The Cause of the Republican Shutdown: Melanocytes

Mike Stanfill explains what’s really behind the GOP shutdown:

As if there’s a reason any more logical than that.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • popeyoni

    I believe this is the truth.

  • Gideon

    Could be true for some of them, I suppose. But not for all. I have the…pleasure of often encountering Tea Party sympathizers at work. I think their viewpoint is simply a lethal combination of many flavors of ignorance and faulty models. Such as the false idea that poverty is always a direct consequence of personal moral failure. Or that the borrowing of a massive sovereign nation, which manages its own currency, needs to be managed exactly like the borrowing of one household. Or that the labor market is efficient. Or that immigration injures the economy. Or that the proper response to malinvestment is a lingering money-starved depression. Or that government spending is always a drain on the economy…except when the military does it. Or that basic science research is replaceable with corporate R&D work.

    I mean, they could be frightened by extra melanin. But they’re certainly ignorant as well about a great many things.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Indeed. The melanin was just a catalyst for the fear and racism they’ve been pretending doesn’t exist since it became socially unacceptable to be racist. It didn’t go away; it just got smarter… until the pressure got to be too much.

      It says a lot about how pathetic Americans really are when all it ultimately took to make their leashed racism completely break loose (as opposed to its usual cathartic releases such as yelling about “welfare queens”) was one light-toned black guy becoming too popular for about a year.

      It took eighteen months of constant public shaming just to get Tea Party leaders to make one statement criticizing the overt racists in their midst. Think about that.

    • advancedatheist

      Such as the false idea that poverty is always a direct consequence of personal moral failure.

      In other words, you have a sheltered life and haven’t had much exposure to poor people. I live in rural Arizona and I know plenty of poor whites, and believe me, they stay poor because they make stupid choices in life, like spending more money at the tattoo shop than at the dentist’s office.

      • Pattrsn

        Oh my god it’s you again. Not only do you promote nutjob men’s movement evo psyche crap but looney libertarian cliches too. Can’t wait to hear your opinions on race.

      • 3lemenope

        I live in rural Arizona

        It takes special skill to look around a podunk desert town and say to yourself, “You know, I bet the rest of the known universe works exactly like things do here.”

        And that’s assuming you are even correct about the poor folks in your podunk desert town. Signs point to “no” on that one, too.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Ooohhh, magic eight-ball burn!

      • Oswald Carnes

        You’re still alive? I guess prayer really doesn’t work.

    • advancedatheist

      Or that immigration injures the economy.

      Again, more evidence of your sheltered life. The Hispanic immigrant population displays lower IQ’s than the native Anglo-European population, and we can see that in California from the fact that Silicon Valley’s demographics look radically unlike the rest of the state’s. Given the meritocratic nature of Silicon Valley and its companies’ desperate need for high-end cognitive capital regardless of where it comes from, you can’t blame that outcome on “racism.”

      In other words, the U.S. could get along just fine without importing more of a stoop-labor underclass that it doesn’t need.

      • David Kopp

        So not only are you a raging misogynist, but you’re racist as well? Damn. You’re like a caricature, a Poe. Can you really exist, or are you just a troll?

        • UWIR

          What he said about Hispanics displaying lower IQs is, denotatively at least, absolutely true and not racist. However, it is completely irrelevant to the question of whether immigration injures the economy. Given the nature of trade and comparative advantage, the default assumption should be that having immigrants differ demographically from the native population is an good thing, and he utterly fails to present any argument to the contrary.

          • GCT

            Yay, the racists are defending each other now.

            I see that the fact that others have already pointed out what the problem with the IQ statement is has eluded you. I also see that you’ve completely ignored the context in order to jump in and cry that it’s not racist, when it clearly is. No one wants your racism here either.

            • UWIR

              Do you know what “denotatively” means? If you understood English, you would realize that I put that word in specifically because I was acknowledging that the statement can easily be seen as having racist connotations. Are you really this stupid, or are you just going out of your way to interpret every thing I say as racist, no matter ridiculous lengths you have to go to? You actually read that as defending AA when I clearly was disagreeing with him?

              • GCT

                Do you know what “denotatively” means?

                Yes. It means to reference in a way that denotes. Denote means to mark or indicate. How you seem to think that somehow makes you not a racist is beyond me. This is especially true given the fact that you went out of your way to defend the claim as not being racist when it clearly is. This follows a pattern for you where you throw out racist comments and then hide behind them as not being racist because (insert badly thought out rationalization here).

                Are you really this stupid, or are you just going out of your way to interpret every thing I say as racist, no matter ridiculous lengths you have to go to?

                No, I’m not stupid enough to buy your bullshit, and frankly it’s not that hard to point out that you are a racist, because you don’t seem to hide it very well.

                You actually read that as defending AA when I clearly was disagreeing with him?

                You disagreed with him on the economic policy involved, yet agreed with his statements that were racist and even tried to defend those, all while downplaying the obvious racism laced in his comment. I predict that you’ll come back with some bluster about how this proves nothing and no one can show that you’re a racist, so therefore you aren’t (as if that were valid logic to begin with).

                • UWIR

                  “Yes. It means to reference in a way that denotes. Denote means to mark or indicate.”

                  It means “with reference to denotation”. Do you not understand the difference between denotation and connotation?

                  “This follows a pattern for you where you throw out racist comments and then hide behind them as not being racist because (insert badly thought out rationalization here).”

                  You have yet to present even one argument for how anything I’ve said is racist. You are proceeding entirely though argument by assertion, and then accusing me of “rationalization”, when there’s nothing to rationalize.

                  “You disagreed with him on the economic policy involved, yet agreed with his statements that were racist and even tried to defend those”
                  Do you disagree with his statement? Are you willing to come out and say that minorities do not display lower IQs? Or do you think that whether something is true isn’t important, if it violates Political Correctness, we can’t say it?

                  “You, all while downplaying the obvious racism laced in his comment.”

                  In other words, you think you have the right to dictate to others what they should focus on, and if they don’t comply, they’re “racist”.

                • GCT

                  It means “with reference to denotation”. Do you not understand the difference between denotation and connotation?

                  Quit playing games racist. This doesn’t help you for the reasons I already pointed out.

                  You have yet to present even one argument for how anything I’ve said is racist.

                  This is flatly false for reasons I’ve outlined elsewhere on this thread.

                  Do you disagree with his statement? Are you willing to come out and say that minorities do not display lower IQs? Or do you think that whether something is true isn’t important, if it violates Political Correctness, we can’t say it?

                  This is exactly what I’m getting at. You have high regard for the truth when it suits your racist purposes, but you consistently ignore the context in order to make the insinuations that you make. Then, you hide behind “I’m just stating the facts” in order to claim that you aren’t saying anything racist when, in fact, you are.

                  In other words, you think you have the right to dictate to others what they should focus on, and if they don’t comply, they’re “racist”.

                  I think you have the right to be intentionally obtuse and racist, but you don’t have the right to claim that we can’t call you out on either score. You seem to be laboring under the idea of freeze peach as well as your other faults. Now, go find some KKK or slimepit sites and sully them up with your racism and sexism.

                • UWIR

                  “This is exactly what I’m getting at. You have high regard for the truth when it suits your racist purposes, but you consistently ignore the context in order to make the insinuations that you make.”

                  Is or is it not true? You are refusing to answer a direct question, and throwing up all sorts of obfuscations to distract from that. Context is part of the connotations. I specifically said that I was talking about the denotation, which does not include context, lying liar who lies.

                • GCT

                  Again, this is what I’m talking about. You’ve proved my point. You’re trying to insinuate something (which means context is important) while claiming that since you’re only stating facts (without context) that it can’t possibly be racist. It’s dishonest and racist of you. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t imply context and then hide behind it when people call out your bullshit rhetoric. You are a racist and a sexist.

                • UWIR

                  Is it TRUE? Yes or no? Why do you refuse to answer that question?

                • GCT

                  Because I’m not playing your gotcha games and it’s rather immaterial. I know you’ll jump on this as proof that truth doesn’t matter to me, but quite the opposite is true. The truth is that we know IQ tests are biased and have issues and are not accurate representations of intelligence, especially when you start testing non-heteros, non-whites, and non-males. That you seem to think it’s vitally important to state a result that is already known to be questionable and dubious only leads to the conclusion that you like the result because it fits your racist narrative.

                  BTW, this puts your recent rhetoric on Camille’s post in a more illuminating light. One would hope that an atheist like you could be rational and look at all the evidence instead of only the evidence that you want to look at, but alas, that’s not the case. Well, it’s because you are a racist, and racism is irrational. It also makes you a huge hypocrite and an asshole.

                • UWIR

                  “The truth is that we know IQ tests are biased and have issues and are not accurate representations of intelligence, especially when you start testing non-heteros, non-whites, and non-males.”

                  So, by “biased”, you mean that there is a coherent attribute of “intelligence”, and IQ tests underpredict this attribute. In which case the precise statement would be “IQ tests are biased predictors of intelligence with respect to race”. Why was that so hard? You are making non-trivial claims, here. It is emblematic of your arrogance that you don’t think you have any obligation to make those claims explicit and subject them to scrutiny. What do you mean by “intelligence”? How do you measure it? On what basis do you claim that your understanding of intelligence is the appropriate one? What empirical data do you have for your claim that IQ tests underpredict it for minorities? These are all valid question that you evaded by refusing to define what you meant by “biased”.

                  “One would hope that an atheist like you could be rational and look at all the evidence instead of only the evidence that you want to look at, but alas, that’s not the case.”

                  I’m not the one calling someone “racist” just because they disagree with me. And I’m not the one who first claimed that “Republicans shut down the government because they don’t like the fact that the president is black” is not an accusation of racism, and then claimed that I had not done so.

                  “Seriously? Is that the best you’ve got? So, you are implying that they are inferior, but only in a non-racist sense? And, that would mean that they are literally situated below white people, which has what to do with their IQ scores?”

                  Unless you are saying that black people’s distance to the center of gravity of the earth is less than that of white people’s, you are abusing the word “literally”. Black people do have lower average IQs than white people. If you want to characterize me as saying that black people have inferior IQs with respect to white people, that is your phrasing, not mine.

                  “You know exactly what I mean when I claim that you think they are inferior. You think they are beneath you in quality”

                  The average black person has less of the quality of IQ than the average white person. Terms of negative connotation, such as “inferior” and “beneath”, are terms that you, not I, have chosen.

                  “you being a white male, are better than any non-white male.”

                  See, that’s exactly the sort of equivocation that leftist liars like you are fond of. I have been quite careful to speak of demographic averages. To assert that the average white person has a higher IQ than the average black person is an entirely different proposition than that every white person has a higher IQ than every black person, and it is you, not I, who has equated the two.

                  “That you’ve latched onto faulty IQ scores and refuse to understand that they are faulty is more evidence of your racism.”

                  Properly speaking, the scores themselves are not faulty. The scores are the scores. It is only the conclusions that one draws from the scores that can be faulty. I agreed with AA as to objective facts about the scores, but disagreed with the conclusions that he drew from that. And yet you insist on calling me racist for that.

                • GCT

                  I’m not the one calling someone “racist” just because they disagree with me.

                  I’ve repeatedly shown you why I call you racist, and it’s not just because of disagreement. I also pointed out that other people disagree with me all the time and I don’t call them racist, because they don’t exhibit the same behavior as you. IOW, you are once again up to your old tricks. I would have hoped better from an atheist that chides other atheists for not being rational enough. It seems that you suck at the rationality thing.

                  Black people do have lower average IQs than white people.

                  Yes, I’m aware that you like to say things like that. You don’t have to reinforce your racism. I get it already.

                  If you want to characterize me as saying that black people have inferior IQs with respect to white people, that is your phrasing, not mine.

                  I wish it were that easy. I wish all racists would just come out and start calling blacks inferior. But, alas, it is not the case. People like you have at least figured out that the current climate does not allow for such naked racism, so you imply, you make sure the facts are out there shorn of their context, you insinuate, but you don’t come right out and say it. That doesn’t mean we can’t put 2 and 2 together to get 4. I know you like to contend that you can’t be a racist if you don’t specifically say some magic words about blacks being inferior, but that’s not how it works.

                  See, that’s exactly the sort of equivocation that leftist liars like you are fond of. I have been quite careful to speak of demographic averages.

                  And, you’ve been careful to avoid the context or allowing the for the fact that IQ tests are biased and don’t mean anything. IOW, you’re claiming whites are smarter than blacks. Go fuck yourself you racist POS.

                  I agreed with AA as to objective facts about the scores, but disagreed with the conclusions that he drew from that. And yet you insist on calling me racist for that.

                  Sigh. I already covered this. You disagreed with his conclusions vis-a-vis economic concerns, while making sure to point out that Hispanics do score lower on IQ tests. You are a fucking racist POS. Go infest some other blog.

                • UWIR

                  “And, you’ve been careful to avoid the context or allowing the for the fact that IQ tests are biased and don’t mean anything. IOW, you’re claiming whites are smarter than blacks. Go fuck yourself you racist POS.”

                  I believe that IQ tests, while not a perfect reflection of intelligence, do provide useful information about intelligence. You disagree with my position, and you call me “racist” for disagreeing with you on this matter. So, yes, you are calling me racist for disagreeing with you. You have no argument against my position other than bare assertions. It is purely your opinion that IQ tests don’t mean anything, and you just demand that I agree with you, and try to bully me with your incessant insults when I don’t.

                • GCT

                  You disagree with my position, and you call me “racist” for disagreeing with you on this matter. So, yes, you are calling me racist for disagreeing with you.

                  No. I’m calling you racist for a couple reasons.

                  1. Your past history.

                  2. You and I both know that IQ tests are flawed, but you persist in claiming that it means something, while implying it means that whites really are smarter.

                  You have no argument against my position other than bare assertions.

                  The studies have been done. You know that the studies have been done, and you’re weaseling around those studies in order to maintain your racist narrative. It has nothing to do with bare assertions, and everything to do with you ignoring the evidence in order to maintain your irrational racism.

                  You just demand that I agree with you, and try to bully me with your incessant insults.

                  Calling a racist a racist is now bullying? I’m sure people who protest the KKK are the real racists too? You’re worse than pathetic. You’re a cancer on humanity.

                • UWIR

                  2. You and I both know that IQ tests are flawed, but you persist in claiming that it means something, while implying it means that whites really are smarter.

                  So, I say that you’re calling me racist for disagreeing with me, and your response is “No, I’m calling you racist because you disagree with my position that IQ tests don’t mean anything”. That’s exactly what I said: you are calling me racist because I disagree with you. It’s not racist to note that there are demographic differences between the intelligence of races. No serious sociologist disagrees that white people are, on average, more intelligent than black people. You’re redefining words to suit your agenda. In other words, you’re lying.

                  The studies have been done. You know that the studies have been done, and you’re weaseling around those studies in order to maintain your racist narrative. It has nothing to do with bare assertions, and everything to do with you ignoring the evidence in order to maintain your irrational racism.

                  This is your standard mode of “argument”: just declare that I am wrong, with no evidence, and then call me racist for making a claim that you can’t dispute with actual evidence. This “you know you’re wrong, and you’re pretending otherwise because you’re racist” is just as asinine as the religious fundamentalist assholes who say “You know God exists, but you’re just claiming that He doesn’t so you can sin”. “You’re wrong and you know it” is not an argument. It is a bare assertion. You claim the studies exist, but you refuse to provide them. That’s bare assertion. I’m not ignoring the evidence, because you haven’t provided any.

                  You apparently live in some fantasy world in which things are true simply because you say so.

                  Calling a racist a racist is now bullying?

                  No, saying that whites are not any smarter than blacks, refusing to define what you mean by “smarter”, let alone provide any evidence for your claim, and then calling me racist because I am not accepting some alleged studies that apparently exist only in your mind, is bullying.

                  I know of no studies showing that black people are just as smart as white people. I am, on the other hand, aware that black people have higher rates of poverty, infant malnutrition, children being raised by single mother, etc., etc., all of which one can rationally expect to impede brain development. I am further aware that while IQ tests,school grades, high school graduation rates, college admission rates, SAT scores, etc., etc., are not perfect reflections of intelligence, they all point to blacks being less intelligent, and you have not proposed any other measure. So all the actual evidence points to black people being less intelligent, while your imaginary, “you know they exist” studies that you refuse to cite point the other way. And it’s “irrational” and “racist” to prefer the former to the latter?

      • baal

        Hrm, I wonder if you’ve considered what could drive wages down on average for different business sectors and how that’s part of the demise of the middle class. Hint, it has nothing to do with the races involved.

        For our non-atheist friends, I categorically find AA here despicable and make it a point to call out his BS. I doubt he’s actually an atheist but I’m not willing to play the no-true-atheist card.

      • Pattrsn

        Oh look, you’re a complete raving moron on race too, what a surprise.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Your racism-informed inability to understand the well-known fact that IQ tests are heavily biased is noted.

        I have a tested IQ of 165, which is several standard deviations higher than it needs to be for me understand that The. Test. Is. Bullshit.

        • UWIR

          Define “biased”. Obviously you’re not using it in the standard statistical sense.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            I.Q. testing is unintentionally designed by and for people of particular backgrounds, including race, culture, educational level, income, as well as type of intelligence, both by nature and nurture. It tends to be biased in favor of people at least superficially similar to me, and against minorities.

            Look at this blog. Probably few to none of the regular commenters scored that high if they were ever tested, but I could offhandedly count at least a dozen regulars here who are obviously far more intelligent than I am, and many more who probably are. Obama has a score of “only” 130, and, criticisms of him aside, he’s clearly much smarter than me (and I’m not factoring in differences like level of success in that estimation.) I.Q. scores are not much more than ephemeral status symbols to me. They might as well be high school pecking orders.

            • UWIR

              That doesn’t actually answer my question.

              • GCT

                Yeah, it did. You’re just ignoring the context so that you can defend racism. You are a racist. Go away, you’re not wanted here.

                • UWIR

                  I asked for definition of “biased”. CLH did not give a definition. He just gave a long-winded discourse on his belief that IQ tests are biased. How can we have a discussion as to whether IQ tests are “biased”, if you refuse to actually define what you mean by “biased”? When people refuse to define their terms, that’s red flag that they’re peddling nonsense. And when they not only refuse to define their terms, but call people “racist” for pointing it out, that’s a giant red flag.

                  I think you are flobgalootle. How do you respond to that accusation?

                • GCT

                  And you are hiding behind hyper-skepticism and adherence to definitions. You know perfectly well what “biased” means. And, if you read CL’s first sentence again, xe lays out what xe means. But, you found some way to insist that people meet your expectations for how the conversation must go in order to be graced with your insights, or else we’re not allowed to point out that you are, indeed, a racist. That you are trying to muddy the waters is yet another clear indicator, in the sea of evidence that I and many others have pointed out.

                • UWIR

                  “You know perfectly well what “biased” means. ”
                  Oh, I know quite well what the standard definition of “biased” is, and CL’s post is not consistent with that definition, so I asked CL to explain what definition CL is using. All of which I made quite clear in my initial post.

                  “But, you found some way to insist that people meet your expectations for how the conversation must go in order to be graced with your insights”
                  Yes, my “expectations” being things like “how about actually defining words, rather than hiding behind vague, ambiguous terms”.

                  “or else we’re not allowed to point out that you are, indeed, a racist.”

                  You seem to be unclear on the difference between “point out” and “make baseless accusations”.

                  “That you are trying to muddy the waters is yet another clear indicator, in the sea of evidence that I and many others have pointed out.”
                  That you insist on using vague terms, and you’re calling asking for precise definitions “muddying the waters”, is a measure of just how hypocritical you are. I’m trying to clear the waters. You’re trying to muddy them. When people respond to requests for clarifications with insults, it’s a big sign that they’re not interested in a legitimate discussion. When they proceed from the fact that they consider the terms perfectly clear, to asserting that anyone else who disagrees must be lying, they are showing them to be narcissistic assholes who can’t see anything from anyone else’s perspective.

                • GCT

                  Oh, I know quite well what the standard definition of “biased” is, and CL’s post is not consistent with that definition, so I asked CL to explain what definition CL is using. All of which I made quite clear in my initial post.

                  Absolute bullshit. CL’s definition is the standard one. You just don’t want to admit it, because it would wreck your narratives.

                  Yes, my “expectations” being things like “how about actually defining words, rather than hiding behind vague, ambiguous terms”.

                  That’s bullshit too, and you know it. By insisting that you don’t understand how CL is using the word “bias” when you actually do, you’re simply being intentionally obtuse and intentionally obfuscating so that you can avoid the implications of your racism and hide. You’re a coward as well as a bigot.

                  You seem to be unclear on the difference between “point out” and “make baseless accusations”.

                  It’s not baseless when we continually point out what you are saying that is racist and why. Again, you’re a coward.

                  When people respond to requests for clarifications with insults, it’s a big sign that they’re not interested in a legitimate discussion.

                  When those requests for clarification are actually the opposite…You’re kinda like those conservative groups that have names suggestive that they are interested in the wellfare of families, when in reality they really just hate gays.

                • UWIR

                  “Absolute bullshit. CL’s definition is the standard one. You just don’t want to admit it, because it would wreck your narratives.”
                  CL didn’t present a definition. And CL’s use is not consistent with the standard meaning. The standard statistical meaning of “bias” refers to a statistic that is used to approximate a parameter, and deviates from that parameter in a consistent direction. So, what parameter is IQ approximating, and how is it being measured as deviating from that?

                • GCT

                  CL didn’t present a definition. And CL’s use is not consistent with the standard meaning.

                  CL’s use is consistent and we can infer that CL’s definition is the standard one from that fact. IQ is a standard of measuring intelligence of hetero, white men. It is biased towards hetero, white men, based on its design. You try to insinuate that people who score lower on IQ tests are somehow inferior, while ignoring that the test is designed in such a way as to favor hetero, white men. You are a deceitful racist.

                  I predict that you will claim that this is not in any way, shape, or form an indication that you are in fact racist and will continue to lie that no one is pointing out any way that you are racist.

                • UWIR

                  “You try to insinuate that people who score lower on IQ tests are somehow inferior”

                  Yet again, you employ ambiguous terms ripe for equivocation. “Inferior” has many different senses, and a common leftist tactic is to jump from one to the other. You don’t like people trying to pin you down on what exactly you mean by words, because it gets in the way of your dishonesty.

                  “while ignoring that the test is designed in such a way as to favor hetero, white men.”

                  And more ambiguity. Does “designed in such a way as to favor” means “designed with the intent to favor”, or “designed in such a way that it does favor”? What does “favor” mean? Clearly, a test that measures a particular attribute favors people with more of that attribute. The SAT test favors people who are fluent in English. Is it biased against people with limited English?

                  There is an attribute that minorities, on average, have less of, that is tested by IQ tests, and is important in educational and employment success. Is it “bias” to note this? Does the mere fact that minorities score lower on IQ tests prove that IQ tests are biased against minorities?

                • GCT

                  Yet again, you employ ambiguous terms ripe for equivocation. “Inferior” has many different senses, and a common leftist tactic is to jump from one to the other.

                  Seriously? Is that the best you’ve got? So, you are implying that they are inferior, but only in a non-racist sense? And, that would mean that they are literally situated below white people, which has what to do with their IQ scores? This has got to be the most desperate and weakest argument for racism I’ve ever heard.

                  You don’t like people trying to pin you down on what exactly you mean by words, because it gets in the way of your dishonesty.

                  Whatever. You know exactly what I mean when I claim that you think they are inferior. You think they are beneath you in quality and that you, being a white male, are better than any non-white male. That’s what it means to be a racist. That you’ve latched onto faulty IQ scores and refuse to understand that they are faulty is more evidence of your racism.

                  And more ambiguity. Does “designed in such a way as to favor” means “designed with the intent to favor”, or “designed in such a way that it does favor”?

                  It doesn’t matter. Whether it was intentional or not, the end product is a test that is biased towards hetero, white men. You are trying to tie up the argument in knots so that you can claim no one is answering your questions, therefore no one is showing that you are racist. It doesn’t work like that, and it’s highly dishonest of you to try this tactic.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Huh, weird. I never saw any followup messages after my last one above, until I went specifically looking after being prodded to do so a few minutes ago.

                  I kind of assumed that you were just looking for a way to defend IQ testing, and possibly to defend high scores specifically, since some see them as a status symbol. But no, that wasn’t it. It was just more pissiness and gotcha games from a semantics hyperskeptic with some axes to grind. My bad for not assuming the worst.

                  Coming after me for referring to AA’s statements as racist requires you to be wholly ignorant of his post history, and, oddly, enough, his word choices. Hmm, I can’t IMAGINE why you’d be quiet about those. Why, it’s almost as if you only make your trademark demands as prelude to your own particular brand of Gotcha Apologetics, and not in the role of the virtuous neutral moderator you would like to convince everyone to view you as. Good gracious!

                  No wonder you went off the bend the next time you replied to me.

                  English may be the best technical language, but it is not a computer language. It requires reading in context and for comprehension. Deal with it. While you’re at it, deal with being pissy over people daring to write two or three paragraphs. If you think these responses are “long-winded”, that only speaks ill of your ability to follow.

                • UWIR

                  “It was just more pissiness and gotcha games from a semantics hyperskeptic with some axes to grind.”

                  What gotcha games? Saying that we should establish a common ground of understanding what words mean is a gotcha game?

                  “My bad for not assuming the worst.”

                  That is exactly what you’re doing. You don’t understand what my thinking is, and you are so arrogant that in your mind, that equates to “you don’t have any valid basis for your statements”.

                  “Coming after me for referring to AA’s statements as racist”

                  Coming after you? I made a passing remark. It’s not like I, say, went to another thread and harassed you about it.

                  “requires you to be wholly ignorant of his post history, and, oddly, enough, his word choices.”

                  As I have already explained over and over again to GCT, I specifically said that I was speaking about the denotation of the comment. It’s quite reasonable to say that he had racist motives for making the statement, but that’s not quite the same thing as the statement itself being racist.

                • baal

                  ” but that’s not quite the same thing as the statement itself being racist.”
                  Ah, the “hispanics score low of IQ tests” statement is racist. The tests might work ok for ranking certain types of intelligence within a race/income group but have been shown to suck donkey’s balls between race / income groups. As such, citing to bad science to claim a race is stupid is in fact racist on it’s own.

      • Drew M.

        ¿Qué? The seeeenior has us feeeegured out.

      • UWIR

        What is your point here? What point do you think you are refuting, and how?

    • Bo

      I think a lot of the Tea Party sympathizers are sharp enough to realize that the answer to poverty is not giving other peoples money to a few rich politicians in Washington.

      Smart enough too to know that while it may not need to run “exactly” like a household, this doesn’t justify it’s spending…Keynesian talking points and all.

      I will agree that the military ignorance is somewhat rampant in a huge swath of the Republican electorate…not necessarily most Tea Party sympathizers.

      Your other points are just MSNBC or maybe Keynesian indoctrination.

      • GCT

        I think a lot of the Tea Party sympathizers are sharp enough to realize that the answer to poverty is not giving other peoples money to a few rich politicians in Washington.

        This addresses what specifically?

        Smart enough too to know that while it may not need to run “exactly” like a household, this doesn’t justify it’s spending…Keynesian talking points and all.

        Depends on the spending being done.

        Your other points are just MSNBC or maybe Keynesian indoctrination.

        Which points would those be, and how are they wrong? For instance, are you claiming that the “proper response to malinvestment” really is a “lingering money-starved depression”

        • Bo

          I was indicating my assumptions about why the Tea party sympathizers are against more debt…as opposed to Gideon’s assumptions.

          It doesn’t “just” depend on the kind of spending done….it also depends on the amount.

          About the points:

          “Or that the labor market is efficient. Or that immigration injures the economy.”

          Well. I can’t necessarily disagree with these completely…..I would say labor markets can be efficient, but not in our distorted economy. Immigration can hurt an economy if outsized services are being provided, but if immigrants are really doing jobs no one else will…that would provide some economic benefit as a counter.

          “Or that the proper response to malinvestment is a lingering money-starved depression.”

          This is just a slander (MSNBC style character attack on the Tea Partiers). No one wants a lingering money-starved depression….or that should a depression act to correct malinvestment….it definitely needs to linger.

          “Or that government spending is always a drain
          on the economy…except when the military does it.”

          I would apply this slur more to the typical Republican…not necessarily the Tea partiers.

          “Or that basic science research is replaceable with corporate R&D work.”

          I doubt there would be much opposition to practical science research, just some of the really stupid things you hear about like “robotic squirrels”.

          • GCT

            It doesn’t “just” depend on the kind of spending done….it also depends on the amount.

            Only if you believe the propaganda.

            I would say labor markets can be efficient, but not in our distorted economy.

            I suppose one could say that the era of the capital barons was very efficient, but not for anyone not already at the top.

            This is just a slander (MSNBC style character attack on the Tea Partiers). No one wants a lingering money-starved depression….or that should a depression act to correct malinvestment….it definitely needs to linger.

            Tea Partiers wanted the shutdown. They claimed as much and were the driving force behind it. They also voted to continue it in the last resolution. Bullshit that this is slander.

            I doubt there would be much opposition to practical science research, just some of the really stupid things you hear about like “robotic squirrels”.

            You seem to not understand why this is a problem?

            • Bo

              “propaganda”…that we are spending too much? I think it is obvious without having listened to any propaganda.

              I think maybe you listen to too much Keynesian propaganda.

              Your capital barons remark was just unnecessary sarcasm, especially since I was conceding that the labor markets might not be very efficient.

              “Tea Partiers wanted the shutdown. They claimed as much and were the driving force behind it. They also voted to continue it in the last resolution. Bullshit that this is slander.”

              Who specifically claimed they wanted a shutdown? In any case, you are slandering the motives of the Tea Partiers, by saying “they wanted a lingering money-starved depression”.
              First of all…a lot of people have not been indoctrinated into Keynesian economic thought. So it’s like you are assuming 1) they learned keynesian economics 2) they agree it’s accurate 3) they agree with me on my interpretation that a shutdown would cause a lingering money-starved depression and they want that.

              It’s ludicrous.

              “why it’s a problem thinking robot-squirrels is a dumb waste of tax payer money”

              Hmm…you got me there….please enlighten me so I can be more informed.

              • GCT

                “propaganda”…that we are spending too much? I think it is obvious without having listened to any propaganda.

                The propaganda of the tea party, which you seem to have swallowed hook, line, and sinker.

                Your capital barons remark was just unnecessary sarcasm, especially since I was conceding that the labor markets might not be very efficient.

                Which you’ve been hinting is the fault of too much government interference…as if the robber barons will regulate themselves.

                Who specifically claimed they wanted a shutdown?

                Seriously? If you haven’t done even the bare minimum of keeping up with this topic, what makes you feel qualified to pontificate on it? Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, etc.

                In any case, you are slandering the motives of the Tea Partiers, by saying “they wanted a lingering money-starved depression”.

                They certainly wanted a shutdown. Where did I say they want a “lingering money-starved depression?” This is simply over-the-top rhetoric dressed up in straw.

                It’s ludicrous.

                What’s ludicrous is your bullshit. Slander? Really?

                Hmm…you got me there….please enlighten me so I can be more informed.

                That you equate the function of basic government R&D with “robot squirrels” which you then harrumph about is way too big a gap to fill. I’ll try by pointing out that most corporations don’t undertake research unless they feel it can lead to profit, meaning the first stages of R&D are usually done by public money. It results in such trifling things as the internet or the space program, which I’m sure you think are horrible. (I predict you’re not thinking up some stupid Al Gore joke about inventing the internet. Don’t bother. Your credibility is already shot, so no need to damage it further.)

                • Bo

                  It isn’t propaganda that tells me its a colossal waste of money to spend 25,000 dollars in the last 8 years for every single person in the United States, over and above what the government makes in revenue…its common sense.

                  Especially considering that state governments already spend a considerable amount of money taking care of local needs.

                  A lot of government interference does make labor markets inefficient….subsidies to favored big businesses that wouldn’t be able to complete with better smaller firms would be one example.

                  This is not to say that some government is not need to prevent monopolistic practices, etc. Oh if only they would ENFORCE IT!

                  The Robber Barons made use of government influence to hurt the competition.

                  The ‘lingering money starved depression’ comment was made by someone else and you were critiquing my critique of that remark. I stand by my statement that it is ludicrous.

                  On the government research thing…fine I’ll concede because maybe you have seen this was a real big issue with Tea Partiers…….I hadn’t…..I know it’s not an issue with me, if it’s good stuff…I don’t see why that sounds unreasonable.

                  As to the credibility thing…it is you who is pontificating.

            • Bo

              Do you think that taking money from other individuals with their own ideas and agendas, and giving that money to a few rich politicians to ostensibly support an agenda that you believe in….do you really think that is a principled position to take? and not realize how naive this is?

              This is a lot of what government does.

              At the very least, do you see how ‘inefficient’ this is in terms of meeting individual needs versus leaving the money spread out to the individuals who had it.

              I believe that the government, even with it’s small programs of redistributing wealth to the bottom….is NET re-distributing wealth to the top…through corporatism, crony capitalism..whatever you want to call it. I also think that the more we expand and empower the government, the more we empower the cronies to steal from us on the whole.

              I think advanced technology and production advancements have allowed the government to do more and more of this without the impact being felt too much on us yet……..where if they weren’t fleecing us, i think our median incomes would be much higher relative to inflation, and or we would have had the resources to avoid having to borrow money.

              • GCT

                Do you think that taking money from other individuals with their own ideas and agendas, and giving that money to a few rich politicians to ostensibly support an agenda that you believe in….do you really think that is a principled position to take? and not realize how naive this is?

                I have no idea where this is coming from nor how it factors into the discussion, except as illuminated by your later comment in that it seems to be a librul boogey man for you.

                I think advanced technology and production advancements have allowed the government to do more and more of this without the impact being felt too much on us yet……..where if they weren’t fleecing us, i think our median incomes would be much higher relative to inflation, and or we would have had the resources to avoid having to borrow money.

                Wait…so median incomes are not rising, the rich are getting rich while the poor get poorer, and the problem is taxes? It’s become incredibly hard to take you seriously.

                • Bo

                  “I have no idea where this is coming from nor how it factors into the
                  discussion, except as illuminated by your later comment in that it seems
                  to be a librul boogey man for you.”

                  Not sure which comment you mean…but are you not a heavy believer in taxes for everyone…to support an agenda that you believe in and many other people do not? The naive part is not realizing that this money is going to cronies…not really going to efficiently help people.

                  The cronyism is enabled by a big powerful government working with favored big business and special interests….so taxes which support this government are a problem….but also spending which supports it and causes the hidden tax of inflation that reduces all income.

                • GCT

                  Not sure which comment you mean…

                  That’s why I quoted you and then responded. FFS.

                  …but are you not a heavy believer in taxes for everyone…to support an agenda that you believe in and many other people do not? The naive part is not realizing that this money is going to cronies…not really going to efficiently help people.

                  So, therefore the solution is to stop all taxes and gut all programs that people need? LOL. You had me going for a while, but I can’t believe…no wait, I can believe it from a tea party sympathizer.

                • Bo

                  No. But the solution is definitely not to continue to add more inefficient programs and expand government which is what you support. You certainly don’t have me fooled.

                • GCT

                  Thanks for telling me what I support. It must be easy to win arguments when you get to make up the other side’s position for them.

                • Bo

                  Then tell me you do not support expanding government. It is you who likes to put words in other peoples mouths.

                • GCT

                  The solution is to get rid of the jackasses like you that intentionally try to make government as inefficient as possible so that you can claim that it doesn’t work. Go eff yourself.

  • Paula M Smolik

    Higher than the average president, certainly. Not higher than the average container. He’s very light-skinned. Plenty more melanin in the population.

    • Anat

      But considering that currently still more than half the population is much lighter than him, definitely more than the median container, probably more than the average container.

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    Racism is a component but the whole story is bit more complicated. This is one of the better articles I’ve seen explaining current right-wing insanity:

    “Since the late 1960s, America has seen the growth of what the late Donald Warren in a 1976 book The Radical Center called “middle American radicalism.” It’s anti-establishment, anti-Washington, anti-big business and anti-labor; it’s pro-free market. It’s also prone to scapegoating immigrants and minorities. It’s a species of right-wing populism. It ebbed during the Reagan years, but began to emerge again under the patrician George H.W. Bush and found expression in support for Ross Perot and for Pat Buchanan with his “peasants with pitchforks.” And it undergirded the Republican takeovers of Congress in 1994. It ebbed during George W. Bush’s war on terror, but has re-emerged with a vengeance in the wake of the Great Recession, Obama’s election and expansion of government, and continuing economic stagnation.”

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115134/gop-death-watch-final-days-republican-party

  • Brian Odeen

    You are basically saying that the Republicans are racist. I would expect more from you.

    There are two sides to this battle. If the Democrats argue that the Republicans shut down the government over “a few trifling details”, then why did the Democrats not just give in on those “few trifling details” since they’re so unimportant.

    If those “few trifling details” are in fact a BIG DEAL (as they seem to be to both sides), then the Democrats are just as at fault for the shut down because they refused to compromise.

    I think the real problem is that political ideologies are basically the same thing as religions. Each side has a set of beliefs about how things should be. Many of those beliefs are not based on any logical examination of the facts.

    When you, on this page, delve into political ideologies and try to argue that your side (liberal) is the “logical” side, I can only laugh. BOTH extremes are insane and religious in nature.

    • Brian Westley
      • Brian Odeen

        Yes, very nice, but it’s still hyperbole and talk.
        A Democrat arguing that the other side wants to burn down the house (or part of the house) is specious and brings caustic rhetoric into an issue where even the PUBLIC is split.

        • baal

          Go watch this.

          It’s Bill Moyers providing perspective that only intelligence and wisdom can. It’s more than clear to me that the oligarchs (teaparty faction) and the dominionists (right wing christians) want to crash the country.

          • Brian Odeen

            And the leftists want to drive us into bankruptcy.

            • baal

              Oh yes, food aide to pregnant women and children is so expensive when compared to the Iraq war.

              Did you miss how the (R) were either silent or dismissive of the national debt when Bush the lesser was in office and picked it right up again when a (D) became president? Have you seen the graphs of the debt (or the deficit for that matter) under (R) controlled congress vs (D) controlled congresses? Hint, the (R) aren’t the fiscally prudent ones.

              • Miss_Beara

                Don’t forget the elderly, disabled, students and low income people. But they don’t need to live or have an education, right? That is a privilege, not a right!

              • Derrik Pates

                Exactly. The debt ceiling was raised repeatedly when G. W. Bush was in office (Google says 7 times); he doubled the national debt. Reagan, the Republicans’ patron-saint, tripled the national debt. Repubs gave up the “fiscal conservatism” mantle 50 years ago.

                • Brian Odeen

                  If you’re looking for me to say that the Republicans are rational in their behavior, you’re definitely not going to get that. My argument is that both sides are crazy AND corrupt.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  That’s not really the point. It’s that the ‘Pubs are so bad that they make the Dems look rational and virtuous (though not competent) by comparison. They don’t even try to live up to their own stated ideology. The Dems make promises that can’t be kept; the Pubs do that AND make promises they won’t keep even when they can AND promises in direct contradiction to their actions. Scott Walker is an obvious example, but a surprisingly common one. He got elected by flat-out lying about his intentions so the unions and liberals wouldn’t push against him until it was too late.

