Morning Must Reads: July 4

In the news: a new Egyptian president and Independence Day

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Hyungwon Kang / REUTERS
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terryclifton1
terryclifton1

As one of the few resident Libertarians living in the swamp; I would like to extend a Happy 4th of July to everyone. 

 Also, I would like to take a moment to recognize those who marched and stood up against their tyrannical government in Egypt. Allowing any form of religion to manifest itself into a form of government is a dangerous experiment, and should be shunned and mocked by civil society.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 This article somehow got past me on the 26th. Issa backtracking on his IRS accusations.

The Morning Plum: Darrell Issa backtracks on IRS scandal

The news that progressive groups were also targeted by the IRS should, in theory at least, prompt reporters to press leading Republicans on a simple question: Do you still stand by your insinuations that the White House or Obama campaign were somehow behind the politically motivated targeting of conservatives?

In a key moment, Rep. Darrell Issa — the chair of the Oversight Committee and a lead investigator into the IRS scandal — is now claiming he never, ever said the White House or the Obama campaign was behind the targeting. In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash (at the 1:30 mark), he said this:

“I’ve never said it came out of the office of the President or his campaign. What I’ve said is, it comes out of Washington.”

And yet, later in the very same interview, Issa said this:

“For years, the president bashed the Tea Party groups. He was very public against these groups. And on his behalf — perhaps not on his request — on his behalf, the IRS executed a delaying tactic against the very groups that he talked about.

This is utter gibberish, and reporters (kudos to Bash for doing a great job here) need to hold Issa accountable for it. Indeed, the juxtaposition of the two statements neatly captures the increasingly untenable nature of Issa’s stance. He claims the IRS targeting was done “perhaps” not on the president’s request — seemingly dangling that out there as a possibility – right after flatly stating he has never said the targeting was directed by the White House or the president’s campaign. Is there any evidence that this was orchestrated by Obama or his campaign, or isn’t there? Yes, or No? Doesn’t the current evidence actually tell us otherwise? Yes, or No?

As for Issa’s suggestion that he never made any such charge, here’s what he said in mid-May:

“This was a targeting of the president’s political enemies, effectively, and lies [sic] about it during the election year so that it wasn’t discovered until afterwards.”

Democrats, meanwhile, are also drawing attention to the fact that other leading Republicans have suggested the IRS targeting was politically motivated, or came from the White House, with varying degrees of directness. Here’s GOP Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the Appropriations Committee:

“Of course, the enemies list out of the White House that IRS was engaged in shutting down or trying to shut down the conservative political viewpoint across the country — an enemies list that rivals that of another president some time ago.”

paulejb
paulejb

 Well, it's off to the BBQ. Hope you all enjoy your holiday and that Bugs and Stevie play nice.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Just how low can the Republican party go?

The GOP has become the heartless party of cutting food aid to the poor, abortion bans and denying people health coverage

A sign at the 2012 Republican national convention in Tampa. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

What is the single most consequential political development of the past five years? Some might say the election (and re-election) of Barack Obama; others might point to the passage of the most important piece of social policy (Obamacare) since the 1960s; some might even say the drawing down of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in reality, it is the rapid descent of the Republican party into madness.

Never before in American history have we seen a political party so completely dominated and controlled by its extremist wing; and never before have we seen a political party that brings together the attributes of nihilism, heartlessness, radicalism and naked partisanship quite like the modern GOP. In a two-party system like America's, the result is unprecedented dysfunction.

Whether it was the promiscuous use of the filibuster and other blocking techniques in the Senate to stop President Obama's agenda; the manufactured fiscal crises highlighted by the disastrous debt limit showdown of 2011; or the unceasing efforts to undermine the economic recovery by blocking any and all measures to stimulate the economy, President Obama's first term was dominated by the Republican's unbridled obstructionism and disinterest in actually governing the country. That anything was accomplished is nothing short of a miracle.

But after the results of the 2012 election one might have expected the Republican fever to break and some level of sanity and good sense restored to the party of Lincoln.

Think again.

If anything, the first half of 2013 has seen the GOP continue its journey towards "peak awful". Go back to the beginning of the year. As millions of Americans were celebrating New Year's Eve, the Republicans were careening the country off the fiscal cliff because of their insistence that no rich person should ever pay a cent in higher taxes. The budgetary mania continued through the sequestration and refusal to compromise with President Obama even after he put the liberal sacred cow of Social Security on the table. Along the way Republicans foiled modest efforts at gun control, ginned up made-up scandals involving the IRS and the death of four Americans in Benghazi and couldn't actually be bothered with the difficult task of proposing public policy legislation. And after three years of complaining incessantly that Senate Democrats haven't passed a budget, key Republicans have spent the last 100 days obstructing the budget process.


