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Why Are the Republicans So Opposed to Tax Increases?

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The Republican cognoscenti know that we have a lower tax burden now than we’ve had since Truman was president. They know that billions in subsidies to big oil are very unpopular, even within their own party. They know that tax breaks for corporate jets make no sense to the American voter when teachers are being laid off. They know full well that during the recent debt ceiling debate, polls repeatedly showed that a majority of Republicans agreed that any debt deal should include tax increases on the wealthy.

But the Republicans in Congress would stand for none of it. Now, why is that? Are the Republicans so beholden to the Tea Party extremists that they will ignore the wishes of most of their voting base? Are they so blind to the polls? Certainly not! The Republicans are not stupid, they are quite well aware of all these. But that again begs the question: why would they ignore all the polls and stick unwaveringly to positions that are unpopular within their own party? The answer’s easy: it’s all about power.

America suffered with the Great Depression for three years under Herbert Hoover, and came out of it under FDR. Conservative historians argue (from a position of ignorance) that FDR prolonged the Depression. But the fact remains that FDR pulled us through the Depression and through WWII. America also remembers clearly that by the end of the Clinton era, we were running a budget surplus that would have paid off our entire national debt by 2012. They also remember what happened in the Bush years that followed.

So what would happen if President Obama were successful in pulling us all the way out of the great recession, and were somehow able to bring our budget even close to a surplus once more? If he did, in all upcoming elections the Democrats would have a nearly unbeatable talking point in that they would be able to show America what happens when Republicans have control, and how the Democrats had to be the ones to put out the fire, so to speak. Oh, the conservatives would try to explain away every little point, but they would not be able to overcome the obvious simplicity of:

Hoover – Great Depression
FDR – out of Great Depression
Reagan/Bush – huge deficits
Clinton – surplus
Bush – huge deficits, great recession
Obama – out of great recession, greatly reduced deficits

So when the Republican politicians and pundits claim that Obama must fail, their real meaning becomes crystal clear. Indeed, what incentive do they have to help Obama bring fiscal sanity to America when by doing so they would be cutting the political throat of their own party?  No, the Republicans have no intention whatsoever of bringing America’s economy back to solvency.

At least, not while there’s a Democrat in the White House.

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • Kenn Jacobine


    It seems Obama doesn’t like to raise taxes either. First, he extended the Bush tax cuts last December and then after all of his rhetoric he agreed to raising the debt ceiling by $2 trillion without soaking the rich to pay for it. What goes?

    And your prediction about Obama ending the recession and producing a surplus, what are you smoking? Since he has taken office and in spite of trillions spent all the numbers are going in the wrong direction. No, like FDR’s America we will suffer for many years because of awful economic policies coming out of Washington.

  • zingzing

    “What goes?”

    in both instances, the republican party held the nation hostage. in the first instance, they would not pass middle class tax breaks and unemployment extensions without continuing the debt-ballooning bush tax cuts, and in the second, they would only let the administration cut services to middle class and poor families instead of adding a few taxes on for the rich.

    i really can’t quite figure out why so many people in this country want to look out for the rich… i know that the republicans get most of their funding from the rich, and that’s why they vote that way, but why do so many middle class and poor people vote for the republicans? (i do realize that social conservatism garners the republicans some votes as well, but goddamn those people.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    The only reason that Obama agreed to not raise taxes was that extending the Bush tax cuts was the ONLY way he could get the Republicans to agree to extend unemployment benefits.

    And I made NO prediction – look for the word ‘if’, willya? It’s there at least twice.

    And lastly, if you’d sincerely look at what happened in the years 1934-1936, you’d find that FDR had largely brought us OUT of the Depression by 1936. BUT he listened to the Republicans who were for austerity measures (just like what happened this year) and what happened? Down we went again, until we became the recipients of the biggest government-funded stimulus in our history – WWII – and it worked like a charm.

    You’re so desperate to deny the obvious history, to change history to fit what you believe the facts must be. And because there’s so many people like you, we’re in the middle of relearning what FDR learned after he listened to the Republicans in 1937.

    Lastly, you’re missing the point of the article – the Republicans have ZERO incentive to help Obama balance the budget, for by doing so, they’d cut their own political throats.

