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Posted at 8:42 AM ET, 02/15/2011

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* The first steps in a months-long showdown: Now that both sides have shown their hands in the budget fight, some key narratives are emerging. Was Obama's decision to avoid dealing with "entitlement spending" a shrewd gambit to force the GOP to make the first move on politically treacherous turf, or was it a misstep that allows Republicans to paint Obama as unwilling to confront fiscal reality?

Are Obama's deep cuts to core liberal priorities a smart way to demonstrate fiscal cred in advance of a months-long set of political negotiations, or do they represent premature capitulation to the GOP worldview? Now that the House GOP has said it will offer proposals to overhaul "entitlements," will it play into the Dem strategy of forcing Republicans to reveal their vision of government as extreme?

* Obama press conference on tap: He's set to take questions at 11 a.m. today and intends to talk about the budget.

* Why Obama's budget left Social Security alone: He and his advisers concluded that there was no sense in making an opening bid on any controversial suggestions to change the program, because no matter what they put forth, House GOPers would have rejected their offer as insufficient.

Obama has in effect challenged Republicans to make the first move on "entitlement spending."

* Does Obama's budget kabuki really constitute a threat to core liberal priorities? The president's budget contains deep cuts in summer school for Pell grants and home heating assistance for the poor, in order to demonstrate that no one should be spared any pain, but as Peter Wallsten and Perry Bacon point out, he may well know that Democratic Senators will step in and rescue those programs from cuts in the end.

* Obama's budget makes "hard choices": The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concludes that his budget "strikes a tough but generally sound overall balance among the need for fiscal restraint," which is exactly the sort of analysis the White House has hoped for and is sharply at odds with GOP criticism of the budget as, well, a complete joke.

* Did GOP blink in standoff over government shutdown? Rep. Paul Ryan says the GOP will fund a short-term extension of funding rather than let government shut down, effectively ending a showdown that Dems saw as giving them major political advantage.

* Why does House GOP budget cut child life-saving programs abroad? Interesting catch by Michael Gerson, who finds that the House GOP budget cuts successful anti-malaria and AIDS relief programs abroad. He concludes that for the GOP, going this route is the "door of no return."

* Big picture: Obama and GOP shifting tax burden on to working poor: Interesting read: David Cay Johnston looks at the big picture -- the deal extending the tax cuts for the rich, Obama's new budget -- and finds bipartisan agreement to shift the tax burden "down the income ladder."

* Swaggering border cop considering run for Senate? Maricopa County sherriff Joe Arpaio, right wing hero of the immigration wars, is may run for Senate in Arizona.

* Also: A new poll finds Arpaio leading the GOP primary pack.

* Relatedly: Imagine a Senate contest between Arpaio and Gabrielle Giffords, who Dems say would be a formidable candidate if she decides to run.

* GOP needs to wake up and face demographic reality: Harold Meyerson says that the Republican Party could be headed for extinction unless it reckons with the country's demographic changes and does a U-turn on immigration.

An Arpaio Senate bid, which could put the national immigration debate back on full boil, wouldn't help matters along these lines.

* Left gears up for abortion wars: MoveOn is going up with a new ad on national cable featuring Lisa Edelstein, star of the TV show "House," as a woman being forced by the GOP attack on reproductive rights into a "back alley" for an abortion.

Dems and liberal groups see this fight as a way of driving the reality of GOP extremism home to women in hopes of galvanizing a key demographic.

* And she's a rock star! But not to crucial GOP primary voters: Politico looks at a batch of polls showing Sarah Palin trailing badly in crucial early states and concludes: "for all the press coverage she receives, Palin is not the GOP's frontrunner by any empirical standard."

Take note, assignment editors. What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | February 15, 2011; 8:42 AM ET
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Social Security, budget  
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Next: What happened to the Tea Party revolt over the PATRIOT Act?

Comments

Since rukidding7 never addressed jnc4p's reply on the previous thread:

"I don't see any evidence that either Obama or the Republicans are proposing to reduce U.S. Forces on the Korean peninsula, or anywhere else in the world, beyond the already scheduled draw downs in Iraq. I'm perfectly happy to reduce U.S. defense spending and obligations to the rest of the world, but I don't see it being on the table, aside from the proposal of Ron Paul & Barney Frank. These reductions will have real consequences, though, and we need to be prepared to live with the results of say a successful invasion of South Korea by North Korea or another Middle East war against Israel if we eliminate or substantially reduce our overseas presence."

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Why cut successful anti-malaria programs? Because it is the one area of cuts that the public actually wants to see.

It if Foreign Aid. All the other cuts are to programs that have US voters (nominally) attached to them. Of course, the public also thinks there is big money in foreign aid.

I can't wait for Gerson to come out against the LIHEAP cuts. (Low income home energy/heating assistance program).

Posted by: grooft | February 15, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

At the HHS briefing yesterday, there was a question about the heating assistance. I think it was Sebelius -- maybe not -- who said that the reduction is based on Energy Dept. estimates that heating costs won't be as high next winter. so they're saying it's not so much a cut, but reflection of lower costs. no idea how the DOE come up with that, but that's the company line.

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

Eric Cantor makes it official: the Republicans are doing entitlement reforms.
http://majorityleader.house.gov/newsroom/2011/02/transcript-majority-leader-cantors-pen-pad-2.html

"...yes, we will include entitlement reform provisions in our budget, again, unlike the President, and unlike Harry Reid who doesn’t even admit there needs to be any reform of Social Security.

"We are going to lead. That is why I said the President missed an opportunity to lead today, to try and address the biggest fiscal challenge we have. And so we are going to lead and include that in our budget."

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

"Obama press conference on tap: He's set to take questions at 11 a.m. today and intends to talk about the budget."

Expect no intelligent questions. None. Why? Largely because Obama has surrendered the philosophical debate to the Cons and will now be questioned only about: a) why his cuts aren't harsh enough; and b) political nonsense such as whether this means Obama is "moving to the Middle."

$7,000 per American family to pay for the military. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. Talk about whistling past the graveyard. Talk about being f-ed.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

""$7,000 per American family to pay for the military. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. Talk about whistling past the graveyard. Talk about being f-ed.""

I literally choked on my coffee when I read that this morning. And we're dickering over peanuts with the GOP? I wish someone would ask him how much longer he thinks Americans can survive our presence in Iraq/Af/Pak at his press conference.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 15, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

South Dakota considers a state law that would make killing Abortion Providers a 'Justifiable Homicide"
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/south-dakota-hb-1171-legalize-killing-abortion-providers

"A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state's GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon."

Posted by: kryptik1 | February 15, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@clawrence....I'm not sure exactly what you wish me to address but since you've brought forward two threads now.. out of respect to you and jcn4p here goes...

"These reductions will have real consequences, though, and we need to be prepared to live with the results of say a successful invasion of South Korea by North Korea or another Middle East war against Israel if we eliminate or substantially reduce our overseas presence."

That's simply not a genuine concern. First...AGAIN...South Korea is one of the "Asian Tigers" they have kicked some serious butt economically..Hyndai, Samsung are world leaders in their industries...the S. Koreans could EASILY afford to replace our 28,000 troops, pay for all the weapons...themselves! 2nd Those 28,000 troops would barely slow the N. Koreans if they really invaded..they are there for a "trip wire" effect letting the North know an attack on the South is also an attack on the U.S. A 28,000 troop tripwire...really? How about 1,000 UN troops to act as a trip wire?

The same is true of Germany. Do we really believe the Russians are considering an invasion of Europe? 57,000 trips to act as tripwire there? Japan..over 30,000 troops who and what are they protecting.

Israel? They actually defend themselves. Our money but at least they do the dirty work. Is it jcn4p or your contention that those 57,000 troops in Germany are standing by for action in case the Arabs invade Israel. What you should really be concerned about is as Cao keeps mentioning those immoral settlements and the treatment of the Palistinians in Gaza.
If the Arabs ever threaten to overrun Israel it won't be our 57,000 troops that make any difference...what you need to worry about is if Netanyahu would resort to one of his estimated 250 nukes.

Conservative means by definition wish to preserve the status quo or even returning to "perceived" better times of yesteryear.
This is the HUGE mistake neocons and R's in general..and yes apparently our current Dem President keep making....
They are fighting the last war!!!

Shrink nailed a couple of months ago..
WWIII has already started..and it's not a military conflict, nor will it be...it's an economic battle and until we stop fighting the last war we'll keep plssing money down the drain.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 15, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Ims:

Not to worry. Timmy (Mr. Wall Street) Geithner says that a "financial deepening" is taking place and Our Heroes on Wall Street are going to save the American economy by selling junk bonds and derivatives to Egyptians and Indonesians. Just remember that a "financial deepening" is the same as an "economic bubble." Only good. In the meantime, the Middle Class and the Poor will just have to eat sh*t.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Why is paying for heating and cooling bills a federal responsibility?
There is no Constitutional obligation, so what majority of voters are for it?

What is the extent of our NATO obligation? Are we committing more resources than we are bound to by Treaty?

Do we have a Treaty obligation to Israel, or just a joint SOF agreement? Do we commit more there we are bound to?

As we continue to draw down from Iraq, do we commit more troops to AFG? AFG was a self sustaining agricultural economy as recently as the 1970s. Is there a way to stabilize AFG free of Taliban? If there is more than one way, what is cheapest for us?

