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Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 01/16/2011

Sunday Open Thread

By Greg Sargent

Thank God for the First Amendment, which protects my speech by prohibiting any and all criticism of it.

By Greg Sargent  | January 16, 2011; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Comments

Everybody is wondering how the Arab kings and dictators, the juntas, the Persian religious clique, the Chinese state capitalist party...wondering how hard the totalitarian governments of the world are going to be on opposition after Tunisia forms a Democratic government, or not. I was in Jakarta during the weeks it took for Suharto to quit. It was appalling, I wasn't sure I was going to live through it but nowadays, once a country goes for democratic rule, it doesn't go back (except Russia, who knows what's up with that?).

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

American lax gun laws feed Mexican drug cartels


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/opinion/16sun2.html?ref=opinion

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Greg, why haven't you banned caothien9?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 16, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

But isn't that what Jeane Kirkpatrick said about Communism?

Now there was a real piece of work.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow there's a distinctive echo around here.

Wish I knew how to yodel. Oh well at least I can play Debussy's "Syrinx."

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"Several dangers lie ahead. One is that Tunisia falls into chaos - a scenario that would convince Arab rulers to cling more tightly to power rather than sharing or relinquishing it.

Another is that the unrest may spread. It is already apparent - and for broadly similar reasons - in neighbouring Algeria. In a string of Arab countries, succession issues loom as ageing autocrats confront the unmet aspirations of their youthful and rapidly growing populations." **|red:Uh oh!|**

What do these youths want anyway? Bread and circus? No?
How about a war? Yeah, they want a fight, so let's get them to fight someone nobody likes...

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

"For decades, Western governments depicted Tunisia as an oasis of calm and economic success - a place they could do business with. They turned a blind eye to President Ben Ali's harsh suppression of dissent - and ignored the fact that, while the elite prospered, ordinary Tunisians suffered."

Pivot!

"As the riots continued in Tunis, his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - at the end of a visit to the Gulf - delivered a blistering critique of corruption and political stagnation in the region."
BBC

So it turns out we **can** have it both ways. Stupid world, so easily fooled by America's sophisticated foreign policy.


Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, you and QB1 are at your best when you are criticizing each other's debate points, not when you are characterizing each other. And each of you have done both, sometimes in the same exchange.

As someone [KW or shrink, probably] has suggested, the desire to characterize that with which we disagree as part of some larger whole that permits shorthand rejection of the other is human. The focus on issues and facts and history and predicted results from decisions to be made is actually hard work.

I acknowledge that propaganda plays a major role in electoral politics.

The lies told by both the media and some of our founding fathers, in order to gain electoral advantage, are of historical record. What passed for journalism in 1800 was often no more than screed financed by special interests.

Fast forward:

Cable TV and the internet are the friend of propaganda, but where the second liar actually has a chance, because there will be so much repetition in so short a time.

I am not engaging in "equivalency" arguments here. I don't care about them.

I am suggesting that accusing all commenters here of any stripe of following a propagandist mode is like telling your spouse:

"The trouble with you is..." or

"How come you never..." or

"Why don't you ever...".

That's *ex-spouse talk* , as some of us know.

Call out the argument, not the commenter. Don't push a commenter to answer for someone else unless s/he is relying on that someone else as authority about that very subject. Cut through the smoke and deal with each issue on its merits.

Personal note: Ddawd, you have my email - tell me what's going on for you here.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 16, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Thomas Friedman, an artiste of the obvious who fancies himself an original thinker, a man whose positions seem molded around opportunities to brG about his travel itinerary, may be onto something when he says that in the Arab world "the past always buries the future."

"we shall see, we shall see."
-- The Stranglers

(no referrence to QB1's video console)

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"the past always buries the future."

That is what it means to be conservative.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning.

Returning to the question imsinca raised earlier about the states, I completely agree: 2012 will be a bloodbath for many, if not most, states. The federal stimulus money that propped them up the last 2 years is gone and many states are on the brink of bankruptcy. Some of these states have GOP governors, Christie in NJ, Jindahl in LA, Perry in Tx, and some have Dems like Brown in CA. The hard-core GOP governors like Chirsitie, Perry and Jindahl absolutely refuse to raise taxes which means that their state budgets will be slashed to the bone. In case anyone misunderstands, slashing state budgets means increasing unemployment by laying off state workers and cutting essential services like education and health and public safety. So whether we like it or not, we are about to witness a real-life experiment in Right Wing governance.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 16, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Call out the argument, not the commenter. Don't push a commenter to answer for someone else unless s/he is relying on that someone else as authority about that very subject. Cut through the smoke and deal with each issue on its merits.

==

Failing that, repeat your assertions ad infinitum with insignificant variations, such as "the words don't mean what actually say."

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"the past always buries the future."

That is what it means to be conservative.

==

Not anymore.

Now being conservative means "the past that never was buries everything decent and kind.". Only we really shouldn't call it conservatism anymore, it's something more like libertarianism, vastly more shabby.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"Thank God for the First Amendment, which protects my speech by prohibiting any and all criticism of it."


______________________


Interesting what does that mean?


The First Amendment protects the speech AND the criticism.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

In case anyone misunderstands, slashing state budgets means increasing unemployment by laying off state workers and cutting essential services like education and health and public safety. So whether we like it or not, we are about to witness a real-life experiment in Right Wing governance.

==

Translation: really hungry people watching their kids starve and hearing them begging for food, no jobs, no assistance, and cheap guns available without any checks.

Bloodbath isn't figurative.

I have guest rooms for a few refugees. Republicans need not apply.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

If the online entity that calls itself QB promises to leave I will gladly call it a pedophile. Or a Francophile. Or a nail file. But the online entity that calls itself QB is not going anywhere despite its vacuous threat to depart (anyone remember that scene in Blazing Saddles where the Cleavon Little character threatens to shoot himself in the head?) QB is not going anywhere.

Finally, it is amusing -- though a bit strange -- that an online discussion community worries about the "feelings" of a troll, whose only intent is to sabotage the online discussion. I have my doubts whether this would happen at Red State or Free Republic. I guess Liberals really are nicer than Conservatives. And you know what they say about nice guys.

GO PATS!

Posted by: wbgonne | January 16, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

We are about to witness an experiment in governance indeed. It will be interesting.

After the election, I set up an economic recovery cage match. California and Washington versus Florida and Texas, it was more complicated than that I think, you could throw in Oregon v. South Carolina, I forgot the match ups...but anyway, all blue v all red governance in states hid really hard by the Great Recession.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@mark in austin..

"Call out the argument, not the commenter. Don't push a commenter to answer for someone else unless s/he is relying on that someone else as authority about that very subject. Cut through the smoke and deal with each issue on its merits."

Great post Mark. And isn't that true for the entire spectrum of our political discourse...imagine if Sarah Palin had elected to run against Obama on the issues.

Of course any thinking person knows why that never happened....Palin is largely ignorant when it comes to the issues...she is a firebrand who is very comfortable in casting personal aspersions on her foes.
And so rather than delve into the intricacies of the deficit and debate whether defense spending might be out of control as well as entitlements...about the need to cut spending AND raise taxes if we're serious...no...during the campaign Palin talked about what? Pallin' around with them there terrorists...he's not like us..."real" Americans...seriously righties at what point did any of that have a scintilla of importance to actually solving our problems or dealing with the issues. It was a prima facie example of the politics of personal destruction.

Can someone honestly say here that Palin talks much about issues. Tweets and facebook do not count because that is not transparently Sister Sarah...most of us believe those are the wonks on her team.
That would be OK...Obama certainly does not compose all of his statements or Administration press releases..but what makes it meaningless with Sister Sarah is that being the coward she is...she refuses to ever answer the American public through the media. The media is the 4th estate. Anybody who simply dismisses them ALL as the lamestream media is someone who is not able to understand words like nuance versus hyperbole. Obama can go on Fox with numerous different interviewers from O'Reilly to Fox reporters....Obama has done this as well as facing the entire media during press conferences.

Palin's only feeble attempt at this produced an interview that was lifted WORD FOR WORD in one of the most famous comedy routines in SNL history.

I realize the irony of a post on refocusing on the issues as opposed to personal attacks...I use Palin's modus operandi as example...not to attack Palin personally...I've scrubbed any nasty references like Wasilla Hillbilly, harpy, all of that crap. Sarah is toast as a candidate...I'm not really concerned about her personally..I truly hope she and Todd go back to Alaska or So Cal as TV stars and lead happy productive lives. It's the behavior that upsets me...and the precedent that our leaders no longer are accountable to us through our media..they no longer have to stand in front of our representatives and answer questions. They stand up in debates and say...paraphrasing...you might not like my answers because I'm going to largely ignore your questions and respond in OT TP soundbites

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Americans have to come to terms with the falsehoods - and specifically False Charges of Racism - coming from the democrats have dragged this nation down.

The democrats are the ones who are dissatisfied with the Florida recount, and with the Iraq war, and the democrats have let the nastiness fly.

What concerns me the most - the other democrats remain SILENT when their fellow democrats get nasty - that wasn't always the case. This is a recent development.


At this point, Obama IS the problem.


When the nation finally votes out Obama, the country will have a chance to make progress on that basis. With the attitude of Obama and the democrats over the past 2 years, and the garbage of the 2008 election, there probably is little basis for harmony between the parties now.


However, when Obama is out, that will be a window.


Republicans and democrats can work together - but the liberals have to realize that the Republicans are not going to agree to their liberal agenda.

The liberals also have to realize that the idea they they will come up with a DECEPTIVE campaign to get centrist votes, and then BAIT AND SWITCH over to a far-left agenda is PROVOCATIVE.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh he'll be back, just as soon as inspiration delivers some pretext.

Something tendentious about family honor or not walking away from a fight. Stifling a yawn here.

Hey QB if anonymity is your only obstacle I can fix that. Be funny seeing you trying to reach me in Cần Thơ, going into spittle-foaming convulsions in the airport in Saigon at the sight of the good ol' hammer & sickle or a pic of Bác Hố. Like John Hurt just before the alien popped out.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne:

I asked you yesterday, but have not seen a response. Perhaps I missed it, so I will ask again.

Is there any law that you can conceive of that you believe would be a good law, but which you believe the constitution would not allow?

I am trying to find out if you believe there are any objective constraints on what the federal government can do, or if you believe it is constitutionally allowed to do anything at all, provided that thing is deemed to be "good" or valuable.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 16, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't think King Limbaugh will approve:

"On Fox and Friends yesterday, the hosts spoke with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace about the tone in Washington following shocking violence against public officials in Arizona, and President Obama’s plea to “use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.” Wallace said that, indeed, he was hoping for a more constructive dialogue: “You don’t have to call the other side socialists, or fascists, or whatever. And maybe the tone — maybe we can agree, or disagree, more agreeably.”"

http://thinkprogress.org/

Posted by: wbgonne | January 16, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"...most of us believe those are the wonks on her team."
But seriously, the word inside the beltway is that there are no such wonks. She never created a political organization. Not that it was as amateurish as O'Donnell or Angle, but I remember reading some credible source recently declaiming the idea of a Palin insider, that there is no such person. Apparently, this is a one woman business, the hired help are for technical purposes (scheduling, production); there is said to be only one strategist, the one who relies on her political 'instinct', an unfortunate use of that word.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I will answer, Scott.

Prohibitng private ownership of most guns. A great law.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

""...imagine if Sarah Palin had elected to run against Obama on the issues.""

John McCain ran against Obama.

It is truly remarkable, this monomania so many on the left seem to have with Palin. mark-in-austin takes Bernie to task for his discussion tactics, and somehow it all comes back to Palin. Truly bizarre.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 16, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

For all the Troll Cons here, just let me know whether you'd like to be called a Francophile, a pedophile, a nail file or any other file, fillet, filing or filling else before you quit us. Like the Democratic Party says to Liberals: "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out."

Later, All.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 16, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Palin's inner circle is a bunch of her friends and admirers. She goes by her gut. That always works so well.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Good morning wbgonne...

I agree with your 10:35AM post which by extension means I also agree with lmsinca's post that started this train of thought.

I especially like shrinks concept of measuring red state government versus blue state gov't's caught in the same budgetary strait jackets. I suspect there are plenty of other influences that will determine the economic futures of these ststes besides government...but it is an interesting thought shrink.

Here in Florida Scott will be particularly interesting because he is SERIOUS. He is soooo far to the right that his own incredibly conservative state senate has already turned on him in terms of tax cuts...his own cabinet...again very very conservative R's have already told him they were elected independently..not beholden to him and so he could take a hike on freezing their regulatory powers...that is not within his purview.

Again these were very very conservative R's who have confronted Scott...in his FIRST week in office. You can imagine how progressives living in the state of Florida feel right now.

I'm torn between the so called "conscience of a liberal" and thinking when the hell hits our state it of course will be the middle class and poor who suffer most economically and they will get what they deserve for voting for a fraudster. At some point it's becoming hard to feel for people who continually vote against their own best interests.

But it will be all of us who watch our state once again trashed by special interests with little concern for absurdities like water quality (we've already had our first confrontation with R localities refusing to implement EPA orders concerning septic tanks in our state that have deferred Maintenance resulting in their dooty polluting our streams and groudwater. R response...it's too expensive to ask those homeowners not on government sewage systems to spend the 600-1000 to upgrade their septic tanks.

In other words those who spend money every month (taxes) to prevent our crap from ruining our lovely state's water supply have to sit idly by while homeowners not paying those taxes to connect to sewer lines are free to pollute.

But then this small slice of Florida life is a perfect example of R thought...when they say "Our sh*t doesn't stink" they aren't simply speaking metaphorically!!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

John McCain ran against Obama

==

Only nominally. McCain acted like a jerk, ran an unfocused and erratic campaign and exhibited the maturity of an eighth grader.

Quit the canned speeches, you are tiresomely predictable.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

LIST OF OBAMA'S HIDDEN TAX INCREASES - which were voted on in March in the Health Care bill without most people knowing what was in the bill.


Individual Mandate Excise Tax(Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following
1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085
Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS)


Employer Mandate Tax(Jan 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. This provision applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).
Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years


Surtax on Investment Income ($123 billion/Jan. 2013): This increase involves the creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income
Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2010-2012 15% 15% 35%
2013+ (current law) 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%
2013+ (Obama budget) 23.8% 23.8% 43.4%

*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations. It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income. It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans. The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh joy, here comes cholera to Florida.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"Loughner's first stop, a Walmart between his house and the scene of the shooting, doesn't sell bullets before 7 a.m. It was only 6:12 a.m."

