In contrast, Mitt Romney, who knows something about health care legislation, welcomed the Ryan-Wyden proposal, which is not too far removed from a Medicare reform plan the former Massachusetts Governor had put forward earlier, as “an enormous achievement.”
Why yes, of course the voice of bipartisan reason, the healing center, the maypole we can dance around nonidealogically just happens to be the once and probably future leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination. Christ, I haven’t seen false equivalence pay off like that since the mirror scene in Evil Dead II.
above: anti-elitist champion of common man prepares to smash system
Hey, you guys ever hear of Lynn Forester de Rothschild? No? Yeah, didn’t think so. Anyway, she’s got a piece up on the Huffington Post. It’s well worth your time, assuming you don’t have a finite amount of it on earth.
The words of Irish poet William Butler Yeats in his poem, The Second Coming, have an eerie resonance for American politics today. “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold… The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand.”
Oh yeah, The Second Coming, love that one. It’s funny, I remember when I was in high school, that was the poem that proved poetry could be cool; problem is, it’s also the poem that every jackass thinks has an “eerie resonance” for whatever’s on their mind, young me especially. It wasn’t until I saw Ed Harris’s character quoting it in that “Stephen King’s The Stand” miniseries that I realized it’s the go-to poem for dumb people who wanna play at being dark and edgy (again, young me especially), kinda like how everyone reads that Robert Frost poem and identifies with the iconoclastic protagonist. I mean seriously, guys, does it seem likely that all of you took the path less taken? Because if we’re giving weight to self-reportage that’s the well-trod one at this point. I shudder to think how many people put that down as their yearbook quote just a few months before going off to pursue a business degree.
In an environment of unprecedented political gridlock in Washington and broad-based dissatisfaction with the leading candidates of both parties, 2012 may finally be the year when an independent candidate becomes president of the United States. For the first time in our nation’s history, popular dissatisfaction with both parties is reinforced by the existence of serious bipartisan organizations that will facilitate the effort of a non-aligned national figure to become president. Because of these two factors, the opportunity to mobilize what Tom Friedman calls “the radical center” has never been greater. Indeed, “some revelation is at hand”.
I’m all for nontraditional interpretation, but I gotta say, Lynn, you might be the first person in history to read that line as “good news, everyone!”
The biggest single difference is that the Clinton administration simply refused on principle to get jacked up on the debt ceiling:
Still, even though Clinton enjoyed political and economic advantages that Obama does not, his no-compromises strategy had some clear advantages. Unlike Obama, he refused to let the threat of default set the national agenda. Because he would not enter into negotiations over the debt ceiling, the issue barely roused the public consciousness. On November 9, 1995, a senior administration official told the Washington Post, “Our position is it does not matter what they put on this legislation, we are not going to accept anything but clean bills because we will not be blackmailed over default. Get it? No extortion. No blackmail. What you hear are their screams of complaint as they realize we are not, not, not budging on this.”
Kind of hard to imagine somebody from this administration talking like that.
At least he concedes that the Republicans of 1994 were not the Teathuglicans of 2011. Although I think he’s underestimating the situation a great deal when he says “they weren’t that much less destructive and crazy.” You think? Even Republican presidential candidates (every one except Huntsman) this time were saying that the debt ceiling absolutely should not be raised.
Anyway, everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Now I’m just waiting to hear how Clinton was so much more effective at getting health care reform passed, kept children from being thrown off of Medicaid rolls and SCHIP and never agreed to pass DADT or DOMA. Oh. Wait.
ConocoPhillips Highlights Solid Results and Raises Concerns Over Un-American Tax Proposals at Annual Meeting of Shareholders
This hyperbolic bloviating is in response to proposals in both houses of Congress to eliminate some tax breaks (some could call them “loopholes”) for large integrated oil companies. The estimated $21 to $31 billion in increased revenues would be used for deficit reduction.
However our Congress-peeps obviously forgot that tax breaks for big oil are not a privilege, they are a RIGHT! And one that it would be un-American to consider repealing because George and the rest of the exalted founders intended it to be that way! Well, at least that’s the impression you get from this absurd reaction. The fact is the tax code is a fluctuating document, deductions are bestowed on us and what Congress giveth, Congress hath the right to taketh away.
Sen. Chuck Schumer tried to make this point on ConcoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva (snicker - he said “Mulva” /Seinfeld ;-) ) but Mulva dug his heels in and refused to take back the “u” word. Well, there’s lots of other brands of gas out there to buy, folks. Maybe some boycott action would impress the Mulva with the responsibility of massively profitable corporations (just read the rest of that May 11 presser) to pay their fair share of taxes. If you’re tax wonky I’ve summarized the proposed changes below the fold.
“This is not a budget, this is a cause” declared Ryan when rollling out his plan. Ah, and what a cause, indeed. Destroy Medicare and Medicaid. Bring tax cuts to the rich and tax increases to the middle class! Roll back Wall Street reform. Enact a VAT! Arguably the cause celebre of the entire Republican party. And, according to Ryan, we can do all that and majikally reduce the deficit. And the pundits are agog calling it bold, daring and brilliant. Finally someone with the guts to tackle our deficit problems head on and propose a workable solution.
So certainly the CBO agrees with the analysis and conclusions? Ummmm, not so much as it turns out. In fact the budget was based on projections provided by the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation. And whose estimates cannot even be duplicated by the developer of the model they used.
Things like, oh, projecting that unemployment will be at 2.8% in about 10 years and that the large tax cuts for wealthy individuals and businesses would generate billions more in tax revenues (just like the revenues and jobs created by the Bush tax cuts! YAY!). $150 billion a year in new economic growth from all those tax cuts too! Or, in other words, a joke. The downer of a CBO thinks his plan will actually increase the deficit (imagine!) and impose significant hardships on seniors (my, my!).
So rolling back to Ryan’s quote above, yes, he’s exactly right. This is a cause, not a credible plan. He believes in the majikal tax cutting, Medicare killing budget ponies and therefore they must be there. Mustn’t they?
Jobs, schmobs, American public. The Republicans have a much more important agenda and now that they’ve (in their minds) repealed health care reform it’s time to move to the next highest priority on their list. Redefining rape for purposes of federal abortion funding !
And, no, they’re not making it more liberal. No, INDEEDY! Citing the high priority of this issue, the Rethugs have introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” with 173 sponsors. Mainly, duh, Republicans.
But we already have laws preventing federal funds from being used for abortions, you say. With exceptions for rape, incest and health of the mother, of course. Silly reader! We have laws preventing federal funds from being used for abortions with exceptions for rape, incest and health of the mother but U R DEFINING RAPE AND INCEST RONG!!!
Contrary to what you thought you believed dear readers, rape is not rape unless it’s forcible rape! And incest is not incest unless u r under 18! All others need not apply. Note especially that statutory rape is not really, truly rape (unless, of course, it’s your uncle doing you). Neither, for that matter is date rape, rape of a drunk or drugged person or, best of all, rape of women with “limited mental capacity”. He didn’t rough you up and break your nose? Sorry, sister slut! Carry that baby to term.
The proposed law has other odious provisions such as not allowing for non-sanctioned abortions-due-to-rape to be paid for from HSA’s! Or deducted on your tax return! Yay! We’re well on our way back to the days of keepin’ em barefoot and pregnant with this here Republican Congress, thanks to, well, you know who y’are.
One of the biggest questions I had in the aftermath of the tragic shootings in Arizona was how a mentally ill person whose demeanor was so alarming that he freaked out his classmates at Pima Community College before being expelled and was rejected for enlistment in the army managed to purchase an assault weapon with an extended magazine with apparent ease (there is a report that he actually had to try a second WalMart to get the ammunition).
Yesterday I raised the question of why the conversation was so focused on the state of the political discourse (an important topic to be sure) while the issue of “how the hell did this guy get a gun!!” seemed to be overlooked. The response seemed to be that the gun control argument has been lost in this country so what’s the point of talking about it. Considering the lock the NRA seems to have on the souls of Congresspeeps I began to wonder if that was true.
Now there are a couple of reasons to think maybe there is a ray or two of hope out there! Politico reports that Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY, plans to bring up a bill to ban the manufacture and sale of the high capacity ammunition magazines that allowed Loughner to fire so many bullets in such a short period of time. Good enough. However the success of this bill brought by a Democrat in the now Republican controlled House is questionable.
But more promising is the report that Rep. Peter King, not only a Republican, but a leading Republican, plans to introduce a bill to make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official. This guy is chair of the Homeland Security Committee and should have some clout in this kind of situation.
It could be better - it’s not introducing a bill to completely ban the sale of automatic weapons (although I hear that may be in the works too) - but it’s a start and to have a powerful Republican jamming his foot in the door that the NRA has tried to slam shut is reason for some optimism.
