Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28

Balloon Juice:

I've been trying to ignore Kevin Drum's recent posts on Social Security, because I find a lot of his blog useful and informative, and as readers here know, it's my nature to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, but come on, Kevin, no we don't fucking need to have a Democratic compromise deal on Social Security. And when Dick Durbin says that we should have a bi-partisan commission, he's not agreeing with you, he's trying to kill any hope for a deal.

I'm trying to think of the right metaphor for the Republican Party during their current time of crisis. One of them is a situation where dad (or mom) has been hitting the Jack pretty hard, has the kids locked in the back bedroom and is walking around waving a shotgun. Talking about Social Security is like a hostage negotiator walking into that house and starting a discussion about what color to re-paint the kitchen. It's just a distraction, one that the insane/drunk person would love to spend hours on, but will lead to no fruitful outcome.

Another good comparison is a kid having a tantrum on the grocery store floor. Stupid parents try to bribe the kid with candy, cookies or toys. Smart parents just ignore the little fucker until he or she calms down. Let's be smart parents here, and realize that the real embarrassment is that a grown-ass kid would still have a tantrum, not that we aren't rushing to placate the little shit.

Putting Social Security, or any other popular social program, on the table for some almost certainly stupid and short-sighted "adjustments" (i.e., benefit cuts) is bad policy, dumb politics and ineffective salve for the Republican wound. What's really going on here is that those poor bastards are going to have to give up their most cherished fantasy, which is that low tax rates lead to cutting the deficit and growing the economy. They've been pulling that one out of the shoebox under the bed and wanking to it since Saint Ronnie was in office, so throwing it in the dumpster is really going to hurt. Because they're feeling tremendous psychic pain at the prospect of throwing out their cum-stained relic, they want Democrats to endure a similar sacrifice. Even if we did, and we shouldn't, Atrios is right: Republicans would be back for more the next day. The problem is tax rates for the wealthy are too low, the solution is to raise them, and any other discussion is a distraction.


Proposals to reduce spending on the military, cut some agriculture subsidies, and eliminate subsidies to oil companies would all win public backing by large margins, according to the poll conducted for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, obtained by POLITICO.

More specifically, the poll found that 53 percent of voters would support defense cuts, 79 percent would back cutting subsidies to agriculture corporations and 80 percent would favor getting rid of the oil subsidies. It surveyed voters in New Hampshire, a key swing state…

The PCCC, which played a key role in getting liberal candidates such as Warren and Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin elected to Congress, will roll out more polling data this week designed to pressure its congressional allies away from compromising on key liberal principles. Earlier this week, the PCCC released figures that showed 66 percent of registered voters in the swing state of New Hampshire would support hiking taxes on people who make more than an annual income of $250,000.

"In 2012, voters delivered a clear mandate: Tax the rich, invest in jobs, don't cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, and end corporate welfare," said Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. "This new polling shows that voters favor Elizabeth Warren's version of a 'balanced approach' that protects the little guy and ensures that the wealthy and big corporations finally pay their fair share."

Yes, those flinty Souterites in New Hampshire have no oil fields, few gigantic factory farms, and mostly aren't dependent on multinational military contractors. Why should the megacorporations and their serfs apologists be the only sources allowed to have opinions worth polling?


Michael Dunn, of Satellite Beach, Florida, was in Jacksonville this past weekend for his son's wedding.

Jordan Davis, 17, and some other teens were sitting in a SUV in a parking lot when Dunn parked next to them and asked the youths to turn down their music.

Jordan Davis and Dunn argued over the music, then Dunn, who is a gun collector, pulled a gun and shot eight or nine times, hitting Jordan twice, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Jordan Davis' father Ron Davis said his unarmed son died in the arms of a friend in the SUV.

Dunn and his girlfriend took off, but witnesses wrote down their license plate number, according to the police.

The couple was staying in a Jacksonville hotel when they heard a news report Saturday morning about the shooting, so they drove home to Satellite Beach, Florida.

Dunn was arrested at his home on Saturday and charged with murder and attempted murder. He is being held without bail.

Because this occurred in Florida, we can expect another round of likely unfruitful discussions about the "stand your ground" laws that were at issue in the Trayvon Martin case. There will be handwringing and a public outcry, but nothing will be done, ultimately, because the ALEC-sponsored gun laws in this country are just fine, and if black kids don't want to get shot for wearing a hoodie, or playing loud music, then that's just too damn bad. They should stay home.

How many will be accused of "playing the race card" by pointing out that young black men are gunned down at an alarming rate in a country that likes to pretend it is post-racial because we have a black president?

