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Posted at 8:32 AM ET, 12/13/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Democrats acknowledge the inevitable: The tax deal will pass. House Dems will be forced to swallow one last compromise before heading into the minority. The Senate is set to vote today on Obama's tax deal, and Dem leaders in both houses signal that it will pass.

* Will House Dems block the hated estate tax provision? It doesn't look likely. Chris Van Hollen, on Fox News Sunday, said that Dems want to register their disapproval of the estate tax piece, but said a vote will nonetheless proceed: "We're not going to hold this thing up at the end of the day."

But then Van Hollen offered this clarification to a reporter: "In its current form it is not acceptable to the Democratic caucus."

* Nancy Pelosi's balancing act: The outgoing Speaker tries to figure out how to let House Dems vent their anger about the tax deal while simultaneously doing what it takes to ensure its passage.

Bottom line: The deal will not be acceptable to many House Democrats, but it will pass anyway.

* Fun fact of the day: If the tax deal passes, the estate tax will be even more generous to the rich than it was under Bush.

* Tax deal gives lefties opening to position themselves as deficit hawks: Can liberals grab onto the Obama tax cut deal to seize the mantle of fiscal responsiblity for themselves?

* John Boehner is not the compromising kind: The incoming House Speaker explains his game plan: He won't compromise with Obama, but he will find common ground with him. Discuss.

* The real story about Obama and "American exceptionalism": In an interesting read, E.J. Dionne notes that the right's assault on the President is really rooted in fears of American decline, something that actually presents Obama with an opportunity. My bet is people inside the White House will take close note of E.J's column.

* Could Dems end the year with some -- gasp -- victories? Andrew Sullivan posits that if Dems pass the tax deal containing a second stimulus and go on to repeal don't ask don't tell, Dems could close out with "a year-end triumph for the president and this party."

* Republicans already moving to control next-year's narrative: As Digby points out, House GOP leaders are already shaping next year's storyline, and Dems might want to start doing something about this.

That narrative, courtesy of Boehner:

"Washington does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem."

The idea, obviously, is to continue focusing all of our attention on spending, rather than on tax rates. Let's hope Obama makes good on his threat to refight the tax cut battle.

* The great "triangulation" debate rages on and on: Steve Benen on why Obama isn't triangulating:

Obama isn't going out of his way to say he disagrees with liberals; he's making an effort to say he agrees with liberals, but feels the need to make concessions to move his agenda forward. Right or wrong, the president wants the left's support, and thinks he's earned it...In a triangulation model, the leader tells the public, "Those folks and I aren't on the same page." In Obama's model, the president is telling the public, "Those folks and I should be on the same page."

Right. As I noted the other day, Obama's frustration with the left is largely rooted in a genuine disagreement over what's achievable, given today's realities.

* An outbreak of real bipartisanship -- against ethanol subsidies: Given that opposition to ethanol subsidies are one of the few rallying points for genuine bipartisanship, uniting critics across the ideological spectrum, it really is amazing that Congress can't bring itself to end them.

* We won't have Michael Steele to kick around anymore: Looks like he's on his way out.

* And it's not easy being a Tea Partyer: The tax deal has left Tea Party leaders torn: They love the tax cuts for the rich, but aren't crazy about increases to the deficit. Decisions, decisions...

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | December 13, 2010; 8:32 AM ET
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Tea Party, gay rights, taxes  
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Comments

Just a quick comment on Bernie's early morning posts on yesterday's thread. Surely we can tease out all the complexities and nuances of national and global matters without having to resort to an real conversation. I mean John Boehner got all choked up on 60 Minutes over the American Dream and offered his deep thought for the interview (as you note, Greg) that we don't have a revenue problem but a spending one. (And since Boehner actually made his fortune in plastics, we now know the guy in The Graduate was right.)

So . . . can't we just look at all the tea leaves like this to understand things like threats to our "natural security" without actually having to talk about them?

Posted by: AllButCertain | December 13, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

So, the media giving Boehner a free-pass begins. After compromising with Obama to NOT make the tax cuts permanent and to extend unemployment benefits just last week, Boehner is allowed to say un-challenged that he won't compromise. Oh, boy, it's gonna be a loooong 2 years ...

Posted by: kromerm | December 13, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"They love the tax cuts for the rich, but aren't crazy about increases to the deficit."

An intelligent person can't hold both of these views and mean both of them. But we all know which one the Tea Party actually cares about, and it ain't the deficits.

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | December 13, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

One specific example of why Wikileaks is so important as a function which forwards transparency (that is, citizens' knowledge of reality) as a weapon against institutional secrecy (that is, purposeful inhibition of citizens' knowledge of reality)...

