The Mishmash


You should really check this NYT story about the infamous deal. Apparently, the number of  cherries for the middle class is much higher than what we can see with the mushroom cloud above and all around. What can I say, Democrats sure knows how to pick their battles and when to suddenly find their “principles”. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad:

Tax Benefits to Middle Could Lift President Obama

The full scope of those goodies is fully discernible only by poring over the bill and its head-spinning array of provisions…

The single most expensive component of the package — other than the continuation of all of the marginal rates — is a two-year adjustment of the alternative minimum tax, to prevent it from hitting millions more households. This would insulate couples with income up to $72,450 in 2010 and $74,450 in 2011 at a cost of $137 billion, according to a detailed cost analysis by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Middle- and upper-middle-income Americans will also benefit most from the one-year payroll tax cut, which will reduce the Social Security tax on income up to $106,800 to 4.2 percent from 6.2 percent. For couples with two incomes, each above the maximum, the tax savings will be $4,272. That provision will cost $112 billion.

The extension of jobless benefits, by contrast, will cost just under $57 billion, according to the joint tax committee.

And other provisions that benefit the middle class have gotten virtually no attention, including a temporary repeal of a limit on itemized deductions and repeal of the phaseout for personal exemptions. Together, those tax breaks will cost nearly $21 billion.


Anyone else feel less stressed these days? 🙂

AP analysis: Economic stress falls to 18-month low


More export-focused diplomacy


And more quiet diplomacy:


Dear Wisconsin and Ohio, next time think twice before voting for Republicans:


U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that $1.195 billion in high-speed rail funds originally designated for Wisconsin and Ohio will be redirected to other states eager to develop high-speed rail corridors across the United States. 



Go read rootless’ excellent post on how America under president Obama is turning into a global leader in smart battery manufacturing:

  Batteries and dumb versus smart government




53 thoughts on “The Mishmash

  1. How can you not love this President who is always so cute and engaging with kids?—-“Oh this is so heavy. I need your help”. And the sweet elves say, “I can help.” (Dems, listen up!) And warm Michelle gathers that cute little elf up in her loving arms, bringing her into the fold. I just love this remarkable couple.

  2. The sudan news is big. Is’nt this what George Clooney was working on. This is a BFD. Sudan, Oh this should be highlighted.

  3. This should be all over the news. Wow! I got check this out more. Years of killings, I know it will take a lot to get things going, but he was able to get them together. That picture you posted one time of them talking at the White house! was the planning. I am in tears , this is so great. They can’t mock the peace prize now.

  4. Thanks BWD, your site keeps me out of despair about the future of this country. My head continues to hurt as I try to understand why so many progressives are actively working to return Dick Cheney’s cabal to power. It helps to be here and at Blue Wave News – it’s not Progressives, it’s a group of people who seem to be happiest when they have an enemy in WH – real, imagined, it doesn’t matter. The world seems to feel right to them when they return to their psychic roots – hate the Pres and feel victimized. How sad, for all of us.



  6. haha—-The View just showed the embarrassing clip of “Boner” inexplicably sobbing all over the place on 60 Minutes last night, and Barbara Walters said that he has an emotional problem, that “Any time he talks about anything that is not ‘raise taxes’, he cries.” And Joy followed that up with the point that Boehner cries all the time about his hard scrap life but has no compassion now for anyone else who finds themselves in similar tough circumstances.
    And Joy told about attending the WH Christmas party last night which she was very excited about. She said it was such a great experience and that President Obama hugged her and she asked, “How are you doing?” and he said, “Great, now that you’re here.” Awww, wasn’t that nice? And Joy said her boyfriend was just gushing about Michelle whom Joy described as “absolutely stunning”.

  7. If we examine this country’s history, aren’t major transformations always accompanied by a lot of drama as well as hysterical people losing perspective after devoting a great deal of physical, spiritual, and psychic energy towards putting the foundation of change in place? Like the liberals who hated FDR and considered him a sellout (he refused to even sign antilynching legislation which was a no-brainer for liberals) until they began to understand the wisdom of the concessions that he made in order to get the ball rolling on progress. They didn’t get themselves together until well into his Presidency. One example of many, and I’m no scholar. Perhaps that explains part of what is happening now.

    In addition, our lefty new media has learned that merchandising sensationalism and drama brings in the big $$$$$$$$ in a way that thoughtful contemplation simply does not. I remember Olbermann, for instance, tweeting a little while after his and Maddow’s anti-deal frothing rants, that their ratings were very good during those segments. Progressive politics can’t be served by that type of business model. It’s up to us to build, from the ground up, alternative spaces so that when hysterical people take a breath and regain their perspective, there are spaces in which thoughtful discussion is the norm rather than the exception.

  8. If this tax package passes, let’s hope that the Democratic party will do a better job of broadcasting far and wide how much help it is to lower and middle income people. Remember that NYT article awhile back that showed how few people realized that their taxes went down under Obama? We can’t let that happen again. Also, if I understand correctly, take home paychecks will be bigger with this deal, and people do understand that even if they don’t understand their annual income taxes that well.


