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October 03, 2013

Comments

Here's me meta offering:

What we're doing here is expressing our individual opinions about this situation. Obviously, not everyone will share the same opinion. In the end, what will matter is what opinion carries the day, based on the numbers of people holding various opinions.

So it doesn't matter who's "wrong" or "right." What does matter is who ends up paying the political price.

Have fun with that; GOP, Tea Party and Brett.

"I don't see justice on either side of this fight. Both sides are acting like spoiled children ...."

Too late now to remove your spoiled dog from this fight and declare yourself above it all, son.

"If you didn't prefer shutdown to winning, all you had to do last week was lose, and there wouldn't have been a shutdown."

I would prefer shutting down Obsidian Wings and forcing it to default on whatever debts it has incurred, to allowing you (and me) to be banned, Brett, and all I have to do is lose, and there won't be a shutdown.

"Brett, let me see if I am understanding you properly."

Osama bin Laden, let me see if I am understanding you properly. You're saying that if you knock down the World Trade Center, killing thousands, and the United States does not agree to lose and declare itself the far western end of the Caliphate, that Americans have chosen to shut down the United States.

There are the Marquis of Queensbury rules for fighting and then there are the more absolute rules out here in the street, wherein if you choose to lose, we'll be back next week to kick your ass over the EPA and Medicare.

Nice sister, you've got there, too. Too bad if something happened to her should you decide to win.

Brett skrev:

Both sides

Ah.

I'm done here.


[All our contestants will receive a deluxe version of the exciting "House Divided Against Itself" home game, and a gift certificate for one hundered Confederate dollars, redeemable at any Walmart]

Zombie law full of damage? Note the damage is not explained.

And never will be.

joel - fail; fail; fail

I may have come across a little more judgmental than I intended...

... But in my defence, I was attempting to exercise the judgment of a four year old.
(Which is a higher bar than that the House Republicans seem to be adopting.)

"Zombie law full of damage? Note the damage is not explained."

It turned 27% of Americans into Zombies, excluding Brett, whose zombiehood is several orders above the unjust spoiled zombie apocalypse.

That said, being a charitable person, I hope Brett takes advantage of the ACA to get his anti-Zombie shots, if he so chooses, which he may or may not.

Freedom.

lj:

"This may be a really really bad idea, but here goes."

I may have come across a little more judgmental than I intended...

Does that let me off the hook, too? I can stop googling 'Stalin' now? I did find out that it was a characteristic of older cars and airplanes. Not all is lost.

In sports, these unwritten rules are called "good sportsmanship". I can't remember the googlable phrase (from sociology? managment studies? I don't know) for such rules in corporations, unions, schools, government bodies, etc.

Dr. S, I think the word you are looking for is "culture". (As in, sometimes, "corporate culture".) What we are seeing in Congress is a group of people who have not been (or have not allowed themselves to be) acculturated. That is, even though they have joined the Congress, they do not know, or refuse to abide by, the unwritten rules that allow the institution/organization to function.

There are really only two ways that this cna play out. First, the culture of the organization may change. (All parties decide that they will fillibuster all nominations, for example.) Or, second, those who refuse to abide by the culture of the institution get marginalized. That is, they discover that they are not allowed to do anything which is not explicitly provided for in the written rules. And the written rules start being adjusted to make their worse transgressions of the organizational culture explicitly forbidden. After which, they discover that they are essentially unable to function at all.

In the case of the members of Congress, I could see them gradually finding that, while pork barrel spending continues, none of it ever goes to their districts. And they end up with no committee assignments (i.e. no place to sit in front of cameras and pontificate); certainly no committee assignments -- somehow seniority doesn't seem to be applied to them. And perhaps their staff allocations get cut -- they get a choice of paying their people less (and getting the kind of quality that you would expect as a result) or having fewer people.

Those how have little experience with other cultures frequently are blissfully unaware, when they find themselves in one, that the unwritten rules are even more important than the formal and explicit ones. Until their flouting of them (deliberately or in ignorance) starts to bite them.


Apologies for missing the "end italics" tag.


let's see ...

wj:

One of the problems "moderate" Republicans have talked about is the end of the earmarks system -- which was done as part of government reform, mind you.

Except it now turns out that, without them, it's hard to give junior House members -- as most of these are -- cookies for toeing the party line.

Republicans are also finding that Citizens United is biting them, here. Those junior, Tea Party members no longer need to depend on the central GOP fundraising organizations, they can raise campaign funds directly from wealthy individuals (or their PACs). The party no longer has a clear power of the purse over the junior members.

Dr S, one thing a lot of legislators (and voters) have never grasped: unintended consequences -- which are forever messing up totally well-intended initiatives. And somehow we never seem to grasp that we ought to at least consider what, other than our wonderful result, is likely to happen as a result.

Unintended consequences.

Back in the day when it was possible for me to vote for a Republican I knew a lady R city council member pretty well. This was in the nineties. I doubt if she is still a Republican because she was disgusted with the jingoism and faux outrage/victimization shenanigans of the extreme right of that time. Anyway her approach to politics was to be very grounded, very much a steward of the infrastructure, the schools, the small businesses, the things she saw as the mainstays of the community. She was not insensitive to the needs of disabled people or children in poverty. She was very suspicious of initiatives to address root causes because of the fear of unintended consequences or just failure and waste of money. She was a supporter of the status quo but willing to see and address problems, provided the solution wasn't something that seemed too risky to her.

That kind of Republican just doesn't seem to exist any more. She knew that voodoo economics was a bunch of crap, she didn't like abortion but was offended by the self-righteousness of the anti-choicers, she didn't think flag-waving made people patriotic, she didn't think the earth was flat or that God created people simultaneously with dinosaurs, and she didn't divide society into the 2% against the 98%.

She was just an instinctively cautious person who thought that it was best to focus government resources on solvable problems.

I didn't keep in touch with her, but I know other people like her who are now former Republicans.

Too bad Atwater didn't foresee the consequences of the Southern Strategy.

"I recall reading something -- maybe written during the 2011 default tango -- about how the GOP was no longer playing by the unwritten rules of Congressional good sportsmanship."

Doctor Science, these rules of good sportsmanship... One presumes they include things like, oh, allowing time for a large bill to be completely read and discussed before forcing a vote?

Some of us like that are still Republicans. And still vote in Republican primaries for such sane candidates as are on offer. Mostly they don't make it, and we end up voting for someone who isn't a Repbilican in the general election.

But we are still Republicans. And, God willing, someday we will manage to take back our party. (Yes, I am not unaware of the echo of the lunatics' cry to "Take back our country." Ironic, I suppose.)

Too late, wj.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/7-obamacare-conspiracy-theory

This behavior described here is murder by vermin.

I'm going out tonight to fiddle with railway crossing signs to cause auto traffic to mistakenly cross in front of moving trains.

I'm going to enter the apartment building cross the street and change all of the fire exit signs to guide folks unawares back into the flames.

I'm going to drive to the airport tonight and shine my pointer into airline cockpits as they land to confuse the pilots about the descent of their planes.

I'm going to guide blind people at street crossing into traffic by telling them the lights are with them.

This party is not something to be taken back.

You are not a Republican. Get a new name.

The Republican Party is a murderer. There is a Death Panel heading for it.

Stay away. You don't want to be near them.

some people want the government to spend more, some less, and they can't agree.

easy enough.

Besides the end of the earmarks system and Citizens United removing "leverage" over the rump radical end of the republican party, severe gerrymandering has made the most radical right-wing candidates from right-wing districts impervious to electoral challenge, even from the moderate, now dead, end of that murder syndicate.

So, Doctor Science, I don't see what "we'll see".

What are we going to see?

I think more of the same we've been seeing in the exponential rise in uncompromising and armed right wing radicalism, brought full-scale into the houses of government.

You can go back and read my comments here long before the stolen election of 2000.

I told you they were coming.

Here they are. Can't you see them?

Well I hope people like wj can take the party back. We would all be a lot better off.

some people want the government to spend more, some less, and they can't agree.

the money has already been spent. the GOP is threatening to refuse to pay the bills.

because "fiscal responsibility", i'm sure.

Some riffs for the weekend:

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/10/04/history-of-the-guitar-solo/

Have a good one.

My comments this week and last in music form:

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/10/04/history-of-the-guitar-solo/

Where's the lighter fluid?

oops, that second one should be:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fcb36OSUTzg

Mum's the word for the weekend.

Here's my explanation:

You know how sometimes you need everyone to play a game, or else you can't play? Well, government is the same way. Everyone has to participate, or it doesn't work. Some people are so unhappy that they lost the last game, they aren't letting anyone else play anymore games at all until everyone decides to let them win the next game for free.

Getting back to "How Do We Tell The Children," I really can't think of anything in a kid's experience that relates to what's going on in Congress.

Kids know about bullies, and they know about teacher's pets. But I don't know of any kid-level archetypes for someone like Boehner. A weakling who clings to his status and title while having neither the skills nor the moxie to do the job that gives him the status and title.

The nearest thing I can think of is a specific variety of Bad Teacher: the ones who side with the class bullies and mean girls against the studious types in order to feel "cool."

"severe gerrymandering has made the most radical right-wing candidates from right-wing districts impervious to electoral challenge, even from the moderate, now dead, end of that murder syndicate."

That's nothing but delusional. Seriously, it is, and hilariously so given which party has the more lop-sided districts.

Boehner wins by 60%, Cantor wins by 58%, Pelosi by 85%, and it's Republicans who occupy the "impervious" districts. Seriously, you are delusional.

I was going to suggest that 'delusional' is a bit strong and ask to ratchet it back a bit, but I saw that Brett was addressing the Count, and, at least in my humble opinion, that hallucinogenic quality of the Count's comments is akin to Picasso's 'art is a lie that helps us see the truth'. Long may he wave.

But Brett's deployment of Boehner, Cantor and Pelosi seems a bit forced. This WaPo article gives the most 'gerrymandered districts' in 2011. While Brett will probably misread the article and say that it lists dems and republicans, it looks like all the gerrymandering is to benefit Republicans, either by making weak districts more republican or targeting democrats by adding more republican areas to their district.

It is also interesting to note this article, which suggests that Republicans are a victim of their own success in gerrymandering, and have succeeded in pushing the party further right, something which current events seem to bear out. Who would have guessed that getting what you want is often such a problematic thing?

Oh, and this article is interesting.

HAVING the first modern democracy comes with bugs. Normally we would expect more seats in Congress to go to the political party that receives more votes, but the last election confounded expectations. Democrats received 1.4 million more votes for the House of Representatives, yet Republicans won control of the House by a 234 to 201 margin. This is only the second such reversal since World War II.

snip

Confounding conventional wisdom, partisan redistricting is not symmetrical between the political parties. By my seat-discrepancy criterion, 10 states are out of whack: the five I have mentioned, plus Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Illinois and Texas. Arizona was redistricted by an independent commission, Texas was a combination of Republican and federal court efforts, and Illinois was controlled by Democrats. Republicans designed the other seven maps. Both sides may do it, but one side does it more often.

Surprisingly absent from the guilty list is California, where 62 percent of the two-party vote went to Democrats and the average mock delegation of 38 Democrats and 15 Republicans exactly matched the newly elected delegation. Notably, California voters took redistricting out of legislators’ hands by creating the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Gerrymandering is not hard. The core technique is to jam voters likely to favor your opponents into a few throwaway districts where the other side will win lopsided victories, a strategy known as “packing.” Arrange other boundaries to win close victories, “cracking” opposition groups into many districts. Professionals use proprietary software to draw districts, but free software like Dave’s Redistricting App lets you do it from your couch.

This also suggests that invocation of percentages actually goes the other way. The goal is to pack all of your opponent's votes into a few districts, giving them higher totals, and make it so all of your folks win comfortably.

It is delusional, and not just in the idea that it's Republicans who have these 'invincible' districts.

It mistakes how gerrymandering works, too. A successful partisan gerrymander results in the party NOT doing the gerrymandering getting those 'invincible' districts. You trade away safety, (Which the other party gets.) for numbers. So you have a larger number of seats, but they are less secure than they would have been without the gerrymandering.

The primary way in which the GOP gerrymanders, (And make no mistake, Democrats indulge, too, when they can.) is by taking the Voting Rights act's demand for 'majority-minority' districts, and turning it up to 11. Republican gerrymandering has boosted the size of the black caucus. Now, given how dependent the Democratic party is on the black vote, you can hardly openly complain about this, but it's still true.

Because gerrymandering to win more seats produces less secure seats, (Merely in larger numbers.) Republicans, as a result of their own gerrymandering, ended up with a lot of seats where they have no choice but to be responsive to their own base, because they need all of it in order to win those seats. Republicans are acting the way they are because they are representing their constituents, and I'm fairly sure a lot of them would rather they had districts like Pelosi's, where they could piss off 40% of their own party, and still comfortably win.

There are, of course, lop-sided Republican districts, though not nearly so many as Democrats have. They are generally in areas where the districts would be lopsidedly Republican regardless of how you drew them. For instance, look at Boehner's district. Almost completely surrounded by other Republican districts, how do you propose to draw it's edges so that it would be a Democratic district?

Some riffs for the weekend:

Yikes, no Elliot Randall?

Also, I believe Brett and LJ are talking past each other re: the definition and practice of gerrymandering. Yes, the tactic is to isolate opponents in a district of their own, and yes, the point is to increase the likelihood of your guys and girls winning in the remaining districts.

