Republicans are greedy jerks

If you’re an American, you’ll know that unless the Republicans in Congress and President Obama reach a deal, the U.S. will go over a “fiscal cliff” at midnight, triggering huge tax increases for nearly all Americans (an average of $3400 per family) as well as huge spending cuts. They abhor Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on all Americans making more than $250,000, while leaving tax rates on lower incomes pretty much untouched.

As the New York Times reports, the Republicans are recalcitrant, for they want the rich to keep their largesse while the poor and aged take the hit:

In seesaw negotiations, the two sides got closer on the central issue of how to define the wealthy taxpayers who would be required to pay more once the Bush-era tax cuts expire.

But that progress was overshadowed by gamesmanship. After Republicans demanded that any deal must include a new way of calculating inflation that would mean smaller increases in payments to beneficiaries of programs like Social Security, Democrats halted the negotiations for much of the day.

I’m fed up with Republicans, a bunch of greedy jerks whose overriding concern is to avoid reducing the incomes of the very rich. For crying out loud, our tax rates are among the lowest among first-world nations, and those who make more than a quarter million dollars a year can easily afford to pay a bit more.  Instead, Republicans, like small children who don’t get their way, are threatening to hurt everyone, and to throw the country into a recession.

Republicans are immoral—at least those who favor a plan that hurts the poor while protecting the wealthy.  (It resembles those Catholics who would rather have people get AIDS than use condoms).  The poor and middle classes are stretched already, and $3400 a year is a huge bite. How can these people look themselves in the mirror and feel that they’re doing the best for America?

The television news this morning reported that Obama may raise the “rich” level to $400,000 a year, which is ridiculous.

If this country goes down the tubes, blame the Republicans who are guarding their bank accounts—and all the misguided people who voted for them.

Let’s just admit it: the Republican party doesn’t give a damn about the poor, the aged, the dispossessed—and women.  This is one reason why America remains so religious.

186 Comments

  1. Lurker111
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    “Republicans are greedy jerks”

    The sky is blue.

    • gravelinspector
      Posted January 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Over there is the sylvanian ursine toilet facility.

  2. Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Never mind the taxes.

    If no deal is reached today, unemployment insurance payments will be cut off for a hundred million people, most of whom have a roof over their heads only because they get those payments. Even if a retroactive deal is cut in a few weeks, these people will still be fucked.

    And you can even ignore the human misery. Every dollar in unemployment insurance gets turned right around back into the economy, immediately spent on food and rent and gasoline and the like. Anybody our there, if you think our economy can gracefully weather the type of hit its about to take from that dramatic a reduction in consumer spending, you’re a fool.

    Oh — and lest the Republican Randite parasites start whining about the “takers,” this is unemployment insurance. You pay some of your wages into a pool that you then draw from in the event of a catastrophe. These people paid their premiums with their taxes, and withholding benefits payments is every bit as horrific as your homeowner’s insurance refusing to pay you after a fire, even though you never missed a payment.

    b&

    • Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Corrections to your errors:

      1) “Unemployment funds” compelled by coercive government decree are not insurance, since insurance is a worthy product offered and contracted freely by free people.

      2) “Unemployment funds” are not confiscated from workers. They are confiscated from employers.

      • Greg Esres
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        “contracted freely by free people.”

        The free people’s democratically elected representatives initiated the program. And thank God for coercive governments; non-coercive governments aren’t governments at all. Like, Somalia.

        • Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          Democracy is a vile form of government. Freedom is the correct political philosophy for homo sapiens.

          And: my objection was not that government is coercive (it must be, but only in retaliation and rectification of violations of individual rights) but that insurance is a product that can only be honest if freely, volitionally contracted. Government cannot do that, since it acts by force.

          • Achrachno
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            “Democracy is a vile form of government”

            See? Another “libertarian” feudalist. Opposition to democracy is a reliable tell.

            John thinks he should be free and we should all do what he thinks is right. No collective deciding of public policy.

            • Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

              1) feudal society was not libertarian
              2) I am not a libertarian
              3) “John” thinks he should be free? You don’t think you should be free? You don’t think all human beings should be free? You prefer collective deciding of some over others, even if is smashes individual rights and property? Horrifying.

              • Achrachno
                Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                “1) feudal society was not libertarian”

                Feudalism is the ultimate outcome of libertarian proposals. Wealth and power becomes concentrated into fewer and fewer hands over time until one entity owns it all. We’re a significant part of the way now in the US with half the wealth now in c. 1% of the hands.

                “2) I am not a libertarian”

                Ah, I forgot Objectivists don’t like libertarians for some reason. Not enough hero worship or something.

                “3) You prefer collective deciding of some over others, even if is smashes individual rights and property?”

                Freedom and individual rights seem to be possible only in democratic societies. Not guaranteed, but possible. There is no other viable approach. You don’t get to be king. Sorry.

              • Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

                Your point 1) is arbitrary; concentration of power turning to totalitarianism “might” come from “libertarianism” but you’ll have to address them, since I am not one. It certainly comes from Progressiveism continuing its natural collapse into communism just as well. Also ascendancy of theism, etc.

                3) freedom and individual rights are in no way safe under democracy, aka the dictatorship of the masses/majority. There is a viable approach: a Republic of sovereign citizens with absolute individual rights including property, aka the original American revolution.

                Sorry, no clue what you intended with your empty “king” phrase.

          • DV
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            John, can you just please read a bit to increase the knowledge level in our discussions here. Before you pontificate about the evils of democracy, please read up on history and research what life is like for the average person before democracy was invented.

            Democracy has hairy armpits, yes, but…

      • Notagod
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Corrections to your errors:

        1) The concept of insurance is worthy, the way it is administered by the insurance companies is a farce. Insurance companies insure that they win big.

        2) All employer born taxes are considered workforce costs. The employer will reduce the compensation to the employee pool by the amount of the employer’s costs. In practice the lower paid employees usually take the brunt of the hit.

        • Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          1) Insurance is a worthy and honest product if bought and sold with the volition by the producer and purchaser. It becomes a shame, game and atrocity when “conducted” by coercive force through government. [note: currently, if a company decides its carrier is conducting a farce, they can change companies. However, they cannot chose to opt out of carrying coverage under threat of govt action. Also, government controls the rates and they sometimes act with arrogant impunity, currently. I know this from experience.]

          2) [note: you give no justification for your "brunt" argument, please cite.] By your argument the following is just as valid: “All imposed taxes on a company reduce the profit to the owner.”

          • Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

            John, would I be correct in assuming that you have no problems with taxes paying for police, fire, and the military?

            If so, why are you happy to be coerced into paying for police insurance, fire insurance, and military insurance, but you’re so vehemently opposed to similar forms of general all-encompassing insurance for all people for the two forms of catastrophe most likely to strike in the modern age, now that we’ve mostly solved the problems of crime, rampant unstoppable fire, and foreign invasion?

            And, yes. All taxes reduce all immediate profits upon whomever they’re levied.

            So what?

            With my taxes I buy civilization. With civilization comes untold wealth.

            Who but a fool would fear to trade numbers on a bank’s computer disk for all the riches that our collective efforts bring us all?

            The choice isn’t between taxes and profits. The choice is between civilization and anarchy.

            If you really want to live someplace with a minimal tax rate, try Somalia.

            At the other end of the scale, it’s the nations with the highest tax rates that have the wealthiest societies (even if they don’t have quite as many super-ultra billionaires with fleets of personal yachts).

            Fancy that.

            b&

          • notsont
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

            You speak of these things as if they are new and untried, as if we couldn’t just look back at history and see how the things you describe actually work out.

            We have tried it, it was bad, very very bad.

            • Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

              It’s not just empirically bad, it’s obviously, intuitively bad.

              If you don’t require that everybody buy fire insurance to pay the fire department to come put out your house when it catches on fire, then too few people buy insurance to adequately fund the fire department and whole blocks go up in smoke as the fire department tries to figure out which fires it should put out and which houses it should let burn to the ground. Worse, firefighters even have a financial incentive to start fires in such systems (and, historically, that’s exactly what a shameful number of them did).

              To what shouldn’t be anybody’s surprise, the exact same thing happens with every other form of societal insurance. That’s why we don’t have private police or military forces any more, and why we shouldn’t have private health or disability or unemployment insurance. Privatize any of them, and the parasites suck everybody dry without making more than a token gesture to fulfill their obligations while they do everything in their power to maximize their own personal profits.

              b&

    • Achrachno
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      “lest the Republican Randite parasites start whining about the “takers,”

      Technically, I think they’re closer to being predators rather than parasites — they’re fine with killing their prey. They really don’t care what happens to the average or poor folks — as long as they can take whatever resources those people previously controlled. Then their victims can be cast aside and forgotten.

