Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Streams Of Consciousness, Dec. 7


Does Pelosi Have Any Teeth?
This was her tweet about the outrageous Obama/McConnell plan to continue concentrating the nation's wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer families:

She's probably feeling morose because Obama left her appointee, the hapless Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), out of the negotiations. But in the end will she just buckle under and round up the Democratic votes needed to augment the 170 or so Republicans who are drooling to pass this monstrosity? Jennifer Rubin at the Washinton Post
There really is no other way to say it: the Republicans won, the liberal Democrats lost, and the president sided with the Republicans... A Republican House aide tells me tonight it is "a damn good deal."

Pelosi could do something else. She could allow an open rule which will open the debate to amendments so that it isn't a-take-it-or-leave-it package legislators have to face. She may be morose and even pissed off, but nothing from the last two years should lead anyone to believe she's that morose and pissed off.

Durbin, who lost 100% of his credibility with progressives when he switched his vote to support the Cat Food Commission's findings this week, is making pathetic noises about walking away from the deal. He has no credibility whatsoever but are there enough votes, between extreme right DeMinters (backed by the Club for Growth), a retiring George Voinovich, and progressives to successfully filibuster this nightmare? I doubt it could be a reality. Or do you think counting on Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer-- recipient of more Wall Street cash than any non-presidential candidate in history ($17,720,436)-- could be counted on to stand behind some principles or values?
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., his party's leader in the Senate, reacted coolly to the plan.

"Now that the President has outlined his proposal, Senator Reid plans on discussing it with his caucus tomorrow," his spokesman said in a statement.

In the Senate, liberals led by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., have been adamant that they don't want to extend tax cuts for the rich. Though they fell short of blocking such an extension Saturday, they have more than enough votes to launch a filibuster to block the new deal.

...White House aides said the plan would extend the benefits for 13 months, covering the 2 million out-of-work Americans whose checks run out this month and another 7 million who would run out of benefits over the next year.

They also predicted that the extended benefits would create 600,000 jobs as the out-of-work quickly spend their checks, sending that cash percolating through the economy.

The average family receives $290 a week in unemployment benefits. Normally, benefits can last up to 99 weeks, depending on state's jobless rate.

On the estate tax, the Bush tax cuts had cut the tax, then eliminated it altogether for this year.
As that law expired, the tax would have returned to 55 percent of all estates of more than $1 million. Under Republican pressure, it will be set for two years at 35 percent on estates of more than $5 million.

At least one prominent liberal said he doesn't like the deal, but called it the best that Obama could get now.

"The Republicans got tax cuts for the best-off 2 percent and lower estate taxes for the very wealthiest families, neither of which will do much if anything to create jobs," said Lawrence Mishel, the president of the Economic Policy Institute. "President Obama won policies that will put or keep money in the pockets of the families of the unemployed and middle and low-income families, which will increase spending and create jobs."

No one with any sense expects anything from the Congressional leadership but the grassroots is burning. In fact, according to today's Roll Call, "Liberal activists angry about President Barack Obama’s concession on tax cuts for upper-income Americans crashed phone lines at the White House and are gearing up for another onslaught of calls to Senate Democratic leaders in an eleventh-hour push to kill the deal."

And Hoyer, of all people, is grumbling aloud... as though someone is supposed to believe that he would ever oppose Obama and the Republicans on this!
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer today expressed serious reservations with the tax cut framework President Obama reached with Senate Republicans, and declined to say whether his caucus would support the plan or even whether the leadership time would whip votes to ensure that it passes. However, Hoyer also chastised Republicans for their willingness to let all the Bush tax cuts expire, suggesting Democrats will figure out a way to assure the President's plan doesn't fail entirely-- including, perhaps, by making some changes to it.

"There was no consensus or agreement reached by the House leadership," Hoyer told reporters this morning, reiterating the broad view of the Democratic caucus that "giving tax cuts to high-income Americans is not appropriate."

Sure... when pigs fly. Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison, speaking for the House's largest caucus, seem to be rejecting the Obama/McConnell deal out of hand. This was their statement this afternoon:
“We call on our Congressional leaders in the House and Senate to hold firm on passing a middle class tax cut with no strings attached. We also call on Congressional Republicans to stop using unemployed Americans as bargaining chips in exchange for another tax break for the wealthy.
Tax breaks for billionaires don’t create jobs. The George W. Bush presidency and the Republican recession are proof of that. Giving rich people more money just for being rich does nothing to help the economy. It only increases the national debt. No amount of Republican rhetoric can change that fact.
We simply cannot afford to borrow another $700 billion to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who aren’t paying their fair share, especially when there are millions of Americans still looking for work. Just 1 percent of that $700 billion would pay for almost 142,000 elementary school teachers for an entire year. That money should be used to create jobs, rebuild our infrastructure and educate our children, not for the wealthy to buy more yachts.
We agree with the President that there is no time to delay-- the recovery is fragile, and American families are hurting. We need to make the right decisions right now to boost our economy. The unemployment crisis is a harsh reality for millions of Americans, and giving more money to the super-rich won’t do anything to solve it.
This holiday season should be about supporting middle class Americans, not another taxpayer-funded present for the wealthy.”

