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Posted at 5:15 PM ET, 12/28/2010

Happy Hour Roundup

By Jonathan Bernstein

Speaking of deficits, those who like large budget deficits should be be quite pleased that House Republicans are fulfilling their promise to replace deficit-reducing PAYGO with deficit-increasing CUTGO.  Robert Greenstein and James Horney explain this in more depth; see also Steve Benen.  Remember: no one actually cares about the deficit, and quite a few people who claim to care about the deficit don't even know that we're talking about the federal budget deficit (and not, for example, the overall state of the economy).  And of all the people who don't care about the deficit, conservative Republican politicians are the most don't-caringest, because the thing they really do care about, low income tax rates, causes higher deficits.

What else?

1. David Cole has a must-read mostly defending, but also criticizing, the Obama version of the war on terror.

2. Scott Lemieux explains why libertarians are marginalized by the mainstream press.  I'm still waiting for the point at which libertarians aren't overrepresented online.  It's been a longer wait than I would have thought.

3. Adam Ozimek points out that immigration amnesty would help housing.

4. Always read Ta-Nehisi Coates

5. Brendan Nyhan is the go-to political scientist when it comes to the press, lies, and death panels.

6. And one vision of Christmas in the future.

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 28, 2010; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Democracy, deficits, and 'preemptive fiscal adjustment'
Next: A possible deal on nominations reform

Comments

Cole says,

"...if Obama wants to respond to his critics, reassure the world, and restore the trust so essential to success, he must be willing to look backward, acknowledge wrongdoing, and defend openly the legality of continuing tactics."

Well what if he can't defend the legality of the aforementioned continuing tactics (which may actually comprise a strategy)? What if the tactics are not, in fact, legal? I mean, are the drone killings of people of various nationality inside Pakistan legal?
You can't really look back and say your political enemies did the wrong thing if you are still doing it.

Since this was Cole's concluding point, I am not sure he was "mostly defending" Obama's war on terror.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Bernstein, were you part of Ezra Klein's Journ-O-List?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 28, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama supports dog-killers.

Obama hates puppies.


Case closed
.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 28, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12, were you part of the House Committee Investigating Anti Americanism?

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 28, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

What else is happening?

AZ doubles down on teh cray-zee: http://www.truth-out.org/arizona-bans-ethnic-studies-and-along-with-it-reason-and-justice66340

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 28, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

No (I already answered that last time you asked, unlike Mr. Bernstein). Were you?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 28, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Shrink


Clearly, the drone attacks fall under the Resolution to fight Terrorism, written by Bush and his people


I'm sure Obama is NOW supporting that action of Bush.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 28, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"Were you?"

I wasn't alive at the time.

I ask because your ongoing query reminds me of that sad period of our history.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 28, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Clawrence -- were you part of the Weekly Reader journo-List?

There's this document we have called the Constitution -- read it some time. It has this first amendment thingy that allows free speech -- even for journalists! Really!

My, you would have loved Stalin -- too bad you missed him. For all of us.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama supports dog-killers.


Obama hates puppies.

Case closed
.

bernstein


were you or weren't you a part of the people seeking to hide the truth from the American People ???

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 28, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Fiona

You havent been banned yet?


___________________

Anyway, there is a difference between Freedom of the Press and FRAUD


if a group of people are purposely pushing false stories and hiding the truth from the American People, that is fraud.


You really dont care about that, do you?

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 28, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"I ask because your ongoing query reminds me of that sad period of our history."

That sad period when a group of people conspired to manipulate the media narrative and bring about a radical, some say revolutionary, new form of government.. Sad indeed.

And obviously, asking a "journalist" a question about membership in a group of journalists is Stalinist. How could it not be?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

"I'm still waiting for the point at which libertarians aren't overrepresented online. It's been a longer wait than I would have thought."

Yeah me too. Considering that the supposed up and coming young gun Paul Ryan worships at the feet of Ayn Rand, I suppose we'll be waiting a little longer still. Did you know he makes all his staffers read Atlas Shrugged before they go to work for him?

Posted by: lmsinca | December 28, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Good post on the death panels. Of course, Conservatives are goingg to say Conservative Things and call end-of-life discussions death panels. (Really, has ONE Conservative on here denied this point?) But for the press to do it is another thing.

I know one of the favorite tactics of the Conservatives on this board is to try and conflate facts and opinions. However, this is no difference of opinion. End-of-life discussions are not death panels. No debate about it.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Ims,

Do you think Ryan is sin

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Ims,

Do you think Ryan is sincere in his beliefs?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to be the first to congratulate Jim Webb on his 2012 reelection.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/12/virginia_tea_party_leader_file.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD,

I'm curious if you think there are Liberal Things that hack liberals say to impress their peers and stay in the club? If so, what are some examples?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

McWing, I have absolutely no idea. It's hard to read DC people from all the way out here in CA. Hey BTW, my daughter landed an internship next summer in Midland. I may have to go for a visit.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 28, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

On Libertarians: It was always a source of amusement to me to listen to the morning call-in on C-SPAN. If support could be measured by calls complaining about marginalization, we'd all be supporting President Paul. [For personal reasons, I rather like that.]

On Jourolist: Can we simply assume that anyone guesting for Greg is a JoL. That way claw can get on with his ad hominem attack.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 28, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, the Permian basin in the summer! ;-). Good for her, the more Texas sweet crude she helps bring up, the better.

Good for Y"all!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I should say All Y'all.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

further adventures of the 'deficit hawks'

'Thanks to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), taxpayers are footing a $500 million bill for a NASA rocket that the agency has no plans or desire to continue developing. The Orlando Sentinel reports that pork legislation inserted into a spending bill by Shelby earlier this year is requiring NASA to spend millions on the canceled Ares I rocket program through March, even while the agency can’t find funds to begin a much-needed modernization of the famed Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida'

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

OObama NEVER TRIES TO HIDE THE TRUTH


The Obama administration is trying to quiet talk about so-called “death panels” after The New York Times reported Sunday that a new Medicare regulation includes incentives for end-of-life-care planning.

The Medicare policy will pay doctors for holding end-of-life-care discussions with patients, according to the Times. A similar provision was dropped from the new healthcare reform law after Republicans accused the administration of withholding care from the sick, elderly and disabled.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 28, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

CLAWRENCE


Isn't it obvious how the journo-list rubes operate ???


They say something bogus


Then they post a link to another journo-list rube, and they give you the "see I'm right" attitude.


.............. when they know they are lying.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 28, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

TrollMcWingnut, it seems as if Fiona equates being a Communist spy during the height of the Cold War to being a member of the harmless Journ-O-List.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 28, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

.and more....

'Nearly all of the money for the program will go to two defense contractors building the Ares rocket, Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and Lockheed Martin, with ATK receiving the bulk. Defense contractors have been a consistent source of financial support for Shelby’s campaigns, contributing to him at higher rates than to other politicians in his state. In particular, Shelby’s 2010 reelection campaign was the top recipient of funds from ATK’s PAC, receiving the maximum $10,000. And the company’s employees appear to have given more to Shelby than to any other politician in the 2010 election cycle.

Shelby certainly has a flair for the dramatic when it comes to extracting pork money for defense contractors in his state. In a “nearly unprecedented” move in February, Shelby placed a blanket hold on every single presidential nominees being considered by the Senate — more than 70 in total, including “top Intelligence officers at the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security as well as the number three civilian at the Pentagon” — in order to pressure to Obama administration to do the bidding of Northrop Grumman on a $40 billion contract for which they were being considered. "

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"no one actually cares about the deficit,"

With the notable exception of every major Democratic policymaker from the Clinton era to the present.

Unless, of course, you'd like to pretend Democrats raised $500 billion in new revenues and cut $500 billion in spending for the healthcare bill because it was awesome politics.

Posted by: theorajones1 | December 28, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Funy watching the wingers continue their War on Themselves. CPAC is *the* major rightwing event of the year -- and now it is falling apart:

"The feuding on the right continues over the gay conservative group GOProud, with two more social conservative groups announcing that they won't attend the big Conservative Political Action Conference this February -- in part because the gay group is participating.

As the right-wing World Net Daily reports:

"We've been very involved in CPAC for over a decade and have managed a couple of popular sessions. However, we will no longer be involved with CPAC because of the organization's financial mismanagement and movement away from conservative principles," said Tom McClusky, senior vice president for FRC Action.'

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising, that is what I am in the process of documenting.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 28, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

'rollMcWingnut, it seems as if Fiona equates being a Communist spy during the height of the Cold War to being a member of the harmless Journ-O-List.'

If it's harmless, why do you keep harping on it, as if it were any of your business? Just to bore us?

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

THANK YOU NANCY

The federal government has accumulated more new debt--$3.22 trillion ($3,220,103,625,307.29)—during the tenure of the 111th Congress than it did during the first 100 Congresses combined, according to official debt figures published by the U.S. Treasury.

That equals $10,429.64 in new debt for each and every one of the 308,745,538 people counted in the United States by the 2010 Census.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 28, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Good post on the death panels. Of course, Conservatives are goingg to say Conservative Things and call end-of-life discussions death panels. (Really, has ONE Conservative on here denied this point?) But for the press to do it is another thing.

I know one of the favorite tactics of the Conservatives on this board is to try and conflate facts and opinions. However, this is no difference of opinion. End-of-life discussions are not death panels. No debate about it.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 6:39 PM
=====================================

So we won't use the term "death panels" as
it offends DDAWD. But his argument is one of semantics only. I don't think anyone ever suggested there was actually a section of the HCR bill labeled SECTION 1, Paragraph 4: 'DEATH PANELS'.

I'll repost a few paragraphs left by Kevin_Willis earlier in the day. They're on the money, as witness the total absence of counter arguments delivered from the peanut gallery at the time:

-------

"The main difference between rationing via public vs. private sector is likely to be the use of end-of-life counseling or hospice care as a way to avoid the expense of one more round of $500k worth of chemo treatments that ,statistically, don't have a great record of life extension.

"Meaning: that is an alternative the government can and inevitably will explore as a means of cost containment, whereas any insurance company counseling end-of-life care instead of more rounds of expensive drugs and surgeries would be crucified and the top managers and VPs shot on sight. ;)

"BTW, I think end of life counseling can be a net good, but this ease with which so many dismiss the concerns of opponents about the government having a role in such matters is a little off-putting. Should the government take such a role in advising about adoption options for women contemplating the termination of an unwanted pregnancy? I'm not sure they'd be so sanguine about that.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010
-------

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"Your typical Republican presidential candidate -- liar, hypocrite and thief--dug out by Politico, a right-leaning org:

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour . . .
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010

-------

First Bernie, and now fiona5. Looks like poor Haley has lost at least two votes.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

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

Is there some better representative of the best of Christian values?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 28, 2010

-------

Probably, but I will concede that Carter has been much more effective in the fight against the guinea worm than he ever was as POTUS.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

wingers are always so inspired and cheered by workers dying . . .

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010

-------

Whew! I guess I'm not a winger after all. What a relief. I learn something new here every day. Oh . . . did you mean left-wingers or right-wingers?

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama has ruined the economy, right?

It's just RUINED!!!

Wait... What's that?

Highest holiday consumer spending in 5 years?

Oh.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 28, 2010

-------

Good grief. Highest holiday consumer spending since...since...since...
well, since Republicans controlled Congress and George W. Bush was President.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

The main difference between rationing via public vs. private sector is likely to be the use of end-of-life counseling or hospice care as a way to avoid the expense of one more round of $500k worth of chemo treatments that ,statistically, don't have a great record of life extension.
---------------------------------------------------------
Why is that likely?

First, end-of-life counseling is instigated by the PATIENT, not the government in the case of Medicare. It's the patient's choice of treatments. The physician can give his/her input, but in the end, it is the patient's choice. The patient can change his advance directive any time he wants. As health care representative for my aunt, I can change the advance directive any time I want. I was involved in this so I have some first hand experience.

Second, hospice care is instigated by the PATIENT, not the doctor or the government. Hospice can be discontinued at any time by the patient, if the patient changes his mind about what treatments he wants. No one is out there euthanizing people under hospice or advance directives either.

People need to get real about this stuff and not get carried away by some hypothetical paranoid idea about what "could" happen, but is not happening.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, says Robert Scott, the institute's senior international economist.

American workers, let's say it together now:

Thank you Republicans! Thank you for federal tax breaks that pay companies to outsource our jobs overseas! We don't need jobs here, it's much more important for the federal government to fund job creation in Asia! Thank you GOP for defending corporate welfare and keeping the American worker unemployed! Thank you thank you thank you!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 28, 2010

-------

You must be on drugs. Democrats have controlled Congress for four years, Obama is about to begin his third year as President, and the best you can do is blame Republicans for everything that's going wrong. Get some help.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD,

I'm curious if you think there are Liberal Things that hack liberals say to impress their peers and stay in the club? If so, what are some examples?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut"

Maybe, but it's kind of hard to tell. Like, if someone says that tax cuts increase the deficit, it could be to ingratiate themselves to liberal peers. But they could also be saying it because it's um...true. There's a large confluence with Liberal Things and Facts. That's why you felt the need to make up your own version of wikipedia.

It's much easier to discern intent with you people since you feel the need to come and lie on an anonymous message board.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

People need to get real about this stuff and not get carried away by some hypothetical paranoid idea about what "could" happen, but is not happening.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 7:34 PM

-----

If we were happy with what is happening instead of what "could" happen, we wouldn't have needed HCR. Read Kevin's second paragraph again.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"The main difference between rationing via public vs. private sector is likely to be the use of end-of-life counseling or hospice care as a way to avoid the expense of one more round of $500k worth of chemo treatments that ,statistically, don't have a great record of life extension.
---------------------------------------------------------
Why is that likely?"

Not sure who posted this, but it's another example of some Conservative coming on an anonymous message board to spout Conservative Things. End-of-life counseling doesn't mean to forgo chemo or surgery. In fact, the patient could make the decision for the doctor to perform surgery or undergo further chemo.

12BB, I don't think you can really deny that the Conservatives on here are sick pieces of **** to say things like this.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12, were you part of the House Committee Investigating Anti Americanism?

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 28, 2010 6:02 PM

-------

shrink2, would you please straighten out bsimon1.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

If the government is going to inevitably ration care, why aren't they doing it now? They're not doing it under Medicare, that's for sure. My aunt had major surgery a few years ago when she was 95 because she broke her back.

Based on what I've seen, I would much rather be under Medicare than throwing my lot in with an insurance company.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

"But now I was in a Chinese city for Chinese people. Native urbanites walked their well-groomed collies on the hills, waltzed in parks at dusk and practiced martial arts on rain-swept plazas at midnight. And rural migrants took up bamboo poles and skeins of rope to join the so-called “stick-stick army” of porters, looking to haul bags of groceries or sacks of concrete mix along unnavigable inclines."

This from 'Lost in China', an interesting travel piece on how life urban China is going...

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 5:33 PM

-------

How's their health care system? Did they say anything about the leper colonies...there or in Vietnam?

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

"It's much easier to discern intent with you people since you feel the need to come and lie on an anonymous message board."

I, for one, admit that everything I write here is a lie. Including the previous sentence. The jig is up.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

"I, for one, admit that everything I write here is a lie. Including the previous sentence. The jig is up.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut"

That's cute. Now go back to explaining how tax cuts reduce the deficit, end-of-life discussions are really death panels, and how global warming is just a figment of our imagination. Yeah, they are all lies, but they are bonafide Conservative Things and somewhere Sarah Palin will wink at you until her eyelid freezes shut. (At least until she gets down to FOX News HQ to collect her check and tell you more Conservative Things to say)

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

If the government is going to inevitably ration care, why aren't they doing it now? They're not doing it under Medicare, that's for sure. My aunt had major surgery a few years ago when she was 95 because she broke her back.

Based on what I've seen, I would much rather be under Medicare than throwing my lot in with an insurance company.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 7:48 PM

-------

Most insurance companies operate in the black. How's Medicare doing now and how do you suppose it will be doing when there's no more money? No rationing? That's a test question. They're wanting to monkey with Social Security and it barely needs tweaking. We're not so much worried about what happened "a few years ago" as what will likely happen a few years from now.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

12BB, I don't think you can really deny that the Conservatives on here are sick pieces of to say things like this.
----------------------------------------
I'm not here defending conservatives intent.

I don't know why this death panel lie keeps going. Politics is one thing, but when people REALLY believe this cr*p, families and patients get hurt.

Advance directives aren't always for LESS care. My 99 year old aunt wanted full Code until just recently, and she got full Code when she was 95. She always thought she'd live to 100 and by God, she just might.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

@brigade,

What choice do you have anyway? You think some insurer will cover you at 65? We will all be under Medicare. If you're worried that Medicare is going to go killer on you, join with the rest of us to make sure that doesn't happen.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

12BB, I don't think you can really deny that the Conservatives on here are sick pieces of **** to say things like this.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 7:43 PM

------

Just being DDAWD must be a terrible cross to bear. With a Democratic administration and huge majorities in both Houses of Congress, all he and caothien9 have done for the past two years is whine and belly ache and call people dirty names. They must be close to suicidal now that Republicans have taken the House.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

They're wanting to monkey with Social Security and it barely needs tweaking.
--------------------------------------------
It isn't some anonymous "they". It's the Republicans who want to "monkey" with Social Security. SS barely needs tweaking, I agree, and I demand it be tweaked. This is an obligation of the U.S. government to its citizens, especially those of us nearing 65. If the U.S. defaults on its commitments to its own citizens, why would foreigners feel comfortable about U.S. commitments to them.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

10 frantic posts by Brigade in less than a half hour. Try not to getS so --invested, dude.

