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July 31, 2011

Comments

"Yes, and how far did they get with it?"

Lazy blow off.

"Pass a budget, and raise the debt ceiling if need be."

Can't pass a budget, or even discuss one, unless Reid lets it get to the floor. Over two years, not one budget debate, much less an actual budget. No one stamped their feet, or burned $100 bills. They did what their constituents sent them to do.

Just so you know, they think your crazy for objecting to fiscal sanity.

"How much of the federal budget right now is debt service? How much *more* of the federal budget will be debt service, without changing any other line item, if the credit markets start insisting on a higher return from T-bills to account for risk of default?"

Funny, the markets were underwhelmed by getting the debt ceiling passed, that downgrade will probably happen anyway.

Because of the size of the debt, because we didn't do anything to convince the markets we are serious about reducing our debt increases.

No one seems to notice the damage in the markets the debt itself is doing. But we can always get the Fed to start buying it again, that will prop up the market.

That's freaking foolish, to borrow a phrase.

That number's been revised to 18 million, but it's still money that's been thrown out the window. Well, sort of ... it depends on who gets it and what they do with it. Unfortunately, it will probably be financiers who will buy credit default swaps to profit off of someone else's misery, or some other kind of financial innovation that does the same. Maybe we'll get lucky and someone will decide to build a not-for-profit daycare for poor, working parents instead. (Not holding my breath...)

My last comment refers to Catsy's about the 1.7 billion, btw.

Because of the size of the debt, because we didn't do anything to convince the markets we are serious about reducing our debt increases.

Debt increases relative to what? If it's our economy, markets should be upset that we've decided to let our productive capacity go to waste - that is, fail to produce in the shorter term and lose our capacity in the longer term.

And whatever budget gets passed won't really do squat to help our debt-to-GDP ratio if our taxation and spending remains so ill targeted. Revenues will go down with the reduced economic activity resulting from the spending cuts, while welfare payments go up from more people losing their jobs. In other words, we'll still have the deficits, but the economy will be worse that it otherwise would have been. That's not fiscal sanity.

No one seems to notice the damage in the markets the debt itself is doing.

Enlighten us, please. And going back to the top of this comment where I quote you, Marty, the size of our debt didn't seem to affect interest rates until the debt-ceiling hostage-taking started. Even if the results thus far haven't assuaged markets completely, there would have been no assuaging necessary without the initial hostage-taking.

McK,

telling someone who is inclined against HCR to STFU, don't ask to read the bill and don't bitch because it's so long, just take our word for it, it's pretty simple, straightforward, blah, blah, blah, is precisely the kind of heavy handedness that provokes massive mistrust and a disproportionate backlash.

Not what I said. I just said the "2500 pages" complaint was nonsense. By the way, how about a 900 page version? Still too long?

Nor is it an accurate statement of what happened. Republicans certainly had a chance to participate in the process. They weren't shut out, and the design of the bill was the subject of a great deal of news coverage, well before passage.

So, much of the bill is read before it's final. The contract I mentioned above is probably going to run 50 pages or so when it's done, but that hardly means we don't already know most of what's in it, including the critical parts - specs, pricing, delivery times. The principles of PPACA were well-publicized before it passed.

And of course it reflected the existing Massachusetts/Romney/Heritage law. On top of that, this country has been debating HCR of one sort or another since the Theodore Roosevelt Administration. It's hardly a radical new, previously unheard of, subject.

"Enlighten us, please. And going back to the top of this comment where I quote you, Marty, the size of our debt didn't seem to affect interest rates until the debt-ceiling hostage-taking started. Even if the results thus far haven't assuaged markets completely, there would have been no assuaging necessary without the initial hostage-taking."

We have been assuaging the markets for months by having the Fed buy over a trillion dollars of our new debt. It's pretty easy to control interest rates when your central bank is buying your debt.

That ended (kind of) several weeks ago, although they continue to buy Treasuries with what they make off of the MBS they bought in the first round of easing.

So we were already having to artificially hold down those rates, now we will see what happens. The rating agencies, less meaningful perhaps than in the past, are looking at the risk on the debt. Not because we debated the savings required to agree to raise it, but because there are savings required.

So today I saw my latest headline on QE3.

Can't pass a budget, or even discuss one, unless Reid lets it get to the floor.

Then try sending a serious one. The budget has to originate in the House, and the House is currently controlled by unhinged fanatics.

Funny, the markets were underwhelmed by getting the debt ceiling passed, that downgrade will probably happen anyway.

Because of the size of the debt, because we didn't do anything to convince the markets we are serious about reducing our debt increases.

For more than thirty years, Republicans have been running up deficits without accountability while giving lip service to fiscal conservatism and pretending to care about government spending. You don't have to like that fact, and you shouldn't--but the numbers don't lie. By far the biggest increase in our national debt came in the first decade of this century, driven by the Republican agenda to give tax breaks to top income earners, drag us into two open-ended wars, and pass a terrible prescription drug bill that was little more than a massive redistribution of wealth to the pharmaceutical industry.

And yet in all of those thirty years, the markets haven't really seem all that concerned about the national debt. They didn't downgrade us when Reagan exploded the deficit. They didn't do it when Bush made the Reagan deficits look like chump change. And they haven't downgraded us despite today's record-setting deficits and months of economic brinkmanship and threats from the Tea Party to force the country into default.

What has happened is that the uncertainty generated by this manufactured crisis--uncertainty generated solely by the newly-credible threats of an organized bloc of the Republican Party--has raised the risk associated with our debt and consequently the interest rates we have to pay.

Republicans have spent months bleating about the harm that uncertainty over the extension of tax cuts et al would cause to the economy. When that harm failed to materialize, they inadvertently set out to prove themselves right.

Nobody takes Republicans seriously on fiscal matters anymore except other Republicans and the party's enablers in the he-said-she-said media. And nobody should.

The final tell was when Obama proposed a "compromise" for raising the debt ceiling that consisted of nothing more than trillions of dollars in spending cuts. No tax increases. No closing of tax loopholes for the wealthy Republican donor base. Just across-the-board cuts so irresponsibly steep and painful that Democrats were justifiably enraged, even though it left things like Social Security and Medicare alone. It was such a plum giveaway to what conservatives claim to care about that they were unprepared and unsure how to respond to it.

Then they rejected it out of hand.

These are not serious people who are seriously interested in cutting spending and reducing the deficit. These are ideologues exploiting this manufactured crisis in order to put Democrats on record as voting to cut SS and Medicare so that the GOP could dilute the justified public outrage at the cuts they voted for in the Ryan plan.

Just so you know, they think your crazy for objecting to fiscal sanity.

Clearly, there is a divergence of opinion about what "fiscal sanity" means.

Equally clearly, there is a divergence between talk and walk regarding any definition of fiscal sanity among conservatives of the last 30 years.

Whoever "they" are, I'm not that interested in their opinion of my mental health, because I'm not seeing much in the way of seriousness from "them".

I don't really want to dive back into the tea party thing, but suffice it to say that I have no regard, at all, for the quality of their analysis. So I don't really care what their take on my understanding of the situation is.

