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Posted at 8:39 AM ET, 12/24/2010

Christmas Eve Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* It's good to see that Obama is so uninterested in the "triangulation" game that he's banned the word in the White House:

Despite all his time studying the Clinton administration, Mr. Obama told his aides that he had no intention of following the precise path of Mr. Clinton, who after the Democratic midterm election defeats of 1994 ordered a clearing of the decks inside the White House, installed competing teams of advisers and employed a centrist policy of triangulation. In fact, several advisers confirmed, the word "triangulation" has been banned by Mr. Obama because he does not believe it accurately describes his approach.

Triangulation just isn't Obama's style, and his scolding of liberals seems to be rooted in genuine frustration with them for disagreeing with him about what's politically possible, given today's realities. To whatever degree Obama is using his disagreement with the left for positioning purposes, it's more about temperament than ideology: His role is that of the voice of sanity trying to talk sense into uncompromising partisans on both sides. This just isn't Clintonian triangulation in any sense.

* Also in the above link, two very important points: The President, preparing to deal with a strengthened GOP, is studying how to maximize the powers of the executive branch. Keep an eye on that one.

And: The White House is staffing up on lawyers to prepare for the coming wave of House GOP investigations.

* You keep hearing conservatives argue that Americans don't really care about Obama's massive lame-duck victories, rendering them politically irrelevant.

But Charles Krauthammer begs to differ, and explains why Obama's year-end successes were a "singular political achievement" on several levels, leveling the playing field for next year.

This column will cause much gnashing of teeth on the right.

* Good news, if true: Joe Biden, in an interview with ABC News, vows up and down that Obama will hold the line on letting the tax cuts for the rich expire in 2012.

* Also key: In the ABC interview, Biden hints that Obama is ready to "deal with" the Defense of Marriage Act, predicting "inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage."

* Indeed, gay rights advocates point out that the repeal of don't ask don't tell makes the President's opposition to gay marriage harder and harder to sustain,

* Is it time for some measured optimism on the economy?

* A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling on David Petraus to testify about Afghanistan, because of the war's "uncertain progress."

Which raises a question: How big a political problem for Obama could Afghanistan balloon into on the Hill in the next two years?

* Good read from Ron Brownstein, who explains the core paradox of the 111th Congress: It will go down in history for the magniture of its political losses and its legislative accomplishments.

* Are House GOPers perparing to disappoint the hard-core conservative base by adopting an insufficently hard line on immigration?

* Glenn Greenwald on how Wikileaks held up a mirror to America, and how the outraged reaction to the leakers was at least as revealing as the revelations themselves.

* Christmas eve comic relief: Alex Pareene has a rundown of this year's most inane right-wing nontroversies.

* And a quick housekeeping note: I'm off next week, but you'll be in the capable hands of Jonathan Bernstein, who you surely know from his own excellent blog. Please treat him well.

It's been one heck of a year, and I wanted to thank you all again for showing up here day in and day out. This blog wouldn't be what it is without your seemingly bottomless appetite for politics, your prolific and insightful comments, and your irksome heckling (okay, your very constructive criticism). You all are a key reason why this gig is endlessly interesting, illuminating and fun.

I hope you all have fun with Jonathan. I'll be checking in from time to time, but won't be back full time until January 3rd. Have a great holiday!

By Greg Sargent  | December 24, 2010; 8:39 AM ET
Categories:  House GOPers, Morning Plum, economy, gay rights  
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Next: Nominations and the filibuster in the 112th Senate

Comments

Have a great holiday, Greg. Thanks for a year of excellent reporting and conversation starters. I'm enjoying my semi-retirement from the thread wars, but you are still my go-to for political reporting and commentary. See you in the new year.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | December 24, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy your week off, which God knows you've earned. On Wikileaks, the position I have decided on is that the organization, and Mr. Ansange, should be punished as were Mr. Cheney and Halliburton, the first of whom, lest we all forget, outed an actual undercover CIA agent and thus her network. Halliburton, we should remember, killed and sickened actual U.S. troops, electrocuting them with faulty wiring and feeding them rotten food.
A free people should know what its government is up to.

Posted by: kstack | December 24, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Happy holidays, Greg. Take a deserved rest and consume many fine beverages from Scotland. It's been a delight to be part of this blog co-authored by yourself and RainForestRising. Who could ask for anything more?

To everyone else, best wishes for selves and families.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 24, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"Good news, if true: Joe Biden, in an interview with ABC News, vows up and down that Obama will hold the line on letting the tax cuts for the rich expire in 2012."

That's the crux of it. When you really look at what was included in the deal, and what else the Congress was able to get through the lame duck session because of it, there was only ONE question to ask.

Do you believe that Pres. Obama will hold the line against the tax cuts for the rich in 2012?

If you didn't believe it (a fair assessment given the past 2 years), then you felt this deal was terrible. If you did he'd hold true (also a fair assessment given the past 2 years), then it seemed like it was worth it.

I can't wait to see the new tax plan the White House will be pushing next year. I'm hoping it makes up for some of the inequality in our current code, and nullifies the "Payroll Tax Holiday" nonsense that got included in the deal.

Time will tell.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 24, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

@Greg, re: Bernstein

Is Jon going to stay and play in the comments like you do? Please tell him to try and do so.

I really hate that Adam posts on this blog, then vanishes into thin air. The interaction involved is probably the biggest selling point of this blog. It's why I keep coming back here while I've utterly given up on other sites.

Speaking of which, I don't see you as much as I used to. Still sometimes, which is awesome. It seems WaPo has you working a lot. :-D

ps - Enjoy your break...it's really, really, really well deserved. Great work all year! Have a great holiday.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 24, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Bernie--Have the Bestivus Festivus Evah!

Merry Christmas 2ALL @ ChezSargent and especially to our host.

Posted by: tao9 | December 24, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

A sincere happy holidays to you. I have enjoyed your 'company' for the short time I have been here -- best blog evah. The way you interact with your readers is so very different from the condescending attitude of most pundits--it's fun.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 24, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Triangulation led to the need to do "something"


AND that something ended up being horrible policies

- deregulating derivatives

- the free trade deals

- repealing Glass Stegll AND creating the subprime mortgage program


Divided government did not lead to good government

The best thing would be is for Obama to resign -

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to one and all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Enjoy the time off Greg and store up some good cheer and insightful commentary for the New Year. We'd all be bereft without you, LOL.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 24, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Relaxing and contemplative holidays to all. Xmas here in two hours, twelve hours ahead of PST. Good day for a benzo nap, the heat at a merciful low 80s.

Enjoy your vacation, Greg, curl up with a good book. Something non-political. I'm enjoying Alastair Reynolds lately.

meep meep

Posted by: caothien9 | December 24, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Rahm Emanuel was on the board at Freddie Mac


and there are those who say the Clinton people had nothing to do with the mortgage crisis


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Good Holidays to all! And a big thanks to you, Greg!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 24, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

We're not super into Xmas here, but my six year old just got out of bed and first thing he said, "Santa is coming tonight and he is already heading for Australia!"

Greg, have lots of fun with your time off, hope you have loved onces to play with. This is the week for that.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

In America, retail sales are the final common pathway to economic recovery...

"The National Retail Federation predicts that holiday sales will reach $451.5 billion this year, up 3.3 percent over last year. That would be the biggest year-over-year increase since 2006, and the largest total since sales hit a record $452.8 billion in 2007. A strong finish could even give 2010 the crown, possibly the best ever." AP

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"AND that something ended up being horrible policies

- deregulating derivatives

- repealing Glass Stegll AND creating the subprime mortgage program"

that was all done by Republicans, the ringleader being Phil Gramm, the argument being the same old crap we're hearig now about the new financial regulations -- oh boo-hoo, regulations are 'job killers.' it's too bad wingers are too brainwashed to see that the real 'job-killer' is lack of regulation -- the cause of the mortgage/securities scandal and this current recession.

Clinton should not have let them get away with it, but it was hardly his idea. Try not to revise history... some of us remember it.


Posted by: fiona5 | December 24, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@fiona5 "Clinton should not have let them get away with it, but it was hardly his idea. Try not to revise history... some of us remember it."

Note that Clinton himself doesn't view the repeal of Glass-Steagall as a mistake or a contributing factor, even in hindsight. His biggest regrets are not having stricter oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which puts him in line with the opinion of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, and not attempting to regulate derivatives. Clinton, Rubin and Greenspan were equal partners with Phil Gramm on the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

"One policy Clinton said he doesn't regret is his 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which, for the first time since the Depression, allowed commercial banks to engage in investment-banking activities. Clinton said the commercial banks were an important moderating force on the risk-taking of the big investment firms that collapsed this week. "In the case of the current crisis, I believe the bill I signed allowed Bank of America to take over Merrill Lynch," he said."

http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=09&year=2008&base_name=bill_clinton_revisits_his_econ

"John Roberts: Mr. President, in terms of the overall economic downturn, Time magazine had an article out this week in which it named 25 of the people most responsible for the economic downturn, and you were there. They, they had a picture of you in what looked like a police lineup. They had a little button where you could vote who's the most responsible? They pointed to your signing of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. I wonder what you think about that.

Former President Bill Clinton: I think that the only thing that our administration did or didn't do that we should have done is to try to set in motion some more formal regulation of the derivatives market. They're wrong in saying that the elimination of the Glass-Steagall division between banks and investment banks contributed to this. Investment banks were already...banks were already doing investment business and investment companies were already in the banking business. The bill I signed actually at least puts some standards there. And if you look at the evidence of the banks that have gotten in trouble, the ones that were most directly involved in there ... in a diversified portfolio tended to do better.

Some of the conservatives said that I was responsible because I enforced the Community Reinvestment Act, and they said that's what made all these subprime mortgages be issued. That's also false. The community banks, the people that loan their money in the community instead of buying these esoteric securities, they're doing quite well."

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/16/bill.clinton.qanda/index.html

Posted by: jnc4p | December 24, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@fiona5 "- deregulating derivatives"

A minor correction. Derivatives were never regulated to begin with, so the issue here was a failure to regulate them, not deregulating in the sense of repealing existing regulations.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 24, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy your well earned time off, Greg, though of course you're not here as much as the rain forest guy who certainly deserves a vacation somewhere in the wilds of the earth where there's no Internet.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Posted by: AllButCertain | December 24, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

triangulation isn't obama's style. Completely caving is.

DADT was repealed in SPITE of Obama.
Thanks god for Pelosi and Reid.

Posted by: newagent99 | December 24, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Looking over all the business tax breaks in the grand compromise, we see an exemption that allows banks, insurance and other financial firms to shield foreign profits from being taxed by the U.S. through 2011. That will cost us all $9.2 billion. So, where were the faux fiscal conservatives who ranted about the cost of the 9/11 bill on this one?

The financial industry gets another tax break in a year in which they made record profits. None dare call it capitulation. "His role is that of the voice of sanity trying to talk sense into uncompromising partisans on both sides." What bullsh¡t.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse


jnc4p wrote,
@fiona5 "Clinton should not have let them get away with it, but it was hardly his idea. Try not to revise history... some of us remember it."

Note that Clinton himself doesn't view the repeal of Glass-Steagall as a mistake or a contributing factor, even in hindsight. His biggest regrets are not having stricter oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which puts him in line with the opinion of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, and not attempting to regulate derivatives. Clinton, Rubin and Greenspan were equal partners with Phil Gramm on the repeal of Glass-Steagall.
-------

Don't confuse fiona5 with facts. They're like kryptonite to liberals.



Posted by: Brigade | December 24, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Republicans don't want to face the awful reality of 2012. They have no candidate, with a rebound in retail sales, jobs growth is next, the recession is ending, they showed the fact that they have no interest in fiscal responsibility, they are just corporate flaks (I am looking at you Mitt), the Tea Party has been bought or sold out, take your pick and did I mention, they have no candidate.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Greg wrote,
"You keep hearing conservatives argue that Americans don't really care about Obama's massive lame-duck victories, rendering them politically irrelevant.

But Charles Krauthammer begs to differ"
-----

All of a sudden, Krauthammer's opinions are relevant. All the best, Greg, have a Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Brigade | December 24, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "Republicans don't want to face the awful reality of 2012. They have no candidate, with a rebound in retail sales, jobs growth is next, the recession is ending, they showed the fact that they have no interest in fiscal responsibility, they are just corporate flaks (I am looking at you Mitt), the Tea Party has been bought or sold out, take your pick and did I mention, they have no candidate."

Cross posted from another thread:

We aren't supposed to let this out until the announcement is ready, but the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 will be Jeb Bush.

We're holding the announcement until former President George W. Bush polls higher than Obama. Based on current trends, this should be some time in early 2011.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/112353-poll-bush-obama-nearly-tied-for-blame-on-bad-economy

http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2010/04/obamabush-nearly-divided.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/postpoll_12132010.html?sid=ST2010121701650

Until then, the minor candidates are there to keep the media and the bloggers distracted until Jeb is ready.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 24, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

For a country that prides itself in equality and fairness, with a variety of anti-discrimination laws set up to protect minorities, why are successful people, the rich, discriminated against through our income tax system?

Posted by: nychap44 | December 24, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to Greg and to all posters here.

If it is not your holiday, then have a joyful holiday of your choice.

If you have no holidays I'll wish y'all a Happy New Year, later.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 24, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Greg wrote,
"You keep hearing conservatives argue that Americans don't really care about Obama's massive lame-duck victories, rendering them politically irrelevant.

But Charles Krauthammer begs to differ"

-------

All of a sudden, Krauthammer's opinions are relevant. All the best, Greg, have a Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Brigade | December 24, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

jnc, you can't be serious, but are you?

I mean, sure he'd make a better candidate than any of the current crop, at least he can give a speech without people laughing at him before they fall asleep. But it is too late for a candidate to appear and start a political organization from scratch.

I am thinking Jeb is a viable candidate for 2016, the year you will have a real shot at getting the White House back. After all, it isn't as if the Democrats are grooming Obama's successor, too scary I suppose. So it'll be the Clintons again and they are beatable.


Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Face it, there has been a swing of 850000, or so, in the number of jobs gained every month from the time the Republicans were running things!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | December 24, 2010 12:22 PM
=======

So, the unemployment rate is now back to where it was before the Dems won control of Congress in 2006 and the Presidency in 2008? Didn't think so. Drop the talking points and come back to reality, or better yet, try this as a strategy in 2012 if the unemployment rate's still hovering around 10%. Unless you're gay or enjoy living on the dole, Obama has been a failure to this point. HCR? Now fund it.

Now, point out what a wonderful year bankers and Wall Street have had. Lots of bonuses. It'll be interesting to hear liberals tout this as evidence of Obama's success. And extension of the Bush tax cuts---libs really like to brag about that.

Posted by: Brigade | December 24, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Since early '08 I've been saying the Republicans will make their comeback in 2016. By then, the debt load on the country will drag it back into recession.

Obama will have borrowed and spent himself to victory in 2012. The borrowed boom of 2012 is right on track, so long as oil prices don't soar (by war or other means), he'll skate to victory. But after that, one way or another, government spending will have to be cut, sending the economy back on the skids. The anger of the spoiled electorate will boil over and Republicans will exploit it as they did this year. They'll have all three houses of government and will be saddled with the task no one wants to face, to much debt to grow past.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Lots of bonuses...the top 5 Wall Street firms have set aside about $90billion for their executive bonus packages, according to the NYT. That money is going to trickle down somewhere, but not in this country. Investment capital goes to where interest rates are high and where labor is cheap, that ain't us.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to political war next year...
it's going to be fun...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 24, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

So Brigade is going to spend Christmas Eve hectoring and taunting people like a schoolyard bully.. jesus, how juvenile can you get.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 24, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Here from the NYT today, investment capital leaves America...

"The year now ending will be the fourth consecutive year in which mutual funds that invest primarily in American stocks experienced net outflows of funds, meaning that investors as a group withdrew more money than they put in. That has happened even though the stock market has flourished over the last two years as it bounced back from lows reached in the spring of 2009."

Good thing US banks got that big tax break on their offshore profits, since that is where the money is, that is where they will reinvest. Nice work Republicans, I just can't figure out why your Tea Party Patriot faction can't figure out what you are up to.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

but shrink, as someone posted earlier:

"why are successful people, the rich, discriminated against through our income tax system?"

have a heart -- the poor wittle billionaires are being *discriminated* against.. it's awful, ya know, tragic.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 24, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama can thank those few, miserable RINOs for enabling most of his lame-duck, grand finale. I hope voters remember those feckless finks when election day rolls around and drums them out of office.

RINOs are the weak links in the Republican chain. They are made of silly putty. They deserve total extinction, as a species.

Anyway, the lame ducks are now dead ducks and that is the best CHRISTMAS present America could wish for. Merry Christmas America!

It's been a rough two years for us non-Marxists but it's over now. Maybe most of the damage will be repaired in the next two years. We can only hope.

The trick Obama is going to try to pull off is triangulating without seeming to do so. If he can do that, he really is a crafty devil just like Clinton. I don't think he will get away with it.

Obama will be a one termer. He has lost too much to ever recover. He has actually made conservatives the largest ideological group in America. He has lost most of the remaining moderates and he has driven many conservative Democrats away from the Democrat party. Unless some bizarre miracle happens for him, he is toast in '12.

It's why he continues to push for outlaw immigrant AMNESTY. It's his only hope of creating a new class of Democrat voters to pull his butt out of the electoral basement.