Classic Troll Method, too -- must be Wingnut 101. Try to distract from the message by attacking the messenger.

"Get some help.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:37 PM"

Indeed.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

'Most insurance companies operate in the black. "

Oh indeed, they do.. and that is by denying subscribers' care when they get sick.

which, btw, Medicare doesn't do.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

We can sit here and go down paranoia lane about what the government could/might do to us under Medicare.

I'm a pragmatist. I'm uninsurable now, and I'm not going to become more insurable when I'm 65. I thank God there IS Medicare. Medicare takes one and all and that is exactly why it exists. Insurance companies would be charging $35k/yr to insure 65 year olds, if they insured them at all. And 99 year olds? Wonder what the premiums would be for that?

I'll throw my lot in with government run Medicare and by extension with the Democrats. It's the only choice I have anyway.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

@brigade,

What choice do you have anyway? You think some insurer will cover you at 65? We will all be under Medicare. If you're worried that Medicare is going to go killer on you, join with the rest of us to make sure that doesn't happen.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 8:00 PM

------

I'm not far away and I'm well covered, thank you. When I turn 65, Medicare will be my primary coverage and what is now my primary coverage will become my supplemental coverage---unless I decide to work past 65. That's the system.

You and I both know that this univeral health care thing, with no cost containment, is going to break the bank. Didn't you read any of shrink2's posts about silos? Those in poor health will be able to buy coverage, but at what cost? What if they don't have the money? So the taxpayers will pick up the difference? Or they'll do without, get fined by the government (hounded by the IRS), and head right back to the emergency room. Once the government gets involved, costs will continue to escalate, and the poor people we're so worried about will have the government's nose up their butts until they're asset free---just like Medicaid recipients today.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"That's cute. Now go back to explaining how tax cuts reduce the deficit,"

Well, one indirect way is that lower rates, in Capital Gains, for example, encourages increased selling of assets, resulting in a higher number of transactions than would have otherwise occurred

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Oops,

Resulting in more revenue too the Treasury. If Congress increases spending however, that extra revenue would be gobbled up and no def

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

If the U.S. defaults on its commitments to its own citizens, why would foreigners feel comfortable about U.S. commitments to them.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 8:03 PM

------

And why would anyone trust a U.S. commitment not to pull the plug on granny? You can't assume that those mean old scrooge Republicans are never going to be in charge of the government again just because we passed HCR.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

10 frantic posts by Brigade in less than a half hour. Try not to getS so --invested, dude.

Classic Troll Method, too -- must be Wingnut 101. Try to distract from the message by attacking the messenger.

"Get some help.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 7:37 PM"

Indeed.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 8:06 PM

------

Way down deep inside, you know the main reason you come here is to read my posts. Just admit it.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

@brigade,

Let's get practical. Without Medicare as your primary, you would have nada as insurance.

The government already pays for more than half of all healthcare costs between Medicare and Medicaid. The idea of getting the government out of healthcare is quixotic. We are already committed. Cost containment will come from reducing the number of silos, even to one. It is our grotesque hybrid system that drives up costs. Every other civilized nation on earth has a better and cheaper healthcare system than we do, and they all have far fewer silos and all have heavy government involvement. Why are we so stupid we can't follow any of these models?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

We can sit here and go down paranoia lane about what the government could/might do to us under Medicare.

I'm a pragmatist. I'm uninsurable now, and I'm not going to become more insurable when I'm 65. I thank God there IS Medicare. Medicare takes one and all and that is exactly why it exists. Insurance companies would be charging $35k/yr to insure 65 year olds, if they insured them at all. And 99 year olds? Wonder what the premiums would be for that?

I'll throw my lot in with government run Medicare and by extension with the Democrats. It's the only choice I have anyway.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 8:14 PM

------

You talk as if the public option had been included in the HCR bill. Why all this babbling about Medicare? Haven't you read about the insurance exchanges that are supposedly coming?

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse


Oops,

Resulting in more revenue too the Treasury.  If Congress increases spending however, that extra revenue would be gobbled up and no defIcit reductions would occur.

" end-of-life discussions are really death panels,"

I didn't say they were, but I do believe that these "discussions" can end up being coercive, and will eventually lead to government officials deciding who lives and who dies. Maybe not tomorrow, but in the not too distant future. 

"how global warming is just a figment of our imagination"

First, I think an argument can, and currently is being made that Anthropogenic Global Warming, or AGW, is not occurring. Second, even the proven corrupt CRU/Met in the UK, the one that AGW enthusiasts think has (or rather had since they've conveniently lost their data) the best information, has not been able to determine if any warming has occurred since 1998.  Finally, I think the correct term now is "Climate Change" not Global Warming. Gaia appreciates the latest euphemisms. 

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"It is our grotesque hybrid system that drives up costs."
-------

I missed the cost containment part of the current HCR. It's cost that may lead to eventual rationing and plug-pulling.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, babbling? All this "babbling" is because certain people maintained the death panel lie about end of life counseling. Since end of life counseling is usually an issue for people of Medicare age, THAT's how this Medicare talk got started.

I'm assuming you don't want to talk about death panels or Medicare anymore, but want to swerve into insurance exchanges.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, babbling? All this "babbling" is because certain people maintained the death panel lie about end of life counseling. Since end of life counseling is usually an issue for people of Medicare age, THAT's how this Medicare talk got started.

I'm assuming you don't want to talk about death panels or Medicare anymore, but want to swerve into insurance exchanges.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 8:34 PM

-----

What you call end of life counseling isn't much more than a red herring in all the talk about HCR. C'mon now. I mentioned hospice care in a thread last night and the conversation immediately switched to people who were in car wrecks or suffered sudden heart attacks and were rendered unable to participate in such counseling.

I have a living will. It's one of those things sensible people do. Hasn't your doctor or someone in the hospital, if you've ever been admitted, asked you if you had one? This monstrosity of a bill wasn't rammed through so people could get end-of-life counseling or information about hospice care or different methods of treatment. That's routine stuff. Oh...I forgot, it authorizes doctors to be paid now for talking to you.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Troll,

If you hope to engage DDAWD in any discussion involving facts, I'm afraid you're in for a disappointment.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Brigade tapped,

"shrink2, would you please straighten out bsimon1."

My father worked for the McCarthy campaign.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Of course, as you noted before, every I write here is a lie.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Brigade tapped

"...Didn't you read any of shrink2's posts about silos?..."

Please, don't throw my pearls at swine.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

"There's a large confluence with Liberal Things and Facts. That's why you felt the need to make up your own version of wikipedia."

LOL you would be a hoot if you weren't so boringly predictable and unoriginal. This whole moronic Conservative Things schtick is just another variant of your one and only purpose here, which is spouting the same silly Liberal Things ad nauseum.

That you think Wikipedia is factually authoritative is really, really stupid, though.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 28, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

"Well, one indirect way is that lower rates, in Capital Gains, for example, encourages increased selling of assets, resulting in a higher number of transactions than would have otherwise occurred

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut"

Clap clap clap clap clap. Good job with the Conservative Things. Just like Mitch McConnell and Sean Hannity explained it. I'm going to switch to an ice cream diet. Obviously the increase in my metabolism is going to make up for the massive caloric intake and I'll lose weight!

So I'm taking it you think the CBO is full of **** when they say the Bush tax cuts are a major contributor to the deficit.

In fact, do you people believe anything the CBO says other than the fact that we are actually running up a debt?

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD tapped

"One, oligarchy doesn't necessarily mean cronyism. Cronyism is always bad since it means people advance based on something other than merit."

Second, it depends on who the oligarchs are."

One and two are the same argument. There are no benign, enlightened and omniscient juntas, dictators, ruling cliques... Enlightened and omniscient dictators exist in peoples' minds, they are called God(s) by other names. Benign tends to get forgotten.

"If you have two different universes, one where GWB is the Emperor of America, the USA obviously will be worse off than a universe where Obama is the Emperor of America."

From the bottom of my heart, I don't believe this is true. The outcome would be the same, only the optics would be different.
Yeah. That is how bad I think powerful people become. This is why politics are interesting, I like to watch as good people, I should say, well intentioned people come to act badly, in proportion to...what? How does winning the battle of transacting power itself make tolerating evil inevitable?

Sure, across history, lots of extremely powerful people stayed good, that is equally interesting, the fact that they are in the tiny minority is not.


Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

"That you think Wikipedia is factually authoritative is really, really stupid, though.

Posted by: quarterback1"

Of course not! I go to Conservapedia for all my information.

Unless, of course, you happen to be online. I know I should ask you everything I want to know. God knows, I'd hate for you to call me a LIBERAL because I look up my own information!

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

"Way down deep inside, you know the main reason you come here is to read my posts. Just admit it.

Posted by: Brigade"

While I admit I find your posts and your evident confusion amusing, please don't inject your narcissism into it -- it's just sad.

"I have a living will. It's one of those things sensible people do. Hasn't your doctor or someone in the hospital, if you've ever been admitted, asked you if you had one?"

No, no doctor has ever asked me such a thing -- ever. And I have been treated for cancer--twice-- at Sloan Kettering Memorial Center, one of the premiere cancer centers in the world. I can assure you they don't do it.

So you are admitting that end of life counseling, which is tantamount to a living will, is "sensible?" Indeed it is. So why are you mischaracterizing it by calling it a 'death panel?"

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, I think a lot of the evil comes about as a need to maintain power. In our Democracy, there is very little that is more evil than Republicans saying that end-of-life discussions are death panels. And they say that out of a need to win elections.

And even with dictatorships, a lot of the evils we saw was based of a need to maintain power. Hitler's genocide was to unite Germany against common foes. Stalin's gulags were meant to stifle dissent.

Kind of makes you wonder how someone would act if permanent power were a certainty. No threat of losing an election or being overthrown by revolutionaries. Not a realistic scenario, obviously, but an interesting thought experiment.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"So I'm taking it you think the CBO is full of **** when they say the Bush tax cuts are a major contributor to the deficit.

In fact, do you people believe anything the CBO says other than the fact that we are actually running up a debt?"

Just an aside, Barry called him "Mike McConnell", and I think, rather than insult the President, you should refer to him as "Mike McConnell" as well.

And no, I do not necessarily believe the CBO, when it publishes anything. It is, despite being ballyhood as "non-partisan" a tool of a supremely political entity. It's formulas and variables are given to it, and it churns out data based on those formulas and variables. Sometimes they are correct, and sometimes they are not.

But in answer to you question, the Bush tax cuts added nothing, $0.00, nada, to the deficit. Congressional spending added to the deficit. Allowing me to keep more of my money is irrelevant to the deficit. It takes an appropriation of Congress, signed by the President, to spend money. If the appropriations are higher than the revenue the government receives, than a deficit occurs.

But that's Civics 101, and I'm guessing you already know this, so I'm wondering why you would ask a question you already knew the answer to?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Errum, troll, why don't you look into the CBO's methodology rather than think of it as a black box.

I do love your theory. I hereby propose that all taxes be reduced to zero! Nothing. Nada. This, of course, will have NO effect whatsoever on the deficit.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 28, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: "Not sure who posted this, but it's another example of some Conservative coming on an anonymous message board to spout Conservative Things. End-of-life counseling doesn't mean to forgo chemo or surgery. In fact, the patient could make the decision for the doctor to perform surgery or undergo further chemo."

I said it. I'm not anonymous, I'm not spouting Conservative Things (but if it makes you feel better to take a reductive approach to any challenging or threatening ideas, I understand), and never said that end-of-life counseling was synonymous with euthenasia. And what sort of sick so-and-so would just assume that's what I meant, I just don't know. ;)

"12BB, I don't think you can really deny that the Conservatives on here are sick pieces of ††††† to say things like this."

Speaking of Liberals saying their Liberal Things to be a part of the Liberal Club . . . I think you could use that as an example. If you wanted.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

So you are admitting that end of life counseling, which is tantamount to a living will, is "sensible?" Indeed it is. So why are you mischaracterizing it by calling it a 'death panel?"

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 9:23 PM
-----

I think you have me mixed up with one of DDAWD's caricatures. I specifically promised not to use the term "death panels".

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"Hitler's genocide was to unite Germany against common foes. Stalin's gulags were meant to stifle dissent."

I don't think either of these motive statements are true, but that doesn't matter. That is a different topic.

In the post sword fight era, the pedigree of power is always manufactured. The things people say to win elections, the way people come to power and if they way too much...how they get to place where they become evil, that is the interesting part. All powerful people have to be stopped.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, I think a lot of the evil comes about as a need to maintain power. In our Democracy, there is very little that is more evil than Republicans saying that end-of-life discussions are death panels. And they say that out of a need to win elections.

And even with dictatorships, a lot of the evils we saw was based of a need to maintain power. Hitler's genocide was to unite Germany against common foes. Stalin's gulags were meant to stifle dissent.

------

Well, there you have it, shrink. The term "death panels" is simply beyond the pale. However, linking the Republican thirst for election victories to "evil" and "Hitler's genocide" and "Stalin's gulags"---well that's just reality for you. But DDAWD isn't seriously deranged. At least not much.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

"I do love your theory. I hereby propose that all taxes be reduced to zero! Nothing. Nada. This, of course, will have NO effect whatsoever on the deficit"
-------

Unless you spend money, you don't need money.

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

"Errum, troll, why don't you look into the CBO's methodology rather than think of it as a black box.

I do love your theory. I hereby propose that all taxes be reduced to zero! Nothing. Nada. This, of course, will have NO effect whatsoever on the deficit."

I have followed the CBO for years. They are only allowed the variables that Congress gives it. They also publish, for example, revenue projections based on more real world conditions, but those are almost never given any press coverage.

As far as tax reduction goes, the question from DDAWD was about the so-called Conservative "lies." However, I did not say that no taxes results in more revenue, just that, in some situations, a lower rate can produce more revenue. That tax rates affect behavior really isn't a mystery. High rates in Capital Gains taxes tend to influence people by having them hold onto assests rather than sell them. Would a Capital Gain tax rate of 90% on a sold asset cause you to hold onto that asset versus a lower rate? I'm guessing yes.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I wrote: "The main difference between rationing via public vs. private sector is likely to be the use of end-of-life counseling or hospice care as a way to avoid the expense of one more round of $500k worth of chemo treatments that ,statistically, don't have a great record of life extension."

12Bar asks: "Why is that likely?"

Caveat: that is, if there is ever any intention to contain costs, then that will be likely.

Why is it likely? Because it would be a good strategy, in the abstract, to contain costs. This isn't a novel or even particularly conservative idea: Paul Krugman agrees!

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

"No one is out there euthanizing people under hospice or advance directives either."

BTW, at no point have I said that HCR contains (or likely will contain) any provisions for euthanasia for the sake of cost containment, nor have I used to the term "death panel", nor do I agree with it.

During the healthcare debate, Obama himself suggested (or certainly seemed to, to me) that advising a very elderly person to skip the pacemaker and instead take a pill for pain (presumably in advance of dying in a natural and cost-saving way) was a possibility, if not a probability.

http://wn.com/Obama_in_The_Pacemaker_v_The_Pain_Pill

Death panels may indeed be overblown rhetoric, but the people who have questions and concerns are not inhumane, sick pieces of †††††, and they are just making it all up out of whole cloth, either. If they misunderstand, or are just wrong, fine. But folks like Krugman and Obama play a role in that. It ain't all Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I feel like I was just on the merry-go-round of crazy talk.
--------------------------------------------------

1. End of life counseling is equal to death panels.

2. Death panels will kill granny.

3. Granny is not being killed, in fact, granny is on Medicare and doing well.

4. Well, we didn't mean death panels now. We meant death panels in the future.

5. End of life counseling is just sensible planning.

6. I didn't say that end of life counseling is equal to death panels!

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

@JoBe: "low income tax rates, causes higher deficits."

I'm just curious--does government spending have any effect on deficits? Because I would think it does, but maybe I'm missing something.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

"sick pieces of †††††"

One Jesus and four criminals?
oh, a typo, I get it.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: "And even with dictatorships, a lot of the evils we saw was based of a need to maintain power. Hitler's genocide was to unite Germany against common foes. "

Is there any human being in this world more constantly and consistently vindicated in the crafting of their truisms (and relevant corollaries) than Mike Godwin?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

"Speaking of Liberals saying their Liberal Things to be a part of the Liberal Club . . . I think you could use that as an example. If you wanted.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis"

You can, but I already explained the difficulty with this.

Also, another difficulty is that you frequently see non-Conservatives disagree with each other on different things. I'm still waiting for the first time to see a Conservative disagree with a Conservative Thing.

