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I am sitting here in Europe watching what is going on back home. Left the USA 45 days ago and paying attention to what is going on back home seems to be getting worse. I am deeply concerned, as Rampell suggests, that we will be in a financial crisis once the MAGA class takes over Congress. If they are willing to play with the National Debt ceiling, IMHO, all bets are off for 401k, SSA, Medicare and Pensions. We will be like GREECE. Can you imagine that?

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I just listened to the podcast ep with Jake Sherman, and maybe someone can answer this question: Don't House and Senate members, once they retire, get Social Security and Medicare? Or is the pension from serving in Congress so huge and also includes health care that they don't have to avail themselves of "entitlements"? Otherwise, I don't see how killing those programs doesn't affect them, nor do I understand how they think that won't hurt them in the voting booth.

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As a long time NY Times subscriber (I grew up 10 miles from Times Square) I have a quibble about the notion that the Times readers want a leftist publication. I am sorry the editor was fired for publishing Tom Cotton, but as a mostly Republican voter till now, most of us (conservative NY Times readers) can't stand the bullshit from folks like Cotton.

We read the times because it has longer articles about news.

We also like art coverage and book reviews.

On the weekend, i read the book reviews first.

And we sometimes mutter to ourselves about something on the editorial page. But we stay for the news, arts and so forth.

Again, firing the editor was wrong, but I hate when they post op-eds that do not inform me. I can find the spin elsewhere.

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Having read the article, I can say that Michael Anton is clearly a disingenuous whiny bitch and probably deserves everything you've said about him. One line, in particular stood out, "people who call you a Nazi are not your friends. They are your enemies. They mean to hurt you." No Mike, people who call you a Nazi don't do it as idle slander. It's not a term that's thrown around casually and without consideration. They don't mean to hurt you, you *victim*, they mean to keep you from hurting others.

That said, he's correct about Iraq 2.0: It was a monument to hubris, greed, and inhumanity that hasn't been sufficiently atoned for by the likes of Bill and Charlie. Which leads me to the nagging suspicion that good portion of the Never Trumpers are more mad that he took over their grift than they are about high-minded ideals. Even worse, he made it visible and obvious--The sociopathy of the American conservative intelligentsia is no longer banal enough for people to ignore.

(Call me when you've built a few Iraqi orphanages with your bare hands. Then we can talk.)

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Oct 19, 2022·edited Oct 19, 2022

It's really important for anyone who gets dragged into a debate on the debt ceiling to understand what it is -- and what it is not.

Article I. sec. 8 of the Constitution requires the Congress to authorize any borrowing of money on the credit of the United States. Until 1917, every bond issue that the Treasury sold was individually authorized by Congress in a specific law. That's how the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, among other emergencies, were financed: the Congress provided the funds through a bond issue, appropriated the funds by law, and the Treasury spent the funds as directed. With the coming of World War I, the President and Congress realized that the demand for war financing would outpace the Congress's ability to pass individual bond issues in a timely manner, so it set a limit to which the Treasury could borrow, and the debt ceiling came into being. The constitutional requirement of Article I sec. 8 was still met, because Congress was still approving all debt; it was just approving some of it in advance, and letting the Treasury draw on it as appropriated.

"As appropriated" is crucial here: the Congress has already approved the expenditures that the Treasury makes through the appropriations process, and as expenditures approach the debt ceiling, the Congress has to raise it TO MAKE THE EXPENDITURES THAT IT HAS ALREADY DECIDED TO MAKE. The Administration is not spending money by executive fiat, it's spending money as required by law, and the Congress has the responsibility to approve borrowing to support the expenditures that it has already mandated. There's no way to borrow money without the approval of Congress under Article I sec. 8. That's why the debt ceiling can't serve as an instrument of budget control, and why playing politics with the debt ceiling is so exceptionally wrong and destructive.

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It is also important to remember that from 1979 until 1995 the debt ceiling was automatically raised with the passage of the budget. It was Newt Gingrich (again) who turned it into a lethal weapon of partisan warfare.

