I’d Add a Couple of Things

DougJ:

What I don’t know for sure is if Brooks, Klein, Sullivan, etc. are cowardly careerist sociopaths, just plain stupid, or both.

Well, both, obviously, but I would add a couple more things- lazy, incurious, insulated, and well-rewarded for staying that way.

1.) They are lazy- Reading the commentary from Sullivan and Brooks and Klein and others, aside from being completely wrong, what stood out to me was how simply predictable it was, regurgitating the coalescing villager CW about Ryan: The plan is bold! It is serious! It took courage! It re-frames the debate! The ball is in Obama’s court! Very wonky! It is a game-changer! Did I mention it is serious? The math demands it! We need to have shared sacrifice! This puts us on the right course! It’s serious and bold!

Read any one of their pieces the last couple of days, and it was like conventional wisdom/villager mad libs. Actually reading the bill, realizing it isn’t serious, it isn’t bold, that it won’t set us on the right path because it gives away as much in taxes as it cuts from the needy, realizing the only people sacrificing are the poor while the well-off are lavished with trillions in tax cuts- well, doing that and actually thinking, like Bruce Bartlett, James Fallows, Paul Krugman, Dean Baker, and others managed to do, that would be just way too much work. Better to roll with the conventional wisdom, churn out a load of bullshit, and when confronted by people that you are wrong, have a hissy fit about the hard left, whine about being picked on and someone using four letter words and capital letters, and dig in. Instead of absorbing what people are telling you, link to the National Review and McMegan, and don’t even bother to figure out basic math such as 22-18. There is a word for this behavior- it is lazy. These guys are on autopilot, have their narrative, and they are sticking to it.

2.) They are also fabulously incurious- When you look at a budget like this that just decimates Medicare and Medicaid, or when you look at the GOP plan to de-fund Planned Parenthood, and simply cheerlead the cuts, you are showing a remarkable lack of curiosity. Do these folks even know what Medicare, Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood do? Do they understand what will happen to poor people with the GOP’s wet dream of Medicaid sent to states in block grants? Pro-tip, you might want to look at things like the tobacco settlement money that was supposed to be for tobacco prevention and the like and see where the money is actually going. You might look at the history of block grants (and how funding gradually declines, is misused, is often not able to be put in use if the necessary structures are not in place, etc.).

The only way you could think slashing Medicare as it is proposed in the Ryan plan and then giving that same amount to the well-off is acceptable is if you simply have no idea what Medicare does and how valuable it is to so many people. You must think the whole program is full of fraud, waste, and abuse. You must think that no lives are actually being saved. That is really the only explanation for some of the behavior from some pundits. They have to think that Medicare must not really be that important, because if you slash it, it isn’t going to have any results other than “saving money.” It is that level of ignorance that, when someone like Debbie Wasserman Schultz accurately points out that these cuts are going to devastate the elderly, your only response is the following:

The Ryan plan does nothing to control health care costs. If it is passed, ACA is canned, and Medicare is slashed, lots of elderly will die. They will not be able to afford health care, which is why we created Medicare in the first place (because seniors were simply incapable of getting health care insurance- a fact that seems to elude everyone with an erection for this plan), and with the pre-existing condition ban removed with ACA, it will be even harder. Only a completely incurious dullard, when that is pointed out to them, would go to the fainting couches gasping “Moore Award! Moore Award!” It is simply magical thinking to assume otherwise, and those really are the only options- you have to think that Medicare does nothing, or that there is some magical way those people, stripped of the assistance and security that Medicare provides them, will somehow find health care some other way. And we won’t even go into how you could think those things and still recognize that Ryan has exempted everyone over 55. He did that because while the pundits are clueless, he knows what the ramifications of his plan will be. People will die. There is nothing obscene about pointing that out.

Oh, and by the way- Palin was lying about death panels and DWS wasn’t about death traps. But you knew that, right?

Or, you could also have this reaction:

Because, you see, accurately pointing out that people will die without health care is the same thing as dangerous election hyperbole, putting crosshairs on candidates, and having fund-raisers at machine gun ranges. I suppose there is another option- these folks know that this plan will kill people, and they are just trying to control the debate and keep people from pointing it out (and I don’t mean to chuck Wiegel in with the others as it relates to commentary on the Ryan plan- I think Dave just had a lame “gotcha” with DWS that he could not resist, which was then predictably used by the usual suspects to advance their story. Having said that, this type of lazy “gotcha” journalism with the false equivalencies is just another symptom of the Beltway sickness that so many of our pundits suffer from).

3.) They are insulated– Everyone of the people cheerleading the Ryan/GOP plan has the very best medical coverage, and really has no stake in this. Considering they are pundits, and will probably have platinum until the day they die, and Medicare is kind of an afterthought. I know that they get all heated up when you point out that they simply have no stake in this game (except more tax cuts!), but we have a village class of Beltway pundits who really are insulated from what the rest of the country is going through. These issues are abstractions to them, and they are a horrifying reality to everyone else. That’s how you can talk about slashing trillions from other people’s health care coverage while giving out tax cuts to those who don’t need them and can babble about seriousness. When they have a personal stake in things, however, things change. Some of the best commentary the past couple of years during the health care debate came from Karen Tumulty when she was writing about the sheer hell her brother was going through:

The unforeseen was exactly what turned up when Pat went in for a physical on Nov. 30, 2007, his first in five years. The doctor found high levels of blood and protein in his urine, results that were confirmed in another round of tests in December. Soon after that, Pat discovered that his urine had turned brown and foamy. In the middle of all this, he was laid off from his job, and finding a new one while doing temp work was his most pressing concern. Finally, last July my brother’s doctor insisted that he see a specialist, who quickly ordered a biopsy. That’s when Pat, who is now 54, learned that his kidneys were failing.

The diagnosis was only the first shock. The second came a few weeks later, in an Aug. 5 letter from Pat’s health-insurance company. For six years — since losing the last job he had that provided medical coverage — Pat had been faithfully paying premiums to Assurant Health, buying a series of six-month medical policies, one after the other, always hoping he would soon find a job that would include health coverage. Until that happened, “unexpected illnesses and accidents happen every day, and the resulting medical bills can be disastrous,” Assurant’s website warned. “Safeguard your financial future with Short Term Medical temporary insurance. It provides the peace of mind and health care access you need at a price you can afford.”

Kidney failure would seem to be one of those disastrous “unexpected illnesses” that Pat thought he was insuring himself against. But apparently he was wrong. When my mother, panicked, called to tell me that the insurance company was refusing to pay Pat’s claims, I told her not to worry; bureaucratic mix-up, I assumed. I said I’d take care of it, bringing to bear my 15 years of experience covering health policy, sitting through endless congressional hearings on the subject and even moderating a presidential candidates’ forum on the issue.

Confident of my abilities to sort this out or at least find the right person to fix the problem, I made some calls to the company. I got nowhere. That’s when I realized that the national crisis I’d written so much about had just hit home.

The previous four weeks had left my brother with more than $14,000 in bills from hospitals, doctors and labs. And that was just to figure out what was wrong with him. Actually treating his disease was going to be unimaginably more expensive. Patrick needed help quickly, and we didn’t have a clue where or how to start looking for it.

Things done changed. What was an abstraction, her job writing about health care coverage, took on a whole new dimension when it hit close to home. Imagine that.

I’ve spent the last month helping my neighbors deal with their current health care crisis. She’s not really my neighbor, as she and her sister live next to my parents down the street, but when you live in a town of 300, everyone is your neighbor. They’ve lived next to my folks since I was thirteen. The elder sister (76) was married to an American, and they fled Beirut to America in 1983. Her husband died, so now it is just her and her sister (70.) Her sister had been having some problems, so they went to a doctor, then went to an endocrinologist, and long story short, it appears that she has a thyroid tumor the size of a canned ham in her chest. If she does not have it removed, it will continue to grow and kill her. We don’t know if it is cancerous, and there is no real way to know for sure, as it is so big that any biopsy of one area may not show anything, but cancer may exist elsewhere. Over the past few weeks, we have been to ENT doctors, cardiologists, thoracic surgeons, general practitioners, we’ve had biopsy, nuclear stress tests, cat scans, EKG’s, EEG’s, the works. In a couple weeks, she will have life-saving surgery, and she is healthy as a horse and will probably live for another twenty years.

Why am I telling you this? Because Medicare is paying for it. You, me, and everyone else who pays taxes is keeping this woman alive, and I am here to tell you it is worth every penny. She’s a wonderful, witty, charming woman with a lot to give the world. Without medicare, and under the Ryan “plan,” there is no chance she would be able to afford insurance, no one would insure a woman of her age with this health problem (just like it was before there was no medicare), no chance she would be able to afford the work that has and will be done, no one to provide the care she will need after surgery, and this tumor would be a death sentence. Her options would be… to die.

Why, oh why, is Debbie Wasserman Schultz so shrill!! Moore Award!! Moore Award!! Why is she violating the new tone!

On the upside, the Ryan plan will roll back ACA and the modest capital gains increase on Warren Buffett and his friends, and they will also get reduced marginal rates, Paris Hilton will get a break on the estate tax, and hedge fund managers get some love. Shared sacrifice! The math demands it! That is what serious plans for the future of America do.

4.) They are rewarded for these opinions– Peddling conventional wisdom and spewing beltway knowledge has and will be lucrative. It gets you good jobs at the Atlantic and a lifetime job at the NY Times. You get to be paid guests on cable news. You get to go out to LA and pal around with Bill Maher or yuk it up with Greg Gutfield on Red Eye. You have every incentive to do EXACTLY what you have been doing, which is spew callous, ignorant nonsense. It literally pays to spew this bullshit, while anyone who disagrees is simply mean and a member of the hard and unserious left.

So that’s what we are dealing with and why. We have a ruling class of lazy, incurious, insulated dullards who value their misguided ideology more than their fellow citizens, and are paid well and rewarded for doing the bidding of the sociopaths in the money party. It’s really that simple.

(Picture stolen from the always awesome Driftglass, who has some related thoughts)

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230 replies
  1. 1
    Joe Lisboa says:

    Thank you. Spot on.

  2. 2
    eemom says:

    5) They were PAWNED.

    tee hee

  3. 3
    spark says:

    That’s gonna leave a mark.

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    Sure people might die, but you can’t make an omelette without throwing old people out in the street to die. And who doesn’t like omelettes?

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @spark: It should leave a mark, but it won’t. It won’t touch them for exactly the reasons Cole just laid out.

  6. 6
    Calouste says:

    Excellent post John.

    Now move Sullivan and Klein and the other sociopaths out of your blogroll and, well, maybe not into “Blogs We Monitor And Mock As Needed”, maybe into a new category. Like “Stupid, Lazy, Incurious, Insulated, Cowardly Careerist Sociopaths”. You have the power the call these people out and shame them and name them the names they deserve. Use it.

