Greeted as liberators all over again

If you don’t think that Serious People want to dismantle the social safety net, you’re not paying attention. Here’s Bobo in a column that conflates the current budget problems with down-the-road entitlement issues:

This is not like fixing Social Security in the early 1980s. The current debt problem is of an entirely different scale. It requires a rewrite of the social contract, a new way to think about how the government pays for social insurance.

The current budget problems have nothing to do with Social Security. In fact, they are largely the product of supply side economic tax cuts and an economic collapse largely caused by belief in free market fairies. Moreover, the entitlements issue (and it is an issue) has very little to do with Social Security (which can be fixed again, if necessary, just as easily as it was in the 1980s) and everything to do with the strain on Medicare and Medicaid caused by rising medical costs (a strain that employers and workers are feeling just as badly in the private insurance market).

Tell me that this isn’t just like Iraq. We were a fed a mish-mash of Al Qaeda connections, nuclear programs, and the just plain evilness of Saddam Hussein, all of it part of one big “Islamofascist” stew. Now the “fiscal austerity” stew involves short-term budgetary issues, Social Security, and medical costs, none of which are related in any way. By conflating them, you create a single monster to fight against. Want to “fix Social Security”? Just cut earmarks. Want to stop Al Qaeda? Just attack a secular Muslim country.

Iraq was a disaster largely because there was no plan. Bobo and Sully and the rest have no plan for what we do after we’ve gotten rid of Social Security and Medicare and liquidated all the evil unions either. But we’ll all be greeted as liberators when we reach Galt’s Gulch.






139 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    it’s odd how the Serious solutions to these crises always require doing everything Republicans have always wanted, immediately!

  2. 2
    Smurfhole says:

    Once we bring back debt bondage, we can pay off our bankruptcies and healthcare-related expenses as manor serfs for the rest of our lives and our childrens’ lives.

    On the plus side, job security and a guaranteed standard of living. A very low standard of living, but a guaranteed one.

  3. 3
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    Create chaos, demand order.

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Iraq, in fact, has a lot to do with the drag on our economy, as tons of buck (entire pallet-loads of them) have been tossed directly down a rat hole as a result of this totally optional war of aggression.

  5. 5
    MaximusNYC says:

    Bobo and Sully and the rest have no plan for what we do after we’ve gotten rid of Social Security and Medicare and liquidated all the evil unions either.

    Getting rid of the social safety net — “rewriting the social contract” — is the plan.

  6. 6
    BGinCHI says:

    The front page report in the Chicago Tribune today on the protests in Wisconsin says nothing about the “fiscal crisis” at the heart of the matter. What it does say, repeatedly, is that “conservative analysts” say public employee pensions and wages are the cause of state and local financial crises.

    This is the REPORTERS. Not the editorial page.

    Rachel Maddow was dead right last night that this is a fundamental assault on the heart of the Democratic Party and on workers in this country.

    We are at a tipping point.

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Oh, now I can’t believe you said this, Doug:

    Iraq was a disaster largely because there was no plan.

    Of course there was a plan! It went something like this:

    1. Invade Iraq

    2. ???

    3. Profit!

  8. 8
    The Dangerman says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Rachel Maddow was dead right last night that this is a fundamental assault on the heart of the Democratic Party and on workers in this country.

    Unquestionably; what is scary is how soon this is happening after Citizen’s United. Under “normal” circumstances, I would think busting Unions would be a loser for the Right. After CU, I’m not so sure.

  9. 9
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    But we’ll all be greeted as liberators when we reach Galt’s Gulch.

    In much the same manner will the middle and lower class be greeted, I suspect, although our greeters this time will have better weaponry.

  10. 10
    stuckinred says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: \1. Invade Iraq

    2. ???kick the shit out of “dead-enders”

    3. Profit!

  11. 11
    Redshift says:

    Anyone who talks about “entitlements” is a liar who wants cover for gutting Social Security and pretending Medicare and Medicaid are the problem rather than health care costs in general (or someone who has been duped by one.)

  12. 12
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    What I learned from the early 1980’s is that changes that are supposed to solve future problems are meaningless. You can’t control future decision makers’ actions. Social Security ‘problems’ were solved by the middle class paying more in order to create a surplus that would be needed by the demographics of retiring boomers. That surplus was given away to the wealthy through a change in the income tax rate.

  13. 13
    Zifnab says:

    This is not like fixing Social Security in the early 1980s. The current debt problem is of an entirely different scale. It requires a rewrite of the social contract, a new way to think about how the government pays for social insurance.

    And that new way is… not paying for it!
    Cuts, cuts, cuts, and more cuts. Because its not like SS was serving some kind of useful purpose, amirite?

    Was there ever a time in this country when we addressed expanding the benefits of the social safety net? It seems like every program to widen and improve government programs dies in utero. You couldn’t even get a vote on Medicare Buy-In during the bright blue Pelosi Congress. The idea of increasing your benefits by paying more into Social Security at a younger age isn’t even considered.

    So fucking annoying.

  14. 14
    Berial says:

    I’m no genius, but isn’t it odd that the people that caused our current recession HAD to be bailed out so that they could keep their bonuses but the people that had NOTHING to do with why we’re in this mess, union and public workers, Social Security recipients, are the ones that need to ‘tighten their belts’ and ‘make sacrifices’.

    It seems telling to me that the first ‘fix’ to our problems wasn’t a 40 point increase in taxes on our financial sector so they can pay to fix what they broke. The lack of demagogues pushing this point of view ANYWHERE in our mainstream media tells me the class war is over. Our side lost.

  15. 15
    Legalize says:

    DougJ is exactly right. As is Maddow. The Teahadists know damn well what CU did for them. This is their biggest and best window EVER to put the final nail in the coffin of the American middle class. They know it, and they will do all it takes to win. They are cashing in their chips on their decades-long fight to break unions.

  16. 16
    Silver Owl says:

    Hey we can just drop all the old and disabled people on Bobo’s front yard and let them rot there. We’ll just chain them to stake outs and then Bobo can do the happy homicidal dance he wants to do so badly.

