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Posted at 4:47 PM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* Jim Webb's retirement creates an open seat in a traditionally Republican stronghold, putting Dems on defense on yet another front and perhaps making GOP control of the Senate more likely.

* Liberal hero Tom Perriello could run for Webb's seat.

* House Republicans unveil a series of steep budget cuts targeting Obama priorities like infrastructure spending and the hated Environmental Protection Agency, a hint of how hot the budget wars are about to get.

* But as always, it won't be enough for the Tea Party.

* Married GOP Rep. Chris Lee abruptly resigns after allegations he emailed bare chested photos of himself to a woman.

* Gawker did the honors.

* House Republicans who are refusing their government run health care bump up against the unpleasant realities of our health system that millions of other Americans continue to endure.

* Amanda Terkel reports that the "forcible rape" language is still in a House GOP abortion bill, and Jerrold Nadler's office says there are more than 150 signatures from House Republicans on it.

* Commenting on my post below on the Tea Party's delusions of historical grandeur, Jason Linkins reminds us that Rand Paul has actually compared the Tea Partyers' uncompromising spirit to that of the abolitionists.

* And why are we even calling the Tea Party a movement in the first place?

* Elon Green charts Tim Pawlenty's evolving and surprisingly supportive views on gay rights, which have now culminated in the ignominy of his support for defunding repeal of don't ask don't tell.

* Joe Klein puts his finger on one the now-defunc Democratic Leadership Council's most catastrophic failings: "The war in Iraq, which the DLC supported reflexively, as a way of seeming `strong,' without ever really analyzing the intellectual weaknesses of the casus belli."

That's key to the left's critique of Dem centrism: The reflexive embrace of Republican national security policies out of fear of appearing "weak."

* While you weren't looking: CNN finds that a whopping 58 percent oppose the war in Afghanistan.

* Israel is becoming a required campaign stop for GOP presidential hopefuls.

* Glenn Beck is still ranting like a crackpot about the fact that Bill Kristol rightly called him out as a crackpot. Something tells me this feud isn't exactly playing in Beck's favor.

* And Rachel Weiner, ensconced in her new "Fix" gig, tallies up some recent polling and concludes that if the GOP nominates Sarah Palin in 2012, they should prepare for a pretty massive shellacking.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | February 9, 2011; 4:47 PM ET
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Tea Party, gay rights  
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Comments

Some "great" numbers for Obama in the latest Gallup poll:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/146021/Obama-Approval-Rating-Deficit-Sinks-New-Low.aspx

When it comes to the economy or the deficit it ain't looking good for our President even with independents.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 9, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

sjb -- I think his numbers on the economy might be a tad more important, no matter what people *say* about their worries about the deficit.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 9, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Rahm is not the right man for the job.


This site is hilarious http://twitter.com/#!/MayorRahmE

Rahm messed up at Freddie Mac - I really can not believe he has the nerve to run for office after the economic crisis hit.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 9, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: At least a tad - maybe more!

Still, the GOP isn't inspiring anyone...

Posted by: sbj3 | February 9, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

"Married GOP Rep. Chris Lee abruptly resigns after allegations he emailed bare chested photos of himself to a woman."

*Craigslist?*

Was he born stupid, did he become stupid, or was stupid thrust upon him?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 9, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Rereading the biography of Vo Nguyen Giap, Victory at any Cost, I was struck by many bits of advice, quips, etc., he delivered after the war. One was that the Americans learned from the French debacle that they had to disabuse themselves of roads. But they did not learn from the French that little Beau Geste forts here and there, we call them fire support bases (or whatever) nowadays, they are sitting ducks, think Khe Sanh.

I'd bet a lot more than 58% oppose the war in Afghanistan, some are just too worried about the bad juju they would cast on the men and women there if they said so, even to a pollster. We have not learned anything. The roads are for IEDs and we are still playing French Foreign Legion.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to the economy or the deficit it ain't looking good for our President even with independents.

Posted by: sbj3

You forgot to put a :-). The country is really moving forward with folks like you SBJ. All you ever do is delight in every bit of bad news about the President you can deliver. We get it. You are a sore loser.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Poor Chris C. I wonder who forced him to take Weiner. And for her first post, it's about how Sarah Palin isn't a goddess.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

"Was he born stupid, did he become stupid, or was stupid thrust upon him? "

I loved how he referred to himself as a lobbyist.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

"Still, the GOP isn't inspiring anyone"

I feel inspired by them.

Here's an interesting quote from Grover Norquist I hadn't seen before. (h/t digby)

"We must do everything we can to institutionalize the conservative revolution and make it permanent in the minds of people. We must establish a Brezhnev Doctrine for conservative gains. The brezhnev Doctrine states that once a country becomes communist it can never change. Conservatives must establish their own doctrine and declare their victories permanent, not only in freign policy, but in domestic policy as well. A revolution is not successful unless it succeeds in preserving itself." (Hart, 'The Third Generation, p. 158)
- from end notes Thomas Frank's "The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule" p 345

Anyone who's read Easton's Gang of Five (hi ABC!) will be familiar with Norquist's study of and admiration for various totalitarian figures from Russia's past and won't find the modelling a surprise. But this is pretty damned concise statement of what the boy has been up to and with historical success. And the goal, one party rule, one acceptable ideology, one accepted version of history etc is explicitly totalitarian.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 9, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

"Former Bachmann Chief of Staff: She Isn't Electable, Not Qualified To Be President"

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/former-bachmann-chief-of-staff-she-isnt-electable-not-qualified-to-be-president.php?ref=fpb

He's supporting Pawlenty but he's right.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 9, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

"We have not learned anything."

shrink you may get the understatement of the evening with that one. :-)

Imagine the strategy Petraues is proposing to "win" this war. We're going to win the hearts and minds of the people...yeah win the hearts and minds of people we hate..that's beyond lunacy. Do we suppose nobody in Afghanistan gets the internet? Do we suppose that they are not handed propaganda by the Taliban...actually not propaganda simply the truth..it would go something like this...

The Americans talk a good game but here is the TRUTH...Then they could play the former Speaker of the House of Representative's hate video directed at Muslims...how about Petey Kings grandstanding...do we think Muslims around the world are unaware of the ground zero controversy...the shootings at other Mosques here in Florida and protests around the country...do we believe Muslims around the world did not get tons of coverage of the white trash hillbilly minister here in Florida stacking Korans in preparation for burning? How absurd to even talk about winning the hearts and minds of people we hate...we might be able to bribe enough of them...that's basically how "winning the hearts and minds" strategy works...but even we don't have THAT much money.

Along those lines of anti Muslim bigotry...I saw Andrea Mitchell play a video of one Frank Luntz's focus group studies in Iowa of a group of dim bulbs..oops I meant Republicans...but in Iowa those terms are apparently interchangeable. When asked if they thought Obama was a Muslim HALF of them raised their hands. Mitchell came back to her interview subject a Politico reporter with the comment...well they are really conservative in Iowa...THAT'S NOT FREAKING CONSERVATIVE...IT'S SHAMEFULLY IGNORANT.
These morons apparently cannot read...wonder if they can write?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Santorum says something to question Palin's motivations and quickly denies he said it...

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/09/santorum-suggests-palins-decision-skip-cpac-motivated-business-opportunities/

A good example of the danger to the movement if Palin runs in the primary... criticize her and big unhappy with her followers.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 9, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone who's read Easton's Gang of Five (hi ABC!) will be familiar with Norquist's study of and admiration for various totalitarian figures from Russia's past and won't find the modelling a surprise. But this is pretty damned concise statement of what the boy has been up to and with historical success. And the goal, one party rule, one acceptable ideology, one accepted version of history etc is explicitly totalitarian."

That's just the kind of subtlety and nuance we so appreciate in bernie's arguments. (Might want to look into "explicitly" though.)

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 9, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

B4 some doofus comes on and does the talking points about how different is the AfPak war from Vietnam, yeah, I know. Thanks.

Ok, one of the things I find so odd ruk is the identical strategy and even tactics of Creighton Abrams and Petraeus, it is creepy. Do the people at the war college really think we would have won if we only kept doing the same thing longer?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, the Santorum thing is really funny. Thanks!

Posted by: sargegreg | February 9, 2011 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Shrink

Generals...people from the War College...always end up with the same advice in every war...more more more.

Sometimes this truly is obscene. General Curtis Lemay who was considered a hero because he torched Tokyo to the ground in WWII killing far more than either A bomb...had one fundamental strategy..."bomb them back to the stone age" While the horrific fire raids on Tokyo may have been necessary, Lemay's actions during the 50's with SAC will leave a black smirch on his record. When he had secured enough funding to produce enough bombs and aircraft to destroy the ENTIRE globe TWO TIMES OVER...he kept at it...then we could destroy the entire world 3 times...4 times...5 times...sheer lunacy!!! In Vietnam what did the Generals ALWAYS ask for...more troops..more bombs..more $$$$$$
Fast forward and what do the Generals ask for...can you say surge?

It's always..more troops..more bombs..and more time and alas more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

George Santayana the famous Spanish novelist/poet/philospher had great nuggets in his Reason in common sense...

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

"Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim."

This pretty well describes the neo cons who may have the most flawed strategy in the history of our nation as relates to F.P. and wars. Moronic fanatics.

But Shrink I close on a positive note.
Dennis Kucinich and his liberal cohorts in the House joined with the Tea Party R's to defeat the extension of the "Patriot Act".
OMG the bed wetting neo cons must be sh&tting themselves! LMAO

This bodes well for the future. That CNN poll is hardly and outlier...every recent poll on support for the War has returned figures in the same category. We are literally approaching the point where 2 out of every 3 Americans is against this absurd war. When the liberals join again with the libertarian wing of the Tea Party, folks like Rand Paul and other...not even the mighty M.I.C. and all of Lockheed Martin's huge $$$$ will stop the steamroller that is about to hit DC.

