Quotes of the day

posted at 10:58 pm on November 26, 2012 by Allahpundit

Even as the White House and lawmakers signal optimism about reaching a grand bargain to avert the fiscal cliff before the New Year, President Obama’s liberal allies were battening down the hatches on their position: no cuts to entitlement benefits, at all.

MoveOn.org would not get behind any deal that reduced Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits, said Ilya Sheyman, campaign director for the liberal group. The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation, is equally adamant that benefits should not be cut.

“Our principles are non-negotiable and if the cost for getting the speaker of the House on board is to do something like cut taxes yet again for the rich or cut benefits to the social safety net, we are opposed,” said AFL-CIO spokesman Jeff Hauser, who added that it was better to go over the “fiscal slope” than to bend to Republican demands.

***

White House spokesman Jay Carney said today that Social Security is one entitlement program that should be addressed on a “separate track.”

“We should address the drivers of the deficit and Social Security currently is not a driver of the deficit,” Carney told reporters today. The senior retirement program is solvent for another 21 years, at which time recipients could see a reduction in benefits…

“I don’t think you can look at entitlement reform without adjusting the age for retirement,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Sunday. “I don’t expect the Democrats to go for premium support or a voucher plan, but I do expect them to adjust these entitlement programs before they bankrupt the country and run out of money themselves.”

***

Endorsed by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and by Representative Peter King of New York, the Chambliss decision — one that put him on the other side of Grover Norquist and the conservative base — is reminiscent of what began happening among Democrats in the aftermath of the 1984 Reagan landslide. Old allegiances to traditional Democratic constituencies were re-examined; the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) urged office holders and candidates to adopt centrist rhetoric and a promarket orientation.

It worked. In the 1990s Bill Clinton became the first two-term Democratic president since FDR, and Al Gore — another early DLCer — won the popular vote in 2000. The climatic moment of the New Democrat ascendancy came in 1996, when Clinton declared that “the era of big government” was over.

Republicans are overdue for their own rethinking. After the exhaustion of the first decade of the new century, it’s understandable that such self-examination has been slow in coming, but it apparently has finally come. Whether the GOP is to be pragmatic in the mold of George H.W. Bush or more ideological in the mode of his son is a live question. The Chambliss-Graham-King moment suggests the debate is very much on.

***

If taxes are going up anyway because the Bush rates expire, and Republicans can stop them from going up as much as they otherwise would, then pledge-takers deserve some credit for that. Mr. Norquist says it violates his pledge to eliminate deductions without lowering rates, but at the current economic and political moment it is also a service if Republicans prevent tax rates from going up. Speaker John Boehner deserves some leeway to try to mitigate the damage by negotiating a larger tax reform.

All the more so if Mr. Boehner can also get Mr. Obama to agree to significant spending and entitlement reform. This means more than the usual suspects of cuts to doctors and hospitals and means-testing benefits for the affluent.

It means reforms—dotted-line commitments, not promises—that immediately reduce Medicare and Social Security liabilities, that terminate some discretionary programs, and that rein in such scandals as runaway Social Security disability payments. We doubt Mr. Obama will agree to much of this, but Republicans ought to try by putting their proposals out in the open where voters can see them.

The one thing Republicans shouldn’t do is join the media and Democratic chorus that Mr. Norquist and his pledge are the root of our political and economic woes. The real problems are a political class that won’t control its spending and economic policies that are retarding growth. That’s where the GOP should keep its public focus.

***

Who cares what Grover Norquist thinks? Organizations such as his Americans for Tax Reform are all right, but irrevocable “pledges” not to do this or that — in this case, never to raise taxes — strike me as simplistic, and severely limit the possible courses of action for those candidates and legislators who sign them. Not that I’m in favor of raising taxes, mind you, nor opposed to something like a flat tax — which in fact I’ve advocated. But silly things like “pledges” do nothing to direct the taxation argument in a fruitful direction, and I don’t understand why Norquist looms so large in Republican thinking.

Then again, if the Democrats are really serious about soaking the rich, why don’t they come out in favor of replacing the income tax — which is basically a mechanism to prevent the upper-middle class from becoming wealthy — with a wealth tax?

***

How is this all going to get solved? Our model tells us that House Republicans have to either get their way or be bought off. The president either has to cave, allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to stay the same for the wealthy, or offer something to sweeten the deal. House Republicans owe their majority to the Tea Party. Getting them to vote for a tax-rate increase is not going to come cheap. One solution is a promise from the president and Democrats to reduce tax rates at some future date when paired with comprehensive tax reform. (Obama wants taxes to go up on those making over $250,000 now but is open to having those rates come back down as a part of reform.)

Would Republicans buy such a promise about the future? Why on earth would they trust that these lower rates would ever come to pass? One possible offering the president could make would be a major concession on Medicare and Medicaid. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president was committed to hard choices. If he’s not going to bend on tax rates and has ruled out touching Social Security (as he essentially has), then there’s only one place left where the president can find real money in the budget-cutting game: health care entitlements. That would show that he was serious about shared sacrifice, and if the changes the president agrees to are large enough, they’d give Republicans cover to accept tough tax changes.

It would also be pretty big news. So let’s amend our model. If the president agrees to change the eligibility requirements for Medicare, that would be worth pausing during the office party. Then we’d have to see if House Republicans would buy it.

***

The world has changed and the economic situation is different. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill realized that in the 1980s. I think everything should be on the table. I, myself, am opposed to tax increases. The fact is the speaker and the majority leader and the president are gonna be in a room, trying to find the best package. I’m not gonna prejudge it. And I’m just saying we should not be taking iron clad positions. I have faith in John Boehner to put together a good package.

***

Via Mediaite.

***

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One small step for man…

One giant leap for mankind.

I dream of a Jeannie that will call me Master

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Oh wait..

AP posted something different..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:00 PM

I dream of a President that I can call master..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:01 PM

L.i.B.

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Oooohhhhhhh…!!!

(slight content warning)

:)

Seven Percent Solution on November 26, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Levin is right..

Sell outs.

But..

L.i.B.

Own it Dems.

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:03 PM

United States GDP $15.075 trillion (2011)

Entire planet GDP US$69.99 trillion (2011 est.)

Federal unfunded liabilities total $84 trillion

sharrukin on November 26, 2012 at 11:04 PM

L.I.B

portlandon on November 26, 2012 at 11:04 PM

We need a candidate that is passionate about the ideological necessity of fiscal conservatism. It is morally repugnant and deeply offensive to burden our children with our present selfishness. We should have run ads showing older Americans living high on the hog juxtaposed with images of children toiling in chains like slaves.

This is the final fallback of conservatism. The children card vs. the race card. If this fails to work, we are doomed.

John the Libertarian on November 26, 2012 at 11:05 PM

The one thing Republicans shouldn’t do is join the media and Democratic chorus that Mr. Norquist and his pledge are the root of our political and economic woes. The real problems are a political class that won’t control its spending and economic policies that are retarding growth. That’s where the GOP should keep its public focus

….ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!
Riiiiiiiiight!

KOOLAID2 on November 26, 2012 at 11:06 PM

2014 is the answer.

Do we know the question?

faraway on November 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM

One solution is a promise from the president and Democrats to reduce tax rates at some future date when paired with comprehensive tax reform.

And that is what we will get. Bark and Bone and Reid will appear before the nation smiling like dunderheads and heaping praise on one another for their bipartisanship, and then proceed to tell us of the grand deal that has been reached.

We’re f**ked. We have criminals and grifters running the nation, and a majority of like-minded grifters voting for them.

Bishop on November 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM

MoveOn.org would not get behind any deal that reduced Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits, said Ilya Sheyman, campaign director for the liberal group

So these idiots had no problem when King Obama gutted Medicare to the tune of $700 billion dollars?

JPeterman on November 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM

I have to say, I am so glad that I now get Fox Business channel and no longer have to watch Bill O’Reilly anymore…

That is all.

L.I.B.

*♩♫ Doot da doot de doot doot doot da doot da doo… ♩ ♪ ♫*

I’m waiting to let Electrongod get a good start.

Fallon on November 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Double all tax rates. Take away the EITC. Tax food stamps, welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, everything.

If Americans want a European-style welfare state, then make them pay for it. Eliminating the Bush tax rates on the top 2% will only raise $80 billion per year, assuming no behvioural modifications. That leaves more than $1 trillion in Obama deficits annually.

You want Obamanomics and welfare state? Pay for it. Double ALL taxes on EVERYONE and EVERYONE must have skin in the game!

Resist We Much on November 26, 2012 at 11:09 PM

GOP equals Charlie Brown. Dems equal Lucy. Here we go again. The GOP leadership does not believe what is in the platform. We are heading toward third party territory here. The Reagan legacy was wasted by the Bushes. It is done.

brlegg on November 26, 2012 at 11:10 PM

PUNT

Pay Up, No Taxers

faraway on November 26, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Umm..I want a Republican to win in 2016. I don’t want to wait for the stupid Republican reinvention so that we can all enjoy Bobby Jindal or Chris Christie’s Presidency in 2020. My goal in life is to mock Evanston liberals while tipsy and watching the great R landslide. They’re mean sore losers and I want them to cry and be discouraged for life. This would be funny and I’d enjoy it greatly.

Illinidiva on November 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM

EVERYONE must have skin in the game!

Resist We Much on November 26, 2012 at 11:09 PM

+100

ObamaPhone woman can have her phone…

But she pays for the service..

No overlapping benefits either..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:14 PM

We’re f**ked. We have criminals and grifters running the nation, and a majority of like-minded grifters voting for them.

Bishop on November 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM

The far bigger problem, in reality, is that of the voting-grifters, not the vote-receiving grifters. In a perfect world, in the Kingdom of TXUS, they both would be banished.

TXUS on November 26, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Whether the GOP is to be pragmatic in the mold of George H.W. Bush or more ideological in the mode of his son is a live question

Let’s look at this.

Pragmatic in the mold of GHW Bush: “Read my lips, no new taxes” to trading tax increases now for future spending cuts.

Defeated in 1992

More ideological like his son. Across the board tax cuts despite being demonized about only giving middle class people a muffler while the rich got a whole car (liberals really do not understand complex math like percentages).

Re-elected and served 8 full years.

Yeah, let’s look at these two examples.

/Let’s just fix this and go from GOP to what it really is: SOB: Stupid Old Buzzards.

AZfederalist on November 26, 2012 at 11:15 PM

gop………walking dead.

PappyD61 on November 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Illinidiva on November 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM

You thought TARP was necessary. Those Evanston liberals are laughing at you.

Fallon on November 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM

gop………walking dead.

PappyD61 on November 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Dems…dead man walking..

We all end up in the same place.

Stock of on canned foods..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Stock of on canned foods..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM

“Of” actually was meant to be “Up”..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Grover Norquist Makes ‘Tony Soprano-Like’ Threats to Republicans Who Dare to Break His Pledge

Spending is the issue, the only issue…

… Until we do away with ‘base-line budgeting’, and the answer to everything is spending and a new bureaucracy, then nothing will change.

CUT… THE… SPENDING…!!!

Seven Percent Solution on November 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

The Bush tax cuts took 3 million Americans off of the tax rolls; yet, all anyone ever heard about the cuts were they only benefited the wealthy.

Idiot Repubics, how many of those 3 million Americans that benefited from your policy voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012?

An overwhelming majority of them.

