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November 05, 2015

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I have been waiting 40 years for Az. to wake up and join the 20th century(let' take our time).It's only gone the other direction and I don't know what it is going to take for people to wake up.Thank God I have retired and secured my Medicare and SS.I can just watch and scratch my head.

You write:

"Voters also approved a measure by a right-wing serial initiative pimp requiring a supermajority in the Legislature to raise taxes. If it becomes law, it would prove catastrophic."


Isn't that view a bit of a slap in the face to democracy defined??

Voters here approved light rail and it's expansion. So- that one's fine (WBIYB) but this one in Washington state is bad?

I think that's a really crappy view. The proposal clearly doesn't fit your views, but the voters have spoken.

I much, much prefer actual ballot initiatives on specific items. It's just a much better process than the "once removed" process where elected officials vote.

i mean, I wouldn't have ever voted for Ted Kennedy to be dog catcher, but I would never suggest that the voters of Massachusetts didn't know exactly what they were getting.

California's wonderful Prop. 13 passed by 2/3 and stopped tax increases from occurring simply because real property values increase. It forced more and more tax increases onto ballot initiatives- right where they belong.

Off-year elections favor the motivated tribe and who is more motivated than those who conflate white skin with Jesus and the Holy Ghost, Old Glory and the Stars and Bars.

I wish Democrats had a bag of Pavlovian tricks to match that of the right-wing media complex, which keeps the GOP base fearful, angry, and xenophobic. But most of our voters work, so unlike the tribe that enjoys Socialism!!! (SS, Medicare, farm subsidies, VA health care, and Big God), we need a national nail-biter to get our voters to the polls.

Marijuana lost big in Ohio, which is scarcely ironic given the mind-bending properties that Fox News already exercises over the Old and Dumb. Kentucky, like West Virginia, is a state full of moronic crackers. Virginia used to be the most consistently conservative state in the nation, so its vestigial Neanderthalism is not that big a surprise. Houston elected a lesbian mayor a few years ago, so there's that. And guess what? Salt Lake City just elected a lesbian as its mayor.

Are we losing the Culture War? No. We lose off-year and mid-term elections because Democrats just don't see the end of the world in every down-ballot race like Republicans do. I'm not sure Democrats will ever equal Republicans in the business of mind-fucking. Our feeble efforts in that arena bear no fruit (see: Air America, MSNBC, Prairie Home Companion). Most of us would sooner drink a Pabst than spend five minutes listening to talk radio.

I have never met a smart young person who also happened to be right-wing. They just don't exist. You're considered a doofus of the first rank, a Karl Rove wannabe, if you were so identified. Most kids laugh at zealots like INPHX. They're considered hopelessly uncool. So let them enjoy their brief moment of glory in the Student Council elections of Dorkwad High School circa 1956. In ten years, Republicans will be reduced to offering doobies and handjobs just get anyone to vote for them.

Soleri writes:

"I have never met a smart young person who also happened to be right-wing. They just don't exist. "

Well, OK. Take your most likely narrow sphere of acquaintances and extrapolate (poorly) to the universe.

Formally, I thinks that's called an anecdotal fallacy. Less formally, I think we can go with "having a screw loose"

As far as the litany of shallow excuses you make as to why the Dems have been getting toasted in most recent nonpresidential races, I quote from another posting in a previous blog:

"There's no point in being right if you can't win. Ideals without power = masturbation. This means parties cut and tailor their agendas to maximize their chances. Hillary, for example, dances daily on this tightrope of positioning. Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing, per Vince Lombardi"

Boy, what kind of partisan, cultish, win at any cost extremist would come up with a Karl Rovian approach like that?

Oh, yeah.

You.

The Anti-Vietnam War boomers who "matured" into the invaders of foreign lands and drone kings and queens. How will today's young person evolve?

Original Pabst, became Blatz became Olympia became hipster Pabst 2015.

Boeing Seattle, became Lazy B, Microsoft Seattle, became Softie.... Amazon Seattle will become 21st Walmart?

BTW, both Soleri's and Rogue's frustration over media influence in these smaller elections is misplaced.

What is a prime cause that the GOP tends to make advances in these "smaller" federal and state elections?

Because the generally liberal national media isn't paying any attention to them. They're too busy cheerleading for Obama's Hail Mary on closing GITMO, seven years after he promised.

