I go a bit afield in this post, I'm afraid, but what I'm wondering is this:
Would Chris Christie's reaction during the blizzard have been different if he were a liberal? In other words, if he gave a shit about governemnt, would he have used it more to help his citizens? It's pretty clear from his "none of my business" press conference that he's not a believer in an activist type of Governorship, so how come nobody's asking that question? Seems to me pretty clear that when we put people who hate government in charge of government, we get elected officials who give good government a bad name - why isn't that a huge part of this story?
I haven't posted here in a while, mostly because well... I agree with the Tax Cut deal the President struck, and I had a pretty good idea how that news would be taken by most of the DU community.
But I don't think it's perfect. Like a lot of you, I'd love to get some help for the 99ers in there. But the question is - what are we willing to give up to get that. Personally, I'd be willing to drop the estate tax from 35% to 25% in order to extend the 99ers by another 13 months. I'm wondering how much appetite there is for that possible deal among the liberals here.
An Extension for Americans Currently Receiving Unemployment Insurance
Tax Cuts for the Middle Class
A Tax Increase on the Rich
The order of importance you give to these three issues pretty much determine how you feel about the President these days.
For me, I have them ranked just like they’re listed above. I believe the most important thing we can do right now, considering the state of the economy - especially joblessness - is to extend unemployment insurance for those who just had it run out. Extending it keeps money coming in for folks who may not have a source of income without it. It’s the most progressive, liberal item on that list, which is why to me, it’s A #1, top of the heap. If we could only do one of those, it’s the one I would choose.
Barack Obama’s about to get two of the three, the two most progressive items on the list, to boot. Yet, many on the left are calling this a failure for liberalism, a conservative sellout to the progressive ideas Obama was elected (by us and us alone) to uphold.
So my question is simple - why is raising taxes on the rich more progressive than giving money to those who need it - during THE HOLIDAYS, no less? This is what I want liberals who are calling me an “Obamabot” to explain - I want you to tell me how you accomplish all three of the items listed above. Keep in mind the legislative and political reality, stay true to your liberal principles, and be specific.
I’m not trying to rabble rouse anyone - I’m just asking you to convince me.
1. Yes, it sucks the Senate didn't pass the middle class tax extension this morning.
2. Yes, it sucks that 37 people in Washington can overstep the will of the American people, of the US House of Representatives, and of the President of the United States.
3. Yes, it sucks that what we're left with is two options - full repeal or full extension - that don't have very much popular support.
But that having been said, shit happens. What do we do now? Where do we go from here?
I'll be the first to admit it's more fun and interesting when we're at the throats of conservatives, and vice versa. I don't even blame the media for making it seem like a 24/7 grudge match that all of us consume 90% of our waking hours with.
But from time to time, it's nice to know that everyone can still get behind a policy. See: The Bush Tax Cuts. The GOP Congressional position of full extension is supported by barely a QUARTER of the country. More than 52% of REPUBLICANS oppose it. I just think sometimes our agreements are more striking than our disagreements, and this is one of those times. For everyone, the narrative should be "establishment GOP are the only ones who support this policy." It's not left vs. right, it's the Congressional Republican leadership vs. Everyone Else. I think this bears mentioning.
Exactly zero people have voted against the Michelle Obama-supported school lunch/child nutrition bill. It passed the Senate unanimously. THE SENATE!
And yet, thanks to legislative shenanigans from House Republicans, it may have died today.
Two things - first, would it kill us to get rid of the amendment process? And second, let's be honest - is this just because Michelle Obama wants it?
I know a lot of folks on here are against the Food Safety and Modernization Act (S. 510), but since I've taken a particular interest in this bill, just wanted one more idea of what parts of the language of the final legislation - with the Tester-Hagan amendment firmly in place - you took issue with. I can't imagine why every single Democratic member of the Senate, an overwhelming majority of the House, and the president would allow legislation that does half the stuff I've heard claimed that it does. No more organic farming, no more home farming, no more farmer's markets, Washington telling us what to eat. Just wanted an idea of what you think will happen, how I'll notice the bad stuff this bill did. So, fire away.
