What Is He Thinking?

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

What is This Man Thinking? (Image via Wikipedia)

My fellow bloggers like to tease me about my penchant for psychoanalysis. And I’ll admit, I’m endlessly fascinated by the things people do and their reasons for doing them. I often wonder how I found myself teamed up with this brilliant group of fact-based scientists, economists and statisticians. Sometimes I feel like a silly, scruffy wildebeest frolicking in a herd of elegant racehorses.

But we are what we are, and if you’re a wildebeest you can’t really hide it…you might as well caper and dance. So I think I’ll take my psychoanalysis right to the top, and have a peek inside the elegant skull of America’s 44th president. What makes this guy tick?

This is a curiosity that has become an obsession with me lately…and I’m not alone. Across the land (and around the world) there are pundits, pols, and ordinary people wondering the same thing, including loyal supporters who say they are “exhausted” by the struggle to defend the president’s motivations.

What’s up with this president? He was swept into power with a solid majority of the country enthusiastically behind him, and the hopes of the whole world like a wind at his back. Now he sometimes seems almost afraid to move. He was inspiring and confident, surefooted and decisive. Now he often looks nervous and uncertain. Most dispiriting to his supporters, he seems reluctant to fight. Time after time he reaches out to the Republicans, trying to accommodate them, and for many of us this is infuriating and painful to watch because he gets nothing in return. It’s not in the nature of the current Republican party to graciously meet one concession with another. They are more like spoiled children who see any concession as a sign of weakness and immediately swarm in, clamoring for more, more, MORE!

How can a man so elegant and gifted be flummoxed by a bunch of noisy, fractious clowns in fright wigs and floppy shoes? It’s baffling. Is he just getting bad advice? Maybe he doesn’t like the job and is hoping not to be re-elected. Maybe he likes it so much that instead of playing to win, he’s playing not to lose. It could be he’s daunted by the insane schedule and the restrictions on privacy and ease of movement that are so much more onerous than he expected. Perhaps he’s just weighed down and sobered by the enormous problems facing the country, and feels no man can do much to solve them when faced with such relentless opposition. Maybe he’s playing rope-a-dope and now that he’s got the opposition lulled into a false sense of security, he will burst into the center of the ring at any moment with a flurry of deadly jabs and uppercuts.

Nobody knows. Everybody is wondering.

My personal belief is that the president is playing a very long game. I think he is a genuinely, deeply brilliant man, and he looks into the distance while we are all still caught up in the minutia of rules, procedures and opening gambits. I am virtually certain that his is going to be one of those presidencies that will, with the benefit of history, be seen as transformative. It seems to me that transformation is one of Barack Obama’s goals…of the nation’s attitudes, the way government works, and the way the political parties interact. I expect, now that mid-terms are over, that he will emerge with a lot of his old fire and we will see him stand and fight for what he wants to achieve.

But that’s the fun of psychoanalysis; it’s a game that anybody can play. So….what do you think the president is thinking?


About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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153 Responses to What Is He Thinking?

  1. filistro says:

    I wrote and submitted this before the tax deal, but my opinion hasn’t changed, and I’m really stunned by the vitriol and rage across the lefty blogosphere this morning. What did they expect the man to do… let taxes rise and unemployment benefits lapse across the nation?

    I regret to say… Democrats are sounding like Republicans this morning. They would rather see see everybody in the country suffer than see the president make a deal with Republicans. As he said last night, there are times to FIGHT, but this was not one of them.

    Maybe what lies at the core of the president’s psyche is his world view. He doesn’t see politics as a football game between two bitter rivals, but as a business affecting the real lives and fortunes of millions of people. And he takes it seriously.

  2. Bart DePalma says:

    Obama is an inexperienced, unaccomplished and thus unsure man with the instincts of a bully who does not play well with others.

    When he has the advantage (unilateral power and a TARP slush fund or a Dem congressional supermajority), Obama is absolutely ruthless and will crush the opposition. (See Chrysler, General Motors, AIG, Freddie, Fannie, Stimulus, Obamacare).

    When his opposition can stop him, Obama either gets nothing done or caves. (See Banks, Cap & Tax, Bush tax rates, Iran, Israel, Russia, bowing to every world leader).

    I have yet to see Obama negotiate and assemble a coalition of diverse views. Rather, Obama acts like a petulant child trowing his toys around when told no. When Bush hammered out bipartisan deals with the Dems like NCLB or Medicare Part D, he would gather his Dem co-sponsors together and celebrate their common effort at a presser. Last night, a furious Obama spent the first ten minutes of his speech celebrating a “bipartisan compromise” by hammering his GOP “partners.”

    Also, Obama is not a particularly deep thinker. Rather, he is the clever sort with a gift for gab you find among the unaccomplished at college faculty parties. I found in my research that Obama does not have a formed ideological structure as did Reagan. Rather, Obama is a pragmatist like FDR who will use anything he believes will advance his socialist goals. The results are a mishmash of classical socialism, economic democracy and a new evolution I call asymmetric socialism.

  3. shortchain says:

    The danger of trying to psychoanalyze a person who you do not know is clearly illustrated by Bart.

    His description of Obama (a person he does not know and could not understand in the least if he did) is a classic example where a person without the capacity for self-awareness simply projects their own faults on another.

    In other words, he is describing himself. Too funny.

  4. filistro says:

    @shortchain.. In other words, he is describing himself. Too funny.

    That’s so true, and a very perceptive observation.

    In fact… “Bart is not a particularly deep thinker. Rather, he is the clever sort with a gift for gab you find among the unaccomplished at college faculty parties. I found in my research that Bart does not have a formed ideological structure as did Reagan. Rather, Bart is a pragmatist like George W. Bush who will use anything he believes will advance his personal goals. The results are a mishmash of classical social conservatism, economic trickle-down and a new evolution I call faux-libertarian social conservatism.”

  5. Monotreme says:

    I think it’s quite possible that President Obama knew this “deal” was DOA when he made it.

    Now nothing will get done, taxes will rise, and the GOP is to blame. Democrats will have to go in and impose a payroll tax holiday in January to fix the mess.

    Brilliant play of a hand with mostly 2s, 3s and 4s in mixed suits. He invited the opponents to overbid and they did.

  6. filistro says:

    Reinforcing the “politics as a football game” Anthony Weiner accuses the president of “punting on the third down,” which sounded odd to me… what else are you going to do on the third down?… until I realized Americans play four downs. 🙂

    I still think this has been cleverly played, and the Republicans are going to be stuck with their costly tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans at time when everybody else is cutting back and shouldering sacrifices for the benefit of the country. If the US adopts anything like the package of cuts beign voted on in Ireland today, the cuts will be sweeping and draconian, and suffering will be great. The Irish PM announces that “those at the top will lead by example.” They’d better. If they didn’t there would be open civil war.

    Just wait and see how loathed and reviled the American fat cats are after two years of this. I wish them joy of their “victory.” After a necessary austerity program is introduced, this calm and pragmatic president is going to look like the only grown-up in the room.

  7. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    You are free to offer examples of your thesis as I did mine.

    In what way is Obama brilliant?

    What is his ideological framework? In other words, does the man have any principles for which he will fight? I have been studying him hard for months and I cannot find the hint of one.

    What specific actions make you believe Obama cares about people more than advancing his own agenda? My research suggests the man is callous as hell. In nationalizing Chrysler and GM, he branded retired teachers and policeman who invested in Chrysler as “speculators” robbing the taxpayer, internal WH emails called the attorney for the retirees a terrorist to whom “the President does give a second chances,” and Obama threw 76,000 dealership employees out of work to make the GM dealership network look like Toyota for no other reason that Obama liked Toyota.

    If you are serious about knowing the man, stop acting like a star struck groupie and take a hard and critical look at Obama.

  8. filistro says:

    @Bart… My research suggests the man is callous as hell.

    Oh, come off it. If he were callous he could have just held the line and let the tax cuts expire. The professional left would have cheered themselves hoarse. The right would have fumed and screamed and been blamed for everybody’s pain.

    Nothing else would have gootten done, including the DREAM Act, UI extensions or DADT… but the president would have looked “strong.” Or, in Bill Clinton’s words, he would have been “strong and wrong” which America always prefers to “weak and right.”

    But he wasn’t prepared to cause that kind of national pain just for his own political advancement.

  9. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    So you don’t see any principles in fighting for a payroll tax holiday and extending unemployment benefits?

    Bart replies: “Of course not! Those aren’t examples of principled action, they’re merely pandering to his base.”

    (The nice thing about asking Bart a question is that you don’t have to wait for an answer…)

    Seriously, Bart wouldn’t recognize a liberal principle if it bit him in the leg. Which is why he’s totally unable to fathom the motivations of Obama, or anybody else to the left of himself.

  10. Bart DePalma says:

    Filistro:

    Obama is a socialist who believes in redistribution of wealth, thus, his tax plan to further redistribute wealth through the tax code. Raising taxes for everyone is not redistribution.

    Obama’s prior $1.5 trillion dollar deficits and planned trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see prove that he could give less than a damn about deficits.

  11. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    Isn’t being a “socialist” — whatever the hell you mean by that, which isn’t found in any dictionary — proof positive of “principles”? Didn’t you, in an earlier comment say he hasn’t any?

    You contradict yourself, sir. Either he’s a socialist (and therefor principled) or he’s not, but he cannot be both!. Perhaps you should try and put your thoughts in order before trying to weigh in on the thoughts of others.

  12. filistro says:

    Again, shortchain unerringly points out the fundamental contradiction in terms.

    At 7:24 Bart says: What is his ideological framework? In other words, does the man have any principles for which he will fight? I have been studying him hard for months and I cannot find the hint of one.

    At 7:43 Bart says: Obama is a socialist who believes in redistribution of wealth, thus, his tax plan to further redistribute wealth through the tax code.

    Bart, that’s pathetic, even for you. Tell me why anybody should pay the slightest attention to somebody so blinded by ideological hatred that he totally contradicts himself every 20 minutes.

  13. dcpetterson says:

    Obama is an experienced, accomplished and thus surefooted man with the instincts of a streetfighter who does not tolerate, or even bother to acknowledge, bullies.

    When he has the advantage (majorities in Congress, even with a obstructionist and insane Republican Senate caucus), Obama is absolutely gracious and conciliatory, reaching out to encourage participation from the other guys. They refused, of course, but he tried. And he advanced the agenda he was elected on.

