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Big Money And The GOP ‘Civil War’

The big money squaring off in the GOP’s hot in-house struggle. From the Koch Brothers to Karl Rove to the Tea Party, we’ll look at whose cash is fueling what.

Republican strategist Karl Rove gestures while at a luncheon at the California Republican Party convention, in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, March 2, 2013.  (AP)

Republican strategist Karl Rove gestures while at a luncheon at the California Republican Party convention, in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, March 2, 2013. (AP)

There is big money all over American politics these days.  Both major parties.  But the big money in Republican circles right now has a strange and special quality:  it is helping tear the Republican Party apart.  Republicans’ so-called “civil war,” that broke loudly into view in the federal shutdown mess, has big money and billionaire backers on both sides.  Tea Party big money ready to come down on any GOP moderate who doesn’t tow the hard-right line.  Main Street big money stepping up to defend what they call electable Republicans.  Up next On Point:  Big money showdown inside the GOP.

– Tom Ashbrook 

Guests

Jim Rutenberg, national political reporter for the New York Times. (@JimRutenberg)

Paul Blumenthal, political campaign and finance reporter for the Huffington Post. (@PaulBlu)

Reihan Salam, columnist for Reuters, lead writer for National Review’s “The Agenda” blog. (@Reihan)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Fiscal Crisis Sounds the Charge in G.O.P.’s ‘Civil War’ –  ”The budget fight that led to the first government shutdown in 17 years did not just set off a round of recriminations among Republicans over who was to blame for the politically disastrous standoff. It also heralded a very public escalation of a far more consequential battle for control of the Republican Party, a confrontation between Tea Party conservatives and establishment Republicans that will play out in the coming Congressional and presidential primaries in 2014 and 2016 but has been simmering since President George W. Bush’s administration, if not before.”

Wall Street Journal: Republicans Walked Into Obama’s Trap — “Backers of the defund strategy never offered a plausible way forward after their approach failed. Instead, they alienated colleagues who disagreed by insisting they were closet ObamaCare supporters and the defunders’ outside allies raised the threat of primary challenges. They became content to sit in judgment of plans offered by the House leadership, turning thumbs down on anything not in conformity with their now discredited tactic.”

National Journal: Inside the Messy but Moneyed Republican Plan to Neutralize the Tea Party– “It took a tea party insurrection that disabled the federal government and wrecked the Republican brand, but after months of handwringing, establishment Republicans are preparing to attack ultra-conservative ideologues across red America. From Alabama to Alaska, the center-right, business-oriented wing of the Republican Party is gearing up for a series of skirmishes that it hopes can prevent the 2014 mid-term election from turning into another missed opportunity. But this will not be a coordinated operation. It will be messy, ugly, and prone to backfiring. And if the comeback succeeds, it will be in fits and starts, most likely culminating in the selection of a presidential nominee in 2016.”

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  • http://acesitecreator.com/ Tony

    Give fanatics enough rope and they will hang themselves. The teahadists are just too extreme for the average American are are bound to shoot themselves in the foot and will keep hurting the Republican party more than they help it unless they start to mellow out.

    • TFRX

      If they use that “enough rope”, and it’s reported as a glorious victory on Fox News, what would Politico report?

  • LinRP

    The picture of Sheldon Adelson tells the whole story of our government in one single photo. Of course, it could also be of the Koch Brothers, or the facade of Halliburton headquarters.

    While the Dems play the same game to a degree, it is not on the scale of the Republicans and the Tea Party. Their politicians are nothing more than front men for oil companies, corporations, developers, and defense contractors. Their problem now is not a lack of ideas, since they never had any,
    unless you call “more money for the rich” an enduring rallying cry..

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      Your comment that the Dems don’t play the game to the same degree is incorrect. Dems pander to unions at all levels of government (federal/state/local) by committing us to trillions of dollars of obscene union pensions and benefits that we will have to pay in the future and ridiculous work rules that protect incompetent teachers/others that we have to continue to pay now . They also pandered to big business by giving them an exemption from the employer mandate under Obamacare.

      • LinRP

        Within all that you cite, I see a party that at least tries to protect everyday, working people and a party that works a LOT better at protecting the environment and having regs that keep people and workers safe. How rich to attack teachers. Always the repub whipping boy.

        No how, no way do the Dems play in the same big money league as the Repubs in this day and age. As one of the other commenters here would say, just do the math.

      • Ray in VT

        I don’t think that the Democrats have to do much to bring the unions to them. The unions are all pretty sure who is more likely to look out for them and the interests of their workers. I don’t think that your equating big money donors with union contributions is all that great. According to Propublica Adelson spent at least $98 million dollars during the last election cycle, whereas the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to opensecrets.org, spent $61 million from 1990-2012.

      • jefe68

        Ah yes, the right wing union meme.
        Unions have been a diminishing as power brokers in this country for decades. The unions can’t even come close to the level of funding that the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson have been spending, and they are three people.

        • HonestDebate1

          George Soros? Warren Buffett?

          • jefe68

            Yawn.

      • HonestDebate1

        Don’t forget the green lobby, Hollywood and the trial lawyers.

        • TFRX

          Are you jealous about celebrities?

          I remember Richard Gere’s bit about Tibet at the Oscars. That was weird and embarrassing in its day, but isn’t a patch on the strange stuff coming out of right-wing celebrities’ mouths lately.

          • HonestDebate1

            No.

        • lobstahbisque

          One could never forget Clint Eastwood.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Clint?

            Brilliant!!! Probably went right over your head.

          • lobstahbisque

            Sorry. It didn’t go over at all. Oh good morning Sir.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        In the end you have to ask if your party is doing anything whatsoever to advance the interests if you. If you are worth 8 figures or more, vote Republican. If not, does any thing to do with gay marriage, abortion, capital gains taxes or gun control have anything to do with your long terms security ? I believe the answer is no, at lest for me.

        • Ray in VT

          But my friend’s gay marriage hurts my marriage somehow. I’m sure of it.

          • HonestDebate1

            How so?

          • jefe68

            How so? You have to be kidding.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s a crazy notion, how can anyone affect a strong marriage from the outside? It’s silly.

            And BTW, I know the talking point. I understand you, Ray and others have been told that is the position of those opposed. It never has been.

          • Don_B1

            Just who are you trying to win points with, or more likely, confuse, after your history on this site?

          • Ray in VT

            Himself?

          • HonestDebate1

            I have never ever said gay marriage would affect an individual’s heterosexual marriage. Ever.

            And it’s not the topic.

          • Ray in VT

            You just don’t want them to have it because yours is special, so they should have something else, right?

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m not married. I support civil unions and voted against the NC referendum to amend our Constitution.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, I thought that you had said that you were. My bad, but they should have something that is separate but equal?

          • HonestDebate1

            I have been in a committed monogamous relationship for 28 years. We have no children and never married. I sometimes refer to her as my wife because it’s just easier and girlfriend doesn’t really tell the story of our devotion. So it’s not your bad.

            I support civil unions.

          • Ray in VT

            The long time partner thing can be difficult to describe. My new neighbor and his partner have been together for maybe 20 years, but they aren’t hitched, but it doesn’t seem right to say girlfriend.

            So, though, they should have something that is separate from marriage but equal to it?

          • HonestDebate1

            It depends on what you call civil unions. Look this not an issue I have ever dug in on. It’s not a battle I care that much about. I just think marriage has always been defined as between a man and a woman. It’s as basic as that.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s also true that it has often been between unwilling participants, arranged by others and between a man and more than one woman. It is also true that in terms of the state’s interest it is really about taxes, property, visitation rights, benefits, etc. I just don’t see how we can have two systems for mutually consenting adults and have that be equal. Separate has been found to be inherently unequal.

          • HonestDebate1

            The union between a man and a woman is not equal to a union between two people of the same sex. It’s just not.

          • Ray in VT

            It is in 14 states, and as long as we are talking about a legal contract, then what is the difference between me and my wife and our friend and her wife?

          • lobstahbisque

            Some people are more equal than others… WHERE have we heard that before…..

          • HonestDebate1

            Men and women are different. It’s beautiful.

          • Don_B1

            It certainly is a big part of the Tea Party conservatives’ claims but not so much the big business types, who just want low taxes and effective government which smooths the way for their businesses and treads over workers’ rights if necessary.

          • HonestDebate1

            The Tea Partiers do not focus on social issues.

          • Ray in VT

            I wonder if the Tea Party Caucus in the House knows that?

          • lobstahbisque

            No kidding it’s part of our agenda; To weaken all institutions of the heterosexual hegemony and set zombie lobsters on all who resist.

          • Ray in VT

            Plus you guys convert. I was just remarking to one of my friends how, despite her best efforts, she never got me to like dudes in that way.

          • Ray in VT

            Something about liberty and the Bible or something. I’m sure of it, because when minorities have rights it takes away from my rights.

          • HonestDebate1

            Your caricature is delusional.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, my marriage is something special, and gays shouldn’t have it. They can have a separate but equal thing.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • Ray in VT

            What, or you now against the position that you have supported? I think that my tongue in cheek comment is pretty in line with the views that you have expressed in the past.

          • TFRX

            Wow, you have blinders for someone who lives inthe rural South.

          • Don_B1

            It seems to come with the territory, at least for a majority of those living there.

          • Don_B1

            It is a spot on mockery of your “gish-gallop” posts on this site.

          • Don_B1

            What do you think Ray meant by the word, “somehow”?

            Clearly Republicans have never been able to explain that, they just cite it as a tautology.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, this guy has a theory:

            http://unitedcats.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/seven-ways-gay-marriage-hurts-heterosexual-marriage/

            and this guy wrote a book:

            http://www.amazon.com/Correct-Politically-Same-Sex-Marriage-Everyone/dp/1607081628

            Says he writes for Townhall.com, so maybe there’s some insight there as well.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          Trying to stop the trainwrecks known as Obamacare and fiscal bankruptcy as a result of pandering to the unions in giving them obscene unaffordable pensions are the two most importnat steps that any party can take to most effectively look out for the interests of the little guy. Only one party is willing to do that, the Republican Party, and in particular, members of the Tea Party. The “Dhadists” (Democrats) would rather kick the can down the road, although it is encouraging to see a few Democrats like Senator Manchin from WV finally begin to label Obamacare the catastrophe that it is (and that the Democrats have known that it is for a while…they are just too spineless to be honest with the American people and with each other). Unfortunately, they didn’t have the guts to take the right stand before raising the debt ceiling.

          • MrNutso

            So it was unions that created the massive military spending of the 80′s, two unfunded wars, unfunded Medicare Part D and massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

          • TFRX

            Another Libertarian taken out the cage by the right wing when the Dems are in power.

            Get the GOP to listen to you when there’s a Republican president. It should be easy, seeing how much they looooove you at this moment.

          • Don_B1

            The real “train wreck” is what the Tea Party “conservatives” are doing to the Republican Party is their ill-conceived attempt to complete their takeover of the levers of power in the Party.

            As for union pensions from private sector businesses, it was business executives who agreed to them and then did not fund them adequately so they could overpay themselves.

            It was the Republican war on taxes that prevented local and state governments from properly funding public pensions (which average about $20,000/per year for a retiree), notably Christie Todd Whitman’s manipulation of New Jersey’s pension funds to illegally underfund them.

            Senator Manchin certainly is not standing up for his average voter, but both he and they are in fear of the wealthy coal extraction plutocrats of WV. Senator Robert Byrd’s attempt to build a more diverse work force did not get far enough to get the state out from under the foot of the fossil fuel extractors.

  • Jasoturner

    Irrespective of where the money is coming from, the simple fact that huge money is being dumped into politics proves that money buys political influence and political favors. Else said money would never be spent.

    Thus, our fine public servants are not serving our interests foremost, but rather the interests of their monied benefactors. And unfortunately, the current crop of senators and representatives seem unusually amoral and corruptible, perhaps because they don’t believe in the American dream any longer. It’s now all about them consolidating their own wealth and power.

    The system is broken. I don’t know if it’s irredeemably broken, but the contempt I feel for congress is new, and depressing.

  • HonestDebate1

    I look forward to the next show on the influence of big money on Democrats.

    • Ray in VT

      Maybe there will be when that party starts to become as dysfunctional as the GOP has been of late.

      • HonestDebate1

        From the party that hasn’t even passed a budget in 5 years.

        • Ray in VT

          Parties pass budgets? I thought that the houses of Congress did that.

          • HonestDebate1

            They originate in the House, that part has happened consistently, they die in the Senate. For that reason we have been operating from one CR to the next (AKA one crisis to the next). I would even posit it is a clever way to thwart Constitutional duties and take the power of the purse away from the House.

            Either way, it’s dysfunctional.

          • Ray in VT

            A budget, while nice to have, by itself doesn’t lock in spending, and when attempts have been made to pass spending bills in the House, such as with the one cited here http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/01/wonkbook-this-is-what-it-looks-like-when-the-republican-budget-strategy-falls-apart/ they couldn’t do it.

            How about this year? The House budget failed in the Senate, and then he Senate passed a budget. How did the vote on that go in the House?

          • HonestDebate1

            You are pin balling. A functional majority gets budgets done. This is unprecedented.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, I am too all over the place for you by citing what is going on with Congress and budget and spending issues?

            A functional majority could get something done. That’s probably why the GOP showed itself to be such a mess in recent weeks. Leadership talked up proposals and couldn’t get their own people to back some of the measures and wouldn’t even bring them to the floor.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m not following your tangents, you suggested that if the Dems were a dysfunctional party then maybe OP would do a show. Well they are dysfunctional and the budget is but one minute example.

            What’s the matter with a show about government dysfunction?

          • Ray in VT

            I know, it’s really hard to follow a comment about budget votes in Congress when it is in response to a comment about budgets and votes in Congress. Phew. That was a tough one. I think that I have to sit down and take a rest now.

          • Don_B1

            So says the generator of the most tangents on this site as he is failing to take the discussion of on one of “his tangents.”

            The typical stratagem of Republicans is to charge the opposition with the tactic they just used or are about to use, and DisHonest is a master of it.

            It is also part of the definition of a troll.

          • HonestDebate1

            Dude, I started the thread and it had nothing to do with any of this.

          • Don_B1

            The Republicans are the “pin ballers.”

            There is a “functional majority” that could pass a budget, but it would not contain a “majority of the majority,” a.k.a. the “Hastert Rule.” Thus it comes down to the power (“primary threat”) of the Tea Party that controls the actions of Speaker John Boehner that prevents a resolution of the spending impasse, at the cost of middle- and lower-income workers of this country.

          • MrNutso

            Why has the House refused to name a Conference to work out differences with the budget the Senate has passed?

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t know. Maybe it’s politics. Maybe it’s too little too late after 5 years of poisoning the well. Maybe the notion of ceding constitutional duties to a committee is as distasteful as it is disproven as effective.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, that process is totally unprecedented. The Senate should just take what the House gives it.

          • HonestDebate1

            When have we ever gone 5 years without a budget?

          • Ray in VT

            Don’t know. Why are you avoiding addressing GOP obstructionism seeing as how the Senate did in fact pass a budget this year?

          • HonestDebate1

            Well whoop dee doo. Has Obama ever signed a budget or not? He has a cakewalk compared to the obstruction other Presidents have faced but they got deals done.

          • Ray in VT

            He has a cakewalk? Compared to what? The GOP’s witch hunt of Clinton? Maybe he could have signed one this year had the House and the Senate GOP gotten together and talked, but maybe the Senate was just supposed to rubber stamp the House’s right wing social engineering.

          • HonestDebate1

            Compared to GWB or Reagan. Clinton got it done, he worked with Newt. They all got it done.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, I’m sure that if only Obama would just propose all of the stuff that Romney ran on then he could totally work with the Republicans in the House.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s his way or the highway, that’s not leadership.

          • Ray in VT

            Neither is declaring that it is your purpose to make the other guy fail.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Why wasn’t Clinton’s behavior considered sexual harassment? Any CEO that had a sexual relationship with an intern (even if consensual) would be summarily fired and probably also face a big lawsuit.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, it wasn’t just that. Whitewater anyone? Harassment, sure. A high crime worthy of removing, for the first time ever, a sitting President of the United States? I would not say so.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            He should have done the right thing and resign.

            Then again — Al Gore? Maybe he did the right thing.

          • HonestDebate1

            It was about Paula Jones and her right to defended herself. It wasn’t about a BJ.

            And look into Whitewater, it was corrupt as hell.

          • Ray in VT

            It was about getting a guy out of office whom they couldn’t stand by any means necessary. It’s not like he lied us into a war that cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, but those things are cool as long as you’re a true conservative, apparently.

          • HonestDebate1

            Clinton was impeached, that does not happen because of petty grudges. Bush was not impeached despite a plethora of petty grudges. The record speaks for itself.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Perjury to a grand jury is pretty serious. Impeachment was unnecessary if Clinton did the honorable thing and resign. Unfortunately, no one in his party pressured him to resign and that enabled him to continue.

          • Ray in VT

            But then they would have had to come up with a reason to try to impeach Gore.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            No one wins with a Presidential impeachment. Even if it is algore.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. The record speaks for itself. The GOP and its allies will stick beside a guy whose administration tortures people, conducts warrantless wiretapping of Americans and lies to the American people in the leadup to a costly war as long as there is an R beside his name.

          • HonestDebate1

            Now you’ve outed your partisan self. We tortured no one but even if you call the nasal rinse that leaves no marks then it was only 3 and the intel gathered saved lives and found Bin Laden. Obama just assassinates willy nilly

            The warrantless wiretap thing is another talking point especially in the context of Obama’s NSA recording millions of phone calls.

          • Ray in VT

            Got it. Torture is okay, even when top people say that we could have got Bin Laden without using it. Domestic surveillance with no court oversight. That’s fine too. You just have to be a Republican to do it.

          • HonestDebate1

            Please don’t tell me what I think. Torture is not okay, a nasal rinse for a selected few with oversight is, in extreme circumstances. Bush had oversight for the warrantless wiretaps on international calls where one party has known terrorist ties. Obama has increased section 215 request for data 1000%. The provision was only for ongoing terrorist investigations. Obama is spying on innocent Americans.

            There is no comparison between the nasal rinse and assassination without a trial. There is no comparison to Obama’s NSA.

            You can’t be serious.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s sick. Torture is torture, and we shouldn’t be torturing people. Bush’s people said that they didn’t need no stinkin’ courts to oversee what they were doing, and that does not appear to be the case with Obama’s policies. It must be great to be a Republican. You get to lie, torture, detain people without charge or trial her in the states and ship out people to other counties like Syria, where even worse stuff can happen to them while we turn a blind eye, and people will still defend you until the horses come home. I’m thinking that I need to change my party affiliation just to get those types of benefits.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re entitled to your opinion but why do you defend Obama?

          • Ray in VT

            You’re also entitled to your own opinions, just not your own facts.

            I’ll defend him where I think that it is justified and I criticize where I think that it is.

          • HonestDebate1

            What facts have I gotten wrong?

            Obama lies, he detains indefinitely without a trial, he assassinated an American without a trial.

          • Ray in VT

            When have his lies led to 4,500 dead Americans in Iraq? Who, outside of those at Guantanamo, is Obama detaining without trial? I have issues with the Awlaki strike. So, when an American is actively working for a terrorist organization like Al Qaeda in an active war zone like Yemen, then what are we to do?

          • HonestDebate1

            What you do is quit whining about indefinite detention of unlawful combatants without a trial.

          • Ray in VT

            No thanks. We shouldn’t be in the business of doing those things.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            No. Torture is not torture.
            WB is on the hierarchy of physical discomfort techniques used in enhanced interrogation, like sleep deprivation, bright lights, etc. The special forces undergo water boarding during training.

            This is vastly different than torture techniques that cause permanent physical harm or death — finger nail removal, genital mutilation, eye ball removal, bone breaking with a ball pein hammer etc.

            I do agree that it is valid to debate the efficacy and ethical standards in enhanced interrogations. Also, we need to consider the scope of the threat and that we are dealing with a terrorist enemy that doesn’t follow any traditional ‘rules of war’. If the techniques are used they should be rare and not widely advertised.

            OTOH, the Soviets were quite up front that they would ruthlessly deal with diplomat kidnappings. After a few kidnappers close family members were found with Russian neckties, the kidnappings stopped abruptly.

          • Ray in VT

            I definitely disagree that it is not torture. We went after the Japanese who used it on our people during World War II, it looks like our military commanders banned it during the Vietnam War, and I don’t think that the fact that our fiercest soldiers go through it as a part of their training changes that. I think that it is fundamentally different from something like sleep deprivation, and I think that it says something very poor about the state of our nation during those years following 9/11 that we were willing to go down that road.

            The nature of the current threat is different, given that they are not state-based, as most traditional enemies have been, but I don’t think that puts them outside the rules of the game, so to speak. They may be fanatical barbarians, but when it comes to some things I think that we need to be the ones being civilized in a way that, for instance, the Russians might not quite be.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I fully acknowledge it is a valid debate. I don’t think it is quite so simple to reject out of hand.

            There is a cost in doing it and that must be weighed against the benefits. The tension between taking the high ground and perhaps using interrogation in extraordinary circumstances to save lives is healthy. This is not unlike the rules of engagement debate we have when we send our troops into battle with one hand tied behind their backs so we can ‘win the minds of the people’.

            The Japanese may have water boarded but the also did much worse. They starved prisoners. Physical torture and beheadings were common. The pilots shot down with Bush I were beheaded. Fortunately Bush I was picked up. Comparing our WBing 3 Al Qaeda leaders to try and prevent a second 9/11 to the Japanese behavior is frankly obnoxious.

          • HonestDebate1

            The Japanese submerged victims in tanks, broke bones and drowned many. The ones we executed happened to be mass murderers. Our water boarding methods were not comparable. Ray knows this.

          • Ray in VT

            So a little bit of torture is okay, just as long as we are doing it and we have a good reason. Got it.

          • HonestDebate1

            Okay, that’ not what happened but okay.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure, dude, and Bush didn’t lie in the lead up to Iraq. It’s good to know that stuff that we’ve long opposed or would condemn others for doing is okay for us when we want it to be.

          • Ray in VT

            I think to ignore our own history of opposing the tactic and to employ it when it suits our need is, quite frankly, obnoxious.

          • HonestDebate1

            I agree the debate is valid but Democrats would have us believe we water boarded thousands when it was 3 and under extreme circumstances.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, where did I “tell you what you think”?

          • HonestDebate1

            Read your comment.

          • Ray in VT

            I was just reading what you said. You defended torture and dismissed domestic surveillance without court oversight.

          • HonestDebate1

            On;y if we define something that does not leave scars or cause pain as torture. According to the Geneva Convention, hurting someones feelings is torture. And I’d really like to know how you deem international phone calls as domestic or the basis you have to say there was no oversight. It;s silly.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, I guess that you have successfully redefined something in your own personal dictionary because accepted definitions don’t fit your views. Congratulations on that.

            The warrantless wiretapping program was pretty well covered. I’m surprised that Rush wasn’t all over it, giving you all the “real” scoop. Who was overseeing it, and in the cases where people involved in those calls were Americans, then how was that not domestic surveillance for them? They said that they didn’t need to go to the FISA Court, which is supposed to cover such things. Once again, I guess that such things are okay as long as you’re a Republican.

          • HonestDebate1

            And Paula Jones, Kathleen Wiley, Juanita Broderick and on and on. He was a serial abuser of women but he was pro-choice so it was cool.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            NOW lost all credibility when they were silent. Then again, did they ever have credibility?

            Talk about the real war on women.
            Although Teddy Kennedy started the war on women with his Mary Jo and the car deal.

          • Don_B1

            As the Budget Conference Committee is made up of members of the House and Senate, how are those legislators “ceding constitutional duties to a committee”?

            The legislators of both branches of Congress are not supposed to talk out their differences?

            Your arguments get more tired and ridiculous with each post you make.

          • Don_B1

            It is only since Republicans took control of the House that the budget process has been stalemated, because it is in the interest of the Tea Party radicals.

            The radical budget cuts of Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI) had no chance of passage in the Senate but Senate Republicans were able to threaten filibusters to prevent the Senate from passing an alternative, resulting in the substitution of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the failed Committee that was supposed to develop an acceptable budget but instead ended with the stupid sequestration that has had a huge slowing of the recovery from the Great Recession.

            When the Senate did pass a budget in May of 2013, the House (Speaker John Boehner) refused 19 times to send delegates to a conference committee to work out the differences between the bills passed in the two Congressional bodies.

            The source of the dysfunctionality is totally within the Republican Party.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “The radical budget cuts of Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI)”
            How could those cuts be ‘radical’ if it takes 10 years to balance the budget.

            It is radical to continue deficit spending.

          • Don_B1

            It is radical because they are counterproductive, slowing growth in the country which would help lower the deficits in the future.

            They also will increase inequality which will harm the lives of middle- and lower-income workers and further slow economic growth.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I agree that the low growth we are in is hurting the lower and middle class.

            At what point does Obama get the blame for the worst recovery in modern history?
            Could it have something to do with his policies?

            Even if you believe Keynesian economics the only possible conclusion is there has been a massive failure in execution. Obama has been the steward of $7T in deficit spending — a huge stimulus. The 4 counties surrounding DC are doing great. The rest of the country — not so much.
            All spending is not ‘good’ spending. And clearly the priorities have been misplaced.

          • HonestDebate1

            They had control of the House since 2008 and have passed a budget every year. Obama’s budgets could not garner a single vote from either party.

    • John Cedar

      Do you suppose it will cover the infighting in the democrat party too? If the democrats were ever to appose something as unpopular as Obamacare, would the story characterize the position of such a large group of democrats as “politically disastrous”?

      • HonestDebate1

        Senator Manchin is pushing a bill to delay the mandate until Jan.1, 2015. He must be a racist.

    • OnPointComments

      In the interest of being balanced, I’m sure that Tom Ashbrook will soon have a show on the really big money that buys votes and makes what the Republicans spend paltry by comparison: $3.7 trillion spent on welfare in the past five years. Democrats have a vested interest in keeping people dependent on government largesse.

      UNDER OBAMANOMICS, AMERICA MORPHS INTO WELFARE NATION
      http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/102313-676389-obama-spending-of-37-trillion-on-welfare-is-a-record.htm

      Excerpt:
      GOP members of the Senate Budget Committee reported that cumulative spending on welfare during the Obama years has been five times greater than what’s been spent on transportation, education and NASA — combined.

      Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising. Obama, after all, promised a “fundamental transformation” of America. He’s fulfilled that promise with a vengeance.

      A Senate report earlier this year noted that, based on Congressional Budget Office projections, welfare spending will rise 80% over the next 10 years. That’s $11 trillion in welfare spending over that time. Just cutting that growth to 60%, the report found, would save taxpayers $1 trillion.

      • MrNutso

        What about DOD? Farm subisidies? Oil comapany subsidies? Bush’s tax cuts?

      • fun bobby

        the democrats are financed by walmart

      • Don_B1

        The “growth in social safety net spending” is what happens in recessions and the Great Recession is called “Great” for important reasons. It was the first big “balance-sheet” recession since the one that caused the Great Depression, and Republicans have fought every measure that would have decreased the damage it has caused and thus have prolonged the time it is taking to recover.

        The CBO has projected the costs based on current law and since current law does not provide enough public spending to drive a strong recovery, it has to project the unfortunate consequences of the current bad policy.

        See the report just put out by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation on how the Tea Party driven Republican policies of immediate deficit reduction and the increased costs of Congressionally manufactured crises has cost over $700 BILLION in GDP growth and the loss of over 900,000 jobs, which would mean an unemployment rate around 6% instead of more than 7%.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        The GDP of the nation of Russia is ‘only’ $2T and we spent $3.7T on welfare in 5 years. Stunning.

    • fun bobby

      don’t hold your breath

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    The Teahadists are so blind with rage they embrace contradictory imperatives. The classic example is the protesters sign saying don’t let the government touch my medicare.
    This is exactly what their financial backers want: blind rage focused on threats to personal freedom and overbearing taxes. But at the top of the tea party’s accomplishments in congress has been blocking increases in taxes on the wealthy and protecting Wall Street from financial regulation through obstructionism and underfunding.
    The jihad against gays, abortion, planned parenthood and gun control has just been the fuel on the fire that their thought leaders use to keep the rage elevated to blinding levels as real progress is made in advancing the interests of the wealthy through legislation that escapes the understanding of all but financial and tax experts. At the pinnacle of there achievements was getting SCOTUS to declare that corporations are people with unlimited influence on politics… even though they don’t have a pulse or the right to vote.

    • John Cedar

      ************************************************
      *************** Irony alert********************
      “The Teahadists are so blind with rage”
      *************** Irony alert********************
      ************************************************

    • William

      The Alinsky-ites in the Democratic Party and the MSM are becoming more radical. The LAtimes has banned any letters or articles that question Global Warming. The President has become the “Billy Mays” spokesman for a failed Obama-care program. One of the new generation of Democratic leaders in the Congress, Allen Grayson had a melt down and compared Tea (Taxed Enough Already) populist movement to the criminal Democratic terrorist organization, the KKK, There is a ray of sunshine with CBS News exposing a “bait and switch” with Obama-care false pricing on Obama-care web site.

      • Ray in VT

        Yup, those southern conservatives were real bags of cr*p. It’s a good thing that they bolted from the Democrats en masse decades ago.

        • HonestDebate1

          Southern Conservatives like MLK?

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, he was really fighting to uphold the values and traditions of old timey southern culture.

          • HonestDebate1

            Your caricature is delusional.

          • Ray in VT

            Is delusional the new version of that’s sick? If he was such a conservative, then why was he attempting to destroy generations of tradition in favor of something new and different. That doesn’t seem very conservative.

          • HonestDebate1

            He was a conservative. He stood for the traditions of God and family. He advocated being educated.

            Tim Scott is a Southern conservative. Algore and Bill Clinton are Southerners. Ditto Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter.

          • Ray in VT

            Hahaha. MLK was a conservative! That’s a great one. I guess that that is why he was fighting against the traditional white southern system and advocating for various social justice end economic initiatives to fight poverty. I bet the conservatives were really lining up behind him. Well, some were. They were just getting ready to turn the dogs loose on him, though.

    • Labropotes

      This comment is obnoxious.

      • jefe68

        Yawn. The truth hurts.

        • Labropotes

          Jefe, wouldn’t you like us to be the country that Christina-Taylor Green thought we were? Is crapping on each other by misrepresenting all opposing views the way?

          • Don_B1

            It is true that the country would be nicer if facts were not ignored or misrepresented by one of the two parties in government and its supporters.

            Why don’t you come clean and stop doing that; start telling the truth for a change.

          • Labropotes

            Please let me know when I don’t. I try to be truthful and to see the truth in what others say.

  • HonestDebate1

    So now Obama is considering a 6 week extension of the individual mandate deadline. Terrific.

    It’s illegal to do so without Congress but when he had the offer on the table from the House he passed on it. He wanted the shutdown. It’s embarrassing.

    • toc1234

      oh.like things like laws would constrain Obama and his handlers… congress staffers want subsidies for health care even though they don’t qualify? well, Obama just waves his hand. Employers complain they aren’t ready for their ACA mandate? No problem as Obama waves his hand. IRS can’t verify people’s qualification for subsidies for ACA as per law? No problem, Obama waves his hand and now that’s gone too.
      basically being a liberal president means that you don’t need to explain yourself to the ovine press corps… just keep waving your hand…

  • William

    The alleged infighting in the GOP is nothing when compared to the real problems within the Democratic Party. The shift from the traditional Democratic base to a gentry liberalism platform favoring the wealthy, Wall Street, gays and radical environmental special interest groups and ignoring their traditional base, unions, working people, main street, poor and especially the Black Americans.

    Tavis Smiley has displayed tremendous courage and rebelled against the Democratic machine to come out in a stunning nationwide television interview stating “blacks have lost in every economic indicator under Obama’.

    Is the Obama “Fracking” the Democratic Party to death?

    • Don_B1

      Don’t you just wish !

  • Yar

    I live in a poor state, locally my region is insolvent without federal program dollars. Our National Republican leaders,(Hal Rogers, Mitch McConnell, and Rand Paul,) rail against Federal spending and taxation. If we actually got the policies they advocate for local businesses owners who are also complaining about their taxes would go out of business.
    I am a John Sherman Cooper Republican, therefore I am a Democrat. One of my friends at Church recently made a comparison of Ted Cruz with Cooper, I laughed. Cooper challenged his party but not like Cruz.
    Religion is part of schism occurring in the current Republican party, It can best be summed up as “Baptists don’t play well with others.” Egypt is the most current reminder of the proof that separation of church and state is essential for democracy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sherman_Cooper

  • MrStang

    “What Is It?! It`s A Zombie Apocalypse!”
    http://om911.com/what-is-it-its-a-zombie-apocalypse.html

    America, If these Koch-Petersen TeaPublican virus Zombies will Eat each other, what about you?

    • fun bobby

      drink!

      • Ray in VT

        I drink when someone says drink.

        • jefe68

          I say toke…

          • Ray in VT

            Whatever floats one’s boat. I was talking about my coffee, though.

          • HonestDebate1

            That explains it.

        • fun bobby

          not a bad policy

  • Labropotes

    SCOTUS did not say that corporations are people. What they said is that “Congress shall pass no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” Not just “freedom of speech of people” not “speech citizens” not “speech for those who agree with me” but just “freedom of speech.”

    People choose, sometimes as a collective, not to understand stuff, so they are not required to base their views and arguments on facts.

    • J__o__h__n

      And that Court ruling relied upon two prior incorrect rulings that speech was equal to money and that corporations had the rights of people which is left out of your simplistic and condescending post.

      • Labropotes

        I agree that money = speech is a debatable concept.

        • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

          It will take a lot of money to publicize that debate on national television.

          • Labropotes

            “Right now it’s only a notion, but I think I can get the money to make it into a concept, and later turn it into an idea.”

            Woody Allen

    • lobstahbisque

      Correct. SCOTUS did not say corporations are people. Mitt Romney said corporations are people.

      • Labropotes

        If Mitt had the deft speaking skills of Tom Ashbrook, he might have said, “The ruling is about the very broad nature of the constitution’s protection of free speech.” Sadly, Mitt didn’t have it.

        • Ray in VT

          The man made a number of ineloquently phrased statements that hurt his candidacy.

          • Don_B1

            They were much more than “inelegant” !

            They revealed what he really thought about the 47% and he fortunately paid for his misunderstanding of how America works, versus his understanding of how big business and the wealthy “work.”

          • HonestDebate1

            The comments were just blown up into endless news cycles but Obama said plenty of nasty boneheaded things that were not. Romney did not disparage the 47%.

          • Ray in VT

            Hahaha. Good one.

  • hennorama

    “The Empire is striking back” storm trooper image in the National Journal article from Tom’s Reading List above is amusing.

    Here’s an interesting exercise for those who haven’t read the article.

    Which faction of the Republican Party do you think the speaker of the following quote is likely to support: “TEA Party conservatives,” or “establishment Republicans?”:

    “We expect politicians to conduct themselves in such a way that respects the rule of law and the process by which our forefathers constructed this republic … they are going to see [that we are] interested in results and policy, and they have to decide whether that’s to be feared or embraced.”

    • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

      Respect for the Rule of Law has been eroding, ever since 20th Century Nobel Prize winning researchers revealed how rule-based systems are susceptible to gaming.

      • Labropotes

        Each prophet in the bible, up to and including Jesus, accuses his audience of having converted an ethical law to a mere rule-based system. Thus the phrase, “living law.”

        • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

          Precisely so.

          In the age of the Old Testament, the high priests (the Kohanim) were providing an esoteric system of guidance.

          Since the average person in the community could not readily apprehend such “rocket science” as a means of navigating their way through life, the second tier of the priesthood (the Levites) helpfully simplified the esoteric guidance principles into some easy-to-follow rules (some 613 of them in all).

          This was the “Legacy of the Levites” which (in Hebrew), the Kohanim called “Leviathan.”

          Even then, they understood that the unbridled Rule of Law was a lurking source of chaos, just beneath the surface.

          • Labropotes

            Thanks for the great comment, especially the origin of Leviathan. I never stopped to consider where it came from.

          • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

            As you are no doubt aware, the English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, entitled his classic critique of governance models “Leviathan” thereby reminding us of the connection between the classical chaos monster and the flaws inherent in the Rule of Law.

            If you put the Hebrew word into a translator and insert a space where the first half is compounded to the second half, you get “Levi Gift.” Note that the given name “Nathan” means “giver” in Hebrew.

            So “Legacy of the Levites” is a mundane parsing of “Leviathan,” not requiring any erudite scholarship to work out.

  • toc1234

    This should be a constructive show… Tom (aka Obama’s biggest fanboy) and the NYT and HuffPost…. Keep up the mediocre/biased programming Tom!

    • jefe68

      Don’t listen then. I’m more amused by the regressive right wingers posting here. Such as yourself.

    • Ray in VT

      Maybe they couldn’t get some crank from World Nut Daily to come on and say that everything is fine and that total Tea Party victory is just around the corner.

      • toc1234

        bravo, textbook use of the good ol’ Straw Man. You’ve obviously been paying attention to Obama’s rhetorical tactics..

        • Ray in VT

          Is that sort of like your liberal lamestream media is out to get all of us conservatives meme that you’re churning out without even listening to what the reporters have to say?

          • jefe68

            Funny how they roll like that.
            Always playing the victim…

          • Ray in VT

            There does seem to be a pretty good amount of that. Sometimes it sounds a bit like my 9 year old.

          • jefe68

            That’s about the mental age I was thinking of. Maybe stretch it to 14.

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — all of the “crank[s] from World Nut Daily” are probably watching the livestream of today’s Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing, neutrally titled “PPACA Implementation Failures: Didn’t Know or Didn’t Disclose?”

        (It’s available here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/ppaca-implementation-failures-didn%E2%80%99t-know-or-didn%E2%80%99t-disclose )

        • fun bobby

          it was also being shown live on foxnews. funny how the network news seldom shows live news conferences or congressional hearings

          • Ray in VT

            It is funny how Fox will stream hearings that would look to be highly critical of the President yet have commentators talk over when the President is speaking.

            I would generally figure that they don’t show hearings because they probably generally don’t draw many eyes.

          • toc1234

            people do love to check out trainwrecks…

          • Ray in VT

            Is that why we’re talking about the GOP today?

          • toc1234

            I agree Cruz drove the GOP train right into a wall… dumb. The first rule of politics is to let your opponent sink himself. The coverage would have segued neatly from Obama’s incompetence on Syria into his incompetence regarding ACA. But alas Cruz appears to lack political (and perhaps common) sense…

          • Don_B1

            Exactly!

          • fun bobby

            fox shows more Obama speeches in their entirety than any network or other cable outlet. I think its because any time Obama speaks it gets their viewers blood boiling so they just let him speak. its cheap content. its sad people care less about what actually geos on in Washington then what the networks tell them goes on.

          • Don_B1

            You have just the surface of what Fox News will do to push its agenda. Here is a description of what Fox does to make sure that blogs like this one have posters that defend Fox’s viewpoints:

            http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/attack-of-the-sock-puppets/

            How many of the trolls on this blog are sock puppets (paid likely but not necessarily) for Fox or some other conservative group?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Actually Krugman pays us because it riles up his base and gets him more traffic.

            I’m worried though because he’s almost spent through his Nobel prize cash. Oh well.

          • MrNutso

            Funny how people who think the ACA is the second coming of satan are now concerned that a web site isn’t working very well.

          • TFRX

            But is it more funny than how everyone in the press corpse forgot how poorly Medicare D got off its starting line.

          • Don_B1

            Here are two links to just how bad it was:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jared-bernstein/obamacare-implementation_b_4144946.html

            and:

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/11/the-last-time-the-government-expanded-health-care-it-was-also-kind-of-a-disaster/

            But there was a difference in what happened politically: The Democrats pitched in and worked to help improve the delivery system.

          • fun bobby

            the food here is lousy and the portions are too small

          • fun bobby

            if you think something is a bad idea and then it fails it makes sense to point thatoiut

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            It is funny how people who thought that the ACA was the second coming of Santa Claus are now throwing up when they learn that their provider dumped their coverage and now their costs have doubled.

          • hennorama

            fun bobby — the “network news” shows are not on the air at this time of day, and believe it or not, not everyone is interested in watching Congressional hearings, live or otherwise.

          • TFRX

            Someone is watching those seventeen judge shows. I’m not their target demo, but they do have an audience.

          • fun bobby

            they often have noontime and other day time reports and there are several other 24 hour cable news outlets and they all neglect more presidential speeches than fox. one might think our president speaking would preempt days of our lives

          • hennorama

            fun bobby — all true, but the newsfotainment industry coverage is motivated by $$$, not civic responsibility.

          • fun bobby

            that goes without saying. one would wish that the president could pull better ratings than a dukes of hazard rerun

        • OnPointComments

          In my opinion, spending in excess of $600 million dollars on a project that failed is worthy of investigation.

          • hennorama

            OPC — while your cost figure is disputed, I agree that the website issues need to be addressed and investigated, and have not said otherwise.

            But clearly not everyone is interested in watching the Congressional hearings.

          • OnPointComments

            The reported amount that I read was $634 million. I rounded down.

            http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/10/10/the-obamacare-website-the-biggest-tech-gaggle-ever/

          • StilllHere

            We’ll have to wait until S&P weighs in. Those guys never get it wrong.

          • hennorama

            OPC — TY for your reply.

            Yes, I’ve seen you repeatedly quoting that figure, and also saw another forum member (sorry, but I forget exactly which member) indicating the figure was $90+ M, followed by another $200 M or so.

            That’s what I was referring to.

            And today we have this, from The Fact Checker on washingtonpost.com:

            “A conservative figure would be $70 million. A more modest figure would be $125 million to $150 million. Or one could embrace the entire project, as outlined by GAO, and declare that it is at least $350 million.

            “At this point, we have not reached a firm conclusion, and we find it telling that officials in the administration and on Capitol Hill are not able to provide a definitive answer either. We will continue to monitor this question and expand this column as necessary. But in the meantime, readers should be wary of many cost estimates uttered by lawmakers.”

            See:
            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2013/10/24/how-much-did-healthcare-gov-cost/

            Sounds a bit like the issue of the S&P estimate of $24 B of negative economic impact from the recent Federal partial shutdown, doesn’t it?

          • OnPointComments

            Two contractors just testified in the hearing that their companies were paid $290 million and $85 million, respectively, for a total of $375 million.

          • hennorama

            OPC – Thanks for the update.

          • TFRX

            Yeah, after the Medicare D investigation.

          • Ray in VT

            Hey, we don’t want to look back. Anything that happened prior to January 2009 is ancient history, so one not even need look at it at all.

          • fun bobby

            plus its like the obamaphiles don’t have any compassion for all the poor people who are just trying to get healthcare but cannot because of the defective Canadian donor built website

      • katznkatz

        HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!! Howling with laughter!!!!!

    • Labropotes

      I know that Tom doesn’t share my views. It makes his kind, intelligent, balanced, respectful and friendly interactions with all comers on this show all the more admirable.

      I love it when someone says something really crazy, and Tom deftly uses some aspect of the comment to spur the conversation in a useful direction. I wish I had the acuity to do that.

      • Jasoturner

        Agree. If you want to promote dialogue, this is a wonderful show. Tom does a great (in the literal sense) show.

  • MrStang

    The Koch-Petersen Teapublican Confederate christo-oil Zombie Obamacare-Concern-Troll-Out is under way under the leadership of Ted (Goldman-Sachs health-subsidized recipient) Cruz and John (my governor yearns for medicaid) Boehner.

    • fun bobby

      drink!

      • jefe68

        Grow up.

        • fun bobby

          are you angling for a new word jefe?

          • jefe68

            That was two words.
            How about insipid. That’s how one could describe your act.

          • fun bobby

            maybe we just need to pick one per day

          • fun bobby

            you are pee wee/ andy cohen you decide. you hear that kids? “insipid!” drink!

  • MrStang

    Tom these Republicans are not ‘MainStream’. They are all extreme right-wing greed and power hungry zombies engaging in a hobbesian struggle to eat America.

  • Ray in VT

    What is a party to do when a couple of the groups cited, such as Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, backs a guy for the primary with ties to neo-confederate groups?

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/gop-senate-candidate-spoke-neo-confederate-conference-august

    Who knows, that might not be such a hindrance in Mississippi, but one would think that the sort of Main Street style GOP conservatives would get a bit uncomfortable with such figures being pushed to the forefront.

  • TFRX

    Tom, is it true that Cuccinelli is actually trying to outlaw certain forms of physical relations between consenting adults?

    Can you ask one of those bussed in “real Americans” about that, or just play their audio clip?

    • Ray in VT

      Well, he was trying to uphold the law against “unnatural” sex acts.

      • TFRX

        Shall we start a pool on when Cooch is caught with a cabana boy?

        • Ray in VT

          My (joking) theory is that he can’t get any downtown business, so he just wants to ruin it for everyone else.

    • HonestDebate1

      Prostitution is ilegal.

      • Ray in VT

        That law says nothing about paying for sex.

        • HonestDebate1

          I am just pointing out that there are already laws (I cited only one) that make certain forms of physical relations between consenting adults illegal.

          • Ray in VT

            However paying for sex is rather different than two people getting it on for the fun of it. There have also been laws against sex outside of marriage, and those have fallen away as well.

          • TFRX

            Keep JAQing it, jerk.

          • HonestDebate1

            Why the hate?

      • TFRX

        Really, read one damn thing about it. Then get back.

        On the other hand, don’t.

        It’s about oral sex. I just tried to type it politely for NPR, and you had to kludge it up in your pretend feigned “who me?” ignorance.

  • MrNutso

    Excellent information from Reihan Salaam.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      That’s why CNN hired him — to criticize the GOP.

      • MrNutso

        He wasn’t talking about the GOP.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          I do find him to be an honest broker but the way CNN uses him is often laughable. Mostly because of the other panelists he debates.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that his statements on this are pretty balanced and objective (at least as far as one can be).

  • MrStang

    Stiglitz-

    “… For too long, the hardworking and rule-abiding had seen their paychecks shrink or stay the same, while the rule-breakers raked in huge profits and wealth. It made our economy sick, and our politics sick, too. …”

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2013/09/stiglitz-we-created-this-inequality.html

    • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

      The future does not reside in the battle between the rule-abiders vs the rule-breakers.

      The future resides in the innovation of the rule-transcenders.

  • MrNutso

    So if we are seeing more freelancers, why are parties allowing these people to associate with the party? If the parties don’t like the extremes, why do they support them anyway?

  • MrStang

    They don’t care about the Frankenstein Zombies if they’re Billionaires who profit from disaster capitalism.

  • MrStang

    Karl Rove only cares because the curtain is being lifted. He curses toto!
    Will the street zombies see they are being grifted and abused and wake from their randian;christo-oil fueled confederate fever? I mean really…Whats the matter with Kansas?

  • TFRX

    “Collapse in faith in political elites”?

    The phrase “political elite” is going to be meaningless in a couple of years. How many people who got out of being a political elite are now on K Street, trying to get the suckers to sign up?

    I’m looking at you, Evan Bayh and Jim DeMint. (Not that there aren’t plenty of others.)

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “I will not compromise”
    “I will not negotiate”

    What’s the difference?

    • Steve / Lexington MA

      Obama did not say he would not negotiate. He said he would not concede to blackmail or extortion.
      And rightly so. No president of the USA should ever concede to blackmail or extortion.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Sorry but you’ve drunk the koolaid. There was no blackmail or extortion. The constitutional system of separation of powers – with a divided government — was working as designed. Apparently that wasn’t good enough for the President.

        Obama’s statement and action was unprecedented vis a vis numerous past budget/debt impasses.

        • HonestDebate1

          Bingo.

        • lobstahbisque

          Just calling a spade a spade. I like that.

        • Steve / Lexington MA

          Worried–
          Your comment is preposterous.
          The actions of the shutdown/default Republicans were a textbook case of blackmail and extortion.
          This is why the American people took such a dim view of their tactics.
          Please inform yourself on the definitions of “blackmail” and “extortion” before posting further on this issue.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Nice try.

            Perhaps you could read Madison’s musings in Federalist 58 and then we could discuss.

          • Steve / Lexington MA

            The relevance of Fed 58 is, exactly, what? Do enlighten us. Enlighten us also on how money that has in fact already been spent has in fact not been spent. I’m eager to learn about that one.

  • J__o__h__n

    I’m glad Tom pointed out to the caller that everyone doesn’t want the same results so it is more complicated than just everyone getting together. The evidence shows that everyone doesn’t want health care.

    • OnPointComments

      I favor members of Congress who will work to overturn Obamacare, get rid of the CFPB, and reign in the EPA if not get rid of the agency all together.

      • jimino

        So in your world people yearn for being unable to obtain health insurance, having the financial sector defraud us individually and destroy the economy, and for a return to those golden days when our rivers were literally on fire. That’s some twisted view of what is worth fighting for.

        And that is also precisely why I wish (in vain I concede) for Obama or someone on my side to ruthlessly, cunningly and systematically try to make sure that those who send representatives to Congress with your goals be forced to live by them.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Meanwhile in the real world we have Obamacare contractors testifying under oath why they created a $500M boondoggle that doesn’t work.

    The common theme points the finger squarely at HHS: “we just did what HHS told us and we met those specifications”.

    This entire fiasco partially lifts the curtain on massive government waste and overspending and incompetence.

    • OnPointComments

      An interesting article about the problems with the Obamacare website. Apparently $600+ million dollars doesn’t get you a good product.

      TO FIX OBAMACARE WEBSITE, BLOW IT UP, START OVER
      http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/23/technology/obamacare-website-fix/

      Excerpt (emphasis added):
      “After assessing the website, Dave Kennedy, the CEO of information-security company Trusted Sec, estimates that about 20% of

      Healthcare.gov needs to be rewritten. With a whopping 500 million lines of code, according to a recent New York Times report, Kennedy believes fixing the site would probably take six months to a year.

      To put 500 million lines of code into perspective, it took just 500,000 lines of code to send the Curiosity rover to Mars. Microsoft’s (MSFT, Fortune 500) Windows 8 operating system reportedly has about 80 million lines of code. And an
      online banking system might feature between 75 million and 100 million lines. A “more normal range” for a project like Healthcare.gov is about 25 million to 50 million lines of code, Kennedy said.

      The [500 million lines of code] says right off the bat that something is egregiously wrong ,” said Kennedy. “I jumped back when I read that figure. It’s just so excessive.”

      The code is also riddled with security holes, according to Kennedy, who outlined his cybersecurity concerns on Trusted Sec’s company blog.”

    • mozartman

      $500 million? That’s a rounding error in the great scheme of things. Not even a billion. They build aircraft carriers that not even the Pentagon wants for several billions plus billions in costs to run it. Billions are wasted on useless spying on allies and harmless Americans. Tens of billions are given away to drug companies by the prohibition of Medicare to bargain for lower drug prices (Medicare Part D). Trillions (with a T) were and will be wasted on a futile effort to change a country like Iraq. Where was the conservative outrage when Iraq turned into a fiasco? A lot of those examples are wasteful spending by Republicans, although not all. So give Obama a few hundred million to create a website.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        If they spend $500M on what should be a $5M project should we care? This is just the latest peek under the kimono. This shouldn’t be a partisan deal. We should all be outraged.

        Total spending to date on Obamacare contractors IS over $1B.

        There was a report this week that the IRS overpaid $132B in fraudulent EITC payments. There is no plan to correct it.

        http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/330335-report-obamacare-spending-to-top-contractors-tops-1b-

        • mozartman

          Sure we should care, but many times we focus on the small fry since it is so visible and forget about the big blunders.

          The whole tax and budget system needs to be revamped. We need to separate insurance programs like SS, Medicare, unemployment, Medicaid (mostly for seniors now too), and so on from other govt. spending like defense, research, highways and what have you. The first group needs to have separate funding sources that are identified as such. We have already Fica and Medicare taxes, but they are premiums and should be labeled as such. But these programs get cross-subsidized by income taxes. We need to act like a real insurance company too – charge the right premium or cut benefits, but not subsidize with general tax revenues. That pits one group against another. Let’s see what Americans want.

          Then we can separate the rest of the budget and charge a tax for that spending and have totally separate accounting for that part of the budget.

        • mixnmatch

          As someone who has been involved with software implementations for over ten years, I’ve got to call you on your consistent suggestions that that the ACA project should have cost $5M.

          A project of this nature could not be done for $5M. I work with
          packaged software used by Fortune 100 companies. Our software implementations require a service team to do the installation, configuration, and custom development and/or integrations for the customer’s specific business requirements. For some sites, the service projects run into the millions. That price does not include the licensing and maintenance of the software, which can be multiple times the cost of the implementation. This project had a level of complexity beyond anything we would handle.

          In terms of your insistence that the project cost $500M, hennorama has already posted information that indicates that number is probably inaccurate, even at the highest projections. Even if that number is correct, what does it include? Is it $599 M for the initial implementation of the site? Does it include maintenance for the site over time? Upgrades to the software and hardware on a regular basis? I could continue with all of the miscellaneous costs that are required to keep a web application running over time. And if that $500M cost was accurate and was for the long-term project and contracts, the fair thing to say is that the project will cost X dollars over Y years, not “the project cost $500M”.

          Whatever your opinions on the ACA, please don’t pull random numbers out of the air to justify them.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            If starting from scratch, how many man hours does the the $500M represent? It is quite simple math.

            There was a software expert interviewed last night that said he’s done projects that are much more complicated than the web portal for about $1M.

            You don’t have to be a technology expert to know this thing is a cluster F…

            Trust me… this kind of expenditure could only happen with a government project. It was completely unnecessary and probably happens way too often now that we find out that the Federal contractors annual revenues in 2012 was $1B.

          • Labropotes

            Here I disagree. I worked for GE in one of their countless units, this one reinsurance. They paid a consulting firm $100mm in about 2002 to integrate several databases and to create a single interface. The interface got built but the new database ended up unusable, as if half the fields were mapped at random. They actually lost access to the data and spent all that money! But it was okay because no one who worked for GE could be blamed.

            CF’s like this are downright normal in corporate America. I think it flows from the lack of accountability. As always, in the ACA portal case the folks giving the orders couldn’t give a lucid description of the task. They still can’t. But they can blame the programmers.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Interesting story. I thought GE was well run — especially under Jack Welch.

            Unfortunately, the government typically has no respect for our money. They don’t write contracts in a way that you only pay for success. There is no incentive to save money. For instance, we’ve had an exchange here in MA (aka Romneycare). Did they explore reusing that MA system and scaling it up? I don’t know if it was feasible but I doubt they even considered it.

            I also heard this was a no-bid contract.

          • mixnmatch

            If someone said that he’s done more complicated projects for about $1M, the person is not a

            software expert. He just plays one on TV. You may not need to be a

            technology expert to have an opinion about how well the project is going, but it’s certainly

            helpful if you’re going to make assessments on how much it would cost to do a project of this

            nature.

