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October 02, 2013


But they are achieving their impossible goals. The sequester levels of funding are now the basis of a "clean continuing resolution" -- the sequester is the new normal.

The Rs are intransigent and lie and break procedural norms because it works for them, because it consistently allows them to achieve things they could not achieve otherwise (bluntly: without cheating). And because it's rewarded in goals achieved, it's reinforced.

What joel hanes said.
If one side plays by the unspoken rules and the other doesn't and there is no direct way of retribution, that is to the rule breakers' advantage, especially when slightly more than half of the referees were put in place by them.

In Washington the GOP for the most part at least stays within the formal rules. They violate the spirit not (all too obviously) the letter. In the states the party has long stepped beyond that.

"As Ezra said, liberals have our own cocoon, but that doesn't drive Democratic Congresspeople into cycles of increasing wackiness."

No, actually it does. It just doesn't look like that from inside that particular cocoon. You don't see the cycles of wackiness because you're taking part in them.

No, actually it doesn't.

Cocoon might not be the appropriate word. If I were properly cocooned, how is it that I wake up every morning and after checking some more important places on the internet, I retreat to my Obsidian Wings "cocoon" only to find Brett Bellmore snugly inside it.

Not that I mind, mind you. ;) It's just that I had become so cocooned here after Moe Lane and the cast of dozens retreated to Erick Erickson's high security cocoon with the watch towers, minefields, and machine gun implacements.

noun: cocoon; plural noun: cocoons

1. a silky case spun by the larvae of many insects for protection in the pupal stage.
a covering that prevents the corrosion of metal equipment.
something that envelops or surrounds, esp. in a protective or comforting way.
"the cocoon of her kimono"

verb: cocoon; 3rd person present: cocoons; past tense: cocooned; past participle: cocooned; gerund or present participle: cocooning

1. envelop or surround in a protective or comforting way.
"we began to feel cold even though we were cocooned in our sleeping bags"
synonyms: wrap, swathe, swaddle, muffle, cloak, enfold, envelop, cover, fold More
"he cocooned her in a towel"
protect, shield, shelter, screen, cushion, insulate, isolate, cloister
"he was cocooned in the university"

Now, if we really do mean cocoon, as in larval, pupal stage on the way to further stages, then what sort of god-awful carapaced, bejawed monsters are the Republicans hatching?

The Gingrich bunch (and why does John Boehner get to cocoon twice, what is he, a cicada appearing every 18 years to sing our doom, as his fellow bug filth munch on the body politic?) might have been the worm stage. Then cocooning (were it de Kooning, at least we'd get some art out of it) until now, and these current hopeless romantics are what .... butterflies?

Besides, the Confederacy cocooned restlessly for 85 years before giving forth with the biggest slaughter in U.S. domestic history.

This current crop are this, (see my next comment) and they will evolve from sequel to sequel to our, uh detriment, unless we do what folks used to do during caterpillar infestations years ago .. get a big stick, knock the cocoon out of the tree, douse it with gasoline and place it in a metal barrel for safe immolation.


IMO the simple answer to why the folks who voted to shut 'er down did so is because their constituents wanted them to.

They appear to be accurately representing their districts.

I agree that a lot of folks live in a 'cocoon', in the sense of an insular, self-reinforcing network of the like-minded. I definitely agree that the fabric of the American conservative cocoon includes a for-profit opinion industry that dwarfs whatever 'liberals' are bringing to bear.

But the irreducible heart of the matter is that a pretty large proportion of the population of the US are heartily in favor of the shutdown. Or, at least, find the shutdown preferable to the rollout of the ACA.

Their reps are simply doing their will. Enthusiastically, yes, but nonetheless they're not acting on their own.

The biggest difference I see between American conservatives and basically everybody else is their willingness to pull the plug if they can't prevail through normal political means.

Folks anywhere to the left of, basically, Eisenhower have eaten an unending and nearly uninterrupted series of crap sandwiches since about 1980, and to my knowledge have not deliberately torn up the railbeds in protest.

It doesn't bode well.

Liberal cycles of whackiness? What would those be?

Oh yeah, complaints about WMD lies to get the US into Iraq. Man, it's just unforgivable how the congressional Dems tried to shut down the government to prevent that war, at the behest of the loonie left.

Or do you mean how Obama and congress TOTALLY CAVED to the Occupy demands that Wall Street be put into a regulatory straight jacket, and that tax rates on dividends and "carried interest" be jacked up so that the 0.001% pay their share?

"Their reps are simply doing their will. Enthusiastically, yes, but nonetheless they're not acting on their own."

"Folks anywhere to the left of, basically, Eisenhower have eaten an unending and nearly uninterrupted series of crap sandwiches since about 1980, and to my knowledge have not deliberately torn up the railbeds in protest."

Yes, we only have a little time left to stem the tide:

Too late Erskine:

Erskine could start tearing up the railbeds by putting a bullet in this guy's head:

Stockman is such a cute pupae. At least he uses the language of terrorist subhuman Republican filth -"hostages".

My vision of tearing up the railbeds envisions no hostages.

Republican philosophy, such as it is, comes down to "I got mine. You can't get yours or I will have less, so screw you." It's a philosophy of keeping access to power in the hands of those already powerful, and any attempts to use government to increase a access to power for those who don't currently have it is viewed as a threat.

So you have selfish fearful politicians who use hate-mongering and fear-mongering messages to get elected by appealing to those voters who are susceptible to such messages.

It isn't surprising to me that we witness ruthlessly selfish behavior from people who have already demonstrated a pattern of ruthlessly selfish behavior rooted in a political philosophy that rationalizes selfishness. The starting point--government for me and not for thee--starts off the whole cycle.

How to break out of that cycle? I don't know if Republican politicians can. After all, the Tea Party is different in degree from the rest of the party, not in kind.

Funny how THIS reached our shores just now:

The Republican zombie filth attack on two fronts.

The lab folks charged with figuring out what to do with this at the DEA and the CDC are no doubt furloughed indefinitely.

Here's hoping Republican children get hold of this substance before "bureaucrats" can halt the flesh-eating.


By "cycles of increasing whackiness" I was referring to only what Ezra is talking about: politicians clinging to things that are *politically* impractical. As he says, liberal members of Congress end up agreeing to broadly conventional definitions of what is and isn’t politically realistic.

So we're not talking about liberals in general, but about liberal Congresspeople -- who aren't a particularly liberal group of liberals. And they do, in fact, stay quite conventional in their definitions of political realism.

For instance, probably a majority of the Democratic hard-core base wanted Obama's starting point for health care reform to be single-payer. But we were prepared to be negotiated down from that, we didn't go into the process expecting to get everything we asked for.

When Obama started with Romneycare instead, we were disappointed, but we didn't scream BETRAYAL! -- or at least, not enough to impede the process of actually getting something passed. We were prepared to accept the argument that "single-payer isn't politically feasible", and that Obama had to make these calculations.

It's the inability of Republican politicians to make political calculations that Ezra and I are talking about.

A law passed by Congress to deter Confederate-killer Abraham Lincoln, will now be invoked by our current crop of Confederates.

I want that law abolished and if not, the government will be shut down and the debt defaulted on.

I counsel Jack Lew and other administration officials to break that law flagrantly, now, and dare the Congress to arrest and jail them.

The reason for the cocoon is simple: right-wing thinkers automatically reject whatever the MSM (main-stream media) say. They have convinced themselves that anybody NOT of the bubble is deliberately and systematically lying to them, and therefore can be ignored.

"Liberal cycles of whackiness? What would those be?"

