The Urban Dictionary defines “pretzel logic” as:
…fallible, twisted or circular reasoning that when dissected is wrong, does not make sense or does not explain the situation rationally.(Urban Dictionary)
…well, that’s what, when read through, today’s 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. appears like: one great big batch of judicial pretzel logic…quoting Crooks & Liars:
After reading the majority opinion in Hobby Lobby, I’m stunned. If you thought the reasoning in Citizens United was bad, welcome to the decision opening the floodgates to the Church of the Almighty Dollar. In order to make this decision, the majority had to twist itself in knots. Here are some examples: (1)Corporations are persons, but maybe only if they’re closely held. Maybe. Corporations are established to protect the people who own them, therefore they are ‘persons’ too. (2)Corporations are religious too, my friends. In disagreeing with Ginsburg’s dissent, Alito writes that ‘for-profit corporations do seek to perpetuate the religious values shared’ just like churches do. (3)Lofty values belong to owners and employees alike. Because for-profit corporations may be organized for any lawful purpose, they are not required to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and therefore may impose their owners’ religious beliefs onto their customers and employees. (4)Denying science: It is enough that the Greens and the Hahns believe some contraception methods are actually abortion methods, regardless of science. Alito argues that because the Hahns and Greens believe IUDs and three other forms of covered contraception are “connected to the destruction of the embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage. (5)Contraception first, then vaccinations, transfusions, antidepressants and more! They are trying to kill the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid by the death of a thousand cuts. First it was contraception, but the majority left the door open for more challenges by carving out contraception and inviting other groups to challenge other treatments.(Crooks & Liars)
That last point is the most chilling; don’t be surprised if more cases begin worming their way through the judicial woodwork, all using the faux mantras of “corporate personhood” and “religious liberty” to get what they want, regardless of what the law – or the Constitution – actually said.
Remember back in 2000 the Brooks Brothers riot during the Florida recount effort? Well, the players may’ve changed but apparently in the eyes of the Republican Party the game stayed the same...
Administration officials said the House had told them not to expect the budget before early last week. When representatives of the House contacted the administration that Sunday, Father’s Day, House emissaries were informed that nobody would be present at the offices to receive the document. Howell had the budget delivered anyway, and an email was sent about 15 minutes later informing the administration that it had been left at the office, which is on the third floor of the Patrick Henry Building.
The administration viewed the Sunday drop of the massive document to the unoccupied office not only as a breach of security, but also as political gamesmanship designed, in part, to deprive the governor of a weekend to review the two-year, $96 billion spending plan.(Huffington Post)
Translation: In an effort to deprive Gov. McAuliffe an opportunity to review the Virginia legislature’s budget, the geniuses in the Virginia Assembly decided to wait until the governor’s people had left for the weekend before dumping the entire budget on them, thus as pointed out above, depriving the governor’s staff of at least 24-48 hours worth of review time…on top of that, it would seem as though the deliverymen broke into the governor’s office to do so. Despicably convenient, huh?
The response by the governor’s office? Epic.
This letter is to inform you that under no circumstances are you or any of your officers authorized to allow employees of the General Assembly to enter the secure areas of the governor’s office without my express permission, or the express permission of Suzette Denslow, the governor’s deputy chief of staff,” Reagan wrote last week. “What occurred here Sunday is unacceptable.”
“For good reason, it is an area that is surrounded by three security perimeters. Even on a normal business day, very few people — including members of the governor’s Cabinet — can gain access to this suite of offices,” Reagan added, citing sensitive files and materials. “We certainly do not expect to have agents and employees of the General Assembly roaming through these offices on weekends.”(Newsworks)
Sometimes I actually have to wonder whether Republicans ever grew up past junior high…anyone? Anyone?…Bueller?!?
Earlier today, Pres. Obama spoke in Massachusetts about healthcare reform and the Affordable Care Act at the site where, back in 2006, then-Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and a bipartisan group of legislators signed a pretty similar piece of legislation to the ACA into law there.
