Home Stretch: Before Boehner, who had called the bi-partisan Senate bill “a hand grenade” and his merry men even had a chance to explain themselves, the White House pre-empted them by calling it “a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans.” Which it was. At this point the choice for both sides is "unconditional surrender or default." Unconditional surrender is a non-starter, leaving...
Translation: Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta says that populism is a rising threat to Europe. 'Populism' here means 'fascism', as in Greece's Golden Dawn and the resurgent Front National in France.
Cruz Control: Here’s a cheerful thought: Ted Cruz, who basically forced the shutdown and whose own private polls have convinced him that it has been a glorious success, could probably force a default and cause global economic calamity all by his lonesome. And well may.
Here Come da Judge: “EU finance ministers prepared Tuesday to take a key step towards a new bank regulatory framework with final clearance of a single supervisor regime for the eurozone.”
Goal Posts: For many Republican hard-liners, default is not a problem but rather the goal they've been working toward for several years. Some, not content with simple default, want to repudiate the debt. Their ultimate goal is a balanced budget enforced by a prohibition against borrowing, as though this were a good idea. The current Congress is one of the best possible arguments against democracy rooted in the people.
Swords Into Profits: The Obama administration is loosening the export controls on the Lords of War, increasing the flow of American arms and equipment to the world's conflicts while increasing the flow of dollars to the arms industry. The Commerce Department will insure that human rights are not trammeled in the process.
Bait & Switch: The Republicans have suddenly switched from claiming shutting down the government and running the default gauntlet was necessary because of the evils of Obamacare to now claiming it is all about spending, all about 'living within our means', all about curtailing entitlements (without actually saying the words “Social Security and Medicare”). In the next few days, every time you hear the impass attributed to 'spending', remind yourself that the speaker is parroting Republican talking points and not accurately reporting the news.
Big Gulp: The Fort Meade raiders are swooping into your e-mail address book and your 'friends' lists at the rate of 250 million such lists a year. Those in a 'person of interest's' address book will henceforth be called 'co-conspirators'. The NSA defended its surveillance activities as legal and respectful of privacy rights.
It's Been Here All Along: Everyone's asking 'will the US default?' But it already has... If 'default' is defined as failing to live up to a promise to pay, then the sequester was a default and the furloughs of the government shutdown are a default. But obviously some promises are more important than others and the promise to help the poor feed their children or that government workers be able to buy groceries and gas up the car are certainly second to the obligation to pay interest to the bond-holding overlords of Wall Street. There will not be riots in the street come default day. But “the full faith and trust” of the United States will not be nearly so full nor so trusted for a long time thereafter, and we'll pay for that in higher interest rates on Treasury bills. The default has already started, and is already causing real harm. The only question is how much worse it’s going to get.
Asked & Answered: Do student evaluations measure teaching effectiveness? No.
Lying As An Art Form: Fox and its friends on the Republican Right now claim that Obama is responsible for the government shutdown and the debt limit crisis. This is a lie, but no member of MSM will dare call them on it. Which is where the problem really is – in the refusal of the media to point out that the Republicans and their mouthpiece platforms lie. All day, every day. “Conservatives stopped bothering to care if people believe their lies years ago. They know they’re lying. We know they’re lying. It stopped mattering some time ago.”
Smoke/Fire: China’s state press is calling for ‘Building a de-Americanized World’ while some European observers think that the dollar's supremacy is declining, and with it, American power.
The Blueprints: At this point there seems no way the legal logistics could be met to avoid the Treasury exhausting its borrowing authority come Thursday and running out of cash to pay the bills with a few days later and certainly before November 1st. Treasury rejects the idea of prioritizing payments, which would be selective default, but default none the less. Financial markets so far are whistling past the graveyard, pretending there is nothing, nothing, nothing wrong. Yet the impact will likely be seen first in the stock market. The full extent of the financial trauma will take time to materialize – hopefully longer than it will take the Congress to get a minyan.
The Parting Shot: