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September 28, 2015

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If credit agencies drop the US credit rating another notch or so, there's a ton of institutional investors that will be forced to disinvest. Assuming rules don't get 'reinterpreted' or something similar.

How many shutdowns/credit crises are needed before the congresscritters get hauled out in the street and beaten to death with shovels? The GOP seems to be determined to find out.

In the comments about Speaker Boehner’s plan to step down next month, one consistent theme has been that at least this will allow him to avert a government shutdown this week. The reason being that he won’t have to worry about getting a leadership challenge when he makes the inevitable decision to pass a bill with Democratic votes, he can just bring the bill to the floor and pass it. So he can just do it.

And Boehner could raise the debt ceiling by doing the same thing. There's no reason to wait until the current borrowing authority runs out. Unless the votes aren't there now, but not sure why they would be there for avoiding a shutdown and not the debt ceiling.

I think the assumption they're making is that the consequences of any credit crisis will be blamed on Obama and by extension Democrats, and they will come out ahead. They certainly made hay out of it the last time a credit downgrade happened.

Ugh, sure, he could. But is there any sign that he might be planning to do so?

They certainly made hay out of it the last time a credit downgrade happened.

That they made points with their base, I don't doubt. But is there any evidence (might be, and I just haven't come across it) that the Republicans in Congress convinced anybody outside their base that it was anyone's fault but theirs?

The only thing that McArdle has ever written that made any any damnned sense at all.

The only thing that McArdle has ever written that made any any damnned sense at all.

Ugh, sure, he could. But is there any sign that he might be planning to do so?

Why would he be planning on avoiding a government shutdown then?

I think the assumption they're making is that the consequences of any credit crisis will be blamed on Obama and by extension Democrats

Disagree. It strikes me they believe they can win implementation of their policies (repleal of Obamacare, for one example) by getting the Senate Democrats and the President to simply surrender.

They believe this is a feasible negotiating strategy. They are delusional.

Why would he be planning on avoiding a government shutdown then?

One day/crisis at a time?

And the best line in McArdle's article: "If I want outcomes closer to my preferences, then the primary problem is not the folks in office, but the preferences of the average American voter. Focusing your attention on politicians, instead of the hearts and minds of your fellow citizens, is like attempting to fix a faulty car engine by swapping out the dashboard gauges."

Although perhaps the problem is that it is hard (impossible) for some folks to believe that the vast majority of their fellow citizens are not already in substantial agreement with all of their manifold positions on the issues.

FWIW, the folks we are talking about - the harder-core conservatives in the (R) party - seem, to me, to be textbook fundamentalists.

Not religious fundamentalists (necessarily), but social or political ones.

Fundamentalists are not interested in compromise, they are not interested in your point of view in any meaningful sense. They are convinced of their own rightness, and quite often are kind of OK with burning the place down if that's the only alternative to them having their point of view prevail.

So, not so much 'apres nous, le deluge', but more 'soit nous, ou le deluge'.

It's a mindset, and a stance toward the exchange of ideas that values battle (whether win or lose) over achieving the best available result, whatever that might be.

If you blow the place up, at least you went down fighting.

I don't agree much with Boehner, but IMO the man did his job. He had respect for the institutions and processes of governance. I'm sorry he's leaving, but I can't say I blame him.

The man is 65, almost 66. At a certain point, you just get too old for certain kinds of BS.

I hope he gets to relax and play a lot of golf.

One day/crisis at a time?

Possibly, but I'm just saying all the reasons for Boehner's resignation to lessen the possibility of a shutdown equally apply to the debt limit, except that the shutdown comes first. But if Boehner is really worried about the long term effect on the GOP, is no longer hostage to his rather righty House GOP members, etc., why not raise the debt ceiling too (or even instead of)?

No, there should not be another government shutdown, ever.

And refusing to extend the debt limit (get rid of the debt limit; it's a mockery), holding hostages, and deliberately risking another ratcheting down of the Nation's debt ratings, should result in catastrophic savage violence on a national scale against the perpetrators and their families.

It's not governance. It's despicable, criminal mayhem.

Count, if you've got a way to keep the crazies from doing any of those things, please share.

Otherwise, as so often in the world, we are stuck with trying to decide which is the least bad option.

No, I don't have a way.

But only because I'm not crazy enough yet.

ISIS is crazy. Putin is nominally crazy, like a fox. The crazy caucus in the Republican Party is crazy. I have a brother who is crazy.

