Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Last Call

Republicans are concern trolling about the payroll tax cut, saying that if we keep it, Social Security will suffer.  It's a complete sack of garbage, of course.  But the Republicans are eager to push it.

That argument, which has been adopted by members of both parties and perpetuated by news outlets like NPR, has one problem: it’s not true. Each of the plans under consideration is fully paid for, replacing revenue the Social Security Trust Fund would have lost from lower payroll tax receipts with money made up from either alternative revenue sources or spending cuts. The earlier payroll tax holiday, set to expire this month, was also fully-funded, and the program has thus far “been held harmless” from the holiday, as Reuters noted today.

And while the opposition from Republicans may seem like an impassioned defense of a vital and popular program, a look at their history with the program shows it is not. DeMint has supported privatizing the program while Paul is a proponent of means testing — “solutions” that are both bad policy and unnecessary. Despite Paul’s $6 trillion assertion, Social Security actually has a $2.6 trillion surplus and is solvent through at least 2037.

And if Republicans truly want to use the payroll tax to shore up its long-term viability, there is an easy way to do that. The payroll tax is currently collected only on the first $106,800 in income; raising or eliminating that cap would make the program fully solvent for the next 75 years.

Ahh, but the Republicans aren't the only ones pushing this lie.  There are plenty of folks on the  Professional Left that have screamed that the payroll tax cut was Obama selling out Social Security when it was implemented last year.  Now they are silent, and the President has the Republicans over a huge barrel.  It's like he knew what he was doing all along.

Funny how that works.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Congratulations, people invested with the job of spewing endless hate about President Obama's daughters, you have reached another milepost on the road to oblivion.

What are President Obama's kids eating at school on Pearl Harbor day? Japanese food, of course!

Just...seriously?  What the hell does that even matter?  You know what, this would only be insensitive to people who think what it means to be an American is all about holding a racist grudge for 70 years.  You know what, just go punch a fourth or fifth generation American of Japanese descent while you're at it.

Right wing nut jobs.  My God.  Oh, and the comments are just filled with people who are such badass patriots they go after the President's young daughters.  Way to go, America.

Never been more proud of you.  Here's what people should really find as insensitive on Pearl Harbor Day:

Today is the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, a day when we reflect on the sacrifices of so many veterans who made our country and our world what it is today.

It's perhaps a little surprising, then, that Gov. Christie thought that this was a good time to shut down a proposed development for disabled veterans in Salem County - which, absent his interference, could have broken ground and provided both homes and jobs by Pearl Harbor Day next year. 

Keep being "sensitive" Republicans.

Knowing Exactly What Buttons To Push

So I wonder what the deal is behind this story, but that's not the interesting part.

Late Tuesday evening, a press release went out to numerous political journalists with stunning news. Mega-union SEIU had voted to withdraw its recently bestowed endorsement of Barack Obama. That’s certainly not unimaginable — SEIU often takes its own path and has a conflicted relationship with the Democratic party establishment.

Only it wasn’t true.

It was a pretty real looking hoax press release that managed to snare a number of reporters who posted the news on twitter. 

The interesting part is not who is behind it, the interesting part is the fact that whoever did it knew that a professional beltway type like Josh Marshall finds the notion of a massive union withdrawing its endorsement of a Democratic president plausible and almost irresistible, and would miss the irony of how that little piece of conventional wisdom completely fooled a number of "journalists" last night who couldn't resist the notion that THE LEFT HATES OBAMA ZOMG.

Exactly who else would SEIU endorse, Josh?  Newt?  Ron Paul?  Mittens?  Bachmann?  People so openly hostile to organized labor they want them eliminated completely, who regularly call them thugs and criminals and blame them for the state of the American middle-class?

Especially after already declaring for the President?  Are we that certain inside the beltway of the conventional wisdom that everyone secretly hates President Obama and that SEIU would pick up its ball and go home, knowing that the only real alternative to the President is people who want to see them utterly annihilated?  SEIU completely backs the President.  Is that more or less plausible?

So very eager for those emoprog stories, aren't we, liberal media.  It's to Josh's credit that he didn't fall for it, but he certainly thought long and hard about running with it, didn't he.  Whoever pulled this little stunt knew exactly how it would fall out, and just how successful it would be.  They got Politico's Ken Vogel, National Journal/Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, and more than a few other people to bite on it.

But even after debunking the story, the beltway types admit "Yeah, this was still plausible".  And that's all the proof you should need to know that our brave Village betters need a long, long vacation out in Actual America for some much needed perspective.

So Long, Colonel Potter

LOS ANGELES – Harry Morgan never planned to be an actor, yet he spent 10 years on one of the top TV series of all time, made 50 films and appeared on Broadway. He became one of the best-known character actors in Hollywood.

But it was Morgan's portrayal of the fatherly Col. Sherman Potter on "M-A-S-H" for which Morgan became most famous, and he knew it.

"M-A-S-H was so damned good," Morgan told The Associated Press. "I didn't think they could keep the level so high."

His wry humor, which helped net him an Emmy for the CBS-TV hit, carried onto the show.

"He was an imp," said Mike Farrell, who starred as B.J. Hunnicutt in "M-A-S-H" along with Morgan and Alan Alda. "As Alan once said, there's not an un-adorable bone in the man's body. He was full of fun, and he was smart as a whip."

Morgan died Wednesday at age 96 his Brentwood home after having pneumonia, his daughter-in-law, Beth Morgan, told AP.

I'm probably giving away too much about my age, but I grew up watching M-A-S-H.  Granted, I was little, but Harry Morgan was like an uncle. I grew up with him, and loved his dry wit and sense of fairness as Colonel Potter.  He was remembered for that role, but had so many others (does anyone out there remember the Apple Dumpling Gang?) that were equally memorable, just eclipsed by one of the best runs in television history.

RIP, Colonel.

From The Mouths Of Babes

Michele Bachmann was put in her place by a little boy.

Michele Bachmann was left speechless after an awkward encounter with a young activist named Elijah at a Chicago area book signing.

As seen in the below video, the Republican candidate and Tea Party darling greeted the soft-spoken eight-year-old at a meet-and-greet event for her new book, "Core of Conviction: My Story," which was released last month.

"My mommy -- Miss Bachmann, my mommy's gay but she doesn't need fixing," Elijah said to Bachmann, after some lighthearted coaxing. A dumbfounded Bachmann then shoots the boy's mother an icy look before the pair walk away.

For someone who hates to look stupid, she does it so well!  If she had any reason, any logic-backed argument at all, she could have said something.  Instead she hides behind religion and slaps people in the face with her "wisdom" that they do not deserve recognition and rights under law.  She deserved this.

Generosity Abounds

BENTON, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man who spent nearly 16 years in prison for a 1992 homicide he didn't commit is helping fund an investigation aimed at finding the real killer.

Joshua Kezer was exonerated two years ago in the shooting death of Angela Mischelle Lawless. The 19-year-old woman was found in her car near a southeastern Missouri exit off Interstate 55.

Kezer reached a legal settlement earlier this year with Scott County and some former law enforcement officials.

Now, KFVS-TV reports ( ) Kezer has donated $10,000 from the settlement to the continuing investigation being led by Scott County's current sheriff, Rick Walter. Kezer says it's a matter of "doing the right thing" and helping the victim's family find closure.

In many ways Kezer was a victim as well. Of course he would like to see the person truly responsible pay for it, but to ante up his own money and show such goodwill to a family that (mistakenly) wanted him to rot in jail is a turnaround that should give us pause. An innocent man is going above and beyond to help catch a criminal and bring peace to the victim's family. Here's hoping the right person goes down for the crime and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.

An Impossible Crowd, Forget Tough

The most striking thing about the President's speech yesterday was the number of people on the left who had A) been complaining that the President had not yet taken the opportunity to give a fiery populist speech espousing the values of the Occupy movement, and B) when the President actually did that yesterday, they then said the President's speech was virtually meaningless.

