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February 28, 2013


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Sing it!

Like Jim said, I'm just gonna get my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames.

Reading this rant I recognized my own point of view! Thanks for saying it so well.

Atta boy, Jon.

Today's Prescott Courier, like yesterday's, includes a story or two written by a professional journalist, detailing the noticeable impact the sequester will have on Yavapai County: things people should notice, like, for instance, dangerous cuts to wildlands firefighting budgets.

The response? A bunch of comments from foaming-at-the-mouth semi-literates about Big Government.

I'm skeptical yet more self-inflicted misery will bring intelligence to the discussion. Arizonans will probably end up shooting each other first, assuming we don't burn up next fire season.


I just read through the comments in Prescott.


I thought my Show Low neighbors were nuts, but the Prescott folks are off the deep end.

No wonder J & G gun sales does so well in Prescott.

Melanie writes: The response? A bunch of comments from foaming-at-the-mouth semi-literates about Big Government.

Which explains why Jon poured Ipecac in his coffee yesterday. Jon won't drop the f-bombs but I will. In essence his post says:

You want to fuck this country, this empire into the ground? I'm in you fat fucks. Let's fuck it to hell double time. Sequester that white assholes! Suffer like dogs in the AZ summer.

I get Jon's passion for that.
It comes from deep frustration...

What's really interesting though is the far far left, I mean the pinko left. They should be standing and cheering the sequester. The American empire can't afford to be an empire anymore. The hard left wanted America out of everyone's business remember? The sequester is a wonderful moment for them too.

So for me, I see the sequester as teabagging Amerikans standing shoulder to shoulder with the commie-left doing Amerika in the cornhole with shit-eating sideways grins on their lopsided heads.

But unlike Jon, I won't cheer or jeer them on. I voted for Obama. He's my guy. And these teabaggers are gonna suffer that for four more years. I love that! That's my "fuck you" to teabaggers everywhere. They I'll do everything I can to elect Hilary and cause them four more years of shit sandwiches to be shoved passed their dewlaps and wattles and down their gaping white maws. "Say Ahhh" motherteabaggers!

Con mucho gusto!

Economists agree with Mr. Talton:

"Only two of 37 economists surveyed last week by The Associated Press called for significant spending cuts now. The rest wanted to see deep cuts delayed.

"Europe’s experience shows that hasty budget cuts can be counterproductive when economies are weak. Despite slashing spending and raising taxes, Britain, Spain, Portugal and Italy have all seen their debt burdens rise. Their economies shrank because of the painful austerity measures, which meant their debts grew as a percentage of gross domestic product, or GDP, the broadest measure of economic activity.

"The best medicine for swollen federal debts, experts of all political persuasions agree, is stronger economic growth. A healthy economy means more people are working, earning money and paying taxes; and fewer are collecting federal benefits such as unemployment checks and food stamps."


Projections show that the largest single contributor to future national debt isn't an entitlement program, but rather, net-interest, payments made to holders of Treasury securities.

Net interest is a non-discretionary budget item and can't even be "reformed" like entitlement programs, because the only alternative to failing to pay the nation's creditors is to default on the debt.

Table 5-1 in the link below (the federal budget) shows major budgetary items as a percentage of GDP.

From 2010 to 2030 Medicare spending is expected to use an additional 1.2 percentage points of GDP; whereas net interest is expected to use an additional 2.4 percentage points of GDP, growing twice as fast as Medicare. Social Security increases by 0.9 percentage points and Medicaid by 0.6 percentage points.

A similar dynamic shows up over the long-term. Social Security spending is essentially unchanging as a percentage of GDP from 2030 through 2085. Medicaid increases slightly. Medicare spending grows by nearly a whole percentage point of GDP. But the master villain is net interest on the debt: the latter grows from 3.8% of GDP in 2030 to 8.6% in 2085; nearly five percentage points of GDP and five times as fast as Medicare growth.

See pages 58-59 (internal document page numbers; PDF reader page numbers are 52-53):


This is one reason why raising more revenue seems important to me.

There has been almost no discussion of how much money would be raised by eliminating the ceiling on taxable earnings for Social Security (currently, wage and salary income above $113,700 is not subject to payroll taxes). There has been even less discussion about how much money would be raised by broadening the definition of taxable income (in the context of payroll taxes) from wages & salaries to including general income from all sources (e.g., income from stocks and bonds, from rent collections, etc.).

No need to take the Lord's name in vain.

If circumstances have reached the point where vulgarity is now needed to properly convey our feelings, I would like to refer you to the movie "Johnny Dangerously".

It remained a PG - 13 because as you will see, it is not quite cursing.

Example: "You farging, bastage icehole."

Try it, you'll feel better.

It could be worse. The war against austerity was lost by Obama forfeit. Obama after all represents primarily Wall Street with some poverty programs as window dressing.

Given that austerity is the beltway consensus across the board cuts are better than allowing Wall street Obama and reactionary Republicans target the cuts. Their target by default will be severe and unnecessary cuts to Social Security and draconian actions against Medicare.

The middle class is without representation in any modification of the sequester budget cuts.

The only thing austerity begets is more austerity.

You can quote me.
Meanwhile I'll quote a recent Krugman column:

Consider how things were supposed to be working at this point. When Europe began its infatuation with austerity, top officials dismissed concerns that slashing spending and raising taxes in depressed economies might deepen their depressions. On the contrary, they insisted, such policies would actually boost economies by inspiring confidence.

But the confidence fairy was a no-show. Nations imposing harsh austerity suffered deep economic downturns; the harsher the austerity, the deeper the downturn. Indeed, this relationship has been so strong that the International Monetary Fund, in a striking mea culpa, admitted that it had underestimated the damage austerity would inflict.

Meanwhile, austerity hasn’t even achieved the minimal goal of reducing debt burdens. Instead, countries pursuing harsh austerity have seen the ratio of debt to G.D.P. rise, because the shrinkage in their economies has outpaced any reduction in the rate of borrowing. And because austerity policies haven’t been offset by expansionary policies elsewhere, the European economy as a whole — which never had much of a recovery from the slump of 2008-9 — is back in recession, with unemployment marching ever higher.

Krugman, of course, has a lot of links mixed in his original column for support of those wonderful three paragraphs. (That is if you feel a need for such support.) For me it is a no brainer:

How can austerity beget anything but austerity? How do you get something for nothing anywhere in the universe?

A friend has given up martinis for Lent. I have given up politics and this effort at self-discipline may last for a long time!

Let the austerity begin. Maybe as the teabaggers SS checks and Medicare wane they'll realize what's important. F-35s - not so important (or flyable). More tanks, even less so. Littoral combat ship, completely useless. Corporate welfare - unnecessary. Privitization - another corporate giveaway. Kooks and Wimps, whores of the rich and corporations.

Here's the thing, though, the flag officers and contractors won't allow the cuts to hurt them. They will make sure they disproportionately affect people like me, who joined up because soldiering is one of the few remaining vehicles of upward mobility in a militarized yet fiscally conservative society. Rest assured the golf lawns on big bases will continue to be manicured regularly, but watch as our pay freezes and our education and health benefits evaporate.

America needs a new and serious bogeyman to oppose. Then we can all rally 'round the flag and spend our money on 'defense' -- like trains and bridges.

At the risk of being even more offensive than F-bomb spewer Stewart, 25 crazy ragheads on the Pakistan border just aren't scary enough.

AZRebel wrote:

"You farging, bastage icehole."

Frack that. You're full of felgercarb.

Actually, I prefer old-fashioned oaths to science-fiction inventions. "Blast and damnation!" is a favorite; but that isn't a true oath, which calls upon God or a god to witness something. How about:

"By gad, I've had enough of your stuff and nonsense, you young slabs of damnation! One word more and I'll clap you in irons, every man jack of you!"

Speaking of which, Petro reminded me of something when he shared his childhood nightmares about The Omega Man (the original with Charleton Heston).

When I was a child I had a long-playing record audio version of Treasure Island, using dialog from the 1950 movie version starring Robert Newton, who was, is, and shall forever remain the quintessence of piratedom.

Early on in the story, a pirate named Blind Pew delivers something called "the black spot" to a man, who shortly afterward dies. Somehow, even at a young and uneducated age, I imagined that this was a kind of primitive biological warfare involving plague germs on a piece of paper. Only years later did I learn that this was merely a kind of coded message and the pirate equivalent of blackballing.

BTW, this is a beautiful film, cinematically, despite the early date (and it is in color); the sets and backdrops are first rate and the dialogue is true to the era and well adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson.

From the funny-goings-on file:

I first saw this video and heard this song by Gold Fields, called "Dark Again", more than a decade ago. Now, it is suddenly being "newly released", having supposedly started as a demo in 2010, released as an EP in 2012, and on an album in early 2013:


The sky is falling, the sky is falling...Give me a BREAK!! This is EXACTLY what President Obama asked for/agreed to with the last Debt Ceiling raise in 2011..
His Democratic Senate has NOT passed a budget in OVER 4 years..
Whent his time came...Obama suddenly wanted a game change...In addition to the billions of tax increases he got in January, now he wanted MORE..
SCREW YOU, Mr. President, Pelosi, Reid..you all had total control since 2008, and have done NOTHING except pass Obabblecare, which will cost us plenty.
Everyone must "Bite the bullet"...pay more taxes, you wealthy people..Out President needs more vacations! Christmas/New Years in Hawaii (twice for him) at a cost of about 7 million...then Golf with Tiger, at $180,000 per hour for AF One...OH...and lets not forget the Queen and her kids...while the King Golfs, the Queen and the kids go on another vacation, skiing.. We pay, they go. How about setting an example??? When was the last time you saw our DC Politicians take a pay cut...or a cut in benefits??? you think THEY have to have Obabblecare??/ Hell no...
I say GOOD...let the cuts begin...(2.3% cut, and our Government will still spend MORE in 2013 than they spent in 2012.
Ameridca will awaken soon...I am so FED UP with the Democrats... TAX, TAX, TAX..pretty soon your wealthy (those you call wealthy)will be gone...or you will have taken all their money..

Regular reader of your Seattle Times blog - first time on your personal blog. Not to get off of subject, but these most of your commenters are much more intelligent than most of your Times commenters.

But to comment on this post, another day that I feel good that I didn't vote for Obama - not just the fact that he thinks Jedis do mind melds (or perhaps he thinks Spock is a Jedi - perhaps that will be revealed in the next Star Wars movie) - but that Obama is so eager to make concessions on Social Security, Medicare, etc., and sacrifice for the 99%, while hardly touching the protected class. Obama and the Tea Party may snipe at each other, but they really are partners in steering this country's poltics far to the right.

Yes, Ebenezer, I can imagine the untold numbers who happened to catch Obama's metaphor mash up now setting their phasers to full blast or breaking out the red light saber.

Late, as usual, but I haven't said this in quite a while: If the citizens are not rising up in unison, it hasn't gotten bad enough yet.

My only other comment is on the lighter side: sicherheit is feminine so it should be "Die Homeland Security"

(this is based on an old joke between Jon and me about Der Wienerschnitzel)

Due to the sequester we will be cutting back 10% on scones at coffee this morning. (:-(

Thanks, Buford. I remember Das Weinerschnitzel...

@Buford..."If the citizens are not rising up in unison, it hasn't gotten bad enough yet".
Fat people don't riot.

@Buford..."If the citizens are not rising up in unison, it hasn't gotten bad enough yet".
Fat people don't riot.

Fat people don't riot.

That's good. Quite good. I couldn't improve on it one word.
However it doesn't quite capture our full zeitgeist does it?

How about:

Obese scabs working at the local Walton Family China Outlet don't riot. They are just happy to have a job, drive a truck, and own a pistol.

I put the pistol bit in there because I recently found out that 1 million US citizens have been shot dead since 1960. We shoot each other dead with machine gun rapidity: 30,000 souls a year. That's 82 lucky duckies per day.

Imagine if 82 people died in plane crashes every day. Oh what a glorious uproar there'd be from peasants and middle class vassals alike. Why I'd bet even Republicans in Mr. Boehner's Congress would vote to do something about it. Even if it was only some flimsy, half-assed, market-based solution that enriched a few and solved nothing...