That is unconstitutional! There is nothing in the Constitution that says stores can deny an American his God given right to more bullets just because of what time it is.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

LIST OF OBAMA'S HIDDEN TAX INCREASES - which were voted on in March in the Health Care bill without most people knowing what was in the bill.

CONTINUED


Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). For early retirees and high-risk professions exists a higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family). CPI +1 percentage point indexed.


Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax($86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes:
First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed 1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed


Medicine Cabinet Tax($5 bil/Jan 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin)


HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike($1.4 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.


Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka“Special Needs Kids Tax”($13 bil/Jan 2013): Imposes cap of $2500 (Indexed to inflation after 2013) on FSAs (now unlimited). . There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.


Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers($20 bil/Jan 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax. Exemptions include items retailing for less than $100.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

rukidding:

I feel for you in FL. But I think there is enough sense there to ward off the most pernicious Con attacks. Maybe NJ, too (if Christie gets lucky). But TX and LA are on a course to quick disaster. Jindal thinks he's running for president but he'll be lucky to get another term in LA after the state starts falling apart.

The country rejected what Obama was selling and turned back to the Right-Wing cant that got us into this mess in the first place. Evidently, we are destined to play out the Conservative dream in at least in some of our states. In any case, here we are.

Nice to see you back. I'm off now. Enjoy the day (and root for the Pats!).

Posted by: wbgonne | January 16, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

LIST OF OBAMA'S HIDDEN TAX INCREASES - which were voted on in March in the Health Care bill without most people knowing what was in the bill.

CONTINUED Yes there is MORE PAGE 3 of Obama's tax increases


Democrats - DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THESE TAX INCREASES ???


Raise "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI($15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI; it is waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only.

Tax on Indoor Tanning Services($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons

Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D($4.5 bil/Jan 2013)

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike($0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services

Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals(Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS

Tax on Innovator Drug Companies($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year.

Tax on Health Insurers($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. The stipulation phases in gradually until 2018, and is fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives($0.6 bil/Jan 2013)

Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2(Min$/Jan 2011): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns.

Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting($17.1 bil/Jan 2012): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers

“Black liquor” tax hike(Tax hike of $23.6 billion). This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel.

Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”(Tax hike of $4.5 billion). This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed.


Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Scott, I like your question, but I think it does not directly require the definitive answer as to the witness' view of the relative expansiveness of federal power.

I, a lawyer, can imagine a law I think would be salutory, but which I would also know was unconstitutional and prohibited.
I will pose one for you as an example. I think a unicameral lege with proportional representation, a la the HoR, would be better for the nation than permitting an "upper chamber" that gives DE 35 times more power per voter than TX.

But I know that it is unconstitutional and that it is unlikely the requisite number of states would give up their power to TX and FL and CA to amend the Constitution.

That is a serious answer to your question, but does nothing to address what I think, say, are the appropriate limits to eminent domain under the 14th A.

Shrink, do you want our FP based on ethics, or on our domestic safety, or on some mix of both? Are you a Wilsonian or a neo-con? Are you an isolationist? Or are you simply provoking discussion? FP is hard, once you accept the limits of American force, either diplomatic, or moral, or military.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 16, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"At some point it's becoming hard to feel for people who continually vote against their own best interests."

Many times I have tapped out screeds mining this vein, attacking for example, the elderly as a voting bloc. Their vested interest in Medicare for example, is seen as an investment by Republicans and everyone knows what can happen to a person's investment, speaking of Rick Scott. I don't post them, it is bad karma to attack the elderly.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"salutary"

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 16, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

shrink:

""There is nothing in the Constitution that says stores can deny an American his God given right to more bullets just because of what time it is.""

You are confused about the constitution. It does not (and was not designed to) stipulate what stores can do. It stipulates (and was meant to stipulate) what the government can do.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 16, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Scott "John McCain ran against Obama.

I expect a lot more out of you than that my erudite friend...McCain/Palin ran against Obama/Biden. How much rhetoric did Palin address at Biden...was Biden palling around with terrorists...not one of us.. You know EXACTLY what that meant and your response here is one of the few times I find you to be disingenuous.

As to your other point...

"It is truly remarkable, this monomania so many on the left seem to have with Palin."

I understand how you believe that. But step back. We could argue the rest of the day about the fact that Bachmann, Angle, O'Donnell and others received a lot of attention from all of us. Scott it's hard to argue that a person with a top notch publicity machine, designed to maximize power and wealth (not a pejorative who wouldn't like power and wealth?)is not REALLY what has kept Palin in the forefront. It wasn't me who thought ANY politician would be well advised to release a video (no press followup of course)on the same day as the President...and then to drop the "blood libel" phrase...they HAD to know how offensive that would be to a large % of our populace...why do that? Is it your position Scott that Sarah is not responsible for ANY of her image. She is truly a VICTIM of the "lamestream media"?

Let me give you one man's reason for keeping my attention on Palin. It's not really Palin...it's the precedent she's setting...she certainly DID NOT set the precedent of the politics of personal destruction...that goes back to the beginning of our nation and many observers believe that Lee Atwater simply revived an old tradition.

However Scott...Palin is the first politician I can remember in my lifetime who decided the public did not deserve the chance to question her through our 4th estate. You all can gripe all you want about the "media"...I worked in the media Scott, and from my prejudiced perspective the vast majority of the media are at least as intellectually honest and moral as the vast majority of derivative traders.
People may not like what they hear but shooting the messenger is another tactic as old as time itself...it's just that Palin has elevated it to what IMHO are dangerous levels...the media is the only real way for everyday Americans to hear from the pols. And in fact if Palin were sincere (perhaps she is and just misguided) she would be far better served to appear on EVERY media outlet she can...let the American people judge for themselves after hearing her in the many different contexts and settings. The more they see her the more they would get to know the "true" Sarah. Ahhhh but that's the REAL problem now isn't Scott? This is why her handlers in the McCain campaign did their best to hide her.

Scott for me this is not about Palin so much as this new type of "politics" where pols no longer have to "prove" themselves in the crucible of media.

Sorry for the run on sentences and rambling.:-) And I'm not even hungover..no excuse but laziness.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Scott, why haven't Republicans passed a law making ammo available 24/7? What if, instead of gearing up for mass murder, Loughner was heading over to Ted Nugent's place for some pre-breakfast park animal blasting? You have to admit, delaying bullet sales to 7am is pretty silly, unless you think all night ammo sales might have something to do with crime, but that would drop a passel of questions onto the table, like is WalMart in the crime prevention business?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Lets all remember why there is freedom of speech was to promote freedom from laws of seditious libel so people could openly discuss public affairs and elected officials:

http://federalistblog.us/2008/10/freedom_of_speech_and_of_the_press.html

Posted by: JASinAZ | January 16, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

By the way

If you are an illegal alien, you do NOT have to buy health insurance.

If YOU are an American, you do.

That is NOT equal protection of the laws.

When the illegals go to the hospital, they get treated - BUT WE PAY FOR IT.

There should be a law REQUIRING the illegal aliens to buy health insurance - or they GET DEPORTED.

OH - they are already supposed to be deported.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

mark:

""I think it does not directly require the definitive answer as to the witness' view of the relative expansiveness of federal power.""

I take your point. Do you have a better way of framing the question?

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 16, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Public Health Depts should send a memo to ex-friends of crazy, depressed, addicted or otherwise unstable people. If you get a message like this on your phone...

"Hey Bryce, it's Jared. We had some good times together. Peace out."

...please do something (attach detail of local options and contact info here). It may not work, but it is worth a try. I'll bet the thought has occurred to Bryce Tierney more than once since.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

My comments were not aimed at challenging the substance of your critique of Palin. They were aimed at pointing out the weirdness of how Palin even comes up at all. Mark makes a comment about Bernie's discussion tactics, and to you that presents an occassion to rant about Palin.

Just plain weird to me.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 16, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

shrink:

""Scott, why haven't Republicans passed a law making ammo available 24/7?""

I'm not aware of Republicans passing laws forcing anyone to make anything available 24/7, (except, perhaps, police service) so why you should think ammo would or ought to be different is beyond me.

""You have to admit, delaying bullet sales to 7am is pretty silly, unless you think all night ammo sales might have something to do with crime, but that would drop a passel of questions onto the table, like is WalMart in the crime prevention business?""

I'm not aware of why Walmart delays sales, although I am guessing I wouldn't find their reason silly if I knew it.

And Walmart is in whatever business it wants to be in. If the management at Walmart makes a determination not to sell ammo at certain times because it believes its customers at that time are more likely than not to be criminals, that's their call. I'm not at all sure why you think such a decision is either a) a bad thing or b) a good thing with far-reaching implications for, well, something that you don't seem to want to explicitly articulate.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 16, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Another of the Democrats in the Post opinion pen writes an article titled"

"Does climate change explain the fall of the Roman Empire?"

No! It's not satire from "The Onion", it's another puff of the opium pipe from a pink cloud liberal.

We all know what caused the fall of the Roman empire. Here it is:

The fall of the Roman Empire was a direct result of the decree by Glutius Maximus that homosexuals (then called what is literally translated as shemen) not be thrown to the lions anymore and, instead, be openly enlisted into the Roman army.

It was later discovered that Glutius Maximus and his inner circle were shemen and Gluty wanted to have his pick of the best, young soldiers for his frequent orgies.

The rest is history as the Roman army became mostly homosexual and more interested in bath houses, orgies, fine food, and luxury. Nero really did fiddle and diddle while the thing burned down.

Anyhow, malaria, sexually transmitted diseases, and laziness did 'em in.

The barbarians were the straight warriors from without that walked in and took over.

The Roman women welcomed the barbarian warriors because the Roman women hadn't seen any real men in a long time.

And so, it goes!

Posted by: battleground51 | January 16, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Scott..

"Just plain weird to me."

Sorry to weird you out. I certainly take your point that Mark was referring to posters on this blog...I simply expanded that to the political dialogue beyond our blog that currently takes place in our nation. We can agree to disagree here. Let me be clear however that what I am discussing has nothing to do with the Giffords shooting just a larger point on Mark's observations. Palin is just the most obvious...and currently famous (infamous for some of my progressive friends) example of pols who refuse or perhaps are unable to deal in the issues.

BTW this is certainly not intended as a blanket indictment of the right or left.
I am in complete disagreement with Dr. Coburn's views but I do respect Sen Coburn's integrity, intellect, and knowledge of the issues. I could make that statement about a majority of conservative politicians...but I'm sorry Scott...Palin is missing on at least two of three there..won't question her integrity...Gohmert...ditto...Virginia Foxx ditto.

You could make the point, what right do progressives have to influence who conservatives elect as our leaders...it's because even though we don't say this very often...I am not happy with Rick Scott...I consider him a fraud, a cheat, and honestly a despicable human being who made his fortune cutting the quality of health care in his hospitals for his own personal wealth along with cheating taxpayers with mind numbing medicare/medicaid fraud. Having said that....he did get elected...I'm not going to march on Tallahassee armed...I'm going to try and judge him from his results...but he does represent ME as well as those who voted for him. That frequently seems to get lost in our rabid discussions. Rick Scott owes as much to his liberal citizens as his conservative friends...Obama owes as much to the conservatives as he does to those who voted for him...he is President of all the people...even RTR..KDE..and the rest.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Scott, I will guess that current events make us focus on the commerce clause and the 2d Amendment, right this minute.

So posing a series of commerce hypotheticals from Supreme Court decisions and/or from landmark legislation would define one spectrum and the place each of us stand within it.

I tried to pose an outer limit for a 2d A debate the other day -
no public right to c4 or fissile material, no guns for adjudicated violent felons or certified incompetents or minors

- with the inside limit as no flat prohibition of small arms.

I tried to post a spectrum to see where folks fell on it, and why. Kevin, as usual, was pretty clear and thoughtful.

I do not know any perfect questions. :-) The closest I could come to on the Constitution would be four questions:

Do you care about the Constitutional law?

Have you read the Constitution and the leading cases and treatises concerning the clause in question?

If you have, why do you buy one particular argument about this subject?

If you have not, are you willing to listen to a debate among those who have, before offering a personal opinion?

I know - that is awfully unpopulist.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 16, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

|hi:Mark:|
Sorry I didn't see those questions until just now.
Both, neither, no, no.

I was joking about how it appears, to me at least, rather tasteless and unsophisticated to turn a blind eye to gross corruption and totalitarianism, indeed, considering the place an oasis of calm and economic success only because it was a place we could "do business" with. Then when the regime falls, we deliver a blistering critique of corruption and political stagnation in the region.

Soon after the last helicopter flew off the roof of the Saigon embassy, Gerry Ford embraced Ferdinand Marcos as a "pillar of democracy" in the region. Yep, in those days, we really stood for something.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Democrats do not use the term "illegal immigrant" anymore.

They have replaced it with "potential, future Democrat voter".

That is more politically correct and honest, for them.

Did anyone hear the rumor that the Obamacrats are in secret negotiations with the Mexican govenment to make Mexico the 51st state??

Stay alert!

Posted by: battleground51 | January 16, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Scott, while you are at it, why don't you ask for evidence to support my allegation that Ted Nugent shoots domesticated (game) park animals when he goes "hunting"? Or are you going to stipulate that point. Look, I know you think my jokes are not funny, but when I am being facetious...say is there a I'm-being-facetious emoticon I could link with the new TH feature?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Good Morning Guys:

I strongly support exercise of First Amendment speech rights on Second Amendment RKBA rights... especially by the Democratic Senators up for re-election in about a year and a half.

No more "John Kerry where can I get me huntin license" posings pandering to local sensibilities.

Meanwhile DCvHeller is the latest law of the land on 2A.

Wrt additional gun control, wake me if a bill that will survive DCvHeller scrutiny clears a committee.

Posted by: TominColorado | January 16, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, shrink. I actually have to work now. Bye.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 16, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama's health care law is VIOLATING THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE


All illegal aliens should be required to buy health insurance, or face the penalties, as Americans do.


So, in Arizona, perhaps, their law can ask for PROOF OF HEALTH INSURANCE, just like every other American -


AND THROW THEM IN JAIL ON THAT BASIS.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

You're quite entertaining today, BG. Blaming the fall of the Roman empire on gays is rich. I suspect all those hordes of barbarians might have something to say about that (well, if their bodies hadn't decomposed by now). I also suspect that in the fantastical scenario in which Mexico to unify with the US, they'd merit considerably more than one state. The population south of the Rio Grande is upwards of 100M, larger than CA, TX, and NY combined.

As for laws that are unconstitutional, I've a few I'd like to see. I think it more accurate to state which constitutional amendments you would like to propose.

