The Latest Version of the Debt Ceiling/Austerity Bill

Some details are out on the debt bill that Harry Reid signed onto this afternoon. This plan apparently was worked out between the White House and Mitch McConnell–no Democrats involved. It doesn’t sound as extreme as previous versions, but we won’t know until everything plays out, I guess. Reid is hoping to hold a vote tonight so the House will have time to respond tomorrow.

Here is how the deal will work, reported by Brian Beutler:

It guarantees the debt limit will be hiked by $2.4 trillion. Immediately upon enactment of the plan, the Treasury will be granted $400 billion of new borrowing authority, after which President Obama will be allowed to extend the debt limit by $500 billion, subject to a vote of disapproval by Congress.

That initial $900 billion will be paired with $900 billion of discretionary spending cuts, first identified in a weeks-old bipartisan working group led by Vice President Joe Biden, which will be spread out over 10 years.

Obama will later be able to raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, again subject to a vote of disapproval by Congress.

That will be paired with the formation of a Congressional committee tasked with reducing deficits by a minimum of $1.2 trillion. That reduction can come from spending cuts, tax increases or a mixture thereof.

So McConnell has accepted the possibility of tax increases. I doubt if that is going to go over very well with Boehner and his Tea Party nutbags. The trigger is still in the bill.

If the committee fails to reach $1.2 trillion, it will trigger an automatic across the board spending cut, half from domestic spending, half from defense spending, of $1.5 trillion. The domestic cuts come from Medicare providers, but Medicaid and Social Security would be exempted. The enforcement mechanism carves out programs that help the poor and veterans as well.

Politico reports that at 7PM, John Boehner finally announced a conference call with House Republicans at 8:30, so it should be starting as I write this. Says Politico:

A quick strong Senate vote for the deal would add to the pressure on Boehner, and Reid went so far as to suggest that the Senate could even vote Sunday night: “Hope so” was his answer to reporters after meeting with Pelosi. But from the administration’s standpoint, no deal is meaningful without assurance of Republican support in the House, and that remained a big question mark going into the evening.

Boehner’s office insisted that it was simply waiting to hear back from the White House on some “bottom-line” provisions, and indeed details were still being resolved. But administration officials said privately that pro-defense House lawmakers were putting pressure on the speaker over the Pentagon’s share of reduced 2012 appropriations as well as further threatened defense cuts if the deficit-reduction targets are not met.

So there you have it, but what does it all mean? My immediate reaction to the smaller numbers and the assurances on Social Security and Medicaid is that it’s some kind of trick to get us thinking the austerity psychosis in the White House is letting up a bit. But they still have the “committee” AKA Catfood Commission II to fall back on.

I’ll update in the comments if I hear anything more. Please do likewise if you’re surfing around.

Fox News Consultant Comes Out for Enslaving Pregnant Women

h/t to ECHIDNE of the snakes

We’re headed back to property status ladies.  Keith Ablow argues for forced pregnancy. Why do these nuts think it’s okay to deregulate banks but consider women’s bodies their personal property?

The abortion debate has left one issue largely off the table: The proper rights of men to prevent the abortion of their children.
I believe that in those cases in which a man can make a credible claim that he is the father of a developing child in utero, in which he could be a proper custodian of that child, and in which he is willing to take full custody of that child upon its delivery, that the pregnant woman involved should not have the option to abort and should be civilly liable, and possibly criminally liable, for psychological suffering and wrongful death should she proceed to do so.

Allow men who want to be fathers, and who could be good parents, to compel the women they impregnate to bring their children to term.


I love the language. Men “impregnate” women and then “compel” them to bring “their” children to term. Ablow notes, as a quick aside, that his proposal has certain negative consequences for women:

I understand that adopting social policy that gives fathers the right to veto abortions would lead to presently unknown psychological consequences for women forced to carry babies to term. But I don’t know that those consequences are greater than those suffered by men forced to end the lives of their unborn children.

