04 October 2013

Reid: ‘Why Would We Want To’ Help One Kid With Cancer? And we vote for them...

Watch the clip, read the transcript and weep. These are your (and our) solons. All and one fit to be drowned in a toilet bowl. And this is a totally bipartisan opinion, I declare.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

The nice lady on the left, has what looks like an important message on display, which I can't quite make out.
An impressive presentation, nonetheless.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Well, he was looking quite serious and straightforward when saying that. But I don't' even pretend to have an insight into that cesspool that is called politicians' mind.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I bet SWMBO didn't see that comment of yours ;-)

As for the ability to seat on the windows' ledge and driving a car: it shows that women are the superior species.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Never thought I would be turned on by a woman wearing a veil! Does anyone have her phone number?!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Snoopy, Reid did not answer very well but his basic point is absolutely correct. The Republicans do not want to be blamed by the voters for shutting down the government so they are trying to selectively open the most popular government offices and programs. This is transparent demagoguery. Reid's position is principled: A so-called continuing resolution should not be used for political horse trading or substantive changes to spending. It is intended to keep the government operating, nothing more.

The alternative is to basically fight out every bill in Congress three times: Once when it is passed (by both houses of Congress, of course) and signed by the President, once when the next continuing resolution is necessary, and once when it is necessary to raise the limit on the national debt. Congress already suffers from partisan "gridlock" -- the Republican's approach threatens to make Congress completely non-functional.

The partisan gridlock in Congress over the last few years has meant that Congress is frequently unable to agree on a budget for the federal government. Continuing resolutions are all that keep the government functioning at all. This is hardly an ideal situation, but it has proven livable for the country. If the continuing resolutions become political footballs, shutdowns will become routine.

The situation with raising the limit on the national debt is even worse. In the first place, the debt is not a major problem at the present time. It is not terribly large by historical standards and is not growing terribly rapidly, as the deficit has declined drastically over the last four years. Moreover, given current low interest rates and the government's excellent credit rating (which the Republicans are, of course, working hard to destroy), the debt can be financed very economically. If there is a time to take on debt, it is now.

Secondly, the constitution actually forbids the federal government to default on its debt. If the Republicans force the government to default, it is not clear what will happen. It is entirely possible that the courts may order the government to borrow money even without Congressional authorization, or to print money to pay the government's obligations. It would be a very bad idea to go down a road that gives the judiciary such power but it is hard to see how it can be avoided given the constitutional requirements. One would think that the conservatives, who have been protesting what they call "judicial activism" for over half a century, would want to avoid such a situation.

Notice also that the borrowing is necessary to pay the debts that the government incurred because of expenditures that were specifically authorized by *Congress*. So, the Congress is refusing to authorize the government to pay the debts that Congress itself authorized.

The whole situation is just nuts and it is not "the fault of both sides" that it is happening. The Republican strategy is "rule or ruin", regardless of whether they are in the majority or minority. Such extortion must be rejected and blame placed where it belongs, on the fanatics who are running the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I am not trying to compliment any side in a political fight here, David. It is just that Reid didn't make the already bad situation better.

I freely confess to not understanding much in US internal politics, so it's politicians that are of more interest to me.

And many thanks for enlightening me about the current unfortunate turn of events.

By the way, "rule or ruin" strategy was employed by warring parties here too several times in my memory. I would say it's a bipartisan methodology by now.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Snoop, transparent demagoguery is what happens when Republicans decide to show some backbone and exercise the constitutional prerogatives of the only branch of the federal government they control. When Democrats do the same thing it's called principled opposition.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I suspect the formula works both ways. Of course, according to the ability to use the mass media.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Except the Democrats have never done anything remotely like this. It is not a case of "both sides do it", because the Democrats do not.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

And another thing, David: much as I would like to believe that Democrats are snow-white in this regard, here is a quote from a post by Joshuapundit (not a Democrat, by any means):


"Government shutdowns are not all that unique - Democrat Tip O’Neill shut down the government eight times during the Regan administration, supposedly the Golden Age of 'bi-partisanship'. And during the Clinton years, the government was shut down twice after Clinton rejected the budget. And here's a fun fact. Popular mythology to the contrary, out of the 17 times the government has shut down, Democrats are much more prone to shut the government down than Republicans. The Democrats controlled the House during 15 of these shut downs and actually controlled both houses of Congress during 8 of them."

I cannot easily verify that one, so...

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Snoopy, prior to 1981, the so-called "shutdowns" did not actually shut anything down. It was an opinion by the Attorney General that led to "shutdowns" actually shutting things down. Six of the seventeen shutdowns were before 1981.

Of the remaining eleven shutdowns, the nine that were prior to the one in 1995 and 1996 had very limited effect. None of them lasted for more than a few days (1-5) and they drew little public notice. They were, I think, mostly confined to particular branches of the government, rather than more-or-less government wide (like the current one).

Most of these shutdowns appear to have been due to politicians failing to compromise on a budget in time before previous funding authorizations ran out and most were ended (in no more than five days) with a prompt continuing resolution. In the two cases where the continuing resolution itself was the issue (once under Bush I and once under Clinton), the shutdown only occurred because Congress voted on overriding a presidential veto and the override was defeated. It then took a few days for them to draft a continuing resolution that the president would sign.

In other words, before 1995, no one was threatening to and no one wanted to shut down the federal government. It was all basically brinksmanship that got out of hand and the problem was quickly remedied with the help of all involved.

The shutdown in 1995 and 1996 and the current one are completely different. They are openly deliberate acts to shutdown the federal government in order to force through legislation that the legislators behind the shutdown cannot get passed by the ordinary process of legislation. When the Republicans did this in 1995-1996, it was unprecedented and the current shutdown is a repeat of that performance with the added threat of forcing the United States to default on its obligations (which is unconstitutional).

For a handy summary of earlier shutdowns see Wikipedia:


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Snoopy, I realize that this has been a long serious conversation about what was originally intended as a light-hearted post. I apologize if I have just used up a fair bit of your time preaching to you about American politics that you maybe do not care very much about (and are not obliged to). It is just that the cynical, "both sides do it" attitude to politics is a real problem in the US at the moment, just as the same attitude toward the Israeli-Arab conflict is in certain circles, and I took the opportunity to blow off some steam about it, maybe inappropriately. I almost always appreciate your humor and do not mind a certain amount of cynicism -- Heaven knows, there is plenty of reason for cynicism about politicians. Unfortunately, politics of one sort or another (and thus politicians) are the only way we have ever figured out how to govern ourselves.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

First of all, David, there is absolutely nothing to apologize, a discussion with a reader is not to be limited by anything.

As for enlightening me about American internal politics: I can do with more, each time it (the politics) comes up with a new turn, it leaves me slack-jawed and drooling ;-)

As for my cynicism: a valid point, but the only thing needed in my case to change my opinion is an example to the contrary, and I can't say that I have seen one (current leaders not an exception). Should I be hopeful? Don't know, waiting for new input.