  17. 17
    John Emerson says:

    Brooks throws out a reasonable column pretty often, but they’re just decoys. When the chips are down, he’s a down-the-middle Republican operative just like the rest of them. His job is to make his party palatable for moderate, sensible people.

  18. 18
    johnsmith1882 says:

    Fiscal responsibility! Only when a Democrat is in office, of course. When a Republican is in office, deficits don’t matter.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    johnsmith1882 says:

    @Berial:
    Yep. Or that by simply returning taxes to Clinton levels on the wealthy would fix half of our budget shortfall. “The middle class needs to eat more shit” is their only answer.

  21. 21
    jrg says:

    Fuck it… Eliminate or reduce benefits for current Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries. That’s the only way we will ever have an honest debate about medical costs and the social safety net in this country.

    I’m really tired of watching medicare entitled geriatrics howl about “socialism”. Does anyone honestly think that shit won’t stop about five minutes after the rest of us stop covering their medical costs?

  22. 22
    AkaDad says:

    Conservatives don’t want to eliminate the safety net. We just want to shrink it down to the size of a postage stamp to save money. How can anyone be against saving money?

  23. 23
    jrg says:

    Fuck it… Eliminate or reduce benefits for current Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries. That’s the only way we will ever have an honest debate about medical costs and the social safety net in this country.

    I’m really tired of watching medicare entitled geriatrics howl about “social1sm”. Does anyone honestly think that shit won’t stop about five minutes after the rest of us stop covering their medical costs?

    (re-posted because FYWP)

  24. 24
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    Well if the rest of the country starts paying attention the way the good people of Wisconsin have, this won’t last too long. What do people think of Russ Feingold’s Progressives United? I had mixed feelings when I saw him on Maddow.

  25. 25
    BGinCHI says:

    @AkaDad: Seriously?

    How about because investment brings prosperity.

  26. 26
    joes527 says:

    @johnsmith1882: Returning taxes to the Clinton levels is a loser. He was an evil sosulist.

    Return taxes to the Reagan levels. No one could possibly object to that.

  27. 27
    BGinCHI says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people): I think that if there is a recall and it gains momentum and Feinfold is on the Gov ballot, it’s a big fat fucking win for social justice in the world.

  28. 28
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    Problem is, Iraq went badly and then a great many of those who were for it said to themselves, “hmm, that wasn’t such a good idea after all.” But with the economic/budget/taxation issue it’s already all gone to shit, starting in ’07 and accelerating to free fall in ’08-’09, and here we are doubling down on the idiotic policies. I fear that nothing’s going to stop this. At my age it may not matter to me personally, but you younger folks are fucked unless you can figure out how to get your asses on the streets in quantities comparable to the middle east.

  29. 29
    mcd410x says:

    From Bernie Sanders via Digby:

    “The deficit primarily has been caused by two wars unfunded, huge tax breaks to people who don’t need it, an insurance-company-written Medicare Part D prescription drug program, and the bailout of Wall Street.

    “The cause of it is not hungry children in this country or people who are sleeping out on the street. So, we have got to deal with the deficit, but you do it in a fair and progressive way. For example, this year alone, we’re losing a hundred billion dollars in revenue because corporations, the wealthy, are stashing their money in tax havens in the Cayman Islands.

    “This year, ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation in the history of the world, is not paying a nickel in federal income taxes, despite having made $19 billion last year. In 2005, one-quarter of corporation — large corporations in America making a trillion in revenue didn’t pay a nickel in taxes. You have got a military budget which in many ways is still fighting the old Cold War.

    “So, I believe that we have to move toward significant deficit reduction, but you don’t do it on the backs of the middle class and working families who are already suffering as a result of this Wall Street-caused recession.”

    Amen

  30. 30
    patrick II says:

    It has been conservative policy to use debt, mainly through tax decreases, to force popular social programs into seemingly unaffordable deficits. Austerity is the public name for what they call among themselves “starve the beast” or “two santa clauses”. It is a con job so obvious one would think that a competent, neutral media would call them on it.
    Instead we read posts and write comments over and over again analyzing the various permutations of the various pseudo-arguments fronted by people who know there is only one real desired end, the sublimation of the american working class through indebtedness and powerlessness, and the means to that end is forced debt.

  31. 31
    Zach says:

    It requires a rewrite of the social contract, a new way to think about how the government pays for social insurance.

    OK, I’ll play Bobo’s game. My new way to think of how the government pays for social insurance is to think about it like every other advanced nation that provides social insurance. Let’s provide a generous pension, generous unemployment benefits, and a national healthcare system at a cost-per-capita that’s much less than we’re currently projected to pay.

    Simply by nationalizing healthcare, you’ve basically balanced the budget in the near/medium term. Put in some measures to (1) ration care in a reasonable way and (2) raise modestly more revenue and you’ve taken care of the long-term issue. Problem solved.

    Folks dismiss healthcare nationalization out of hand as politically impossible, but is it more impossible than means testing social security and medicare (as well as lowering benefits for everyone; for Medicaid and the VA as well) to the extent necessary to balance the budget? Nope.

  32. 32
    wengler says:

    Yep. Start telling seniors that their chronic treatment for heart disease/cancer/osteoporosis/everything else is on the chopping block because of our newfound push against SOCIALISM and see how fast they turn around. I’m sure several wouldn’t mind dying themselves just to spite “those damn liberals!” but others will think rationally for once in their life.

  33. 33
    Kryptik says:

    Remember, unless you recognize just how essential and how godly and perfect the ‘producers’ are in this country, you can’t be a very serious person. Supply-side Economics is Law and Gospel. Blasphemy is subject to excommunication and possible prosecution for treason.

  34. 34
    agrippa says:

    There were no WMD in Iraq. Thus, no casus belli.

    We are at a tipping point.

    Do people understand that? The issue is in doubt.

  35. 35

    @Smurfhole: You joke, but I’m pretty sure that long run game is to go back to the company store model in America and bring down everyone’s standard of living to the point where they have just enough wealth to survive, and just enough credit to cover emergencies and put their estate into lifetime debt.

    But we’ll all have iPods, so we got that going for us.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    PWL says:

    Well the New Social Contract is gonna be “Plutonomy wins, the rest of you eat shit,” or something like that.

    I say, make Bobo eat cat food….

