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September 22, 2013


I suspect that your analysis is largely correct.

But it raises an interesting question: How big an (economic) disaster will it take to convince their audience that the joy of feeling like they are participating in a battle against evil is not worth the price that they find themsleves paying for it?

It's one thing to send in a donation out of your discretionary funds to support the performance. But when you find your income, and that of your family and friends, cut dramatically as a result? Maybe some are fine with being martyrs for a great cause. And some will convince themselves that they aren't partially responsible for the results. But how many?

Is it still a grift if the people giving the money are happy with the 'performance'?

I say it is. Or, to put it another way, using the legislative branch of government to stage performance art is grifting. Particularly when the legislators (and their PAC sponsors) aren't doing any actual legislating.

I suspect this is another in the long list of things being monetized which should not be monetized - like education, which is also overrun with consultants and advocates who are focused on selling their pet theories and programs, rather than on actually educating kids.

That's what happens when an ideology sees private gain as the only legitimate good, and bends everything to serve that good.

This look likes an extension of "we create our own reality" foreign policy now applied to domestic policy making, in which insanity becomes reality packed neatly into body bags.

It most certainly IS insanity, now sold as an uncompromising reality all of must accept, or else.

The pay-for-performance evidence is aptly noted and the cooking contest reality TV metaphor in on point, but the latter needs a handful of Jonathan Swift/Emeril Lagasse cayenne pepper bammed onto it before serving, and I'm happy to oblige.

The current radical insurrectionary parboiling, deep-frying and flambe-ing of governance, and I speak of the attempts to scuttle Obamacare and cut services to the poor)is only like a reality TV cooking show (and I hate them like I hate train wrecks in that I can't take my eyes off them) if the Iron Chef, with his martial-artsy, smirking flair grandiosely unveiled the secret ingredient -- rat poison -- and the celebrity chefs set to time-limited work feverishly stuffing, sprinkling, and seasoning six courses, including rat poison/artichoke ice cream, with the stuff, narrated theroughout by Alton Brown relaying the provenance and regional culinary differences of rat poison, and then served to several judges and the studio audience at which point the latter would begin clutching their throats, frothing at the mouth, falling to the ground and twitching, and then dying with their hopelessly romantic Madame Bovary tongues lolling blackly - all of this accomplished under the threat of nuking the entire entertainment universe if the show could not go on.

Now if this continued and the network suits upstairs, or the producers, or the advertisers, did not things in hand, perhaps by throwing a net over the clearly INSANE performer Iron Chef, and despite the highly profitable spiking in audience share, and halt this practice and return to regularly scheduled programming, the judges, and the audience (and those playing at home), and maybe even the chefs, who after all would be turning a little green round the gills from tasting while cooking, would eventually (depending on the profitability of the piling up poisoned corpses; spreadsheets would be consulted first to satisfy the f8cking shareholders) revolt and goddamned f*cking kill (shoot him) the Iron Chef and everyone complicit in these murders right there on TV.

Then we can go back to watching working chefs teaching us how to govern.

A similar view to Doc Science's with a little different emphasis:


And a creepy Obamacare ad:


It reminds me of when I used have nightmares of the Burger King, from ads of yore, giving a digital prostate exam.

There are jokes within jokes, then repeated, this time I think the actors in the ad probably don't have medical insurance, because of the part time nature of their work, just as Harry and Louise of anti-Hillary ad fame in the 1990s didn't have medical insurance either and when the actors were interviewed about the need for medical insurance reform they said they would probably opt for the choices under Hillarycare.

One wonders why pro-Obamacare don't run ads of Dr Koch, Nurse Cruz, and Hospice Bouncer Dr. Kevorkipalin fisting an uninsured American in an alley, but the refusal of liberals to lower themselves means we must go lower yet to climb higher.

I don't see it as either/or. I think it's performance art, and they also just really want to sh1tcan the ACA.

The reason they want to do this is because lots of and lots of people want them to, and those people have put them in office. Or, more accurately, both things are true - they want to make their constituents happy, and their constituents support them because they also really really want to sh1tcan the ACA.

What I find most disturbing about all of this is the degree to which folks thing the government is out to screw them.

Where the hell do you go from there?

It's true that the ACA is public policy as conceived by the mind of Rube Goldberg, but that's as good as it's gonna get. There is no consensus, so we have to thread the needle through 8,127 different interest groups, and do our best.

ACA or no ACA, if we don't address the cost side, we're screwed anyway.

But no ACA, and the options are going to be (a) concierge care for those who have the dough, and (b) multi-thousand dollar deductibles and big co-pays for everyone else.

With, of course, the ever-popular HSA accounts so you can pay through the nose from pre-tax $$$. Use it or lose it, though.

You might as well play the ponies.

And, absent the ACA, you get one big medical event, after that nobody is going to touch you. Assuming that they don't just drop you *before* the big event is paid for.

You're on your own. Root hog or die. That should be our national motto, enough of this "In God We Trust" crap. Let alone "E Pluribus Unum".

Root hog or die.

The problem here is that we don't all live in the same reality.

I just think it shows how mean they are.

"Traditional Republican leaders" don't want anything, except to,
1. Assure their own reelection.
2. Maximize opportunities for rent seeking.

Actually accomplishing anything policy-wise doesn't make the list, although sometimes it, regrettably, has to be attempted, (Or, ideally, merely simulated.) to assure 1 and 2.

