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November 12, 2012

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What I'm afraid of is that Mr. Obama will "self-negotiate."
Sort of like offering a higher price for a used car than the seller asked for ....... and then making a higher counter-offer.

The election demonstrated that the current Republican Party coalition of Libertarians and Christian rightists will not be able to win the White House or Senate seats outside the New Confederacy. Arizona unfortunately will remain a member of the New Confederacy as the LDS, retiring seniors from the heartland and Republican voting restrictions continue to subjugate Hispanic political aspirations.

Koch and Texas billionaire money can still buy state legislators in much of the country which gives the reactionary right gerrymandering privileges for House of Representatives power. Right wing pig money can also blackmail Republican House members with primary threats to vote in a manner which is destructive to the country.

The faith based Christian right is in shock over the gay marriage referendum results, marijuana and the Muslim atheist still in the White House. :):)

Obama could very well cave again but his re-election has slowed the far right and allowed demographics to take its course in diluting the power of reactionary, backward political forces in the US.

It will also be important to see how Obama's brain trust other than Geithner is revamped and (hopefully) upgraded. Can DOJ acquire a set of huevos and LOSE Eric Holder? Is there a better candidate for Sec. of State than John Kerry? And who is responsible for being Explainer in Chief about the benefits of Obamacare . . while smarter folks are parsing through and separating grain from chaff in this 2000 page dog's breakfast?

Tax, tax, tax...welfare. welfare welfare...The current Administration is just a continuance of corruption from Chicago...AND is totally inept in the protection of the US and our citizens overseas.
We will become thrd class int he World, for we are broke, and we are weak (well not all of us, just our Leadership)
I have never been so discusted with the total Lack of Leadership, and it just got re-elected... I really think I'll be able to say "I told you so" very soon.

Excellent summation of the situation on the ground, post-election. Somehow a little "vitality" may have seeped into our decaying body politic.

Petro
That vitality may just be methane gas in the decaying body.

It is official and Phoenix-area District 9 goes to Sinema:

"Sinema becomes the first openly bisexual member of Congress. Her victory came in a year when three states approved gay marriage, and at least five openly gay Democrats were elected to House seats. A Wisconsin congresswoman also became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.

Parker was criticized by Democrats as a tea party radical who would hurt children by cutting the federal education department.

Republicans countered saying Sinema was too liberal for the newly created district and doesn’t understand stay-at-home moms."
http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/free/20121112arizona-congress-sinema-defeats-parker.html

Interestingly, despite numbers being counted and tabulated for Maricopa County, the numbers for Arpaio and Penzone have not moved and have not been updated. Makes you wonder if they are trying to postpone an uproar from the extremists if the Arpaio lead begins to falter.

Yea for Sinema!!!

Skip - "I told you so" doesn't work with this crowd.

Indeed, hard times are ahead. In its fulfillment, is it your contention, Skip, that you will wave "I told you so" at us? I'm sorry, but "this crowd" has made no bones about the problems that this American empire faces in the near- to mid-future so, on that score, there is no claim of special prescience that can be made.

But, it appears that what you hold as special knowledge is that this administration, this President is responsible for the coming decline. That this President is "inept in the protection of the US and our citizens overseas." Is it that you really believe that the entire security infrastructure, the behemoth that is the Pentagon, the military that I feel that it is safe to assume that you admire and defend in your patriotism... that this vast bureau of personnel is so plastic or so weak as to turn to jelly with this Chicago-style "lack of Leadership?"

No, this decline has deeper roots than that, deeper even than the misadventures of past administrations that I so love to excoriate myself. Deep roots that will affect us all, as citizens and human beings. Will it then be the appropriate action to scapegoat this thin four - now to be eight - years of recent historical skin? Will you find such thin gruel truly that nutritious?