AMNESTY should be a dead issue now. Let's keep it that way.

Posted by: battleground51 | December 24, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

shrink -- because they were not the sharpest knives in the drawer to begin with? teabaggers tend to be Fox watchers, the most disinformed people on earth, so what can you expect?

Posted by: fiona5 | December 24, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

All, I've encouraged Jonathan to engage with you all...he will fit well here, I think.

Thanks so much for the kind words, and have a great holiday!


Posted by: sargegreg | December 24, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas Greg and everyone else.

Even my Republican friends.

Posted by: paul65 | December 24, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Yeah fiona, my hemorrhoids bleed for them.

Dwight, who do you want to run against Obama?
If I were a Republican reading this, I'd abandon hope for 2012.

"By my count, there are 24 people who are beneficiaries of nontrivial presidential buzz: Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John Thune, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Rick Santorum, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, David Petraeus, Ron Paul, Jeb Bush, John Bolton, Bob McDonnell, Jim DeMint, Chris Christie, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Judd Gregg, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry."


http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/255788/would-be-gop-kings-jonah-goldberg?page=2

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas Greg and everyone else.

Even my Republican friends.

Posted by: paul65 | December 24, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Merry Chrismas Greg and everyone else.

Even my Republican friends.

Posted by: paul65 | December 24, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Sargent says:
"Triangulation just isn't Obama's style, and his scolding of liberals seems to be rooted in genuine frustration with them for disagreeing with him about what's politically possible, given today's realities."

Please, sir. Obama is triangulating his but off now. He (and you) dress it up in different clothes but is expert triangulation.

Posted by: spamsux1 | December 24, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I have no Republican friends!

Actually I do, but it seemed funny to say.

Greg, leave! Just 'cause I have to work today (my employer is sacrilegious) doesn't mean you have to.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Here's a bit of news to warm our hearts this Christmas season:

President George Bush's book has sold two million copies in less than two months.

Almost as many copies as Bill Clinton's book has sold in six years.

Way to go Dubya!!

Posted by: battleground51 | December 24, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

shrink -- because they were not the sharpest knives in the drawer to begin with? teabaggers tend to be Fox watchers, the most disinformed people on earth, so what can you expect?

Posted by: fiona5 | December 24, 2010 2:05 PM
-----

Spending your Christmas eve on here insulting tea party activists and Fox watchers (who comprise a considerable majority of watchers) and further demonstrating your ignorance? Nothing of substance to contribute? I thought not. Living at the Plum Line can contribute to the delusion that your views are mainstream. Try not to be so heavily invested, ducky.

Posted by: Brigade | December 24, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

No the word really is stragulation as in the strangulation of govt by excessive military and war spending and the rich getting off the hook for paying regular taxes for it. The rich getting tax credits which only helps them and the economic stragulation of state and local govt and social safety nets as well as infratructure services due to declining sales and property tax revenues. All in line rather curiosly with the desocialization of countries around the world due to the havoc of free trade adjusting itself by destroying socially responsible government programs.

Posted by: Wildthing1 | December 24, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah fiona, my hemorrhoids bleed for them."
------

Better not take caothien9 up on his invitation.

Posted by: Brigade | December 24, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Almost as many copies as Bill Clinton's book has sold in six years.

Way to go Dubya!!

Posted by: battleground51 | December 24, 2010 2:18 PM
-----

That's because Republicans have stolen all the country's wealth. Haven't you heard? Democrats can scarcely afford the catfood they must eat; not much left to buy books. No matter; third-grade reading skills don't translate into book sales anyway. Does Clinton's book consist mostly of pictures and illustrations?

Posted by: Brigade | December 24, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Happy Holidays to you, Greg and to all the regulars and lurkers.

Cheers!

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 24, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Fiona 10:28

It was all done by Bill Clinton who could have said "no"

Creep

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Fiona 10:28

It was all done by Bill Clinton who could have said "no"

Creep

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

is Triangulation the same as
triangular crossfire....??

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | December 24, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering .... will book burning be far behind?

Herr Obama needs a dose of reality ... too bad it can't happen before November 2012...

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 24, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The best thing the nation can do is get rid of Obama


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

To

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Clinton wrote a book? I had no idea. Who cares what politicians say about themselves. No, I didn't read Obama's book either. I am interested in history, not social marketing.

Just recently I've gone back to reread Ian Kershaw's masterwork.
It is so important.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

TO ALL LIBERALS


This holiday season Give the nation the Gift of Unity and support the impeachment of Obama


Unite the Nation!!!

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent...don't be fooled by Krauthammer's gratuitous column about Obama's victory.

From Krauthammer's WAPO bio ...."In 1978, he quit medical practice, came to Washington to direct planning in psychiatric research for the Carter administration, and began contributing articles to the New Republic. During the presidential campaign of 1980, he served as a speech writer to Vice President Walter Mondale. He joined the New Republic as a writer and editor in 1980. He also writes essays for Time and the Weekly Standard. In 1997, the Washingtonian magazine named him among the top 50 most influential journalists in the national press corps."

NOTE: He came to DC to head up psychiatric research for the Carter administration.

Conclusion -
His column on Obama's victory may have more meaning than first meets the eye.

>Perhaps nothing is so clear as that which is not understood!

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 24, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

New Year's hope: let's hope that the House's Afghanistan review accelerates our exit strategy.

Posted by: dozas | December 24, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"...our exit strategy."

Well glory be, I didn't know we had one. I heard we we're supposed to achieve victory, though not before 2014.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"He came to DC to head up psychiatric research for the Carter administration."

Another pearl. Who knew Presidents appointed psychiatrists to do research? I wonder who Obama appointed.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The purpose of Krauthammer's article is to warn the next congress that if they give the Obamacrats a millimeter, they will grab a kilometer and then more.

I hope the warning is heeded and the real Republicans can keep the sniveling RINOs in check.

It's been a bad two years for all non-Marxists. American liberty is battered and bleeding. Band-aids will not do. Major surgery is needed.

An Obamanectomy is needed to stop the infection and reverse the general decomposition of the body politic.

Under the socialistic Obamacare, we will have to wait two years before treatment can begin. We'll try to hold out.

Gasp!!!

Posted by: battleground51 | December 24, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Happy Christmas 2 all from Ireland!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 24, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

He

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

He came to Washington to direct planning in psychiatric research for the Carter administration......

Classic


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

It's been a bad two years for all non-Marxists.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

On the earlier thread, I noted the NRO poke at Sarah Palin today. Salon compiles a long list of GOP establishment figures who've written critically of the Alaska sweet thing...

http://www.salon.com/news/2012_elections/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2010/12/24/palin_gop_criticism

Sheesh. No wonder the girl feels attacked.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 24, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

It's been a bad two years for all non-Marxists.


_______________________

On one level, I love this line


However, Obama is so incompetent that he messed up even putting his own programs in place


And we won the election - the Republicans acted in a mature way after the election, in sharp contrast to the demcrats falsely portraying Compromise as victory for one side


We are talking about governing a nation here - in which maturity is required


The nation deserves so much better than the immaturity and incompetence of Obama and the democrats


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

bernielatham, on that earlier thread, I gave you a link to Rush Limbaugh defending Sarah Palin against Nicole Wallace. Before that, he actually interviewed her for her latest book tour (on November 17th). I just wanted to make sure you saw that, along with this much more recent show where he agreed with Sarah Palin yet again:

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_121710/content/01125111.guest.html

You were saying something about how Rush Limbaugh has stopped talking about Sarah Palin (even though you also admitted you don't listen to his show)?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 24, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

@Clawrence - if you go back and read my post, I said that Limbaugh had not talked about her so far as I could discover. So we've got three instances. Compare with his coverage of her a year or two ago. I suppose we ought to note that he hasn't (apparently) chosen to defend her against Krauthammer or Will or the NRO or Barbara Bush or the other instances noted above. And he won't mount any sort of sustained or fierce defense of her up the road because his role is to 1) push the party further to the right and 2) support corporate interests through Republican electoral victories. As she can't win (Limbaugh knows this) he's going to fall into line with everyone else while pretending he's a supporter. If I'm wrong, some different future will unfold. But I'm not wrong.

But thanks for the update.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 24, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse


"Spending your Christmas eve on here insulting tea party activists and Fox watchers (who comprise a considerable majority of watchers) and further demonstrating your ignorance? Nothing of substance to contribute? I thought not. Living at the Plum Line can contribute to the delusion that your views are mainstream. Try not to be so heavily invested, ducky."

There you go again, projecting, something about the way you people's minds are miswired. Birth damage, I expect. And the rage -- what did your mama do to you?
I come on and see that the board in the afternoon is filled up with hateful, foaming rightwingers spewing sewage.

I'm sure you all consider yourselves Christians - do you have any idea what Christ's message was? Any? This is about as sacreligious as you can ge. Do you have a life at all?

Posted by: fiona5 | December 24, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

"...our exit strategy."

Well glory be, I didn't know we had one. I heard we we're supposed to achieve victory, though not before 2014.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 24, 2010 3:07 PM
-----

We don't need one right now. Didn't you realize that wars quit costing lives and money once Obama was elected? It will only be after the next Republican takes office that we need worry. And fear not, the Cindy Sheehans of the country and the liberals in Congress will be out in full force once that happens. Until then---no such thing as an "unfunded war" since 2006 when Dems grabbed Congress.

Oh, and Obama might want to keep a closer watch on Iran. It looks like he's finally realizing that diplomacy will not dissuade the mullahs. No one but no one, not even the Arab countries, wants the U.S to sit by while Iran develops Nukes. But it will likely be Israel that eventually pulls the trigger. I wonder who's responsible for the brilliant piece of espionage (hacking) which appears to have set the Iranian program back a bit. Great work.

Posted by: Brigade | December 24, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure you all consider yourselves Christians - do you have any idea what Christ's message was? Any? This is about as sacreligious as you can ge. Do you have a life at all?

Posted by: fiona5 | December 24, 2010 6:35 PM

------

So now you're a Christian? An expert, I suppose. I eagerly await you telling me all you know about Christ. Done already? I wonder what he thinks about late-term abortions. Where do liberals stand? Same place good Rebs stood on slavery---wouldn't EVER own one themselves but also wouldn't interfere with anyone else's right to choose?

Posted by: Brigade | December 24, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome, bernielatham, but you are wrong. Rush has defended her against Charles Krauthammer, George Will, NRO and Barbara Bush. Again, you don't even listen to his show. Just admit you are wrong and move on to something else.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 24, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

@Clawarence - provide links please

Posted by: bernielatham | December 24, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I did. There's a "search" function on Rush's site too. I know what I've heard. For the last time, YOU don't listen to the show. Ask someone else who does.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 24, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

@Clawrence - Yes, you're right. He's still voicing support for Palin. My apologies. The indexing I referred to missed a lot of stuff.

Do you think he'll continue? If so, why?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 24, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

And now, closing up shop. This december better than last by about 20% for me but that's too anecdotal to tell us anything. Chap across the street, who's been there for 20+ years, had the worst november in all that time (mine lousy too).

So home to do Xmas. Best to all.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 24, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I've read every post and would now appreciate directions to the men's room @ Denny's...

Posted by: tjconnor | December 24, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Bernie - no links for you


Bernie - no links for you


Bernie - no links for you


Bernie - no links for you


Bernie - no links for you


Bernie - no links for you


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 24, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Funny how the goobs talk about book sales as indicators of political power. Everyone knows about those with-book sales .. cartons are shuffled from store to store with each shuffle counting as a sale, yet millions of copies end up in clearance.

And card-carrying conservatives buy the things because they're sposta, kinda like union dues, because revering their alleged leaders is central to their lives, while liberals tend to read real books.

On my one-way flight here there was a guy across the aisle reading W's "Tough Decisions" book. His hand fluttered around his face the whole trip, twitchy and weird. To his credit, he was one of the few Caucasians who chose the Korean meal over the western.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 24, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Greg and the rest of the Plum Liners. This really is a great blog. If it's something I'm interested in, I'm bound to find it on here.

Posted by: SDJeff | December 25, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

The gaps in the numbeing show where Troll Hunter has done its great work. That and the occasional response. It would appear from the near total absence of responses to RFR that he is universally ignored, gotta hand it to you guys for being strong there.

And the wider gaps, like three or four missing posts in a row, mean that Brigade is at it again, frantically responding with one nasty and snotty rejoinder after another, sound and fury signifying nothing.

A happy holiday to everyone else. 86°F on Christmas day.

Going placidly amid the noise and haste in Cần Thơ,
Cao Thiên / CF8

Posted by: caothien9 | December 25, 2010 2:52 AM | Report abuse

Palin has three primary supporters, some would argue they're two:

* Limbaugh
* Wall Street Urinal (Murdoch)
* FOX News (Murdoch)

Murdoch isn't a strategist, he responds in an instantaneous fashion to situations, and he wants to see Palin in charge, probably for the same reason the Wall Street gang does .. she would be even easier to manipulate than W. Before you could say "Putin" she'd be doing whatever bidding they wanted and mushmouthing it as "common sense con-serve-atism" and good for the "pry-vit secter."

Limbaugh wants to see a victorious conservatism and may be thinking a little more strategically to Murdoch, who behaves as though he was born ten seconds ago. And unless the plan is a violent overthrow, NOT a far-fetched idea, Palin has no chance of ever being president. She isn't just "a bit of a hick," and "a bit stupid," she's a barely literate imbecile straight off the turnip truck.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 25, 2010 3:09 AM | Report abuse

Is it time for some measured optimism on the economy?

Not with a Republican House coming in, determined to force crises over extending the debt limit, harassing the Federal Reserve, shutting down government, etc. An economy running close to stall speed probably can't take much of this.

Posted by: rhallnj | December 25, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh, make no mistake, an economic recovery of any sort would thwart the Republican goal of making Obama a one-term president. They'll be sure to put a stop to anything bringing back jobs. You can put that in the bank, only I wouldn't put anything in an American bank because Republicans will probably find a way to transfer it to the bankers.

Republicans want a Depression, because that's a route back to power for them. Who cares what it does to ordinary people?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 25, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

At least they have finally admitted that some Republicans, including Rush, are still voicing support for Palin. She can win without a depression or violent overthrow. I don't want either of those things. I do want to know for sure where Obama was born though.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 25, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"I do want to know for sure where Obama was born though."

And this, folks, is what we call self-marginalization.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 25, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

" I do want to know for sure where Obama was born though."

LOL

Interesting statement to make, today especially. The nature of Jesus' birth is accepted by millions (yourself included, no doubt) based entirely on faith, yet Obama's Hawaiian birth, for which ample evidence exists, is doubted and cynically questioned. Humorous.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 25, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

caothien9, I'm self-marginalized?! I am not the one who moved to Vietnam. Have you formally renounced your citizenship yet? If you stop to think about it rationally, you don't even know FOR SURE where you were born yourself. As for Sarah Palin, she could easily win if enough Obama voters like you decline to vote for him again.

suekzoo1, again, I said "know FOR SURE" even though I would argue there's more documentation for the birth of Jesus Christ. In any event, He is not going to run for President of the United States. The Anti-Christ, however ...

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 25, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

DADT repeal was likely a crippling blow to conservatism. Why? Now leftists control all major institutions in the United States of America. Krauthammer is essentially correct. Until conservatives understand that fiscal cobservatism flows from social cobservatism we will continue to lose even with a House majority. If you are not willing to stand up for God, why will he stand up for us? The DADT repeal was a marxist victory of unprecedented proportions. I don't want to be correct, but I am afaid our side may not have what is takes. Where is our Ried, Pelosi ? Our lame duck GOP guys turn tail and run the other direction from the mere suggestion of racism. Where is the revolution?

Merry Christmas and God Bless...

Posted by: info58 | December 25, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"more documentation for the birth of Jesus Christ"

There is documentation of an immaculate conception, the impregnation of a human by a super deity and a birth to a virgin? Sure there is.. That's the "faith" part of the Christian beliefs. Note I said "the nature" of his birth, not that he was, in fact, born.

Obama, OTOH, has a certification of live birth that is a legal document acceptable in any court, the statements of the Republican governor of Hawaii, and newspaper announcements within days of his birth, none of which you think is good enough....

LOL

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 25, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes, there is documentation of the nature and fact of Christ's birth.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 25, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

caothien9, I'm self-marginalized?!

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 25, 2010 11:57 AM
--------

You've made his day. After trolling continually in silence from 10:20pm until 8:43am, he finally got a response. Poor, lonely fool.

Posted by: Brigade | December 25, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Brigade, he supposedly "ignores" you too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 25, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

suekzoo1 wrote,
"There is documentation of an immaculate conception, the impregnation of a human by a super deity and a birth to a virgin? Sure there is.. That's the "faith" part of the Christian beliefs. Note I said "the nature" of his birth, not that he was, in fact, born."
-------

Another poor soul missing the gene required to understand that the universe is not a strictly physical phenomenon. Evidently the only immaculate conception in her world was when inanimate matter shuffled together by accident to form life.

It was no doubt strictly by coincidence that an extraordinary number of physical "accidents" led to the cosmic abundance of carbon, the basis of all life. And we are extremely fortunate that our universe is so finely tuned to allow life, since a fraction of difference in relevant chemical and physical constants from their current values would have prevented life from ever arising. In fact, the universe we live in would not even exist had not an interaction with intelligence brought it into existence as opposed to whatever multitude of alternatives may have been possible. Granted, those like caothien9, whose understanding of quantum theory comes from years of exposure to "Blackhawk" comics---thus his removal to be with Chop Chop---will claim that our universe is the product of selection: we're just lucky to be in our universe instead of one of the zillions of alternate universes that do not permit life.