Like many other issues the media fosters the perception that raising the debt ceiling is fiscally irresponsible when in fact raising it is the only responsible choice to make. The media fosters the perception that there is a "rational choice" at the bottom of the decision that both sides are fighting over. And, of course, the media focus is on "which side will blink first" not on the actual consequences of failing to act responsibly.

In the end the debt ceiling always gets raised (because it MUST be raised) but only after one side or the other has inflicted enough political pain on the other (or on themselves) ending the manufactured crisis.

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Hi Charlie my husband and I immensely appreciate your podcast and the Bulwark. I hope you were able to catch Tuesday evening’s Frontline on Michael Flynn. Great potential interview topic with the AP reporter in the episode. Keep up the great work.

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So to iterate: Republicans lie about crime in part by darkening the skin tones of black candidates (and also cherry-picking data) and have plans to blow up the economy by risking the debt ceiling and to risk our national security by backing down on Ukranian support....and yet voters trust Rs more on crime, the economy, and national security....what the h*ll is wrong with voters??!!

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They are "staying informed" by right wing entertainment. I talked politics with my MAGA friend after a 3 month break from talking politics, and it was dismal.

"OMG everything is so crazy I can't even watch local news anymore! All I can do is try to focus on daily stuff to try not to worry about global nuclear war. We're all gonna die! Why do the idiots in charge keep taunting Putin and China?! They're gonna make Putin use nukes."

"You mean like how you make me punch you in the face? The greatest country in the world cannot allow one guy to make war with another country so he can enrich himself personally."

"But we're not the greatest anymore! Did you hear about [another police death]?! All these crazy people want to get rid of the police, who the heck they gonna call when someone breaks into their house?"

"While some communities have tried different things, it was BLM's slogan, not Democrats. Almost every American knows we need local law & order & continue to fund policing accordingly."

And then onto gun crimes that coulda been prevented by prayer in school. And then how disgusting it was to see a holiday choir concert with no mention of Christmas, Jesus, etc. And we debated about prayer in school which I am absolutely against.

Though she is vehement that she no longer watches Fox, she watches it enough to pick it all back up, just like it's a favorite soap opera.

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The five words that put an end to any meaningful political dialogue: "I've done my own research..."

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“If lawmakers dine-and-dash on behalf of Uncle Sam, they tarnish the creditworthiness of the United States and can make it more expensive for the federal government to borrow in the future because investors don’t trust us. Worse, they might accidentally blow up every other financial market on Earth, too.

That’s because U.S. debt is now viewed as the safest of safe assets. Virtually all other assets around the world are benchmarked against U.S. Treasury securities. If we default on our debt obligations — or even come close to default — that raises the question of the riskiness of everything else investors buy and can send shockwaves of panic through every other market.

Boom, financial crisis.”

And the Republicans scream “See what Joe Biden’s done”!

Someday they’re going to tie Little Eva to the railroad tracks and the results are not going to pretty.

As for Kevin, I wouldn’t be surprised if he lost speakership to Gym Jordan, Steve Scalise, or, even more gallantly for him, MTG, who now thinks she’s the cat’s pajamas. Thanks for playing, Kev!

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Two goofs: “the results are not going to BE pretty”, and “gallingly”, not “galliantly”, which makes no sense. (No edit button.)

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So I read Mike's article. Its mostly a rant about the audacity of being civil in public while having discourse in journalistic venues. So he prefers a man like Trump that tells it like it is and in public is even more rude and ill mannered (not surprising). I guess he wanted Bill to attack his platitudes in writing but also follow this up with a round house when he saw him at the conference. (sorry, its driving me nuts that the intellectuals under Trump suddenly thing they are pseudo MMA fighters but literally melt when they see a BLM protest). A few micro takes on his finer points, however. He sarcastically states, "the right lost its mind in voting for secure borders, better trade deals, and an end to pointless foreign war". My friends who voted for Trump did not vote for secure borders. They state that they voted because they wanted their son to have a job and not be replaced by Mexican workers. This fact did not stand up to rational logic then and in our short supply of workers currently is less relevance. Combine this with the fact that immigration from south has been occurring in droves since the 90s and all presidents have built walls and added border patrols. Literally nobody has not tried to secure the border. They voted for better trade deals? My high school diploma friends use the word policy only to describe their dislike for the price of gas at the pump. To the point they rise to level of my economic degree is like having an argument about macro economics using only the price of milk, again, not a rational conversation.

While Mike writes that the intellectuals in MAGA land voted for secure borders and better trade deals. The vast majority of the base, i assure you, voted because of Men reading Dr. Seuss in libraries while wearing a dress. An act that attacks their sensibilities of the true philosophical leanings they have that all things in the bible are true. And here is the true rub. Charlie, Damon, JVL, Bill did not move away from you Mike because they changed. You moved away from them because you are willing to enmesh your religion with your politics to the point the neither are distinguishable and any tyrant is justified by presence of power. If you think somebody canceling somebody on twitter is violence? How is MTG talking about space lasers by Jews not a declaration of war? Truly, the fact that they are civil in public while you hold boast rhetoric of revolution and hold charities for Sheriffs....I man, why not hold a charity for Police Chiefs of major cities? That is where all the crime is right? Am I right? p.s. Mike, violence did not birth America. It was the side effect of the struggle against tyranny.

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Disagree.

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Did anyone go read Michael Anton’s piece? You ought to, if you haven’t. I think he must be willfully misunderstanding the Bulwarkians (including Damon in this). I’m also struggling to understand if he really is that small-minded and self-deceived or if it is just serving his purpose so that he can rail at Kristol, Sykes, Last and Linker. I put the link below. I suppose I shouldn’t be encouraging clicks but it has to be read to be believed.

https://amgreatness.com/2022/10/10/the-dishonest-and-dishonorable-disagreements-of-former-friends/

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So I read Mike's article. Its mostly a rant about the audacity of being civil in public while having discourse in journalistic venues. So he prefers a man like Trump that tells it like it is and in public is even more rude and ill mannered (not surprising). I guess he wanted Bill to attack his platitudes in writing but also follow this up with a round house when he saw him at the conference. (sorry, its driving me nuts that the intellectuals under Trump suddenly thing they are pseudo MMA fighters but literally melt when they see a BLM protest). A few micro takes on his finer points, however. He sarcastically states, "the right lost its mind in voting for secure borders, better trade deals, and an end to pointless foreign war". My friends who voted for Trump did not vote for secure borders. They state that they voted because they wanted their son to have a job and not be replaced by Mexican workers. This fact did not stand up to rational logic then and in our short supply of workers currently is less relevance. Combine this with the fact that immigration from south has been occurring in droves since the 90s and all presidents have built walls and added border patrols. Literally nobody has not tried to secure the border. They voted for better trade deals? My high school diploma friends use the word policy only to describe their dislike for the price of gas at the pump. To the point they rise to level of my economic degree is like having an argument about macro economics using only the price of milk, again, not a rational conversation.

While Mike writes that the intellectuals in MAGA land voted for secure borders and better trade deals. The vast majority of the base, i assure you, voted because of Men reading Dr. Seuss in libraries while wearing a dress. An act that attacks their sensibilities of the true philosophical leanings they have that all things in the bible are true. And here is the true rub. Charlie, Damon, JVL, Bill did not move away from you Mike because they changed. You moved away from them because you are willing to enmesh your religion with your politics to the point the neither are distinguishable and any tyrant is justified by presence of power. If you think somebody canceling somebody on twitter is violence? How is MTG talking about space lasers by Jews not a declaration of war? Truly, the fact that they are civil in public while you hold boast rhetoric of revolution and hold charities for Sheriffs....I man, why not hold a charity for Police Chiefs of major cities? That is where all the crime is right? Am I right? p.s. Mike, violence did not birth America. It was the side effect of the struggle against tyranny.

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I hope he follows the backlink and reads your comment, Ryan. It is a right sharp skewering. And the Constitutional Sheriffs, the political hubris of whom Anton deliberately soft-pedals? They trample all over the heart and meaning of the Constitution. On some level Anton must know that.

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Ads here for/by Marco Rubio not only make Val Demings skin darker, they make Marco Robio's skin whiter. Read that again. Ads that Make Rubio More WHITE.

