Morning Must Reads: October 16

In the News: Lawmakers scrambling toward a deal as U.S. faces potential credit rating downgrade

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Nicholas Kamm / AFP /Getty Images

The US Capitol in Washington is seen on September 30, 2013 , a day before the government shutdown began.

  • John Boehner’s Bad Night: “In another era, for a different leader, it would have been a stunning rebuke. For John Boehner, it was just another embarrassing stumble in a speakership studded with them.” [TIME]
  • As U.S. Faces a Potential Downgrade, Markets Flash Alarm Over Debt-Ceiling Impasse: “Political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default,” analysts at Fitch wrote Tuesday. “The U.S. risks being forced to incur widespread delays of payments to suppliers and employees, as well as Social Security payments to citizens — all of which would damage the per­ception of U.S. sovereign creditworthiness and the economy.” [Washington Post]
  • Backup plan? What backup plan?: “Whatever deal Senate leaders come up with to solve the fiscal crisis had better work, because President Barack Obama has no Plan B if it doesn’t. The Treasury is set to hit its credit limit Thursday.” [Politico]
  • U.S. Stock Futures Advance as Lawmakers Seek Debt Deal [Bloomberg]
  • The Tea Party and the GOP Crackup: The tea party is Jacksonian America, aroused, angry and above all fearful, in full revolt against a new elite—backed by the new American demography—that threatens its interests and scorns its values. [WSJ]
  • Lessons from the last shutdown don’t apply [Politico]
  • Booker’s Burden: High Expectations: New Jersey gets out to vote today, and citizens already have high hopes for the former mayor of Newark. [The Hill]
  • Viewing the U.S. in Fear and Dismay [NYT]
  • Obama in Background as Congress Negotiates Fiscal Deal: “The president’s only public event so far this week was mingling with furloughed federal workers who volunteer at a local Washington charity rather than huddling with lawmakers. Yesterday, amid a rush of Capitol Hill negotiations in the House and Senate, media access to a White House session between Obama and House Democratic leaders was limited to a few moments for photographs and video — no statements.” [Bloomberg]

 

877 comments
fitty_three
fitty_three

After slapping back Teh Crazy, what's a little American political horse trading on the Senate floor?

It beats telling the poor they're freeloaders and Confederate flag wavers insulting black Americans in front of the White House.

sacredh
sacredh

Miss Lindsey was taken to an undisclosed DC area hospital this evening after an attack of the vapors. An aide described her condition as "fragile".



sacredh
sacredh

House GOP announces plan to impeach Obama because he's mean.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

And Cory Booker won for good measure.  

Bad, bad week for teh Republicals.

hivemaster
hivemaster

Tea Party in a nutshell, no pun intended:

After votes came in, "I said to myself, 'Who wants that job anyway?'" Lonegan said.

MrObvious
MrObvious

 Barack Obama and his willing accomplices in the main stream media ate the Republicans lunch. Republicans thought that just because Obama bows to tyrants and potentates and kisses Putin's stolen superbowl ring that he would roll over for them. They were wrong. They went out on a limb and Obama cut it off from under them.

My babblefish translates this as word vomit. It means nothing, not even in English.

retiredvet
retiredvet

The Strangelove Republicans

I hope the House flips to the Democrats in 2014, so we can be rid of these nuts. Let Ted Cruz sit in the Senate stewing in his precious bodily fluids, and let Washington get back to the business of governing.

fitty_three
fitty_three

I only got one thing to say to @paulejb 

The president you hate CRUSHED the GOP.

That is all.

Thank you.  This has been a public service announcement.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@collioure

Nevermind: it wasn't actually an earmark but rather something that went through appropriate appropriations process:

"When asked about the project, McConnell’s office referred TIME to Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), two members on the Senate committee that is responsible for appropriations. Their office said McConnell was not directly responsible for inserting the language. “According to the Army Corps of Engineers, 160 million taxpayer dollars will be wasted because of canceled contracts if this language is not included,” wrote Sen. Alexander in a statement to TIME. “Senator Feinstein and I, as chairman and ranking member of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, requested this provision. It has already been approved this year by the House and Senate.” A spokesman for Sen. Feinstein agreed that the increased funding was nothing new."

http://swampland.time.com/2013/10/17/guess-who-got-2-billion-for-a-dam-in-congress-last-night/

MrObvious
MrObvious

@collioure 

it's been long recognized that our government functions the best when there are earmarks in our system and surprisingly it's also 'cheaper'. The real killer of bills are partisan amendments to bills. Things designed to make it impossible for the opposition to vote for something and only meant to be used against them come voting time.

Earmarks represent a more amicable way of coming to agreements. Once you insist on pure bills you get no honey to get all that bitter crud to go down.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@sacredh 

I was halfway through a party when I realized that you were probably joking.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@nflfoghorn 

They get another opportunity to kiss donkey butt again later. In the mean time, we can hope that teh Crazy is on it's way out. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@nflfoghorn 

He's gotten the corse before the heart, er, I mean the horse before the cart.

Obama had to do this before he could have any chance of getting around GOP obstruction.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@retiredvet 

They shouldn't. They promised jobs in 2010 and spent the next few years grid locking our political system and tried to introduce the same social conservative agenda that they claimed they wasn't interested in. It was just a big lie.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@retiredvet 

They need something like a 3-5 point buffer in the overall vote to control it - I'm not cnvinced they'll get it.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@MrObvious

It beats the institutionalized corruption of K Street, and, unfortunately, Citizens United, which is law.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@MrObvious

$3 billion is abnormally large, though.  When the campaign to abolish them was going, it was something like 14 billion a year for all earmarks.  It's not Big Dig tunnels big (14.7 billion) but it's still a bit nuts.

retiredvet
retiredvet

@MrObvious  All indications point to the House TP caucus continuing the crazy every few months until and even after the elections in 2014. The Senate will pay the price in seats. Maybe the House will too.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@fitty_three

Y'know we just had a shutdown because we wouldn't pay a ransom to terrorists.  Doesn't this feel like we paid a ransom to McConnell instead?

I think it's worth paying McConnell and getting off the high horse, but we can't make the argument that it's because the other option was continuing the crisis.  We paid someone a ransom - we might as well own it.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure  

What would you rather have, McConnell get a 3 bn cut for Kentucky, or a country in default?

Quick now...

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@collioure

Screw it.  McConnell is trying to save his sorry a$$ from the tea party challenge that'll happily roast him for throwing in one of the biggest ever pork items into this deal so he'll pay for it in the end.  In the meantime, it got him to sign on so I'm done caring.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@retiredvet

We've got local elections coming up. I think maybe we might see some indication of how badly damaged the brand is by watching some of those.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@retiredvet @MrObvious 

Here's the thing; the 'normal' but spineless GOP members will face the music when they get back. They're going to have to decide to buck the few screamy ones and suffer a primary or give in and lose to a dem.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@paulejb

Let's assume Obama rigged the IRS - which he didn't, but whatever.  All that the IRS did was deny tax exempt status on organizations who were specifically asking to be classified as non political organizations.  So organizations who are effectively claiming they have no impact on the election are being prevented from....not having to pay taxes.  There was nothing preventing them from campaigning in the interim so how could that have actually affected the election?

In the meantime, you have effectively admitted that Gore won in 2000.  The comparisons are not apt.  Actual comparisons might be to the claims of vote rigging in '04 with the electronic voting machines or the Swift Boat garbage which claimed that Kerry hadn't earned three purple hearts but actually two when he legitimately earned all three.  Or the smear campaigns against John McCain in 2000 that claimed he had an illegitimate black child when really she was an adopted Vietnamese kid.  That's the closest parallel to the IRS, not the votes were clearly nowhere close to their actual representation when one reviews the information.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@nflfoghorn 

The 'wingers keep refighting Obamacare and losing big each time. 2000 was a terrible loss under fishy circumstances. But nothing like being clobbered silly and keep on insisting on trying to destroy the economy.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Since 2013 is not working so well for you, party like its 2000.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 @forgottenlord  

Florida is the only state in the nation to contract the first stage of removal of voting rights to a private company. And ChoicePoint has big plans. “Given the outcome of our work in Florida,” says Fagan, “and with a new president in place, we think our services will expand across the country.”

Especially if that president is named “Bush.” ChoicePoint’s board and executive roster are packed with Republican stars, including billionaire Ken Langone, a company director who was chairman of the fund-raising committee for New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s aborted run against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Langone is joined at ChoicePoint by another Giuliani associate, former New York Police Commissioner Howard Safir. And Republican power lobbyist and former congressman Vin Weber lobbies for ChoicePoint in Washington. Just before his death in 1998, Rick Rozar, president of a Choicepoint company, CDB Infotek, donated $100,000 to the Republican Party.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 @forgottenlord  

If Vice President Al Gore is wondering where his Florida votes went, rather than sift through a pile of chad, he might want to look at a “scrub list” of 173,000 names targeted to be knocked off the Florida voter registry by a division of the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. A close examination suggests thousands of voters may have lost their right to vote based on a flaw-ridden list that included purported “felons” provided by a private firm with tight Republican ties.

Early in the year, the company, ChoicePoint, gave Florida officials a list with the names of 8,000 ex-felons to “scrub” from their list of voters. But it turns out none on the list were guilty of felonies, only misdemeanors. The company acknowledged the error, and blamed it on the original source of the list — the state of Texas.

Florida officials moved to put those falsely accused by Texas back on voter rolls before the election. Nevertheless, the large number of errors uncovered in individual counties suggests that thousands of eligible voters may have been turned away at the polls.

Florida is the only state that pays a private company that promises to “cleanse” voter rolls.The state signed in 1998 a $4 million contract with DBT Online, since merged into ChoicePoint, of Atlanta. The creation of the scrub list, called the central voter file, was mandated by a 1998 state voter fraud law, which followed a tumultuous year that saw Miami’s mayor removed after voter fraud in the election, with dead people discovered to have cast ballots. The voter fraud law required all 67 counties to purge voter registries of duplicate registrations, deceased voters and felons, many of whom, but not all, are barred from voting in Florida.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @forgottenlord  

The Florida election has been closely scrutinized since the election, and several irregularities are thought to have favored Bush. These included the Palm Beach "butterfly ballot," which produced an unexpectedly large number of votes for third-party candidate Patrick Buchanan. Also noted was a purge of over 54,000 citizens from the Florida voting rolls identified as felons, of whom 54% were African-Americans. The majority of these were not felons and should have been eligible to vote under Florida law.[9] Additionally, there were many more 'overvotes' than usual, especially in predominantly African-American precincts in Duval county (Jacksonville), where some 27,000 ballots showed two or more choices for President. Unlike the much-discussed Palm Beach County 'butterfly ballot,' the Duval County ballot spread choices for President over two pages with instructions to 'vote on every page' on the bottom of each page

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@paulejb

Even Pat Buchanan doesn't believe he intentionally got that many votes in Palm Beach.  Gore won the election.