Posted 4 months ago on Aug. 5, 2013, 6:52 p.m. EST by WSmith
from Cornelius, OR
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Saboteurs in the Potato Salad ~ GOP JIHAD '13/'14!!!
By TIMOTHY EGAN
Just now, a cell of several hundred people has been dispatched into the American summer, to picnics, town halls, radio stations, hospitals and Little League playing fields, with a mission to derail the economic recovery and drum up support for sabotaging federal law. They’re not terrorists, nor are they agents of a foreign government. This is your United States Congress, the Republican House, on recess for the next five weeks.
They even have a master plan, a 31-page kit put together by the House Republican Conference, for every member to follow while back home with the folks. It’s called “Fighting Washington for all Americans,” and includes a prototype op-ed piece, with a political version of the line usually reserved for dumping lovers: “This isn’t about me. It’s about you.”
Here’s a sample suggestion, from Page 28, of how to stage a phony public meeting with business owners:
“Confirm the theme(s) prior to the event and make sure the participants will be 100 percent on message. (Note: while they do not have to be Republicans, they need to be able to discuss the negative effects of Obamacare on their employees.)”
And what if I have a child with cancer, and the insurance company plans to dump him if Republicans stop Obamacare in its tracks? Can I attend? Or what if I’m counting on buying into the new health care exchanges in my state, saving hundreds of dollars on my insurance bill?
The kit has an answer: planting supporters, with prescreened softball questions, will ensure that such things never get asked. More important, this tactic will assure that any meeting with the dreaded public will go “in the direction that is most beneficial to the member,” as the blueprint states. I thought this wasn’t about you.
Oh, and Republicans should be sure to “engage with all demographics,” the memo insists. It’s very specific about what that means: Asians, Latinos and women. Blacks aren’t mentioned. Lost cause. But millennials are included, because nothing works with young people like inauthenticity.
The planning kit’s instructions on how Republicans are to talk about the economy call to mind old Soviet bromides about record wheat harvests. The most loathed Congress in the history of polling has this message: “We’re working to spur economic growth and create more jobs.”
They’re not, of course. Not by any measure. Just the opposite. Their brinkmanship on the budget will probably cost 750,000 jobs this year, and about 900,000 next year, by the estimate of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
In truth, the biggest drag on a recovering economy is this Congress. The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, his candor increasing as his term winds down, said as much in his last appearances on the Hill. He faulted members for austerity and inaction.
But those obstructions were cotton candy in the spokes of a trike compared to what Republicans are planning when they return from five weeks of Potemkin politics. Unable to stop the Affordable Care Act by the normal rules of a democracy — e.g., the Supreme Court, or winning a national election — a core group of leading Republicans now plan to sabotage the law.
If the president doesn’t agree to halt operating funds for his signature achievement on the eve of its implementation, Republicans may shut down the government, throwing thousands of people out of work and disrupting a huge part of the economy. This could leave millions of the uninsured in the dark, and create chaos at hospitals and businesses.
As a further blackmailing tactic, Republicans are also threatening to stop paying the bills on things that they already agreed to pay for — the basic services of government. They would shutter national parks, defund federal law enforcement, slow Social Security payments. Fun stuff.
You won’t hear it from the saboteurs, but this economy is truly getting better. Over seven million new jobs have been created in the last 40 months, and this year is shaping up to be the best one for private-sector job growth since 1999. The stock market is at a record high. The housing market is robust again. The federal deficit is falling at the fastest rate in 60 years. And in June, the government actually ran a $116 billion surplus — that is, took in that much more than it spent.
But there are at least four million long-term unemployed Americans. The Great Recession did permanent damage to their lives and their families. Wages are stagnant; the cost of living is not. The price of college, the best elevator to the middle class, is cruelly high, forcing a generation of young people to carry oppressive debt for the first decade or so of their adult lives. If there was even a modest effort by Republicans to meet the president halfway on helping people with the big things in life, this Congress would not be polling at a level reserved for disbarred lawyers. Instead, those barren lawmakers have chosen to stage fake meetings with fake citizens, all to keep the government from performing any meaningful duties. How low can they go? Watch. But keep a safe distance.
Republicans Against Reality
By PAUL KRUGMAN | Published: August 4, 2013
Last week House Republicans voted for the 40th time to repeal Obamacare. Like the previous 39 votes, this action will have no effect whatsoever. But it was a stand-in for what Republicans really want to do: repeal reality, and the laws of arithmetic in particular. The sad truth is that the modern G.O.P. is lost in fantasy, unable to participate in actual governing.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about policy substance. I may believe that Republicans have their priorities all wrong, but that’s not the issue here. Instead, I’m talking about their apparent inability to accept very basic reality constraints, like the fact that you can’t cut overall spending without cutting spending on particular programs, or the fact that voting to repeal legislation doesn’t change the law when the other party controls the Senate and the White House.
Am I exaggerating? Consider what went down in Congress last week. [NO!!!]
Governor to launch new purge of Florida voter rolls
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, pictured, will soon launch a new hunt for noncitizens on Florida's voter roll, a move that's sure to provoke new cries of a voter "purge" as Scot ramps up his own re-election effort. Devon Ravine / AP file
BY STEVE BOUSQUET and MICHAEL VAN SICKLER
TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott will soon launch a new hunt for noncitizens on Florida’s voter roll, a move that’s sure to provoke new cries of a voter “purge” as Scott ramps up his own re-election effort.
Maher Implores 'Super-Rich' Liberals to 'Get in the Game' Post-Citizens United
From this Friday evening's New Rules segment, Bill Maher had some suggestions for "super-rich" liberals about what to do to combat the likes of the "Koch brother from another mother" who has turned North Carolina into wingnut land, Art Pope.
MAHER: New Rule, it's time for America to get off the sidelines and support a proud people in a region where religious freedom, women's rights and democracy itself hang in the balance. I'm talking of course about North Carolina. […]
Maher went on to remind the audience about the damage that Citizens United has done, where it's allowed someone like Pope to buy an entire state and told the audience what he thinks should be done about it. MAHER: In the post-Citizens United world, it's no longer our ideas vs. their ideas or even our base vs. their base. It's our super-rich vs. their super-rich and theirs are winning. Which means ours have got to get in the game.