So, That ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Is Only A Nightmare for Republicans


(Tim Egan via GoComics.com)
__
Jonathan Chait at NYMag, explaining how “Tax Haters Figure Out They’re Screwed“:

The main task before President Obama now is to yank the debate over taxes and spending back from the far right, where it has lingered for the last two years, and toward the center. He has to demonstrate that the dynamic that held in 2011, when Republicans could wrench concessions out of him by holding the economy hostage, has been replaced by a new one in which the Republicans’ gun is aimed at themselves.

So far it’s working. One indication of his success comes from the slow sense of dread enveloping the Wall Street Journal editorial page….

Compare the Journal’s current supplicatory tone with the overbearing confidence it has previously displayed. When House Republicans in 2011 really started to play chicken by demanding massive spending cuts or else the debt ceiling would get it, the Journal cheered them on. Later that summer, when Obama offered Boehner a deal with just $800 billion in higher revenue, along with lower tax rates, the Journal urged Boehner to turn it down.

But the revenue Obama asked for in that deal was not just a trade for the spending cuts he offered up. It was also an insurance policy for the GOP. The Bush tax cuts were scheduled to expire at the end of the next year, and if Obama won reelection, he would have an awful lot of leverage over the Republicans when that happened. Republicans could have made a small deposit to insure against that risk, but making that deal would have meant accepting slightly higher taxes, and also would (as Paul Ryan and other conservatives calculated) help Obama win reelection by defusing the deficit as an issue and handing him a bipartisan accomplishment. So they decided not to buy that insurance policy…

Looks like one more instance where the Repubs were absolutely convinced that they had Karl Rove’s ‘math‘, that the odds we’d be discussing President-Elect Romney were so high they didn’t have to worry about a ride home if they put the car keys in the poker pot.

Dave Weigel points out another happy circumstance for those of us who are not Zombie-Eyed Granny Starvers:

It’s Elizabeth Warren’s Senate, Not Bob Kerrey’s
Molly Ball’s fun story about the leftward shift in the Senate reminds us of a fact forgotten five minutes into election night. Bob Kerrey, the two-term Nebraska senator, lost his comeback bid. While Ohio’s Sherrod Brown was promising to hike taxes on the rich and save entitlements from the “grand bargain” guillotine, Kerrey was being endorsed by Bowles-Simpson. Literally, those two guys endorsed him….

In the long term, a Senate with no Liebermans or Kerreys is a Senate with fewer Democratic media stars who want to cut entitlements. In the short term, doesn’t this embolden the liberals who want to scrap a grand bargain? The theory of the bargain is that neither party really suffers from it. The angry voter will hate the Republicans for selling him out on taxes and the Democrats for selling him out on Medicare. But entitlements are more popular than tax cuts. There was a reason why dozens of Republican candidates promised to spend another $718 billion on Medicare if they won.

Take a left, Mr. President — hard left!

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

206 replies
  1. 1
    BGinCHI says:

    If I hear one more person on one more news show describe the Petraeus thing as a “tragedy” I am going to shove the Oresteia down their stupid fucking throat.

  2. 2
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    Spot on. Strike while the iron’s hot. And it’s hot now. And damn if the dumbasses aren’t parlaying their electoral failure into compounded, negative-feedback-loop-type failure on every front except taxes on the rich and repudiation of Romney’s “gifts” gift to the left. And even on taxes on the rich, they’re sandbagging, and they aren’t even slick about their sandbagging.

  3. 3
    MikeBoyScout says:

    So….
    Make damn sure your elected reps know how you feel, and make double damn sure your less activist friends do too.
    It ain’t over til it’s over, and it’s never over.

  4. 4
    Buckyblue says:

    And we gained seats, too. Time to have some real progressives call the shots for awhile. Here in the cheese state we elected, according to the repugs, the most liberal person in the house.

  5. 5
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The base that keeps Republican incumbents in power sees this as the rematch for the election. Votes to compromise will mean threats in the form of primary challengers.

  6. 6
    feebog says:

    If I were Obama, I would raise the ante right now. Tell Republicans that if they don’t pass the middle class tax cut now, then the goal will be a top marginal tax rate of 48%. There is not good reason to only return to the 39.6% Clinton era rate. Hike that sucker up there an really bring in some revenue.

  7. 7
    burnspbesq says:

    If, in fact, we go off the fiscal curb and there is a short, mild recession, on balance that’s not the worst thing. It’ll be like the “Volcker recession” of the early 80s that killed off the late-70s high inflation.

    Chemo makes people puke, but it gets rid of the cancer. In the long run, the memory of the puking fades, and being alive and cancer-free is recognized as a bigger deal.

    Same principle here.

  8. 8
    AA+ Bonds says:

    From Ball’s story:

    North Dakota’s old Democratic senator was the moderate Kent Conrad; its new Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp, campaigned on a platform of ending tax cuts for millionaires and protecting Social Security from cuts.

    The contrast is striking! From a moderate to someone in support of deficit reduction and protecting Social Security!

    Something is moving in this country, and it isn’t the Congress.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    FUCK.THE.RICH

    That is all.

  10. 10
    R-Jud says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I am going to shove the Oresteia down their stupid fucking throat.

    Oh, are you reading that too?

  11. 11
    Arm The Homeless says:

    Anyone else find the story about a UFO over Denver interesting?

    I Believe!

    Also, could the M.I.B. be using suburbs as safe houses for interstellar travelers? Quick, I need Art Bell!

  12. 12
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If, in fact, we go off the fiscal curb and there is a short, mild recession, on balance that’s not the worst thing. It’ll be like the “Volcker recession” of the early 80s that killed off the late-70s high inflation.
    __
    Chemo makes people puke, but it gets rid of the cancer

    This isn’t a great way to phrase what you’re trying to say.

  13. 13
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    Jonathan Chait:

    The main task before President Obama now is to yank the debate over taxes and spending back from the far right, where it has lingered for the last two years …

    Typo Alert: Chait clearly meant to say thirty-two years.

    .

  14. 14
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I would just stay away from the “it’ll be a recession but not a bad recession” line. That seems like maybe something you want to stay away from, as well as comparing slashing social spending to chemo to heal the country of cancer.

  15. 15
    Raven says:

    @AA+ Bonds: that’s not even what burn said, wtf?

  16. 16
    NotMax says:

    Strictly a sidebar, but I note that the Ryan ‘plan’ is still URL-ed under “prosperity.”

                  http://budget.house.gov/prosperity/

  17. 17
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    @burnspbesq: That’s a cold post right there.

  18. 18
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    @Raven: That’s how I understood it as well. It speaks lightly of something that’s pretty damn heavy to a lot of people who don’t need that kind of shit right now.

  19. 19
    gwangung says:

    And we gained seats, too. Time to have some real progressives call the shots for awhile. Here in the cheese state we elected, according to the repugs, the most liberal person in the house.

    Yes. Show them progressives actually have clout—FLOOD THOSE SWITCHBOARDS.

    I mean, really…they got the ideas that progressives have no clout because they rolled over and said nothing when things got dicey (remember…it was a big change when Congressscritters got calls from progressives during the health care debate).

  20. 20
    Raven says:

    It’s a METAPHOR

  21. 21
    joes527 says:

    @burnspbesq: If things aren’t looking unambiguously up by 2014, then be ready for the progress made in the senate and house to be rolled back (with a vengeance)

    I agree that long term results are better than short term results. But lets not pretend that defining “long term” as “after the midterm elections” will work out in the long term.

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    @gwangung: We need to have some more B-J “phone your Congresscritter” posts. Can a Front Pager organize this? Let’s pick a topic and get people to call. Make a bunch of noise and let Congresscritters we’re here.

  23. 23
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @joes527: Wasn’t it Keynes who said that in the long run we are all dead?

  24. 24
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Raven: A mild recession would be just like a mild holocaust. Sure, some people died, but then the Allies came and … um, … er, nevermind.

  25. 25
    NotMax says:

    @schrodinger’s cat

    Either him or Eeyore.

  26. 26
    geg6 says:

    If I didn’t hate those GOP motherfuckers, I’d almost feel sorry for them.

    They are going to have to back down and accept increased taxes on the top 1%. There’s just no way I can see how they can sell the idea that they are willing to raise taxes on the middle class in order to preserve ridiculously low taxes on Donald Trump. And the WSJ is telling them that it’s over and they need to cave. And now the whole Benghazi thing is falling to pieces (as we all knew it would) and Grampy McCain is looking like a fool. Hell, even the emessem is saying he’s a fool.

    And now, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) is on Rev. Al’s show and just said that McCain and Graham are anything but patriots. Jeebus!

    I really can’t feel sorry for them. I’ve been drinking too much of that sweet, sweet schadenfreude to do that. I’ve been waiting 32 years for this and I can’t get enough of it.

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Yeah, but Keynes was making a point about hand waving by some of his fellow economists.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m guessing the WSJ is also terrified because California finally gave Democrats a 2/3rds majority on Election Day, which means that Republicans can no longer hold the entire state’s budget hostage.

    Since California was the originator of the “tax rebellion,” it seems only fitting that we’re one of the first to give Democrats a majority so commanding that Republicans can’t fuck around anymore.

    Next stop, the US Senate. :-)

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    Warren follows Mr. President to the left, not the other way around. There be all sorts of hazards on the journey and sometimes you do a head fake.

    And believe it or not, PBO has been leading the way through the briar patch of right wing narrative all along. One. Step. At a Time. It is how you move an Overton Window, and Obama is giving lessons in that subtle art.

  30. 30
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I know that, unfortunately for they are still waving those hands.

  31. 31
    EconWatcher says:

    People who gave up on finding work are now reentering the pool of job seekers (and showing up in unemployment statistics) because they finally have some hope that they’ll have a chance. I can’t believe anyone on our side is talking lightly of dashing those hopes with another recession, however “short” or “mild” they think it might be. That’s the other side’s kind of talk, not ours–right?

  32. 32
    gogol's wife says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I LOL’ed.

  33. 33
    Brachiator says:

    If I were Obama, I would raise the ante right now. Tell Republicans that if they don’t pass the middle class tax cut now, then the goal will be a top marginal tax rate of 48%.

