Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


In the News: America’s New Congress – Buyers Remorse?

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material


Greg Sargent, WaPo: GOP deportation priorities, in the raw

As expected, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives today passed a package of measures that would roll back President Obama’s executive actions shielding hundreds of thousands of DREAMers, and millions of parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, from deportation.[…]

Today’s action goes further than merely defunding Obama’s recent executive actions deferring the deportation of immigrants brought here as children (the 2012 DACA) and of millions of parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents (the more recent DAPA).

It also defunds the implementation of the 2011 Morton memos. […]

“Republicans just voted against a mainstream law enforcement utilization of prosecutorial discretion,” Frank Sharry of America’s Voice tells me. “Would they instruct enforcement agents to treat a DREAMer, the spouse of a soldier, or the mother of an American citizen as an equal deportation priority to a convicted gang member, a smuggler, or a serious criminal?”

Apparently so. Here is how they plan to solve the sticky wicket of deporting parents of American citizens and the humanitarian crisis created from millions of children left parentless:

A group of hardline conservatives will use this week’s GOP retreat to pressure their colleagues into adopting an agenda that includes bills to end “birthright” citizenship


Pew Poll

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 7-11 among 1,504 adults, finds that Obama’s job approval has risen five points since December (42%). […]

For the first time in five years, more Americans say Obama’s economic policies have made conditions better (38%) than worse (28%); 30% say they have not had much of an effect. And Obama engenders more confidence on the economy than do the leaders of the new Republican majority in Congress.[…]

Currently, 40% approve of Republican leaders’ plans and policies for the future, while somewhat more (49%) disapprove. Shortly after the midterm elections, when Republicans gained full control of Congress, about as many approved as disapproved of GOP future plans (44% approved vs. 43% disapproved).

Now that Americans have caught a glimpse of the future, they appear to be having a bit of buyers remorse.


More …

The VA Scandal: Courtesy of the Do-Nothing Congress and Political Gridlock

From Jim Wright at Stonekettle Station:

The simple truth of the matter is that if America actually cared about its veterans, cared enough to do more than slap a yellow ribbon magnet on the back of their SUVs and feign outrage on command, well, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we?

From Jim Wright, USN retired (h/t Smartypants):

This is nothing new.

This kind of bureaucratic flimflam when it comes to taking care of veterans? It’s been going on for years, for decades, from one war to the next and all the timeless space in between. And it’s not confined to the Veterans Administration.

It’s been happening in Phoenix and San Diego and New York City and New Orleans and Biloxi and Anchorage and Washington D.C. and from sea to shining sea.

This latest thing? The appalling revelation that the Phoenix VA was cooking the books in order to meet impossible deadlines and levels of throughput? That administrators were hiding unacceptable delays in service and care in order to get themselves monetary bonuses and to pad their resumes? The fact that veterans died waiting for the care they faithfully earned and rightfully deserve? Yeah. That’s not outrage you see on our faces, and it sure isn’t surprise, it’s amused resignation.

We’re used to it.

We’re used to being disposable assets.

We’re used to being left to die by bureaucrats and politicians and the American public.

We’re used to being forgotten when the nation doesn’t need us anymore.

Oh, please, don’t bother. I’m not looking for sympathy or any more feigned outrage, I’ve had plenty.

There’s more …

Weekly Address: President Obama – Working When Congress Won’t Act

The President’s Weekly Address post is also the Weekend Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President discussed actions to expand opportunity for more Americans, with or without the help of Republicans in Congress, including his Administration’s efforts to cut red tape for major transportation infrastructure projects. In the coming days, the President will meet with business leaders to highlight the importance of bringing jobs back to America and will also discuss the economic benefits of making it easier for tourists to visit and spend money at attractions in the U.S., which in turn helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone.

Elections Matter: What Happened in 2010?

The results of the last midterm congressional election, in 2010, were termed a “shellacking” by President Barack Obama. Some pundits said it was “not as bad as it could have been”, and also pointed to the 1994 midterm election when another first-term Democratic president lost control of Congress. That was little comfort for those of us who wanted to see President Obama’s agenda (our agenda) advanced.

The Democratic Party lost 63 seats in the House of Representatives, the biggest midterm loss since 1938 and the largest seat exchange since 1948. John “Big Gavel” Boehner became Speaker of the House and progress towards implementing the president’s agenda came to a screeching halt. The 112th Congress passed less legislation than the Do Nothing Congress that Harry Truman ran against in 1948. (The current Congress, the 113th is on pace to do even less).

The Congress that the 112th replaced, the 111th Congress was one of the most productive in recent history. Fifty years after President Harry S Truman first talked about universal health care, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democratic majorities gave us the Affordable Care Act of 2010. That legislation affects the lives of every American by putting in place a structure to allow purchasing health insurance that is not just affordable but which provides minimum standards for coverage and does not punish policy holders for getting sick.

