Guess what happens on Monday?

The United States Treasury hits the statutory national debt ceiling, that’s what happens!

Debt Ceiling Debate Begins In Earnest As U.S. Hits Deficit Limit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will reach the limits of its borrowing authority on Monday, but don’t expect to hear alarm bells in Washington or on Wall Street.

Rather, that ringing sound you hear is the opening bell in a fight that’s likely to last a full 15 rounds.

It’s a moment the Obama administration has warned about for months. Without congressional action, the Treasury Department will be shut out from the bond markets and the country could eventually default on its obligations, an event that would roil markets and economies across the globe.

There will be little immediate financial impact when the United States reaches its existing $14.294 trillion debt ceiling, as the Treasury Department says it can stave off a default until early August. Observers don’t expect Congress to swing into action until the last possible minute.

Bond markets have remained placid as traders calculate that despite the theatrics in Washington, the chances of default are extremely small.

“I don’t think this is a big story yet,” said Dan Ripp, an analyst with Bradley Woods, a securities firm in New York. . . . .

Unlike nearly every other developed country, the United States can’t increase its borrowing authority without legislative action.

This is a mixed blessing for Congress: The public is overwhelmingly opposed to a debt-limit increase, and the vote to raise the limit is always politically painful. But it gives lawmakers further leverage over federal spending.

“The beauty of the debt ceiling issue is it gets results,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday.

And leverage is what Republicans need. We won control of the House of Representatives in the last elections, but the Democrats still control the Senate, 53-47, and Barack Obama is still the President. The Republicans already caved in on the FY2011 budget: after laboring mightily, the Congress has produced a mouse, a budget deal which will cut a whopping $38 billion from FY2011 spending. This was the “compromise” reached between the original $100 billion cut proposed, before the Republicans compromised with themselves, and passed an omnibus spending bill which cut only $61 billion from the rest of FY2011, and then wound up having to compromise further with the Democrats, who had proposed huge, draconian, incredibly austere cuts of $6.5 billion.

The Republicans in the House, deathly afraid of the political blame for a looming government shutdown, despite the backing of the base that gave them the House majority in the first place, bought into a much smaller spending cut, and then, after the hoopla concerning this huge accomplishment, this monstrous spending cut, even that turned out to be virtually nothing:


The truth behind the $38 billion budget cuts


By Bob Schieffer (CBS News)

Before we get too far in the new debate on spending, just a word about last week’s news – the so called “historic compromise” that prevented a government shutdown and cut an astounding $38 billion from this year’s budget.

Whether or not you thought the cuts came in the right programs, that’s a big deal. Thirty-eight billion dollars is a lot of money.

Or is it?

Well, thanks to the Congressional Budget Office and some great reporting by the Washington Post, it turns out the government won’t be cutting $38 billion in one year after all.

No, the real cuts will be more like $352 million!

You heard me right, $352 million, NOT $38 billion.

The rest? Mostly smoke, mirrors and accounting gimmicks.

Example: When projects like the Capitol Visitor Center came in under budget – it was supposed to cost $621 million and an actually cost less than $600 – auditors called the unspent, left over money a “spending cut.” The Washington Post found that in 98 cases where the government had allotted money to federal agencies that was never spent, in each case it was called a “spending cut.”

On big-ticket items like aircraft carriers whose full cost won’t come due for five or six years, the entire cost was deducted as a “cut” in this year’s budget.

We bemoan the fact that government can’t break its spending habits, can’t do what it needs to do, but what I find more disappointing — is appalling too strong a word? — is that try as they might, neither side can seem to find a way to tell the truth.

No, appalling is not too strong a word; it might be too mild a word in this case.

Well, while a government shutdown would (probably) have hurt the Republicans politically — though it should have hurt the Democrats even more — as the linked Reuters story notes, the public are “overwhelmingly opposed” to increasing the debt ceiling.


Americans Oppose Raising Debt Ceiling, 47% to 19%

Thirty-four percent don’t know enough about the issue to say

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

PRINCETON, NJ — By a 47% to 19% margin, Americans say they would want their member of Congress to vote against raising the U.S. debt ceiling, while 34% don’t know enough to say. Republicans oppose raising the debt ceiling by 70% to 8% and independents by 46% to 15%. Democrats favor raising the ceiling by 33% to 26%.

