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Posted at 8:37 AM ET, 12/15/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Big day today: If the Senate is the saucer that cools the hot tea from the House, as the famous metaphor has it, that dynamic will be on full display today, with major votes set in the House on don't ask don't tell and in the Senate on Obama's tax cut deal.

The House will vote today to repeal don't ask dont tell; but that bill could still get iced in the Senate, which hasn't yet agreed to hold its own vote. Meanwhile, House Dems are trying to modify the estate tax provision in the tax cut deal, viewing it as a massive giveaway to super-rich estates. But House Dem leaders know that if they make any real changes to the tax cut deal to make liberals happy, it could imperil it in the upper chamber.

* House Dems prepare for the inevitable on tax cut deal: And so, House leaders are looking for ways to tweak the compromise, particularly on the estate tax, without putting it at any risk in the Senate, which is expected to pass the deal in an up-or-down vote today.

Also in the above link: Only 20 or so House Republicans will vote against the compromise, making its passage all but certain at this point.

* But House leaders are at least giving voice to the anger of their members: Chris Van Hollen points out how ludicrous it is that Washington politicicans concerned about the deficit and government spending "think it's wise to give a windfall to heirs such as Paris Hilton."

* DADT repeal vote in House today: Nancy Pelosi announces on Twitter that House Dems are moving forward on a stand alone repeal bill, and gives Senate Dems a lnudge: "Senate action on #DADT is long overdue."

* The Senate might be prepared to act: A Senate leadership aide tells Sam Stein that Harry Reid will push to have a vote early next week, which seems to indicate something short of certainty about whether a vote will definitely happen.

Also: It remains unclear how Reid will to handle GOP procedural demands.

* Support for DADT repeal truly overwhelming at this point: In the new Washington Post/ABCNews poll, nearly eight in ten Americans, including majorities of every group, favor letting gays serve openly. Key takeaway: The debate over repeal has only increased support, driving it to its highest level ever in Post polling.

* Marine Corps big fears gay service-members: A lot of chatter this morning about Marine Corps top general James Amos's claim that repealing DADT would endanger lives. Jonathan Capehart responds:

To listen to Amos, you'd think letting gay men and lesbians serve openly would turn his barracks into the set for the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Ridiculous, right? Marines who can't handle serving alongside someone who was closeted on Monday and then comes out on Tuesday are the one Amos should be worried about. They are the ones who will lack discipline. They are the ones who will wreck unit cohesion. They are the ones who will harm morale.

* It's now or never on DADT repeal: Dear Senate leadership: As Kevin Drum notes, if repeal doesn't pass now, "it's dead for a very long time."

* No mandate for GOP rule? The new Post/ABC News poll finds the public trusts Obama over the GOP to handle the nation's problems, 43-38. But: The GOP edges Obama specifically on the economy, 45-44, and a plurality says it's a "good thing" that Republicans are taking over the House in January.

* Obama edging GOP on leadership: Also: A plurality (45 percent) says Obama is doing the right amount to compromise with the GOP, while a majority (54 percent) says the GOP is doing too little to compromise with the president. And Obama edges the GOP 43-42 on who has adopted a stronger leadership role in Washington, perhaps suggesting that the public sees Obama as driving the train on the tax cut deal.

* No revolt on the left: The poll also finds that Obama's approval rating among liberals in the wake of the tax cut deal stands at 87 percent, almost identical to where it was last month, again suggesting a big gap between rank and file libs and high profile critics on the left.

* Time for lefty critics to embrace reality? Mike Tomasky calls on liberals to "recalibrate their hopes" for a transformative presidency, and do what ever they can to help Obama achieve what's genuinely possible.

* Modest proposal of the day: Some House Dems have the gall to suggest that the extension in unemployment benefits should be prolonged to be as long as the extension in tax cuts for the rich. Sorry. Non-starter.

* A conservative "activist judge" struck down individual mandate: It appears Henry Hudson, the Federal judge who ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional, is giving new meaning to the term "activist judge."

* Jon Kyl defends persecuted Christians against heathen Harry Reid: Senator Kyl appears to think Reid's insistence that the Senate stay in session long enough to finish the people's business risks "disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians."

* Which prompts Matthew Yglesias to suggest a Jewish-senators-only session on Christmas Day.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | December 15, 2010; 8:37 AM ET
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights, taxes  
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Next: Why Gen. Amos is wrong about his own Marines

Comments

The only way Obama loses the 2012 election to the Republican candidate is to continue on the same course he is on. The Republicans have no leadership, no mandate, no plan, they only have one thing, a Democratic party in the same boat.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

But that 20% who favor maintaining DADT is the onlu constituency that Republicans care about; that 20% is vehement while commitment of most of the 80% who support repeal is lukewarm.

When the vote comes, Republicans will circle the wagons again.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"Left Out

Francis Fukuyama

The answer to the question “Is America a plutocracy?” might seem either trivial or obvious depending on how one defines the term. Plutocracy, says the dictionary, simply means “rule by the rich.” If the query is taken literally to mean that the non-rich—the vast majority of American citizens—have no influence in American democracy, or that the country is self-consciously ruled by some hidden collusive elite, the answer is obviously “no.” On the other hand, if the question is taken to mean, “Do the wealthy have disproportionate political influence in the United States?” then the answer is obviously “yes”, and that answer would qualify as one of the most unsurprising imaginable. Wealthy people have had disproportionate influence in most polities at most times in history.

Of course, one can argue endlessly over who qualifies as being rich, whether the rich constitute a social class capable of collective action, how open or closed that class is, what constitutes real political power in today’s America, and so on. But if the question remains as simple as those articulated above, the basic answer will not change or be of much interest.

This is not, however, what this issue of The American Interest means by plutocracy. We mean not just rule by the rich, but rule by and for the rich. We mean, in other words, a state of affairs in which the rich influence government in such a way as to protect and expand their own wealth and influence, often at the expense of others. As the introductory essay to this issue shows, this influence may be exercised in four basic ways: lobbying to shift regulatory costs and other burdens away from corporations and onto the public at large; lobbying to affect the tax code so that the wealthy pay less; lobbying to allow the fullest possible use of corporate money in political campaigns; and, above all, lobbying to enable lobbying to go on with the fewest restrictions. Of these, the second has perhaps the deepest historical legacy.

Scandalous as it may sound to the ears of Republicans schooled in Reaganomics, one critical measure of the health of a modern democracy is its ability to legitimately extract taxes from its own elites. The most dysfunctional societies in the developing world are those whose elites succeed either in legally exempting themselves from taxation, or in taking advantage of lax enforcement to evade them, thereby shifting the burden of public expenditure onto the rest of society...."

(cont in next)

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

We therefore raise a different and more interesting set of questions regarding the relationship between money and power in contemporary America. All these questions come together, however, in a paramount puzzle: Why has a significant increase in income inequality in recent decades failed to generate political pressure from the left for redistributional redress, as similar trends did in earlier times? Instead, insofar as there is any populism bubbling from below in America today it comes from the Right, and its target is not just the “undeserving rich”—Wall Street “flip-it” shysters and their ilk—but, even more so, government policies intended to protect Americans from their predations. How do we explain this?"

http://www.viet-studies.info/kinhte/Fukuyama_LeftOut.htm

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

@shrink: it's carved in stone that Republicans will nominate someone completely crazy. Maybe evenPalin, given the way their primaries work. People will vote against that crazy as much as vote for Obama and motivation to keep the Rapture lunatic out of office will greatly exceed enthusiasm for Obama.

He's still a rotten and indecisive president with no fight in him.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"The poll also finds that Obama's approval rating among liberals in the wake of the tax cut deal stands at 87 percent"

I can't find this in the poll data. Also, I don't believe it.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Tomasky:

"I can't really blame the president for not being liberal enough. It's not a liberal country."

Really? What is his source for this? Chris Matthews?

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Greg and Yglesias point to Kyl's "disrespecting Christianity" comment from yesterday (sure brought it up here earlier).

Though Matt describes the comment as "preposterous", I think we ought to use much stronger terminology because what he is doing is not merely trying to toss up another obstruction (hopefully leading to further perception of Obama-as-failure). He's doing this through the promotion of or encouragement of hateful sentiment among christians who might believe the lie he's trying to push.

This sort of tactic - fostering hate and division among Americans through deceits, lies, and misrepresentations - is now so commonly used by modern conservatives that many of them don't apparently even think twice before engaging the tactic. It is deeply immoral and destructive. Surely, it's at the low end of the spectrum, all things considered, but it IS a species of real evil.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"Mike Tomasky calls on liberals to "recalibrate their hopes" for a transformative presidency, and do what ever they can to help Obama achieve what's genuinely possible."