"The British government took unspecified "measures" to protect American interests during the ongoing British investigation into the causes of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, according to a September 2009 State Department cable released by WikiLeaks.

The cable describes a meeting between Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher and Jon Day, director general for security policy at the British Ministry of Defence. It offers a tantalizing hint that the British government has somehow restricted the work of the Chilcot inquiry -- launched last year to investigate the origins of the war in Iraq -- to minimize embarrassment for the United States. The inquiry has been a major story in the UK for months, with public hearings and testimony from prominent witnesses.

Here's the relevant part of the cable, which offers no details of the "measures":"

{{Day also promised that the UK had "put measures in place to protect your interests" during the UK inquiry into the causes of the Iraq war. He noted that Iraq seems no longer to be a major issue in the U.S., but he said it would become a big issue -- a "feeding frenzy" -- in the UK "when the inquiry takes off."}}

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/11/30/wikileaks_uk_iraq_inquiry/index.html

Note that at this point, we're still being lied to/propagandized in that we don't yet know what "measures" were taken to limit or redirect the Chilcot inquiry so as to protect "interests" (what interests?). But it is part way there towards the goal of citizen knowledge just by having another proof of the deceits and propaganda mechanism put into place here.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 13, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

EJ Dionne is good but the chances for a return to American greatness are slim to none. America is financialized, a condition only treatable by the most radical surgery.

Conservatives don't like to admit anything good about the (former) Soviet Union but after the Bolsheviks imprisoned and executed their financial caste, they went from a 17th century feudal monarchy to a major world power in a *single generation*. That's some radical results from radical surgery.

The financial caste is like a parasitic tumor bigger than its host, and America is like a dog staggering along dragging a pulsing red lump twice its size hanging from its belly. And all we can think of is letting them have more, and more, and more, and treating anyone who thinks we shouldn't as crazy.

That dog isn't going to be leaping for any Frisbees anymore, and America isn't going to return to its lost greatness. Not when we have millions of people screaming themselves red-faced demanding to be lied to and demanding to be robbed.

Oh, and QB .. em là một người ngu và phải cần giúp thin thần.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

"My bet is people inside the White House will take close note of E.J's column."

Stop betting. Ask them. Request a comment for a particular line or argument from Dionne's piece that you find the most interesting.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 13, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Chris Hayes continues to mature into one of the smartest and most honest reporters around. His Nation column below is one more example...

"This apparent contradiction makes sense only if you understand what has become so manifestly obvious that writing it out makes me bored and angry: conservatives do not care about deficits or the national debt. Nothing they have done over the past several decades—from the record deficits of the Reagan and Bush/DeLay years to their party-line opposition to nearly every legislative measure (public option healthcare reform, cap and trade) that would reduce the deficit—suggests otherwise. ...

What Republicans do care about is defending the incomes of the country's wealthiest, distributing income upward and cutting taxes in order to make progressive governance impossible..."

http://www.thenation.com/article/157016/tax-cuts-forever

Posted by: bernielatham | December 13, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

This Vietnamese communist gets better with every post.

Now he's literally advocating Bolshevik mass murder.

There isn't even a point in noting how preposterous it is that he holds up the Soviet Union as the economic model, while lamenting the "loss" of America's greatness, which somehow was achieved by free market economics rather than Bolshevism. But this person is obviously mad -- criminally insane in fact.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

No the White House won't take any note of EJ's column, the White House is tơ busy trying to figure out the next capitulation to Republicans, the next homage paid to "political realism." Obama and McConnell will meet over drinks and shake hands afterward to consummate whatever betrayal of the public trust was discussed between shots.

Come one, guys, "morning in America" was an advertising slogan, and the only greatness Reagan restored was some unjustified swagger and amnesia that was knocked into a cocked hat when Iraq reminded us that, no, we're not God's Chosen and we're not invincible, that our reach exceeds our grasp and we can't get our way all the time no matter how badly we want it.

No wonder a ditz like the Tramp of the Tundra is the standard bearer for the new exceptionalism. Where Reagan was empty in his rhetoric, she's empty in her head.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

There isn't even a point in noting how preposterous it is that he holds up the Soviet Union as the economic model, while lamenting the "loss" of America's greatness, which somehow was achieved by free market economics...

===

.. etc.

First of all, these attacks are of a highly personal nature and bear little foundation in any topic under discussion. If you can't handle reading positions you don't like you should go find something to suck on and get to work instead of posting online.

America's former greatness owes nothing to free market economics. Free market economics is simpleminded junk and makes no sense either in arithmetic or in human nature.