It's like the certs mint ad, you're both right!

Regardless, however they managed to get there, the House tea party (R)'s remain an intractable, rabidly partisan lot, who are quite pleased to be the clot in the arteries of the body public.

The stroke the rest of us suffer is arguably not the point of the exercise, it's merely the means, however it is a means that is chosen deliberately and with intent to harm.

So, they can kiss my keister. I'll be telling my rep and senators to yield not an inch to their irresponsible bullying.

Also, Patrick at 9:08 wins the thread.

Our 4-year-old, having been splained, thought about it and took the easy way out:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/4-year-old-accidentally-shoots-himself-after-finding-gun

Brett: Boehner wins by 60%, Cantor wins by 58%, Pelosi by 85%, and it's Republicans who occupy the "impervious" districts. Seriously, you are delusional.

But that's not how gerrymandering works, whenn done right. To be successful, your ideal is to have your guys in districts which they will win by 60%-65% (to leave some room for shifts in voters or their views). That's effectively "impervious", without wasting votes. While you put you opponenets into districts which they win by as close as possible to 100% (to waste as many votes as possible).

So Pelosi's district is approaching what an ideal Republican gerrymander would give her. Not that it is the result of that, of course. Her district got drawn by a non-partisan commission created to avoid gerrymandering. It's just that opinion in her part of California is seriously skewed, so there isn't much chance of a swing district. (Well, that and the fact that the California Republican Party has gone so far off the deep end that they will only win is districts which deviate significantly from the state norm. Witness how their candidates do in the elections for state-wide offices.)

The TP would be negligible without gerrymandering but it needed another ingredient (apart from Koch money that is): primaries, in particular primaries with low turnout. TP success relies on the threat: If you RINO cross us, we will primary you.You know that the turnout is low and that we have ways to keep it even lower by deterring those from participatng that are not with us. We may not win the seat with the nutjob we nominate but YOU will be out in any case. That way a small number of organized extremists can control the large number of pragmatists. The enemy may kill you but we will for sure, if you do not obey.
It's a gamble and relies on the credibility of the threat that one would rather give the seat to the opposition than to allow an (outwardyl) 'impure' of your own side to keep it.

Thanks wj, that was the point I was trying to make, that Brett's numbers support a thesis of Republican gerrymandering. Of course, trying to logically reason with Brett may be delusional...

But that threat has a preffy high credibility. Check the track record of the California Republicans. We started well before the Tea Party came along. But we managed to go from candidates which could win the governorship and numerous other state-wide offices to a run of candidates who successfully lose all of them. (Not to mention dropping our number of legislators to the point of irrelevance.)

And we have also, foreshadowing the Tea Party types, succeeded in making the Republican brand toxic to the point that even the occasional moderate pragmitist who slips thru the primaries has an extremely hard time convincing the bulk of voters that he is not just another nut case.

We've got purity of ideology in our candidates, no question. And there's no sign that even a couple of decades of repeatedly and consistently losing elections has convinced most of my fellow Republicans to try something different.

Now they have found out that controlling the speaker by threat is enough provided they have enough votes to prevent a different one to get put in his place (and that's just R - D + 1).

WJ, is there any effort in California to start a new party? Call it the Moderate Party (Not that California Democrats aren't moderate. I suppose they vary). Or call it the Main Street Republicans. Something like that.

Here's a fantasy:

Pelosi and the Dems strike a deal with Boehner. He resigns as Speaker. The House has to elect a new speaker by a majority of the votes cast. The Dems' deal with Boehner is that they will all abstain. If the sane Republicans outnumber the loonies, Boehner gets re-elected Speaker, and puts a clean CR and a clean debt limit increase on the floor. One or both pass, possibly with a "bare" majority.

Fantasy, yes. Unprecedented? I suppose so. But is it any more fantastical or outrageous than the Defund-Obamacare Cruzade?

I don't take it for granted that Boehner himself is not one of the loonies. I don't take it for granted that there are enough "sane" Republicans in the House to re-elect Boehner as Speaker. The whole deal could be a futile exercise. But would the government or the nation be any worse off if it is?

--TP

Brett: Republicans are acting the way they are because they are representing their constituents

TP, a couple of days ago: Let's save a little loathing for the idiots who vote the clowns into office, shall we?

It's nice that Brett and I agree once in a while.

--TP

Now they have found out that controlling the speaker by threat is enough

And the threat is just that he'd lose his Speakership. SFAIK, the TP caucus doesn't have his family under lock and key somewhere.

Though I'd add that the TPers also seem to have all the so-called "moderate" GOP reps pissing their pants, too. Otherwise the discharge petition would have worked.

Seems this is going to last right up until the default event horizon. I don't expect the TPers will budge then, either. They believe defaulting will force Obama to do something they can impeach him for, and impeaching Obama is their bestest,shiniest dream.

"Thanks wj, that was the point I was trying to make, that Brett's numbers support a thesis of Republican gerrymandering."

Indeed, they do. No argument there, although Democrats tend to exaggerate the extent of it. What I was disputing was the Count's understanding of the effect of gerrymandering, not his claim it was happening.

Gerrymandering for partisan advantage doesn't produce invincible seats for the party doing it. It produces them, but fewer seats overall, for the OTHER party. The party doing it winds up with more, but more vulnerable, seats.

That's the cause of what Democrats perceive as Republican extremism: Not that their seats have been rendered invincible by gerrymandering, but that they have been rendered vulnerable, they need all their base to be sure of winning them, and so have to do what the base wants. Not what YOU want, and maybe them, too.

I could go on about what I see as the real reasons for increasing partisan extremism, but my son has a music lesson shortly.

Laura, if there is an attempt to create a new party, I haven't become aware of it.

As we have seen nationally, creating a new major party is an extremely difficult undertaking. It took the issue slavery to make it happen, the one time in our history it succeeded. But a huge issue is not a sufficient condition. My take is that it requires a huge issue which neither of the existing parties is addressing satisfactorily.

I really don't see an issue on which one party has a position which is utterly unacceptable to a substantial portion of the electorate, and the other has either the same position or at least a do-nothing position. One might argue that our Federal finances are something like that. But I just don't see that resulting in a new party at this point. Especially at the state level.

the real reasons for increasing partisan extremism

i'm curious to hear this.

as far as i can tell, partisan extremism exists on one end of the spectrum, and one end, only.

there *is no extremism* on the left. not only is there no extremism, there is no more than a nominal left in the US.

just for reference, left-wing extremism would include stuff like:

nationalizing major industries
punitive tax rates on investment income
no hire-at-will
labor representation on corporate boards, including the right to vote on all decisions

and no, ACA does not represent the nationalization of a major industry.

and by any kind of international standard, that's not even extreme, with the possible exception of the tax rates on investment income, stuff like that is more or less *normal* among OECD countries with mixed economies.

there is virtually *no* left wing at the national level. i say 'virtually' because bernie sanders is still alive.

by any kind of international standard, the political spectrum in the US runs from center to reactionary right.

strong partisanship exists, but the 'extremes' it describes run from tepid on the left, to vehement reaction on the right.

Brett, what gerrymandering does is give both parties invulnerable seats.

The party doing it doesn't get vulnerable seats (absent a tectonic change in the population or their views). Not at all. They merely get invulnerable seats that don't waste votes beyond the 2/3 needed to be reliably invulnerable.

"as far as i can tell, partisan extremism exists on one end of the spectrum, and one end, only."

Well, that IS what any extremist at the other end of the spectrum is going to think, isn't it?

WJ, there are two forms of gerrymandering, with different objectives. Gerrymandering for party advantage functions as I related. Gerrymandering for incumbent protection tends to sort things out so both party's incumbents are invulnerable. But THAT is something of a bipartisan venture.

Perhaps though we simply differ on our threshold of what we call "invincible".

"Well, that IS what any extremist at the other end of the spectrum is going to think, isn't it?"

No. You can step outside your own personal views and look at it somewhat objectively, without making value judgments. For instance, some people on the left thought that Obamacare was a sellout to the insurance companies--some wanted the public option, and then some further to the left thought even a public option was a sellout and wanted single payer. Hell, even a lot of people who support Obamacare really would prefer single payer, but settled for what was possible. The leftwing equivalent to the Tea Party would be a host of representatives creating a government shutdown and threatening not to raise the debt ceiling unless we got single payer. There's nothing remotely like that in DC (and as much as I wish we had much more of a left in the US, I wouldn't want that sort of craziness.)

There is obviously extremism on both ends of the political spectrum. Necessarily. What differs is the amount of influence that the extremists exercise over the rest of their party.

Brett, my definition of "invincible" is a sufficient advantage that the normal range of variation in votes is smaller than the difference between what in normal in the district and 50%+1. When that is the case, you can be confindent that you will routinely win without effort.

When the normal variation in votes spans both sides of 50%, you have a district where one party is not invincible. If you are working from a different definition, how big a usual percentage to you consider constitutes being invincible?

The current Republican party is, of course, a coalition of extremists who do not have a significant base in the population. How many people take Ayn Rand seriously? How many people think women's bodies reject sperm under rape conditions? How many Americans think we can achieve "fiscal conservatism" by cutting taxes and fighting two wars? How many Americans want to turn Medicare into a voucher system? The way Republican politicians get elected is by dog whistling to the extremists and lying to everyone else. They also have been skating on the reputation from decades ago of being the "respectable" party in contrast to the crazy democrats who supported things like the Civil Rights Act and had messy violent conventions.

So far as actual constituents:( By actual constituents I mean people who are actually getting what they are voting for) the Republican party serves wealthy people who vote for tax cuts for themselves, people who vote for federal dollars for the special interest group to which they are affiliated, people who vote anti-choice, and people with nonstandard understandings of reality.

The responsible conversation about policy has moved to within the Democratic party. By "responsible" I mean mainstream, broadly supported, ordinary, based on expertise, intellectually and morally defensible. The core idea of Obamacare is an example. The idea of the exchanges came from the Heritage Foundation as a conservative alternative to single payer; now the Republican party has rejected their own idea and the idea found a home with the Democrats. The responsible conversation about health care was about how to provide it. The irresponsible position was the Republican one: let people die, let them go bankrupt, so what?

I working around to wondering if a base for another party will develop.

In Colorado at the state level a Republican majority pissed away their time in power on crazy ideological stuff and didn't take care of the basics. they got un-elected by voters who wanted the roads paved and the schools funded without a lot of political and religious hectoring. Then the Republicans used pro-gun hysteria to unelected three Democrats so it's back to the ideology and hectoring at least from those three seats.

Maybe there is not base for another party yet and we are stuck with veering between take-care-of-the-stuff-that-needs-to-be-done from one party and extremism from the other.

You'd think people would get tired of it after a while.

Well, that IS what any extremist at the other end of the spectrum is going to think, isn't it?

a cute reply, which addresses exactly none of the substance of my comment.

Gerrymandering and Legislator Efficiency (.pdf)

just for reference, left-wing extremism would include stuff like:

...no hire-at-will

That's left-wing extremism ?

Left wing, sure, but extreme?

I understand that Europe is considered (and indeed is) left wing by American standards, but no hire-at-will has been settled law here for decades. And quite rightly so.

Left and right may argue about the extent of employment law, but the idea that there should be no right to claim for unfair dismissal would be seen as quite out there on the right.

I work with someone who considers Obamacare "Communist," thus leaping right over socialism to good old Marxist-Leninism. She of course doesn't know what socialism or communism actually are, any more than the TPs who constantly use both terms to describe any policy to the left of Attila the Hun.

There are good, worthy-of-debate questions as to whether a Scandinavian-style hybrid of socialism and capitalism would "work" in the US. In my political fantasy world, we'd at least give it a try.

But the first thing we'd have to do is dismantle the MIC - not only because it's too damned expensive, but because it absorbs too many of our intellectual, materiel, and political resources. And the chances of that happening are between "less than none" and "heat death of the universe happening first."

Brett @7:07:

Just FYI, I didn't click on your link, because too much youtube crashes my browser. Also, I'm too impatient for video.

Persausive documentation will be: text-based, and from a "neutral" or MSM source: nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, bbc.co.uk, csmonitor.com, etc. I will accept foxnews.com links provisionally, but will ignore video.

But besides that:

this *is* what counts as "good sportsmanship" in politics. You may prefer to think of it as "sausage-making". Nothing the Democrats did to pass the ACA comes close to what the GOP did to pass Medicare Part D, and the Democrats accepted that as ugly sausage-making, but sausage-making nonetheless.

What the House GOP is doing now is outside the bounds. The parties are *supposed* to have the mutual goal of a working US government and financial system. The GOP, right now, does not have that goal, that's why we say they're taking hostages, not negotiating in the usual sense.

That's left-wing extremism ?

In the US, "no hire at will" is not only leftist extremism, it's one of the Four Horsemen of the Socialist Apocalypse.

Which is basically my point.

Here is the web page of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. They stake out wildly leftist positions like:

Not reducing Social Security benefits
Paying federal contractors a living wage
Reducing preferential tax rates for investment income
Maintaining the inheritance tax

That's the radical extreme left in the US. It used to be known as "the Eisenhower administration".

"No. You can step outside your own personal views and look at it somewhat objectively, without making value judgments."

You can certainly attempt to, and in some cases succeed. But if the effort ends with you concluding that your side is without sin, and the other guys, (Who are not a vanishingly small minority, but have serious levels of public support.) are just flat out lunatics, you might reasonably suspect you failed.

So, you're the reasonable side in this?

"The current Republican party is, of course, a coalition of extremists who do not have a significant base in the population. How many people take Ayn Rand seriously?"

About a hundred times as many as take Noam Chomsky seriously? At a rough estimate, judging by book sales. About a million volumes of Atlas Shrugged this year.

Brett, did you read what I wrote to you earlier? Taking the word of "The Daily Caller" is NOT the way to be the reasonable one.

Find the article on a respectable news site and we'll discuss it. Otherwise, you should assume that it's Reality Politics.

"About a hundred times as many as take Noam Chomsky seriously? At a rough estimate, judging by book sales. About a million volumes of Atlas Shrugged this year."

Sounds plausible enough. You can read far left critiques of US crimes online for free. I myself haven't purchased a Chomsky book in nearly 15 years. Rand, on the other hand, is a "philosophical" writer who gives people an excuse to feel superior if they are selfish. Not surprising that she has a following, especially among adolescent young conservatives who think there is something deep about the self-proclaimed greatest philosopher since Aristotle. (Yes, I read Atlas Shrugged and quite a few of her essays, because a friend admired her. I also read a few issues of the newspaper put out by the Revolutionary Communist Party once--different friend.) What's really fascinating are conservative Christians like Paul Ryan who think she has something worthwhile to say, though she'd have been the first to tell them that their beliefs and hers were diametrically opposed.

As for sanity, your side is the one that lacks it, Brett. Closing down the government and threatening not to raise the debt ceiling is the sort of thing I might expect a really stupid lefty extremist to do, if there were enough of them in Congress. But that's not the kind of idiot we have there, is it?

Haha Atlas Shrugged.

Trolls gotta troll.

'"The current Republican party is, of course, a coalition of extremists who do not have a significant base in the population. How many people take Ayn Rand seriously?"

About a hundred times as many as take Noam Chomsky seriously? At a rough estimate, judging by book sales. About a million volumes of Atlas Shrugged this year.'

So, the Republican Party IS a coalition of extremists WITH a significant base in the population.

Duck, wabbit, duck, wabbit, duck, wabbit, duck ...... duck.

As for Chomsky, if his work had a female protagonist standing at the edges of rock quarries becoming between the legs as she gazed in a hot ideological sweat at our hero toiling below against blocks of marble, or male protagonists somehow remaining full engorged as they lectured rapt ideologues with thirty pages (shouldn't that trip the four-hour Viagra rule for seeking medical attention ... for the insured only of course) of overwrought, mind-numbing, but limp, prose, I might visit my extremist (by Objectivist standards, because that's where we extremists share books at taxpayer expense) library, and check a few of his volumes out and see what all the fuss is about.

Can Brett direct me to the naughty bits in Chomsky? Maybe I've been missed something all these years by not reading him.

In other news from the sadistic chimera that is the extremist hard Right in this endangered civilization, Ayn Rand would cheer the barring of taxpayer-paid priests from their duties.

Those priests are merely being treated like 800,000 (many more including private contractors) of their fellow Americans who stand accused by the Republican Party of stealing other people's money and sticking their noses where they aren't Constitionally welcome.

As for First Amendment Rights, all of these furloughed employees are not permitted to use their work emails either.

Neither are the priests, one would hope.

God's word is available for free .... everywhere. Not in "Atlas Shrugged", but sometimes it's hard to tell if your reading a dog-eared copy borrowed from a right-wing extremist, because many of the pages are stuck together.

Finally, hire and fire at will practices have only persisted (not that I disagree with them ... until now) in this country because we have a reasonably financed social safety net in place, mostly at the federal level.

In fact, employers hire and fire-at-will practices are ENHANCED by the ACA, because now some (not enough) individual Americans who are fired or laid off or who suffer from pre-existing conditions which prospective employers might find off-putting, may now rest assured that they, and their children, have the OPPORTUNITY to retain adequate, affordable health insurance.

In fact, some employers are resting easier, by their choice, not the government's, because they now have the FREEDOM (when talking to a four-year-old, sometimes all caps are useful) to hire a person without financing their health insurance, or to keep an employee on the payroll who might be medically expensive.

Employees who until now who had aspirational American dreams of entrepreneurial pursuit -- starting their own SMALL businesses or perhaps trying to monetize their artistic talents -- and were not able to do so because they and their dependents could not afford health insurance on their own (some have witnessed friends and family die and THEIR dependents left bankrupt because of medical bills) now have the FREEDOM to unshackle themselves from their employers and quit.

Having said all that, I'm an extremist, so here's my latest non-negotiable demand:

I want hire and fire-at will policies for private employers abolished, and the government shut down and the debt defaulted on unless funding for the ACA is tripled while Congress immediately begins planning, implementing, and financing a universal, single-payer health insurance system that will offer many more private health insurance plan CHOICES than any private employer in this country offers now, because private employers hate choice for their employees.


Well, what else but RW nutty could one call a party/movement that considers Otto von Bismarck a commie/socialist/leftie? If Rush Limbaugh says it, it must be at least mainstream on the right.

I hope daughters everywhere have stopped listening as I explain the Rand versus Chomsky orgasm gap.

PERHAPS BRETT BELLMORE IS RIGHT!

How many people take Ayn Rand seriously?"

About a hundred times as many as take Noam Chomsky seriously

Precisely. I could not have said it better.

There is obviously extremism on both ends of the political spectrum.

No, there is not. There is barely a left at all, let alone an extreme left.

There are definitely poles in American politics, but they run from the center to the right.

It hasn't always been that way, but it is that way now.

If you would like to give me an example of anyone at the national level who advocates for an extreme left position, I'd be both amazed and delighted to hear about it.

Have at it.

I think the reason the Republican party has become so extreme is the substitution of ideology or religion for thought.

Democrats are more practical, more willing to respond to feedback from reality.

Republicans try to impose their ideology or religion on everyone else by way of the legislative process. Most of the time their ideology/religion provides an handy excuse for not addressing a problem as in the case of health care or civil rights. Sometimes their ideology or religion is the problem as in the magical thinking about tax cuts for the rich or the magical effects of abstinence-only education. But a defining factor of Republican political thought is a refusal to change ideas in the face of the failure of the idea. That's extremism.

Brett: So, you're the reasonable side in this?

With a link to a Daily Caller article with the headline "Priests threatened with arrest if they minister to military during shutdown."

Well, that does sound objectionable. Better read further.

"In a stunning development, some military priests are facing arrest if they celebrate mass or practice their faith on military bases during the federal government shutdown."

So it seems no one has been threatened with arrest. And it seems these are military priests, not priests writ large. And it seems this restriction applies only on military bases.

That might still be objectionable, what else does the article say?

"many [government service] and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer"

Yes, that seems to be the regular rule for government employees and contractors during the furlough. People are told not even to reply from emails from home or risk criminal sanctions.

