Always Be Cloturing

Shutdown FanFic #9: David Mamet’s GlenHarry GlenReid

(via Shawn, originally posted as this comment on Gawker)

The Senate Majority break room. Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein and Dick Durbin are seated, classroom style and chattering. Blake, a well-dressed and confident dealmaker stands before them. He clears his throat.

BLAKE: Let me have your attention for a moment because what you’re talking about… bitching about the bill that didn’t pass, the one stuck in committee, that lobbyist you want to take for some campaign money, that intern you want to screw and so forth… let’s talk about something important. Are they all here?

REID: All but one.

BLAKE: Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important. You. Put that coffee down. Coffee is for cloture. You think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I am here from Pennsylvania Avenue. Barry and Joe sent me. What’s your name? Durbin?


BLAKE: You call yourself a senator, you son of a bitch?

SCHUMER: I don’t gotta listen to this shit.

BLAKE: You certainly don’t, pal. Because the good news is that you’re cut off from re-election funds. You’re basically fired. You’ve got one week to regain your status, starting tonight. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good, because we’re adding a little something to this month’s legislative calendar. Sponsor and pass a budget and you get a Lincoln… bedroom. That’s right, the bedroom bedroom of the Great Emancipator is your personal no-tell motel for one year. You want money from anyone that room is yours to use to get it. Co-sponsor a budget and you get a set of mint condition, 2008 Obama Inauguration commemorative plates from the Franklin Mint. Third prize is you’re fired. Do you get the picture? Are you laughing now? You got votes. Barry and Joe paid good money. Whip those votes and count them. You can’t whip the votes you’ve been given, you don’t count for shit, and you are shit, pack up and head to K STREET, because you are out.

FEINSTEIN: The caucus is weak. We can’t control the House.

BLAKE: You can’t close on a fucking house? You child. The caucus is weak? You’re weak!

SCHUMER: What’s your name?

BLAKE: FUCK YOU, that’s my name. You know why, Senator? Because I road the Amtrak Acela into town next to Joe Fucking Biden tonight and you flew into Reagan and then took a fucking cab like a chump. That’s my name. You’re [sic] name is “you’re wanting,” and you can’t play a man’s game. You can’t close the House? Then go on MSNBC and tell Rachel Maddow your troubles because the only thing that matters now is to bring the President a bill that he can sign on the line that is dotted. A.B.C. Always Be Cloturing. Always Be Cloturing. A.I.D.A. A. Attention. Do I have your attention? I. Interest. Do you realize that we have to pay interest on our fucking Treasury bonds? D. Decision. Are you going to decide not to destroy the global financial system again? A. Action. Are you going to do something? Because, it’s fuck or walk!

DURBIN: You’re such a hero, why are you down here talking to a bunch of bums like us?

BLAKE: You see this watch? I persuaded the United States Senate to authorize the government to purchase this watch for me at a 1,000 times retail, with the Republicans in the majority. You see, pal, that’s who I am. I own shirts that have cost the U.S. Treasury more money than every ethanol subsidy that has ever been shoveled into your corn-larded state. You think this is abuse? You think I’m a cocksucker? You can’t take this, how do you handle a base closing commission? You don’t like it, leave. I can go out tonight, with the majority you have, and pass a budget that includes public funding for indecent homosexual art without compromising one bit of Obamacare. Can you say the same? Get mad, you sons of bitches. Get mad! You know what it takes to pass laws in the United States of America? The Founding Fathers had them. That’s right. Wooden balls. Impervious to syphilis. And to answer your question, pal, why am I here? I am here because Barry and Joe asked me to be here. They asked for a favor. I said the real favor is to follow my advice and get rid of you all ‘cause a loser is a loser.

sup lakers

The deluded dupes of a multi-billionaire’s “grass roots” movement

Now that those who align with the “Tea Party” have been further unveiled as deluded dupes, stooges, and bagmen, will those conned into this astroturfed screwjob by the Koch brothers and their side-show acts do anything about it? Or will they follow the scripts they were handed and double-down rather than admit to themselves they were deceived? The slight-of-hand and manipulations they’ve fallen victim to have been successfully re-branded as Patriotism, and as a caucus of Exceptional Americans, how could they have been so gullible and so easily self-segregated and gerrymandered?