May 2011: Americans' Feelings About Raising the Federal Debt Ceiling, Among All Americans and by Party ID

Those are the results of a Gallup Poll, conducted May 5th through 8th, which asked for opinions about raising the debt ceiling but did not offer reasons for or against raising it.

To put it in simple language for the Republicans: Dudes! Your electoral base opposes raising the debt ceiling by a 70% to 8% margin!

There is a huge caveat in there, however. Not in what was asked, but in how questions were answered:

A majority of Americans (57%) say they are closely following the news about “discussions to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, the maximum amount of money the U.S. government can borrow by law.” Republicans are following the issue more closely than are Democrats and independents; upper-income Americans are following it more closely than lower-income Americans; and those with a postgraduate education more so than those with a high school education or less.

May 2008: How Closely Americans Are Following Discussions About Raising the Federal Debt Ceiling, Among All Americans and by Party ID

Americans are more likely to oppose than favor raising the debt ceiling, regardless of how closely they are following the news about the issue. Among the 23% who are following the debt ceiling discussion very closely, 62% are opposed and 25% are in favor of raising the current ceiling. Among those who are following the issue less closely, opposition outnumbers support by at least a 2-to-1 margin.

I, for one, don’t believe that 57% of Americans “are closely following the news about discussions to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.” While I can believe that Republicans are following it more closely than Democrats and independents, and that higher-producing and better educated Americans are following it more closely than their less educated and poorer brethren — since higher-producing and better educated are coterminous with being Republican — I’d bet a case of Mountain Dew that if you asked 100 adults what the current statutory debt ceiling is, you wouldn’t find more than 20 who’d know it to within a trillion dollars.

But the opening is there for Republicans: if they can educate the American people about what the debt ceiling is, why we’ve reached it, and what would happen if it was raised, the public have a natural inclination to side with the position of not raising it, unless there are real, substantial spending cuts linked to it, something that is secure and solid enough for the American people to say, OK, we can agree to a debt ceiling increase now, because we know that we are on a path to eventually cutting the debt. Without such an agreement, then the public would probably say, we’ll keep the debt limit where it is right now, and take whatever comes from not raising it.

The Republicans can win on this, if they show that they have the courage to fight for the right positions. If they don’t demonstrate that courage, the base will desert them, and they’ll be in the minority once again.

52 Comments

  1. And you complain about gas prices now…

    Interesting point of view over here, Krugman on Amanpour: http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/krugman-let-them-default#comments

    Great first comment, too:

    I actually think President Obama ought to step in and declare this a national security risk. He could further point out that the Constitution specifically prohibits the U.S. from defaulting on its debts, and so the debt ceiling itself could be considered unconstitutional. File briefs with Treasury, instructing them not to shut down the gov’t, and with SCOTUS to explain the legal reasoning.

    Then perhaps send a letter to Speaker Boehner explaining what’s been done, and call him to task for violating his oath of office.

  2. But the opening is there for Republicans: if they can educate the American people about what the debt ceiling is, why we’ve reached it, and what would happen if it was raised,

    Dana, it’s already been established you have little idea what you’re talking about with regards economics (remember your confusion on the budget deficit and the trade deficit?)

    So what exactly do you think will happen if teh Republicans do not raise the debt limit?

  3. Blubonnet says:
    15 May 2011 at 21:03
    Listening to Rush Limbaugh causes brain damage, York, whatcha doin that for?

    For one reason here. I would say most of the people on this and many other blogs right or left follow the news have have a releatively solid handle on many of the events in the country and the world. The speakers who are responding to the WJR reporter have no idea of politics, its function, who represents them, how to get involved on either side of the aisle, just be involved. And from listening to the set up by Rush, then the reporter, the people being interviewed appear to be in their early 20′s and believe it is the role of government to maintain their life styles. Or to put it another way, they have no understanding of how the coutry’s laws and goverment work, except as a large ATM Machine.

  4. Blubonnet says:
    15 May 2011 at 21:03
    Listening to Rush Limbaugh causes brain damage, York, whatcha doin that for?

    Oh, and I can handle a certain amount of drain bamage. :-|

  5. I’d bet a case of Mountain Dew that if you asked 100 adults what the current statutory debt ceiling is, you wouldn’t find more than 20 who’d know it to within a trillion dollars.

    withhout looking, it $14,300,000,000,000 :-(

  6. For one reason here. I would say most of the people on this and many other blogs right or left follow the news have have a releatively solid handle on many of the events in the country and the world.

