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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Playing Chicken With Disaster

During the founding of the United States, George Washington argued passionately against the establishment of political parties.

The first President said that political parties served only to “turn brother against brother” and he strongly urged the new nation to forgo such divisive nonsense.

The people listened intently to General Washington.

Of course they did. 

After all, this was the very man who had pulled the Colonies together into Union, forged a bunch of raggedy-assed subsistence farmers into the Continental Army and then pushed the most powerful Empire in the world from the continent and back into the sea from whence they came, and finally wrestled freedom from an insane despot.

This was a man who had literally become the very symbol of a new nation and a people.  Of course they listened to him, Americans in large part owed George Washington their very freedom.

The recently minted Americans nodded sagely at Washington’s wise words.

They spoke knowingly of his wisdom.

They even suggested that they might crown him King of America. 

Political parties are bad. Got it. You are wise, General. Wise indeed.

Then, predictably given the astounding tenacity of human stupidity and the enduring perversity of human politics, the new Americans immediately ignored Washington’s admonishment and set about forming teams as if they were kids choosing sides for a game of Death Match Dodge-ball. The Minutemen and the Revolutionaries and the Patriots who fought so passionately to be free of a distantly aloof and arbitrary tyranny, one that existed only to serve its own capricious interests, immediately divided themselves up into tribes like the screeching inhabitants of Monkey Island and began enthusiastically flinging shit at each other. 

And thus were political parties woven into the fabric of America right from the start.

Two and a half centuries later, in the very city named in honor of the great man himself, the crazed monkeys are still screeching madly, ever louder and more stridently each day, and gleefully flinging shit at each other in great double handfuls – and once again Americans are at the mercy of a distantly aloof and arbitrary tyranny, one that exists only to feed its spiteful red-eyed lust for power and capricious self-interest.

The difference is that in Washington’s time Americans were born into tyranny, today they willingly embrace it.

Tyranny!

It’s a word that you hear a lot these days. 

Hell, you’ve been hearing it more and more and more for the last decade.

During the final six years of the Bush administration, the word tyranny was very often upon lips of liberals – and even muttered by more than a few conservatives.

And for these last few years of the Obama administration, the word is bandied about ad nauseum by conservatives – and more than a few liberals.

Nonsense.

Oh there is certainly tyranny rooted and growing in America, but it is not being wielded by the president.

Not this one, and not the last one.

The President of the United States is not a tyrant – no matter how many times the capering monkeys screech their dire warnings that it must be so and the mindless sheep bleat and bob their fuzzy woolen heads in agreement. 

The President’s power is derived from the Constitution, not from heredity or magic beans or divine right or military power – and certainly not from God

The boundaries of the President’s authority are often not sharply delineated, by design and intent, but they are limited, again not by arbitrary whim, not by magic or signs in the heavens or by seers who read the bones, not by secret societies and Star Chambers and not by God or His self appointed representatives here on earth, but by law, by the courts, by Congress, by Constitutional checks and balances, and ultimately by the people themselves via the ballot box.

No, to find tyranny, you have to look beyond the edges of law to the shadowy powers not governed by the Constitution or limited by vote or accountable to the people, and who declare that they are carrying out the will of God Himself (It doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not, when power acts in his name what you believe matters not at all – though the consequences of non belief under such tyranny can be very, very high). If you seek real and not rhetorical tyranny in America, you have only to look for an arbitrary and capricious power that pits brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, and American against American solely in order to advance its own ravenous self interests.

It is not the president, this one or any other, who will bring down America  – and perhaps the rest of civilization – and take away your freedoms.

No, rather it is those who would willingly give themselves to unchecked tyranny and act as its enthusiastic agent provocateur

I’m talking about those who swore a solemn oath, enforceable by law, to support and defend the United States of America, to uphold her laws, and most especially to represent her people – all of her people – to the death if necessary and who wield power derived solely from the Constitution – and then once in power, boldly and blatantly and publically declare their allegiance to tyrannical power, a power unchecked and unelected, a power that serves only its own selfish ends and is not accountable to the people.

I’m talking about those faithless dishonorable cowards who spit into the face of liberty, who trample the ideals of the republic and of democracy, and bring us ever closer to disaster.

I’m talking about Senators and Representatives and all sworn officers of the United States who hold up their right hands and swear the following legally binding oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter; So help me God (emphasis mine),

and then once in office declare their allegiance to agencies other than the Constitution.

I’m talking about sitting members of Congress who sign pledges and swear allegiance to the very political parties George Washington warned us about and who would give their loyalty to such organizations over and above their sworn duty to the citizens and their duty to the United States itself – even, and especially, if it brings the country to ruin.

I’m talking about Senators who would hold the United States, and indeed the world, hostage to the tyranny of fanaticism and political ideology.

That oath above is not just words, it is a binding contract between members of Congress and the citizens of the United States.

In time of war, failure to uphold that oath could have you taken to the wall and shot.

Any Congressman who places allegiance to a political party above the United States itself and the obligations of that oath is guilty of treason

They are guilty of entering into a legally binding oath under fraudulent intentions.

And they are guilty of perpetuating tyranny in its most foul and insidious form.

What?

Oh you think “treason” and “tyranny” are too strong of words?

An exaggeration, perhaps?

Yesterday, today, certain senators who have publicly declared their loyalty to a particular political party, to a political ideology and not to the citizens they supposedly represent, have proclaimed loudly that they will not compromise on a budget deal with the Executive, nor will they compromise with the opposition in either the House or Senate, nor even with more reasonable members of their own party. Two weeks ago both major political parties were on the verge of hammering out a $4 trillion debt reduction plan, one that would have slain sacred cows on both sides of the aisle and put the country back on the road to financial stability. The mere hint of such a deal was enough to boost the stock markets and give hope to millions.  Then came the fanatics.  They literally threatened and intimidated the more moderate and reasonable members of their own political party.  And now they are, in effect, holding the entire world hostage in this mad game of chicken – and pay particular attention to the words, mad game I said and mad game it is, every bit as MAD as those men who once brought us to the edge of nuclear Armageddon in an insane game of international brinksmanship. 

These wild eyed fanatics, and fanatics they are, each and every one, in the most fundamental sense of the word, are gambling with the very future of our country.

More, they endanger the lives of every human being on this planet.

They jeopardize civilization itself and threaten us with a new dark age.

These are the same folks who decry the president, who claim he is in thrall to foreign influence, and yet it is they and their allegiance to a political power neither elected nor approved of by the majority of Americans that now demonstrably threatens the security and fortune of our nation.

Most Americans have an opinion on the US government debt, but few indeed actually have any idea whatsoever of the details. Far too many cheer this deadly game of chicken and are utterly ignorant of the terrible consequences. Like global climate change, they would bluster and pontificate and grandstand until it is too late.

Nowhere is this more evident than those, like the two idiots I overheard today in line at the coffee shop, loudly discussing how it’s only a matter of time until China forecloses on us and calls in the note on all $14 trillion of our national debt.

Of the $14 trillion and change the US government owes, roughly sixty three percent (give or take), or about eight and half trillion dollars, is owed to Americans.  Yes, that’s right, we borrowed the money from ourselves.  Don’t get me wrong here, certainly just because most of our debt is owed to ourselves doesn’t mean we should have a cavalier attitude towards it. That note must be paid, but it can and will be paid in installments and there is no danger whatsoever of it getting called in all at once.

Of the remainder, the thirty seven percent or so owed to foreign powers, about 12%, or about $1.6 trillion, is owed to foreign investors other than China, another 2% is owed to OPEC for the oil that keeps our engines turning (the exact amount moves up and down with the price of oil. Obama opened the national reserve and caused a sudden drop in oil prices on the world stock markets, which in turn reduced the national debt by some fraction of a percent. You’re welcome. Of course it’s creeping back up again due to the ongoing flap in Libya. Maybe somebody ought to do something about that. But I digress).  Another 2% is owed to Caribbean banking centers.  Roughly 6% is owed to Japan.  What’s that leave?  About 7.3%, again give or take, which is owed to China. 

Now seven percent isn’t chump change, it comes out to a bit over a trillion dollars – but it is a far cry from from China “owning” the US.  Given enough incentive, the United States government could cough up a trillion and pay the Chinese off (sell them a couple of old aircraft carriers for example, and maybe a couple of obsolete space shuttles. You get the idea).

There is no danger of China foreclosing on the United States.

None.

Which is not to say that China couldn’t end up owning us – and much of the rest of the world too.

How?

Well, see, that’s where the treason part comes in.

Today much of Europe teeters on the brink of economic implosion. The Euro is literally within sight of collapse. This looming disaster was brought about same as our own economic crisis – by greedy men on Wall Street and in the US real state banking industry, men consumed by an avarice writ so large that it defies comprehension. And in fact, the world economic crisis was precipitated directly by the United States’ economic meltdown. However, as shaky as it has become in recent years, the US dollar still props up much of the world’s economy.  Should the United States be allowed, be driven to, default on its debts, should it even give the appearance that it intends to deliberately default on its debt as some of these fanatics would have it for no reason other than to win the next election, it will very likely send Europe into a depression the likes of which will make 1929 look like a summer rain shower.  America won’t be far behind, remember, sixty percent of the folks we’re talking about defaulting on here are Americans – and not just any Americans, but the entire middle class.   Should America and Europe fall into massive economic recession, Russia will most certainly follow and so too will then much of the rest of the world. 

And in fact, there is only one country likely to emerge from this mess solvent and in a dominant position while the rest of civilization comes apart at the seams and staggers toward a new dark age.

Want to guess who that is? 

You won’t have to worry about the debt collectors coming to foreclose on America, China will just buy the place for pennies on the dollar – or rather for a few fen on the yuan.

Treason I said and treason it is.

These traitorous lunatics are playing Russian Roulette with civilization itself for no reason other than capricious and selfish self interest. 

They’ve put aside reason and their oath and their obligation to support and defend the United States and they risk all for the tyranny of ideology.

These people are the very danger George Washington warned us about more than two centuries ago.

63 comments:

  1. Jim i am of the view that we have but one party. First i want to say that i love your pens. Being a woodworker i can appreciate your understanding of the materials. And Pau-marphim tastes like aspirin, but looks like maple that snails crawled across. Ok back to the party thing. The Dems an Reps are so far right that batshit crazy is ok and anything slightly left is potential terrorist. This is no longer a party argument this is class war. Wall street owns this country and we have to find a way to get it back. The partys will not work for this as they are owned by wall st.We are watching as they give away our social security. This is the destruction of the new deal. This country is going to come unglued. We have yet to hit bottom so the people have yet to hit the streets. The media plays everything as blase'. I am glad i live at the end of the road and will struggle without conflict. Bob.

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  2. I have blogged at some length about just how dangerous this situation is but most of what I receive in reply is "you are being alarmist". It simply amazes me that the country isn't hammering on doors to Congressmen's offices and lighting up the streets with protests and vigils about the stupidity being played out in Washington. My only criticism with your article is that the President himself is a willing participant to this drama (and therefore treason). When he drew the line in the sand at not accepting a short term proposal, and then threatened to veto any short term agreement sent to his desk, he committed the same treasonous action that the Congressmen involved in this debate have done.

    Treason is certainly a good word to use for this stupidity but I would add one - Sedition. When idiots like Bachmann get in front of a microphone and blatently call on Congress to refuse to raise the debt limit, they are committing sedition. They should all be lined up and imprisoned for their failure to faithfully execute their sworn duty.

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  3. Claudia DubersteinJuly 14, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Here, here!

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  4. "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

    I have to disagree with the use of the word Treason, which is explicitly defined in the document you and I both offered our lives to defend.

    Other than that I've no significant disagreement with what you write.

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  5. Washington was fighting a losing battle when he said that, and he knew it.

    By the time he gave his Farewell Address in 1796 several states - notably Pennsylvania and New York, both of which hosted the federal government during his presidency - had had fully developed party systems for decades, and the split between Federalists and Democratic Republicans on the national level was largely set in place. Washington's admonition was ignored even before it was spoken.

    The main point of his warning is lost on us because we don't believe in the classical republicanism that the Founders did. That ideology says that republics require men of "virtue" to rule them - virtue being defined as the ability to rise above one's private interests to work for the public good. Political parties - by definition a private interest - were a sign that the republic was failing.

    And, as you point out, Washington may well have been correct on that.

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  6. Amen! And I hope we are all preparing for the new Civil War!

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  7. I just had a wonderful day dream. Cantor and Boehner being dragged out by the Sgt. at Arms and being charged with treason and/or sedition.

    All it would take is one high profile indictment and a trial and the rest of the cowardly fools would collapse in panic and start packing their bags full of illicit gains and fleeing to their off-shore accounts and 3rd vacation "villas".

    Of course, I've also had a similar dream regarding Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al. and being indicted for their war crimes.

    Good thing I'm not holding my breath for either dream to come true.

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  8. Nailed it, Jim, nailed it. Thanks.
    Dan

    tortsupp: an unsuccessful Budweiser ad catchphrase aimed at lawyers

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  9. I think Washington was wrong about parties. They've done us great service in the past. It's on my Facebook page, "The Eagle needs two wings to fly". Granted, the country has lurched toward greatness. It sure ain't pretty. However, for two hundred plus years it worked. Vicious debate eventually became good law.
    Today we don't really have two parties. We have Wall Street. They are heavily represented in both parties. Then there is everyone else. Thin on the representation. Until this is rectified we are going to have the problems we have today. Regulators will continue to ignore big business, or lose their funding. Large corporations won't be paying taxes. Political donations will trump the voters will.
    Why not? The American people don't seem to care, or understand. We seem to be more interested in the spectacle. Casey Whatshername, Sarah, Michelle, celebrity on trial. Put some hottie on TV. We'll get sucked right in. If that doesn't work, go with God/guns. Turn on, tune in, drop out. Not that I'm frustrated, or anything.

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  10. While I love reading this and other blogs, what good does it do? Do people who read this blog do anything about it? Do you (or me for that matter)call/write Congress and give our opinions? Read today where Murkowski is for raising the debt level. What is Young's position? I don't know, I should find out. I should communicate with my Rep and Senators. So should everyone else, hopefuly will information, not sound bites. Now that I've written this, I'd better follow thru.

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  11. If you want to see where the US appears to be heading just go re-read Heinlein's "If This Goes On". I'm not saying that's how it will be but the signs are pointing that way.

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  12. The 1st and 3rd of the 10 commandments read:
    The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)
    1. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt [or England (ed.)], out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me...
    3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."
    Makes you wonder if the members of Congress who hide behind the cross or star of David ever read the big 10. By raising their little paws and saying "...I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter; So help me God." they are committing themselves to not only adhere to their oaths, but by evoking the name of God they are putting their immortal souls at risk. And if God IS sitting up somewhere with a big old tally sheet of people who thumb their metaphoric noses at Him these people are in deep doo doo.
    Alsp in the Bible they tout and thump they might have missed the second commandment which says" 2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments." then they had better take heed or become a picture perfect example of being hoisted on their own petards and not just themselves, but the rest of us too "For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me," I'm guessing if someone makes fast and loose with the 10 Commandments and uses them for political reasons or personal gain He might decide that qualifys as hating Him.

    {This is merely a theological observation and not meant to espouse any religious beliefs or as a form of condemnation of them damn ole sinners up there Washington City, just saying that's all}. ;)

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  13. I think there is something the American people can do. Vote carefully, vote, and re-elect President Obama.

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  14. Jim, as always I am stunned by your ability to grasp the issues and display the big picture and the long-term consequences. As I read, however, I was thinking of an editorial by Barbara Shelly of the Kansas City Star and printed in our local paper this week. She wrote of the enormous power wielded by a man named Grover Norquist in Washington to whom all but 13 GOP congress members have signed a pledge "to oppose efforts to increase marginal tax rates, block any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits" unless they are matched by other reductions of tax rates. I don't know if any Dems have signed the same pledge. It seems to me that if this is true it is proof of treason in putting the interests of private parties above their sworn duties.

    Keep shouting from your soapbox, Jim. We need you!

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  15. i think this is a really good piece, even though i do not agree that political parties are the problem. ideology is though, and you do basically cover that. neoliberalism, as an economic model, has blurred the party lines of the past 30-40 years such that many now read history to mean that dems are the same as repubs. but in response to the economic crisis, the dems voted 372 bills through under pelosi, stopped by repubs in senate and blue dogs...free-marketeers...free market ideologues. not all the bills dealt with the economy...but they were all stopped. and now we know the repubs have one agenda...to win the next election cycle or to ensure the one term of obama. so i see a clear pattern in the response of the dems that looks like they are attemting to fix the economy. is obama perfect? no. is he a socialist? NO. so it seems it is economic theory that is the issue on either side...and right now the dems seem to be leaning to keynes...just not clearly or strongly. still...by the end of the article i wanted to jump out of my seat so good writing...and nice bowls too. ending wars and shrinking the defense budget should be part of our long and short term goals too...

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  16. When you mix Grover Nordquist with Teabagger debt fanatics, you get the new GOP "Suicide Pact with America".

    Isn't it just Grand!

    I am not confident that this will work out well. The GOP is digging trenches, instead of seeking solutions.

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  17. Regarding Grover Norquist, the GOP had to go to him and get his permission to eliminate the ethanol subsidies. I find that so frightening. This man was not elected by the citizens of the U.S. Why are our elected officials asking his permission to do what they know is right for the country?

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  18. Carol- I cannot speak for anyone but myself but I see value in some blogs,including this one, in the lively attempts to reframe questions and issues .
    look carefully at mark frazer's comments and consider this :

    "summary definition of neoliberalism as a philosophy is this:

    Neoliberalism is a philosophy in which the existence and operation of a market are valued in themselves, separately from any previous relationship with the production of goods and services, and without any attempt to justify them in terms of their effect on the production of goods and services; and where the operation of a market or market-like structure is seen as an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action, and substituting for all previously existing ethical beliefs."
    http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/neoliberalism.html

    We don't do much talking about what the shift towards neoliberal economic policies has really done to us but it's a major player in the foofarah we are watching the yahoos in Congress raise in DC right now.
    We are not going to get through to those yahoos unless we change our own set of arguments about what we will put up with and vote accordingly. And get over the frothing at the mouth mad the Tea Party overindulges in - yeck!
    Our current arguments sound pitiful in relation to the flashy end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it crap the "job creators " and balanced-budget dingbats are dishing out.
    Making the oath we require our legislators to freely and without reservation swear to to take up their job for us an issue in the face of the idealogical hooliganism far too many of them are playing at right now is a valid run at putting meaning back into the oath, the office those twits are sworn to uphold, and taking an ethical stance in the human community.
    I'm not very humble so I won't say any of that IMHO stuff but I am wrong quite often. Do you see value in any of this?

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  19. I don't suppose you'd consider running for President yourself, Jim? Probably not. You're too sane to want the job.

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  20. Seconded on the pens. I'm a Montegrappa guy myself. Fountain pens are one piece of pre-electronic literacy i want to persist.

    Much though I deplore the way the GOP is behaving, and much though I would like to see Cantor and McConnell in the gas chamber, I don't think they quite meet the lettter of treason, but they amply meet the spirit of it and deserve the punishment. This is betrayal.

    Greetings from Cần Thơ, Việt Nam

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  21. Jim,

    I've read some of your posts and many of the ship of fools' comments you command here. I shake my head at the profound ignorance.

    You seem quite proud of both your service and your leftist stances. May I say a majority of your followers and you represent exactly what is wrong with America?

    The America you and your followers are loyal to was not the America of the Founders.

    As veteran and a leftist, you always come to the point where you insinuate your patriotism and love of America beyond reproach because your veteran status confers automatic proof of authentically American motivations.

    Disingenuous baloney.

    If you were primarily fighting for government guaranteed income, a public sector sinecure, or any redistributive or egalitarian government force, or to preserve an imagined America where “everybody does OK” regardless; in short, for the New Deal and/or The “Great” Society...

