Shorter Question Everything
It’s hard to claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility when you want to get out of paying your bills and call it sensible.
…The debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending. Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending. It simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to. These are bills that have already been racked up and we need to pay them.
So while I’m willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they’ve already racked up.
If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialists who track down loose nuclear material wouldn’t get their paychecks. Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is, in fact, a safe bet. Markets could go haywire. Interest rates would spike for anybody who borrows money — every homeowner with a mortgage, every student with a college loan, every small business owner who wants to grow and hire. It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy. It would slow down our growth, might tip us into recession, and ironically, would probably increase our deficit.
So to even entertain the idea of this happening — of the United States of America not paying its bills — is irresponsible. It’s absurd. As the Speaker said two years ago, it would be — and I’m quoting Speaker Boehner now — “a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy.”
So we’ve got to pay our bills. And Republicans in Congress have two choices here: They can act responsibly, and pay America’s bills; or they can act irresponsibly, and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.
And they better choose quickly, because time is running short.
… the issue here is whether or not America pays its bills. We are not a deadbeat nation. And so there’s a very simple solution to this: Congress authorizes us to pay our bills.
…there are no magic tricks here. There are no loopholes. There are no easy outs. This is a matter of Congress authorizes spending. They order me to spend. They tell me, you need to fund our Defense Department at such and such a level; you need to send out Social Security checks; you need to make sure that you are paying to care for our veterans. They lay all this out for me because they have the spending power. And so I am required by law to go ahead and pay these bills.
…Everybody here understands this. I mean, this is not a complicated concept. You don’t go out to dinner and then eat all you want, and then leave without paying the check. And if you do, you’re breaking the law. And Congress should think about it the same way that the American people do. You don’t — now, if Congress wants to have a debate about maybe we shouldn’t go out to dinner next time, maybe we should go to a more modest restaurant, that’s fine. That’s a debate that we should have. But you don’t say, in order for me to control my appetites, I’m going to not pay the people who already provided me services, people who already lent me the money. That’s not showing any discipline. All that’s doing is not meeting your obligations. You can’t do that.
• ‘We are not a deadbeat nation’: “While I’m willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficit, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress over how to pay the bills they’ve already racked up,” Obama said. “To even entertain the idea of this happening, of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd.” “This is about paying your bills.” Obama suggested he’d be willing to take over the job of raising the debt ceiling, if Congress won’t act. “If they want to put the responsibility on me to raise the debt ceiling, I’m happy to do it,” he said. “If they want to keep this responsibility then they need to get it done.” “They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.”
Responsible Gun Ownership. And those other guys.
• With the mass murders, it is the NRA that is most culpable. The NRA has been transformed from an organization primarily about gun safety to one taken over by gun zealots. The NRA protects the ability of virtually anyone to get their hands on guns, even the most powerful assault weapons like those used in recent killings. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the developed world. For the NRA, “freedom” is now defined as the ability to carry a concealed handgun virtually anyplace. Like most realities in America where consumers and citizens are routinely victimized, the adage “follow the money” always rings true. The NRA for all intents and purposes is the advocacy arm for the booming gun and ammunition industry, where in turn, some of the top gunmaker companies are owned by Wall Street hedge funds.
• President Barack Obama on Monday explained that pro-gun groups were “ginning up fear” about the government confiscating firearms because “it obviously is good for business.” “As far as people lining up and purchasing more guns, I think we’ve seen for some time now that those who oppose any common-sense gun control or gun-saftey measures have a pretty effective way of ginning up fear on the part of gun owners that somehow the federal government is about to take all your guns away.” “And there’s probably an economic element to that. It obviously is good for business,” he conintued. “Part of the challenge that we confront is that even the slightest hint of some sensible, responsible legislation in this area fans this notion that somehow here it comes and that everybody’s guns are going to be taken away.”
• Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) is threatening to file articles of impeachment against President Barack Obama if he moves to change gun regulations through executive order.
• One Month After Newtown Shooting, NRA Releases Shooting Game App With Coffin-Shaped Targets: When 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down in Sandy Hook Elementary School exactly one month ago today, the National Rifle Association rushed to blame video games, not guns, for inspiring such mass murders. But the gun lobby seemingly lost sight of its target in the past weeks, and over the weekend released a shooting app, called “NRA: Practice Range.”
• One month after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the National Rifle Association has released a new game for iPhone and iPad that is being billed as appropriate for ages 4 and up. The game, which is free on iTunes, is called “NRA: Practice Range,” and consists mostly of first-person shooting practice at either indoor or outdoor ranges. The player has a choice of nine guns, though at first, only the pistol and the M16 are “unlocked”; you can unlock other weapons — like a Beretta, an AK-47 or a Dragunov SVD sniper rifle — for $1 each through an in-app purchase.
The party of stupid
• Colin Powell denounces GOP intolerance. Right wing freakout ensues.
• To most sane people, little kids mispronouncing stuff is some of the cutest stuff ever, but not so to crazy whackjob Colin McGroarty who proceeded to freak out at kindergarten kids for not getting the US Pledge of Allegiance absolutely up to his standards. Which of course led to shouting at the kids about Hitler. Of course. [link]
• Troubling number of women denied constitutional rights based on pregnancy: Hundreds of women have been arrested, convicted, jailed, detained in mental institutions or forced to endure medical procedures as a result of the “criminalisation of pregnancy” over the last four decades, a new report has found. In the first study of its kind, to be published on Tuesday, researchers from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) identified 413 criminal and civil cases across 44 states involving the arrests, detentions and equivalent deprivations of pregnant women’s liberty between 1973 and 2005. NAWP said that it is aware of a further 250 cases since 2005. Both figures are likely to be underestimates, it said. The report, which will appear in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, found that women were denied a wide range of basic human rights, including the right to life, liberty, equal protection and due process of law “based solely on their pregnancy status”. It found a wide range of cases in which pregnant women were arrested and detained not only if they ended a pregnancy or expressed an intention to end a pregnancy, but also after suffering unintentional pregnancy loss.
• Wyoming Lawmaker Introduces Radical ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill To Ban Abortions After Six Weeks: Despite the fact that a similar measure was unable to gain traction in Ohio because the state’s Republicans admitted it was too controversial even among abortion opponents, Wyoming Rep. Kendall Kroeker (R) has introduced an extreme “fetal heartbeat” bill to redefine the medical concept of viability for the women in his state.
In other news
• Britain announced on Saturday night that it was deploying aircraft to assist French military operations against Islamist rebels in Mali as an escalation in hostilities was claimed to have killed more than 120 people. David Cameron’s offer to transport foreign troops and equipment involved Britain in a fresh conflict that could provoke terrorist reprisals against European targets. President François Hollande yesterday placed France on high alert as French planes bombarded targets in Mali.
• Clinton Benghazi Testimony Scheduled. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will testify Jan. 23 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the deadly Sept. 11 assault on the US mission in Libya.
• Cuba scraps exit visas, allowing Cubans to travel freely with just a passport.
• The personal-health data of millions of British Columbians has been accessed without proper authorization, and in the most serious cases, the provincial government says it will notify 38,486 individuals of the breaches by letter. Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid made the announcement as part of an ongoing investigation into research-grant practices between ministry employees and researchers at the universities of B.C. and Victoria. MacDiarmid said that during three separate instances in October 2010 and June 2012, the health information was saved on USB sticks and shared with researchers or contractors without the proper permission or protocols.