Thursday, 10/3/13, Public Square



by | October 3, 2013 · 6:00 am

46 responses to “Thursday, 10/3/13, Public Square

  1. A good op-ed. I bring it in its entirety for those without online access to the local newspaper:

    Davis Merritt: Radical right is creating its own train wreck

    The radical right’s obsession with the Affordable Care Act has led the Republican Party and the nation into yet another federal government shutdown. If the irrational tactic works as well as it did last time, the result will be more Democrats in Congress for the remainder of Barack Obama’s second term.

    It’s wholly understandable why the 30 or 40 most radical members of the House of Representatives went all-in, because it was their best shot at the two things they and the powerful entities that own them most abhor: the federal government and the president who heads it. It’s not understandable, however, that they were able to bully other House Republicans into abandoning all reason and political sensibility.

    The nation will survive, and the health care law along with it. But if red-state voters continue to send to Congress people who promise instant and drastic reform that they cannot deliver, over time the lack of effective governance will extract a much larger toll on the nation’s economy and social compact.

    When you create a situation so damaging that you must frantically try to attach the blame to someone else, what have you accomplished? There was never a chance that the president would surrender to crude street-level extortion. It would have been wrong for him to do so.

    Had he given in, what about next time, which will surely come? The radical right could tie the next fiscal crisis to one of its other agenda items, be it privatizing Social Security or dismantling Medicare or even impinging on a president’s foreign policy decisions. Government by extortion would become the norm.

    From the nation’s founding, the appropriate role of government and the balance of responsibility between state and federal governments have been matters of constant debate and adjustment to changing circumstances. The world’s biggest economy and most durable democracy were not developed and sustained by people wielding sledgehammers and axes, but by rational people who understood compromise as the mortar in any viable governing structure.

    Throughout those 25 or so decades, political and philosophical strife have been predictable and constant. The occasional creation of major initiatives – the abolition of slavery, income taxes, Social Security, universal voting rights, Medicare – were greeted with doomsday prophecies of economic and social ruin. But in every case, save abolition, a majority of Americans were flexible enough to work around the inevitable glitches and unintended consequences of major change.

    Those on the radical right also know that history and apparently fear it enough to stake the future of their movement on destroying the Affordable Care Act. In their single-minded focus they are setting themselves up for a very real problem.

    It’s unlikely they can establish veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress in 2014. That means January 2017 would be their first opportunity – assuming they then control both houses and the presidency – to repeal the ACA. In doing so they would be stripping millions of Americans’ health coverage, taking back from insurance companies huge amounts of new revenue and returning to the days of pre-existing conditions and lifetime limits.

    It clearly would be in their best interest – and certainly the nation’s – to work the next few years making needed adjustments to the law. Rational people could get that done and earn some credit for it rather than deliberately creating a train wreck and blaming someone else for it.

    • The question of how much should a human life be worth and if you can not pay for that cost should your life then be forfeited? Shall we then make such a decision on everyone and whom should be entitled to make such a decision? EVERYONE’S has some element within their personal life that someone else would use as a judgment factor to deem them unworthily of continuing to live. Who should set in judgment, short of God almighty who is entitled to?,

      ( that was my response to the article as posted on the follow-up)

      • What about all those elderly people in nursing homes without any family members to look out for them? These people are routinely listed as Full Code – and why not, Medicare pays big bucks when they are the sickest in the hospital – and then there is very lucrative therapy sessions.

        Has anyone bothered to ASK these people if they want every tube pushed down their throats or in their nose to keep them alive?

        THEN we get to those elderly with family members – and the elderly patient states they do not want to be Full Code. Then some doctor brags about talking one of the grown children into putting their father on dialysis in order to hang on to life for a year or two more. BTW – there is a tidy profit from all that dialysis treatment from that corporation that the doctor might just have in his stock portfolio.

        We need to RESPECT each person’s decision about their own health and their own life.