Cutting taxes for the middle and working classes obviously doesn’t get them to vote for Republicans. All that it does, it would seem, is to make them believe that they can have more government largesse paid for by someone else. It’s time to make these people pay their “fair” share. If they want a welfare state, make them pay for it. Then, we’ll see how big of a government people really want.

Resist We Much on November 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Also my “Quotes” and “Ante-Quotes” are out of sync…:(

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Cool..man cool. I am know longer tainted. No longer
a registered R. The mafia vs the idiots.
I wont be associated with R anything.
No more lesser of 2 evils or measuring the pile of shite I vote for.
Shite is still shite. Done.
Why don’t we just ask Hispanics- legals and illegals their view to draw GOP policy and opinion.
What a GD joke.

To my spark plug love him a lot
I know he needs a b9 shot
Don’t think I forgot :)
xo sparky.

bazil9 on November 26, 2012 at 11:19 PM

One solution is a promise from the president and Democrats to reduce tax rates at some future date when paired with comprehensive tax reform. (Obama wants taxes to go up on those making over $250,000 now but is open to having those rates come back down as a part of reform.)

Would Republicans buy such a promise about the future? Why on earth would they trust that these lower rates would ever come to pass?

In a sane world, they would be going all Samuel L. Jackson, “Do we look stupid? You’ve done this to us before during the Reagan and GHW Bush administrations, what do you think we just fell off the turnip truck?”

In our current world? “When can we start planning for those reduced rates? Oh, five years? OK.”

/not expecting a lot of spine nor huevos from the Stupid Party. They’ve already sent enough signals about caving. Anybody remember the democrats ever being so conciliatory? Me either.

AZfederalist on November 26, 2012 at 11:20 PM

This is the final fallback of conservatism. The children card vs. the race card. If this fails to work, we are doomed.

John the Libertarian on November 26, 2012 at 11:05 PM

we are doomed …. Nov 6th should have told you that ….

conservative tarheel on November 26, 2012 at 11:20 PM

I have to say, I am so glad that I now get Fox Business channel and no longer have to watch Bill O’Reilly anymore…

That is all.

L.I.B.

Fallon on November 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Since you are watching Fox Business, have you heard about this book? I received an advance copy of it a few months ago and it’s excellent.

Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir

JPeterman on November 26, 2012 at 11:21 PM

we are doomed …. Nov 6th should have told you that ….

conservative tarheel on November 26, 2012 at 11:20 PM

I am actually looking FORWARD to it.

I am prepared…

My mother and ex-Navy step father voted for the end of American in Nov..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:23 PM

It’s time to make these people pay their “fair” share. If they want a welfare state, make them pay for it. Then, we’ll see how big of a government people really want.

Resist We Much on November 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

In addition to all the other taxes, this will tax all: the AmeriKan VAT…just a matter of time and it will be.

America was a wonderful free land.

Amerika is the land of the infinitely ignorant now.

Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

Ditto to RWM

Schadenfreude on November 26, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir

JPeterman on November 26, 2012 at 11:21 PM

It looks very interesting. Thanks for the recommendation. My musical theater daughter blames me for not pushing her as a child actress. She says I sucked as a stage mom. She was right, lol. I just didn’t have it in me. I told her if she was going to make it, it would have to be without me. Hmmm… This would make a great Christmas present for her.

Fallon on November 26, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Is it a fiscal cliff? or a slope? or maybe a cool water slide?

KCB on November 26, 2012 at 11:26 PM

The day is soon coming when the people who vote for free stuff will become targets for liquidation. All revolutions happen this way. You vote for criminals who promise you free stuff, the economy cannot support it, then you must be liquidated, ironically, by the criminals you voted for.

222 Trillion in UNFUNDED LIABILITIES.

Its over, we are just waiting for the first strike.

tom daschle concerned on November 26, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Healthcare will be the big hammer on the
middle class and small business.
Death warrant they signed.
I help only those who were opposed.
Crying libs calling me get nada.
Burn bitches.
Libfreeordie..you watching?
You and your people are going down and I will
laugh in your misery. To late to say-I’m sorry.

bazil9 on November 26, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Too bad Norquist is an uber muzzie symp efftwit!

annoyinglittletwerp on November 26, 2012 at 11:28 PM

CUT… THE… SPENDING…!!!

Seven Percent Solution on November 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

not going to happen … the FSA is too big … Obama can not ignore it
or not feed it …. in 2014 he will forgive student debt … just in time
for the elections …. keeps the Senate and maybe pick up the house …

conservative tarheel on November 26, 2012 at 11:28 PM

I really hate the fact that the only time political leaders are labeled as “ideological” is when they insist on conservatism, whereas they are labeled “pragmatic” when they insist on progressive liberalism.

Ergo, only “ideologues” would insist on spending cuts first in an era of trillion dollar annual budget deficits and unsustainable borrowing yet “pragmatists,” of course, recognize the need for marginal tax rate hikes in a weak economy to make the rich pay their “fair share.”

Robert_Paulson on November 26, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Have Obama and Hillary denounced Morsi’s power grab yet?

Schadenfreude on November 26, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Hiya Twerp! Good to see you. Hope all is well in Tejas. Well, I’m off to bed. I watch granddaughter tomorrow. She just turned nine months old. She’s the light of my life.

Fallon on November 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM


Mark Levin calls out coward Republicans who are selling out on taxes

Yes he does…

… Yes he does.

Seven Percent Solution on November 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM

The far bigger problem, in reality, is that of the voting-grifters, not the vote-receiving grifters. In a perfect world, in the Kingdom of TXUS, they both would be banished.

TXUS on November 26, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Yep. I’m starting to think those founders really had the measure of things regarding fear of pure democracy.

One of the things driving our problems is this driving toward pure democracy. It takes away representative government. Starting with at-large local elections where city councils are elected by the whole city such that wards or precincts in every area of the city have their council people elected by the largest constituency in the whole area, thus wards with more conservative residents wind up not having representation on a city council because the majority of the city gets representation from all wards. Proceeding all the way to winner take all electoral votes for each state. This means the large population centers swamp the rest of the state in terms of selection of presidential preference. If electoral votes were allocated by representative district, a much more representative election of president would result. This would also dilute the advantage of the democrat fraud machine. Sure, the large cities would still be rife with fraud, but locales like Philly and St. Lucie would no longer allow the fraud to swing the whole state, only those representative districts. It makes the whole cheating thing a much more difficult challenge for the democrats because then they would have to infiltrate the whole state rather than selected population centers.

As it is, the House is the only place, for now, where representative government exists and it is tenuous there at best.

AZfederalist on November 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM

I am prepared…

My mother and ex-Navy step father voted for the end of American in Nov..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:23 PM

I am not as prepared as I would like to be ….

conservative tarheel on November 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Have Obama and Hillary denounced Morsi’s power grab yet?

Schadenfreude on November 26, 2012 at 11:29 PM

I’m still waiting for ‘justice’ for Ty Woods, et al…

Seven Percent Solution on November 26, 2012 at 11:33 PM

bazil9 on November 26, 2012 at 11:19 PM

Pero, no me queires más? ;-)

TXUS on November 26, 2012 at 11:33 PM

Fallon on November 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Spawn is 18. If I get any grandkids before a looong time from now, well me an’ him are gonna have a little chat.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 26, 2012 at 11:34 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on November 26, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Does he still have that “too pretty” girlfriend? Or is my old mind thinking of someone else.

KCB on November 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM

Mark Levine…IS THE MAN…!!!

KOOLAID2 on November 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM

well kids off to bed
I am not sure why I
come here …. I just get
depressed …. we are screwed
America – It was a great run …
Thank you …. I enjoyed it
and it was an honor to serve
and protect you while I was active duty
now I just pray I can protect my family
from what is coming ….

conservative tarheel on November 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on November 26, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Well, you’re still a babe yourself. No grandkids for you until you mature a little more, lol. Give ‘em hell, Twerp. Later…

Fallon on November 26, 2012 at 11:38 PM

As it is, the House is the only place, for now, where representative government exists and it is tenuous there at best.

AZfederalist on November 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Indeed. One more failure on the part of the founders…not that any charlatans in gov’t care any more…they should have made it illegitmate for any politician, incl. the president and his, to be exempt from any laws they force upon the people.

You are so right – true ‘democracy’ is: Egypt, Turkey, Lybia, Argentina, Venezuela, Russia, India (the largest). All one needs to know.

Schadenfreude on November 26, 2012 at 11:38 PM

I am not as prepared as I would like to be ….

conservative tarheel on November 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM

I hear ya…

Security..
Food..
Shelter..
Something other then dollars to trade…
maybe labor..

I think I have security checked.
Food…..checked
Shelter…checked
Dollars..labor….I don’t know how it will end..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Seriously who writes this stuff? some leftist dream of how to hang the R party for the next 50 years?

It means reforms—dotted-line commitments, not promises—that immediately reduce Medicare and Social Security liabilities, that terminate some discretionary programs, and that rein in such scandals as runaway Social Security disability payments. We doubt Mr. Obama will agree to much of this, but Republicans ought to try by putting their proposals out in the open where voters can see them.

this is a big problem…falling into Obama/media traps. You have to be smart navigating thru hostile territory.

r keller on November 26, 2012 at 11:39 PM

AZfederalist on November 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM

…that’s how it is in most areas of the country and your allocation makes too much sense!…good post!

KOOLAID2 on November 26, 2012 at 11:42 PM

KCB on November 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM

She dumped him this week. She didn’t want a long-term relationship.
She’s a nice kid. I’m still FB friends with her. Spawn is looking for a local -she was 6 hours away-girlfriend…preferably a Tech student.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Confirmed: Obysmal is a redistributionist.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/11/does-this-mean-its-now-okay-to-say-that-obama-is-a-redistributionist.php

onlineanalyst on November 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM

I think I have security checked.
Food…..checked
Shelter…checked
Dollars..labor….I don’t know how it will end..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:38 PM

This should help with the preparations…heh.

d1carter on November 26, 2012 at 11:47 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on November 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Growing up….

KCB on November 26, 2012 at 11:48 PM

This should help with the preparations…heh.

d1carter on November 26, 2012 at 11:47 PM

:-)

AZfederalist on November 26, 2012 at 11:49 PM

Let.It.Burn. The moochers are at 51% and will only increase in the near future. Conservative institutions of the 21st century stood athwart history and yelled, “hey let’s just drive off the cliff at 95 mph instead of 100 mph.” So be it.

I am prepared…

My mother and ex-Navy step father voted for the end of American in Nov..

Electrongod on November 26, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Heh. My conservative dad voted for Obama cause he loves his PBS. It’s hard to beat Santa Claus. The Won is Santa Claus.

sauldalinsky on November 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM

You thought TARP was necessary. Those Evanston liberals are laughing at you.

Fallon on November 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Yes.. I enjoy being able to go to an ATM and withdraw money and don’t want my bank to fail… You? Why some Republicans weren’t advocating that the big banks be broken up is beyond me. It would be a sort of populist move ala Teddy Roosevelt. When you can be completely crash the U.S. economy with your stupid investments, then you’ve gotten to big.

Illinidiva on November 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM

“The fact is the speaker and the majority leader and the president are gonna be in a room, trying to find the best package. I’m not gonna prejudge it. And I’m just saying we should not be taking iron clad positions. I have faith in John Boehner to put together a good package.”

