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Historical context

Go read Chris Weigant. I’d forgotten the Republicans pulled the same debt ceiling stunt on Clinton.

Conspiracy of two

TIME is so firmly entrenched in Village-think that they swoon over “dealmakers” — regardless of who’s hurt in that deal.

Imagine that

Republicans misbehaving!

Republican commissioners on the panel created by Congress to probe the roots of the financial crisis leaked documents to partisan allies and shared confidential information with influence peddlers, according to a Wednesday report by Democrats on a Congressional oversight committee.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, sought to investigate allegations that the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was mismanaged by its Democratic majority, misused taxpayer funds, was compromised by conflicts of interest and colluded with Democrats in Congress as they sought to pass a financial reform bill.

Instead, the 400,000 emails and documents obtained by the investigative committee show that Republican commissioner Peter Wallison broke confidentiality rules by leaking documents to Ed Pinto, a colleague of his at the American Enterprise Institute, a prominent right-leaning Washington-based research and policy organization.
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Elizabeth Warren

You can watch her Hill testimony here. And no, we still don’t know who’s running the consumer bureau that opens in, what, two weeks?

Matt Stoller on why Elizabeth Warren is indeed polarizing – and why it’s a good thing:

I’m watching a hearing in the Government Reform Committee where members of Congress are going back and forth on the CFPB, the new consumer bureau set up to serve as the cop on the beat against banks. The Republicans are attacking Elizabeth Warren, while the Democrats are attacking the banks. Rep. Tierney, for instance, is talking about how mortgage servicers like JPM are jerking around members of the armed forces deployed overseas.

Warren is at the center of the debate, because she takes a clear stand. Because she is clear, the Republicans can put out exactly what they think, and the Democrats are able to clearly spell out what they believe. Anyone watching can’t avoid but knowing what the debate is about.

It is this clarity, this debate, that is missing in our politics. Warren provides it, Obama does not.

Hunger strike

I’ve never understood why liberals seem so horrified by torture — but apparently only when it takes place in another country. The conditions in our jails continue to be a disgrace, and in many places, they’re getting worse because they’ve been outsourced to for-profit companies (and we all know what that means). Yet jail reform is far down on the list of liberal priorities. It’s easy to look away because, well, they’re the bad guys.

I’m not suggesting that maximum security prisoners be “coddled”, as conservatives like to accuse. Yes, I realize inmates are not angels — but let’s get real: Neither are their guards, some of whom sell contraband drugs and other black market items, and trade sexual favors for special treatment. Insisting on human dignity and humane conditions is not some crazy liberal idea, it’s simple human decency. And of course, that’s not even considering the long-term mental-health damage done to these prisoners by extended isolation. There are other options, including the state freeing enough low-risk drug offenders at other facilities to free up space.

I hope this story gets more traction, because it needs a wider audience:
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‘Not a preferred option’

So is multimillionaire President Obama is something different than a Third Way-loving neoliberal? I can’t wait to hear multimillionaire talking head Lawrence O’Donnell explain this one:

WASHINGTON — The White House on Wednesday closed the door a little more on the debt proposal being floated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) [Ed. note: apprx. $17 million; wife Elaine Chao, board member of Wells Fargo and other boards, compensation unknown], a measure already under siege by conservatives.

“This is not a preferred option,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney [Ed. note: annual salary $172K, married to ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman, believed to be $700K per annum] said of McConnell’s proposal in his daily briefing.

McConnell’s proposal for avoiding debt default — to transfer full power to raise the debt ceiling to the White House for the remainder of Obama’s current term, cutting Congress out of the process — does nothing to address deficit reduction, Carney said. And Obama is set on making sizable cuts.

“The president is firmly committed to significant cuts in spending and to dealing with our deficit and debt problems in a balanced way,” he said. “Bigger is better. … It’s an opportunity for a game-changer, to put the United States on much firmer ground as we really get into the 21st century and the economic competition that confronts us.”

You got that, people? This is from the White House press secretary: “Bigger is better.” You say “rope-a-dope,” I say “watch your wallets.”
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Drama Queen Mitch

As Atrios said yesterday, “Governing by crisis is an undemocratic way for our overlords to try to avoid accountability.”

We’ve seen a lot of that lately. This is a problem with both parties, but it’s especially egregious in the Republican party because they quite literally believe that any positions but their own are inherently illegitimate. Like Our Drama Queen Mitch, who sputtered up a storm over this:

The time has come for a balanced budget amendment that forces Washington to balance its books. If these debt negotiations have convinced us of anything, it’s that we can’t leave it to politicians in Washington to make the difficult decisions that they need to get our fiscal house in order. The balanced budget amendment will do that for them. Now is the moment. No more games. No more gimmicks. The Constitution must be amended to keep the government in check. We’ve tried persuasion. We’ve tried negotiations. We’re tried elections. Nothing has worked.

Wow. Now, in a rational world, real conservatives would be calling for his head, because what he’s calling for here is a figurative coup. Elections have consequences, Mitch. But his reaction? Screw those voters, we don’t need them!

This is, after all, how they operate. From Bush v. Gore on down, that’s what Republicans have done: lied, cheated, stolen, suppressed votes — you name it. Why?

Because whenever voters understand what Republicans really want, they reject it.
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Michele and Marcus explain marriage

Who knew

That the Barbie doll was based on a German sex toy?

I promise

This is going to be the strangest thing you read today.

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