        The pro-life people are very good at sustaining life at all costs – but what about the quality of life – or the bottom line fact of – does the person even want to be poked, tubed, pickled and/or pumped just so the body can stay alive??

      • wicked

        Isn’t that why there are DNRs?

  2. wicked

    On his FB page moranforkansas, Jerry Moran stated this:

    Today I voted ‘NO’ on cloture and passage of Harry Reid’s bill that restored funding for Obamacare.

    Would someone explain what “restored funding for Obamacare” means? Because funding for ACA has nothing to do with the debt ceiling, as I understand. When was there a funding cut to ACA so that it needs to be restored?

    Seriously, I live in the State of Confusion.

    • It’s a BIG FAT LIE Moran and the republicans are telling and their constituents are believing. The funding of Obamacare was part of the statute (law). Like Social Security, Obamacare doesn’t need a new appropriations bill because it is funded as a part of itself.

      The only way Obamacare can be ‘defunded,’ ‘repealed,’ or even delayed is through the legislative process: a bill passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the President.

      This whole shutdown is holding our country and her citizens hostage in hopes the ransom demanded — pass a new law — is met.

      There are many lies, half truths, exaggerations being told by republicans. And the only people they’re fooling are the ones who don’t think beyond what they’re told, who are trusting those lying republicans. Like that op-ed above says if this ransom demand works what will they do next — hold Social Security ransom? We already know they want to do away with everything that benefits average Americans and only give to their wealthy donors so there would be no end to what they would try.

      • wicked

        No shit, fnord! Maybe I should go on that FB page and ask that same question to see what the answer might be. (I do play the dumb blonde very well.) Of course, he isn’t going to jump on an explanation. It can’t be explained, when an explanation would clearly show he’s a liar.

  3. wicked

    Did anyone else see this? I remember Dennis Hastert. Apparently this is real. There’s a Hastert Rule in the House that lets “only bills with a MAJORITY OF THE MAJORITY are allowed a vote.”

    This finally explained to me what a “clean vote” is.

    Here’s the dope from wikipedia on the Hastert Rule.

    • Boehner already broke the self-imposed Hastert rule three times — Sandy relief, fiscal cliff, and violence against women. He has been warned not to do it again and his job as Speaker hangs on that warning. Proof positive his job is way more important to him than America.

      Here’s a piece about the three times he has broken the Hastert Rule —

      • wicked

        Exactly. This is Boehner’s reason for not standing up and executing a clean vote (as Indy said below). On the flip side of this, I almost can’t blame him. Just the thought of putting someone like Cruz–if not Cruz, himself–in the Speaker of the House seat makes me physically ill. Still, he needs to stand up and stop allowing them to manipulate him. I can deal with normal Republicans–the pre-Reagan Republicans–but Cruz and his cronies need the rungs on their ladder removed.

      • Cruz is a Senator. I think Cantor would get the job if they manage to kick Boehner to the curb.

      • wicked

        ::pounding head on desk::

        Yes, fnord, Cruz is a Senator. I know that, so why did I use it? (Blonde moment) I blame 4 hours of sleep last night. Hell, they’re all Cruzes, as far as I’m concerned, whether Reps or Senators.

    • I understand the phrase – a clean C.R. bill – to mean no riders about defunding ACA, oil drilling, keystone pipeline, birth control and anything else these Tea Pots put on their C.R. bill as conditions.

      • wicked

        Yes, Indy, but I feel it’s been used in other ways, too.

      • Yes, Indy, that would be a clean bill and the Senate passed just that. Boehner won’t bring that clean bill to the floor for a vote because it would pass. It would pass because of votes from democrats. He is being very careful to not bring anything up for a vote that would go against the republican’s unwritten, so-called “Hastert Rule,” which is an agreed to tactic that a Speaker only brings something to the House floor if it has the support of the majority of the majority.