  10. Speaking of Boehner, can anybody imagine what the RW reaction would be like if Obama started to cry over something. Or, heaven forbid, if Pelosi did? My God, talk about “weak” and “not in control”, etc. And I love how Boehner talks about chasing the American dream all his life, when he has been living it for decades and many people don’t even have the time or opportunity to Dream as they are just trying to figure out how to make it to tomorrow.

  11. Perhaps I’m a bit cynical but men as well as women are capable of using tears to manipulate. I have an ex-boyfriend who can cry at the drop of a hat. Except that he was a big ho who did whatever he wanted. His tears, while genuine, were self-serving, even if not intentionally so. I wonder if Boehner is similar.

  12. The interviewer should have asked Why did’nt you vote for the dream act so many others could feel the same as you.

  13. I think that they lost a huge messaging opportunity here courtesy of some grandstanders (Sanders anyone? preaching to the choir) and loudmouths (cough, Weiner, cough). Perhaps this is all kabuki theater, but I wonder what would have taken place should Dems have stood as a united front and pounded home the message that they are protecting the middle and lower classes while the GOP only cares about the rich, rather than focusing all of their ire on taking opportunity to once again throw a black eye POTUS’ way.


  14. From what I have read, this man barely works, living it up chain smoking in cushy offices, making sweetheart deals with lobbyists, and leaving work early to have a good time in bars and restaurants. What is he crying for?

    The GOP sure has given average Americans something real to cry about, and it’s a shame that we can’t get this message through because of the utter excesses of the national and new media.

  15. Yes, everty major change has been fraught with tension and drama. Go to the Licoln Museum in Springfield Ill and see how he was viewed even by the Northern press when he did the Emancipation Proclamation. And at the same time, anti-slavery people in the North were still upset with him because it didn’t go far enough.

    When LBJ worked through the Civil Rights Act, he knew he was throwing away the South, which had been strongly Democratic since the Civil War.

    SS was much more limited when it started, which upset a lot of people on the left.

    Truman’s integration of the armed forces (which technically was actually simpler than getting rid of DADT) was not something accomplished over night.

    As a whole (meaning all across the political spectrum) this country has reached a point of needing instant gratification and anything short of getting everything wwe want is met with scorn.

    I am particularly amazed at how many on the left have suddenly become deficit hawks, when they never were before.

  16. Yes, this is a HUUUUUUUGE deal. The little Presidency that Would just keeps going and going and going. Huge deal, that might deserve a post of its own, Tulips.

  17. Thanks for adding additional evidence of the nature of how change has been created in this country.

    The new deficit hawks truly are amazing, aren’t they? I, like so many others on the left as well as the President, am a huge non-believer in those tax cuts for the rich, and trickle down theory in general (I have never read evidence of that theory’s real world success outside of the imaginings of ideologues). However, the whole point of making a deal is to give a little and get a lot. Which is precisely what has taken place here. The purity swarm which has greeted the deal announcement is either (a) short-sighted grandstanding; or (b) a brilliant piece of kabuki which has kicked sand into the GOP’s eyes. Most likely some mixture of the two.

    Thanks for another wonderful comment, japa21.

  18. If there is anything that should be popular on a bi-partisan basis, it is infrastructure spending. Yet the newly-elected governors of Ohio and Wisconsin scored a lot of points by telling voters they would cancel rail projects, costing their states billions. Governor Christie in New Jersey is also incredibly popular for canceling a needed tunnel project which would have gained his state much more than it would have cost them.

    This is the effect of many years of conservatives beating it into the voters’ heads that government spending is always wasteful. As a result, people in Europe and now even China will be getting whisked around on trains that go 150 miles an hour, while we Americans are stuck in traffic.

  19. Good one! It rightly points out this bizarre and idiotic political climate, where “the ‘left’, as it turns out, wants just as much as the right to be swept away by some macho superhero with a big gun (if you know what I mean) instead of having to deal with the pragmatic reality of governing and getting stuff done.”

  20. I think it is both grandstanding and kabuki, depending on who is doing it. For the folks at DK or Olberman, it is grandstanding. For some in Congress, i.e. Weiner, it is the same. But for some, such as Pelosi, I think it is kabuki.

    Pelosi is a master politician. And she knows that the right had been doing a pretty good job of painting Obama as the socialist in chief. By having the progressive wing of the party complain, it will be harder for the RW to do that. At the same time, if the progressives in Congress simply said, “Fine, go ahead and extend the wealthy tax cuts” then they would have been painted as insincere in opposing the extension in the first place.

    What the republicans are going to find out, if this is done correctly, is that they have painted themselves into a corner. It started with Obama using the term “hostage takers” to describe them when he announced the deal. It already is painte3d as something he hates to do but finds it necessary inorder to be on the side of the people of the country.

    This is really very similar to TARP, doing something that a lot of people don;t like due to necessity. The problem with TARP was the way it was handled. The Obama administration made a lot of tweaks to it, which is why the government may well make money on the deal, just like with the bailout of GM. But PR wise, nobody really trumpeted it in the right way.

    Hopefully that will be different this time.