We're all TPers now. LMAO. Stop this stupid war and do it yesterday Mr. President. How many more INNOCENT people must pay with their lives because we have a significant number of fraidy cats called neo cons and a large number of corporatists who benefit greatly from all this death and destruction.

Aren't we very proud. Murder in the name of fear, paranoia, and the almighty dollar. And this is a Christian nation?
Does this nation even have a conscience?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

"Murder in the name of fear, paranoia, and the almighty dollar. And this is a Christian nation?
Does this nation even have a conscience?"

Are you saying that Obama is committing mass murder?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 9, 2011 8:52 PM | Report abuse

"Ok, one of the things I find so odd ruk is the identical strategy and even tactics of Creighton Abrams and Petraeus, it is creepy. Do the people at the war college really think we would have won if we only kept doing the same thing longer? Posted by: shrink2"

There isn't much similarity between what Petraeus is doing and what Abrams was doing beyond the consideration that each needs time to reach fruition, and Abrams didn't get the time, and American discontent probably won't give Petraeus the time he needs either.

I had a nice character limited development of this written and my computer glitched and dumped Firefox, and with it my essay, and I haven't the time to redo, so I will have to give you a rain check on that essay, but I will be glad to give you the whole development by week's end if you want.

Still, a good development of the differences and similarities among Abrams, Westmoreland, and Petraeus really needs more space than we get here, so query me at ceflynline@msn.com and I will give you a full treatise.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 9, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

"Are you saying that Obama is committing mass murder?"

Ahhh Q.B. ever the rigid ideologue partisan trying to score blog points.

I'm saying Obama, and YOU Q.B. and ME are complicit in the murder of thousands of innocent human beings. This of course ultimately will be the responsibility of the moronic neo cons and the M.I.C. who got this ball rolling...

But YES YOU Q.B...OBAMA..ME and every American Citizen is complicit and an accessory to these murders. It's our country...love it or leave it...I still love it..but I'm incredibly ashamed of it at the moment!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Well we never had a coherent objective in either war. I know the "conservatives" have all forgotten but I remember the selling of the Iraq invasion; it wad foregone that it was going to happen but the reasons changed three times an hour.

And when nobody found so much as a moldy jar of peanut butter for a WMD, President Smirk Flightsuit stood at the podium and said,

"ah chose t' defenn America, an ah'd do it agin"

TWEE-YOO!! cheered the rabble. Thousands of dead, trillions of dollars lost, an Iranian proxy where there had been a secular dictatorship, and he'd do it again.

And Afghanistan? No justification at all. Slake the bloodlust of 9/11.

Nothing to gain, everything to lose. Losing we are.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

cef, I can't wait to learn what you know.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

@cef: NEVER write at length in a browser. If it's going to be more than a few short paragraphs, do it in a text editor and save every thirty seconds.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

looks like the final score will be 25-19. Carolina keeps turning it over and Duke keeps missing.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2011 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Umm. Maybe 58% answer a poll and say they're against the war, but there appears to be no passion or commitment.

When comparable numbers opposed the war in Việt Nam they took to the streets and besieged their representatives. Opponents of this pointless occupation are clicking "Like" in FaceBook.

No wave is going to break. And Democrats need to grow some spine and twig that the goobers are going to portray them as weak no matter how bloodthirsty they get. Let the Republicans act like bullies at the playground. Our leaders are supposed to be adults.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

quarterback1, we are complicit in foreign murders but not those under Roe v. Wade.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 9, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

QB and Jake both try to hijack with their respective hobbyhorses.

Hey QB, you hate Obama. JakeD, you're against abortion. We get it.

Go repeat it to someone who doesn't know it already. Hint: somewhere else.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

"Ahhh Q.B. ever the rigid ideologue partisan trying to score blog points."

I asked you a straight question about the implication of what you said. It's a strong statement to say the country is engaged in an ongoing campaign of mass murder. For no reason apparently but money.

There's something odd about blaming neo cons and Republicans for it and yet admitting that Obama is just as guilty. He could stop it. Could have stopped it long ago. Secret Haliburton payoff? How's he being personally enriched?

I would actually have thought these kinds of questions might give you some pause about your thesis.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 9, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

@Cefyline

Sorry the dog ate your homework, but I'll look forward to your essay when you get your rewrite.

Any objective observer would have to admit that Osama Bin Ladin kicked G.W.'s arse with a fraction (GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT I APOLOGIZE)
of the resources.

Have any of you heard of the old cliche..
You can't be a friend and a flatterer too?
May I paraphrase...you can't really be a patriot and remain in denial too. It does not serve our country to refuse to admit our losses...how will we ever do better the next time. Mike Tomlin came out after the Super Bowl and said...no excuses we lost.

No excuses Bin Laden kicked G.W.'s backside. The cheerleader who only got into school on a "legacy" admission, the Faux badarse...said "Bring it on" and Bin Laden was laughing somewhere in a cave in Pakistan. Bin Laden didn't need to bring it on..he had already achieved his objectives.

1.) Make a huge PR splash in the Islamic world to gain credibility. SUCCESS!

2.) Provoke the U.S. into invading a sovereign Arab nation. SUCCESS!

3.) Lure the U.S. into costly warfare that would bring on our economic collapse.
SUCCESS!

G.W.'s objectives with bring it on...

1.) Catch those responsible for 9/11 primarily Bin Laden and Al Zawahiri.
FAILURE

2.)Win the war on Terror.
FAILURE

The war on terror hasn't changed at all..but it has certainly changed us...we take off our shoes at the Airport...have our bodies scanned...spend billions on a humongous new agency..Homeland Security..and really are we any safer today than we were on 9/10. Well they did make one smart move...locking cockpit doors..too bad they didn't figure that out long ago...there's only been a 50 year history of hijackings in our nation and nobody ever figured out it would be wise to lock cockpit doors?

Safer for all this crap at airports? Any motivated person could jump in a FedEx truck right now and drive to the business park at the end of the runway at TIA..btw it's a business park and so FedEx trucks are in and out in numbers all day long.
Jump out..point your shoulder mounted portable SAM at the departing plane which is passing overhead at a very low altitude just after takeoff...and bam..all those folks who were scanned, had their luggage explored as well as their bodies...down in smoke. Yeah we're a lot safer!!!

By any reasonable metric...Osama kicked Georgie's butt...bring it on indeed!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine why Obama is doing war CIC, the prosecutor of the war in AfPak. Maybe cef can say. It is not popular, actually no one really cares because the msm is permanently distracted. It is possible he believes in the mission whatever that is; it is possible he believes he just has to carry on with what he said he was going to do. Only he knows.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

"For no reason apparently but money."

Nothing like mischacterization of someone's remarks...part and parcel of your posting technique Q.B.

"Murder in the name of fear, paranoia, and the almighty dollar."

I named three reasons...those reasons are certainly not all of the reasons..and none of them are singular. However you select that last reason in my grouping and restate it as if I had made it a singular reason. I could have added vengeance for 9/11 and perhaps other posters can even add more reasons for our stupid reaction and our continuing lunacy.
Add in politics whatever you wish...but
CLEARLY I did not say...

"For no reason apparently but money"

This is why discussions with you Q.B. quickly grow tiresome. Do you never tire of misquoting and mischaracterizing others positions....remember the days when I kept trying to proclaim MY own political views visa vis socialism...no matter WHAT I said you were going to call me a socialist. I expect that from clawrence/jake...skippy and the lame brains...but Q.B...you're smarter than that! Quite honestly I don't know what emotion or force has made you surrender your intellect. Again you're obviously well educated but you persist in some really really stupid stuff...like calling a network with two current R candidates "fair and balanced". Or defending the intellect of a ditz that every other respected R has admitted is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

Take a lesson from Scott Q.B. He picks his battles very carefully...he doesn't enter the fray without first making sure HE BELIEVES what he is typing!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Justba small point of order, ruk, full agreement with post, American FP in reaction to 9/11 has cost thousands of times what the attacks did. But.

Therefor little doubt that Osama is long dead. His kidneys had failed, he'd been getting dialysis in Pakistani military hospitals, and the last video of him showed a weak and tottering man with a paralyzed arm. That was ten years ago. Videos since show someone else who doesnt look like him, is fat, and is about 8 inches too short. Meanwhile Zawahiri does studio quality videos with stereo sound.

He's not gloating in a cave somewhere. He's taking a dirt nap. But he's America's Emmanuel Goldstein.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

@Cao

"When comparable numbers opposed the war in Việt Nam they took to the streets and besieged their representatives. Opponents of this pointless occupation are clicking "Like" in FaceBook."

There is a very simple explanation. During the Vietnam war there was a DRAFT.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

RU,

About last night...

I forced no religious beliefs on anyone. Nor did I crowbar religious precepts into the purview of science and facts.

The thread, my friend, shows nothing of the sort.

That said, it was instructive for anyone reading, with any shred of objectivity, the exchange back to its origin.

Posted by: tao9 | February 9, 2011 10:15 PM | Report abuse

"Quite honestly I don't know what emotion or force has made you surrender your intellect."

Perhaps I was blinded by all the $$$$$$$$ signs in your post.

I wouldn't call fear, paranoia, and money three reasons. Maybe two. But it doesn't detract from the basic question your comments raise. I get that the evil neo cons and Republicans act out of paranoia and greed. But I don't see an explanation for why the Democrats are doing the same thing. I don't doubt your sincerity in opposing the war at all; I just think that your critique is wanting in the explanation department.