                  The Democrats abuse the game; the Republicans actually cheat. They don’t cheat the Democrats; they cheat you, on purpose, with premeditation, with impunity because their machine has convinced enough people that “both sides are equally bad” to keep them going for a good long while yet. That’s actually part of their strategy now. The public blamed the Pubs for the shutdown at something like an 81% rate. That is amazingly high for ANY survey. But the longer it goes on, the more bitterness is going to pile up and shut off peoples’ critical thinking skills, resulting in more even blame. That second shutdown is what they’re actually going for: poisoning minds because they can’t win on any ideological level. They’re dumping their drinks on the card table because they don’t know how poker works and hate losing, and counting on everyone getting too drunk later in the evening to remember who fucked up the deck with whiskey.

                • Brian Odeen

                  And yet people will say that democracy works. Look who the idiots in this country vote for.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  It’s Top Turd on Steaming Mountain for sure. Furries Sociopaths Ruin Everything.

              • Mackinz

                I haven’t. Could you link to them? I’m unsure what to type in Google and I wouldn’t know which you were referring to even if I found one.

                • baal

                  Google “deficit history graph” then select images. Read multiple sites to reduce political bias.

            • tracy two crows

              You might want to go and adjust your underwear,your teabag is showing with the whole” leftists” comment there.As such,anything you have to say is immediately null and void.Traitors don’t get a voice.Negotiating with terrorists ISN’T the American way,kicking them in their Teabags all the way to GITMO for Sedition and Treason however,IS.Still cracks me up you folks who hate on Gays dubbed yourselves a name reserved for a gay sex act)(Make NO mistake,you guys DID make that),.Would you like some milk to swallow that irony down with?It’s rather pointy.

            • Oranje

              I agree that the above comic was a simplification. You’re right there. But then you stopped being right.

              You don’t get to hold the rest of the government hostage because you don’t like an actual law that was passed, ruled constitutional, and then was the major subject of, say, a recent presidential election. That’s not compromise. And the left being big spenders is such a ridiculous lie it makes me wonder if you’re playing with a full deck.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Actually, the public understands this issue well enough to overwhelmingly blame the Republican Party, which, given their propaganda machines, tells you how badly they effed up.

    • Pattrsn

      Okay, so on one side we have a desperate attempt to subvert democracy by shutting down the federal government by the republicans and on the other side we have an attempt to keep the democratically elected federal government functional. You’re right those are both equivalent ideologically driven extremes.

      • Brian Odeen

        Exactly how are the Democrats trying to keep the government functional? I don’t see how that is the case!

        Again, I have to point out that both sides are wrong.
        If anyone can prove that one side is right, please do so.

        • islandbrewer

          Exactly how are the Democrats trying to keep the government functional? I don’t see how that is the case!

          Well, Democrats are the ones trying to keep government … what’s it called, again …. open. That’s functional. Not open is pretty much not functional.

          Wait, you’re going to turn out to be one of these “The federal government doesn’t work!” people, aren’t you.

          • Brian Odeen

            First, I don’t see any evidence that either party is interested in keeping the government functional. Functional, to me, implies a budget.

            Second, considering that the federal government does not seems to be functional, then it would follow that the federal government does not WORK.

            The federal government is gigantic but how the hell would we get rid of it at this point? The U.S. NEEDS the services provided by the government and I don’t see any way to reduce that need.

            It is in our interest to make sure that the federal government DOES work. Of course, when you have people voting based on their beliefs (ON BOTH SIDES), you end up with exactly what we have.

            Also, “open” would imply transparency. Exactly which President has been the least transparent in the last 50 years? Hmm?

            • baal

              You’re misreading “open.” Islandbrewer used it to mean, “not shut down”. That usage does not imply transparency (though transparency is something I fully support and I’ve seen very few politicians and bureaucrats be transparent).

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          One side is making ludicrously excessive demands over something they shouldn’t be making any demands at all over at all, because even making it one damages the stock market and puts people out of work. Those demands aren’t even related to the deficit; they’re purely a lobbyist wish list, like the XL pipeline. They chose to create a situation that would impoverish hundreds of thousands of people for the sake of this wish list, without provocation.

          The other side, in essence, said:
          1. No, that’s ridiculous.
          2. We as a nation do not give in to hostage-takers.
          3. You are intentionally subverting the legislative process as outlined in the Constitution because you didn’t like the results of elections that you tried to rig the last two times.

          So no.

          I have no respect for the Democratic Party, but they are mononucleosis compared to the Republicans’ gonoherpesylisaids..

          • tracy two crows

            I just Chortled my tea through my nose on the”gonoherpesylisaids” there. LOL Thanks for making my flu ridden self have at least a good laugh today.With the shutdown,it’s the only medicine us disabled folks are getting!

        • Derrik Pates

          I’ve heard the shutdown described as this:

          A husband and wife get into a fight about something. (What? It’s not relevant.) The husband, as the breadwinner, decides that until the wife gives in and gives him what he wants, he’s not going to pay the mortgage. Not only that, he won’t let *her* pay it either, even if she could come up with the money.

          That’s not negotiation. That’s financial suicide.

        • Pattrsn

          The government has shut down because republicans refuse to pass a budget unless it included provisions to gut or delay the affordable care act. The republicans have lost in congress, lost in the senate, lost in the courts and lost in the popular vote in their attempts to stop this act and are now willing to wreck the government rather than allow it to pass. Probably they are taking such desperate measures because they know the act will work, if they actually thought it would fail they’d let it pass and gain massive political capital. Of course that’s not the only reason, if it succeeds it will also cement Obama’s legacy and since the legacy of the last republican president has been complete fucking disaster that’s not something they can allow to happen.

    • Jim Jones

      > If the Democrats argue that the Republicans shut down the government over “a few trifling details”.

      When did Democrats claim this? The Republicans want to destroy Obamacare/Romneycare because it will be harder for their party’s real owners to loot. The people want it – that’s why the sites collapsed under the demand. But a few wealthy Republican ‘contributors’ want to put their greed over the nations need.

      Only one side is extreme – not the Democrats.

      • Brian Odeen

        Democrats not extreme, that’s a laugh.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Well, that’s quite the argument.

        • Jim Jones

          No, that’s reality. The Democrats’ real problem is being too reasonable and trying to see both sides. Usually all they see is the Republicans goose stepping off to the right.

          • baal

            I’d be happy to agree that the (D) aren’t extreme enough – they aren’t even strong in their moderate right of center positions.

        • Artor

          Please, let’s hear your position. In what way are the Democrats being “extreme.” I eagerly await your reasoned, thoughtful explanation.

        • Matt D

          “Democrats not extreme, that’s a laugh”

          Move aside Voltaire and step back into the shadows H.L Mencken, there’s a new kid in town!

          • Brian Odeen

            Given that most of the “rest of the world” is socialist (and by my standard: extreme), I can see how you could think that our Democratic party is “not” extreme. However, given that the financial policies espoused by the Democratic party have led to a federal expenditure that greatly exceeds federal revenue, I can only conclude that our Democratic party is a fiscal policy extreme, with regards to the U.S. economy.

            I, personally, am quite liberal in non-fiscal policies, so I am not talking about the Democrats in that sense. Moreover, the Republican stance on social issues mostly disgusts me.

            • Pattrsn

              “Given that most of the “rest of the world” is socialist”?

              So, basically you’re clueless on a global scale.

              • Brian Odeen

                RIIIIIIIGHT. Do you even understand what socialism is?

                Plus, I find it interesting that all the complaints about my post say NOTHING about the fact that the original article says that Republicans are racist.

                So, apparently, you all agree with that and are okay with it.

                OR, perhaps you are the one that is clueless about the world:
                http://www.openleft.com/diary/12706/

                • GCT

                  RIIIIIIIGHT. Do you even understand what socialism is?

                  It’s pretty clear that you don’t.

                  Plus, I find it interesting that all the complaints about my post say NOTHING about the fact that the original article says that Republicans are racist.

                  Maybe because it doesn’t say that all rethuglicans are racist. That’s a straw man that you’ve made up. We are not responsible for your lack of reading comprehension.

                • UWIR

                  He didn’t say it said all Republicans are racist, lying liar who lies.

                • GCT

                  He complained that the OP claims that Republicans are racist…full stop. So, when you learn to actually read, come back and let us know. Actually, don’t. We don’t want lying racists like you around.

                • UWIR

                  Yeah, and you added the word “all” to that. And don’t claim I’m nitpicking. If you didn’t think “all Republicans are racist” is significantly different from “Republicans are racist”, you wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of editing Brian’s claim. The OP DID claims that racism is a significant factor in Republican decision-making. Calling “Republicans are racist” a straw man is yet another example of your dishonesty.

                • GCT

                  Yeah, and you added the word “all” to that.

                  As clarification, but it matters not. Take out the word “all” and my objection still stands.

                  The OP DID claims that racism is a significant factor in Republican decision-making.

                  No, it didn’t.

                  Now, go away and peddle your racism somewhere else.

                • UWIR

                  The title of the OP is ”
                  The Cause of the Republican Shutdown: Melanocytes”. The OP consists of a cartoon that asserts “…a few wealthy bottles were frightened by this extra melanin… So they ruined everything for everyone.”

                  Do you disagree that “a few wealthy bottles” clearly refers to Republicans? Do you disagree that “frightened by … extra melanin” is an accusation of racism? Are you mentally ill? I don’t understand how any sane person can say that this is not accusing Republicans of racism.

                • GCT

                  So, you agree that the modifier of “all” that I added doesn’t change the argument, which means that you bringing it up was all intellectual cowardice and dishonesty as well as smoke and mirrors on your part. I’ll take that as another example of your inability to act in good faith, racist.

                  As for the other parts, I’ve already dealt with them.

                • UWIR

                  “So, you agree that the modifier of “all” that I added doesn’t change the argument”
                  I do nothing of the sort, lying liar who lies. Do you just not have any mechanism at all for people disagreeing with you, other than coming up with lie after lie?

                  “As for the other parts, I’ve already dealt with them.”

                  No, you haven’t, lying liar who lies. You are apparently saying that “Republicans shut down the government because they don’t like the fact that the president is black” is not an accusation of racism. That is completely insane, and shows you beyond the reach of any possible argument.

                • GCT

                  I do nothing of the sort, lying liar who lies. Do you just not have any mechanism at all for people disagreeing with you, other than coming up with lie after lie?

                  How droll. If the plain meaning of the words that you wrote are not good enough for you to stand behind, then don’t write them.

                  You are apparently saying that “Republicans shut down the government because they don’t like the fact that the president is black” is not an accusation of racism.

                  Where in the hell did I say that? The Tea Party is rife with racism. You should know that, since you should be able to smell your own. It seems that you don’t even know what the argument is.

                • UWIR

                  “If the plain meaning of the words that you wrote are not good enough for you to stand behind, then don’t write them.”

                  What words of mine have that plain meaning?

                  “Where in the hell did I say that?”

                  I already explained that.

                  The title of the OP is ”

                  The Cause of the Republican Shutdown: Melanocytes”. The OP consists of a cartoon that asserts “…a few wealthy bottles were frightened by this extra melanin… So they ruined everything for everyone.”

                  Do you disagree that “a few wealthy bottles” clearly refers to Republicans? Do you disagree that “frightened by … extra melanin” is an accusation of racism? Are you mentally ill? I don’t understand how any sane person can say that this is not accusing Republicans of racism.

                  What the hell is wrong with you? Are you a moron, or just pretending to be one?

                  Why are you refusing to explain yourself? Again and again I have asked clarifying questions to try to understand where you’re coming for, and you just evade the questions. If you aren’t claiming that ” “Republicans shut down the government because they don’t like the fact that the president is black” is not an accusation of racism.” you’ve had plenty of opportunity to explain otherwise.

                • GCT

                  What the hell is wrong with you?

                  I guess from your standpoint, what is wrong with me is that I’m not a racist, misogynist, or a dishonest asshole who will play your stupid gotcha games and most importantly will not roll over as you play your stupid gotcha games and I’m not afraid to call you out on your racism, misogyny, and other bullshit. Personally, I don’t find that to be a fault.

                  Again and again I have asked clarifying questions to try to understand where you’re coming for, and you just evade the questions.

                  That’s bullshit and you know it. If I were to do the same as you, I’d be asking you right now to clarify what you mean by “clarify” and then rejecting everything you say as not sufficient to answer the question only so that I can complain that you’re a lying liar who lies. Fuck off racist POS.

                  If you aren’t claiming that ” “Republicans shut down the government because they don’t like the fact that the president is black” is not an accusation of racism.” you’ve had plenty of opportunity to explain otherwise.

                  I’ve already explained my position. You refuse to look at it and accept it. Again, fuck off. I’m not playing your stupid little gotcha games.

                • UWIR

                  I’m posting this comment so that I have a link to a comment that clearly shows how futile it is to try to have a discussion with you. You said “Maybe because it [a cartoon asserting that Republicans shut down the government because Obama is black] doesn’t say that all rethuglicans are racist. That’s a straw man that you’ve made up.”

                  Then you said “Take out the word “all” and my objection still stands.”

                  Then you said “where in the hell did I say ["Republicans shut down the government because they don't like the fact that the president is black" is not an accusation of racism.]?”

                  Furthermore, you said “So, you agree that the modifier of “all” that I added doesn’t change the argument”, when I had not said anything of the sort.

                  If you’re going to make assertions, and then simply pretend that you didn’t make them when I dispute them, and if you’re going to just lie about what I have said, then you are just a troll.

                • Oswald Carnes

                  I’m okay with saying Republicans are racist, the same way I’m okay with saying the sky is blue, and you are worthless anti-American trash.

                • Brian Odeen

                  Wow. Thank you for proving my point.

                • Pattrsn

                  You had a point?

                • Pattrsn

                  Umm, hate to point this out to you but your link kinda proves you wrong.

                • Brian Odeen

                  Really? Exactly what number value in the link registers a country as being “socialist”?

                  Here, let me pick a classically socialist country: UK

                  The UK’s rating is 42.1%, which means that most of Europe can be considered socialist as can the US. Surprisingly, communist China is LESS socialist (go figure).

                  If you want to explain why you disagree with my conclusion, please do so.

                • Pattrsn

                  Sorry Brian I just can’t be arsed.

        • DavidMHart

          Coming from that little-known, far-off country called ‘rest of world’, where, from our perspective the USA is governed by a moderate right-wing party and an extreme right-wing party, that’s a deeply implausible comment to make.

          This whole kerfuffle is (ostensibly) about an extreme right-wing party trying to shut down a moderate right-wing party’s attempt to provide a modicum of nationalised health care that is vastly more modest than that of just about any other industrialised nation.

        • Pattrsn

          Because compromise is liberalism and liberalism is socialism and socialism is communism and fascism. So by compromising, the Democrats are just demonstrating their communist/fascist agenda to take over the world and destroy America.

    • GCT

      If those “few trifling details” are in fact a BIG DEAL (as they seem to be to both sides), then the Democrats are just as at fault for the shut down because they refused to compromise.

      They already compromised, the result is the ACA – a bill that is weaker than the Dems originally pushed for. It was changed as part of their efforts to compromise with rethuglicans who wanted to add riders to the bill that would cause it to fail. Then, the rethuglicans refused to vote for the ACA anyway. After the ACA still passed and went through 2 election cycles where it was a major part of the campaigns of both parties and was not rebuked by the American people, it became law.

      42 times, the rethuglicans in the house ignored all their other duties in order to pass attempts at repealing the ACA. During that time, dems repeatedly attempted to bring bills to the floor that would bring the two sides together to work out a budget, which the rethugs never allowed to happen. Then, the rethugs decided to shut down the government. In fact, they claimed they wanted to shut it down, they claimed responsibility for shutting it down, and only backed off that position once they saw how unfavorable their opinion was in the polls. As soon as that happened, they claimed that it was the dems fault all along, that they were the ones looking to compromise and that Obama was being intransigent by not defunding the ACA (in other words, by not tossing out the previous compromises they already worked out in order to come completely to the rethuglican side). They hoped that they could convince a gullible and stupid American electorate that they were the ones who were reasonable. It seems to have worked at least on you.

      • Brian Odeen

        It’s interesting that you choose to attack my intelligence when I say that both sides are wrong. Perhaps if you examined your religious beliefs, you would see that both sides are playing a game.

        • GCT

          What religious beliefs would those be? Oh yeah, the ones that are about looking at the evidence? You’ve yet to present any, and have taken the bait, hook, line, and sinker to put responsibility on the dems when the rethugs made the shutdown happen, boasted about it, and now are backtracking due to their negative poll numbers. Oh, but of course, it’s religious to point this out to you and question your gullibility and intelligence for completely ignoring the evidence and reality?

          Additionally, I’ve had enough experience with people like you who claim to be in the middle, who claim that both sides are wrong, but who always look to unfairly malign one side in order to make them on par with the other. And, it’s always in one direction. Both sides are not wrong in this case, and even if they were, the degree of wrongness is certainly not equal…not even close. In essence, you’re claiming that you are somehow fair and balanced when you deride “both sides” because you’re equating jaywalking with terrorism. It’s dishonest to the core.

    • WingedBeast

      Here’s the thing. You’ve got two sides with two positions and one thing that needs to happen in order for the government, as a concept, to work.
      -
      Now, both sides agree that this thing that is necessary for the government to work. One side says “Do what I want or I’ll break the government”. The other side says “I will not negotiate with this, because this shouldn’t be on any negotiating table, ever.”
      -
      But, you’re saying that both sides are unreasonable… I’d say the one that are willing to put the faith and credit of the US on the negotiating table, the ones that are willing to sacrifice the actual workings of the US government, are the unreasonable ones.

      • Bo

        There ya go…it was the Republicans that caved at the ninth hour to save the country.

        • GCT

          W.T.F.

          Please tell me that was a joke.

  • skeptical_inquirer

    I don’t think it’s the whole story but definitely part of it. But I also think that there’s also a really strong anti-intellectual streak in this country, especially when tons of money will be given to football & stadiums but scientists, teachers & educational supplies are begrudged anything they get. There’s also this bizarre worship of some ‘golden age’ that never existed but seems a weird mash-up of the 1950s & the pioneer days but with today’s technology with the Founding Fathers worshipped as demi-gods (weird since many of them were deists) which can only come back if the present age is burned to the ground.

    I think the melanin factor definitely intensifies it but the underlying currents would still be there.

  • Tainda

    I agree with the comic.

    The shutdown is all of them.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    I sometimes wish I respected Stanfill enough to visit his site again, because I did like his work, and usually like what’s linked here.

  • C Peterson

    Humans are inherently racist. Xenophobia is built in to us, and ethnic differences are the easiest to discern, so they are high on the list of features that stimulate our xenophobia.

    Humans are also rational, representing possibly the only animals on Earth with the ability to override our innate behavior with deliberately chosen behavior.

    A large component of our collective ethics depend on that ability to override innate behavior. Those who harbor such deep hatred for our melanin-rich president (and I do believe that this is a very large component of the hatred) are failing ethically. They know that, which is why they are so adamant that something- anything- other than racism is behind their animus. But since all the things they claim to be the real problems are things that we’ve had in the past, with more melanin-impoverished leaders, and without such deep hatred… well, it’s pretty hard to believe them, isn’t it?

  • Jehnarz

    I cannot begin to describe how much this disappoints me. I fell in love with this blog because it was exactly what I self identify as – a friendly atheist. But lately the posts are seeming less and less friendly and more biased. I’ll give my two cents because I think Brian needs some backup, but I don’t expect many people to agree with or like it (that’s okay, I’m used to people not liking my beliefs).
    The House of Representatives is well within its right to do exactly what it is doing if it does not agree with laws. This is part of a system of checks and balances and the reason why they get to decide the budget. I would be more upset with them had there not been SEVERAL proposals to fund everything but the ACA. To restate, the House was okay with paying for everything just like last year – all the assistance, all the employees, everything – but they do not support and do not want to pay for this faulty bill for something that we can not afford. And we can’t afford it. Why do you think the House didn’t want to approve raising the debt limit? I want universal healthcare as much as the next person, but not in the form of a several hundred dollar fine for overrated insurance (I’ve worked in a hospital as a financial counselor, and the plans offered under the ACA are ridiculous). What’s more, this act does not fix anything. Nearly every hospital already gets federal money to help pay for the medical costs of the needy; every decently sized town and city has at least one clinic that provides free or cheap assistance to those who need it; and all children whose parents do not make enough to pay for their healthcare qualify for Medicaid. Don’t accuse opponents of the ACA of hating poor people or not wanting to provide healthcare, because much better options are already there.
    Lastly, use those powers of observation that I know you all have and decide for yourself what is going on. It might require more research than just reading the Bible, but I should hope you’re up to the challenge.

