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TomCADem

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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,091

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Boehner: Don’t blame us

Source: Washington Post

Like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) bristled at President Obama’s claim Sunday morning that Republicans were holding up a deal on the “fiscal cliff.”

“Americans elected President Obama to lead, not cast blame,” Boehner said.

He went on to blame Obama and Senate Democrats for the current situation, with no deal yet and automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect in two days.

“The president’s comments today are ironic, as a recurring theme of our negotiations was his unwillingness to agree to anything that would require him to stand up to his own party,” Boehner said. “We’ve been reasonable and responsible. The president is the one who has never been able to get to ‘yes.’”


Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2012/12/30/boehner-dont-blame-us/?tid=pm_pop



Of course, no one in the media asked Boehner how did President Obama manage to mind control Boehner into making himself look like an idiot by wasting a week grandstanding with the Plan B proposal. They just politely allowed Boehner to live in his alternate Fox News universe.

Wapo - "The Republican Party in one tweet"

There is no fiscal cliff deal because Republicans will not agree to a deal unless President Obama agrees to their demand that he include entitlement cuts that Republicans also say they oppose:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/30/the-republican-party-in-one-tweet/

This is pretty much the Republican Party in one tweet:



Today’s Republican Party thinks the key problem America faces is out-of-control entitlement spending. But cutting entitlement spending is unpopular and the GOP’s coalition relies heavily on seniors. And so they don’t want to propose entitlement cuts. If possible, they’d even like to attack President Obama for proposing entitlement cuts. But they also want to see entitlements cut and will refuse to solve the fiscal cliff or raise the debt ceiling unless there are entitlement cuts.

You can see why these negotiations aren’t going well.


How can you govern when the Republicans control half of Congress? Amazing.

WaPo Op - "Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem."

The current fiscal cliff fiasco that was punctuated by Boehner's failure to get his extremist caucas to even support a right wing fiscal cliff proposal that only mildly impacted folks making more than a million a year should make clear that Republicans are in no position to govern. Yet, the media bends over backwards to "blame both sides," which gives Republicans huge political cover to act even more extreme. In other words, the worse Republicans act, the worse the media says Democrats are, because both sides are too blame!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-just-say-it-the-republicans-are-the-problem/2012/04/27/gIQAxCVUlT_story.html

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.

It is clear that the center of gravity in the Republican Party has shifted sharply to the right. Its once-legendary moderate and center-right legislators in the House and the Senate — think Bob Michel, Mickey Edwards, John Danforth, Chuck Hagel — are virtually extinct.

Pre-Sunday News Read:"No more false equivalence. Both sides are not equally to blame."

The Sunday News programs will once again work overtime tomorrow to defend Republicans by arguing that Democrats are just as unreasonable. Boehner gets a free pass on disastrous Plan B stunt because we are told Democrats are just as bad. This is the biggest racket and assist being given to Republicans now. The false equivalency that is pushed as analysis and objectivity.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-morning-plum-no-more-false-equivalence-both-sides-are-not-equally-to-blame/2012/12/03/c26d003a-3d51-11e2-8a5c-473797be602c_blog.html

The air is thick with mournful predictions that the impasse in Washington is so deep that going over the fiscal cliff may be inevitable. There will be a great deal of finger-pointing this week over who is to blame. But guess what: There is an actual set of facts here. They are central to understanding the current situation, and belong in every account of what is going wrong:

1) Democrats have offered a comprehensive proposal that meaningfully details the tax hikes they would like to see and contains substantial deficit reduction, but Republican leaders have not offered a comprehensive proposal that meaningfully details the spending cuts they would like to see. And what Republicans have proposed -- such as it is -- doesn't contain nearly as much in deficit reduction as the Dem plan does.

2) Many experts believe that substantial deficit reduction simply requires Republicans to drop their opposition to raising tax rates on the rich.

Those are just facts. The White House has proposed a deficit reduction package that contains $1.6 trillion in new revenues and around $600 billion in spending cuts, much of them to Medicare. By contrast, the most specific spending cut proposal we've seen from Republicans came from Mitch McConnell on Friday: Higher Medicare premiums on the wealthy; raising the eligibility age; slower cost-of-living increases for Social Security; new revenues but no hike in tax rates. The revenue side of McConnell's proposal is too lacking in detail to calculate how much it would bring in; meanwhile, Paul Krugman's back of the envelope calculations suggest his spending cuts would amount to all of $300 billion.

As always, there simply isn't any equivalence here. Even if you think the Democratic offer is too light on spending cuts, the basic fact remains that Dems have made a substantial proposal, while Republicans haven't. Dems have meaningfully detailed what they want, and Republicans haven't. Republicans keep telling us that Obama must show "leadership" by detailing the spending cuts the White House is willing to accept, and that the Dem proposals are not "serious" because they have yet to do this. But how are we supposed to know what will count as "serious" spending cuts, if Republicans won't detail what they want? It's doubly curious that Republicans refuse to do this, given that they keep saying the 2012 election gave them a mandate for cutting spending.

Arizona sheriff orders armed 'posse' to patrol schools

Source: NBC News

Arizona sheriffs and the state’s attorney general are pushing controversial programs to allow school officials and volunteers to carry guns in the wake of the shootings at a Connecticut school that left 20 children dead.

The latest proposal comes from Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-described toughest sheriff in America, who wants to station his “posse” of volunteers outside of about 50 schools in Maricopa County within a week, according to KPNX, a local NBC station.

“Everybody else is talking about what their ideas are. They want new laws. This is immediate. I don't need a new law to send out my posse,” he told NBC affiliate, KPNX, on Thursday. “I feel like we should do whatever we can outside of the schools.”

Arpaio’s volunteers number about 3,000, with 300 to 400 carrying weapons. They log about 100 hours of training and undergo background checks, just like deputies, according to KPNX.

Read more: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/28/16215255-arizona-sheriff-orders-armed-posse-to-patrol-schools?lite



Gee, the idea of thousands of untrained armed "volunteers" patrolling near my children's schools does not exactly make me safe and secure.

In 'fiscal cliff' fight, Obama gets better marks than Boehner

Source: Associated Press

If you picture the “fiscal cliff” struggle between the Democratic White House and the Republican House of Representatives as hand-to-hand political combat between the President and Speaker John Boehner, you’d have to score it as advantage Obama by a wide margin.

Mr. Obama’s approval rating is at a three-year high. Mr. Boehner’s is at an all-time low – even lower than Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker Boehner ousted when Republicans took over the House in 2010. Meanwhile, a majority of Americans now say the GOP is too extreme.

Depending on what happens with the automatic tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts that define the fiscal cliff just ten days off, that could change, of course. Public attitudes toward Washington are never very far from “a pox on both your houses.”

* * *
Fifty-three percent of those surveyed in a new CNN/ORC International poll say they view the policies of the GOP as too extreme, up 17 points from two years ago. Only 37 percent say they view the policies of the Democratic Party as too extreme.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/fiscal-cliff-fight-obama-gets-better-marks-boehner-183808361.html



Here is the great irony. Boehner, who is extremely right wing, is being attacked from the right because he has entertained raising a miniscule amount of taxes. Thus, his speakership is in serious jeopardy, and he may very well get replaced by someone who is even more outspokenly right wing.

Indeed, the one thing that Boehner tried to do was to take the edge off of some of the Republicans' more strident sounding positions. In other words, Boehner presented a sane sounding face to the public. Perhaps the general public will get to see some of the craziness up front and center.

AP: "GOP policies led to fiscal cliff blowup" - Republicans Are The Cause of Federal Dysfunction

It is so rare that a news publisher deviates from the false equivalency that infects journalism today and calls out Republicans for growing increasingly extreme and out of touch. Indeed, the corporate media rarely highlights statements by prominent Republicans like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush who said his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and Reagan would have a hard time being nominated by today's Republican activists.

http://news.yahoo.com/analysis-gop-policies-led-fiscal-cliff-blowup-222503056--politics.html

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans seem shocked by their party's meltdown on the so-called fiscal cliff. They shouldn't be.

The uncompromising conservatives who blocked Speaker John Boehner's tax bill were merely sticking to policies that Boehner and nearly all other GOP leaders have pushed, without reservation, for years: It's always wrong to raise tax rates on anyone, no matter how rich. The nation's big deficit is entirely "a spending problem, not a revenue problem." And in any deficit-reduction plan, spending cuts must overwhelm new revenues, by 10-to-1 if not more.

To be surprised by Boehner's failure is to assume one of two things. Either House conservatives didn't really believe their party's bedrock principles; or they would compromise after seeing President Barack Obama win re-election on a deficit-reduction plan that called for higher taxes on the wealthy.

Neither was true. And now the Republican Party is reeling from unbending fealty to its core principles.

AP: "Fiscal Cliff Blowup Caused By GOP Policies: Analysis"

Here is a rare AP story that does not conclude that Democrats and President Obama must "show leadership" by giving up their demand for higher taxes in order to reach a deal with Republicans. The Republicans are being called to task for a change. It must be Christmas. First, the NRA is actually not being given a free pass. Second, Republicans are receiving the blame they deserve.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/22/fiscal-cliff_n_2351703.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans seem shocked by their party's meltdown on the so-called fiscal cliff. They shouldn't be.

The uncompromising conservatives who blocked Speaker John Boehner's tax bill were merely sticking to policies that Boehner and nearly all other GOP leaders have pushed, without reservation, for years: It's always wrong to raise tax rates on anyone, no matter how rich. The nation's big deficit is entirely "a spending problem, not a revenue problem." And in any deficit-reduction plan, spending cuts must overwhelm new revenues, by 10-to-1 if not more.

To be surprised by Boehner's failure is to assume one of two things. Either House conservatives didn't really believe their party's bedrock principles; or they would compromise after seeing President Barack Obama win re-election on a deficit-reduction plan that called for higher taxes on the wealthy.

Neither was true. And now the Republican Party is reeling from unbending fealty to its core principles.

ProPublica - "How Dark Money Helped Republicans Hold the House and Hurt Voters"

A nice investigative article discussing how Republicans continue to act as nothing more than the political arm of corporate America.

http://www.propublica.org/article/how-dark-money-helped-republicans-hold-the-house-and-hurt-voters?google_editors_picks=true

In the November election, a million more Americans voted for Democrats seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives than Republicans. But that popular vote advantage did not result in control of the chamber. Instead, despite getting fewer votes, Republicans have maintained a commanding control of the House. Such a disparity has happened only three times in the last century.
* * *
Republican strategist Karl Rove laid out the approach in a Wall Street Journal column in early 2010 headlined "He who controls redistricting can control Congress."

The approach paid off. In 2010 state races, Republicans picked up 675 legislative seats, gaining complete control of 12 state legislatures. As a result, the GOP oversaw redrawing of lines for four times as many congressional districts as Democrats.

How did they dominate redistricting? A ProPublica investigation has found that the GOP relied on opaque nonprofits funded by dark money, supposedly nonpartisan campaign outfits, and millions in corporate donations to achieve Republican-friendly maps throughout the country. Two tobacco giants, Altria and Reynolds, each pitched in more than $1 million to the main Republican redistricting group, as did Rove's super PAC, American Crossroads; Walmart and the pharmaceutical industry also contributed. Other donors, who gave to the nonprofits Republicans created, may never have to be disclosed.

Atlantic - "The NRA and the 'Positive Good' of Maximum Guns" - Excellent, Disturbing Read

Here is very interesting article that discusses the fight over slavery back in the 1800s and how the proslavery movement was not content to merely preserve slavery in the South, but sought to double down and affirmatively spread slavery in an effort to combat abolitionist forces. It is reminicent of the NRA doubling down and preaching the spread of guns to combat gun deaths.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/the-nra-and-the-positive-good-of-maximum-guns/266571/

In the 1840s and 50s, abolitionists often spoke of a menace they called "The Slave Power." This pejorative wasn't aimed at Southern slavery, per se. It referred to the vast reach of proslavery money and influence in Washington and beyond. If unchecked, abolitionists warned, the Slave Power would poison every corner of American life and territory. I'm wary of historical analogies. But in the wake of the Newtown massacre, I'm struck by parallels between the Slave Power and a force haunting us today: call it The Gun Power.

For decades we've appeased and abetted this monster, as Americans once did slavery. Now, like then, we may have finally reached a breaking point. I don't mean to equate owning slaves with owning guns. But I do mean to equate the tactics and rhetoric of the NRA with those of proslavery "Fire-Eaters." The NRA casts itself as a champion of the Constitution. So did slaveholders, citing the safeguards accorded owners of human "property." Few Americans questioned slavery's legality, though they debated the Founders' intent, just as we do with the Second Amendment.

But as the nation spread, slaveowners turned the defense of a right into an expansionist crusade. Slavery wasn't just a right that nonslaveholders had to recognize and uphold. It must extend wherever slaveholders traveled and settled. So, too, has the N.R.A. demanded the right to carry guns into every conceivable place, including schools, churches and hospitals. The N.R.A. does so in the name not only of rights but of "safety" and "self-defense." Guns, you see, aren't a danger to be regulated; they're a source of peace and security that everyone should enjoy.

Proslavery zealots had their own version of this. While 18th century slaveowners like Jefferson had treated the institution as a necessary evil, John C. Calhoun lauded slavery as a "positive good," a source of freedom even, because it liberated whites from drudgery and class conflict and blacks from African "savagery." It followed that all should enjoy its benefits. "I would spread the blessings of slavery, like the religion of our Divine Master, to the uttermost ends of the earth,' declared Mississippi Senator Albert Brown.
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