Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Who Are the Conservative Advocacy Groups (and Individuals) Behind the Shutdown? The United States Feared No More (Because We Look Like Dumb Asses?)

(Please consider making even a small contribution to the Welcome to  Pottersville2 Quarterly Fundraiser happening now ($5.00 is suggested for those on a tight budget) or sending a link to your friends if you think the subjects discussed here are worth publicizing. Thank you for your support. We really appreciate it. Anything you can do will make a huge difference in this blog's ability to survive in these difficult economic times.)

It's not a mystery as to whom the inhabitants of This Town are.

Here are a few who benefit from the price the shutdown has imposed on the rest of US:

Meet One of the Conservative Advocacy Groups Behind the GOP's Government Shutdown Strategy

Chris Moody, Yahoo! News

The activists at Heritage Action, one of the conservative groups that successfully persuaded enough Republicans to refuse to fund the government unless the federal health care law is defunded, is not sorry about the shutdown.

And Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, thinks that if this goes on long enough, Democrats will have no choice but to back down. 

More than a week into the first government shutdown since the Bill Clinton era, groups such as Heritage Action on the right continue to urge lawmakers not to negotiate a measure to fully fund the government unless they include riders to effectively dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“The only acceptable way out of this is some sort of deal that funds the federal government without funding Obamacare,” Needham told reporters at a breakfast on Wednesday sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “This is a fight about Obamacare, and the attention of Republicans and conservatives needs to be back on Obamacare and not on other ways out of this situation.”

The group’s doggedness about the GOP strategy, combined with muscle on the inside from dozens of conservative House members and Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, puts Republicans in a tough position going into negotiations to resolve the impasse with Democrats. The group’s regularly updated legislative scorecard, which tracks votes and issues it believes help separate the conservatives from the RINOS (Republicans In Name Only), serves as a public shaming mechanism for Republicans that wander astray.

In August, the group ramped up the pressure by joining with its sister organization, the Heritage Foundation, for a nine-city town-hall tour that drummed up support in the states for the plan to link Obamacare defunding to must-pass legislation like the bill to fund the government. 

By some measures, the campaign has worked. Before the government shut down earlier this month, Republican House Speaker John Boehner and party leadership planned to adopt a different strategy that would have used the vote to increase the debt ceiling — not the government funding bill — to wage its war on Obamacare. In the final days before the funding deadline, Boehner backed down to voices within his House conference to adopt the Heritage-Cruz strategy, which resulted, unsurprisingly, in the government shutdown.

Since then, House Republicans have passed several minifunding bills that would re-open some crucial and popular parts of the government, which the Democrat-led Senate and President Barack Obama have repeatedly rejected. Needham said he supports the strategy.

“If we want to sit on a government shutdown over the next several weeks over the [National Labor Relations Board] and the [Environment Protection Agency] being shut down, I’m perfectly happy to sit in that situation until Obama stops this unaffordable and unfair law,” Needham said.

It is assumed, however, that Obama never will agree to defund the health care law — the signature legislative achievement of his presidency — which makes the future of this current battle uncertain. 

Some Republicans appear to have conceded, too, that they can’t fully defund the law, which is why they have proposed less stringent conditions to re-opening the government, such as delaying the individual mandate to buy health insurance and an unpopular tax on medical devices. 

As the Oct. 17 deadline to increase the federal debt limit draws near, it remains uncertain whether Republicans will even remain steadfast in their demand to cripple part of the health care law. In recent days, House Republican leaders have spoken more about their demand for any kind of formal negotiation with Democrats than a call to defund or delay the law. On Wednesday, Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that outlined possible paths forward, and none mentioned Obamacare.

That omission certainly caught Heritage Action’s attention.

“This is a fight about Obamacare,” Needham said when asked about Ryan’s op-ed. “And the attention of Republicans and conservatives needs to be back on Obamacare and not on other ways out of this situation.” 

View Comments (3972)

- Wouldn't it be interesting if someone did a investigation on all members of government and their pals as to who had made large short positions at the beginning of the shutdown and just for fun how many of them are involved in derivative trading?

Let's ask or will any of them suffer monetarily from the shut down? No, they will not,they all gain, they all play their role for self and party. The party leaders knew this was on the table and they know what both will do every move, they already know the outcome. The game will continue and they will continue to take as much as they can get by with.they win we lose. There is one monkey wrench that could ruin their show but that won't happen. ÷ ÷ ÷

Expand Replies(8)

Speaking of This Town, we learn the following:

This agenda has been great for OUR economy, a Republican economist told the Huffington Post. "We get paid to get Republicans to get pissed off at Democrats, which they rightfully are. It's the easiest thing in the world. It's like getting paid to get you to love your mother."

