Saturday, April 29, 2023

Shutdown Countdown, Armageddon Edition, Con't

Folks like Alex Shephard at TNR continue to believe that Kevin McCarthy and the House GOP are trying to run a hostage negotiation and that they are doing it badly, and while that would be true if McCarthy was actually trying to play the standard Washington kabuki script, that's not what is actually going on.

What McCarthy and the Circus of the Damned are actually doing is trying to crash the economy so that America blames Biden and elects the GOP to power in 2024. If you accept they will not negotiate and will kill as many hostages as possible until their terms are 100% met, everything they are doing makes complete sense.
McCarthy has been more or less open about the fact that this is not a real bill. “This bill is to get us to the negotiations,” he said on Tuesday. “It is not the final provisions, and there’s a number of members who will vote for it going forward to say there are some concerns they have with it. But they want to make sure the negotiation goes forward because we are sitting at $31 trillion of debt.”

This bill may get the Republican Party to those negotiations over raising the debt limit, which must be done by early June or the United States will face potentially calamitous economic consequences. It’s hard to assess what the outcome of potential negotiations will be, especially since the White House’s position is “Send a clean debt limit bill, or pound sand.” What is clear, however, is that this bill is a disaster for Republicans.

It is not being treated that way everywhere. The New York Times’ Carl Hulse, who should know better, described it as “a narrow win but a win for Speaker Kevin McCarthy nonetheless.” Politico’s Playbook, meanwhile, declared that this was a coronation of sorts, an occasion in which McCarthy “proved his naysayers wrong.” I suppose if you squint a certain way, you can see it, but these laurels should actually be seen as participation trophies.

Sure, if McCarthy had failed to get anything across the line he would have looked completely incompetent, even by the standards of recent Republican House leaders. Nevertheless, a bill filled with devastating cuts and manifestly unpopular positions is arguably worse than getting anything done at all. The GOP passed a messaging bill that provides Democrats with the better message, something that they can use to hurt the GOP in swing districts for the next two years; a bill that shows that Republicans’ ultimate goal is to gut health care and food stamps and education—and even veterans benefits. There is no universe in which a clean bill, raising the debt ceiling and moving on, isn’t more politically advantageous for the GOP.

The whole sorry episode has only shown that Kevin McCarthy just isn’t good at this. It’s never been entirely clear why he wanted to be speaker of the House in the first place. It’s always been clear, however, that he is not up to the task. To gain the gavel, McCarthy had to make a series of humiliating, enfeebling concessions to his far-right flank that more or less disempowered him. Now, put in a position where he needed to get something done, he once again had to cave to the same right flank—indeed, it was Matt Gaetz, who had previously relished holding back McCarthy’s ascendence to the speakership, who forced him to add more draconian Medicaid work requirements to the bill.

McCarthy essentially wakes up every morning conscripted into a race to the bottom by those in his party with the worst political instincts and ideas. This should not be particularly surprising to McCarthy, but his abject supplication is nevertheless notable
. This bill does not matter. It will not pass. It is not intended to pass. Republicans had an opportunity to aim a productive salvo at swing voters, the better to convince them that GOP majorities can deliver prosperity, and giving them some sign that the party was tacking back from the heights of extremism that alienated voters in the last midterm elections. Instead, the message being sent is that the party is all about owning the libs and slashing aid for veterans and the poor. The GOP can’t even fake being a party interested in governing anymore. That’s bad news for the man stuck presiding over this clown show.
Again, the problem is the assumption that the goal is to get to a negotiation without crashing the economy, and that's completely wrong, and the more quickly people realize this, the fewer people suffer.
This isn't a hostage negotiation, it's a hostage execution with manufactured post-facto justification. Republicans are admitting as such as Paul Davies at WaPo explains:

“However you want to frame it, we’ve got to sit down and talk. And so I think it’s critically important that all the parties sit down, at the White House with the president, and start having these conversations. And they should meet every single day until they get there, together,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), co-chairman of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, told reporters Friday.

But those House Democrats, having lost the majority in last November’s elections, lack the leverage to actually start such talks. Instead, from the relatively moderate Coons to a fiery liberal like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senate Democrats view even a modest concession, such as a relatively powerless debt commission, as a reward for taking this hostage.