    • Brian Westley

      To restate, the House was okay with paying for everything just like last year – all the assistance, all the employees, everything – but they do not support and do not want to pay for this faulty bill for something that we can not afford. And we can’t afford it.

      Currently, people who can’t afford health insurance put off seeing a doctor until their conditions get worse, and then they go to the most expensive health care on earth — US hospital emergency rooms, which have to accept them, and which pass these unpaid expenses onto those who DO have insurance.

      It’s ridiculous to say we can’t afford the ACA, because it will SAVE MONEY.

      What’s more, this act does not fix anything.

      It requires coverage of preexisting conditions.

      Don’t accuse opponents of the ACA of hating poor people or not wanting to provide healthcare, because much better options are already there.

      So why aren’t these “wonderful” current options NOT WORKING?

      • sunburned

        It will save money? Forgive me if I’m skeptical.

        • Brian Westley

          Well, let’s try it and see how it works. Right now, the USA spends considerably more per person on health care compared to any other western nation.

          • Derrik Pates

            Mostly because so many people get little to no preventative care, so when they finally do get health care, it’s an emergency – so it’s more expensive. They can’t afford health insurance, so they don’t get health care. That even-more-expensive emergency health care doesn’t get paid for by the people that need it, because they can’t afford it any more than they could afford health care in the first place, so that cost gets “redistributed” to the people who can. Apparently GP has never heard “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?

            • sunburned

              According to the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Department of Health and Human Services as of 2008 the costs of emergency care represents less than 2 percent (1.9%) of the 2.4 trillion spent on health care.

              You can see why I might be skeptical.

          • sunburned

            So, where does the savings come in? Is the cost of health care going to get cheaper?

            • baal

              The savings could be a lot more if there was a public option with some low margin government plan (like medicare for all).

              Instead, the CBO nets the ACA with lower costs via the exchanges ‘competition’ as well as the 80% spend on care requirement. In other words, it’s a softcap of 20% for overhead + margin on care delivery. Medicare’s overhead is under 1-3% for comparison (depends on how exactly you measure it). There are some scaling issues that make this not exactly appels to apples but it’s still true that we’re paying a lot more GDP to that sector, the sector has huge profits (hidden in the cost column), and we don’t have the best health outcomes across society nor do we get better coverage of the population for it.

            • eric

              The same HHS that you quote above is on the record as saying the ACA has already saved seniors about $7 billion in drug costs. Are you now going to say that you don’t ttrust their numbers? Or do you only trust the HHS numbers when they support you, and not when they don’t?
              The savings come in the larger insurance pool and in the ability of a larger client base to negotiate better deals with providers. The same way all insurance works. What makes you think health insurance won’t work to amortize risk and cost the same way all other types of insurace do?
              Long-term, it may also come in the form of insurance companies supporting more preventative care, when they realize they can’t dump or raise the rates on someone after they get sick. There is a parallel here with birth control (which is not preventative care, but has similar economic characteristics) – insurers are willing to provide it free because its a net money saver to them. One additional unexpected pregnancy is many orders of magnitude more expensive for them than prophylaxis.

              • sunburned

                So by closing a coverage gap in Medicare legislation the ACA is saving seniors money?

                Meanwhile there are numerous reports of many paying substantially more for coverage……myself included.

                I think that without a viable public option offered costs will continue to skyrocket.

    • Miss_Beara

      Don’t accuse opponents of the ACA of hating poor people or not wanting
      to provide healthcare, because much better options are already there.

      Then why do millions of Americans not have health care? Then why do people why try to obtain health care can’t because they have a pre existing condition?

      ACA is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.

    • Pattrsn

      I think fundamentally the big nightmare for republicans is that Obamacare will work, that’s why they’re taking such desperate measures to prevent it. After all if it didn’t work all they’d have to do is ride to victory in the next election on the backlash.

      • Derrik Pates

        They know perfectly well it’ll work – it’s basically the same thing as Romney’s state health plan that exists in Massachusetts from his tenure as governor. The system works. We know it works. But they have to turn it into a failure anyway, because “fuck you got mine”.

    • Raising_Rlyeh

      Oh sure they don’t hate poor people. They only think that poor people are lazy parasites on the body of america that are sapping the country of its strength.

      How can you even say that the other options work? The other options leave people to medical bankruptcy. Just as a personal example: my mom didn’t have health insurance and had kidney failure. The ambulance ride and medical bills made it impossible to pay the mortgage and that went down the drain. Now almost 10 years later she is still paying after her medical bills and probably will be paying for the next 7 years because the interest adds up.

      It doesn’t fix anything?
      Sorry if I think that preventing people from being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions is something or college students able to stay on parent plans longer.

    • Tyrrlin Flamestrike

      “…because much better options are already there.”

      Riiight. My acquaintance spends more on his health insurance each month than I do on my mortgage and internet bill combined. He’s still paying off the ER bill from two years ago (with insurance, BTW) when he had a medical emergency. He’s working two jobs, trying to stay afloat.

      and this is a “better option”?

      • Derrik Pates

        Or to my brother and sister-in-law, who are still paying off the hospital bills from the birth of their now 5-year-old son – when they *had* health insurance. In any other sane first-world country, they wouldn’t have had this debt in the first place.

        • Miss_Beara

          That is really scary. I do not know how people can afford to deliver children in this country.

          It is like college. You graduate and have crippling amounts of debt that other first world countries don’t give their graduates. You give birth and saddled with crippling amounts of debt, with insurance, but other first world countries that isn’t an issue.

          Don’t even get me started on the fact that my boyfriend, who lives in England, has a sister who just gave birth now has 52 weeks of paid maternity leave while new mothers here… well, I think we all know that answer.

          • UWIR

            Why should a company pay a woman for not working? You have to be really entitled to feel like you deserve paid maternity leave.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Why should a company pay a man for not working when he’s on medical leave? You have to be really entitled to feel like you deserve to get paid while not working just because you had a car accident.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Just in case this whole thing veers off towards mansplaining territory: the partner who didn’t actually give birth rates at least some maternity leave also, at the very least for the sake of the mother.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Indeed. And I am all for parental leave … for both parents. In fact, I am quite in favor of Sweden’s mandatory few months of paternity leave as well.

              • UWIR

                Feminerd, you’ve made it absolutely clear in other threads that you have no respect for civil discussion, so I don’t see the point in trying to discuss whatever “point” you think you’re making with that post.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Ah, no, it is only that I have no interest in civil discussion with you, but I will persist in commenting on your blatant misogyny and racism when I come across it.

                • UWIR

                  You mean, you’ll persist in making accusations of misogyny and racism, but refusing to back them up.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Your post history should be plenty of evidence, UWIR. And last time, I did dig through your posting history to find unambiguous evidence of racism and misogyny. It was your racism that got you banned from LJF, after all, and I heard tell of you getting banned from a second blog as well for it.

                  When lots and lots of people all tell you that you have a problem, you might actually have a problem.

                • UWIR

                  “I did dig through your posting history to find unambiguous evidence of racism and misogyny.”
                  No, you didn’t liar.

                  “It was your racism that got you banned from LJF”
                  No, it wasn’t, liar. Libby Anne clearly stated that the reason she banned me was that she doesn’t like people disagreeing with her on her blog. And then she deleted her post saying that. Because she’s a dishonest asshole.

                  “and I heard tell of you getting banned from a second blog as well for it.”
                  Oh! You “heard tell”. What convincing evidence.

                  “When lots and lots of people all tell you that you have a problem, you might actually have a problem.”

                  So, resorting to argumentum ad populum? Lots and lots of people say I’m wrong about there being no God. Should I change my mind about that, too? Or is this special logic that only works when Feminerd wants it to? When none of the people making the accusation can defend their accusations, it’s clear that they are the ones with a problem. I challenged you to find one thing I said that was racist. You failed. Saying that there is no “Name you kid Terrel gene” is not racist. In fact, you’re pretty damn racist for disagreeing with me. You seriously think black people are genetically predisposed to naming their kids “Terrel”? That’s really fucking racist.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Actually, I have. It’s there for you and all the world to see in my posting history, whether yours is private or not. And no, LIbby Anne is fine with people disagreeing with her. It happens all the time, and yet you are one of only 2-4 people I’ve seen banned at all. Think about that.

                  I did hear tell. From you. You were complaining about being banned from multiple places for racism. If you aren’t a credible source, feel free to admit it now.

                  And oh look, you are proving your racism right now! By quoting yourself for all the world to see, you make my job that much easier.

                • UWIR

                  “You were complaining about being banned from multiple places for racism.”
                  When? Quote me. And no “Here’s a quote from you from which I inferred that you were banned for racism” does not count. Lying liar.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Oh, it’s quite common. Shakesville actually replaces statements with “paraphrases”, for instance, if they think a statement is racist, they’ll edit your post to replace the “racist” statement with “I’m a racist”, or something similar. JREF forum moved some of my posts to another thread without any mention that the posts had been moved, and while they didn’t technically change anything in the posts, since the posts made claims regarding “this thread”, with “this thread” referring to the thread they were posted in, the mods effectively edited my posts to say something I did not, in fact, say.

                  From about a month ago. You weren’t banned from Shakesville, but you were called out for racism there. I misremembered your punishment for your racism.

                • Cake

                  Whoa slow down, you don’t want to waste another 700 words on issues that only exists in your head again do you?

                • GCT

                  That’s bullshit that no one has backed it up. I’ve backed it up, numerous times, yet you simply put your fingers in your ears and say, “I can’t hear you!” It’s also bullshit that Libby Anne banned you for simple disagreement. You’re so full of shit that you probably would cease to exist if you got an enema.

                • UWIR

                  Backing up an accusation of racism consists of finding something I’ve said that is racist, not simply finding something I’ve said and declaring it to be racist. Give a clear definition of racism, name something I’ve said that satisfies that definition, and explain how it satisfies it. And no, just saying “Because context” is not an explanation.

                • GCT

                  Backing up an accusation of racism consists of finding something I’ve said that is racist, not simply finding something I’ve said and declaring it to be racist.

                  IOW, nothing we point out can ever be enough, because no matter what we say it is still a declaration from us. You’ll simply claim that we can’t prove that it is racist. Because only people who say derogatory things about people based on skin color are racist. All those people who make arguments based on their biases but don’t come out and actually use the n-word can’t possibly be racist. That you’re trying to hide behind this would be comical if it weren’t for the fact that I find nothing funny about your sexism and racism.

                • UWIR

                  What’s bullshit is the idea that Libby Anne bans people for racism. Truthspew claimed that white people commit more murder than black people, a blatant racist lie. Was Truthspew banned?

                • GCT

                  She banned you for racism, not for simply disagreeing with her as you falsely claimed (more than once and after having been corrected on that score, which is rank dishonesty). Either way, trying to defend yourself by claiming that someone else did it too is rather damning.

                • UWIR

                  “She banned you for racism, not for simply disagreeing with her as you falsely claimed (more than once and after having been corrected on that score, which is rank dishonesty).”

                  What, you think that just repeating a lie makes it true? She clearly said that she was banning me for disagreeing with her. She said: “I don’t have to put up with people coming to my blog and lecturing me about what is or is not decent human behavior. Again, this isn’t a public forum, it’s my personal blog. I don’t need justification for banning someone.” then banned me. So you’re the one who’s lying after being corrected.

                  Also, Libby Anne wrote:
                  “your suggestion that pointing out that black crime is over reported because it is over prosecuted and not necessarily because blacks are more likely commit crime is “libel against whites” ”
                  is a flat-out lie; I never said that. So if she did ban me for “racist” comments, they were “racist” comments that I never said.

                  “Either way, trying to defend yourself by claiming that someone else did it too is rather damning.”

                  I didn’t “defend myself” by saying someone else did it, lying liar who lies, I said that this proves that she doesn’t ban people for racism. My argument is quite clearly, I didn’t post anything racist, and I got banned, Trustspew did post something racist, and did not get banned. As usual, you resort to outright dishonesty as to what my argument is.

                • GCT

                  What, you think that just repeating a lie makes it true?

                  I was in that thread. She banned you for racism. She also banned you for being obnoxious. She did not ban you for simple disagreement. You are lying.

                  I didn’t “defend myself” by saying someone else did it, lying liar who lies, I said that this proves that she doesn’t ban people for racism.

                  Yeah, you kinda are.

                  My argument is quite clearly, I didn’t post anything racist…

                  Pretty much everything you posted there was racist, as was pointed out repeatedly, and not just by me.

                • GCT

                  I fail to see what’s civil about your racism and sexism.

                • UWIR

                  You mean, you don’t see what’s civil about not agreeing with everything you say.

                • GCT

                  It’s not about disagreement, and your attempts to downplay your sexist and racist views are duly noted. It’s about your sexism and racism. Other people disagree with me all the time, but I do not call them sexist or racist unless they display sexist and racist views. Now, go be a raving sexist and racist elsewhere.

                • Dorfl

                  Your post demonstrates very well why excessive concern about ‘civility’ is a harmful thing that we should try to avoid. You don’t actually have any difficulty understanding her point, but complaining about a lack of civility gives you a useful excuse to avoid addressing it.

                • UWIR

                  “You don’t actually have any difficulty understanding her point, but complaining about a lack of civility gives you a useful excuse to avoid addressing it.”

                  So, you’re a mind reader?

                  “but complaining about a lack of civility gives you a useful excuse to avoid addressing it.”

                  It’s not an “excuse”. Feminerd has made it clear that rational arguments have no effect on her, and she is willing to lie any time it suits her. Why should I try to have a conversation with someone who has no respect for opposing points of view? How is it an “excuse” to recognize that trying to have a conversation would be futile, and decline to do so?

                  The key words there are not just “civil” but also “discussion”. Feminerd doesn’t engage in discussions. She just makes declarations, and people who disagree with her.

                  And witness my being mocked for writing a 700 word post. If I going to the trouble of trying to clearly explain my position, I get mocked, and if I say “Well, it’s not worth responding to you”, I get accused of “making excuses”.

                • Dorfl

                  I don’t need to read minds, I just need to read. Feminerd’s post was simple enough that any reasonably intelligent person can follow her argument. Someone who apparently doesn’t has – for whatever rhetorical reason – decided to feign incomprehension.

                  There are lots of people I avoid having conversations with, because it’s likely to be completely non-constructive. For none of them the actual problem has to do with civility or respect.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Remember when The Jungle was something that most people could relate to, because they or those close to them had experienced it? Me either, which is why we have to engage both our empathy and rationalism to understand that the health, financial and human costs of being barbarians far outweigh those of being civilized.

              When I was treated for severe reflux a few years back, the doctors explicitly told me that they didn’t know how I could function with all the pain I must have been experiencing, that they hadn’t seen someone with that much damage who wasn’t sobbing from pain all the time. It had come on me so slowly, though, that I thought it was a normal way to live. Nowadays, with treatment, I get sick very easily from just a small fraction of the discomfort I used to not even notice.

              We’ve been trained to think of our social system as normal, when it is in fact far inferior compared to what it could be, and extremely deleterious by every physical, social, and intellectual measure. People who experience those improvements look on Americans with pity. They can guess how much pain there must actually be just from the endoscopy photos.

              • UWIR

                Wow, you sure did take a whole lot of words to not answer my question. Do you not understand how arrogant and rude your response is?

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Yes, I do: it wasn’t arrogant or rude. It was slightly sharp for approximately two words.

                  My bad. I’m very sorry that I attempted to use metaphor and analogy to get across concepts to someone whose primary concern is seeking opportunities to exploit technical definitions as gotcha games in their personal contest with the world. Clearly the method and the target do not align well.

                  Your faux civility is not humility or politeness.

                • UWIR

                  It was quite rude. An analogy is when you present two situations with a property in common. The property that both have in common in this case is that you think both are bad. That’s not “getting across concepts”, that’s just argument by assertion, which is just one facet of the rudeness of your comment.

                  And now you are directly insulting me, and presenting no basis for those accusations, either. And to top it off, when I try to calmly and politely discuss with you the fact that I found your post to be rude, I get accused of “faux civility”.

                  I am making an honest effort to discuss the issue civilly. You are leaving me with no doubt that any failure for us to have a civil discussion is your fault, not mine, and that any attempts at civility are futile.

                • Fred

                  Could be its just pattern matching to past behavior? At least you didn’t write a 700 word complaint about having to write a 700 word complaint. You used paragraph breaks too, Congratz.

                • UWIR

                  This, from someone who responded to me saying that a post at 6 came before a post at 7 by asking whether I needed help telling time. You have yet to explain that post. Do you think 7 comes before 6?

                • Fred

                  Choosing to not accept a perceptional error you’ve made is not my fault.

    • David Kopp

      They actually aren’t within their rights. The Republicans dishonestly instituted a “majority can hold the process hostage” rule on October 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Jd-iaYLO1A

    • Alierias

      As someone with 2 serious pre-existing conditions, one I was born with(allergies) and one because of a serious accident that wasn’t my fault, I challenge you to lay out the “better options”.
      My insurance payments, while I was a single, small business owner, went from $112 a quarter to over $400 A MONTH, within a year after my insurance co. became aware I was enrolling for treatment for my life-threatening allergy. And this was in the 1990′s too!
      Obamacare should have never included insurance companies — it SHOULD be Medicare for all — screw the 20% profit BUILT INTO THE SYSTEM!

    • eric

      The budget and debt ceiling are only the latest events. The subtextual racism has been going on since a little before the 2008 election. We’ve had Democratic presidents before, but never has having a Democrat elected to the presidency resulted in anything like the Tea Party. And before you say the animosity is about the ACA, remember that the Tea Party came into existence 2 years before the ACA was passed.
      Speaking of which, the problems you cite with it are largely the contribution of the GOP itself. The ACA was a compromise; the Dems wanted something a lot more like standard single-payer, supported by taxes rather than this whole private-purchase-and-fine thing. Seems a bit whiny on the part of the Republican House to insist that US healthcare be run this way, then say they aren’t going to fund it because of the way its going to be run.

      • KMR

        The thing I don’t understand about the whole subtexual racism is that it doesn’t take into account the Tea Party’s rabid support of Herman Cain. My whole family considers themselves proud supporters of the tea party, Glen Beck, Fox news, you name it and when Herman Cain came into the foreground all I ever heard was how great he was and how much they’d like to vote for him. I really don’t think Obama scares them because of the color of his skin. He scares them because he doesn’t come across what they consider Christian. The Tea Party movement is all about establishing fundamental Christian ideals as the law of the land. Obama doesn’t even pretend to cater to that and they hate him for it. He’s godless to them and being godless is way worse than being black.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          It’s that racism is not an all-or-nothing thing. It’s a coloring of one’s worldview with confirmation bias and fear, but each of those can be mitigated by individual circumstance. The vast majority of racists are functional most of the time; what they need is a rationalization.

          Herman Cain was probably as popular as he was because he gave the Teabaggers greater justification to hate Obama. He reduced their misgivings. It’s like saying, “Some of my best friends are black!” It doesn’t hurt that Cain has a lesser version of Newt Gingrich’s power: they are what stupid people think smart people sound like. They aren’t intellectually challenging to the people who might vote for them, and they actively attack those who are for their intellectualism.

          Of course, the Christian thing matters… but look at how they approach it. They claim that he isn’t Christian because they want to “other” and dehumanize him, not because he doesn’t act like it. Saying he isn’t Christian isn’t really a criticism of him; it’s a rationalization for hating him.

          • KMR

            Maybe. I’m from the south so perhaps I no longer recognize current acts of racism for what they are. It could also be though that you’re wrong and the hate and mistrust of him has to do with my first hypothesis, his claims of having a progressive Christian faith which they don’t recognize as being Christian at all. I’ll have to think on it more.
            Your point that they attack intellectualism though is certainly spot on and IMO supportive that there is more nuance behind the right’s active dislike of Obama than simple racism.

        • Miss_Beara

          Minor rant

          I knew my uncle was a gun toting Republican, but I never knew he was a Tea Party Republican until I saw him posting Herman Cain and Fox News “stories” on Facebook. One in particular from Cain’s page said that Democrats are solely responsible for the shutdown. He would be one of those people at the Tea Party rally the other day and it is getting worse and worse. It is probably impossible to reason with those people so I am not even going to try and I hope when I do see him, he sticks with the “do not talk about religion or politics” rule.

          My mom, who works in a federal department and has to work during this with no pay, at first blamed both sides for this. I then educated her. I showed her stories, I showed her proof of the months long planning of a shutdown. Thankfully, I have a smart mother.

          He’s godless to them and being godless is way worse than being black.

          Or Muslim. One of the Tea-ers said he should pack up his rug, get off of his knees and put away the Koran. To them it seems to go together since they think Atheists and Muslims hate America and its freedoms.

          Is this over yet?

          • KMR

            The “do not talk about religion or politics” rule never works with my family. Not only do they talk about it but they also lob thinly veiled insults at those who believe differently (mainly me). Holidays are a hoot ;)

    • The Captain

      I’m going to leave aside your woefully wrong political analysis and just point one glaring thing out to you… “But lately the posts are seeming less and less friendly and more biased.?” “Friendly” does NOT mean agreeing with you on every issue or not having bias!

    • UWIR

      Do you have a cite for the claim that the Republicans have offered to fund everything except for Obamacare? I’ve seen conflicting reports, with some saying that they’re demanding other concessions, such as allowing employers to not have birth control as part of health care.

      If all they’re doing is refusing to fund programs they don’t like, and not demanding non-financial policy changes, then technically they making use of fact that the constitution gives the House’s authority over funding bills (and, technically, it would mean that it’s actually the Democrats who have shut down the government), but it’s rather contrary to the spirit of the Constitution to do a back-door repeal by simply not funding any program that they don’t like. If Congress passes a law, then inherent in that, the American government has promised to provide whatever funds are required by that law. To just refuse to follow through on that promise is bending the rules at best.

  • KMR

    I don’t think the religious conservatives in this country hate Obama because he’s black. They hate him because he’s the first president who hasn’t catered to Christian privilege. As far as why the non-religious conservatives in this country despise him I believe it has to do with them disagreeing with his fiscal decisions.

    • JenL

      But he HAS. He’s kept open and continued to work with that Faith Based Office, and used it quite a bit for ACA outreach….

  • Bo

    I understand that every Democrat senator voted against raising the debt limit in 2006. That was when we had 1/2 of our current debt.

    On the other hand, the Republican establishment claims to be for small government and less spending, but expanded all these things under Bush.

    I think the difference between the two party establishments is more in rhetoric than actual policy. They fight each other, but I think that is meant to make them appear different for the purpose of polarizing voters.

    Isn’t Obamacare like a previously written Republican bill….hmm, so the Republicans got it in afterall. I look for the candidates the media is not taking seriously even if they are unlikely to win…that is where you will find one that is not bought and paid for.

    • Pattrsn

      Oddly enough according to the congressional budget office the debt has dropped to 3.4% of GDP in 2013 from 10.1% of GDP in 2009.

      • Itarion

        Debt, or deficit? These words are different, but often used the same.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          It’s deficit in this case. Easy error to make.

          • Itarion

            I figured that, I was trying to call attention of the error to Pattrsn.
            I’m often like, “THE DEFICIT’S NOT WHAT WE WANT TO REDUCE. THE DEBT IS!” Because it’s really hard to reduce the debt while having a deficit. But you know that, and the choir comes to the sermon every week.

        • UWIR

          There was a compilation album called “Rock Against Bush” that came out in 2004 and gave a bunch of reason to vote against re-electing Bush in the liner notes, and one of them was that the national debt had increased by a factor of 200 during the course of his presidency. The only way I can see that they got that number was comparing deficit in 2000 to debt in 2004. I find it rather shocking that no one caught the error. I mean, partisan bias is one thing, but when you’re capable of hearing that the debt has increased 200-fold without saying “Hey, that can’t right”, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

      • Bo

        Yeah..that makes sense…that was the bottom of the recession…and as all recessions seem to come to the end eventually..there is a little bounce back.

        Was it your point that Obama is doing such a great job that he turned things around? I don’t think that’s the case at all. You could have stuck almost anybody in there after Bush and have that happen…except maybe John McCain….he’d probably have started World War 3 by now.

  • WingedBeast

    I think the more logic explanation is that, during the Bush2 years, the right wing in this country got well accustomed to getting almost everything their own way.
    -
    Oh, sure, Bush didn’t really try to get anti-gay-marriage amendment passed and he didn’t do a whole lot on abortion. But, whatever he did try, he mostly got. And, he got it in large part by controlling both sides of the conversation.
    -
    Then, suddenly, a Democrat was elected! “That can’t be! I mean, we’re the real America, so we should win in America! He can’t be a real American… and his melanin content is higher than mine and that makes him even less American!”
    -
    The racism is certainly there. There’s no ignoring it. And, that’s certainly helping them to be a kind of big tent. “It doesn’t matter if you hate that the world is changing around you, if you hate the notion of society being a social enterprise, if you hate the strawman liberals that you hear about on conservative radio/fox news, or if you just hate people based on their race. We’ll let you in no matter why you hate Obama.”

    • Bo

      That is not an explanation at all. Sounds like crazy biased talk.

      The biggest difference between the 2 establishments is rhetoric, not policy.

      • WingedBeast

        Policy on abortion, taxation, the social safety net, the death penalty, is all very different. The Democratic Party favors having a conversation. They may have disagreements within the party, but they don’t claim that those disagreements are a fundamental failing on the part of opposing view holders.
        -
        That’s a big difference, right there.
        -
        Are the Dems in the pocket of business? Yes. Are they as deep in the pocket as Reps are? No. Examples include wind and solar energy. As major sources of energy for the US or the world, the technology, admittedly, is not there yet. But, Democrats favor subsidies to spur the research and science that will turn that tide, Reps don’t.
        -
        And, are the Dems as ruled by the crazy or as bound to the crazy as the Reps? Definitely not.
        -
        There are significant policy differences.

        • Bo

          It’s all a sideshow….a few percent tax isn’t going to change anything. Abortion is not going to affect them.

          The fleecing is in the government expansion, control, and spending.

          All of our technology advances, and yet the median income adjusted for inflation has not risen over the last 30 years. We have some fancier toys and that is it. We do not have more disposable income.

          Look at how they characterized ‘cuts’ as cuts…when they are actually reductions in the planned increases in spending. Wasn’t Obamacare based on a supposedly conservative healthcare plan?

          The only sane people are the ones opposed to more debt. The real loons are the people that think the government needs to spend more money.

          • WingedBeast

            Debt isn’t the real problem. Ask any stock or bond trader. Ask any business manager. Ask any CEO, seeing that a company has no debt is actually a bad sign.
            -
            And, yes, Obamacare was based around ideas that had been put forth by Republicans. He chose and designed it around things that, were Republicans acting like a party in favor of something rather than simply in opposition to himself, they would have said were good ideas.
            -
            There you have one of the key differences. One party actually finds working across the isle to be a useful and necessary thing, not to be evil or a sign of weakness.
            -
            I realize that it simplifies things readily if you view both parties as essentially the same and debt as the greatest evil. But, neither is the case and, to quote John Green (one half of blogbrothers which I have recently gotten into on youtube) “Truth resists simplicity.”

            • Bo

              Using your logic…if debt is not a problem…and if we have 400 trillion dollars in debt….since it is debt….it is not a problem.

              It could be any number…but in your mind..it is not a problem.
              All the advances in technology and production over the last 20 or so years, and yet we can’t maintain our standard of living without borrowing more then we ever have before?

              • Bo

                This is also compounded by the fact that if you have debt…now you pay interest….so you need to borrow more to pay that and so on.

                So if the government can’t maintain a steady level of debt when it was only a few trillion….it’s going to get even more difficult as the debt goes up.

                Debt begets more debt.

              • WingedBeast

                Having to borrow more is a natural result of combining a higher standard of living with a lower tax rate. Regulations, police, hospitals, roads, bridges, all with higher technology all take more money to maintain a higher standard of living for more people.
                -
                And, all you’re talking about, with regards to debt, is numbers. “Oh no, our debt is growing!” You know what it’s growing in, though? It’s growing in dollars, American dollars. It’s not growing in Yen or Euro’s or Pesos or Canadian dollars. That means that those to whom we owe debt… have a vested interest in keeping the value of the American dollar high. Because, if our economy collapses, so does the value of the money coming in.
                -
                What’s more, the interest they can gain on money they have in the bank is worth more than the interest they can gain on the money we owe them. So, this actually gives America a position over our debtors. We can “miss” a payment, thus costing our debtors much more than it would cost us.
                -
                That’s actually one of the means America has of holding pressure over the U.N. One missed due means more to them for lost interest in the bank than it does to us for penalties.
                -
                Oh, and do note that our debt is largely in bonds, held not by other nations but by… companies and individuals, each of whom operates with a different margin of debt.
                -
                Sure, it’s easy to go all Hulk on the matter and say “Debt bad!”, but it’s more complicated than that.

                • Bo

                  But we don’t have a higher standard of living….median income has stagnated. Perhaps gone down with accelerating health care costs.

                  Countries may have an interest in keeping the dollar high, but they are failing….outside of electronics, almost everything has been going up in price.

                  The debt also means future taxes…rather than deal with some pain now…we are selfishly passing it on to our kids.

                • WingedBeast

                  1. Compared to 30 years ago, yes, median income has stagnated. This due to a lack of increase in the minimum wage. But, increases in medicine, technology, life-expectancy, this has all happened.
                  -
                  And, stuff gets more expensive. That’s called inflation. The reverse is much worse. For example, see the Great Depression.
                  -
                  So, I take it you favor raising taxes now… good, something we agree upon.

                • Bo

                  It has nothing to do with the minimum wage…..it’s all about crony capitalism. I’ll give you that there has been an uptick in life expectancy. Other than toys though…the benefits and profits of technology has gone to the cronies.

                  Stuff doesn’t have to get more expensive…..this is the goal though of the Federal Reserve. Deflation was only one factor in the Great Depression…not the sole cause.

                  The Depression of 1920 was deeper than the Great Depression…the government radically cut spending and the depression was over so quickly that most people never heard of the depression of 1920.

                  I would be more in favor of raising taxes and freezing spending than I would raising spending and freezing taxes.

                • WingedBeast

                  You think the median wage not increasing has nothing to do with minimum wage? Median meaning the “middle” or “average”?
                  -
                  I never said that it was the sole cause, I said look to it. Deflation was not a good thing.
                  -
                  Cutting spending cannot stop a recession. I don’t know what kind of supernatural impact you think would happen.

                • Bo

                  Median is the middle….not the average. If you took a given set of wages and raised the lowest wages to some higher minimum…than you would definitely increase the average wage…but likely not the median.

                  That is besides the point….hypothetically mandating a 100k a year salary for everyone would raise the median, but it wouldn’t make sense to do it….obviously.

                  Deflation is great for people with access to savings. It is bad for people with debt. Lower prices can be a good thing.

                  My point was not that cutting spending would fix a recession but that it also wouldn’t cause a disaster like some people believe.

                  In any case, let’s compromise….I will agree to let you raise taxes 5% if you agree to freeze total spending at current levels……same actual dollars spent next year as this year.

                  Does that not sound reasonable?

                • WingedBeast

                  Ah, “take this to the extreme and it becomes a bad idea, therefore, it’s not good at any amount”. As opposed to simply raising the minimum wage to a living wage, which did a lot of work to keep us out of another depression, on account of everybody who did work having disposable income in order to eat and, thereby support other businesses that could then employ workers and so on.
                  -
                  Deflation, in the incredibly short term of just the deflation and none of its results, *may* be considered good for people with savings. But, that assumes no resulting lack of employment causing a lack of spending causing a lack of income for many Americans.
                  -
                  And, no, it doesn’t sound reasonable. For one thing, you’re assuming that I want to raise taxes just for its own sake. As though I find some form of gratification just from knowing that more money is going away in taxes.
                  -
                  I want that money strategically spent. I want an increase in education spending. I want an increase in the social safety net. I want an increase in funding to Head Start and an extension from pre- into grade school. I want many, many things that I believe are good for my country.
                  -
                  Now, if you want to help me with this budget, you can lower spending on defense. You can help me out with targeted taxes that focus more burden on the wealthiest, who can best take that burden without having an impact upon their buying or hiring power. You can help me by taking away oil-subsidies. We can discuss a reduction in corn subsidies, but I want a diversification of farm-subsidies, so that more vegetables can be available to more people less expensively.
                  -
                  But, all of that is going to require that you accept that the real world is more complex than the one you’re trying to legislate to.

                • Bo

                  I don’t think directly raising the minimum wage is the best way to help low income workers, and I think it might actually mean less jobs or less hours for them.

                  It’s also dictatorial, and I think the best way to do things is to try to avoid dictating things when we can, especially if there might be better ways to do things.

                  I think deflation would be especially painful if we get there with 16 trillion in debt. It might not have been if we had ‘deflated’ before taking on this huge debt burden.

                  ………………………………….

                  How about this for a compromise:

                  I will change the capital gains to income tax and lower the top income tax rate to 30%. This basically ups the capital gains from 15% to 30% and simplifies the tax code.

                  This raises taxes on the richest people(hedge fund managers, CEO’s and such) by almost 100%…but lowers it by around 25% on business owners, doctors, and others in top income brackets who actually earn the money as income.

                  I will eliminate all subsidies to big oil.

                  Then….if you agree to freeze total spending….I will chop 20% from the military budget for you to spend on those other things you think are good for the country.

                  How does that sound?

                • WingedBeast

                  Let’s assume for the sake of argument that, despite historical evidence to the contrary, raising the minimum wage does have an initial result of increasing unemployment. Again, this is counter to historical evidence, but let’s leave that aside.
                  -
                  What it will also result in is the people who have jobs being able to afford to buy, you know, things. And, we have a consumer based economy. We need people to be able to buy things, and to know that their buying power isn’t subject to the whim of disaster. Part of that means that everybody who works for a wage gets a living wage.
                  -
                  That was the original point of the minimum wage and a big part of how the 50s became known as a time of wealth.
                  —————————————
                  As for your compromise, we’re getting closer, close enough that I would actually have to look at the numbers (in more detail than I have available and taking more time than I have available), but you’re coming to a point where you recognize that my position isn’t a simplistic appreciation of taxes.
                  -
                  But, one of the key important parts is that you’re willing to acknowledge my issues as not merely an appreciation of taxes. It’s a legitimate, thought out disagreement between us with both of us acting in good conscience.
                  -
                  And, going back to the origin of this conversation, that is the kind of conversation that Democrats have been trying to have since the W.Bush administration and Congressional Republicans have been refusing to have. Yes, there are substantive differences between Democrat and Republican.

                • Bo

                  Well….the Democrats think the Republicans won’t compromise and the Republicans think the Democrats won’t compromise.

                  It depends on where you get your news from, how it is characterized.

                  I do think it was a bad idea for the Republicans to use Obamacare as the bargaining chip. I think they should have more generically used spending levels….but that didn’t seem to work out either, previously.

                • WingedBeast

                  With regards to negotiating over the basic existence of the government, no, there shouldn’t be any negotiations there. That shouldn’t even be on the bargaining table.
                  -
                  But, Democrats have been compromising for years. Obamacare, as you yourself said, is built on a lot of Republican ideas. Hey, the Public Option was taken off the table in an attempt to entice Republicans to the negotiating table.
                  -
                  No, there’s actual history here.
                  -
                  And, spending levels are less the issue than where that money is going. Again, you’re thinking of taxes, spending, and debt as though that’s all they are, as though the only thing being negotiated is a number that is platonically worse the higher it goes.
                  -
                  It’s a question of where the money comes from (where does it do the least damage to come from and how much damage can we bare), where does it go to (where can it do the most good), and how much borrowing is necessary to close the gap for good societal investments.

                • Bo

                  Look…everything both parties wants has been added to government…..nothing significant money wise is ever taken away……and more is always wanted…its never enough.

                  Government is now most about forcibly taking from some people to support other peoples agendas….that’s not right…even for a lot of good causes.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Bahahahaha *gasp, wheeze* hahahahahahaha *pulls self back into chair*

                  Oh, you poor deluded sucker! As a social democrat, I assure you we’ve never had everything added to government that the left wants. Universal preschool, mandated paid parental leave, single payer health care, significant increases to food stamps, WIC, TANF, rent assistance, and other safety net programs, increased spending on education in general, a massive infrastructure overhaul including the electric grid, roads, railways, and more, massive investments in scientific research, more funding for the EPA, FDA, and other safety-based agencies, and that’s just for a start. These are the basics of what government does- ensure safety, basic survival, and opportunity for advancement for all its citizens. Build a society in which prosperity is possible.

                  This is all costly, of course, so people who have more have to give more back. They’ve benefited more from society, so they have the ethical obligation to give back more and make sure they aren’t burning their bridge to success behind them. That’s not forcibly taking from them to support others’ agendas. That’s the basic obligation of being a citizen.

                • Bo

                  Not all at once….but give it time…more and more is added….almost never is anything taken away.

                  How do you know that everyone has benefited from these programs?

                  What right do you have to tell someone else that they have to pay for a program that you believe in and they don’t?

                  Who the hell are you to tell other people what they are and are not obligated to pay for?

                  Now they have to take their money to pay for your ethical programs instead of their own ethical programs?

                  Yeah right! Well, I want you to pay for a program that encourages young pregnant girls to give birth and adopt out their children rather than abort.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Um, this government has the Hyde Amendment. We have an absolutely ginormous military budget. We spend the vast majority of our piddly foreign aid budget on military support and not institution-building, academic education, teaching farming techniques, clinics and doctors and medicine, and so forth. The US government does a fuckton of things I’d rather not spend money on, but you know what? I live here. It is my responsibility as a citizen to pay my taxes for whatever the government decides to spend money on, and then lobby for change or vote for politicians to change the programs and expenditures I don’t like. You, of course, get to do the same.

                  By what right do I have to tell someone else that they have to pay for a program that you believe in and they don’t? Who the hell am I to tell other people what they are and are not obligated to pay for? By the right of being a citizen of a country. Because we live here and we are citizens here it it is our responsibility to do so. If you don’t want to support such things, give up your citizenship and move elsewhere. But so long as you are a US citizen, you owe the US your financial support. You get the benefits of citizenship, so you pay the costs. This is government 101 here. How did you possibly miss civics class in high school?

                  Besides, you don’t get to decide what government’s basic obligations are. Those are known. It must care for the poorest and sickest of its citizens as well as the wealthiest and healthiest. Everyone benefits when governments do so, even the ultra-wealthy, because they have a more educated, healthier, and more motivated workforce. Does a billionaire benefit directly from SNAP or Obamacare? No. Indirectly? Oh hell yes. Starving workers are bad workers, sick workers are bad workers. If someone is able to innovate, think, design, become an entrepreneur, go to grad school, etc, etc because of government support, we all win. Because we all win, we are all obligated to support it.