Like really. You don't have to scroll up far to see someone say that the Bush tax cuts had zero effect on the deficit!!

And not ONE Conservative is going to come out and say how ridiculous this is. Not one.

This is the problem with trying to have a serious policy discussion with Conservatives. We don't ever get to the point of considering that perhaps the Bush tax cuts are worth the hit on the deficit because of economic growth or something like that. Instead, you people (let me scroll back up to get the exact quote) say

------------
"the Bush tax cuts added nothing, $0.00, nada, to the deficit."
------------

And there we have it. Good job.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

1. End of life counseling is equal to death panels.

2. Death panels will kill granny.

3. Granny is not being killed, in fact, granny is on Medicare and doing well.

4. Well, we didn't mean death panels now. We meant death panels in the future.

5. End of life counseling is just sensible planning.

6. I didn't say that end of life counseling is equal to death panels!


Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 28, 2010 9:50 PM
-----

So....have you got it all straight now?

Posted by: Brigade | December 28, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar: "I feel like I was just on the merry-go-round of crazy talk. "

In regards to whom? I'll be happy to recant, should you find an example where I suggested end-of-life counseling constitutes a death panel, or that end-of-life counseling is a bad idea, because I'm pretty sure I haven't.

@shrink2: "One Jesus and four criminals?"

No, that's multiple rapid iterations of the International Phonetic Alphabet symbol for the voiceless alveolar plosive. I thought that was obvious.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

"Is there any human being in this world more constantly and consistently vindicated in the crafting of their truisms (and relevant corollaries) than Mike Godwin?"

If you had not said relevant corollaries, then I would have so many examples...fie!

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: "This is the problem with trying to have a serious policy discussion with Conservatives."

You really want to? Because I'm certainly open to it, within the constraints of time. Of course, rates of taxation and spending both have an effect on the deficit, relative to each other. I assumed you knew this already, but if you need me to point it out to you, I will.

"We don't ever get to the point of considering that perhaps the Bush tax cuts are worth the hit on the deficit because of economic growth or something like that."

We're there now, aren't we? You and me? Right?

"Instead, you people"

Oh. "You people". Gotcha.

"(let me scroll back up to get the exact quote) say"

Um, I didn't say that. Someone else said that. "You people" apparently have a lot of trouble telling "us people" apart.

Interesting.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

""Is there any human being in this world more constantly and consistently vindicated in the crafting of their truisms (and relevant corollaries) than Mike Godwin?""

Murphy comes to mind ;-)

There DDAWD, I disagreed with another conservative.

Of course, as you said, everything I write is a lie. Especially the sentences in this comment.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

"I'm just curious--does government spending have any effect on deficits? Because I would think it does, but maybe I'm missing something.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis"

Of course it does. Government spending also has a stimulative effect on the economy. However, I've never seen anyone say that the stimulus leads to tax revenue greater than the cost of spending.

But Conservatives are so invested in being the party of deficit reduction, but they are also invested in being the party of tax cuts. If they were interested in being the party of government reduction, then fine, I'd say that tax cuts and deficit reduction were reconcilable.

But you're going to have to explain to me how Republicans spend six years of lowering taxes and increasing spending and claim to be interested in deficit reduction.

In fact, we can go back beyong the GWB years. Go and tell me where any Republican administration hasn't massively increased the deficit.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2: "If you had not said relevant corollaries, then I would have so many examples..."

I knew it. You're tricksy like that. I've always got to be thinking three skips and a jump ahead. ;)

"fie!"

I fail to see the relevance of the worldwide governing organization for amateur Olympic fencing to this discussion.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

"Um, I didn't say that. Someone else said that. "You people" apparently have a lot of trouble telling "us people" apart.

Interesting.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis"

Well, yeah, you all say the same things.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

@Troll: "There DDAWD, I disagreed with another conservative."

I am curious as to how on the one hand, conservatives all operate in mindless lockstep agreement (according to liberals), yet are always on the verge of cracking up/civil war/party implosion on the other. You would think those to concepts, both seemingly believed and defended with equal enthusiasm, would set up some sort of cognitive dissonance, but apparently not. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I'd take it back to Reagan. No Republican administration has reduced government spending. I'm hoping that the 112th Congress will propose appropriations that will reduce, significantly, government spending. If they don't, I'll vote for other candidates that I think will be most likely to significantly cut government spending.

"Well, yeah, you all say the same things."

So you're cool with stereotyping? That is interesting.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: "But you're going to have to explain to me how Republicans spend six years of lowering taxes and increasing spending and claim to be interested in deficit reduction."

I don't think they are, and I doubt they are going to be, and, even if they are serious, I don't believe they'll succeed in making it happen. The Republicans controlled everything and spent like drunken sailors. I'm not going to defend that behavior. It's my opinion that being a conservative and an elected politician are largely incompatible states of being. ;)

"In fact, we can go back beyong the GWB years. Go and tell me where any Republican administration hasn't massively increased the deficit."

Chester A. Arthur. Benjamin Harrison? There have been a few.

One of the largest increases in expensive and intrusive government (and the legacy thereof) happened under Richard M. Nixon, who was, indeed, a Republican.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 28, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I've never really thought it was too helpful to make blanket assertions about any "group" of people, conservatives, liberals, christians, atheists, blacks, whites, hispanics, asians, indians, muslims or whatever. About the time you start assuming you have them pegged, they surprise you with a contradiction to your theory. I was raised by an ultra-conservative father and I learned early on to separate the man from his conservative bona-fides and I'm proud to say I was more to him than just his liberal daughter.

It happens a lot on comment threads, I guess because of the anonymity, but I still find it to be somewhat disappointing when both sides assert "everything you ever wanted to know about (fill in the blank)". No one elected me to be the comment police though so it's just my opinion and has no real bearing on anything. LOL

Posted by: lmsinca | December 28, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think either of these motive statements are true, but that doesn't matter. That is a different topic.

In the post sword fight era, the pedigree of power is always manufactured. The things people say to win elections, the way people come to power and if they way too much...how they get to place where they become evil, that is the interesting part. All powerful people have to be stopped.

Posted by: shrink2"

You don't think there are any dictators in history that it would be good to immortalize and let them run the whole show?

But that's the good thing about our Democracy is that it prevents the concentration of power among too few people.

Of course the downside is that among the people electing our leaders are people who say "the Bush tax cuts added nothing, $0.00, nada, to the deficit."

It's problematic, but a necessary part of a Democracy.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

"There DDAWD, I disagreed with another conservative."

See, Obama's plan is working.

But I wonder if Jonathan Bernstein will want to do this again?
I mean, "who are these people?" More important, "Why don't they give a shït what I say?

I am so glad I am not a blog leader person. The difference between mattering and not, whether you are another content assimilation identity versus someone with ideas that matter.
It must be excruciating.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think they are, and I doubt they are going to be, and, even if they are serious, I don't believe they'll succeed in making it happen. The Republicans controlled everything and spent like drunken sailors. I'm not going to defend that behavior. It's my opinion that being a conservative and an elected politician are largely incompatible states of being. ;)"

So why do Conservatives vote Republican? Bill Clinton balanced the budget and you people insist that Republicans forced him into a balanced budget (while not forcing GWB into the same restrictions) What about the post Bush Democrats who passed a stimulus of less than a trillion dollars and a health care law that will save over a trillion dollars? And yet you talk about how Republicans are so fiscally responsible?

If you were truly a fiscal conservative, you wouldn't support a Republican candidate. It wouldn't cross your mind. Dems don't have a clean slate, but between the two parties, it's not even close.

The problem is that you aren't conservative. You're Conservative. So you have to say Conservative things no matter how false they may be.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

"I am curious as to how on the one hand, conservatives all operate in mindless lockstep agreement (according to liberals), yet are always on the verge of cracking up/civil war/party implosion on the other. "

Well, bernie does not find it cognitively dissonant. He's convinced it's all a ruse orchestrated by That Magnificent B*st*rd, Rove (on orders from My Dark Lord, Cheney [Chaos Be Upon Him]) and dutifully reported to us rubes by their co-conspiracists, the Main Stream Media. My only question for bernie is how Olbermman, an employee of one of the largest recipients of government money, is somehow independent of this cabal. Or why his employer would allow him to be. That's true cognitive dissonance.

I'm guessing that DDAWD will now expect a word for word copy of this post. QB1, can you help him out?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

"You don't think there are any dictators in history that it would be good to immortalize and let them run the whole show?"

No.

Sure, I could, but no one wants me to run the whole show, not even my kids.

That is the important problem.
No one asks them,
they have to fight to get there.
Something happens on the way to absolute power.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis and Troll, I think the story is that we conservatives are supposedly all running lockstep off a cliff. At least are not afraid to answer questions in the meantime.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 28, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

"I am curious as to how on the one hand, conservatives all operate in mindless lockstep agreement (according to liberals), yet are always on the verge of cracking up/civil war/party implosion on the other. You would think those to concepts, both seemingly believed and defended with equal enthusiasm, would set up some sort of cognitive dissonance, but apparently not. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis"

If there's any cognitive dissonance or even a hint a disagreement between the Conservative posters on this board, I must have missed it. I hadn't been on here much during my rotation and fourteen hours a day in the hospital. I guess that must have been the time that you all were having all your arguments.

Glad to see that you people decided to start agreeing on everything for the holiday season.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

"If there's any cognitive dissonance or even a hint a disagreement between the Conservative posters on this board, I must have missed it. I hadn't been on here much during my rotation and fourteen hours a day in the hospital. I guess that must have been the time that you all were having all your arguments."

kinda funny, your opinion on conservatives (or should I write Conservatives) on this board and not having cognitive dissonance. That is an area in which we agree!

But, in your opinion, is it disagreements amongst like minded people that confer legitimacy? If so, Kevin, I propose that Social Security be phased out over the next 15 years. If you say either 14 or 16 years, we will become legitimate in DDAWD's eyes. If you disagree entirely, he may feint.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

"Something happens on the way to absolute power."

The fear of losing it?

But then leadership isn't always about power, sometimes it's just a natural instinct and then I think it's less corruptible. If the goal is power or control and ego driven then I think the "end justifies the means" is what matters and maintaining control becomes the goal.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 28, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

"The fear of losing it?

But then leadership isn't always about power, sometimes it's just a natural instinct and then I think it's less corruptible. If the goal is power or control and ego driven then I think the "end justifies the means" is what matters and maintaining control becomes the goal.

Posted by: lmsinca"

Yeah, I think the two major corrupting factors in absolute power are enrichment and maintenance of power and I think the abuses resulting from desire to maintain power far outstrips the abuses resulting from the desire to self-enrich.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

DD, you should set them against each other. Making fun of their FOX talking points, the pathos of forced ideological homogeneity. Wrong! It draws them together.

You have to throw gasoline on the smoldering little hot spots. Intimate how Romney could crush Palin in a fake hair cage match.
Get Barbour into Iowa with a real lipstick on the pig contest.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I think their complete agreement is much funnier than any discord I could stir up, Shrink. I just love how they feel the need to say these Conservative Things and defend them. If they weren't so invested in their Conservative Things, you wouldn't get gems like, "the Bush tax cuts added nothing, $0.00, nada, to the deficit."

Of course, it gets dirty when they resort to their death panel talk, but that's just part of the package.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 28, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

"Something happens on the way to absolute power.
The fear of losing it?"

No. the way people gain absolute power is by losing the fear of losing it.

The most successful predators are not risk takers. They have a special ability to spot weakness, vulnerability, to wait...and act with everything they can bring to the kill when the time is right.

People who fear losing power are domestic violence perps, minor gangsters, corrupt politicians...

Posted by: shrink2 | December 28, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah me too. Considering that the supposed up and coming young gun Paul Ryan worships at the feet of Ayn Rand, I suppose we'll be waiting a little longer still. Did you know he makes all his staffers read Atlas Shrugged before they go to work for him?

==

Geneva Conventions violation. What tedious unreadable tripe. Rand was a deeply disturbed woman whose life is wholly explained by having been taken down a few pegs from their snooty hauteur by the Bolsheviks.

"Atlas" is about the worst piece of writing I'd ever attempted until maybe Cillizza came along

Posted by: caothien9 | December 28, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

shrink

I guess I thought we were talking about corrupt politicians not just purely evil dictators or sociopaths.

cao

Agree re "Atlas". I think the new-found fascination is just an illusion to distinguish the pre 2008 conservative from today's conservative, a re-branding if you will, for obvious reasons. I'm just surprised it's lasted this long.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 28, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

First, I think an argument can, and currently is being made that Anthropogenic Global Warming, or AGW, is not occurring.

==

Deception Alert: passive voice

The argument "is being made" by denial of immedialtely observable physical evidence sponsored by corporations who make money sellig the petroleum whose combustion is driving anthopogenic global warming.

The unfortunate neolgogism "Climate Change" had to be created to combat gibbering conservatives who who hooted that the fact some places are actually cooling (as predicted by the Global WARMING model) is some sort of counter-evidence.

When England has the same climate as Iceland while pple are dying of heatstroke in the southern USA, gibbering conservatives will be ignoring the latter and doing their little aboriginal taunting dance about the former.

It's called "stupidity," and it's very common among people who recite Conservative Things.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 28, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, I am still opposed to the so-called 9/11 First Responders bill even though the "conservatives" Senators don't.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 28, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar: "I feel like I was just on the merry-go-round of crazy talk. "

That is exactly where you have been, and will continue to be, when you are talking to people who live down the rabbit hole where tax cuts are paid for with more tax cuts. This is a very well-developed meme, a catechism, and trying to reason with them works just about as well as trying to reason with someone about science versus the Bible -- they have all the answers -- it's written down, right here! and no facts you can present will change their opinion.

all you will get is attacked, and it's tedious.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 28, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

"The unfortunate neolgogism "Climate Change" had to be created to combat gibbering conservatives who who hooted that the fact some places are actually cooling (as predicted by the Global WARMING model) is some sort of counter-evidence."

That's what I told DDAWD, "Finally, I think the correct term now is "Climate Change" not Global Warming. Gaia appreciates the latest euphemisms. " Hope dude listens.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I've never really thought it was too helpful to make blanket assertions about any "group" of people, conservatives, liberals, christians, atheists, blacks, whites, hispanics, asians, indians, muslims or whatever.

==

Yes it's so much more preferable to water down a generalization that's 99.99% true with sematically weakening qualifiers and hedges.

Note that conservatives have no such scruples.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 28, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

"Yes it's so much more preferable to water down a generalization that's 99.99% true with sematically weakening qualifiers and hedges."

Interesting. What what are the groups of "others" that you would happily make generalizations about?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 28, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

You can name them yourself, Troll, you Conservative Town Criers do it all the time.

Whimpering about the evils of generalization is asinine. Generalization is THE most powerful tool in the logical palette for making sense of the world, because things actually do fall very neatly into categories.

And as DDAWD is doing a great job of pointing out, Conservative People strive harder than anyone to fit perfectly into a single homogenous group.

There's fewer Conservative People who disagree on anything than there are female mammals without mammary glands or insects without chitin.

You guys are, to quote the immortal Paddy Chayevsky from Network, as interchangeable as piston rods.

And thanks for Removing All Doubt with that doozy about the Bush tax cuts, you gibbering moron.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 28, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

About the tax cut thing: the assertion fails because of the difference in the exponential relationship. The assertion is that taxation is a drain on the economy and that lower taxes will lead to greater investment and greater growth, making up for the lower taxation rate.

Ignoring for now that they greater investment doesn't happen, let's pretend it does and do a little math. Warning, conservatives, numbers ahead. Ewww.

Suppose you cut taxes in half. For increased growth to compensate, taxable income has to increase not by half, but by its reciprocal: it need to to double. Cut taxes by 3/4 and taxable income needs to quadruple to make up lost revenue.

And just as a data point, none of this has ever materialized, because when corporations get to keep too much of "their money" they tend to lavish it upon themselves, on executive perks, and what little they do invest they tend to send offshore when they're not "hamstrung" by pesky workplace safety laws, reasonable wages, and environmental regulations.

But it's that numerical relationship that kills the whole idiotic belief. Even allowing that investment, the required returns DON'T MATCH UP.

Tax cuts are O(1), benefit of tax cuts would have to be O(2).

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

"And thanks for Removing All Doubt with that doozy about the Bush tax cuts, you gibbering moron."

Thank you for sharing your personal assesment of my intellect. I shall cherish it forever.

Why does a difference of political opinion displease you so, if a "gibbering moron" can ask?

Just out of curiosity, and raging stupidity on my part, why did you capitalize the first letters of Removing All Doubt?

And please use small words. Afterwords, it might help your mental wellbeing to add me to your trollblocker. Calling someone a "gibbering moron," granted that it is "technically correct" in my case, isn't really an indicator of a positive, well balanced mood. I appear to "enrage" you and, frankly, I won't stand for that. I will not be responsible for your misery when your deliverance is so near at hand. if you want, I can ask Kevin_Willis to repost the directions on how to add me you your current "blocked" list. Don't forget, TrollMcWingnut is all one word.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Why does a difference of political opinion displease you so, if a "gibbering moron" can ask?