I have no idea what you are suggesting about my not believing what I'm typing, and I've seen you turn on Scott enough times not to take too seriously your advice about how to be a better commenter.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 9, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I read the comments today between mark and wbgonne re moderates and thought it was sort of interesting that some of the policy prescriptions mark seemed to find as moderate positions would most likely be embraced by liberals, heh. I couldn't help but wonder if any conservatives would be quite so eager. I think they might go for blue dog Heath Shuler though who's not nearly as "moderate" as mark or other moderates are.

One detail you won't see unless you click on the link is that the DCCC spent over $230,000 on his re-election campaign. How is he better than a moderate Republican, and in fact may be worse.

""Let’s talk about his votes, then, shall we? Shuler voted against the healthcare bill and against the stimulus package. He (obviously) voted for Stupak-Pitts before voting against the bill. A blogger has posted a form letter from Shuler’s office explaining his “pro-life” standards, but I’d be pretty willing to argue that if he was “pro-life,” he ought to vote for a stimulus bill that was going to support “life” by putting (not enough) people to work. Also, “life” might have included a public health care option that would have covered more people than the current health care bill, but that wasn’t deficit neutral enough for Shuler, who has a “National Debt Clock” on his website.

His complaint about the stimulus was, of course, “too much spending,” though I can’t argue with him that it needed more infrastructure investment. He also voted against the original $700 billion bailout, so at least he’s consistent. He also apparently thinks the Consumer Financial Protection Agency is a waste of money.

He was one of the original 19 Dems who signed on to Stupak’s original threat to torpedo their party’s biggest priority over abortion.

He voted with Republicans to end public funding of elections, presumably because he has no trouble raising money. He also voted for FISA extension, giving “U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order.”

He also tends to vote with Republicans on war. That’s a very pro-life position, you know. So is wanting Amtrak passengers to be able to transport guns safely.

He also wants a border fence, to crack down on immigration, and is very concerned with collecting “abortion surveillance data.” Because if you want to get an abortion, and he can’t stop you while Roe still exists, he’s not only going to prevent it from being funded any way he can, but then he wants to know who you are.""

http://my.firedoglake.com/sarahjaffe/2011/02/09/meet-the-hr3-ten-heath-shuler/

Posted by: lmsinca | February 9, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

"By any reasonable metric"? George Bush had luxury box seats at the Super Bowl...Osama is taking a dirt nap.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 9, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

A lot of those people marching against the war here were well past draft age, ruk.

I see a other factor far more predominant in explaining the difference: the moral paralysis of the left. The best lack all conviction; we're hesitant to pass judgment, we're torn by fear of subjectivity, we're wholly unable to condemn

Just look at your obsequious reply to QB above. He's any smarter than Jake? Scott exhibits discernment? Is this from evidence on some other blog? Nonsense. They're morons. QB is a rage case and Scott couldn't stay on a point if you held a gun to his head.

We lack conviction because we have this grotesque notion that we need to consider all sides, even when we know our opponents lie their heads off. THAT'S the difference. Moral queasiness.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

tao9, don't worry about them. Everyone else could read what was posted.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 9, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps I should have mentioned that Shuler is VERY involved in all the new legislation from Republicans hoping to both redefine rape (they haven't removed the language from the bill yet) and make sure no woman has coverage through any insurance policy and the other bill that absolves hospitals from performing even life saving emergency abortions.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 9, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Moderates come up with policy positions b positioning themselves between Dems and GOPs. However, there is nothing about being in the middle that makes an ideology correct. If the Democrats' position is that 2+2=4 and the Republican position is 45 billion. The moderate will say that 2+2=23 billion. And Dan Balz will write a beautiful ode to the moderateness of the moderate.

But lost among all this is the fact that 2+2 is nowhere close to 23 billion.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Here is an exercise for you righties...at least those of you with imaginations and the ability to understand what a hypothetical is..

Imagine...the current President had been in office instead of the "Cowboy" on 9/11.

Recall the days after 9/11. Perhaps we remember differently..but as I recall the nation came together as it hadn't done in my lifetime, reacting perhaps as our parents..some of your grandparents lol, did in WWII. There was a genuine consensus. Alas there was also a large amount of blood lust which I shamefully must admit included me. This is why I want a leader BETTER than myself...unlike the cretins at the tea party I don' want somebody like Joe the Plumber or Sister Sarah because..golly gee..shazam..these folks are just like me. No I'll take a leader who is smarter and more measured than me everytime.

Imagine Obama's reaction. He most certainly would have launched the retaliatory strike into Afghanistan in an effort to punish the Taliban and catch Bin Laden and his henchmen. The failure to capture OBL was military, not G.W.'s fault and there is no reason to assume things would have gone any differently for Obama.

However can anybody envision Obama crowing "Bring it on" playing to our basest instincts. Or might he have behaved in the same measured, unpanicked fashion he has the first two years of his Adminstration. Obviously we know his position on Iraq, that war would have NEVER taken place.

And so where would we be? Yeah Saddam or one of his kids in power...but tens of thousands of lives...many our own brave young men and women...TRILLIONS of $$$$$$
would have been saved. What would our economy look like if our treasury hadn't been looted for these stupid wars. And of course Iraq would not be a client state of Iran's...and the Iranian position wouldn't be nearly as strong as it is currently.

Obama would have taken the consensus at home and instead of harnessing it to war, death and destruction, would have traveled the world marshaling support for peace and better, more unified police work against the terrorists. They are nothing more than common criminals. They are not "enemy combatants". Obama wouldn't have made the mistake of falsely elevating their status to a level of respect they never deserved.

Actually I'm over this exercise already because I find it incredibly sad...all those innocent lives...all those trillions of $$$ that could have been applied to health care, education, infrastructure..it's all just too sad!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Cao, Scott is the Smartest Conservative in the Universe. Don't you remember how deftly he got two nonConservatives to disagree on a topic, therefore destroying liberalism??

Doncha? I mean, it was just too geniusical to forget.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

From the Scott Diaries:

Gov. Rick Scott wants to eliminate a computer system aimed at curbing the illegal sale of prescription drugs at storefront pain clinics, a move that alarmed narcotics investigators, drug-treatment advocates and some lawmakers.

Just two years ago, state legislators approved the creation of a prescription drug monitoring program that would allow doctors to review the drug purchases of their patients, to prevent patients from seeking narcotics from multiple doctors -- a practice known as “doctor shopping.”

“It is beyond my comprehension,” Sen. Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican, said of the governor’s plan for the prescription database. “Without this important program, Florida will take a step back ten years or more into the past.”

“It’s disappointing from a law enforcement standpoint,” said Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti. The database “was probably the best tool that we potentially could have” to curb illegal drug sales from pain clinics.

The prescription database costs nothing in the state budget because lawmakers earmarked no funding for the program when they approved it in 2009. State officials must pay for the database with federal grants and private donations. The database is expected to cost about $1.2 million to assemble, and $500,000 a year to maintain.

The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the proposal.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/08/2057033/gov-scott-seeks-to-kill-drug-database.html#ixzz1DWW6bIkE

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 9, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse

George Bush had to restrict his travel to countries where he won't face arrest.

But yeah, if his kidneys went TU he could get dialysis.

George Bush can snicker about all the men who died so he could wear his flight suit under a mission accomplished banner. The country is barely a step from checkpoints. Airline passengers are patted down like prison inmates, communications are monitored, and everywhere in America people look around and whisper behind their hands when politics comes out. We feel the net lowering.

But Bush gets to watch a .. a ball game.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse

fack feck fick fock ****!!!

GD dook

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, lmsinca, we cannot post about the topic because it is an abortion hobbyhorse.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 9, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

ru,

I just read your 9:48 and did the exercise you proposed. My conlusion is that your hatred and bitterness toward GWB have utterly overwhelmed judgment and basic common sense. You should talk about twisting and mischaracterizing. Good heavens.

What I can imagine is Obama even more unprepared and unqualified than he is now, yes, probably responding to attacks on us by going on an apology and goodwill tour, and accepting blame on behalf of the country.

Or would it be the Obama who has continued much of the same intelligence programming and war effort that he and his party condemned when it served their purpose to tear down GWB? Hmm, hard to guess I suppose.

What I remember after 911 is Democrats viciously turned on GWB as soon as they felt they could, by 2004 they were in full reductio ad Hitlerum mode and accusing him of betraying the country. So don't preach to us about it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 9, 2011 10:42 PM | Report abuse

"The country is barely a step from checkpoints."

Is it?

What preparations are in place? Will this occur via legislation or executive order? Is the entire apparatus of the judiciary to be bypassed? Will the military exceed posse comitas?

How do you see this precipitated?

How do you envision this enacted?

Posted by: tao9 | February 9, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

"...failure to capture OBL was military, not G.W.'s fault and there is no reason to assume things would have gone any differently for Obama...'

I don't agree. Tora Bora was the fault of the administration.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@tao...

Let me begin by saying I respect your faith.
I'm not trying to trash your "personal" religious beliefs. Remember like you and 12 Bar at one time..I too was a mackeral snapper..and I use that term affectionately given that I was called that many times and 12Bar seems to have no problem with a little light hearted humor.

My point was directed at your use of St. Paul as having anything to do with anything other than religion. I quickly tire of debate when someone tries to play the religion card, unless they are questioning the consistency of my own religious beliefs. That is to say, while not a Christian, I do accept and learn from the teachings of Jesus Christ. I do not use those beliefs in debate however unless I realize I'm dealing with a "believer". And so if someone ID's themself as a Christian then I feel free to use tenets of THEIR purported beliefs in a debate..as in "Thou shalt not kill"
If that means anything to a Christian then I might bring it up. And so while I might address you or 12Bar, knowing you to be believers, I would never make a point with Cao or any non believer using religion. It's not rooted in science, logic, or any purely intellectual pursuit.