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        I’m not so sure. Sometimes, I think the reason Republicans want to block contraception and abortion (for the poor, as the rich can find a way to buy whatever they want) is to make sure women keep popping out new workers to replace those who wear out or near retirement and therefore must be discarded to maintain profitability for the rich. To go along with that, anyone needing healthcare will receive just enough to act as a bandaid, so they die quickly, costing the rich taxpayers as little as possible. You see, it keeps government costs down, if the sick and disabled die fast. And then, there’s the issue of education. Best not to educate the underclasses too much. They might decide they are worthy of more. Instead, fill the voids in their heads with the fear of authority, starting with fear of god… While they settle for underpayment for their work, so the rich employers can get richer, they’ll shoulder the broadest portion of taxes, directly or indirectly, and then tithe to the very churches which help control their minds, leading the sheeples to lay down in astroturf green meadows…

        • Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          What scares me most is the number of societies that have gone down exactly that same path in the past.

          When will we ever learn?

          b&

    • Nom de Plume
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      unemployment insurance payments will be cut off for a hundred million people, most of whom have a roof over their heads only because they get those payments

      There are 100 million people collecting unemployment? I realize that our unemployment situation is bad, but I dispute that figure.

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        Sorry — I slipped a decimal, confusing state scales with national.

        The correct figure is about a dozen million, not a hundred.

        In addition, there’re about twice that many nationally unemployed not receiving benefits, and at least another dozen million able-bodied adults, probably more, who don’t have jobs but have given up and thus aren’t being counted.

        Add it all up and we’re not all that far off from a hundred million in dire straits one way or another — and some of them are receiving various other forms of aid, from food stamps to Section 8 housing — but it’s “only” a “mere” dozen million or so whose unemployment benefits are going to get cut off at the knees if Congress doesn’t get its act together in the next few hours.

        To put it in perspective, that’s about as many people as the combined populations of New York City and Los Angeles.

        Cheers,

        b&

        • Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Did you forget the under-employed? The Ph.D.s and M.S.s who are flipping burgers for minimum wage and no benefits are the classic example.

          • Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            Apparently I did, though my only possible excuse would have to be that there are so many people in trouble it’s easy to lose track.

            And it’s not just the degreed professionals flipping burgers…all those tradespeople complaining about how slow their work is, how long they go between jobs, they’re all underemployed as well.

            And a very disturbing new trend is in retail, where sophisticated software allows employers to manipulate work schedules to an unprecedented level. Rather than hire a set number of full-time employees and pay them full-time salaries with benefits, they’ll “hire” large numbers of part-time employees, give them no benefits, and pay them execrably. What’s worse is that these workers never know what their schedule will be from week to week — or, indeed, increasingly, from day to day. They can’t take a second job to fill in the hours when they’re not working for their primary employer because, the instant they report that they’re not available when the boss calls, they first get stuck with the shit shifts and not long after don’t get called for any shifts.

            I’m still wondering how long it’ll take for people today to re-learn the lessons our grandparents and their parents did when they unionized. How much, exactly, is enough?

            b&

            • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

              I think — I hope — we’re getting close, Ben. Even the willfully blind can’t stay willfully blind forever… Or can they?

              • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

                Comfortable people rarely change.

                The change, if any, will come from the dissatisfied.

                Historically, changes inspired by this type of dissatisfaction are rarely something anybody enjoys personally experiencing.

                b&

      • Notagod
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        From: tradingeconomics.com/united-states/unemployment-rate

        Unemployment Rate in the United States decreased to 7.70 percent in November of 2012 from 7.90 percent in October of 2012. The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent in November. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.0 million, changed little.

        However, the US changed the way it calculates the unemployment rate a few decades ago (and I think I remember hearing of some recent changes too). Generally, those that have given up looking for work are not counted and no adjustment is made for those that are working but are underemployed (part-time seeking full-time employment). So whatever the true number is its definitely greater than 12 million and 7.9 percent. Doing the math that’s roughly 150 million total workforce. However, 312 million total population less 37% under 18 or over 65 leaves (312 – 115) 197 million that are over 18 and under 65. Considering that some of those over 65 are in the workforce and some of those under 18 aren’t but would like to be in the workforce, there may be something like 50 million that are not being accounted for, some due to wealth or other circumstances could legitimately be considered not potential workers and not part of the unemployed.

    • Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      re: the current coercive unemployment racket:

      It is rigid. An employer cannot opt out and pay higher wages as an offsetting option, which good workers would use to build a savings account against not having a job. Also, since govt sets the rates and minimums, there is no “price war” or true competition. This is not the fault of the insurance companies, but rather the govt regulations.

      There is a solid granite floor: a great, prosperous company who has not fired-without-cause or laid-off anyone for years and years, still must pay out the minimum rate, usually around 3.2% of gross wages (depends on job description). He cannot get his rate down below that, no matter how fine a record the company has. This is a gross injustice.

      Finally: a government coerced system of “insurance” (not actually a free market product) rewards “collection of benefits” over personal responsibility. I challenge all who champion the current system to assess the damage caused by that faction of people who “could” be working, but instead delay or reject working in favor of “collecting” — especially when politicians keep extending benefits. Then, contrast that with the incentive to work if one is living on one’s savings, instead.

      • Thanny
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        You have a childish and uninformed view of unemployment insurance.

        The pool is not the employees of any one company. The pool is the entire working population of the state. Everyone pays in, including self-employed individuals, and those that lose their jobs take out.

        That’s bog-standard insurance. And every society with unemployment insurance is better off because of it.

        • Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          “childish and uniformed”: No, I have a massively informed adult professional understanding because I have been there, paid it as an employer and witnessed its failings on both a moral and practical level.

          You then proceed to repeat the obvious default bromide description of the system which my posts obviously reflect I know. What is your actually refutation of the specific points I made against it?

          Bog-standard in the United States of America is: freedom and personal responsibility, with free market insurance products arising out of capitalism. “Progressive” nationalization of same, accompanied by horrible rules and results, is a recent arrival and massively destructive.

          • pulseteresa
            Posted January 1, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

            It’s always amusing to hear you talk about your faith-based beliefs, John. Oh right, not completely faith-based because you have your own personal experience to draw on.

            Do you ever consider the disabled when repeating the Personal Responsibility Creed? And not just the physically disabled. Do you ever consider the mentally disabled? And I’m not just talking about the obviously mentally disabled, such as most schizophrenics, I’m also talking about those who suffer from depression, substance abuse disorders, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders. Do we just need to take “personal responsibility” for our illnesses? It’s not as though we can work and receive insurance through those jobs. It’s not as though current disability (which can be nearly, or sometimes absolutely, impossible to get, especially for mental illnesses) actually provides individuals with enough money to live at more than a sub-poverty levels and Medicaid and Medicare ain’t what they used to be (especially with regards to medications).

            So what about those of us who are disabled? And why do you leave so many other questions unanswered? Such as Ben Goren’s from 1:57PM, which begins:

            “John, would I be correct in assuming that you have no problems with taxes paying for police, fire, and the military?”

            • Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

              @Pulseteresa wrote: “Do you ever consider the disabled when repeating the Personal Responsibility Creed?”

              I think it goes with the Dominionist Christian belief. You know, the one that says, “If I’m richer than you, it’s because Jesus loves me better than you! And if you’re poorer than me, you better pray, buddy, ‘cuz God is pissssssssed1″ That, subliminal or blatantly sermonized, is why ReBibliclans think there’s no need for social services. It’s all in God’s hands, and if He’s pissed at you, you’ve just become an “untouchable.”

              Those Christians in between, lacking full confidence for their place in heaven because they don’t see great wealth ever reaching them, try to buy brownie points to get into heaven. They do this with “ministries”, bait and switch scams that feed the homeless or (pretend to) help the drug addicts only to bring them close enough to evangelize (translation: brain wash while they’re at their lowest and most vulnerable).

              Of these in-between ministry volunteers, those who dehumanize the desperate non-Christians and even many desperate Christians are ReBiblicans, put there by God so the “really good” Christians can use them for stepping stones on that Stairway to Heaven. (Think Mother Theresa.)

              Those who see the helpless as real, full, complete human beings tend to be Democrats, whether they claim Republican or not. They work at least as much from an altruistic place in their minds as from the site of their religious indoctrination.

              • Posted January 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

                Without addressing the content of your speculation, I will simply state, for context, that it does no pertain to me. I am completely atheistic.

            • Posted January 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

              1) I have no faith-based beliefs. Not a one.

              2) the issue of the truly disabled is trivial under freedom. A free, prosperous nation under capitalism with deep personal responsibility for self and family is magnificently generous to those truly in need. No gun is required. What is NOT trivial is the Progressive’s greed to enslave humans under political collectivism in the name of this small minority, destroying actual volitional caring and destroying the fabric of a nation in the bargain.

              3) I have a life and do not respond to all questions, especially since many of them are already subsumed in my prior responses.

              4) I will reply to Goren when he apologizes to me for his disgusting defamation in another thread (subject: India), which he and the host of this website are well aware remains ignored by both. The host demanded apologies in that thread. I apologized myself for one extreme comment in that thread. Many made aggressive insults to me, none of which went retracted. I was the only one to do so, and Goren’s defamation was egregious, ignorant and disgusting. Until he apologizes, he is a non-person to me.