I hope they enjoy their 15 minutes, and then I hope they either get serious or go home.

Lazy blow off.

No, lazy blow off looks like this:

Whatever, dude.

Insert smiley here.

If Paul Ryan would stop reading all 1084 pages of "Atlas Shrugged" into the Congressional Record and taking up his staff's time by making them chew that wet cardboard, they'd have time to do their jobs, part of which is to read the legislation.

But, I admit, 2500 pages is a pretty long slog. I have a feeling that rather than MckT's assertion that no one knew what was in the thing after a full year of legislative wrangling, once you cut out the hundreds of pages copied directly from Mitt Romney's Massachussets legislation and the boiler plate from lengthy position papers written by the conservative American Enterprise Institute when they suggested much of the conceptual framework for the legislation back in the 1990s, when sanity was at least a fall-back position for the crazy people, what you would have left is the yeah-buts, why-should-I's?, what-me-pay-for-thats?, and so on from the minority party, that were incorporated at their requests.

Heck, Sarah Death Palin read the entire bill cover to cover and was able to sum it up in two words and five exclamation marks --- "Death!! Panels!!!"

And those two words became the bill which folks in funny tri-cornered hats said they read or didn't read.

Alright, so, would this have been an acceptable number of words? --

"From this day forward, all Americans' healthcare, from cradle to grave, including preexisting conditions will be covered under a universal single-payer system administered by the U.S. Government and paid for by an appropriate expansion of Medicare premiums and a system of co-payments. Medicaid and private insurers will be abolished.

End of story.

Also, shad up and thank you"

From the earliest years of the American republic, white Southern conservatives when they have lost elections and found themselves in the political minority have sought to extort concession from national majorities by paralyzing or threatening to destroy the United States...

Make of it what you will.

Also, what, exactly, is wrong with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, other than the thought that they are fiscally unsustainable? (he asks, no one in particular)

So we were already having to artificially hold down those rates, now we will see what happens.

If global markets decided out debt was too risky, holding rates down would be impossible. QE's primary objective is to increase the money supply to stimulate the economy. I'd say it doesn't really work when demand is the problem, and that all it will accomplish is to replace bonds with more bank reserves, which will just sit there the same way the bonds did, but whatever....

"This is at least as "extreme" as the Tea Party position"

"Yes, and how far did they get with it?"

I think you conceded too much here, russell. The Tea Party people were willing to bring down the economy if they didn't get their way. The progressive caucus wanted Obama to stand up to them, rather than let them achieve most of their goals via extortion. Now we're stuck with extortion as a political tool.

Of course Obama himself threw this option away, but that wasn't exactly a surprise.

Donald, with respect, I disagree that "Now we're stuck with extortion as a political tool." We were, and have been, stuck with extortion as a political tool. The price that might have been paid was (by all accounts) something that we could not have overcome.

Obama didn't want to presume that the "American people" (those people who would be adversely affected by that blow - mostly people who really aren't doing all that well now) wanted to accept total devastation. If Obama had been in a duel with Eric Cantor, we could perhaps determine their relative bravery, and ability to "stand up." But when Obama has to think about the people who are going to sink, rather than swim, who haven't really voted to sacrifice everything they have, "standing up" and playing chicken wasn't an option. I, for example, preferred not to take another economic hit in my retirement possibilities (not looking good as it is) as a result of this particular battle. (Although, obviously, maybe everybody already did take a hit, etc. But the extent of suffering wasn't subject to accurate prediction.)

What I would like for Obama to do is to start calling out Republicans instead of "Congress." I support him, and will support him and work for his reelection - otherwise we'll have an even worse disaster. But he needs to stir some passion. Soon.

Now, they want to gut Social Security and hand it over to defense contractors.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/02/1002385/-Lieberman:-We-have-to-cut-Social-Security-to-pay-for-fighting-theIslamistextremists

No new revenue of course. Just all of the old revenue going straight down the Republican special interest corporate sh*tcan.

Meanwhile, as austerity stalks and strangles European economies, European bond yields continue to soar, profiting Germany.

I wonder when the resentful fascist vermin in Greece, Spain, Portugal, and England begin to emulate the resentful fascist vermin in Germany after World War II?

You know, austerity and unemployment ... the panacea.

Now imported here.

Stay tuned for fascism's march here too, as Tea Partiers Medicare scooters are defunded and they resort to goose-stepping in coming years.

"Stay tuned for fascism's march here too, as Tea Partiers Medicare scooters are defunded and they resort to goose-stepping in coming years."

This is so freaking true. And the only thing that will stop it is a unified left. Hard to be unified. Harder to fight. They did it before though. Can we?

Have you guys been following events in Wisconsin? People are organizing to fight back. However the Republican coalition of the selfish, the stupid, the mean, and the crazy is still over forty percent of the voters. Also the thug party will not allow fair elections. Wisconsin Republicans have passed what is likely to be a very successful voter suppression law. The dirty tricks have started too.

In other words once Republica thuggery gets obvious in a way that directly effects enough middle class white people,then organized wide spread determied resistace does result. But the thug party is prepared for that: voter suppressio laws, right wing judges, a whole bag of dirty tricks and a corporate media that treats all R behavior like its just normal politics.

I think we are watching democracy end.

The Tea Party people were willing to bring down the economy if they didn't get their way.

Heard a tea party guy on the radio tonight on the way home. He was on Diane Rehm's show.

His position was, basically, that due to our debt load, the US was actually not such a great credit risk, and the ratings agencies should downgrade our credit anyway. Debt ceiling or no debt ceiling.

The portion of the US federal budget in 2010 that went to debt service was ~$165 BILLION dollars. Every point of additional interest costs us billions.

With a freaking B.

These are the folks who are going to lead the way to fiscal sanity and health.

Pistol, meet foot. Well played, morans.

a whole bag of dirty tricks

I though the bogus absentee ballots sent to Democratic voters by Americans for Prosperity, with instructions to return them *after the deadline*, was a nice touch.

"It was a typo", said their spokesperson.

The proper response to that is "jail, b*tches", but I am not holding my breath.

And of course, both sides do it.

I'd love to have a reasonable and polite discussion of the issues on the merits, but this crap is just wearing me the hell out.

Can't all of you fair and reasonable conservatives who hang out here on ObWi knock some freaking heads and straighten these dudes out? It's like the dragon's teeth of Richard Milhous Nixon are sprouting a bumper crop.

And the only thing that will stop it is a unified left.

The first step toward getting a unified left is getting a left at all.

We're not even close to that.

CCDG
We have been assuaging the markets for months by having the Fed buy over a trillion dollars of our new debt. It's pretty easy to control interest rates when your central bank is buying your debt.
So we were already having to artificially hold down those rates, now we will see what happens.

Then how do you explain http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/world-not-ended/>this chart
couldn't find perfect chart for it with both QEs and interest rates that i've seen before on the Krugman's blog. Both times QE start interest goes up and then turns down in the last quarter of QE ending higher then when it started.
Chart shows that QE only increased interest rates, not lowered it as you and your GOP gods believe.