  • zingzing

    don’t you know that things go in cycles/the way that obama is ampin like frankles.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Obama never put up a bill to close loopholes and raise tax rates on the rich even when he had big majorities in Congress.

    Secondly, you should read Burton Fulsom’s “New Deal or Raw Deal”. It brilliantly shows how FDR raised all sorts or excise taxes so he could pay for things like the NRA, WPA…. So while these agencies were keeping prices artificially high for consumers, he extracted even more money from the private sector.

    FDR became so anti-business that even his Treasury Secretary Morganthau protested. By the end of the thrties he remarked that they spent a bunch of money and had very little to show for it.

    Again, Obama is repeating many of the same mistakes that FDR made and that is why the economic numbers are deteriorating.

  • Kenn Jacobine


    What are you talking about? Republicans are about as big spenders on social welfare as Democrats. Johnson passed the “Great Society” Nixon financed it. Reagan increased our national debt by $1.9 trillion and raised taxes. Bush I raised taxes and lost reelection. Clinton actually ended welfare as we know it. Bush II was the biggest spender until Obama. He gave us the prescription plan and a lot of spending so that those who coudn’t afford a house could buy one. When have Republicans ever abolished a welfare program?

  • Alan Simpson, on Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC show last night, pointed toward a way out of the paradoxical madness in which we seem to be trapped about spending and taxes.

    He said he and the other members of the Bowles commission were shocked to discover just how many tax breaks are in the current code: tens of thousands, amounting to $1 trillion a year in potential revenue. And nearly all of these deductions/exemptions are used only by the top 4% of earners.

    Get rid of these tax breaks, which Simpson called the equivalent of earmarks and pork spending, and you could lower the marginal rates [to between 8% and 26%] and still increase revenue for paying down the debt. That should, in theory, be appealing to both parties.

    But Grover Norquist would brand the result “tax increases” if revenue went up.

  • Kenn says Obama did this or didn’t do that as if he is an autocrat who can rule by fiat. Even when he had majorities in both houses, the American system does not work like a parliamentary system. Republican minorities plus a few conservative Dems effectively gummed up the works, helped by the 60-vote requirement in the Senate.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Still tap-dancing? Yep.

    And what you’re missing in your claims about how bad Republicans were when it came to social programs…is the fact that with the advent of Bush 43, Republicans want the social programs but simply don’t want to pay for them. They want good education but don’t want to pay for it. They want good infrastructure but don’t want to pay for it.

    You get what you pay for, Kenn – and when you refuse to pay for what you need, then you’re not going to get what you need.

    And did you miss the FACT that under Obama, our tax burden has been less than under any president since Truman? Your fellow conservatives have been treating that particular talking point like a third rail – they won’t touch it!

    But AGAIN, let’s redirect back to the fact that the Republicans have ZERO incentive to help with the economy, because by doing so, they would be cutting their own political throats. Why else are they so insistent on keeping tax breaks and subsidies that are unpopular even within their own party?

  • Conservatives such as Grover Norquist want to shrink the government. They see any revenue increases — even accompanied by larger spending cuts — as contributing to the unchecked growth of government.

    Conservatives like Paul Ryan have demonstrated that they are indeed willing to cut big entitlement programs. There are quite a few like him in the House. They see the “close your eyes, hold your nose and vote for entitlements” stance of the Bush years as untenable.

    But combined with the idiotic no-taxes pledge, these cuts have no chance of passing — they would have to be too draconian if not accompanied by some new revenue.

    And just to be fair, the liberals who scream bloody murder at the very notion of reforming entitlements in any way are also part of the problem.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    The top 10 percent pay 70 percent of all income taxes. About 51 percent of all Americans don’t pay any income taxes. About 50 percent of Americans receive a government check. Yea, there are huge discrepancies in the system and given that government has grown enormously since the 1970s seems like a cut back to 1950-1960 levels is in order to bring about the same prosperity we ad in those days. Of course, this includes a gold standard so soud money can led the way.

  • Kenn must of course, process everything through his Austrian-model robot. No other ideas have any validity. Tunnel vision, cast in cement.

