Why I am an atheist – Meggan »« Physiologically impossible, historically improbable

Comments

  1. santiago says

    To be fair, they haven’t exactly done a good job of hiding their plans for a second Gilded Age, even before Paul Ryan was selected.

  2. jimmauch says

    As a naturaluzed Wisconsin resident may I personally pronounce Paul Ryan an unadulterated slime-ball.

  3. unclefrogy says

    is this the evidence needed to prove that the republican party and the putative nominee are dead from the neck down?
    That they have no idea but one to every problem no taxes on the upper classes and a bigger military with which to “deal” with other nations.
    is this really just dropping the pretense and embracing the illusion that any “makes it on their own” and it is not “We The People”.
    They really do not seem to see that they have any social responsibility at all. If you are not wealthy it is your fault and do not deserve any help what so ever?

    word fail me

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gee, on a one to ten scale, this will make me think about voting for Romney/Ryan about a minus 10. Blech *shivers with disgust*

  5. tsig says

    It’s the Fuck You We Got Ours ticket. Bound to be a big fave with the entitled crowd.

  6. Member X says

    This might be a blessing in disguise. By passing over Portman, Romney is at risk of losing Ohio, which he needs to win the election, sparing us a full blown theocratic oligarchy for another 4 years.

  7. imthegenieicandoanything says

    To the people (using the term VERY loosely!) behind the foisting of Ryan [heh! heh! heh!] on the utterly empty-of-anything Rmoney, the USA had finished serving any, in their {omnipotent) view, real purpose since the death of Reagun.
    According to the internal (and divine) calculations of the flinthard little adding machines that operate inside them in place of what you or me would call our “hearts,” maximum profit and advantage has pretty much been attained, and any remaiining profit is in dismantling the operation and selling of the land and equipment, lest people without white skin, loveless Protestestism and Northern European ancestry become wealthier than themselves.

    It’ll be interesting to see if money alone can buy an election like this, even against a man with dark skin. A horrible and obviously true thing to say about this now disgusting nation is that any “white man” would be elected if faced by a ticket as awful in every way as Rmoney/Ryan.

    If they DO buy it, America can at least say to themselves, like in the Frankenstein movie, “We deserve to die.”

  8. AndrewD says

    You all have it wrong. Romney/Ryan is a Chinese Communist plot to destroy any remaining US manufacturing industry, thus reducing the US to a PRC dependency. The US military will become mercenaries working for the PRC as the US economy will no longer support them. Why do you think the Republicans want to keep political donations secret if not to hide the foreign government funding?

  9. DrVanNostrand says

    This is awesome! The Ryan Budget is amazingly unpopular among independents, and Romney just made sure we’ll be talking about it for months.

  10. Doubting Thomas says

    “Ryan, they all look like overgrown kids who got nipple-twisted in the halls in high school, worked as Applebee’s shift managers in college, and are now taking revenge on the world as grownups by defunding hospice care and student loans and Sesame Street. They all look like they sleep with their ties on, and keep their feet in dress socks when doing their bi-monthly duty with their wives.”

    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/tax-cuts-for-the-rich-on-the-backs-of-the-middle-class-or-paul-ryan-has-balls-20110407#ixzz23H66zZxY

    Except he never worked at Applebees or anywhere else for that matter.

  11. ckitching says

    Maybe Ryan can be made to hang as an albatross around Romney’s neck much like Palin did around McCain’s. We can only hope.

  12. Rip Steakface says

    @AndrewD

    This is where Poe’s Law is in effect. I know you’re joking, but seriously, I could see a lizardmen conspiracy person saying something like that.

  13. Chuck says

    Psychic predictions:

    1) Obama wins in a landslide in November.

    2) Tea Party tears itself away from Republicans and forms a third party.

    3) Republicans and Tea Partiers continually split the conservative vote, allowing Democrats easy wins and control of the Supreme Court for the next 50 years.

    4) America’s slide into mediocrity takes a few years longer than it otherwise would have.

    I can dream, can’t I?

  14. a3kr0n says

    Paul Ryan has denounced Ayn Rand after he found out she was an atheist.
    “I reject her philosophy… It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview.”
    What really sucks is Paul is one of my brother’s best friends, and I don’t like Paul’s worldview, but I love my brother, so ya, it sucks.
    It will also suck living here for awhile. Lots of cameras everywhere.

  15. tomh says

    @ #19

    The Ryan Budget is amazingly unpopular among independents

    It seems that both parties have written off the so-called independents and undecideds – there are just too few of them to matter. It’s all about getting your own people to the polls now. For that reason Ryan may be a smart choice.

  16. says

    Chuck, here’s what’s more likely to happen:

    1) Obama wins in a landslide in November.

    2) Tea Party tears itself away from Republicans and forms a third party.

    3) Democrats and Republicans form one second party, and progressives are permanently shut out of the national conversation.

    4) America’s slide into mediocrity is less steep, but still inevitable.

  17. David Marjanović says

    Ryan is one of the biggest nails in the coffin of Rmoney’s campaign.

    http://www.electoral-vote.com/

    It’s all about getting your own people to the polls now. For that reason Ryan may be a smart choice.

    The same was true for Palin. And like in Palin’s time, there are too few of the Reptilians’ own people for them to win.

  18. says

    I dont think people will care as much as last time, romney isn’t as likely to die in the next 4 years as mccian. I am sure ryan will say some stupid bullshit to add to the heap from the origial campaign though, that ought to be fun.

  19. Ragutis says

    Why? How in the nine hells do they think Ryan is going to help? He isn’t going to win them many independents. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced his budget. (and most U.S. Catholics are quite to the left of the bishops) This is only going to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich, which is only going to keep the pressure on Romney to release more of his tax records…

    I don’t get it. The Tea Party and Randroids are not going to compensate for Obama’s lead with indy’s, women, blacks and latinos. And the whole vouchers for Medicare thing? Ya just lost Florida there buddy. Maybe Arizona too.

    Of course, Ronmey could denounce all of Paul’s ideas. Which brings us back to: Why?

  20. madscientist says

    Paul Ryan = Rand Paul – just another Libertardian who wants to eradicate all government spending except for the Welfare for the Wealthy which obviously needs to be increased at least tenfold.

  21. 'Tis Himself says

    Romney has a similar problem that McCain had in 2008. Romney was the choice of the Republican leadership, someone who appealed to the money side of the party. However many Republicans aren’t thrilled by Romney, so he had to pick someone who would meet the cultural needs of the Religious Right and their hangers-on.

    Condoleezza Rice wouldn’t have caused James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and that bunch to support Romney. He needed someone who was obviously Christian (Ryan is a Charismatic Catholic like Santorum), anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-same sex marriage, and otherwise anti-people like the Religious Right. Plus Ryan, as an economic know-nothing, is acceptable to the Republican leadership.

  22. Gregory Greenwood says

    I suppose this is the acid test for American politics – if the Republicans actually manage to win the presidential election, despite a ticket that is so obviously configured to further augment the privilege of the most wealthy by gouging everyone else, then it will be proof positive that the bulk of the Amereican electorate truly are incapable of recognising their own interests, and are ripe for whatever panic mongering, xenophobic line the Republicans want to feed them. If that comes to pass, then I really do fear for the future of the US.

    Hopefully, David Marjanović is right @ 29, and Ryan’s ultra conservative, small government not-Randianism will prove as toxic to Romney as Palin’s gross ignorance of international affairs, ‘death-panel’ blather, and ridiculous pre-election sabre-rattling did to McCain.

  23. says

    I’m cross-posting several comments I added to the Lounge thread earlier today.

    The guy with the “sodomize the poor” tax plan?

    That’s him. Paul Ryan has learned to back off a bit on his worship of Ayn Rand, and he has learned that he can feed half-baked economic plans to all manner of right wing organizations and they will call it a gourmet treat. He hasn’t learned to live a reality-based life.

    He wants to shrink entitlement programs, and the wants to turn Medicare into a voucher program. Highly unrealistic.

    He has been seen sipping Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru with lobbyists/economists. Source.

    Think Progress posted a good piece on Ryan’s budget plan. The link above is to the part about decimating city and state budgets.

    Here’s the Think Progress article that details how Ryan’s budget would hit poor and low-income Americans.

    Ryan’s budget gives $3 trillion in tax breaks to the rich, and despite Republican claims, does not solve the deficit problem. Link.

    There’s more, but I think there is a link limit per comment and I don’t want to exceed it.

  24. says

    More detailed fact check on Paul Ryan’s budget. This is from March 25, 2012.

    Today on CBS’ Face the Nation, Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-01) made four false claims when asked whether the Republican budget would ask everyone to sacrifice. He falsely claimed: (1) “We’re putting the budget on a path to balance and to pay the debt off”; (2) “We’re not proposing tax cuts”; (3) Republicans would “clear out all the special interest loopholes; and (4) the budget would “create jobs and economic growth.”

    In reality, the Republican budget would increase the deficit, give tax cuts to the ultra wealthy, creates special interest tax loopholes encouraging companies to ship American jobs overseas, and destroy American jobs. The Republican budget would force the middle class and seniors to sacrifice in order to protect the ultra wealthy and special interests….

    The New York Times calls Ryan’s budget “careless,”The Careless House Budget

    [In Ryan’s budget plan]…the rich pay less in taxes than the unfairly low rates they pay now, while programs for the poor — including Medicaid and food stamps — are slashed and thrown to the whims of individual states. Where older Americans no longer have a guarantee that Medicare will pay for their health needs. Where lack of health insurance is rampant, preschool is unaffordable, and environmental and financial regulation are severely weakened….

    It vows to balance tax cuts for corporations and the rich by closing loopholes, but never lists the loopholes. It is, however, quite specific about cutting Medicaid by about 45 percent, leaving 19 million people without care, and eliminating plans to provide health insurance for 33 million who lack coverage now.

  25. pilot says

    @tomh

    It seems that both parties have written off the so-called independents and undecideds – there are just too few of them to matter. It’s all about getting your own people to the polls now. For that reason Ryan may be a smart choice.

    I’ve never heard of this Ryan guy before now and have no idea how well he chimes with the republican base (i’m not american). If he does though (chime) and this was a politically calculated move to get people out to the polls it seems like it would be a disastrous strategy for a couple of reasons off the top of my head.

    1. The republicans have been incredibly effective in fostering anti-obama sentiment during this administration. To the point that the base doesn’t need shoring up. This is an Anyone-But-Obama election. They might not be crazy about Romney but they were already guaranteed to show up at the polls.

    2. If this guy is further to the right than Romney or seems more politically dangerous than Romney that has an effect in galvanising the opposition. There’s a lot of people especially on the “far left” spectrum of the democratic party who aren’t too enthused about voting for Obama again. They will vote against a (potential) objectivist nutcase.

    3. They have tried this strategy before with Palin at a time when the base actually needed shoring up. It seems clear that they cannot win without either diminishing democratic party support or appealing to swing voters. Like I say I haven’t heard much about this guy before but even a brief amount of research has uncovered a wealth of stuff that a democratic campaign strategist could use to turn swing voters off the guy.

    I personally applaud Romney’s decision and will look forward as ever to seeing the crashing of his presidential campaign.

  26. says

    Paul Krugman on the Republican’s culture of fraud.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/culture-of-fraud/

    Excerpt below:

    Still on vacation, but I have internet access for a bit, and have checked in on a few matters. The big story of the week among the dismal science set is the Romney campaign’s white paper on economic policy, which represents a concerted effort by three economists — Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, and John Taylor — to destroy their own reputations. (Yes, there was a fourth author, Kevin Hassett. But the co-author of “Dow 36,000″ doesn’t exactly have a reputation to destroy).

    And when I talk about destroying reputations, I don’t just mean saying things I disagree with. I mean flat-out, undeniable professional malpractice. It’s one thing to make shaky or even demonstrably wrong arguments. It’s something else to cite the work of other economists, claiming that it supports your position, when it does no such thing — and don’t take my word for it, listen to the protests of the cited economists….

  27. says

    So what’s the inside buzz on Ryan? Is he another Palin?

    Not another Palin. On NPR this morning one of the pundits interviewed said that the race was now between Ryan and Obama. This may say more about the undefined character of Romney than the strength of Ryan, but Ryan is a lot stronger than Palin.

    The NPR interview also included a comment about Ryan’s budget plan, with lots of laudatory adjectives, and one throw-away “but” in that Ryan doesn’t specify the loopholes he would cut. That’s a bigger missing piece than the Republicans and most pundits are admitting. There are not enough loopholes to make up for Ryan’s $3 trillion tax cut. You will have to cut “loopholes” that benefit middle class familes and you will have to do what Republicans have been accusing Obamacare of doing — throw grandma under the bus.

    Pell grants, tax credits for lower income families who contribute to the education of their children, food assistance for poor families, etc. — all that stuff has to go.

    Republicans are saying one thing, “We don’t raise taxes on anyone,” and doing another. They are ignoring the consequences of their budget plans which do effectively raise taxes on the lower and middle classes, while giving breaks to the rich.

    I know this budget stuff bores a lot of people, but economics will affect our culture and not just our pocketbooks. In another thread our own economist, ‘Tis Himself, said that he would not be voting for Romney because Romney’s economic policies will damage the USA.

    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities looks at the Romney plan, Romney Budget Proposals Would Require Massive Cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and Other Programs: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3658

    Ezra Klein on the Romney budget:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/08/09/mitt-romneys-wrong-you-can-balance-the-budget-through-taxes-but-you-may-not-want-to/?print=1

  28. Gregory Greenwood says

    Ing: The World is Dying @ 30;

    Ryan has not changed his philosophy at all. He’s distanced himself from an atheist figure.

    Well, at least Ryan was smart enough to find out that Rand was an atheists – most of the Randroids are christians who lap up her poisonous objectivist philosophy without ever twigging that she was godless.

    It really is the measure of how utterly toxic Republicans find atheism that even a figure as revered on the Right as Rand – practically the patron saint of small government conservatism – has to be publicly disavowed by someone like Ryan when the whiff of elections floats on the air. Though, as you say, he has not changed his philosphy one iota; this is about avoiding any possibility that his image with the god-fearin’ good ‘ole boys could be tainted by association with any atheist.

  29. says

    It’s not just the economy, stupid.

    The pro-choice group NARAL called the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket “a serious threat” for women. From NARAL President Nancy Keenan:

    “Rep. Paul Ryan’s extreme anti-choice record shows just how serious a threat Mitt Romney’s presidency would be for women. He has cast 59 votes on reproductive rights while in Congress and not one has been pro-choice. Rep. Ryan has also repeatedly voted to defund family-planning programs and supported the ‘Let Women Die Bill,’ which would allow hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency, lifesaving abortion care, even if she could die without it. It comes as no surprise that Romney would choose a like-minded running mate who is just as out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities as he is. The Romney-Ryan ticket is dangerous to women’s health.”

  30. says

    Uh-oh. I smell trouble brewing. Well, trouble has already been brewed and scorched, but more is on the way.

    Romney is already trying to distance between himself and Paul Ryan’s budget. Not gonna work.

    From Romney campaign talking points, distributed to reporters after Romney’s first appearance with his VP pick:

    Does this mean Mitt Romney is adopting the Paul Ryan plan?
    • Gov. Romney applauds Paul Ryan for going in the right direction with his budget, and as president he will be putting together his own plan for cutting the deficit and putting the budget on a path to balance.

    • Romney’s administration will go through the budget line by line and ask two questions: Can we afford it? And, if not, should we borrow money from China to pay for it?

    • Mitt Romney will start with the easiest cut of all: Obamacare, a trillion-dollar entitlement we don’t want and can’t afford.

    The Obama campaign responds:

    Romney has strongly endorsed the Romney-Ryan Budget throughout his campaign – turning time and time again to the same tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans on the backs of middle-class families as Paul Ryan has championed in Congress. The Romney-Ryan Budget would turn Medicare into a voucher program, make severe cuts to programs like education that would hamper job creation, and repeal health care reform and key protections in Wall Street reform – all to pay for massive tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

    Paul Ryan is the perfect pick to implement Mitt Romney’s agenda, since they are one and the same.

    Yep, no daylight between the two. Ryan’s plan contains more details, but the bones of the two plans are pretty much the same.

  31. says

    “Join me in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan.” — Willard Mitt Romney

    Yep, he actually said that.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/08/11/13233102-the-significance-of-a-slip-up?

    Romney called Paul Ryan “the next Vice President of the United States” at the beginning of his speech, and then as “the next President of the United States” at the end of his speech.

    I’m sure the irony-deficient Romney didn’t notice how odd his choice of a mission-accomplished setting for his VP announcement was. Way to remind us of one of Bush’s more embarrassing moments.

  32. says

    Folks, you’re discounting the fact that Ryan is a favorite of the “liberal” media. He’s a “deep thinker” because he presented a plan with numbers… fake numbers, but numbers that the media can pretend could possibly be valid. He’s apparently an affable guy in person, and our “liberal” media values being personally likable at fancy cocktail parties to be the single most valid measure of a person and their politics. NPR and the NY Times and the Washington Post are going to bend over backwards to give Ryan a positive spin, because he’s the sort of guy they can have a happy conversation with at the Whole Foods or while summering in some gated vacation spot.

  33. says

    On the Paul Ryan subject, journalist Paul Begala calls it like it is. Excerpts below:

    In selecting Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has doubled-down on the one thing he has never flip-flopped on: economic elitism. Romney, born to wealth, has selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who was also born to wealth…. there is something wrong with winners of the lineage lottery who want to hammer those who did not have the foresight to select wealthy sperm and egg.
    Finally, we have peered into Mitt Romney’s core. It is neither pro-choice nor pro-life; neither pro-NRA nor pro-gun control; neither pro-equality nor antigay. But it is pro-wealth and very anti–middle class. Mitt Romney has decided to go nuclear in the class war….

    You will often hear people who ought to know better dress up Ryan’s savage economic priorities with euphemisms. Ryan wants to “fix” Medicare. No, he doesn’t. He wants to kill it….

    Ryan’s budget is the fiscal embodiment of the deeply evil, wholeheartedly selfish so-called philosophy of Ayn Rand….

    …a few months ago, facing Catholic protestors at Georgetown University, Ryan said he renounced Rand. But as the national Catholic weekly, America, wrote, he did not change the substance of a single policy. Some renunciation. It seems to me Ryan has renounced Rand’s politically incorrect atheism, not her morally bankrupt philosophy of Screw Thy Neighbor….

    Don’t be fooled. Ryan is no deficit hawk. He voted for all the policies that created the current ocean of red ink: the Bush tax cuts for the rich; the war in Iraq; the Bush Medicare prescription-drug plan, the first entitlement without a dedicated revenue source. Ryan cloaks his brutal budget in the urgent rhetoric of fiscal responsibility, but that’s a Trojan Horse. As the Center for American Progress has noted, under the Romney-Ryan budget, “the national debt, measured as a share of GDP, would never decline, surpassing 80 percent by 2014, and 90 percent by 2022.”

    Ryan’s real goal is to destroy the ladder of opportunity for the poor and the middle class…. almost everything that makes us safer, smarter or stronger—would get hammered.

    How can a budget so brutal not make a dent in the debt? If you have to ask you have not been paying attention. What is the holy grail for princelings like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? Of course: tax cuts for the rich. The Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers and found that under Romney’s proposal, 95 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up by an average of $500, but millionaires would receive an extra $87,000 tax cut. The net result: an $86 billion annual shift in the tax burden away from those making over $200,000 a year and onto those making less.

    I would add that the figures from The Tax Policy Center give Romney every benefit of the doubt, letting Romney get away with projecting unrealistic economic growth, for example. I think that $86 billion shift of the tax burden to those making less than $200,000 would turn out to be much worse under the Romney plan.

  34. Gregory Greenwood says

    Lynna, OM @ 47;

    The pro-choice group NARAL called the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket “a serious threat” for women. From NARAL President Nancy Keenan:

    “Rep. Paul Ryan’s extreme anti-choice record shows just how serious a threat Mitt Romney’s presidency would be for women. He has cast 59 votes on reproductive rights while in Congress and not one has been pro-choice. Rep. Ryan has also repeatedly voted to defund family-planning programs and supported the ‘Let Women Die Bill,’ which would allow hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency, lifesaving abortion care, even if she could die without it. It comes as no surprise that Romney would choose a like-minded running mate who is just as out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities as he is. The Romney-Ryan ticket is dangerous to women’s health.”

    I suppose that it is scant surprise that Romney’s running mate would fit snugly in to the ongoing Republican war on women, but that doesn’t make me hate the little cretin any less.

    What kind of person can vote for a legislative abomination like that and still sleep at night?

    …Oh, of course, silly me – we are talking about Republicans here. Having your conscience surgically removed is an entrance rerquirement.

  35. says

    Learning more about Paul Ryan:

    …in case anyone’s forgotten, there is no debt crisis. The United States can easily borrow as much as it needs at low interest rates, suggesting there’s nothing even close to a debt crisis. This is a fig leaf Ryan and the right is using to rationalize draconian cuts to domestic priorities, which they’ve long wanted to make anyway.
    Second, if Ryan and his allies were seriously panicked about reducing the deficit and getting our fiscal house in order, they’d consider modest tax increases on the wealthy. Indeed, we know exactly what’s driving the national debt, and much of it has to do with tax cuts the rich didn’t need and the country couldn’t afford. When Ryan acknowledges this, he’ll start to have some credibility on the issue.

    And third, for all of Ryan’s alleged fear about the debt, his last budget plan ignored deficit reduction altogether, and instead prioritized more tax breaks for those at the very top. Asked yesterday about tax loopholes he’d be willing to close to help pay for his plans, Ryan refused to go into any detail.