      • These Republicans in the House – a small minority – are the ones telling John Boehner what he can and cannot do..

        That Hastert Rule was self-imposed in order to keep bills of the floor that Boehner knows would pass (by votes from his own Republicans) if he did allow the vote.

        Hence — that is why no clean C.R. bill will ever see the light of day under Boehner’s rule.

        BTW – the Senate passed their budget more than a 6 months ago – and has asked Boehner for the House to go to conference since the House passed their budget.

        How many times has Sen. Patty Murray (head of Senate Budget Committee) asked Boehner to go to conference in the past 6 months?

        18 times…….

        Why not just pass the entire budget bill and call it good?

        Republicans do not want to settle the budget fight……they would rather go out and get their photo-op with veterans.

        Republicans are now trying to pick and choose which government programs they want to fund….

        Hey – did we get a choice when these same Republicans chose to pay for their boy’s Iraq War???

        So….Republicans may say they are fighting for fairness of everyone – but we all know they don’t give a fat frog’s ass about anyone but themselves and their corporate masters.

  4. Have you noticed these Tea Pots are changing their talking points?

    I suspect they have been hearing a lot from those folks who DISAGREE with them.

    • wicked

      I’ve spent hours, literally, reading comments. I want to use my baseball bat. When I was going through the divorce, I’d imagine smacking the ex in the head with one. (He played softball for years and years.) This imagining included the sound of that bat hitting his head and the feel of doing it. Please don’t think ill of me for it. I talked to the counselor I was seeing at the time, came clean about it and asked how bad or crazy I was. He told me not to worry. If it helped reduce my frustration, it was okay…as long as I didn’t really do it in real time!

      BRING ON THE BASEBALL BATS!!! The aluminum ones have a nice ring.

      • I think republicans are doing a fine and dandy job of defeating themselves without any help. But imagining that baseball bat thing is satisfying. I’m such a wuzz I could never actually be more violent than screaming and yelling but I can imagine such… 🙂

      • wicked

        Be my guest, fnord. 🙂 I’ve also “thrown chairs through large windows.”

        However, I’m putting all that behind. Negative energy begets negative reality.

  5. Jon Stewert:

    The GOP not only has its fingerprints all over this shutdown but has also spent the last 40 years arguing that government is the enemy, Stewart argued. So now Americans are going to believe that the Big Government Democrats are behind this? No way, he said, and called “bullshit” on the GOP. Twice. Then he made his main point: “I can’t tell if these guys are dumb, or think we are.”–america-sits-on-its-balls

    • Their constituents must not be the brightest bulbs in the pack, because they’re falling for this hook, line and sinker and cheering them on. Cutting off their nose to spite their face.

    • wicked

      They know some of us are dumb. Just read those brainless comments praising Moran.

      • And Huelskamp and Pompeo, wicked, on their pages, etc.

        Forty-fifth class reunion this weekend. Hopefully, political discussions, religious discussions, etc., will be left at the door. Given the level of discussion by those classmates posting on FB, will be a horrible evening if not.

      • wicked

        I hear ya, 6176. I see the same in my class, although I see it on their personal pages, not on our new group page…which I thank you for! There’s still a handful of us (women, only, I’m sorry to say), who actually have real thoughts! Oh, I could tell some stories from the past about these rabid Republican friends and the things they did. Unfortunately, they found God, and not the God I’m familiar with.

  6. wicked

    Because of “business” reasons, I stay away from posting political opinions on FB. But lately, I’ve been commenting on the posts of others, more and more. I’ve seriously been thinking of opening a new (and closed!) personal page on FB, under my non-fictional name. I never thought of that when I first joined FB. It was originally supposed to be more for marketing as in “branding.” Yes, branding as stupid as it sounds.

    The other thing is, I refuse to let politics ruin longtime friendships, so I avoid discussing it with those friends whose politics aren’t similar to mine.

