‘Over the top’

January 6, 2013

32797704Clear skies this early Sunday morning along California’s northern coast and the sun will soon pop up over the eastern mountains like thunder — although the forecast is for rain today, right now it’s gorgeous.

And noted today for Californians: The public is invited to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Richard Nixon with a patriotic ceremony at his birthplace and boyhood home at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Despite Watergate and the paranoia, Dick Nixon is from the ‘good ole days,’ which sadly can be viewed in a kind of fond nostalgia in comparison to the right-now-awfulness of this nation’s governmental operations.

Most likely, too, Nixon couldn’t recognize his current Republican party, a fitful group full of immoral, lying assholes without an ounce of integrity, all working to make life way-much harder for most Americans.

(Illustration found here).

A noted example last week from wingnut, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who proclaimed in an op/ed in the Houston Chronicle a government shutdown is better than doing the right thing:

The biggest fiscal problem in Washington is excessive spending, not insufficient taxation.
Tax cuts didn’t cause this problem, so tax increases won’t solve it.
If we don’t reduce spending and reform our three biggest entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – then we will strangle economic growth, destroy jobs and reduce our standard of living.
With the national debt above $16 trillion, and with more than $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities hanging over us, our toughest fiscal decisions cannot be postponed any longer.
Republicans are more determined than ever to implement the spending cuts and structural entitlement reforms that are needed to secure the long-term fiscal integrity of our country.
The coming deadlines will be the next flashpoints in our ongoing fight to bring fiscal sanity to Washington.
It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain.
President Obama needs to take note of this reality and put forward a plan to avoid it immediately.

What a crock of pure shit — all Cornyn wants to do is cut aid to the 99 percent, and he’s lying about deficits and economic growth as Greece, Italy and Spain have been shit-kicked by austerity measures shoved down their collective throats, stuff that’s known not to work (See Wonkette).
Matthew Yglesias at Slate responds to Cornyn’s crap:

What he’s missing here is that the path he’s advocating is much worse than anything that’s happened in Italy or Spain.
He proposing that the federal government simply default on payment it’s obligated to make.
We have had, in the past, episodes that have been called government shut-downs.
What’s happened in those cases is that no new appropriation bill has been passed authorizing many branches of the federal government to operate.
Absent an appropriation, there’s no legal basis for the government programs to be administered and so they aren’t administered.
Then congress appropriates new money and things come back.
What Cornyn is talking about is something else.
He’s talking about the government not paying bills that it’s already obliged to pay.
Social Security and Medicare exist.
Bondholders are owed interest payments.
State and local governments have submitted paperwork to get their grants.
Veterans are owed benefits.
Contractors have agreed to do work.
Congress has passed the appropriations bills.
But if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, the Treasury won’t have the money to pay the bills it has to pay.
The result won’t be a “shutdown” of government functions; it’ll be a deadbeat federal government.
Some people won’t get money they’re legally entitled to.
But who won’t be paid?
And who will decide who won’t be paid?
Does the Secretary of the Treasury just arbitrarily get to decide that bondholders and residents of blue states get paid, but there are no Social Security benefits for Texans?
Can Obama dock Cornyn’s pay but not Chuck Schumer’s?
Certainly there’s no legal authority for that kind of prioritization, but what’s Obama supposed to do if congress tries to prevent him from spending money that he’s legally obliged to spend.
Maybe everyone’s checks will go on time as required (the opposite of a government shutdown) but then everyone’s going to have to race to the bank ASAP because some of the checks are going to bounce.
And then what happens?

Yes, indeed, what happens?

If the past couple of years is any indication, there will be chaos.
Last April, two of DC’s establishment people, Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, came out and proclaimed what anybody with any sense already recognized, that the problem with the US lies with Republicans — dysfunctional part-n-parcel in the GOP’s soul.
So on Friday, Mann and Ornstein again whipped-lashed everybody in an op/ed in the Washington Post — the US is in for a hard ride:

When we set out to write a book about the growing extremism in American politics about 18 months ago, we thought that the 112th Congress was the worst we had seen in our four decades in Washington.
However, the fights over the debt limit, the “fiscal cliff” and the farm bill — and the shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration — convinced us that it was the worst Congress ever.

And even worse than Harry Truman’s ‘do-nothing Congress’ of 1948:

But the 80th Congress shouldn’t be stuck with the “do nothing” label.
It enacted a respectable 906 laws, including the Marshall Plan, one of the most consequential initiatives of the 20th century.
It created the Defense Department and the National Security Council as part of a sweeping reorganization of our national security apparatus.
In contrast, the 112th Congress enacted the smallest number of laws in modern history, fewer than 250 (some are still awaiting presidential action).
At least 40 of those were trivial acts such as post office namings or commemorative resolutions.
What was the 112th’s equivalent of the Marshall Plan?
The debt-limit debacle, which led to the first-ever downgrade of the nation’s credit rating.

There was not much in the 2012 election to suggest that the deep pathologies in the American political system have been ameliorated.
Republicans retained their majority in the House, and the conference moved further to the right.
Moreover, the GOP demand for major spending cuts — with the sequestration, continuing spending resolution and debt-limit deadlines looming in the next two months — suggests that this will be another contentious “do-nothing” Congress.

These two guys ain’t just a couple of unknowns without political creds — Mann comes from the centrist/liberal Brookings Institution, while Ornstein is a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, and they’ve been involved with DC politics for a generation.
If these people are reporting this (and reporting it is –  should have been from the culprit MSM all along), the GOP will indeed freak the country — boundless disregard.
As for the 2012 election cycle: “I can’t recall a campaign where I’ve seen more lying going on — and it wasn’t symmetric,” said Ornstein…Democrats were hardly innocent, he said, “but it seemed pretty clear to me that the Republican campaign was just far more over the top.”

Although in their piece Friday, Mann and Ornstein attempted at the end to go optimistic, a reader does gather a sense the effort was halfhearted — and who could blame the guys.
One bright spot they did mention — Gun-control legislation is suddenly more feasible — was near-immediately lampooned by Mitch McConnell this-very morning on TV, blubbering fiscal shit comes before physical shit because ‘spending and debt‘ takes priority over any whisper of passing some gun laws.
Via TPM: “Clearly, we will not be addressing that issue early because spending and debt are gonna dominate the first three months,” McConnell said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He added that when Vice President Joe Biden’s task force on gun laws sends recommendations to Congress, they will take a look at them.

A look see?
Self-centered arrogance over the top.
Ashley Judd could possibly so-beat-the-shit out of McConnell — that’s 2014, however.
Way-next year, and a  dozen ‘cliffs‘ away.

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