  38. 38
    Culture of Truth says:

    It has been conservative policy to use debt, mainly through tax decreases, to force popular social programs into seemingly unaffordable deficits.

    Or, just take money directly from a popular social program and spend it on something they like, for example, a war.

  39. 39
    Kryptik says:

    @PWL:

    The New Social Contract is “If you’re so patriotic why aren’t you rich?”

    Economic Calvinism meets Moral Calvinism, and thus the deification of the rich and powerful at the expense of demonizing the poor and the helpless. Because obviously if they were good people they’d be rich and powerful just like them.

  40. 40
    GregB says:

    The Beltway Conventional Wisdom Borg has been issued their marching orders.

    Resistance is futile.

  41. 41
    matoko_chan says:

    No, Iraq was a disaster because Bush was STUPID.
    when muslims are democratically empowered to vote, they vote for more islam, not less, and never for jc democracy.
    Cheney exploited Bush’s stupid for a wartime economy, Rove exploited Bush’s stupid for a wartime electorate.
    there is basic problem with the Bush doctrine and COIN.
    Shariah law has encoded defense against proselytization.
    eg, freedom of speech is incompatible with islamic jurisprudence in majority muslim nations.
    to put it more simply, christians believe their faith commands them to proselytize– muslims believe their faith commands them to resist proselytization.
    islamic democracy may be illiberal compared with jc democracy, but it is the only kind you are going to get…..in Egypt, in Iraq, in Indonesia, in (soon) Yemen, Bahrain, etc.

  42. 42
    Suffern ACE says:

    @The Dangerman: When has busting unions been a loser for the right and their middle class salaried workers supporters? Seriously, most of the high-hair end of the Democratic party itself has contempt for unions as well.

  43. 43
    AkaDad says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Iraq was a disaster because you didn’t clap loud enough.

  44. 44
    Culture of Truth says:

    We need a new social contract. But first, break the union that negotiates the contract.

  45. 45
    NickM says:

    I agree that this is a tipping point. I’m glad that at least there’s going to be a real fight. I’ve been thinking hard about taking a long trip to Madison.

  46. 46
    fasteddie9318 says:

    The chan record is skipping again; can somebody clean off the needle?

  47. 47
    Phlip says:

    I’m thinking it’s damn sure time to start some state constitutional amendment drives. Call it the Worker’s Rights Amendment.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Anyone who has inherited anything at all cannot credibly bitch about “entitlements”. Because being a millionaire because someone left you a ton of money is the ultimate entitlement.

  49. 49
    rikryah says:

    there was a really good letter to the editor at Sullys detailing WHY Social Security was put in place, and the response to the letter was pretty much nothing.

    I am part of President Obama’s base, and I don’t give a shyt about entitlement reform. I think it’s a scam and a fraud, and I definitely could give a shyt about the ‘ deficit’. so, until you decide to cut defense – seriously, and talk about raising taxes, I don’t wanna hear no bullshyt about entitlement ‘reform’.

  50. 50
    matoko_chan says:

    @AkaDad: no……Iraq was ANTI-EMPIRICAL. like all of conservatism.
    like conservative economic policies are nonempirical….because they dont work.
    progressivism is guess-and-test. conservatism is repeating failed policies because they worked once in the distant past, and because according to “first principles” they should work again.
    @Culture of Truth: we are evolving a new social contract. White Patriarchy social cohesion model died when blacks and women got to vote.
    the new social contract will be social justice. we just have to wait for the demographic timer to go off.

  51. 51
    Violet says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Under “normal” circumstances, I would think busting Unions would be a loser for the Right.

    Seriously? The Right has always been for breaking up Unions, as long as I can remember. Unions = bad has been a wingnut talking point since at least Reagan.

  52. 52
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @BGinCHI: Hadn’t thought of that possibility. I agree that would be nice.

  53. 53
    Dave C says:

    Not to turn this into All-Sully-All-the-Time, but has anybody else noticed that he has not put up a single post regarding the situation in Wisconsin? The silence is deafening.

  54. 54
    cyntax says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Of course there was a plan! It went something like this:
    __
    1. Invade Iraq
    __
    2. ???
    __
    3. Profit!

    Well, from Halliburton’s point of view, that’s exactly how it went. Prolly just a coincidence.

  55. 55
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Dave C:

    Not to turn this into All-Sully-All-the-Time, but has anybody else noticed that he has not put up a single post regarding the situation in Wisconsin?

    How can you expect him to focus on something else when Arabs are making trouble in the world and the federal government is still spending money on something other than war when ZOMG TEH DEBICIT MONSTER WILL KILL US ALL!

  56. 56
    AkaDad says:

    @rikryah:

    Just because Social Security dramatically decreased the poverty rates for the elderly, that doesn’t make it a good program.

  57. 57
    Stillwater says:

    Ryan and walker are making Wisconsin the first US state to embrace the race to the bottom championed by neoliberalism. One thing to say in their favor is that if they’re actually trying to make Wisconsin an ‘attractive climate for business’ (which Ryan said was the purpose of all this nonsense), they fully realize it means competing with India, China, the Philippines, etc. And that of course means ‘competitive’ wages with no benefits and low taxes.

    But if we give them credit for realizing, and getting out front of, the consequences of globalization, we could also criticize them, and their political cronies, for passing the free trade agreements (like NAFTA and the WTO) which caused this mess – policies which have created a Chinese middle class at the expense of our own.

    Isn’t it time to think about protectionism as way to restore the health of the US middle class, rather than let the race to the bottom continue unabated?

  58. 58
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: About Feingold leading it because he sometimes seems to be too principled for his own good (not allowing outside contributions when Citizens United money was flooding in to his opponent is one reason why he is no longer a senator). When fighting with people who play dirty, make sure everyone understands what’s going on.

  59. 59
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @cleek: Moral panic. This is the budgetary equivalent of ritual Satanic abuse, right down to the formulaic, hectoring, “Think of the children!”.

  60. 60
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @cyntax: Halliburton had that #2 filled in though:

    2. Take hundreds of billions from the government in exchange for doing nothing or, if pressed, building showers that electrocute people

  61. 61
    The Dangerman says:

    @Violet:

    The Right has always been for breaking up Unions, as long as I can remember. Unions = bad has been a wingnut talking point since at least Reagan.