“Best package”, “…faith in John Boehner”? Allah, if these words are yours, you are living in a world untethered from any reality I am familiar with.

ncjetsfan on November 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM

Where is Paul Ryan, and what does he have to say about all of this…?

… Interesting that we are hearing only from the GOP who want to raise taxes?

Seven Percent Solution on November 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM

obama has a ton of people doing this some on this blog…

I Was a Paid Internet Shill, page 1
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread826545/pg1
ATS Members have flagged this thread 86 times Topic started on 3-4-2012 @ 10:30 PM by ExShill

I am writing here to come out of the closet as a paid shill. For a little over six months, I was paid to spread disinformation and argue political points on the Internet. This site, ATS, was NOT one that I was assigned to post on, although other people in the same organization were paid to be here, and I assume they still walk among you. But more on this later.

I quit this job in the latter part of 2011, because I became disgusted with it, and with myself. I realized I couldn’t look myself in the mirror anymore. If this confession triggers some kind of retribution against me, so be it. Part of being a real man in this world is having real values that you stand up for, no matter what the consequences.

My story begins in early 2011. I had been out of work for almost a year after losing my last job in tech support. Increasingly desperate and despondent, I jumped at the chance when a former co-worker called me up and said she had a possible lead for me. “It is an unusual job, and one that requires secrecy. But the pay is good. And I know you are a good writer, so its something you are suited for.” (Writing has always been a hobby for me). She gave me only a phone-number and an address, in one of the seedier parts of San Francisco, where I live. intrigued, I asked her for the company’s URL and some more info. She laughed. “They don’t have a website. Or even a name. You’ll see. Just tell them I referred you.” Yes, it sounded suspicious, but long-term joblessness breeds desperation, and desperation has a funny way of overlooking the suspicious when it comes to putting food on the table.

The next day, I arrived at the address – the third floor in a crumbling building. The appearance of the place did not inspire confidence. After walking down a long, filthy linoleum-covered corridor lit by dimly-flickering halogen, I came to the entrance of the office itself: a crudely battered metal door with a sign that said “United Amalgamated Industries, Inc.” I later learned that this “company” changed its name almost monthly, always using bland names like that which gave no strong impression of what the company actually does. Not too hopeful, I went inside. The interior was equally shabby. There were a few long tables with folding chairs, at which about a dozen people were tapping away on old, beat-up computers. There were no decorations or ornaments of any type: not even the standard-issue office fica trees or plastic ferns. What a dump. Well, beggars can’t be choosers.

The manager, a balding man in his late forties, rose from the only stand-alone desk in the room and came forward with an easy smile. “You must be Chris. Yvette [my ex-co-worker] told me you’d be coming.” [Not our real names]. “Welcome. Let me tell you a little about what we do.” No interview, nothing. I later learned they took people based solely on referral, and that the people making the referrals, like my ex-colleague Yvette, were trained to pick out candidates based on several factors including ability to keep one’s mouth shut, basic writing skills, and desperation for work.

We sat down at his desk and he began by asking me a few questions about myself and my background, including my political views (which were basically non-existent). Then he began to explain the job. “We work on influencing people’s opinions here,” is how he described it. The company’s clients paid them to post on Internet message boards and popular chartrooms, as well as in gaming forums and social networks like Facebook and MySpace. Who were these clients? “Oh, various people,” he said vaguely. “Sometimes private companies, sometimes political groups.” Satisfied that my political views were not strong, he said I would be assigned to political work. “The best people for this type of job are people like you, without strong views,” he said with a laugh. “It might seem counterintuitive, but actually we’ve found that to be the case.” Well, OK. Fine. As long as it comes with a steady paycheck, I’d believe whatever they wanted me to believe, as the guy in Ghostbusters said.

After discussing pay (which was much better than I’d hoped) and a few other details, he then went over the need for absolute privacy and secrecy. “You can’t tell anyone what we do here. Not your wife, not your dog.” (I have neither, as it happens.) “We’ll give you a cover story and even a phone number and a fake website you can use. You will have to tell people you are a consultant. Since your background is in tech support, that will be your cover job. Is this going to be a problem for you?” I assured him it would not. “Well, OK. Shall we get started?”

“Right now?” I asked, a bit taken aback.

“No time like the present!” he said with a hearty laugh.

reply posted on 3-4-2012 @ 10:32 PM by ExShill
The rest of the day was taken up with training. Another staff member, a no-nonsense woman in her thirties, was to be my trainer, and training would only last two days. “You seem like a bright guy, you’ll get the hang of it pretty fast, I think,” she said. And indeed, the job was easier than I’d imagined. My task was simple: I would be assigned to four different websites, with the goal of entering certain discussions and promoting a certain view. I learned later that some of the personnel were assigned to internet message boards (like me), while others worked on Facebook or chatrooms. It seems these three types of media each have different strategy for shilling, and each shill concentrates on one of the three in particular.

My task? “To support Israel and counter anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic posters.” Fine with me. I had no opinions one way or another about Israel, and who likes anti-Semites and Nazis? Not me, anyway. But I didn’t know too much about the topic. “That’s OK,” she said. “You’ll pick it up as you go along. For the most part, at first, you will be doing what we call “meme-patrol.” This is pretty easy. Later if you show promise, we’ll train you for more complex arguments, where more in-depth knowledge is necessary.”

She handed me two binders with sheets enclosed in limp plastic. The first was labeled simply “Israel” in magic-marker on the cover, and it had two sections .The first section contained basic background info on the topic. I would have to read and memorize some of this, as time went on. It had internet links for further reading, essays and talking points, and excerpts from some history books. The second, and larger, section was called “Strat” (short for “strategy”) with long lists of “dialogue pairs.” These were specific responses to specific postings. If a poster wrote something close to “X,” we were supposed to respond with something close to “Y.” “You have to mix it up a bit, though,” said my trainer. “Otherwise it gets too obvious. Learn to use a thesaurus.” This section also contained a number of hints for de-railing conversations that went too far away from what we were attempting. These strategies included various forms of personal attacks, complaining to the forum moderators, smearing the characters of our opponents, using images and icons effectively, and even dragging the tone of the conversation down with sexual innuendo, links to pornography, or other such things. “Sometimes we have to fight dirty,” or trainer told us. “Our opponents don’t hesitate to, so we can’t either.”

The second binder was smaller, and it contained information specific to the web sites I would be assigned to. The sites I would work were: Godlike Productions, Lunatic Outpost, CNN news, Yahoo News, and a handful of smaller sites that rotated depending on need. As stated, I was NOT assigned to work ATS (although others in my group were), which is part of the reason I am posting this here, rather than elsewhere. I wanted to post this on Godlike Productions at first, but they have banned me from even viewing that site for some reason (perhaps they are onto me?). But if somebody connected with this site can get the message to them, I think they should know about it, because that was the site I spent a good 70% of my time working on.

The site-specific info in the second binder included a brief history each site, including recent flame-wars, as well as info on what to avoid on each site so as not to get banned. It also had quite detailed info on the moderators and the most popular regged posters on each site: location (if known), personality type, topics of interest, background sketch, and even some notes on how to “push the psychological buttons” of different posters. Although I didn’t work for ATS, I did see they had a lot of info on your so-called “WATS” posters here (the ones with gold borders around their edges). “Focus on the popular posters,” my trainer told me. “These are the influential ones. Each of these is worth 50 to 100 of the lesser known names.” Each popular poster was classified as “hostile,” “friendly,” or “indifferent” to my goal. We were supposed to cultivate friendship with the friendly posters as well as the mods (basically, by brownnosing and sucking up), and there were even notes on strategies for dealing with specific hostile posters. The info was pretty detailed, but not perfect in every case. “If you can convert one of the hostile posters from the enemy side to our side, you get a nice bonus. But this doesn’t happen too often, sadly. So mostly you’ll be attacking them and trying to smear them.”

Continued in the next post

reply posted on 3-4-2012 @ 10:33 PM by ExShill
At first, like I said, my job was “meme-patrol.” This was pretty simple and repetitive; it involved countering memes and introducing new memes, and didn’t demand much in-depth knowledge of the subject. Mostly just repetitive posting based on the dialogue pairs in the “Strat” section of the first binder. A lot of my job was de-railing and spamming threads that didn’t go our way, or making accusations of racism and anti-Semitism. Sometimes I had to simply lie and claim a poster said something or did something “in another thread” they really hadn’t said or done I felt bad about this…but in the end I felt worse about the possibility of losing the first job I’d been able to get since losing my “real” job.

The funny thing was, although I started the job with no strong opinions or political views, after a few weeks of this I became very emotionally wedded to the pro-Israel ideas I was pushing. There must be some psychological factor at work…a good salesman learns to honestly love the products he’s selling, I guess. It wasn’t long before my responses became fiery and passionate, and I began to learn more about the topic on my own. “This is a good sign,” my trainer told me. “It means you are ready for the next step: complex debate.”

The “complex debate” part of the job involved a fair amount of additional training, including memorizing more specific information about the specific posters (friendly and hostile) I’d be sparring with. Here, too, there were scripts and suggested lines of argument, but we were given more freedom. There were a lot of details to this more advanced stage of the job – everything from how to select the right avatar to how to use “demotivationals” (humorous images with black borders that one finds floating around the web). Even the proper use of images of cats was discussed. Sometimes we used faked or photo-shopped images or doctored news reports (something else that bothered me).

I was also given the job of tying to find new recruits, people “like me” who had the personality type, ability to keep a secret, basic writing/thinking skills, and desperation necessary to sign on a shill. I was less successful at this part of the job, though, and I couldn’t find another in the time I was there.

After a while of doing this, I started to feel bad. Not because of the views I was pushing (as I said, I was first apolitical, then pro-Israel), but because of the dishonesty involved. If my arguments were so correct, I wondered, why did we have to do this in the first place? Shouldn’t truth propagate itself naturally, rather than through, well…propaganda? And who was behind this whole operation, anyway? Who was signing my paychecks? The stress of lying to my parents and friends about being a “consultant” was also getting to me. Finally, I said enough was enough. I quit in September 2011. Since then I’ve been working a series of unglamorous temp office jobs for lower pay. But at least I’m not making my living lying and heckling people who come online to express their views and exercise freedom of speech.

A few days ago I happened to be in the same neighborhood and on a whim thought I’d check out the old office. It turns out the operation is gone, having moved on. This, too, I understood, is part of their strategy: Don’t stay in the same place for too long, don’t keep the same name too long, move on after half a year or so. Keeping a low profile, finding new employees through word of mouth: All this is part of the shill way of life. But it is a deceptive way of life, and no matter how noble the goals (I remain pro-Israel, by the way), these sleazy means cannot be justified by the end.

This is my confession. I haven’t made up my mind yet about whether I want to talk more about this, so if I don’t respond to this thread, don’t be angry. But I think you should know: Shills exist. They are real. They walk among you, and they pay special attention to your popular gold-bordered WATS posters. You should be aware of this. What you choose to do with this awareness is up to you.

Yours,

ExShill

April 2012

mrks on November 26, 2012 at 11:52 PM

the above is why the comments sections of conservative blogs have gotten so retarded the last few years…

mrks on November 26, 2012 at 11:54 PM

know what would be best? Amnesty. Then we’d win 4 sho! – Ed Morissey

Slade73 on November 26, 2012 at 11:54 PM

Heh. My conservative dad voted for Obama cause he loves his PBS. It’s hard to beat Santa Claus. The Won is Santa Claus.

sauldalinsky on November 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM

When I visited my parents a few weeks before the election…

My ex Navy Step Dad was exited over Obama killing Osama..