"During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so."

The same goes for IRS workers who attempt to show up for work.

Fail.

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2013/10/05/how-do-you-fight-this-kind-of-stupid/

Once the stupid virus reaches a critical mass momentum in the species, it will multiply exponentially and very suddenly and we will be engulfed.

Why aren't we quarantining the infected as the radical Right wanted AIDS patients quarantined.

At least keep the infected away from the emergency rooms.

We haven't much time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md6Dvxdr0AQ

Priests don't make much money; I feel for them.

May God smite send a pox to the radical right for halting their pay and First Amendment Rights.

In Arizona, run by the radical right, the out-of work priests might also starve by the rules of "Atlas Shrugged".

They might become Protestants, in the radical sense of the word.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/arizona-is-only-state-to-stop-welfare-checks-during-shutdown

Recently, Slart, in his way ;), mentioned racism as a Tea Party, right-wing motivation for opposing the ACA.

He'd be right about that:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_10/the_government_shutdown_and_th047190.php

@lj : I've just spent hours writing and deleting any number of theories about why the conservative bubble seems so hard to break out of, besides the money.

What doesn't the money hypothesis explain?

At risk of going all economics-explains-everything I would argue that the difference between the Liberal Bubble and the Conservative Bubble wouldn't even be noticeable if it weren't for economic asymmetry between the parties; crazy people would be more or less equally distributed and a whole lot less visible.

Can we stipulate that:

1) The political-party economic niche is a lot like the media economic niche. The voters/viewers/listeners are the product, not the customer, though product and customer occasionally overlap.

2) "Capital" is a constituency. It has an interest in policies that encourage net transfers of wealth and prestige to its own members, like any other constituency. Its members, however, are more able to pay than most, because they have more money to begin with.

So to the extent that "capital" is a constituency of the GOP, the GOP has more money per constituent to throw at the political process. That in turn means that the marginal value (to existing GOP constituents) of one additional Republican vote (not necessarily one additional constituent!) is at least a little bit higher (in dollars) than the marginal value of an additional Democratic voter to existing Dem constituents. Arguably a hell of a lot higher nowadays, given the increase in both asset and income inequality since Reagan, and the decline of unions that served as an institutional constituency for the Dems.

The GOP doesn't care if one GOP vote, either at the ballot or in a legislature, "costs" a lot more than one Dem vote, because one of the products the GOP is selling (net transfer of wealth from "labor" to "capital") has such a wealthy constituency.

@lj : It's got to have something to do with the value conservatives place on in-group loyalty, but that's probably not enough.

Again, why not? In-group loyalty is hard-wired into all of us and wired very very hard indeed into some of us. It is extremely powerful, relatively easy to invoke, and the subject of an enormous amount of empirical research.

As far as I can tell the past few decades of escalating culture-war, red-meat, dog-whistle craziness in the GOP are precisely because the GOP is the party of capital and would not have happened otherwise. Yes, there are plenty of racist, misogynist, nationalist, reactionaries in the USA, but there's no way they would be at the wheel of one of the two major political parties if the, um, "generous assistance" of the Bidness Community hadn't paid to organize them.

Rand outsells Chomsky.

What about Tolkien?

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

Sorry, sometimes you have to drag out well-worn quotes when splaining to a 3-year-old.

Also too:

@Countme-in : So, the Republican Party IS a coalition of extremists WITH a significant base in the population.

Well, yeah, but in fairness they work a lot harder than Dems to cultivate that support. Bearing in mind that both parties are in the business of manufacturing consent, the GOP has this much wealthier clientele who demand, and can afford to pay for, "very high quality" consent. More committed, more active, more reliable. Less troublesome, less concerned with actual policy outcomes than with tribal affinity.

The GOP -- for legal, institutional, and economic reasons -- can't just pay people to vote Republican. But it can, and does, provide a very high grade of consent. And it does this by providing extra-red meat and extra-engaging storylines to those voting blocs that don't spend too much time wondering whether their political activities might be impoverishing them in the long run.

Whether the storylines correspond to policy, or even to reality, isn't important as long as the consent being generated is of high enough quality to support the desired economic policy. The GOP can even position itself as the party of economic and social justice, and does. It just can't alienate capital by actually implementing policies that would encourage economic justice, or demoralize reactionary voters by (visibly) implementing policies that would result in social equality.

The priests will be paid:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/20131005_ap_837a9a9e03794bae8c63d89fbd28728f.html

No refunds, however, for purchasers of "Atlas Shrugged".

I predict .... well, I'll tell you after it happens.

The stakes in a debt default, as described by Richard Bove, a well known veteran bank stock analyst, who is somewhat right of center politically from what I've been able to tell over the years as I read him in my pursuit of profits in the stock market, which I realize is a radically leftist thing to do to some Orcs out there:

You must be at least 12 years old to view this video and article:

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/breakout/u-treasury-default-catastrophic-consequences-explained-170230218.html

The infection, the infestation, has reached critical mass. Nuke from space, maybe we can save the rest of the solar system from murderous, stupid filth:

"Over the past few years, Republicans have terrified their most fervent followers about Obamacare in order to disguise the fact that they no longer knew what to say about their old bête noir, entitlements. Now they can’t turn the temperature down.

Let’s review. Not so very long ago, worrying about entitlements was central to Republican identity. Then, they began to notice that the folks at their rallies looked like the audience for “Matlock” reruns. The base was aging, and didn’t want to change Social Security or Medicare. The base didn’t even want to be reminded that Social Security and Medicare were federal programs…

All over the nation, Tea Party politicians have been telling their most fervid constituents that Obamacare will bring the federal government into the nation’s health system, thus wrecking the wonderful coverage they now enjoy with Medicare. Which comes into their homes through the chimney, where it is dropped by free-enterprise storks.

Representative John Culberson of Texas called Obamacare “a violation of our most sacred right as Americans to be left alone.” This was during an interview with Salon, in which Culberson waxed wroth about the whole idea of any government intervention into health care.

The interviewer, Josh Eidelson, asked, “What does that mean for Medicare, then?”

“What does that mean for Medicare? What does that have to do with anything?” Culberson demanded.

So there you are. It’s not easy leading a political movement that believes the federal government is at the core of all our problems while depending heavily on the votes of citizens who get both their retirement money and health care from the federal government…"

More actions by the reasonable party:

Rushmore blockage stirs anger in S.D.

Note, this isn't a federal park being closed. It's one of those scenic lookouts, off a regular road.

This is what the administration is doing, which wasn't done in past shutdowns: Spending money to shut things which don't cost money to keep open. The administration is spending extra money during a financial crisis to enhance the damage.

But you're the reasonable party. Keep telling yourselves that.

the GOP has this much wealthier clientele who demand, and can afford to pay for, "very high quality" consent.