And the like.

Ah, yes, the scourge of right-thinking Americans - the liberal media. Like CNBC. Asking impertinent questions of America's favorite quacks, hosers, fetus worshippers, and carnival freak acts.

The "generally" liberal media: CNBC, Fox News, the Murdoch press, several thousand hate radio stations, and Big God every Sunday. Really, I haven't heard anything about Gitmo in a couple of months, yet INPHX is convinced the liberal media is cheerleading Obama to shut it down. Ooga booga!!!

Paranoia. It's not just a lifestyle on the right. It's the price of admission to that birdbrain cult.

Soleri:

11/4/2015:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/04/politics/guantanamo-bay-executive-action/

You really need to broaden your horizons. I linked CNN, but it was EVERYWHERE.

Willfully ignorant.

Again.

Wow. That was tepid cheerleading even if you count CNN to be part of the evil liberal media and not Fox News Lite.

Tell me, zealot, why is this so important to you? Does the idea that America lock up "enemy combatants" indefinitely and extra-legally make you horny? I know you love freedom for billionaires polluters, killers of black kids, and Dick Cheney, but why are "conservatives" so hopped up on this particular ugliness?

I suspect it has something to do with everything you're about: it's really pointless except to demagogue to your party's dumb Southern base, and for that you right-wing Gollums will get out your hankies and weep bitter crocodile tears because......er.......Freedumb!

Soleri:

Because Obama lied.

Got any more tough questions?

I'd like to address something else that RC wrote:

"Worrying that this is the self-selecting world of my friends and "friends" on Facebook, Twitter and the progressive Web sites. Meanwhile, the majority of the electorate that is white and votes was keeping quiet. Ominously quiet."


I don't think they were quiet. I just don't think you were listening or looking.

Folks tend to read what they agree with (sort of a confirmation bias) and ignore (or attack)the sources they tend to disagree with. This creates a kind of a "tunnel vision" (or, in Soleri's case, blinders firmly attached to each side of his head).

I doubt that anyone is immune and it's unfortunate that it's so difficult these days just to get the facts- without some spin or take on what the real story is. The media often creates a fog.

That's why it's often helpful to try to drill down to the actual facts or source documents (like a CBO report) rather than rely on a built in confirmation bias to confirm the spin on a story.

It's a big, big world out there.

I want to address something about "lying" and it's not meant to rattle the cage of the zealot.

Everyone lies but most lies are unremarkable. When NBC anchor Brian Williams stated he had been in combat, the usual suspects on the right went crazy. But was he really lying or must misremembering? Bill O'Reilly, faux tough guy, said he had been in combat in Argentina, except his crew at the time said he merely happened to be on the scene of a riot. Still, it's easy to see how he conflated one tense situation with another. Hillary Clinton said her plane was under fire in the Balkans during that war, which was later shown to be false. But maybe that's just the human brain getting creative. Ronald Reagan famously said in 1984 he was in Germany at the end of WWII and helped liberate Dachau. Except he wasn't. No one thinks Reagan lied. By that point, his ability to differentiate movies from reality had evaporated. Ben Carson has asserted he applied to and was admitted to West Point with a full scholarship. Except they have no record of him having done so. One of INPHX's favorite candidates is a liar, right? Well, at this point it's hard to tell whether Ben Carson is lying or his anti-psychotic medication might be interfering with his tinfoil-hat reality receptors.

Lying is something you do with conscious aforethought. Say, constructing a rationale for invading a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. Those lies - and there is no other word for them - are still popular on the right. Conservatives still love to defend them. Those lies were extremely costly in lives, treasure, national security, and geopolitical stability. Those are the kind of lies you should worry about.

Barack Obama expended a bit of rhetorical license in asserting his ability to end one of America's most glaring moral stains: the imprisonment and torture of "enemy combatants" outside the Geneva Conventions. It proved much harder to do because the American right is intimately wedded to cruelty and depravity. They demagogued the issue and successfully thwarted Obama. Only a child would call his promise a lie.

Here's a link to one of my favorite bloggers, Kevin Drum. He decided to list the presidential candidates in that arena. Most of you will not like what he's reporting: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/11/how-honest-your-favorite-candidate

Soleri:

Check this out:

http://www.politifact.com/personalities/

Over on the far right, under "Browse the Obameter", click on "Broken Promises"

6 pages, including the broken promises related to GITMO and enemy combatants.