Replace the electoral college with Congress. There is to be one vote per congressional district and the two senate votes for whoever wins a state's vote. Nebraska currently has this system. The electoral roll call to be conducted by the newly sworn in Congress. Mind you, this would have taken the 2000 election and multiply it to district by district fight. Entertaining!

Redefinition of the District of Columba to be the area between Constitution and Independence Avenues (basically the National Mall) and all federal buildings within two blocks. Also the area from Lenfant Plaza to the White House. All residential portions of the former DC to be retrocessed to Maryland and defined as Columbia County. Maryland gains one House seat and former district residents eligible to vote in all Maryland elections.

A balanced budget amendment for all current expenditures and interest related to capital expenditures (roads, buildings, the occasional aircraft carrier, etc.) Any deficit carried over from the previous fiscal year to be covered 50/50 by an automatic increase in the income tax rates and a reduction in all benefits, including federal salaries and civil service pensions.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama's health care law is VIOLATING THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE


All illegal aliens should be required to buy health insurance, or face the penalties, as Americans do.


So, in Arizona, perhaps, their law can ask for PROOF OF HEALTH INSURANCE, just like every other American -


AND THROW THEM IN JAIL ON THAT BASIS.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

Its true


__________________________


Gun Control


A Chicago man is charged with beating his former landlord with the metal leg of a barbecue grill.

Tamous Willis, 25, left cuts and bruises on the 48-year-old man when they tangled at a home in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in August 2008, prosecutors said Saturday. After the fight, Willis, who works as a security guard, stole the man's wallet, authorities said.

Willis was arrested Friday in Evergreen Park and charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery. He was ordered held on $5,000 bail.

____________________________

Do we hear the democrats calling for "GRILL CONTROL" now ????


One point in their favor: I don't think Grills are covered under the 2nd Amendment.


I'm sending another check to the NRA, because if ONE OTHER PERSON HAD A GUN AT SAFEWAY, the killer would have been STOPPED before he got to 6 people.


That ONE EXTRA GUN probably would have SAVED the lives of the 4th, 5th and 6th person killed.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

WBg,

{...}
"So whether we like it or not, we are about to witness a real-life experiment in Right Wing governance."

Gov. Cuomo pledged to wipe out NYS $11B deficit in his term w/ no new taxes or fees.

Posted by: tao9 | January 16, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

WBg,

{...}
"So whether we like it or not, we are about to witness a real-life experiment in Right Wing governance."

Gov. Cuomo pledged to wipe out NYS $11B deficit in his term w/ no new taxes or fees.

Posted by: tao9 | January 16, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

He better get a very creative accountant because he won't have the stomach to do what it will take, even if the state let him which it won't. Texas and Louisiana? They are the real deal.

Kick-off!

Posted by: wbgonne | January 16, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps as "only Nixon could go to China" only Jerry Brown can break the CA Public-Sector Unions. We'll see.

Private-sector unions negotiate for workers vs. the Corporations.

Public-sector unions negotiate for workers vs the People

Posted by: TominColorado | January 16, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Tom, yes.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

37th - Please feel free to add me to your own personal troll hunter. Or if you do feel compelled to respond, try responding to a point in my post. Caothien was the fellow who mentioned gun control. I decided to bypass that issue as

I'm all ears (or, rather, eyes) if you have any thoughts about electoral college reform, retrocession of the residential portions of DC to Maryland, or a modified balanced budget amendment. Or, for that matter, any extra-constitutional suggestions you might have.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

""Look, I know you think my jokes are not funny, but when I am being facetious...""

I generally assume that your facetiousness is aimed at making a point. Did you have one here in this instance? If so, I don't see it, and you seem particularly reluctant to make it explicit.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 16, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm sending another check to the NRA, because if ONE OTHER PERSON HAD A GUN AT SAFEWAY, the killer would have been STOPPED before he got to 6 people.


That ONE EXTRA GUN probably would have SAVED the lives of the 4th, 5th and 6th person killed.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington


My apologies, when I said "It's true" - I was referring to something you said.

I did not clarify what I was referring to - it wasn't gun control.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

1) The Population of Mexico is about 107 Million PLUS about 50 Million Mexican citizens living in the United States.

2) When Reagan legalized the 3 million Mexicans in the 1980s, no one thought that would create an INCENTIVE for over 10 times as many to come here, all believing that another amnesty is on its way.

The way the democrats talk, amnesty is coming, creating even MORE INCENTIVE for people to evade our immigration laws.

_____________________

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

In the interest of a little levity today...did anyone else roll at SNL's opening last night. Bill Hader does a better James Carville than James Carville himself...and of course Kristen Witt is always terrific...sorry to link to the detested Huffpo...but I'm too lazy to got the NBC website for a link....

It is funny...enjoy if you haven't seen it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/16/snl-mocks-fox-news-civility_n_809644.html

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@RFR - Thanks for the response and my apologies. You segued to gun control and I assumed that was in response to me.

Heck, I'll embrace the call for civil conversation and move forward in that spirit. Heck, you clearly have a lot of time and occasionally come up with an agreeable thought. So, dukes down and a moratorium on any calls for timeouts. I do wish you'd cut back on the line count of your posts, but that's a Post IT issue. If a 99 line post is legal, why not do it?

The total population of persons who entered the US without a visa or overstayed a valid visa is about 30 million. I think Mexican citizens do make up a majority of the total, so we're talking about 15M-20M max.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

3) I will have a discussion about the District of Columbia -

Several issues should be discussed before various proposals.


The FIRST is that there are advantages to the people who live in DC - when the Freed slaves were looking for a place to live, the slave states of Virginia and Maryland were not that inviting.


The District offered more Civil Rights protections than the States.


>>> That situation lasted until at least the end of Jim Crow - DC was a haven.


So, it is only since the 1960s that the existence of DC has not been seen as such advantages.


4) I'd have to say, the residents of DC have more SAY in their government NOW than if they were just ONE county in Maryland - and having to travel to Annapolis.

ON ALL State and local issues, the residents of DC have MORE of a voice

The City Council almost functions like a State legislature.


5) Surely, why would the residents of DC prefer to be subject to all the campaign contributions and shenanigans that go on in Annapolis, when they can have their own circus at City Hall?


_______________________________

So, it is only the issue of the US Senate and House.

Honestly though, to the residents of the 50 States, how much influence does one have over those people? If you regularly give $500 or $1000 to the guy for his campaign, you can get a meeting and he will listen to you for 10 minutes -

Otherwise, an intern reads your letters and you get form letters in return.


_________________________


Right now, the residents of DC probably make out like bandits when it comes to taxes - Federal expenditures in DC and the region are enormous, and the opportunities for Federal jobs and pensions are all over the place.

Overall, DC residents do great.

The Federal government pays for all sorts of infrastructure and buildings - and investments - that would not otherwise be there.

In fact, without the Federal government, DC would probably be a rural area.


The bottom line is the people in DC moved there because it was DC - not for anything local -

AND they can move out anytime they want. If voting for a Congressman is so important to them, they can move DOWN THE ROAD, over the line, or OVER A BRIDGE and start to vote for the House and Senate.

They don't even have to leave their jobs - all they have to do is move a short distance.

But they dont - they stay where they are. It is a personal choice.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

rainforest rising,

you make a good point, dc residents should just move if they care so much about voting rights. I think we can extend the argument.

If conservatives don't like Obama, they can move a short distance to Canada.

But they dont- they stay where they are. It is a personal choice.

Posted by: savetherest | January 16, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

ON the Electoral College, I don't know. A long time ago, a Professor of mine pointed out that a recount would be isolated in one or two States, and that was an advantage.


I never thought much about that until Florida.

Moving to a Popular Vote would require any recount to be nation-wide, which is NOT a good idea.

The other aspect is the Potential for Corruption - in the cities, if it were Popular Votes - the cities could report whatever they wanted.

NOW, such corruption has limited effect - the State's electoral votes go one way or the other, and any additional votes from a City do not matter.


That is important.


Second, these Presidential elections have had Campaign Finance Reform - limiting the amount of money spent in each election. Obama did not participate last time.

That allows campaigns to run ads in a limited number of markets.


That is a good thing - otherwise, ads would be in ALL markets, and the NEED FOR MONEY would be so much greater, which would be a horrible thing.


The more money, the less the average People have control over the process.

___________________


I suppose there is weight to the argument that every Presidential election takes place in 8 - 10 swing states - and the electoral votes of the other states are pre-determined.

This reduces the impact of the votes of the people in the 40 States which do NOT get ads.

Well, those people really dont want the ads to begin with.

And, probably, the cities lose out relative to the swing states.

____________________________


I'm just not sure if any other system is that much better. All have pros and cons.


One must remember that the potential for 3 or 4 candidate elections is always there.

WE have 2 candidate elections BECAUSE of the Electoral College -

If third party candidates thought they had a chance, they would be in there, and the money would be there for them to make the runs.


I DO NOT think that the American People want Congress to make the decision - right now we have Congress as a tie-breaker for elections when no one gets a majority of the Electoral College.


Again, that doesn't happen because the parties have been built TO GET TO THE 50% OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE - that is their purpose.


Just a bunch of thoughts - Ill throw a few out later.

The parties will ADJUST to whatever the new rules are - one has to remember that.


I believe Campaign Finance Reform is PARAMOUNT to the system of votes - the MONEY flow is more important.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

rudkidding7 wrote,
"But here is where you are misreading us Brigade. Nobody is saying the 2nd Amendment FORBIDS gun ownership for individual defense anymore than we are saying it permits individuals to carry arms irresponsibly in public places."

And nobody is accusing you of saying the 2nd Amendment forbids gun ownership for individual defense. The point you're missing is that your right to keep and bear arms is irrespective of use. You say the amendment doesn't mention "the need for a citizen to protect himself"; it doesn't mention shooting pheasants and rabbits either---so what?

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

"I'm not trying to get folks to give up their guns, just saying we should register and control them at least as much as we do automobiles. Eg. If a gun is used in a crime..the serial # is traced to the owner and he/she is held accountable."

But some of your friends on the left would most certainly try "to get folks to give up their guns"---or rather have the government take them away. Mark_in-austin made a reasoned argument the other day on how much easier it would be to solve gun related crimes if there were a national database of registered firearms. I suggested in response that it would make crime solving in general easier if there were a national database containing everyone's fingerprints and DNA (note: I'm not advocating for one). Do you see any constitutional impediment to establishing such a database? You can always use the old liberal chestnut that the founding fathers could not possibly have forseen....
things like fingerprints and DNA.

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Scott, my point has been the same.

America's gun culture is out of control to our detriment. IMO, it has become something the framers of the Constitution would have abhorred. Nowadays, what they would have recognized as a well regulated militia would be our Sheriffs' deputies or the municipal police. All militias had a command structure, only the English called them a rabble. Don't bother disagreeing, I know you disagree.

No one has recourse to what they might have thought about Jared Loughner being unable to buy unlimited quantities of ammo until after 7am.

But we do know this, they were involving their personal experience of the details, the disasters, the triumphs and challenges of daily life in the construction of the Constitution. It isn't as if these people were ascetic philosophers in a cave near a mountaintop. Nowadays we build practical solutions to the problems the framers never dealt on a routine basis without amending the Constitution.

Heck, your right wing nut bar Clarence Thomas thinks the framers would have thought school officials should be able to search girls panties if they feel the need, that in order not to send a message about where to hide contraband in contravention of the local school boards' "zero tolerance" fantasies. I only wish I were being facetious on that point.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

More on personal gun use:

"Iowa on Jan. 1 became the 38th "shall issue" state, requiring county sheriffs to issue gun carry permits to any law-abiding applicant with narrow exceptions, rather than employ individual discretion.

"What are the carry rights on private property?
Hensyel invoked "no shoes, no shirt, no service" as comparison for carrying a gun into a private business. In Hensyel's view, if a sign has been posted on a store door, people can still carry a gun inside without breaking the law — if they comply when asked to leave.

"No-gun signs do not carry force of law in Iowa," he said.
Ross Loder, legislative liaison for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, termed this a "very challenging topic" when it comes to the law."

"He said that Iowa Code is silent on the issue beyond the standard parameters for trespassing.

"The prior law gave law enforcement officials the discretion to deny any permit for any reason. Under the new law, no one can be denied if he or she passes a background check and has completed the required training."

======================================

Note that under prior law, a county sheriff (read agent of government) could issue gun permits based on hunches, personal prejudices, or whatever (maybe a few bucks under the table?). Note also that the new law was passed by a Democratic controlled legislature and signed by a Democratic governor.

See, "narrow exceptions" are mentioned above. Reasonable people can discuss reasonable restrictions; unreasonable people (see cao9) deny that people even have a right to keep and bear arms in the absence of membership in a "well regulated" militia.

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

A Hybrid Electoral College


A hybrid Electoral College could be devised - which would award the Electoral Votes in each state based on proportion of electoral votes.

For instance - if a State had 10 Electoral votes, 10% of the vote would add up to one vote - 60% would be 6 Electoral votes and the other guy would get 4 Electoral votes.

_____________________


That system would shift ALL the battlegrounds around the nation - AND the larger states would get much more attention - because the increments for additional Electoral Votes would be smaller.


That means, perhaps campaigns would be fighting over an additional vote in Idaho, when not one party or the other believes they have the whole state locked up.


______________________


The other question is whether such a system would encourage a 3rd or 4th candidate to enter the race. If 10% of the vote yielded on Electoral Vote, then perhaps candidates would do it.


That would probably through more races to the House of Representatives.

IF that happened, we would be having a discussion on the relative merits of revising the system of voting in the House.


Anyway you do it, the campaigns would be gaming the system - and unintended consequences might emerge.

At least right now, everyone pretty much knows what is going to happen. 8-10 States are in play.


_______________________


I fully understand the idea the 8-10 States being the sole battleground as being unfair and really not a great idea.


However, that is the result of a winner-take-all system, the major advantage of which is to limit the opportunities for the 3rd and 4th candidates.

_____________


So, the truth of the matter is one has a choice - either what we have now OR one has elections with 3 or 4 candidates and someday the House is making the decision.


The House is going to vote according to their party - NOT according to the results of the election, OR the election results in their states.

Perhaps another tiebreaker procedure should be put in place.

______________________


Remember one thing - whatever the system - the MONEY is going to flow in the direction of the critical votes and those people are going to get slammed with ads and attention.

There is little way to avoid that - there are swing areas and there are non-swing areas in any system.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 wrote,
"IMO, it has become something the framers of the Constitution would have abhorred. Nowadays, what they would have recognized as a well regulated militia would be our Sheriffs' deputies or the municipal police."
------

That's pretty weak. How would the framers have reacted when someone found a constitutional right to an abortion hidden there in plain sight? What makes you think they would regard sheriffs' deputies and municipal police as our militia?

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

There is another potential problem -

They changed the terms of Congress and the President with the 20th Amendment, but the Electoral College is not specific


Before, with everyone taking office in March, it was clear the lame-duck Congress would be the tiebreaking body - NOW what?


Is it the lame-duck Congress OR the new Congress which comes in a few weeks before the new President???


Also, if there is a recount - that could push back the counting - which could cause a conflict between the new Congress and the lame-duck Congress.


_____________________


One point of note: After the Election of 1876, Congress passed a law concerning the Electoral College and disputes involving the States' electoral votes.

The PROBLEM: in 2000, they did NOT follow that procedure. The Courts got involved.

It is troubling -


Any system which increases the potential to throw the election to the House is bound to cause more trouble around the nation than it is worth.

Therefore, the winner-take-all system is probably wise

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Personal note: Ddawd, you have my email - tell me what's going on for you here.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 16, 2011 10:27 AM
---------

Here's what's going on with DDAWD:

---------

Screw that. He might not molest his daughter, but he's a terrible parent.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 16, 2011 1:26 AM

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"At some point it's becoming hard to feel for people who continually vote against their own best interests."


This was the point of the title of a book about Kansas


_________________________

Americans vote based on what they think is RIGHT.


There are more issues than just "economic self-interest"

Americans believe in right-and-wrong. The truth is the Republicans believe in certain principles which they believe are Right - and they vote that way.


The economics are just one part of the decision making process.

Republicans believe they are better off with lower taxes, and less government. They believe that creates ECONOMIC GROWTH and in the long-run they are better off with lower taxes.


A narrow analysis of one years splits of taxes and Federal distribution of the money - that does NOT tell the whole story. The KEY is how to achieve the most ECONOMIC GROWTH.


The bigger the pie, the better off everyone is - so growing the pie should be the objective.

The country gets one pie every year - and divides it.

The SPLIT of one pie one year is the not the whole story.

The WHOLE STORY is how big ALL the pies are.

If you limit the size of future pies - with policies that divide one year's pie - that makes little sense.


Case closed.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Let's completely ignore DC vs Heller for a bit, which ruled a 2A individual right and is overturning DC Chicago NYC etc restrictive gun laws...

I think the Democrats should stop pussy-footing around on gun control. Here, I'll "help": ;o)

"If a 10rd capacity is safer than a 30 then a 6 then 5 then 2 is even safer and Zero is the very safest of all."

"Government agents should have the exclusive monopoly on the application of deadly force in all situations."

Help me make it clear in all 50 states and every election that D = Gun Bans. Thanks!

Posted by: TominColorado | January 16, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

A Tucson mass shooting victim was taken into custody Saturday after yelling "you're dead" at a Tea Party spokesman during the taping of an ABC-TV town hall event hosted by Christianne Amanpour.

The Pima County Sheriff's Office said J. Eric Fuller, 63, was involuntarily committed to an undisclosed medical facility, NBC News reported. The Associated Press said he was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

He faces charges of threats and intimidation and disorderly conduct, according to Tucson TV station KGUN.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 16, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Someone wrote

"Government agents should have the exclusive monopoly on the application of deadly force in all situations."


______________________


Clearly, this was NOT the intent of the framers

To them, "government agents" meant Hessian soldiers - foreign mercenaries imported in to shoot and kill Americans.


Seriously folks, to the framers, "government" meant the British - and suppression.


The 2nd Amendment was CLEARLY written to provide the right to hold guns AGAINST the government.


_______________________


Right now, the people who get gun permits are NOT the problem. The problems are the ILLEGAL GUNS in the inner cities - which are used to shoot school children.


Gun control laws do NOTHING for that situation. The gangs still get their guns, and they aren't going to register them one way or the other.


LAWS then ONLY serve to restrict the law-abiding citizens, NOT THE GANGS.


_________________________


I stand by my earlier point : ONE MORE GUN AT THE SAFEWAY would have saved the lives of the 4th, 5th and 6th people would were killed.


We need MORE GUNS, EVEN IN ARIZONA.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"How would the framers have reacted when someone found a constitutional right to an abortion hidden there in plain sight?"

You are making my point. We are making it up as we go along. Dred Scott is exhibit A perhaps. Abortion is not in the Constitution, we just pretend it is. Every American having the right to assemble armories in their homes isn't in there either, we are just pretending it is.

There are lots and lots of laws we have that we want to derive from the Constitution, but which are just not there. If you think Jared Loughner had the right to amass wanton guns and ammo (he violated no laws), then why not automatic weapons, why not bombs? Who gets to decide? It is obvious, the voters.

The two party, winner take all political system has the SCOTUS veering all over the place. I noticed you did not touch Clarence Thomas' signature opinion. Again, for those who think it does not matter who is in the White House anymore, look at the Republican judicial oeuvre.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"the online entity that calls itself QB"

__________________


what is this, a Star Trek episode?


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

@RFR - The district does less well than you might think. Some bigwig comes to town and the District picks up the tab.

They also have to deal with meddling by Congress. I don't have an issue with the people of Alabama enacting laws against gay marriage. I might disagree with the law, but it is their state. I have a problem with a representative from Alabama telling the residents of DC what their laws should be. New York City has a commuter tax (I think it's 1% or so); DC is forbidden to do so. Now, DC benefits enormously from indirect expenditures. Absent the federal government, my guess is that it would resemble Baltimore.

Retrocession happened previously. Arlington and parts of Alexandria were once part of DC and were returned to Virginia. So, let's define a largely nonresidential federal district

Eleanor Holmes Norton would gain a vote in Congress and Ben Cardin and Barbara Murkowski would become all but invulnerable. We simply redefine the limits of the district. In truth, this wouldn't require a constitutional amendment, but would require agreement of the district, Congress, and the President.

BB

Thanks for the thoughts on budgeting. I'm

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@RFR - I don't think the timing works. There was someone on the scene who was carrying. By the time he got there, the gun had been wrestled away from the shooter and he might have shot one of the other folks.

The scenario of someone literally right there doesn't work. According to eyewitness accounts, the whole thing happened within 15 seconds. I don't see an untrained person reacting to the sound (2 seconds), getting cover, drawing weapon, aiming and getting off a round in that time frame. I'd happily welcome credible disagreement, but at best a second person would have been firing once the first clip ran out. While the gunman is being tackled.

There have simply been a number of incidents of this kind. Va. Tech. Ft. Hood. Exactly how long do we have to wait for all of these conceal and carry laws to have an effect? AZ is proof positive that there was NO deterrence effect whatsoever.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Shrink

The Dred Scott decision was quite remarkable - and to compare that decision to Roe is ridiculous.


The Dred Scott decision had to deal with several issue which presented themselves as a result of freed slaves.


The initial problem was this: they had children in Free States. Was that child free?

Believe it or not, it was legal for Southerners to bring their slaves north - so were those states really free???


Several other issues arose - for instance some local customs allowed slaves to save money and buy their freedom. However, if they were truly slaves, that money wasn't really theirs.

All these issues are good historical research - and these issues really gives one an idea of what was going on at the time.


_______________________________


Related to the DC discussion above - Alexandria, VA used to be a part of DC.

The issues came up because the Freed slaves were going to Alexandria - which had different laws than Virginia.


I read a few stories about what was going on in Alexandria - and what exactly prompted the movement to transfer Alexandria back to Virginia.


Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

mark-in-austin said:
"Bernie, you and QB1 are at your best when you are criticizing each other's debate points, not when you are characterizing each other. And each of you have done both, sometimes in the same exchange..."

I'm not sure specifically what exchange(s) you might be referring to as I almost never engage QB. Perhaps exchanges with Scott?

I appreciate your perspective and, in a theoretical sense, agree with it. But the reality is something like I suggested earlier this morning - how would you proceed in a "debate" with Ann Coulter? Because that is the model which pervades the discourse styles I bump into. With Scott this morning, the only thing I wrote which might be construed as personally-directed was to say that Scott was being purposefully obtuse thus dishonest. I happen to think that's a perfectly apt and accurate statement.

As to propaganda, I've never stated that anyone here was functioning as a propagandist. What I have said it that much of the media they attend to is properly described precisely that way and no other word suffices. That's not an uneducted nor frivolously assigned usage.

Further, there is, as Frum and many others have observed, a significant and dangerous level of epistemic closure evident in the modern right. Very few of these folks we are discussing read or attend to many information sources outside of their closed-loop system - thus the repetitive cliches, the near-identical positions and "arguments", etc.

These three factors make debate of the sort you and I would prefer to see and involve ourselfs in a near impossibility in most instances. That's just the state of affairs presently. Personally, I expect I'd like most of these people but that's quite a different matter.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 16, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

For those interested, here's a really interesting, smart and thoughtful piece on overconfidence with good notions on the evolutionary advantages along with the disadvantages particularly given the profound changes in our social and technological modern world. A great Woody Allen line from the piece...

http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/on_overconfidence/

Posted by: bernielatham | January 16, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

ruk, the SNL intro wasn't that good. "Kenny Rogers" with Paltrow was much better. Anderson Cooper was a good sport though.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 16, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Here's a wonderful example of the abuse of language (eg Orwell's Politics and the English Language)...

Tim Pawlenty raised taxes on cigarettes (damned fine idea, in my mind) but referred to it as a "health impact fee"

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/16/touting-his-government-shutdown-in-2005-pawlenty-says-gop-lawmakers-should-not-raise-the-debt-ceiling/

Posted by: bernielatham | January 16, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, reviewing some financial stuff:

Munibond auctions cratering, particularly last three days (remember that on bonds, price down = interest rate up):

T. Durden says "bidless"
http://www.zerohedge.com/article/timmuniber

M. Whiteney uses the d-word "defaults"
http://blogs.forbes.com/advisor/2011/01/14/muni-market-defaults-are-coming/?boxes=Homepagechannels

SEC guys may finally be satured with online pron, go to work and audit Munibond Prospectus for full disclosure.
http://www.zerohedge.com/article/sec-probing-disclosures-muni-bond-prospectuses
Wonder if any politicians sign these (like CEOs per SarBox) and would be liable to prosecution?


Posted by: TominColorado | January 16, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Wikileaks Whistleblower To Expose 2,000 High Net Worth Tax Evaders To The World: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/julius-baer-whistleblower-expose-2000-high-net-worth-tax-evaders-world
Says 40 politicians included.

Posted by: TominColorado | January 16, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""Very few of these folks we are discussing read or attend to many information sources outside of their closed-loop system...""

The only "folks" you were discussing were me and qb. And what do you know about the information sources I "attend to" apart from this very blog? Is it now your contention that Greg Sargent is a part of the conservative "closed-loop system"? Or, perhaps, are you just making stuff up again?

""Tim Pawlenty raised taxes on cigarettes (damned fine idea, in my mind) but referred to it as a "health impact fee" ""

Sounds positively progressive.

BTW, Bernie...you are aware of the demographic that suffers most from cigarette taxes, aren't you?

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 16, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 wrote,
"I noticed you did not touch Clarence Thomas' signature opinion."

====================================

You must recall: Thomas fills the seat formerly occupied by Thurgood Marshall. He's trying to live up to the example.

“you do what you think is right and let the law catch up,”---Thurgood Marshall

---

I quote Marshall because I figure anyone to his left is probably living in Vietnam or North Korea.

"Today's Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments."---Thurgood Marshall

Uh, like the second amendment?

"History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure."---Thurgood Marshall

Like the Tucson massacre????

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I believe what is now Arlington and Alexandria were retrocessed back to Virginia, because it needed a port. Wikipedia has an interesting discussion. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_retrocession] I wasn't aware that the exact proposal I had in mind has been proposed by a California congressman. It neatly sidesteps any issues of what is a state. Columbia County would simply be the third part of the DC triangle (including Montgomery and PG).

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that Justice Marshall had matters like the internment of Americans of Japanese ethnicity or possibly the Patriot Act in mind when he made his statement.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

I don't think the residents of DC are better off answering to Annapolis

As opposed to the current mixture of City Hall and Federal powers


That is the part of the equation that everyone seems to forget: they are just substituting the Feds for Annapolis.


So, all in all, DC residents have MORE SAY under the present system.


On an individual basis, the residents of DC have more job opportunities in DC than elsewhere.


Baltimore has a harbor - which brought in ships and industry.


Washington's harbor was pretty much over when the railroads came. There is little industry there. I don't believe a city would have emerged there. The area would have looked like rural Virginia or rural Maryland to this day. There is nothing else of economic value to draw people there.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

bernielatham wrote,
"Here's a wonderful example of the abuse of language (eg Orwell's Politics and the English Language)...

"Tim Pawlenty raised taxes on cigarettes (damned fine idea, in my mind) but referred to it as a 'health impact fee'"
----------

That's a goodie. My favorite is when Obama says the Healthcare "fine" is not a tax and then goes to court to argue that it's a tax.

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

People had time to react in order to overcome the Tuscon killer


So, I believe someone in half the amount of time could have gotten off a shot.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"BTW, Bernie...you are aware of the demographic that suffers most from cigarette taxes, aren't you?"

Haha, why is it you people only care about the lower class when it comes to their ability to poison themselves?

Posted by: DDAWD | January 16, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that Justice Marshall had matters like the internment of Americans of Japanese ethnicity or possibly the Patriot Act in mind when he made his statement.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 5:11 PM
--------

Projecting again? Tell me what you think he thought of the Patriot Act---keeping in mind that he'd been dead eight years when it became law. Internment of Japanese descendants? I figured he was thinking of the 15th amendment and others more specific to the plight of blacks. But good of you to point out that he didn't suggest that only some of the amendments still apply and only to some people.

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Haha, why is it you people only care about the lower class when it comes to their ability to poison themselves?

Posted by: DDAWD | January 16, 2011 5:20 PM
-------

Better to care about you once in awhile than not at all. How's the rehab going?

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

DC

Under that plan, DC would have to send State Representatives and Senators to Annapolis - and Maryland law would apply.

I believe on that part, DC is better off making its own laws on state-level issues.


DC right now handles all its own state-level powers. Under your plan, they would only handle the county-level powers.

_________________________


On taxation, all the DC income tax that now goes to the DC government would go to Maryland State. Maryland would have the power to tax DC residents.

Maryland sales tax would have to be paid in DC too.