America's former greatness was based on the education of its citizens, on access to good schooling (and medical care). The generation that returned from WWII went to college in overwhelming numbers and their children were raised under the tutelage of Benjamin Spock.

The reason America is steeply in decline is because our or should I now say YOUR education is lousy and shabby and access to medical care is shrinking fast.

But don't despair. The same miserable education that leaves millions unable to participate in science and engineering favors your immoral conservative ideology, so you'll have a lot of company in your hate-crazed and bigoted beliefs. And people too stupid to do arithmetic are the cannon fodder of free market economics, too unable to think analytically to see what a nutty idea it is.

I repeat: economics is nowhere near a science. At its peak it was at the level of rural meteorology and no better .. "last time I saw clouds like that,we had hail." We know that Keynesian theories kinda worked and we know that laissez-faire theories lead to serfdom. But hey, guess which one is "popular" right now.

Enjoy your decline. I'm enjoying my life here, very very much.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Quote of the day, really honest category...

This comes from Spencer Bachus, (R. Alabama) and new Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee...

*“In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks."*

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/12/financial-reform-in-a-world-where-committee-chairmen-think-regulators-should-serve-banks/

As a principle or theory of government, this is to say that the proper role and task of the citizens' representatives is to prevent those citizens from acting in any manner which might jeopardize the existing power hierarchy and to further the means by which that hierarchy dominates the citizens of the nation.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 13, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie:

Worth a re-read:

http://pierretristam.com/Bobst/07/c071602a.htm

"What Reagan couldn’t do because of a Democratic Congress, the Republican Congress of the mid-1990s finished up. GOP Rep. Ron Paul, a market faithful, summed up his party’s view of government regulators: “These little men filled with envy are capable of producing nothing and are motivated by their own inadequacies and desires to wield authority against men of talent.”

It turns out the CEOs were the little men producing nothing."

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Every time the dust settles, the oligarchy emerges stronger than it was before. Under Obama, despite huge majorities, the disparity between rich and poor have only gotten bigger. How is that possibly Change anyone can believe in? A six year old can see the country needs it's wealthy to change their ways, but the opposite is happening. They're getting rewarded for destroying the economy.

Posted by: Bullsmith1 | December 13, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

This column from Ishmael Reed is worth including in the Morning Plum: What Progressives Don't Understand About Obama

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/opinion/12reed.html

I especially liked these two paragraphs:

When these progressives refer to themselves as Mr. Obama’s base, all they see is themselves. They ignore polls showing steadfast support for the president among blacks and Latinos. And now they are whispering about a primary challenge against the president. Brilliant! The kind of suicidal gesture that destroyed Jimmy Carter — and a way to lose the black vote forever.

Unlike white progressives, blacks and Latinos are not used to getting it all. They know how it feels to be unemployed and unable to buy your children Christmas presents. They know when not to shout. The president, the coolest man in the room, who worked among the unemployed in Chicago, knows too.

Posted by: mercerreader | December 13, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"First of all, these attacks are of a highly personal nature and bear little foundation in any topic under discussion."

So he's a hypocrite, too. No surprise.

You have disowned America and are on the internet from your single-party, totalitarian utopia advocating mass murder and imprisonment of Americans. This is not spin or overheated rhetoric on my part but your own explicitly stated wishes.

I will continue to point out that you are a self-identified advocate of Bolshevik mass murder and gulag totalitarianism so long as I think it worthwhile, and your whining about "personal attacks," in addition to being rank hypocrisy, matters not in the least. You're another Castro, Che Geuvera, Mao, Stalin wannabe. Hatred and murder drip from your words, and I'm not going to listen to your bunk without continuing to call you exactly what you are.

Let's see if any of the liberals here want to rise to the defense of a traitor to the country who advocates mass murder and Bolshevik "reform."

Greg, you must be proud to have this enemy of humanity and freedom newly resident here.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

And, oh, to close the loop .. the reason American education has gone from the best in the world to the shameful mediocrity it is today lays at the feet of, yup, free market economics. Government has been drowned in the bathtub and is no longer capable of funding those necessities that are its charter. The social welfare has fallen from grace and been replaced by a niggardly selfishness in which educating the workforce is "redistribution" or whatever the neologism is today.

Now we speak of "market based" this and "market based" that but never let ourselves notice that that the outcomes are never great, never even good, never even acceptable.

America will totter along for a while but when the average high school graduate can't read a graph or compose an essay, when science is deprecated and arithmetic is seditious, well, don't expect any more great achievements.

Speaking of achievements, the Cần Thơ bridge is less than a mile from my house. Meanwhile, Tim Pawlenty denied funds to repair a much smaller one and dozens of his constituents drowned. But hey, can't have limited government if you're going to fix things, right?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Dems, instead of whining about how this bill is going to pass, why don't you MORONS take credit for the good stuff that's in it, that the Democratic president negotiated to put in it!

