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Friday Talking Points [163] -- The Ads Just Write Themselves

[ Posted Friday, April 15th, 2011 – 17:33 PDT ]

Happy It's Supposed To Be Tax Day, everyone!

By a strange quirk in scheduling, your income taxes won't be due until Monday, but what I'm wondering is: where are the Tea Partiers? This is, after all, the Glorious Second Anniversary of the formation of what some called the "Taxed Enough Already" movement ("TEA" -- get it?), and yet I've heard of no plans for huge Tea Party rallies across America. The last time the Tea Partiers tried to turn out their numbers in force, a few weeks ago during the budget fights, they only managed a few hundred people (and even that's being generous) at the U.S. Capitol. From every shot I've seen of their rally, it seemed like there were more press in attendance than actual protesters. So perhaps the media is a bit shy about getting burned twice, which may be why I'm unaware of any plans this year for large demonstrations.

Which leads one to wonder: Has the Tea Party movement (to provide a horrendous metaphor mixup) jumped the shark? Time will tell, of course, but there are so many other newsworthy items crowding the past week that we've simply got to ask the question briefly, and then move on.

Something the media largely missed in the midst of multiple budgetary battles this week was the fact that this is what bipartisanship looks like. The media, at least the "serious" ones, residing either inside the Beltway or in lower Manhattan, have long made much sport out of decrying "partisanship" -- at least, when Democrats act like Democrats, at any rate. Politicians are supposed to "work together" in some Utopian dreamland, to "get serious things done." It sounds great in an editorial, and all of that.

But then, when it actually happens, the media doesn't even deign to notice it, because of the double game they love to play. Partisanship raises the emotion level. It gets people angry at each other. Conflict! And conflict is so much more entertaining to put on television than bipartisanship in any form. This allows the media to spout pious drivel ("Can't all the politicians just get along?") while at the same time they book the most partisan hacks they can, knowing they can be relied upon to scream at each other and (as a result) make it easier to sell lots of ad space.

But, with the divided government we now have, this is the only way anything is going to get done in the next two years. The 2011 budget compromise had plenty of things in it for both sides of the partisan divide to hate. In the House, Nancy Pelosi and Michele Bachmann both voted against it -- a rare occasion (to put it mildly) where these two were on the same side. Speaker John Boehner couldn't make good on his vow that he'd get 218 votes from the Republican side alone, and a whole bunch of Democrats had to vote for the bill to pass it (the Tea Party freshmen were divided -- some voted for it, some voted against).

The interesting thing to me, though, was the Senate. In most contentious legislative battles in Washington, the Senate vote is the important one (because it is usually harder to win, due to the filibuster). But this week, all attention was on the House. The Senate vote wasn't even close -- 81 to 19. Three Democrats voted with 16 Republicans against, but everyone else voted to pass the bill.

As I said, bipartisanship. I'm not saying it's a good thing or a bad thing, here, I'm just pointing out that it exists -- which is more than the mainstream media has done this week.

Speaking of other thing the mainstream media has been ignoring this week, here is the full text of President Obama's speech on the budget this week. It's a great speech, and I encourage Democrats who have become disillusioned with Obama to give it a read. Also -- are you ready for this? I mean, are you sitting down and everything? -- it was partisan. Gasp! It is, as many have pointed out, his first true campaign speech.

Republicans shifted into full-on whiny mode, immediately. How dare the president give a partisan speech on the budget, Medicare, the size of government, and... you know... all those other things that the two parties completely disagree upon! How dare he! Republicans were apparently expecting the president to throw his full support behind the Paul Ryan budget... or something. Which, of course, Republicans (with no sense of irony whatsoever) have been promoting every chance they get in the most stridently partisan tones they can muster.

It's as if they think only Republicans are allowed to be partisan, or something. Perhaps this is because the media fully supports such thinking, as evidenced by which side gets labeled "partisan" in pretty much every single debate.

Sigh.

Republicans in the House came roaring back today, and passed Paul Ryan's budget on almost-strict party lines (four Republicans voted with all the Democrats against it). Democrats everywhere should be down on their knees today in sheer gratitude. Harry Reid, if he is smart, will immediately introduce this measure -- with no modifications -- onto the Senate floor, in order to force all the Republicans in the Senate to vote on it. Get the votes on record, Harry! Do it as soon as humanly possible!

Because this budget is going to become an albatross around the Republican Party's collective neck in next year's campaign. All that needs to happen is for Democrats to get out there and explain what Ryan's budget means. As President Obama did so well this Wednesday. Absolutely hammer the fact that Medicare will soon become a voucher that doesn't cover the cost of medical insurance. Every third sentence out of every Democrat's mouth for the next six months should include the words "voucher" and "Medicare." I am not kidding. The public needs to be informed. Here's an example. If asked, "Senator, do you agree that the sky is blue?" a Democratic politician should respond with: "Well, I'm glad you asked me, because while the sky is blue for seniors today, under the Republican budget in ten years it will be dark indeed when they realize they're not going to get Medicare, but rather a voucher -- and if that voucher doesn't cover the costs, then Granny's got to pay, even if that means Granny winds up eating catfood as a result because that is all she can afford."

It's really not that tough. The ads just write themselves. But I'm getting ahead of myself here, as we're going to have lots of fun with the Republican budget in the talking points section. But first, let's get the weekly awards out of the way, shall we?

