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Posted at 6:15 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* Did anyone else notice that GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann and Steve King -- both Tea Party chieftains who routinely wrap themselves and their policy preferences in the Constitution -- were conspicuously absent from today's reading? My understanding is that the arrangement was first-come-first-serve, so all you had to do to read is show up early.

Maybe they had good reasons for missing the reading. But given that Bachmann and King never miss a chance to bask in the Constitution's reflected glory, you'd think they would have done all they could to ensure that they participated in such a momentous ritualistic honoring of our founding document. After all, many of those Constitution-despising Democrats were able to find the time to show up.

* Strong stuff from Chuck Schumer, who puts House Republicans on notice that their agenda will hit a brick wall in the Senate:

"We're here today to say these reckless fiscal policies are dead on arrival here in the Senate," Schumer said. "We're here to assure everyone that, don't worry, these things won't happen because we're here, and we're responsible."

* Relatedly, Schumer already seems to be well on his way towards putting the Senate Dem caucus on a war footing.

* I noted here yesterday that Harry Reid appeared ready to pass filibuster reform by Dem-only rule, and speaking to reporters today, Reid publicly confirmed that this is a possibility.

"We hope that the Republicans see the light of day and are willing to work with us," Reid said. "If not, we'll have to do something on our own."

* David Waldman explains, rightly I think, why we should be optimistic that Ben Nelson will ultimately support filibuster reform.

* John Boehner said today that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that repealing health refom could boost the deficit by $230 billion over 10 years, is "entitled to their own opinion."

* Robert Reich has a really nice look at the right's national campaign to scapegoat public employees, though I would add that some Dems are playing this game, too.

* E.J. Dionne has the quasi-optimistic take on the William Daley appointment: It's more about his competence and connections than his ideology, and reassuring the business community could actually give Obama more room to pursue progressive policies.

* Big Tent Democrat asks: Will William Daley play the role of Obama's Dick Morris?

* No one could have predicted this one: After first hailing the Daley pick, Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue quickly clarifies that it has not yet convinced the business community of Obama's good intentions.

* Marc Ambinder reports the choice was because Obama realizes his political fate is tied less to Congress (Rahm's specialty) and more to the nation's "job creators."

* Alex Pareene says the only people who were impressed by the Daley pick are the regulars in the MSNBC green room.

* Andrew Sullivan says we should judge Daley on his management performance, because that's what he was hired to do -- run the place.

* And indeed, when all is said and done, Obama may have tapped Daley simply because he thinks Daley's experience makes him the right man to run the White House.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | January 6, 2011; 6:15 PM ET
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Tea Party, White House, deficit  
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Comments

More on public employees:

http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/01/06/the-war-on-public-employees-contd/


The GOP's long game has always been the dismantling of unions and gov't.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 6, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

-Consumer Finance Protection Bureau hires Holly Petraeus to head Office of Servicemember Affairs-

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/01/06/welcoming-holly-petraeus-consumer-financial-protection-bureau-implementation-team

Post by Liz Warren

I think it's kinda cool, even though she's Gen. Petraeus' wife. She seems qualified and motivated. Gotta support servicemembers and their families.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they had good reasons for missing the reading. But given that Bachmann and King never miss a chance to bask in the Constitution's reflected glory, you'd think they would have done all they could to ensure that they participated in such a momentous ritualistic honoring of our founding document. After all, many of those Constitution-despising Democrats were able to find the time to show up.

...........................

I understand that they backed out, because they were afraid that lifting those stone slabs, it was handed down on, could hurt their backs.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 6, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@ Boehner-

"It's not up to me to tell them what to think."

Profile in Courage.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 6, 2011 6:04 PM
.................................

Old Weepy is All Gavel, and no Anvil.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 6, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Here's more on the public employees unions and what happened to the money from Yves Smith. I linked a piece last night and a couple of weeks ago re NJ but she alludes to it again. Public employees are facing big cuts here in CA as well. Okay everyone's in the same austerity boat, what are the top 10% going to do to help?

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

"If you live in the world according to the mainstream media, the row between state executives and unions is all about (by implication) greedy unions trying to preserve their perquisites when budget “realities” demand that they suffer. Consider this excerpt from a recent article New York Times article about the fight in New Jersey:

***************************************

Across the nation, a rising irritation with public employee unions is palpable, as a wounded economy has blown gaping holes in state, city and town budgets, and revealed that some public pension funds dangle perilously close to bankruptcy.

****************************************

Um, the “wounded economy” trashed the state budget? Funny how the article fails to point fingers at the real perp, which is the global financial crisis, brought to you by your friendly TBTF banks. Andrew Haldane, Executive Director of Financial Stability for the Bank of England estimated that the costs of the financial crisis was 1 to 5 times global GDP. If you were, as economists recommend, to try to tax them to recoup the cost of the damage they did over a period of 20 years, the charge would be over $1.5 trillion a year. That’s more than the market cap of the biggest global banks. Funny, their staff and executives got record bonuses in 2009. So maybe the unions have the wrong strategy. They need to screw up in a particularly destructive manner.

And how exactly did the crisis “reveal” that some pension funds were close seriously under water? A more accurate rendition would be that, at least in New Jersey, the state has been raiding the pension kitty for over 15 years. This is not news to anyone who has been paying attention, any more than underfunding of corporate pensions. In the Garden State’s case, Governor Chris Christie skipped the required $3.1 billion pension fund contribution last year. He claimed this move was to force reform, but what impact does another $3.1 billion failure to pay have on an unfunded liability that was already over $50 billion?"

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/01/nj-public-pension-slugfest-reporting-omits-15-years-of-governors-stealing-from-workers.html

Posted by: lmsinca | January 6, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I am not worried about Daley.

What is the MOST important is that if the Obama team will do a FAR BETTER job at communication the next 2 years as they did in the last two years.

Furthermore, it is Obama who sets the agenda not Bill Daley. Rahm literally BEGGED Obama not to take up health care reform but Obama did it any ways because he believed it was the right thing to do. Also, Rahm wasn't a big fan of the Wall Street reform bill yet Obama did it any ways.

What Obama needs if for someone to tell him what he things but in the end salute the President and carry out what the President wants.

Posted by: maritza1 | January 6, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

Why haven't you banned Colonel Kurtz aka Chris Fox aka caothien?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 6, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

(from the dead thread so we don't have to go back and forth)

Ethan, yes indeed, it isn't as if any other business arrangements were transacted as votes. But that gets back to the point; this vicious deal was written into the Constitution so the slavers would stay in, to empower them. In this version of profit sharing with the government (taxing the industry), slavery was not made legal by explicit Constitutional reference, but it was there, the whole country was in on it.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

"Andrew Sullivan says we should judge Daley on his management performance, because that's what he was hired to do -- run the place."

A rational perspective.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"(from the dead thread so we don't have to go back and forth)"

So Ethan doesn't have to go back and look upon his most recent forensic demolition?

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 6, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Two law professors who both have some pronounced libertarian sympathies discuss issues like "the litigated Constitution" vs. "the settled Constitution", proposed state override of federal legislation, the relative unfairness of the DE compromise that created the Senate in the first place, and the repeal the 17th movement. One of the profs is widely known for his long held view that the Second Amendment means what it says, but they do not get into that. One of them is a libertarian lib, the other is a TEA fave, but they have a high regard for each other so it is easy to watch and savor.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 6, 2011
-----

I think most people would say the Second Amendment means what it says, they just can't all agree on what it says.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

outsider6 wrote...
"During the HCR debate, the argument FOR the public option made by Schumer, et al, was that the insurance industry needed competition to drive costs down. Why then wasn't a repeal of their anti-trust exemption part of the package? It seems THAT would have been the first step in creating competition, thus giving Dems ammunition to create the public option later if/when the anti-trust repeal failed to "bend the curve". Thoughts?"

My thoughts? Heck yeah! But the idea was, give away the store to get it passed, then apologize to everyone and then try to defend whatever it turned out to be. Still I am glad the government backed student loan industry parasite excision was in there. Good socialism. Maybe someday we'll be able to get some of the parasites out of the health care industry, so they can find productive careers.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin again:

"On another note: my wife, a CPA with MS in Taxation, and I were discussing SS over breakfast and we agreed that it should remain an insurance and not a welfare model."
-------

I'm 100% with you there. I fear an unholy alliance between one group, which realizes how much easier it would be to tame the deficit if the government just defaulted on some of what it owes the SS trust fund and a second group, consisting of lower class liberals, which, when the issue is framed as insurance vs. welfare, will by instinct jump on the welfare bandwagon.

We see a lot of posts about class warfare focusing on "the rich" vs everyone else; But as shrink2 has pointed out, not everyone is on a first name basis with someone who is super rich. A lot of class envy is just simply people resentful of anyone else who lives better than they do. If someone has bumbled through life and squandered every dime they've laid hands on while someone else socked money away for retirement, I can easily see the first person agreeing that the second person doesn't really "need" SS because they have assets of their own---even though they may have contributed an equal amount in SS taxes over their respective careers.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

This will be important to watch...

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates Thursday told Congress the administration is seeking $78 billion in cuts to the Defense budget over the next five years on top of $100 billion in efficiencies."

And as Benen notes:

"The United States now spends about as much on defense as every other country on the planet combined."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_01/027416.php

To be fair, starting wars is a particularly expensive proposition so one can understand the neoconservative zest for maintenance of or expansion of the war machine's big welfare check. And then there's the costs arising from film production on aircraft carriers...

But the thing to measure here is the clout of the war machine, the parasitic bureaucracy of the Pentagon and the lobbyists associated.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Just as I pointed out, they always leap to the defense of their corporate masters, kind of a Stockholm syndrome kind of thing. Or maybe it is just a groveling worship of corporate wealth and power, the US version of royalty, the Machiavellian princes.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011
-------

Or maybe they just have an appreciation for the people who provide the salaries that put food on their tables and a roof over their heads. There's always been a tug of war between management and labor, but that doesn't mean labor should work to kill the golden goose. And I don't think anyone need argue, at this point in history, that a communist state is better for the working class than what we have now, imperfect as it may seem at times.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm glad I don't live in AZ for a variety of reasons.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 6, 2011
-------

I suppose AZ will just have to muddle along somehow without you.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

"entitled to their own opinion."

This is a meme that I've seen time and again from various members of the right wing when the facts are against them. To them, facts and opinions are the same thing, and both of them can be dismissed equally by verbiage. For those of us who have to live in reality, however, facts and opinions are separate and distinct categories. Facts can't be changed by wishing them away, while opinions can be changed by presenting valid counterarguments. Two opposing opinions can exist at the same time with the same amount of validity, but if one of them is shot down with facts, then it is no longer an opinion. It is a lie. What we have is Mr. Boehner, among others, living a lie.

There was a book written some time ago, People of the Lie, which was a treatise on evil. I have to say that much of the republican tactics and strategy indicates that they characterize the definition of evil quite well.

Posted by: dkmjr | January 6, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

If they weren't denying black people the vote, they wouldn't be Republicans.

Posted by: Scientician | January 6, 2011

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

Scientician-

Good catch.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 6, 2011

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

It just wouldn't be a normal day at the Plum Line unless someone threw this card on the table.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

To edit the novel in the name of political correctness is to turn it into something other than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2011
-------

Are the people pushing for an edit conservatives or liberals? Don't look it up now; this is a test.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Reading the Second Amendment, liberals misconstrue a statement of purpose or necessary condition (x is necessary to y which is necessary to z) as a statement of restriction (x is conditioned upon membership in y). They invert it like they do everything.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 6, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Wasting 2 hours a day reading the constitution? Hey, if our legislators need a constitutional refresher, do it on your own time - you're on MY dime, and I expect you to be working on solving the pertinent issues of the day . . .

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | January 6, 2011

---------

I suppose you slept through the last four years.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Reading the Second Amendment, liberals misconstrue a statement of purpose or necessary condition (x is necessary to y which is necessary to z) as a statement of restriction (x is conditioned upon membership in y). They invert it like they do everything.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 6, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 pecked:

"jnc, nothing in that tract contradicts what I said."

Well, not much anyway.

---

"Maybe the Republicans will help by nominating someone ridiculous."

You've named about 235 potential Republican candidates at one time or another; can you give us any that you don't find ridiculous?

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

@fool: "why did the American people deliver a shellacking to the Democrats in 2010?"

Because the electorate in the midterms was decidedly older, whiter, and more conservative than the general electorate. You know this. We've been over it a million times. You just can't handle the truth.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011

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

Umm, ok. I should have said "eligible voters" instead of "general electorate". Or something.

My point remains. The population that voted in the 2010 midterms was older, whiter, and more conservative than the population of eligible voters in America.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011
--------------

This stuff is priceless. Conservatives are old, white, and stupid, but they won the election. How? Why all those intelligent liberals, young and old alike, and people of color evidently decided to demonstrate their vast intelligence and knowledge of the political process by not voting. But they'll show us next time, by golly!

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

The democrats love to falsely characterize the Republicans


I think the American People are saying: Be honest or Shut Up.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 6, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"You've named about [25] potential Republican candidates at one time or another; can you give us any that you don't find ridiculous?"

I didn't create the "non-trivial buzz" list, the National Review published that. As for your question, of course. There is one, I'll bet you can guess.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, these guys just lie through their teeth on a regular basis. It doesn't constitute any sort of a moral dilemma for them at all. Amazing, it is.

"Ever since President Obama took office, Republicans have waged an unprecedented campaign of obstruction against the president’s judges. As a result, nearly one in nine federal judgeships are vacant and federal judges are now retiring faster than new judges are being confirmed. Yet Senate Republicans Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor yesterday to make the astounding claim that he has always been a champion against filibusters of judicial nominees"

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/06/mcconnell-filibusters-judges/

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Some of Liam's pearls of wisdom:
---------------------------------
"I do not want someone leading the Nation who is just like my drinking mates. None of them, or me for that matter, are Presidential material. I want someone who is superior to any of the ordinary people I meet up with at The Pub."

LOL. You must be terribly disappointed in Obama. I guess he's more like the guy in the next cell.

-------
"Liberals; stop being a bunch of myopic whiners."

Not gonna happen. Impossible.

-------
"More proof that liberals are just a bunch of Stupid Koch Suckers. Be sure the read the entire article."

I don't have to read it; I already know.
Say, don't you have something to say about Kent State and the National Guard?

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious to see what the Republicans will make up this time. It's hard to get more despicable than death panels, but we are talking about some real disgusting people, I mean Conservatives here, so I'm sure they can top themselves.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 6, 2011

---------

Something really disgusting? Really despicable? Well, let me see. How about the 9/11 truther nonsense? Or what about the theory your buddies floated that Bush & Cheney sent nefarious gill men to blow up the New Orleans levees during Hurricane Katrina?

I'm afraid DDAWD may be one of the most unconscious and mentally challenged of the people who post here.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

shrink (so you don't have to go back to the dead thread):

"In this version of profit sharing with the government (taxing the industry), slavery was not made legal by explicit Constitutional reference, but it was there, the whole country was in on it."

So if slaves were counted as less than full persons for the purposes of representation and taxation, then the Constitution is endorsing the notion that blacks are less than fully human. But if slaves were counted as anything at all towards determining representation and taxation, then the Constitution was "taxing the industry" and thus implicitly endorsing slavery (as was the "whole country").

Talk about stacking the deck.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 6, 2011 8:24 PM | Report abuse

"Is it all opposition to regulation? Taxes?"

Bingo!

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011
---------------------

Is it all opposition to regulation? Taxes?"

We have a bingo!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 6, 2011
---------------------

Brilliant minds work alike.

But you both forgot about the racism.

I should know. Caothien9 has accused me of hating Asians; fiona5 says I hate women; I can't count the times I've been accused of hating people of color, even white evidently.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 8:24 PM | Report abuse

This is remarkable. I wonder how the TP and Minutemen feel about it. Seal the border? Protect American jobs? No way. Free trade is the only option. Borders are stupid. They just get in the way.

"The Obama administration offered a proposal on Thursday to allow long-haul Mexican trucks to move cargo in the United States. The proposal, which the Mexican government greeted as a positive step, was the latest sign of a new willingness by the Obama administration to support *free-trade measures backed by Republicans* and by businesses despite objections from labor unions and other liberal constituencies...

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded the proposal, the latest indication of a thawing in the frosty relationship between the administration and the giant business lobby, which spent tens of millions of dollars to defeat Democrats in November."

Now here I thought, since the long haul drivers' unions were busted, truckers were mostly Republican. I can't keep up.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 8:25 PM | Report abuse

C3, you are not making sense. Slavery was a business. It was written into the US Constitution with the 3/5 language, though it was never named. The proceeds of no other business were transacted as votes in the legislature (slavers got to count the people they owned as 'votes' in exchange for a capitated tax that went to the government) in the US Constitution. Can we agree on that?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

dkmjr:

"Facts can't be changed by wishing them away, while opinions can be changed by presenting valid counterarguments."

We're eternally patient here, waiting and waiting for those valid liberal counteraguments. Crickets.
-------

"There was a book written some time ago, People of the Lie, which was a treatise on evil. I have to say that much of the republican tactics and strategy indicates that they characterize the definition of evil quite well."

That was another of those books with the covers way too far apart. Have you read PEOPLE OF THE LAKE? It was about your ancestor, Ramapithecus. By one of the Leakeys if memory serves. Oh wait, I guess they finally found a living specimen of Rampithecus somewhere in the Ethipoian highlands. Is that where caothien9 is from? Maybe it was just his ancestor.

Posted by: dkmjr | January 6, 2011

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD may be one of the most unconscious and mentally challenged of the people who post here."

This is an outrageous, spurious, falsifiable and wholly unsubstantiated allegation. My comments removed counter in the yellow band below bears silent witness, hour after hour, day after day.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Beginning next week, Republicans will begin each Congressional session only after filling in one page of "The Stars and Stripes Coloring Book".

Posted by: bernielatham | January 6, 2011 8:44 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe it was just his ancestor."

And yours. Do you think the mitochondrial DNA evidence for the out- of-Africa-theory is compelling? Or do you think snakes can talk (no, not Jungle Book)?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh...

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Police roughed up an American diplomat in Vietnam and repeatedly slammed a car door on his legs when he went to visit a prominent dissident, an official in Washington said Thursday, detailing an encounter that prompted a strong U.S. protest.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011
-----------------------------------

I wonder if noacoler aka caothien9 knows any of the police involved? Notice the following golden oldie:

---------------------------------------
On the contrary. We count among our friends a relatives numerous people high in the provincial government, including several cops, including one guy who could get us waved through customs should we want. We don't, we've nothing to hide.

And the Vietnamese government just adores foreign expats bringing in money.

Now why don't you smoke another hunk of crystal and shriek about Kagan's sexuality some more, you brain-charred loser.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 17, 2010
---------------------------------------

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 8:58 PM | Report abuse


"Maybe it was just his ancestor."

And yours. Do you think the mitochondrial DNA evidence for the out- of-Africa-theory is compelling? Or do you think snakes can talk (no, not Jungle Book)?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 8:48 PM
------

Not mine.

"Some apes occurring within that time period, such as Ramapithecus, used to be considered as hominids, and possible ancestors of humans. Later fossil finds indicated that Ramapithecus was more closely related to the orang-utan."

But no matter. Your theory is unfalsifiable. Just keep looking for your ancestor---and hope you don't find the generations of inbreeding which leads to what we might call "the caothien9 syndrome".

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD may be one of the most unconscious and mentally challenged of the people who post here."

If you want my A material, first you have to learn that 8 minus 4 does not equal negative 4.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 6, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I also think that some disaster of some kind .. natural event like volcano or major earthquake, cosmic event, or another (phony?) terrorist attack is going to happen, and push the USA over the cliff I'm not factoring SS into my future plans at all, and it would not surprise me if by 2020 the USA was no longer one nation anymore.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 6, 2011

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

This is more like it. Actual predictions. I noticed Harold Camping and his religious followers made the front page (if below the fold) of a few major papers earlier this week for his longstanding prediction (based on years of biblical research---according to Camping) that the biblical Rapture will occur on May 25 of this very year. That's how you do it. Then, on May 26, you're either right or wrong.

Cao doesn't read all of my posts, or so he claims. We have a bit of a history. But Scott, Quarterback, Troll, Tao, and Skip have really been taking it to him. After Troll baited him into admitting he was a 911 truther, he came up with the odd post above---and then disappeared. I wonder if he'll be back. Tonight may tell the tale. I would think even he would be a little embarrassed by some of the claims he's made.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

" The only drawback to your plan is all the Dem Dumb-Dumbs the RNC could counter with. For every Bachmann there's a Wiener or Wasserman-Schulz .."

The Dems may be feckless for the most part, imo, but they aren't dumb, especially the two you mention. You may not like what they have to say, but that says more about you. Bachmann, on the other hand,is a first class Grade A Space Cadet chock full of incorrect information, with a deer in the headlights look of a fortune teller.

Posted by: filmnoia | January 6, 2011
-----------------

Hmmmm. Bachmann has a law degree and was a practicing attorney. Weiner and Wasserman-Schultz have Bachelor of Arts degrees. Of course, they're probably a lot smarter than filmnoia.

Anyone here from New York? Where do they find these representatives? Weiner and Go. Nadler---it must be some kind of sick joke on the Congress.

Posted by: Brigade | January 6, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"Slavery was a business."

Yes, it was.

"It was written into the US Constitution with the 3/5 language, though it was never named."

I don't know what you mean by slavery being "written into the constitution". What I do know is this: With or without the constitution, slavery was a fact in certain states at the time of the founding. It existed, it was going to exist, and its existence presented the founders with certain unavoidable questions, one being whether or not slaves should be included in the population count of states for the purposes of apportioning both representation (political power) and taxation (burden of funding the government) There were three and only three possible answers to this question: yes, no, and partly. You have denigrated them all. To the extent that slaves were excluded from the count, you think that the Constitution endorses the notion that blacks are not fully human. To the extent that slaves are counted, you claim that the federal government was partnering in the business of slavery in order to collect tax revenues. No matter what the founders had done on this unavoidable question, you would use it to justify your derision. It is this, not me, that makes no sense.

"The proceeds of no other business were transacted as votes in the legislature (slavers got to count the people they owned as 'votes' in exchange for a capitated tax that went to the government) in the US Constitution."

This was not a "transaction", unless you want to describe every agreement and compromise made during the constitutional convention as a "transaction". It was an unavoidable political issue, some kind of decision on which was necessary for the formation of the nation. Now, perhaps you would advocate for no union, which is fine. But if so, have the nads to come out and just say it. But also have the honesty to admit that others might have come to the conclusion that it was worthwhile to compromise with the slave states in order to establish the union, and did so for motives other than the cynicism which you attribute to them.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 6, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Say this with your best bad German accent...

"There is an urgent need for much stricter penalties against those who break the law...," said Juergen Reinholz, agriculture minister for Thuringia. Such "charlatans" can only be swayed by strict, deterrent sanctions, he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12120321

Doubling up on the strict, my cheeks get pink just thinking about it. Another bad Dutch food additive, of course. Those darn Dutch.

Organic chickens and eggs, don't ask which came first, but those are at what my kids eat. Dioxin is a terrible chemical, kidding aside.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse

"Obama may have tapped Daley simply because he thinks Daley's experience makes him the right man to run the White House."

Bernie, amongst other similarly inclined Januses, seems to have closed his eyes and napped peacefully after being read this little bedtime story.

Daley is as connected in Dem fund-raising circles as anyone who has ever drawn breath.

Also as a former Chase/JPMorgan poobah, he can perform by rote ChiStyle dockworker shakedowns on all his fellow rent-seekers in the newly nationalized banking sector.

Daley is merely a very, very high-end mule; nothing in two years has been so strikingly apparent as that no one runs Mr. Obama's WH other than Mr. Obama, often to the chagrin of wiser fellows.

The willful Dem omerta is pathetic when it comes to, say, Rahm making $17Mill as an "investment banker" during his short time off between Congress and hopping the hope/change train. Or Gibbs leaving to make 7figure$$ for a year or two prior to the campaign. Or Axelrod. Or Orszag. Or Summers. Everyones bailing to max up the cashflow they choked by working for two years at Fed paygrade.

{{{And then there's the nagging suspicion that the Lightgiver brand they created might lose.}}}

Secula seculorum.

Posted by: tao9 | January 6, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Clyburn, Reich and Dean all came out strong for Daley. Can this rediculousness stop now?

I think some on the left have jumped the shark on this.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 6, 2011 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Tao, you sound like a Commie.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 6, 2011 10:49 PM | Report abuse

C3, you seem really mad, but do you agreed with everything I said.

Buying and selling people as if they were farm animals was a business. The price of union was trading a false premise about that business to southern slavers in an arithmetic ratio. It was not done just to extract money from their business. Slave money was the price of union. For that money, slavers got enough votes to protect slavery.

The slave deal, pretending as if each enslaved African man, woman and child were 3/5 a white free adult man, occupies a unique position in an otherwise advanced set of ideas.

It isn't cynical or derisive to know that. It is just reality and sometimes reality is really awful.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

mike...layers, man. And a gimlet eye.

Posted by: tao9 | January 6, 2011 10:56 PM | Report abuse

"The willful Dem omerta is pathetic..."

Well sure, But every time we complain, we are told we have to love it or leave it, no not because the Ds are not craven criminals (and it isn't cynical or derisive to know that. It is just reality and sometimes reality is really awful), but because the Republicans are worse.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse

"...but because the Republicans are worse."

I don't know shrink, the guy who invented the CRA, and mid-wifed sub-prime, Fan&Fred Fed-backed MBS/CDO/ABS timebombs, et.al., is this day the Dem SonOfAGovernor Governor of my native NYState.

Not ONE NYTimes/Post/DailyNews/TimesUnion bigmedia weightless shih-zhu said boo.

Perhaps that's why you think thusly.

It's all about the narrative, Mr. Peabody.

Posted by: tao9 | January 6, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama:


Putting a banker in charge sounds like just what the electorate wants


..............how did he get this tone-deaf


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 6, 2011 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey, you can't tell me Republicans are not worse.

You could go on and on about all the bad Democrats, I'd say yes, oh you got it, sure, mmm that was bad, he should be doing life, yup what a sicko, that is true, no doubt, eewww don't remind me....but the which is worse argument is a boring artifact of people who can type at each other on the internet. Republicans are worse, I rest my case. You don't agree. Well, that was easy.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"C3, you seem really mad...."

Nope. Given your profession, I do hope your ability to read people is better in person than it is here in cyber-world.

"but do you agreed with everything I said."

(Sigh) No. Didn't you read what I wrote? I agreed with the statement I said I agreed with, I don't know whether I agree with the statement the point of which I don't understand, and I disagreed with the statement that I said was wrong.

"Buying and selling people as if they were farm animals was a business."

I think I already agreed with this statement. In fact, I am sure I did.

"The price of union was trading a false premise about that business to southern slavers in an arithmetic ratio. "

No. The price of union (well, one of them, a big one) was accepting the existence of slavery. That I will agree with. And I agree that it was an unfortunate fact of reality that it must be so. But I absolutely do not agree with the notion that the 3/5ths compromise was premised on the notion that slaves were not fully human. Indeed, it was the very people who rejected the notion that slaves were not human, the anti-slave states, who negotiated the ratio DOWN, from counting in full to counting something less than that. The pro-slave states wanted slaves to count fully. Your claim is quite simply wrong.

"It isn't cynical or derisive to know that."

No, it isn't cynical or derisive to know history. But it is cynical, not to mention false, to pretend that the 3/5ths compromise "protected" slavery, and that the north "sold" protection of slavery in a crass transaction of votes for cash. That did not happen and is false history. The existence of slavery did not hang in the balance. It was going to exist whether the union came into being or not. The only question was whether the union was also going to exist. To blame the constitution for "protecting" slavery is pure folly. The 3/5ths compromise protected the establishment of the union and simply accepted the existence of something that was going to exist in any event.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 6, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Wait, let me guess.

ScottC is saying we should repeal Emancipation and let the marketplace decide the value of black labor. Am I warm?

We know the right pays people who hold up their views on prominent blogs, and it really couldn't be any easier, could it, to spot them. Though the word "professional" isn't exactly the one that comes to mind, technically accurate though it may be.

Oh, and quarterback, about your demand that I be banned a few thread ago .. you whine like a little girl. I'd tell you to grow a pair but all you'd do with them is drain them hourly to "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Road to Serfdom."

Posted by: caothien9 | January 6, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

shrink, yes...no I agree.

I had no intentions of defending Republican malfeasance via litanizing Dem abominations.

Here's my meta-commie point: the bigger the government the more opportunity for intended or unintended screwing of, uh, us.

Better pols are not (never) in the cards...therefore lesser government=lesser boning.

Excelsior!

Posted by: tao9 | January 6, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

For the record, quarterback1 never demanded that caothien9 be banned. In fact, quarterback1 said that he did not want caothien9 banned.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 6, 2011 11:57 PM | Report abuse

"To blame the constitution for "protecting" slavery is pure folly."

Try to engage. No one blames the Constitution for slavery. But the Constitution had a deal in it that protected slavery. It does. That is a fact.

"Slave money was the price of union. For that money, slavers got enough votes to protect slavery."

"The slave deal, pretending as if each enslaved African man, woman and child were 3/5 a white free adult man, occupies a unique position in an otherwise advanced set of ideas."

Do you disagree? A unique ugly stain on an otherwise advanced set of ideas. It is the written legacy of southern slavepower, no doubt about that. The blood stain on the US Constitution.

If you don't think this language in the Constitution was a transaction, a deal, transacting money and power, then why say this?

"...it was the very people who rejected the notion that slaves were not human, the anti-slave states, who negotiated the ratio DOWN..."

So, why were these people negotiating ratios? If you don't think the founders extracted a price from slavepower in exchange for its ability to protect itself with votes, then why did they negotiate the 3/5 clause? Why did money and votes change hands?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 11:59 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know shrink, the guy who invented the CRA, and mid-wifed sub-prime, Fan&Fred Fed-backed MBS/CDO/ABS timebombs, et.al., is this day the Dem SonOfAGovernor Governor of my native NYState.

Not ONE NYTimes/Post/DailyNews/TimesUnion bigmedia weightless shih-zhu said boo.

Perhaps that's why you think thusly.

It's all about the narrative, Mr. Peabody."

==

You write like someone who dropped about 500 mikes of LSD three hours ago.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 7, 2011 12:09 AM | Report abuse

The slave deal, pretending as if each enslaved African man, woman and child were 3/5 a white free adult man, occupies a unique position in an otherwise advanced set of ideas.

==

To be fair, anyone claiming that blacks were the equals of whites back then would have been regarded as crazy. Blacks were manacled and whipped and caged like animals. It took an especially enlightened sort of person on the level of a Ghandi or MLK to see past the grime and the fear to the humanity.

Just look how much that same racism survives even today, with blacks acquitting themselves in political office and corporate boardrooms. In fact, where would the GOP be if racism had vanished?

I get it, shrink, people who wave around the Consitution like it's digitally signed by God need to come down a peg, theirs is just another fundamentalism. That said, I wouldn't dignify ScottC with rebuttals. He's just a paid troll and his positions are abhorrent.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 7, 2011 12:17 AM | Report abuse


Obama:


Putting a banker in charge sounds like just what the electorate wants


..............how did he get this tone-deaf


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 7, 2011 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Does Obama realize that a large part of the economic recovery is going to have to be clamping down on the big banks ???


So, putting a banker DALEY in charge???


Obama is an IDIOT JUST GET USED TO THE IDEA HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT HE IS DOING.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 7, 2011 12:39 AM | Report abuse

"That said, I wouldn't dignify ScottC with rebuttals. He's just a paid troll and his positions are abhorrent."

Cao, understanding that you think Scott's positions are abhorrent, are there positions that exist that are more abhorrent?  For example, do you consider the positions of Pol Pot more, less or equally abhorrent to Scott's? 

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 7, 2011 1:06 AM | Report abuse

What do you think, Troll?

BTW does Pol Pot post here?

Posted by: caothien9 | January 7, 2011 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Cao,

That's why I asked.  You used the word "abhorrent" to describe Scott's positions.  Generally, I see "abhorrent" reserved for such positions as Nazism or Stalinism.  I was confused by your use of the word.

Could you tell me a position slightly more and slightly less "abhorrent" than Scotts so I can bracket and understand what that word means to you?  

Thanks in advance, by the way.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 7, 2011 1:29 AM | Report abuse

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

Posted by: tonyasmith234 | January 7, 2011 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Starve people to death in camps, starve them to death in their own homes, is there any real difference?

Abhorrent it is.

What's your beef with the Nazis,anyway? Aren't they your ideological brothers? Union of state and corporate power?

Posted by: caothien9 | January 7, 2011 3:40 AM | Report abuse

Well, there are many ways to skin a cat: I find it interesting that they have somehow *attained* the same Consitiutional Rights that are given to the Judiciary:
From Holmes Norton's website:

"I am turning the tables, using almost the same language to retain delegate voting. We have a provision they did not have, however: A citation to the federal appeals court decision holding that delegate voting in the Committee of the Whole is in fact constitutional, Michel v. Anderson (14 F.3d 623 (D.C. Cir. 1994)). With this motion, we formally begin the protest that will be necessary to salvage what D.C. has won in the past. We will need the help of the top elected District officials and District residents, because we are sure this is only the first attack on our rights."



Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 7, 2011 4:06 AM | Report abuse

Good enough for the Federal Appeals Court but not good enough for the GOP. They want SCOTUS to rule on this.

