ChrisWeigant.com

Two Big Deadlines Are Fast Approaching

[ Posted Thursday, August 24th, 2017 – 16:27 UTC ]

Next month will be a busy one in Congress, with several crucial pieces of legislation (with looming deadlines) due. So, of course, President Donald Trump chose this particular moment to pick a meaningless fight with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. After all, what better time to antagonize the second-most powerful Republican in Washington?

Snarkiness aside, Congress certainly has a lot to accomplish in September, and so far it's looking like the Trump White House is going to be content to sit on the sidelines while occasionally lobbing mean tweets at fellow Republicans. This may all be to the good, in the end.

The two tasks Congress must accomplish before the end of September are to raise the debt ceiling and to pass some sort of budget. The budget must be in place before October dawns, or the government will shut down. The debt ceiling's deadline is a little more nebulous, but if we hit it then massive global financial disruption is likely the mildest of consequences. The debt ceiling should be the easiest for Congress to draft, as it essentially just picks a target number and that's the end of it. However, because it is must-pass legislation, the temptation to load it up with unrelated items will be strong (especially for the Tea Partiers). The big fight will likely become whether a "clean bill" should pass, or whether it should be used as a vehicle for legislative mischief.

So far, we've only had one budget fight with the current Congress and Donald Trump in the White House. What happened was interesting, because Democrats actually emerged with more of what they wanted than the Republicans, even though the GOP controls both houses of Congress. Will this happen again next month? It's certainly a strong possibility.

Back in May (when the debt ceiling was predicted to occur either during or immediately after the August congressional break), I made a prediction along these lines:

The hardliner Tea Party faction essentially puts the Democrats in the driver's seat. This has been evident for quite some time in the House, and this time around should be no different. The continuing resolution on the budget that passed earlier this year is a case in point. Democrats got most of what they wanted out of the bill, and Republicans got very little of what they wanted. All the "poison pill" ideas from the GOP were stripped out of the final bill, in other words. The debt ceiling legislation will probably take a similar course.

The Tea Party extremists will try to load the bill up with all kinds of Draconian amendments. These will have zero chance of passing the Senate, though, where Democrats still have the ability to filibuster. Democrats will make a counteroffer, which will quite likely contain some major Democratic priorities. Some of these may be a bridge too far for even moderate Republicans, who will label them poison pills and push back. But the closer we get to the deadline (in this case, probably "when the August vacation is scheduled to begin"), the more willing moderate Republicans will be to cut a deal. The White House will likely take a hands-off approach, as they did with the continuing resolution. So what we'll all get is a few weeks of sound and fury from the Tea Partiers, followed by a deal being struck between Democrats and the Republican leadership. This will pass just before the break begins, and Trump will sign it.

Obviously, the timing was off, but if you substitute "the end of September" for "when the August vacation is scheduled to begin" it still could come to pass.

Neither Paul Ryan nor Mitch McConnell has been able to do much of anything with their congressional majorities, and the reason is the chasm between the Tea Partiers (oh, excuse me, the "Freedom Caucus") and other, more reasonable Republicans. They keep shooting themselves in the foot because the Tea Partiers still have as their motto "Take no prisoners!" but so far have yet to convince their fellow Republicans to support their worst legislative impulses.

So the bargaining will begin with the Tea Partiers drawing yet another uncrossable line in the sand, followed by the Republican leadership bill, neither one of which will be able to pass. Perhaps they'll be blended together to curry enough votes in the House (as was done on their failed "repeal and replace Obamacare" effort), but this isn't going to fly in the Senate.

Eventually, the Democrats will make their wishes known, and the real horse-trading will begin. In the previous continuing resolution, Democrats got most of their agenda into the final bill, while the Tea Partiers didn't get anything.

Of course, this time there are two must-pass bills. The debt ceiling fight isn't the final battle, so perhaps it will pass first and leave the real bickering for the budget bill. The use of singular there is important, because while a "regular order" budget is supposed to contain a dozen bills, Republicans simply are not ready to finish this process. The individual bills which should have passed by now have not, so what we're doubtlessly going to end up with is another single "omnibus" or "continuing resolution" bill which will wrap the entire budget into one piece of legislation -- that kicks the can down the road, once again.

How far the can gets kicked may be important. If Ryan and McConnell think they're close to some sort of grand unified Republican budget, then they'll only accept a continuing resolution that pushes the deadline off for a few months, at most. If they're not confident, then they'll likely accept a longer delay (perhaps even one that covers the entire fiscal year).

Defaulting on the nation's debt by refusing to pass a debt ceiling hike would be catastrophic, but not having a budget passed by the end of the month would be less so. The federal government would shut down, but sooner or later it would reopen. Trump, of course, is already threatening to do so, if he doesn't get his precious border wall money (the money he swore up and down would be coming from Mexico). There are many other bargaining chips on the table for this go-round of budget gamesmanship, as well. The status of people covered under DACA will be important to Democrats. Republicans will try to gut Planned Parenthood funding once again. The negotiations will be fierce, no doubt.

But so far, the Democrats seem to be better positioned, before the haggling even begins. Since the Republicans control both houses, whatever happens is going to be seen by the public as their fault. So Democrats can afford to hold firm against Republican poison pill amendments. Trump is already picking fights within his own party's leadership, which certainly doesn't do the White House positioning any good. McConnell and Ryan may soon decide to just start ignoring presidential tweets entirely and go ahead and actually cut a deal with the impressively-unified Democratic caucus. They know that Trump will quite likely sign anything that they put on his desk (because he just loves signing ceremonies). The only thing Trump may achieve in all of this is to rile up his own base against members of his own party in Congress. With any luck, this will just make the 2018 midterm elections easier for Democrats to win, in the end.

Realistically, none of this is set in stone or anything. Back in May I qualified that earlier excerpt by saying:

Of course, I could easily be wrong about all of that. Predicting Washington behavior these days is a dicey business, after all. Anything could happen, in other words. Congress could leave town without acting, which could even lead to a special session interrupting their monthlong break, to deal with the problem before disaster hits. Trump could take it into his head to veto whatever Congress passes. Or the fight in Congress may be so intense that nothing passes at all. Predicting the probability of any of these things happening is tough to do, these days.

Nevertheless, before the haggling even begins, Republicans are in disarray, with ongoing pitched battles between Donald Trump and both individual members and the leadership of his party in Congress. The GOP cannot agree amongst themselves what the highest priorities should be for the budget fight (if they had been able to, they would have passed all the regular order budget bills by now), and the Tea Partiers remain as intransigent as ever. Meanwhile, Democrats are voting as a solid bloc, with no defections. This all adds up to an excellent opportunity for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to have an outsized influence on the debate. So things could be a lot worse, as the two deadlines approach.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

53 Comments on “Two Big Deadlines Are Fast Approaching”

  1. [1] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    General comment (in response to debate happening on previous comment thread):

    It's a valid point. I do write a lot about Trump. But I plead one mitigating circumstance, and that is that we are still in the "silly season" of politics, and therefore Trump looms larger because Congress is still off on vacation.

    However, I did think to myself this morning -- before reading the comment thread, mind you -- "What should I write about today? Hmmm... how about "Trump Bad!"... yeah, I could make that work!"

    And then I laughed to myself. It's kind of a laughable default, I do recognize. Again, this was before reading others' thoughts on the subject.

    Believe me (as Trump says), I would love it if there wasn't a constant cavalcade of Trumpian nonsense to distract us all from real issues. But at times it simply must be responded to. Last week was definitely one of those times.

    But I will keep it in mind, although I will brook no dissent whatsoever on the subject of kittens. Kittens are acceptible, always. Period. See earlier non-column from this Tuesday.

    Hmmmph. So there.

    (heh)

    -CW

  2. [2] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    Great minds think alike.
    And thanks for proving the point in my comment on the other thread about influencing you which I posted while you were posting this so you didn't it and I didn't see your comment here before posting my comment there.
    Jeez. I sound like Mike Brady.

    Oh, and just to try to suck up a bit- I meant FLUFFY- not fluff when referring to the kittens. Sorry for the typo. :D

  3. [3] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    The latest estimate is that 40,000 civilian died in our "liberation" of Mosul, Iraq... and there have been 236 civilian deaths including 42 children this week alone from US bombings in Raqqa, Syria.

    When I read those numbers, I couldn't help but think of the question you posed a while back... why isn't Trump claiming credit for our "success"?

    I'm sure that's not his motivation, but maybe someone will show him some pictures.

    As for today's column, what was is Repubs used to say every time there was a debt ceiling battle when Dems were in charge?

    I haven't noticed any Dems trying to make political hay out of it.

    A

    PS- with the troll mostly gone, mostly, maybe you could send a heads up email to all the folks who left because of him, and try to bring some old voices back?

  4. [4] 
    Paula wrote:

    If Trump wasn't so unbelievably catastrophic it would be easier to ignore him and focus elsewhere. But it's really hard to do.

    Everything has been weird since the election. For me, it's as though "normal life" has been suspended and we're just going through the motions. I live day-to-day -- I do not regard the future with hope or optimism. I have hope I will one day be ABLE to be optimistic again, but that hinges on DT not being president anymore. Everything has a cloud over it. Not to say I don't laugh or enjoy myself - I'm not in a depression. But good times occur against the backdrop which is that we have a wanna-be dictator in the WH trying to destroy our democracy. Until there is some resolution to that nothing else matters like it once did.

    Re: today's column, I hope you're right. Trump is making a lot of threats right now but he always does and mostly doesn't follow through -- at least on things the GOP doesn't want. He may help suppress votes because they want that, for example, but I don't think they want to crash the economy. If Repubs have to turn to Dems because the Tea Partiers won't bend, good.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hmmmph. So there.

    Fine.

    :-)

  6. [6] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Paula-
    I understand how you feel. I really do.
    Now multiply how you feel by over twenty years and you will know how I feel about suffering under the our way or the highway we don't have to change for your support you have to support us because we are your only other choice Big Money Democrats.

    If Trump wasn't so completely catastrophic it might be easier to accept the shortcomings of the Big Money Democrats, but considering where supporting Big Money Democrats has led us, whether they win or lose- that is more dependent on eliminating the Big Money from our political process than which CMP (and that's CORRUPT Major Parties not Current Major Parties this time) is in the White House or controls Congress.

