Senate plan to extend temporary funding for six months, calling it “disastrous.”
“It is a punt to the executive branch for the Congress not to exercise judgement about where money is spent,” Rogers said in a statement."


I can't quite parse if 1) he's referring to the entire plan, which means he thinks Congress making a decision about where money is spent is somehow also Congress not exercising judgement about it and he's an idiot, or 2) he's referring to that "flexibility" agency officials have, which makes me think it might be some real flexibility and there's some substantial sequester rollback ahead. Kinda murky on the context, there.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:41 PM on October 11, 2013


In addition, some of the across-the-board "sequester" cuts would be reversed under the GOP plan. It has not been determined which specific cuts will be targeted at this time.

Is there some reason I'm missing to read that as anything other than the GOP proposing to end the defense portion?

The agencies get to make the calls. That means the Administration does. Its just a collapse.


If accepted, this is a defeat for Obama, yet another bargaining collapse on his part. The entire idea of Obama's original sequester plan was to make it unpalatable and painful with across the board cuts. If they remove the painful part, then Republicans get exactly what they want -- the same spending cuts they wanted all along but without the pain. This becomes a big win for them.

The only thing Obama should settle for is a rollback of the sequester, returning spending to previous levels.
posted by JackFlash at 9:13 PM on October 11, 2013


Current spending levels have been how Democrats have been defining "Clean CR" all along. It's probably too late to switch up on that as part of this deal.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:28 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aside from reopening the government and agreeing to raise America's debt over the current $16.7 trillion limit, the Republicans made several other concession to President Obama and the Democrats.
...
In addition, some of the across-the-board "sequester" cuts would be reversed under the GOP plan.
...
Erick Erickson is spitting mad over at redstate.
Conan, what is best in life??

To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their bloggers.
posted by Llama-Lime at 9:37 PM on October 11, 2013 [18 favorites]


Not to say that I approve of the war-like attitude of our current divided politics, but the analogy seems appropriate, and I was kind of shocked to find myself really enjoying reading redstate...
posted by Llama-Lime at 9:48 PM on October 11, 2013


Why don't we be happy with a solid success at holding the line against further hostage taking by the crazypants wing of the Republican party, possibly dealing a devastating blow to their influence, and likely ensuring that the Republicans make little to no net gain in the House and Senate in 2014 rather than grousing that we didn't also reverse the sequester and get a long wish list of other things.

I think the optics are much better this way, because the Democrats weren't asking for anything but a bare minimum of good governance yet the Republicans still dissembled and threw tantrums and generally acted like spoiled brats for 11 days. If things turn the way the rumors are making it look, it will be a strong rebuke of the extremists. That's worthy of celebration as a major accomplishment in its own right. If the rumors turn out to be true.

I reserve the right to change my mind at any time. ;)
posted by wierdo at 10:01 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


America needs a grand bargain. But not on the budget.
posted by wierdo at 10:05 PM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Why don't we be happy with a solid success at holding the line against further hostage taking by the crazypants wing of the Republican party, possibly dealing a devastating blow to their influence, and likely ensuring that the Republicans make little to no net gain in the House and Senate in 2014 rather than grousing that we didn't also reverse the sequester and get a long wish list of other things.

I think the optics are much better this way, because the Democrats weren't asking for anything but a bare minimum of good governance yet the Republicans still dissembled and threw tantrums and generally acted like spoiled brats for 11 days. If things turn the way the rumors are making it look, it will be a strong rebuke of the extremists. That's worthy of celebration as a major accomplishment in its own right. If the rumors turn out to be true.


Absolutely, the Dems can't even afford the appearance of impropriety here so with the sequester it should be "all of it goes", or "none of it goes", or "one from column A, one from column B" on the sequester bits that hurt each party's interests so they're fairly even, or else just "we'll sit down and talk after this is over". It's a tightrope act. One Democratic bonus too many coming as part of the deal and suddenly the accusation that Obama leveraged policy gains under threat of shutdown is going to be all over the place, and as we all know, that means it will be parroted unquestioned in the "view from nowhere". Tabling to discuss after is probably the most realistic though, it's safest and they'll still be holding the better hand in sequester negotiations after this with the GOP in disarray.

And speaking of tightrope acts, however this plays out, Boehner and McConnell are still walking the high wire for a while yet if the chatter about big business donors rethinking their GOP commitments is true. They need to get funding locked down fast to ward off primary threats, and that means they have to prove they're worth it by ditching the reactionary act and basically shutting the Tea Party crew out of important discussions. Which is just lighting a powder keg, and surely some in the GOP are gonna really want to get out ahead of it and field people to primary a TP candidate or two from the center-right, which requires even more cash. Because they have to get ahead of it, the only way to avoid a split or a long depressing slump into irrelevance is for one side to destroy or consume the other, so they need to make moves on the Tea Party crowd ASAP. They'll have to aim straight for the vulnerable center of independents as well as peel off some Dem votes to swing those gerrymandered districts, so it's gonna be an interesting midterm.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:24 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Borowitz: Hostage Takers Call Comparisons to Tea Party Hurtful.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:11 AM on October 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Aaah... it's almost as if, when you light the fuse on a bomb, you can reasonably expect it to explode. If the potential consequences on the country weren't so severe I'd have the popcorn out.
posted by JHarris at 2:44 AM on October 12, 2013


Hey, REPUBLICAN FRIENDS. If y'all move over to the GREENS, then you can negotiate platforms based on financial responsibility, not destroying the environment and a modicum of social justice like Jesus actually advocated.

And you can leave the crazies to continue destroying the "Republican" brand.

Just sayin'. The Greens are a legitimate political party. They're not batshit-insane. And I think that the goals of MODERATE RATIONAL 'current members of the GOP" and the Greens are a lot closer than to the current "Kill The Government' crazies in control of.. Your Governmental Representation.

Get out before it's too late.
posted by mikelieman at 4:14 AM on October 12, 2013


Senate GOP growing impatient with House

House Speaker John Boehner has a day or two max to strike a debt ceiling and government funding deal before some of his Republican Senate colleagues move more aggressively on their own ideas, several impatient GOP Senators have told CNN.

The Senators say they are willing to give Boehner a bit more time, about 24 to 48 hours, to come to an agreement with the White House to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government.

One option Boehner is currently pursuing, a six week increase to the debt ceiling, is becoming more and more unpopular, say multiple Senate GOP sources.

posted by Comrade_robot at 5:46 AM on October 12, 2013


The only thing Obama should settle for is a rollback of the sequester, returning spending to previous levels.

I think what we have here is what we want, because this is only a CR not a budget-based appropriation. We want them back on regular order, compromise, trade this for that. This gets us exactly that.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:07 AM on October 12, 2013


damn, man, I take it back, this is like 2012, minus the debates.
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha oh boy some of my relatives must be pissed ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
posted by angrycat at 6:37 AM on October 12, 2013


Sure is a lot of premature celebrating going around this morning. Nothing is even proposed yet in an official channel and reading this thread you'd think the Dems just won a unicorn.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:11 AM on October 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


An interesting read.. Reconstructionists, which is to say Christian dictators, have taken over parts of the GOP.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:14 AM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure is a lot of premature celebrating going around this morning. Nothing is even proposed yet in an official channel and reading this thread you'd think the Dems just won a unicorn.

