Speaking to a crowd of union workers on Capitol Hill today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi unloaded on Republican plans to lower the deficit through deep cuts to government services in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. Frustrations are running high in Congress with the default deadline rapidly approaching, and Pelosi spoke with a fire that suggested the endless debate over the debt ceiling is taking its toll on her patience.

“This isn’t just about them saying we should reduce the deficit,” she said, adding: “This is an excuse. The budget deficit is an excuse for the Republicans to undermine government plain and simple. They don’t just want to make cuts, they want to destroy. They want to destroy food safety, clean air, clean water, the department of education. They want to destroy your rights.”

via TPM

This Nancy Pelosi is such a firebrand! A real champion of the people! Defender of good governance! Unabashed liberal! Come to think of it she sounds familiar. Have I heard her name before?

Pelosi: “It Is Clear We Must Enter an Era of Austerity”

That’s the sound of the Democratic Party’s leader in the House caving on the argument that motivated Democrats for the past three years; or 80 years, if you want to get smart about it.

via Weigel

Oh, right. That Nancy Pelosi. Fuck off.

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Obama begins speech on debt ceiling impasse at 9pm EST; concludes by suggesting voters call their representatives. Problem: House and Senate offices had already been closed for hours. No problem though — the American people are known for their long memories and perseverant approach to political interaction. I’m sure they’ll call first thing tomorrow.

 

I’m not familiar with this Corrente dude, though apparently he’s some far-left equivalent of Jim “World’s Stupidest Blogger” Hoft. Browsing around randomly I came across this piece where, apparently under a mistaken belief that he was smart enough to figure out the concept of direct deposit, Señor Dimbulbo declares that a flyer announcing the coming onset of electronic-only payments for social security, veteran’s benefits, etc. is “Worse Than Despicable.”

My neighbor is quite old, in her 80s probably. She has a computer and gets email, but that’s it — no online banking, shopping, etc. She has memory problems, and it’s hard for her to cope with anything more complicated than logging onto AOL. Plus, she doesn’t really trust the internet with her money.

Well then she’ll be thrilled to find out — assuming she stops asking a melodramatic idiot who gets off on scaring old people to translate for her — that the Internet has nothing whatsoever to do with direct deposit, and what’s more she won’t even need to remember to cash the fucking things anymore. Suggestion: don’t post publicly about things you can’t spend 45 seconds looking up. Here is the root Wikipedia result for direct deposit, which directs you to the ACH entry for information specific to direct deposit in the United States. One must read two sentences into the ACH entry to see that it is an electronic debiting system. From there, Hoft Jr. uses his misunderstanding as a springboard to dive into a flight of fancy about how old people who don’t want to “use the internet” to cash their SS checks are being forced into some debit card scheme — which would be fine, except that there are too many charges.

So in summary: having money automatically show up in her account every month is too complicated, but an ATM card is fine as long as withdrawals are free. Sure thing, you fucking idiot.

 

Also, I get to make a Foreigner joke.

There’s political bullshitting, and then there’s embellishing your mother’s cancer for political gain. If this is a true allegation, then it’s some ice cold shit indeed. To me this speaks to whatever part of us cringes when we hear about Newt Gingrich divorcing his cancer-stricken wife. It isn’t on the same level, and by no means do I intend to imply otherwise; but if this story is true, it’s pretty fucking ugly for the President all the same. If I was in the White House, I’d be worried about this story because it hits right at Obama’s greatest* strength: the fact that around half the country is very high on him as a person, with his 50 percent personal approval rating having remained basically constant since 2009. His numbers on the economy are in the tank, and he’s slightly underwater on job approval and trending downwards, but half the country is consistent in thinking that he’s a pretty decent guy. Personal approval is pretty important given that the ‘have a beer with’ factor is higher** on most voters’ lists than policy preferences, and if this story takes hold I could see this being more than just another run-of-the-mill, mostly-imaginary bullet point on the right-wing-butthurt list.

Assuming for a second that it is true — would the anecdote really have been less powerful if he related someone else’s experience instead of his own mother’s? I’m trying to picture a person who can empathize with Ann Dunham, but who tunes out when someone else’s mother has cancer. I’m not succeeding.

*Weaknesses of Republican candidates don’t count

**though still far below the old reliable “party affiliation” of course

This is Nancy Pelosi’s House Minority Leader page:

And this is Think Progress:

I get that blue is both a neat-looking color and the Official Metaphorical Color of the United States Democratic Party, and admittedly I don’t know dick about web design. Call me crazy, but I still think it’s a bad idea to set these sites up so they look like they’re both part of the same organization, especially if they’re going to be linking to each other.

Larry O’ thinks Barry O is playing the long game, pulling the “ultimate Rope-A-Dope” on the GOP over the debt ceiling. I are crappy blogist and don’t know how to embed MSNBC shits (I think I need my own hosting or something?) so click this. O’Donnell says that Obama’s big thing here is getting Boehner to cop to the necessity of raising the debt ceiling. I’d love for O’D to be right, but it’s a helluva long walk to get back to square one. If getting Boehner to admit the debt limit must be raised is the big victory, then color me underwhelmed.

Here’s Boehner in November 2010:

“I’ve made it pretty clear to [my caucus] that as we get into next year, it’s pretty clear that Congress is going to have to deal with [the debt limit]. We’re going to have to deal with it as adults. Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.”

And here’s Boehner in December 2010:

“We’ll have to find a way to help educate members and help people understand the serious problem that would exist if we didn’t do it.”

Here’s Boehner in January 2011:

“[A debt-ceiling default] would be a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy. I don’t think it’s a question that’s even on the table.”

Steve Benen, Washington Monthly

Allegedly the big deal here is that in the meantime Obama has showed that the GOP is immature, unserious, tax-obsessed and doesn’t actually care about deficit reduction; that’s all true, as far as that goes, but I think that’s more of a topic for Politico or The Hill. People I talk to don’t care which party is more adult, they care which party gives them a fucking job and on the subject of dinner-table talk this President is now the guy who put Social Security and Medicare on the table. If Obama and his advisors really think that some Beltway meta-story about who is the adult in the room is going to overpower an actual story about the President offering to sell off the remnants of the safety net then I suspect they’re outsmarting themselves.

Or they may just be assholes; there’s always the possibility that we’re the Dopes. Am I supposed to pretend that distracting his sycophants with some hypothetical about brilliant 1,384th-dimensional chess moves while fucking the country in the ass behind closed doors is something I put this President above? Because I’m a bad liar and an even worse actor.