Payroll tax cut that puts $1,000 in the pocket of a guy making $50k a year? Child tax credit? That's our stuff! People need to know that this is WHY we are willing to swallow the odious high-end tax cuts: it was the only way Republicans would let us put $1,000 in your pocket!

I can't wait until Mitch McConnell starts taking credit for the payroll tax cuts 6 months from now. And the idiot Democrats let him do it.

Seriously, is this rocket science?

Posted by: theorajones1 | December 13, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

So, the third in line for the Presidency is a big cry baby.

Putin's grin can be seen all the way from Alaska.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 13, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Hi ABC - Boehner's tears have, I think any medical practitioner would tell us, the same constituent compounds as Glenn Beck's tears.

But the question of the function of them, in either case, is less clear.

Perhaps it is an economic thing - as a rising tide lifts all boats, the more water the better (applies to melting glaciers as well, obviously).

Or maybe it is an evolutionary experiment (in the classic Darwinian random selection sense) and only time will tell whether psychopathy plus wet cheekbones might produce more offspring than psychopathy with dry cheekbones (offspring being very important to maintenance of the family structure and the continuation of Western Civilization until, that is, God does Armaggedon and makes the point somewhat moot - but His ways are mysterious, that's for friggin sure).

Or perhaps we need no theory of function for these mens' tears. Perhaps there's nothing noteworthy or unusual about them at all. Perhaps they only provide evidence towards an anthropological observation regarding men of Anglo-Saxon origins and their deep emotional characters as contrasted with men of African origins who lack emotion.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 13, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Nice link, mercerreader. It's kind of interesting, isn't it, that Obama has real world experience working among the jobless? I wonder how many people who think he's ignoring the unemployed have had similar firsthand experience.

Posted by: AllButCertain | December 13, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

you are a self-identified advocate of Bolshevik mass murder and gulag totalitarianism .... You're another Castro, Che Geuvera, Mao, Stalin wannabe. Hatred and murder drip from your words

==

Dude, seriously, get some help.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Amusing, Bernie.

Posted by: AllButCertain | December 13, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"Dude, seriously, get some help."

See 9:12 AM

See also the previous thread.

I'm doing just fine. You are beyond help -- not just stupid but enamored of monstrous evil. I wish that were exaggeration. But your own words prove it isn't.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how the third in line for the Presidency of the United Stated being a big cry baby is playing out in the international press.

How embarrassing.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 13, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Hey, qb, spend a few minutes breathing in and out of a paper bag until your vagus nerve stabilizes, and then reconcile these two historical facts with your free market ideology

(1) Under Eisenhower the income tax rate for the highest incomes was 91%, which according to you should have destroyed incentive. Instead we had a period of great prosperity, achievement, and confidence in our institutions. Why did those high taxes have the opposite effect?

(2) After the Bolsheviks removed the financial castes from power (not itnerested in discussing HOW they did that, only the fact thereof), the SU went through a period of unsurpassed growth and became an industrial giant. According to your beliefs, the absence of a financial caste should have led to ruin. Why did it have the opposite effect?

As Klara Zachanassian said in Durrenmatt's "Der Besuch der Alten Dame" ..

.. "ich warte."

I'm waiting.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"I'm doing just fine. You are beyond help -- not just stupid but enamored of monstrous evil."

==

Well, no, you're not doing just fine, you're melting down before our eyes. My recounting of historical fact is hardly the stuff of demanding mass murder, I'd be perfectly happy seeing the financial caste in prison where they belong.

As for monstrous evil, that's what I think of you people, tearing America apart for the enrichment of a few dozen families, pathologically indifferent to the suffering they cause, the broken lives, the lost careers, the emotional hardship. The children raised without decent food or medical care, the relationships broken, the animals euthanized.

And, frankly, yes, if someone came for the financiers I wouldn't speak up against it at all. Render them into goldfish food with my blessing.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Host writes: "The tax deal will pass."

While musing about this, please read

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/12/AR2010121202760.html

wherein Fareed examines the mechanism by which the can seems always to be kicked down the road.

Will we have a budget? When? Perhaps we do not need a budget and we can just run the federal government on Continuing Resolutions and Debt Ceiling votes from now on. Budgets are so banal and boring.

Do other countries have budgets, or do they just wander around in the dark? Perhaps Congress could subcontract its work to the Canadian Parliament [or some other English speaking deliberative body]. Then our elected officials could campaign almost all the time. They could take credit for anything that works and blame Canada for anything that does not.