    Here’s a video of Paul Ryan saying what he really thinks about Ayn Rand and the “moral case for capitalism” — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XYw9RtDbU8
    Ryan puts both feet in his mouth.

  36. Armored Scrum Object says

    @AndrewD #17: WordPress is apparently very very hungry for HTML tags. Or even tags that aren’t actually HTML tags but still look like them. If you really want to put fake tags into a comment you can use HTML entities, like so:

    &lt;/sarcasm&gt; becomes </sarcasm>

    (and to actually get that first one, I had to type: &amp;lt;/sarcasm&amp;gt; … and to actually get that… you get the idea; can’t we just get a Markdown plugin or something?)

    @Lynna #37:

    Debunking Paul Ryan’s Bizarre Claim That Food Stamps Are ‘Unsustainable’

    That analysis fails to take into account that socialism will make everyone lazy and then nobody will work and then there will be no more food.

  37. says

    Steve Benen, writing for The Maddow Blog, excerpts below:

    …And what is the vision crafted by a man who credits Ayn Rand for his involvement in politics? It’s one in which Medicare would be replaced with a voucher scheme; Social Security would be privatized; taxes would be cut even more for the very wealthy; and Washington would “take food from poor children, make it harder for low-income students to get a college degree, and squeeze funding for research, education, and infrastructure.”

    What’s more, the Ryan plan does not reduce the debt, either.

    This has always been less of a budget plan and more of a right-wing fantasy. As of this morning, Romney not only endorses this right-wing vision, he owns it — and in the process, he’s presented the electorate with a dramatic choice, not a referendum.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/08/11/13232078-so-much-for-the-referendum

  38. says

    Journalist Michele Goldberg addressed Ryan’s extreme view on abortion in more detail.

    Excerpt below:

    Less attention has been paid, though, to Ryan’s hard-right positions on social issues. Indeed, on abortion and women’s health care, there isn’t much daylight between Ryan and, say, Michele Bachmann.

    Any Republican vice-presidential candidate is going to be broadly anti-abortion, but Ryan goes much further. He believes ending a pregnancy should be illegal even when it results from rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s health. He was a cosponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a federal bill defining fertilized eggs as human beings, which, if passed, would criminalize some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization. The National Right to Life Committee has scored his voting record 100 percent every year since he entered the House in 1999. “I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he told The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack in 2010. “You’re not going to have a truce.”

  39. says

    Wait, also, he is catholic? Mitt’s church doesn’t take too kindly to the catholic church, being “the whore of the earth ” that should be cleansed with fire and everything……

    That’s just religion and the absolute truth of the universe and afterlife, THIS is business! This trumps petty concerns like that

  40. 'Tis Himself says

    One of the puzzles in modern political economy is why anyone bothers to vote. Very few elections actually turn on the ballot of a single individual. There is a cost to voting—no state has an explicit penalty for staying home, but it takes time and effort to get to the polls—and there is seemingly almost never a benefit. Modern political and economic theory assumes the existence of rational, self-interested actors. On that basis, why anyone would vote is a mystery.

    The answer is that we’ve been inculcated with notions of “civic virtue.” It is our responsibility to vote. But civic virtue is fragile. If the belief takes hold that the political and economic systems are stacked, individuals will feel released from their civic obligations. When that social contract is abrogated—when trust between a government and its citizens fails—disillusionment, disengagement, or worse is sure to follow. In the United States today, and in many other democracies around the world, mistrust is on the ascendant.

    It’s even built in. The head of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, made it perfectly clear: sophisticated investors don’t, or at least shouldn’t, rely on trust. Those who bought the products his firm sold were consenting adults who should have known better. They should have known that Goldman Sachs had the means, and the incentive, to design products that would fail; that they had the means and the incentive to create asymmetries of information—where they knew more about the products than the buyers did—and the means and the incentive to take advantage of those asymmetries. The people who fell victim to the investment banks were, for the most part, well-off investors. But deceptive credit-card practices and predatory lending have left Americans more broadly with a sense that banks and other financial institutions are not to be trusted.

    Economists often underestimate the role of trust in making an economy work. If every contract had to be enforced by one party taking the other to court, the economy would be in gridlock. Throughout history, the economies that have flourished are those where a handshake is a deal. Without trust, business arrangements based on an understanding that complex details will be worked out later are no longer feasible. Without trust, each participant looks around to see how and when those with whom he is dealing will betray him.

    Widening inequality is corrosive of trust: in its economic impact, think of it as the universal solvent. It creates an economic world in which even the winners are wary. In every transaction—in every encounter with a boss or business or bureaucrat—people see the hand of someone out to take advantage of them.

    Nowhere is trust more important than in politics and the public sphere. There, we have to act together. It’s easier to act together when most individuals are in similar situations—when most of us are, if not in the same boat, at least in boats within a range of like sizes. But growing inequality makes it clear that our fleet looks different—it’s a few mega-yachts surrounded by masses of people in dugout canoes, or clinging to flotsam—which helps explain our vastly differing views of what the government should do.

    Today’s widening inequality extends to almost everything—police protection, the condition of local roads and utilities, access to decent health care, access to good public schools. As higher education becomes more important—not just for individuals but for the future of the whole U.S. economy—those at the top push for university budget cuts and tuition hikes, on the one hand, and cutbacks in guaranteed student loans, on the other. To the extent that they advocate student loans at all, it’s as another opportunity for rent seeking: loans to for-profit schools, without standards; loans that are non-dischargeable even in bankruptcy; loans designed as another way for those at the top to exploit those aspiring to get out of the bottom.

    Many, if not most, Americans possess a limited understanding of the nature of the inequality in our society. They know that something has gone wrong, but they underestimate the harm that inequality does even as they overestimate the cost of taking action. These mistaken beliefs, which have been reinforced by ideological rhetoric, are having a catastrophic effect on politics and economic policy.

  41. says

    Speaking of document dumps, isn’t the timing of his VP choice about the same as the timing usually used for releasing incriminating documents and such?

    Avoid the news cycle, let things die down over the weekend, etc?

    Curious.

  42. tomh says

    The people I don’t understand are the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud, both of whom praised the choice of Ryan this morning. “A bold and inspired pick,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud Executive Director. This is the same Ryan who voted to ban gay adoptions, voted against repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, voted yes on a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage, voted yes on Constitutionally defining marriage as one man, one woman, voted no on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes, and was rated 0% by the gay rights group HRC.

  43. smhll says

    What’s the source for the info that Ryan used Social Security survivor’s benefit to go to college? My husband paid for college that way, after his dad died, but I noticed that Reagan eliminated that benefit in the early 80s, shortly after my husband graduated. Ryan is 42, my husband is 55. Something is inconsistent, unless this program was reinstituted. (It’s not available past the age of 19 now.)

  44. pilot says

    @TisHimself

    Many, if not most, Americans possess a limited understanding of the nature of the inequality in our society. They know that something has gone wrong, but they underestimate the harm that inequality does even as they overestimate the cost of taking action. These mistaken beliefs, which have been reinforced by ideological rhetoric, are having a catastrophic effect on politics and economic policy.

    Good post. I’d be interested to know how aware you think the average american voter currently is to just how badly Wall Street has screwed them over in the last few years and if they realise how complicit both political parties have been in this.

    Over here in europe rage against the bankers is well, all the rage. The inequalities in our societies seem to have been brought to the fore far more so than in the united states as issues that campaigns can be fought on. These are issues that can be easily understood, even through a media/news system that also mostly relies on soundbites and info-graphics.

    I don’t think Americans are any stupider than the average european. So it must be something else. There does seem to be more of a consensus between the political parties that some subjects, such as financial regulation are off-limits leaving differences in social programs as the only real battleground for political debate.

  45. KG says

    but that doesn’t make me hate the little cretin any less – Gregory Greenwood

    Just a note. Unlike “idiot”, “moron” or “imbecile”, “cretin” is still just about a technical term, although “person suffering from cretinism” would be more common. Probably best avoided as an insult.

    One of the puzzles in modern political economy is why anyone bothers to vote. Very few elections actually turn on the ballot of a single individual. There is a cost to voting—no state has an explicit penalty for staying home, but it takes time and effort to get to the polls—and there is seemingly almost never a benefit. – ‘Tis Himself

    Voting is an expressive act. I enjoy going to the polling station, usually with Ms. KG, and making my mark(s) against my preferred candidate(s), although I am perfectly well aware it is very unlikely to affect the result. It’s only a puzzle to economists because they have such a (professionally) limited imagination.

  46. 'Tis Himself says

    I’d be interested to know how aware you think the average american voter currently is to just how badly Wall Street has screwed them over in the last few years and if they realise how complicit both political parties have been in this.

    That’s basically what the Occupy movement is all about. The trouble is the media, which many people forget is corporate owned, have denigrated, misrepresented, and even lied about the Occupy folks. The American public is being purposefully misinformed about economic, sociological and political realities. The actual information is available, if one does a little (often very little) digging. But many people don’t know how to get information and rely on the media, which includes some very unscrupulous people (I’m looking at you, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes), to keep them informed.

    As for the two political parties, Americans have the choice between a conservative party and a batshit insane reactionary party. Romney may be worse than Obama, but in several instances there isn’t much between them. The only reason I’m voting for Obama in November is because I know Romney and Ryan would be a disaster for both the U.S. and world economies.

  47. 'Tis Himself says

    It’s only a puzzle to economists because they have such a (professionally) limited imagination.

    Citation needed.

  48. KG says

    I don’t think Americans are any stupider than the average european. – pilot

    I disagree. They are not inherently stupider, but much more money and effort has been put into making them stupid. Faux News, for example, has no real parallel in most of Europe, nor are televangelists allowed to pump out lies in the same way.

  49. 'Tis Himself says

    KG, I’m not sure if you’re trying to be funny, if you’re trying to be insulting, or if you have an actual point to make. Please explain the joke/insult/point.

  50. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I got an email about this and read it as “Rand Paul” at first.

    Is there a difference?

  51. KG says

    ‘Tis Himself,

    The point is quite simple: you were evidently unable to conceive that people might actually enjoy voting, and according to your testimony, other economists are similarly afflicted with a lack of imagination in this regard.

  52. epikt says

    Paul Ryan. Because one empty suit on the ticket isn’t enough.

    Somewhere, Paul Krugman is licking his chops.

  53. Midnight Rambler says

    One of the puzzles in modern political economy is why anyone bothers to vote. Very few elections actually turn on the ballot of a single individual. There is a cost to voting—no state has an explicit penalty for staying home, but it takes time and effort to get to the polls—and there is seemingly almost never a benefit.

    ‘Tis, you normally have pretty cogent things to say, so I don’t get why you reposted this silliness from Joseph Stiglitz. It’s true that when there’s mistrust and a sense that all the choices are equally bad there’s a feeling that there’s no point in voting, but I at least don’t think we’re quite there yet, and the way it’s framed in the post is patently ridiculous. You might as well ask why someone would collect rainwater, since it takes effort to stretch out a tarp or build a roof to drain into a bucket, and a single raindrop isn’t worth drinking.

  54. epikt says

    pilot:

    The republicans have been incredibly effective in fostering anti-obama sentiment during this administration.

    In a way, that’s good. I think we’ve already seen most of the counterfactual bullshit the right has been able to dig up on Obama; how much more do they have? It’s possible they’ll find (or fabricate) something new between now and the election, but they’ve been scrutinizing Obama for years, and I doubt that they’ve been holding anything back.

    On the other hand, I’ve been surprised at the ferocity (and effectiveness) of the democratic attacks. It’s almost as if some superpac bought them a spine.

  55. ChasCPeterson says

    I guess the American Plutocracy has decided there is no point in pretending anymore.

    Yep.
    They’re running Richie Rich and his mean cousin.
    In 2020, Scrooge McDuck and the white-moustachioed dude from the Monopoly cards.

    By the way, here’s a good place to start trying to figure out Paul Ryan: Roots

  56. tomh says

    @ #64

    What’s the source for the info that Ryan used Social Security survivor’s benefit to go to college?

    It comes from an interview with Ryan from 2010. “With his father’s passing, young Paul collected Social Security benefits until age 18, which he put away for college.” He was 16 when his father died, so that would be 25 years ago.

  57. kingoftoasty says

    Just wow. You know, in a normal year I would be thinking to myself, “these guys have gotta be kidding me. there’s no way in hell they have a shot at winning!” But with all between new voter suppression laws, unlimited super PAC funds, and the idiacy of the general masses, I’m genuinely afraid of what’s going to happen this November. Not that a re-elected Obama would be a tremendous step up, I would just rather have the far lesser of 2 very poor choices.

  58. zb24601 says

    I hope this means that Paul Ryan will NOT run for his House seat this year. If he does run for re-election for his House seat, that says to me that he thinks they can’t win for POTUS/vPOTUS. Either way, I hope Paul Ryan is not in an elected office come January 2013.

    One more thing… Fuck John Galt!

  59. 'Tis Himself says

    The point is quite simple: you were evidently unable to conceive that people might actually enjoy voting, and according to your testimony, other economists are similarly afflicted with a lack of imagination in this regard.

    Okay, you were trying to make a point. Yeah, you put me in my place. Along with every other economist. I’m really impressed by how insightful your point was. Yes sir. I sure am impressed. I cannot express my gratitude of the point you made. I’ll put a note, with proper attribution, in the next issue of the Journal of Political Economics explaining that some guy on a blog likes to vote and he thinks this is important for economists to know.

  60. raymondkoepsell says

    (Hello Leukocytes, I am a Creationist. You are wrong about existential and metaphysical conclusions you’ve conned yourselves into believing since they can’t be proven.)

    Regarding Paul Ryan, it would appear that the Romney campaign is sufficiently confident about Florida so that Rubio is unnecessary, and therefore they are coming after you in Wisconsin! Wow, if Obama loses Florida and Wisconsin, that wouldn’t look good for his re-election bid. Paul Ryan – a fiscal conservative – brings the Tea Party to Romney’s feet. How is that not a good strategy for ol’ Mitt?

    And since this is a political thread, I’m going to jump outside the Veepstakes and ask this to the atheist brain-trust in here: the bluest state in our union is California, and California is bankrupt based upon decades of Obama-like spending, Obama-like economic policy, and Obama-like immigration policy. Obama is trying to reinvent the United States of America as a Johnny-Come-Lately member of the European Union. Sadly, it looks like Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland are flat broke based upon decades of Obama-like spending. Do we want food lines in the USA in an election year?

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years? (Hint: Don’t use unemployment, Chick-Fil-A, closing Guantanamo Bay, jobs saved, jobs created, General Motors, Bank of America, recovery summer, Solyndra, green jobs, ending wars in the Middle East, extending Bush-era tax cuts, or “you didn’t build that” in your answer; otherwise you’ll just look like an idiot. Additional hint: For you idiots tempted to attack Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, the Koch brothers, W., Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Fox news, Sarah Palin, the Wall Street Journal, please reread my question before angrily pounding away on your keyboard.)

  61. pilot says

    @raymondkoepsell

    Paul Ryan – a fiscal conservative – brings the Tea Party to Romney’s feet. How is that not a good strategy for ol’ Mitt?

    Romney already had the tea party. Who else were they going to vote for?

  62. carlie says

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years?

    Because it’s better than the alternative.

  63. Quinn Martindale says

    raymondkoepsell

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years

    Overseeing the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is enough for me.

  64. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Do we want food lines in the USA in an election year?

    Been in them most of my life.

    My mother has been in them for 10 years now. Ditto her husband. Most of our friends and people we meet have been in them.

    Plenty of Americans are suffering, starving and dieing. Fuck “in an election year”, we shouldn’t have any food lines ever.

    Replicians are actively fighting the ways to help poor people. Instead they want to create more of them and let them die. Hence the “Fuck You I’ve Got Mine” platform.

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years?

    Because with Obama I and millions of Americans have a chance to live. Our chances of survival, as low as they are now (which is not due to Obama), goes down to almost guaranteed death. Millions more Americans will join us in the pit. Women will become breeding cattle and die due to the Republicans refusal to treat women as people.

    With Obama there is a chance. With Republicans, any republicans, especially the ones running for president, my family will likely die on the streets.

  65. ckitching says

    the bluest state in our union is California, and California is bankrupt based upon decades of Obama-like spending, Obama-like economic policy, and Obama-like immigration policy.

    California is bankrupt because they made it so that the only way taxes can be raised is through an item voted on in a popular election. This means people vote for all the lovely things they want, and then vote against paying any additional taxes for it. It’s a recipe for bankruptcy, which is why ALEC pretty much wrote it (aka “Starve the Beast”).

    If California had sane tax policy, they might not be bankrupt.

  66. Gregory Greenwood says

    KG @ 66;

    Just a note. Unlike “idiot”, “moron” or “imbecile”, “cretin” is still just about a technical term, although “person suffering from cretinism” would be more common. Probably best avoided as an insult.

    Noted, and I will edit the old lexicon accordingly. For the post in question, I would like to subsitute ‘git’ in place of the offending term.

  67. says

    @Ray

    Obama is the choice that better defends the support and safety net for the middle and lower classes, better protects us from financial problems due to low regulation, better keeps the tax burden balanced and progressive, and protect homosexual rights.

    Also California is not the “bluest state”. California has its own problems that are unique to it in how it’s budget is decided and its own fuck ups. Mitt himself seemed very happy with Obama like spending as you call it when he was Gov. Your knowledge of the state of European economy is also grossly misinformed. The situation had nothing to do with social welfare programs.

  68. says

    Do we want food lines in the USA in an election year?

    This question vexes me enough to make a separate response. If there are to be the need for food lines it will be regardless of president (and its more likely under Paul’s moving of the tax burden to the poor which does nothing to affect debt). If Paul and Romny prevent food lines it’ll only because they want to shut down such programs. Why are you so eager to let your fellow man suffer?

  69. Gregory Greenwood says

    raymondkoepsell @ 84;

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years?

    Most people on this blog are progressives, and most progressives aren’t exactly dancing in the streets about Obama’s track record in power. We are not arguing that Obama deserves four more years in office, so much as the alternative is far worse.

    It is imperative to prevent a Romney presidency using the next four years as an opportunity to turn the US into a theocracy/plutocracy. The Bush administration was an unqualified catastrophe for the US and the broader world that embroiled us in two illegal wars that acheived little – and proved immensely costly in economic terms and, more importantly, in terms of lives lost – while also laying the foundations of the economic crisis we currently find ourselves in.

    Given the track record of the last Republican administration, one shudders to think what a Romney/Ryan ticket would do in power.

  70. ckitching says

    Why are you so eager to let your fellow man suffer?

    It’s the only Christian thing to do? If the poor and downtrodden want help they can grovel to the nearest church or charity, and hope they are deemed sufficiently worthy. We can’t have people happy, safe and comfortable in life — that leads to them thinking they don’t need religious dogma.

  71. says

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years

    Obama wins = I get health insurance for the first time in a decade

    Romney wins = I do not get health insurance.

    And that’s just the most proximate reason, of course.

  72. robro says

    imthegenieicandoanything — That’s Raygun, pard’ner, Ronnie Raygun and His Tiny Little Handguns. Shoot!

  73. says

    Sadly, it looks like Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland are flat broke based upon decades of Obama-like spending.

    lol. exactly backwards. those EU states that are in trouble are the ones that most tried to be like the USA, or bought money from the USA. Germany for example is doing fine, Teh Ebil Soshulizm notwithstanding.

  74. says

    Do we want food lines in the USA in an election year?

    there are more food lines in the US than in Europe already. just sayin’

    “you didn’t build that”

    so, so, shocked that a creationist would be a fan of dishonest quotemining.

  75. says

    I wonder if Mr Paul Ryan knows that Ayn Rand is an atheist.

    he does, which is why he “repudiated” her, by which I mean he said he did to appease the godbots, but his policies and philosophy haven’t changed one iota as a result.

  76. says

    ‘Tis Himself @61, great post. Lot’s of good points in there. I’ll add to this point you made:

    To the extent that they advocate student loans at all, it’s as another opportunity for rent seeking: loans to for-profit schools, without standards; loans that are non-dischargeable even in bankruptcy; loans designed as another way for those at the top to exploit those aspiring to get out of the bottom.

    The co-chair for the fundraising team for Mitt Romney in Florida is the CEO of Full Sail University, a for-profit company. Romney touts Full Sail University as a good example of offering a good deal to students, and as offering an excellent education. “They hold down the cost of education by competing.”

    Full Sail University charges $81,000 for a 21-month program. Depending on the program, graduation rates range from 14% to 38%. The median debt for students (all students, even those who don’t graduate) is $59,000.

    The chairman of the private equity fund that owns Full Sail University is a major donor to the Romney PAC, Restore Our Future.

    You can see Romney shilling for for-profit universities in this video:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#48603715 Maddow also provides a detailed look at the way such universities rip off our veterans, rip off tax payers, and just fucking fail in the field of education. Where they do succeed is in marketing. Marketing themselves is all they do well.

    More on Romney’s financial connections to for-profit universities here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/us/politics/mitt-romney-offers-praise-for-a-donors-business.html

  77. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years?

    A particularly hilarious jab coming from a Creationist.

  78. says

    A particularly hilarious jab coming from a Creationist.

    far more hilarious is that laundry list of Faux News lies we’re not “allowed” to use in our responses to the precious creationist

  79. says

    If Creationism is supposedly a scientific theory about how the universe and human life came to being, why are virtually all creationists extreme conservatives?

    There are plenty of scientist (REAL scientists, I mean) who are not at all progressive.

    Shouldn’t there be a fair amount of liberal creationists?

    Unless, of course, it’s NOT about thinking at all, but rather simply about accepting doctrine without question, packaged along with a lot of other fake doctrine?

    (I think maybe I’ll started referring to the so-called Faith-Based Community as the Fake-Based Community).