Who will accuse President Obama of stoking racial hatred if, as he did in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin's murder, Obama notes that if he had a son, that son would look like Jordan Davis?

Who will point out that black kids need to act a certain way (and their parents should give them a good talking-to about it) in order to avoid being gunned down by trigger-happy lunatics?

This is a tragedy like so many before it, and so many yet to come.

This country has a serious problem. When are we going to address it?


From the WaPo:

"Bottom line, I'm more disturbed now than I was before," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the critics, said after the meeting.


The Republican senators have repeatedly said they are concerned with how Rice explained what caused the Benghazi attack during a series of Sept. 16 appearances on Sunday political talk shows. At the time, Rice said that a spontaneous demonstration led to the violence, a claim later debunked by intelligence officials and reports from the ground.


I could understand them having questions about security arrangements on the ground. And I could understand them expressing disagreement with the U.S. response. But making this all about what Rice said on the talk shows or what the President said in the Rose Garden is just bizarre.

It really speaks to the magical thinking that drives Republican foreign policy views. For them it is all about saying the proper incantation in the right order. As if some saying some combination of the words "terrorism, Islamist, freedom, resolve, and missile defense" somehow fixes everything.

Remember this is nothing new. All through the Bush years, the dominant perspective on the right wasn't that Bush was screwing things up all over the place. The dominant perspective was that people just didn't understand what we were up to, and that you know, if we could just explain ourselves, everything would work out great. So, Iraq wasn't a problem of an idiotic strategy and incoherent goals, but rather of public communication.

The rest of us noted this was a "lipstick on a pig" problem. Well, that's the GOP response to Benghazi in a nutshell. The situation was a disaster. An ambassador died. There are legitimate issues that serious people might want to address, but instead, the GOP is arguing that the lipstick was the wrong shade of pink.


Meet The Radical Republicans Chairing Important House Committees


CEOs Looking To 'Fix The Debt' By Cutting Social Security Sit On Huge Retirement Accounts


Word Choice - Obvious anagram Reince Priebus says that he will perform an autopsy on the GOP following their historic fail in the 2012 Goat Rodeo:

"I don't think you can draw any quick conclusions other than the fact that we lost and we know that," Reince Priebus said Tuesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," the chairman's first television interview since the election. "But in order to get back in the game, you've got to look at and do a full autopsy of what happened."

The knee-bone is connected to the thigh-bone, Reince. The problem is that the GOP has created a monster and has lost control of it, Einstein. It's not your messaging, it is Republicanism itself that was rejected. (Political Ticker)


A wackaloon state senator from Idaho doesn't understand how the electoral college process works, and so she's come up with a crazystupid idea for a Romney victory: states where Romney won the electoral vote should refuse to participate in the electoral vote count.

Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, sent an article out on Twitter headed, "A 'last chance' to have Mitt Romney as President in January (it's still not too late)."

Constitutional scholar David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, said the plan is not "totally constitutional," as touted in the article, but is instead "a radical, revolutionary proposal that has no basis in federal law or the architecture of the Constitution."

Adler called it "really a strange and bizarre fantasy."

Nuxoll said, "Well, I guess that's one lawyer."

She doesn't understand the 12th Amendment. She thinks there needs to be a two-thirds quorum in the electoral college for the vote to be counted. By refusing to participate, the Romney states would ostensibly send the election to the House of Representatives to decide. Clever! Except the Constitution doesn't call for a quorum in the electoral college at all — just 270 electoral votes for victory. The quorum is called for in the House of Representatives — not the electoral votes. So, uh-doy.


Well news, this is why Sheldon Adelson can afford to dump tens of millions of dollars down the drain supporting Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), the casino company led by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, voted a special dividend that will pay its controlling shareholder about $1.2 billion before an expected increase in federal taxes. [...]

With about 437 million shares of Las Vegas Sands, or around 52 percent of the stock, according to an April regulatory filing, Adelson, 79, and his wife, Miriam, will collect $1.2 billion from the special dividend and another $611 million annually. The special dividend takes effect before an expected increase in dividend taxes from the current 15 percent.

If he's going to have his company vote to pay him $1.2 billion now before he can be taxed at a higher rate, I suppose there's no need to renew tax cuts for the rich at the end of the year.

Thanks for letting us off the hook.


Good news – not only has consumer confidence reached a four year high, a record number of Americans are also planning to buy house.

The highest number of Americans in nearly 50 years are planning to buy a house.

But, you know, everyone panic and stuff your money in a mattress.

According to Bloomberg, the report would have been even better if not for Hurricane Sandy. Sandy took a significant toll on confidence in the Mid-Atlantic region.


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