“I strongly suspect the ongoing GOP victory dance will be short lived.”
That’s what I said the day after the most recent US elections.
It’s been, what? Four months?
Today, unless reason prevails among House Republicans, at midnight tonight the Department of Homeland Security will be forced to shut down, at least partially.
After months of chest beating, dick waggling, Bibi leg humping, and bellicose statements of liquid courage, the Senate predictably caved in this morning and passed a "clean" DHS funding bill when it became obvious the president was not going to back down.
Obama already vetoed Republicans once this week, sure as hell he’ll do it again.
And Republicans know it.
So the Senate bowed to the inevitable and passed a clean bill.
The legislation was sent to the House where it will likely die, strangled by capering madmen so out of touch with reality that they make The Joker from Batman seem sane and rational in comparison.
And then the agency charged with protecting the United States from terrorism, among many other essential things, will go into partial shutdown.
All "non-essential" employees will be sent home without pay, "furloughed" in government parlance - which is a fancy word for "how the fuck am I supposed to pay my rent this month?" because "non-essential" typically means you're not real high on the totem-pole and you don't make a lot of money. By definition, those people who make major bank and can afford a couple weeks off without pay, are "essential" and generally never have to worry about it.
That is to say, congressional Republicans are determined to make their political point by sticking it to secretaries, janitors, and the people who can least afford it.
And really, you can’t fault their logic.
If you’re going to screw people over, better the peons than the Koch Brothers, right?
Also, many contractors will be sent home because if the government offices they work in are shut and locked, there's no place for them to go. However, that's not always the case. Speaking as a former contractor, I was once required to sit in the empty parking lot of my government building during a shutdown - because my contract specified that I show up, no matter what, even if I couldn't get into the building. So, the US taxpayer paid for me to sit in my truck in the parking lot, listening to the radio, and dicking around on Facebook via my phone and thank you for that. Whether or not a contractor gets paid during a shutdown depends on the contract, their employer, and a magical matrix of arbitrary bullshit dreamed up by people who never have to wonder how they're going to pay the rent. And why do you care about greedy government contractors? Well, because they're your fellow citizens and you're not a complete self-involved jackass for one thing, but more importantly because government contractors do a very large share of the work. Congress sets limits on the number of government employees, and then leverages a workload which requires three times as many people - not to mention skillsets the General Services schedule doesn't include. So, the only way that works is if you hire contractors, because nobody else, by law, can do the work.
And finally, those folks deemed "essential" like the folks checking to make sure the bags going on the airplanes aren't full of thermite and blasting caps and that the nice gentleman seated next to you, the one quoting Ted Nugent and who smells like suicidal fanaticism and cat piss, isn't planning on taking you to meet his God at 35,000 feet, yeah, those people? They get to work without pay. The people guarding the borders? No pay. The ones guarding the president (and Congress, just saying)? No pay. The big shots in the front office? They don't have to sweat it, but the people on the front lines, the ones who already get paid shit? They're screwed. They either show up and work without pay, or they get canned - and they can actually be prosecuted for not showing up if the government wants to be an even bigger dick about it than they already are. After the shutdown is over, maybe those folks get back pay and maybe they don't. That requires yet another vote in congress. Now, you may hate the folks at TSA, but if you think that's fair or moral or anything other than complete bullshit, you should have to spend the next week standing 8 hour security shifts at the airport, or inspecting cargo at the Port of Los Angeles, or patrolling the Arizona desert while wondering how you're going to feed your fucking kids next week.
You should get three things from this:
1) Republicans have made a hell of a lot of political hay by calling the president weak.
But they can't stand up to him.
They have caved every time, sooner or later.
2) Republicans have made a hell of a lot of political hay about national security. About terrorism. About the border.
But they are perfectly willing to risk national security, terrorism, and the borders in a quixotic attempt to score political points.
Hell, a significant fraction of the most outspoken Republicans when it comes to these very subjects are at CPAC today instead on the House floor - with less than 8 hours to go before the pending shutdown. Obviously they don’t think it’s all that important, outside of using it to beat Obama about the head and shoulders and to keep their base quaking in fear.
3) Republicans took the Senate and increased their majority in the House. They got rid of the reviled Harry Reid and handed Mitch McConnell the gavel. They told us the gridlock was over, now they'd get things done. You remember this, right?
But, as always, conservatives can't even agree on the things they agree on.
They can’t even achieve compromise within their own caucus when the security of the nation, supposedly their top priority, is on the the line.
Now, ask yourself something, if Republicans can’t even agree among themselves on something they already agree on, how then is their inability to compromise with the executive Obama’s fault?
The simple truth of the matter is that these intractable sons of bitches can’t govern themselves, let alone the rest of the country. It’s no wonder whatsoever why they can’t sway Democrats to their side in enough numbers to override a veto or to unite the nation, they can’t even convince themselves.
You heard me say this before, political office is an amplifier and when you elect extremists, no matter how small or how slight, you get extremism.
Every. Single. Time.
It’s only a matter of time before they self-destruct and they are perfectly willing to take the rest of us with them when they go. These people are not the loyal opposition, they are unhinged fanatics and the only thing that matters to them is “beating” Barack Obama. They are obsessed with it and they are perfectly willing to risk the security of the nation and the livelihoods of American citizens to achieve a pyrrhic victory at any cost.
When the extremists win, America loses.
Second line: "That what . . . " Maybe "That's" or "That is"?ReplyDelete
My very special someone who lets me feed her dog is a TSO. She works her ass off, is on her feet most of the day and has to deal with petulent, angry idiots all the time. And then she leaves here and goes to WORK! (rimshot)
She really tries to change people's attitudes about TSA by being competent, efficient and knowlegable about what she needs to do, and communicating that to the public, and yes, smiling, when she'd actually rather have a well-charged taser. People got all excited about "keeping us safe from the terrorists" after 911, so the government gave us the Patriot Act and DHS. Now, when faced with what they asked for, some of them get all pissy about it's implementation. To summarize, she works very hard for not much pay and her dedication is met with misplaced dirision and outright hostility. I would probably last about a week before making the front page after administering some instant karma, but then I'm not big on suffering fools gladly.
I do think it's kind of silly to prohibit a pilot from bringing aboard a plastic knife which was included in a meal he got while jumpseating on a different plane. Pretty silly.
People got all excited because after 9/11 the (Republican) government lied to them and most of the corporate media spread the lies against better knowledge. There is no such thing as security. And if you're overzealous in trying to achieve it, everyone suffers. Except for the arms and security complex.Delete
My husband is a TSO and approaches his job as your SO does. He spends a lot of time assisting people and has taken pains to how to give the instructions in many different languages. Not only does he check for those items that might make the plane go boom, but also keeps an eye out for belligerent drunks, to ensure they don't make your flight the crapfest it would be if they were allowed to take their seat.Delete
TSOs get modest pay, have their suggestions for making the system more efficient and people-friendly routinely ignored by those higher up, jump through ridiculous hoops because some of those higher ups don't actually understand what the TSOs do on a daily basis, and still show up when they aren't sure they're going to get paid for the privilege of having passengers yell at them for doing their jobs.
Next time Congress wants to shut down DHS as part of a political stunt, I think they should have to step into jobs at the TSA, ICE, and other "essential" positions, and the folks working in those departments should get to take that time off whilst receiving Congressional salaries.
Ya you told us so. But those who are sane already knew. Those who are insane, well they think this is swell. So goes America.ReplyDelete
Ya you told us so. But those who are sane already knew. Those who are insane, well they think this is swell. So goes America.ReplyDelete
Isn't it odd that when Democrats hold the House and Senate, but Republicans the White House, that you see negotiation and willingness to work to get things done. But when Republicans have the House and Senate and a half-black Democrat is in the White House, you have these ongoing crises?ReplyDelete
Seeing we now have the technology to do remote-access governance (ie, telecommuting of politicians), we should return to the Constitutionally-mandated number of Representatives. Let's split the pay of all the current Representatives and have them work from their own States rather than go into Washington D.C., and work via secured computers, perhaps with its own separate intranet not connected to the world wide web so to ensure it is secured. Let them work part-time - one day a week. They can hold down full-time private jobs the rest of the time.
It would destroy gerrymandering, allow government of the people once more, and in all likelihood eliminate the Republican control of the House. But hey, it's Constitutional. ;)
I'm not sure how your proposal would eliminate gerrymandering. Wouldn't there be more Representatives when going back to the Rep/# ppl, but the states would still decide district lines and voting eligibility,Delete
During the roughly 8 months out of the year they are supposed to be in Washington DC, the House and Senate have been "working" three days per week. Roughly half of their time is spent fund-raising for their next campaign. That does not count "fact-finding" junkets and CPAC speech time. Teleworking 1 day per week might be a work upgrade for some of these folks.
How many representitives would you like to have?Delete
If you went by the ratio of pols to voters that Canada has, you'd need about 30,000 of them or more.
Needless to say, you'd need to cut the pay by quite a bit for the pols. I'm sure the electorate wouldn't mind though. :)
Having these legislators working at home is genius - the lobbyists wouldn't know what to do without an audience.Delete
Robert, that's brilliant.Delete
Then those poor poor lobbyists would have to put in some serious travel time to buy their politicians.Delete
So these people, who have a direct line into the government and working another job wouldn't be inclined to make laws benefiting their own industry? Sorry. Human nature being what it is that's a really terrible idea. Why hire a lobbyist when YOU are the industry insider.Delete
And yes, my very special someone is going to be working for nothing after tomorrow. Despite what some people seem to think, based on the airport traffic the last few days, the airport isn't closing just because congress has decided not to pay DHS employees. Can we defund congress? They seem to be the real villians these days.ReplyDelete
And you'd be surprised at just how many young people (and some not so young) think that President Obama started the DHS. It's a shame that we have two generations without a working brain between them.ReplyDelete
Personally, I think President Obama should say "I hate that clean bill the Senate passed. I am very glad the House is intelligent enough not to pass it." It would be on his desk in 20 minutes.ReplyDelete
That would be AWESOME!Delete
The "clean" bill passed by the Senate did not include language about immigration that would set the whole debate back years. That's why President Obama wants a "clean" bill, not the sullied one the House just passed. The GOP will, of course, blame President Obama for their own intransigence and stupidity. If the House had acted on the Senate version of the Immigration bill, passed by the Senate in 2014 before the election, then there might not have been this immigration logjam that the GOP in the House created.Delete
Yet the American people keep electing them. They paid no price whatsoever for shutting down the entire government for 17 days in the last election. Until the electorate throws their asses out for these stunts, they will continue on the same path. And now the House is going to punt by doing a continuing resolution for three weeks so we can watch this idiocy for three more weeks. It is almost enough to make you want to leave the country. What an embarrassment this Congress has become to the rest of the world.ReplyDelete
Agreed. And sad.Delete
Some Americans keep electing them. When there is a large voter turnout, conservatives ideas tend to lose.Delete
@ Anonymous: The Americans who don't show up at the polls are doing just as effective a job of electing these cynical blather-spouting grifters as those who turn out and vote for them.Delete
That would never occur to them, of course. They feel they're being "pure" by clinging to their false equivalencies.
Alan, it's not just the Americans who don't show up at the polls. It's also the State Legislatures that redrew State and Congressional Districts so to put all the Democrats in tiny little areas they will never lose, and Republican-heavy groups everywhere else. So even if every single Democrat goes out and votes, it will do absolutely no good.Delete
Or in other words, in 2010 and 2012, the number of votes that went to Democratic House of Representative candidates outnumbered that of Republicans. Yet the Republicans hold the House.
@ Robert: And how did those (Republican) state legislators get into office? Other than Democrats not bothering to show up for midterms and state elections, that is?Delete
Does our side not get that the object of this particular game is to win?
How did they get into office? There were multiple reasons. For instance, the Republican Party raised such an outcry about the trash that was loaded into Obamacare to get every Democrat on board that a number of voters felt the Democrats had overreached themselves. Also, there were scandals going on that made some Democrats look bad... and the Republicans put out a bunch of candidates on the local and State level that looked to be better than the Democratic candidates. There is also a trend for the party in power not to get nearly as many of their voters out in the "middle" elections - this is true for both the Democrats AND the Republicans.Delete
When Republicans got in, it was a Perfect Storm for them. They won as a number of independent voters were disgusted by what the Democrats in Washington were doing with health insurance reform (with news programs going on primarily about the pork loaded into the reform) while Republicans were riled up as a half-black man was now President... right when the Census rearranged the electoral map... allowing Republicans who just got elected on the State level to rewrite Congressional maps.
The end result? Massive gerrymandering on the State and Federal level.
Obama fumbled. He should have gone after something else instead of health insurance reform. If he'd done tax reform and immigration reform, you'd have seen far less outcry - sure, Republicans would have cried foul, but the immigration reform would have given Democrats a bunch of new votes (especially if there'd been some form of amnesty) while tax reform would have been seen as helping stimulate business and getting jobs back into the crosshairs.
The Republicans probably would have won a number of House seats... but I doubt they'd have retaken the House in that scenario. And even with a weakened position in the House and Senate after 2010, Democrats could THEN have enacted health care reform. What's more, Congressional maps might not have been gerrymandered quite to the same extreme and in 2012 you'd probably see gains in both the House and Senate for Democrats.
In short, an inexperienced politician who angered the opposition tried to enact a policy (health reform) which mobilized that opposition and resulted in a reform that wasn't what he wanted and destroyed any chance of effective policymaking after that point.
Thanks for that breakdown, Robert. I'm looking forward to the analysis of this presidency in the next decade, when we can see even clearer how these chess pieces were moving. As for why Obama picked that particular fight; after watching his mother's struggle and death, he made it apparent that he had health care reform as his main goal for his term. Who knew he'd get two terms? I agree that it wasn't enough. There should never have been compromise on single payer. Looking through the news for any signs of a positive outcome from this week's congressional tantrums. Ye freakin' $DEITY I could use some good news. Insult to injury: I live in a country whose "news" media reports recaptured loose livestock as "in custody."Delete
@Robert - President Obama did not fumble. John Boehner fumbles, The President does not.Delete
He was elected on the major platform of health care reform. That was something that no-one before him had been able to implement. If he had not passed health reform - the outcry would have been heard from one end of the world to the other
Also too - all those scandals were of GOP imagination. They have never stopped from the day the President was elected & you seem keen to continue the story. When in doubt - attack the black guy. Let's blame him for everything done by the current US congress.
Wholeheartedly agree. I knew it was going to be a shit-show the moment the election went the way it did. And with 37% turnout, it was going to be the pissed off voting: those who listen to nothing but fear, fear, fear all day long.ReplyDelete
Can we survive, as a nation, the next two years? I'm not positive.
Can we petition the FCC to revoke Fox News' broadcast license? Probably won't help much, but why take a chance? Couldn't hurt.Delete
well, Fox News is a cable operation and not covered by the FCC...then there is the First Amendment thing...it is more important to get a united message out to the public about who and why fox is not the most trusted voice in the nation...there is research and findings about truth in the media, and the lack there of...the point I am making is, Fox is a foreign owned and operated corporation, who's only product is propaganda...period...how do you conquer a nation? by dividing it into warring factions...sound familiar?Delete
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."ReplyDelete
George Bernard Shaw
So it is in American politics as well.
Traitorous as well as weak, the GOP. I'd rather see them all in the white suits with black arrows all over them, lightly chained together by the ankle, picking litter and dog mess out of the verges and off the sidewalks. At least they'd have honest work that wouldn't allow them to do any serious harm - unlike, say, painting lines on the road, by which they would cause more car accidents. They none of them are fit for purpose, unless it is as a dire warning to others.ReplyDelete
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I like to think it's as if the Republicans are experiencing some kind of political Pon Farr. They want to act rationally, but because of an overwhelming, primal need -- they can't. RIP, LSN.ReplyDelete
Just as in the last shut-down, the House GOP keeps insisting the Dems and the President are to blame because they are willing to risk a shut-down because they don't care about "the people at Dept. of Homeland Security or about the safety of the American People". Completely lost in the noise is the fact that it was the House GOP that attached the immigration issue to the Homeland Security bill and that if that attachment was not there the DHS bill would have easily sailed through. Immigration was purposely attached so the President would veto and give the GOP sound bites in the next election cycle.ReplyDelete
I've taken to comparing the Republican Party with the PLO - they both have shown they know how to blow shit up when in the opposition - hell that's easy, but they know eff all about how to govern effectively. Time to bring in Hamas?ReplyDelete
At first I thought your example was a bit extreme. But the Tea Party is our very own self-proclaimed "Army of God", Hezbollah.Delete
Given how Hamas are even worse than the PLO I'd go with a negative on that. You need to bring in a reasonable peacemaking force from somewhere - not quite sure what the equivalent of that is for the Palestinians.Delete
(Which is kinda the problem there. Neither side there yet shown willing to compromise and behave reasonably -but that's the only way anything good can happen for them.)
Just a note: if and when Democrats regain control of state legislatures, they will also gerrymander districts.ReplyDelete
The difference is, historically, they used to partner with Republicans to create as many safe seats as possible for both. Now, Republicans have broken that agreement and have gerrymandered to create as many Republican seats as possible.
Gerrymandering for either reason is anti-democratic, makes special interests more powerful and influencial, and promotes gridlock. Not to mention how arrogant it makes the office holders. Gerrymandering needs to be taken out of the legislatures.
I agree with you to the point that I wrote to my state legislators when the gerrymandered out a poisonous and corrupt senile old coot Rep, one the few GOP'ers in my state. I desperately wanted him gone, but ethically as well as legally.Delete
Unfortunately, I think there is a federal court case about an Arizona ballot initiative that took redistricting out of the hands of the state legislature and gave it to an appointed nonpartisan commission. I say "unfortunately" because it seems that move was unconstitutional, so the crazies in Arizona may get control back.
Loved your comments Jim, just wish you had put the "fucking" in front of "feed" & not kids :)ReplyDelete
So apparently the DHS is now funded for one more week. Congress has that long to fix this. Question is, will they? Are the GOP even able to get their act together at this point long enough to do so?ReplyDelete
From your fingers to the voters eyes. Conservatives read you; I hope they pay attention.ReplyDelete
As a baffled Aussie can I just ask - is there any chance of changing the US political system that lets this shit happen? Could Congress be, if not abolished outright, then at least get its power to stuff people and the US of A around like this curtailed, constrained and kicked down a notch or three?ReplyDelete
Any mood or suggestions for such reforms being raised yet after / before this latest episode of nasty congressional petulance - and if not why not?
The Senate's lone independent, Bernie Sanders, has proposed campaign finance reform, but he is one old man. We know pretty much what would fix things; bring back the anti-fascist media law and regulation and reform campaign finance. But almost no-one with the power to make these changes has the will to do so. The Roberts Court is likely to strike down the necessary media reforms, the way it has struck down the necessary campaign finance reforms. It is likely they would strike down the necessary media reforms as well. This means either changing the Court or passing constitutional amendments.Delete
It is possible that time and economic reality will heal some of this—younger people are not so much bought into teh crazy and everyone hates the results of austerian economic policy, though those policies have much public support—but it is going to take years.
As far as I can see, moderate reformers are going to have to wait their moment.
"As far as I can see, moderate reformers are going to have to wait their moment. "Delete
I'm not sure moderate reforms are anywhere near what's called for. By the time moderate reforms are squeezed through the meat grinder of Congress, they won't be worth a bucket of warm piss.
Those who can make you believe absurditiesReplyDelete
Can make you commit atrocities.
The republican party is absurd..We need to prevent the atrocities.
Sorry to have only now gotten to reading this. I love reading your essays.ReplyDelete
The Dems. saved their (GOPs) asses on Friday night, and the GOP were able to breathe a sigh of relief. They also are able to save face in light of Bibi's impending visit. For one week. For one week the GOP can pretend that it is their party who are keeping America safe and they can continue to tell their sheep that it's the mean old Democrats who will not work with them.
Expect the crazy to rear it's ugly head with the full moon due on Thursday. The conservative caucus are faced with an important decision. The history of this crazy congress since the Tea Party injected themselves into our governing body on the Hill tells me that they will use this week to attempt to get their way by producing yet another ridiculous bill. This time around, I don't expect the adults in the room to save the kids who are having this tantrum by putting a choke hold on national security.
Has anyone wondered why their first bill was for 3 weeks and the last one was for one? Well, according to their work calendar, the second week of March they get another week to go home and lie to their constituents, or go play on some nice vacation spot.
I heard it is hard work being self-centered assholes, they need the break. LolDelete
I agree that Republicans would love to destroy President Obama. But I think right up there with that is destroying the government. These Republican idiots did not come to Washington DC to govern. They came to destroy as much of the government as possible. They want to prove that the government doesn't work. They don't want the EPA, Dept of Education, Dept of Commerce, and others. Again - they want to shrink the government down small enough to drown it in a bathtub. The people who elected these idiots sent them to Washington to do exactly that - get rid of as much of the Federal Government as possible.ReplyDelete
One of my all time favorite political quotes comes from P. J. O'Rourke:Delete
"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it."
The batch of them that have come along since 2000 seem to be particular dedicated to proving that proposition.
Sabreen60 is absolutely right. They are all spun up over public education, environmental protection, gun regulations, and the desire to add Christian dogma to legal codes. My FB feed is filled with hometown acquaintances who post that stuff all day long, every day. They are spectacularly anti-immigrant even though they probably know construction workers, busboys, and janitors who they would miss if those people were deported.Delete
With one exception. They are more than happy to regulate every single aspect of women's reproductive health, and there they couldn't possibly be more intrusive. I always say they want to shrink the government to fit inside a woman's uterus. And of course, they see no hypocrisy in their positions.Delete
The "shrink government" tale is a lie, just an excuse to cut taxes and programs the GOP hates (especially human welfare and corporate regulations that limit profits (EPA, CFPB)). There are many parts and powers of government that the GOP has expanded, both legally (military, HomeSec) and illegally (NSA), especially if there is a for-profit no-bid contract involved. Let's not spread their propaganda, please.Delete
First I want to apologize for commenting here on a different topic. I get your facebook posts daily and really enjoy reading them. But I can't comment on them and today you posted one about free speech on your site in comments. The problem with these people who rant and rave about free speech rights have it so wrong. Free speech is protection from government, not your neighbor or on some blog. It's the same with the freedom of religion argument with recognizing gay marriage and these bakers and photographers. About being able to serve whomever they want. I tell them about Augusta National golf club who can openly discriminate because they are a private club and these bakers are not. Even though they are a private business, which only means they are not government owned. Once you point out these flaws in their arguments then shut up and start name calling. Hope this made sense.ReplyDelete
And just what who are they listening to over at CPAC?ReplyDelete
This Clown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISZ_s0rB0Qk
The Onion could not make bigger fools of these fools then they make of themselves.
One of the hallmarks of today’s conservatives, I believe, is single-issue voting. Whether it be guns, abortion, religious “rights,” etc., conservatives will latch onto something they see as the “defining/most important/end of the world” issue of our time, and vote for the R (always R) who best represents their take on that specific issue, while ignoring all the things about the candidate that are against their own personal interest. Its madness, and it’s the reason we get Donald Trump, Glen Beck, Ted Nugent, and Ben Carson as “viable” candidates for higher office. Conservatives really believe that these asshats will be good Presidents - “Ted Nugent won’t take shit from no one.” They actually believe that crap!
It’s like being back in the 9th grade and voting for student council with the quarterback and head cheerleader are the only candidates. Sucks!!
Chris in S. Jersey
GOP Lining Their Pockets, While Legislating Away Our FutureReplyDelete
After his departure from Columbia/HCA in 1997, he launched Richard L. Scott Investments, based in Naples, Florida(originally in Stamford, Connecticut), which has stakes in health care, manufacturing and technology companies. Between 1998 and 2001, Scott purchased 50% of CyberGuard Corporation for approximately $10 million. Among his investors was Metro Nashville finance director David Manning. In 2006, CyberGuard was sold to Secure Computing for more than $300 million. In February 2005, he purchased Continental Structural Plastics, Inc. (CSP) in Detroit, Michigan. In July 2006, CSP purchased Budd Plastics from ThyssenKrupp, making Continental Structural Plastics the largest industrial composites molder in North America.
This is a late response, but nonetheless apropos. The recent letter from the 49 Republican Senators to Iran is just another example of what you write about.ReplyDelete
Very fine writing, sir. Very fine. Were I awarding Pulitzers, I'd give it a dozen. Now, the question is, beyond voting, working for candidates, and posting on the internet, what can be done to stop them?ReplyDelete