  80. kayden says

    Romney is doing what he needs to do to excite his base. Not sure if Independents or unhappy Democrats will be attracted to a Romney/Ryan ticket.

    I expect an initial bump in the polls for Romney, but doubt it will last.

  81. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I see RK is doing his job playing Heinlein’s “well meaning fool”. The slackjawed fool one asks on what they should believe, and then the opposite of what the fool says is the way to go. RK defending Romney? OBAMA IS THE MAN.

    Of course, there is a way for RK to stop this. He can choose to stop posting.

  82. says

    @Kayden

    If the news accurately reports Ryan’s plan there shouldn’t be a lot of independent support. That’s a big “if” though. The news seems to like the idea that he’s the “deficit guru”

  83. says

    smhll @64:

    What’s the source for the info that Ryan used Social Security survivor’s benefit to go to college?

    The source is journalist Ryan Lizza. The information was provided in an NPR Fresh Air podcast. You canlisten to the podcast to hear that bit.
    http://www.npr.org/2012/08/01/157716398/how-congressman-paul-ryan-is-shaping-the-gop

    Or, you can check the transcript here:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=157716398

    …At the same time, he got Social Security after his father’s death because his father died….And in fact, you know, his – the Social Security benefits from his father, he didn’t actually have to live off of them. You know, he saved them, and he used the money when he went off to college. You know, other people who are less well-off might have to live on that money.

  84. robro says

    raymondkoepsell @ #84

    California is bankrupt based upon decades of Obama-like spending, Obama-like economic policy, and Obama-like immigration policy.

    Where did you get that from? You been smoking some of that funny Humboldt loco-weed? Or buying your crack on Melrose? I don’t know what “California” you’re talking about. This place as been run by Republicans and for the rich for decades. It’s bankrupt because of Prop 13…a Republican anti-tax idea. The last governor was a Republican for the better part of 8 years. In fact, California has been led by Republican governors for most of the last 112 years. Now put down that pipe and pick up a history book.

  85. Amphiox says

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years?

    1. He saved the US from going over an economic cliff. His economic policies turned around a financial free-fall and pushed the job growth rate in the private sector back into the positive.

    2. The economic policies he continues to propose will improve the US economy even more, and would have already done so if they had not been obstructed by the Republicans.

    3. He lead the US to actually finally join the rest of the civilized world in terms of policy regarding access to healthcare.

    4. Osama bin Laden. He made the call.

    5. He ended the misadventure in Iraq, and is in the process of ending the one in Afghanistan.

    6. HE IS NOT MITT ROMNEY.

    7. HE IS NOT REPUBLICAN.

    (Number 6 and 7 alone would have been enough even if he was a plastic cut-out with no achievements whatsoever)

  86. Amphiox says

    California is bankrupt based upon decades of Obama-like spending, Obama-like economic policy, and Obama-like immigration policy.

    California isn’t bankrupt. It remains one of the richest states in America, and is richer than most first world nations.

  87. robro says

    I just started White House Burning, a book that would make Paul Ryan nervous. From the Introduction:

    We do not expect all or even most readers to agree with our proposals. But if the American people understand where our national debt came from, the stakes involved, and the tradeoffs involved in reducing the debt, we will be able to choose the future that we want for our government and our society. Until then, our politicians will continue to stagger from one election to the next peddling meaningless and contradictory slogans, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. There is no need to convince you of that: the evidence is all around you.

    I can’t think of a better example of a politician “peddling meaningless and contradictory slogans” than Paul Ryan.

  88. says

    epikt @78

    I think we’ve already seen most of the counterfactual bullshit the right has been able to dig up on Obama; how much more do they have?

    Doesn’t matter if we’ve seen and identified the bullshit as bullshit. No new bullshit is needed for the Faux News crowd. They do very well chewing over the old stuff. There has been a resurgence of birtherism and of birther-related news stories. More right wing nutters believe now that Obama is not an American citizen than believed that bullshit when he took office. All that is required is constant repetition. Trump is a high profile Romney surrogate, and he is still on the birther band wagon.

    This video begins with other subjects, but birtherism is discussed beginning at about 1:30 and ending at 6:22.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlcOtaR1akM

    Statistics here: http://today.yougov.com/news/2012/07/11/birthers-are-still-back/

    …a plurality of Republicans believes that Obama was not born in the United States.

  89. robro says

    Amphiox — Maybe raymondkoepsell meant “morally bankrupt”. I’m sure you know, the state is in tough financial straits, mostly because of the economic stagnation (thank you, Prez Dubya, and your damn “Obama” programs) and several cities have declared bankruptcy. But true, the state doesn’t seem likely to go that far.

    You know, I just realized that raymond is blaming everything on Obama in the same way some people blame everything on Rebecca. Maybe it’s genetic.

  90. raven says

    If Romney/Ryan get elected, I’ll be a billionaire.

    My new company will deliver food, blue plastic tarps, do-it-yourself medical manuals, and bibles to the millions of old people living in our parks.

    People forget what it was like before social security, medicare, and so on. The average lifespan in the USA a century ago was 47, 30 years less than today.

  91. says

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years?

    Okay. I’ll bite. I carefully checked your list of reasons that you think are off the table. We certainly wouldn’t want to use perfectly valid arguments if you have forbidden them.

    I don’t think this was on your list. I have a vagina. I would like to remain in charge of my vagina. Republicans have been passing vagina-control laws at the state level and I am hoping to prevent them from passing vagina-control laws at the federal level.

    Women’s rights.

  92. raven says

    Wait, also, he is catholic? Mitt’s church doesn’t take too kindly to the catholic church, being “the whore of the earth ”

    Historically that is true.

    1. They both have Popes who talk to god, the LDS one is “First President, prophet, seer, and revelator.

    2. Two Vaticans, the LDS one is SLC.

    3. Both One True religions destined to rule the earth.

    What is going on is obvious. Both churches are struggling. And they hate us more than they hate each other.

  93. says

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years?

    Because the best thing the opposition party could cough up is a man who believes secular is a religion (yes, he said that). He subscribes to a religious faith that is notorious for trying to influence and, when possible, control politics wherever they gain power. A religion that was so obviously invented out of whole cloth that a third-grader should be able to see it.
    He belongs to a party that gave the bulk of its votes in the primaries to three candidates who made no bones about their desire for theocracy, and another who thinks presidents can pretty much arrest federal judges for rulings they don’t approve of.
    We are dealing with people who have no idea how the Constitution works or why this country was ever successful, and so wedded to platitudes and dogma that “cutting taxes” is seen as a positive policy no matter how low they might be now, no matter what past experience and evidence tells us, and no matter how gigantic the deficit gets.
    The Republican party has been taken over by dangerously thick, information-resistant dogmatists and plutocrats. Shall we reward them with power?
    I’m not sure “deserve” is the operative term, but four more years of Obama is the better choice.

  94. says

    I’m curious why a creationist would support Romny, a man who believes that an alien god that is an exalted moral from a distant star system, created Earth and mankind to give corporal bodies to his many many children he sired via fucking his wives, where Jesus and Lucifer are feuding brothers, and Adam may have been the mortal form of god himself.

    One would think that Obama with his mainline Christianity, albiet not YEC would be closer to biblical literalism than an entirely different take on genesis

  95. raven says

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years?

    1. Obama is cleaning up the Bush Catastrophe, aka as the Great Recession. The Federal Reserve is projecting it to be done by 2018. He isn’t done yet.

    2. I don’t want to live in a third world banana republic. I don’t want my kids or anyone’s kids to do so either.

  96. raven says

    I think we’ve already seen most of the counterfactual bullshit the right has been able to dig up on Obama; how much more do they have?

    There is no bottom.

    Have they got to the Space Reptiles yet?

  97. robro says

    OMG…they’re going to Wisconsin tomorrow! Is Mitt just being nice or are they worried they won’t carry Ryan’s state? I’m wagering a good many folks there will be glad to be rid of him.

  98. stwriley says

    raymondkoepsell@84,

    Wow, where to begin? How about we start with your first big assumption-passing-as-question and move through them one at a time?

    Okay, first we have the rhetorical “Paul Ryan – a fiscal conservative – brings the Tea Party to Romney’s feet. How is that not a good strategy for ol’ Mitt?”, which is a clueless assumption on an almost epic scale all by itself (and you’re just getting started, I know, but I’ll admit that you do manage to top this later on in the comment.) It assumes that what brings in the Tea Party diehards is actually good electoral politics, which is wrong on almost every level. A host of polls over the past year (starting with Pew and extending to every other reputable pollster who asked the question) show that the Tea Party and its ideas are now slightly more unpopular with the American electorate than even atheists. So while Mitt may rally the Tea Party by tapping Ryan, he simultaneously scares off many from the middle who might otherwise have voted for him. So bad is this effect that when Priorities USA tried to run a focus group of independents to see how they reacted to Romney’s proposals, they refused to believe that he was backing Ryan’s Medicare “reform” proposals (even though he has been) because they were so radical and (to the focus group’s minds) wrong. So no, this is not an electoral plus for Mitt; it’s a sign that he’s so desperate that he thinks he needs to shore up support in his own party’s base.

    Your second (and even more epically clueless) assumption is that California is going bankrupt because the “liberal policies” of the state have made this happen. To begin with, you seem to have forgotten that Until very recently, the Republicans were essentially running the state (does the name Schwarzenegger ring a bell?) and even when they aren’t the very specific and limiting rules of the state make balancing budgets almost impossible. These were rules pushed, by the way, by Republicans. Then there’s the fact that you glossed over the other state that has recently declared bankruptcy: Kentucky. While it may not be the reddest state in the union, Kentucky is certainly no hotbed of liberalism (and I speak from experience, having lived there) and has approximately nothing in common with California except that they’re both states in the U.S. But since you’re a creationist, I don’t suppose that cherry-picking evidence bothers you.

    As for your last “question”, I can answer it in one sentence:

    President Obama actually gives a damn what happens to people who make less than $1 million a year and tries to act on their behalf, unlike his opponent.

  99. markplus says

    America’s productive beta males now have a leadership team: Two patriarchal family men who offer to represent the interests of middle-status men who feel disenfranchised by liberal policies which enable women to marry the state as surrogate husband (like the fictional Julia), reject beta males as lovers and potential husbands, and indulge in their appetites for alpha male bad boys and cads. Men know on some level that premarital sexual experience ruins women for marriage and family stability, and the ones who want to turn this around would like to see restrictions on abortions and Malthusian Belts for the Sandra Fluke types to increase the supply of sexually unspoiled women who would make good wives and mothers.

    They have my vote.

  100. raven says

    Full Sail University charges $81,000 for a 21-month program.

    That is just a ripoff.

    My old state university, one of the better ones, charges tuition now of ca. $8,000 for a 9 month year, instate. Facilities are new and excellent, swimming pool, intramural recreation, and so on.

    This isn’t unusual for state system schools.

  101. raven says

    Ing, I can’t even tell if markplus is actually saying anything coherent enough to call “serious” or “not serious”.

    He seems to be saying the Tea Party will enslave all the women. And then finally he will get one, in the unlikely event he can raise the purchase price.

    Unfortunately for him, his slave will likely run away or kill him. Slavery has always had those problems.

    I wonder if Canada can absorb 100 million or so American women slave runaways?

  102. Rip Steakface says

    @raven

    It’s quite the friggin’ ripoff. University of Washington, my prospective university, is an excellent public school and charges roughly $11,000 annually and has some of the best research facilities in the country. Mind you, I probably won’t be using them (I’m not a biologist or a physicist), but it’s a fair price for good stuff. $81,000 for less than two years of school is more expensive than frickin’ Harvard.

  103. says

    You guys need to cut him some slack:

    Paul Ryan on Bailouts and Government Stimuli
    -Voted YES on TARP (2008)
    -Voted YES on Economic Stimulus HR 5140 (2008)
    -Voted YES on $15B bailout for GM and Chrysler. (Dec 2008)
    -Voted YES on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)

    Paul Ryan on Entitlement Programs
    -Voted YES on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. (Nov 2003)
    -Voted YES on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers. (Jun 2006)
    -Voted YES on Head Start Act (2007)
    -Voted YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks. (Oct 2008)

    Paul Ryan on Education
    -Voted YES on No Child Left Behind Act (2001)

    Paul Ryan on Civil Liberties
    -Voted YES on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists. (Feb 2005)
    -Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
    -Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. (Sep 2006)

    Paul Ryan on War and Intervention Abroad
    -Voted YES on authorizing military force in Iraq. (Oct 2002)
    -Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Apr 2003)
    -Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date. (Jun 2006)
    -Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days. (May 2007)

  104. Ouigui says

    raymondkoepsell@84,

    In addition to all the excellent reasons given by the others, Obama and the Dems get my vote for ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and for coming out (at least sort of) in favor of marriage equality. It’s kind of refreshing to see a major political party actually start to treat me like a full citizen.

    In the GOP corner, let’s see… we have a man who once claimed to be more pro-gay than Ted Kennedy (as if) but now supports a federal marriage amendment, and who tithes to a church that bankrolls anti-gay campaigns. And his veep pick has a dismal voting record according to the Human Rights Campaign. These weasels’ potential effect on the federal courts (including the Supremes) would pretty much fuck over my family and friends.

    So yeah, on just this one narrow social issue alone, the decision is easy for me.

  105. Ouigui says

    shripathikamath @135:

    I can’t decide if you seriously think these votes honestly all show Ryan in a positive light, or if my sarcasm meter is broken. (NCLB, really? The frickin’ Patriot Act?)

  106. says

    Paul Ryan on Education
    -Voted YES on No Child Left Behind Act (2001)

    Paul Ryan on Civil Liberties
    -Voted YES on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists. (Feb 2005)
    -Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
    -Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. (Sep 2006)

    Paul Ryan on War and Intervention Abroad
    -Voted YES on authorizing military force in Iraq. (Oct 2002)
    -Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Apr 2003)
    -Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date. (Jun 2006)

    Sorry what slack is there to give?

  107. says

    Also no we do not have to give the idiot who says he wants to cut food stamps (starve people) cut taxes to the hyper wealthy and increase tax burden on the poor for the sake of NOT lowering the deficit and do other bullshit while publicly worshiping Christ and Rand any slack.

  108. Hurin, Midnight DJ on the Backwards Music Station says

    robro

    OMG…they’re going to Wisconsin tomorrow! Is Mitt just being nice or are they worried they won’t carry Ryan’s state? I’m wagering a good many folks there will be glad to be rid of him.

    You should check the maps on 538. Nate Silver, the statistician who runs the place has put together an electoral predictions model based on polling and economic indicators. Last election his model’s final prediction correctly identified 50 of 51 states (DC is treated as a state in presidential elections).

    His model currently gives Obama an 80.4% chance of winning Wisconsin.

    Obviously things will change between now and November, but he actually doesn’t have a very good chance of winning the state. He probably should have picked someone from Ohio or Virginia if he wanted his VP to swing a state that went blue last time.

    Incidentally, to the moron creo upthread:

    Regarding Paul Ryan, it would appear that the Romney campaign is sufficiently confident about Florida so that Rubio is unnecessary, and therefore they are coming after you in Wisconsin!

    Silver’s model gives Obama a 55% chance in Fl. If Romney is confident there he is as dumb as you are. He probably just figures it is worth the risk trying to pick off one of the bluer states since he can win Fl and still lose the election.

  109. Hurin, Midnight DJ on the Backwards Music Station says

    “Last election his model’s final prediction correctly identified 50 of 51 states (DC is treated as a state in presidential elections).”

    should read

    ” Last election his model’s final prediction correctly identified the winner of 50 of 51 states (DC is treated as a state in presidential elections).

    (he missed Indiana if you are wondering)

  110. Richard Austin says

    raymondkoepsell:

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years?

    Well, let’s see.

    Federal spending under Bush increased from $1.9 trillion to $3.2 trillion, a $1.3 trillion increase. Bush took over during a thriving economy.

    Federal spending under Obama has increased from $3.2 trillion to $3.8 trillion, a $600 billion increase. Oh, and $800 billion of that was TARP, to correct the mess left behind by the Bush administration.

    Obama-like spending

    You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  111. Hurin, Midnight DJ on the Backwards Music Station says

    raymondkoepsell

    Would one of you well-read intellectual heavyweights care to chime in about why Obama deserves four more years? (Hint: Don’t use unemployment, Chick-Fil-A, closing Guantanamo Bay, jobs saved, jobs created, General Motors, Bank of America, recovery summer, Solyndra, green jobs, ending wars in the Middle East, extending Bush-era tax cuts, or “you didn’t build that” in your answer; otherwise you’ll just look like an idiot.

    Yes, because the bedrock of my self esteem is intellectual validation from people who believe that a magic man pulled the universe out of his ass in just over 100 hours.

    Incidentally a few of those reasons are not that bad. You can thank the Obama stimulus package for the fact that the economy is as well off as it is at this point. I know we aren’t well off, but the economy is actually recovering in spite of the fact that the congressional republicans’ top priority for the last 4 years has been stonewalling everything that has come into congress.

    That last bit gets at the real reason that I will vote party line democratic ballots no matter what for the foreseeable future. Because the republican party is full of death worshiping paskudnyaks , and I would like nothing better than to see it thrown into the pit of sarlacc to be slowly digested to death for 1000 years.

  112. Ouigui says

    John Morales:

    Ouigui, perhaps you should recalibrate your sarcasm meter. :)

    Well, yeah, but then shripathikamath mentioned the social safety net votes, the ones that actually make Ryan look a little less like a soul-sucking dementor. So color me confused.

  113. Hurin, Midnight DJ on the Backwards Music Station says

    Ing

    I honestly can’t tell if Markplus is serious.

    Its a difficult call. I’m leaning toward parody though, on account of creativity.

  114. Hurin, Midnight DJ on the Backwards Music Station says

    that wasn’t creative, that was cribbing from MGTOW and other “dudes who hate women” internet sites

    Maybe strangeness is a better description; that wasn’t mean to sound complementary. Now that you mention it, the bizarre obsession with “beta males” is familiar from PUA and MRA trolls.

  115. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Ing

    Islam is closer to your religion than Mormonism!

    It is worth pointing out that Joseph Smith was particularly inspired by mohhamad and sought to emmulate him.

  116. Amphiox says

    Obama-like spending

    You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Indeed.

    Spending has increased less under Obama than it did under Bush Jr, Bush Sr, or Reagan.

    The only recent President that beats Obama in fiscal responsibility is the other Democrat, Clinton.

  117. Amphiox says

    You guys need to cut him some slack:

    It doesn’t actually matter if Ryan is actually, individually, pure as the driven snows of January.

    The fact that he is part of the Obstructionist Republican ticket is reason enough to vote against him.

    For reasons I have already described many times before, it is absolutely imperative for the practical health of US democracy that the Republican Party loses in 2012, so that the political strategy of obstructionism not be validated at the polls and gain credibility as a viable strategy for political parties to engage in and mimic.

    The Democratic ticket could be fronted by mongooses and it would still be imperative to vote for them, assuming one cares about the continuation of functioning democratic government in America.

  118. jeromehaltom says

    Think of how the GOP might think of this. Consider that they’re picking the best of the options in front of them. Regardless how you might feel about it.

    Paul Ryan can motivate their base to go out and vote. This is not independents. This is simply the people who always vote Republican IF THEY SHOW UP. This guy might MAKE THEM SHOW UP.

    However, on our side, liberals and progressives are disillusioned with Obama. Yes. He’s way better than Romney/Ryan. But we are disillusioned with him. The liberal base is disillusioned.

    If people think “Obama isn’t that great. I don’t care that much.” but the far, far right thinks “Paul Ryan is sent from Jesus direct to us, we lose. Because they show up. And we don’t.

    And that’s a possible angle. And it could work.

  119. John Morales says

    jeromehaltom, you’re only presenting half of the picture.

    You’ve referred to the positive incentive Ryan might have with Republicans and the negative incentive Obama might have with Democrats, but ignored the converse.

    (Not everyone is votes for, some vote against)

  120. Rip Steakface says

    @158 John Morales

    I witnessed the voting against phenomenon last election with my mother. I was not of voting age (and still am not… I get to miss the 2012 election by four months) and my mom was on the fence between McCain and Obama before Sarah Palin was picked for VP. This was helped by her remembering McCain as the moderate war hero of the 2000 primaries. Given Sarah Palin’s… being Sarah Palin, though, my mom was instantly turned off to the McCain campaign, recognizing her as a anti-woman idiot and religious nutter.

  121. crocodoc says

    The republican party wants everyone to become rich, so they need to make being rich more attractive. What’s so hard to understand about that? As always, the ftb mob has shown a left wing, liberalist-communist view that only stands in the way to prosperity.

  122. says

    @160 crocodoc: The first two sentences of you post sound exactly like some inane parody of a right-wing nut-job. Your last sentence confirms the “inane” part.

  123. robro says

    crocodoc — According to the Legatum Prosperity Index, the ten most prosperous countries in the world in 2011 were Norway, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, and at #10 the good ol’ USofA. You’ll note that most, if not all, of these countries ahead of the US are known for their “liberalist” socialist leanings, high-taxes, great educational systems, generous and effective pubic health policies, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You’re accusation that “left wing, liberalist-communist” stand in the way of prosperity is not based on evidence. Furthermore, you’re assertion that Republicans, by which I mean the Republican party leadership, want everyone to become rich is not borne out by their policies and agenda which clearly promote the interests of the wealthiest people in this country at the expense of the rest of us.

  124. says

    Why vote for Obama? Because apparently, this is the alternative Romney wants to offer us:

    CBO Shows Ryan Budget Would Set Nation on Path to End Most of Government Other Than Social Security, Health Care, and Defense By 2050

    Excerpt from article by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

    The CBO report, prepared at Chairman Ryan’s request, shows that Ryan’s budget path would shrink federal expenditures for everything other than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and interest payments to just 3¾ percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050. Since, as CBO notes, “spending for defense alone has not been lower than 3 percent of GDP in any year [since World War II]” and Ryan seeks a high level of defense spending — he increases defense funding by $228 billion over the next ten years above the pre-sequestration baseline — the rest of government would largely have to disappear. That includes everything from veterans’ programs to medical and scientific research, highways, education, nearly all programs for low-income families and individuals other than Medicaid, national parks, border patrols, protection of food safety and the water supply, law enforcement, and the like. (In the same vein, CBO also notes that spending for everything other than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest “has exceeded 8 percent of GDP in every year since World War II.”)

    I’m rather fond of the FDA, the EPA, national parks, and Medicaid and Medicare and a bunch of other things. This report doesn’t make it clear whether Ryan would suspend federal spending on transportation infrastructure. Anyone have information on that?

  125. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ robro

    crocodoc is just taking the piss. But it does raise the interesting question of why someone who is not rich would want to vote for the Rmoney camp. Especially when they are clearly not out to help any group other than their own (as you indicated).

    It is a bit of a hard one. Other than the strange (to my mind, though well documented) effects of Authoritarian thought patterns, it might be a case of wannabes imagining that they actually belong on the 1% side of the fence and refuse to attack their own delusions. Stronger, they actually defend this delusion against all comers.

    (Attempt at analogy: I cannot afford a yacht, and never will, but that does not mean I cannot find joy in all things yachting. If I attack the institution, I attack my own aspirations.)

  126. robro says

    So, does anyone have a picture of Ryan with the Wienermobile?

    Or Romney in his Mormon missionary suite? There is this Photoslop shot of he and Ann in their pioneer undies. Amusing idea, though poorly executed.

    Incidentally, I learned recently that Romney spent his 30-month mission in France. Tough assignment, hunh? I guess that will help him be at ease with Catholics, which is probably a good thing now that Ryan is on his ticket.

  127. robro says

    theophantes — Thanks for the clarification. Didn’t mean to get all uppity. I get a little sensitive with those kind of lines. I have an uncle who is a staunch Republican who’s just another working class plow boy from Georgia…I can’t figure out what he sees in them, other than he’s quite the racist and the Republican’s “Southern strategy” has always been about that.

  128. left0ver1under says

    The choice was obviously made to appease the fascist/libertarian wing of the republicans, but they’ll never admit to it.

    “Ain’t Pandering” is what they’ll say.

  129. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ robro

    Photoslop

    Did you see the pictures of his trip to the planet Kolob? Linky.

    I have an uncle who is a staunch Republican who’s just another working class plow boy from Georgia

    You can get a lot from the oft linked: The Authoritarians (I can’t imagine he would read it, but it may help.)

  130. says

    Incidentally, I learned recently that Romney spent his 30-month mission in France. Tough assignment, hunh?

    Yeah its funny how mormon royalty (millionaire mormons) are never the ones who go on missions where they can catch regional diseases and parasites, eh? what a craaaaazy coincidence!

  131. says

    Beta males are further along in development and less buggy than alpha males.
    Then there are the release candidate males which are a whole ‘nother matter.

  132. says

    Reading Jared Diamond, most previous societies declined due to depletion of natural resources and deforestation. The US is exceptional once again in its decline, in that it comes mainly from dumbfuckery caused by religious fundementalism, and the lust of a clique of privileged rich people to ruin the whole place for more personal wealth.

  133. McC2lhu saw what you did there. says

    I really do hope that this is enough of a glimpse at the warning track for the ‘moderate’ voters (despite the Overton Window being ridiculously shifted) that the culture of greed and ignorance has to be confronted and halted right now. If the polls stay at the statistical dead heat, I can empathize with the US progressive voter, as I would be outraged and disgusted if this party and platform and candidates had that much serious consideration in my home country of Canada. I would be in a state of detesting half my countryfolk for being inhumanitarian, greedy, sanctimonious zealots and shits-for-brains. The concepts of the “American Dream” and “Exceptionalism” also have to be hunted down, beaten to death, stuffed in a weighted sack and dropped in the middle of the Marianas Trench, because a lot of the traction the GOP a-holes get is from these delusions, in addition to the Jebus-ly ones (but those are constitutionally protected).

  134. Ichthyic says

    Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)

    oh yes, we should cut something off politicians for that.

    slack is not what I was thinking of though.

  135. dianne says

    On the plus side, this is, I think, going to be the first ticket where neither pres or VP is a member of a mainstream WASP church. That’s some sort of progress and might lead to people being open to an atheist candidate in the future.

    Also, 538 is calling this a despairation move, that is, a sign that Romney doesn’t think he can win 50.1% of the vote and so is trying a risky move in the hopes that it will pay off big.

    So, while the glass is by no means half full, there’s at least a few molecules of water vapor in it somehwere.

  136. KG says

    Okay, you were trying to make a point. Yeah, you put me in my place. Along with every other economist. I’m really impressed by how insightful your point was. Yes sir. I sure am impressed. I cannot express my gratitude of the point you made. I’ll put a note, with proper attribution, in the next issue of the Journal of Political Economics explaining that some guy on a blog likes to vote and he thinks this is important for economists to know. – ‘Tis Himself

    Well, I’d have thought that, given their state of puzzlement (as you report), economists might actually have tried asking people why they vote; so far as I can discover from a quick google scholar search, they haven’t – or if they have, in an article I haven’t found, other economists have not taken any notice of the results. Of course, one would not accept people’s answers uncritically, but it would be an obvious place to start if economists in general were interested in how people actually make decisions, rather than in how economic theory says they should. From what I can discover, economists’ work on why people vote begins with Downs’ 1957 treatise An Economic Theory of Democracy. I don’t have immediate access to this, but WikiSummary’s summary concluded that a “rational voter” should almost never vote, because of the “costs” of doing so. This treatise seems to be the root of the puzzlement you report. But of course if a considerable proportion of potential voters in enjoy voting, the puzzle disappears. Might it not be worth some effort to find out whether this is actually the case?

  137. dianne says

    Yeah its funny how mormon royalty (millionaire mormons) are never the ones who go on missions where they can catch regional diseases and parasites, eh?

    No, no. You’re reading it all wrong. Rmoney’s soul was in deep danger in decadent France and he volunteered for the assignment to save other, poorer and therefore less trustwrothy, Mormoms from having to take the risk of being corrupted by the evil French. (/snark)

  138. dianne says

    Excuse the stupid question, but can anyone explain to me why the US needs a LARGER “defense” budget? Who are they expecting to attack? We can already turn any invader into a pile of radioactive glass without trying and even if we play “nice”, like in Afghanistan or Iraq, destroy a country’s infrastructure and culture without working up a sweat*. What more do Ryan and Rmoney want?

    *Always necessary disclaimer: Yes, I’m aware that the Taliban is not a nice group and that Hussein’s government was crappy and all, but numerou social indicators such as the total death rate and infant and maternal mortality have actually worsened under the US-backed regimes. An impressive achievement given the starting conditions.

  139. dianne says

    the rest of government would largely have to disappear. That includes everything from veterans’ programs to medical and scientific research, highways, education, nearly all programs for low-income families and individuals other than Medicaid, national parks, border patrols, protection of food safety and the water supply, law enforcement, and the like.

    Wow. If he manages it, I may have to carry out that long standing threat to leave the US. My partner and I both depend on research funding to keep our jobs and I’m paranoid as crap about food and drug safety. OTOH, less money for law enforcement…does that mean ditching the “drug war” and homeland security? Could get behind that plan…

  140. DLC says

    For those of you who were going to Hold your nose and vote for Obama, does this make the choice less malodorous ?

    It’s a bit confusing. The “tea-party” (a corporate created astroturf movement if there ever was one) has run on fiscal conservative and been legislating culture war social conservative. And the approval rating of congress right now doesn’t seem to faze the GOP in the least.
    So they’re running Romney/Ryan. Could it be they realize they can’t win and are just running to show the colors ?
    Or maybe their 10 million a week strategy will work. Time will tell.

  141. spamamander, more skeptical-er and rational-er than you says

    Veering off-topic a moment…

    @ Rip Steakface 134

    My oldest is starting her second year at UW (Tacoma campus, but will move to the main uni next year, as the satellite campus can’t accommodate her pre-med major) and frankly I was amazed when we went to the orientation last year, and they broke down the numbers for us. I expected MUCH higher tuition for a University with that kind of reputation. Seeing the costs listed for a shitty for-profit program compared to that just made my jaw drop.

  142. Walton says

    Good reasons to support Obama over Romney:

    (1) Obama’s recent announcement that his administration will not seek to deport young undocumented immigrants who would have been covered by the DREAM Act, had it been passed, is an important step forward. Obama also says he will sign the DREAM Act if Congress passes it. Romney opposes both of those measures.

    In saying this, I’m not pretending that Obama is great on immigrants’ rights – his administration has deported more people than Bush’s did, and continues to imprison thousands of undocumented immigrants a year in appalling conditions simply for having crossed a border without papers. But Romney’s position is markedly worse. Romney has been taking advice from racists like Kris Kobach, and refuses to support even the DREAM Act, let alone a better immigration reform package.

    This is not an academic issue. Undocumented immigrants have to live in fear every day of being arrested by ICE, separated from their families, and deported. Immigrants’ rights are important, and electing Romney, with his racist anti-immigrant positions, amounts to throwing undocumented immigrants under the bus.

    (2) Reproductive rights. Obama supports them, Romney doesn’t.

    (3) Health care. I’m not going to pretend that the Affordable Care Act is wonderful, or a satisfactory long-term solution, but it’s much better than doing nothing. Millions of Americans currently suffer and die without adequate health care, and this is a crisis that Romney and Ryan propose simply to ignore.

    And that’s just for starters. Yes, there are areas where the candidates are equally awful – foreign policy, for instance, and the erosion of civil liberties in the name of “fighting terrorism”. But there are enough areas where Obama is better to make it worth voting for Obama.

  143. joed says

    your vote has not counted for at least 10 years, what make you think it will count this next election?
    You are given 2 pair of candids to choose from and both sets are psychopathic.
    Voting the lesser of two evils is evil in itself.
    People voting the lo2e’s theory is what has created the mess the u s is in.
    the solution is to vote for a person you want to be president, write-in is available in every state.
    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/130177-Kurt Vonnegut on Psychopaths and the Pathocracy (Interview)
    “What has allowed so many Psychopathic Personalities to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! F*** habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!”

  144. KG says

    the solution is to vote for a person you want to be president – joed

    What makes you think that would make your vote count?

  145. KG says

    On the plus side, this is, I think, going to be the first ticket where neither pres or VP is a member of a mainstream WASP church. – dianne

    Is it known that Biden is going to be the Democratic VP nominee?

  146. patterson says

    I’m surprised the rich still pay taxes. How many elections till the phrase ‘tax cuts for the rich’ becomes purely allegorical?

  147. Gregory Greenwood says

    dianne @ 179;

    Excuse the stupid question, but can anyone explain to me why the US needs a LARGER “defense” budget?

    It is not a stupid question at all. It is one that needs to be asked loudly and often enough that we actually get some kind of answer.

    Who are they expecting to attack? We can already turn any invader into a pile of radioactive glass without trying and even if we play “nice”, like in Afghanistan or Iraq, destroy a country’s infrastructure and culture without working up a sweat*. What more do Ryan and Rmoney want?

    The Republican panic-mongers will probably go with a nice, nebulous ‘terrorist threat’ without ever nailing down exactly what form this supposedly massive existential threat will actually take. If that doesn’t do it, they will add in Iran’s nuclear program, and possibly do a combo with the idea of Iranian or Pakistani nukes falling into terrorist hands.

    That a larger military will not in and of itself prevent terrorist attacks – and indeed that greater militarism on the part of the US will likely further radicalise people on the receiviong end, thus fostering the next generation of terrrorism – will be quietly ignored.

    Of course, if you run into the real tinfoil hat brigade within the Republican party, you will encounter people who will, in all seriousness, tell you that the US should be thinking ‘outside the box’ in military terms, and so the fact that no terrestrial adversary could credibly threaten the US with invasion won’t help if the threat hails *dramatic, ’50s style announcer voice* from beyond the stars! */dramatic, ’50s style announcer voice*.

    The fact that – in the laughably unlikely event that any race advanced enough to acheive rapid interstellar travel was even aware of us/could be bothered to invade our little ball of mud – they actually believe that the combined militaries of the world would be more than a minor annoyance to such a powerful species is kinda cute…

  148. says

    OTOH, less money for law enforcement…does that mean ditching the “drug war” and homeland security? Could get behind that plan…

    no, it means privatization of prisons and cops on minimum wage. what could possibly go wrong?

  149. says

    Rip Steakface @134:

    …$81,000 for less than two years of school is more expensive than frickin’ Harvard.

    Correct. The main point here is that Romney touts Full Sail University as an example of for-profit schools keeping the cost of education down though good ol’ capitalistic competition.

    Romney is so far removed from reality that he uses examples that make the opposite point he thinks he is making. And he can’t be educated.

  150. says

    I’m responding to comment #135 that lists all the things Paul Ryan voted for, and that asks us to cut him some slack.

    Well, as it turns out, the big bad meany leadership made Paul Ryan vote for those things. He didn’t want to do it.

    [This quote is from journalist Ryan Lizza]
    Because I asked him, I said look, Congressman Ryan, you – this budget is extremely austere. You know, what you want to do to the federal government is really, you know, transformational. But I can’t help but notice that in the Bush years, you voted for large tax cuts, you voted for two wars that weren’t paid for, you voted for Medicare Part D, the entitlement that helps seniors pay for prescription drugs, and then at the end of the Bush years, TARP, the bank bailout bill. And all told, that added 4 or 5 trillion dollars to the deficit. What do you – you know, how do you respond to that? How do you respond to this idea that you have no credibility as a fiscal conservative after that?

    You know, and he was very up front, I though in – not that he opposes all of those votes, I think he still defends TARP, and he certainly still defends the tax cuts – but he argued that look, in the Bush years, these were not his words, but essentially he was miserable because he was forced to vote for things that he didn’t want to vote for and that both in the House Republican leadership and at the White House there was not a suitable concern for conservative, small-government fiscal policy.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=157716398

  151. Walton says

    I’d be very happy with “less money for law enforcement” if it were achieved through sensible measures: legalizing drug possession and other victimless crimes; cutting down the use of imprisonment; and defunding ICE and putting a moratorium on all immigration enforcement (and, preferably, providing a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants). Of course, no Republican would ever dare suggest that.

  152. Pteryxx says

    OTOH, less money for law enforcement…does that mean ditching the “drug war” and homeland security?

    Seconding what Jadehawk said about privatization. Also, one of the fundamentals of the “drug war” is routine seizure of property on SUSPICION of drug charges, which the seizing officials then use to fund their departments.

    (emphasis mine):

    (asset forfeiture – definition & outcomes) “Administrative forfeiture is the process by which property may be forfeited to the United States without judicial involvement. Federal seizing agencies perform administrative forfeitures. Seizures must be based on probable cause. The authority for a seizing agency to start an administrative forfeiture action is found in 19 U.S.C. § 1607.

    “Administrative forfeiture can be used to seize and forfeit the following:
    • any amount of currency;
    • personal property valued at $500,000 or less, including cars, guns, and boats;
    • hauling conveyances of unlimited value.

    http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/forfeiture

    Adjusted for inflation, the Justice Department’s asset forfeiture fund, which includes proceeds from forfeitures carried out by all federal agencies except Immigration and Customs Enforcement, grew from $1.3 billion in 2001 to $3.1 billion in 2008. (The total includes some money left over from previous years, but according to Smith, almost all of the money is doled out to local and federal agencies on an annual basis.) National Public Radio has reported that between 2003 and 2007, the amount of money seized by local law enforcement agencies enrolled in the federal forfeiture program tripled from $567 million to $1.6 billion. That doesn’t include property seized by local law enforcement agencies without involving federal authorities.

    The Chicago Tribune reported that in just the three years between 2006 and 2008, Tenaha police stopped 140 drivers and asked them to sign waivers agreeing to hand over their cash, cars, jewelry, and other property to avoid arrest and prosecution on drug charges. If the drivers agreed, police took their property and waved them down the highway. If they refused, even innocent motorists faced months of legal hassles and thousands of dollars in attorney fees, usually amounting to far more than the value of the amount seized. One local attorney found court records of 200 cases in which Tenaha police had seized assets from drivers; only 50 were ever criminally charged.

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/01/26/the-forfeiture-racket

    The Tenaha legal case is ongoing.

  153. mekathleen says

    With Ryan on the ticket, the lesser evil just got the go-ahead to become a whole lot more evil.

    In being the first Democrat to say publicly that “entitlements” had to be cut, Obama did more damage to Old Age Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid and other social safety nets than any Republican possibly could have done.

    By enacting ACA, Obama did more damage to the possibility of Medicare for all than Republican possibly could have done. (Heck, Ryan’s care is basically “replace Medicare with Obamacare.)

    I don’t live in a swing state anyway, so I can’t effect how the electoral college will vote. I disagree with all the politicians who are working to cut our social safety net – Republican and Democrat – so I’m voting Green.

  154. says

    SallyStrange @164 asks:

    This report doesn’t make it clear whether Ryan would suspend federal spending on transportation infrastructure. Anyone have information on that?

    Protect your irony meters. First the back story from journalist Ryan Lizza:


    And the Ryan family, they were in the construction business. They built most of the roads in the town. You know, ironically, they helped build the interstate. So, you know, Eisenhower’s big government program, connecting all of the various parts of America through a federal interstate system, the Ryan family helped do that in Wisconsin.

    You know, so government spending on roads helped build Ryan, Inc. It eventually turned into a national construction firm that’s still, you know, a major company today, and most of Ryan’s family sort of went into the family business.

    Paul Ryan grew up in a well-to-do family thanks to a construction fortune that depended, in part, on government-funded projects.

    Paul Ryan’s budget proposes $871 in investment cuts.
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/03/budget_disinvestment.html/

    the Ryan budget will rob Americans of future economic opportunities by slashing more than $871 billion of investment in education and skills training, science and technology research and development, and transportation infrastructure in the decade between 2013 and 2022

    The cuts include cutting transportation infrastructure investment per capita by 28 percent.

    The Ryan budget disinvests in transportation infrastructure … cutting from the current $307 per person down to $220 per person by 2022. Investments to improve and repair the nation’s interstate highway system, public transportation, aviation, railroads, and inland waterways will be on the chopping block under these proposed cuts.

    I wonder if Ryan’s cuts would make Republican business owners take a second look at the speech Obama gave about supporting and maintaining our infrastructure. Maybe they would read for comprehension and realize the “that” in “you didn’t build that” refers to Obama’s previous sentence in which he specified roads and bridges (and also to earlier comments about infrastructure in general that we fall build together).

  155. says

    skeptifem @171

    Incidentally, I learned recently that Romney spent his 30-month mission in France. Tough assignment, hunh?

    Yeah its funny how mormon royalty (millionaire mormons) are never the ones who go on missions where they can catch regional diseases and parasites, eh? what a craaaaazy coincidence!

    Romneys missionary assignment in France was also longer than normal for mormon young men. Being in France that long kept him from being drafted and serving in Vietnam.

  156. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    I have the luxury of voting for smaller parties here in Australia (where mandatory voting means that getting your members to vote isn’t the issue) because we don’t have first past the post voting. I vote for who I want first, and if they don’t get enough to be viable then their ballots get split along the 2nd preferences, and so forth and so on. So usually one of the bigger parties wins, but every so often one of the smaller parties wins because people can and do vote for them without worried about their vote being wasted, and while still being able to put the person they like least at the bottom of the list.

    And yet we still might get the right wing looney at the next election because most of the media are bought and paid for if not outright owned by big business that wants a government that they have paid for. At least that is the impression I’m getting.

    If that happens I’m not entirely sure where I could move.

  157. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    so I’m voting Green.

    Then you are effectively voting for Romney/Ryan. That’s a problem with our two-party system, and won’t change until we get instant run-off like Austrailia.

  158. says

    Is there any possibility that the intent of plans like Ryan’s is what we call downloading in Canada? That is the idea is that instead of the feds paying for things it will be up to the states to pay for them if they want them. And hence take the blame when taxes go up, or for that matter when services are reduced.

  159. hypatiasdaughter says

    Could someone explain to this ignorant Canuck why the obsession with the presidential candidates?
    The Prez’s two most important powers are his veto and the appointment of Supreme Court judges. No. 2 is the most important – we don’t need any more Thomas’ or Scalia’s there. But I believe that the current ages of the judges means that there will be no openings in the next 4 years, barring illness or accident. (Which is why I would like a Dem as Prez, to make sure more liberal judges are appointed, just in case something does happen.)
    The real power to make and rescind laws (like the Patriot Act) is held by Congress. Surely, what party holds these seats is of far greater importance?
    And with so many powers being devolved to the states, focusing on your state and local representatives is of the utmost importance. That is where the religious right have being putting their energy in the last few years. (Having discovered to their chagrin that the federal Rethug party got their votes by making promises to them they had no intention of keeping.)

    BTW, the “power to the states” is a clever bait-and-switch. Whoopee, more state power and lower federal income tax! Oh. Wait. That means that that the tax burden has merely shifted to the state and local governments. And the taxes at this level are frequently hidden as increased fees, such as drivers licenses, building permits, dog tags, park entrance fees, toll roads, etc.

  160. mekathleen says

    Living in Illinois, I have no “effective vote”. I’m in a blue state and my vote will make no difference in terms of how electoral votes are allocated in my state, nor will it affect the general election.