  7. [7] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I think Trump is going to be out of the office a lot of the time. The job is not fun..and even he knows he sucks at it. Golf and speeches at small venues to whip up the base. ..that's the ticket. Am I a good boy today? Or do I reach into my pocket for a stink bomb? Delegate most things to staff. What budget? Kelly can supervise. Good luck Congress. Good luck people. What a mess. Don't even think about the Russiia problem waiting in the wings.

  8. [8] 
    altohone wrote:

    Paula
    delayed response to comment 46 from Tired of All the Whining

    Working backwards...

    Straw man arguments?
    Really?
    What's "impossible to quantify"?

    Your platitudes are very original, but losing to Trump is not emblematic of a good strategy... you may want to refrain from lecturing others on that subject.

    The benefits, failures and cost of the ACA causing the majority to now support Single Payer I guess does constitute a "meaningful and valuable step" towards universal health care, but I'm sure that's not how you meant it.

    Your lecture on dismissing "beliefs" and focusing on "outcomes" is again tenuous territory for a Hillary fan, and all those who think losing 1000 elections isn't indicative of a serious problem requiring new leadership and a new approach.

    "Your premise: everyone has to reject "neo-liberalism"

    OK. It's not hyphenated.
    And that's not my premise.
    We're talking about most Democrats, not everyone.
    And advocating for the rejection of the economic ideology which is demonstrably responsible for the economic and political failure is not "too broad to be meaningful".

    "Meanwhile, how many other issues are subsumed under your "neo-liberal" banner? How many other povs will you have to change? How long will it take? How will you go about it?"

    To state the obvious, I'm going about it like this.
    I've already helped change sufficient povs on Single Payer that the majority now agrees with me... and unless you're "saying stuff, which when push comes to shove, you don't actually believe", that includes you... not that I'm taking credit for that.
    The problem of neoliberal Democrats is no different.
    And no other issues are being "subsumed". I'm fighting for and against all sorts of things at the same time.
    And it's not hyphenated.

    "My own "if I were Queen of the World" approach to our economic system would be to socialize what we need and privatize what we want... I'm not prepared to promote the idea"

    Others are doing exactly that, and your belief in democratic socialism has been noted. A closet radical.

    "How do you know they're "neo-liberals"?"

    It's not hyphenated.
    I know because you can judge people by their deeds.
    If they implement neoliberal trade policies, they're neoliberals.
    If they implement neoliberal health care policies, they're neoliberals.
    If they implement neoliberal tax policies, they're neoliberals.
    If they implement neoliberal labor policies, they're neoliberals.
    If they implement neoliberal education policies, they're neoliberals.

    On the flipside, seeing them implement all of the above and more, or campaigning on those policies, and not believing your own eyes (and btw, the judgment of experts who have noted those policies are indeed neoliberal) is called denial.

    "So I guess I'm not a "neo-liberal"

    It's not hyphenated.
    So, you're voting against your personal beliefs, your defending neoliberals, you're denying what they are, you're repeating their lies and justifications... why?

    "You are saying progress will only occur if millions of people (or whatever your estimate would be) stop thinking a certain way."

    That's almost what I'm saying.
    Most people are good and rational, and already support the economic concepts for which I am advocating in this discussion. Even many Republicans.
    It's not about changing how they think.
    What I'm saying is to inform them of the facts and to try to convince them to act on their beliefs in a different manner.
    That's what I was saying in 1985 when I began fighting against US support for apartheid in South Africa.
    That's what I was saying when I began fighting for marijuana legalization in 1988.
    That's what I was saying when I began fighting for gay rights in 1992.
    That's what I was saying when I began fighting against Dems embracing neoliberalism in 1995.
    That's what I was saying when I began fighting for Obama and against Hillary in 2006.
    That's what I was saying when I began fighting for Single Payer, against illegal military interventions, for no-kill animal shelters, against clear-cutting of forests, for the reintroduction of beavers and wolves, against nuclear power, etc.

    As you can see, I haven't achieved everything I've fought for or against... yet. But a lot has been accomplished (without your advice), and I will continue fighting as I see fit... as long as it takes... until I'm dead.

    I may not win you over.
    But some little tidbit may just stick, and cause you to interpret future events in a slightly different manner. Or not. Whatever.

    A

  9. [9] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Al [8]Your platitudes are very original, but losing to Trump is not emblematic of a good strategy... you may want to refrain from lecturing others on that subject.

    Yeah, so we've heard ad nauseum from Michale.

    On the other hand, the far right's refusal to take any ownership of their role in that loss doesn't make it any easier to develop a plan for next time. For those who voted for Stein instead, the term "suckers" springs to mind, as in: one born every minute.

    advocating for the rejection of the economic ideology which is demonstrably responsible for... economic and political failure is not "too broad to be meaningful".

    Your argument would hold more water if the 'political failure' to which you refer had been in the other direction - i.e., toward more liberal rather than less liberal policy.

    In fact, there are far fewer members of the Congress who subscribe to your point of view right now than there are who subscribe to mine or Paula's: shouldn't we be the ones rubbing your nose in 'political failure'?

    Truth is, I hope you pick up a few seats for the far left next time: moderates believe in diversity.

    As for for the Democrats' role in 'economic failure', I just have to wonder where you've been these last eight years. I'm sure you noticed the Republican economic collapse just before Obama's election, and subsequent recovery under his guidance, despite a legislative gridlock of historic proportions. The results aren't optimal, but then, they never are.

    I haven't achieved everything I've fought for or against... yet. But a lot has been accomplished (without your advice), and I will continue fighting as I see fit... as long as it takes... until I'm dead.

    Last man at the battlements, eh? If you'd stand with us, rather than against us, you'd improve your chances of getting much of that done, for a change.

  10. [10] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Balthasar-
    "There you go again."
    -Ronald Reagan

    "If you'd stand with us, rather than against us, you'd improve your chances of getting much of that done, for a change."

    And yet, all the evidence shows that supporting Big Money Democrats does not get much accomplished. At best it minimizes some damage.

    I repeat the questions I asked that you, Paula and Stig have not answered:

    Why do people that do not support the Big Money Democrats have to stand with you and support Big Money Democrats (in the name of solidarity)?

    Why don't the people supporting Big Money Democrats have to stand with us to oppose Big Money Democrats (in the name of solidarity)?

    As far as who is a sucker it is clearly those that support and vote for Big Money Democrats.

  11. [11] 
    John M wrote:

    Has everyone heard about former Republican Senator John Danforth's scathing indictment of President Donald Trump in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post yet?

    Here are a couple of quotes:

    "Now comes Trump, who is exactly what Republicans are not, who is exactly what we have opposed in our 160-year history. We are the party of the Union, and he is the most divisive president in our history. There hasn’t been a more divisive person in national politics since George Wallace."

    "As has been true since our beginning, we Republicans are the party of Lincoln, the party of the Union. We believe in our founding principle. We are proud of our illustrious history. We believe that we are an essential part of present-day American politics. Our country needs a responsibly conservative party. But our party has been corrupted by this hateful man, and it is now in peril."

    As CW likes to point out so often, this is coming from what are supposed to his fellow Republicans.

    Does anyone else think that maybe Trump doesn't really care about getting any kind of agenda passed at all???
    Perhaps all he really cares about is having the support of the third of the electorate that represents his base, in order to keep himself in power, just for the perks, prestige, financial gain and publicity of the office? And that all he has to really do to keep that support, is bash his various detractors and enemies on a regular basis.

    As long as his supporters can chant things like "CNN Sucks" at trump rallies, do they really care if he gets anything accomplished either? Is it all just, like the Ancient Romans would put it, "Bread and Circuses?" Just throw his base enough red meat to keep them distracted?

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    DH-10

    And yet, all the evidence shows that supporting Big Money Democrats does not get much accomplished. At best it minimizes some damage.

    Nonsense. Obama Care accomplished a lot. It's highly imperfect, but a lot of people benefited. I was one of them.

    I don't want to get into a "What have the Romans ever done for us?" comedy routine, but if anybody wants to chime in with other counter examples feel free.

    "Why do people that do not support the Big Money Democrats have to stand with you and support Big Money Democrats?"

    They don't have to, and you don't either. That's why we have elections. Do whatever you feel like...but don't expect me to think you're very bright or principled. It's a judgment call.

    "Why don't the people supporting Big Money Democrats have to stand with us to oppose Big Money Democrats (in the name of solidarity)?" See above.

    "As far as who is a sucker it is clearly those that support and vote for Big Money Democrats." How many people have you registered? Is everybody else but you in this vast country a sucker? There is a word describing that type of global condemnation of a vast majority: delusional.

    Give it a fuckin' rest Bigus. You are just a Johnny One Note internet troll stinkin' up the joint..and as of a few keystrokes blocked on my browser.

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    [11] John: Does anyone else think that maybe Trump doesn't really care about getting any kind of agenda passed at all???...As long as his supporters can chant things like "CNN Sucks" at trump rallies, do they really care if he gets anything accomplished either? Is it all just, like the Ancient Romans would put it, "Bread and Circuses?" Just throw his base enough red meat to keep them distracted?

    Pretty much.

  14. [14] 
    Paula wrote:

    [8] Altohone: As you can see, I haven't achieved everything I've fought for or against... yet.

    Interesting. I didn't realize you single-handedly accomplished sooo much!

    It's not about changing how they think.
    What I'm saying is to inform them of the facts and to try to convince them to act on their beliefs in a different manner

    Oh, is THAT the distinction. They don't have to change their beliefs, just convince them to act on them in a different manner! After receiving the correct information from you! It's all so simple, isn't it?

    Well, I'll leave you to it. Me and the neo-liberals (guess what, I can keep hyphenating if I want!) will do our thing(s) and you do yours.

  15. [15] 
    Paula wrote:

    [6] Don: I understand how you feel. I really do.

    Actually, I don't think you do. But thanks all the same.

  16. [16] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Stig-
    Even though you won't see this because you claim to have blocked me, I will address your points for anyone else following the discussion that you are now avoiding because you claim I am a one note troll stinking up the joint.

    Of course some people benefited from Obamacare. In some ways it was a small step in the right direction.

    But the cost of one small step forward was two steps back as the many flaws in Obamacare clearly outweighed any benefits.

    First you blame us for Trump and claim we must stand with you for solidarity (even if you didn't actually make the claim you have been arguing to support it), then you say we can make up our own mind and do what we want. Please make up your mind.

    Once again it was Balthasar that referred to Stein voters as suckers. My reference to supporters of Big Money Democrats being suckers was a response to his assertion.

    It is not a surprise that you would want to avoid further discussion by blocking me just as you usually avoid actually answering my questions.

  17. [17] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    On a related note to the previous comments, I just got an email from MOveOn with a clip from Elizabeth Warren's Netroots speech. Funny how it was only the eleven or so minutes at the end of the speech where she talked about universal democratic platitudes and started after the first eighteen minutes where she criticized the MoveOn/Hillary Clinton part of the Democratic Party.

  18. [18] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Stig-
    If you are seeing this because you didn't block me, I really don't mind playing the foil for you until Michale returns.

    And he will return. He is there. Waiting. Watching. Listening. Preparing to pounce.

    So just when you think it's safe to go back in the water:

    "dun-dun.

    dun-dun.

    dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun."

    -Jaws 1-100

  19. [19] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Preparing to pounce like a fluffy little kitten. :D

  20. [20] 
    altohone wrote:

    Balthy
    9

    "the far right's refusal to take any ownership of their role in that loss doesn't make it any easier to develop a plan for next time."

    I'm guessing you meant the left.
    Your "the buck stops there" antics shifting blame for Democratic losses onto those they failed to rally behind them never made sense and still doesn't.
    Dems can't preach personal responsibility when they refuse to take any.

    That said, if you're not on my team, why would I help you plan the next battle?
    And if we're not on the same team, the loss is all yours.
    It doesn't make any sense to blame the Steelers when the Cowboys beat the Raiders.

    "if the 'political failure' to which you refer had been in the other direction - i.e., toward more liberal rather than less liberal policy"

    Um, that doesn't make any sense.
    I can easily imagine your response if Hillary beating Trump was called a political failure.
    I really worry about you sometimes.

    Whatever.

    The economic and political failures occurred with neoliberal Democrats in the presidency, the House and the Senate.
    And they continue to this day.
    Pretending that it began with the loss to Trump when that was simply their crowning achievement is the least clever dodge ever.

    In any case, neoliberalism has NOTHING to do with liberalism. Less liberal than neoliberal is still neoliberal.

    "In fact, there are far fewer members of the Congress who subscribe to your point of view right now than there are who subscribe to mine or Paula's: shouldn't we be the ones rubbing your nose in 'political failure'?"

    If you can't accept that losing the presidency, the House, the Senate... that losing a thousand elections and all that power amounts to political failure, you really need professional help.

    Of course, if you want to revel in the track record of manipulating control over the Democratic party in a manner that resulted in massive electoral losses, the election of Trump, and widespread economic misery, go for it.
    But don't fool yourself into believing it's an original thought and hasn't been common practice.

    "As for for the Democrats' role in 'economic failure', I just have to wonder where you've been these last eight years."

    What do you think I've been referring to?
    90% of the gains from the "recovery" went to the rich. The vast majority of new jobs paid less than the ones lost with few if any benefits. Inequality increased. Unions got smaller. Too Big To Fail banks got bigger. The majority of Americans are struggling.

    But the bigger picture is that for decades neoliberal Dems supported the policies which have led to the massive inequality... neoliberal Dems supported the policies which offshored tens of millions of good jobs... neoliberal Dems supported the policies which resulted in millions losing their homes and life savings... neoliberal Dems supported the deregulation which allowed the Great Recession caused by fraud to occur in the first place.

    And neoliberal Dems continue to support those policies despite the results... formerly core principles have been abandoned.

    "Last man at the battlements, eh? If you'd stand with us, rather than against us, you'd improve your chances of getting much of that done, for a change."

    I can only speak for myself. But don't fool yourself into believing I stand alone.
    I've frequently stood with Democrats (usually just voters, not politicians) to achieve some of those goals, but when neoliberal Dems are fighting against the goals I support, why would I stand with them? It really is worrisome that you sometimes can't grasp such simple concepts.

    And, since you missed it, that list has numerous victories.
    Winning wouldn't be a "change". Just a continuation of a clear pattern.

    A

  21. [21] 
    altohone wrote:

    Paula
    14

    You asked me questions, I answered.

    I asked you questions, you trot out a straw man argument.
    Is that just a temporary lack of integrity?

    "Oh, is THAT the distinction. They don't have to change their beliefs, just convince them to act on them in a different manner! After receiving the correct information from you! It's all so simple, isn't it?"

    It's not the suppression of freedom of thought as you falsely claimed by whining "thought policing"!!!...
    ... but it's hardly simple.

    "I can keep hyphenating if I want"

    See.

    A

  22. [22] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Altohone (20,21)-
    I know how you feel. I really do. :D

  23. [23] 
    Paula wrote:

    [21] Altohone: I didn't "whine" about thought-policing, I made a straight-up assertion. YOU are whining about it.

    I define "thought-policing" as a demand that people not only DO what you think is right or correct, but for the reasons you think are right and correct and no others. If people do the "right thing" for reasons YOU disagree with or disbelieve, well then they must be condemned! And YOU are to be the judge!