  7. 7
    PeakVT says:

    One of the most important rules of Villager journalism is to never question the established narrative. Spending is out of control! We’re overtaxed! MedicareAndSocialSecurity that will bankrupt us! Budgets with delayed cuts based on dishonest numbers are bold! Waste’n’Fraud is everywhere! These are all lies, but the are repeated endless in the face of repeated debunking. It’s easier for our lazy media to re-type the existing narrative than to do reporting.

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    Tomorrow Ryan will be the guest on Meet the Press. I’m sure that after being offered donuts with or without sprinkles, David will ask him whether he felt threatened after telling his version of the truth. Ryan will courageously say that he can handle it.

  9. 9
    eemom says:

    Yo Cole, I’ll make you a deal: start using OF in between COUPLE and THINGS and I promise to respect your opinions about Supreme Court cases for the rest of my life.

  10. 10
    Jon says:

    When you’re on John, you are ON.

  11. 11

    Well done, Cole. If it weren’t so fucking depressing, I’d say “I need a cigarette after this.”

    BTW, where’s your column in the Daily Beastia1ity?

  12. 12
    aimai says:

    Yes, I get that all the time. That is, if you tell someone the logical conseqences of their political choices its “rude” and “surely you can’t imply that I wanted this perfectly obvious outcome!” I just stand up and repeat: “Who wills the ends/wills the means; who wills the means/wills the ends.” Sometimes I shout “fuck off and die you asshole. You choose this! and You chose this! Don’t pretend you don’t know that people will die. You don’t care until its someone you know! Then you’ll be as shocked as the teabaggers who want the government shut down as long as it affects everyone but them!”

    This doesn’t work, but it makes me feel better.

    aimai

    You know something else? This asshole behavior by Klein is lasting so long that its going into another summer and the possiblity of another god damned barbecue with that bastard. I just can’t keep it up. I think I’ll boycott rather than have to think up something witty or just kicking sand in his cocktail weenie.

    aimai

  13. 13
    driftglass says:

    Paul Ryan is a Force That Gives Us Meaning — http://bit.ly/fX181Y

  14. 14
    sukabi says:

    @eemom: no, they are willing participants. you get pwnd once or twice, these fuckers make a career out of it..

  15. 15

    @JPL:

    Tomorrow Ryan will be the guest on Meet the Press. I’m sure that after being offered donuts with or without sprinkles, David will ask him whether he felt threatened after telling his version of the truth. Ryan will courageously say that he can handle it.

    I so wish i lived in an alternate universe where Molly Ivins and IF Stone (hey aimai!) were hosting MTP and just punched Ryan in the neck and took his insurance card away from him.

  16. 16
    aimai says:

    @PeakVT:

    You know what else, PeakVT, I’ve noticed that the same numbers are crushing us (CRUSHING US) when its money that is going to NPR or PP or Medicare or Medicaid, but suddenly when its money derived from raising taxes on the rich it just doesn’t seem to amount to a hill of beans. Its as if money from cuts is valued more highly than money from rich people.

    aimai

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    But… sacrifice is ennobling! And…

    Ah, fuck it.

  18. 18
    John Cole says:

    @driftglass: I totally just stole that awesome picture and linked to you.

  19. 19
    beltane says:

    This post is a prime example of why I am a big fan of John Cole.

  20. 20
    RP says:

    I am so ready for torches and pitchforks. Plutocrat domes on fence posts sounds like a perfectly wonderful decorating scheme…

  21. 21
    aimai says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Hey, thanks AWS. I miss my grandfather every day when I’m grinding my teeth over political things. He must have had really low bloodpressure or he would have stroked out over the shit he saw covering politics for sixty years.

    aimai

  22. 22
    sukabi says:

    @Calouste: I’d suggest a blog category with the name Incurious, Sociopathic Bastards for them…

    Good on you John… you’ve earned at least 10 gold stars for your help with your neighbors and another 10 for flogging the stupid bastards like Sully.

  23. 23
    bemused says:

    I was just reading James Downey’s piece in TNR about Ryan snowing the media with many examples of media Joe Scarborough, Charlie Rose, Mike Allen and others immediately slobbering over him who has had no real economic wonk credentials I just don’t buy that Ryan is a media mastermind and that all the media have been conned or lazy. I think many spot someone who they make fit their dreamboat conservative whiz kid ideal the same way republicans create a “solution” to a policy issue and fit pseudo facts & numbers to make it look like it works. It’s like having puzzle pieces from two different puzzles and cramming them together to fit and insisting the puzzle is complete even when it doesn’t look anything like the cover.

  24. 24
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Mr. Cole is correct on all counts – 1, 2, 3 and 4. However, his faithful balloonbagger minions will choose these depraved moral monsters over someone like, oh, say, Glenn Greenwald, every time.
    .
    .

  25. 25
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Preach it John! Fuck the pundits and their bullshit.

  26. 26
    Chat Noir says:

    @beltane: Ditto.

  27. 27
    Bob Loblaw says:

    So, uh, what does Sully think about the FY2011 budget? Great deal, or greatest deal? The seriousness was overwhelming, I bet.

  28. 28
    Ana Gama says:

    @aimai: It’s the same logic that is used to argue that people making $250k and over are not well off enough to absorb a slight tax increase, while teachers making $40-60k are thugs living high on the hog, and so must take a pay cut.

  29. 29
    Valdivia says:

    Golf clap. Bravo. That is all.

  30. 30
    Adam Collyer says:

    I never comment anymore, but this is necessary. The story about your neighbor is a story about shared sacrifice and the American community. That’s exactly what pundits say they want. If you want “shared sacrifice,” then share your prosperity and good fortune with others.

    The response to this budget outline has been laughable, but completely predictable. It’s disheartening. I’m thankful every day that I have stable employment, excellent benefits, and live next to a major city that can give the kind of quality care that saves peoples lives every single day. Not everyone is so lucky, and all this kind of policy does is make that misfortune more widespread.

  31. 31
    kerFuFFler says:

    Ryan’s plan is awful.

    Nevertheless, as a person who recently took a 400 level course on the economics of healthcare (3 years ago) I must confess that although the cost containment initiatives in ACA are a step in the right direction, they fall FAR short of addressing the magnitude of the problem. Medicare is spending on average about three times as much per person as they have contributed over a lifetime of paying taxes. Nipping 2% here and 1% there from the costs does not come close to solving a problem where we are spending 300% of the allotted budget. Future demographic trends will only make this way worse.
    Unfortunately the repubs have also fought against covering end of life consultations making it harder for people to choose sensible, compassionate options in advance forcing them to consider such issues in a hyper emotional state when they are ultimately confronted with choices. End of life care commands a quickly growing percentage of Medicare costs so dealing with this issue is of the utmost importance.

    My understanding is that other Western societies with single payer systems have much better overall health outcomes per dollar spent because they spend proportionally more on earlier, preventive care, they provide services much more efficiently and they are less likely to spend vast sums turning someone’s last few days into a month of invasive procedures and prolonged hospitalization.

  32. 32
    Davis X. Machina says:

    My theory, and I’m sticking to it, is that because “bold” is four characters, and “gravitas” is eight characters, and it’s a twitter world, Paul — four characters — Ryan — four characters, as well — is ‘bold’.

    In 1985 he’d have ‘displayed gravitas’, and that’s waaay too many characters.

  33. 33
    Trentrunner says:

    The other reason to keep Medicare as is (and expand it to Medicare for all) is this:

    WE CAN AFFORD IT.

    We can afford it.

    We can afford it.

    Oh, and since I haven’t said it yet today: Andrew Sullivan is a cunty git.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    The plan is bold!

    This is about the only thing they left out (from Pulp Fiction):

    Vincent: That’s a bold statement.

  35. 35
    geg6 says:

    Gawd, that was better than sex. I need a cigarette.

    You are a righteous man, Cole.

  36. 36
    J says:

    Absolutely terrific, John!

    These days I often find myself thinking of the scene in ‘It’s a wonderful life’ in which Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) rails against a shiftless, no good working class, but I substitute ‘ruling class’ for ‘working class’.

    There is something about the spectacle of members of our spoiled, cosseted, pampered, endlessly flattered and fussed-over ruling class working themselves into a moralistic frenzy at the thought of paying taxes at the lowest rates in recent history that turns the stomach. They have no shame, no decency, and a society which, like ours, worships and exalts these people has lost its way.

  37. 37
    slag says:

    Because Medicare is paying for it. You, me, and everyone else who pays taxes is keeping this woman alive, and I am here to tell you it is worth every penny. She’s a wonderful, witty, charming woman with a lot to give the world.

    Kick. Ass.

  38. 38
    driftglass says:

    @John Cole: My pleasure and thanks. Just keep working the body.

  39. 39
    patroclus says:

    If, in the U.K., Sullivan’s beloved Conservative Party proposed abolishing the NHS and replacing it with partial block grants to county councils, their electoral support would utterly disintegrate. They would be criticized heavily by the UK punditry; they would be rightly regarded as an unserious party; they would become a national joke. Same thing in Canada.

    But here, where Medicare/Medicaid is really only a NHS for seniors, the abject poor and the disabled, a proposal to abolish them is viewed as “serious” and “bold” and lauded by the punditry. What this country needs is Medicare for all. What is instead being debated is destroying Medicare.

    By the way, isn’t Ryan, you know, the House Budget Chair? Why is it “startlingly bold” and “courageous” for a Budget Chair to propose a budget? Does anyone recall John Spratt getting all sorts of wet kisses from Sullivan, Klein-Hoekstra or Brooks?

  40. 40
    cermet says:

    Considering what a custy ass licking bitch sullivan is, the Moore award is a bage of honor.

  41. 41
    Rihilism says:

    Extremely well said. LIIR? Was that intentional or serendipitous? I, for one, and ready to assist in holding each and everyone of these fucking morons down while “LIIR” is branded on their foreheads.

    Number 3 is the one that I find most disgusting. There is an old (horrid, mind you) saying that goes something along the lines “A Republican is Democrat who’s been mugged” or some such garbage. Someone needs to come up with a “catchy” phrase for Repubs that have suddenly discovered the concept of empathy after receiving a bitch slap from the “invisible hand”. This, in essence, is what I find so disgusting, that someone needs to experience a personal tragedy in order to develop a sense of basic human compassion…

  42. 42
    Liberal sandlapper says:

    Amen and amen, Mr. Cole. THIS is why I click on BJ five times a day.

  43. 43
    cermet says:

    @Rihilism: A Democrat is a republican that has lost his medical coverage and been laid off his job.

  44. 44

    All true. And all sickening. These turds could fly to a private clinic in Switzerland to get a pimple popped, so that’s all that matters. Anybody else isn’t really real to these people. Anybody else is nothing but an abstraction. And there is a word for people like this, and it is “sociopath”. It’s shrill and mean and unserious, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Lots of things that are true make soulless sociopaths feel bad, but since their feelings mean more than other people’s very lives, we need to shut up about it.

  45. 45
    srv says:

    Very Serious People Believe that 22 – 18 = 3

    This needs to be a new meme, more obvious than gatritis impaired calculators.

  46. 46
    gogol's wife says:

    I haven’t read the other comments yet, but thank you, thank you, thank you. You are so much better than every single person who writes for the New York Times. And let’s not even talk about what’s on television. How I wish everyone could read this.

  47. 47
    RossInDetroit says:

    In a fair world, the truth in that post, so eloquently stated, would be the last word anyone needed on the brown nosers of the elite pundit class.

  48. 48
    DavidNC says:

    This is one of those posts I come here to read. Sully is a talented writer, but he’s got no critical thinking skills. Plus he’s not very bright. But it’s like I always tell students: being a fluid, talented writer more than makes up for being a shallow, uncritical thinker. You can coast forever on good writing skills. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but it totally is. And not just with DC pundits–it’s like that in a lot of job fields. That probably accounts for a lot of these shitty hack pundits.

  49. 49
    Julia Grey says:

    This asshole behavior by Klein is lasting so long that its going into another summer and the possiblity of another god damned barbecue with that bastard.

    HA!

    I thought about you kicking sand in that jerk’s face every time I saw him being discussed lately.

  50. 50
    Sad Iron says:

    Oh snap–this is a straight up punch in the grill.

    Somebody is going to need to start saying it–no one is “serious” unless the first words out of their mouth are “50% cut to defense spending.” Imagine.

  51. 51
    Warren Terra says:

    A truly beautiful post. A bit wasted, because you missed one critical point: they are narcissists. They love to admire their own self-conception, but they lack any real ability for introspection or to reconsider themselves. Sully is the extreme version of this, which is why he’s managed to apparently read a week’s worth of posts at this blog and the only message he took was that when sufficiently peeved John will use allcaps and four-letter words. That’s why he can post a five-paragraph gently written sweetly reasoning letter explaining why Ryan is full of shit and sent to him rebutting his criticism of John, and have a complete non-sequitur as his rejoinder. Essentially, that’s why he’s not even worth engaging with.

    @Valdivia:

    Golf clap. Bravo. That is all.

    I know you mean to be complementary, but the older and I think still main use of “golf clap” is to signify sarcasm, not approval. I wasn’t even aware there was another meaning (and Urban Dictionary seems to be conflicted about whether there is). The term could easily be misinterpreted.

  52. 52
    aimai says:

    @kerFuFFler:

    Yeah. One thing I think is different about cradle/grave care is that the individual consumer has more of a realistic understanding that illness happens throughout life and not just at the end and that you take care of your body as you go along. This is just what I think, mind you, but I think the US approach which makes health care almost optional until you are old enough to get on Medicare is that it encourages a lottery like approach to one’s own health. As though you could game the system, or throw money at the problem, and live forever instead of learning to live well within your allotted span.

    I can’t remember where this was but I do remember seeing a discussion about end of life with a French guy who had been diagnosed with cancer and his attitude was so much more sane and humane than that of his US counterpart who was all about the heroic measures and fighting every last step, even if it meant living out his last years in the hospital on life support instead of living out a fewer number of months beautifully, with family and friends.

    aimai

  53. 53
    gnomedad says:

    @cermet: \

    A Democrat is a republican that has lost his medical coverage and been laid off his job.

    The hell of it is, I’m sure there are a lot of teabaggers in this situation who are still blaming the Kenyan mooslim shoshalmalist.

  54. 54
    WereBear says:

    Excellently and comprehensively put, sir!

    Despite themselves being okallee dokallee, I don’t understand how they can be so cavalier about others, though.

    Surely there must be someone they know who is threatened by the policies they embrace? Then again, maybe not. Not hanging with any homeboys, in this case, would let them go to sleep each night in happy, enforced, ignorance.

  55. 55
    aimai says:

    @Warren Terra:

    I think Valdiva meant “Slow Clap”–the kind they always give the hero in movies when a particularly courageous thing has happened and the crowd is silent, out of fear, and one guy starts slowly clapping and forces the crowd to the hero’s side.

    aimai

  56. 56
    Redshift says:

    No, no, the Ryan plan will deal with health care costs because the real cause of our excessive health care spending is that people don’t have enough “skin in the game” for the Free Market™ to work! I know, because I heard it from a rich bastard friend of the family who reads the Wall Street Journal and apparently thinks that because he spends whatever he needs to go to the Mayo Clinic, everyone spends willy-nilly on health care because they feel like it.

    Sigh. And he thinks it’s “unfair” that he doesn’t get a refund of what he paid into Medicare because he doesn’t use it. (Yet I doubt he demands “refunds” from every other insurance he’s lucky enough not to use. Funny that.)

  57. 57
    RossInDetroit says:

    @driftglass:

    Hey, Driftglass, well done. I like that.

  58. 58
    Brooklyn Jimmy says:

    Long time lurker here. I’ve never posted a comment before, but I just wanted to say thanks for your utter decency and humanity, JC. In my ideal world, your sentiments here are what would constitute the core principles of a true “party of the left.”

  59. 59
    Kay Shawn says:

    John thank you for this post….people may sometimes kid ya about the raw emotions you put up front on the blog, but –holy shIt– harnessed here they are just goddamned awesome and a service to the public.

  60. 60
    steve says:

    This post should be reprinted on the front page of every newspaper and featured on the front page of every news or politics website.

    A magical-thinking fantasy budget concocted by a pasty-faced congressman from effing Janesville Wisconsin is bold and courageous and reframes the debate? How does that work?

    What really gets me are the pundits excoriating Obama for failing to “respond” to the Ryan proposal. Seems to me that if someone is proposing crazy shit, the only response required is “let’s not do crazy shit.”

  61. 61
    sukabi says:

    @DavidNC: I would think that one of the most important pieces of being a “talented” anything would be the ability to think through the piece you’re working on… ie, have well developed “critical thinking” skills…

    I don’t think it’s that Sully is a “talented writer” so much that he plays to his chosen audiences biases/beliefs, which just reinforces those beliefs and gains him a cultish following… these hacks benefit from the drought of critical thinking skills this country is suffering. we’ve become a country of sound bites and buffoons.

  62. 62
    LosGatosCA says:

    @beltane:

    Exactly. That’s why we’re here reading the posts and comments.

    The Emperor, the court, the jesters, the stenographers, and the sycophants have no clothes, no clues, no street cred, and sadly, no consciences.

    All we have are the facts, the values, and the vision of a better future.

    But the money boyz is keeping them bitches.

  63. 63
    Dr. Squid says:

    I would like to say that I called this three days ago

    So when does one of Sullivan’s minions come flouncing out with a Moore Award nomination for DWS being just so uncivil?

    OK, so she was criticizing the general budget instead of the Kill Medicare part, but still.

  64. 64
    jennifer says:

    Wildly crazy of me to comment, as my life and my thoughts are far from this view, and to be honest from pretty much all of those in politics, the media, and the think tanks.

    Enough already. I am sick and tired of the left and the right proposing to help the poor, the sick, the minorities, the children, the widows, the elderly and the immigrants or not for that matter. Health care and now the proposal that everyone has coverage is laughable.

    Try and live on little or no money. Fine live with out medical care. Great, and until 2008 a clinic in town would allow two payments for medical care(75 dollars for the visit) and now accepts no cash payment plan, because we are all to be covered. If I understand things right, if I do not buy medical coverage for my family, money will be taken out so I am covered. Then of course that money which I use to live is gone, and then what?

    How does this make sense?

    Perhaps the bottom up method/or even the top down method is WRONG.

    Why don’t we assess our medical system? Why don’t we assess the lawsuits, the costs of meds, the incredible costs to just be seen may be the issue. Why don’t we get back to basics, and address some of our health issues as a nation…

    Make recess mandatory for grades k-6 at least three per day. Certainly we can cut back on something? Then why not require gym or PE for our middle school students and high school students. If we require activity for children and get them in the natural provided vitamin D we could address the explosion of childhood obesity in the nation. Perhaps we also could address the beef industry and what they add to our meat to increase the $$ made by adding hormones. If it makes the cow grow fast doesnt logic tell us it will do the same to us? And what about what we have done to our foods to make more for least cost and most return.

    The added costs and skyrocket medical needs have arisen due to many factors and the bandaid solution of covering everyone or not covering all depending on your politics ignores the real problem. I for one am sick and tired of being called poor(therefore someone can think for me and ‘protect my rights’), and am tired of politics as usual.

    Forget the Tea Party, the Democrats, the Republicans and whoever is out there. How about getting back in focus and perhaps ask some of us who are the poor? Perhaps we could offer solutions to make things easier, especially if we live maximizing the very mantra shouted from the politicians. Perhaps we “poor” can share how easy it is to become a tad more self sufficient and instead of being part of the dependency actually learned to modify living and learning about our food chain, how to grow ones own foods, as well as preserving the harvest, and raising our own livestock. My solutions will not meet the needs of the masses in the same measure as it works for me, but it could be replicated on a lesser scale so we could reduce the real problem that our poor suffer from- the lack of healthy foods at a reasonable price. A healthy diet like gym will carry a long way in our nations health.

    Just my po’ thoughts

  65. 65
    freelancer says:

    Wow. I never knew I could have a favorite post on Balloon-Juice until today…

  66. 66
    Dr. Squid says:

    @srv: Actually, it needs to be added to the rotating tagline.

  67. 67
    eemom says:

    @driftglass:

    That picture is a masterpiece of horror.

  68. 68
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    And numbah 5.
    Look Cole. They have made their own reality. They believe all that freemarket/hayekian/burkean/humian/oakeshottian bullshytt with every particle of their being, even in the face of a crushing epic fail like the Econopalypse and 25th and 20th world standing in science and math.
    They deeply and profoundly believe that if they can just get one more do over in the Free Market Fantasy Forest, it will WORK this time, even though there is zero empirical evidence to substantiate that.
    They are anti-empirical.

  69. 69
    cbear says:

    @sukabi:

    I’d suggest a blog category with the name Incurious, Sociopathic Bastards for them…

    Why? Is “Republican Ass-Lickers” taken?

  70. 70
    WaynersT says:

    Next to the post about finding Rosie (I knew that fat dog was staying) – this is the Ballon Juice post I will always remember.

    Having family members who still cannot afford health insurance even though they are fully employed, as well as grandparents who have depended on medicare –
    BRAV-fucking-O, Mr. Cole, BRAV-fucking-O!

  71. 71
    gnomedad says:

    @kerFuFFler:
    We will never stop inventing expensive new ways to keep people alive, even if miserable. Any acknowledgement of this is attacked by the wingers as “death panels”. Better to just let people die because they can’t afford treatment, and then we can trot out “the grasshopper and the ants” or some other Galtian parable.