In Ablow’s world no woman can die or become seriously ill from pregnancy or from giving birth! There are only “unknown psychological consequences,” probably minor, from being forced to bring to term the child of any man who has successfully impregnated her! The pregnancy does not happen inside her body, the stakes in the pregnancy are identical for both men and women, and, honestly, pregnancy has no physical health risks whatsoever!

But this is one of those chilling and cold-blooded arguments you will get once you define a fertilized egg as a child. The woman has become an incubator for a child and the man has parental rights from the minute the egg and sperm unite. Inside the woman’s body. Which means that he has rights to endanger that body if he so wishes.

Indeed, all our Keith thinks a man needs to make is a credible claim that it is his sperm! Any woman can then be forced to give birth. Perhaps even by a rapist, say? Ablow is unclear on that point.

This is outrageous. It’s hard to believe that a major media outlet would give a platform to an argument for forced servitude. This is beyond the pale.

Live Blog: Negotiating with Tea Party Terrorists

And the worst Tea Party Terrorists are in the White House “negotiating” with themselves. The only explanation for the way Obama is acting is that he doesn’t want a second term. I just don’t see how he can think he’s going to be reelected either way–whether the U.S. defaults on its debts or Congresses passes one of the austerity plans, Obama is toast.

I guess he can’t wait to start raking in the millions he’ll get from the sitting on bank boards after this is all over. I used to think he was looking forward to making big bucks on the lecture circuit, but who will want to hear him speak about how he destroyed the social safety net and brought down the U.S. economy?

I thought I’d put up a post for those of us who want to keep tabs on what the Senate is doing this afternoon. I’ll have more info shortly, but feel free to document the ongoing slow-motion nightmare in the comments while I set up my laptop in front of the TV and turn on C-span.


The Reid plan failed to achieve cloture in the Senate, so it’s looking like whatever McConnell, Boehner, and Obama are cooking up is what we’ll get stuck with. Here is what is known about the plan that is on the table right now.

If Democratic and GOP leaders finalize a deal, they would still face the tough task of convincing their rank and file to swallow a compromise. Fervent liberals and conservatives could scuttle any deal between the White House and congressional leaders. Here are the details of the tentative pact, according to several sources who spoke to NJ on condition that they not be identified:

•$2.8 trillion in deficit reduction with $1 trillion locked in through discretionary spending caps over 10 years and the remainder determined by a so-called “Super Committee.”
•The Super Committee must report precise deficit-reduction proposals by Thanksgiving.
•The Super Committee would have to propose $1.8 trillion in spending cuts to achieve that amount of deficit reduction over 10 years.
•If the Super Committee fails, Congress must send a balanced-budget amendment to the states for ratification. If that doesn’t happen, across-the-board spending cuts would go into effect and could touch Medicare and defense spending.
•No net new tax revenue would be part of the special committee’s deliberation.
That last item remained a potential sticking point. Obama’s advisers insisted on the Sunday talk shows that the president expected tax increases to be part of the Super Committee’s plan. “I think any long-term deficit-reduction is going to include revenues,” Obama adviser David Plouffe told ABC’s This Week.

Yet Plouffe was unwilling to commit that revenue increases would automatically kick in — along with spending cuts — if the Super Committee doesn’t hit the $1.8 trillion target. McConnell bluntly said that “job-killing tax increases” are off the table.

The ever-hopeful Ezra Klein says Dems will lose now but could win later.

Democrats are going to lose this one. The first stage of the emerging deal doesn’t include revenue, doesn’t include stimulus, and lets Republicans pocket a trillion dollars or more in cuts without offering anything to Democrats in return.

The second stage convenes a congressional “Supercommittee” to recommend up to $2 trillion in further cuts, and if their plan doesn’t pass Congress, there’s an enforcement mechanism that begins making automatic, across-the-board cuts to almost all categories of spending. So heads Democrats lose, tails Republicans win.

It’s difficult to see how it could have ended otherwise. Virtually no Democrats are willing to go past Aug. 2 without raising the debt ceiling. Plenty of Republicans are prepared to blow through the deadline. That’s not a dynamic that lends itself to a deal. That’s a dynamic that lends itself to a ransom.