  • troll

    back on the end of the great depression topic:

    consider Romer’s explanation of what ended the it – an increase in aggregate demand based on capital flight from Europe in the mid 30s – which better fits with the numbers (such as US GNP grew at an average of about 9%/yr between ’33 and ’42…’37 was a blip…and unemployment was already down to 10% by ’42) than do WWII and ‘natural correction’ theories

    since it’s not clear where an equivalent investment would come from today and with today’s dismal GDP trend line how useful is the comparison?

  • No Handy, he just watches Fox News a lot

  • Igor

    Kenn: ¨About 51 percent of all Americans don’t pay any income taxes. ¨

    Which includes newborns, small children, prisoners, retired, bedridden, fulltime housewives, hedge fund operators, etc., and a huge number of teens who worked too little at McDonalds to incur a tax.

    So what?

  • Dear God, Must I post this everywhere. GOP administration’s tax rates…

    Eisenhower – the rich paid 91% before their tax lawyers reduced them to nothing or less…

    Nixon/Ford – the rich paid 70 before their tax lawyers reduced them to nothing or less…

    Reagan/Bush – (everyone’s Republican hero) the rich paid 50% before their tax lawyers reduced them to nothing or less…

    Bush II – the rich paid 35% before their tax lawyers reduced them to nothing or less…

    Now Obama wants to only raise it to 37% and the teabaggers are having childish hissy fits!

    Is it race?
    Is it politics?
    Big business’ taxes haven’t been raised yet, so where are all the jobs they’re supposed to be creating right now at THIS tax rate, that they would be creating if the “Party of No” succeeds in keeping their rate from going up?????


  • Do you know how many millionaires and billionaires have publicly stated that they actually pay less taxes than their secretaries?

  • Warren Buffett stated in 2006 (and has repeated the state similar times) that he paid an income tax of 15.5% on his income of $46 million while his secretary paid 30% as tax on her $60,000 income. He mentioned that a few of his friends calculated and compared their percentage of taxes with that of their lower level employees and the same conclusion was reached: the US tax system allows the rich to pay less than the poor, which further widens the income disparity among the rich and the poor. Buffett, while slamming the tax system, suggested the US government take appropriate measures and increase the tax rate for the high income groups

  • Ye god$! How do I get a job as Warren Buffett’s secretary?

  • Paul Krugman says what we need is a new equivalent to the commercial use of the Internet, which led us to 7% growth during some quarters in the mid-90s. Of course some of that growth was illusory, a bubble which had to burst.

  • First you would have to move to Omaha, Doc.

  • You’ll need prettier legs doc…

  • I do actually have quite pretty legs, although they’re probably a bit too hairy for Mr Buffett’s taste.

  • Pictures! send me pictures!

  • To quote Winston Churchill: America eventually does what’s right… after they’ve tried everything else.

  • I’ve heard from several quarters that the three options for making any kind of significant dent in the deficit would be to cut Social Security and Medicare and to raise taxes.

    Neither party will touch the first two, the Democrats for obvious ideological reasons and the Republicans because it would royally piss off one of their major voting blocs.

    Democrats are of course open to the third option, but that won’t go anywhere either because of the GOP’s nononononononononomoretaxesofanykindwhatsoeverevereveragainsothereteaishorridandsoareyoustampstampsulk attitude.

    Which leaves papering over the cracks, as usual.

    And Congress wonders why its popularity is in the khazi.

  • Jet, I know your heart and various other connected bits are made of military-grade body armour these days, but I still don’t think it could withstand the shock.

  • ooooops, apparently the quote is we can always count on America to do the right thing… after they’ve tried everything else…

    well at least I got the spirit of it right.

  • troll

    I’ve heard from several quarters that the three options for making any kind of significant dent in the deficit would be to cut Social Security and Medicare and to raise taxes.

    given a $1 trillion defense budget this seems odd…

  • Yes, cut entitlements and defense and raise taxes.

    And eventually this will indeed happen.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    The top 10 percent pay 70 percent of all income taxes. About 51 percent of all Americans don’t pay any income taxes. About 50 percent of Americans receive a government check.

    Has it ever occurred to you that this might be because of Reaganomics? Yes, REAGANOMICS.

    In the thirty years prior to Reaganomics, all income groups grew by roughly similar amounts. We had strong unionization and a strong middle class. Today, unionization is a fraction of what it was, and the middle class is smaller and weaker than at any time since the Depression.