    When his opposition can stop him, Obama still moves forward, graciously and surefooted. Things move slow (see PPACA and DADT), but Obama is patient with these unruly children. Like a true statesman and patriot, he will compromise for the good of the nation (see Bush tax cuts) when the alternative is total stalemate.

    Despite unrelenting opposition, Obama has frequently negotiated and assembled a coalition of diverse views. When push came to shove, of course, the Republicans renege on their promises, time after time, obstructing even their own proposals. (Bush got some bipartisan deals because he actually got cooperation from an opposition party more interested in the welfare of the nation than in mindless opposition.)

    Also, Obama is is perhaps the deepest thinker we have ever had in the WHite House. This is, of course, reflected in the brilliance of his speech writing. But more, it is seen in the subtlety of his strategy. Even against total scorched-earth opposition, he enacted real Health Care Reform, the Holy Grail of a series of presidents for nearly a century. But Obama is also a pragmatist like FDR who will use anything he believes will advance the health and well-being of the country, even if he loses the support of narrow-minded loudmouths. He is truly a wonder.

  14. dcpetterson says:

    A fascinating development — since Obama negotiated this agreement on taxes, wingers on both sides have gone ballistic. The far left is having fits. And Bart is nearly insane with his over-the-top attempts to paint Obama as something awful.

    And Obama seizes the vast middle of the country. Brilliant.

  15. filistro says:

    Bless you, DC.

    You, too, are a wonder… and the kind of person to have on one’s side when times get tough.

    I’m getting increasingly impatient with the “professional left”, especially in their treatment of the president… because I see in them so much of what I dislike about Republicans. Many who are way out there on the left would rather see Obama stick it to the Republicans than do what’s best for the country… and I can’t admire that kind of thinking no matter what direction it comes from.

  16. Just Sayin' says:

    Last summer Obama had lifted drilling restrictions on the east coast and gulf, the left was pissed. I told my husband that it was just for show. Sure enough with very little blather he recinded that order and the ban is now in place for seven years. Obama is shrewd and brilliant. He sees things on a different time space plane. I personally don’t need unemployment to survive but a lot of folks do. At the end of the day I would give Obama the benefit of the doubt to look at the long term consequences of his actions. And to Bart you are always predictable. Its impossible to take anything you spout seriously.

  17. Mainer says:

    If Obama is a socialist then I stand a good chance of being the next Pope……..ok I might want to at least become a Catholic but you get my point. Bart is either the dumbest SOB on the face of the earth or the biggest liar…….or considering some of his more recent posts perhaps both.

    I have of late noticed on the TV all of the adds for Christmas presents that the right apparently considers their core constituancy. Nope not the teapers, the Socons or various other media created bases I’m talking about the filthy ass rich. Here I am watching my beloved Patriots put a serious slathering of whup ass on the Jets last night and I had to leave the set or put it on mute several times because of adds for a Lexus or, BMW or Mercedes all nicely gift wraped because no one wants a little Christmas present………..what freaking world do these people live in? The simple answer is the world that Bart wants to be a part of and that the Republicans will trash the rest of us to make even richer. When I live in the land of people really hoping they will have heat for Christmas and maybe enough extra to have a decent meal. And then Bart has the balls to say the president is trying to redistribute wealth. Some one had better do just that and if the president does not have the stones to do it I am fully prepared to cast him adrift to put in some one else that will stop this massive move of the nations wealth into the hands of the few.

    Bart you miserable Scrouge. I hope you have visions this Christmas and may I be one of them. Just me and my grade stake to introduce you to Christmas present for far too many of our citizens……….I’ll let cooler heads do the Christmas future. Pay no heed to the lumps and bumps on the Bartster for when one is training mules it can get a little messy.

    So Bart how is your DINK Christmas going to be? Bought the little lady a Lexus yet? No…….oh I get it you have been watching the dimond adds instead, Forget the Zales adds you can do much better. Must be nice having a wife pulling in big bucks.

    Oh and how is that little insulation project coming? Filed for the federally funded rebate yet? You know the one from PORKALUS………..

  18. shortchain says:

    I’m frankly at a loss to explain or understand our president’s behavior in office.

    I certainly don’t share DC’s admiration for it. I see too many lost opportunities, and too many inadvertent (or mysteriously deliberate) moves like the pay freeze for government workers.

    I’m not sure of the value of grabbing the middle ground in an increasingly-polarized country. Relying on the fickle independents, who are as likely to vote on the basis of some shallow perception of weakness, is not a sure bet, in my mind. At this point he’s obviously trying consciously to emulate Clinton — but all it will take is a little bad luck, something outside his control (as the hostage crisis in Iran was beyond Carter’s) and he’ll be done for.

    But this much is certain: he’s a pragmatist. On that score we can have no doubt. What, if any, principles underlie his pragmatism are still in question, in my mind.

  19. filistro says:

    Mainer… I was watching those gift-wrapped Lexus commercials and thinking the very same thing. “Nobody wants a SMALL gift.” What a vulgarly tone-deaf, in-your-face-, let-them-eat-cake glorification of greed and excess… and at a time when millions and millions of formerly middle-class people are facing foreclosure, hunger and homelessness.

    The only ones who can stand it anymore are the toadies and sycophants who suck up to the rich in hopes of getting a few crumbs from their table. As Billie Holliday said…

    Rich relations give
    Crusts of bread and such;
    You can help yourself
    But don’t take too much…

    I think Barack Obama is a man for the times, and playing a very shrewd hand. The revulsion at this kind of redistribution of wealth (all moving upward and concentrating at the top) is going to be massive… especially in coming months and years when everybody else is made to suffer for it. The president’s job is not going to be fighting with the Republicans to win points in some arcane political struggle. His challenge is going to be preventing actual fighting in the streets.

    (Just a side note… I also LOATHE that commercial for Kay Diamonds that says “every kiss begins with Kay.” I’m hardly a raving feminist, but I detest the idea that you can buy some sexual affection from any woman by giving her expensive jewelery. It’s ugly and demeaning.)

  20. Number Seven says:

    I have to agree with Shortchain’s 8:33 comment. Too many lost opportunities, imho.

    I am one of the very angry left wingers and I have never considered myself ‘extreme’. I just really think Obama got far less then he could have. I also would have rather had the Making Work Pay Credit then the 2% Tax Holiday. There is also far too much of a chance that the Bush Tax Cuts will be made permanent, thus further increasing the debt.

    I am not honestly sure what the Trite Wing has to beef about, they got what they wanted. Obama bargained away a great way to clear the decks of a lot of pending, needed, legislation.

  21. Red Dog says:

    “too many inadvertent (or mysteriously deliberate) moves like the pay freeze for government workers.”

    Try to avoid regurgitating talking points from Paul Krugman next time.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/income/2010-08-10-1Afedpay10_ST_N.htm

    Some tidbits:

    “The average federal salary has grown 33% faster than inflation since 2000.”

    “USA TODAY reported in March that the federal government pays an average of 20% more than private firms for comparable occupations.”

    “Federal compensation has grown 36.9% since 2000 after adjusting for inflation, compared with 8.8% for private workers.”

    This is not sustainable nor is it right. Obama’s decision to freeze federal wages for two years was a good and proper decision.

  22. shiloh says:

    Bartles ~ Obama is an inexperienced, unaccomplished and thus unsure man with the instincts of a bully who does not play well with others.

    shortchain In other words, he is describing himself. Too funny.

    Indeed, classic Bartles projection as he continues to obsess about Obama 24/7.

    >

    Re: ad nauseam, irrelevant, inane psychoanalysis: One must be reminded Obama is America’s 1st African/America president. Yes Virginia er Bart, America, a country w/a 300/400 year history of racial opression! where many are still fighting the American Civil War … elected a bi-racial Muslim, born in Kenya 😉 president ~ Gasp!

    Run for the hills …

    A country who usually elects presidents w/waspy names ie Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton … elected Barack Hussein Obama the 44th President of the United States of America! hence, ergo, therefore Bart was in the fetal position for quite some time as I will ignore his winger psychoanalysis!

    And as such, Obama’s approach may be a tad different than say an FDR as the birthers, 10thers, deathers, truthers, teabaggers, secessionists, 14thers … are always lurking w/their hatred/stupidity ie an implosion waiting to happen at any time as Bart and his ilk 😉 have their guns/tar/feathers/rails at the ready or some such nonsense!

    As always, no charge for my keen sense of the obvious coffee table analysis …

  23. dcpetterson says:

    @Number Seven

    I am not honestly sure what the Trite Wing has to beef about, they got what they wanted.

    I honestly think this is one of the things the Right is unhappy about. They don’t
    actually want to repeal Roe v. Wade, either. When they get something they said they wanted, they lose an issue to campaign on. They are all about power, not about actually accomplishing anything.

    Obama bargained away a great way to clear the decks of a lot of pending, needed, legislation.

    I don’t think so. The Republicans would have followed through on their threat to allow nothing else to be considered, and then would have LOUDLY Blamed Obama in all the media for “raising taxes” on Jan 1.

    Of course, they still my prevent anything from being enacted. But if they do, it’ll be obvious they’re not keeping their word. Of course, their partisans (ex: Bart) don’t want them to keep their word, and are used to them lying. But the vast majority of the country expects things to actually get done, and will hold the Republicans responsible for any further inaction, now that Obama has demonstrated an undeniable willingness to negotiate and to compromise.

  24. Red Dog says:

    One point I forgot that’s not mentioned in the link above…

    Never mind the rock solid job security that government workers enjoy where nothing short of looking at pornography at work, gambling at work, or completely refusing to work will get you fired. There are no such luxuries in most private sector jobs.

  25. shortchain says:

    Red Dog,

    How does the fact that the low-paying jobs in the government have been outsourced play into your fascination with numbers? Or are you just one of those people Bart told us about, who “latch onto numbers”?

    Frankly, I think people without Nobel prizes are a lot less trustworthy than those with them, in their field of expertise. IOW, I trust Krugman. I think you, however, are a load of horse-hockey.

  26. Red Dog,
    I suspect your numbers are correct. In the 90s, government pay lagged behind the private sector, and it was hard to get people to take the jobs. So they fixed it.

    Then the balance shifted in the other direction, in no small part because of the inertial design of governmental pay scales. Because our system of government is designed to move slowly, addressing these shifts necessarily lags.

    I agree that it’s time to reexamine government pay.

  27. filistro says:

    @ Red Dog… Government workers get fired for looking at pornography? Since when?

    From the link: One senior attorney at SEC headquarters in Washington spent up to eight hours a day accessing Internet porn, according to the report, which has yet to be released. When he filled all the space on his government computer with pornographic images, he downloaded more to CDs and DVDs that accumulated in boxes in his offices. An SEC accountant attempted to access porn websites 1,800 times in a two-week period and had 600 pornographic images on her computer hard drive. Another SEC accountant used his SEC-issued computer to upload his own sexually explicit videos onto porn websites he joined…

    As Mel Brooks is fond of saying… “Vat a voild!” 🙂

  28. shortchain says:

    Red Dog,

    Sorry, but I know people who work for the government — and they are both lower paid than others in the same field, and they don’t have all that great retention prospects, not with the way things have been going for the last umpteen years.

    I’m thinking it’s you that’s spouting “facts” you picked up from some pundit…

  29. shiloh says:

    Govt. workers should just be happy they have a job, let alone a yearly pay raise in a time of financial crisis.

    Had a JTPA govt. job from 1991 to 1995 and our funding was cut and lost my job. Our program helped welfare types and dislocated workers train for/find new jobs, so when I was let go I qualified as a dislocated worker. 😉

    btw, the Job Training Partnership Act was co-sponsored by Dan Quayle and Ted Kennedy …

  30. filistro says:

    shortchain and #7 (and any others who are angry at the president)… let’s think it all the way through here. I’m not being combative … we’re on the same side, after all, and in many ways I share your frustration.

    But what do you think Obama should have done… and what would the consequences have been of an alternate decision? It’s not fair just to be mad at somebody for making an unpopular decision if we’re not prepared to consider the possible effects of choosing differently.

  31. shortchain,

    So do I. The pay comparison depends on a huge number of factors. I know some who are paid less, some who are paid more.

    Government benefits tend to be better than the private sector, at least for non-federal around here. I don’t know any federal employees, so I can’t speak to their pay.

  32. shortchain says:

    Michael,

    I do know federal (and state, and local) government workers. The pay rates have to be compared in their field of expertise. The outsourcing of all the jobs has produced the numbers given above, but tell almost nothing about the actual story.

    It’s the old, old story of looking at numbers without understanding.

    Now, I’m willing to believe that federal pay grades could probably be dropped — especially given the difficulty of finding private employment. Did you know, for example, that by far the largest employer of economists is the government?

    I’m pretty sure almost all economists are overpaid.

  33. filistro says:

    Here are just a few details of the austerity package that Ireland’s parliament is expected to pass today.

    The policy measures are heavily “frontloaded” – a condition of Ireland receiving its €85bn package of international support – with 40pc or €6bn of savings earmarked for next year alone.

    Of that €6bn, around two thirds stems from planned cuts to public spending and the bulk of the remainder to tax rises.

    The public spending cuts break down into a €2.1bn reduction to current spending (recurring rather than one-off expenses), while capital or investment spending takes a €1.8bn hit.

    Some €1.4bn raised through taxes makes up most of the rest of the €6bn figure for 2011.

    In terms of exactly how these savings will be achieved, many of the specific austerity measures have already been announced via the four-year plan, such as an immediate 10pc reduction in the pay of all new public sector staff.

    The minimum wage is being slashed by €1 to €7.65 an hour, while social welfare payments are also being reduced.

    The income tax system is being overhauled so that more workers will have to contribute, and at higher rates, which is projected to boost government revenues by more than €1.2bn in 2011 alone.

    Next year will also see various tax exemptions, such as one for royalties from patents, abolished.

    Finance minister Brian Lenihan is also expected to cut pay for top civil servants and politicians.

    A social welfare bill giving legal effect to any budget changes to the dole or child benefit is expected to be voted on by the end of the week.

    It all makes “tax cuts for the rich” look kind of quaint, doesn’t it? Just SO last decade.

    How popular are the Republicans going to be for this “deal” they’ve forced, once measures like these have inevitably crossed the Atlantic? The president is looking at hard reality and playing a very long game. And a very smart one.

  34. Red Dog says:

    Thank you, Michael, for your thoughtful response.

    And, shortchain, check your staunch partisanship at the door. I may or may not be full of “horse-hockey,” but I have, at least in this instance, presented verifiable numbers that show that government workers are paid more and receive more benefits across similar occupations. You have either been combative and resorted to name-calling, deflected with an argumentum ad verecundiam vis a vis Nobel Prize winners, or offered only anecdotal evidence.

  35. filistro says:

    Note… Ireland’s population is in the 4 million range… so for ease of comparison to the US economy, multiply all the numbers above by 100 to get the full scope of what they’re facing.

  36. dcpetterson says:

    I actually don’t have a problem with government workers being paid more and having better benefits. We don’t want them to be as easily bribe-able as the people who have to work for predatory private corporations. We want our government to be able to attract the best people to public service. We want America to show what is possible, not race to the bottom in worker exploitation. We want to be able to show that it is possible to treat people humanely — that is, as if they are humans.

    Most government services operate far more efficiently than private ones. Medicare and the VA have perhaps 2% overhead, as opposed to 20 – 30% overheard of private insurance companies. No private delivery service can get a letter to anywhere in the country from anywhere in the country for the rates charged by the US Postal Service. No private corporation has (yet) equaled the achievements of NASA. We’ve seen the debacles in Iraq of what happens when we outsource military responsibilities.

    Since we ask our government workers to be better and more efficient than private concerns, I don’t have a problem with paying them more. But then, I’m all about the practical, not the ideological. And I support The People (that is, the workers, whether in government or outside government) rather than the privileged elites.

  37. Red Dog says:

    “No private delivery service can get a letter to anywhere in the country from anywhere in the country for the rates charged by the US Postal Service.”

    Another logical fallacy. We don’t know whether they could or not. The US Postal Service has a forced monopoly on first-class mail as dictated by the US government.

    And while the ethereal accomplishments of NASA are amazing, from a practical standpoint they fall short and are actually kind of superficial when you take a closer look. Please provide evidence as to what “benefit” maneuvering spaceships back and forth between Earth and outer space has provided other than additional knowledge and understanding. I’m not saying it’s not worthwhile or noble, but to act as if it’s a failing of a private sector to have not provided us with something similar is foolish. A private company would not have followed NASA’s footsteps because it would be frittering away billions of dollars and receiving virtually nothing in return except additional understanding of how the universe works. Again, not that it’s a bad thing, but it doesn’t have a practical value.

  38. mclever says:

    @dcpetterson re: government pay

    I just love it when you get all rational and such. 🙂

  39. shiloh says:

    We want our government to be able to attract the best people to public service.

    Nepotism thrives in govt. jobs ~ just sayin’

    and in the private sector also!

    ie human nature er networking er blood is thicker than water …

  40. Red Dog says:

    I realize someone will be itching to call me a typical greedy, profit-driven conservative after asking this but I have to ask, what is our return-on-investment with NASA?

    We’ve spent billions of dollars through the years? Is someone here capable of quantifying the value we’ve received from their “accomplishments” and making a case that it has exceeded what we’ve paid into it.

  41. filistro says:

    I gotta say… I am (so far) really impressed by Red Dog. If we could find ourselves a sensible, intelligent conservative like this who would articulate and defend the right-hand position on various topics… that would be such a great thing for this site.

    So far we mostly just have Bart… 😦

  42. Red Dog says:

    Thanks for the chance to chat, guys and gals. Lunch is over and I’ve got to run – just warning you in case there are any responses to the things posted above and I don’t get a chance to responde.

    Anyway, have a nice day and maybe I’ll catch you all in here again in the future.

  43. shiloh says:

    Red Dog, I could deflect and say NASA’s ROI is a lot greater than cheney/bush’s Iraq War ROI, but I won’t …

    but you did deflect your own damn self 😉 as we had the NASA argument a few times at Joker’s also and one would be amazed at the technological returns NASA has had over the years ~ but that’s for another discussion, eh.

  44. filistro says:

    @Red Dog.. what is our return-on-investment with NASA?

    I often think about this. On the one hand, reaching for the stars (literally and figuratively) is what humnity was born to do. (As Robert Browning says, “A man’s reach must needs exceed his grasp/Or what’s a heaven for?”)

    But the fact is, space exploration is an utterly futile exercise and always will be. It is not possible for mass to travel at or even near the speed of light, which means the brevity of the human life span makes interstellar travel a physical impossibility. And there is no point to wasting time, money and expertise on something that is a physical impossibility.

    We would be much better off expending our collective knowledge and treasure on safeguarding this planet… because we just aren’t ever getting another one.

  45. Number Seven says:

    What more could have our president done? The short list would include ending DADT, passing the DREAM Act, passing the START renewal.

    As I already mentioned, the Making Work Pay Credit should have been extended instead of the Tax Holiday, which seems to me, a way of helping the Public Cons end Social Security.

    Obama should have used his bully pulpet every night to tell the American people how the Public Cons are holding UI extentions hostage so that the ultra rich could get an $100,000. This has become a very expesive extention.

    I understand the game he is playing is trying to act like the last reasonable person in DC. Maybe it will work, maybe not. In the mean time, jobs are not comming back to America and 9% to 10% unemployment becomes the new normal.

  46. Mr. Universe says:

    What specific actions make you believe Obama cares about people more than advancing his own agenda?

    That IS his agenda.

    Obama as bully. LOL. Have you not been reading anything lately? A big part of the country has been calling him weak.

    You are definately projecting your own party’s values onto the President. You’ve been programmed to hate him and there’s nothing any of us can do to change that except ignore you.

  47. dcpetterson says:

    @filistro —

    We’ll have to disagree on NASA. Maybe soon I’ll write an article on it, and we have a lively discussion in the comment thread 🙂

  48. Bart DePalma says:

    shortchain says: “So you don’t see any principles in fighting for a payroll tax holiday and extending unemployment benefits?”

    Obama has generally socialist goals, but no particular ideological framework (like the economic democracy of his mentors) to make that happen. BTW, the payroll tax holiday is a GOP idea. Obama rejected a similar tax holiday the GOP proposed instead of his Porkulus.

    shiloh: One must be reminded Obama is America’s 1st African/America president.

    Why does the melanin content of this President’s skin matter one iota to his character?