I guess lil' Marco needs some of those treatments Michael Jackson got.

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Just read Mr, Linker's piece and Anton's. Anton incredibly alarming, indeed Naziesque seems, at minimum, accurate. Anton's distortions, assertions gone overboard abound. "Trump Derangement Syndrome?" did he miss the criminality, attempted blackmail, bullying, incompetence, personality disorder? I need a drink. Thanks Mr. Sykes

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So I read Mike's article. Its mostly a rant about the audacity of being civil in public while having discourse in journalistic venues. So he prefers a man like Trump that tells it like it is and in public is even more rude and ill mannered (not surprising). I guess he wanted Bill to attack his platitudes in writing but also follow this up with a round house when he saw him at the conference. (sorry, its driving me nuts that the intellectuals under Trump suddenly thing they are pseudo MMA fighters but literally melt when they see a BLM protest). A few micro takes on his finer points, however. He sarcastically states, "the right lost its mind in voting for secure borders, better trade deals, and an end to pointless foreign war". My friends who voted for Trump did not vote for secure borders. They state that they voted because they wanted their son to have a job and not be replaced by Mexican workers. This fact did not stand up to rational logic then and in our short supply of workers currently is less relevance. Combine this with the fact that immigration from south has been occurring in droves since the 90s and all presidents have built walls and added border patrols. Literally nobody has not tried to secure the border. They voted for better trade deals? My high school diploma friends use the word policy only to describe their dislike for the price of gas at the pump. To the point they rise to level of my economic degree is like having an argument about macro economics using only the price of milk, again, not a rational conversation.

While Mike writes that the intellectuals in MAGA land voted for secure borders and better trade deals. The vast majority of the base, i assure you, voted because of Men reading Dr. Seuss in libraries while wearing a dress. An act that attacks their sensibilities of the true philosophical leanings they have that all things in the bible are true. And here is the true rub. Charlie, Damon, JVL, Bill did not move away from you Mike because they changed. You moved away from them because you are willing to enmesh your religion with your politics to the point the neither are distinguishable and any tyrant is justified by presence of power. If you think somebody canceling somebody on twitter is violence? How is MTG talking about space lasers by Jews not a declaration of war? Truly, the fact that they are civil in public while you hold boast rhetoric of revolution and hold charities for Sheriffs....I man, why not hold a charity for Police Chiefs of major cities? That is where all the crime is right? Am I right? p.s. Mike, violence did not birth America. It was the side effect of the struggle against tyranny.

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Disagree.

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McCarthy and the wrecking crew masquerading as the Republican Party scare the crap out of me. If elected they will do incalculable harm. As you state, that may be their plan. The distinguishing factor between Republicans and anarchists is difficult to see. God help us if they win the House and Senate.

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On the GOP ads darkening skin tones: it just proves the NRSC and the other GOP groups know their constituency.

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Oct 19, 2022·edited Oct 19, 2022

Sorry @cjaysykes, but the Republicans (the party you supported for most of your life) have been darkening the faces of African American Democratic political candidates for years: Barrack Obama, Harvey Gantt, John Lewis, and Douglas Wilder to name a few.

This is not new. It is a tried-and-true tactic of the Republicans since Nixon’s Southern Strategy. The fact that you are “shocked, shocked to find that [the Rs are darkening the skin tone of Black Democratic candidates]” is a little disingenuous.

[Edited for verb tense, spelling of “Nixon”, and completion of the last sentence.]

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I don't think Charlie did not know about this. It is just something happening in his back yard and at this point. Should we not have moved past all this (i say this in rhetoric of course)? You see my fellow countrymen of MAGA Republics. When you darken the face of your opponent. You are symbolizing that race is important and that yo believe being darker is a stigma. Therefore, you are a racist. The same could be said when a black person calls another black person (light skinned), they are in a way being racist as well. However, the black person calling another black person (light skinned) does not truly believe that they should be subjugated to second class citizenship due to their color. Since you darken the image of your opponent. You are literally stating that they are not suited for power because of their darkness. This makes you a bigot.

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I was *this years* old when I found out Bennet was the brother of Senator Michael Bennet CO.

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