Think you can rationalize and blame all of those on the GOP too?

Six corporations own the media, and none of those six are "liberal." The "liberal" media is a myth propagated by the RW machine. There is nothing liberal about NewsCorp or GE.
http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

There's 12 pages of promises kept. Where's the Bush0meter?

Patricia:

I don't tend to give a lot of credit for people doing what they promise; I kind of expect that.

But if you think that helps Obama's legacy, well, OK.

The path forward is never straight. This was a non-surprising reaction to fast moving societal changes. As MLK said, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Obama's legacy doesn't require the approval of far-right zealot, one who excused Birtherism as a legitimate political "question", instead of the brazen racist lie it always was. I assume the zealot was on board for the Swift-Boating of John Kerry, a war hero who somehow got morphed into the cariacture of a slacker legacy Yalie, say, George W Bush. I imagine, too, the zealot was quite happy to spend $70 million on an investigation of a failed real-estate venture from 1980, Whitewater, since it resulted in the Crime of the Century, Bill Clinton's escapade with a consenting adult. And let's not forget another GOP whopper: Benghazi!!!, a transparently political witch-hunt with no other purpose than to damage Hillary Clinton. How many millions did our fair-weather defenders of fiscal prudence spend on that horsehit? Fortunately, it blew up in their pathologically lying faces, so there is some justice in this world.

When a party of sociopaths (Ruben, take note) decides to cripple the American economy in order to make President Obama a one-term president, when it decides to demonize its own health-care reform plan to further weaken him, when it votes against veterans' health care while wrapping itself in the flag, and when it attacks the rights of women over their own bodies not because they actually give a shit about a clump of fetal tissue but because they know exactly how to push buttons in the American idiocracy, let's just give this "lie" business a rest.

The Republican Party has been lying brazenly for the last 60 years (or whenever Richard Nixon uttered the words Checkers and Joe McCarthy breathed heavy about commies). I don't really care if a party of greedy corporatists needs to emotionally exploit the white working class with racial dog whistles. Still, there's something obviously heady in not caring about basic standards of truthfulness and caution. Just let it rip and always attack your opponent's greatest strength. Sorry to go Godwin on you, but the party of Karl Rove could teach the ghost of Goebbels how to lie through his teeth and still blame the "liberal media" for distorting his remarks.

Obama is human - he will occasionally make a mistake. He's also an extraordinarily decent human being unlike virtually every Republican I've ever met. INPHX, bow your disgusting head just for once and go away.

This whole thing started when Soleri had somehow remained completely (and willfully) unaware that Obama's 7 plus year "ongoing" promise to close GITMO was once again getting some traction.

Soleri asked why I thought that was relevant and I replied that it was because Obama lied. Which he did.

And then, as expected, someone pulls Soleri's Chatty Cathy cord and we get racism, the Iraq War, Checkers, racism, sociopaths, racism, Nazis,racism, corporatists, racism, and the litany of other vapid, looney, tin foil hat wearing inane stereotypical characterizations that become the foundation of any impossibly narrow "position" that Soleri makes up.

Hard to go back in time, but maybe the election would have turned out differently if instead of "Hope and Change", Obama would have campaigned on "I'll lie- just like everyone else- but Soleri thinks I'm an extraordinarily decent human being"

INPHX, unlike you Obama actually makes the lives of other people better. You do nothing but stink up your corner of the world with lies, innuendos, smears, and all that Pavlovian crap your party specializes in. Of course, Republicans have nothing else going on except to exploit the very worst in human beings for its own benefit and that of the corporate greedheads who fund it.

Really, I have nothing left to say, so please have a nice life and continue fighting for the rich, the powerful, and the damaged stooges that make up your party. Somebody has to do it, I guess.

Soleri:

You had nothing left to say about 5 or 6 posts ago.

Now that the Click and Clack Brothers are done with their radio show (And by the way fellas, someone should really get you some air time to air it out)...

Did anybody read Jonathan Chait's most recent post? It is a virtual companion piece to Mr. Talton's observations.

Two cogent paragraphs:

The polarized stalemate leaves both parties dissatisfied. Republicans — because they are spread more efficiently, have gerrymandered state and national legislative districts, and vote more frequently in non-presidential elections — have a hammerlock on the House of Representatives and dominate state government. Democrats continue to advance their policy goals through executive action emanating from the White House. Democrats and Republicans alike have both strategized to break through the stalemate by strategically targeting constituencies across the trenches.

And then this:

From the Republican point of view, the current stalemate offers reasons for hope. The presidency is the sole locus of the Democratic advantage. Republicans can screw up some races with bad candidates and lose a seat or two; if Democrats screw up a presidential election, then they hand total control of the government to the GOP. What’s more, since voters tend to punish legislators on the basis of which party controls the presidency, Democrats have little chance to generate a backlash against Republican legislative control. The Republicans therefore have a better chance to break the stalemate and win total control of Washington before the Democrats do.

Not that I have a choice, but I am okay with this spot on analysis. The Regressives can have the state houses and do unto Kansas what should be done unto Kansas. Just so long as a Democrat holds the seat of the Prime Mover and moves things progressively forward-- I am winning and they are whining. And I do so like winning...

Furthermore...

If Hillary wins there's more than a fair chance that the Kochs and Murdoch will both "buy the farm" during her term. They will thus die unhappy, feeling like losers, certain that they lost the greater political war. That's a wonderful thought to send them out on, and makes me happy indeed.


http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/11/politics-where-nobody-changes-their-mind.html


Lol, Jon, you miss the biggest point. The Dems don't offer white joe six pack anything. Not a damned thing he wants, just more corporate screwing and support for minorities while white J6P gets less and less.

Is the old white vote GOP- sure. Because of nothing. Trump now owns J6P because he promised to kick out the poor brown competition for welfare and jobs.

And the Dims just don't understand the poor whites. Why don't they love our elitist whites all suck and we need to lift up minorities?

Because the message to them sucks big time.

Fix the message and the Dims have a chance, but for right now, no damned chance.

Trump is the harbinger of doom for the R's too- because he has punctured so much crap that they sell.

The next president will be a populist, either Rubio or Trump.

As for Bernie, pffft, old white socialist playing in the sandbox of the Dem primary.

What does the Dem party offer in Arizona- nothing. A bunch of Hispanic candidates playing in safe districts and pandering to their constituencies, and ignoring white old folks who ain't liberal.

In Arizona, the politics of identity have played the Dems into a huge hole, and they can't even fight the robbery of the education trust.

The party should have found somebody who can at least fight back, Terry Goddard was the worst candidate to run against Brewer, and he would not even fight the innuendo of Chuck C.

The Dems should find their Huey Long, because the intellectual liberal bullshit don't sell to the red meat crowd.

I'm certainly not surprised that the Greedy Old Pricks still won big this week.

I'm also not surprised that Public Funding of political campaigns won in Maine and in Washington (or a city in Washington) and that Independent Redistricting won in Ohio.

Yes, these are meager wins and the Greedy Old Pricks won't take them lying down. They'll push back.

However, those measures are structural issues that signify fighting back against the century and a half that "Free Trade" has empowered corporate plutocrats and oligarchs to steal away the heart and soul of the US Constitution.

For more detail, see "Gaveling Down the Rabble" by Jane Anne Morris, APEX Press 2008

I enjoy reading Concern Troll, but this "idea" that the next president "will be a populist, either Rubio or Trump" needs some push back. Donald Trump, it goes without saying, is a megalomaniac. He doesn't care about illegal aliens. He cares about pushing buttons among Republican xenophobes. There is only the remotest possibility he'll ever be president, but if that were to happen, there would be no mass deportations because the reality principle would soon insert itself in his calculations. Business depends on a cheap, grunt labor, and Donald would be quickly apprised of their need for competent tomato-pickers, construction workers, landscapers, etc.

Marco Rubio, the candidate of billionaire Peter Singer, and soon to be the candidate of billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is the GOP establishment's Great White Hope. He would slash taxes that rich people pay (inheritance, capital gains, income, et al) and cut safety net programs that the white working class needs. This makes him the opposite of a "populist". It makes him a sociopath. C'mon, let's practice saying this word. If you think other people should lose their health care coverage, food security, and even minimum wage threhold, you're the kind of human being who doesn't give a damn about other human beings. There's a perfectly wonderful word to describe the damaged person who thinks like this: sociopath.

Democrats want to not only maintain the safety net but expand it, along with education, job training, and a higher minimum wage. You know, real populism. Just because black and brown people benefit, too, doesn't mean Democrats hate white people. Just the opposite.

There's been a lot of chatter the past week about the Princeton study that shows sharply higher mortality rates of less-educated, middle-aged white people in the U.S. Apparently, we're poisoning ourselves with food and drugs, sometimes intentionally. We're the only developed nation showing this phenomenon. What, pray tell, is the matter with Kansas (along with every other red state) that causes their white workers such despair? This spike started under the presidency of George W Bush. Since the Great Recession of 2008, real income for the white working class has plunged 19%. Culture warriors want to blame people like me, secular humanists, who worry more about actual human needs instead of loving Baby Jesus and hating "those people". Of course, this is the entire Republican playbook. Make the lives of all lower-income people harder, and then tell the white part that it's liberals like me who are giving everything away to blacks and illegal aliens.

As lies go, this one is fairly cosmic. It's the foundation of our national psychosis and shows utter contempt for humanity both as an abstract construct and actual reality.

I can't repeal globalization, modernity, sex, climate change, mass migrations, etc. It's not just because I'm a loser, either. It's because no one can. You can only do what is humanly possible. That is, respond to the facts on the ground, not scapegoat those even worse off than you. Republicans are evil not because of their harebrained voodoo economics and Randian greed. They're evil because they want you to dehumanize people less fortunate than yourselves. This is sometimes called "punching down". All dysfunctional social groupings display this tendency, from families to nations. You don't need to agree with Democrats on everything but please internalize their core idea: you don't demonize the losers. Republicans do. This is fundamental.

Soleri:

I don't believe the Princeton report isolated death rates by states (like Kansas, for example).

Can you show us where you came up with that? Does the report differentiate middle class whites deaths by state?

Do you think there are more (or fewer) middle class whites in Kansas or in Massachusetts? And is the death rate for them different?

The increase actually started in 1999 (see the graph in the NYT article below). It actually kind of leveled off around 2008.

Can you explain that and why did you arbitrarily (and incorrectly) pick 2008?


Middle age blacks are still 40% more likely to die than middle class whites (despite the fairly recent increase for whites).

Is that because of bad policies in blue states?


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/health/death-rates-rising-for-middle-aged-white-americans-study-finds.html

Thanks.

Can't wait for your measured, analytical, data driven response.

The Democrats are the last ones standing to protect what was once called "the liberal consensus," which appertained under the leadership of both parties from the end of World War II to the late 1970s. Both parties.

That consensus created the greatest middle class in history, a rising tide that included civil rights, made enormous strides to improve the material and opportunity well-being of the poor, built the TVA and countless other infrastructure projects that more than repaid their costs, invested in research that continually improved the economy and sent men to the moon. It created, sustained and broadened Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps — and who benefits most from these? White folks.

The consensus broke apart for a variety of reasons that can be litigated on another day. But the reality is that the nation has been running on its fumes ever since, or its elements corrupted to enrich the richest. Yet the fumes continue to benefit us in our mixed economy and social safety net, shredded though it may be.

One failing of many Democratic elites is the failure to find the language to remind white working-class voters how they benefit from government and the legislative victories of liberalism (which is...enormously). This should be Job No. 1, not something assumed. In its absence is a vacuum in which today's "conservatives" can pour their "economic freedom" gasoline.

Conservatives and reactionaries never gave a damn for the working people of any color. But they are very good at divide-and-rule.

You know, my Dad used to tell me that when he was raising a family (mid 50's forward, he didn't even think of the cost of most utilities, including gasoline. The amounts just weren't significant. Who wouldn't drive for a family vacation when gasoline was 26 cents a gallon?

Today? Anyone thing about utility or gasoline prices?

Hence with SS, Medicare, and Medicaid.

When LBJ signed the expansions, the all in rate was 7.25% on the first $4,800 of earnings. And the system looked sustainable.

Now, it's 12.4% on the first $118,500.00 AND 2.9% on ALL wages. And it's breaking the budget.


http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/content/pdf/ssrate_historical.pdf

As far as Democrats failure to find the language to let middle class whites know how well liberal policies have turned out for those whites, maybe the problem is the swell job that the Democrats have done for blacks.

I mean, look how well blacks have done over the last 12-15 years.


Leave it to INPHX to find the wellness gap among blacks, blame it on Democrats, and then suggest that if we had lower taxes everyone would be richer because.....er.......voodoo!

Our health-care industrial complex arose in the absence of any strategy to address what every other industrialized nation takes for granted: health care is a human right. It's why those nations have better health-care outcomes and much lower costs. Here, citiznes assumed that the "free market" would work a miracle so there would be no need for regulations to contain costs. They were duped.

So, we had to start from square one. You define the problem and then address the solutions. INPHX disagrees! Why should "producers" be taxed just so "takers" can live? It's why almost every Southern state has refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. It's not just blacks who suffer (although that's obviously a big part of their strategy). It's all poor people. And poor Southern whites, inexplicably, still vote Republican. Wonder why?

It's called the Southern Strategy. Let's stop tiptoeing around this brazen appeal to cruelty and bigotry. There would be no Republican ascendancy without it. Even in the 1980s, real Democrats like Al Gore, Dale Bumpers, Ernest Hollings, and Sam Nunn were still getting elected to the Senate from Southern states. This almost seems like a dream now. Any real Democrat getting elected in the deep South is unthinkable. Right-wing media have so weaponized the Southern Strategy and "culture war" that they appear ready to secede from civilization itself. "What's the matter with Kansas" is exactly the trope you should employ to describe the horror of a nation where people actually vote to make their lives worse just to buy into the false constructs Republicans use to bamboozle them. Those toxic myths illustrate why they're no longer capable of even rudimentary reasoning. Surprised? Why? This is what propaganda is supposed to do.

The ugliness and cruelty of people like INPHX would be shame-inducing in any other advanced nation. Only here do we accord him some measure of undeserved respect. If you think other people should suffer and die just so the 1% can get richer, you're worse than merely being an asshole. You're no longer recognizably human. And that nearly half this country votes like this jerk should frighten everyone to death. No one should be surprised that the Republican Party's most reliable demographic, working-class whites, are literally killing themselves with hate, stupidity, and misdirected rage.

I enjoy reading Concern Troll, but this "idea" that the next president "will be a populist, either Rubio or Trump" needs some push back.

soleri, You shouldn't waste your considerable talents with that. The famous debunker Michael Shermer calls nonsense of that ilk "beyond wrong." And when such predictions do prove wrong, trust me, Mr Troll won't be admitting to his utter lack of insight to the future. His confidence won't be dented a ding...

Here is another hard truth: What happened to Mr. Gore in Florida with the Nader bots will not happen to Mrs Clinton. She is going to win. So really, you needn't worry about "pushing back" against such bleak visions of humanity's future.

And I can also guarantee you this: Soon enough Mr. Sanders will absolutely rally his troops in support of Mrs. Clinton. They will campaign together in carefully planned places. And the party will unite and drive strong for home.

Yes some will still refuse to vote for her. But those few -- pissing their votes down a gopher hole while flipping off the miserable world they seem to feel we deserve -- really don't matter in the long or short run of things...

koreyel, I hope you're right. I think it's an aspect of our cold civil war that some people are looking for deus ex machina solutions from far right and far left fields. Bernie would certainly be an impressive if unlikely hero in a left-wing epic but this nation, sadly, would sooner elect Chris Christie president. Elections are really like battles in a never-ending war. While there will never be a definitive victory, a loss at this point would be devastating. We need to elect Hillary, and then start the real work of educating people about why nations exist in the first place. Curing ourselves of Randian bullshit will take years and years. It's the autoimmune disease of democracy itself.

BTW, I forgot the .9% and the 3.8% Obamacare taxes on top of the payroll taxes I cited above to pay for that wonderful example of a further expansion of the safety net that won't pay for itself.

BTW, can I keep my plan?

The first few rounds (FDR, LBJ) of the expansion of the safety net were EASY. Then, medical costs went through the roof, people started living longer, inflation reared it's ugly head, and our democracy decided that the next generation could figure out where the money was going to come from.

Glad that's gotten so much better.


Soleri:

Your lack of any type of answers to my questions about your bigoted, narrow, bias confirming,wrong headed interpretation of the Princeton study forces me to assume that you just made stuff up, which is hardly a solid approach on a reality based blog.


But then again, you rarely make accuracy a condition of one of your bleatings.

