Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Discuss whatever you want here ... movies, books, recipes, politics, beer, wine, TV ... everything except classical music.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
John F
Posts: 19968
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by John F » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:09 am

The Speaker would now have us believe that "it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.” But if he can't persuade his own Republican caucus to vote for his own proposal, how does he suppose the Democratic leadership can persuade those same Republicans to vote for their own proposal, which he himself has dismissed as "not serious"? Pathetic.

Boehner Cancels Tax Vote in Face of G.O.P. Revolt
By JONATHAN WEISMAN
Published: December 20, 2012

WASHINGTON — Speaker John A. Boehner’s effort to pass fallback legislation to avert a fiscal crisis in less than two weeks collapsed Thursday night in an embarrassing defeat after conservative Republicans refused to support legislation that would allow taxes to rise on the most affluent households in the country.

House Republican leaders abruptly canceled a vote on the bill after they failed to rally enough votes for passage in an emergency meeting about 8 p.m. Within minutes, dejected Republicans filed out of the basement meeting room and declared there would be no votes to avert the “fiscal cliff” until after Christmas. With his “Plan B” all but dead, the speaker was left with the choice to find a new Republican way forward or to try to get a broad deficit reduction deal with President Obama that could win passage with Republican and Democratic votes.

What he could not do was blame Democrats for failing to take up legislation he could not even get through his own membership in the House.

“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement that said responsibility for a solution now fell to the White House and Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, the majority leader. “Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.”

The stunning turn of events in the House left the status of negotiations to head off a combination of automatic tax increases and significant federal spending cuts in disarray with little time before the start of the new year.

At the White House, the press secretary, Jay Carney, said the defeat should press Mr. Boehner back into talks with Mr. Obama.

“The president will work with Congress to get this done, and we are hopeful that we will be able to find a bipartisan solution quickly that protects the middle class and our economy,” he said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/21/us/po ... -plan.html
John Francis

lennygoran
Posts: 14123
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by lennygoran » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:48 am

John F wrote:Pathetic.
Yes-still I'm hopeful--first of all the rich are getting their taxes raised if we go over--they'll never get that exemption again imo--for the middle class they might work out a deal before the tax increase for them goes too far. Come the new year the middle class will see who is to blame for the middle tax increase--I believe this will help the Dems make their case. And I like the fact that the only way Boehner can now deal is to gather as many moderate Republicans as he can and combine their vote with all the Democrats. Right now there are 242 Republicans--Boehner wouldn't need that many if all 193 Dems go with the President! Regards, Len [eternal optimist]

John F
Posts: 19968
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by John F » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:20 am

I don't think that's going to happen. There are Democrats in both houses who wouldn't vote for the President's proposal, believing that it gives too much away. See Krugman's column in today's NY Times. If not for that, then why for an even greater compromise such as would be needed to get less doctrinaire Republicans to vote for a Democratic bill - and risk getting beaten in the next primary?
John Francis

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:48 am

JohnF wrote:There are Democrats in both houses who wouldn't vote for the President's proposal, believing that it gives too much away.
True, and I can just see the campaign ads in 2014: The Republican denouncing the Democrat because he voted to reduce Social Security.
Last edited by jbuck919 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
Posts: 14123
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by lennygoran » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:27 am

John F wrote:I don't think that's going to happen. There are Democrats in both houses who wouldn't vote for the President's proposal, believing that it gives too much away. See Krugman's column in today's NY Times. If not for that, then why for an even greater compromise such as would be needed to get less doctrinaire Republicans to vote for a Democratic bill - and risk getting beaten in the next primary?
Thanks for the referral--I think Krugman is saying a lot of what I tried to say--the Dems are in the driver's seat imo and I think his!

"Mr. Boehner had evident problems getting his caucus to support Plan B, and he took the plan off the table Thursday night; it would have modestly raised taxes on the really wealthy, the top 0.1 percent, and even that was too much for many Republicans. This means that any real deal with Mr. Obama would be met with mass G.O.P. defections; so any such deal would require overwhelming Democratic support, a fact that empowers progressives ready to bolt if they think the president is giving away too much.

As in 2011, then, the Republican crazies are doing Mr. Obama a favor, heading off any temptation he may have felt to give away the store in pursuit of bipartisan dreams.

And there’s a broader lesson here. This is no time for a Grand Bargain, because the Republican Party, as now constituted, is just not an entity with which the president can make a serious deal. If we’re going to get a grip on our nation’s problems — of which the budget deficit is a minor part — the power of the G.O.P.’s extremists, and their willingness to hold the economy hostage if they don’t get their way, needs to be broken. And somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen in the next few days." Regards, Len

karlhenning
Composer-in-Residence
Posts: 9801
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:12 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by karlhenning » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:39 am

Beohner doesn't appear to understand that 6 November was not a mandate for the 'T' Party.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:03 am

I have been thinking that the only way to avoid a debt ceiling crisis is if Obama is willing actually to let the default happen, just as he's willing to go over the cliff. An article in Atlantic seems to be saying pretty much the same thing.


How Obama Can Prevent Another Debt-Ceiling Crisis
By Jack M. Balkin

Dec 9 2012, 4:30 AM ET 81

Some Democrats want the president to raise it by himself. But the 14th amendment offers him a much better strategy.


As the country nears the fiscal cliff, it's deja vu all over again. Republicans are now asserting that they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling if they don't get their way in the negotiations. In response, some Democrats want President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. What they don't understand is that doing so is not only legally dicey, it is also completely unnecessary for Obama to prevail. Obama's correct--and constitutional--response to Republican intransigence is the same as Bill Clinton's before him: a replay of the 1995 government shutdown. If Republicans force that confrontation, they will lose, just as they did before.

Republicans are in a pretty poor bargaining position in the fiscal cliff negotiations. They know that if President Obama simply does nothing, the Bush tax cuts will expire on January 1st and defense spending will be cut. At that point Obama can propose lowering taxes for the middle class--but not the rich--and raising defense spending as part of new grand bargain on taxes and spending. The Republicans will be hard pressed to say no. After all, if they refuse to play ball, all they will get is higher taxes and cuts to defense. That's not winning.

As a result, House Speaker John Boehner has tried to return to the same strategy he used in the summer of 2011. He wants to tie the debate over taxes and spending to an increase in the debt ceiling. It's important to understand that raising the debt ceiling does not increase spending by itself. It merely allows the Treasury to issue new government bonds to pay for monies that Congress has already appropriated by law. Essentially, refusing to raise the debt ceiling after you've already appropriated expenditures is like telling your creditors that you won't pay debts you've already contracted because you have conveniently decided to run out of money.

The government is on course to reach the current cap on the debt ceiling of approximately 16.4 trillion dollars in February or March of 2013. The Republicans' threat is the same as they made in 2011. Unless President Obama agrees to spending cuts and tax policies the Republicans like, they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling and the United States will go into default.

In response, President Obama has made two statements. First, he has made clear that he will refuse to bargain over the debt ceiling with Republicans. (After all, until 2011, the debt ceiling was raised regularly and without much controversy in both Democratic and Republican administrations.) Second, Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, has explained that the president believes he does not have the authority to increase the debt limit and issue new bonds unilaterally.

Some Democrats are concerned: they believe that the president should threaten to raise the debt ceiling and that he has thrown away his most effective weapon in the confrontation.

They are wrong.

Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment provides that "the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." Its purpose was to prevent Southern Congressmen and Senators from trying to hold payment of the nation's debts hostage in order to get their way on Reconstruction policies. The point of Section 4 was to put this sort of hostage-taking beyond ordinary politics. The framers of the 14th amendment did not want future politicians to threaten to destroy the country's finances by refusing to pay the country's debts in order to win political concessions from their opponents. After all, once politicians did so successfully, they would try it over and over again and it would become a normal feature of politics. That is precisely what we are seeing now.

If Congressional Republicans are threatening to let the nation to default on its debts if Obama doesn't agree to their demands, they are violating the Constitution. And the president should call them out for such an outrageous demand. But does that mean that the president can raise the debt ceiling himself to remedy the violation?

Not so fast. Article I, section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the authority to borrow on the credit of the United States. Even so, under section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment the president has an independent constitutional obligation not to allow the validity of the debt of the United States to be put into question. That means, at the very least, that the president must make sure that interest payments continue on existing federal bonds and similar obligations. He must assure bondholders that they will continue to get paid even after the debt ceiling is reached.

If the president follows his constitutional obligations, then some government operations will not get funded because payments to the bondholders must come first. That means a partial government shutdown, with more and more of the government closed as the president continues to pay the bondholders.

We've seen this movie before. Once government offices close and government checks aren't issued, the public will complain loudly, the markets will tumble, and Congress will eventually have to give in, just as it did in the winter of 1995. The public will rightly conclude that Congress is to blame, because it was Congress, and not the president, who tried to hold the nation's economy hostage.

The president's obligation to pay the bondholders first-- and not the power to ignore the debt ceiling--is how the Fourteenth Amendment helps the president resolve any debt ceiling crisis. All he has to do is follow the Constitution and he will come out on top. He doesn't have to raise the debt limit at all. Instead, he must calmly explain to Republicans in advance what he will do -- and not do -- if they remain intransigent. He must explain to them that their course of action will inevitably lead to a government shutdown, and that the shutdown -- and its associated costs to the country -- will be on their heads.

In fact, if Obama did announce that he would ignore the debt ceiling -- as some Democrats would like -- he would actually take the pressure off Congressional Republicans. Then they would have an incentive to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, let Obama take the political heat for issuing new bonds, and then attack Obama's decision in the courts. They might even use his action as an excuse to try to impeach him.

To be sure, if the crisis continues long enough that the markets have completely melted down and there is not enough money even to pay the bondholders, the president might have a constitutional obligation to issue new debt to satisfy the Fourteenth Amendment. But by then the world economy would be in a complete shambles; it is far more likely that Congress would raise the debt ceiling well before that point.

The moral of the story is simple: The best way for Obama to head off Republican threats of another debt ceiling crisis is to make his position clear at the outset. First, he should explain that he won't bargain with hostage takers. Second, he should make clear that he won't let Congress off the hook by raising the debt ceiling himself. Obama has now made both of these statements publicly. Third, he should state clearly that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling he will continue to pay all of the nation's debts as required by the Constitution. Fourth, he should make clear that he will continue to do so even if this means curtailing or shutting down government functions until Congress comes to its senses.

If Obama does all these things, he will be in the strongest possible bargaining position. And he will also be following the Constitution.

Jack M. Balkin - Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, and the founder and director of Yale's Information Society Project, an interdisciplinary center that studies law and new information technologies.


The problem with this, of course, is that we might actually have to hit the debt ceiling before the Republicans finally get the message, which will not save the markets or our credit rating even if we keep paying our debts for a time. I hope it doesn't come to that, but if that's what it takes to break their backs and remove this threat from being an annual event, then it may be worth it. I've got ten years before I intend to dip into those retirement funds anyway. :|

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
Posts: 14123
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by lennygoran » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:21 am

jbuck919 wrote:I have been thinking that the only way to avoid a debt ceiling crisis is if Obama is willing actually to let the default happen, just as he's willing to go over the cliff. An article in Atlantic seems to be saying pretty much the same thing.|
As just a lay person with not a drop of expertise on this matter I do like the thrust of the article--Obama has the right cards and I hope he plays them wisely! The tea party's strangle hold on progress must be stopped! Regards, Len

John F
Posts: 19968
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by John F » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:59 pm

jbuck919 wrote:we might actually have to hit the debt ceiling before the Republicans finally get the message, which will not save the markets or our credit rating even if we keep paying our debts for a time.
As you say, that's the problem. The inevitably lowered credit rating must eventually translate into higher interest rates on U.S. sovereign debt, adding billions of $$$ to debt service payments that will have to be compensated for by still more spending cuts, if deficits and the national debt are not to increase. That's a high price to pay for a tactic in domestic politics, and I hope the President as well as Congress don't make us pay it.
John Francis

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:16 pm

John F wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:we might actually have to hit the debt ceiling before the Republicans finally get the message, which will not save the markets or our credit rating even if we keep paying our debts for a time.
As you say, that's the problem. The inevitably lowered credit rating must eventually translate into higher interest rates on U.S. sovereign debt, adding billions of $$$ to debt service payments that will have to be compensated for by still more spending cuts, if deficits and the national debt are not to increase.
Which unfortunately might very well be okey-dokey with the Republicans. Actually what would probably happen is that deficits and the national debt would increase without a great deal of spending reduction. But Republicans have an unshakable belief in the Great Spending Slash that they think against all history and practicality (not to mention their own contradictory spending impulses) they can eventually force to happen.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:43 pm

The NY Times finally tells it like it is, up to the point where it says "This may yet change." They may be right about that too, but only after the war is over, which is not going to be in the next ten days.

The New York Times

December 21, 2012
Even in Disarray, G.O.P. Has Power to Constrain Obama
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR

WASHINGTON — It’s been 45 days since voters reaffirmed their faith in President Obama and heartily endorsed his policy agenda for the next four years.

But if anything has been learned since then, it’s that the president’s power in Washington remains severely constrained by a Republican opposition establishment that is bitter about its losses, unmoved by Mr. Obama’s victory and unwilling to compromise on social policy, economics or foreign affairs. House Republicans, in particular, argue that they won elections as well and they see their ability to retain control of the House as granting them the right to stick to their own views even when they clash strongly with the president's.

Friday’s pre-Christmas wrangling in the nation’s Capitol crystalized the challenges that Mr. Obama faces as he prepares to begin a second term next month.

In House Speaker John A. Boehner, the president has a deal-making partner who is unable to rally House Republicans behind his own plans, much less any deal he might cut with Mr. Obama. In a news conference Friday morning, Mr. Boehner essentially admitted he was running out of ideas to avert big tax increases and spending cuts early next year.

“How we get there,” Mr. Boehner told reporters, “God only knows.”

Across town just minutes later, officials with the National Rifle Association made clear what House Republicans had been whispering all week: the president’s call for gun control in the wake of the Connecticut shooting will run into tremendous opposition.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the firearm group, made clear the N.R.A. would not support the president’s call for gun control, recommending instead a “school shield” program of armed security guards at the nation’s schools as well as a national database that could track the mentally ill.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Mr. LaPierre said at a news conference that was interrupted by protests and allowed no questions from reporters.

At the same time, the White House said on Friday that it would officially name Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as Mr. Obama’s choice to lead the State Department — a decision Mr. Obama was forced to make after Republicans effectively blocked his preferred choice, Susan E. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations.

Ms. Rice, a longtime confidante of Mr. Obama’s, was never formally nominated, but it was no secret inside the White House that the president would have liked her to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton early next year. But even on the heels of his electoral victory, Mr. Obama was unable to overcome Republican opposition — led by Senator John McCain — to her nomination.

Polls suggest that Mr. Obama’s popularity has surged to its highest point since announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden. In the latest CBS News poll, the president’s job approval rating was at 57 percent.

But taken together, the events of the last five weeks suggest that even that improvement in the polls has done little to deliver the president the kind of clear authority to enact his policies that voters seemed to say they wanted during the election.

Even some of the president’s closest advisers said they were surprised by the ferocity of the Republican opposition.

“It’s kind of a stunning thing to watch the way this has unfolded, at least to date,” said David Axelrod, one of Mr. Obama’s longtime advisers. “The question is, how do you break free from these strident voices?”

Mr. Axelrod said that the election appeared to have had no effect on the president’s most committed adversaries in the Republican House, many of whom remain committed to blocking his every move.

“You have got members of Congress who are simply unwilling to compromise and unwilling to yield to either the will of the American people or the demands of the moment,” Mr. Axelrod said.

That may yet change.

There are still 10 days left in which Mr. Obama might reach some sort of arrangement with Congress on averting a fiscal crisis that some predict could plunge the nation back into recession. The White House says it remains hopeful.

In another 31 days, Mr. Obama will deliver his second inaugural address, providing him the opportunity to make his case to the American public on the direction he wants to take them in a second term.

A few weeks after that, he will give his State of the Union address, which he has already promised to use as a call for new gun control laws.

Those opportunities could provide the president with fresh political momentum in the new year.

He will need it. Whatever happens during the remainder of December, Mr. Obama will face economic challenges starting in January, including the likelihood of an extended debate with Republicans over how to overhaul the nation’s tax code.

The president’s team will need to shepherd Mr. Kerry through the Senate, past what appears to be minimal Republican opposition. But his nominees for other posts — including, perhaps, Chuck Hagel, the former senator from Nebraska, to be secretary of defense — may face tougher questions.

The gun control fight he has promised to wage will also compete for time and energy with a battle over comprehensive immigration reform, which he has also said he wants to begin early next year.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Obama expressed hope about finding ways to compromise with his adversaries but also lamented the opposition that he faces in Republicans.

“They keep on finding ways to say no, as opposed to finding ways to say yes,” Mr. Obama said on the tax and spending fight. On the subject of guns, he acknowledged the challenge of pursuing gun control in the face of political opposition from those same Reublicans.

“It won’t be easy,” he said.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by piston » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:50 pm

According to Susan Collins, about five minutes ago, if the country goes over the cliff, higher taxation for all Americans who pay taxes would begin in January with higher federal tax payments from our pay checks. Is that accurate?
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:58 pm

piston wrote:According to Susan Collins, about five minutes ago, if the country goes over the cliff, higher taxation for all Americans who pay taxes would begin in January with higher federal tax payments from our pay checks. Is that accurate?
Hello Jacques, where have you been? :) Yes, it's true, but it's also the least of the problems, in the short run anyway.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

barney
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by barney » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:40 am

My last post in the corner pub was to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re gun laws. It was probably only my second post here ever.

My third post is to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re the fiscal cliff. The rest of us could look on at the fanatical ideologues of the Tea Party with amazed and amused contempt, except that you'll take the rest of us with you. And I in Australia get no say, though you are going to send me towards financial Armageddon as well. Not happy.

lennygoran
Posts: 14123
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by lennygoran » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:44 am

barney wrote:My last post in the corner pub was to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re gun laws. It was probably only my second post here ever.

My third post is to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re the fiscal cliff. The rest of us could look on at the fanatical ideologues of the Tea Party with amazed and amused contempt, except that you'll take the rest of us with you. And I in Australia get no say, though you are going to send me towards financial Armageddon as well. Not happy.
But what do you suggest be done--we in America aren't happy either? Regards, Len

Teresa B
Posts: 3057
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 11:04 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by Teresa B » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:52 am

lennygoran wrote:
barney wrote:My last post in the corner pub was to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re gun laws. It was probably only my second post here ever.

My third post is to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re the fiscal cliff. The rest of us could look on at the fanatical ideologues of the Tea Party with amazed and amused contempt, except that you'll take the rest of us with you. And I in Australia get no say, though you are going to send me towards financial Armageddon as well. Not happy.
But what do you suggest be done--we in America aren't happy either? Regards, Len
How about we move to Australia?
:)
Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

lennygoran
Posts: 14123
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by lennygoran » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:09 am

Teresa B wrote: But what do you suggest be done--we in America aren't happy either? Regards, Len
How about we move to Australia?
:)
Teresa[/quote]

Okay but only if it's near the Sydney Opera House! Regards, Len :)

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by piston » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:58 am

barney wrote:My last post in the corner pub was to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re gun laws. It was probably only my second post here ever.

My third post is to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re the fiscal cliff. The rest of us could look on at the fanatical ideologues of the Tea Party with amazed and amused contempt, except that you'll take the rest of us with you. And I in Australia get no say, though you are going to send me towards financial Armageddon as well. Not happy.
1. Gun laws: One certainly can and should cast doubt on the sanity of the N.R.A. and its most faithful members, typically "rural" Americans in so-called "Red states." It is "an evil organization," commented several callers on a national radio talk show, yesterday, and some of these callers were Republicans from the Southeast. But our problem, here, is far more difficult to tackle than Australia's in 1996, following the Port Arthur massacre (itself preceded by several such mass murders), because there are over 300,000,000 guns in the USA. By comparison, the Australian "buy-back" program collected over 600,000 guns, mostly .22 caliber rifles and shotguns, an amount five hundred times smaller than guns in circulation in the United States. In effect, we are now faced with a domestic "arm's race" wherein people purchase weapons to defend themselves against so many other Americans with weapons. If I'm not mistaking, this sort of "survivalist" attitude is what led Lanza's mother to stockpile guns and rifles even though her own son was known to be "weird" and completely antisocial.

2. Fiscal cliff: Leading economies of the past are all faced, to one extent or another, with a similar situation. It is certainly the case in Japan and, as we know, for several countries of the European Union. Ergo, the USA is hardly unique in this respect. I view this trend as a direct outcome of globalization which free-trade dogmatists advocated so such an extent only a few years ago as to treat any critique as totally idiotic. These advocates assumed that in a more competitive world leading economies would still prevail by becoming more efficient, more innovate, more productive. They never, for a minute, contemplated the possibility that their dogma could generate a major geo-economic shift of power and that the most democratic countries of the world would be confronted with such fiscal difficulties as to undermine domestic consumption and significantly lower people's standards of living.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:51 pm

barney wrote:My last post in the corner pub was to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re gun laws. It was probably only my second post here ever.

My third post is to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re the fiscal cliff. The rest of us could look on at the fanatical ideologues of the Tea Party with amazed and amused contempt, except that you'll take the rest of us with you. And I in Australia get no say, though you are going to send me towards financial Armageddon as well. Not happy.
Oh, I wouldn't worry about that because....

Wait a minute: I can't think of a single reason why that is not exactly what is going to happen.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Tarantella
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:09 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by Tarantella » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:02 pm

I predict that there will be no fiscal cliff and that sanity prevails. At the end of the day your country, despite its political shenanigans, has the ability to reach consensus and find a solution. I'll bet my Xmas ham on it!!

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:21 pm

Tarantella wrote:I predict that there will be no fiscal cliff and that sanity prevails. At the end of the day your country, despite its political shenanigans, has the ability to reach consensus and find a solution. I'll bet my Xmas ham on it!!
There are five times twelve as in the days of Christmas members of Congress (the number does not change significantly after January 1) who will not come around even after it is clear that the world has been plunged into the next Great Depression (that's what fanatical extremism is all about). The only question is how soon they can be marginalized (as opposed to pulling others along with them as they do now) before the most extreme consequences are realized, and it will not happen in time to make a happy holiday, or even a month thereafter. Oh well, Operation Market Garden didn't get the boys home before Christmas either. :(

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
Posts: 14123
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by lennygoran » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:41 pm

Tarantella wrote:I predict that there will be no fiscal cliff and that sanity prevails. At the end of the day your country, despite its political shenanigans, has the ability to reach consensus and find a solution. I'll bet my Xmas ham on it!!
Sue you're betting your ham--a fiscal cliff solution before we go over--no way--still keep your Xmas ham--I won't demand it when you lose! Regards, Len :)

Tarantella
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:09 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by Tarantella » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:49 pm

I appreciate your sense of humour!!

Recently I watched an interview program with 2 or 3 international academics and they discussed this very issue. The comment was made, many times, that during elections in the US both parties try to paint the other as eminently unsuited for government - that they both successfully create a sense of mistrust within the electorate that it just isn't possible for either party to govern effectively. But, all agreed, politics is still (in many ways) a worthy calling and that the US leaders ARE capable of sorting out the mess. I absolutely agree with this and the lack of trust you people have only bears out what was said in this discussion. This doesn't mean to suggest that there are not, or are always going to be, problems. That would be naive.

I do believe in the system and the process - ham or not.

lennygoran
Posts: 14123
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by lennygoran » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:54 pm

Tarantella wrote:I appreciate your sense of humour!!
And I appreciate your quick response! I think it took about 3 minutes to get your reply! Regards, Len :)

barney
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by barney » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:12 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Tarantella wrote:I predict that there will be no fiscal cliff and that sanity prevails. At the end of the day your country, despite its political shenanigans, has the ability to reach consensus and find a solution. I'll bet my Xmas ham on it!!
Sue you're betting your ham--a fiscal cliff solution before we go over--no way--still keep your Xmas ham--I won't demand it when you lose! Regards, Len :)
Eat fast from December 25 to 31 and losing won't hurt you too badly.

barney
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by barney » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:17 pm

piston wrote:
barney wrote:My last post in the corner pub was to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re gun laws. It was probably only my second post here ever.

My third post is to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re the fiscal cliff. The rest of us could look on at the fanatical ideologues of the Tea Party with amazed and amused contempt, except that you'll take the rest of us with you. And I in Australia get no say, though you are going to send me towards financial Armageddon as well. Not happy.
1. Gun laws: One certainly can and should cast doubt on the sanity of the N.R.A. and its most faithful members, typically "rural" Americans in so-called "Red states." It is "an evil organization," commented several callers on a national radio talk show, yesterday, and some of these callers were Republicans from the Southeast. But our problem, here, is far more difficult to tackle than Australia's in 1996, following the Port Arthur massacre (itself preceded by several such mass murders), because there are over 300,000,000 guns in the USA. By comparison, the Australian "buy-back" program collected over 600,000 guns, mostly .22 caliber rifles and shotguns, an amount five hundred times smaller than guns in circulation in the United States. In effect, we are now faced with a domestic "arm's race" wherein people purchase weapons to defend themselves against so many other Americans with weapons. If I'm not mistaking, this sort of "survivalist" attitude is what led Lanza's mother to stockpile guns and rifles even though her own son was known to be "weird" and completely antisocial.

2. Fiscal cliff: Leading economies of the past are all faced, to one extent or another, with a similar situation. It is certainly the case in Japan and, as we know, for several countries of the European Union. Ergo, the USA is hardly unique in this respect. I view this trend as a direct outcome of globalization which free-trade dogmatists advocated so such an extent only a few years ago as to treat any critique as totally idiotic. These advocates assumed that in a more competitive world leading economies would still prevail by becoming more efficient, more innovate, more productive. They never, for a minute, contemplated the possibility that their dogma could generate a major geo-economic shift of power and that the most democratic countries of the world would be confronted with such fiscal difficulties as to undermine domestic consumption and significantly lower people's standards of living.
Good points, well made. What you say about guns is right, but you can't allow yourself to be mired in helplessness. It's lucky that the NRA leadership is so extreme, because ordinary people can see it. I know that it's north/south, urban/rural, and many other dichotomies. I don't say no one should have guns. But no one should have semi-automatics, for example.

Re fiscal cliff, other countries have all sorts of problems associated with globalisation. Few Western countries are in the grip of fanatical ideologues who will see the world tip over the brink rather than raise taxes one cent for millionaires. The Tea Party seems to me to be on a par with North Korea, not a liberal democracy.

barney
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by barney » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:20 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
barney wrote:My last post in the corner pub was to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re gun laws. It was probably only my second post here ever.

My third post is to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re the fiscal cliff. The rest of us could look on at the fanatical ideologues of the Tea Party with amazed and amused contempt, except that you'll take the rest of us with you. And I in Australia get no say, though you are going to send me towards financial Armageddon as well. Not happy.
Oh, I wouldn't worry about that because....

Wait a minute: I can't think of a single reason why that is not exactly what is going to happen.
Me neither. Politics is always about the art of the possible, about compromise, about pragmatism, about recognising that progress is not a straight line. That's what fanatics don't have, and will not give an inch. I can't see where an inkling of mental flexibility and open-mindedness is going to come from for these people.

Tarantella
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:09 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by Tarantella » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:45 am

barney wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
barney wrote:My last post in the corner pub was to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re gun laws. It was probably only my second post here ever.

My third post is to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re the fiscal cliff. The rest of us could look on at the fanatical ideologues of the Tea Party with amazed and amused contempt, except that you'll take the rest of us with you. And I in Australia get no say, though you are going to send me towards financial Armageddon as well. Not happy.
Oh, I wouldn't worry about that because....