==

Because it isn't a "difference of political opinion, it's a flat-out lie offered in the form of a two-handed shove to the chest.

As though subtracting a postive integer from a larger positive integer leaves the larger one with its original value. An insult to the intelligence at that level of raw idiocy deserves the response I gave.

It underscores the extent to which your alleged mind has ceased to function in any logically useful way anywhere your miserable ideology is concerned. Just like so many other Conservative Things, like denial of science and the absurd notion that lawlessness is the result of too many laws.

You are an idiot.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

He capitalized the first letters of Removing All Doubt to add emphasis (but trashed conservatives who use ALL CAPS to emphasize).

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 29, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

"It underscores the extent to which your alleged mind has ceased to function in any logically useful way anywhere your miserable ideology is concerned. Just like so many other Conservative Things, like denial of science and the absurd notion that lawlessness is the result of too many laws.

You are an idiot."

Again, thank you for your assessment of me. Your ability to see through to my true nature is both fascinating and breathtaking.

But where, in what I have written, is the lie that says that reducing taxes forces the government to borrow and/or print more money? Just because the government decides to take less of what I earn (am I the true owner of the money I earn? I think so, but you may not) does not mean that it must spend as if it's not receiving less revenue. I'm not a Keynesian, so the whole "multiplyer effect" is lost on me. And my "idiocy" I suppose.

Another stupid question I have is why you equate a supposed lie to a physical assault? You wrote "it's a flat-out lie offered in the form of a two-handed shove to the chest." I'm in Texas and have been for at least the last 6 months. If my understanding is correct, you live in Vietnam. I have in no way physically touched you, or any one else for that matter, in a "two-handed shove to the chest." I can't even remember the last time I even did that, maybe when I was in the service years ago, I don't know. So why accuse me of assault? It comes across as kinda weird.

And please, I beg you, use small words. "Underscores" and "lawlessness" are words that are impossible for me to understand, which, as smart as you are, must be abundantly clear. I'm sure your peers here recognize the high level of your intellect, so it's obvious you've no need to impress them. The only thing I can think of is that you think it intimidates me. Let me assure you, I'm too idiotic to be intimidated. It's lost on "me".

But who, ultimatly, am I, but a "gibbering moron." You always have and always will know what's best.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 29, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

"Yes it's so much more preferable to water down a generalization that's 99.99% true with sematically weakening qualifiers and hedges."

"Note that conservatives have no such scruples."

Maybe not, but the scruples I care about are my own. I don't qualify or hedge my opinions, but I've always been more honey than vinegar. Yikes a personality conflict. :)

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse


The first new rule says you HAVE to have insurance. Both my husband and I have pre-existing conditions, and although the new bill says we can't be denied coverage because of it. So far, the cheapest health insurance we've been able to find is called "Wise Health Insurance" search for it online if you are pre-existing conditions.

Posted by: josephpatel | December 29, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Sorry lmsinca (am I spelling that right?) but this whole thing about "I don't like classifications and labels" really needs to stop. Fighting generaliztion is like fighting the organization of simple subunits into complex organizations; both are part of how the universe is put together. And both are extremely useful models that fall slightly short of being absolute. We shouldn't use that "slightly short" quality as a justification to re-examine the essential truth any more than air resistance on feathers shouild lead to a re-examination of Newtonian gravity.

And this is particularly true in political speech where one side has no real regard for truth or honesty and will gleeflully take any argument short of absolutism as reason to discard it completely .. like taking the usual buzzwords of prudent scientific caution to claim that real doubts exist about the theory of evolution or the global waming model.

So, yeah, I say "conservatives are liars," where a mighrt more accurately say "almost all conservaties are liars." It would take something like pictures on milk cartons to find that rare conservative who doesn't recite whatever lies he needs to embrace to qu
alify as a member of the club; yeah they may exist, but the honest ones who were merely small-government types dropped out long ago and we don;t hear from them anymore.

All we hear from now are the "cutting taxes increases revenue" types and the "supporting Isreal discourages Mulsim terrorists" types and the "taxation is theft" types.

These people aren't functioning intellectually.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

More gibberish from caothien9:

"The argument "is being made" by denial of immedialtely observable physical evidence sponsored by corporations who make money sellig the petroleum whose combustion is driving anthopogenic global warming."

What, no links? I guess we'll just have to take his word for it.

---

"The unfortunate neolgogism "Climate Change" had to be created to combat gibbering conservatives who who hooted that the fact some places are actually cooling (as predicted by the Global WARMING model) is some sort of counter-evidence."

One of the obvious weaknesses of "Climate Change", like "the theory of evolution", is that its proponents fashion it in such a way that it becomes unfalsifiable rather than true. There is no conceivable piece of evidence that cannot be assimilated by tweaking the theories a bit here and there.

It would be more helpful if some scientists would stick to what they know and what is demonstrable rather than making broad, sweeping generalizations that in many cases are indistinguishable from science-fiction. As caothien9 points out, Global Warming must be true because even if the earth is cooling, there is somewhere some subset of the theory that can accomodate even contradictory evidence.

Posted by: Brigade | December 29, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

In addition, there obviously are honest, small-government conservatives who think for ourselves. As I said, previously, I still oppose the so-called 9/11 First Responders bill. I can't wait for Speaker Boehner to implement his plan to require EVERY bill to state explicitly under what Constitutional authority it is being proposed. That should cut down on a lot of unconstitutional legislation right there.

At least we aren't the ones afraid of answering simple questions.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 29, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Dennis Dutton, founder of what has always been for me the best site anywhere on the web, died...

http://www.aldaily.com/

Posted by: bernielatham | December 29, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Some data for those who interested...

Israeli population stands at 7,695,000 at end of 2010
Central Bureau of Statistics: 75.4% of population is Jewish, 20.4% is Arab and 4.2% is of other ethnicity.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israeli-population-stands-at-7-695-000-at-end-of-2010-1.334071

Posted by: bernielatham | December 29, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

12Bar:

"If the government is going to inevitably ration care, why aren't they doing it now?"

Because, despite the propaganda claims, they are not in fact concerned with containing costs. As I said repeatedly back during the Obamacare debates, if the government is going to start paying for health care, there damn well better be rationing. While I would be willing to pay quite a lot for even just a few extra months with my loved ones, I'm not nearly so willing to pay quite so much for a bunch of strangers I've never met.

If socialized medicine is our future, I say bring on the death panels. We're going to need them.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Conservatives had to make up their own Wikipedia? What does that say about them?

http://liberapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

One wonders.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

12Bar:

"Every other civilized nation on earth has a better and cheaper healthcare system than we do..."

I guess, then, you don't consider the UK to be a civilized nation?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I would really like to see a single healthcare system for everyone, with everyone pooled into the same account, for lots of reasons .. removal of the waste in paying outrageuous executive salaries, removing the wasteful duplication of effort we call "competition," economies of scale, and so on.

Also one other reason.

Americans would feel freer to Butt In on others' negligent habits. Smokers and obese people would get dirty looks and snide remarks about running up costs and it's be another nicentive to start acting in a self-preserving fashion. In some cases it would be the tipping point, and when you multiply this but hundreds of millions of people it might be possible to get tobacco illegal at last.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "If socialized medicine is our future, I say bring on the death panels. We're going to need them."

You and Paul Krugman. And, from a strictly non-emotional standpoint, I think you'd (and Krugman, and the government) would be right.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Josh at TPM points to this David Remnick Q and A comment on Israel and American jews...

"Do you see a certain change in the US Jewish community?

“A new generation of Jews is growing up in the US. Their relationship with Israel is becoming less patient and more problematic. They see what has happened with the Rabbinical Letter [proscribing rental and sale of property to Arabs -- DR], for example. How long can you expect that they’ll love unconditionally the place called Israel [sic]? You’ve got a problem. You have the status of an occupier since 1967. It’s been happening for so long that even people like me, who understand that not only one side is responsible for the conflict and that the Palestinians missed an historic opportunity for peace in 2000, can’t take it anymore.

“The US administration is trying out of good will to get a peace process moving and in return Israel lays out conditions like the release Jonathan Pollard. Sorry, it can’t go on this way. The Jewish community is not just a nice breakfast at the Regency. You think it’s bad that a US President is trying to make an effort to promote peace? That’s what’s hurting your feelings? Give me a break, you’ve got bigger problems. A shopping list in exchange for a two month moratorium on settlement construction? Jesus [sic].”

http://coteret.com/2010/12/26/new-yorker-editor-david-remnick-to-yediot-i-cant-take-the-occupation-anymore/

Posted by: bernielatham | December 29, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

caothien:

"because when corporations get to keep too much of "their money"..."

How does one determine how much "too much" is?

And, in regards to "their money" if the money earned by the corporation does not belong to owners of the corporation, who does it belong to?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

And oh, yeah, we could have public information campaigns to get people to exercise.

A few months go when my last contract job was winding down and I was considering getting one last job before moving (unrealistic, as it turned out, the move took up all my time and I even had to give up blogging). I went to an interview about 20 blocks from my job, thought downtown Seattle, my first time around a huge crowd in a long time. Only place I see a lot of peolple is at the gym, and that's a select group, people who work out.

I was horrified.

My fellow Americans ...! They looked like they were sruvivors of a nuclear attack an hour ago. Stressed out like crazy, many of them fat, and not just a little, many obviously drinking a lot or using narcotics, weaving as they walked,ugly facial hair growth .. the people I was seeing were NOT TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES.

OK, downtown is only slightly more random a sample than my gym, but it was pretty damned shocking how bad Americans look, how unhealthy, how stressed.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

How does one determine how much "too much" is?

==

Any argument predicated on "who gets to decide" has already lost. Find a real question.

Corporations make their money by virtue of operating inside a scaffold that provides them with the means to do business. That includes literate workers, roads and highways to bring workers to work and goods to market, a reasonably stable society where they can make reliable predictions about tomorrow ... all this costs money. To expect to do business in that scaffold means doing one's part to support it.

And, frankly, anyone who uses the phrase "my money" or variations thereof in a public policy discussion is "below the salt" intellectually and should be shunned.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"And oh, yeah, we could have public information campaigns to get people to exercise."

Why waste time and money with silly information campaigns when we could simply pass a law? Mandatory exercise every day. And we could have grooming laws as well, you know, standards for what kind of facial hair will be allowed 9or even required!) and such. And of course everyone will be required to change their underwear 3 times each day. And they will have to wear it on the outside, so it can checked easily.

It'll be a regular lefty utopia.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"Any argument predicated on "who gets to decide" has already lost. Find a real question."

You made the reference to "too much". I am simply wondering how one can know how much is too much. If one is to advance a policy position which is a function of something being "too much", as you have done, then one must be able to determine how much is "too much". Otherwise the position is incoherent.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"And, frankly, anyone who uses the phrase "my money" or variations thereof in a public policy discussion is "below the salt" intellectually and should be shunned."

I see. So, in other words, you have no coherent answer to the question "Who does the money belong to".

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I gather from the snideness and hyperbole of your response that you didn't like what I had to say but are unable to come up with a convincing rebuttal, hence the sputtering.

I take it, then, that you're out of shape, and a smoker? Thought so.

I have the luxurry of being neither. Being a gay man and hence hopelessly narcissistic, I observe a healthy lifestyle and I exercise five or six times a week.

I no doubt feel a lot better than you do, and opening a spring-loaded door doesn't make me dizzy, nor does taking two flights of stairs.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I see. So, in other words, you have no coherent answer to the question "Who does the money belong to".

==

I don't fake coherent answers to nonsensical qjuestions. If the answer I gave is to intricate for you, maybe the whole topic is too.

"Who does the money belong to" doesn't have a nice simple answer satisfactory to a simple mind.

That "scaffold" I mentioned, the society within which business is done, is akin to borrowed money. If you borrow a million from an investor and then make two million dollars, "who does that two million belong to?"

Are you really this stupid or are you faking it out of monumental boredom?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"Sorry lmsinca (am I spelling that right?)" Yes.

And cao, you're clearly a smart guy, but I don't believe your absolutes are quite as solid as you think they are. All I can say is in our house we celebrate differences, not only of opinion, but looks, talent, lifestyle, intellect, everything. I see no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water, it's an old cliche, but one that works for me.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

ScottC3, you will never get the honest answer to "how one can know how much is too much."

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 29, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

@SCottC3: "And, in regards to 'their money' if the money earned by the corporation does not belong to owners of the corporation, who does it belong to?"

Well, the means of production should belong to the workers. I would think that would be obvious by now!

However, I'm not sure what the debate on this particular issue is. Don't we already have some of the highest corporate tax rates in the world? I could understand closing loopholes that allow corporations that do billions of dollars in business in America to somehow escape paying taxes, but most American companies don't have that luxury, and thus they pay some of the highest corporate taxes in the world.

Presumably this is a condemnation on the part of Cao of European and South American and Asian countries with lower corporate tax burdens than the U.S.?

@Cao: "Are you really this stupid or are you faking it out of monumental boredom?"

Oh, snap! Oh no you di'int. You, my friend, are definitely ready to go 9 rounds in the Yo Momma So Fat Throw Down. Or at least be one a 7 special guests on Jerry Springer.

Jerry Springer. Heh. I must be showing my age. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

@cao: "Also one other reason."

Naturally.

"Americans would feel freer to Butt In on others' negligent habits."

Or report them to the local authorities, should one see them consuming more than their allotted amount of saturated fats.

"Smokers and obese people would get dirty looks and snide remarks"

And regularly be the subject of the two-minutes hate.

"about running up costs and it's be another nicentive to start acting in a self-preserving fashion. In some cases it would be the tipping point, and when you multiply this but hundreds of millions of people it might be possible to get tobacco illegal at last."

Indeed. It will be a perfection of the Orwell's 1984--but instead of sexcrimes you will have "healthcrimes".

And, of course, you will still have thoughtcrimes. That will remain unchanged.

What? Is my hyperbole showing?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

@clawrence: "ScottC3, you will never get the honest answer to 'how one can know how much is too much.'"

Well, not from some people, but there are answers. There are two of them, and they are the only honest answers:

1. Anyone making more than I am currently is making "too much".
2. Anyone making more than I can envision myself ever making in the future is making "too much".

All other answers are attempts at fraud or misdirection.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

He can't go nine rounds here. It's almost bedtime in Vietnam. For all we know, he's already there with the unfortunate, little neighbor boy who was so interested in candy / iPad.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 29, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"About the tax cut thing: the assertion fails because of the difference in the exponential relationship."

I'm no mathemetician, but I don't think a reciprocal is an exponent. Is this a new Liberal Thing?

"The assertion is that taxation is a drain on the economy and that lower taxes will lead to greater investment and greater growth, making up for the lower taxation rate."

Taxes are a drain. That isn't debatable.

Arguments about how tax rates affect economic behavior and resulting revenue are not nearly as simple or one dimensional as your reductionist "assertion." But we understand: you aren't engaged in honest discussion. You are saying Liberal Things.

"Suppose you cut taxes in half. For increased growth to compensate, taxable income has to increase not by half, but by its reciprocal: it need to to double. Cut taxes by 3/4 and taxable income needs to quadruple to make up lost revenue."

And yet it remains a fact that reducing the tax rate on X can either reduce or increase tax revenue from X, depending on all the other variables, because taxes change the incentives to do X. A wealth of economic data proves it.

Alan Reynolds had some good examples in the WSJ last week disproving your clumsy claim. He showed how, for example, capital gains tax revenue was higher during a worse stock market but lower rate period under Bush than during the height of the tech boom. You go ahead and find an explanation for that other than that there were more stock transactions hence realized gains when rates were lower.

One of the flaws in your simplistic "analysis" is that it is just that: unrealistically simplistic. You assume, for example, that people have only one choice. In the real world, they don't. They have many income-producing and non-income-producing choices.

We can also turn your "analysis" around and note that, if the tax rate on X is doubled, it will only increase revenue from taxing X if doubling the tax rate reduces income realized from X by less than half. What does that prove? No more than your simplistic "analysis." In the real world, however, doubling the tax rate might very well result in income realization falling by more than half. Oops.

Part of your oversimplification problem is also that you don't deal with progressivity and marginal rates. Take those filthy rich capitalist pigs living a life of luxury earning over 250k. Take a $300k robber baron. Now double the rate to 70% on that last 50k. We're now going to take 35k out of that, plus state and other taxes, leaving him probably less than 10k.

For plenty of people, the difference between earning that last 50k is a huge investment in additional work, time taken from family, stress, etc. I can tell you that's the case from personal experience. Guess what, people respond to those incentives, and plenty won't bother with the extra work and stress to earn that last 50k to keep less than 10.

You understand nothing about real world economics.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@clawrence: "He can't go nine rounds here. It's almost bedtime in Vietnam. For all we know, he's already there with the unfortunate, little neighbor boy who was so interested in candy / iPad."

Now, now, Claw. You're beginning to sound a little like Cao. Next you'll be saying that people who disagree with you ideologically should be denied food and water. Or was that DDAWD? ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

As the New Year approaches, we're beginning to see all the best/worst from 2010. Les Leopold has the top ten lies from Wall Street. I particularly enjoyed this one.