There's not much room left for tip-toeing around any of them.

No, I don't have a way.

But only because I'm not crazy enough yet.

ISIS is crazy. Putin is nominally crazy, like a fox. The crazy caucus in the Republican Party is crazy. I have a brother who is crazy.

There's not much room left for tip-toeing around any of them.

No, I don't have a way.

But only because I'm not crazy enough yet.

ISIS is crazy. Putin is nominally crazy, like a fox. The crazy caucus in the Republican Party is crazy. I have a brother who is crazy.

There's not much room left for tip-toeing around any of them.

My browser is crazy.

The Count's "free repetition of doubtful words" (an old British joke, dating from when we had telegrams) emboldens me to say that maybe I'm not the only one having problems with the site for the last 48 hours: frequently there's nothing in the sidebars, and sometimes nothing in the main body under the heading, and clicking on the most recent "recent comment" doesn't get you there the way it used to. I had assumed it was my (quite old) computer, or my lo-tech non-performance of obvious fixes, but it is happening on my phone too. Is anybody else having trouble, or is it just me?

Me too, exactly.

But I'm having a problem with Firefox "not responding" as well.

In the meantime, crazy is told to shut up:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2015/09/29/cruz-controlled/

Won't work. Didn't work for Lincoln either.


Nope, it's not just you.

Seriously irritating -- and I would probably be more irritated if it hadn't happened to me before on a couple of occasions. But it seems to be the price we pay for cheap blog-hosting.

My browser is crazy.

I had simply assumed that what you tell us three times is true.

Three sources! CONFIRMED! :)

Doesn't repeating something three times only make it true if it is said more loudly each time?

@wj: true, TRUE, TRUE!

For what it's worth, I think I solved my Firefox problem by refreshing it back to the factory settings and shouting at it three times.

At least you didn't accidentally say Beetlejuice three times!

should result in catastrophic savage violence on a national scale against the perpetrators and their families.

no thanks.

and yes, i know it's just schtick. but for the record, we're coloring outside the posting rules lines here.

cream pies only, please. seltzer bottles (slowly I turned!) also OK.

catastropic savage violence on a national scale, no please. unless you're Marvin the Martian, then all bets are off.

I don't get it. Why would the so-called moderate Republicans do anything different? How many times do they have to learn the same lesson? If they want to be regarded as sane then let them act sane. I'm getting tired of these guys, and their supporters too. If there are only 50 or so of these lunatics in the House - a number I hear every now and then - then let the other GOPer's throw them overboard. No having it both ways. The term "sane Republican" is meaningless until that starts happening.

No shutdown. It's not trivial. Sure, it looks that way from some perspectives, but not if, say, it screws up your vacation, or affects you in any one of a dozen other ways.

Besides, it's a tactic that should be off the table.

A majority of people? Where?

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2015/09/qotd-ben-carson.html

Ah, but, my politically correct little Mother, it is but an innocent swastika? Why must it upset your tender sensibilities to such a degree? Please, heraus a little to the left, meine Liebchen.

A majority of people south of the Mason-Dixon flew the Confederate flag. The traitors/slave owners replaced the Stars and Stripes with it.

How could Lincoln be so politically correct to deny the majority.

Presumably, burning a KKK cross in a neighborhood where the majority approves of the practice is the politically correct thing to do.

This man could tweeze apart the most delicate parts of the human brain at one time. And yet he doesn't seem to know the slightest use of his own except lunatic, demagogic stupidity.

You get enough brains together without posting rules, like these filth are doing, and all the king's cream pies and all the king's seltzer bottles, step by step, won't be able to put Humpty America back together again.

Are we ready for a follower of Sharia Law to become Speaker of the House?

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2015/09/are-we-ready-for-duggar-as-speaker-of.html

perhaps the problem is that it is hard (impossible) for some folks to believe that the vast majority of their fellow citizens are not already in substantial agreement with all of their manifold positions on the issues.

I don't think they care who is or isn't in agreement with them.

I'm agreement with byomotov. "Sane Republicans" can end this shutdown madness any time they want to. All they have to do is elect a speaker whose willing to ignore the Hastert rule. Then they can easily pass bills with Dem votes as needed. But this ridiculous "majority of the majority" rule makes them and the entire country hostage to idiots who think playing chicken with economic disaster is hilarious.

Of course, this won't happen because any Rep voting for a sane speaker will be primaried. I'd be interested to hear why that threat has become so much more powerful of late; my best guess is that Citizens United has unleashed a boatload of crazy-billionaire money that can easily be targeted at small local races.

But there ought to be a fair amount of business-Republican money available to stand off the crazies.

After all, letting them blow up the economy has to be bad for business. And most people running big companies ought to be able to see that. They might prefer not to spend their money defending sanity in Republican primaries. But if they decide that they have to, they can.

It's crazy billionaire money and crazy zerollinaire votes.

It;s uniquely, exceptionally deadly. And American

Elected Republicans fear big money groups that have collected scalps in primaries past. Note that sane-business-groups did not come to Eric Cantor's rescue. The people who drive reps' primary-ing fear are tea-party and anti-government groups and there is no counterforce to balance them.

For all that he got attacked from the right, Cantor wasn't really anything like a moderate, business-oriented Republican. So the fact that sane-business-groups didn't step up to support him doesn't really prove much.

It proves that when cannibals dine, they'll eat even the ones who taste bad.

Count: "when cannibals dine on GOP clowns, they'll eat even the ones who taste funny."

FIFY!

Could it be, that after 2016, the Republican Party gets renamed "The Donner Party"?

One can but hope.

Maybe we could set up some kind of reservation system for all of the folks who object to federal intrusion in their lives and/or don't recognize federal authority.

Don't want to live under the oppressive federal boot-heel? Go live on the rez. No federal authority there.

O brave new world, that has such people in't!

But Russell, do you think we could really get some "code talkers" out of those reservations next time we need them?

I mean, I realize that they are adept at putting coded messages in what they say today. But would that really survive if they weren't having to constantly interact with the rest of us?

But Russell, do you think we could really get some "code talkers" out of those reservations next time we need them?

Need them for what?

At the extreme, we are talking about people who think the POTUS needs to defer to their county sheriff.

At the not extreme at all, we're talking about people who consider whatever state they live in to be a sovereign entity, and consider the Constitutional opinions of their local authorities to be superior to, and of greater authority than, those of the SCOTUS.

Basically, we're talking about people who would see a return to something like the Articles of Confederation as a good thing.

They find the authority of the federal government to be oppressive and offensive, an unacceptable burden on their personal liberties.

IMO, let's give them some land and let them do their thing. Whatever it might be that we would "need them" for, I can find a way to do without.

And yes, I'm mostly making a joke here, but only mostly.

If they want out, I say let them go. If they want to continue to be part of the American polity, they need to understand that there are other people in it, who aren't like them, and who have interests that aren't just like theirs.

Staying in, and breaking stuff every time you don't get your way, is not really a workable solution.

The country may be too large, and too diverse, to run democratically anymore. We can't agree about anything to a degree sufficient to get anything done in a sensible way, so we do everything in the most half-assed way possible. And then, we all bitch about it.

There are issues of enormous importance to deal with, and we spend enormous time and effort arguing about the most inane BS imaginable.

For example:

The Benghazi "investigation" is now the longest running congressional investigation of all time. Longer than the investigations into Iran-Contra, Pearl Harbor, or Hurricane Katrina.

Longer than Watergate or the Kennedy assassination. WATERGATE OR THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION. Don't believe me, you can look it up.

It's hard to get a clear accounting of what it has cost, but it's 7 or 8 figures, and still mounting up.

Here's what Benghazi was about. I'll break it down for you.

We had an embassy in Libya. Libya at the time in question was a violent chaotic sh*tstorm. Some guys who don't like us attacked the embassy. it wasn't immediately clear what was going on, so the initial public statements from the administration were confused and in some cases incorrect.

There you go. You can send me a check for $5M, we'll call it done, and everyone can go home. I'll split the money with the kid who mows my lawn, whose uncle was one of the guys killed.

But, naturally, the whole f***ing circus act is going to have to run it's course. There are still some folks who haven't gotten enough face time yet.

It's government by ankle-biting, and it's not effective.

I'm tired of angry knuckleheads running the show, or at least not letting anybody sane run the show.

Give them their own place and let them run it however they want.

I was thinking about the Navajo code talkers in WW II. Makes a code which would be hard even for today's big computers to break.

I'm guessing russell knew that, wj, but was so disgusted/disbelieving at the thought of anybody ever needing them again for anything useful (unlike the Navajo code talkers) he rode right on.