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

President Obama was pretty impressive this week. His budget speech, if you've only heard a five-second soundbite on the news, is really worth reading or watching in full. Now, I know that some disillusioned Democrats are leery of any Obama speech by now, and would prefer to see what the end result is rather than the lofty promises made in a single speech. But this speech laid out the philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans in a fantastic way, it laid down several clear "lines in the sand," and it told a good narrative about the values of the Democratic Party as a whole. In other words, it was a humdinger of a speech. But, while we think this deserves an Honorable Mention this week (if, for nothing else, for how much it annoyed the Republicans), Obama will have to wait to win a Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week until he follows through on the promise of this speech. Obama has been making the rounds of media interviews -- and doing a pretty good job of it -- ever since he gave the speech. Which means that the conventional Washington wisdom is correct, for once -- this truly is the beginning of Obama's campaign for re-election.

Republicans, as a result of the 2011 budget deal, forced a vote in the Senate on killing what they love to call "Obamacare." They did this to put Democratic senators on record, so they could use the vote against them in next year's campaign. This is basic politics -- as I was earlier suggesting Harry Reid should do to Republicans on the Ryan budget. The Democrats, to their credit, held firm -- including a number of them who are quite vulnerable on the healthcare reform issue back in their home states. These Democratic senators at least deserve an Honorable Mention, for putting what they believe in ahead of political considerations.

A bunch of House Democrats were up to a bit of mischief over in the House this week, as they forced Republicans to change their votes against an even-harsher budget plan. That's right -- by voting "present" they forced the Republicans to intentionally kill their own budget plan, exposing the entire exercise as nothing more than "getting a vote on record on a bill we sincerely hope never actually becomes law" -- another favorite Washington trick. Read the full details over at the Huffington Post. All the House Democrats who engineered this embarrassment for the Republicans also deserve an Honorable Mention this week.

But the coveted Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award goes out to Representatives Raúl Grijalva and Mike Honda, who have been pushing their own budget plan, to anyone who will listen (in other words, only the Lefty press, and certainly not the mainstream media). Their budget, which they call [PDF download] "The People's Budget," is as far-reaching as the Ryan budget -- in the opposite direction. Grijalva chairs the Progressive Caucus in the House, which came up with the plan.

It would be nice if the American people were presented with three basic budget plans: Ryan's from the Right, Grijalva's from the Left, and Obama's as a compromise measure. It would be nice, but my guess is that it simply isn't going to happen. So much for the supposedly "liberal" mainstream media, eh?

But both Mike Honda and Raúl Grijalva deserve credit for trying. They've put a solid plan on the table, and they are out there promoting the heck out of it to anyone who will listen. Their budget is a statement of Democratic principles, in the same way Ryan's is a statement of Republican principles. It deserves a lot more attention than it is likely to get. Which we are going to rectify (in our own small way) by awarding both of them the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award this week. Well done, guys, and more power to you!

[Congratulate Representative Mike Honda on his House contact page or via Twitter or Facebook, and Representative Raúl Grijalva on his House contact page or via Twitter or Facebook, to let them know you appreciate their efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Vice President Joe Biden provided late-night comedians with fodder for jokes this week by apparently nodding off during his boss' speech. But you know what? The man's had a busy few weeks (he was central to the budget deal struck with Congress). And he likely had already heard Obama practice this speech.

So we're not going to pile on Joe this week with everyone else, and deem that his nap doesn't even merit a (Dis-)Honorable Mention.

In fact, Democrats had such a good week all around that we're left with absolutely no candidates for Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week. Nothing like a budget fight to bring Democrats together, eh?

[Further Napping Note: We did consider for the MDDOTW award Air Traffic Organization chief Hank Krakowski, who resigned in embarrassment this week over the air traffic controllers' woes, but we weren't sure if he was a bureaucrat or a political appointee -- and when we called them up to find out, the phone just rang and rang. It's like they were all asleep at the switch, or something. Ahem.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 163 (4/15/11)

Was that "catfood" comment a wee bit over the line?

Well, maybe for some Democratic politicians, but for the boldest, we would like to humbly suggest slapping a label on things: "The Paul Ryan Catfood Budget." After all, the Left called the "presidential deficit commission" the "catfood commission" for almost a full year, and the Bowles/Simpson plan (which I prefer to call the "B/S Plan," myself, for obvious reasons) wasn't nearly as Draconian as what the House just voted on.

It's a pretty easy metaphor to draw. Granny's got to spend an extra six thousand dollars on Medicare, and on a fixed budget that means less money for everything else -- including food.

One might even suggest working in the lyrics to the King Crimson song "Cat Food," to wit:

No use to complain
If you're caught out in the rain ...
Cat food! Cat food. Cat food again!

Or perhaps, a Marie Antoinette theme: "Let them eat catfood!"

But we do realize that some Democratic politicians would shy away from using such graphic language. So, instead, we're going to provide six other ways of ripping into the Ryan budget's priorities (and now, the House Republicans' priorities). And then, at the end, we're throwing one unrelated item in just for amusement value.

Any of these talking points could easily be turned into Democratic campaign ads, anywhere in the country where Democrats are running against someone who just voted for Ryan's budget. Perhaps in the coming weeks, I'll actually draft a few ad suggestions along these lines myself, just to show how easy the process can be. Seriously, folks, the ads just about write themselves on the subject of Medicare. The Republicans, by supporting Ryan's plan to kill Medicare as we know it, have just defined a large part of the 2012 political campaign.

All Democrats have to do is point out what Republicans just voted for. Over and over and over again. This ain't rocket science, guys. If you stand up and fight, you're going to win this battle. So do so!

 

1
   Hands off my Grandma!

For being first out of the gate, Kenosha County (Wisconsin) Supervisor Rob Zerban deserves the first talking point this week. Zerban is not just a Democratic politician attacking Paul Ryan's budget, he is a Democratic politician attacking Paul Ryan. This is entirely within reason, because Zerban is running against Ryan in next year's congressional election. Within days of Ryan's budget being released, Zerban had set up a website to attack it -- with an absolutely great name.

"You know, Paul Ryan is being challenged in his own district by Democrat Rob Zerban next year, and Zerban I think best summed up what the public reaction is going to be to Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into vouchers. Zerban set up a website called HandsOffMyGrandma.com to take on Ryan's plan to throw America's seniors off Medicare. I agree with Zerban -- Hands off my Grandma, Paul Ryan! Hands off my Grandma, Republicans!"

 

2
   Pulling the plug on everyone's Grandma

The whole "Grandma" theme, of course, came from Republicans warning of the evils of the Democratic plan over the last two years, of course. Which is why they have absolutely no leg to stand on now, when it comes to Granny, not to mention "death panels" and all the rest of that dreck.

"Paul Ryan shed some crocodile tears the other day, decrying Democrats for 'demagoguing' and 'lying' about his plans for Medicare. One wonders where he has been for the past two years. I fully remember when Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said Democrats were guilty of, quote, pulling the plug on Grandma, unquote. This was for cuts to Medicare Advantage which are now included in the Ryan budget plan, I might point out -- cuts the Republicans were against, before they were for them. So now Republicans are complaining about the language being used to describe their plan? Oh, please. Their plan is going to literally pull the plug on everyone's Grandma, in ten years, when they privatize Medicare and turn it into a voucher program."

 

3
   Pulling the plug on Medicare

Representative Bruce Braley, Democratic chair of the Populist Caucus in the House, picked up on this theme as well, in an article he wrote this week. His article ends with an excellent way to frame the issue:

Our nation's fiscal future is a very serious issue. And it's long past due time that we have a serious conversation about how to cut spending and reduce the deficit in a long term, sustainable way. But pulling the plug on Medicare isn't the answer. We need a responsible approach to our fiscal problems, not a reckless plan that hurts our seniors and puts millions of elderly Americans at risk of not getting the health care they need. Grandma and [G]randpa deserve much better than that.

 

4
   Mmmm! Donut holes!

Here's a Big Lie from the Republicans (for this week, anyway) which needs to be called on the carpet, immediately.

"Speaker Boehner said about the Ryan budget this week, and I quote, The changes being proposed would not affect one senior citizen in America, not one. Anyone 55 years and older will not be affected by any of these changes, unquote. But this is a lie, Mister Speaker. Last year, under the Democratic healthcare law, we started to close the 'donut hole' for seniors' prescription drug costs. Seniors who had been paying up to seventeen hundred dollars a year when they fell into this donut hole got two hundred and fifty dollars back in the mail last year, because of the healthcare plan Democrats passed. Under our plan, this donut hole will be shrunk over time until it no longer exists. Under the Ryan budget -- because this is part of what they derisively refer to as 'Obamacare' -- this money was cut. Granny's not going to get that check this year, if the Ryan budget passes -- and the donut hole will open wide once again. Democrats got rid of the donut hole, Republicans are fighting to take this money away from seniors. And that would happen this year, Mister Speaker. The American public simply cannot believe anything the Republicans say on this issue, because they keep getting caught in these lies. Seniors who vote need to know: a vote for Republicans is a vote to re-open the donut hole. A vote for Democrats is a vote to keep closing it until it disappears. It's really that simple, no matter what lies Boehner is telling this week."

 

5
   Government hands off my Medicare!

It's like you can almost hear Peter, Paul, and Mary singing "Where Have All The Tea Partiers Gone?" in the background, isn't it?

"I remember during the debates over healthcare reform last year seeing Tea Party folks with signs demanding 'government hands off my Medicare!' I wonder where those folks are now, eh? Think the townhall folks will be back this summer to demand that Republicans keep their hands off Medicare, since almost all of them just voted in the House of Representatives to turn Medicare into a voucher program that will require seniors to pay thousands of dollars more each year -- to receive care from insurance companies instead of the government? I would bet good money that when the public becomes fully aware of the Republican plan to privatize Medicare and turn it into vouchers which do not cover the full costs of insurance -- when the full impact of this radical plan sinks in, that voters are going to be expressing a little displeasure with the Republican 'government hands' on their Medicare."

 

6
   Reverse Robin Hood

Bernie Sanders has been using this one, although I can't swear he's the originator of the phrase. Here he is from a press release on the 2011 Republican budget, although you don't need to change a word to apply it to the 2012 Ryan "Let Them Eat Catfood" budget (sorry for slipping that in there, but Sanders is one of those Democrats who might actually use the phrase...).

Today, in order to reduce deficits that Republicans helped create, they now are slashing programs of enormous importance to working families, the elderly, the sick and children. At a time when the gap between the very rich and everybody else is growing wider, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse. It takes from struggling working families and gives to multi-millionaires. This is obscene.

 

7
   ...IS intended to be a factual statement...

Senator John Kyl was caught in a whopping lie he told on the Senate floor the other day. According to Kyl, "90 percent" of Planned Parenthood's budget went towards abortions. The actual figure? Three percent. Hey, he was only off by 2,900 percent (of the right answer), right?

The amusing part, though, is that his office, faced with the impossible task of walking Kyl's whopping lie back, could only meekly state that he "didn't intend it to be a factual statement." Hoo boy. Democrats have been having some fun with this, as well they should. It's quite easy to force the press to talk about this pants-on-fire lie, all you have to do is preface any remark (on any subject) with the following (perhaps with a significant pause at the end):

"I'd just like to point out that what I'm about to say IS intended to be a factual statement...."

 

-- Chris Weigant

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Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

46 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [163] -- The Ads Just Write Themselves”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Vice President Joe Biden provided late-night comedians with fodder for jokes this week by apparently nodding off during his boss' speech. But you know what? The man's had a busy few weeks (he was central to the budget deal struck with Congress). And he likely had already heard Obama practice this speech.