    That’s not how it works. Obama can let the Bush tax cuts die, but any new proposal requires that the Congress actually do something, and the GOP controlled house is very unlikely to let a bill with a top marginal rate of 48 percent get written, reconciled or approved.

    And Obama does not have as strong a position as people want to believe.

    Again, it ain’t just about the Bush tax cuts.

    The Congress and the president have to agree about serious 2012 issues, or else the taxes for 30 million Americans go up for the 2012 tax year. And the IRS is squealing like a pig over potential delays for this filing season:

    If lawmakers fail to protect the middle class from having to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax by Dec. 31, next year’s tax filing season will be a mess for tens of millions of taxpayers.
    __
    That was the gist of a letter sent Tuesday from Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller to top tax writers in Congress as lawmakers are poised to start negotiations about the fiscal cliff.
    __
    Just how much of a mess?
    __
    The IRS would need to tell more than 60 million taxpayers that they may not file their 2012 tax returns or receive a refund until the IRS makes changes to its systems. That may mean taxpayers couldn’t file until late March, Miller said.

    Failure to resolve the tax mess screws the working poor. It’s not just about extending middle class tax breaks. Credits that tremendously help lower income Americans, such as the Child Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit revert to much lower amounts if nothing is done.

    Foreclosed homeowners get screwed if the expiring Mortgage Relief Act is allowed to lapse.

    The GOP can score a tactical win if 3 month or 6 month compromises are cobbled together, and Obama has to keep coming back to fight for further extensions.

    Chemo makes people puke, but it gets rid of the cancer

    Reminds me of the joke about the surgeon who proclaimed the operation to be a success even though the patient died.

  34. 34
    muddy says:

    @burnspbesq: Sounds like someone who does not fear for a paycheck. I clearly remember the early 80’s recession in the NE, as a young woman (then) supporting a family, it was a complete nightmare.

  35. 35
    gex says:

    @General Stuck: Agreed. I think Obama has been very good at nudging the people, then letting the people take the lead.

  36. 36
    General Stuck says:

    Republicans could have made a small deposit to insure against that risk, but making that deal would have meant accepting slightly higher taxes, and also would (as Paul Ryan and other conservatives calculated) help Obama win reelection by defusing the deficit as an issue and handing him a bipartisan accomplishment. So they decided not to buy that insurance policy…

    Chait and a lot of other liberal writers sometimes cannot get their heads around the true state of play. Asking for 800 billion in tax revenue from a standing legislative start was the same as asking for the stars and the moon of the GOP. The depth of their no tax dogma runs long and deep, and for those who violate the promise, there are purer grades of wingnuts standing in the wings, for Grover and the Stephen Moore’s of the wingnut world to lop off their electoral heads.

    It would be akin for a group of democratic senators proposing a bill to outlaw abortion. There was never any danger of a “Grand Bargain” happening, and it was all brinkmanship and posturing for the election, with the nutters threatening to burn it all down. And Obama making offers the right wing could not accept. The GOP held a gun to destroy the world economy for their cause. Obama just wanted rich people to pay more taxes. Guess who won.

  37. 37
    NotMax says:

    OT-ish:

    Kind of a karmic balance that both ‘SuperPAC’ and ‘f-bomb’ made the cut to be added to the dictionary in the same year.

  38. 38
    Hill Dweller says:

    @geg6: In that House hearing yesterday, Ackerman snapped after listening to the wingnuts repeatedly call the President a liar. He put the blame for the Benghazi attacks squarely on their State Dept. security funding cuts, and told them to buy a mirror if they were wanted to find the culprits.

  39. 39
    mai naem says:

    I don’t think Boehner’s a nutjob, it’s his Deputy and a majority of his own caucus. Anyhow, watching Al Sharpton, he had Ryan Grimm on – Grimm’s theory on McCain is that he’s not going to be minority chair of Armed Services because its a revolving assignment so he’s trying to stay relevant. This is a bad bad year for McCain. If Mittman had won he would have been po’d and he’s still po’d because the Black guy won again. And now, he’s fighting to stay relevant. Then some reporter has the temerity to ask him about why he didn’t attend the hearing on wednesday. Freaking hilarious. And he’s my a*hole senator.
    Also too, the Senate Dems are insisting on a stimulus as part of the package.
    The Republicans took a bad gamble. Guess what, I don’t want people gambling with issues involving this country like the gamble they took. I would rather have a smart leader like Obama.

  40. 40
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    muddy:

    I clearly remember the early 80’s recession in the NE … it was a complete nightmare.

    Seconded.

    .

  41. 41
    danimal says:

    I, for one, just wish we had a cold, calculating p0ker player on our side. Someone who knows the rules and knows the Math. Someone who knows when to go All In* and press his advantage. Someone who would gamble his legacy on putting the most consequential decisions off to a time when his power was maximized and his opponents are demoralized and scattered across the playing field.

    In other words, “Meep, Meep” mofos.

    *in a different way than a certain newsworthy general, of course.

  42. 42
    Seanly says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    Here’s my spin on every UFO story:
    It’s not an alien craft. I don’t want to say that interstellar travel is impossible, but the math & science is greatly stacked against it.

    I love a good sci-fi story/TV show with FTL travel, but there aren’t any alien spacecraft visiting us. On any number of levels, the challenges are very daunting – fuel; energy requirements; time dilation; crew protection, comfort, sanitation & dietary needs.

  43. 43
    NotMax says:

    @mai naem

    And he’s my a*hole senator.

    All the more incentive to phone his office and let them know you do not appreciate nor approve his behavior.

  44. 44
    danimal says:

    I love the way Republicans keep repeating that Obama needs to lead when asked about the austerity bomb. It’s like they know they’re screwed and the only fall-back for them is letting Obama be responsible for the spinach-eating. They can’t really propose anything without getting crushed by their own base, but they can’t let the bomb go off without seeing their own reelections fizzle away. So they say “Lead, Mr. President.”

    It’s a different world than two weeks ago.

  45. 45

    @Seanly:

    Only the math and science that is currently known on Earth. What will they know in 100 years that we today could not even fathom?

    I can imagine that if you told someone in 1912 that everyone would be walking around with cellphones they would have looked at you as if you were insane.

  46. 46
    NotMax says:

    @Seanly

    On some far-flung, hyper-advanced civilized planet, “Earth” is the #1 rated reality program, comedy division.

    “Where do the writers come up with this stuff?” – Kolob Picayune-Gazette

  47. 47
    mai naem says:

    @Brachiator: Yes, but Americans will blame the Republicans not the Dems especially because Obama will tell them around Inauguration day, SOTU etc. etc. around Xmas etc. etc. its the Republicans who won’t let me give you a tax cut because they want to save tax cuts for the very wealthy.

    OT – friend of mine thinks McCain’s cancer is back. I am not good at this kind of stuff but he says McCain’s cancer affected side of his face is beginning to look bigger again? Anybody else notice this?

  48. 48
    Maude says:

    @General Stuck:
    When we read from the left that Obama has put Medicare and Social Security on the table, we are seeing lefters that have no understanding of what Obama is doing. They miss the subtle pushing of the GOP and boxing them into a corner.
    When Obama talks about Medicare and Social Security, he is talking about strengthening git.
    I can’t deal with the lefters who don’t listen to what
    what he says.

  49. 49
    mai naem says:

    @NotMax: I did. The staffer bs’d me with he will let my opinions be known to the senator. BTW, and this PO’s me off but I cannot call my senators or rep on a blocked call. I have to call the capitol to do that. It’s not a big deal, just annoying.

    OT- James Carter(Jimmy Carter’s grandson), the finder of the 47% tape, is going to be on Bill Maher tonight.

  50. 50
    NotMax says:

    @mai naem

    Depends on the camera angle and lighting as to how evident it is. The enlargement is a result of the treatment and the drugs he’s on. It has been a constant – check out footage, for example, of the ’08 debates.

  51. 51
    gene108 says:

    @Evolving Deep Southerner:

    That’s the post of a guy, with some solid job security.

    Too many people are just recovering from the last, long, recession to throw them another recession.

    A better analogy for Burnsie would be after the “Volker recession”, which had 10% unemployment rates and people feeling like there would be another Great Depression, if Congress and the White House got into a pissing match and set off another recession in 1985.

  52. 52
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @mai naem:

    John McCain’s face: That’s the left side, right?

  53. 53
    catclub says:

    Whenever the GOP demands that rates not go up for the wealthy, I wish that Obama would say “I have no plans to raise rates on them higher than current law, now, why can’t we agree NOW to hold middle class rates where there are?”

    He does that second part pretty well. It just seems to never get into the soundbites on the TV. Funny that.

  54. 54
    General Stuck says:

    @mai naem:

    I noticed that as well. If I remember it was cancer of the parotid gland on the left side, and it looked like something was up, or back. He may have had melanoma as well, if I remember right.

  55. 55
    catclub says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: ” 1912 that everyone would be walking around with cellphones they would have looked at you as if you were insane.”

    If you told Einstein and Marconi that said cell phones use electromagnetic radiation, they would nod and say ‘Oh, miniaturization.”

    FTL travel, both Einstein and today’s scientists still think, “No way.”

  56. 56
    Yutsano says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: They also just made a very recent discovery where warping space may take far less energy than originally thought. They’re still working on the maths, but it was a huge deal in FTL circles a few weeks back.

  57. 57
    NotMax says:

    @catclub

    Agreed wholeheartedly.

    Cellphones are an extrapolation of then-proven, reproducible principles (telephony, radio, etc.).

  58. 58
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @catclub: So the Ancient Aliens guys are wrong? History Channel, why do you deceive me?

  59. 59
    Turgidson says:

    Since a number of the rich and the “job creators” are already having a hissy fit that Obama won, he might as well make them actually feel some financial pain – they’ve already shown they’re going to throw a tantrum regardless.

    Also, if there is anything this election should have shown (in addition to “tax the fucking rich already”), it’s that the country doesn’t fucking want Medicare benefit cuts. Jesus, the GOP nominated the Granny Starver but then he and Mittens immediately tried to bullshit their way all the way to Obama’s left by promising to restore the $716 billion in “cuts.” And a bunch of blue hairs bought it.

