Why Simpson Bowles should be DOA

I’ll just sit here and hold my breath! Scott Lemieux:

The problem is that the deficit is nothing like health care. There’s no political dynamic that locks deficit reduction programs into place. Chait is implicitly referring to the bait-and-switch pulled by the Republicans after the Greenspan commission on Social Security and the 1993 Clinton budget deal, in which deficit reductions were used to finance hugely expansive Republican boondoggles like unnecessary, trillion-dollar wars and upper-class tax cuts.   Nothing in a deal would stop the same thing from happening again.  The best proposals in the report — cutting defense spending and agricultural studies, getting rid of the mortgage deduction, ending the special treatment of capital-gains income — would be the hardest to sustain over time. Legislation that provides direct benefits to concentrated, powerful interests while imposing indirect costs on more diffuse, less powerful interests is the easiest kind of legislation to pass. Moreover, this fact is another reason why S/B isn’t a good starting point for a deal, because the best provisions are the least likely to survive the legislative process. We all know that any bill that phases out the mortgage deduction is DOA.

To put it another way, when Chait concedes that Republicans don’t care about the deficit, we can stop right there, because a deficit-reduction deal requires ongoing cooperation between the parties; legislation that is passed today can be changed next year. This cooperation currently doesn’t exist. Therefore, there’s no reason for Democrats to support a deficit-reduction program that isn’t otherwise worth passing on the merits.

Tip courtesy of Thomas Soldan

Flower girl

At least at my niece’s wedding, none of the kids were screaming:


Boehner: ‘We do not have an immediate debt crisis’

And of course, we also have to give credit to Obama for playing along!

I never thought I’d write these words, but here goes: Thank you, John Boehner. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for finally admitting on national television that all the fiscal cliffs, sequestrations and budget battles you’ve created are, indeed, artificially fabricated by ideologues and self-interested politicians and not the result of some imminent crisis that’s out of our control.

America owes this debt of gratitude to Boehner after he finally came clean on yesterday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week” and admitted that “we do not have an immediate debt crisis.” (His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who quickly echoed much the same sentiment on CBS’ “Face the Nation”).

In offering up such a stunningly honest admission, the GOP leader has put himself on record as agreeing with President Obama, who has previously acknowledged that demonstrable reality. But the big news here isn’t just about the politics of a Republican House speaker tacitly admitting they agree with a Democratic president. It is also about a bigger admission revealing the fact that the GOP’s fiscal alarmism is not merely some natural reaction to reality, but a calculated means to other ideological ends.

And one they can agree on! Both Obama and the GOP want to shred the safety net. Progress!

Destroying democracy in order to save it

Via WhoWhatWhy:

In 1980, a 25-year old graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin wrote amaster’s thesis called “Human rights, a case study of Egypt.” In it, he argued that the aim of achieving and maintaining political stability justifies human rights violations by apprehensive governments— including crackdowns on unbridled journalists:

Since the press can play such an influential role in determining the perceptions of the masses, I am in favor of some degree of government censorship. Inflamatory [sic] articles can provoke mass opposition and possible violence.

Why should we care what a 25-year old grad student wrote over 30 years ago? Because that student grew up to be John Brennan—recently appointed director of the CIA. And because the theory he outlined in his master’s thesis seems to have shaped his attitude toward the exercise of power since then.

Go read the rest to learn about our new CIA director.

Are rape culture and jock culture the same thing?

Maybe not, but there’s definitely a lot of overlap. I can’t imagine why Candy Crowley was more upset over the Steubenville rapists being found guilty than she was over the rape victim.

Every guy I’ve ever dated was a jock, but I never made a connection between that and their varying degrees of sexism. Now that I think about it, there’s something to the idea that the hypermasculinity of sports denigrates woman as things, rather than people. We’re just there to look at or have sex with, we’re not in The Game.

The only thing that really sticks out in my mind as outrageously sexist is once, when I mentioned something about feminism to this one guy, he actually sneered and made some comment: “What, you’re one of the hairy armpit crowd now?” I was really shocked. That remark stayed with me for years: I’m supposed to fit into some kind of box for you? If I’m wearing the wrong uniform, I’m not a feminist?

I couldn’t believe that this guy didn’t get how important autonomy in a gender-weighted world is to me – or why. I mean, I’m a lifelong feminist, it’s not a secret or anything. I’m sure I never said anything that indicated otherwise; I suspect it had more to do with the fact that he was a frightened, insecure child under all that jock bravado. (I think most misogynists are.)

He just saw what he wanted to see, that’s all.

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