              5) Why has Goren not retracted his post, or apologized for his mistake, in this thread in which he ranted about the unemployment system, the facts about who pays the ransom he stated in total error. Now THAT is person devoid of personal responsibility.

  3. Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I think that deep down these idiots want to see the chaos that ensues so they cam look and say “see we told you this would happen”. Never mind that they will be the cause of it.

    • Marta
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Atlas shrugged, yo.

    • Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Chaos brings Jebus faster! What’s wrong with that?

  4. Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    “It resembles those Catholics who would rather have people get AIDS than use condoms”

    Nice correction, sir. I was lying in bed checking my email when I read the original, e-mailed version and was wondering about the change in policy. =P

  5. Matt Bowman
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I think the 400,000 is the Rebuplican counteroffer. Warren Buffett’s last NYT op-ed said it should be 500,000 and above, which makes me wonder if Obama will give, since he nearly claimed Buffett as his go to guy on taxes. But Obama ran and we elected him twice on the plan to increase taxes on 250,000 and above.

    • Matt Bowman
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Here is that Buffett op-ed quote: “I support President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for high-income taxpayers. However, I prefer a cutoff point somewhat above $250,000 — maybe $500,000 or so.”

      This is the link for those interested in the Buffett article. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/opinion/buffett-a-minimum-tax-for-the-wealthy.html?_r=0
      I like how he starts the article…

      “SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

      Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.”

    • Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      People in third world countries living on a dollar or two a day must shake their heads in wonderment at a country where someone earning $399,999 a year is not rich.

      Hell, plenty of us could live comfortably on a tenth of that.

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        It reminds me of the rich child who was telling her dolly a story:

        “Once upon a time there was a poor family. The father was poor. The mother was poor. The children were poor. The butler and the valet and the cook and the housemaid and the nanny and the gardener were poor…”

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        I could live luxuriously on $40,000 / year. I could live comfortably on $20,000 / year. If I really had to, I could probably squeak by on $10,000 / year and not be too terribly uncomfortable (and not dip into reserves, at least not very often).

        Then again, that’s in no small part due to the fact that I’ve had some very good years of late, and I’ve invested my profits into various forms of capital expenditures that reduced my operating expenses. For example, I live not only rent-free, but I don’t even pay for my electricity. And I don’t have a car payment. Oh — and I’m single and childless, which helps a great deal.

        If you’re already rich, you can live quite comfortably on very little income. The great tragedy of being poor is that it’s so damned expensive.

        Cheers,

        b&

        • Veroxitatis
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          You could probably squeak by on $10,000 per annum. You are seriously suggesting that you could get by living on approximately the equivalent of UK JSA (job seeker’s allowance – state benefit) These poor are rich in your terms as well since they also get housing benefit to cover rent and local tax.

          • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

            Again, I have no expenses. My mortgage is paid, and my roof is covered in solar panels (also paid for) that provide half again as much power as I need. My car is a ’68 VW Westfalia, the first car I ever drove, that I bought for $1 from my parents a decade or so ago.

            Far and away, my biggest single expense is health insurance — doubly so should I ever need more than my annual physical. That $10,000 wouldn’t cover my insurance, but I’m healthy, so I’m assuming I’d drop it and again join the uninsured.

            This is all hypothetical, of course. For various reasons, I’m now in a position where I doubt I’ll ever lack for work to at least cover the bills without worry, plus I’ve got a rainy day fund that lets me sleep quite well at night. And my credit is gold-plated, too, probably in large part to being debt-free.

            In short, I’m in better financial shape than most retirees, which, though I’m very solidly in the middle class, puts me in a very rare position.

            And I’ve been very poor (though never destitute) and often rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful, so I have a pretty good perspective on what life is like across the board.

            Being poor is miserable, and far too many Americans are miserably poor. Of the rich and powerful, damned few “get it” that there’s more to escaping poverty than choosing which stocks to buy with your discretionary income.

            b&

          • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

            What’s the matter? You couldn’t?

  6. Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    It utterly baffles me when people vote for Republicans who would do anything to control them and keep them poor. Oh, you are poor, you have no control over your life, well, vote for us and pray to some god for help, that’s the answer for everything.

    Anymore, I cannot see those actions by the poor, women, and dispossessed as anything more than pure willful ignorance. Evidently these people want to be controlled and to pray to something that doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, the rest of us suffer for their stupidity.

    • freegrazer
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Obama prays to that something that you say doesn’t exist and in many of his speeches he asks that something to bless America, the difference is, he is closer to following the teachings of Jesus than the republicans are, Jesus said to take care of the poor, to take care of widows and fatherless children, to give food to the hungry, he believed in handouts, the democrats are so much closer to Jesus than the republicans. Most republicans are posers, not real Christians, not following the teachings of Christ, you cannot serve both God and money, and we can all see who they serve, regardless of what they say.

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        The good old “but but those people aren’t TrueChristians!”. What BS. Sorry, FG but what is JC’s teachings? Yep, we have the turn the other cheek, take care of the least of these, do unto others, but we also have hate your family, kill those who don’t believe in me (Luke 19 and Revelation), and oh yes, JC says to follow *all* of his dad’s commandments, includeing killing homosexuals, making women marry their rapists, selling your daughter, etc (no he doesn’t say they are no longer valid, since golly, heaven and earth are still around). Then we have good ol’ Paul saying that JC/God agree with him when he says women should never speak in church, or teach, and again, we have that a lot of people who don’t agree with Paul needing to be killed.

        So, which version of JC are the TrueChristians? The ones you like or those people who follow the parts you don’t? This is why Christians of all types are so ridculous. You all make up what you want your god to have “really” meant, and all of you have no more evidence than the next.

        • freegrazer
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          It is my opinion that I can tell who the true Christians are, I can tell them by their fruit. Are you saying that Obama is rediculous, the earlier post said stupid and many other things that have been said against Christians. So in the words of the people on this website Obama is a stupid, rediculous, credulous Christian. I am not a bible worshiper but I do feel that I have an understaning of which texts are correct and what they mean, it’s too much to go into here but to put it simply I know his voice as he claims I would, and I believe, as Obama does. Newton was a fairly smart man wouldn’t you say or was he rediculous too? He wrote things that I believed even before knowing he wrote them, he had a theory that he was a “real” Christian too. Many people say that’s just because of the time he lived in but he didn’t agree with his contemporaries and risked death to write what he thought were important contridictions toward the government belief and claims of Jesus and God, basically what I am doing, but I’m lucky to live in a time and place where it’s not illegal to do so.

          • Veroxitatis
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            Obviously Newton was “smart”. However, it’s my experience that the disease of religion is no respecter of intelligence.

          • Posted December 31, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

            the fact that Isaac Newton, a great scientist, wrote ridiculous claims about god does not make them any true. It only means that even men of great learning can hold ridiculous beliefs.

            • freegrazer
              Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

              So smart people can believe ridiculous things, in your opinion. Not trying to prove to anyone what’s true or not, this being about greedy republicans, (which I agree with) I am pointing out that most of the democrats are Christians as well because many on here are blaming the republicans greed on religion. Could it be said that if many smart people, including Obama, believe that Jesus is the son of God and their personal savior that not all Christians are stupid?

              • Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

                Pretty much yes, to the extent they believe christ or anyone else other than fellow man will save them, they are stupid.

              • wilzardthespy
                Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

                I would say that smart people can believe in any nonsense. I would say believing in religious nonsense is irrational but not necessarily stupid.

              • Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

                It is very debatable whether Obama does “believe Jesus is the son of God and [his] personal savior”. He seems to have a more Sophisticated Theology™ than that, but he has learnt to express it in more Naïvely Theological™ terms for political reasons, as the occasion demands, as at the Newtown massacre memorial service.

              • Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

                “So smart people can believe ridiculous things, in your opinion”?

                Of course we can! I’m sure plenty of things I believe will some day prove to be ridiculous. If you were smarter, you would be sure of that too.

          • Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

            Ah, so TrueChristians are those who agree with your version of Christianity. How unsurprising! FG, all Christians think that, that anyone who agrees with them simply must be right and true and a Christian and gasp, those who don’t agree, well, they couldn’t possibly be a Christian.

            Yes, Obama is one more stupid ridiculous Christian, all my words, not anyone else’s. Just like you, he makes up a religion that reflects him, just like you do. It’s hilarious to watch you insist that you and you alone know what your god “really wants” aka “I have an understanding which texts are correct and what they mean.” Yep, so does Fred Phelps and Pat Robertson and Bryan Fischer, etc. Just more humans wanting to make believe that some magical being supports their wishes, desires and hatreds. That certainly makes all of you feel ever so special, doesn’t it? It’s great to think that some omnipotent deity agrees with you. Pity that none of you can demonstrate this as true and not a rather pitiful delusion.

            You seem to think that if someone who is a Christian is smart, that means Christianity is true. Sorry, doesn’t work like that. Newton was also an alchemist and wrong about a lot of things. Yep, he was good in math. You of course can’t tell me what JC’s “real teachings” are and have ignored that part of my post like the usual cowardly theists. You want to claim that the parts of the bible you like are the true parts and oh those other parts, those are simply followed by “bible worshippers”, not you the TrueChristian. How tedious and how expected. You won’t be killed or arrested in the US for having yet one more version of Christianity, but you certainly will be ridiculed by me for being just one more person who has invented an imaginary friend.

            • freegrazer
              Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

              I have no reason to be afraid to tell you what I believe JC’s true teachings are, why would I be? I don’t think that because other smart people believe as I do, that makes it true, I just like to point out good examples to all the bad ones put forth. All of the law can be summed up in this, to love your neighbor as you would love yourself, if you do this, then all the law will be obeyed. Jesus said that all who came before him were liars and murderers, that includes Moses. Moses was given 10 rules that were all about loving others and the Israelites turned them into over 600 rules, that’s why I believe that those laws are not to be followed, Jesus even said that the Jews put men’s laws above God’s laws.That is what I believe, I know you don’t agree, and I’m not trying to convince you, but you asked, so there you go.

              • Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

                Yet another Christian who’s only read the Cliff’s Notes, I see.

                Jesus Christ is a really nasty motherfucking sonofabitch. Possibly the most repugnant character in all of literature save his daddy, YHWH.

                First and foremost, of course, is Hell and his burning desire to send everybody there except for those who kiss his ass exactly the right way.

                And, just to make that point ever so emphatic, “any day now” he’s going to come back to lead the Christians to slaughter all non-Christians in the battle of Armageddon.

                As if that weren’t enough, he tells a parable (Luke 19) with the exact same plot as Armageddon, but the punchline is Jesus playing he role of the “noble” king demanding that all non-Christians be slaughtered at Jesus’s altar as a blood sacrifice.

                Let’s not forget that this is hardly an isolated incident or even remotely out of character; Jesus loves ranting and railing about how he comes not to bring peace but a sword and how he’ll rip families asunder.

                Hell, even in the Sermon on the mount, right there in the introduction, he condemns to infinite torture all men who’ve ever had a lustful thought about a woman and failed to immediately gouge out their own eyes and chop off their own hands.

                And then there’s the rabid anti-Semitism, the misogyny, the support for slavery, the wholesale endorsement of Mosaic law (which is even more barbaric than Hammurabic law, if such a thing were possible)…really, I don’t know where to stop.

                As I mentioned, his father actually does manage to out-do him in his evilness, what with the Plagues and the Flood and the genocides and the mass child rapes and the Mosaic law and what-not.

                Cheers,

                b&

              • Posted January 2, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

                BS. Nice try to revise history but you’ve failed. You mention Newton for *no* other reason than to try to claim that smart people agree with you and thus you are right. AS for what JC “really meant”, unsuprisingly you ignore the things you don’t like and decide that he only “really meant” the things you do. Yawn. Hilarious that you then say that JC said that all who came before him were liars and murderers. Where does it say that, FG? Hmmm? I do love to see your pathetic ignorance about your very own holy book, since it was god himself who gave Moses those first ten laws and all of the others. You should really read what you claim to follow sometime so you aren’t caught in such lies. Now, I know it does say that JC was transfigured and good ol’ Moses was right there with him, Matthew 17. You are such a classic Christian who makes such nonsense up to excuse yourself from doign the hard work of following this god of your’s rules. You’re just one more inept human who has created his own religion.

            • freegrazer
              Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

              @Shuggy, I agree with you, I know that I don’t know everything and never claimed to, I realize that some things I think I know could prove to be wrong, other people on here have said what I think and what I insist on that I never did.

              • freegrazer
                Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

                and Shuggy, the reason I say that about Obama is because that is what he said in an interview about his faith and beliefs, so I am just going by what he said himself.

              • Posted January 2, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

                You have claimed things with no evidence at all. That certainly doesn’t speak to you actually thinking that you don’t know everythign and could be wrong.

  7. threecheersforreason
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    wait…’throw the country into a recession.’?…uhhh…

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Yes, in all likelihood.

      Is your objection that we are already in a recession? Technically, no. The economy is expanding, albeit sluggishly, and despite the high unemployment rate.

      If your objection is that it won’t throw us into a recession, I would disagree with you, and point out that reduced govt spending, i.e. cutting jobs, is certain to raise the unemployment figures even higher.

      • 3cheersforreason
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        my objection is that we are still in a recession; perhaps not, by some definitions, but i suggest that the economic situation of a significant portion of americans remains dire. unemployment is still very high, and even the employed have lost significant wealth and buying power.

        • Achrachno
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          Situation will remain dire for many as long as the Republicans have the power to block sensible action. Priority needs to be employment, not a balanced budget — the latter is poison under current circumstances.

          • 3cheersforreason
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

            agreed! ‘austerity’ is geared towards preserving the status quo for the wealthy, not improving the economy for the many.

            • Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

              I think austerity is worse than that. It gives the wealthy an opportunity to buy, at pennies on the dollar, all that everyone else must give up just trying to survive: homes, cars, artwork and other physical investments…

              As the old jazz song goes, “Them that’s got shall get. Them that’s not shall lose. So the bible says, and it still is news. Mama may have, and Papa may have, but god bless the child that’s got his own.” There is no god, so there is no blessing. It is true, though, that the haves gain more, while the have-nots lose more.

  8. Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Godless Registered Republican here; I WANT to argue with Jerry on this…but I can’t, he is Right On The Money! I weep for my (formerly G)OP, but alas, it is no longer my Father’s Republican Party.

    I’ve remained a registered Republican only because I think the (formerly G)OP needs a godless social liberal of an (ethical!) fiscal conservative like me in its midst a lot more than the Democratic Party needs a godless (ethical!) fiscal conservative of a social liberal like me in its midst, plus IF it is POSSIBLE (…it may not be…) to wrestle my (formerly G)OP back from the stifling influence of the Religious Wrong, I’d like to help from within to do that — and in the meantime I can at least vote against the worser of multiple evils in primary elections.

    • Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      May I suggest?

      It sounds like you’re nearing, if not actually past, the point where your continued membership in the party does more to bolster their numbers and thus their goals than leaving them would to furthering your own goals.

      That is, if they no longer represent you, then leaving them may well do more to bring them back in line with your principles than attempting to work from within their ranks.

      If it helps, Obama is perhaps the most conservative president in American history. He’s far to the right of Nixon and significantly more conservative than Reagan. Obamacare is a wholesale adoption of the Heritage Foundation’s wet dream for healthcare, a proposal that was too radically conservative for either Bush to get behind.

      Take a step back and look at how the Overton Window has shifted, and I think you’ll discover that the modern Democratic Party is an even better fit for your positions than the old Grand Old Party you first fell in love with.

      Me? I’m a registered Green, but that just puts me about where Eisenhower was.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Good points, Ben; I’m gonna hafta do some serious rethinking…!

      • Greg
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Contra Ben, I encourage you to remain registered as a Republican. That way, you can vote in primaries for more moderate candidates.

        • Achrachno
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          There are essentially none. They’re virtually all pretty far our there, and they few that are not (Huntsman?) are very marginal figures.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          Or, vote for unelectables in the primaries, like happened last time.

    • Tumara Baap
      Posted January 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Frank, I used to be a registered Republican about a decade ago. I’d call myself an Economist and Financial Times reading social liberal who leaned fiscally conservative. A lot of people like me would like to claim they are no longer Republican because the party has shifted right. Granted that’s partly true. But a bigger factor was I was the embodiment of the Lake Wobegon Effect.
      People consider themselves shaped by nuances of intellect and policy. But party allegiance has a lot more to do with how one’s parents voted, latent feelings of hostility to outsider groups, whether you will be liked or disliked by one’s peers, 30 second sound bytes propagated by the Chamber of Commerce over several decades, and a nebulous set of beliefs that could be better described as conventional wisdom (as opposed to policy positions of the most eminent minds in each respective fields). It can be challenging immunizing oneself against all these self-perception pitfalls. In short, I used to be a Republican because I was stupid.
      The contours and time frame of how a Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins reading science nerd applied skepticism to other fields like economics are hazy. Perhaps George Bush was a catalyst. Perhaps it’s because I read the New York Times and The New Yorker a lot more. And perhaps most of all because I’d actually read solid books on Economics, I can actually recognize what are propaganda sound byte come my way. As with all things there is an arc of what Colbert terms truthiness in all fields, including economics. The fact is on this arc of credibility or verisimilitude, Ayn Rand is a fucking joke and Adam Smith would be scoffing at the economic principles of the right. As with science the Republicans have an inverse correlation with the basics of economics. They hardly have serious economists on their side: even Greg Mankiw would not in private believe a majority of the crap Republicans espouse. The Republicans are singularly toxic in every imaginable way. It’s been a long journey, but I’m ardent Green now.

  9. Veroxitatis
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The bigger question of course is whether an 18th. century Constitution is any longer fit for purpose. At least, Parliamentary “Tyranny” gets things done without too much argument for four or five years, albeit that they may be followed by quite different things for another four or five years. Occasionally, honeymoons last longer!