But when I played the “Obama..Obama we are all Osama know” video…

Silence…

I thought I had him..

I was wrong..

Electrongod on November 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Ed Morissey has a Charlie Sheen sense of winning. “Amnesty baby! and I swear I’m not on crack.” Sure you aren’t Ed Morissey.

Slade73 on November 27, 2012 at 12:04 AM

You thought TARP was necessary. Those Evanston liberals are laughing at you.

Fallon on November 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Yes.. I enjoy being able to go to an ATM and withdraw money and don’t want my bank to fail… You? Why some Republicans weren’t advocating that the big banks be broken up is beyond me. It would be a sort of populist move ala Teddy Roosevelt. When you can be completely crash the U.S. economy with your stupid investments, then you’ve gotten to big.

Illinidiva on November 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM

So simple and yet, so dumb.when you go to that same ATM four years later, that same amount just doesn’t go as far. And, I’m betting you are still ignorant to why those banks were required to make those stupid investments, aren’t you?

BedBug on November 27, 2012 at 12:07 AM

I thought I had him..

I was wrong..

Electrongod on November 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM

I can empathize. Yeah, my dad was psyched about the Osama killing when it happened. Hadnt heard him mention it in the lead up to the election, and he still regularly listens to Limbaugh/Hannity/Levin. Took me by surprise when I found out, What’re ya going to do?

Oh well, it’s a center left country now, and Obama owns what happens.

sauldalinsky on November 27, 2012 at 12:11 AM

the above is why the comments sections of conservative blogs have gotten so retarded the last few years…

mrks on November 26, 2012 at 11:54 PM

You could have accomplished all that with this, for ex.

Obama shills exist, then add the link, done.

Schadenfreude on November 27, 2012 at 12:13 AM

“I don’t expect the Democrats to go for premium support or a voucher plan, but I do expect them to adjust these entitlement programs before they bankrupt the country and run out of money themselves.”

I don’t think they believe they are going to run out of money. I know some of us think they are cleverly killing, but that would require cleverness. It’s the same mistake people made with Obama — not believing that he believed what he said.

I don’t think they expect the money to run out. I don’t think they believe Social Security is a “driver” of the deficit (Carney). They think the spending caps are silly, the resistance to the transformation ill-advised, and so on.

I think these people wholly believe their own fantasy.

In two words and an imaginary unicorn, they’re nuts.

Axe on November 27, 2012 at 12:18 AM

the above is why the comments sections of conservative blogs have gotten so retarded the last few years…

mrks on November 26, 2012 at 11:54 PM

nooooooooooooo, the above is why some people can’t stop talking

Hot Air is not a “conservative” blog by the by

Slade73 on November 27, 2012 at 12:19 AM

Umm..I want a Republican to win in 2016. I don’t want to wait for the stupid Republican reinvention so that we can all enjoy Bobby Jindal or Chris Christie’s Presidency in 2020. My goal in life is to mock Evanston liberals while tipsy and watching the great R landslide. They’re mean sore losers and I want them to cry and be discouraged for life. This would be funny and I’d enjoy it greatly.

Illinidiva on November 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM

I think I love you. You sound like a very kind lady. I guess all is not lost yet.

arnold ziffel on November 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM

$15 trillion GDP

$222 trillion in unfunded liabilities

$1.5 quadrillion derivative bubble

whistling past the graveyard.

tom daschle concerned on November 27, 2012 at 12:22 AM

the above is why the comments sections of conservative blogs have gotten so retarded the last few years…

mrks on November 26, 2012 at 11:54 PM

Why does that entire essay read like a fictional argument that pro-Israel positions are paid positions?

Axe on November 27, 2012 at 12:23 AM

The president either has to cave, allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to stay the same for the wealthy, or offer something to sweeten the deal. House Republicans owe their majority to the Tea Party. Getting them to vote for a tax-rate increase is not going to come cheap.

The vast majority of people who consider themselves Tea Party don’t make over $250,000 per year, so I doubt letting the “Bush tax cuts” expire on those making more than that will be something that will make them all stay home.

The democrats know damn well that the extra money collected from the wealthy, by taking away their tax cuts, will not be much more than a few spits and pees in the ocean compared to all the government spending on various forms of welfare and boondoggles, but that’s not the point and it never has been. The point is to paint Republicans as being overly concerned with the wealthy at the expense of everyone else and at that the democrats are a big success and because of it gain probably at least a 5% advantage in every election now. So Republicans, if you want to keep losing elections and freedoms then just keep making this a hill to die on and end up losing it and everything else.

VorDaj on November 27, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Where is Paul Ryan, and what does he have to say about all of this…?

… Interesting that we are hearing only from the GOP who want to raise taxes?

Seven Percent Solution on November 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM

The others are trying to figure out a way to explain so that we will understand.

arnold ziffel on November 27, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Illinidiva on November 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM

I think I love you. You sound like a very kind lady. I guess all is not lost yet.

arnold ziffel on November 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Being that Jindal’s a conservative, I look FORWARD to a Jindal presidency. Christie is an attention whore with an over-sized ego who needs to change parties.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2012 at 12:25 AM

Heh. My conservative dad voted for Obama cause he loves his PBS. It’s hard to beat Santa Claus. The Won is Santa Claus.

sauldalinsky on November 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM

Have an uncle, a very right-wing uncle, no kidding John Birch society member right wing — he told my mother that he didn’t support Romney because he saw a report on ABC (WTF? John Birch society member actually believing an MSM outlet?) that was saying that Romney had vowed to cut Medicare if elected.

I know he did not vote for Obama, but he may have either gone third party or abstained. Good news is he is in Texas, so the sane voices won out.