Criticize policies and actions of this administration. I sure do - though notably from a different angle than yourself. We probably have criticisms of the Bush years in common as well - some from different angles, some probably quite similar. But to lay the arrow of history on one hapless politician from Chicago is hardly going to burnish anyone's credibility.

With all due respect.

Mr. Talton you appear to be more clueless than I thought. You haven't yet figured out that both parties are out to screw us, and hardly anything has changed after all this election nonsense. As if we really had a choice, the options for president were suicide by iceberg or slow death by deprivation -- which do you prefer?

Don't kid yourself: President Obama is "steeling himself" to make it look like he's the serious adult fixing the "dreaded deficit" when in fact he has already "caved" to giving Wall Street another chance to STEAL from us big time, starting with the Grand Bargain betrayal that he's about to run around the country selling. That's just a setup for privatization.

You know darn well the next Treasury Sec'y will be a Wall Street shill, like nearly all of Obama's appointees to critical positions of financial responsibility (the relatively powerless CFPB excepted).

"Republican soul-searching" is no joke -- remember what happened in the 2010 mid-term election. It won't take much to sway the relatively few voters that turn out, even if they can't suppress or steal the votes. Don't be surprised if the same thing happens in 2014. Watch them pander to Latinos with a lighter shade of amnesty, while sustaining the anti-abortion anti-contraception anti-gay "moral high ground" message that these Catholics will eat up.

Factual error: Karl Rove's group won 1 congressional seat out of 10 -- not a total wash. I'm glad to see him lose big, but I'm sure he'll be back. There's no shortage of corporate/oligarch cash to shovel into that bottomless pit. From the point of view of the oligarchs, no matter who wins, things turn out to their advantage. The expense of putting on the big show is necessary to convince the sheeple that Democracy is at work, when actually they're in control no matter who wins.

You admitted that "very few serious issues were discussed" -- what does that say about the whole chimera that you bought into, as though it had some significance? I am very disappointed in the dearth of critical thinking here.

What's next?

I'll let you know after my vote gets counted here in Arizona.

The demonstrated incompetency of AZ's Secretary of State (the batrachian Ken Bennett) should lead to him being gutted, roasted, and shat out over the desert someplace like a bird turd.

But this is Arizona...
And that ugly white toad is probably your next Gov.

Thank heavens I won't be living here in 2016. I absolutely promise to have moved by then to a state where my vote actually gets counted.

NM esta mirando bueno

¡buena suerte! Korevel

Gaylord the election wasn't an essay, it was a two choice exam: A)Obama B)Romney. The electorate passed.

What would your answer look like if the election asked for your narrative on how things should be?

This article is a good example of the widely held mentality on the streets of metropolitan Phoenix. Dumb and dumber will fuel the continued growth of the criminal justice industry in Arizona.

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona woman, in despair at the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama, ran down her husband with the family car in suburban Phoenix on Saturday because he failed to vote in the election, police said on Monday.

Holly Solomon, 28, was arrested after running over husband Daniel Solomon following a wild chase that left him pinned underneath the vehicle.

Daniel Solomon, 36, was in critical condition at a local hospital, but is expected to survive, Gilbert police spokesman Sergeant Jesse Sanger said.

Police said Daniel Solomon told them his wife became angry over his "lack of voter participation" in last Tuesday's presidential election and believed her family would face hardship as a result of Obama winning another term.

Witnesses reported the argument broke out on Saturday morning in a parking lot and escalated. Mrs Solomon then chased her husband around the lot with the car, yelling at him as he tried to hide behind a light pole, police said. He was struck after attempting to flee to a nearby street.

Obama won the national election with 332 electoral votes compared with 206 for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Arizona's 11 electoral votes were won by Romney.

(Reporting by David Schwartz.; Editing by Mary Slosson, Cynthia Johnston and Andre Grenon)

I expect US foreign policy to begin to unravel over Iran:

-- I see a coalition of China and India with maybe Russia pushing the US hot buttons so as to keep their economies humming with Iranian crude. This will be a slow process so as to make sure there are no US boots on the ground in Afganistan (but mercenaries, er I mean "contractors", are not part of this equation).

-- Latin America will continue to pull away from the US over the drug war, US corporate interference/dominance in their economies, Cuba, US coups against elected governments (Honduras and a couple attempts in Venezuela) and immigration policy (the Japanese sure didn't appreciate US immigration policies against Asians during the first half of the 20th century).

On the economic front, the US will be stuck in the low growth Japan model for quite some time because of the corporatocracy, lack of vision and leadership in goverment (federal, state, and local) and business, the extraordinary amount of money the US spends on "defense", and the lack of demand and job creation.

On the political front, the rich will continue to live by their own set of laws and the rest of us will be oppressed and robbed by the set of rules met to transfer what miserly wealth we've accumulated to the lawyer, prison, and police states. The Kooks will double down for the next set of elections. Young people and people of color will flee the Kooks in droves (now is the time for the Green, Libertarian, and Justice parties to prepare for the next midterm elections). We may see the last gasps of the Party of Lincoln in our lifetime (and even Abe, Teddy, and Ike would be heartened to see it die).

Whether its Kooks or Wimps, the long slide at the end of empire is underway for the US. We are broke because we love war and shiny toys, because we love our self-ennobled rich, because we do not care for our neighbors, and because we think we are so damn special.

Just signed the petition to secede from the union.

If we succeed, most of you folks on this blog will be wearing a rope necktie in short order.

I must apologize in advance, but due to my ancestry, I may be wearing a few of your scalps on my belt.

No offense. It's not personal.

Good stuff eclecticdog

Reb U get close to me and I'll put a boot to your last under the knife scar.
And its your turn to buy.

U R safe cal.

gray scalps don't count for nothing.

Looks like a squirrel.

In the new country of Arizonastan, Brewer will be a $5 call girl.

OK, I meant $3.

I'm sorry, I meant $2.

Alright stranger, make me an offer.

Do I have change for a $1? Mister, you drive a hard bargin.

Is bruja paying or being paid?

Side-note: phxSUNSfan just posted a couple of rather interesting replies to some questions I posed in the Election Open Thread regarding Latino voters in Arizona and Democratic politics there generally -- well worth reading. I've followed-up with some additional comments, questions, and suggestions.

http://roguecolumnist.typepad.com/rogue_columnist/2012/11/election-open-thread/comments/page/2/#comments

Will get to the current thread when time permits.

Nice column, Mr. Talton.

Republicans are hastening to "moderation" on the one issue that meets with the support of the monied wing of the party: comprehensive immigration reform; the "comprehensive" part alluding, frankly, to amnesty for the deserving (non-criminal) portion of roughly 12 million illegal immigrants, which constitutes the overwhelming bulk of them.

That various Chambers of Commerce should agree to the desirability of an increased supply of low-expectation labor (as regards wages, benefits, and such things as enforceable overtime pay) is not a surprise.

This is not to say that such a "reform" is unreasonable. It is reasonable. That said, the other hinge on which "comprehensive" immigration reform hangs is "border security."

I know of no form of border security that is feasible (politically and economically practicable). The mere fact that roughly half of all illegal aliens present in the United States entered legally but overstayed their visas, renders the concept of border walls nearly irrelevant -- and beefing up those walls will only increase the role of visa overstays in future waves of illegal immigrants.

Thus far, laws like SB 1070 have only encouraged the mass of illegal aliens to switch from a relatively harmless practice of inventing false Social Security Numbers (which previously were not checked against the E-Verify database), to a harmful practice of stealing Social Security Numbers (frequently harvested from children's records by organized crime and subsequently sold), as well as more wholesale identity theft.

Proposals to create new forms of "biometric" identity cards for the purpose of applying for employment face a number of practical problems, including not only citizen objections to a national ID card, but the fact that in order to obtain such a card, those applying need only provide the same old easily faked documents (birth records, green cards, SSNs, etc.), thus introducing vulnerabilities into the system from the start.