We magnify setbacks and minimize progress. Since VN, a great many authoritarian governments have fallen, and many have been replaced by representative governments. The world is less stable, but less dangerous, and more free, as well, then it was in 1950. Did the USA assist or hinder that process? Was our foreign aid well spent? Does the anti-malaria campaign amount to a small buck investment for the eventual replacement of authoritarians with republics? Or is it a big bucks PR campaign? Or is it just done to save children in the tropics? If the last, how is that a justifiable federal expense, unless a majority support it?

If unmanned vehicles are far cheaper to support than manned ones, why are not all NASA projects for the foreseeable future unmanned information gathering, only?

Ending the "War on Drugs" would save big bucks at no increase in danger if we decriminalize, regulate, tax, and cut the heart out of the bootleg criminal market.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 15, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Some thoughts on "states rights" versus Federal power. I do not wish to be drawn into some theoretical debate that treats the Constitution like Latin a dead language.

I wish to view REALITY. When the Constitution was written how long did it take to get from Florida to Cincinnati.
I'll be flying it in two hours..driving back in 14 hours...the country has shrunk dramatically. My point?

When an idiotic Republican Governor of one state...or the legislature passes moronic laws..it now effects the entire nation...

Take the example of my Governor Rick "The Scumbag" Scott and his view on a drug database and what the lack of one can cause. Scott recently reversed course on setting up a drug data base...does "scumbag's" exercise of our "state's right" have an effect on the rest of the nation?

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/article1151599.ece

"Drug monitoring program that Scott rejects works in other states"

"A Kentucky State Police sergeant noticed a silver Chevy Cavalier weaving on Interstate 75 near Richmond, Ky., last week and pulled it over.

The driver said she was returning home to Kentucky from Florida with her friend, who was asleep in the back seat.

But Lisa Rogers, 42, was dead.

An apparent drug overdose, said state police, who suspect she took a lethal dose of prescription narcotics obtained from pill mills in Florida.

Her daughter thinks so, too. Every month, Rogers got a ride to Tampa and Fort Lauderdale to load up on OxyContin and Xanax for herself and also to sell, said 18-year-old Brooke Frailey. Rogers favored Florida, her daughter said, because of its many pain clinics and because it doesn't have an online monitoring program that alerts doctors and pharmacies to drug-shoppers like Rogers.

"In 2009, we arrested over 500 people from eastern Kentucky who'd gone to Florida to get around our prescription drug database," said Trooper John Hawkins, a spokesman for the Kentucky State Police. "Until there's a monitoring program in Florida, they'll keep coming."

After seven years of debate, the Florida Legislature approved a monitoring system in 2009 that was set to start operating this year. But Gov. Rick Scott wants to repeal it, citing concerns about patient privacy, paying for the system, and how effective it would be.

He hasn't talked about his objections in detail; his desire to repeal the program was buried in 800-pages of of budget proposals and supporting documents.

But 34 states already have such programs up and running and say they don't have the kind of problems Scott fears. Some say the real concern is that Florida, where an average of seven people die every day of prescription drug abuse, will continue to be one of the states without a database.

"I don't think your governor understands the impact Florida's pill mills are having outside the state,'' said Kentucky Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo".

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 15, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"Ending the "War on Drugs" would save big bucks at no increase in danger if we decriminalize, regulate, tax, and cut the heart out of the bootleg criminal market."

The Obama Administration's bold leadership?

... crickets .... crickets ... crickets ...

Defense costs $7,000 per American family. The Obama Administration's bold leadership?

... crickets .... crickets ... crickets ...

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state's GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon."

==

Wow. Major troll bait for Jake to chime in with some enthusiasm for murder of adults masquerading as preventing "murder" of cell clumps.

This is happenng in the United States, mind you.

Keep your passport current and a bag packed is my advice.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"Dems and liberal groups see this fight as a way of driving the reality of GOP extremism home to women in hopes of galvanizing a key demographic."

Smarter strategists like Norquist, Rove, Reed, etc always understood that paying loud lip-service to the anti-abortion crowd was extremely valuable in building and retaining an activist base with religious conservatives. But they also understood that full frontal legislation on the issue was electoral suicide. But now that the party has fallen under a much expanded influence from religious conservatives, the old way isn't pure enough.

The MJ piece kryptik 1 notes above is a fine taste of the pure.

And, YES, women particularly do need to be brought up to speed on the degree of extremism the modern movement is pushing.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 15, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"* Why Obama's budget left Social Security alone:"

Maybe because SS has zero to do with the budget?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 15, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"The Obama Administration's bold leadership?"

wbgonne that's a low blow and the truth hurts my Red Sox friend.

I have a lot of personal respect for both of the Obamas. If I didn't consider actual policy I could be an Obamabot.

But there is zero boldness in his leadership.
Not that any Presidents have truly shown boldness in my lifetime. It's been a long time since the Roosevelts...Teddy and Franklin.