            I never provided an opinion on the amount of money spent on the project. I said

            that the numbers you provided require more details about what’s included in those costs to have some meaning. If I told you my house cost $1M, you would assume that I was talking about the purchase price. However, if I was on a forum where I wanted to prove a point that required the cost of my house to be exponentially higher than the purchase price, I could easily come up with valid logic to increase the number by including interest payments, real estate taxes, and maintenance on the house for the life of the loan. You asked how many man hours does the $500M represent. I’m asking you for details on what the $500M include in the project. You said that it is quite simple math. I can certainly divide $500M into some imaginary hourly wage for a web application developer, but my career experience tells me that is a simplistic way of looking at things. Also, by restating $500M, I’m giving you some benefit of the doubt since there have been other nubmers thrown about that are lower than what you are claiming.

            You suggested that this could only happen on a government contract. Labropotes has already posted information about a private sector IT project horror show at GE. My experience reconfirms that this is not confined to government projects. I’ve actually done work for GE and I don’t want to paint a gigantic company with a broad stroke based on one small group, but it was one of the worst managed projects in my experience. I wondered how the company managed to stay in business. However, I realized that making generalizations based on a small set of data is not a logical way to go about forming opinions.

            And finally, you should read your post and look at the language you used. “It is quite simple math”; “Trust me”; “You don’t have to be a technology expert to know..” Do a search for confirmation bias and decide for yourself if it applies. (I’m guessing your answer will be no, but that’s just my own confirmation bias at play.) It does not seem like you are interested in considering any information that conflicts with what you already know to be true.

  • toc1234

    Tom maybe you should disclose that you live in Barney Franks’ gerrymandered fortress.

    • J__o__h__n

      He retired. Mostly because his district changed.

      • toc1234

        that’s hilarious… MA 4th is not in play… he was just lazy against Bielet and didn’t want to be bothered with campaigning… felt it was beneath him..

        • J__o__h__n

          Bielet lost again. He wasn’t an issue. I think it was drawn up to give the Kennedy kid a seat. I’m sure Barney’s friendly personality didn’t endear him to the state reps drawing the map.

          • lobstahbisque

            We are blessed to have the Kennedy kid, Warren and Markey.

          • J__o__h__n

            I wasn’t impressed with his pro NSA vote and how he had ducked interviews until after the campaign ended. Markey is mediocre but votes the right way. Warren is great.

        • Ray in VT

          Given this map of votes for president by municipality:

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/2012_Presidential_election_in_Massachusetts_voting_results_by_municipality.svg

          one would think that it would be somewhat difficult for any district to currently be in play. This last time around a number of state candidates here flat out said that the national party was hurting them by association.

        • lobstahbisque

          Actually he felt that the district was too changed for him to get to know all the new constituents. Also he felt he could be a more effective force, away from government. And he’s 70….

    • StilllHere

      The whole state is a gerrymandered mess.

      • MrNutso

        The entire country is.

        • Don_B1

          One state that changed that was California in which voters removed the redistricting process from direct legislative control.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Gerrymandering was invented in MA.

        Eldrige Gerry — MA politician late 18th/early 19th century.

    • Ray in VT

      Does Barney have some sort of castle that he lives in or something?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        He moved to Maine to live with his husband.

      • lobstahbisque

        Yes. All us fairies live in castles.

        • Ray in VT

          and wear boots?

          • lobstahbisque

            “These boots were made for walkin..” the inimitable Nancy Sinatra ca. 1968. BLACK boots du rigeur.

          • Labropotes

            Don’t forget the big pile of shaving cream!

          • lobstahbisque

            You mean “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”?

          • Labropotes

            I was young. I sure remember the image.

          • hennorama

            Is that a new artificial coffee creamer? ;-)

          • lobstahbisque

            Oh callow youth!

          • keltcrusader

            herb alpert & the tijuana brass – music of my youth :)

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ve still got that album but no turntable.

          • OnPointComments

            I’ve still got that 8-track but no player.

          • Ray in VT

            My reference was to the Black Sabbath song, but I’ll take that one too.

      • toc1234

        Fortress was Tom’s word.
        and while Barney didn’t live a castle he did live in a brothel… not sure if it was medieval themed…

        In 1985 Frank was still closeted. That year he hired Steve Gobie, a male prostitute, for sex, and they became “more friends than sexual partners.”[27] Frank housed Gobie and hired him with personal funds as an aide, housekeeper and driver and paid for his attorney and court-ordered psychiatrist.[27] In 1987, Frank kicked Gobie out after being advised by his landlord that Gobie kept escorting despite the support and was doing so in the residence.

        • TFRX

          Funny, all I can remember is how Frank got Republicans to clap their yaps by threatening to name 5 gay GOP congresscritters on national TV. This was during the ’90s, during the Hunting of the President, if I recall.

          Yet only one of these sides still talks (and doesn’t walk the talk) about “Fambly Values”.

    • TELew

      If you did not know, Franks is not in Congress any more. What is the point of your comment?

      • Ray in VT

        That was sort of the point behind my joking question.

      • StilllHere

        Is that the rule, we can’t talk about politicians not serving currently? That should really clear up the board.

        • TELew

          No rule at all.

          But what is the comment’s relevance to the topic?

  • hennorama

    It would be interesting to have those who are predicting that “young people won’t sign up,” etc. back on the air in a year or so.

    One wonders if they also predicted that Mr. Romney would win last November.

    • OnPointComments

      It would be interesting to have those who are predicting that Obamacare will reduce the deficit back on the air in five or ten years.

      • hennorama

        OPC — I agree.

  • TFRX

    Another caller repeating the talking points du Beltway of “Young people live lah-de-dah without HC insurance every day and they don’t mind”.

    It’s amazing how many well-insulated Beltway Inbreds have forgotten, or never knew, how risky it is to live without healthcare.

  • MrStang

    We need a Robin-Hood Tax.

    “Societies that let wealth concentrate will end up with a wealthy who can concentrate enormous resources on getting their way.” – See more at: http://inequality.org/democracy-trump-inequality/#sthash.IxSPjnU7.dpuf

    • OnPointComments

      1. Big money is corrupting politics and swinging political races.
      2. Income inequality is a problem that needs to be solved by making the rich poorer.
      3. The deficit doesn’t matter, unless the discussion is tax rates on the rich, then it matters.

      These are three liberal myths. I have never met anyone, liberal or conservative, who admits that their votes were changed by big money in politics. One person achieving success does not cause another person to be unsuccessful, just as making the rich poorer does not make the poor richer. The deficit matters; raising taxes does not solve the problem when paired with greater spending.

      • MrStang

        “…admits…”

        Zombies are conscious? Oh Kansas I weep for thee….

        The Koch-Petersen Teapublican Zombie virus is now equipped with bulleted talking points and economicarglebargle to confuse and recruit.

        This Koch-Petersen randian infused Zombie Virus shall be defeated OUT OUT OUT in 2014

        http://www.robinhoodtax.org/

      • jimino

        Actually the fact that you consider those 3 things to be “liberal” positions and “myths” is proof that you have been fully swayed by big money in politics. Whether you admit it or not is irrelevant.

    • John Cedar

      We already have a robbing HUD tax.
      Some call it the death tax.
      Barney Frank, Andy Cuomo, Rambo, and Obama JDS, ruined our economy with HUD policy.

      The estate tax helps pay for that.

    • harverdphd

      Forget it…rich democrats will never pass such a notion.

  • hennorama

    Reihan Salam’s article “Why Health Reform Needs a Default Option” on nationalreview.com is very interesting.

    FTA:

    “The idea of a default option comes to mind in light of the difficulties facing the new health insurance exchanges. Even in the absence of technical difficulties, I’m starting to wonder why anyone thought that a substantial majority of healthy young people would sign up for coverage, including heavily subsidized coverage. The threat of a penalty is one obvious reason. Yet the Obama administration and its allies have been reluctant to emphasize the punitive dimension of the individual mandate, for obvious political reasons. Rather than using the threat of a penalty to spur enrollment, coverage expansion advocates have emphasized the benefits of insurance, hence the (apparent) reluctance of the architects of the exchanges to expose consumers to the full, unsubsidized cost of the new insurance options.”

    And

    “As of 2009, the per capita cost of providing non-disabled low-income adults with Medicaid coverage $3025 – from a low of $1136 in California to a high of $6360 in Alaska. This suggests that Capretta-style default options may well be a realistic option at $2500 per adult, and the higher enrollments that flow from the default would more for healthier risk pools. One could argue that instead of having the private catastrophic policies serve as the default options, we should instead have the Medicare system serve as the catastrophic coverage provider, as Don Taylor of Duke has proposed. Others, myself included, might favor private providers, on the grounds that they would be more open to business-model innovation. But one way or another, it seems that we need to start thinking about the idea of a default option.”

    See:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/agenda

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      The current law (or rules, I’m not sure) states that the IRS cannot force collection of the penalty via usual IRS tactics like liens. They can only collect default penalties via withholding it from tax refunds.

      I’m not sure if interest accrues on unpaid penalties.

      • hennorama

        WftC – Thank you for your response.

        Essentially, the penalty can be subtracted from withheld taxes or estimated tax payments only. I’m not sure about interest accruals on unpaid penalties, and the IRS is developing PPACA-related compliance procedures.

        But the penalty isn’t really my topic.

        The idea of a default enrollment option under the PPACA intrigued me. My concept is a bit different from the idea discussed in Mr. Salam’s article.

        Imagine a system whereby an individual could, by entering just a few bits of personal information, enroll in a standardized default health insurance plan. A sort of a “one-click” purchase, if you will. The default plan would have a minimal level of coverage, a high deductible, and a low premium, perhaps the same as the current Bronze level plans..

        Other plans would be available, but would require a bit more investigation on the part of the individual. And one could always change coverage in the future, when the next open enrollment period came around. Any paperwork and data verification would be facilitated by the insurer, and the insurer would then interface with the Federal enrollment and payment/subsidy systems.

        This is similar to how many companies now have automatic default 401(k) plan enrollment for their employees, and would significantly increase enrollment levels.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Whatever happened to freedom and liberty.

          Imagine if King George imposed ‘default’ tea. Everyone who doesn’t buy tea gets Lipton’s on his doorstep by default. King George still gets his tax.

          btw – bronze for all — What would that cost? Are there enough Dr.s to support it?

          • hennorama

            WftC – Thank you for your response.

            I think you misunderstood my idea, or perhaps I didn’t explain it well enough.

            For those who choose to enroll and to obtain health insurance through the exchanges, there would be a simplified enrollment process that would enroll the individual in the default option (again, perhaps the Bronze level plan). Other options are still available, but would require more investigation, time, and effort on the part of the enrollee.

            The economics to the Treasury are the same, and might actually be better if more people enrolled in the lower cost default options than in higher cost plans. In addition, the individuals who enrolled in the default plan, which covers a lower portion of any covered health care and has a higher deductible, would be more attuned to the costs vs. benefits of the care they utilize, and may be less inclined toward high utilization rates.

            And this in turn would potentially reduce staffing requirements.

            The individual still retains the freedom and liberty to NOT comply with the PPACA, of course, or to choose a different health insurance plan.

            Hope that helps.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Yup. Thanks.

    • MrStang

      National Review hated Public Option. National Review has private ‘default option’ built into the system. Reihan/National Review are bent on owning solutions unless… F all you concern trolls

      • hennorama

        MrStang — no offense intended or implied, but I seem to have misplaced my MrStang-to-English dictionary.

        Would you please rephrase your thoughts, so that they might be better understood?

        • MrStang

          h- my disgust/comments were directed at reihan and nat-review who have alternately cheered obstruction or dabbled in the most caustic astute and mannered monday morning quarterback nitpicking. As Malcom X said
          “They cripple the bird’s wing, and then condemn it for not flying as fast as they.”

          • hennorama

            MrStang – TY for clearing that up. I appreciate it.

          • MrStang

            My apologies for not being clear.

          • hennorama

            MrStang — no worries. It happens to everyone at some point, or so I’ve heard. ;-)

    • Oldsalt65

      Try to remember that there are only two rules in politics, only two. 1. Get elected 2. Get reelected. To politicians, everything else is just so many annoying details. This is why big money controls them all through campaign contributions. Term limits anyone?

      • hennorama

        Oldsalt65 — Okaaaay, but what, if anything, does that have to do with the comment to which you replied?

  • MrStang

    “conservative values” 0_o

  • Jim

    After watching 60 minutes last weekend… ALL politicians in DC are crooks…

    • OnPointComments

      If Diogenes’ search was in Washington, DC, I’m sure he’d still be looking for an honest man.

      • jefe68

        …and he would find that one of the few honest men/women in DC would be no other than Bernie Sanders.

        • Ray in VT

          I love Bernie, but the man seriously needs a comb.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Does Bernie support a delay in the individual mandate? If not, why?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Some gems:
      – loaning your campaign $150K and then charging 18% to personally net $250K over 15 years
      – creating ‘leadership PACs to funnel campaign funds and then the PAC pays for personal expenses like weddings in Scotland — including the wedding gift.

      • hennorama

        WftC — The more things change, the more they stay the same.

        A quick search found an article on Leadership PACs from May 1994, referencing

        Rep. Bill McCollum (R) of Florida
        Rep. Tom DeLay (R) of Texas

        who “… both want to be House minority whip…assuming the position will become vacant this fall if Rep. Newt Gingrich (R) of Georgia moves over to the position of House minority leader after Rep. Bob Michel (R) of Illinois retires.”

        It goes on to mention

        House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D) of Missouri
        Sen. Bob Dole (R) of Kansas
        House Speaker Tom Foley (D) of Washington
        Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D) of Illinois
        Sen. Jesse Helms (D) of North Carolina

        See:
        http://www.csmonitor.com/1994/0506/06231.html

        I also found this article from July 2013, which indicates that 293 House members, and 94 Senators currently have a Leadership PAC:

        http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/why-nearly-everyone-in-congress-has-a-leadership-pac-these-days-20130722

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Apparently they are all ‘leaders’ in their own minds.

    • mozartman

      And we vote those crooks into office instead of having the courage to look at alternatives. In every election you have some very good candidates from non traditional parties or who are not affiliated. But 90%+ of all voters cannot bring themselves to vote for them or even a guy/gal form the other party, even if the person they vote for is a stinker. But 90% of all voters complain about Congress which has less than 10% approval rating. But next election almost all will be voted in again, including Senators which are not subject to gerrymandering.

      Voters don’t inform themselves and check their brain out when they enter the voting booth. Like robots they vote party, no matter who stands behind it.

      A nation deserves the government it has and a government reflects the character of a nation over time. Just look in the mirror: the government is largely us – selfish, greedy, short term thinking, I want a benefit but not pay for it, and so on.

      I never vote for the two parties. Both are corrupt. I always vote for the third or fourth party person, but our system is so rigged, that you can hardly call it a democracy. We point fingers at Russia and China for being corrupt, but we are in the same league. We just call it “campaign” contributions and the like, but the effect is the same.

      • OnPointComments

        At this moment, I’m leaning towards not voting for any member of Congress who has been in office for two terms or more.

        • mozartman

          Good , but do you have the courage to look at others than Dems and Reps? Even before they get into office they get corrupted by having to sell their souls to money donors who wants their pound of flesh once they are in Congress. After one term they are rotten and corrupt and after two terms they only know their main donors and don’t care one bit about their constituents.

        • John Cedar

          Why would you do such a thing? The third party is the most corrupt party. Have you seen the transactions that take place in the states that allow fusion voting?

          Until the “normals” wrestle the democrat party back from the extreme left, it is imperative to party line straight ticket vote GOP.

          If you want to make a real difference then register democrat and vote in the primaries. Just imagine if most democrats did not hate women and white people. President Hillary would have done a much better job with her husband there to keep her moderate left wing, as a bonus.

  • tbphkm33

    Warning, this is a bit crude…

    The Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, et. al., are akin to the boy playing the banjo in the movie Deliverance. They have everything spun up in the Nopublican Party. The Tea Baggers are squealing in joy, not knowing how badly they are being played.

    • pete18

      You always know when democrats think things are going bad for their heroes when they repeat the same lame, empty-headed, and robotic attacks against their favorite whipping boys the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party.

      • lobstahbisque

        So we demonize each other’s leaders. You win, you have got THE better villains by far.

        • harverdphd

          Money wins again. What’s in your wallet?

        • pete18

          Let’s see, private citizens who spend their money and apply
          their votes towards changing things that they are concerned about, like the
          size of government, government overspending, the debt, the application of the Constitution to laws and lawmakers, and a horrid health care law that allows a bungling
          bureaucracy to take over a huge section of the economy, are villains. However,
          an inexperienced, aloof and arrogant president who’s mismanaged the economy, massively increased the debt, pushed through a destructive health care policy that the majority of Americans don’t want, broken the majority of his campaign promises, increased government surveillance on his own citizens (much more than the former administration, which he lambasted for the same tactics) and has estranged his allies with his broken promises and incoherent foreign policy is of no concern to people who vilify the former group. Makes sense.

          • lobstahbisque

            Trolling for dollars.

          • pete18

            Another attack on the messenger to avoid
            arguing content….priceless.

          • TFRX

            Stop pointing at Atlas Shrugged and I’ll stop quoting Red Dwarf. I mean, this isn’t a sci fi thread, is it?

          • pete18

            I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged or Red Dwarf so I’m missing your reference. I’m sure it’s very good. A sci-fi thread would probably be more constructive.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Heard an interesting thought question today.

    Who is more incompetent: FEMA director “you’re doing a good job” Brownie or HHS chief “launch this beast to find out if it works” Sebelius?

    • John Cedar

      NOTA

      The guy that put her in the job…by far.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Now, now… you’re not playing by the rules.

      • lobstahbisque

        And that would be…….

  • ExcellentNews

    “Democracy and freedom are incompatible” – I think this quote from one of the billionaire donors behind the Republicans (and their Tea Party subsidiary) says it all.

    Freedom for whom? Yes, democracy is incompatible with the freedoms that the oligarchy enjoys in slave labor countries. In America, you cannot behead a servant that displeases you. You cannot buy a 14 year old for your harem. You cannot dump toxic waste in the water the peons use…etc.

    Wake up people. Democracy is indeed at stake here, because for the 99%, democracy=freedom.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      George Soros?

    • harverdphd

      ^ can’t get to Obamacare for his meds^

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

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Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
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Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

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