  72. 72
    LosGatosCA says:

    John,

    I think you should institute the SULLIVAN AWARD (ALL CAPS) given daily to righteous yet oddly informed bitchez who get hysterical when certain obvious flaws in logic, completely misunderstood, or better, purposefully misconstrued data are used to construct indefensible arguments.

    Bonus points for self-loathing Catholics who believe in Laugher Curve fairies.

  73. 73
    Mac G says:

    I just do not understand media members inability to call out bullshit. Do they go around life, just believing everything people say to them? I find that hard to believe that is the case.

  74. 74
    Bill Murray says:

    @Redshift:

    No, no, the Ryan plan will deal with health care costs because the real cause of our excessive health care spending is that people don’t have enough “skin in the game” for the Free Market™ to work!

    See I thought the Ryan plan would work to lower health care costs because it would make most of the people who use health care now but don’t have much money unable to get health care of any sort. Thus all that government money we are wasting now on health care for the lesserly remunerated can be repurposed to the people with skin in the game. But I guess we have different wealthy friends

  75. 75
    Judge Crater says:

    You’re right. These guys distill everything that’s gone wrong in this country in the last 20 or 30 years. Put up that rant by George Carlin again. The American dream – you’ve got to be asleep to believe it.

  76. 76
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Make recess mandatory for grades k-6 at least three per day.

    When diesel goes to $7.00 a gallon, we’re back to the one-room schoolhouse. Kids’ll be walking then… to school.

    Of course, the teachers will be all virtual, unless they’re within walking distance, too….

  77. 77
    Chris says:

    SENIOR: “This projected Medicare deficit gives me a headache!”

    PAUL RYAN: “I’ll fix it! I’ll just cut it off!” [whips out sword, chops off senior’s head]

    RYAN: “See? No more headache!”

  78. 78
    slag says:

    @jennifer: If you’re curious about some of the more immediate factors contributing to our high healthcare costs, this article may be interesting to you.

  79. 79
    Resident Firebagger says:

    All been said before.

    But still needs to be said.

    Thanks, Cole…

  80. 80
    JPL says:

    John, The post was excellent. Under Ryan’s plan more people would rely on the emergency room for their care. It’s the most expensive way to treat an illness and health care costs will continue to rise.

    FYI..I’m watching Inside Job.

  81. 81
    Violet says:

    Thank you, John.

    And you are a wonderful person for helping your neighbors as you are. I helped a friend all day yesterday with an unexpected doctor/hospital visit and am still exhausted today. You are doing a great thing.

  82. 82
    Maude says:

    @Warren Terra:
    A few years ago I was talking about narcissists with a man and he said they are dangerous because they don’t care.
    That is the central point to why narcissists are so destructive to everyone but themselves.
    Because it is always about them, nothing else matters.
    I’ve know my share of them and they will do anything to get what they want and don’t give a fig about what they do to anyone else.
    I’ll be glad when John’s neighbor has the tumor out.

  83. 83
    bobbo says:

    By the way we have been here before. In 2000 the Village praised GWB to the skies for having the courage to finally get serious about Social Security, by privatizing it. Because everyone knows that Social Security is going bankrupt. Oh and they mocked Al Gore for proposing to protect the Social Security surplus with a “lockbox.” The main difference between then and now is that now some people are actually trying to challenge the Village consensus.

  84. 84
  85. 85
    chamois says:

    Here is Andrew, feeling the effects of John’s swift kick to his butt.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    Cliff says:

    Slow clap.

  88. 88
    Bill Murray says:

    @kerFuFFler:

    Medicare is spending on average about three times as much per person as they have contributed over a lifetime of paying taxes. Nipping 2% here and 1% there from the costs does not come close to solving a problem where we are spending 300% of the allotted budget.

    But since Medicare isn’t a health savings account, how much a person has paid in has no relevance to the “allotted” budget for that person. Now that doesn’t mean that there aren’t future problems for Medicare, but paying out three times as much as contributed has little to no relevance to the problems. The problem is that medical costs are rising faster than wages. I hope your teacher gave out these numbers too.

  89. 89
    sukabi says:

    @cbear: No, but they aren’t all Republican, and they are all Incurious, Sociopathic Bastards…. why limit yourself to one particular sub-group?

  90. 90
    elmo says:

    I love you. That is all.

    No, on second thought, that isn’t all. Thank you. Thank you for this righteous, awesome rant.

    My partner just had her thyroid removed, because of the second episode of “cold nodules”. Probably not cancer, probably nothing to worry about, but take it out for safety’s sake just the same. Because she is my female partner instead of my male husband, she can’t be on my insurance. She’s disabled. So who is paying for this potentially life-saving surgery?

    Medicaid. Which is to say, we all are. The taxpayers (of which I am a pretty good-sized one). So thank you all for that. And fuck the incurious, privileged, magical-thinking bastards.

  91. 91
    Gina says:

    @Calouste:

    maybe into a new category. Like “Stupid, Lazy, Incurious, Insulated, Cowardly Careerist Sociopaths”. You have the power the call these people out and shame them and name them the names they deserve. Use it.

    Excellent idea. SLIICCS for short?

    Thanks for this post JC, nice to see you on your game.

  92. 92
    chamois says:

    Dunno why link didn’t work.

    http://www.spike.com/video-cli.....h-his-butt

  93. 93
    JPL says:

    @Bill Murray: The Ryan plan will increase medical costs because people will do without preventive health care.
    also, too..I’m sure Kerfuffler will run back to his teacher and ask more questions.

  94. 94
    HyperIon says:

    @Trentrunner:

    WE CAN AFFORD IT.

    um, not if we leave it as it is (fee for service, tons of expenditures in the last x months of life, significant provider fraud)

    but thanks for playing!

  95. 95
    mcd410x says:

    Well said.

    Also, you bought a $250 teapot?

  96. 96
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @Ana Gama:

    You forgot to say that the people “earning” over 250K are the “productive” people who hire others and keep the economy afloat, but teachers are just leaching taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

    (OK, if you’re in the 250K bracket, you could very well be a “small” business person, who actually does hire a few other people.)

  97. 97
    licensed to kill time says:

    Empathy. You have it, John Cole. Those others do not.

    The inability to put yourself in another person’s shoes pretty much defines conservatives. That, and they just don’t seem to give a shit.

  98. 98
    Uloborus says:

    @PeakVT:
    Addendum: They do sometimes flout the conventional wisdom in an equally shallow way so they can rack up the Contrarian Genius points. Oh, and it’ll be done in a way to make it clear that they’re the devil’s advocate and every normal person believes the conventional wisdom.

  99. 99
    Joel says:

    The only way to stop this insanity is to do it at the polls. Campaign time starts now.

  100. 100
    BombIranForChrist says:

    At the end of the day, it’s posts like these that keep me coming back here.

  101. 101
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @gnomedad:

    Actually, quite a few of Tea Bagger mentality would learn nothing from the experience of having a serious illness and ending up with 1000s if not 100s or 1000s of dollars in debt, due to insurance refusing to cover. They would see their experience as unique. They deserve to be covered. They held down a job, yadda yadda. Those other people being denied coverage, well, they are just lazy deadbeats, and besides, why didn’t they take better care of themselves, anyway?

  102. 102
    Bob says:

    To be fair, Andrew Sullivan called Republicans insane on his blog yesterday and dinged Senator Jon Kyl for making outrageous lies about Planned Parenthood. He also appeared on Bill Maher’s show last night defending Planned Parenthood and raising a fuss about how the Tea Party, while ‘good’ on fiscal issues, is still the social conservative hard right.

    That’s funny about the ‘good’ on fiscal issues, because that wasn’t what he was saying prior when all those polls came out showing that the Tea Party didn’t want to cut defense or medicare and so on.

  103. 103
    Morbo says:

    I don’t mean to chuck Wiegel in with the others

    Why on Earth not?

    Weigel did a good job covering the Tea Party, but I don’t see why anyone would categorize him as anything other than a doctrinaire libertarian. The fact that his coverage made them look ridiculous only showed how ridiculous they are and should not be held up as an example of his fantastic jounamalism. Somehow that and the Journolist affair have made him seem like a moderate in the eyes of a lot of liberals, but the real body of his work really belongs as much on the pile as any of the other people you mention.

  104. 104
    melior says:

    I agree with all of this except the “insulated” part. These people are without exception ego-driven and narcissistic to a fault, which means they cannot possibly be unaware of all the people pointing out how wrong they are.

    Conclusion: they just don’t care about the people who will suffer. Literally, do not care. Real people. Suffering. That means I have to add evil fucking assholes who I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire to the list of descriptions.

  105. 105
    mistersnrub says:

    This is some ETHER. This’ll make Sully’s soul burn slow. Brooks, he has no soul.

  106. 106
    El Tiburon says:

    Cole, you may just win a Pulitzer for your work on this topic.

  107. 107
    Bloix says:

    I was having lunch with some people at work last week and one of the senior managers said, “Well, even if you disagree with the Ryan plan you have to admit it’s serious.” This from a guy who thinks of himself as a liberal. The memes penetrate very deeply.

  108. 108
    loretta says:

    As I pointed out before on the wrong thread (sorry), the real indication to me that this reform of Medicare/Medicaid is a non-starter is that *no* insurance companies (esp. the big ones: UHC, Wellpoint, Humana, Genworth) are endorsing the plan.

    They are quite happy to have private Medicare Advantage as long as it can still turn a profit (it’s down to 3% these days), or Medicare supplements that only have to cover 20% of costs that Medicare does not cover. And they get an average of $100 a month for the med sup policies.

    Single payer to all ages is the only way to guarantee an insurance pool of healthy people that will pay for the unhealthy ones.

    Incidentally, “Assurant” is the worst possible temporary health insurance on the market, in my experience. I won’t even sell that crap.

  109. 109
    Elizabelle says:

    Thank you John Cole.

    You could make every one of these points — and more — about the politicians supporting Ryan’s “courageous” plan.

  110. 110
    sukabi says:

    @melior: even if you’d been out on a 3 week bender, your liver/kidneys weren’t processing like they should and your piss was 100 proof?

  111. 111
    Misamericanthrope says:

    Thanks so much for this. Makes me just a tad less despondent. So, how do we combat these sociopaths? I, for one, will never click to Sullivan or any project that he is associated with, ever again. Would love to find a way to let the bastards know that this is intolerable.

  112. 112
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    Damn well said, John.

  113. 113
    Dee Loralei says:

    A-fucking-Men, John. You are a good, decent, caring man who gives righteous rant.

    And I love me some Driftglass, one of the best writers and photoshoppers anywhere on the internets.