    But the very serious conversation is always that entitlements need to be “reformed” (cut) so that they’re fiscally sound, or whatever. It’s never “let’s do a better job funding these successful programs that 2/3 of Americans like and never want to see cut. A little extra tax revenue and redirecting some defense spending their way should do it.”

    Boourns.

  60. 60
    JoyfulA says:

    @muddy: I remember the early 1980s in Philly, which was devastated. I was running workshops for clergy on how to help the unemployed.

  61. 61
    Brad R says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Check out N. Tesla

  62. 62
    Yutsano says:

    @NotMax: Cell phones would not exist without transistors or rechargeable batteries, both of which Marconi would have marveled at.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    I have a really interesting book about sci-fi movies by David Skal called Screams of Reason. In it, he tells a story about when he saw a UFO when he was living in Colorado. It hovered so close to him that he was able to clearly see the red and green landing lights on the bottom of it.

    In other words … not an alien spacecraft, but an experimental aircraft. Personally, I think that’s 90 percent of what people see when they see a “UFO.”

  64. 64
    NotMax says:

    @JoyfulA

    The ’80s recession was a hellhole to live through (national unemployment tickled the 11% level).

    What aided recovery? Raising taxes (corporate taxes, in this case – at that time, by the largest post-WWII increase), and increasing deficit spending.

  65. 65
    Shane says:

    That comic is hilarious. Thanks for posting it.

  66. 66
    Triassic Sands says:

    I danced a little jig when Kerrey lost in Nebraska. Since Dems didn’t need him to hold the majority and he wasn’t a possible sixtieth vote, he wasn’t worth anything to the Democratic Party. His loss means fewer headaches for the left, and doesn’t adversely affect they ability to pass legislation.

  67. 67

    @danimal:

    I, for one, just wish we had a cold, calculating p0ker player on our side. Someone who knows the rules and knows the Math. Someone who knows

    how to bleed his opponents drop by drop, never losing it all in one bet, always smiles, and walks home with the whole pot.

    @catclub:
    On the other hand, if you’d told them about modern computers they’d be like ‘…the fuck are you talking about?’

  68. 68
    Maude says:

    @Triassic Sands:
    I’d say his losing was justice. He went back TO NE just in time to file for the race.
    He did have time before that to criticize Obama.
    Kerry was going lecture the Dems about social programs.
    HaHaHaHa.

  69. 69
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    …and if Obama won reelection, he would have an awful lot of leverage over the Republicans.

    BWAHAHAHAHA! Did Chait put that in just to see if anyone was reading beyond the first paragraph? The only people with a lot of leverage over the Republicans are the wingnuts.

  70. 70
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Someone who knows when to hold ’em, knows when to fold ’em. Knows when to walk away, and knows when to run.

  71. 71
    NotMax says:

    @Yutsano

    Not at all. The transistor is a better mousetrap (and cheaper) version of tube tech (thermionic triodes date to 1907).

    Rechargeable batteries? Again, better mousetrap building on existing tech. Telegraphy in the 19th and early 20th century would not have existed without batteries. Those were renewable rather than rechargeable, but ongoing improvements in both the Daniell and Leclanché cells, for instance, pointed toward the goal of rechargeability, and the harnessing of electricity into a power grid provided a ready means for doing so.

  72. 72
    geg6 says:

    @JoyfulA:

    Here in the Pittsburgh area during that time, unemployment was hitting close to 20%. I live in an area along the Ohio River that used have both shores lined with miles and miles of steel mills. They all went went down like dominoes. The mill my dad worked in employed 13,000 people. By 1984, when he finally retired, there were less than a dozen guys left, just closing the place up and loading up the equipment that could be moved. The Japanese and right-to-work states in the South bought it all at fire sale rates. And then LTV went bankrupt and fucked my dad and all the other retirees of their pensions. My dad spent 40 years working there and ended up, through the PBGC, getting a lousy $900/month. And he was lucky because my mom was a journalist and she kept working for another decade or so. A lot of his co-workers had wives who were stay-at-home wives and they barely scraped through their “golden” years.

  73. 73
    El Cid says:

    So I just watched Chris Matthews try to play angry journalist to Congressmen talking about Petraeus’ testimony on the attack on US personnel in Benghazi, Libya.

    He was outraged that no one had corrected quickly enough Susan Rice’s comments that the incident had grown out of protests instead of being as suspected a terrorist attack.

    Wait a fucking minute.

    Who the fuck are these people like Matthews?

    Did they need a fucking U.S. government official to clarify for them that when a rocket-grenade and automatic weapons were used to attack the U.S. embassy there that it was an armed group, whether you wish to call it a militia or terrorist group?

    Are you trying to fucking tell me that as a supposedly intelligent journalist if some U.S. official didn’t come out and specifically tell you that the correct use of very powerful arms indicated the involvement of an armed group and that the target of attack being U.S. personnel at a U.S. Embassy suggested terrorist motivations in an area known for armed fundamentalist Islamic terrorist militias who had had a significant role just fighting the just concluded civil war against Qaddafi, you wouldn’t have been clear on that?

    Without that explicit hand-holding, what would you have been thinking?

    That a protest over the silly video arose and, what, their voices harmonized in some magical way and manifested a magic, voice-powered rocket grenade?

    That if there’s a protest somewhere it means that there can’t be any armed militia or terror groups nearby, because the protesters were there first?

    What?

    What was the part you needed, Chris Matthews, in order to use your awesome journalistic skills to intuit the likelihood of militia / terrorist group involvement when comparatively heavy arms are used in a targeted attack on a U.S. installation and personnel?

    Why? Why did you need a prominent U.S. official to tell you a terrorist attack was suspected? What would you have suspected?

    Because I’m just a fucking citizen, and I didn’t need a god-damned U.S. government official to know where this even happened and what the context was and what a rocket grenade attack suggested about what types of persons would carry out such an attack.

    What is this shit? Are these journalists fucking kidding me? Why are they fucking paid?

    What’t the counter-argument? That if a fucking federal official didn’t hold your god-damned hand and explain patiently that, well, yes, given what happened they suspected a terrorist group was involve, what? What would the contrary scenario be?

    And if the contrary scenario makes no sense, then what? You just hold that as a stupid assumption until somebody with a name tag tells you not to be stupid?

    I do not get what any of this fucking confusion is supposed to be.

    There was not one fucking second of this situation since I first heard about it that failed to suggest in a ridiculously obvious fashion that whatever had happened protesting or otherwise one of the armed militia groups including fundamentalist and even Al Qa’ida linked ones which our fucking journalists had just been reporting on for the last fucking several months would be involved.

    What the fucking fuck.

  74. 74
    Roger Moore says:

    @catclub:

    FTL travel, both Einstein and today’s scientists still think, “No way.”

    And reasonably fast subluminal travel would require a rather showy deceleration step.

  75. 75
    Raven says:

    @El Cid: Shit, half the people there have fucking AK’s and B-40’s.

  76. 76
    PeakVT says:

    @Triassic Sands: Each added Dem vote makes it a little easier to find 50+1 (on votes that only require 50). But in the case of Kerrey, having him on teevee promoting B-S and the like would be a big, big negative for everything the Dems should do.

    The Democratic caucus must Must MUST reform the filibuster at the beginning of the session. I might just cry if they don’t.

  77. 77
    NotMax says:

    @Raven

    Hey, Raven.

    You might get a rise out of this (How shall I put it? Ah, yes.) militant ass.

  78. 78
    Roger Moore says:

    @NotMax:
    I’m pretty sure that the electric cars available by 1900 were powered by rechargeable lead-acid batteries. Not the best technology for lightweight phones, but certainly proof that portable electrical power was possible and practical.

  79. 79
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @El Cid:

    Did they need a fucking U.S. government official to clarify for them

    Yes.

    The deserting coward malassministration conditioned them well.

  80. 80
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: Ha, what a schmuck.

  81. 81
    the Conster says:

    @El Cid:

    I saw Matthews keep telling Schiff he was missing the point, and I just kept thinking WTF, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. This whole Benghazi thing is maybe the dumbest fucking nontroversy ever, including Travelgate. No one can articulate exactly what the outrage is supposed to be about, even the nutjobs on Fox.

  82. 82
    Raven says:

    @the Conster: Say what? The fuckers responsible for, what, 4000+ dead GI’s are having a stroke behind four dead Americans.

  83. 83
    geg6 says:

    @the Conster:

    Nah. Travelgate is still the stupidest fucking “controversy” ever. At least in the case of Benghazi, there was some confusion that shouldn’t happen. I think they made the talking point too easy to demagogue by not being clear that they really didn’t have enough information to know exactly what had happened. And there are dead Americans who we have to account for. Do I think this anything more than bad communication? No. Travelgate was a huge thing that went on and on and on and on and really was a big nothing burger. No dead people either. Travelgate was just the 90s version of the Obama paternity conspiracy theories. Fucking GOPers never change, unless it is change for the worse.

  84. 84
    Roger Moore says:

    @Raven:
    They’re angry because there’s a blah Demonrat in charge. Benghazi is just an excuse.

  85. 85
    the Conster says:

    @Raven:

    Yet, the four dead Americans is the biggest scandal evah, because Susan Rice didn’t say the magic word “terrorist” on Press the Meat. Or something. I don’t even know what they’re trying to say, because they don’t know. It’s all because of “bin Laden Determined to Strike in the United States” FAIL, and this is the only chance they’re ever going to have to make it a “both sides do it” equivalency event.

  86. 86
    Maude says:

    @Raven:
    US press and the WMDs story. Need I say more?

  87. 87
    NotMax says:

    @Roger Moore

    Excellent point.

    I neglected to mention that the storage battery (rechargeable) was developed before the Civil War and, with improvements, became economical to manufacture in bulk by the 1880s. They were phased into use in telegraphy (recharged by steam engine or electric grid if available) over the following decades.

  88. 88
    the Conster says:

    @geg6:

    Travelgate – good times. Also Christmas cardgate, or whatever the fuck that was. You’re right – the early 90s was the dumbest fucking time for politics and press ever. That was when Sally Quinn and David Broder walked arm in arm, defining and protecting the Village from those horrible Clintons. I can just see Hill and Bill sitting at their kitchen table looking back over that time and high fiving each other, saying how do you like me now?

  89. 89
    joel hanes says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Humanities major, amirite?

  90. 90
    Raven says:

    “We’ve lost more diplomats than we have generals” Wilkerson.

  91. 91
    Keith G says:

    Take a left, Mr. President—hard left!

    There’s gonna be a few disappointed cow pokes around here.

  92. 92
    PurpleGirl says:

    OT The kittehs are moving around and momma cat (I think) has come into their area.

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    On the other hand, if you’d told them about modern computers they’d be like ‘…the fuck are you talking about?’

    Dude, Charles Babbage came up with the basic principles of computing in 1812. I’m pretty sure that both Einstein and Marconi would be able to grasp the idea of tiny machines in our pockets transmitting messages just fine.

    The main problem would be getting your iPhone back after letting them play with it for a while. ;-)

  94. 94
    geg6 says:

    @the Conster:

    No shit. Man, that’s when I knew the GOPers had lost it completely. Just the dumbest shit ever. At least, until people like Orly Taitz, Jerome Corsi, and Pam Gellar came along. And that’s why I don’t believe in the concept of peak wingnut.

  95. 95
    daize says:

    Needz moar Tunchie. That is all.

  96. 96
    some guy says:

    @Maude:

    When Obama talks about Medicare and Social Security, he is talking about strengthening git.
    I can’t deal with the lefters who don’t listen to what
    what he says.

    “Lefters” like Senators Sanders, Whitehouse, Leahy, Stabenow, Boxer, et alia ? ( all 29 Senators here… http://www.sanders.senate.gov/.....league.pdf)

    or “Lefters” like the 19 Senators in the “Defending Social Security Caucus” (http://www.sanders.senate.gov/.....7c116b0ee6)

    or “Lefters” like AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep Jan Shackowsky, and their friends?

    please be more specific about these “Lefters” you so decry.

  97. 97
    PurpleGirl says:

    There is a human playing with the kittehs now.

  98. 98
    NotMax says:

    @Mnemosyne

    Also too, strips of punched paper to replicate weaving patterns in looms and such in manufacturing were an accepted improvement in tech in Babbage’s time.

    Both those and, for example, the player piano, are primitive computers, in the sense of using an on/off paradigm.

  99. 99
    Bruce S says:

    @Maude:

    Sam Stein, HuffPo, 7/11/11:

    “According to five separate sources with knowledge of negotiations — including both Republicans and Democrats — the president offered an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, from 65 to 67, in exchange for Republican movement on increasing tax revenues. ”

    (So far as I know, this has not been denied. And of course raising the Medicare eligibility age is one of the stupidest ideas on the planet, given that Medicare is our most cost-effective health insurance, short of the “socialist” VA Hospitals. Your faith in Obama being some sort of superman playing “11 dimensional chess” is childish at best. It should be clarified that Medicare and Social Security benefit cuts, nor raising the eligibility further than it has already been raised is NOT on the table. I don’t believe that’s the current position. And there’s no reason not to make it clear, if it’s not “on the table.” Now call me some “lefter” – whatever the hell that means – or “firebagger” because I’m not delusional about Obama and suited up for the cheerleading squad. Sorry, but I’ve been involved in real politics too long to rely on the President of the United States as the agent of change or to assume he is insulated from compromise and expediency that can border on cynical – even if the President is a decent man as Obama clearly is. That’s ahistorical and pathetic. Without a base that’s aggressive in protecting social insurance, we can’t assume there won’t be real cuts. Learn a little something from the marriage equality activists and “Dream” kids. Obama is open to doing the right thing, but not if the political space isn’t created to the left of his Oval Office Beltway bubble.)

  100. 100
    Yutsano says:

    @NotMax: Dammit. I’m gonna have to check and see if Connections is on Netflix when I get home.

  101. 101
    Anoniminous says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    True Story.

    During the Libyan thing the rebels took over a prison and found some people who had been locked-up since 1982. As the former prisoners were walking out, free at last, one of them turned asked one of their liberators why everyone was talking to their calculators.

  102. 102
    Felonius Monk says:

    Going to be interesting — Sounds like Harry Reid is walking back his tough talk on not touching entitlement programs — said something about we will all have to give a little or some shit like that.

    McConnell shows no indication that he is willing to negotiate. I think the Dems should just say “Fuck U, repugs. See ya’ next term.”

  103. 103
    Bruce S says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    “Sounds like Harry Reid is walking back his tough talk on not touching entitlement programs”

    Oh no. He’s just playing 11 dimensional chess. The Democrats in Congress and the administration can be totally relied on not to touch the “Big Three” benefits. Because, you know, we’re the party in which Erskine Bowles is considered a serious man…

    Unless we raise some hell, this “fiscal cliff” negotiation will not go particularly well. It’s not about Obama. It’s about whether enough of his base give a shit and aren’t just going to sit back “celebrating” like last time. Obama is the best President in my lifetime, but he needs an activist grassroots to give an assist and open up political space, or he’s just a prisoner of the Beltway BS.

  104. 104
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    Not sure where you’re getting that from. Today the right-wing media is whining that Reid took Social Security off the table and said that Medicare reform will be taken care of by Obamacare.

  105. 105
    the Conster says:

    @Bruce S:

    He’s not going to get something for nothing. He’s got to act in good faith, and so does Boehner’s caucus. What do you suggest he offer?

  106. 106
    Chris says:

    @El Cid:

    I approve this message. All of it.

    Still wondering if they’ll actually be dumb enough to try and impeach Obama over this. There’s four years to go and they’ve gotta throw something to the rabid base.

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce S:

    We just need to remember where that pressure needs to be directed (and I think you know this) — we need to direct it at Congress, not at the president. As with the PPACA, Blue Dogs in Congress are going to be the ones straining at the bit to cut Social Security, not the president.

    Don’t send your cards and letters and faxes to the White House — send them to your Congresscritter and two Senators, where they’ll actually do some good. I guarantee you that the Teabaggers are already burning up your Representative’s phone lines whining about socialism, so get the fuck in there and make sure your Rep knows that those people do NOT represent the mainstream.

    And that goes 12 times for people who have Republican Reps and Senators. Make them ignore you, FFS.

  108. 108
    Peter says:

    @Bruce S: You mean like Panicky Leftists have been swearing and spreading rumors that Obama would do every time he’s engaged in negotiations with Republicans? Sorry, you can only cry wolf so many times before people start to not take your panicked cries seriously.

  109. 109
    geg6 says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    I think the Dems should just say “Fuck U, repugs. See ya’ next term.”

    I honestly think that’s exactly what is going to end up happening. I think the House is too batshit crazy to agree to anything the Kenyan soshulist would sign. They are unhinged right now. I don’t know that Boehner can corral them.

  110. 110
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    LOL, nobody gives a shit about your concern trolling, dude. But tell you what, just to be on the safe side, why don’t you, Stein, and the rest of the “lefter” firebagging idjits get your own fucking website and preach the gospel. No one, except maybe corner stone and some guy pay any attention to your chicken little shit on this one. You ain’t been right about nothin’ yet.

  111. 111
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Great, which Koch operation got the conservatives arguing against the leftists in here again

  112. 112
    Raven says:

    @General Stuck:

    Blues Magoos – We Ain t Got Nothin Yet

    One day you’re up and the next day you’re down
    You can’t face the world with your head to the ground
    The grass is always greener on the other side, they say
    So don’t worry, boys, life will be sweet some day
    Oh, oh, oh, oh
    Oh, oh, oh, oh

    We made enough mistakes
    But you know we got what it takes

    Oh, we ain’t got nothin’ yet
    No, we ain’t got nothin’ yet

  113. 113
    Randy P says:

    @NotMax: Indeed. The transistor was the result of Bell Labs investing in quantum physicists. Quantum theory of the 20s and 30s suggested that a solid state version of the tube should be possible. Bell Labs said “OK guys, figure out how to invent that”.

    The story is in the Nobel Prize lecture by, I believe, William Shockley.

    @NotMax: And I remember reading that someone figured out how to send faxes over the telegraph system in the 19th century.

  114. 114
    mai naem says:

    @NotMax: @Linda Featheringill: @General Stuck: I don’t know which side but it’s the one which is obviously disfigured but my buddy’s saying that its getting bigger again. I guess it may be the lighting.

  115. 115
    AA+ Bonds says:

    And Moses calmed the waters . . . chill the fuck out and realize you agree with each other

    Without a base that’s aggressive in protecting social insurance, we can’t assume there won’t be real cuts. Learn a little something from the marriage equality activists and “Dream” kids. Obama is open to doing the right thing, but not if the political space isn’t created to the left of his Oval Office Beltway bubble.)

    This is something every Democrat can get behind

  116. 116
    The Other Chuck says:

    I rather imagine if you went back in time to show Einstein a modern smart phone, he’d be a whole lot more interested in how the hell you got there than what you brought with you.

  117. 117
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @the Conster:

    Oh, the problem can be articulated, but it would resemble a scene from Blazing Saddles.

  118. 118
    Rosie Outlook says:

    My father was once out in the Mojave on night war games. Desert nights it seems, are very clear because of the lack of humidity. Everyone clearly saw something brightly lit that was dipping and swooping all over the sky. Dad wrote up an incident report which everyone signed, and turned it in, and he was debriefed at some length. But he never heard, not even via the grapevine , whether he and his men saw an experimental aircraft or an honest to God UFO.

    Of course, they COULD have been the first people to see the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  119. 119
    Keith G says:

    @Bruce S:

    Without a base that’s aggressive in protecting social insurance, we can’t assume there won’t be real cuts. Learn a little something from the marriage equality activists and “Dream” kids. Obama is open to doing the right thing, but not if the political space isn’t created to the left of his Oval Office Beltway bubble.

    Obama will not lead left. Economically, he is a pragmatic centrist who goes to where the deal is (an observation, not a criticism). Progressive citizens need to make noise asserting their views and supporting leaders like Senator Brown who actually live on the left.

  120. 120
    General Stuck says:

    @the Conster:

    Absolutely, we live in a democracy, still. SS has never been on the table, though medicare is and should be to with coming shortfalls in funding and out of control rising med costs. It is a negotiation, not an inquisition.

    But mostly, it is all theater, as the entitlement programs won’t likely be dealt with to fix problems until the last minute, per usual. The real issue now is breaking the right wing fever on never raising taxes as a matter of religion. I think that entitlements are just the field of battle the wingnuts have chosen, and they have that right. But they also have little leverage currently.

  121. 121
    AA+ Bonds says:

    And I’m just going to say it: you can’t win an election in America with the obvious support of the left in the voting booth, as a left-wing party, and start using “left” or variations thereof as a slur when you disagree with the person. It’s just not going to work out for you.

    I’d like to bury “progressive” as a term, but again, as long as you have ardent Democrats using it, you cannot turn it into a slur and expect positive results. Did conservatives benefit from the use of the term “neoconservative” and “paleoconservative” against each other?

    Learn to disagree without inventing rhetoric that can be used against you later.

  122. 122
    Raven says:

    @Rosie Outlook: When I was about 6 we were driving from Chicago to LA. We always crossed the desert at night, water bag on the front of the 52 Chrysler and all. We saw a big ass flash in the distance and it turned out to be a nuclear test.

  123. 123
    aimai says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    People are responding to polite political “nothings” like “we all have to compromise” as though they are road maps to capitulation. Also: when someone says “How Are You” they really want to hear all the details of your latest boils and pustules. When they say “Its a genuine pleasure to meet you” they actually mean it. And those two handed grips that politicians give everyone in the universe? They reflect a real, personal, sense of love and attachment. For Christ’s sake people (not Mnemosyne but the person she’s commenting on) people in politics say shit all the time “after you,” “I’ll get back to you” “Definitely monday, for sure” and they don’t mean it at all.

    aimai

  124. 124
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    Obama will not lead left

    Nah, Obama just led one of the biggest lurches to the left at the top of the ticket, for a presidential election in a very long time. It wasn’t Sherrod Brown or anyone else that manufactured this pol shift. You are a fucking idiot, or worse.

  125. 125
    blahblah says:

    “Take a left, Mr. President—hard left!”

    Setting up for more disappointment, I think. The President is a bipartisan moderate and I love him for it. Hopefully he’ll surprise us all on marijuana reform like he did on gay marriage, though.

    I’d just settle for a gradual return from the crazy right, with another 8 years of Democrats in the White House.

    “Veer slightly to the left, Mr. President! And campaign like hell for your successor with huge approval ratings” just doesn’t sound as nice.

  126. 126
    the Conster says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Heh. Really though, in this particular instance I think Benghazi is not about O being a Ni**clang, and more about a Democrat, once again, conducting foreign policy competently. I really think this is all about the Goopers realizing that Republicans have lost the economic argument to vote Republican because of Bush, and the foreign policy argument to vote Republican because of Bush, and this incident is their only way to assert some equivalent foreign policy incompetence under a Democratic president, his blahness notwithstanding.

  127. 127
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @General Stuck:

    Nah, Obama just led one of the biggest lurches to the left at the top of the ticket, for a presidential election in a very long time. It wasn’t Sherrod Brown or anyone else that manufactured this pol shift. You are a fucking idiot, or worse.

    I’m intrigued by this statement and would like to hear more. I would also point out that Keith G’s comment was pretty innocuous.

  128. 128
    aimai says:

    @blahblah:
    He’s not a bipartisan moderate. He’s not a bomb thrower and he’s not a poseur but there is quite a bit of space between his temperament, which is reasoned and calm, his policies which are basically to do as much good for as many people as fast as is practicable and the charge that he is a “bipartisan moderate.”

    When you see how much good the ACA is going to do, for 40 million people (and for all of us, ultimately) its hard to grasp how stupid this version of Obama is–that he’s a “centrist.” He’s forced to work in a bipartisan fashion because HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY CHOICE given the fact that the Republicans control the house. The leftiest lefty of all times in his office couldn’t do any more than he has short of declaring martial law.

    aimai

  129. 129
    hueyplong says:

    Isn’t Benghazi something like the 47th thing that’s supposed to be “even worse than Watergate?”

  130. 130
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @aimai: This. “The honorable gentleman from Kentucky makes a good point” as an example.

  131. 131
    srv says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Prediction #18: Telephones Around the World. Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. We will be able to telephone to China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn. By an automatic signal they will connect with any circuit in their locality without the intervention of a “hello girl”.

    http://www.yorktownhistory.org.....ctions.htm

  132. 132
    blahblah says:

    @aimai

    ACA is essentially Romneycare. I don’t see how the President isn’t a centrist. I do agree with most of the rest of your point. I think he is a moderate who wants to do as much good for as many people as possible.

    Realism means compromise, and if the other side becomes willing you can bet you’ll see more of it, even if it means “selling liberals out” or whatever.

  133. 133
    General Stuck says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    It is not the answers but the questions that are giving us fits.

  134. 134
    Yutsano says:

    @geg6: Boehner just got his leash yanked by not agreeing to oppose the ebil Obamacare. He responded by saying no tax hikes. Strap yer boots on, it gets thick from here. And Cantor is just dying to shiv him.

  135. 135
    Woodrowfan says:

    I’d be happy with a slight lean left.

  136. 136
    Keith G says:

    @AA+ Bonds: I’m on the “Gen Stuck Grumpy List”. Very McCain-like, actually.

    And it’s okay…as I enjoy the show.

  137. 137
    MikeJ says:

    @aimai:

    people in politics say shit all the time “after you,” “I’ll get back to you” “Definitely monday, for sure” and they don’t mean it at all.

    “I won’t come in your mouth. “

  138. 138
    General Stuck says:

    @blahblah:

    Don’t confuse pragmatism with centrism. They are very different things that can exist together, or not. Maybe look at it as applied liberalism. Or some such. Very few centrists pass up the opportunity to make their millions cashing in post grad as President of the Harvard Law Review, in lieu of pounding the streets of south Chicago.

  139. 139
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @General Stuck:

    Okay, cool. Can you expand on your statement about Obama? You seemed to be making an argument there and I didn’t follow.

    This one:

    Obama just led one of the biggest lurches to the left at the top of the ticket, for a presidential election in a very long time. It wasn’t Sherrod Brown or anyone else that manufactured this pol shift.

  140. 140
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @some guy: Huh. I must have missed the part where all of those senators said that Obama was planning, or threatening, to cut these programs. Or where they even suggested that. Or where they were directing their message to the president. Has it occurred to you that they post these messages in order to rally popular support for the Democratic point of view on the fiscal not-cliff? To make it easier for Dems, including the president, to tell the GOP to stuff it?

    ETA: Shorter me: Fucking politics, how does it work?

  141. 141
    NonyNony says:

    @aimai:

    People are responding to polite political “nothings” like “we all have to compromise” as though they are road maps to capitulation.

    Yes.

    And this is what Teabaggers do.

    And that’s why they do stupid shit like imagine that Richard Fucking Lugar is too liberal for them and run a crazy person against him. Or imagine that Lindsay Fucking Graham is too liberal. Or end up with Christine O’Donnell on their ticket for a Senate race.

    Jesus people – apply pressure but don’t fucking freak out when nothing platitudes about “all of us have to come together and make compromises” get spewed.

  142. 142
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Could everyone here at least sort of acknowledge that the left is a good thing? And that you don’t need to add a bunch of asterisked exceptions to the line at the end of the OP in the comments to show how serious you are?

  143. 143
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    Very McCain-like, actually.

    Yes it is. Why are you and Mccain so uppity?

  144. 144
    300baud says:

    @Roger Moore:

    And reasonably fast subluminal travel would require a rather showy deceleration step.

    Why’s that? It seems to me you’d just overshoot, brake like crazy, and then come back to the Oort cloud. You never have to point a serious drive anywhere close to Earth’s direction.

  145. 145
    Ben Franklin says:

    pragmatism, centrism……bullshit.

    I say, I say, that’s a HARD left, I say Foghorn Leghorn.

    For Southern Democrats, that is the Center.

  146. 146
    srv says:

    @aimai: He is the most liberal president since Richard Nixon. Ironic that’s what it took to get Nixoncare passed.

  147. 147
    General Stuck says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    I wasn’t making an argument, but a declaration of sorts, that seems like it should be obvious. If you were to disagree and say why, then we can have an argument.

  148. 148
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    FFS, I wish they’d just get something done so we can quit with the manufactured drama. If we’re going to have drama, at least have drama over something that’s in writing.

  149. 149
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @NonyNony:

    And that’s why they do stupid shit like imagine that Richard Fucking Lugar is too liberal for them and run a crazy person against him. Or imagine that Lindsay Fucking Graham is too liberal. Or end up with Christine O’Donnell on their ticket for a Senate race.

    They do that because they’re right-wingers from a particular DIY ideology with a certain type of homegrown conspiracy theory.

    There isn’t a thing on the left in the United States that compares to the far-right chunk of the Republicans known as the Tea Party.

    There is zero risk on the left today of making “the mistakes of the Tea Party”. Under today’s circumstances it is not a bad idea for people on the left to push to the left.

  150. 150

    @NonyNony:

    apply pressure but don’t fucking freak out when nothing platitudes about “all of us have to come together and make compromises” get spewed.

    The thing about pressure is that it makes people uncomfortable. I’d prefer the president to be uncomfortable about trading away a single thing in the safety net. I’d prefer that he be forced to say “We can’t cut Social Security or Medicare benefits. Look at how upset these people are” than to have him go for a deal just to get a deal.

    Outside the Village and Wall Street, there is almost zero support for cutting Social Security or Medicare benefits. So why not go with what the people want. Just come out and say those things are off the table. Let the Village courtiers squeal. Who cares what they think?

  151. 151
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @General Stuck:

    Sorry, it’s not obvious. Okay, I’ll break it down:

    Obama just led one of the biggest lurches to the left at the top of the ticketfor a presidential election in a very long time.

    What does this mean? Obama 2012 compared to Obama 2008? Obama 2008 compared to Bush 2004? Are you talking about Congress instead, in the sense of coattails? I can guess here, but I want to know what this means.

    It wasn’t Sherrod Brown or anyone else that manufactured this pol shift.

    This, I don’t get either. Certainly Democratic candidates for Congress, as well as a great many Democrats beyond just the President, had an impact in winning 2012.

  152. 152

    @joel hanes: Nutthin major, I just know what I know.

  153. 153
    Dee Loralei says:

    I have a dent in my rib cage. It’s very odd. About 2 inches long 1 1/2 inches wide and about a 1/2 inch deep. Is that in the range of normal? It hurt badly earlier, now it’s just tender. Should I try to see a doctor later? Or just hope for the best?

  154. 154
    General Stuck says:

    Take some time to look at some post election polling on issues, like gay rights/marriage, progressive taxation/ Obama ran a populist campaign of economic ideology, straight up against right wing ideology, and won. In an atmosphere less than stellar for current economic conditions. The House just elected 5 new openly gay dems, and the first openly gay senator.

    The there is the Gallup Presnit Polling center for monthly measurement of Obama approval with his base. That at present rests at 95% job approval by self described liberal democrats. That is nationwide. I laugh when internet liberals/leftists opine on the disappointment in Obama’s alleged “centrism” or even GOP like. Tempest in teapots.

  155. 155
    Raven says:

    @Dee Loralei: Is it a traumatic injury? A cracked rib can be dangerous, it could puncture a lung. There isn’t much that can be done about them but it would be wise to get it checked.

  156. 156
    Dee Loralei says:

    I was carrying a box of dishwashing soap under my arm, holding it tight with my elbow to keep the box from slipping. That’s when I hurt it. But can a rib break that easily?

  157. 157
    magurakurin says:

    @srv: and imagine what Nixoncare would be now if it had been passed in 1972. Teddy Kennedy said that his greatest political mistake was opposing Nixon on that back then. Obamacare actually isn’t for those of us here now as it is for the future. Healthcare as a right and entitlement has now been established. As others pointed out in a previous thread, Rmoney’s comments, which he saw as a jab, about adding dental to Obamacare is something that will probably happen.

    And I don’t know if the President is going to yield on raising Medicare to 67 or not. But if the deal is to raise the age to 67 in 2050, it might just be rendered meaningless by then. After all, the reason that Medicare is so important is the fact that there has never been anything like Nixoncare on the books. There is a very real chance that the landscape of 2050 regarding healthcare could be one in which a single payer plan exists and the eligibility age of Medicare could be nothing more than a formality. I would prefer to see the President tell the GOP to go pound sand, but I’m not entirely sure that I am actually smarter than him either.

  158. 158
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Not sure where you’re getting that from.

    Don’t remember exactly.Some discussion I was only half-listening to in the car this afternoon. I probably misunderstood the comment because I haven’t found any further substantiation — it was probably just someone’s opinion.

    I certainly hope he hangs tight on this as was stated in the article you pointed to.

  159. 159
    General Stuck says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    This, I don’t get either. Certainly Democratic candidates for Congress, as well as a great many Democrats beyond just the President, had an impact in winning 2012.

    I didn’t say that only Obama had the impact, just that he has led it in his own diabolical way. It is wrapped in no drama Obama, and a willingness to let other dems be themselves in congress. But that leadership moving the ball to the left is ever present and to Obama’s credit as the dem party leader.

  160. 160
    Raven says:

    @Dee Loralei: Probably not, how much does it hurt?

  161. 161
    Yutsano says:

    @magurakurin: It will be much more likely that the Medicare eligibility age will be expanded as ACA increases its coverage and more states go single payer. It’s always the case for every universal health care system to expand upon what already exists. This is why Switzerland uses private companies with very strict regulation. This is also true of Japan, but as you live there this is hardly a revelation. :)

  162. 162
  163. 163
    Dee Loralei says:

    @Raven: Now? Not a lot, but I’m +3. So tender, bruised, discomfort. But no real pain. The whole dent in my side thing is discombobulating me though.

    Oh, an no insurance, either. That’s why I’m asking about the neccessity of medical care.

  164. 164
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Can we shut the fuck up about how it wouldn’t be so bad to go over the fiscal cliff, or unbelievably enough, how a “mild” recession might be okay?

    There’s a lot of fucking people who have been out of work for a long fucking time. Another market shock is not what we need right now.

  165. 165
    srv says:

    @magurakurin: Yeah, it took 80 years to get cell phones and only half that to get Nixoncare.

    People should start planning on 2050 now.

  166. 166
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Dee Loralei: It’s possible you only bruised the muscles that are over the rib cage. A cracked or hairline fracture is possible but would hurt a lot. A broken rib would really hurt and you would feel it on breathing.

    (I fell, going up a short step and bruised my chest. I went to the doctor about 3 weeks later and the X-ray didn’t show any thing. That’s where and how I learned what I just said. Take some Aleve and that should help. Also, they don’t tape the rib cage any more because that can lead to pneumonia. Just take it easy, use Aleve and don’t lift stuff for a while. Go to the doctor to get the doctor’s diagnosis if you really want to but as I found, it wasn’t an extreme medical thing. At the time I had insurance.)

  167. 167
    Brachiator says:

    @geg6:

    I honestly think that’s exactly what is going to end up happening. I think the House is too batshit crazy to agree to anything the Kenyan soshulist would sign. They are unhinged right now. I don’t know that Boehner can corral them.

    The funny thing is that Congressional committees have quietly drafted legislation to address some of these tax issues. This is regularly tracked and reported in tax and accounting journals. But many reporters and pundits either are stupid to understand this, or want to pretend that it is not happening.

    And of course, the Tea Party people and other wingnuts in Congress can balk and blow everything up. But the rational folks know that one target date for getting things done is before they go on Christmas break.

    A deal on some items absolutely has to be worked out between now and maybe January 15. Otherwise, millions of people will see a tax increase in 2012. Not 2013. Nobody sane will let this happen. And not even Fox News would be able to explain this one away.

    After this, things get dicey.

  168. 168
    blahblah says:

    @General Stuck: Haha, what? I mean, look at Specter, which is only the most recent example. Plenty of centrists behave that way. Even McCain, who is slipping, only messed around with cashing in during Keating.

    Anyway, for all I know you’re right. I don’t see much difference between realistic liberalism, with all of its’ filibuster-defeating, House-vote-peeling-off compromises and true centrism anyway.

    The hard left turn just isn’t coming soon, and if it does at all, and I do hope it does, it will be the President’s successor who makes it.

  169. 169
    Lurker says:

    @blahblah:

    ACA is essentially Romneycare. I don’t see how the President isn’t a centrist.

    The ACA has a “Waiver for State Innovation” that allows each state to replace Obamacare in 2017 with whatever better/cheaper healthcare system they can invent. Vermont’s implementing a spiffy new single-payer system in 2017 with ACA funding because of this.

    President Obama made single-payer healthcare possible for Vermont. Most liberal Prez evar.

  170. 170
    Chris says:

    @General Stuck:

    By analogy with history, I’d say we’re not at the 1930s, New Deal stage (not hardly). But we are at the 1900s, early Progressive Era, beginning-to-think-government-can/should-be-a-force-for-good-after-all stage. Obama isn’t ushering in another “Liberal Consensus,” but neither is he Bill Clinton proclaiming “the era of Big Government is over.”

    (I don’t really blame Clinton all that much, for the record. He had one of the most unenviable positions of any liberal president I can think of – presiding over a country where the Reagan ideology was reaching its zenith, and inheriting a Democratic coalition decimated by decades of Southern Strategy defections, without the demographic trends of the Obama age to draw on. I wouldn’t have wanted to be him).

  171. 171
    General Stuck says:

    @blahblah:

    sigh

  172. 172

    @NotMax: and @Mnemosyne:
    Completely inapplicable. You might as well say ‘A cave man could have seen this coming. Babbage’s machine was nothing more than applied levers.’ That precurser to the computer could perform basic math – slowly. Your iPhone, which can download and play movies in seconds, answer voice questions, and give you directions anywhere in the world, is technology Star Trek was too timid to predict. Go back and read old sci-fi, and notice just how pathetic their futuristic super computers are compared to what we have now.

    @blahblah:
    As should be mentioned every time Romneycare is brought up – Romney was governor while it was passed. That’s the extent of his responsibility for it. It was pushed by hospitals and passed by a giant Democratic supermajority. Never assume that because Romney was anywhere near it that it’s a modern conservative-acceptable piece of legislation.

  173. 173
    Keith G says:

    Off whatever the the topic has become:

    I just watched a public affairs show. The last topic was the electoral college. On the whole, the liberals attacked it and the conservatives defended. I found their individual partisan views illogical. At present, liberals should be loving the e.c. while conservatives should be in despair.

    In presidential elections, minority voters have infinitely more political power due to the electoral college. Once Texas becomes an intermittent blue state, conservative may be changing their tune.

  174. 174
    Chris says:

    @Lurker:

    The ACA has a “Waiver for State Innovation” that allows each state to replace Obamacare in 2017 with whatever better/cheaper healthcare system they can invent.

    Thus giving the Republicans a chance to prove that their “state/local governments are always more efficient” spiel is true! (It IS true, right? Right? RIGHT?)

    Man, the Dems must’ve had such a huge fucking grin on their faces when they wrote that waiver in.

  175. 175
    Dee Loralei says:

    @PurpleGirl: thanks a lot. You made me feel much less paranoid. So, I’ll take some Alleve, and go to be early. And I’ll keep an eye on it. And if it really starts to hurt, I will immediately go to the Drs. You and Raven have been a tremendous help! Thanks again!

  176. 176
    JustAnotherBob says:

    @blahblah:

    Anyway, for all I know you’re right. I don’t see much difference between realistic liberalism, with all of its’ filibuster-defeating, House-vote-peeling-off compromises and true centrism anyway.

    Funny, I see true centrism and far left/progressive-ism to be very similar.

    Neither advance the liberal agenda.

  177. 177
    Brachiator says:

    @Yutsano:

    Boehner just got his leash yanked by not agreeing to oppose the ebil Obamacare. He responded by saying no tax hikes. Strap yer boots on, it gets thick from here. And Cantor is just dying to shiv him.

    But if Obama stands firm, Boehner’s only options are tax hikes for the rich or tax hikes for everyone. This is not a very strong position. The potential trap for Obama is if he accepts any argument about raising revenues, fooling around with deductions and supposed loopholes, as opposed to increasing tax rates on the wealthy.

    But then again, I thought that Obama gave up too much when he agreed to an extension of the Bush tax cuts the last time around, even though it was politically necessary.

    Ultimately, I think I agree with burns. Obama has got to break the GOP, make them accept a tax hike, even if it causes some economic pain. The Democrats can recover from this quickly, if they are smart. I think that the American people will back Obama on this. Capitulation would be economically stupid and politically unnecessary.

    I just hope the Democrats realize this and don’t back down.

  178. 178
    blahblah says:

    Shit like this is why Sully has 10x the readership even if he loses it over a bad debate.

    We all will experience the same 4 years here. Let’s see if that hard left turn happens.

  179. 179
    blahblah says:

    @JustAnotherBob: Put it in a New Yorker caption and you’ll get $500 our whatever it is.

  180. 180
    Ellyn says:

    I sooo agree. If Obama sells us out by cutting Medicare or raising the Social Security age or using the chained CPI to calculate SS benefits the Dems will lose in 2014 because no one will bother to vote. I really wish I had a better senator than blue dog, Dianne Feinstein. I’m not counting on her to protect Social Security and Medicare.

  181. 181
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    Only a total fucking idiot would suggest that “Medicare should be on the table” in fiscal negotiations. The reality is – and this is elementary – Medicare is the most cost-effective medical insurance program we’ve got in the USofA. Putting it “on the table” in negotiating with people who hate it is insane and irresponsible. The problem of medical cost inflation has nothing to do with Medicare. Get this through your head. We have a systemic problem, and Medicare is part of the solution. Isolating Medicare in “fiscal cliff” negotiations is the stupidest strategy one could possibly imagine. It’s handing the GOP one of their talking points in the attack on social insurance. Democrats who acquiesce to this bullshit are morons, no to put too fine a point on it. You’re good at calling people names. I’m calling you out – on the basis of this crap talking point you’re helping to promote, while yammering incoherently about “lurches left” – as the “total idiot” in this discussion.

    Opening the door to isolating Medicare as somehow related to our fiscal problems is a GOP thing – or an asshole Erskine Bowles “Democrat” thing, which is totally backward in posing what our real fiscal problems are. This bullshit helps promote ignorance and allows those GOP knives to stay sharp. Medicare isn’t the cause of our fiscal problems. Our health care system needs overhaul – if anything extending Medicare eligibility and using the cost-savings potential in Medicare more effectively points more to the solution than economically illiterate nonsense that suggests a solution might be found to our country’s fiscal problems by “cutting Medicare.” There’s no way in hell that a real solution to the systemic problems that are driving Medicare costs – even thought they tail overall health care inflation – is going to be realized in this “fiscal cliff” context. Any talk isolating Medicare itself as problematic – rather than the broader health care system, in which Medicare is a relative money-saver – keeps people stupid in discussing these issues.

    The key to dealing with the GOP in this “fiscal cliff” context is pointing out how self-contradictory and disingenuous their hysterics are, because the “fiscal cliff” itself takes us totally out of deficits. The only thing to fear in “fiscal cliff” is austerity and restrictions on consumer demand by higher tax rates on the middle-class in the midst of stagnant growth and radically worsening income inequality. It totally undermines everything we’ve been told by the “serious people” of the Beltway, both GOP and “centrist” Dem. In fact, even the average voter likely believes that the “fiscal cliff” is about deficits rather than austerity and radical deficit-reduction. Giving credibility to GOP trash-talk against Medicare just adds to the stupid-problem we have in current public discourse on fiscal issues.

  182. 182
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:
    Go fuck yourself. This is a pathetic comment. “Go get your own website….” God, you’re a hysterical little shit. Who the fuck do you think you are. Blog police? Get a life, asshole. You aren’t even close to anyone to be taken seriously. You’ve got the analytical skill of Rush Limbaugh – blowing hot air and name-calling. Lots of noise signifying nothing.

  183. 183
    Triassic Sands says:

    @PeakVT:

    Each Most added Dem vote makes it a little easier to find 50+1 (on votes that only require 50).

    Your second sentence is the keeper.

    I would have felt much the same way about Ben Nelson if he’d chosen to run again, but at least he could have made the case that he hadn’t deplaned just in time to file his candidacy.

    There really was nothing to recommend Kerrey’s candidacy. Six years of “Holier-than-thou=Bob, wouldn’t have been much fun.

    It’s only fair to add how uplifting it will be to not have Lieberman preaching at us all the time, too.

  184. 184
    Brachiator says:

    @Ellyn:

    If Obama sells us out by cutting Medicare or raising the Social Security age

    These are really non issues. At some point, Medicare will be folded into the overall health care program. Or Medicare will expand to cover all Americans.

    Raising the retirement age would be rational if the economy were stronger. But with the middle class continually eroding, and employers laying off older workers to avoid pension commitments, fighting over the Social Security age matters less and less every day.

    And if the Democrats don’t come up with an answer for jobs and for reviving the economy, voters will show up in 2014, but they will be there to boot the Dems out of office.

  185. 185
    Bruce S says:

    I also have to say to General Stuck – does this politically naive asshole actually think that Obama “lurched left” in a vacuum ?(which, of course, wasn’t a “lurch” nor was it particularly “left” unless one thinks one chunk of Clinton-era tax increases is “left” – which is a FOX News
    talking point, if anything, rather than coherent analysis. When the fuck did being fiscally responsible in contrast to those Starve the Beast motherfuckers become “left” as opposed to sanity and moderation, which are both good things. Using “left” in this context is only marginally coherent and rhetorically counterproductive, given that “left” isn’t considered a good thing in current US political discourse )

    And when the fuck in history has presidential politics been the locus of shifts in what Stuck – in his usual cramped analytics – identifies as “polling.” Marriage equality “polls” much better now than it did even when Obama was elected because of what the marriage equality activists have done to push their case on the ground. Obama opened his door using executive power to push the Dream opportunity for immigrant’s kids because they pushed their case on the ground. This Obama-centric politics is bullshit. And I say that as someone who believes that Obama has been the best President in my lifetime. But he’s ONLY the President – Presidents don’t lead. Obama knows this, but that really doesn’t matter. What matters is grassroots Dems knowing it.

    Stuck is a political castrati of the sort who has NEVER done a damned thing to move the ball forward. He’s like some juvenile sports fan who’s got his team. And “his” blog, where he attempts to rein in anything other than his own half-baked assertions. Truly worthless BS, including those GOPer talking points about Medicare “on the table” swallowed whole.

  186. 186
    Bruce S says:

    @Brachiator:

    To say that Medicare is a non-issue because “something” will happen at “some point” doesn’t make any sense. You seem totally cool with raising the Medicare eligibility age. What has to happen — if we’re going to solve the health care costs issue, which IS huge but only because we allow for so much irrationality in our system — isn’t to “fold Medicare into the system.” Medicare is the only part of the “system” that’s borderline rational and cost-effective. And talking about raising the retirement age is just butt-stupid. Do you know people who work at jobs where they’re on their feet? We should – over the long run – look to be lowering the retirement age, if anything. There are lots of young people who need to enter the real workforce, and with productivity increasing the idea of people working longer rather than less is just stupid. Income inequality in the wake of productivity increases is a real problem to tackle – not old people not clinging to their jobs long enough. We’ve BEEN raising the retirement age. It’s not 65 anymore, although people still talk like it is.

    We don’t need more “Erskine Bowles” Democrat bullshit. You want to lose elections? Go this route…

  187. 187
    Bruce S says:

    @the Conster:

    “Good faith” doesn’t include having Medicare “on the table.” Nor is “good faith” something that Boehner’s caucus has even a glimmer of. “Good faith” doesn’t include actually increasing the % of GDP that the country pays for exorbitantly inflated health care, which is what raising the Medicare eligibility age, for example, does. It makes things worse fiscally for the country. Deal with health care inflation systemically – without targeting Medicare, even rhetorically. It’s a big mistake that plays into the GOP’s dishonest and fiscally irresponsible narrative. Good lord – if there’s going to be some crap compromise from Beltway Democrats, let’s not enable it with this stupid shit. There are lots of alternatives that deal with the long-term deficit that don’t rely on the nonsensical, willfully ignorant talking points circulating among unhinged elite circles like Morning Joe.

  188. 188
    Bruce S says:

    It’s not a “fiscal cliff” – it’s an “austerity bomb.”

    Krugman:

    Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo seems to have been the first to use the phrase “austerity bomb” for what’s scheduled to happen at the end of the year. It’s a much better term than “fiscal cliff”. The cliff stuff makes people imagine that it’s a problem of excessive deficits when it’s actually about the risk that the deficit will be too small; also and relatedly, the fiscal cliff stuff enables a bait and switch in which people say “so, this means that we need to enact Bowles-Simpson and raise the retirement age!” which have nothing at all to do with it. And it can’t be emphasized enough that everyone who shrieks about the dangers of the austerity bomb is in effect acknowledging that the Keynesians were right all along, that slashing spending and raising taxes on ordinary workers is destructive in a depressed economy, and that we should actually be doing the opposite.

  189. 189
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    I also have to say to General Stuck

    Shorter Bruce – Obama sold us out (or he hasn’t but will) and General Stuck is a big poopyhead, and I, Bruuuuuuce, am smarter than a thousand glow worms and ten thousand Obots. LOL, we laugh at your pompous bloviations as resident Huffpo liberal. The greatest emoprog that ever lived. How do you fit that massive ego atop of even a bigger asshole.

    You still ain’t been right about nothin”

  190. 190
    General Stuck says:

    Only a total fucking idiot would suggest that “Medicare should be on the table” in fiscal negotiations.

    More shorter Bruce – gentleman, we can’t have fighting in the war room.

  191. 191
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    I’m calling you out – on the basis of this crap talking point you’re helping to promote, while yammering incoherently about “lurches left” – as the “total idiot” in this discussion.

    Well, here I am. But as far as “yammering incoherently” you need to look in the mirror, though is likely impossible for someone of your obvious (cough cough) liberal stature. Still, take a deep breath and say something without the rageahol. Grab your teddy bear if it makes you feel calm.

  192. 192
    General Stuck says:

    Well, sheat. I’m going back to bed, so Bwuce can call me out later. I reckon.

  193. 193
    Bruce S says:

    Stuck – you just prove once more that not only are you a dull blade who can’t make a coherent argument beyond emotionally-driven and rather dull assertions that betray profound lack of political and intellectual depth, you’re not even very good at being the meanest girl on the playground.

    As for your stab at cobbling together a “shorter”, I’ll credit that you got the “Stuck’s a poopyhead” part right, although I’d use the term of art, “shithead” because I’m not 12 years old nor Grover Norquist. But run with what you’ve got. As a perennial stopped clock, you’ve got one more shot today at being right about something.

    Meanwhile, for adults in the room who actually care about shit, watch Up with Chris Hayes this morning (right now!) for intelligent discussion by folks with brains. Stuck might want to tune in so he can yell things at Chris Hayes, et al about their intellectual and moral deficiencies because they’re all right on point about the “fiscal cliff” bait-and-switch IMHO. They’re saying, in much greater detail, precisely the points I consider central in this discourse.

  194. 194
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    Hey firebagger. you have never made an argument on this blog, and certainly not to anything I have said. Your only response is a rageaholic stream of lame invectives barely laced together in complete sentences. You’re only saving grace is being slightly more glued together than a mclaren, but with the same streams of bullshit infused with oodles of free associative trivia.

    You are in effect, an educated idiot, that cannot think for itself so it declares, then insults in place of reasoned argument. That is why I responded to you on this thread, to provide a little of your own fucking medicine. You are a bully, and a boorish one at that. Keep your creature comfort prog pundit heroes close. They are all you have.

  195. 195
    Bruce S says:

    Go fuck yourself. YOu’re a child. And for the record, I never use the term “Obot” – I leave the demeaning, obscurantist, angry-little-man shit to the likes of you. I called you a total idiot, because that’s your style and you’d used it in this thread on another commenter glibly and with zero provocation. For you to call me a bully is projection, at a minimum. Total lack of self-awareness.

    You’re pathetic.

  196. 196
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    Total lack of self-awareness.

    LOL

    I always say. No one projects like our Bruce S. A walking talking full metal Freudian slip

  197. 197
    Bruce S says:

    I’m going to return a little favor – LOL!

    Shorter Stuck: “Shut up Firebaggers! Obama’s the smartest man on the planet and he single-handedly will save your ass.”

    Which, of course, is a theory of politics that is so mired in stupidity it’s not even worth discussing. It’s hard to imagine a worse narrative FOR OBAMA than this mindless crap. If you aren’t a moron and do, in fact, respect Obama and want him to have political capital, your job is to make noise and raise hell so he’s not stuck in the White House with no activists pushing him in the direction he most likely wants to go. Same goes for Congress – Beltway fetishism or hero-worship is not politics. Nor are blog comments. Even when they use big, complex words like “Firebagger!”

    (I notice The Big Man still can’t rise above his narcissistic rage. Stuck indeed.)

    Okay, enough “fun” with this clown.

  198. 198
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    Teehee
    I bet you print your own comments and sniff them later. Amirite!!

    I also bet you always have to have the last word.

  199. 199
    Brachiator says:

    @Bruce S:

    To say that Medicare is a non-issue because “something” will happen at “some point” doesn’t make any sense. You seem totally cool with raising the Medicare eligibility age. What has to happen—if we’re going to solve the health care costs issue, which IS huge but only because we allow for so much irrationality in our system—isn’t to “fold Medicare into the system.” Medicare is the only part of the “system” that’s borderline rational and cost-effective. And talking about raising the retirement age is just butt-stupid. Do you know people who work at jobs where they’re on their feet? We should – over the long run – look to be lowering the retirement age, if anything. There are lots of young people who need to enter the real workforce, and with productivity increasing the idea of people working longer rather than less is just stupid. Income inequality in the wake of productivity increases is a real problem to tackle – not old people not clinging to their jobs long enough. We’ve BEEN raising the retirement age. It’s not 65 anymore, although people still talk like it is.

    I pretty much disagree with everything you say here. I don’t give a shit about winning elections. I care about effective governing and getting the economy moving again.

    Talking about lowering the retirement age is stupid when the economy is shedding jobs, and when employers throw older workers out before they get close to retirement age. Talking about lowering the retirement age is stupid when older people desperately try to keep working or take on second jobs because they have been laid off, or their retirement plans have declined in value or because they have to keep working to take care of their own unemployed children and grandchildren.

    I don’t totally agree that Medicare is cost effective, but I don’t think it is the mess that conservatives claim.

    And it is just common sense to recognize that as universal health care expands, there is no reason to have a separate, standalone system just for seniors. It’s not a someday, somehow thing, it’s about building the future instead of trying to prop up old, outmoded models.

  200. 200
    NotMax says:

    FYWP. Stuck in moderation for no rational reason.

  201. 201
    NotMax says:

    Try again, in stripped-down form.

    @Frankensteinbeck

    You confuse (or conflate, perhaps) hardware and software, how a computer does (ones and zeroes, on or off) with what it does (programs/applications designed to take advantage of a system’s speed and capabilities).

    The rest of the stuck in limbo post was a truncated rundown of science fiction references which belie your statement.

  202. 202
    Bruce S says:

    @Brachiator:

    I’m not talking about forced retirement – I’m talking about lowering Social Security eligibility over time rather than raising it. Raising it is not just stupid, it’s inhumane. One of the reason so many people my age – believe me this isn’t some theoretical bullshit with me – is because we need to max out our SS benefits by working til we’re 70. I still want to work as long as I can, but I’d rather not HAVE to work and I’m in an industry where a lot of younger people would like to have the access to jobs that I still have because of my experience and skill set. If I could work less and do volunteer and non-profit work more I would love to. But it’s not really in the cards, given the meager SS benefit at 66 (which is allegedly “full”.) “Lowering the retirement age” is intended solely as an SS eligibility/full benefits issue – not forcing anyone to leave a job. For older workers, if they lose jobs, new equivalent jobs tend not to be there. So maximum SS eligibility is a key issue and given productivity increases should be in the policy cards over the long term. The notion that folks are “living longer” is only semi-true – that statistic masks as much of the reality as it supposedly reveals about changes in life expectancy once people have actually reached mid-60s.

    As for Medicare, of course Medicare isn’t as cost-effective as it could be, but it’s the most cost-effective medical insurance we’ve got. That’s reality, not “sometime”…”something.” Which is all you can predict. I would have rather seen Bernie Sanders “Medicare for all” than Obamacare as it was cobbled together excruitiatingly. Sane people tend to look at empirical evidence from the real world in adjudicating social policy, and there’s really no question but that some sort of single payer (French is probably the best, which isn’t pure government) is the way to expand access and provide a framework for controlling costs. It works. None of the alternate proposals are anything other than proven failures or speculation, often from pure ideology.

    You’re free to disagree on the above, but it’s not particularly controversial. I don’t see the point of isolatiing Medicare from the systemic problem – it’s a GOP ploy that obscures rather than enlightens, and it’s based on contempt for the very idea of social insurance.

    Also, aside from the fact that these are desireable policy directions and a more coherent narrative than raising hystericas about “Medicare” – the only way to exercise best policy, whatever you think it is, is to win elections. Winning elections by advocating better policy is a twoer.

  203. 203
    Brachiator says:

    @Bruce S:

    There was just a news flash here about Kaiser Permanente laying off 530 employees. Just before Thanksgiving. There is a weak promise that some employees might be hired back later. And this is a small number of the organizaton’s total work force. But still.

    I wonder how many we’re close to retirement age, how many will have trouble finding a job, how many will have to claw back up to a good wage.

    I understand your personal example, but I don’t see in the aggregate that lowering the retirement age is going to free up new jobs.

    The notion that folks are “living longer” is only semi-true – that statistic masks as much of the reality as it supposedly reveals about changes in life expectancy once people have actually reached mid-60s.

    I am not sure what you are getting at here. People are living longer, and there are more people in the older age cohorts. This is a good sign, but also a social challenge to make sure that retired people can have a good standard of living.

    Also, aside from the fact that these are desireable policy directions and a more coherent narrative than raising hystericas about “Medicare” – the only way to exercise best policy, whatever you think it is, is to win elections. Winning elections by advocating better policy is a twoer.

    I largely agree, but would say that the point is to implement the best policy. Mere advocacy doesn’t count for much.

  204. 204
    Bruce S says:

    @Brachiator:

    I’ll repeat – the issue isn’t “lowering the retirement age” but lowering the age of SS eligibility for “full” or “fullest” benefits rather than increasing it, as has been happening. Folks younger than me are going to have a higher entry age to “full” benefits than I already do, which is older than my father as example.

    I just don’t see dealing with the issue of jobs – either for younger or older workers – by contracting the ability of older workers to retire. The point about “living longer” is that a lot of statistics are bandied about how life expectancy is so much longer that older people today should be working longer. Most of that increase is based on things like lower infant mortality. The fact is that my parents’ life expectancy, once they made it into their ’60s by not succumbing to something early on that is increasingly treatable or averted by vaccinations, better antibiotics, etc. wasn’t much different than mine is today. There’s a lot of sleight of hand to make it seem like today’s old people are very different than those a generation ago. Presumably quite a few older folks have a more “youthful” lifestyle for various reasons, but the differences are exaggerated by ideologues who hate Social Security.

  205. 205
    Bruce S says:

    As for the cost issues related to SS eligibility, benefits and COLA’s – when Mitt Romney is paying a FICA tax at the same rate that I do, we can discuss what we can and cannot afford. Until then, hands-the-fuck-off! At minimum.

    Senator Mark Begich has the best SS proposal “on the table” IMHO:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....-generous/

  206. 206
    lol says:

    @Brachiator:

    He’s getting at how life expectancy after 65 has only gone up a few years since Social Security was implemented. And naturally these gains are highly dependent on race and income.

    People aren’t so much living longer as they’re not dying sooner anymore. And having money is a big factor in not dying sooner.

Comments are closed.