Obama angrily rebuked progressives (who else?) when asked by a reporter if his cave in shows he has no core principles.
This notion that somehow we are willing to compromise too much reminds me of the debate that we had during health care. This is the public option debate all over again. I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health care for all Americans, something that Democrats have been fighting for for a hundred years. But because there was a provision in there that they didn't get, that would have affected maybe a couple of million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people, and the potential for lower premiums for maybe 100 million people, that somehow that was a sign of weakness, of compromise.

If that's the standard by which we are measuring success or core principles, then let's face it: We will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position, and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves and sanctimonious about how pure our intentions are and how tough we are.

And in the meantime the American people are still saying to themselves, [I'm] not able to get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. Or not being able to pay their bills because their unemployment insurance ran out. That can't be the measure of how we think about public service. That can't be the measure of what it means to be a Democrat. This is a big, diverse country. Not everybody agrees with us. I know that shocks people...

This country was founded on compromise. I couldn't go through the front door at this country's founding. If we were really thinking about ideal positions, we wouldn't have a union.

Olbermann was on fire tonight. I hope Obama was watching.

Even Wall Street Shill Mary Landrieu Says She's Undecided

Maybe she's waiting to see how much Republican support it gets but Landrieu (D-LA), one of the half dozen most conservative Democrats in the Senate, was pointedly unethusiastic this afternoon. She called what Obama and McConnell cooked up "morally bankrupt," an easy way to take a cheap-- if well-deserved, shot at a president who is very unpopular in her state. "What is new to me is a concept that we're going to borrow $46 billion according to the Obama-McConnell plan-- and that's what I'm calling it...we're going to borrow 46 billion from the poor, from the middle class, from businesses all sizes, basically, to give a tax cuts to families in America today that despite the recession are making over a million dollars. This is unprecedented. Put me down as undecided, strongly objecting to that provision. Are there other provisions that I like in there? Absolutely."

But Obama's Boyfriend Ryan... He's All For It

I wouldn't be surprised if it was all Ryan's idea. It sounds a lot like the kind of crap he's always pushing anyway. He doesn't want to jump up and down and break into song but he's backing the Obama-McConnell deal.
“All things considered, I think it’s the best deal we were going to get,” he says. “It’s clearly not a good as we would’ve wanted, but far better than the alternative route.”

He stressed the importance of not decoupling the tax rates for upper-income earners, and thus rejecting the “class-warfare economic doctrine” that is harmful to economic growth.

He says the two-year extension was expected, and while he would much rather have seen a permanent arrangement, it’s still a good start. Ryan says he is ready to lead a debate over taxes starting in 2012. “I see this as a great way to set the stage for fundamental tax reform in 2013,” he says.

And Boehner was pushing that around Washington today.

Boehner Feels The Wrath of Teabaggers And Ron Paul Supporters

The Republican Steering Committee, which Boehner controls, disappointed teabagger-oriented rightists today by backing chairmanships for two unacceptable Boehner cronies. One, Hal "Prince of Pork" Rogers (R-KY) will be the shockingly corrupt new chair of the all-important House Appropriations Committee. The teabaggers wanted Jack Kingston, a lunatic fringe sociopath from Georgia. The other key chair went to moderate Republican Fred Upton of Michigan instead of right-wing favored (and Big Oil favored) Joe Barton. But that was nothing compared to a rumor that swept Wingnutia this week that Boehner was pulling strings behind the scenes to make sure Ron Paul, next in line based on seniority, would not become chairman of the Subcommittee for Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology. Wall Street and their Boehner puppet were working hard to stop Paul from taking over.
Five GOP leadership aides, speaking anonymously because a decision isn’t final, say incoming House Speaker John Boehner has discussed ways to prevent Paul from becoming chairman or to keep him on a tight leash if he does.

...Boehner and the establishment Republicans rode to victory last month on the shoulders of the Tea Party movement. Prior to the election, Tea Party activists in Maine, Colorado, and Utah focused on abolishing the Federal Reserve.

Some predicted that if Republicans were to sweep the House they would become much more confrontational with the Federal Reserve. “The popularity of Tea Party candidates in U.S. elections could spell renewed efforts to curtail the power and independence of the Federal Reserve, which has been cast as an emblem of big government overreach,” Reuters reported in late October.

Many establishment Republicans agree with senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who insists the Tea Party and its vision of less government has no long-term vision or prospects for political viability.

...Ron Paul, Bernie Sanders, and a handful of other House and Senate renegades who are not reading from the bankster script like John Boehner and the establishment Republicans will not be allowed to hold the Federal Reserve to account.

It will take the collective outrage of grassroots supporters of Paul’s End the Fed movement to force Congress to reconsider moving against the banksters and their cartel.