    No doubt, but busting Unions only appeals to a minority of Americans. They can have their 27% + the low information voters and still lose elections.

  62. 62
    JC says:

    Elections have consequences.

    We are seeing the rightwing Wurlitzer, combined with the corporate megaphones, deliver the corporate late 1800’s utopia that they think they want.

    Florida, doing the same thing – the guy funds his own personal slush fund, while claiming poverty for anything else.

    Such a joke. Repeal the Bush tax cuts, there we go, problem solved.

    Such a total joke. But people voted for these guys, so they have the right, via democracy, to write and pass the laws they want.

  63. 63
    El Cid says:

    US economic elites via the World Bank and IMF imposed cruelty and economic rotting on the 3rd world using the ‘debt’ they owed these lenders as a weapon.

    Now they get to do the same to us that they did to Latin America and Africa throughout the 1980s and early to mid 1990s.

    Enjoy it, folks.

    In exchange to get continuing loans so that these poor nations could continue to pay interest on loans whose principal was paid off already (to suck profits from the impoverished), the US & investors used such international lenders

    We and our other Western elite economic geniuses forced governments to impose vast cuts to social aid programs (the most absolute basics in many countries) and the dismantling of efforts to develop domestic economies, production, and a consumer market.

    I.e., ‘Chicago boys’ (radical U. of Chicago-based cult of distorted Milton Friedman) and over-the-top supply-side economics, with an emphasis on re-emphasizing primary products export, deindustrialization for domestic economies while funding the construction of mega-projects (giganto-dams) which used Western contracting.

    And don’t get me wrong — the elites in those nations actually believed that these Western economic advisers knew what they were doing.

    In the 3rd world, those nations so under economic warfare began to call a halt to this bullshit in the late 1990s.j

    Most famously Argentina which called the IMF’s bluff and defaulted on bond paybacks until the IMF agreed to settle for a fraction of their bullshit ‘value’. And Venezuela’s help let them do it, by using gold reserves (by Chavez who took them back from being held abroad) to buy Arg’s bonds.

    One of the main reason the West hates Chavez, too.

    In Africa, too, a lot of nations began to figure out this was all vampiric lies.

    Malawi is a damn poor country. Its agricultural production had shrunk drastically and they faced continual hunger because grains and other staples had to be imported.

    Yeah, they said, this with-holding of agricultural aid to our farmers is a bunch of crap. So they began to provide agricultural materials such as fertilizers to their farmers.

    Pretty quick-like, Malawi was independent in good and began exporting.

    The US establishment has resented gains for the population like Social Security for decades.

    Look how it was talked about for so long as the “third rail” of politics. This is wording which emphasizes that you can’t mess with it — not that you shouldn’t.

    Mean-minded Brooks who is loved by so many liberals for his calm tone and stupid parables is just one other of all those elites who think that us using our common resources via our elected government to do what we can’t do alone is wrong, and makes us lazy and slack.

    We need to suffer more, and be taught a lesson that we shouldn’t depend on (us acting via) government to keep us so comfortable that we get lazy.

    And of course since we will then learn to be the gumption-rich fantasy characters they pick of the few poor people and hard-hit middle class folk that pass all the hurdles they encounter.

    I’ve long assumed that eventually there would come a day for all the anti-New Deal (for short-hand) elites in both the parties and in our punditariat and think-tank pseudoscholars when they could really ramp up the cutting away of those gubmit programs which so aided the poorer classes since the 1930s.

    They smell blood, and I think they’re on the right scent.

    Unless some shit like is going on in Wisconsin and Ohio and Indiana become large enough and focused enough and sufficiently long-term to matter.

  64. 64
    Violet says:

    @The Dangerman:

    busting Unions only appeals to a minority of Americans

    Do you have polls to back this up? I’m not doubting you, just curious about that statement. How much of a minority? Is it the 27% you mention or more?

    Wingnuts have been telling Americans for a long time that the Unions are the root of all evil here in the US, so I guess I’m surprised if a majority of Americans still are against Union busting. I’d be curious to see actual statistics, and also breakdown along region.

  65. 65
    johnsmith1882 says:

    @Stillwater:
    Um, “neoliberalism”? Don’t you mean “trademarked Republican gameplan of the last 100 years”? This gutting of worker’s rights:Republicanism::the pick and roll:John Stockton and Karl Malone.

  66. 66
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I don’t understand why it’s urgent to “fix” “entitlements,” which is basically a matter of number-crunching.

    But, you know, irreversible climate change and the demise of fossil fuels… ah, that’s a long ways away, nothing but time to handle those. Doo-de-doo, twiddlin’ mah thumz…

  67. 67
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @The Dangerman:

    No doubt, but busting Unions only appeals to a minority of Americans.

    It only actively appeals to a minority, but as we get farther from the great labor battles of the 19th century and the early to mid 20th century, rewriting that history as we go in favor of our corporate oligarchs, and as corporate America gets better at busting unions in the here and now, there’s an increasing segment of the population that is at best indifferent to organized labor because they don’t see the benefits and they don’t know the history. They’ll take a small core of ideologues surrounded by a large group of indifferent low-information voters.

  68. 68
    Kryptk says:

    It’s just horribly depressing to see the mindset that what’s good for giant companies and CEOs is necessarily what’s best for the common worker, when it’s so fucking obvious that this is furthest from the case as could be. Offshoring, hoarding capital, refusing to employ the unemployed, wanting to take away essential regulations like Child Labor Laws, taking away collective bargaining rights…

    And the most infuriating infuriating infuriating thing about the whole fucking deal is that we’re told that it’s the unions and workers that are stealing from the American people and are the real leeches, and that’s why we should give all our capital to Exxon Mobil and Pfizer.

  69. 69
    Kryptik says:

    It’s just horribly depressing to see the mindset that what’s good for giant companies and CEOs is necessarily what’s best for the common worker, when it’s so fucking obvious that this is furthest from the case as could be. Offshoring, hoarding capital, refusing to employ the unemployed, wanting to take away essential regulations like Child Labor Laws, taking away collective bargaining rights…

    And the most infuriating infuriating infuriating thing about the whole fucking deal is that we’re told that it’s the unions and workers that are stealing from the American people and are the real leeches, and that’s why we should give all our capital to Exxon Mobil and Pfizer.