Source of gun facts:


And, fat people etc living in suburban isolation and living their hate, getting their "information," through talk radio and Fox "news"

And, fat people etc living in suburban isolation and living their hate, getting their "information," through talk radio and Fox "news"

Thanks to Limbaugh's gratuitous attacks on Sandra Fluke, whom I had the pleasure of meeting today at a fundraiser, and the organized effort to Rush and his ilk are losing advertisers by the hundreds. Right wing radio station profits in general have gone down. http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/03/01/rush-limbaugh-still-toxic-for-advertisers-one-y/192865

There's a lesson in that for those who still think that women's rights are a secondary concern.

Whoops, sorry, I meant "to defeat Rush and his ilk they are losing advertisers by the thousands".

I was wondering...........

After watching all the Cabinet heads of the various federal departments coming on television and screaming that the sky was falling (which it isn't), is the following a possible side effect of the failure of congress to pass a budget for so many years:

Since congress, in theory, controls the purse strings of government, isn't their failure to pass budgets causing them to lose influence and control over the various departments?

If there is no budgetary restaint, these departments can go off and do whatever the hell they want, like separate little kingdoms.

I'm sure that after one or two years of no budgets, they would have behaved out of fear of retribution on the next budget. However, after four plus years of no budgets, they could be running around with their own agendas and with all our money.

It's no wonder, they are going crazy with limos, parties, extravagant travel and spending, department heads traveling with royal status security, large entourages, etc. If no one is minding the budget, the sky is the limit.

Interesting, Reb. I smell a meme, a talking point. The Congress surely loves influence almost as much as they like their money...

Skip wrote:

"I am so FED UP with the Democrats... TAX, TAX, TAX..pretty soon your wealthy (those you call wealthy)will be gone...or you will have taken all their money.."

High tax rates don't destroy wealth. The top personal income tax rate was 50 percent or higher for the first six years of Ronald Reagan's two terms of office; plenty of wealthy individuals then. From 1964 through 1979 it was 70 percent or higher; from the end of WW II through 1963 it was 91 percent most years, never dropping below 82 percent. Plenty of wealthy individuals during the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, etc., administrations, too. From 1932 through the end of WW II the top rate ranged from 63 percent to 94 percent. Plenty of fat cats during FDR's time in office, too.


Even after the recent tax increase on incomes above $400,000 the top rate is only 39.6 which is obviously low compared to the historical average.

As for "the Democrats", Skip is trying to have his cake and eat it too. He says that the Democrats are compulsive soak-the-rich taxers, yet he also admits (though he has the date wrong) that the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency for the first two years of Obama's time in office, yet they FAILED to pass an income tax increase on the wealthy during that time.

Of course, there was that little thing called The Great Recession and some arguments were made against raising taxes in a recession, but compulsive soak-the-rich taxers wouldn't have listened to such arguments. Furthermore, Congress could have passed an income tax increase that wouldn't have taken effect for several years, which is what they did in passing the payroll tax increases on the wealthy which were incorporated into the health care law as a means of partial funding. So, the Great Recession doesn't seem to explain Democratic reluctance to raise income taxes on the wealthy during this period, either.

It's important to note that passage of bills in the Senate requires a filibuster proof majority in cases where reconciliation can't be used. During the 111th Congress when Democrats controlled both houses under a Democratic president, Senate Democrats never held more than 58 seats, two short of the 60 required to stop a filibuster. Most of the time they had fewer Senate seats. There were two independents, one of whom (Bernie Sanders) is firmly aligned with the Democrats; the other, Joseph Lieberman, endorsed John McCain in a speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention.


So, at no time did the Dems have a filibuster proof majority per se. That said, so far as I am aware (and I hasten to add that I am NO expert on such matters), bills which change revenues (such as tax increases) are subject to the reconcilation process, which requires only a simple majority to pass.

But there are conservative Democrats, also. The fact of the matter is that the leadership of the Democratic Party, and a significant fraction of the members (sometimes known as "blue dog Democrats") are conservative. The Democratic Party may not have had the votes even for reconciliation, and the recession gave conservative Democrats the cover they needed to refuse their vote.

P.S. Not all of the Democratic Party leadership is conservative in the mold of Blue Dogs, but many are conservative compared to many of the general Party members.

@Emil...Skip is a troll. Or perhaps just another misinformed Sun Belt resident. Telling people tax rates have gone down is a waste of time I gave up long ago.
Also possible that Skip is an idiot.

Skip is not a troll. He is a friend who lives in the center city. That said, he is sadly brainwashed by the right-wing echo chamber.

If Barack Obama is a socialist, where are my universal healthcare, high-speed trains, nationalized banks, living wage, card check for unionization, free college (at real colleges) and 35-hour workweek?

Jon - wait a while; your wet dreams are a'coming.

Claire Danes loves me?

Claire Danes loves me?
The factionalization of the left with its accursed special interests.


If Barack Obama is a socialist, where are my....[insert your wish list here]

Yep. Instead we have these facts on the ground:

The average cash bonus for those employed in the financial industry in New York last year rose roughly 9 percent, to $121,900, Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York State’s comptroller, said on Tuesday.

$120,000 is almost DOUBLE the MEDIAN NET WORTH of American households:

As many ordinary Americans have struggled to get by in recent years, members of Congress were largely insulated from the economic downturn, based on their net worth. The median net worth of American households is $66,740, while for the 535 members of Congress it is about $966,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In other words: One average Wall Street bonus check for one year has more money in it that half the families in America own IN TOTAL.




Amazing bonus fact

Sometimes the most amazing facts are staring us in the face and we miss them. Here is the paragraph I quoted up above in its entirety with emphasis added:

As many ordinary Americans have struggled to get by in recent years, members of Congress were largely insulated from the economic downturn, based on their net worth. The median net worth of American households is $66,740, while for the 535 members of Congress it is about $966,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Congressional lawmakers earn at least $174,000 a year.

So in one year a Congressional lawmaker will take home *twice the total net worth* of half the households in America.

Wow. Now that's a stunning juxtaposition of fact....

@Jon Talton....my apologies, I have family who think the same way. With all the information out there, you would think people would be better informed.

@100 Octane: No problem. Glad you're in the conversation.

I spent Sunday banging heads with a Kook (a very good and long-time friend, but a Kook none-the-less). Saturday coffee would have at least prepared me a bit!

Nice to see new commenters on the blog. Welcome!

To be informed you first need to understand the information and second the credibility of the source

Speaking of information & source, "I Heard You Paint Houses" is a ripping good read, and it certainly ties up a few loose ends. The Kennedy connection is fascinating and rings absolutely true with all that I've gathered.

Hope you're feeling well, cal.

Before you can understand the information and establish the credibility of the source, you have to hear the information. The mere fact that Skip showed up here shows that he is not completely insulated on an information island consisting of Fox News, talk radio, and a few neocon blogs. Good for him. I hope he read the response to his comment. If he has objections, he can raise them and I'll see about a follow-up.

While there are some conservatives who know better and simply refuse to acknowledge the fact because of a hidden agenda (personal or political), I think that many could be reached if they made themselves available and if progressives were willing to argue with them on a factual, well-documented basis. By assuming that they're just pure evil and further alienating them with invective (tempting, I know) you just give them a good excuse not to listen. To paraphrase Sting, conservatives "go crazy in congregations but they only get better one by one".

Historical tax rates are a matter of legal record, reflecting tax law as passed by prior congresses. So, there isn't much room for credibility issues here. But you have to connect the dots explicitly. Just saying that previous tax rates were high isn't the same as pointing out that this was the norm AND that it didn't destroy wealth.

P.S. The Tax Policy Center is a joint project of Brookings and the Urban Institute. If you don't like them (they're centrists by the way), you can get the same information from The Tax Foundation, which is conservative and wants to see government spending decreased:


petro glad u likes it. I have bought and gave away 5 copies

I love Jon's post. But I would go further to say that worldwide corporate capitalism is unsustainable because it depends on unlimited growth of debt and resource depletion, therefore the whole house of cards will have to collapse. A reckoning is coming.

Sequester was Obama's idea. This isn't Republican hostage-taking, it's Republican bluff-calling. So yes, let the goddamn sequester happen.

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