But Democrats will have their turn. On Dec. 31, 2012, three weeks before the end of President Barack Obama’s current term in office, the Bush tax cuts expire. Income tax rates will return to their Clinton-era levels. That amounts to a $3.6 trillion tax increase over 10 years, three or four times the $800 billion to $1.2 trillion in revenue increases that Obama and Speaker John Boehner were kicking around. And all Democrats need to do to secure that deal is…nothing.

The only thing that can prevent increased revenue, says Klein, is the Obama administration. That’s pretty pathetic. Even Klein isn’t sure Obama will let the Bush tax cuts expire.

For more background, see my and and Dakinikat’s posts from last night.

I’ll put further updates in the comments.

Capital on fire

Sunday Reads: Fires, Firebombs and Forced Migration

Good Morning…

It is the last Sunday in July, and only two days until the end of the world.  The time for the debt vote in the Senate has been delayed to 1 p.m. So be sure to check back with us, we’ll keep you up to date on the fiasco going on in the Capitol.

Boston Boomer sent me this link, Fire Destroys We Are Wisconsin PAC Offices in La Crosse; Recall Efforts Subdued The cause of the fire is still “unknown” but many of the people working with We Are Wisconsin, believe it to be arson.

Fire officials in La Crosse are continuing to investigate a Saturday blaze that destroyed the regional offices of We Are Wisconsin, a union political action committee (PAC) that has pumped millions of dollars into supporting Democratic candidates in the upcoming recall elections.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that the cause of the fire, which started at about 9:30 a.m., remains unknown. Firefighters thought they had the blaze under control in the afternoon, however, that wasn’t the case and it continued into the evening, the newspaper reported.

In other news, of course no main stream media has reported on…a Planned Parenthood in Texas was firebombed earlier this week.  I had not heard about it until Dakinikat put a link up in the comments. Planned Parenthood firebombed, right wing silent – War Room –

Someone firebombed a Planned Parenthood clinic in McKinney, Texas, late Tuesday night. Because it was so late, no one was hurt. The clinic doesn’t provide abortions, but there had been protesters there earlier that day anyway. You might’ve read about the news on Twitter or on a liberal blog. Probably not in a newspaper or on a cable new channel. Definitely not at any right-wing blogs. Which is a bit odd, actually, considering how much attention terrorist attacks generally get in this country.

Oh, sorry, how much attention possible Islamic terrorist attacks get.

Perhaps, some non-WWJD Christian Right Wing Extremist lobbed a Molotov cocktail at the clinic?  Must be the case because what else could explain the conservative media’s silence.

The National Review’s the Corner has run multiple posts on some pro-life “study” accusing Planned Parenthood of “systemic, organization-wide fraud and abuse” and even human trafficking “at this federally funded billion-dollar abortion business.” One of them said, “Where is the Media,” and bemoaned the fact that the mainstream press was supposedly “ignoring” the report, which got a major press conference with multiple members of Congress and coverage in Politico and the Hill.

But, weirdly, this Planned Parenthood news has not been mentioned at the National Review.

It is no surprise that right leaning media outlets would ignore something like this.

We obviously don’t know yet, but this attack seems more likely to be the work of a politically motivated person with conservative beliefs than a random act of vandalism. In other words, domestic terrorism. Someone threw a Molotov cocktail at a women’s health clinic. It’s insane that only a couple of Internet feminists actually seem to care.

This next article from MoJo discusses the Anti-Human Rights stance of the GOP candidates for the 2012 election.  Damn, this looks like it is going to be a monster of a season.

These PLUBs are truly Anti-Rights because it is obvious they are not just Anti-Choice.  I mean, they do not even want a woman to have access to birth control or health care.  Sounds to me like the PLUB agenda isn’t only pro-life-until-birth, it is anti-human rights…because women’s rights are human rights.  Which GOP Candidate is the Worst on Reproductive Rights? | Mother Jones

Which of the Republican presidential candidates vetoed legislation that would require doctors to provide emergency contraception to rape victims?