Point is, if a hard core Birch Society member can be swayed by the MSM, we are in biiiig trouble. Now, it may be that Birch Society made him equally distrustful of the Republican party, he’s voted Wallace and other JBS supported candidates.

AZfederalist on November 27, 2012 at 12:26 AM

Hot Air is officially a Republican Blog

challenge me Biaaches

Slade73 on November 27, 2012 at 12:27 AM

Christie is an attention whore with an over-sized ego who needs to change parties.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2012 at 12:25 AM

But does he have bad points? I believe he could bring the entire NE into republican wins.

arnold ziffel on November 27, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Slade73 on November 27, 2012 at 12:27 AM

Quit whining. If HA is that bad-find a blog that better represents your ‘voice’.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM

But does he have bad points? I believe he could bring the entire NE into republican wins.

arnold ziffel on November 27, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Let’s see: Pro-abortion, anti-second amendment, global warming cap & trade supporting. Nope, can’t see anything there that isn’t worth trading for an entire NE win. /s

AZfederalist on November 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM

AZfederalist on November 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM

He’s also cuddly with radical islam.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Illinidiva on November 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM

I think I love you. You sound like a very kind lady. I guess all is not lost yet.

arnold ziffel on November 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Being that Jindal’s a conservative, I look FORWARD to a Jindal presidency. Christie is an attention whore with an over-sized ego who needs to change parties.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2012 at 12:25 AM

Jindal vs Biden and his knack for 7-11 jokes. Oh yes, bring it on.
Seriously, though. No.

BedBug on November 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM

He’s also cuddly with radical islam.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM

I don’t like his friends, for sure.

Axe on November 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM

Vote “present” and let the Democrats own whatever happens. The left will ruin this country, might as well get it over with sooner rather than later.

We can’t convince two generations of indoctrinated and dumbed down Americans that they’re wrong.

The only sure way to prove to Americans that the Democrats will harm this country is to let them ruin this country.

Any legislation the Republicans introduce should be tax increases – tax increases that disproportionately impact rich Democrats. Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on homes worth more than $250,000. That will impact states like California, New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois, which have high property values and vote Democratic. 8 of the 10 richest counties voted for Obama. Bring back the 20% excise tax on movie tickets, and expand it to all forms of entertainment like video games, music downloads, concerts etc. I’m sure that the leftists in the entertainment industry will love that one. Tax trust funds, private foundations and college endowments – liberals are more likely to have inherited wealth, conservatives create wealth. Eliminate the federal deductions for state and city income taxes. City income taxes are almost exclusively the province of Democratically dominated cities and Blue states tend to have higher income taxes than red states. Why should federal taxpayers in other states effectively subsidize California’s high income taxes?

rokemronnie on November 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM

He’s also cuddly with radical islam.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Oh, forgot that one. Still, come on, for an entire NE win? Hey, you gotta make some compromises, right? After all, we need the most electable candidate and this seems to fit the bill. After all, those all seem to be what won the current resident of the White House his election.

AZfederalist on November 27, 2012 at 12:40 AM

Quit whining. If HA is that bad-find a blog that better represents your ‘voice’.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM

no, no, no

HA is that awesome thing that used to be awesome

now it’s Ed’s Amnesty Hour

Slade73 on November 27, 2012 at 12:45 AM

The only sure way to prove to Americans that the Democrats will harm this country is to let them ruin this country.

Only problem with that is historical. Dumb Masses elected FDR four frickin’ times. Even during the depth of the depression that his policies made worse.

Any legislation the Republicans introduce should be tax increases – tax increases that disproportionately impact rich Democrats. Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on homes worth more than $250,000. That will impact states like California, New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois, which have high property values and vote Democratic. 8 of the 10 richest counties voted for Obama. Bring back the 20% excise tax on movie tickets, and expand it to all forms of entertainment like video games, music downloads, concerts etc. I’m sure that the leftists in the entertainment industry will love that one. Tax trust funds, private foundations and college endowments – liberals are more likely to have inherited wealth, conservatives create wealth. Eliminate the federal deductions for state and city income taxes. City income taxes are almost exclusively the province of Democratically dominated cities and Blue states tend to have higher income taxes than red states. Why should federal taxpayers in other states effectively subsidize California’s high income taxes?

rokemronnie on November 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM

I like the way you think. But instead of a 20% excise tax on movie tickets that would directly impact movie goers — make it a 50% tax on movie profits and similarly on all movie star salaries and royalties over $1M per movie. That lets the Republicans play the rich movie studios and stars paying their fair share card while making the common movie goer feel like it’s not going to cost them a dime.

AZfederalist on November 27, 2012 at 12:46 AM

To my spark plug love him a lot
I know he needs a b9 shot
Don’t think I forgot :)
xo sparky.

bazil9 on November 26, 2012 at 11:19 PM

Golly, you must have felt my vibrations. Had a terrible day. I need a shot of B9 bad.

Love you a lot.

SparkPlug on November 27, 2012 at 12:48 AM

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

and there’s sparkplug

Slade73 on November 27, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Why does everything seem like a steaming pile vomit spewn by a herd if quizzling rhinos?

I wonder why?

SparkPlug on November 27, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Slade73 on November 27, 2012 at 12:45 AM

My grandfather was a legal immigrant-so I’m VERY much against amnesty.
*I was chatting with a co-worker of mine-US born of Mexican descent-and he is VERY much against amnesty/illegals.*

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2012 at 12:53 AM

because…

everything is a Rhino sexcapade times twenty six…exactly

Slade73 on November 27, 2012 at 12:53 AM

Here’s another way for Republicans to soak the rich Democrats:

A 33% tax on trial lawyers’ contingency fees.

rokemronnie on November 27, 2012 at 12:54 AM

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