IMHO I find it a bit intellectually arrogant to try and use a "religious belief" as in St. Paul to make a point as if a non religious person should simply accept that St. Paul was an authority on anything outside of Christianity.

A debate I once had with a fundy who wished to judge me for drinking alcohol.
He was a Christian and was chastising me based on his "personal" beliefs. I informed him he was not being "biblical" in his criticism..after all what about the Wedding Feast at Canaan. He immediately went to that fundy canard...but that was grape juice. No actually it wasn't and anybody familiar with REAL history applying it to the Bible can see it was wine. The entire comment about..why did the host save the best wine (Jesus creation) for last. Historically in those times hosts served the best wine FIRST hoping that everybody would be blotto by the time the less fermented bad wine was served. I just quickly tire of folks using religion as if it was accepted fact when it's actually a matter of faith.

I don't suspect I'd get very far on this blog if someone made a point and I countered that point with...well Mohamed says in the Koran that....

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry ruk but I still don't get invading Afghanistan.

If you have a guest at your house who commits a holdup, yeah you'll be questioned but as long as nobody cam show you were involved with the holdup the cops aren't going to arrest you too .. Much less burn your house down.

I've never read of any evidence that the Afghanistan government was in on 9/11.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD,

Reihan Salam is the Smartest Conservative in the Universe.

Someone better keep an eye on him.

Posted by: tao9 | February 9, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I just quickly tire of folks using religion as if it was accepted fact when it's actually a matter of faith.
-------------------------------------------------
Even those of us who are religious tire quickly of folks who spout Bible verses to prove something or other, when most of us know there is a great deal of contradiction in the Bible. IMO, we look pretty foolish using the Bible to make political points.

Someone recently wrote that the Bible made it clear that capital punishment was ok. The Bible makes that clear? I must have missed that part of the Bible. I started to ask "where" but stopped myself. Do I really want to go down that road? I do not.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 9, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

@Cao

"A lot of those people marching against the war here were well past draft age, ruk."

Indeed Cao. If there is anything worse than losing one's life in a useless war..it's losing the life of one's child. If I had been killed in Vietnam it would have been one thing...but if they had drafted my son, and he had died in Iraq...I would be nuckin futs...Mess with me, don't mess with my child. And in fact the most successful single protestor may be Cindy Sheehan who lost her son and then was reviled by the right for daring to confront Georgie about his cavalier decision to send her child into harm's way.

Perhaps we part company in "judging" our posters. I do not agree with Scott and Q.B. is very difficult to debate, but I do perceive these two as among the best the right has to offer on this blog. I know..damning them with faint praise. LOL

But they're not in the same intellectual class as claw/jake skippy and they are certainly not psychopaths like rainman and so I choose to respect their opinions.

As to moral queasiness...ouch..the truth hurts my Vietnamese friend. I'm currently sitting on my arse typing on a blog. I honestly feel guilty about this. I should find the best anti war group available and march with them. If I can't find one I should start one. I won't argue your point about moral queasiness as I myself am guilty...maybe not of queasiness...but of lacking the courage of my convictions.

I used to think voting would make a difference...but Q.B. does have one excellent point...Obama betrayed we on the left when it came to Afghanistan and for that matter Iraq. A showy withdrawal of "combat troops" is not the same as leaving.
We still have over 100,000 folks there and I don't really see much difference in killing with troops like the 101st Airborne or hired mercenaries like Blackwater of whatever they call themselves these days. At least in Iraq the Iraquis seem to be regaining some control of THEIR country...or perhaps I should say the Iranian mullahs have gained control and so the violence is ebbing. They know we are on the way out..hopefully.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 11:00 PM | Report abuse

clawrence

I wasn't trying to reignite the "abortion hobby horse", I was pointing out how conservative Shuler is. We have a big tent party but this guy's to the right of moderate republicans in some pretty important ways. It's getting pretty tough to define moderate anymore.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 9, 2011 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Weigant has a question raising commentary on Boehner's vote counting ability.

""Perhaps John Boehner's just having a rough week. He'll likely get better at counting votes as time goes on. Perhaps we're all so used to Nancy Pelosi running the House that we're setting the bar too high (Pelosi almost never moved any issue until she was absolutely certain she had the votes to prevail). But perhaps... just perhaps... we're seeing the external cracks from the power struggle for control of the Republican Party starting to develop.

House Republicans, so far, have been trying to ramrod through a whole host of social "hot button" issues that they've been wanting to move on for a long time -- but this is not exactly politically smart, considering that they haven't done a single thing yet on the jobs front. Democrats are starting to point this out, too. But the real fight within the Republican Party has only just begun -- what to do about the budget. This is going to pit the deficit hawks in the party against the party regulars who know what (just as one example) slashing federal farm subsidies would do to them at the ballot box. There are going to be multiple budget battles among House Republicans in the next few months (finishing up this year's budget, passing next year's budget, and raising the debt ceiling), so this is going to be a rather long and drawn-out affair.

This is where the real test for Boehner lies. He's going to have to be the one who decides which budget bill moves forward. And if he's going to avoid a very public brouhaha within his own party, he's going to have to get a lot better at counting votes than he has been in the past few days.""

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-weigant/can-boehner-count-votes_b_821104.html

Posted by: lmsinca | February 9, 2011 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Regardless, lmsinca, no more posts about that anymore.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 9, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse

RU,

Thanks.

Here's the full comment that kicked off the nuclear response, I was following up Bernie's request for a thinker of stature on free will:

"Bernie, just got home from the mill:

"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Romans 14:23

Merely reading (Paul) won't cut it; meditating on, for example, the above's immutability, then attempting albeit imperfectly to live it will make you more free than you (or I) can begin to, or ever will, imagine. It actually IS free will.

Also, white-out the "Romans 14:23" and it still stands for any man, of any faith, of any culture, at any time.

There ya go, straight at cha from my non-determinist synaptic calcium gates."

Please note the 2nd-to-last graph.

The quote could have indeed read: "Whatsoever is not of faith is absent of virtue" and been said by Confucius or Siddhartha.

Is faith not a component of enquiry?

Posted by: tao9 | February 9, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Make no mistake. President Obama never apologized for the US. He was just highlighting the arrogance of the last administration to eccentuate his reasonable and modest stance.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 9, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

clawrence

I didn't say I wasn't ever going to discuss the Republican's efforts to restrict choice, I said it wasn't my intent in the Shuler post. Who made you the blog police anyway?

Posted by: lmsinca | February 9, 2011 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Who made you the blog police anyway?
-----------------------------------------------
Why? He has a red Allis-Chalmers cap, that's why.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 9, 2011 11:17 PM | Report abuse

@Tao

"Is faith not a component of enquiry?"

Yes I definitely think it is, among those who have faith. I have faith, not an absolute, dogmatic, or completely resolved faith. Earlier today I used John Donne's
famous meditation that Hemingway used in his prologue and title "For Whom the Bell Tolls"

I don't perceive Cao or Bernie to be men of faith..at least faith in a Higher Being. And so I wouldn't respond to them with Donne or St. Thomas Aquinas, I wouldn't even use the parables of Christ with them although I believe those parables to hold some timeless truths.

But that's just me. How about if I admit to one of my frequent errors. I do take your points and I apologize for accusing you of "jamming religion down our throats"
Upon careful consideration of your comments and subsequent posts I believe I am guilty of hyperbole. Since we are talking about religion..a very personal thing..I hope I didn't offend you. Seriously and without snark.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

@Tao

BTW did you make it to the top?
Was RU echoing though the valley?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"Why? He has a red Allis-Chalmers cap, that's why."

12Bar LMAO You are capable of some seriously funny snark. I bet you really had them going back in your old days at the Fix.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Religion. People stopped being monkeys when they started burying stuff with their dead, stuff they might need since they were not really dead.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I did indeed.

"RUuuuuuuu" echoed west off Macomb Mt into the wind toward Blake Peak at about 1:30pm on Friday afternoon.

Posted by: tao9 | February 9, 2011 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Make no mistake. President Obama never apologized for the US. He was just highlighting the arrogance of the last administration to eccentuate his reasonable and modest stance.

Posted by: mikefromArlington

Exactly...but to a neocon anything less than bring it on=surrender.

And while I agree with your take I think it would have been completely appropriate for Obama to APOLOGIZE for the previous administration. How many innocent people did they kill..and for what? How badly did they violate Geneva conventions...our own Constitution. Someone should apologize for them and anybody who's read their revisionist books like Rummy's POS book just released realized that none of them are MAN enough to apologize for themselves. But perhaps I'm too harsh..maybe they just need some time..look how long it took McNamara to come clean.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

People stopped being monkeys when they started burying stuff with their dead, stuff they might need since they were not really dead.
---------------------------------------------
See! SEE! There is a good reason for religion. It's good for consumerism and the environment. Take your e-waste with you.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 9, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations on your conquest and Thanks!

OK all you knuckleheads time for bed.
12Bar keep the peace.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

ruk,

"capable of some seriously funny snark"

Norwegians are the funny people in Scandinavia, they are called the latins of skandihoovia; I imagine Assange would not be fighting extradition if he were a square head.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 11:34 PM | Report abuse

From one of Greg's links above. I think it's fascinating that it's finally dawning on "some" Republicans at least, that we really do have a health care crisis and something needs to change. A lot of them seem to be expecting some sort of bill from their party if they're able to repeal ACA, are we taking bets yet?

""Ask any House Republican about repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law, and you’ll get the same fiery, self-assured talking points about tearing down what Speaker John Boehner has called a “monstrosity.”

