Saturday, October 12, 2013

Weekend Reading -- October 12

Hey, we in the South know all about restricting voting rights. We got away with if for years til the Feds made us quit -- literacy tests, poll taxes, intimidation wherever they went... you name it, we tried it. Just because the unwashed masses on whose backs the whole economy rests live, work and do business with us -- that's no reason to let them vote. Looks like creative imaginations in Kansas and Arizona have figured out a new way to do the same thing with those dang immigrants.  (/snark, JB)

Looks like immigrants in the West are what Negroes were in the South. 
The states are using an opening left in June by the United States Supreme Court when it said that the power of Congress over federal elections was paramount but did not rule on proof of citizenship in state elections. Such proof was required under Arizona’s Proposition 200, which passed in 2004 and is one of the weapons in the border state’s arsenal of laws enacted in its battle against illegal immigration. 
The two states are also jointly suing the federal Election Assistance Commission, arguing that it should change the federal voter registration form for their states to include state citizenship requirements. While the agency has previously denied such requests, the justices said the states could try again and seek judicial review of those decisions. 
“If you require evidence of citizenship, it helps prevent people who are not citizens from voting, and I simply don’t see a problem with that,” said Tom Horne, the Arizona attorney general.

I don't usually do cats, but this is particularly nice. 

The coalition is managed by Heritage and the Council for National Policy. The latter organization, dubbed once as “the most powerful conservative group you’ve never heard of,” is a thirty-year-old nonprofit dedicated to transforming the country into a more right-wing Christian society. Founded by Tim LaHaye, the Rapture-obsessed author of the “Left Behind” series, CNP is now run by Christian-right luminaries such as Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins and Kenneth Blackwell.

Yesterday, The New York Times revealed in great detail how the Conservative Action Project has orchestrated the current showdown. The group initially floated the idea of attaching funding for Obamacare to the continuing resolution, and followed up with grassroots organizing, paid advertisements and a series of events designed to boost the message of senators like Ted Cruz.

Though the Heritage Foundation, through its 501(c)(4) Heritage Action sister organization, has played a lead role in sponsoring advertisements and town-hall meetings, tax disclosures reviewed by show that the Council for National Policy has provided a steady stream of funding for the organizing effort.

House Republican leaders were said to be scrambling on Friday to come up with their own deal before the Senate, but continued to insist in public that the ball was in Obama's court.

The developments came as the largest union representing federal workers expressed frustration that government employees were being forced to work without pay. “At one point we had legal slavery in this country,” said Jeffrey David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) in an interview with the Guardian. “This is indentured servitude.”

Cox said nearly half of his 670,000 members had been deemed “essential workers” and were compelled to keep working without pay while the shutdown continues. Workers who do not turn up for their jobs face disciplinary action and could be fired.

From the first link:
Except for coins, all of the money in the U.S. money supply now gets into circulation as a debt to a bank (including the Federal Reserve, the central bank). But private loans zero out when they are repaid. In order to keep the money supply fairly constant, some major player has to incur debt that never gets paid back; and this role is played by the federal government.
That explains the need for a federal debt, but what about the “deficit” (the amount the debt has to increase to meet the federal budget)? Under the current monetary scheme, deficits are also necessary to avoid recessions. 
Here is why. Private banks always lend at interest, so more money is always owed back than was created in the first place. In fact investors of all sorts expect more money back than they paid. That means the debt needs to be not only maintained but expanded to keep the economy functioning. When the Fed “takes away the punch bowl” by tightening credit, there is insufficient money to pay off debts; people and businesses go into default; and the economy spins into a recession or depression. 
Maintaining a deficit is particularly important when the private lending market collapses, as it did in 2008 and 2009. Then debt drops off and so does the money supply. Too little money is available to buy the goods on the market, so businesses shut down and workers get laid off, further reducing demand, precipitating a recession. To reverse this deflationary cycle, the government needs to step in with additional public debt to fill the breach

In what has become a recurring theme in Boehner’s tenure, Senate Republicans might outmaneuver him. In that chamber, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are circulating a 23-page draft bill that would increase the borrowing limit until January and end the first government shutdown since 1996 by funding government through March.

The bill would also delay Obamacare’s tax on medical devices for two years, allow the heads of federal agencies more autonomy within the constraints of the sequester and provide funding boosts for wildfire suppression, a key concern of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Obama expressed some openness to altering the medical device tax, telling Senate Republicans in a closed Friday meeting that it was not central to his landmark domestic achievement — the Affordable Care Act. The Collins-Manchin draft is not final and is expected to undergo significant revisions in the coming days, sources said.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday will move forward with a procedural vote to lift the debt ceiling through 2014 with no policy add-ons. That vote is not expected to reach the key 60-vote threshold needed to proceed to debate. But the legislation may later be altered to reflect any compromise struck in the Senate



Just Another Day in Gun Nutty USA
Saturday Update: No shock, police reveal shooter was gun nut with "anti-government bias." Note: They're everywhere.

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