  70. 70
    agrippa says:

    yes, elections have consequences.
    The GOP was voted into power. Now, they will try to enact their agenda and the people who voted for them will have to live with that agenda, as best they can.

    There are millions of people in this country who will never connect the dots.

  71. 71
    Violet says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    but as we get farther from the great labor battles of the 19th century and the early to mid 20th century, rewriting that history as we go in favor of our corporate oligarchs, and as corporate America gets better at busting unions in the here and now, there’s an increasing segment of the population that is at best indifferent to organized labor because they don’t see the benefits and they don’t know the history

    Yeah, I think that’s what I was getting at. People don’t know why unions are good and what they have done for us and what we might go back to without them. So they don’t necessarily support union busting, but they don’t support unions either.

  72. 72
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Here’s how ya fix social security: Anyone that writes negatively about it, suggests limiting it in any way or otherwise works against it automatically loses their benefits.

  73. 73
    Joe Bleau says:

    @Zach:

    Folks dismiss healthcare nationalization out of hand as politically impossible, but is it more impossible than means testing social security and medicare (as well as lowering benefits for everyone; for Medicaid and the VA as well) to the extent necessary to balance the budget? Nope.

    Well, true, but neither is it less impossible. In fact, I’d venture to say that the two are pretty much exactly equally impossible, as tends to the case with things that are, you know, not possible.

    Snark aside: the point is that the default position (no matter what the crisis, subtly change the subject to your own partisan hobby-horse, which coincidentally pleases the cabal of powerful interests to whom you owe your career and personal wealth even if it comes at the expense of the welfare of the majority of the country) is many orders of magnitude more plausible than either of the scenarios you mention here.

  74. 74
    Alan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix:

    Damn straight. “Create chaos, demand order” is the long and the short of it.

    Holler and howl that AMERICA IS BROKE AND BROKEN, then demand a President who can restore our sense of national greatness.

  75. 75
    WarMunchkin says:

    I had a dream that we made a prison called “Galt’s Gulch” and put all of Wall Street, the Bush Admin, the SEC and most of the current Justice and Treasury department staff in it, gave them a couple acres of soil, a few seeds, told them good luck, and barricaded it from the rest of the world.

  76. 76
    Martin says:

    Well, Wisconsin may help unravel the zombie lie about pensions destroying the economy. Pensions are a problem in most places, but no where near on the scale that people are making it out to be. And the only reason they’re a problem now is that the market blew up in 2008.

    My CA pension fund was still overfunded in 2008. It was as much as 50% overfunded a decade ago. It’s currently underfunded by about 14%. Now, rather than allowing the overfunding to dry up completely, they should have sought to keep a bigger cushion than they did, but the expectation is that by the next annual report it’ll be less than 10% underfunded, and less than 5% (considered healthy) by 2013.

    Since March 2009, most pension funds have been outperforming their historical averages, but by EOY 2009, had only broken even for the year, and not even touched the 2008 losses, but the EOY 2010 reports (most of which aren’t out yet) are showing those 2008 losses being reversed. Thanks to very strong market performance (my retirement is up > 300% from the bottom of Sept 2008), pensions can make up HUGE amounts of future liability in rather short periods of time. And this is why even Democrats like Obama care about the stock market performance – strong market gains means that public pensions won’t need to be bailed out, and up to a point, it’s cheaper to boost the market than it is to tax the market and hand it over to the states, etc. We’re probably near that point, though. If 2011 is a strong market year (which it’s shaping up to be – S&P500 is up 6.5% in a month and a half) then the pension problem will be mostly solved without any serious taxpayer intervention.

    What Wisconsin is starting to point out (as the narratives shift) is that they don’t have a pension problem. As the pension reports come out for last year, and then again for next year, and everything (hopefully) returns to early 2008 levels there won’t be anything for the GOP to push against – which is why they’re pushing so far now. They’ve got a small window in which to act, and I think they know that by the 2012 elections, the game will be up.

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people): I think Feingold is a very good front person for this group because of his straight arrow reputation.

  78. 78
    matoko_chan says:

    the fabric of conservatism is coherent– it is all anti-empirical.

    Want to “fix Social Security”? Just cut earmarks? Want to stop Al Qaeda? Just attack a secular Muslim country.

    Want to create jobs? Deregulate the bankstahs.
    Want to promote democracy? prop dictators.
    Want to create republican scientists and academics? embrace creationism and AGW demial.
    Want to attract youth? be racist jesus humpers.
    Want to attract black voters? tell the NAACP they are the real racists an they can go hell if they disagree.

    see how that works?
    non-empirical. none of that shit WILL EVER WORK, and the base is too cowstupid to see that.

  79. 79
    gnomedad says:

    Disclaimers: I have never been a union member (not by refusal, I just haven’t), I’m not an economist, and I’m generally a liberal. And I can see why labor cartels would be an appropriate response to employer cartels. But can anyone explain to me why, in general, unionization does not result in better and higher-paying jobs for those who have them, at a cost of fewer jobs in the field overall? Or is this considered an acceptable exchange? PLEASE NOTE: I’m not arguing, I’m asking. Explanations, philosophy, and citation of studies are welcome. Educate me.

  80. 80
    Violet says:

    @matoko_chan:
    Just out of curiosity, why the negativity about cows? Using the phrases “cowstupid” and “cudlip” seems like an insult to cows. Cows are revered in some religions and cultures.

  81. 81
    eemom says:

    Rude Pundit has a great post about Wisconsin today.

    imvho, we need more posts about Wisconsin here and less about fucking Megan-who-the-FUCK-cares-McArdle.

    Some more stuff about the ME protests would be nice too.

    Actual hopey-changey sort of stuff is like, actually, HAPPENING out there…..nuff already with obsessing over emmessemm assholes spewing the same old shit.

    again, jmvho.

