Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 7:57 pm

Quote of the Day

Ladies and gentlemen, Charles Pierce on your liberal media:

Some day, volumes will be written about how Gingrich managed to get everyone in the Washington smart set to believe he is a public intellectual with actual ideas, and not just the guy at the club whose life gets changed for him every time he reads a new book.

My god, Caligula died centuries too soon. Today, if he’d brought his horse into the Senate, some careerist Beltway journo would find that the horse had whinnied some “interesting new approaches” to our “entitlement crisis.” The horse would be on Meet the Press the following Sunday with David Gregory, who would ignore the fact that there is a fking horse sitting across the table from him and concentrate instead on something the horse had whinnied five years ago that seems to have been contradicted by something the horse whinnied the day before. And then Tom Brokaw would come on to mumble something about how horses were more politically savvy back in his day.


Thursday, November 3, 2011 8:37 pm

You want moral conviction? I’ve got your moral conviction RIGHT HERE.

Memo to Michigan Republicans: If your God tells you that bullying is OK, ever, for any reason, you’re hearing Him wrong.

Just trust me on this.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 8:18 pm

Quote of the day

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 8:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

“… the last time these people were allowed to get this absolutely dug-in/[expletive]-you-crazy it took the entire Union Army to stop them from destroying this country. I wonder what it will take this time?

— Driftglass

Saturday, September 10, 2011 2:24 pm

If you don’t want to read about 9/11 this weekend …

… (and I would not blame you if you don’t), then spend time instead with this piece by Mike Lofgren, a recently retired GOP congressional staffer. His 28 years of service include 16 on the GOP staff of the House and Senate budget committees. In every important respect, what he says comports with what I observed in 25 years of professional Congress-watching, particularly since the rise of the Gingrichites in 1994. Key points (and keep in mind that this is a career GOP operative talking):

  • “To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.”
  • “This constant drizzle of “there the two parties go again!” stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions – if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. There were only 44 million Republican voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, but they effectively canceled the political results of the election of President Obama by 69 million voters.”
  • “Ever since Republicans captured the majority in a number of state legislatures last November, they have systematically attempted to make it more difficult to vote: by onerous voter ID requirements (in Wisconsin, Republicans have legislated photo IDs while simultaneously shutting Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices in Democratic constituencies while at the same time lengthening the hours of operation of DMV offices in GOP constituencies); by narrowing registration periods; and by residency requirements that may disenfranchise university students. This legislative assault is moving in a diametrically opposed direction to 200 years of American history, when the arrow of progress pointed toward more political participation by more citizens. Republicans are among the most shrill in self-righteously lecturing other countries about the wonders of democracy; exporting democracy (albeit at the barrel of a gun) to the Middle East was a signature policy of the Bush administration. But domestically, they don’t want those people voting.”
  • “Above all, they do not understand language. Their initiatives are posed in impenetrable policy-speak: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The what? – can anyone even remember it? No wonder the pejorative “Obamacare” won out. Contrast that with the Republicans’ Patriot Act. You’re a patriot, aren’t you? Does anyone at the GED level have a clue what a Stimulus Bill is supposed to be? Why didn’t the White House call it the Jobs Bill and keep pounding on that theme?”
  • The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors. [Emphasis in original — Lex] The party has built a whole catechism on the protection and further enrichment of America’s plutocracy. Their caterwauling about deficit and debt is so much eyewash to con the public. Whatever else President Obama has accomplished (and many of his purported accomplishments are highly suspect), his $4-trillion deficit reduction package did perform the useful service of smoking out Republican hypocrisy. The GOP refused, because it could not abide so much as a one-tenth of one percent increase on the tax rates of the Walton family or the Koch brothers, much less a repeal of the carried interest rule that permits billionaire hedge fund managers to pay income tax at a lower effective rate than cops or nurses. Republicans finally settled on a deal that had far less deficit reduction – and even less spending reduction! – than Obama’s offer, because of their iron resolution to protect at all costs our society’s overclass.”
  • “If you think Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand-worshipping colleagues aren’t after your Social Security and Medicare, I am here to disabuse you of your naiveté.[5] They will move heaven and earth to force through tax cuts that will so starve the government of revenue that they will be “forced” to make “hard choices” – and that doesn’t mean repealing those very same tax cuts, it means cutting the benefits for which you worked.”