    You are the person who insisted again and again and again that the birth certificate Obama posted years ago lacked certain elements – despite being linked to photographs of just those elements?

    Yeah – such a “solid handle” on reality there, Yorkshire.

  7. For one reason here. I would say most of the people on this and many other blogs right or left follow the news have have a releatively solid handle on many of the events in the country and the world.

    You are the person who insisted again and again and again that the birth certificate Obama posted years ago lacked certain elements – despite being linked to photographs of just those elements?

    Yeah – such a “solid handle” on reality there, Yorkshire…

  8. You have no idea the level of control our government now has a hand in the “news”, and you won’t find out, because, it would make you have to think outside of the little box. Information isn’t sought, it’s avoided, by many here, both sides of the aisle.

  9. Consider the results of your blindly obliging what the common media says. You want to know if you are grievously wrong, don’t you? I’m assuming you don’t know everything that is, correct? I don’t. You don’t.

    I’m wondering if you will work to protect your ignorance or to honestly try to assess the situation, video documentation of what goes on, and where was our war profiteering media? As I post this, I maybe foolishly, giving benefit of the doubt that learning is what we all want to do. Compassion in our hearts, we all want to know we have it. Do you? It’s called: THE WAR YOU DON’T SEE, by John Pilger, a stellar documentary film maker, that may well win some journalist award, it wouldn’t surprise me.

    By the way, it’s NOT about 911, so don’t worry, you needn’t run.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8SrRTEW338

  10. Nangleator quoted:

    I actually think President Obama ought to step in and declare this a national security risk. He could further point out that the Constitution specifically prohibits the U.S. from defaulting on its debts, and so the debt ceiling itself could be considered unconstitutional. File briefs with Treasury, instructing them not to shut down the gov’t, and with SCOTUS to explain the legal reasoning.

    Then perhaps send a letter to Speaker Boehner explaining what’s been done, and call him to task for violating his oath of office.

    Not too well thought out, I’d say. While the government is not allowed to default on its obligations, the Constitution also prohibits the expenditure of funds from the Treasury which have not been appropriated by Congress. That would mean that the payment of debts coming due would have priority over other government spending.

    Nor could the President “instruct (the Treasury) not to shut down the gov’t” if the Treasury lacks the funds to keep it open.

    Naturally, there will be no immediate or near term default: the Treasury has already said that they can keep things running until about August with smoke-and-mirrors accounting gimmicks, so it would also be difficult for the President to declare some sort of national emergency over this.

    But, getting back to the original article, just what part of the public do not support increasing the debt limit is so very difficult for people to understand? The people are just plain tired of all of this spend, spend, spend mentality; they didn’t vote the Democrats out because they love the Republicans, but because they are just plain fed up with the same old business as usual in Washington.

  11. Blubonnet says:
    16 May 2011 at 15:09
    You have no idea the level of control our government now has a hand in the “news”, and you won’t find out, because, it would make you have to think outside of the little box. Information isn’t sought, it’s avoided, by many here, both sides of the aisle.

    Some of the problem is information is not made public, what is made public bears no resemblence to the truth, the spin machines of all the politicians make the story unrecognizable even if you witnessed it yourself, and if you had inside information, that will not be the story told. I have no trust of the print media. More now, than before. It seems the days of Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen are dead. One reporter gets the story, and newspapers get that story from UPI or the AP, or few others. You could send five reporters to an event, you’ll get 10 to 15 different stories. It’s almost like the game where 10 to 15 people sit in a circle. One person is given a written 2 or 3 sentence statement. And the starter will pass it vebally left or right, and by the time it gets back to the starter, it’s a different story altogether with none of the original facts.

  12. Well, nice to agree on some things, York. I hope you get to watch the video. It is amazing.

  13. But the opening is there for Republicans: if they can educate the American people about what the debt ceiling is, why we’ve reached it, and what would happen if it was raised, the public have a natural inclination to side with the position of not raising it, unless there are real, substantial spending cuts linked to it, something that is secure and solid enough for the American people to say, OK, we can agree to a debt ceiling increase now, because we know that we are on a path to eventually cutting the debt. Without such an agreement, then the public would probably say, we’ll keep the debt limit where it is right now, and take whatever comes from not raising it.