Wait a minute: I can't think of a single reason why that is not exactly what is going to happen.
Me neither. Politics is always about the art of the possible, about compromise, about pragmatism, about recognising that progress is not a straight line. That's what fanatics don't have, and will not give an inch. I can't see where an inkling of mental flexibility and open-mindedness is going to come from for these people.
Oh this really is awful - on the eve of Christmas and supposed good will. To equate some large sectors in the the USA with North Korea is appalling, IMO. Sorry, but there it is.... They're no different to any pressure groups which exist in the country today. The fact that they exert pressure for issues you find unpalatable doesn't make them less of a pressure group. I find those groups who want to legalize drugs appalling, but I understand we still do all live in a democracy. And let's look at some of the pressure groups that exist today: NRA, the Pollyanna group-think which brought us political correctness, climate change. Not everyone is convinced about all of these issues but they sure-as-hell find the going just as tough when it comes to any form of dissent. The door which squeaks the loudest gets the most oil: the dominant mantra in democracy.

Also, since we are on the topic of fiscal cliffs - what do you think, apart from massive belt-tightening and raised taxes, will help the American people repay tens of billions of dollars of debt. Whatever the cause - and that's a separate issue altogether - there MUST be a solution and intelligent people will find one. That's my bet.

lennygoran
Posts: 14123
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by lennygoran » Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:12 am

Tarantella wrote: there MUST be a solution and intelligent people will find one. That's my bet.
I could agree with some of that but it will come after we go over the fiscal cliff--on the ham will there be any side dishes you'll be sending to me along with it--maybe you could cook up something like this?

Scalloped Sweet Potato Stacks
Each muffin cup flares slightly, so place slices from ends of potatoes in the bottom and use wider slices from the middle of the potato at the top. We also like this with Gruyère instead of mozzarella.

http://www.myrecipes.com/menus/our-best ... 000010856/

Regards, Len [6AM and hungry already!] :)

barney
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by barney » Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:44 am

Tarantella wrote:
barney wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
barney wrote:My last post in the corner pub was to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re gun laws. It was probably only my second post here ever.

My third post is to cast doubt on the sanity of Americans re the fiscal cliff. The rest of us could look on at the fanatical ideologues of the Tea Party with amazed and amused contempt, except that you'll take the rest of us with you. And I in Australia get no say, though you are going to send me towards financial Armageddon as well. Not happy.
Oh, I wouldn't worry about that because....

Wait a minute: I can't think of a single reason why that is not exactly what is going to happen.
Me neither. Politics is always about the art of the possible, about compromise, about pragmatism, about recognising that progress is not a straight line. That's what fanatics don't have, and will not give an inch. I can't see where an inkling of mental flexibility and open-mindedness is going to come from for these people.
Oh this really is awful - on the eve of Christmas and supposed good will. To equate some large sectors in the the USA with North Korea is appalling, IMO. Sorry, but there it is.... They're no different to any pressure groups which exist in the country today. The fact that they exert pressure for issues you find unpalatable doesn't make them less of a pressure group. I find those groups who want to legalize drugs appalling, but I understand we still do all live in a democracy. And let's look at some of the pressure groups that exist today: NRA, the Pollyanna group-think which brought us political correctness, climate change. Not everyone is convinced about all of these issues but they sure-as-hell find the going just as tough when it comes to any form of dissent. The door which squeaks the loudest gets the most oil: the dominant mantra in democracy.

Also, since we are on the topic of fiscal cliffs - what do you think, apart from massive belt-tightening and raised taxes, will help the American people repay tens of billions of dollars of debt. Whatever the cause - and that's a separate issue altogether - there MUST be a solution and intelligent people will find one. That's my bet.
Have you been a successful punter, then? Good betting record? I'd love to think you were right.

I don't argue with belt-tightening and raised taxes, though what usually pays off debt is inflation and growth. But have you been following the debate? It is because some Republicans have sworn that they will never see taxes raised under any circumstances whatsoever, and that they see this as the most important moral issue in the whole country, that they have refused to raise taxes for people on incomes of more than a million dollars a year. They are so rigid they could not even contemplate a rise of one cent per $1000 of income. That's why we are still in this crisis. So your part-solution of raised taxes is off the table. Even other Republicans have tried to move towards intelligent compromise, but these fanatics are incapable. If you judge it as just one more democratic debate among many where people are passionate, you are probably not alone. I'm afraid I think that the triumph of hope over evidence.

John F
Posts: 19968
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by John F » Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:11 am

If the House of Representatives were actually to pass something increasing tax revenues, it would take a straight party-line vote of the 193 Democrats plus at least 25 Republicans deserting their party and risking defeat for reelection in 2014. I leave it to the nose-counters to assess where those votes might come from, and whether any bill that could attract them wouldn't lose Democratic votes in the process. But if I were a betting man, I wouldn't risk a nickel on it.

In January the chances are slightly improved as the Democrats gained 8 seats in this year's election and will only need 17 Republican votes to carry their bill. But I believe the Republicans who lost were mainly centrists and "soft-liners," and the hard-liners will mostly still be in office. So I wouldn't bet a nickel on that either.

If Republican intransigence means nothing is done by the deadline, and the tax increases and sequester go into effect, the politics change. In that case the Republicans won't have to vote for an increase in tax rates as that will already have happened, and they can vote for a tax cut for the 98% - if they wish. Also, since the sequestration will cut more from defense spending than they like, they may have to yield on other issues to get the $$$ for weapons they want but the Defense Department doesn't.