    Fili: “How popular are the Republicans going to be for this “deal” they’ve forced, once measures like these have inevitably crossed the Atlantic?”

    Apart from the tax increases, the Irish plan looks very much like the plan I have offered here. I suspect that 2/3 of the plan would be rather popular among the Tea Party majority of the GOP.

    Fili: The president is looking at hard reality and playing a very long game. And a very smart one.

    Hard reality, my ass. In 2011, the President is going to offer a budget with a spending increase. Obama will oppose any real spending cuts and certainly anything like Ireland and the UK are enacting.

  49. Mr. Universe says:

    @#7

    There is also far too much of a chance that the Bush Tax Cuts will be made permanent, thus further increasing the debt.

    I suspect that when we get to December 2012, Obama is not going to let the wealthy tax cuts happen again even if it costs him the Presidency. A lot can happen in the next two years. Democrats better get on the messaging because I’ve noticed Republicans tend to take credit for any good fortune when they actually didn’t have anything to do with it.

    @Red Dog

    Try to avoid regurgitating talking points from Paul Krugman next time.

    I don’t think citing a Nobel prize winning economist is deflecting. Sounds to me like he addressed your point precisely.

  50. filistro says:

    @dc… We’ll have to disagree on NASA. Maybe soon I’ll write an article on it, and we have a lively discussion in the comment thread

    I look forward to it. You and I so rarely disagree on anything, this discussion will be really interesting. 😉

  51. shiloh says:

    Bartles ~ Why does the melanin content of this President’s skin matter one iota to his character?

    Actually his background, environmental/political or otherwise is quite prescient to the discussion as it is w/all American presidents. His personal background makes his rise to the presidency all that more astounding and effects most everything he says and does.

    ie Bittergate, etc. but of course when anyone becomes president said individual has a whole new ball of wax to deal with as the reality of being leader of the free world sets in and one’s intelligence or lack thereof, logic, leadership, coolness under pressure, compromising ability, vision to see into the future … has an effect on everything they do.

    Soooo, the fact he was raised a minority definitely has an effect on his psychological make-up and decision making process ie empathy, compassion, fairness, common good etc.

    Again, no charge for my keen grasp of the obvious …

    the yin and yang of politics where Bush43 was born w/a silver spoon and Obama was a self-made man er rags to riches, much like Clinton.

    take care

  52. Bart DePalma says:

    shiloh says: Actually his background, environmental/political or otherwise is quite prescient to the discussion as it is w/all American presidents.

    You really do not want to go there. Obama’s father was an African socialist and his family pretty far left. At Columbia, he attended a series of organizing conferences by the Democratic Socialists of America, His Chicago community organizing days were spent teaching and implementing the principles of Saul Alinsky with frequent work with members of the DSA and ACORN. In order to gain street cred, Obama joined Jeremiah Wright’s black liberation theology church and remained there for 20 years. Obama ran for state legislature under a fusion ticket of the Democrats and the DSA New Party. Obama served on various boards with DSA members and the rest of the Chicago leftist elite.

    If you go purely upon his background, there is little doubt Obama was a socialist before reaching Washington. There are multiple books on the topic, the best written and sourced being Stanley Kurtz’ Radical-in-Chief. I avoided repeating this research in my book as I was more interested in his actual policies rather than his beliefs.

  53. dcpetterson says:

    Bart:

    1) You clearly don’t understand even a little bit of what the word “socialist” means.

    2) You use the word as if it’s a bad thing.

    3) This isn’t the place to apply for a job with Glenn Beck. I’m sure FOX has a web site for that.

    4) Joe McCarthy is long dead. You won’t get a job with him, ether.

  54. Bart DePalma says:

    dcpetterson says: “You use the word [socialist] as if it’s a bad thing.

    Socialism is more than a bad world. Socialism is a predatory ideology which is antithetical to human liberty.

  55. shiloh says:

    Bartles, you can stop obsessing about Obama and faux Socialism at any time …

    or not.

    and again, Bart being a nonsensical one-trick-pony is half the fun, eh. Your Get used to it. This will not be the last time. from yesterday notwithstanding. lol

    Bart: You get the last word. 😀

  56. filistro says:

    @ Bart… At Columbia, he attended a series of organizing conferences by the Democratic Socialists of America

    LOL. Mitt Romney dropped out of college to do a 2-year stint as a Mormon missionary in France. Sarah Palin attended five different colleges, a drunken George W. Bush was a member of Skull and Bones, and Dick Cheney spent his college years wangling 5 draft deferments.

    And… at the University of Oregon during one summer session *I* attended a series of meetings of the Young Republicans.
    What’s your point, Bart?

  57. dcpetterson says:

    re: What’s your point, Bart?

    1) Guilt by association. Well, by innuendo of association. By the inference of an innuendo of association. More accurately, by the implication of an inference of an innuendo of association. An association with something vaguely implied to be bad that Bart doesn’t really have a clue about. Ironclad.

    2) Deathly fear that Obama will be able to make all those right wing talking points completely impotent.

    3) Mudslinging (which is the primary Republican campaign technique).

    4) Distraction from the actual issues that America faces (which is the other Republican campaign technique).

  58. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    If attending socialist conferences at Columbia was the only evidence, you could dismiss it as curiosity or a youthful dalliance. Hell, many university classes at that time could qualify as socialist conferences. My freshman poli sci class for one. However, as I noted above, Obama’s socialist associations go on for years.

  59. filistro says:

    Bart… I would love to continue this little discussion but I just noticed something I overlooked earlier… you used the word “Alinsky” which by law means the topic is instantly and automatically closed.

    Sorry, dear… rulz is rulz.

  60. Bart DePalma says:

    dcpetterson says: “re: What’s your point, Bart? Guilt by association.”

    The foreword of my book actually takes several GOP politicians including DeMint and Gingrich to task for labeling Obama a socialist without offering any particular evidence or analysis and various leftist pundits (much like you) for dismissing the issue similarly without analysis or evidence. Then I proceed to demonstrate in detail why the evidence leaves is no reasonable doubt that Obama is implementing socialist policies. The nationalization of the automakers and Freddie and Fannie were easy low hanging fruit to pick. Obamacare and Obama’s “clean energy economy” initiatives were more challenging.

  61. dcpetterson says:

    Obamacare and Obama’s “clean energy economy” initiatives were more challenging.

    Of course they were “more challenging.” None of your examples have the first thing to do with “socialism” except in the fevered imagination of someone who uses words to mean whatever he wants them to mean, regardless of what the rest of the planet thinks.

    But Filistro was right about Alinsky. Yes, sorry, you lose.

  62. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: “you used the word “Alinsky” which by law means the topic is instantly and automatically closed.”

    Why? Alinsky is an absolutely fascinating character. Unlike Obama, Alinsky had a very well defined ideological structure and used to it establish the entire concept of community organizing. Alinsky offered Soviet agitprop adjusted for America, especially the American middle class. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (not to mention many other New Left types) were fixated with Alinsky during their younger years.

    Obama used Alinsky’s power principles continuously throughout his Administration. In particular, Obama repeatedly offered apocalyptic speeches to sell his radical initiatives to the American middle class, something Alinksky more colorfully called “rubbing raw the sores of middle class discontent.” When someone got in his way, Obama would savage them personally, which is an application of the Alinsky technique to put a human face on the opposition and then destroy that person’s reputation until he relented.

    Each policy area is led with a chapter on how Obama used Alinsky agitprop to sell the policy along with its successes and failures. The most interesting segment is when Obama tried to personalize and demonize the Tea Party movement, but could not find a person to represent the movement because the TP is a starfish organization without a single leader. Instead of checking the TP, the Alinsky techniques actually infuriated people and helped the movement grow.

  63. shiloh says:

    Actually Bartles, nobody cares about your book, forward or otherwise …

    as anyone can write a book, even mama grizzly lol er ghostwrite.

    You bet’cha!

    take care, blessings

  64. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart,

    Please, keep your day job. That book of yours won’t be bringing in enough to feed the gerbil.

    Besides, the amount of time you spend here, and billing your clients for, just is impossible as a writer.

    So by keeping the drunk drivers out of jail by playing the system, you’ll have the money and time to keep us entertained with your outright lies, ridiculous assertions and right-wing fantasies.

    Just saying.

  65. GROG says:

    fili said:

    I was watching those gift-wrapped Lexus commercials and thinking the very same thing. “Nobody wants a SMALL gift.” What a vulgarly tone-deaf, in-your-face-, let-them-eat-cake glorification of greed and excess… and at a time when millions and millions of formerly middle-class people are facing foreclosure, hunger and homelessness.

    Fili, did you realize that to half of the world’s population, YOU are the vulgar, tone-deaf, let them-eat-cake glorification of greed and excess? Half the people in the world are scrounging around on the dirt floor of their huts right now, looking for an insect to eat, while you’re sittiing in the comfort of your home or office blogging on the internet.

    Wealth is relative. To the hungry in the world, the difference between the guy in the Lexus who glorifies greed and excess and someone driving an ’82 Yugo is indisguinshable.

    Wealth is relative. “The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.” http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

    You’re the richest 20 percent, fili.

  66. filistro says:

    @GROG… You’re the richest 20 percent, fili.

    Yes, I think about that every day. (In fact I think I’m probably the richest .002 percent, but who’s counting?)

    The difference is that I’M not flaunting my wealth and good fortune while fighting to get myself a big tax cut. I pay a whole lot of taxes and enjoy doing so.

    “From those to whom much has been given, much shall be required.” It just makes sense to me.

  67. drfunguy says:

    Todays lessons from Bart:
    “Obama does not have a formed ideological structure…”
    “Obama is a socialist who believes in redistribution of wealth…” [sounds like an ideological framework to me]
    “Obama has generally socialist goals, but no particular ideological framework…”

    Is everyone clear on this now?

  68. drfunguy says:

    Re. Government employment I was a fed for ten years.
    The first four I was temporary (annually renewable depending on budget etc.). I made about 50% more than I did as a post-doc at the University of Washington, plus I actually got benefits including health insurance. By the time I quit the Feds I was a program manager in the National Park Service making about double what I would have in academia or the private sector. In order to reach this level I stopped being a scientist (for the most part) and became a supervisor and bureaucrat. So while the pay exceeded private sector/academic positions of similar skills and experience, the work was not at all analogous.

  69. GROG says:

    @fili,

    But how can you live with yourself knowing thouands of people are starving to death every day, while you’re living the luxurious life that you do?

