Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 6:22 PM ET, 02/10/2011

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* The Tea is on full boil as House Republicans, facing a revolt from conservatives, vow to figure out a way to push the budget cuts back up to $100 billion.

* A source close to White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton emails that it's "unlikely" that he will run for the seat of GOP Rep. Chris Lee, who resigned yesterday. Some Dems have approached Burton to gauge his interest in possibly making the race. (Item corrected.)

* Mubarak delegates authority to the vice president, but stops short of leaving.

* Today in fiscal conservatism: Rand Paul gets booed at CPAC for floating the mere idea of looking at defense programs in the quest to bring down spending. (Though, in fairness, there were also cheers.)

* David Dayen has a fuller transcript of some of Nancy Pelosi's more aggressive attacks on the GOP today on abortion.

* It looks like Pete King's hearings into Muslims are being informed by a very rich fantasy life.

* Steve Benen urges Dems to keep hammering Republicans for voting to repeal specific popular provisions in the health law, in hopes of producing cracks in GOP unity on repeal.

* Timothy Noah on how the GOP threat to kill funding for public broadcasting no more than a big kabuki dance that we've seen many times before.

* Glenn Greenwald says the (temporary) defeat of the Patriot Act reveals anew that the only way civil liberties will be preserved is through a left-right alliance of outsiders that subverts the two-party stranglehold on our politics.

* Good catch by Think Progress: It looks like one conservative state, Kentucky, is finally coming around to the idea that laws prohibiting the mentally ill from carrying guns are advisable.

* Self-awareness watch: Donald Trump says that if he were president, "this country would be respected again."

Yes, absolutely true! Run, The Donald, run!

* Michele Bachmann, at CPAC: "We have seen Obama usher in socialism under his watch."

As always, Bachmann is bravely going where other Republicans won't: Most are only willing to say Obama is taking us towards socialism. This display of leadership is exacly why she has emerged as a national figure. Really!

* Pithiest summary I've seen of today's CPAC speeches:

"Obama's a socialist, taxes are evil, freedom is good, Reagan is teh awesome. Also, U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"

* DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse responds responds to Mitt's rewrite: "Is Mitt Romney the first person to flip-flop on the contents of their own book from hardcover to paperback?"

* And millions of Americans shed hot tears of disappointment as Sharron Angle finally throws in the towel and admits she's not running for president.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | February 10, 2011; 6:22 PM ET
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Republicans, Tea Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pelosi vows huge fight against GOP over abortion
Next: The Morning Plum

Comments

2nd Amendment Angle might be out for Prez.

But Sheriff Joe the Bigot might be in for Kyl's seat:

Arpaio Considering Senate Run

http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2011/02/arpaio-consider.php

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 10, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"Hearings into Muslims"

????????

Nice one, Greg.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 10, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Bernie,

Should I assume you intend never to respond to my challenges to you on the morning thread, but to stand on your gross misrepresenations?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

What, no Drill Baby Drill?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I think Donald Trump would be a perfect Republican candidate for President.

His casino enterprise has been through bankruptcy three times. He would be Republican fiscal policy incarnate.

And he is on his third marriage, which ties The Donald with The Newt for the "family values" crown of the GOP.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | February 10, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"EXCLUSIVE: US Chamber’s Lobbyists Solicited Hackers To Sabotage Unions, Smear Chamber’s Political Opponents
ThinkProgress has learned that a law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the big business trade association representing ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress, with a surreptitious sabotage campaign.

According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Hunton And Williams’ attorney Richard Wyatt, who once represented Food Lion in its infamous lawsuit against ABC News, was hired by the Chamber in October of last year. To assist the Chamber, Wyatt and his associates, John Woods and Bob Quackenboss, solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop tactics for damaging progressive groups and labor unions, in particular ThinkProgress, the labor coalition called Change to Win, the SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com."

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/10/lobbyists-chamberleaks/

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

From the link on Peter King's obnoxious hearings:

"In the past couple of weeks, we've learned that the statistic King often cites in support of his theories of radicalization is fabricated, that tips from the Muslim community have helped law enforcement in 40 percent of foiled terrorism plots, that domestic terrorism has gone down rather than up in the past year, and that King won't be calling any of the law enforcement officials he cites as the source for his unsubstantiated claim that Muslims don't cooperate with the authorities in terrorism cases.

Beyond King's obvious personal hostility towards Muslims, King's reasons for continuing with these hearings may involve some serious delusions of grandeur. As Michelle Goldberg writes, King's novel, Vale of Tears, doesn't just imagine a terrorism plot involving Islamic extremists and the IRA, a group he used to support. It also involves the protagonist, Sean Cross, whom Goldberg notes, King wrote as "a stand-in for himself."

What a piece of work.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 10, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Bernie,

Team Themis? Palantir? Do these idiots have to sully Greek mythology and Tolkien in the same stroke?

Posted by: bearclaw1 | February 10, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to know who cheered Rand on the Defense cuts. I wonder if they got their license plate numbers...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 10, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Still hoping someone can tell me, when when was the last time the CIA announced a crucial US foreign policy position?

{crickets still chirping}

So but if the CIA is not speaking for the WH, then what is America's position in re what is about to happen in Egypt?
Are we studying the situation? Hoping for a good outcome?

Mubarak defiantly warns against foreign intervention says the NYT, what a joke. That is all he cares about. Egypt has no oil, it does not make anything that the Nile won't grow. Egyptian industrial output? Those tanks and tear gas cannisters say made in USA.

Obama could have gotten out in front of this, but now it is all about damage control. What a disappointment.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

If the KKK in the country want Muslims villified so badly, why can't THEY pay for it? This is really offensive and I don't want my tax dollars to pay for these hearings or Peter King's salary.

Oh wait, it's because I don't have a cable news show.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Ddawd, UNC put up a good fight. I hope they win at Chapel Hill.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 10, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

TO.......quarterback1

Recalling our back and forth of a few days ago and seeing your post
to Bernie below . . .

I now know you are not just a lazy loudmouth who won't back up his assertions about another poster.

You are also a hypocrite.

smd

''''''''''''''''''''''
Bernie,

Should I assume you intend never to respond to my challenges to you on the morning thread, but to stand on your gross misrepresenations?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 6:38 PM

Posted by: smd1234 | February 10, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

For Cripes sake Shrink. The CIA director just happened to be testifying before Congress today. They asked him about it, and he said that the reports he had heard, said that Mubarak was expected to step down today.

All the major TV networks, and almost all the Arab media were told the same thing, by several sources in the Mubarak regime. Apparently Mubarak grew more stubborn as the day went on, and ended up changing his mind about stepping down today.

I know that you are eager to paint this administration as engaging in sinister secret deals to prop up Mubarak, but will you at least try to follow some actual news sources, instead of listening to the conspiracy whisperer that keeps chirping inside your own head.

Trying to get this guy to resign, is just as difficult as trying to get Saddam to do so. Obama did not install this guy, and he has been pushing for Mubarak to get on with reform. He even called for such reform at Cairo University, in 2009.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Considering how inept the Itelligence agencies appear, they're doing the Administration no favors. It makes one wonder what else they have been wrong about.

Shrink, I hope the CIA giving FP declarations was a signal to the VP to stage a coup. Otherwise, considering how conspiracy minded the Egyptions are, the optics couldn't be worse.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 10, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mark

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

mark:

I left you a response on last night's Happy Hour. I can bring it forward if you like.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

If their bank accounts continue to suffer because of the loss of tourism, then the Egyptian military brass, which owns all the tourist hotels etc, will make Mubarak an offer he can not refuse.