Your obsession with gun control comes to mind. It's a cause liberals have pursued for years without any real empirical basis for thinking you'd accomplish anything good, and at huge political cost to yourselves. Seriously, if at any time in the last thirty years you'd genuinely abandoned that particular obsession, the GOP would have been toast.


Those representatives are doing the will of constituents who are stuck in that same echo chamber. Those voters are sending people to Washington -- hiring them, in effect -- who are actively opposed to doing a job, who are just there to perform. But it's the infotainment bubble that's given the voters the idea that performing is a congressdude's most important job.

Several people -- including Costa, in this interview -- say getting rid of earmarks is part of what's causing the trouble. The earmark system was corrupt, of course, but it gave low-ranking Congresspeople something to bring back to the district as an accomplishment, to show that they're doing their job.

Without earmarks, it's much harder for the party leadership to keep the back bench in line -- they have less to trade -- and back benchers have nothing to show for their time, if they don't grandstand.

Your obsession with gun control comes to mind.

I started a comment to rebut, and realized that yet another thread was on the verge of going down another gun-shaped rabbit hole.

As a mental exercise, let's all imagine 248 comments about guns.

OK, done?

Thank you.

Now, with all of our previously held opinions still firmly in place, let's return to our previously scheduled programming.

Pierce is on a roll.

He doesn't see a way out, though. No wave election to get rid of the Republican extremists. There is a wider corruption that works to support the Republican party: the anti-intellectualism of much of our punditry. The corporate media has been covering for the Republican party for years and will continue to do so with "he said/she said" and "both sides do it" and horse race coverage so that the non-crazy but busy voter will not be able to connect the dots.

Many societies have degenerated in the past. I don't know why I have always assumed that ours would have a gradual upward curve with slow but real improvements, improvements always resisted by conservatives of course because that's what conservatives do. To a conservative, life is a zero-sum game. If someone else gets access to a job or a raise or health insurance or a grant to go to college or the right to vote or marry, somehow that has to be taking away from the conservative and must be resisted!. Of course, after years of fighting to keep other people down, conservatives will forget and deny their role in the past while continuing to fight against their fellow Americans in the present. There's an amazing Youtube of Reagan speechifying against Medicare back in the sixties. Did you know that Medicare was socialized medicine and would lead to the end of democracy? Social Security, Medicaid, Voting Rights, gay marriage, all considered an existential threats to conservatives until the conservatives moved on to claiming something else was an existential threat. Now it's the end of the world if their fellow Americans get health insurance.

I want no gun control.

I want guns and ammo and clips and superb optic sights. I want target silhouettes of every Republican politician Republican media vermin, and each and every individual among the 27% base (a good name for the basest of the reptilian instincts) at the gun range for practice.

That's my liberal whackiness getting the best of me, because I'm saving the worst of me for Republicans, motherf*ckers.

Meanwhile, here's Charles Pierce of Esquire, via Balloon Juice, in answer to Doctor Science and Ezra Klein who, among others, wish to reason their way through Republican behavior:

" … In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress — or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress — a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court…

This is what they came to Washington to do — to break the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter any more whether they’re doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party’s mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in which government “was” the problem, through Bill Clinton’s ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being “over,” through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find “common ground” and a “Third Way.” Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country’s higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains…."

What we have here is one big happy cocoon.

249 comments about guns

... and two citing Charles Pierce.

Your obsession with gun control comes to mind.

The lack of government shutdowns or impeachments or even filibusters also comes to mind. It isn't bringing things to a grinding fncking halt. The zeal with which the GOP pursues unrealistic things is a crucial part of the phenomenon being discussed. (That, and the motivation behind gun control, overly idealistic or naive as you may think it is, is to prevent lots of people from being shot.)

That'd be 251 and countmeing:

Contra the cited article, Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh (children' book author, sort of a pop-up, large print mash-up of Atlas Shrugged, the complete works of the Marquis de Sade, the pamphlets of the John Birch Society, and Mein Kampf) and Michelle Bachmann (so many choices) will be dispatched with some slow, surgical scissors work.

And a Republican opinion leader comes right out and says it: they don't care about America and Democrats do.

The key paragraphs:

Obama has accused Republicans of hostage taking. Let’s be clear: I’m all for taking hostages. Both sides do it all the time. But one of the first things they teach you in Hostage Taking 101 is that you have to choose a hostage the other side cares about saving. Obama and the Democrats don’t care about stopping a government shutdown. With a shutdown, Republicans are essentially putting a gun to their own heads and threatening to pull the trigger if the Democrats don’t capitulate. Not surprisingly, it’s not working.

Some congressional Republicans can’t seem to get it though their heads: When it comes to a government shutdown they . . . have . . . no . . . leverage. By contrast, when it comes to the debt-limit showdown, they do have leverage; while Obama can let the government close and blame the GOP, he cannot allow the United States to default.

See? He says it right out: Democrats care about protecting the nation from the effects of default and Republican politicians don't. There for the blackmail used to keep people from getting health insurance should be the threat to trash the economy of the whole nation.

I actually agree, no point in going there: The very nature of a conceptual blind spot is that you can't see it. I can't see mine, and you can't see yours. At most we can reason that, being falible humans, we have them, and not be so lacking in humility as to pretend otherwise.

Although I can appreciate a good sniper rifle, I personally prefer axes and maces. But to set an example trampling by rogue elephants should be the means of choice here (plus stoning to death with live gerbils for selected cases).

thanks, Brett.

With a shutdown, Republicans are essentially putting a gun to their own heads and threatening to pull the trigger

Which, God help me, sent me right into Blazing Saddles.

Problem is, the GOP head will not slow down enough the large calibre bullet going through it. It will inevitably hit a lot of bystanders (btw, this is also known as Cossack musket testing).

The Republicans, many of them anyway, reason that, as the 'shutdown' (Barely a slowdown, actually.) continues, more an more people will notice that it isn't troubling them. Perhaps this won't happen, perhaps Obama can manage the shutdown to maximize the pain, but that's what many of them expect: That the average person will barely notice the government "shutting down", and after a while, wonder, if this is a government shutdown, whether they really need the government all that much.

"The very nature of a conceptual blind spot is that you can't see it."

So we're shutting down the government, defaulting on the debt, and sending millions of Americans into an economic maelstrom, in which some of them will die, over something you can't even see?

The ACA was passed by both Houses of Congress as the Constitution stipulates, and declared Constitutional by the U.S Supreme Court -- tally: five blind spots to four blind spots, as the Constitution specifies.

Average person? We're appealing now to just the average? Talk about the tyranny of low expectations.

What does the exceptional person's blind spot say, invisibly and I presume, silently?

I had a huge blind spot long ago.

I saw it. It was so huge that I kept catching in my peripheral vision. I thought it was a very large retinal floater or maybe I was coming down with glaucoma or macular degeneration, both genetic susceptibilities in my family, and presumably not covered in the future if I lose my health insurance under current Republican terrorist hostage tactics, so my other blind spot about not using big honking weaponry against people who mean to harm me will require night vision goggles, an exploding guide dog, and indiscriminate discharges of ammo.

Then I changed my voter registration from Republican to the smaller and more manageable blind spots of the Democratic Party.

That the average person will barely notice the government "shutting down", and after a while, wonder, if this is a government shutdown, whether they really need the government all that much.

In the short term, the "average" (or, maybe, "representative of the aggregate") person might not need the government. But the longer it goes on, the more and more people will come to notice that they do, in fact, need the government. So the average aggregated person will notice more and more as time goes on. In the short term, there are a few people who might actually suffer material harm, not enough to significant alter the aggregate person, assuming most people don't care about anyone but themselves, of course.

I have a project at work that's being affected already, what with the FCC partly shut down. But that's just me. You probably don't care.

Laura skrev :

Pierce is on a roll.

driftglass has covered that particular territory of angst and despair with considerable brilliance for eight or nine years now, and achieves incandescence about as frequently as the estimable Pierce. He deserves to be better read.

Your obsession with gun control comes to mind.

No one has yet suggested that we shutdown the government, or refuse to pay the governments's bills, over gun control.

It's a policy dispute, and you may think that Democrats, or liberals, simply don't understand it. OK. You are not alone. But the actions that have been taken - trying to pass relevant legislation, mostly - are well within the scope of normal political behavior, rather than the GOP lunacy over ACA.

"The very nature of a conceptual blind spot is that you can't see it."

Which is why we need people like Brett to point them out. But so far all he's been able to do is come up with ONE r/w talking point of dubious value.

Now, when exactly did the Dems bend to the will of extreme leftists, and threaten things like government shutdowns to pass gun control measures? (Note: 'submitting a bill for a vote in Congress' != unprecedented extreme measures)

I guess that was after Obama put gun-control as a high priority on his 1st and 2nd re-election campaigns. Or after the Democrats took over both houses of congress in 2006.

If Brett can't come up with an actual "blind spot", perhaps he has the same one.

As it turns out I'm an average person, unlike the elite terrorist squads Brett is referring to.

For your "entertainment" pleasure ..

A few minutes ago I called the National Finance Center, part of a Federal agency which processes my health insurance premiums through the Federal Employees Health Benefits system, a Group insurance system, passing them on each month to my private health insurance provider.

Although I am not a Federal employee at the now, though i have been for short periods in the past, this arrangement is a product of a negotiated Court-ordered divorce settlement you know, rule of law, with my former wife, who still works for the Federal Government.

As an aside, my 23 year old son, who has a pre-existing condition that could be construed as unisurable under the Republican Death Panel provisions, is covered as well for now as a result of the ACA.

I pay the full premium each month, the full individual rate under the group plan, NOT the subsidized rate (the federal government pays approximately 75% of federal employees health benefits; this includes Mitch McConnell's, John Boehner's, and all of the other little Cantor death merchants' health benefits in the House of Representatives; many health plans run by employers in the private sector subsidize their employee's plans as well, as if all of you don't know that because of blind spots).

The NFC, through a recording, informed me that as a result of the furloughs, they are deeply understaffed and will not be able to answer any questions about the disposition of my insurance payments.

Furthermore, and this doesn't affect me but does affect untold other spouses (mostly housewives who don't work or are underemployed I expect and too old to wade into the crocodile-infested river of individual private insurance) and dependents of Federal employees who have been recently divorced and are just now, because of Court orders, applying for this program are going to be sh*t out of luck because the Personnel Departments of the agencies their former spouses worked for must approve and process the paperwork first before sending it on to the NFC.

Many of those Personnel Departments are on furlough as well, apparently indefinitely and maybe forever because your average white c*cksucker, who make up roughly 27% of the eminently killable c*cksucker Republican base thinks they can get along with an increasingly large blind spot.

I'm not eliciting sympathy, anyone who believes I am can shove it where the sun shine, but do you know what is coming into view in MY blind spot right about now, as filth try to harm me?

The photos of what I now see in my blind spot are provided in the other thread on some fixed links.

I'm 62 years old.

Fuck the Republican Party.

Hurt them. Hurt their children.

Here's your average republican-educated anti American filth:

Too late, big business:

You are on the f*cking list, by which I mean the "rat" list compiled by the hateful vermin in the Republican Party on a daily basis.

Sit over here with the rest of us hostages and shut your f*cking yaps.

Here's what the Republican Party sadistic remnant are going to do to YOU big business, as you puss out at the last minute on the Republican killing fields"

Let's call you "Bats", for short:

You have plenty of company alongside blacks, gays, immigrants, wetbacks, the sick, the poor, all liberals, foreigners, the uninsured, the about-to-be uninsured, gay foreigners, gay sick foreigners, gay sick foreign uninsured blacks with wet backs, RINOs, gay RINOs, gay rhinoceri, RINOS who suffer uninsured from the Rhinovirus, straight RINOs with wide stances, women, pregnant women, women pregnant with gay fetuses, Connecticut elementary school children, Navy shipyard employees regardless of sexual orientation ......

But, now big business leaders, you adorable Dr. Frankensteins, who created and funded this monster, you're on my list too.

You don't want to be on my f*cking list either.

Those representatives are doing the will of constituents who are stuck in that same echo chamber.

I understand what you're saying. It's just not all that clear to me that the folks who live in the deep-red districts highlighted on the map hold the opinions they do solely or even primarily because they are stuck in an echo chamber.

More specifically, being in that echo chamber isn't something that just happened to them, if they are there it's because that's where they want to be.

If they're listening to Rush on the radio, they could just as easily listen to NPR, or the BBC.

If they're watching Bill O'Reilly or Beck or whoever the heck else is out there these days, they could just as easily watch Maddow or John Stewart.

If they're reading RedState, they could just as easily read Kos, or TPM, or whoever.

It's just a click away.

To the degree that they're in an echo chamber, they are there because it's where they choose to be. And they choose to be there because what they hear there is, to them, congenial.

Everybody's prone to it, not just folks in the deep red zones.

I agree with your sense that conservative interests have a much larger and better-funded megaphone, but the left-wing one exists too. Stewart, Maddow, McClatchey (and all 1,328 people who read it!), ProPublica (who show up in lots of places, actually), etc etc etc.

Folks who watch Maddow aren't watching a lot of Fox, except maybe to make fun or stoke up their personal sense of indignation. And, vice versa.

The opinions of folks in the deep-red zones are not a product of a conservative media industry. By and large, they believed the things they believe before Fox ever went on the air.

The country isn't united. People believe wildly different things, want wildly different things, and think wildly different things are valuable and important.

There's a sort of notional common ground, but IMO a lot of that is basically semantic collision. I.e., people say the same things, but mean different things by them.

Freedom, liberty, family values, community, society. Ask me what those words mean, and how they are expressed in my life, and ask the same of somebody from south-eastern MO (to pick an arbitrary example), and you will get different answers.

I have no idea how to proceed from where we are at the moment. The country is becoming ungovernable.

IMO, it isn't becoming ungovernable, it was always ungovernable. It's just that, previously, nobody was trying this hard to govern it as a unit.

This is the point, after all, of federalism: You unite on those things you can't avoid having to do together, like not being invaded, and leave the local stuff local, so that people don't HAVE to agree to live under the same government.

The more you insist that the over-arching government takes on issues we disagree on, the harder it gets to hold things together.

I'm now ungovernable, for one.

For those still in an "entertainment" reality show mode, in which the fantasy lives on that satire will somehow kill the Republican menace, as if the Republican Party party was the Ice Capades, watch the first 8 minutes or so of Jon Stewart last night.

Have a few last chuckles (it was funny) as satire is holstered and the reality firepower is unsheathed.

It wasn't Spike Jones' musical satire of the Fuhrer during World War II that brought down the Third Reich.

It was violence.

This is spot on:

Problem is, Sullivan came over here from England fully Thatcherized and lent early pundit support to the Republican menace he now decries.

I'll grant him a trial after the troubles that are coming are over.

"The more you insist that the over-arching government takes on issues we disagree on, the harder it gets to hold things together."

That statement nullifies every law passed in this country since 1776.

The same words were uttered as threats for two decades leading up to the Civil War.


I disagree, therefore the only thing for it is to blow up the country.

Well, thanks for clarifying that; Given your usual writing style, I'd assumed your 'eliminationist rhetoric' was just some kind of parody.

So, essentially what you're saying is, forget federalism, you're willing to kill for the right to impose your values on people who disagree with you?

Please correct me if I'm wrong about this, I sometimes find your writing hard to correctly parse.

Attitude-wise, I think precisely as you do, Brett.

Gentleman (someone run out and find me some gentleman).

I want my way or my militia will force my way.

Two blind spots meet and darkness ensues for everyone.

Too late for sane talk from you, Brett, and your touching, albeit fake, concern about eliminationist rhetoric.

I learned to mimic the right's eliminationist rhetoric on the Internet and the broadcast media, by reading T-shirt and lapel button rhetoric on sale at gun shows and Republican hate-fetes, by standing outside Democratic political town-meetings and getting a load of the hateful filth spewed by those outside, some of them armed.

I'll let YOU know when mimicry stops and the real item starts.

Very touching comment, though, Brett.

And I do wish you the best of health with what is coming.

I know you can fend for yourself.

The Republicans, many of them anyway, reason that, as the 'shutdown' (Barely a slowdown, actually.) continues, more an more people will notice that it isn't troubling them.

Well then many, if not most, Republicans are idiots. The longer the shutdown goes, the worse it will get. When the feds cancel (i.e., stop paying for) ongoing contracts, throw hundreds of thousands into the unemployment lines, and shut down just about all but the barest minimum of defense related activity the groundswell of revulsion could cast the GOP into a dark place they have not experienced since 1936.

Sometimes, in wacky moments, I wish the GOP delusion makes them hold out until that point is reached. But I know the harm that will result. It's not worth it. Even from here on the far (but not farthest) left fringe................

<...the cycles of wackiness>

I voted for George McGovern in '72 and Walt Mondale when he promised to raise taxes. Other than that, I got nothing in the wackiness department.

With all due respect to the humility induced by my not seen by me blind spots.

This is the point, after all, of federalism

No. It absolutely is not. The blood of the 600,000 or so dead during this thing called the "civil war" stands as a rebuke to your gilbertarian ahistoricism.

Eliminationist actions, not just rhetoric, from the top Federal down, despite the Federalist nature of the program in question here, in which funds are distributed to the States to be applied as they deem, which by the way, is exactly as you described just the other day right here how food is distributed to the poor, instead of "forcing" grocery stores to sell cheaply to those who can't afford it.

I counsel those who are going to be denied food and other items under this program to go to your local grocery store and shoplift everything you need.

Don't forget to bring your weapons.

Mimicry or the real thing?

Inquiring really don't want to find out.

"minds" would have included in that last sentence, but why use words that don't apply to the enemy.

Taxes, if anyone cares:

A corollary of who is going to notice what as the shutdown continues and the Nation defaults, is that the Republican Party KNOWS that their armed 27% base will blame this debacle on the nigger in the White House, and no doubt they'll pick up a few percentage points along the way among the closest racists.

Those are the vandals the Republican Party is "entertaining" with this tap dance in exploding tap shoes.

The blood of the 600,000 or so dead during this thing called the "civil war" stands as a rebuke to your gilbertarian ahistoricism.

Not ahistorical, I think.

Just rehashing an old argument.

Nothing new about any of this.

Been a while since I got beat up by you guys. I'll put my conservative hat on for this. (I'm a hawkish libertarian by and large, so the conservative hat fits better than the liberal one does anyway.)

In re. "wackiness": Legislative minorities are much more prone to wackiness than majorities are. The Dems during the Bush years were not as wacky as the GOP is right now, but they were pretty wacky, and were perfectly happy to erode congressional customs (e.g. filibustering on appointments) when it suited their purposes. I'm not sure that the Republican wackiness isn't anything more than an evolution of a trend that began in the mid-90's.

Rather than ask why the GOP has gotten so wacky, I think the better question to ask is why there's a negative zone of possible agreement. Usually you create a positive ZOPA by packaging different sets of goodies together until everybody can hold their nose and shake hands. That requires skilled negotiation, which appears to be totally absent from all three parties involved. I don't think that that's so much a systemic problem as a simple lack of talent--it happens sometimes.

For another major contributor to the negative ZOPA, you omitted the most important quote from the Klein/Costa interview, though:

What we're seeing is the collapse of institutional Republican power. It’s not so much about Boehner. It’s things like the end of earmarks. They move away from Tom DeLay and they think they're improving the House, but now they have nothing to offer their members.
All the usual tools of negotiation have been stripped away. (I'll leave my rant for why John McCain is possibly the single most destructive individual in modern congressional history for another day...) If you had those tools, then the "cocoon" would have considerably less influence.

On to the cocoon: Let's define "mainstream media" to mean all of the media organs that existed before 1995: network news, newspapers, broadcast and movie entertainment complexes. Remember that the conservative media started as a reaction against the MSM and what the conservative media perceives as liberal bias. It is correct to perceive it that way.

While all the rotten fruit is still in mid-flight, let me take a stab at the reason why there's such a huge disconnect on this between conservatives and liberals. It isn't so much that the MSM covers conservative stories negatively and liberal stories positively. Rather, the MSM chooses not to cover at all a lot of stories that conservatives are interested in. Some of these are left uncovered because the editorial boards view them as illegitimate; others are neglected because the members of the media really do skew liberal and they can't understand why anybody would be interested in the story.

The genius of Ailes wasn't ideological; it was a pure marketing play. He found a set of consumers that weren't getting the product they didn't yet know that they wanted, and he provided it to them. The early days at Fox weren't different because of how the obvious stories were covered. They were different because the editorial selection of stories skewed conservative. I'd argue that this is still largely true, but things have definitely taken a turn for the weird in the last five years, as Fox has had to compete with other, shriller, conservative outlets.

The toughness of the conservative cocoon comes from the fact that the MSM still stubbornly refuses to cover the stories that conservatives want to hear about, not because they're biased in the ones that they do cover. They're probably correct from a Journalism 101 "don't give crazy people a megaphone" standpoint, but they're doing themselves and the public a disservice for several reasons:

  1. Most of the issues not covered aren't crazy; they're simply of interest to a different market, and that market is used to having them presented using an odd set of rhetorical tools.
  2. They're aggravating the polarization because they can't engage, much less attract, a bipartisan set of readers.
  3. They've perpetuated the "liberal MSM" meme, which gives the conservative media the ability to hunker down and coin its own jargon and buzzwords unchallenged, and that's leading to two completely different narrative streams.
This last effect is something that liberals and conservatives react to very differently. Liberals seriously damaged their brand in the mid-60's to mid-80's, and their rhetorical tools got damaged at the same time. As a result liberals have been very careful to couch their arguments in pragmatic rhetoric. Conservatives, whose brand was still ascendant when they started building their own media system, were perfectly comfortable with their rhetoric, which has allowed it to become more and more extreme. A big reason why Republicans sound crazy is because their quotes sound crazy. There are obviously major substantive differences, too, but I'll bet they'd look a lot less dramatic if they had a Democratic PR firm rewrite them but preserve the content.

Now that conservatives have damaged their own brand, my guess is that the rhetoric will moderate, or at least the buzzwords will sound a little less crazy. I suspect that that moderation will be significantly impeded by the toughness of the cocoon, but the odds of a total repudiation in 2014 are going up awfully fast. What they're doing is unsustainable, and when something can't go on forever, it will stop. (Something we should all remember in the next entitlement fight.)