Interest rates will not go up until unemployment goes down. No matter what else is done, no matter the debt pc, no matter printing, gold value or anything else. That's what examples from history teaches when an economy enters liquidity trap or deflation. Great depression and Japan lost decade are those examples.
Difference is that we are now going against oil peak, which blocks coming out of recession. When economy start recovering, demand for oil goes up and so does its price which devastates the consumers and economy with it. Every 10cents in gasoline price means $75B less for else in economy.

Did anyone else watched Pat Buchanan with Al Sharpton today? When Pat called Obama "your BOY" while talking to Sharpton. He was stunned at first.

Thank you, Laura. The heartening thing about Wisconsin is that people there have finally figured out what's happening to them. I hope it's not too late.

"Can't all of you fair and reasonable conservatives who hang out here on ObWi knock some freaking heads and straighten these dudes out?"

No, they won't. The "fair and reasonable" conservatives on this blog believe that if laws are passed by Democrats, that Democrats are "heavy handed."

"The first step toward getting a unified left is getting a left at all."

Alrighty then. In the meantime, those people to the left of the Republican party need to fight the Republican party.

CCDG
Funny, the markets were underwhelmed by getting the debt ceiling passed, that downgrade will probably happen anyway.

Because of the size of the debt, because we didn't do anything to convince the markets we are serious about reducing our debt increases.
Aren't you tired of repeating the same threat since TARP bailout. It's been THREE years of that terror threat repeater. First during bailout, then stimulus, then HCR, then Bush tax cut extension and now again. Do you even pay attention to level of interest rates? 10Y T were under 6% and today they are 2.87%. How many contradictions can you hold at the same time?

In 15 years when economy recovers and interest rate goes back up, you guys will be "I told you so, ha"

Obama will get my support back AFTER he used/s the next round of GOP extortigations and/or State of the Union address to blow himself up with the whole crazy crowd (and a good deal of the spineless crowd too) present. Pelosi should stand as a backup in the wings with guns and chainsaw to take care of surviving backbenchers.
Reading the news I also demand that Joe Lieberman has to take a bath in hydrofluoric acid.
Should I by any chance meet Eric Cantor while I have an axe handy, I'll make 1st page headlines. (Admittedly rather unlikely given that a) I rarely walk outside carrying an axe and b) I am not aware that he plans to travel to Europe or at least my part of the woods).

Can't all of you fair and reasonable conservatives who hang out here on ObWi knock some freaking heads and straighten these dudes out?

Two problems here. First, just as the view here is that Republicans are fascists and much more who run roughshod over their opponents, so too is the view looking this way from the other side. Second, those on the left here who acknowledge two sides to some discussions are in the minority. So, while I and others would like to see a lot of things change, that isn't likely and, quite frankly, I don't have the interest I once did in fixing things on the right. I just come here to chat. Assuming I am one of those conservatives you had in mind.

First, just as the view here is that Republicans are fascists...

I think they're oligarchs and plutocrats, myself - plutarchists, if you will. Well, Dick Cheney's kind of fascist, I guess, so you got me there.

Freddy at L'Hote says it for me:

"I believe that it is absolutely just, practical, and sensible to expect those who have enjoyed the great fruits of our democracy to contribute a disproportionate share of the money that ensures our democracy remain solvent.

That's the mild version. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more corrosive to our democracy than the vast concentrations of wealth and power we now see, concentrations of wealth and power that are defended by self described conservatives as both natural and moral when in fact they are neither.

I think they're oligarchs and plutocrats, myself

Compromiser.

First, just as the view here is that Republicans are fascists and much more who run roughshod over their opponents, so too is the view looking this way from the other side.

Feh. Give me some similar D examples to the GOP's systematic voter suppression efforts.

I don't have the interest I once did in fixing things on the right.

I can understand and relate to that.

I just come here to chat.

I can understand and relate to that, as well. I'm pleased you're here, your company is more than congenial.

Assuming I am one of those conservatives you had in mind.

You are, sir.

10y T bond is 2.62% this morning. It is hard to follow it's drop. And that is without QE2

And to be clear on what that means is to explain the charts that follow GDP growth and interest rates. Higher growth follows higher interest rates, full stop. This low rate of 2.62% means really low growth/ decline. It is a clear prediction for the growth, per Krugman.

Exhibit #10,000, via http://www.washingtonmonthly.com:

House and Senate members quickly left town yesterday, starting a month-long recess that will keep lawmakers out of DC until after Labor Day. Under the circumstances, though, “recess” is probably the wrong word to use.

If this were a literal congressional recess, President Obama would have the option of making recess appointments, and given the number of executive branch and judicial vacancies created by Senate Republican obstructionism, the White House would have ample motivation to put this presidential power to good use.

That’s why GOP lawmakers have ensured their recess isn’t a real recess.

Following the House, the Senate will hold a series of “pro forma” sessions over the next month, effectively blocking President Barack Obama from making any appointments during Congress’ August recess.

That means Obama won’t be able to seat his pick to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, whose nomination Republicans have vowed to oppose until Obama makes changes watering down the agency’s authority.

After passing the debt limit legislation on Monday, House leaders announced they would hold pro forma sessions through August, a procedural move that forced the Senate to follow suit. The Constitution requires that for either chamber to take more than a three-day break, the other chamber must give its approval.

Every Tuesday and Friday for the rest of the month, someone will show up in the House and Senate chambers, bang a gavel, look around, and then go home. Republicans believe this is necessary, of course, to prevent the president from filling vacancies that need to be filled with qualified officials who’d be confirmed if given up-or-down votes.

Also note, congressional Republicans are determined to prevent President Obama from being able to exercise this power for the indefinite future, regardless of the seriousness of the vacancies or the extent of the Senate GOP’s obstructionism.

They just are not serious about actually governing. But I'm sure that Both Sides Do It. And pointing out that they don't lead to all sorts of whiny resentment.

No, the (common, ruling) GOPsters are not fascists. They are what came before those in the late 19th and pre-WW1 20th century. That is: a cancerous outgrowth of old conservatism after a malign infection of bacillus paranoides and mycetozoum mammonis. It's the culture medium fascism can grow on/from.

What I would like for Obama to do is to start calling out Republicans instead of "Congress."

sapient, I think that there is a case to be made that if the President did as you suggest, he would be written of as just making a partisan attack. Whereas there is some merit in blaming a Congress (regardless of who nominally controls it) for its actions. That might not be a better approach, but I don't really think it's as open-and-shut as you seem to believe.

I would also not that the Congress, collectively, enjoys a much lower level of approval from voters than the President does. So there may also be some political benefit to keeping the focus there. Just a thought.