But talk to some of the 16 freshman lawmakers who have declined their government health benefits, and you’ll hear a different side of the story — about tough out-of-pocket expenses, pre-existing conditions and support for health reforms that would help those who struggle with their coverage. As they venture into the free market for health insurance, these lawmakers — many of whom swept into office fueled by tea party anger over the health care law — are facing monthly premiums of $1,200 and fears of double-digit rate hikes.

The experience has caused some of them to think harder about the “replace” part of the “repeal and replace” mantra the GOP has adopted regarding the health care law.

“I have a niece who has pre-existing conditions, and I worry about her if she was ever to lose her job,” said Florida Rep. Richard Nugent, one of the freshman lawmakers who declined federal health insurance benefits.

Every single House Republican voted to repeal the health care law last month.

“I can simply, honestly say that this is going to impact my wife and I to a fairly serious degree, like it would any average American out there,” said first-time Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois.

Walsh’s wife has a pre-existing condition and will need a procedure in the coming months, but because he declined federal benefits, they’re paying for it out of pocket. Meanwhile, Walsh is contributing to a health savings account to cover his expenses.""

Posted by: lmsinca | February 9, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

@shrink and ruk,

I confess--I'm part squarehead and part Irish and a mackerel snapper.

My mom was raised Lutheran since she and her siblings grew up on Grandpa Ole's farm. I asked whether they went to Lutheran church. "Oh, no. The Lutheran church was German Lutheran and **we** were Norwegian Lutherans."

After Grandpa died, they all reverted back to Catholic since they were really Irish Catholics anyway but just wanted to please Grandpa.

Stories from the farm.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 9, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

There was a time when that religious nosology was a matter of life and death, just as being colored in the wrong place at the wrong time still is now in a few benighted places and in living memory in vast sections of this and other countries. People like me make fun of liberals now, but I know conservatives are dangerous.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 11:48 PM | Report abuse

A ship of fools.

"For the second consecutive day, House Republicans on Wednesday lost a floor vote due to a mini-revolt, this time over a plan to demand a repayment from the United Nations."

Did they really think playing House was going to be fun?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 11:59 PM | Report abuse

In other news...

"The partners of Belgian politicians are being urged to go on a sex strike until a government is formed. The country had general elections last June but parties have so far been unable to form a governing coalition.

Socialist senator Marleen Temmerman said after a week of a similar sex ban in Kenya in 2009, a government was formed. It is now 241 days since the elections, and Belgium is fast approaching an unofficial world record. Apart from Somalia, it is reported that only Iraq has taken longer (249 days) to form a government."

If I were a woman, I'd have a headache.


Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 12:16 AM | Report abuse

I don't perceive Cao or Bernie to be men of faith..at least faith in a Higher Being.

==

I feel a statement of sel-definition coming on.

I'm a Materialist. I believe life is thermodynamic and molecular, that the mind is wholly explained by neurological anatomy, and that we have no undying part. I believe that death is abolutely final and that anything we seek to accomplish has to be in this singular life.

I believe in nothing supernatural nor transcendent.

A few weeks ago Brigade snarled the dormitory argument about the anthropic principle .. there are certain physical constants whose values are arbitrary (the ratios of the strengths of the four forces, among others) and the combination of them that leads to the possibility of organic life is exceedingly slim. Yet somehow here we are.

There are several logical weaknesses to this argument, though none as weak as the idea that some incomplete physical knowledge leads perforce to a supernatural explanation. Next Open Thread I'd be happy to take this up if anyone's interested. One preview: the probability of this life-favoring cosmos isn't 10^-60, it's 1.0. We are, after all, here.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 12:24 AM | Report abuse

That whatever religion you want to mock up is aok because we are too stupid to understand how we could be here otherwise argument...is a laugher. But it does not follow that people get to be atheist. We are morons in the face of reality. Shadows on the cave wall, semiotics, we are foolish. Reality is beyond us. We are agnostic, simple as that.

We can imagine, we can learn about our relationship to the real world, we can not know the answers to questions we can imagine. Our semiotic ability, our capacity to imagine questions has gone far beyond our ability to answer. That won't change.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 12:47 AM | Report abuse

There was a time when that religious nosology was a matter of life and death, just as being colored in the wrong place at the wrong time still is now in a few benighted places and in living memory in vast sections of this and other countries. People like me make fun of liberals now, but I know conservatives are dangerous.

==

Can we please be rigorous in distinguishing fundamentalists from the religious?

Authentically Christian people hold liberal values by definition. Christ wasn't a libertarian and taught that we have shared and common interests. Worth noting that there is a virulent strain of modern Judaism increasingly prevalent in Israel that sneers at what we call the Golden Rule as a purely Christian value, and not a Jewish one, and excoriates Jews to regard others as unworthy of reciprocity. Google Rabbi Shapira and the King's Torah. Anyway.

Fundamentalists, be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, whatever are something else. They're violent people who for some annoying reason get out of being diagnosed as mentally ill despite holding manifestly irrational beliefs and never being further away than the rule of law from killing people.

Real religious people shouldn't be tarred by fundamentalists, but nether should fundamentalists be regarded with grace.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 12:55 AM | Report abuse

"Can we please be rigorous in distinguishing fundamentalists from the religious?"

That was my point, now we can.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 1:00 AM | Report abuse

What is fundamentalism anyway? We know it when we see it, but what defines it? Even though I hold some values that some fundamentalists hold, I know we are not the same at our core, and yet, I'm not exactly sure why.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 10, 2011 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Fundamentalism is obscene, we know it when we see it.


Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, shrink, disagree.

Agreed that we can wonder about things far beyond our ability to answer. Like string theory.

But that in no way excuses, much less justifies, leaving open the possibility that our distant ancestors, who were even less capable than we are of answering mysterious questions, were onto something when they came up with their hunt-gods and crop-gods ... and sky-gods.

We must approach the great mysteries perturbatively, not just jumping the tracks and reverting to nonsense.

I know I'm right because just when I finished writing, I heard a dog howl.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Lookit, we just fired someone who had to have a meeting with me about violating peoples' right to religious freedom by forcing them to take antipsychotic Rx against their religious "belief". Never mind she was aok with sticking them with needles, just for looking at her crossly.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 1:13 AM | Report abuse

"We must approach the great mysteries perturbatively"

Oh well, that was quick. That was what I was going to say. We can summarily dismiss religious nut bars, but that does not tell us anything about anything.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 1:18 AM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism

To start.

For a deeper discussion, read "Stealing Jesus" by Bruce Bawer

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Agnosticism, it will set you free. You just don't have to know.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 1:32 AM | Report abuse

WTF, the Egyptians are playing with fire...I hope they don't think someone will save them...

“I like the Muslim Brotherhood most, and they like me,” said Sally Moore, a 32-year-old psychiatrist, a Coptic Christian and an avowed leftist and feminist of mixed Irish-Egyptian roots. “They always have a hidden agenda, we know, and you never know when power comes how they will behave. But they are very good with organizing, they are calling for a civil state just like everyone else, so let them have a political party just like everyone else — they will not win more than 10 percent, I think.”

I'd like to wish good luck to this 32-year-old psychiatrist Coptic Christian leftist and feminist of mixed Irish-Egyptian roots.

What an idiot.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 1:44 AM | Report abuse

I think fundamentalism is lack of doubt. It's ok to have faith, but people should realize that it's just faith and nothing more and the faith might be misplaced.

Like faith that one days refs will call a Duke game fairly. Clearly misplaced, but I still keep faith.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2011 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Dorm room is right. All this heavy thinking brings back the old aura. I suppose one of these nights we'll move on to Wittgenstein or maybe Pirandello?

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 10, 2011 2:11 AM | Report abuse

Bawer talks about this creepy defense that fundies have .. when they run across an idea that seriously challenges their beliefs they sort of "go away" for a moment, kind of a PURGE PURGE PURGE event, and they don't address or process the dangerous idea. They don't refute it, they don't deal with it at all.

I've observed this. Their eyes actually roll back for a second.

A few posts ago I was talking about liberals' queasiness at making value judgments (this is a big peeve of mine) .. this is the opposite. The unrestrained willingness to make the harshest judgments based on purely imaginary principles. It's not Catholics who bomb abortion clinics or gay clubs.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 3:17 AM | Report abuse

Dorm room is right. All this heavy thinking brings back the old aura. I suppose one of these nights we'll move on to Wittgenstein or maybe Pirandello?

==

Not before Nietzsche!

And please, no Ayn Rand night.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 3:21 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to wish good luck to this 32-year-old psychiatrist Coptic Christian leftist and feminist of mixed Irish-Egyptian roots.

What an idiot.

==

Yeah they'll have her shrouded like a mummy in no time.

If it weren't for "and they like me" I'd say she's evidence that the other sides are a lot worse than the MB. But if she thinks a feminist is going to enjoy an Islamic government, she needs her own services more than her patients.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 3:30 AM | Report abuse

The Republican party is soon to be the party that's thrown in the garbage bin.
That nut-job Paul is going to gut the country. Can you believe this crazy wants to cut food safety, the EPA, all education programs, the science foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Job-training programs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, funds for low-income families to heat their homes, food stamps, and that isn't the half of it. Then he's going to fix Social Security, which they stole 4 ½ trillion dollars from. And all the while the one thing that should be cut (defense) isn't getting squat cut. They spend more money on defense than the whole world combined. 6 times more than China. This guy's days in Washington are limited. People will be coming out of the wood-work to vote him out. We'll be the dumbest country on earth when this crazy gets done with us. China is already churning out smarter students than our best at Yale and Harvard. If he thinks the people asked for this, he's got rocks in his head. What this amounts to is a big fat check for the elite to do whatever they want with it. There was an article put out several weeks back called The Tea-Party / Progressive coalition for Defense cuts. Both sides came together on this one to spell out exactly where the problem is. In a poll that was taken, the last things on the list people wanted cut were Social Security and education. And what does he do, he goes right after Social Security and education. People are not going to keep paying into Social Security when they're not going to get anything out of it. And that's exactly what they're trying to do, push the age so that you die first. These politicians should be in jail. I think this guy is going to push people over the edge. Hopefully we'll start voting with our brains and get rid of them all.