  82. 82
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @gnomedad: An economist could give you a better answer than I can, but one reason this doesn’t work is that higher-paying jobs stimulate consumer demand which in turn creates more jobs. Companies determine how many employees to hire based on how much labor they can afford and how much labor they need to meet demand. We could all offer to work for a dollar a day without benefits, and that still wouldn’t magically create more jobs since, while we’d all be wonderful cheap employees, none of us could afford to consume worth a damn. Our corporate overlords a couple of decades ago realized that if they could con people into going up to their eyeballs in credit card and home equity debt hell, then nobody would notice if wages stagnated because people would still be consuming via credit. That clock has struck midnight, and we’re paying the consequences.

  83. 83
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @eemom:

    imvho, we need more posts about Wisconsin here and less about fucking Megan-who-the-FUCK-cares-McArdle and less kvetching about whatever bullshit is giving Andy Sullivan a sad today.

    Modified.

  84. 84
    Legalize says:

    This is a serious question, because I really don’t know the answer. Say that SS was abolished today for people say, 60 and younger. What happens to the money I paid into the fund all these years? Does it go “poof,” or do I get something back? Secondly, under the same assumptions, do I still have to pay into SS to pay for the benefits of current retirees? Seems like I’d have to pay for quite a while just to take care of current obligations.

    I know there’s no short answer to this, but I think it’s time to start thinking about alternatives NOW rather than later.

  85. 85
    JC says:

    El Cid

    This is also a financial, upscale version of ‘pillage and conquer’. While better than actually pillaging and conquering, it still is a version of what stronger countries immorally do to weaker countries. Elites exercising dominance.

    Now that most of the world rejects this ‘help’ from the United States, because of the felt effects IN those countries – I wonder if the citizens here now have to ‘feel those effects’ – because the elites will continue to use these tools, and won’t go away, until it is finally rejected.

    Millions will have to suffer, before these elite vampires get voted down and out permanently.

  86. 86
    WereBear says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: Create chaos, demand order.

    That is brilliant! And will dominate my mind for the rest of the day.

  87. 87
    PeakVT says:

    A very interesting column by Robert Reich today – inequality caused the SSTF to take in less revenue than expected.

  88. 88
    Elizabelle says:

    Great header, Doug.

    This would be funny if it wasn’t so stupid and dangerous.

    Maybe the BBC will notice the confluence of “chicken hawks” and “deficit hawks” and say something.

  89. 89
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Legalize:

    This is a serious question, because I really don’t know the answer. Say that SS was abolished today for people say, 60 and younger. What happens to the money I paid into the fund all these years? Does it go “poof,” or do I get something back? Secondly, under the same assumptions, do I still have to pay into SS to pay for the benefits of current retirees? Seems like I’d have to pay for quite a while just to take care of current obligations.

    It would all go poof and it would cause a huge problem for current recipients as soon as the trust fund was exhausted, unless you wanted to keep taxing current workers just to pay for current retirees, and I imagine that would be a super popular idea. I know I’d be thrilled to fork over taxes to pay for some old rich fucker’s social security when the program had already been abolished for people my age.

    This is how you know that people who propose retirement savings accounts without impacting current retirees are either stupid or lying or both. You can’t turn social security into a “take out what you pay in” plan without impacting current retirees.

  90. 90
    Davis X. Machina says:

    No doubt, but busting nnions only appeals to a minority of Americans.

    Rather the opposite, I think. My fear is that crab-bucket syndrome — I have no job, you can’t have one; my job sucks, yours has to suck; my 401(k) vanished in the crash, you can’t have a pension either — is potent enough to launch a national political figure or two.

    In a way, it’s the perfect product for the GOP this cycle. It’s not overtly religious (though there’s the schoolteacher-evolution-nurse-abortion rumbling offstage), it’s not overtly racist (though we know that They make up a disproportionately large slice of public employeedom, thanks to affirmative action), it’s not overtly neo-Confederate (but you know where the right-to-work states are).

    So as a signature issue, it avoids all the problems that cost them dear in ’08. Seeing it embraced simultaneously right across the country suggests it all got cooked up in a GOP R&D shop and sent nationwide.

    I am not sanguine about the long-term durability, scalability, and applicability in other states of what we’ve seen in Wisconsin, however heartening it has been so far.

  91. 91
    Cain says:

    So, just to interject.. our man, Obama is here at my place of work in Oregon. Getting a tour. I didn’t get in on the invite list unfortunately. Suckage. I would have totally told him that Emacs sucks and Vi Rules and if you’re using Emacs you’e a soshulist!

    cain

  92. 92
    Judas Escargot says:

    Dear Bobo:

    I was born into a social contract that I never signed. Fair enough, there were much worse places to be born.

    You’re not allowed to change that social contract, midstream, just because you and your masters think the lowest tax burden in 70 years is “too high”.

    Participate in Reality, or STFU.

    -A Concerned Citizen.

  93. 93
    cyntax says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Fair enough. But have you ever tried building showers that electrocute people? It takes some effort. So proper renumeration only makes sense.

  94. 94
    Jim Pharo says:

    Methinks many of us forget that the great nation was founded on the idea of slavery (and indentured servitude). Using forced labor was a great way of building America.

    At the end of the day, virtually all our social ills trace back to the persistent – and pernicious — effects of being a slave-dependent nation for most of our history.

  95. 95

    To what union do the banksters belong?

  96. 96
    jl says:

    I think DougJ(R) missed an important point.

    In one sense Social Security it a part of the short to medium term budget crisis.

    Social Security is in surplus, and will be for another five to ten years, depending on how fast the economy and job market recovers.

    After that, Social Security will need to start drawing down on the trust fund to pay for the boomers, which is the very reason for building up the trust fund to historically high amounts in the first place.

    The federal government has been borrowing from the trust fund to pay for the useless Bush II tax cuts for the rich that did not produce the promised increases in economic growth, and immoral, illegal counter productive foolish war in Iraq.

    The federal government has to start paying the borrowed money back. Influential money bags (individuals and corporations) do not want the federal government to do that.

    I think that is the real reason for the Social Security Big Lie (which is what it is at this point).

    Hence, all the nonsense about how the trust fund does not really exist, and the silly gibberish about how the bonds issued for finance federal borrowing from the trust fund is kinda sorta not like a sacred contracts involved in financing US federal debt.

    The real purchasing power that hard working people forked over in Social Security taxes sure as hell was real, is real, and will continue to be real. No nincompooperific gobbledigook and bamboozlerama can change that.

    The people want the services they paid for from Social Security.

    Cenk Uygur is right on this one, it is very simple: THEY WANT TO STEAL YOUR MONEY. It is a simple as that.

    And Cole and Atrios are also correct: THEY WANT ALL OF IT.

    Witness the white collar criminal governing Wisconsin faking up a budget crisis by signing irresponsible tax cuts, so he can destroy unions in his state.

  97. 97
    MattR says:

    @Cain: Oh crap. I never learned VI (and have actually recently been ftp-ing files back and forth to a box with emacs so I can edit them)

  98. 98
    Morbo says:

    @Violet: Sheep have an undeserved reputation, too. They’re actually pretty sharp.

  99. 99
    slag says:

    The “Magic Asterisk” concept from the Krugman post that Anne Laurie linked to today really sums up many of our political debates in this country. I’d strongly support a war on the Magic Asterisk.

    Of course, the Bobos of the world wouldn’t go for it because then they’d actually have to work for a living. And so the Magic Asterisk continues its reign of terror on our nation.

  100. 100
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Kirk Spencer:

    To what union do the banksters belong?

    The IACLT…

    (International Alliance of Crooks, Liars, & Thieves…)

  101. 101
    Davis X. Machina says:

    All that not-money, just sitting there, lacking the very things it needs to become real money.

    Requiring no salesmen. Generating no commissions. Not being reduced by fees. Incapable of being ‘managed’. With no advisers steering it to their friends.

    It’s right there, and they can’t get their hands on it. No wonder it’s driven so many people mad.

  102. 102
    eemom says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    generally no one is more pessimistic than I am, but I’m not so sure. I think there is a significant part of the republican “base” — i.e., old blue collar white people — who remember unions as a GOOD thing, and will not readily jump on a union busting bandwagon.

    I was never in a union, but when I was in college I refused to cross a picket line at my part-time job when the University office & clerical workers threatened to strike. My Dad, a good old-fashioned Commie-hating real ‘murikan and no bleeding heart liberal, said he was PROUD of me.

  103. 103
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    You have to understand…

    Real, DESERVING ‘Merrikans make THEIR money the old fashioned way…

    They inherit it…

    And if YOU didn’t plan YOUR life correctly, CHOOSING rich parents, why the Hell should some rich son of a gun pay TWO FARKIN’ cents on the dollar more in taxes to carry your worthless arse thru life?

    If the Baby Jeebus had wanted you to live well… he would have made you a Republican…

  104. 104
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I hope so, eemom.

    I’m so old I remember when it was a bedrock principle of human rights that everyone was eligible to join an independent trade union and a Republican president would deploy the influence and power of the United States to see it recognized and protected.

    Shame it was in Poland, though.

  105. 105
  106. 106
    matoko_chan says:

    @Violet: have you ever worked cattle?
    i live in colorado, and i have.

  107. 107
    Xenos says:

    @agrippa:

    There were no WMD in Iraq. Thus, no casus belli.
    ..
    We are at a tipping point.
    ..
    Do people understand that? The issue is in doubt.

    Think for a moment: George W. Bush admitted, in writing, in a book published in hundreds of thousands of copies, that he committed war crimes. War crimes (torture) that are also explicitly illegal under US law, for which he could receive life in prison or even the death penalty.

    Nobody gives a shit.

    This country is over. Last one out, turn out the lights. Unless you are ready to fight, effectively, for a new revolution for the principles of the enlightenment, forget it. The old constitution has been litigated into Sanskrit for all it is worth.

  108. 108
    JC says:

    How did this country’s dialogue get so 1984-ish?

    ‘SOCIAL SECURITY CAUSES THE DEFICIT! MUST CUT!’

    No, not even partly true.

    We have to start thinking up campaigns that will actually convince people to get off their rearends, and smartly opposing these policies.

    Take me – I know what’s going on. But really, I HATE the idea of protesting. I’m a fairly conventional liberal, who just wants to live his life, and not have to be bothered. I vote the right way, I pass on good articles, I comment.

    But that’s about it.

    How do you motivate me? And most of my friends, who are just like me? What is it, specifically, about political organizing, that is just so friggin’ distasteful?

    And so the field gets LEFT to those who are distasteful, in the main, and then the occasional good guy.

  109. 109
    JPL says:

    @Kirk Spencer: Republican party.

  110. 110
    eemom says:

    @matoko_chan:

    perhaps that is why mature cows in Colorado refer to bratty, smart-ass calves as toko-lips.

  111. 111
    jl says:

    @Legalize: Unless you have at least a 50 year time horizon for the stock market, or can find a cheap way to diversify your portfolio (with real estate, interest rates, currency, commodities, in addition to stock market baskets) more broadly than any individual has very figured out how to do, there is no substitute for Social Security for secure retirement savings.

    So the plan should be to stop the money bags from stealing your money.

  112. 112
    evinfuilt says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix:
    Or as Naomi Klein put it “Shock Doctrine”, they want to create a disaster to solve their way.

  113. 113
    Smurfhole says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    I was only half-joking. I see this as the plan, too.

  114. 114
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Cain: Take that back! I love emacs. Well Aquamacs, which is the version I now use. I’ve always thought vi sucked.

  115. 115
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity: Or as Fela Kuti once put it, “International Thief Thief.”

  116. 116
    JCT says:

    @eemom: Actually all of his WIsconsin posts have been spot-on.

    The whole thing is so ironic — these idiot teabaggers screaming that Obama is a soshulust commanding a “govt takeover” and here their hand-picked darling in WI is rolling back real, hard won *rights* .

    It’s enough to make your head explode.

  117. 117
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Cain:
    You know, it’s entirely possible the BObama doesn’t know about emacs vs vi, and that nobody in his entourage does.
    (Perhaps that was your point.)

  118. 118
    Cain says:

    oh man, lots of excited people in pdx to see the president. Small protests by union, but no teadudes around here. Chinook helicopters overhead, coast guard .. all rotating around the plant.