That's pretty good, TheRadicalModerate, I must say.

Too bad that news and healthcare are treated as commodities like any other ... tin, hay, and lion fur and poppies.

That requires skilled negotiation, which appears to be totally absent from all three parties involved

I don't think so.

I think that any President, regardless of party, has to refuse to negotiate over the debt ceilling. No matter what. Obama is refusing to negotiate, but any other President would do the exact same thing.

If you cut any kind of deal over this sort of hostage taking at all, even just once, then hostage taking will be used again in the future. Sooner or later, someone is going to miscalculate and we're going to end up destroying the economy.

Yglesias explained it pretty well a few days ago.

It is correct to perceive it that way.

Your point would be improved by citing evidence.

the MSM chooses not to cover at all a lot of stories that conservatives are interested in.

OK, let's put this to the test: give me five serious non-BS stories that the MSM has refused to cover (i.e., I shouldn't be able to find them in the New York Times or the Washington Post or the LA Times) that Rush Limbaugh has talked about in the last 30 days.

Now that conservatives have damaged their own brand, my guess is that the rhetoric will moderate, or at least the buzzwords will sound a little less crazy.

Couldn't you have said exactly the same thing in 2006 when they lost the House or 2008 or 2012? If the branding hypothesis keeps being disproved by reality, then...maybe it is not a good hypothesis?

Hey look, bending over backwards to offer the American people more choices, including NOT signing up for Obamacare if they wish to and incur a small fine (as opposed to the Republican plan to offer 50 or 60 million uninsured people no choice whatsoever except the emergency room and penury) might not be a sound marketing plan.

They might want fewer choices:

These Americans, they say one thing and do the other.

It is a good, thoughtful read. Thank you. Not surprisingly, since I'm a liberal, I don't buy some hunks of it.

The MSM is not liberal. Really the case can't be made for that. Maybe it does leave out stories of concern to conservatives, but all you have to do is compare the MSM to truly liberal outlets and you can see that they also leave out stories of concern to the left. Where are the stories about fracking, about Idle No More, about the effecs of natural gas development on public lands? Where are the stories about the attacks on Planned Parenthood? Where are the stories about voter suppression?

The MSM is nearly contentless. Not liberal, not conservative, just cowardly and content-free.

Heck Chuck Todd admitted as much when he said that the was not obliged to correct a politicians who was asserting falsehoods.

Stenography, horse race reporting, he said/she said, false equivalence.

I also think you are being a bit naïve when you see current conservative rhetoric as crazy in word choice or phraseology, but not content. I think the crazy word choice is an honest expression of content. The problem, as I see it, is the old Republican party, Eisenhower's party, has been replaced by people who really are religious fanatics or Ayn Rand fanatics or Rove/Koch-style Social Darwinists. Having them replace their honest craziness with more appealing rhetoric won't make them less dangerous to the rest of us.

I would love it if the Republican party went back to being the party of Eisenhower. It wasn't a perfect party, (Red Scare), but no party is. I used to vote for Republicans every now and then at the state level. I voted for Governor Spellman of Washington, for example.

But I don't think the Republican party can restore itself without its voters facing up to how extremist the party has become. There needs to be a rebellion within the party, a rebellion not against crazy rhetoric, but against crazy beliefs. All the Republicans I know have either quit the party, driven out by the crazy people, or are themselves part of the problem because they believe crazy stuff.

I fear there is no money in mitigating the extreme rhetorics. They will not stop before they have their own domestic Rwanda to account for. School shootings or the like* by fanatic O'Reilly/Beck/Coulter/etc. fans had only one effect until now: Those that were explicitly named by the killers as inspiration claim for a single day to be shocked and not responsible for any nutcases and go back to justify the act through the backdoor the very next day ('they had it coming'). Even blaming gays for 9/11 led to only a short time backlash to Fawell (or was it Robertson?).

Let me be very cynic for a moment: I think right now Boehner is in greater danger of getting murdered by a RW nutcase than Obama. The perceived 'traitors' in one's own party are often the first victims before the violence gets fully unleashed against the other side.

*alternatively attempts to kill assumed liberals while being unable to hitch a ride to DC

Where are the stories about fracking, about Idle No More, about the effecs of natural gas development on public lands? Where are the stories about the attacks on Planned Parenthood? Where are the stories about voter suppression?

The MSM is nearly contentless. Not liberal, not conservative, just cowardly and content-free.

That's my take also, speaking as basically a leftist. And Laura's list doesn't even begin to scratch the surface, as far as I'm concerned.

I don't see anyone, at all, in anything you might call "main stream media" who aruges for me or my interests.

But I also have no interest in having some kind of weird shrieking left-wing pundit industry spring up, a la Fox and it's ilk.

Not that it would, there's no money in it.

I recall a Rush Limbaugh TV show (I think it was called "Train Wrecks You Don't Want To Miss") on network TV (what network was it; FOX didn't exist at the time) back in the 1980's of which I caught one episode, of the few that made it before Limbaugh quit ....

..... after he carried a microphone, Phil Donahue-style, into the studio audience and made the mistake of putting it in front of a lesbian's face, who proceeded to yell at him for a few minutes, during which rant he turned puce and, fat jelloing from one side to the other, hot foot it back down the steps to the stage and behind the safety of his demagogue's podium, where he stammered and introduced the next segment of the show "Toilets: How Mandatory Flushing is a Liberal Plot To Make My Sh*t Disappear Before I Can Fling It"

The show was off the air in a trice and he took cover back in the radio studio with an audience filmed from below, in profile, to make them appear like the stars of a Leni Riefenstahl documentary, until he then had a comedy TV show somewhere (FOX, maybe) from 1992 to 1996 in which he dropped trow like Milton Berle and nobody laughed at the swastikas emblazoned on his boxer shorts except for some guy named Godwin, who I believe was later fired as Andrew Dice Clay's comedy writer.

Yes, the media, the part that is termed leftist, is all about "who is going to blink first".

Blinking as a non-partisan endeavor.

Not blinking ... as in what a guy does first after hearing his health insurance has been canceled AND the ACA defunded.

And they certainly don't talk about how, after blinking, the guy pulls himself together and runs out and buys guns ammo, but then it's too late for blinking.

The Dems during the Bush years were not as wacky as the GOP is right now, but they were pretty wacky

This is pure crap. They filibustered a few really "out there" conservative judicial appointees. You really going to make the case that Janet Rogers Brown is not on the political extreme (truncated US political version)? They filibustered a nutcase with a moustache for UN ambassador who opined the UN was just bunk. They came nowhere, NOWHERE near to filibustering or placing holds on nearly every executive branch appointment. I also missed the part where they voted to defund the stupidity in Iraq or threaten to shut the government down.

Naturally, this colored my reading of the rest of your little essay....

As to the so-called MSM. Read Eric Alterman's "What Liberal Media?" and get back to me.

Your ending 'graf was going along nicely until you snuck in the part about unsustainable entitlements.

You, sir/madam, are not a moderate, radical or otherwise. You, too, have partaken of the Kool-Aid and Pete Petersen fiscal crackpottery. Put down that glass and back away slowly. Keep you hands high and make no sudden movements.



I think that any President, regardless of party, has to refuse to negotiate over the debt ceilling.
Last time I looked, the government shut down over the CR, not the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is a somewhat different animal. The good news: the shutdown makes a single deal on both the CR and the debt ceiling more likely.

Meanwhile, if they are using procedures that are both legal and in order, then by definition, members of the House of Representatives are not terrorists--which is why Yglesias's post was pretty weak.