    You weren’t fighting for the Establishment of America in 1776 or a Constitution of 1787, but a liberal utopia that has been proven time and again a pipe dream and guarantee of ruin.

    America isn’t about those things. It's about liberty. Always has been.

    Don't ever think for one moment your small following and that of other liberal bloggers wishes excuses your misguided intent, your woeful confusion concerning freedom, or your idea of big government, the latter a direct infringement on the wishes of our founders.

    If the last three years have proven anything, it's that Keynesian economics aka Obama economics was a ruse; a farce; a flimflam. The excuse of it's Bush's fault now ring hollow.

    If you are really looking to enlighten yourself, perhaps you should read this article in the WSJ detailing exactly who is at fault.

    While I would be remiss to defend the big spending of the Bush years, especially the second term, the real culprit of our dire fiduciary circumstances are the last three years.

    The Obama Downgrade
    The real reason the U.S. could lose its AAA rating. It is long overdue for liberals to take their medicine and admit Obama has been an epic failure in every capacity.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304203304576446332084493902.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

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  22. @Southern Living

    Much of what you just spouted then shows that you are just as much a follower as you accuse us of being.

    For example Keynesian economics have been going on for decades well before Obama, and the fact you can't even give some credit for it to Bush tells me your a follower of some right-wing loon. Yes Obama is to blame for this mess, but so is Congress and so is all the Presidents and Congressmen before them back to Regan, and maybe before him.

    Get of your high horse before you hurt yourself. Yes they in Washington are all playing chicken with the economy, and for political reasons. And we the people put them there and are letting them get away with playing these games.

    I wish they would just raise the celling and then go back to the cuts/tax increases and argue as long as they want. This is only a crisis because someone decided to call it was it is instead of working on a solution to fix it. If they has just started to make cuts instead of making a big deal of it we would not be on the brink of a world wide depression.

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  23. Paulso,

    So typical of what I find in liberals these days. Half-cocked and without fact. I give you documented hard numbers, and still you refuse to believe.

    For example Keynesian economics have been going on for decades well before Obama, and the fact you can't even give some credit for it to Bush tells me your a follower of some right-wing loon. Yes Obama is to blame for this mess, but so is Congress and so is all the Presidents and Congressmen before them back to Regan, and maybe before him.

    You obviously didn't read the WSJ article. No need for me to try and explain further. I know many of you are devoid of facts. I didn't know most of you completely devoid of sense too.

    So let me make this personal where even a liberal who flunked math might understand.

    By raising the debt ceiling, it will cost each American family approximately $20,000.00 in additional debt. Obama has already added almost $50,000.00 to your family's burden since taking office.

    Since I doubt most of you have the means to pay for that, that may not mean much either. But it should because even your maxed credit cards will be affected.

    The mendacity and selective memory of Obama supporters is almost astonishing. Obama campaigned to halve the deficit. He tripled the annual debt his first year, increasing even more the second and third.

    And yet you and your ilk still refuse to hold this sham accountable in the least. Is your political persuasion so ingrained, is so much of yourself still invested in this obvious flunkie you elected, that you can't bring yourself to at least be honest and admit Obama has been an epic failure?

    It's cult like...

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  24. is looking like Wayne/Tex has a new moniker in Southern Living...
    Or a cousin...
    still same ole stuff...

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  25. @Southern Living

    I know Obama's failings, he has continued many of Bush's programs that he said he would stop. Some have worked and some have not. But the current mess we are in is everyone fault. If you don't want to recognize it and just want to blame Obama, fine. Just don't expect me to buy it.

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  26. Southern living wrote:
    "So typical of what I find in liberals these days. Half-cocked and without fact."

    And then I stopped reading.

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  27. Bravo! Another post right on in both substance and style. Thank you again for saying what needs saying.

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  28. And then I stopped reading.

    Of course. Guys like you aren't interested in facts or solutions. In fact, you're not capable of deriving solutions because you're in large part the biggest part of the problem - a big government proponent of the broken behemoth. Your party can't even produce a budget. What makes anyone possibly think they could fix the problem they in the largest part help create? I just wish they would step out of the way.

    Being your religion is progressive politic, it's got to hurt not being able to admit the monumental failure of this Presidency.

    Hope and Change has become a running joke, and Obama a punch line. The man is a proven liar, as he once again demonstrated on national TV today.

    His lies this afternoon were so over the top, even the liberal press gulped.

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  29. I know Obama's failings, he has continued many of Bush's programs that he said he would stop.

    No, it's not nearly that simple. Obama not only campaigned and won in 2008 promising to stop the Bush programs, he lied and double and triple downed on many of them. The man is hypocrite of biblical proportions.

    Some have worked and some have not.

    Nothing has worked. Once again, here are the hard facts of the miserable economic performance of Obama:

    There are 2 million fewer private-sector jobs now than when Obama was sworn in, and the unemployment rate is 1.5 percentage points higher.

    • There are now more long-term unemployed than at any time since the government started keeping records.

    • The U.S. dollar is more than 12% weaker.

    • The number of Americans on food stamps has climbed 37%.

    • The Misery Index (unemployment plus inflation) is up 62%.

    • And the national debt is about 40% higher than it was in January 2009.

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  30. Wotcha SouthernLiving,

    Being as I'm from the other side of the pond here in the Unfree Socialist Utopia of the United Kingdom, I'm not up to speed on all the stats you quote, so I'll limit myself to one question:

    The litany you've mentioned - would that have been better if McCain had won in 2008? If so, why?

    Ta
    Dan

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  31. The litany you've mentioned - would that have been better if McCain had won in 2008? If so, why?

    McCain was lame - but not nearly as weak as Obama. Surely the two sorriest candidates of record in my lifetime in one election.

    To answer your question, absolutely. In many ways.

    But most would require some detail, so I'll keep it very simple.

    There would be no (1) Obamacare; (2) there would have been no wasted $862 billion of worthless public pork for Obama's pals euphemistically called "reinvestment."

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  32. "Of course. Guys like you aren't interested in facts or solutions."

    I stopped reading at this sentence as well.

    And this is also exactly why I stopped reading. Presumption, especially when people like Southern guy is this wrong, doesn't earn an audience.

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  33. We can do without drudge trolls coming in here and relaying junk from the WSJ editorial page, I think.

    I stopped reading pretty early too. To claim that Keynesian methods are inferior to that Laffer junk is simply false; it's taken billions of dollars of propagandizing over decades to break the global Keynesian consensus and it would have fallen a lot easier than that if it didn't work.

    The Laffer curve was a line on a cocktail napkin. Unlike a real graph, it had, and has, no function with a parameter varying on the horizontal axis to yield a variation on the vertical. It was just a line on a cocktail napkin.

    And the alarming figures .. why don't you take a moment to note how much debt per capita we all incurred so Bush could wear that flight suit, and give his rich pals a huge tax break? Makes Obama look like he's not even trying.

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  34. I think I found one of the many flaws in your thinking there Mr. Southern Living. You think that McCain would have made everything great. I presume this is also because you assume that the opposition would just disappear for his ideas, instead of fighting them every step of the way Like the party of NO did with Obama's. Furthermore, some of us watched the actions of the two men during the start of the meltdown, and made our choice after we watched Mr. Obama act coolly and responsibly, and McCain doing a full OSRIC. Only one man left me with the impression he understood the problem, and coupled with McCain's obvious failure to choose a running mate with the mental chops needed in the job, McCain never had a chance.

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  35. The editorial page of the WSJ has about the same level of veracity as News of The World.

    And this was true long prior to Murdoch.

    'No self respecting fish would want to be wrapped in a newspaper produced by Rupert Murdoch' Mike Royko

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  36. The Debt Ceiling is artificial. A 'temporary measure' from WW1 (I know - nothing is more perminent than a 'temporary' measure), that serves no real purpose, except as a hammer to beat political opponents and a fig leaf to keep Congress' fingerprints from showing when additional bonds are issued.

    If it's not reapproved, extended, or otherwise manipulated, there is still no legally binding way to prevent the issuing of additional bonds - All Congress has to do it approve a new bond measure - Voila! Fiat Debt! Nor is the debt service all that onerous - about 11% of all revenues. In other words, the bills will be paid, whatever the current ruckus.

    Paid, that is, unless someone in government deliberately and willfully chooses to prioritize other needs above paying the interest on the debt. Which would make for another interesting political hammer. Watch closely.

    No, all this intransigence (on ALL sides of the issue - All parties are steadfastly hewing to their own agenda - The president every bit as much as Congress, Dems every bit as fiercely as GOP) is simply a mud brawl over very different visions of what's good for the country. Which makes your assertion of 'treason' kinda pointless and limp: The worst offenders are passionately seeking what they honestly, if stupidly, believe to be in the best intersts of the nation. And when I say that, I very specifally point a finger at the President, and at the political radicals, both equally. And can you (or anyone) prove either side is wrong..?
    Didn't think so.
    Ergo, not treason.

    Stupid? Probably. Short-sighted? Yup. Partisan? Hell yeah. Poisonous to civil discourse? Of a certainty.
    But not treasonous.

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  37. It's almost impossible to have a fair debate with the Cult of Obama personality, as his supporters completely ignore reality and create and recreate parallel universes to fit a preconceived bias. Even a complete slaughter in an election is not proof enough.

    I give you Chris Fox as example.

    In your bit of sophistry Chris, why don't you and I make a bet? I'll bet I can prove everyone of those figures that I posted from numerous sources, including your beloved CBO?

    Would you like to make a wager? Say a hundred dollars here on the board?

    Are you as brave with the pocket book as you are with your clan here?

    And the alarming figures .. why don't you take a moment to note how much debt per capita we all incurred so Bush could wear that flight suit, and give his rich pals a huge tax break? Makes Obama look like he's not even trying.

    How about a second bet? Say a hundred bucks you're wrong again? Bush is but a rank piker in spending next to The One.

    Say another hundred Chris? That goes for any of the other deniers if you wish to place a bet.

    How about it brave guys?

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  38. Yup- Southern Living is Wayne Perram / Tex Taylor - agent provocateur and king of facile fallacy .
    Making similar bet on other sites.

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  39. Anyone who doubts that the radical idealogues of the right are holding the economic future of this country and the rest of the world hostage to their narrow-minded and obstinate point of view need only read this story about Iowa Rep. Steve King.

    When asked by a reporter if he would be willing to compromise on a deal that offered 3 trillion in cuts for only EIGHT DOLLARS in revenue increases, he said he would refuse to support it. EIGHT DOLLARS!!! There is no compromising, negotiating or working with these people and they are willing to send us all into economic meltdown so they can have their way.

    And anyone who votes to keep these politicians, who are so eager to betray their country, in office is equally liable.


    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/07/15/270661/king-wont-accept-revenue-increases/

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  40. Folks, I've been busy with friends in the real world for the last two days and while I've been aware of the trollage here, you all seemed to be handling it well enough without me. Thanks for that.

    However, it's gone on long enough now. Please don't feed the troll anymore.

    As Anonymous pointed out, Southern Living is indeed Wayne/Tex, a sad mentally challenged little troll who showed up a while back and who has rather obviously developed a great big man crush on me. In fact, he's become the internet equivalent of the creepy stalker, hiding behind half a dozen aliases and a pretty shitty IP mask. He sends me the internet version of love letters and follows me around with his tongue hanging out like a dog in heat trying to get my attention and he's gone so far as to literally pretend to be me on a couple of other sites - though I don't think anybody was actually fooled by his pitiful disguise. He's a sad little man who's life didn't turn out the way he dreamed and who can't seem to make other people be who he thinks they ought to be. He's pissed away his entire life denying who he really is and it makes him sad and angry and scared and so he lives in perpetual denial repeating the same magic chant over and over hoping that if he says it enough it'll come true and maybe his life won't be so fucking pathetic after all. He spends his lonely days trolling the internet looking for a fight because that's the only kind of human contact he gets. Someday soon he'll choke to death on his own bile and not one single soul will care, he knows it and it makes him cry.

    Any further comments from this sorry little wretch will be removed without comment. Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

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  41. Good article, Jim. I don't fully agree with everything you write, but it is certainly inspired.

    I defend your right to write, despite what the right might cite.

    And yes, it seems our buddy Tex/Wayne/Southern just can't stay away. Gelded a little late in life, I'm guessing...

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  42. Liked this post - thanks - although it seems more like sedition to me. Ironic that it used to be the left (in my memory anyway) that were more seditious and anti-government and the right that were all square with the government. Now the Tea Party folks are advocating rank sedition and the rest of the right doesn't seem to have a problem with that. And thanks, also, for handling and explaining the trollage.

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  43. I'm not about to take a bet with a stranger on a blog and it would be foolhardy to take one with a wing nut who will just post a link to weekly standard or WSJ editorial page and, without even identifying the relevant paragraph, start thumping his chest and demanding I pay up. Which I won't.

    Bush ran up massive deficits for frivolous reasons, can't be a wing nut president without a war or two, and to cut tax breaks for people who didn't need them. Obama ran up smaller deficits trying to rescue the country from a repeat of the 30s. Pity the stimulus wasn't bigger, even more a pity it wasn't injected at the bottom where it would have done more good.

    I don't get the whole right wing troll thing, but they certainly are birds of a feather, interchangeable as spark plugs.

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  44. Jim, Can you please clarify the math regarding the National Debt. Here's what I read, please tell me what I I am missing, you said we owe:

    Ourselves 63%
    "not-China" 12%
    Opec 2%
    Caribbeans 2%
    Japan 6%
    That totals 85%

    If, as you say, we only owe China roughly 7%, where's the remaining 8%

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  45. Rounding. I left off the numbers to the right of the decimal. Also it depends entirely on whose figures you use (these came from the GAO, and are supposed to be the ones Congress uses), and when (the percentages move back and forth with the current price of bonds, stocks (specifically oil), and a number of other factors. I took the averages from last week's GAO pie chart. Look at it now, and it's changed a bit).

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  46. That's kind of what I suspected. My problem is that I love Excel.

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  47. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  48. great read ,jim...found you through a link on 'crooks and liars',you're bookmarked now.....one question,why in the hell do 'we' call them tea party people and not libertarians? gov. kasich,ohio....ran as a republican,libertarian,,paul ryan has his staff read ayn rand's crappy fiction,like it is their holy books,and on and on...if it walks like a duck,if it quacks like a duck..it's a libertarian.

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  49. You're a modern day Tom Paine. Keep it up!

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  50. They don't identify as libertarians for the same reason mafiosi prefer to identify themselves as businessmen. Libertarianism never was very serious and it's grown progressively less so as it shed its left flank and became preoccupied with (1) guns and (2) removing all scruples from business. You want to see the essential libertarian, you may have seen him earlier this month if you live in one of the states that didn't have to ban fireworks sales because of droughts, but you can see him again in December. He's the guy who works two weeks in late June - early July selling fireworks and a month in December selling Xmas trees. The rest of the time he sits in his basement apartment drinking supermarket beer and watching ESPN on a dying B&W set with rabbit ears, getting a few extra bucks working under the table and congratulating himself for not paying any income tax.

    Real winners.

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  51. Would anybody entertain charging the GOP under the R.I.C.O. Act? I see little difference between the Republican Family and the Cosa Nostra...

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  52. What I find most interesting in the current budget crisis is the complete ignorance that the intelligentsia is exercising as we run toward the cliff. It only takes a few minutes to see the path we are blazing down was paved in the 1920 by Germany. In their case it was due to war reparations and not endless war spending, but the affect on the general economy is the same. If we default on our debt the results can be seen by looking at the German economy in 1928.
    Inflation went hyperactive and soon it was cheaper to burn money than to buy fire supplies. This sent the entire world economy into a tailspin and gave rise to Hitler. This is road we should not go down and no single party is to blame. The entire government is to blame and we are the ones who put that government in place.
    Nobody who had a hand in creating this mess should be called upon to fix it and that is the problem I find with the career politicians who are in control and competing for even more control. The start of the fix is to elect people who have not been in government and freeze their assets while in office to end the control of money in government. Second is to have the courage to cut appropriations and favors from the government and tax the people who have the discretionary income. This cannot be done by a president alone or by congress alone. It takes the rational people of America to demand thought and future consideration when installing a government. Otherwise we will give rise to tyranny like the world has never known.

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  53. Alarming developments since this entry, with substantial numbers of Republicans opposed to raising the ceiling at all. It appears that a good number of freshman house GOP members don't even understand what is at stake, don't even know the difference between a debt payment and new borrowing, and are so deeply resistant to government spending that they are willing to bring on economic catastrophe. Massive job losses, worthless money, unpaid soldiers, utter calamity .. all based on some 30 year old Reagan one-liners and some myths about markets. I've never been more afraid for my country, and never been more glad to not live inside its borders.

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  54. Your conclusions are all wrong. Now isn't the time for "comprimise" with the left. Now is the time for real conservative measures to be taken. The house bill was already a comprimise of sorts anyway. Cut, cap and balance is the only thing on the table to secure America's triple A bond rating.

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  55. There is no The Left in America, hasn't been since 1939 except for some College freshmen in berets. That cap And whatever bill would have made raising taxes all but impossible, an insurmountable minority veto, which has worked terribly in California. And a Constitutional amendment is a very large hammer and requires a supremely dangerous Convention held in secret and whose agenda cannot be limited. It would include teabaggers whom I wouldn't truth with my lunch money, much less the Bill of Rights. They could emerge and have scrapped the whole thing.

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  56. Anonymous@2:25, Way to own that bullshit comment. It's fairly obvious who you are and what you're up to with that troll bullshit, but I'll play your game anyway.

    CCB, like the so-called Balanced Budget Amendment, is nothing more than pandering to an extremist base and the Tea Party republicans damned well know it. They know what has to be done, but they're pissing their pants at the thought of Obama getting any credit whatsoever for averting disaster. They keep talking about what the American people want, but ignore the fact that polling shows what a significant majority of the American people actually want is a compromise.

    Fuck the Tea Party, they are nothing but a bunch of brownshirts and they sure as hell don't speak for America. Extremism in any form leads to tyranny. Always. The United States was founded on compromise, and compromise is the only way out of this mess now.

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  57. Why is it that Conservatives feel compelled to annoy and heckle? Jim has made it clear that this guy isn't welcome here but he keeps coming back to pester.I've been seeing this as long as I've cared about politics.

    It's not as though these bedwetters don't have a million places on the web they can do their echo chamber to a receptive audience.

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  58. Note on usage. Lowercase conservative is an adjective or noun, but uppercase is a titular proper noun referring to club membership, people who place their orthodoxy before the good of the nation, even before their own self-interest.

    Dues are paid by purchasing books "written" by uh people like Sarah Palin. Initiation consists of reciting whoppers with a straight face, e.g. "cutting taxes increases revenue."

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  59. Jim, if ever there was a reminder needed of why you don't piss off the chief that dressing down of the troll could be quoted verbatim.

    The budget mess is only the little treason. There is a greater treason afoot.

    The U.S. and the world are staring past issues that will challenge humanity as nothing ever has before.

    Peak Oil, Climate Change, unemployment and the population bomb are real problems. Problems that are not fictional and that aren't going away just because some think tanks claim they don't exist.

    In short, we have real challenges in the physical world that MUST be addressed. Meanwhile the GOP, the Democrats, and Obama are playing their monkey-shit games.

    That, is the Big Treason.

    Think about Texas. The entire state is in a prolonged drought. It could rain enough to break the drought next week or it the drought could continue for years. If you've got a quart of water and the next well is 35 miles away you do not sit and pray for rain. You had better start walking. The Congress, both parties, and Obama, are arguing over a card game. Settle your debts and move people.

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  60. Except, of course, praying for rain is exactly what the governor of Texas is calling for.

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  61. People seem to think that they are citizens of the Republican Party and that this is patriotism and sufficiently good patriotism. I prefer to be a citizen of the United States. --- Mark Twain

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