No tourists are going to travel to Egypt while this is going on, so I would not be at all surprised if Mubarak resigns by Monday or sooner.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 10, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

I am curious as well. Are you really going to stand by your claim this morning that qb characterized Obamacare as "totalitarian" and that this is somehow indicative of the effect that Norquist has had on political debate?

An honest re-reading of what qb actually said shows he said nothing even remotely close to what you claim, and that his use of "totalitarian" was explicitly based on your rather eccentric use of the term earlier (and hence had nothing to do with Norquist.). Again, do you stand by your claim?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

@bearclaw - Yeah, corporate branding (name choice in this case) can be pretty humorous. And revealing, as you suggest.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"* Self-awareness watch: Donald Trump says that if he were president, "this country would be respected again." Yes, absolutely true! Run, The Donald, run!"

That confirms my suspicions. Flying Saucers ARE real. They are flown by aliens who are sort of like the Klingons are to the Vulcans, except these beings are evil relatives of Tribbles. They sit on peoples heads and look like bad hair pieces and try to use them to take over the world. So far they have gotten two or three of their puppets into Congress and now think they can get one of their number into the white house.So when you see a weird politician with bizarre hair, stay away lest these Puppet masters take you into their control.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 10, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Folks may or may not be saddened to learn that another way of making a complete ass of yourself is about to disappear...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/feb/10/guitar-hero-axed-activision

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Mark, funny. Have you heard Fred Thompson? From the motel shower, I heard him on the TV pitching some scam to old people on CNBC and his voice was a dead ringer for BO.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

"Donald Trump says that if he were president, "this country would be respected again."

God, I wish I were white so I could say things like this. Remember when Michelle Obama said something about being proud of the USA?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

"Trying to get this guy to resign, is just as difficult as trying to get Saddam to do so."

Oh I did not know we were giving Saddam $1.5B a year and collaborating at all levels with his military and intel services.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Scott, I think I saw it and replied to it, but I will look again.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 10, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

DD:

""Remember when Michelle Obama said something about being proud of the USA?""

Yeah. I also seem to remember that she said something about it being for the first time in her life, too.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

"Shrink, I hope the CIA giving FP declarations was a signal to the VP to stage a coup. Otherwise, considering how conspiracy
minded the Egyptions are, the optics couldn't be worse."

Troll, billions are the price we pay for "stability" in the region. It is strange though. When the Republicans do this stuff, the Ds howl and the Rs pretend it does not matter or that the Ds are naive. Now that the Ds are in charge doing the exact same things, the Rs can suddenly see 20/20 and Ds look the other way, change the subject, pretend we can't do anything or that we tried to be good...or something.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

@Scott - He didn't mean to suggest that Obamacare was an instance of totalitarian over-reach? OK. Don't know why I would have jumped to such a wrong-headed conclusion...

http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=obamacare+totalitarian&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&fp=85ee0466577d2654

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"An honest re-reading of what qb actually said shows he said nothing even remotely close to what you claim,"

And as we saw from a day or two ago, Scott is the Greatest Expert In The World at honest-rereading.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""He didn't mean to suggest that Obamacare was an instance of totalitarian over-reach?""

No, as the text of his comment makes plain. Did you even read it?

""Don't know why I would have jumped to such a wrong-headed conclusion...""

I have my suspicions.

But what I don't understand is what relevance a google search has to what qb said in his post. Am I justified in pretending you said something you didn't actually say if I link to a list of other people saying it?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Dictators are all the same.

"I am addressing you all from the heart, a father's dialogue with his sons and daughters."

Watch as he spills the blood of his children, he needs to stay in power because only he can facilitate the transition to the next indefinite interim period of police statehood.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD - It's ok, these guys don't know much about Norquist's history. And somehow I'd imagine that even if they were appraised of it (like regarding the large poster of Lenin on his office wall) that they'd still be talking about Obama (who didn't have a large poster of Lenin on his office wall) and socialism and community organizing. It's how they role.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"I now know you are not just a lazy loudmouth who won't back up his assertions about another poster.

You are also a hypocrite."

I guess you have it all figured out. You know at least those two things, and that Robert Bork teaches at a fourth-rate law school. So that's three.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, we all know that Scott is perfectly capable of asserting that someone said the exact opposite of what he actually said a few lines prior on the page.

Ahhh, Conservatives.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Now, here's my favorite vile nutcase of the day...

"NRA Head Wayne LaPierre On Tuscon Shootings: ‘Government Policies Are Getting Us Killed’
Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, delivered a fiery address to the Conservative Political Action Conference today, saying that guns are not to blame for the shooting rampage in Tuscon — rather, the government is. LaPierre criticized “gun-free zones and anti-self defense laws that protected the safety of no one except the killers,” and said that “by its lies and laws and lack of enforcement, government polices are getting us killed, and imprisoning us in a society of terrifying violence.”

LaPierre also criticized legislation aimed at banning high-capacity magazines like the type used by Tuscon shooter Jared Loughner, saying, “These clowns want to ban magazines. Are you kidding me? But that’s their response to the blizzard of violence and mayhem affecting our nation. One more gun law on top of all of the laws already on the books.”

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/10/lapierre-blames-government/

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""It's ok, these guys don't know much about Norquist's history.""

What does my knowledge or lack thereof of Norquist's history have to do with whether or not you mischaracterized qb's post?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"Watch as he spills the blood of his children, he needs to stay in power because only he can facilitate the transition to the next indefinite interim period of police statehood."

The fact that he did this before Friday's religious services was not an accident. He needs the protestors to become violent so he can crack down. Is "Now" still yesterday

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 10, 2011 8:16 PM | Report abuse

bernie: ""@bearclaw - Yeah, corporate branding (name choice in this case) can be pretty humorous. And revealing, as you suggest.""

Funniest one I ever saw was the online shop that sold fine writing instruments: pen island dot com. Remove the spaces.

Reince Priebus -- remove the vowels, you get "RNC PR BS."
.

Posted by: jprestonian | February 10, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Has someone posted the Hannity/Luntz interview of Republicans in their post-speech "focus group". Nearly half believe Obama is a Muslim. They believe other stuff too.

We aren't a bit surprised by this, of course. But it's not a product of chance. There's simply no way to explain it outside of confronting the sustained propaganda/misinformation campaign run by FOX, Limbaugh and others to encourage rather stupid people to believe this.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I think anyone who accuses someone here of being a Nazi or any other political imprecation that is associated with genocide, unmitigated evil etc. should have to donate a dollar to charity.

Further, anyone who calls out another poster as a hypocrite should donate a dollar to those less fortunate. Just because calling someone a hypocrite is so boring. Maybe it should be two bucks.

50¢ should be the donation for diagnosing a fellow on line post it boarder of exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a severe mental illness.

50¢ for obscene or bathroom insults.

25¢ for stupid and other ordinary personal insults.

The honor system is ok. We should get a banker, someone incapable of lying to keep track of the money.

So if I want to say, "You fascist hypocrite! Pull your head out of your arse and stop listening to voices, stupid jerk...

I would cheerfully donate $3.50 to a good cause.

We have to put our money where our mouths are.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 8:23 PM | Report abuse

oops - Hannity/Luntz/propaganda

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyeYQbV3lMw&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Fun at CPAC...