    And, like the Inquisitors of old, your concerns about "wrong thinking" far outweigh your desire for "good outcomes". I think you would be far happier seeing HRC jailed by Blotus than you would be if Blotus passed Single Payer. That is the feeling I absorb from what you write. I do not get any sense of positive desire, I get a feeling of resentment that people do not fall into line with your views.

  24. [24] 
    altohone wrote:

    Paula
    23

    Working backwards again...

    I certainly resent the outcomes of neoliberal policies and I am baffled by those who do not. The inequality, illegality, corruption, misery and injustice they have wrought is worthy of resentment, and I resent the inability of those who defend it and perpetuate it and who are therefore partially responsible for it to understand the causes and effects involved and the role they are playing.

    Wading in blissful ignorance and pretending that better than Trump is comparable to something positive or good is simply beyond me. Possibly less awful isn't remotely comparable to positive.

    Someone who fought for better than Trump (but failed miserably) opining on imagined beliefs about someone who has fought for and actually helped achieve good outcomes is tiresome.
    Unfortunately, your uncanny ability to detect the resentment I hoped to convey didn't endow you with the ability to read minds.
    The attempt was a noble effort at character assassination though, and I applaud your ability to absorb and replicate the tactics neoliberals rely on so often.

    My definition of thought policing came from a dictionary.
    Your redefinition of thought policing to not only match all debate or argument with the intention of persuasion, but also, if not more so, your own comments on all things Trump, without the slightest recognition of the irony therein, was worthy of a hearty laugh.

    And having to redefine it in order to falsely condemn someone with whom you disagree seems like whining to me.

    I greatly look forward to hearing about the feelings you absorb from this comment.

    A

  25. [25] 
    Paula wrote:

    [24] Altohone: Re-read [23].

  26. [26] 
    altohone wrote:

    Paula
    25

    The brilliant first part, the excellent second paragraph, or the amazingly insightful third paragraph?

    A

  27. [27] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey Kick

    I seem to be missing a tall, invisible rabbit.

    Is he heading in your direction by any chance?

    A

  28. [28] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Devon told me he saw one of the fire chiefs in TX on TV encouraging those that hadn't already evacuated the area to stay put as it is too late to get out -- and he also asked those still in the area to write their Social Security numbers on their forearms using a permanent marker to make it easier for emergency crews!

    I haven't found the video yet, but that chief is a CHAMP for not sugar-coating it!

  29. [29] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Al:[24] pretending that better than Trump is comparable to something positive or good is simply beyond me

    Therein lies your disconnect. It should be obvious by now that my grocer would be better than Trump. Yet a recent report says that 12% of Bernie fans voted for Trump. Cognitive dissonance is alive and well in America.

  30. [30] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Balthasar (29)-
    And therein lies YOUR disconnect. It is also obvious that your grocer would be better than Hillary.

    The fact that bad but better than Trump was all the Democrats offered is the problem.
    THAT is why 12% of Bernie supporters voted for Trump and others voted for Stein.

    And it is also why many voters (probably not all Bernie supporters) left their presidential votes blank while voting on the down ballot elections or just stayed home.

    You desperately grasping for straws looking for someone else to blame when all you have to do is look in the mirror.

  31. [31] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Don [30] all you have to do is look in the mirror

    It's not my mirror. Like most folks, I reckoned the choice was between Hillary and Trump, and chose the one with common sense. Mia Culpa!

    And it is also why many voters (probably not all Bernie supporters) left their presidential votes blank while voting on the down ballot elections or just stayed home.

    That same report says that 80% of Bernie supporters voted for Hillary, so whatever happened was neither rampant nor endemic. It's the myopia of the rest of the left that I don't understand.

  32. [32] 
    Paula wrote:

    [30] Don: And therein lies YOUR disconnect. It is also obvious that your grocer would be better than Hillary.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. Stupidly stupid. Breathtakingly stupid.

    [26] A: The three paragraphs work together so well, I'd re-read them all! Several times.

  33. [33] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Balthasar-
    So you reckoned the choice was between Clinton and Trump.
    I reckoned that as long as there were other choices it was better to register a vote against them rather than validating one of two unsuitable choices.
    Let's review:
    Bush-Gore. Two bad choices.
    Bush-Kerry. Two bad choices.
    Obama-McCain. Two bad choices.
    Obama-Romney. Two bad choices.
    Trump-Clinton. Two bad choices even worse than the previous two bad choices.

    Voting for the less bad of two bad choices does not seem to be working or even trending in the right direction.

    You are complaining about the 12% of Bernie supporters that voted for Trump and one that voted for Stein. It's a miracle after the way the DNC acted in the primaries those percentages weren't higher.

    Thank you for bringing up the 80% that did vote for Hillary. It's not that I wasn't aware of it, but I did neglect to point out their mistake.

  34. [34] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Paula (32)-
    Very well thought out and breathtakingly intelligent response.

    While this may not quite rise to the intellectual level of your response I think it may be in the same ballpark:

    Your mother wears army boots.

  35. [35] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Don [33-34]: it was better to register a vote against them rather than validating one of two unsuitable choices

    ..and that's how we got Trump. Good going.

    You may think there was no difference between an experienced stateswoman and a raving lunatic, but I could certainly tell the difference. To put a point on Paula's comment, it's fair to say that anyone should have been able to tell the difference. I'm sure that Latino residents in Phoenix, Blacks, Transgender soldiers and Nazis can tell the difference easily. They could have used a vote that impeded Trump.

    But then, no candidate measured up to your standards, did they? Not Kerry, a leader of the anti-war movement, nor Obama, the first black president. To quote the line from The American President, "Isn't it possible our standards are just a tad high?"

  36. [36] 
    Paula wrote:

    Don: I don't think HRC was a bad choice. I liked her. I liked her plans. Out of the available field, I liked her more than Bernie, more than Biden (had he run) and more than former Maryland Gov.

    If you used any imagination at all to envision what life would be like now with HRC as Pres, Tim Kaine as Veep and the cabinet she would have chosen, and the Supreme Court justice, and you think to yourself: "my grocer would have done a better job," you can't expect to be taken seriously at all. Even if you were engaging in hyperbole (something I am frequently guilty of) it is still inconceivable to me that anyone living through this horrendous administration wouldn't be able to grasp the difference between competent people and incompetent people; people who respect the institutions of government and people who crap on them; people who respect diversity and fucking nazi/white supremacists; people who offer serious policies and people who offer no policies or horrifying policies.

    Meanwhile, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson haven't done anything since the election. They are nothing but opportunists, like Newt Gingich, who make money off of running for office, who make speeches and accusations and then withdraw from public life. Are they doing anything to build their parties? But every cycle they or people like them siphon off votes by people whom themselves mostly sit around and complain, then bitch because they don't like their choices.

    If you want to change the way campaigns are financed why don't you go to work with people who are working on overturning Citizens United? There are variety of efforts out there that have real organizing behind them. They're serious and can use the help.

  37. [37] 
    altohone wrote:

    Balthy
    29

    It's not a disconnect.

    Losing to Trump is indicative of serious shortcomings. That is simply undeniable.

    No doubt, Hillary isn't an overt racist clown and can speak in complete sentences. But in the alternate universe where she won, millions of innocents could have died in a war she started, tax cuts for the rich and an Obama type Grand Compromise cutting SS and Medicare could have been negotiated, or something could have happened and we'd have a president Keane nominating anti-choice judges.
    We will never know, but her record of failure suggests your grocer may have been the better choice in either reality.
    There's a good chance he or she would have even fought for my vote instead of assuming they were entitled to it... and gotten it.

    A

  38. [38] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [37] Or, as I suspect, not.

    She didn't assume that she was entitled to your vote - take a look at the Democratic Platform if you'd like to see what her plan actually was.

    No doubt, Hillary isn't an overt racist clown and can speak in complete sentences.

    Which I would call a significant improvement over what's in the White House today.

  39. [39] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Balthasar-
    "...and that's how we got Trump. Good going."

    If Bernie had never run I still would have voted for Stein. I did not vote for Trump so it's not my fault.

    Hillary could have earned my vote if she learned her lesson from the primaries. As I wrote here after Bernie dropped out if Hillary had committed to run her general election campaign as a small contribution candidate she could have earned my vote.

    Instead all she offered was a few minor concessions. She remained true to her character of not doing the right thing until there was no other choice and being dragged kicking and screaming.

    Over twenty years of being offered not as bad as the Republicans is what gave us Trump. Good going.

    In her Netroots speech Elizabeth Warren said we are not going back and you have to pick a side. She did not name names, but it was clear who and what she was talking about.

    You have clearly not picked the side that Elizabeth Warren is on.

    "You may think there is no difference..."
    Never said that.

    No, the candidates you mentioned didn't meet my standards. Plenty of candidates have met my standards and I voted for them. (P.S.- I voted for Kerry anyway because GWB was so bad and have regretted it ever since.)

    Isn't it possible your standards are a tad low?
    Elizabeth Warren certainly seems to think so.

  40. [40] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Paula-
    I know you like Hillary. And you know I don't.

    We can all imagine what it would be like if Hillary won. It would clearly be better than Trump.

    But we can also imagine what it would be like if the DNC ran a fair primary that Bernie won and Bernie ran against Trump in the general election and won.

    Way better than Trump or Hillary.

    It was clear that 2016 was an anti-establishment election and the DNC made sure to protect and promote the establishment candidate in the primaries. What did they expect would happen in the general election?

    "You reap what you sow."
    "You reap what you sow."
    Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L. Jackson
    - The Great White Hype

    AS for the constitutional amendments to overturn Citizens United- have you ever read any of them?

    They are dangerous and take away many of the rights of the very organizations that are promoting them.

    For example, one says that corporations, limited partnerships and ANY entity have no rights under the constitution and that Congress can set not only contribution limits but also spending limits on these entities.

    MoveON is an entity. Our Revolution is an entity. The Democratic Party is an entity. The Republican Party is an entity.

    Since these proposed amendments also state that money is not speech (that is one part of the ruling they got RIGHT) there is nothing to stop Congress from giving preferential treatment to entities they like as the entities have no rights under the constitution (such as equal protection) and individuals can't claim their speech was violated.

    "They are serious and need help."
    They are seriously dangerous and need help understanding that they have no idea what the hell they are doing.

  41. [41] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    By the way, I have contacted many of those organizations- but they are not interested in being helped.
    Most of them seem to be more interested in exploiting the situation for the next twenty years or so. One even admitted in their response (one of the few to respond) that even though One Demand was a good idea and a successful One Demand (Voucher Vendetta at the time) would actually HELP them accomplish their goal SOONER they were satisfied with just continuing with their current approach.

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Why are you guys still tapping out comments about the last presidential election?

    I hear Hillary has another memoir coming out. Should be interesting reading. NOT! :)

  43. [43] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    LIz (42)-
    Because Trump is still president. We are all, no matter what we are arguing, trying to stop what went wrong from happening again.

    By the way, you don't have to live in the U.S. to sign the Ralph Nader petition if you haven't signed it yet and that's what was holding you up.

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, I don't think you're going to stop what went wrong in 2016 from happening again so long as the fixation with Hillary continues.

    I think most of us have a pretty good sense of what went wrong in 2016 and it doesn't do any good to put any focus on a perennial candidate for president that hasn't demonstrated that she understands her own role in the Trump ascendency.

    What is the Nader petition?

  45. [45] 
    altohone wrote:

    Balthy
    38

    Are insidious racist policies and discreet corruption papered over by lip service actually an improvement?

    Trump is exposing the truth about the establishment in both parties... that is a benefit for millions who now have a better understanding of reality.

    Of course, there are still clowns who ignore actions and point to meaningless words in an attempt to pretend that only Trump and Republicans are the problem... even when the DNC insists in court that they aren't bound by those words.

    A

  46. [46] 
    altohone wrote:

    Liz
    44

    You clearly have a grasp of what went wrong, but the current debate in these comments is with just a small sampling of those who do not.
    They're still pointing fingers in all the wrong directions.
    Why do you think allowing their false beliefs to go unchallenged in the only meaningful context available (recent history) will help them see the light?

    Well... you still defend the executioners of the economic policy that is at the heart of the problem, so I would clarify by saying you have a firm grasp of much of what went wrong... but still haven't come to terms with the root cause.

    A

  47. [47] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    While me may all have a pretty good sense of what went wrong in 2016, as the discussions including Hillary have proven quite often different people look at the same evidence and draw different conclusions.

    The Nader Petition:
    Ralph Nader recently wrote an article titled "Barak Obama- What's he waiting for?" where he suggested Obama should be speaking out against Trump. He has also written many articles criticizing other leaders and the media for ignoring issues that he deems important.

    He asks at least 75% of the guests on his Radio Hour if they have been on NPR and other media to illustrate how these people and their ideas are being ignored.

    He wrote articles instructing citizens with ideas to send them to him through the email to CSRL (dot)org and also instructed citizens to use all avenues of contact to contact people that could help with an idea and keep contacting them even if you are being ignored. I have followed this advice in contacting Mr. Nader since 2015 in the ways described.

    In his article on Obama he instructed people to start a petition to get Obama to speak up about Trump or other issues. So I started a petition to get Ralph Nader to live up to the standards he demands from other leaders and media by addressing the One Demand campaign financing approach.

    You do not have to support One Demand to sign this petition.

    You could sign because you feel it should be part of the debate.

    You could sign because you want to hold Mr. Nader to the standards he sets for others.

    I am not saying Ralph is purposely being hypocritical- he may not have even seen anything I sent if the screeners did not pass it along.

    The petition is a way to get this past the screeners if that is why Mr. Nader has not responded.

    While not referring to you, Liz, being hypocritical is a word that has occasionally been bandied about here. Though it's usually about who is being hypocritical, everyone in those discussions seems to be against hypocrisy.

    So anyone here that is against hypocrisy should sign the petition to oppose it whether they support One Demand or not. To not sign would be- what's the word I'm looking for?

    The only exception would be CW because it would be hypocritical for him to sign this petition to Ralph Nader when the amount of times he has mentioned One Demand (or Voucher Vendetta) in one of the 400 or so columns he wrote since I started commenting here could be counted by Jason Pierre-Paul using just the index finger on his right hand.

    https;//www.chnage.org/p/ralph-nader-address-one-demand-campaign-financing-approach

    If you want to help more you can go to Common Dreams to sign the petition through my comment on Ralph's Obama article. When I posted the comment a "sign this petition" box came up on Common Dreams website. I assume they will keep track of people clicking that box. This may help if I submit articles in the future as they have ignored previous articles submitted.

    The article is no longer on the front page on the website so you will have to go back a few days to find it. ( Barak Obama- What's he waitng for?"

  48. [48] 
    Don Harris wrote:
  49. [49] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well... you still defend the executioners of the economic policy that is at the heart of the problem, so I would clarify by saying you have a firm grasp of much of what went wrong... but still haven't come to terms with the root cause.

    You seem confused.

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Don,

    Just signed your petition and would recommend that all Weigantians do the same.

  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    altohone,

    Well... you still defend the executioners of the economic policy that is at the heart of the problem, so I would clarify by saying you have a firm grasp of much of what went wrong... but still haven't come to terms with the root cause.

    You seem confused.

    And, I'm having some trouble commenting ... :(

  52. [52] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (50)-
    Thank you.

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You are most welcome ... I'll be checking in to see how the support grows to 100!

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