    By voting Green in a non-swing state (whether it’s a Blue state or a Red one) you have the power to inject into the political discussion viewpoints that are not reflected. In the United States, when third parties have become large enough to be a drag on the “centrist” part, the “centrist” party generally takes up the issues that the third party wanted.

    Basically, I’d like the Democrats to steal ideas from the Greens instead of the Republicans. And they might do that, at least within my Blue State, if they find that they’ve lost 10% of the vote.

    In other words, when Democrats like Obama start talking about how important it is to cut cost of living raises for Social Security, there is a perceived cost for reaching out toward the Ryans of the world. There is a possibility that the losses might actually add up enough that the benefits of Obama’s “Nixon Going to China” moment of “reforming” Social Security won’t be worth the cost.

  161. mekathleen says

    Also, I think that “the American Plutocracy” is quite good at this game of lesser evils. Given that financial fraud prosecutions are at a 20-year-low, the investigations into ongoing fraud by mortgage banks have gone nowhere, we’ve got Democrats calling for cutting our social safety net too (just a little less), we’ve got Democrats calling to privatize schools, prisons, we’ve got Democrats calling for more “clean coal” and the rest of our infrastructure and the great liberal achievement that resulted from the 2008 election was the Bob Dole health care plan, I think it’s fair to say that all the evils are evil.

    So when you are in one of the 30-40 states where your vote will have NO impact on the winner presidential election, you are only expressing the will of the electorate. In that case, voting against your will is wasting your vote.

  162. captstormfield says

    @theophontes #165: It seems to me to be a lot like buying lottery tickets. Somewhere inside you know it won’t happen, but you cling to the dream. Honest dreams (like grinding out legislation to incrementally improve the mundane nuances of real life) just aren’t as much fun as dishonest dreams (like someday I’ll be rich too and then I’ll sure want low taxes on me).

  163. jacklewis says

    @203
    The thing is the dems can rely without fault to receive all semi left leaning votes due to this “lesser evil” mentality. Knowing they have the left vote in the bag they are always going after the center, right voters. As time goes the democrats keep going to the right and take right side stances (cut medicare, social security…). This makes perfect sense for them as no matter what they do, their blind followers will never vote for anyone else and they want to sway the other side’s voters. Notice that the republicans actually don’t bother trying to get the left leaning vote. They take stances that actually support the follies of their base.
    If progressive voters ever started voting en masse to alternative parties like the Greens, the democrats might actually wake up and start pretending to be somewhat progressive and realize that they have to win their bases votes, it’s not a given. By taking more progressive views, younger voters (typically less conservative) might actually be bothered to come out and vote… now that would be something, wouldn’t it?

  164. robro says

    dianne asked:

    can anyone explain to me why the US needs a LARGER “defense” budget? Who are they expecting to attack?

    Dem evil Ruskies and evil Muslims are comin’ to git’cha. And don’t ferget dem evil Martian demons. Actually, the real reason is to move more money from our pockets into those of big defense contractors who donate to the campaigns.

  165. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    People act like the only election in the fall is for president. I have the chance of electing a progressive democrat to congress (versus the teabagger incumbent) this fall due to redistricting. Everybody’s vote counts in more ways than one.

  166. Walton says

    But I believe that the current ages of the judges means that there will be no openings in the next 4 years, barring illness or accident

    Really? I’m not convinced that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will hold on for another four years. She’s not in a great state of health. And her replacement by a conservative would be something of a disaster.

    Anyway, it’s not just the Supreme Court that matters. Most federal cases are resolved at District Court or Court of Appeals level, and federal judges at that level (who are also appointed by the President) have a lot of power and influence.

  167. hypatiasdaughter says

    Slightly OT, but at #135, shripathikamath mentioned ” federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists”.
    Anyone tried to renew a driver’s license recently?
    In Georgia, this now requires EVERYONE to personally go to the DoT office with picture ID (your old license doesn’t count) and two proofs of your current address. How many pieces of ID, besides your drivers license, do you have with picture ID? How many proofs of address do some people have? They told me to bring a utility bill and the lady gave me a quizzical look when I told her they were all in my husband’s name. She hadn’t thought of that. (I have to return and will try my bank statement and my SS statement and see if they will work.) This is an enactment of anti-terrorist laws that were put into place under Bush.
    Why the fuck does the average American have to prove to the government where he lives? Why are his fingerprints on his driver’s license? Why is his drivers license only permitted to have to have his full legal birth name – or proof that is has been changed through marriage or by a judge?
    The last bit is an absolutely ingenious way to block voters who are poor, elderly or simply unaware of the law. Your voter registration must also use the name in full on your license if you use it as ID when you go to vote. They can deny you a ballot and accuse you of voter fraud if it doesn’t. That was the reason that many people were cut off voter rolls in the last election; and where the accusations of voter fraud came from. For example, PZ may use legally use PZ on his mortgage, his utility bills, his bank accounts – but his drivers license and his voter registration MUST use Paul Zachary, as on his birth certificate. I had a friend who never used her birth certificate name and had to go to court to change her name to the one she had always used because the DoT would only issue a drivers license in her birth certificate name. Clever way to cut down on the voter rolls, eh?
    The fallout from 911 is that Americans’ basic constitutional rights are being put through the shredder while the the average dopey American cheers on “the War on Terrorism” – and buys guns to protect himself from the evils of the Democrats and Obamacare. If only these idiots knew where the real threats to their freedom from government was coming from.

  168. strange gods before me ॐ says

    hypatiasdaughter,

    The Prez’s two most important powers are his veto and the appointment of Supreme Court judges. No. 2 is the most important

    I agree supreme court judges are most important, but the second might not be the veto. Consider the appointment of cabinet members and others in the executive. The US is different under Holder or Reno than Gonzales or Ashcroft.

    we don’t need any more Thomas’ or Scalia’s there. But I believe that the current ages of the judges means that there will be no openings in the next 4 years, barring illness or accident. (Which is why I would like a Dem as Prez, to make sure more liberal judges are appointed, just in case something does happen.)

    Hard to guess Kennedy and Scalia are now the age that O’Connor was when she retired, Breyer isn’t far behind, and Ginsburg is older than O’Connor was.

    If I were Scalia, I would deliberately retire “early” under the next Republican, just to avoid accidentally dying under a Democrat. Souter seems to have done just that sort of maneuver, waiting for Obama.

    The real power to make and rescind laws (like the Patriot Act) is held by Congress. Surely, what party holds these seats is of far greater importance?

    In theory, but not so much in practice. For instance, the president now has the ability to go to war unilaterally, without relying on congress.

    And since tremendous executive power doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, best to have someone who frequently uses it for good instead of evil.

    +++++
    But yeah, congress is still important. As are state legislatures, governors, courts, et cetera. One hopes that mekathleen will consider all of the down-ballot races separately, since they’re not all going to be blue shoo-ins, even in a blue state.

  169. KG says

    For instance, the president now has the ability to go to war unilaterally, without relying on congress. – SGBM

    And a Robomormon victory would considerably increase the likelihood of an attack on Iran – or support for one by Israel.

  170. hypatiasdaughter says

    #209 Thanks, Walton. I had forgotten about the Prez appointing the other federal judges – and federal DA’s, too (I believe). And there was such a big stink about that when Clinton was elected, though I cannot remember the details.

  171. hypatiasdaughter says

    Thanks for the feedback, folks. It gives me something to chew on.
    It just frustrates me that Obama gets accused of not doing things that are the bailiwick of Congress. He can rescind “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, but not pass legislation guaranteeing LBGT rights, for instance, because only Congress can do that.
    Of course, I would prefer a Dem in the Oval Office. But I just don’t think people pay enough attention to the power that “lesser” legislatures have to make our lives hell. And that is where religious right are focusing their time and money.

  172. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Should have been a period after that –> “Hard to guess[.]”

    I’m looking at #196 now. mekathleen is kind of an idiot, eh?

    Sigh. Reply forthcoming anyway.

  173. mekathleen says

    Living in Chicago, I look at all the down ballot races separately. And between the Democrat who’s going to get a minimum of 60% of the vote and the Green, I generally choose the Green.

    In our last Mayoral election, the most conservative candidate won, which is who Obama’s former Chief of Staff is our mayor.

    One of these days the good guys might win water commissioner.

  174. mekathleen says

    There is a lot of name-calling from Democrats who feel owed a vote here, but even if every single person in Illinois who voted for Nader had voted for Gore, Gore still would have lost the general election and his home state.

  175. mekathleen says

    Among Obama’s many defining choices was the failure to appoint federal judges to fill the dozens of vacancies that remain. These vacancies existed even when there were 59 Democrats in the Senate and have continued through every single recess, despite the President’s ability to appoint judges during recess.

    Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid could call a vote to at least call the Republicans out. But without appointments for those dozens of vacancies from the President, there obviously can’t be a vote.

    A huge majority was squandered, whether on purpose or due to incompetence. My view is that it was because the plutocracy can afford to buy both political parties and that it was on purpose.

  176. kayden says

    @Lynna, OM:

    Great posts. A Romney/Ryan administration would be scary as hell: For women’s reproductive rights, for gays, for minorities, for the elderly. I guess heterosexual White males should be okay — unless they’re progressive.

    Obama hasn’t been perfect, but the ACA is a first step towards an improved healthcare system for the non-insured. And he’s made several steps in the right direction for gay civil rights. I can only see R&R taking the country backwards, with the assistance of the Religious Right. Not good.

  177. says

    Anyone tried to renew a driver’s license recently?

    This being a nearly completely white-people-who-vote-Republican state and fairly worthless anyway, it took maybe 30 minutes to renew my expired license, and I’m not even a citizen (don’t quite remember if they asked for the green card, but I get the feeling they didn’t. they did last time, when i was switching from WA to ND license)

  178. mekathleen says

    The choice as I see it is voting for Obama and having him push and get cuts to Social Security and Medicare passed with the help of the Democrats, or electing Romney and having Ryan’s radical plan die in the Senate with no votes from Democrats.

  179. mekathleen says

    I want to highlight what Obama uses as the signature example of his argument about the false equivalence of the press:

    “The news media have played a crucial role in Mr. Obama’s career, helping to make him a national star not long after he had been an anonymous state legislator. As president, however, he has come to believe the news media have had a role in frustrating his ambitions to change the terms of the country’s political discussion. He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security, while Republicans oppose almost any tax increase to reduce the deficit.”

    So Obama blames the media because he wasn’t given enough credit for wanting to cut the social safety net. Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/us/politics/obama-is-an-avid-reader-and-critic-of-news-media-coverage.html?_r=1

  180. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I see mekathleen is a true believer™ that there is no difference between the democrats and republicans. Sorry, I see a huge difference. Vote green, and make yourself happy. Just don’t complain if the rethugs win a close election and put into effect cuts several times what Obama is trying to hold them to. That’s why before I cast a vote, I look at the real alternatives, not slogans, jingos, and what appears to be practical politics.

  181. strange gods before me ॐ says

    With Ryan on the ticket, the lesser evil just got the go-ahead to become a whole lot more evil.

    That’s magical thinking (demonology, it looks like).

    Obama pursues the policies he wants. If he wanted to pursue more conservative policies, he’d already be doing so.

    In being the first Democrat to say publicly that “entitlements” had to be cut,

    Wrong.

    Obama did more damage to Old Age Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid and other social safety nets than any Republican possibly could have done.

    More magical thinking.

    Voucher systems as proposed by Bush and Ryan would do tremendous functional damage, rather than rhetorical damage.

    By enacting ACA, Obama did more damage to the possibility of Medicare for all than Republican possibly could have done.

    This is probably the perfect solution fallacy. There isn’t much evidence to suggest that any single payer system would have been an option anytime soon. The ACA is much better than continually wishing for a single payer system that never arrives.

    Anyway, you give no evidence for your claim, and there is reason to think otherwise:

    On the ruling, [Sanders] is upbeat:

    “Today is a good day for millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions who can no longer be rejected by insurance companies. It is a good day for families with children under 26 who can keep their children on their health insurance policies. It is a good day for women who can no longer be charged far higher premiums than men.

    It is a good day for 30 million uninsured Americans who will have access to healthcare. It is a good day for seniors who will continue to see their prescription drug costs go down as the so-called doughnut hole goes away. It is a good day for small businesses who simply cannot continue to afford the escalating costs of providing insurance for their employees. It is a good day for 20 million Americans who will soon be able to find access to community health centers.”

    But that does not mean that Sanders is satisfied.

    “In my view, while the Affordable Care Act is an important step in the right direction and I am glad that the Supreme Court upheld it, we ultimately need to do better,” the independent senator says. “If we are serious about providing high-quality, affordable healthcare as a right, not a privilege, the real solution to America’s health care crisis is a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system. Until then, we will remain the only major nation that does not provide health care for every man, woman and child as a right of citizenship.”

    Sanders’s Vermont is taking the lead in seeking to implement a state-level single-payer system—much as Canadian provinces too the lead in the 1940s and 1950s in developing who would eventually be that country’s national healthcare system. The court’s ruling won’t slow that push down, and it could actually speed it up, as attention focuses on fights over state-run Medicaid programs. Sanders says, “I hope our state will be a model to show the rest of the nation how to provide better care at less cost to more people.”

    +++++

    (Heck, Ryan’s care is basically “replace Medicare with Obamacare.)

    Not actually. Nor “basically”.

    But in any case, Medicare plus Obamacare is better than what we had prior to Obamacare: Medicare alone.

    I think it’s fair to say that all the evils are evil.

    As a communist, I sympathize, but strategies of “heightening the contradictions” do not have a good track record — making the world an even worse place for the poor does not reliably produce a progressive backlash.

    As Noam Chomsky says: “Choosing the lesser of two evils isn’t a bad thing. The cliché makes it sound bad, but it’s a good thing. You get less evil.”

    So when you are in one of the 30-40 states where your vote will have NO impact on the winner presidential election

    So which is it? 30? or 40? Evidence matters, and you shouldn’t encourage people to underestimate variability.

  182. strange gods before me ॐ says

    There is a lot of name-calling from Democrats who feel owed a vote here

    Liar.

    This is such a tired fucking line.

    All I’m saying is study carefully and be sure that you really are voting strategically, don’t just wing it.

    Yes, Obama will win Illinois. You can safely vote Green on the presidential ticked, mekathleen. I’m not arguing with you about that. Note again: “But yeah, congress is still important. As are state legislatures, governors, courts, et cetera. One hopes that mekathleen will consider all of the down-ballot races separately, since they’re not all going to be blue shoo-ins, even in a blue state.”

    But a lot of your other arguments are not only wrong but stupidly wrong — and that’s why I’m calling you an idiot, idiot.

  183. Amphiox says

    re 184;

    First of all, the Democrats and Obama are not evil. And even if they were, if my choice today is between lawful evil that will oppress me, and chaotic evil that will completely destroy my country and kill me, then today I will choose lawful evil, and today I will help lawful evil destroy chaotic evil.

    Tomorrow I will join the resistance, but today I do what I must to defeat chaotic evil, so that there actually will BE a tomorrow and a resistance to join.

    Choosing the “lesser of two evils” is SURVIVAL. Those who sanctimoniously say that it is an evil in itself like you do, are wallowing in the unrecognized privilege of being sufficiently protected that they can hope to survive the triumph of the greater evil.

    Well not everyone has that privilege, so please take your sanctimony and stuff it.

  184. Amphiox says

    And don’t forget that Obama wanted a single payer system. The ACA was the compromise that he managed to get, and it was the best available compromise that the circumstances would allow. If it had been possible for Obama to get single payer, he would have done.

    Perhaps a more politucally skilled progressive presudenr might have gotten single payer, but perhaps Jesus could have walked on water too, if he had existed.

  185. mekathleen says

    I’m fully willing to concede that the marginally less evil of the Democrats is less evil than the slightly greater evil of the Republicans.

    My point is that when you are somewhere where the Republicans will win anyway, there is no reason to concern yourself with these battles. If you are in a state where Democrats have \won by a margin of error of more than 15 points since 1992, there’s no reason to add one more vote to the tally of the guy that Chase Bank owns.

    There are 2 functions of voting. One is the decision of who gets to sit in the chair and the other is to express the views of the electorate. The “lesser evil” function where you call yourself practical and scoff “true believers” makes some sense when there is any question of who will sit in the chair, but there is no need to worry about that when the seat-filler is a sure thing.

    If you are from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Hawaii, Vermont, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, California, Washington, Illinois or Minnesota you don’t need to worry about your vote being “a vote for Romney”. Obama’s got your state. Even if every single person in those states who preferred the platform of the Green Party voted for the Greens, he’d still win. And the margin doesn’t matter, he would get all of the electoral votes.

    So if you are in those states, and you are going to the polls anyway because you are interested in down-ballot races that are less of a blow-out, why not indulge in the SECOND function of voting when choosing which lever to pull at the top of the ticket. Why not vote for what you believe in? It can influence future discussion if there is a greater number of people voting for it and if Romney gets anywhere close to winning Vermont in November, then Obama has screwed up so badly that there is no way your little vote is gonna save him.

  186. says

    I hope mekathleen is helping get out the vote and register voters in their district. Heck, they could be registering green voters! Depending on laws in their state they have at least a month, possibly two, to get on that. I am out registering voters and encouraging voter turnout because local progressive/Dem (they’re not always the same, but there’s enough progressive Democrats to make it worth it) need all the help they can get.

    I don’t appreciate being told that just because I try to vote strategically rather than in blind futile protest, I must think the Democrats are somehow owed votes. I vote Democrat because then the Democrats owe ME. I may vote third party at the presidential level, but really, even if I don’t, having the numbers that indicate the depth of support for the non-regressive faction can’t be a bad thing.

    I have to say, mekathleen, I’ve encountered many, MANY people who simply refuse to register to vote–even though it takes less than a minute and I’m standing right in front of them saying, “all you have to do is sign here,” and I submit that attitudes like yours are a direct cause of this apathetic refusal to get involved. And these are people who could be voting in local elections, for politicians who won’t, for example, raise bus fares. Basic stuff. And they end up screwed because they have this totally wrong idea that voting makes no difference.

    I wish you’d stop.

  187. strange gods before me ॐ says

    A huge majority was squandered, whether on purpose or due to incompetence. My view is that it was because the plutocracy can afford to buy both political parties and that it was on purpose.

    You’re an idiot. Taking your assumption seriously, what we should have seen instead is Obama appointing a bunch of judges who’re sufficiently conservative to satisfy the plutocracy.

    The choice as I see it is voting for Obama and having him push and get cuts to Social Security and Medicare passed with the help of the Democrats, or electing Romney and having Ryan’s radical plan die in the Senate with no votes from Democrats.

    So you admit you actually do want Romney to win. Fucking idiot.

    Despite all the other damage they would do, even if your silly assumption holds that they would never be able to do anything like the Ryan plan or a watered-down version thereof. Again, I suggest you look up the track record of “heightening the contradictions.”

  188. says

    Yes, Obama will win Illinois. You can safely vote Green on the presidential ticked, mekathleen. I’m not arguing with you about that.

    Likewise, I doubt anybody here will contest that. If that is the only point mekathleen is trying to make, then consider the point made. No need to argue it further, you’ll encounter no resistance to that idea.

    You should, however, apologize for spreading the wrong and damaging idea that voting is useless and pointless and makes no difference. If it wasn’t your intention to communicate that idea then you failed pretty badly at basic communication.

  189. Amphiox says

    re 225;

    The context of that willingness to accept (note the word accept, not advocate) cuts to Medicare and social security was in NEGOTIATIONS, in exchange for REVENUE INCREASES from the republicans (ie raising taxes on the rich). It is not something they want, but something they were willing to give up in exchange for concessions of equal value.

    An argument as deceptive and dishonest as what mekathleen just presented in #225 I have not seen except from teapartiers and libertarians.

  190. mekathleen says

    I wasn’t calling Democratic voters idiots or their votes worthless. I think if you look through this thread, the name calling all came from Democrats.

    I said that the statement that if you don’t “vote strategically” you are wasting your vote is invalid. There is no justification for focusing on lesser evils in an area the margin by the dominant party wins presidential elections is great. When you are in a +20 Democratic state or a +20 Republican state, “a vote for third party is a vote for the other side” doesn’t hold water.

    I also never said “don’t vote”. I am voting Green because even in a town like Chicago, where politicians win by margins that would make Putin blush, I believe in voting. I believe in expressing “the will of the electorate”. And to do that I actually have to vote for what I would like to see happen. Which is why I don’t vote for the guy from Chase Bank.

    Also, Obama not appointing judges at all is not really different than appointing conservatives. As soon as a conservative gets into the Presidency, those seats that he’s kept so conveniently vacant through his inaction will be filled by conservatives.

  191. says

    I saw a great Paul Ryan quote today on Facebook and I’d love for it to go viral:

    “I can see the end of Medicare from my front porch”

    —Paul Ryan

  192. says

    Obama not appointing judges at all is not really different than appointing conservatives. As soon as a conservative gets into the Presidency, those seats that he’s kept so conveniently vacant through his inaction will be filled by conservatives.

    When you say things as spectacularly silly as this, it makes it really hard not to call you names. Like, the things that happen now don’t matter because worse things will happen in the future. That’s just fatalism, and it is, I’m sorry to say, dumb.

    If you don’t like being called “dumb” I suggest you stop expressing patently stupid opinions.

  193. Amphiox says

    mekathleen continues to speak from the privileged position of someone who can afford to risk the greater evil winning.

    No mekathleen, Obama and the democrats are NOT a lesser evil, because they are NOT evil. And the Republicans are NOT a “slightly” greater evil, they are an ENORMOUSLY GREATER evil. The damage that the US democratic process would accrue even from a competitive if unsuccessful republican showing in 2012, through validation of their odious political tactics (not even policies) would be substantial. Ideally the republicans need to be more than beaten in 2012, they need to be CRUSHED. The Tea Party and the other obstructionists need to be electorally wiped out in landslides in order to discredit obstructionism as a strategy and prevent all sides from adopting it in order to restore the spirit of compromise to American politics. This is why it is dangerous to vote for third parties even in safe democratic districts, because even if the democrats win, a closer than expected showing for the republicans will encourage them to double down on these political strategies that they have pioneered that are so destructive to the nuts and bolts functioning of the democratic process itself.

    This is FAR more important in fact than any individual policy, of any kind. More important even than the question of going to war.

  194. says

    I said that the statement that if you don’t “vote strategically” you are wasting your vote is invalid.

    Also, nobody said this. I suggest you constrain yourself to arguing with positions that have actually been expressed, if you enjoy being taken seriously and not called terrible awful names.

  195. mekathleen says

    When I think of the Democratic Party, I think of Sun Tzu.

    “Draw them in with prospect of gain, take them by confusion.”

    The health care fight morphed from universal to public option to individual mandate where now the supposed “liberals” are defending a mandate to buy a defective product that creates profit through human suffering.

    And so “liberals” vote for Obama, the president who took away some of our constitutional rights and fires drone missiles at the drop of a hat because some how, that is going to teach the Republicans a lesson.

  196. Amphiox says

    If the democrats normally win Chicago be 65%, but thanks to voters like mekathleen they only win this time be 55%, the republicans will see that as a validation of their obstructionist tactics, and will double down on them. Remember that one of the primary goals of the strategy was to force Obama rightward to compromise with them and to prevent him for achieving anything progressive in order to disillusion the progressives who flocked to him in 2008, and either drive them to third parties or make them less enthusiastic about voting at all.

    mekathleen has fallen right into their trap, hook, line, and sinker, as a very useful idiot for them indeed.

    This will result in more polarization, more obstruction, more gridlock, and the Overton window will move another notch rightwards.

    Stopping this requires the discrediting of obstructionism as a tactic. This needs Obama to win by more than he did in 2008. If the voters of America want obstructionism to stop then they have to show that it doesn’t work, that it will actually drive MORE votes to the obstructed side. That they understand that it is the obstructors who are really at fault for the gridlock and punish them for it.

  197. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, mekathleen, you haven’t convinced me of anything, as you are thinking tactics, not strategy. Here’s a hint, there is no way other than progressives doing grass roots organizing and taking the democratic party back through that organizing that they stand a chance of electing a truly progressive ticket leader to the presidency. I really don’t see the greens as a viable alternative in the US; they have some bad baggage for this country. That’s what the conservatives did back in the ’70s to bring Reagan to the forefront of one of the major parties. Which, up to then, had people like popular governors George Romney and Nelson Rockefeller, and some other progressives in elective office and party leadership positions.

  198. says

    When I think of the Democratic Party, I think of Sun Tzu.

    “Draw them in with prospect of gain, take them by confusion.”

    The health care fight morphed from universal to public option to individual mandate where now the supposed “liberals” are defending a mandate to buy a defective product that creates profit through human suffering.

    And so “liberals” vote for Obama, the president who took away some of our constitutional rights and fires drone missiles at the drop of a hat because some how, that is going to teach the Republicans a lesson.,

    You should put down Sun Tzu and pick up a math book

    X-6 (>) Y-6 == X>Y

    Obama did more than what Romny wants to for health care and his negatives are shared or exaggerated in Romny. By the math you exclude the negatives and positives that both options share because they are equivalent. X>Y

  199. mekathleen says

    And I have lots of reasons for thinking that Obama has actively moved political discourse in the wrong direction and that voting for him is voting for something harmful, though possibly less harmful, than his opponent.

    I have some housework to do, so I haven’t got time to compile a list, but this is from a blog post with 21 reasons I agree with, and over 300 things worth holding against Obama. http://my.firedoglake.com/barefootaccountant/tag/reasons-not-to-vote-for-obama/

    “1. He did not even propose the public option healthcare system: he had campaigned on that system, promising to propose it. “…

    “2. He has appointed countless Wall Streeters to his top economic team, failing to appoint labor voices like Robert Reich.

    3. He has bailed out Wall Street instead of Main Street: remember TARP? And then the banks dispensed $6 billion in bonuses in that year to its executives.

    4. He failed to attack the mortgage crisis, leaving an elephant still in our “room”, with one-third of home mortgages now underwater.

    5. He failed to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, doing away with habeous corpus, allowing the government to arrest and detain indefinitely without a trial or hearing.

    6. He agreed to an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and on top of that, he agreed to an egregious reduction of the estate taxes on the rich, exempting as much as $10 million from any estate taxes and lowering the estate tax rate down to a ridiculous rate of 35%, when our country has a $15 trillion debt. That alone saved the Walton heirs $17 billion in taxes.

    7. He has failed to indict and imprison any of those banksters involved in all of that fraud on Wall Street from the subprime mortgage, including robo-signing, and selling shit-backed mortgage securities known to be worthless.

    8. He appointed Jeffrey Immelt to head his Jobs Council when GE has been saying “China, China, China,” and shipping all jobs overseas while closing plants here in the US.

    9. President Obama is now considering and proposing to lower the corporate tax rate to 26%, when corporations are not only at a low-time rate of paying taxes but getting billions in tax subsidies from our government and opening up offices on the 19th floor of one building on the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes altogether.

    10. President Obama spoke in favor of PIPA and SOPA, when the internet is the last vestige of free speech and the availability of free information to the general public.

    11. There were no indictments by President Obama of all the contractor fraud reported on by Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul in a Congressional Report released over a year ago. Whenever the rich and big corporations are caught in fraud, Eric Holder adopts a policy of “looking forward”, instead of holding them accountable.

    12. President Obama agreed to the “grand bargain” (thank, God, Boehner did not accept it) to cut over $2 trillion in spending, including social security, medicare, medicaid, and other social safety-net programs merely in return for hypothetical “revenue increases” of $800 billion relying on “dynamic scoring”.

    13. President Obama has done nothing to level the trade treaties, where corporations are shipping labor to Cambodia (22.5 cents per hour), China, Philippines, etc., where labor is paid 25 cents per hour. This is exporting slavery to other countries. Where is the level playing field for Americans?

    14. President Obama in 2009 only proposed $140 billion in infrastructure spending when Paul Krugman and other economists predicted that $1.5 trillion was needed for our economy to recover. And last year only proposed a paltry $108 billion in infrastructure spending.

    15. President Obama praised the recent JOBS Act, which allows corporations to go public and raise capital without audited financial information in their public presentations for the first five years, allowing them to present fictitious numbers and defraud investors?

    16. President Obama has failed to propose the return of Glass-Steagall, separating commercial and investment banking, which will soon plunge us back into another mega-bailout of Wall Street.

    17. President Obama has failed to propose the break up of the big banks and corporations. What ever happened to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act?

    18. President Obama touted a $25 billion robo-signing settlement when a trillion dollars of our pension and retirement funds were stolen.

    19. While campaigning, President Obama promised to put on his walking shoes for labor, but failed to even show up in Wisconsin and walk the picket line against Governor Walker.

    20. President Obama has not declared war on the Supreme Court, as President Roosevelt did, to oppose the corporate/rich posture of Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts. Why not take them on?

    21. President Obama has arrested and raided more marijuana users in less than four years than George Bush did in eight years. Why is President Obama proposing cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid while spending more on marijuana arrests and raids, especially when a majority of Americans are for legalization of pot and for the open sale of marijuana for medical use?”

  200. says

    And I have lots of reasons for thinking that Obama has actively moved political discourse in the wrong direction and that voting for him is voting for something harmful, though possibly less harmful, than his opponent.

    Do you not fucking understand math?

  201. says

    I see quite a bit of discussion that includes Medicare up-thread, including this from comment #196 by mekathleen:

    By enacting ACA, Obama did more damage to the possibility of Medicare for all than Republican possibly could have done.

    Sounds like right wing talking points. Here’s Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee Chairman, speaking today on Meet the Press:

    “This president stole — he didn’t cut Medicare — he stole $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “If any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to Medicare, it’s Barack Obama. He’s the one that’s destroying Medicare.”

    This is a standard Republican tactic, take your own weaknesses and foist them on the opposition. “We Republicans aren’t backing budgets that damage Medicare, Obama already bloodied Medicare. Look over here! Don’t look at what we actually plan to do.”

    Reince Priebus is guilty of the same intellectual dishonesty as mekathleen, oversimplification.

    The Affordable Care Act included $700 billion in reimbursement reductions under Medicare to hospitals, drug companies and supplemental private insurance plans, in an effort to slow the cost growth of the program. Benefits remain untouched; the cuts only target providers.

    Ryan’s own budget blueprint included the same Medicare cuts as the Affordable Care Act. Nearly all Republicans in both chambers… voted for it….

    On ABC’s ‘This Week,” Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod took on the claims.
    …Axelrod said. “We extended the life of Medicare by eight years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”

    Ryan’s Medicare plan focuses its cuts on the beneficiary side. It converts the insurance program into a fixed subsidy that seniors can use to buy policies from a menu or private options and a government option. If the value of the subsidy doesn’t keep up with medical cost inflation, seniors will have to pay more out of pocket to get the same care….

    [Axelrod said] “Let’s be clear. Congressman Ryan is an ideologue that doesn’t believe in the Medicare program, wanted to do away with it.”

  202. says

    President Obama has not declared war on the Supreme Court, as President Roosevelt did, to oppose the corporate/rich posture of Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts. Why not take them on?

    Um maybe because of the balance of powers and he can’t fucking do shit about the court accept appoint members?

    Seriously this just shows you apparently don’t understand what the President can and cannot do. A good number of your criticisms are valid, but are WORSE FOR ROMNY, or are criticizing a dog for now meowing

  203. Rolan le Gargéac says

    Gregory Greenwood @91 11 August 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I would like to subsitute ‘git’ in place of the offending term.

    Git, from the anglo-saxon geat, I think, meaning “a worthless person”. Nice!

  204. mekathleen says

    I was THRILLED by obstruction when Obama wasn’t able to get his Grand Bargain to cut Social Security and Medicare. I was thrilled again when they weren’t able pass the Cybersecurity bill earlier this summer.

    And I’d LOVE it if Obama won’t be able to extend those Bush tax cuts again.

  205. strange gods before me ॐ says

    or Minnesota you don’t need to worry about your vote being “a vote for Romney”.

    You’re probably wrong to include Minnesota in that list.

    I wasn’t calling Democratic voters idiots or their votes worthless. I think if you look through this thread, the name calling all came from Democrats.

    So what? This is a rude blog, and you’ve been saying a lot of idiotic things. People who say idiotic things get called idiots here. There may be a sorites problem in that, but tone-trolling isn’t going to fix it.

    (And what makes someone a Democrat? Are you a Democrat when you vote for some Democratic candidates, as you say you do sometimes, mekathleen? I am a Communist, not a registered Democrat. Where I live, every vote counts (and often recounts), so I haven’t voted against a Democrat in several years. But if I lived in a solid blue state I would probably vote differently. So am I a Democrat, or am I a pragmatic Communist?)

    I said that the statement that if you don’t “vote strategically” you are wasting your vote is invalid.

    As Sally points out, nobody said this. You’re doing the idiot thing again.

    Also, Obama not appointing judges at all is not really different than appointing conservatives. As soon as a conservative gets into the Presidency, those seats that he’s kept so conveniently vacant through his inaction will be filled by conservatives.

    You’re an idiot.

    Remember, your premise was that the Democrats deliberately did not appoint judges, at the command of the plutocracy.

    That doesn’t make any sense. If, on this issue, they are acting at the command of the plutocracy, then they would just go ahead and appoint judges conservative enough to satisfy the plutocracy. The fact that they haven’t done this is evidence against your reasoning.

    The health care fight morphed from universal to public option to individual mandate where now the supposed “liberals” are defending a mandate to buy a defective product that creates profit through human suffering.

    I’m not a liberal of any sort, with or without scare quotes.

    I’m defending the ACA because it is better than what existed before it. And given the choice between more suffering (and less profit on that suffering) on the one hand, or less suffering (and more profit on that suffering) on the other hand, I choose less suffering.

    And so “liberals” vote for Obama, the president who took away some of our constitutional rights and fires drone missiles at the drop of a hat because some how, that is going to teach the Republicans a lesson.

    No, you’re the one who wants to teach the Democrats a lesson by voting for the Greens.

    It’s telling that you project your thinking onto others. I’m not interested in voting to teach anyone a lesson. I vote Democrat because the world is better when Democrats are in power than when Republicans are in power.

  206. mekathleen says

    to #248 My reference to Obama proposing cuts to Medicare refers not to PPACA, but to those proposals for a “Grand Bargain” that would include raising the age of eligibility for Medicare.

  207. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    Seriously criticizing Obama for constitutional rights and drone attacks when Romny has stated an eagerness to be even WORSE is moronic.

    Obama is not above criticism just because Romney is far worse in pretty much every possible way. This isn’t the oppression olympics and this statement totally puts my hackles up.

  208. says

    Here are few more details pertaining to changes already made to Medicare by Republicans. What you can see from the math is Republican belief in magical private enterprise efficiency too often results in higher costs for everyone. (Private prisons, anyone?)

    This info is from commenter Paul D. French, commenting on a TalkingPointsMemo article:

    [Republicans created Medicare Advantage, a privatization program.] Originally Medicare Advantage was called Medicare Part C…. It was created in the late 90s. At that time the Republicans claimed that private insurance companies would administer Medicare more efficiently, it was funded at 97% of Medicare. It was not long before the private insurers complained they were not making enough money, the funding was increased and eventually reached about 115% of what it would cost under traditional Medicare.

    It remained Medicare Part C and was not particularly popular until about the time Medicare Part D was created. Medicare Part C was then recast into Medicare Advantage. Often the Medicare Advantage policies included Medicare Part D without an additional premium, which increased the popularity of the Advantage plans. Apparently Medicare Advantage was a huge money maker for the insurance companies, because they began to price Medicare supplemental plans out of reach.

    When the Affordable Care Act cuts were made to the Medicare Advantage plans, to make them cost no more than traditional Medicare coverage, the insurers screamed that would be the end of Medicare Advantage. Oddly enough, that never happened, it was just another special interest crying wolf because their government gravy train had derailed.

    Please note that the Affordable Care Act made cuts to Medicare Advantage so that insurance companies would have to stop ripping off the taxpayers. Oh, look, reasonable cuts made by Obama’s plan.

    Also, please note that Republican privatization plans result in significant cost increases. I wonder who benefits?

  209. says

    Obama is not above criticism just because Romney is far worse in pretty much every possible way. This isn’t the oppression olympics and this statement totally puts my hackles up.

    Read for context. Obama is not above criticism but when we’re talking about who to fucking vote for the criticisms he and Romney share or that Romney is worse at are irrelevant.

    X-Z and Y-Z when comparing those two you can remove Z from both sides and see whether X or Y is greater. Obama should be criticized, but not at expense of his votes.

    And as people point out voting against him swings over all votes (because by the two party system in the national election a third party vote is basically not counted) towards Republicans which means that the data looks like it says “The Republican method and ethos is most popular, everyone adjust your politics accordingly”

  210. mekathleen says

    I am not voting for Greens to teach anyone a lesson. I am voting for Greens because I support their political platform. I have done canvassing.

    And the prospect of trying to beat the Democratic Machine in Chicago is laughable. There is more than one way to make change, and in an environment where it’s easier to help people through a food kitchen than it is to combat the League of Dead Democratic voters, I’d rather focus on feeding people today than the chimera of somehow beating Rahm in 50 years.

  211. says

    I said that the statement that if you don’t “vote strategically” you are wasting your vote is invalid.

    not voting strategically means you are voting unstrategically which yes that does by definition mean you are wasting your vote. Just like not eating healthy means you are eating unhealthy.

  212. mekathleen says

    Voting for Obama in a +15 state (whether Democratic or Republican) is NOT about the math. Your vote will not turn that tide. What it can do is change discourse.

    Voting for Obama in Vermont when you don’t agree with him is not some sort of strategic imperative. Yes, the downticket races matter. But who you vote for for that top line isn’t going to change ANYTHING.

  213. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    Context? Ing, I quoted that entire post of yours. I’ve been following the discussion and I get your math argument, but you phrased that statement extremely poorly.

    I am giving you a word of caution to watch how you write things, because that could have been a “Dear Muslima” moment.

  214. mekathleen says

    @260 My point was the “vote for the candidate who you don’t like because the other guy is worse and might win is voting strategically” argument is not applicable to states where there is a +10 or more margin for one party or the other because it isn’t close enough for your reluctant “strategic” vote to turn the tide.

    I don’t think it’s good strategy to vote for the guy you don’t like when the winner is a sure thing either. I think it’s better strategy to vote for a third party and get discussion of other issues into the news. But for some reason “holding your nose and voting for this guy” is generally called “voting strategically” and I went with the vernacular.

  215. strange gods before me ॐ says

    And I have lots of reasons for thinking that Obama has actively moved political discourse in the wrong direction and that voting for him is voting for something harmful, though possibly less harmful, than his opponent.

    Do you not fucking understand math?

    Clearly, mekathleen does not.

    We’re seeing Jehovah’s Witness logic in action.

    If voting for Obama is less harmful than voting for Romney — and since one or other will become president — then it is necessarily true that voting for Obama is not something harmful.

    It could only be said to be harmful in comparison with hastening the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Since we have no good evidence that the Kingdom of Heaven may be hastened by voting Green in a first-past-the-post voting system, voting for Obama cannot be considered harmful.

  216. says

    @Alukonis

    But you didn’t quote the rest of the discussion around it which provides the obvious context and topic.

    I am giving you a word of caution to watch how you write things, because that could have been a “Dear Muslima” moment.

    No it fucking couldn’t.

  217. says

    My point was the “vote for the candidate who you don’t like because the other guy is worse and might win is voting strategically” argument is not applicable to states where there is a +10 or more margin for one party or the other because it isn’t close enough for your reluctant “strategic” vote to turn the tide.

    I don’t think it’s good strategy to vote for the guy you don’t like when the winner is a sure thing either. I think it’s better strategy to vote for a third party and get discussion of other issues into the news. But for some reason “holding your nose and voting for this guy” is generally called “voting strategically” and I went with the vernacular.

    Except that the parties look at the state results you fucking idiot. If they see they’re losing to Republicans in the state or are losing more of the vote they’re going to assume that your state is become MORE conservative not more liberal. DOY!

  218. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Voting for Obama in a +15 state (whether Democratic or Republican) is NOT about the math.

    It’s like talking to a chatbot.

    Yes, Obama will win Illinois. You can safely vote Green on the presidential ticket, mekathleen. I’m not arguing with you about that.

    Likewise, I doubt anybody here will contest that. If that is the only point mekathleen is trying to make, then consider the point made. No need to argue it further, you’ll encounter no resistance to that idea.

    You should, however, apologize for spreading the wrong and damaging idea that voting is useless and pointless and makes no difference. If it wasn’t your intention to communicate that idea then you failed pretty badly at basic communication.

  219. consciousness razor says

    No mekathleen, Obama and the democrats are NOT a lesser evil, because they are NOT evil. And the Republicans are NOT a “slightly” greater evil, they are an ENORMOUSLY GREATER evil.

    Many Democrats do a lot of evil shit. Start denying that, and the point which you really need to make (that Republicans are much, much worse) will probably get ignored.

    And so “liberals” vote for Obama, the president who took away some of our constitutional rights and fires drone missiles at the drop of a hat because some how, that is going to teach the Republicans a lesson.

    Somehow teaching Republicans a lesson isn’t the reason liberals vote for Obama, nor is it the reason Obama took away rights or fired drone missiles. Try again. But if you just want to whine without making any sense, don’t try again.

  220. mekathleen says

    If the Democrats see that they are losing 15% of their regular voters to the Greens, I don’t see how that drives them to become more like Republicans.

    Whereas if they don’t lose those votes, then they can say “hmm. Nothing to lose in supporting fracking this year, let’s get those donations.”

  221. says

    @SGBM

    I may be wrong but I don’t buy the “if your state is safe you can vote your conscience for the magical fairy option” argument because I’m not convinced any state is safe. I think that if the numbers start to show shifts towards the other party democrats will take that as a sign to start fronting more centrist or more conservative candidates there. Obviously it’s not the only metric used but my impression was that they do look at how well they did with over all vote not just whether they take the state or not.

    Also you know what is a good way to tell the Democratic Party what you think and what you want from them? To actually tell them. Leaving cryptic clues via voting for Green Party doesn’t actually compare to actually getting involved in your local gov and participating and working to build the narrative directly.

  222. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    @Ing

    Okay the context for “Seriously criticizing Obama for constitutional rights and drone attacks when Romny has stated an eagerness to be even WORSE is moronic,” is that mekathleen doesn’t want to vote for Obama because ze disagrees with some of Obama’s policies and things that he has done, and you think that it’s moronic to criticize Obama for those things because Romney is so much worse.

    Is that it? Because you might not want to read Ed Brayton’s blog then, he criticizes Obama frequently.

    I fail to see how this isn’t a “shut your piehole about your petty concerns, we’re trying to win a culture war here and you criticizing the guy that’s running against these horrible Republicans isn’t helping the issue, gosh can’t you see that he’s on our side, even though he’s not really that progressive, so you should just swallow shit and vote for him for The Greater Good!” type of argument. And I don’t see how that’s substantially different from “okay that guy made one sexist comment but gosh he fights against Sharia law so shut up and stop whining about it there are bigger issues here and we have to show solidarity!”

