Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 6, 2010

MONDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* Just a reminder, the Monthly's annual pledge drive is underway. We sincerely appreciate those of you who've already shown generous support, and hope other readers will take a moment to help out.

* In Geneva, at least Iranian officials agreed to discuss their nuclear efforts: "An Iranian negotiator on Monday met with officials from six nations, including the United States, on ways to rein in Iran's nuclear program."

* A big case at the high court: "The Supreme Court on Monday accepted what will likely become the highest-profile business case of the year, agreeing to decide whether 1.5 million female employees of Wal-Mart can pursue job discrimination claims in the largest employment class-action suit in the country's history."

* As tax policy talks continue, the latest word is that the administration's "Making Work Pay" tax credit wouldn't make it into the final package, but it would be replaced with a one-year reduction in payroll taxes for workers.

* Gen. David Petraeus said he's encouraged by progress in Afghanistan, but was asked whether the Afghan army can take the lead by NATO's 2014 deadline. He replied, "I think -- no commander ever is going to come out and say, 'I'm confident that we can do this.' I think that you say that you assess that this is -- you believe this is, you know, a reasonable prospect and knowing how important it is -- that we have to do everything we can to increase the chances of that prospect."

* Jonathan Cohn has a good piece on how congressional Republicans' handling of the "doc fix" is ridiculous. Ron Chusid has more.

* This could prove to be a fascinating case: "The Fox News network has solicited the services of a prominent D.C. law firm and an equally prominent campaign finance lawyer to ward off a suit alleging that it made illegal in-kind contributions to a Republican gubernatorial candidate."

* The Justice Department investigation into Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) has reportedly come to an end after four years.

* Maybe I have an odd sense of humor, but I find it amusing, in a tragic sort of way, that an undercover FBI agent infiltrated a mosque and was so overly aggressive, Muslim congregants felt compelled to get in touch with the FBI.

* Reports suggest that Elizabeth Edwards' health has taken a turn for the worse.

* Among its other problems, the Simpson/Bowles deficit commission wouldn't do any favors for higher ed.

* And as far as Glenn Beck is concerned, there are roughly 157 million Islamic terrorists in the world. The voices in that guy's head sure do come up with some crazy nonsense.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

As the bitter winds from the North Pole pummel the Eastern seaboard, I can't help but think that our country is entering a prolonged winter of discontent; folks are out of work, health insurance for all is a fantasy, tax rates for the rich are a joke, Wall Street is Ho-Ho-Hoing all the way to the bank at the expense of us tax-payers, endless and useless wars continue to suck our treasury dry, and the GOP is ready to screw us all all over again.

The Grinch is my patron saint.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe I have an odd sense of humor, but I find it amusing, in a tragic sort of way, that an undercover FBI agent infiltrated a mosque and was so overly aggressive, Muslim congregants felt compelled to get in touch with the FBI.

Living in Portland and dealing with the fallout of the FBI's failed bomb plot* I don't find it all that funny. More new 'security' measures to protect us from our own government run plots.

*and it was the FBI's plot. That stupid kid never once talked met with or worked with anyone remotely dangerous or a real terrorst. He spent a year and half planning a 'massive terrorist attack' with agents of the FBI.

Posted by: thorin-1 on December 6, 2010 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

* Among its other problems, the Simpson/Bowles deficit commission wouldn't do any favors for higher ed. -- Steve Benen

For that and many other reasons, the commission is known as Bowles/Simpson, or BS for short.

Posted by: exlibra on December 6, 2010 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Obama CAVED.

Hopefully the House Dems will vote it down.


Posted by: Joe Friday on December 6, 2010 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

It struck me this afternoon that a way out of our current economic mess is mentioned in the Bible: "Beat your swords into plowshares."

Of course, the sword makers will gnash their teeth and tear their hair and rend their garments in great distress, but the 2 billion dollars a week squandered in foreign adventures would go a long way toward addressing our fiscal insolvency.

Looking back to the 1940's, the plow makers (General Motors, Singer Sewing Machine, Remington Typewriter, et al) had little trouble forging swords, then returning to the making of "plowshares" in the 1950's.

Remember, it was Eisenhower, in those 1950"s, (when the top tax rate was 90%) , who warned us of the "military Industrial Complex."

Posted by: DAY on December 6, 2010 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Any one hear that MasterCard stopped acting as an agent for donations to WikiLeaks?

I'd like to verify before I cancel.

Posted by: IntelVet on December 6, 2010 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

No I haven't but you might want to cancel it, if you entered any or our embassies in the last year and half.

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on December 6, 2010 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Some deal Obama worked out. The whole starve-the-beast notion is built upon cutting taxes and running up the deficit to the point where everyone freaks and cuts the so-called entitlements. Unless I'm missing something he just moved us further down that road. WTF.

Posted by: beep52 on December 6, 2010 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Check out Obama's speech. He seemed downright peeved when speaking about "the left."

Face it, liberals, he's not one of us. In fact, he hates us.

Posted by: Doctor Whom on December 6, 2010 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

That Glenn Beck thing - 157million islamic terrorists. Does that mean that Heinz now has a "157 Sauce?" And are the 157 million terrorists all in the State Department?

Posted by: Dollared on December 6, 2010 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of the Simpson/Bowles deficit commission, where the hell is Dick Durbin going with this?

Lawmakers Embrace U.S. Social-Security, Tax-Break Cuts as Debt Plan Fails:

On Social Security, the commission’s report proposes moving to a formula that slows future benefit growth, particularly for higher earners, and raising the retirement age to 68 by 2050.

Previous efforts by Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush to overhaul the retirement system failed.

Now, Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, says: “If we want to come up with something bipartisan to work on together, Social Security is a good candidate.”

Posted by: Dwight on December 6, 2010 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

O-man finally gets it. Next step, cut in unproductive goovernment spending!

Posted by: CT Voter on December 6, 2010 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

You mean like the Military Industrial Complex ?


Posted by: Joe Friday on December 6, 2010 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

My opinion of Obama lies somewhere between Neville Chamberlain and the Indians that traded away Manhattan Island for beads. Obama exercised his true skill, making another placating speech about caving on the tax cuts in which he mentioned that he didn't want people losing their houses among other things. If he had truly been concerned about people's houses, he would have put his foot in Dimmy Timmy Geithner's ass in regards to holding the banks' feet to the fire with loan modifications. I feel like I got suckered in voting for Obama and can't help but wonder if Hillary wouldn't have had a bigger pair.

Posted by: tko on December 6, 2010 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Steve sez: "at least Iranian officials agreed to discuss their nuclear efforts: "An Iranian negotiator on Monday met with officials from six nations, including the United States, on ways to rein in Iran's nuclear program."

Mr. Benen seems to believe that Iran should scale back its nuclear program development. Why is that?

I think it's obvious a bomb-possessing Iran would almost certainly not use it, while a bomb-deficient Iran has a much higher chance of being attacked by the US or Israel. So which scenario is better for humanity and innocent civilians?

Unless you don't value the lives of Middle East Muslims nearly as high as Jews or Americans.

Posted by: flubber on December 6, 2010 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Why is Benen trying to portray himself as on the left after promoting moderation for so long? He hasn't really moved anywhere. Is it the response to the post about Republican 'sabotage.' The article was correct but hardly anything we all didn't know already. Is the difference that for some reason it caused a fuss and gave him(and Washington Monthly) greater exposure? It should be remembered that just because the right calls you a name that has some appeal doesn't mean it applies.

Is it an attempt to appropriate the term for moderates and lay the groundwork for labeling any who would dare challenge or even not support a second term as equivalent to the teabaggers?

Posted by: Michael7843853 on December 6, 2010 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

OBAMA:It’s not perfect, but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery … and adds momentum that our economy badly needs.

Just how the hell does more tax cuts overwhelmingly for the Rich, diverting FICA contributions away from the Social Security Trust Fund, and reducing estate taxes for millionaires and billionaires add momentum to our national economy ?


Posted by: Joe Friday on December 6, 2010 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Oblahblah

Posted by: Kill Bill on December 6, 2010 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Jonathan Cohn has a good piece on how congressional Republicans' handling of the "doc fix" is ridiculous.


$40.

and you were doing so well, Steve. a whole week.

Posted by: some guy on December 7, 2010 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Since it looks like this is going to happen, why don't the Democrats simply insist that the tax cut below 250K be permanent?

This would make it much, much easier to let the high income tax cut expire as no new legislation would be required.

It seems to me that making an aspect of the tax cut permanent (and for all taxpayers) is a talking point where progressives could successfully dig in their heels.

Posted by: exxron on December 7, 2010 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Funny how Americans are worried about being embarrassed by WikiLeaks, when their biggest embarrassment is actually Obama, the biggest phony of them all. What a fucking joke.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on December 7, 2010 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

I want Obama as my negotiator; the next time I want to negotiate an unconditional surrender!

Posted by: AngryOldVet on December 7, 2010 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK

"As tax policy talks continue, the latest word is that the administration's "Making Work Pay" tax credit wouldn't make it into the final package, but it would be replaced with a one-year reduction in payroll taxes for workers."

And what will happen in one year? Will payroll taxes return to current levels, or will there be talk of a "compromise" of some sort involving putting this payroll tax incremental "increase" a year from now (returning to current levels) into the Republicans privatization scheme? IOW, Republicans will make the suggestion that this incremental "increase" should go back to workers immediately so they can invest on Wall Street, instead of this incremental "increase" portion going into the nationwide Social Security retirement fund for when they finally retire. I just be this is what will happen.

Posted by: The Oracle on December 7, 2010 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK
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