. . . There are a lot of people who have been registered to lobby for years who are now calling themselves "public affairs consultants" or "strategic advisers," . . . . At the same time, Washington is now crawling with people who are not registered to lobby but who nonetheless get paid to advocate full-time for some business, organization, or industry agenda (either directly to a powerful official or via some PR work). . . . This ilk is known around town as "unregistered lobbyists."

. . . Jack (Quinn, the Democratic lobbyist who asked Bill Clinton to pardon Marc Rich), and Ed (Gillespie, his former lobbying partner who is former Republican National Committee Chairman), talk all the time and remain the closest of friends. I once asked Quinn what appealed to him about Gillespie when they first started bonding in the bipartisan DMZ of the (G)reen (R)oom.

"Ed got the joke," explained Quinn. It was not immediately clear what he meant by "the joke." What was the joke? Who was it on? Did it refer to the conceit that much of the Washington economy - lobbying, political consulting, and cable news - is predicated on the perpetuation of conflict, not the resolution of problems? Did "the joke" refer to the fact that all of the shouting partisanship that we see on television is just winking performance art? And in reality, off-air, everyone in Washington is joined in a multilateral conga line of potential business partners? What was "the joke?" I asked Quinn. "Ed and I both appreciate that everyone involved in the world in which we operate," Quinn said, "is a patriot."

What a word.

What a world.

What a joke (on US).

Where is my flag button?

Read the book, This Town, for more information about this joke.

Later tonight you can view another political thriller.

The Constant Gardener is on Sundance tonight at 8:00 PM and 10:45 PM. The book by John Le Carré is even better!

The United States Feared No More

While the General Assembly was discussing the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is another matter altogether that concerned the diplomats: are the United States still the superpower they have claimed to be since the demise of the Soviet Union or has the time come to break free of their tutelage?

By Thierry Meyssan

October 02, 2013

In 1991, the United States had considered that the end of their rival had freed their military budget and allowed them to develop their prosperity. President George H. Bush (the father) had, after Operation Desert Storm, begun to reduce the size of the armed forces. His successor, Bill Clinton, reinforced this trend.

However, the Republican Congress elected in 1995 questioned this choice and imposed rearmament without an enemy to fight. The neo-conservatives lauched their country into world assault mode to create the first global empire.

It was only on the occasion of the attacks of September 11th, 2001 that President George W. Bush (the son) decided to invade successively Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Syria and Somalia and Sudan and to end with Iran before turning to China.

The military budget of the United States reached more than 40% of world military expenditures. However, this extravagance had an ending: the economic crisis forced Washington to cut back. In one year, the Pentagon has dismissed a fifth of its army and halted several of its research programs. This sharp decline is just beginning and it has already disrupted the whole system. It is clear that the United States, despite having power greater than the twenty largest countries of the world, including Russia and China, is not currently able to engage in large conventional wars.

Washington thus gave up on attacking Syria when the Russian fleet was deployed along the Mediterranean coast. The Pentagon would then have had to launch its Tomawak missiles from the Red Sea over Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Syria and its non-state allies would have answered with a regional war, plunging the United States into a conflict too big for it.

In an article published by the New York Times, President Putin opened fire. He stressed that "American exceptionalism" is an insult to the equality of humans and can only lead to catastrophy. At the podium of the United Nations, President Obama answered that no other nation, not even Russia, wanted to shoulder the burden of the United States. And if they were the police of the world, it was precisely to ensure equality of humans.

This intervention is not reassuring : the United States asserting itself as superior to the rest of the world and considering the equality of humans only as their subjects.

But the spell is broken. The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, drew ​​applause by demanding an apology from Washington for its universal espionage, while the President of the Swiss Confederation denounced the U.S. policy of force. The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, evoked the trying of his U.S. counterpart under international justice for crimes against humanity, while the Serbian President, Tomislav Nikolic, denounced the masquerade of international courts which prosecute only the enemies of the Empire etc. It has thus gone from criticism from a few anti-imperialist states to widespread revolt including Washington’s allies.

Never before has the authority of the masters of the world been so publicly challenged - a sign that after their Syrian retreat, they are no longer to be feared.
Translation - Roger Lagassé

French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last two books published in English: 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.

This article was originally published at Voltaire Network .

No comments: