Early Morning Open Thread: They’re Baaaack….

Like a shingles attack, relict of a long-forgotten childhood ailment, Simpson & Bowles have returned with an even more toxic version of their Austerity “for thee, but not for me” Plan. Per Greg Sargent:

Like a pair of aging crooners hoping to recapture past glory with a long-awaited reunion tour, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson released a new version of their deficit reduction plan today. Ezra Klein ferrets out the real news in the plan: It asks for far less in new revenues, and more in spending cuts, than the previous Simpson-Bowles plan did…

…[T]he plan roughly represents the ideological midpoint between the Obama and Boehner fiscal cliff blueprints — which is why the plan is so heavily tilted towards cuts. As Kevin Drum notes, this is particularly odd, given that spending cuts have already been “75 percent of the deficit reduction we’ve done so far.” Drum adds: “this sure makes it hard to take Simpson-Bowles 2.0 seriously as a plan.”

That’s true, but it also provides a useful window into the arbitrariness of Beltway conceptions of what constitutes the ideological “center.” After all, the Boehner fiscal cliff plan raised taxes only on income over $1 million; the Obama offer raised taxes only on income over $400,000. Both of these are to the right of the balance Obama just won an election on: The expiration of the Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000. Yet these were designated the two ideological outer poles for the purposes of defining the debate….

Alex Pareene, at Salon:

S and B are doing their best to explain why we need a new, different plan. One reason is that, in their eyes, the situation has gotten so, so much worse since their last plan, that we now need more deficit reduction than we needed last time. The other reason is that the point of this plan is to be a model for a “compromise” between the current supposed GOP sequester-avoiding plan and the Obama administration’s sequester-avoiding plan, and it does this by adding tax revenue that the GOP has explicitly ruled out — but not as much as the original Simpson-Bowles plan, which had a lotta taxes — and demanding even more spending cuts than the original plan did. So the new centrist common sense bipartisan compromise is way more conservative than it was a few years ago, but still not conservative enough to win any Republican support (beyond insincere rhetorical support, I mean).

The cuts come from Medicare and Medicaid, because while the Obama administration laid out a plan to get as much deficit reduction as Simpson-Bowles originally demanded, the Obama administration did so in the wrong way, without trying to cut a bunch of money from those programs and Social Security…

And Professor Krugman summarizes the whole mishegas as “Snark That Writes Itself“:

Erskine Bowles tells a Politico event — now that’s a match made in heaven — that

The idea of a grand bargain is at best on life support.

OK, is there anyone whose immediate reaction isn’t, “Let’s convene a death panel!”

Look, a grand bargain right now is a terrible idea. The simple fact is that our political system isn’t ready. Washington is divided between parties with utterly different visions of what our society should look like; Republicans, in particular, would wait maybe a minute before trying to renege on any bargain that raises rather than cuts taxes on the wealthy, and that leaves the basic structure of Medicare and Social Security intact…

Meanwhile, the Kabuki of grand bargain negotiations absorbs all of DC’s political energy, making it impossible to talk seriously about the economic problems we have right now

Gee, Prof. Krugman, any chance you might have hit upon the very reason for S&B’s re-emergence?

137 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    S and B are doing their best to explain why we need a new, different plan.

    The explanation is that S & B weren’t appearing on the TV as often as they had been. S&B 2.0 adds 15 more minutes to their fame.

  2. 2
    Schlemizel says:

    Those two can shuffle off this mortal coil any time now please.

    It looks like the goopers have a series of man-made catastrophes lined up for this spring. I will be stunned if they can’t use one or two of them as leverage to make the sorts of cuts necessary to bring down what remains of this once proud nation.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    I had shingles on my forehead and right eye when I was in the crunch on a major project. Man it was incredibly painful and I was really lucky my vision wasn’t damaged. It was like having an ice cream headache for a couple of weeks!

  4. 4
    raven says:

    It sucked.

  5. 5
    Schlemizel says:

    Never heard of anyone having shingles until just the last few years. Now there are even commercials on TV for anti-shingle meds. Did I just live in a bubble of blissful ignorance or is this something that has just become a big thing recently?

  6. 6
    magurakurin says:

    Why are those old fuckers so worried about young people’s future? The youth of day aren’t going to have much of a future because, you know, they don’t have a frickin job now and the ones that do don’t get paid enough. There’s your economic mission right there you sterile old fucks.

    Find the young generation jobs or go fuck yourself with your grand bargains.

  7. 7
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @raven: I’ve heard that shingles truly sucks. I got the vax for it last year, even though I’m still a bit young, I had to get a script from my doc.

  8. 8
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    The spending cutters will always be with us. As long as a cent of tax from the 1% is spent on behalf of the unworthy 99%, eliminating that deplorable tragedy will be someone’s crusade.
    It’s not about spending less at all. It’s about spending less of the plutocrats’ money on the unwashed.
    That would be bad enough, but they’ve managed to lump earned benefit programs like Medicare and SS in as ‘redistributive’.

    I’m still in Germany, still have the flu. I keep telling myself this is survivable.

  9. 9
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Did I just live in a bubble of blissful ignorance or is this something that has just become a big thing recently?

    It’s always been horrible, but now there’s a vaccine to be sold.

  10. 10
    AnonPhenom says:

    Who died and left these 2 unelected assholes in charge of our country?
    They were given the task of getting 14 of 18 elected representatives to agree on a plan. They failed.
    The only people who care what Simpson-Bowles2 have to say are members of the beltway circle jerk.

  11. 11
    gene108 says:

    I think Simpson Bowles is a sensible plan, if you want to turn the U.S. into a Third World nation.

    As a Third World nation, the U.S. would benefit from a drop in immigration, especially illegal immigration as living standards here would be no better than prospective illegal immigrants could find at home.

    Maybe Simpson-Bowles should rebrand itself as immigration reform, rather than deficit reduction.

  12. 12
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @gene108:

    This was the key concept behind Mitt’s ‘self deportation’; Make everyone here miserable and the illegals will go home.

  13. 13
    Ben Cisco says:

    They’re locked in on shafting the non-1%.

    And it is already shifting into overdrive on the local level:

    Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law on Tuesday sharply cutting North Carolina’s unemployment benefits as agencies that deal with jobless workers predicted hard times to come.

    The law, which takes effect July 1, makes sweeping changes. It reduces the maximum unemployment benefit by one-third, from $535 to $350 per week. It reduces the length of benefits from 26 weeks to a sliding scale of 12 to 20 weeks, depending on the state unemployment rate. It also eliminates benefits for workers who have to leave a job for health or family reasons.

    North Carolina currently has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 9.2 percent, or more than 430,000 workers.

  14. 14
    jamick6000 says:

    When Alan Simpson finally croaks, who do you all think will write the most unbearable “lets finally do sensible bipartisan centrist deficit reduction, lowertheratesbroadenthebase, in Al’s memory” WaPo column, and why?

  15. 15
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @gene108: Simpson already sponsored immigration reform back in the 80’s, so he’s got practice at it.

  16. 16
    max says:

    @magurakurin:
    Why are those old fuckers so worried about young people’s future? The youth of day aren’t going to have much of a future because, you know, they don’t have a frickin job now and the ones that do don’t get paid enough. There’s your economic mission right there you sterile old fucks.

    How came you leave a properly aristocratic estate behind for the younguns thus resulting in your money continuing to grow and mutate long after you are dead if we don’t make sure those people are hammered into the ground. Also, they get to go on TV a lot, and what they fuck else are they gonna do that’s that exciting at that age?

    You don’t get to be very wealthy unless you were born with it, you’re Warren Buffet or George Soros or you’ve very assiduous in blowing the right people. And if you’re that damn dedicated to the money, well, it’s like a pet or a small child that doesn’t love you (much like your parents) and obviously you want T. Farlington Fartwit the XI trust fund to continue to become larger and larger until your name dominates the globe, even if you are long dead. (That won’t happen but you can pretend!)

    Considered in that light, the very wealthy old lady who dies and leaves all her money to her cat is basically some kind of cold-blooded realist. Or short-sighted bleeding heart liberal spendthrift. Your choice.

    Vanity of vanities; all is vanity… baby.

    OK, is there anyone whose immediate reaction isn’t, “Let’s convene a death panel!”

    Actually I flashed on the ‘I’m mellltttiiiinnnnggggg’ moment for the Wicked Witch.

    max
    [‘He who dies with the most toys is still a dead motherfucker.’]

  17. 17
    Rick Massimo says:

    God, they’re back like Lenny and Squiggy bursting through the door whenever Laverne or Shirley would say “Where are we gonna find two guys stupid enough to do that?”

    “HELLOOOOOOOOO!”

  18. 18
    ellennelle says:

    could we PUHLEEZE call this pseudoplan by its true name? Bowles-Simpson? as in BS!!

  19. 19
    liberal says:

    @AnonPhenom:

    Who died and left these 2 unelected assholes in charge of our country?

    Obama didn’t die, though he did have something to do with creating the Commission, didn’t he?

  20. 20
    brantl says:

    ANd nobody ever mentions that the reason that Social Security is no longer solvent, is because Bush raided its funds to pay for his idiot wars.

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @Rick Massimo:

    TV nostalgia win!

  22. 22
    gnomedad says:

    Jon Stewart’s sampler of Russian dashcam videos is hysterical.

  23. 23
    Anya says:

    Does anyone believe this is true:

    A Pew poll found that in the week leading up to the 2012 election, MSNBC did not air a single story critical of the President or a single positive story about Romney – not a single one – even as Fox aired a few negative ones about Romney and a few positive ones about Obama.

    Warning: This quote is from a Greenwald post at the Guardian.

  24. 24
    ET says:

    They seem to be under the delusion that Republicans will compromise. They won’t. Dems would be more likely wuss out and jump on board with even more massive cuts on top of what has already been cut than Republicans would be on boardwith S&B’s plan.

  25. 25
    AnonPhenom says:

    @liberal:
    They failed at the job he gave them.
    Despite failing, they produced a letter with their personal thoughts which was treated by the Serious People like Moses come down from the mountain but failed (again) to convice the electorate to anything.
    And now they want a mulligan?
    Fuck that noise.

  26. 26
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    “We must do it for our grandchildren; we must do it for ourselves; we must do it for our country,” write Simpson & Bowles. The urgency of that statement is undercut by the S & B plan’s dearth of specifics and detail although they do recommend reducing tax expenditures (Bye bye home mortgage deduction)and lowering the growth of payments to Medicaid and Medicare providers.

    That might sound good if you’re a wealthy, retired Senator with free lifetime Cadillac health coverage, but for the rest of us not so much.

    So far, I haven’t seen any mention of significantly reduced spending on the military or of even re-examining our spending on so-called homeland defense.

    It’s a hell of a plan – just don’t get old or sick and everything will be fine.

  27. 27
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @raven:

    I’ve had shingles and I’ve had quadruple bypass surgery. I’m not saying I would choose another bypass over another attack of shingles, not saying that at all — I’m just saying that in terms of sheer godawful misery, shingles is the Big Winner.

  28. 28
    Trakker says:

    STARVE THE BEAST!

    Why would the Republican Party ever consider changing? Even as a minority party they are amazingly successful considering how few people nationally who support them. Other than gay rights and pot they pretty much are getting what they want (what they want is to starve the beast, promote an oligarchy, and arm an angry band of rubes who will walk around armed with assault weapons legally in public and intimidate the population into submission).

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    @Anya:

    It could be true if the sample is only one week, plus the fact that Obama is a much better human being than Romney.

  30. 30
    Chyron HR says:

    @Anya:

    How dare you question Glenn Greenwald, you mindless-dear-leader-worshipper?

  31. 31
    Anya says:

    @Baud: Even in one week? Do they mean to tell me that not a single negative coverage of Obama took place on Jo Scarborough, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell’s shows? Really?

  32. 32
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @jamick6000:

    W

    hen Alan Simpson finally croaks, who do you all think will write the most unbearable “lets finally do sensible bipartisan centrist deficit reduction, lowertheratesbroadenthebase, in Al’s memory” WaPo column

    Tough call. Richard Cohen? Ruth Marcus? Chris Cilizza? Dana Milbank?

    and why?

    Because shut up. THAT’s why.

  33. 33
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Anya: oh good lord. What is even the point of that column? Yes, msnbc prime time is becoming a Democratic Party channel. And…the problem is? Should all partisan channels change sides when their parties win the White House? We can have the always critical channel and the always faithful channel.

  34. 34
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Anya: you need to look at what stories were available. So fix ran a bunch of Benghazi cover up stories. Ok, so they are critical. But are they objective?

  35. 35
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Anya:

    [1] In this study, campaign stories are defined as stories where 50% or more of the story was devoted to discussion of the ongoing presidential campaign, or else included President Obama, Governor Romney, Vice President Biden or Congressman Paul Ryan in at least 25%.

    Greenwald is, unsurprisingly, overstating the facts of the study. Also, it wasn’t a fucking poll, it was a content analysis, and it was a sample of stories.

  36. 36
    Shrillhouse says:

    @Anya: I don’t understand what is meant by “negative” coverage of the President. It all seems rather subjective to me, although I admit I haven’t bothered to look at Pew’s methodology.

    For example, if the media does a story about the President calling out the GOP for playing games with the debt ceiling, is this considered “positive”, “negative” or “neutral.”???

    How you “classify” the coverage kinda depends on whether you support the President, or not. Right?

    ETA: OK, I just looked at Pew’s methodology. Seems kinda sketchy, and open to subjective “analysis”, just as I suspected.

  37. 37
    Baud says:

    @Anya:

    I don’t think it’s accurate, but I don’t care if it is.

  38. 38
    jurassicpork says:

    Mike Flannigan writes about the Christopher Dorner execution with a little help from Chester Himes.

  39. 39
    jamick6000 says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I was thinking Dana Milbank too.

    My dark horse is Michael Gerson. I saw him on the Snooze Hour last week, with his stupid round spectacles. I think a good memorial of Simpson could solidify his role as the poor man’s Bobo.

  40. 40
    Mark S. says:

    Senator Walnuts went to talk to his constituents about immigration:

    One man yelled that only guns would discourage illegal immigration. Another man complained that illegal immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. A third man said illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits.

    But Republicans are making real inroads with Hispanic voters, no? That’s what I read on Politico.

  41. 41
    magurakurin says:

    @Baud:

    but I don’t care if it is.

    Neither does Greenwald. Boy, it’s weird how much he hates Obama. I get that Obama is doing some bad stuff in regard to civil liberties, but in the big picture it doesn’t seem to justify the major hate that GG has for the man. It’s almost personal how much he hates Obama. He’s only five years younger than Obama and went to NYU Law. I wonder if something happen long ago in the City. I actually have a friend who had a spat with Obama in the cafeteria line at Barnard College. He jokes about it now, it was nothing at all really, just a couple of looks and few words about butting in line. I wonder if we could get GG to show us on the doll where Obama touched him.

  42. 42
    danielx says:

    @jamick6000:

    When Alan Simpson finally croaks, who do you all think will write the most unbearable “lets finally do sensible bipartisan centrist deficit reduction, lowertheratesbroadenthebase, in Al’s memory” WaPo column, and why?

    George Will. Although if you dropped the requirement for it to be a Washington Post column, it would be a dead heat between David Brooks and Tom Friedman.

    The insufferable competing with…the insufferable.

  43. 43
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @magurakurin: I could give him a pass on the irrational hatred – lots of people have an irrational hatred for Obama – if his default defense when he’s confronted wasn’t “You’re just worshipping Dear Leader.” Fucking bullshit that deserves a place on Rush Limbaugh or Faux News.

  44. 44
    Alex S. says:

    I read in the Wall Street Journal that this is now the 4th attempt of Simpson and Bowles to sell one of their reform packages. Who pays them? Are they grifters? Are they bored? And why has the deficit situation gotten worse as they say? Didn’t we cut the military budget? Isn’t the sequester about to happen?

  45. 45
    rikyrah says:

    f’em.

    f’ all these austerity mofos.

  46. 46
    WereBear says:

    As I never tire of pointing out, we are only in this mess because rich people refuse to pay taxes. And they get away with it.

    They have been whipping up the anti-tax sentiment among the idiots to get them on board. Being idiots, the fooled don’t realize the rich think they can get along fine without Medicare, Social Security, and complex infrastructure. The fooled cannot.

    About time we flipped that window.

  47. 47
    Cassidy says:

    Hey, hey, hey…there are some firebaggers who’s fee-fees are going to get hurt if you keep saying mean things about Greenwald. Won’t you think of the children?

  48. 48
    Mark S. says:

    @WereBear:

    The media is certainly among the fooled. There will be some tax proposal which will only affect the top 1% and the media will put on a concerned face about how it’s going to hurt Joe Sixpack.

  49. 49
    Cacti says:

    @Anya:

    Surely there must be an example of a country that austerity cut its way to recovery…

    Somewhere?

    Anywhere?

  50. 50
    Cassidy says:

    Since it’s an open thread, I’m gonna spam a little bit this week. This saturday, the 23rd, the first Women’s Title Fight, Main Event, and just plain UFC fight is taking place between a former Olympian (2008 Judo Bronze medalist) and the only (to my knowledge) openly gay profession fighter. She’s also a veteran (Marine). The first female, Ronda Rousey, is a media darling and current UFC Bantamweight champion. She’s got sponsors, main stream sprots media coverage, etc. The second, Liz Carmouche, lives paycheck to paycheck and works at the gym she trains at to make ends meet. She’s also the underdog, brough in to be the sacrificial lamb for Rousey’s rising star. Personally, I’m rooting for Carmouche. She seems like a cool chick.

    I know most of you don’t care [or loathe]combat sports, but if you can find yourself at a sports bar this weekend showing the fight, every little bit goes a long way. Most professional fighters live below poverty and their families are part of their “sacrifice”. Even if she loses, solid viewer numbers can help one fighter start to make a living and maybe elevate a lesbian fighter to national prominence. Anyway, I’m not trying to be preachy. I like women’s sports and I love combat sports. I really want to see WMMA be as successful as the men and now that the UFC is behind it, it can happen.

    Yesterday, Purplegrl asked about getting the PPV and walking away. The PPV is going to be $45/ $50, so I don’t suggest that, unless you’re a fight fan and having some friends over for drinks and viewing; get everyone to chip in and BYOB. Secondly, more than likely, Carmouche isn’t getting a piece of the PPV action which is very lucrative for fighters. That sucks because the UFC has a tiered system and different benchmarks bump up the compensation. But, they do calculate sports bar patrons as viewers, but not for PPV numbers.

  51. 51
    Cassidy says:

    I”m in moderation and don’t know why!

  52. 52
    TriassicSands says:

    @danielx:

    They’re not waiting for Simpson to die (at the WaPo); the editorial page has already come out with their love letter to Simpson-Bowles 2. If the Republicans hold out long enough, the compromise point will eventually be to kill Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, eliminate corporate, estate, and capital gains taxes, and create a new Unearned Income Tax Credit for the 1%.

    What’s the compromise, you ask? Well, the GOP agrees not to kill SNAP until next year.

  53. 53
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Lead Balloon II

  54. 54
    Shrillhouse says:

    Surely there must be an example of a country that austerity cut its way to recovery…
    Somewhere?
    Anywhere?

    Things in Britain should be turning around any day now…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin.....-jobs.html

  55. 55
    WereBear says:

    @Mark S.: I initially disagreed with you… but then realized you are right. The media think they are part of the 1% and can float above the proles.

    But they are not nearly that rich.

  56. 56
    ericblair says:

    @magurakurin:

    I get that Obama is doing some bad stuff in regard to civil liberties, but in the big picture it doesn’t seem to justify the major hate that GG has for the man.

    As an aside here, I’m interested in the difference between “civil liberties” and “civil rights”. Because all I’ve been able to figure out is that “civil liberties” means “stuff middle class white males care about” and “civil rights” means “stuff middle class white males don’t care about.” You would think that first, fourth, fifth, and eighth amendment issues would be better off called “civil rights” as well, unless you need some sort of marker to tell whether you should give a shit or not.

    It’s pretty clear Simpson-Bowles was set up to fail deliberately. The media has been keeping these clowns on life support for years, although putting those smug old pricks on teevee doesn’t seem to be doing their cause much good.

  57. 57
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    In this study, campaign stories are defined as stories where 50% or more of the story was devoted to discussion of the ongoing presidential campaign

    There’s your answer. Stories weren’t defined as “stories” unless they were about the campaign, a campaign that the president was winning handily, and a campaign in which Romney repeatedly stepped on his own dick. Man, Greenwald is an intellectually dishonest fuck.

    Even so limited, I still have trouble believing this because Chuck Todd was trying to resuscitate a horse race until the bitter end.

  58. 58
    quannlace says:

    Ohhhh. Had Thom Hartmann on the radio yesterday, and was only half listening. Kept wondering, “Why is he going on and on about Simpsons/Bowles? Those guys have dropped off the face of the planet.”

  59. 59
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    It doesn’t exactly offer the people a whole lotta love, does it?

    (Sorry.)

  60. 60
    MikeJ says:

    Has somebody practiced austerity on the hamsters powering this joint? They could use some stimulus.

  61. 61
    Bulworth says:

    @Anya: No

  62. 62
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Amir Khalid: you ain’t foolin…

  63. 63
    Maude says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    But, they are our overlords.

  64. 64
    Mike in NC says:

    Surely FOX News can give Simpson and Bowles their own show, can’t they? Featured guests could include Newt Gingrich, Bob Schieffer, David Gregory, and Peggy Noonan.

  65. 65
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Perfect! I had “What is and What Should Never Be,” on in the background when I wrote that comment.

  66. 66
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Mike in NC:
    You left out The Mustache of Understanding.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Anya:

    A Pew poll found that in the week leading up to the 2012 election, MSNBC did not air a single story critical of the President or a single positive story about Romney – not a single one – even as Fox aired a few negative ones about Romney and a few positive ones about Obama.

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    [1] In this study, campaign stories are defined as stories where 50% or more of the story was devoted to discussion of the ongoing presidential campaign, or else included President Obama, Governor Romney, Vice President Biden or Congressman Paul Ryan in at least 25%.

    This is why I hesitate to take anything Greenwald says at face value.

  68. 68
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ: Tunch haz been distracted by new kitteh. Therefore the hamsters are not getting their proper motivation/terror.

  69. 69
    jeffreyw says:

    Lack of puppeh pics is disturbing. I repair fabric of Universe.

  70. 70
    Cassidy says:

    Still in moderation.

  71. 71
    Rex Everything says:

    @magurakurin:

    2008 flashback remix:

    Neither does Greenwald. Boy, it’s weird how much he hates George W Bush. I get that George W Bush is doing some bad stuff in regard to civil liberties, but in the big picture it doesn’t seem to justify the major hate that GG has for the man. It’s almost personal how much he hates George W Bush.

  72. 72
    MomSense says:

    I have tried to be charitable–but I can’t stand them.

    Economics–not a religion–not a stinking belief system. We actually have data (sorry Bobo) about what grows our economy. We actually have evidence of what life was like for Seniors pre Social Security and Medicare. It was the cruelest sort of poverty.

    They are not doing this for young people. Young people don’t have time to worry about their future–they are too danged busy trying to find a decent job that pays the rent and perhaps provides benefits. They are trying to figure out how to defer their student loans!!

    We need investment in infrastructure–roads, bridges, yes but also a smart grid, and green energy, and how about high speed internet and cell service that doesn’t crap out all the time! We also need more teacher because it is insane to think that a teacher can provide quality education with 28 3rd graders in her class. Have they ever spent time with 28 3rd graders in a little room???

    I think we all need to turn off the damned teevees-boycott this junk that passes for “serious news”. Carly Fiorina was on my teevee on Sunday talking about how the President should run the country. Have they forgotten how badly she screwed up HP??? Why do they invite these people who have gotten everything wrong to serve as experts on important matters?

    We are being played.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The solution to this seemingly intractable problem is really rather simple.

    Tax into penury assholes like Bowles and Simpson, and their fellow travelers.

    Destroy them. Make them suffer.

  74. 74
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Anya: But most importantly, did either network do any positive stories about Ron Paul? That’s what’s really getting Glenn irritated.

  75. 75
    Yutsano says:

    @jeffreyw: GEESES!!

  76. 76
    Cassidy says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    But most importantly, did either network do any positive stories about Ron Paul Gleen Greenwald? That’s what’s really getting Glenn irritated.

    I think this might be closer to the truth. His genius just isn’t appreciated.

  77. 77
    Lawnguylander says:

    Mitt Romney was a blatantly evil candidate with a plan to destroy the country and Greenwald is concerned about his press coverage on a single channel. If a commenter showed up here pushing that little sliver of data would you even stoop to analyze it, or would you refuse to be trolled by some wingnut asshole and go straight for the mockery?

    As for Simpson-Bowles, I don’t get the feeling too many people have much of an idea of what’s in it. There was a lot to grab onto and push for from a liberal perspective. Stuff that proved fairly effective for Obama during the campaign. There were a few liberal groups that saw the opportunity and pushed their own much better version, but they got little attention and support from bloggers and tweeters as far as I saw. It was hard for them to be heard over the cries of “cat food!” I guess. And, yeah, Obama was involved in the commission’s creation. It was the result of a deal that he made with conservative Democrats in return for their votes on the stimulus. It’s also worth knowing who voted for and against it but nobody seems to give a fuck.

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @WereBear:

    The fooled are those who I call the “natural serfs”.

    They just love to tug their forelocks to the vile parasites that are the 1%.

  79. 79
    kindness says:

    The MSM can’t call S&B hacks even though they are. That’s because the powers that be at the MSM want the cuts and don’t care that they will hurt the US rather than help it. Consequently, the MSM plays up the two grifters as if they were dropping pearls of wisdom. Me? I’m reminded more of The Music Man than anything from S&B. The MSM? Well, they don’t wield the power to shape issues as they had been able to pre-intertube days but they refuse to admit that and continue to act as if they are a reasoned sounding board. they aren’t. They are hacks too.

  80. 80
    Elizabelle says:

    @MomSense:

    re your comment 71: very well said.

  81. 81
    WereBear says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I see it as a sort of innate Sucking Up Reflex. It is especially encouraged, and thus rampant, in the Confederate parts of the South.

  82. 82
  83. 83
    Rick Massimo says:

    @ericblair:

    As an aside here, I’m interested in the difference between “civil liberties” and “civil rights”. Because all I’ve been able to figure out is that “civil liberties” means “stuff middle class white males care about” and “civil rights” means “stuff middle class white males don’t care about.”

    I think its the opposite. The Tea Party was all about their “civil rights” to shut down town hall meetings, but the phrase “civil liberties” still gets ’em snickering on talk radio.

  84. 84
    handsmile says:

    So, it was announced this morning that Conan O’Brien will be “headlining” (a utterly ridiculous verb) this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner.

    In the fervid opinion of Ed Henry, current head of the notorious White House Correspondents Association and apparent leader of the DC “Team Coco” fan club, “Conan is one of television’s most innovative and influential talents.”

    Now, of course, one must remember that Henry is an employee of Fox News, so this is probably best understood as just another example of that network’s detachment from reality. But I must confess that I was unaware that O’Brien was still on television, much less that he was “innovative and influential.”

    Does anyone here watch him? In what way is he the least bit relevant or even worthy of attention?

    ETA: In the “Colbert Platinum” segment of his program last night, Stephen Colbert evidenced why he will remain exiled from the salons of the Village media. But in truth, he does that every night.

  85. 85
    catclub says:

    @Alex S.: “And why has the deficit situation gotten worse as they say?”

    Well, I think Yglesias says that actually the deficit outlook is looking better, which is why B&S have had to move the goalposts.

    Allowing SOME of the Bush tax cuts to expire does help.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @handsmile:

    Does anyone here watch him? In what way is he the least bit relevant or even worthy of attention?

    One word:

    MONORAIL!

  87. 87
    Chyron HR says:

    @Rex Everything:

    How dare those Obotomized Obots question the motives of Saint Greenwald? They should cease these ad homenim attacks post haste and go back to fantasizing about getting raped by their Dear Leader, which Sir Glenn assures us is their favorite passtime.

  88. 88
    White Trash Liberal says:

    Greenwald has an easy gig: criticizing the national security state.

    Greenwald could have been writing similar columns and essays since the Whisky Rebellion. The overreach of national security power over civil rights is one of the principle defects of government.

    He is, deep down, a states rights Cabot Lodge conservative. Isolationism, limited federal powers, and equality under the law. It’s why he loves Ron Paul and Gary Johnson so much.

    It’s also why he reserves all of his gunpowder for federal overreach. I could hold my breath until Greenwald wrote anything about prison reform, school security, etc. and die a thousand times over. He doesn’t give two wet shits about civil liberties beyond his pet hobbyhorse of attacking the easiest target for the quickest buck.

  89. 89
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @brantl:

    ANd nobody ever mentions that the reason that Social Security is no longer solvent, is because Bush raided its funds to pay for his idiot wars.

    Yeah, not even Obama ever mentions that. Telling.

  90. 90
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Do you WANT the president to say that SS is insolvent?

    I spend too much time trying to suss out your enthymemes. It’s like you’re trying to convince people to see the 6 foot rabbit making mischief.

  91. 91
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    I want the president to speak the truth and explain why that truth is what it is.

    SS is not really insolvent; it’s all accounting smoke and mirrors leaving out that the government OWES that money back to SS, and one way of looking at it because of one aspect, which is GWB’s fucking illegal and unpaid for wars. I wish he would say that instead of inviting GWB to the WH for crumpets.

  92. 92
    shortstop says:

    Did anything in Pete Domenici’s statement jump out at y’all like it did at me?

    More than 30 years ago, I fathered a child outside my marriage. The mother of that child made me pledge that we would never reveal that parenthood, and I have tried to honor that pledge and so has she. I have been concerned about the burden of privacy on the son Adam Laxalt. I am also worried about the impact of these revelations on his mother, Michelle Laxalt. However, rather than have others breach this privacy, I have decided to make this statement today. These circumstances now compel me to reveal this situation. My past action has caused hurt and disappointment to my wife, children, family, and others. For that I am solely responsible. My family has been aware of these events for several months. I have apologized as best as I can to my wife, and we have worked together to strengthen our relationship. I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior. I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression. I only ask that everyone respect the privacy of my family and the son’s mother. None of them wanted this publicity, none of them deserve the hurt of this revelation, and only I should bear the brunt of this matter.

  93. 93
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Baud:

    I don’t think it’s accurate, but I don’t care if it is.

    Of course you don’t. Echo chamber, and all…

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    It’s like you’re trying to convince people to see the 6 foot rabbit making mischief that everything is Obama’s fault, even things that happened before he was elected.

    Fix’d. Once you realize that, in Timmy’s world, everything that has happened in the past 30 years is Obama’s fault, it all falls into place.

  95. 95
    Yutsano says:

    @shortstop: What? He did his job and deposited the lucky swimmer. What, you want him to act RESPONSIBLE or something??

  96. 96
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Tax into penury assholes like Bowles and Simpson, and their fellow travelers.
    Destroy them. Make them suffer.

    Yeah, yeah…tumbrels and all.

    Why aren’t you destroying Obama right along with them. The commission was his baby.

  97. 97
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Bots are so full of shit.

    Simpson Bowles was formed by Obama’s executive order. This is what he wants. Get a clue.

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Why aren’t you destroying Obama right along with them. The commission was his baby.

    Are you actually this simple minded? The commission failed to generate a consensus report. Simpson and Bowles have been bloviating about their personal preferences ever since.

  99. 99
    maya says:

    @kindness: Shorter:

    The MSM is in the middle of a Simpson Bowles movement.

  100. 100
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    No, dear, YOU are the simple one. WHO formed this commission with his blessing and signature, actually selecting the cadaver Simpson to be co-chair? Who created this monster that creaks among us?

    You waste so much of your creative energy on denial…

  101. 101
    shortstop says:

    @Yutsano: I want him to stop referring to his offspring as the son. Asshole. Him, not you. Obviously. Heh.

  102. 102
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Cole is overpaying you.

  103. 103
    Yutsano says:

    @shortstop: I can be an asshole if I try. I’ve been called that at work before. The conversation got even better from there.

    Domenici obviously doesn’t care about his son save for the fact he might be an inconvenience to ol’ Petey.

    @Omnes Omnibus: Never roll in the mud with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig enjoys it.

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Yutsano: D’accord.

  105. 105
    handsmile says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    You may well wish to hold your breath on other issues, but you should know that Greenwald does in fact address prison reform in his most recent book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful (2012).

    A narrative examining how the notion of “equal protection under the law” has eroded from the Watergate era to the present day, Greenwald writes about abuses at facilities operated by the Corrections Corporation of America and the political activism of the for-profit prison industry in state parties and elections.

    There is also this Salon column from March 2009 on then-Senator Jim Webb’s advocacy of prison reform.

    http://www.salon.com/2009/03/28/webb_2/

    (I trust you’ll be happy to note that Greenwald does manage to upbraid Obama in the first update to this column and does so by means of an email to the proprietor of this blog, John Cole.)

  106. 106
    El Cid says:

    It is so utterly disgusting that this idiotic bullshit from these two preening jackasses wastes even a moment of serious policy discussion.

  107. 107
    liberal says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    But in fact, Obama did create this monster.

    One could attempt to argue that the price paid in elevating these monsters in the national discourse was worth something (I assume deflecting anti-deficit attacks from the right), but that’s a claim that has to be evaluated empirically, on its merits.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @liberal:

    But in fact, Obama did create this monster.

    Not really — both Simpson and Bowles have been media figures in the “deficit” push for at least 20 years. It’s not like Obama elevated them out of nowhere.

    IMO, Obama’s mistake was in thinking that B&S would discredit themselves with the Village with their complete and utter failure to actually get anything done. He vastly underestimated how much the Village would prop B&S up and let them pull stunts like undermining their own commission’s report before it even came out.

    That’s the problem with technocrats — they actually think that competence and getting things done is important and valuable, but the Village knows that what’s really important is looking good on TV and going to the right cocktail parties, which is what B&S do. Therefore, their utter failure to actually accomplish anything can be glossed over.

    ETA: Our difference of opinion here may rest on what each of us thinks the Deficit Commission was supposed to do. I’m of the opinion that it was a Potemkin village set up to make Republicans think that something was being done, but with the full knowledge that it wouldn’t even manage to issue an agreed-on report.

    If you thought it was actually supposed to come up with a viable deficit plan that was going to be implemented, then that’s where we disagree.

  109. 109
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    This is why I hesitate to take anything Greenwald says at face value.

    He who hesitates is lost — you should just go for it immediately.

  110. 110
    Chyron HR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Not really — both Simpson and Bowles have been media figures in the “deficit” push for at least 20 years.

    But he put them on a COMMITTEE. Haven’t you ever heard the old saying, “The best way to give ultimate power to complainers is to put them on a committee?”

    (Me neither, but that’s probably because I’m not progressive enough.)

  111. 111
    different-church-lady says:

    @handsmile: I find it utterly hysterical that The Great Greenwald™ can let himself be so utterly crawlspaced by a single-A slugger like our dear host.

  112. 112
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t think Cole is paying them anything, and yet your statement is still true.

  113. 113
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @different-church-lady: T&H has been claiming that Cole is paying him to post.

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chyron HR:

    But he put them on a COMMITTEE. Haven’t you ever heard the old saying, “The best way to give ultimate power to complainers is to put them on a committee?”

    No kidding. It makes one wonder if the complainers were ever in student council or on an HOA board and have any clue what the actual purpose of a committee is.

  115. 115

    @liberal:
    And as this article beautifully demonstrates, S-B don’t need a commission to get into the news to preach their shit. The media loves austerity.

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    That is a weird sample, isn’t it?

    @magurakurin:
    The civil liberties stuff is also GG’s freakish grudge. He’s just a little less obvious that he’s taking shit out of context to create offenses out of thin air. I don’t think it’s about Obama, per se. The man’s a libertarian. He hates anyone in power. He’s pretty consistent about that, isn’t he?

    @Mark S.:
    The media think they are Joe Sixpack, and dine with him regularly at the Applebees Salad Bar. I’m not really joking there. Look and see how often they claim they know exactly what the blue collar worker wants.

    EDIT – @Mnemosyne:
    I’m not even in government and I know the ‘put whining assholes on a committee to keep them busy and out of your hair’ trick.

  116. 116
    DonT says:

    @WereBear:

    the talking heads may not be the 1% but those who own them are definitely the 1%.
    “How high, what color, my liege”

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    I had shingles and have been hit by a truck. Not in a car, I’ve been hit by a truck. Doing about 30 mph. I’m not sure I wouldn’t pick the truck, if given the choice. It sure hurt less at the time.

  118. 118
    liberal says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s not like Obama elevated them out of nowhere.

    That’s denying him any real agency.

  119. 119
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No kidding. It makes one wonder if the complainers were ever in student council or on an HOA board and have any clue what the actual purpose of a committee is.

    You have GOT to be a Bot Parody.

  120. 120
    ruemara says:

    @liberal: This committee was not made by Obama. It was a joint agreement by both sides to create the committee if they could not come to an agreement. The members were picked by House and Senate leaders along with WH aides, so sole responsibility is also not on Obama’s plate.

  121. 121
    Mnemosyne says:

    @liberal:

    That’s denying him any real agency.

    Not at all. It’s saying that they were already considered Very Serious People by the Village, which is why Obama put them on the committee — to give it some Village cred. As I said, Obama’s miscalculation was in thinking that their total incompetence and inability to actually do anything would make them look bad to their fellow Villagers.

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Yes, Timmy, blue-ribbon commissions and committees really are the ones who get things done in government, not actual laws being passed. I’m sure that’s what they told you at your HOA when they put you on your very, very special investigatory committee of one and sent you off to do your work out of the room while they voted on things.

  122. 122
    Lawnguylander says:

    @liberal:

    Which element of the Simpson Bowles report is due more to Obama’s agency the proposal to drastic reduction in defense spending, the taxation of capital gains and dividends at ordinary income rates, the removal on the cap on income subject to SS taxes, or the increased SS benefits for poor old people?

  123. 123
    Ruckus says:

    @Lawnguylander:
    You do realize there is no committee report. There never was an agreement on what to do so BS made their own up. The only reason it has any name or even exists is our wonderfully inadequate press.

  124. 124
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ruckus:

    Actually, there is a committee report (PDF) — it just was not approved by a majority of the committee.

    What B&S did was call a press conference a couple of days before the report was released and do their own PowerPoint presentation of what they thought the report should have said. IOW, they deliberately undermined their own commission’s report.

    This is yet another example of why PowerPoint is the source of all corporate evil.

  125. 125
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Our difference of opinion here may rest on what each of us thinks the Deficit Commission was supposed to do. I’m of the opinion that it was a Potemkin village set up to make Republicans think that something was being done, but with the full knowledge that it wouldn’t even manage to issue an agreed-on report.

    I think it was set up so that anything the committee _did_ agree to might actually be a good idea, because a large number of the people appointed by The Other Side would have been persuaded. There were 6 presidential picks, 6 Congresspeople (3 D, 3 R), and 6 Senators (3 D, 3 R). Any proposal that would be approved would have to get 14 of those 18. So IMHO it was designed to produce either a stalemate or an actual breakthrough. Stalemate won.

  126. 126
    Lawnguylander says:

    @Ruckus:

    On the subject of realizing things, I’m coming to realize that not only is it true that hardly anyone seems to know what’s in that report, some people don’t even know that it’s real. It’s true that it didn’t get the necessary votes to be sent to congress, with Paul Ryan and Jan Schakowsky voting against, Dick Durbin and Tom Coburn for, all very confusing. Unless you paid attention.

  127. 127
    xian says:

    @Anya: I could easily believe that in the last week before the election MSNBC found nothing good about Romney to report and nothing bad about Obama.

    I do not believe that Fox ever broadcast anything positive about Obama and I’d like to see some proof that they did.

  128. 128
    xian says:

    @magurakurin: i think the man thing is the GG is a libertarian/civil libertarian period. He’s not a progressive or a liberal or left of center etc in any particular sense. Obama’s worst area is the area GG cares about.

  129. 129
  130. 130
    xian says:

    @White Trash Liberal: hardly worth it. not even the fact that Obama based two campaigns on the devastation that Bush policies wreaked on this country could dissuade our little jack-in-the-box from responding botlike with an “Obama allowed it,” “it’s ultimately Obama’s fault,” or “Obama never mentions it” from its grab bag of attention-getters

  131. 131
    xian says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: and of course upthread it was already established the the commission was a concession in one of the earlier showdowns Obama was forced into over the fake deficit hysteria, but don’t expect that to dissuade our li’l barnacle

  132. 132
    Rex Everything says:

    @Anya:
    Why don’t we leave GG out of it, and simply concern ourselves with the research he cited?

    From the Pew Center’s report:

    “[I]n the final week (October 29 to November 5), a noticeable change occurred: Obama’s coverage improved dramatically while Romney’s coverage stayed about the same but shrank in volume…MSNBC’s coverage of Romney during the final week (68% negative with no positive stories in the sample), was far more negative than the overall press, and even more negative than it had been during October 1 to 28 when 5% was positive and 57% was negative. For Obama, meanwhile, the coverage improved…During the campaign’s final week, fully 51% of MSNBC’s stories were positive while there were no negative stories at all in the sample.”

    I mean, if you really want to talk about that, what’s the point of invoking Greenwald? Good way to talk about everything but that.

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Rex Everything:

    In order for a story to be coded as either “positive” or “negative,” it must have either 1.5 times the amount of positive comments to negative comments, or 1.5 times the amount of negative comments to positive comments. If the headline or lead has a positive or negative tone, it was counted twice into the total value. Also counted twice for tone were the first three paragraphs or first four sentences, whichever came first.

    Link.

  134. 134
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @gnomedad: I was watching Mr. Stewart’s ”
    How I Meteored your Motherland” at breakfast and snorted my oatmeal.

  135. 135
    Rex Everything says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Are you citing their methodology because you find it somehow nefarious?

    If so, why?

  136. 136
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Rex Everything: No, nothing nefarious. I was just noting that a “positive” story was not necessarily all sunshine and roses. “Positive” stories could well contain many negative negative comments. Honestly, it does not surprise me that the Obama campaign, which was doing rather well, got coverage reflecting that fact. Shouldn’t the reporting match the facts on the ground?

  137. 137
    Rex Everything says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yeah. I think the data on MSNBC is a bit over the top, but you can’t deny that Obama had a great week. I live in Jersey & was highly appreciative of him around that time myself.

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