Further, "House Republicans now have voted 42 times to repeal or otherwise undermine Obamacare," only in the fevered imaginations of mendacious propagandists. The list of votes to "defund or otherwise undermine Obamacare" includes numerous measures to fix flaws in the program even Democrats admit, and have also voted to fix, and which Obama himself has signed. Is Obama determined to undermine Obamacare?

Seriously, produce your list of 42 votes, and follow the fates of those bills.

Please produce the fixes. The Republicans in Congress have made NO effort to "fix". They haven't even identified any real problems, just rant about socialism or big government interference etc. Seems to me you acknowledged that yourself: "Actually accomplishing anything policy-wise etc."

Follow his link: 42 times. It leads to a CNN article with that assertion, but no list of bills.

I'm challenging Doctor Science to provide an actual list of those 42 times. Go ahead, let's see it. Was every one of them exclusively supported by Republicans? Did any pass the Senate? Get signed by the President?

Seriously, got data?

Even dyed-in-the-wool conservatives claim and believe the number, perhaps confusing my mendacity with their own:


Personally, I think THIS number is a mite high, but we still have roughly two years to go in Obama's term:


While we're playing murderous guessing games, how many times have Obama and the Democratic Party threatened via introduced legislation to confiscate my weapons and ammo?

I've read they try it every day and twice on casual concealed Fridays.

By the way, I'm on board with defunding the complicated Obamacare (on board with Russell) and replacing it with legislation to move everyone cradle to grave into Medicare insurance, with a rich choice of insurance plans a la the Federal Employee health insurance system Republican Federal legislators suck on as they choose their own doctors and say ahh at my expense.

Take health insurance away from employers completely and watch them dance in the streets, hire and invest like Milton Friedman, Paul Ryan, and Ayn Rand would if they ever held a real job running a business, and see their share prices double, triple, and quadruple because of increased profitability.

But we're not allowed to. Too easy.

Well, Brett: Here's just one such little nugget of House GOP irresponsibility. It only took me about three minutes to find it.

I'm fairly confident there are 41 others. In the meantime, please produce your list of "fixes" passed in the House and signed by the President.

Let me help Brett out of this "if you don't know, I'm not going to tell you" dilemma he has constructed for all of us:


Fourteen minor fixes, not unusual following up on big legislation like this one, and evidence, against the big f*ucking mendacious lies told by mendacious motherf*ckers that Obama refused to compromise or entertain any constructuve dialogue whatsoever with the opposition regarding Obamacare.

So maybe we're down to 28 tries at fully defunding.

I expect however to receive Republican midterm campaign literature (and I realize Brett is not a Republican by any means) bragging about 42 votes to defund Obamacare.

That photo is right up there with "skeet-surfing" for effective marksmanship.

Still, the skeet surfing is more entertaining.

move everyone cradle to grave into Medicare insurance

IMO the best possible result from the ACA will be to make everybody so freaking annoyed with how half-@ssed our public response to health care has been that they just decide to go for wall-to-wall Medicare.

I'm not even looking for a wonderful smorgasbord of programs, I'd be perfectly happy to see something like your bog-standard employee-issued family plan.

There's plenty of room for a private aftermarket if folks want bells and whistles.

Checkups, hospital admissions, reasonable coverage for non-elective surgery and/or other procedures recommended by your primary care GP, affordable generic pharma.

Kids get as many office visits as they need, new parents get basic pre- and post-natal attention.

WTF, we can't do that? When did we become such a puny nation?

I can't believe this is the same country I grew up in. My parent's generation survived the Depression, won WWII, put in place Social Security Medicare Medicaid, built the national highway system, built libraries public schools and public hospitals, rose to a variety of civil rights challenges, sent several folks to the moon, and sent me to an excellent public four-year university for about $3K a year, including housing and food.

We've lost our swerve, y'all.

Too many realities running around out there nowadays.

Back to Casey's point early in the comments-

Is it grifting if the audience is a willing participant?

I'd say look at casinos. Probably no surprise one of the biggest GOP backers is a casino magnate.

For Brett and repeal counting:

Spot checking on 2 of the votes from last March lead to a budget bill (including defunding the ACA) and 2012 H.R.5.

Here is a sort of bills from 2013 involving Health Care from the House; there are 138 of them:

Some portion of those are explicitly about delaying/defunding the ACA or gutting specific provisions of it.

The voices in the heads of insane folks are the reality of the voices they here from their constituents, or something:


So, Countme-in, you've just identified a third of his number as bipartisan bills that passed with Democratic support, and got signed. And that's not causing you to reevaluate the reliability of data you get from these people? You think the propagandist who crafted and disseminated that 42 number for outlets like CNN to spread didn't know it was false, and isn't perfectly willing to lie to you about other things?

Sure, the Republicans have made a lot of efforts to get rid of Obamacare. This is known as "being responsive to their constituents." Something generally viewed as admirable in a representative democracy.

Meanwhile, here we are, a bill has passed the House to fund almost the entire government, the Democratic Senate is expected to chose a government shutdown instead, and somehow the people who passed a funding bill are supposed to be the bomb throwers. Instead of the people who will shut the government down if they don't get their way.


Well, it's your fault when we shoot the hostage since we only wanted one pound of your flesh. You would have still 189 left. At least until we ask for another two for the next hostage and three for that afterwards. You see, in the end you will have to take the full blame for no less than 19 hostages we shot just because in your stubbornness to unconditionally surrender from the start. Of course we would not have accepted that surrender and would have shot the hostages anyway but this way all the blame lies with you. Why are you so irrational and blinded by your hatred of us?

i like this quest by Brett to get the number of Quixotic performance votes down from 42 to any number greater than zero. because that will make a huge difference in D.S.'s point. huge.