The logic of every political decision includes a healthy dose of whether or not it leads to a better chance of retaining or regaining power. Thus it always was.
Do we reward a pol who thinks for himself, regardless of party, and who tries to act responsibly? Bennett's ouster in UT and Feingold's loss in WI say that we often do not.

So we come back to our responsibilities as citizens. Since 1970, we have generally had higher than a 29% HS dropout rate. The rate was higher in previous generations, but it became a brake on the middle class and a drag on the collective sense of our nation in the last thirty years. On the other hand, when I was in HS in the 50s, only 3% of the nation were college graduates. When I was graduated from HS on a "college prep" track I had many scholarship offers, including one from Yale and a full ride at Rice. Yet comparing my HS education to that of two of my four children in particular, I would have required 40 hours of community college work beyond my HS diploma to equal their HS educations.

We have become by force of history a more divided people in class of education while we have become a more integrated and color blind society at the same time. The education gap means that I can talk comfortably with the black attorney who lives across the street and the Chinese American engineer three houses down the next block but have difficulty with engaging the woman who sometimes cuts my hair. No one ever had trouble talking to his barber when I was a kid.

I do not know if we are more compartmentalized or less; but I do know that a continued 29% dropout rate will lead to a permanent underclass, to high unemployment structurally, and to nothing good whatever - including irresponsible government that cannot pass a budget as a norm.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 13, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Wait forever, Bolshevik. Your "argument" is beyond stupid and ahistorical. In fact, you set an entirely new standard even for Plum Line stupidity, and one that it is entirely pointless to try to engage.

But I don't care about that. All that I currently care about as regards you is to to highlight that you advocate the gulag and mass murder -- liquidation of the capitalist classes, right out of the annals of Stalin. Reeducation, gulags, a perhaps a little cultural revoluation? A real, live totalitarian here at PL. Amazing. Just enjoy your workers' paradise and stay away from our country.

"the reason American education has gone from the best in the world to the shameful mediocrity it is today lays at the feet of, yup, free market economics."

Like I said, monumentally ignorant and stupid as well. Not even worth engaging such idiocy.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

qb's got nothing so he's just flinging poop at ya at this point. lol

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 13, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Summary: you can't answer. I guess your beliefs are matters of faith and are "above" logic.

Like any religion.

Figured you for a phoney, quarterback. you've now confirmed it.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

One last comment...

There's an important differentiation that EJ hints at in "declinism" as seen by many on the left pre the election versus the "declinism" as conceived on the right.

For those of us on the left, as EJ suggests, it was the decline of prosperity for others than the very wealthy, the decline in America's standing in the world, the decline in what he had previously imagined the US to stand for (torture?), starting wars for oil and lying/frightening citizens into consensus for a war, the abrupt and severe corruption of our media and civic discourse, the increasing perception that our elections were being manipulated, etc I think we could reasonably argue that, from the left's perspective, worries about decline (as we imagine it) had their genesis in the Reagan revolution (Thatcher in Britain, Mulroney in Canada) and its shift away from a prior social contract.

But on the right, national decline was conceived as beginning in the sixties. There are much older contributory threads here too but this is where the real fun started. The Reagan revolution was, in great part, a response to the sixties, both culturally and in terms of corporate organization to defend power structures seen to be threatened in new ways.

Of course, that's all pretty well understood by most folks even if someone on the right would write it rather differently. But what is new now is very important, I think.

It's a cliche to observe that we (we in the west and we across the planet) are now experiencing change which is coming at us at an increasing rate of speed. There would be no significant threat from the Muslim community (we've been pillaging their oil and mucking about with their sovereignty for a long time) if it weren't for changes in communications and transport and immigration. A more tribal group of societies, they are less accustomed to significant change and (like Christian conservatives in rural settings particularly) are more fearful of it and consequently become reactionary.

But I think we are all becoming increasingly on edge as change of quite new sorts presses on us. I do not have any idea, for example, of the upcoming consequences from further miniaturization of electronics. Generally, we can glimpse it. Robotics in war, for one. And how do you reason with, or negotiate with, a robotic adversary?

Anyway...big conversation there but I have to go.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 13, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

gulag ... mass murder (click)
gulag ... mass murder (click)
gulag ... mass murder (click)
gulag ... mass murder (click)

god I hated vinyl

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"And, frankly, yes, if someone came for the financiers I wouldn't speak up against it at all. Render them into goldfish food with my blessing."