  223. says

    My reference to Obama proposing cuts to Medicare refers not to PPACA, but to those proposals for a “Grand Bargain” that would include raising the age of eligibility for Medicare.

    So, mekathleen, do you want Obama to work with Republicans, including making painful compromises, or not?

    A good argument can be made for judging Obama to be naive in thinking that he could work with Congress in a bipartisan way, and in thinking that Republicans had the country’s best interest at heart even if they were wrong on the facts.

    So, a lot of grand bargains were attempted. Most failed. Obama learned that most Republicans were simply out to destroy Obama, no matter the cost. To our dismay, Obama learned this too late.

    The fact that Obama met some of his goals is laudable in the obstruct-everything environment.

    “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” ~Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader

  224. mekathleen says

    Voting for a platform that supports your beliefs is not voting for “a magical sky fairy”. It is voting for a candidate who supports your belief.

    I am sure there will be Texans voting for Obama. He hasn’t a shot of winning the state. Nevertheless, they will come out to vote for him – to reflect their values and beliefs.

    This is the reason I am voting Green and encourage others to do so.

  225. says

    In context of who to vote for you fucking idiot. You don’t understand the context. No one else is confused on this but you.

    Comment by Alukonis, metal ninja blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Illiterate moron

  226. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I am not voting for Greens to teach anyone a lesson.

    Not true:

    Basically, I’d like the Democrats to steal ideas from the Greens instead of the Republicans. And they might do that, at least within my Blue State, if they find that they’ve lost 10% of the vote.

    In other words, when Democrats like Obama start talking about how important it is to cut cost of living raises for Social Security, there is a perceived cost for reaching out toward the Ryans of the world. There is a possibility that the losses might actually add up enough that the benefits of Obama’s “Nixon Going to China” moment of “reforming” Social Security won’t be worth the cost.

    (I apologize for calling you a liar earlier, though. Your earlier bullshit can be explained by simply being an idiot who parrots talking points without evaluating their truth value.)

    I am voting for Greens because I support their political platform.

    This is not mutually exclusive with voting for Greens to teach the Democrats a lesson.

    It’s apparent that you are doing both.

    What’s fucked up, though, is that you accuse people here of voting Democratic to teach the Republicans a lesson, when you have no evidence for that claim — and since you appear to (erroneously) think that having any other reason to voting for a party means the voter is not voting to teach someone else a lesson, it’s fucked up that you won’t extend the charity of your error to others.

  227. says

    This is the reason I am voting Green and encourage others to do so

    No the reason is that you’re a fucking idiot who can’t grasp game theory and basic math.There is a reason people say a 3rd party is a wasted vote and it is not because they are jaded and have lost their idealism the way the fucking system is set up determines this outcome. the game is checkers and you’re trying to play bridge. You’re putting your idealism and your selfish childish view of how the game should work over the actual concerns of your fellow citizens.

    There is massive problems with “voter fraud” where people are getting cheated out of their right to vote…and it’s probably the people on your side. Encouraging more of them not to vote is insanely stupid and irresponsible.

    You are encouraging others to play the game poorly because it makes you feel better about yourself. You’re being the Hare from Aesop’s fable, slowing down to give the other side a sporting chance.

    I am sure there will be Texans voting for Obama. He hasn’t a shot of winning the state. Nevertheless, they will come out to vote for him – to reflect their values and beliefs.

    Texas is a lot closer than you think for one. For two it is an important goal if of itself to show to the Democratic party that Texas is worth campaigning for and trying to win.

    Voting for a platform that supports your beliefs is not voting for “a magical sky fairy”. It is voting for a candidate who supports your belief.

    Yes it is. The system is set up in a way that removes such parties from being possible winners. It sucks but that’s the reality, focus on campaign and election reform later. You shouldn’t vote for a candidate that supports your beliefs, you should vote for a candidate that has the best chance of reaching the goals you want. That’s why it’s a magic sky fairy vote because you’re focused on beliefs and not outcomes.

  228. mekathleen says

    @272 – Among the many things I said about Obama that I didn’t like, most were executive actions that had nothing to do with Republicans. The decision to give banks amnesty for trillions in foreclosure fraud for $25 billion, for example. The 20-year low in investigations of financial fraud, as another example. Drone killings. These were all executive branch things. So they are pretty much 100% Obama.

    And even in cases where congress is involved, I don’t like a negotiator who begins every negotiation with the other side’s previous position. To me, when you combine his negotiating style with his executive branch actions, it looks like taking a dive. But my guesses at bad faith and your guesses at good faith are both guesses. We can only see the results of Obama’s actions, we can’t see what he really wanted, deep down, on the inside.

    I think people are welcome to vote for whatever political platform they want.

  229. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    *eyeroll* Well I guess that conversation is over. In the context of who to vote for it’s moronic to criticize Obama? Yeah okay player. FSM forbid we ever try to look honestly and critically at candidates even if we are voting for them.

    Sigh. I know this is unseen, but I find it rather disappointing that I’m suddenly an “illiterate moron” just because I don’t think it’s legitimate to suppress any criticisms of a candidate just because the other guy is so much worse. If you disagree with the criticism then attack the criticism, don’t try to silence people.

    Whatever.

  230. says

    Among the many things I said about Obama that I didn’t like, most were executive actions that had nothing to do with Republicans. The decision to give banks amnesty for trillions in foreclosure fraud for $25 billion, for example. The 20-year low in investigations of financial fraud, as another example. Drone killings. These were all executive branch things. So they are pretty much 100% Obama.

    But is no different from Romney so it shouldn’t be a concern when voting. You don’t like Bank amnesty (well actually you should because banks failing is horrifying; it is rarely banks who starve after all) so vote against the plutocrat Romney. You don’t like the low financial fraud investigations? Romney is for even lower, he made his money via fraud. You don’t like drone killings? Romney is for more war.

    All these complaints you will not even get a fucking chance to address if Romney is elected. They will be set in stone and off the table for discussion.

    Each long term goal is built up of smaller goals and steps. I agree that your criticisms are what the long term goal should address but it helps not one bit to try to jump over all the smaller goals so you can feel like you’re accomplishing the big one. The first step should be voting in anyone but Romney, then the next 4 years should be about changing the narrative more to the left.

  231. mekathleen says

    @276

    One thing I recall from game theory is that in the prisoner’s dilemma, if you keep quiet in every round while the other prisoner sells you out, you just get screwed indefinitely.

    And that’s what I’ve found voting for Democrats who propose raising eligibility ages and slicing benefits for SS & Medicare, make deals on women’s choices, spy on US citizens, expand drone killings and give banks a free pass on fraud has proven to be.

    Somehow, supporting Democrats no matter how often they enact Republican strategies hasn’t moved them to the left. In fact, it’s brought us a Democratic President who is now far to the right of Nixon.

  232. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Alukonis,

    I fail to see how this isn’t a “shut your piehole about your petty concerns, we’re trying to win a culture war here and you criticizing the guy that’s running against these horrible Republicans isn’t helping the issue

    I agree with Ing, what Ing said wasn’t confusing, and it can’t reasonably be construed the way you’ve done.

    I understand you reacted to Ing’s wording and you wish there’d been a different phrasing, and that’s fine, but you’re wrong to suggest that Ing meant what you’re getting out of it.

    This is what Ing was responding to:

    And so “liberals” vote for Obama, the president who took away some of our constitutional rights and fires drone missiles at the drop of a hat because some how, that is going to teach the Republicans a lesson.

    and in the context of everything else mekathleen has said.

    There is no reason to believe that Ing doesn’t think Obama should be criticized for drone attacks. I happen to know for certain that Ing does believe he should be criticized for such, because I have argued with Ing about this — I’ve actually taken the position that you’re ascribing to Ing — I’ve said he should not be criticized for it during an election season. And I know Ing doesn’t agree with me on that.

    Ing’s meaning was that it doesn’t make sense to vote against Obama for drone attacks when Romney will be worse on that issue, and it doesn’t make sense for mekathleen to bring this up here in this discussion as a reason for not voting for Obama, which mekathleen has done.

    Truly, nobody else is confused on this but you.

  233. says

    *eyeroll* Well I guess that conversation is over. In the context of who to vote for it’s moronic to criticize Obama? Yeah okay player. FSM forbid we ever try to look honestly and critically at candidates even if we are voting for them.

    Sigh. I know this is unseen, but I find it rather disappointing that I’m suddenly an “illiterate moron” just because I don’t think it’s legitimate to suppress any criticisms of a candidate just because the other guy is so much worse. If you disagree with the criticism then attack the criticism, don’t try to silence people.

    Whatever.

    For fuck sake you idiot, can you acknowledge the context at all?

    Even one fucking bit?

    I’m not fucking suppressing any criticism, I am saying its not relevant to the fucking election. It is relevant to the long game.

  234. mekathleen says

    @279 – Only a banker would like a bank amnesty plan that protects those who’ve engaged in fraud from prosecution for their crimes.

    Well, a banker or a loyal Democrat.

  235. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Sigh. I know this is unseen, but I find it rather disappointing that I’m suddenly an “illiterate moron” just because I don’t think it’s legitimate to suppress any criticisms of a candidate just because the other guy is so much worse.

    Actually, Ing is calling you an illiterate moron for attributing that viewpoint to Ing, which is not what Ing said, nor can what Ing said reasonably be construed that way.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say you’re an illiterate moron, but I’m less exasperated than Ing, since it’s not my words that are being twisted. You’re wrong. Please just that you’re misunderstanding (I’m the one who actually holds the viewpoint you’re attributing to Ing).

  236. says

    One thing I recall from game theory is that in the prisoner’s dilemma, if you keep quiet in every round while the other prisoner sells you out, you just get screwed indefinitely.

    This would only be true if the Democratic party wasn’t showing you ANY benefits for voting for it. This is not so. You’ve learned the wrong lesson from game theory. Also if you recall from the prisoner’s dilemma your choices are Betray or Ally. You’re choosing Ally and they’re choosing betray so you lose. If you now chose Betray…YOU STILL FUCKING LOSE IT DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING. You’re just ensuring that others lose now out of spite. You suck at the game. Choosing betray everyone someone else chose betray ALSO gets you screwed indefinitely in the prisoner’s dilemma? Did you even check to see what the winning strategy for that game was? It’s Tit For Tat With Forgiveness. Like I said before you don’t know the game and you don’t know how to play it. You are playing wrong.

    Also if you do the fucking math equivalency like I told you to you would see that voting for democrats is getting you a fucking win. That’s the alternative democrats or republican. republican is far worse and actively fucks you and democrats fuck you in passing but provide places for you to hide. In this binary choice Not-Republican is a victory. You don’t understand the rules, you’re mad that victory isn’t having the outcome you think it should. Voting to screw the pouch does not ensure victory is ensures losing.

  237. consciousness razor says

    If the Democrats see that they are losing 15% of their regular voters to the Greens, I don’t see how that drives them to become more like Republicans.

    How many “blue states” are there which are so solidly liberal that we could safely lose 15% of the liberal voters without handing the election over to Republicans? Unless the Greens actually stand a chance of winning, you don’t want to be too influential, so you shouldn’t try to convince lots of others to vote for the Greens.

    Voting for a platform that supports your beliefs is not voting for “a magical sky fairy”. It is voting for a candidate who supports your belief.

    Nope. There’s nothing magical about voting for a candidate who will not win. Hoping that will magically “send a message” to the right people isn’t actually quite as magical as it sounds, either. If all you do is vote, then just vote and shut the fuck up about it every other day except Election day. Fortunately, voting isn’t the only way to make the Democrats more progressive.

  238. says

    Only a banker would like a bank amnesty plan that protects those who’ve engaged in fraud from prosecution for their crimes.

    Well, a banker or a loyal Democrat.

    You constantly display ignorant binary thinking.

    Yes bankers who commit fraud should be prosecuted but banks should not be allowed to fail due to said fraud. That’s my point.

  239. mekathleen says

    The “shut up, you are stupid, vote for Democrats, you have to” view is why I left the Democratic Party.

    Democrats may campaign on social justice and the like, but when they are in office, they aren’t measurably different from Republicans in their actions. They are as corporate as they can get away with without going to jail. They are in line with their local area on social issues and not a bit to the left of their constituents (gotta draw that change out otherwise how will they differentiate themselves in the future).

    The campaign cycle is continuous now. I heard people saying “don’t criticize Barack or the Republicans win” in 2009. The idea that somehow, after the election, he’s going to go to the left is ridiculous.

    More likely he’ll do what Democrats did in 2010 after the election was over. He’ll just extend the Bush Tax cuts and cut some social programs.

  240. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    *headdesk*

    If you meant:

    I’m not fucking suppressing any criticism, I am saying its not relevant to the fucking election. It is relevant to the long game.

    Then you should have said that. And you did here:

    Each long term goal is built up of smaller goals and steps. I agree that your criticisms are what the long term goal should address but it helps not one bit to try to jump over all the smaller goals so you can feel like you’re accomplishing the big one. The first step should be voting in anyone but Romney, then the next 4 years should be about changing the narrative more to the left.

    And I totally agree, and my POINT was only that the way you phrased it in that comment set off an alarm bell and I wanted to call you on it, because all on its own like that it really looked like a “shut up and stop whining” comment, and I KNOW you didn’t mean that, but that’s what that comment looks like even in context to me.

    I’m not “confused” about your point of view, and I didn’t want to make a big fight out of this, and I really thought that my first comment would get something like a “yeah sorry I could have been clearer” (if anything) and we’d all move on from it.

    I’m enjoying reading this conversation a lot and that phrasing really bothered me, so I said so. That’s it. I don’t want to fucking derail this conversation any more so can we move on now please.

  241. mekathleen says

    @288 That wasn’t the settlement. The settlement exempted the bankers from prosecution. That’s why I felt it was evil.

  242. says

    More people should get involved in their local politics. For one local politics actually have a bigger impact on daily life than state or national for most people and for two you can use that to start to influence your party. The barrier to entry is also lower and it’s easier to win even in an entrenched colored state. This is the tactic the teaparty used and the republicans used and the religious right used and it works.

    Local school board, local assembly, etc etc are not just glorified student counsels. They have a big effect on your community and it moves you from constituency to member of the party.

  243. says

    I think people are welcome to vote for whatever political platform they want.

    What an asinine statement.

    Your criticisms of Obama are largely correct. Nevertheless, you are wrong for discouraging people from voting for Democrats. Why? Not because Dems are super awesome, but because Republicans are truly horribly awful, as demonstrated by the Ryan budget, and you are endorsing a “strategy” that isn’t really a strategy but rather a protest, which ultimately does more to help Republicans than it does anything to help move the Democratic party to the left. If you want to move the Dems to the left, get involved in your local politics. Force a primary against a Democratic city councilor or county legislative candidate. Even losing this primary will have more of an effect than casting a vote for the Greens in the presidential election (which, it should again be noted, is not something that people here really disagree with much). Your fatalism about the Chicago machine is a handy excuse. It used to be like that in my small upstate NY city. Things have changed a lot in the past ten years. It really is not beyond the realm of possibility–but if people adopt your attitude, it will never become reality.

  244. says

    Democrats may campaign on social justice and the like, but when they are in office, they aren’t measurably different from Republicans in their actions.

    Every gay and bi person and ally would be totally justified in slapping your ignorance face right now.

  245. strange gods before me ॐ says

    The “shut up, you are stupid, vote for Democrats, you have to” view is why I left the Democratic Party.

    Again, I haven’t called you stupid for voting Green in Illinois.

    All I’m saying is study carefully and be sure that you really are voting strategically, don’t just wing it.

    Yes, Obama will win Illinois. You can safely vote Green on the presidential ticket, mekathleen. I’m not arguing with you about that. Note again: “But yeah, congress is still important. As are state legislatures, governors, courts, et cetera. One hopes that mekathleen will consider all of the down-ballot races separately, since they’re not all going to be blue shoo-ins, even in a blue state.”

    But a lot of your other arguments are not only wrong but stupidly wrong — and that’s why I’m calling you an idiot, idiot.

  246. mekathleen says

    I would love to vote for my local school board. And to that effect, I have been working with those who fight against Democrat Rahm Emanuel. Right now, our school board is appointed by him and we don’t get to vote on that.

  247. consciousness razor says

    Democrats may campaign on social justice and the like, but when they are in office, they aren’t measurably different from Republicans in their actions.

    They are measurably different, but you haven’t bothered to measure anything.

  248. says

    Ing @292

    More people should get involved in their local politics. For one local politics actually have a bigger impact on daily life than state or national for most people and for two you can use that to start to influence your party. The barrier to entry is also lower and it’s easier to win even in an entrenched colored state. This is the tactic the teaparty used and the republicans used and the religious right used and it works.

    Local school board, local assembly, etc etc are not just glorified student counsels. They have a big effect on your community and it moves you from constituency to member of the party.

    Good point. Case in point: Ohio Republicans engaging in voter suppression, but only in counties that usually vote Democratic. How did they manage that? By electing wingnut conservatives for county and state offices, by electing or appointing Republicans who could be counted on to be unfair when it comes to voting rights.

    This video covers voter suppression tactics in Pennsylvania, Iowa and Ohio:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#48621094

  249. Anri says

    Every gay and bi person and ally would be totally justified in slapping your ignorance face right now.

    Ing beat me to it.

    And woman

    Twice.

    Seriously, if you can’t tell the difference between the Democrat and Republican implementation in the real world, then you’re quite frankly too ignorant to speak about politics.
    Sorry, but that’s just true.

  250. mekathleen says

    @276 – I do look down ticket. And there have been times when I’ve voted for a Democrat. I have voted for Democratic judges. When I’ve looked at my ballot, that was the only time that I got to vote in anything where a Democratic win wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

    Where I live, anything that is based on geography, is pretty much Democrat. There isn’t even an other guy likely to get to 15% for the Republicans. Greens have done better than Republicans in races. We’ve had Democrats who were in comas win the election.

    If you live somewhere different, then I can see being more engaged. I get to choose which of my 20 hours a week I can spend trying to change my community. Do I do it somewhere nonpartisan, like at the park district? Do I do it outside of electoral politics, volunteering? Or do I spend my limited hours and funds trying to fight the Chicago political machine?

    I can see why some would say, “Sure, Rev. King couldn’t beat the Chicago Machine and he left, but really, you’re an idiot if you don’t devote yourself to doing what he couldn’t and give up on those areas where you are able to demonstrably affect individuals lives.” But I’m just not buying it.

  251. says

    Geez, it sounds like your district sucks. So the question is, why are you spending so much time haranguing people for lacking your fatalism, when they don’t live in your horrible, impossible-to-change district?

    Every gay and bi person and ally would be totally justified in slapping your ignorance face right now.

    And woman

    Also any college students who aren’t independently wealthy, anyone who’s ever relied on food stamps or home heating assistance, anyone who is or could be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid… Soldiers who would like to not be sent to Iran… Shall we go on?

  252. jacklewis says

    To summarize, you have to be fucking idiot to vote for the green party.

    You must also vote for Obama regardless of the fact that he gave up on any left leaning policies due to his apparently “naive” desire to negotiate with the republicans on everything. Of course Obama never had any intent in changing anything. His policies are fairly consistent with the desires of his top contributors. The two party thing is terrible but you are a moron if you vote for a 3rd option or try to get 3rd parties to become more meaningful.

    “Every gay and bi person and ally would be totally justified in slapping your ignorance face right now.”
    I’m sure most gay and bi persons are not complete assholes like that. Obama didn’t give a crap about the gay community until recently for obvious reasons.

  253. consciousness razor says

    Personally, all I’ve ever been saying is that jacklewis is a fucking idiot.

  254. mekathleen says

    @302 I don’t think troops who don’t want to be in Iran, or Afghanistan, are going to much differently off with Obama or Romney in office. There are more troops in Afghanistan than when Obama came into office and the schedule for pulling out of Iraq followed the Bush timetable. Our government was negotiating for more time, but the Iraqis refused to give immunity to our people and that was the dealbreaker that lead to our not staying longer.

  255. jacklewis says

    @302
    I’m still waiting for Obama to give back his Nobel peace prize… I can’t believe he even accepted it with a straight face. Still that’s when you see what Obama is all about and has always been about, like most politicians, he’s about one thing: me, myself and I. Clearly if he gets a second mandate he will truly show is real colors and become every progressive’s wet dream… probably not. At least when Bush was in power, there was an anti-war movement and people seemed to care about due process…

  256. Walton says

    mekathleen, there still is a significant difference between Democrats and Republicans on a number of issues that affect marginalized people’s lives. People have already mentioned healthcare, reproductive rights, LGBT rights and the economy, so I’ll mention another one: immigration. Obama supports the DREAM Act. His administration has already said that DHS will stop deporting young undocumented people who would be covered by the DREAM Act. These are important steps in the right direction. (Not nearly far enough, but steps in the right direction nonetheless.)

    Romney has been getting friendly with racists, is taking advice from arch-racist Kris Kobach, and has said that he would veto the DREAM Act. He thinks undocumented people should “self-deport”, and is opposed to any measures giving them the right to remain in the country. His administration would be extremely hostile to undocumented immigrants.

    I’m not saying Obama has a great record on immigrants’ rights. He doesn’t – his administration has already ramped up the numbers of deportations, for example, and rolled out the misnamed “Secure Communities” program across the country. But things could be worse, and they would be worse under a Romney administration. This is just one of the reasons why the election matters.

  257. says

    Walton @307

    mekathleen, there still is a significant difference between Democrats and Republicans on a number of issues that affect marginalized people’s lives. People have already mentioned healthcare, reproductive rights, …

    I’d like to back Walton up on this. I am affected by both the healthcare and reproductive rights issues. Paul Ryan in particular and the Republican party in general promise more disaster when it comes to women’s rights.