Accept "what's genuinely possible" with an inert Republicrat president. Why should anyone on the Left waste time, money and energy supporting the Republicrats? Tomasky can feel free to do so but he shouldn't expect much company. People on the Left are realizing that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. In fact, it is the Democrats capitulation to Conservatism that has allowed the GOP to go off into RightWingNutistan, thereby jeopardizing the nation. Support Obama? Thanks, but no thanks. Been there, done that. Didn't work.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

This Kyl character really is unreal.

"Delay delay delay stop stop stop...... It's taking too long, running into the holidays etc"

What a freaking whiner. Look jacka$$, the whole world wants START, so shut up and quit yer blabbering.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 15, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

This Kyl character really is unreal.

"Delay delay delay stop stop stop...... It's taking too long, running into the holidays etc"

What a freaking whiner. Look jacka$$, the whole world wants START, so shut up and quit yer blabbering.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 15, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: it's explained by 30 years of steady drumbeating from the Club for Growth crowd, the conviction that this is the natural order and that interfering in the "pristine" marketplace is the root of all problems.

I remember in the early 2000s, the dotcom crash, a room full of interview candidates for software testing jobs (gag noise). These were people a good two sigmas over average and they too were intoning junk about "completing in the global marketplace" and "supply and demand."

Left unmentioned about modern populism: its focus is not only against government interference in "the marketplace," but against the educated themselves.

Indoctrination. The big lie,repeated over and over.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"How do we explain this?"

Pick me! Pick me! I know this one.
Mr. "end of history" himself, Yoshi asks how the American plutocracy solved the problem of class war. I love it. Delicious paradox.

I know how the American plutocracy solved the problem of class war.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

hey...cf stole my thunder

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

wb said: "Really? What is his source for this? Chris Matthews?"

I sympathize with your criticism of this claim. And I sympathize with the other generalization we hear so commonly that "America is a conservative nation". All such generalizations are highly questionable for the reasons we all understand. And, obviously, this sort of claim is always relative - compared to whom?

And then the claim makes some sense. America isn't Canada (believe me on this). Nor is it Sweden or even France or Britain or Denmark. Whether one views this as a consequence of peoples' preferences or structural matters and institutions (I think it is overwhelmingly the latter), there's a reality here.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"it's carved in stone that Republicans will nominate someone completely crazy. Maybe evenPalin, given the way their primaries work."

Maybe. And that's probably what Obama is counting on. But I'm not so sure. I think this Tax Capitulation legislation will be a good indicator whether the Loonies can wrest control of the GOP from the Plutocrats. The Plutocrats know these tax cuts are nirvana for Conservatism and they have no intention of letting this deal get away. My guess is that the Plutocrats win out and the GOP votes strongly in favor of Obama's capitulation. But we'll see soon enough.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"People on the Left are realizing that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans."

Speak for yourself. When I line up my Senators, even somewhat conservative ones, Webb and Warner against two from a state like Wyoming, I see a difference.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 15, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I got an idea. Let's scrap the tax leg and just get rid of WTO, NAFTA and start putting up import duties and luxury import duties. MAYBE, get some manufacturing sectors going again? Yes? No?

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 15, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

bernie:

The canard that America is a Center Right country is a key component of the Con propaganda effort. Even with no visible support amongst the political "leadership" the public option was favored by two-thirds of the American people all the way to its sell-out by Obama. Was the public option a Conservative policy or a Liberal policy?

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"My guess is that the Plutocrats win out and the GOP votes strongly in favor of Obama's capitulation."

Thanks a lot, good thing I have a coffee proof keyboard. But that burning sensation in the back of my nose is your fault!