What dismays me most is that bold politician has become an oxymoron..on BOTH sides of the aisle.

I respect Mark's wise observations that a President's powers are truly limited...I accept that...but if the President doesn't even try to maximize the powers he does have as in the bully pulpit...well that's just sad.

Change I can believe in? Well I'll give Obama much credit for at least attempting HCR...even if he did it without even a modicum of boldness...pragmatism is one thing...mediocrity is another...the bill is at best by virtually everyone's thoughts mediocre...but again perhaps I judge too harshly..if it establishes universal coverage by at least moving us in that direction...I'm still waiting for the final verdict(in the broadest sense not in the Supremes decision on the "mandate") on the ACA it's far to early to tell.

But after that what...Defense...same as McCain/Palin would have done...

DADT ending...Obama was never out front on that, IMO I give more credit to Gates and Mullen for that achievement.

I do love the difference in tenor since Obama entered the W.H. I'm no longer embarrassed by my President every time he opens his mouth. I don't expect to hear him say "bring it on.".

But bold...hardly...change I can believe in...hardly. First I need to see some actual change...before I can tell if I believe in it.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 15, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

ruk, we would have been fortunate if McC had kept Gates. I would like to think he would have. But Gates is truly a competent and cost conscious SecDef and I do not recall another one like him. For me, that is a good thing. You should read Dana Priest's series on the secret establishments in our security apparatus, and get a feel for how Gates is trying to wean DOD from the contractor spider web.

I am replying to your expression of disappointment in our defense policy, btw.

You remind me, however, that dismantling Homeland Security and reassigning the tasks to their original agencies would save $30B+ per year; more according to the pros.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 15, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Learn to spot an illegal quickly and certainly... do they have "the olive complexion"?

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/15/ks-gop-rep-obrien/

Posted by: bernielatham | February 15, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, thanks for the link in the last thread.

It's interesting, though. Obama was speaking to a group of progressive bloggers, so it wasn't like he was trying to triangulate during a Bill O'Reilly interview for a FOX News audience. I mean, yeah, everything he says is public record, but it doesn't seem like he was tirangulating. More just trying to cover himself.

But you know, the rest of the response to that question is spot on. He's not a king. And in terms of policy, I don't see much difference between him and the Green Party. And if it's the policy of Green Party candidates thaty they would rather let a good, but imperfect bill falter like the PPACA because it's not perfect, then I can't possibly support that candidate. I might be misunderstanding the Green Party platform, but am I correct to assume that a GP Prez doesn't sign a bill without single payer? If so, I can't support such a candidate. Yeah, compromise might seem wussy, but when you have people dying of chronic disease, I'm really not that bothered with whether insurance companies are being sufficiently punished

Posted by: DDAWD | February 15, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne ""Ending the "War on Drugs" would save big bucks at no increase in danger if we decriminalize, regulate, tax, and cut the heart out of the bootleg criminal market."

The Obama Administration's bold leadership?

... crickets .... crickets ... crickets ..."

Completely agree. The other observation here is that as President of the United States, Obama is the chief law enforcement officer responsible for prosecuting the war on drugs, but at the same time in his book "Dreams from my Father" he admitted to the same drug use that he is now responsible for suppressing.

The only difference between President Obama and the vast number of other drug users now incarcerated is that they got caught and he didn't.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 15, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

You see, rukidding7, that didn't hurt to simply address jnc4p's points. ScottC3 has several posts to you on the prior thread too. As for the government laying off lots of military and other Americans, I wouldn't want to see lots of that right now.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"olive complexion" contaminates swimming pools, that we know

Skeaing of globalization, the NYSE is going to ride the larger company Deutsche Börse over the rainbow. It attraction? Why would the Germans want to own the NYSE? Its derivative business. This is the "deepening", we are so positive Timmy.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 15, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"* Obama's budget makes "hard choices": The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concludes that his budget "strikes a tough but generally sound overall balance among the need for fiscal restraint," which is exactly the sort of analysis the White House has hoped for and is sharply at odds with GOP criticism of the budget as, well, a complete joke."

I think the Post Editoral page is closer to the mark here:

"President Obama's budget kicks the hard choices further down the road

THE PRESIDENT PUNTED. Having been given the chance, the cover and the push by the fiscal commission he created to take bold steps to raise revenue and curb entitlement spending, President Obama, in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, chose instead to duck. To duck, and to mask some of the ducking with the sort of budgetary gimmicks he once derided. "The fiscal realities we face require hard choices," the president said in his budget message. "A decade of deficits, compounded by the effects of the recession and the steps we had to take to break it, as well as the chronic failure to confront difficult decisions, has put us on an unsustainable course." His budget would keep the country on that course."

...

"The larger problem with the budget is the administration's refusal to confront the hard choices that Mr. Obama is so fond of saying must be faced. The president's debt commission concluded that more tax revenue will be needed in coming years to finance the costs of an aging society. Mr. Obama repeated his call to do away with the Bush tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers in two years - but maintained his tired and irrational insistence that the rest of the tax cuts, enacted in far different fiscal circumstances, be preserved.

If Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn could sign on to a deficit-reduction plan that included raising tax revenue, is it too much to ask for such bravery from Mr. Obama? And if Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin could sign on to a plan that included raising the Social Security retirement age, is it too much to ask for more from Mr. Obama than an airy set of "principles for reform"? Sadly, the answer appears to be yes."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/14/AR2011021406211.html

Posted by: jnc4p | February 15, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

one of the most amusing aspects of this current budget discussion is the opportunity for role reversal. Here's a perfect example from the oh so polite RUK:
"Conservative means by definition wish to preserve the status quo or even returning to "perceived" better times of yesteryear"

Yeah, right.

Let's just look at behavior for just a moment. Mr Sargent aptly points out that Obama said NOTHING about SS reform. Yet it is the Republicans who recognize a need for reformation. According to Mr Cantor Harry Reid doesn't even acknowledge that reform is necessary, yet the press asked mr Cantor if entitlement reform was on the Republican agenda.

So RUK's thoughtless mischaracterization is just another continuation of the big lie. Liberals sell themselves on a myth about life and then are stunned when others disagree. This is a perfect example. The fact is everyone sees things that should be retained and things that should be changed. The question is who is correct.

I guess it is just easier for RUK to simplify his thinking. It is after all, only Tuesday.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 15, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Skip, well if it doesn't mean that, what does it mean? If you want to drive a series of dynamic changes through our political economy, the that the future is better than the past, wouldn't that be progressive? I am just joking, really, I got a rash from all the progressives attacking me over the emptiness of that word.

Speaking of names, Chuck Schumer has thrown all his political weight behind the NYSE keeping its name, even though its board representation will be in the minority, in other words, it will not be the NYSE, but it will carry the brand.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 15, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"The only difference between President Obama and the vast number of other drug users now incarcerated is that they got caught and he didn't."

If you're concerned about the "war on drugs", you should check out this map. The police (with the public's blessing) have taken the phrase literally. They're fighting a war that's killing innocent people, non-violent offenders, and police officers. it's a waste from top to bottom.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 15, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Completely agree. The other observation here is that as President of the United States, Obama is the chief law enforcement officer responsible for prosecuting the war on drugs, but at the same time in his book "Dreams from my Father" he admitted to the same drug use that he is now responsible for suppressing.

The only difference between President Obama and the vast number of other drug users now incarcerated is that they got caught and he didn't.

==

The great majority of users of illegal drugs are never caught.

In fact for a long time drugs were such an essential rite of passage that people who never even tried any of them were rightfully regarded as cowardly prudes. The only reason that changed was because when the generational dope of choice shifted from marijuana to cocaine the country had, and still has, so many recovering addicts that it was worse than with alcohol, as cocaine doesn't require a predisposing gene to ensnare a user.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

do'h: http://www.cato.org/raidmap/

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 15, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I have to be missing something on that South Dakota law regarding justifiable homicide, right? Were they so intent on establishing the personhood of a fetus that they didn't realize that they were legalizing the killing of abortion doctors or was that just a bonus to personhood issue?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 15, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Good post from Adam Serwer on the ridiculous idea that principled Tea Partyers killed Patriot Act:

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

...and stay tuned for more on the South Dakota law

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 15, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@NoVAHockey & @caothien9:

I'd argue that the "War on Drugs" causes more problems than it solves and more problems than drug addition itself.

David Simon, one of the writers of HBO's The Wire had the best take in a Time magazine piece a while back:

"If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun's manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens."

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1719872,00.html

Posted by: jnc4p | February 15, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

And now the President of the United States.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@clawrence

"As for the government laying off lots of military and other Americans, I wouldn't want to see lots of that right now."

I understand and accept your valid concerns.
So we need to convert the "peace dividend" you referred to yesterday as a means to improve our infrastructure. The society that represents American Civil Engineers has graded our infrastructure at D...yeah just one grade above failing!

There is enough infrastructure work needed in our country to provide plenty of decent paying construction jobs for hundreds of thousands...far more than enough to make up for bringing 100,000 troops. Do we suppose that very question.."guns and butter" was an additional thought in that great Republican Ike's mind when he launched our interstate highway program. Yeah not only the worlds best transportation system..terrific..but also a way to employ all those G.I.'s returning from WWII.

And of course there are the "green" energy jobs. Yeah I hear the blast coming back already...those Gov't venture capital adventures rarely pan out...tell that to all the people who benefited from jobs created by NASA. Meanwhile the Chinese are going b@lls to the wall on green energy investment. Remember the nature of WWIII.

