Friday, July 12, 2013

July 12


The Republicans will clearly stop at nothing to turn women in every red state into second class citizens whose reproductive organs are the purview of the government.



Per Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post:

House Republicans narrowly passed a farm bill on Thursday that was stripped of hundreds of billions in funding for food stamps, abandoning four decades of precedent to gain the backing of conservative lawmakers.

The 216 to 208 vote was a victory for a Republican caucus that has struggled to pass the most basic of legislation, but it also set up weeks of acrimony and uncertainty as House and Senate leaders must reconcile two vastly different visions for providing subsidies to farmers and feeding the hungry…

The 608-page measure that passed the House includes a package of subsidies for farmers worth about $195 billion over the next 10 years that would make significant changes to agricultural policy and conservation programs, including an end to direct subsidies to farmers. It is nearly identical to that aspect of the Senate bill.

But for the first time since 1973, the House measure says nothing about funding for food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which was set at about $740 billion.

Farm subsidies and food stamps have long been paired, in part for political reasons. Rural lawmakers backing payments to farmers and urban ones supporting money for food and nutrition programs formed a powerful coalition that served both interests….

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank D. Lucas (R-Okla.) said he would introduce a separate food stamp bill "as soon as I can achieve a consensus."…

… and the thought balloon over everyone's head read "Which will take place on the twelfth of never."

…With three weeks remaining before the month-long August recess, House GOP leaders were eager to quickly pass a farm bill and begin talks with the Senate so they can spend the remainder of July voting on bills to repeal the health-care reform law and address recent Obama administration scandals.

GOP leaders rushed late Wednesday to set up Thursday's vote after determining they had sufficient support to proceed, according to aides familiar with the plans. Unlike in other recent high-stakes votes, aides said that top leaders worked in unison to ensure the bill's passage. Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appeared ebullient for most of the day, the result, aides said, of an 11 a.m. meeting that determined they had sufficient support…

Shorter Cantor: It's not about the productivity, it's about the posturing!

Incidentally, the "anti-spending groups closely aligned with dozens of the chamber's most conservative lawmakers"are pissed that even this shallow pretense at legislating passed, so it's not like any of the GOP goobers are going to put this on their K Street CVs, come the day when they're reduced to sucking public dollars at second hand.

… The White House said President Obama would veto the bill if it ever reached his desk and urged lawmakers to work on "a comprehensive approach."

Negotiations with the Senate on a final version of the legislation are expected to begin in the coming weeks. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) called the House measure "extremely flawed" and "an insult to rural America," noting that hundreds of farming, conservation and food aid groups also oppose the legislation.

So, all parties agree: This is cruel, stupid, and pointless! Such a bargain!

Supplementary reading — Jon Chait at NYMag, "House Republicans Pass Bloated Socialist Monstrosity":

The House of Representatives just passed a farm bill, which overlays a Byzantine political calculus atop what ought to be a simple policy question. Should the government subsidize business owners because their business is agriculture? The answer — even to somebody relatively friendly to government, like me — isobviously not. Running a farm is not inherently more virtuous or necessary than running a gas station or a bookstore. Farmers earn more than the average American. Washington should get out of the business of paying farmers directly (or indirectly, through price supports that drive up food costs) altogether.

The political complication that comes into play is that farm subsidies have traditionally been packaged together with food stamps. Food stamps strike me as an especially meritorious program. Giving people money because they're so poor they struggle to eat regularly makes way, way, way more sense than giving people money because they're in a particular (and generally lucrative) line of work. You could replace food stamps with some other kind of cash grant, but the main idea of helping people because they're poor is sound.

Historically, the two programs have passed together. There's some policy rationale for this. Some of the farm subsidies drive up the price of food, making it harder for poor people to buy the food and thus making it more necessary to subsidize them. But the main rationale for joining food stamps is political. It gets urban liberals to vote for farm subsidies that hurt their constituents, and it gets rural conservatives to tolerate food stamps that they'd otherwise oppose. And since advocates of both farm subsidies and food stamps fear losing their program more than anything else, they strongly endorse keeping them together…


Charles Pierce: 

It's too damn early to be talking about the 2016 presidential election cycle, but here's a bold prediction. I don't know who the nominees of the two parties will be but, come 2017, when we all look back on how and when it all began, this is going to be regarded as the dumbest speculation advanced during the whole process.

Because Perry, who surprised few with his decision not to run for an unprecedented fifth term leading the Lone Star State, clearly wants another shot at his party's nomination. Just listen to how he threaded his speech Monday, announcing he'd step down when his term ends next year, with everything conservative Republican presidential primary voters want to hear: Aggressive tort reform. Business-friendly policies. Jobs. The fight for "traditional values" of heterosexual marriage and severe limits on abortion. "He's holding the door open to a presidential run," Smith said. "[The speech] had all the components of a potential presidential campaign, no question."

The Republican base is going to have about 20 people holding exactly those same positions; indeed, as we've seen, the rebranding effort has been such a resounding success that there isn't going to be a single candidate who doesn't hold exactly those same positions. Most of them will be younger and fresher than Rick Perry. None of them will carry the stench of failure and collapse the way he does. All of them will give The Base what it wants, and will demonstrably be able to count to three in public. What does Perry have to recommend him now that he didn't have in the late summer of 2011, when he completely obliterated Michele Bachmann's victory in the Iowa Straw Gooberfest? More uninspected, deregulated exploding fertilizer plants? He'll be taken seriously for a while because he's white, a Republican, and possesses a penis, but that won't last. He's still the guy who wanted to give illegal sponging wetbacks a complimentary college education. Forget his later stumbling and bumbling. That's what killed his campaign with Republicans, and it looks as though, against all odds and logic, The Base wants a tougher line on that issue.  No, Goodhair, your time, if it ever was, has passed.


Colorado Counties Want To Form 51st State To Avoid Environmental Protections

Get in the van, Charles Koch has candy.

A conservative mogul worth $43 billion says he knows the secret to helping poor people. According to Charles Koch, the U.S. needs to get rid of the minimum wage, which he counts as a major obstacle to economic growth.

On Wednesday, the Charles Koch Foundation launched a $200,000 media campaign in Wichita, Kansas, with a hint of expanding it elsewhere. [...]

In an interview with the Wichita Eagle published Tuesday, Koch said that the minimum wage is one policy he is working against.

The existence of minimum wage was clearly a massive impediment to the Koch Brother's Success which they inherited.

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