The rest of our reply is just the Chatty Cathy crap that you always spew about racism, the Southern Strategy, and the pretend hopes of the GOP of throwing the 99% into work camps.

Just bottled up rage that has found an outlet.


INPHX, you are a piece of work when your mania for the last word outruns your ability to add value or even to amuse or impress us with your rhetorical/writing/argument ability. But in the need of diversity on the blog, where most right-wingers fear to tread, I guess you are our piece of work.

Here's my standard day-job response to Kranks that flame me and always demand the last word. Then I let them take it from there:

Dear Sir or Madam:
Thank you for the note and for the kind words. Due to the large volume of e-mails I receive I am unable to respond to each one personally. However, I feel that it is important to at least acknowledge those who have taken the time to say something complimentary, if only through this computer generated reply. I appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Jon Talton
Economics Columnist
The Seattle Times


Your lack of any type of answers to my questions about your bigoted, narrow, bias confirming,wrong headed interpretation of the Princeton study forces me to assume that you just made stuff up, which is hardly a solid approach on a reality based blog.

There's a lot of room for interpretation in that Princeton study, which is one reason why it's being discussed so widely. Paul Krugman, the guy with the Nobel Prize in Economics, himself doesn't fully understand the causal relationships although he's willing to take some tentative guesses. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/09/opinion/despair-american-style.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

I'm neither a social scientist nor an economist but then, neither are you. The opinions we express here are not proof of anything. I have a definite viewpoint, of course, and I'm very happy to express it here, just as you're very happy to express your sociopathic opinion that it's better that people die for want of health care and other safety-net programs than greedy assholes be asked to pay slightly higher taxes. Gee, we disagree about a fundamental conception of the political economy and a decent human society. Quelle horreur!

Soleri:

Well, the good news is that you've evolved to the point where you acknowledge that your views are interpretations and not actually contained in, or supported by the data in, the report.

That's a big step forward.

Well, almost.

Dates are generally not interpretations. You used 2008 (to take a pot shot at Bush) as the point where the increase started and that's not subject to interpretation; it's just flat out wrong.

So, there's that.

Koreyel,

I see that Jon agrees with me, in a much nicer manner.

As for you Inphx, the entire R brand is a mass of wet sopping idiocy. I would note the entire furball of republican ideals regarding healthcare is the rich can buy it and the poor can die from (lack of) it. You should go and see exactly what benefits are available in every other first world country, and compare how we blow so much more of our GNP on awful healthcare outcomes. Period, end of sentence, speak no more foolishness. Yes, France has a better healthcare system that costs less, and Switzerland does too- gee are you surprised?
Here is your future, oh foolish one: http://www.manilatimes.net/penniless-nobel-laureate-dies-after-private-hospital-refused-to-treat-him/223747/

Run out of money, then die you old sucker.

The reason why I am talking about a populist winner is people are like Inphx, easily distracted from reality and able to project their fantasies of making life better through the magic of politics.

Har, the New Deal was the minimum possible to buy off the working classes and allow the oligarchy enough buy in to die for America in the big war, ok? Now the rich don't feel existentially threatened, so they take and take and take- so until someone rides that herd into the pockets of the rich again, we sit here stalemated.

The really funny part is you have to make six figures to be a libertarian, then you can try to go Galt. Just don't try to live cheap in a foreign country, sucker.

Per Concern Troll:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ten-miles-square/2015/11/white_angst_presents_an_opport058532.php

I think there are some great discussion points here. Should the Democrats lose the presidency, it's interesting to imagine how quickly things might turn back toward conservatism in this country, starting in Jan. 2017, because all the other pieces are in place, from the local level on up.

Personally, I tend to think that the various vested interests that fund both sides of the aisle may be more invested in gridlock and the status quo than in landmark change from an economic perspective, but I think we could see some interesting traction on various signature / litmus type social/cultural/policy issues. I don't foresee too much sweeping reform no matter who wins the presidency because the Republicans are splintered between the true-believing, let's-die-on-a-hill types and the more moderate, let's-make-some-sausage types.

To address the concerns of so many in this thread, I think the Dems do need to figure out how to appeal to "white working class" voters. One great way NOT to do that is to talk down to them as so many of the comments in this thread seem to do in painting all Republican voters as uneducated, simple-minded, selfish fools voting against their own self interest because of some sort of racist or other identity-politics sort of pride.