    Uh-huh.

    It turns out the six-month spending bill Congress passed in April increased discretionary outlays through the remainder of the fiscal year by a bit over $3 billion. In other words, total direct spending will be higher by the end of September than if Congress had just set spending on autopilot for the remainder of the fiscal year back in April.

    “Total discretionary outlays in 2011 will be $3.2 billion higher as a result of the legislation, CBO estimates–an increase of $7.5 billion for defense programs, partially offset by a net reduction of $4.4 billion in other spending,” reads a just-released report from the Congressional Budget Office — Congress’ non-partisan scorekeeper. Analysts there conclude that increase is due in large part to the fact that the six month spending bill shifted defense spending to more immediate activities, which means the bills will come due sooner than later.
    [...]
    “CBO had previously estimated that the full-year appropriation act will yield a net reduction of $0.4 billion in nonemergency outlays in 2011,” the report says. “The comparison shown here is different: It includes emergency appropriations, excludes the effects of changes in mandatory programs, and incorporates adjustments to various estimating parameters that were applied to the appropriation act to make them consistent with the March 2011 baseline.”

    By the way – at present, the US government borrows money using Treasury Bills. It is paying about 3% as a nominal interest rate on 1 year bonds, and not much more for 10 year bonds. The inflation rate in the US is around 3.2% at the moment. So, at the moment, borrowing money costs, well, nothing – if it was spent on anything remotely useful, it would be a bargain for the US.

    More secondary teachers. Upgrading roading. Paying for students to go to university. Cleaner water. Better healthcare.

    But the US has lost the gumption to invest in the future, because the richest 1% profit from consuming that future, and their political lackeys and easily-fooled dupes are parroting their specious arguments.

    And that’s why the US is declining and China growing – because China still believes in a future.

    [retrieved from moderation - pH]

  14. The US Government brings in billions of dollars of taxpayer money every day. That is enough to cover the interest payment on the debt and the Constitutionally mandated DOD and the salaries of the elected Congress and the elected Pres/Veep and the Constitutionally mandated SCOTUS.

    Whichever idiot Leftist it was who claimed not increasing the debt limit was a violation of the oath of office to uphold the US Constitution needs to go back to high school and learn what the US Constitution actually says. But then, he’d be in danger of no longer being a Leftist since Leftists actually don’t care what the US Constitution says and even Leftist Universities don’t require knowing what the US Constitution says in their Constitutional Law curricula.

  15. Whichever idiot Leftist it was who claimed not increasing the debt limit was a violation of the oath of office to uphold the US Constitution needs to go back to high school and learn what the US Constitution actually says.

    “Congress shall have the power … To borrow money on the credit of the United States”.

    Hypothetical teabagger : “Congress doesn’t have the power to borrow money because an earlier Congress said so”.

    But you are correct – it is not the teabaggers talking about not raising the debt limit that are unConstitutional.

    It’s those talking about stealing the bonds held by Social Security to pay for taxcuts to their owners that are unConstitutional.

    “4. 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”

    [released from moderation - pH]

  16. Once Dana releases Pho’s comment after scrubbing it (or some idiot Leftist releases it without scrubbing it), this comment will fit in better. Pho, you really do need to learn about the US Constitution instead of blindly quoting small snippets without actually understanding what you read. But you’re not actually into understanding what you read, are you? You’re into your Socialist dogma, Constitutions be damned.

  17. Your comments are those in need of scrubbing, JH, preferably by you yourself! You consistently defy the blog owner’s wishes for civility.

  18. Blubonnet says:
    16 May 2011 at 22:54 (Edit)
    Well, nice to agree on some things, York. I hope you get to watch the video. It is amazing.

    Tonight I’ll watch it.

    Has everybody noticed it’s Tuesday and we’re still here?

  19. Wow, York, I love you for that! There are some Righties with a conscience after all.

    Hitchcock, you are the foulest one around, nasty, rude, arrogant. Believe me, being nice to you hasn’t been easy,I’m sure for most of us observing your astonishing ignorance. Mostly, I don’t think I can tolerate you, and pretend to be respectful, because it’s hard to respect someone with such voluntary ignorance. Unwilling to learn. Hideous, and willful blindness That is why I don’t like coming here much. Revulsion of you. I don’t think I can stand being polite to you at this point, especially when others have tried. I have tried, and somehow, you think none of it matter, because you are John Hitchcock, who doesn’t have to be respectful. It’s bad enough how delusional you are, but obnoxious too.

  20. Has everybody noticed it’s Tuesday and we’re still here?

    I’m glad you support budget-cutting, Yorkshire.

    The first results show people like yourself will be among the first sacrificed as governments cut back.

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  24. The first results show people like yourself will be among the first sacrificed as governments cut back.

    No, I won’t be. I know this is bad news for you. I have the credit cards paid off, the house is paid for, and May 31st, I’m out of here to retirement land. And you’ll be dusting books.

  25. Perhaps he did read the link . . . and noticed that it was a local story, referring to San José and Santa Clara County in California, rather far from his home in Pennsylvania.

    California is in deep, deep trouble, because, despite having a very large tax burden — and the state wanting to increase that — California has been overspending, and is in a deep budget hole.

    California ought to be one of the states that you’d like the most, Phoe: it has a large social welfare system and it leads our nation in goofy “green” legislation. The Pyrite State is closer than any other to the way you think a government ought to be run. Too bad businesses are fleeing the state.

  26. Oh, and it’s Wednesday evening now, well after the federal government offices in the District of Columbia have closed, and we still haven’t collapsed. Perhaps the collapse will arrive on December 21 of next year. :)

  27. Perhaps he did read the link . . . and noticed that it was a local story, referring to San José and Santa Clara County in California, rather far from his home in Pennsylvania.

    No, but as California goes, so the US follows in a decade or so.

    California ought to be one of the states that you’d like the most, Phoe: it has a large social welfare system and it leads our nation in goofy “green” legislation.

    You are, of course, speaking bullshit again. Go look into the Resource Management Act and see how a responsible country tries handling environmental issues.

    California’s problems are those of the rest of the country – an oligarchy avoiding taxes and civil commitment, and a bunch of idiots being led by the loudest voices into looking the other way. The use of direct democracy to make the State fiscally unmanageable was particularly brilliant.

  28. Phoenician in a time of Romans says:
    18 May 2011 at 18:34 (Edit)
    You didn’t read the link, huh?

    Again.

    Typical.

    I Did read the link. It doesn’t affect me on the east coast like it might on the west coast. If you read my comment after, it pertains to the link. Have fun dusting books.

  29. The Phoenician wrote:

    No, but as California goes, so the US follows in a decade or so.

    Which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid!

    California’s problems are those of the rest of the country – an oligarchy avoiding taxes and civil commitment, and a bunch of idiots being led by the loudest voices into looking the other way. The use of direct democracy to make the State fiscally unmanageable was particularly brilliant.

    Well, we knew that you were no fan of democracy — the people make such horrible choices! — but it’s pretty difficult to say that California has “an oligarchy avoiding taxes,” given that California’s income taxes are just what you’d like, extremely “progressive,”.

    California is already trying just the things you advocate for the United States as a whole . . . and it’s developed into a state with a huge budget deficit, despite high taxes. They are having toi cut budgets now because they can’t pay for things.

    In 2009, the Governator and the state legislature asked the voters to approve a large, but temporary — yeah, right! — tax increase. I know that you disapprove of the public actually having democratic choices, but despite the pro-Proposition 1A forces outspending the opposition by a huge margin, and despite all of the union and civic leaders telling the people that they just had to approve that tax increase, and despite the state telling everybody that horrible, draconian, just awful spending cuts would have to be made if they didn’t approve that tax increase, the voters of the Golden State defeated Proposition 1A by an almost two-to-one margin.

    Of course, the kind of people you have supported being in power, people like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi, they’d have had no problem increasing taxes if they thought it was necessary. To you, I suppose that’s just good government.

  30. Well, we knew that you were no fan of democracy —

    No, Dana – that’s your schtick. i support representative democracy – elected representatives. You support aristocracy – representatives appointed by the Republican Party with voting rendered meaningless. Remember?

    California has the highest sales taxes in the country – I don’t like sales taxes. I’d cut sales taxes and tax carbon emissions to make up the revenue.

  31. You will also note that California gets $0.81 in federal spending for every $1 it sends to the Federal level. Alaska gets $1.82 and Alabama $1.61.

