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Posted at 5:15 PM ET, 12/29/2010

Happy Hour Roundup

By Jonathan Bernstein

Today's great 2012 read is David S. Bernstein's review in the Phoenix of the lay of the (GOP) land in New Hampshire, post-2010.  (Disclosure: by my brother, the journalist).  I like his general speculation at the end:

Candidates will also likely find themselves seeking to curry favor with any number of newly emerging conservative voices whose influence has yet to be tested -- associations like Hemingway's Republican Liberty Caucus; advocacy groups like Cornerstone Policy Research, led by Kevin Smith; and Web sites like RedHampshire or GraniteGrok.

Of course, Pindell, Arlinghaus, and others acknowledge another possibility: that this cycle will reveal that none of New Hampshire's Republican influencers matter at all. The truth could be that New Hampshire's Republicans get their news and opinions from distant sources -- primarily Fox News, talk radio, and national Web sites like NewsMax and RedState.

It might not be necessary, this time around, for candidates to bother sucking up to local pols, or traipsing through house parties and farmers' markets in Coos County -- as long as you get favorable treatment from Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Erick Erickson.

Political scientists have been arguing for a few years now that party networks have found ways to control presidential nominations through endorsements, money, and other ways of acting together.   What I think we collectively know less about is the specific battles between various party groups and factions, including the role that local party networks play.  Anyway, it's a good piece if you want to understand what's up in the Granite State.

What else?

1. Know your death panels.

2. Annie Lowrey's excellent tour of municipal debt.

3. The big Boston Globe piece on retired generals and other pieces of the military-industrial complex.

4. Good NYT reminder that Iraq is still going on for the U.S. military.

That's all I have -- what else is out there today?

Jonathan Bernstein writes about American politics, political institutions and democracy at A Plain Blog About Politics, and you can follow him on Twitter here.

By Jonathan Bernstein  | December 29, 2010; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup  
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Next: The Senate's Opening Day

Comments

"...party networks have found ways to control presidential nominations through endorsements, money, and other ways of acting together."

And I had no idea.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

All this time, I thought "the idea" mattered, stuff like freedom and constitutional contructivism or whatever the fưck "conservatives" call their judges...I thought that was what mattered Now I find out money can buy candidates.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The Anti-M*sturbation Crusader is caught with her hand in the....?
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/feds_open_criminal_investigation_into_christine_odonnells_campaign_spending.php

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 29, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca, in reference to a UK study:

"And it may help to explain why conservatives like to plan based on the worst-case scenarios, while liberals tend towards rosier outlooks."

---

Rosier outlooks? Then caothien9 can't possibly be a liberal. You couldn't find anyone with a more sour disposition. He must be some new kind of fool.

Posted by: Brigade | December 29, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Chuck, it is a cookie jar, just a cookie jar. Sometimes a cookie jar is just about ƞookie, sorry cookies. Sheesh what a pervert. Just because she said, smirking at the camera, "I mean, if he can please himself, then why am I in the picture," why do you libs always have to think sex? Poor innocent Bible Spice, she's no witch, she's just a better Republican than Mike Castle.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

From "White Christmas" with apologies to Irving Berlin-

"What can you do with a general
When he stops being a general?
Oh, what can you do with a general who retires?

Who's got a job for a general
When he stops being a general?
They all get a job but a general no one hires."

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 29, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Brigade

Yeah, I had no idea when I linked that study it would be so much fun to discuss. And I did mention it was brought to us by the UK so there was that also. And I think I'll just leave cao to his own devices from now on. LOL

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

shrink-

Shame on me.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 29, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

jonathan, that death panel piece was pretty good. Reminds me of the discussion I've been having with scott a few threads back. As usual, we're all talking past each other and imposing our own definitions to the same words. Whether it's the government or the insurance industry, someone with the "power" is essentially deciding what's covered or not, then it's up to us to buy more or stick with what they give us. I still vote medi-care buy-in for all, not that it matters.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Would that make Briggie an old kind of fool?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 29, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why I piss in the wind, it is like telling Scientology members about L Ron Hubbard's problem with schizophrenia.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010

---

Now we're getting somewhere. Details. Details. As long as you're not violating any doctor/patient confidentiality.

Posted by: Brigade | December 29, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Would that make Briggie an old kind of fool?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 29, 2010 6:23 PM

---

It would if I were a liberal, but fortunately . . .

Posted by: Brigade | December 29, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"I'll just leave cao to his own devices from now on."

As if you had a choice. He is a rugged individual.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Good thread this morning, though gibbering moron that I am, most of the words were to big for me to understand.

They sure looked pretty though, all strung together like that.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

♫♫♫♫♫♫
Free markets unleashed
And tax cuts forever.

Entitlements curtailed,
To our guns we cling.

These are a few of
"Conservative Things!"
♫♫♫♫♫♫

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

"But if Dr. Berwick's methods are troubling, the substance is more than defensible. Certain quarters on the political right are following the media's imagination and blasting Dr. Berwick's decision as the tangible institution of death panels. But the rule-making is not coercive and gives seniors more autonomy, not less."
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203731004576045702803914780.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

{{{Read the whole conservative thing. HEH}}}

Posted by: tao9 | December 29, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"I'll just leave cao to his own devices from now on."

As if you had a choice. He is a rugged individual.

----------------------------------------------------
One thing I knew as soon as he appeared on this blog--things would definitely get interesting.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 29, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Early on cao wrote, "All conservatives should be gassed."

Then Greg welcomed him to PL in the same thread (IIRC).

Yeah, that was interesting.

{{{FREE BILGEY!!}}}

Posted by: tao9 | December 29, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

It seems as though Greg is selective in whom he endorses. Endorsing genocide of those on the right? Welcome aboard. Slave Sargent? Buh bye.

I weep for Bilgey, and the comments not posted. I think that I shall never see a

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

It seems as though Greg is selective in whom he endorses. Endorsing genocide of those on the right? Welcome aboard. Slave Sargent? Buh bye.

I weep for Bilgey, and his comments not posted. I think that I shall never see a comment as lovely as bil-gey's. :-(

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

For those who think you know cao, you don't. He's the best friend you can have when you need a friend. He's loyal and generous and tender. Also, he's fierce and a fighter and give-no-quarter kind of guy. When you argue with him, you are well met as he is very smart and quite well informed. He can be counted on to bring a perspective that is quite different and always provocative.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 29, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I believe that FAILURE TO ACT ACCORDING TO THE INTENT OF CONGRESS should be included as an Impeachable Offense


Clearly, on putting the death panels in effect AFTER Congress pulled those provisions OUT of the bill falls in there


Also, there are reports that Obama is now playing games with global warming regulations after Congress said NO


Obama does not make the laws in this nation, Congress does


Obama needs to be impeached - he is already out of hand in exceeding his authority.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

12bar


Cao is a bitter hostile ignorant person, one who is bitter because he and his family never accepted that he is gay.


He also hates his country, so much so he would rather live in Communist Vietnam


The question is whether he prefers little boys - his relocation to Southeast Asia pretty much settles that issue.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse


Bernstein


I have to give it to you


You have come up with a new one


The clear implication of your last post against punishing democrats retroactively clearly indicates a preference to punish democrats BEFORE they do something


Makes sense to me


Imagine what the NATIONAL DEBT would be if we could have punished the democrats before they spent the money BEFORE they signed the union contracts


Great Idea.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

12bar,
Does repeated calls for mass murder constitute arguments that are "very smart and quite well informed"? 

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

12Bar,

OK, caritas covers a multitude of sins.
(&, G~d willing, fantasies of mass-murder.)

2quibbles: Smart?? Informed???

Posted by: tao9 | December 29, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

TMcW,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity_(album)

Posted by: tao9 | December 29, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity_(album)

Well, to be honest, unless it's in Conservapedia, and verified by three other conservatives (in good standing), repeating, verbatim,the same Conservative Things, I wont read it.

But you already knew that.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

"...He's loyal and generous and tender..."

What tha? He's a schmuck. Sure, I like him too but what did he do, drop dead?

I really do hope to travel there before my kids get to say no. I think of him as Anthony Bourdain, except smarter, not an alcoholic and even better with snark. If I can visit him, surely he'll be hanging upside down over a pit in the workers' paradise bait shop, I mean fish market. I will be lucky.

I also think I could get with cao in a betting pit and engage in an insult contest that would set the place on fire. It is a natural gift. Some people get piano, others, insults.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I figure cao can speak for himself and while I don't agree with the way he approaches the forum here, it's his choice. He does remind me of Bilgey in a lot of ways, hot-tempered, offensive and opinionated, so what. They're also both smart although I do think Bilgey had a better sense of humor, LOL. The only reason I ignore RFR is because his posts are so repetitive and a waste of space, not because he's offensive.

Any time you have an un-monitored forum like this, you never know what or who you're going to get. I'm not the comment police and neither is Kevin even though we both think there just might be a better way to engage other commenters than continuous insults. I could also be wrong, yep I admit it.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

12bar

I dont think you are being honest about Cao


The people on these blogs have been subjected to hundreds of nasty and vile comments from him


He is a horrible person, constantly lashing out.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

"...verified by three other..."

AKA: TalmudicCons
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Four Rebs are arguing whether a practice is allowed per the Torah.

Three decide it is not. One says it is Kosher and allowed.

A Brilliant Light appears, and a Great Voice fills the room and says the one is correct. Then the Light and Voice withdraw.

The three proclaim, "Sorry, Honored Reboni, the council has decided three to two.

Posted by: tao9 | December 29, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Sure

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

Sure appears there is support on both sides of the aisle in favor of seeing Cao/Chris Fox hanging upside-down in a pit somewhere in Vietnam.


A rare moment of agreement


Perhaps we owe him some recognition for uniting us.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

"A lot of big talk behind my sleeping back and no error"
-- Alex deLarge (Malcolm McDowell) "Clockwork Orange" (Kubrick, 1971)

"I yam what I yam"
-- Popeye

Some of these ninnies believed I literally meant conservatives should be gassed? Wow, and I thought I was humor-challenged

But, candidly, anyone still a Republican since it became the party of torture, bigotry, and reality-denial has to seriously have some loose screws.

Look how many of them (all) are fullly committed to supply side market fundamentalism, which has uterly failed in every application and every instance. How many embrace total lies and repeat with hollow eyed conviction immediately after seeing the documentation of their falsehood.

There is something seriously wrong with these people.Cognitively, emotionally, and in character. They are diseased.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Gee, ya know, I was wrong.

That was hysterical.

Posted by: tao9 | December 29, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

"But, candidly, anyone still a Republican since it became the party of torture, bigotry, and reality-denial has to seriously have some loose screws."

You forgot mysogyny and the occasional, non-consensual beastiality.