    When Republicans took back the House of Representatives in 2010, they passed a series of bills limiting abortion rights and women’s access to contraceptive care. Ryan voted for all of them, including legislation that would ban abortion in all cases. This Sanctity of Human Life Act, to which he signed on to as a co-sponsor, would also criminalize some forms of birth control. He also voted for a bill abortion-rights activist blasted as the “Let Women Die Act,” which would allow hospitals to refuse to perform a life-saving abortion.

    Ryan also voted to defund Planned Parenthood and government funding for family planning…

    When a guy signs on as a co-sponsor for legislation you know that he means it. These bills Ryan backed represent his

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/romney-ryan-abortion-women-voters.php?ref=fpb ideology.

  258. says

    Here are some statistics, and a nifty chart, showing the record number of abortion-restriction laws Republicans passed at the state level.

    http://www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2012/01/05/endofyear.html/


    issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. In the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions, a sharp increase from the 950 introduced in 2010. By year’s end, 135 of these provisions had been enacted in 36 states, an increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009. (Note: This analysis refers to reproductive health and rights-related “provisions,” rather than bills or laws, since bills introduced and eventually enacted in the states contain multiple relevant provisions.)

    Fully 68% of these new provisions—92 in 24 states—-restrict access to abortion services, a striking increase from last year, when 26% of new provisions restricted abortion. The 92 new abortion restrictions enacted in 2011 shattered the previous record of 34 adopted in 2005.

    If you still think it makes little real difference if you vote for a Republican versus a Democrat … well, you must not be a woman. Or perhaps you do not have empathy for the women in your life.

    Of course, this flood of bills restricting women’s rights is bad for everyone, and not just bad for women. It’s even bad for the economy.

  259. says

    Here’s the latest in a long line of anti-woman legislation proposed by Republicans:

    The measure, submitted by the Colorado Personhood Coalition, seeks to ensure that any “intentional killing of any innocent person is prohibited.” In the measure’s language, a person is defined as “every member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development.” As such, its passage would appear to eliminate all legalized abortion, including in instances of rape or incest….

    The regulations would also prevent access to “birth control that kills a person,” as well as any medical treatment or assisted reproductive practices that offer the same result. Such banned birth control would include intrauterine devices, known as IUDs.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/colorado_abortion_ban_measure.php

  260. says

    How many “blue states” are there which are so solidly liberal that we could safely lose 15% of the liberal voters without handing the election over to Republicans?

    15% in addition to the losses that will already happen due to voter intimidation and restriction of voting rights. Uber-conservative states are probably the only places where voting for a 3rd party candidate is safe. And I’d very much encourage people there to do so.

  261. says

    but when they are in office, they aren’t measurably different from Republicans in their actions. ok, that’s just not true, on a state-by-state, office-by-office basis. You can say there isn’t enough of a difference for your taste; you can say that the Overton Window is shifting in the wrong direction. But you can’t say that there is actually no difference unless you think McCain would be giving me insurance come 2014, and would have let DADT become history. Or that Elisabeth Warren and Scott Brown are the same; or that a Democratic Wisconsin Governor would have killed union rights in the state; etc.

    There are good arguments to be made for how voting 3rd party in safe/unwinnable states can shift the Overton Window in the right direction, but you are not making good arguments.

  262. says

    fuck.

    but when they are in office, they aren’t measurably different from Republicans in their actions.

    ok, that’s just not true, on a state-by-state, office-by-office basis. You can say there isn’t enough of a difference for your taste; you can say that the Overton Window is shifting in the wrong direction. But you can’t say that there is actually no difference unless you think McCain would be giving me insurance come 2014, and would have let DADT become history. Or that Elisabeth Warren and Scott Brown are the same; or that a Democratic Wisconsin Governor would have killed union rights in the state; etc.

    There are good arguments to be made for how voting 3rd party in safe/unwinnable states can shift the Overton Window in the right direction, but you are not making good arguments.

  263. portia says

    I haven’t read the whole thread (migraine, ugh) but I just have to chime in to state the obvious that this guy is loathesome to the nth degree and the fact that he is an “asset” to the Romney ticket says sickening things about the Republican base. Urgh. Back to my hole of darkness and ice packs.

  264. David Marjanović says

    *sigh* Not caught up. I got busy in meatspace. :-(

    Sadly, it looks like Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland are flat broke based upon decades of Obama-like spending.

    lol. exactly backwards. those EU states that are in trouble are the ones that most tried to be like the USA, or bought money from the USA. Germany for example is doing fine, Teh Ebil Soshulizm notwithstanding.

    What is more…

    1) The US is deeper in the red numbers than Greece, from what I hear. The big difference is that the US isn’t pressured by the European Central Bank, whose purpose is to keep inflation down come hell and/or high water.

    2) The apparently biggest reason of why Greece is in such a bad shape is the fact that its military expenses are so unusually high. Sound familiar? And it makes extremely little sense; yes, Greece and Turkey have disliked each other for close to a thousand years now, but they’re both frigging NATO members, and while Turkey isn’t an EU member, it’s an official candidate. They’re not going to have a war.

    oh, and while I’m at it. There is no voter registration in ND. you can just go and vote.

    What? Surely it isn’t like in Europe, where the government knows where you live, so your official existence as a citizen who’s more than 15 to 17 years old (depending on the country) is your voter registration?

    15% in addition to the losses that will already happen due to voter intimidation and restriction of voting rights. Uber-conservative states are probably the only places where voting for a 3rd party candidate is safe. And I’d very much encourage people there to do so.

    All seconded.

  265. says

    I haven’t read the whole thread (migraine, ugh) but I just have to chime in to state the obvious that this guy is loathesome …

    Paul Ryan is loved by the right in part because he comes off as so being so likable, so reasonable in person. In other words, they love him because he can sell the draconian, screw-the-poor policies that Mitt Romney likes.

    Mark my words, a lot of independent voters will be taken in by Paul Ryan. Unless you are the type of voter who looks into exactly how Ryan will “fix” and “sustain” Medicare for instance, you are likely to believe him. He has been called “The Beltway Charmer.” And he has good hair and rock hard abs — all important to Republicans. Go to Politico sometime and search for “Paul Ryan fitness.” They say he makes conservative hearts flutter and makes liberals sputter.

    The quality of skepticism which is par for the course on Pharyngula is hard to come by in the population at large.

    Paul Ryan is not controversial on the right. He is loved. And he is lauded as their kind of intellectual. It’s as if the right wing is saying, “See, we have smart people too. You can’t argue with Paul Ryan, he’s too good.”

    Paul Ryan has the same kind of narrow intellect that Robert P. George possesses.

  266. portia says

    @Lynna

    I was unaware of all that, thanks for the explanation. Your quote in 317 chills me to the bone. There’s a Congressman out here in Illinois who is like that, handsome, chiseled, loved, and hateful.

  267. dogmeat says

    mekathleen,

    While there are some valid aspects to your arguments, I agree third party candidates should be supported when possible and when they better represent your interests and beliefs, there are some serious flaws to your argument.

    While Obama and the Democrats have moved disturbingly to the right, your argument that they are virtually indistinguishable from Republicans, or marginally better, etc., is patently false. Your examples fall apart once one takes the time to examine them:

    The ACA was a compromise that barely made it through the senate after more effective liberal and moderate programs were shot down over and over again. The fact that the Republicans and the media have dubbed the act “Obamacare” doesn’t make it his. Given the circumstances, this was the best he could do, that anything was accomplished in the current political climate is actually rather surprising.

    Obama’s reluctant willingness to reduce the cost of living increases for social security and other social safety-nets is also a bleak bending to reality. The simple fact is that the Republicans are dedicated to utterly destroying those programs while at the same time ramping up defense to unsustainable levels and cutting taxes in a catastrophic effort to destroy any aspects of a functional government or economy. By presenting a willingness to cut programs to try to come to a compromise Obama should have put things completely on the Republicans because they, yet again, proved to be completely divorced from reality and refused to accept a victory, instead demanding complete capitulation. If we actually had a functioning journalistic system that did their jobs, Obama would be a dozen points ahead in the polls. Instead we have a close race between a Republican and a batshit crazy Romney.

    Quite simply, if Romney wins, odds are good he’ll have control of both the house and the senate as well. You wrongly believe that the Democrats would be able to block his most devastating plans, but you fail to realize that the Senate has the ability to change its rules which could potentially eliminate the ability of the Democrats to filibuster Republican plans. If that happens, we’re likely to see the following:

    1) Devastating fiscal policy implemented that will have much the same effect as the Bush administration tax cuts, namely that a flooding of money into the financial markets will lead to an investment bubble which, when it inevitably bursts will likely cause a depression that will make the Great depression seem like a holiday.

    2) Equally devastating cuts into the very policies you attack Obama for not defending enough. Vouchers will destroy Medicare and Medicaid, private retirement accounts will destroy Social Security. Bumping infrastructure, education, and other key programs down to the state level will mean their de facto elimination as already struggling state governments will be completely unable to respond to the additional demands placed upon them.

    3) Expanded military spending will virtually guarantee a war with Iran and potentially one with North Korea. What makes this almost certain is the combination of the “big stick” with the inclusion of some of the dumbest neocon advisors on the Romney team. These jackasses still believe Iraq was a good idea and that they’re going to find those WMDs any day now.

    4) The Republican war on civil rights and civil liberties is quite disturbing. They’re talking about rolling back voting rights, womens’ health rights, education, and marriage equality. All of these stances are far, far worse than the most tepid support for equality expressed by the shittiest of the Democratic candidates (except for that wack-a-loon in Tennessee).

    Also, don’t forget, in ’00 we had folks who did precisely what you advocate. They voted for Nader in “safe” states. Unfortunately it turned out that some of those “safe” states weren’t quite as safe as they thought. Had just 600 of them voted for Gore in Florida we wouldn’t have the massive debt we have today, we wouldn’t have thousands dead in Iraq, and we might have avoided some if not all of the events on September 11th. Imagine if that had been the case, no Patriot Act, no endless war, perhaps no Tea Party.

    I teach Government/poli-sci. What I’m seeing in a lot of these polls is a disturbing vulnerability in all races due to nearly unlimited funding and airwaves flooded with ad after ad slamming the candidates with phony political talking points. As it stands now, two previously safe seats in the senate have become toss ups. Congressional seats aren’t the only ones that are vulnerable. Obama is getting slammed with bogus ads backed by millions in key states.

    Frankly I think we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg and, even with a garbage Republican ticket representing the worst of the far right extreme, they have a viable shot. Again, Obama should be enjoying a double digit lead, currently he’s sitting at a 4.6% composite and actually tied in two recent national polls. Give a few billionaires the chance to plug a couple of million into a few key states and key congressional elections, and you might just find out how much worse the Republicans actually are.

  268. says

    Surely it isn’t like in Europe, where the government knows where you live

    not really. you bring proof of address with you to the voting booth (a bill, or your id, or something like that) to show you’re voting in the correct spot. sometimes you’ll be on the roster (dunno where they get the info, maybe from DMV) but you can still vote if you’re not on the roster, you just have to fill out a form so they can know you’re not voting in multiple places in the state (second-hand information, obviously, so that might not be quite 100% right; but that’s how bf says it works)

  269. says

    Democrats may campaign on social justice and the like, but when they are in office, they aren’t measurably different from Republicans in their actions.

    Wow. I wish I had some of your apparent insulation from the vast differences, at all levels of the US government, between Democratic and Republican stances on social issues. Sucks to be me I guess: LGBTQ, disabled, poor, mentally ill. I mean, it’s not like Democrats where I live actually fight for LGBTQ rights–oh wait, they do! And my local Democratic party is not committed to providing health care to everyone in the city, regardless of income, preexisting conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity–except, somehow, they are!

    Vote however you want, but don’t throw out this bullshit that should be obvious to anyone who has ever given a thought to people who are not white, not straight, not male, not wealthy, and not in great health. I don’t know which of these you are or aren’t, although I have some guesses, but if you really think that Republicans and Democrats are indistinguishable on social issues, my main guess is that you don’t live on many, if any, margins.

  270. says

    On CBS’s 60 Minutes yesterday, Paul Ryan said that he will follow Romney’s lead when it comes to releasing his tax returns.

    Also, Romney worked very hard to make Ryan sound like he’s not a career politician nor a Washington insider, though of course Ryan is both.

  271. says

    On CBS’s 60 Minutes yesterday, Paul Ryan said that he will follow Romney’s lead when it comes to releasing his tax returns.

    Obama please hammer in on this.
    Anyone else still want to say Reid was wrong?

  272. says

    So, Paul Ryan is in Iowa making speeches to counter Obama’s campaign in Iowa. And Ryan is backing Romney up on the false welfare ads.

    Luckily, the Koch brothers don’t own the Des Moines Register. The newspaper is greeting the Romney/Ryan campaign with a story about one of their lies.

    On the same day that VP candidate Paul Ryan plans to attack President Obama for taking the work requirement out of welfare, the editorial board of the Des Moines Register, the state’s largest paper, called the welfare attacks false.

    “Everyone agrees Americans collecting ‘cash welfare’ should meet work requirements. And they do,” the editors write. “A recent policy tweak to the program by President Barack Obama’s administration does not undermine that. Yet Mitt Romney can’t pass up this one.”

    It continues:

    The presumptive Republican presidential nominee wants voters to conjure images in their minds of freeloading moms sitting on couches watching big screen televisions. And he wants voters to think the president is helping them do just that.

    Then there is reality.

    Only about 15,000 Iowans actually receive a meager monthly check from Uncle Sam. Collecting an average of $334 a month for less than two years probably is not covering utilities and school clothes, let alone putting anyone on Easy Street. Requirements are so stringent, the program that once served more than 14 million Americans now helps only about 4 million.

    But the idea of anyone “sponging off the system” is apparently something Romney believes voters will rally behind him to oppose.

    Link.

  273. says

    In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s an article that includes video of the second(!) false welfare ad from the Romney campaign:

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/romney-releases-second-welfare-attack-ad

    Link to story that includes video of first false welfare ad.

    These dirty dealings follow hard on the heels of Romney telling President Obama to get his (Obama’s) campaign out of the gutter, and of Ryan pumping up the myth that Obama does not address the issues but does make personal attacks.

    Whining and lying.

  274. says

    Obama please hammer in on this.
    Anyone else still want to say Reid was wrong?

    Did you notice that Ryan had to give “several years” of tax returns to the Romney campaign during the VP vetting process? Romney needs to see more than two years of tax returns, but we the people can just fuck off.

  275. carbonbasedlifeform says

    Tis ‘Himself, #61

    The head of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, made it perfectly clear: sophisticated investors don’t, or at least shouldn’t, rely on trust. Those who bought the products his firm sold were consenting adults who should have known better. They should have known that Goldman Sachs had the means, and the incentive, to design products that would fail; that they had the means and the incentive to create asymmetries of information—where they knew more about the products than the buyers did—and the means and the incentive to take advantage of those asymmetries.

    If the head of a company says to me, “You’re an idiot if you believe us when we tell you something.”, I know that I will be taking my business elsewhere. What Mr. Blankfein is doing is called “blaming the victim.”

  276. says

    An nicely detailed article by Sahil Kapur puts reality back into the Medicare debate.
    Excerpt below:

    Lost in the back and forth between the Obama and Romney campaigns over who’s the real Medicare cutter is a critical difference between visions: President Obama’s plan is to make the program solvent by reducing payments to health care providers, while Rep. Paul Ryan achieves his savings by transforming Medicare into a voucher-like system….

    Link.

  277. says

    The Maddow Blog sees the fight over the Medicare message as potentially very troubling. Paul Ryan is on deck to sell bullshit, and like Steve Benen, I’m afraid he will succeed.

    Excerpts below:

    Both sides claim to be helping Medicare, and both sides say their rivals are hurting Medicare. Only one is being cynically, breathtakingly dishonest, but since it’s easy to get confused, let’s set the record straight.

    President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, recognizing Medicare’s long-term financing challenges, found significant savings in the program. What kind of savings? As Sahil Kapur noted, they come “largely in the form of reduced payments to hospitals, discounts on Medicaid prescription drugs, and pay cuts to private insurers under Medicare Advantage.”

    The savings help extend the financial health of the Medicare program — without touching Medicare benefits — and were endorsed by the AARP. What’s more, the savings go “back into the pockets of people who need help with their medical bills,” not to pay for tax cut for millionaires.

    Romney now wants voters to believe these “cuts” are evidence that Obama is “gutting” Medicare. The Republican must realize he’s lying — the savings strengthen the Medicare system. Indeed, Paul Ryan’s own budget plan embraces the identical savings. If Obama wants to “cut Medicare funding by $700 billion,” then Romney’s own running mate also wants to “cut Medicare funding by $700 billion” — and then some.

    And that leads us to the Ryan plan for Medicare.

    Under the congressional Republican budget plan, which Romney has enthusiastically endorsed more than once, Medicare as it currently exists would be destroyed. In its place, there’d be a new, privatized system that would be called Medicare, but which would function very differently.

    Seniors would be given a modest voucher that they would use to purchase insurance in the private market. The voucher would not keep up with the growing costs of seniors’ medical care, and it’d be up the elderly and their families to somehow make up the difference, because the guaranteed benefit of the Medicare program would be gone.

    The money saved by this scheme would go — you guessed it — to pay for tax cuts, not health care, and not debt reduction.

  278. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Lynna, OM

    But the idea of anyone “sponging off the system” is apparently something Romney believes voters will rally behind him to oppose.

    The dauntless duo manfully hunting paper tigers of their own invention …

  279. sundiver says

    Thought I saw that Lyin’ Ryan was voted “Best Brown-noser” or something like that in high school. And we all know the only difference between a brown-nose and a shithead is depth perception. Seriously though, Ryan’s one of the reasons this transplant calls Wisconsin “The Arctic Alabama”. That, and the number of christains and bigots I’ve seen here.

  280. says

    Steve Benen is completely fed up with the political pundits worshipping Paul Ryan, and rightly so. I’m fed up too. If one more new story tells me about how serious, good looking, intelligent, and brave Paul Ryan is I’m going to upchuck.

    Look beyond the facade people. Even his vaunted numbers don’t add up. This is not serious. It’s more like Ryan is still in college writing papers and needing a red pencil edit from a more knowledgeable professor.

    Any sign of some intelligence is taken by the wingnuts as genius, but Ryan really is missing the mark. I guess love is blind.

    Ryan is a real fiscal conservative. He isn’t just another Tea-Party ideologue spouting dogma about less government and the magic of free enterprise. He has actually crunched the numbers and laid out long-term budget proposals. — wingnut William Saletan

    Oohh, look, he actually did something all by himself — no matter that it is bunkum.

    Excerpts from Benen’s article:

    I realize I’m tilting at windmills here. The political/media establishment has decided, practically by edict, that Paul Ryan is a credible wonk whose work must be respected. Proof to the contrary doesn’t matter; this characterization is now accepted fact. Why? Because the establishment says it is thus, so stop asking questions….

    Ryan was a member of the Simpson-Bowles commission, but rejected their debt-reduction plan. He also reviewed President Obama’s $4 trillion debt-reduction plan last year, and rejected it, too.

    … It’s true that Ryan crafted a budget plan that brutally cuts investments in domestic priorities like education, health care, and programs that benefit struggling families. Isn’t this evidence of fiscal conservatism? Doesn’t that prove Ryan has the “courage” to make “tough calls”?

    Actually, no. For one thing, there’s nothing “courageous” about redistributing wealth from the bottom up, asking those without to suffer more. For another, Ryan’s budget redirects those savings into tax cuts, not debt reduction, which is pretty much the opposite of “fiscal conservatism.”

    But at least Ryan’s plan makes gets the nation’s finances under control, right? Wrong.

    Rep. Paul Ryan made absolutely clear that he is not now and never was interested in deficit reduction. After a couple of years of being lauded by deficit hawks as the man prepared to make hard choices, he proposed a budget that would not end deficits until 2040 but would cut taxes by $4.6 trillion over a decade while also extending all of the Bush tax cuts, adding an additional $5.4 trillion to the deficit. Ryan would increase military expenditures and then eviscerate the rest of the federal government.

    Oh yes, Ryan claims he’d make up for the losses from his new tax cuts with “tax reform” but offered not a single detail. A “plan” with a hole this big is not a plan at all.

    I can’t explain why so many in media choose not to believe these facts. I really wish I knew why otherwise-sensible people put aside their critical thinking skills and choose not to read Ryan’s actual work before praising it….

    “I reacted too quickly and didn’t sort out just how laughable Ryan’s long-term spending projections were. His plan projects an absurd future, according to the Congressional Budget Office, in which all discretionary spending, now around 12 percent of GDP, shrinks to 3 percent of GDP by 2050. Defense spending alone was 4.7 percent of GDP in 2009. With numbers like that, Ryan is more an anarchist-libertarian than honest conservative.” — Jacob Weisberg

    And yet, media professionals continue to fall for the con. There’s just no reason for this. It’s simply irresponsible. As Paul Krugman explained, “What [Saletan’s] doing — and what the whole Beltway media crowd has done — is to slot Ryan into a role someone is supposed to be playing in their political play, that of the thoughtful, serious conservative wonk. In reality, Ryan is nothing like that; he’s a hard-core conservative, with a voting record as far right as Michelle Bachman’s, who has shown no competence at all on the numbers thing. What Ryan is good at is exploiting the willful gullibility of the Beltway media, using a soft-focus style to play into their desire to have a conservative wonk they can say nice things about. And apparently the trick still works….

    Why do we have so few intelligent, skeptical media people in Washington? Or is it just that most of them are lazy? Or perhaps the lazy fuckers get the center stage position?

  281. says

    The dauntless duo manfully hunting paper tigers of their own invention …

    The dauntless duo manfully hunting black paper tigers of their own invention …