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Posted at 6:20 PM ET, 02/11/2011

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* Jackie Calmes reports from inside the White House that officials are confident they have the upper hand over the GOP in the coming debt ceiling standoff.

* Jake Tapper takes a skeptical look at the Obama administration's record on human rights and political reform in Egypt.

* Marc Ambinder on how events in Egypt represent a work in progress for Obama's approach to foreign policy, and how the crisis is revealing the Obama Doctrine's true nature.

* T-Paw reaches for new and creative ways to outpander his rivals on the "Obama apologizes for America" meme. Funny how they're all trying to figure out how to repackage that line as their own.

* Also in the above link, Ben Smith predicts a line of right-wing criticism against Obama on Egypt in coming days: "the criticism that the U.S. should -- somehow -- be ensuring that the Brotherhood doesn't join any transition process or new government."

The key word there is "somehow."

* Relatedly, Matthew Yglesias asks a good question:

Is it seriously an article of faith of the American conservative movement that the American government has never done anything worth apologizing for?

* Robert Gibbs, on MItt Romney's health care follies:

It'll be interesting to see if throughout the next two years the two words "health care" come out of his mouth.

* Relatedly, a funny line from Steve Benen on Mitt's mandate machinations:

The irony for Romney is that he's flip-flopped on practically every issue I can think of, but the one position he's inclined to stick to is the one the GOP base finds wholly unacceptable.

Also key: Steve's point that Romneycare once "cast Romney in a positive light, demonstrating his ability to tackle major policy challenges and work with members of both parties to pass a sensible, mainstream legislative milestone."

* Digby on why Nancy Pelosi is right to be worried that the GOP's anti-abortion push is not necessarily a dead letter in the Senate.

* The government shutdown skirmish continues: Harry Reid's office challenges Eric Cantor to take a government shutdown off the table "right away," another sign that Dems think this issue plays to their advantage.

* But Cantor says Dems, not Republicans, are the only ones scaremongering about a shutdown, which he compares to "shouting fire in a crowded theater."

* Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler gives three Pinnochios to the claim by some House GOPers that the CBO concluded that health reform will "destroy" 800,000 jobs, and labels it "the kind of political gamesmanship that gives politics a bad name."

* Olympia Snowe gets a Tea Party challenger.

* Good luck with this one: Grover Norquist says the GOP needs to "marginalize" Islamophobia among right-wingers and "make it clear that there's no place for that in the party of Reagan."

* ICYMI: Adam Serwer had a smart take this morning on conservatives' newfound fondness for birther "jokes."

* And Eric Boehlert argues that Glenn Beck's crackpot conspiracymongering on Egypt shows that conservatives have lost control of their own noise machine.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | February 11, 2011; 6:20 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, House Dems, House GOPers, abortion, debt ceiling  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama: "Today belongs to the people of Egypt"
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Comments

Just curious, who is the left's preferred candidate on the right. What I mean is, what Republican Presidential hopeful currently considering a run is the least objectionable? If Barry has to lose to a Republican, is losing to one Republican less worse than losing to another? If there is a preferable Republican to lose to, why is that person preferable?

Or, are they all equally bad?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 11, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I think Romney is pretty much stuck with defending his individual mandate. I suppose ushering in an era of tyrannical socialism isn't a mistake you can grow and learn from.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 11, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

We will see who has the upper hand soon enough.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 11, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein posted the question on his blog, although he didn't post it specifically for "the left" by which I'm assuming is the subset of people who aren't voting for Sarah Palin.

Romney and Huntsman (and Daniels is third) seem to be the popular choices.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 11, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Recently Greg posted some polls (yesterday?) about where Americans want spending decreased and IIRC, foreign aid polled pretty highly. Would that or would it not include the types of aid that we provide for so-called "promotion of Democracy"?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 11, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"Just curious, who is the left's preferred candidate on the right."

Are you serious Troll? :-)
Might I pull the old trick of answering your question with some questions?

Are you aware that there is ONE Republican candidate who loses to Obama in virtually every state...a candidate who is polling behind Obama even in states that McCain carried by double digits...yeah Troll...there is an R candidate that polls worse in some states that even went for the R's by double digits last time.

And so if you were a Dem rooting for a Dem victory...wouldn't it seem obvious who the favorite opposing candidate would be...why of course the one with NO chance...the one that is currently getting CLOBBERED...not just in national polls..but a candidate who gets CLOBBERED in the vast majority of states when they are polled individually.

Does that answer you question Troll?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

"Does that answer you question Troll?"

Thanks ruk, I appreciate the effort you put into that. I've tried to be clear that Palin is my preferred candidate and have laid out the reasons why in previous comments.

Who for you though, is the least objectionable Republican, if there is one? If the Democrats lose the Presidency, is there a Republican currently considered thinking about running, that would be the least worst? No tricks, just want to know if there is anybody, and if so, why.

Thanks in advance should you posit a name, or for even reading the comment.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 11, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I see now DDAWD, you're right, if there was a wall it would have been that much more romantic.

You know what, perhaps the Democracy momentum could inspire the deposing of Chavez? Wouldn't you love to see the people of Venezuela freed from that corrupt, murderous dictator?

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Troll

In case I didn't answer your question with enough specificity...

If you are a Republican, you should pray that Romney or Huckabee are nominated, because they have a chance of beating Obama in the right circumstances. If you are a Democrat, you should pray that you hear the words, “I accept your nomination, you betcha,” in late Aug of 2012 at the RNC in Tampa, Florida.

http://www.campustimes.org/2011/01/20/palin-vs-obama/

But for even more specificity let's go to the favorite pollster of the right..Rasmussen...

http://gop12.thehill.com/2011/02/rasmussen-romney-huckabee-strong.html

Even with that wonderful rightward tilt of Rasmussen...

Barack Obama 49% Sarah Palin 38%.

If you were a Dem who would you rather face, someone with a brain who can actually answer questions from the media...or somebody so lame on her feet that she has TOTALLY ignored ANY real interviews and had to create a strawman...the "lamestream media" to cover up the depths of her ignorance on the issues and inability to speak English instead of Alaskan, you betcha, and therefore..the American people think..as do I..that some changes might need to be...well ya know...we just can't have socialism..and also I think you're asking trick questions and so some wise person told me to just say what I want.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

rukidding, this far before the 2008 election:

Barack Obama 9% John McCain 88%

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 11, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Again ruk, thanks for that. I don't think I'm making myself clear. Who, among Republican hopefuls, do you think would do the least damage if they won? If Barry lost, who would you hope, of the Republicans thinking of running, that he would lose too?

Thanks, as always, in advance.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 11, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Troll

Sorry for the confusion. I thought you meant who did we feel most confident against.

If you are asking who would frighten us least as President...

Mittens of course. Huckabee lost me when he offered some of those loopy quotes about the Bible superceding the Constitution..yeah in church perhaps but not in the Oval office.

Now you do have some guys on the bench...just garden variety R crooks like Marco Rubio who at least has some brains...too bad he used them to fleece the Florida taxpayers when he was speaker of the Florida House...I heard an R on Bill Maher the other night...but if he was on Maher that makes him a RINO I guess..

So after much bluster I'd have to say Mittens frightens me least as President..he couldn't muck it up as badly as Georgie Porgie...what a litany of eff ups for the poor Texan's historical record.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Personally, the only GOPer who I would hope to see win 2012 would be Ron Paul. At least he can break from the crazies (not that he doesn't have his own brand, but...).
.

Posted by: jprestonian | February 11, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Ruk,

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

Troll

Can I change my vote and go with Jprestonian?

LOL I had forgotten about Ron Paul because I don't consider him a viable candidate.
If he won my hope would be that he would succeed in coping with the MIC and begin to save some real $$$ from our present absurd defense posture...but then of course I'd have to hope that domestically there'd be a hue and cry when he tried to eliminate the safety nets...errr hammocks.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I'd really like to see two anti-corporatists competing in 2012. But we're stuck with Obama.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | February 11, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Troll

Let's say Palin drops out...who is your candidate? What do you think of Trump?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind saying discussing how much credit Obama deserves in what happened in Egypt. I'd just rather not do it with Conservatives. It's pretty annoying for the same people who believe that Ronald Reagan literally dismantled the Berlin Wall before roundhouse kicking Stalin in the face also believe that Obama was just lucky to be at the helm when Mubarak resigned.

In short, if I'm going to expend mental energy in having a real conversation, I want to do it with someone who I can actually converse with and can be swayed with facts.

In shorter, no Conservatives. It's not personal. Just that you all are freakin morons.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 11, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't give any credit to Obama for what's happened in Egypt. No one knows what was said in the backchannels between the two governments (yet... WikiLeaks), but I have to suspect that the Obama admin was ready to work with whatever shook out, given past experience.

Give credit first to the Egyptians and their military.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | February 11, 2011 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't know anyone who thinks that Ronald Reagan literally dismantled the Berlin Wall (either the day of his speech or thereafter). Nice strawman argument though DDAWD.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 11, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Wondering who loses the Republican bid for the |red:White| House in 2012 is fun, but wondering about how that ticket gets chosen and what the ticket does and says on the way to disaster is more fun.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD

Actually the Berlin Wall going down..IF credited to Reagan would be the result of a speech..."Tear down that wall Mr Gorbachev"
The parallel for Obama would be his Cairo speech.

IMO both results being tied to either President are questionable and perhaps not easily quantified.

But as I have been doing throughout the day...the real parallel is how did the two Presidents act in similar situations.

In 1983 Ferdinand Marcos had one of his leading critics and a potential opponent Benigno Aquino assassinated. This was the spark that began the Filipino revolution.
It took St. Ronnie years before siding with "the people" and finally Corozon Aguino was installed as President by the "people power" movement. For a long time Reagan stuck with Marcos because of Marcos' anti communist beliefs and policies. In other words as long as Marcos was anti communist St. Ronnie was willing to side with the Dictator against the Filipino people.

We can carp about Obama taking 17 days before finally taking what will be viewed as an historic stand on the side of the Egyptian people. His 8PM release last night..quickly translated into Arabic and spread around the ME will mean Obama was on the right side of history. To me that is what really counts. Obama deftly navigated through a thicket of traps..both abroad and here at home with the right out to get him...and then there is the Israeli lobby...It doesn't really matter if Obama influenced this revolution...he gets F.P. credit for coming down on the "right" side...something unusual in American politics when the "right side" is up against a Totalitarian who also happens to be a U.S. ally.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

@Troll - Who do we want to win the nomination? Palin! Ah, sweet bipartisan agreement at last.

Who would I want to win if Obama had to lose? That's a toughie. T-Paw and Gingrich are so busy pandering that every original thought is lost. I'd go for a strong fiscal conservative, someone who would veto and veto and veto. Even if it meant one term only. So, I'd probably pick Paul Ryan if he ran (he won't) and Mitch Daniels (who might).

As for who is the worst of all worlds, both for being nominated and winning? That one's easy for me. Gov. Goodhair. He's an ugly character and surprisingly good.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 11, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't know anyone who thinks that Ronald Reagan literally dismantled the Berlin Wall

==

Quick substantiation of "freaking morons," Jake

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Ruk,

I guess my far, far distant choice maybe Daniels. Though, I'd really have to think about it. If it's not Palin, odds are I go third party. Libertarian most likely, or I write in somebody.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 11, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD, agreed.

It is exceedingly difficult having a conversation when all you are hearing, only, are the assumptions, prejudices and fugitive voices tape-looping in your own head.

That must indeed exhaust whatever mental energy you might possess.

"What I think Conservatives Think" is something that all the internal noise going on in the DDAWD amygdalae seems to have atomized and then reconstituted into dither.

For the record I think Mr. Obama has done well. Wish he had caught the democracy wave a bit earlier when the Iranian protesters took to the streets, but it is what it is.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

"but wondering about how that ticket gets chosen and what the ticket does and says on the way to disaster is more fun."

Boy you nailed that one shrink. The R's are going to be so much more interesting than the Dems in 2012. It's exciting already...watching them out pander each other to some really absurd positions...Tim Pawlenty..what a wimpy spineless loser. What is it with Minnesota anyway? T Paw and Michele Bachmann. Does the 6th District there have no pride and no shame.

Of course the 2012 Convention takes place right across the bay in Tampa. After HCR repeal fails...after the debt limit is raised...after the Tea Party folks realize they've been duped...well let's just say I'm staying on this side of the bay during the convention. The R's could have the potential for a Chicago 68 Dem style convention...ahhh not really..have you ever seen a crowd of TPers...they need to mix in salad or two, perhaps get up off the Barcolounger, put aside the six pack, and maybe take a 15 minute walk more frequently than attending an NFL game and hiking from the parking lot. These folks are in some seriously bad shape. They'll be too fat, too winded to run through the streets or hang from lamposts.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

My thinking is that this is Obama's largest FP victory, but this is kind of damning with faint praise as much as anything else.

But the thing to keep in mind is that Mubarak himself wasn't planning on stepping down a few days ago. This was a pretty dramatic change of course for him. While what was going on the ground in Egypt was brewing for a long time, what was going on in Mubarak's head happened very quickly. No one will know exactly what his thought process was, but Obama's speech, at the very least, brought some focus on Cairo and had some galvanizing effect.

And yeah, Obama making a stand against an ally is a huge effin deal. Who knows how much of an effect Obama had, but he did do the right things.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 11, 2011 7:52 PM | Report abuse

@ruk-

"...he gets F.P. credit for coming down on the "right" side...something unusual in American politics when the "right side" is up against a Totalitarian who also happens to be a U.S. ally."

Bingo! That's a sticky wicket if ever there was one.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 11, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Olympia Snowe needed a Tea Party challenger.
Have fun Oly! Just don't try to be reasonable.

The Republican tire fire ought to barf up* a Tea Party candidate for the **White** House,

*mixed metaphors r us

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

""What I think Conservatives Think" is something that all the internal noise going on in the DDAWD amygdalae seems to have atomized and then reconstituted into dither."

Prove me wrong. All of you appeared on the previous thread within about an hour to profess that Obama had "0.00%" effect on the happenings in Egypt.

Look, you need to decide whether it's important for you to be taken seriously in a discussion or if it's important for you to get Sarah Palin winky winks.

The two are mutually exclusive, though.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 11, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Palin, but only to ensure a GOP loss. The game-show shabbiness would be a knife in the ribs for American dignity.

Egypt: it's not over. Military control has to be transitional.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

"...well let's just say I'm staying on this side of the bay during the convention."

Better get a gas mask, the wind might turn on you.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Never seen a crowd of TP'ers.

I met a TP member over the holidays and had an enjoyable conversation (not all politics BTW). Eastern private college guy, nice family, small tech business owner.

He had an interesting take on bankrupt New York State, to wit: Only Cuomo, a Democrat, can cut taxes, dismantle the state civil-service unions, cut their jobs, benefits and pensions. He likened it to Nixon going to China.

He said the last guy to do that here was Hugh Carey, a Dem.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"Olympia Snowe needed a Tea Party challenger.
Have fun Oly! Just don't try to be reasonable. "

This is good news. Looks like the Tea Party is all set to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

It will be nice, since I don't think there's a chance in hell we keep ND.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 11, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@Troll

"If it's not Palin, odds are I go third party."

I must confess when I first read that I was a bit surprised. But then I thought about it and you are one of our "creative" righties.

And the more I thought about it the more it makes sense. Let's face..given that Obama's favorability numbers are running about 13% ahead of where Reagan was at the same time in his Presidency...given that the economy is finally starting to improve (on a personal note January and February at our Dental office have been great...back to the halcyon days in the early 2000's HOORAY) if nothing changes dramatically (as in another 9/11 or some other cataclysmic event) Obama should win in a walk. Hopefully you're not one of those delusional types on the right who believe the midterms were anything more than the confluence of horrible economy, normal beating the party holding the W.H. takes in the midterms, low turnout with a rabidly passionate tea party group...at any rate if Obama is going to win anyway why not influence the R's for the future with a 3rd party vote. Makes great sense to me Troll and I must say...if I thought Obama was going to lose I'd probably join wbgonne and vote for the Green candidate.

Having said all of that...if it's Mittens/Huckabee and Obama in a race too tight to call would you REALLY waste your vote?

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

DDAWD,

The "all of you" (referring to uh, non-rote lefties) you cite consisted of sbj and possibly me. I did not say (if you read at all with an open mind) Mr. Obama deserved zero credit.

My take was actually almost along the lines of Liam's.

You just need to jump up and bark whenever you think you're hearing someone say, "Buckley!"

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

"[Not] considered a top-flight candidate, but Snowe could have problems against a legitimate tea party challenge, given her moderate record in the Senate."

Perfect. Snowe is vulnerable to a candidate that should be a laugher. Why? A moderate voting record.

Hey, if Republicans are happy with the way this is going, can we help you pack? I'll hold the door.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I probably would have voted Green in the last two elections, but I was in North Carolina, kind of a swing state. I was in Louisiana for 2008, but I really liked Obama.

And at least in terms of domestic policy, there's no difference between Obama and the Green Party.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 11, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is not going to lose.
The Dems will lose Senate, though. And a TP candidate could definitely win in ME, ask wbg, as a Boston guy he's probably been Down East.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 8:17 PM | Report abuse

@tao

I'm judging the TPers on a whole from what I have seen of them on TV. Then again maybe the fatties were blocking you physically fit types. :-)

BTW I do agee with your observations...or was it your friends observations about Cuomo's power because of his party...the same of course could be said about the R's. Imagine if Bush had been a calm, measured dude instead of a hothead out to prove he could do better than Poppy. Bush was the one who could have raised taxes back to some normalcy during his second term. Obama will be the one who can deal with entitlements during his second term...maybe sooner..isn't his budget due out on Monday.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse

"...a knife in the ribs for American dignity."

Wishful thinking.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

McWing:

Interesting question. Interesting mainly because of the responses it elicited, which seem to show just how much this lefty obsession with Palin makes the simplest question nearly incomprehensible to those afflicted.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 11, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD,The "all of you" (referring to uh, non-rote lefties) you cite consisted of sbj and possibly me. I did not say (if you read at all with an open mind) Mr. Obama deserved zero credit."

Just to be perfectly clear about my opinion - I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea:

Obama deserves 0 (zero), no credit, zilch, zippo, nada, for the success of the Egyptian uprising.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 11, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

The Dems will lose Senate, though.

==

Before the new House term began I might have agreed with you.

But if you really think the voters are going to give more power to a GOP that's so contemptuous of ordinary Americans and so slavish toward big business, and that's refighting the culture wars, and that's ignoring pressing needs to do symbolic votes against Obama, you need to stop hanging out bat NRO.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

"I must confess when I first read that I was a bit surprised. But then I thought about it and you are one of our "creative" righties."

Thanks?

"And the more I thought about it the more it makes sense. Let's face..given that Obama's favorability numbers are running about 13% ahead of where Reagan was at the same time in his Presidency...given that the economy is finally starting to improve (on a personal note January and February at our Dental office have been great...back to the halcyon days in the early 2000's HOORAY) if nothing changes dramatically (as in another 9/11 or some other cataclysmic event) Obama should win in a walk."

I dispute your assertion that the economy is finally starting to improve. Unemployment has not substantially improved in the last two years and I see not reason why it will in the next two.

"Hopefully you're not one of those delusional types on the right who believe the midterms were anything more than the confluence of horrible economy, normal beating the party holding the W.H. takes in the midterms, low turnout with a rabidly passionate tea party group."

You forgot to include Racism. I am however, apparently "delusional." Jimmeh, the Clenis and now Barry have suffered devastating losses by Republicans. It is my opinion that the electorate has strong conditions it sets on Democratic Administrations. At least for the last 35 years.

"..at any rate if Obama is going to win anyway why not influence the R's for the future with a 3rd party vote. Makes great sense to me Troll and I must say...if I thought Obama was going to lose I'd probably join wbgonne and vote for the Green candidate."

Not to be purposefully disagreeable, though I have been labeled by you as rabidly partisan, my vote is going to the candidate I think will actually vote to repeal Obamacare, vote for fundamental entitlement reform and meaningfully scale back the size and role of government. I do not see any of the current candidates, with the exception of Palin, willing to do that. And since you might think that Ron Paul would be an option for me, I think he's an opportunistic jerk, more interested in running for office than being serious. I also think his isolationist bent is bad for trade, so he's out. And I voted for him on the Libertarian ticket in '84.

"Having said all of that...if it's Mittens/Huckabee and Obama in a race too tight to call would you REALLY waste your vote?"

Yes, in spades. Again, i do not believe either would pursue the agenda I roughed out. I think that the 2012 election is a watershed moment. Either we aggressively and meaningfully reform our government and entitlement, or we accelerate our decent into metaphorical oblivion.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 11, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

RU,

"Obama will be the one who can deal with entitlements during his second term...maybe sooner..isn't his budget due out on Monday."

That is also an interesting take. We'll see.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

From Bruce Bartlett...

"We could soon have a reverse Tea Party of laid off government workers, farmers and who knows how many other people irate at losing government benefits or government services such as post offices that will probably have to be closed."

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2011/02/11/GOP-Cuts-Budget-with-an-Axe-Instead-of-a-Scalpel.aspx

Reverse dominoes. Reverse vampires. Reverse Tea Parties. I think it's time for a reversal or two.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

"Obama deserves 0 (zero), no credit, zilch, zippo, nada, for the success of the Egyptian uprising."

I forgot who I was talking about this with, but you see why serious matters can't be discussed with Conservatives?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 11, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, impressions of the teabaggers. Anyone seen that video of that trailer trash woman Fiorina speeching to them? "We're the *had enough* party" with a little jab of the chin. Most of it is the audience.

Not exactly a Norman Rockwell image of democracy in action.

Yeah, a lot of fat. A lot of sunglasses. A lot of big talk about Communists. A lot of screaming and stomping.

And then there were those HCR town halls. Free speech interpreted as "drown out the speaker with chanting." LOTS of fat.

Not a lot of young people at those rallies, and a lot who look like recruited vagrants wandering around in tricorns wondering when they get their jugs.

Nuts. This isn't a political party, this is angry rabble.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

As Tomansky said, imagine if President McCain had given a speech in Cairo 20 months ago and this happened--the right would be braying about the "McCain Revolution". The credit goes to the Egyptians, but Obama is right along with them.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2011/feb/11/egypt-barack-obama

Posted by: Vaughan1 | February 11, 2011 8:53 PM | Report abuse

We're not privy to the communications between the WH and Egypt (or communications from other nations to Egypt and the US) so I don't know how we can make any sort of educated judgement on whether or how much the Obama team were helpful in the resolution so far as it has evolved to this point.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 11, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Shame on Bartlett for calling them "government services."

They're *necessities*.

When municipalities are turning off streetlights and shortening school years while the wealthy get tax breaks and we maintain military bases all over the world, America is approaching a tipping point from which recovery is close to impossible.

Austerity measures instead of tax increases leading to layoffs .. Those laid off stop patronizing local businesses, who then lay off, and it avalanches. Unemployment benefits run out, jobs dry up, cheap guns available at whim .. is this really what you want? Really?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 9:01 PM | Report abuse

@Bernie

"so I don't know how we can make any sort of educated judgement on whether or how much the Obama team were helpful in the resolution so far as it has evolved to this point."

I don't disagree with your conclusion but rather your premise or question. WHY should Obama or any American President be looking for credit in a popular uprising in another country? Isn't Egypt for the Egyptians.

Isn't the real question whether a President has F.P. chops? Did he do the "right" thing? Again a look at recent history shows just how historic Obama's 8PM release last night truly was...it's not about whether it influenced the events as much as whether it handicapped them or whether Obama came down on the "Wrong" side...like walrus Bolton. Again Reagan sided with Marcos for years against the popular will of the Filipino people because Marcos..while a dictator..was anti communist and he was OUR dictator. We were on the wrong side of that revolution for years. The same could be said of Bubba when Suharto should have been cut loose. Obama has not repeated those mistakes...for that alone I give him an A on how he handled this F.P. Challenge.

And again remember AIPAC didn't give a squat about the Philippines or Indonesia, and so Reagan and Clinton had far less to deal with in those situations that Obama.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 9:05 PM | Report abuse

No, B, were not privy to those internals.

What we saw from Mr. Biden, Mr. Clapper, Mr. Panetta, and Mr. Obama himself, on CNN et.al., showed that at the least their policy and message, er, evolved.

That said, the President got it right when he had to.

Churchill said Americans will make every wrong decision right up until the last, when they make the right one, and that when they do, they go all in (paraphrase).

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama has been pushed to the side in the Middle East. Clearly,Obama is being treated as a Lame Obama Duck by the governments in the region

On one level Obama is a complete embarrassment

However our nation can be happy that other nations have stepped in to defend American Interests in the region. Quite a spectacle and a disgrace. Obama is completely ineffective and he will never recover from this. It is the first time since the 1930s that American policy has failed on such a scale.

Posted by: OrangeDogs | February 11, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

tao:

Winston: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 11, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Not to be purposefully disagreeable, though I have been labeled by you as rabidly partisan, my vote is going to the candidate I think will actually vote to repeal Obamacare, vote for fundamental entitlement reform and meaningfully scale back the size and role of government. I do not see any of the current candidates, with the exception of Palin, willing to do that. And since you might think that Ron Paul would be an option for me, I think he's an opportunistic jerk, more interested in running for office than being serious. I also think his isolationist bent is bad for trade, so he's out. And I voted for him on the Libertarian ticket in '84.

==

Doesn't get much more disagreeable than that. Voting Libertarian? Palin as a legitimate candidate? Shrink government?

You're not remotely serious. You have to be exactly what your moniker says.

I even disagree about Ron Paul. "Opportunistic jerk" gives him too much credit. "Buffoon" is better. He's also pushing 80.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

thnx scott!

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

It is the first time since the 1930s that American policy has failed on such a scale.

==

TOTAL disconnect

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama did not do anything. We did. We elected Obama, that is how we lead. We elect Reagan, we electe Carter, Kennedy, Ike, Bush... the country that is 8000 years old and has never elected anyone, they want to give it a shot.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Can someone on the right...or on the left for that matter explain to me how "community organizer" became such a pejorative in right wing lexicon?

Is St. Petersburg somehow an "evil" place.
We have 133 neighborhood assns in our city that facilitate communication between our city government and our citizens. That's right 133 groups full of "community organizers"

When Stu the Goldman Sachs con man Sternberg tried to shake our city down for a quick half billion to build him a stadium I was on the steering committee for a group called Preserve Our Wallets and Waterfront POWW. We tried to organize communities around the city to prevent this swindle. We were successful.
Since it was against a rampant corporatist I guess that makes me a doubly evil "community organizer".

Oxypig and Glen Beck are ranting and raving..like the loonies they are...that the Egyptian revolution was carefully coordinated by "community organizers".
These same "community organizers" are now going to spread their democracy to Europe.
That must be a real shock to the Europeans who somehow believe they already have democracies.

Wasn't Paul Revere a "community organizer"?
Aren't "community organizers" at the root of all democracies? Really?

Oh wait maybe I have an idea...all those other examples were OK...I didn't mention people who work in black communities for voter registration...to gain better access for the disenfranchised...those "community organizers" are the bad ones eh?

Yeah and those righties know how to deal with them too don't they...ask Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner, and James Chaney...oh wait you'd have to ask their families since they were murdered for the dastardly act of being..."community organizers"!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

"Shrink government?"

You know what. I have not asked for that role, I don't aspire to Shrink government. But if the masses demand my prescience, I mean presents, presenec...oh forget it. That was the end of my career in politics.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

"...they want to give it a shot."

Right now they've got a "Hopeful Junta."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Check out the markets after the resignation, up & up. Dollar up. Very interesting.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

""Wasn't Paul Revere a "community organizer"?""

No. He was a silversmith and an engraver.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 11, 2011 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Nelson Mandela a community organizer?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 11, 2011 9:28 PM | Report abuse

@ruk. Come on, dude.

It's contempt for the very idea of working together, of shared goals, of cooperation. The new right nurtures comic-book conceits about rugged individualism and fantasies of total self-reliance. It's not the organizer part, it's the community part. These jerks have nothing but contempt for the idea of community. Anything short of pure selfishness is "collectivism" to them.

You should see the signs here, where collectivism is the rule. The expectation that we're all working together runs deep. The righties would have a coronary.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Geez RU, those guys that murdered the Freedom Rider kids in Mississippi were toothless Democrats.

You can't put that one on the "right."

And no, Paul Revere was not a community organizer. He was a small businessman. (heh)

The estimate of the percentage of Colonials who sympathized with or actually participated in the Revolution is between 20-30% of the entire population.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

"shrink government"?

I don't know shrink. That's a pretty big responsibility. You seem like a nice enough guy...perhaps a beneficent dictator..nahhh the power would go to your head.

But the REAL question shrink...would you look as good as Hosni when you reach 80.
You really gotta give it up to the dude when it comes to aging well. Is it something in the Egyptian genes or just that Mediterranean diet we're all supposed to embrace?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"No. He was a silversmith and an engraver."

And exactly what silver was he smithing or engraving when he jumped on his horse to warn his neighbors...dare I say his COMMUNITY that the British were coming?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I voted in the R gubernatorial primary in 2010 [for my classmate, KBH] and I will vote in the R primary in 2012, assuming the D primary is uncontested. I vote for who I think is the best candidate in whatever primary I vote. Huntsman, then Daniels, for me, among the current field.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 11, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

"Geez RU, those guys that murdered the Freedom Rider kids in Mississippi were toothless Democrats."

Yeah that's what they called them in those days..what did they morph into...Haley Barbour..and I believe Foghorn Leghorn is a Republican Presidential Candidate. Talk about another dude who could mix in a salad, lay off the fried chicken and perhaps investigate some exercise options.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

cao,

I do many things, all voluntarily, in my community...i.e. right where I live. In my church, in our schools, in the nearby state prison, and through charities my company supports.

What the heck are you talking about?

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

"The expectation that we're all working together runs deep."

Sure it's deep, those that resisted were shot, or left.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Geez RU, those guys that murdered the Freedom Rider kids in Mississippi were toothless Democrats.

==

You guys never tire of this one, do you, knowing full well that all those racist Dixiecrats became Republicans when LBJ signed the Civil Rights Acf.

And at one time there were liberal Republicans too.

At least Robert Byrd repudiated his racist past. Your side uses racism to rile up the base.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

"Sure it's deep, those that resisted were shot, or left."

And you know this how? Have you visited Vietnam? Or perhaps you have a credible link backing your assertion.

Sorry to go all 12Bar on you tao but we like our facts to be facts.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

What am I talking about, tao?

I'm talking about the rhetoric from your side. Thanks for your own community participation, how do you reconcile it with your allegiances?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

"...all those racist Dixiecrats became Republicans."

How did they morph into Bobby Jindal?

I bet you never even set foot in Yoknapatawpha.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Didn't we once have Dignity of Labor murals in US public places once? Don't have them now.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Night all...time to tune to my favorite communist pinko...sorry Cao...I'm shifting my "obsequious" "fawning" "pandering" to Bill Maher.

Normally Cao you would be my favorite, communist, pinko, tree hugger...but I simply find Maher to be a very funny man.

Catch you all later.

BTW Shrink...thanks for the tip on the camera lens on the earlier thread. I'll probably have to repeat this for NoVA who shared a terrific link about photography.
Thanks NoVA..it is now bookmarked! Shrink unless you're already the accomplished artiste with a camera you might wish to check it out as well..lots of great information. Then again if your pics come right out of the camera looking photoshopped...well I'm impressed!
I've only had my Canon SLR a couple of months and already I've seen some pics come of it that are impressive...must be a fine camera because they weren't due to the skill of the photographer. lol

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

mark:

Left you a response at the end of yesterday's HH.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 11, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

"must be a fine camera because they weren't due to the skill of the photographer"

Yes and it isn't even a joke. You learn the basics (yeah, it isn't magic) adjust the buttons here and there, think positively, hold it steady and most important: leave your finger on the button.
Throw away 99 and keep 1, you are a photographer!

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Cao...

One last quick blast..

"Didn't we once have Dignity of Labor murals in US public places once? Don't have them now."

Great point. May I brag a bit about my former hometown..I grew up right across the river from Cincinnati. They had those very murals in the old Union train station.
They have been preserved as part of the museum that now exists. In addition I know you enjoy music...I'm a huge fan of Aaron Copeland..especially the 7th movement of Appalachian Spring..but I digress...Copeland's great "Fanfare for the Common Man" was debuted at Cincinnati's Music Hall. Labor in our society is no longer valued.

We need a new batch of Copelands and Steinbecks.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 11, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a Communist, ruk, but I am a socialist.

I just feel obliged to point out, seeing Communism close-up every day, that it's nothing at all like the Bircher impressions we hear from these righties.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Is anybody following this new Tea Party tactic:

Tea partiers and other conservative activists hope to repurpose a little-known constitutional provision called the compacts clause to shift almost all federal health programs—including Medicare and Medicaid, the giant entitlements—to the states.

The constitutional provision at issue is Article I, Section 10: “No state shall, without the consent of Congress … enter into any agreement or compact with another state.”

...

By January, compact supporters had model legislative language in hand (a version is available online at healthcarecompact.com/compact). This month, supporters are introducing health care compact bills in half a dozen or so state legislatures, with more in the pipeline.

Within their own borders, therefore, states participating in the compact could fashion any sort of health system they wanted. “If a state really wants to do a single-payer system, they should do it,” says Linbeck. “What it’s essentially saying is we’re not going to have a one-size-fits-all program any more. We’re going to move the decision closer to the people and we’re going to allow a lot of different solutions.”

For each participating state, the proposed compact would cash out Medicare, Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration, and all other federal health programs except those for veterans, and then hand the state a check equivalent to federal health spending in that state, along with the authority to decide how to spend it on health care.

http://www.nationaljournal.com//magazine/the-tea-party-s-next-move-a-health-care-compact-20110210

--------------------------------------------
Medicare and FDA all totally under states control.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 11, 2011 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, cao.

I see up close how much more effective private work with people is than a condescending Bartleby down at the state office building.

Just a little observation: by and large civil service people (excepting teachers) do not much like the folks they provide services for. They do not like poor people. And they very much do not like people in crisis. Because that means they may have to actually work.

They also very much resent volunteers. Can you perhaps think of a reason why?

& Rhetoric is just that...Rhetoric. I've flamed you and I don't even know you; I don't think I moved the ball an inch. Some things and on (rare) occasion some people just get my Irish up.

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

We need a new batch of Copelands and Steinbecks.

==

Not as badly as we need some better citizens ... or fewer lousy ones.

The inculcation of idealism has to have continuity to survive. That continuity has been broken and idealism replaced with a deeply felt selfishness. I don't see a lot of hope for changing that and I fear that America may be headed into some unprecedented harsh times.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Just a little observation: by and large civil service people (excepting teachers) do not much like the folks they provide services for.

==

I had an unfortunate friend whose mind left him .. I helped him with SS and welfare for a while. I'll never forget the caseworker at the desk, three gold crucifixes around her neck, a frown made permanent on her face.

Given all the junkies in the lines, I don't blame her.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I see up close how much more effective private work with people is than a condescending Bartleby down at the state office building.

==

But the problem with charity is that it goes in and out of fashion. And it seems to me that it's esteem tends to be inverse to the need for it.

We can look at some people and say they've made their beds with lousy choices and irresponsibility, let them lie in them .. but that's not true fir everyone. Some people lose a lifetime of savings caring for a sick loved one. Some people who've never been late for work get their job shipped to India. Charity is limited in its resources. Government will always be there.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

"I've flamed you and I don't even know you."

Say, I have been trying to figure out why people do that. I ask people who do it it and they can not say anything meaningful.

You are self aware. Why do people flame people with whom they communicate every day on post it boards?

There is a dissertation here and it might even lead to a job. Because post it boards would be a lot better if people didn't to the, "Oh yeah well the problem with you..." all day every day.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, shrink, as Pelosi said a few days ago .. we don't have shared values.

You know as well as I that some of the people posting here have no interest at all at finding answers or common ground. And we seem to have widely divergent concern over whether what we say is true or not.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

cao,

History tells us that, often, government will not be there. Or worse, that government will actually be demonically murderous.

I think that when government becomes much more than the very last resort for people in very dire crisis, that the remaining more fortunate population loses the "community" gene, and hence, the idealism you fear is being lost.

shrink,

A dissertation indeed. I've never, at PL, gone nuclear other than with cao. 1) It was a button pushed that consolidated and characterized a very large number of people into mere creatures not worth considering, that has never gone well when taken to its final ethos. That might be my only button, really. 2) Sometimes when you're fencing, you forget you have a real sword in your hand. 3) Another's hyperbole can escape you, and you disregard their sincerity so why be nicey-nice. 4) On the internet no one knows you're a dog.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
cao may very well have identical objections from the other end of the spectrum. I ask him to forgive me for the
bitterness...till next time...although I don't think I'll hit that again. ;>)

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

"You know as well as I that some of the people posting here have no interest at all at finding answers or common ground."

What a bunch of pansies. Sheesh, what we if we all wore our hurts on our sleeves. They just try to be mean? Oh yeah? Well I can flame too. No more Mr. nice guy. Here, like this, to whomever said,

"by and large civil service people (excepting teachers) do not much like the folks they provide services for"

Hey snot nosed whiner, I work right smack dab in the gaping maw of society's shוtter. You people have diarrhea into our system of care, whenever you get the urge, we just have to swallow.

The folks we provide services for are your relatives, you create the stink in the bag of ṣhit where we work.

First of all fυck you.

No really: Fυck you!

...what a bunch of fυcking asṣholes...

Second, try to live without us. You can't you even handle your own aṣswipe and you think we have to take care of your retarded offspring?

Oh, I can't keep up the joke...it is true, we can do better and the public employee unions are a major problem.

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

"I think that when government becomes much more than the very last resort for people in very dire crisis, that the remaining more fortunate population loses the "community" gene."

I agree with this. The government should never be a conduit for the rich to become even more and more and more rich.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, I can't keep up the joke...it is true, we can do better and the public employee unions are a major problem. "

Why? What power do the unions have? Oh, the power to strike? Well, isn't it the position of the Conservatives that if government employees don't like their lot, they can stop working?

Well, they do, but it's not as funny to bully public employees when they stop working all at once.

The unions are far from our biggest problem. The main problem stems from the fact that we are unwilling to tax our highest earners. Public employees don't get cable shows, so it's easier to kick them around.

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

Looks like troll hunter is finally beginning to take effect. Only four blocked posts.

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

D

I have been a public employee f-o-r-e-v-e-r. They are not our biggest problem. Did you read what I said? Try to live without us?

Besides, you are just a kid. Get back to me after you run some big public mental health and addictions programs.

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

"The government should never be a conduit for the rich to become even more and more and more rich."

I agree with this.

And would add that there are tens of thousands in government that are themselves their own conduit to become even more and more and more rich. Fairfax & Prince George's Counties, Arlington and Alexandria are the new Greenwichs and Grosse Pointes.


Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I guess you're talking about the "gassed" comment, Tao ... Y'know, honestly, it never once crossed my mind that anyone would think I was serious, and when some of you-plural acted as though I was, I figured it was posturing for the audience, pretending to believe me serious to get others to think so too, like Jake above re: the Berlin wall.

I had two grandparents whose families were murdered in the Holocaust and a third whose would have been had they not all left Europe long before. So you can trust me when I say I wasn't being serious.

As for treating all the conservatives as a homogenous group, really, whose fault is that? There's no symmetry of homogeneity here. No two of we liberals ever agree for more than five minutes, while we can read the conservatives for five weeks and unless we're especially diligent we won't see any disagreement.

So I do ad,it it's refreshing to read someone on your side admit that Obama is probably going to win next year, that he didn't completely flub the Egyptian events, or that the GOP is short on inspiring candidates.

Now if only you'd admit they're also short on inspiring ideas. Or ideas, period.

Even when you guys do disagree .. I'm sure you and Kevin believe in evolution and I hope you admit to anthropogenic global warming ... you're reluctant to say it aloud and are far more inclined than we are to circle the wagons and present a unified front. How come you never call QB or Jake on some of their dishonest and extreme positions? I don't hold back from disagreeing with other liberals.

The flame pilot is off for now.

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

Mark in Austin says I may be the only small government anti public employee union socialist. Fine. I am a small government, anti public employee union socialist. I think our Constitution is just fine. Apart from it, government is for the safety net and for regulating markets. I suppose I am socialist because I know there are no free markets. There is only the question of who regulates, who controls the human marketplace.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 11, 2011 11:50 PM | Report abuse

shrink,

The other problem with flaming on a board is that it's very difficult to capture much detail in 3000 characters. Clearly running mental health and addiction programs would be "very dire cris[es]" only govt, or private/public co-op, can tackle.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

shrink,

The other problem with flaming on a board is that it's very difficult to capture much detail in 3000 characters. Clearly running mental health and addiction programs would be "very dire cris[es]" only govt, or private/public co-op, can tackle.

Posted by: tao9 | February 11, 2011 11:54 PM | Report abuse

The main problem stems from the fact that we are unwilling to tax our highest earners.

==

I had to think about it a while, and I got blocked because I think of "earning" as the fruit of labor, and America's wealthy don't do much to earn anything. Maybe Bill Gates wrote some BASIC a long time ago but I doubt the brothers Koch are ever beat at the end of the day. Anyway.

I not only think we should raise taxes on the very rich, I think we should make nine-figure wealth completely outside honest reach. I mean, when two brothers whose business is cooki g the planet can kick eight figures into influencing government more to their liking and not even miss it, something is very very wrong with democracy.

But not as wrong as having millions of people with nothing to gain and much to lose supporting them.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 11, 2011 11:59 PM | Report abuse

"The other problem with flaming on a board is that it's very difficult to capture much detail in 3000 characters."

No, lame excuse. If anyone made that much sense, they'd get a room, I'll give anyone a gmail for a dance that is too big for 3000 letters. That just isn't it.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 12, 2011 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Add a one to each number preceding "figures" above.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 12:02 AM | Report abuse

thnx cao,

I suppose I still believe there can be some inspiring ideas from say, a man like my father, or perhaps your forebears who were prescient enought to escape Europe, and that those ideas are merely being drowned out despite their value, and that they remain inspiring.

New ideas have their provenance, and owe their conception to the (or a) prior generation. Eg.: (IMO) no one ever thought about equality until the concept of liberty was truly established.

I'm for reform, suspicious of progress without some fixed vision.

Posted by: tao9 | February 12, 2011 12:11 AM | Report abuse

I think that when government becomes much more than the very last resort for people in very dire crisis, that the remaining more fortunate population loses the "community" gene, and hence, the idealism you fear is being lost.

==

I don't think anyone wants government to be the first resort, but you can't treat the poverty or disability of tens of millions of people by holding bake sales.

And my distrust of government is probably not far from yours, however my distrust of wealthy corporations is vastly greater. Yeah Hitler and Pol Pot murdered people but it was American agro biz that had labor organizers' heads on sharpened sticks in Central America. And it's Monsanto trying to restrict access to fresh water. And it's petro spending hundreds of millions to nurture doubt about global warming so they can cotinue to profit on cooking our only world.

And then there's tobacco. Twelve hundred dead from smoking every single day, another 9/11 every sixty hours. When it comes to murderousness, government is amateur.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 12:13 AM | Report abuse

I suppose I still believe there can be some inspiring ideas from say, a man like my father

Clearly running mental health and addiction programs would be "very dire cris[es]" only govt, or private/public co-op, can tackle

You did him proud tao.
Night night,

Posted by: shrink2 | February 12, 2011 12:20 AM | Report abuse

shrink, I only meant that if you thought I dissed your work it had something to do with necessitated brevity, and not intended.

Posted by: tao9 | February 12, 2011 12:20 AM | Report abuse

@tao: I think of it this way .. idealism is a luxury of the well-fed.

My grandfather, the one whose family got out, told me about getting through the Depression. About the neighbor, scant months earlier a notably successful man, who came to the door, hat in hand, asking if there was any work he could do, anything, in exchange for a meal.

Americans came together then, community was a respected notion, and even with so many out of work, most blamed themselves for their predicament. Do you think it would be that way now?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 12:21 AM | Report abuse

ruk, if you catch this in the morning, I have to defend my state. Bachmann is in Congress because her district is so completely gerrymandered. My Democratic rep in the next district over wins by a landslide. Divide the two districts differently and you get two Dems. And Pawlenty became governor because there was a well known third party candidate, Tim Penny, running as an Independent, plus a Green Party candidate. Generally, this is a pretty sane state and a big quality of life place, though that has diminished under Pawlenty in a way it never did under previous governors, Democrats or Republicans.

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

cao,

"Do you think it would be that way now?"

My only very short, near experiences to what both our grandfather's experienced at length, were two weather related emergencies. One deadly blizzard and one less lethal ice-storm that knocked out power in UpstateNY and Ontario for about a month.

People definitely shared, looked out for the most vulnerable, performed long service without anyone asking, etc..

I think we would be alright. I think that a national breakdown of order is not very likely anyway. Its wierd but there's still an awareness, sometimes very sharp in the most unlikely folks, of right and wrong & I think the Depression and Civil War is still in our DNA as the type of things to be abhored but that we can overcome.

thnx cao, witching hour

Posted by: tao9 | February 12, 2011 12:40 AM | Report abuse

I'll back ABC on the sanity of Minnesota. Only been there for a few days but St. Paul made favorable impressions. Back when a gay neighborhood meant sadomasochists in leather and transvestites staggering around on heels, St. Paul's had hand-holding couples.

A lot of we former Fix readers are perplexed by Pawlenty getting any buzz. Cillizza has a crush on the guy, hyperventilates over him. Who else gives him ink?

For my two cents T-Paw is a murderer who let his constituents drown from an unrepaired bridge just so he could strut his fiscal conservative cred.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 12:40 AM | Report abuse

ooopsy, as I laid me down to sleep, I saw this on the wire

(Reuters) - An official Chinese newspaper on Saturday called for stability in Egypt after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak and said foreigners should keep from intervening.

"Following this extraordinary development, it is hoped that the Egyptian military, government and its people will make every effort to maintain social stability and restore normal order," the China Daily newspaper said in an editorial.

"Social stability should be of overriding importance. Any political changes will be meaningless if the country falls prey to chaos in the end," said China's official English-language newspaper.

"Given Egypt's status as a major Arab power of pivotal strategic importance, if the current situation continues to deteriorate, it will not only be nightmarish for the 80 million Egyptians, but also perilous to regional peace and stability."

The Foreign Ministry later issued a brief statement, without mentioning Mubarak's resignation or saying what had happened.

"China has been closely following the changing situation in Egypt and hopes the latest developments will help Egypt to restore national stability and normal order as soon as possible," Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.

Wow. wow. My prediction of a few hours ago was prescient or precious or at least predated science. Anyway, everyone who cares in China already knows what actually happened or if they don't, now they know they need to.

China is in trouble.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 12, 2011 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Scott, I think that was a superior post [your reply to my on yesterday's HH] and that everyone should read it.

I still think the wealthy benefit most from the federal government's expenditures.

Aside from that, I would point to the Gingrich-Clinton agreement that they could balance the budget by maintaining the surtax, on the one hand, and ending lifetime welfare, on the other. That kind of agreement could do it again, IMHO. Essentially the Bowles-Simpson approach.

Regardless of this point of clarification, one which does not disagree with the thrust of what you wrote when you suggested that we have never really cut spending, I really appreciated the response.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 12, 2011 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Good catch, Shrink. I am watching Charlie Rose in Cairo.

His Egyptian guests are so elated! I hope they are not let down by their military.

G'night!

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 12, 2011 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Tao. I enjoy getting along. Let's see if we can keep it up.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 2:35 AM | Report abuse

TO......Troll

I'm new here, so tell me your Palin thinking please

TIA

smd
''''''''''''''''''''''
"Does that answer you question Troll?"

Thanks ruk, I appreciate the effort you put into that. I've tried to be clear that Palin is my preferred candidate and have laid out the reasons why in previous comments.

Who for you though, is the least objectionable Republican, if there is one? If the Democrats lose the Presidency, is there a Republican currently considered thinking about running, that would be the least worst? No tricks, just want to know if there is anybody, and if so, why.

Thanks in advance should you posit a name, or for even reading the comment.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 11, 2011 6:56 PM

Posted by: smd1234 | February 12, 2011 2:37 AM | Report abuse

Who for you though, is the least objectionable Republican, if there is one? If the Democrats lose the Presidency, is there a Republican currently considered thinking about running, that would be the least worst? No tricks, just want to know if there is anybody, and if so, why.

==

If I may .. Romney.

Reason: he isn't nuts. Most the others are nuts, or so fixated on fiscal monomania that I'm not rue America would survive to remain recognizable.

Don't know much about Daniels or Huntsman, Huck is a clown, Gingrich a nut, Pawlenty a no-talent, and Palin an apocalyptic lunatic.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 3:13 AM | Report abuse

"...the U.S. should -- somehow -- be ensuring that the Brotherhood doesn't join any transition process or new government."

How can a Party which facilitated the entry of militant, fundamentalist Christianity into our government make a demand that militant, fundamentalist Islam is inappropriate elsewhere?

Posted by: rhallnj | February 12, 2011 6:15 AM | Report abuse

"How can a Party which facilitated the entry of militant, fundamentalist Christianity into our government make a demand that militant, fundamentalist Islam is inappropriate elsewhere?"

We note that secular governance is the preferred model for all the cultures who have cozied up to some false religion.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 12, 2011 6:40 AM | Report abuse

My iPad corrects "Haaretz" to "Jazeera."

Wow.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 6:43 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""No two of we liberals ever agree for more than five minutes, while we can read the conservatives for five weeks and unless we're especially diligent we won't see any disagreement.""

We discussed this very phenomenon a long time ago, before you arrived. The explanation is quite simple and has nothing to do with conservative homogeneity. This is a liberal blog, with a primarily liberal viewership, at a time in which liberals are in control of the political levers of power. This being the case, it is no surprise that liberals will bicker with each other over the details of this or that liberal solution or perspective on a problem, while conservatives object to it seemingly in unison. Greg posts something about a liberal policy, and some of you think he or it is just right, and others think it isn't liberal enough. So you argue about it. Conservatives just think it wrong. If this was a conservative blog during Bush's time as president with a few liberal posters, the reverse would be true..

And, BTW, if you actually do pay attention, you will see that we don't always agree. Kevin has been quite vocal in his support for Obama's foreign policy, while sbj has repeatedly taken Obama to task for his Afghanistan policy. tao praised Obama on Egypt, while sbj says he deserves zero credit. You rarely hear me criticize Obama directly at all. qb criticizes him all the time. On religion, despite your caricature, we have all expressed varying degrees of belief or dedication to faith. Me none at all, tao obviously a lot. Kevin and I have had an extended disagreement about taxation. Long before you got here, qb and I had a small but clear disagreement over the nature of moral obligation. In fact I have had expressed disagreements over various things here with most of the conservatives here.

People see what they want to see. If you want to see the conservatives here as an unthinking herd (and it seems you do), it's going to be easy for you to see that. If you want to see us as individuals with our own nuanced views on things, even if on a macro scale we largely share a political ideology (shocker!), well, you'll see that too. It's on you, not us.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 12, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

mark:

Thanks.

BTW, I don't doubt that the budget can be balanced, although it will be difficult. What I doubt is that expenditures will ever be reduced short of an economic calamity. Which may well come to pass.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 12, 2011 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Without a doubt, we're going to see more of this coming from the right.... Egypt happened because of Bush. If FOX hasn't begun with this as their primary thesis yet, I imagine there will be internal memos whizzing about to enshrine this new truth.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/egypts-revolution-bushs-victory/?hp

We'll see stuff like Krauthammer's suggestion that Bush was somehow ahead of others with his Freedom Agenda - essentially, the proposition that peoples everywhere would rather be free of tyranny and that we morally ought to support liberty outside of our own country. And tied to that will be claims that neoconservative foreign policy is vindicated.

On the first, the ONLY thing original regarding Bush's "freedom agenda" was that it got voiced by the right. The conception that we have a moral responsibility to help others outside our borders to escape tyranny has been a fundamental and loudly argued aspect of liberal political philosophy. The isolationism we see now from Buchanan is the traditional conservative position. Neoconservatives, for reasons both honest and not, adopted this traditional liberal notion but let's not kid ourselves regarding it's magical origins in Bush's heart or within neoconservativism.

And there's no reason at all that leads me to believe there are significant connections between what has happened with Iraq and Afghanistan and Egypt. What's the connection? It seems far more likely to me that some set of factors - Egyptian culture, the dissemination of ideas and knowledge through modern communications systems, and perhaps some other local or broad factors not yet well understood are causal here.

But the shitheels running propaganda on the right will use anything their stupidized base will accept and that's damn near anything.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 12, 2011 7:11 AM | Report abuse

I do appreciate the candid and civil reply, Scott, and I thank you and wish we could communicate so more often.

So please take my disagreement as respectful.

I've seen the same homogeneity I refer to on blogs where the host was conservative, and the same inhomogeneity from the (decidedly unwelcome) liberals.

I do admit that I see occasional inhomogeneity among the conservatives here, and I've noted some of the instances you mentioned. Even so it seems relatively pale.

I expect religious differences; I don't expect all conservatives to be Southern Baptists.

Do any of you differ on economic matters? Historically conservatives have allowed that progressive taxation is valid and that taxation isn't an unmitigated drain on the economy.

Can any of you embrace a foreign policy of respect and humility? Do all of you regard anything short of arrogant triumphalism as "apologizing?" Can any of you concede that Israel has been needlessly brutal in its occupation and is a little, well, overzealous in what you insist on referring to as retaliation?

Maybe I'm stretching it a bit on the homogeity, ain't the first time won't be the last, but I'm not exaggerating on the presentation of a unified front.

I don't think I could discuss anything with any of the prominent liberal voices on here without expressing anything from a quibble on terminology to a strong disagreement. I know you guys can't be as lockstep as it sometimes appears, there are too many of you with brains for that to possibly be the case, but is it just the 11th commandment that makes it seem that way?

During the last presidential, early in the Republican primaries, the candidates were asked if they believe in evolution. Out of fourteen IIRC, only four raised their hands. If the question had been about global warming I bet none would have dared. I'm pretty sure Gingrich accepts the model and even says it requires urgent response, but when I see someone as educated as Jindal not even admit the reality of evolution, sorry, something just snaps for me.

I'm sure of those 14 there were more than four educated enough. I'm sure Jindal privately regards disbelief in evolution as preposterous. But he has to pretend scientific illiteracy to pass. He has to feign homogeneity.

We on the other side aren't like that.

Thanks again.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 7:13 AM | Report abuse

@shrink - Yes, China is going to be interesting to watch, along with much else. Iran has shut down internet traffic, I understand. And there are demonstrations now organized in Libya and a bunch of other places over the upcoming days and weeks. It will be a ripe time for Spies n Goons R Us.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 12, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I don't doubt that the budget can be balanced, although it will be difficult. What I doubt is that expenditures will ever be reduced short of an economic calamity. Which may well come to pass.

==

What about the supply side of the budget? Raising taxes? Top rates were 91% under Eisenhower and 50% under Reagan, both Republicans, yet the lines are drawn and wagons circled even against letting the Bush cuts expire, despite the wealthy rolling in money while working families all over America are desperately hurtiing.

Why should states be cutting essential services when the wealthy could and should pay more?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 7:29 AM | Report abuse

I watched Rove last night on Sustern. On Egypt the only complaint he could scrape off the walls of his noggin was that Obama had publicly revealed the contents of a private, diplomatic level conversation with Mubarak. Bad manners.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 12, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

bernielatham, what was "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" if not a freedom agenda?

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 12, 2011 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Re: credit to the neoconservatives. It's not completely far-fetched, I don't buy it because I always regarded the freedom agenda as a shibboleth and the real reasons for the Iraq invasion no better known than the identity of JFK's assassin. Invading for freedom sounds as plausible to me as fighting for peace or screwing for chastity.

Pivot: how much discussion was there of the example of Iraq? Was the example of democracy in a Muslim country pivotal or was the concept sufficiently established by examples elsewhere?

My impression is that Egypt was sick of the guy and that resentment of the wealth disparity was more at play than a passion for democracy.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 7:43 AM | Report abuse

bernielatham, what was "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" if not a freedom agenda?

==

an applause line

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse


"A federal judge sentenced a onetime media aide to former House majority leader Tom DeLay to 20 months in prison Thursday, crediting him with serving as a key government witness in the unraveling of the corruption scandal surrounding the congressman and lobbyist Jack Abramoff.'

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/11/AR2011021105475.html?hpid=moreheadlines

It's a social good that he yakked. It's a social good that he got the slammer.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 12, 2011 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I watched Rove last night on Sustern. On Egypt the only complaint he could scrape off the walls of his noggin was that Obama had publicly revealed the contents of a private, diplomatic level conversation with Mubarak. Bad manners.

==

So have the blog administrator give him a warning about revealing private mail, but next time he gets a ban

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

rhallnj, that's because Christians in government are not the ones sponsoring suicide bombers and other terrorists. As I said before, a President Palin would not just be sitting around doing nothing to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from gaining a part of the new government in Egypt. As bernielatham has pointed out, we don't know what's going on behind the scenes, so I hope that Obama is actually doing something.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 12, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

"bernielatham, what was "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" if not a freedom agenda?"

cao's answer is pretty good. Or one might suggest it was request for building materials to later be utilized along the Mexican border.

clawrence - you need to get clear on what isolationism means and how it has stood as a traditional pillar of Republican foreign policy. To express a sentiment or hope is not the thing. It is establishing policies and funding programs in foreign relations which actively set to the task of facilitating liberty elsewhere. The push from the right presently to defund foreign aid is the traditional model. Utilizing the military specifically to protect business/strategic interests elsewhere - rather than to promote liberty of citizens - also follows the traditional model (though far to commonly that's the tradtional model under dem presidents as well).

Posted by: bernielatham | February 12, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""Do any of you differ on economic matters?""

Sure. As I have made clear, I think the only just income tax is a flat tax. I'm pretty sure I am in the minority among conservatives here in thinking that, perhaps even a minority of one. I'd guess that, while we all have a general objection to government involvement in the economy, if you got into the weeds of it you'd find quite a lot of differences with regard to just what that means.

""Can any of you embrace a foreign policy of respect and humility?""

Well, that's a rather loaded question. My answer is yes, of course, but I suspect we'd have differences about what constitutes respect and humility. This venue doesn't facilitate really getting into it, but with regard to FP I think we have a fundamental choice to make. We either try to make the world outside our nation a better place, or we accept the outside world for whatever it is going to be, and try to secure the nation against whatever bad things the world might throw at us. Most nations choose the latter. We've chosen the former. I don't know which is the better choice, and there are many times when I would much prefer not to be so engaged in trying to change the world. But having chosen that path, we can't shy away from the implications. The world is a dirty place with lots of nasty people doing nasty things. If we are going to be involved in trying to change it, we're going to get dirty. That's simply a fact.

""We on the other side aren't like that.""

I don't think that's true. Both political parties have constituencies that are pandered to. Dems can't be as honest as they might like about race for fear of losing their monopoly on the black vote (a truly essential part of any electoral success they hope to have). And any discussion of abortion is infused with rhetorical evasions from D politicians in order not to offend that particular constituency. (BTW, I have no doubt that there are also R politicians whose personal view of abortion is a lot more moderated than their publicly expressed view, also for political purposes, so don't think I am simply calling out the D's on this.)

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 12, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Sanity from Tomasky...

"Finally: no, I will not say that Obama deserves much credit for this. At the same time, I have no doubt in my mind that if President McCain had given a speech on democracy in Cairo 20 months ago and now this happened, the neocons and Fox News and the usual suspects would be calling it "the McCain Revolution" and baying about how it proved that a bold stance by an American president had made all the difference.

I won't parrot that kind of inanity. I'll simply say that, from his Cairo speech until today, Obama has helped this process more than he's hindered it. And we didn't have to invade two countries, either. That's the right side – for him, and for us, the people of the United States. Now, we need to stay there."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2011/feb/11/egypt-barack-obama

Posted by: bernielatham | February 12, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

All, a fresh Open Thread for you, early today:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/open_thread_20.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 12, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

@Cao

Just to correct some snark last night. I didn't think you were a communist, nor a pinko tree hugger although I do suspect you'd self identify as an environmentalist :-). I suspected you were a socialist but I was just being snarky and using the appellation the righties give ALL of us who are progressive or even left leaning. I don't believe Maher to be a communist either...doubt he's even a socialist.

Remember though Cao...conservatives have some words missing from their dictionary...such as empathy..and nuance.
Hence you, me, and Bernie are all communist, pinko, bed wetting, tree huggers. Coming from me that is snark...coming from a conservative it is the highest form of praise, a real compliment.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 12, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

From Ha'aretz... as an example of the communications flowing between governments over the last few days and how we are going to have to wait for more such accounts to get the history right here...

"Hosni Mubarak had harsh words for the United States and what he described as its misguided quest for democracy in the Middle East in a telephone call with an Israeli lawmaker a day before he quit as Egypt's president.

The legislator, former cabinet minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said on TV Friday that he came away from the 20-minute conversation on Thursday with the feeling the 82-year-old leader realized "it was the end of the Mubarak era".

"He had very tough things to say about the United States," said Ben-Eliezer, a member of the Labor Party who has held talks with Mubarak on numerous occasions while serving in various Israeli coalition governments.

"He gave me a lesson in democracy and said: 'We see the democracy the United States spearheaded in Iran and with Hamas, in Gaza, and that's the fate of the Middle East,'" Ben-Eliezer said.

"'They may be talking about democracy but they don't know what they're talking about and the result will be extremism and radical Islam,'" he quoted Mubarak as saying."

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/mubarak-slammed-u-s-in-phone-call-with-israeli-mk-before-resignation-1.342831

Posted by: bernielatham | February 12, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""Why should states be cutting essential services when the wealthy could and should pay more?"

We disagree on "should", which is a pretty fundamental difference.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 12, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

""conservatives have some words missing from their dictionary...such as empathy""

You haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 12, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

bernielatham, so now you are saying that Reagan never funded the Freedom Fighters?! Whether you think that Iraq was only about oil or not, you cannot doubt that American lives and money were expended in order to make sure a democracy took root instead of an Islamic government sponsoring terrorists (which is why we took out the Taliban too). I want to make sure that we never again have another 9/11 tragedy, and I am willing to take that fight to their home turf.

I disagree with Pat Buchanan's push for isolationism obviously.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 12, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

ScottC3, did you see DDAWD last night claims that conservatives believe Ronald Reagan literally drove the bulldozer personally into the Berlin Wall? Those are clear boogieman and strawman arguments. He and caothien9 alternate between that and insults for the bulk of their posts.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 12, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Jake, Reagan funded terrorists.

Teenagers who shoot up weddings and leave the groom holding his bride's corpse and surrounded by dead friends and family aren't "freedom fighters" to anyone but a sick twisted fụck like you.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

@Scott

"You haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about."

That's your misguided opinion! Your posts have never revealed the first iota of empathy! Your suggestions on how the nation should structure it's taxes and regulatory policies do not reveal even a shred of empathy.

And since we're simply firing off opinions here Scott...I get under your skin because I've touch a real nerve...the guilt and cognitive dissonance within you for holding such mind numbing selfish positions.

To paraphrase from Hamlet...thou protests to much methinks! Yeah the truth hurts!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 12, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

@ruk: I didn't it as snark. I just pivoted on it to say something I wanted to.

I'm an environmentalist too, I bleed green. I think we should be forced to evacutate a major city to preserve an insignificant rodent subspecies. Extinction is an absolute for me.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

caothien9, I am not JakeD, and even Gen. Washington sustained collateral damage fighting the Redcoats. As for Nicaragua, today it is a representative democratic republic, which is seen as much better than a Junta is (to everyone outside of Vietnam that is). Isn't it time for you and that little boy you enticed with an iPad to go to bed?

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 12, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

@Cao

Then like me you were very disturbed at the gomers who shot the Whooping cranes...5% of the remainder of that species.

On a more positive note we are making some progress here in Florida on protecting manatees. For some reason a majority of our population really loves them and supports efforts to protect them. If you've ever kayaked in one of our crystal clear springs and had a manatee swim right under you kayak it's hard to appreciate how cool it is to be around them. For some reason they have that "dolphin" like appeal.

Which has raised another issue. The people love to be around these gentle giants so much that the state has had to limit swimming with them in certain springs...too much human contact is not that great for them I guess.

And so what say ye Cao to the concept of humans swimming with dolphins and manatees?
Good idea or bad?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 12, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Here we go riding the environmentalist wacko hobby horse again.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 12, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Scott, I don't believe for one second that America has sought to make the world a better place, not unless you continue with "... for our corporations to plunder others' resources."

America has been FAR too tolerant of dictators on the right when it was economically expedient and turned a blind eye to injustice for far too long. The examples of Reagan / Marcos and Clinton / Suharto have already been recently mentioned. I could add others. The Shah of Iran was a a particularly abhiorrent example and it's simply stunning that we learned so little by that spectacular backfire.

I've been civil with you and I hope you're not going to insult my intellgence by agreeing with Jake that running guns to terrorists was out of love of freedom. I ask you to name one (1) unambiguous instance when America supported the emergence of liberty without a much more conspicuious economic motivation and did so without killing a whole bunch of people.

As for a flat tax, you know as well as I that this isa giveaway to the wealthy, that it can only raise sufficient revenue by brutalizing everyone else. Your idea of a "just" tax seems puzzlingly simpleminded; it seems obvious to me that the wealthy get a lot more out of the scaffold of society and therefore *should* contribute more to it as well.

My own preference is for the steep progressively of the Eisenhower era, which was one of the best times for America in the last century. Growth was not stifled, investment happened, people managed to crawl out of bed despite the "penalization of success."

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

While we had to kill a lot of people, WWII was waged not for colonial gain. As was Vietnam (the silver lining there, of course, is that we got you to move there).

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 12, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

As I've already noted, even Gen. Washington incurred collateral damage. No one complains about that though. History is written by the victorious!

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 12, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Cao,

Mr Empathetic wants the middle class to feel the "pinch" of our profligate spending as he posted in response to Mark's cogent reply, very similar to yours, about why the wealthy should pay more.

To be honest until I read that "pinch" comment I was willing to give Scott's "flat tax" serious consideration. Just as Obama talked about "cutting" corporate tax rates...a joke since 2/3 pay zero...I read between Obama's lines and easily recognize that an "effective" rate of 10% raises more revenue for our nation than a "nominal" rate of 35%. I thought the same might be true of a flat tax with all the loopholes and deductions removed. Dictator Rick Scott has paid 15% on his 10 million annual income for the past three years because of course it is "investment" income and treated differently than "earned" income. Yes as you so frequently describe Cao...moving a mouse and clicking investments around on a computer screen is more valuable in our nation than teaching school kids, assisting the sick etc.

To pivot back...in other words the wealthy are not paying the "nominal" marginal rates anyway...if a flat tax made them all pay something closer to fair...but Mark's cogent analysis and specific figures have disabused me of that idea.

But the one thing that will forever stick out in my mind is Scott calling for a tax code and budget protocols that make the 98% of us who are not wealthy feel the "pinch". This truly boggles my mind even for Scott. We have a wealthy oligarchy that is growing wealthier by the day, yet rather than tax them appropriately Scott wants to make sure the rest of us feel the pinch!!!! Again what effing country does Scott live in? You don't even need "empathy" just eyes and ears to see we are already feeling the effing pinch!!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 12, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

@clawrence

"History is written by the victorious!"

Someday..if you hang out on this blog long enough..and read folks like Cao, Bernie,wbgonne,Mark and others you're going to realize that simple platitudes and sayings are just that..simple...and generally best saved for simpletons.

Would you suspect that we won the wars against the "native Americans" when we settled the West. Obviously with a few exceptions like the "Little Big Horn" our superior armaments and numerical advantages enabled us to impose our will over these people who had observed an uncomplicated life before us.

And indeed we can write the history of that...and is it one we take pride in...or one that shames us for the way we dealt with them back then.

History has already started judging the neo cons and their barbaric policies..such as the Bush doctrine which states if I have ANY fear about my neighbor I'm allowed to attack him unilaterally even though the vast majority of the rest of my neighbors do not support that attack.

clawrence no snark aside...google the word "hubris" see what you come up with...the perfect one word description of our post WWII F.P.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 12, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, America let the Anschluss go pretty far before seeing anything worth getting involved with.

I suppose drool case Claw is suggesting that America was promoting the freedom agenda in Japan. Jesus what a confused subhuman little shịt.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 12, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""I don't believe for one second that America has sought to make the world a better place""

Well, we disagree. But be that as it may, should America seek to make the world a better place? If so, how? Is there a nation the example of which we should follow?

""I ask you to name one (1) unambiguous instance when America supported the emergence of liberty without a much more conspicuious economic motivation…""

World War II is an easy one. Iraq is also one. If economics was the motivation, it would have been far more economical to simply cut back room deals with Saddam and pay him off, in much the same way that you accuse the US of doing in other instances. I’ve never understood the accusation that Iraq was about oil money. What was gained by going to war that could not have been gained at much less cost (in both blood and treasure) by simply cutting deals with Saddam?

""…and did so without killing a whole bunch of people.""

All of the nations formerly behind the iron curtain.

""As for a flat tax, you know as well as I that this isa giveaway to the wealthy…""

No, I don’t. I begin from the presumption that the money people earn belongs to them, not to the state. In other words, non-taxation is not a “giveaway”. Taxation is a “takeaway”.

""…that it can only raise sufficient revenue by brutalizing everyone else.""

As I mentioned to mark, what is “sufficient” is relative. It may be true that a flat tax sufficient to fund current expenditures would “brutalize” some people. But that doesn’t mean that a flat tax that wouldn’t “brutalize” anyone wouldn’t be sufficient to fund more reasonable expenditures. Quite simply, I think we spend too much money. And a flat tax has the virtue of focusing the minds of all the voting populace on whether or not a particular expenditure is truly worth the cost. Because it does cost everyone, not just a small minority.

"...it seems obvious to me that the wealthy get a lot more out of the scaffold of society and therefore *should* contribute more to it as well.""

I’m not sure what you mean by “scaffold of society” or how you measure what people “get out” of it. But in any event, under a flat tax the more wealthy one is, the more one would pay. So your objection on that front doesn’t seem viable.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 12, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

""Your posts have never revealed the first iota of empathy!""

They’ve never revealed my wife’s name, either. Does that mean she doesn’t have one?

""I get under your skin…""

No, you don’t, ruk. Sincerely.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 12, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, I'm squarely on the side of public employees. I was raised by a couple of them.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 12, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

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