Some suffer from visions they cannot describe.
No Confidence: The Tea Party, egged on by Sara Palin, has scuttled John Boehner's budget plan – and his leadership as Speaker – by refusing to submit to repeated calls to adhere to the once monolithic Republican discipline. Ah, multi-party gridlock comes to Washington. And yes, we do seem to be “governed by a bunch of selfish, incompetent wack-jobs who put their careers and politics ahead of the country's interests.”
National Security: Lawmakers should agree that national defense spending should remain mainly sacrosanct, although the military adventures overseas should cease. But domestic defense programs such as food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security should be strengthened. They are all that is keeping a hundred million Americans from taking to the streets to confront the oligarchs.
Reservations: Initial unemployment claims were under 400,000 this week, but expect the 398k report to be revised upward next week.
Clarification: There is no debt limit in the Constitution (and the 14th Amendment may provide for just the opposite). The US got along fine without a debt ceiling until 1917, and since 1974 the Congress has instructed the executive in great detail how much to spend on what as well as what to tax and how much. If Congress actually wanted to reduce the deficit or pay off the national debt, they could have started doing so years ago through the budget process. It is not the President who is bumping up against the debt ceiling, it is the Congress.
Gyrations: Sales of new houses have fallen for the last two months and existing house sales have risen for a couple of months. Move along, nothing to see here.
Easy As 1, 2, 47: First Wisconsin's Republicans passed a voter ID bill requiring a photo ID from the DMV, now Republican Governor Scott Walker is closing DMV offices – mostly in Democratic neighborhoods. Coincidence.
Ups & Downs: As a broke and penurious US cuts back on its space commitments in order to keep funding its wars, Russia announces it has put a new radio telescope into orbit. The Spektr-R, in sync with ground-based observatories, will have an effective “dish” 30 times Earth's diameter and will have a resolution 10,000 times that of the Hubble.
Right You Are: To protect the nation from the threat of right wing terrorism, Homeland Security has an analyst dedicated to the threat of domestic terror. 'An' as in one.
Please Explain: In Wisconsin you can turned away from the voter registration office if your bank account does not show enough activity. What's that got to do with anything and how do the clerks at the DMV know about your banking habits? If you are unemployed, does the loan from Vinny count as banking?
Big, Slow: The US Department of Health and Human Services says it “would review” its policy of rejecting blood donations from homosexuals and bisexual males – a ban that dates from the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Effective tests to safeguard blood supplies have been available for years. But the review will not occur for at least two more years due to Congressional restraints.
Garage Sale: Kuwait has reportedly bumped its production from 2.3 mbd to 2.7 mbd. Which is nice, but their net exports are down 13% from 2008. I don't care how much they get to use, I'm interested in how much of it I get to use.
Prologue to a Farce: In Illinois a little knowledge is expensive, but if you want to know too much you have to wait a year. It's their new version of Freedom
From Of Information, for the first few requests you have to pay “the actual cost”. But if you get labeled a “recurrent requestor” your requests will go to the end of the line. Repeatedly.
Debt and Consequences:If the debt ceiling is not raised the US government will eventually be unable to meet its obligations. It is assumed that those first in line for what money there is will be the bondholders. Why? Why not put the unemployed, the elderly, the sick and the children first? You know, “we, the people.”