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

@shrink and cao... it wasn't a test question. I linked that piece (much longer than the excerpt and apparently related to other essays in the issue) as an information resource for everyone. I hope some stop typing long enough to wade in.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

This is friggin fantastic:

NRA <3 Gun Smuggling to Drug Gangs in Mexico

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/14/AR2010121406045.html

WTF is wrong with these people? How did the gun lobby get so ridiculously powerful that they could kill a bill to prevent gun smuggling? Isn't gun smuggling to organized crime still considered a bad thing? It's as surreal as it is pathetic.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 15, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

This is friggin fantastic:

NRA <3 Gun Smuggling to Drug Gangs in Mexico

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/14/AR2010121406045.html

WTF is wrong with these people? How did the gun lobby get so ridiculously powerful that they could kill a bill to prevent gun smuggling? Isn't gun smuggling to organized crime still considered a bad thing? It's as surreal as it is pathetic.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 15, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Mike:

Do you consider yourself part of the Left? I don't. You are a Centrist Democrat who is already crowing about Obama cutting taxes more than any president in history. Of course you like the current Democratic Party; you are a Republicrat.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

If that's what you want to call me, I'm fine with that.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 15, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

The 2nd DADT question is ambiguous as asks about "publicly disclosing" their orientation, which could mean disclosure (to the general public) prior to serving or disclosure (to members of the military) while serving. It would have been easy to rephrase the question unambiguously (e.g., "Do you think that homosexuals serving in the military should be allowed to openly disclose their sexual orientation while serving?") but then ABC might not have gotten the results that it wante.

Posted by: mikebrooks806 | December 15, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Ethan2010: "WTF is wrong with these people?"
-------------------------------------
Don't get too worked up as it is a ComPost story. Get the reports from the FBI. >90% of the guns used by Mexico's drug guys come from places OTHER than the U.S. Greg is good entertainment but, the ComPost doesn't have actual reporters.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 15, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

On issues of justice versus power and wealth...

Nigeria reportedly may accept the bribe from Cheney and Halliburton thus warding off charges and prosecution of C and H for bribery (neat trick, no?)...

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/12/nigeria_may_strike_deal_in_halliburton_cheney_case.php?ref=fpb

Contrast with Assange. Two females have, conveniently, complained that there was some disagreement, mid sex, about broken condoms. There are no charges in play. Yet massive forces have been set up against him including a warrant from Interpol and, apparently, a secret Grand Jury in Virginia opened for his release of documents.

The reason this magnitude of injustice is the reality in these two cases is because Assange and wikileads really do present a potentially enormous threat to existing structures of wealth and power.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"Isn't gun smuggling to organized crime still considered a bad thing?"

Exporting weapons is an All-American activity; once they go up who cares where they come down, that's not my department...

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, by statistical definition this is a centrist nation at any given time. It makes sense to say there was a more "liberal" median in 1936 than there is today when one is talking about fiscal policy, but it was a far more "conservative" median when one is talking about social issues.

From that acute insight into the obvious, coupled with Fukuyama's observation as reported by Bernie, it is fair to assert this is not a liberal nation, but it is gratuitously argumentative to attribute that POV to a Chris Matthews.

That out of the way, Cillizza reports a poll reflecting that Americans want deficit reduction but are opposed to every suggested method for reducing the deficit.

Couple a nation that wants to go in three different fiscal directions at once with a leadership in Congress that has been unable to pass a budget and appropriations on time for five years and that this year has not had but one of the appropriations bills even reported out of House Committee and we have a runaway conestoga wagon.

This nation has problems deeper than its polarized politics, although the polarization contributes to the other problems. It has problems deeper than the tabloid journalistic focus of 24/7 cable news although 24/7 cable news contributes to the other problems. It has problems deeper than the persistent dropout rate of high schoolers although that will be the one that sinks our boat if it continues. It has problems deeper than culture wars and social strife, deeper than a Cold War mentality, deeper than a DOD that has failed every internal audit since at least 1976. It has, in fact, the problem Benjamin Franklin feared; keeping the republic may be just too damned difficult for ordinary folks.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 15, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

@illogic buster - provide links to validate your assertion. No one has any reason to bother with it otherwise.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

It would have been easy to rephrase the question unambiguously (e.g., "Do you think that homosexuals serving in the military should be allowed to openly disclose their sexual orientation while serving?") but then ABC might not have gotten the results that it wante.
---------------------------------------
You really think people's views on this subject are that nuanced?
Your position would have a lot more credibility if those who oppose DADT repeal could point to a single poll or data point of any kind which supports the position that people don't want DADT repealed.

Thus far I have only seen rather weak criticisms of poll after poll which have shown the same thing for going on about 5 years now.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 15, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"...keeping the republic may be just too damned difficult for ordinary folks."

Benjamin Franklin read Plato, who knew?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"by statistical definition this is a centrist nation at any given time."