"When Senator Richard M. Burr, a North Carolina Republican, told a reporter that defunding the law was “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” the fund bought a radio ad to attack him. Two other Republican senators up for re-election in 2014, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, were also targeted. Both face Tea Party challengers."

Good front page NYT article today.

Note the leadership of Edwin Meese III. The Reagan administration just keeps on giving.

Yeah, Meese ...

"a regular road"

This is probably either Highway 244, Highway 16 (or Highway 16A) or Highway 385 leading to Mount Rushmore, all of which, if I recall correctly, link to U.S. Interstate I-90.

Certainly, I-90 is not a "regular road", under your definition of constitutionally "regular".

We can be sure that all of our federal tax dollars were stolen (not my vocabulary, but the vernacular of the Tea Party, the Republican Party, the John Birch Society, and every yahoo know-nothing extant since "nothing" was invented for them to know) irregularly to construct that highway.

South Dakota is 4th on the list (that may have changed since this particular survey; perhaps they are third today) of federal tax moochers (some high 40s percentage of their state budget is "stolen" from me),

... ttp://madvilletimes.com/2012/12/south-dakota-fourth-largest-red-state-moocher/

... which could make one certain that many of the dollars spent to build these access roads, including the scenic overlook, mentioned above have the sweat of my hard-earned tax dollars embedded in their tarmac.including the scenic overlooks.

I don't have a cite for that last, but whaddaya say about a $500 bet that I'm right to some substantial degree?

Furthermore, there would be no necessity for any of those highways, beyond whatever washboard wagon paths existed before, if it wasn't for New Deal financing, the entire edifice of which the Reagan/Meese White House, the Gingrich revolutionaries, including freshman John Boehner, from the 1990s, and the current crop of lovelies, have pledged to their "constituents" in political campaigns that they WILL defund root and branch.

Here's my compromise counter-proposal:

I want folks who wish to use the highway overlooks to snap pictures of the Mt. Commie non-talking heads of the New Deal Apocalypse to be asked as pull over whether they for the ACA or not and whether they are the current Republican tactic to defund the ACA or (you know the boilerplate).

Those who give the wrong answers (bet ya can't guess what those might be), will be sent on their way, but not until they are presented a bill to pay me back in full for forcing me at gunpoint to finance those roads and those who give the right answers may stop and click away to their heart's content.

Those who give the wrong answers may bring out-of-work federal priests along with them in their station wagons and SUVs to pray for photographic opportunities, but I also want federal snipers stationed in the surrounding scenery on duty to terminate any trouble-makers.

Furthermore, on October 17, I want Federal engineers and demolition crews who have been deemed necessary human beings, to begin placing charges on Mount Rushmore (with a big cigar- shaped charge stuck in Lincoln's stone mouth to provide a little reality TV for the John Wilkes Boothe afficianadoes among the current crop of overweight, diabetic patriot, confederate moochers) and once a month, with simulcast on all major network and cable TV stations, I want one head blown up per week (the destruction of Progressive Teddy Roosevelt's hard head ought to see ripe audience share in Macon, Georgia, which the late Erick Erickson calls his ratf*cker's nest) until we're done with that commie, progressive bullsh*t up there in the Dakotas.

We'll forgo the whittling down of the mountain to forge an image of Barack Obama flipping the bird to fascist tourists, because who would want to cause hard feelings at this late hour in the Republic?

If these demands are not met, I want the government shut down in perpetuity, the debt defaulted in full, and I want Ted Cruz to station himself on the Washington in front of the Capitol (demolition on that will begin forthwith), pour a gallon of tar sands gasoline over himself and apply a match.

We'll call it the eternal flame of stupidity.

Once a week for the heads, once a month for the Ted Cruz immolation.

Please forgive all other grammatical errors, including dropped words (trying to make my rants shorter as advised).

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_10/mustread_op_of_the_day_colbert047195.php

The cones first went up Oct. 1, said Dusty Johnson, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s chief of staff. The state asked that they be taken down, and federal officials did so with some of them. The state was told the cones were a safety precaution to help channel cars into viewing areas rather than to bar their entrance.

Outrageous.

"“I think reasonable people can disagree about that,” Johnson said.

...

The Buffalo News reported that a tour group of dozens of people from western New York was unable to take pictures of the monument because highway viewing areas were coned off.

“It’s all closed up,” the newspaper quoted North Collins, N.Y., resident Hilde Werneth as saying. “They won’t even let you stop and take a picture. You can only drive by.”

Jim Hagen, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, said the situation is hurting people from out-of-state and international visitors who are in South Dakota to visit the monument.

“They won’t even let you pull off on the side of the road,” Hagen said. “I just don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish.”"

Yes, actually it IS outrageous.

“They won’t even let you pull off on the side of the road,

well, duh.

if they let people do that, the road would turn into a fnckign parking lot.

Yes, actually it IS outrageous.

but it's what your demented clown show of a party demands.

There should be checkpoints on all of the roads leading to Mt. Rushmore to make sure drivers and passengers either have health insurance or are signing up for the health insurance exchanges.

The Rapid City hospital emergency rooms are sick and tired of uninsured out-of-state Tea Party rubberneckers mooching and leeching from the rest of us.

Just in case the whiners don't understand why cones are orange, here's a translation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qv7k2_lc0M&list=RD02iwsOI89urnw


From aimai, who once commented here, a germane, but longish post on American sadism (my word):

http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-punishers-want-to-run-country-or-we.html

Of all the ways in which the shutdown is screwing with people, what gets the conservative blogosphere worked up is that folks can't pull off the side of the road and look at Mt Rushmore.

"if they let people do that, the road would turn into a fnckign parking lot."

The road had a fnckign parking lot next to it where they wanted to pull over.

Russell, the reason this causes such outrage is that shutting down the government always is going to entail at lease SOME trouble for SOME people, as they cease getting things that cost money to provide. And, yes, it's pretty routine for the administration, if it opposes the shutdown, to chose the most immediately obnoxious things to cease spending money on, so as to rally public opinion against the shutdown.

But spending extra money to shut down things that weren't costing money, or were even revenue sources? That's a really novel response to a shutdown, and so contrary to the usual excuse for imposing inconveniences as to make it just too obvious that the administration is deliberately screwing over people.

This is an administration that doesn't even feel the need for plausible deniablity when it commits outrages. That's somewhat new in American politics.

Well, I am for an (almost*) all-or-nothing here. Either shutdown or not with no thought, whether it's revenue positive, neutral or negative. I have yet to hear GOP complaints about the IRS being understaffed or the tax fraud hunters taken off the trail. If it's about the power of the purse, then anything that brings money in should be on top of the shutdown list not the bottom. It's supposed to hurt as much as possible. It's a scandal that air traffic controllers are exempted just because it would inconvenience the 'wrong' people otherwise. You wanna shutdown? Then hire your own private guards out of your own pocket and have water, gas, and electricity switched off in all federal buildings that are not housing emergency services.