Last I heard, the citizens of D.C. are American Citizens (well, I'm sure the Palin/Beck/knuckledragging TeaOP will find some exemption...), and deserve as much *full* representation as the rest of us. (Such as it is...).

Interesting facts:

"In the financial year 2007, D.C. residents and businesses paid $20.4 billion in federal taxes; more than the taxes collected from 19 states and the highest federal taxes per capita.[161]" From Wikipedia

D.C. is also about 270K behind Delaware, but only about 40K behind North Dakota.


Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 7, 2011 4:28 AM | Report abuse

"In the financial year 2007, D.C. residents and businesses paid $20.4 billion in federal taxes; more than the taxes collected from 19 states and the highest federal taxes per capita.[161]" From Wikipedia

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 7, 2011 4:28 AM
-------

Poor suckers. All those people you're so worried about must be rolling in the dough. Maybe they should stop supporting pols who're always wanting to raise taxes.

Posted by: Brigade | January 7, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

uh, isnt DC like 90% black?

There's your GOP objection right there.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 7, 2011 7:13 AM | Report abuse

"Am I warm?"

Frozen spirit...Dead HoPuppet soul.

{{{"500 mikes"(?)--You seem to know more about acid than most, little lợn heo
thaiStik.}}}

Posted by: tao9 | January 7, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse

shrink:

"Try to engage."

I have been. Try to understand what I am saying.

"No one blames the constitution for slavery."

Good to hear, although if you are not doing precisely that, I don't know what you've been going on about.

"But the constitution had a deal in it that protected slavery."

I don't think that is a accurate characterization at all. It had a deal that accepted the unavoidable reality of slavery and addressed a particular, inevitable issue given that reality.

"So why were these people negotiating ratios."

In order to limit the voting power of slave states. They didn't want to give the slave states as much power as was sought, so they negotiated the number down. If they were seeking to profit from the slave business, they would have wanted to negotiate the number up. And it certainly makes no sense to contend, as you have been doing, that it was negotiated down as a concession to the notion that slaves lacked humanity. Again, it was the slavers, the very ones who doubted the humanity of slaves, who wanted to count them as full persons.

"If you don't think the founders extracted a price from slavepower in exchange for its ability to protect itself with votes, then why did they negotiate the 3/5 clause?

Because the slave states would never have signed on without it, and the non-slave states wanted the union. Simple as that. The negotiation was not an issue of "We'll give you more power if you give us more money." It was "How much power is it going to take to get you on board?" The money issue was linked due to other reasons...see below.

"Why did money and votes change hands?"

Because the relationship between voting power and financial obligation had already been fixed, entirely independently of the slavery issue. It was a principle of the constitution that the more political power a state had, the greater its share of the financial burden of maintaining the government would be. Hence, they were both linked directly to population size, and bound inextricably to move with each other. Again, this principle had nothing to do with slavery. Nothing.

There was no "deal" to give slave states more power in "exchange" for cash. The non slave states didn't want to count slaves at all, and the slave states wanted to count them in full. The "compromise" was to give them more voting power than the non slave states wanted, but not all that the slave states sought. This, of necessity and for reasons entirely unrelated to the issue of slavery, meant that the slave states would bear a heavier tax burden. To describe what happened as a crass money-for-power "transaction" related strictly to slavery is simply wrong. Sorry, but it is. Your cynicism, at least on this point, is simply not justified.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 7, 2011 7:16 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"Wait, let me guess."

It would be preferable if you read, understood, and learned. Guessing, paricularly on the issue at hand, is entirely not only entirely unncecessary, but as evidenced by your guess, not even close to producing a useful thought.

"Am I warm?"

No.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 7, 2011 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Below was my rebuttal of one of the many inane comments (this one Ethan's) back on the Huck Finn thread. He expressly stated what seems to be an implicit position of liberals who are railing on and on about how the Constitution is flawed and shouldn't be fetishized. And I have yet to see any liberal support what he says:

"If there were no disagreements in writing the Constitution, there wouldn't be ambiguous language in the Constitution, and thus there wouldn't be a need for a Judiciary."

This is balderdash even from a purely linguistic standpoint. People in complete agreement can write an ambiguous document, and people in disagreement can write an unambiguous one. There is no connection.

"But the fact is that there WERE major disagreements, on almost every single issue broached by the convention, in fact.

Knowing this, they devised the judiciary to interpret language in the Constitution that was INTENTIONALLY left vague for precisely the purpose of allowing the future population to deal with issues that were unforeseen back in 1789."

This is historical and constitutional balderdash. Please cite any historical evidence that they intentionally left the text vague because of disagreements so that courts could later resolve the disagreements they left vague.

I'll save you time: there is none. Have you ever cracked the Federalist Papers or any other historical sources? Where in their defense of the Constitution do the authors say anything remotely like this? Your argument is directly contrary to all the evidence.

Republicans have been arguing that Democrats in Congress ignore the Constitution's granting only limited powers. (As Nancy famously said, "Are you kdding?") What is the relevance to legislators of insisting that the Constitution is "flawed" and not to be "fetishized"? Are the supposed to ignore parts they feel are flawed?

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 7, 2011 7:42 AM | Report abuse

".. quickly clarifies that it has not yet convinced the business community of Obama's good intentions."

I would have thought that Obama's radical actions to keep the economy from imploding and enabling record corporate profits and rebounding share prices would have been enough good intention for these people.

Posted by: rhallnj | January 7, 2011 7:47 AM | Report abuse

cao said (re ScottC) ... "He's just a paid troll "

No, he isn't. We've exchanged a fair bit of information via email conversations and I know enough about the fellow to assure you this isn't the case. He's smart, has a decent education, is likely a fine fellow in person and suffers mainly from a species of fundamentalist ideology (tax = theft, government = oppression).

As to the notion of "paid trolls", I doubt they exist. I think it's much more likely that there could be systems in place (as we've seen with tea party groups or the PUMA networks or the "Brooks Brothers riot etc) where monies are directed to persons and entities who organize activists to implement strategies of various sorts. Most of the posters here (right or left) are seniors or close to it which accounts for the time they have available to spend here or on such sites. And most of the troll types here are both intellectually dull and pretty seriously under-educated - not the sort of employees one would invest in to be effective propagandists (and besides, how many readers bother with comments sections any way?). What effectiveness they have is limited to that of the the "rock the townhall" activists - disruption.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 7, 2011 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"He's smart, has a decent education, is likely a fine fellow in person..."

Why, thank you Bernie.

"...and suffers mainly from a species of fundamentalist ideology."

Back atcha.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 7, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

BTW, this:

"(tax = theft, government = oppression)"

...is not at all what I think. And really you should know, since I have explained it to you time and again.

A more accurate representation of my ideology, if one really found it necessary to simplify it to a two word equation, would be this: government = coercion.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 7, 2011 8:04 AM | Report abuse

"As to the notion of "paid trolls", I doubt they exist."