An orchestrated Federal Budget Crisis manufactured to protect the interests of a handful of multi-billionaires has been unraveled.

Why are we stuck picking the lesser of two evils at the voting booth?
Because we don’t pick the candidates anymore.

The “Tea Party” is not a grass roots movement. It is a fabrication, and the influence it has over our Congress hinges entirely on Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission, where the Koch brothers’s fantasy of a favored caste was finally given wings. Campaigns funded by a handful of individuals, not the electorate that votes for them.

It’s just so incredible when you step back and look at the 10,000 foot view of this incredible con-job. The Republicans were subtly (at first) manipulated and goaded into participating in something that could very well end their entire party. Freedom and Liberty redefined, pushed into untenable positions and divided from the rest of their Country as a form of “rugged individualism”. This is a scandalous chain of events that undermines their party, the leadership, the very ideology it claims ownership of has been dictated by a couple of multi-billionaires behind a curtain.

The Tea Party caucus is selling their share of the soul of our Country for the promise of a handful of magic beans. Someday.

With polls showing Americans deeply divided over the law, conservatives believe that the public is behind them. Although the law’s opponents say that shutting down the government was not their objective, the activists anticipated that a shutdown could occur — and worked with members of the Tea Party caucus in Congress who were excited about drawing a red line against a law they despise.

A defunding “tool kit” created in early September included talking points for the question, “What happens when you shut down the government and you are blamed for it?” The suggested answer was the one House Republicans give today: “We are simply calling to fund the entire government except for the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.”

A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning –


Republicans Are Getting What They Want – This Is What They Want – Esquire

This is the real motivation behind all the tricornered hats and the incantations about liberty and all the conjuring words that have summoned up the latest crisis in our democracy. Corporate money is the power behind all of it, and that corporate money has but one goal — the creation of a largely subjugated population and a workforce grateful for whatever scraps fall from the table. To accomplish this, the corporate money not only had to disable the institutions of self-government that are the people’s only real protection, it had to do so in such a way that the people expect less and less of the government and, therefore, less and less of each other, acting in the interest of the political commonwealth.

Charles P. Pierce for Esquire, Republicans Are Getting What They Want – This Is What They Want

the Grand ol’ teahadi tantrum

Why did the government shut down? The blame lies entirely with a radical Republican minority, and the Speaker of the House who flinches from every threatened strike of the tiny balled-up fists of America’s lil’ Taliban.

the Atlantic:

  1. If the House of Representatives voted on a “clean” budget bill — one that opened up the closed federal offices but did not attempt to defund the Obama health care program — that bill would pass, and the shutdown would be over. Nearly all Democrats would vote for it, as would enough Republicans to end the shutdown and its related damage. (And of course it has already passed the Senate, repeatedly, and would be signed by the president.)

  2. So far House Speaker John Boehner has refused to let this vote occur. His Tea Party contingent knows how the vote would go and therefore does not want it to happen; and such is Boehner’s fear of them, and fear for his job as Speaker, that he will not let it take place.

James Fallows, for the Atlantic The Two Basic Facts That Should Be in Every Shutdown Story

Who are these radicals that wield this influence over the Speaker of the House and we the people of the United States? From an interview by Ezra Klein of Robert Costa:

EK: So how do House Republicans end up convincing themselves of unrealistic plans, particularly when they’ve seen them fail before, and when respected voices in the Republican and even conservative establishment are warning against them?

RC: When you get the members off the talking points you come to a simple conclusion: They don’t face consequences for taking these hardline positions. When you hear members talk candidly about their biggest victory, it wasn’t winning the House in 2010. It was winning the state legislatures in 2010 because they were able to *redraw their districts so they had many more conservative voters. The members get heat from the press but they don’t get heat from back home.