Going over the so-called fiscal cliff, an appalling metaphor that grates on the ear, doesn't preclude climbing back. In fact it may be necessary to finally get anything done. Hard-line House Republicans don't seem to realize that unless they vote for something now to get at least part of what they want, they stand to lose everything. Or maybe they do, but this weighs less heavily on their conscience (or whatever it is they have) than the risk of losing their House seat in the 2014 primaries. Pretty shameful, but there it is.
John Francis

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:35 am

John F wrote:Or maybe they do, but this weighs less heavily on their conscience (or whatever it is they have) than the risk of losing their House seat in the 2014 primaries. Pretty shameful, but there it is.
That, and (at the risk of sounding like a broken record) I imagine many of them are just counting on getting what they want by running their protection racket again at debt ceiling time.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

barney
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by barney » Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:09 am

I loved West Wing, but both sides were presented far too positively - honest people acting from conviction. As a journalist, I know reality is usually much seedier than that.

I also believe that most people enter politics - or used to - from good motives and the desire to make a difference. In Australia, both sides recruit people who stand for election from party functionaries and factions, rather than the community leaders - teachers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, accountants etc - that used to be the main pool. I believe that is one of the reasons behind an increasingly factionalised parliament in Australia. The arrival of refugees by boat has been a political bonanza for the Liberals (Republicans) who are in Opposition, who want to keep the issue boiling. We had the extraordinary sight this year of their spokesman saying that even if the Governmnent adopted the Opposition policy in its entirety they still wouldn't vote for it. They don't want the issue to go away. I have never seen such relentless negativity from an Opposition.

But the Labor Government has no high ground to stand on: shabby, stand for nothing, riven by factions, willing to distort anything for advantage, betraying their roots.

And I'm sorry to say this, but - as you know - when America sneezes the world catches cold. I think our extremely low standards are driven partly by copy-cat politicking, though Australians can possibly win the race to the bottom before the Americans. It depends on whether it becomes an Olympic sport.

Tarantella
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:09 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by Tarantella » Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:59 am

I'm very interested in your comments!! I have a son extremely close to the action in Canberra and your comments about functionaries stung as he's a great person motivated by good and he will have a busy 2013!! One man's "relentless negativity" is another man's "opposition" to appalling government and prolific waste.

Let's not delude ourselves about the standard of political discourse internationally, not just in the USA or Australia. And remember: these people don't come from Mars, they are drawn from the citizenry in both our countries and, one way or another - like it or not - they represent us and our values. "Race to the bottom"? Have you looked at social behaviour in toto lately? I'd call that a "race to the bottom". Who'll be surprised, then, when this transfers into the body politik? You think more people should be drawn from mainstream society; teachers and the like? (I don't know if Lee Rhiannon was ever a teacher, but she's neither a factional player nor a political functionary. She certainly doesn't represent the views of leaders in society either. Oh, that's right - she's a Green!! Not a pressure-group or anything!!!)

"The West Wing" bored me because I felt it contrived and a little too slick, glib and over-scripted.

I haven't followed the details of the debate in the USA, but I have been listening to commentary here in Australia - "LNL" and pay television in particular, also "BBC World Service". When the stakes are high the arguments become shrill and, yes, I've heard this with regard to asylum seekers, gay marriage, climate change and every other pressure-group cause you can imagine. As I said, democracy is 'pressure group central'. (Not so much lately from the execrable Sarah Hanson-Young and her endless minority pressure group now that we really have proof a lot of 'asylum-seekers' are economic illegal immigrants!!! Talk about "propaganda" and political correctness - everybody has been strictly forbidden to say "illegal immigrants" for the last few years. I call that 'anti-democratic', but I won't presume to suggest what you'd call it.)

The US government will sort it out and won't take the risk on inflation as a cure for debt (suggested by Niall Ferguson and others) because they know the cure will be worse than the disease. (If my memory is correct there was a similar eleventh-hour crisis regarding finances in 2011, sorted at the very last minute.) And it's difficult to see where 'growth' will come from with China in the box seat. Sanity will prevail because the stakes are so high and there's a little matter of international reputation. And my "bet" is that the USA doesn't want to end up like Greece!!! And won't.

John F
Posts: 19968
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by John F » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:29 am

In the U.S., it's said to have become harder to get high-quality candidates for the House because of the low-quality campaigns necessary to get them elected, with the press digging up every little misstep in their pasts and the opponents, from the other party or within their own, trying to blacken their reputations. Considering that careers in the private sector for men and women of comparable ability are not only much better paid but allow them to keep their private lives and their past private, and who would step into the line of fire for the meager rewards and opportunities to make a difference of a junior Congressman?
John Francis

barney
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by barney » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:59 pm

Well, I'm sure your son is a good person, and he would certainly be devastated if you said otherwise. I've met Tony Abbott a couple of times, and think he is fundamentally decent, but nevertheless he is the most relentlessly negative Opposition leader I've ever seen, who has delivered virtually no policies of his own apart from a few silly ones he has done on the spur of the moment without consulting his colleagues. Look at how he is pillorying Labor over admitting the $4 billion drop in income means the surplus can't be delivered, while acknowledging that it would irresponsible to do otherwise. He gives the strong impression of being a man who stands for nothing except being elected; everything else is negotiable. In which he differs scarcely a whit from Gillard. Look at the dirty tricks by both sides

Pretend we are talking only of Labor, and how they used to recruit more from the community but now it is mostly union apparachiks who begin their union careers intending to enter politics, or ministerial advisers and electoral officers and factional players who win preselection. I suspect you'd agree. And then tell me how the Liberals are different.

I don't know how I'll vote next year - except it certainly won't be Green.

barney
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by barney » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:06 pm

PS, what precisely is illegal about seeking asylum? Australia is a signatory to the relevant UN convention. I heard Tony Abbott concede on radio that "illegal immigrants" was inaccurate, then go on to use the term twice more the same day - and ever since.

I certainly concede that asylum seekers are a complex issue, and not everyone who wants to come can or should be allowed to. But to politicise it and demonise people for electoral gain is something I find particularly unpleasant.

Still, I suppose this is a bit parochial for a US-based board.

Tarantella
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:09 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by Tarantella » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:38 pm

barney wrote:PS, what precisely is illegal about seeking asylum? Australia is a signatory to the relevant UN convention. I heard Tony Abbott concede on radio that "illegal immigrants" was inaccurate, then go on to use the term twice more the same day - and ever since.

I certainly concede that asylum seekers are a complex issue, and not everyone who wants to come can or should be allowed to. But to politicise it and demonise people for electoral gain is something I find particularly unpleasant.

Still, I suppose this is a bit parochial for a US-based board.
Yes, it is a parochial issue but an international problem. And I think we come from totally different tangents on this illegal immigrants issue. (When they are all genuine and willing to provide documentation - and not deliberately dispose of these - we will agree to your term wholeheartedly - that way politicians won't have to bleat disingenuously about it in parliament!) People already felt strongly about the issue and don't need it further politicized by politicians or pressure groups. To think that Australians didn't care until the Opposition brought it up...!! I suggest to you they tapped into the mood of the silent majority. Don't be naive enough to suggest that in a hung parliament that isn't going to happen.

And now Merry Christmas! My large family is about to arrive.

John F
Posts: 19968
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by John F » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:05 pm

barney wrote:I suppose this is a bit parochial for a US-based board.
Not at all - CMG is an international board, thanks to the Internet, and no bloc of members is more or less parochial than any other, just more or less numerous. :)
John Francis

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:07 pm

It's refreshing, indeed a relief, to see an issue being discussed here by two non-US members from their perspective.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Tarantella
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:09 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by Tarantella » Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:02 pm

barney wrote:Well, I'm sure your son is a good person, and he would certainly be devastated if you said otherwise. I've met Tony Abbott a couple of times, and think he is fundamentally decent, but nevertheless he is the most relentlessly negative Opposition leader I've ever seen, who has delivered virtually no policies of his own apart from a few silly ones he has done on the spur of the moment without consulting his colleagues. Look at how he is pillorying Labor over admitting the $4 billion drop in income means the surplus can't be delivered, while acknowledging that it would irresponsible to do otherwise. He gives the strong impression of being a man who stands for nothing except being elected; everything else is negotiable. In which he differs scarcely a whit from Gillard. Look at the dirty tricks by both sides

Pretend we are talking only of Labor, and how they used to recruit more from the community but now it is mostly union apparachiks who begin their union careers intending to enter politics, or ministerial advisers and electoral officers and factional players who win preselection. I suspect you'd agree. And then tell me how the Liberals are different.

I don't know how I'll vote next year - except it certainly won't be Green.
My (political media adviser) son has just been looking at your comments with me this morning!! We agree with some of your sentiments and neither of us are Abbott fans. How could we be? Firstly, like many very bright people, he has no sense of humour (cough), secondly he's an opportunist poised on the knife-edge between being PM and oblivion because of his one-vote majority as leader of the Liberal Party. Our whole family is very politically-minded and we certainly don't vote the same, so the Christmas period is certain to be a garrulous affair with differences of opinion - about all sorts of things.

And thanks for the welcome about Australian politics from two of the CMG contributors - both Johns!! Best for 2013.

"Keep up your bright swords or the dew will rust them".

barney
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looks like the Tea Party will take us over the cliff

Post by barney » Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:30 pm

Tarantella wrote:
barney wrote:Well, I'm sure your son is a good person, and he would certainly be devastated if you said otherwise. I've met Tony Abbott a couple of times, and think he is fundamentally decent, but nevertheless he is the most relentlessly negative Opposition leader I've ever seen, who has delivered virtually no policies of his own apart from a few silly ones he has done on the spur of the moment without consulting his colleagues. Look at how he is pillorying Labor over admitting the $4 billion drop in income means the surplus can't be delivered, while acknowledging that it would irresponsible to do otherwise. He gives the strong impression of being a man who stands for nothing except being elected; everything else is negotiable. In which he differs scarcely a whit from Gillard. Look at the dirty tricks by both sides

Pretend we are talking only of Labor, and how they used to recruit more from the community but now it is mostly union apparachiks who begin their union careers intending to enter politics, or ministerial advisers and electoral officers and factional players who win preselection. I suspect you'd agree. And then tell me how the Liberals are different.

I don't know how I'll vote next year - except it certainly won't be Green.
My (political media adviser) son has just been looking at your comments with me this morning!! We agree with some of your sentiments and neither of us are Abbott fans. How could we be? Firstly, like many very bright people, he has no sense of humour (cough), secondly he's an opportunist poised on the knife-edge between being PM and oblivion because of his one-vote majority as leader of the Liberal Party. Our whole family is very politically-minded and we certainly don't vote the same, so the Christmas period is certain to be a garrulous affair with differences of opinion - about all sorts of things.

And thanks for the welcome about Australian politics from two of the CMG contributors - both Johns!! Best for 2013.

"Keep up your bright swords or the dew will rust them".
I second the thanks, because it actually is a thread about American politics.
I wonder then whether you are Malcolm Turnbull supporters? If so we have a strong measure of agreement; I would very likely vote for a coalition led by him. Shaun Carney, the Age's most independent political commentator who took a redundancy package in August, was convinced Turnbull would be reinstated because it would guarantee a landslide, Turnbull being so popular with Labor and Green voters, while the rusted-on dries who don't like him would never vote Labor or Green. Abbott's personal ratings, as you know, are dire. But he also thought it would have to happen by Christmas, and I see no sign of that today! But perhaps Turnbull is like Kevin Rudd, beloved among the voters and widely loathed by his colleagues?
Happy Christmas to one and all, and to a safe, peaceful and even prosperous new year.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests