The debt limit is a routine vote that Congress must periodically make to authorize payment on debts the government has incurred. It has no impact on the budget, but the failure to lift the debt ceiling means the U.S. government would go into default, a potentially disastrous event. Republicans used the threat of default to extract fiscal-policy concessions from the Obama administration in 2011, and they've attempted to repeat this hostage-taking periodically since. Some Republicans attempt to use as leverage the very credible belief that they are loopy enough to potentially set off a worldwide economic meltdown. South Carolina Republican Mick Mulvaney tells the New York Times, “I’ll play chicken with you every time. You think I am crazy, and I know you are not.” (I prefer to be governed by political parties whose leading members can answer questions about their sanity unambiguously, but your mileage may vary.) ...Chait,NYMag
Kevin McCarthy, the California shoo-in for Boehner's old job as Speaker, had dropped out.
As shocked members left the room there was a sense of total disarray, with no clear path forward and no set date for a new vote. Representative Peter King, Republican of New York, said that in dropping out of race, Mr. McCarthy said, “I’m not the one to unify the party.”
A group of about 40 hard-line House conservatives announced Wednesday night that they would support Representative Daniel Webster of Florida, making it unclear whether Mr. McCarthy, who is from California, could assemble the 218 votes on the floor that he would need to be elected later this month.
The decision put the House of Representatives into a state of disarray just days from the first and most serious of a series of fiscal deadlines. ...NYT
As ye sow, so shall ye reap... or something. The Times reminds us this isn't just a political Punch and Judy show. There Are Consequences.
The Treasury Department has said it will exhaust its authority to borrow money to fund the government on Nov. 5. If Congress does not raise or suspend the government’s statutory borrowing limit, the government would default on its debt days later, risking economic chaos, soaring interest rates and plunging stock prices. ...NYT
Doncha just love the Republican idea of responsible governance? Not to mention their neon self-importance?
It's beginning to look as though Benghazi -- a factor in the McCarthy step-down -- is doing more damage to the Republican party than it can ever hope to do to Clinton.
McCarthy had faced sharp criticism from conservatives following his comments on Fox News last week, in which he suggested that a special House committee on the Benghazi terrorist attacks was created to bring down Hillary Clinton. The ensuing uproar emboldened the party’s right wing, who endorsed a challenger to McCarthy and threatened to block his ascension as speaker. ...Berman,Atlantic
What we do know, he said, is that the best way to predict ecosystem survival is to look at the stability of its food web: Who eats who? What species hold it together? What species, like the small vertebrates of the end-Permian food webs, can it afford to lose? Protecting a beloved animal — the giant panda, the American bison — could prove futile if we don’t also protect the community it’s a part of. ...WaPo
Peter Roopnarine, a geologist who has studied past extinctions on this planet, has solved the mystery: "who dies and who survives" depends on your food chain. And, as we know all too well, we are killing the environment that gives us our food.
“What’s happening today is different than the mass extinction 250 million years ago,” Roopnarine said. “In terms of over-exploitation, climate change, habitat loss and landscape destruction, we’re going well beyond what any species have any experience with.”...WaPo
You've gotta wonder. Could be we're seeing a significant turnaround -- or measure of desperation -- on the Democratic side of the 2016 vote.
Russell Berman sees Hil's declaration of non-support of the TPP as "an important marker in the 2016 race, as Clinton formally abandons the trade legacy of two Democratic presidents—her husband and her former boss."
And it might be the clearest sign that Clinton is really worried about the challenge she faces from Bernie Sanders, a vociferous opponent of TPP, and the potential for one from Vice President Joe Biden, who supports the agreement. ...Berman,Atlantic
Whose big moment is this? Hil's or Sanders'?
It’s a much different strategy than the one she pursued, unsuccessfully, in 2008, when she always seemed to have one eye on the general election. This time around, Clinton is determined not to let Sanders get between her and a Democratic base that views her skeptically, even if it means undermining a key legacy item for Obama. The Republicans will just have to wait. ...Berman,Atlantic
Republicans don't "wait." They have a habit of plunging on, covered in cosmetics, looking ridiculous and frightening.
Of course, that's perfectly fair. After all, the widespread voter fraud that's killing elections in the US comes largely from voters within African-American communities nationwide. You can hardly blame Republicans -- the principle victims of this crime wave -- for doing what they can to change the rules.