Ezra Klein & Robert Costa, for the Washington Post Why Boehner doesn’t just ditch the right

Succinctly summarized in Derek Thompson for the Atlantic’s follow-up to the Two Basic Facts, The Third Basic Fact That Every Government Shutdown Story Should Include:

So, by one close observer’s count, less than 10 percent of the House of Representatives is preventing the government from opening unless the White House defunds its signature legislation. Not a 51-percent majority. Not a 41-percent “filibuster majority.” A 10-percent “bully majority” that has prevailed upon another 10 to 15 percent of the House.


This small group of extremists aren’t interested in a dialog on policy and they have no plan for America. They are not willing to listen to reason, and they never give even the illusion of being open-minded about anything. They dismantle and destroy everything they touch and are unrepentantly dividing a divided House and country even further in the process. They have demonstrated over and over again that they are complete failures at legislating and accomplishing anything constructive in Congress for their country, and the one thing they aren’t monumentally inept at is manipulating their districts back home so that they can poison the well at the voting booth in order to troll the entire country into engaging with them on their completely idiotic ideological positions and throw epic shitfits that they’ve wrapped and ribboned in fairness.

Their goal is to finish what Neocons started over a decade ago: run up an endless tab using our Country’s full faith and credit as collateral in order to bankrupt the entire nation. They believe Government is ineffective and wasteful, so they must make it ineffectual and wasteful in order to gaslight the other 90% of the country into believing their self-fulfilling prophecy is anything more than the deranged sounds of lunatics that are in over their heads.

the “stand-off”

Reports of a bi-partisian break-down that took us to Government Shutdown 2013 are fabricated. The Government has shut down because a cell of radical teahadi extremists have hijacked our plane. They are demanding that the Romney/Ryan Failboat set sail despite the fact that Romney/Ryan themselves campaigned on it and failed to win the Presidency. Desperate for attention and arrogant beyond words they are making demands that they have no business making before they’ll let the doors open, and they have the audacity to stand in front of cameras and every microphone within a hundred miles pretending that it’s the other side that aren’t willing to compromise? Haven’t you heard?

We don’t negotiate with terrorists.


Three Teahadis Walk Into an Egyptian Presser

Tea party-backed Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) on Saturday held a press conference in Egypt to thank the country’s military for overthrowing the elected government, and at one point even seemed to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood had been behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. — David Edwards for the Raw Story

The Washington Post’s foreign affairs blogger Max Fisher made an interesting observation as well:

King congratulated anti-Morsi Egyptians on “standing up for liberty, standing up for freedom” in supporting the July 3 coup. He added, “We stand against the Muslim Brotherhood. The American people do not support the Muslim Brotherhood, we oppose all forms of terror and terrorism.” — Max Fisher for Washington Post Blogs

The irony of course being that while Steve King and Michele Bachmann are trotting around Egypt criticizing freedom-hating religious extremism and zealotry, their legislation and congressional activities consist mainly of freedom-hating religious extremism, and zealotry. In Bachmann’s case, this consists primarily of failed attempts at legislating. I guess that’s why she’s giving up and not running next term. Is it selfish of me to pray that Steve King makes the same decision or does Iowa have to do it for him?


You gonna eat that?

Who should set standards for food safety and enforce them? Consumers, or shareholders?

The Washington Post reported on Monday that documents and interviews showed that a plan to allow hog plants to replace federal USDA inspectors with their own private employees had produced “serious lapses that included failing to remove fecal matter from meat” in three of the five plants that had participated in a pilot program for more than a decade.

The best part is, pork is just the beginning:

A similar plan for chicken and turkey plants is expected to be finalized later this year.

It’s a splendid idea, really. Who better to protect us from contaminated food than the people that produce the contaminated food, right? Must we settle for tiny little chunks of fecal matter in our tenderloin or cutlets? With no more nosey inspectors and wasted tax dollars on that flavorless and shitless slurry! All those freeloading neutral third-party commies and thugs are finally going to be out of the way of bringing us what we want: real letter-graded meat.


Changing an IP Address to Access a Public Website is Against the Law

Changing your IP address or using proxy servers to access public websites you’ve been forbidden to visit is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a judge ruled Friday.


A company called 3taps was scraping content from Craigslist, and putting it elsewhere. Craigslist sent a Cease and Desist, and subsequently turned off access from 3taps network(s) and system(s).