                  Also remember that in this discussion, I have evidence that spending on these things works. You have ideology that it doesn’t. I’m sorry (not really), but reality trumps ideology every time. We spend for these programs because they work; they make the country stronger, more prosperous, healthier, and happier. Whining about unfairness combined with straight up class bigotry doesn’t change that.

                  As for your example- so long as a program was honest and informative, it could support adoption. However, given that fully informed consent would have to be obtained, I don’t think it’d be terribly effective. Adoptions are terribly difficult for the psyche of both the adoptive mom and the child, can lead to PTSD and depression, and are just not the best choice for a lot of people. Also, adoption is an answer to the problem of not wanting to be a parent. It is not an answer to the problem of not wanting to be pregnant/give birth. So long as all these facts were fairly and neutrally presented, and no judgment was placed on girls/women who chose abortion, it would be a fine program. If you wanted a lying, manipulative, emotional, shaming program about “killing your baby”, though, government has no place supporting religious lies.

                • Bo

                  I agree the military budget is too big.

                  No..one citizen should not have the right to dictate to another citizen what he/she spends his money on.

                  ” You get the benefits of citizenship, so you pay the costs.”

                  I know I pay the costs…I have no choice, even if the costs way outweigh the benefits.

                  I am arguing that the costs do outweigh the benefits and that we are being fleeced.

                  “Besides, you don’t get to decide what government’s basic obligations are. Those are known. It must care for the poorest and sickest of its citizens as well as the wealthiest and healthiest.”

                  Where do you get this from? We also have state governments already, but that leads to a whole new can of worms. Maybe we should add another government on top with a whole new bureaucracy, just to provide an extra layer of protection.

                  “Because we all win, we are all obligated to support it.”

                  Win compared to what? Anarchy maybe. A pure dictatorship maybe. But compared to a small government that merely facilitates economic freedoms and protects individual liberties? I am not so sure.

                  “We spend for these programs because they work; they make the country stronger, more prosperous, healthier, and happier.”

                  If the country is so healthy, why do I keep hearing about all these financial problems?

                  If the country is so healthy, why doesn’t it have enough money to pay for this stuff without borrowing it?

                  What’s going to happen in the future when we have already borrowed that future money to pay for today?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  If the costs outweigh the benefits, leave. It isn’t that hard to get a visa elsewhere.

                  I mean this in all seriousness. It is a step my husband and I have contemplated. We looked into how hard it would be to get work visas/residency in various places in Europe. It’s not impossible by any means, and there are lots of places it’s easier.

                  As for why it’s not working, it’s because we’re not actually fully funding them. Seriously. If you underfund a program by 50%, it literally cannot do its work and it’s going to fail. If you set up rules that make it impossible for an agency to carry out its stated goal, it’s going to fail. Stop doing that, and see what happens. SNAP, WIC, TANF, Head Start, and other programs do work: recipients are far better off than they would be without the aid. But it’s not enough aid, and it doesn’t reach all the people who need it. My state puts starving people on waitlists for SNAP. It has completely defunded women’s health clinics, with predictable (and expensive) results. It refused to expand Medicaid, and now poor people won’t have access to medical care or insurance, because my governor is an asshole.

                  We aren’t healthy, because we insist on coddling the poor widdle biwwionaires and their pwecious egos instead of fucking doing what needs to be done to get this country back on its feet. That means the billionaires will still be billionaires- they’ll just be slightly less rich ones. Boo-fucking-hoo. They got rich by exploiting our laws, and they can pay a little of it back into the society that made their ascent possible. That’s the demands of citizenship. That’s Civics 101.

                  As for deficits and debts- ugh, you really need to read up on that. Definitions first. The deficit is the amount of money in a budgetary year that we spend but must borrow. The national debt is the total sum of all our debt.

                  First of all, during a recession/depression, we should run deficits. That is Keynesianism 101: as private demand falls, government ramps up spending to keep the economy going so that private spending can recover. Our deficits have been too small, which is why we aren’t doing better, and have also been spent in a lot of the wrong ways (military, bank bailouts, etc, not things that actually stimulate the economy like infrastructure projects, mortgage relief, etc).

                  The debt is another thing entirely. Its actual size doesn’t matter. What can matter is its size relative to GDP. We’re doing fine. In fact, if we’d increased the debt by having bigger deficits, we’d actually be in better shape because the economy would have grown faster than the debt, rendering it relatively smaller. In fact, if we have a deficit every year but the economy grows faster than the debt, we have effectively decreased the debt’s impact by spending more. Crazy, huh? But that’s how it works.

                • Bo

                  The costs of leaving would be greater.

                  I’d be more than happy to double the capital gains tax, so the rich pay the same high percentage as upper income wage earners.

                  “First of all, during a recession/depression, we should run
                  deficits. That is Keynesianism 101: as private demand falls, government ramps up spending to keep the economy going so that private spending can recover. Our deficits have been too small, which is why we aren’t doing better, and have also been spent in a lot of the wrong ways (military, bank bailouts, etc, not things that actually stimulate the economy like infrastructure projects, mortgage relief, etc).”

                  There are opposing economic theories you know. By very educated economists.

                  “The debt is another thing entirely. Its actual size doesn’t matter. What can matter is its size relative to GDP. We’re doing fine. In fact, if we’d increased the debt by having bigger deficits, we’d actually be in better shape because the economy would have grown faster than the debt, rendering it relatively smaller. In fact, if we have a
                  deficit every year but the economy grows faster than the debt, we have effectively decreased the debt’s impact by spending more. Crazy, huh?
                  But that’s how it works.”

                  Yeah. I don’t buy it.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Well, doubling the capital gains tax would be a start. It’s not enough, but it’s a start.

                  There are opposing economic theories, you’re right. They’ve all failed horribly in this current crisis. Austerity has, as predicted by Keynesians, made things worse for everyone. The stimulus in 2008 alleviated things for a time until it ran out but wasn’t big enough to actually stimulate the economy, as predicted by Keynesians. Given the track record of the Chicago school and behavioral/modern Keynesianism, I’ll go with the school that’s been more right more of the time and that has models that make sense. I’ll also go with the school that doesn’t appear to be ideologically based- Keynesian economists I read admit their errors and try to figure out why they were wrong. Chicago school economists just skip from one prediction to the next, refusing to learn from past mistakes because that would dent their ideological conviction that governments are the problem, not the solution. It’s almost a religion to them now, and religions are inherently untrustworthy.

                  You don’t have to buy it. That’s still how it works. If the debt is $100 and GDP is $1,000, debt is 10% of GDP. If the debt goes up to $150 and GDP goes up to $2,000, debt is 7.5% of GDP. Even though debt went up, because it’s a smaller percentage of GDP, it’s actually easier to pay it back because the government is taking in more money than before (due to how revenue and economic growth are related). Note that these are purely example numbers, obviously.

                • Bo

                  When did we do austerity? Don’t get me wrong though…I do think there would be some pain if we really rolled stuff back, but I think it will be less than the eventual pain we get if we don’t..

                  I really don’t see the Keynesian thing working like you do.

                  If deficit spending more than pays for itself as you say, I don’t get why debt keeps getting bigger and bigger relative to GDP. This is in conflict with the example demonstration in your last paragraph.

                  I also think it’s really risky to say that while debt grew as a percentage of GDP while we were lightly deficit spending (didn’t do enough)….if we would only double down and go all out, that this trend will reverse and the debt will shrink relative to GDP.

                  That is a really big gamble.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  The sequestration is a prime example of austerity- cutting government spending in time of recession. The recent government shutdown was an exercise in extreme austerity, with the economic damage to match. The Republicans forcing a rise in the payroll tax (Obama had gotten a temporary reduction, and wanted to extend that reduction) is an exercise in austerity. The Fed keeping interest rates at or near 0% is an exercise in austerity- we actually need mild inflation to grow the economy, but we aren’t getting it.

                  Debt fluctuates as a percentage of GDP, actually. It was massive during and just after WWII, dropped over time, rapidly expanded under Reagan, stabilized under Bush I, dropped under Clinton, and expanded under Bush II again. What you borrow money to do matters- if you spend the money on military stuff, you really might as well be flushing it down the toilet which is what Reagan and Bush II did. The total debt (not as percentage of GDP) is growing slower under Obama than it has in ages, but because our economy sucks so bad it’s still growing relative to GDP, which is not good. Things will eventually reach equilibrium at the rate we’re going, but it’ll be 20 years of high unemployment, recession and possible deflation, and general economic pain. That’s really, really not good. If we were to spend lots of money now putting people to work, and build/repair our infrastructure which is a foundation for a healthy economy, we’d reap huge returns. Why do you think the 1950s were such an economic boomtime? We taxed the rich at up to 90% marginal rates, the US had huge public works programs to do things like build the electric grid and highway system, and we had very strict regulations on banks and investments. We aren’t doing any of that now.

                  Giant investments may be risky, but doing nothing is riskier.

                • Bo

                  Sequestration wasn’t really a cut though…spending still went up….just not ‘as fast’ as they like. Sequestration also partially targeted military spending.

                  “The Fed keeping interest rates at or near 0% is an exercise in austerity- we actually need mild inflation to grow the economy, but we aren’t getting it.”

                  You are mistaken here…keeping interest rates low encourages inflation. Raising rates encourages austerity.

                  The rich back then had so many loopholes they paid more like 40%.

                  So:

                  1) Capital gains tax should go up
                  2) we should spend less on military
                  3) we should spend more on infrastructure
                  4) maybe get rid of the payroll tax?

                  we agree on some stuff…that is good.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Yeah. This is basically a basis of negotiations :)

                  I wouldn’t get rid of the payroll tax, though. It’s what funds Social Security, which is an extremely valuable program. I would, instead, uncap it. Make people pay payroll taxes on income over $105,000 or whatever the current cap is (it’s close to there). Then adjust it to whatever rate is needed to fund it, which is probably a little lower than current but not much. Basically, stop letting rich or upper-middle-class people pay a lower rate of payroll tax than everyone else.

                  I also think income taxes should rise drastically at the top end. Our current maximum rate is 35%, which is absurdly low. Raise that to 50% or even 75%. We’d then have the money to do the massive infrastructure projects we both think are a good idea, and we’d be moving unproductive money (when very wealthy people park money into luxuries and investments like paintings, it’s really not productive) into productive money (paying the salaries of people who will spend that money on goods and services).

                  I did fuck up the interest rate thing. My apologies. I’m still going to advocate for un-repealing Glass-Steagal, though! We desperately need to check our banks’ irrationality and risks, break up the big ones (too big to fail is too big to exist), and generally not have taxpayer dollars serve as a backstop for large banks’ stupidity.

                • Bo

                  I agree if we are going to have a payroll tax…lets not cap it at all..seems regressive to me, but I would rather have no payroll tax, because it’s simpler and would benefit everyone making under the current cap. I would be more than happy to cut the military to help fund eliminating the payroll tax.

                  I think if income taxes rose as high as you are wanting without loopholes, then it would start to hurt the economy. I also think loopholes are not very efficient. I imagine we both want to find that tax rate that balances maximizing government revenue while minimizing any direct impact of that money being taxed.

                  I don’t think anyone knows what it is exactly, but if you got rid off all loopholes I would guess it would be in the neighborhood of 30-40%.

                  I would love a 30% flat tax with a standard deduction of 100k. This way..people under 100k pay nothing, people who make 200k pay 15%, people who make 500K pay 24%, people who make 1mil pay 27% and so on.

                  Make capital gains reportable as income…get rid of the payroll tax. Get rid of all loopholes.

                  I would cut the military in half if we could do all this.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I’d need to see some serious numbers, because a flat tax that low just won’t work. It’s an intriguing idea.

                  A dedicated tax to certain programs is a good thing IMO. We can’t rededicate moneys from social security into other things (technically, though we do it now anyways) because that tax is legally mandated to go into that pot. That’s a good thing. A giant revenue stream that can be diverted will be diverted.

                  Additionally, people making $1 million can and should pay significantly more than 27% of their income in taxes. That just won’t be enough, basically. You’re basically doing a graduated income tax, but with not very many gradations and at too low a rate. It’s a good idea to graduate income taxes, don’t get me wrong! Our graduated income tax system is far too complicated, doesn’t go high enough, and is full of loopholes and deductions (not all of which are loopholes) but it has a solid idea at its base.

                • Bo

                  I”ll tell ya what…you make the standard deduction 200k and I’ll go with a 40% flat tax….is that closer?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I really don’t know, I’d have to run the numbers.

                  I do know that flat taxes are incredibly regressive by nature, an a progressive income tax is a really good idea. I also know that, at the high end, 40% is not nearly high enough to do the other thing we want taxes to do- prevent the formation of an elite ruling class that literally cannot be dethroned because of its massive wealth and thus political power. That could be taken care of with pretty hefty estate taxes, though.

                • Bo

                  Well you know the elites are only paying about 17% now.

                  30% would still be a big jump up.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  It would. Just not enough of a jump :)

                • Bo

                  If we could somehow reform how public companies reward top execs, that would be cool too. This is a huge pet peeve with me, but I don’t know what to do about it.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Oh yeah, that would be awesome.

                  There’s some talk of executive pay caps (they can’t earn more than a certain multiple of their lowest-paid employee’s wages- so, say, no more than 300x the janitor’s salary), but that’s not terribly feasible in today’s political climate.

                • Bo

                  If you could somehow fix this and outsourcing, I think the economy would gain tremendously.

                  Apprenticeships or trade schools seems like a great idea to me too.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I agree in general. I’m worried about tracking though- trade schools are awesome but only if we don’t deliberately track working-class students into them while tracking upper-middle-class students into more academic pursuits. That’s been a problem with trade schools in the US for a long time.

                • Bo

                  What do you think about this idea? Remove all loopholes and deductions from corporate taxes but give corporations a deduction on their tax bill of the salary of each and every resident full-time employee up to a maximum of $50,000 per employee?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Again: I’d need to see actual numbers. Corporate tax rates are quite high officially, but due to loopholes and deductions are quite low in reality. I’d rather lower the rate (I am okay with doing that) but demand that every dollar of profit a corporation makes is taxed at the US rate. They can pay some taxes to other countries and deduct those, up to a point of paying no US taxes but the full US rate, though of course we’d rather they paid them into the US. Corporations are multinational now, and we need tax law that recognizes that and doesn’t encourage dummy corporations to reroute profits through. Remember, we already only tax profits, not revenues, so employee salaries are already officially deducted.

                • Bo

                  Also, one interesting side note. As I look at a graph of the debt vs GDP over the last 70 years or whatever…it appears that the best combination for reducing the debt vs GDP is a Democrat president with a Republican congress.

                  I am sure there is not enough there to make any definitive conclusions, but at least superficially that seems to be the case.

                  Here is the link:

                  http://visual.ly/united-states-debt-percentage-gdp-1940-2012

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Actually, the times of the lowest debt to GDP ration were during times we had Democratic control of both houses and a Democratic president, in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter years. Nixon and Ford (both Republicans) were also during that time period, but Democrats were in control of both houses during all five of their terms in office.

                  Reagan changed things up a lot, which is why he’s often the starting point for modern analyses. As I said before, our debt was high after WWII, dropped for awhile, Reagan exploded the debt, Bush I stabilized it, Clinton caused it to drop, Bush II exploded it again, and Obama has been fucked by the economy, since GDP drops during recessions so ratios look all sorts of wonky. Your graph supports my (admittedly simplified) analysis of the historical trends of debt to GDP ratio.

                • Bo

                  It was lower during Reagan then Kennedy, but I am referring more to how things changed during that administration rather than where they started at. Johnson era looks good chartwise, though.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Look at the trends, Bo. It was dropping during the Kennedy years, or at least not increasing. During the Reagan years, it expanded lots. Kennedy inherited a fair bit of debt from WWII still.

                • Bo

                  Yes the trend was better under Kennedy than Reagan.

                • WingedBeast

                  When is government *not* about taking from some people in order to support other people’s agendas.
                  -
                  Think this through. The police, the military, roads and bridges, public schooling. It’s all about moving money around. Politics isn’t about leadership so much as who gets what and why.
                  -
                  The question is where from, where to, and to what purpose. Complaining that government involves taxation and spending is… well, not comprehending society. That’s how society works, we have social enterprises, things we do as a society and those things take the resources of people who have resources.
                  -
                  Now, we were damn close to having an actual conversation and negotiation, one that involved a question of what our values are, what our philosophies are, where the differences lie, and how to work out to the best mutual benefit of our values. But, then you stopped and you started having the conversation of “oh, but it’s spending money for reasons!”
                  -
                  Let’s go back to the reasoned discussion, the one that discusses the values of what we’re getting out of specific spendings and the potential harm of specific taxes.

                • Bo

                  I do believe government needs to spend money for defense and facilitating commerce and infrastructure….but a lot of the other stuff should be left to states to determine.

                  In general, I think states would do a better job with the desires and needs of their citizens. Some worse, but most better…because they are closer to the problems. It’s also a better way for us to learn what works and what doesn’t.

                  I think the federal government could act more as an aid (monetarily maybe) to states where they do not have the resources they need, rather than dictating how things are run.

                  I believe it would run more efficiently for most (not necessarily all) things. It would also be a much more interesting and diverse country.

                  Massachusetts could end up running as a purely social Democratic state and prove once and for all that liberal ideas are superior……….and then what choice would the Midwest have but to follow this shining example of success!

                  When Nebraska or whoever starts to suffer because it’s kids can’t compete globally from poor education with all that ‘creationism’ learning in school….they will see the error of their ways and embrace evolution!

                  With a central government dictating so much, there is not as much opportunity to differentiate. You are locked into so much, because no alternative ideas are in place to compare.

                • WingedBeast

                  Again, we’re going into a question not of extremes, but of degrees, and you need to acknowledge that.
                  -
                  1. States aren’t always the best at solving their own problems. They don’t always have the necessary resources, not only in hard dollars, but in organizing capacity. Sometimes, you need a stronger organization.
                  2. States aren’t islands. Texas decides most of the country’ textbooks, not because of any direct political power but because they buy so many that, for publishers, it’s just not worth it to publish different ones for smaller states.
                  3. States don’t always know that there is a problem. See slavery, segregation, marriage, etc.
                  4. States don’t always recognize solutions. See abstinence only sex education. It’s actually the opposite of the solution to the problems of teen pregnancy and STD transmission. And yet, there it is.
                  -
                  This is why we had a Civil Rights Act which included that certain states had to get prior approval to change their voting laws.
                  -
                  And, bad education doesn’t tend to yield the type of results where people say “Oh their education is so much better, we should change”. Instead it yields the type of results where people without education and in societies that actively work to socially devalue education will tend to attribute the better results elsewhere not to better education (they’ll assume they actually have the better) but instead to conspiracy.
                  -
                  Oh, and even if your theory would hold true, it would inherently require that we just leave human beings to die as sacrifices to the notion that human beings won’t sacrifice other human beings to their own end.

                • Bo

                  1. I think states would have as much or more organizing capacity for their own state as the central government would have for organizing all states at the same time.

                  2. Well yes…but how far do we take this. You could say the United States is not an island too…but does this mean we need a North American government? Our states are bigger than many countries. Don’t people admire the way some small European countries are run?

                  3. The beauty of unique and diverse states is that bad ways of doing things become obvious. The central government does have to step in to stop obvious constitutional violations though.

                  4. Either does the United States always recognize solutions…or it comes up with one size fits all that some states don’t want.

                  Also, if there is a right way of doing something….people with the wrong view may prevent it from happening at all on a national scale.

                  If states had more control…..it is more likely that some states would be able to implement winning ideas for themselves without needing to win the whole country.

                  With 50 state governments, you have a plethora of ideas being put into practice. As an individual you will likely have a more diverse set of options in finding a place to live that holds your values or fits your needs.

                  It would be much more exciting.

                  As to your last point about starving people…the United States is a state…its just bigger. Why would a smaller state be any more likely to let people starve than a bigger state? It may be that most of them do better with this because they can more easily address the needs on a local level.