Today the Republican Liberty Caucus sent this open letter to Boehner making it clear that many grassroots Republicans are more concerned with Ron Paul's reform agenda than with the GOP Leaderships' Wall Street agenda:
Dear Speaker-elect Boehner:

When word went out last week that you may seek to block Congressman Ron Paul's appointment as Chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee, grassroots Republicans, Tea Party members and advocates of constitutionally limited government were alarmed. The implied message of such an action is one of indifference towards the concerns of those who helped move you into a position of power as Speaker of the House. We urge you to reconsider.

The resounding message of November 2nd was not just a referendum on big-spending Democrats. It was also a signal to Republicans who have forgotten the principles of limited government and fiscal restraint on which the party was built. As a matter of ethics and integrity, we see no justification for preventing Congressman Paul from taking a position that he has earned, and for which he is uniquely qualified.

Congressman Ron Paul has been an unyielding advocate of transparency, accountability, and fiscally conservative principles. He has strongly opposed policies that have brought us to the brink of disaster. As Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) aptly pointed out, "The depth of [Ron Paul's] knowledge on monetary policy, his understanding of it all, is second to none." His message resonates with the grassroots who will continue to play a large role in the success of the Republican Party as they did in the recent election.

We are united in our belief that no one would be better qualified than Congressman Paul to head the Financial Services Subcommittee and we hope to see him in that position in January. It is a position  where he will be able to make important contributions to our nation's economic policies and move us toward the limited, accountable government voters are demanding. We strongly urge you to give him that opportunity.

RLC Chair

Boehner already kept Michele Bachmann out of the House leadership. If he does this to Ron Paul he will alienate a far larger Republican constituency than has ever supported him.

Will Redistricting Do In Georgia Blue Dog John Barrow?

Republicans redistricted him out of his original Athens-based seat, so he moved to Savannah and won what was created, though not technically under the Voting Rights Act, as an African-American district. He was nearly defeated in two primaries because he has studiously ignored his African-American constituents in a pursuit of conservative whites. But, like a cockroach, he's survived over and over. But will he survive a Republican state legislature determined to get rid of him once and for all? There are two ways for Republicans to gerrymander Barrow out of his seat this time.
One is to move more of heavily Democratic Savannah into Kingston's district in the southeast; the other is to take more of heavily Democratic Augusta and move it into Broun's 10th district in the northeast.

But it won't be easy. The Cook Political Report's David Wasserman said Republicans might have to defend such a move in court, because it would dilute the black vote in Barrow's district.

"The easiest way to crack that district is to divide Savannah and Augusta, but you're asking for a lawsuit," Wasserman said.

The Supreme Court ruled last year that the Voting Rights Act doesn't require states to draw "crossover" districts, which are favorable to minority candidates even though minorities don't comprise more than half of the district. But much remains unsettled in this section of the law, and the court's decision doesn't necessarily mean Republicans have carte blanche to dismantle such a district.

It's worth noting that Indiana Blue Dog Joe Donnelly, who survived this year by the skin of his teeth, is also likely to be gerrymandered into extinction.
By adding all of Michigan City back to Rep. Pete Visclosky's (D) district, they would be making Donnelly's seat more winnable but still very competitive. If they really want to push the envelope, though, they could try to stretch the district further east, incorporating its current base in Gary with Michigan City and, further east, South Bend. South Bend, as at happens, is Donnelly's base.

Donnelly would effectively be left with a choice between running for reelection or challenging Visclosky in a primary.

Republicans could make Donnelly's current district pretty uninhabitable by borrowing heavily Republican Elkhart and Kosciusko counties from the neighboring 3rd district and using them to replace the population from Michigan City/South Bend.

A Democratic strategist who does a lot of work in Indiana said Donnelly will likely run wherever South Bend is.

Will Cheney Get Bail?

Cheney now has an arrest warrant out for him but I suspect Interpol isn't as interested in him as they were in publisher Julian Assange. Cheney's just a war criminal and thief. Assange is the most important revolutionary in decades. But Nigeria has charged him and 8 of his cronies in a bribery and conspiracy scheme over the construction of a liquefied natural gas facility in the country that took place while Cheney was chief executive of Halliburton.

General Motors Is Back In Business-- The Business Of Bribing Congressmen

General Motors, which was saved from bankruptcy by Obama and the Democrats, started making political donations to candidates in July-- "184 individual donations totaling more than $330,000 between July and Election Day, with 52 percent benefiting Republicans." Over 25% of the donations went to politicians who opposed the bailout, politicians who wanted to see General Motors fail and go bankrupt.

Streams May Be Less Regular For A Short While... But Consciousness Will Be Acute

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


At 4:33 AM, Blogger Retired Patriot said...

Keith was awesome last night. But you're right, no one in 1600 Penna Avenue dared to watch.

No one.

I wish Keith would tell us who the senior advisor was. My vote is on Axelrod. Could have been Jarrett. Either way, they know who they are and its time for us to know too.

Its not like they are going to stop calling Keith. Actually, he'd be better off!



Post a Comment

<< Home