  70. dcpetterson says:

    An interesting alert I just got from Gallup:

    President Barack Obama has maintained support in the mid-40% range since the midterm elections, including a 46% job approval rating for the most recent week of Gallup Daily tracking. In contrast, approval of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton fell in the weeks after their respective parties suffered heavy midterm losses.

    Read it here.

    Obama is well above both Reagan (who went into a brief freefall about this time) and Clinton. Bush 2 still was pretty high from 9/11, though he was on a very steady and steep downward slope. Check out the Presidential Approval Center from Gallup. Just click on a picture of a pres.

  71. shiloh says:

    Re: NASA as the story goes … early in the ’60s they were trying to invent a pen which worked in zero gravity and supposedly spent $10 million on the project …

    whereas the Soviet Union space program used a pencil!

    >

    March 1983 Reagan’s Gallup job approval was 35%.

    carry on

  72. shortchain says:

    Red Dog uses a term he has not understood: to cite, as an authority, a Nobel-prize-winning economist in an economics discussion is not an example of “argumentum ad verecundiam”. Now, had I cited, say, USA today as an authority, relying on a couple of numbers as the basis of my argument, that would be a logical fallacy.

    If Michael or Red Dog really want to find out whether federal employees’ increases in compensation are due to changes in the federal workforce, they could look in this publication. The short answer is that, over the period 1998-2008, clerical and blue-collar federal employees dropped 22 percent and administrative employees increased 23 percent. Since the latter are paid significantly more than the former, an increase in the average pay of federal employees to the tune of over 20 percent, relative to inflation, is quite understandable.

    But even if you don’t go by that, just look at the pay for the various GS grades. For Electrical engineers, just to take people I know, the starting salaries would be on the order of 40K. Private starting salaries would be 55K or higher.

    I’m sorry, but reducing everything in a complex equation to a single number and then bitching about that number is a perfect example of innumeracy.

  73. Mainer says:

    Shiloh the odd thing is that they did indeed get a pen that would work up there and then of course down here in all kinds of conditions. I doubt it is a real good example of spin off but we do have some fine tools to write with now.

    As for those over paid gov employees. Why don’t we start at the top and work down rather than always at the bottom. I never seem to see CEO pay compared. Hmmmm wonder why that is? Could it be that one would have to work well down into management for many corporations to get to what the president is paid?

    At some of the lower levels I think there probably is an offset between federal and private but that seems to level out in stuff that I have been involved in. Maybe it is just my experience. But back to lower levels if Bart had his way they would be paid less than minimum wage any way. One must keep the rabble in their place you know. One of the things I have heard from some other Bartabies of late is how over paid the military is now. You gotta love it.

  74. dcpetterson says:

    @Mainer

    Why don’t we start at the top and work down rather than always at the bottom.

    An excellent point. In the private sector, it is not unusual for the CEO to make 300 to 500 times as much as the lowest-paid employee. (That means for every CEO you fire, you could hire back 300 to 500 of the people he laid off.) No one will convince me that the CEO works 300 to 500 times harder, or puts in 300 to 500 more hours.

    What I think the conservatives actually are upset about is that the Federal Government system is much flatter — and, therefore, more equitable. The elitist oligarchs of the right wing, and their Teaper minions, are afraid us common rabble will get the idea that we’re not as worthless as they want us to think we are. Typical of the arrogant right.

  75. shortchain says:

    Thanks, DC.

  76. Bart DePalma says:

    It’s now official. America has its first Whiner-In-Chief.

    Can Barack Obama possibly get any more pathetic?

  77. Red Dog says:

    We can agree to disagree about the core of the federal wage issue, but you are incorrect that I do not understand or improperly used “ad verecundiam.”

    Let’s walk through this, shall we:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority

    A (fallacious) appeal to authority argument has the basic form:

    1. A makes claim B;
    2. there is something positive about A that (fallaciously) is used to imply that A has above-average or expert knowledge in the field, or has an above-average authority to determine the truth or rightness of such a matter
    3. therefore claim B is true, or has its credibility unduly enhanced as a result of the proximity and association.

    1. Paul Krugman claims a federal pay freeze is a cynical, trivial, and misguided political move (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/03/opinion/03krugman.html);

    2. Krugman’s Nobel Prize in economics and stature in Princeton academia is(fallaciously) used to imply that he has above-average or expert knowledge in an economic (or financial) matter such as this one or has an above-average authority to determine the truth or rightness of such a matter

    3. therefore Krugman’s claim that the pay freeze is cynical, trivial, and misguided is true, or has its credibility unduly enhanced as a result of the proximity and association.

    You have “demolished” nothing and don’t even understand how little you do know.

  78. Red Dog says:

    Might I remind you that your initial response to me was simply:

    “Frankly, I think people without Nobel prizes are a lot less trustworthy than those with them, in their field of expertise. IOW, I trust Krugman. I think you, however, are a load of horse-hockey.”

    Basically you were saying, “If Krugman said it was so, it is so.”

    Hmmm…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority#Examples_of_appeals_to_authority

    Referring to the philosophical beliefs of Aristotle: “If Aristotle said it was so, it is so.”
    Referring to the philosophical beliefs of Jesus, Muhammad, or any other religious figure: “If (religious figure) said it was so, it is so.”
    etc.
    etc.

  79. filistro says:

    Bart… it’s odd that you saw Obama’s address as “whining.” I’m a pretty good reader of people and I saw it as angry, tightly-controlled, defiant and slightly menacing… unlike anything we’ve ever seen from him before. In fact I was thinking you and your pals might just come to regret having used the plight of the least fortunate Americans to jerk this guy around.

    It’s like when somebody is holding your kid hostage, he can pretty much do what he wants with you. But once the kid has been released and is safe, that kidnapper might just find himself with hell to pay.

  80. dcpetterson says:

    Red Dog,

    When you need surgery, the paper boy does it, right?

  81. Red Dog says:

    I will await your apology for accusing me of ignorance where it did not apply.

    I concede you later provided sufficient evidence to support an argument that federal employees are not overpaid and thus should not have their pay frozen, but I still believe the arguments in favor of freezing federal wages carry more weight at this time.

  82. shiloh says:

    It’s now official. Bartles is 538’s inane/flyby Whiner-In-Chief.

    Can Bart possibly get any more pathetic? ~ Rhetorical question.

    ok, Bartles was 538’s (((#1 winger troll whiner))) a couple days after he first appeared at 538 … my bad! as he retired the crown a couple years ago! 😀

    >

    One can only repeat Mainer’s rhetorical question from a wk ago:

    Bart do you never get tired of being an asshole? as one wonders what he is possibly trying to accomplish by making a fool of himself daily at a progressive blog …

    Madness lol

  83. Brian says:

    I just wanted to add to the NASA conversation. No one knew what the electron would be good for when it was discovered. And now our lives would be radically different without electronics. Just because a discovery doesn’t have a practical use at the time, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. NASA could very well discover something as useful, or may already have, and an application simply hasn’t been found it. Discovery for discovery’s sake is definitely worth it. At least from this chemist’s perspective.

  84. shortchain says:

    Red Dog,

    You’ll get no apology from me for citing an economics authority in an economics matter.

    The whole point of the fallacy you wish to tar me with is that it involves citation of an authority in an area not directly associated with the expertise of said authority. Since Krugman is a recognized authority on the subject at hand, your attempt falls rather flat. You appear to be able to quote extensively, but you don’t appear to be able to understand what you quote.

    You really should learn about the first rule of holes.

    And while you may believe what you wish so dearly to believe, you have to admit you have precious little evidence to back up your belief.

  85. shortchain says:

    Red Dog,

    I notice that you want to put words in my mouth that I did not say. That’s so endearing, but do try to keep it under control. You tend to appear, if you overdo it, to be creating a straw man with which to hold an argument rather than actually arguing on the merits of what was actually said.

  86. GROG says:

    @fili,

    I see you haven’t answered my question. I know, it’s a toughie.

  87. filistro says:

    GROG… I didn’t realize you were serious. It seems like such a silly question.

    Giving all away my money RIGHT NOW to help the world’s poor would have no more impact on gloval poverty than turning up my air conditioning and leaving the doors open would help to alleviate global warming.

    I am having a lot of fun living an interesting comfortable life and giving money away as I go along. When I die, almost all of my estate will go to carefully targeted charities. I think it won’t hurt the world to wait a few decades for my money.

    Does that answer your question?

  88. dcpetterson says:

    filistro,

    We could also add that you are NOT among those (like elected Republicans) who are trying to manipulate whole economies to make themselves richer while further impoverishing the poor.

    Nor are you among those (like Republican voters) who complain about paying taxes that help to lessen the problems and suffering of those less fortunate than you.

    I don’t think anyone described above has any right to challenge your viewpoint or credentials in this regard.

  89. Jean says:

    reddog,

    re: what is our return-on-investment with NASA? We’ve spent billions of dollars through the years? Is someone here capable of quantifying the value we’ve received from their “accomplishments” and making a case that it has exceeded what we’ve paid into it.

    Well, I’m no expert, but it’s not difficult to research what NASA has accomplished and how private industry has benefited.

    Scientific techniques and discoveries made in the space program have contributed beneficial spinoffs used in other fields such as medicine, industry, and defense. So far, NASA has 1,500 spinoff success stories and counting. Even the term “spinoff” was invented to explain the benefits of NASA’s contributions to the world at large. NASA publishes an annual publication titled Spinoff that highlights that year’s technology that was transferred to and further developed or utilized by the private sector. The free dissemination of information and technologies attained by NASA creates not only practical applications to society but new jobs and industries.

    Under the Space Act of 1958, NASA has had a mandate to share all the information it has gained with the public. Here are a few of the practical applications that have resulted from technologies and information learned by space scientists:

    •CAT scans
    •MRIs
    •Kidney dialysis machines
    •Heart defibrillator technology
    •Remote robotic surgery
    •Artificial heart pump technology
    •Physical therapy machines
    •Positron emission tomography
    •Microwave receivers used in scans for breast cancer
    •Cardiac angiography
    •Monitoring neutron activity in the brain
    •Cleaning techniques for hospital operating rooms
    •Portable x-ray technology for neonatal offices and 3rd world countries
    •Freeze-dried food
    •Water purification filters
    •ATM technology
    •Pay at the Pump satellite technology
    •Athletic shoe manufacturing technique
    •Insulation barriers for autos
    •Image-processing software for crash-testing automobiles
    •Holographic testing of communications antennas
    •Low-noise receivers
    •Cordless tools
    •A computer language used by businesses such as car repair shops, Kodak, hand-held computers, express mail
    •Aerial reconnaissance and Earth resources mapping
    •Airport baggage scanners
    •Distinction between natural space objects and satellites/warheads/rockets for defense
    •Satellite monitors for nuclear detonations
    •Hazardous gas sensors
    •Precision navigation
    •Clock synchronization
    •Ballistic missile guidance
    •Secure communications
    •Study of ozone depletion
    •Climate change studies
    •Monitoring of Earth-based storms such as hurricanes
    •Solar collectors
    •Fusion reactors
    •Space-age fabrics for divers, swimmers, hazardous material workers, and others
    •Teflon-coated fiberglass for roofing material
    •Lightweight breathing system used by firefighters
    •Atomic oxygen facility for removing unwanted material from 19th century paintings
    •FDA-adopted food safety program that has reduced salmonella cases by a factor of 2
    •Multispectral imaging methods used to read ancient Roman manuscripts buried by Mt. Vesuvius

    Most people do not give NASA or space research high priority when they consider what the government needs to fund. However, as seen here, NASA has provided much more than just information about the universe at large, but practical applications that have saved lives, improved the quality of life, and provided high-paying jobs in the private sector. The spinoffs listed here are just a part of what NASA and others have accomplished by sharing information and technology.

    Read more at Suite101: Practical Applications of Space Technology: Discoveries and Developments by NASA and Their Benefit to Society

    http://www.suite101.com/content/practical-applications-of-space-technology-a98927#ixzz17TuTRgh3

  90. GROG says:

    @filistro,

    I was very serious. I’m wondering how you justify living your life of luxury while half the world’s population is starving. I’m not suggesting you yourself could solve the world hunger problem, but surely you could give up your relatively immense personal wealth and save dozens of people. Why should you or DC be allowed to live high on the hog while so many people are suffering?

    Because to most of the world you and DC are what you describe as “vulgarly tone-deaf, in-your-face-, let-them-eat-cake glorification of greed and excess”.

  91. GROG says:

    Oh btw, I’m talking about your after tax and after charitable contribution wealth.

  92. dcpetterson says:

    Jean, thank you for that list! Really well done. And that’s just the short-term stuff.

    Excellent.

  93. dcpetterson says:

    GROG, since you aren’t even willing to extend unemployment benefits, your disingenuous nonsense is not worth addressing.

  94. Monotreme says:

    Thank you, Judas GROG, for pointing out Filistro’s perfidy.

  95. Mainer says:

    Grog, fili can probably justify her life quite nicely in terms of the worlds poor and down trodden as she is a Canadian taxpayer. Canada is and has been one of the leaders in:
    Supplying troops and equipent to international peace keeping 33 missions and counting with more than 120,000 different troops involved and more than 114 killed and many many more wounded.

    Canada has for years had one of the highest per capita involvements in international food aid programs and is year after year lauded for their effectiveness.

    While Canada does not have a peace corps it has a number of programs that sends its best and brightest around the world to make lives better.

    At any given moment one can find Canadian medical personnel in all corners of this world giving aid and care paid for by the Canadien people.

    It is nteresting to note that the first aid to reach Haiti after the last earth quake winged in on a CF C-130.

    I have no idea what fili’s direct involvement has been nor do I need to but I gather that she has some degree of wealth and pays her taxes.

    Hey here is a good question. I wonder how many right wingers have ever been in things like the Peace corps? Bart you could go make a difference giving all day every pro bono legal help to poor starving Somalias……….better brush up on your Sharia.

  96. parksie555 says:

    Not sure what he is thinking but I am liking him more and more as he realizes how ridiculous the “professional left” has become. When you read about a possible primary challenge to Obama from the left you realize just how unhinged liberals in this country have become.

    Jean, I second DC’s salute to your list. Although I am not sure I would agree with DC’s assessment of all these achievements as those of a government agency. Most of the breakthroughs came from greedy corporations like McDonnell Douglas, Honeywell, Grumman, and IBM.

  97. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: “Bart… it’s odd that you saw Obama’s address as “whining.” I’m a pretty good reader of people and I saw it as angry, tightly-controlled, defiant and slightly menacing… unlike anything we’ve ever seen from him before.

    Whiny children are always angry.

    Slightly menacing? There is very little the man can do to discredit himself further. The GOP is beginning to treat him like the joke foreign leaders have seen him as for months now and, as you noted, his party is furious with him. I need to apologize to Jimmy Carter for my earlier comparison of Obama to him. Obama is proving he has no peer among past presidents.

    Unlike anything we’ve ever seen from him before? Go find some video of the Obama health care summit with the GOP early this year. After Paul Ryan systematically shredded the rationales for Obamacare, Obama was equally petulant and testy.

  98. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart said: “Whiny children are always angry.”

    A better self-description by a person I’ve never heard previously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  99. shiloh says:

    Bartles, what would you know about children other than what a Rasmussen poll would tell you …

    Again, we get that you despise/hate Obama, no need for reinforcement as (((one-trick-ponies))) are jealous! 😀

    take care

  100. Monotreme says:

    Parksie! It’s been too long. Good to see you back here.

  101. Just Sayin' says:

    NASA’s next accomplishment: “Fusion” baby! Its coming! Go scientists!

  102. Jean says:

    And here’s NASA’s page regarding their spin-offs:

    http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/

    Fascinating reading and includes such innovations as:

    Image-Capture Devices Extend Medicine’s Reach

    NASA’s Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity (ADUM) experiment led to the development of revolutionary medical ultrasound diagnostic techniques for long-distance use, including frame-grabber and data archiving technology that enables ultrasound users with minimal training to send diagnostic-quality ultrasound images and video to medical professionals via the Internet in near-real time—allowing patients as varied as professional athletes, Olympians, and mountain climbers to receive medical attention as soon as it is needed.

    NASA Bioreactors Advance Disease Treatments

    Houston-based biotechnology firm Regenetech Inc. acquired the licenses for NASA bioreactor technology from Johnson Space Center. The NASA bioreactor, which allows for the rapid cultivation of healthy cells in simulated weightlessness, is now the foundation of Regenetech’s thriving intellectual property business that is providing researchers with the tools to make adult stem cell therapy—a potential source of treatment for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and sickle cell anemia—viable for the public.

    and

    Apollo-Era Life Rafts Save Hundreds of Sailors

    To keep astronaut life rafts from capsizing after Apollo-era splashdown landings, NASA designed a self-righting life raft capable of resisting tipping in rough seas. Givens Marine Survival Co. Inc., licensed this invention and now manufactures and markets the rescue rafts in a variety of sizes and models for everything from sailboats to larger ocean-going vessels. To date, Givens has sold several thousand of the rafts, and this space-age technology is credited with saving the lives of over 450 sailors.

    You have a problem with this, red dog?

  103. dcpetterson says:

    @Just Sayin’

    How cool is that?
    http://edmall.gsfc.nasa.gov/99invest.Site/science-briefs/ace/ed-fusion.html

    http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/launches/fusion_rockets_000719.html

    And anti matter too!

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/1999/prop12apr99_1/

    We’re on the edge not only of a revolution in space flight, but of clean and cheap and limitless energy.

    Tomorrow, the stars.

  104. dcpetterson says:

    @parksie

    You’re right, those advances were created by corporations. Corporations whose work was contracted to, and by, and for the government. The work would simply not have happened without NASA.

    With the funding of the mission of Columbus as a prime example, nations have always supported the arts and the sciences. Often in conjunction with private enterprise.

    There is nothing wrong with this collaboration. America would not exist without it. The point is, we have to keep in mind that it must be done for the benefit of The People, not the sole benefit of robber barons and oligarchs.

  105. filistro says:

    Hey GROG… sorry I didn’t respond to your posts. I was at a gala charity event for the local food bank. Very spiffy, all the local well-heeled dressed to the nines, drinking and eating, being entertained and parting with big bucks to feed the hungry. So far in our very small city we have serviced 58,205 people at the food bank this holiday season… and our women’s shelter (another of my favorite charities) is crammed to the rafters, almost twice the occupancy of last year at this time. This “blessed season” is hard on poor families… especially as the Bush recession spills over into other countries.

    I do hope the wealthy Republicans are enjoying their tax cuts.

  106. filistro says:

    The commentators at TPM feel this is a seminal moment for the Obama presidency. They think his presser today was the moment where he told the world once and for all time that he is NOT the starry-eyed idealist they hoped he was going to be… and he never will be. “I’m not that guy,” he told them. Instead he is a cold, practical pragmatist. He’s going to do what he needs to do to get what he wants to get done, and if you on the far left don’t like that, too bad. This is how it’s going to be.

    The complaints against the New Obama are surprisingly muted… and already dying out. It’s fascinating to watch.

  107. dcpetterson says:

    I see Bart has sunk to merely calling names. Really, you’ve got nothing better than that? How sad.

    To quote Bart (and this is nearly an exact quote, as close as I can remember):
    Obama’s a poopy head! His head is poopy and he stinks! Stinky poopy socalistic dummy! Meany! Bully with no fists whiny poopyhead!

    That’s the best you can do Bart? Really?

    We used to think you were worth debating.

  108. filistro says:

    @DC.. Bart does seem surprisingly discombobulated, doesn’t he? Just a tad nervous about dealing with the New Obama, are you Bart ? I think you should be. You all have been outplayed and you’re about to be shown up for all teh world to see the hollow people and shallow hypocrites that you really are. It will be a joy to behold.

    Be afraid. Very afraid.

    Damn, I feel good. And it’s not just the champagne 🙂

  109. Monotreme says:

    If you’ve really got him rattled, Fili, he’ll start calling you “milady” again.

  110. GROG says:

    filistro said:

    The difference is that I’M not flaunting my wealth and good fortune while fighting to get myself a big tax cut. I pay a whole lot of taxes and enjoy doing so.

    So it’s OK to have wealth and good fortune as long as you don’t flaunt it?

    Liberals may enjoy paying taxes more than conservatives, but conservatives are much more generous when it comes to giving to charities than liberals.

    “Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227). ”

    “Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.”

    “Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.”

    “In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.”