                  I also think that if there is some kind of human rights abuses or people are starving in the streets…..this would be the kind of area where the central government interjects to fix the problem. Like it did with civil rights.

                • WingedBeast

                  1. Let’s talk militaries. Let’s talk regulating interstate commerce. Let’s talk policing interstate crimes. Let’s talk a national health coverage that would, even without necessarily having more money, have more leverage to negotiate with pharmaceutical providers.
                  -
                  2. You’re getting into extremes, in part. But, we have a U.N. for a reason. Part of that reason is that a multi-nation entity can better serve the peoples of the various nations than they can alone. So, would a North American Union be good just for existing? No, but this is a case of details to be had.
                  -
                  3. Again, see slavery, segregation, interracial marriage, etc. In the south, you had to see the basic humanity of those who were made into a slave class in order to see the obvious badness of slavery. But, moneyed interests, and therefore the political leaders, of the Antebellum South had vested interests in seeing no such thing.
                  -
                  4. So, what you’re saying is that the Federal government is imperfect. What I’m saying is that the Federal Government capacity to exert control over the states is an essential element of our nation, and for the good of both the nation as a whole and individual states.
                  -
                  And , by the way, two states *did* institute really winning ideas. Massachusetts and Hawaii instituted healthcare governance that really works for individuals. The other states either find it very hard to get past their conservative elements or, because they’re ruled by their conservative elements, refuse to do anything to help the un/under insured in the first place.
                  -
                  But, as a result of that experimentation, we have something that can be implemented on a national scale and, thanks to the greater negotiating power of the Federal Government, on a cheaper per-capita basis.
                  -
                  Let’s talk creationism in schools. Is the right to a decent education that prepares children if they want to go into medicine, or biology, or really any of the sciences, a basic human right?
                  -
                  The federal government has a place not only in response to human rights violations, but in staving it off.

                • Bo

                  1) those are jurisdictions of central government…except perhaps the health care thing

                  2) It’s not extreme…it’s just pointing out the arbitrariness of saying the lesser states can’t figure these things out on a smaller scale, but the central government can on a larger scale. The North American union idea was meant to be an obvious ‘hell no’…to make a point. Didn’t work though.

                  I think the United Federation of Planets is softening people up to the idea.

                  3) All of this applies to federal government too. States might be more progressive and less deadlocked…so if something is good….it can progress at the state level, but be deadlocked on the national level. Maybe it should too….why should Vermont do everything the same as Texas. As long as it’s not violating people’s Constitutional rights.

                  4) “But, as a result of that experimentation, we have something that can be implemented on a national scale and, thanks to the greater negotiating power of the Federal Government, on a cheaper per-capita basis.”

                  So now the central government forces a plan on everyone that reverses the very freedoms that resulted in that plan by saying that they cannot implement their own plans now…..that would be very twisted.

                  Let the states decide. There is nothing inherent about the people in the central government, that ensures they will govern more wisely than the state politicians. People love to think otherwise when a state disagrees with their viewpoint, but that is a lot better than the federal government getting it wrong.

                  If the state gets it wrong, it has other states as an example. If the federal government gets it wrong…everybody is screwed.

                • WingedBeast

                  Your basic problem is that you’re assuming that states always have A. the motivation and B. the resources to do everything right. And, to be frank, history shows otherwise.
                  -
                  Civil Rights history shows otherwise.
                  -
                  Recent hurricanes show otherwise.
                  -
                  And, while you’re right that there’s no guarantee that the federal government will get things right in the exclusion of states, we’re not talking about whether or not states have a place in their own governance, but about what the degree should be.
                  -
                  And, my contention is merely that you’re presenting simplicities where reality is simply more complicated than that. So, what we really need is a shifting scale of state v government control on an issue by issue basis.

                • Bo

                  I don’t think you are being fair here.

                  I already pointed to Civil Rights as a good example of time when the federal government can intervene.

                  I also mentioned that the federal government could provide monetary assistance to the states. I’ll add resources too for that matter.

                  It’s easy to point out where states have gone wrong…we have 50 states….some are going to get it wrong….so is the United States.

                  You are right that we are talking about degrees. I think if the federal government would stick to things that the states can’t handle on their own and quit governing everything….it would have more resources to focus on corruption, disasters, whatever.

                • WingedBeast

                  It does have the resources to focus on disasters. Corruption is always a problem not because of the resources it takes to root out but because of where it’s placed.
                  -
                  But, there are some things that the federal govt. can do better than the states, even though the states can, technically, do those things.
                  -
                  The point I’m mainly trying to make is that any hard and fast straight line you’re going to draw is immediately, and for the foreseeable future, going to have to be erased and redrawn with more curve here, a sharp point there.
                  -
                  When it comes to govt. I’m mainly not concerned with its size. I’m concerned with its shape.

                • Bo

                  Well…it’s obvious that to get anything done we need to be more specific…

                  What’s your biggest pet peeve…the 1st thing you would change?

  • Bo

    Incidentally, it isn’t Obama that instigated the rise of the Tea Party. It was Bush….Bush and the big government Republican establishment….not Obama and not race.
    They want less spending and less debt no matter who is in the white house. I’ll bet the establishment Republicans hate the Tea Partiers more than the Democrats.

    • GCT

      That’s a load of rubbish and you know it. The timeline doesn’t support it, nor do the actual arguments made. They never blame Bush for anything. Additionally, the backers of the Tea Party were huge proponents of Bush.

      • Bo

        No it isn’t, though I know you don’t know it. Do some research on the rise of the Tea Party. Doesn’t do good to blame Bush now…but Bush is what woke me up to the establishment GOP hypocrisy, even though I am not the member of some Tea Party.

        Also, I understand there are different Tea Parties….and I am sure the GOP wants to infiltrate the Tea Parties and get some of that anti-establishment vote if they can.

        • GCT

          The tea party came about in 2009…which is after Bush. It is funded by the Koch brothers.

          Care to try again…and with more honest this time?

          • Bo

            I looked again…maybe I am wrong. I found this link..

            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/oct/05/us-midterm-elections-2010-tea-party-movement

            but it seems to imply that the real instigation of the movement were things like the housing crisis and bank bailouts,,,Obama’s part was hiring guys seen as being a part of the problem.

            The Koch brothers then apparently ran with the idea and helped fund the movement.

            • GCT

              No, the real causes are varied. There’s a large element of racism (as shown by the numerous studies showing the racism inherent in the party). There’s also a large element of rich funding using propaganda to shape the masses of the tea party. The whole lie (that you seem to have swallowed as well) of democrats being tax and spend while republicans are fiscally conservative is a big part of it. It’s why the tea party is aligned with the republicans and opposes everything from the dems. There’s also a big religious element to it. Etc. etc. etc.

              None of these are good things.

              • Bo

                There is no lie that Dems are tax and spend…they are.

                The lie is that the Republicans are not tax and spend when they are too.

                The propaganda is on both sides. The goal is to whip up hate, because this way you lock people to one side or the other. If most people liked both sides, they wouldn’t fear losing so much.

                People would be more willing to take risks on alternate candidates, and I think that is what the establishment is trying to prevent.

                Who owns FOX news and who owns MSNBC. These are obvious propaganda outlets. I think they both serve the same agenda. Create hate for the other side.

                • Bo

                  Maybe I should say that the Republicans are borrow and spend…a little more accurate maybe.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  The deficit drops significantly under Democrat administrations, and rises under Republican ones. If, say, Chris Christie wins in 2016, it will rise again.

                  I understand the pervasiveness of these lies of equivalence, but they are lies. The Dems are corrupt, disorganized, and spineless, and they are preferable to their competition. The Republican Party has survived the last few decades in part by convincing people that both sides are the same. To get support, they actually have to make you think that “the other guys are just as bad as us.” Consider how ideologically and morally bankrupt that is. They COUNT on voter cynicism. They ENCOURAGE it.

                  After Obama won in 2008, I wrote with all sincerity that I hoped it would mean that the Republicans would reorganize their platform and tactics, that they would improve. Not pretend to improve, which is what they’ve been doing since with their occasional failed stabs at rebranding, where they complain that people don’t like them because they don’t know them, but actually improve. I said that they needed to become better because, without strong competition waiting to swoop in, the Dems would become worse.

                  Instead, the Republicans became far, far worse. Rather than provide ideas for how to paint the living room, they set the curtains on fire. They can rot. An unopposed Democratic Party would be better at this point than any Republican gain. The Dems would then fracture into sucky and less-sucky splinter factions, but most of them would at least know how to flip through a fucking paint sample catalog without screaming at random and kicking holes in the walls.

                • Bo

                  I know that Jimmy Carter was better than Republicans think and that Ronald Reagan is worse than Republicans think. Clintons surplus was because of a technology explosion in the 90′s and the dotcom boom, which crashed by the way and stuck Bush with a bad recession. Clinton also had to deal with a Republican congress…and a divided government doesn’t get much done which is better than a government that expands.

                  I do agree that Bush was a terrible president for about all the reasons I think Obama is a terrible president. He expanded government power. He attacks civil rights with the patriot act. He intervenes in the affairs of overseas countries using fear propaganda. He is a liar.

                  Never in a million years though have the Republican establishment painted both sides as the same.

                  There is a joke i’ve heard that if you are not a Democrat at twenty, you don’t have a heart, but if you are not a Republican by 40…you don’t have a brain.

                  Democrats love good causes as long as it is with someone else’s money.

                  Democrats like to vote themselves other people’s money.

                  Republicans give more money to charity than Democrats.

                  In any case…I do think Democrats are gullible in the sense that they think if they give other peoples money to a few rich politicians in Washington….its going to be better than letting other people use their money the way they see fit.

                  Republicans are gullible because they think the GOP is really about small government or less spending.

                  If you vote other peoples money to things you think are important….you take that money away from other people to put to the things they value…..and that takes away their freedoms.

                  Anyways…it’s good rhetoric like this that helps Republicans get votes.

                  Anyways, what bad thing of any economic significance have the Democrats reversed from the Republicans that would make me think the Dems are any good?

                  Is it that they will destroy the country slower than the Republicans?

                • GCT

                  It seems that you are stuck in your black/white modes of thought where taxing and spending must be your way or the highway, and anyone who doesn’t agree with you completely is the most horrible person in the world. It’s becoming increasingly harder to continue to try to have a discussion with the sort of infantile view of the world that you seem to possess.

                • Bo

                  I don’t know how you get this. Being convinced the government spends too much doesn’t warrant this characterization.

                  What would you do?

                • Bo

                  Let me add…it is you who likes to call me infantile multiple times, it is you who is convinced the Republicans are all horrible. I think I have been far less biased in this conversation. I think I have also gone farther to identify with your points.

                  It is you who is more rigid and unyielding…not me.

                • GCT

                  You are claiming that spending is bad, the government is bad, that government must be decreased to the smallest possible size or else. It is infantile (your idea), because it relies upon propaganda. And, this idea that you’ve brought forth of state’s rights is just another indicator of that. But, I’m glad to see that you find no issue with sacrificing the education of millions of students to your whims and experiments. I mean, who cares about them, right?

                • Bo

                  You are putting things in black and white terms and putting words in my mouth.

                  You are the one not arguing in good faith.

                  Someone disagrees with you and it’s propaganda?

                  Uh huh..sure.

                  There you go making things up about me that i never said about education.

                • GCT

                  You are putting things in black and white terms and putting words in my mouth.

                  What the fuck ever. You are the one pushing for smaller government, no matter what. You are the one pushing for less taxes, no matter what. You are the one wholly unable to countenance any sort of nuance to anything.

                  You are the one not arguing in good faith.

                  Again, go fuck yourself for that. You don’t get to throw out a shit-ton of stereotypes and political propaganda and then claim that I’m the one not arguing in good faith.

                  Someone disagrees with you and it’s propaganda?

                  Yes, when it’s someone who uses stereotypes to create straw men based on what the talking heads on one side of the aisle carp about. Yes, that’s propaganda.

                  There you go making things up about me that i never said about education.

                  Are you really unable to comprehend your own argument? You made the argument that states can decide what to do, and that they will look at what works from other states and do that. As unlikely as that is, the real world implications are that states, like the southern, Bible-belt ones, will fuck up their children’s educations by teaching things like creationism, or that global warming is a hoax. So, the net result of your brilliant, state’s rights idea is to condemn a shit-ton of students to a shitty education, all so that you can have your vision of less federal government – which you did express in terms of an experiment. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So, fuck you for claiming that I’m putting words in your mouth for arguing against your actual arguments.

                • Bo

                  Again all lies…I am pushing for smaller government right now……not ‘no matter what’.

                  I am not pushing for lower taxes ‘no matter what’, I am not even pushing for lower taxes. I am pushing for lower spending.

                  So now what is it you were saying about nuance?

                  What is it you were saying about reading other people’s posts?

                  “Again, go fuck yourself for that. You don’t get to throw out a shit-ton of stereotypes and political propaganda and then claim that I’m the one not arguing in good faith.”

                  You are an unbelievable hypocrite here.

                  “Yes, when it’s someone who uses stereotypes to create straw men based on what the talking heads on one side of the aisle carp about. Yes, that’s propaganda.”

                  This is you again. Give me the specific quote by me where I did this….and we will discuss it.

                  “Are you really unable to comprehend your own argument? You made the argument that states can decide what to do, and that they will look at what works from other states and do that. As unlikely as that is, the
                  real world implications are that states, like the southern, Bible-belt ones, will fuck up their children’s educations by teaching things like creationism, or that global warming is a hoax. So, the net result of your brilliant, state’s rights idea is to condemn a shit-ton of studentsto a shitty education, all so that you can have your vision of less
                  federal government – which you did express in terms of an experiment. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So, fuck you for claiming thatI’m putting words in your mouth for arguing against your actual arguments.”

                  This entire babble is not even an argument. This is you saying that if I don’t agree with your solutions to the problems, than I must want the problems. Pretty much the gist of all of your posts.

                • GCT

                  .I am pushing for smaller government right now……not ‘no matter what’.

                  Which is why you’ve continually claimed that the size of the government is the problem.

                  I am not pushing for lower taxes ‘no matter what’, I am not even pushing for lower taxes. I am pushing for lower spending.

                  Which is why you continually claim that lower taxes would be better.

                  So now what is it you were saying about nuance?

                  If you think changing your story because your arguments are getting slapped down and hoping that no one will notice somehow constitutes nuance, while continuing to rely on stereotypes and propaganda, then you should just stop digging.

                  What is it you were saying about reading other people’s posts?

                  LOL. The fact that I have been reading your posts and paying attention is why I know you’re full of shit.

                  You are an unbelievable hypocrite here.

                  O Rly? Point out one instance of me actually being hypocritical. I’ve pointed out your straw men, your propaganda, and your stereotypes. You’ve simply tried playground retorts.

                  This is you again. Give me the specific quote by me where I did this….and we will discuss it.

                  Seriously? I’ve been doing that. Do you not remember me calling you out on your tax and spend bullshit, or your “You hate Bush because rethuglican talking points A and B” bullshit? You’re too much.

                  This entire babble is not even an argument. This is you saying that if I don’t agree with your solutions to the problems, than I must want the problems. Pretty much the gist of all of your posts.

                  Holy shit! Are you really that fucking ignorant and stupid? You made the argument that states should be able to do what they want, and that states that succeed will be noticed and copied by other states. I’m pointing out the real world implications of that. When the real world implications are pointed out, you hand-wave them away, claim it’s not an argument, and the further claim that the problems that you are actually advocating are simply me being disagreeable? Again, go fuck yourself. I’ve pointed out the problems with state’s rights, as have others. You’re sticking your fingers in your ears and refusing to listen, then claiming that it’s our fault for pointing out the problems. Your arguments really are infantile, and it appears that you are as well.

                • Bo

                  “Which is why you’ve continually claimed that the size of the government is the problem.”

                  Not ‘the problem’, ‘a problem’. Not ‘no matter what’, but ‘right now’.

                  You are so sneaky and deceitful that it is hard to pin you down. What were you saying about black and white?

                  “Which is why you continually claim that lower taxes would be better.”

                  Never continually claimed that. It would be better all around to lower them if they are very high percentage wise. It would be worse for government revenue if they were already very low when they were lowered, and I agree we need a government. What was that you said about nuance?

                  “If you think changing your story because your arguments are getting slapped down and hoping that no one will notice somehow constitutes nuance, while continuing to rely on stereotypes and propaganda, then you should just stop digging.”

                  I haven’t had a single argument slapped down unless you count my concession on the origins of the Tea Party, in which case your characterization wasn’t completely on either….just maybe a little more accurate from the little bit of info I bothered to get on the web.

                  “O Rly? Point out one instance of me actually being hypocritical. I’ve pointed out your straw men, your propaganda, and your stereotypes.
                  You’ve simply tried playground retorts.”

                  ok..this post:

                  “You are claiming that spending is bad, the government is bad, that government must be decreased to the smallest possible size or else. It is infantile (your idea), because it relies upon propaganda. And, this idea that you’ve brought forth of state’s rights is just another indicator of that. But, I’m glad to see that you find no issue with
                  sacrificing the education of millions of students to your whims and experiments. I mean, who cares about them, right?”

                  Here are atleast 4 strawmen in just one post:

                  1) spending is bad

                  2) government is bad

                  3) government must be decreased to the smallest possible size

                  4) i find no issue with sacrificing the education of millions

                  all of those mischaracterize my position so you can attack the false position. You even proclaimed that you called me out and won when you’ve only attacked strawmen.

                  To be honest, I am not sure you even beat the strawmen….you just proclaimed you did.

                  “Seriously? I’ve been doing that. Do you not remember me calling you out on your tax and spend bullshit, or your “You hate Bush because rethuglican talking points A and B” bullshit? You’re too much.”

                  Called me out? I think you have delusions of grandeur. If it’s the post I think you are talking about, part of it was merely showing that Republicans have a lot of good rhetoric too. This was after hearing about all the evil Republicans who just want the economy to suffer (liberal propaganda).

                  Your last paragraph. More strawmen. Also more stating that if what you believe isn’t seen as correct, then I must not be listening. And more strawmen.

                • GCT

                  If you’re going to persist in calling me a liar without backing it up, then we are done. I’ve supported my arguments, you simply say, “Nuh uh” and then call me a liar. I quoted you making those arguments and responded to them. You’ve since claimed that you haven’t made those arguments and that I’m erecting straw men. That is false. That I would be called a liar for you now acting dishonestly is too much. Your playground retorts (‘No I’m not, YOU are!’) are beyond tedious and they are, indeed, infantile.

                  This was after hearing about all the evil Republicans who just want the economy to suffer (liberal propaganda).

                  Case in point. Fuck off.

                  And, fuck off for being willing to push for the “state’s rights” bullshit. You may not be willing to admit that it is an endorsement of leaving millions of children with bad educations, having rights stripped from millions of minorities, and many other social disasters, but that’s what it is and what it’s a call for. Anyone who calls for this bullshit is beneath contempt.

                • Bo

                  Ok, Whatever you think.

  • Bo

    Now that I think about it….why do liberals hate Bush? Yeah He cut taxes on the rich…but you guys don’t care about the debt? do you? and it’s not just about hating rich people is it?

    He expanded the department of Education and he expanded Medicare.

    He started the Patriot Act which can’t be bad because Obama extended it himself.

    It’s not something shallow, like how he talks…is it?

    Democrats supported him going to Afghanistan…so it can’t be that can it?

    Was it Iraq? No, it can’t be…I am pretty sure the Democrats in congress supported that too……so what could it be?

    • GCT

      Because cutting taxes for the rich and extending the oligarchical structure of the US is the same is simply increasing the debt, which we apparently don’t care about? OK, it seems that you’re nothing more than a right wing shill that can only trot out straw men.

      • Bo

        Cutting taxes cant do anything bad other than increase the debt…can it? Please explain.

        Are you saying that cutting taxes on the rich is what increases the oligarchical structure of the U.S.?