It was then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (The state legislature went on to pass it over his veto.)

Which 2012 GOP contender signed a similar measure into law? It was actually two of them—Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota in 2007 and Jon Hunstman in Utah in 2009.

These are among the facts in an assessment of the Republican presidential wannabes released by NARAL, the national pro-choice advocacy group. The organization examined the records of 12 candidates—some announced and some still teasing—and though a few have occasionally made moves slightly supportive of women’s reproductive rights, all of the candidates received a failing grade. This was no shocker.

“They’re all unacceptable for pro-choice voters,” said Ted Miller, NARAL’s communications director. He declined to rank them.

The article goes on to make a prediction about the 2012 campaign…

Abortion and other reproductive rights issues didn’t factor very prominently in the 2008 or 2010 elections, when the talk was mostly about jobs and the economy. But given the once-again raging battles across the country over abortion rights and the recent scuffle in Congress over family planning, NARAL expects that abortion as a campaign issue will be back, big time, in 2012. “I can’t imagine that women are going to forget that in the next year before elections,” said Elizabeth Shipp, political director at NARA. “And certainly I think it’s our job to make sure they don’t.”

On to another serious women’s issue, this time in West Central Africa.  AJE has a video report about the effects of rape on women victims in DR Congo.  Mass rape leaves scar on DR Congo village – Africa – Al Jazeera English

In Ruvungi, a small village in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a young disabled girl tells of being beaten and sexually assaulted by a policeman. If he tried to do it again, she says, she would kill him.

She is one of hundreds of women who have been assaulted or raped in Ruvungi, many of them during an attack by rebels in 2010 that lasted over several days. Some of them have found refuge at a women’s shelter in town run by the charity Heal Africa, but the effects remain: children born from rape and angry husbands struggling to deal with the crime.

Much of the rape is tied to competition for extremely lucrative mineral resources, such as gold and tin mines. The perpetrators are rarely brought to justice, despite a United Nations presence.

It is distressing to watch the report, but I thought it would be good to bring it to your attention.

This next article is about the forced migration of people and looking for ways to handle the governing issues that arise when enormous groups of people make a move into another country. Africa: Overhauling Migration Governance to Promote Human Rights And Justice

Stephen Oola writes about how a recent International Association for the Study of Forced Migration conference explored the links between transitional justice and forced migration.


The four day conference attracted over 300 local and international participants; including eminent scholars, practitioners, policy makers, donors, activists, forced migrants and organisational representatives concerned with issues relating to human rights, forced migration, transitional justice and good governance. The theme for this year’s conference was ‘governing migration’, with the objective of exploring key dimensions of the relationship between forms and tools of governance on the one hand and patterns and experiences of forced migration on the other, and their relationship with transitional justice.


According to Dr. Chaloka Beyani, the UN secretary general’s special rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDP) and a keynote speaker at the conference, ‘in the era of globalisation, migration has become a global phenomenon spawned by the forces of globalisation’. He added that: ‘Interconnectedness, cohesion, and fragmentation, as virtues and vices resulting from globalisation are both a cause and consequence of forced migration, which means that governing migration may be as difficult as regulating the global forces that sometimes impact adversely on livelihoods, socio-economic and political systems leading to forced migration.’

This conference is especially timely, with all the movement of refugees from Libya and Syria, not to mention the possible large migration of people between Sudan and South Sudan.

Beyani argued that refugees should be conceived of as international citizens. He cited decisions by the European Commission on Human Rights (ECHR), the African Commission and Court on Human and People’s Rights, and Inter-American human rights systems as evidence of maturity in the migration governance regime being reinforced by human rights principles.

Juxtaposing migration governance and contemporary transitional justice processes, he said both refugees and IDPs were affected by the international criminal law regime governing the crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This was because population transfers and forcible displacement and persecution as a crime against humanity should concern refugees as internationally protected persons under international humanitarian law. He said: ‘Injustices against refugees and IDPs as internationally wronged victims have not been sufficiently explored. Although much of the intervention has been responsive to their plight, retrospective approaches are just as important. It is in this regard that a human rights and transitional justice perspective constitute a significant development.