I think there are tens of millions of people who believe the Democrats are trying to tell them how to live, that the Democrats "think they know better than I do" and so on and so forth. Ergo, telling that person that they are voting against the own self interest just confirms their opinion that they are being told that the government knows better than they do what they want.

It seems to me that some people on here that fail to heed the old axiom that: "It is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool that it is to open it and confirm it."
Emerson said it best: " A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."
If that shoe pinches, I probably mean you.

Mark, I'm going to assume your reproach to commenters here is directed primarily at me. I'm also going to assume you're a right-winger with skin in the Republican game of bamboozling the white working class with culture-war bullshit, aka, the Southern Strategy. If that is indeed the case, I'll just go ahead and plead guilty on all counts so we don't get stuck on issues of vocabulary or meaning.

Appealing to people's sense of racial grievance and cultural resentment while making their lives more difficult strikes me as a dubious strategy mostly on moral grounds. That said, people clearly have the right to live according to their values, and at this point, my modest demurrals have no impact on the debate. I've had dealings with people from this demographic and I usually avoid stepping on their toes after learning of their beliefs. In a forum like this, however, you might as well tell the truth. I'm not a Democrat running for office or a pundit pleading for them. This blog, fortunately, is not America's town hall. We can speak truthfully without fear of our words being weaponized by political strategists.

Democrats make their economic arguments almost entirely on color-blind principles. There is some residual arguments about affirmative action and police violence but the main show is really about income inequality, shoring up the safety net, education and jobs training and raising the minimum wage. In other words, Democrats care about the white working class where it matters most just as Republicans care primarily about the interests of the 1%.

I didn't write the book What's The Matter With Kansas but I do speak directly from its premise, namely that people vote against their own interests only because of demagogic appeals that target their reptilian brains. This is also known as propaganda. That Republicans also lie through their teeth about its centrality in their political calculations is interesting (see: INPHX). Obviously, it's not paraded for public consumption but it really ought to be. The truth matters, even if Republicans excel at sanitizing its incendiary import, which pits Americans against one another. Divide and conquer is not just a saying. It's the Republican playbook. It's brazen and it's despicable.

On purely stylistic grounds, I'm not a person who is sympathetic to the gun culture, country-western music, Fox News, or living in rural backwaters. I will note that I think the people who eat pork rinds, hate Jesse Jackson, and obsess about Obama's heritage are benefited more by Democrats than Republicans. I will note that the GOP base is benefited by Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, Medicaid, and the VA. I don't have to pluck a banjo to assert my allegiance to the working class. I vote for them just as surely as every Republican I know votes against them.


"Appealing to people's sense of racial grievance and cultural resentment while making their lives more difficult strikes me as a dubious strategy mostly on moral grounds." --soleri

I'd agree with this whole-heartedly although I probably have some disagreements about to whom it applies and to what extent. The reasoning is sound and I am opposed to any immoral or dishonest politics.

I wasn't offended by anyone's comments. I have learned that the debate here is swing-for-the-fences and that's cool, I think everyone here is pretty intelligent and interesting and I personally enjoy hearing some different/challenging viewpoints from time to time. I think it's been a good experience for me.

That said, I do think the issue I wrote about is a real stumbling block for liberal politics. I really believe a lot of "white working class" voters feel like they're being looked down on / talked down to, just based on what I've seen and what people have said and the many times I've subjected myself to the comments on just about any Yahoo article. I don't know how often those feelings are truly valid. E.g., I'm as over the "every internet comment must be about how terrible Obama is" era of internet discourse. He's like a living straw-man, the answer to all questions and you probably couldn't read the comments on a slideshow of what Princess Kate wore for Remembrance Day without someone bringing up Obama.

So your point is well-noted; while I do think the Democrats could pick up more votes by better messaging and tactics, certainly it could be seen as a disingenuous tactic. And perhaps I'm being biased because it is just something I've noticed; maybe I don't notice as much when, say, someone on the right side starts moralizing because I might not disagree with it. But, to a liberal, it might be just as irksome / offensive as "being talked down to / treated like I'm stupid" would be to the voters in question.

Thanks as always for your thoughts!

Lol- here is the Southern Strategy at it's finest- read the parts about the R party:
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/12/beattyville-kentucky-and-americas-poorest-towns

Yup, I rest my case.

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