 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/republican-party-demise-continues

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Egypt's Military State Within a State

Barry Lando

Author, 'Web of Deceit'

Since the fall of Mubarak, the military have feared not just a takeover by radical Muslims. There is also the fact that real civilian rule could spell an end to the system of massive military corruption and patronage that has gone on for decades in Egypt.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Slick Rick is wearing out his welcome

Rick Perry 2016 Run Opposed By 74 Percent Of Texans, PPP Poll Finds 

As Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) readies to announce "exciting future plans" on Monday, some Texas residents appear to have no interest in a 2016 presidential run being a part of that news.

A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey released Wednesday finds that Lone Star State voters are more interested in seeing Sen. Ted Cruz (R) run than a Perry redux. Of 500 registered voters asked, including 318 Republicans, 27 percent selected Cruz as their top choice, followed by 15 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and 11 percent for current Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Perry finished a distant sixth on that question, at 7 percent. Perhaps the most glaring number for the governor was 74 percent going against the idea of him running in 2016 altogether.

The Democratic-leaning PPP conducted a similar survey in January, which netted equally bleak results for Perry. Nearly eight in ten Republicans advised against a 2016 run back then.

Perry's 2012 presidential ambitions came to a crashing halt just prior to the South Carolina primary. Ray Sullivan, who was communications director for Perry's campaign, told the Associated Press Tuesday that he expects the forthcoming announcement to be focused on the Texas governor's race. Perry's term ends in 2014.


mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 If only my home state wasn't ruled by dysfunctional morons.

Senate GOP's eleventh-hour turnabouts on Pa. budget

HARRISBURG - The Republican-led Senate thwarted efforts Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania, just days after having given bipartisan approval to the insurance plan. In a dramatic twist in the battle over whether to extend coverage to about 600,000 lower-income Pennsylvanians, senators sent Gov. Corbett a bill stripped of language they had inserted five days earlier to expand Medicaid. And that wasn't the day's only turnabout. A late change in a bill containing the state's fiscal code had the effect of stranding, at least for the time being, a $45 million piece of the rescue plan for Philadelphia schools. Both moves reflected a bitter and widening divide between Senate and House Republican leaders in the wake of the annual budget negotiations. As lawmakers headed home for their summer break, Corbett, having seen them fail to act on his three major policy initiatives, implored them to get their houses in order. "The legislative leaders need to resolve their differences and act responsibly to send the fiscal code to my desk for approval as soon as possible," he said in a statement Wednesday evening. His budget czar, Charles Zogby, warned in the same statement that further delay in passing the fiscal code could "reduce this year's available funding by $235 million, potentially forcing cuts to higher education, and will impact our ability to further fund Philadelphia schools." The Senate's refusal to expand Medicaid coverage, an option offered to states by the Affordable Care Act, amounted to letting the more conservative House undo what a bipartisan 40-10 Senate vote had done Sunday night. House Republicans on Monday night had removed the Medicaid-expansion language. Democrats and advocates for the poor had hoped the Senate would restore it Wednesday. Instead, the Senate decided to revisit the issue in the fall - though such a delay could preclude Pennsylvania's taking advantage of federal Medicaid funds when they become available under the act in January 2014. "I support the expansion of Medicaid," Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) said at a meeting of the chamber's leadership. "But it's clear at this point we are at an impasse." Though Senate Republicans acquiesced to House counterparts on the Medicaid question, they defied them on eleventh-hour language the House added to a bill that would have allowed so-called payday lenders to open in the state. That bill was the fiscal code bill - home, among other things, to a vital $45 million piece of the financial-rescue package for Philadelphia schools. On Monday, the House slipped a provision into the fiscal code bill that could allow payday lenders - who provide short-term, high-interest loans, typically to low-income borrowers - to resume operations in the state. Pennsylvania is one of a number of states that prohibit such lending. The Senate on Wednesday removed that language. That means the fiscal code must go back to the House, where its fate is uncertain. Also uncertain is when House members will return to vote on the latest version of the fiscal code. Typically, the legislature breaks for the summer as soon as the budget passes. The House has a nonvoting session scheduled for Monday. Steve Miskin, spokesman for the chamber's GOP majority, said leaders had not yet decided whether to make it a voting session and ask members to return for it. "We are going to work with the administration and the Senate on what the next steps need to be," said Miskin. Though Corbett's fellow Republicans rule the House and Senate, the disputes over Medicaid and other high-profile issues have laid bare tensions between the chambers as well their thorny relationship with the governor's office. The three entities have been clashing on almost every high-profile issue in the Capitol. Leading up to the annual June 30 deadline, they could not find consensus on Corbett's priorities: privatizing the state liquor system; funding roads, bridges, and mass transit; and reining in the spiking costs of public-employee pensions. Weeks of nonstop negotiation resulted in little more than the budget bill itself. Wednesday brought those tensions back to the surface. Senate Republicans voiced surprise and anger at how the House slipped payday lending into the fiscal bill. Pileggi said he first learned of the move when his staff lawyers went over the 57-page bill sent by the House. Pileggi also offered some rare public comments on behind-the-scenes negotiations, saying the administration had been actively involved in drafting language to meet its concerns about Medicaid expansion, such as requiring needy patients to make co-pays and look for jobs. Asked Wednesday whether the governor would have vetoed a bill with the expansion, spokeswoman Christine Cronkright said, "We're not going to talk hypotheticals on this." The expansion had been pushed by the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania, whose members paid out $1 billion last year in uncompensated care. The group said that it would try again in the fall - and that it realized the Welfare Code bill, which contained the expansion language, needed to advance lest funding for hospitals and nursing homes be held up. "Jeopardizing that funding by postponing action to the fall would have created access-to-care problems for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens," the group's statement said. Senate Democrats made a last-ditch floor plea to colleagues in both parties to restore Medicaid expansion. Sen. Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said many workers who tended to lawmakers' daily needs - waiters, custodial staff, parking attendants - had no insurance. "Every senator in this room has health insurance," he said. "Why can't the people have the same thing? They deserve it."