Which is precisely why the question is meaningless removed from context. Liberals and Liberalism have been savaged by 40 years of Conservative attacks. Beginning with Carter the Democrats Party abandoned Liberalism and with Clinton joined the GOP's assault on Liberalism. So everyone in power hates Liberals and has for a very long time. As a result, few people self-identify as "Liberals" in the U.S. But when actual policy questions are presented the American people are far more "Liberal" than Chris Matthews thinks.

BTW: I do agree that we are f*cked. However, I do not believe that the Democratic Party is the solution. In fact, at this point the Democratic Party is as much a problem as the GOP.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

wb said:

"The canard that America is a Center Right country is a key component of the Con propaganda effort. Even with no visible support amongst the political "leadership" the public option was favored by two-thirds of the American people all the way to its sell-out by Obama. Was the public option a Conservative policy or a Liberal policy?"

Indeed. I understand the propaganda mechanism here and the value of it to the right. And yes, I appreciate that such claims from the right don't reflect real states of affairs (as in your public option example). But Tomasky's point is that "America" is not merely the cumulative preferences of well-informed citizens. It is also it's institutions and its reigning myths and its citizens who are commonly ill-informed on purpose.

And THAT is the reality that Obama or you or I or any American president must face and try to deal with.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

As to the Mexican NarcoState:

Americans buy the drugs the Mexicans smuggle, giving money to Mexican drug lords. The drug lords use that money to turn Mexico into a narco-state and to buy American guns from American companies. Then the U.S. law enforcement correctional complex puts the Americans who use the drugs in prison. It's a perfect capitalist syllogism.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

""America" is not merely the cumulative preferences of well-informed citizens."

On that bit of understatement, adieu.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Heck yeah Bernie, Obama facing and dealing with ill informed citizens is a great idea, I wish he'd thought of that.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

@bernie: "but, even more so, government policies intended to protect Americans from their predations. How do we explain this?"

Maybe progressives aren't nearly as smart as they think they are, and this constant over-estimation of their own abilities ends up in very poor arguments being made to the electorate? Most of which boil down to, "we're smart, you're stupid, vote for us, we only want to help!" ;)

Or, it could be that the negatives so obsessed on by progressives in their ivory towers are simply not that compelling or visceral on the ground. Why am I going to worry about the plutocracy when I have a 3 bedroom house with a 2 car garage and 2 cars to put in it, plus cable TV and an internet connection and an iPod and a reasonably close grocery store with fresh produce and a pharmacy on the corner and a minor med down the street . . . and a Starbucks in the bathroom of the local Starbucks. By sales, 10 million people in this country have in iPad. The vast majority of people have a computer, a majority of them have internet access, etc., etc. Most households have two or more cars.

I just don't think the plutocracy argument or the income-gap argument is going to move votes. Obama and the Democrats did not sweep in 2008 on the anti-plutocracy vote. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"It's a perfect capitalist syllogism."

Please ignore the the invisible hand behind the curtain.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Here's another essay from the American Interest issue that also contains Fukuyama's piece linked up top...

http://www.the-american-interest.com/article-bd.cfm?piece=907

Thus it's time for me to stop typing and do some reading instead.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 15, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "It is also it's institutions and its reigning myths and its citizens who are commonly ill-informed on purpose."

Are you quoting Rush Limbaugh's position on liberals and academia on purpose, to be ironic, or is it just an illustrative coincidence?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

WTF?!?!?

"FOX NEWS GETS INSTRUCTIONS ON CLIMATE TALK.... About a year ago, Fox News correspondent Wendell Goler delivered a live report from Copenhagen and told viewers the truth. The United Nations' World Meteorological Organization, Goler said, had announced that that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record."

Not quite 15 minutes later, another memo was sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon.

In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." [...] "

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 15, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

And check out this Alternet article about Fox today too:

"Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid

This is not an isolated review of Fox’s performance. It has been corroborated time and time again. The fact that Fox News is so blatantly dishonest, and the effects of that dishonesty have become ingrained in an electorate that has been been purposefully deceived, needs to be made known to every American. Our democracy cannot function if voters are making choices based on lies. We have the evidence that Fox is tilting the scales and we must now make certain its corporate owners do not get away with it."

http://www.alternet.org/media/149193/study_confirms_that_fox_news_makes_you_stupid/

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 15, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "Contrast with Assange. Two females have, conveniently, complained that there was some disagreement, mid sex, about broken condoms. There are no charges in play. Yet massive forces have been set up against him including a warrant from Interpol and, apparently, a secret Grand Jury in Virginia opened for his release of documents."