"Obama didn't want to presume that the "American people" (those people who would be adversely affected by that blow - mostly people who really aren't doing all that well now) wanted to accept total devastation. If Obama had been in a duel with Eric Cantor, we could perhaps determine their relative bravery, and ability to "stand up." But when Obama has to think about the people who are going to sink, rather than swim, who haven't really voted to sacrifice everything they have, "standing up" and playing chicken wasn't an option. "

I'm not sure what this means, but perhaps you didn't know what I meant. I was replying indirectly to CCDG's claim that the progressives in Congress who wanted Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment were just as extreme as the Tea Party people. Do you agree with that? I regret that Obama said he wouldn't consider using it. He seems to negotiate by jumping 3/4 of the way to the Republican position and then gets blamed for not compromising on taxes, a problem which he solves by giving in. The simplest explanation for this behavior is that he really is center or center-right in orientation and sincerely thought he could reach a meeting of minds with the saner members of the Republican Party.

The simplest explanation for this behavior is that he really is center or center-right in orientation and sincerely thought he could reach a meeting of minds with the saner members of the Republican Party.

Correct.

Obama is a moderate conservative. On a scale from FDR to Goldwater, Obama is approximately Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"then gets blamed for not compromising on taxes, a problem which he solves by giving in"

I should add that if he wasn't willing to use the 14th Amendment then he had no choice but to give in.

I'm pleased you're here, your company is more than congenial.

Well, thanks for that. I just hired an expert witness from MA. Maybe I'll get up that way someday and we can have a drink, maybe two.

I regret that Obama said he wouldn't consider using it.

I assumed that this had something to do with being first term rather than 2nd term. I do think that Obama is too cautious, but going to the 14th amendment would have been a high risk, high reward move, which is something that Obama seldom, if ever, does. And while I would have loved it, one has to wonder if you would see this marriage of convenience between those who decry Obama flauting the war powers act and those who would demand impeachment for employing the act. And if there is anything that Republicans do well, it is marriages of convenience.

Obama also labors under this remarkable restraint to his actions, in that he can't be too angry or too confrontational. The spectre of an angry, confrontational black man would be catnip for a lot of the far-right and it is something that seems to have governed his actions up to now.

those who would demand impeachment for employing the act

that should be 'employing the amendment' (or is it invoking?)

Obama flauting the war powers act and those who would demand impeachment

This is a very fair point. A lot of angry progressives very much wanted Obama to essentially dare the GOP to imnpeach him, on the basis that the move would be fatally unpopular with the rest of the country (not to mention being a huge distraction just when the country needs a distraction least).

The problem with that thinking is believing the popularity of an action, or the damage an action would do to the country, are disincentives to the GOP.

Not only are such considerations not disincentives to the GOP, they are the very opposite. The GOP is intent on restoring pre-Teddy Roosevelt era political, social, and economic norms. They hate America, and most Americans, and the more pain they can cause, the happier they are.

... if the President did as you suggest, he would be written of as just making a partisan attack.

wj,

You are surely correct, because there are people who would accuse Obama of partisanship if they saw him tie his left shoe before his right one. But there are also people (e.g. me) whose esteem for a politician RISES when he stops mealy-mouthing.

My question for you, though, is this: just WHO is it who would write off Obama for being "partisan"? You??

A follow-up question: why haven't the SAME people who might write off Obama as "partisan" for calling Republicans "Republicans" already written off the Republicans for THEIR frothing, spittle-flecked, rabid partisanship? Why is partisanship OK just for Republicans?

--TP

"Obama is a moderate conservative. On a scale from FDR to Goldwater, Obama is approximately Dwight D. Eisenhower."

The John Birch crazy fascists (yeah, not you MckT, the crazy people) back then who called Eisenhower a Marxist and a Communist met in private living rooms and southern watering holes to plot the destruction of the U.S. Government.

Today, the John Birch crazy fascists who call Barack Obama a Marxist and a Communist sit in the House of Representatives, with a few in the Senate, and plot the destruction of the U.S. Government.

Donald, I sympathize with your point. In addition, I think the creative legal options that some people suggested for Obama are really interesting. It would have been hugely fun, from a legal standpoint, to see them play out. I loved reading about the various options - and thought the trillion dollar coin possibility was extremely fun to ponder.

Unfortunately, everyone agreed that that there was a huge risk (almost certainty) that these options wouldn't have solved the underlying problem, that there would probably have been a market crash and a subsequent (worse than we have now) depression. Faith in our system (and in our treasury bonds) isn't a matter of declaring it. Investors, and the world market, have to believe it. If Obama had done all the right things, but under speculative legal theories which might have been challenged, there would have been a huge possibility that the markets would not have trusted the instruments (such as Treasury bills). For Obama to have said, "Don't worry, be happy, I've got this under the 14th Amendment" would have been hugely irresponsible, and would have put everyone, including middle class types who are barely hanging on, in great jeopardy.

As to placing Obama on a scale from FDR to Goldwater, I don't think that's fair or possible or helpful. Obama has a very different country to manage than FDR, or subsequent presidents, and he personally has different cards. FDR was the leader of large Democratic majorities, and he was a patrician. Obama had a substantial majority in the House for his first two years, and a bare majority (with the filibuster) in the Senate. Now he has Republicans and a divided Senate. And he's the first African-American President, which gets him a certain amount of good will, but suspicion on the other side (the Muslim from Kenya, ad nauseum). He has walked a tightrope. I personally know people who have predicted that he will be assassinated, because in their experience, an African-American president is a bridge too far.

I want him to be stronger and to call out Republicans. The Republicans have proved over and over that compromise isn't an option. But he is a pragmatist; he looks at the situation and tries to find what he can win, and tries to adopt rhetoric that will get the most support. Maybe he could have won a bit more during his first two years, but I don't happen to think so. If we were to revisit every issue, every vote, we would have seen the extreme, recalcitrant Republicans and right-wing Democratic senators obstructing the more progressive possibilities. In an attempt to govern, he adopted moderate rhetoric as a tactic. Maybe a bad tactic, but considering the vitriolic, and in some cases racist, opposition, I think his tactics were understandable.

I feel that we have to stand behind him (including talking up his virtues). It's really our only chance. Because the Republicans are fascists. I truly believe that - sorry McKinney.

Maybe now that his reelection campaign is approaching, he'll be more passionate. I wish he'd be more accusatory against Republicans. But for the most part, when I listen to what he says, especially when he's answering questions at a press conference or a townhall, I agree with him completely. He's logical and humane, but he doesn't have a Congress that will enact a WPA. Instead, many of them are happy run the country off a cliff - demonstrably and on purpose.

"Obama also labors under this remarkable restraint to his actions, in that he can't be too angry or too confrontational. The spectre of an angry, confrontational black man would be catnip for a lot of the far-right and it is something that seems to have governed his actions up to now."

Yes'm.

Well, I won't get into whether the markets would have gone berserk if Obama had gone the 14th Amendment route because I don't know--it seems to me we've just demonstrated that we're a banana republic the way things worked out, where insane policies can be imposed by crazy people. Fortunately the rest of the world is pretty screwed up too, so we have that in our favor.

As for Obama, he seems centrist to me and I have never understood liberal/lefties who thought otherwise. Lesser of two evil politics I understand. Maybe we're just starved for someone in power we can claim is on our side.