Don't know about you, but these days it feels like any win is a unicorn.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:09 AM on October 12, 2013


Don't know about you, but these days it feels like any win is a unicorn.

Nothing has been won, some vague references to a potential deal have leaked to the media without any sort of details.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:16 AM on October 12, 2013


They stopped talking about repealing obamacare, haven't they?

That's at least a unicorn fart, innit?
posted by mikelieman at 8:20 AM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Make no mistake, this is already a win, regardless. Even if there is some backstepping, the bluff has been called.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:26 AM on October 12, 2013


The only thing Obama should settle for is a rollback of the sequester, returning spending to previous levels.

Can't say I'm at all convinced Obama didn't want the sequester, as a way to get neoliberal, IMF-style austerity while seeming to oppose it. He's pretty much laid it on the GOP this way.
posted by mondo dentro at 8:43 AM on October 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


no one's won anything until the government is running again and we have an increased debt ceiling
posted by pyramid termite at 8:44 AM on October 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


And let's see the details of the CR first before we declare victory. 6 weeks at sequester levels is not a win.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:00 AM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Current link for Washington Post live updates. The Democrats in the House are signing a discharge petition - will be very interesting to see if they can get any Republicans to jump ship and defy their Speaker.
posted by exogenous at 9:13 AM on October 12, 2013


No doubt we have won a unicorn already. Only question is whether it will be plain or plated in gold or platinum or stuffed with weapons grade plutonium.
posted by localroger at 9:37 AM on October 12, 2013


Keep calling your Congress people, no matter who they are and make your policy wants known. These are the days when they are actually checking what the constituents are saying. Well, obviously Mike Lee wasn't checking, but you know what I mean.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:46 AM on October 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Politico: Democratic leaders in the Senate are rejecting an offer by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to end the budget impasse, arguing it asks for too much in return for too little, senators and aides tell POLITICO.
-
While it would give federal agencies more flexibility to work within the constraints of the automatic sequestration cuts, Democrats objected to the level of funding that Collins was seeking, which would lock-in the levels under the sequester at $967 billion next year, far too low for many Democrats.

Moreover, Democrats are calling for a longer-term budget deal that would raise the debt ceiling and extend government funding. And they said that agreeing to a shorter-term budget deal and a lower funding level — with a handful of changes to Obamacare — was asking too much after they have called for a “clean” increase to the $16.7 trillion national debt ceiling and a stop-gap measure to keep the government running.

posted by Drinky Die at 10:04 AM on October 12, 2013


Oh please, it's Saturday. Expecting this to end before Wednesday evening is like expecting a ticking time bomb in a Hollywood movie to be diffused before it counts down to 1.

Neither side has any particular motivation to resolve the debt ceiling crisis before then, lest they be left wondering how many more concessions they could have extracted if only they had been tougher and held out longer. How long does it take, procedurally, to introduce and conduct the vote to raise the debt ceiling? Add an hour and that's how much time will be left before both sides admit to a stalemate and start to seriously entertain resolving this issue.

The media will be breathlessly reporting a constant series of near misses and proposals-to-begin-negotiating-about-conducting-negotiations meetings until then, of course. "Oh, look, they nearly resolved the issue again! That was so close!"

Prove me wrong, Congress.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:21 AM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Neither side has any particular motivation to resolve the debt ceiling crisis before then"

Remind me, how did both sides trigger the debt ceiling crisis?
posted by RedShrek at 10:25 AM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


These proposals are total bullshit. Ryan wants to cut Social Security and Medicare and Collins wants a substantive cave on the funding levels and neither has shit in terms of time.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:30 AM on October 12, 2013


Keep calling your Congress people, no matter who they are and make your policy wants known.

My town's a blue oasis in an otherwise red district (but not a big enough town to swing our Congressional seat blue). When I call and the staffer asks me my name and town, I know my comment's in the of-course-the-liberals-in-Bluetown-are-against-Congressman-Redpants pile. So after giving my statement, I add that I am not a Republican, and I know I live in a safely red district, BUT since you don't have to declare your party in my state, if Redpants doesn't do the right thing I'll vote for his Republican challenger next primary.

Probably not a big lever, but it might count for something. Note that if you do this yourself, if you're state's like mine your primary party ballot choice will be a matter of public record.
posted by Rykey at 10:30 AM on October 12, 2013


Remind me, how did both sides trigger the debt ceiling crisis?

I didn't say both sides triggered it. I'm saying the GOP can continue to hold out with their demands and the Dems can leverage the crisis to try to get the government running again, resulting in a prisoner's dilemma until the last possible moment.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:30 AM on October 12, 2013


Remind me, how did both sides trigger the debt ceiling crisis?

I didn't say both sides triggered it. I'm saying the GOP can continue to hold out with their demands and the Dems can leverage the crisis to try to get the government running again, resulting in a prisoner's dilemma until the last possible moment.


I think you're misidentifying the prisoner here.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:31 AM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


How long does it take, procedurally, to introduce and conduct the vote to raise the debt ceiling? Add an hour and that's how much time will be left before both sides admit to a stalemate and start to seriously entertain resolving this issue.

The problem is Boehner cannot whip votes or count them. Procedure is a problem when part of your own team is trying to sabotage you. Basically, that is why we're having these issues now. And those conditions exist in the microcosm of the final procedural votes.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:35 AM on October 12, 2013


Yeah, that label doesn't quite fit. Maybe gridlock? Pretend I said gridlock.
I need to reread my game theory textbook.

posted by ceribus peribus at 10:36 AM on October 12, 2013


sorry if this is obtuse, but why can't Boehner count the votes at least? I have this image of him going up to the GOP House in the lunch room and they all stop talking.
posted by angrycat at 10:44 AM on October 12, 2013


Boehner: "I need to know how you're going to vote on--"
Tea Party Rep: "YOU'RE NOT MY REAL FATHER!"
posted by dirigibleman at 10:47 AM on October 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


sorry if this is obtuse, but why can't Boehner count the votes at least? I have this image of him going up to the GOP House in the lunch room and they all stop talking.

If he caucuses with the Democrats to pass a deal his political career is over.
posted by Talez at 10:51 AM on October 12, 2013


sorry if this is obtuse, but why can't Boehner count the votes at least?

If he had counted and he didn't like the results, would he say anything different from what he is saying right now?
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:54 AM on October 12, 2013


He caan ask them how many votes but they all turn to look at him with their beady, lifeless eyes and start chanting "One of us! One of us!" And then Boehner knows he must immediately chant the same or they will shred him with their razor sharp teeth and devour his liver.

The orange man can never escape the terrible grandeur of the King in Yellow.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2013 [15 favorites]


Robert Costa ‏@robertcostaNRO 6m

GOP sens very worried that the longer this stretches on, hour by hour, and poll #s sink, Schumer & Co will push for more R concessions

posted by Drinky Die at 11:28 AM on October 12, 2013


Just walked out of the grocery store -- overheard some customer service reps fretting that the EBT food stamp system was down nationwide. Lots of potential sales being lost, and lots of people not able to buy food. Is this shutdown-related?
posted by Rhaomi at 11:48 AM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Susan Collins' proposal was ridiculous right on its face. A two-year "delay" of a tax that is used to fund the AHCA to.... keep the country working for only six months?

