Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Crazy Gang Nation

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    I, for one, wish to register a protest at my family’s well-being and security being put at the mercy of a gang of crazy people.

    The thing is, I don't believe Congressional Republicans are "crazy" at all. They're terrifyingly sane in their mendacious irresponsibility; their fear of a string of Tea Party primaries; and their grasp of their party base that has terminally confused politics with a religious cult. As many others have pointed out, even a large chunk of Senate Republicans think the only thing on Ted Cruz's empty little head is positioning himself for the 2016 Republican primary season with donors who think Mitt Romney's only problem was that he wasn't extreme enough.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    the implications for the entire world economy are potentially disastrous

    Depends on how we deal with it.

    The immediate effect of a US default would be that all the banks that rely on US treasuries as assets fail. You'd expect that basically, the interbank payment systems would stop and within a few days, Eftpos and cash machines would be gone.

    There are two ways to deal with that:
    - the one that governments like ours will try and foist on us, based on taking money from ordinary people to pay off the wealthy

    - an alternative, where the banking system is reconstructed in community hands and we move onto a current payment basis, with debt balances frozen. At the same time, we trigger a general constitutional reconstruction, like the one they tried and failed to have in Iceland, that cuts the megarich out of power permanently

    That would be no bad thing

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Waugh,

    As the nearly half a million government employees sent home with no pay suddenly stop spending on anything but bare essentials, businesses over there are gonna squeal, hopefully as they bankroll the republitards they will let their displeasure be known.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    That would be no bad thing

    Really? That all sounds absolutely terrifying!

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    While most folks focus on the political insanity or cheerfully joke about a day off work (unpaid) this has consequences worldwide for science.

    Jonathan Eisen has screenshot gallery of the science sites shut down because of this posturing.

    Does this affect us directly, well not today for me but if it goes on for a week I predict a number of these sites would actually fall over due to lack of maintanance ... except of course most of them are maintained by scientists who actually want to get shit done ... unlike the politicians.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Double,

    If Boehner puts a clean bill to the House, apparently it has every chance of going through. But a mere 30 ultra-conservatives and another 40 or 50 garden variety reactionaries terrified of a primary challenge from the right are stopping him doing that. One faction of one party of one branch of government holds the world to ransom.

    There's that old saw that conservatives claim government doesn't work, then they get elected and prove it.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • steve black,

    I think the important thing to remember is that having less “Big Government” is also what the Republicans want. So they aren’t crazy. They are getting what they want. When the US Government has to shut down they win. If the “compromise” is agreed on which repeals or delays Obamacare, they win. If there is a rider defunding abortions (or whatever), they win. Having a win every which way is not the act of crazy people. It is very clever working towards an end. I don’t like the end, but I can recognize calculated action vs crazy when I see it.

    Not also it isn’t new. See wikipedia on US Govt Shutdown. There is a long enough list. The sky didn’t fall.

    Previous Shut Downs

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 116 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    While most folks focus on the political insanity or cheerfully joke about a day off work (unpaid) this has consequences worldwide for science.

    Right now I'm on a research expedition in the northeastern Pacific (well, research in the odd moments we're not getting the crap kicked out of us by that typhoon remnant lurking around up here), with some NOAA scientists. Not only do their .gov email addresses not work anymore, when we get back and offload from the ship - assuming the shutdown is still in place - they won't be able to return their equipment to their home facility, because there are guards stopping them going in there. I've also heard about other important work being done by contractors because it's legal to pay them to do it but not legal for the people who'd normally do it - direct government employees - to do so while the shutdown is happening. This is a highly ludicrous process all around.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    That would be no bad thing

    In the meantime, do you think oral sex would be an acceptable medium of exchange for goods and services?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The 'left' plays rigorously to the book while the 'right' doesn't.

    Obama could, for instance, issue the trillion dollar coin, which would end-run Congress. He could start bringing US troops home from overseas and scuttle the fleet, cutting a huge item out of the federal budget

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    As money is in effect virtual nowadays we can choose to ignore the issue and just carry on internally (and internationally).
    I'm more worried about the sunspots or whatever that are going to wipe out all the digital material and leave me with nothing that actually works except that old wind up gramophone...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    So Jimmy Kimmel had someone go out and vox-pop people on whether they preferred Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. You can probably guess what happened. Sigh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    I love the latest line from the right: that Obama will negotiate with Iran and Russia but he won't negotiate with the Republicans. They are actually proud of being more difficult to negotiate with than Iran.

