The Watering Hole, Thursday, January 3rd, 2012: Thank You, Mr. President

Gee, I feel so special: the President’s Campaign Manager wrote directly to ME! Yeah, I know, everyone on their mailing list received this email, but…anyway, here’s Jim Messina’s email, featuring President Obama’s explanation of the deal that he made to ruin John Boehner’s career keep middle-class Americans from being hit with a tax increase:

Jane —

The President reached an agreement with Republicans and Democrats in Congress on the “fiscal cliff” that prevents a tax hike on 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses, while fulfilling the President’s promise to ask the wealthiest Americans to begin to pay their fair share to reduce the deficit.

President Obama recorded a video to update supporters like you on what’s in the agreement and what it means for you — watch it and share it with friends and family:

It’s thanks to people like you who spoke up and contacted your members of Congress throughout this debate that we were able to avoid a crippling tax hike.

As we address our ongoing fiscal challenges, the President will do exactly what he said he would on the campaign trail — working for the middle class and all those fighting to get into it, and building an economy from the middle out, not the top down.

There will be more soon. For now, thanks for all you do, and happy new year.

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

This is our Open Thread. What’s on your mind today?

144 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Thursday, January 3rd, 2012: Thank You, Mr. President

  1. 8 Huge Corporate Handouts in the Fiscal Cliff Bill

    Throughout the months of November and December, a steady stream of corporate CEOs flowed in and out of the White House to discuss the impending fiscal cliff. Many of them, such as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, would then publicly come out and talk about how modest increases of tax rates on the wealthy were reasonable in order to deal with the deficit problem.

    What wasn’t mentioned is what these leaders wanted, which is what’s known as “tax extenders”, or roughly $205B of tax breaks for corporations. With such a banal name, and boring and difficult to read line items in the bill, few political operatives have bothered to pay attention to this part of the bill. But it is critical to understanding what is going on.

    I saw this yesterday as I read account after account of what various pundits liked or didn’t like about the deal. Most of the positive opinions doted on the benefits of the immediate deal, while the majority of the negative ones forewarned of the hazards of the debt ceiling agreement to come.

    Obama should not negotiate with the econo-terrorists in the Republican Tea Party. Maybe the threat of a downgrade of the national credit rating will be enough to back them down, but if not, let them shut down government for a few days, until their lapdog media really starts to figure out the futility of that strategy.

    • I read reports that Eric Cantor has investments that would make him a lot of money if the nation defaults on its debts. If true, that’s a major conflict of interest and he should either sell those assets or resign from any position in Congress that allows him more influence than a regular non-leadership Representative.

  2. Bill Press did lead off his show announcing the sale of Current TV to Al-Jazeera. I was curious if they would discuss it this soon, with so little details available. If the new owners take the primetime shows off the air, I will have no more to do with them. I’ll watch Thom Hartmann on RT and then switch over to MSNBC. What I want to know is why the owners sold the channel, as if they accomplished the only goal they desired, to affect the 2012 election?

  3. From a thread at DU: The Iranian city of Isfahan has ordered it’s 1.5 million residents to evacuate due to a nuclear incident.

  4. The President now needs to figure out how to package spending cuts so that they fall primarily on the MIC, corporate behemoths and the Wall Street Burglars.
    Framing the ‘carried interest rule’ as a cost to the rest of us, instead of a tax increase would be nice.
    There should be some obvious corporate tax shelter/loophole/giveaway/welfare that can easily be identified as a way to balance the budget by NOT GIVING THE EFFING MONEY AWAY in the first place.

    • One of the falsehoods the RW extremists (i.e. GOP) likes to push is the stupid notion that if taxes on investments are increased, nobody will want to invest their money. IOW, they think everybody is as friggin’ greedy as they. But if they don’t invest their money to make even half of what they did before, what would they do with it? Of course they’re going to invest, regardless of the taxes they pay on dividends. The smarter ones will just invest better.

    • There’s no way in hell any Republicans would vote for Nancy to be Speaker, but if she were to talk to Boehner about a deal, she might be able to get Dems to vote for Boehner over Cantor provided he, Boehner, in return works with her on passing decent legislation that benefits more than just the top 2%.

      I’ve said it before: If John Boehner were willing to work with Nancy Pelosi, he could be the greatest Speaker of the House in our history. But if he insists on being the leader of only the Republicans, he might as well just stay on that bar stool and drink himself into a coma.

      And if the Dems should ever win the House back soon, she could repay him by working with him to get Republican votes. Cantor is a lost cause and should be removed from public office.

  5. From my honeybuns:

    “Terry —
    In just a few minutes, I’m heading down to the Senate chamber to take the oath of office to represent the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
    This day is not mine alone.
    It belongs to the hundreds of thousands of people who waited in line to vote because they believed that our future matters.
    It belongs to the more than 20,000 people who volunteered on Election Day to get out the vote.
    And it belongs to you. You made an investment in this campaign every time you talked to your friends on Facebook and Twitter, contributed to our campaign, and yes, read email after email at sometimes never-ending pace asking for your help.
    I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as your Senator.
    I am grateful for your hard work and your support.
    I am deeply touched by the trust and faith that you have put in me.
    And I pledge today that I will never stop fighting for you.

    Thank you for being a part of this,

    PS Wear the Shrek boxer shorts I sent you for Xmas for me next time! ;)”

  6. This is gag-worthy.

    The courage of Boehner and McConnell: No, they’re not Lincolns. But they did something good. – Yahoo! News

    But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner deserve credit for the last-minute fortitude they displayed in ending the dispiriting deadlock over extending the Bush tax cuts. It wasn’t Kennedy-defined courage—and it doesn’t erase the prior stubbornness on taxes by the Republican congressional leaders—but their political moxie should be noted.

    • I hope Shapiro used some mouthwash after those BJs….

      More I see of the deal, the uglier it looks – the payroll tax holiday expires adding 2% to *every* working person’s tax bill, but only the top 2% get stung otherwise…. I don’t know why they didnt trade the payroll tax holiday (keep it) and drop the threshold on the rates… (to $250k) like the President wanted – even-Steven-like.

      Oh wait… silly me…. Teabaggers are against tax cuts for you and me, but for tax cuts for the rich….. otherwise that would have made sense…

      • Is there an issue with the 4.2 > 6.2 % impacting funding of SS?
        And WHEN are we going to TALK about removing the effing cap???

        • The tax holiday was putting a hole in the SS funding, so the end of the holiday is good for SS – *however* the effing cap should be removed or at least index linked. Remember SS is meant to mean the same to every American – irrespective of wealth – that makes it less exposed to the ‘this is a program for moochers, not makers’ argument.

  7. Quoting Bitch BcConnell:

    While most Washington Democrats may want to deny it, the truth is, the only thing we can do to solve the nation’s fiscal problem is to tackle government spending head on — and particularly, spending on health care programs, which appear to take off like a fighter jet on every chart available that details current trends in federal spending.

    Speaking of fighter jets, I believe there are two on the table which are horribly expensive and which are also basically useless … AND not wanted by the military. Start by cutting them back to nothing, then go after “Defense” bigtime. I’d think they could get by on $500 billion less (PER YEAR!) and all would remain well. Of course, we might not be able to start any more stupid wars, but … well, economy ain’t free, y’know.

    And if he wants to cut health care, my suggestion is that he clean his own house first and get rid of ALL Congressional health care programs and privileges. They can get by on Medicaid, Medicare, and/or ‘private’ stuff, seems to me. Stated another way, why should I be forced to pay even a nickel to keep idiots like Bitch alive and healthy?

    • Perzactly. If we have to tackle government spending, let’s start with the obese elephant of defense. It makes no sense to spend obscene amounts on protecting a country while cutting support for the people who are supposed to be being protected.

      • What I find amazing is that no one seems willing to point out that the, arguably, most prosperous era in American history, the decades following WW2, was also an era of decreasing military spending. We were able to greatly increase the quality of our armed services while cutting the numbers to the bone. Now?

        Despite the end of the cold war, the end of the occupation of Iraq, and decreasing presence in Afghanistan the MIC still has such a hold that we are replacing all the equipment we’ve pissed away in the sand while fully funding the development of future programs. Oddly enough; the big program that makes the most sense is one that’s still being held up by political bickering.

        The reason we are able to project military power around the world, for good or ill, is because of our vast fleet of transport planes and ships. Virtually all of them are 1950’s technology and have been kept in service long past their projected lifetimes at hideous expense. Fighting two wars on the other side of the world has meant that these assets can no longer be kept held together with temporary fixes. So?