My take on this is a little different. All politics is theater. Most political discussion is theater. It's theater all the way down.

Hardly any of this works without applause.

and most theater is about politics (personal politics are politics, too).

The point here, Cleek, is that Doctor Science's number is FRAUDULENT. The good Doctor is not the author of the fraud, but is relaying the fraud, and relying on it as truthful.

You don't like having it pointed out to you that you're being fed fraudulent data by your own side? Tough. It's something you need to understand.

Frankly, aside from that, my only reaction to Republicans attempting 42 times to defund Obamacare, (Were it really true.) would be to salute the persistance.

The point here, Cleek, is that Doctor Science's number is FRAUDULENT.

if the number is anything but zero, yours is an irrelevant point.


Here is IMHO the most authoritative account of how many votes they've taken, from the House GOP site:

Including full repeal in the 113th, 37 Floor votes will have been taken to repeal, defund, or dismantle the law.

Republicans won't stop there; we will continue to pursue strategic opportunities to do oversight and get other de-funding and repeal bills to President Obama's desk.

That's a minimum of 37 votes (the page is undated, so I don't know how complete their list is) with the *explicit* goal "to repeal, defund, or dismantle the law".

Ergo, the 42 number may be inaccuate or "fuzzy", but it is not fraudulent. Please take that back.

The important point you make, IMHO, is when you say:

Frankly, aside from that, my only reaction to Republicans attempting 42 times to defund Obamacare, (Were it really true.) would be to salute the persistance.
In other words, your reaction is NOT "what an incredible waste of political energy and the opportunity to do other things", much less "that's crazy".

The Psychology Today article about the definition of insanity I linked above includes this important distinction:

Perseveration: the pathological, persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act.

Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

And yet, look at the quotes in Chris Weigant's Friday Talking Points. Bill O'Reilly is *not* elected, therefore he doesn't have the weaknesses of the "Traditional Republican Leaders" you excoriated. Yet even he says:
There is no way Obamacare is going to be defunded. It is not going to happen. What you are trying to do... is impossible. Do you not know that?
Now, I don't want Brett to feel picked on, here. I find his voice a very important one in our conversation, because it lets me see how things look "from the other side".

So Brett, does it seem to you -- from your perspective, and based on your usual, trusted new sources, whatever they are -- that Obamacare will not, realistically, be defunded? Does the Republican effort (as outlined e.g. on the House GOP page) seem doomed but noble? Or do you think all those nay-sayers are just plain wrong, and the job is merely *difficult*, and persistence will succeed? Or what?

Brett asked:

"So, Countme-in, you've just identified a third of his number as bipartisan bills that passed with Democratic support, and got signed. And that's not causing you to reevaluate the reliability of data you get from these people? You think the propagandist who crafted and disseminated that 42 number for outlets like CNN to spread didn't know it was false, and isn't perfectly willing to lie to you about other things?"


Along the lines of Slart's observation about applause, I bake about a 33% chance of trash talk into any number I receive from politics, pre-game chest pounding by the Red Sox, any statement from one particular relative, and any estimate from gun-rights radicals about the number of times the Obama has tried to take their weapons.

CNN? Haven't watched it in 10 years. Doesn't Tom Delay call it the Conservative News Network now?

If you can whittle the new number of defunding Obamacare instances --- 28 --- and I threw you a bone there (frankly, neither of us knows what the real number is) down to one symbolic vote (the one happening right now), I might give credence to the word "Fraud" ....

and this ...

... "Frankly, aside from that, my only reaction to Republicans attempting 42 times to defund Obamacare, (Were it really true.) would be to salute the persistance."

So it IS all about applause. Twenty-eight gets them a few desultory claps from the peanut gallery, but if 42 turns out to be closer to the mark, bring down the house with a standing ovation, in your mind.

You use your number, I'll use mine.

This is why during the 2014 midterm elections I expect to receive campaign literature (Literature, would we be so lucky?) from Republicans enumerating the number of times they've voted to completely defund Obamacare .... and it will be something far north of 42, given that we're in for a another year of "theater", like Lincoln returning to the Ford Theater once a month to groundhog-day the bullet in the back of his head.

I see Dr. Science has weighed in with "37", out of the mouths of the defunders themselves.

Beware of taking on a champion googler.

Since I'm so impressed by credentials, Brett, change your handle to Dr. Libertarian and I'll be happy to feed your number into the political woodchipper I use for calculating for and against, and we'll examine the product spit out the other end.

The word "Fraud" ..... you know, this a word that is now being used by the radical defunders against glib-Canadian-Texas-pukeboy Ted Cruz ... Ted Cruz, of all demagogues, is now the keeper of the realist torch against HIS right flank (I don't think he knew he had one until last week) in that monstrous murderous political movement which somehow still goes by the name Republican Party.

He must feel like Trotsky in Mexico requesting that the ice man cometh break off a few cubes for his margarita, since the weapon has been unsheathed anyhoo.

All that said, welcome back Brett, I worry when you're silent. If I could count the number of times I've worried over your whereabouts and your health, you'd object to my estimate as fraud.

At least we the innocent get to be man-splained that politicians fudge numbers.

I don't like (alright, that statement might be a bit fraudulent around the edges) piling on Brett either, but it's like the guy at the gun range who keeps wandering in front of the target silhouettes of Grover Norquist and Wayne LaNugent.