Posted by: HemiHead66 | February 10, 2011 5:40 AM | Report abuse

Politico writes today:


The White House is moving to stamp out reports that top officials — including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — are sending conflicting signals about how best to resolve the crisis in Egypt.


_____________________

Conflicting signals? It's called OBAMA IS CLUELESS.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama's problem in Egypt is policy, not "conflicting signals"

Obama simply does not know what he is doing.

Obama started last week with one policy - BEFORE he listened to the experts. Then the experts started sinking through his THICK EGO, and other considerations began to finally cause Obama to think about the actual CONSEQUENCES.


So, now the policy is in limbo.


Clearly, Obama simply did not understand American National Security INTERESTS in the MIDDLE EAST until this week. The statements coming from the Obama people even up to mid-last week reflected a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of the region.


It was ONLY when Obama realized that if he messed up there would be domestic political implications did he change his tune.


The liberals have imposed on this nation an UNQUALIFIED AND INEXPERIENCED THICK-EGO of a person who is a DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN.


Obama may have averted a major disaster this time. However, the country keeps getting closer and closer to Obama making a major mistake.

This time, by encouraging the protestors who were aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama almost caused ANOTHER WAR in the Middle East.


If Obama continued down that road, the Muslim Brotherhood would have taken over the Egyptian goverenment, and who knows how many other countries in the Middle East. This surely would have caused another war - either during Obama's term or soon after.

Obama should resign immediately. If this nation had a Board of Directors, Obama would have been FIRED last year.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

"Moderates come up with policy positions b positioning themselves between Dems and GOPs. However, there is nothing about being in the middle that makes an ideology correct."

Furthermore, that technique lends itself to manipulation and exploitation which Cons well know. So the Cons stake out the most extreme antigovernment, pure free market positions -- even if it means denying science and even if it will do nothing to address the problem -- and then say, OK, there's one pole. Then the Libs, who are actually trying to solve the problem propose a solution. However, since Libs are presently programmed for defeat, they inevitably build compromise into their policy proposals, e.g., the public option rather than single payer health care. The "Moderate" accepts that position as the other pole. Then the "Moderate" says see: I am between the poles so I am Moderate and I am correct.

What the Cons realized, however, was that the more extreme they became the further Right the "Moderate" position would move. So there is nothing "Moderate" about the policy positions this manipulated practice produces. They are simply arbitrary points between two positions, only one of which is designed to actually solve problems. Indeed, it is self-proclaimed Moderates like Mark who really set the Right pole for policy positions, when one limits consideration to ideas actually designed to resolve real problems. The lunacy and idiocy of the Limbaugh Wing of the GOP must be discarded BEFORE splitting the difference.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 6:52 AM | Report abuse

And I ask again what this means in practice:

"Global warming Exists. Humans can contribute less carbon and methane to the atmosphere, and also prepare for the removal of human habitation from coastal regions. Or simply wait until there are no options. I think moderates would favor slow and steady preparation, easing the ultimate dislocations"

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 9, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Obama's health bill has CAUSED the GREAT OBAMA STAGNATION - an Economic time when business uncertainly is so great that not only is investment halted, but hiring is down.

Obviously, this will go down in history as one of the dumbest economic policies in the history of the nation - in the category of Hoovervilles and the Smoot-Harley Tariff.


Obama has been complete ineffective - and COUNTERPRODUCTIVE is probably much more accurate.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 7:01 AM | Report abuse

mark:

Sorry I didn't have time last night to respond to you on who benefits the most from government spending. Something came up.

I still don't have time to get too far into the weeds on this, but in brief a distinction needs to be drawn between payments made in exchange for a service and payments made to provide a simple benefit. If the government gives a paycheck to a policeman for X amount, and then sends a welfare check for Y amount to a poor person, it makes no sense at all to say that, well, X is greater than Y, therefore the policeman is "benefitting" more from government spending. X is an exchange of value for value, while Y is pure benefit and no exchange at all.

Basically, when you claim that banks are "benefitting" from government spending via interest payments, you are ignoring the benefit that the government, or "the people", are receiving in return. Which, BTW, is (in theory) at least equal to the cost of the interest payments, otherwise the government wouldn't borrow the money.

The same is true for any other service provider with whom the government contracts to provide a service (defense contractors for instance). You may reasonably argue that the service is not worth the cost, and therefore the government should not spend the money (or borrow the money as the case may be), but it is wrong to conflate such a payment with a pure benefit provided by the government.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 7:10 AM | Report abuse

If we are going to have a health care bill, the Republicans should come up with their alternative - and Obama should just take that bill.


This idea that Obama is going to write a 2,000 page bill which no one knows what is in it - and somehow Obama thinks that will stands - well that is the stuff of what gets people locked up in mental hospitals.


The funding of Obama's bill - STILL NOT DONE. This bill is STILL a deficit-bomb. It is a ticking time deficit-bomb. So, that part of it is STILL not resolved.


And that is BEFORE the revenue from the individual mandate gets taken out of the equation.


The Federal government should strictly regulate the insurance companies - the ABUSES OF THE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES - and the States should take the rest of the health care powers.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"And [Norquist's] goal, one party rule, one accveptable ideology, one accepted version of history etc is explicitly totalitarian.".

Yes, right.

Just as the fact that a federal tax on individual income, or Social Security, or the notion of women being allowed to vote, all of which were at one point in our history highly controversial, have been "institutionalized" and are essentially "permanent in the minds of the people" is also "explicitly totalitarian".

One imagines, Bernie, that were socialized medicine to become "institutionalized" and "permanent in the minds of the people", we wouldn't see too many references to "totalitarianism" coming from you regarding the fact. Indeed, aren't you the one who repeatedly extolls the fact that there no longer exists any political constituency in Canada for a free market medical system? Are you too, then, a promoter of totalitarianism?

Norquist is advocating explicitly nothing more than what all political movements implicitly try to accomplish...become the accepted and established norm.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 7:19 AM | Report abuse

If we are going to have a health care bill, the Republicans should come up with their alternative - and Obama should just take that bill.


This idea that Obama is going to write a 2,000 page bill which no one knows what is in it - and somehow Obama thinks that will stands - well that is the stuff of what gets people locked up in mental hospitals.


The funding of Obama's bill - STILL NOT DONE. This bill is STILL a deficit-bomb. It is a ticking time deficit-bomb. So, that part of it is STILL not resolved.


And that is BEFORE the revenue from the individual mandate gets taken out of the equation.


The Federal government should strictly regulate the insurance companies - the ABUSES OF THE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES - and the States should take the rest of the health care powers.




Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 7:21 AM | Report abuse

"The lunacy and idiocy of the Limbaugh Wing of the GOP must be discarded BEFORE splitting the difference.'

Never mind that more Americans are conservative than liberal. And Bernie was just talking about conservative one-party "totalitarianism."


Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Times of London:

Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up President Mubarak if the White House tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt. In a testy personal telephone call on January 29, King Abdullah told President Obama not to humiliate Mr Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the US withdrew its aid programme, worth $1.5 billion annually. America’s closest ally in the Gulf made clear that the Egyptian President must be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards peaceful democracy and then leave with dignity. “Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the King is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated,” a senior source in the Saudi capital told The Times. Two sources confirmed details of the King’s call

_________________________

Yikes Really going some when the Saudis have to step in and protect American Interests in the Middle East.

The Saudis basicly told Obama, if you don't do it, we will.

The Saudis are going to be around after Obama's term (singular) and they understand what they are doing.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 7:30 AM | Report abuse

"The partners of Belgian politicians are being urged to go on a sex strike until a government is formed."

How very cool. Lysistrata on the Zenne.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Obama and company are already practicing explicity Brezhnev totalitarianism re government control of healthcare per Bernie's definition. They've repeatedly tried to declare it inviolate, since it was democratically crammed down our throats by a passing majority. Obama purports to order us not to try to "relitigate the past two years." Why doesn't he just say, "My works are eternal; let no man try to put them aside."

It's just the same with all the rest of the liberal welfare state. All of it is held to inviolate, and it's held inviolate by addicting the populace to government largesse and making them forget there is any other way.

Exactly the same thing is true of lawless leftwing "jurisprudence." The New Deal Constitution is held to be inviolate and superior to the one actually ratified in 1789.

It's all "explicit totalitarianism."

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 7:43 AM | Report abuse

How very cool. Lysistrata on the Zenne.

==
nice to know there's one educated person here

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

THE PEAK/END OF THE OIL AGE!

"Reinforcing the leaked cables about Saudi Arabia's oil supply lower than publicly reported, only a year ago in March 2010, “The Peak of the Oil Age” was published in Energy Policy by Prof. Kjell Aleklett, Global Energy Systems, Uppsala University, Sweden, that concluded:

“... future growth in (worldwide) gross domestic product (GDP) must be dependent upon fuels other than oil if GDP is to continue as expected. This, in turn, defines the beginning of the end of the “Oil Age,” and society will have to seek other driving forces for future GDP growth. In all our projections, future oil production by 2030 will have decreased from present levels. The world appears most likely to have passed the peak of global oil production and to have entered the descent phase. If this is the case, then the world has reached the “Peak of the Oil Age.”

Also see: February 8, 2011 The Guardian.co.uk."