Maybe he could have won a bit more during his first two years, but I don't happen to think so.

sapient,

There is no reason but dullness and lack of creativity on Team Obama's part for the fact that our current tax regime is not called "the Obama tax cut".

Maybe Obama could not help caving to the GOP last December. Maybe he could not help violating one of his three main campaign promises (get out of Iraq, pass universal healthcare, end the Bush tax cuts) because the Koch astroturf campaign got lots of teabaggers elected. But there is no good reason whatsoever for Obama's stupid, stupid framing of the cave-in as "extending the Bush tax cuts" instead of "Dubya and the GOP voted the sunsets into law. You guys want a new tax cut? Okay, I'm here to give it to you."

I grant you that the teabagger hatred of Obama might exceed even their love of tax cuts. It's possible they would have rejected continuing the low rates, rather than call them "the Obama tax cuts". But their puppetmasters probably would not have cared much.

A president can't control the Congress. But he can control the conversation. Or at least try to. Obama did not even try.

Don't worry, there's no chance in hell that I will fail to vote for him next year. But if he wants enthusiasm from me, he has a lot of talking to do.

--TP

Hope he does some talking, Tony P., because without enthusiasm, the t-baggers have it. That's the sad fact.

Donald, no argument.

But I have fun thinking of stuff that russell (the great compromiser with McKinney) says. Russell, I will speak to you directly, since I've been admonished about speaking in the third person:

You once provided me with a very insightful comment about the marriage issue, citing Wendell Berry (and forms of living, etc.). I was quite taken with that comment because I had, in the past, spent time with Wendell Berry's writings, and much admired him. I still count some of his poems as favorites. But it seems to me that he very much represents an aspect of what the original Doctor Science post was getting at, a romantic view of the agrarian, not-much-government, anti-progress, antebellum view of things. Just made me think.

Definitely OT - sorry. But Eisenhower? He grew up on a farm in Kansas. Maybe that's the connection you're making between him and Obama. Kansas.

I don't know if the Republican party meets the defiition of "fascist". Individuals in the leadership might. I do think that the party is opposed to democracy. Republican politicians, particulalry the very cynical leaders at the national level, know that their policies will ever be widely supported. That's why they have carried out with great success a coordiated campaign over the last thirty years to udermine democracy: use systemic use of lies to obscure their real policies and to destroy public discussion of issues, the creation of a fake news channel and the network of hate mongerers, the use of wedge issues that the leadership does't really care about to polarize the populatio ad eergize thier side, the decision to bring religous fanatics and rightwing extremists into their party to enlarge their base, the KStreet Project, packing the judiciary with rightwing activist judges and blocking judges that aren't rightwing activists, ALEC, union busting, voter supression and election dirty tricks.

It isn't necesarily fascist but is is a party that is quite deliberately destroying the systems ad norms that make democracy possible.

Laura,

I love your take on things. I guess what I want to know is that after all of the Republican anti-democratic tricks have succeeded, and they finally have absolute power, what kind of society do they want?

My belief is that they want a master-slave society. Maybe they see themselves as benevolent masters, but if you look at this, this is what we're talking about.

It means that human beings mean nothing to them compared to what kind of money/power they can have. Human beings might as well be in slave labor camps. I just don't see the difference.

I won't get into whether the markets would have gone berserk if Obama had gone the 14th Amendment route because I don't know

I'm not sure if I was making an argument about the markets (and given my ability to sell low and buy high, you should be deeply suspicious if I do), rather than an argument about how Obama is constrained in a lot of ways as the first African American president.

Slightly related to that (and something I think you might be interested in, DJ) is a clip from this Guardian piece

In the summer of 1996, months after the Dayton peace agreement was signed, little had changed. Karadžic was able to drive across Bosnia, through four international checkpoints, waving insouciantly at the Nato troops on guard, whose orders – dictated by a nervous Clinton administration – all but precluded them from taking action. "The rules of engagement said in effect: 'Don't pick him up, unless you actually trip over him,'" recalls Charles Crawford, who was UK ambassador to Bosnia at the time. "Anything that involved going off the road even 10 yards was regarded as 'not being in the course of your normal duties'."
...

In fact, the Americans were keener on the Europeans arresting war criminals than they were on doing it themselves. Clinton was fearful any US casualties could cost him his re-election in November 1996. It was the US president who had insisted on the restrictive rules of engagement for Sfor, the Nato "stabilisation" force in Bosnia.

But the US special envoy to the Balkans, Richard Holbrooke, saw it as American humiliation. In June 1996, he wrote to the president: "The implications of Karadžic's defiance go far beyond Bosnia itself. If he succeeds, basic issues of American leadership that seemed settled in the public's eye after Dayton will re-emerge. Having reasserted American leadership in Europe, it would be a tragedy if we let it slip away again."

It was only once Clinton had secured his re-election, and appointed Madeleine Albright – a former refugee from Nazi Europe who insisted US military might should be used to prevent a repeat of such atrocities – that Washington began to focus seriously on catching war criminals.

At my school, professors in there last 2 or 3 years before retirement, no longer need to attend faculty meetings. I mentioned that this was a nice gesture to them to a colleague and he said that it wasn't for them, it was that people who were at the end of the tunnel would be more likely to speak their mind and it would cause too many changes. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see what happens if Obama is elected to a 2nd term. I'm not arguing that we should be more enthusiastic about Obama because of the possibility of him reinventing himself as a man of the left in his second term, but I do have all my toes and fingers crossed.

The John Birch crazy fascists (yeah, not you MckT, the crazy people) back then who called Eisenhower a Marxist and a Communist met in private living rooms and southern watering holes to plot the destruction of the U.S. Government.

Today, the John Birch crazy fascists who call Barack Obama a Marxist and a Communist sit in the House of Representatives, with a few in the Senate, and plot the destruction of the U.S. Government.

My uncle's private living room, on lovely Long Island, as it turns out. Good times.

That aside, IMVHO your comment here is on the money.

Also IMVHO, Hofstadter's "Paranoid Style in American Politics" and Piercy's "Love in the Ruins" are about all anybody needs to know to understand where we're at as a country right now.

Those, and Frankfurt's "On Bullsh*t".

Small correx, Percy. Which I think will be the topic of our Friday open thread.

A bosoming friends afar brings distance near

Thanks Sapient.

I don't have much tolerance any more for people who treat politics like its all just esoteric mindgames with no consequences to real people.

Re: our Galtian Overlords. They are capitalists with some Ay Rad mixed in. One of the biggest rightwing lies of all is the lie that capitalism goes with democracy and socialism goes with totalitarianism. The truth is that democracies will not tolerate udiluted capitalism and will mitigate its effects with regulations, unions, taxes and socialist institutions--because that's what the voters will demand. A free trade capitalistic economy will tend to concentrate wealth among the few at the expense of the many and the many won't put up with it if they can vote. Socialim o the other had goes quite nicely with democracy in Canada, Norway, Swedew, France, even to some extent here.

(Yes I know those coutries ad our nation, if fact most nations have mixed economies.)