I see what you're doing here, Doc Science, using O'Reilly (like Cruz), but it gives me no comfort when accomplished, professional crazy flesh-eating zombies who have made a career of feeding on human flesh across the countryside look up from their latest neck-chewing and now turn to the amateur, newly-bitten zombies and say "whoa, hold on here, kids, let's rethink the end-game here."

Nuke from space.

I've had more than my say during the last week, so health to all of you.

I'm gonna go read, play baseball and watch the major league playoffs.


Doctor Science, if some of those votes were bipartisan, and resulted in bills signed by the President, (As is the case.) then either you have to admit they were not all votes to "repeal, defund, or dismantle the law", or you have to conclude that Democrats, including the President, are trying to do that, too.

I understand you don't want to admit that some of the talking points your side is feeding you aren't entirely truthful. But it's still something you need to understand, so that you don't keep uncritically accepting these things. You need to understand it's not just the other side that deals in lies.

I think the Republican effort to defund Obamacare is not fundamentally doomed, in as much as I believe Democrats would, ultimately, rather see it defunded, than have the government shut down long enough for too many people to grasp that they don't need as much government as they've been getting.

It IS likely to fail, because the Republican establishment is remarkably gutless, and has an almost complete lack of actual commitment to the principles they supposedly are trying to champion. But, yes, I think persistance will win out, if they are willing to persist.

Countme-in, don't worry about me, just because of long absences. Just bought a house, after five years exile in an apartment, and there's a lot to do besides websurf. Starting with tracking down the leak in the roof that just showed up last night, darn it.

It IS likely to fail, because the Republican establishment is remarkably gutless,

that, and that there is absolutely no procedural method for them to use to make it succeed. the votes: you ain't got em.

Nah, the thing here is that, ultimately, the two chambers have to eventually agree, or else the government shuts down. The Republicans have no way to force the Democrats to accept a funding bill which omits Obamacare, the Democrats have no way to force Republicans to accept a funding bill which includes it. So it really IS a question of who cracks first, because neither side has the votes to unilaterally get it's way.

Do the Republicans give in to the Democratic threat to shut down the government? Likely they will, they're gutless cowards except when it comes to attacking insurgents from their own side. But they don't have to give in.

Do the Republicans give in to the Democratic threat to shut down the government?

it's not a Democratic threat. all the action is here has been initiated by the GOP. the GOP is driving every bit of this. the Dems are reacting to the GOP. the GOP is demanding that the Dems pass something, something which everybody in the world, both living and dead (and probably even the as-of-yet-unborn), knows they would never pass, and which the President would never sign. the Dems didn't start this, or set up the pieces, or grab the dice and start threatening to roll them. outside of the GOP echo chamber, nobody's buying that bullshit notion that the Dems have anything to do with this.

and the country is pointing at the GOP and laughing.

No, Cleek, like it or not, the reality is that the Republican house has already voted to fund the government. The ball is in the Democrats' court now, and refusing to act on the Republican bill is a decision by Democrats to shut down the government.

No matter how strongly you believe that Democrats are entitled to get their way on everything, a government shutdown at this point will be the result of Democrats deciding they want one.

Dr. Science:

Your link to the image was broken; I fixed it. It was part of a slideshow and the link to the image was obfuscated, so I Googled the image and found where the site had it stashed.

I hope you don't mind.


The ball is in the Democrats' court now, and refusing to act on the Republican bill is a decision by Democrats to shut down the government.

nobody but the GOP faithful is buying that. it's bullshit, it reeks of desperation, and everybody knows it.

you clowns aren't half as clever as you think you are, and the rest of the world isn't half as stupid as you think they are.

Of course the Democratic faithful are going to reject that, but it's as legitimate a position as your's.

Game of chicken, and you're trying to set the rules up so that only one side can be at fault if there's a crash.

This is the same kind of tactic that would have Republicans crying foul. I don't like it any more than I liked e.g. use of the Commerce Clause to crack down on racial discrimination.

I am no fan at all of PPACA, although I'm not opposed to every last bit of it, but neither am I a fan of this particular kind of leverage-taking.

The House expects that the Senate will try to send a version of that budget that does not defund the ACA back to the House. Senate GOPsters have already announced that they will filibuster it to prevent the reconciliation*. So much for the 'Democrats' court'

*because they fear that the House Speaker could violate the Hastert rule and pass it with votes from the Democrats. This bill could not get filibustered again and would reach Obama's desk and get signed. That's not a solution tolerable for the TP.

Game of chicken, and you're trying to set the rules up so that only one side can be at fault if there's a crash.


I started reading this blog just before Hilzoy left, so I must have missed some of Brett's more fascinating arguments:

The north started the Civil War
Serbia started WWI
Poland started WWII

Because obviously in a bargaining situation, the party that initially raises the stakes to the blatantly unacceptable is never at fault unless the other party "sets the rules up so that"....yadda, yadda.

Can you provide me with some links?

the Republican house has already voted to fund the government. The ball is in the Democrats' court now, and refusing to act on the Republican bill is a decision by Democrats to shut down the government.

Here, I've made a big plate of sh1t sandwiches.

If you don't serve them to everyone, it's your fault if nobody gets any lunch.

That's not a solution tolerable for the TP.


and we know this is a fact, and not just speculation because polling tells us that the TP prefers shutdown to compromise.

As do you, Cleek. As do you. Bobbyp's "blantantly unacceptable" is simply an admission that you'd rather defund the entire government, than accept this one program being defunded. YOU are no more interested in compromise than the Tea party. This IS a game of chicken, and that's when a crash happens in chicken: When NEITHER player is willing to back down.

I agree that the most likely scenario for the Republicans losing this fight is the House Speaker deciding to take a dive, and passing a continuing resolution funding Obamacare with the votes of Democrats and a small handful of Republicans. That this would lead to open warfare within the GOP probably plays into his calculations; He'd love to lose this fight, but does he dare?

Brett: "I'll offer $20 for that new silver Rolls on the floor over there."

Salesperson: "No. That is ridiculous."

Brett: "You now realize, do you not, that it is now your fault I have to take the bus to work, don't you?"

Cynics say that the Speaker has not yet decided for which bill he will take the fall by breaking the Hastert rule. He knows that he has just one try and has to decide what would look best on his legacy. Will he be the one that prevented the shutdown, the one that prevented the default on the good faith and credit or the one that saved immigration reform (which everyone knows would pass the House if allowed a vote)? Or will he be unable to make a decision and just be kicked out for insufficient purity? He knows that he will not be able to keep his speakership beyond 2014 and has (iirc) already announced that he will quit Congress at the end of the term.

This IS a game of chicken, and that's when a crash happens in chicken: When NEITHER player is willing to back down.

no, it's definitely not chicken. it would be chicken if the GOP at any point had even the slightest inkling that the Dems might give in. but that was never going to happen, and every sane person in the GOP has known that since long before this got going.

what we have here is hostage taking. the GOP grabbed a gun and a hostage and is threatening to shoot if it can't make the Dems do something everybody in the fncking world knows they would never do. and because the Dems will never do it, the GOP is going to have to shoot the hostage (aka, the US government and economy) or put down the gun and walk away.

or, if we go with D.S.'s premise: this is theater to keep people like you all riled up and impotently screaming about how evil the Dems are. yay!


Reporter: John Spartan, how can you justify destroying a seven million dollar mini-mall, to rescue a girl whose ransom was only twenty-five thousand dollars?

Rescued girl: Fuck you, lady!

Spartan: *laughs*Good answer.

So, refusing to fund a program one's constituents oppose is like demanding somebody sell you a Rolls Royce for $20?

Given how common programs being defunded is, maybe I should get myself to the dealership and make that offer, before they're all gone.

Terrorists have taken over the Nairobi shopping mall in Kenya and have killed dozens thus far.

The terrorists have made their demands. No compromise.

By Republican vermin logic, the Kenyan Constabulary is not only equally responsible for the "crash" that is coming, but is looking forward to it with as much glee as the terrorists.

In other news, Abraham Lincoln was delighted when he couldn't meet Confederate demands at Fort Sumter, and subsequently leapt for joy as Confederate murderous filth managed to arrange events early on that went against the Union Army.

In some future news story, you may read that I have decided to set up the following standoff for Republican governments at the Federal, State, and local levels.

I demand, going forward from here, that any government with Republican leadership, or whom allows Republican participation, shall not tax me one red cent.

Tax me and you're dead. Don't tax me, and thereby allow your ideology to live in absolutely, and you and your families may live.

Further (see, I anticipate the granting of my first demand and already fashioning my non-negotiable second demand, which we must have seen coming, which hostage experts everywhere know to expect when terrorists are coddled by not killing them) I demand the defunding and dissolution of the Republican Party at all levels, voluntarily and without comment.

In exchange for meeting these demands, I agree not to kill every Republican officeholder in this country and every Republican f*ckhole media shill in the country.

Let's put it all on the table.

Are you listening, NSC? I'd let President Obama know about this standoff so that he can call in the National Guard across the country, and the Capital Hill Police to form a protective ring around Republican vermin and save them from their meeting with destiny, at taxpayer expense, natch.

Now, look, the baseball playoffs are coming up, so keep it down over here.

I at least want to enjoy that pleasure before the troubles start.

refusing to fund a program one's constituents oppose is like demanding somebody sell you a Rolls Royce for $20?


Refusing to fund a program that has passed Congress, been signed by the President, and been blessed by the SCOTUS is asinine.

They lost. Try again another day.

Doing so by threatening to not pay the bills and thus put the US in default for the first time in its history is several steps beyond asinine. It's reckless, irresponsible brinksmanship.

This isn't a game of chicken, this is a bunch of yahoos driving their crappy jalopy the wrong way down a busy street filled with otherwise law-abiding drivers and yelling "get out of my way! get out of my way or I'll run you down!".

And doing so while folks who are otherwise at least somewhat sympathetic to their goals are telling the knock it off because they're acting like insane clowns.

An analogy would be my House Rep refusing to approve the debt ceiling unless the federal ban on assault weapons was reinstated.

There's a solid constituency for that position in my district, and in many others as well.

However it would be insane for my rep to refuse to pay the bills because he didn't get his way on that vote (or any similar vote).

Furthermore, my rep would LOSE MY SUPPORT if he tried that crap on.

It's a waste of the public's time and the public's money.

I refuse to pay my rent and my utility bills if the Republican Party refuses to fund Obamacare.

Let's all play this game.


Can we stop with the word "constituents".

Republicans defunding Obamacare and other social safety net programs are closing down the U.S. Government and throwing the Nation into bankruptcy for those who voted for them, or so they kid themselves, it's really only a few cocks&cking yahoos in their gerrymandered districts and at the behest of the givers of political cash, and maybe on behalf of Michelle Malkin and company, the latter of whom who could use a few hundred thousand patriots running amok and hacking them to pieces with bolos.

The other 49% of their "constituents" will suffer because of their policies, and will be ignored, as we saw when their "constituents" called their congressional offices to request guidance on signing up for Obamacare and were refused service.

The Republican Party doesn't have constituents, it has ideological money donors and it has enemies.

Brett has been correct since he started commenting here. ..

.... what we need is violence to settle this.

Which one is the atlatl, the spear or the chucker thingy?

GOP: Dems, Dems! Hey Dems! Here's a bottle of milk for the baby and a bottle of the excretions from Ted Cruz's cat's anal glands. The baby must drink them both!

Dems: Uh, no thanks.

GOP: If you don't make him drink his milk, the baby will be very sick!

Dems: As terrible as that sounds, still, no thanks.

GOP: The Dems won't feed the baby!

Here's a 'constituency' for whom statesmen (someone run out and find me a 7-year old) once did their bidding.

The Nation.


"Republicans defunding Obamacare and other social safety net programs are closing down the U.S. Government and throwing the Nation into bankruptcy"

Except, no matter how many times you repeat that, the only thing they omitted from their funding bill was Obamacare, and the US government doesn't get shut down unless Democrats decide to shut it down, because there's a funding bill waiting for them to vote on.

It's not a funding bill entirely to their liking. Yes, I understand you think you're entitled to win every political fight. That doesn't mean the Republicans didn't pass a funding bill.

It just means you'd rather shut down the government than vote for it.

Except, no matter how many times you repeat that, the only thing the hijackers of Flight 93 omitted from their flight training was how to land a plane, and if the target doesn't get destroyed and the air passengers and crew murdered, Americans decide to crash the plane into a Pennsylvania meadow, because there's a Caliphat waiting for them to surrender to.

Except, no matter how many times you repeat that....

You are indeed making Dr. Science's case that this is all performance art.

The House GOP has initiated non-negotiable demands. This is not bargaining. This is blackmail. The Senate can, and will, counteroffer. The ball will then be in the House's court, and no matter how many times you say it, it will not be the Democratically controlled Senate's "fault".

The current Leninist wing of the GOP is playing the same "heighten the contradictions" game that some on the fantasy Left like to indulge in. Ask those folks how well that's worked.

Are your demands any more non-negotiable? Even in the slightest? No, they are not. The Senate's "counter-offer" will be an offer to let the Republicans capitulate. Nothing more.

And you will say the Republicans are willing to shut the government down to get what they want, and pretend you are somehow different. But you're not, even in the slightest. You get your funds for Obamacare, or the government gets shut down, that's your position.

This is a game of chicken, with two players, and your side of it for PR reasons wants to pretend only the Republicans are willing to risk shutdown and default, and you're just innocent victims. But you're no more innocent than the other side.

Your side is not specially privileged to get what it wants. Not even if you managed to once cram what you wanted through the House, at the cost of your majority there. Obamacare got enacted, it can be repealed. It got funded, it can be defunded.

Your victories are not irreversible, untouchable. They are as subject to reversal as any mistake. And I believe it's worth this crisis to prove that.

Well, Soviet power lasted for 70 years. The GOP/TP would be ecstatic to control all branches uninterrupted for such a long time period (and sooner or later the results would look about the same).

"Yes, I understand you think you're entitled to win every political fight"

So in addition to enumerating precisely the number of times Republicans have brought legislation to defund Obamacare to a vote, you demand a list of the sparkly, dewy-eyed ponies that they and you have denied me over the years?

Anything else?

Here's what I want:

I want every expenditure, every program, of the federal government, including every single penny of defense appropriation, brought up in all-or-nothing but separate bills (maybe 500 bills, each brought up 28 times per year) to defund the program or shut down the government and default on the debt.

A continuing resolution would not continue funding the government but instead would continue closure of the government until everyone, each and every constituent of every Representative and Senator gets their hostage-taking joneses fully, absolutely satisfied, or else, until nothing is left.

I want siege crisis 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 30 days a month, 365 days a year, ten years a decade, one hundred years per century.

I want everyone to have their way, absolutely, in every jot and tittle, on all matters dear to their unbending ideology.

However, once a week I want one individual from each side killed, shot in the head in public with their children watching, to make sure everyone knows the stakes of running a government in such a manner.

Are your demands any more non-negotiable? Even in the slightest?

The Democratic 'demands' are not explicitly tied to shutting down the government or refusing to pay our bills. The GOP 'demands' are. That's the key difference.

If the Tea Party won control of the House and Senate and the presidency, then they could repeal the ACA. It would be done. You would have your 'victory'. If the Dems subsequently retook the House and then insisted on the re-passage the ACA or they'd blow up the government and our national credit standing, would you then say, "Well, that's OK with me" and "the GOP would be responsible for the shutdown."

Seriously? You'd say that?

I want, I want, each and every Republican in the House of Representatives and the Senate denied access to taxpayer funded bathrooms while Congress is in session .. scratch that, they have to ask me to use any public bathroom as well while in recess (via email), and if they don't, or if they dribble or poopy in their combination diaper/chastity belts, even a little, (we'll monitor via remote catheterization hooked up to a satellite feed), the government would be shut down and the debt defaulted .... on.

Set up rows and banks of fans in the House and Senate chambers so C-Span viewers know precisely when the sh*t hits.

This rule will remain in force in perpetuity or all of the Washington Monuments will be blown to reduce federal maintenance costs, and, of course, and as well, the government will be shut down permanently and the debt will default.

Obamacare got enacted, it can be repealed.

Then freaking repeal it.

It got funded, it can be defunded.

Then freaking defund it.

In either instance, if you can round up the votes, you win. Have at it.

What you are not entitled to do under the rubric of "negotiation" is say if we don't get our way, we don't pay the bills.

And no, the (D)s in the Senate are not refusing to raise the debt ceiling if they don't get their way.

We spent the money, now the bills are due, and we have to pay them. If you want to spend less going forward, fine, *that* is a proper subject of budget negotiation.

Refusing to secure the funds to pay existing obligations is not.

I want David Koresh brought back to life and supplied with enough armaments to choke an Army Battalion and enough impressionable teenaged girls to keep his gun barrel straight, or I will close down the government and default on the debt.

"The Democratic 'demands' are not explicitly tied to shutting down the government or refusing to pay our bills. The GOP 'demands' are. That's the key difference."

That's no difference at all, in as much as the way you're going to enforce your demands is by not voting for a bill funding the government. Which is exactly what the Republicans will do if you send one back to them funding Obamacare.

The situation is precisely symmetric, and you keep trying to pretend otherwise. I don't know if you're even fooling yourselves, but you're certainly not fooling many other people.

"The situation is precisely symmetric, and you keep trying to pretend otherwise. I don't know if you're even fooling yourselves, but you're certainly not fooling many other people."

Sure we are.

The majority of Americans polled reject a choice between defunding Obamacare or shutting down the government and defaulting on the debt.

I read about something just the other day along the lines of the way you're thinking business should be conducted, Brett.

It was those two guys concealed carrying who stopped along the side the road to discuss a difference in opinion regarding behavior in traffic and they shot each dead.

Good riddance to them and their my way or the highway type of personal governance, though I hope the dead f*ck (definitely a Republican who brought his weapon out first got shot in a bad place, a place that hurt for awhile and bled out slowly while the authorities were in transit, maybe in the testicles, or maybe in the face so his family required a closed casket down at the Dumbsh*t Funeral Home.

You seem not to have heard (or read above) that the GOP/TP has announced its intention to filibuster any changes the Dems have to the House bill because otherwise there would be reconciliation that cannot be broken by procedural maneuvres in the Senate und would very likely pass the House if allowed a vote (that is the stated opinion of GOP congresscritters not made up by liberal commenters). In other words the TP plan is destined to fail, if democratic procedures and customs are followed. That's why the impure GOPsters oppose the idea (except in floor speeches). The pure TPers on the other hand follow (as bobbyp so elegantly put it) the Leninist doctrine paying not even lip service to the rulebook or customs and not caring about consequences.

Speaking of Lenin, you can hear all about the Republican point of view by tuning into FOX/Pravda, Lenin's news outlet, and on right-wing talk radio, and all the other Republican Pravdas on the internet who are paving the way for a Republican Stalin should Lenin and Trotsky prove unable to destroy their enemies.

The situation is precisely symmetric

No longer worth it.

Brett's persistence is nothing short of the GOP's own. Has he repeated the same hopeless argument 42 times yet?


The situation is precisely symmetric

Matter and anti-matter are symmetric. Republicans and Democrats are bi-polar with the GOP currently going off the end of the Young Mania Rating Scale.

Murderous coup and violent overthrow of the U.S. Government set for November 19, 2013:


Nazi appeasers in Republican ranks to be butchered as well:


I assume the NSA is on this, ready to protect us from al Qaeda Americano.

If not, I guess I'll have to be there, gunned up, telescopic sights tuned and focused, ready to take the enemy vermin out as they makes their move.

Reality TV, or Reality? Entertainment, or just an entertaining step toward the day very soon when all of these scum need killing to preserve the Union.

Will it be gunfire, or derisive laughter and applause ricocheting around the Capitol Mall.

I can't think what Lincoln would do.

If I were Obama, I'd show up in person and do some double-daring for these hyenas to arrest him.

Brett seems to me to be missing one critical factor in the who "who forced the government shutdown" discussion. Regardless of what anyone here thinks, what really matters in the long run is who the voting public thinks cause it.

At the moment, there are two obvious straws in the wind. First, current polls show that the public perception (doesn't matter whether it is correct or not) is that the Republicans are the ones trying to force a shutdown. Second, when we went thru the same exercise in the mid-90s, and the funding bill was vetoed by President Clinton, the public was real clear that, in their opinion it was the Republicans fault rather than Clinton's/the Democrats' fault.

Is there any convincing reason to believe that the public will react differently this time? And if they do not, it will not matter a whit whether the shutdown is "objecively" due to the Republicans or not. They will get the blame and take the hit in the next election -- just like it happened before.

Reality story telling, from Wikipedia:

"A character known as "Sam-I-Am" pesters an unnamed character (who also serves as the narrator in the book) to taste a dish of green eggs and ham, to which the unnamed character denies the offer, answering throughout the story, "I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am." However, the persistent Sam-I-Am continues to follow him and encourages him to sample the dish, asking if he would sample the dish in numerous locations (House, box, car, tree, train, dark, rain, boat) and with a variety of animals (Mouse, fox, goat). Finally, the unnamed character gives into Sam-I-Am's pestering and tries the green eggs and ham, which he finds he does indeed like."

Perhaps, my children, the Harvard Law graduate, real name Rafael, who refused to join study groups with those who graduated from the lesser fringe-Ivy League undergraduate programs, will read passages from "The Little Engine That Wouldn't", or sing a few bars of "Tea for Two, But Not For You".

He has promised to talk until he drops from exhaustion, at which point, presumably, his collectivist taxpayer-supplied Public Employees Health Insurance, will kick in to get him to the hospital emergency room where, if America wishes to avoid tyranny, he will be turned away, hopefully to live another day to conduct workshops on my dime regarding Adolf Hitler's renowned children's book, Mein Kampf, which contained the theme, and this is Rafael's exegesis, that the Jews should be thankful the Third Reich's healthcare plan excluded them, and instead sent them to summer camp, dental work included.

I would think there's a default presumption that when you pass a bill implementing a program, and that program becomes part of the law of the land, that the program be funded. If you don't want to fund it, you repeal the law instead of trying to wreck the budget process. Maybe that's just me, though.

Yet another issue over which the government will shut down and the debt defaulted on (all of us hostages) if the Administration does not do the will of the 28% of the vermin in this upon who I am going to have some non-negotiable demands as well.


Expect repeats of this behavior from the terrorist anti-American filth weekly on every single issue if even 1% of their demands are met.

If the country was an airplane whipsawing its way over Pennsylvania on its way to cataclysm at the behest of the murderous Republican hijackers standing between passenger me at the back of the plane and Pilot Obama upfront, I would shoot all of them in the f*cking head and then hope the plane crashes as well so they would be doubly dead.

Or we can wait until the damage is done, and assuming Obama lives through this terrorist debacle (I have a feeling the Secret Service might be thinking he stands a chance of not living through the next few months), he can hunt them down like Osama bin Laden and put bullets through their eyes.

Reality TV, from Wall Streeter Henry Blodgett:


Yeah, that's just you. There's a presumption bills will be funded. That presumption is overcome when they are defunded.

If that is the case, Brett, then why not pass a piece of legislation repealing the ACA and call it good? What's the point of voting umpteen number of times to 'defund' it?




I donno; Why do unions strike? They've previously agreed to work for the wage they're getting, so why renege on that agreement in order to seek higher pay, instead of just asking for it while continuing to work?

Perhaps because they actually want the pay raise, and without the strike the request would simply be ignored?

You might think of this as the House going on strike until the Senate agrees to get rid of Obamacare. It bears a lot of similarities to a strike, after all: One component of a larger enterprise is refusing to do it's job for a while, in order to exert leverage so as to get it's way.

Customers don't like strikes, management sure as hell doesn't, but sometimes management needs reminding that they don't run the place by themselves, so can't claim exclusive right to get everything their way.

The Senate wants to keep Obamacare, (Though if they could return to the subject without repeal being on the table, it would undoubtedly be extensively modified, as it really IS a trainwreck.) the House wants rid of it, and the Senate has to be reminded it isn't entitled to get it's way on everything.

You might think of this as the House going on strike until the Senate agrees to get rid of Obamacare.

except with the strange twist that the people causing the strike are still going to get paid, it's just that everybody else doesn't.

the Senate has to be reminded it isn't entitled to get it's way on everything

right. only "conservatives" get everything they want.

Why do unions strike?

This does not seem like an argument-by-analogy that would serve you well, Brett.

Brett Bellmore, union agitator!!!

I violently agree with Slartibartfast, but I cannot resist exploring further this rather incredible analogy. My version would go something like this:

The workers form a union and enter into a 5 year bargaining agreement (aka a "contract") with their employer. Part of the agreement stipulates employer contributions into a retirement fund. A year goes by and anti-union hardliner insurgents gather enough shareholder votes to take over the company board of directors. They pass a resolution stipulating there will be no more contributions to the retirement fund unless the union disbands and is decertified, defiantly showing those ingrate workers that they "can't get everything they want."

Still not perfect, but closer to the mark I should think.



The really astonishing thing is that the purpose of all the grandstanding by Republicans in the House is to deny people health care.

Laura - it's because the GOP knows the ACA will succeed and be very popular. It's known that since 1994-ish, when the GOP first plotted to ensure that no health care would ever pass if they could help it. I think it was McConnell who noted that successful healthcare reform would benefit the Democratic Party, and therefore must never be allowed to pass.

That political calculation dovetails nicely with the GOP's insatiable appetite for inflicting suffering on people. Being able to afford health insurance would benefit an awful lot of people; can't have that, now, can we?

When sadism motivates one political party, democratize sadism:


oh i'm sure they think they're saving the country from a giant evil beast.

true, the beast exists entirely in their imaginations and was put there by the cynical hucksters who sell hyperbolic political opinion for a living and need to nurture a constant state of discontent and fear in order to keep the rubes riled and receptive to their sales pitches. but, being afraid of imaginary enemies is something human excel at.

Dr. Science's theory looks better and better every day.

Keep your dirty government hands from/out of my insurer's death panels.

"Dr. Science's theory looks better and better every day."

The Entertainment/Fundraising Theory of Sadism, we'll call it.

I think it's more.

When you consider that Americans with pre-existing conditions will be denied insurance under the "alternative" universe the entertainers are proposing, along with plenty of other life-shortening measures, it looks more like a sadistic puppet show that goes off the rails and in which the puppets rouse the audience to murderous sadistic mayhem and together they rush into the night for killing.


Yeah, that's just you

Apparently not, since you just agreed with me. You should have no problem finding the asymmetry from here.

Now TEN non-negotiable demands from the sub-human, sadistic vermin terrorists or the the United States of America defaults on its debt obligations.


Next week their will be ten more demands and tens of millions more hostages.

Bring in the Kenyan Police Force and take the Mall down and liquidate the scum murderers.

Do it now.

Abraham Lincoln would kill the vermin f*cks.

Abraham Lincoln would have shipped the freed slaves to Liberia, on the theory they weren't fit to live in the company of whites, so they should go be free somewhere else. Don't know why you have such a high opinion of him, perhaps it's because he's fundamentally like RFK: Got assassinated before he could totally ruin his reputation.

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