GOP sens very worried that the longer this stretches on, hour by hour, and poll #s sink, Schumer & Co will push for more R concessions

The Republicans just filibustered the clean debt limit increase proposal. I am starting to wonder if they are scared that Reid might start publicly whip counting for the Nuclear Option. There would be no better time on earth to do it,.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:04 PM on October 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


Food Stamp Debit cards not working in many states.

Looks like it's due to a computer upgrade and not the shutdown, although a lot of people seem to be blaming the shutdown for it, currently.
posted by hellojed at 1:47 PM on October 12, 2013


Morgan Griffith (R-VA)L “I will remind you that this group of renegades that decided that they wanted to break from the crown in 1776 did great damage to the economy of the colonies. They created the greatest nation and the best form of government, but they did damage to the economy in the short run.”

What the ever-loving fuck?
posted by Rykey at 1:53 PM on October 12, 2013 [16 favorites]


hey you know who else did damage to the economy in the short run?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:24 PM on October 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I ran into the trucker protest on the beltway a little while ago. Looks like a few hundred trucks/cars/minivans, but they aren't impeding traffic in any way, other than people rubbernecking.
posted by empath at 2:30 PM on October 12, 2013


I hope you didn't try to tread on them. They hate that.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:32 PM on October 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


minivans?! that's hilarious for some reason.
posted by desjardins at 2:45 PM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Watch out for Rubber Duck. He's a sneaky fucker.
posted by mazola at 2:57 PM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Morgan Griffith (R-VA)L “I will remind you that this group of renegades that decided that they wanted to break from the crown in 1776 did great damage to the economy of the colonies. They created the greatest nation and the best form of government, but they did damage to the economy in the short run.”

This is a bit like a drunkard insisting that he should not stop drinking, but rather that he has merely taken the first step towards becoming as great an author as Joyce.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:58 PM on October 12, 2013 [36 favorites]


"Just walked out of the grocery store -- overheard some customer service reps fretting that the EBT food stamp system was down nationwide. Lots of potential sales being lost, and lots of people not able to buy food. Is this shutdown-related?"

Huh. They had signs at Trader Joe's that they were down too. But we already vote Dem :\
posted by klangklangston at 3:15 PM on October 12, 2013


down at harding's in kalamazoo
posted by pyramid termite at 4:06 PM on October 12, 2013


down in PA
posted by angrycat at 4:12 PM on October 12, 2013


If you were wondering what happened to the Collins plan today, here you go
posted by angrycat at 4:18 PM on October 12, 2013


Ted Cruz wins Values Voter straw poll

Washington (CNN) - A year ago, he had never held elected office. Today, he is one of the country's top potential presidential candidates for 2016.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won the Values Voter Summit straw poll Saturday with a commanding 42% of the vote. Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon and Fox News contributor, finished in second place, one vote ahead of former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate. They effectively tied, with 13% of the vote each.

posted by argonauta at 4:40 PM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh shit that Dr. Ben Carson who said Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery and is also a black dude?

It seems like at some point some intervention should be staged here. Like, trap all these people in a therapeutic situation where they are given expensive marijuana to smoke and an endless supply of soft cheeses. Where counselors say things like, 'You are not your parents' and 'One day at a time' and 'if you suspect you are hallucinating, push this button and we will come to bring you medicine.'
posted by angrycat at 5:02 PM on October 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


A year ago, he had never held elected office. Today, he is one of the country's top potential presidential candidates for 2016.

2016 is gonna suuuuuuuuuck
posted by hellojed at 5:28 PM on October 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


one vote ahead of former Sen. Rick Santorum

*sad trombone*
posted by octobersurprise at 5:30 PM on October 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Politico: But the 58-year-old Graham wasn’t through venting yet. “You can blame us [Republicans], we’ve overplayed our hand, that’s for damn sure,” Graham said. “But their response, where the president and [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] basically shutting everybody out, and when you try to negotiate, they keep changing the terms of the deal … it’s very frustrating.”

In the words of another famous black leader: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:52 PM on October 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


When was 'the deal' anything other than 'open the government and raise the debt ceiling limit and then we will talk.' ?
posted by MoonOrb at 6:00 PM on October 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


It looks like there is a push to truly end the sequester cuts going on. From angrycat's link:

Murray, the No. 4 in Senate leadership, pointedly told Collins that it was unacceptable to lock in cuts at the sequestration spending levels. Collins scoffed at the Democratic position, arguing she had worked to find a solution that both sides could accept.

I guess the Democrats feel like they have won and all the daily pressure to stop the shutdown is falling on the Republicans so there isn't much drawback to trying for more. Honestly though I've lost track of being able to predict the course of this over the past few days since it has been less public posturing and more actual behind the scenes talking.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:08 PM on October 12, 2013


Sadly, it sounds like the messaging is slipping a bit on the Democratic side. They really, really, really need to stick with the position that the Republicans need to pass a clean continuing resolution and a clean debt ceiling hike before negotiating on the sequester or anything else. It is that clear and simple position that stymies Republican attempts to place blame on the Democrats. If they start asking for agenda items rather than a simple bare minimum of good governance they may give Republicans room to balk without looking like children.
posted by wierdo at 6:17 PM on October 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm worried about that too, but they have been so disciplined about everything as a party through this I figure this isn't happening without a plan in place.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:18 PM on October 12, 2013


Remember when people thought Collins was a moderate? Man, that was funny.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:26 PM on October 12, 2013


“I have bent over backwards to try to listen and accommodate and modify my plan,” Collins said. “I tried to explain to [Democrats] some of the different realities that I’m dealing with in my caucus as well. It’s a delicate balance to keep enough Republicans on board as well as attract Democratic support.”
And I imagine that the Democrats aren't very much interested in helping you work out a compromise which would be acceptable to those people in your caucus whose stated goal is to drown the Government in a bathtub.
posted by mikelieman at 6:55 PM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Glenn Beck insanely rallies the insane by saying Boehner and Reid are the same
posted by angrycat at 7:40 PM on October 12, 2013


Aargh it literally only matters how 17 Republicans vote, trying to drum up a plan that appeases the whole caucus is just spinning wheels.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:43 PM on October 12, 2013


There will be no plan that appeases the whole caucus. The Dems have figured that out. The only question is how much damage will be done to the R brand before Boehner kneels before the business leaders who own him and sacrifices the rest of his political career to get this shit done with Dem votes.
posted by localroger at 7:51 PM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok so some Reddit threads are flipping out about this, but I'm not really sure how abnormal this kind of thing is, so I was wondering if anyone here knew House procedure enough to give some perspective - apparently on Oct. 1, House Resolution 368 changed the standing rules of the House so that only the Majority Leader could bring the Senate's clean CR to the floor? Video - Text of the HR. On its face, that seems kinda fucked up.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:50 PM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is pretty much par for the course, but I just realized that Collins' plan would have added an income verification requirement for the exchange subsidies. Funny that a Republican would be the one writing provisions in the law to have the government be even more intrusive. Well, not really, since it would turn another one of their lies true.