  21. Astute comment, GN. Which is why I hope that you and other posters on bwd’s excellent blog make aneffort to comment on the other progressive sites too. We need to build these communities.

  22. GN:

    I cry gushers when I get so angry that I can’t talk. Maybe Bone Head has that same issue.

  23. Oops. My comment posted prematurely.

    As I was about to say: sadly, many of the “progressive” congressmen seem to be thinking more about maintaining cred with the screamers/ideologues for campaign contributions and camera time, instead of protecting the president and going on offense against the republicans. My partner,who is much more conservative than I, thought that they looked and sounded like the keystone cops…just totally hapless and ineffective. Non blogger liberal and moderates in my circle are breathing a sigh of relief and have been very positive about the President’s “deal”.

  24. Hi dotster,

    Happy you followed the link. Hope to see you posting there, too, because we really need to build up sites like this and The People’s View, Blue Wave, etc. to have multiple places to discuss progressive issues sanely and rationally.

  25. Elly:

    I agree that we should shout from the rooftops when this gets passed about how much the Prez did to make it so. But I think people are already realizing how much this will mean, especially to those who have children.

    I’ve been talking to people here and there over the last two days and the consensus I’ve seen is:

    President Obama 10!
    Congress 0!!!!!!!!!

    This has been just one of those anecdotal “people in the streets and shops” kind of informal surveys. I’m a chatty person and I just like to know what average people are thinking.

  26. We here in NY would gladly take the high speed rail. Why the people of NJ, Ohio and Wisconsin are allowing themselves to be so brainwashed is beyond me.

  27. AMEN Ms Tulips!

    I would have asked that too and I have been doing just that to everyone of my Repugnant Congress people!

    These children are innocent of any wrong doing. Most are making their families proud by succeeding in school and being productive in society.

    This “dump it all on the Mexicans” crap is just another aspect of the racism coming out big time in the USA right now.

  28. Thanks for doing this GN. I’m no good at links but I am so enjoying the diaries and comments at this site.

  29. BWD, I am so enjoying visits to your site. I hope you know how many are truly grateful for all the good work you are doing here.

    I don’t comment all the time but I never miss any of your diaries. ♥ (hope that worked here)

  30. But but but… Obama is not fighting! He’s not knocking heads! He’s trying to do this fancy governing stuff. What’s wrong with him????

    Seriously though, this is an awesome mishmash. Yes, I do feel less stressed. Actually, I have felt less stressed for a long time knowing that there’s finally an adult in charge of things.

  31. I wonder how much damage their grandstanding does to DADT or the DREAM Act. I thought these issues were high up on the lists for progressives to try to get done before the new Congress comes in.

    I thought there were going to be action diaries urging people to call Congress to get these leglislative programs through. But a whole week squandered on trying to derail a deal that offers benefits to the same people they claim to be fighting for, is mind boggling. I am just at a loss for words.

    I hope that some of that time can be regained.

    And speaking of Boehner and his tears, he comes across so fake, according to my 13-year-old. He is my little political barometer.

  32. and the world feel less stress also,if only u all can get rid of the yelling insane nutcrackers on the left

  33. Co-sign. Imagine that. If it was Pelosi, the pseudo mental health professionals would have been pulling out their DSM Manuals to diagnose her by now. She probably would have been assigned labels such as every thing from Depression to Biopolar disorder.

    And let’s not talk about POTUS. You know how people in his own party claim to know how “weak,” he is, well you can only imagine the reel after reel of film Faux would have carried on its channel.

    And to keep up with the Joneses, and not to be outdone, MSNBC and CNN would be right up there with multiple clips, as well.

    Go figure.

  34. Agreed. Coming from them, it all seems so childish to me. It’s like high school girls trying to get into the popularity club.

    I think they are also acting out because the president called them out — everyone of them.

    All this summer people like Weiner were marching across the teevee saying that they wanted the presidet to give them direction.

    Before the midterms, he asked them to bring the tax cuts issue to vote. They decided not to, and now with their revisionist history, they want to not only blame, but insult him.

    I have lost respect for so many people, including some in the media that I at least used to pay some attention to.

    I am with GN. I think we should work now to address some of these issues by getting our voices out here on blogs like these, but in the editorial pages as well.

    Great to see you, pamela.

  35. This is something Stephanie Miller the talk show host talked about. surprisingly she thought the left should be cool and let him do this deal.

  36. Great insights. And in addition, new polling indicates broad support for this tax cut deal, which is intuitively in line with Americans’ desire to see both parties work together to get something accomplished (we have yet to make the solid and coherent case that the GOP spent the past two years doing nothing but obstructing and bears most of the blame). I have the highest respect for Speaker Pelosi and no doubt but that she will deliver for American families.

    Thanks for these wonderful thoughts and insights.

  37. I couldn’t agree more, Pamela. And build them slowly with thoughtful analysis rather than the blog wars which saw several of us (I include myself) at our worst. I am beyond impressed with how quickly this particular community has sprung up.

  38. Hi crazycanuck, its been a great 2yrs in terms of knowing I have a President who leads, doesn’t bully, is intelligent, and who is likable around the world.

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