There's a reason why capitalism does not go with democracy: its basic priciple is to seek maximum profit for minimum investment, something for nothing being the ideal So keep labor costs down, try to surpress competition, coosolidate ad form monolopies, ru the busiess for profit regardless of the effect of opperatios o the environmet the health of the commuities...abuse is inevitable. Abusive behavior is built in. They oly way to have an economy tht is close to being purely capitalist is to deny peole access to the power of government ot control the abusive behavior that is inevitable i the pursuit of the ideal of something for nothing.

Combine that with Ayn Rand's cult of selfishess ad you have a very toxic, very anti-democracy ideology ad that's your Republica party.

(Which is not to say socialism is perfect or without built in problems. My own feeling is that mixed ecoomies are best ad ideologies are for people who are to lazy to think and just want to believe.)

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee:

U.S. incomes plummeted again in 2009, with total income down 15.2 percent in real terms since 2007, new tax data showed on Wednesday.

The data showed an alarming drop in the number of taxpayers reporting any earnings from a job -- down by nearly 4.2 million from 2007 -- meaning every 33rd household that had work in 2007 had no work in 2009.
...
No income tax was paid by 1,470 of the 235,413 taxpayers earning $1 million or more in 2009, compared with the 959 taxpayers with million-dollar-plus incomes who paid no income taxes in 2007.
...
The number of tax returns filed fell to 140.5 million, down almost 2 million compared with 2007, as millions of Americans went from working to having no earned income or so little that they did not have to file a tax return.

This is unsurprising given the market downturn:

The number of Americans reporting incomes of $10 million or more also plunged even more than the steep drop in income for the population as a whole.

Just 8,274 taxpayers reported income of $10 million or more in 2009, down 55 percent from 18,394 in 2007. Compared with 2007, total real income of these top earners in 2009 fell 58.6 percent to $240.1 billion, but average income slipped just 8.1 percent to $29 million.

I guess they really did go Galt.

ideologies are for people who are to lazy to think and just want to believe.

Yes.

As Chesterton said, poor people sometimes object to being badly governed. Rich people always object to being governed at all.

http://www.frumforum.com/could-it-be-that-our-enemies-were-right>This is good, really really good from David Frum's post.

Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?

That's a good quote. Ad it brings me to consider another rightwing lie: the claim that conservatives are opposed to big government. The pattern well established over time is that people who call themselves conseravtive oppose the use of government power to protect weaker parties from stronger parties, hence the opposition to the Civil Rights Acts, anti-pollution laws, equal rights for women, the Miranda decision, ad so on. The parttern is also that the conservatives never voice their oppositio in terms of the merits of the specific court ruling or law under discussion. They can't because to do so would expose their instict to support the powerful. In other words they couldn't argue in favor of Jim Corw laws or pollution or the abuse of defendents so they argued instead that government lacked the power to right those wrongs. Of course the reason for putting rightwing activists on the Supreme Court is so that once the voter suppression laws get challeged and make it to the Supremes Alito, Scalia, Thomas ad Roberst will be right there to say "It is so sad that people who can't drive can't vote in Wiscosin but we are agaist big government and can't do anything about it."

Republicans and people who call themselves conservatives consistantly favor policies which concentrate power adn wealth into the the hands of fewer and fewer people and support the use of governmet power to further that concentratio and oppose the use of the goverment to do any redistributing. (confiscatory taxes!) It is an essentially anti-democratic view justified with a lie.

In the same vein from Michael Mandel

First, the measured rapid productivity growth allowed the Obama Administration to treat the jobs crisis as purely one of a demand shortfall rather than worrying about structural problems in the economy. Moreover, the relatively small size of the reported real GDP drop probably convinced the Obama economists that their stimulus package had been effective, and that it was only a matter of time before the economy recovered.

A more accurate reading on the economy would have–perhaps–cause the Obama Administration to spend more time and political capital on the jobs crisis, rather than on health care. In some sense, the results of the election of 2010 may reflect this mismatch between the optimistic Obama rhetoric and the facts on the ground.

And from Mandel in March:

But there’s a broader issue as well. As we saw above, the mismeasurement problem obscures the growing globalization of the U.S. economy, which may in fact be the key trend over the past ten years. Policymakers look at strong productivity growth, and think they are seeing a positive indicator about the domestic economy. In fact, the mismeasurement problem means that the reported strong productivity growth includes some combination of domestic productivity growth, productivity growth at foreign suppliers, and productivity growth ”in the supply chain’ . That is, if U.S. companies were able to intensify the efficiency of their offshoring during the crisis, that would show up as a gain in domestic productivity. (The best case is probably Apple, which has done a great job in managing its supply chain for the iPod, iPhone and iPad and extracting rents).

From an economic and policy point of view, there’s a big difference between purely domestic productivity gains, productivity gains at foreign suppliers, and productivity gains ‘in the supply chain’. The benefits of domestic productivity gains will like accrue to the broad array of production and nonproduction workers in the U.S. The benefits of productivity gains ‘in the supply chain’ will likely go to the executives and professionals, both in the U.S. and outside, who set up, maintain, improve, and control supply chains. That’s a much smaller, globally mobile group. And the benefits of productivity gains at foreign suppliers? Well, that depends on how much power U.S. buyers have vis-a-vis their suppliers…that is, competitiveness.


This, regarding the dire straits of upper-class incomes, and David Frum (exiled from the American Enterprise Institute):

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/08/04/what-dont-you-understand/

Frum's apostasy came too late, for my tastes and purposes.

The damage is done and will be avenged.

Trotsky couldn't outrun the murderous, crazy Stalinist vermin either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Trotsky

These are the velociraptor vermin corporate filth we're dealing with:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/04/1003055/-Cantor-on-airlines-pocketing-ticket-taxes:-Thats-what-business-does?via=blog_1

This is how they should be dealt with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI-VY5cC2jk

Always interesting reading Krugman as he takes credit and contradicts himself all in one oolumn

The WSJ view was that federal borrowing would crowd out private spending by driving interest rates sky-high, that the bond vigilantes would destroy the economy. Note that when the linked editorial was published, the 10-year rate was at 3.7%, with the Journal in effect predicting that it would go much higher.

My view was that government borrowing in a liquidity trap does not drive up rates, and indeed that rates would stay low as long as the economy stayed depressed.

Then he points to ct's favorite ten year Treasury rates as proof he was right.

Unfortunately for him, the policy enacted was NOT what he proposed, as he points out in the same column:

It’s kind of annoying when people claim that I said the stimulus would work; how much noisier could I have been in warning both that it was grossly inadequate, and that by claiming that a far-too-small stimulus was just right, Obama would discredit the whole idea?

Of course, the WSJ also said that the stimulus wouldn’t work. The difference was in how it was supposed to fail.

So, they didn't do what he proposed, so interest rates didn't go up, so his point is proved?

Lots of things in the economic sphere are worth discussing. But when he starts claiming genius because the outcome matches his projections, but the policy wasn't anything like what he proposed, well I just see him as another hack.

Even though I believed, at the time, the stimulus should have been at least three trillion. Which agreed with him, I can't use what happened to prove I was right.