    So we're not going to pile on Joe this week with everyone else, and deem that his nap doesn't even merit a (Dis-)Honorable Mention.

    Wise decision. And, I mean that sincerely. I'm not trying to be facetious here, number one. And, number two ... Biden likely not only heard this speech being practiced but, more importantly, had a strong hand in crafting it.

    You know what I love about reactions to Biden? They easily separate out the intelligent from the ignorant, the honourable from the disreputable, and the commendable from the undeserving ... I could go on. And, that goes for the media, punditocracy, blogosphere and commentariat ... and comedians, too.

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Liz -

    Yeah, I could have gone either way on Biden this week. On the one hand, it wasn't a great image, and did distract from Obama's speech (Jay Leno: "Biden has managed to embarrass Obama without even opening his mouth", for instance).

    But on the other hand, Joe's had a pretty good (and pretty busy) couple of weeks, so I thought he earned a nap, personally.

    :-)

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    You lost me at, "I could have gone either way on Biden this week."

    Have a mice evening.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, that goes for your cat, too. :)

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Does Geithner get points for staying awake? Or, does this just mean that he hasn't been working hard enough?

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let me ask ya'all a question..

    How would you propose that we get our financial house in order without touching Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security??

    Ya'all derided the GOP as the Party Of NO for so long because they had NO plan..

    Now they have a plan that makes some really tough decisions that MUST be made.. Democrats surely weren't able to make them. They had a super-majority and all they could do was CrapCare..

    So, I have to ask..

    What's the better idea??

    Oh wait. I know.. Tax millionaires to death. Take all the money from the rich and give it to the poor...

    Sounds nice on paper... Or in a romance novel...

    But in the real world, I am sure ya'all would agree that it would do more harm than good...

    Liz,


    {3} Have a mice evening.

    {4} And, that goes for your cat, too. :)

    "Nice recovery...."
    -The Genie, ALADDIN

    :D

    Michale.....

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Oh wait. I know.. Tax millionaires to death. Take all the money from the rich and give it to the poor...

    that's a great exaggeration and a straw man argument. the goal that would help the deficit immensely is not to tax the crap out of millionaires, it's just to stop them from paying a lower percentage than everyone else.

    capital gains, caps, overseas accounts, loopholes and so forth are blatant mechanisms for the ultra-rich and mega-corporations to pay a lower percentage of their income (much less their overall wealth) than everyone else in the country. even most conservatives would agree that such regressive, "reverse robin hood" policies are not fair.

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    capital gains, caps, overseas accounts, loopholes and so forth are blatant mechanisms for the ultra-rich and mega-corporations to pay a lower percentage of their income (much less their overall wealth) than everyone else in the country. even most conservatives would agree that such regressive, "reverse robin hood" policies are not fair.

    Well, then...

    Let's get the Pelosis and the Soross and the Obamas and the Reids of this country to foreswear those "capital gains, caps, overseas accounts, loopholes and so forth" and abide by what you would call "fair" and I am sure the GOP will follow suit... :D

    Seriously, it's a tad wrong to castigate the GOP for this.. What have Democrats done to address this egregious wrong??

    But let me give you a little anecdotal story...


    HOW TAXES WORK

    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for lunch and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men ate lunch in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily lunch by $20." Lunch for the ten now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

    They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man
    would each end up being paid to eat. So, the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

    And so:
    The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

    "I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"

    "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I got"

    "That's true!!" shouted the seventh man.

    "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

    "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    The next night the tenth man didn't show up for lunch so the nine sat down and had lunch without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.

    In fact, they might start eating overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
    For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

    If there is a logical argument, I have yet to hear it. :D

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    What's this with politicians should give give up all their money kick you are on? Some sort of voluntary robin hoodism? It's as bad as your global warming is wrong because Al Gore does not live up to your idealistic view of how he should. Not exactly an argument....

    The problem I see is that both parties are using fixing the deficit for some serious ideological politicking. Yes the left is avoiding cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security but tell me how completely gutting those programs will solve anything? On the other hand I don't see any scared cow cutting on the right either. Where are the cuts in the military, homeland security or corporate welfare? But hey cutting funding to Planned Parenthood and public television is a grand holy crusade even though the total amount of savings is a micro drop in the total budget bucket...

    Personally I think the only real chance of a serious workable budget solution is to figure out what percentage is needed to be cut add 5-10% to that total and cut it from absolutely every budget from congressional staffs to white house entrainment to the military and homeland security to farm subsidies to medicare...all of it. Do it in an amortized ramp up so every budget only needs to be reduced a few percent a year for the next 10 years. Then let them fight/wheel and deal over the 5-10% to fund what they think are the really important programs after the major cut is made. I think this would be win win for everyone. They fix the problem and because everyone across the board suffers, there would not be much backlash from the local electorate.

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Seriously, it's a tad wrong to castigate the GOP for this.. What have Democrats done to address this egregious wrong??

    i challenge you to read through post #7 and find any mention whatsoever of the republicans. the democrats have talked about ending the reverse robin hood policies, but you're right, they haven't gone to the mat for it by any stretch of the imagination. it's not a left-right argument, it's the mega-rich and mega-corporations exploiting the middle class of both sides. most of the dems are at least not publicly defending that aspect of the status quo, but you're absolutely right that they're complicit.

    the restaurant analogy is faulty because the diners ARE the owners, supposedly with an equal share of the restaurant. however, the ones who previously got the higher bill now decide what everyone else eats, and have convinced the manager to send them a compensation check in the mail for more than what they paid.

    now they're demanding that the menu be reduced to bread and water, while they themselves mainly eat take-out chinese, but get sent the same compensation check as if they were still eating here.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    oh wait, the manager wasn't convinced, he was bribed. these analogies can get pretty involved.