I definitely think it’s worth a call to your CongressCritters to urge them to support both bills and any others like it that come up. The NRA should not be dictating the conversation about gun control in this country when little girls become collateral damage to their agenda.
We can argue until we’re all blue in the face about whether this weekend’s shooting tragedy in Arizona was at least partly caused by inappropriately violent political rhetoric or was simply the demented act of a dangerously mentally ill person. And we may never know the answer.
But one thing is undeniable - the ability of Jared Loughner to legally obtain a semi-automatic gun had a lot to do with it. As Gail Collins points out in the NYT, if Loughner had gone to that Safeway with a regular pistol he likely would still have shot Gabrielle Giffords but most likely would not have claimed so many other victims.
Is this what the Famous Founders had in mind when drafting the Second Amendment? Something tells me not so much. But try and argue that with a Second Amendment purist. When the question of whether we need tighter gun control laws was put to Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, on Meet the Press Sunday, he came back with the lame “guns don’t kill people, bad people kill people” excuse.
In the same conversation, Representative Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, found himself deflecting the suggestion that perhaps the shooting indicated a need for tighter gun control laws. “That’s the same basic Glock 9 millimeter that most, that many police agencies use,” Mr. Franks said. “So it’s not that the gun was evil but in the hands of an evil person. Maybe a police officer with the same gun could have prevented a lot of people from dying.”
So, uh, Rep. Franks, how did this “evil person” obtain this “non-evil” gun? Well, considering he lives in a state with some of the most lax gun control laws in the country* I think it’s a fair assumption that he just went out and bought it! And stuck it in his jeans or something and then pulled it out and killed and maimed a whole lot of innocent people with it.
And why is it legal for people, evil or non-evil, to buy these certified mass killing machines? Because when the federal law forbidding their sale expired in 2004 Congress completely caved to the NRA lobby and didn’t re-authorize it.
Isn’t it time for our legally elected members of Congress to man up (as we say these days), stare the NRA lobby straight in the eyes and say “enough is enough”? Because if they don’t I truly despair at the thought of the tragedies yet to come.
In the wake of their horrific “shellacking” in the midterms, the Dems and Obama are annoying a lot of people who never supported them by refusing to roll over and submissively urinate like the beaten Radical Leftist and/or Anti-Working-Class Corporatist dogs they are.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton heard the message loud and clear — he was facing both houses in the hands of the Republican Party, so he moved aggressively to the center and remade his White House and his policies.
In an apparent attempt to seem both pithy and edgy Michael Gerson, writing an op ed for the Washington Post today, titles it Obama the Snob.
Other titles would have worked just as well. Obama the Uppity. Obama the Elitist. But Gerson goes with the one syllable slam of “Snob”. And why is Obama such a, you know, snob? Why because, when speaking at a fund raiser the other day he suggested that voters might not be making the most rational decisions right now is because the country is scared.
“Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now,” he recently told a group of Democratic donors in Massachusetts, “and facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country is scared.”
“Let’s unpack these remarks ” Gerson cries as he goes on to denounce Obama for his snobby tendency to call the voters lizard brained or something. He kind of skips over the part of Obama’s speech where he calls on Americans to move past their fears and push forward.
“You can respond in a couple of ways to a trauma like this,” Obama said, referring to the economy. “One is to pull back, retrench and respond to your fears by pushing away challenges, looking backwards. Another is to say we can meet these challenges and we are going to move forward. And that’s what this election is about.”
No, Gerson seems to define “unpacking” as taking a quote out of context and going on for many, many, many more paragraphs to prove that it means Obama is a “neocortical” (whatever that is) “arrogant” president who just thinks voters are all icky, lizard brainy neanderthals. He even works in Obama’s post-colonial father and early socialist mentors! Yay! Nothing scary about that! (Or “heeeeeeere Fido” either.)
I’m sure National Review Editor Rich Lowry meant well in his New York Post fugue on Glenn Beck’s Tentless Chautauqua Revival on the Capitol Mall. But perhaps it was the perennial pub-deadline trap of staking out a novel, contrarian claim in an oyster bed of commentary that’s already been shucked clean that led him to type this Pearl of Faint Praise:
The much-analyzed speeches at the Glenn Beck Lincoln Memorial rally weren’t as notable as what the estimated 300,000 attendees did: follow instructions, listen quietly to hours of speeches and throw out their trash.
...not unlike, say, the attendees at a Soviet May Day Parade or the rapt crowds at a Fidel Castro talkathon, with venue litter patrols directed by the People’s Committee for Culturally-Correct Beautification and Turf Amelioration, although I doubt those were the parallels Rich intended to invoke.
Then again, maybe it was the humiliatingly Pee-Wee-ish “He who smelt it dealt it” pose Elite Country Club Conservatives are compelled to strike whenever expedience demands that they flatter their upstart, common-folk allies-of-necessity by attacking their Limousine Liberal counterparts for being, you know, “elite”:
In extremis, Democrats and liberal commentators have dragged the debate over the Tea Party into the well-worn rut of elite condescension to the bourgeois
...as opposed to the Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware and Washington GOP establishments who’ve framed the Tea Party debate in friendlier terms such as “criminal,” “crazy.” “extreme” and “unelectable.”
Could be, too, that Rich is the sort of well-heeled, genteel beau who will dutifully contrive a compliment for even the most repellent blind date:
To be sure, the Tea Partiers are fiercely anti-establishment, and that produces political candidates who are exotic and unexpected.
...like, for example, the tattooed stripper who just showed up on the veranda of your parents’ vacation house at Hilton Head to announce that you’re her Baby-Daddy.
Or, quite possibly, Rich has simply popped a major neural pathway trying to reconceptualize his party’s invasion by throngs of RINO-Hating Islamophobic Flag-Fucking Theocratic Birther Conspiracy Nuts as a “teachable moment,” and an admonition to the soon-to-be-enthroned Mutant GOP to eschew the Icarian hubris that drove the Newt Gingrich Congress to fly too close to the sun:
They could do much worse than to take their cue from the Tea Partiers at the Lincoln Memorial, who knew how to make an impression without scaring anyone or trashing the place.
Petulant Left blogger Jane Hamsher, quoted today in The Hill:
Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, who is also a columnist for The Hill, said he didn’t think Obama would get a 2012 primary challenge “in a million years.”
In an e-mail, Moulitsas also said Obama shouldn’t be challenged.
Still, some influential figures on the left, which erupted in fury this week at criticism White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made in an interview with The Hill,
suggest a multitude of voices in New Hampshire and Iowa could be helpful to the party.
“I have always encouraged a diversity of voices in the primary process, within all parties and at all levels of government,” said Jane Hamsher, founder of Firedoglake.com, a leading liberal blog.
Yes, Jane, because the only way to advance Progressive issues is to elect more Republicans. It’s so obvious to me now.
I’ve never had much regard for Hamsher. Her disastrous dalliance with the Lamont campaign was an early indicator that her first and only love is the sound of her own voice. Then there was the Grover Norquist Incident. And now this.
After Breitbart’s spectacular expose fail over Shirley Sherrod’s supposed evil bigotry you’d think the Repubs might want to distance themselves from him a bit.
Think again my friends. Not only are they not distancing themselves, they are apparently embracing his brand of *journalism* by having him be a featured player at an upcoming swanky fund raising event in Beverly Hills, CA.
Well, why not, anyway? While most normal people were pretty much aghast over the treatment of Sherrod by not only Breitbart and his flying monkeys but also the mainstream media and her boss and all his flying monkeys, the conservative crowd doesn’t seem to want to let go of her.
A couple of days ago yr ed. reported here that Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) blathered that tax cuts never had to be paid for while spending, such as extending unemployment benefits, must always be offset by revenue or other cuts. His fuzzy reasoning seemed to be that cutting taxes is an entitlement for the wealthy.
Well, he’s not the only Republican embracing this point of view. From TPM:
“That’s been the majority Republican view for some time,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told TPMDC this afternoon after the weekly GOP press conference. “That there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”
Vibrancy, indeed! The tax cuts were vibrant! They were trickling down vibrancy everywhere you looked! Tell us more, tell us more!
He (Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH) said Kyl’s prescription—offset spending with tax increases or program cuts, but treat tax cuts differently—is exactly right. “It makes a lot of sense, because, you know, when you’re raising taxes you’re taking money out of peoples’ pockets,” said Gregg when asked by TPMDC. “When you’re spending money, you’re spending money that is—it’s not the same thing because it’s growing the government. So I tend to think that tax cuts should not have to be offset.”
Makes perfect sense, right? Assuming that you live in Republatopia where decreasing revenue sources magically increases revenue, why it does! But we don’t live there. We live in RealWorldUSA. Let’s see what some actual statistics say about all that trickling down vibrancy.