Suekzoo1, who evidently finds the existence of an infinite number of alternate universes that no one has ever seen or heard of and cannot be proven to exist requires less "faith" than belief in God, drops in on Christmas day to take a shot at Christians who believe in the immaculate conception. And the poor, unconscious soul doesn't really even know why she's doing what she does. The liberal positions of 2010 are absolutely the final word on eveything---God, the immaculate conception, etc.---just as they were in 1810, 1610, 1410, 1210 and so forth.

Posted by: Brigade | December 25, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

to:The BBQChickenMadness: You wrote: Do you believe that Pres. Obama will hold the line against the tax cuts for the rich in 2012?

my response: When will the class warfare arguments be a thing of the past? Isn't this old by now? Who is to say what is rich? What is the amount that makes one "rich?" And when you find it, what gives the US Federal Government a right to confiscate this? Whether its an estate tax - a gift to relatives and family - and the Government says it belongs to them? Why? What moral right do they have for this?

It seems to me that with one stroke of the pen - to end all corporate income tax - that the US Government will be swimming in money - both from tax receipts and repatriation of our overseas money. Of course this does not fix people like Barney Franka nd Chris Dodd - both of whom beleive that they know whats best - but lets me honest - we the people know how to spend our money and who deserves it- not the Govenrment. This is the fundamental right as Americans, and the more that one feels that the Govenrment can confiscate our money, the more that our liberty will be lost. Don;t you agree?

Posted by: jgdonahue | December 25, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

to:The BBQChickenMadness: You wrote: Do you believe that Pres. Obama will hold the line against the tax cuts for the rich in 2012?

my response: When will the class warfare arguments be a thing of the past? Isn't this old by now? Who is to say what is rich? What is the amount that makes one "rich?" And when you find it, what gives the US Federal Government a right to confiscate this? Whether its an estate tax - a gift to relatives and family - and the Government says it belongs to them? Why? What moral right do they have for this?

It seems to me that with one stroke of the pen - to end all corporate income tax - that the US Government will be swimming in money - both from tax receipts and repatriation of our overseas money. Of course this does not fix people like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd - both of whom beleive that they know whats best - but lets me honest - we the people know how to spend our money and who deserves it- not the Govenrment. This is the fundamental right as Americans, and the more that one feels that the Govenrment can confiscate our money, the more that our liberty will be lost. Don;t you agree?

Posted by: jgdonahue | December 25, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse


As a general rule, if you can shave at least a half point off your current interest rate, it is a good idea to refinance. If you currently have a home mortgage above 7%, the time is now to make a change. Look online for "123 Mortgage Refinance" they gave me the lowest rate than everybody else which is 3.21%.

Posted by: amymeek123 | December 26, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

claw, you're demented, and there's a Latin name for the fallacy of your logic. You elevate the burden of proof of Obama's provenance to a level past and reasonable epistemology, something I doubt you gave a moment's thought to with any previous president.

It wouldn't be, er. um, because he's black, now would it? Are you sure about that?

And Jesus? He may not have even existed. There's credible speculation that early Christians were bonded by a hallucinogenic mushroom ceremony, some species of _Amanita_, and hate to be the bearer but there are no notarized municipal records from Bethlehem. Sorry.

Sheesh. I thought only JakeD was stupid enough to keep up this birther junk.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 1:26 AM | Report abuse

my response: When will the class warfare arguments be a thing of the past?

==

When the rich stop trying to exterminate the middle class.

Next dumb question?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

caothien9, I'm self-marginalized?! I am not the one who moved to Vietnam. Have you formally renounced your citizenship yet?

==

Hastiest change of subject I've seen in quite a while.

Hate to be the bearer but we have Internet here, in fact there are more hotspots on a typical city street than in a major US airport.

And the views I express in these blogs may not be to your liking, oh gollygosh no, but they pass the sniff test while your continuing to doubt Obama's presidential legitimacy is pure buffoonery.

As for moving out of the USA, that makes me one of five and a quarter million, over one American in sixty, who lives outside the USA. That's not marginal at all, it's mainstream.

And the ones who do relinquish their US citizenship are overwhelmingly right wingers (like you) with dirt clods for brains and they do it to protest, you ready for this? High US taxes.

Obama's birthplace is as documented as any could be. You're just living in a nightmare because the preident of the USA is a guy you think shouldn't be able to rise above golf caddy. Yassuh, bowing and scraping, right?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Yes, there is documentation of the nature and fact of Christ's birth.

==

Yeah, in a book that also talks about a magical garden with a talking snake and human parthnogenesis.

Of all the ...!! Go back the kindergarten and start over, and this time pay attention in science class.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Cao

Just open the file

They are hiding something


No one spends a million dollars in legal fees if they aren't hidding something


How hard is it to just SIGN A RELEASE, especially for a dude who promised transparency

Open the file - and stop the divisive and childish name-calling


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Cao

There is a certain thing as ACTING GUILTY


If there is nothing to hide, sign the release


They are ACTING like they are hiding something.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

So how many of you posting here believe in the supernatural? I certainly don't.

FTR, I believe that

(1) life is a thermodynamic and molecular phenomenon

(2) we have no "undying" part; death is utterly final

(3) there is no such thing as a soul

(4) anthropic arguments predicated on the unlikeliness of the cosmos e.g. the apparently arbitrary magnitudes of the four fundamental forces having values that favor the formation of black holes (and life) are deeply flawed (see my "license plate" post a few days ago).

It's called materialism, not to be confused with commercial acquisitiveness, and anything else is superstition.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Well, it is Sunday and Frank Rich has stolen my thunder again...

"How many middle-class Americans now believe that the sky is the limit if they work hard enough? How many trust capitalism to give them a fair shake? Middle-class income started to flatten in the 1970s and has stagnated ever since. While 3M has continued to prosper, many other companies that actually make things (and at times innovative things) have been devalued, *looted* or destroyed by a financial industry whose biggest innovation in 20 years, in the verdict of the former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, has been the cash machine.

It’s a measure of how rapidly our economic order has shifted that nearly a quarter of the 400 wealthiest people in America on this year’s Forbes list make their fortunes from financial services, more than three times as many as in the first Forbes 400 in 1982. Many of America’s best young minds now invent derivatives, not Disneylands, because that’s where the action has been, and still is, two years after the crash. In 2010, our system incentivizes high-stakes gambling — “this business of securitizing things that didn’t even exist in the first place...” NYT

America's growing income disparity is destroying America, but if you understand that, you are called a socialist engaging in class warfare. Well actually, the war is always on, always has been and always will be. If you cut to the chase, the rich win, always have, always will. America's unique experiment with equal opportunity and upward class mobility was a fantastic historical anomaly.

Also, the Times' Deep Water Horizon feature is outstanding.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

caothien9, I am sure that I do not oppose Obama's policies because he's half black but rather because they are wrong. Thank you for asking though. I also was not the one who changed the subject. You were the one who brought up what we call self-marginalization. If 5.25 million Americans qualify as "mainstream" you'll be happy to know that 150 million Americans have doubts about where Obama was born. The others are so deluded that they should go back to kindergarten and try learning all over again.

RainForestRising, you asked some very good questions in this regard:

"Just open the file

They are hiding something

No one spends a million dollars in legal fees if they aren't hidding something

How hard is it to just SIGN A RELEASE, especially for a dude who promised transparency

Open the file - and stop the divisive and childish name-calling.

There is a certain thing as ACTING GUILTY

If there is nothing to hide, sign the release

They are ACTING like they are hiding something.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

jgdonahue posted:

"It seems to me that with one stroke of the pen - to end all corporate income tax - that the US Government will be swimming in money - both from tax receipts and repatriation of our overseas money."

While lowering our top corporate rate to be competitive with that of our major trade partners should affect some investment decisions favorably for us going forward, slashing rates to "zero" makes no sense. Why?

1. A corporate income tax is imposed only on net profit. Thus decision making on employment and production [after the initial investment decision of where to set up operations has been made] is unaffected by that tax because the number of units produced and sold to maximize profit is the same whether or not a tax is imposed after that profit is earned, assuming even a mildly competitive market.

2. If a legal fiction that was designed by state government to earn profits is taxed at, say, 3% of gross income [assuming, say, 30% of net income] it is being taxed at a far lower rate of its gross revenue than you are as an individual. This argument for slashing taxes on corporations is far more persuasive as an argument for slashing personal taxes, as you are not a creature of government, a legal fiction, designed to earn profits. The entire argument leads inevitably to concluding that no taxation whatsoever leads to a healthier economy - which is magical thinking.

The American tax-and-spend pies provide the picture of draining the middle class to pay the wealthy, not the picture often painted of paying the poor. Why?

1. The off budget trust fund transfers of payroll taxes to SS and medicare are essentially middle class to middle class payments and receipts. But

2. The on budget payments of interest on the National Debt, military procurement, highway procurement, agriculture procurement, NASA procurement - the big ticket items - are paid in big checks to big banks, foreign countries, and big companies. Stuff like "food stamps" and "section 8 housing" - payments on behalf of the poor, are miniscule by comparison. Even middle class transfers, like federal employee and milper pay is small change. You could look it up.

END OF PART ONE

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 26, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Part Two

Assuming that each of us is a unit disconnected from the other [jg said "we the people know how to spend our money and who deserves it- not the Govenrment (sic)"] is the path to anarchy. No highways, no sewer systems, no police and fire protection, no public libraries, no public schools, no land grant colleges, no public health service, no air traffic control; in short, none of the infrastructure that a modern society provides to allow entrepreneurship and wealth to flourish. No military, no border patrol, no national security apparatus; in short, no protection against enemies foreign and domestic. No FDA, no CDC, no protection from adulterated food and medicine.

Once a society determines that it wants to live beyond the Somali tribal subsistence level of piracy and civil war, taxes are the currency for doing so. When the government is of the people, by the peole, and for the people, we make those choices. Not corporation and legal fictions. We decide how much we want our infrastructure to support the flourishing of wealth and how much protection we want against enemies foreign and domestic and how much protection we want from poisoned products, poisoned air, and poisoned water. We decide. We the people. By majority rule, so long as we do not trample on the Bill of Rights.

The "Government", viewed thusly, is us. "We" do not confiscate from "us". We bargain and negotiate through our elected officials but also through our lobbyists about what we pay for and how we will pay for it. When the argument is made that we will not pay for it, some of us answer that is irresponsible. Others warm to it. It is called "something for nothing", and it is too good to be true.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 26, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

At least 33% of Americans (I would argue it is over 50% if they were being objectively honest about not even knowing "for sure" where they themselves were born) don't believe or are not sure where Obama was born:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/0709/58_of_GOP_not_suredont_beleive_Obama_born_in_US.html

Of course we have a higher percentage than the general population posting here of those who are sure where Obama was born and, and the same time, that there is no God.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Part Two

Even if it's only one in three Americans who doubt where Obama was born, that's still many more than one in 60, so clearly within the "mainstream" too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I have tried to market my pantheistic religion called Confusionism without much success. People need their religions to make them sure about things they can't know about.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Why should anyone give a crap what a bunch of people *believe*, Claw? You call that an argument? There was a time that a majority believed the earth was flat. Does that mean there was a serious chance that it was?

You can't even tell the difference between propagandizing and evidence. Speaking of evidence, you' ve offered a substantial amount of it that indicates you're really dumb.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm just using your definition of "mainstream."

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Part Two

One quality (or curse) unique to humans is that we can conceive of questions we can't answer. So does that mean we get to make stuff up in order to make ourselves feel better? For religious people, the answer evidently, is yes. The Confusionist is comfortable with, even enjoys the state of not being able to know everything, though it is in a word, humiliating.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mark, first of all, hope you and yours had a great Xmas. Say you should put together a civics curriculum. You are good at it. do you teach?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

No, claw, you're saying that if a bunch of people believe something, even in the complete absence of evidence, even in the presence of substantial counterevidence, then it must be given serious consideration as truth.

And that is really f ucking stupid.

I'm one of over five million Americans who live outside the USA. If you want to hate all of us for it, knock yourself out. Just leave some room for all the other people you're also supposed to hate because you're a conservative.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin, ask shrink2 about a "free lunch" when it comes to 9/11 survivors and first responders.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Cao

Take your atheism and get lost

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

caothien9, I don't hate all Americans living outside the United States. Do you hate all Americans who don't believe Obama was born here?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

clawrence,

Your Politico link doesn't help you. 77% of Americans believe the POTUS is a citizen. That leaves 23% who doubt, not 33% that you stated.

Seondly, that link shows that most of the doubters are southern Republicans. That is evidence that we are not talking "mainstream" because they are almost all concentrated in one geographic location, not wide spread across the country.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 26, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

No I don't hate them, claw, pity would be more accurate. Like I pity a homeless retarded person.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

... concentrated in the poorest area of the country and. as though coincidentally, in the area with the poorest education.

As in, the weakest reasoning skills.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

To All Democrats


YOU LIED about the death panels - Your dude Obama put the plan back in through regulation


The country is sick of the democrats still saying Bush lied when Obama has a list of deceptions and lies longer than the list of gangs


Obama is a disgrace They agreed to REMOVE these provisions and now they are BACK

OBAMA IS A DECEPTIVE LIAR


OBAMA CAN NOT BE TRUSTED

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

suekzoo1, you forgot the part about how I would argue it's much more than 50%. Do YOU know for sure where you were born?

caothien9, do you hate Sarah Palin?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't everyone?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"Do YOU know for sure where you were born?"

What a pea-brain

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

No, I don't hate Sarah Palin. Another quality (or curse) unique to humans (especially Democrats) is that they refuse to answer inconvenient questions.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse


CAO

You have already carpet-spammed Cillizza's blog for years

Now you are here with your same old garbage

Is there anyway you can just get lost???


You have nothing to offer


Everyone is sick of you You have a basic hostility towards other people because of your sexual orientation


AND a normal person has to wonder if your desire to be in Vietnam has to do with your attraction to young boys

Yes, based on your own statements, a reasonable person would have a concern that you may be attracted to pedophilia.


So, from your recent comments, we know you are sick. So please leave everyone alone.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Little hint claw .. it's not that people "refuse to answer inconvenient questions" so much as it is that people don't take you seriously.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Doesn't everyone?"

No in fact, even though more and more people don't like her, in the two years of overexposure since she lost the election and quit her job, 37.4% of Americans still think well of her. America sure is diverse.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/13/fav-palin_n_725513.html

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Cao

Your hostility is based on the fact that you have never fully adjusted to your sexual orientation

So you lash out at everyone around you.

You are hostile toward yourself because of your sexual orientation


Your hostility toward Republicans has nothing to do with their views


It is wholly rooted in your own self-hatred revolving around your sexual orientation

Please take your venom somewhere else


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse


Americans can give thanks in this Christmas season for an end to the reckless and destructive 111th Congress. This is the Congress that passed Obamacare, against the wishes of a substantial majority of the public, on Christmas Eve of last year. In the dead of night, Democratic lawmakers stuffed the monstrous 2,700-page bill with special-interest goodies and political payoffs like the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase." As we have learned since, most members were still ignorant of the bill's contents three months later, when it gained final passage in the House. No surprise that its immediate results -- both intended and unintended -- have been almost uniformly bad.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse


odds are that not one member of the 111th Congress actually read the so-called "cap-and-trade" bill before it passed the House in June 2009. Even a speed-reader could not have digested House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman's last-second, 309-page amendment, which read as clear as mud: "Page 14, strike lines 1 through 3 and insert the following. ..." It was filed after 1:30 a.m. just before the vote on final passage. There is also serious doubt that any member of Congress understood the 2,000-page financial reform bill that Congress passed this summer. One of its two main sponsors, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., remarked, "No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse


When Congress votes on bills that no one reads or understands, it can be quite "productive." Americans have already rendered a verdict on such productivity and elected a new Congress with orders to clean up the mess in Washington.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

shrink, look up a 1932 flick directed by Todd Browning

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

suekzoo1, you forgot the part about how I would argue it's much more than 50%. Do YOU know for sure where you were born?

---------------

You would argue 50%...yeah, we know, but based on what? You can suppose all you want, but polling is a science, but a supposition.

And yes, I know where I was born. Date, place and time.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 26, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Everyone should be aware that Cao has been banned from Cillizza's blog at least 9 or 10 times


He has had several names there including Chris Fox. Ironic, huh?


For at least the better part of a year, other posters resorted to calling him "Ped" - a result of his constant references to his sexual orientation and various preferences


His constant talk about gay sex was unwelcome and embarassing


However, he would not stop - and yet he would complain when others called him "PED"

Just so you all are aware of Cao's history on these blogs.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

but a supposition

Should be NOT a supposition. typo

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 26, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

suekzoo

The ONLY documented account of where Obama was born is an EYEWITNESS account from his grandmoter, who said Obama was born in Africa.


_______________________________

The certificate on the internet is the same on given to children born OUTSIDE the US - for all you morons who refuse to believe the facts


Those who claim Obama was born in Hawaii were NOT there and they are not honest enough to clearly state that they do NOT have enough evidence for that position


Name-calling does NOT help their own ignorance.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

How

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

How many people are willing to be mature enough to apologize to Sarah Palin on the death panels ???


NOW that the democrats AGREED to drop those positions, and now Obama the Liar put those provisions back in force through regulation ???

________________________________

Is this what Obama meant by Compromise???


Obama keeps on going back on his word


Obama the Liar

Obama the Liar

Obama the Liar


.
.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The current session of Congress finally closed its doors this past week with voters remaining largely as critical of it as they have been for months.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 13% of Likely U.S. Voters rate Congress’ performance as good or excellent, consistent with surveys for much of the last two years. Fifty-three percent (53%) say it’s been doing a poor job.

The dead ducks just gave America the big finger. Legislating in spite of Americans.

Maybe this is the last gasp of the Obamanation. We'll soon see.

13% is a new record low for Obama and the Pelosites.

Posted by: battleground51 | December 26, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

This last session of Congress was a disgrace to democracy


The democrats made a complete mockery of the idea that Congress should represent the will of the people.

Instead, the democrats allowed special interest agenda run over the American People - fueled by gerrymandered districts, twisted mandates and $700 million dollars which Obama took in from QUESTIONABLE SOURCES after initially agreeing to abide by campaign finance limits

___________________

The truth is if you want change in Washington, campaign finance is the way to do it


Obama TRASHED THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM and that tells you what Obama is worth.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Haha, did anyone see the leader of the year poll? All the Conservatives went and voted for the Conservative Person because they all Independently Reached The Conclusion that Ron Paul is the leader of the year. (not sure what he actually did, but ok)

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

So how many of you posting here believe in the supernatural? I certainly don't.

FTR, I believe that

(1) life is a thermodynamic and molecular phenomenon

(2) we have no "undying" part; death is utterly final

(3) there is no such thing as a soul

(4) anthropic arguments predicated on the unlikeliness of the cosmos e.g. the apparently arbitrary magnitudes of the four fundamental forces having values that favor the formation of black holes (and life) are deeply flawed (see my "license plate" post a few days ago).

It's called materialism, not to be confused with commercial acquisitiveness, and anything else is superstition.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 8:38 AM
-------

The arguments are flawed only in the mind of an imbecile. His "license plate" post asked what the odds were of a particular number passing at a particular point in time. It had nothing to do with anthropic principle. He clearly does not know what he's talking about---as usual.

He says he's blocked me (good for him) so the following is to help anyone interested understand:

"The alternatives, though, have a similar problem. The proposed “many worlds” theory and its variations, which are the long-standing arguments against the SAP and FAP are just as impossible to test as the existence of God, as the worlds they hold up as a rebuttal to the SAP are just as impossible to detect (more on this later). This is a good point, as we really do only have one Universe, our Universe, to consider, no matter how many theoretical ones we construct."---physics.sfsu.edu/

“As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.”
-Freeman Dyson

"Freeman John Dyson FRS (born December 15, 1923) is a British-born[1] American[2] theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.[3] Dyson has lived in Princeton, New Jersey, for over fifty years

"Dyson has suggested a kind of cosmic metaphysics of mind. In his book Infinite in all Directions he is writing about three levels of mind: "The universe shows evidence of the operations of mind on three levels. The first level is the level of elementary physical processes in quantum mechanics. Matter in quantum mechanics is [...] constantly making choices between alternative possibilities according to probabilistic laws. [...] The second level at which we detect the operations of mind is the level of direct human experience. [...] [I]t is reasonable to believe in the existence of a third level of mind, a mental component of the universe. If we believe in this mental component and call it God, then we can say that we are small pieces of God's mental apparatus"


Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

shrink2
"One quality (or curse) unique to humans is that we can conceive of questions we can't answer. So does that mean we get to make stuff up in order to make ourselves feel better? For religious people, the answer evidently, is yes"
-----

That is the quality which has gotten us---some of us---from caves and wandering to where we are today. First, we "made stuff up"---like space travel.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

caothien9 wrote,
"No, claw, you're saying that if a bunch of people believe something, even in the complete absence of evidence, even in the presence of substantial counterevidence, then it must be given serious consideration as truth.

And that is really f ucking stupid."
-------

Like his obvious---since there is but one alternative---belief in either the "many worlds" or "baby universe" solution to anthropic bias. Good grief, this guy is easy. But look at it his way: if he wasn't blocking me, he would have already experienced meltdown and wouldn't be here for my (our) amusement.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

shrink, look up a 1932 flick directed by Todd Browning

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 10:38 AM
----

Excellent choice! Several of caothien9's relatives were featured in that film.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

And yes, I know where I was born. Date, place and time.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 26, 2010 10:39 AM
----

Me, too. Remember it well.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

We agree, more evidence Obama's plan is working. The worlds' religions *are* a product of people's imagination, of wish fulfillment. You know, some go the extra mile and connect space travel to their religious beliefs and pray to God to boot, for that last second field goal to split the uprights.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

battleground51:
"A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 13% of Likely U.S. Voters rate Congress’ performance as good or excellent, consistent with surveys for much of the last two years. Fifty-three percent (53%) say it’s been doing a poor job."
------

But haven't you heard the liberal spin? Voters don't dislike Congress in general, they just hate the obstructionist Republicans. How do we know that? Because voters showed so many of them the door in November . . . oh, wait. Liberals have other polls they value more than election results.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Haha, did anyone see the leader of the year poll? All the Conservatives went and voted for the Conservative Person because they all Independently Reached The Conclusion that Ron Paul is the leader of the year. (not sure what he actually did, but ok)

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 12:13 PM
-----

Treasure it, folks. It's likely the most intelligent blather you'll see here from a liberal all day. DDAWD's one of the intellectual liberals. Hadn't you noticed?

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

We agree, more evidence Obama's plan is working. The worlds' religions *are* a product of people's imagination, of wish fulfillment. You know, some go the extra mile and connect space travel to their religious beliefs and pray to God to boot, for that last second field goal to split the uprights.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 12:45 PM
-----

I'll pray for you shrink, but I'm beginning to wonder whether your name's even on the list.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

shrink, I don't understand why you and cao and mark hang out with these rabid, raving morons. Just stopped by out of curiosity to see if all these creeps were still spending every holiday hanging out here -- and sure enough, there they are-- years later, same old sh*t. Must be sad to have no friends.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

fiona5:
"shrink, I don't understand why you and cao and mark hang out with these rabid, raving morons."
-------

This will be the second most intelligent post today from a liberal. Not sure about shrink, but I doubt that Mark_in_Austin wishes to be grouped with the er... colorful caothien9. Mark has self described as a "conservative" Democrat. Cao's a commie. Not much in common.

Have fun with all your many friends. All the best.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Brigade, among the real-life "Freaks" featured in the film: a male named Simon Metz who wore a dress (caothien9's uncle no doubt); the intersexual Josephine Joseph, with her left/right divided gender; Elizabeth Green the Stork Woman; and Koo-Koo the Bird Girl (who gave little caothien9 his first parrot), who suffered from Virchow-Seckel syndrome or bird-headed dwarfism, and is most remembered for the scene wherein she dances on the table.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I like to read what Mark, cao and others write, bernie's links are great and lots others are really smart (like you!).

But I have to admit, I do like to observe the unexpurgated Republican "mind". It is fun like a kid's "science project" watching bugs in a container. Here is a fine example from Xmas eve over at PostPartisan...

"Fat,lazy kids are less of a threat to our country than some bag of gas from Washington who thinks she has the right to tell some what they can or can't eat. Michelle Obama should climb back up in her tree and leave us alone."

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, thanks for the kind thoughts. We are having a wonderful holiday, with mucho family. I have presented at seminars [and adult sunday school]. I was blamed for the increase in workers comp cases in hospitals in the mid 80s because I presented a paper in 1981 at U. Minn School of Public Health in which I *predicted* the coming spate of hospital employee workers comp claims. What's a management lawyer supposed to do, I asked? Place head in sand, hold breath?

I know you and your boys were skiing! Life is short, but it can be good, can't it?

Finally, you will enjoy Tom Friedman this morning, I think.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/opinion/26friedman.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a212

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 26, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, that's the same, exact reason why I post to you as well.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"The worlds' religions *are* a product of people's imagination, of wish fulfillment. You know, some go the extra mile and connect space travel to their religious beliefs and pray to God to boot, for that last second field goal to split the uprights.

Posted by: shrink2"

Well, somehow, all the Conservatives on here have independently decided Christianity...I mean Judeo-Christianity (hey, we don't want to seem like closed minded bigots here) is the true religion and that all Americans must abide by this and that the Constitution isn't really saying what it is saying in the First Amendment.

It's amazing how they all the Conservatives independently came to conclude the same Conservative Thing despite how a simple layman's ability to read English suggests the complete opposite.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Fiona


You have offered this blog nothing but venom and personal insults


No human being would do such a thing without another motive

You must be getting paid by some group to discourage people from exercising their Free Speech rights


Your ONLY purpose is to disrupt this blog


Who is paying you and how much


__________________________

By the way, just because you make nasty comments, that doesn't mean Obama's job performance is any better


It just shows how ugly a person you are


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

It

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD, for your information, I still independently oppose the so-called 9/11 First Responder bill, even though not a single "conservative" Senator opposed it in the end. At least we got 60 nay votes in the House. Next year, look for even MORE consensus under Speaker Boehner.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

It is extremely disrespectful and offensive to have such a discussion about religion on the day after a Holy Day

For liberals who love to jump on every perceived slight as offensive, liberals sure appear willing to engage in EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE TALK

Right

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Science is about what can be proven. Religion is about what cannot be proven. Those of us who are religious shouldn't be surprised when people claim that religious beliefs can't be proven. Nor should we be insulted.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, somehow, all the Conservatives on here have independently decided Christianity...I mean Judeo-Christianity (hey, we don't want to seem like closed minded bigots here) is the true religion and that all Americans must abide by this and that the Constitution isn't really saying what it is saying in the First Amendment.

It's amazing how they all the Conservatives independently came to conclude the same Conservative Thing despite how a simple layman's ability to read English suggests the complete opposite.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 1:30 PM

-------

"the true religion and that all Americans must abide by this"

Odd. I haven't seen anyone make that claim.

"The Constituion isn't really saying what it is saying in the First Amendment"

This first amendment?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Gee, I haven't seen any conservatives arguing that this doesn't mean what it says. When has our Congress attempted to pass a law establishing a religion? Has anyone ever been prohibited the free exercise of such---say on public property? Well, maybe once or twice, but probably not by conservatives.

I think DDAWD has the First Amendment mixed up with various legal interpretations which have strayed from "how a simple layman" might interpret it.

Isn't DDAWD another one who says he's blocked me? Why is it always liberals who have to escape from the cold light of reason and seeing their claims challenged in print? Perhaps because they have such trouble defending them in the marketplace... er, the blog.

Aren't these some of the same people who routinely toss off insults and then say they can't stand people who toss off insults? Go figure.


Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Science is about what can be proven. Religion is about what cannot be proven. Those of us who are religious shouldn't be surprised when people claim that religious beliefs can't be proven. Nor should we be insulted.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 1:47 PM
-----

I have no problem with the people you describe. Only the ones who imply that religion has, in fact, been disproved by science. And they've been around for a few thousand years.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Morons


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

As religious people, we have to be realistic. If our beliefs cannot be proven, why are we so astonished and insulted when people don't believe? That is only reasonable. Faith is something that comes from a different place, other than intellect. If non believers think it is a crutch or a fiction or comes from magical thinking, that is a most reasonable assumption.

I feel fortunate that I still have faith, but I don't argue about it with people who don't believe.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Only the ones who imply that religion has, in fact, been disproved by science.
---------------------------------------------------
So what? Nonbelievers use science to disprove religion. What's the big deal about that? Over thousands of years, what was considered as religion (earth centric universe for example) *has* been disproven by science and transitioned out of religious doctrine into scientific world. One could look at it that religion has been distilled down into essential beliefs. God didn't give us a brain not to use it. If some religious doctrine is disproven by science, it should be. There is no tension between science and religion, in my opinion.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

And yet the liberals believe in Obama and the liberal agenda without any basis or facts whatsoever.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Elect a person with no qualifications and even less experience, and believe he won't be completely incompetent.

Morons.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein

Thanks, Al!!!

OK, Everybody...
♫♫♫♫♫♫
Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the Feast of Stephen**
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
{...}
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing
♫♫♫♫♫♫

(**Today! Perhaps Bernie's Boxing.)

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

lol

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"As religious people, we have to be realistic. If our beliefs cannot be proven, why are we so astonished and insulted when people don't believe? That is only reasonable. Faith is something that comes from a different place, other than intellect. If non believers think it is a crutch or a fiction or comes from magical thinking, that is a most reasonable assumption.

I feel fortunate that I still have faith, but I don't argue about it with people who don't believe.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain"

Well, look at the Conservatives who post on here. They are looking for the latest Sean Hannity or Sarah Palin statement to flood the boards with. They have these things that they are Supposed To Think. That's why they spend inordinate amounts of energy trying to defend Sarah Palin or trying to demonstrate that upper class tax cuts reduce the defcit. They are taught to say and believe Conservative Things and they view any disagreement as an attack on their self. They don't consider themselves Americans or neighbors or brothers or sisters or anything. They are wholly defined by being Conservative. No matter how wrong these beliefs are, no matter how bad the implementation of these beliefs are for the USA or for their families or neighborhoods, it doesn't matter because they are Conservatives they must believe Conservative Things. That's why you have this small group of people on here who have the exact same beliefs on everything, no matter how this contrasts with the view of the rest of the world. (That's why they have this exponentially growing list of things that they consider Liberal.)

And that's the same with the hyperreligious. To them, they are not Americans or neighbors or members of a family or community. They are wholly Christian or Jewish or whatever. That's why any question of their belief is viewed as an attack on their core. Because as they see it, if they don't have their religion, they have nothing. It's ok if their beliefs are harmful to others. They don't care about others. They care about their religion.

It's sad.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Austria-Hungry the Crown of St. Stephen ???


How did that work out ?????


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Like 12BB, I was raised in a religion that I continue to practice and to respect. My religious community is, however, divided between fundamentalists and modernists, and I am only comfortable as a modernist.

Thus I believe that the God I pray to loves you as much as me.

Thus I believe that the Golden Rule, no matter how stated [love your neighbor as you love yourself, do unto others, do not do unto others, brotherhood of man, etc.], is the central religious precept that binds modernists.

Where the religious focus is on destruction of others or even marginalization of others to achieve one's own perceived immortal grace, I lose respect for that religion as a cohesive and productive highway to life. Thus I have no use for OBL's religion or for Marx's universal damnation of all religion, including mine.

I also admit to terminal doubt about phenomena that cannot be reproduced; "miraculous" one-offs. At the same time, I marvel at our existence, at waterfalls, starry nights, puppy litters, and people who act beyond their narrow self interest, in contexts as wide ranging as the battlefield, the classroom, and coming together in a crisis. When I pray, I ask not for miraculous one-offs, but for the personal strength to know the right thing to do, and then to do it.

But that is just me, and like shrink, I do not claim certainty.

Fiona, I don't read blogs to engage in name calling or to convert others. To the extent that any of you do that, I skip along. I never won a jury trial insulting jurors. But most of you provide an occasional bit of info I would not have picked up elsewhere - perhaps because of a unique perspective based on a life experience; perhaps simply from your wide reading being different than my narrow focus.

We each have a set of a priori assumptions about a great many subjects. Some of you identify as "conservative" and some of you identify as "progressive" and I can often guess from that alone where you will be on a given issue. But sometimes I cannot because your individual experience leads to an expression of a viewpoint I may not have considered.

Even StreetCorner [RFR] has surprised me with a cogent argument once in awhile, but I use Kevin's magic eraser on him, anyway, b/c I am impatient with the 20 comments per thread and the low probability of a gem.

I have also read Chris Fox ["cao"] to call for death to large groups of people and Brigade to snark at a self identified "americanjew" that he could afford to bail out Haiti by himself, presumably because he is an American Jew. I have read you, Fiona, calling persons who post here "raving morons".

That is all self satisfying for y'all, I guess, but for me, God loves you as much as me, or else I am worshiping an idol of my own creation.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 26, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Clawrence said: "At least they have finally admitted that some Republicans, including Rush, are still voicing support for Palin. She can win without a depression or violent overthrow. I don't want either of those things. I do want to know for sure where Obama was born though."

First, the "they" is not a they, it was me. Second, you didn't answer my question as to whether you think Limbaugh will continue to support Palin? Particularly if the trend we see now expands to more Republicans/conservatives rejecting her as a POTUS-caliber figure.

I presume you agree that more and more voices from within the movement/party are rejecting her? Why do you think this is happening?

Any chance you can answer those questions in a direct and honest manner?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

tao, hope your Christmas was exceptional. Are you guys getting hammered with weather? We had it last week and are water logged still. Yesterday was beautiful and we went horse back riding but today it's cloudy again so I'm back to working on a puzzle.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 26, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Rather than defend religion, we should defend goodness.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I will tell you what is sad


The democrats voted for someone with no qualifications, believing he might be competent


It was a gamble


It was a gamble with the well-being of the nation


It was INCREDIBLY IRRESPONSIBLE TO FORCE THE NATION TO LIVE WITH AN INCOMPETENT PERSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE

It is an affirmative action experiment gone horribly bad - and it could turn out to be a nightmare


A social experiment gone bad


Irresponsible


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Rather than defend religion, we should defend goodness.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain"

It's just that for religious fanatics, religion>good. It's the case for any fanatics, really. That's why you have the people on here who think Conservative>good.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

tao quoted: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein

It's a nice thought from the admirable fellow but I'm having trouble fitting hemorrhoids into the miracle category.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse


Triangulation led to the need to do "something"


AND that something ended up being horrible policies

- deregulating derivatives

- the free trade deals

- repealing Glass Stegll AND creating the subprime mortgage program


Divided government did not lead to good government

The best thing would be is for Obama to resign -

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"I have read you, Fiona, calling persons who post here "raving morons".

Mark in Austin, I like Greg's blog. I I would like to talk about politics. But some people come on here just to taunt, revile, hurt and humiliate others [you know who I mean], or to jam the blog with complete-- I am sorry but it's true -- idiocy, and that is frustrating. So my apologies to you if your were offended, because you of course were not whom I was talking about.

But as far as winning jurors, these are not people who could be convinced with any sane or rational argument.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

low probability of a gem


___________________________________

In life in general, what is your probability of getting a gem?


You are better off with my posts.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

lms,

GunMetalGrey skies here (@ my brother's, tzu11, in Hinesburg, VT)...we're gonna get slammed w/ the NorEaster that's rolling up the Atlantic. Sun for Tuesday, so we can ski Stowe or catch the ferry across Lac-du-Champlain and hit Whiteface.

Back at you on the Christmas blessings.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

mark-in-austin: Well said.

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

But some people come on here just to taunt, revile, hurt and humiliate others [you know who I mean], or to jam the blog with complete-- I am sorry but it's true -- idiocy, and that is frustrating.

________________________________


Are you completely out of your mind to blame others for what you do every day ?

Take your venom elsewhere


You must lack all self-awareness, and you have to be completely unstable.


How is it that you can still type with that straight-jacket on ???

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Tao

Yea,

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"But as far as winning jurors, these are not people who could be convinced with any sane or rational argument.

Posted by: fiona5"

Well, yeah. If you wanted a rational discussion about policy, you would ahve to block all the Conservatives. They are more interested in saying Conservative Things than in having a real discussion. You're not really going to get anywhere when you have a contingency who insists that upper class tax cuts results in lower deficits. And that's fine. No one comes here for any real discussion of the issues. This isn't the place to do it. It's a place to snipe about Conservative Things and the counterarguments. I'm taxing my brain all day. I like the intellectual slumming at the end of a day. It's fun to read about how sound economic policy is really about exacting vengeance on rich people.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Tao

Yea, I heard that Chimney Point bridge is out


You would think they could re-build faster

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"you must lack all self-awareness, and you have to be completely unstable.

How is it that you can still type with that straight-jacket on ???"


--pure projection, sad case.

How is it that you block people? It was explained once, but I can't find it.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"Gratitude2 > Grateful4"
2nd Precept of the tao(9)

{{{The 1st Precept involves the Red Sox ∴ not appropriate for this thread}}}

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, mark, well said.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

fino
Go to this link and click on "install"

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/89140

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

fiona,

Go to http://userscripts.org/scripts/review/89140

and Install Troll Hunter.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Fiona

Just like Obama - you can dish it out but you cant take it


Pathetic

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

STR,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYTdVuLeg7k

Dropped the bridge a year ago this Tuesday.

It's pretty far south down the Lake from here. We go Charlotte VT to Essex NY ferry. Freakin' gorgeous country on both sides of the water.

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

bernielatham, I do think Limbaugh will continue to support Palin. I do not agree that more and more voices from within the movement/party are rejecting her. Is that direct and honest enough for you?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

After all of Obama's lies, are the liberals still saying "Bush lied?"


The most recent: Obama after agreeing to remove the death panels from the health care bill, is putting them in after all - through regulations.


Sick


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/us/politics/26death.html?_r=1&hp

________________________

There has to be something the American People can do about this liar who can not be trusted.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Tao

Did they get Howard Dean to scream to set off that explosion ???

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

You

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

You all should write personal letters of apology to Sarah Palin


NOTE how deceptive and sneaky the Obama people have been about this issue


THEY ARE HIDING WHAT THEY ARE DOING UP UNTIL DAYS BEFORE THE REGULATION TAKES EFFECT


This should be an IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE

______________________________

When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

Under the rule, doctors can provide information to patients on how to prepare an “advance directive,” stating how aggressively they wish to be treated if they are so sick that they cannot make health care decisions for themselves.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

STR,

No.

They had Senator Sanders filibuster it.

Then the bridge set the charges itself.

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"bernielatham, I do think Limbaugh will continue to support Palin. I do not agree that more and more voices from within the movement/party are rejecting her. Is that direct and honest enough for you?"

Yes, it is. But your second sentence doesn't correspond to reality. There is, first of all, her steady decline in polling among Republicans/conservatives. Secondly, as I've noted above, there are many conservative voices from Robe to Labash to Krauthammer to Will etc who are now forwarding public criticisms of Palin as being not up to the task. Can you find such comments from such a range of sources in such frequency from a year or two past?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Tao


The Green Mountain Boys would have preferred it if there was no way to get from New York to Vermont.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

thank you, bernie. relief is only a click away. enjoy your posts, btw.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

fiona


Maybe you can restrain your nasty and vile comments

Thank you


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@fiona - You're very welcome, and thanks.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

What

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

What can the nation do about Obama???


Everyone agreed the death panels were out


Now Obama is hiding something again - and he is sitting in Hawaii with a lei around his neck.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Some very cool astronomy photographs...

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/12/14/the-top-14-astronomy-pictures-of-2010/

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Bernie

tries to distract everyone from Obama's deceptions on the death panels with astronomy


Nice try.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Everyone should know

that RainForest Rising has been sending me personal emails!

Yes!

RainForestRising wants to get together with me. He has asked me to put on my Jesus mask and sodomize him while he reads Archie comics.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

fiona, you didn't know about the troll blocker? It's great. I'm guessing 37th is flooding the place since my blocked post counter has been going up, but I don't have to see them!

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Please do not display your fetishes on this blog

Cao used to do that, which led to his nickname "Ped"


Which meant that he displayed a preference for little boys - the fact that he moved to southeast Asia has to make one wonder


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

ddawd

Keep up your ignorance


Keep your mind closed!


I'm sure you will always be able to find another affirmative action program.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The best complexion of Christian belief and behavior...

"Jimmy Carter's Fight Against Guinea Worm Approaches Victory

This fight against the guinea worm is a battle former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has waged for more than two decades in some of the poorest countries on earth. It is a battle he's almost won.

In the 1950s the 3-foot-long guinea worm ravaged the bodies of an estimated 50 million people, forcing victims through months of pain while the worm exited through a swollen blister on the leg, making it impossible for them to tend to cows or harvest crops. By 1986, the number dropped to 3.5 million. Last year only 3,190 cases were reported.

Today the worm is even closer to being wiped out. Fewer than 1,700 cases have been found this year in only four countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali and Sudan, where more than 95 percent of the cases are. The worm's near-eradication is thanks in large part to the efforts of Carter and his foundation."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/25/jimmy-carter-guinea-worm_n_801252.html

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Christmas greetings from James Franco and grandmother...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/26/james-franco-grandma-send-christmas-wishes-video_n_801262.html

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Wisdom of the Day


In scenarios where a JAC or IND loss or tie occurs, NYJ has clinched strength of victory tiebreaker over SD

Very simple

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 26, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Hooray for Jimmy Carter, who walks the talk.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin wrote,
"I have also read Chris Fox ["cao"] to call for death to large groups of people and Brigade to snark at a self identified "americanjew" that he could afford to bail out Haiti by himself, presumably because he is an American Jew."
------

To be clear, I never referenced the poster's religion, nor did I suggest he could afford to bail out Haiti by himself.
It gets old hearing people like "americanjew", or whatever the moniker was, whining as if the U.S. Government, which is frequently shorthand for "someone else", were the only source of help in the world.

This fellow posted something in reference to a bill Tom Coburn was opposing, which, if memory serves, had nothing to do with Haiti other than in this fellow's mind. Since people as well known as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have went public to encourage donations on behalf of Haiti, I thought it was quite telling that "americanjew" took that occasion to attack someone in charge of the taxpayers' money rather than recount just what he himself had done to help Haiti. I think I asked if he had lost his checkbook. We can support any cause we choose to the extent we can afford, regardless of what the U.S. government does.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@ Mark, "We are having a wonderful holiday, with mucho family...Life is short, but it can be good, can't it?"

Absolutely. We get really lucky, do the right thing, work hard, do the right thing, get lucky...but I don't like the short part. No wonder people started putting objects into graves for their loved ones' afterlife many thousands of years before they invented (written) language. Some people, I too think humans were no longer monkeys when they started performing afterlife enhancing burial rituals.

"Finally, you will enjoy Tom Friedman this morning, I think."

I did and I think we "got that" before he did (smugly). I remember reading the Lexus and the Olive Tree and getting more and more upset. I couldn't finish it.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD wrote,
"Well, yeah. If you wanted a rational discussion about policy, you would ahve to block all the Conservatives."
-----

This is the attitude of a number of liberals here, including caothien9. They function best in an echo chamber where they and they alone can decide what point of view is rational. They have withdrawn because they have been routed in a few more "rational discussions" than their fragile egos can tolerate. Odd that conservatives don't run away when the exchanges get heated.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

bernielatham, I do not believe that more people from within the movement/party are rejecting her. They simply get more attention, a la "squeaky wheel." But she and her name brand are, in reality, growing by leaps and bounds. Perhaps you missed her and daughter, Bristol, on ABC's Dancing with the Stars?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

@clawrence,

There is evidence that contradicts your comments about the Palin brand, and on exactly that point:

This from pollster.com

Palin fatigue is not something from which only reporters suffer; even women who voted Republican in 2010 can catch it. At least, according to the latest Women's Monitor survey sponsored by EMILY's List. Other polls confirm Palin's ubiquity is likely hurting her, rather than helping her.

Women who moved away from Obama this past November are less likely to support Palin in a Presidential matchup than a generic Republican. The Women's Monitor surveyed women who voted for Obama in 2008, but did not vote Democratic this past November. One third of these were "Republican defectors" who voted Republican, and about three-fifths were "drop-off" voters who simply stayed home. While the defectors are obviously more Republican-leaning than those who stayed home, both groups of women would vote for Obama over Palin in 2012.

Among GOP voting women, they prefer Obama to Palin by 62 to 22%, whereas these same women prefer the generic Republican candidate to Obama 45 to 40%.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Not only that, one can easily review the meta graph of all the Palin approval/disapproval polls for *all* voters, for months and months at Pollster.com.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/13/fav-palin_n_725513.html

We don't have to make it up, or rely on wishful thinking. We can just look at the polls.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Brigade, thanks for the explanation. Yes, Haitian relief has been due to the generosity of the public, and yes I misread or misunderstood your post. I apologize. I see what you meant. Now.


Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 26, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

"fiona, you didn't know about the troll blocker? It's great. I'm guessing 37th is flooding the place since my blocked post counter has been going up, but I don't have to see them!"

I know now, and it's great not to have to see the predictable manufactured outrage...reading RFR posts, I kept having this awful mental image of a giant, pudgy, red-faced baby, clad only in a diaper, pounding the keyboard with clenched fists. Thanks again, Bernie.

"The best complexion of Christian belief and behavior...

"Jimmy Carter's Fight Against Guinea Worm Approaches Victory"

Yes, indeed. A very real victory for someone walking the walk and doing the good work of alleviating suffering of the poor and powerless.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

@Clawrence
Then I guess you ought to carry on as you were and ignore, for another example, this...

"Fox News contributor Juan Williams said Sunday that Sarah Palin "can't stand on the intellectual stage" with President Obama.

Williams, in his role as an analyst on Fox News Sunday, was breaking down the Republican presidential field, which he saw as weak.
"There's nobody out there, except for Sarah Palin, who can absolutely dominate the stage, and she can't stand on the intellectual stage with Obama," Williams said."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/12/juan-williams-palin-not-on-sam.html

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

And this from the WSJ ought to be likewise ignored...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704774604576036073453559688.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not one perceives that Mrs. Palin is increasingly being bashed in her own party, one *cannot* miss the steadily deteriorating polls.

See the meta graph of all the polls for months:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/13/fav-palin_n_725513.html

Even if a fan of Mrs. Palin, her rising negatives (52%) and declining positives (37%) are a problem.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"Whether or not one perceives that Mrs. Palin is increasingly being bashed in her own party, one *cannot* miss the steadily deteriorating polls.

See the meta graph of all the polls for months:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/13/fav-palin_n_725513.html

Even if a fan of Mrs. Palin, her rising negatives (52%) and declining positives (37%) are a problem.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain"

Well, I'm hoping the tea party can propel her to the nomination the way they propelled so many failed candidates to second place. I heard one of the Tea Party candidates lost to a write-in candidate!

It's a debacle waiting to happen. McCain actually managed to put up a good fight until the end. Remember that he was actually leading in the polls until Palin started embarrassing herself on TV. She should stick to reality shows. I don't think we've ever had so many Conservatives watch a channel containing the word "Learning"

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, when a weak candidate sticks to her talking points she will appear to level the field for a significant number of voters. This is always the case.

Trying to score debaters as if they were really debating I thought McC and Biden truly dominated their respective primary face-offs. But everyone who expected BHO to flop thought he did well. Go back to those early 8+candidate clusterfuns and you will see that the presence of a Gravel or a Tancredo makes all the others look more rational.

Coons was substantive against O'Donnell, but people came away impressed that she had not fallen on her face. The audience had to know more facts to judge more harshly. O'Donnell's false accusations [Coons was a college Marxist] were taken at face value by many.

So it is premature to assume that the former President of the Harvard Law Review would "bury" a less intellectually stimulating nominee. Put two people on the tube and absent an obvious gaffe [Poland for Ford comes to mind] the public splits along ideological lines on performance and moderates say it was a toss-up. I think that is how it is, and arguing now about who will "win" any debate is a betting proposition, only, and no sure thing.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 26, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

"Lobbyist In Charge Of ‘Trying To Kill’ Financial Reform Hired By GOP Chair To Oversee Financial Regulations"

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/12/26/lucas-financial-reform/

We'll see a lot more of this, of course. As corporate money flowing into Republican coffers expands, so will their lobbyists' influence on the Republicans they helped put into office.

Government of, by and for corporations. It's Lincoln's vision.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

There must really be a cultural divide in this country. There is a large group of people who believe that Mrs. Palin isn't even in the ball park of an acceptable political candidate for the top job. There is another large group of people who see Mrs. Palin as perfectly suited to be President. It's like living in a parallel universe.

My background would set me up to see Mrs. Palin as fine. I grew up in a western state, lived a pretty parochial rural life, where fishing and hunting are mainstream entertainments. Those are all the things I actually like about her. She's familiar to me, like a neighbor. But ready for President? Are you kidding? It's embarrassing to even talk about her that way.

And it's not her background that is the problem. It's her. She seems to think that she is entitled to the top job, even though she knows almost nothing about history or politics or world affairs and is doing nothing to improve. She seems to think she is like royalty--born to the throne.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

You're absolutely right, 12BarBlues! Sarah Palin? What was I thinking?! I'd much rather have four more years of Obama.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

@mark

Her first set of problems would come in the primary debates with other Republicans who will - so much as conservative political correctness allows - work to make her look bad re policy knowledge, world knowledge, experience etc. I can't see her weathering that storm even if Clawrence and others will see what they want to see.

Her second set of problems arise with the necessary need to place oneself in front of non-FOX media.

And then would come Obama v Palin debates. If it really gets this far (I think the chances are near zero) there is a sort of structural equivalence assumed with two people debating. And loving the horse-race framing, media will find reasons to ignore or excuse her obvious inappropriateness for such a post.

And, if she were to actually get that far, then there's a good argument to be made that the US deserves to fall into the rapid decline it sits on the precipice of.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd much rather have four more years of Obama.
---------------------------------------------
I know you're being sarcastic, but I would absolutely rather have 4 more years of Obama. But it doesn't really matter what you and I would prefer, what matters is what the electorate as a whole wants. Polls show they don't want Sarah Palin. There's no dispute about that.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

From a strategic pov, it makes some sense to run Sarah Palin in 2012 as the Presidency is a long shot for the GOP anyway.

However, unless the GOP establishment can get their other candidates to graciously step away from competing for the nomination, how will Mrs. Palin weather the GOP competition? Any one of them can easily make Mrs. Palin look foolish. Even long shots like Jindal, Thune and Daniels are *way* above her intellectually. Her negatives are already the worst of the whole GOP bunch, and this will drive her negatives higher, I would think.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing about "undisputed" polling two years before a Presidential election. It's almost never an accurate predictor of the actual result. A lot can happen to Obama before November 22, 2012. Keep in mind, also, that Hillary Clinton had higher negatives but still ran for President. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"There must really be a cultural divide in this country. There is a large group of people who believe that Mrs. Palin isn't even in the ball park of an acceptable political candidate for the top job. There is another large group of people who see Mrs. Palin as perfectly suited to be President. It's like living in a parallel universe."

Well, yeah. Conservatives are more interested in the Conservative Candidate than the most qualified candidate. There's a reason no one outside her base can stand her.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues, assuming that she does run, I think she can take the high road by adhering to Reagan's 11 Commandment even if other Republicans don't.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

There's a reason Hillary didn't win, and you hit on it. Her negatives.

As far as what happens to Obama, time is now on his side. His surprises will tend to be to the upside. The economy is improving which is his real foil.

Mrs. Palin's spent the last two years trying to improve her image. She quit her job so she could spend full time on Fox News, writing books, touring the country and in general, trying to become known to the people. Her polls have steadily deteriorated for the last two years. If she doesn't do something dramatically different, why would you expect her image to improve.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Here's a re-cap of some of the negative comments re a Palin run from other conservatives. I still believe she will enter the race but I don't think she'll make it very far. Count me among liberals who hope she doesn't run, not because she'd be a tough candidate for Obama or anyone else to face, she won't, but because she's just too divisive. I wouldn't relish listening to her embittered lashing out at opponents slights for a year or year and a half. She seems to never be able to turn the other cheek or resist the temptation of a sharp retort.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/12/24/palin_gop_criticism/index.html

Posted by: lmsinca | December 26, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

"From a strategic pov, it makes some sense to run Sarah Palin in 2012 as the Presidency is a long shot for the GOP anyway. "

I disagree. The best candidates in 2010 were the ones who had broad appeal. Think Mark Kirk, Scott Brown, and Mike Castle. On the other hand, you had Sharon Angle who took a sure GOP victory and turned it into a defeat. Same with the Colorado race where they had a nutcase running.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Well, yeah. Conservatives are more interested in the Conservative Candidate than the most qualified candidate. There's a reason no one outside her base can stand her.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 8:04 PM
----

This from someone who thought a community organizer was more qualified than John McCain.

Posted by: Brigade | December 26, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

she can take the high road by adhering to Reagan's 11 Commandment even if other Republicans don't.
----------------------------------------------------
Claw, she's the one at risk for looking unprepared, not the other guys.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

NY Times figures out that what banks are doing re Wikileaks has ramifications that ain't pretty...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/opinion/26sun3.html

h/t Jay Rosen

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Just take the long shot of all long shots, Ron Paul. Can you imagine Mr. Paul and Mrs. Palin? What a debacle that would be for Mrs. Palin. Whether you agree or not with Ron Paul, you can't dispute he's informed. Mrs. Palin only has winking down.

Chip off some of her support right there and she hasn't even gotten to the A list.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

President Reagan's call for us to fight for, protect, and pass on to future generations the sources and meaning of our freedom is both a political and a personal call; it is a challenge, both for our country and for us individually. I take this challenge seriously. Passing on peace, prosperity, and liberty to the next generation requires a strong military, a free market, and a healthy constitutional order. But none of that will be sufficient if our children are not taught to have a reverence for the ideas, ideals, and traditions that are central to the American experiment.

This is my America, from my heart, and by my heart. I give it now to my children and grandchildren, and to yours, so they will always know what it was like in America when people were free.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 26, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul might be disqualified by his voting patterns. Isn't he the Republican who votes most with Obama, not counting Cao?

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Think Mark Kirk, Scott Brown, and Mike Castle.
--------------------------------------------------
Not ready for 2012. I'm not saying I disagree with your premise about broad appeal, but the clock's ticking. Essentially, the presidential campaign starts next week. I think it'll have to be one of the top three: Romney, Palin or Huckabee. Maybe Barbour on a stretch.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, if Palin is going to take the high road re not speaking ill of those other conservatives who criticize her, it will be a road she has not been travelling to this point.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Well, if Palin is going to take the high road re not speaking ill of those other conservatives who criticize her, it will be a road she has not been travelling to this point.
--------------------------------------------------------
Touche.

Bwahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe that's the change we can believe in.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Here's a list of countries hosting Wikileaks mirror sites. Germany tops but US doing well...


Country Count %
Germany 354 25
United States 285 20
France 195 14
Netherlands 119 8
United Kingdom 67 5
Sweden 52 4
Canada 40 3
Spain 33 2
Switzerland 27 2
N/A 21 1
Other countries 233 16


http://info.org.il/english/wikileaks/

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

@bernie,

What's the significance of mirror sites and countries?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

This will be interesting, the run up to the 2012 Republican convention.

The Republicans who control the money know they have no candidate. That is the story, they didn't think that mattered. They thought you could buy any election...with enough money and experts. November was a wake up call for Republicans. You actually have to have a candidate.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

"Passing on peace, prosperity, and liberty to the next generation requires a strong military, a free market, and a healthy constitutional order. "

What a pity, then, that neither peace nor prosperity nor any particular advance in liberty has happened as a consequence of the last 30 years of Republican administrations.

Two wars in Iraq, another in Afghanistan under Republican presidents.

The worst economic turn-down since the great depression under a Republican president.

And an exponential growth in the monitoring of citizens private correspondences and their assemblies for political organization under the last Republican president (continuing under the present one, for the most part).

Hell of a legacy.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

@12bar - The mirror sites are up as safeguards against governments (or whoever) shutting down the Wikileaks dissemination operation. The more sites filling this function, the more difficult to impossible it gets to suppress the data.

One can make a rough judgement call on how a nation/culture values free information flows by the support for wikileaks in that nation (rough because there are other factors here too such as how wired a country is, how big in population it is, etc)

And home now for me.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 26, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I haven't gone back and read much of the thread since Friday so I don't know if anyone linked this or not. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot about "death panels" again. And let me just say as someone who lost both her parents in the last few years, thank God for "Advance Directives" and the conversation they promote.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In this case, the administration said research had shown the value of end-of-life planning.

“Advance care planning improves end-of-life care and patient and family satisfaction and reduces stress, anxiety and depression in surviving relatives,” the administration said in the preamble to the Medicare regulation, quoting research published this year in the British Medical Journal.

The administration also cited research by Dr. Stacy M. Fischer, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who found that “end-of-life discussions between doctor and patient help ensure that one gets the care one wants.” In this sense, Dr. Fischer said, such consultations “protect patient autonomy.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/us/politics/26death.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=us&src=me

Posted by: lmsinca | December 26, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

@ddawd,

I misunderstood your post about broad appeal candidates. Of the three top candidates, I think Romney has the broadest appeal and I think he is the frontrunner for the nomination. Palin and Huckabee are both attractive to a narrower slice of the electorate.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I am also thankful for end of life planning. My aunt is 99 and her excellent care is as a result of the end of life planning done a few years ago. Her medical team and I know what she wants in her last years of life and it makes it a lot easier to coordinate her care. How this got translated into "death panels" is the most ridiculous thing, and false thing, I ever heard. My aunt simply does not want to be put on a ventilator nor to have her ribs broken. She's 99, for God's sake.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Obama found a way to get the end of life discussion implemented. I think we saw the sickest of the sickest f**ks when we saw those being referred to death panels. Let's see if one Conservative on here will support end-of-life discussion. Of course they won't since it's not a Conservative Thing, but they are damn important and they need to be a bigger part of the discussion of patient care. I work with a lot of cancer patients and while there's some discomfort to look ahead to end of life, it makes it a lot easier for the family to know exactly what the patient wants and saves a lot of grief and heartache.

It was in this conversation that we really got to learn what people are made of. Who cares about being Conservative and who cares about being human. I don't think supporting end-of-life discussion will get me any Sarah Palin winks, but it's really, really important.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think supporting end-of-life discussion will get me any Sarah Palin winks, but it's really, really important."

I winked. I believe burial rituals were the point of departure.
Humanity began with end life discussion.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 26, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, people. I was so happy to see more than two hours of posts on a national blog where current issues were discussed in a rational and sane manner, where things could be learned! Where questions could be asked and answered!

A rare respite from the usual fare.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

"Of course they won't since it's not a Conservative Thing..."

DDAWG,

I've been a participant w/ family in two such discussions.

And, doggone-it, we didn't even need Mr. Obama, or Ms. Pelosi, or Dr. "Don Recess Appt/Single-Payer" Berwick to tell us to have the conversation or how to conduct it.

Just sayin'.

I seem to recall you're in Boston, got the 2 feet yet? We're on the edge, supposedly big snow tomorrow but just a dusting tonight.

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

tao

They're not forcing reluctant people to have the conversation, they're simply establishing a protocol and payment options to include end of life counseling as a choice for patients. Most of us here are quite aware of the benefits, including you, but many people seem to mis-understand or even mis-represent the goal. I think it was Boehner who said it was a slippery slope from end of life counseling to euthanasia.

If we're going to be concerned with health care costs, it's something that needs to be focused on in a way that gets everyone on the same wavelength. What's obvious to some of us is frightening to others, especially when it's not something they've faced before.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 26, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"I've been a participant w/ family in two such discussions.

And, doggone-it, we didn't even need Mr. Obama, or Ms. Pelosi, or Dr. "Don Recess Appt/Single-Payer" Berwick to tell us to have the conversation or how to conduct it.

Just sayin'."

Stop calling them death panels, you sick ****.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

To all, belatedly: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Or, if you prefer, Mary Christmas to All, and a Happi News Year!

BTW: Death Panels. If you alternate them with Life Panels, they can really help jazz up that unfinished bonus room or basement.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 26, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

And I said that exactly where?

And what exactly makes all cons sick f<>X?

Denying the humanity of your assumed political opponents ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

lms,

I'm not agreeing with what Boehner (perhaps, context is everything as Alinsky taught us) said.

But when the life counseling takes place without family or advocates present, I can conjure, as we all can, an elderly patient alone and on their own, who could be, uh, hastened into something they don't comprehend by a (ineffably a govt.) system that isn't exactly playing by the Hippocratic playbook.

Anyway, since when is inflammatory political rhetoric exclusive to one side of the aisle.

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas Kevin, hope you had a nice Holiday. We've really been enjoying your gift to all of us, LOL.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am NOT looking forward to working tomorrow. I am however grateful I didn't have to fly again so soon, my son volunteered for the return trip getting my sis back to NM today. Looks like there's lots of delays and cancellations due to inclement weather.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 26, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Anyhoo...so I guess you're not the dawg in Boston i was thinking of.
{{{giggle}}}

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Look, if there is one Conservative who comes out and says that end-of-life discussions aren't attempts to drive grandpa to his grave, then fine, he isn't a sick **** for that reason.

But let's be serious. There will never ever be a Conservative who says that because it's not a Conservative Thing to say.

And hell yes, I will deny the humanity of anyone who calls these discussions death panels. And so will they. They are Conservatives first and humans second and that's how they like it.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

"Anyway, since when is inflammatory political rhetoric exclusive to one side of the aisle."

It's not. And I know lots of seniors who are alone and face all sorts of hardships but have friends like me and others looking out for them. As far as I know every hospital has a patient advocate department and personnel as well. I think the government would generally be considered more benevolent than the insurance industry by most people but don't get me started on that in polite company.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 26, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Republican Palin supporters have been trying for two years to get her to hit the books and become more knowledgable on, well, everything she would need to know to be a viable candidate, because all she really has been is a rabble-rouser. Not only has she refused to crack a book, she wears her ignorance like a badge of honor and the criticism of her ignorance like a Heidelberg dueling scar.

The Palin cult—let's call it what it is—is an ignorance cult. Her "common sense conservative" tag line is dog-whistle for the ignorant voters out there who don't read books without pictures and who squint and get puzzled by "big words." Palin js one of them, and they adore her for playing the victim in response to those meanies with thec college degrees who know which fork to use for the salad.

They would feel betrayed if she started to study and learned things.

And to the point: a majority has judged her unfit for public office. That judgment doesn't get reversed. The GOP might run her anyway because defying rationality is what they do, but it'll be against the advice of the community that continues to use logic and arithmentic.

@DDAWD: Please continue the Conservative Things meme. Great stuff and dead on.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Republican Palin supporters have been trying for two years to get her to hit the books and become more knowledgable on, well, everything she would need to know to be a viable candidate, because all she really has been is a rabble-rouser. Not only has she refused to crack a book, she wears her ignorance like a badge of honor and the criticism of her ignorance like a Heidelberg dueling scar.

The Palin cult—let's call it what it is—is an ignorance cult. Her "common sense conservative" tag line is dog-whistle for the ignorant voters out there who don't read books without pictures and who squint and get puzzled by "big words." Palin js one of them, and they adore her for playing the victim in response to those meanies with thec college degrees who know which fork to use for the salad.

They would feel betrayed if she started to study and learned things.

And to the point: a majority has judged her unfit for public office. That judgment doesn't get reversed. The GOP might run her anyway because defying rationality is what they do, but it'll be against the advice of the community that continues to use logic and arithmentic.

@DDAWD: Please continue the Conservative Things meme. Great stuff and dead on.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 26, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"And hell yes, I will deny the humanity of anyone who calls these discussions death panels."

That is truly frightening.

And spiritual genocide.

Unfortunately we have much recent experience as to what comes next.

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

"But when the life counseling takes place without family or advocates present,"

Did I miss something? Where is it said that these discussions would happen without family present? Or, let me guess, is this just another rightwing red herring to divert the discussion?

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

"I think the government would generally be considered more benevolent than the insurance industry by most people but don't get me started on that in polite company."

OK. I'd just say the scenario has the potential to go bad with either provider entity.

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

@brigade: "DAWWD: 'Well, yeah. If you wanted a rational discussion about policy, you would ahve to block all the Conservatives.' ... This is the attitude of a number of liberals here, including caothien9. They function best in an echo chamber where they and they alone can decide what point of view is rational."

You know, I'm not sure if that's entirely right. I mean, yes, you're correct, some will either say directly, imply, or behave as as if the only way to have a rational discussion is to block all conservatives (i.e., eliminate any truly dissenting voices, leaving only disagreements as to what degree a given policy is good or bad, not "whether or not".)

Yet I think many of them would be the first to cease to participate if there were no knuckle-dragging Neanderthals with which to illustrate the intellectual superiority or their opinion by contrast.

And, of course, they could block all conservative opinion (either through handy tools such as my WaPo Troll Hunter), or by electing not to read or participate in online forums entirely. Or at least this one. Yet they do not.

Thus, for all the bellyaching over conservative expressing an opinion, I wonder if they would participate so much in nothing but an echo chamber. Where's the challenge in that?

Sometimes it's fun to listen to people who we believe have wrong ideas attempt to defend those ideas, and thus challenge us. If we come away from such commentary unmoved, we can feel confident in the rightness of our own positions. If we simply listen to those who already agree with us . . . well, where's the challenge in that?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 26, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

"Did I miss something? Where is it said that these discussions would happen without family present? Or, let me guess, is this just another rightwing red herring to divert the discussion?

Posted by: fiona5"

No one said it. But look, Conservatives have to say their Conservative Things. Once again, they are left to defend the indefensible. There's no real debate that end-of-life discussions should be far more prominent. It's just that Conservatives need to defend it.

And look, if they can make BS arguments without talking about death panels, that's a hell of a step up. You can almost call it a difference of opinion.

But this death panel stuff? The Conservatives on here are just sick, sick, sick for playing this game. And yeah, if they value their Conservative Club membership over their humanity and decency towards other Americans, that's their choice. But don't cry when you guys are called out on it.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 26, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

fiona,

If there is stipulation in the Medicare Reg that protects the patient in the scenario I described above via advocacy or family input...all to the good.

I just didn't see much detail in the NYTimes piece, here's the sub-lede graf:

"Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment."

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

"And hell yes, I will deny the humanity of anyone who calls these discussions death panels."

That is truly frightening.

And spiritual genocide.

Unfortunately we have much recent experience as to what comes next."


Which is, what exactly? There is no thought thread to follow here, merely some vague threat... of?

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

"And hell yes, I will deny the humanity of anyone who calls these discussions death panels. And so will they. They are Conservatives first and humans second and that's how they like it."

What would you do with these animals then?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 26, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: "I think the government would generally be considered more benevolent than the insurance industry by most people"

Julian Assange would beg to differ. ;)

That being said, in both cases, you're dealing with large bureaucracies populated with fallible human beings, and benevolence is really not the issue. In most cases, the seeming inhumanity of the insurance companies is the product of inefficiency and bureaucracy at least as much as profiteering. Generally, I don't think decisions that ration care for people to death are good for either insurance companies or government agencies. But bureaucracy, and the fallibility of people, can lead to undesirable consequences in both cases.

Which is not a defense of the status quo or attack on HCR, just a caution that we should remember that fallible human beings populate our government bureaucracies just as they do our for-profit private sector.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 26, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

You know what keeps me away from here more often than not? When the conversation devolves into name-calling and demonizing from either side. It's just so boring and predictable and BTW counter-productive.

Have a good night everyone and I'm trying to think of one little resolution, easily attainable, so I won't disappoint myself. I'd be curious to hear if anyone has something in mind for themselves.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 26, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment."
-----------------------------
What this means, in real life:

If patient is NOT breathing AND is does not have a pulse,

Attempt resuscitation/CPR
Do not attempt Resuscitation (DNR)


I am typing this straight off my aunt's End of Life Instructions to her physician.
------------------------

This is BS this is some kind of death panel idea. Since my aunt is 99 and doing CPR on her would probably break her ribs, and she would be unlikely to live through it, she chose DNR.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"If there is stipulation in the Medicare Reg that protects the patient in the scenario I described above via advocacy or family input...all to the good.

I just didn't see much detail in the NYTimes piece, here's the sub-lede graf"

Well, the point is, we don't know yet, do we, because the press has not presented us with the information, which is their job.
What we need to do then is look for that informaton, find out if that protection is there, and then decide whether it is a good or bad policy, based on *what we actually know about it.*

If I had to leave my fate with *my* America, my government, designed by our founders to serve our people, or megaglobal/foreign insurance companies designed for the purpose of sucking up profit only, I can tell you where my trust and allegiance as an American lies.

I think the issue with rightwingers is that they just don't beleive in the concept of America anymore.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"Conservatives have to say their Conservative Things."

Hey! Let's have an obverse hootenanny:

♫♫♫♫♫♫
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly,
I gotta love Gramsci 'til I die,
So I can't help lovin' that man of mine.

Now, tell me he's radical, tell me he's slow,
Tell me I'm flammable, maybe I know,
But I can't help lovin' that prog man of mine!
♫♫♫♫♫♫
http://www.heptune.com/canthelp.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

G'night lms, that's a good assignment, thnx.

Posted by: tao9 | December 26, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Denying the humanity of your assumed political opponents ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

==

People who would rather see children grow up malnourished than compromise their small-government "principles?"

People who would rather see wildlife go extinct than compromise their aiti-regulatiory "principles?"

God damned right I'll deny their humanity. I'd deny them the vote and fresh water were it within my power.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 27, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

fiona (btw, I love that name),

"Which is, what exactly? There is no thought thread to follow here, merely some vague threat... of?"

Denial of humanity to anyone is never the start of something very good. I was referring to recent history as to the final results to that kind of thinking...the examples are too numerous to list.


Posted by: tao9 | December 27, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Funny how conservatives pretend to discover morality and humanity at the oddest times.

There is something seriously and, yes, subhumanly wrong with the conservatives who post here and the conservatives in the leadership of the Republican party. It's not like the Goldwater days when conservatism was a legitimate political outlook, now it's a fig leaf for some finely-honed nihilistic mental illness.

And yes, you guys with your endless lies and your intensely mean-spirited outlook and your savage derision, yeah, I deny your humanity. If you were dogs you'd be put to sleep.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 27, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Protect the patient from what? A doctor pushing a patient to death? There's already advocacy for malparactice. You know, the protections that Conservatives are working round the clock to try and limit?

As for family being present, it is the decision of the competent patient whether he wants family involved in the discussion. There are a lot of advantages for having family involved, but like with any medical care, it's the patient's decision and he can choose whether to request family input or not.

Conservatives are already pretty ridiculous when they incessantly spout their Conservative Things, but they reach new heights when they try to defend them.

And the reality is that a lot of patients don't know the options that are available to them. The doctors do and the doctors know when these issues are likely to come into play. So it's a good thing for the doctor to broach a subject that the patient might be unaware of or might be uncomfortable broaching himself. That's reality. And while some people believe that everyone should be Terry Schiavo'd for eternity, a lot of people don't feel that way and don't wish to place that emotional or financial burden on their families.

So good for Obama. As for the Conservative animals who call these discussions death panels, they should be looked upon like the KKK. Sure, they should be allowed to say what they want, but the rest of us should look upon them with the utmost derision and contempt. They will bring misery and suffering for their neighbors to please a FOX talking head they will never meet.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 27, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Not nice to paraphrase Tom Lehrer without attribution. "She's My Gal." From 1962.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 27, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

"I think the issue with rightwingers is that they just don't beleive in the concept of America anymore."

I, respectfully, think you are mistaken.

BTW: Our government health-care apparatus dwarfs any (and all) megaglobal/foreign insurance companies extant, and in it's present iteration our government is designed for the purpose of sucking up as much private capital as is legally, and often illegally, possible for a porcine Leviathan.

Oh, and then there's the quality, efficiency, and the apex of common sense in all of it's multifarious endeavors....

Posted by: tao9 | December 27, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Considering how many family retirement accounts are emptied in the last week of a relative's life as doctors prey on their grief with earnestly offered advice for "just one more procedure," making sober and informed decisions about end of life is perfectly prudent planning.

I'd say that Republicans lost any right to have any say in the discussion when they convened anemergency session to keep alive a woman with a liquified brain in some grotesque homage to their phoney culture of life."

Posted by: caothien9 | December 27, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

"...were it within my power."

{{{gigglexponentially}}}

Posted by: tao9 | December 27, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I agree with ddawd. The issue of end of life decisions is too important to be politicized. Everyone owes it to themselves and their families to find out what it really means, not just mindlessly believe some irresponsible political pundits about death panels.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 27, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Well we may have a huge government healthcare apparatus but the real money drain is in the private side. Government-run healthcare has very low overhead and most of the money goes to treating people, while the private insurance companies exist to maximize shareholder value and executive salaries, and they don't do that by providing broad service.

Healthcare should be completely outside "the marketplace" like it is in so many civilized countries.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 27, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Which is not a defense of the status quo or attack on HCR, just a caution that we should remember that fallible human beings populate our government bureaucracies just as they do our for-profit private sector.

==

I don't see anyone demanding infallibility.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 27, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Which is not a defense of the status quo or attack on HCR, just a caution that we should remember that fallible human beings populate our government bureaucracies just as they do our for-profit private sector.

==

I don't see anyone demanding infallibility.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 27, 2010 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Uusally when I have a post show up twice it's because the first one appeared to fail and so I resubmitted. These last two have resulted from a single submit. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 27, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

"...were it within my power."

{{{gigglexponentially}}}

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 27, 2010 2:36 AM | Report abuse

I am also thankful for end of life planning. My aunt is 99 and her excellent care is as a result of the end of life planning done a few years ago. Her medical team and I know what she wants in her last years of life and it makes it a lot easier to coordinate her care. How this got translated into "death panels" is the most ridiculous thing, and false thing, I ever heard. My aunt simply does not want to be put on a ventilator nor to have her ribs broken. She's 99, for God's sake.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 26, 2010 9:18 PM
-------

This sort of thing is hardly a new development of HCR. What the 'death panel' folks were talking about was government counsellors deciding that your 99 year old aunt's end of life planning wishes be ignored if they determine the costs outweigh the benefits. You've heard the term "rationing" before?

Posted by: Brigade | December 27, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

I think it's perfectly germane to question the humanity of people who would defend a healthcare executive who issues guidelines for denying benefits that result in customers in the fight for their lilves having their coverage terminated to save shareholder money. Those executives should be, in a word, sent to the gas chamber and their supporters should be branded with some sort of mark telling others they've fallen below some essential threshhold of humanity

Posted by: caothien9 | December 27, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

The "death panels" terminology and meme was created by marketing people working for the corporate entities who didn't/don't wish to face a threat to their profits.

To put that another way, it was bright people creating and pushing propaganda designed to influence stupid people.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/14/health/policy/14panel.html

End of life counselling is a functioning and very valuable part of the medical system in Canada. Elsewhere too, of course, but I lived in Canada for more than half a century and in that time lost all my grandparents, both of my parents along with many aunts, uncles and friends. Americans who fear such a medical policy have been propagandized to be fearful and are, sadly, truly stupid enough to allow themselves to be manipulated in this way.

Sooner or later, most every family faces certain choices re end of life care and it is a species of severe cruelty and non-compassion to leave such families without knowledge of those available choices.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

And, under the heading of stupid....

"What the 'death panel' folks were talking about was government counsellors deciding that your 99 year old aunt's end of life planning wishes be ignored if they determine the costs outweigh the benefits. You've heard the term "rationing" before?"

Except that all of this is a total fabrication intended to fool you (and it did). Nothing remotely like this exists in Canada nor in Britain nor in Israel nor anywhere else where some form of non-American style healthcare is in place.

Healthcare, as many have observed and reported, is "rationed" in America in far more significant and consequential ways (by profit-driven entities who commonly have shareholders in Saudi Arabia and Italy and they don't know you or your family and don't care about them in the slightest). It's the key reason your medical outcomes are so crappy compared to other countries and it is why your system is so much more expensive than that of others.

As I've pointed out before - there is NOT A SINGLE EXAMPLE of a nation who has adopted a system something like Canada's where the citizens have changed their minds and pushed politicians to return to something like a US system. Not one such example.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

There is a broad array of issues where one can see that the Chamber of Commerce types have effectively made Americans both stupid and have set Americans against their own interests. In pretty much each case the consequence has been to flood those corporate interests with an increasing portion of taxpayer dollars and to shift control of numerous aspects of society over to them (so that they can gain even more dollars from citizens).

If you deregulate us, you citizens will be better off.
If you don't tax us, you citizens will be better off.
If you allow us to take over the role of government, you citizens will be better off.

It is a real trick to convince so many people that a profit-seeking enterprise which has, more often than not, no presence in your community. no knowledge of your community, no motivation for giving any sort of a damn for your community but rather having the motivation for sucking as much blood out of your community as they can manage - which will go to investors around the world...it is a real trick to convince so many people that they'll be better off with a huge conglomerate of parasites sucking away their money and their power to organize and govern themselves.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

From wikipedia:

Reimbursement for counseling about living wills
One often-cited provision of the un-passed bill would have authorized Medicare reimbursement for physicians who provide voluntary counseling about such subjects as living wills.[17][18] The provision is based on a separate bill that was cosponsored by Republican Charles Boustany of Louisiana, a surgeon.[19] This Advance Care Planning Consultation section was criticized by some Republicans and conservatives such as Betsy McCaughey, a lobbyist for the healthcare industry who also helped to defeat the Clinton health care plan of 1993.[20] These critics allege that it includes mandatory language aimed at pressing elderly and disabled patients toward euthanasia.[17] Their interpretation was the basis for the charge about this section by prominent Republican 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
“ My parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. ”
—Sarah Palin, [21]
However, the "level of productivity in society" or panels claim is not mentioned in the actual legislation,[22] which is structured primarily to amend[22] a specific clause in the Social Security Act, Section 1861[23] of definitions that are used in sections regarding reimbursements for end-of-life counseling, including the use of Advance Directives. Charles Boustany's Democratic cosponsor, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, has called this attack on the bill "an all-time low".[19]
*Blumenauer said the measure would block funds for counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option, and called references to death panels or euthanasia "mind-numbing".*[24] He said that "the majority of Congressional Republicans supported the similar provisions for terminally ill elderly patients that were part of the 2003 prescription drug bill" and that, out of the dozens of Republican proposals for revising the bill, "not a single word" was said against end-of-life counseling. He said that Rush Limbaugh, Virginia Foxx, Newt Gingrich, Charles Grassley and other Republicans defended the death panel story only after Betsy McCaughey's editorials, and that some people at town hall meetings even wanted to "keep government out of their Medicare," a government run program.[25] Blumenauer said that as recently as April 2008 then-governor Palin supported end-of-life counseling as part of Health Care Decisions Day.[26][27] Palin's office called this comparison "hysterically funny" and "desperate".[28] *Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, who co-sponsored a 2007 end-of-life counseling provision,[29] called the euthanasia claim "nuts".[30] *

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 27, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

And while I'm pissed-off about stupiditude, let's look at Douthat's column today where he pushes the "Obama is The One" meme - self-aggrandizing individual tempts weak citizens to worship him.

"The fantasy was the idea that Barack Obama, a one-term senator with an appealing biography and a silver tongue, would turn out to be Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Robert F. Kennedy and Mahatma Gandhi all rolled into one. This fantasy inspired a wave of 1960s-style enthusiasm, an unsettling personality cult (that “Yes We Can” video full of harmonizing celebrities only gets creepier in hindsight)"

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/27/opinion/27douthat.html?_r=1&hp

Except that conservatives like Douthat have a truly amazing ability to miss what is at all times right in front of them - their own worshipful regard for and stance towards Reagan.

The Reagan myth was not merely a consequence of conservatives particularly liking one fellow. It is a strategic project developed by Norquist (the Reagan legacy project) to make him a symbol of a certain sort. Part of this project involved the name of bridges and airports and highways (large, imposing structures) after Regan. And how is this different from Egyptian pharaohs building huge structures to represent them and to keep some consensus to their superiorness thriving in the culture? Would Norquist, if he could, rename the Empire State Building as The Ronald Reagan Liberty and Strength Edifice? Well, of course. And folks of a certain sort would gobble it up and think nothing could be finer.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Good link, Mark.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

The good news...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/27/health/policy/27medicaid.html?_r=1&hp

"Oregon, which will receive a $15 million bonus, made many of the same refinements, while also extending coverage to more children. “Without these efforts to make enrollment simplified, the resources we put into outreach and marketing would be wasted,” said Cathy H. Kaufmann, administrator of Oregon Healthy Kids, which encompasses both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. “We’d have driven thousands of people to the front door but many of them wouldn’t be able to get in.”

I know Cathy Kaufmann, a do-gooder, an admirable bureaucrat.
But now the bad news...

"Because of the formula’s requirements, none of the money will go to California, Texas or Florida, which account for nearly 40 percent of all uninsured children."

Ouch. And this just isn't fair...

"Nor will any go to the four states that do the best job of signing up eligible children — Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and Hawaii."

Posted by: shrink2 | December 27, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I guess Coburn really stirred up some anxiety yesterday. It's pretty obvious how they're going to get the population to go along with massive spending cuts. This is pertinent to our discussion last night of the bogus "death panel" claims, now it'll be "death by government spending".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Apocalyptic pain" from an out-of-control debt could cause 18 percent unemployment and a massive contraction in the economy that would destroy the middle class, a leading Republican deficit hawk said in an interview that aired Sunday.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who recently issued a report on government waste, warned that the U.S. only has about three or four years to get its fiscal house in order or it could find itself facing austerity measures seen in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and earlier in Japan.

"The history of republics is they average 200 years of life. And they all fail in the history over fiscal matters. They rot from within before they collapse or are attacked," Coburn told "Fox News Sunday."

I think you'll see a 15 to 18 percent unemployment rate. I think you will see an 8 to 9 percent decline in GDP. I think you'll see the middle class just destroyed if we don't do this. And the people that it will harm the most will be the poorest of the poor, because we'll print money to try to debase our currency and get out of it and what you will see is hyperinflation," Coburn said.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/26/coburn-control-government-spending-face-apocalyptic-pain/

Posted by: lmsinca | December 27, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Here's what is coming.

There was a fair bit of commentary yesterday on Coburn's interview on FOX where he warned of apocalyptic financial disaster unless government spending is cut deeply...

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/12/26/coburn-rich-sacrifice/

Today, Bill Kristol pushes the same narrative at the Weekly Standard...

"In the midst of an otherwise predictable editorial today on "The Looming Crisis in the States," in which the New York Times calls for state tax hikes and more aid from Washington, we find this sentence: "Starved for revenue and accustomed to decades of overspending, many states have been overwhelmed."

"Decades of overspending." I must have missed the many Times editorials over recent decades condemning such overspending. But no matter. What a concession! Not just a few years of overspending—decades!

...So, Govs. Christie and Daniels and Kasich—and Cuomo—and all the rest, go for it. Cut the size and scope of state government. Make up for decades of liberal big government welfare state overspending. And when criticized, cite the New York Times."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/new-york-times-concedes-decades-overspending_524954.html

First, let's just note how convenient (and dishonest) it is for Kristol to ignore the first part of that sentence he quotes, "starved for revenue". Typical Kristol, of course, but it needs noting because anyone or anything 'starved for revenue' is bound to 'overspend' when it spends anything. His framing is meaningless outside of its propaganda function.

But aside from that, what we are seeing here is the beginning of the over-arching narrative that Republicans want to push over the next two years... government spending is out of control and enormous cuts must be made to all or any government functions which aren't military/defense. Particularly, of course, this means cuts to government functions which are labeled "entitlement" or which regulate corporate activity.

The fundamental project of modern US conservativism is to destroy any strong government presence in American society (and at the international level as well). As governments are the only entity which are big enough to hedge or control the excesses of corporate entities and elites, they present the prime target of those entities/elites. For the corporate entities, this is all about maximization of profit through maximization of control. For Kristol, it is about his Platonic vision of efficient society controlled by an intellectual elite.

For both these sets of desires/goals, a strong, organized and democratic society where citizens are represented by uncorrupted politicians is THE fundamental problem to be done away with.

And in the present situation of financial woes, this will be the prime narrative forwarded by these creatures. If they can make people fear and hate themselves (government is them or can be) then they can move incrementally towards a disorganized and powerless citizenry.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Hi Ims...seems we're thinking similar stuffs

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

"For Kristol, it is about his Platonic vision of efficient society controlled by an intellectual elite."

Plato woudn't have fallen for Palin. ;-}

Posted by: shrink2 | December 27, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Bernie

Well, we all knew it was coming right? I'll have to go in search of a piece I read a week or two ago re Christi and NJ. Basically, it highlighted his assault on public employees and their benefits. In reality the problems began with faulty financial advisers (outside of government) and the depletion of the funds for future benefits. It's not dissimilar to the municipal bond scam perpetrated on states which has cost state governments millions in withdrawal penalties.

It's going to be a real uphill battle fighting these guys.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 27, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Likely not. But even more likely is that he too would have used her.

A prime propaganda method is to develop a range of voices, planted in various different locations within the culture, to echo the same narrative... "One thing is for certain, disaster looms if..."

We humans are moved to accept a premise or claim or assertion (regardless if evidence is attending) if it seems to have gained a consensus. And that is why the trick above works so well. Recall Fred Barnes a few weeks ago describing how the conservatives had to get more voices into varied media bodies. Or watch who Fred Hiatt pulls into the op ed section of this paper.

Palin provides a special type of voice. Or rather, she has been created and forwarded to represent a particular mythological image - the pioneering, common sense, practical, uncorrupted American of western movie myth. If a true elitist like Kristol or Dick Armey (who sit near the top of the wealth and power structures of the US and profit immensely from their whoring) says "X" and then if this everyman-everywoman Palin creation says the same thing, there is a significant propaganda value to that apparent (false) disparity or range of voice.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@Ims - Coburn's thing really caught my attention (as it did others') follwing on the Dem Strategist piece on how state budgets together with GOP electoral gains at that level would create a strong dynamic towards evisceration of government. And I'd been thinking about this yesterday. When I read the WS piece, my thoughts, if you will, kristolized.

A commonplace notion before the election was that Republicans couldn't continue merely by being the party of no. They had to forward some policy vision/prescription.

Now we know what it will be. (Sure, I should have figured this out before but I didn't).

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Here' s that piece re Christie and all his bogus claims in the 60 minute piece that went unchallenged BTW. There are lots of links to other bits and pieces of the puzzle. Essentially, he places the blame on public employees, government over-spending, demanding citizens, blah blah blah rather than where it belongs, the never-ending quest for tax cuts and now austerity to punish us greedy working class people. I'm going to begin using working class instead of middle class for obvious reasons.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First of all, New Jersey's pension problems came to a head in 1997, during the rein of one Christine Todd Whitman, who cooked up a high-risk scheme to finance tax cuts by refusing to make the state's mandated pension payments from general revenue. Instead, she and state treasurer Brian Clymer floated a $2.75 billion bond issue that would fund the payments.

In other words, she and Clymer were gambling that the market would generate enough money to cover their pension obligations, so they could borrow that money right away for tax cuts. (The state paid $23.9 million in bond fees, by the way. Plus interest.)

This was a radical idea for the time, and not everyone was thrilled with the plan. The mayor of Edison N.J. filed a lawsuit to stop it. The State Supreme Court refused a stay, saying the point was moot -- but agreed with the plaintiff that the bond authority was merely a legal shell created to get around the state's debt ceiling without putting it to a public vote.

And of course the inevitable happened: Whitman's pension obligation bonds (and just about every other state's) became a ticking time bomb.

From what I've read, the Whitman bonds made no payments for the first 12 years and then, during the last 18 years, they were supposed to pay both the deferred interest and the current interest. Whitman assumed that the irrational exuberance of the market would continue to generate high returns -- in other words, the state of New Jersey was looking at a massive balloon payment.

Just to make things interesting, average annual returns on the bonds haven't even been enough to cover the interest payments.

http://crooksandliars.com/clsphinx?keys=chris%20christie%20and%2060%20minutes

Posted by: lmsinca | December 27, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I've got to run, but just to tie this up.

This narrative line they are now beginning to push to the forefront is merely a story. The right is very very bright regarding how to move groups of people through story. It doesn't hurt that they have nearly a century of marketing experience at their disposal. It also doesn't hurt that they can play this game from deepest cynicisms and without conscience.

All of which allows me the opportunity to quote Richard Hofstadter's definition of "myth"...

"By myth I do not mean an idea that is simply false, but rather one that so effectively embodies men's values that it profoundly influences their way of perceiving reality and hence their behavior. (The Age of Reform, 1955)"

If we get to wondering why folks like Clawrence or Brigade etc feel so strongly about the story they've been sold, a lot of the answer to that is illuminated above.

See ya.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 27, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin, the "level of productivity in society" is actually a reference from the type of bureaucrats that Obama would appoint on such "death panels." No one ever said that was a quote from the purported legislation itself. That is, however, the approach to health care espoused by key Obama health care adviser Dr. Ezekial Emanuel (brother of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel):
 
The article in which Dr. Emanuel puts forth his approach is 'Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions,' published on January 31, 2009. While Emanuel does not use the term 'death panel,' Palin put that term in quotation marks to signify the concept of medical decisions based on the perceived societal worth of an individual, not literally a 'death panel.' And in so doing, Palin was true to Dr. Emanuel's concept of a system which considers prognosis, since its aim is to achieve complete lives. A young person with a poor prognosis has had a few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life.
 
From Dr. Emanuel's article:

"Considering prognosis forestalls the concern the disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses. When the worst-off can benefit only slightly while better-off people could benefit greatly, allocating to the better-off is often justifiable ... When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated."
 
Put together the concepts of prognosis and age, and Dr. Emanuel's proposal reasonably could be construed as advocating the withholding of some level of medical treatment (probably not basic care, but likely expensive advanced care) to a baby born with Down Syndrome. You may not like this implication, but it is Dr. Emanuel's implication not Palin's.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 27, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"Death panel" was a little more catchy (and accurate) than "complete lives system." Where, exactly, on that priority curve (if you want to use that instead) would liberals place those like Trig Palin. We already know caothien9's answer.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 27, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

From the "do as I say, not as I do" file: Coburn would like *you* to tighten your belts while his staff expands theirs: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/coburn-there-will-be-apocalyptic-pain-if-we-dont-cut-spending-video.php

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 27, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

We've already gone through those claims here clawrence. A very clever perversion of the truth to stir up fear and loathing. And then you wonder why some of us don't answer your questions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The nonpartisan Politifact.com Web site described McCaughey's claim as a "ridiculous falsehood."[34][37][38][39] FactCheck.org said, "We agree that Emanuel’s meaning is being twisted. In one article, he was talking about a philosophical trend, and in another, he was writing about how to make the most ethical choices when forced to choose which patients get organ transplants or vaccines when supplies are limited."[40][41] An article on Time.com said that Emanuel "was only addressing extreme cases like organ donation, where there is an absolute scarcity of resources ... 'My quotes were just being taken out of context.'"[7] A decade ago, when many doctors wanted to legalize euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, Emanuel opposed it.[4] Emanuel said the "death panel" idea is "an outright lie, a complete fabrication. And the paradox, the hypocrisy, the contradiction is that many of the people who are attacking me now supported living wills and consultations with doctors about end-of-life care, before they became against it for political reasons." "I worked pretty hard and against the odds to improve end-of-life care. And so to have that record and that work completely perverted — it's pretty shocking."

Posted by: lmsinca | December 27, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"Except that conservatives like Douthat have a truly amazing ability to miss what is at all times right in front of them - their own worshipful regard for and stance towards Reagan."

Except that the two have almost nothing in common. Reagan was a serious and thoroughly developed national figure for many years before 1980. He had been a public spokesman for conservative policies and ideas. And governor of a large state.

Obama, in contrast, was nothing more than a personality. He was in many ways a cipher. And he consciously and determinedly crafted his campaign based on personality and a myth that he personally embodied the "dreams" of the country and its last best hope for redemption. That isn't a myth or "narrative" but a concrete historical fact.

He admitted in January 2006 that he was unprepared for national office and said he wouldn't run. He made no impact as a Senator. Then an improbable set of circumstances including a poor Dem field, the financial crisis, and a terrible GOP candidate and campaign thrust him into the presidency. He was opportunistic enough to grasp for national office based on no record of accomplishments and based purely on personality and "dreams," despite his commitment not to do so, when events conspired to make it seem possible.

Oh, the observant among us saw what he was substantively. But the left worshipped him personally in a way the right never worshipped Reagan. Particularly not in the beginning. And Reagan didn't campaign in Europe as World Citizen and promise that his election would be the moment the seas stopped rising and this country would finally start taking care of its children and elderly. His election. Reagan never exhibited this narcissistic grandiosity and never appealed to people to vote on that basis.

The truth is that it is bernie who is myth- and narrative spinning.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

"It's not like the Goldwater days when conservatism was a legitimate political outlook, now it's a fig leaf for some finely-honed nihilistic mental illness."

Let's see if you can do better than bernie once did at supporting this bit of mythology.

Identify five major policy areas on which conservatives have radically departed from positions of 1964 into anything you can remotely show is nihilism.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

lmsinca, I don't wonder why you won't answer my questions. I am well aware that the good doctor claims his writings have been taken out of context. But, if government rationing starts with organ transplants or vaccines, where does it end? Don't worry, I don't expect you to answer that either.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 27, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Government control of health care or health care finance, whether direct or indirect, proprietary or regulatory, means government allocation and rationing of health care. The left can spin "death panels" any way it wants, but it's really just that simple. Those who advocate it, like Dr. Emanuel, consider that a positive, because the left always beleives we live at the convenience and sufferance of the state: all health care, just like all income, rightfully belongs to the state and should be allocated by it.

That's the ugly truth of "liberalism."

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

So far the only one rationing organ transplants seems to be the governor of Arizona.

The quote unquote free market has done a fairly extensive job of rationing health care to date.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 27, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin, I like Greg's blog. I I would like to talk about politics. But some people come on here just to taunt, revile, hurt and humiliate others [you know who I mean], or to jam the blog with complete-- I am sorry but it's true -- idiocy, and that is frustrating. So my apologies to you if your were offended, because you of course were not whom I was talking about.

But as far as winning jurors, these are not people who could be convinced with any sane or rational argument.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 26, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Clear frontrunner for ironic accusation of the month. fiona = one of the most abusive and nonsubstantive commenters ever on PL.

You posted this as a joke, right?

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Free markets don't ration. Governments do. Some people think government rationing is better than free markets. Others don't. But they aren't the same thing.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't feel like scrolling back, but let me ask, is there ONE Conservative who has argued that end-of-life planning is a good thing or at the very least agreed that these discussions aren't death panels?

Yeah, I know, dumb question. You don't get to be a Conservative if you take the humanitarian position.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 27, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

bernielatham, Palin's "death panel" accusation was defended on Rush Limbaugh's program again today. Did you read yesterday's story in NYT about new Medicare rules implementing "advanced care directives" (talk about Orwellian double-speak)?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 27, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"Government control of health care or health care finance, whether direct or indirect, proprietary or regulatory, means government allocation and rationing of health care."

As opposed to corporate allocation and rationing of health care, which is what we have now. Get sick? You may find yourself suddenly without health insurance. Got a pre-existing condition/ Kiss your ass goodbye. Self-employed -- ditto.

Insurance companies operate under strict profit margins. If they are not meeting their numbers each year, they start methodically culling the sickest people off the rolls until they meet the margins. That's just business, folks, way it operates.

Medicare, on the other hand, does not deny treatment. Ask ANYONE on Medicare whether they would like to go back to corporate insurance. Really, ask someone. No one will say yes.

Aand as we all know, Arizona is the only state that actually rations health care -- that actually has death panels -- and they have allowed several people to die. But that's 'conservatism' for you, in action.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 27, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Once again, a free market doesn't ration. Government does. Until you start to grasp that distinction, you will continue to be confused about everything.

Why would anyone be surprised that people who are given unlimited health care subsidized by everyone else like it? Unfortunately, you can't give the same thing to everyone. Welcome to reality.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

qb, your argument that the free market doesn't ration reminds me of the conservative argument that tax cuts don't add to the deficit. It's essentially a difference in interpretation. Here are some examples of current health care rationing and for someone who lost a beloved member of her family to industry rationing, your arguments fall on deaf ears.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Implicit versus Explicit Rationing

Health care may be implicitly or explicitly rationed.

Implicit rationing refers to a situation in which health care is allocated according to unstated principles of market mechanisms. This includes rationing by

* budget - for instance, certain capitated plans don’t allow certain procedures.
* price - when a given procedure is too expensive for popular use, or is not covered by insurance.
* queue - as in the case when there are extraordinarily long waiting times before a given procedure can be done, such as certain transplants.
* administrative barriers - hassles, such as a barrage of complex detailed paperwork demands.

US Already Rations Both Health Care and Health Insurance

The current US health care system is rife with rationing.

For instance, managed care companies have ways to allocate health care, such as prior authorization before a person can obtain a given medical service.

In a September speech before the Joint Session of Congress, President Obama got a standing ovation after detailing catastrophic stories of average Americans whose health care had been delayed or denied by insurance companies.

Triage is a form of emergency rationing of medical care that occurs when there’s natural disasters or war, or in other circumstances when medical resources are scarce. The local hospital emergency room will employ methods of triage — a kind of rationing that many would consider fair—in order to allocate health care services first to those who are in most need.
How, Not Whether, to Ration is the Question

The question at hand is whether to shift our current implicit rationing system to one that is explicit and has broad public approval.

The consequences of the current implicit rationing system are brutal for the millions of uninsured and under insured Americans. It's also expensive, as uninsured individuals often end up in the emergency room, which is the most costly point of entry into the health care system.

The bottom line, in response to those who worry about “government rationing of health care” is that rationing is already deeply embedded in our current system. Nobody decided that it should be this way; the system simply evolved. Is the current system fair? No. Is it cost effective? No. Surely in reforming how Americans get and pay for health care insurance, the nation can do better.


Read more at Suite101: Health Care Reform 101—About Rationing: US Health System is Rife with Rationing Already http://www.suite101.com/content/health-care-reform-101-about-rationing-a149762#ixzz19L7UycZc

Posted by: lmsinca | December 27, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

First, I'm not aware of any conservative argument that "tax cuts" never increase the deficit. They might or might not. But what shouldn't be debatable is that tax cuts do not "cost money" and aren't something that is "paid for." Spending is what costs money.

But I'm not surprised that argument reminds you of the "rationing" debate. The liberal claim that "rationing" always exists whether or not the government does it does have something in common with your argument that reducing taxes "costs" money. And they are both equally wrong and consist of misuse of language to mislead and confuse the issues.

I'm quite aware of how the liberal argument outlined by Ellen Feuerstein -- whoever she is -- goes. It's still wrong. "Implicit rationing" isn't rationing. It is just scarcity.

I'm sorry you think your personal experience changes the meaning of words like rationing, but it doesn't. If your relative died because an insurance company breached its contract, it won't be hard to prove that. But that isn't the same thing as rationing, which is done only by someone who commands all the resources being rationed.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"It is just scarcity.", which causes rationing. The problem is that when the insurance industry does it, and you're right in some cases it is a breach of contract, people die under a barrage of paperwork, slow motion approvals and then denial which is intentionally designed to save money and actually has nothing to do with scarcity. If you choose not to call it rationing it's your choice but I will continue to do so. They're paying my sister for her loss but she could care less. I only pursued the legal avenue to prove a point and there are legal experts who would disagree with your interpretation of rationing.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 27, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what "legal experts" have opintions about rationing; rationing isn't a legal term or concept. Breach of contract is.

If rationing necessarily results from scarcity, then everything is rationed. Which is silly and drains the word of meaning. The grocery store doesn't ration your carrots or milk. The Mercedes dealer doesn't ration cars. And an insurance company doesn't ration your health care. You have choices within the constraints of your resources. When you sign an insurance contract and pay for insurance, you are buying what you choose to buy.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The problem with your comparable rationing examples qb is that a lack of carrots, milk or a new Mercedes doesn't kill you. Conservatives equate health care with other commodities and claim it should be dependent upon the same market influences, I happen to disagree. Why should a person of lesser means or higher health risk suffer rationing of health care when their wealthy counterparts receive not only greater access but greater benefits? I think we've really gotten to the bottom of our argument, it's not really about rationing it's the nature of health care itself.

I'll never forget a comment Scott made last year when I was arguing the fact that people actually die because of lack of access to health care in our commodity driven economy. His retort was he thought people died because they got sick.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 27, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I think that's a partly accurate (possibly incomplete) statement of the fundamental disagreement. I had a similar discussion once with rukidding, who "said" (actually yelled, of course) that "health care" is not goods and services but something called a "right."

I frankly thought that was completely incoherent, although it certainly explains the position. If someone can't even admit what "health care" is, there is no basis to discuss anything. The fact is that "health care" consists of skills, goods, and services that some people develop at great expense.

Like Scott, I reject the idea that person A has a right to person B's services or goods, whether in the form of drugs or medical equipment or medical skill or something else. Indeed, I find the idea philosophically incoherent, simply because a "right" to health care or anything else is asserted to be universal but logically can't be. If everyone has this "right," no one does.

I would turn your question around on you. Why does A have the "right" to B's skills, goods, and services? And why doesn't B have a superior right to them, and to sell them as he sees fit and to whom he sees fit? Are you not rendering B the slave of A?

I also don't believe it works to try to distinguish health care from all other resources. Lack of carrots or milk might not kill you, but lack of food will. So will lack of shelter.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"but lack of food will. So will lack of shelter" TRUE, which is why we legislate poverty issues to attempt to protect the neediest of the needy with food stamps and temporary shelter, pay for work programs and the rest. We even have medicaid and schip for children, but when working people are shut out of an industry as important as health care either because of cost or health issues, then the market system is not working. That's the point. It isn't working and it hasn't worked for quite a number of years as more and more people fall by the wayside. I'm not saying that we shouldn't pay for it but we need to figure out a way to make it affordable for people of modest means, especially now that that level of income has been outpaced by the cost of everything else.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 27, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

We haven't put the government in charge of food and shelter, either. Nor have we regulated it by dictating prices or "all comers" etc. We have some forms of welfare for them. Otherwise, they are basically free markets.

We haven't really had much of a free market for health insurance for a long time. We have had a highly regulated and tax-distorted system.

We have been over the arguments about "it's not working." No appetite to repeat them.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 27, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

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