Interesting isn’t it?

Minx’s Missing Link File:  Scientist have found the gene that causes epilepsy in a specific breed of dog.  It is a gene that is also found in humans, so the new discovery is opening the door to finding the cause of childhood epilepsy.   Gene discovery in truffle dogs sheds new light on mechanisms of childhood epilepsy

A new epilepsy gene, LGI2, has been found in the Lagotto Romagnolo dogs, known from their gift for truffle hunting. The gene discovery made by Professor Hannes Lohi and his research group at the University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Research Center offers a new candidate gene for human benign childhood epilepsies characterized by seizure remission.

The article is very detailed…so please take a look at the link…fascinating stuff.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week:  In India it was Couture Week, so your link today is to some pictures of beautiful women in beautiful dresses… Gallery | Delhi Couture Week |

A model strikes a pose as she shows the work of Indian designer Ashima-Leena.
A model strikes a pose as she shows the work of Indian designer Ashima-Leena.
A model shows the back detail on a gown while another makes her way down the runway, displaying fashions by Indian designers Shantanu and Nikhil.
A model shows the back detail on a gown while another makes her way down the runway, displaying fashions by Indian designers Shantanu and Nikhil.
Models gather on the runway to show Indian designer Anju Modi's work.
Models gather on the runway to show Indian designer Anju Modi’s work. AP

That is all I have for you this Sunday Morning.

So, lets see what happens today…my guess is Obama will cave and Boehner will cry…but that is only from past experience.

What are you thinking about today? Find any interesting links? Please…share them!

Next time we hear them talk about compromise, go buy some KY

I really don’t know exactly what the definition of a super committee is in the eyes of the El-Supremos, but I’d stock up on some lubricant if I were you.  Oh, and put some cat food on that list if you get a chance. Supposedly, there’s a deal and it ain’t pretty at all.  What would you expect with a Republican in the White House.

In many respects, the deal will, if approved by all parties, resemble the contours of a short-lived pact negotiated last weekend by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Obama rejected that deal, forcing Congress to wrestle with other inferior legislative options throughout the week.

Among the newest wrinkles, according to informed sources, is an agreement to extend the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling very briefly to give the legislative process time to work without resorting to emergency, hurry-up measures.

President Obama has said he would only sign a short-term extension (days, not weeks) if it were linked to an extension of borrowing authority that lasts beyond the 2012 election.

According to sources, the Senate would use the military construction appropriations bill, one currently available for action, as the vehicle for the short-term extension. This element of the arrangement, like everything else, is subject to modification. But those close to the negotiations expect Congress to slow things down without jeopardizing the nation’s full faith and credit. A debt extension of days would achieve that goal.

Other component parts of the tentative deal include:

  • $2.8 trillion in deficit reduction with $1 trillion locked in through discretionary spending caps over 10 years and the remainder determined by a so-called super committee.
  • The Super Committee must report precise deficit-reduction proposals by Thanksgiving.
  • The Super Committee would have to propose $1.8 trillion spending cuts to achieve that amount of deficit reduction over 10 years.
  • If the Super Committee fails, Congress must send a balanced-budget amendment to the states for ratification. If that doesn’t happen, across-the-board spending cuts would go into effect and could touch Medicare and defense spending.
  • No net new tax revenue would be part of the special committee’s deliberations.

With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?  OH, right…supreme evil needs them.

Here’s some more compromise nastiness via ABC.  Looks like Wall Street is saved again and the rest of us just can go off to our appointed ice floes and die.

  • Debt ceiling increase of up to $2.8 trillion
  • Spending cuts of roughly $1 trillion
  • Vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment
  • Special committee to recommend cuts of $1.8 trillion (or whatever it takes to add up to the total of the debt ceiling increase)
  • Committee must make recommendations before Thanksgiving recess
  • If Congress does not approve those cuts by late December, automatic across-the-board cuts go into effect, including cuts to Defense and Medicare.

You think we could get some credit for seeing through the Obama subterfuge before any one else did now?