I don't have any problem with going after him for release of documents (for multiple reasons, not the least of which is I would kind of hope our government might do something about folks who leak confidential government documents, just on GP). That being said, I do have a problem with the "broken condoms = sexual assault" rational. Really? Seriously? And apparently buyers remorse--on the part of the woman--may also end up as potentially legally defined as rape? At least, in Assange's case?

Hopefully the massive forces set up against Assange have more to do with the trafficking in stolen, confidential documents, not his poor decision-making ability when purchasing discount condoms.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@shrink2:
...
"... says Werner von Braun"

A tip of the hat. "Albeit they, possess the might, nontheless, we have the will"

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

"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son," says Dean Vernon Wormer.


Keepin it real.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 15, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Actually Kevin I doubt you actually care that much about stolen documents and would be smikring and snickering if the stolen documents were causing embarrassment to the Democratic Party instead of to mostly Republican officials of the Department of State.

You want to see Assange prosecuted because America got its feelings hurt. At least be candid.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Well Mike from Arlington


If you were intellectually curious enough to actually READ the East Anglia emails which were written privately by the same scientists, you might have a different opinion, and you would not have written at 10:03.


In those emails, there was an exchange between scientists in East Anglia and in Colorado, in which they were discussing that the actual temperatures did not match what the climate models predicted.


One scientist, looking at the data said: "Where is all the warming?"


Every climate model has been proven to be wrong - some were revised - the revisions were proven to be wrong as well.


This is some story

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 15, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

@mike:credible concern about the heating of the earth has potehtial to discourage consumption, just like information on eating healthy food and avoiding obesity and diabetes.

Nothing must be allowed to discourage consumption. That would be *distorting the marketplace*

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick......

.........tick tick tick....

Posted by: battleground51 | December 15, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Put a sock in it, boy, or else you'll be outta here like sh¡t through a goose.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, I thought you might appreciate a little more depth about the Assange sexual assault charge.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/10/AR2010121002571.html

From the link:


Sweden does not have a "broken condom" law. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was not arrested because his contraception failed mid-coitus. Nor is he charged with "sex by surprise."
...

The allegations against Assange are rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. He's accused of pinning one woman's arms and using his body weight to hold her down during one alleged assault, and of raping a woman while she was sleeping.
...
THE ARTICLE GOES ON TO CLAIM THAT:

"The United States has relatively regressive rape laws; in most states, there's a requirement of force in order to prove rape, rather than just demonstrating lack of consent," feminist lawyer Jill Filipovic wrote last week. "We're deeply wedded to the notion of rape as forcible . . . a consent-based framework for evaluating sexual assault is not yet widely accepted."

THE ARTICLE UNDERESTIMATES THE NUMBER OF STATES WHERE THE LAW IS CONSENT BASED, IMO.

I am a member of APRI and still receive prosecutor newsletters about crimes against children and working with child victims - I maintain this for my Head Start legal work. Here is an APRI chart of American state rape laws.

http://www.arte-sana.com/articles/rape_statutes.pdf

While it is a mere overview, notice the difference in how consent is defined in DE and in DC.

A woman need only indicate her lack of consent in DE by the least resistance necessary to make her will known, but it looks like any words or overt actions a guy could take as an invitation is consent in DC. Look at the column on the far right, which tells whether "No means no". All in all, a woman in Wilmington has far more personal protection rights in this area than a woman down I-95 in DC, it seems.

My point is that state laws vary widely.

Clearly it is more difficult to obtain a conviction on withdrawn consent, but this is a different issue than the state of the law. Rape is more difficult to prosecute than most assault crimes because there are usually no independent witnesses, and the forensics, unless there is bodily damage or a recording, cannot distinguish the repeated saying of "no" from "yes", or show that consent was withdrawn. Presumption of innocence and the heavy burden of proof on the state also weigh in, when the evidence is so reliant on one witness. BOP is not the hurdle in Sweden it is here.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 15, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

" and an iPod and a reasonably close grocery store with fresh produce and a pharmacy on the corner and a minor med down the street . . . and a Starbucks in the bathroom of the local Starbucks."

Is this where I mention that I have an iPad again or is that just mean? You and your quaint little iPod.