    “People who reject the idea that “government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality” give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.”
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

    I have no doubt that you are a faithful supporter of charities.

  111. GROG says:

    These facts just don’t support the leftwing myth that conservatives are greedy, selfish, uncaring, snobs who only want to steel from the poor and then flaunt it by driving around in Lexus’.

  112. Bart DePalma says:

    Politico raises an interesting question: Is there any Bush policy Obama has not adopted?

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/46117.html

  113. Bart DePalma says:

    Namecalling?

    Apart from Fili who thinks that Obama was “menacing,” does anyone here view Obama’s comments over the past two days as anything but angry and whiny?

    That mean Wepublican minority are “hostage-takers.” Don’t you “sactimonious” lefties in my base understand that I had to cave?

    The only thing that could make this worse for Obama is if a principled socialist like Barry Sanders succeeded in filibustering his tax deal.

  114. filistro says:

    Wow, GROG… knockout punch! LOL. What was I thinking? It just makes sense that the party whose entire goal is to get out of paying taxes, keep the minimum wage low, deport immigrants, cut off UI benefits and deny health care to the poor would be really charitable people!

    Of course conservatives give more to “charity” than liberals. This is because:

    1.) giving to churches is counted, even though most churches are essentially community-funded social organizations that, while serving meaningful purposes for their members, statistically do very little for actual charity and services to the poor in the community. And conservatives are much more likely to be church-goers.

    2.) Conservatives have a lot more money than liberals.

    From the article: The bottom line, the study suggests, is that little has changed in terms of income’s general influence on individual voting patterns: in every presidential election since 1952, the richer a voter is, the more likely that voter is to vote Republican, regardless of ethnicity, sex, education or age.

    Perhaps a more meaningful metric would be to examine charitable giving from the two groups relative to household net worth net worth and excluding money given to churches. I think we would see a very different picture.

  115. Mainer says:

    Come on Grog you are better than your last. I have many conservative friends that are just as you describe but they are generally speaking no better off than I am. Poor or middle class conservatives do indeed support their communities and those in need. I drove this thread with my question about the Lexus Christmas and my point was that it pointed out the huge incoe disparity we now have in this country. You miss several points here. When was Christmas supposed to be about seeing who could give the biggest most expensive gift? Waaaaa if you don’t spend 40K on me for Christmas you must not love me. I do not appreciate seeing ostentatious displays of wealth from any one, either side of the aisle.

    Now with that said don’t go getting your knickers in a knot thinking that then translates into I don’t like people if they have been successful and have money. Nothing could be more off from the truth. Hell Grog I spent a number of years living in the servants quarters of a major estate up here. The owners were old money wealthy. Their kids were sent North in the summer to pick beans, rake blueberries and do other really awfull jobs to earn spending money and learn the value of work and money. I suspect it cost mom and dad more to have my folks keep the place open and look after them than they ever made but they felt it was important. I would also note that I doubt any one in that crowd has ever been gifted with a car. But they also to this day own businesses that actually employ people, build things and when they speak people listen to them. Theirs is productive wealth. It is wealth that is actually doing some thing. My bitch is with the ones these ads are targeted to where is is all about how much wealth can you amass not how much you have and then do with it that actually does some thing.

    I now have several friends that are quite wealthy. As need arises I fix things for them or find some one who can. For the most part you would not know they could buy or sell half the community if they so desired. I am not used to living around people that seem to feel the need to rub others faces in what they do not have. But that is here, I also spend time around the other part of the money crowd as a part of business. Grog the real money in the pushy conservative circles is greedy, selfish and uncaring or at least that has been my experience from spending a good part of my life around the group.

    I would love to see how you figure that conservatives give more time and blood. For the most part I think you will find that it is people that are what used to be middle class and below regardless of their political connections.

    B

  116. filistro says:

    Bart, this is really odd. Youy seem to be virtually alone among conservatives in your belief that Obama is weak and whining.

    News flash… I don’t just study Freepers, I also visit The Corner (and occasionally correspond with the bloggers… I really like Jonah Goldberg) to get a sense of what smart, thoughtful conservatives are saying, especially in their comments section. And they are FURIOUS with Obama and generally feel they’ve been rolled by teh Presdient.

    Click the link and read the comments. Here’s a sample of majority feeling…

    “Obama is rolling the GOP over. It’s the Stockholm syndrome…The GOP is held hostage and wants to please its captor, the radical left in charge of Congress and Obama.

    This so-called tax cut is a terrible idea. It isn’t a tax cut, it just provides political cover for Obama and the left, and we extract nothing…nothing…for supporting it.

    Call his bluff and raise him. Real tax cuts…reinstitute Bush era tax rates and cut them by 15% across the board. Immediate freeze on all spending and a 15% cut for non military expenses. As for medicare, increase patient responsibility

    …nahh, that would mean stem cell transplants for spines and gonads for the GOP…they just want to please their captor, Obama.

  117. mclever says:

    GROG,

    In your rush to pounce on filistro, you’re missing the whole point of Mainer’s complaint.

    It wasn’t that some people were rich or who gave the most to charity, it was the tone-deafness of running luxury car and jewelry ads some place where most people are struggling economically. It’s the “oh, by the way, lookie what you can’t have! ha ha ha! In your face!” nature of these ads that just kinda rubs the majority in the lower-middle/middle class the wrong way. It’s not just flaunting the wealth, but taunting those who can’t have it at the same time. And, those ads all say either overtly (“nobody wants a little xmas gift”) or implicitly that you’re a loser if you don’t buy your loved one a ridiculously expensive gift.

    Do you get it?

    From what we see of filistro’s character, I highly doubt that she either flaunts her wealth or taunts those less fortunate than her. It’s not a who gives to charity more contest. It’s about being unobservant, inconsiderate and tone-deaf to the plight of those around you. One thing filistro definitely isn’t is unobservant. 🙂

  118. mclever says:

    One more thing, GROG, since the topic of the ostentatious Lexus ads was brought up by Mainer, is there a reason you pounced on filistro instead of him?

    (I have a theory, but I’m withholding judgment for now.)

  119. mclever says:

    Bart,

    I, for one, don’t find Obama’s comments to be whiny. He sounded forceful, pragmatic, and maybe a little angry.

    I know it’s a standard conservative meme that all Democrats are whiny, but I just don’t think it fits in this case.

    Sorry.

  120. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    You are quoting the whiny and paranoid conservative contingent who somewhat contradictorily wondered why the GOP had to compromise on anything and suspect the Obama is hatching a plot. Did you really think the progressives had a corner on silliness?

    Sometimes things are exactly as they appear.

    Obama caved to avoid alienating the Indi likely voters he lost in 2010 and needs back in 2012 to have a chance. Pollster has a good piece noting that likely voters do not share Obama’s desire to raise taxes on the wealthy.

    Obama is a whiny, vindictive man-child when he loses.

    The GOP leadership could barely contain their glee on camera yesterday.

    This is not particularly difficult to grasp as it is playing out right in front of your eyes.

  121. filistro says:

    Bart… I see the same reaction across the conservative blogosphere from Freeperville to Little Green Footballs to the NRO, with stops at Townhall and Red State.

    They are all echoing anger and frustartion at the tax compromise, and real fury at Obama, occasionally tempered by posts (I’d say about 1 in 10) warning that maybe it’s “teh best we can do,” and “we could be in trouble if we fight it.”

    So what am I supposed to believe… your version of events, or my own lying eyes?

  122. GROG says:

    is there a reason you pounced on filistro instead of him?

    Because I have a huge crush on her.

  123. dcpetterson says:

    @Bart

    Politico raises an interesting question: Is there any Bush policy Obama has not adopted?

    So, is Obama a socialist, or is he a Republican?

    Get your insults straight before you blather, Bart.

  124. dcpetterson says:

    @filistro

    Of course conservatives give more to “charity” than liberals.

    Let’s also point out that giving to “charities” (especially chiurches) is tax deductible. I wonder what the level of Republican giving would be if they didn’t get a tax break for it?

  125. filistro says:

    @ DC… So, is Obama a socialist, or is he a Republican?

    Don’t you remember?

    From “Bart’s Keen Political Analysis” (Chapter 6: “The President”)

    Obama is a big stinky poopy-head. And he’s poopy! And he stinks!

    (footnotes available on request)

  126. dcpetterson says:

    @filistro

    …nahh, that would mean stem cell transplants for spines and gonads for the GOP…they just want to please their captor, Obama.

    Wow. When extremists on both sides feel they’ve been screwed, it sounds like the perfect compromise. (Well, no, the perfect compromise is when both sides are convinced they made out like bandits and screwed the other guy. But this is a close second.)

    As I said, Obama just captured the vast middle. And he looked strong and presidential doing it. Even Pat Buchanan this morning was saying that Obama looked strong and presidential. Pat frickin’ Buchanan.

    Bart’s just whining because he sees his wet dream of Republican jackboots stomping across the nation as slipping away even before the next Congress is sworn in. Talk about defeat snatched from the jaws of victory! Their inflexibility and willingness to hold the nation hostage backfired on them when Obama called their bluff. Cry me a river, Bart.

  127. filistro says:

    @mclever and GROG…is there a reason you pounced on filistro instead of him?

    ….Because I have a huge crush on her.

    LOL… every girl should have the pleasure of being pounced on by a caveman at least once in her life 😉

  128. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: Politico raises an interesting question: Is there any Bush policy Obama has not adopted?

    dcpetterson says: So, is Obama a socialist, or is he a Republican?

    Apart from the tax rate cave, Obama has been adopting Bush foreign policy, which has nothing to do with socialism.

    If Obama was free to do what he wished, he would have raised taxes to increase redistribution – a typical socialist goal. However, even socialists have to get re-elected in the United States.

  129. filistro says:

    @DC.. Bart’s just whining because he sees his wet dream of Republican jackboots stomping across the nation as slipping away even before the next Congress is sworn in. Talk about defeat snatched from the jaws of victory! Their inflexibility and willingness to hold the nation hostage backfired on them when Obama called their bluff.

    Our DC has a way with words, doesn’t he? 😉

    That’s the way it is, folks. It was obvious as soon as the deal was announced. Not that anybody’s surprised because it is an immutable truth, rather like a law of phsyics:

    The better the hand Republicans are dealt, the more likely they are to overplay it.

    It’s so consistently true that it hardly bears discussion. A more productive discussion would be: WHY are Republicans like that? Is it simply a correlate of greed, this propensity to always foul their own nest by pushing for just a little more than they can reasonably expect to receive?

  130. dcpetterson says:

    By the way, on Colbert a couple of days ago, David Stockman, the architect of the whole Reaganomics trickle-down tax-cuts-for-the-rich-will-stimulate-the-economy theory, Reagan’s own economics adviser, that David Stockman, said tax cuts now would be a bad idea, that tax cuts for the wealthy do not stimulate the economy, all they do is increase the deficit, and he said his earlier theories have been proven wrong.

    Take that.

  131. mclever says:

    @ GROG… Good answer! 🙂

  132. Just Sayin' says:

    Fili can take care of herself. I’d tip my hat to her if I had one!

  133. Jeff says:

    Filistro says:
    December 7, 2010 at 10:32

    I gotta say… I am (so far) really impressed by Red Dog. If we could find ourselves a sensible, intelligent conservative like this who would articulate and defend the right-hand position on various topics… that would be such a great thing for this site.

    ================

    Aw, I feel hurt. FYI, I’ll be back once I can use my left hand to type. Recovering from a stroke is slow……

  134. filistro says:

    @mclever and JustSayin’.. Fili can take care of herself

    On occasion… but it sure doesn’t hurt to have the “girl power” on one’s side. When we pool our efforts, these poor guys are so outclassed it’s almost embarrassing, isn’t it?

    In fact it’s a fortunate thing for the male species that they’re cute (and kind of interesting) or we just might dispense with them altogether… 😉

  135. shiloh says:

    grog ~ Because I have a huge crush on her.

    Let’s recap, shall we:

    grog is Bartles #1 groupie and my condolences to fili lol

    and Bart is still totally (((discombobulated/obsessed))) re: his inane definition of Socialism and Barack Hussein Obama in general.

    All is well …

    and please 😉 let the whining winger trolls er Bartles’ name calling continue … as a day w/out 538’s #1 moaning/groaning cry me a river disgruntled sniveller ranting incoherently about Obama ~ is like a day w/out sunshine! 😀

    and calling wingnuts names, although redundant, can be fun … or so I hear ~ diminishing returns notwithstanding!

  136. filistro says:

    JEFF!!!!!!

    You’re back!.. and (fittingly) you have the most beautiful snowflake ever 🙂

    Your typing has certainly improved by leaps and bounds from those bleak early days. Rehab must be going really well. But then… you’re a determined guy, and I understand determination is 90% of the equation in stroke recovery.

    Hurry back. Post whenever you want to. We’ll all work around the typos. (I have editing privileges and I can fix your posts for you after you post them if you’d like.)

    Your team really needs you, Jeff. Their defense is full of holes and their offensive line is totally dispirited.

  137. shiloh says:

    hmm, my buddy Jeffrey may be returning soon …

    Indeed, all is well!

  138. shiloh says:

    Your team really needs you, Jeff.

    Finally, something fili and I can agree on …

  139. mclever says:

    Jeff!

    So good to see you ’round. 🙂 You’ve definitely been missed. As you continue to recover, we look forward to your rational missives from the conservative perspective.

    Don’t fret the typos, either. It’s your ideas that count ’round here.

  140. Jeff,

    You were the poster child for articulate, sensible conservatism here before your absence. I, for one, gladly await your full return.

  141. Bart DePalma says:

    dcpetterson says: “By the way, on Colbert a couple of days ago, David Stockman, the architect of the whole Reaganomics trickle-down tax-cuts-for-the-rich-will-stimulate-the-economy theory, Reagan’s own economics adviser, that David Stockman…”

    Stockman was Reagan’s OMB director, not an economic advisor. He also criticized the Kemp/Roth tax reforms as “trickle down” which he did not understand – hardly a supply sider.

    His recent opining on Colbert is hardly a conversion.

  142. filistro says:

    With her customary brilliant incisiveness and political acumen, Christine O’Donnell summarizes the conservative reaction to the tax compromise:

    Christine O’Donnell: “Tragedy comes in threes. Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth Edwards’ passing and Barack Obama’s announcement of extending the tax cuts, which is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits.”

    I miss that girl already, and she’s hardly even gone 🙂

  143. filistro says:

    Uh oh, Bart… looks like even the Quondam Governor feels the GOP has been rolled by Obama: (from the Corner)

    Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi may be on the same page — about the unacceptability of the Obama-GOP tax compromise.

    This morning, Palin re-tweeted (for those unfamiliar with Twitter, that’s re-sending another person’s tweet to all your Twitter followers, much like forwarding an e-mail to friends) this remark from conservative commentator Jedediah Bila: “Thank you, @JimDeMint – DeMint comes out against tax deal, says GOP must do ‘better than this’ – http://t.co/BmjsAh3”

    Hugh Hewitt announced last night that Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) was opposing the compromise.

  144. Mainer says:

    Jeff, so good to see you on here. An early Christmas present for us all. Yeah don’t sweat the typos. On a good day my stuff looks like a deranged chimp did it. So good to have you back and know you are mending. I suspect you are really busy right now as rehab from a stroke is serious work. I echo the others, nice progress and that the other team can use you almost as bad as the Cardinals could use a quarter back.

    Bart I while I have agreed with little that Stockman has said over the years, he could still fart and contribute more of value to a discussion than you seem able to muster with your tomes of irrelevance.

    While I certainly do not like this whole tax compromise thing I’m starting to think that some of you may be right about there being a bigger game we are not seeing. What was it Spock said? “When playing a one dimensional entity think 2 and 3 dimensional” or some thing like that. Kind of like the Patriots you know. Go Pats.

    Bart until or unless you can ever get over your manic response to any thing this president does or says your opinion on same will hold less and less water. I have reached the point where I mostly just scroll past any thing you post. I do read what Grog and Parksie (hey welcome back), or Red Dog or Robert have to offer, doesn’t mean I agree with them that much but I could and they are not one dimensional. You little man not so much.

    Hey Robert come Free Forum Friday I have a couple of kick ass recipes for you. If this keeps up we will require a section on the right side for favorite 538 refugee food. By the way a good friend has already tried the maple syrup pizza for a party and got raves……….for him I will thank you.

  145. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi may be on the same page — about the unacceptability of the Obama-GOP tax compromise.

    They are both speaking for the consumption of their bases.

    The GOP achieved more than I thought it could with 42 Senators.

    Conservative absolutists need to hold their fire until the GOP actually has the House and 47 Senators. That is when the fun really begins.

    Who cares what soon to be ex-Speker Pelosi thinks? Her relevance vanishes in another week.

  146. filistro says:

    @Bart… They are both speaking for the consumption of their bases

    ????????

    Okay, Bart, I’ll admit the complexities of your reasoning are often difficult for ordinary folks like me to follow… but if Nancy Pelosi’s base and Sarah Pailin’s base are united in opposition to something… wouldn’t that mean the “vast middle..” (ie the Independents you keep claiming Obama has “lost”)… wouldn’t they be universally in favor of it? Which mkaes it a very clever polictial move for the president?

    Help me out here, okay? You’re too deep for me.

  147. shiloh says:

    Mainer re: Bartles

    he could still fart and contribute more of value to a discussion than you seem able to muster with your tomes of irrelevance.

    Too funny!

    one for the road …

    he could still fart and contribute more of value to a discussion than you seem able to muster with your tomes of irrelevance.

    apologies to irrelevant farters …

  148. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: They are both speaking for the consumption of their bases

    Okay, Bart, I’ll admit the complexities of your reasoning are often difficult for ordinary folks like me to follow… but if Nancy Pelosi’s base and Sarah Pailin’s base are united in opposition to something… wouldn’t that mean the “vast middle..” (ie the Independents you keep claiming Obama has “lost”)… wouldn’t they be universally in favor of it? Which mkaes it a very clever polictial move for the president?

    Sarah and Nancy as well as their bases are not complaining about the same things.

    Sarah is complaining about the extra spending the GOP agreed to and Nancy is complaining that taxes did not go up as the President promised.

    The voters simply do not want their taxes to go up nor do they want to do anything that will further screw up the economy that Sarah and Nancy do not have to live with.

  149. Mainer says:

    Bart I just violated one of my constructs and I am already regreting it. What the bloody hell are you talking about? So Sarah was against all the extra cost of giving tax breaks to millionaires? I think you will find so was Pelosi.

    Now your next little bit kind of puzzles me. Did you just throw Sarah Faling under the same bus with still Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi? Did you? I mean oh wow? Oh by the way your earlier bleat of Nancy toddling off to nowhere land (caught it as it was the end of one of your bleats) I think you can safely assure yourself that Ms. Nancy and crew are going to be in the Tan Man’s face 24/7. I sure hope the distillery has put on a second shift. You know that lame stream media you jack offs are always bitching about that gave you so much coverage well in a few short weeks the shoe is going to be on the other foot and the news will be the new discord with the Republicans and guess what now the only people getting air time will be the Democrats as they bitch about the Republicans 24/7. Only differance will be the Dems only have to speak the truth to scare people to death.

  150. Bart DePalma says:

    “Mainer says: Bart I just violated one of my constructs and I am already regreting it. What the bloody hell are you talking about? So Sarah was against all the extra cost of giving tax breaks to millionaires? I think you will find so was Pelosi.”

    Seriously, are you this ignorant or are you simply yanking my chain?

    Only spending costs money. Declining to take money from someone in taxes does not cost a penny. For example, if we eliminated government, reduced tax rates to zero and spending to zero, the roughly $2 trillion dollar drop in tax collections has not cost anyone a cent.

    When we apply this reality to the Obama deal, only unemployment benefits and welfare payments to those who do not pay taxes are costs.

  151. shiloh says:

    Bartles, only grog wants to yank your chain!

  152. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    When you say “if we eliminated government, reduced tax rates to zero and spending to zero, the roughly $2 trillion dollar drop in tax collections has not cost anyone a cent.”

    — you mean, of course, it won’t have cost anybody who doesn’t lose their possessions or their lives in the ensuing invasion and occupation by the Canadian Army (or whatever other force decides to invade and occupy the failed state formerly known as the USA).

    I love how you then go on to speak of “reality” as if that had any meaning in your universe.

  153. Monotreme says:

    Jeff,

    I was stuck in meetings all day so I’m just now getting around to checking my 538refugees. I’m glad to see you made it.

    I don’t care what you type, just keep typing it. It’s good to “see” you again.

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