3taps circumvented the block by doing what every teenager in America uses to get to Facebook using their school computer lab: they went behind 9,000 proxies and continued scraping the content. Craigslist, sued 3taps and used the CFAA, because they mad.

[yellow_box]Special shout-out to our Congress for writing this easily misunderstood law, the six amendments to it, and of course to Craigslist making this argument in court in the first place.

The company was already guilty of violating the Terms of Use for Craigslist, but their counsel didn’t use that argument. I am curious if even Craigslist is of the opinion that their Terms of Use are not binding?[/yellow_box]



Meanwhile, on Planet Batshit

Orson Scott Card thinks that President Obama is building a national police force to recruit gang members and “young out-of-work urban men” to commit acts of violence against Obama’s political enemies when he seizes power and refuses to leave office because: Dictator.

p.s. Ender’s Game is overrated. I’ve never even read it ((Emphasis mine)), but I know it sucks harder than a gas-powered Shop-Vac™ because the people that love it are universally insufferable ‘bags.

My Wife’s ThoughtsWife (who actually read this monstrosity) says that while it isn’t a great book, it’s not awful. She also reminds me that she believes everyone has one good book in them, and that Ender’s Game was clearly Orson’s One Good Book even though it was closer to mediocre or meh than good.

How can I know a book I’ve never read sucks? I know Atlas Shrugged sucks too and I’ve never read that either. Why? Because Randroids are the only people miraculously more insufferable than people that love Ender’s Game. I’d rather read the Essential Collection of Emily Dickinson by candlelight in a 6-by-6 cell covered in honey next to a hill of fire ants while buried under an active volcano than thumb through those pages and risk getting any of it on me.

Shut up, Rick Perry

I can’t even tell if that thing on his head is a dunce cap or a hood at this point, but since both are signs of ignorance, does it really matter?

The louder they scream, the more we know that we are getting something done.
— Governor Rick Perry, Gold-Medal Winning Misogynist, notable Grand Wizard of Texas

and Texans whine about the $1B in social programs for all these damned kids as if they were villains finally unmasked at the end of an episode of Scooby Doo.

Governor Perry’s recent comments about Wendy Davis and others who support reproductive rights for women ((and really, anyone who supports the right of a woman to have any doctor-patient confidentiality)) are intended to be demeaning and denigrate all the men and women who stood up to a room of bullies, bigots, and burros who don’t understand medicine, the Constitution of the United States, or high school biology.

These idiots believe they’ve been voted into office to write laws contrary to all of those subjects — which is definitely helping, since Texas is a state where teaching basic biology and contraception is completely optional, teenaged girls are getting pregnant at alarming rates.


Mr. Perry saying that Ms. Davis should “know better” than to support reproductive rights because she was the daughter of a single mother and a teenaged mother herself who went on to Harvard is a non sequitur. It’s like saying Rick Perry should know better than to block education efforts and funding for his state because he sold books door to door in the 70s. It doesn’t matter what Ms. Davis did; it matters that women are entitled to make that choice, and it matters that 66% of the young women in his state who get pregnant drop out of school and live in poverty, and it matters that only 1.5% of young women who get pregnant in their teens will get a college degree by the time they’re 30 years old. Ms. Davis’s success is representative of about 0.001% of teenaged mothers in Texas.

Furthermore, Mr. Perry commenting that “Even the woman who filibustered was born into difficult circumstances,” constitutes an egregious case of mansplaining if I’ve ever seen one. He is telling Ms. Davis not only that she’s wrong in her political convictions, but that she’s wrong about the meaning and lessons she draws from her own life. It’s not enough that he wants to dictate to women when and how to have children; he also now needs to micromanage the narratives they tell about those events, saying, [pullquote align=right back=1]”She managed to eventually graduate Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example.”[/pullquote]

So personally, I applaud Ms. Davis for all of her achievements: choosing motherhood, choosing Harvard, and choosing to run for office. But ultimately it doesn’t matter what I think of her personal choices — which is kind of the whole point. The only decision of hers that’s relevant to the conversation is that she chose to stand up for the women of Texas so that they could also choose their own destinies.

Co-authored by notable woman Liz Lundberg[/yellow_box]