By Doug Porter
Yes indeedy. A majority (57%) of self described Republicans in a CNN poll released this morning say President Barack Obama should be impeached.
On Thursday the House Rules Committee approved legislation authorizing a lawsuit against the President, claiming he has overstepped his executive powers in delaying coverage mandates and granting waivers regarding the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The full house is expected to vote on authorizing the lawsuit next week.
Also on the radar for Congress is a show-down over re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank (a corporate welfare program supported by the Chamber of Commerce) with the potential to trigger another government shutdown come October 1st.
Powerful Republicans in the House, including incoming Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, budget panel chief Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and financial services chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, all oppose the agency’s re-authorization.
Not at the top of the GOP agenda are bills dealing with the shortcomings of the Veterans Administration (passed the Senate 93-3, stalled in the House) and…drum roll… immigration.
The President has made it clear that congressional inaction (both on overall reform and the current refugee crisis) will force his hand on the issue.
Obama’s pledge to use his executive powers by the end of the summer marked both a dramatic reversal in rhetoric and a major strategic shift on immigration. The president is no longer emphasizing his own powerlessness but rather his determination “to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”
The administration is examining how far it can go, legally and politically, to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Despite the flow of young Central American children across the southwestern border, Obama remains committed to taking significant action, according to senior advisers and advocates who have attended recent meetings with White House officials.
Executive actions on immigration (I believe) will trigger an explosion of anger from the Teahadist wing of the GOP. They are already frothing at the mouth over the refugee crisis at the border, and I doubt that considerations of losses in the mid-term elections will temper their mood.
One of President Barack Obama’s top advisers said on Friday that he expects House Republicans will ultimately file articles of impeachment against the president.
Here’s the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, reporting on comments made at a Friday morning function in DC:
Dan Pfeiffer, a senior aide who has been with the administration since Obama first took office, told reporters that he anticipated that a lawsuit filed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) over executive actions taken by the president on health care would ultimately not be enough to satisfy some of the more vocal conservatives in Congress.
Pfeiffer added that coming executive actions surrounding immigration reform would only stoke the impeachment flames.
“I think a lot of people in this town laugh that off,” said Pfeiffer. “I would not discount that possibility. I think that Speaker Boehner, by going down this path of this lawsuit, has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future.”
Years of a Fox news led propaganda campaign are about to well up in manner that the Republican leadership will not be able to control. After all, if you believe the US has become a dictatorship, being told the President is allowing diseased brown criminals to run rampant should be enough to send you over the edge.
This won’t be pretty.
A Tale of Two Economies: California vs Kansas
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman checked on California’s economy yesterday and found much to his liking.
California has long suffered from political paralysis, with budget rules that allowed an increasingly extreme Republican minority to hamstring a Democratic majority; when the state’s housing bubble burst, it plunged into fiscal crisis. In 2012, however, Democratic dominance finally became strong enough to overcome the paralysis, and Gov. Jerry Brown was able to push through a modestly liberal agenda of higher taxes, spending increases and a rise in the minimum wage. California also moved enthusiastically to implement Obamacare…
…Needless to say, conservatives predicted doom. A representative reaction: Daniel J. Mitchell of the Cato Institute declared that by voting for Proposition 30, which authorized those tax increases, “the looters and moochers of the Golden State” (yes, they really do think they’re living in an Ayn Rand novel) were committing “economic suicide.” Meanwhile, Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute and Forbes claimed that California residents were about to face a “rate shock” that would more than double health insurance premiums.
As Krugman points out, California’s doing just fine. The economy is growing faster than the national average, Obamacare is doing what advocates said it would and, hey, there’s even a budget surplus.
Has there been any soul-searching among the prophets of California doom, asking why they were so wrong? Not that I’m aware of. Instead, I’ve been seeing many attempts to devalue the good news from California by pointing out that the state’s job growth still lags that of Texas, which is true, and claiming that this difference is driven by differential tax rates, which isn’t.
Krugman then takes on the myth of the libertarian paradise of Texas. It’s all very entertaining. And he doesn’t even get around to talking about the heat, the humidity, the hurricanes and the unregulated chemical storage facilities just waiting to blow up.
This stands in sharp contrast to Kansas, where he points out the huge boom promised following Gov. Sam Brownback’s venture into extreme supply-side economics has flopped big time.
Since I’ve already used my quota of fair use quotes from Krugman, let’s turn to the National Memo’s Joe Conason for the rest of that comparison:
When Louis Brandeis wrote in 1932 that a “single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country,” he was suggesting that state innovations might advance reform on the federal level. The progressive Supreme Court justice surely wasn’t imagining anything quite like Brownbackistan.
Under Governor Sam Brownback, however, the old Brandeis metaphor is especially apt for Kansas, where a highly publicized “experiment” in extreme tax cutting has just blown up the entire laboratory. As Kansans peer through the still-smoking ruins, they evidently don’t much like what they see.
Call it supply-side, call it trickle down; the fact is GOP economic ideas are more about belly-aching than actual solutions, unless you’re fabulously wealthy already.
Scott Peters Catches a Break
There’s good news for freshman Congressman Scott Peters coming out of House Majority PAC polling released yesterday.
From Roll Call:
Freshman Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., holds a slight lead over his GOP challenger, former San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, more than three months from Election Day, in a new poll conducted for House Majority PAC and provided first to CQ Roll Call.
Peters leads DeMaio, 48 percent to 43 percent — slightly outside the survey’s 4.9 point margin of error. The poll was conducted by GBA Strategies and surveyed 400 likely voters via live telephone between July 20-22.
This race in California’s 52nd District, located in and around San Diego, is a top Republican target in November. The National Republican Congressional Committee has touted DeMaio as a top recruit in the district that President Barack Obama won with 52 percent last cycle.
These are in sharp contrast to an earlier SurveyUSA poll finding Peters behind Republican Carl DeMaio by a 51-44 spread.
As David Nir at Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest pointed out, there were reasons to question the SurveyUSA poll:
In California’s recently concluded primary, Peters took 42 percent of the vote. If he only performs 2 points better in November, that would be a remarkably small increase compared to the kinds of jumps in Democratic performance we saw between the primary and the general in 2012. Yes, the fall surge will be smaller for Democrats in a midterm year, but the smallish 5-point bump in CA-52 last time was at least partly due to the heavily contested fight between Peters and fellow Democrat Lori Saldana, something we didn’t have this time.
Fast Food Workers Upping the Ante
Long time Burger King employee Anthony Eames is among a delegation of fast food employees pictured at right from San Diego attending a national gathering near Chicago this weekend.
From Associated Press:
Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.
About 1,300 workers will attend sessions Friday and Saturday at an expo center in Villa Park, Illinois, where they’ll be asked to do “whatever it takes” to win $15-an-hour wages and a union, said Kendall Fells, organizing director of the national effort and a representative of the Service Employees International Union.
Speakers at the convention will include Rep Keith Ellison (D-MN), North Carolina NAACP President the Rev. William Barber II and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. The convention was called to facilitate leadership training, to promote strategies about escalating the campaign and to allow workers to share their experiences leading the fight for higher pay.
Taxi Drivers Win at City Hall
City Councilmember Marti Emerald called a special meeting of the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods committee yesterday to discuss reforms in the taxi industry.
Over 150 drivers packed the meeting as representatives and supporters of the United Taxi Workers of San Diego testified.
The committee voted to approve uniform leases for drivers in San Diego and for rules protecting drivers from retaliation in reporting safety issues. They also voted for vehicle age/mileage restrictions, rules about copies of leases and receipts. At Councilmember Ed Harris suggestion, they voted to set up a committee to discuss taxi permits, a move that potentially could put taxi permits in the hands of drivers, ending what is essentially a feudal employment situation.
On This Day: 1937 – Fifteen “living dead women” testified before the Illinois Industrial Commission. They were “Radium Girls,” women who died prematurely after working at clock and watch factories, where they were told to wet small paintbrushes in their mouths so they could dip them in radium to paint dials. A Geiger counter passed over graves in a cemetery near Ottawa, Illinois still registers the presence of radium 1990 – Rosanne Barr sang the National Anthem in San Diego before a Padres baseball game. She was booed for her performance. 2010 – WikiLeaks leaked to the public more than 90,000 internal reports involving the U.S.-led War in Afghanistan.
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