And it's a little odd, since there already is verification. When tax time rolls around, if you received more subsidy than your yearly earnings would allow, they take it out of any tax refund.
posted by wierdo at 10:55 PM on October 12, 2013


The DCCC's recruits for retaking the House are already starting to pop up.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:13 AM on October 13, 2013


House Republicans are fundamentally incapable of even acknowledging the Democratic position
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:46 AM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


House Republicans are fundamentally incapable

Indeed.
posted by argonauta at 6:50 AM on October 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won the Values Voter Summit straw poll Saturday with a commanding 42% of the vote. Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon and Fox News contributor, finished in second place, one vote ahead of former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate. They effectively tied, with 13% of the vote each.

And Michelle Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll in 2012. She is now retiring because she knew a year in advance she wasn't even going to win reelection.

I am worried about Cruz about as much as I was about Bachmann, sorry I mean Herman Cain, sorry I mean Sarah Palin, sorry I mean Mike Pence, sorry I mean Fred Thompson, sorry I mean see the joke I'm getting at is these assholes are not ever winning a national election, ever.

A giant room filled with stupid, angry, right-wing racists declared its top choices for president are a bunch of stupid, angry, right-wing racists. This and the Pope's religion, at 11.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:16 AM on October 13, 2013 [19 favorites]


That's one sorry bunch of candidates, wow.
posted by octothorpe at 7:28 AM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Part of the reason why this debt ceiling nonsense is happening at all is because the Republican Party, as it stands, doesn't work as a national party. Their base is dying and their party is fragmenting. A Republican presidential candidate would have to separate themselves from the Tea Party.

As a regional/local party, though, the Republicans still hold significant sway.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:35 AM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


jason_steakums, a news story about that amendment was linked a few days ago, either here, or in the previous thread, but I can't find it now. This Fox News piece mentions it:

“They amended the rules so only Majority Leader Eric Cantor can put something on the floor to open the government,” said Maryland Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House minority whip.
posted by amarynth at 7:37 AM on October 13, 2013


Also, an ailing Republican Party is not necessarily good at all for Dems and/or the left. Dems will absorb more conservative people and conservative ideas. The Overton Window will constantly be moving to the right. You'll also see more and more of these temper tantrum-y extinction bursts in the legislative branch and in local/state politics. And so on.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:38 AM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Americans still don't really know what the ACA is and does.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:39 AM on October 13, 2013


Just in case anyone still thinks of Paul Ryan as the noble deal-maker with a humble "clean"-ish plan, and not, as Charlie Pierce awesomely describes him, the zombie-eyed granny starver (emphasis in original):

John Boehner’s only choice: Throw the Tea Party overboard
[S]ome rank-and-file Republicans grew visibly excited about the prospect of opposing such a deal, said one person in the room. This defiance was fed by Ryan, who stood up and railed against the Collins proposal, saying the House could not accept either a debt-limit bill or a government-funding measure that would delay the next fight until the new year.

According to two Republicans familiar with the exchange, Ryan argued that the House would need those deadlines as “leverage” for delaying the health-care law’s individual mandate and adding a “conscience clause”
— allowing employers and insurers to opt out of birth-control coverage if they find it objectionable on moral or religious grounds — and mentioned tax and entitlement goals Ryan had focused on in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Ryan’s speech appeared only to further rile up the conservative wing of the GOP conference, which has been agitating the shutdown strategy to try to tear apart the health-care law.
If this is accurate, then the widespread portrayal of Ryan as offering a reasonable way out of this mess (remember, his WSJ Op ed piece seemed to back away from demanding concessions on Obamacare) is utter B.S. There are two things that are flatly unacceptable to Democrats under any circumstances. The first is the prospect of Republicans using the threat of widespread harm to the country — whether through a government shutdown or through default and economic havoc – as leverage to extract unrelated policy concessions. The Dem view is that not only will this force Dems to make unilateral concessions; it will also legitimize use of the default threat as a conventional negotiating tactic, only ensuring this will happen again, making default more likely later, particularly in 2014, when House Republicans face reelection and primary challenges. The second thing that is non-negotiable for Dems is anything that fundamentally undermines Obamacare.

Ryan is insisting on preserving both of those.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:52 AM on October 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


yeah, apologies for the premature celebration. Also, the continued terror bumps my 'getting involved in local races' on my todo list up several notches, so keep it coming to the last minute, *bitches.

/Pinkman style bitches
posted by angrycat at 8:02 AM on October 13, 2013


I think this is the scene where Boehner sends men with families home and tells Gavroche to go out and collect ammunition.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:21 AM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The emerging consensus in this morning's editorials seems to be that for practical purposes the ACA is off the table, and the only question is how much else the Dems will get. They of course want both clean CR and debt ceiling increase, even better with the CR reducing or fully repealing the sequester, and at least 6 months or better a year until we have to do this again. On the far right the mood seems to be "where are our hostages? Why aren't we still talking about the ACA?" Hannity was doing this as I drove home Friday and it was sweet to hear the two wingnut House members he had on the phone try to hem and haw their way back to reality.

I think that at this point the real powers behind the Republican party are ready to pick 20 sacrificial goats to roll over and vote with the Dems to get this done, and then worry about the inevitable primary challenges from kookyland tomorrow. This will be bad, but it will be even worse if their normally reliable funding sources declare them dead and start wooing people with D's after their names.

If they do have to do this it actually becomes in the Republicans' interest to give a longer duration, because this is not a fight that has helped their party at all. Rolling back the sequester is also thinkable because the next round of cuts is going to hit the military especially hard.
posted by localroger at 8:27 AM on October 13, 2013


You know, this lack of understanding about the new law could be solved by having some form of requirement to educate the populace about big laws enacted like this. I'm not sure how to delineate the difference between "big laws" and "not-big laws", but surely, something that mandates people to buy health insurance, should oblige the government to inform citizens of their responsibility.

We send out annual reports on Social Security to the populace, why not information packets to all Americans to inform them just what the ACA is, what it isn't, and how to go about participating.

Yes, we have the online signup thing, but that's not quite something granny and grampy tend to go around reading. Of course there are plenty of connected older people, but there are plenty of people who aren't connected, whether due to age/lack of familiarity with technology or poverty and lack of easy access to the internet (I've known both cases). In fact, leaving it up to individuals to seek this information out is problematic, regardless, as many people are lazy or unwilling to find out information and the facts (especially when it comes to something as politically heated as this).

Make it easy for low-information citizens to have access to this sort of information.

Whether it's the Consumer Protection Board (which has been mostly gutted by the right-wing rats in power, as it is) or some other agency (I'd go for Health and Human Services, personally), we need to get this info out.
posted by symbioid at 8:28 AM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ahh, now I get it. It's Republicans demanding the sequester funding level remains long term and not Democrats asking to get rid of it right now. So, not a shift from the Dems.

A top Senate Democratic aide, though, say the GOP’s complaints are “disingenuous,” and says Republicans are exaggerating Democrats’ demands.

Reuplicans who say talks are breaking down because of BCA tinkering are being disingenuous. We are not backing away from the short-term CR at $988 billion we already passed. The plan all along was to pass a short-term CR, get past the debt ceiling, and then debate spending levels for 2014. Both parties knew that, so for Republicans to imply that our refusal to preemptively accept $988/967 billion for all of 2014 is a change in position is just flat-out false, and they know it.

posted by Drinky Die at 8:40 AM on October 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


We send out annual reports on Social Security to the populace

Not anymore. Annual statements were cut in 2011, several rounds of budget cutting ago.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:36 AM on October 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is e President on TV every night breaking it down for the public? Explaining what ACA is, how it works, who it helps? Explaining what the House is doing and how it's harmful?

And if he isn't—why? Why isn't he informing, educating, and leading the public?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:01 AM on October 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


And if he isn't—why? Why isn't he informing, educating, and leading the public?

Because a brand new episode of Two and a Half Men is on!
posted by Talez at 11:07 AM on October 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Buzzfeed aggregation of photos of protestors today in DC and wherever Palin is.
posted by angrycat at 12:02 PM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. From that link:

Activists, right flank of House now tell me they're now winning PR war vs WH, "fight on"

Wow. Bringing Confederate flags to the lawn of the first black President is "winning the PR war" now? Maybe they should just burn a cross while they're there to really boost those poll numbers.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:08 PM on October 13, 2013 [22 favorites]


Okay. Joke's over. Somebody crank the eschatostat back down to something compatable with my continued sanity please.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:09 PM on October 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Buzzfeed aggregation of photos of protestors today in DC and wherever Palin is.

Cruz, in Cringeworthy Carhartt Cosplay, Courts Callous Crazies
posted by jason_steakums at 12:13 PM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


At tea party-like rally, Obama told to 'put the Quran down'
The rally, billed as the "Million Vet March on the Memorials," drew far fewer than a million people and evolved into a protest that resembled familiar tea party events from 2009, with yellow "Don't Tread On Me" flags throughout the crowd and strong anti-Obama language from the podium and the audience.

One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim and separately urged the crowd of hundreds to initiate a peaceful uprising.

"I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up," said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.
Remember, folks: the modern conservative movement is totally not about race and religion. You're the real racist engaging in the war on Christians for bringing it up.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2013 [21 favorites]


"I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up," said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.

That's so precious. "Figuratively come out with your hands up! You're vaguely surrounded!"
posted by jason_steakums at 12:16 PM on October 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down

More Republican outreach.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:21 PM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those protests fill me with a profound and not-good urge to become a deep cover troll from within the Tea Party.

"Don't tread on me! Nobama! Freedom! Yeah!

Hey, everyone, you know what would be great? If we donned these fluorescent fursuits, and then if we waved smoky censers as we paraded slowly through the nation's playgrounds, playing Sunn o))) on boomboxes, carrying signs written in an inscrutable alphabet of my own devising.

Now let us fight - for our freedoms!"
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:29 PM on October 13, 2013 [10 favorites]


Since I'm generally an optimistic person, I do find it hopeful that primary challenges are starting to arise from the right-of-center Republicans. In my own state of Kansas, the infamous tea-bagger Brownback is facing a one-two punch of a 20-something approval rating and a decent moderate opponent who had an enthusiastic groundswell of support. The various well-heeled country club Republicans are talking about funding moderates to get rid of the radicals. So maybe the tide will turn and the Republicans can return to being merely evil and not batshit insane evil.

But Confederate flags in front of the White House? "I aint a racist. Heritage not Hate, my friend. Now, let's get rid of the Communist Muslim African!"

Christ. It's going to get worse before it gets better.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:34 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wise words from Snoop Dog on Twitter:

Chill tha fucc out n smoke sumthin !! #snoopify # politicalbullshit pic.twitter.com/tFapb2PSUe
posted by angrycat at 12:43 PM on October 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


Because if there's one thing that will calm an acting-out racist shithead right down, it's being told to chill the fuck out by a black rap artist.
posted by localroger at 12:51 PM on October 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's good advice no matter what your race.
posted by wierdo at 12:53 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be fair, Snoop is beloved by many.

Also, he has a single on the soundtrack to Turbo, that snail movie. Life is weird.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:55 PM on October 13, 2013


Wow, Rand Paul is still completely disconnected from reality or is lying through his teeth:
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, played down fears that a default on the debt this week would be the cause of a downgrade of the nation’s credit rating, as happened during a similar showdown in 2011. The downgrade, he said, was not caused by the threat of default, but by the size of the United States’ debt.
--Senate Leaders Talk — G.O.P Blames Obama for Gridlock (could have sworn that was linked earlier in this thread, but didn't see it when I looked just now)

Moody's specifically stated the downgrade was due to the political gridlock increasing the chance that we'd just up and refuse to pay our bills despite the ability to do so. It would have been nice if that liberal rag known as the New York Times would have pointed that fact out to its readers since they decided to quote his lie. It's not a matter of opinion. One thing is what Moody's wrote, the other is not.
posted by wierdo at 1:03 PM on October 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


@KagroX: It's not racism! It's about states' rights! Now let us into these federal monuments!
posted by zombieflanders at 1:13 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The victim complex is coming out in full force. Robert Costa reporting that the teabagger rally breaking into the WW2 memorial this week is going to re-engerize the House radicals. Quick scan of Beitbart and Drudge can confirm.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:15 PM on October 13, 2013


If Republicans believe that the failure to raise the borrowing limit and the subsequent fault won't be a big catastrophe, then where is the source of their leverage for refusing to allow a vote to raise it?
posted by MoonOrb at 1:16 PM on October 13, 2013 [15 favorites]



If Republicans believe that the failure to raise the borrowing limit and the subsequent fault won't be a big catastrophe, then where is the source of their leverage for refusing to allow a vote to raise it?


The confederate flags make them immune to your logic.
posted by mikelieman at 1:17 PM on October 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


The thing that frustrates me so much about the (in some cases, literal) flag-wrapping nonsense about the memorials is that these people are all either pretending to be stupid or actually are just all too stupid to understand that the point of needing to close the memorials is that they have to furlough all the guards and maintenance people who would otherwise have to be there.

The sheer number of hicks tweeting "guffaw, chortle, they wanna close the Grand Canyon what a dumb librul har har" are honestly just ignoring that yes, people are paid to take care of these places on a daily basis to handle the impact of thousands of people interacting with them on a daily basis and they do not exist in a permanent state of unwavering perfection just for your individual redneck pleasure, you fucking ass.

I would love to get one, just one fucking reporter to approach these stupid motherfuckers and ask them how long they're staying behind to clean up afterward.

Ugh. Yes. I'm cursing a lot. Abject, willful stupidity makes me really fucking angry. To quote Obama in 2008, "these people take pride in being ignorant."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:29 PM on October 13, 2013 [47 favorites]


Wow. Don't know if this has been linked or not, but on Oct. 1, the House Republicans changed the standing rules of the House so that Senate bills could only be called for a vote by the Majority Leader or his designee. Prior to 10/1/13, any member of the House could call a vote on a Senate bill if negotiations had become gridlocked.

Video here, worth watching the whole five minutes.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:46 PM on October 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


World should 'de-Americanise', says China
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:56 PM on October 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Nay R King, Pete NY 2nd

Mind Blown. So the GOP Civil War was already going on, if Pete King voted AGAINST it.
posted by mikelieman at 2:57 PM on October 13, 2013


I'm not sure what would happen if the world did try to de-Americanise. The US would certainly see a drop in influence if they were deem oversized in markets for instance denominating things in Euros instead of US dollars.