Taylor Marsh is a classic example of this, having made up her mind before the speech yesterday that the President's hand had been forced by the Occupy movement, and that she was completely uninterested in what he had to say.

The patter is “Obama channels Teddy Roosevelt,” but that’s not quite right. What Pres. Obama is doing is channeling Occupy Wall Street and all the Occupy movements across the country, hoping to blast your message wide while simultaneously attaching himself to it, but without you getting credit for it.

It’s as clever as it is dishonest, a political master stroke by Obama reelect that is so cynical it could only come from one of the two big corporate, Wall Street parties.

That's a hallmark I've found of the Professional Left, the media folks who make a living by attacking the President with assaults ranging from "not progressive enough" to "worse than Bush."  Marsh is the archetype for one mode of the Professional Left, the Disillusioned Hillary Clinton Voter.  They've never forgiven Barack Obama for beating Hillary in the primaries in 2008, and insist that the country would be infinitely better off with Hillary at the helm, fighting for "real progressive values".  Marsh's book, The Hillary Effect, is a long treatise on how Clinton is the only real progressive leader.

The most odious feature of this mindset is a relentless belief that Barack Obama is the least qualified human being on Earth to be President of the United States, a disdain bordering on pure hatred, something you'd expect to find in the most rabid Tea Party operative.  Marsh displays this contempt for the President openly in a piece from last month.

I’m not disappointed in Pres. Obama for not being a more progressive leader, because I knew he wasn’t a progressive from the start.

It’s also not disappointing that Pres. Obama has made the Democratic Party more like the Republican Party through his continual leaning to the right, because both parties are basically the same these days, though the Republican right’s crazy is more virulent, while the Democratic left is just feckless.

I’m not disappointed Pres. Obama didn’t get a primary challenger, because you’d have to be nuts to go up against a man so thoroughly bought and paid for by Wall Street and big business.

She's not disappointed you see, because she never had a very high opinion of President Obama in the first place.  She had made up her mind that he was a failure before he took office, a failure born of his theft of the Presidency from Hillary Clinton.  She manages to remember to breathe at some point while writing this and throws in a half-hearted "Pres. Obama is better than the current leading alternative on the Republican side, which today is Newt Gingrich" but then bemoans how awful that truly is.

There's also more to it than just irrational hatred bordering on "becoming the monster you wish to defeat" as she consistently displays open derision for the President, but discussion of that particular demon on the left always seems to lead to a lot of trouble.  That always brings up a political cartoon I remember seeing just after Obama's election in 2008 where a young black boy and a white girl are playing on a swing set, and the black boy says "Do you know what it's like to finally have a President who looks like me?"

The white girl of course says "No."

Some people have never gotten past that.

Dr. Strangemoron, Or How I Learned To Stop Thinking And Hate The Bomb

Via DougJ at Balloon Juice comes this explanation from Danielle Pletka of winger think tank American Enterprise Institute as to what our Iran policy should be.

The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it's Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don't do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, "See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn't getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately." ... And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem.

For years we've been warned that a nuclear Iran was an immediate threat to  everybody, and that the second the last bolt was tightened on it, they were going to strap it to a rocket and aim it at the nearest Israeli hospital maternity ward, then build radioactive zombie war machines out of the rubble.  That was never the reality, the reality was that if Iran got nukes, we'd have to give them foreign aid.  That's what we do with "responsible powers" with nuclear weapons.

Ask Pakistan.  President Obama didn't exactly start that little corollary.  That's why the new threat is "Israel is going to start a war, not us."  They're not.  They're instead sneaking Mossad ninjas in to blow up nuclear research labs and going "Who, us?  We were all busy that day."

No, the real problem is Iran becoming an acceptable member of society with a nuke or two, going to the UN Security Council, and saying "About crossing our palms with silver, gentlemen..."  Now, the GOP will freak out if we try to put up an embassy in Tehran, but the thought of regime change and selling weapons to Iran's neighbors will kick in, and we'll end up doing business with them just like we do with Pakistan.

Neocons hate admitting that's the next move on the board, but as long as there's filthy lucre to be had, they'll live with it.


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