Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yeah, He'd Make a Great President

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R, of course!) has been outed as a dirty, stinking Christianist by the Houston Chronicle.
Employing deeply religious language that national experts say affords both power and peril for his political career, Gov. Rick Perry in late May told a group of East Texas business leaders that he was "called to the ministry" at age 27, suggested that the governor's office was his pulpit and that God put him "in this place at this time to do his will."

According to a transcript of the private meeting, organized to raise funds for Perry's Aug. 6 "day of prayer and fasting" at Reliant Stadium, the governor stated that property rights, government regulation and a "legal system that's run amok" were threatening the American way of life and "it's time to just hand it over to God and say 'God, you're gonna have to fix this.' "

I don't think I have to write the obvious here. The base of the Republican Party will love, love, love Perry's remarks, and the Democrats, sane Republicans, and moderates will absolutely recoil with horror. Paint me very blue indeed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Equality on the March

Professional football player. Womanizing heterosexual man. Christian. And black. How many more anti-gay-marriage stereotypes can Michael Irvin shatter in one interview? Money quote:

I don't see how any African-American, with any inkling of history, can say that you don't have the right to live your life how you want to live your life. No one should be telling you who you should love, no one should be telling you who you should be spending the rest of your life with. When we start talking about equality, and everybody being treated equally, I don't want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn't deserve equality.

Well-played, Mr. Irvin. Well-played.

Next Thing You Know, He'll Switch Parties

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has floated a novel approach to the debt ceiling problem: cede control of the debt ceiling for the remainder of Obama's current term.

While this approach, which McConnell deems his "last choice option," seems to have sent jitters to those on Capitol Hill, I think what he says makes sense. At a press conference today, he said:

This is not my first choice. I had hoped all year long that the opportunity presented by his request to raise the debt ceiling would generate a bipartisan agreement that would begin to get our house in order reducing spending. That may still happen, I still hope it will, but we're certainly not going to send a message to the markets and to the American people that default is an option.

I'm fairly certain that a default will be averted, if the Senate can get behind this idea and Democrats can get 25 Republican votes in the House to make it law. However, if Tea Party Republicans muster enough outrage and push for a game of chicken with the national debt, foregoing any compromise on revenue increases while screaming for unrealistically drastic spending cuts, then all bets are off. You can take it to the bank, so to speak, that the US will start looking an awful lot like Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland, and other EU countries at the worst possible time. And that, I think, is just what the most nihilistic Republicans want.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

And Then There Were None

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) abandoned talks with the White House over a large-scale, $4 trillion debt reduction deal over his party's insistence on no tax increases of any kind. He was the last Republican member in those talks, with Majority Whip Eric Cantor (VA) having left several weeks ago.

It now seems a certainty that the US will default on its debt come Aug. 2. All because the wealthiest Americans can't spare one penny in new taxes, and all because the vast majority of Republicans, who are middle class and who will actually bear the brunt of the damages caused by this wrecked deal, don't see that the rich are flushing them down the toilet.

What was it that Leona Helmsley said? Oh, yeah:
We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Irony of Ironies

HuffPost reports on a National Enquirer investigation that shows the host of NBC's "To Catch a Predator," Chris Hansen, reportedly sexting pictures of himself to his alleged mistress.

Can this get any juicier? I mean, the guy whose face is the first face seen by sexual predators when they are lured under false pretenses to a house where they think they'll be having sex with an underage girl or boy? To err is human, of course, but how many more prominent men have to do this to convince us that there no longer is any anonymity in the Internet Age?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Time to Un-Sheath the Sword

Since debt ceiling debate has all but collapsed, with the GOP unwilling to concede even one dollar of taxes to offset the budget deficit, and with the Democrats appearing more than willing to compromise but without any real balls to back it up, it's time for President Obama to take out his very substantial and powerful sword. He needs to invoke Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendmen to the US Constitution, which reads: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

More on this from my hero on the right, Bruce Bartlett, who writes:

It goes without saying that provoking a constitutional crisis over the debt limit is a bad idea, but a debt crisis would be worse. At a minimum, the Fourteenth Amendment greatly strengthens the president’s hand in getting the debt limit increased in a timely matter. He should not be afraid to use it.
This will bring the GOP into line. Let them try to argue against the President on the constitutionality of his actions. Since both houses of Congress would need to agree to bring suit against Obama on this action, it's a moot point, anyway.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Awful Truth

From former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming:

We’re at 15 percent revenue, and historically it’s been closer to 20 percent. We’ve never had a war without a tax, and now we’ve got two. … Absolute bullshit.

And Simpson is -- or, I should say, was -- a prominent Republican during his Washington days. And he was co-chair of Obama's deficit reduction commission, which issued a report urging tax increases to balance the budget.

For Simpson to say this, Tea Partiers will equate him to being a Muslim, or a Nazi, or anti-American. Certainly not a Republican anymore.

And So It Ends...

The Federal Reserve, which had been propping up the markets for years through various stimulus programs, had for the last nine months purchased hundreds of billions of dollars in US Treasury securities, ended its Quantitative Easing 2 program on June 30. Some think this means that mortgage interest rates will shoot through the roof with demand for higher returns on treasuries by private as opposed to public investors. Some also believe that treasuries will push higher because the Greek government, which agreed to its five-year austerity plan in order to secure an EU bailout, will bring investors back into Europe. As of this writing, the yield on the ten-year treasury bond, which is the mortgage bellwether, hit a seven-week peak to 3.21% It doesn't bode well for a good summer of refinancing.