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

9. "Tim Geithner extolled 'the benefits of financial innovation' to the American economy." (Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2010)
Sorry to beat up on Tim again, but it's sometimes hard to tell who he's working for. Whenever you hear the phrase "financial innovation" put your hand on your wallet. That's the phrase Wall Street uses to justify its casinos and its outlandish profits and bonuses. People who talk about "financial innovation" are either getting big bucks on Wall Street, want more bucks on Wall Street, or hope to get a job on Wall Street the nano-second their public service ends. My question for Tim is: If Apple creates iPhones, what does Wall Street create? Warren Buffett says it creates "financial weapons of mass destruction." Paul Volcker, Reagan's Fed Chair, said there is not a "shred of evidence" that "financial innovation" is beneficial. Volcker also believes that the economy "was quite good in the 1980s without credit-default swaps and without securitization and without CDOs." Volcker gets the Smartest Wall Street Quote of the Year Award: "The most important financial innovation I've seen in the last 25 years is the automatic teller machine." How could Tim get it so wrong?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/les-leopold/wall-streets-ten-biggest_b_802191.html

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"ScottC3, you will never get the honest answer to "how one can know how much is too much."

What isn't available is an easy, formulaic answer. As cao points out, the existence of community infrastructure (put in place by the collective contributions, organization and labor of the citizenry) is a necessary and prior contribution to a corporation's ability to make profit. What's the proper level of recompense that corporation ought to make to the community for this?

Further, what is the proper level of contribution that ought to be made to ensure that such infrastructure is maintained and improved? Is it zero?

And if, as is common, some tax benefits are proffered to the corporation from the community, what responsibility does that corporation have to deliver benefits back to that community?

And if your corporate activity causes some degradation of the air or water or land within that community, what level of recompense is due? And who will be on guard to ensure business entities (or individuals) do not cause such pollution or at least correct it when it happens and who ought to pay/contribute for such monitoring?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 29, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis, if you keep quoting those of us being "blocked" by your freeware, you are going to get blocked too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 29, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Crony capitalism looks the same everywhere...

(AP) — China plans to crack down in the coming year on lavish parties and seminars organized by government officials, hoping to placate a public angered by corruption and accounts of sex and booze-fueled fetes held at taxpayer expense...China's booming economic growth has led to an ever-larger gap between rich and poor and a surge in corruption that brings unwanted public criticism...."

The only difference is that here in America, there are these people who call themselves conservative who think pay to play crony capitalism is great. They brought in a Supreme Court that decided to write unlimited, anonymous, corporate political "contributions" into our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

No, that was Cao. I have a long ways to catch up to him.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 29, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"I gather from the snideness and hyperbole of your response that you didn't like what I had to say but are unable to come up with a convincing rebuttal..."

Rebuttal to what? The notion that downtown Seattle is a reasonable representation of the nation's population is silly enough not to really require a rebuttal. Besides which, I think people ought to be free (a concept you may not be too keen on, I suspect) to be as fat as they want to be.

"I take it, then, that you're out of shape, and a smoker? Thought so."

It seems that you "think so" about quite a lot of things that, well, aren't so.

"If the answer I gave is to intricate for you..."

You didn't give an answer. You explicitly avoided doing so.

""Who does the money belong to" doesn't have a nice simple answer satisfactory to a simple mind."

A reading of your response suggests that it doesn't have any answer whatsoever, simple or complex.

"That "scaffold" I mentioned, the society within which business is done, is akin to borrowed money."

Borrowed from who, and how did this lender get it to lend? You seem to have a whole lot of unexamined, and frankly incoherent, premises on which your thinking is based. Perhaps we should delve further into first principles and your understanding of wealth and its creation.

"If you borrow a million from an investor and then make two million dollars, "who does that two million belong to?"

It depends entirely on the agreement made between you and the investor. Obviously. But is the investor's money actually his to begin with? You seem to think not.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

To those wondering what the Vietnamese communist's answer is to "whose money is it," it's very simple: he is a communist. And he isn't even a "humane" "real communism has never been tried" communist. He idolizes Stalin's "development" of the Soviet Union.

Like all such communists, of course, his collectivism doesn't really apply to himself, though. His money is his money. So is yours.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

shrink2, you mean the very same Supreme Court that decided to write unlimited abortion on demand into our Constitution and Bill of Rights?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 29, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"They brought in a Supreme Court that decided to write unlimited, anonymous, corporate political "contributions" into our Constitution and Bill of Rights."

Gee, shrink, I would almost think you are again pontificating on something you know nothing about. Citizens United has nothing to do with contributions. So what case are you talking about?

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Human, all too human,

"President Hu Jintao gave a speech in April warning officials of the temptations of beautiful women, money and power."

The official thinks, "How much is too much? Didn't I earn it the old fashioned way, or if it isn't mine, whose is it? And who is this President trying to tell me how to live my life, as if he didn't care about power as he got to the top."

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"What isn't available is an easy, formulaic answer."

Perhaps, but when one advances a position founded on the notion of "too much", one ought to have at least some general idea of determining how much is "too much".

BTW, it is notable that even making my posts invisible does not spare you the apparent need to respond to me. Very amusing.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

@caothien9: "An insult to the intelligence at that level of raw idiocy deserves the response I gave."

Aren't rationalizations such fabulous things? They excuse any degree of poor behavior, acting-out, or temper-tantrums for which we are much too old to be having. If only they were more compelling to people other than ourselves.

"It underscores the extent to which your alleged mind has ceased to function in any logically useful way anywhere your miserable ideology is concerned."

You can tell a lot from very minor interactions with a handful of people on a message board. Either you are telepathic, or mistake a shallow gloss through self-congratulatory glasses as something that convey a much deeper degree of understanding that it really does.

Or, you just like to be rude to people, and your tissue-thin rationalizations provide you with a sufficient excuse to be hateful. Which, you know, if that tweaks your melon (what, Pauly Shore isn't cool any more?), I guess that's cool. Just, you know, it's good to know how it looks to people outside of your head. If you care about stuff like that.

"Just like so many other Conservative Things, like denial of science and the absurd notion that lawlessness is the result of too many laws."

I think that might be an over-simplification. Possibly.

"You are an idiot."

What's the point to that? What did that add to your argument? I can't speak for other people here, but, to me, it suggest you aren't serious, either about engaging people in debate or in your actual intellectual investment in your own professed ideological position. Name-calling is the lowest form of interaction, and serves mainly as grit in the gears of honest discussion. It is an attempt to prevent discussion, or intellectual engagement, or any honest effort to find common ground. Yet there may be some common ground, if we look for it. And, yes, there may be a lot we disagree with.

But calling people stupid is juvenile, unserious, and intellectually bereft as an argument (which doesn't mean the people making that argument are evil or stupid, as I'm sure they are all perfectly fine people). As is calling them evil. Not only is it completely insubstantial (really, what do we even mean when we use the word? And what evidence do we offer, other than your opinion varies too greatly from my own, so, rather than make any attempt to understand that, you're an idiot--or, a socialist, or an anti-Kenyan colonialist, depending on whose doing the finger pointing) . . . where was I? Ah, yes. Not only is it insubstantial, it accomplishes nothing, except, perhaps, serving to harden and ossify the views of the person so accused, and further convince them (and other observers, who perhaps are not as loquacious or sticking-their-nose-in-other-people's-business as me) that the name-caller is simply self-absorbed and close-minded, unwilling or incapable of engaging in serious debate.

And much serious debate followed by: "Your an idiot."? Wasted space. IMHO.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

See, this is one reason I don't get all choked up about freedom .. it's kind of like states' rights.

Nobody ever invokes it for anything good.

Orwell said freedom means being able to say two and two make four.

American conservatism says that freedom means being able to say that cutting taxes increases revenue.

And that being fat and lazy is the very epitome of liberty.

Yeah I'm getting all misty-eyed.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@shrink: "President Hu Jintao gave a speech in April warning officials of the temptations of beautiful women, money and power."

And I, a free market capitalist, Adam Smith devotee, and believer in the Invisible Hand, never have to worry about being tempted by beautiful women, money, or power.

Score one for our decadent western democracy!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

"What isn't available is an easy, formulaic answer. As cao points out, the existence of community infrastructure . . . ."

This is a familiar but circular argument at best. You have imagined an a priori society/economy to which the actor has not contributed. Your premise is false.

"Further, what is the proper level of contribution that ought to be made to ensure that such infrastructure is maintained and improved? Is it zero?"

As noted above, your premise is false. The actor has already "contributed," whatever that means.

"And if, as is common, some tax benefits are proffered to the corporation from the community, what responsibility does that corporation have to deliver benefits back to that community?"

Presumably, whatever deal they make. But the corporate business enterprise brings jobs, income, and economic activity. Why isn't the corporation a net contributor to the "community"?

It's always enlightening that the left has only "questions" about these matters but no answers. Their game is to complicate what isn't really complicated and try to pretent that their lack of a coherent account is a lack shared by everyone.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

qb:

Has he actually declared himself a communist?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Here's proof of Skip's first law of liberals: Hang around with a liberal long enough and ultimately they will show you their bigotry.

Here we go:
===================
And of all the people who don't care about the deficit, conservative Republican politicians are the most don't-caringest, because the thing they really do care about, low income tax rates, causes higher deficits.
==========================

It is one thing to be bigoted. It is another to be bigoted and stupid. The author of the above scores well on both counts.

The underlying assumption made by Mr Bernstein, and the garden variety liberals too, is that government spending MUST stay at its current levels. Therefore tax cuts, are to their narrow minds, just a deepening of our debt and deficits.

I understand this from a liberal's point of view. Government spending is a proxy measure for the size and scope of government. More government spending means more government, the liberal goal. Less government spending means less government, and the liberals simply cannot fathom that concept.

so I wish to thank Mr Bernstein. It took him less than a week to demonstrate the bigotry inherient in the current liberal mindset.

you go!

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 29, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@clawrence: "Kevin_Willis, if you keep quoting those of us being 'blocked' by your freeware, you are going to get blocked too."

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Myself, I only block occasionally, to clean up a thread that is becoming hard to follow, or if I get too tired of too many nonsensical posts. Then I undo.

If Bernie wants to block me? Tragedy! I can't tell you how heartbroken I would be. Yet, somehow, I would soldier on.

;)

Someone wants to block me, more power to 'em. It's just that sort of by-your-bootstraps rugged individualism that the WaPo Troll Hunter was written for.

Although I'm still po'd that ruk just ditched us and never came back. Some of the features that took the longest, like making an actual ignore button and moving names to the top of posts, were done with him in mind. Brat.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, there was a time, years ago, when I put real effort into debating conservatives. I'd put an hour or more into a post, writing carefully, coming up with my arguments. And what did it get me?

Repetition, snide and snotty answers, Brigage-like insults, and, most of all, recitation of the same absurd articles of faith that began the debate.

So, no, I no longer put serious effort into debating you guys, it's not worth it. When it comes to dealing with arguments outside Conservative Things, not a one of you can manage it. Then it's just condescension, mockery, derision,and,as in your case, steeple-fingered pomposity.

Don't like it? Put me in your own Troll Hunter list.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "Has he actually declared himself a communist?"

I had the same question. I could see how one would reach that conclusion based on the admittedly limited interactions of this forum (indeed, I'm not sure you could reach any other conclusion), but I did not know if he had made that information public.

That being said, he's clearly an ideal candidate for that Ministry of Truth position in some revived Soviet workers paradise. To whit:

"See, this is one reason I don't get all choked up about freedom ... Nobody ever invokes it for anything good."

Nobody ever invokes freedom for anything good. Excuse my minor blasphemy here, but Christ Almighty on a cracker.

It would not surprise to find that qb's assertions were dead-on accurate.

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

"Very amusing."

==

Passive-aggression expressed in the form of "amusing" is SO amateur, as in sixth grade polemics.

But then I was raised by experts. Olympic-grade passive-aggressives.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

qb:

"It's always enlightening that the left has only "questions" about these matters but no answers."

Agreed. Somehow Bernie/Cao thinks that (or pretends to think that) the absence of a reasonable, objective answer to such questions lends weight and justification to their positions regarding them. Very strange.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Scott,

He calls himself a collectivist. So, what does that mean? He loves to brag about having moved permanently to Vietnam and to wax poetic about how ideal it is to live under one-party communist rule there. He holds up the supposed "rapid development" of the Soviet Union as his economic model. He in particular admires the fact that they liquidated the "banker castes" and believes that was a key to the Soviets' supposed quick transformation from a feudal society to an industrial world power. He advocates the same for the USA, although he has disowned the country. He repeatedly said that, while he would be satisfied with mass imprisonment, he would prefer mass liquidation of the "bankers" and certainly wouldn't oppose it. In particular, he would favor rendering them into fish food.

No, I'm not kidding about any of that.

He did get engraged (as per usual) when I pointed out that Soviet "development" under Stalin was "achieved" through mass murder, induced famine, slave labor, and oppression of many millions. Apparently he didn't realize that Stalin was actually in charge for all of that. Not sure why it matters to him since he admires what was done.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I remember carefully crafted demonstrations of the fallacy of the "free" market, only free for some, not for others in every case and it just...never..worked.

Besides, no one comes to a post-it board to learn from people they disagree with. They either come to argue or to learn from people with whom they agree in some fundamental ways...kinda like the reason I chose real institutions of higher learning and not Bob Jones "university".

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"Passive-aggression expressed in the form of "amusing" is SO amateur..."

I wonder what amusement expressed in the form of "amusing" would be.

BTW, nice use of irony there, emphasising the characterization "amateur" with the capped "SO". Good self-parody. Very, dare I say, amusing.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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

@cao: "Kevin, there was a time, years ago, when I put real effort into debating conservatives. I'd put an hour or more into a post, writing carefully, coming up with my arguments. And what did it get me?"

I did not witness that. I only get to see what you're doing right now. And there is an easy way to avoid pointless (to your mind) debate, and yet not make yourself look like a schoolyard bully.

Ideological debates generally get us nothing but what we take away from them. Do we really intend for someone else to change our mind about something? Probably not. It's a personal exercise, mostly for our own benefit, usually designed to reinforce our dearly held beliefs, not honestly challenge them.

And, look, if you get off on calling people idiots, that's fine. But you probably accomplished more than you think with your hour-long posts you feel were wasted (because you're making that determination based on a lack of immediate, MTV-generation feedback, when, most times, if any of those seeds you planted grow into trees, you are never, ever going to know) than you are by salting the ground.

Not that I never salt the ground. I usually regret it, and didn't think I sounded the way I actually did when I said it, but . . . and I can name-call with the best of them. I just would prefer we didn't and, if we did, we can be a little more creative than "you are an idiot" or "you are a communist" (unless, of course, you actually are a communist, then I don't suppose it's really an insult) ... but if we aren't going to try and plant seeds, do we have to salt the ground?

"Repetition, snide and snotty answers, Brigage-like insults, and, most of all, recitation of the same absurd articles of faith that began the debate."

Then, other than making sure that the "s", "t", "u", "p", "i", and "d" keys on your keyboard are in fine working order, what's the point in engaging these neanderthals now? In a manner that, from an outsiders point of view, might make you seem to resemble your own remarks much more closely than perhaps it seems to you, from your perspective.

"So, no, I no longer put serious effort into debating you guys, it's not worth it."

But you'll take time to be rude. At least your priorities are in order.

"When it comes to dealing with arguments outside Conservative Things, not a one of you can manage it."

I'd argue that's a presumption sustained by faith, rather than an accurate reflection of reality. Given that you have not tried particularly hard--and calling people "idiots" does not really count--I don't think you know.

"Then it's just condescension, mockery, derision,"

Are you accusing others, or yourself, or justifying your own behavior based on the behavior of others? Because it's not clear to me--but, as you might already know, I'm not very smart.

"and,as in your case, steeple-fingered pomposity."

Man, that is so me. If I could steeple my fingers while nodding sagely while typing this, I would. Indeed, I am nodding sagely, right now.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Here is your free market capitalism, how it really works..


From Bloomberg

"What nobody’s saying publicly is that U.S. multinationals are already finding legal ways to avoid that tax. Over the years, they’ve brought cash home, tax-free, employing strategies with nicknames worthy of 1970s conspiracy thrillers -- including “the Killer B” and “the Deadly D.”...The argument that a new tax break for offshore earnings would generate a domestic stimulus “holds no water at all,” said Joel B. Slemrod, an economics professor at the University of Michigan’s school of business and former senior tax economist for President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. U.S. companies are already sitting on a record pile of cash -- $1.9 trillion in liquid assets, according to Federal Reserve data. The fact that they have these cash hoards suggests that investment is not being constrained by lack of cash,” Slemrod said.

U.S. multinationals boost earnings by shifting income out of the country via transfer pricing, a system that allows them to allocate costs to subsidiaries in high-tax countries and profits to tax havens. Google Inc., for example, cut its taxes by $3.1 billion in the last three years by moving most of the income it attributed overseas ultimately to Bermuda, Bloomberg News reported in October.

The tax benefits from such profit shifting can have a greater impact on share price than boosting sales or cutting other expenses, since the reduced rate goes straight to the bottom line, said John P. Kennedy, a partner at Deloitte Tax LLP, speaking at the conference in Philadelphia Nov. 3."

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, Kevin, look where my scaffold argument toScottC got me. That was a genuine rebuttal to his absurd "whose money is it" question. Did he continue? No, he dropped out.

But as surely as the sunr rises tomorrow, he and all the other piston rods will be right back with the same chest beating proxy-for-Beck argument all over again.

I'm not here to change any minds. I don't think anyone still a consersative since 2004 can be reached by any coin available to an honest thinking person. I think the conservatives who had an honest bone here or there now call themselves independents or do that little musical-chairs tune "fiscally conservative an; socially liberal."

All I'm really here for is to stay in practice in my native tongue. I don't get to use it a lot here.

And it looks like some of the people I don't read are wondering if I really am a Communist. I don't think so, I've never read the charter. Last I checked I was a believer in steeply taxed and strongly regulated capitalism and aggressively enforced laws against what we once called white collar crime and now call executive incentives.

But my reverence for freedom has taken a steep dive since I started reading conservatives on blogs, because nobody seems to have any good used for it. Good as in the opposite of evil.

There, a whole post without calling anyone an idiot.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

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

Inclduing England's 1689 Bill of Rights? Or the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen adopted during the French Revolution? Which said, in part: "The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law."

That was a justification of lying? In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, with, one must assume, some irony on the part of many member nations) it is stated thusly: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers". That was to justify lying?

When the caliph Umar declared freedom of speech in the Rashidun in the 7th century AD, was that to justify lying? When John Milton and John Locke and John Stuart Mill defended freedom of speech (in addition to rights to life, liberty and property), was it simply to justify lying and theft?

I think this may be a case of you just seeing what you want to see. Possibly.

"(I don't bother to distinguish, no point)"

Well, okay, but I'm still going to distinguish between you and 12Bar, Liam-Still, Lmsinca, etc, because you're much ruder, much more boorish, and far more close-minded than any of them. So, I think there's very good reasons to distinguish you.

And while I think mandatory exercise (ala 1984--ah, to be Winston Smith, badgered in to good behavior by my telescreen) is an excellent idea, myself, I think my personal preferences might not always be the best yardstick for national compulsory behavior.

"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."

Have you ever considered adding meditation to your exercise regimen? Because there certainly seems to be a lot of hostility, there (or so it would appear), and there are a number of meditative disciplines that might help. Remember, Cao, you're not punished for your anger. You're punished by your anger.

:)

My fingers are firmly steepled, BTW. At maximum pomposity.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

For those interested, one of caothien's opening forays into PL madness:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/the_morning_plum_149.html

If you can stomach it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Obviously I wasn't talking about the great charter documents of western civilization, I'm talking about contemporary conservatism, whose only use for freedom isto justify crude boorishness.

I think it's been closeto twenty years since read anyone by a libertarian, nominally freedom's greatest champiors, even mention the word without sticking "economic" in front of it, essentially inverting its meaning.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

@cao: "Well, Kevin, look where my scaffold argument toScottC got me. That was a genuine rebuttal to his absurd 'whose money is it' question. Did he continue? No, he dropped out."

Fair enough. It still isn't a good justification for being rude or name-calling, just a cheap excuse. At the same time, I can't tell you how many times I've been accused of "dropping out" of a comment forum debate, when, in the real world, something was on fire and had to be tended to, and, by the time I was done (sometimes a day or several later) conversations had moved on.

At the same time, while you two might not be meeting at the minds (and, frankly, the "you are an idiot" thing is off-putting--most people do tend to make value judgements about how much time they want to put into a debate based on such things, and I see no sign that you put any more effort into arguing your position than Scott did his, anyhow). But, again, you also don't plant seeds and then immediately demand a garden 3 minutes later. If you have a substantial, thoughtful point, and someone disagrees with you, it's likely to take cogitation before you before a person's mind is changed. And one argument on one issue is not going to change a person's mind wholesale--it never happens, on either side. I used to be a liberal (or, at least, much further left of center, and I called myself a liberal). My transition to conservative was a result of much reading, many, many debates, numerous life experiences, and much thought over several years. And my mind was not opened in this regard by being called an idiot a sufficient number of times.

@cao: "I'm not here to change any minds. I don't think anyone still a consersative since 2004 can be reached by any coin available to an honest thinking person"

Of course they can. I'm a former liberal turned rock-ribbed conservative turned considerably squishier (on certain issues) over the past few years. And progress is made one vote at a time. You don't have to turn someone into a Noam Chomsky leftist to get one more vote for healthcare.

Here's a question. I support more progressive taxation on folks making $250k or more. On marginal rates. And I think it should go up to about 50%, at 1% increments for every few hundred thousand dollars. With no exemptions (ala Clinton) for athletes and movie stars. Or anyone else. But would you prefer to call me (and my good friends) idiots and argue that we should be denied access to fresh water, because I disagree with you on, say, the stimulus package, rather than contemplate the idea that we could, if not work together, at least have a pleasant conversation where nobody is called an idiot or a communist?

You and I probably could agree on more than you might think. But it has to be all or nothing? Because you choose not to differentiate between very different people for, what seems to me, fairly superficial reasons?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

@caothien9: "Obviously I wasn't talking about the great charter documents of western civilization"

Actually, that wasn't obvious at all, to me. Your clarification is appreciated.

While I don't poo-poo the concept of economic freedom (although we might agree that much libertarian argument seems to occur in a vacuum that magically occludes the impact of the larger society on the individual), I'm glad that there is a point where reflection upon freedom and liberty--via such great western philosophers and John Locke and John Stuart Mill--might make us both a bit misty-eyed.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"The fact that they have these cash hoards suggests that investment is not being constrained by lack of cash,” Slemrod said."

No kidding. Is there someone who said that was a problem?

The kinds of tax optimization and avoidance methods shrink decries are quite a powerful refutation of the liberal dogma espoused every day on PL that tax structures in fact don't affect economic behavior, and that higher tax rates predictably increase revenues.

You have a lot of confusion to straighten out, shrink.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"Well, Kevin, look where my scaffold argument toScottC got me. That was a genuine rebuttal to his absurd "whose money is it" question."

No, it wasn't. Your initial, and most direct response was a dismissal, directing me to "Find a real question."

Your scaffolding bit did not actually address the issue at all. There was and is no dispute that certain structures of civilized society provide benefits to the owners of corporations (as they do for everyone) and that such beneficiaries (as everyone else) therefore have an obligation to sustain those structures. But you made an assertion about what "corporations" do when they are allowed to keep "too much" of their money. To test the truth of that assertion, we would first need to know how much is "too much" in order to identify instances of what you are talking about. You refuse to say.

I can speculate, I suppose, on why you refuse, but that you refuse to specify what it is you were talking about is not in question.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I believe in much steeper progressivity than that; I think the prevention of wealth concentration should be boldly and unapologetically central to the tax code, and I don't flinchat, OK, "people" calling that "penalizing success." I think that billionaire status should be entirely out of reach by any honest means because anyone who needs that much money to feel worthy or secure or comfortable isn't someone who should be trusted with the power that comes along with it.

And, pre-emptively, I'm aloof to "who gets to decide how much is too much" arguments. Wealth as a reward for hard work, for innovation, partay on. Wealth as the unelected ability to manipulate government to solidify one's advantage is anththerical to democracy and people who attempt it deserve prison.

And speaking of political evolution, I was once a libertarian, or thought I was anywaym back when there was a libertarianism of the left, but the acquaintaince of a few of those psychopaths made me wish I;d been a Hare Krishna instead.

I've never been a conservative, though I've been called on by gay men who despised me for saying that gays should be get politically serious and stop acting out, and to me conservatism has always been about reverence of the rich and embrace of bigortry, and nothing I've seen in 40 years has ever given me a moment of doubt about that.

I do believe a lot more strongly in personal responsibility than most who identify as liberal, and much more than do conservatives, who mostly use the notion to beat poor people over the head.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Really, I'm being mean to bring this link here, but I just couldn't resist and I thought, well gee, maybe it will lighten the mood a little. I think sometimes we all take ourselves too seriously, and believe me I've been accused of that. Apparently, there's a study that compared the brains, the size of different parts, between conservatives and liberals. We really should keep in mind though, it's the UK. LOL

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

"A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives' brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other "primitive" emotions. At the same time, conservatives' brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate -- the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.

If the study is confirmed, it could give us the first medical explanation for why conservatives tend to be more receptive to threats of terrorism, for example, than liberals. And it may help to explain why conservatives like to plan based on the worst-case scenario, while liberals tend towards rosier outlooks.

"It is very significant because it does suggest there is something about political attitudes that are either encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that our brain structure in some way determines or results in our political attitudes," Geraint Rees, the neurologist who carried out the study, told the media."

http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/looks-conservatives-are-just-big-scar

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Kevin (to Cao):

"Fair enough."

No, it isn't. As I pointed out above.

I'm all for encouraging more constructive discussion, but not at the expense of the facts. He didn't attempt to answer my question. He dismissed it. He also insinuated that I was ""below the salt" intellectually and should be shunned." The notion that I "dropped out" of this "genuine" discussion is absurd.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"Soon after a U.S. multinational has purchased another U.S. company, the new unit promises to pay the parent a large amount of cash pursuant to a note agreement. Since both parties are U.S. companies, there is no tax bill for the parent under current U.S. law.

Then the new acquisition converts to a foreign company. So when the payment pursuant to the note is made, it comes from overseas. That means the foreign cash is treated as a nontaxable payment under the note, instead of a taxable dividend."

And yet downwardly mobile Americans vote for Republicans.
How do I know that? Because there aren't enough upwardly mobile Americans to elect Republicans and they keep getting elected. Good luck taking your country back Republican voters, you might start by traveling overseas to see where it went.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I believe in much steeper progressivity than that; I think the prevention of wealth concentration should be boldly and unapologetically central to the tax code, and I don't flinchat, OK, "people" calling that "penalizing success." I think that billionaire status should be entirely out of reach by any honest means because anyone who needs that much money to feel worthy or secure or comfortable isn't someone who should be trusted with the power that comes along with it.

And, pre-emptively, I'm aloof to "who gets to decide how much is too much" arguments. Wealth as a reward for hard work, for innovation, partay on. Wealth as the unelected ability to manipulate government to solidify one's advantage is anththerical to democracy and people who attempt it deserve prison.

And speaking of political evolution, I was once a libertarian, or thought I was anywaym back when there was a libertarianism of the left, but the acquaintaince of a few of those psychopaths made me wish I;d been a Hare Krishna instead.

I've never been a conservative, though I've been called on by gay men who despised me for saying that gays should be get politically serious and stop acting out, and to me conservatism has always been about reverence of the rich and embrace of bigortry, and nothing I've seen in 40 years has ever given me a moment of doubt about that.

I do believe a lot more strongly in personal responsibility than most who identify as liberal, and much more than do conservatives, who mostly use the notion to beat poor people over the head.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Scott, I will always dismiss a "who gets to decide" argument, I will never dignify such a dodge with a moment of my time.

As for the use of "my money," mine is where my mouth is. Not too many jobs ago I said the exact same thing to the CEO of the company I was working for in a cafeteria bull session, prepared to be sacked for impudent speech. He too thought that "taxation is theft" and "penalizing success" were legitimate lines of discussion.

But instead of getting the push we ended up arguing about what I don't like about String Theory.

And while I refuse to be drawn into a numerical prescription, the history of the last century speaks plainly: corporations perform better when highly regulated and highly taxed. They don't like it and neither do their admirers on the political right. When allowed to keep too much of "their money" they tend to use it to enrich themselves.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

cao:

"I think the prevention of wealth concentration should be boldly and unapologetically central to the tax code..."

Why?

"And, pre-emptively, I'm aloof to "who gets to decide how much is too much" arguments."

You also seem to be "aloof" to "How do you decide how much is too much", which was the question you were actually asked.

"Wealth as a reward for hard work, for innovation, partay on."

Given that they are contradictory, I'm curious which of your stated beliefs is primary...that wealth shoudl be forcibly redistributed, or that wealth as a reward for hard word and innovation should not be redistributed?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Every so often, one of these junk science "studies" comes out. You can pretty well discern the validity of this one by the fact that the "investigator" went out to publicize while it is supposedly under peer review.

How would it explain fear, panic, and loathing over AWG? Liberal doomdayism over the "lost" Iraq War (and all other things Bush), "the rich getting richer," "plutocracy," the "shrinking middle class," declining unionism, health care "crisis" (and a thousand other "crises")? Just for starters.

How about conservatives' courage in confronting terrorism? Their optimism about our economic future with free market reform? Their courage and optimism about America's exceptionalism and role in the world (as opposed to liberals' pessimism and disdain and self-loathing)? How is O more of an optimist or more courageous than W? How was Carter more so than Reagan? Pretty laughable, huh?

Thanks for the diversion, though, lms. Another exercise in silly pseudoscience.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

When America's dessicated husk is discarded by the spider, crony capitalism, Republicans will cheer the great victory of capital. All power will be concentrated in corporate board rooms, delegated for show to politicians who win fake elections from time to time.

Yeah, I know, I'm just fear mongering, that has already happened all over the world, but it could never happen here.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

cao:

"I will always dismiss a "who gets to decide" argument..."

As I pointed out above, I did not make any such argument. I asked you how you determine what is "too much". I honestly don't think you have any idea. I suspect that if the corporation does something you don't like, then by definition it has "too much", regardless of what it has or doesn't have.

"...corporations perform better when highly regulated and highly taxed."

"Better" in what respect? They employ more people? The pay higher wages? What? And is your belief based on any empiracal data?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, Scott said this above:

"While I would be willing to pay quite a lot for even just a few extra months with my loved ones, I'm not nearly so willing to pay quite so much for a bunch of strangers I've never met."

And it is, imo, a key difference between those on the right and those on the left. The left typically can't abide this sentiment. It seems immoral to them. The right sees it just the opposite. And this relates to differing concepts of community, society, and government. Liberals are disposed to the perspective of an abstract "society" as paramount, while conservatives are disposed to see the "small platoons" as fundamental.

But it's quite obvious whose view is actually consistent with human nature. It's possible in the abstract to say you feel the same obligation toward unknown strangers that you do toward your mother. Practice and reality are rather different.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"I think the prevention of wealth concentration should be boldly and unapologetically central to the tax code..."

Why?

==

Because the powerful are supposed to be elected by the informed will of an educated people.

If you seriously see nothing wrong with a few ridiculously wealthy families having all the money and . it goes without saying, all the power in a nation supposedly a democracy, well, I don't think you're very committed to the idea.

Bill Gates used his fortune to open the flood gates to outsourcing American jobs to further increase his own wealth. That helped him and it hurt America (and speaking as an insider, it really didn't do that much good for Microsoft, but it did enable people like me to make serious jack rewriting the crap they got back from outsourced projects).

==

"And, pre-emptively, I'm aloof to "who gets to decide how much is too much" arguments."

You also seem to be "aloof" to "How do you decide how much is too much", which was the question you were actually asked.

==

Dude, I've been debating issues for over 20 years, from gay politics to environmental policy to the American collapse. And "who gets to decide" has never been anything but a cheap dodge. I refuse to dignify it with a moment of my time. Pout all you like, or pound your chest and declare yourself the winner, I don't give a damn.

It's no different from "but what about The Childrun."

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

@caothien9: "I believe in much steeper progressivity than that; I think the prevention of wealth concentration should be boldly and unapologetically central to the tax code, and I don't flinchat, OK, 'people' calling that 'penalizing success.'"

Well, we disagree there. And whether or not it's penalizing success, I think it's a negative goal with no positive point. Prevention of wealth concentration does not automatically help the poor, or the middle class, or provide clean water, or provide healthcare, or create opportunity, or patch the potholes or build new schools. I think it's a terrible goal. There may be reasons for much more progressive taxation, but I don't agree that preventing wealth concentration (or preserving wealth concentration) should be a point.

In the past, there were considerably fewer rich people, and most of them had considerably less wealth. Yet infant mortality was higher and many people died very young from what are now completely preventable diseases. From this, once might be forgiven for concluding that the benefits from preventing wealth concentration versus, say, focusing time and energy on something else, are minimal, at best.

I can see an argument that we should have higher taxes to, say, have the government pay for all cancer treatments the way we currently cover dialysis. There is an arguable individual and societal benefit to better and more widely available cancer treatment.

There is no defined benefit to preventing wealth concentration (that I am aware of), other than, perhaps, providing a well-deserved sense of schadenfreude for the aggrieved, less-moneyed masses. This would not, to my mind, make a good basis for social policy, however.

"I think that billionaire status should be entirely out of reach by any honest means because anyone who needs that much money to feel worthy or secure or comfortable isn't someone who should be trusted with the power that comes along with it."

Fair enough, although I must, alas, disagree. But hopefully we can do so agreeably. Given that many billionaires (inflation adjusted) have ended up funding foundations that, over time, have become some of the most leftist organizations in the western world, I can support this argument from an individual preference. Yet, again, I just don't think that makes a good basis for social policy. There is no larger demonstrable social benefit to preventing potential billionaires from becoming that rich.

"and to me conservatism has always been about reverence of the rich and embrace of bigortry, and nothing I've seen in 40 years has ever given me a moment of doubt about that"

Then you aren't looking. But given that you apparently hadn't seen a fat or out-of-shape person in years, I can only guess that you're real-life social encounters are very limited. :P

"and much more than do conservatives, who mostly use the notion to beat poor people over the head."

That's only after we club a few baby seals.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

"...conservatives are disposed to see the "small platoons" as fundamental. But it's quite obvious whose view is actually consistent with human nature."

You funny man. This explains why Randy Weaver, when asked why he had 70,000 rounds of rifle ammo in his cabin on Ruby Ridge drew a blank. He didn't understand the questions. Obviously a man has to protect his family. He said, "When the government comes for you, you can't just run down to the ammo store, now can you."

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

qb

"Their optimism about our economic future with free market reform?"

Uh, which free market reform are you referring to? And self-loathing, come on. I thought you'd get a kick out of the study though.

Regarding Scott's comment, again you underestimate our powers of reasoning. Pretty sure we can accomplish both our own mother's well-being and someone else's. It's not a zero sum game when it comes to health care, that's the real difference between conservatives and liberals. There's no scarcity of health care, there's a scarcity of affordable health care and the commitment to change the dynamics to achieve universal health care. I try to imagine a better America, not one where I'm forced to choose between my loved one and yours.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant response, shrink, to which I suppose the obvious counter is reference to Mao and breaking a few eggs. So, there. Take that.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "I'm all for encouraging more constructive discussion, but not at the expense of the facts. He didn't attempt to answer my question. He dismissed it. He also insinuated that I was 'below the salt' intellectually and should be shunned. The notion that I 'dropped out' of this 'genuine' discussion is absurd."

Fair enough.

You notice a pattern here? ;)

I think the notion of anybody on a comment section of a blog "dropping out" of a discussion is absurd, BTW. I can't tell you how many times I've been accused of avoid Ethan2010's incisive arguments, over and over again, just because I went to the bathroom and did some work before checking refreshing the comments. ;)

And yes, you're totally awesome (you, TrollMcWingnut, and tao make this all worthwhile), and Cao's criticism of you is way off base. I figured you'd address it--I was just acknowledging that he as an objection that he honestly believes is both justified and genuine. Then moving on as, as much as I'd like to pontificate point-by-point in every reply (with my fingers steepled pompously), it's just not practical.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"Better" in what respect? They employ more people? The pay higher wages? What? And is your belief based on any empiracal data?

==

They innovate more, they re-invest more back into growing the business, they're better places to work.

When they get to keep more of "their money" they tend to become wasteful, live lavishly, award each other bonuses, and become more "financial," which is to say, less productive.

There was a very good article about this in a magazine called The New Republic that since its stewardship under Fred Barnes is now only suitable for wiping one's rear end. I was a subscriber back what Sydney Blumenthal and Charles Krauthammer both wrote for it but when the magazine endorsed aid to the Contras I canceled my subscription and so did a lot of people, including some who'd subscribed since WWII.

No, I'm not going googling for you. Make whatever hay you like of that. It's 12:30 AM here.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The ur-myth of conservative America, the rugged individual is a tragedy. A few years after Bo Gritz talked Randy Weaver out of getting himself killed too, Bo shot himself after his wife left him (he missed, sort of).

Rugged individualism is a bad way to run one's life and a bad way to view families in relation to society...but everyone admires Rambo. Rambo is consistent with human nature.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

lms,

"Uh, which free market reform are you referring to? And self-loathing, come on. I thought you'd get a kick out of the study though."

Mostly hypothetical ones. I suppose I was unclear about that. We seldom have any policy reforms toward free markets. But the idea that liberals are optimistic and conservatives are pessimistic in the economic realm depends entirely on context.

The same goes for any number of other issues or examples. Show me a political figure more driven by primitive emotions than Al Gore or Alan Grayson.

It is true in general that conservatism and liberalism have different views of human nature that are sometimes described as optimistic and pessimistic, but I find that to be an oversimplification at best. It doesn't account, for example, for spiritual beliefs or beliefs about family and community.

The note in the article that, even if there is validity to the brain study, we couldn't tell cause and effect reminded me of a 60 Minutes story last week about people with near-perfect memories of their whole lives. They've found a very significant difference in several brain measurements (I think they said by 10 standard deviations) but don't know whether enhanced memory or brain development came first. Really a fascinating story.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought I stated quite plainly that the reasonfor preventing wealth concentration was to deter unelected power.

And what do you do? You pull that "envy" and "class warfare" card, as reflexively as a smoker reaching into his shirt pocket.

Yes there have beenbillionaires who engaged in good works. But there have also been Koch brothers and Michael Eisners and Peter Graces, and I'd rather America had none of them.

No matter. America is speeding its way toward a banana republic stratification and my only satisfaction is that I won;t have to see it.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you won't get this qb, but I view Mao as way far out on the right wing of politics, farther than you, a fascist. I don't see important differences between fascism and the "communism" of Pol Pot, Stalin/Beria and the rest of the fascists, the ones who called themselves national socialists. All fascists say they are on the side of the workers. NSDAP the Nazi's (a dollar to the Godwin charity jar, eh Kevin?), you know what DAP stands for.

As a leftist, I despise single party crony capitalism, also known as state capitalism. You don't have to look far for my kind of socialism. There are little countries all over the world who operate working models of what America could be.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"The ur-myth of conservative America, the rugged individual is a tragedy."

I'm not sure whether you are just more ignorant of the ideas you criticize or more prone to shoddy reasoning. You seem to base all your contentions on strained anecdotes. Rambo? Randy Weaver? Really, that's the best undersanding of conservatism and family you've got?

Very sad, and a waste of my time.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: "It's not a zero sum game when it comes to health care, that's the real difference between conservatives and liberals."

I'm not sure that all conservatives, or even most, believe that there is a zero sum game when it comes to healthcare.

"There's no scarcity of health care, there's a scarcity of affordable health care and the commitment to change the dynamics to achieve universal health care."

Fair enough.

'I try to imagine a better America, not one where I'm forced to choose between my loved one and yours."

I'm not sure that's what Scott or QB was saying, and I'm positive there are more shades of gray between choosing between my loved one and yours, and universal, single-payer, government run healthcare.

Re: the University of London study. I was liberal, then became conservative, over time. Thus, presumably, my amygdala got larger and my anterior cingulate shrank. However, I was more conservative 10 years ago than I am today, so perhaps my amygdala has gotten smaller and my anterior cingulate has increased in size?

Also, it's worth noting that other things should be observed. Given that a A 2003 study found that adult and adolescent bipolar patients tended to have considerably smaller amygdala volumes, liberals (with there smaller amygdalas) should demonstrate a greater frequency of bipolar disorder. Also, liberals should tend to have smaller social networks and fewer friends than conservatives, as amygdala volume has been show to correlate with the size of an individuals social network. If true, I assume I have a small amygdala, despite my conservatism, as I do not have (and do not want) a particularly sizable social network.

Given that the anterior cingulate cortex is involved in regulating blood pressure and heart rate, and includes rational cognitive functions such as reward anticipation, conservatives should therefore be less prone to anticipate rewards (thus, less likely than liberals to work hard and become billionaires, I suppose) and also have more difficulties with their blood pressure and heart rates? Or . . . maybe it's just all bs? ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

qb

One of the most fascinating classes I took in college was physiological psychology and 40 years ago it was really a new frontier in science. I haven't kept up with the research, but it appears they're still grappling with determining behavior based on brain activity and development and it's still a new frontier. You're right though, it is fascinating.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

cao:

"Because the powerful are supposed to be elected by the informed will of an educated people."

And using government power to prevent the accumulation of wealth will advance this how exactly?

"If you seriously see nothing wrong with a few ridiculously wealthy families having all the money and . it goes without saying, all the power in a nation supposedly a democracy, well, I don't think you're very committed to the idea."

Such absurd hyperbole is not conducive to clear thinking or, as a consequence, sensible policy making. A "ridiculously few families" do not have all the money, nor does "all the power" in the nation reside with those few families.

"Bill Gates used his fortune to open the flood gates to outsourcing American jobs to further increase his own wealth. That helped him and it hurt America "

How did it hurt America?

"And "who gets to decide" has never been anything but a cheap dodge."

Well, then, it is a good thing I didn't ask that, despite your apparent desire to pretend that I have. What I asked you was how YOU decide how much is too much. Is this some kind of top secret information or something?

BTW, you skipped my final question: Given that they are contradictory, I'm curious which of your stated beliefs is primary...that wealth should be forcibly redistributed, or that wealth as a reward for hard word and innovation should not be redistributed?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe you won't get this qb,. . ."

I get it perfectly well. You just have reality in reverse. The forms of totalitarianism and authoritarianism you mention are all forms of leftism (and are materialistic in the bargain).

"You don't have to look far for my kind of socialism. There are little countries all over the world who operate working models of what America could be."

Well then don't keep us in suspense.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"Peter Graces" did I tell you about the day I spent at the home of a Grace scion in Seattle's Highlands? The patriarch, his son (a brilliant (gay) man, a friend of mine at Williams college) and I went round for hours on these same topics. He made the case for multinational corporations operating the levers of power in the world in a far more productive and peaceful way than nation states ever could. He also viewed multinational corporate hegemony as inevitable, that was in 1979.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2: "a dollar to the Godwin charity jar, eh Kevin?"

Mike Godwin is vindicated yet again! And all the corollaries. ;)

"but I view Mao as way far out on the right wing of politics, farther than you, a fascist"

Mao? Really? Okay, then, what's the farthest left a politician can get? Howard Dean? ;)

BTW, I personally think one should always be suspicious when they see the furthest extreme of their own ideals and beliefs as being mostly innocuous and huggable, while every example of scum and villainy seems to occupy the opposite side of the ideological spectrum. It seems to me this is unlikely. I.e., the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini clearly trend towards the right on many levels, while the communism of Mao and Stalin clearly trends towards the left. However, modern liberals generally don't argue for Stalinesque purges or working the elderly to death in workcamps, ala Mao, as modern conservatives generally don't view Nazism as a valid political choice or the failure of the trains to run on time as something that should be a capital offense. But if these ideologies were to occupy, albeit imperfectly, a larger ideological spectrum, some clearly would be on the far, far left (overall) while others would be on the far, far right.

Unless, like some, we want to lump Nazis and Stalin and Mao altogether in one big chunk on whatever side of the ideological spectrum we don't happen to occupy. Which, you have to admit, is very convenient for us.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Interesting stuff on the brain study. You are quite a fount of random knowledge.

If you have some old MRIs of your brain over time, you should submit yourself as a case study. But, assuming they showed your brain morphing along with your politics, we would still have a chicken/egg problem.

Come to think of it, there are all sorts of neocons and former radicals, as well as a few David Brocks, who must have medical records that could be sifted for the advancement of this neophrenology.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"Well then don't keep us in suspense."

I'd be there already except that they don't pay doctors as much as you do here. There will be a sweet spot, on the cusp of my retirement, when I may emigrate. Scandinavia, New Zealand, can't decide, it'll be a few years. I'll have to leave all my guns behind. My trusty Glock, the Colt's Manufacturing .223, I'll kiss 'em good by.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Unless, like some, we want to lump Nazis and Stalin and Mao altogether in one big chunk on whatever side of the ideological spectrum we don't happen to occupy. Which, you have to admit, is very convenient for us."

It's always possible that politics isn't a spectrum or continuum.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Bill Gates used his fortune to open the flood gates to outsourcing American jobs to further increase his own wealth. That helped him and it hurt America "

How did it hurt America?

===
Generoulsy presuming you're serious and not just stringing me along, it replaced American jobs with jobs in India. Americans who had studied and earned college degrees to take software engineering jobs went unemployed so Microsoft shareholders could grasp a few more dollars.

I'm guessing you see nothing wrong with that, which is one reason I don't waste a lot of time trying to communicate with people like you, the difference in outlooks is simply alien.

And, that glint of cheap foreign labor was pyrite. One of the big areas that MS shipped to IDC was Windows Mobile, the smaerphones, and while I got a year of really great money rewriting a project that six Indians may as well have written with their colons, MS lost years of lead in smartphones and were surpassed by Apple and RIM, who emphasized *talented* developers over *low cost* ones.

But I guess shipping jobs out of America is OK with you, since you probably consider what financiers do to be real work.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 29, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@cao: "I thought I stated quite plainly that the reasonfor preventing wealth concentration was to deter unelected power."

Later on. That still seems too amorphous a reason, and how in the world policies designed explicitly to prevent wealth concentration will do that remains unexplained. My immediate sense is that someone would preserve similar unelected power, based on still having more money than others, or the power of the purse strings. Presumably, the money goes somewhere. At some point, the purse strings will be leveraged for some version of either unelected, or definitely not elected for •that• power.

"And what do you do?"

Are you talking to me? In what regards? I'm a database analyst for a public school system. If that's what you mean.

"You pull that 'envy' and 'class warfare' card, as reflexively as a smoker reaching into his shirt pocket."

Is this addressed to me? If so, then, perhaps. But I don't see much benefit to policies explicitly designed to prevent wealth concentration other than a pretty much wholly imagined sense of schadenfreude.

But, perhaps, given the inadequate size of my anterior cingulate, I lack sufficient optimism to view a world in which policies to prevent wealth accumulation magically prevent individuals from accumulating unelected power by other means, and that this wealth prevention somehow translates into a net benefit for society at large.

"No matter. America is speeding its way toward a banana republic stratification and my only satisfaction is that I won;t have to see it."

No, you won't. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't end up seeing it, even if you were here.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"It's always possible that politics isn't a spectrum or continuum."

Now we have something to talk about. Long ago I assembled ideological passages from the far left and the far right and they are indistinguishable, to say nothing of their identical practical realities.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"I'd be there already except that they don't pay doctors as much as you do here."

shrink, why is this not the softball it appears to be? We were talking, after all, about what your idea of a healthy socialism would be.

And guns? You are a gun nut, too? A bitter clinger? I am supposed to be a right-wing nut, and I've never even owned a gun (which I do regret).

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"Now we have something to talk about."

As a "professional," you can probably tell us something about the human penchant for modelling ideas spatially and particularly dichotomously. Seems we inevitably do it. I in fact don't believe it is a very helpful way to model political or social ideas. At a minimum, it would have to involve many variables and axes.

Strangely enough, it seems that advanced mathemeticians and theoretical physicists are most able to escape this sort of Cartesian thought patterns. At least from this worms' eye view, anyway.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@qb: "Interesting stuff on the brain study. You are quite a fount of random knowledge."

Thanks to Google. "You know, I remember something about the amygdala having to do with creativity, I need to Google that" is often at the root of such points. And, alas, I have no MRIs. Those damn things cost money.

"Come to think of it, there are all sorts of neocons and former radicals, as well as a few David Brocks, who must have medical records that could be sifted for the advancement of this neophrenology."

Paul Broca will finally be vindicated! Although I'd refer to interested phrenologist to both Carl Sagan's •Broca's Brain• (a collection of essays, many of them not about phrenology, obviously, but fascinating histories of messy humans mucking about in science) and Stephen Jay Gould's excellent •Mismeasure of Man• (a wonderful analysis of the history of intelligence testing) before they start drawing too many conclusions about brain size (even brain part size) and function. The same sorts of rationales were the basis of eugenics and used (by smart progressives, not always so pro-immigraiton, to return hundreds of thousands of immigrating Jews back to Germany in the 1930s). Score another for Godwin.

I'm also re-reading (as I have long threatened) Marvin Minsky's •Society of Mind•. Oh. My. Gosh. Love that book. Brilliant. Nothing more challenging than thinking about thinking. And Minsky's book is ideal for that challenge. I've read some challengers and detractors, and they often go deeper (and say very interesting things) about the hardware of the brain, but when it gets to the software, I don't think anybody beats Minsky.


Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"It's always possible that politics isn't a spectrum or continuum."

I do have a lot of guns. I grew up around them and I never thought them strange. I did ok in target shooting contests when I was a kid. It was something I was better at than my brothers. It never seemed political until...it got political.

Obviously I'm not a normal leftist. I see state power and corporate power as necessary evils. I see wealth disparity as a necessary evil.

I admire the father of a U.S. Marine and would be thrilled to have my sons become Marines (before medical school of course), yet I think the wars are lost, debacles both.

None of this seems inconsistent to me. It derives from a particular view of human nature and social structures that is one part Marx and one part Nietzsche. Since the running paradox algorithm (something like dialectical materialism) that is Reality is too ugly for almost everyone, we have to cram it into semiotic boxes we can abhor and admire.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@qb: I've never owned a gun, either. I haven't fired a gun since I was 13, maybe? Had a friend with a rifle, and we went out and shot a tree. Before that, I got to shoot some cans with a .22. That's been my exposure. I don't have a gun--and probably never will. I don't hunt and I'm dubious about how beneficial it would be for me to own a gun (I forget the statistics, but aren't something like half-or-more of gun related injuries and fatalities family members getting shot, on purpose or by accident, with the weapon meant for protection?) . . . anyhoo, I've been married for almost 20 years, and have concluded that it's best for my long term health (and that of my children) that my wife never have access to a gun. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

kevin

"I'm not sure that all conservatives, or even most, believe that there is a zero sum game when it comes to healthcare."