Go read the whole thing. The kicker is that this guy retired because he figures that given what the GOP plans to do to the federal retirement system, it was better for him to be a current retiree (and thus grandfathered in) than a future one.

Monday, August 29, 2011 8:05 pm

Quote of the day

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 8:05 pm
Tags: ,

Doghouse Riley edition (via Balloon Juice):

There may be more damning indictments of Republican “intellectualism” than the fact that these guys [“moderate” Republicans such as David Brooks and Mitch Daniels] have spent the last thirty years inventing excuses for utter crackpotism, first with the idea of eternally harvesting its votes, now in the hopes that the ‘conservative’ welfare spigot will stay on, but you have to google “William F. Buckley” and “Civil Rights Movement” to find ’em.


Thursday, July 7, 2011 8:04 pm

Quote of the Day

Big Dog edition:

The Republicans, who control the House and now have greater control of the Senate, have now decided — having tripled the debt in the 12 years before I took office and doubled it since I left — that it’s all of a sudden the biggest problem in the world.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010 9:44 pm

Not without a fight

Filed under: Odds 'n' ends — Lex @ 9:44 pm
Tags: , ,

I don’t do predictions on politics, so I don’t know whether the Democrats can keep the House this fall or not. In 435 separate races, weird things can happen.

There’s a lot of talk about the “enthusiasm gap” between likely Republican voters and likely Democratic voters. That gap is real, although several different reasons, some conflicting, go into it. A lot of people are unhappy with Democrats because of health-care reform, for example, although some of those people are unhappy because it went too far and quite a few, myself included, are unhappy because it didn’t go nearly far enough.

As a group, House Dems face a tough fight this fall. But mistermix at Balloon Juice makes one very good point:

… the fact remains that John Boehner is not popular, that doing nothing in the middle of an almost-depression is not popular, that sneering at teachers, cops and firemen is not popular, and that tax cuts for those making $250K or more are not popular.

Exactly right. If Democrats lose the House, it won’t be because the House wasn’t winnable for them.

Monday, September 6, 2010 8:43 pm


Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 8:43 pm

Mistermix at Balloon Juice explains what the Republicans are up to:

A lot of people don’t vote because they view it as a pointless act. The more Republicans make government into a meaningless sideshow, the fewer voters will be interested in voting.

The sheer stupidity of a Republican-led Congress isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. It helps to convince younger, intelligent, uninterested non-voters—a group that would probably vote for Democrats—that their lack of interest is a rational choice.

But, you know, it’s not like we’ve got any kind of economic crisis or war going on, so we’ve got plenty of leeway to put up with crap like this.

Sunday, September 5, 2010 8:45 pm

An answer to the question that White House spokesman Robert Gibbs no doubt often asks himself

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 8:45 pm
Tags: ,

What do the “professional liberals” want?

Athenae knows:

We want not just incremental steps back from crazytown but a bullet train taking us away. We want passionate advocacy in the exact opposite direction, because people have spent the last eight years getting beat on and simply not being kicked anymore isn’t enough. Nobody’s gonna send a thank-you card to the administration for refraining from hitting them in the head with a hammer. “Oh, Mr. President, thank you for NOT pissing on me as you walked by, what a huge favor you’ve done me.”

So, Obama and the Democratic Congress, huge disappointments? Uh, yeah. Unfortunately, what a lot of people who ought to know better don’t get is that if the current crop of Republicans regain control of Congress, we’ll be right back at the Crazytown Town Square.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:15 pm

Why does Obama hate small business?

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 9:15 pm

Personally, I think it’s because he’s a Muslim:

But we have to do more.  And there’s currently a jobs bill before Congress that would do two big things for small business owners:  cut more taxes and make available more loans.  It would help them get the credit they need, and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now.  And it would accelerate $55 billion of tax relief to encourage American businesses, small and large, to expand their investments over the next 14 months.