Now, are there problems with the Healthcare Exchange website at present? Yes, there are but those problems are being fixed but the important thing to remember is that the ACA is a good deal for Americans and a damn sight better than the current system of health-care insurance at present in the U.S.
While there are still, as far as I can tell, no votes scheduled on any debt limit deal as of yet, word out of Washington is that senators are close to finalizing such a deal, according to Politico:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are finalizing a deal to avert a debt default and reopen the government, capping a frantic day that had Washington bracing for an economic crisis of its own making.
The deal is essentially done, sources say, as aides for the two leaders finish drafting the legislative language Tuesday night.
Reid and McConnell are expected to brief their respective caucuses Wednesday, hours before the country could fail to pay its bills for the first time in history. Cooperation will be needed from members of both parties in order to avoid default as well as to end the first government shutdown in 17 years. And a Senate plan will need to clear the House, which has struggled to pass any bill to raise the national debt limit.
- Governments agencies would reopen & remain open until Jan. 15th
- The debt ceiling would be lifted until Feb. 7th
- the Treasury Dept. would be allowed to use “extraordinary measures” to continue paying the nation’s debt should the debt ceiling not be raised in early Feb.
- HHS would be required to verify income levels for individuals seeking health insurance through the Health Exchanges
Even if the Senate can cobble together a deal, as mentioned in a few other posts below, the earliest it appears the House will vote on such an agreement is Wednesday…quoting Political Wire (via National Review):
Robert Costa: “My sources tell me House Republicans will likely postpone tonight’s vote on their plan to end the fiscal impasse… This development leaves Speaker John Boehner with few options as Thursday’s debt-ceiling deadline nears, and it throws the action back toward the Senate, which has been working on a bipartisan package.”
Said a House leadership aide: “The votes aren’t there. We’ve been amending the bill all day, but we’ve been unable to get people around this strategy.”
..or, to quote Politico:
“House Republicans are in trouble.”
As the looming debt ceiling deadline creeps ever closer, senators from both parties are continuing to iron out a dead that would get us away from the proverbial cliff…
Senate leaders neared the completion Monday night of a bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown while the rest of the world braced for the possibility of an American default that could set off a global financial disaster.
Negotiators talked into the evening as senators from both parties coalesced around a plan that would lift the debt limit through Feb. 7, pass a resolution to finance the government through Jan. 15 and conclude formal discussions on a long-term tax and spending plan no later than Dec. 13, according to one Senate aide briefed on the plan.(New York Times)
As I mentioned in a post here Monday, the deal that’s being hashed out in the Senate would still have to get through the House…and if one congressman’s words are any indication, that might be a hard sell anyway you look at it…
But while both Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, praised the progress that was made in the Senate, it was already clear that the most conservative members of the House were not going to go along quietly with a plan that does not accomplish their goal from the outset of this two-week-old crisis: dismantling the president’s health care law.
“We’ve got a name for it in the House: it’s called the Senate surrender caucus,” said Representative Tim Huelskamp, Republican of Kansas. “Anybody who would vote for that in the House as Republican would virtually guarantee a primary challenger.”(New York Times)
Meanwhile, the debt ceiling deadline continues approaching…and approaches…and, well, you get the idea.
While I’m skeptical as to whether anything passed by the Senate at this point in time can get through the fevered swamps of the House, anything’s possible in this world but reports out of Washington are that a possible debt limit deal could emerge from the Senate before the Thursday debt limit deadline…outlines of the deal are as follows:
- the government would re-open for business until mid-January 2014
- the debt ceiling would be raised and extended until an as-yet undetermined point in Feb. 2014
- as-yet undecided changes to the sequester cuts
- requiring HHS to verify income levels of those buying insurance through the ACA’s Healthcare Exchanges
- delaying for 1 yr.(from 2014 to 2015) a medical re-insurance tax that would collect funds to be used as a pool for covering insurance company losses
…sounds like a halfway decent framework, but as with everything, the devil’s still in the details…let’s just hope they can get something done before Oct. 17th and the debt ceilingin limit deadline.