    The two things I am most angry about are Boehner's refusal to allow a vote on a clean funding bill, and the fact that the politicians still get paid.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    As Mark Morford, columnist on SF Gate said on his facebook page
    " Government shutdown. Everything's free and no more war. Nice."

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    except of course most of them are maintained by scientists who actually want to get shit done

    Obviously refering to link then

    http://phylogenomics.blogspot.co.nz/2013/09/fecal-transplants-as-treatment-for.html

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    That would be no bad thing

    Sounds great. Does anyone know how to stuff their kiwisaver account under their mattress?

    One faction of one party of one branch of government holds the world to ransom.

    It really does show the failings of multiple layers of FPP. Tea Party are influential enough for their candidates to win a heap of primaries (or more moderate candidates have to sway to the bat-crazy right to do so). Then because they've got republican beside their name, they beat a bunch of democrats. Enough of them do that in the caucus, and they rule the caucus so control leaders and priorities. Enough republicans are elected, they rule the house. Rule the house, shut down the government. Economy starts to falter, and we're all a bit screwed.

    It's like 10-15% of the politically active population in the US (figure pulled out of my butt) just winning each tipping point and then sucking up most of the people that they just beat and heading on to the next tipping point. Eventually a couple of million people at the crazy end of the political spectrum are screwing with all of us.

    I hope they get smashed at mid-terms. Something needs to change over there.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    It really does show the failings of multiple layers of FPP. Tea Party are influential enough for their candidates to win a heap of primaries (or more moderate candidates have to sway to the bat-crazy right to do so). Then because they've got republican beside their name, they beat a bunch of democrats. Enough of them do that in the caucus, and they rule the caucus so control leaders and priorities. Enough republicans are elected, they rule the house. Rule the house, shut down the government. Economy starts to falter, and we're all a bit screwed.

    There's an additional layer to it. The Republican hold on Congress is largely possible because of Republican-controlled state legislatures - which can gerrymander the Congressional seats to a nicety. There's no apolitical body controlling district borders; it's controlled by whoever is currently in power in the state.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    It really does show the failings of multiple layers of FPP.

    The United States is a federal republic with a bicameral federal legislature, and a separate executive branch.

    So is the Federal Republic of Germany and they seem to be managing without totally shitting the figurative bed, despite Angela Merkel having to cobble together a new governing coalition with the major opposition party against a backdrop of severe economic and political uncertainty. Then again, Germans do seem to have a fairly high expectation that their politicians behave like functional adults.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to SteveH,

    I love the latest line from the right: that Obama will negotiate with Iran and Russia but he won’t negotiate with the Republicans. They are actually proud of being more difficult to negotiate with than Iran.

    Just when you think the GOP has finally hit the floor, they turn it into high ceiling. Whatever policy differences I have with Obama (there's a lot), I'm going to miss him being the designated grown-up in the room.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    politicians behave like functional adults.

    Oh! if only it were so...

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Double, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    The Republican hold on Congress is largely possible because of Republican-controlled state legislatures - which can gerrymander the Congressional seats to a nicety.

    Robert Costa, a reporter inside the GOP:

    "When you hear members talk candidly about their biggest victory, it wasn’t winning the House in 2010. It was winning the state legislatures in 2010 because they were able to redraw their districts so they had many more conservative voters. The members get heat from the press but they don't get heat from back home."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/01/why-boehner-doesnt-just-ditch-the-right/

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    This view may alter if and when they lose control of the House in the mid-term elections

    Would there be any funding to hold the mid-term elections? I/S over at NoRightTurn seems to think that the only thing the US would be able to spend money on after midnight would be waging war.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    The BRD has a system much more like ours than the US. The Chancellor (Frau Merkel) is elected by the Bundestag and hence has an intrinsic majority, just like the NZ PM (only without all the smoke and mirrors of an unwritten constitution).

    The Bundespräsident is indirectly elected and has similar powers to the Governor General here.

    EDIT; you may have been thinking of France. They have an executive President, but the budget is under control of the Prime Minister who must have the support of parliament (although appointed by the President - a bit like 19th century Britain). Apart from that, there are no large developed democracies with a presidential system, unless you count Russia/Mexico/Brazil.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to izogi,

    I think they are held by the states. The US is presumably also paying all the people that ensure the military get pay, food and fuel - or soon it'll be like the collapse of the Soviet Union* with the military begging for food.

    * Or the Thirty Years War.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Tom Tomorrow absolutely eviscerates the Tea Party in his latest edition of "This Modern World". Then again, over the last few months, real life events have gone so past parody that all he has to do is set the "latest developments" to illustration.

    Seriously, he's been in astonishing form in the last few months, but he must utterly despair at times...

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

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