  114. 114
    Cat Lady says:

    Way to go John Cole. I was one of the ones who wanted the Sully fixation to stop, but this needed to be said, and it needs to be repeated, and then tattooed onto Sully’s lazy Tory ass. In a just world, Sully will start fixating on Cole. I came here through Sully’s blog, but now he can DIAF with the rest of the Village Koch cocksuckers.

    I’ll take my Moore Award too now, ASSHOLE.

  115. 115
    pugpapalee says:

    Incurious? Lazy? (Stately, plump?) I’ll say… and it doesn’t stop with politics, either. Here’s Sullivan today basically calling James Joyce’s Ulysses “bad” art — apparently because he couldn’t get through it after several tries, poor thing:

    “I have to say I have tried reading Ulysses several times and had exactly the same reaction every time. And that’s the thing about ‘difficult’ art. It’s often, though not always, a synonym for bad.”

    Putz.

  116. 116
    Elia Isquire says:

    @melior: Some of the explanation for the “not caring” is the vanity of thinking you’re one of the relatively few people who make decisions in this country and, thus, it would be small-minded or ignoble of you to focus on the suffering because c’est la vie and things must be done!

    If you ever read any transcripts or memos from the World Bank/IMF etc talking about post-USSR Russia and how to fix its economy — or similar policies in, say, Bolivia — you’ll see the same creepily detached and wildly arrogant attitude; self-imagined Masters of the Universe.

    It’s also not that different from any Nixon transcript with Kissinger about Vietnam…

    Sociopathic really is the word.

    ETA: HOLY SHIT! RON ROSENBAUM IN CONTRARIAN MUTTEN-HEADED WORLD-BAITING INVECTIVE-FILLED ARTICLE WRITTEN SHOCKER!

    Jesus, does the man *ever* get tired of re-writing the same piece?

  117. 117
    Silver says:

    Sullivan should go back to writing on topics where he’s qualified. Maybe another series on how the negro is genetically destined for futility. That’s his speed.

    The man has been an evil motherfucker for a long time. This is nothing new. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again-it takes a real shitball to make me cheer for a fatal virus.

  118. 118
    Comrade Luke says:

    If DWS deserved a Moore Award, might I suggest this for a Koufax Award?

    Well done, Mr. Cole.

  119. 119
    dmbeaster says:

    Best thing about blogs like this one is the sharp clear counter-narrative that undercuts the sickening pundit class. Even though they try to operate in a way that enables them to just ignore this type of criticism, it does have an impact. 20 years ago, I was not nearly as savvy about pundit class blather, which was all that you were really exposed to in those days. Now, they no longer control the narrative as hard as they may try.

    And I second the opinion of others above that always use sharp language regarding these people. They are rotten, dishonest, intellectual frauds to their core.

  120. 120
    Elia Isquire says:

    Also would like to point out that the thread connecting the three targets in this piece — Brooks, Sullivan and Weigel — is either past or present flirtation with or full-on embrace of libertarianism. It’s truly the autism of political philosophies (although that’s a disservice to autism).

  121. 121
    S. Holland says:

    Been lurking here for quite a while…3 times a day…my favorite site, but after reading this, I have to say AMEN and thank you!!! I always learn something, always get a laugh from the comments (compliment!), but this was truly great!

  122. 122
    Stillwater says:

    @HyperIon:

    WE CAN AFFORD IT.
    __
    um, not if we leave it as it is (fee for service, tons of expenditures in the last x months of life, significant provider fraud)
    __
    but thanks for playing!

    Haven’t you been paying attention? At all? We really truly can afford it. Now, if you mean we can’t afford it while giving tax breaks to the wealthy and subsidizing Pentagon Pet Projects, then you have a point. That doesn’t mean addressing front end provider costs ought to be off the table, either.

  123. 123
    Elia Isquire says:

    Can someone do this next with Gerbleberglebugrgurgen? I think he’s really underrated on the blogosphere in terms of being awful in basically every Village way imaginable.

  124. 124
    cat48 says:

    I just read at NPR that Rethugs want to force Obama to endorse the Ryan Plan before they will raise the Debt Limit!
    NO!

    While the current reductions deal with numbers in the billions, McConnell said, “Once we get through this process, by the end of next week, we will move on to a much larger discussion about how we save trillions.”
    Republicans say they hope to use the debt limit issue to force Obama to accept their measures to reduce the deficit.
    Of those upcoming debates, fiscal policy expert J.D. Foster of the conservative Heritage Foundation tells NPR’s Liz Halloran, “The middleweight fight is going to be over the 2012 budget resolution. And the heavyweight match will be over the debt limit.”

    This makes my stomach hurt!

  125. 125
    rikyrah says:

    I don’t even know what you said in the post, because the picture had me LMAO

    BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA H AH AH

  126. 126
    HoneyBearKelly says:

    Great post Mr. C.

    Dave Weigel is just a weird guy.

  127. 127
    Chris says:

    This is all so true and perfectly said. I’m continually amazed at how much success Sullivan enjoys, when even the quality of his writing is mediocre, to say nothing of his critical thinking and imagination (or lack thereof).

    On Maher last night, he proved his mediocrity again. All he could do was agree with the “liberal” premises Maher and Spitzer confronted him with, but despite their pleas, he refused to admit that his entire philosophical framework was violently wrong. He would just get destroyed by their counterarguments, then rehabilitate himself with a pandering mention of how “disappointed” he was with the Republican Party.

    I go to The Dish for all his links to other sites and material. Sully’s own writing and thoughts are always a strange (yet bland) mixture of annoying and dull.

    So true what you said: he’s rewarded for the raw usefulness of his positions, despite their almost total lack of substantive value.

  128. 128
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Elia Isquire: there are no libertarians in America. There are only glibertarian grifters and freemarket boggarts.

  129. 129
    JPL says:

    Articles that make you go hmmmmm
    Wis. Rep.’s Medicare Plan Worries Local Voters
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Brian Krutsch has been long one of many automatic votes here for Rep. Paul Ryan. The unemployed warehouse manager, along with a solid majority of other Janesville voters, has helped elect Ryan seven times and watched with pride as he became one of Congress’ leading authorities on the federal budget. But this week, admiration has been tinged with apprehension as one of Ryan’s signature ideas — ending Medicare’s status as a full, guaranteed benefit for senior citizens — suddenly took a step toward reality.

    ap article on nytimes… no link.. because it’s behind a pay wall but here’s more. …

    “Costs are a major problem,” McDonald said. “If the government gives vouchers but does nothing about the costs, who knows how high they’ll go? You could end up with vouchers that don’t cover the expenses.”…………….
    Char Christensen, a retired social worker, said she wonders what happened to the congressman who once seemed to vote with his heart. She said she fears he has strayed from his small-town roots and become part of a partisan machine………………………………………………
    “Ryan used to be for the people and now he’s for himself,” said Christensen, 63, who doesn’t plan to vote for Ryan again. “That’s not what public service is supposed to be.”…………………………………………………….
    After Ryan’s plan was formally unveiled on Capitol Hill this week, most Republican presidential hopefuls avoided addressing its specifics. It could rile a pivotal constituency, millions of senior citizens who depend on the government-run health care programs, even though those over 55 would stay in the old Medicare plan. Democrats underscored that they will make the Medicare plan an issue in 2012, and the candidates will be pressed to take a position as the election draws closer.

  130. 130
    piratedan says:

    somehow, this seems strangely appropriate….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyXOfe6SPo0

  131. 131
    Elia Isquire says:

    @Chris: Don’t discount his unique biography, too. Our media just loves, loves, loves someone who plays against type. For whatever reason if you hold opinions common to those in your demographic, that means they’re not worth paying attention to. Only the contrarian can be King!

  132. 132
    b-psycho says:

    @Morbo: He supported the stimulus AND the bailouts. “doctrinaire libertarian”?

    Edit: I’m not “doctrinaire” either, btw, assuming that the term refers to Randroids.

  133. 133
    Chris says:

    @Elia Isquire: Very true, yes. Seal-clappers just adore a pained and reluctant critic of one’s own tribe.

  134. 134
    Richard Bottoms says:

    Allow me to kindly invite any Independent or Democrat who voted for a single one of these psychopaths because Obama “let them down” who now utters one single peep about how wrong some of these cuts are to to go fuck yourself with a rusty screwdriver.

    It’s dumb asses like you who vote for Nader and who still believe both parties are “the same.”

    No, they are not.

  135. 135
    rikyrah says:

    OK,

    I’ve read it now..

    BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO..

    I asked in another thread about Sully – is he and American citizen, and who pays for his healthcare? because nobody with HIV who has to deal with the American Health Insurance Industry would sprout as much bullshyt as he does. I think that’s what pisses me off most about him.

    I am loving the response from his readers, who are telling him, in letter upon letter, that the Ryan plan and anyone, including him, who support it, are FULL OF IT.

    it’s a fucking scam to end Medicare and Medicaid.

    ending Medicare will kill the Seniors.

    ending Medicaid will throw a lot of Seniors out into the street and hurt many disabled citizens… because those are the two groups that get the most out of Medicaid in terms of dollars. Block grants are nothing but a fucking farce.

    keep on it, Cole.

    keep on it.

  136. 136
    OzoneR says:

    @JPL: Sounds an awful lot like “Ryan didn’t go far enough”

  137. 137

    Did you all see Sully on Bill Maher last night? He kept repeating the “courageous” thing. His point seems to be, “at least SOMEONE is serious about cutting the budget!”

    I mean cripes. If a Democrat were to propose a budget which slashed the Defense budget, would they be hailed as courageous with a bold deficit cutting vision? Or labeled tree-hugging liberal effetes who can’t possibly be taken seriously?

    And speaking of Defense, the one-week deal casts the Pentagon budget in stone with a measly $3 billion cut, which I suspect is the loss of that F-35 engine which they already agreed to. So that means the rest of the spending cuts the GOP will want will have to be taken out of the much smaller share of the budget devoted to social programs.

    So no, I’m not happy. So sue me.

  138. 138
    JCT says:

    I haven’t read the comments (yet) but BRAVO, John.

    But you know, all of these real-world examples smack of EMPATHY. For shame.

    Oh and as I am sure others have noted — don’t forget the 25-30% (at least) of Medicaid payments that go for Nursing Homes. Block grants would be an enormous disaster. Just what the hammered middle class needs, a resumption of elder care (that is more expensive than ever).

  139. 139
    Chris says:

    @Southern Beale: Yes, and he was thoroughly, righteously spanked by all for it.

  140. 140
    Stillwater says:

    @Elia Isquire: Only the contrarian can be King!

    Easily done, right? just declare your a liberal who reluctantly supports every GOP policy. Interesting that it only rarely goes the other way.

  141. 141
    spark says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    One of the things that makes Sullivan so freaking annoying is that he’s hypersensitive in addition to being a lazy, insulated, well-paid hack. I think it’ll leave a mark on him, anyway.