Maybe not. But it seems that most of the conservatives I debated last year over health care seemed to believe that you were only entitled to health care if you could afford either the cost of insurance or the cost of health care. Unfortunately, not everyone falls into one of those two categories.

The trick is how do we get everyone into the game without breaking the bank.

Regarding the study, I mostly brought it up because it was interesting and sort of funny, in my mind anyway. Behavior and beliefs are never easily defined or measured so in that way it's probably bs, but it's still worth studying. I've learned over the years that science in never 100% exact other than some of the really hard facts in physics, chemistry etc. One of the transitions that's been difficult for my daughter was going from chemistry to geology, she really likes things that are black and white, but she's gaining on interpretive analysis and finding the rewards when you're only 99% sure you're right. :)

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@shrink: "Obviously I'm not a normal leftist. I see state power and corporate power as necessary evils. I see wealth disparity as a necessary evil."

Then you sound much more like a contemporary (real world) American liberal.

Although I have known some folks who seemed like radical leftists in every respect, up to and including gun control, but were still gun fetishists. Not that you're a fetishist, just noting that it takes all kinds. It's just acknowledging that wealth disparity is a necessary evil would seem to disqualify you from being a member in good standing of the balls-to-the-wall leftist club.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

My little boys shoot distant targets with a scoped .22 and then they get bored and play with their Legos. I just don't think guns should have a political valence, but I know they do. The right wing monster Chairman Mao's most famous quote, "All power flows from the barrel of a gun," that shouldn't be true, it isn't true. All power flows from the human brain's evolutionary wiring problems, Der Wille zur Macht, the necessary evil. Or you could call it Original Sin.

The amygdala is an interesting neural nucleus, for sure. The cat that can not be tamed, the Lynx, turns into a sociable, harmless, playful kitten like creature if the amygdala is ablated.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"you sound like a yadda yadda liberal."

You really know how to hurt people. I am humiliated. You see I can't stand liberals and their conceits, the denial, their weak kneed fear of everything that does not conform to their specifications.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"It's not a zero sum game when it comes to health care, that's the real difference between conservatives and liberals."

I don't understand what this is supposed to mean, or what it has to do with my desire for rationing and "death panels" in a world of socialized medicine.

"There's no scarcity of health care, there's a scarcity of affordable health care...."

Sorry, lms, but this is just silly. Scarcity is the very thing that drives the price of something higher, making it unaffordable to some people. The absence of "affordable" health care means precisely that health care is scarce.

"I try to imagine a better America, not one where I'm forced to choose between my loved one and yours."

I try to stay rooted in the real world, where I have limited, not unlimited resources, and I am unavoidably faced with choices that have opportunity costs all the time.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 2:14 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 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: "Maybe not. But it seems that most of the conservatives I debated last year over health care seemed to believe that you were only entitled to health care if you could afford either the cost of insurance or the cost of health care. Unfortunately, not everyone falls into one of those two categories."

Yes, well, we don't all feel that way, although I don't feel that it's unreasonable that innovative therapies that are still very expensive may not be available to everybody, right away. In any system, government or private, there will be periods were people who would benefit from some new therapy will not be covered in a timely fashion. But I think basic coverage of established treatments should be available, in some form. Either via Medicare buy-in or expansion of Medicare or sumtin.

Not a big fan of the individual mandate. I think a public option would have been better, actually. But . . . c'est la vie! It is democracy, no?

"I've learned over the years that science in never 100% exact other than some of the really hard facts in physics, chemistry etc."

And even then, we find out Newton was right about the big pieces, but off at the margins, as Einstein and, later, quantum physicists have demonstrated at extremes of speed, heat, and gravity.

But certain sciences (and especially brain science) should always, in my opinion, be informed by a decent knowledge of the history of phrenology (not pretty), eugenics, intelligence testing, etc.

Was just reading about that 60 minutes piece on people with autobiographical memories. While there are plenty of things I am glad are out of my mind (and probably others so distant I'm not even aware that I have blissfully forgotten them), I am, on the whole, jealous. There are numerous times in my life I would love to relive again, to be able to play back and re-experience in their entirety. And I could certainly do with a photographic memory for facts and terminology, etc. Always when I'm scripting, I'm having to look stuff up. Is it needle-haystack or haystack-needle? Why can't I remember?

At least I remember how to Google it.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

In the end it's just sad, then, that biology has apparently doomed a percentage of persons to error and misjudgment. ; )Doomed unless they have Kevin's evolving brain.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"The absence of "affordable" health care means precisely that health care is scarce."

Scott

Isn't that exactly what I said, "There's no scarcity of health care, there's a scarcity of affordable health care...."

I'm trying to get to the bottom of our differences. Maybe I don't understand your position entirely, but you seem unwilling to see mine. I am simply saying that the problem with health care is that it is unaffordable and unattainable to nearly 59 million Americans and I believe we have an obligation as a society to do something about that.

You know I wasn't overly impressed with the legislation we got so I'm still trying to figure out how to fix something that's obviously, in my opinion, broken. I consider your opinion of a free market system untenable, zero sum, whatever you want to call it. You also know that I never expect to get everything I want, but I prefer to set high goals and then settle at the last minute, :).

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2: "You really know how to hurt people. I am humiliated. You see I can't stand liberals and their conceits, the denial, their weak kneed fear of everything that does not conform to their specifications."

So sorry! I meant to say you sound like a hardcore leftist! Quoting Marx. Spouting Chomsky! Shaking your multi-volume autobiography of Bertrand Russell at me!

You, my friend, are just super-hard left. Totally a leftist. No, I'm serious.

:)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@qb: "Doomed unless they have Kevin's evolving brain."

I'd trade my brain with Marilu Henner (one of the super-autobiographical memory types) any day of the week, I'll tell you whut.

Parts of my brain are apparently always shrinking and enlarging. That can't possibly be good for me.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

One of the interesting aspects of the 60 Minutes memory story is that the subjects have contradicted an assumption of psychology and neuroscience that fogetting is critical to mental health. These rare folks can remember everything that ever happened to them, and essentially relive it, but they are all basically well adjusted and happy with their "gift."

Totally fascinating, and, yes, jealousy inducing. I remember thinking at points when both of my children were young, "I wish I could always remember this moment as if I were still here." Or "I wish 20 years from now I would be able to remember exactly how his voice sounded just now."

As the price, you have to remember when your first love dumped you as well. But I would take it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"But it seems that most of the conservatives I debated last year over health care seemed to believe that you were only entitled to health care if you could afford either the cost of insurance or the cost of health care."

The key word here is "entitled". And, as you suggest, I no more think that anyone is "entitled" to health care than I think that anyone is "entitled" to any other product or service. As I pointed out then, to believe that anyone is "entitled" to health care is necessarily to believe that the providers of health care have no choice in the matter. Doctors as slaves. Of course, you don't actually believe that doctors should be slaves, but that makes your belief system internally incoherent.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"Fair enough. "

OK...you got me. I should have seen that one coming.

"I can't tell you how many times I've been accused of avoid Ethan2010's incisive arguments, over and over again, just because I went to the bathroom and did some work before checking refreshing the comments."

I have had to urge patience on Ethan several times myself.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Totally a leftist. No, I'm serious."

Thanks man, I feel better. Snuffle, sniff...pfffffft...whew....I'm ok...for awhile there I was thinking I'd have to dive into some of my Trotsky pamphlets, just to stop crying.

Speaking of, how is this for a perfect right wing, robber baron, predatory capitalist's thought...

"There are no absolute rules of conduct, either in peace or war. Everything depends on circumstances."
Leon Trotsky

Friedrich Krupp and Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, they couldn't have said it better.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Scott

I'm pretty sure the doctors in Canada are paid for their services and somehow they've managed to provide health care to everyone. I know you don't think much of their system but maybe we could do better, I don't know. People still pay for it, you just don't want any of your money to go toward someone else's health care or doctor. I get that.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

lms:

Isn't that exactly what I said?

I didn't think so. Saying "There's no scarcity of X" is the exact opposite of saying "X is scarce". But anyway, I thought your point was that there is plenty of health care to be had, so there is no reason for it to be unaffordable. That is exactly wrong. There is plenty of health care to be had...at the prices that are currently charged. Make the prices more affordable by fiat, and there will be a lot less of it. My point was that it makes no sense to distinguish between "health care" and "affordable health care". They are the same thing.

"I am simply saying that the problem with health care is that it is unaffordable and unattainable to nearly 59 million Americans and I believe we have an obligation as a society to do something about that."

First, I think that we should not speak of "health care" as a single thing that a person either gets or does not get. Some people get more, some people get less. Some people get great quality, other get less quality. Some people get it for lots of actual or potential health issues, others get it for much fewer actual or potential health issues. And, generally speaking, these differences are largely a function of ability to pay. But to say that one either has it or doesn't is simply not accurate.

This, of course, leads to the question: If a person is "entitled" to health care, to what exactly is he entitled? Does a heart problem mean a person is entitled to attention by the best heart specialist in the nation? If not, why not, if ability to pay should be irrelevant?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

lms:

Isn't that exactly what I said?

I didn't think so. Saying "There's no scarcity of X" is the exact opposite of saying "X is scarce". But anyway, I thought your point was that there is plenty of health care to be had, so there is no reason for it to be unaffordable. That is exactly wrong. There is plenty of health care to be had...at the prices that are currently charged. Make the prices more affordable by fiat, and there will be a lot less of it. My point was that it makes no sense to distinguish between "health care" and "affordable health care". They are the same thing.

"I am simply saying that the problem with health care is that it is unaffordable and unattainable to nearly 59 million Americans and I believe we have an obligation as a society to do something about that."

First, I think that we should not speak of "health care" as a single thing that a person either gets or does not get. Some people get more, some people get less. Some people get great quality, other get less quality. Some people get it for lots of actual or potential health issues, others get it for much fewer actual or potential health issues. And, generally speaking, these differences are largely a function of ability to pay. But to say that one either has it or doesn't is simply not accurate.

This, of course, leads to the question: If a person is "entitled" to health care, to what exactly is he entitled? Does a heart problem mean a person is entitled to attention by the best heart specialist in the nation? If not, why not, if ability to pay should be irrelevant?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@qb: "One of the interesting aspects of the 60 Minutes memory story is that the subjects have contradicted an assumption of psychology and neuroscience that fogetting is critical to mental health."

That was just sour grapes. ;)

Obviously, you can have near-perfect recall but not be obligated to constantly relive that experience involuntarily. There are bad memories I have, and occasionally they come up unbidden, but generally I don't dwell on them. The same seems to be true for people with far superior memories to mine. And while some might characterize it as a curse, I'd take the trade-offs. While not all of my self-inflicted problems have been due to memory, enough of them have been that I'd be better off, on the whole, with a photographic memory than I am without one.

Alas, even if they discover a way to induce photographic memory in us ordinary shmoes, that will have happen way too late for me.

BTW, my mother used to have excellent memory. Not autobiographical, perhaps, but very, very high retention. I can tell you, being a struggling student with a parent who has perfect memory and cannot understand why you just don't remember everything was a huge pain in my butt. ;)

My wife, to a lesser extent, had very good memory. Not anomalous, but still much better than mine. That's also a pain in the butt, and, if their memory becomes less perfect, they may still believe they have perfect recall and it becomes such an important part of their identity that, unless it's a matter of life and death, it's better not to contradict their version of events. For me, when someone contradicts my recollection, I know that despite how certain I may be that I never did something or said something, I might be wrong.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 29, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

lms:

(sorry for the double post above)

"you just don't want any of your money to go toward someone else's health care or doctor. I get that."

But you don't get it. I am perfectly willing to pay for lots of other people's health care. And I do. I just don't want you, or some faceless bureaucrat in Washington, telling me that my money will be better spent on someone of their choosing. I am perfectly capable of choosing for myself who deserves my help and who does not.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"unless it's a matter of life and death, it's better not to contradict their version of events."

I find that to be true regardless of my wife's ability to remember. It's a marriage thing, not a memory thing.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"My point was that it makes no sense to distinguish between "health care" and "affordable health care". They are the same thing."

Scott

I think there is a difference. There are things we could do as a nation to lower the cost of health care without lowering the standard of living of doctors. They made a half-hearted attempt in the legislation but didn't go far enough and settled on keeping the system of insurance essentially the same while balancing the new guidelines with a mandate.

"And, generally speaking, these differences are largely a function of ability to pay. But to say that one either has it or doesn't is simply not accurate."

Okay, unfortunately the average American without employer provided insurance does NOT have the ability to pay, that's the point.

And I really doubt most people are concerned with seeing the "best" heart specialist in the nation, they would be satisfied with access to "a" heart specialist. There will always be a better level of care for the wealthy, I don't have my head that far in the clouds.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"I am perfectly capable of choosing for myself who deserves my help and who does not."

The managed care money silos don't care what you think. We are bigger than you, with your puny little aphorisms; your ideas have and undisturbed antique patina. Have you ever had them appraised? Do you have any idea what they are worth?

There are layers upon layers of decision makers who extract payment from the process for their meetings and paper work...they live and breed in between those who pay and those who get paid to deliver the health care they are authorized to deliver to authorized beneficiaries...

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Well you guys, it sounds like we all agree that women have better memories. Thanks.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"The managed care money silos don't care what you think."

Which would be interesting, perhaps, it had anything at all to do with what I was talking about. As it is, however...

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

My wife's memory is much better than mine in general, but there are important exceptions. Her short-term memory of what people said in a conversation within the past few days is . . . "creative." But she remembers things that happened involving friends or family a year or five years ago much better than I do. I conclude that her memory is more accessible but more malleable to fit her current outlook.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 29, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"...I am perfectly willing to pay for lots of other people's health care. And I do. I just don't want you, or some faceless bureaucrat in Washington, telling me that my money will be better spent on someone of their choosing..."

Sucker. You still think your ideas matter even though the people who run the industry don't agree.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"There are things we could do as a nation to lower the cost of health care without lowering the standard of living of doctors."

Of course there is. We could lower the standard of living of other people by making them pay the doctors to treat the people who can't pay for themselves.

"And I really doubt most people are concerned with seeing the "best" heart specialist in the nation, they would be satisfied with access to "a" heart specialist."

The point, however, is your claim that anyone is "entitled" to something. To what exactly are they "entitled", and if not access to the best, why not?

The notion that anyone is by nature "entitled" to health care (or, frankly, any other good or service) is simply not logically sustainable.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"You still think your ideas matter..."

Matter to who? Certainly my decision to help pay for my mother's medical problems matters to her. And to my father. And to my siblings, who also help. Why should I care whether this matters to people who run the industry? Or you, for that matter?

You are, I think, entirely confused about the subject of the coversation.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"The notion that anyone is by nature "entitled" to health care"

So then you would do away with Medicare, Medicaid, Schip and Veteran's health care as well, they're considered entitlements? Why can't we all just pay into the pool, do away with the insurance middle men, and establish a new base line of care? No one knows when or if they'll need health care but we pay just in case. We could begin by opening up medicare at both ends of the spectrum age-wise and gradually add people into the pool. We pay either with a premium and co-pays or through taxes. Nah, that's probably too simple.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

qb/lms:

I am horrible with names. I will meet someone and within two minutes I haven't the slightest idea what their name is. If I go to a dinner party my wife has to prep me with the names of the host/hostess even though I've met them 10 times before. And then I'll ask her halfway through dinner to remind me again. Unless I have regular contact with someone over something interesting or important...no chance I remember their name. But I'll remember the conversation I had with them. It's weird.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Gee Scott, what if you can't make that choice? What if buying health care is not like buying dinner? What if the health care you buy for your chosen person involves a $6 pill the hospital bought for 3¢? Why do you think health care costs so much? Seriously, do you have any idea?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 29, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"So then you would do away with Medicare, Medicaid, Schip and Veteran's health care as well, they're considered entitlements?"

Whether or not I would do away with them, they are not "entitlements" in the moral sense that we were discussing. They are, or course, referred to as "entitlements" in the budget process, but that is different.

"Why can't we all just pay into the pool, do away with the insurance middle men, and establish a new base line of care?"

I don't know what you mean by "establish a new base line of care", but establishing a government fund and eliminating insurance does not "do away" with the middle man. It simply replaces one middle man with another. The only difference is that the new middle man will have the legal power to use coercion, whereas the old one does not.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 29, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

scott

My husband always had trouble with the kids friend's names. Keep in mind I had five here for awhile with lots of friends, we had the pool after-all. He could never keep them straight unless he gave them a nickname himself, funny. The best thing, or worst, about husbands though is selective hearing, LOL.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"It simply replaces one middle man with another."

Except the new middle man doesn't need to make a profit or pay shareholders. If we all buy into medicare, like we do now with taxes, then it wouldn't be an entitlement either by your definition, we would just be expanding it.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 29, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

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