Unfortunately, this bill has been languishing in the Senate for months, held up by a partisan minority that won’t even allow it to go to a vote.  That makes no sense.  This bill is fully paid for.  It will not add to the deficit.  And there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics

Monday, January 4, 2010 6:14 am

Thought for the day

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 6:14 am
Tags: ,

A lesson in recent history:

Don’t forget the naughts, because this decade, no matter what anyone on the right might say, was conservatism on trial. You want less taxes? You got less taxes. You want less regulation? You got less regulation. Open markets? Wide open. An illusuion of security in place of rights? Hey, presto. Think we should privatize war by handing unlimited power given to military contractors so they can kick butt and take names? Kiddo, we passed out boots and pencils by the thousands. Everything, everything, that ever showed up on a drooled-over right wing wish list got implemented — with a side order of Freedom Fries.

They will try to disown it, and God knows if I was responsible for this mess I’d be disowning it, too. But the truth is that the conservatives got everything they wanted in the decade just past, everything that they’ve claimed for forty years would make America “great again”. They didn’t fart around with any “red dog Republicans.” They rolled over their moderates and implemented a conservative dream.

What did we get for it? We got an economy in ruins, a government in massive debt, unending war, and the repudiation of the world. There’s no doubt that Republicans want you to forget the last decade, because if you remember… if you remember when you went down to the water hole and were jumped by every lunacy that ever emerged from the wet dreams of Grover Norquist and Dick Cheney, well, it’s not likely that you’d give them a chance to do it again.

And they will. Given half a chance — less than half — they’ll do it again, only worse. Because that’s the way conservatism works. Remember when the only answer to every economic problem was “cut taxes?” We have a surplus. Good, let’s cut taxes. We have a deficit. Hey, cut taxes even more! That little motto was unchanging even when was clear that the tax cuts were increasing the burden on everyone but a wealthy few. That’s just a subset of the great conservative battle whine which is now and forever “we didn’t go far enough.” If deregulation led to a crash, it’s because we didn’t deregulate enough. If the wars aren’t won, it’s because we haven’t started enough wars. If there are people still clinging to their rights, it’s because we haven’t done enough to make them afraid.

Forget the naughts, and you’ll forget that conservatives had another chance to prove all their ideas, and that their ideas utterly and completely failed. Again.

My only quibble with this post is that, strictly speaking, some of what was done wasn’t “conservative” as the word historically has been defined. But it was irrevocably tied to people who described and marketed themselves as conservative and considered (their notion of) conservatism an unalloyed virtue.

And, granted, for a fortunate few of them it was. The rest of us? Not so much.

And they will be back, aided by an ostensibly liberal media that in fact imposes a much higher burden of proof on the rational, on the fact- and outcome-based, than on the Randian fantasists.

Friday, December 11, 2009 6:21 pm

Odds and ends for 12/11

Memo to Rick Warren has not “done the right thing.” Rick Warren has merely done the only thing that might stave off a PR disaster for himself and what he laughably passes off as a “ministry.” There’s a difference. “Doing the right thing” would have required Ranger Rick to immediately, loudly and repeatedly denounce state-sanctioned murder of gays (and imprisonment of their families/friends for not reporting them). Now study up; this will be on the final.

Why don’t we have a health-care bill yet? Here’s one reason.

Success! Because why in the world would we want to regulate the financial instrument that almost destroyed the global economy?

Aetna’s solution to Robert Steinback’s health-insurance needs: “Die, Mr. Steinback.” As the brother of two guys with Type 1 diabetes, I feel his pain, and I’m still waiting for someone to explain credibly to me why we don’t need at the least a national, robust public option, if not single-payer.

Not exactly giving us what we like: The Senate health-care proposal is less popular than the public option. How much less popular? Seventeen percentage points. That’s huge.

You want death panels? You can’t handle death panels!