“The problem with that approach is that it signals to the rest of the world that America’s commitment to paying its debts is contingent on some underlying political negotiation over spending that is otherwise too damn contentious to get through on its own,” Warren told reporters Thursday.

But this Democratic approach seems to assure that little will happen until the deadline draws perilously close and then, at that momentous hour, assumes House Republicans will cave out of fear for getting blamed for tanking the economy.

That strategy, so far, is nowhere close to working. House Republicans in swing districts are digging in for a protracted fight and expressing little interest in passing a so-called clean debt hike. They are demanding spending cuts that will begin to rein in the debt.

“It’s certain that if we don’t raise the debt ceiling our economy will crash, but if we don’t do things to limit spending, our economy will also crash,” said Rep. Nick LaLota, one of six New York Republicans on the Democratic target list for next year’s elections. “Reasonable people should adopt that dual-pronged understanding.”

“We have to negotiate. Passing a clean debt ceiling [hike] is not going to happen. He’s going to have to meet us partway,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), whose district favored Biden by 6 percentage points in 2020, recently told reporters.

Democrats also seem to be betting that Senate Republicans will step in as more mature political actors and defuse this situation, but even one of the most productive dealmakers is supporting McCarthy’s approach.

“This bill is not the final deal, but it opens the door for a negotiated deal,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said Thursday.

Cassidy noted that in past fiscal showdowns, the perceived victor tended to be the one that made the other party look most reckless.

“Partly the public perception of this is going to be really important,” he said.
To recap, Republicans are looking to see how many hostages they can kill and still come out looking like the good guys. The second Democrats give in, that number goes up to "everyone".

Republicans believe they can win the political standoff by making Biden and Democrats look petty by refusing a basic negotiation. Fresh off his narrow win on his debt bill, McCarthy held a valedictory news conference Wednesday evening in Statuary Hall.

“The Democrats need to do their job. The president can no longer ignore [us] by not negotiating,” McCarthy said.

Welcome To Gunmerica, Con't

It's not that America can't do anything about the 400 million guns in the country, it's that we purposely choose not to do anything about it.

Five people are dead after being shot in a Texas home by a suspect armed with AR-15 style rifle in a horrific series of "execution style" shootings, police said.

The incident occurred at 11:31 p.m. local time when officials from the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office received a call about harassment in the town of Cleveland, about 55 miles north of Houston.

When authorities arrived at the location, they found several victims shot at the property, police said.

The youngest victim in the shooting was 8 years old and two female victims were discovered in the bedroom lying on top of two surviving children, authorities told ABC News.

Police said they believe the massacre occurred after neighbors asked the suspect to stop shooting his gun in the front yard because there was a baby trying to sleep.

"My understanding is that the victims, they came over to the fence and said 'Hey could [you not do your] shooting out in the yard? We have a young baby that's trying to go to sleep," and he had been drinking and he says 'I'll do what I want to in my front yard,'" San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told KTRK.

He said that authorities believed some of the victims were trying to shield their children -- with bodies found on top of children who were unharmed

"In my opinion, they were actually trying to take care of the babies and keep them babies alive," Capers told KTRK.

A federal judge has temporarily blocked an assault weapons ban in Illinois, ruling that multiple plaintiffs who sued alleging that the law violates their Second Amendment rights have a “reasonable likelihood” to succeed in their argument.

U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn issued a preliminary injunction on Friday against the state’s Protect Illinois Communities Act (PICA), which Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed into law in January to ban the sale and distribution of assault-style weapons, high capacity-magazines and switches that convert handguns into assault-style firearms.

The ruling comes after another federal judge rejected a request to block the law earlier this week.

McGlynn, a Trump appointee, said his ruling is not a final decision on the merits of the case, but he found that the individuals, gun shop, gun range and firearm industry trade association that sued met their burden for an injunction to be issued.

The ruling was issued in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision last year in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which struck down a New York law requiring that applicants for concealed carry permits show “proper cause.” The majority ruled that gun control measures need to be consistent with the country’s “historical tradition.”
That "historical tradition" is our 400-year history as a white supremacist nation, and lethal force used against us through technology has long been a part of that.

Welcome to Gunmerica.



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