Friday, May 7, 2010

If You're A Jane Hamsher Fan, I Apologize But...

This is some high quality snark from Matt Yglesias:

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont struck a deal with Chris Dodd and the White House over his “audit the Fed” proposal that allowed the measure to be adopted by the Senate. I saw last night on Twitter that this led to Jane Hamsher denouncing Sanders as a sellout, which I noted led to a bit of a credibility mismatch between a veteran progressive legislator and a media entrepreneur whose specialty niche is never taking yes for an answer on anything.

For those who wonder at the point, Jane (at
Firedoglake) led a kill the bill effort...with Grover Norquist(!)...against the final version of HCR, under the rubric that anything less than "Medicare For All" made you functionally identical to George if you ARE a Hamsher fan, I have to ask: "Why?"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dear Pouting Rich People

Via Jonathon Chait:

Rich conservatives are obsessed with this idea that they might quit their jobs. Ayn Rand wrote a whole book about this fantasy. Innumerable such threats accompanied Bill Clinton's upper-bracket tax hike, which was promptly followed by an explosion in upper-income growth.

Let me give you a hint, pouting rich people: We're not falling for your bluff. None of you is really going to quit your job and deny the world your precious genius because the Democrats raised your top tax bracket to 39.6%. That's because earning more than a quarter million dollars a year and having to pay a slightly higher tax rate than the average person is not actually such a horrible fate.

Will you chinless wonders just fucking Go Galt, already? Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Conservative Catch-22

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.

"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.
--Joseph Heller, Catch-22

I have come to realize that conservatism is a mental disorder. Much like the sane reactions to insanity and the insane reactions to sanity that characterized Catch-22, conservatism is an insane reaction to sanity, to wit: fucking over your fellow human being is neither morally obligatory (Ayn Rand) nor morally praiseworthy (Ronald Reagan).

It came to me in a flash as an otherwise reasonable conservative of my acquaintance was talking. He asserted that he didn't mind helping someone who needed assistance to get back on their feet. He just didn't like paying for people's health care who had no intention of making anything of themselves. I asked how many he thought fell into the latter category. Most of them, it turns out.

In other words, he's perfectly happy to spend his money to help the deserving. As it turns out, the definition of "deserving" was functionally identical to "not needing any help."

If you don't need assistance of any kind then you're deserving and can get assistance. The moment you need assistance you are no longer deserving and shouldn't get assistance. That's some catch, that Catch-22.

It allows someone to consider themselves a kind, thoughtful, civic-minded sort without the messy inconvenience of actually, you know, putting your money where your mouth is. It's what allows a conservative, with no visible trace of irony, to declare that government should get out of everybody's business, and to hurry up with the ag subsidy check. See, if you're getting a subsidy, it's because you deserve the assistance, salt of the earth sort that you are. If someone ELSE is getting a health insurance subsidy check, it's because they are a dirty fucking hippy, sitting around taking bong hits and getting high.

No it's not (always) about racism, though that's often a contributing factor. Mainly, it's about not a) giving up any money, and b) thinking of yourself as a good person.

"Why didn't you point that out to him," asked the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Pedant when I outlined my insight. Because there's no point. Comes from another quote I rather like.

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
--John Kenneth Galbraith

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shorter Eric Cantor

Democrats are being meanies or wusses or both, when they point out that they've been getting death threats from Republicans and/or Teabaggers.

And we're not even making the (obvious) linkage between Repub incitement and attempted arson. I can't even imagine how he'd behave if we did that.

Oh, wait, I've seen my two year old daughter throw temper tantrums, so I guess I can.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our Insane Defense Budget

From the inestimable Spencer Ackerman, a Defense Analyst of Excellence, a look at why we push so many $$ down the DoD rathole...

My favorite quote:

It’s only a slight exaggeration to say we don’t use combat aircraft in the wars we’re fighting. You have to come up with a baroque set of Michael Bey-esque geopolitical calculations by which we would use combat aircraft in any conceivable war. The U.S.’s area of combat-aircraft dominance is called Planet Earth. No Air Force is going to challenge ours. No actual U.S. adversary has an air force, and the list of real-potential U.S. adversaries that do starts with Iran and ends with North Korea, neither of which are remotely stupid enough to test us in the air. The most likely scenario for using combat aircraft in a U.S. war is an alien invasion.

and summed up...

But by all means, freeze spending on school lunch programs and Head Start and shit like that.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Can Democrats Govern?

So asks Ezra Klein. I happen to agree with every word written here so I'll leave it at this:

If Democrats abandon health-care reform in the aftermath of Brown's victory, the lesson will be that they can't govern. No majority within the realm of reason will give them the votes to move their agenda swiftly and confidently. Even the prospect of the most significant legislative achievement in 40 years, an achievement that will save hundreds of thousands of lives, will not keep them from collapsing into chaos when they face adversity.

At that point, what's the pitch for voting for Democrats? That they agree with you? A plumber and I both agree that my toilet should work. But if he can't make it work, I'm not going to pay him any money or invite him into my home. Governance isn't just about ideology. It's also about competence and will. That's where Democrats are flagging.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Who Needs Ralph Nader

So, Brown is in and Coakley out.

Running a campaign, in Boston, where you speak derisively of standing outside Fenway in January shaking hands? Stupid.

In my humble opinion, it is not the DSCC, President Obama, state Dems or anyone else that deserves the blame here. Coakley did NOTHING for 4 weeks while her numbers dropped faster than a mallet at a Gallagher concert. So much for that.

Now what? Health Care can still be done. There's one way only that it can happen. The House has to pass the Senate's bill, unmodified. And it looks like House Progressives are refusing.

Again, in my humble opinion, these idiots have doomed healthcare. These morons think that they can go back and pass pieces of the legislation one by one. My prediction? In 2010 the Senate will take exactly ZERO votes regarding health care. Nobody will so much as THINK about health care. They'll pass something, ANYTHING, that might get the unemployment rate down to maybe 9.5% by November. And people like this Rep. Grijalva, with bovine incomprehension, will blame Obama's lack of leadership for the problem. There are NO MORE bites at the apple. And closing their eyes and clapping their fucking hands is not going to make Tinkerbell any fucking realer.

In the end, if this hissy fit continues? It will be at least ten years, probably closer to twenty, before health care reform is taken up again. And by that time, if we continue to follow the curve of increasingly awfulness at every iteration? We'll be voting on how many times your health insurance company can punch you in the goddamn neck every time you file a claim, and limiting the number of inches they can cut off your dick if you have the temerity to reach your deductible limit and require them to start paying 50/50 on your covered bills (all two of them). And it WILL STILL FAIL.

Who the fuck needs Ralph Nader? I guess it's more fun to complain about the results of torture camps and endless war profiteering while credit card companies earn enough money to kidnap 13 year olds for snuff porn and still buy off the judges when they're caught than it is to compromise, yet again, to help ensure that we don't have another fucking eight years like the last eight we just lived through.

Fuck 'Em All.