"CPAC 2011: Whose Bright Idea Was it to Put Rumsfeld and Cheney in Front of Screaming Libertarians?
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2011 4:42 PM | By David Weigel

WASHINGTON -- First, a word about hecklers: It's awful that they get so much attention. A few bad apples in a room of thousands can create the impression of massive dissent, when it really isn't there.
That said, boy, was there a lot of heckling when Donald Rumsfeld arrived at CPAC to accept the Defender of the Constitution Award..." (more at link)

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:31 PM | Report abuse

"I think anyone who accuses someone here of being a Nazi or any other political imprecation that is associated with genocide, unmitigated evil etc. should have to donate a dollar to charity. "

sheesh, I already have to start personally keeping Planned Parenthood afloat and now this?? Who knew this site would be so expensive?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 10, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

@shrink - too punitive. You need some countering system as well. For example, I think another poster ought to be awarded some yet to be ascertained amount for suggesting that I likely have very compelling thighs.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 10, 2011 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, why do you think those activities should result in a "fine" (and relax everybody, I'm putting fine in scare quotes because it's obviously voluntary and unmonitored [much like Majority Leadr Reid defines our taxes. At least the "voluntary" part])?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 10, 2011 8:39 PM | Report abuse

DD, it is the crown of thorns do gooders have to wear. Calvary Road is not for everyone, it is a gated community.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"It's ok, these guys don't know much about Norquist's history."

Good diversion.

Your Norquist argument was silly. Sillier was the attempt to dodge the fact that what you described as totalitarianism perfectly fits the Democrats' treament of Obamacare and other "advances" of the welfare state.

It's okay. We understand.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 10, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Scott, I have read it now. In brief, you think the flat tax system you favor would provide the greater contribution from the wealthier that you think is sufficient, but
I do not.

I am going to use rough numbers from the 2010 budget, here. First, I am setting aside the payroll tax and the entitlements, funded by all Americans on a basis that is flat taxed to a point, then exempted.

$865 B in. SS out: $701B *M&M out: $793B [disaster,I think we agree]*.

Then we have the other revenue streams:
Personal Income Tax: $899B
Corporate Tax: 191B
Excise Tax: 67B
All other Revenue: 140B

And outflows:
DOD: $689B
Discretionary: 660B
Mandatory: 416B
Net Interest: 197B

So let us say $3.4 T to break even now and $3.3 T. if the Rs cut spending $100B. $3.4 T is $11000 for every man woman and child in the USA, more like $25K-$30K per family. I will brag and say I have paid more than that several years in my life, but I have been fortunate.

Wiki has an article on household incomes

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

and others on corporate tax and on the rate structure that exists now.

A flat tax coupled with a corporate tax that raises the same revenue that it does now will not raise the funds for the Budget until [by my quick and dirty] it is above 30% on everyone or above 40% on everyone, but with a fairly substantial standard deduction, as I floated the other day.
The problem with 30% on everyone is that it would break most Americans, plain and simple, and would not work.

So I walk around with the notion that we have to pay our bills and that we can with a top marginal rate of 40% and rather than have a high standard deduction we can have rates decreasing down to our current 10%, say, to give more people a stake in the game.

I invite you to run numbers before we pick up our theoretical discussion. I also know that you would prefer that we did not take $3.4T as a starting point! I wish that too.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 10, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Troll, because we are here to transact ideas, we are here to match wits and teach each other. The insults play a role, I am not saying that we should be polite, no way.

But the same old tired insults day after day...again and again with the you're crazy and you suck...well, you know. It seems to me, if you want to embellish your position with a robust, "Go Fúck Yourself!" the Sweet Sisters of Charity should get 50¢. Go ahead, call me crazy*.

*maybe it'll benefit others.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"Troll, because we are here to transact ideas"

Nonsense. Have you ever convinced a Conservative of anything on this board. Their thoughts are undisprovable. How do you exchange ideas with a group of people who believe that the Bush tax cuts have had "0.00%" effect on the deficit? That's not even a little misguided. That's a complete misunderstanding of arithmetic!

Insulting people is my primary reason for coming on this page. What ideas am I going to come away with? That I'm running a death panel if I discuss a living will with my parents?

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

"Insulting people is my primary reason for coming on this page."

Well then we should get into oath swearing. We could go on for paragraphs about the calamities that your children's' children will suffer as they visit even worse fates upon those so unfortunate as to know them.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

@shrink

Don't know if you've caught the President's 8:00PM release on the Egyptian situation.

http://www.politico.com/politico44/

Many reporters are now referring to the President's response as a direct refutation(perhaps your prefer refudiation lol) to Mubarak's speech.

Fareed Zakaria has referred to it as historic. He pointed out that no President in U.S. history has ever taken on a totalitarian dictator ally in such a short time after opposition to the totalitarian became apparent. Zakaria's examples..St.Ronnie took THREE YEARS after Marcos had Aquino assassinated in 1983..it was what gavanized the opposition to Marcos but St. Ronnie liked Marcos because of his strong anti communist positions and so it took the exalted one THREE FULL YEARS before speaking ill of Marcos.

But it's bi-partisan. Bubba was a year and a half behind the curve after the Indonesians grew tired of their dictator Suharto.

If Obama is behind the curve in our minds after a little over a week...he is so far ahead of all his predecessors to be as Zakaria charcterized it...Historic.

CNN also reported this evening that a State Dept Source said a previously impeccable source...well placed in the Egyptian hierarchy lied to them about what Mubarak was going to say during his scheduled speech.

Obama has now responded. It's being distributed to all the satellite networks in the ME as we speak and hopefully already translated into Arabic.

And so Obama has already done more than St. Ronnie or Bubba and those two didn't have the incredibly powerful Israeli lobby to deal with.

Not much else left he can really do...it is after all still THEIR country...unless we have some John Bolton types who are advocating some military action. Speak up please if you feel we should have boots on the ground.

Prayers and best wishes to the Egyptians.
In a matter of a few hours all hell might break loose and the bloodshed could come in copious quantities.

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

@Mark in Austin

I found your post on the flat tax fascinating and specific.

You have made an excellent point backed up by actual numbers.

Now I wonder if you've had any thoughts as to where to cut.

I am a progressive but I realize to truly tame the budget it's going to require both taxes and cuts. I'm willing to place entitlements on the table...at least means testing SS seems reasonable to me...but you are obviously better informed than me.
For example I'm aware of the ratios of earned income versus benefits that currently exist...but are those limits simply on "earned income" as opposed to "investment income"?

At any rate Mark, you are not only a self identified "moderate" your posts are always measured and indeed representative of a "moderate". I'm curious as to how you would address the "cut" side of the equation. I like your thoughts on the tax side.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I see words.

Follow the money.

That said, I like Fareed Zakaria, a very, very smart guy. I read everything he writes.


Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

caothien9, be sure to let us all know if the abortion hobby horse is relevant or not in the previous abortion thread.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 10, 2011 9:48 PM | Report abuse

@shrink

Words not money...are you saying you'll be more impressed when we turn off the 1.5Bil spigot? I'm with you there but these are some very DIRECT words. Certainly if it hits the streets of Cairo it will be clear what the President has just done in terms of refuting Mubarak's speech..almost point by point.

Of course we should be careful what we wish for...virtually all the reporters on the scene are concerned that tomorrow...just hours away...might be the moment of truth in terms of just how violent this is going to be....

I agree with you about Zakaria...I try to catch his Sunday show...IMO it blows away the big 3's Sunday shows...then again David Gregory...yeeccch. Zakaria does not impress me as not having a dog in the fight in terms of our political party's.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

oops..bad typo..sorry for the double negative
Zakaria does not have a dog in the fight.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

mark:

I think you have changed the discussion. We were not originally talking about how to get "sufficient" revenue to sustain current spending. We were talking about who benefited most from government spending.

If your argument is premised on current spending being a given, and so to pay for it you have to go to where more money is, that is simply a practical, amoral argument and may well be correct. But you had turned it into a moral argument, justifying it on the grounds that those who have the money SHOULD pay more because they benefit more. That is what I was disputing.

And my point about a flat tax was simply that even it would qualify under your notion of what "should" happen, because high income people would indeed pay more than lower income people. I haven't claimed that a flat tax would provide enough revenues to sustain current spending, or that a flat tax that would sustain current spending wouldn't inflict hardships on people. But that points precisely to the virtue of the flat tax. Spending would never have grown to such grotesque levels if in order to pay for it a huge portion of voters were pinched as hard as your analysis suggests would have to be the case.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 10, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

"Zakaria does not have a dog in the fight."

His great strength.

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

All,

You all are really not up to standard when I'm not around.

What happened?

Will you please PICK IT UP PEOPLE ???

.

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

I gotta say, that's quite an admission there ScottC3. So, if $3.3 trillion requires a 30-40% flat tax, what amount of spending must be cut to balance the budget? Seems that would lead to the question, how much do you think a guy making $10 an hour can afford to pay?

$10/hr x 40 hours x 52 weeks = $20,800

How much do you think this guy should have to pay in federal income taxes under your flat tax plan to balance the budget? Do you think we shoulod take as much as $80 per week out of this guy's pay check ... that would be 20% By your reasoning, that would require the budget to be cut by as much as half ... do you think that's a good idea? Or should we take $120 out of this guy's $400 a week so we only have to cut the budget by a third?

Where would you find $1 - 1.5 TRILLION to cut?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 10, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

@Scott

Thanks for clarifying what you're NOT suggesting.

But go ahead and take a shot.
Where would you cut the budget and where would you get the necessary revenue for what you believe the Gov't should do?

I'm not asking for tight specifics but some general thoughts...we can expect you'll be after entitlements..how and roughly how much as in what %...how about defense...Foreign aid...including the billions for Israel?...maybe the Dept of Education?

What is your preferred tax law...flat..progressive with what kind of brackets?

No snark...just curiosity. In fact I do not plan to respond to your suggestions...I'm not looking for yet another debate...simply what a libertarian views as the proper function of Gov't as determined by budget and taxation.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

"Spending would never have grown to such grotesque levels if in order to pay for it a huge portion of voters were pinched as hard as your analysis suggests would have to be the case."

lol@ starve the beast. Good job paying attention to the last 30 years.

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

Sorry Prag...we were probably writing at the same time...my post to Scott is redundant after yours because I basically share your curiosity about Scott's solutions.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD

This is the weakness of the libertarian philosophy. It is the ultimate expression of IGMGFY!

In THEORY it sounds pretty good..fair and all that...in REALITY it sucks.

I think where we progressives and Scott in particular talk past each other is a matter of degree or nuance.

Scott has a legitimate fear that a majority with "no skin" in the game may end up taxing the wealthy in an unfair manner. And indeed in THEORY I accept Scott's concerns.

But then in THEORY..Scott should accept the concerns of me and wbgonne and perhaps you DDAWD that the wealthy will get all the money and power and the rest of us will be mere serfs.

I posit that while both of these EXTREMES are indeed very negative possibilities...they are just what I stated..extreme ends of a theoretical continuum.

Back to reality! History shows where we are on the continuum..again simply look at the 1956 Republican Platform...an expression of support for "labor"..as in the people actually doing the WORK...not those who are shuffling contrived investment vehicles that produce no greater good for our society. But libertarian's heads go to a point at the mere mention of the "greater good". Why should tax policy and regulatory policy protect the MAJORITY of our citizens as opposed to a laizzez faire, caveat emptor approach to our dealings with each other.

I mean again...move from THEORY to REALITY
with this statement.

"huge portion of voters were pinched as hard as your analysis suggests"

In reality this means while the top 1% get to add yet another yacht...the middle class continues to get pinched. Literally an oligarchy...literally a system that scrws the majority and protects the minority...understandable attitude amongst many of our successful folks..who were blessed with brains that others were not born with...connections...well Barry Switzer said it best..."they were born on third base and think they've hit a triple."

I tend to come at this from a moral standpoint...a greedy bastard is a greedy bastard whether he tried to hide it behind a credo called libertarianism or not.

I believe it was on this morning's thread..but Mark does a far better job than me in explaining how a truly progressive, business driven tax code is what would actually be fair.

And again I've posted links that show a shrinking middle class is bad for EVERYBODY..eventually it's going to turn us into a banana republic.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul gets booed at CPAC for floating the mere idea of looking at defense programs in the quest to bring down spending.

==

Well there's Rand Paul's stopped clock moment.

American military preparedness is predicated on 2.5 new World War IIs breaking out at any moment. All the conflicts America has been involved in since WWII were regional skirmishes and there's no indication anywhere that we'll ever be in another major continental ground war. Maintaining a military is riotously expensive and does less for the economy then any major part of the budget.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Scott, I concede that your position satisfies the necessary condition, so to speak, in my world, where the wealthy should pay more. But I don't apologize for shifting the ground to a sufficiency argument, because I assumed we were talking about the world we are dealing with. I should have explicitly shared that assumption with you.

How do we go about shrinking expenditures? I don't think it works to shrink the revenue base, first. At least it has not.

In states, the process of "zero" budgeting has helped, with sunset provisions in bills.

Another possibility is to look at the federal government as a management problem. I believe Tom Peters did in the '90s and had specific streamlining proposals that made sense at the time.

My understanding is that the Army still uses single entry bookkeeping and that is why the IG has not been able to audit DOD satisfactorily, ever. They file these "unsatisfactory" reports every year.

We should have this conversation, too.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 10, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

"Bolivian President Evo Morales has abandoned a public event in the face of an angry protests over food shortages."

This is a man who followed commuter buses as a child, to eat the orange and banana peels people threw out the windows. Old school socialism does not work, no matter how well intentioned are its leaders, no matter their starving class provenance.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 10:38 PM | Report abuse

smd, you shouldn't lower yourself to demanding honesty or logic from QB. You won't get it. Just picture the guy as having a crank coming out of his head, he reaches up and turns it and out comes standard conservative dogma. As predictable as sunrise, and always completely doctrinaire.

And always snide, sarcastic, and derisive.

As DDAWD has noted, none of the conservatives who post here ever differ from one another on a single solitary issue. And that's the essential difference between their side and ours; we think about our positions, they simply recite them. One of them would be enough for the whole blog.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: I think libertarianism of the right spells the beginning of the end of the great American experiment. It's like a cancer in a major organ. We on the left have failed to react to it with the condemnation it deserves and now it's metastasized into the upper chambers of federal government.

It should never have been allowed to acquire legitimacy. But by one little push after another, like Isreali settlements, libertarianism has taken root so now it's actually possible to have discussions where the very idea of giving back to the society that provides the scaffold for our lives is regarded as a foreign and radical notion.

I don't know if there's anything we can do at this point, my only real hope, given that liberals aren't about to go back to making value judgments and calling libertarians monstrous sociopaths as we should, is that the libertarians like Rand Paul and the tea party will so go out of their way to be ugly and repellent that America will experience a moral backlash. I hold little hope for this.

Selfishness is compelling and it's tactile and tangible. Reciprocity and altruism are abstract and intangible. They require ideal times and idealistic people. We're pretty short on them right now.

If you find yourself at a table with someone who proclaims his libertarianism, you should excuse yourself.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

@shrink

"Old school socialism" as opposed to ?
Perhaps "New school socialism" How about corrupt socialism...doesn't work any better than crony capitalism?

I assume you think Scandinavians practice "new school" or a more efficient socialism?

BTW a funny anecdote about Scandinavian socialism and the brainwashing that takes place among Conservatives in our country.
I had a friend who was afraid of the condition of public schools in Tampa and so decided on a private school. This fried was not wealthy enough for a prestigious prep school and had to settle on a "Christian" (as opposed to Catholic schools which are usually excellent) school. I was reading through their 5 or 6th grader's Social Studies book when I came across this gem about Sweden. After describing climate, geographical location etc...the book said..unfortunately the Swedes have socialism for their form of Gov't and therefor they have lazy unproductive workers. Shaazaam! Really?

Now ironically my wife and I both drive...Swedish cars..Volvos. Yeah I realize that Ford and Sweden are still wrangling as to who will end up owning the company but "lazy unproductive workers"
Geesh the brainwashing starts early with litte fundy Christians.

BTW shrink if you google happiest countries in the world you will get a plethora of very subjective studies.
May I simply choose the first on the list..Forbes...

http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/14/world-happiest-countries-lifestyle-realestate-gallup-table.html

Results 1.)Denmark 2.)Finland 3.)Norway 4.)Sweden 4.)(tie) Netherlands Oh and the U.S. 14th! Check the other links if you wish..the U.S. never breaks the top 10.
Do we notice a pattern..as in socialism.

But we know they're all idiots...I mean who wants six weeks of vacation...University opportunities for all with no humongous student loan debt after the experience...and wait for it...somehow those stinking socialist hell holes manage to provide health care for ALL their citizens. But of course we are EXCEPTIONAL. Is that the R plan for us?
Simply repeat over and over and over again We are exceptional..we are exceptional...

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

"Maintaining a military is riotously expensive and does less for the economy then any major part of the budget."

It is a jobs program for the not college bound, it is a stimulus for certain tech and even heavy industries, it works pretty well, unless they decide to use it for war.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse

The liberals are worthless.


If you want something, pay for it yourself.


Otherwise, take a walk.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

One of them would be enough for the whole blog.

Cao might I say...more than enough!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Really?

Not very sporting.

Posted by: tao9 | February 10, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Not only that, those people are still free goshdarnit. They can come and go from their country as they please. Not only that, the ultimate disgrace, Americans can not move to their countries.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Whoa.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/report-cia-chief-based-congressional-mubarak-testimony-on-media-broadcasts/

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 10, 2011 11:15 PM | Report abuse

"Maintaining a military is riotously expensive and does less for the economy then any major part of the budget."

It is a jobs program for the not college bound, it is a stimulus for certain tech and even heavy industries, it works pretty well, unless they decide to use it for war.

==

But since Bush chose to use the military for adventures so few consider legitimate to the defense of the nation, recruits have dropped off and the Army has been reduced to accepting applicants who score in the bottom quartile of the entrance evaluation.

So it's quite a bit worse than "not college bound."

We could have a much smaller military consisting of nothing but the highest caliber of recruits. And we should. That would also justify a return to proper spending levels on education, since even while accepting anyone who can sign his name with an X, the Army is having a hard time finding sufficiently educated applicants.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 11:17 PM | Report abuse

"Obama's a socialist, taxes are evil, freedom is good, Reagan is teh awesome. Also, U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"

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

Well, it sounds like a slogan and fits on a bumper sticker so, yes. this is really the conservatives idea of in the weeds policy positions.

Posted by: vwcat | February 10, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

"It is a jobs program for the not college bound, it is a stimulus for certain tech and even heavy industries, it works pretty well, unless they decide to use it for war."

Works pretty well?...perhaps..I've thought the same about all those TSA folks at the airport...where would they all get jobs if we close Homeland Security.

But then my feeble brain goes to my Econ 101 and the "guns or butter" argument.

Could soldiers and TSA workers be better employed as teachers, health care workers, construction worker repairing our crumbling infrastructure. Not really sure the M.I.C. is the most efficient use of resources.

@Cao & shrink For a good read on how our F.P. went into the crapper right after WWII may I suggest "Washington Rules..America's Path to Permanent War"
Written by Andrew Bacevich a retired Army officer who is now a college prof.

Some great historical stuff on Curtis Lemay and Allen Dulles...but our military was set up to not just fight those 2 1/2 WWII's it was set up to project POWER.
Raw naked power as in neo con...make everybody fear you...let them know if they cross you they get squashed like a bug.
In order to accomplish that the thinking from the 50's to now was to have as many "Forward fire bases" as possible...bases like Subic Bay in the Phillipines...troops in Germany, Korea...well that list would take up the rest of my post.

Consider just one example though...Korea.
WTF are we doing spending OUR $$$ on their defense. They have eaten our lunch with Hyndui, Samsung, and the LPGA.:-) Do we suppose they cannot afford to pay for their own defense. Now multiply that by our list of "Forward bases" capable of projecting power around the world and you see some real FAT waiting for budget cuts.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 10, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I spent 25 years writing software. A few times I entertained the idea of working in other states, and actually did once, commuting weekly to Sacramento from Seattle (never again).

I remember long ago a recruiter meekly telling me that, unlike the industry standard, I would have to pay for the interview flight myself. I didn't hang up on the poor guy but that was a total deal-breaker, I frostily replied "that isn't the industry standard."

Now nobody would get his flight paid for, he'd have to pay for his own ticket, even for a job where the interviews were only held to fulfill a federal requirement for a job already wired for someone working there already.

Another time I accepted an offer at Boeing, one of four offers resulting from interviews, turning down the other three. The day before I was to start I heard from the recruiter .. Boeing has "changed its mind" about creating the job. I thought that was capricious .. learned later that not only do they do this all the time, but they actually do it to people who have sold their houses in other countries, relocated to the USA to take a job, are in the process of immigrating .. oh, we changed our mind. Best of luck!

Welcome to the free market, serfs.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Troll, no one cares what Leon Panetta said. The CIA does not do American foreign policy announcements. That was just a gaffe.

America is behind the military dictatorship in Egypt. $1.5B is huge money for a country that has no resources and no manufacturing base.

If America decides to cut the military dictatorship loose, there will be ruffles and flourishes, fanfare and self-congratulation. We'll be the first to know.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 10, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

But we know they're all idiots...I mean who wants six weeks of vacation...University opportunities for all with no humongous student loan debt after the experience...and wait for it...somehow those stinking socialist hell holes manage to provide health care for ALL their citizens. But of course we are EXCEPTIONAL. Is that the R plan for us?

==

And, knowing that losing a job isn't a death sentence, where would anyone find the incentive to work at all?

My sister lived in Germany five years. She had one observation ... details aside, life under a more Socialist system entails a significantly lower level of personal anxiety. That isn't quantifiable, I don't suppose, but it sure sounds nicer than the wage slavery the USA has come to accept as normal.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 10, 2011 11:45 PM | Report abuse

"The CIA does not do American foreign policy announcements. That was just a gaffe."

That's why I wrote "whoa."

There are gaffs (Barry's 57 States comes to mind, or his Vice President's comments on how Roosevelt gave televised fireside chats in '29) and then there are gaff's, dontchya think?

Just out of curiosity, what made you change your mind that this isn't important. Earlier this evening you wrote:

"Still hoping someone can tell me, when when was the last time the CIA announced a crucial US foreign policy position?

{crickets still chirping}

So but if the CIA is not speaking for the WH, then what is America's position in re what is about to happen in Egypt?
Are we studying the situation? Hoping for a good outcome?"

I can't read your mind but it seemed, then, that Panetta's "gaff" was important and meaningful.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 10, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh pshaw, back then I was just baiting Liam. Troll, you have to keep up with this stupidity...

He is mad at me I don't know why, I think it is because I don't love Obama enough. Anyway, I was styling the Bush/Obama Administration as aok with the military dictatorship in Egypt.
Liam said,

"Shrink,
You are talking out of your Arse. The White House has been trying to push Mubarak out. They even had the CIA head go public with a statement, that they expected Mubarak to resign today."

Heh, heh. No matter. Sometimes a gaffe is just a gaffe.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Dunno, when the CIA Director, testifying in front of Congress, says he's receiving reports that Mubarek is resigning, I think the natural understanding is that he is getting "special" reports, not CNN International. But whatever.

I'm curious though, was this mornings speech in Michigan sourced from his morning Intelligence briefing, er, CNN? Or just a Wag? Which would be worse, I wonder?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 11, 2011 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Man, you guys can't even get the gaffes right. Obama never said that there are 57 states.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 11, 2011 12:30 AM | Report abuse

"I think the natural understanding is that he is getting "special" reports, not CNN"

Silly, you and Liam. If you hear the CIA talk about what it knows you'd better get ready to die, or just laugh. They do not do diplomacy.

To put too fine a point on it, when when was the last time the CIA announced a crucial US foreign policy position?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 12:37 AM | Report abuse

"To put too fine a point on it, when when was the last time the CIA announced a crucial US foreign policy position?"

Wayull, today's a first for me. Just curious why Panetta's thought it was appropriate to do so. The question(s) still stands though. Was the Michigan speech based on the daily Presidential Intelligence Briefing, or what Panetta and Clapper heard on CNN on the car ride into DC? Or is the briefing based on the top 'o the hour news brief during the Bill Press Show?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 11, 2011 12:46 AM | Report abuse

A gaffe Troll, it was just a gaffe. It was not appropriate for to him to predict what the figurehead/strongman for the Egyptian military dictatorship that we support with our tax dollars would do. Whether or not he had special info or saw something on the internets' tubes, it doesn't matter. He made a mistake, he was wrong, that is all. The only people hurt by it are people who think the Obama administration is on top of the situation, or is doing the right thing.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 12:55 AM | Report abuse

So when Netanyahu calls, does Obama call him "sir?"

Does anyone really think that American reaction to events in Egypt bends in any other breeze than the one from Israel?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Donald Trump.

Just in case you thought Republican buffoonery had peaked with Palin.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 4:49 AM | Report abuse

"Man, you guys can't even get the gaffes right. Obama never said that there are 57 states."

I suppose technically you are right in that he said he'd visited 57, with one left to go plus HI and AK.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpGH02DtIws

We understand, though, Ds are allowed slips of the tongue, just not Rs.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 11, 2011 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Actually, when you think about it, Trump makes a lot of sense.

For a nation under the control of financial I terse, one where hard word and responsible behavior no longer pay off or lead to security, having a president be a guy who got rich running a chain of casinos, fleecing the ignorant, makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh, if Nancy Pelosi's mother had only been a lover of abortion, like her grown up, female fetus.

Just think!

Posted by: battleground51 | February 11, 2011 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Hey! Socialism is definately not under Barack H. Obama's watch.

It's obviously up there on his tele-prompter.

I think he may have a tattoo of Karl Marx under his watch. I'm not sure about that, though.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 11, 2011 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Was just looking at this from Bernie above.

"@Scott - He didn't mean to suggest that Obamacare was an instance of totalitarian over-reach? OK. Don't know why I would have jumped to such a wrong-headed conclusion...

http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=obamacare+totalitarian&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&fp=85ee0466577d2654"


Not only didn't mean to but didn't, at all. That's just Bernie's attempt to dodge the question, which is why Democrats are not pursuing an "explicitly totalitarian" program, in precisely the way Bernie used that term, whenever they seek to make their "achievements" like Obamacare permanent.

Their number one objective right now is to guard what they've done from any rollback or change, and they seek to do that through at least two primary means. One is demonizing efforts at rollback and convincing people that Obamacare is indispensible, and the other is implementing it quickly and before SCOTUS might strike it down, so that it becomes permanent by virtue of the iron law of government programs and bureaucracy -- that, once in place, they are immovable.

This is nothing if not institutionalizing liberal gains and making them "permanent in people's minds." We've seen the arguments many times on this very blog -- once people are hooked on Obamacare, there will be no going back. It will become "unthinkable" to "throw young adults off their parents' insurance," etc.

This is all "explcitly totalitarian" in precisely the way Bernie has used the term. We can see this very easily in the language used by Obama and his party on a routine basis as well. When Obama repeatedly said that Republicans must sit in the back seat and are not to be heard, what was he trying to establish but "one-party rule"? How could he have been more explicit? When he instructs us that "what [he] will not do" is allow any rollback, what is he doing but trying to declare his legislative "achievements" beyond democratic change, and any challenge to them illegitimate?


Obamacare itself certainly does diminish our freedom and impose significant new government control over our lives. But it is Democrats' habitual efforts to institutionalize their "change" and make it permanent in people's minds" that makes them explicitly totalitarian -- per Bernie's definition.

And pasting a google search of Obamacare and totalitarianism, as if it somehow reflects what I said rather than how Bernie would like to change the subject -- lamest "argument" you've made yet, Bernie.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 11, 2011 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Trump might be a democrat

He give a good amount to democrats.


So, you people should know what you are talking about before you comment.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 11, 2011 6:32 AM | Report abuse

This is all "explcitly totalitarian" in precisely the way Bernie has used the term.

==

No, it's not totalitarian at all. It's a responsible act of governance and a start at getting America caught up to other nations for whom anything short of universal healthcare is morally unthinkable.

Resisting irresponsible and childish efforts by Republians to reverse it, motivated only by petulance and spite, does not constitute totalitarianism.

Republicans have no alternatives, no counterproposal, despite many isch claims. They're really acting quite shamefully. So are you.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Obamacare itself certainly does diminish our freedom

==

Only if your idea of freedom is being denied medical card you've paid for.

Shame on you for such dishonest hyperbole and hysteria.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 6:37 AM | Report abuse

"Timothy Noah on how the GOP threat to kill funding for public broadcasting no more than a big kabuki dance that we've seen many times before."

Republicans, do try to defund PBS and NPR because their intelligent, articulate, affluent, and politically influential listenership will make sure you regret even raising the subject.

Posted by: rhallnj | February 11, 2011 6:37 AM | Report abuse

From what I read in the non-Democrat media, support for Obamacare is slowly crumbling. That's the 10% of our media that is not part of the Obamacrat, propaganda machine. In the Debama media, most Americans are clamoring, feverishly for more, more, more Obamacare. It's a hoot!

On the other hand, Republicans ran 100% on a platform of total, Obamacare repeal for the entire year of 2010. There was no doubt that Republicans were anti-Obamacare all the way.

Republicans won a historic, sweeping victory in November and all the little Obamacrats were crushed. This cannot be denied....

....except by the Debama, propaganda machine. Are there enough really stupid Americans that will fall for this outrageous, serial lie???

Maybe! Election, 2008 proves it can happen. Obamacrats seem to know that if they tell a big enough whopper, often enough, and provide enough phoney, well crafted data from their Obamacrat polls, they can fool enough fools to get their way.

It's scary!

Posted by: battleground51 | February 11, 2011 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Here is an example of the Democrats' "explicitly totalitarian" strategy from Benen, linked above by Greg:

"Exactly. Democrats have been embracing the reform law with more certainty, looking for opportunities to go on the offensive (the way they didn't want to last year). The opportunity is obvious: every Republican in the House -- including Hanna and Duffy -- just voted to force seniors to pay more for prescription medication. And to allow discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions. And to kick young adults off their family plans. And to raise taxes on small businesses. And to return to a dysfunctional system in which untold numbers of Americans lost their homes, savings, businesses, and quite possibly their lives, simply because they got sick."

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 11, 2011 6:42 AM | Report abuse

TRUMP RULES


Case closed.


The democrats can walk. They will never make it back again because of what they did with Reconciliation and going back on their promises of compromise and bipartisanship.


It is that simple.


I predict the Blue Dogs will start a new party and pound the liberals into the ASHHEAP OF HISTORY.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 11, 2011 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Now that the Egyptian Army has backed Mubarak the U.S. must pull its $1.3B military aid money or be seen as weak and hypocritical. Mubarak must go now and the U.S. must be seen as doing all it can to facilitate that. Pull the aid. We can use the money here at home.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, nobody will want to go ba k to how things were before.

Pure Stalin.

You. Bloody. Fool.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 7:07 AM | Report abuse

From what I read in the non-Democrat media, support for Obamacare is slowly crumbling.

==

Yeah, the "non-Democratic media." No translation needed there.

So people who were dined coverage for pre-existing conditions, people whose coverage was discontinued when they got cancer, people whose college age children are covered on their plan, employers taking advantage of their new benefits .. are clamoring to go back to the old ways.

You guys shouldn't be allowed out off a leash.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

E-mail this A.M. from the Green Party:

"Green Party leaders urged President Obama and
Congress to cut off aid to Egypt after President Mubarak refused to
step down from office on Thursday. Greens have called the resignation a necessity for a peaceful transition to democracy and respect for human rights in Egypt."

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 7:17 AM | Report abuse

The people you cite above from Benen's hyperbolic examples are approx .01% of the population.

And the tax break program for small biz employers has been a total failure, participation numbers are virtually zero.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 7:25 AM | Report abuse

"Denmark's prime minister became the first European Union leader to publicly urge embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down, just hours after Mubarak vowed to remain in power despite pro-democracy protests. "Mubarak is history, Mubarak must step down," Lars Loekke Rasmussen said Friday in Copenhagen."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/11/AR2011021101739.html

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 7:25 AM | Report abuse

qb says:

""This is all "explcitly totalitarian" in precisely the way Bernie has used the term.""

cao replies:

""No, it's not totalitarian at all."

This is disingenuous. qb has not said that the way Bernie has used the term is an accurate use of the term. Indeed, if you go back and look, you will see that originally qb took issue with Bernie's eccentric definition of "explicit totalitarianism".

In order to logically contest what qb said, cao must demonstrate that qb's use of the term differs from Bernie's use of the term in some way. But of course cao doesn't even address Bernie's use of it at all, presumably because he knows that qb's use is indeed precisely the same as Bernie's, and therefore is not an avenue by which he can sensibly critique qb. So he pretends that qb has said something he did not, and critiques that.

Again, disingenuous.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 11, 2011 7:26 AM | Report abuse

mark:

Will respond in a bit.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 11, 2011 7:31 AM | Report abuse

You guys want to make up your own definitions for terms? What a circular jerkular argument.

There's nothing totalitarian about a bill being "locked in" by the fact that people like it too much to go backwards.

And this from the uh people who defend Bush tax cuts and all the gyrations to make them permanent, despite their benefit only to the few.

Talk about disingenuous.

Use a word three times and it is yours. Congratulations on your 801st word, Scott.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""You guys want to make up your own definitions for terms?""

If by "you guys" you mean Bernie, then apparently the answer is yes.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 11, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Re: Gulf Oil Disaster:

"Oysters collected from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana are turning up with extremely high levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal. The amounts--at 150 to 200 times greater than levels considered safe for human consumption of oysters-- are troubling. ...

The latest oyster findings continue a trend in which local nonprofits and university researchers have come up with more unsettling findings than federal agencies, which have cleared Gulf seafood for human consumption almost from the day the oil stopped flowing.

In the past, high levels of cadmium in British Columbia oysters prompted Canadian health authorities to warn against eating certain amounts over a month's time. Cadmium, chemically similar to mercury, last year was responsible for recalls of children's jewelry by Walmart, and Shrek glasses by McDonald's."

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/02/toxic-heavy-metal-found-in-louisiana-gulf-oysters/

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin,

Am enjoying your posts on taxes etc. Don't agree with everything, but refreshingly thoughtful.


Scott,

I'm sure neither Bernie nor any of his sympathizers will ever venture to defend the argument he made, which is fine with me. I'd expect nothing different.

What amazes me is that, beneath the posing, Bernie makes some of the most absurd and dishonest claims on this blog, but pretends to be intellectually above such things. Can you imagine his reaction if someone had actually claimed that Democrats' efforts to protect their gains are "explicitly totalitarian"? It boggles the mind how blind he is.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 11, 2011 7:41 AM | Report abuse

If you can choose between lead and cadmium poisoning, go with lead.

Truly nasty news.

Looking forward to the open thread, this one is all cocked up.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Hey Cao:

How's the weather there, Comrade? It's freezing here in Boston.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 7:53 AM | Report abuse

"Earlier today, ThinkProgress published an exclusive report that the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing trade association representing big business, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress. According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Attorneys for the firm solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop a sabotage campaign against progressive groups and labor unions, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.

New emails reveal that the private spy company investigated the families and children of the Chamber’s political opponents. The apparent spearhead of this project was Aaron Barr, an executive at HB Gary. Barr circulated numerous emails and documents detailing information about political opponents’ children, spouses, and personal lives."

http://thinkprogress.org/

I welcome their hatred.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Dude, I'm at 12 degrees of latitude. It's high 80s and summer is going to be hotter.

I just love how these guys get themselves all wrapped around the axle. Totalitarian. Sheesh.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne,

It was in the 70's here in balmy St. Pete all last week here in balmy St. Pete. This week it's been in the low 60's and we've all been griping about the cold. :-)

Not to rub it in wbgonne, but you did steal our best player, at least you can't steal our weather. LMAO

BTW You should get to St. Pete sometime.
Two weeks ago my wife and I had dinner at a downtown restaurant and then walked to see a concert by the Florida Orchestra.
Along the way we passed several restaurants that had nice crowds eating outside on the sidewalk cafe portion. We were named the top mid sized city for the Arts recently with a brand new amazing Dali museum, and a truly large collection of museums, the Florida Orchestra, and many talented local artists. I'm on the planning commission and recently we amended a portion of our zoning to allow for the local artists to sell their work from their houses in certain specific neighborhoods designated as art enclaves.

If you get a chance in March check out a few minutes of the St. Petersburg Grand Prix on ESPN next month....I'm not talking about enjoying the cars...although they're pretty cool as well..check out the scenes..it's road course along our waterfront. The big yachts come in for the event...our high rise Condo's along the waterfront...we actually have a far more European feel now than American...we look at bit like a poor man's Monte Carlo.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I could deal with permanent summer.

Like I told Ruk yesterday, I consider both Scott and QB to be complete wastes of time so they no longer exist as far as I am concerned. Life is too short. But YMMV.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

I have friends who are planning to relocate from New Orleans to St. Pete. So I may get down there to visit soon. I'm going to NOLA and S. LA. for Mardi Gras and its in March this year so I'm hoping it will be HOT. This winter has been brutal.

But we DO have Carl Crawford to look forward to. Ha!

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Palantir?!? They got Fëanor working for them?!?

Damn!

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

"I'm on the planning commission and recently we amended a portion of our zoning to allow for the local artists to sell their work from their houses in certain specific neighborhoods designated as art enclaves."

That's a great idea! Ruk for President!

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne

"I could deal with permanent summer."

Then you should visit St. Pete. Seriously I could show you some cool stuff...little known tidbits like the first condo in the state of Florida, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig used to maintain residences there during spring training... lot's of cool museums and you could enjoy dinner on Beach Drive right on the Bay at one of our many sidewalk cafes...


"Like I told Ruk yesterday, I consider both Scott and QB to be complete wastes of time so they no longer exist as far as I am concerned. Life is too short."

I've come to accept your point wbgonne along with Cao's admonitions. Basically it's just too tiring...again I think it's that they come to the blog with entirely different motivations...first and foremost to fulfill their egos as masterdebaters (not a typo btw lol)...and really with all these silly challenges...whose gonna take up the gauntlet here...whose too cowardly to respond there...and the end of the day the more I read the past two day's threads the more I realized how puerile these folks can be...and I let myself get drug down to their level. You are right wbgonne "Life is too short!"

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Have a nice day, All.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

"masterdebaters"

It's like arguing with Bill Clinton.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 8:21 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't all that long ago that conservatism was a legitimate political philosophy. Unworkable, harsh, disagreeable, but it served a function, at least as a counter to we liberals' tendency to throw money at problems.

But it's really gone stale. What passes for conservatism these days, as exemplified by the Bobbseys and clawrence and the rest, is more like comic book villains. Yeah, we're all eevil an' stuff. Yeah we want to see everything go to hell and have people dying in the streets to cut spending. Ooooh, lookit us. We're soooooo cooooool.

All trying to out-harsh each other. How could it have come to this?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

ElBaradei:

"The United States and its allies have spent the better part of the last decade, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars and countless lives, fighting wars to establish democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that the youth of Cairo, armed with nothing but Facebook and the power of their convictions, have drawn millions into the street to demand a true Egyptian democracy, it would be absurd to continue to tacitly endorse the rule of a regime that has lost its own people’s trust.

Egypt will not wait forever on this caricature of a leader we witnessed on television yesterday evening, deaf to the voice of the people, hanging on obsessively to power that is no longer his to keep.

What needs to happen instead is a peaceful and orderly transition of power, to channel the revolutionary fervor into concrete steps for a new Egypt based on freedom and social justice. The new leaders will have to guarantee the rights of all Egyptians. They will need to dissolve the current Parliament, no longer remotely representative of the people. They will also need to abolish the Constitution, which has become an instrument of repression, and replace it with a provisional Constitution, a three-person presidential council and a transitional government of national unity.

The presidential council should include a representative of the military, embodying the sharing of power needed to ensure continuity and stability during this critical transition. The job of the presidential council and the interim government during this period should be to set in motion the process that will turn Egypt into a free and democratic society. This includes drafting a democratic Constitution to be put to a referendum, and preparing for free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections within one year.

We are at the dawn of a new Egypt. A free and democratic society, at peace with itself and with its neighbors, will be a bulwark of stability in the Middle East and a worthy partner in the international community. The rebirth of Egypt represents the hope of a new era in which Arab society, Muslim culture and the Middle East are no longer viewed through the lens of war and radicalism, but as contributors to the forward march of humanity, modernized by advanced science and technology, enriched by our diversity of art and culture and united by shared universal values.

We have nothing to fear but the shadow of a repressive past."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/opinion/11elbaradei.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

Posted by: wbgonne | February 11, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

This is an embarrassingly dumb argument, you two. One of these things is not like the other.

QB said: "Not only didn't mean to but didn't, at all. That's just Bernie's attempt to dodge the question, which is why Democrats are not pursuing an "explicitly totalitarian" program, in precisely the way Bernie used that term, whenever they seek to make their "achievements" like Obamacare permanent."

"Obamacare" is a government bill that sets up a specific program for medical delivery/insurance. It is like a bill that would establish a postal service or re-organize a postal service or a bill that would set taxation rates or establish a treaty or create a space exploration agency, etc. Whether it is presumed or hoped that such a bill will carry on into the future with some degree of permanence is obviously not an instance of totalitarianism or a totalitarian urge - its an instance of governance.

But setting up institutions and arrangements within and around government, including information control systems, to the explicit end of achieving single party/single ideology domination over a nation's citizens is categorically different in motive and consequence. It is an authoritarian motivation and end.

This isn't a tough differentiation to make, boys.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

If we're done coddling the attention needs of the Bobbseys, some really cool stuff

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

In the solar system, planets further from the sun move slower, because the gravity drops off. In galaxies, stars move at about the same speed almost everywhere. The usual explanation is that there is more matter than we can see, it's called Dark Matter .., this wiki page describes an alternative that's even cooler than the Bobbseys only think they are. Enjoy.

I don't get the math section 2/3 of the way down.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/the_morning_plum_185.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 11, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

s/t wrong with link, cao

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

"and I let myself get drug down to their level."

That's dragged -- dragged down to their level.

You should make your first comment each day a list of which commenters are "in" and which are "out," since you make daily revisions.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 11, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm try this Bernie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modified_Newtonian_dynamics#cite_note-14

Failing that, go to the home page and search on MOND

Hey QB he was making a joke, you idiot.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Q.B.

Thanks for the grammatical correction.
You can rest assured I won't be proof reading your submissions for errors. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""...to the explicit end of achieving single party/single ideology domination over a nation's citizens...""

Your characterization is self-serving, and the difference you identify exists only in your characterization of things, not in reality.

Noprquist would like to have his ideology widely accepted in society such that it becomes the governing philosophy of the nation. You (and virtually all people with a strong political ideology) would also like to have your philosophy widely accepted in society such that it becomes the governing philosophy of the nation. (We know this about you because you consistently revel in the fact that it has happened in Canada with regard to health care.)

Now, you can describe Norquists desire as a wish to have "single party/single ideology domination" and you can describe your own desire as a wish to simply "govern". But your ability to use negatively connotated words to characterize one and positively connotated words to describe the other doesn't make the desires any different in substance. If one is "totalitarian", so is the other. (In fact neither are.)

""This isn't a tough differentiation to make, boys.""

Boys? Really? You do like to play this silly condescension game, don't you?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 11, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

mark:

""But I don't apologize for shifting the ground to a sufficiency argument...""

That's OK, as long as you acknowledge that you are shifting the ground. Does this mean I've convinced you that the "wealthy" do not benefit most from government spending, or are we just dropping that topic for now?

""...because I assumed we were talking about the world we are dealing with.""

Well, we were talking about the world we are dealing with, just a different subject within it.

""How do we go about shrinking expenditures? I don't think it works to shrink the revenue base, first. At least it has not. ""

Perhaps not, but I don't think that expanding the revenue base works towards that end either. If we are basing things on experience, nothing works. When was the last time expenditures shrunk? Automatic growth in expenditures is part of the system. And frankly I am not optimistic that expenditures can be shrunk short of a catastrophic economic collapse. Part of the "world we are dealing with" is the fact that huge expenditures of government money have become part of the fabric of life for many, many people. The only real way out of our current fiscal situation is to grow our way out of it. GDP has to expand such that tax revenues, where ever derived, outpace growth in expenditures.

I suppose we could, you and I, come up with a plan for reducing expenditures...zero budgeting, streamlining, whatever. We could even target specific budget items for elimination. I for one would propose an immediate and absolute freeze on all spending across the board (yes, even defense), which at least eliminates growth in expenditures. But ultimately, as you say, we are talking about the world we are dealing with, and in that world you and I are not dictators-for-a-day with the ability to do as we wish. Ultimately any effort to shrink expenditures will have to be built upon a shift in culture. The wider population needs to want to shrink government, and that want does not exist, at least not widely enough. As long as politicians get elected for bringing home the pork from Washington, there is no plan in the world that will shrink government largesse. Call me a cynic, but that is, as you might say, the world we are dealing with. Which might explain why I am more interested in talking about what government ought to be doing, than in coming up with a "plan" to make what it already does viable.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 11, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I would like to Greg talk about whether the story about HBG@ary-P@l@ntir-Beric0 is being censored in the mainstream US press because of Patriot Act pressures from the US Gov't. You can find a lot of info on overseas websites or secondary US sites, but the main US news sites are inexplicably ignoring the story. This is the type of story that the Washington Post historically covers very well....

Posted by: aaarrrgggghhh | February 13, 2011 2:28 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company