  10. Steve
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Democrats are no different. From a really smart guy (Coyne), this is just dumb. You really think the democrats care about “the poor, the aged, the dispossessed—and women”? The democrats have learned how to pander to the groups you mention in order to gain political advantage, but they don’t care any more about these groups than the republicans do. Most of these politicians seem to be primarily concerned with keeping their jobs, all other concerns are secondary. BTW, I’m neither democrat nor republican. For what it’s worth, my political leanings are more in line with the libertarians.

    • Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      While it may well be true that most Democratic politicians’s loyalties lie first with their own personal power, the way they go about maintaining said power is decidedly and significantly different from that of the Republicans.

      The Republicans are prepared and happy to send the country into a Second Great Depression in the near term and immediately make homeless millions of out-of-work Americans rather than accept even one red cent more taxes on people who make hundreds of thousands, if not millions per year.

      Our country has hundreds, if not thousands, of parasites so wealthy that any of them could personally pay the health insurance premiums for all the uninsured in any given state and still be fabulously wealthy. And the Republicans are doing anything and everything in their power to ensure that these parasites pay even less in taxes than they do today — and, in so doing, shift the burden of paying for civilization to the rest of us.

      If you think that somehow makes the both equal, then you’re a perfect example of how marketing can buy votes, even votes blatantly against one’s own self-interest.

      b&

      • Timothy Hughbanks
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        My wife and I are reading our way through the outstanding biographical books by Caro on Lyndon Johnson. He is archetypical of the Democrat you have described: ruthless, ambitious, and decidedly power-hungry. The difference between Johnson and Republicans is that the latter satisfy their lust for power by stepping on the necks of most of the country’s people in serving their plutocratic masters.

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Parasites?

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/10/cbo-rich-pay-outsized-share-taxes/

        tl;dr version: richest 20% pay 70% of federal taxes; the “one percent” earn 13.4% of pre-tax income and pay 22% of the nation’s tax income.

        We don’t have a “rich don’t pay their share” problem. We have a “government spends too damn much money” problem.

        • Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Yes, parasites.

          Those richest 20% do not earn their riches through the sweat of their brows. They mostly start by claiming it as their right for telling the people who do build our society what to do, and then they parlay that further with out-and-out gambling — gambling with the resources that everybody else has built.

          I would fully support a 100% marginal tax rate on all income, regardless of form, over $10,000,000. That’s roughly 500 times a minimum livable wage.

          No single person is worth five hundred other people, and no single person deserves to get paid as much as five hundred other people.

          Every person who “earns” that much today is doing so by stealing from those who are actually doing something productive.

          Such a tax as I just proposed would not only fund infrastructure and public works the likes of which we literally can’t imagine today, it would ensure that companies invested not in hedge funds but in their own capital and their own employees. We wouldn’t need to worry about the poor, because the money all the parasites are currently siphoning off would instead be paid to the people actually building stuff — and, you may have noticed, it’s the ones doing the building who’re getting the shaft.

          Cheers,

          b&

          • Gary W
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

            I would fully support a 100% marginal tax rate on all income, regardless of form, over $10,000,000.

            I think that would be a crazy policy. Fortunately, I don’t think more than a tiny minority of economists, politicians or ordinary people agree with you.

            • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

              I agree with Ben. Reminds me of that old Southern saying: Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered. It’s all Marie Antionette, let them eat cake, sort of stuff.

          • Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

            *standing ovation, here*
            I’ve been trying to make the same point, here and there. You’ve done it so much better! I call the excessive profits non-governmental taxes paid unknowingly by workers, The 70% quoted, above, as the proportion of taxes paid by the wealthy are merely a fraction of those non-governmental taxes filtering through to government — the rest being pure profit for the rich. At least, when government gets hold of whatever it gets, some can filter back to the underpaid, overworked employees.

          • tomh
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

            I would fully support a 100% marginal tax rate on all income, regardless of form, over $10,000,000.

            That’s one possiblity. Another would be to increase the inheritance tax to 100%. After all, why should the Romney children, for instance, due to an accident of birth, have lives of luxury, compared to a farm worker’s children lives of poverty? A 100% inheritance tax would equalize all. This would solve many, many problems.

            • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

              Harsh as it sounds, it might force a paradigm shift that says, “I must improve our nation, our civilization, our local community, in order for my own beloved children to have the best future possible.”

              On the other hand, it could go the other way, like Prohibition, and cause more black market profiteering…

              Hard to say.

            • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

              Works for me.

              I’ll go for both.

              b&

        • notsont
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Ahhh statistics…its almost as if you can make them say anything.

    • Marta
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      “I’m neither democrat nor republican. For what it’s worth, my political leanings are more in line with the libertarians.”

      Well, the important thing is that you’ve found a way to feel superior to both.

      • Timothy Hughbanks
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        I suspect that my political leanings are close to Ben’s, but I won’t register as a member of any political party. Frankly, I really do think I am superior to both.

    • Marta
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      “Democrats are no different. From a really smart guy (Coyne), this is just dumb.”

      And this is just rude.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      And your politeness leanings are in line with the rude.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      You are fooling yourself. Blindly accepting and repeating the cliche mantra that “they are all the same.” In the real world degrees do matter, very often they matter a great deal. And the evidence is against you, by a very large margin.

      Yes, most politicians of any stripe are likely to be compromised, to some degree or on particular issues, by the desire to increase their own power and wealth, and by adherence to a particular ideology. But, it is clearly evident to people who are not ignorant or deluding themselves that the current Republican party is orders of magnitude worse than the current Democratic party, even a significant number of Republicans.

      And the data is there for anyone not compromised by ideology to review any time they want. The Republican party’s policies have been tried and the evidence is clear that they suck. Hell, most of the rest of the world think of us as dangerously sick to have given rise to the current Republican party and then electing them to run our country.

      • derwood
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Great points. I am constantly amazed at how the GOP trots out their ‘one big thing’ EVERY time they have some sort of power. Economy is good? Cut taxes for the rich! Economy is bad? Cut taxes for the rich! Two wars and no plan to pay for them? Cut taxes on the rich!

        At what point do the handful of still reasonable people that vote Republican start to scratch their heads and ask ‘Why doesn’t this actually work, and why do we keep saying it will?’

    • Achrachno
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      ” For what it’s worth, my political leanings are more in line with the libertarians.”

      I.e., you’re just as extreme and detached from economic reality as the worst of Republicans. This is not a good thing, you know?

      BTW — when are so-called “libertarians” ever going to stand up for basic civil liberties? U.S. “libertarians” seem to almost entirely be “propertarians” a.k.a. feudalists.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Good point.

        I used to think ‘libertarian’ was a good thing – till I found out what most libertarians seem to actually believe. ‘Selfish’ would be a good synonym, I think.

  11. johncozijn
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    “If you’re an American, you’ll know …”

    I can assure you there are many people around the world following this political soap opera. The possibility that the US political class could choke its own economic recovery has sounded dire warnings for a great many national economies.

    • rmw
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. If the US goes down, we’re taking the rest of the world with us. :-S

  12. Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on njgarrell and commented:
    I Personally only know 2 people who make more than $250,000. Who in the hell are these so called rich people and where are they? This needs to be resolved ASAP.

    • Achrachno
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Only c. 1.5% (or something like that) of the U.S. population makes 250K or more. The mean is down closer to 45K. The wealthy are few and far between, but they control most of the money and so can hang out in posh places you probably don’t.

  13. MaryMary
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Democrats are different. Consider: War on Poverty was not just pandering to get votes. LBJ, JFK, Carter, Clinton (habitat for Humanity, Haiti, etc.– working after their term of office — true humanitarians. Repub ex presidents do not honor their position by living Mitt Romney style.

  14. wyocowboy
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    the republicans r no differwnt than religion GREEDY!!! whst happen to the Lincolns?

  15. MarcK
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    So now you’ve bought into the “class warfare” talking points of MSM? The so-called “rich” are the problem? Tax them more and all will be ok?

    Raise tax rates on only the >$1M-income peeps and you capture about $80B, $60B of which has already been spoken for in handouts for Hurricane Sandy aid this year.

    Annual fed spending is now “twice” what it was when Clinton left ofc..and the national debt is “three” times as high. Are there no wasteful, extravagant, unnecessary program that Repubs/Dems can’t eliminate? Both parties have been irresponsible.

    If you’re a fiscal conservative, you should look very skeptically at any “fiscal cliff” or “grand bargain” proposals, most of which will promise to cut spending “some” day…not today, not next year, but “dammit! Some day in the next 10 years…or at least in the ruling party’s out-years…we’ll cut!”…but never today.

    If this current battle feels uncomfortable…good. It should be uncomfortable. If it results in even a bit of constraint on out-of-control spending, then it will have been well worth it.

    The problem is not “Republicans” or “the rich”.

    The problem = spending, deficits, and debt.

    • Somite
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Progress is spending. The government should be spending all that it can to increase the well being of all citizens.

      • pulseteresa
        Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        The problem is that most Repubs, and some Dems as well, think that nearly all of that spending should be on our military.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Nice move with the silly statement “The so-called “rich” are the problem? Tax them more and all will be ok?” What are you trying to hide with this hyperbolic bait and switch? Nobody you are aiming your arguments at has ever said or thought that taxing the rich their fair share will fix everything. Only that it would redress one particular issue. Surely you are capable of understanding that?

      And, you are wrong. Go back and look at the data from the past. Go look at what the experts are currently saying about these issues. Go look at what the rest of the world’s financial and economic experts are saying about this issue. The actual data and the consensus of experts is against you. The only significant groups that agree with your assessment are those motivated by ideology and those impaired by ignorance.

      • Gary W
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        And, you are wrong. Go back and look at the data from the past. Go look at what the experts are currently saying about these issues.

        No, you’re wrong. There is no consensus among experts over which party has the better economic policy. Numerous distinguished academic economists, including a number of Nobel laureates, endorsed Romney’s economic plan over Obama’s during the election campaign.

        • Achrachno
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, but those freshwaters are demonstrably full of it. Their predictions have been consistently wrong.

          No one fully understands the economy (too complex, theory too rudimentary, etc.) but some people have been right a lot more often than not, and those did not support Romney. The Republican record managing the economy over the past 50+ years is terrible.

          • Gary W
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            No one fully understands the economy (too complex, theory too rudimentary, etc.) but some people have been right a lot more often than not, and those did not support Romney. The Republican record managing the economy over the past 50+ years is terrible.

            Yet another evidence-free political assertion.

            “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” — Christopher Hitchens

        • darrelle
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          I know somewhere deep inside you know you are wrong. But, as usual, you will pick nits about the various meanings of small words to try and rationalize your views. Sure, you can pick a few economists out who lend some support to Republican party economic policies. Your problem though is that the number of relevant experts that don’t support those policies is much greater. Including some experts that historically towed the Republican party line.

          So, you are correct that there are economists who support Republican party policies. You are wrong about there being no consensus on which direction would be best to take to strengthen the US economy.

          And then of course there is all that data from the past. Which shows clearly, among other things, that our current predicament is a result of the Republican party being able to implement there economic, and other, plans nearly unfettered for 8 years.

          • Gary W
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            Sure, you can pick a few economists out who lend some support to Republican party economic policies.

            I’m not talking about a few economists. I’m talking about a lot of econonmists. You claimed that a consensus of economist experts favor your economic views. Show us your evidence of this alleged consensus. If you cannot substantiate your assertion there’s no reason to believe it’s true.

            • pulseteresa
              Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

              And the same is true of your assertion.

              • Gary W
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

                What assertion?

    • notsont
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Raise tax rates on only the >$1M-income peeps and you capture about $80B, $60B of which has already been spoken for in handouts for Hurricane Sandy aid this year.”

      Your statistics are actually very misleading. Mainly for two reasons 1, it only calculates actual employment income and not income from capital gains which is where people who make over <1M get their income. And 2, cutting entitlements that support the poor are very inefficient Unemployment, welfare, social security, all these things get spent immediately they don;t stuff the money in mattresses or hide it in offshore accounts. It goes directly into the economy. Cutting these programs will shrink the economy practically on a dollar for dollar basis saving pretty much nothing.

    • derwood
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Well, lets see…. There were those 2 wars that the Rove administration started – and how did they pay for that again? Thats right – they DIDN’T! They cut taxes, mailed out teeny checks, and deferred the bill for the next guy. How fiscally responsible! Keep trying those old canards (cut taxes, especially for the rich!) that NEVER worked because that is how they get big donations (so they can buy elections and such). Wonderful!
      And even though we outspend the whole world on defense, we need to INCREASE military spending! Because we need to feel like big men!

      Give me a break.

  16. Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Pimping for the private sector is contraindicated for those interested in eusociality.

    One Nation under Peter Thiel.

  17. jose
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    So how does the no free will idea play out on this? Blame, responsibility, etc.

  18. Sam Salerno
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve been saying that for years.

  19. wildhog
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    When it comes to hating the Republicans, I beat the rush and got on board years ago. Pretty impossible to be pro-environmental and vote Republican except in the rarest of instances.

    • Marta
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I don’t hate them. I miss them. They used to be the loyal opposition, and I want that back.

      There was a time when Republicans didn’t wedge politics into people’s private lives, when being Republican meant that you were socially liberal/fiscally conservative; if you were Republican, you shrank in horror at the idea that government should have a say about what people did with their private parts.

      Then they made an unholy alliance with the so-called “moral majority” and since, haven’t been able to rub two neurons together to produce a thought that doesn’t include Jesus.

      • Gary W
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        When was this supposed past age of socially-liberal Republicanism? The reality is that both Democrats and Republicans have become much more socially liberal over time. Watch a few episodes of Mad Men for a flavor of what life was like in the 1960s. Attitudes towards race, gender, sexuality, etc. that would make most Americans wince today were utterly mainstream back then.

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        Marta, that was beautiful!

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Nixon deserves his position as one of the most-reviled presidents in all of American history.

        But, for everything that he spectacularly did worng…he also got basically everything much more right than today’s Republicans.

        There’s Title IX, the implementation of the Civil Rights Act, the creation of the EPA, and he even, to his credit, after exhausting all other options, finally did the right thing and brought the Vietnam War to a close.

        I would have been overjoyed to have seen the Republicans field a candidate as worthy of the office of President as Nixon.

        Again, that’s not because I think Nixon was a good president — quite the contrary. I put him right down there towards the bottom of the list just like everybody else.

        Rather, it’s because modern Republicans are so much worse. And that’s really saying something.

        b&

        • Gary W
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps you could show us your evidence that “modern Republicans” are less socially liberal than Richard Nixon. Not that it would mean anything with respect to Marta’s claim anyway, since that claim was about the supposed social liberalism of Republicans in general in the past, not just a single individual.

          • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps you could bother to read what he already wrote.

            • Gary W
              Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

              What he wrote doesn’t contain any evidence that Nixon was more socially liberal than modern Republicans. Let alone that Republicans in general from Nixon’s era were more socially liberal than Republicans in general today.

              • Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

                Ah, so you want an treatise, a thesis, a book, an entire series of books, right here, right on Jerry’s website, because you can’t be bothered to look anything up! Of course, if all the evidence were provided, you’d claim it was insufficient and/or incorrect. Tell you what: You do a little footwork, here. Go look it up. That is, if you have the capacity to handle such a menial chore.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

                No, not a “treatise.” Evidence. If you seriously think there is evidence that Republicans of Nixon’s era were more socially liberal than Republicans today — despite the enormous increase in public support for civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, environmental protection, etc. over the past 40 years — then produce it. If you don’t have any such evidence, your hypothesis can be dismissed.

              • pulseteresa
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

                “…the enormous increase in public support for civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, environmental protection, etc. over the past 40 years.”

                Again you are making assertions without evidence while claiming that everyone else is doing the same. If the above is true, then YOU should provide some evidence for it. You’re the one making the positive claim, so the burden of evidence is on you.

              • Gary W
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

                I generally don’t think there’s a need to post evidence of the obvious and uncontroversial. Are you seriously denying that public support for these rights has increased since Nixon’s era?

                Here’s the pollingreport page on support for gay marriage and other gay rights. As you can see, support has increased dramatically over time. Is this really news to you?

  20. Strider
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Anyone who thinks both sides are the same should check out “The Professional Left” podcast and they will be quickly disabused of the notion by host Driftglass’ relentless evidence and logic:

    http://driftglass.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-brief-history-of-conservatism.html

  21. NWalsh
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Most countries (all?) have a VAT. Would that not solve a lot of your problems?

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      There is sales tax at State level.
      Maybe bringing fuel duty up to European levels could make a big hole in the deficit.

      • Veroxitatis
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        $10.00 per gallon would bring US fuel prices up to the British equivalent. If the State tax element stayed at an average of 50 cents per gallon this would leave room for a federal tax increase from 18.4c per gallon to $9.31.6. I understand that increasing federal tax take by 10c would raise an extra $20 billion dollars per year. So, by bringing fuel duty up to UK prices you would be looking at $1 trillion per annum. Problem solved!!! (???)

        • Veroxitatis
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          The pre tax fuel cost per gallon in the UK is approx £2.00. I don’t know what it is in the US, but is probably considerably less, so that needs to be built into the above figures. Still leaves a lot of room for significant deficit busting measures.
          Seriously though, is it not time the USA planned for average fuel tax rises of 20 – 30c per annum over the next ten years?

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Here in New Zealand, petrol ["gas"] costs $NZ2.08 a litre [$US6.51 a gallon] and we’re grateful it’s come down from $NZ2.20.

  22. raven
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The Bush GOP tax cuts are what caused this mess in the first place.

    Bush cut taxes, increased spending wildly, and started two wars.

    The result is a lost generation of Americans. The Fed Reserve estimates the Great Recession will end by 2018. Maybe.

    • derwood
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      “The Fed Reserve estimates the Great Recession will end by 2018. Maybe.”

      Well, as long as the GOP is re-inserted as the One Party, and they cut taxes for billionaires and increase defense spending, THEN maybe this will end!

  23. Gary W
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Let’s just admit it: the Republican party doesn’t give a damn about the poor, the aged, the dispossessed—and women.

    In that case, neither do the Democrats. The economic policies on which the two major parties agree — most importantly, their common support for a market-based economy in which most wealth is privately owned — are much more significant than the economic policies on which they disagree, which amount to relatively minor differences in public spending priorities and the size and distribution of the tax burden.

    • Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Non-economic policies also have economic effects. The differences, there, are quite significant.

      • Gary W
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        That’s quite a backpedal, from the claim that the Republican Party “doesn’t give a damn” to the claim that the differences between the two parties are “quite significant.” But I think those differences are still considerably smaller and less significant than you seem to imagine.

        • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          Wow, what spin-zone did you fly out of? The very non-economic difference is that Democrats do give a humanitarian damn, while Republicans only care about those whose boots they lick, hoping to be pulled up by the attached bootstraps. The rich Republicans, the ones on the other end of those bootstraps, toes and heels firmly inside those boots, care only that employees work cheaply and generate lots of profit.

          Read my other comment, here, about Republicans’ attempted blockage of contraception and abortion rights.

          • Gary W
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            The very non-economic difference is that Democrats do give a humanitarian damn, while Republicans only care about those whose boots they lick,

            And your evidence for this proposition is….what? And I do mean evidence. Not yet more rhetoric.

            Read my other comment, here, about Republicans’ attempted blockage of contraception and abortion rights.

            But only some Republicans attempted those things. And only some Democrats opposed them. Still waiting for the evidence to support your claims.

            • Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

              What do you mean by “some”? How many is that? And where is your evidence?

              • Gary W
                Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

                For example, polling data indicates that a substantial minority of Republicans (about 1 in 3) support the Obama Adminstration’s rule requiring religiously-affiliated employers to provide birth control coverage to female employees. Similarly, a substantial minority of Democrats (about 1 in 5) are opposed to legal abortion. And the Democratic Party includes active anti-abortion organizations such as Democrats for Life.

                But you consistently ignore these people and pretend that “Republicans” and “Democrats” are single monolithic groups of people who all think the same way. And you do this on issue after issue, ignoring the range of opinion within each party.

              • Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

                Which polls?

              • Gary W
                Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

                On Republican support for the rule requiring contraception coverage:
                Quinnipiac University Poll. Feb. 14-20, 2012

                On Democratic opposition to legal abortion:
                CBS News/New York Times Poll. June 12-16, 2009

                See here for these and many other polls on abortion and contraception.

              • Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

                Different polls. Different results. Yet, outcome is the same: On the whole, Dems are more open to women’s rights, while Republicans believe, on the whole, that men in committees should decide what individual women should suffer through, against their will, regarding their personal bodies, lives, and families. Your nitpicking doesn’t change a thing.

                Enough. I’m done with you.

              • tomh
                Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

                @ Gary W

                Instead of focusing on exceptions why not look at Republican policies and leadership. Have you ever looked at Republican platforms? When people speak of the “Republican” position on things, only an idiot would imagine they are talking about the position of every single person who identifies as Republican. The reasonable explanation would be they were referring to the Republican position as personified by policy and their official platform.

              • Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

                And yet, didn’t you just recently provide poll results for that very purpose of hitting me with the exceptions? You are, theorefore, “talking out of both sides of your mouth”, as the expression goes. That underminds any hope you might have for credibility.

                You know, internet trolls play such games all the time. Would you happen to be one of those? Is that why you are here? It really does look that way, the more you comment.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

                On the whole, Dems are more open to women’s rights,

                More furious backpedalling. Finally, we agree: on the whole Democrats are more open to women’s rights than Republicans. That’s a dramatically more nuanced and accurate position than the claim that “Republicans don’t give a damn” about women or the other groups in question.

                Instead of focusing on exceptions why not look at Republican policies and leadership.

                I’m not focusing on exceptions. As a matter of political reality, “Republican policies” aren’t usually dramatically different from “Democratic policies.” The nature of our political system fosters compromise and deal-making, so the policy that emerges from the political process is generally much more bi-partisan and centrist than the rhetoric from the more extreme elements in either party would imply (or their media surrogates like Bill O’Reilly and Rachel Maddow). I suggest you focus less on the political rhetoric and more on the actual results of the process.

              • Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

                Women’s rights were only one example. To be more complete, the only rights Republicans care about are those of the wealthy, both humans and “Corporations ARE people” non-humans.

                *brushing off hands* That’s that.

              • tomh
                Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

                @ Gary W
                As a matter of political reality, “Republican policies” aren’t usually dramatically different from “Democratic policies.”

                Really? I think if you want to know what policies Republicans promote you should listen to Republicans. The Republican platform’s very first sentence begins, “The 2012 Republican Platform is a statement of who we are and what we believe as a Party”

                A few of these things they believe, as spelled out in the Platform are; no abortion in cases of rape or incest, while officially praising mandatory ultrasounds; no legal recognition of same-sex couples not even civil unions; limit government role in education while promoting school choice and home schooling; it advocates replicating Arizona-style immigration laws; then there’s Ron Paul’s pet project, audit the Fed; and, of course, cut Medicare, fight universal health care, let’s face it, the list goes on and on. Yet you claim these policies aren’t dramatically different from Democratic policies. Actually, they are they completely opposite.

                We’re not talking about what policies they can actually get through the lawmaking process. We’re talking about what Republican policies are. And Republicans spell out very clearly what those policies are.

              • Gary W
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

                I think if you want to know what policies Republicans promote you should listen to Republicans.

                Despite what I just told you, you still seem to think that political rhetoric is more important than political reality. I don’t know why you think that. Stop paying so much attention to the rhetoric of a few extremists, and look at what Republicans actually do in practise.

                A few of these things they believe, as spelled out in the Platform are; …

                Party platforms are pro forma documents created mostly to appease the party’s base. They are routinely ignored by actual elected officials of the party.

              • Gary W
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

                To be more complete, the only rights Republicans care about are those of the wealthy, both humans and “Corporations ARE people” non-humans.

                So you’re back to making utterly absurd comments about Republicans again. That didn’t take long.

              • tomh
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

                Gary W:
                Party platforms are pro forma documents created mostly to appease the party’s base.

                No, they’re not. Platforms spell out the basic principles of the party. Their presidential candidate endorsed the platform, including such items as a Constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, along with the rest of the document. A resolution endorsing civil unions was soundly defeated, likewise a provision for an exception for abortion in case of rape or incest. To just keep saying these basic prindiples don’t matter is simply to deny reality. Despite your wishful thinking that Republicans, in spite of what they say, advocate, and in many cases put into law, the Republican party does not favor legal abortions, equal rights for same sex couples, or any of the other positions you claim for them. Those are Democratic positions.

              • Gary W
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

                Platforms spell out the basic principles of the party.

                No they don’t. As I said, their primary purpose is to appease the base. They have little to do with what elected officials of the party actually do in office, or intend to do. Bob Dole, the Republican presidential candidate in 1996, even boasted publicly that he hadn’t read the Republican Party platform and would not be bound by its contents.

                <Their presidential candidate endorsed the platform,

                No he didn’t. In fact, Romney repudiated the contents of the platform. For example, he publicly supported the right of women to abortion in cases of rape and incest. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Republicans (about 80%) also support the right to abortion in such cases. This explicitly contradicts the GOP platform, which called for criminalizing abortion even in cases of rape and incest. You just don’t know what you’re talking about.

              • Gary W
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

                the Republican party does not favor legal abortions, equal rights for same sex couples, or any of the other positions you claim for them. Those are Democratic positions.

                There’s no such thing as a single “Republican Party” or “Democratic Party” position on abortion, gay rights, or anything else. Within each party, there is a range of opinion. Different politicians within each party hold different views. Different rank-and-file members of each party hold different views. The views of moderate Republicans are very different from the views of far-right Republicans. The views of moderate Democrats are very different from the views of far-left Democrats. President Obama, a moderate Democrat, probably agrees on more with Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican, than he does with the far-left members of his own party. You need to stop pretending that each party is a single monolithic group of people who share the same opinions. They’re not.

              • tomh
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

                Gary W:
                the GOP platform, which called for criminalizing abortion even in cases of rape and incest

                I suppose you haven’t read the platform since “criminalizing” abortion is not in it, except for a few cases such as late-term. Nor is rape and incest, but the platform committee defeated an amendment to include rape and incest as an exception to abortion condemnation.