In light of the above, and what is going on in Egypt, there is a great need for public awareness on why there should be great emphasis placed upon investing and research into alternative energies and fuel. It is in our National Interest & Safety that we do so! We can not afford to let certain Political Parties and persuasions hold progress back.


Posted by: wdsoulplane | February 10, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Obama and company are already practicing explicity Brezhnev totalitarianism re government control of healthcare per Bernie's definition. They've repeatedly tried to declare it inviolate, since it was democratically crammed down our throats by a passing majority. Obama purports to order us not to try to "relitigate the past two years." Why doesn't he just say, "My works are eternal; let no man try to put them aside."

==

Hey ruk, you wanna tell me again that the cretin who wrote this bilge water is intelligent?

Come on.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 7:47 AM | Report abuse

In high school we read the collection Ten Greek Plays, but we were instructed not to read the one in the back (you know what), so of course we all immediately read it.

I don't think of myself has having been educated as a result, though.

The Belgians could probably be better motivated by taking away their wine and beer.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Anyone ever notice how similar to O Ren Ishi's speech to the Tokyo bosses in Kill Bill Obama sounds like when he says he's open to suggestions people might have but topic X is not open to discussion?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Just as the fact that a federal tax on individual income, or Social Security, or the notion of women being allowed to vote, all of which were at one point in our history highly controversial, have been "institutionalized" and are essentially "permanent in the minds of the people" is also "explicitly totalitarian".

==

Ever seen a film by an inept director? He'll do things like rotating the camera because he's seengoid directors rotate the camera, but he doesn't understand why or when it should be done.

You debate like that.

You really see no difference between the irreversibility of social progress and the institutionalization of a barren and corrosive political philosophy?

It isn't often I say this, but, I feel sorry for you.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Scott said: "Norquist is advocating explicitly nothing more than what all political movements implicitly try to accomplish...become the accepted and established norm"

Again, the quote from Grover...

"We must do everything we can to institutionalize the conservative revolution and make it permanent in the minds of people. We must establish a Brezhnev Doctrine for conservative gains. The brezhnev Doctrine states that once a country becomes communist it can never change. Conservatives must establish their own doctrine and declare their victories permanent, not only in freign policy, but in domestic policy as well. A revolution is not successful unless it succeeds in preserving itself."

And another, more well known, from Grover...

"We want to make government so small that it can be drowned in a bathtub"

To propose a parallel between the womans' movement (equality for women) or the civil rights movement (equality for blacks) and the constructing/destroying civil institutions to the end of having one party and one ideology in permanent command of a nation is a tad dim, Scott.

Your correct parallel would be the one Norquist himself makes.

How many conservatives do you know who have developed their political strategies based on the notions and strategies developed or utilized by Lenin, Trotsky and Gramsci? How much about Norquist do you actually know?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

In light of the above, and what is going on in Egypt, there is a great need for public awareness on why there should be great emphasis placed upon investing and research into alternative energies and fuel. It is in our National Interest & Safety that we do so! We can not afford to let certain Political Parties and persuasions hold progress back.

==

Meanwhile in free market Ameria the Republicans want to cut the funds fr conservation and alternative fuels research .. Yet increase military spending, alreadyvmore than every other nation combined, by another eight billion, even while facing no military threats and with the Secretary of Defense saying we can cut $74 billion over ten years.

Trust in the marketplace to make more oil to just magically appear.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""You really see no difference between the irreversibility of social progress and the institutionalization of a barren and corrosive political philosophy?""

Petitio principii.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

The Plutocracy is hard at work to destroy Wikileaks. Here is an excerpt from Bank of America's consultant:

"• Feed the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization. Submit fake documents and then call out the error.

• Create concern over the security of the infrastructure. Create exposure stories. If the process is believed to not be secure they are done.

• Cyber attacks against the infrastructure to get data on document submitters. This would kill the project. Since the servers are now in Sweden and France putting a team together to get access is more straightforward.

• Media campaign to push the radical and reckless nature of Wikileaks activities. Sustained pressure. Does nothing for the fanatics, but creates concern and doubt amongst moderates.

• Search for leaks. Use social media to profile and identify risk behavior of employees"

http://wikileaks.ch/IMG/pdf/WikiLeaks_Response_v6.pdf

This is how The Plutocrats manipulate our world. Now just imagine what has been done by way of disinformation and propaganda concerning something like Global Warming.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

So, "a whopping 58% oppose" Barack H. Obama's war against Afghanistan. That includes me, by the way and I'm mildly conservative.

The negatives are piling up for poor, confused Obama. I sure hope Republicans come up with a really superior candidate soon.

2012 is their's to win....or lose!

Posted by: battleground51 | February 10, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

The Murodoch paper phone-tappiing scandal in Britain keeps getting better. The former Deputy PM was just informed that his phone was tapped. One of the serious aspects of this story is the dumping/covering up of investigation materials by the police...

""There are a lot of questions now being asked as to why they didn't do that and that is to do with the relationship, frankly, between Murdoch press and the Met police."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/feb/10/phone-hacking-john-prescott-named

Murdoch is still in England trying to tamp this one down. If you read the piece, you'll see Prescott claiming all newspapers were doing this but I've been following this story and have seen no evidence to support that claim. It appears to be Murdoch's baby.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

To propose a parallel between the womans' movement (equality for women) or the civil rights movement (equality for blacks) and the constructing/destroying civil institutions to the end of having one party and one ideology in permanent command of a nation is a tad dim, Scott.

==

Don't forget whom you're addressing .. a person whose political affiliates routinely view social progress in terms of oral rape. People who are stll almost a half century later still in shock over the anathematization of racism.

People who see tyranny in the reciprocal duties of citizenship.

Seriously rotten human beings, the lot of them.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

"To propose a parallel between the womans' movement (equality for women) or the civil rights movement (equality for blacks) and the constructing/destroying civil institutions to the end of having one party and one ideology in permanent command of a nation is a tad dim, Scott."

Actually, it's the failure to see that this argument depends purely on a judgment about the comparative ends and not the means (not to mention ridiculous distortion of words) that's more than a tad dim.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

The negatives are piling up for poor, confused Obama. I sure hope Republicans come up with a really superior candidate soon.

==

See? Even a hooting troll like rattlegourd twigs that the GOP gots nobody.

Superior candidate? They can't even come up with a mediocre one. Not when anyone who wants a shot has to run a gauntlet of nut job positions that leave him unacceptable to the majority.

Gender specificity deliberate.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"Actually, it's the failure to see that this argument depends purely on a judgment about the comparative ends"

Hey, look, he's getting smarter!

"... and not the means (not to mention ridiculous distortion of words) that's more than a tad dim."

Well, maybe not.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

@cao - Above, I saw you quote QB (I don't read him and had to trace back to see who'd said it) that the "Obamacare" legislation is an example of totalitarianism. That someone could make a statement this dumb is just depressing. And it's another bit of evidence at how successful Norquist (and others, but he's a key figure) have been.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to hear one of the "conservatives" take a crack st justifying how a Grover Norquist vision of America would possibly be good for the country.

Leave out the part about how much you hate Obama, how much you hate liberals, the socialist agenda stuff, the Marxist stuff, the "loony" stuff, and all rest. Explain in simple declarative terms how the barren politics of corporate control are going to benefit anyone but a wealthy few.

I bet not only can you-plural not justify it, you can't even keep yourselves under control while trying.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

@cao - Above, I saw you quote QB (I don't read him and had to trace back to see who'd said it) that the "Obamacare" legislation is an example of totalitarianism. That someone could make a statement this dumb is just depressing. And it's another bit of evidence at how successful Norquist (and others, but he's a key figure) have been.

==

I normally don't read him either, he's such a freaking moron, but I'm on my iPad right now and there's no TH version for iCabMobile.

I'm a little sick and tired of this totalitarian paranoia shtick of theirs. They see tyranny in equality but they don't see it in corporate slavery.

I really wantnto hear from ruk about why he thinks these two bedwetters are smart. They sure don't seem so to me. Snide, outraged, derisive, yes; intelligent, nowhere.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/the_morning_plum_184.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 10, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Part of a speech from Reagan in '48 (the year my twin and I were born, as it happens)

Ronald Reagan: “The profits of corporations have doubled, while workers wages have only increased by one quarter. In other words, profits have gone up four times as much as wages. And the small increase the workers did receive was more than eaten up by rising prices which have also bored into their savings. For example, here’s an Associated Press dispatch I read the other day about Smith L. Carpenter, a carpenter in Union Springs New York. Seems that Mister Carpenter retired some years ago thinking he had enough money saved so that he could live out his last years without having to worry. But he didn’t figure on this Republican inflation which ate up all his savings. And so he’s gone back to work. The reason this is news; is Mister Carpenter is ninety-one years old. Now take as a contrast the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey which reported a net profit of two hundred and ten million dollars, after taxes, for the first half of 1948. An increase of 70% in one year.”

http://newstalgia.crooksandliars.com/gordonskene/newstalgia-reference-room-ronald-reaga

My kind of guy. Pity about some of the later stuff.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Hey ruk, you wanna tell me again that the cretin who wrote this bilge water is intelligent?

Come on.

Posted by: caothien9

Cao,

LOL. He does make it difficult doesn't he?

But let's leave Q.B. aside because I don't wish anybody to feel I'm attacking them personally.

GOT THAT Q.B. ? ANY MISREPRESENTATION THAT I'M INSULTING YOU WITH THIS DISCUSSION WILL IMMEDIATELY HAVE THIS CAPPED...THIS IS NOT ABOUT Q.B. ATTACHED.

Back to you Cao,

As a writer I love to contemplate the human condition. There have been some really cool conversations on this blog that help illuminate that condition for me.