  142. 142
    ppcli says:

    @JPL:

    The unemployed warehouse manager, …, has helped elect Ryan seven times

    I can’t get snarky about this. Just frustrated and sad. Ryan is not just in favour of, but *profoundly committed to* a picture of society in which every single social support system this unemployed warehouse manager relies on is eliminated. (“It’s not a budget, it’s a cause”.) The shortfall of the vouchers is not an oversight – it’s part of the plan, to destroy Medicare for good. Ayn Rand enthusiast Ryan has made his goals crystal clear – there is absolutely nothing unexpected about this proposal. And this guy has voted for him seven times. Seven times. He’s voted seven times for a guy who would, given the opportunity, bring back debtors’ prisons for people like him.

  143. 143
    DavidNC says:

    @sukabi:I would think that one of the most important pieces of being a “talented” anything would be the ability to think through the piece you’re working on… ie, have well developed “critical thinking” skills…

    Well a big part of good writing is being a good stylist with a distinctive voice. There are lot of morons with a sense of style and a distinctive voice in this world. Like Sully. But yeah, point taken.

  144. 144
    OzoneR says:

    When John Conyers introduced single payer healthcare, no one called it “courageous,” when Sherrod Brown introduced a bill to reinstate Glass-Steagall, no one called it “courageous.” Nobody TV producer said they were “in love” with Ed Markey because of his cap and trade bill, and no one noted the “courage” of the DOJ when they announced they initially wanted to try KSM in New York despite overwhelmingly popular opposition.

    Don’t give me this shit that all Democrats need is “a plan” to be taken seriously, they have them, they get ignored, laughed at, or ridiculed.

  145. 145
    Bex says:

    @Mac G: It’s because the people who sign their paychecks peddle that bullshit.

  146. 146
    Chris says:

    @DavidNC:

    There are lot of morons with a sense of style and a distinctive voice in this world. Like Sully.

    See, I don’t even think he has style and a distinctive voice. I find his writing tedious as all hell. As an aspiring author myself, that may be what bothers me the most.

  147. 147
    efgoldman says:

    Very late to the thread, John, and I haven’t taken time to read all the 130+ previous comments, but this is great stuff.

    Some people think one cannot write cogently out of anger. I probably can’t, but its clear that you can.

    Great job. Thank you.

  148. 148
    zzyzx says:

    What would have happened if the Terri Schiavo case never existed? The rest of us should be grateful for the overreach.

  149. 149

    Bravo, Mr. Cole. I’ll always be grateful to Sullivan for pointing me to this blog. Unfortunately, that’s about the only positive I have left for him. I used to respect him for his writing, but his all too obvious misogyny, extremely shallow pluralism, and his inability to relate to anything outside his own experience has finally pushed me into the Sully mockers camp. I count myself fortunate to at least have gotten balloon-juice out of the deal.

  150. 150
    Tim Connor says:

    Careful Hobbes. He is approaching the Circle of Inner Wisdom.

    Definitely on the money.

  151. 151
    kerFuFFler says:

    @Bill Murray:

    But since Medicare isn’t a health savings account, how much a person has paid in has no relevance to the “allotted” budget for that person.

    Of course Medicare is not a health savings account. Some people require more $$ spent than others, but when the average expenditures per person exceed $250,000 beyond the revenues per person it is the height (or nadir ?) of innumeracy to believe that that is “irrelevant”. Furthermore since Medicare is a rolling payment program where the current workers pay for the benefits of the retirees, this gross imbalance will be crippling to younger people eventually since the generation just entering Medicare (or entering soon) raised fewer children on average.

    We need to pay more for Medicare (yes folks, higher taxes!) or cut back on expenditures or ideally both.

    And just for the record, I am not a young Republican male. I’m a liberal democrat soon-to-be-grandmother. I took the health econ course out of intellectual curiosity. And I am very concerned about my kids and their future children living with this economic sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. I am ashamed about the self centered incoherence of the teabaggers whinging about not wanting to leave debt to their kids but not being willing to countenance any cutbacks, rationing or other alterations in Medicare—–unless it’s for those under 55 (a la Ryan’s plan) Disgusting!

  152. 152
    Svensker says:

    @OzoneR:

    Yes. Thank you.

  153. 153
    ciaran says:

    respect sir, respect. i always thought andrew was kinda annoying, but now you demolished him so throughly i dont think i cant even read him any more. respect.

  154. 154
    Allan says:

    Awesome stuff, John. Some of your best work ever. And you didn’t use all caps or swears either. Perhaps now it will get through Sully’s filters and touch his conscience.

    Ahh, who am I trying to kid?

  155. 155
    Chris says:

    @Bloix: Every time someone tells you that Ryan is “serious”, say “so is a case of cancer.”

  156. 156
    C.D. Book says:

    omg! so perfect i can’t see thru the tears!

  157. 157
    Jay C says:

    @Bill Murray:

    See I thought the Ryan plan would work to lower health care costs because it would make most landfill of the people who use health care now but don’t have much money unable to get health care of any sort.

    Edited for clarity.

  158. 158
    dogwood says:

    Yes, that too, to everything on this thread. For what it’s worth I think the core truth about Sullivan’s character is that he is a snob. He’s been willing to engage in some blog wars with people like Goldberg, who he sees as his equal, but his dismissal and mischaracterization of Cole’s criticism is rooted in the fact that Cole is a middle class guy from W. Va. You all remember Nick Carroway’s line in Gatsby about learning from his father that when tempted to pass judgment to stop and consider that not everyone has had his advantages? Well, Sullivan isn’t that kind of snob. He’s a Tom Buchannan snob. He gets what he wants and leaves others to clean up the mess. He pimped the Bell Curve and Betsy McCaughey because he always “punches down.” And now he’s pimping the Ryan budget because it’s not enough that he feel superior to the poor, he needs them to feel it too.

  159. 159
    Bill H. says:

    Oh, and by the way- Palin was lying about death panels and DWS wasn’t about death traps. But you knew that, right?

    But, according to Dean Baker, at “Beat the Press,”

    There is nothing, as in zero, in President Obama’s health care plan that prevents any individual from getting any health care procedure that he or she wants to pay for. The “centralized board of technocrats” he mentions [in Obama’s plan] would determine the procedures that Medicare would pay for, not the procedures that individuals could receive.

    He does go on to admit that,

    Obviously this will be a very serious restriction for people who cannot pay for expensive procedures on their own,

    No shit?

  160. 160
    cermet says:

    @Silver: Me too. Yet that isn’t the worst – that crusty ass licking pile of shit is alive ONLY because sociali$ed medicine paid fully by tax payers created all the meds that keep the poor (except him) victims of that terrible illness alive – what a low life asswipe that pile of steaming dog shit really is – sullivan, eat shit and die and make this a better world (at least a smarter world.)

  161. 161
    cermet says:

    @kerFuFFler: Ok, if ryan the pile of shit had said this, then he would indded get the title of brave (small b – demorats already have said this but guess who killed all attemps to do both? The asswipe thugs.)

  162. 162
    folkbum says:

    When patients get a “serious” diagnosis, they know they will die. Remember, the Paul Ryan budget plan is “serious.”

  163. 163
    Loneoak says:

    On All Things Considered yesterday they gave a mini-bio for Ryan. They noted that 1) he requires all his staff to read The Fountainhead, and 2) he used to drive the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. There’s no logical relationship between those two, but there certainly is an aesthetic relationship.

  164. 164
    Quiddity says:

    For all the flack that Ryan’s budget has gotten, it’s done at least one thing. It’s exposed the knaves and fools. Brooks, in particular has suffered a serious hit. Sullivan now has a 21st century version of the Bell Curve episode added to his resume. As to Joe Klein, he’s merely deepened the hole he started digging when he declared Wisconsin governor Walker’s union busting “modest requests”.

  165. 165
    Dilbatt says:

    Thank you, John. Bravo.

  166. 166
    draftmama says:

    Thank you Doug.

    These people are morons. They live so far outside the mainstream of American life they haven’t a f***ing clue about how the rest of us live. We are going back to the land to be able to afford to live and are fortunate to have 10 acres to do so, if winter would ever go AWAY. Our standard of living has dropped every year in the last 4 but we are rather pathetically happy that we do have such opportunities. People who don’t are screwed and these sociopaths don’t give a sh*t. Who elected them anyway?

    From Montana. Nuff said…….

  167. 167
    montana says:

    Very well done. Really hits the spot. Those three are odious parasites, and we all need to keep calling them out on their pseudo thinking, juvenile reactions and self-entitled blubbering. Again, one of the your best posts.

  168. 168
    sjw says:

    Post of the year so far, John. It’ll be hard to top yourself, as you’ve set the bar very, very high. Thank you, and Bravo!

  169. 169
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    @spark:

    One of the things that makes Sullivan so freaking annoying is that he’s hypersensitive in addition to being a lazy, insulated, well-paid hack. I think it’ll leave a mark on him, anyway.

    Exactly. A prominent symptom of his unself-awareness is that he is hypersensitivity seems in precise proportion to the cruelty and lack of empathy contained in the politics and policies he prescribes for others.

    I think he’s a classic addictive personality, among other things. He used(?) to act out thru promiscuous sex but since he’s now a respectable, monogamous(?) married man and also seems to have cut back on the substance abuse, his addiction is bound to find other avenues to express its utter narcissism.

  170. 170
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    @Richard Bottoms:

    Allow me to kindly invite any Independent or Democrat who voted for a single one of these psychopaths because Obama “let them down” who now utters one single peep about how wrong some of these cuts are to to go fuck yourself with a rusty screwdriver.

    I’m sorry…did Weigel, Klein and Weigel run as candidates in some election I’m unaware of? What are you blubbering about?

  171. 171
    PopeRatzo says:

    Until we can have a real discussion about how we’re going to provide very expensive end of life treatment for people over 90 without having charges like “death panels!” I don’t see how we can possibly accomplish anything.

    If most of the health care costs are at the end of a person’s life, we need to figure out how we’re going to distribute those limited resources.

    But the “pro-life” crowd will never go for that and they’ll ALWAYS cry “death panels” and they’ll freak out about a 23 year-old woman who seeks contraception.

    I don’t see how we get out of this one until the working people who vote Republican are faced with a whole lot of pain for an extended period. Enough for them to see what the Republicans are trying to do. Unfortunately, the rest of us who are on the same bus are going to have to go through that extended period of pain with them. I hate to say “let them kill Medicare and see how they like it” but that may be the only way we ever get to a single payer system.

    There’s no way to soften this blow. As long as they’re more concerned with a black woman’s abortion than they are their own well being, nothing is going to change.

  172. 172
    matoken_chan says:

    Can’t you just create a new Blog Roll category of Andrew Sullivan’s Vulture Legion?

  173. 173
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @matoken_chan: are you a shapeshifter?
    Because I have a great spell for that.
    ;)

  174. 174
    Josie says:

    Thanks for this post, John–every wonderful word of it. You are a truly excellent writer and a good guy.

    Also, I hope that DWS continues to give ’em Hell.

  175. 175
    debbie says:

    Nice to read a longer post that doesn’t degenerate into childish, self-serving sarcasm.

    @bemused:

    …Ryan snowing the media with many examples of media Joe Scarborough, Charlie Rose, Mike Allen and others immediately slobbering over him…

    I watched that Charlie Rose interview, and while I have plenty of criticisms of Rose, I felt like he wasn’t fawning over Ryan so much as he was giving the man room to hang himself. I hadn’t heard much about his plan before I saw this interview, but Ryan made it very clear to me — with his own words — just how hateful this plan was going to be.

    This is the same kind of thing as letting that dinner jacket guy speak at the UN. Lots of people were upset that he was given a platform to spew his hatred, but I said, Shine a light and let us all watch as he hangs himself with his own words. Ryan’s no different.

    The commentariat adoration is absurd, but I think the more shots Ryan gets on t.v., the more foolish he and his ideas will appear.

  176. 176
    jwb says:

    @ppcli: But now it affects him personally. That’s often how the breakthrough occurs that will allow the ideological flip.

  177. 177
    sgrAstar says:

    Kudos to you, Mr. Cole. As ever, am proud to be associated with BJ. Rock on!

  178. 178
    Julie says:

    John, you are a fine and honorable human being.
    I also want to say, that Paul Ryan looks like the love child of Ted Bundy and Eddie Munster.

  179. 179
    Quiddity says:

    @srv: 22 – 18 = 3 is correct if you are working in base 9. Far from being innumerate, Sullivan and McArdle are actually brainiacs. In fact, they are much more progressive than you think. Sullivan wants to set the retirement age for Social Security at age 70 (base 9). For us ordinary base-10 folks, that’s 63. I applaud Sullivan on this point.

  180. 180
    Virgil says:

    “People will die.”

    Whether it be from lack of health care or not, people will die, period. They will die no matter which party’s budget reform is in place. Because with the cost of health care as it is, any budget is busted on arrival.

    Here’s what you do: seize the mechanics of health care, put it under government control, and regulate the costs. Eliminate every single insurance worker, every single paper-pusher and file clerk, every person who stands in between ‘real’ health-care providers (doctors, nurses, and professional staff) and their patients. Pay these people from government coffers based on their education. Give them tenure. And, eliminate advertising for medicines; strip the patents from all medications and produce the stuff as cheaply as possible. Just take what you want, and run it as you see fit, for the benefit of all the people.

    That’s the only way you can control the costs of health care.

  181. 181
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @kerFuFFler:

    the average expenditures per person exceed $250,000 beyond the revenues per person

    When you say this, what interest rate is imputed to the contributions people make? Any analysis of this is going to be extremely sensitive to that, and you can probably make any point you want to by shifting it around.

    Unless, of course, the analysis just uses nominal dollars without accounting for the time value of money, in which case the whole claim is a joke.

  182. 182
    OneSouthernBelle says:

    I love this place! John Cole, you rock! I’ve been lurking here for two years without posting, but I had to tell you how awesome this rant is.

  183. 183
    pika says:

    @Jon: Yes, this, that.

  184. 184
    Judas Escargot (aka no lettuce shall be left unpenetrated) says:

    Testify!

    And.. Fuck the Beltway and all its courtiers. (Also, too.)

  185. 185
    Jay C says:

    Is it too late in the thread for me to get my kudos in and congratulate John on one of the best posts he has ever put on on Balloon Juice?

    No?

    Well, all right then!

  186. 186
    Thymezone says:

    Not sure, but this might be your best post ever.

    Not a bang, a whimper … the dirty little secret about the media is not that it’s captured by an evil force (a la FoxNews) … it’s that it is just lazy, incompetant, and doesn’t care that much about anything about other than itself, or in the case of the individuals within the sphere (regardless of the actual medium in particular) … they don’t care much about anything other than themselves, and their own ill-formed opinions. That’s it. That’s the whole schtick, the whole magilla.

    Their ideas, their narratives, their opinions, their prejudices, their laziness, their jobs, their careers, their images of themselves among their peers, their right to make the most important thing about any story, large or small, the same thing: Whether it’s who sits where in the White House briefing room, or whether it would the nuclear destruction of a large American city by terrorists … what counts is WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT IT. Nothing else matters, not the factual details, not the truths about those facts, not the history behind them, not their meanings or their origins or their pathologies …. just whatever thoughts slide into their heads and then onto their keyboards or into their microphones. They are paid to have diarrhea of the mouth, or the cerebral cortex, and they will aim the hose of shit that comes from their lazy self centeredness directly at us night and day and night and day forever and never care a fig about what happens to any real person in the real world. And if you question them or challenge them they will just dial up the hose of shit to be louder or shittier or whatever it takes to distract from your annoying interruptions.

    Imagine a modern, information-rich world of self governing people who have NO IDEA how their government works, how the world works, what histories brought them to the various circumstances they are in today, feasting daily upon a diet of that hose of shit and then wondering why they don’t seem to know or understand anything.

    How could those people get into that fix without daily and hourly standing in front of the hose of shit and crying, “Please sir, could we have more shit?”

    I am reminded of the pleas of Billy, the androgenous small man protrayed by Linda Hunt in the movie The Year of Living Dangerously … asking desperately, over and over:

    “What, then, must we do? What, then, must we do? What, then, must we do?”

    What, indeed, then, must we do?

  187. 187
    LT says:

    Here’s why Balloon Juice is as well known as it is. Bravo, John. Bravo. Will be spreading this where I can.

  188. 188
    dakota bob says:

    Bra – fucking -voh. One of the best posts I’ve ever read — on any subject, in any venue. Makes you realize how inconsequential and vapid most our social and political commentary is.

  189. 189
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @S. Holland:

    Do you live in the Southwest?

  190. 190
    tom says:

    late in the game but cannot leave such a good post unrewarded. THIS is why I read this blog. Thanks.

  191. 191
    snarkyspice says:

    @sukabi:

    No, he’s a talented writer. As someone who writes for a living, I am sometimes in awe of his ability with words.

    It’s totally possible to be a beautiful writer but a shitty thinker. And the problem is that your way with words can often carry a lot of people along with you, masking the poor thinking. That’s the case with Sullivan.

    I mostly disagree with him, but I envy his abilities as a writer.

    John, this post was wonderful and this is the reason you are my favorite blogger.

  192. 192
    Mongo says:

    Listening to Little Davy Brooks, unindicted war criminal, on PBS’ ‘The News Hour’ last night, he observed that Congress used to be a place where Members played the game:

    DAVY: To get [to a budget agreement], you would have … to have built up months and years of personal relationships. These things [i.e., the shutdown crisis] don’t happen when you have personal relationships… because they say, OK, listen, we’re friends… And then, let’s take care of this…We feel a sense of loyalty to one another… And you’re seeing the effect of a Washington where people will occasionally sit in a room together, but they don’t have the sense of emotional commitment that we’re brothers underneath it all. And so — and this is what happens.

    Davy was describing, with a golden glow, the D.C. Villager’s image of themselves. What they (and Davy) won’t say is that it’s another an exclusive club, where so long as the game is played, everyone rides the mythical Gravy Train. The same is true for the policy experts, the (cough) “journalists”; and the (hack) professional pundits.

    All of it part of the same incestuous circle-jerk, self-perpetuating and self-justifying. It’s about playing the game.

    Jay Ackroyd noted yesterday at Eschaton that Paul Ryan’s budget plan

    …is an iteration of Bush’s [Social Security] privatization plan–meant to have Mark Halperin et al force the Democrats to concede the principle that Medicare must be gutted, and then shift the discussion to one over the numerical details: the means test, the vouchers’ value, and the allowable rate of increase of the vouchers.

    When the Very Serious Pundits stop saying “they can’t privatize Medicare” to “we need to open a discussion to include vouchers”, it’s a symbol of how disconnected they and the entire Village are from reality.

    If they weren’t, they’d be demanding in their columns and teevee appearances that the President and Congress create jobs, rather than strangle the ‘recovery’ in a ‘budget plan’ which is more about shoving a Rightist agenda down the country’s throat, masquerading as Austerity.

    Too many pundits locked into the Village Mambo believe their own press, even if they don’t believe everything they say or write. Ultimately their careers aren’t any more nuanced or complex than the idiocy they regurgitate as analysis. It’s really that pathetically narcissistic and simple.

  193. 193
    Michael Hall says:

    Great and heartfelt post, Mr. Cole. Point #3 put me in mind of a recent blogpost by SF author Norman Spinrad, a fine novelist who is probably still best known for having written “The Doomsday Machine” episode of the original Star Trek series. Diagnosed with a very likely incurable case of stomach cancer about a year ago, Spinrad went on to receive what he regarded as superb care at Sloane-Kettering and so far thankfully seems to be doing fine. He noted in passing, though, that without Medicare he’d have been totally fucked.

    Yes, amazingly enough, these things actually do make a real difference to people.

  194. 194
    Woody says:

    John, first off: outstanding rant. You’re spot on with your observation that without personal investment, health care coverage is an abstraction that can be intellectualized away. Milbank didn’t start getting PO’d until the banks started screwing him – Tumulty didn’t until her brother got screwed, either.

    Come to think of it, a true revolutionary would be a P.F.C. Wintergreen, placing Villager-flagged paperwork into regular channels, inflicting SOP unto these Olympian Oracles.

    PS: IT WAS THE DUKES! IT WAS THE DUKES! for a hundred, please, Alex.

    PPS: UMD FTW in overtime!

  195. 195
    Mark Andresen says:

    I am ashamed of my country, as the rich and powerful cut up our lives to feed the greed of our top 1%. The only long term solution is to burn it all down, and get rid of the fat cats and selfish pigs who think that every working person is expendable. ¡Viva la Revolución!

  196. 196
    Paul Anderson says:

    JK Galbraith pointed out 40 years ago that shilling for the rich pays a lot better than crusading for the truth.

  197. 197
    Quiddity says:

    @snarkyspice: I think he can write well (as he demonstrated at an early age when he was at the New Republic). But his critical thinking (quantitative, statistical, systems) is deplorable. In this Ryan budget escapade, Sullivan comes off as the stereotypical British Upper Class Twit.

  198. 198
    Mike M says:

    Normally I read a rant like this and just cringe, but you know what? Fuck it, let this asshole have it. The days of being able to fuck over the poorest and most vulnerable of society while wrapping yourself in a righteous cloak of Christianity are over. If you support this plan you’re an evil fucking idiot shilling dog shit for monied interests for gain. Period. The more shame and bile you can throw their way in the hopes that some of it sticks the better.

  199. 199
    vanya says:

    Brilliant post.

  200. 200
    Nate says:

    Damn John that was well said. Well done Sir.

  201. 201
    jaxtra says:

    i truly feel like crying. is there any hope for my children?, where will this end?

  202. 202
    Sarah Loving says:

    May the sun continue to shine on you, John Cole. Not only are you a man of honor (and too bad a shitty film came along to ruin that phrase), but you have a soul. And you write like a BEAST.

    I came here through Sully too. I don’t understand how he can simultaneously possess a curiosity about so much of the world and the minutiae therein and walk around with such a seemingly wooden and unfeeling heart. It baffles me this man rhapsodizes about Christianity, he’s the furthest thing from Christ-like.

    Also, I just think he has a case of the Starbursts for Ryan.

  203. 203
    Sarah Loving says:

    May the sun continue to shine on you, John Cole. Not only are you a man of honor (and too bad a shitty film came along to ruin that phrase), but you have a soul. And you write like a BEAST.

    I came here through Sully too. I don’t understand how he can simultaneously possess a curiosity about so much of the world and the minutiae therein and walk around with such a seemingly wooden and unfeeling heart. It baffles me this man rhapsodizes about Christianity, he’s the furthest thing from Christ-like.

    Also, I just think he has a case of the Starbursts for Ryan.

  204. 204
    a1 says:

    This is an incredible post, John Cole.

    You couldn’t be more righteous either in your anger over the truth, or in the devastating way you deliver it. It’s awesome to behold.

    Should be required reading on every pundit’s Teleprompter before they engage in another bout of establishment bootlicking. It’s so powerful and true, I’d think it’d give some of those assholes a conscience.

  205. 205
    urbanmeemaw says:

    @Julie: John, BJ is my favorite Blog. I love all of the posters, but today’s righteous rant is the best I’ve read. I love your heart.

    Also, I’ve noticed these Reputhuglicans and their meda corpcubines all look white, pasty and verminesque. Anyone else notice? Is there a pattern here?

  206. 206
    Lee Hartmann says:

    Amen.

  207. 207
    Dr. Wu says:

    The most accurate look into the mind of the lazy and stupid American punditry I’ve seen in years.

  208. 208
    jim filyaw says:

    there was a time when i appreciated sullivan’s attempts to be well reasoned and fair, even though i didn’t share his obsessions (palin for instance). your suggestion that he has become lazy is spot on. tedious and utterly predictable could be added. i generally read him now for interesting links to better writers. if someone could convince him that medicaid recipients were mostly gay and h.i.v. positive, i’d bet he’d put a hell of lot more effort into learning what is going on.

  209. 209
    NorthernMNer says:

    John,

    Perfect post. That is all.

  210. 210
    tapgirl says:

    Great piece. As Mr. Ryan and his colleagues link arms and walk the “Path to Posterity,” let us remind them to wear their backyard boots. We wouldn’t want them to muck-up their polished pumps with the detritus of the dead and dying citizens who will line the way — each clutching vouchers and forms for health insurance, unemployment benefits, mortgages, college aid, etc., marked “denied for lack of funds.” And when Ryan et. al, reach the top of the hill, they should leave their boots on the porch so they don’t dirty the palace marble.

  211. 211

    […] what makes this especially bad is the fact John Cole points out, that the people praising the plan don’t seem to have actually read it: The plan […]

  212. 212

    […] The conventional wisdom Sunday, April 10th, 2011 | Author: lawrence Health care: Peddling conventional wisdom and spewing beltway knowledge has and will be lucrative. It gets you […]

  213. 213
    Seth says:

    By “Klein” I assume you mean Ezra? I’m not really sure how he fits into this calculus. I’m a big Sullivan reader, but I’ve found his commentary and wishcasting on this subject infuriating, but Ezra Klein has said, among other similar things:

    “The big difference between [Ryan and Simpson-Bowles] is that the Simpson-Bowles plan tries to balance the budget deficit without taking sides in various long-running ideological wars over the role of government while the Ryan plan tries to win those wars under the cover of balancing the budget. Though I should also say that now that I better understand the assumptions that Ryan is using to achieve his goals, I don’t think it’s plausible to say that his plan really balances the budget.”

    I’m not sure how that fits in with the willful obstinacy we’ve seen from the likes of Sullivan and Brooks.

  214. 214
    Will Reks says:

    @seth

    That would be Joe Klein.

  215. 215

    […] I hate these people. Bookmark It […]

  216. 216

    Brilliant post, thanks for writing it.

  217. 217

    “…doing that and actually thinking, like Bruce Bartlett, James Fallows, Paul Krugman, Dean Baker, and others managed to do, that would be just way too much work. ”

    Correct. And this also relates to the he said, she said problem:

    From the Times today:

    “Mr. Ryan said it would cut $6 trillion in the coming decade, though budget analysts questioned some of the claimed savings.”

    at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04.....=1&hp

    He said the Earth was flat, some say it’s round.

    A huge part of the he said, she said problem is it takes a lot more expertise, time, and effort to call a lie a lie, than to just say, he said a lie, she said it’s a lie. And with the ginormous positive externalities for good serious journalism, that Economics loves to ignore, it’s so often not profitable. How can even the New York Times justify on profitability hiring highly expert budget people and economists to work on stories like these.

    Obviously these ginormous positive externalities should be subsidized, like with tax credits for research/investigation costs, commensurately with their size. For more on this see:

    http://richardhserlin.blogspot.....ts-of.html

  218. 218
    rickstersherpa says:

    Here, here. And great for calling out names. And at least Paul Krugman linked to you! Unfortunately, even Paul feels he has to play the Village game and never call out a a colleague or reporter for BS. For that you have to go to Dean Baker.

  219. 219
    rickstersherpa says:

    Although Ezra has started back pedaling, it is for statements like the one below with which he initially propagated the meme that Paul Ryan’s was courageous and bold for pedaling ideas that have been in the Heritage/Cato playbook for 20 years, and which, as Bob Somerby, in another post refers to him now as a “made man.”

    “…Yesterday, as the lunch hour neared, Ezra Klein posted the first of several statements vouching for Paul Ryan’s wonderful character. Somehow, career liberal pundits seem to know that they are required to do this:

    KLEIN (4/5/11, 11:45 AM): That Ryan’s shown political courage by proposing difficult and even dangerous policy ideas can’t be denied. But political courage in service of bad ideas is no virtue. His budget concentrates its sacrifices among the poor and vulnerable and largely exempts defense spending and high-income taxpayers.

    Has Ryan “shown political courage?” Perhaps referring to unpublished laws, Klein said this “can’t be denied.” But why does it take “political courage” for a major Republican politician to offer a plan which “concentrates its sacrifices among the poor and vulnerable and largely exempts…high-income taxpayers?” Whatever one may think of that plan, why does it take “political courage?”

    Because of such proposals, Ryan has become the darling of ruling elites. He will remain so for life. Let’s assume that Klein’s assessment of his proposal is accurate: Why would a proposal like that require “political courage?” …”
    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh040611.shtml

  220. 220

    […] Cole also produced a fairly epic takedown of the beltway media reaction to Ryan's […]

  221. 221
    ceilidth says:

    I have a modest proposal. No one who went to Harvard or any other Ivy League university and/or has a personal income above $100,000 or a family income above $150,000 is allowed to write about any issue impacting middle income Americans without a full disclosure of their current income and resume. Let’s also let them add their ages. That way the rest of us can constantly be reminded of how disconnected these thumb suckers are from the lives the rest of us lead.

  222. 222
    J. Frank Parnell says:

    Good thing that Sullivan, Brooks et al are not restaurant critics. Someone could slip them a bowl of warmed over crap and they would proclaim it a bold new cuisine.

  223. 223

    […] If you missed it over the weekend, John Cole has a gem of a piece on Paul Ryan’s House GOP budget […]

  224. 224
    mvr says:

    Wow! This one deserves the Krugman link it got. Really well done! Thanks!

  225. 225

    […] as John Cole says, The plan is bold! It is serious! It took courage! It re-frames the debate! The ball is in […]

  226. 226
    dave says:

    Totally utterly nailed these blathering beltway fools for who they are. More power to you!

  227. 227
    TPRWE says:

    While the Democrats still do not understand what they have done with Obamacare, the government’s actuaries and accountants do, and have been telling us in official government publications and documents. The 2010 Financial Statement of the United States Government, published by the Treasury Department in December, is the most clear. That report discloses repeatedly in several tables of data that the total of future cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals under Medicare as provided in current law due to Obamacare and President Obama’s Medicare reimbursement policies is $15 trillion!

    Indeed, the Treasury report effectively touts the draconian Medicare cuts due to Obamacare, stating, “The 2010 projection is lower than the 2009 projection in every year of the projection period almost entirely as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is projected to significantly lower Medicare spending and raise receipts.”

    That $15 trillion is such a big number that it is hard to understand what it means. But the government’s own actuaries and accountants have been explaining that as well. Medicare’s Chief Actuary reports that even before these cuts already two-thirds of hospitals were losing money on Medicare patients. With $15 trillion in future cuts, health providers will either have to withdraw from serving Medicare patients, or eventually go into bankruptcy. The unworkable, draconian effect of these Medicare cuts is why the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a disclaimer of opinion on the Statement of Social Insurance component of the federal government’s 2010 Financial Statement, saying, “Unless providers could reduce their cost per service correspondingly, through productivity improvements, or other steps, they would eventually become unwilling or unable to treat Medicare beneficiaries

  228. 228

    […] budget plan which has put the Beltway punditocracy in a ten-day swoon. Longtime critic Juan Cole will have none of it; but one of Cole’s commenters posted the smartest observation: Andrew has two… I think […]

  229. 229

    […] Cole’s critique of press coverage of Ryan’s plan [Caution, the language does get rude]: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....le-things/ April 13th, 2011 | Category: […]

  230. 230
    marg says:

    I think you said it all

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Cole’s critique of press coverage of Ryan’s plan [Caution, the language does get rude]: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....le-things/ April 13th, 2011 | Category: […]

  2. […] budget plan which has put the Beltway punditocracy in a ten-day swoon. Longtime critic Juan Cole will have none of it; but one of Cole’s commenters posted the smartest observation: Andrew has two… I think […]

  3. […] as John Cole says, The plan is bold! It is serious! It took courage! It re-frames the debate! The ball is in […]

  4. […] If you missed it over the weekend, John Cole has a gem of a piece on Paul Ryan’s House GOP budget […]

  5. […] Cole also produced a fairly epic takedown of the beltway media reaction to Ryan's […]

  6. […] The conventional wisdom Sunday, April 10th, 2011 | Author: lawrence Health care: Peddling conventional wisdom and spewing beltway knowledge has and will be lucrative. It gets you […]

  7. […] what makes this especially bad is the fact John Cole points out, that the people praising the plan don’t seem to have actually read it: The plan […]

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