However, I doubt a lot of the US Congress not to mention the electorate would see the US go quietly into the night after being in the world's spotlight for so long. American exceptionalism runs deep in this culture and I couldn't see it being removed from the collective national or international identity without tenuous, or worse, credible threats from the Neanderthals which make up the greatest perpetuation of this myth.
posted by Talez at 3:00 PM on October 13, 2013


7 Deadly Spins: A Guide to GOP Debt Ceiling Denial: Mother Jones

As journalists make comparisons to Monty Python, I am somehow charmed and despairing at once.
posted by angrycat at 4:04 PM on October 13, 2013


zombieflanders: "At tea party-like rally, Obama told to 'put the Quran down'

Remember, folks: the modern conservative movement is totally not about race and religion. You're the real racist engaging in the war on Christians for bringing it up.
"

I was talking to my mom tonight about the Second Congo War and how many people died.

Literally, the first thing she blurted out "It's the Muslims!"

"No, mom, it's not anything to do..."

"You just don't understand."

I dropped it, and then, just to make sure I didn't miss something (I mean, ok, maybe there's a small extremist Muslim faction involved, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't, but I'd rather make sure I have my facts straight)... I go to the Wiki, ctrl-f "Islam", "Muslim" NOPE.

If I were quick on my feet, I'd've pointed out that this is the fallout of Western White Christian Colonialism, but I wasn't. Not that it matters, they're clinging to this "War with Islam" narrative really really tightly, which is just fucking sad.
posted by symbioid at 5:04 PM on October 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


So let me get this straight. The old white people are flying flags associated with violent resistance to the government of the United States and are illegally Occupying parks and they're not getting tear-gassed and beaten? Is this one of those "both sides do it" things or am I missing something? Shouldn't we be criticizing their hygiene and lack of coherent agenda at this point?
posted by stet at 7:54 PM on October 13, 2013 [28 favorites]


This weekend was supposed to be a big deal for the right. They had the Value Voters summit, the Truck Driver Beltway protest and the Million Veteran March on the national mall. The million vet protest was about 999,500 short. The truck driver protest ended up being 4 trucks and a half dozen minivans for 15 minutes. You have to wonder if at anytime during their red meat filled barn burning speeches at the Value Voters summit the wannabe 2016 nominees looked at the nearly empty 2,300 seat theater and asked themselves where the voters were.
posted by humanfont at 8:18 PM on October 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Gotta hoard that sweet, sweet PAC cash for next fall, especially with the Chamber of Commerce and other big business money up in the air. Astroturf budget's a little tight at the moment.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:22 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


On Saturday, Jamie Dimon, boss of the American bank JP Morgan said the possible repercussions did not bear thinking about.

"You don't want to know [what would happen]," he said.

"It would ripple through the world economy in a way that you couldn't possibly understand."
--IMF chief warns a US default could spark recession

The whole article is interesting, even if only from the standpoint of confirmation of the danger from people other than politicians and economists, but this bit struck a particular chord with me because I can't figure out whether Dimon is being condescending and arrogant or if he means to include himself in that analysis. Either way, it's a strong indication of how stupidly wrong the people claiming there is no cliff up ahead are.
posted by wierdo at 9:11 PM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dimon is referring to the risk of OPEC deciding to stop trading in U.S. Dollars (which from the looks of the link above about China thinking about 'DeAmericizing', seems like it's a very high chance), which means that the entire market for U.S. Dollars, which the entire worlds financial sectors are pretty much built upon, and several hundred trillion dollars worth of wealth could evaporate overnight. We're not talking hyper-inflation. We're talking ludicrous-inflation. Ever heard of "not worth the paper it's printed on"? Yeah, that.

Which I find amusing, because that would make all of these Tea Party morons as broke as me (I have 0 net worth, and very little debt). Actually, it would make them broker than me if they have a mortgage.

You should all look up the concept of "magic checkbook" due to the global oil markets. It's a pretty out-there woowoo theory, to a certain degree, but it is a whole lot better than most of the shit on right wing radio as it tracks the history of wars over oil throughout the 20th century. You might have recently heard about the C.I.A. coup in Iran where we installed the Shah and how that lead to the blowback of the Islamic Revolution? It's in there. And, actually, it's a blip compared to how it pertains to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Guess who was threatening (in 2001, and earlier, actually) to start selling oil in Euros? Yeah. Donald Rumsfeld's former buddy in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein.

So anyway, back to today's noise.
If the Tea Party are so stupid as to believe that the default won't prompt a whole lot of foreign markets to suddenly say "yeah, bye, we're going to use Euros for buying oil now, and since, you know, your government is shut down, we don't think you will be able to use your military to keep us from doing it. Also, Venezuela and Nairobi and the rest of Africa and most of South America have already been talking to China about this, and they've set up an exchange, so we're going to go deal with them."

And all those "taxes too much" Tea Party blowhards will suddenly find themselves with a net worth of negative, and their pay checks will suddenly not be worth the paper they're printed on.

I really hope someone is planning on locking all the House (R)s in a room and making them watch a presentation by a gentleman in a very expensive suit, explaining that if the dollar does not stay as the default currency of the world, all the wealth in the domestic economy suddenly goes 'poof.'

That's why Dimon says "You don't want to know [what would happen]."

Think Fight Club, only real.

Signed,
Your local woowoo watching lunatic committee.
posted by daq at 10:02 PM on October 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Meh, I don't buy hyperinflation as an outcome of even a prolonged US Government default. China could dump its entire $3.3 trillion in forex reserves and it would be like pissing in the wind as asset devaluations due to the resulting credit crunch wiped trillions of dollars, pounds, euros, yen and everything else out of existence. As a worst case scenario if all assets were to really go to zero, I suppose it's possible, but it seems farfetched short of a postapocalyptic wasteland scenario. The world financial system is so interconnected that a major event like an effective repudiation of the debt would leave basically everybody fucked beyond belief.

Even China is in no position to have US demand fall dramatically.
posted by wierdo at 10:55 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


China can't afford to have the US collapse; it's a symbiotic relationship. The US gets cheap goods, China gets employment for millions of workers making things that there's simply not enough demand for from domestic consumption. And in exchange, it gets piles of dollars that it can use for oil, something it consumes in great quantity.

A US default that lasts more than a couple of days* will be catastrophic for countries that trade with the US - which is pretty much everyone. The painfully achieved end result will probably be the reformation of the global economy around an EU/china axis, with the US left as a post-collapse shadow of its former self, aka the new Russia, literally run by oligarchs. I don't know if oil will be priced in Euros, but it certainly won't be priced in dollars any more.

So while there'll be a certain schadenfreude seeing the Tea Party politicians realise they were directly responsible for the end of the American Century (not that they'd be self-aware enough to admit it publicly), the cost in lives and economic destruction is too high even for us non-americans.