The issue of civil liberties (indefinite detention) may be partially addressed by the 2013 form of the NDAA. I have no time tonight to sort through it all, but at least superficially (see sections 1031 through 1033) certain changes have been made.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr4310/text

Excellent points, Emil.

Emil,
Will the immigration legislation addressing the 12 million undocumented immigrants be much different from the 1980's immigration legislation?

The movement of people between Mexico and the US is natural migration that is incapable of being humanely stopped by walls or laws. It needs to be acknowledged and managed in a proper way.

That was basically my take, jmav: the situation is highly reminiscent of the Reagan era amnesty which accomplished the legalization of already existing immigrants without addressing the issue of future illegal immigration (i.e., offering a vague and phony "border enforcement" mantra as the sugar pill to get the medicine passed).

I suspect that this is by design. Legal residents cannot be intimidated and exploited nearly as easily as illegal ones, who have to keep their heads down, defer to authority (including their employers), and avoid attention at all costs. Exploitation is the primary appeal of such workers; not only for employers but also for their customers, who get more inexpensive construction, guest services, and other products and services as a result.

The Republican Party has been indulging the reactionary nativism of the Tea Party wing, but now has to face the reality of a changing demographic which threatens to make their party increasingly irrelevant as time goes on.

From now until the finalization of whatever immigration reform measures are enacted, the Republican leadership will tack back and forth like a sailor trying to play winds coming from different directions so as to maintain forward velocity. They have to please the Latino electorate enough to siphon away some of the support from that quarter for Democrats, while adopting a smoke and mirrors rhetoric designed to lull the nativist wing into acquiescence, lest they nullify the increase in Latino support with a decrease in support from the nativist wing.

This will be particularly difficult since the nativists have a single-minded focus on the issue and will have a difficult time swallowing the idea of an amnesty no matter what the terms.

I agree that the immigration quotas, which were set way too low back in the early 1990s and have been frozen since, need to be increased.

Since all evidence to date, as well as the best theory we have going forward, shows that immigration will occur at high levels whether it is legal or illegal -- provided we are lucky enough to have a thriving economy -- the best way to manage immigration is to legalize it so that it can be controlled and supervised, setting terms advantageously (but reasonably) for the host country and requiring legal but non-citizen residents to gain proficiency in English, take civics classes to understand the American political system, and report regularly (personal and employer contact information) else face expedited deportation proceedings and permanent disbarment from legal residency if caught.

Those who have something to gain and keep will be unlikely to risk it by violating such simple terms.

Meanwhile, Americans will gain from population growth to the extent of seeing increased economic activity since more jobs and more workers producing more goods and services means bigger gross domestic product; and this could also take some of the pressure off entitlement reform since an increase in payroll and income tax collections will help fund Social Security and Medicare at a time when the ratio of workers (taxpayers) to retirees is expected to drop to around 2:1 or less.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"Never before would we have had to wait until after the election to find out what he (presidential candidate Romney) really stood for, besides his own ambition."

I suspect that there was nothing to find. Aside from the typical class values of the rich, Romney was defined by personal ambition, and like a whore turning tricks he was fickle and inconsistent. (Too bad he wasn't from Arizona, since that would have made him an AZwhore.)

His time as Massachusetts governor didn't show Romney's values so much as define limits for his protean policy morphs, by providing a particular set of limitations (e.g., Democrat controlled state legislature, strong public unions, etc.) which shaped and moderated his plutocratic tendencies toward tax cuts, union busting, and sweetheart deals for corporations.

As president, his identity would have depended as much upon the post-election congressional results (e.g., divided congress, or if not, who dominated, where, and by how much) and by public polls on specific issues, as on any personal values.

Regarding the "entitlement reform" issue, I'd really like to see some hard numbers on simple reforms such as eliminating the cap on taxable income: currently income above $113,700 is not subject to the Social Security payroll tax.

How much would eliminating the cap altogether raise, per year, and how much of the shortfall between revenues and benefits would this eliminate?

It goes without saying that I want this information on a cash accounting basis, since that's the way the Social Security and Medicare programs are run (i.e., current revenues pay for current benefits); with NO reference to the absurd fraud of "trust funds", their balances, or their supposed bankruptcies.

Also, I'd like to see some ideas for managing medical cost inflation aside from those included in Obamacare. Obviously, a single-payer system is far and away the best method of doing this, but once you've said that where do you go if you don't get it?

So, I would like to see some ideas for moderating medical cost inflation within the framework of the current system, and particularly with respect to healthcare providers paid by private insurance, rather than Medicare paid providers.

It's very important that some numbers be attached to these ideas, to give a sense of their individual and cumulative effect and also to give them context: how much might they save and what does this mean in the context of national medical costs and cost increases?

Raising the cap on social security wages should be an easy decision like it was a generation ago. The ideology of no new taxes of course continues to hobble the proper administration of government and defeats even relatively easy choices.

The trust fund balances should be considered as cash receivable from general tax revenues in the event payroll tax increases do not create a cash surplus. No benefits cuts should be permitted by ignoring trust fund tallies.

Top tax rates have been kept lower for three decades by subsidies to general income tax revenue from the cash surplus of collected payroll taxes. It only becomes a Ponzi like scheme if the government is allowed to lower social security benefits based upon its raid of prior year cash surpluses of payroll taxes.

jmav wrote:

"Raising the cap on social security wages should be an easy decision like it was a generation ago."

OK, but I said eliminate the cap, not raise it. The cap is already raised annually, being indexed to inflation.

"The ideology of no new taxes of course continues to hobble the proper administration of government and defeats even relatively easy choices."

All the more reason for the Democrats to understand the necessity of, first, winning back the House of Representatives while retaining control of the Senate; and second, the importance of using reconciliation bills to evade the possibility of Republican filibusters, while acting without delay (since a congressional majority doesn't last forever).

If the Republicans regain control of Congress after that, hopefully they face the veto of a Democratic president; and if not, they face the unenviable task of cutting revenues without ballooning the deficit.

Obama and the Democrats have ALREADY raised taxes in the health care act. There is a 3.8 percent "Medicare contribution tax" which applies to investment income such as capital gains (net of home sale exclusions) and dividends but only for the top 2 percent or so of households by income. There is an additional 1 percent (0.9) Medicare tax on earned income (as opposed to investment income) for the same top 2 percent.

All it takes to finish the job is to pass beyond the lingering effects of recession (which give Blue Dog Democrats the excuse they need to block income tax increases), and then regain control of Congress.

Democrats had control of Congress more or less continuously from 1933 through 1981 (two brief exceptions) during which time all of the legislation regarded as progressive was passed in this country. Period. Republican intransigence is a problem only as long as it is relevant, whether numerically or because of Democratic timidity and fecklessness.

I see your point about the trust fund balances, to the extent that they represent a record of overtaxation (i.e., cash revenues in excess of benefits paid).

Beyond that, I think the country needs to get away from the idea of regarding Social Security and Medicare as independent spending items which need to pay for themselves.

Nobody regards other budgetary items (e.g., National Defense) as something independent of the general revenues or as something that needs to pay for itself.

All spending that isn't financed by borrowing comes from the same pot of general fund revenues, and all such revenues are fungible.

We need to determine what spending items and levels are desirable, holistically and within the context of a total budget, and how best to fund that budget through taxes and moderate borrowing as a percentage of GDP -- "moderate" being defined in non-emergency cases as borrowing which shrinks the deficit to a smallish percentage of GDP and keeps it in that range, circumstances permitting.

90% of congress was re-elected.

(:-(

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