We think Kevin Drum got it right!

FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013

Despite that, please donate here: Late yesterday, the analysts cheered when they saw Kevin Drum refer to Maureen Dowd in a rude, dismissive way:

“I just don't get it. What does it take to convince the Dowds and Milbanks and Fourniers of the world? How can any of them still believe that Republicans will ever agree to real revenue increases?”

We recommend Drum’s full post. But this would be a different world if career writers had dismissed the very influential Dowd that way over the past twenty years. If they had been willing to sniff at her as one of “the Dowds of this world.”

As you know, that hasn’t been the way of the mainstream or liberal worlds. Two nights ago, Stephanie Miller helped us see, for the ten millionth time, now our fallen world actually works. Compliments must be paid!

Here at this site, we have begged the liberal and mainstream worlds to reject its Rampant Dowdism. Before our fund-raising drive is done, we’ll even show you a very old transcript in which we rolled our eyes at Dowd’s 1999 Pulitzer Prize—with the help of Bill O’Reilly, in 1999, right there on The Factor!

Yes, it actually happened, in the days when cable was young and Fox hadn’t yet taken control. But let’s face it—we’ve been right from the start about the insipid mainstream culture Dowd very much helped create.

Maybe Kevin can start a virtuous trend! In the meantime, why not donate here? Analysts need a new pair of shoes! To help them continue their many tasks, go ahead:

Just click here.

33 comments:

  1. Kevin Drum and Bob agree that Republicans will never agree to a real tax increase (emphasis added). What do they mean by that weasel word, "real"?

    After all, Republicans agreed to (or allowed) a number of tax increases, such as:

    -- an increase in the Medicare tax by 0.9%,
    -- applying a 3.8% Medicare levy to net investment income,
    -- reinstatement of phase outs for itemized deductions and personal exemptions,
    -- an increase of the capital gains rate to 20%,
    -- an increase of the dividend rate to 20%, and
    -- an increase to the top income tax bracket to 39.6%.
    -- They allowed the temporary 2% payroll tax cut to expire. (although this tax increase was accomplished by inaction, rather than by action.)

    Meanwhile, various taxes built into the Health Reform act are becoming effective, such as the tax (or penalty) on those who go uninsured.

    Also, a sales tax for items purchased via the internet is currently being contemplated by Congress with considerable Republican support.

    Are these examples all fake tax increases?

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    1. You, David, are full of shit.

      The deduction/exemption phase outs, capital gains rate increase, dividend rate increase, and income tax increase were all part of a "deal" they made in order to prevent the even higher tax rates that would have happened anyway when the Bush tax cuts expired:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Taxpayer_Relief_Act_of_2012#Provisions

      Did you forget that, or were you just hoping we all would?

      The 2% payroll tax cut was applied to Social Security, not general revenue:
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2013/01/14/dear-america-your-higher-payroll-taxes-are-not-the-result-of-a-tax-increase/

      Health care reform passed only after a long, ugly struggle, where Republicans did everything they could to poison it (or did you forget that, as well?) And even today, many Republicans are still trying to "Repeal Obamacare."

      Increases in sales taxes disproportionally hurt lower income classes -- and Republicans have always loved sales tax solutions.

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    2. Anon -- all you say may be true, but that doesn't change the fact that they're all revenue increases, which was what I said.

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    3. I'm just going to assume you're a troll.

      Delete
  2. In addition to the above list, there have been big increases in the premiums for Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D coverage.

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    Replies
    1. So, the closest example you have to "real" tax increases are for Medicare. Except that Medicare taxes are for Medicare, not general government expenditures.

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  3. Don't forget those big tax increases to pay for those two wars that W. got us into. Good thing we did that, 'cause if we went to war, and gave tax cuts to the weathy at the same time, why, that would be insane!

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    Replies
    1. We owe it to ourselves, Reagan proved deficits don't matter.

      Delete
  4. There's a tiny bit of progress on at least one front: Howard Kurtz got his wings clipped (aka new opportunities -- aka fired?) from Newsweek/Daily Beast.

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  5. The Daily Howler has often, rightfully, jeered at Joan Walsh for handing a pass to Matthews around the time She started going on his show.... Can't help noticing the hands off Fox policy round these parts in the years since this interview. Dowd belittles Obama in his tactics against the right (Drum admits at least a bit of this may be true), but who created this atmosphere of zealotry? Might it not be the legion of idiots Bob rarely addresses and, if so, mostly excuses? This should be brought to his attention with the tenacity with which he reminds us of election 2000

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  6. What's it going to take for Somerby and Drum to admit that we don't have progressive policy in the U.S., and higher taxes on wealth, not because of dastardly Repubs, but because the pols they admire so much don't want it?

    Forget actual enacted law. When Dems controlled both houses of Congress, did Obama fight to eliminate the Mitt Romney "carried interest loophole"? Did he demand mortgage principal reductions, even as he gave the banks trillions in relief? Did he break up the too big to fail banks, as was well within his authority, those banks being insolvent without government guarantees? Did he even try to curtail huge banker bonuses, funded by tax-payer money, at the same time he abrogated the union contracts of blue-collar auto-workers?

    Did renegotiate NAFTA, as promised during the campaign, with environmental and workers' rights protections? Did he restore Constitutional protections "shredded" by GWB, or did he do more shredding? Did we hear a word on either subject?

    Even Somerby and Drum know the answer. What little progressive policy Obama did claim to support was opposed by **Democrats** -- the guys who, presumably, Obama could pressure. Did he do so? Of course not!

    And yet Somerby and Drum insist that, because Obama can get nothing through Congress now, it ain't his fault that he isn't the progressive of their dreams.

    What, Kevin asks, would you have him do? For one, start telling the truth. And make the case, damn it. There's a reason why Republicans, in or out of power, control the terms of the debate and set the limits on policy. They fight. And they engage. Of course, they have an incalculable advantage: they actually want the policies they claim to want. Unlike Mr. Obama.

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    Replies
    1. And Bingo was his name oh!

      Berto

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  7. IMHO here's what Kevin Drum and Bob Somerby meant when they said the Republicans will never agree to "real" revenue increases.

    First of all, it's a statement about the future, so the numerous, substantial revenue increases that took place in 2013 don't count. Even the ones scheduled to take place in 2014 don't count, because they were already enacted in the past.

    But, there's the problem that Republican likely will agree to a revenue increase, namely the interest sales tax. Kevin and Bob dispense with that by asserting that this new tax would not be a "real" revenue increase.

    This argument is a well-known logical fallacy. It's called the "No true Scotsman" Fallacy.

    Explanation

    The no true scotsman fallacy is a way of reinterpreting evidence in order to prevent the refutation of one’s position. Proposed counter-examples to a theory are dismissed as irrelevant solely because they are counter-examples, but purportedly because they are not what the theory is about.

    Example

    The No True Scotsman fallacy involves discounting evidence that would refute a proposition, concluding that it hasn’t been falsified when in fact it has.

    If Angus, a Glaswegian, who puts sugar on his porridge, is proposed as a counter-example to the claim “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge”, the ‘No true Scotsman’ fallacy would run as follows:

    (1) Angus puts sugar on his porridge.
    (2) No (true) Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.
    Therefore:
    (3) Angus is not a (true) Scotsman.
    Therefore:
    (4) Angus is not a counter-example to the claim that no Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.

    This fallacy is a form of circular argument, with an existing belief being assumed to be true in order to dismiss any apparent counter-examples to it. The existing belief thus becomes unfalsifiable.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks, DinC

      I will save this in my Good Quotes file.

      Delete
  8. (1) All weather science proves global warming.
    (2) A study found on the Internet does not prove global warming.
    Therefore:
    (3) The study is not weather science.
    Therefore:
    (4) The study is not a counter example to the claim that all weather science proves global warming.

    You caught us, David. Wow. This is truly a great way to totally destroy nearly every strawman you can think of.

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    Replies
    1. I really want to understand this, Anon. Without sarcasm, what point are you making?

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    2. That "all weather science proves global warming" is a strawman, and that is seems that the only premises that this logical fallacy disproves are so absolute that they sound like versions of arguments that one puts into an opponent's mouth instead of being actually believed by someone.

      As an aside, I do not understand your stance on global warming. It seems anti-conservative. As far as public policy goes, you do concede that it is in the public's interest to not allow persons or corporations to pollute without consequence, right? Now the bulk of the scientific evidence seems to point to the likelihood that CO2 is a pollutant that we have not previously thought as such. So we should start treating CO2 levels with concern, along with other airborne pollutants. Wouldn't a conservative attempt to keep things from changing too greatly, to preserve the status-quo? Global warming does not need to be "proven" for us to concede that CO2 is a pollutant.

      Long live Teddy Roosevelt!

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  9. It would be helpful here if history for Bob could begin before Clinton won the presidency. The New York Times is not a liberal paper. This canard was invented in the 50's when the rightwing in this country's was dominated by a fair amount of anti-semitism. The Jews control the media was a common conservative complaint. To call them something "Jewish" was to imply that it was somehow communist leaning and an "enemy" of the USA. Just as the southern strategy eventually had to drop overt Jim Crow to sell to a wider population and adopt code words. So to here. To sell what was basically anti-semitism to a wider audience; the code word liberal was adopted. The New York Times is corporate for profit media and it reflects those motives. The blogosphere and what Bob calls the " non glitzy production value" ie. The Nation or Z Magazine is where the true liberal media is.
    - David Kornreich

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    1. The New York Times may not be as liberal as the Nation, but they're pretty firmly in the liberal camp. Their editorials almost always endorse Democrats. News stories are often slanted to favor the liberal POV. They've apparently banned some leading conservatives from their op-ed page. E.g., Thomas Sowell was evidently banned for the "crime" of being smart, black, and conservative. Even non-political areas like the Book Review often take shots at conservatives.

      The one area where their corporate structure seems to affect their coverage is in regard to the owners of the paper. They tend not to report negative news about the owning families. Also, since Mexican plutocrat Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, put so much money into the paper, he's been pretty much immune to criticism.

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  10. Din C, what examples do you have that the NYT news coverage is biased toward the liberal POV? What evidence are ou relying on that Sowell "apparently" has been banned from the op ed section because he is"smart, black and conservative?"

    AC/MA

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  11. I'll be real busy today. Too busy to look up examples of shots at conservatives in the Time. They've endorsed the Dem for President for many decades. They very rarely endorse a Republican-- always for lower office.

    The Times editorials invariably take the liberal side of every issue. Again I'm too busy to look up examples.

    The evidence of Sowell's apparent banning is that he had a handful of columns in the Times around 30 or 40 years ago, but none since. And, they've given little prominence in the book review.

    The Times has been a big supporter of the advancement of blacks. Sowell is highly respected. He has the right credential -- Havard, u of Chicago, UCLA. etc. He writes around a book a year. The books have been on quite diverse and interesting subjects. A non-politicized supporter of black advancement would make Sowell a poster boy.

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    1. D in C - you only have examples of editorials, not news stories, which undermines what you say. To evaluate your position that sowell is being discriminated as a conservative black on the op ed page, I'd have to accept your unsupported premise that no or hardly any other black conservatives (apparently a rare breed) have published in the NYT op ed over the past 30 years; and there aren't any black or white liberals who may have written an op ed piece or pieces years ago but not after that, who also have prestigiou degrees and have written several books. How do you know Sowell ever submitted anop ed column that wasn't published, or that the Times may have asked him to write one, and he declined? If a "libral" made a similar claim about a Black being discriminated against, my impression is you'd reject it out of hand.

      AC/MA

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    2. I'd like to add a big "so what?" to David's expose that the NYT takes the liberal side and endorses liberal candidates for president.

      Is he equally concerned when an "conservative" newspaper takes the "conservative side" on most issues and routinely endorses "conservative" candidates for president?

      If not, why not?

      Is it because he believes that "conservative" newspapers are not nearly as influential as "liberal" newspapers? Which brings the same question. If they are not, why not?

      Delete
    3. David in Ca is one of those Republicans who hasn't gotten the memo: yes, Clarence Thomas was a very effective use of the reverse-racism-two-step by the last throes of Jim Crowe America, but alas, that sick and cynical party is over. We have the bloated, greedy, and crooked Justice Thomas on the Court every day, sitting though the cases in confused boredom, waiting to take the most reactionary possible stance. Most sensible Americans view him as they should: with the same warm affection they hold for the manager of the Phillies in "42." Both will, no doubt, be thrown in the same dust bin of history soon enough.
      Another big favorite among these lillywhite dead enders is reverse affirmative action baby Thomas Sewell, one of the worst nation columnists in history, but, it must be said, always good for a few laughs. His greatest was probably the one where he explained that while the Kennedy assassination was pretty cut and dried, the death of Vince Foster was rife with serious questions about Clinton's involvement that needed to be investigated to the full extent. Well, at least it kept him from writing about his principle subject on which he's been completely discredited, The Chicago School of Economics now being roughly to economics what the band Chicago was to Rock N Roll. Anyone making it though one of his terrible books should be paid. Yet the strange vanity of Whites like David Mamet and David in Ca seems to have an endless thirst for a black guy, any black guy, telling them they are correct. This works out rather well for our tribe in the long run.

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    4. AnonymousMay 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM -- I don't disagree with you. The New York Times has perfect right to take a liberal position in the editorials and news coverage. I simply was discussing with another Anonymous whether or not the Times is liberal.

      Am I equally concerned when conservative newspapers do the same thing? Well, there aren't any comparable conservative newspapers. The Wall St. Journal has conservative editorials and op-eds, but their news coverage is moderately liberal. There are some truly conservative newspapers, like the Boston Herald and the Washington Times, but they are minor players of little significance.

      Greg, when you make an unsupported charge that Clarence Thomas is crooked, you don't come across well. And, calling his "selfish" is silly. Nobody on the Supreme Court is selfish. They're all top lawyer who could likely earning over a million dollars a year in private practice.

      AnonymousMay 4, 2013 at 10:37 AM -- You're right. I have no way of knowing whether the Times specifically chose to boycott Sowell. That's why I said "apparent."

      Sowell isn't just some black conservative. He's arguably the leading conservative thinker alive today of any race. He has written a large number of well-researched, thoughtful books on a variety of topics. Go read a bunch of his books and you'll see what I mean. One thing that distinguishes his books is that they tend to be very well researched. E.g., in one of his books, he travelled to several other countries that practice some form of affirmative action and analyzed how affirmative tends to work out.

      Delete
    5. "The Wall St. Journal has conservative editorials and op-eds, but their news coverage is moderately liberal."

      That's because their news is of the financial world and has to be true (or as DinC says "liberal"). Their editorials on the other hand are full of nonsense. DinC, would you call that "conservative"?

      Berto

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    6. DinC,
      Crooked is just something they call judges who don't recuse themselves in cases where they have conflicts of interest. Don't overthink it.

      Berto

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    7. D in C:

      At least you admit that you have no examples that the NYT news coverage is biased to the left. (If anything, the opposite is true IMHO). You also have zero to back up your claim that the NYT has "apparently" banned Thomas Sowell from its op ed page. I haven't read any books by Sowell, but did go to his website and read a sampling of his recent columns. The guy is a typical ideological right wing sophist, from what I can see based on my sampling, with minimal insight or evidence of objectivity.

      AC/MA

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    8. Berto, be careful with the phrase "conflict of interest." Normally that means financial interest, not underlying philosophy. Thomas has no financial interest in any case he ruled on.

      Now, he certainly does have underlying philosophic beliefs and political preferences that were affected by some of the cases. But, the same is true of every other SC Justice. E.g. you didn't see any Justices, liberal or conservative, recuse themselves from Roe v Wade or from Bush v Gore.

      Delete
    9. Or his family or friends.
      Here's a link,
      http://obrag.org/?p=40275

      Berto

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete