Daily Archive: 10/17/2013

Oct 17 2013

Go Ahead, Celebrate – You’re Celebrating Failure

Not you at the Stars Hollow Gazette. You know who.

Well it seems this continuing debacle every 3 months has ceased, for now. However, I really can’t get over this pathetic celebration over the really low bar involved with regard to avoiding what I call a political default on the public debt. This is the same embarrassing type of celebration that ensued in 2011. We need to get real. Despite the government being opened up again, there’s nothing to celebrate. We’ve already lost. After all, the debt ceiling was a precious gift Obama bestowed onto John Boehner in the 2010 tax deal as he put his full faith in Speaker John Boehner hands, as he took the full faith and credit of the United States hostage.

Of course, it was a deal struck between both of them to put who they called the “extremists” of both their parties in check, for a grand bargain like in 1983 when Tip O’Neil and Ronald Reagan cut social security. President Obama and Speaker Boehner weren’t fooling everyone, though. Just those involved in their hyper deluded, hyper partisan, claptrap. To some of us, this was entirely predictable and preventable. Now people are suffering because some people, blinded by their hyper-loyal partisan illusions, couldn’t or didn’t want to see what was there. Maybe their lack of sight reveals they don’t really care? It doesn’t matter though. This will continue to be what we go through when some of this crap continues again in 4 months in February, regardless.

This austerity government will reopen at sequester levels of funding; a sequester I predicted would be born out by the stupid Super Committee from the super austerity Budget Control Act of 2011, which I saw was inevitable since the 2010 tax deal led to the first, now ongoing, debt ceiling debacle; a miniature crisis to crisis government with no plans to invest in its citizens’ future. Anything else is possible though, from government shutdowns over the false prospect of defunding Obamacare, to any austerian Senator or Congressman using the threat of default for whatever demands they want.

We, the so called professional left as the White House derisively called us, warned about this. Anyone who denied this can either apologize now or forever restrain from speaking about matters regarding politics, civics, political deals, and the debt ceiling. We told all of you back in 2011 around this same time when that debacle was coming to its end – until this one and the next one 4 months down the line – that this was no victory.  

Oct 17 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting thea Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: The Republican Surrender

The Republican Party slunk away on Wednesday from its failed, ruinous strategy to get its way through the use of havoc. Hours away from an inevitable market crash, it approved a deal that could have been achieved months ago had a few more lawmakers set aside their animus. After President Obama signs the bill, the government will reopen after more than two weeks of shutdown, and the threat of a default will be lifted.

The health care reform law will not be defunded or delayed. No taxes will be cut, and the deal calls for no new cuts to federal spending or limits to social welfare programs. The only things Republicans achieved were billions of dollars in damage to the economy, harm to the nation’s reputation and a rock-bottom public approval rating.

Topher Spiro: The Myth of the Medical-Device Tax

IN the last few days of negotiations in Congress, repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s tax on medical devices emerged as a key Republican demand. The medical-device industry waged an intense lobbying campaign – even garnering the support of many Democrats who favored the law – arguing that the tax would stifle innovation and increase health care costs.

This argument is doubly disingenuous. Not only can the medical-device industry easily afford the tax without compromising innovation, but the industry’s enormous profits are a result of anticompetitive practices that themselves drive up medical-device costs unnecessarily. The tax is a distraction from reforms to the industry that are urgently needed to lower health care costs.

The medical-device industry faces virtually no price competition. Because of confidentiality agreements that manufacturers require hospitals to sign, the prices of the devices are cloaked in secrecy. This lack of transparency impedes hospitals from sharing price information and thus knowing whether they are getting a good deal.

Mohamed A. El-Erian: What Follows This Congressional Deal?

The good news — and it is very good news — is that Congress seems to have finally struck a deal that would reopen the government and dodge a debt default. In doing so, lawmakers have avoided (at least for now) a crisis of their own creation that would have tipped the country into recession, caused substantial job losses, and further eroded America’s global standing — all of which would have also undermined national security. [..]

What emerged from Congress on Wednesday speaks to stop-gap measures born of exhaustion and political miscalculations, and prompted by national (and global) outrage.

By kicking the can down the road, our bickering Congress has created a temporary window for — at least in theory — more rational debate and decision-making. According to available information, the government would now be funded until January 15th and the debt ceiling would be pushed back to February 7th (with the ability to use extraordinary measures pushing that deadline to the spring).

Dean Baker: Republicans Are Delusional About US Spending and Deficits

The story of out-of-control debts and deficits is just plain wrong. US deficits have fallen in the past four years

It is understandable that the public is disgusted with Washington; they have every right to be. At a time when the country continues to suffer from the worst patch of unemployment since the Great Depression, the government is shut down over concerns about the budget deficit. [..]

Going to the wall for something that is incredibly important is a reasonable tactic. However, the public apparently did not agree with the Republicans. Polls show that they overwhelmingly oppose their tactic of shutting down the government and risking default over Obamacare. As a result, the Republicans are now claiming that the dispute is actually over spending.

Anywhere outside of Washington DC and totalitarian states, you don’t get to rewrite history. However, given the national media’s concept of impartiality, they now feel an obligation to accept that the Republicans’ claim that this is a dispute over spending levels.

Bill Blum: The Supreme Court Could Get Even Worse This Term

Even allowing for last term’s 5-4 decisions on gay marriage or the equally narrow 2012 approval of Obamacare’s individual mandate, the Supreme Court has amassed a profoundly right-wing record under the stewardship of Chief Justice John Roberts on issues including corporate accountability, campaign finance and voting rights. And if the oral arguments conducted the first two weeks of the court’s current term are any indication, the record is likely only to harden.

It’s easy enough to analyze the court’s opinions one case at a time, identifying how each affirms or alters specific areas of law. It’s also relatively easy, as Mother Jones magazine has shown, to measure the court’s political slant statistically by adding up the number of conservative rulings issued each term or tallying the number of prior liberal court precedents the tribunal overturns.

 

John Nichols: Paul Ryan’s Peddling a ‘Shock Doctrine’ Cure

Forget about death and taxes.

If you are looking for certainties in American politics, count on this one: If a crisis of governing develops, the advocates for cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will arrive with a plan to resolve the standoff by balancing budgets on the backs of America’s most vulnerable citizens.

Cue Paul Ryan.

The House Budget Committee chairman, a Republican from Janesville, has for the better part of a decade been the most determined advocate on Capitol Hill for the Wall Street agenda that says earned-benefit programs should be reshaped as investment vehicles and voucher schemes that will benefit brokers and the health insurance industry.

Oct 17 2013

On This Day In History October 17

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 17 is the 290th day of the year (291st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 75 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1986, President Ronald Reagan signs into law an act of Congress approving $100 million of military and “humanitarian” aid for the Contras. Unfortunately for the President and his advisors, the Iran-Contra scandal is just about to break wide open, seriously compromising their goal of overthrowing the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

Congress, and a majority of the American public, had not been supportive of the Reagan administration’s efforts to topple the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Reagan began a “secret war” to bring down the Nicaraguan government soon after taking office in 1981. Millions of dollars, training, and arms were funneled to the Contras (an armed force of Nicaraguan exiles intent on removing the leftist Nicaraguan regime) through the CIA. American involvement in the Contra movement soon became public, however, as did disturbing reports about the behavior of the Contra force. Charges were leveled in newspapers and in Congress that the Contras were little more than murderers and drug runners; rumors of corruption and payoffs were common. Congress steadily reduced U.S. assistance to the Contras, and in 1984 passed the second Boland Amendment prohibiting U.S. agencies from giving any aid to the group.

The affair was composed of arms sales to Iran in violation of the official US policy of an arms embargo against Iran, and of using funds thus generated to arm and train the Contra militants based in Honduras as they waged a guerilla war to topple the government of Nicaragua. The Contras’ form of warfare was “one of consistent and bloody abuse of human rights, of murder, torture, mutilation, rape, arson, destruction and kidnapping.” The “Contras systematically engage in violent abuses… so prevalent that these may be said to be their principal means of waging war.” A Human Rights Watch report found that the Contras were guilty of targeting health care clinics and health care workers for assassination; kidnapping civilians; torturing and executing civilians, including children, who were captured in combat; raping women; indiscriminately attacking civilians and civilian homes; seizing civilian property; and burning civilian houses in captured towns.

Direct funding of the Contras insurgency had been made illegal through the Boland Amendment the name given to three U.S. legislative amendments between 1982 and 1984, all aimed at limiting US government assistance to the Contras militants. Senior officials of the Reagan administration decided to continue arming and training the Contras secretly and in violation of the law as enacted in the Boland Amendment. Senior Reagan administration officials started what they came to call “the Enterprise,” a project to raise money for their illegal funding of the Contras insurgency.

Oct 17 2013

Congressional Game of Chicken: Hostages Get A Reprieve

President Barack Obama signed the bill early Thursday morning that reopens the government and raises the debt ceiling, officially ending the 16-day shutdown, the White House said.

CNN Breaking News

If anyone thinks that the latest budget crisis is over, or that there was a victory, they are living in the bubble of a fool’s paradise.

This has cost the economy billions, hurt countless individuals in many ways for a deal that merely kicks the can down the road. Come January, unless a long term budget deal is passed, another continuing resolution (CR) will be needed. February is even more ominous when again the US hits its borrowing limit.

Obama should have stood his ground last year when he caved and gave the Republicans the sequester which is far more damaging to the economy than the ACA. Look what happened to the Republican brand. That could have been last year and the Democrats might have stood a better chance of increasing its majority in the Senate and gaining even more than 8 seats in the House.

There is no sense in rehashing what can’t be undone. The Democrats now need to deal with repairing the damage of the last 5 years continuing to hold firm on the budget, ending the sequester cuts for more reasonable spending that will benefit the majority of Americans and finally killing the biggest threat to the US and World economies, the debt ceiling cap.

Time to take the bullets out of the gun.

Oct 17 2013

2013 Junior League Championship: Boston @ Detroit Game 4

Boston barely eeked out a victory over Detroit yesterday with a Solo Shot in the 7th.

That’s it.  That’s all there was.  The most interesting part of the game was the 17 minute power outage.  Red Sox 1 – 0, lead Series 2 – 1.

In the process the Tigers wasted Verlander, we’ll not see him again unless they play in the World Series.

Tonight Detroit will send Doug Fister (14 – 9, 3.67 ERA R) who’s had 6 innings, 7 hits and 3 earned runs this post-season for an ERA of 4.50 while the Sox counter with Jake Peavy (12 – 5, 4.17 ERA R), 5 and 2/3rds innings, 5 hits, 1 run and an ERA of 1.59.

You have to give the edge to Peavy.

The Tigers are in no danger of elimination tonight but I imagine they’d rather head back to Fenway tied at 2 than facing a 3 – 1 Series deficit.