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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New mascot for Congress: FUKUPPY!

See this cute little guy to your left? Meet Fukuppy, the best corporate mascot ever! He was designed for Fukushima corporation in Japan, and the people who came up with him apparently had no idea how he would be received in English-speaking nations.

Although Fukuppy perfectly summarizes everything we love about Fukushima, I think we should appropriate this fellow and make him the official mascot of Congress. The end of the House plan to raise the debt ceiling gives us the perfect opportunity to introduce Fukuppy to the nation.

Seriously, I don't see what's the big deal over the failure of the teabagger plan (which failed, in part, because it wasn't nutty enough to please the truly hard-core baggers). Any plan acceptable to the wingnut contingent was hardly going to get Obama's signature, so what the hell was the reason for this diversion, anyways?

Boehner had said of the House plan "I'd rather throw a grenade than catch a grenade." No, Johnnikins. You don't want to toss a grenade when you're trapped in a very small place, because the grenade will just bounce off the wall and land on you. This is not grenade time.

Let's not forget what Senator Patty Murray wrote a week ago:
All it would take is for Republican House Speaker John Boehner to allow a single vote.

One vote — on a bill that is sitting in the House of Representatives, that the Senate has already passed and that continues funding the government at levels that Republicans and Democrats already negotiated — and this embarrassing episode would be brought to a close.

It’s that simple.

But thus far, over a week into a crisis of his own creation, the speaker has refused to do that.
The WSJ says "Let's get it over with":
None of that was enough to please the small band of 20 or so House conservatives who have been all but running the House since this fiasco began. They refused to support House Speaker John Boehner and even Budget Chairman Paul Ryan. Another 30 or so Members were tired of getting kicked around by Heritage Action and Senator Ted Cruz and want the whole thing settled. With Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi keeping her troops in line for a no vote, GOP leaders pulled the bill from the floor.

The conservatives thus undermined whatever small leverage the House GOP had left. Without a united majority of 218 votes, Republicans might as well hand the Speaker's gavel to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.
Savor the strangeness. In this environment, Paul Ryan seems reasonable.

I still can't get over what has happened to this country.

The warning I've sounded in previous columns is coming true: Even if the U.S. finds a way to raise the debt ceiling, we may be headed for another downgrade because we keep lurching from one tea-stained crisis to another. Also see here.
For now, it’s a warning that politicians are showing just why U.S. bonds no longer are considered to be worthy of the gold-plated AAA status. The AA designation means that U.S. bonds are now considered a riskier investment than those issued by Canada or Germany.

S&P spokesman John Piecuch told McClatchy it was “worth reiterating that this level of discord, which is not consistent with a AAA rating, is a dominant reason the U.S. sovereign rating is no longer rated AAA.”
Did you get that, my Libertarian friends? Canada and Germany are less risky.

Both of those countries are, by Randroid standards, unforgivably socialistic. In Germany, labor representatives sit on company boards and workers get both month-long vacays and nationalized health insurance. In Canada, the health system is first rate and people can live on the minimum wage.

Message: Libertarianism is bad for business. Libertarians won't understand that simple fact, because Libertarianism is the continual triumph of theory and rhetoric over lived experience.
"Libertarianism is the continual triumph of theory and rhetoric over lived experience."

That's 'it' in a nutshell. Ideology trumps all and don't trust your lying eyes [or ears]. I flipped up Sean Hannity last night and he was selling 'default is no big deal.' This sort of garbage is repeated by the likes of Cruz, Steven King, Mike Lee, Yoho et al. Yoho actually said with a straight face that default would 'stabilize' world markets because the world would see we're serious about our debt [which is not the out-of-control monster the GOP keeps yakking about]. Austerity programs have been proven to be disastrous in times of recession [see the UK and European economies for evidence]. Even the IMF has come out and said taxes need to raised on top earners for balance.

So, what the hell are these TP people talking about? This magical thinking--so underscored by that rendition of Amazing Grace by Tea Party representatives--is crippling the entire country, willfully, purposely. Religious fervor and politics is a toxic mix. Add the Neo-Confederate wing of the group and we're looking at the crazies running the asylum.

Fukuppy is the perfect symbol of the lunacy we're witnessing, again and again.

Great post. But let's also congratulate Obama on Reid on their jujitsu. The hope is that the Tea Party has been broken, and we won't have any more of these crises again. That's the hope anyway.
There's a certain level of dishonesty on both "sides" of the current situation (to the extent that one believes that there are indeed "sides"). Despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, failure to raise the debt ceiling does not constitute default. "Default" is failure to make payments on existing debt - blocking the government from incurring more debt has no direct effect on this, however destructive it might be to the normal operation of government. The fact that all the players in the debt ceiling theatrics are slinging the word "default" around is pretty conclusive evidence that they're all either too ignorant or too dishonest to hold public office.

The debt ceiling is, in and of itself, an absurd bit of misdirection which would be abolished in any sane political system. The notion that Congress can appropriate funds in excess of revenue without implicitly authorizing borrowing to make up the difference is ludicrous. Neither "party" will do away with it, of course, since they both exploit it for political ends when they don't happen to control the Executive Branch (witness then- Sen. Obama's fervent opposition to raising the ceiling in the final years of the Bush II administration).

As for caving on funding of the ACA, I suspect the Republicans have more to gain by letting implementation proceed than by defunding it, given the fairly disastrous first week of the exchange signup process.

I'm sure they'll all come together in the spirit of "bipartisanship and shared sacrifice" to gut Social Security and Medicare in the name of "fiscal responsibility" any day now.
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