Intelligence? How do we define it. Aside from the scientific tests which do a fair job of measuring under a number of metrics, it's been my experience that many people who actually possess intelligence do not appear intelligent because of some external force that makes them forfeit their intellect. Shink has given us "semiotics" to explain one reason for this forfeiture of intellect.

My sister in law would score very highly on I.Q. tests and other "scientific" forms of measurement but she ends up acting like a dolt because of all her emotional difficulties...she is a "drama mama" supreme, a raging hypochondriac, in short her emotional shortcomings have translated into "intellectual" shortcomings.

Then there are those who sacrifice their intellect because of fear...they simply are uncomfortable with the unknown...and let's face it..what critically thinking mind isn't attracted to the unknown in a thirst for more knowledge?

I'm sure I'm making erroneous judgments about who I find intelligent posters on this blog. Certainly a mastery of facts influences my opinion, but I also look for those who are not fearful, not threatened, able to look inward as well as outward, and those who are able to use some critical thinking skills to process all this information instead of knee jerk dogma.

While I'm rambling Cao...Lawrence O'Donnell did something last night on MSNBC that I do not see nearly often enough on cable news or anywhere in politics for that matter. He admitted a mistake. Several nights back during a rant about NFL billionaire owners and millionaire players getting tax subsidies he used Bill Maher's pithy "Juiced up millionaire players giving each other brain damage while billionaire owners make even more $$$. Last night O'Donnell apologized profusely for being cavalier about a genuine problem in the NFL..brain damage. He also threw himself under the bus and said "juiced up" was an unfair stereotype. He used his father, a former policeman who eventually got his law degree to pop some stereotypes about police and attorneys. He took responsibility, looked directly into the camera and apologized.

I find great comfort in addressing people who have the capacity to admit error. I have admitted to a couple myself over the past days and I do not feel diminished by my mistakes. In fact I 'll feel informed by them...old cliche about learning..

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""To propose a parallel between the womans' movement (equality for women) or the civil rights movement (equality for blacks) and the constructing/destroying civil institutions to the end of having one party and one ideology in permanent command of a nation is a tad dim, Scott.""

Yeah, yeah, you think I am dim. Or the point is dim. Or whatever. Fine. But the point remains.

As I said, you revel in the fact that certain of your political preferences have been "institutionalized" in Canada and that one ideology is in "permanent command" of that particular aspect of society. Yet you don't view yourself as promoting "explicit totalitarianism" do you? But Norquist is when he announces an intention to accomplish for his ideology precisely what yours has already accomplished? Rubbish.

As always, the only relevant distinction is in the ideology itself. You don't like Norquists ideology, so any effort to promote that ideology is, it seems, necessarily nefarious and deserving of being characterized in negative terms. His desire to have his ideology generally adopted across the populace is a "totalitarian" desire for "one party rule". But, of course, your desire to have (and even success in getting) your ideology generally adopted across the populace is nothing of the sort, but is rather "social progress" for "the people".

Funny how that works, eh?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

qb:

""Actually, it's the failure to see that this argument depends purely on a judgment about the comparative ends and not the means (not to mention ridiculous distortion of words) that's more than a tad dim.""

Quite correct.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Scott, thanks for a thoughtful comment. Remember that the enumerated federal powers skew federal government to serve the needs of commerce and, because I am not a liberal, I think that has worked out to the national advantage and was a brilliant idea. While every word you wrote is true, the notion that the poor [especially in the beginning] are supposed to pay proportionately was not part of that compact. Property owners paid tax because they were the beneficiaries of the revenues.

Now we measure wealth by incomes and poor people vote, which affects the compact, surely. Nevertheless, the federal constitution favors commerce and business activity, and private wealth creation, and for me that means the favored should pay more because they are the system's beneficiaries.

Please understand that I am not arguing "class warfare": I like a constitution that is worried about roads and rivers and sea lanes and no internal tariff barriers. From my perspective it is skewed to think the poor should have to bear a significant tax load to make our common market work, but fair to think that the wealthy and commercial interests should. I might even argue that we explicitly use our naval power to keep trading lanes open and have aggressively done so since TR. The business of America is in large part business and the taxation should follow the model.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 10, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""That someone could make a statement this dumb is just depressing. And it's another bit of evidence at how successful Norquist (and others, but he's a key figure) have been.""

Now that is dim. Or simply dishonest.

qb did not characterize Obamacare as "totalitarian". He characterized Obama's attempts to make Obamacare beyond the bounds of political debate as totalitarian...by YOUR definition of the term. Norquist had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Whoa, a conservative agrees with another. I need to mark this in my journal. Wow, that like never happens.

<:/sarcasm>

Get a room, guys.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

ru,

Giant disclaimer noted, although note exactly sure how it relates to the rest, but anyway ...

Bernie is saying one of two things, as far as I can see. One is that anyone who adopts a goal or strategy of "instititionalizing" or making "permanent" their political gains, especially through persuading people of their rightness, has explicitly adopted totalitarianism.

The other is that Norquist is explicitly totalitarian because he used the Brezhnev Doctrine as an analogy . . . for doing the same thing everyone does and that isn't otherwise totalitarian.

Neither one of these is logically defensible. The first conflates ideas having nothing to do with each other. The second is just a silly "gotcha" game.

Now, let's look deeper. Norquist used the BD analogy, which I've certainly seen done more than once before on all sides and in different ways. Bernie slyly transformed that reference into a reference to Brezhnev, Lenin, and Gramsci. Catch that?

I've studied some Gramsci and Lenin. I don't know that anyone "studies" Brezhnev's "thought," but his "Doctrine" was one of use of international force -- when the socialist revolution in a country is threatened by capitalist forces of reaction, other socialist countries use force to "protect" the "revolution." Both Lenin and Brezhnev pursued variants of classic Soviet Marxism that was based on use of force -- get that, totalitarian use of force.

Gramsci was something a little different. He was one of the first to come along and try to adapt the lunatic fantasy that is Marxism to the reality of human society. Of course, he was a miserable failure at this, like all the rest, but his main "contribution" was the "observation" that socialist revolution was being forestalled by the fact that people live under the belief that capitalism -- freedom -- is a good thing. He said, you have to have a revolution in culture and civil society to achieve a communist revolution.

So, what exactly is Bernie trying to say by mixing up all these ideas? By invoking the Brezhnev analogy, is he saying that Norquist is advocating use of totalitarian force to make permanent the gains of conservatism? Why, then, does he mention Gramsci and focus on the (sinister) goal of winning the battle of ideas? What is the difference between what Norquist is saying about making it permanent in people's minds?

You've hitched your wagon to a crude propagandist who is tossing around names and references to make you think he's got it all diagnosed and worked out. It's a lot of pseudo-intellectual rubbish.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"Like faith that one days refs will call a Duke game fairly. Clearly misplaced, but I still keep faith."

Cute.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 10, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"Above, I saw you quote QB (I don't read him and had to trace back to see who'd said it) that the "Obamacare" legislation is an example of totalitarianism. That someone could make a statement this dumb is just depressing. And it's another bit of evidence at how successful Norquist (and others, but he's a key figure) have been."

Which are you being here, sloppy or dishonest, bernie?

Because as Scott pointed out, I said nothing of the kind. I said that the efforts of Obama and party to declare Obamacare inviolate and not subject to rollback are "totalitarian" in precisely the same way you are using that term here. The rhetorical trenches are being dug around it by everyone on the left from Obama on down to commenters here -- we have it in place now, and all we have to do is convince people they can't live without it. Discussion of rollback is out of bounds.

Have you the guts to address the actual argument here? How about if you provide an actual demonstration of whether Norquist is an "explicit" Leninist or an explicit Gramscian, rather than a throw-away line that equates advocacy of consolidating political gains with totalitarianism? Which is he he and why?

And while you're at it, you've quoted him several times, yet I've yet to see him mention one-party rule.

Please do enlighten those of us too dumb to see what you are showing us.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

mark:

""Remember that the enumerated federal powers skew federal government to serve the needs of commerce and, because I am not a liberal, I think that has worked out to the national advantage and was a brilliant idea. ""

I don't know quite what you mean when you say that federal powers skew federal government to "serve the needs" of commerce. And, regardless of what you do mean, doesn't the fact that you think it has worked out to the "national advantage" mean that it is serving the needs of everyone, not just those of a select few you designate as "commerce"?

""Nevertheless, the federal constitution favors commerce and business activity, and private wealth creation, and for me that means the favored should pay more because they are the system's beneficiaries.""

Again, I am not sure what it means to "favor" business activity. As opposed to what? Disallowing it? And there is a difference between the constitution "favoring" a particular constituency and people operating to good effect under objective rules that apply to everyone. Just because you might have established a business under federal law that has made you rich while I have labored as one of your employees making a reasonable but not extravagant living doesn't mean that the constitution has "favored" you over me. And in any event, under either our current tax system or the one that I think is more just (a flat tax), those that are "favored" by your reasoning do pay more than those less favored.

""From my perspective [the constitution] is skewed to think the poor should have to bear a significant tax load to make our common market work...""

How so? What "tax load" are the poor shouldering right now, and how does this burden ostensibly "make our common market work"?

""I might even argue that we explicitly use our naval power to keep trading lanes open and have aggressively done so since TR.""

I'd agree with that, at least in part. But, again, to get back to your notion that it has worked out to the "national advantage", hasn't this been good for everyone? Don't middle class people benefit from having the choice of buying cheap, well made goods from overseas? Don't factory workers benefit when the company they work for is able to export the goods they make into foreign markets? The notion that the benefits of a public good (in the true, economic sense of the word) like open sea lanes for trading accrue only to the owners of businesses who make direct use of them doesn't seem sensible to me.

""The business of America is in large part business and the taxation should follow the model.""

It does already, and would even under a tax scheme that I prefer.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

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