Of course, I'm stupid, illiterate and a product of public schools. But with a really solid C average. Heck, I don't even know what I don't know. And in all seriousness, I dig Vice President Dick Cheney.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey shrink by all means come out and visit. We have two guest rooms set aside for refugees, er, visitors from the USA. We'll meet you at the airport in HCMC and drive you down here so you don't have to struggle with the language to get around.

As for insults: someone please explain to me why insults to the intelligence in the form of mindlessly recited Conservative Things should not be met with the more straightforward variety. Seriously.

Someone who believe zum Beispiel that homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice" isn;t someone with a legitimate alternate opinion, nor someone charmlingly misinformed, he's a malcious and conscious liar knowingly repeating a falsehood to issue a direct insult, Why should I, directly insulted,turn the other cheek? Don't wait for it.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Look in a mirror sometime, 37th.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 29, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

See?


A normal person would never respond to such comments with more venom


Chris Fox/Cao - You are in your communist paradise now, why don't you leave us alone now???

AND is it true you are there for the little boys??? Is the communist thing just a bonus thing for you?


By the way, you do realize the communists own your house. Your deed means nothing. Try to enforce a deed in a Vietnamese Court.


The friendly atmosphere there could change anytime - once the IMF tries to restructure anything so they can repay their loans.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

"Someone who believe zum Beispiel that homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice" isn;t someone with a legitimate alternate opinion, nor someone charmlingly misinformed, he's a malcious and conscious liar knowingly repeating a falsehood to issue a direct insult, Why should I, directly insulted,turn the other cheek? Don't wait for it."

Maybe you should give us the boundries of the debate, so your not offended. You have the absolute right not to be offended, no?

And, I can't emphasize this enough, no big words. I'm not even sure "zum Beispiel" is Vietnamese. I'm pretty sure it's Inuit. Well, low Inuit anyway.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

"For those who think you know cao, you don't. He's the best friend you can have when you need a friend. He's loyal and generous and tender."

Spare us this nonsense. He came here spewing hatred and venom from the first moment and has never stopped. I need know nothing more about him than I do now from a few weeks of his odious and poisonous comments. He makes those previously holding down the outermost fringe of rage- and hate-fueled craziness seem like pikers.

"Also, he's fierce and a fighter and give-no-quarter kind of guy. When you argue with him, you are well met as he is very smart and quite well informed."

O brother.

"He can be counted on to bring a perspective that is quite different and always provocative."

He peddles the same vapid leftist swill with which a million goateed sophomore apprentices of radicalism have impressed each other for decades. He is different and provocative only in being crude and vile. Well informed? Well misinformed with far-left nostrums and dogmas. That's all.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Cao

Yes, I believe profiling is useful


If an admitted homosexual moves to southeast Asia, one has to wonder if it is for the little boys.

Sickness. And you actually defend all your offensive language and constant harassment which drags down the atmosphere on these blogs


For those who are not aware, Cao has been on Cillizza's blog for years - causing fights and hurling pointless offensive comments

It is all about him lashing out because his family never accepted his homosexuality


12BarBlues has a similar problem

She has spoken about her troubles with her lesbian lover - and the violence with her father when he was in his 80s.

These two have issues

Also, we really should know about the personal lives of these people on a political blog - however it is clear they come on the political blogs of the Washington Post to lash out at straight people because of their gay personal issues


Their families never accepted their homosexuality and they are lashing out on a political blog of a newspaper


This is hardly gay rights.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

"zum Beispiel" is German for "for example"


not sure why he has to use that phrase

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Quarterback


Cao has been doing this for years on Cillizza's blog


AND make no mistake who brought him to Greg Sargent's blog .............. 12BarBlues

We got rid of Cao in August, and we shook him off


He didn't know where to find us until 12Barblues emailed him and urged him to come here


................. and Sargent welcomed his venom and death wishes

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

"zum Beispiel" is German for "for example"

I'm pretty sure that "for example" is beyond my extremely limited comprehension.

Maybe if I commented lovingly about, I don't know, Beria, in a "joking" kind of way, I'd get a laugh from my nuance.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I believe profiling is useful


If an admitted homosexual moves to southeast Asia, one has to wonder if it is for the little boys.


________________________________

I'm sorry Cao, but WHY are you in Vietnam ???


Is

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Cao writes:

There is something seriously wrong with these people.Cognitively, emotionally, and in character. They are diseased.


_____________________________


On the basis of a disagreement over politics and economics, we have to see Cao respond like this.


AND he constantly attacks straight people for their views


The resident lesbian says "He's loyal and generous and tender." What garbage.

And he proves it is garbage with a few comments on this thread


__________________________

Someone call the police in Vietnam - I'm sure pedophilia is illegal there.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 29, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey QB next time I go up (not "down") to Hà Nội maybe I'll lay a wreath at the Phố Hỏa Lò in your name. With a picture of Daffy Senator John snarling about his loss to the "community organizer."

As for contributions here, you rarely venture outside rococo put downs that never quite get around to details. Maybe not so "odious" but you're hardly a font of information, and your positions are 100.00% predictable. Right-wing dogma up and down the line.

Why don't you gush some more about what wonderful use Americans make of their freedm and libbidy. After all, anyone can see how much Americans love life and how magnificently they make use of all those choices. Three hundred varieties of headache remedy in the grocery store,three actual chemicals. What a wonderful life.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

"Why don't you gush some more about what wonderful use Americans make of their freedm and libbidy. After all, anyone can see how much Americans love life and how magnificently they make use of all those choices. Three hundred varieties of headache remedy in the grocery store,three actual chemicals. What a wonderful life."

So, in your opinion, it's perfection or execution? What society ever cleared that hurdle? What should be done with those that don't try, or are unable to measure up? And doesn't freedom also allow for the individual to make no use of it? To get fat and slovenly, to make bad choices, and to think they were brilliant ones? To rationalize? Why isn't that use of freedom allowed?

And mind my drool. I can't seem to control it.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"million goateed sophomore apprentices of radicalism"

==

you forgot the beret and the Che Guevara T-shirt

Funny how you people see everyone else, however variegated in their beliefs and however argumentative with each other, as completely homogenous, never noticing that your side actually is. You guys all belileve the exact same junk.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"Three hundred varieties of headache remedy in the grocery store, three actual chemicals."

Look, you just don't get the free market. What are you some kind of genocidal chekist? The public demanded fake decision making authority. They chose to feel more free that way. The pink box with the smiling lady doctor picture, or the blue graphic with a guy who seems like he just realized his headache went away. Decisions, decisions...

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

"Funny how you people see everyone else, however variegated in their beliefs and however argumentative with each other, as completely homogenous, never noticing that your side actually is. You guys all belileve the exact same junk."

So, real differences only occur among the like-minded of the left? Degree's of Socialism are argued sincerely, passionately and profoundly. While, on the right, silence until some self-actualized lefty comes along. We on the right only ever react to lefty dogma and are incapable of varying degree's of, say, libertarianism? Do you see any philosophical difference between, say, David Frum and the Jonah Goldberg?

Pretty sure I lied through this whole thing too. Read it at your own risk. Let me just apologize now, for all my shortcomings.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 30, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

What the free market zombies call competition I call wasteful duplication of effort. There are three actual headache remedies:aspirin,acetiminophen, and ibupprofen. All anyone actually needs is three. we don't need Excedrin (take one aspirin and one acetiminophen), we don't need extra strength (take three), and we don't need several dozen functionally identical versions of every permutation.

We need a lot more options for honest and informative news reporting then we need a whole aisle of the same stuff in different packages.

If you have the stomach for it, go to a mall, all those hundreds of stores, look how may are selling the exact same denim and the exact same disposable plastic junk and the exact same iPods and digital cameras and game consoles.

Back before Fred Barnes trashed it, The New Republic had an article titled "The Tyranny of Choice," I highly recommend the cognitively functioning readers here track it down. Guy goes to buy a pair of sock. a freakin' pair of fưcking socks, and after 20 minutes and happy patter from a salesman about the various "lifestyle options" and all the happy printed patterns he picks one, only to find upon unpacking it at home that he bought the wrong size.

It was reading this article that got mestarted down the path of thinking about just how good all these choices are for us, and how we as a culture make such lousy and often despicable use of that freedm we yap about so damned much. I was already anti-Second Amendment and that position has hardened a lot since; now, having left a nation of obese, stressed, bored, and despoerately palliating people with a cruelty fettish, I seriously wonder if freedm isn't, just like the Second Amendment, a distraction from what really matters.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Troll, are you people going to fight over your nominee for 2012? Are you going to wait until Rush and Sean and Glen get together and tell you who your leader is going to be?

The Democrats were all told The Clintons were going to move back into the White House.

So, when you all get told who your next President is going to be, are you going to say, "I thought about it and just by chance, I chose the same person everyone else was told to choose."

Who will it be? Are you going to be told, I mean choose Palin or Romney, or are you going to lie and say you are going to back one of the kooks no matter what? It is just two years off. Are you going to act dumb?

Yesterday a Republican said it didn't matter, the Republicans could run Mickey Mouse, Christine O'Donnell, no matter. He figured there was no way Obama could win Florida and some other swing states so it made no difference who runs on the Republican ticket. Do you agree?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

"What the free market zombies call competition I call wasteful duplication of effort. There are three actual headache remedies:aspirin,acetiminophen, and ibupprofen. All anyone actually needs is three. we don't need Excedrin (take one aspirin and one acetiminophen), we don't need extra strength (take three), and we don't need several dozen functionally identical versions of every permutation."

Do we need more than one color?

"We need a lot more options for honest and informative news reporting then we need a whole aisle of the same stuff in different packages."

Seems like the information is readily available, you found it. What should be done with those that refuse to know what you know?

"If you have the stomach for it, go to a mall, all those hundreds of stores, look how may are selling the exact same denim and the exact same disposable plastic junk and the exact same iPods and digital cameras and game consoles."

If you have the stomach for it, go out into the forest. All you see are hundreds of trees, look how many have the exact same species of birds and the exact same type of squirrel and the exact same owls and butterfly's and moss. Tsk tsk.

"Back before Fred Barnes trashed it, The New Republic had an article titled "The Tyranny of Choice," I highly recommend the cognitively functioning readers here track it down. Guy goes to buy a pair of sock. a freakin' pair of fưcking socks, and after 20 minutes and happy patter from a salesman about the various "lifestyle options" and all the happy printed patterns he picks one, only to find upon unpacking it at home that he bought the wrong size."

I went to the library the other day and all the librarian wanted to talk about was all the different kind of books they had. I mean, they all contain, literally, the same words! So I took one off the shelf and opened it when I got home. It was a book filled with numbers.

"It was reading this article that got mestarted down the path of thinking about just how good all these choices are for us, and how we as a culture make such lousy and often despicable use of that freedm we yap about so damned much. I was already anti-Second Amendment and that position has hardened a lot since; now, having left a nation of obese, stressed, bored, and despoerately palliating people with a cruelty fettish, I seriously wonder if freedm isn't, just like the Second Amendment, a distraction from what really matters."