*i.e. except for actual life-or-death stuff

the most immediately obnoxious things to cease spending money on

They closed the national parks. Guess what? If there's a government service that qualifies as non-essential, it's the national parks.

If they were interested in causing maximum pain, I suspect there is a list of about 1,372 things they could readily have come up with that would have caused one great big giant shit-ton of pain greater than closing the national parks.

They could have sent all of the air traffic controllers home. No planes. That would make a dent.

Mt Rushmore scenic overlook? Not really a big deal. Really, it's not.

I don't know why they closed off the scenic overlook. Maybe they figured, hey, we have to close Rushmore, and everybody's going to park over there and cause a problem. I have no idea.

I'm sure we'll find out more in the days ahead.

What I am ABSOLUTELY SURE of is that, if the goal was to maximize pain from the shutdown, putting cones in front of a scenic overlook at Mt Rushmore was not a great choice.

And yes, amazingly enough, it costs money to shut down operations of any kind. I have, oddly enough, two family members who had fabulous careers shutting down (a) defense aviation plants and (b) auto assembly plants, as those industries either wound down or shifted to other regions of the country.

The reason they were able to make careers of those projects was that they're amazingly complicated things to do. It's expensive, and complicated, and a generally great big PITA to wind down operations of anything bigger than a popsicle stand.

That's why it's a stupid, wasteful, expensive, inefficient, idiotic, counter-productive piece of ass-backwards bullsh*t to use the continuing resolution as a policy bargaining chip.

Because you end up pissing away valuable resources to accomplish nothing, nada, zip.

The House (R)'s are @ssholes.

Seriously, on one hand you applaud the House (R)'s for using the shutdown as a bargaining tactic, and on the other hand you're all wound up because -- shocking as it may sound -- shutting down government services is a stupid expensive waste of time.

WTF did you think a government shutdown was going to look like?

Closing off a scenic overlook at Mt Rushmore is freaking noise. Even talking about this like it's an issue of any consequence is stupid.

According to PPP, if the election was today, the R's would lose the House.

According to a long article in the Times, the decision to shut down the government was made by the R party shadow leadership (Koch bros and friends) two years ago. Not a surprise to me. In fact I thought it was obvious that there were R politicians just salivating for the chance to self=aggrandize over a shut down, just as they have been salivating over imaginary impeachment issues.

Crazy, stupid, and mean. And profoundly un-American. To the point of being nearly treasonous.

"Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) insisted Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that he won’t bring up a “clean” debt limit increase under any circumstances, warning that the U.S. will default on its debt unless President Barack Obama agrees to make policy concessions."

From Talking Points Memo. If accurate, then I think Boehner is coming close to treasonous behavior.

But spending extra money to shut down things that weren't costing money, or were even revenue sources?

Revenue is irrelevant when you're not allowed to spend. It's not a question of how something nets out. It's a matter of not being allowed to continue spending money on things. And, yes, it might cost you some money in the short term to shut things down.

The only reason this whole park thing is important to Brett is that stupid, right-wing outlets are pushing it as something people like him are supposed to be upset about. That's not mind-reading, either. It's an observation.

I think Boehner is coming close to treasonous behavior.

It is treasonous. It's a coup. Let's not pretend that the Republicans aren't there yet. They're there.


trea·son


1.betrayal of country: a violation of the allegiance owed by somebody to his or her own country, e.g. by aiding an enemy.
2.treachery: betrayal or disloyalty
3.act of betrayal: an act of betrayal or disloyalty

Other definitions refer to over throw of the government or aiding the enemy.

I was referring to the possible default an the economic disruptions which would follow. I think that forcing a disaster upon the country, not as a well intentioned mistake, but as a deliberate act, may qualify as treason. It's certainly a betrayal of the responsibilities of a Congressman, a violation of allegiance. Congress people have some sort of oath of office they take.

However, I don't think it will happen. I just think that it should be known widely that some of the Republicans in Congress, including a leader, contemplated treason.

This is an administration that doesn't even feel the need for plausible deniablity when it commits outrages. That's somewhat new in American politics.

Really, Brett? New? Really? This is a truly incredible display of myopia, if you consider even just the eight years preceding the current regime taking power.

"That's somewhat new in American politics."

My dear, innocent man-child.

Ah, the delicious chickenshit hedge of that word "somewhat". Or, is it a vague doppler-like blinking of sanity from far out on the limb as the chainsaw squeals.

Ladies and gentleman, we've found our 4-year old.

Keep him away from lj's daughter.

Brett, is this you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGzS5dd0dT0

Or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsgPJDeWyzI

Hmmm:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPwifU7xbsI

Yikes!:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p77GnlVJyQ8

I've been watching this stuff for the last couple of hours.

Here's the thing: give ignoramuses and their ignoramus representatives in the ignoramus caucus what they crave.

Sapient is correct.

When the House of Representatives and its shills in the media shut down the government and default on the debt on October 17 (and because Federal funds are roughly 47% of South Dakota's budget, a few closed scenic overlooks are going to be just below what's-for-dinner on the priority list as the South Dakota National Guard goes into action), President Obama should declare martial law on a national basis, place all military bases here and abroad on the fullest alert, and order the arrest and confinement in FEMA camps (give it to them good and hard) of all Republican House and Senate members who vote to carry out the destruction of the United States.

Send federal troops to secure all federal installations, including highways, dams, and airports in the states and districts these enemies were mutated from.

Arrest and disappear all Republican governors and statehouse Republicans.

Arm and deputize all Native American reservations with the promise, written in republican blood, that they may, after counting deadly coup throughout the countryside, keep all land and property now occupied by the surrounding republican populations.

The federal troops should bring food, shelter and healthcare to the tens of millions of Americans these Republican murderous bug filth are trying to kill.

Confiscate all tin foil in these states and districts, because these numb nuts won't need it anymore as their fondest nightmares show up at the front door.

This warning is brought to you by the National United Front of 5-Year-Olds, because when 4-year-olds with deadly weaponry go off their ka-zipps, who better to take the safeties off, slam in the clips and restore order.

Use that photo of the deranged (like our current crop of crazies, he was sane in his younger days), neck-bearded John Calhoun for target practice, kids.

Remember, as the apocalypse unfolds and the government is destroyed, VA loans from intergalactic space will still be available with nothing down:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Jv7hh772s

Watch out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYdOwI0jjco

If you are done yet with "Atlas Shrugged", here's more long-winded crapola from the other half of the Republican Party's armed, deadly constituency:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmNge7vZ-gY

See, they are wrong.

I am the Beast.

The whirlwind is in the thorn tree
and the virgins are trimming their wicks

The whirlwind is in the thorn tree
and its hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

But I'm going to kick prick ass.

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