Washington Nearing Deal On Debt Limit…What Will Tea Party Do?

From Politico

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says the White House and Hill Republicans are “very close” to a $3 trillion debt ceiling deal that would include a two-step process to approve an immediate hike in the nation’s borrowing power and a second vote later that would require two-thirds of Congress to disapprove of a new increase. The process, McConnell told CNN, would fulfill Obama’s demand that any deal take him “through the next election” and include a bipartisan commission to recommend new cuts and revenue enhancement that would report its findings by Thanksgiving.

McConnell added that he is “very, very close to being able … to recommend to my members that this is something that they ought to support.”

Will the Tea Party erupt in anger?  Spit on someone?  Craft more racist signs for the next rally?

Will Rush Limbaugh pop that little unit behind his ear out of his head like a turkey that is finished in the oven?

Stay tuned…

D.B. Cooper Case Has New Lead

The case of D. B. Cooper has baffled many for so long that it seems improbable any final answer will be known.

But then…

The FBI has what it calls “our most promising” lead to date for a suspect in the infamous 1971 D.B. Cooper case – the nation’s only unsolved commercial airplane hijacking.

The name of a man not previously investigated was given to the FBI, and an item that belongs to him was sent for fingerprint work at the agency’s Quantico, Va., forensic lab, agency spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich told seattlepi.com Saturday.

A law enforcement colleague spoke with someone who may have a strong connection to Cooper, and that law enforcement staffer contacted the FBI, Sandalo Dietrich said.

“With any lead our first step is to assess how credible it is,” said Sandalo Dietrich, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Seattle office, where the Cooper evidence is kept. “Having this come through another law enforcement [agency], having looked it over when we got it – it seems pretty interesting.”

Sense Of Desperation Settles Over Nation’s Capitol As Tea Party Terrorists Try To Bring Nation Down

In the past it was the Japanese who attacked the nation, or on 9/11 it was fanatical elements of a bastardized form of Islam that tried to take the nation down.  This time the terrorists are from the Tea Party who have used the debt limit debate as a way to gin the nation into a crisis.

This is gritty stuff, and the teabaggers that are taking the nation off the cliff should be treated as terrorists for the shameless blackmailing of the United States government.

For that is exactly what they are trying to do.

They must be defeated just like any other attack on this nation.

This story from the Washington Post tonight paints an image that one does not see everyday in the press. Veteran reporters and wizened politicians have not seen something like this staring down at them before.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid announced late Saturday that negotiations with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House had made enough progress that he would delay consideration of his own legislation to avert the debt crisis.

Rather than a 1 a.m. Sunday vote, Reid said he would give the negotiators room to maneuver and set a 1 p.m. Sunday vote on his bill — which McConnell has already assured would be defeated.

A sense of desperation had settled over the Capitol on Saturday, with the prospect of a government default and rank-and-file lawmakers pleading with their leaders to set politics aside and strike a bipartisan deal to raise the federal debt limit.

After months of negotiation and weeks of debate, every black-and-white plan for cutting government spending and raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling seemed either doomed or had already been shot down.

As the battle entered its final tense hours, the nation’s leaders were left bickering among themselves, unable to agree on even a modest version of the plan they said they were on the verge of sealing barely one week ago. The remaining differences between them were not especially large. Still, a resolution appeared elusive.

Unless Congress acts before Tuesday, Treasury officials have said they will begin to run out of cash to pay the nation’s bills. That could force the government into default, an outcome that could devastate the sputtering U.S. recovery and global financial markets. Over the past week, the Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 540 points amid rising anxiety about the debate in Washington.

To bridge the divide, lawmakers and administration officials were trying to design a mechanism to force the committee to act, giving Republicans their cuts and Obama his debt-limit increase. Many ideas were in play from both parties, and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said his staff had drafted three into formal legislation.

But aides said the sticking point remained Republican opposition to a trigger that would force automatic tax increases if the committee failed in its work. Democrats, meanwhile, opposed any trigger that only cut spending, saying that it would not give Republicans sufficient incentive to work with Democrats toward a compromise.

Republican members booed Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who accused Boehner of going “to the dark side” when he rewrote his debt-limit bill to add required passage of a balanced budget amendment — a change designed to appeal to his far-right wing.

Pelosi turned to look at them, and said it again with emphasis. “Let me repeat, he chose to go to the dark side.”

The atmosphere was just as tense and bitter in the Senate, where McConnell delivered a letter to Reid signed by 43 Republicans declaring their opposition to his version of the debt-limit bill.

Four Republican senators did not sign the letter: Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Scott Brown of Massachusetts. But there was little evidence that Reid’s bill could muster the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster — a fact Reid tacitly acknowledged when he rejected McConnell’s offer to stage a vote Saturday evening.

Pressure Mounts In Washington…..

From Politico

On Saturday the House rejected Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to raise the debt ceiling by a vote of 173-246, a day after the Senate tabled the House’s preferred version. The plan was expected to fail in the House, as it was brought up under special rules that required a two-third’s majority for passage. Reid will now head up to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama, with time running out before Tuesday’s deadline to strike a deal.

Saturday Song: Tom Jones “Delilah” (The Puppet)

This week I learned that a young relative of mine is taking puppet classes during the summer.  When I told James about this fun activity, and the great delight that is being found in the pastime, I was informed about my partner’s puppet from childhood.  It was named Delilah.

James tells the story.

Sometime just before my parents constructed our new house, I was given a hand puppet as a gift. It was a marvelous present that allowed me to “talk” with a new friend and share my inner feelings. Designed to look like a duck made of a yellow-orange fuzzy material with an orange beak and bulging white and blue eyes of plastic, Delila amused me to no end. Delila? Delila hated that name, I think. The moniker had come printed on the tag sewn in to the side by the manufacturer and I didn’t feel it was right to change it; if he had always been called Delila, then he should remain Delila. It seemed an unfortunate rule, but knowing that if I had been adopted in to a new family that I would want to keep my name, it was the “right thing to do”. That isn’t to say though that Delila didn’t hold the same kind of resentment as those other fellows with oddly feminine names: Lauri, Sandy, Shannon, Blair, Tracy, Leslie, Carrol, Beverly… I have often wondered since if parents give thought to the type of abuse their kids will suffer on the playground at the hands of bullies when picking out a name. Had Delila not lived with me, he would have assuredly had a tough time of it.

Where Are The Statesmen In Washington?

This past week as the debt limit ginned up mess played out I was thinking about the lack of true statesmen in Washington that lead the way when times get tough.  I was yearning for some heavy-weight to register opinion or analysis on the all news-channels that was more than just the usual partisan talking points.

I knew I had hit bottom with the analysis, or had just watched far too much this week, when I heard an NYU professor liken the actions of Speaker Boehner to that of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk.  It appears forward motion is being made, when in reality one is moving backwards.

I really want better than that when it comes to the seriousness of the moment this nation is facing.  

All my needs could have been met if the kind of leaders we once had, say a Daniel Patrick Moynihan, were still alive and able to bring some order and logic to what is playing out in Washington.

Every generation has looked backwards and found the statesmen of the past to be in demand.  The fact is each generation has the government they deserve as they elected the ones serving, and have to play the cards that were dealt.  The same is true today.  Yet we always lean backwards and  yearn for those who stood out over time to again lend us their counsel.

We look back on those older wizened leaders with fondness as they had political courage.  Frankly, that is not something that is often on display today, and in reality was not always a commodity in high stock piles in the past either.   Yet there were those over time who had the ability to rise to the occasion, or as was the case with Moynihan was gifted with an amazing intellect that made any interview he gave a time to stop, sit, and listen.

We are a deeply divided nation and seemingly split right down the middle on every issue.  We spar at every opportunity be it at election time, on talk radio, or on blogs such as this one.  Still  I think the nation is desirous of statesmen who can chart the way forward, and rally the better intentions of the citizens.

Sadly, too often politicians are only able to see as far as the next election, and therefore saddled to some rigid views and therefore unable to respond to the call of history.  We are seeing that play out in spadefuls in Washington now.

But Caffeinated Politics is hoping that somewhere in Washington there is another Moynihan or Henry Clay that is determined to make a difference not so much for the next election, but instead to be remembered for greatness by another generation.

To dream…

President Nixon’s Grand Jury Transcripts To Be Unsealed

Richard Nixon keeps on giving.  I trust these materials are open for pubic viewing soon.  There will be nothing earthshaking in this testimony, but it will be one more slice of the story concerning Watergate that will be unfolded for all to see.

A federal judge has ordered the government to unseal grand jury transcripts of testimony by former President Richard Nixon about the Watergate scandal.

Ruling in a lawsuit brought by a historian and several historical associations, Chief U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered the transcripts to be unsealed.

The testimony was taken near Nixon’s California home in 1975 – after he had resigned in the wake of the scandal.

The Watergate scandal, which began with a June 1972 burglary in Washington, eventually led to the President’s resignation after investigations linked the burglars to top White House operatives.

“The special circumstances presented here – namely, undisputed historical interest in the requested records – far outweigh the need to maintain the secrecy of the records,” Lamberth wrote. “The Court is confident that disclosure will greatly benefit the public and its understanding of Watergate without compromising the tradition and objectives of grand jury secrecy.”

The government is entitled to appeal the ruling.

Lack Of Bi-Partisanship In Wisconsin By The Numbers

For all the chatter about how the Republicans just want to work with Democrats to make Wisconsin a better place for job creation, while improving the lives of state residents, come the numbers to suggest bi-partisanship is not a priority for the GOP.

Before the protest, Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of several jobs-related bills introduced by the governor. After the protest, members of both parties stayed on their sides of the fence.

For example, Assembly Democrats have offered 376 amendments to Republican bills this session. Only one of them passed: an amendment that allowed families to participate in Milwaukee’s school voucher program, even if their income exceeded a cap.

Democrats also introduced 49 of their own bills, of which 42 have yet to even be heard in committee. None has passed the Assembly.

In the previous session, when Democrats controlled both houses and Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle was in office, 107 Assembly Republican bills were heard in committee, and 50 were passed by the Assembly.

“Bipartisanship isn’t just when we do what the Republicans want,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. “This session, they have acted like we have nothing to offer.”