Word up. Look at the North Koreans. Now there is a society maxing out their efficiencies. No messy decisions. Crystal clear hierarchy. It's their purpose, their Jejune, that should be not only admired, but emulated. Agreed? And no ugly obesity there. They know how to take care of themselves. It's the aesthetic that's even more important, if you ask me.


Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 30, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Shrink,

I'm voting for either The 'Cuda or Vice President Dick Cheney. Not a Romney fan, I do not see a difference betwixt him and Barry, nor do you, I'm guessing. Huckabee's a complete joke, and again, would be literally a clone O'Barry. I like Pence's hair, it's the most serious of the bunch, but I think he's too unknown.

And I agree, the Repbulican's once again demonstrated they're slavish devotion too voting for whom they're ordered to. Ask Bennet, Castle, and Christie. I know Hatch and Lugar are resting comfortably tonight.

That being said, I think that if the unemployment rate is still above 8.5% come November 2012, ABB will win.

And thanks for asking! I really enjoy your sincerity in wanting to know my opinion. I'm more than a little touched. Really.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 30, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

You mean the David Frum who was booted out of the AEI for not toeng the line on one of the big lies that every Conservative Person is required to accept?

Great point, there.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 3:04 AM | Report abuse

We know exactly how it'll play out, shrink. Every last one of the independently thinking Conservative People will independently arrive at the exact same conclusion at the exact same moment, each on his own, of course, and until the Purple A§§ed Babboon who will be the 2012 nominee is selected, the Conservative People will independently arrive at the exact same indecision all the while seeing the exact same virtues in the Seven Dwarves.

Once the Purple A§§ed Babboon is selected the Consevative People will claim that the PAB was their choice all along and allude to but never link to previous posts showing that they had each and every last one indepenently natcherly natcherly arrived at the exact same choice.

Just as their intellectual independence brought them to the same conclusion on global warming, on the danger to "cohesion" from gays in the military, and, the envelope please, to the identical defiance of logica and arithmetic that says cutting taxes increases revenue.

Yeah, the independently thinking conservatives. Just like ants, and we know who the queen is.

And of course once the Purple A§§ed Babboon is official, they will all have the same reservations about the runners-up.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 3:32 AM | Report abuse

I hope it's Romney. That would finish off the old Reagan coalition like a fire axe in a watermelon. The baggers and the crazies wouldn't vote for him because he's not crazy enough, though he would bend over backward so far to establish his crazy bona-fides that he'd split his head open like a fire axe in a .. oh, I used that already ... in a uh jackfruit.

The evangelicals would wave their arms in the air and gibber in tongues and handle rattlesnakes and roll in aisles but they wouldn't vote for him either because he's a, well, Magic Undies guy and kneels / rotates in a church with a spire, not a a steeple.

The granite-eyed "rock rib" conservatives with the semi trailers of ammo in preparation for the great liberal takeover wouldn't vote for him because he's weak on hate.

The fiscal conservatives who say that arithmetic is the devil's work wouldn't vote for him because he balanced budgets and established a working social safety net.

Who would he get? The vanishing few GOP moderates who'd be fruitless pointing out to regiments of deaf ears on crazy heads that Romney has the experience and hey wouldja GET a LOAD of that SUIT? Straight offa the cover of Business Week!

He'd take Utah. The GOP infighting would leave piles of decapitated heads.

I'd buy stock in Redenbacher.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 5:32 AM | Report abuse

It was reading this article that got mestarted down the path of thinking about just how good all these choices are for us, and how we as a culture make such lousy and often despicable use of that freedm we yap about so damned much. I was already anti-Second Amendment and that position has hardened a lot since; now, having left a nation of obese, stressed, bored, and despoerately palliating people with a cruelty fettish, I seriously wonder if freedm isn't, just like the Second Amendment, a distraction from what really matters.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 12:21 AM

-------

I, for one, am happy that cao's so happy now. If he keeps putting on this happy face, we'll all be wanting to move to Vietnam before long. I wonder if he's yet been issued a regulation cap with a little red star on the front. I imagine a new wardrobe was needed. Vietnam is too hot and humid for the bib overalls. They were custom made, too---I don't think Paydays come with the trap door in the back. And caothien9's a good handle. Perhaps not as apt as Pencil, Noodle or Needle, but appropriate nonetheless.

Odd that Republicans are having a hard time choosing a candidate when they all think exactly alike. Odd, too, that liberals think it odd that, once Republicans have selected a candidate, a good number of them might actually support him/her. Unlike the liberals who are so upset over the wars and Gitmo and the Bush tax cuts and unemployment and poor people and blah, blah, blah that many of them will simply refuse to vote for Obama and, since they hate Republicans so much, will doubtless vote for one of the independent candidates or primary challengers liberals will send forth just to prove they don't all think alike. Or maybe they'll just be so disgusted they'll move to ...

Posted by: Brigade | December 30, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Just looking through the news this morning, I came on this headline in the WP...

"Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour to free sisters sentenced to life in prison for robbery"

...and I thought, "I bet they are black".

They are.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 30, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Katsav, former president of Israel, has been convicted of rape...

http://www.haaretz.com/

Posted by: bernielatham | December 30, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

lms:

"As usual, we're all talking past each other and imposing our own definitions to the same words."

This happens quite a bit, which is precisely why I spend a lot of time discussing the definitions of words being used. When I do, I am inevitably accused of arguing semantics. Go figure.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

TMcW,

Rerhaps the lefties don't understand, i.e. taking a long look at several candidates, because they have political AHDD.

E.g.: A large part of the scope of hope&change was outrage and high rhetoric over Gitmo and (the "immorality" of) the Iraq war.

Today: Gitmo still, 815 dead in Afghan theater...

creekitts chirp chirp chirrup

Posted by: tao9 | December 30, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"...and I thought, "I bet they are black"."

I'm not sure exactly why you think this is interesting or insightful thought. Given that 68% of the Mississippi prison population is black, that's a bet that pretty much any fool would make.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Cute with the sneer quote on the immorality of the Iraq war, taos, and if we didn't already know where you're coming from.

Would like to see you justify the morality of invading a harmless and isolated nation, handing its leader over to a lynch mob, and creating a major terrorist training ground and ally of Iran.

Don't need to ask you, though, since being a Conservative Person your views are available anywhere on the web where Conservative Things are spoken.

Yeah things are SO much better there now, all those trillions of dollars and dead / maimed / braindead soldiers were worth it, we sure showed Saddam who's boss, YESsirREE.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure exactly why you think this is interesting or insightful thought. Given that 68% of the Mississippi prison population is black, that's a bet that pretty much any fool would make.

==

I'll try to use little words, hope it helps.

Life in prison for robbery.

Think about it a sec. Not murder, not kidnapping and rape, robbery. Like sticking up some goofus in a liquor store for some folding money. Life in prison.

Three girls.

Take your time.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Annoying details...

"Last week, FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe made this claim in on op-ed published on FoxNews.com. He said that repealing the health care law “is achievable because the American people clearly want and expect repeal.” Earlier this week, CNN/Opinion Research released a new poll that, at first glance, seemed to support Kibbe’s thesis. The poll found that Americans opposed the new law 50 to 43 percent (with 7 percent undecided). Yet as U.S. News & World Report’s Robert Schlesinger finds, the details of the poll results show that most Americans either support the law or oppose it because it is “not liberal enough“:

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/12/30/most-americans-law-progressive/

Posted by: bernielatham | December 30, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

caothien9, at least you can see the basis for clemency in this case (regardless of race), but you are ignoring the fact that bernielatham was trying to make this into a racial issue given the chance that Barbour is running for President. Given Huckabee's experience with these things, it's even more admirable that Barbour disregarded the political risk.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Tomasky quotes Neal Gabler of The American Prospect...

"This not-too-long (but highly interesting) essay compares Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan and argues that what Reagan understood that Obama does not is that the presidency is not in fact about substantive accomplishments:

***********

Obama still thinks that the way to achieve his goals is to come up with the right policy and to build political support for it with logical argument. He doesn't understand the extent to which one of the primary functions of the presidency is emotive: to provide a sense of psychological comfort to the nation that, once accomplished, might well lead to legislative achievements -- may, in fact, be the best route to those achievements -- but can also be an end in itself. People want a president who makes them feel good.

Every president, whether he says so explicitly or not, approaches the presidency with a metaphor in mind. Theodore Roosevelt thought of his as a "bully pulpit" from which to educate the public. Franklin D. Roosevelt seemed to think of his as a national living room from which he could bolster American spirits in dark times. John F. Kennedy seemed to think of his as a salon. George W. Bush acted as if his were a testosterone-drenched fraternity.

Each of these metaphors has its benefits -- -and its problems -- but it was left to Reagan to find a metaphor that reshaped the entire institution of the presidency to the point where his successors could ignore his conception at their peril. For him, the presidency was no bully pulpit, living room, salon, or fraternity. Nor was it the college lectern that Obama seems to think it is from which he can calmly and rationally explain his policies. It was a darkened theater in which Reagan could project a movie about the country's desires and dreams -- an American fantasy."

more at link along with internal link to Gabler

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/dec/28/usa-barack-obama-christmas-colin-firth-geoffrey-rush

I hope folks read both.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 30, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Brigade, it seems as if caothien9 is ignoring you again.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

No. claw, it isn't admirable. You know as well as I that were Good Ol' Boy Barbour not in the deep stuff from his nonchalance about racial violence in his state that this act never would have crossed his mind.

Had he done this long ago and under not so plainly obvious pressure it would be one thing but the timing leaves no doubt that it 's nothing more than a cynical act of political calculation on the part of a guy who cares no more about black people than Sarah Palin cares about endangered species.

But the fact that this fat fossil has presidential aspirations is worth a cynical snicker.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Judith Miller signs on with Newsmax...

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/archive/2010/12/29/judith-miller-joins-newsmax.aspx

Somehow, it is all less compelling than a Shakespearean tragedy.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 30, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Scott

"When I do, I am inevitably accused of arguing semantics. Go figure."

Because it's so boring. :)

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

tao9, why is it now that a Democrat is in the White House, the mainstream media has stopped frontpage coverage of every KIA? All of a sudden, there's more important news. I guess that's just a big coincidence.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

caothien9, at least Sarah Palin is not fat.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Brigade, it seems as if caothien9 is ignoring you again.

==

What do you mean, "again?" He was right behind 37th CKA RainForest. I saw enough of Brigade's juvenile taunts over on the The Fix and all I need to know about him since is that he has a major weed up his a§§ about me living in Việt Nam. Don't need to keep up with the ugliness of his depraved imagination. Putting aside ideological rancor, heartfelt thanks to Kevin for taking the willpower out of the troll problem.

Repressive Communist Police State Department: looks like the government decided to crack down harder on FaceBook. Heretofore a public DNS was enough to get around the block (and oddly enough Nokia advertises FB access on signs all over the country, go figure). But y'cain't keep a good man down, took about an hour and a proxy subscription to get back on. Pity I didn't leave a machine running in my house in USA to RDP through.

Dunno why they bother even with such a half-hearted block. Something like a quarter of VN is on FaceBook.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

, why is it now that a Democrat is in the White House, the mainstream media has stopped frontpage coverage of every KIA?

==

Fatigue.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

"Hey QB next time I go up (not "down") to Hà Nội maybe I'll lay a wreath at the Phố Hỏa Lò in your name. With a picture of Daffy Senator John snarling about his loss to the "community organizer.""

Thanks for the reminder of your distinction of being the only commenter to impugn John McCain while extolling your communist masters in Vietnam. This isn't your country any more. You aren't welcome.

"As for contributions here, you rarely venture outside rococo put downs that never quite get around to details."

Gee whiz, how would you know, since you have me blocked? I've commented here for a long time and have a record that proves you full of 'it.'

"Maybe not so "odious" but you're hardly a font of information, and your positions are 100.00% predictable."

See above. My positions could probably be reliably anticipated for the most part by someone who actually had a grasp of my worldview, since I try to be coherent and consistent. But you, I assure you, have no such grasp. You are just another presumptuous, uninformed, shallow-thinking leftist, albeit one of the worst I've encountered. You have an epistemic occlusion directly related to your sense of your own brilliance and knowledge, and every bit as profound.

"Three hundred varieties of headache remedy in the grocery store,three actual chemicals. What a wonderful life."

I happen to agree that there are some negative aspects of modern life including choice fatigue and information overload. But unlike you I see the positives as well (we have 100 different sugary cereals, but we also have enless varieties of food, ethnic grocery stores, etc.) and am not so blinded by hatred and resentment that I imagine a cage is preferable.

And you happend not to know what you are talking about re headache medications. Oh, yes, lots of companies are just recombining the same two or three ingredients, but there are many other compounds as well (like naproxen and dihydrocodeine), and variations in dosage form and combination are quite beneficial and convenient to many people.

Of course, the same Western societies you see as sick and dysfunctional for producing too many headache medicines discover and develop virtually all the drugs that improve lives around the world. It's a good thing we don't rely on your worker's paradise for that. I hope you have the courage of your convictions and don't use any medicines developed or produced in the U.S.

TMW said:

"Word up. Look at the North Koreans. Now there is a society maxing out their efficiencies. No messy decisions. Crystal clear hierarchy. It's their purpose, their Jejune, that should be not only admired, but emulated. Agreed? And no ugly obesity there. They know how to take care of themselves. It's the aesthetic that's even more important, if you ask me."

Owned. Couldn't hope to say it better.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Cao

Why are you in southeast Asia ???

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 30, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"Think about it a sec."

I agree, on the face of it, that the sentence seems extremely excessive. In Mississippi life sentences are handed out by juries, and while I have searched for any justification given by the jury at the time, I can't find a thing. I also tried to find out the racial makeup of the jury that handed out the sentence...also nothing to be found. Which, to me, suggests it was not all white...if it was, all of the people writing about the injustice of it would be all over that angle, pace Bernie. I do know, however, that the racial makeup of Scott County, where they were tried, is almost 40% black, so that also makes it unlikely that the jury was all white. But I don't know. Do you? Don't you think you (or Bernie) should know these things before insinuating racist motives?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"I, for one, am happy that cao's so happy now. If he keeps putting on this happy face, we'll all be wanting to move to Vietnam before long. I wonder if he's yet been issued a regulation cap with a little red star on the front. I imagine a new wardrobe was needed. Vietnam is too hot and humid for the bib overalls. They were custom made, too---I don't think Paydays come with the trap door in the back. And caothien9's a good handle. Perhaps not as apt as Pencil, Noodle or Needle, but appropriate nonetheless.

Odd that Republicans are having a hard time choosing a candidate when they all think exactly alike. Odd, too, that liberals think it odd that, once Republicans have selected a candidate, a good number of them might actually support him/her. Unlike the liberals who are so upset over the wars and Gitmo and the Bush tax cuts and unemployment and poor people and blah, blah, blah that many of them will simply refuse to vote for Obama and, since they hate Republicans so much, will doubtless vote for one of the independent candidates or primary challengers liberals will send forth just to prove they don't all think alike. Or maybe they'll just be so disgusted they'll move to ..."

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

caothien9, at least Sarah Palin is not fat.

==

and now long after she can no longer cover the crepe and the creep do you think that adolescent conservatives are going to continue idolizing her?

Palin's like a recent supernova. The majority has been repelled and excited into radiant radiocative interest with an exponential decay curve, while the few who remain have collapsed into a superdense core with a supremely dangerous vicinity. The black hole phase may follow, but the vast outer shell she enjoyed for a few weeks before she opened her mouth is never coming back.

And her supporters, christ are they dense.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

@cao - yes, it's the timing. He's been trying to do damage control since he screwed up so badly on the race issue (not to mention on the "I really haven't learned much in my lifetime about the situation of blacks in America, isolated by culture, wealth and priviledge as I am" issue) so a little symbolic act like this might help him out. We don't know that's the motivation but he has no record of integrity to make doubts about that motivation unseemly. He's another one of the establishment figures (both parties have them) who have made multi-millions for themselves through operating as parasites on government.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 30, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

qb:

"My positions could probably be reliably anticipated for the most part by someone who actually had a grasp of my worldview, since I try to be coherent and consistent."

I remain puzzled by the denigration in some quarters of the predictability of certain political positions. Given a coherent set of premises and good logic, such positions ought to be predictable. It is generally the embrace of contradictory premises or the application of poor logical thinking that makes the adoption of certain positions unpredictable or surprising.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"Now long"?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

This:

"We need a lot more options for honest and informative news reporting then we need a whole aisle of the same stuff in different packages."

And, later, this:

"Repressive Communist Police State Department: looks like the government decided to crack down harder on FaceBook. Heretofore a public DNS was enough to get around the block (and oddly enough Nokia advertises FB access on signs all over the country, go figure). But y'cain't keep a good man down, took about an hour and a proxy subscription to get back on. Pity I didn't leave a machine running in my house in USA to RDP through."

Can a person be more confused than this?

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

bernielatham, Obama's personal net worth is at least $10 million:

http://www.mangoboss.com/ObamaNetWorth-2010Updates.html

How much are you claiming that Barbour has made?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Scott
I might be arguing semantics here (giggle), but I think you're missing the point of the "predictability" comment. I think the point is that it's unlikely for so many people to share the same set of beliefs that leads to the uniformity in the comments and votes. It's not that individuals are so predictable, it's that the group is so predictiable and given the size of the group one would expect less conformity.

I disagree with the premise (and therefore the conclusion) that there is uniformity and think cao is working backwards here by starting with similar votes and working back towards beliefs. There are any number of beliefs that one could hold in deciding to support or oppose for example abortion.

I will say that there seems to be a lot of uniformity among conservative comments at this blog. While liberal posters here have argued about Obama's various compromises, I don't recall similar internal strife among conservative posters. That said, it's a very small sample size and I'm likely just not remembering the internal debates among conservatives here because I find the debates among the liberals more interesting and therefore, they stick out in my mind.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 30, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

bernielatham, Obama's personal net worth is at least $10 million:

http://www.mangoboss.com/ObamaNetWorth-2010Updates.html

How much are you claiming that Barbour has made?

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

Did you read the part of Bernie's comment that said Barbour made his money as a government parasite (albeit an unsubstantiated claim)? He wasn't railing against all accumulation of wealth. Obama made his money selling several books.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 30, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

It's not just the predictability, Scott, it's the absolute homogeneity and the unmitakable mindlessness it reflects. People who think *ideologically sanctioned and approved thoughts not their own*. It's groupthink, and it's especially ironic coming from the people who accuse liberals of the exact same thing, we who are always disagreeing with each other, and even right here.

You have any idea how .. *Soviet* ... conservatives appear to us?

And it's not like they're carefully reasoned opinions, or logically consistent ones, or even self-interest-based ones.

Or even survival positive ones.

Merely homogenous. Like social insects.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

ashotinthedark, just like the mainstream media all decided independently to stop frontpage coverage of KIA without regard to party affiliation of the current Commander in Chief? For what it's worth, I have disagreed with my fellow conservatives here (even though I disagree with the liberals much more).

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Being a GOVERNMENT-funded student, community organizer, and then selling lots of books running for President sure sounds like a government parasite to me. At least Todd and Sarah Palin run their own private business too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Wow, QB, you should find a sixth grader to help you parse.

I never said I was living in paradise, you're the one who puts those words in my mouth. I knew exactly what I was getting into when I made the move and I agonized for years over whether I was doing the right thing. The rise of the tea party and the Emperor's New Clothes phenomenon of Sarah Palin made it an easy decision, one I've had no occasion to regret.

Decisions decisions .. great food, nice people, luxury and lesure, but .. 45 minutes to circumvent a DNS block or ..

.. continuing to work in a career that's ossified into procedure and preoccupation with uniformity, living among people I've come to largely despise, sharing the country with despicable right-wing gun nuts and shoe-sh|t libertarians, my taxes going to support Israeli settlers and billionaires?

I've made my choice and I couldn't be happier with it. I'll enjoy my luxurious life and you enjoy your precious free market and the descent to shabbiness, misery, and squalor that it brings.

TTFN

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Claw- "For what it's worth, I have disagreed with my fellow conservatives here (even though I disagree with the liberals much more)."

Like I said, I'm sure I have a selection bias involved in my recollection of internal strife among conservatives. And regardless, people often arrive at the same conclusion for different reasons.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 30, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

It's ironic all of you are discussing differing opinions among liberals vs. conservatives. I've been contemplating a few New Year's resolutions and have come up with three so far. I've decided to stick around here for awhile so that I can continue to bring you the not always flattering news from the progressive echo chamber (professional left if you will) re the Administration (see below), work with my women's group to expand our food banking efforts for seniors, and find a legitimate and well organized war protest group. As a heads up rather than a resolution, I will also continue to track whatever information I can find on the efforts to dismantle or de-fund Social Security whether it's generated by D's or R's. Generally, I'll still be annoying many of you. LOL

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

"The most damning comment on this corrupt syndrome was offered by former Citigroup co-chief executive John Reed, who had worked with Rubin to get Glass-Steagall reversed and now is a sharp critic of the result. “We continue to listen to the same people whose errors in judgment were central to the problem,” Reed told Bloomberg News. “I’m astounded because we basically dropped the world’s biggest economy because of an error in bank management.” Reed estimated that the financial deregulation proposals contained in the Dodd-Frank bill and other reforms of the Obama administration represent only 25 percent of the change needed.