After tracking Senate bill 510, the Food Safety and Modernization Act, for the better part of a couple of weeks now, I think I know why they call it “passing” legislation: the same reason they call it “passing” a kindey stone: because it seems every bit as painful.
Following introduction in March of 2009, the bill had a pretty typical path through the Senate - long, arduous, at times pointless. But after lubricating the gears of democracy with the slippery salve of the Tester-Hagan Amendment last week, it looks like the legislation will get an up or down vote, and will likely pass, this evening. OpenCongress has the rundown. Warning - sausage making ahead:
"At 6:30 p.m. ET, the Senate will take a vote on invoking cloture (a.k.a. breaking a filibuster) of the manager’s amendment, which is basically a substitute text for the bill that makes several minor tweaks and includes the Tester local foods amendment. Cloture votes require a 3/5ths majority, or 60 votes, to pass, and this one is expected to pass with a handful of votes to spare (the last cloture vote on moving forward with the bill passed 74-25)."
OK, makes sense. Seems everything these days has to overcome a filibuster. No big whoop.
"After that, there will be four votes on amendments, mostly on stuff unrelated to the food safety bill. The first two votes will be on competing versions of repealing the 1099 reporting requirementfrom the new health care law. Everyone seems to be in general agreement on this — small businesses argue that it would be too much paperwork for them and D’s, R’s and Obama seem to agree — but the question is how to make up for the loss in revenue that would result from the repeal (about $17 billion over ten years). The Republican amendment would pay for it with unidentified appropriations cuts (to be fleshed out by the OMB at a later) and, so far, the pay-for in the Democratic amendment is unclear. The chances of either of these passing is unclear at the moment."
Not sure about you, but I chafe at the idea that additional tweaking of the health care bill would somehow be appropriate to attach to a food safety bill. There’s enough going on in this legislation without having to make it even more complicated for regular folks to understand. Plus, you get those political commercials saying “so and so voted to add $17 billion to the debt!” when what so and so was really doing was voting on a food safety bill.
"The next two votes will be on amendments from Sen. Tom Coburn
One last shot at killing an overwhelmingly supported piece of legislation in a roundabout way, and…
"Once these four amendments are voted on, the Senate will vote on final passage of the bill. Since final passage only requires a simple majority of 51 votes and the Senate will have already overcome a 60-vote hurdle on the bill earlier in the evening, the final vote should be a slam dunk. After that it either goes to conference committee or gets sent to the House of Representatives for a vote on the bill as passed by the Senate. Since time is quickly running out of for the Democrats this year, I expect the conference committee will be skipped over and the House will simply vote on the Senate bill. The House has already voted 283-142 in favor of their own food safety bill (H.R.2749)."
I think the last part is important. The House passing the Senate version means there’s no way that the small business protections afforded by Tester-Hagan can be taken out of the legislation the president eventually signs.
It’s not exactly Schoolhouse Rock, but it’s the way our system works.
A quick couple of thoughts on the Wikileaks ha-ha that’s currently getting brou-ed by bloggers on both sides:
I have a real problem with some of those on the left that seem overly gleeful about the volume and importance of the information being disseminated in this latest batch of intelligence, and here’s why: for the last few weeks, there’s been talk about the START treaty being held up in the Senate by a few Republican lawmakers - namely John Kyl of Arizona.
Now, I’ve posted on this already, so I’m not going to go into too much detail. Suffice it to say, I agree with a lot of those on the left who say the GOP is playing partisan, stop-the-president games that end up hurting our foreign policy goals and potentially jeopardizing our standing overseas. The START treaty is overwhelmingly supported by politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, and is a measured step down a road that the Gipper himself helped pave decades ago.
But, if you’re going to take the position that obstruction of the START treaty in the Senate endangers our national security, you cannot applaud the Wikileaks documents as merely “transparency,” and some are trying to have it both ways by doing just that.
In an ideal world, I’d be right there with you. I’d be mad as hell that our State Department, the FBI, the CIA, and the military all do things that I wish we didn’t have to. But this isn’t an ideal world. The fact is that the type of intelligence, counterintelligence, international maneuvering that Wikileaks is shining their light on is necessary in this world. And if we’re going to have to do it, I want to be really, really, REALLY good at it. Which is why I have a problem - we need to maintain our credibility with the rest of the world.