Countme
I believe it is less about apostasy then about following his overlords who seems to be getting afraid of upraising of hu(a)ngry population.
Anti-consumer policies seems too successful and too rapid.

CCDG
So, they didn't do what he proposed, so interest rates didn't go up, so his point is proved?

Correct logic sequence should be:
So, they didn't do what he proposed, so economy didn't improve, so interest rates didn't go up..

Which is not a contradiction with his

My view was that government borrowing in a liquidity trap does not drive up rates, and indeed that rates would stay LOW AS LONG as economy STAYED DEPRESSED

And i also said that economy is against peak oil.

I liked Krugman's column attacking rent controls. But Frum's column? It's an opinion column about another opinion column that, in Frum's opinion, is right more often than wrong.

If not that, I can't tell what. Frum doesn't actually go in and do any kind of checking at all, which is unusually shoddy even for Frum. From a guy normally predisposed to argument by assertion, this column that crithicaltinkerer links to isn't really out of the ordinary.

But his fashioning of Paul Krugman into The Enemy is literal strawmanning. Krugman isn't The Enemy; he's just a guy.

So, they didn't do what he proposed, so interest rates didn't go up, so his point is proved?

They didn't do as much as he proposed, and the government automatic stabilizers (unemployment, food stamps, etc.), combined with massive drops in revenue led to lots of borrowing in any event. The WSJ asserts lots of borrowing will lead to higher interest rates ('crowding out').

Interest rates went down.

Your assertion is therefore without foundation.

Slarti
Frum doesn't actually go in and do any kind of checking at all,

Since http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/new-study-says-paul-krugman-top-prognos> Krugman is top prognosticator between all political media pundits that are also print columnists in this two months old study.

Krugman also http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2057116_2057343_2057287,00.html> tops this list of most influential and useful blogs. List made by Times.
Both lists are recent/ few months old.

"...government of the commoners, by the political/managerial class, for the aristocracy, shall not perish while we still have a shekel between us!"

chmood:

Unless all of us designated as the "Other" by the murderous "conservative" forces currently ascendant in Europe and the newly Confederate United States find their collective voices and say "NO!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGCQKSwGk-Q

There is now social and economic unrest in Israel as well as poor and middle-class Israelis demand liberal reforms.

I wonder how long it will be before the murderous conservative vermin at Redrum begin calling for Bibi Netanyahu to butcher his own Jewish people because they have become the "Other" and demand minimum-wage hikes.

One link to the Israeli situation:

http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/analysis/52740/for-house-protests-read-class-warfare

Sound familiar, people.

England, too.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44062583/ns/world_news-europe/#.TkBHhGGLP9E

It's coming to America, too, in spades, given the fact that the dumb-sh*t filth in the Republican Party have armed the poor, the sick, the unemployed, and the dispossessed as they f*cked them.

Looks like those Republican townhall meetings during the August recess aren't going to well, considering the ignorant fascist anti-American filth invited to them.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2011/08/couldnt_happen_to_a_nicer_guy.php?ref=fpblg

At least they haven't shot any Democrats in the head yet.

The month is young.

Tea Party ass-teroids:

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/08/to_infini-tea_and_beyond_tea_party_in_space_aims_t.php?ref=fpblg

I go along with the principal of this.

To wit:

I hereby claim the entire solar system, including mineral and overflight rights, except Earth, as my private property. Any filthy socialist enterprise like a government or private corporate sociopathic Tea Party entity who trespasses on my property will be f8cking killed, and I mean hunted down and destroyed.

Not so much as a "Who goes there?". Read the f*cking signs.

Since someone at some time or another promised Brett Bellmore the Moon, I'll respect his hegemony there.

I reserve the right to lease out intergalactic nuclear missile launch sites on nearby planets to the Chinese government, because, well, it's my stuff and I'll do what I want with it.

I think the Onion has to be involved here somewhere.

Or maybe it's performance art.

I hope so, anyway.

I wish we had riots. I don't want rocks to be thrown thorough the windows of some small business or at a cop but I really would enjoy mobs throwing at rocks at a Republican Congresscreeps.

Won't happen, though. Americans have too much of a peasent mentality.And my Congressman is a Democrat.

I could name some Dems that are not much better than the GOPsters. Kick the (blue) dog!
I all seriousness, if I were Eric Cantor, I'd double-check my security detail. Bush II just asked for a slap in the face as default mode. With the likes of Cantor it would be a sign of extreme restraint to break just his/their nose(s) and provide work for his/their dentist(s).

I wish we had riots. I don't want rocks to be thrown thorough the windows of some small business or at a cop but I really would enjoy mobs throwing at rocks at a Republican Congresscreeps.

Someone you know said this not all that long ago:

Bottom line: in order to kill people have to dehumaize the victim. And that is all too easy for people to do, even self-proclaimed posessors of superior morals or self-proclaimed patriots. Maybe people who strongly indentify with one group find it easier to dehumanize everyone else.

Interesting contrast, no? Who says we're not flexible?

You are right. I wasn't thinking of the rocks as being potentially fatal. Spitting on Republicans in Congress is better.

However I am not dehumaizing them. They are all too human in their selfishness and their vanity. They are self-proclaimed posessors of superior morals and patirotism and that's what enables them to do things like create a deficit, lie about it, and use it as an excuse to gut funding for Medicaid. And yes, it does seem that Republican voters indentify with each other in a sort of herd or gang mentality, although I wasn't going to say so since it's the sort of thing that can't be proven one way or the other. The purpose of hatemongerers like Limbaugh is to promote an us-against=them group mentality amongst Republican voters.

I don't think it is possible to counter this sort of bad behavior without calling it out and treating it with the contempt it deserves. The failure to do so is what gives Republican politicians the false legitiamcy they need to be elected. We would be a better ad healthier coutry if extremists were mocked and dispised for thier irrationality and self indulgence. People who put themselves forward as candidates for Congress should hold themselves to a high standard of behvavior out of respect for the office. They should know what they do't know and be willing to learn, they should avoid being doctrinaire, they should be focused o practical solutions to problems, not personal ideological agendas, they should see themselves as responsble for all of the citizens, and should discuss issues based on fact.There isn't a single Republican in Congress that does that. They lie as a matter of policy because they know their agenda is bad for most Americans. They think their stupid ideology is more important tha real people. They engage in anti-democratic practices to get their own way.

Spitting on them would be a much healthier reaction to them than pretending they just have a different point of view that we can all discuss.

We would be a better ad healthier coutry if extremists were mocked and dispised for thier irrationality and self indulgence.

Probably so.

"Who says we're not flexible?"

I don't believe I've ever seen that picture of Eric Cantor before, contorting himself flexibly into the inflexibility of Norquistian pledges.

Or is it Paul Ryan?

Well, maybe not. If it was him, the photo would show his head disappearing up Dagny Taggert's posterior in a final paroxysm of Bush era pre-hate-Obama flexibility just before the uncompromising, Tea Party/Ayn Rand rictus of destroy-the-country-and-the-full-faith-and-credit-of-the-U.S.-Government-to-achieve-our-malign-ends set in, frozen for all never-never time.