As a result, some states are taking practical steps to close down the ability of those crooks to spoil elections.
Barely one year after Alabama’s voter-ID law went into effect, officials are planning to close 31 driver’s license offices across the state, including those in every county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters.
It’s ostensibly a cost-cutting effort, but coupled with the voter-ID law, these closings will make it even more difficult for many of the state’s most vulnerable voters to get one of the most common forms of identification now required to cast a vote.
Like voter-ID laws elsewhere, Alabama’s version requires voters to bring a government-issued photo ID to the polls. The rationale is that these laws are necessary to stop voter fraud. The problem is that in-person fraud — the only kind that voter-ID laws could conceivably prevent — almost never happens. Still, these laws have proliferated around the country, nearly always enacted by Republican-controlled legislatures at the expense of minorities, the poor and other groups who tend to vote Democratic. ...NYT,EditorialBoard
An ugly bill emerging from the Republican side of the House is meeting resistance among Senate Republicans. The bill couples the funding of Planned Parenthood with the funding of Obamacare.
A politically charged budget package moving in the House this week is creating a headache for Senate Republicans.
The package, which under budget reconciliation rules cannot be filibustered, will block money for Planned Parenthood and gut ObamaCare.
The problem: It’s unclear whether Senate Republicans can gather the 51 votes needed to approve it.
Three Senate Republicans are on record as opposing an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood. ...TheHill
A whole bunch of Republican Senators are facing re-election in 2016. They don't like this squeeze. After all, polls are showing the steady growth of support for Obamacare and, indeed, its expansion. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is polling considerably better than the NRA.
It is definitely not okay when a kid who's home with the blues decides to take a pretty sophisticated bunch of defensive weaponry into a school for little kids and shoot 'em dead. The shock waves from the regular revisiting of that action and others much like it has America edgy and (often) defensive... especially when America (and not some crazy perp on home soil) does it in plain view of the whole world.
When America does mass murder overseas, "patriots" are confused and often defensive. Depending, of course, on which political party can be tagged with the crime.).
So here we are, caught once again with our fingerprints all over the weapon and no possibility of escape from the hard truth that we are guilty of another atrocity in Afghanistan.
Under the rules, airstrikes are authorized to kill terrorists, protect American troops and help Afghans who request support in battles — like those in Kunduz, recently taken over by the Taliban — that can change the military landscape. The idea is to give troops leeway but keep Americans out of daily, open-ended combat.
The Special Operations Forces most likely did not meet any of the criteria ...NYT
"Meeting criteria" is one way of putting it! Wanton ("justified"!) bombing and burning down a hospital is what actually took place. As the rest of the story leaks out, it's pure military gobbledegook.
...The Special Operations Forces most likely did not meet any of the criteria the commander, Gen. John F. Campbell, has said in private discussions, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. ...NYT
The right wants to know: did the president sign off on this? Did he even know? Huh? Did Obozo order the destruction of innocents? Can we pin this on him?
Any movie with Don Cheadle doing anything is automatically top of my list. I have yet to get over "Boogie Nights."
Now along comes what the Times sees as an overdue Oscar for Cheadle in "Miles Ahead."
Anyone who wants to get a jump on possible Oscar nominees for 2017 — as I said, it’s never too soon! — should check out “Miles Ahead,” the closing-night film, directed by Don Cheadle, who also stars as the jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. Blending musical biopic standards (ill-starred marriage, drug addiction, record-company shenanigans) with caper-movie riffs (pistol-whippings, car chases, sketchy deals with shady characters), “Miles Ahead” at its best is as witty and knowing as Mr. Cheadle’s sly, whispery performance. The music is pretty good, too. ...NYT
The ACLU of Southern California has been working to understand how many people have been killed by law enforcement in America’s most populous state. What they found is alarming. Over a six-year period that ended in 2014, California’s Department of Justice recorded 610 instances of law enforcement committing homicide “in the process of arrest.”
That figure is far from perfect. It excludes some homicides in 2014 that are still being investigated. And it understates the actual number of people killed by police officers and sheriffs deputies in other ways. For example, after Dante Parker was mistaken for a criminal, stunned with a Taser at least 25 times, hog-tied face down, and denied medical care, California authorities classified his death as “accidental.”