        And is this really why you hate him?

        • GCT

          Cutting taxes cant do anything bad other than increase the debt…can it? Please explain.

          Cutting taxes has the effect of causing less support structure funding, which in turn means that people who need support don’t get it, the save more money meaning less spending in a consumer economy, and they make less money due to business restrictions, meaning the government brings in less and less money and the cuts get deeper and deeper making things worse in the long run. Of course, you’re going to fly off the handle to the other side and claim this means we should have 100% taxes, so let me disabuse you of that notion. There’s a part where this tips over too far in the other direction. We are way far away from that point, however, and republicans seem to only want to run on lower taxes, no matter what (plus opposition to abortion and gay marriage). It’s idiotic.

          Are you saying that cutting taxes on the rich is what increases the oligarchical structure of the U.S.?

          I’m saying that’s part of it. It’s a small part of a systematic attempt by (mostly) the republicans to put more and more laws and rules in place to aid the richest portion of our country at the expense of the poor. Deregulations, cutting corporate taxes, relaxation of environmental rules, cutting back taxes on the highest earners and dividends, fighting against unionization and worker organization, writing rules that benefit insurance companies and other industries like gas, banks, etc. I’m not saying the dems haven’t contributed to this, but the rethugs are certainly worse. The whole idea of the “free market” will decide is rubbish.

          And is this really why you hate him?

          I never said I hate him – that’s something that you injected into my mouth for me, because you can’t seem to see past the stereotypes and propaganda. Bush was a horrible president, however. His policies were aimed at making the rich richer (just like his dad with trickle down economics). He also took us into a war on false pretenses (Bush lied and people died). He’s a war criminal, really. He also hates women, gays, and atheists.

          • Bo

            You can simply borrow more money to make up for the lost taxes and increase the debt…problem solved..right?

            Anyways…your argument is silly….because the government doesn’t have any money to give to the economy that it doesn’t already take out of the economy.

            If people save money it means more money for banks to loan to businesses to stimulate the economy more. If people decide to spend the money then that is another stimulus.

            Also…if banks had enough capital from savings…maybe they wouldn’t have needed an $800 billion dollar bailout….meaning we have some nice savings instead of a lot of debt.

            If the government doesn’t take it out of the economy and just prints the money…it just made you poorer by reducing your salary thru inflation.

            I agree with you on one thing though…it seems like Republicans think that reducing taxes ALWAYS increases revenue, and that is stupid as hell. It’s true over time if taxes are very high percentage wise, but not if they are very low. Who knows what the optimal pivot point is.

            I wouldn’t mind cutting corporate taxes necessarily in and of itself…..I just don’t want CEO’s pocketing the money because of the buddy buddy board system that isn’t really working for shareholders.

            Deregulations aren’t necessarily bad if the regulations weren’t good. Some regulations are engineered by the big companies to hurt competition

            Anyways, you don’t have to tell me the GOP is bad…Bush woke me up to that. Big picture though….I don’t see the Dems reversing what I see as a bad trend of government expansion and control….and that to me is a bigger danger then the arguments about abortion and the death penalty.

            When you expand government…..you are automatically putting more and more control into fewer hands….and those hands aren’t necessarily going to do what you would like….and you will have less resources to pursue your own individual agenda.

            • GCT

              You can simply borrow more money to make up for the lost taxes and increase the debt…problem solved..right?

              IOW, there’s no winning with you. If they tax more then they are bad. If they don’t tax more and have to borrow, they are also bad. It seems that you think the government shutdown was a good thing? Because that seems to be the only way out of this quandary. Your arguments are infantile and lack the basic knowledge required to actually get anywhere.

              Anyways…your argument is silly….because the government doesn’t have any money to give to the economy that it doesn’t already take out of the economy.

              What’s silly is this assertion. Are you really claiming that all taxes are a drain on the economy? FFS.

              If people save money it means more money for banks to loan to businesses to stimulate the economy more. If people decide to spend the money then that is another stimulus.

              Except that’s not how it works in real life. When people don’t have resources and the pay gap grows, we end up with a situation like the robber barons. Do you honestly think that you are going to be on the better side of the stick? Unless you are already in the top 1%, you’re going to end up in the dredges like the rest of the 99% in the new feudalistic society that you seem to want to bring about.

              Also…if banks had enough capital from savings…maybe they wouldn’t have needed an $800 billion dollar bailout….meaning we have some nice savings instead of a lot of debt.

              Holy shit. This is blindingly stupid. Do you not realize why the banks needed a bailout? The needed a bailout because they made a ton of risky ventures that didn’t work, mostly because they were using them as an excuse to raid their own banks and fleece their own investors (including people who put their money into the bank) in order to get rich quick and, well, who the hell cares about everyone else. Do you honestly think that they needed a bailout because taxes are too high?

              I agree with you on one thing though…it seems like Republicans think that reducing taxes ALWAYS increases revenue, and that is stupid as hell.

              And yet, that’s what you are arguing for. SMH.

              Anyways, you don’t have to tell me the GOP is bad…Bush woke me up to that. Big picture though….I don’t see the Dems reversing what I see as a bad trend of government expansion and control….and that to me is a bigger danger then the arguments about abortion and the death penalty.

              Well, if “big government” is your boogeyman, then so be it. I’m tired to trying to point out where you are going wrong.

              • keddaw

                Can we trade torture for signature strikes? Extraordinary rendition for kill lists? USA PATRIOT Act for NDAA 2011&2012? FBI infiltration for PRISM?

                Americans, always fighting to see which animal gets to screw them: donkey or elephant. That’s what comes of your unthinking patriotism and dumb two party system. And even if this doesn’t apply to Bo and GCT it applies to enough of the US that I can’t see a change coming anytime soon.

                Republicans grow the military, undercut the middle class and cut the social safety net. Democrats grow the welfare state and screw the middle class. Seems to me both parties are wings of a new corporatist party and it might be about time Americans woke up to this fact and got money out of their politics so the representatives can represent the people rather than their paymasters. (Naive optimism here, not only are Americans too partisan to pass a constitutional amendment on this, the corporatists will simply reward ‘good politicians’ after their terms are up, providing an incentive for pols to be corporatist in exchange for the promise of future rewards.)

                • GCT

                  Americans, always fighting to see which animal gets to screw them: donkey or elephant. That’s what comes of your unthinking patriotism and dumb two party system.

                  The two party system is certainly dumb, and neither party is ideal, but let’s not pretend that one party is not significantly worse than the other.

                • keddaw

                  Difference between blanching and simmering.

                  At least when Bush/Republicans were doing the civil liberties violations the Dems were trying to keep their feet to the fire, but now it’s their guy doing it they’re cheerleading it.

                  Who is currently speaking up for the American people?

                  The Democrats are happy to go along with any violation of the Constitution their guy wants to do, the Republicans are happy to throw every Constitutional right under the bus as long as they get to keep the 2nd.

                  As long as it’s presented as Red vs Blue rather than the corporate state vs. the people then the only thing that will change is the color of the rosette of the person asking you to bend over.

                  EDIT: Damn, I forgot my favorite ending to this – the only difference is the guy wearing the blue rosette will have the decency to give you a reach around…

                • GCT

                  Although I share your disdain for the corporate state and how it controls politics, your insistence of using a false equivalence is simply not true.

                  Republicans stand for Xian theocracy, homophobia, misogyny, and a host of other horrible things. Dems have their issues too, but compared to the rethuglicans, they look like saints. Sure, it’s bad to have to defend the dems by pointing out that they aren’t as bad as the alternative, but that’s part of the problem with a 2 party system. We can either allow the assholes to burn the place down, or we can continue to support the less horrible guys and try to move them more to the left. Throwing up our hands in disgust and letting the rethuglicans win or making a false equivalence doesn’t help anyone or anything.

                • keddaw

                  The problem with always choosing the least bad option is that the more intransigent position tends to pull the whole argument towards their position (i.e. shifting the Overton window) by making the opposition constantly move towards the middle (of the two positions, not the political spectrum). Hence you end up with the ridiculous spectacle of so-called progressive Democrats threatening the economic stability of the US in order to force through the Heritage Foundation’s Obamacare plan, while the intransigent Republicans, anchored by their rabid Tea Party wing, throw their toys out the pram against a policy that was right of what Reagan and Bush 1 would have accepted.

                  So yeah, in general the theocratic party is really bad, especially for minorities, but in order to minimise the damage that w/could be done to them you are unintentionally pushing the Democrats rightward to pick up the more sensible Republicans and independents, all the while leaving the left and (social) libertarians with no-one to vote for, but afraid to split the least-right vote in case the next guy also asks Jesus whether he should invade a country.

                  A kick in the balls may be worse than a punch in the stomach, but there’s no point trying to be happy about getting the lesser of these – the whole system has to change, and sometimes the only way to do it is to accept a couple of kicks to the balls until enough people see what the real problem is.

                • GCT

                  And, in the meantime the country gets destroyed, which helps us how? When the US becomes a theocracy under rethuglican rule, how will that help us? How will that help the other countries of the world…the ones that aren’t smoking craters? It’s really easy to sit back and claim that the system needs to change and that maybe we should allow the rethuglicans to destroy the country, but it’s quite another matter to actually let it happen and deal with the fallout. What would you say to the women who would lose their bodily autonomy (and worse)? What would you say to the gays who would lose all the rights they’ve been able to fight for? What would you say to all the brown people who would be shut out of everything? What would you say to the atheists and other non-Xians who would be out of favor, at best? What would you say to all the people who have no healthcare and won’t be able to get it anymore? It might be easy for you to be so nonchalant about the real costs of their lives, but I can’t bring myself to be so cavalier about it, nor do I think that the only solution is to let Nero fiddle while America burns.

                • keddaw

                  “What would you say to…”

                  Stand up and fight. Don’t just vote for the least bad option.

                  I believe last time government was not very helpful to non-whites there was a small internal skirmish. The time before that when a distant government wouldn’t listen to the grievances of the colonies there was a small uprising. The uprising need not be violent, but there has to be an electoral option and, at present, there simply isn’t.

                  In case you hadn’t noticed, women are getting royally screwed in states where Republican majorities set local agendas, children getting screwed where local idiots sit on the school boards, Muslims getting screwed where Christians decide on planning permissions for Mosques, Minorities getting screwed where white people get to choose which drugs deserve which punishments, regular workers are being crushed as unions are ground down etc. etc. Voting blue just ain’t doing it.

                • GCT

                  Stand up and fight. Don’t just vote for the least bad option.

                  You don’t have to first set your house on fire in order to do this.

                  In case you hadn’t noticed, women are getting royally screwed in states where Republican majorities set local agendas, children getting screwed where local idiots sit on the school boards, Muslims getting screwed where Christians decide on planning permissions for Mosques, Minorities getting screwed where white people get to choose which drugs deserve which punishments, regular workers are being crushed as unions are ground down etc. etc. Voting blue just ain’t doing it.

                  A) Of course I’ve noticed it. It’s been the crux of my argument against you.
                  B) Notice how you specify it’s where Rethuglican majorities reside. It’s not that voting blue isn’t cutting it, it’s that people are still voting red for some reason.
                  C) That said, I agree that simply voting blue doesn’t fix our problems, so why continue to harp on that. My disagreement with you comes over the way to fix it, and the harm that can be done by not voting blue while working to fix the problems.

                  Your solution seems, to me at least, to be akin to the rethuglicans shutting down the government. If we can’t get the governance we want, then we should burn it all down and start over or something. That’s unlikely, however, to be beneficial in the long term and sure as hell will not be beneficial in the short term.

                • Bo

                  If fed up Republicans and Democrats quit voting along part lines…neither would have to worry about losing to that other evil party.

                  I quit voting Republican, so you can safely quit voting Democrat without worrying that my vote will put the Republicans over the top.

                  I am perfectly happy with a Democrat winning as opposed to what I think is an establishment Republican guy in there. I voted for Gary Johnson last time…and Chuck Baldwin the time before that. I can’t imagine how bad it would have been if John McCain had gotten in there.

                  It can be the libertarians vs the greens or whatever. If more people on both sides would do that…maybe something would change.

                • GCT

                  I quit voting Republican, so you can safely quit voting Democrat without worrying that my vote will put the Republicans over the top.

                  Are you really that ignorant of how the election process works? And, have you not read anything I’ve said? If you can’t argue in good faith, then just stop.

                • Bo

                  Man, you really are a smug and arrogant little twit. I don’t know how you can live with yourself. The remark wasn’t meant to be that serious.

                  Keep voting Democrat by default. You are just as dumb as the goons that automatically vote Republican.

                • Bo

                  By the way…you are right on!

              • Bo

                They can win with me by cutting spending….whether or not they increase taxes. I’d rather raise taxes and cut spending then the other way around.

                Wow, you really got me with the infantile remark….really shows me you have the knowledge and maturity.

                All taxes are a drain on the economy?

                I never said that…but I may have misinterpreted your post about support structure funding. I would be more than happy to raise taxes if spending would just be frozen at current levels. Why can’t government spend some time looking for programs that don’t work well and cut them?

                ” When people don’t have resources and the pay gap grows, we end up with a situation like the robber barons.”

                The excess spending pulls resources away from people thru inflation. The robber barons used government influence to maintain monopolistic practices.

                “Unless you are already in the top 1%, you’re going to end up in the dredges like the rest of the 99% in the new feudalistic society that you seem to want to bring about.”

                It’s happening now….I don’t see Obama reversing that…we will have to wait and see on ObamaCare.

                ” Do you honestly think that they needed a bailout because taxes are too high?”

                I didn’t say that…I only implied that if they had more capital, maybe they wouldn’t have gone to the government for that money….though they might have just taken on even more risk too.

                I am not arguing to reduce taxes, I am arguing to reduce spending.

                If government expansion and control is not a concern, then it makes sense that other things would seem to take on more importance in differentiating the parties.

                So let’s get somewhat practical. What would you change about government? and what would you do with taxation and spending levels?

                • GCT

                  Wow, you really got me with the infantile remark….really shows me you have the knowledge and maturity.

                  Yes, your overly simplistic arguments are infantile, as are your generalizations and stereotypes.

                  Why can’t government spend some time looking for programs that don’t work well and cut them?

                  I suggest you continue your discussion with Feminerd as she’s already schooling you on this.

                  The excess spending pulls resources away from people thru inflation. The robber barons used government influence to maintain monopolistic practices.

                  No, it doesn’t. And, yes, they did, just as the modern equivalent are doing now. You don’t seem to have a problem with it though.

                  It’s happening now….I don’t see Obama reversing that…we will have to wait and see on ObamaCare.

                  Sigh. It’s one step and your tea party cronies are doing their best to stop it from helping. Your tea party cronies are the ones pushing for the pay gaps to grow, for the 1% to get richer while the rest of us get poorer. It’s like they want to see a feudal system.

                  I didn’t say that…I only implied that if they had more capital, maybe they wouldn’t have gone to the government for that money….though they might have just taken on even more risk too.

                  And, you claimed that if taxes were lower then they would have had more capital. So, you did argue that the bailouts were necessary because taxes were too high. Ugh. Did you not catch the whole point about them abusing the system in order to fleece investors and drive the companies into the ground for a quick buck? It was criminal, but the laissez-faire wing of our government set up a situation to let that happen (i.e. the people who push so hard for smaller government and deregulation) and we don’t have enforcement policies in place to stop that sort of thing. IOW we made a situation where they got away with pseudo-legal stealing and we have no way to punish them for it. It’s a direct rebuttal to the idea that the free market always works and that small government and deregulation are always better.

                  What would you change about government? and what would you do with taxation and spending levels?

                  This would be a really long discussion on top of an already very long one.

                • Bo

                  “Yes, your overly simplistic arguments are infantile, as are your generalizations and stereotypes.”

                  You’ve got you and me reversed here.

                  “I suggest you continue your discussion with Feminerd as she’s already schooling you on this.”

                  In your fantasies.

                  “No, it doesn’t. And, yes, they did, just as the modern equivalent are doing now. You don’t seem to have a problem with it though.”

                  Yes it does….it devalues the currency. I’ve made it perfectly clear that I don’t like cronyism.

                  “And, you claimed that if taxes were lower then they would have had more capital. So, you did argue that the bailouts were necessary because taxes were too high.

                  I didn’t claim anything…I implied this could be a possibility, and even admitted that they might take on even more risk in any case. I got your whole point about the abuses. Do you believe that the sum total of the problem is the abuses, independent of everything else? That there are no other factors involved?

                  “It’s a direct rebuttal to the idea that the free market always works and that small government and deregulation are always better.”

                  ‘Always works better is’ a very loaded term.

                • GCT

                  You’ve got you and me reversed here.

                  Whatever you say chief. When you cut out the stereotypes, straw men, and propaganda then maybe you’ll actually be correct.

                  In your fantasies.

                  LOL. Considering that she’s having to explain to you basic concepts…

                  Yes it does….it devalues the currency.

                  Which is not always a bad thing.

                  I’ve made it perfectly clear that I don’t like cronyism.

                  Yet you continue to push for policies that lead to exactly that. So, either you really do dislike cronyism and are unwittingly supporting it because you don’t know any better, or you are falsely claiming that you dislike it.

                  I didn’t claim anything…I implied this could be a possibility, and even admitted that they might take on even more risk in any case.

                  You claimed that lower taxes means higher capital. You then claimed that had banks had more capital they would not have needed a bailout. I’ll give you that you did say “maybe” they wouldn’t have needed a bailout, but I’m failing to see the functional difference in regards to your argument. We know why the banks needed the bailouts, and it had nothing to do with taxes being too high.

                  I got your whole point about the abuses. Do you believe that the sum total of the problem is the abuses, independent of everything else? That there are no other factors involved?

                  Sigh. No, and that would be clear had you actually gotten my point. The abuses were a major point, perhaps the major point, but the situation in Washington set up a system to allow for those abuses. That system was pushed largely by so called small government conservatives, and the oversight programs were gutted mostly by the same people. IOW, they fought as hard as they could to make the market free and then this happened because it’s what tends to happen when rules and regs are relaxed. The people who stole money are at fault, of course, but the people who tried their very best to facilitate the thieves also bear some blame here.

                  ‘Always works better is’ a very loaded term.

                  Take it up with your small government conservative buddies.

                • Bo

                  “Whatever you say chief. When you cut out the stereotypes, straw men, and propaganda then maybe you’ll actually be correct.”

                  This is you again, which would be clear if you read your own posts..

                  Keynesian economics does not constitute truth.

                  The liberal storyline that it was all about greedy banks taking risky bets also does not constitute truth.

                  I haven’t lost the argument at all, and saying I have doesn’t change anything.

                • GCT

                  This is you again, which would be clear if you read your own posts..

                  I know what I said, and I know what the quotation marks mean. Unfortunately for you, I’ve pointed out your bullshit stereotypes and straw men. You’ve simply tried the rubber/glue retort (which went out in, what, the second grade?)

                  Keynesian economics does not constitute truth.

                  No one said it did. It is rather accurate, however, given the facts on the ground.

                  The liberal storyline that it was all about greedy banks taking risky bets also does not constitute truth.

                  I expended a lot of words explaining what happened, and you distill it down to this? Fuck off.

                  I haven’t lost the argument at all, and saying I have doesn’t change anything.

                  You’ve been beaten at every turn by everyone here. LOL.

                • Bo

                  You’ve really been indoctrinated…haven’t you. I think the programming has been too deep…it’s too late. I feel so bad for you. I’m sorry…you are right.

                  It’s ok…you win! YAY!

                  How are you feeling right now? Do you feel better?

                • GCT

                  If I’ve been indoctrinated, then whoever did the indoctrination did a good job of actually explaining how things work and why we should do things. It’s much better than “government is bad” and “spending is bad” when you can’t back up why those things are bad. So, go back to your state’s rights buddies (most of whom are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc) and have fun with them. The rest of us will be over here trying to actually figure out ways to help the country.

                • Bo

                  OK.


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