Flexibly create and vote for world-ending deficits during the partisan nose-thumbing 2000-2008 period (unfunded, unnecessary war, irresponsible tax cuts in the face of those war expenses, blithely disallowing any regulation and oversight of banking, Wall Street derivatives, and the mortgage industry, etc, etc), and then, once the swarthy one gets elected, stand on one leg with the other slung over the shoulder and demand that all of us assume that position as well, for effing eternity.

I think Standard and Poor's got wind of that picture before they downgraded, thinking they just couldn't figure out how such inflexibility could ever untangle itself.

Repeat and rinse for European austerity, no matter what happens, and what we are seeing the past few weeks on the streets and in the Bourses is just the beginning of what's going to happen.

Laura has suggested stoning and spitting (and previously shunning), which I think shows a generous propensity for flexibility, though I notice she insists on using only action verbs that begin with "s".

I differ with her. I take a look at the corpse of the old Republican Party having contorted itself into John Birch inflexibility, and like a coroner investigating the cause of death and maybe trying to pry the corpse apart so we can fit into the pine box, I say, "take it into the parking lot and bring me a f&cking machete."

Now, raise my taxes and may God rest the late Republican Mark Hatfield's soul, who died this week (unmentioned by the howling f*cks at Redrum, by the way), one of the last decent elected conservatives, who was a paragon of American flexibility.

Here are 8000 or so examples of remarkable moral flexibility:

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/08/christianism-watch-1.html

Methinks Laura will require bigger rocks and more phlegm because I don't think these twittering Adolfs are voting for Bernie Sanders.

I could be wrong. Maybe they are split evenly, in a balanced, both-sides-do-it kind of way, between Republican and Democratic voters.

I'm just having a hard time taking Andrew Sullivan very seriously anymore, I'm afraid, following his positively manic obsession with the question of Trig Palin's parentage.

I wince every time he's linked here by people whose opinions I otherwise respect. I'm considering throwing in frequent cites to Sean Hannity by way of retaliation.

Meanwhile, the secessionist who is courting the above-mentioned twittering lovelies via his God-Bothering Pray It Rains, Oh Lord, But Not On The Faggots and Lesbians stadium reality show lurches like Confederate cannons toward Fort Sumter.

If you read the bonafides of the jagoff (multi-racial, to be sure, I mean, The Big Revival Tent is open to all manner of jagoffs) preachers attending that grifter barbecue, you're liable to find yourself on the list of Others who will be dealt with presently.

The Governor was kind enough to include the President's family in his prayers (Lord, please protect the President's family) but come to think of it, considering the armed, tooled-booted company he keeps, I'm thinking that's not so much of a blessing but rather, maybe a reason for the Secret Service to review their security procedures.

Lotta funny crapola from similar lovelies occurred in the weeks and months before JFK visited Dallas, too.

Welp, I hold no brief for Andrew Sullivan, but would just note that Sarah Death Palin tends to bring the best out in everyone.

As to the wanna-be crucifiers of all things atheist on FOX's Facebook page, I'm happy to cut out the middlemen/messengers alerting us to the fact of the Christianist outpouring of peace and love and instead tune in to Sean Hannity and marinate in the hate directly.

What's that? This just in.

It turns out FOX is deleting the 8000 killer messages from their "audience" and I doubt Hannity is going to mention them on tonight's show.

I'm sure though that if he knew about Laura's spit, stone, and shun strategy, he would, in a fair and balanced sort of way, read her statements (which I endorse) and her statements alone and enter them into evidence of what a hateful, violent nest of Democrat, socialist, liberal, Muslim, and RINO turncoat Republicans Obsidian Wings has turned out to be.

Which is why I'm here with you Slart ;), and all the rest of the good people who have found refuge at OBWI, instead of flying a fuel-laden Boeing whatever-the-number-is of their latest 800-passenger plane is up Roger Ailes' fundament.

Things could change though.

I'm nothing if not flexible.

Off and on-topic, the America Joe Scarborough grew up in -- and, it turns out, the one he's been working his entire adult life trying to destroy:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_08/the_america_that_scarborough_g031441.php#

O.K. I'm done here.

I need to pop over to the Walker Percy thread, which I've been eying since it went up, in the coming days and say what needs to be said about that gentle, humane man, a conservative in the true, good sense of the word, not that I agree with him on everything, and one of my two favorite American prophets of the second half of the 20th Century, the other being Paddy Chayevsky.

For Slarti (not for the first time) --

I by no means agree with everything Andrew Sullivan writes; I don't agree with everything anyone writes (except russell...).

In fact, a lot of the time I want to start jumping up and down in frustration at Andrew Sullivan's opinions ("punish the successful" indeed).

But:

1) His site provides me with a digest of topics (with links if I want to pursue a wider range of viewpoints) that I would be unlikely to take the trouble to track down otherwise.

2) The analogy isn't exact, since Sullivan's blog is a one-man show (for all practical purposes). But do you read only those websites where no one ever goes off the rails? If a person has extreme opinions or obsessions about one topic, are his/her opinions on all other topics suspect? Paren't monolithic, after all.

Andrew Sullivan, from what I can tell, alternates being saying really sensible things and incredibly stupid things. I don't read him regularly, but from what I have read that's been my impression. I was never curious enough to find out what he was saying about the Palins, but if he was obsessing over their personal lives it sounds like Mr. Stupid was at the keyboard.

" Paren't monolithic, after all."

Sheesh.

-> "People aren't monolithic....

Walker Percy can wait a little longer.

I bring your attention to Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/08/10/dylan-ratigan-is-shrill/

I think I just found the guy whose as* Rick Santelli is going to kiss.

Slarti
Someone you know said this not all that long ago:
Your first comment today gave me a great cheer from hope that you have learned something from ObWi debate about Breivik massacre.
But then next comment showed that you only used this principle as a weapon to discredit your opponent.
I wince every time he's linked here by people whose opinions I otherwise respect. I'm considering throwing in frequent cites to Sean Hannity by way of retaliation.
It shows that you do not care about principles but only to win. It shows that you understand the principle "Maybe people who strongly indentify with one group find it easier to dehumanize everyone else." and most probably you do agree with it even tough you rejected it when it came to be applied to you and the group you belong to. You rejected it when claimed that Breivik is "just" nuts. And Breivik worked on such principle. Contradictions, contradictions.
Do people that caused the death of 77(and more) people
deserve to be stoned when justice doesnt reach them trough legal means? How about those who voted to do things that will cause thousands of deaths? Did they work on principle of identifying with one group and believing that they have moral superiority? Just like those that voted to start war in Iraq and cause hundreds of thousands of deaths. Just like those who vote to cause the suffering and deaths of those that can not pay for their hospital treatments?
I say that they deserve the stoning and to be extremists were mocked and dispised for thier irrationality and self indulgence. And the country would be better off.
But now the question comes to Who is to decide who are those extremists? Isn't that the job of united standard schooling education? But then the question is Who is to decide what is supposed to be that standard? Religion or science? Isn't that the job of education to answer?

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