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Colby King looks down the road at the Republican goal.
Today there is a New Confederacy, an insurgent political force that has captured the Republican Party and is taking up where the Old Confederacy left off in its efforts to bring down the federal government.

No shelling of a Union fort, no bloody battlefield clashes, no Good Friday assassination of a hated president — none of that nauseating, horrendous stuff. But the behavior is, nonetheless, malicious and appalling.

The New Confederacy, as churlish toward President Obama as the Old Confederacy was to Lincoln, has accomplished what its predecessor could not: It has shut down the federal government, and without even firing a weapon or taking 620,000 lives, as did the Old Confederacy’s instigated Civil War.

Not stopping there, however, the New Confederacy aims to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States, setting off economic calamity at home and abroad — all in the name of “fiscal sanity.”

Hey, they already have the flags for it.

Maureen Dowd Looks even further into the future.

An ape sits where Abe sat.

The year is 2084, in the capital of the land formerly called North America.

The peeling columns of the Lincoln Memorial, and Abe’s majestic head, elegant hands and big feet are partially submerged in sludge. Animals that escaped from the National Zoo after zookeepers were furloughed seven decades ago migrated to the memorials, hunting for food left by tourists.

The white marble monuments are now covered in ash, Greek tragedy ruins overrun with weeds. Tea Party zombies, thrilled with the dark destruction they have wreaked on the planet, continue to maraud around the Hill, eager to chomp on humanity some more.

It's a madhouse, a madhouse! Oh, wait. It's already a madhouse. Back to the future...
Because there was no endgame, the capital’s hunger games ended in a gray void. Because there was no clean bill, now there is only a filthy stench. Because there was no wisdom, now there is only rot. The instigators, it turned out, didn’t even know what they were arguing for. Macho thrusts and feints, competing to win while the country lost.

Thomas Jefferson’s utopia devolved into Ted Cruz’s dystopia.

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you, Ted Cruz! God damn you all to hell!

Let's see what insanity and prognostications are loose on the other editorial pages...


Frank Bruni is getting tired of this %?!#.  

The shutdown isn’t a new story. It’s the same story as the demise of sensible gun control legislation, even after Newtown, which was supposed to change everything. It’s the same story as the stalling of immigration reform. It’s all one cancer, sprouting tumors of various sizes. The mass we’ve been staring at over the past week just happens to be bigger and uglier than the ones we beheld in the buildup.

Our federal government doesn’t work, at least not the Congress, not the way it should if we’re going to preserve and pass on the treasure and blessings that were bequeathed to us, not the way it should if we’re going to strut around ceaselessly congratulating ourselves on how exceptional we are. We’re exceptional all right, in that we can’t summon the will, discipline or character to fix even those problems that most of us would like to see addressed.

Nicholas Kristof makes a rare APR appearance.
Suppose President Obama announced:

Unless Republicans agree to my proposal for gun control, I will use my authority as commander in chief to scuttle one aircraft carrier a week in the bottom of the ocean.

I invite Republican leaders to come to the White House and negotiate a deal to preserve our military strength. I hope Republicans will work with me to prevent the loss of our carrier fleet.

If the Republicans refuse to negotiate, I will be compelled to begin by scuttling the U.S.S. George Washington in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, with 80 aircraft on board.

In that situation, we would all agree that Obama had gone nuts. Whatever his beefs with Republicans, it would be an inexcusable betrayal to try to get his way by destroying our national assets. That would be an abuse of power and the worst kind of blackmail.

And in that kind of situation, I would hope that we as journalists wouldn’t describe the resulting furor as a “political impasse” or “partisan gridlock.” I hope that we wouldn’t settle for quoting politicians on each side as blaming the other. It would be appropriate to point out the obvious: Our president had tumbled over the edge and was endangering the nation.

And now, let's flip back to the front page of Kristof's own New York Times for continuing coverage of "the budget standoff." See? It's not an impasse, it's a standoff. Glad that got cleared up.

Carl Hiaason looks at a day in the life of His Orangenish.

9:30 a.m. You deliver your regular morning blame-Obama-for-everything sound bite, which goes pretty well, all things considered. Your wife calls to say you looked totally reasonable on TV, not the least bit satanic, and asks if you’d please swing by the grocery on the way home.

10:46 a.m. Fox News wants to interview you about the 800,000-plus federal workers being laid off. How are they supposed to pay their mortgages, keep up their car payments, yada, yada, yada. . . .

And this is Fox? They’re supposed to be on your side.

Dana Milbank Looks over at the GOP leadership in the Senate.
McConnell is as conservative as they come and a bitter foe of President Obama, famously declaring that his top goal was to make Obama a one-term president. The Kentuckian gives over-the-top daily speeches on the Senate floor denouncing the president and Democrats in the harshest terms.

At the same time, McConnell has brokered compromises in the past when the country faced economic calamity. He struck a deal with Vice President Biden in the early hours of 2013 to save the nation from going over the so-called fiscal cliff. A year and a half earlier, the same duo negotiated a compromise to avoid a default on the national debt.

This time around, McConnell is unable to cut a deal. And that’s because of [Matt] Bevin, who has launched a tea-party-backed challenge of McConnell in the Kentucky Republican primary.

And the expectation that someone would demonstrate enough common decency to spare a moment's thought to what's best for the nation even if it threatened their career? What do you think McConnell is, a public servant?

Ross Douthat sees both possibility and peril in the outreach of Pope Francis.

So far, he has at least gained the world’s attention. The question is whether that attention will translate into real interest in the pope’s underlying religious message or whether the culture will simply claim him for its own — finally, a pope who doesn’t harsh our buzz! — without being inspired to actually consider Christianity anew.

In the uncertain reaction to Francis from many conservative Catholics, you can see the fear that the second possibility is more likely. Their anxiety is not that the new pope is about to radically change church teaching, since part of being a conservative Catholic is believing that such a change can’t happen. Rather, they fear that the center he’s trying to seize will crumble beneath him, because the chasm between the culture and orthodox faith is simply too immense.

Douthat's problem is that he's been looking at politics so long he sees everything as a strategy. He can't conceive that someone might say something just because they think it's right.

Fred Pearce Checks in on new reports about the health of the oceans.

We know the oceans are warming. We know they are acidifying. And now, to cap it all, it turns out they are suffocating, too. A new health check on the state of the oceans warns that they will have lost as much as 7 per cent of their oxygen by the end of the century.

The cascade of chemical and biological changes now under way could see coral reefs irreversibly destroyed in 50 to 100 years, with marine ecosystems increasingly taken over by jellyfish and toxic algal blooms. ...

"The health of the oceans is spiralling downwards far more rapidly than we had thought, exposing organisms to intolerable and unpredictable evolutionary pressure," says Alex Rogers at the University of Oxford, the scientific director of IPSO.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 10:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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