And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
"[David] Brooks begins [his column today] by noting that the Grand Bargain on the deficit, which he has spent the last two years relentlessly touting, is not actually possible. Why is it impossible? Because, he writes, “A political class that botched the fiscal cliff so badly are not going to be capable of a gigantic deal on complex issues.”
Oh, the political class? That’s funny. In 2011, Obama offered an astonishingly generous budget deal to House Republicans, and Brooks argued at the time that if the GOP turned the deal down, it would prove their “fanaticism.” Naturally, they turned it down. Obama continues to offer a bargain including higher revenue through tax reform in return for lower spending on retirement programs, but Republicans refuse to consider higher taxes. So, in summary, this proves “the political class” is to blame."
— Jonathan Chait thoroughly destroys David Brooks. You should really treat yourself to the whole thing.
A bipartisan effort to rein in the national debt stalled Tuesday, as members of the Senate’s so-called Gang of Six signaled that an agreement is unlikely to come this week in time for the start of White House-led budget talks.
Also unlikely to come in the weeks following the start of White House-led talks. And in the months and years after that. And, you know, forever. Just like the Baucus-led Gang of Whateveritwas on healthcare reform, these talks were never going anywhere. Ever. They were solely an attempt to get >50% of the Ryan plan and then stamp it with the Broder-approved Seal of Bipartisanship. And then demand another 20-30% on top of that “bipartisan” plan when the mess hit the floor. Period. That is all that was ever going on in there. All that is going on in there.
Though never mentioned in the mainstream media, there is one party, the GOP, that has categorically ruled out any revenue increase from any source and intends to “balance” the budget by eliminating Medicare, fundamentally ending Medicaid, and then passing those “savings” on to the very rich in the form of more tax cuts. And then, of course, raise the debt ceiling to pay for it by borrowing ever-more. This is their plan. Magically, they also plan to reduce all government spending to levels below what just the military consumes today. And this all seems likely to the Serious People. Sensible and courageous, even.
Notable that Tom Coburn, one of the vanishingly few people with (R) after their name that actually accepts revenue probably has to increase, has suddenly left town. Shocking. I’m sure it’s truly pressing business back home.
Can we finally be done with time-wasting and air-sucking idiocies such as the Gang of Six and, for that matter, all these other “Gangs of” now and forever? I know Serious People love their Gangs, but there simply is no middle ground, or anything approaching “middle ground” between Ryan and the status quo. There just isn’t. And though Serious People will never, ever accept it, sometimes doing nothing is indisputably the best way forward when faced with intransigent and unthinking opposition such as that presented by the modern GOP.
In this case, doing nothing fixes at least half of our budget problem. But let’s not talk about that. Everyone knows that Medicare has to go away. Anything less would destroy America.
"I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table."
— Nancy Pelosi. I wonder if we will be so fortunate with Speaker Boehner. (via jonathan-cunningham) I’d say it’s actually more important to recall that Pelosi was fairly literally dragged in front of cameras and forced to make this statement before it was even entirely clear just how many laws the Bush/Cheney trek to the DarkSide had broken or denied the existence of. Has Boehner even been asked? Of course he hasn’t. And won’t be. After all, Obama sets the agenda, and the GOP is certainly now pursuing a life of diligent Broderism.
"An estimated 215,000 people attended a rally organized by Comedy Central talk show hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Saturday in Washington, according to a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS News.
The company AirPhotosLive.com based the attendance at the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on aerial pictures it took over the rally, which took place on the Mall in Washington. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 10 percent. […] CBS News also commissioned AirPhotosLive.com to do a crowd estimate of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in August. That rally was estimated to have attracted 87,000 people."
— CBS News uses the same methodology to quantify crowds.
Photography has a clear liberal bent to it, of course, especially when applied to an often painfully centrist comedian working hard (and usually succeeding) at making Broderism humorous.
If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for them.
and, like seemingly everyone with a mountaintop large or small, inexplicably takes this away:
Boehner, in other words, appears to be on board with the Obama proposal
Can we just not think in this country anymore?
Is Boehner in the Senate?
There is no second thing. If the answer to Question 1 is “No,” then his opinion matters fuck-all. He said this to put a patina of reasonableness on the GOP’s entirely unreasonable and indefensible position that billionaires desperately need an extra $100k come tax-time. They know this meaningless statement will get wide play, much wider (read: vastly wider) than their ultimate actions to bottle this thing up in the Senate (and even that’s assuming the feckless Democrat bothers to bring it to the floor, itself a gigantic and likely foolhardy assumption).
If and when that all happens, the GOP will simply point to (meaningless) statements like this one as examples of their genteel nature and broad willingness to “work across the aisle.” The MSM will report the whole thing as “a Democrat failure to achieve 60 votes needed in the Senate” and Broder will pronounce himself suitably delighted that the GOP tried so very hard. Truly, they are the serious adults up to DC.
Is this so very hard to understand? Apparently it is.
Looking at how Ruth Marcus addresses Boehner’s nonsensical output in her column this morning, dare I say that I see signs of actual progress. Perhaps even the Villagers are growing tired (and maybe even a little afraid) of the GOP’s shtick?
There are times when I flirt with the notion that the country would be better off with divided government.
She starts, ominously and predictably enough, with some Serious Person boilerplate: the compromise position on anything is always superior, even when one side’s position is empirically better relative to some definable long-term metric. But, for once, she quickly rights the ship, and this opener proves to be simply Reese’s Pieces for the many Broderians reading her piece on their homeworld:
The man who would be speaker outlined his agenda Tuesday in a speech to the City Club of Cleveland — economic policy reduced to, literally, five easy tweets. The Ohio Republican offered up a depressing blend of tired ideas, tired-er one-liners (“We’ve tried 19 months of government-as-community-organizer”) and cheap attacks. The cheapest: calling for the firing of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and economic adviser Larry Summers.
[Boehner says “job-killing” twelve] times, actually. As in “job-killing tax hikes,” “job-killing bills,” “job-killing agenda,” “job-killing federal regulations.” This is bumper-sticker politics, not a real economic plan. I’ve been skeptical that Democrats would get much political traction with their argument that the Republican agenda is just George W. Bush recycled, but speeches like Boehner’s make me rethink.
Even those two paragraphs appearing on the WaPo Op/Ed page would be cause enough for a minor celebration. But, being a professional, she saves her best for last:
The argument for immediate spending cuts is hard to square with the argument against tax increases. If the latter is harmful — a disaster, in Boehner’s words — then surely the former is as well. “When Congress returns, we should force Washington to cut non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels — before the ‘stimulus’ was put into place,” Boehner says. This would be more convincing if he were willing to identify specific cuts. It is, even more, an enormous dodge. Stimulus spending is a sliver of the long-term fiscal problem.
Democrats — and the country — would benefit from a responsible opposition party. I’m still looking for evidence of one.
So am I. But there are two important points in here, both of which being concepts that almost never see the light of day in the MSM:
That you can’t say that massive non-military spending cuts are critical, but that any and all tax increases are unthinkable.
That tax-hikes would be a disaster, but that we need not ever worry about the fiscal impact of said non-tax-hikes at all, and that we may furthermore consider them “free” is nonsensical on its face.
Getting those two simple concepts into wide and repeated circulation: a big deal. Now, of course, when Obama returns from vacation to fire his cabinet, well, that’s something else.
[…] Dave Weigel came the closest, writing that “At some point it became acceptable to question Obama’s American-ness, which naturally begged the question of whether he was a secret Muslim… and the WorldNetDailys, tabloids, and Drudge Reports of the world were ready to keep begging that question.”
This is the Overton Window in action. Republicans have a host of beyond-far-right outlets to scream and holler relentlessly about whatever their preferred issue of the day is and Democrats never, ever employ a similar tactic with the left. A year-long, sustained chorus about single payer, for instance, simply didn’t materialize. The left wing is either too pragmatic or too cynical with regard to their chances on these issues. That and the Democratic leadership repeatedly lets the GOP determine the talking points; e.g. Boehner is reportedly going to call for the firing of all Obama economic advisers. When The Democrat engages him on that ground, his ground, and they will, the ultimate outcome will then be that some of the advisers have to go or, at best, take a severe public dressing down. All good outcomes for the GOP in an election year.
Whether or not they should go is quite beside the point. You are allowing your opponent to set the agenda and define the margins that contain what will be viewed by the David Broders of the world as the “sensible and serious” solution. Again and again.
This is precisely why Rep. Alan Grayson is such a valuable and yet underutilized asset. With a dozen people like him talking about Cheney’s blood-drenched teeth (or what have you) and a few media outlets doing likewise, suddenly the true moderate position, or even one (gasp!) marginally to the left of center, looks awfully sensible. Instead of using Grayson in this way, the modern Democrat runs and hides from him and others, going so far as to extract the occasional tearful apology when some genuinely affecting truth leaks out. This is the primary failure of leadership in the Democratic party, and nothing will change until this does.
The facts do not matter; presentation and framing is everything. You, the Democrat, are fighting an organized party, its dedicated propaganda outlet that happens to be a wildly popular source of “news,” and a distributed right-wing noise machine on web and talk radio that reliably sets the discourse for the rest of the MSM. You’d better bring your A-game and act like you’re in a 24/7 campaign for your political life. And they never do.
David Broder: If accountability is the standard, then it should apply to the policymakers and not just to the underlings. Ultimately, do we want to see Cheney, who backed these actions and still does, standing in the dock?
David Broder: The wheels are turning, but they can still be halted before irreparable damage is done.
Lemkin: My, it's amazing you think the damage has yet to be done. Why are you employed by a major media corporation, and upon which planet do you spend most of your time?