    A lot of California’s budget woes would go if it spent its money on its own State rather than supporting Red State welfare queens.

  32. You will also note that California gets $0.81 in federal spending for every $1 it sends to the Federal level. Alaska gets $1.82 and Alabama $1.61.

    A lot of California’s budget woes would go if it spent its money on its own State rather than supporting Red State welfare queens.

    I like that use of context-free declarations. With the military presence in Alaska (you know that whole Constitution thing about “national defense”), there is a bit of a cost involved.

    But you’re right. The federal government does indeed tax people too much and should reduce those taxes so the various states could keep more of their own money at home. And don’t forget, the US currently has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, trailing only Japan and by fractions of a percent, and destroying economic growth opportunities as a result.

  33. The Phoenician wrote:

    Well, we knew that you were no fan of democracy —

    No, Dana – that’s your schtick. i support representative democracy – elected representatives. You support aristocracy – representatives appointed by the Republican Party with voting rendered meaningless. Remember?

    Odd, somehow I never would have interpreted your oft-stated position that we should never have deposed Saddam Hussein or the Taliban or be working to depose Muammar Qaddafi as supporting representative democracy. But, ignoring that part, you have just complained that I support “aristocracy,” when you have just taken a distinction in the kind of democracy you support, specifying “representative democracy” over just plain democracy; your previous complaint about “direct democracy” is noted here.

    We here also supported the election process, remember? We were the ones who were looking forward to the 2010 elections, and the expressed will of the people in what we hoped would be a repudiation of the policies of the previous majority party, and, fortunately, we got our wish. You might even recall that I wrote, just yesterday, about taking my younger daughter to vote for the first time.

    Oh, I know: that just goes against all of your prejudices, doesn’t it?

    Come this November, we’ll be having our next general elections. In Pennsylvania, that means school boards, it means borough councils, it means county commissioners, basically our local level of government. Next year, we’ll be voting again on our state representatives and our federal representatives, our senators, and the president. I’m very hopeful that we’ll retain the House, and take the Senate and White House, but all of that remains to be seen.

  34. The Phoenician gets explicit:

    California has the highest sales taxes in the country – I don’t like sales taxes. I’d cut sales taxes and tax carbon emissions to make up the revenue.

    Oh, so you’d tax something that most poorer people can’t avoid — few of them can afford to buy an expensive hybrid or overpriced total electric car — and reduce the tax burden on those people wealthy enough to buy such vehicles! Now I understand! :)

    I know: you never looked at it that way, but face facts: taxes are going to hurt whomever has to pay them, and the poor, having less flexibility in their ability to use their income, have less opportunity to avoid certain taxes.

    Further, your tax proposal makes little sense given your objectives. Since you want to see carbon emissions decreased, if you put the tax on those emissions you automatically decrease state revenue as those emissions decrease. The government is already seeing that problem, as more fuel efficient automobiles are leading to lower fuel consumption, and this less gasoline tax revenue, so now they’re trying to figure out how to tax highway mileage rather than fuel.

  35. Odd, somehow I never would have interpreted your oft-stated position that we should never have deposed Saddam Hussein or the Taliban or be working to depose Muammar Qaddafi as supporting representative democracy.

    You seem to have missed the teeny tiny little factor of murdering thousands of people in “working to depose” tyrants, or the teeny tiny minor factor that you’ve replaced them with governments that torture and murder as well.

    We here also supported the election process, remember?

    No, you didn’t. You claim that your comment about subverting elections being okay was a joke – but you’ve made similiar comments on Pandagon in dead earnest.

    when you have just taken a distinction in the kind of democracy you support, specifying “representative democracy” over just plain democracy; your previous complaint about “direct democracy” is noted here.

    Indeed – Edmond Burke.

    [Edited to close html tag -- DRP]

  36. Comment in moderation (and with a tag error – *sigh*)

    Regarding that comemnt, see here for an example:

    And voting is a privilege, treated entirely different from a right. The things we legally consider rights — freedom of speech, trial by jury, due process of law, etc — are constitutionally extended to all “persons” within the jurisdiction, whether citizens or not, regardless of age, whether convicted felons or not, and without a requirement for prior registration.

    To vote, you must register to vote, you must be a resident of a particular district, you must either go to a specific location at an appointed time or go to the courthouse to pick up an absentee ballot — again, within a specific timeframe — you must have attained legal majority, and you must not be a convicted felon. (Some states do allow felons to regain the privilege to vote, but they often have several additional requirements to be met.)

    We like to refer to it as the right to vote, but legally it is treated as a privilege.

    Uh-huh.

    “1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

    “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

    “1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”

    “1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”

    Dana’s comments previously demonstrate that he thinks its fine and dandy to abridge the right to vote if a person is a member of a group likely to vote Democrat, to put up barriers that discourage people voting Democrat, and to outright engage in fraud if it helps Republicans win.

  37. Man, you really are obsessed if you have kept a reference to a comment made on a defunct edition of Pandagon, 3 years and 6 days ago! :) And at 1:59 PM, when you ought to be at work, too!

    But what, exactly, did you find wrong with what I said? Did I fail to describe our voting procedure correctly? All of the things I mentioned — the requirement to register, the requirement to have attained majority, the requirement to reside within the jurisdiction, and the requirement (depending upon the state) to not be a convicted felon — have all been found perfectly constitutional by our courts.

    [Comment edited at 2216 -- DRP]

  38. The Phoenician wrote:

    You seem to have missed the teeny tiny little factor of murdering thousands of people in “working to depose” tyrants, or the teeny tiny minor factor that you’ve replaced them with governments that torture and murder as well.

    Oh, so no revolution or any other action against a tyrannical government is legitimate if some innocent people get hurt? By that, we should still be subjects of the Crown, but, then again, this whole continent should be run by the Indians. And your island nation run by the Maori.

    The governments installed in Iraq and Afghanistan are not perfect, but, then again, no government is. They’re still a heck of a lot better than what was there before.

    Well, at least they are in my opinion, but, then again, I’m not the one who’d rather see Saddam Hussein still ruling Iraq.

  39. Oh, so no revolution or any other action against a tyrannical government is legitimate if some innocent people get hurt?

    We’re not talking about a revolution, Dana. We’re talking about an invasion.

    Consider the idea of China coming in and bombing your cities, your neighbourhood, and murdering your family – and justifying it by calling it a “liberation” from teh tyranny of Obama.

    The governments installed in Iraq and Afghanistan are not perfect, but, then again, no government is. They’re still a heck of a lot better than what was there before.

    Well, at least they are in my opinion

    In the opinion of the people who live under them, they’re not.

    Torture in Iraq is worse now than it was under the regime of Saddam Hussein and “is totally out of hand”, according to a United Nations investigator.

    “The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein,” said Manfred Nowak, a UN special investigator on torture, at a press conference in Geneva.

    He said government forces, private militia and terrorist groups were all involved.

    “You have terrorist groups, you have the military, you have police, you have these militias. There are so many people who are actually abducted, seriously tortured and finally killed,” said Mr Nowak, an Austrian law professor.

    “It’s not just torture by the government. There are much more brutal methods of torture you’ll find by private militias.”

    You know this. You’re just playing games to avoid dealing with the reality of what your country has done.

    I hope that somebody “liberates” America in the same way you’ve “liberated” Iraq and Afghanistan. And if you think that’s evil of me to say so, then take a good hard look at yourself.

  40. I understand that the Rapture is scheduled for Saturday. One can only hope that the most sanctimonious groups of right-wing Jebus-waving Americans do, in fact, disappear – your country would be so much better off and the world might be more peaceful.

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  43. The Phoenician wrote:

    I understand that the Rapture is scheduled for Saturday. One can only hope that the most sanctimonious groups of right-wing Jebus-waving Americans do, in fact, disappear – your country would be so much better off and the world might be more peaceful.

    Well, Phoe, if it does happen, that would mean that the rest of the rapture prediction would come true: given that the prophesy supposedly means that the Tribulation — a time of worldwide hardships, disasters, famine, war, pain and suffering, and, apparently, an American debt default, which will wipe out more than 75% of all life on the earth — will follow, which is pretty much what we’d see if all of us sanctimonious groups of right-wing Jebus-waving Americans are spirited away to heaven.

    A time when liberals ruled, with no brake on their wildest dreams? Hell on earth indeed!

  44. Well, Phoe, if it does happen, that would mean that the rest of the rapture prediction would come true

    Logic – you fail it forever.

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