The law ought to be changed. Next time the Democrats are in power, they should do that. Meanwhile, Obama should be judged as harshly if he refuses to acknowledge reality as the GOP should.

OK, let's put this to the test: give me five serious non-BS stories that the MSM has refused to cover (i.e., I shouldn't be able to find them in the New York Times or the Washington Post or the LA Times)...
Not quite the right metric, because tempo and intensity count, too. Benghazi and IRS got covered as one-week stories in the MSM but are now covered as largely resolved issues, while the the conservative media (the CM?) are still making editorial choices that frame them as ongoing investigations. There was the Gosnell thing that didn't get covered at all until the MSM realized that the CM had managed to raise a ruckus, and then was covered perfunctorily at best. There's three, and I'm too tired to think up any more. I guess I could add the varying levels of the Climategate coverage a couple of years ago, but you'd claim it was a BS story.

And that's kind of the problem. It may or may not be a BS story, but failure to give it even a little bit of intensity in the MSM looks biased to people who listen to the CM.

Again, this is to a large extent a market segmentation exercise that's gone horribly wrong. With an ordinary product, ignoring a chunk of the market is a way to add focus to the the part you care about and, more importantly, capture and secure that segment. In the news biz, "capturing and securing" one audience at the expense of driving off another one is polarizing. Remember, I'm offering a hypothesis on why the CM cocoon is so hard to penetrate. If you view that as a public policy problem (and you should), then the prescription is to cover stories--with the best journalism you can provide--at the same level of intensity as the CM.

Here's a little gedanken experiment: Suppose the NYT starts running a series on something that the WaPo had passed on covering. Think that the WaPo will change course and give the story more editorial time? Sure they will, because they believe they're competing with the NYT. But if Fox runs something, neither the NYT nor WaPo care that much whether they cover it or not, because Fox is kinda "the other" to them. That's a dangerous attitude to take.

Couldn't you have said exactly the same thing in 2006 when they lost the House or 2008 or 2012?
Yeah, but you've got 2010 as a huge win in the middle of the streak. The rhetoric changes when the money dries up. The money has hung in there because of 2010, and the fact that the money will settle for a lower economic burden if they can't get patronage goodies. (Of course, getting both is the brass ring.)

Now that What The Mainstream Media Don't Cover has become a sub-topic here, I get to tell a favorite story again:

Many years ago, on a C-SPAN morning gabfest, the guest was the (now) late Lars-Erik Nelson, then D.C. Bureau Chief for the New York Daily News. A irate caller spewed on for a while about all sorts of then-current Clinton scandals like Whitewater that the media don't report about.
When the caller took a breath, Nelson asked: "You seem very well informed about these things. How did you hear about them? Do you have your own independent sources of information doing their own reporting?" The caller sputtered a while longer, and then was put out of his misery.
Twenty-odd years later, even with Faux News and the internet, it still hasn't changed. All those stories wingnuts first learn about somewhere else? Rush didn't dig them up, the MSM did. Whitewater, to take something the original caller was spuuttering about, was almost entirely created by the reporting -- the somewhat overwrought reporting, as it turned out -- of the New York Times.

Oops. My bad on the italics.

The more you insist that the over-arching government takes on issues we disagree on, the harder it gets to hold things together.

I've been pondering this. It's not a new idea to me, and in fact it's an idea that I'm generally not opposed to. I don't have a big problem in general with devolving responsibility for things to the state level.

My issue with it is this.

What we're seeing now is not a principled attempt to move responsibility for healthcare to the states. What we're seeing is people who failed to prevail politically, and who are now responding to that failure by refusing to carry out the most basic responsibilities of government.

Present a budget. Pay the bills.

What makes government *at any level* function is the willingness of all parties involved to play by the rules.

I can assure you that there is nothing like consensus in my dinky little town about how much money to spend, or on what. We don't even agree about how many chickens you can keep in your yard. We don't agree about whether you should be able to use a leaf blower, or if you can, during what days of the week, or what hours of the day.

You wouldn't believe the penny ante BS that comes before town meeting.

And this is a polity of about 20,000 people, with a government consisting of five part-time unpaid selectmen.

But we sort it out. And when things don't go our own personal way, we suck it up and carry on.

I'm not sure you could even "devolve" things down to the level of my own block -- maybe there are a dozen houses on it -- and find anything like consensus. There is, for instance, me, and there is, for instance, the guy at the other end of the block who flies his Gadsden flag on all national holidays.

The question is not whether you can get the unit of government down to a level that evens out all of the differences, because that unit of government would comprise a population counted in single digits, max.

The question is:

What do you do when you don't get your way?

The (R) response to not getting their way is to pull the plug.

The ACA passed. It was signed into law, and it passed SCOTUS muster as to constitutionality.

Do we all agree with how that all played out? No.

But that's our process.

The House (R)'s don't like it, so they won't present a budget that funds it. They will likely not authorize raising the debt ceiling.

So, the federal government shuts down, and we may default on our financial obligations.

All of which will put hundreds of thousands of folks out of work, deprive probably an order of magnitude more people of essential services of one kind of another, and likely tie a nice fresh bag of rocks around the neck of a global economy that is still treading water after the economic adventures of five years ago.

IMO there is no deep political analysis needed here. IMO the House (R)'s are bunch of childish soreheads. It's as simple as that.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. When you lose, you lick your wounds, figure out how to improve your game, and come back the next day.

You don't burn the f***ing ball field down.

I'm sick of them. Not because of their political point of view, but because they're a bunch of flaming @ssholes.

There's three, and I'm too tired to think up any more.

Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and Climategate?

I am no doubt simply reinforcing the walls of the cocoon when I say this, but if this is the kind of stuff conservative media spends its time on, I'm happy to leave it in its own little world.

I must be running out of whatever psychic energy is needed to see the other guy's point of view, because I'm increasingly convinced that what folks who spend time consuming conservative media really need is a binky and a nap.

I feel something very like hate for Congressional Republicans. It took me a long time to get here. I used to think of Republicans as people who cared more about money and were more fearful of The Communist Threat than me, but basically people who were open and willing to talk and find common ground. It seemed like Republicans were pretty practical when it came to things like paving the streets and funding the schools. Like I said, I even voted for some at the city and state level.

Not no more. They'll spend gazillions of dollars on special interests in their own districts but prefer idiotology to infrastructure and hate education. And when their cut taxes and keep on spending budget plan doesn't work, well that's all the fault of the poors.

My husband just checked our state exchange. he can get insurance for one hundred forty dollars a month for the equivalent of his current plan. A friend of mine who has no insurance and is a cancer survivor is trying for the expanded Medicaid coverage.

To them, this is worth shutting down the government over: to prevent People getting affordable health insurance. Because of some fucking principle those assholes supposedly have.

Meanwhile Food Stamps got cut.

And the party is rife with global warming deniers.

I hate the Congressional Republicans. I mean it.

The Republicans, many of them anyway, reason that, as the 'shutdown' (Barely a slowdown, actually.) continues, more an more people will notice that it isn't troubling them.

Maybe, but with the caveat that they immediately want to rescind the shutdown for all sorts of things that do affect people. Until the shutdown, such as it is, morphs into "cut some social insurance programs". Which I agree would be popular in some quarters and unpopular in others. But then, I don't think anyone needs a demonstration of how when you're not on Social Security, you don't get Social Security checks, and therefore cutting them off doesn't affect you very much.

But if cutting these programs was, in general, popular enough to win elections, then they'd be used to win elections, not shut down the government by virtue of (gerrymandered) control of one half of one branch of government.