So how would the DC government make-up the lost income tax and sales tax revenue? And that is just the beginning. You are talking about a massive transfer of taxing power and budgeting from Washington City Hall to Annapolis.

AND the people in Annapolis will then decide how much money DC gets in return.

DC residents will have to pay all those taxes to Annapolis - with just a little say in how those funds are spent.

_______________________


Under your plan, DC would be entitled to seats in the Maryland legislature equal to 9 percent.

So, this is the deal, DC sends ALL the money to Annapolis and gets 9% of the votes in return.


ALSO, how would the other residents of Maryland feel about another 9% of population and voting power being added to their State???


First, the Republicans who hope to somehow win State-wide office will find the task much, much more difficult.

In addition, whatever balance-of-power there exists in the legislature right now could be upset by the 9% going one way or the other.

____________________________

There is a great more to think about beyond the one Congressional seat, which would come from another State somehow, like Utah or was it calculated to be North Carolina this time?


Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Except for the final clause about petitioning Government, the essence of the First Amendment is not about the rights of people to bloviate, but rather the rights of people to hear all sides of arguments. Abridging free speech does not particularly hurt the speaker nearly as much as it potentially deprives his putative audience the ability to hear and evaluate his argument.

Thus the way men protect their failing discourse is to limit the ability of those who disagree with them in their ability to be heard or read. If you can drown out contradictory discourse, you can make your own ideas, no matter how deficient, seem cogent by the lack of opposition.

Equally, the ability to force your ideas into places they don't fit, as in demanding that religion get equal time to science in science class, so that you add unnecessary confusion to the development of scientific description affects the listener in that it makes following the development of an idea more difficult because of the noise being injected on top of the signal desired.

Debate may seem like two speakers talking past each other, but in fact the essence of debate is the hearers judging the effectiveness of the speakers, the cogency of their arguments, and the quality of their evidence. So when people intrude on debates with noise and irrelevancies, or with obnoxious behavior that drives away the audience, deliberately in order to protect the side of the discussion they approve, they violate the form and intent of the First Amendment, and they cause the deterioration of public discourse in the process.

And, from the point of view of those who might actually have things to propose for others to consider, when they drive away their audience by such unmannerly behavior they also destroy any mechanism they might otherwise have had to add to the discussion. It doesn't bother 37th that he is totally ignored by almost all of the readers who haven't outright blocked him, so he must not value his own thoughts enough to present them in a form in which they might actually get attention.

Yet it doesn't seem to register on posters here who are aware that they are on numerous peoples ignore list, and that therefor their missives are a waste of the narrow bandwidth and minuscule processor time it takes to post.

So, Trolls, and ranters, consider that were you more agreeable posters you might also be somewhat more likely to get a chance to advance your opinions than currently you give yourself.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Briggie - evidently you missed a crucial word "LIKE" in my statement. Grave threats to liberty (as some view aspects of the PA) in times of urgency (which 9/11 certainly engendered). By now, I hardly expect civil dialogue from you, but you could at least read the words that you quote.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"The hard-core GOP governors like Chirsitie, Perry and Jindahl absolutely refuse to raise taxes which means that their state budgets will be slashed to the bone. In case anyone misunderstands, slashing state budgets means increasing unemployment by laying off state workers and cutting essential services like education and health and public safety. So whether we like it or not, we are about to witness a real-life experiment in Right Wing governance. Posted by: wbgonne"

Most got to the bone in the previous administrations, and are now looking at radical amputations and more radical surgeries that remove large parts of vital organs in the hopes that what is left will prove just sufficient to retain life.

Thus it will be fun to watch John Kasich continue his hell bent run at bankrupting Ohio, because every bit of fat and some significant chunks of muscle went away clear back under Taft and his predecessors.

The Fix ought to come up with a betting line on which state will be next for a republican Governor and or a Republican legislature to have to swallow its pride and eat its campaign promises and come up with income enhancements sufficient to cover the worst of the naked deficiencies in their state's budgets.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

@RFR - In talking with friends, District residents are rather resentful of the current situation. Mind you, the desire there is for statehood, which will never happen. I'm curious as to what would be the result of a referendum.

As for loss of control, both Montgomery County and Prince George's County have their own elected governments. A key distinction with the current situation is that Columbia County would have (taking your numbers) roughly 9% representation in Maryland. They currently have 0% representation in Congress.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

ON your DC proposal your link brings up two important points.

1) Maryland might not want DC back. How much would it cost? What about all the social programs which go through the State?


2) One apparent advantage to your proposal is that it would only require Congress and Annapolis to agree (plus maybe a referendum) - the idea is there is no Constitutional Amendment.

However the Constitution gives the District 3 Electoral Votes - so technically, the homeless people in the area could claim the right to elect 3 Electors and vote for President that way.

That would be a sight -

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

""...most of us believe those are the wonks on her team."
But seriously, the word inside the beltway is that there are no such wonks. She never created a political organization. Not that it was as amateurish as O'Donnell or Angle, but I remember reading some credible source recently declaiming the idea of a Palin insider, that there is no such person. Apparently, this is a one woman business, the hired help are for technical purposes (scheduling, production); there is said to be only one strategist, the one who relies on her political 'instinct', an unfortunate use of that word. Posted by: shrink2 "

Sarah may not have created a political organization, but the political organization that created Sarah is still there and working for her. THEY are capable of faking Sarah on factoid media.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Greg, while you are working on improvements to the PL, have IT find a way to give us a tracking marker so we can return to the point where we were reading when we found ourselves inspired to comment.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline at 5:36 PM

Honestly,


I read the comments of the liberals because I want to hear what they are saying.

If someone wants to close off their mind, whether they read me or not really doesn't make a difference, does it???

________________________


The point here is that the Obama paid trolls are purposely HARASSING AND MOCKING PEOPLE.

You speak as those the Obama paid trolls are the "voice of everyone on the internet" -

And anyone who voices opinions against the Obama paid trolls are somehow criminals -

OR at least those people should have their First Amendment rights taken away.

If those people people can not be INTIMIDATED INTO SILENCE with False Charges of Racism, then the Obama paid trolls create an astro-turfed campaign to create the (false) impression that no one is reading.


___________________


Again, the Obama paid trolls are the problem


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"I will answer, Scott. Prohibitng private ownership of most guns. A great law. Posted by: caothien9"

How about prohibiting hate groups masquerading as religions, as well as mercenary predators using religious fronts for tax purposes?

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

@TominColorado - Thanks! I had not seen the wikileaks story re Swiss banks. From the Guardian...

"Along with the City of London and Wall Street, Switzerland is a fortress of banking and financial services, but famously secretive and expert in the concealment of wealth from all over the world for tax evasion and other extra-legal purposes.
Elmer says he is releasing the information "in order to educate society". The list includes "high net worth individuals", multinational conglomerates and financial institutions – hedge funds". They are said to be "using secrecy as a screen to hide behind in order to avoid paying tax". They come from the US, Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia – "from all over".
Clients include "business people, politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates – from both sides of the Atlantic". Elmer says: "Well-known pillars of society will hold investment portfolios and may include houses, trading companies, artwork, yachts, jewellery, horses, and so on."
"What I am objecting to is not one particular bank, but a system of structures," he told the Observer. "I have worked for major banks other than Julius Baer, and the one thing on which I am absolutely clear is that the banks know, and the big boys know, that money is being secreted away for tax-evasion purposes, and other things such as money-laundering – although these cases involve tax evasion."

http://m.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/16/swiss-whistleblower-rudolf-elmer-banks?cat=media&type=article

And as the writer at Tom's link says...

"expect all hell to break loose as photos of Assange having a underage orgy with Al Qaeda members are suddenly made public"

Posted by: bernielatham | January 16, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"Shrink, do you want our FP based on ethics, or on our domestic safety, or on some mix of both? Posted by: mark_in_austin

And why can't our FP be based upon both? Who is to say that a properly moral Foreign Policy is in any way antithetical to a Foreign Policy that fully protects our domestic security?

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

The 9% voting power that DC would have under your proposal would be in Annapolis - for STATE-level issues

Currently, the Washington City Hall handles STATE-level issues and DC residents have 100% control over that budget and those laws.

You are proposing that DC resident LOSE ALL CONTROL, except for county-level powers.

I'm just saying.

DC pays income tax - and it stays in DC. Why should those taxes go to Annapolis - and then HOPE their 9% brings all that money back.

_________________________________


Your link brought up some good issues with Alexandria.

Reading up on the return of that area would be useful.

Interesting that Alexandria County, which I guess is now Arlington, voted NO, and the Virginia legislature was reluctant to take that area back.

_______________________


The issue of slavery was important. People in Alexandria did not want to be tied to the potential compromises in Congress over slavery.

Curious - there were anti-slavery and pro-slavery forces WITHIN Virginia.

The pro-slavery forces saw the addition of Alexandria to Virgina as two additional pro-slavery votes to the Virginia legislature.

Remember, at the time West Virginia was still a part of Virginia - and all those issues were playing out.


ON infrastructure, Alexandria saw the return as a way to help infrastructure improvements.

In this case, it is difficult to see Washington seeing Maryland improving the infrastructure in DC.

_______________________________

I really dont believe that ANY problems in DC would be solved by having Annapolis take over ANYTHING.

The people of DC want their own government - and they want two Senators and a Congressman.


The problem is those would all be democrats - so I would imagine that at some point in the future the two parties might see some balance in those votes - and that would make this whole thing more acceptable.

Right now, unless the Republicans can be compensated with two additional Senators somewhere else (like adding another state somewhere) it does not look very likely.


Already, they added 3 Electoral Votes for DC

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

How about prohibiting hate groups masquerading as religions

__________________________


You ARE talking about Rev. Wright's church, right?

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

The only way it will happen is if they add two Senators and a Congressman.

I heard perhaps 10 years ago, the area of Northern California (north of San Francisco) wanted to break off and form a new State.


Let's just discuss that as an example - if that situation developed, or some other - in which the Republicans would stand to pick up two Republican Senators -

Then, perhaps two democratic Senators from DC could be added as a part of a package.

______________________


To be honest, having three more people from DC raising money and not listening to anyone except for lobbyists and fundraisers - that doesn't help anyone but those 3 people.

It is 3 more salaries for 3 more people, and this is about it.


Congressmen and Senators take care of their own re-election first, their money people second, the lobbyists third - and well, the people are thought about when the attack ads are draw up.

That is about it - DC will have more attack ads on tv.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline writes:

How about prohibiting hate groups masquerading as religions

_________________


Sure sounds like Rev. Wright's Church to me.


What about Obama's friend Farahkan??? Outlaw his church????

I wonder how many guns and weapons they have at their "church"

_________________________


First Amendment

Have any of you listened to the Ed Show lately? Extreme use of violent metaphors.


Im sure that under the new laws which the democrats are talking about this week, Rachel Maddow would be thrown in jail for a few decades.


It all goes both ways - and Im sure the liberals wouldn't want to have the Republicans throw them in jail on the basis of the proposals we have heard this week.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Scott said: "The only "folks" you were discussing were me and qb"

Oh, for goodness sakes. Go back and read again. But no, neither of you are as bad as it gets. And the chili I had last night at Joe's is not as bad as chili gets.

As to the 'it's poor people who buy cigarettes' comment, don't know what to say to the sort of twisted premises that necessarily underlie protesting taxes on a product that causes illness and death.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 16, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@cefyline

"So, Trolls, and ranters, consider that were you more agreeable posters you might also be somewhat more likely to get a chance to advance your opinions than currently you give yourself."

Great post Cefy. You think the FACT that you just pointed out would be self evident...reading many of the posts here however it has obviously eluded some of our friends. Kudos to you for having the kindness to remind them of this simple truth.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

Im just trying to think of proposals that would fly in Annapolis.


What if they combine Washington and Baltimore in one State - and release the other parts of Maryland to live on its own.


That would make Maryland overall more competitive - and the Republicans would like that.

The new State with Washington-Baltimore would be democratic.

However, the other parts of Maryland would not feel swamped by the budget demands and votes of DC.


Anyway - there would have to be some package deal drawn up in order to balance out the interests of the parties.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

How about prohibiting hate groups masquerading as religions, as well as mercenary predators using religious fronts for tax purposes?

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 6:00 PM
-------

We're trying to do that, but then people accuse us of discriminating against Muslims.

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Agreeable isn't an issue. Neither is trying to advance opinion. Coarse grit sandpaper rubbed across the grain of every discussion, abrasive to what end?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising, just as you don't get paid to post here, I doubt that anyone else (besides Greg) gets paid to post here.

ceflyinline, no one here can "violate the form and intent of the First Amendment" unless that person is employed directly by the government, is also breaking rules set forth under the Hatch Act, or is otherwise a "State actor". Which of those allegations are YOU making?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 16, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

cefyline

I would love to see your comments outside the light of some of the nasty comments you have made in the past.

_________________


Too many people on this blog would like to burn the First Amendment.


I view False Charges of Racism as Intimidation politics - designed into silencing political opposition.

It is the stuff of third world dictatorships - and has no place in America.

______________________

My sense is the democrats LOVE to get nasty when they see an advantage. The democrats LOVE to throw out the False Charges of Racism when they see an advantage.

________________________


ONLY After a 5 day smear campaign in which the democrats sought political advantage in a mass murder, do the democrats call for civility.


ONLY now, when the democrats' smear campaign failed, do they want to talk nice.

ONLY when the democrats see an advantage in talking nice, do they want to talk nice.


It all lacks all sincerity.

It lacks every bit of genuine honesty.

The MINUTE that Obama and his people see an advantage in ATTACKS, they will be right there, emailing their talking points, and directing their people to attack again.


Sorry, but it is the liberals who are dragging this nation down.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Briggie - evidently you missed a crucial word "LIKE" in my statement. Grave threats to liberty (as some view aspects of the PA) in times of urgency (which 9/11 certainly engendered). By now, I hardly expect civil dialogue from you, but you could at least read the words that you quote.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 5:40 PM
--------

So when someone takes issue with one of your screeds, it's not civil? I was quoting Marshall; you were reading his mind. He was certainly far from one of my favorite jurists, but are you suggesting he was a hypocrite?

You seem able to recognize what you perceived as threats to liberty in the Patriot Act, which was drafted in response to 9/11, but you've evidently been oblivious to all the chatter about the second amendment in the wake of the Tucson shooting.

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Hi RU!

I forgot to catch you up on the hockey thing the other day, here's where I stand:

http://southcarolina1670.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/bobbyorrgoal.jpg

I miss BGinCHI too and hope he's doing good.

4th qrtr...

Posted by: tao9 | January 16, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

@clawrence

Since my return after a two month absence I've noticed your posts have improved markedly since my last time here.

You and I probably disagree on most issues...and especially about
"Sister Sarah" :-) but your posts are at least thought out and no longer simply right wing talking points. My compliments to you Clawrence.

BTW hope you and your family enjoyed that Ducks-Blue Jacket game last weekend.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

"Who is to say that a properly moral Foreign Policy is in any way antithetical to a Foreign Policy that fully protects our domestic security?"

One of my two bumper stickers says, **|hi:Fight Terror with Justice|**. The other one (apart from an English Setter stencil, just so people know the whole picture) says UNICEF.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12 in reply to your comment at 6:45 PM

In 2008, the Obama set up an internet operation on Michigan Ave in Chicago - they had paid bloggers employed in shifts - at times they had two or three bloggers watching every comment on the Fix.

As the campaign went on, the Obama campaign found itself with more and more money. The internet operation was expanded until they had over 100 paid bloggers.


After the campaign, some of these people went to the DNC and some to Organizing for America. I have heard that several other democratic groups have blogging operations too.

There are several interest groups in Washington who are doing the same thing - some assign their staff to blog as a part of their duties which include other things.

________________


Over the past two years, Organizing for America has fallen into some disorganization - however that operation will soon morp into the re-elect campaign - back to Chicago.

______________


There is little reason to believe that Ethan is not a paid blogger - he mindlessly posts he democratic talking points on a daily basis.

His limited discussion engagement is pretty much a cheerleader-style.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

@ceflyline - Once again, it's a great pleasure to have you here. Your comments above on the intent of the First Ammendment and how that intent and functional value can be twarted by certain sorts of speech acts is smart, cogent and gracefully stated. Well done.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 16, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12 in reply to your comment at 6:45 PM


ON the Fix, there were way too many people dropping too much personal information about themselves.

The Obama campaign had "demographic profiles" which they had each blogger adopt.

They all pretended to be people from different parts of the country - of all ages.

The idea was to create the FALSE IMPRESSION of widespread white support for Obama all over the nation - not only support - but these people were going on the internet and fighting for Obama in shifts everyday (?)

It just doesn't work that way. A supporter does not talk that way.

And they certainly do not go on a blog and say that they "are a homemaker from Ohio, and I just love Obama." They kept on identifying themselves - as if there was some pre-determined set of demographics they were supposed to cover.

They were DNC people in Chicago paid by the Obama campaign or by the DNC.

____________________


Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline posted:

"Who is to say that a properly moral Foreign Policy is in any way antithetical to a Foreign Policy that fully protects our domestic security?"

I think that fully protecting our domestic security has required amoral trade-offs, so I will give you examples to see if we are talking past one another or if I actually understand your question.

Joseph Stalin was a mass murderer and a brutal dictator. We treated him as an ally against Hitler because the enemy of our enemy was our "friend".

When Truman correctly identified the Soviet Union as a threat to peace, we drew lines where we could, e.g., in Greece and Berlin. But no Cold War president tried to "liberate" eastern Europe. That was beyond our capacity, although it was greatly desired by Poles, Czechs, and Hungarians, at least.

We built alliances against the Soviet Union based not upon the freedom of our allies but upon their strategic location.

Do we have a role to play if the Turks oppress their Kurds?

Do we have a moral obligation to build something in Somalia?

Do we speak out against injustice to women in other cultures or is the moral response to stay out of it? If it is to speak out, are we required to go further?

Do we seek the end of repressive regimes in the oil producing countries of the Middle East, or do we light our homes and run our cars?

I think every decision requires balancing, and where we do not have the force to make an ethical decision stick, if we are ethical we will bide our time and build our force, be it diplomatic, or moral, or military.

Brigade thought LeMay had the answer for VN; I thought Gavin did. the antiwar folks thought they did. Moral? national security?

Wolfowitz actually thought from his time in the Philippines that Saddam was analogous to Marcos and the Iraqi middle class was enlightened and would rejoice in his overthrow and create a democracy in the heart of the Middle East, a stable thriving one. I read his stuff, I thought he was wrong, but he was the Hopkins FP prof and world diplomat and I was a lawyer in TX. His was an ethical, Wilsonian, and neoconservative, position. Others bought into it for their own reasons - that seems very clear now. Blair wanted his Navy and AF out of there and only Saddam's overthrow seemed the way out for him. Cheney though a stable Iraq meant a stable oil supply. There were so many different agendas that no possible ethics lesson could be drawn. But I am pretty clear that Wolfie was a pie-in-the-sky moralist.

I do not know how to make this stuff simple.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 16, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Bernie

Before you take your lips off of cefyline backside, perhaps you and cefyline should consult Ezra Klein on what he thinks about the First Amendment.

The First Amendment is over 100 years old now, so Ezra appears to think we should just throw it away.


__


The liberals should be careful now - because whatever they propose applies equally to them - and the Republicans are surely taking power and will be the ones deciding if their speech is within the acceptable bounds.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

ruk, we enjoyed it but $80 per ticket was a bit steep.

RainForestRising, just as you don't get paid to post here, I doubt that anyone else (besides Greg) gets paid to post here.

ceflyinline, I understand your frustration. But I post personal information here so, using your theory, I am paid too? As long as no one here "violates the form and intent of the First Amendment" (i.e. that person is employed directly by the government, is also breaking rules set forth under the Hatch Act, or is otherwise a "State actor") that is fine by me.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 16, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

@tao

The greatest leap in all of hockey history by the greatest player. Too bad his wheels went bad and we were cheated out of seeing him for a lot longer. And speaking of great Bruin defensemen where does Bourque rank in your pantheon? IMO Orr was more exciting..thrilling at times but Bourque..due to his longevity has a truly impressive body of work...even if he did have to go to Colorado to get his Stanley Cup.

I should have realized..I'd forgotten about your bean town connection. BTW My deepest sympathies for the Pats...I'm not particularly a Pats fan...I'm a Bucs supporter but I was rooting for you guys tonight.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Mark writes

Do we have a role to play if the Turks oppress their Kurds?

Do we have a moral obligation to build something in Somalia?

Do we speak out against injustice to women in other cultures or is the moral response to stay out of it? If it is to speak out, are we required to go further?

Do we seek the end of repressive regimes in the oil producing countries of the Middle East, or do we light our homes and run our cars?

_______________________


The United States rarely takes stands on issues like these - for the most part, if there are any statements on topics like these, they are never never backed up by much.

The foreign policy has certain objectives - and we rarely act on issues like these.

The Congress rarely - beyond some soon-forgotten hearings - deals with issues like these.


The President usually is pre-occupied with other more important issues - in order to be able to focus US power to influence other countries.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin,
"Brigade thought LeMay had the answer for VN; I thought Gavin did. the antiwar folks thought they did. Moral? national security?"
-------

To be clear, I never agreed with our involvement in Vietnam. I never considered the fate of a corrupt government in South Vietnam a danger to the U.S. However, once the commitment had been made, we should have implemented what has now become known as the Powell doctrine: go in with overwhelming force, kick the crap out of your enemy (by any means necessary), achieve your goals (whatever they may be) as quickly as possible and then get the hell out.

We left 55,000 dead Americans and who knows how many others maimed for life just so we could pack up and leave having accomplished...what? If we wanted to defeat North Vietnam, then yes, we should have followed LeMay's advice. Otherwise we shouldn't have been there in the first place. Don't want to offend others in the region? Afraid the conflict might escalate? Then don't send young men into war.

Posted by: Brigade | January 16, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

mia: You can't make it simple, but you can make it immoral by making it seem simple.

Wolfowitz may claim that he thought what he was talking Bush into was moral, but he chose his course of action and then tried to make it look justified. Had Bush's advisors payed any attention to morality they most certainly have told the truth about Saddam, and we would not have invaded in such a hurry that we lacked proper in theater reserves to secure Iraq's main ammunition depot.

Morality and convenience rarely coincide.

That we said Friend to Stalin and shipped him weapons was neither moral nor amoral. Stalin was a monster, but the red Army was not particularly Stalinist, and the Stalinist elements were likely to arrest a Solzenisten and send him to hard labor in spite of the war as because of it. We DID try to bend Joe to reasonableness. That we failed is on Joe's soul, not Stimson's.

Our response to Stalin's acquisition of nukes, building to MAD, had the undesirable side effect of insuring that the Warsaw pact kept Eastern Europe subservient to the Politburo because while we might expect that all those nukes were aimed at us, eastern Europe knew full well that enough were aimed at them that they dared not risk being targeted. NATO might expect that we would respond with nukes were they to be attacked, but the Hungarians could not.

And I will never justify John Foster Dulles and his brother with the term moral, for they never cared about the morality of their actions, only the efficacy.

But of the cases you propose, there was never (excepting Ike) a clear opposition of morals and security, but rather a balance of the possible and the impossible, and morality does not apply to impossibilities.
WE SHOULD HAVE been more morally aware throughout the cold war, and had we been more morally aware we might have done a better job. But it wasn't until Reagan and his deliberately immoral and illegal behavior in support of the Right's friends in places like Nicaragua that morals and "security" were placed in opposition and "Security" was allowed to win. And it wasn't until GWB decided that he might declare whatever he felt like doing to be good for that "security" that we sought immoral solutions to non problems and declared them acceptable. And there, without doubt, our choice of immorality as a basis for foreign policy severly and persistently impeded and reduced our domestic security.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

@mark in austin....

All great questions? May I suggest a terrific read on FP by a former Military officer named Andrew J. Bacevich. He's now a professor of history and international relations at Boston University.

His book is "Washington Rules..America's Path to Permanent War." It is the best book on FP I have read. Great analysis about our FP failures after WWII. Curtis Lemay was one of the people who hosed us along with Allen Dulles and the CIA. They went completely off the rails after the War and were largely held unaccountable for their actions. They operated in secret and if anybody...President..Senator..Congressman or pundit dared to question their unchecked autonomy or budgets it was considered as serious breach of national security. There was nobody guarding the henhouse from these two egomaniacal power hungry men. And of course they had the powerful economic interests of the M.I.C. totally perverting ratinal FP decisions.

Cheney and Halliburton's huge windfall from Iraq, I'm sure that's not Dick's motivation for egging us into war...but geesh can anyone besides me see that as a conflict of interest in the decision making process. Really! Cheney was just repeating a well worn lesson that has existed since the 1950's.

American Rules...a great book.

The book provides some wonderful answers to the questions you pose Mark.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

ruk, VP Cheney divested himself of Haliburton stock and set up a blind trust to avoid exactly the conflict of interest allegations you raise:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/16/politics/main1620802.shtml

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 16, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

All these Obama tax increases - all drags on the Economy - a sample is below

PLUS we still don't know how much the 50 States have to RAISE taxes to cover their parts of health care

PLUS we still don't know how much health insurance rates are going to go up - as health insurers slowly realize how much Obama's plan is going to COST - all that gets PASSED ON TO WHOEVER EMPLOYS YOU.


PARTIAL list of Obama taxes


Raise "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI($15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI; it is waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only.

Tax on Indoor Tanning Services($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons

Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D($4.5 bil/Jan 2013)

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike($0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services

Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals(Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS

Tax on Innovator Drug Companies($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year.

Tax on Health Insurers($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. The stipulation phases in gradually until 2018, and is fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives($0.6 bil/Jan 2013)

Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2(Min$/Jan 2011): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns.

Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting($17.1 bil/Jan 2012): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers

“Black liquor” tax hike(Tax hike of $23.6 billion). This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel.

Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”(Tax hike of $4.5 billion). This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

"Brigade thought LeMay had the answer for VN; I thought Gavin did. the antiwar folks thought they did. Moral? national security? Posted by: mark_in_austin |"

Pergaps because my introduction to thinking about the Viet nam War was reading "Deliver Us From Evil" in the early sixties, followed by "Give Us This Day" and "The Night They Burned the Mountain", I had no particular reason to believe that our entry into conflict in Viet Nam was in any way immoral. The fact that the Governments of Viet Nam were always in ways corrupt was immaterial, because ALL governments have corrupt elements.

We got into Viet Nam because it was fully apparent that the Lao Dong Party was perfectly intent on giving the South what they had already given the North. The treatment of Northern refugees seeking to move to the South because they didn't want to be under the lao Dong Party was sufficiently immoral as to deprive Ho and his associates of any moral claim to the South. To stand against such inhumanity, remembering the inhumanity of the Nazis, and of Stalin, and of Kim Il Song was certainly a moral act. To undertake Stability Operations, as defined at the time as operations designed to permit a nation to grow out of the traditional local phase of government to the national and democratic state, was quite morally reasoned.

To continue the policies of a previous administration, as JFK found himself doing with Ike's vaguely thought out principle of standing with Democracies under threat from tyrannies was certainly not per se immoral, and from a civil consideration ethically the better thing to do, compared to simply dumping such involvement because your predecessor got you into someplace you might not personally have gone.

The Prosecution of the war was not always as well considered as it might have been, and there were policies pursued that most certainly could not be morally justified, but in main it was an attempt to deal with real problems and real moral threat to our allies. That it was not all as moral as it could have been was part of the nature of men, and not part of the philosophical underpinning of our strategy and tactics.

The fact that as of 20 Jan 1969 we had achieved a state where patience and persistence might have achieved the intended result, the stable existence of an maturing Democracy suggests that in fact the Viet Nam War was as moral as the second World War.

To debate further I have to start over.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

The Obama tax increase are STAGGERING


Accountants all over the country are having seminars - some are getting together in hotel banquet rooms early in the morning - AND they still haven't sorted it all out yet.

The sliding scales that small businesses have to operate within are confusing - and make no sense.


The Accountants STILL don't have a handle on all this compliance.

The thing is this: businesses have to plan, they need to make budgets - they can't HIRE with so much uncertainty.


Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Im glad we are talking about Vietnam and whatever foreign policy


When 15 Million Americans are not going to go to work this week.

Sure, Obama is STILL standing in the way of economic recovery - wasting stimulus money - and insisting on the Obama taxes which place a DRAG on hiring.


The democrats want things their way - and then they somehow come up with the position that it is inappropriate for anyone else to say anything further.

We have to get RID OF OBAMA in order to get the Economy going again.


Obama's stimulus plan did NOT work.

Obama's taxes and health care plan are making the ECONOMY WORSE.


Here is another one:

Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax($86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes:
First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed 1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed

______________________________


How many liberals KNEW this was in Obama's bill???


How many journo-list writers included that one in????


The HORRIBLE thing about this is that these taxes were NOT properly debated - Obama's people NEVER properly notified the country of all the provisions in his 2,000 page bill.


Obama himself joked there were "hundreds of secret provisions."


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse

""Brigade thought LeMay had the answer for VN; I thought Gavin did. the antiwar folks thought they did. Moral? national security? Posted by: mark_in_austin |""

From the beginning of the American Commitment in Viet Nam retired American Generals regularly offered their own thoughts of how to deal with Viet Nam and of those offered leMay's were the worst and gavin's were nearly as bad.

In a stability ops scenario it is necessary for an outside power to provide a protective force that can keep small and totalitarian forces from interrupting the growth of the indigenous peoples political acumen through planned economies and dictatorships to an understanding of the nature of democracy and the place of individuals in it. In that scenario we have to be the ally of whomever governs under whatever pretense to legitimacy, as long as that government isn't permitted to lock its warped version of good government on its people.

Thus we permitted coups we could have aborted, until we got the final Constitution and the Public civilianizing of the South's Government.

The corollary to that scenario was that the way to achieve our ends was to drive the VC and the NVA out into the jungle, where they might choose between coming in and eing part of the governing process, thereby being coopted, or staying out in the jungle and rotting, and thereby having no part in the Democratizing of the country.

By the end of TET Counter Offensive Phase III we had achieved that state. TET had decimated the VC, and in fact they had been either disbanded or had been pulled back into rear base areas and ignored by the NVA. And the NVA was on the defensive and withdrawing from forward areas where they might have effected the war. But to keep them there until the North ran out of ability to maintain them would have required ten more years of activity of the level and intensity of 1969, and would have required three more full divisions to block the Ho Chi Minh trail across Laos.

LBJ wouldn't impose that condition on Nixon, and Nixon was totally unwilling to make that commitment on his own.

My personal view was that LBJ was right and Nixon was dead wrong.

But LeMay's answer, carpet bomb the north back to the stone age was flatly immoral, and Gavin's approach, withdraw to enclaves and watch what happens was flatly fatuous.

Westmoreland had almost the right strategy and tactics, and Abrams adjusted them until he had a winning formula.

But neither could get the support of media who had declared themselves the competent judge of a military situation they simply couldn't be bothered to understand.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 16, 2011 8:25 PM | Report abuse

@clawrence

"ruk, VP Cheney divested himself of Haliburton stock and set up a blind trust to avoid exactly the conflict of interest allegations you raise:"

A blind trust. LMAO clawrence are you familiar with the Sunshine Skyway Bridge?
It's a beautiful structure especially when it's lit up at night. It crosses Tampa Bay and connects St. Petersburg to Manatee County and Bradenton.

It was just repainted and I swear Clawrence I can get you a great deal on some stock in the bridge. Wouldn't you love to own part of a beautiful bridge? :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of 1969 (and what the First Amendment really protects) Watts v. U.S. held that the Constitution protects even the statement "If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J."

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 16, 2011 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I thank ruk for the book recommendation - I intend to read it soon. Brigade, I was of a mind to believe we were doing the right thing in VN, much as Ceflynine describes his journey at the time. About 1969, I began to lose faith in the effort. I read all of Fall's books that year.

I began reading Wolfie's articles in 1989 and I am convinced he thought overthrowing Saddam was a great good that would have unalloyed support of the Iraqi people. Not only did I disagree then, my opinion was bolstered by the folks I still think of as wise FP types, Baker and Scowcroft, who thought Wolfie was a bit nuts.

ceflynline, I like the construct that when balancing the possible against the impossible the possible must win, regardless. My desire for developing wind energy, nuke power, etc. is fueled more by my distaste for a FP twisted by the Middle East then by any other single consideration. I would like for us to have more possibilities, in part so that we can make ethically defensible decisions.

Thanks, all, for engaging. I will continue reading.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 16, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

"Is Lockheed Martin Shadowing You?
How a Giant Weapons Maker Became the New Big Brother
By William D. Hartung

Have you noticed that Lockheed Martin, the giant weapons corporation, is shadowing you? No? Then you haven’t been paying much attention. Let me put it this way: If you have a life, Lockheed Martin is likely a part of it.

True, Lockheed Martin doesn’t actually run the U.S. government, but sometimes it seems as if it might as well. After all, it received $36 billion in government contracts in 2008 alone, more than any company in history. It now does work for more than two dozen government agencies from the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s involved in surveillance and information processing for the CIA, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon, the Census Bureau, and the Postal Service...."

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175339/tomgram:_william_hartung,_lockheed_martin's_shadow_government/

Posted by: bernielatham | January 16, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

"...my distaste for a FP twisted by the Middle East..."

What does twisted mean?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 16, 2011 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I am still blown away with some of the history today.

The Packers and the Bears have NEVER played in a Championship game.

Rivals for decades, NEVER in a championship game. And they will play the NFC title game next week.


Interesting notes - ON the day the Japanese bombed us at Pearl Harbor, the Bears played the Chicago Cardinals - the Bears came back from 14-0 deficit to win the game.

That come-back created a tie with the Packers for the division - in those days there were no tie-breaking procedures - instead they played a tiebreaking game.


They don't do that anymore.


The Bears played the Packers one week after Pearl Harbor - the only time the two teams have played each other in the post-season. And it was a tie-breaker game, not a scheduled playoff game.


The game was at Wrigley Field, which many people may not believe.


The Bears won - but it reminds me of the football games played after the first Iraq war - and after 9/11.


For me, the most memorable football game and 9/11 was actually the night before - the last night that any of us would have before 9/11 hit.


The Giants were playing a Monday night game and my friends and I went to a bar to watch the game and have a few.

A few days later, we went back to the same bar - there was a guy there with his head on the bar and everyone was buying him drinks. His wife was killed.


I cursed Bill Clinton that night - because I knew he pulled our intelligence assets out of the Middle East all during the 90s.

Ever since the Church hearings, the liberals always thought the CIA was doing nothing but horrible things around the world, and the liberals wanted to cut the CIA budget and pull them back from around the world.

That is EXACTLY what Bill Clinton did - and we were basically blind in the Middle East from an intelligence point of view.


IN 1991, the Giants had a great playoff run while we were going to war in Iraq.


Two weeks after Pearl Harbor, the Bears played the Giants - again at Wrigley Field, which will blow everyone away to think about that. That was the NFL Championship game in those days.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

ruk, I am not aware of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, nor do I want to buy it. I posted a semi-reputable source as to Cheney's blind trust. If you can counter with a more reputable source, go for it.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 16, 2011 9:09 PM | Report abuse

clawrence I do not dispute your sources or the fact that Cheney did indeed place his investments in the blind trust.

Perhaps one of our investment types can explain the efficacy of a "blind" trust to me. As a lay person I find it very, very, very difficult to believe that in many instances...such as Dick Cheney's...the trust owner is totally "blind."

Is it your contention Clawrence that Cheney has NO IDEA that an sharp increase in Halliburton's wealth would not benefit him and his cronies? Really?

The next thing you'll be telling me is that we have an independent judiciary. Some things sound great in principle..blind trusts...independent judges...except in reality it's not really that simple. Watching the Supremes continually voting along party lines hardly gives one the feeling of an independent judiciary. Watching both parties do their very best to get "their" nominees instead of simply looking for the "best" nominee doesn't make me think the Federal District Courts are any more independent. And let's not even talk about the states...remember the western slate where a group of conservative judges were recently tossed out by the voters in November simply because they dared to hand down a decision on ONE issue that was a litmus test for TPers...yeah Clawrence I certainly concede you are correct that Cheney placed his holdings in a "blind" trust...forgive me if I suspect just how "blind"...just as I don't believe judges are independent. They may ultimately end up that way but they don't get to be judges without piling up some personal political debts along the way.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 16, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Brig - It's hardly a screed to suggest that Justice Marshall's statement had little to do with the second amendment. You did nicely illustrate intemperate response, though, so I appreciate the effort. With regards to limitations on the second amendment, my only thought is that 31 bullet clips should be restricted to police and military. I figure that nicely fits under well-regulated.

RFR - Good points. Retrocession would require giving up two electoral votes in return for representation in Congress. There are plenty of states with two major cities. Missouri, for example, has KC and St. Louis. I would support a suitably crafted resolution of retrocession. This would have to be agreed to by the resident of DC as well as those of Maryland. As a resident of the City of Alexandria, I'm perfectly happy with my representation in Virginia. Mind you, as I read the original lines, I think I live across the street from what was part of DC.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse

RUK & CL:

HAL spun-off KBR including KBR govt svcs back in 06-07, in order to be a pure energy services company.
I owned the HAL stock at the time, sold the KBR spinnoff stock in late 07.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/halliburton-to-complete-kbr-spin-off-via-shareholder-offer

KBR was holding HAL stock down vs other energy services co's like SLB, BHI, BJS.
Govt svcs was big revenues but weak profits.

Posted by: TominColorado | January 16, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I was of a mind to believe we were doing the right thing in VN

==

How? Toward what goal? What American security interest was served?

First of all my own view is biased by what I've seen here and back when the war was being fought and winding down I was in high school. My position on the war in the early 70s was based on peer conformity and on not wanting to get sent there, er, here. I had classmates a year older than I who died here.

In 1998, my first visit, one still saw people who had lost limbs to land mines and some truly horrifying, nightmare-inducing disfigurements. There seems even now to be a prevalence of deformities that makes me wonder if some of those mutagenic defoliants America was spraying around are still in circulation.

But all toward what end? Anticommunism was a fanatic ideology whose moral basis was quite suspect given the brutal right-wing dictators America worked comfortably with and even established. I don't think it was about spreading democracy at all.

So what was it? Is the fact that dictators who stood aside for American corporate plunder were OK just a high-schooler's facile simplemindedness?

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

I was curious to see that the whole retrocession depended on a referendum - and the referendum lost in the "County of Alexandria" I am guessing that was what is now Arlington (within the diamond shape.)

I don't see how the taxes would work.

I don't believe the other parts of Maryland are going to like the idea. I don't see how the DC residents are going to like having to answer to Annapolis.

What DC really wants is Statehood.

I find it a bit unusual that blacks originally went to DC because it was viewed as a safe haven compared to laws in neighboring states - AND now that same community is saying that the DC laws put them at a disadvantage.

And they throw in some civil rights language.

Things change over time - Im sure DC residents will find it an advantage to live there again.

IN FACT, if the DC residents like retrocession so much, they can always move to Alexandria - and they have it right there for the taking.


.

______________________


About Alexandria

I seem to remember a bunch of reasons advanced for Alexandria returning to Virginia - one was the rules regarding Freed slaves - Im not sure what the details were - but somehow I remember reading that the Freed Slaves were moving to Alexandria, and somehow they wanted to be part of Virginia.


Ironically, as soon as the Civil War started, the military perimeter around Washington had to immediately be extended - and all of Alexandria immediately fell under Union control for the entire war.


Robert E. Lee was actually raised for a time in Alexandria - when it was a part of DC.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Cao

So you are saying that fighting the Cold War was immoral ???

Unbelievable - the insanity you come up with.

Vietnam was a part of the Cold War - The US had to stand up to the Communist somewhere - or they would just continue their march around the world.

The domino theory was correct - Vietnam stopped the dominos from falling -

And Vietnam bought us enough time to see the Soviet Union collapse of its own economic mess.


Opposing Communism was a moral undertaking - you are wrong about that.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I"ll have to look into the history a bit. All of Arlington is located within what was the District. I think King Street defines the boundary between VA and what was DC. About half of the City of Alexandria (Virginia has counties, but also has independent cities) lies outside this line. It's a good place to live, but not cheap. I've a number of friends who live in the district. They tend to be fiercely loyal to DC and not inclined to move outside the district lines.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 16, 2011 10:38 PM | Report abuse

This could be interesting:

Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer plans to hand over offshore banking secrets of the rich and famous to WikiLeaks
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/16/swiss-whistleblower-rudolf-elmer-banks?mobile-redirect=false

Posted by: TominColorado | January 16, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington

There was a Town of Potomac which was taken over by Alexandria.

Arlington was illegally retro-cessioned because the Congressional Resolution required that the referendum pass - it failed in the County of Alexandria - whic is now Arlington.

_________________________


I just read that the slave-trading company in Alexandria was concerned that Congress may change the trading laws in Alexandria - and they wanted to re-merge with Virginia.

________________________


"Mines" which were floating mines in water - floating just below the surface of the water - were originally called "torpedos" That is what they used to manufactor at the Torpedo Factory.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 16, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

There is a problem with that, RFR.

Moral and humanitarian claims must always pass the consistency test. American anticommunism failed that test. Failed it profoundly. It failed it with the brutality of American atrocity and it failed it with the acceptance, nay, the magnanimous support, of totalitarianism of the right all over the world.

The domino theory was never anything more than a bogeyman. And if you think American sacrifices here were pivotal in stopping the dominoes from falling, you seem to have forgotten who won.

With the nation's biggest annual holiday two weeks away, the national boosterism is everywhere. Huge banners in the flag colors, "công sản" and "Xã hội" on every one.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 16, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Looks like another african dictator gets away wealthy. Seems like things never change there.

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/deposed-tunisian-president-ben-ali-said-have-fled-country-15-tons-gold

Posted by: TominColorado | January 16, 2011 11:32 PM | Report abuse

RFR:

"Opposing Communism was a moral undertaking" Now you've done it, that should wind a few.

Next tell them that Alger Hiss really was a Soviet spy (he was, the Venona files proved it, but he's still a martyr to many old lefties).

Posted by: TominColorado | January 17, 2011 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Jonathan Pollard was an Israeli spy. He was convicted on evidence and is in prison. But he's a hero to pro-Israeli American Jews.

What's your point, Tom?

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Have an STD? you are not alone.Find others with same STD at site named Hdating.net. you may be upset and think your life is over. However, once you settle down and learn the facts, you'll realize that having STD is not the end of the world, and it's not the end of your social life.

Posted by: juliarix | January 17, 2011 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Re: the Second Amendment discussion

http://www.credoaction.com/comics/2011/01/the-incident-in-tucson/

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Spammers have to be the stupidest people on the planet.

Syphilis dating site. I thought I'd heard everything.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Potomac plowed under so that the Pentagon could be built? There was a story a few months back in the post.

Ah well. I need to head to bed. Just Netflixed an interesting movie--Big Fan. The missuz recognized the name. Turns out the star voiced Remy in Ratatouille.

I wish all a good night.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 17, 2011 1:16 AM | Report abuse

So you are saying that fighting the Cold War was immoral ???

==

One question mark is enough, RFR. Let's leave the triple ones to Alexander Solzhenitzin.