I have to agree with your broader point that wealth disparity doesn't seem to move the needle at all. I'm fairly certain the comment boards I read aren't a fair cross section of the country, but peopel seem to me more worried about the wealthy being treated unfairly than the middle class.

However, I think to some extent it just has to do with how you phrase the point you are trying to make, look at how well Joe the Plumber resonated (even it lead to the conclusion that the poor were going to end up with too much) and the general Palin meme of "real America" or similar phrasing. I think you have to avoid even mentioning the word wealth or you'll end up with a stern lecture from skipsailing et al, but you can get away with couching what you want to do as fighting for the middle class.

Which is why all ineptitude by the Democrats even more maddening. How can they not capitalize on the position the Republicans have taken on the tax cuts when the middle class is much poorer now (loss of home equity, no pay increase, rising health care costs) than they were 10 years ago?

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

They don't use Blow out Preventers in Sweden?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 15, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why the liberals are so obsessed with ignoring the results of the election - and offending the American People.


Someone told the liberals that this was it - the last time they would ever hold the majority - so they better do everything they can. Someone floated the idea that the liberals always blow it, that somehow the liberals always betray the American People and get thrown out.


The liberals should be upset with one person: Obama, who was so incompetent that everything he has done has been a failure.


The ONLY thing Obama will leave the nation will be DEBT.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 15, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

If Assange paid or induced Manning to breach his duty I have no problem with prosecuting him.

The notion that the arrogant self-important publisher of these documents made even a ripple in a stream is foolish. Jon Burns took Assange apart in an October NYT piece and there is nothing surprising or more than humorously embarrassing like a fart at a state dinner in the entire set of revelations. There were, however, enough fingerprints to make life dangerous for informants and more difficult for our gathering of intelligence and like Kevin I want to see Assange properly dealt with.

If all he did was publish what fell into his lap then our Constitution and statutes protect him, and I am good with that.

Then I hope he returns to Australia, where he is not protected by a First Amendment, and where they think he endangered Australian sources in AFG.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 15, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Assnge isn't a man of sound judgment; he respects Beyamin Netanyahu as a canny politician and seems to have overlooked the fact that the man is a psychopath and a megalomaniac.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Mike in Arlington

You are telling a story of a time when the release of the emails was slowly coming out - and people were reading what they contained.


Did you read the emails?


Do you know how many there were?


I don't see a problem with a reporter - who is reporting on the Conference in Copenhagen - also receiving getting information from New York on the other part of the story - the emails.


The whole thing was happening in the same two or three week period.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 15, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

All, good Adam Serwer post on Amos's claim about don't ask don't tell:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 15, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Nancy Pelosi doesn't even know when the Senate will deal with DADT


Geeessssssshhhhhhhhh


The liberals LOST the election. Don't they care that the American People are sick of them??? There is another election in two years - if the democrats want to have any chance in two years, the best thing to do now is to GO QUIETLY.


The liberals aren't doing that.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 15, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Maybe soneone has already mentioned this, but CONGRESS USED TO MEET ON CHRISTMAS in the beginning of the Republic, from 1789 to 1855, when Christmas wasn't such a big deal. Many people don't realize that our modern Christmas is a Victorian custom, based on German customs brought by Prince Albert to England when he married Queen Victoria. It then came to the US and was popularized by retailers. In the early days of the country the Founders didn't really care about it. Just check Wikipedia if you don't believe this source. http://www.aclu.org/origins-christmas

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 15, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

But now Christmas has a mindlessness of its own,a monster that will not obey.

No stuffing that genie back in the bottle .. it might discourage consumption.

Over here it's not a big deal, of course. Noticeable, a little more than Columbus Day in the USA but not much. The big deal here is the Lunar New Year, a good few weeks to stay home a lot. I'll be reading physics and playing guitar, staying off the roads .. you see corpses here when there are accidents, don't want to be one.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

But now Christmas has a mindlessness of its own,a monster that will not obey.

No stuffing that genie back in the bottle .. it might discourage consumption.

Over here it's not a big deal, of course. Noticeable, a little more than Columbus Day in the USA but not much. The big deal here is the Lunar New Year, a good few weeks to stay home a lot. I'll be reading physics and playing guitar, staying off the roads .. you see corpses here when there are accidents, don't want to be one.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

@ashot: "Is this where I mention that I have an iPad again or is that just mean? You and your quaint little iPod."

You have no idea. Since I lost my classic, I got a 4 gb 3rd gen nano I get by with. I'm feeling very class envious right now. I'm thinking the government needs to take an iPad from a winner of life's lottery such as yourself, and give it to a hard working public servant such as myself.

A little social justice, please. ;)

"Which is why all ineptitude by the Democrats even more maddening. How can they not capitalize on the position the Republicans have taken on the tax cuts"

Bad luck. You think the Republicans have won their recent electoral victories through shrewd decisions and masterful tactical planning? The only think remarkably different in the Republican's approach is that it has seemed to work, at this moment in time.

But, yes, why one side or the other didn't try to wrap up the middle class for a generation by trying to get long-term or permanent tax cuts (on top of Bush tax cuts) for the middle class (some of whom do not yet have an iPad) . . . I don't know.

And, frankly, if the Republicans were serious about the job creation aspect, they could have worked on creating a new subclass of corporation, or making it easier to start a company and employ people below a certain size of revenue, or give folks making between $250k and a million double-deductions for contract labor . . . ah, well.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@Mark-in-austin: "Sweden does not have a broken condom law."

I thought it was an over-reaching judicial interpretation, and that Assange, after having used a condom, chose not to on the follow up, or something like that. I admit, I'm not following the story all that closely.

"WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was not arrested because his contraception failed mid-coitus. Nor is he charged with 'sex by surprise.' "

And a good thing, too. Because most guys end up being surprised that there's a woman will actually have sex with them. Ba-dum-dum!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@catho: "Actually Kevin I doubt you actually care that much about stolen documents and would be smikring and snickering if the stolen documents were causing embarrassment to the Democratic Party instead of to mostly Republican officials of the Department of State."

Well, it's sad to disappoint you, but you're wrong. Given that your supposition is at least partial-wrong (and self-evidently so), that should at least cause you to question the remains of your assumption (and you know what assuming does).

Ergo, these documents are pilfered and released under the Obama administration. Arguably, it must make him look at least somewhat bad that, two years into his administration, internal security seems so lax, and that there response (thus far) to Wikileaks appears to be so lame.

And there's nothing in any of those documents that doesn't potentially reflect poorly on Obama or the Democrats? Really?

In any case, while you may pick cases where the ends justify the means because of your personal partisanship, making the wearing of clothes and walking on hind legs all right for yourself, I don't. So, stop projecting.

I don't care who it covers or embarrasses (and I don't know why you do). I would like to think our government has some sort of productive response to the wholesale release of confidential documents, no matter what or who they are about.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"You have no idea. Since I lost my classic, I got a 4 gb 3rd gen nano I get by with. I'm feeling very class envious right now. I'm thinking the government needs to take an iPad from a winner of life's lottery such as yourself, and give it to a hard working public servant such as myself.

A little social justice, please. ;)"

Too bad I didn't know about this injustice earlier. When I got my iPad I gave my iPod touch to my sister-in-law. I could have sent it to you to further my personal goal of redistibuting wealth to the lazy,non-contributors like yourself. I do have it on good authority that my mother-in-law is getting an iPad for Christmas and there is a 99% chance she will pretty much never use it maybe I can get it to you at a discount. What do you have that might interest me? I already have a good collection of communist/marxist/fascist (the last one is Leftist too right?) literature.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 15, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@ashot: "I could have sent it to you to further my personal goal of redistibuting wealth to the lazy,non-contributors like yourself. I do have it on good authority that my mother-in-law is getting an iPad for Christmas and there is a 99% chance she will pretty much never use it maybe I can get it to you at a discount."

This sounds like personal charity, which is clearly inadequate and passe. I'm demanding a government program to redress this injustice! iPads for all! Won't somebody think of the children?

"What do you have that might interest me? I already have a good collection of communist/marxist/fascist (the last one is Leftist too right?) literature."

Um. 1st issue of the 1980s Wolverine miniseries (his first appearance in a titular comic). I think I may still have my 1938 Phantom comic. Same generation as Action Comics and the first Superman. If only it was one of those, instead of the Phantom, it would be worth a whole lot more. I may still have an early issue of Daredevil--I want to say the 2nd issue. I sold my first issue of The Hulk. I've got a lot of original, or very old, Oz books. Oh, and I wrote the WaPo Troll Hunter. I think that should be worth something. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 15, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

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