And speaking of panels: Digby has a name for the panel Pete Peterson is proposing to figure out a way to balance the budget: the Bipartisan Committee To Destroy Social Security and Medicare So Wealthy People Don’t Ever Have To Pay Higher Taxes. Prolix but accurate.

Facts matter. So take that, Glenn Beck supporters.

The party of responsibility and accountability, which controls the S.C. legislature, has declined to impeach Gov. Mark Sanford.

Another way to get by without health insurance: Yitzhak Ganon just didn’t go see the doctor. For sixty-five years.

We’ve killed al-Qaeda’s No. 3 guy. Again.

The grownups of fact-checking take on “Climategate.” Their findings will surprise no one and enrage denialists.

Shorter Sarah Palin: “Correcting my (many) factual mistakes = making the issue something it’s not.”

Does Fox News want to make us laugh, or is it simply trying to bankrupt Rupert Murdoch?: Even by the rug-burn standards of online polling, this question is so loaded it is leaving big cracks in the digital asphalt.

Green? Shoot!: The number of people shifting to emergency unemployment insurance because their regular coverage had run out topped 379,000 last week, bringing the overall total to a record 4.2 million. At the current rate of increase, the number of people getting emergency payments will top the people getting regular payments (5.5 million) within a month.

Green? Shoot!, the sequel: Independent financial analyst David Rosenberg (via ZeroHedge) says that 1) because of contracting credit and asset deflation, we’re not in a recession, we’re in a depression; 2) the 20% deflation of household assets in the past 18 months — a loss of $12 trillion in value — is “a degree of trauma we have never seen before”, 3) … aw, hell, just go read the whole thing. It’s orders of magnitude more depressing than anything on CNBC, but also appears orders of magnitude more fact-based, unfortunately.

Green? Shoot! Reloaded: Paul Krugman offers some objective criteria by which we might determine exactly what constitutes “good news on the job front.”  Just remember, we’ve got to make up lost ground. A lot of lost ground.

Public pants-wetting: Why do Reps. Trent Franks, Steve King and Sue Myrick hate America?

In news that will surprise exactly zero parents, scientists now say 98% of children under the age of 10 are sociopaths.

And, finally, some good news (h/t: Fred), or, When the Germans say “Prost!”, they mean it: Beer could fight prostate cancer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 10:21 pm

These are not serious people

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 10:21 pm
Tags: , ,

A special prosecutor for torture, warrantless domestic wiretapping and/or illegal military invasions, no. A special prosecutor for ACORN, yes. And these are the people who want us to give them the keys back in 2010.

Bonus fun: For Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, 2:30 p.m. is “early in the day.” Man, and I thought I was once a wild child.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:33 pm

We do not hide our crazy aunts in the attic …

Filed under: I want my country back. — Lex @ 11:33 pm
Tags: ,

… no, we put ’em out on the front porch so EVERYBODY can enjoy them. So says Neal Gabler, who may know more about how American media function than anyone else alive:

What is under the radar is something more recent and more terrifying for the health of our political system: The Republican Party has become a small minority of out-of-mainstream people (think Representative Joseph Wilson’s outburst to the president this week) but, by virtue of its history, of the media attention it receives, and, frankly, by default, it still occupies a central place in our political life. In any other Western democracy it might have become a far-right splinter party. In America, we don’t really have splinter parties. When one of our parties goes crazy, it doesn’t slide to the margins.

Now, in all fairness, not all Republicans are crazy. Not even most of them. But the ones who actually hold positions of power and influence in the party at the national level? Well …

Gabler isn’t the first to observe this phenomenon. Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum, back in his “Calpundit” days, posted insightfully in  late ’03 about this phenomenon (and he wasn’t the first, either). (Just go read the whole thing; it ain’t that long.)

I asked several posts down when the smart people were going to get to run things. I also want to know when the SANE people will get a chance. The important choices that have to be made about the future of this country and the survival of humanity on this planet are being unduly influenced, when they’re not being made outright, by geeks, waterheads, nematodes, mouth-breathers and knuckle-draggers, and, please God, if it doesn’t stop we are really screwed.

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