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    What's this with politicians should give give up all their money kick you are on? Some sort of voluntary robin hoodism?

    Actually, it's similar to the case the Left made when castigating the Right for taking advantage of Stimulus dollars while at the same time denigrating the Stimulus..

    Towhit, if the Left sees the problem as "capital gains, caps, overseas accounts, loopholes and so forth" then let's see the LEFT forswear such activities BEFORE demanding that everyone else in the country follow those rules..

    In other words, it's putting one's money where one's mouth is..

    It's as bad as your global warming is wrong because Al Gore does not live up to your idealistic view of how he should.

    That's not exactly my argument, but no sense in opening THAT can o' worms. :D

    Yes the left is avoiding cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security but tell me how completely gutting those programs will solve anything?

    "How do you know if you don't try??"
    -Charlie Sheen, TWO AND A HALF MEN

    :D

    Where are the cuts in the military, homeland security

    It's idiotic to consider cuts in these fields..

    Grampa don't need his Viagra...

    We DO need a competent and well equipped military...

    or corporate welfare?

    Now, on this I agree.. But who defines what "corporate welfare" is???

    But hey cutting funding to Planned Parenthood and public television is a grand holy crusade even though the total amount of savings is a micro drop in the total budget bucket...

    Why can't those entities pull their own weight?? After all, we have it from the mouth of a former NPR exec that they don't need no guv'ment dollars... :D

    Personally I think the only real chance of a serious workable budget solution is to figure out what percentage is needed to be cut add 5-10% to that total and cut it from absolutely every budget from congressional staffs to white house entrainment to the military and homeland security to farm subsidies to medicare...all of it. Do it in an amortized ramp up so every budget only needs to be reduced a few percent a year for the next 10 years. Then let them fight/wheel and deal over the 5-10% to fund what they think are the really important programs after the major cut is made. I think this would be win win for everyone. They fix the problem and because everyone across the board suffers, there would not be much backlash from the local electorate.

    Ya wanna run for office?? I'll vote for ya!! :D

    NY,

    i challenge you to read through post #7 and find any mention whatsoever of the republicans.

    I was referring to the argument from the Left in general, not your specific argument..

    Regardless, it IS a Left vs Right issue insofar as the Left, as a general rule, blames the Right for the problems when, from where I sit, the Left is as much to blame as the Right...

    most of the dems are at least not publicly defending that aspect of the status quo,

    In my book that makes them complicit AND cowards...

    "If we are to be damned, let us be damned for what we truly are..."
    -Captain Jean Luc Picard, ENCOUNTER AT FARPOINT, Star Trek: The Next Generation

    the restaurant analogy is faulty because the diners ARE the owners,

    No, the diners are the taxpayers..

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    No, the diners are the taxpayers...

    they're both. the taxpayers are the owners of our society - so in your analogy, the diners are supposed to also be the owners of the restaurant, with an equal voice on the menu and prices. diner 10 has been bribing the manager and taking kickbacks, further impoverishing the restaurant by eating take-out chinese every night. now the restaurant is in the red, and the managers (who are all on the take) have proposed to solve the problem by limiting the menu to bread and water.

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Maybe this is part of the problem.. :D

    WASHINGTON – As Monday's tax filing deadline nears, ponder this: The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110417/ap_on_re_us/us_no_taxes_3

    So, what do we do?

    Make the Super Rich take up the slack for half of the country???

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    they're both. the taxpayers are the owners of our society - so in your analogy, the diners are supposed to also be the owners of the restaurant, with an equal voice on the menu and prices. diner 10 has been bribing the manager and taking kickbacks, further impoverishing the restaurant by eating take-out chinese every night. now the restaurant is in the red, and the managers (who are all on the take) have proposed to solve the problem by limiting the menu to bread and water.

    hehehehehehehehe :D

    Yer not cynical a bit, are ya NY?? :D

    Michale.....

  16. [16] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    John Kyl is a space alien with broccoli for brains. That's not intended to be a factual statement.

  17. [17] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Hey Michale,

    Just a quick comment on your diner story. I've seen a number of people post this before so its obviously got a certain appeal to it.

    A quick bit of Internet research shows that this has been around for at least 10 years yet the author is still unknown.

    http://www.snopes.com/business/taxes/howtaxes.asp

    Its a powerful piece of writing though because it uses a story and example that seems on a very quick read to make sense.

    I'd like to focus on a very interesting piece of the story: The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    I find this amusing because no one is advocating beating anyone up or threatening anyone. Yet somehow the rich man is threatened in the analogy. This reminds me of my new favorite conservative saying: "Union thugs".

    Really? The teachers' union? Yeah, they're a bunch of thugs. But notice the similarity. How fear is used when no real threat exists.

    Did you know in one of the versions, the 9 men take the 10th out and lynch him?

    "The nine angry men carried the 10th man up to the top of the hill and lynched him." - Chicago Tribune Letters Column, March 4, 2001

    Here's a question for you:
    If conservative philosophy is so good, why do they often resort to so much fear to sell it?

    Let's try it w/o the fear. Here's my new version.

    "The 9 angry men went to talk to the 10th man and explained to him that they felt it wasn't fair to divide the savings in this way.

    They talked it through and decided on a better way to divide the bill that worked for everyone."

    Hmmm.

    That poses a problem for what the author wanted to get across. The point that if you threaten the rich, you will hurt yourself.

    But no one threatened the rich. In fact, I've never heard anyone argue for killing the rich or even beating them up. That's probably the biggest flaw in the analogy.

    Its also what makes the story powerful though. Because ironically, anyone who thinks differently and wants to talk about fairness not only becomes a threat to the rich man but also a threat to everyone if the rich man leaves.

    To be clear, in the analogy, talk of fairness is equivalent to physical violence against the rich.

    Take away this non-existent threat and the story falls apart.

    Anyway, thought this was really interesting. Love these parables (is that what you'd call them?) that are passed around.

    -David

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    I find this amusing because no one is advocating beating anyone up or threatening anyone.

    Really???

    No one is threatening the rich with higher taxes???

    What planet are YOU on?? :D

    Really? The teachers' union? Yeah, they're a bunch of thugs.

    Left-Wing KINDERGARTEN Teacher Threatens to Kill Wisconsin Republicans

    'nuff said on THAT.. :D

    If conservative philosophy is so good, why do they often resort to so much fear to sell it?

    Pretty much the same reason the liberal/progressive philosophy resorts to so much fear to sell THEIR agenda..

    Fear-mongering WORKS....

    "The 9 angry men went to talk to the 10th man and explained to him that they felt it wasn't fair to divide the savings in this way.

    They talked it through and decided on a better way to divide the bill that worked for everyone."

    Please elucidate on exactly what that "better way" is....

    The simple fact is, the Left is threatening the Rich each and every day.. With higher taxes, with more regulation and with real physical violence..

    To deny this is to deny reality...

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    Left-Wing KINDERGARTEN Teacher Threatens to Kill Wisconsin Republicans

    Oh wait... Paula said that such threats were actually a RIGHT-wing plot...

    Wonder where she got to..

    I would love to see her eat a main dish of CROW, sauteed in "I was totally out in Left-field" sauce.... :D

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Really???

    Yes, really.

    The simple fact is, the Left is threatening the Rich each and every day.

    The ask is that they pay their fair share instead of skipping out on their responsibility. Let's get rid of the special privilege rules.

    No violence. No "thuggery". No exaggeration.

    Right now there's 2 sets of rules in this country. One for the extremely wealthy. And one for the rest of us. Let's end it. Period.

    -David

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    You can't possibly be serious with all of this nonsense about "taxing the rich to death" and your assertion that it's idiotic to make cuts in the military. Or, do you really think we are just a bunch of idiots?

    This ain't the Huffington Post, you know.

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    The ask is that they pay their fair share instead of skipping out on their responsibility. Let's get rid of the special privilege rules.

    Who decides what "their fair share" is??

    The poor??

    You see my point..

    You first have to decide what IS "their fair share", taking into account a butt-load of variables and consequences...

    Right now there's 2 sets of rules in this country. One for the extremely wealthy. And one for the rest of us. Let's end it. Period.

    I completely and unequivocally agree...

    Unfortunately, the people we constantly elect to power on the Right ***AND*** the Left refuse to adopt this simple, yet critical, idea...

    Liz,

    You can't possibly be serious with all of this nonsense about "taxing the rich to death"

    No, but I *AM* serious that any kind of tax raise in the middle of this type of economic catastrophe is moronic.. Even an economic idiot like myself knows that...

    and your assertion that it's idiotic to make cuts in the military.

    It depends on what one is cutting. If one is cutting waste, abuse and fraud, then I think that's a good thing...

    Anyone who wants to make across the board cuts in the middle of this administration's military adventuring is not thinking things thru or doesn't have the best interests of the US at heart or both..

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    No, but I *AM* serious that any kind of tax raise in the middle of this type of economic catastrophe is moronic.. Even an economic idiot like myself knows that...

    There is NO evidence to suggest that allowing the Obama/Biden/Geithner high end tax cuts to expire on schedule at the end of 2012 will have any nagative impact on economic growth.

    As for extending the cuts on the middle class, there is probably still a good case for one more 2 year extension on those while the economic recovery strengthens.

    I sure hope you don't subscribe to the Republican cult of economic failure when it comes to these taxes and on distinguishing the kinds of tax reforms that will promote growth and those that will not.

    Anyone who wants to make across the board cuts in the middle of this administration's military adventuring is not thinking things thru or doesn't have the best interests of the US at heart or both..

    I'm sure you have been following what Secretary Gates has been doing to cut the defense budget in a prudent and responsible manner. He is certainly not suggesting "across the board cuts" as you imply.

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    There is NO evidence to suggest that allowing the Obama/Biden/Geithner high end tax cuts to expire on schedule at the end of 2012 will have any nagative impact on economic growth.

    The evidence will, in all likelihood, be an utterly devastated economy...

    But at least we will have evidence, right?? :D

    It's rather ironic.. I asked you to just trust the administration with regards to the war against islamic terrorists.

    You refused..

    Now, you ask me to just trust the administration on economic matters.

    Why should I?

    Granted, trusting the administration regarding islamic terrorism WAS the right thing to do, I don't think lightening strikes in the same place twice.. :D

    I'm sure you have been following what Secretary Gates has been doing to cut the defense budget in a prudent and responsible manner. He is certainly not suggesting "across the board cuts" as you imply.

    Per Obama's campaign speech the other week, there wasn't ANY specifics...

    So you might be right or I might be.

    We just don't know.. And anyone that tries to ask the Obama administration unwelcome questions is silenced...

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's rather ironic...

    Obama's message in 2009 was, "Just do it my way. If the American people don't like it well... That's what elections are for"..

    The American people DIDN'T like it and made that abundantly and crystal clear in the 2010 election.

    Obama is STILL saying, "Just do it my way..." while at the SAME time refusing to even state what HIS way is...

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    The evidence will, in all likelihood, be an utterly devastated economy...

    But at least we will have evidence, right?? :D

    My point was that we already have the evidence - more than a couple of decades worth of it. And, none of this evidence comports with what you are saying. None of it.

  27. [27] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [6] -

    See: the 1990s, where after Bush I and Clinton both raised tax rates on the wealthy, we had a booming economy and we actually got rid of the deficit and had surpluses as far as the eye could see... until Bush II lowered taxes on the wealthy, which created 10 years of stagnation.

    Or, see: the 1950s, where the highest tax rate was 91% and we also had a booming economy.

    nypoet22 -

    Good points! Which is why I wrote Monday's article...

    OsborneInk [16] -

    Heh. The dreaded broccoli-brain disease has spread among Republicans -- Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump are also among the afflicted. This non-factual thing is fun!

    Hey, are you guys OK? No twisters in your area? Let us know, it all looked pretty horrific on TV...

    David [17] -

    That's a good point. We all casually refer to "torches and pitchforks" at times, when talking about the rage against the wealthy, but the rage never seems to exist at this level. Food for thought.

    I'm reminded of another one of these internet stories that used to circulate, about a man who spent half his income on guns, and always needed more guns. Anyone know what I'm talking about? Maybe I should check snopes to see if they've got it.

    Michale -

    I notice that, in the "tax the rich" debate, you're not quoting any polls which state what "the American people" want, as you did in the healthcare debate. Perhaps that is because the American people overwhelmingly support raising the taxes on the wealthy at this point in time? Just wondering.

    -CW

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    I notice that, in the "tax the rich" debate, you're not quoting any polls which state what "the American people" want, as you did in the healthcare debate. Perhaps that is because the American people overwhelmingly support raising the taxes on the wealthy at this point in time? Just wondering.

    I have already previously debunked those "polls"..

    I figured doing it again would be redumbnant... :D

    Michale.....

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    My point was that we already have the evidence - more than a couple of decades worth of it. And, none of this evidence comports with what you are saying. None of it.

    No.

    We have evidence that shows that the OLD way doesn't work... Yet it's not even conclusive evidence as there are many factors at play, beyond tax breaks, that would produce the results it did..

    There is absolutely ZERO evidence that shows Obama's et al plan would work..

    However, there is PLENTY of empirical evidence that shows how effective Obama's et al OTHER plans have failed and failed miserably..

    Why should the American people believe these NEW plans will succeed where all other plans have failed??

    Are we supposed to HOPE for CHANGE???

    Something RADICAL needs to be down to arrest this downward spiral into the economic abyss..

    All Obama is promising is simply more of the same crap that got us to where we are today...

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [8] -

    Here's how your story should end:

    So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men ate lunch in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the nine guys discovered a curve ball in the arrangement.

    The owner, it turned out, was giving a kickback of $45 cash every day to the tenth guy. This reduced his cost to $14, so he would give a "tip" to the owner each day (a kickback of the kickback, in other words) of $3 "for your re-election campaign." This still lowered his cost to less than the eighth guy on the list. None of the other guys got a kickback, because they had never "contributed to the campaign fund."

    The nine guys confronted the owner. "How can you afford to charge us only half price for lunch?" The owner responded "I can't -- it costs more to fix your lunch than I get in return. But I borrow the rest from the Chinese restaurant down the street, so it's OK."

    The nine guys went to confront the tenth guy about his massive price break for lunch, but the tenth guy and the restaurant owner had retreated into a gated community with private security, so the nine guys didn't even get heard.

    They became frustrated, and started fighting among themselves, which is just how the tenth guy had planned it all along.

    Soon, the Chinese restaurant owned the other restaurant entirely, and things got much worse all around.

    Heh.

    -CW

  31. [31] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [29] -

    You've got that wrong. We DO know what doesn't work. Obama laid it out today:

    "For a long time, Washington acted like deficits didn't matter. A lot of folks promised us a free lunch. So I think everybody needs to recall, we had a surplus back in 2000, 11 short years ago, but then we cut taxes for everybody, including millionaires and billionaires. We fought two wars and we created a new and expensive prescription drug program, and we didn't pay for any of it. And as the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch."

    Remember, the defecits were surpluses until Bush became president.

    -CW

  32. [32] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [28] -

    So, you disavow any poll which doesn't say what you want it to, but trumpet the polls which do?

    That's intellectually dishonest, I have to say.

    I don't like all polling, but when several polls all say something I don't like, I reluctantly accept the fact that most Americans don't think how I would like them to think.

    Man up. Face facts -- hiking taxes on millionaires is not only popular, it is the most popular item on the list of how to tackle deficits. The Democrats have figured this out. The Republicans haven't, yet. We'll see how it plays out, won't we?

    -CW

  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    CW (30) -

    Soon, the Chinese restaurant owned the other restaurant entirely, and things got much worse all around.

    ... except, of course, for the tenth diner, who had no further use for the restaurant, and left the neighborhood for switzerland and the caymans.

    however, he did leave his kids in town with their nanny, because the owner had promised they could still eat free. further, the restaurant would pay diner 10 for the ingredients, as well as for a set of complicated measuring sticks, which would mysteriously spout out impressive data about how tall children were growing.

    since half of the children measured (especially the malnourished children of diners 1 and 3, who couldn't afford bus fare to get to the restaurant) seemed to grow to below average height, the manager determined that the kids' menu was obviously "failing." he fired half the chefs that made the kids' meals, and henceforth only fed the children of diners 1-5 if they were above average height. those of below-average height would eat leftovers, if there were any.

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    You are dangerously close to exposing yourself as a card carrying member of the Republican cult of economic failure.

    Please, tread carefully, my friend and be very careful that your credibility does not end up completely shredded.

    Because, that would be a cryin' shame. And, I mean that sincerely.

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Remember, the defecits were surpluses until Bush became president

    That was due to a fluke of the economy, the Dot Com bubble, etc etc...

    And how much have Obama and the Democrats added to that deficit?? Far FAR more than Bush ever did... Matter o' fact, I believe I read somewhere that Obama, singlehandedly, has increased the deficit more than Presidents Washington thru Reagan COMBINED!!!

    Obama Added More to National Debt in First 19 Months Than All Presidents from Washington Through Reagan Combined, Says Gov’t Data

    Further, you will note from this graph...

    http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/obama_budget_deficit.jpg

    ... that those surpluses were still surpluses under Bush until 2001..

    Hmmmmm Now what happened in 2001 that might have had some effect on the budget and the deficit...

    Hmmmmm I'll have to research that one and get back to ya.. :D

    Man up. Face facts -- hiking taxes on millionaires is not only popular, it is the most popular item on the list of how to tackle deficits.

    As I said before, it all depends on how one asks the question...

    Sure, if you poll the American people and ask, "do you think that millionaires and billionaires should be taxed higher than they are now?" John Q Public is going to say, "HELL YEA!!!"

    Just as if you poll the American people and ask, "do you think the US should step in and stop the wholesale of innocent men, women and children around the world?" John Q Public will, again, say "HELL YEA!!"

    But, as always, the devil is in the details..

    If you ask the question, "Do you think that millionaires and billionaires should be taxed higher even if it could possibly lead to more unemployment or a worsening of the economy?" or "Do you think the US should step in and stop the wholesale slaughter of innocent men, women and children, even if it means stretching our military to the breaking point and costing us strategic allies in places like Yemen, Bahrain and Syria??" then that "HELL YEA" becomes very VERY muted, practically non-existent...

    It all depends on how one phrases the questions. If you could point me to some of the polls you are referring to, I would have a better foundation of which to base my argument.

    But we all know that the answer to polls depend as much on HOW the questions are phrased as they are on the actual questions themselves...

    NYpoet,

    ... except, of course, for the tenth diner, who had no further use for the restaurant, and left the neighborhood for switzerland and the caymans.

    Ya'all can rewrite the story to fit your political perspective, but the mere fact that you HAVE to do that illustrates quite nicely how apt the analogy is. :D

    Liz,

    You are dangerously close to exposing yourself as a card carrying member of the Republican cult of economic failure.

    It wasn't the GOP that ballooned the deficit to unheard of, even OBSCENE, heights, was it??

    No it wasn't...

    Obama, Biden, Geinther et al forgot the most logical and rational of economic missives...

    When you are in a financial hole, the FIRST thing you must do is STOP DIGGING...

    This economic disaster that we are in right now is solely and completely the fault of the Democrats. They had the tools and the majority needed to fix things and they failed.

    "Failed... Failed.... Impressively Failed"
    -Doctor, ARMAGEDDON

    And now, the Obama Administration simply wants to continue more of the same..

    Michale.....

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Grrrrr...

    Just as if you poll the American people and ask, "do you think the US should step in and stop the wholesale of innocent men, women and children around the world?" John Q Public will, again, say "HELL YEA!!"

    I wasn't saying that we should start wholesaling innocent men, women and children.. :D

    I MEANT to say

    Just as if you poll the American people and ask, "do you think the US should step in and stop the wholesale slaughter of innocent men, women and children around the world?" John Q Public will, again, say "HELL YEA!!"

    Sometimes my fingers can't keep up with my brain. :D

    My bust...

    Michale.....

  37. [37] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Ya'all can rewrite the story to fit your political perspective, but the mere fact that you HAVE to do that illustrates quite nicely how apt the analogy is. :D

    michale, you essentially copied a parable which suggested 2+2=5. the fact that CW and I took the time to explain in detail why the answer is really four is not a political perspective, nor does it prove the aptness of the initial equation.

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    Your "explanation" consists of adding details that have absolutely NO basis in the facts as they are presented in the parable...

    If one is allowed to make up details out of thin air, then it's easy to turn the gist of the story to suit any agenda.

    Michale....

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    It pains me to say this but, your credibility has just hit zero. And, it's heading backwards.

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    It pains me to say this but, your credibility has just hit zero. And, it's heading backwards.

    That's kewl.. :D

    "This ain't over, Falco!!! I've got five Super Bowl rings!! And you'll never be anything more than a replacement player!!"
    "Yea.... I can live with that."

    -THE REPLACEMENTS

    :D

    Michale.

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    You make it absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for me to remain angry with you for more than ...oh, say ... five minutes. :)

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's the ONLY reason I have survived so long. :D

    Michale...

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, if I understand ya'all correctly, ya'all are saying that Reaganomics DOESN'T work and that Keynesianomics is the way to go..

    Is that an accurate assessment??

    Michale.....

  44. [44] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Your "explanation" consists of adding details that have absolutely NO basis in the facts as they are presented in the parable...

    the initial parable is incomplete. it attempts to paint real-life taxes in a way that is inconsistent with the way they really work (2+2=5). the "added details" did not come out of thin air; they were required to make the parable match up to the reality it purported to represent (2+2=5-1=4).

    admittedly my final installment went off on a tangent that didn't really belong in the discussion. nonetheless, i didn't spy any refutation on your part of the truth behind any of CW's details.

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    they were required to make the parable match up to the reality it purported to represent (2+2=5-1=4).

    They were required to make the parable match up to the reality as you see it.. :D

    Someone else might see a different reality...

    admittedly my final installment went off on a tangent that didn't really belong in the discussion. nonetheless, i didn't spy any refutation on your part of the truth behind any of CW's details.

    That's just me brown-nosing... :D

    Michale.....

  46. [46] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Someone else might see a different reality...

    that's still not a refutation. come on, if you're going to claim the narrative in #30 is somehow arbitrary, at least provide a counter-narrative to illustrate your point.

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