                Regardless, you also say, “Stop paying so much attention to the rhetoric of a few extremists, and look at what Republicans actually do in practise.” Leaving aside the fact that the platform is hardly the work of “a few extremists,” what Republicans “actually do in practice” is to implement as much of their agenda as possible. For instance, in 2011, Republican dominated legislatures in 24 states passed 92 measures restricting abortion. These measures are not rhetoric, they are actual law enforcement measures that restrict abortion in various ways. I understand that you may well approve of these measures, but that’s not the point. The point is that Republican policies are anti-abortion and anti-gay. Why you keep denying this is beyond all understanding.

              • Posted January 1, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

                tomh, the Republican Party 2012 Platform most emphatically is against abortion under any circumstances.

                For example:

                Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.

                And let’s not forget all the (defeated) Republican candidates who blathered about “shut that thing down” and “legitimate rape” and other such noxious bullshit.

                Indeed, the Vice Presidential candidate was a co-sponsor with Mr. “Legitimate Rape” of several of the most radical anti-woman health bills ever.

                b&

              • Posted January 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

                And the latest I’ve heard is that, having helped to send us over the fiscal cliff, Paul Ryan is pushing his weight around to keep us there, making the Tea Partiers feel empowered while they continue their destructive efforts. What a piece of work. Eric Cantor, too, for that matter.

              • tomh
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

                the Republican Party 2012 Platform most emphatically is against abortion under any circumstances.

                Of course it is, I have said so continually. Gary W said it seeks to “criminalize” abortion, which it doesn’t except for late-term, which merely shows he hasn’t read it. Rape and incest are not mentioned in the document, but an amendment to allow abortion for those reasons was resoundingly voted down by the platform committee.

              • Gary W
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

                I suppose you haven’t read the platform since “criminalizing” abortion is not in it

                Yes it is. The “Human Life Amendment” would require states or the federal government to pass legislation to protect “unborn children” from being aborted. Romney explicitly rejects this proposal. So do about 80% of rank-and-file Republicans. The Republican Platform position on abortion does not reflect the views of most Republicans on that issue.

                Leaving aside the fact that the platform is hardly the work of “a few extremists,”

                Yes it is. It’s written by a committee of GOP party activists who are much more conservative than Republicans in general. As I just told you, actual Republican politicians mostly ignore it. Bob Dole explicitly repudiated it when he was running for president.

                For instance, in 2011, Republican dominated legislatures in 24 states passed 92 measures restricting abortion. These measures are not rhetoric, they are actual law enforcement measures that restrict abortion in various ways.

                They are minor restrictions on abortion. Roe v. Wade and subsequent rulings have established a broad constitutional right to abortion, so states can restrict abortion only in very limited ways. That’s why pro-choice Republicans aren’t terribly concerned about things like the GOP platform. The ability of anti-abortion Republicans (and anti-abortion Democrats) to restrict abortion is very limited. If the Supreme Court ever reverses its position on abortion (which I think is extremely unlikely), then anti-abortion activism would become more of a concern, but as things stand now it simply is not a major threat to reproductive rights.

                The point is that Republican policies are anti-abortion and anti-gay.

                As I just told you, there’s no such thing as a single Republican policy on any issue regarding abortion or gay rights. Within each party, there is a broad range of opinion on policy questions. Why you keep denying this clear fact, I have no idea.

              • Gary W
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

                And let’s not forget all the (defeated) Republican candidates who blathered about “shut that thing down” and “legitimate rape” and other such noxious bullshit.

                The fact that they were defeated should give you a hint that you’re overreacting to them. Both parties have extremists who say ridiculous things. Most people just tune them out. Although admittedly, the left-wing loonies have mostly abandoned the Democratic Party and moved to the Socialist Workers’ Party, the Green Party, the (now defunct) Natural Law Party, etc.

  24. Gary W
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    If this country goes down the tubes …

    The country isn’t going down the tubes. The U.S. is by far the most powerful country in the world — economically, politically, militarily, scientifically, culturally — and will almost certainly remain so for the foreseeable future. China might overtake the U.S. in total GDP some time in the next 20 years, thanks to its enormous population, but will remain poor on a per-capita basis. Robert Kagan had a great essay on this subject in the New Republic earlier this year: The Myth of American Decline

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Culturally?

      • Gary W
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Yes, of course. American movies, books, television, music, fashion, etc. dominate the global market. Which country do think is more powerful than the U.S. culturally?

        • Veroxitatis
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          You’re confusing economics with culture. Unless, of course, your definition of culture is highest grossing movie: best selling book: biggest selling record.

          • Gary W
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

            You’re confusing economics with culture.

            Huh? I think you’re one who’s confused. Economics is economics — GDP, per-capita GDP, debt, trade, and so on. Books, movies, TV, music, etc. are expressions of culture. And American culture overwhelmingly dominates the culture of any other country on the global stage, from the enormous global popularity of Hollywood movies, to the enormous global popularity of American music like rock and jazz and hip-hop, to the enormous popularity of American brands like Coca-Cola and McDonalds and Disney. No other other country even comes close to the cultural influence of America.

    • Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Have you looked at Brazil, lately?

      • Gary W
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        What about it? Brazil isn’t remotely competitive with the U.S. in any of the ways I described.

        • Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          Wow. Not much for comparative growth rates, recent historical progress, and the like, are you? You think America can afford to rest on its laurels… Avis Rental Car used to say, “We’re #2: We try harder.” Well, Brazil’s got that mentality, and if we stay resting on our laurels, we’ll be in the #2 position soon enough. China’s a distraction.

          • Gary W
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            Not much for comparative growth rates, recent historical progress, and the like, are you?

            No, I think those things matter. But I still don’t understand why you think Brazil presents any kind of serious challenge to American dominance, or is likely to do so in the foreseeable future.

    • pulseteresa
      Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      I notice you mention nothing about wealth discrepancy, the number of Americans “living” under the poverty level, that our healthcare system is horrible compared to most European systems, that the middle class is shrinking. I’m more than willing for the US to be second place if some of the above problems are rectified.

      And asserting – again, without any evidence whatsoever – that The US is politically, scientifically, and culturally superior to ever other country in the world is just absurd. Where is your evidence for this?

      You sound like an American Exceptionalist and that belief is simply downright delusional.

      • Gary W
        Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        I notice you mention nothing about wealth discrepancy, the number of Americans “living” under the poverty level, that our healthcare system is horrible compared to most European systems, that the middle class is shrinking…

        Considering that none of those issues and assertions has anything to do with the point of my comment, that isn’t terribly surprising. By the way, I think your claim about our health care system is absurd, and that if the middle class is shrinking it’s because people are getting richer.

        And asserting – again, without any evidence whatsoever – that The US is politically, scientifically, and culturally superior to ever other country in the world is just absurd. Where is your evidence for this?

        I didn’t say “superior.” I said “most powerful.” Although since you mention it, I do also believe that the U.S. political system and U.S. culture are “superior” to those of most, and perhaps even all, other countries. The U.S. wouldn’t have become so powerful for so long if they weren’t.

  25. Nathan
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Obama proposing that 98% of the country keeps the Bush-era tax cuts is absurd. This ensures another > $1 trillion deficit which is absolutely immoral.

    If the tax cuts expire on EVERYONE then we immediately see nearly a halving of the deficit, down to $600 billion for fy 2013. A savings of about a half a trillion dollars.

    http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43544

    • Achrachno
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Deficits are not our immediate problem. Unemployment is what we need to fix.

  26. mfdempsey1946
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Today’s Republican Party is the most contemptable political entity in the history of the United States.

    • Achrachno
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Well, I’ll bet the CSA had worse parties back between 1861-1865.

    • Gary W
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Today’s Republican Party is the most contemptable political entity in the history of the United States.

      Seriously? More contemptible than the Confederacy?

      Just when I think the left-wing political rhetoric in these comments can’t get any sillier, someone comes along to prove otherwise.

      • pulseteresa
        Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        “…left-wing political rhetoric…”

        That attitude explains nearly every comment you’ve left in this thread. You’re a true believer…in something.

  27. Posted December 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    For posts claiming that the GOP is similar to the dems, or not that conservative, or policies are similar, and haven’t changed over the years, take a look at the evidence.

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/02/29/434262/graph-republicans-responsible-for-hyper-polarization-of-congress/

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/supreme-court-may-be-most-conservative-in-modern-history/

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/03/19/446680/most-conservative-congress/

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/04/10/150349438/gops-rightward-shift-higher-polarization-fills-political-scientist-with-dread?sc=tw&cc=share

    Unfortunately the right’s thinking is just so out of it, that it is next to impossible to make any impact on their thinking. I have a feeling that it often just serves to reinforce their dogmatic beliefs.

    Here’s a paper I found substantiating this. Note: I have yet to read through the whole thing as I am on vacation. But, I have heard of this sort of thing before.

    http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs11109-010-9112-2

    Oddly enough, this closely resembles the god arguments.

  28. Posted January 1, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I guess accommodation, in politics at least, is called compromise. Was Obama wrong or just pragmatic to make a deal with the bad guys?

  29. marvol19
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    This might be your best post of the year (among stiff competition, of course :) ).

    Hear hear!


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