We all had that kid in school or in the neighborhood. He wasn’t overtly a bully, but he was the “Alpha Dog.” Seemed cooler than everyone else, captain of the football team, hot girlfriend, but still managed to be smart and funny at the same time. Women wanted to be with him, men wanted to be him… you know the type. We can’t keep being that guy if our sister keeps telling everyone we’re scared of clowns - know what I mean?
Besides, let’s face facts here - we live in a country where the majority of us don’t know whether our taxes went up or down last year. As a populace, we’re completely incapable of parsing hundreds of thousands of documents and give them their proper weight. Blake Hounshell put it best today, calling this dump “information vandalism” - it’s just impossible to properly review these documents before they get irresponsibly and incorrectly contextualized by everyone with a website. I’ve purposefully not attempted to summarize any of the actual intel in these documents for a reason - it’s not my place.
Regardless of what you think of our government, there’s a reason we have one. There’s a reason we trust certain men and women to do things it’s so easy for us to decry from our posterior while in front of a computer keyboard in our living room. It’s because not only are we unable to comprehend the complexity of the world we live in, at the end of the day, deep down in places we don’t talk about at parties, we really don’t want to.
Anyway, just my opinion. If you want to share yours, the comments are wide open.
Am I the only one that's not virulently on one side of this or the other? I'm still in the "trying to figure out why we're talking about this" stage.
But here's where I am, so tell me why I'm right or wrong: I'm not a huge fan of the pat-downs, but I'm also not going to be a huge fan of what happens when we miss someone with plastic explosives in his crotch. I still think everyone should get full-body scans and be done with it. Besides shouldn't the conservative, free market argument be "if you don't like it, don't fly?" When did they become so concerned with stuff like this?
This is what I've learned about the economy from listening to conservatives lately: Obama's terrible for business, and uncertainty is what's leading to continuing unemployment.
Of course, this ignores to some degree the fact that the stock market and now corporate profits - two of the arbiters of capitalism - have weighed in pretty positively lately. Corporate profits are the highest ON RECORD. So isn't the real problem that companies have discovered how to make these profits WITHOUT rehiring?
The pat-downs... not so much. So what do we do? Full body scans for all (provided their proven safe, which they seem to be)? Could we just send everyone through one of these things and bee 99.8% safe? I got one at the Vegas airport, and I don't know if I was so loopy from my stay there or what, but it didn't even dawn on me to hesitate, or question whether my rights were being violated, or think about if the pictures would be kept and put on the internet - it just didn't occur to me. So anyone really have a beef with the scanners?
Heard about this one today mostly because of the hubub progressive hero Ron Wyden is putting up in opposition to it. But co-sponsors include solid progressives like Di-Fi, Pat Leahy, and most of liberal Hollywood, so I'm torn.
On the one hand, if there are websites, etc. that are just straight-up stealing movies, music, etc., I can see how that not only hurts the mulit-millionaire stars, but all the middle class folk that make those rich people who they are. On the other, Wyden's got a point - this is a really broad bill. He likened it to a bunker buster, when what was needed was a precision missile. So I'm torn. Thought I'd open it to the DU community to help me make up my mind. Anyone have this bill on their radar?
The GOP may think that this month's midterms were an endorsement of their deficit reduction policies, but more data from an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that the American people don't want Congress to consider raising the Social Security retirement age as part of a deficit reduction plan, even if it's gradually phased in over the next SIXTY YEARS.
When there's that little appetite for such a modest proposal related to social security, the GOP's going to have trouble with some of their more radical ideas when it comes to the program.
I know there's a lot of controversy surrounding S.510 - the Food Safety Modernization Act, not only from the right, but among DU folks too. But I wanted to highlight some good legislating where I see it, and that's in the Tester-Hagan amendment. Kay Hagan of North Carolina counts among her constituency thousands of small farmers. She saw S.510 as imposing undue regulation on these farmers, who make less than $500,000 a year, and she did something about it.
So, instead of another post about what's wrong with DC, I thought I'd share one about how government was designed to work:
The ten most recent threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums.
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The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
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