The failure to provide serious regulation of the financial industry to avoid future downturns is documented in devastating detail in that Dec. 28 Bloomberg report, written by Christine Harper: “The U.S. government, promising to make the system safer, buckled under many of the financial industry’s protests. Lawmakers spurned changes that would wall off deposit-taking banks from riskier trading. They declined to limit the size of lenders or ban any form of derivatives.”

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/in_money-changers_we_trust_20101228/

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Scott,

It's an interesting problem, this predictability thing. What the accusation means, I think, is that accused hasn't arrived at any positions through independent thought or examination of ideas.

I've frequently had the experience of liberals' claiming they "know" my posiiton on X when it's obvious they don't. I usually just chuckle to myself about that. It's typically the case that they are just repeating caricatures they've read or heard from other lefties, without ever having studied the ideas they are condemning.

When the left makes this charge, it seems to be based on their belief that conservative positions don't derive from any coherent or authentic philosophy. But it's simply the case that they are unfamiliar with it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

ashot:

"I don't recall similar internal strife among conservative posters."

Two points on this: First, it is not at all surprising to me that, during a period in which liberal policies are being implemented (and discussed on a liberal blog), conservatives will seem as one in opposition to the policies while liberals will have internal debates about the relative merits of the specifics of the policies.

Second, conservatives here do disagree about things. Not too long ago I had a discussion with Kevin about progressive taxation in which we had a very fundamental disagreement. (I was right. ;-)) Last year I had a philosophical discussion with qb about moral obligation in which we disagreed, albeit pleasantly.

But the fact is that liberals come here, to a liberal blog, in order to discuss liberal things with other liberals (witness all of the liberals here who proudly use Troll Hunter to hide their sensitive eyes from inconvenient conservative thought), while conservatives come here to discuss liberal things with liberals. Not exactly a shocker, in such a situation, that conservatives will find less to disagree about amongst themselves than liberals.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

ashotinthedark, I never said that net worth was the end all, but it's a good starting place. Barbour could have a NEGATIVE net worth even if he had embezzled $100 million.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 30, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"Generally, I'll still be annoying many of you. LOL"

Glad to hear it! Heaven knows, despite your being misguided and wrong, if it were only the calthiens of the world, this place would be desolate indeed.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Republicans disagree. Some voted for Mike Castle.

"You have to look at this whole thug-politic tactic for what it is," she said Thursday...After losing two treasurers in 2009, O'Donnell named herself campaign treasurer until this past summer. Another short-term treasurer took over in August and resigned less than two months later, at which point campaign manager Matt Moran added the treasurer's role to his responsibilities...O'Donnell, who announced just after Election Day that she had signed a book deal, hasn't held a full-time job in years and has struggled to explain how she makes a living."
NYT

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, I have disagreed with my fellow conservatives here

==

I've never seen any of you guys have any serious disagreement on anything.

The sole such statement that even came close was Kevin admitting that the tax code could be a little more progressive, and not even, since he went into detail, as progressive as it was under Reagan.

Not a one of you will take a toe from the line of required lies. Just look what happened to David Frum, and for admitting so plain and innocuous a truth.

You guys are like a hive-mind. Purely Orwellian, and as self-policing in your orthodoxy as teenagers at a bible camp.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Being a GOVERNMENT-funded student, community organizer, and then selling lots of books running for President sure sounds like a government parasite to me. At least Todd and Sarah Palin run their own private business too.
---------------------------------

Really? What exactly is a "government funded student"?
So any politician who subsequently or simultaneously makes money is a government parasite in your book?

I don't know much about their private business, but I'm guessing most of the Palin income is derived from the fame she gained as a VP nominee. I don't see how she the way she has made her money is all that differen than how Obama did it.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 30, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Scott- "But the fact is that liberals come here, to a liberal blog, in order to discuss liberal things with other liberals (witness all of the liberals here who proudly use Troll Hunter to hide their sensitive eyes from inconvenient conservative thought), while conservatives come here to discuss liberal things with liberals. Not exactly a shocker, in such a situation, that conservatives will find less to disagree about amongst themselves than liberals."

Which is why I parsed my language so much when making that comment.

QB- "I've frequently had the experience of liberals' claiming they "know" my posiiton on X when it's obvious they don't. I usually just chuckle to myself about that. It's typically the case that they are just repeating caricatures they've read or heard from other lefties, without ever having studied the ideas they are condemning."

Yet, here you claim to "know" that the liberals never studied the ideas they are condemning. Awesome.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 30, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"It's not just the predictability, Scott, it's the absolute homogeneity and the unmitakable mindlessness it reflects."

If you think that the conservatives here...MvWing, Kevin, Tao, sbj, qb, Brigade, claw...are "mindlessly homogeneous", you are not paying attention. One might even be forgiven for concluding that you are making a mindless judgment.

"I've made my choice and I couldn't be happier with it."

I am happy with your chioce as well. Although I wonder, if you are really that happy with it, why you would want to come here every day to discusss US politics. Seems a very odd thing for one who claims to be happy to be done with the US.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Conservative commenters here actually disagree a fair amount. The disagreements just aren't as routinely aired as lib-con fights.

Scott and I have disagreed over issues at a very basic level. Not as often as we agree, of course, but we have. I am probably less classically libertarian than Scott.

I've disagreed a lot with Kevin. And I disagree with him a lot more now that he is a TURNCOAT : ) on taxes.

It's just a tiny microcosm. In fact, liberals have no idea how ridiculous charges of ideological conformity seem to conservatives like me who've been involved in ideas for a long time. What is the flagship conservative publication of American conservatism of the past 50 years? NR. If you want to learn something about ideological variation and diversity among conservatives, start looking into the history of NR and its writers and editors over time. There were years and decades spent trying to harmonize contrasting and even warring strands of rightward thought. It still goes on.

What I always find most ironic about this particular charge and debate is that it is the conservatives who comment here who are, by definition, reading a liberal blog and taking on liberal ideas on your own turf. That's nothing new for me or Scott or others here. I read ideas and information from all sides. I always have. I have no interest in spending all my time talking to people who mostly have the same views I do.

It is a form of epistemic closure on the part of liberals -- an unwillingness to engage ideas they don't like. There is a desire to believe that all conservatives are morons programmed by Rush or Glenn. Which is so utterly preposterous. I was an educated and grounded conservative long before anyone heard of them. In fact, I can remember my father asking me if I had heard of this new radio guy, Rush Limbaugh, and it was a long time before I ever heard him on the radio. I'd read Kirk and Burke and Hayek and Friedman long before that. I really don't like listening to Glenn and can only take Rush in limited doses. I just laugh when I see people like DDAWD or caothien repeat their robotic talking points that I'm a Glennbot.

It's pathetic, really.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

When the left makes this charge, it seems to be based on their belief that conservative positions don't derive from any coherent or authentic philosophy.

==

A belief system predicated on the consensual acceptance of falsehoods cannot be regarded as a "coherent or authentic philosophy."

You guys demand of each other the open acceptance of things that aren't true.

WMDs. Death Panels. Increased revenue from lower taxes. Denial of science. You don't have a philosophy, you have a shared hallucination, like something out of William Gibson or Philip K. Dick.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow QB you wasted your adult life studying from the same catechism as Rush and that proves you aren't a Rushbot.

Wow. I mean, wow.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"Yet, here you claim to "know" that the liberals never studied the ideas they are condemning. Awesome."

Yes, I do very often know that people like DDAWD and Ethan and wbgonne and caothien can't possibly have studied conservative thought in any depth at all, because they so grossly mischaracterize it and regularly miss their predictions. Or I suppose they could just be consistently intellectually dishonest. It's virtually always enough for liberals here to dismiss whatever conservative position as racist or self-interested. That's the typical depth of liberal insight.

Concrete example in the realm of economics: I've never once seen a liberal on PL make an argument about "supply-side economics" that was not based on an uninformed caricature. Now, I'm no economist (although I did minor), but in contrast I have a pretty good working knowledge of Keynesian theory and practice, though I find it wanting.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I am happy with your chioce as well. Although I wonder, if you are really that happy with it, why you would want to come here every day to discusss US politics. Seems a very odd thing for one who claims to be happy to be done with the US.

==

I'm also an atheist who reads about early Christianity and a gay man who never goes to gay public territories.

Life's complicated sometimes. Maybe not for you guys, since you get your positions pre-formed while we all develop our own from scratch.

But cheer up. The difference in time zones means I'm only here for the Morning Plum and Happy Hour threads. You have all the others to engage in your consensual falsehood-fest.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I want to know how,, as Democrats gawked in ecstatic disbelief, Republicans decided to ditch Mike Castle and give hare brained Christine O'Donnell $7.3million. You could have used that money for a good cause you know.

What is wrong with you people? How did that happen?

You better figure it out, because you have to pick a Presidential candidate pretty soon.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"A belief system predicated on the consensual acceptance of falsehoods..."

Happily, I have no such belief system.

"You guys demand of each other the open acceptance of things that aren't true...WMDs. Death Panels. Increased revenue from lower taxes. Denial of science. "

I don't demand acceptance of these things (whatever they actually mean) from anyone. You would find it impossible to find any such demand in any of my posts here, should you care to actually look and think about them. Your view of your ideological opponents is caricatured and unthinking.

No wonder Bernie thought you were a good addition to the board!

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Concrete example in the realm of economics: I've never once seen a liberal on PL make an argument about "supply-side economics" that was not based on an uninformed caricature.

==

yeah, a caricature like "it doesn't work" and "the arithmetic is wrong."

You should have minored in something more useful, like phrenology.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Wow QB you wasted your adult life studying from the same catechism as Rush and that proves you aren't a Rushbot.

Wow. I mean, wow.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

____________________

Brilliant logic. One might think you are actually trying to embarass yourself at this point.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

No Scott you don't need to "demand" it aloud; acceptance of those lies and others are inviolable prerequisites of membership in the conservative club.

And I don't need to caricature you guys, you embody caricature, you have the most rigid belief system since the bleedin' Kremlin.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

What is wrong with you people? How did that happen?

You better figure it out, because you have to pick a Presidential candidate pretty soon.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

_________________

We'll get right on that at our next meeting. Thanks for the tip.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"Maybe not for you guys, since you get your positions pre-formed..."

I do? Which of my positions was "pre-formed", and how is it that you know?

"...while we all develop our own from scratch."

Really? All of you? Can you give me an example of a position you hold that is entirely original?


Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm no economist, but I have a working knowledge of "free" market theory and pay-to-play practice (juice, the TP's ultra right wing "values" candidate Sharron Angle called it) and I find it ironic.

What would the lame duck have been if Sharron Angle hadn't been run against Harry Reid? So, how did that happen? You better figure it out Republicans. You pick a kook to run against Obama, we'll be laughing at you until 2016.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"I'm also an atheist who reads about early Christianity and a gay man who never goes to gay public territories.

Life's complicated sometimes. Maybe not for you guys, since you get your positions pre-formed while we all develop our own from scratch."

Like we've never heard your theories on homosexuality and the Bible before. As if they aren't just the same old nostrums of the homosexual-religious complex. Except that you say you don't believe any of it anyway. Talk about wasting your life.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

QB- Concrete example in the realm of economics: I've never once seen a liberal on PL make an argument about "supply-side economics" that was not based on an uninformed caricature.

I'm not sure a bald assertion like the above is a concrete example. Not to mention that there appears to be around a dozen regular liberal posters here so to draw some broad conclusion regarding all liberals based on your experience at PL seems rather flawed.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 30, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"No Scott you don't need to "demand" it aloud; acceptance of those lies and others are inviolable prerequisites of membership in the conservative club."

Being conservative demands acceptance of lies, and the evidence for this is that they wouldn't be conservatives otherwise? Methinks you need to familiarize yourself with logic and reason.

"And I don't need to caricature you guys..."

And yet you do. Funny, that.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Like we've never heard your theories on homosexuality and the Bible before. As if they aren't just the same old nostrums of the homosexual-religious complex.

=

(*chortle*)

the what?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

David Sirota does a pretty scathing take down of Matt Bai and a recent article in the NY Times which really illustrates the disconnect between those working in DC and the media that panders to them, and the rest of us.

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

"Finally, and perhaps the best example of all, Bai tells us that it is only a "destructive idea" -- not reality -- to believe "that there is Washington and there is the rest of us." Yes, we're expected to believe that's all just a horrible misperception by the Great Unwashed outside the Beltway. This, at a time when more citizens than ever correctly feel D.C. has become totally disconnected from America; at a time when census data shows that the nation's capital has become a virtual gated community for the super-rich; at a time when election after election after election has become a backlash to the odious culture of D.C.; at a time when policies that are wildly popular among Americans (the public option) have no chance of passing Congress, but policies that are wildly popular with D.C. lobbyists (big corporate tax cuts) are all but guaranteed to pass.

In a sense we should thank Matt Bai for this article, because it leaves nothing to the imagination. This is the attitude of the political class in D.C. -- and that class includes insider journalists like Bai who first and foremost believe it is their job to defend, rather than question, the Beltway's political elites. Why such loyalty from the journalists who are supposed to be employed to challenge rather than serve power? Because today's "journalists" like Bai see no difference between themselves and those they serve. Indeed, when they hear the term "political elites" -- they now see themselves in the mirror."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/the-ny-times-versailles-m_b_802278.html?ir=Politics

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey look, a balanced and better developed explication of the argument I've been making: Republicans, you may or may not all think alike, but you have no leaders.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/us/politics/30bai.html?hp

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Well c9, I read all the right boys (for effing college credit, DOH!) in the '70's:

Marcuse, Genovese, Hegel, Nietzche, Freud, Lacan, Sartre, Foucault (and ole Karl, we were on a 1st-name basis), et.al., ad nauseum.

Absolutely brilliant (if at times coma-inducing) in their polemics, funereal rhetoric and grey-cosmic tautologies.

Then I got out of the grips of my very fine, eastern private university, and became a human being.

I've never stopped reading (and still have the above malicious little boy's books in the office in which I'm typing this).

I also was enjoined to find a job and stop whining.

That was 30 years ago.

What's your excuse?


Posted by: tao9 | December 30, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Can any of you computer geeks, er I mean geniuses, tell me why some text is stricken when we drop in a paste?

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"More to the point, the chaos is only going to intensify, which is why the presidential season ahead is likely to feature the most unruly and flat-out fascinating contest Republicans have staged in 35 years."

Of course, I've been complaining about the Republican tire fire for months, because it stinks and it is bad for the environment. The only question is why Democrats aren't throwing gasoline on it. Someone could start by getting Meghan McCain drunk (too easy, right?) and ask her what she really thinks of the Palin family.


Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Ditto what tao said.

Inexplicably, studying all those chaps (and chapettes) didn't pre-program me into a Keithbot.

I guess I just wanted to accept lies instead.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Curiouser and curiouser:

Stipulated: An atheist. So forgive me if I assume also a materialist/positivist...

...who thinks a man can have "pre-formed"
thoughts.

Posted by: tao9 | December 30, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

You read Foucault? Whatever for? I've spent years trying to argue against the damage that unintelligible tripe did to the gay community. Now there was a guy who should have gone before a firing squad and I'm not making humor this time.

Freud? Historical interest only, and not to me.

Nietzche? Started reading when I was 14 and The Viking Portable has accompanied me all my life.

Marx? Never read a line, despite what the brain drained here may think.

I read physics. My big shipment, due any day, is mostly physics, like 20 grand of it, at least half of that quantum chromodynamics and a third of that quark gluon plasma. The rest runs from historical stuff like Pauli's correspondence (I read German) a particle physics and general relativity. That's how I plan to spend the rest of my life.

My passio

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Call me a snitch, but if you guys are going to start in on semiotics, I am going to have to tell the substitute teacher. We are supposed to be arguing about politics, not the neuropsychological structures of communication.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

@tao: materialist / realist. Boooo on positivism and instrumentalism.

Karl Popper is the only philosopher I admire unreservedly. My Kindle is Popper-loaded. Arrived at him by way of David Deutsch .. with some reservation I subscribe to the Many Worlds Interpretation.

Please don't fatuously misread. I don't mean teleologically pre-formed, I mean adopted piecemeal from others'

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

So are you people really all against Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign? Is being fat a Conservative Thing now?

I guess the science is still out on whether being obese correlates with heart disease and diabetes.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 30, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"I mean adopted piecemeal from others"

Any examples of positions you have not adopted "piecemeal from others"?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"I also was enjoined to find a job and stop whining."

Ha, I've got you beat, 45 years working and still a liberal. Here's an excerpt from a thoughtful piece from David Dayen that exemplifies why.

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

"This was a common occurrence in the days before Social Security, which basically wiped out extreme elderly poverty in America. But to a growing number of conservatives, this Gilded Age era represented the salad days, where people rose and fell on the basis of their talents without big government propping them up. They long for a return to a nation without a safety net, where private charities possibly pick up the slack, and where rugged individualism rules the day. To them, there’s no greater government than one which refuses to help people.

During the Great Recession, we’re sadly seeing a slow return to those Gilded Age, pre-New Deal policies, as what remains of the safety net staggers along. Social Security is under attack from deficit frauds like Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. Unemployment insurance, food stamps and welfare have weathered blows for years, especially as their costs rose when demand for their services increased. A new Republican Congress will demand more cuts, squarely on these and other social programs, or will threaten to destroy the full faith and credit of the US government.

It’s important to look to history to see the inevitable consequence of these backslides. If Democrats follow Republicans down the deficit rabbit hole, especially if they break faith on the bedrock promise of Social Security, we’re sure to see a return of the poorhouse, and the cruel belief that the people contained therein are somehow inferior, somehow given to rejecting self-sufficiency, somehow lazy, somehow defective. That belief has already crept into discussions about the 99ers, or the long-term unemployed."

http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/12/29/the-consequence-of-a-shattered-safety-net-return-to-the-poorhouse/

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Popper is something of a hole in my education. But how exactly does unreserved Popperism reconcile with rejection of freedom???

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood."

I think you may even confound your sensei.

"Adopting someone piecemeal..." Which necessitates someone NOT adopting someone piecemeal as one goes back in time.

Or, on the other hand, adopting some ONE piecemeal as one goes back in time, and that construct being eternal.

{{{sshhh, no one tell greg we're kierkegaarding}}}

Posted by: tao9 | December 30, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

DDAWD, you can leave off everything between the apostrophe and the question mark.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

lms:

"...a thoughtful piece from David Dayen"

I wonder how a piece based on mindless caricatures like "To them, there’s no greater government than one which refuses to help people" could ever be considered "thoughtful".

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Scott

Haven't you advocated for charity to replace government largess yourself, especially the condescending part? It's something we heard a great deal about during the health care debate. Whatever, I'm an advocate not a philosopher, so I'll leave you guys to that debate.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"...45 years working and still a liberal."

Yeah, but I can definitely do business with you.

Congrats on the geo-daughter's Texas post.

;>)

Posted by: tao9 | December 30, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

If you think I reject freedom, QB, you have the reading comprehension of a tadpole.

I reject the debate-halting fetishism that's built up around freedom, the self-righteousness that says its mere mention ends the discussion. In my experience the people who mention "freedom" all the time are the intellectually laziest of all.

"Nostrums" figures pretty highly too.

And I do, seriously, think that people are happier when we know where we stand, when we know where we fit, and that choice is fatiguing when it's not clear.

Whatever is possible in a free world, whatever happiness and fulfillment are achievable from freedom, I think America has failed to achieve it, and failed quite solidly. I've had fifty plus years to watch Americans become nastier, more cruel, more selfish, more conceited, more fat and more lazy, and yapping about their freedom the whole time.

I never hear anything about freedom of speech without falsehood being tied in. Nor about the RKBA without some testicular conceit behind it. And the press? Cowed into a useless absence of analysis in some grotesque homage to objectivity, thanks in large part to conservative goading about "liberal bias."

I think America once had great promise as something new and vital, but the whole right wing thing has destroyed it.

You would probably say that the New Deal destroyed it, and I am going to stop there and let you do your first personal plural thing.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

If you think I reject freedom, QB, you have the reading comprehension of a tadpole.

I reject the debate-halting fetishism that's built up around freedom, the self-righteousness that says its mere mention ends the discussion. In my experience the people who mention "freedom" all the time are the intellectually laziest of all.

"Nostrums" figures pretty highly too.

And I do, seriously, think that people are happier when we know where we stand, when we know where we fit, and that choice is fatiguing when it's not clear.

Whatever is possible in a free world, whatever happiness and fulfillment are achievable from freedom, I think America has failed to achieve it, and failed quite solidly. I've had fifty plus years to watch Americans become nastier, more cruel, more selfish, more conceited, more fat and more lazy, and yapping about their freedom the whole time.

I never hear anything about freedom of speech without falsehood being tied in. Nor about the RKBA without some testicular conceit behind it. And the press? Cowed into a useless absence of analysis in some grotesque homage to objectivity, thanks in large part to conservative goading about "liberal bias."

I think America once had great promise as something new and vital, but the whole right wing thing has destroyed it.

You would probably say that the New Deal destroyed it, and I am going to stop there and let you do your first personal plural thing.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, Popper. You wouldn't know about him outside physics.

Quantum mechanics was a crisis in physics and created something of a schism and physicists were confronted with some fundamental questions about their goals. An example.

In statistical mechanics there are simplifying assumptions about measurable properties, for example dealing in the pressure of a gas rather than exact knowledge of the position and momemtum of each molecule of the gas. It's intractible but theoretically possible to deal with the gas as individual molecules and have the pressure "emerge" as a summation.

But then came QM and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which says that, no, there are problems not only intractible but wth final and uncrossable limitations on how much can be known. That you can never know both position and momentum, for example, of a particle, no matter how sensitive your equipment. The barrier isn't instrumental nor positivist.

Prior to this, the idea that physics sought to learn what was REALLY HAPPENING was regarded as a conceit; it was the results that mattered, the trace in the cloud chamber, the success of he hypothesis.

Popper steered physics toward realism, and he went through several stages in his development. His writing is the stuff of glorious clarity.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

lms:

"Haven't you advocated for charity to replace government largess yourself, especially the condescending part?"

In part, yes. But, even ignoring the fact that that I am hardly the poster boy for standard conservatism, I have not argued that the best government is one that "helps" people the least. I have only argued that the "help" which you most likely have in mind ought to be pushed to the most local level of government feasible, not the least local.

This is another example of what qb has spoken a lot about...arguing against conservative thought without really bothering to understand what conservatives actually think.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"I think America has failed to achieve it and failed quite solidly."

I don't like the present iteration of America or Americans = America has failed (or been destroyed).

{{{giggle...popper would kick your solipsistic a$$ for that}}}

Posted by: tao9 | December 30, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Quoth he from Vietnam just yesterday:


"Give me an example then.

Anytime anyone mentions "freedom of speechj" it's to justify lying.

The freedom that conservatives care most about, personal ownership of weapons, doesn't to f uckall to preserve liberty but allows tens of thousands of murders a year, and causes enough hot air to lift the entire world population to the tropopause.

Freedom of the press is dead as the moon.

And when I say that people would encourage their fellows to stay in shape, why, that's what one of you (I don't bother to distinguish, no point) calls "lefty paradise."

So what good uses do Americans makes of their beloved freedom? To lie to each other, to poison each other and ravage the environment, to engage in reflexive and corrosive competition over everything.

Not a very satisfying life, as it turns out, just look at the faces of Americans on the street, in malls, on busses. Americans are not a fulfilled, life-loving people. Part of it is choice-fatigue, but more fundamentally, something about this glorious way of life isn't satisfying.

Where I live there is much less freedom, and call iot anecdotal, but people here are a lot nicer and a lot happier and a lot LOT less frightened of their government than Americans.

Now go field-strip your Glock, kneel with your hand around a rifle stock, and offer thanks to your celestial playmate that you're so god damned "free." Then go to bed so you can get up tomorrow and create more wealth for some cretin who already has more than he knows what to do with.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse "


Yes, indeed, how could anyone think he rejects freedom, particularly the freedom of Popper.

You aren't original; you are just erratic and incoherent.

"I've had fifty plus years to watch Americans become nastier, more cruel, more selfish, more conceited, more fat and more lazy, and yapping about their freedom the whole time."

He doth project too much.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how a piece based on mindless caricatures like "To them, there’s no greater government than one which refuses to help people" could ever be considered "thoughtful".

==

Caricature?

This is exactly the kind of despicable sh|t we hear from the Tea Party. This is Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, and Sharron Angle.

Do you believe you were being honest in calling this caricature or were you fully aware you were lying and speaking as a loyal conservative?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

cao:

Any chance you could dazzle us with one or two or your original, "from scratch" thoughts that haven't been "adpoted piecemeal" from anyone else?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow QB you take the trouble to *collate my posts*

Bit uh "invested" here, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Wow QB you take the trouble to *collate my posts*

Bit uh "invested" here, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Invested? No, just passing time and exercising the mind a bit.

You're starting to deflect a lot here. Again.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Wow QB you take the trouble to *collate my posts*

Bit uh "invested" here, wouldn't you say?

@tao: I'm not saying America has failed because I don't like its recent direction. I'm saying it's failed beause the great promise of freedom and the egalitarian ideals of its founding have been corrupted. Alexis de Tocqueville would weep if he saw the America of the Tea Party, Jefferson and Madison would spin in their graves if they saw what aq cynical process of manipulation the vote has turned into.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"I have only argued that the "help" which you most likely have in mind ought to be pushed to the most local level of government feasible, not the least local."

But if the government we are talking about is the federal government, you largely agree with the premise that the better government is the one that doesn't help.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 30, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"Jefferson and Madison would spin in their graves if they saw what aq cynical process of manipulation the vote has turned into.'

Very likely so, for reasons pretty much opposite those you likely would postulate. Our system of bribery of the masses by Obamas and Pelosis with "public" money is a realization of some their worst imaginings.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Cao,

What's with you and obesity. It seems to anger you.

And type your response slowly. I don't read to quick.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 30, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Scott but that would be like trying to expain color to the blind. You're a conservative, your ideas come from others by definition. That's why to you an idiot like George Will is an intellectual.

My ideas about people being happier when they know where they fit than they are with the freedom to end up anywhere, that's mine, and has no basis in any reading of conversation. Perhaps it's banal or even simplistic but it's a thousand times more than any of you lying nincompoops with your "cutting taxes increases revenue" and "Saddam had WMDs" could ever come up with.

Go read "Atlas" again, why don't you.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"This is another example of what qb has spoken a lot about...arguing against conservative thought without really bothering to understand what conservatives actually think."

Scott

Except apparently you don't all think the same thing, so how could I possibly know. And I judge conservative policy by conservative policy, or lack of policy in regards to what we see in Congress. Your personal opinion is less important in the long run to me than what is actually happening with, and the narrative coming from, conservatives in Washington. I think the piece I linked was more of an indication of what's ahead based on the rhetoric we've been subjected to in DC, not Scott's rhetoric.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"My ideas about people being happier when they know where they fit than they are with the freedom to end up anywhere, that's mine, and has no basis in any reading of conversation."

Hahaha. In homage to the Simpsons, that's uncredible.

You are trying to hard now.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"Upon the whole, I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and that the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself. It would be unfair to omit altogether from the list the mysterious but suggestive definition said to have been given by a little girl, 'An optimist is a man who looks after your eyes, and a pessimist is a man who looks after your feet.'" [Chesterton, Orthodoxy]

Don't concentrate on the feet, bro.

Especially your own.

Posted by: tao9 | December 30, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Our system of bribery of the masses by Obamas and Pelosis with "public" money is a realization of some their worst imaginings.

==

Obama and Pelosi?

It's the Republicans who're always promising tax cuts with no regard to deficits, you retard

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Stated above:

"My ideas about people being happier when they know where they fit than they are with the freedom to end up anywhere, that's mine, and has no basis in any reading of conversation."


Stated abover:

"Back before Fred Barnes trashed it, The New Republic had an article titled "The Tyranny of Choice," I highly recommend the cognitively functioning readers here track it down. Guy goes to buy a pair of sock. a freakin' pair of fưcking socks, and after 20 minutes and happy patter from a salesman about the various "lifestyle options" and all the happy printed patterns he picks one, only to find upon unpacking it at home that he bought the wrong size.

It was reading this article that got mestarted down the path of thinking about just how good all these choices are for us, and how we as a culture make such lousy and often despicable use of that freedm we yap about so damned much. I was already anti-Second Amendment and that position has hardened a lot since; now, having left a nation of obese, stressed, bored, and despoerately palliating people with a cruelty fettish, I seriously wonder if freedm isn't, just like the Second Amendment, a distraction from what really matters."

No collation needed; just rimemberin' what you said a bit ago.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"It's the Republicans who're always promising tax cuts with no regard to deficits, you retard"

If I'm retarded, at least I understand the difference between the government's not taking money and the government's giving money it took from someone else.

Think real hard on this: not taxing is not spending. Real hard.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama and Pelosi?

It's the Republicans who're always promising tax cuts with no regard to deficits, you retard

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yup, never waived Paygo once. They put the S in Steward. How cOuld they not? Plus, they're not fat. Esthetics. Jejune, right?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 30, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I have only argued that the "help" which you most likely have in mind ought to be pushed to the most local level of government feasible, not the least local.

==

A distinction of no value nor merit, merely opening the door to as much caprice as possible and leaving the necessity of social safety nets as vulnerable as possible to opposition by the powerful.

Just more "states' rigjhts" junk and as usual for rotten ends. Typical.

Yeah, we misunderstand conservative thought. As if thought enters into it at any stage.

The collapse is going to be incredibly grim.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 30, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

cao:

"My ideas about people being happier when they know where they fit than they are with the freedom to end up anywhere, that's mine, and has no basis in any reading of conversation."

All yours? Are you sure? Because it is hardly an original thought. Indeed it was a thought being expressed at least as far back as 1852, by one Thomas Dew:

"A merrier being does not exist on the face of the globe than the Negro slave of the United States. . . . Why, then, since the slave if happy, and happiness is the great object of all animated creation, should we endeavor to disturb his contentment by infusing into his mind a vain and indefinite desire for liberty—a something which he cannot comprehend, and which must inevitably dry up the very sources of his happiness."

Slaves sure did know where they "fit", didn't they? A merrier being indeed...

http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/archive/resources/documents/ch15_03.htm

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else read the story about the Radical Right Wing -- Koch Bros and the Chamber of Commerce -- paying people to come to Liberals blogs and sabotage the discussions? Caveat emptor, Good People.

Happy New Year!

Posted by: wbgonne | December 30, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Happy New Year, wbgonne, when are you coming back? You know you can't resist us for too long. Besides, it's a long and weary road I travel and I need a companion LOL. Did you see my resolutions?

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I make $25 a post. I donate all of it to my Dark Lord, Cheney. Scott, QB, Tao, Whatya do with your Koch cash?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 30, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Any half-way educated person is aware that debate over the relationship between free choice and happiness, or "having a place," is as old as old can be, going back to the ancients. And it is debated and studied by philosophers and and sociologists and psychologists and plenty of others. (Isn't that so, shrink?)

As an undergrad, my formerly Marxist, then-Foucaultian prof talked quite a bit about this problem. For crying out loud, it is a major debate theme of all western civilizatoin. caothien's claiming he thought this up "all by hisself" is just pathetic.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"Except apparently you don't all think the same thing, so how could I possibly know. "

All the more reason to wonder why in the world you would consider the Dayen piece "thoughtful".

"And I judge conservative policy by conservative policy, or lack of policy in regards to what we see in Congress."

Is it "conservative policy" to dismantle any program designed to "help" people? Really?

"I think the piece I linked was more of an indication of what's ahead based on the rhetoric we've been subjected to in DC, not Scott's rhetoric."

I think it is an indication that David Dayen is more comfortable knocking down strawmen than in honestly addressing what conservatives think.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Think real hard on this: not taxing is not spending. Real hard.

--------------------------------------
Hmmm...I must have missed where cao said otherwise.

Are you saying that raising or lowering taxes has no impact on the federal deficit?

If I'm in debt, I can try to get out of debt any number of ways. Most likely I would get another job or a new job to increase revenue (or, according to the likes of skip, I could just work hard since that's all I have to do to get rich) while cutting spending. See where I'm going with this?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 30, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone else read the story about the Radical Right Wing -- Koch Bros and the Chamber of Commerce -- paying people to come to Liberals blogs and sabotage the discussions? Caveat emptor, Good People."

Troll, can you direct me to a link? I'd like to start cashing in. Will they give back pay for all the Dark Lord Cheney's Work I've been doing on my own time?

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

My barber is right next door to the Schenectady County Chamber office (they've got a serious uphill slog--amongst the highest local taxes in the nation, BTW). I'm gonna get my quarterly $12 hack, and then go ask where my friggin' checks have been going.

Asta.

n.b.: This is a Liberals blog?

Posted by: tao9 | December 30, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

McWing:

"Scott, QB, Tao, Whatya do with your Koch cash?"

I pay a minion to steal candy from children for me. My contribution to the war on obesity.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca:

I just took a look and I admire your dedication. But it looks like you may be on your own, My Friend, because I have a novel to write. I also lost mojo after the Great Tax Capitulation Fiasco. I see dark days ahead, beginning next week when Congress returns. The nation is soon to become far more brutal for all but the Rich. I suggest heavy drinking to dull the pain. Better yet, get a nice Rx for Med Mar, you being in what passes for an enlightened state in this dreary Dark Age for our flabby and stupid country.

Aren't you glad I dropped in with my holiday cheer?

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 30, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"(Isn't that so, shrink?)"

Yes. Coming up with ideas that are not derivative is harder than people think, which brings us back to semiotics and our ability to understand ourselves in relation to others (the object of study is also the method of study...uh oh) and since this is a political blog I won't go there, but to say, this is why I invented my own religion, Confusionism. In the absence of objective evidence, I am a devout though impious believer.


Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

QB,

It's www.ILoveTortureandBernie'sTheOthers"ScareMe.com

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 30, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne

Good luck with the novel then, I truly enjoyed the first one. Regarding the rest, apparently scott doesn't believe that our fears will be realized. Ha strawman, my a.........

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"...looks like you may be on your own..."

So whatawe, chopped livah?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey Scott, kick any puppies today?

{{{Or maybe that should be tweaked and steered to wb}}}

Hey wbgonne, kicked any flabby and stupid proles today?

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

@lms: those are worthy resez, good going & good luck!

Now I really gotta go, vacation sux like that, I'm keepin' the beard till Monday tho.

Posted by: tao9 | December 30, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

""...looks like you may be on your own..."

So whatawe, chopped livah?"

Absolutely not Shrink. Republican Presidential aspirants ain't gonna demonize themselves.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 30, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry shrink, that was sort of an inside joke if you will. Wbgonne in particular and me to a lesser extent have taken some flack from our compatriots here for criticizing the Administration. I was just letting him know, I'm not letting up.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

ashot,

"Hmmm...I must have missed where cao said otherwise."

What he did was equate cutting taxes to bribing the masses with what I called "'public' money." So, you did miss it.

"Are you saying that raising or lowering taxes has no impact on the federal deficit?"

No. It might or might not. (From a 50k foot view, you might note the feds take in around 1/5 GDP over time despite rate changes. Hard to explain in terms of liberal static analysis.)

"If I'm in debt, I can try to get out of debt any number of ways. Most likely I would get another job or a new job to increase revenue (or, according to the likes of skip, I could just work hard since that's all I have to do to get rich) while cutting spending. See where I'm going with this?"

Certainly. If you want to analogize yourself to the government, though, you don't have to get a job. You just have to get yourself a subservient population to take money from to pay your debts. Or just take up robbery.

All I said was that I know the difference between not taxing and giving out money taxed from others. Think of it this way: "not taxing" is not "spending."

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Of course you can not tax and spend like mad, you just borrow. His Princely Darkness knew deficits are something you can stick on the Democrats, that is why they "don't matteer" to Republicans. Besides, the Ds like to fix problems caused by Republicans, makes 'em feel good. This is why I am disgusted with Mr. Obama. He refuses to fix all the problems you caused.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"Regarding the rest, apparently scott doesn't believe that our fears will be realized."

I'm not sure exactly what your fears are, but I do find it highly unlikely that any serious retrenchment of existing liberal programs will ever take place, at least in the absence of a Greece-like meltdown in the nation's economy. It is quite simply not in the nature of government to grow smaller, and we will soon pass (if we have not already passed) the tipping point at which more people are depending on government largesse than those who are funding it. In a democracy, that is not a recipe for less government.

Your fears on this front at least are entirely unfounded.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"...more people are depending on government largesse than those who are funding it..."

No, no, no, there are not that many rich people. You should say the people who buy government largesse are extracting more and more from the dwindling pool of workers funding them. Ask Peter Orzag (who has the chutzpah to write homilies about controlling the cost of health care nowadays) about his job at Citi, a company that wouldn't exist without TARP. Wall Street's best year e-v-e-r: 2010.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 30, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"No, no, no,"

Yes, yes, yes.

The top 10% of income earners pay 70% of all income taxes collected. In 2009, nearly half of all income earners paid zero federal income taxes. Zero.

That TARP money you speak of? It will either be repaid in full buy the borrowers (with a significant profit margin on top, btw) as much of it has already, or, if there are losses, they will be paid for by the 50% of people who pay taxes...most of whom are indeed "rich" by the standards of the left in general and the people on this board in particular.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

I said:

"most of whom are indeed "rich"

This is not quite right. What I should have said is that the vast majoriity of the money collected from this 50% comes from that portion which is considered "rich".

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Scott

It's too bad that the old trickle down economic theory hasn't panned out, then we wouldn't have to rely on the "rich" folks to fund the government, 47% of our population would be making a living wage or be employed and they could help out.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

lms:

In honor of your "conservative brain" post from yesterday, here's a good example of the alleged conservative tendency to pessimism.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/256060/american-21st-century-victor-davis-hanson

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"47% of our population would be making a living wage or be employed..."

Is it your contention that 47% of of tax return filers do not make a "living wage"? Can you provide any substantiation of this claim?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Scott

I think it was in 2008 that people earning less than 33K per year only contributed a little over 2% of the federal income tax. Of course they still pay things like unemployment insurance, social security, medicare and in some states income tax. I suppose a family of four can "live" on 30K but it would be tough to get much more out of them.

My son's friend finally landed a job, disabled firefighter with a bachelor's, paramedic and engineer, paying $10 an hour. It's not enough to even cover their rent. He's fortunate I suppose that he's got a small retirement after being hurt on the job and paying into pers for 14 years. I doubt he'll be contributing much in fed income tax anytime soon.

My point is wages are depressed and you can't get blood out of a turnip.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"I think it was in 2008 that people earning less than 33K per year only contributed a little over 2% of the federal income tax."

It has been a steady decline for that demographic for at least a decade.

1999 - 4%
2000 - 3.91%
2001 - 3.97%
2002 - 3.50%
2003 - 3.46%
2004 - 3.30%
2005 - 3.07%
2006 - 2.99%
2007 - 2.89%
2008 - 2.7%

And, again, my point was simply that your beloved wealth redistribution programs are in no danger whatsoever, so don't be fooled by the lefty scare tactics (Bernie!!!). Too many people benefit at the expense of too few for them to be significantly altered by democratic means.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 30, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

My point, well okay a different point since you brought it up, is that now that we've passed even more tax cuts, all those great programs are definitely in jeopardy. This guy, Dennis Jett from Penn State thinks so also. I know you'll find some of his rhetoric offensive, but I think he's got it pegged. Of course Obama fell for the trap, so I don't entirely blame Repbulicans. I do think his re-election is pretty much assured though.

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

"The tax cuts will also ensure the decline of the United States. Republicans insisted that all those poor starving people with seven figure annual incomes and above could not possibly be asked to pay more. Given the generous provisions of the estate tax, apparently not even dead multimillionaires can be expected to ante up. To ensure tax cuts for such people, the Republicans held hostage the long-term unemployed and their favorite props for photo ops -- 9/11 first responders.

The cuts that resulted will not only balloon the deficit, but will also require dismantling a good bit of government at the state and federal level. Education will be hollowed out and infrastructure left to decay as the United States becomes increasingly indebted to other countries and unable to compete in the global marketplace. Future debates on public policy will be forced to focus on how much to gut Social Security and Medicare.

Are the cuts justified by the weight of the tax burden? Studies done by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development demonstrate otherwise. The 34 countries in the OECD comprise the developed democracies of what used to be called the First World and a few successful developing countries from those in the Third World.

These studies show taxes as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product in the U.S. are at their lowest level since at least 1965 and are the lowest in the OECD except for Mexico and Chile. At the same time, income inequality and poverty are higher in the U.S. than any other country in the OECD except Mexico and Turkey. As for the accusations that socialism is sweeping the land, only in Korea does the redistribution of income by government have a smaller effect.
The griping about taxes will continue nonetheless. The ability of Americans to have a rational discussion on the subject was long ago put to death by Ronald Reagan's sound bites. Government became evil and greed became a virtue."

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"wealth redistribution programs"

Oh and btw, I resent that. Social Security and Medicare, my two main concerns, are not wealth redistribution programs, we all pay in and we all get something out. Some rely on it more than others and if you live to 100 you get more than if you only live to 70, luck of the draw.

You and I may be fortunate enough to have the means to survive without them but after this recession and the amount of money and security so many people who thought they were in good shape have lost, especially if you happen to be over 50, none of us have any guarantees. I'm convinced they're both targets, but especially social security because they'll try to compromise the cuts to appear to be minimal, but in the long run it will undermine the program. Hope I'm wrong, but remember I was right on the public option, still wish we'd made a bet.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

lms,

Your Penn State guy is a demogogue, and yes, is offensive. : ) I would say Alan Reynolds in the WSJ last week pretty much ate his lunch on tax and income equality.

Nor is he doing more than demogoguing on the feds' revenue. When he says lowest percentage since 1965, he can't mean by any more than a smidgen, since it has never, ever materially fallen, despite chicken little panic about the end of civilization.

No respectable moral case can be made for the death tax. Period.

I don't know how you can resent SS and Medicare being described as redistribution programs. They clearly are. Sure, some people will never get back what they paid it, but many receive much, much more. Even Dennis Jeff describes it as redistribution. It's a giant ponzi scheme.

Moreover, the incredible taxes I pay greatly impair my ability to provide for my own. I resent that.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 30, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"Moreover, the incredible taxes I pay greatly impair my ability to provide for my own. I resent that."

qb

Your taxes have not gone up, as a matter of fact you'll probably get to keep those low rates forever. In the meantime, the point is we're falling further and further behind in things like infrastructure, education, health care etc. Also, in the meantime, I'll just keep hoping that someone, somewhere figures out a way to create some jobs, it'll help both with revenue especially at the state level, and rejuvenate a little hope.

And I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to argue Social Security cuts over the next few months. Regarding the estate tax, I 100% disagree with you but since it was compromised to a lower amount than under Bush I don't really see what you're complaining about. I've never seen so many people complain who actually got what they wanted re taxes.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 30, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

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