        The one bit of military spending that does make sense is to replace those tankers and transports with new designs that will serve us for another 50-60 years but the programs in question are still in limbo. We have a few dozen stealth fighters, 19 stealth bombers, and a aged fleet of tankers that renders them mostly useless. I guess that the old adage that it’s easy to get funding for guns and hard to get funding for bread still holds true.

  8. Hi All. New Years eve turned crappy for us. We ate and had a few wobbleys and then at 9 we both felt shitty. By 10 we packed it in. We had both been coughing and hacking for the previous couple of days. New Years day was a sleepy “You take the dog out”, “No you go” kind of day. The wife seems to be better and has worked the last couple of days. I on the other hand, am not 100%. Head feels like I’m on some wicked drugs and concentration is near zero.

    I think I went off the cliff…

  9. QOTD:

    “And here we are eleven years after the largest and bloodiest Islamic attack on America and Al Jizz is buying Gore TV. This is a major step in the network’s goal of expanding jihad propaganda further into the U.S. cable market and gives it a chance to brainwash millions of Americans. How much did those traitors sell us out for? Al Jazeera is a security threat to America. Demand investigative hearings.” – Pamela Geller.

    Srsly, Al Jizz?

    • I was wondering which of the rabid Reichwhiners would be the first and loudest in their assertions that “Muslims are taking over America”. The crap from FAUX”News” will be the funniest because generally, if they mention Current at all, it’s to say “no one watches them”. So, I’ll pose the question; how does acquiring a station that no one watches possibly aid the Muslims in “taking over America”? The mental gymnastics should prove to be very amusing.

      • does this Geller person have any idea where Qatar is, what relationship Qatar has with the US, and that Al Jazeera is the 5th most popular global brand behind Apple, Starbucks, Google and Ikea?

        but then of course, there’s Hillary Clinton, who prefers Al Jazeera’s reporting over any US network because they are more factual and aren’t as biased or politically driven as american news organizations.

        i’ve been reading Al Jazeera for several years….ah…but then of course i’m a leftist-communist-liberal-socialist-fascist-extremist-unamerican-pile-o-steaming-dung…

        • One needs to remember that these are the kind of freaks who think that Freddy Mercury is fomenting jihad from beyond the grave. Seriously. I don’t recall where it was but I read a comment from some guy who just figured out that the first lines of Bohemian Rhapsody are about killing a man and Freddy was “an Arab Muslim”. So? He inspired terrorism Q.E.D.

          For those who may not know, Freddy was born on the African island of Zanzibar to Parsi parents. Parsis are Zoroastrians from India. And he swore off any and all religion. He was less an Arab than Ms. Geller and his family fled the Muslim extremism of Zanzibar while he was very young.

      • Rupert Murdoch is trying to buy the Chicago Tribune and another paper. They’ve already made exceptions for him to buy the Wall Street Journal. I suppose they’ll let him do what ever he wants.

        • Rupert has naughty photos of Boner, Cantor and McConnell…. the question is what were they doing that was naughty?

    • Er – can I borrow that projector for the weekend Ms Geller? It seems impressive and I want to show LOTR 1 2 and 3 to my kids…?

      Please wipe the jizz off first though – its a family show at my house OK?

    • ““And here we are eleven years after the largest and bloodiest Islamic attack on America and Ruper Murdoch still owns Fox News. This is a major step in the network’s goal of expanding christo-fascist propaganda further into the U.S. cable market and gives it a chance to brainwash millions of Americans. How much did those traitors sell us out for? Fox News is a security threat to America. Demand investigative hearings.”

      There Ms Jizz, fixed it for ya.

  10. In terms of it being motivate by politics… duh.. ya think?

    So much for what the customers might actually want…

    Time Warner Cable Drops Current TV Upon Sale To Al Jazeera

    Some media observers interpreted the move as motivated by politics.

    “Time-Warner cable shows abject political and journalistic cowardice by dropping Current because of Al Jazeera deal,” tweeted Dan Gilmor, a technology writer and founding director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University.

    The Time Warner Cable spokesman would not comment on politics when reached by The Huffington Post, but said via email that “we do have an agreemen

    • Cowards, fools, or manipulators? The heads of Time Warner fit somewhere within those categories but it’s very hard to tell exactly where they fall on the curve.

    • What Greg Palast calls the ‘Electronic Berlin Wall’ – corporate interests decide what the American public sees and hears about the world. Anything that would challenge the corporate worldview is not to be admitted. Anything like, say, a different point-of-view.

  11. First of all, I actually thought Denny Hastert was dead.

    And secondly his “rule” is so anti-American he should be brought up on treason charges.

    Dennis Hastert Warns John Boehner About Leadership After Fiscal Cliff Deal

    Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) cast concern on House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) leadership after he moved to pass the fiscal cliff bill without a majority of the party’s caucus, a violation of Hastert’s rule.

    “Here is the problem. Maybe you can do it once, maybe you can do it twice, but when you start making deals when you have to get Democrats to pass the legislation, you are not in power anymore,” Hastert said on Fox News Radio Thursday.

    • Don’t let the door hit you where the FSM split you….

      Goldman Sachs VP post handed to him in 3…2…1


  12. The Republicans really don’t seem interested in ever having women vote for them again.

    House GOP Lets Violence Against Women Act Passed By Senate Die Without A Vote

    “The House leadership would not bring it up, just like they wouldn’t bring up funding for Sandy [hurricane damage] last night,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a key backer of the Senate version of the bill, in an interview with HuffPost. “I think they are still so kowtowing to the extreme on the right that they’re not even listening to the moderates, and particularly the women, in their caucus who are saying they support this.”

    • Thom Hartmann mentioned that one does not have to be a member of the House to be elected speaker. Never happened, but nothing in that scrap of paper bars that from happening.

  13. Happy 121st!

    ‎”All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost.”

    J.R.R. Tolkien (born January 3, 1892)

    The Man In The Moon Came Down Too Soon

    There is an inn, a merry old inn
    beneath an old grey hill,
    And there they brew a beer so brown
    That the Man in the Moon himself came down
    one night to drink his fill.

    …With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
    the cow jumped over the Moon,
    And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
    And the Saturday dish went off at a run
    with the silver Sunday spoon.

    The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
    as the Sun raised up her head.
    She* hardly believed her fiery eyes;
    For though it was day, to her surprise
    they all went back to bed!

  14. Happy 121st!

    ‎”All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost.”

    J.R.R. Tolkien (born January 3, 1892)

    The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon

    There is an inn, a merry old inn
    beneath an old grey hill,
    And there they brew a beer so brown
    That the Man in the Moon himself came down
    one night to drink his fill.

    …With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
    the cow jumped over the Moon,
    And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
    And the Saturday dish went off at a run
    with the silver Sunday spoon.

    The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
    as the Sun raised up her head.
    She* hardly believed her fiery eyes;
    For though it was day, to her surprise
    they all went back to bed!

  15. Well, I see I’m not the only one who’s been under the weather. My sister’s Christmas present to me was a bug she brought from the mall where she was working. Even the cat had a fever and was drooling as bad as me! My fever may have infected my brain because I’ve been thinking about applying for a job.

      • BTW. The next time my doctor wants to check on my cholesterol during flu season I think I’ll tell him to get stuffed. I have an even chance of escaping infection from “kid germs” during the summer but during winter my chance of infection nears 100%.

        It really bugs me because I’m downright paranoid about germs in the clinic. I bring wipes, try to avoid touching anything, and even use my own pen when I check in but the airborne buggers still find me. I suppose I could wear a mask but that seems to make the other patients nervous.

        • Always keep your hands away from your face during flu season — particularly your eyes and nose. That’s mainly how the bugs get into your system. And stay away from waiting rooms full of curtain climbing paper shredders. 🙂

          All y’all do me a favor and keep the bugs to yourselves!

    • I am convinced that many birds are smarter and more artistic than many humans. Even the dumbest of them have language and an ability to navigate in three dimensions. Those are two tricks that are beyond the capabilities of many hairless apes. When one factors in the more advanced avian species that make and use tools? There’s really no insult in calling someone a “bird brain”.

      Of course, it shouldn’t be surprising when one considers that they are the ultimate, to date, evolution of dinosaurs. They represent a group of creatures that have dominated the planet for so long that that the whole history of mammals is just a blink of the eye.

  16. We now have 2 new Senators with a strong Progressive background. With luck they will show the other old farts and some of the not so old farts what has to be done.

  17. QOTD II:

    “I think it was a vote of no confidence. In this town the intimidation was intense. There were a lot of members who wanted to vote no,” – congressman Tim Huelskamp, Republican of Kansas, about John Boehner’s re-election as Speaker of the House.

  18. So I’m looking up some info on deviated septums cuz my air passage in one nostril is almost nil, and I go to the Mayo clinic online and start reading. I look over on the left side of the page and there’s an ad featuring “an important message” from President and CEO of Mayo Clinic, John H. Noseworthy, M.D.

    Then I click over to HuffPo and the BIG font headline on the lead story is, BY A NOSE.

    I smell something funny going on here….

  19. Another new level of disgusting behavior.

    Remember that brief moment that the Dems controlled both houses? The GOoPers do and never pass up an opportunity to claim that “Obama could have done anything he wanted”. They even take it a step further and assert that “Obama got everything he wanted”. And yet? They don’t seem to realize that the GOoPers can, by the same logic, bring any bill they want to a vote. Boner doesn’t have to wait for the Senate to provide a bill. He just has to find someone on the right side of the aisle who can type complete sentences.

    Oops! I forgot. Everything is Obama’s fault. Carry on.

  20. We already knew this by observing our resident pachydiplax:

    Dragonflies Have Human-Like ‘Selective Attention’

    In a discovery that may prove important for cognitive science, our understanding of nature and applications for robot vision, researchers at the University of Adelaide have found evidence that the dragonfly is capable of higher-level thought processes when hunting its prey.

  21. OK Progressives! Tonight we have a football game between Oregon and Kansas State. Does anybody here need more than one guess who this entire blog should be rooting for?

  22. Right-wing civics teacher says:

    “Repeat after me. Everything bad is Obama’s fault. Everything good… scratch that. Nothing good can happen while there’s a black guy in the White House.”

  23. Meet ‘Sutro Sam

    Naturalists and wildlife aficionados are atwitter about the unexplained presence of a river otter at the ruins of Sutro Baths, the first of the furry mammals seen in San Francisco in at least a half century.

  24. I don’t see what could POSSIBLY go wrong:

    Especially when the

    Recommended methods for dispatching the animals include hacking off their heads with a machete or shooting them with a gun .

    hmm wonder how many ‘hunting’ accidents will be reported.

  25. Politics in our country have become like reality TV, a TV drama or WWE Wrestling. Suddenly we have more plots with a new manufactured crisis every month or two while the citizens of Main Street USA continue to get trampled on.

    I don’t care which party is in charge anymore (okay I do)…its all a spectacle with political posturing by two political parties, both of whom serve the same masters…Wall Street, Banks, Multinational Corporations, Big Business, the 1%, the Military Industrial Complex, Big Pharma, Big Aggie, etc, etc, etc….You’d think I’d be happy that Willard Rmoney didn’t steal the 2012 presidential election.

    • Hi, IC.

      A friend and I were just talking about government regulation and I imagined this exchange.

      Pro-regulation: It’s not technically illegal but you guys are cheating so we need more regulations.
      Anti-regulation: We wouldn’t cheat if there were no regulations.
      Pro-regulation: But you guys are cheating now even though there’s almost no regulation.
      Anti-regulation: If we did away with those few regulations then what we’re doing wouldn’t be cheating.

      And it goes around again, and again, and…

  26. Recently watched ‘American Coup’ on Link TV. It was about the CIA overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected Prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953. I already knew about this but its sad more Americans don’t. It was all done at the behest of what is now known as British Petroleum.

    The CIA’s Kermit Roosevelt, he hired one mob of Iranians to oppose Mosaddegh, holding signs proclaiming he supported communism, then Roosevelt hired another mob of Iranians who were pro-Mosaddegh to clash in the streets with the first mob to make it appear that Mosaddegh not only had ties to the Soviet Union but that he totally lost control of his country.

    Makes me wonder if the Spring uprisings across the Middle East was also staged by our CIA for other reasons???????

      • Historically, most Senate confirmations have been non-controversial and pass on unanimous votes. The US Senate operates on unanimous consent and a single Senator, for whatever reason he or she chooses, can block any Senate action on almost anything. And that’s not even counting the filibuster. When McConnell agreed to let Harry Reid do that, he took a chance which only through the agreement of Reid’s word did not result ion some of the controversial appointments being made. Reid could have gone through a whole bunch of things all by himself, in his capacity as Senate Majority Leader, and being the only Senator on the floor (except the presiding officer), no one could have objected or stopped him. He could have done even more that night.

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