As for not responding to Scott on morality...I guess I did consider Cao and wbgonne's advice. Scott is one of our masterdebaters...I'm not really here to debate rather to discuss. Folks like Mark interest me more because I never sense he is here to prove his prowess...possibly because he already has as an attorney.

And so clawrence...I posted enough facts and figures for Scott to simply state..if I might borrow from an old document..
"We hold these truths to be SELF evident".

"The incomes of the top 400 American households soared to a new record high in dollars and as a share of all income in 2007, while the income tax rates they paid fell to a record low, newly disclosed tax data show.
In 2007 the top 400 taxpayers had an average income of $344.8 million, up 31 percent from their average $263.3 million income in 2006, according to figures in a report that the IRS posted to its Web site without announcement that were discovered February 16. (For the report, see Tax Analysts Doc 2010-3372 .)"

Versus..

"The number of people living in poverty in America rose by nearly 4 million to 43.6 million in 2009 — the largest figure in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available — the Census Bureau said Thursday."

clawrence if you Scott or anybody else cannot see the immorality in a nation that allows this to happen...as Cao has correctly pointed out..there's really nothing I can say now is there.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 15, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Nice try shrink. I'm not at all sure what the labels mean anymore. Isnt' that the liberal position on labels anyway?

the question, in my mind is this: Which is the baby, and which is the bath water?

What things should be changed, and what things should remain intact?

If pushing a series of "dynamic" changes through society takes us to a Euro style social welfare state then I'm opposed.

If dynamic changes means altering the pre conceived notions of woman's role in society such that they are free to enter the labor force in just about any role for which they are otherwise qualified I agree.

if the above change also engenders an end to the institution of marriage and the special role of family, then I would fight to keep those intact even while support the elimination of gender specific "roles" in the economy.

It isn't that simple not as RUK would have us believe. It never was. I'm counterpunching at folks like RUK because it is long past time that the liberals defended themselves instead of simply hurling accusations and getting by with smears.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 15, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The link to the text of the bill is below.

http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2011/Bill.aspx?File=HB1171HJU.htm

The first section appears to justify homicide by a pregnant woman is someone is trying to kill the fetus. So, an example would be a boyfriend who doesn't want to become a father punching a woman in the stomach to induce a miscarriage. The second portion is a little more vague as it might be interpreted to allow an act by a family member to prevent harm.

Incidentally, I learned a new word. The link has a very funny sentence:

"This bill has been extensively amended (hoghoused) and may no longer be consistent with the original intention of the sponsor."

Hoghoused? Now that's entertaining!

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 15, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"In 2007 the top 400 taxpayers had an average income of $344.8 million"

Assume oppressive levels of taxation. for ease, let's just go with 300 million. We take it and add 120 billion to the treasury. that won't even pay for Part A of Medicare next year (203 billion). you're still short by 83 billion. if we take it all 344 million, that's 136 billion. still short.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 15, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

rukidding7, I'd rather the American military stay where they are, thank you very much. On the domestic economy, I think that the government getting out of the way would improve the middle class. Have a safe flight.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

it is not possible to convince some folks that Med/Med is the gaping black hole, NVH.

RUK probably believes it because he has seen the numbers, but there are many folks here and in the nation at large who do not want to look into the abyss.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 15, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

California already prosecutes "murder" of a fetus (e.g. Scott Peterson) but explicitly exempts an abortionist (therefore disallowing "justifiable homicide" of said abortionist):

Penal Code Sec. 187. (a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.
(b) This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act
that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply:
(1) The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2
(commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division
106 of the Health and Safety Code.
(2) The act was committed by a holder of a physician's and surgeon'
s certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a
case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be
death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth,
although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or
more likely than not.
(3) The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the
mother of the fetus.
(c) Subdivision (b) shall not be construed to prohibit the
prosecution of any person under any other provision of law.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@NoVA...

Not sure what your point is...but I'm going to guess...that taxes alone will not fix our budgetary woes. I completely agree...but it should be a HUGE component.

e.g. The simple act of eliminating the cap on FICA contributions from the current 106,800 would take care of S.S. and probably go a long way to addressing our Medicare issue. Health Care...not just Medicare is crippling our economy if you want to get really serious let's do like every other civilized nation in the world and BUDGET for health care while providing universal coverage. The universal coverage would give us a chance to bring down costs..ER...procedure driven medicine etc...we BUDGET 15-18% of GDP annually and THEN figure out what we can cover. No more colonscopies on 80 year olds..no more artificial hips on 90 year olds etc...these are simply examples not actual suggestions..I wouldn't wish for me or any politician to make these decisions but rather have scientists and physicians point out the efficacy and success of various treatments and lets decide "rationally" on what we can TRULY afford.

The same goes for our defense posture...but I've already detailed how much money is going down the shltter in defense.

You know the old axiom..if I may update Sen Dirkson...A few BILLION here a few BILLION there and pretty soon you're talking about some real money.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 15, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I think that the government getting out of the way would improve the middle class.

==

I think the cops getting out of the way would make the people safer from crime too

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I think that the government getting out of the way would improve the middle class.

==

I think the cops getting out of the way would make the people safer from crime too

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Claw and Fairlington-

It seems like you two are saying that the bill is just poorly worded, is that a fair assessment? We obviously don't know if the poor wording was intentional or just sloppy legislation.
It sure would be an interesting case if someone killed the sole abortion provider who flies into SD monthly or weekly (can't remember which the article says) then used that statute as a defense.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 15, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

All, I just interviewed the South Dakota legislator who is pusihng the new anti abortion law involving "justifiable homicide":

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 15, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"Not sure what your point is...but I'm going to guess...that taxes alone will not fix our budgetary woes. I completely agree...but it should be a HUGE component."

I disagree. Pretty soon you run out of people making 344 million a year. Personally, you could double my family's taxes and you'll still taking in less than $100,000. that's too small to even be budget dust. that's smaller than a rounding error. and we're a double-income family in the DC area. Tweaking the tax code here and there won't address the problem. so real money from my family in the form of higher taxes won't make a bit of difference.


"No more colonscopies on 80 year olds..no more artificial hips on 90 year olds etc..."

Good timing b/c that's what you'll get. The UK's NHS ombudsman is out with a report today:

"The findings of my investigations reveal an attitude – both personal and institutional – which fails to recognise the humanity and individuality of the people concerned and to respond to them with sensitivity, compassion and professionalism. The reasonable expectation that an older person or their family may have of dignified, pain-free, end of life care, in clean surroundings in hospital is not being fulfilled. Instead, these accounts present a picture of NHS provision that is failing to meet even the most basic standards of care."

http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/2011/nhs-is-failing-to-meet-even-the-most-basic-standards-of-care-for-older-people,-warns

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 15, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@mark in Austin

Indeed I have looked at numbers and realize what a daunting challenge lies ahead.

But as you can tell from my posts I don't think tinkering with Medicare or the ACA will really address the real question...

It's not just Medicare...we have to adopt a more "ration-al" approach to health care.
It will most surely bankrupt us as you and shrink and others have suggested. It's time to quit ducking the hard questions...we're still wasting sooo much time on WHO gets covered that we can't even begin to address WHAT get's covered and IMHO that is the real question. How much money do we have? How do we get the biggest bang for those dollars. We are the ONLY major nation left that hasn't moved on to actual BUDGETING for health care...as long as we have this open ended system...indeed Mark it's looking at the abyss.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 15, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"I don't see much difference between him and the Green Party."

That is simply false. But don't take my word for it. Here is the GP platform:

http://www.gp.org/platform/2004/socjustice.html#1004381

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@ashotinthedark - I think the problem is that the sponsor can't acknowledge that abortion is legal. So, the text has some essential ambiguity to it.

I just read the follow-up story. The sponsor used exactly the same example that I did. The counter example would be of a pregnant woman who went to a clinic without the consent of a family member. Note: it would not allow some random person to shoot up a clinic.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 15, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Re: the War on Drugs.

This is the result of Obama's timid, mealymouthed DADT policy re: marijuana:

"In NYC 86% of Low-Level Marijuana Arrests are Black or Latino"

http://justsaynow.firedoglake.com/2011/02/13/in-nyc-86-of-low-level-marijuana-arrests-are-black-or-latino/

Know why? Because Marijuana DADT gives law enforcement total discretion over whom to arrest. ANd guess who they choose to arrest.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

caothien9, the difference of course is that law-abiding rich people are not criminals in this country. How about you worry about your country, and we'll take care of ours?

ashotinthedark, I've read the proposed law, and it dies not even go as far as California's on the subject. Why only "manslaughter" for killing the fetus? Kinda ironic that today's Morning Plum is numbered 187.

For anyone who thinks that a woman being punched in the abdomen is already entitled to garden variety self defense, that is true but only to a reasonable and non-lethal level. If the same punch would result in the death of the fetus, that's where lethal defense of another comes into play. If anyone else needs that explained, let me know.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

With all the talk about Obama shortchanging core liberal commitments, nobody seems to mention the areas Obama is seeking to increase. The $8 billion increase to green energy (all $8 billion for one year) is a big deal. A similar amount was requested for high speed rail (to add on to the commitments already made under the stimulus bill). For all the talk about political posturing, I'm pretty sure Obama prioritized various commitments, and the increases and cuts came from what he and his advisers thought were most important this year. We can all argue about whether or not they are right, but it's clear to the that money for investments that could put our economy on a sounder footing for the future are taking a priority.

Posted by: kyllaros | February 15, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Today I gave $100. to Common Cause.

"Common Cause maintains that Justice Thomas should have disqualified himself from last year’s landmark campaign finance ruling in the Citizens United case, partly because of his ties to the Koch brothers.

The Citizens United decision, with Justice Thomas’s support, freed corporations to engage in direct political spending with little public disclosure. The Koch brothers have been among the main beneficiaries, political analysts say." NYT

Posted by: shrink2 | February 15, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Inflation is coming!
Inflation is coming!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12474021

Posted by: shrink2 | February 15, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"Today I gave $100. to Common Cause."

There is more merit to a claim that Common Cause should be sanctioned for even raising this demand than the demand has. It's utterly frivolous, factually and legally.

Re $7,000 per family for defense, just off the top of my head, that means a minimum of $21,000 per family for nondefense. Plus all the state and local spending on top of that 21k, which probably takes it over 30k. Anyone spit their coffee?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 15, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@NoVA

If you think raising taxes won't help then indeed we do have a disagreement. You took 400 taxpayers and tried to expand that as an example...that' FOUR HUNDRED...you can do the research on how many folks are like Rick Scott who earn just 10 million annually not 300 million...again he pays just 15% and no FICA! Corporations used to pay at a rate that represented 6% of GDP they now pay at 2% of GDP...what do you suppose 4% of GDP more would do? How about .04 X 14+trillion annually...the numbers are getting cumbersome but I believe that's another 56 BILLION annually.

Perhaps a better way to look at this is what % of GDP are we expending on taxes...
U.S. 24-28%
Denmark Happiest country in the world 50%
Finland 43%
France 46%
UK 39%

There is plenty of wealth in this nation to cover our bills!!!! You've been reading too much conservative propaganda NoVA.

Just a 2-3% increase in taxes as % of GDP spread between Corporations and individuals with a 2-3% in GDP would take care of most of our problems. This is not DRASTIC.

Now I'm not advocating solving the problem with just taxes...but again it is immoral in a country as wealthy as ours that 1 in 7 are living below the poverty line.
Worse still is that the shrinking middle class and the loss of the American Dream...we are no longer as upwardly mobile.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 15, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

For anyone who thinks that a woman being punched in the abdomen is already entitled to garden variety self defense, that is true but only to a reasonable and non-lethal level. If the same punch would result in the death of the fetus, that's where lethal defense of another comes into play. If anyone else needs that explained, let me know.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse


---

I'll be happy to explain it to you, claw, though you need to read the bill first. From the link:

22-16-34. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child, or to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.

What's the takeaway? The bill has the language "commit any felony upon him or her". It is irrelevant to insert language regarding "unborn child" as punching a woman in the stomach is a felony and thus she is entitled to use a gun, whether or not she is pregnant.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 15, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Was Obama's decision to avoid dealing with "entitlement spending" a shrewd gambit to force the GOP to make the first move on politically treacherous turf, or was it a misstep that allows Republicans to paint Obama as unwilling to confront fiscal reality?"

Last year, Obama cut $500 billion from entitlement spending. Republicans SAVAGED him for it in the midterms.

The last time Republicans had power, they ADDED $500 billion to entitlement spending, all deficit financed.

To date, Republicans have shown only that they are willing to make small cuts to discretionary spending--and only on Democratic priorities.

Give. Me. A. Break.

Posted by: theorajones1 | February 15, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade, you are mistaken in that lethal force CANNOT be used as justification for a non-lethal attack. No jurisdiction, including South Dakota, allows that. See main thread for more specifics.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Claw is unable to read plain English. To wit:

Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt… to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.

Hope you don't have a law degree.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 15, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

popular websites like printapons and retail me not has coupons for pretty much any shopping site I've gone to most of the coupons are valid drops down with coupons without me having to search for them

Posted by: juliehking | February 16, 2011 4:33 AM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade, you left out the word "reasonable" which is required in every jurisdiction. In the United States, the defense of self-defense allows a person to use "reasonable" force in his or her own defense. What you are referring to is called an imperfect self-defense. While imperfect self-defense is sometimes allowed to mitigate the sentence, the unreasonable act is still illegal. As ashotinthedark pointed out, the criminal defense attorney can also hope for another miracle like jury nullification.

While the definitions vary from state to state, the general rule makes an important distinction between the use of non-lethal and lethal force. A person may use non-lethal force to prevent imminent injury, however a person may not use lethal force unless that person is in "reasonable" fear of death him or herself. Some states include an additional duty to retreat (exceptions include Louisiana and Florida: see castle doctrine), when deadly force may only be used if the person is unable to safely retreat.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 16, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Joked proves he can copy from an on-line hornbook. Very impressive for a Stanford Law grad, Joked.

Posted by: Observer691 | February 16, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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