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.
"…over the past week I’ve been watching the almost pathetic desperation with which conservatives are trying to denigrate Obama’s part in the bin Laden operation. Really, it’s been awesome. On radio, TV, blogs, op-eds, pretty much everywhere, they’ve been virtually in a lather insisting that Obama himself played no real role; that he’s arrogantly hogging the spotlight; that he screwed up by announcing the operation so soon; that the entire success is really due to Bush-era torture policies; that he shouldn’t have killed bin Laden; that he’s being churlish by not giving George W. Bush enough credit; etc. etc. etc. It’s been a virtual feeding frenzy, and the stink of fear that Obama is appropriating the traditional Republican role as killer of bad guys is palpable.
[…] But Republicans already have a message that they want to stay laser-focused on: tackling the deficit. The fact that they’re taking so much time out from that to denigrate Obama’s role in the bin Laden operation suggests that they think this is a big deal. And if they think it’s a big deal, then maybe it is. They’re usually pretty good at reading the public mood, after all."
— Kevin Drum
I’d say it has more to do with the GOP’s lockstep use of the bogeyman approach to 9/11: using Osama bin Laden as the unique personification of international terrorism on Earth and their implicit agreement that, until this particular bogeyman is caught, the War on Terror must continue without recourse to question or even reason, along with attendant military spending, shoot-from-the-hip wars in any country be they “ally” or ally, endless civil liberties roll-backs, and etc… They’ve pumped their followers and the country at large so full of this super-villain schtick that now, when a Democrat they constantly tar as weak, indecisive, ineligible, and “dangerously inexperienced” is the man who ordered a direct, face to face assassination inside a sovereign nation ostensibly our ally and but also who were notably not informed of said operation is decidedly inconvenient. Even Sainted Reagan never dared such a thing, preferring to invade largely defenseless islands or lob in a few bombs in vain hope of catching his particular bogeyman (a tactic Obama recently trotted out in Libya as well).
So, if you’re a Republican, this event cuts at both your go-to bogeyman of the last decade (and the reaction in the streets certainly was more on the order of that seen at the demonstrable end of a long war rather than an infamous international criminal finally being brought to justice; I’ll grant them that their noise machine definitely works) and simultaneously cuts against your beloved hobby horse about weak-kneed Democrats and their inability to “do” national defense. Pile on that Obama the campaigner said words along the lines of “bin Laden should be our priority,” Obama the President said the same, and Obama the results man delivered exactly that result. There’s simply no way to spin it away. Their inability to take this political lump, let Obama have a win in their home court, and just let it drop is all that’s keeping the “story” side of this event going.
Rarely do you see the GOP victimized by its own noise machine tactics, but every so often they seem to forget they run the noise machine and if they stop talking about it, the noise machine along with the broader MSM will go on to some other shiny penny in about 16 minutes. Doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.
Obama: In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. And I refuse to renew them again.
Kevin Drum: Question: is Obama laying down a marker in hopes of getting a bill that extends only the middle-class cuts? Or is he laying down a marker knowing that Republicans will refuse to budge and therefore the entire Bush tax cut package will expire?
Lemkin: He is putting the onus of middle class tax cut extension or expiration squarely on the GOP House, which is where it should have been all along. We would have had a very different outcome last time around if this had been the shape of the negotiation. There is very real power in pursuing a "do nothing" approach if Obama and the Democrats at large will just deign to use it. Shrill, I know, but following such a path would really punish the GOP and force them to come out squarely against their own stated goals again and again and all in defense of the very richest people on the Earth.
Kevin Drum wonders what drives Ryan to produce such a uniquely partisan budget document:
I don’t know what motivates Ryan, but it’s certainly not a genuine search for plausible grounds for negotiation. Instead, he’s produced a document carefully crafted to produce a universally negative reaction from Democrats, presumably because he thinks that will make Democrats look intransigent while the Beltway press is praising Ryan for his courage.
Sorry, but that’s just wrong. Ryan crafted his document to produce a Beltway press that praises him for his courage and demand that The Democrat must now compromise based on that starting point. This is why the Democratic party needs to come out with its own pie-in-the-sky progressive budget. Then you could compromise in a way that would represent a legitimate compromise of opposing ideas and not just yet another rightward lurch at the hands of the ever-triangulating Democrats.
Instead, what seems likely to happen is the Democrats will counter with the deficit commission document and then compromise to the right of that. Which is precisely the outcome Ryan likely considers “worst but acceptable.” The sad reality, of course, will be that in the absence of a GOP President, a GOP Senate, and with only a fractionally lunatic GOP House they will have delivered the biggest far-right reshaping of American budgetary priorities (and politics) ever achieved in anyone living’s lifetime. And the Democrats will have only themselves to blame.
"Years ago I remember a lot of moderate liberals talking about how the Bush era radicalized them. For me, it was the economic collapse of 2008 that did it. The financial industry almost literally came within a hair’s breadth of destroying the world, but even so it took only a few short months for them to close ranks with Republicans and the rich to prevent anything serious being done to rein them in. Profits are back up, new regulations are barely more than window dressing, nothing was done to help underwater homeowners, bonuses are as obscene as ever, unemployment remains sky high, and the public has somehow been convinced that this was all their own fault — or perhaps the fault of big government, or big deficits, or something. But the finance industry has escaped almost entirely unscathed. It’s mind boggling. If this doesn’t change your view of who really runs the world, I don’t know what would."
FOXnews VP Bill Sammon was caught on tape making a rather unfortunate admission on a conservative cruise:
At that time, I have to admit, that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched.
Then, later, walking back this statement:
[Obama’s supposed “advocating” of socialism] was a main point of discussion on all the channels, in all the media [and by 2009 I was] astonished by how the needle had moved.
You (or your proxies) go on television, you knowingly lie repeatedly, your entire network repeats said lie knowingly and with malice aforethought, on all programs 24/7, then you proclaim yourself astonished that some number of people have picked up the lie and repeated it themselves (whether knowingly or unknowingly is now immaterial; congratulations, you have successfully propagated the meme).
Now, of course, because of the ironclad rules of Cokie’s Law, you simply continue to repeat and repeat and repeat the lie you know is a lie (because you were complicit in its genesis) now with the “it’s out there, we have to report it” fig leaf. And the rest of the MSM steadfastly defends you as an accurate, respectable news source despite all evidence to the contrary. I guess that concept is “out there” too.
"…how much more concrete could our current situation be? Republicans — and, unfortunately, some Democrats too — are pushing for an economic austerity plan that will keep unemployment high and the job market loose. The result is downward pressure on wages, which keeps middle-class incomes stagnant and corporate profits high. This benefits the executive and investor class, and while it’s a shortsighted benefit, it’s a benefit nonetheless. And it’s not thanks to globalization or returns to education or anything like that. It’s due to a deliberate political decision that favors the rich at the expense of everyone else."
— Kevin Drum
If only we had a particularly skilled orator in high office somewhere who could use some sort of bully pulpit to explain this concept in simple terms once or twice a day from now until the thought finally sinks in and takes root. Meh: So it goes.
"Social Security isn’t even hard to understand. Taxes go in, benefits go out. Unlike healthcare, which involves extremely difficult questions of technological advancement and the specter of rationing, Social Security is just arithmetic.
Right now, Social Security costs about 4.5% of GDP. That’s going to increase as the baby boomer generation retires, and then in 2030 it steadies out forever at around 6% of GDP.
That’s it. That’s the story. Our choices are equally simple. If, about ten years from now, we slowly increase payroll taxes by 1.5% of GDP, Social Security will be able to pay out its current promised benefits for the rest of the century. Conversely, if we keep payroll taxes where they are today, benefits will have to be cut to 75% of their promised level by around 2040 or so. And if we do something in the middle, then taxes will go up, say, 1% of GDP and benefits will drop to about 92% of their promised level. But one way or another, at some level between 75% and 100% of what we’ve promised, Social Security benefits will always be there.
This is not a Ponzi scheme. It’s not unsustainable. The percentage of old people in America isn’t projected to grow forever. Lifespans will not increase to infinity. Taxes go in, benefits go out. It’s simple."
— Kevin Drum: big yep. And almost a usable political slogan as well: Taxes go in, benefits come out. Got to work on something for the T-word, though.
It is, however, remarkable how the serious people in the MSM have obligingly turned Social Security into some sort of indecipherable rocket science which everyone knows will be defunct sometime later this week, all without ever pausing to consider that Social Security is A): self funded outside the annual budget (and therefore deficit neutral for many, many years to come), and B): the easiest fix currently in the entire governmental clusterfuck that the GOP both caused and loves to natter on about. You want to talk about something important? Let’s talk Medicare or defense spending if you want to get at the real dollars, Gwen. Let’s talk about the Bush tax cuts. Your Liberal Media.
…the McCain phenomenon has always baffled me. Even back in the glory days of the Straight Talk Express he seemed like a consummate phony to me, sucking up to reporters not because he was being unusually candid, but because it seemed like a good strategy to beat a well-financed guy who was running ahead of him. He’s always been nasty, he’s always been hot tempered, he’s always looked out for number one, and he’s always been willing to take whatever position was convenient at the time.
Yep. The media enjoyed the perception of total access, and thus created the myth of the maverick. As David Foster Wallace showed us (but whose text no longer appears to be online), the truth of “Bullshit 1” was always out there, they just refused to mention it. Too busy talking about Al Gore being told to wear un-American four button suits while discovering the Love Canal and then lying about these and other entirely media-created falsehoods.
Kevin Drum supplies us with a graph that does more to explain the McDonalds thing than anything else I’ve seen. Red bar is current Mini-Med plan. As you can see, under ACA, the vast majority of McDonalds workers get a better deal; those earning minimum wage get a vastly better deal, in that far more comprehensive healthcare is now free for them.
In fact, only those making more than $12/hr, a tiny minority of McDonalds workers, will pay about what they pay now…and but also get a hell of a lot more useful health insurance.
Indeed: what a failure for the ACA. Yet this failure narrative, unintended consequences, and so forth is precisely what we hear from Our Liberal Media. Again and again.
This is just the sort of graph that needs to be trotted out every time this comes up. Simple and easy to understand. But isn’t. And now even self-identified Democrats are turning against a plan they most likely have no idea about other than what they’ve heard on FOXnews. Because those anchors are at least trying to tell the truth of the story, right?
If you don’t think this is a serious problem you haven’t been paying attention. This is why they fail.