I don't think "speaking in dog-whistles" counts as a code.

Isn't the "lawless reservation" scenario out of something Heinlein wrote, way back when? But really, the question is "how many people would sign up for it"?

If it's a few thousand, then give them Gitmo. I'm sure they could find a use for all that "not called torture, but REALLY IS TORTURE" equipment, enforcing purity in their ranks.

If it's a few million, give them some (or all) of South Carolina, starting on the coast and some distance inland. Advantage: it's on the East Coast, so any fallout would drift out to sea. First to secede also, too.

They find the authority of the federal government to be oppressive and offensive, an unacceptable burden on their personal liberties.

IMO, let's give them some land and let them do their thing. Whatever it might be that we would "need them" for, I can find a way to do without.

Also, it seems to me these are the same people most likely to say "America! Love it or leave!"

Snarki, you can go back further in scifi and find the reservations-as-refuge-from-big-gov't idea. As I oblique alluded to.

Should be leave "it." Feh.

CSPOA - The Last Line of Defence

:)

But GftNC, what's the point of having reservations if you can't use the natives for something later? Might as well just come right out and call it Coventry, to use Snarki's suggestion. Not sure how we manage the Barrier -- although the demanded wall on the Mexican border might provide a concept....

Still I have to say I think that, rather than just pick on South Carolina for the sins of (some of) their ancestors, we ought to take a survey to see where the greatest concentration of today's haters of the Federal government are. Might not even be a state, just part of one.

I'm guessing russell knew that, wj

Yes. The horse was there and saddled, so off I went.

Isn't the "lawless reservation" scenario out of something Heinlein wrote

I'm not talking about lawless, I'm just talking about people living whatever way suits them.

Also, it seems to me these are the same people most likely to say "America! Love it or leave!"

If they want to call themselves "America" or some variant thereof, all fine with me.

CSPOA - The Last Line of Defense

Yep. That's what I'm talking about.

SC license plate logo: "first in flight".

Love those double meanings...

wj, I was thinking of the Barrier as a sort of cordon sanitaire. I guess the usefulness might be as a sort of future innoculating agent?

Snarki, that's North Carolina's license plates, not South Carolina's. And since Kitty Hawk is in North Carolina, they actually have a point.

Some of us would rather just build a wall on the Potomac rather than the Rio Grande.

Blaming everything on "Washington" is just pointing a finger at our collective selves.

Folks are there because we sent them there.

Some of us would rather just build a wall on the Potomac rather than the Rio Grande.

Yes, I hear Steve King has proposed this legislation, one of the few bills he has managed to cobble together in a dozen years in office. What a dynamo!

But some of us are wondering which side of the wall he wants to be on.

It's an interesting image. We build a wall around Washington. Then we elect people to go there who can never come back again -- after all, what is a wall for? Enthusiasm for being elected to Congress seems likely to nosedive as a result.

Some of us will blow up every wall some of you build.

http://americasvoice.org/content/king_expose/

wj: SC vs NC, well drat, should have checked.

Hey, blame them for not coming up with more distinguishable state names.

OMG! I knew nothing about this guy, this sort of thing is presumably not news to you all:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/10/01/1426550/-Rachel-Maddow-exposes-Kevin-McCarthy-Speaker-in-waiting-channeling-Sarah-Palin

GftNC: What, you think we have nothing better to do than follow the poo-flinging antics in the monkey cage?

Sure, every year or four we'll go to the zoo, rest our feet while sitting in the primate House, and watch the little buggers as they screech at each other, chase around for no discernible reason, and yes, fling poo.

The resemblance to congressional behavior is depressing yet seemingly inevitable. If the NRA supplied fresh fruit, those monkeys would vote for their free-range relatives to be turned into bush-meat, you betcha.

Sorry, I seem to be channeling Count this morning.

But Child of Loki, Sarah Palin didn't actually become vice-president! Surely if this character actually makes it to third-in-line, your parent's intervention has gone too far!

[email protected]:01

I think the primary threat gets its effectiveness from the last redistricting / gerrymandering (2010?). As I recall the GOP got to redraw the political districts and did so to the extent they were likely to own the House until the next census at least. The GOP incumbents figured they were set for ten years on easy street.

Thing is, it turned out that a district where no Democrat can beat a moderate Republican, is a district where that moderate is no longer Republican enough, and can always be attacked and replaced by someone a little bit Righter.

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