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/state/20130704_Senate_GOP_s_eleventh-hour_turnabouts_on_Pa__budget.html#qFOVJ03eBJGSTwTf.99

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Happy 4th everyone. I still want to know what triggered RockSteve's stalking and insulting of me yesterday? In my time on these forum I have never had some one stalk and insult me on multiple threads while at the same time liking my posts on others. I think it may be time to invest in some Bi Polar meds.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 

At least we have finally gotten something useful out of the Egyptian military for the billions in aid we have provided over decades.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 

Why get involved with ObamaCare as it is sure to die of delay before it is even implemented.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 

Damn! I am absent for one day and I miss all the fireworks? What happened, Bugs?

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Hey, the "Obama-types" weren't allowed to vote then and there is a move down here to do what they can to disinfranchise a chunk of the population.  They may have to wait until after the election but the SCOTUS action on the Voting Rights Act  just means a lot of court cases with motions to block election results or force re-voting after the hearing.  The US, among major countries, has the lowest participation rate and even that was too high for the Greedy Old Pricks Party. They want voting to be like the British House of Lords-dependent on station and nothing else. 

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Issa lies and changes data and hides results that don't match what he is saying in his CURRENT POSITION as U S House Grand Inquisitor.  Why wouldn't his past be up question?  The man has morals worse than a used car salesperson.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb Yes why would anyone need to be aware of Issa's seedy past and multiple run in with the law.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

In America we all enjoy the presumption of innocence except for Darrell Issa and George Zimmerman who have been targeted by the left's character assassins.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@mantisdragon91

Nonono - they didn't ask the *right* Texans.  There's some Commies like Sue who have infiltrated their ranks

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

What's the big deal? Someone finally came to their senses and declined to shovel another $45 million down the public school rat hole? That's a good thing.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 Educate yourself on what is happening with Philly schools specificly and then get back to us. When you promise 45 Million in funds and then remove then 5 days later with no reason or explanation what should we think of the GOP clowns in the PA House and Senate which have been nothing but a circular firing squad for years. Oh and by the way we have more congressmen and senators than States like California which have almost double to population just so all these rural Taliban types have full representation.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 Teachers Unions have nothing to do with this. This is merely a temper tantrum of rural legislators against the city that funds a lion's share of the state's budget.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@paulejb

Keeping in mind that vouchers do not help as many people for the same price, how would you fund education such that every single person regardless of income or ability to pay could receive a full education from Kindergarten to Grade 12?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@roknsteve @mantisdragon91 @paulejb Amusingly Paule wasn't even around yesterday when you launched into your childish stalking. I gave you a pass yesterday because I was hoping that your account got hijacked. However next time you choose to engage in unprovoked flame wars I will treat you accordingly.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@mantisdragon91

Steve has generally been the least tolerant of your continued communication with Paulie and he tends to favor a more aggressive tone to his posts than most on Swamp.  I wasn't expecting such an extreme measure but...

roknsteve
roknsteve

@mantisdragon91 @roknsteve @paulejb No, You and Paulie need to take your trollery somewhere else because no one else on Swampland likes it.  I'm the only one with the guts to tell you like it is. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@roknsteve @mantisdragon91 @paulejb Then Stevie needs to act like adult and scroll past them. Last time I checked no one appointed Stevie Swampland Police, and no one gave you the right to hurl insults at me for no reason.