    Apparently, Obama is already doing the tour.. (see #obamapdx for info) Good stuff.

  119. 119
    Cain says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    You know, it’s entirely possible the BObama doesn’t know about emacs vs vi, and that nobody in his entourage does.

    I wouldn’t put it past him to not know! But we need to bring up the VI vs Emacs controversy. :-)

    cain

  120. 120
    HRA says:

    Great post, Doug.

  121. 121
    evinfuilt says:

    @joes527: What gets me is we won’t even talk about payroll taxes and how Reagen used those to disguise his raising of taxes on the poor/middle class.

    I want to return to Eisenhower level taxes, where they really were progressive and revenue allowed the country to grow and prosper.

  122. 122
    acontra says:

    GOP wet dream is to bring back the poorhouse as a source of forced labor. Drives down labor costs, pays for itself, keeps all those dirty needy seniors and disabled people out of sight, what’s not to like?

  123. 123
    Matt says:

    More fun in WI: now Breitbart and the Tea Party brownshirts are getting involved.

    http://motherjones.com/mojo/20.....ght-unions

  124. 124
    Gozer says:

    Doesn’t Bobo realize that the social contract keeps the rest of us from turning to the rusty pitchforks? That was the entire point of the New Deal/Great Society, save the market system in this country lest we end up like Russia and much of Eastern Europe ca. 1918-1945.

  125. 125
    redoubt says:

    @Violet: Taft-Hartley.

    @El Cid: Catastrophalism: Disaster Capitalism for the USA.

  126. 126
    PurpleGirl says:

    OT: Saw a posting and article link at Suburban Guerilla that if Wisconsin passes the bill to kill union rights, it will also have an impact on municipal bus service in Madison. It seems that some $45 million in federal aid to the city is dependent on collective bargaining agreements with unions. No union rights, no federal money and Madison has to restructure its bus service.

    http://www.channel3000.com/new.....etail.html

  127. 127
    chris says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    Just put that as my status in Facebook…Great quote man.

  128. 128
    Ruckus says:

    @Jim Pharo:
    At the end of the day, virtually all our social ills trace back to the persistent – and pernicious—effects of being a slave-dependent nation for most of our history.

    And I say that most of the religious/moral side of our social ills are caused by the concept that the puritans came here for religious freedom. They came because they could practice religious intolerance.

    So what do we do to overcome these issues? How do we create, not a worse world for our children, but a better one?

  129. 129
    rikryah says:

    Not to turn this into All-Sully-All-the-Time, but has anybody else noticed that he has not put up a single post regarding the situation in Wisconsin?

    I’ve sent him two emails asking why he’s ignoring what’s happening in Wisconsin.

  130. 130
    evinfuilt says:

    @Gozer:
    Does that mean I should start investing in rusty pitchforks? Cause I’m really feeling that its time to get some in stock.

  131. 131
    Ruckus says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    Nice

    @JC:
    How do you motivate me? And most of my friends, who are just like me? What is it, specifically, about political organizing, that is just so friggin’ distasteful?

    It takes time and energy and that takes away from that life that you enjoy. It frequently has little immediate reward. You have to trust someone else to be who they say they are. And sometimes you and everyone around you works their asses off and still lose.

  132. 132
    JordanRules says:

    @rikryah: Hmmmm, that’s a good question and his lack of attention to it is kinda suspect. What’s good for Egypt ain’t really good for us huh Andrew??

    He’s suffering from full blown ODS right now because of the budget, maybe next week he’ll hop down from his ivory tower for a piss and cover the ‘Murkkkin plebes.

  133. 133
    Paul in KY says:

    @Davis X. Machina: You’ve hit the nail on the head there. They want to get commissions for ‘managing’ the SS money.

  134. 134
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @evinfuilt: In 2002 the Ames Tool people, who built shovels in this country since before there was a country, closed their WV pitchfork operation.

    We never made tumbrels, much.

    Still, we can do torches. And it doesn’t take any industrial capacity to stand around and say “Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb…”

  135. 135
    les says:

    @rikryah:

    Sully will cover Wisconsin when the protesters pick a color and dip their fingers in ink.

  136. 136
    Calouste says:

    @WereBear:

    “Create order, demand chaos” was how the Nazis came to power in Germany. And it was the tactic that Mubarak tried for a few days to stay in power.

  137. 137

    DougJarvus,

    I’ve been thinking of exactly the same parallel. They didn’t invent the issue of al Qaeda, terrorism, and the threat that they’d use WMDs. They just used public concern about that issue to leverage support for the wholly-unrelated Iraq War, which they wanted for ideological reasons pre-dating 9/11, by pretending the two situations were connected.

    But there’s another dimension to this parallel: as they pursued their Really Big Idea in Iraq That Couldn’t Possibly Go Wrong, they all-but ignored the actual issues of terrorism, al Qaeda, Afghanistan, and WMDs. They took their eye off the ball in the Afghan War, Bush stated he didn’t think much about bin Laden, and he cut funding for Nunn-Lugar (the program to secure loose nukes).

    Similarly, as the Republicans are pursuing their generations-old jihad against Social Security, allegedly in the name of deficit reduction, they’re utterly ignoring the actual issue of the deficit, fighting defense cuts, defending tax cuts, and pandering on Medicare and on medical cost cutting.

  138. 138
    Violet says:

    @matoko_chan:
    I have lived on a farm and ranch and yes we had cattle. But you having worked cattle doesn’t answer the question.

  139. 139
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    What’s wrong with you people? Everyone knows that if the rich wreck things then it’s up to the rest of us to pay up to fix it. The rich can’t be made to suffer, they just don’t have what it takes to deal with it. The poor and middle class are used to suffering, which means that they enjoy suffering because if they didn’t they would work harder and be rich. So we need to push the suffering onto the poor to save our rich.

    Because without them we wouldn’t have jobs, right?

    @Cain: “I would have totally told him that Emacs sucks and Vi Rules and if you’re using Emacs you’e a soshulist!”

    It’s clear that Obama uses Emacs, probably the Russian/Islamic version. He’s probably using OpenSUSE too.

    VI VI VI: The Editor of the Beast

    I guess I’m a slave of the beast. :)

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