Back to the subject of the "liberal" press corpse, George Will is going to Faux, where he belongs. BTW is Broder dead? Or does he just seem that way?

Laura, Russell--

I'll be happy to amend "the MSM is liberal" to "the MSM is more liberal than the conservative media". That was kind of the context in which I'd framed things, I think. (BTW, yes, I know that the term "MSM" is a conservative buzzword but it's easy to type and everybody knows what it means.)

In the tech biz, we used to talk about not "believing our own BS". What that ultimately came down to was ensuring that the products we were making were serving the market we thought they were serving. Let me try out these statements on you:

1) The conservative media (CM) thinks its market is center-right to extreme right, and its editors are properly generating stories of interest to that segment.

2) The true leftist media (LM?) thinks its market is center-left to extreme left, and its editors are properly generating stories of interest to that segment. (Based on recent history, that segment may be unsustainably small. Hey, I'm entitled to a little snark, OK?)

3) The MSM thinks its market is universal, but its editors are actually generating stories of interest to centrist to center-left audiences. They're having a problem with believing their own BS.

The problem is that a healthy polity actually needs a genuinely universal media, but media can only stay in business if they have an audience that's interested in their stories. I guess the question ultimately comes down to whether the MSM can successfully compete for CM audiences without driving away the left-ish chunks of their audience. Right now, they're simply not trying.

Again, this isn't about slant; it's about coverage.

"I am no doubt simply reinforcing the walls of the cocoon when I say this, but if this is the kind of stuff conservative media spends its time on, I'm happy to leave it in its own little world."

Yup. The walls of your cocoon.

3) The MSM thinks its market is universal, but its editors are actually generating stories of interest to centrist to center-left audiences. They're having a problem with believing their own BS.

This is not even remotely true, and boils down to argument by assertion. The fact that the MSM has not conducted 'extended coverage' of your 3 examples, for example, is this: There is no "there" there. One could reasonably surmise that the well funded right wing media would dig into these issues deeply and find something, anything.

They have not succeeded. Nonetheless, the 'coverage' goes on until the desired political response is no longer elicited. That is their gold standard.

Dean Baker comments endlessly on the right wing slant of the so-called MSM, especially the Washington Post and its crusade against "entitlements".

That's the point: The MSM doesn't much cover issues where liberals, and ONLY liberals, think there's no "there" there. Which is, of course, much easier to believe if you've got your own media avoiding covering the stories.

Yup. The walls of your cocoon.

FIne with me. I like it here.

What the MSM definitely do is suck up to the powers that be. Those are:
1.Their owners (major shareholders (corporations with specific interests that stand in opposition to 'real' journalism once it interferes with their biottom line or image)
2.Politicians (those control the prime currency of 'journalists' these days: ACCESS)

Crossing the former can get you sacked and crossing the latter will get you excluded from the 'serious people' and the 'off the record' information (or propaganda disguised as it) that seems to be the only stuff that still counts as 'news'.
But there is bit of a difference depending on who is in power in DC at the moment. Dems will normally put up with a lot from the media while the GOP has demonstrated that it will mercilessly go after critical voices (with enough examples of GOPsters personally calling the owners demanding that the impertinent asker of actual questions be sacked and blacklisted immediately or there would be dire consequences*).
The NYT sat for 10 months on material that would very likely have cost G.W.Bush the reelection and publshed it only afterwards (with the lame excuse that to tell the public that the president authorized hanging offenses would have been meddling in elections in favor of the other party). They admitted that they had been asked by the WH to keep their mouths shut.

*I have no link but I think I remember an occasion where an interviewee on MSNBC made such a call within minutes after the end of the interview. The host made it a theme the next day on his/her show

It is also telling that during the Bush years many switched to foreign media for info because the media in the US, esp. the MSM could not be trusted anymore on important things (in an analogy to the Soviet proverb that there are no news in Izvestiya and no truth in Pravda). That included both liberals and conservatives. I know people that began to read the Torygraph, most went for the Guardian though, few if any for the diverse Murdoch rags.

I hate the Congressional Republicans. I mean it.

I'm with you, sister.

Don't hate them, they want to be hated by you.
It's a hot reaction.
Despise them, loathe them instead.
That's cold.

"3) The MSM thinks its market is universal, but its editors are actually generating stories of interest to centrist to center-left audiences. They're having a problem with believing their own BS."

I don't think so. I think the MSM editors, pundits and CEOs are insular in a well-off, protected cocoon of moderate wealth and have no idea what the real world is like. Remember David Brooks listening to the real America at the salad bar at Applyby's? They tend to perceive the rest of the country of being like they are: center right.

But more than that, they want to have a product that does not offend their advertisers--meaning the CEOs of their advertisers. So they don't want to piss off a bunch of corporate types who are almost certainly right of center in their politics. As for viewers? They don't want to offend them either so the coverage is designed to re-enforce whatever narrative they think already exists out in the public. Of course they have no real idea what those narratives might be. They just work off assumptions. So they assume us yokels want horse race coverage, or panty sniffing about the sex lives of politicians, or no more than ten seconds of "in-depth" coverage of any issue, no matter how important.

That's the point: The MSM doesn't much cover issues where liberals, and ONLY liberals, think there's no "there" there.

Not true. Left centerists, centerists, and right centerists (terms not as yet defined, but that's how we're rollin' here) most likely would agree with me, and not you. You don't read Counterpunch I take it. We have our share of "not there's" too. Bengazi alone has gotten more coverage in the MSM than everything written in that publication over the last, oh say, 20 years.


The move away from journalism to center-right pap is the result of media consolidation. Too few corporations controlling too many media outlets.

The "need" for a special rightwing media probably does relate to an interest in stories that others aren't interested in, but I think it mostly arises from the need to believe the earth is flat.

Despise them, loathe them instead.

Let's save a little loathing for the idiots who vote the clowns into office, shall we?

The "MSM" is defined by its pretense that it's Tea Party Congressmen, not teabagger voters, who are to blame for the current circus. The Rushbos, Coulters, and O'Reillys are not-MSM precisely because they are willing to call liberal voters "pinheads", "traitors", and so forth. In that respect, they don't have counterparts on the Left.

Except me.


But if Fox runs something, neither the NYT nor WaPo care that much whether they cover it or not, because Fox is kinda "the other" to them. That's a dangerous attitude to take.

Wrong again. I give you the annual FOX "war on Christmas".


"the MSM is more liberal than the conservative media".

Yes, I think this is so.

Basically, I think the MSM is about two and half clicks left of center, whatever the "center" is.

On a scale of about 1,000 clicks.

The MSM doesn't much cover issues where liberals, and ONLY liberals, think there's no "there" there.

Something to consider: the stuff that conservative media fixates on is, in fact, batsh*t insane.

Maybe that's why only folks predisposed to believe it pay any attention to it, at all.

Just a thought. Do with it what you will.

I think the "radical moderate's" views are an example of the cult of the center--I used to think I was being really original in noticing the existence of such a thing, but now it's become so obvious everyone in my cocoon talks about it. Joe Nocera's column the other day was an example of centrist cultism. After writing a perfectly sensible denunciation of Republican insanity, he was overcome by the desire to show how balanced he was by comparing Republicans today with the Democratic Party of Mondale and Dukakis.

If one actually wishes to find something equivalent to Tea Party crackpotism on the left you can find it, but you'll have to look harder. You can find it on really far, far left blogs or in their comments, where everything is a government "false flag" operation--not satisfied with criticizing the crimes the US has actually committed, some people have to imagine that 9/11 or this or that atrocity was really committed by the US. The paranoid style is similar to what you find on the far right, though the details of the bogeymen are different.

Most self-styled centrists seem to think that Truth can be found at the exact center point between the center-left and the far right. This is why liberal Democrats seem to them to be the same as rightwing crazies.

And, I should point out, the extreme left crazies have no traction. Hell, even when they happen to be right about a particular issue they have no traction. You have to be crazy in the right way (pun almost intended, but it's not that funny, so no, it's not) to have real impact in the US.

Most self-styled centrists seem to think that Truth can be found at the exact center point between the center-left and the far right.

The first blog I read and commented on, probably starting about a decade ago, was the Centrist Coalition/Centrist Forum. (If I remember correctly, wj, who comments here, used to hang out there as well.) The idea that both sides were at least partly wrong and that the truth must lie somewhere in the middle (or just somewhere else) appealed to me.

I think part of it was that I hoped for a "Third Way," because I found politics as it had been playing out to be annoying and lame, but started paying attention because I finally had to admit that it was just too important to ignore. But I still didn't want it going down the way it had been.

That, and I had heard so much liberal bashing that I had a hard time thinking of myself as a liberal, which is what I was by that point. I had outgrown my libertarian phase, after gaining a functional degree of humanity or empathy or just sense about life and abandoning social Darwinism and some degree of macho militarism (USA!!!).

At any rate, I was a self-styled centrist for a short while, and my later interactions with some of the people I was involved with at the time, the ones who still clung to that cult of the middle, proved very frustrating. It was like arguing with my past self, frozen in time and unable to progress beyond a fanciful abstract notion that was ultimately a sort of weak, relativistic nihilism.

For whatever that's worth.

The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory

A small business owner and entrepreneur is enabled by Obamacare (via a commenter at Balloon Juice)

"[A] colleague…has wanted to start her own business for a while but wasn’t willing to risk going without insurance and couldn’t find a decent price on the market before. She signed up yesterday with the intention of burning through her vacation in the next 3 months to set up her business and then resigning in Dec if everything goes well. She will pay about what our employee contribution now is (after subsidy assuming she earns a comparable salary in the new business). She’s really excited and scared, but says that this was key to her trying it. Her mom went through a bout with cancer and it basically bankrupted the family because she had no insurance."

I demand that her mother have another bout of cancer and die uninsured and bankrupt or I'm going to shut down the government and default on the national debt.

I want the Keystone Pipeline built through her grave or I'm going to shut down the government and default on the national debt.

the Media is a Corporate owned entity and it exists only to make MONEY. to presume we have ever had a LIBERAL media is anothe one of those lies teh Rigth has successfully sold to America. and Profit mightitly well they did. Fox is proof you don't need any counterparts to prove how profitable selling Right wing BS has been. the whole Media has moved so completely Right as a result of the Profit Motive/Money aka Fox, the idea that we have any LIberal media Companies out of the 6 major Corporations. Such blathering nonsense! such biased unfounded accusation that remain uncontested by facts, not opinions.

name me one Liberal Media Corporations of that 6 that pushes anything even closely Left of Center! It doesn't sell in America. there is no Media Market for LIberal Media in America. Even Government funded NPR (Nice Polite Republicans) wouldn't dare say Torture during the Iraq war, that i purposely remember!

such BS, such continual uncontested BS by the Right, like that fair damsel in distress BS. BS. all BS. God i wish there was a HEll so Republicans could go there after they die. Guaranteed by their actions to the rest of us HUMANS.

all these Frigging lies for all these years by the Media and not a single effectual counterpush from the Left. Disgusting and out Right Evil. Quislings like Reid, Pelosi,et al., only feed into the cancer that we see today in DC.

but that is not new. just reading teh farsical words of those who say there is a supposed "Liberal Mainstream Media". just shows how much BS these "people" have bought or want to believe the lies of the Right. i especially love the continuing "War on Christmas" that returns every holiday season. like clockwork!

and no, the Government isn't yours to shut down just because Obamacare aka Romneycare is a law the Right doesn't like. if that were so, i would expect and demand all the damn Military Industrial Complex, aka Defense Contractors would have been shut down for stealing Americans blind through their desire to keep spending HALF of our Governmetn Budget on Tanks, Cruise Missles, Carriers, Helicopters adn the infamous Fighter planes taht keep the MIlitary industrial Complex going. that's my demands for keeping YOUR Government functioning.

Cause i want that part of Government shut down yesterday.

such Effing ingrates. to say My way or the HIghway. I've had to watch and put up with Ronald Reagan destroying this Country. and being made a Saint. EVIL unmitigated, St. Reagan. There definitely is no God that'd allow such filth like Reagan or Thatcher to exist, much less effect the lives of others. Such Vermin being made Heroes by the Right for such evil despicable actions.

as they say. the evil men does lives after them. the Good is interred with their bones. except Reagan had nothing Good about him.

no. I detest Republicans. they need to go to Somalia with their Guns and Hatred of the Other and the all-consuming Fears and their endless Greed. God such ilk. such unmitigated tripe!

I am seldom impressed with Andrew Sullivan, but in the current impasse, it seems to me that has gotten it exactly right. He specially calls out the "both sides do it" lickspittles as part of the problem.

And if the Rs have completely lost Sully, I think they may be in for a rather hard landing.

They haven't just lost Sully, they seem to have lost their minds...

"We're not going to be disrespected," conservative Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. "We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."

Brett may be able to rationalise that, but I can't.

some people have to imagine that 9/11 or this or that atrocity was really committed by the US

9/11 trutherism is, I think, one of those places where the left-wing and right-wing fringes commingle. Because I know both varieties.

We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is.

What a clown.

Stutzman is the rep from IN-3, basically northeast IN. Fort Wayne and environs. He's a farmer, his family also runs a trucking company. He was in the IN house and senate for a few years, and has been the IN-3 rep since 2010, when he won a special election. The special was called because the former guy resigned when he was caught screwing one of his aides.

So - three years in the House. On a couple of committees, has introduced some legislation, mostly to get rid of stuff he doesn't like. Here is his govtrack page.

What I want to know is:

What has Marlin Stutzman done that requires my respect?

How has he earned whatever the "something" is that he "has to" get out of this?

He's going to hold his breath until that guy over there turns blue, and he's not going to stop until he gets "something", which he cannot even name.

What a childish, entitled, moronic clown.

Go do something constructive, Marlin, and then we can discuss what you should "get out of this". Maybe by then you will have discovered what, exactly, "this" is.

Due to being unpleasantly swamped at work, I've followed this entire drama via ObWi posts and comments, which I can read surrepticiously on my I-phone while in court or in deposition.

Folks are pretty stirred up and talking past each other as never before. There is a ton of mind-reading and the conversation is not civil.

That a wing of the Repubs would hold the country hostage to the beloved ACA is so beyond shocking to the left and middle that, well, words fail.

What we are seeing today is the counter to the means, manner and method by which ACA was passed. Few on the left will buy this, but as a conservative who was completely disgusted with the excesses, secrecy, etc required to secure its passage--not to mention the outright lies we suspected then but have now confirmed(no taxes, you get to keep your doctor, if you like your insurance, you get to keep that too and much other BS that was untrue and known to be untrue), I can see where a radicalized conservative movement would come together and, if given the legislative opportunity, would fight what they saw as fire with their own brand of it.

To add just a bit more to this,from a completely different angle, if the OWS movement had managed to achieve the same electoral success as the Tea Party, we well might be having a very differnt, yet very similar conversation.

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