Yeah, Bernie, well you doubt many things that are true. For someone intelligent you are pretty dumb.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

Actually it should be refined to this:

government = legal coercion.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 7, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Just remember: Obama is NOT triangulating.

"Obama to name Sperling head of National Economic Council"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/07/AR2011010701653.html?hpid=topnews

"Obama Plan Aims to Ease Mexican Trucking Ban"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/business/07trade.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Gerson today goes after Assange and wikileaks for the functional support Gerson perceives that leaks have offered to Mugabe. He titles the piece "Wikileaks gives dangerous ammunition to a tyrant".

It's not a compelling case (Gerson might believe what he writes, one never knows) not least because the US has a rather long and shameful history of offering financial, military and political support to tyrants and corrupt regimes around the world (to Gerson, "dangerous ammunition" apparently means true information but not actual ammunition like bullets, bombs, fighters, such as US corporations make billions on by selling them out into the broad world, or even the constituents for chemical weapons such as were provided by the US to Saddam).

As I might have mentioned earlier, James Fallows who writes at the Atlantic and who was in China for an extrended period recently before returning to the US, was asked what he noticed most after so long away. He said it was the decline of the Washington Post as an institution.

Well, yeah. The stable of right wing propagandists employed by the organization and the subservient editorializing we see most every day here is pretty pathetic.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 7, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Bernie and Scott engaged in private e-mail correspondence. Anybody else find this odd?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"Oh, and quarterback, about your demand that I be banned a few thread ago .. you whine like a little girl. I'd tell you to grow a pair but all you'd do with them is drain them hourly to "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Road to Serfdom.""

I didn't demand your banning. I explicitly said I don't want you banned. Are your reading skills really that poor?

This only concerns a quixotic attempt at holding Greg accountable for banning conservatives who were model citizens compared to your abusive depravity. Oh, I know it's hopeless, since Greg has never uttered a disapproving word about even the most abusive liberal commenter and never answers questions from conservatives. I'm just asking the question to make the point.

As for whining, no, I've beaten you down with severity. I called you out, exposed your lies and historical ignorance, and highlighted the depravity, to the point where even you started denying you had called for crimes against humanity like those of your heroes -- the Soviets and Chinese Communists.

But your hatreds are irrepressible, and you can't help yourself from going back to mass murder and apocalypse fantasies. Like a dog returning to its vomit, as the Good Book says.

That you think I'm a Randian just shows how ignorant you are.

Given where you "drain" yourself, taunts from you fall somewhere below feckless.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 7, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

"The stable of right wing propagandists employed by the organization and the subservient editorializing we see most every day here is pretty pathetic."

Didn't you just contradict yourself about paid Right Wing trolls? Yes you did. Your lame assertion that Obama is the most Liberal president that America could have: Is that "truth" from your Good Friend Scott?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

"You write like someone who dropped about 500 mikes of LSD three hours ago."

tao's takedown of Colonel Kurtz a week or two ago must still be smarting. Not surprised at all.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 7, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

qb:

"That you think I'm a Randian just shows how ignorant you are."

Distinctions are not his strong suit, obviously. If you anger him for one reason, you are therefore guilty of being everything that angers him. Not exactly a razor sharp logician, our cao.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 7, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

"So what’s going on? I’m not suggesting that most of the people trying to derail these discussions are paid to do so, though I would be surprised if none were. I’m suggesting that some of the efforts to prevent intelligence from blooming seem to be organized, and that neither website hosts nor other commenters know how to respond.

For his film (Astro)Turf Wars, Taki Oldham secretly recorded a training session organized by a rightwing libertarian group called American Majority. The trainer, Austin James, was instructing Tea Party members on how to “manipulate the medium”. This is what he told them:

“Here’s what I do. I get on Amazon; I type in “Liberal Books”. I go through and I say “one star, one star, one star”. The flipside is you go to a conservative/ libertarian whatever, go to their products and give them five stars. … This is where your kids get information: Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster. These are places where you can rate movies. So when you type in “Movies on Healthcare”, I don’t want Michael Moore’s to come up, so I always give it bad ratings. I spend about 30 minutes a day, just click, click, click, click. … If there’s a place to comment, a place to rate, a place to share information, you have to do it. That’s how you control the online dialogue and give our ideas a fighting chance.”

Over 75% of the funding for American Majority, which hosted this training session, comes from the Sam Adams Alliance. In 2008, the year in which American Majority was founded, 88% of the alliance’s money came from a single donation, of $3.7m(13). A group which trains rightwing libertarians to distort online democratic processes, in other words, was set up with funding from a person or company with a very large wallet."

http://www.alternet.org/story/149197/are_right-wing_libertarian_internet_trolls_getting_paid_to_dumb_down_online_conversations?page=2

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

"You write like someone who dropped about 500 mikes of LSD three hours ago"

You said it. What's up with that?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

"Yeah, Bernie, well you doubt many things that are true. For someone intelligent you are pretty dumb."

Or, for someone dumb, I'm pretty intelligent. Either formulation is fine with me.

But to the point, I have bumped into no credible information anywhere which validates the premise that people are being paid to function as trolls in comments sections of political blogs or political sites. If one just estimates the number of such comments sections on the net you'll necessarily end up with a few hundred thousand paid trolls and if that were the case, we'd be seeing ads on late night tv - "Ear money working from your own home and have fun getting liberals upset and learn helpful tips to make people believe you aren't a bigot"

But if anyone has such credible information suggesting this really does happen, I'd love to hear it. There's an odd grandiosity to the assumption, I think. How many people read these comments? And they influence whom? Me or you typing our sentences here seems to me rather like farting into a windstorm and imagining that fart might significant alter the course of the storm.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 7, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne:

"Anybody else find this odd?"

I can see the wheels spinning....Is Bernie a closet wingnut, or is Scott a closet moonbat? Who's the plant, and what's their purpose here? And how, exactly, is Rupert Murdoch involved?!?!!?

Let me know when you come up with a theory. Meanwhile, rational people will put it down to two people who found it easier to talk about something via e-mail than via a dead thread that was weeks old.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 7, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

You are a naif, Bernie. You come here day after day quoting Glenn Greenwald and other reactionary Liberals yet you simultaneously decry any real-world application for those thoughts. You sit there like Alan Colmes while your Good Buddy Scott and his pal QB take turns kicking you in the head. Is that what passes for political activism in Canada?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

"we'd be seeing ads on late night tv"

Um, Bernie, it's supposed to be a secret. Advertising on television, uh, won't achieve the goal.

Good grief.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/the_morning_plum_162.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 7, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"rational people will put it down to two people who found it easier to talk about something via e-mail than via a dead thread that was weeks old."

Rational people can decide for themselves what is going on.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I take a bit of odd pleasure in the fact that people like wbgonne have gone so far around the bend in their paranoia that they believe I'm a "paid troll." It's awesome.

Of course, aside from the sheer silliness of it that Bernie points out, what would be a telling falsifier of the theory to an objective observer is that we conservatives are hardly the ones who "dumb down" conversations here.

(And I know I am safe in openly saying that without shattering wbgonne's grandiose, paranoid delusion, because of course everything I say will be interpreted as yet another elaboration of the psy-ops mission on which I've been dispatched. Just as I intended all along. Wheels within wheels ad infinitum.)

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 7, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

@wb - Yes, clearly that sort of stuff noted in your last poll is in place and is broadly implemented. The religious right has been effectively doing such covert activism for forty or so years now (in Canada as well). And the corporate crowd have been happy to join in on the action and increase funding to it for their own purposes.

As I've said earlier, the phenomenon is not a positive one. It really works to sabotage democracy rather than forward it.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 7, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

Here's you next e-mail from your Good Friend Scott:

"Loose lips sink ships."

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Scott:

I suspect that cao's familiarity with the protocols of acid-dropping is based on experience. His brain might just be fried.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 7, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

"Um, Bernie, it's supposed to be a secret. Advertising on television, uh, won't achieve the goal."

I know. That was intended as a joke. But keeping secrets is a real problem particularly where thousands of people are involved.

But it's a moot point in the sense that funds are being invested to the same ends as you perceive and it probably doesn't much matter which individuals get the monthly checks.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 7, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

"it probably doesn't much matter which individuals get the monthly checks."

It matters to me whether the person I am addressing is a phony. I don't like liars. I'm funny that way.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne (to Bernie):

"your Good Buddy Scott...your Good Friend Scott"

As evidenced by Bernie at various times telling me "Screw you" and "Ph--k off"?

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 7, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

wb said: "take turns kicking you in the head. "

Why on earth should I care what they might say?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 7, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Given right-wingers' universal preoccupation with falsely manipulating perceptions I find absurd the suggestion that some of them haven't gotten around to organizing. Of course they do. They've spent billions on getting their message out and have funded thinktanks and publishing houses whose sole raison d'etre is the dissemination of lies.

Of course there are paid trolls. get real.

And their universal intellectual dullness comes along with their ideology. It's not as though there are any scintillating conservative intellects out there .. any conservative who can originate text instead of merely repeat it is already publicly employed and publicly known, and they are extremely few.

I wouldn't expect to find those originators taking $15/hour to haunt blogs, not from an ideology so lacking in luminaries that George Will can pass as an intellectual.

Quit being starry-eyed, Bernie

Posted by: caothien9 | January 7, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

cao:

"any conservative who can originate text instead of merely repeat it is already publicly employed and publicly known, and they are extremely few."

Still waiting for that original "from scratch" thought that you've had all on your own. Your last example turned out to have been not quite as original as you imagined.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 7, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

@caothien9: "Of course there are paid trolls. get real."

That's just not a rational position. What purpose would that serve? What good would that do? More importantly, why in the world would that be necessary? Are you paid? Have you ever left a message in a forum where commenters, and perhaps the blogger, were to the right of you? Did someone pay you to do that?

Do you think there are paid liberal trolls to disrupt Ace of Spades and RedState and HotAir? If not, why do any lefties post in those places?

Indeed, you seem pretty well to the left of Mr. Sargent. Are you, perhaps, a paid troll?

Seems like a silly notion, to me.

@wbgonne: "It matters to me whether the person I am addressing is a phony. I don't like liars. I'm funny that way"

With few exceptions, most of the folks you end up addressing aren't going to be phonies. And those that are phony aren't getting paid. It's either a lark, or their version of performance art.

True believers, on either side, don't need to get paid to proselytize. And unless they are established personalities with a huge audience, nobody is going to pay them to proselytize.

Put it this way--if nobody is paying you to defend your views (or attack other views) in the comments section of a modestly well-read blog, then, chances are very good (indeed, almost certain) that nobody is getting paid to troll. I mean, seriously.

"There was this dude who said Obama was awesome and wrote like five paragraphs and I said, "Nuh-uh! He's a Kenya Anti-Colonialist!"

"Job well done, Professional Troll. Here's a dollar!"

"I'm going to go buy another bullet for my gun!"

And I can see the pundits on the Sunday shows: "There's no doubt that this year, the election was turned by commenters on blogs. Especially Plum-line. But also, the conservatives leveraging the clever appellation 'libtard' at the Daily Kos and Democratic Underground."

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 7, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@qb: "I didn't demand your banning. I explicitly said I don't want you banned. Are your reading skills really that poor?"

Yes, I can tell you from previous experience, they most definitely are. ;)

@quarterback: "I take a bit of odd pleasure in the fact that people like wbgonne have gone so far around the bend in their paranoia that they believe I'm a 'paid troll.' It's awesome."

That anybody believes there seriously is such a thing is not awesome, it's pathetic. It's sad. I would hope they really don't believe it but just think it's a fine, and discrediting, insult. If they believe in that, then perhaps they can also tell us a little bit more about the underwear gnomes who (strangely) steal our left socks.

@wbgonne: "Um, Bernie, it's supposed to be a secret. Advertising on television, uh, won't achieve the goal."

Which is what, exactly? What is the goal? What minds are changed and what wheels are turned, what votes are secured, or petitions filled, by nefarious paid trolls disagreeing with liberals in a public, if relatively obscure, forum (something no normal, non-paid person, would ever imagine doing). Why does it need to be a secret? Are you suggesting that QB, ScottC3, RainForest, Clawrence, JakeD2, Brigade, and I are all, in fact, liberals, or apolitical entities with no opinions on anything at all, paid to disagree with you--because, clearly, nobody would ever disagree with you, unless they were being paid money to do it?

Not that I wouldn't take that job. But I'd also take the job of living on a desert island surrounded by supermodels whose only desire was to pleasure me, while I played videogames in 3D all day. However, I'm pretty sure both jobs are equally fantastical.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 7, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@bernie: "But if anyone has such credible information suggesting this really does happen, I'd love to hear it. There's an odd grandiosity to the assumption, I think. How many people read these comments? And they influence whom? Me or you typing our sentences here seems to me rather like farting into a windstorm and imagining that fart might significant alter the course of the storm."

Good golly. I agree with Bernie completely. Not just partially, or with caveats, or at the margins, but 100%. I don't think that's ever happened. ;)

BTW, your check is in the mail. Welcome to the Right Wing Propaganda Machine. Now you, too, can argue with liberals in the comments sections of WaPo blogs for fun and profit! Disagree with wbgonne often enough, and we're sure to win in 2012! And push Obama even further to the right.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 7, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"it probably doesn't much matter which individuals get the monthly checks."

It matters to me whether the person I am addressing is a phony. I don't like liars. I'm funny that way.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 7, 2011 8:44 AM |

...........................

You must have hated Ted Kennedy, since he was close friends with a lot of Conservatives.

You are one scary person.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 7, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

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