The “problem” with passing the Affordable Care Act was that in 2010 it put a big target on the backs of many Democrats who had been elected in the wave election of 2006. That year, another midterm election year, Democrats and other sentient beings were motivated to vote in order to create a firewall against the abuses of the Bush Administration. Democrats picked up 31 seats … and the majority … making Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives.  

Elections Matter: What’s at Stake in 2014?

Quick answer: pretty much everything.

When I was phonebanking in 2010 for OFA (Obama For America) in Wisconsin, the unified campaign effort was tasked with electing a Democratic governor, re-electing Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), and electing Democrats to the House of Representatives. The phone script included this: “Please vote to send people to Washington DC who will help President Obama advance his agenda”.

On the list of people we were calling were those who had voted for President Obama in 2008, people who should have been interested in advancing his agenda because, in theory, they voted to do just that only two years before.

But mid-terms are funny things. Many of the people I called said they only voted in presidential elections. Some of them were unhappy because they didn’t get their pony so much of the president’s agenda had to be set aside to deal with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression … a parting “gift” from Worst President in History George W. Bush.

Well, Democrats were not enthused but Republicans were because they had two things firing up their base: a black man (who was not even born in ‘Murica!!) had stolen the election (ACORNNNN!!) … and the Affordable Care Act had been passed, ushering in death panels and government-run health care and frightening all your doctors into fleeing to the libertarian paradise of Somalia.

So turnout was low and we ended up with Scott Walker and a solid Republican legislature here in Wisconsin. And we sent Ron Johnson to the Senate and Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble to the House of Representatives. Elsewhere, Michigan got Rick Snyder, Ohio got John Kasich, Pennsylvania got Tom Corbett, Florida got Rick Scott, Iowa got Terry Branstad, Maine got Paul LePage … and America got Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner.

What lesson will be learned?

Republicans are congratulating themselves over extracting concessions in the recent 2-year budget deal that left the extension of unemployment benefits to 1.3 million Americans on the cutting room floor.

Those benefits are from the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Act passed in 2008 and extended 11 times, usually as a hostage held by the Republican Party to force President Obama and the Democrats to give in to their demands. At the end of 2010, Republicans in Congress used the threat of real harm to millions of Americans, from the expiration of EUC benefits, to extend the Bush tax cuts (a compromise for which the president took a lot of heat from his “base”).

What is EUC?

Extended Benefits are available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment. The basic Extended Benefits program provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits when a State is experiencing high unemployment. Some States have also enacted a voluntary program to pay up to 7 additional weeks (20 weeks maximum) of Extended Benefits during periods of extremely high unemployment.

Before the expiration:

After the expiration:

The real political scandal in the “Obamacare” rollout

There is a big political scandal surrounding the rollout of the latest phase of the Affordable Care Act. It is real and it is encapsulated in this quote:

“Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party does not stand for anything else …

– Paul Krugman, economist and author

Yes, there are web site glitches at and cancellations of sub-standard health insurance policies (and in some cases, insurance companies choosing to leave the health care market altogether). Yes, people who the media like to talk to are angry and upset. But who is giving a rats patootie about the people in the states with negligent governors who refuse to expand Medicaid? And a Congress that is so focused on their ideology that they deny their humanity?

Who cares about these people?

The Nightmare of Extraordinary Measures to Avoid Default

 photo FederalReserve_zpsf5a4f38a.jpg

Back on October 4, Vincent Reinhart wrote in The New York Times’ Deal Book that despite all the political maneuvering currently going in Washington the contingencies to prepare for a default are “a waste because the United States government is not going to default, ever.”

Reinhart argues that government officials will be forced to violate one of three laws or constitutional mandates:

  1. The Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 that establishes the debt ceiling;
  2. The Federal Reserve Act that prohibits the Fed from lending directly to the Treasury; or,
  3. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which holds that the debt of the United States government, lawfully issued, will not be questioned.

Finally, of the consequences, Reinhart writes:

An official anticipating stretching the law ranks alternatives by precedent, punishment as specified in the law and standing as to who can claim a violation of the law. Either a secretary of the Treasury who holds No. 3 as the overriding instruction or a chairman of the Federal Reserve who waives No. 2 saves the global financial system and, at most, risks being impeached or fired. That seems to be a reasonable risk and reward trade-off.

That, however, ignores the real nightmare that would happen immediately after any of those actions were taken to avoid default by the United States Government.

Don’t let the bankers get away with this!

If, like me, you are of the 96 million Americans who rely on a not-for-profit credit union for fairly priced financial services, it’s not too late to make your voice heard.  Finance Committee leaders are working on a proposal for a new U.S. tax code and Big Banks are asking them to pick the pockets of Credit Union members.

Banks pushing for repeal of credit unions’ federal tax exemption

The Big Banks have armies of lobbyists loaded with cash and they are pressuring Congress to revoke the income tax exemption for not-for-profit Credit Unions. The Big Banks don’t like the competition and they especially don’t like the market pressure that forces them to rein in fees.

Credit Unions have their members, their voices, and their stories. It’s time to use them.