* I think the US could survive a short/limited default, if the immediate impact of being downrated, having bonds being dumped en-masse etc resulted in immediate action to raise the debt limit by a large amount. It'd be painful for the US, but not catastrophic as too many have too much tied up in T-bonds to drop everything immediately; but should an actual missed payment on bonds etc not be immediately fixed but dismissed by the teahadists, that's when we'll see the start of financial Armageddon
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:41 PM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


...with the US left as a post-collapse shadow of its former self, aka the new Russia, literally run by oligarchs

That's an interesting thought. Perhaps the Koch Bros et al looked at what happened to the very rich in Russia post-collapse and thought "wow, how can we get in on that action."

Better to rule in hell, as it were. ... 
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:38 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


And in exchange, it gets piles of dollars that it can use for oil, something it consumes in great quantity

Until the oil producing countries stop taking dollars for oil.
posted by empath at 4:14 AM on October 14, 2013


Golly it's almost like 20-30 years ago we should have actually started seriously looking into alternative energy sources.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:15 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Better to rule in hell, as it were. ...

This is why I believe we're going over the cliff. The GOP locked themselves into a suicide run with the rules change - the one where only the Speaker can introduce a Senate bill for a vote - locking out party moderates and pro-business conservatives. The only reason to do this is that the Speaker was assured of a soft landing in the worst case scenario. He believes he'll either retain his position, or given a position of influence outside of congress, no matter what happens. They'll keep it going until the next election, if they have to.

Once we're in default, the Democrats will cave, as they're principled, not kamikaze fanatical. They'll ride the default a few days, and use it as a club in the next election cycle... "Big Deficit Republicans" and "Deadbeat Republicans" and "Abuse and Waste Republicans" have a nice ring to them.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:20 AM on October 14, 2013


Once we're in default, the Democrats will cave, as they're principled, not kamikaze fanatical.

I'm usually the most pessimistic and ready to expect the Democrats to cave, but after all that's happened so far and them not caving, why on earth would they finally do it after the one thing they would have caved to avoid happening, happens? That's like saying if the kidnapper shoots the hostage, the police will just shrug, go "oh well" and leave.

The selling point for the Tea Partiers is that the U.S. defaulting on the debt "won't be such a bad thing." If we hit the ceiling, there is literally no beneficial move, politically, for the Democrats other than to show the world that they're wrong. And to be bluntly cynical about it, from a political standpoint, what's the point of doing anything to get the economy back on track once the Republicans actually destroy it? Poor people vote Democrat.

I have no idea what kind of "soft landing" Boehner would get if he destroys hundreds of billions of dollars in American business interests. Even with Wingnut Welfare, there's not a corporate-funded organization in America that would let him on the board after that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:34 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dimon is referring to the risk of OPEC deciding to stop trading in U.S. Dollars

You're wrong. Actually, it's just Jamie Dimon being a dick.
posted by indubitable at 6:11 AM on October 14, 2013


World Leaders Press the U.S. on Fiscal Crisis

Leaders at World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings on Sunday pleaded, warned and cajoled: the United States must raise its debt ceiling and reopen its government or risk “massive disruption the world over,” as Christine Lagarde, the fund’s managing director, put it...

Participants at the meetings remained on edge, given the gravity of the threat. Ms. Lagarde said “that lack of certainty, that lack of trust in the U.S. signature” would disrupt the world economy...

Concern over the impasse has already led to a slide in stocks — including the worst two-day dip in months. American economic confidence has taken the worst hit since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. And investors have dumped certain short-term Treasury debt because of fears that the Treasury might not pay them back on time...

Mr. Kim of the World Bank said that the United States’ flirtation with default in 2011 raised borrowing costs for many poor countries...

Anshu Jain, the co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said ... that his executive team had been trying to make contingency plans in case of a default, but it had struggled to come up with measures that would significantly stem the losses.

posted by rory at 6:13 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


So is this thing for real? Only Boehner can introduce whatever the Senate passes?
I am really hoping that this is not a real thing. Either that or Boehner is not the sad sack of the man he seems and would actually introduce legislation despite what the crazy people in the House say.
posted by angrycat at 6:14 AM on October 14, 2013


(I did watch the linked video about the change to the House rules but wasn't sure how to parse the language of the rules being discussed)
posted by angrycat at 6:15 AM on October 14, 2013


Is there some kind of effort to actually force this to a vote? I don't understand how we can just sit back while this fucking dumbass avoids calling a vote. Is there a No-Confidence kind of thing, a recall? Arrest him? What the hell is the next step?
posted by odinsdream at 6:19 AM on October 14, 2013


On Sunday, the protesters accused Obama of using veterans as political props. “We are here to honor our vets,” Palin said. “You look around though and you see these barricades and you have to ask yourself is this any way that a commander in chief would show his respect, his gratitude to our military. This is a matter of shutdown priorities.”

IRONY FACTORS AT MAXIMUM LEVELS
posted by angrycat at 6:21 AM on October 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


Is there a No-Confidence kind of thing, a recall? Arrest him? What the hell is the next step?

*redacted*
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:23 AM on October 14, 2013


So is this thing for real? Only Boehner can introduce whatever the Senate passes?
I am really hoping that this is not a real thing. Either that or Boehner is not the sad sack of the man he seems and would actually introduce legislation despite what the crazy people in the House say.


I believe the new rule says "the majority leader or his designee". So it's worse than that - only Eric Cantor can introduce it. What can go wrong?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:26 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah - it's fucking up to Cantor, what kind of goddamned powerplay was that, and Boehner? What a damn fool, playing a fucking King Herod, and washing his hands of the matter...

I can't believe these dumbshits are this stupid, I really can't believe they won't end up voting for raising it - it'll be like at the very last minute, but I just can't believe they'll be that fucking dumb. In particular, the so called "Leadership" of the house Repubs. The actual Tea Party dumbfucks who swept in, yeah, I can believe they're that stupid.

But everytime I can't believe these fuckers are that dumb, they keep on doing things that press my capacity for incredibility ever more.
posted by symbioid at 6:43 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


okay, can anybody pump something soothing into the room and/or dispel the idea that this thing hinges upon Eric Fucking Cantor
posted by angrycat at 6:45 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.....
That's the sound of soothing sleeping gas, washing over you, slowly relax. now close your eyes. breathe in, slowly, slowly.... that's right, now deeper and deeper you fall into a relaxed state....
ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.....
posted by symbioid at 6:47 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah - it's fucking up to Cantor, what kind of goddamned powerplay was that, and Boehner? What a damn fool, playing a fucking King Herod, and washing his hands of the matter...

I feel like the better analogy might be the barbarians smashing the boats after landing on the shore.

The intricacies of Congressional rules are beyond my knowledge at this point. I don't understand if/how this affects the ability to file for a discharge position, which is starting to look like the only way this happens.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:57 AM on October 14, 2013


Soothe frayed nerves with some Government Shutdown Cupcakes.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:05 AM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


WAMU has picked an unfortunate time to fundraise.
posted by angrycat at 7:38 AM on October 14, 2013


The House is considering a 6 week DL bill with various poison pills attached, no end to the shutdown. Default is happening.

Even if default is avoided, shutdown appears to be the new normal for the federal government. Total tea party victory as federal workers are slowly forced to seek other employment and services wither and die.

No optimism in sight.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:41 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shutdown and Default Considered Small Price to Pay for Banning Birth Control, Say Catholic Bishops and Paul Ryan.
posted by emjaybee at 7:48 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


They went from defunding Obamacare, to slashing Social Security, now to banning birth control coverage. It's like the rationale for the Iraq war, only this time they're attacking America.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:50 AM on October 14, 2013 [21 favorites]


Dear lord. It scares me that China is starting to make official noise about "de-Americanizing" the world economy right now, too. That seems to be them signaling they are okay with destroying the value of the dollar despite their large debt holdings.

I'm really starting the get the anxious feeling we really are going to sail off the edge of the map here.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:51 AM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


the point of needing to close the memorials is that they have to furlough all the guards and maintenance people who would otherwise have to be there.

I would love to get one, just one fucking reporter to approach these stupid motherfuckers and ask them how long they're staying behind to clean up afterward.


Well, Glenn Beck did lead a "National Day of Service" to clean up National Mall. The day before the crowd came. I know it's technically not his fault that his event preceded the vets' march, but it's amusing on a meta level.

But seriously, what stet said upthread. I sincerely want to know-- what other group of people in the country can show up en masse, with movement figureheads, with anti-government symbols, probably with arms, explicitly advocate the shutting down of the government, call for the removal of the government's head of state and military commander-in-chief, taunt the police, and uproot barricades (AND pile them at the head-of-state's residence), and not at the very least get an industrial-grade tear gassing and arrested? If the answer is "Nobody wants to be the one to authorize the arrest of a group of veterans," then seriously--what would they have to do to get the treatment that--let's be honest--anybody else in the country would get, doing the same thing?
posted by Rykey at 7:55 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Occupy had a lot of veterans too, but I think there's an unwritten rule in the USA that you're not a real veteran unless you're also pro-war.
posted by crayz at 7:59 AM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


and that you don't have any PTSD (physical disability is, of course, ok), or that you got a nice deferral from your daddies connections. Real soldiers, otherwise fakey fakey fakers.
posted by symbioid at 8:00 AM on October 14, 2013


What are markets doing right now? Like T-bills and shit - securities can those things of the US be sold still? I suppose that's what this is all about, so... there must be movement in other currencies now... I imagine Euros?
posted by symbioid at 8:02 AM on October 14, 2013


A chilling vision of things to come: WaPo piece on consequences of failure of government to meet its financial obligations in coming days.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:02 AM on October 14, 2013


I know that I'm looking for other opportunities, T.D. Strange, as are a number of scientists that I work with. The Tea Partiers absolutely are going to get their wish, which is the crippling of the federal government by stripping it of institutional knowledge and competence. The thing that's going to really bite a lot of us in the DC-MD-VA area is that even if we can find other jobs, we can't sell our houses when we want to move away. At some point it's going to make sense to just walk away from the mortgage, and you know that the banks are going to love that, but what other choice will people have? The nihilists are winning.

[Edited to correct poor grammar.]
posted by wintermind at 8:05 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If only they WERE nihilists. These assholes actually believe in something. Say what you will about the Tea Party, it's at most it's an ethos.
posted by symbioid at 8:10 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe you're right. Their beliefs scare the hell out of me.
posted by wintermind at 8:11 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I realize that I'm woefully under-informed about how to plan for a "your dollar is a lira/ruble/peso/mark" crisis, but I'll ask anyway:

Should I just take my spare cash (a couple of grand in savings) & exchange it for Euros? Like, now, while it's still a reasonable exchange?

Wouldn't that be an everyman's means of mitigating losses if the dollar goes belly up?

Or is the USD so inextricably tied to other markets & currency that ALL money starts losing value?

That is, if the debt limit is breached, the world economy moves away from the dollar, & all goes south for the USD, the uptick will be that my Euros start gaining in value against the USD every day, no? I can then trade at 1EU for $100 in a couple of weeks & just pay rent with a few of those, right?

What am I missing?

[edit: grammar fix]
posted by narwhal at 8:18 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm really hoping that "senior House GOP source" of CNN's a few days ago was right, and that tomorrow is the day things will be forced through if there's no solution at hand.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:19 AM on October 14, 2013


In some ways I want this to happen if only they feel the goddamned pain of their brinksmanship and they STOP FUCKING TRIFLING WITH THIS SHIT ONCE AND FOR ALL. Because if they don't feel anything this time, they'll just play these games again and again.
posted by symbioid at 8:22 AM on October 14, 2013


I'll be pretty upset if my disability check for November doesn't show up, and my partner and I will have to scramble and maybe eat more beans. But my mom? She will riot in the streets and probably loot the Lord and Taylor's clearance section, along with her entire aquasize class. Nobody wants to piss off the little old ladies. Haven't any of these Republicans ever been to a town meeting?
posted by brina at 8:26 AM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Republicans Shoot Themselves In The Foot
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:26 AM on October 14, 2013


How can I trade my dollars for Euros when I need all my current operating capital (my money, in other words) to stay liquid so I can meet debt servicing obligations and cover mandatory day-to-day expenses. I have some small amount in a Roth IRA. Can I put that into Euros or is the Yen a better bet?

What would be great is if there were some online bank that could hold all your deposited funds in a particular currency, but automatically negotiate the exchange rates and treat your money as if it were the native currency for purchasing transactions (debits). Then you could hedge your bets without much effort or loss of convenience.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:29 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


BITCOINS!
posted by symbioid at 8:31 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


In some ways I want this to happen if only they feel the goddamned pain of their brinksmanship and they STOP FUCKING TRIFLING WITH THIS SHIT ONCE AND FOR ALL. Because if they don't feel anything this time, they'll just play these games again and again.

I'm more than a little worried that a significant group of them won't feel anything as much as the rest of us, at least for a while, as they take the opportunity of a default to do a fire sale on state and local assets, pennies on the dollar for their business partners, cronies and family members. There's the stuff a default would really hurt, and then there's the convenient cover it allows for some heinous, shady shit, much like all the businesses that are using Obamacare fears (that they've drummed up) as an excuse to cut hours and benefits.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:34 AM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't think individual solutions like exchanging our dollars for euros are going to save any of us who aren't already wealthy enough to have hideouts and money stashed in other countries. This problem is way too big for anything but systemic solutions. And the dollar defaulting will hurt the euro and other currencies too.
posted by emjaybee at 8:36 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


What are markets doing right now?

The bond markets are closed today for the Columbus Day holiday, but short term rates spiked dramatically last week. The 30-year rates have held steady.
posted by malocchio at 8:36 AM on October 14, 2013


@saulgoodman- Exactly. I was originally thinking about opening a Swiss account via a local branch here in town (UBS). Figured I could make deposits via cash & have it stored in EU. Then, drawing off that account in USD via daily market rates, I could seamlessly pay bills, etc.

Then I wondered if that was needlessly complex & I could just go get some EU cash from the airport & trade that in weekly for operating costs..
posted by narwhal at 8:38 AM on October 14, 2013


I'm more than a little worried that a significant group of them won't feel anything as much as the rest of us, at least for a while, as they take the opportunity of a default to do a fire sale on state and local assets, pennies on the dollar for their business partners, cronies and family members.

That's the real plan here. Destruction of the federal government is the ends, not the means.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:48 AM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah - I know that this is the thing that sucks, and the problem is that while those who are playing this game get somethign out of it, those that vote for them get screwed, and they w