We can all see that. But you give yourself too little credit. You would surely help with the liquidation. The only question with you is how. You might be the guy with the gun in his hand, but more fitting your pseudo-intellectual profile is the role of accuser, party ideologist, or show trial prosecutor. Yeah, your sense of self-importance suggests one of the latter for sure.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

@AllBut-

LOL! Your first post on this thread rules.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 13, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Nice to read your stuff again, Chris. I hope the move to Vietnam went well.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 13, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

America's former greatness was based largely on us avoiding having WWII fought on our soil (except for Hawaii) and ending the war as the only industrial country with not only an intact industrial base but a revved up one. We played that hand into the '80s when not only Europe but the Japanese caught up (but then stagnated) and then we began to wane when the Asian tigers and then China and India began to grow so fast.

We squandered our power first by rewarding financial and not manufacturing companies and then on dumb wars (Iraq and now it seems Afghanistan, which could have been over in 2 years if Bush hadn't invaded Iraq) and now find ourselves with a declining infrastructure and manufacturing base right at the time overseas trade is going to get more expensive because of fuels and storms and pirates.

The solution is a two-fer: Green tech, in which we are ceding the lead to China and denying there is even a climate and energy crisis, while disasters and shifting weather patterns pile up and the Arctic Sea icing over so slowly that in a couple of years it will be ice free.

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 13, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Re: Eisenhower: There were three recessions during his administration. It's also pretty easy to compete when you've spent the last couple of years bombing the main sources of competition.

Either way, this idea of high tax rates -- like the 92% isn't to raise revenue. It's to justify higher tax rates on the majority of taxpayers than they would otherwise be willing to tolerate. The bottom end of that 92% was 22.2%. Probably a lot more people paying that 22.2 percent than the 92%. and everywhere in between.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | December 13, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Hey John Boehner:

Don't Cry For Me, Nicotina!

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Figured you for a phoney, quarterback. you've now confirmed it."

Declare whatever you want. Debating or "discussing" issues with an ideological soulmate of Stalin is a fool's errand and quite pointless. I've had plenty of substantive debates of the holy 91% marginal rate (and other liberal mythologies) with people who are misguided leftists but are not -- as you are -- self-avowed communist advocates of liquidation of the capitalist classes.

With people like you, we just call evil what it is, and remind everyone of the nature of the historic crimes against humanity that you are now praising and wishing were repeated in the U.S. I don't try to debate with evil.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

All, good Adam Serwer post on what's next for DADT:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 13, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The problem with want E.J. Dionne is suggestion is that we need more than simple rhetoric to get us out of the ditch we're currently into.

All you have to do is look around, and you get the distinct notion that everything's falling apart. It's like the UK in the 70's and 80s.

We need more than rhetoric -- we need a Marshall Plan.

Posted by: leoklein | December 13, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

qb, you're demented.

Me holding a gun? Missed the barn, champ .. I'm for the repeal of the Second Amendment, I want all those "cold dead fingers" braggarts taken up on their childish boast. One of the things I like about this society is that guns are illegal. The American fetish with firearms is revolting to me. I would much rather we had a free press than the RKBA.

Anyway, you're deeper into reruns at this point than the original Star Trek. My actual words are rat cheer on these pages for anyone to read and I don't think you're going to get very far casting me as a Maoist. I believe in the social contract, I believe in capitalism albeit only when highly regulated and highly taxed, I believe in steeply progressive taxation with the unapologetic and openly stated goal of preventing excessive concentration of wealth..

I live in a Communist country where the collective benefit of all appears on public information campaigns everywhere, and I love it. I love seeing signs advising good childhood nutrition, which we'll never see in America .. because it might discourage consumption of junk food. I find the American preoccupation with the individual to be nothing more than conceit.

You free market zombies want to turn America into Somalia, impoverished and lawless and polluted. And you call me evil.

Anyway, I asked you two simple straightforward questions based on unimpeachable historical records. You can huff and puff and pound your chest but you can't answer them, so why don't you just go back to your Barbie recitations. Tell us a story about how deregulation made America great and how the marketplace can never be wrong. You, sir, are a fool.

@BB: the move was a man-killer, but I'm here, and I'm very happy with how it's turned out. I'll feel safer once my house sells and I get my money into land here and out of dollars, but aside from that I've never felt more peaceful in my life. The people are friendly, the food is fantastic, the life is relaxed. I love going to the market every day, I love having rice with every meal, my diet is 3/4 vegetarian (delicious and CHEAP!). The gyms aren't up to the standard I'm used to but I'm able to stay in shjape.

Append at yahoo dot com dot vn to this moniker and shoot me an email, I'll send you a link to some pics of the house and the country.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Passage of this tax bill will add nearly a trillion dollars to the deficit. All those Democrats urging passage should know that immediately following its enactment there will be be a war launched against Social Security and the rest of the New Deal. And those seeking to destroy the American Welfare State will use the monstrous debt to mercilessly starve our national government. One attack after another. Ceaselessly. Those Democrats urging passage should think about how they will react -- and far more importantly how the President will react -- once those attacks ensue. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion on the tax bill but don't say you didn't realize what was going to happen after it is enacted. Democrats and Obama are giving Conservatives the best ammunition they could have when they renew their assault on the American Middle Class, Working Class and the Poor. Democrats are handing the GOP the gun to shoot them. Pass it if you will but please don't claim two months from now that you didn't know what was coming.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie-

"Quote of the day, really honest category...

This comes from Spencer Bachus, (R. Alabama) and new Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee...

*“In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks."*"

So much information here. Are these people stuck in the Gilded Age, or what?

Face it, Goopers, your heyday was Reconstruction.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 13, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Good point made again by Benen:

What I'd really like to hear is what Boehner actually considers the "American dream" and what it was about the 1950s and 1960s that he likes and wants to restore.

As we've discussed before, putting aside what that era was like for women and minority groups, the striking thing about such pining is how extraordinarily liberal the country was, economically, during these good ol' days. The top marginal tax rate was 90% (nearly triple today's figure); union membership was 30% (more than quadruple today's figure); the Republican Party, which still had plenty of liberals, endorsed all kinds of progressive ideas (spending projects, living wage); and the economy was heavily regulated -- airlines didn't even set their own prices.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_12/027054.php#more

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 13, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"My actual words are rat cheer on these pages for anyone to read and I don't think you're going to get very far casting me as a Maoist."

Yes, your words are right here. You have repeatedly praised the Soviets' liquidation of the "financial caste" and wished for and advocated the same for the U.S. -- imprisonment and grinding them into fish food.

"Me holding a gun? Missed the barn, champ .. I'm for the repeal of the Second Amendment, I want all those "cold dead fingers" braggarts taken up on their childish boast. One of the things I like about this society is that guns are illegal. The American fetish with firearms is revolting to me. I would much rather we had a free press than the RKBA."

Of course you want the U.S. to repeal the 2d and ban private gun ownership. Communists and other totalitarians always want that first. That way they are the only ones with the guns. And I don't doubt for a minute that you want gun owners killed. That's how your peaceful utopian workers' paradise works -- the communists have plenty of guns and use them to liquidate opposition and dissent.

You just keep digging and digging. We already know what you are and what you believe. No need to keep telling us.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"The solution is a two-fer: Green tech, in which we are ceding the lead to China and denying there is even a climate and energy crisis, while disasters and shifting weather patterns pile up and the Arctic Sea icing over so slowly that in a couple of years it will be ice free."

I agree with you and I thought Obama did too. But we are actually slipping further behind and I see no progress for the next two years. Fiddling while the earth heats and the waters rise. We are destroying our own planet and we are too ignorant to do anything about it because our entrenched business interests are too powerful. When people ask how America declined, this above all will be the answer: we refused to recognize reality because we didn't like it. Crony capitalism and the plutocracy are undermining America and destroying the planet.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

QB - Guns are also severely restricted in the UK. You know, that place that just elected the Conservative Party that is serious about fiscal restraint? No guns = dictatorship is a silly argument. As for preserving freedom here, the government always has bigger and more guns. That's been proven repeatedly.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 13, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

FB,

Spare me your straw man arguments. You obviously haven't read the comments of your communist friend.

As for "the government always has bigger and more guns," sometimes it does, but centuries of world history show that repression of even lightly armed populations is difficult. Certainly more difficult than repression of the unarmed. Not every government that disarms the people aims at further repression, but every government that aims at repression disarms the people.

The repressive governments your communist friend loves perversely call themselves "peoples'" governments and armies. They take all the guns and use them on the people. That's what you buddy wants to do.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

You constructed the straw man, QB. I just lit the fire. I noticed very little difference in the amount of freedom I had walking the streets of Sheffield than jogging through Boston. One advantage, though. When mugged in the UK, I was able to take off without worry about being shot in the back.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 13, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you would have noticed the difference in freedom had you been in a disarmed workers' paradise, just before a bullet from a Peoples' Army executioner entered your skull.

Honestly, what you are saying is so irrelevant and off point that I have no idea what your point even is. Your friend from the Workers' Paradise of Vietnam is advocating imprisonment and liquidation (that's "murder") of the capitalist classes. Of course, he'd like the populace disarmed first. He admires the Soviet model of revolution and "development."

As for being mugged, if you'd rather run for your life than be allowed to defend yourself, good luck. Just keep your hands off the right of others defend themselves.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I knew that Chris would light things up around here.

Few people actually espouse another financial and political system with as much knowledge and vigor as you, Chris. We don't always agree, but you always make me think.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 13, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

yeah, this guy has a lot of deep thoughts. Like: the Soviets sure developed industry fast.

Come to think of it, Hitler did it even faster and better.

That's about as much as this fool's thoughts are worth.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"yeah, this guy has a lot of deep thoughts. Like: the Soviets sure developed industry fast.

Come to think of it, Hitler did it even faster and better."

==

No, Germany was already a heavily industrialized country and already a major power, and Germany's belligerence is based on their treatment under the Treaty of Versailles. Like most right-wing jerks you have a distorted and warped grasp of history.

And, again, the fact remains that the Soviet Union DID go through a spectacular period of growth and expansion, correlation starkly with the elimination of its financial sector from influence and power. So far your only answer to that is to get enraged and call me names. It remains a fact, it remains a stark contradiction to your miserable beliefs, and you can't do anything about it.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

"yeah, this guy has a lot of deep thoughts. Like: the Soviets sure developed industry fast.

Come to think of it, Hitler did it even faster and better."

==

No, Germany was already a heavily industrialized country and already a major power, and Germany's belligerence is based on their treatment under the Treaty of Versailles. Like most right-wing jerks you have a distorted and warped grasp of history.

And, again, the fact remains that the Soviet Union DID go through a spectacular period of growth and expansion, correlation starkly with the elimination of its financial sector from influence and power. So far your only answer to that is to get enraged and call me names. It remains a fact, it remains a stark contradiction to your miserable beliefs, and you can't do anything about it.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

"yeah, this guy has a lot of deep thoughts. Like: the Soviets sure developed industry fast.

Come to think of it, Hitler did it even faster and better."

==

No, Germany was already a heavily industrialized country and already a major power, and Germany's belligerence is based on their treatment under the Treaty of Versailles. Like most right-wing jerks you have a distorted and warped grasp of history.

And, again, the fact remains that the Soviet Union DID go through a spectacular period of growth and expansion, correlation starkly with the elimination of its financial sector from influence and power. So far your only answer to that is to get enraged and call me names. It remains a fact, it remains a stark contradiction to your miserable beliefs, and you can't do anything about it.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 13, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Let's just count some of the ways in which this clown is full of "it."

Spectacular growth in the Soviet Union? Hmmm. Actually, all they proved is that it was possible to build a lot of tanks and other arms in time for WWII, through totalitarian control and . . . oops . . . the starvation of hundreds of millions of people, among other state-induced calmaities and crimes against humanity. Other than that there was nothing "spectacular" about any of it. The Soviet economy was always a house of cards built on the literal blood and bodies of its hundreds of millions of victims. Great model, moron.

Germany already an industrial power, so it's growth doesn't count? Gee, I think the U.S. was sort of an industrial power when Ike was elected, so there goes your argument about that. Perhaps if you dealt in consistent and reasoned arguments rather than the usual dime-store leftist grab bag of ad hoc taunts and retorts, you wouldn't make such foolish mistakes. But that's what happens to posers who traffic in glib superficialities.

Unlike the U.S. after WWII -- the unchallenged economic superpower --Germany's economy was for all intents an purposes destroyed by WWI and the Treaty of Versailles (we are SO impressed you've heard of it!) followed by the Depression. But Hitler was able to build an industrial base and war machine within a few years that was much more impressive than what the Soviets did over two decades.

What does that prove about free market economics? The same -- nothing. It just proves that you are a half-educated hack.

In case you still don't get the point, dictators can build practically anything they want. It just comes at the price of human misery and death and destruction. Castro has lived like a king, surrounded by squalor. The Soviets held "spectacular" May Day displays of military industrial might, while hundreds of millions staggered and died under their boots. China's spectacular "growth" -- ever been there and seen how most people actually live? Egyptian pyramids, the Great Wall, the Palace of Versailles, the Taj Mahal, what do they all prove?

Only that people can accomplish a lot with guns to their heads. That's your "economic" program. That's your plan for "growth" and prosperity. Murder the "financial caste" and the kulaks. Expropriate the rest and put guns to their heads. Let hundreds of millions starve, just so long as you command the resources where you want them. Yes, communism has been a smashing success everywhere from the SU (oops, gone) to China, North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba . . . well the list just goes on and on. Freedom and prosperity just seem to follow it wherever it goes. The Chinese can build shiny buildings and nukes, surrounded by stone age hovels.

That you think any of this somehow "contradicts" my belief just shows how profoundly stupid and uneducated you are.

And now I am well and truly finished with this vile enemy of humanity. We rejoice that you have left America. Don't ever come back.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 14, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

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