    • I also avoid both politics and religion with friends and family who would find some of what I think alien. I do appreciate this small group of friends and the place Iggy made for us. Here, we can be honest and learn. Iggy knew that.

      • My ex-friend and I NEVER discussed politics or religion for the past 15 years.

        But in this past year – this woman has flooded by email box with al the GOP crappola and then she started on why I don’t go to church, etc.

        SHE kinows why I don’t go to church……and with her saying the Catholic Church had a ‘little problem’ when the sex abuse scandal broke in the news was the last straw for me…

        Sad to say…there are times when friend must part ways……before I seriously told her where to go and she would not need a damn road map to get there.

    • Ah, “branding”. I agree, wicked, as stupid as it sounds.

      Both of you are correct in your approach to discussions of politics with family and close friends. I have been, for the most part, successful in this; not always, however. 😦

      Yes, fnord, I grow more appreciative of our little place as time passes. A refuge.

      • wicked

        Yes, our little place, where we can speak our minds or whine, as I often need to do. 😉 Too bad I don’t always get here to do that.

      • Unfortunately, we are singing to the choir in our little blog.

        Don’t get me wrong – this is a wonderful place to meet with friends – and refresh my fighting spirit…..

        But just once I would like to have a discussion with a Tea Party Republican and not have it devolve into a personal attack on Obama.

        Can any of them do this one little thing?

        I’ve often told my husband that I think these Tea Party folks are those churchy folks who just like to be the bullies and take over the place.

        We all know those types…don’t we?
        Sad fact is….these are also the folks who are more than willing to burn down the entire place just to feel like they’re – winning -.

  7. I just heard on NPR of a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania say that if Obama would accept the repeal of the medical device tax – that he feels all this would be resolved and the shutdown would go away.

    So….let’s get this straight….the medical device corporate masters are behind this shutdown?

    Hmmmm….I also heard the other day that health insurance companies are already paying some sort of tax in order to participate in the ACA.

    And these companies are paying – willingly – because they know they are going to make more profit off all the new customers.

    So…..if Republicans are just wanting to make this fair to everybody (have you noticed that is their new talking point?) – then why is it okay for insurance companies to pay and not the medical device companies?

  8. I’m reading that some think what is behind this whole fiasco is a desire by republicans to have more leverage in the upcoming need to raise the debt ceiling or default on debts already incurred.

    Last time the debt ceiling was raised shortly before we defaulted but the republicans pushed it so far that our credit rating was lowered because the credit rating companies said such dysfunction was too much risk to maintain the perfect credit rating enjoyed before.

    Those who are speculating the reason we hear republicans changing the subject away from Obamacare and to other subjects like ‘fairness,’ are also saying this shutdown will definitely last until the debt ceiling is met Oct. 17th.

    What level of dysfunction do you think that would indicate to the rating companies?

    • wicked

      No matter what level, we ALL pay for it. The sequester has done damage. The shutdown is increasing the damage, and the feet dragging to raise the debt ceiling, because it MUST be raised, is going to cost us, the taxpayers, all that much. Congress doesn’t give a flying fck. Dubya’s wars finally got on a books, making it appear that it’s Obama’s debt, when clearly it isn’t. They (especially Republicans) talk fiscal responsibility, then spend like drunken sailors. But you can be sure the members of Congress will not only be paid, but will vote themselves a raise. SMH

  9. wicked

    I just nabbed this long comment from Rep. Tim Griffins (R-AR) FB page. Let me tell you, the Dems are kicking some butt over there.

    Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.): “At this point, I believe it’s time for the House to vote for a clean, short-term funding bill to bring the Senate to the table and negotiate a responsible compromise.” [Press Release, 10/1/13]

    Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.): “Time for a clean [continuing resolution].” [Official Twitter, 10/1/13]

    Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.): “Enough is enough. Put a clean [continuing resolution] on the floor and let’s get on with the business we were sent to do.” [Burlington County Times, 10/1/13]

    Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.): A Fitzpatrick aide tells the Philadelphia Inquirer the congressman would support a clean funding bill if it came up for a vote. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/1/13]

    Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.): Barletta said he would “absolutely” vote for a clean bill in order to avert a shut down of the government. [Bethlehem Morning Call, 10/1/13]

    Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.): King thinks House Republicans would prefer to avoid a shutdown and said he will only vote for a clean continuing resolution to fund the government, according to the National Review Online. [NRO, 9/30/13]

    Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.): The California Republican told The Huffington Post he would ultimately support a clean continuing resolution. [Tweet by The Huffington Post’s Sabrina Siddiqui, 9/30/13]

    Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.): “I’m prepared to vote for a clean [continuing resolution].” [The Huffington Post, 9/29/13]

    Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.): A Wolf aide told The Hill that he agrees with fellow Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell (R) that it’s time for a clean continuing resolution. [The Hill, 10/1/13]

    Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.): A Grimm aide told The Huffington Post that the congressman supports a clean continuing resolution. [10/1/13].

    Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.): A local news anchor in Minnesota tweeted that Paulsen told him he would vote for a clean resolution if given the chance. [Blake McCoy Tweet, 10/1/13]

    Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.): A constituent of Wittman’s sent The Huffington Post an email she got from the congressman indicating he would vote for a clean funding bill but hasn’t had “an opportunity to do so at this point.” [10/1/13]

    Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.): LoBiondo told The Press of Atlantic City he’ll support “whatever gets a successful conclusion” to the shutdown and a clean funding bill “is one of those options.” [The Press of Atlantic City, 10/1/13]

    Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.): Forbes told The Virginian-Pilot that he supports the six-week clean funding bill that passed in the Senate. [The Virginian-Pilot, 10/2/13]

    Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.): The congressman issued a statement saying he would “vote in favor of a so-called clean budget bill.” [Office of Rep. Jim Gerlach, 10/2/13].

    Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.): Lance’s chief of staff confirmed to The Huffington Post that he told a constituent on Wednesday that Lance has voted for clean government funding bills in the past “and would not oppose doing so again should one be brought to the floor.” [10/2/13]

    Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho): Simpson told a Roll Call reporter Tuesday night, “I’d vote for a clean CR because I don’t think this is a strategy that works.” [Daniel Newhauser Tweet, 10/1/13]

    Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.): Young told Tampa Bay Times reporter Alex Leary that he’s ready to vote for a clean funding bill. “The politics should be over,” he said. “It’s time to legislate.” [Alex Leary Tweet, 10/2/13]

    Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.): The congressman told Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo that he would vote for a clean funding bill, provided it has the same funding levels contained in the Senate-passed bill. [The Miami Herald, 10/2/13]

    Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.): “I would take a clean (continuing resolution).” [Observer-Dispatch, 10/2/13]

    Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.): A Davis constituent tells The Huffington Post that a Davis aide told him Wednesday, “Congressman Davis is prepared to vote ‘yes’ on a clean CR.” Asked for comment, Davis spokesman Andrew Flach told HuffPost that Davis isn’t “going to speculate” on what bills may come up in the House and “will continue to vote for proposals brought to the floor that will fund the federal government.” [10/2/2013]

  10. With that guy Griffin guy from Arkansas and that old white-haired fart guy that went off on that park ranger – what is the common denominator?

    White, middle-aged and/or old males…

    Just take a good look at these Republicans – what do you see?

    If I remember correctly – it was the same assessment of the GOP at the 2008 Convention – a sea of white…….middle aged and/or old white…

  11. This is what it is all about…..Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul….these two buffoons really must believe they are winning this thing.

    BTW – If I remember correctly, Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz were the two Senators blocking the way for the Senate and House to go to conference to agree on the entire budget.

    And this has been going on for the past 6 months.

    Why don’t these two GOP rats tell that side of this story?