Two part answer.

One, assuming one accepts the basis and urgency of the cold war, which i don't, the answer is no. America pursued the Cold War with an immoral monomania, leading to excesses and atrocities no more moral than anything it was purportedly against. All the worst of America's Enemy Of My Enemy excesses were related to it. And the Red Scares of the 50s weren't a lot better than Stalin's purges, with innocent lives destroyed and careers shattered. Just look at what happened to Robert Oppenheimer.

Second, the basis was false. America wasnt promoting democracy, no, not while using anticommunism as an excuse to crawl into bed with the most brutal right wing tyrants in the world, and so often while, you know, incidentally, promoting corporate profit. Promoting democracy was a shibboleth, it was really all about commerce.

And I suspect that the relatively lesser role of the extremely wealthy in Communist governments is what lay at the root of American anticommunism.

So, yes, fighting the Cold War was immoral. It was done for immoral reasons and it was carried out in immoral fashion.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Got the sign of the question reversed, meant to say, "the answer is yes, "it was immoral.

And no the Red Scare didn't equal Stalin's purges in number or in brutality, but in spirit they were both abhorrent. Certainly the anticommunists would have had a lot of people executed if they could have, they certainly caused plenty of suicides.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 4:25 AM | Report abuse

Communism is a contagious blight upon the world. It is in recession now thanks to the diligent suppression of it by patriots past. The communists make Hitler look like a piker, in comparison when it come to death and destruction of peoples' lives.

Even Hitler despised communists and ran them all out of non-Russian Europe. Where did they go?

To America, many of them came with their diseased ideology and the freedom to spread it. Communists infested our universities which were, already, hotbeds of leftism.

Communists infested our media and our bureaucracy because they knew that's where the levers of propaganda and power lay.

Communists infested the labor union rackets with a vengence. Strikes were commonplace, post WWII.

Communist spies stole America's atomic secrets and were able to build atomic bombs years early because of it.

Many Americans were communist sypathizers. They were called liberals back then. They admired the communist systems and here is a piece of eveidence that I personally witnessed:

When I was in grade school, I was shown what appeared to be a communist propaganda movie. It gushed over the superiority of the communist system over America's. I was a child, at the time, and didn't think anything of it then. Later, I remembered that film and wondered how it got into my school's curriculum. It's still a mystery to me but I have to think it was slipped in by educators sympathetic to the USSR.

Much later, it became known that the USSR was a decrepit, shell of a society. Ronald Reagan seemed to know this. Reagan put the screws to the USSR even as the liberals, of the day, screamed bloody murder.

The liberals were witnessing the death bed throes of their beloved USSR and they knew it. Reagan, put the diseased thing out of it's misery, and ours.

Now, liberals call terrorists "freedom fighters". Some things never change.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 17, 2011 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Have an STD? you are not alone.Find others with same STD at site named Hdating.net. you may be upset and think your life is over. However, once you settle down and learn the facts, you'll realize that having STD is not the end of the world, and it's not the end of your social life.

Posted by: juliarix | January 17, 2011 12:26 AM
-------

To whom was this post addressed?

Posted by: Brigade | January 17, 2011 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Nice posts by ceflyline. I'm no lover of communism, but I still don't think it was our business to determine the outcome of civil war in Vietnam. Not at the cost of all those lives.

Another ten years? Our democracy does not have the patience for these adventures abroad. The main reason we don't have more blowback on sitting down in the Middle East for all these years is that, without a draft, so few people feel really engaged. Most people who don't have loved ones serving there, often doing multiple tours, go merrily along as if the country weren't even at war. The only thing that seems to get their attention? It's finally sinking in that wars cost money.

Posted by: Brigade | January 17, 2011 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Nowadays 41¢ of every dollar spent is borrowed, that is such an huge amount, the debt ceiling has to be raised, there is simply no way they can stop 40% of federal spending. Still we blow money on the war on terror and the war on drugs as if it were our own. The people loaning us the money, they are going to want it back, with interest. But since states can't borrow and citizens are either tapped out or know better, the feds have to pick up the slack.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 17, 2011 6:57 AM | Report abuse

"Remarkably, nearly half of today's national debt was run up in just the past six years. It soared from $7.6 trillion in January 2005 as President George W. Bush began his second term to $10.6 trillion the day Obama was inaugurated and to $14.02 trillion now...With a $1.7 trillion deficit in budget year 2010 alone, and the government on track to spend $1.3 trillion more this year than it takes in, annual budget deficits are adding roughly $4 billion a day to the national debt." WaPo

Sure there are the wars and the war industries and all the federal money like the bank bailout money that goes to making the rich even richer )over $100B in Wall Street "bonus money paid out this year, sickening, the feds buy their/our own treasury bonds from Wall Street traders, so Wall Street makes money twice through Quantitative Easing(...but one day this country will realize where its overhang really lies: medical bills.

With or without the odious individual mandate, with or without the ACA, if you can afford the relentless increases in medical costs, you will have to stop affording a lot of other stuff you don't really need. Or you could go to a single payer system, but you can't have universal health care using the American "managed care" model, not unless the whole country is organized to create and consume health care.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 17, 2011 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, I meant our Middle East policy is driven by oil. We would be free to view that area in a different light if we were not dependent upon its petroleum

Why are you awake so early?

ACA does have pilot projects in clinic care and preventive medicine and information exchange, and it does take a giant step toward regulating insurers - the regulated multiple insurer model works in Switzerland and Germany and Japan. I agreed with you generally, as you know, and I think the mandate should have been posed as a national health tax against which a credit could be taken for premiums paid. In fact, your criticisms and obsevations about the industry informed some of my thinking at the time of the debate. It seems to me you now think ACA is worse than the status quo ante. Am I reading you correctly?

Brigade, your post about the cost of American interventions and the effect of a volunteer Army was right to the point and I think is simply true.

TomInColorado, did you know that the Army knew from eavesdropping at Potsdam that Hiss was passing info to the Russians, but did not tell HST? Bradley knew, he was HST's personal friend, and he did not tell. Moynihan wrote a book in the 90s in which he used the incident as an example of the overreach of secrecy in AM Govt.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 17, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I think the individual mandate in Obamacare is unconstitutional and the bill in general a dogs-breakfast mess.

But if it stands, probably OK for me personally.

I'm a professional in my early fifties and would like to semi-retire and consult part-time. I need you to force all the young healthy citizens into the risk pool to keep my premiums down. Of course when I was young and healthy I only carried comprehensive auto insurance because that was the only significant risk I had.

Posted by: TominColorado | January 17, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

This is really what we are dealing with:

"Red Scares of the 50s weren't a lot better than Stalin's purges" in spirit at least.

Thank God he left the USA!

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 17, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

All the spending has to stop immediately - we need to put the budget under control


I recommend a budget deficit of no more than 300 Billion.

The Republicans should pass that limit - broken down with spending targets by Department - with the debt ceiling resolution.


AND make Obama sign it.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 17, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Mark:
Yeah, been awhile since I've read about Venona but as I remember it was very tightly compartmentalized, and generally showed we were thoroughly comprimized by the Sovs.

Posted by: TominColorado | January 17, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"Secrecy: The American Experience"

DP Moynihan

Great book.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 17, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Actually, as I recall, the Venona Files showed that in general the "Red Scare" was correct. Not "an agent under every bed" but enough of them high in the Departments of State, Defense and others that we had no secrets at all.

Posted by: TominColorado | January 17, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

MLK is a hero of mine and here's a couple of quotes I found pertinent to some of the discussions here at the PL and elsewhere in the past week.

""Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.""

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958

""Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.""

The Trumpet of Conscience, 1967.

Posted by: lmsinca | January 17, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

The sad part was that we couldn't know if FDR or his VP were compromised as well. Of course HST wasn't told. Does Moynihan deal with that reality?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 17, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Mark:

Thanks for the reminder... Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote and spoke well on Venona (and quite a few other things). Maybe I'll download it to Kindle.

Later guys... two mugs of coffee down (Community Cafe Special, friends of ours ship it up from Lafayette)... time to hit the shower and get to work.

Posted by: TominColorado | January 17, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Obamacare<<<<

Free, government cheese blown up to astronomical expanse.

Those 5lb blocks of "free" government cheese coat about $186.00 apiece.

But, the cheese eaters were happy.

Now they can get "free" government medical care.

Why not hand out "free" government cheese at all Obamacare clinics? That way, the peasants will not have to stand in two lines.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 17, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

clawrence

You'll be happy to know I have decided to take a break from the PL. I can't guarantee you it will be forever or even more than a day. But at least I'll be gone for awhile, how's that? :)

Posted by: lmsinca | January 17, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Have a good break.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 17, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Now, liberals call terrorists "freedom fighters". Some things never change.

==

Ahh, no. It was Reagan who ran guns to the Contras out of the White House basement, and if the Contras weren't terrorists the there's no such thing as a terrorist.

As for your panygeric on Communism, well, I live in a Communist country and here the middle class is expanding fast, families born village living in nice houses. Meanwhile under your precious free market the middle class is under attack and drying up like a rain puddle on a hot summer day.

Conservative economics is bringing on a collapse, still you swear by it.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse


Cao

You talk like a President has never given a rebel group weapons

Does it matter through which agency?


The policy of the US government was to bring down the Sandanistas. If you don't like it , tough.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 17, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

@lmsinca PLEASE make your break a short one. If I were king and giving out awards for the most civil poster...
Representing the Progressives- lmsinca
Representing the Conservatives- Kevin W.

It always nice to read you post lmsinca and before you go a question.

I enjoyed the paragraph you posted about MLK's antiwar stance. Can you believe one of the high ups in the Obama Defense Dept actually tried to claim that MLK would approve of these two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I almost spit my coffee all over my computer screen when I read that one.

@Brigade Wow I wake up and find us in absolute ageement on an issue. I second Mark's comments...you are dead on target Brigade...these wars ARE going to bankrupt us and if the draft hadn't been abolished both of these wars would have ended long ago. Gun or butter? Guns or health care?

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 17, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

And in the end they were voted out of office nonviolent,y, and America was reduced to a rogue state running guns to gangs of teenagers who shot up weddings.

Yeah, policy.

It was and always will be a disgraceful episode, but thanks to GW Bush, no longer America's most disgraceful.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

|hi:Mark|, I am not so sure it is the oil that keeps us from viewing the area in a different light. The Russians sell their oil, so does Venezuela, Nigeria, they all sell their oil into the market at the price the market sets. Surely we are not somehow keeping the area safe for oil by blowing up bad guys from time to time. Seems to me the whole Arab/Persian gulf could go feral, as it may once the Sunnis and Shiites go at it again and after the speculators get rich stoking fear for awhile, it wouldn't change the price of oil, might even lower it, sure would help us on the way toward energy independence. After all, if these wars and all the other costs we incur with word wide militarism are about oil market stability, not terrorism, we are paying a lot more for oil than we think we do. So then the alternatives are much cheaper than we think. But if it isn't all about the oil, then what...clash of civilizations? Israel? Yeah, I think we are all twisted up about the Holy Land.

I'm up early bc I have two ski trips coming up and I gotta get my piece work done, not so much for the money, it is so other people can do their work when I am out.

"It seems to me you now think ACA is worse than the status quo ante. Am I reading you correctly?" No, it is a terrible law that is better, particularly for the care of crazy people, than the status quo ante.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 17, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Hi Shrink.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 17, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Well since those wars are going to be the demise of the US economy, it would sure be nice to know the real, actual reasons for starting them.

Don't think we ever will.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, the military cost of oil is nothing compared to the bill being run up on the destruction of the climate. We're broiling ourselves with that stuff.

Wait till we lose thousands of square miles of coastal urban land to rising seas and have a half billion people coming north to escape uninhabitable temperatures.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""Oh, for goodness sakes. Go back and read again.""

I did. There is no way to coherently read your post without interpreting your "these folks we are discussing" to include qb and myself.

Mark was talking about discussion on this board specifically between you and qb, and you assumed he must have meant me instead of qb. You closed your screed with the sentence "These three factors make debate of the sort you and I would prefer to see and involve ourselfs in a near impossibility in most instances." One of those three factors was your notion of "epistemic closure". Quite clearly, you were accusing certain people on this board of failing to "read or attend to many information sources outside of their closed-loop system." And, since you were explaining your approach to debate here specifically in the context raised by Mark, ie discussion between you and qb/me, it makes no sense whatsoever for you to have been excluding qb or me from this accusation.

""But no, neither of you are as bad as it gets.""

Whether or not we are "as bad as it gets", you still seem to imply knowledge of what information sources we "attend to", knowledge that you quite simply do not have. Again, you are just making it up.

""As to the 'it's poor people who buy cigarettes' comment, don't know what to say to the sort of twisted premises that necessarily underlie protesting taxes on a product that causes illness and death.""

I wasn't "protesting" anything. I was asking you if you understood that the cigarette tax was regressive. It seems you do. Which is interesting in light of your general objection to other kinds of taxation on the poor.

And, BTW, I don't think there are any premises that "necessarily" underlie opposition to cigarette taxes. But certainly one premise that might underlie such opposition is that adults are perfectly capable of determining, what types of legal albeit risky behaviors they might engage in without the guiding hand of either Bernie or the government to steer them into what is "good" for them. I suppose, to some such as you, such a notion of freedom and personal responsibility might appear "twisted", although I can't for the life of me understand why.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 17, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

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

pls feel free to shift your comments over there if you feel like it...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 17, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"We"?!

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 17, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

clawrence, FDR dropped Henry Wallace from the ticket in favor of HST in 1944 b/c of Wallace's fondness for the USSR. He saw the coming peace as one where we could not continue to be chummy with Uncle Joe, and where Wallace's views were downright detrimental.

From what I have read, his deteriorating health weakened him as a negotiator. That was Churchill's take, and the take of his own physician, according to the now deceased then Navy doc who was often on the team that treated him at Bethesda. He was, until late '44, a great wartime Prez - the only great power leader who left field decisions to his uniformed commanders. He trusted Ike and Nimitz and Marshall. He was right to do so.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 17, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

But certainly one premise that might underlie such opposition is that adults are perfectly capable of determining, what types of legal albeit risky behaviors they might engage in without the guiding hand of either Bernie or the government to steer them into what is "good" for them

==

You live in a dream world where everyone is always rational and sober and addiction doesn't exist.

Cigarettes are addictive, dummy

Posted by: caothien9 | January 17, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""You live in a dream world where everyone is always rational and sober...""

If ever I belabored under such a notion (I didn't), reading the Plum Line and its comments would have dispelled it long ago.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 17, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

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