SEQUESTRATION IS LIKE THE MAYAN APOCALYPSE—NO HARM TO MANKIND

I am in general agreement with the crux of this piece and that is while sequestration is not the way it should be done, the scheduled cuts under it are for the most part non-Draconian. The only way they have any real effect is that, where discretion is allowed, that discretion is applied unthinkingly.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/02/28/sequestration_not_such_a_bad_idea.html

Take Defense for instance. The Pentagon is bitching that it might not be able to keep enough aircraft carries near the Mideast. I think they can easily meet the cuts by bringing home all our troops in Afghanistan right now.

Then they can slash the 27,000 people involved in public relations and recruiting.

Then they can slash some of the extraneous general and flag officers currently active. Their number is THREE times the number of such officers per 10,000 troops that the U.S. had in World War II.

Then they can severely cut the number of troops we have in Germany and Japan, at present 55,000 and 35,000 respectively.

Then they can close hundreds of superfluous military bases overseas.

Now I’ll briefly touch on one area where nearly everyone suggests that cuts need to be made, or at least significant changes made. That is Social Security and even most liberal commentators concede that cuts are needed to save SS.

BALDERDASH! Not only do ways exist that would lead to sustaining SS beyond current projections, they are relatively simple to implement. But some of the proposals that have at least some support from people who should know better will be nothing but devastating for retirees.

I heard former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs state that changing the Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) formula that determines increases in monthly benefits will be an improvement.

NO, it would not be an improvement. Over the past four years there have been TWO raises in benefits. I personally have seen my monthly “pay” increase about $35 in 2012 and another $20 this year. I can assure you that the cost of everything I do; cable, food, gasoline, etc.are proportionately higher than the raises I have received. Yet the change in COLA formula is estimated to reduce future hikes considerably.

Yet I have heard no media analysis of SS and how to save it that even begins to take these factors into consideration.

But that concern is more for any further budget talks than for the “DOOMSDAY” sequestration facing us tomorrow. I assure you the sun will rise and the world will continue and relatively few of us will even notice the sequestration has taken effect.

Rest easy, my friends.

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Comments

  • Tourist  On February 28, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    UMOC, you suggest specific areas at the Pentagon to “slash.” According to Fred Kaplan at Slate:

    (Quote)

    . . . As part of the across-the-board reductions in the federal budget, the Pentagon would have to cut $46 billion, or about 9 percent of its budget. That’s a lot, but it’s not catastrophic. There were plenty of weapons that could be cut or delayed—the disaster-prone F-35 stealth fighter, far-from-urgent upgrades of nuclear weapons, a few shipbuilding projects, the list goes on. And there were the savings to be wrought from the end of the Iraq War and the drawdown in Afghanistan.

    Unfortunately, the solution isn’t so simple. According to the explicit language of the budget act (and of the interpretation laid down by the Office of Management and Budget), the Pentagon’s managers are not allowed to pick and choose which programs to cut. That is, they’re not allowed to do what managers are supposed to do in these situations—set priorities, make trade-offs, and align strategy with resources.

    Rather, every single program, project, and activity—every line item in the Pentagon budget, from the biggest weapon system to the smallest spare part—has to be cut by that same 9 percent. Not 10 percent or 8 percent or 20 percent or 2 percent (even if it might make more sense to cut some of them by these larger or smaller numbers), but rather by 9 percent.

    (Unquote)

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2013/02/sequestration_of_the_pentagon_budget_why_the_sequester_cuts_to_the_military.html

    • umoc193  On March 1, 2013 at 7:06 AM

      Please note that my first call for cuts is to end the folly in Afghanistan NOW. Of course I have been demanding that for three years which demand has fallen on deaf ears at the White House. (My influence seems to have waned over the years.)

      In 2012 we were still spending $2 BILLION a WEEK there and while troop levels have been somewhat reduced since early last year the costs certainly remain at a level above the amount of cuts called for in the sequester.

      And while cuts are supposed to be administered across the board, save some exceptions, there is nothing in that law that would prevent the other cuts I have suggested and frankly, as long as the money spent is less, I don’t know of anyone who would give a damn if the legal niceties of the sequestration would not be observed, as long as there was less spending. Well the only people who would take issue would be those with personal agendas or personal interests. But then cutting spending on certain weapons, ships,etc. will also rtaise the hackles of Congressmen whose districts are affected.

      Too, I failed to properly express my belief that the sequester cuts will not remain as written so that the worry about what happens immediately has no bearing on the long term.

      Here is an analysis of the sequester essentially divided into two parts, the effects on FY 2013 spending and the effects in future years.

      http://www.cbpp.org/files/12-2-11bud2.pdf

  • Devildog  On February 28, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Tourist, I hope you are not implying that UMOC’s solution is simplistic (it may also be redundant-Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Afghanistan).

    UMOC, I’m in a quandary and perhaps you can help me out. As for the “doomsday” scenario, should I believe you or Obama as to its significance? What about all those teachers in your home state who are losing their jobs because of it?

    • Tourist  On February 28, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      Actually, Devildog, it’s “across the board” that is simplistic. UMOC’s solution is targeted and more complex. Something like it is the way it should (?) be done. Unless Kaplan is wrong, though, it’s not permitted.

      Caveat re “I think they can easily meet the cuts by bringing home all our troops in Afghanistan right now” (UMOC): You fight wars because you have to (or think you have to), don’t when you don’t. If you have to, you find a way. Similarly, you end them when and how you should (conceivably “today” by “leaving”), not as a budget maneuver.

      Devildog, you like to try to set UMOC and me against each other. He and I agree on most of the big stuff. My concerns are primarily with the effectiveness of some of the arguments he presents. He should leave the smoke and mirrors to you guys.

      • Devildog  On February 28, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        Not so, tourist. Even though “our” motto (or one of them) is the difficult is easy, the impossible will take a little longer, how can I possibly drive a wedge between you two “progressives”. Sometimes, though, I will address you when the response is actually directed at UMOC.as in my 8:07 post.

  • Tourist  On February 28, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Devildog, I’m not sure I can keep them straight. When something to me isn’t to me, should I answer it? May I?

    • Devildog  On February 28, 2013 at 9:47 PM

      Tourist, you should know I always enjoy hearing from you no matter what. And, by the way, you promised to get back to me on a previous blog but never did-I’m not holding it against you but I’ll be looking.

      • Tourist  On February 28, 2013 at 9:49 PM

        Devildog, likewise, of course. But what did I not get back to you on? Will I be able to blame it on UMOC’s blog management?

        • Devildog  On February 28, 2013 at 10:17 PM

          Tourist, you can blame it on UMOC because he has broad shoulders but it would be unwarranted unless you responded and it appeared somewhere where I didn’t notice it.

          I posted a comment on Drone Alert at 8:16 (I think P.M.) on 2/21 and you responded at 8:41, “I’ll be back…”. Maybe you didn’t answer because you couldn’t come up with an adequate response to my brilliant post.

  • Tourist  On February 28, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Devildog, please see mine of February 22, 2013 at 4:35 PM in the same thread. That was supposed to be it. It probably wasn’t responsive. I apologize.

    According to the machine, it was 817 words, though.

    • Devildog  On February 28, 2013 at 10:45 PM

      Sorry, you did respond. But I still ask, how could one use the “what if” in the global warming debate and deny heaven and hell (implicitly rejecting “what if” in this matter). Only a progressive could use it in global warming and deny it re religion. Save the world but not yourself. But that blog debate may be old news.

      • Tourist  On February 28, 2013 at 10:50 PM

        Good sir, my final sentence was supposed to be my answer to that. I probably wasn’t clear.

        Hey! Shall we take it back to that thread? Let’s see what this baby (system) can do!

  • Devildog  On February 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Let’s move on!

    • Tourist  On February 28, 2013 at 11:05 PM

      Forward or backward? Be clear, damn it!

      • Devildog  On February 28, 2013 at 11:25 PM

        What does on(ward) mean to you? Sorry, I forgot that you need things spelled out (clearly).

  • Tourist  On February 28, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    Devildog, you never saw “Back to the Future”?

  • Little_Minx  On February 28, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    The simplisticness (?) of the sequester’s across-the-board cuts is that while some programs may be quite bloated, others are already lean (perhaps even under-funded), so the burden of the sequester unjustly punishes programs for doing more with less.

    The fairest fix for Social Security is to raise the ceiling on the amount of pay for which FICA is deducted.

  • Little_Minx  On March 1, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    BTW, did you see this latest gem from Her Irrelevancy?
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/02/27/sarah_palin_stockpiling_bullets_conspiracy_theory_palin_cites_already_debunked.html
    A friend pointed out that she erred by a very significant factor of 10 on her bogus statistic of “0.3% in annual spending cuts,” when in fact it’s 3%. Then again, stupidity and ignorance are virtues in Sarah-Land — and evidently numbers, like words, mean whatever she says the do.

    • umoc193  On March 1, 2013 at 7:14 AM

      I’ve learned to pretty much ignore anything written by or about the half-term governor. I tune in only when I need a little chuckle to lighten my day. She is as irrelevant as the latest pronouncements from Genghis Kahn.

      • Little_Minx  On March 1, 2013 at 11:49 AM

        Oh, I agree wholeheartedly, UMOC. It’s just the comedic factor of her flailing away at trying to regain her celebrity — shades of OctoMom, Speidi and Jon ‘n’ Kate! — as well as the incredible fact that a gullible fringe still follows her 😉

  • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Tourist, Back to the Future is just one of many I have missed.

    • Tourist  On March 1, 2013 at 12:40 AM

      Devildog, you probably think a DeLorean is a car. There are three movies. They have a few low points, but are among the modern classics — loaded with detail, not at all simplistic. I like good time travel.

      • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 12:49 AM

        Tourist, how did you guess? Are they as good as the James Bond movies-not to mention Sands of Iwo Jima? Not a big movie fan-fortunately, my wife has girlfriends to go with while I enjoy boys’ night out with the hubbies.

  • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Minx, do you really want to compare the malaprops of your friends with those of your opponents. If Palin is so irrelevant, which she is, what’s the point of your post. But it would be quite a contest between the two 2008 vice-presidential candidates. What a face-off that would be!

    • umoc193  On March 1, 2013 at 7:15 AM

      But one’s misstatements are intentional, while the other’s are due to tripping over his own tongue.

      • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        UMOC, there you go again, again. If Palin is such an idiot, as you probably have claimed, why are you so certain her misstatements are intentional. As in if Bush is such an idiot, maybe he was wrong but didn’t lie about WMD’s in Iraq. When I compare the posts of you and one other on this blog, I’m convinced that we shouldn’t tar all progressives with one brush.

      • Little_Minx  On March 1, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        Palin is comic relief!

      • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 1:00 PM

        “…a contest between the two 2008 vice-presidential candidates”???

        We already had the 2008 Vice Presidential debate, where Sarah’s most memorable moment consisted of a schoolyard-type taunt, asking at the outset if she could call Senator Biden “Joe,” then zinging him later with “Say it isn’t so, Joe” — demonstrative of the low caliber of the skill set she’d have brought to the White House had McCain been elected but been unable to complete his term.

        And don’t forget how Katie Couric lobbed that soft-ball question to Sarah about the newspapers she reads. Palin’s only recourse was to lash out later at how that mean ol’ Katie was pickin’ on her (ironic, when Sarah’s the one with the schoolyard-bully mentality, but as they say, it takes one to know one). Palin is stupid, ignorant and now her looks, that she’s skated by on for decades, are fading. Hope she has a cosmetic surgeon on speed-dial.

  • Tourist  On March 1, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    Devildog, they are definitely better than *some* James Bond movies. Isn’t the iPad supposed to great for this? (If it wasn’t clear: Watch the three in order.)

    • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 1:14 AM

      Tourist, if I was only savvy enough to know how to select and watch a movie on my IPad. I suppose I could ask my grandkids. What’s a DeLorean have to do with this. Is that the vehicle back to the future?

      • Tourist  On March 1, 2013 at 1:21 AM

        Devildog, what are grandkids for? Or, do you know how to obtain movies for your TV? A DeLorean without a flux capacitor would be useless in the face of the terrorists (really).

        • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 1:34 AM

          Of course I know how to get movies on my tv. I call up Time-Warner tech support and ask them how to do it-asking them to speak loudly, slowly and distinctly. Intelligence is knowing where to go to get the answer.

  • Tourist  On March 1, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    Devildog, maybe Apple would talk you through the same thing for the iPad. They probably even have a way to sell you the whole set.

    • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 1:54 AM

      Thanks. Wouldn’t it be better, though, to see it on the bigger screen. Anyway, good night. It’s getting late on the left coast.

    • umoc193  On March 1, 2013 at 7:16 AM

      Movie Critics! Can’t live with ’em, can’t drone ’em.

      • Tourist  On March 1, 2013 at 7:46 AM

        UMOC, only two of us were talking about only one movie (three movies, a trilogy), and the only one speaking from the perspective of having seen it (them) was me. So I’m the drone-worthy critic?

        To yours near the top at March 1, 2013 at 7:06 AM:

        “. . . I don’t know of anyone who would give a damn if the legal niceties of the sequestration would not be observed, as long as there was less spending.”

        Interesting legal perspective.

        Now let me get this straight, you put the lime in the coconut and concluded you merely “failed to properly express [yourself]” . . . that “there is nothing in that law that would prevent the other cuts I have suggested,” no matter the actual subject, not least, “that the sequester cuts will not remain as written.”

        So, assuming you are right, you again got nothing wrong, right?

        • umoc193  On March 1, 2013 at 11:07 AM

          Let me backtrack a little bit. I recognize the inflexibility built into the sequester in some areas. But today is NOT Doomsday as some would have us believe. All of the potential dire consequences of the sequester are correctable and could have been remedied long before now if not for the stupid games being played.

          My larger point is that there are cuts to spending that could be made that are easily ascertainable with absolutely no real damage to the vast majority of programs, most especially Defense.

          Now consider this:

          “Now that sequestration is upon us, it seems like a good time to relink to my column about why sequestration will probably be a bust and most people won’t notice. The key issue here isn’t that 8 percent across-the-board cuts to domestic discretionary programs will have no impact on Americans’ everyday lives. It’s that they won’t have much impact on American’s everyday lives over the month of March.

          Agencies have seen this coming, and even the very stringent terms of sequestration leave some flexibility in place. Life will go on today, and life will go on next week.

          The real issue is that the Continuing Resolution that funds the discretionary functions of the government expires on March 27. If that expires with no replacement we get a government shutdown—you’ll notice that. But if Democrats and Republicans reach an agreement on how much to spend in the replacement CR, then that legislation will almost certainly supersede the sequestration rules. Which isn’t to say it’ll eliminate the problems associated with sequestration. Republicans will presumably be trying to insist on very low levels of appropriations. So there’s plenty to worry about. But don’t expect anything in particular to happen this week. The game is whether we have a government shutdown in late March and whether avoiding a government shutdown involves entrenching very low levels of spending on things other than Medicare and Social Security.”

          http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/03/01/sequestration_is_here_nothing_will_happen.html

          I feel far too many of us are acting as if the sequestration cuts are not only irrevocable but also immediately irreparably harmful. Neither is true.

          I believe my overall assessment is on point even if I failed to address the particulars of the actual legislation.

          Admittedly I was in a hurry to make this point and proceeded more from a philosophical viewpoint than to provide a through analysis of what the law entails and its potential ramifications if unchanged.

          • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 11:15 AM

            UMOC, I don’t want to pat myself on the back but I for one never believed the cuts are irrevocable or immediately irreparably harmful. After all, I heard that come from the lips of Obama (and friends).

  • Deke James  On March 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    While slashing, how about ending those bloated oil subsidies, corporate welfare.
    Oh, me bad, were living in a corporatacrocy where the SCOTUS and our elected politicians are corporate owned.

    • Little_Minx  On March 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      *Waving to Deke* Second the motion!

      • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        Ditto for Obama. Gas prices and the Dow are near all time highs. How are the oil companies and Wall Steet doing under Obama while Main Street suffers. He has more friends in those two places(you can add in Hollywood) than did Bush.

      • Little_Minx  On March 1, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Republicans are doing everything in their power to make the economy tank under sequestration so they can try to run on that in 2014 House and Senate elections, along with help from their voter-suppression efforts — except that, with any luck, voters will see through these ploys and return the House to a Democratic majority and widen the Democrats’ Senate majority to a filibuster-proof 60+ super-majority.

        • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 3:58 PM

          Amen! Very worthwhile comment Minx.

      • Little_Minx  On March 1, 2013 at 5:39 PM

        …because the sequester is all about high-minded principles — like not taxing the super-rich any further — and couldn’t possibly have anything to do with, or I don’t know, let’s say the Republican party’s desperate efforts to reinvent itself after the November 2012 shellacking at the ballot box. Yeah, right 😉

        • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 6:02 PM

          Sorry Minx but the garbage you are spewing has nothing to do with the article you posted.

      • Little_Minx  On March 1, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        See “One Strategy For A GOP Overhaul? Follow The Democrats’ Example”:
        http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/03/01/173262793/one-strategy-for-a-gop-overhaul-follow-the-democrats-example

        These are difficult times for the Republican Party. In the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, Democrats led Republicans — in some cases by double digits — on issues like Medicare, taxes and the economy.

        In a new Pew poll, 62 percent of those surveyed say the GOP is out of touch with the American people. Now the Republican Party is trying to figure out what it has to do to start winning elections again.

        The GOP has now lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. And whether they think the party needs to rethink, rebrand or merely refine its message, there’s wide agreement among Republicans that the party has to change.

        There’s no shortage of advice. David Winston, a strategist for the House Republican leadership, says his party has to stand for something — not just oppose.

        “There are a lot of Republican campaigns that I would argue, if the Democrat candidate didn’t exist, they wouldn’t know what to say,” Winston says. “And that’s just not an acceptable state of affairs in terms of, if you’re a party whose purpose is to govern, then you should have a clear direction in terms of what it is you’re proposing.”

        An Updated Philosophy?

        At a recent party meeting, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told Republicans they should stop fixating on the federal budget.

        “We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping. This is a rigged game, and it is the wrong game for us to play,” he said. “Today it’s the fiscal cliff; tomorrow it’ll be the fiscal apocalypse; then it’ll be the fiscal Armageddon.”

        At the same meeting, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, put it in much simpler terms: “There’s one clear, overriding lesson from November: We didn’t have enough voters. … We have to find more supporters. We have to go places we haven’t been, and we have to invite new people to join us.”

        Preibus has named a five-member task force to conduct a review of what went wrong in November. It’s called the Growth and Opportunity Project.

        Sally Bradshaw, a Florida Republican strategist, is one of its members.

        “I do think the party has really come together in an effort to understand the challenges we face and where we need to go from here,” Bradshaw says. “There are messaging challenges; there are candidate challenges; there are challenges in terms of data and use of technology.”

        Bradshaw knows the solution will involve more than just retooling the campaign apparatus. The GOP may also have to update the way it thinks about the philosophy that has guided the party for more than 30 years — Reaganism — and, in particular, how Republicans interpret this seminal statement from President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

        For Republicans, that is the most frequently quoted sentence Reagan ever uttered, says Ramesh Ponnuru of the American Enterprise Institute.

        “But what they forget is that that sentence began, ‘In this present crisis,'” Ponnuru says. “He was making a statement that was very much tied to the challenges that America faced at that time. … He certainly wasn’t saying government would always be the same problem in the same way.”

        A New Message?

        Ponnuru thinks Republicans need a new economic message to help them reconnect with the concerns of the middle class — new concerns, like income stagnation.

        “When Reagan took office, he could be confident that when you had economic growth, people’s wages would go up,” Ponnuru says. “And in more recent years, that hasn’t been the case.”

        Republicans are being offered lots of new ideas. Some are politically plausible and some almost unthinkable: Promote school choice. End corporate welfare. Break up the big banks. Embrace an immigration overhaul. Accept the science behind climate change.

        A New Model?

        Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, says there is a model for the kind of deep rethink his party needs — and it’s the Democrats.

        They went through a similar political exile in the late 1980s after losing the White House again and again.

        “The historical question here is … whether the Republican Party is like the Democrats in 1988 — where they doubled down and picked another candidate that lost,” Gerson says, referring to Michael Dukakis, “or whether they’re like the Democrats in 1992, where they realized they had a big change to make and they turned to a reform-oriented Southern governor [Bill Clinton] who significantly reformatted the Democratic message — not just in tone, but actually in substance on some key issues like welfare reform.”

        Gerson thinks the Republicans need a group like the one Clinton — then the governor of Arkansas — formed in the late 1980s called the Democratic Leadership Council.

        “It’s not enough right now for a candidate to say, ‘I’m a Republican.’ That doesn’t communicate very much. They need to be able to say, ‘I’m a different kind of Republican,'” he says. “And I think an organization, the equivalent of the DLC, from a conservative perspective — this is, in my view, not a mushy moderation. It’s taking conservative and free-market ideas and applying them to the task of helping people broadly in this country achieve the American dream.”

        That’s just one of the many ideas Republicans are considering. The process is just beginning, and it’s not clear how long it will take. After all, Democrats had to lose the White House five out of six times before they were able to remake themselves as a party.

  • Little_Minx  On March 1, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    This morning on The Diane Rehm Show on NPR, no less a conservative light than former Bush 43 speechwriter Michael Gerson denounced the across-the-board nature of the sequester — citing as but one glaring example the arbitrary cuts in Federal funding for life-saving AIDS medications. Gerson stated (although I don’t know where he got this figure) that some 165,000 new cases will be unable to receive these meds if the sequestration takes full effect, and although he’s a conservative he clearly thinks this is wrong (don’t we all?).

  • Tourist  On March 1, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    UMOC, you: “All of the potential dire consequences of the sequester are correctable and could have been remedied long before now if not for the stupid games being played. My larger point is that there are cuts to spending that could be made that are easily ascertainable with absolutely no real damage to the vast majority of programs, most especially Defense.”

    I’m still confused about your “larger point.” Is it that, going forward, the sequester is harmless/meaningless/good, and we should sit back and enjoy it? Or is it that, going forward, the sequester could be harmless/meaningless/good if your desired cuts are made (the generals, admirals, and so on)? Does that mean it will be bad if they are not? Then what? Or is yours a purely historical analysis – that we would not be in this position if everything had been done your way, but nobody ever listens?

    Speaking only for myself, I come here to learn what we should do.

    • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 8:43 PM

      Tourist, I love the way you ask rhetorical questions to make your point. And, here is a rhetorical question for you. Am I necessary for a wedge to be driven between you and UMOC?

      • Tourist  On March 1, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        Devildog, what wedge? He keeps me sharp. I’m out the door.

        • Devildog  On March 1, 2013 at 11:18 PM

          Hmm. Really, Tourist. Okay, I believe you.

          Oh, I have a movie to add to my short list of favorites-Stalag 17. And I remember one of the particular scenes of that movie. A guy in the barracks, not known for being a genius, receives a letter from his wife telling him she just had a child of his that took well more than a nine month gestation period. He goes around the barracks saying over and over, “I believe her”. Great scene, great movie. Do you remember that?

        • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 10:51 AM

          Tourist, while I might fail on occasion, I believe a sign of intelligence is asking the right questions not claiming to know all the answers. I think you know that-UMOC take heed.

    • umoc193  On March 2, 2013 at 4:08 AM

      Well, no, keeping the spending cuts as is with the sequester is not the way to go. But there is little chance of that happening. Remember the Continuing Resolution authorizing ANY spending expires this month. What will happen with that? The Republicans in the House have control over that and will face the blame if the government shuts down. The problem could possibly be a lot of them simply don’t give a shit.

      BTW, on Facebook where political posts are common and usually consist of some copied image stating this or that to make a point, conservative or liberal, the ones that come from both sides are the ones damning Congress.

      Here’s a FAQ about the sequester.

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/03/01/sequester_sequestration_faq_all_your_sequestration_questions_answered.html

      Now, DD, you keep trying to argue with me about the ACA but neither you, nor any other conservative I have challenged with this question, has ever answered why conservatives favored the main parts that became the ACA up until Noon on January 20, 2009, but then immediately changed their minds.

      Everybody in any forum I have posted that question has avoided answering it.

  • Little_Minx  On March 1, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Oh yes, the GOP has from the outset been “out to get” Obama’s Presidency at every turn, and it’s no secret, so there’s no deniability. On 20 Jan 2009 a group of influential Republicans met for dinner at the Caucus Club Restaurant in Washington, DC., where they vowed to block the Obama administration at every turn for the duration of his presidency. See., e.g., “GOP’s Anti-Obama Campaign Started Night Of Inauguration”:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/robert-draper-anti-obama-campaign_n_1452899.html

    “…the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith…”

  • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    Devildog, there you go again. Your side really doesn’t understand the difference between people walking down the road together, talking and bouncing ideas off each other, refining their own, and marching in lockstep, singing cadence. What I am a bit serious about is doing more than sniping. If I don’t agree with something, I give at least a few seconds thought to what I would do instead – actually, given what is at stake. Related, maybe, is that I care more about what we should do now than what should have been done but wasn’t.

    I can’t think of a principle that UMOC is wrong about. (Well, not too many.)

    At a press conference yesterday the president was asked to the effect of how much responsibility he bears for the negotiating impasse with Republicans. In theory, of course, both sides are always to blame. He asked the reporter back: “Give me an example of what I might do?” Yeah. Like that.

    Butch: “They can stay right where they are and starve us out, or go for position – shoot us. Might even get a rockslide started and get us that way. What else could they do?”

    Sundance: “They could surrender to us, but I wouldn’t count on that.”

    “Stalag 17”? Yes, I remember it – but that scene only because you mentioned it. What I remember is how chilling the ending was. To one of their own?

    • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      UMOC, re the ACA, it is not a compromise to be taken to pass something you both agree on if that is everything one side wants and to negotiate later on the part you want but the other side diesn’t. I think I have posted previously that I don’t know if the ACA is a (significant) step forward but what I do know (make that believe) is that Obama wrongfully used up his political capital on that to the detriment of what he could have accomplished otherwise. Did this not lead to the Republican-controlled House-your nemesis. This last minute change of mind would have required accepting things that were anathema to them. A half a loaf is not always better than a whole. Does that answer your question? Do you not know the art of negotiation?.

      • umoc193  On March 2, 2013 at 8:56 PM

        Still avoiding the question.

        • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 9:00 PM

          The question again please

          • umoc193  On March 3, 2013 at 12:19 PM

            Nah, I’ll pass. Asking it and getting absolutely no coherent response is so old…three years and counting…and is pretty much what I expect, followed by “huh? what was it you asked?”

    • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Tourist-the chilling scene to own of their own. To throw a German spy out of the barracks to be shot. That was chilling? It was glorious, great, I stood up and cheered.

      What principles are you talking about? War is bad? Republicans are evil? My experts are geniuses and yours either idiots or bought off?

      Yeah, like that. Please Mr. Reporter, tell me what I should do. He should have asked UMOC for the answers. Not me though. It’s beyond my pay grade.

      • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        Devildog, I knew you’d be back on “one of their own.” First, I don’t remember it all that well. As I said, I don’t really remember your other scene, or much of anything beyond powerful visuals, but I do remember the ending. Was he a German plant or American traitor? Was it Peter Graves? Anyway, sure. He had it coming and it was, for want of a better word, a clever solution. I was a child, though, and it was the first time I’d seen anything where the Americans weren’t all John Wayne. People got killed in war movies already, but not yet, for me, this way. Chilling.

        “Mr. Reporter, tell me what I should do”??? Come on! That’s how Fox News played it. In actual, you know, context, it meant: “If you are suggesting I could have done more than I have, give me an example.”

        • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 7:06 PM

          Peter Graves, German plant. However, he might have been another Awlaki-off em both.

          I accept your context but, even still, asking a reporter what more he could do is just another clever sound bite.

          My response is all about the “maybe”.

          Tourist, you’re too good to talk about Republican scorched earth policy. I suppose you juxtaposition that with the Democrats standing on principle. Don’t you guys love to talk about Republicans appealing to their base and is there no Democratic base.

          By the way, I think it would be less confusing if people hit comment rather than reply. At least that what shows on my screen.

        • umoc193  On March 2, 2013 at 9:04 PM

          Wasn’t it Stalag 17 in which Peter Graves had the line, “Ever seen a grown man naked?”

          • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 9:39 PM

            Could be-have no idea. What I remember about movies is very limited and I’ve shot my load re Stalag 17

  • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    The Republicans vowed in 2009 to make Obama a one-term President, through a variety of measures. They endeavored to block his agenda at every turn, instituted as many voter-suppressive measures as they could in order to keep down turnout among those likeliest to vote for Obama, enjoyed fabulously wealthy support for campaign ads by Rove and Armey’s and other groups, and the Kochs — all in hopes it would win them the 2012 Presidential election.

    But the majority of voters spoke otherwise, reelecting Obama/Biden, widening the Democratic majority in the Senate and narrowing the gerrymandered GOP majority in the House. So what’s left but their nuclear option, namely the sequester, which if it plays out will damage the repairs to the economy that the Obama administration has made in the wake of the catastrophic situation Bush left behind? Republicans are hoping that their scorched-earth policy will somehow magically win them a Senate majority and increased House majority in 2014.

    If I were a betting Minx, I wouldn’t bet on it.

    • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      A priceless gem occurred just this week in the SCOTUS, where Associate Justice Antonin Scalia — beloved of those who purport to believe in strict constructionism — bloviated that a 98-0 Senate vote and near-unanimous vote in the House of Representatives were not persuasive of the wills of those legislatures WRT their 2006 renewal of the Voting Rights Act (which was then signed by a Republican president), because he thinks they were all too afraid to oppose it. Talk about an activist judge! And apparently he’s dragging the other four right-wing justices along with him. Thank goodness Obama has nearly four more years in which with any luck at least one of these five troglodytes might leave the bench, and be replaced with someone mainstream.

    • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      You’re a broken record!

      • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Hurling personal attacks = having no viable argument on the issues. It’s tantamount to admitting I’m right and you don’t have a leg to stand on 🙂

        • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 3:11 PM

          Nothing personal-just a comment on the quality of your posts. “no viable argument on the issues”-often quite true-that’s why I often prefer to ask questions rather than always claiming to know”the truth”.

  • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    OK, since you like questions, here are some for YOU to answer:

    1. Do you agree that from Inauguration Day 2009, the Republican Party set as a top priority trying to render Obama a one-term President?

    2. Do you agree that from Inauguration Day 2009, the Republican Party set as a top priority trying to impede the Obama administration’s agenda, even to the point of opposing legislation they once supported just because it was offered by the Democrats?

    3. Is the GOP using the sequester in order to try to win votes House and Senate in 2014?

    4. Will Republican-appointed justices on the SCOTUS be committing “judicial activism” if they disregard the overwhelming votes to reauthorize the 1965 Voting Rights Act, as well as support for it before the court from the states?

    • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      5. Do you deny that Mike Turzai stated that a function of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law was to deliver the Commonwealth’s electoral votes — i.e., through voter suppression — to Romney in 2012? BTW, it’ll be interesting to see whether new Attorney General Kane will support that law in court, or decline on constitutional grounds.

      6. Do you think it just that Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation unrepresentatively tilts Republican due to the gerrymandering of districts, while the total statewide Congressional vote was in fact majority Democratic? Is that consistent with the one-person/one-vote principle?

    • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      1. One of its top priorities, just as every Party has and will do. But if Obama had adopted the Republican agenda and listened to the majority of the people on health care, he would have gotten a lot more passed and maybe, just maybe, the economy would be better and the deficit less. OMG, they wanted to make Obama a one term president-yeah, I know, to the detriment of the country.

      2. See 1, above. Actually, for 1and 2, from Election Day not Inauguration Day.

      3. You “got” to be kidding. It’s your man who is trying to win the House back in 2014 knowing full well he will have the support of most of the media (except Fox and talk radio). This sequester thing is a “joke”-to ask this question shows how far removed from reality you are.

      4. OMG, you really think “some” Justices are activists-never knew one who isn’t/wasn’t and that includes both sides. Times and circumstances change and it’s time for SCOTUS to make that change. The Act was time and circumstance dependent and diamonds may be forever but not this Act-tell me, what would have to happen before you agree that’s it’s time to go-a Black president?

      • umoc193  On March 2, 2013 at 9:00 PM

        Ah, but the right is the side that has consistently bitched about “activist judges” for the past forty years or more.

        • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 9:37 PM

          Only when the limbs had the majority. Now, it’s your turn. I have my own beliefs which seem to put me to the right of center as others determine what is the center. Certainly you don’t disagree with what I have said on this subject.

  • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Sorry, didn’t see 5 and 6

    5. Neither confirm nor deny what Turzai said But “voter suppression” is too pejorative a phrase for me to agree to. I believe it is a legitimate requirement before someone should be allowed to vote and any legitimate voter who is suppressed by this law probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote in the first place if they are not interested enough to get an I’d which, to the best of my knowledge is being made easy even for them to obtain. In conclusion, this was a legimate action taken by the Commonwealth, regardless of the fallout!

    6.OMG (again), all of a sudden you have spoken up against gerrymandering, a word named after a Democratic governor. Where have you been all these years. I guess this depends on whose ox is being gored.

    I hope this answers your question. I’m going to refrain from mentioning the speaker who encouraged questions after his speech by saying there are no – oh, forget it.

    • umoc193  On March 2, 2013 at 9:05 PM

      Your response to voter suppression is trite and repetitious and devoid of facts and valid analysis.

      • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 9:27 PM

        UMOC, Devildog is wrong not least because there is no basis for “any legitimate voter who is suppressed by this law probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote in the first place” – that ain’t how it works – but your response is . . . unworthy. (I almost said something else.)

        • umoc193  On March 3, 2013 at 12:25 PM

          Hmmmm, “unworthy”? As opposed to sarcastic, snarky, smart-ass, vituperative, and all kinds of other unbecoming characterizations? I thought it was pretty much on point, especially in light of the fact this rhetorical road is well-traveled.

      • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 9:49 PM

        Thank you, UMOC. Devoid of facts and analysis-so what’s new. How can I have any facts when you are possessor of all “facts”. Oops, I just saw Tourist’s response, to which I say-so what’s new about UMOC’s type response. Also, Tourist, don’t take everything I say literally. I don’t take myself as seriously as UMOC takes himself. Maybe one day you will be able to understand me but don’t count on it-my wife of 48 years still can’t.

  • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    I would need more coffee to sort out the numbered lists Minx and Devildog have compiled above, but this jumps out:

    (Quote) Devildog On March 2, 2013 at 5:15 PM . . . . But if Obama had adopted the Republican agenda and listened to the majority of the people on health care, he would have gotten a lot more passed and maybe, just maybe, the economy would be better and the deficit less. (Unquote)

    I acknowledge the “maybe” and dispute “majority”; I just don’t want it said I’m taking anything out of context.

    “If Obama had adopted the Republican agenda . . . .”

    There it is. That’s what’s changed. Win or lose, it’s their way or they will keep it from happening.

    A.k.a., scorched earth.

  • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    1. Obama did not run on the GOP platform, and that’s the reason the majority of voters chose him. For him to capitulate to the Republican agenda would be a betrayal of the majority of voters.

    2. Do you deny that Republicans oppose some pieces of legislation that they formerly introduced and supported, now that the Obama administration is backing said legislation?

    3. The gerrymandered House is trying to hold the Senate and President hostage to their disproportionately Republican-ness.

    4. For Scalia to claim he knows that the majority of Senators who voted unanimously and Representatives who voted nearly unanimously to reauthorize the bill really didn’t feel that way is way beyond judicial activism — it’s a miscarriage of justice.

    5. Turzai explicitly stated that PA’s Voter ID Law would deliver PA to Romney in 2012 — no wiggle room there. And as an elderly partially-disabled person myself, I can testify first-hand that the burden of obtaining an ID weighs unequally in order for us to exercise our right to vote. It starts with the distance and being unable to drive, not to mention the limited hours/days when the offices are open (which must correspond to a driver’s free time), feeling well enough to go out, etc., etc.

    6. Gerry’s long-ago political affiliation is irrelevant to the fact that it’s Republicans perpetrating it in the 21st century in order to create wildly unequal representation in Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation. Also the case in Ohio.

  • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Re “(Quote) Devildog On March 2, 2013 at 5:15 PM . . . . But if Obama had adopted the Republican agenda and listened to the majority of the people on health care, he would have gotten a lot more passed”

    What if it didn’t pass the majority-Democratic Senate? Are the Senate’s votes less legitimate than the House’s? And if it managed somehow to pass the Senate, wouldn’t the President be entirely with his Constitutional powers to veto such legislation?

    Considering that the majority of voters voted for Obama, the most reasonable conclusion is that they don’t oppose Obamacare. After all, the majority could’ve voted for Romney, but they didn’t. And they voted to expand the Senate’s Democratic majority and to narrow the House’s GOP majority (despite the obstacle of district gerrymandering).

  • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    “By the way, I think it would be less confusing if people hit comment rather than reply. At least that what shows on my screen.” (Devildog)

    I agree. Both this (and the Facebook) format, and the old chronological one, have their advantages. But what’s happening is people are replying to something far up in a thread and the reply is lost there. In that sense, commenting at the bottom with enough reference to what it’s about seems better.

    Meanwhile, related, does everyone understand the “Recent Comments” list on the left side and down of the main page? It’s the five most recent, newest at the top. If you go into this thread under the original post via where it says (now) “Comments (71),” you can’t tell what has been added. But you can click on any of the five in the list and go directly to it. So, if I have been most recent and then Devildog appears above me, I can go directly to his, wherever it is.

    But this means paying attention to that, and it only works for the most recent five. If the counter has gone up more than five since you last looked, you’re on your own.

  • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    I see the question and I already answered it. It is not a give and take compromise if one party gets everything they want and the other party gets half. Why can’t you understand that half a loaf may not be good without other parts.

    Actually, I’m talking generalities because I don’t know the specifics of your question. If I agree that the tax rates should be raised for the rich but only accompanied by spending cuts and you want only raising the rate, why should I agree without some compromise on your part.

    Does that answer your question which you imply cann or has not been answered.

    I answered this before but if it’s not on this cite, it’s on another.

  • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    The Republicans are refusing to allow tax loopholes to be closed. That is corrupt.

    • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      Right on Minx!

      • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 10:29 PM

        Groovy? Far out? Help, I’m caught in a time-warp and I can’t get up!

  • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    “Wasn’t it Stalag 17 in which Peter Graves had the line, “Ever seen a grown man naked?” (UMOC)

    “Could be-have no idea. What I remember about movies is very limited and I’ve shot my load re Stalag 17” (Devildog)

    Devildog, UMOC knows it wasn’t. If memory serves, he also lists “Animal House” among the all-time best.

    Really, this is an area where we could probably resolve our differences.

    • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      Tourist, didn’t know we had differences. What do you mean about UMOC? Neither intentional misstatement nor incorrect on the facts seem to be a possibility with him.

      • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 10:06 PM

        I meant movies.

        • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 10:24 PM

          By agitating, do you mean stirring the shit that’s being thrown out here by almost everyone? Does that make me a troll-heaven (if there is one)forbid?

          Where is “here”? Since Japan seems like an unlikely place to go to save the world, I assume here is here. I’m here to convert UMOC.

      • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 10:07 PM

        I meant all of us.

    • umoc193  On March 3, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      I guess that means seven years of college is down the drain.

  • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    “Also, Tourist, don’t take everything I say literally.”

    Ah, the Devil Dog we knew and loved – just trying to agitate. For the record, I’m here for one reason only: to save the world.

  • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    7. Do you support the closing of tax loopholes that tend to favor the wealthy?

  • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Devildog, to save the world, there’s only one place to be: cyberspace.

    • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      I was thinking more of a small remote island. Wouldn’t save the world, but it’d sure as heck save me!

  • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    Minx, I give up so I choose not to answer #7.

    Okay, I’ll answer it. I’m against closing any loophole that tends to favor the wealthy (after all, they are the job creators) but I’m for closing loopholes that favor everyone else.

    Aha, you probably figured that out a long time ago.

    • Little_Minx  On March 2, 2013 at 11:08 PM

      Soak the poor to favor the rich? To quote Onslow, “oh, nice…”

      Maybe you’d just prefer that every American pay the same amount (not rate, but amount), regardless of income — just divide the amount of the annual US budget by the population. Those who can’t earn enough could, oh I don’t know, just be sent to poor houses, or sign lengthy contracts of indentured servitude to rich folks.

      • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 11:34 PM

        Minx, now you’re talking. What could be more fair than everyone paying the same amount of money for their “fair share”.

        Tourist, did you not remember that the rich are job-creators. You, obviously, are not directing to me your comment about your side being “obviously right” and, parenthetically, the other side must be evil. So, to whom are you directing the comment.

        A slight quibble-it seems to me that under the guise of changing behavior, tax policy has been used to raise revenue in the most expedient and least risky political manner. You might support your position by citing cigarette taxes and I might respond why not ban smoking. The same with liquor. These are revenue raising devices for a boated government. Minx, you should be against taxing cigarettes since the poor bear an unfair burden.

      • Little_Minx  On March 3, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        Oh, how I hope the GOP is as hard-nosed as possible in defending the rich, because it’ll make the Democrats’ victories in 2014 and 2016 even bigger landslides — woo-hoo!!! Even Karl Rove recognizes this possibility, as conveyed in his recent message to California Republicans about picking viable candidates. Of course, Tea Partiers were sitting in the back of the room in the red T-shirts sulking.

        I marvel at DD’s capacity for drawing inapt analogies: Smoking is a voluntary activity, which no one of any economic stratum is obliged to do.

    • umoc193  On March 3, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      “Okay, I’ll answer it. I’m against closing any loophole that tends to favor the wealthy (after all, they are the job creators) but I’m for closing loopholes that favor everyone else.”

      Ah, now you’re attempting facetiousness.

      One example. Romney’s worth $250 million or so and his released tax returns show him taking advantage of loopholes such as “carried interest” to lower his tax burden. Just what jobs did he create in the years those tax returns covered?

  • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    “7. Do you support the closing of tax loopholes that tend to favor the wealthy?” (Minx)

    If that were to me, my direct answer would be, it would depend on what else they accomplish.

    Way back whenever it was that I was first exposed to “government” and such in school – my formative years – I was taught that tax policy has two objectives: to raise revenue, and to encourage/discourage behavior (charitable giving/gas guzzling). I’m not trying to get into those decisions. That’s simply been “reality” my whole life, along with, say, Social Security.

    It was a *shock* of sorts to encounter sincere people in these forums for whom it is equally real and natural that society has no business trying to encourage or discourage selected behavior, or do various other things I take for granted it should do.

    Please, seriously: I’ll argue the policies again if necessary, ‘round and ‘round and ‘round, or maybe I’ll just throw up my hands, but do we understand – both ways – that the other side cannot always be characterized as being opposed to what is “obviously right”?

  • Tourist  On March 2, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    “Tourist,. . . . You, obviously, are not directing to me your comment about your side being “obviously right” and, parenthetically, the other side must be evil. So, to whom are you directing the comment.” (Devildog)

    So much for hoping that “both ways” might be clear enough.

    • Devildog  On March 2, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      Well, Tourist, I challenge you to find posts of mine where I either stated or implied that I was “obviously right” or my experts are right and yours are wrong or anything like (you might be able to find something but if you do, I will issue a retraction). I think I challenge the assertions of others rather than make assertions of my own. Or, as in my responses to Minx, they are said in jest(though unrecognized by others.

      I reject being included with UMOC!

      • umoc193  On March 3, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        “I reject being included with UMOC!”

        But that is such exclusive company even the Kardashians seek admittance.

        • Devildog  On March 3, 2013 at 8:48 PM

          If the Kardashians get admitted, and you then let me in, which one is mine?

          • umoc193  On March 8, 2013 at 12:21 PM

            You are welcome to the Kardashian(s) of your choice, including Bruce. Other than to fulfill certian fantasies I see no use for them.

  • Tourist  On March 3, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    Devildog, I recognize some of your jests. As for the rest of what you are saying now, did I not word my sentence correctly? I thought I was acknowledging everyone’s sincerity of belief – and conflict among those sincere beliefs – in contrast to accusing anyone of *insincerely* opposing another’s “obviously right” beliefs. It was attended at the level of “in it together,” “survival of the fittest” and proper roles of government.

    How far do you want to take your denial that anything is “obviously right”? What about “kill or be killed”? Does that qualify (for you) as obviously right?

    I’m being semantic. I don’t know how much you are. If you want to duck committing yourself to a position, that’s one thing. If you are claiming to be an absolute relativist, me, too. Probably.

    • Devildog  On March 3, 2013 at 1:40 AM

      As I said (or tried to say), I may give an opinion but I don’t assert my opinion(or that of’my experts’) are obviously right and that the opinion of the other side’s experts are ether bought or they are not experts. I say kill or be killed and that is my opinion but that doesn’t imply that I am obviously right. I believe my tone is quite different than some others in the sacredness of one’s belief. I’ve been accused of being a relativist by, among others, my extremist right wing friend but, in truth, I don’t think I am smart enough or knowledgable enough to be an absolutist on the issues we discuss. How could I be that presumptious to think I could be absolutely right about the ACA, or just about anything else. I’m talking about absolutely right not sincerity

      Anyway, let’s move on(ward). This all is not life and death (not even our discussions of war-emphasis on “our”).

      Good night but I look forward to reading your comment first thing in my morning.

  • Tourist  On March 3, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    “Look forward to reading . . . .” Damn! Why me?

    http://doonesbury.slate.com/strip/archive/2013/03/03

    That’s today’s. Or, from the 1999 West Wing pilot, not that it applies either:

    CALDWELL
    Why does he insist on demonizing us as a group?

    LEO
    Because your group has plenty of demons.

    CALDWELL
    Every group has plenty of demons.

    LEO
    You don’t have to tell me about it, Reverend. I’m a member of the Democratic Party.

    CALDWELL
    Why does the White House suddenly talk like everyone in the Christian Right is the
    same?

    LEO
    Forgive me, Al. But when you stand that close to Mary Marsh and John Van Dyke, it’s sometimes hard not to paint you all with the same brush.

    ===

    In the Reg on Wry era and Rob Rogers before Facebook, I occasionally went pretty far back in the archives and read at random. There’s been some very good work done in the “community” and I would be proud of some of mine. But I swear, also, on second look, that I have no idea what my point sometimes was. It’s no secret that people use anonymity on the internet to be the worst that they can be. I’ve always seen it as allowing me to try things and explore without worrying about protecting myself.

    I’ve – this is about me, right? – have been called a “nice guy.” Guilty. I’ve been accused by both sides over the years of being “fair and reasonable.” Not guilty. It’s an act. Still, there’s that end-game thing Mugsy is pessimistic about. If he’s right, the more-than-verbal bludgeoning will come soon enough. Till then . . . .

    “Absolute relativist” wasn’t a knee-slapper but it wasn’t offered philosophically either. I try to catch myself whenever I write “talk to.” I try to mean “talk with.”

    That, of course, is not the adversarial tradition.

    • Devildog  On March 3, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Tourist, looking forward to reading you in the morning is tied for second (with a few others) to being able to open my eyes.

      Verbal bludgeoning-what are you talking about-what kind of household did you grow up in. To me, it’s give and take. Except for the occasional by the singular.

  • Devildog  On March 3, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Or maybe instead of household I should have said neighborhood and friends.

  • Devildog  On March 3, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Looks to me like none of the three Muskateers know what the hell to do. I’m talking about Obama, Boehner and me. When is the call going to go out to the fourth one. UMOC, where the hell are you? Give em your f___ing cell number. Don’t play hard to get when the country needs you.

  • Mugsy  On March 7, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    When I was in Basic training (back in the days of the Roman Legions) when two guys couldn’t get along the Drill Sergent would offer them an opportunity to work together, say on cleaning out the grease trap or digging a deep hole to bury their differences in. Perhaps our President needs to get together with our congressional leaders, so they can all get a little messy for a few days.

    • Little_Minx  On March 7, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Did the Drill Sergeant join in with those two guys as an equal in those tasks? Didn’t think so. Your analogy is fallacious.

      • Mugsy  On March 7, 2013 at 5:45 PM

        The drill Sergent had no involvement in the disagreement. Are you saying that the President isn’t involved in the political discourse?

        • Devildog  On March 7, 2013 at 6:07 PM

          Could be wrong but maybe she’s saying there are not three equal branches of government.

      • Little_Minx  On March 7, 2013 at 10:25 PM

        Let’s see: 1 President can veto 289 Representatives or 66 Senators. By my math, that gives the President tons more clout than 1 or 2 members of Congress.

        • Devildog  On March 7, 2013 at 11:47 PM

          “tons more cloud” apparently doesn’t mean enough clout-on the other hand, maybe it means that “tons more clout” still requires leadership to be effective.

    • umoc193  On March 8, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      Not a bad idea!

  • Mugsy  On March 8, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Minx, Congress can also over-ride that veto. This is a balance of power (unlike the Drill Sergent-Trainee relationship), and the President is the head of a separate, equal branch of government.

    In my statement the drill Sergent was in a superior position to the trainees, who were bound by oath and by the Uniform Code of Military Justice to obey any lawful order that he gave them. The President of the United States enjoys no such authority over Congress. It’s not a question of clout, it’s a question of the relative positions of those involved in relationship to some sort of chain of command. My analogy was not fallacious, your response was incorrect. In any case the example that I gave was not meant to compare the relationship of the soldiers and Drill Sergent to that of the relationship of the President and Congressional leadership, they are two different relationships. My example was an anecdote describing how I have seen differences of opinion settled in another context. People in equivalent positions of authority were made to work together and tended to solve their differences. The administrative and congressional branches are constitutionally equivalent.They answer not to one another, but to the people of the United States.

    I would not like to neglect your point, but I am at a loss to understand the relevance of your objection to my statement in relationship to the discussion. Could you help me to understand that?

    • Devildog  On March 8, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Mugsy, our DI’s (Drill Instructors) handled it a little differently when there was a dispute between two recruits. They were handed pugil sticks (used for hand to hand bayonet training), put into a ring and told to slug it out. No one got hurt since they were wearing protective gear and, surprisingly, brought them closer together. And, after all, isn’t politics a blood sport?

      • umoc193  On March 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        In Basic I was a little pudgy (about 210 lbs on a 6′ frame). One day before dinner mine and another platoon remained in formation. My drill sergeant was bragging about how we would outperform the other platoon in upcoming PT tests. One smart ass from the other platoon shouted out that we had too many fat guys.

        Sgt. Borquez called him up and then summoned me and said, “Pvt. UMOC, show PVT Smith what my fat men can do.” I put the guy in a bearhug from behind and squeezed real hard until Smith became very uncomfortable. More importantly everybody, even in his platoon, laughed at him.

        Hmmmm, I’m more than pudgy today. Turn me loose on Boehner! I predict he’ll cry.

  • Little_Minx  On March 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Kind thoughts to Tourist on the second anniversary of 3/11. We hope that Japan is continuing to heal physically and emotionally from the trauma of the quake, tsunami and damage to the Fukushima reactors. ♥ ♥ ♥ from Minx.

    • Tourist  On March 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

      Thank you, Minx. I appreciate it.

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