    The proof? Since the advent of Reaganomics, middle- and lower-class incomes have either stagnated or fallen, whereas the incomes of the rich have skyrocketed over two hundred percent.

    THAT, Kenn, is why the rich are paying so much more – because they’re MAKING so much more! And why? Because of REAGANOMICS, the supply-side economic model that STILL controls the American political scene.

    But don’t listen to me, Kenn – just keep listening to the conservative echo chamber that tells you how terrible the tax burden is on the rich (never mind that under Obama, Americans have a lower tax burden (as a percentage of income) than under any president since Truman).

  • Without even checking the figures, I’d be surprised if the top 10% didn’t have at least 70% of the money, that is, total wealth. No one is proposing confiscatory new tax rates, just a return to Clinton era rates for high earners. High earners did rather well during the Clinton administration.

    There’s also a report today that luxury goods spending was up substantially in July. This is not bad for the economy — maybe Clavos will sell more boats! — but the point is, rich people aren’t hurting.

  • troll

    “About 51 percent of all Americans don’t pay any income taxes.”

    I don’t get where this goes as an argument…at any tax rate the revenue that the untaxed could generate is trivial relative to the size of the budget

    …it seems to express some screwy notion of fairness

  • That argument’s equally ugly corollary is that it’s the poor’s fault that they are poor.

  • Let’s go back to the time when Reagan was president and the rich were paying 50%

  • #33

    Exactly, while ill-begotten gains remain unexamined and beyond scrutiny.

  • Clavos

    America eventually does what’s right…

    “Eventually” being the operative word here; the last time America did something right was WW II.

  • Clavos – You mean like prevaricating over getting involved; almost siding with Germany; or profiteering on the arms supplied to the UK? That kind of stuff? 😉

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Unfortunately, since Obama had to bow to the Tea Party just like FDR had to listen to the Republican austerity supporters in ’37, despite the fact that both had implemented stimulus packages that were successful (FDR’s more so) until we went on an austerity kick, we’re going back down into the Great Recession just like we went back down into the Great Depression.

    I just hope we don’t have to have a WWII to pull us out while we’re relearning this particular lesson of history.

  • #39

    That’s not my take. The White House combined the issue of raising the debt ceiling with that of raising taxes in order to have bargaining room. It’s a strategy that backfired. But perhaps not, depending on Obama’s real objective, which is to recapture the White House in 2012. Meanwhile, he comes out smelling like a rose defending the common man and the middle class vis-a-vis the ugly Republicans and the TP who are batting for the überrich.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “with that of raising taxes”????

    What taxes has he raised? Especially since – as I’ve pointed out numerous times – under Obama we’ve had the lowest tax burden (as compared to our income) since Truman!

    And – as I pointed out in the article – are the Republicans and the TP somehow not “battling for the uberrich”? Tell me, Roger – why is it that the Republicans and TP’ers are so insistent on subsidies and tax breaks even for corporations that paid ZERO taxes, and for holding the line against any rise in taxes for the megarich despite the fact that their incomes have skyrocketed since the advent of Reaganomics, while the incomes of the rest of us have either stagnated or fallen?

    WHY, Roger?

    And when you answer, don’t go from the premise of “Obama wants to be reelected, therefore such-and-such must be the reason”. Why? Because ALL politicians (and not just Obama) want to be elected/reelected…and this includes the Republicans who want the power back and don’t want to give the Democrats yet another repaired economy to use as a feather in their cap for the next election.

    Go instead from the premise of “these are the hard-and-fast statistics that don’t look good – what led to these statistics, who is it that keeps wanting to maintain the status quo, and WHY do they want to maintain that status quo?”

  • I can’t help it, Glenn, if you’re suffering from reading comprehension; I’ve said it as plainly as I could. But don’t let your ideology that stands in the way of common sense.

    In any case, you’ve done nothing to disprove my point. Saying that all politicians want to be re-elected, your words, doesn’t exclude Mr. Obama from that illustrious group, does it now, or did you think that somehow it does?

    Besides, the Republicans and the TP emerged from this White House manufactured “crisis” as overall losers (see public opinion polls), for defending the corporations and the super rich.

  • Re 38: Chris the more things change-the more they stay the same…

  • Um Roger, Obama wanted a straight raise in the debt ceiling with nothing tacked on-the GOP were the ones adding shit to it that didn’t belong there.

    …or has it escaped you that the House has to put a bill through, then the Senate and then the president gets it?

    I love how some assholes are now claiming that Obama didn’t do anything about the ceiling… He couldn’t until the GOP House sent the bill to the Senate and then they sent it to him, so He couldn’t do anything until congress got off it’s collective ass.

  • See comment 16 PLEASE.

    Has it escaped everyone that Obama only wants to raise the rates a little under TWO FUCKING PERCENT????????

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Now, now, Jet – calm down. We just have to remember that – as Bill Maher just pointed out – forty percent of the people in America wouldn’t give Obama credit for anything even if he personaly saved them from drowning.

    And Roger’s part of that forty percent.

  • Yes, Jet, it doesn’t matter. In fact, it only enhances my argument because the measly two percent is way too minuscule to make any kind of substantial difference. It was all posturing on the part of the White House, that’s all. And that’s how I see it. Welcome back, BTW.

    And no, Glenn, I’m in no need of a savior, but apparently you are.

  • They’re screaming bloody murder over 2% because some black man suggested it. How else to you explain that no one complained when they were paying 50% under their hero Reagan?

  • because he’s a black man?

    My comment wasn’t motivated by Obama’s skin color.

  • A little paranoid Roger? Who said I was talking about you? After all I said “They” were screaming… or have you taken to using the royal “we” again in my absense?

  • Never resort to the “we” device, Jet, neither in your absence nor in your presence. It’s a scoundrel’s refuge.

    Call me on it, I dare you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Just as I would be mistaken to assume that people are screaming about the 2% raise because he’s a black man, you would also be mistaken to assume that it’s not because he’s a black man.

    Remember, just this year a poll in MS found that a majority of Republicans still thought that interracial marriage should be banned. Racism still plays a huge role in America, and we’d be fools to deny it.

    And FYI, here’s how much it cost America to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy:

    Thus, on the basis of current law, in 2011 the extension of the Bush tax cuts to all Americans would result in a $200 billion to $300 billion cost to the US Treasury compared to what had been expected. Extending the cuts to households making over $250,000 a year accounts for $32 billion of that. Over 10 years, the total revenue loss from the tax cuts comes to $3.9 trillion, according to the US Treasury.

    Do you still think that a tax increase for the wealthy is ‘chump change’?

  • Neither the president nor Congress came out “smelling like a rose” in post-debt-ceiling-agreement polls.

    72% disapprove of the Republicans’ actions
    66% disapprove of the Democrats’ actions
    47% disapprove of the president’s actions [46% approve]

    And the main difference cited in the president’s favor is only indirectly about taxes. It’s that the Republicans refused to compromise.

    Most Americans would indeed prefer to raise taxes on high earners than cut entitlements. So would Obama. So would Roger.

    So what’s the argument?

  • I’d rather not assume that, Glenn. Which isn’t to say I’m not aware that there’s still racism and sexism in America and worldwide.

    Let’s put it this way: I choose not to assume what you’re asking me to.

  • Glenn, your figures reveal the ‘dirty little secret’ of the Bush tax cuts: a lot of the money came from the middle class, not the wealthy. And we should probably let them all expire, not just the ones for high earners, for that very reason.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    handy –

    I agree – we need to let them all expire. Higher taxes are the price of admission to live in a first-world nation.

  • The least you guys could’ve done was to write something I disagreed with… sigh

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    I’m not asking you to assume squat. I am telling you that just as it’s a mistake to assume that racism is the main problem, it’s just as much of a mistake to assume that it’s not a significant part of the problem.

    In other words, make no assumptions – go where the evidence leads.

    Speaking of which, are you still going to say “In fact, it only enhances my argument because the measly two percent is way too minuscule to make any kind of substantial difference” after reading my comment #52?

    I strongly doubt you will, but we’ll see.

  • I knew it’d be a problem in 2009 when I googled an image of air force one to use in a potential article. I would’ve used it too, until I took a closer look and realized that someone had replaced the tail number subtly with the word NIGGER in the same script making the Gs look like sixxes and the I a 1.

    I wonder how many people didn’t notice and used it anyway?

  • Clavos

    And – as I pointed out in the article – are the Republicans and the TP somehow not “battling for the uberrich”? Tell me, Roger – why is it that the Republicans and TP’ers are so insistent on subsidies and tax breaks even for corporations that paid ZERO taxes, and for holding the line against any rise in taxes for the megarich despite the fact that their incomes have skyrocketed since the advent of Reaganomics, while the incomes of the rest of us have either stagnated or fallen?

    WHY, Roger?

    Damn, Glenn, I’ve said it before but it’s obvious you really don’t know how to read. You’ve got what Roger said in #40 exactly 180 degrees backwards!


  • To answer your last question, yes.

    As to your factoring racism as an explanatory factor, I refuse to do it because it has the effect of reducing my opponents to subhumans. And to the best of my understanding, it’s not the best way of winning hearts and minds.

    But then again, you’ve been on that shtick for quite some time now. And I don’t think you can claim a great degree of success, unless success is defined by speaking to oneself.

    Don’t you think it’s high time to adopt another strategy?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    If YOU will read Roger’s #42, it somehow wasn’t the Republicans/TP’s fault at all, but it was a “White House manufactured crisis”. According to Roger, it seems, the defense of the uberrich had ZERO to do with the whole crisis.

    And instead of reading all of Roger’s comments – my #58 was in response to his “White House manufactured crisis” crack – you are so insistent that I’m somehow unable to grok what Roger’s saying.

    I could make the same snide comment towards you that you’ve made several times, that your reading comprehension is somehow lacking, but that is not the case. Your reading comprehension is just fine. The problem in your case is that you want your side to win – and if you need to ignore the facts in order to help your side to win, so be it. Screw the world and America can go down the tubes, just as long as the liberals ‘lose’ – that’s the apparent attitude I seem to get from you.

  • Will someone just slap him in the head with their purse and be done with it?

  • Still missing the point, Glenn. It was “White House manufactured” because Obama didn’t have to link the two issues together when the only object was to raise the debt ceiling. As to why he had done so, I offered a conjecture. You may not like my conjecture and where I’m going with it, but that’s a separate matter entirely. So until you concede my primary point, I’d say you do suffer from reading comprehension (at times).

    How about a bitch slap, Jetski? Is that what you meant?

  • And BTW, Glenn, the idea of a “manufactured” crisis isn’t mine (I just happen to agree). It’s been expressed by a number of progressives on Amy Goodman show, to which more than once I provided the links.

    Did you bother to look ’em up before going on your usual tirade?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yes, the ‘manufactured crisis’ HAS been expressed by a number of progressives – but the progressives point out that it was manufactured by the TP and the Republicans – not the White House!

    But there you go, trying to link the White House with “manufactured crisis” just because the phrase was used by progressives…never mind that it was towards the TP and GOP! Progressives have been pointing out the same thing for weeks now.

    That, Roger, was a frankly dishonest juxtaposition. You should know better.

  • BS, Glenn. Talking to you is like talking to a wall. I give up.

  • I Intentionally left it ambiguous as to whom I was refering Roger.

  • I gathered that much, Jet, and it shows your skill as a writer.

    So are you saying now that by jumping the gun I made myself an unwitting target?

  • zingzing

    the dems said raise the debt ceiling. the gop said don’t raise it. the dems say raise the debt ceiling and raise taxes. the gop said, if you’re going to raise the debt ceiling, you’re going to have to cut spending (in fact, that’s the platform they ran on in 2010). therefore, no bill raising the debt ceiling without cutting spending will ever make it out of the house. several months later, obama gets involved. as late as may 31st, he’d asked for a clean raise. until june 23rd, biden holds talks with senior republicans, trying to get them to accept a tax increase as part of the deal. the republicans walk out of the room.

    obama wanted a clean raise until he realized he’d never, ever get it from the gop-controlled house. that’s when he started negotiating with tax increases and spending cuts as part of the deal. this crisis was manufactured by the gop.

  • The debt ceiling would be raised regardless of the GOP opposition after outlasting the game of chicken, if not sooner then later. The world would come to an end. Obama didn’t have to offer the GOP any carrot to soften them. But perhaps he saw the opportunity and capitalized on the situation. And that’s how I see it.

    To be honest, I find this entire subject boring. I’m glad, however, that it still holds your undivided attention. As far as I am concerned, the entire political process stinks, which is why debating the finer points with you and other die-hards is a waste of time until you’re willing to recognize the fundamental fact that liberal democracies and their parliamentary systems, coupled with capitalism, aren’t working and that what we’ve just experienced is another example of breakdown. So unless you’re willing to continue these exchanges with this context in mind, which is to say, with a critical eye with respect to our entire political process, Democrats and Republicans alike, count me out.

  • zingzing

    if that’s your take on it, i’m not sure you really understand the situation. then again, i’m not sure i really understand the situation. i do think that if it had been dealt with quietly, as it has been 100 times before, we’d all be better off. but someone (the tea party/gop) made a stink and so our gov’t spent a month fighting about something it shouldn’t be fighting about and now our credit rating has dropped.

    and i’d take it for granted that people who argue about politics come at it from a critical angle. if you can point out anyone who is overwhelmingly overjoyed with the system as we have it, i’d be incredibly surprised. you’re not special snowflake in that regard, roger.

  • Zing, you do seem to take lots of things on face value. May I suggest Naomi Klein’s book, The Shock Doctrine? That’s one example of what I mean by being critical.

    You’re not a stupid person, which is why it’s so frustrating. The kind of coverage you get in the media or other conventional sources barely scratches the surface. If you’re truly interested in politics, I think it should behoove you to think for yourself, and that means going beyond the usual liberal mantra – Dems good, Reps bad – and try understand political events as part of a larger context. Scoring brownie points with Glenn or Handy ain’t going to do it. Sure, Glenn pays a lip service now and then, in his more lucid moments, the the dysfunctional nature of our political system and our brand of society, but sure enough, soon enough he always reverts to affixing the blame, and it’s the conservatives of course. That’s simplistic, a shortcut to thinking, which is why he comes across most of the times as a political hack.

    But I’ve told you what I think. You’re a lazy cat, too comfortable for your own good. The alternative is, you need to believe in something – like in America, our liberal democracy, the process, any of the above.

    Well, I’ve shed those beliefs, don’t need them any longer. Perhaps that’s why we don’t really see eye to eye.

  • zingzing

    roger, you seem to not be able to fully grasp what people are saying. yes, handy, glenn and i would seem to support “the system” as it is TO YOU. but that’s not how it really is. you’ve given up on the whole structure. i, at least, have not. the structure will stay whether you want it to or not, i’m afraid, so you have to work within it. it’s not the structure i’d like to see changed (it’s a pipe dream to think it will), but the way in which the system works. how to fix it, i don’t really know. i’m not arrogant enough to believe that i have the answers. destroying it is one option. but it’s. not. going. to. happen.

    i’ve read the shock doctrine. yes, that is a very critical overview of the last 50 or so years, and i see no reason to doubt what she says. that book made me very angry. and i do realize that, by participating in the political process we have in place, liberals are (to some degree) just as guilty as the greedy right wing sadists that would back such actions. but, even in your darkest moments as regards to me, do you think i’d back any of what happened in that book? or do you think i’d be on the other side? they totally fuck over the common people and subject entire nations to lives of fear and poverty–for a fucking profit. friedman and the entire chicago school should be charged with crimes against humanity.

    you can shed the beliefs. you can. but those “beliefs” aren’t just beliefs. they’re reality. you can’t shed reality. and that’s why we don’t see eye to eye.

  • Yes, I’m done with the whole structure. There’s no fixing it.

    And don’t be calling “reality” now what I addressed. I addressed your belief in American brand of democracy and the political process. And it’s those beliefs of yours which make you cling to your views, nothing else. Sure it’s “reality” in the sense that that’s how the fucked-up system works. Well, I’m working on ways to change “your” reality while you seem comfortable enough not only to be putting up with shit but, what makes matters ultimately worse, defending the bloody system.

    History doesn’t stand still, zing. Change is eminent, certainly s more fundamental principle of life, whether social or organic, than stillness.

    So yes, I am being subversive and can’t wait for America to fall, the sooner the better. But don’t be telling me I don’t grasp “what people are saying.” I know only too full well what they’re saying, and it disgusts me. Which is why I said a while back that the “good liberals” are the greatest obstacle to true democracy for their assent, whether over or tacit, only perpetuates the system.

    I’ll close with Cindy’s memorable line: You can’t bomb you way into peace or fuck for sake of virginity.

  • zingzing

    “I addressed your belief in American brand of democracy and the political process.”

    go ahead and try to accurately describe my beliefs in those things. i guarantee you you’ll get them all messed up. you really have no idea what my beliefs are. you filter whatever you read my beliefs to be through your (you must admit) far-fringe of a lens, and it comes out all distorted. but it doesn’t accurately reflect me. it’s reveals more about you. ever since your conversion, you’ve heard that a lot around here, haven’t you? you seem to assign beliefs upon people at random.

    “Well, I’m working on ways to change “your” reality while you seem comfortable enough not only to be putting up with shit but, what makes matters ultimately worse, defending the bloody system.”

    i only “defend” it in that i tell you “too fucking bad,” roger. do i believe that the system is good? no. do i believe it is bad? not intrinsically. do i believe it’s the best we could have? certainly not. do i see anything better that we can set up tomorrow? nope.

    “Change is eminent…”

    name one major, system-changing event you see coming. and tell me, scholar of history, how does change come in politics? is it by revolution or evolution a majority of the time? and which is more stable? even america didn’t revolt against monarchism so much as it did british rule. the uk wasn’t really a monarchy anymore, although it wasn’t yet what it is today. france revolted against the monarchy, and then they had a dictatorship. it took years for them to get around to any form of democracy. sudden changes in political government almost always lead in directions those that forced the changes did not envision or desire. you can’t create a power vacuum and expect that everyone will agree to fill it how you like.

    “You can’t bomb you way into peace or fuck for sake of virginity.”

    it’s a clever line, but what real wisdom does it impart to someone who’s not an idiot or a superstitious hiv victim?

  • zingzing

    to go on a minute, you want to change our entire political and economic system at once. do you not realize how entrenched that system is? not only is it centuries old at this point, it’s also world-wide.

    i too can envision a utopia of true democracy without capitalism. i just don’t see how you get from what we have now to that utopia. it’s a unicorn, roger. it never existed, and no matter how hard you try to make it exist, it won’t.

    you’ve got a fat man laying on top of you and he doesn’t want to move.

  • Done with you, zing. Happy trails.

  • zingzing

    thought so. not much to say, is there?

    enjoy constructing utopia.

  • Enjoy wallowing in a pigsty.

  • Oh, you two….

  • zingzing

    constructing the better pigsty! at least i have a reachable goal.

  • Don’t let me stop you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Glenn pays a lip service now and then, in his more lucid moments, the the dysfunctional nature of our political system and our brand of society, but sure enough, soon enough he always reverts to affixing the blame, and it’s the conservatives of course. That’s simplistic, a shortcut to thinking, which is why he comes across most of the times as a political hack.

    Ah. So it wasn’t the conservatives’ fault that we got into two wars, stopped Medicare from being able to negotiate lower prices, slashed taxes for the wealthy, engaged in widespread voter disenfranchisement, supported the idea of corporate personhood, supported billions of taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil even when they’re making record profits, slashed education budgets while continuing to give tax breaks to corporations…

    …the list goes on.

    And you’re castigating me for saying those things are the fault of the conservatives???????

    You’re getting like Clavos – holding your vaunted cynicism up as your excuse for everything, and willing to ignore reality just so you don’t have to admit you’re wrong about anything.

    Tell me, Roger – what do you think of those who refuse to admit error in anything they believe, when shown evidence to the contrary? That’s why I refuse to be afraid to admit when I’m wrong. But when have you admitted that you’ve been wrong in any of your many, many arguments? Maybe I’m wrong – maybe you have owned up to significant error (other than when you’ve been caught making snide comments about other on BC), but I haven’t seen it. Either you’re absolutely perfect and the rest of us are complete morons, or you simply refuse to admit when you’re wrong about something.

    If you’re truly honest, that should bother you greatly. But given your conduct over the past year, I don’t think it will bother you one bit. That’s why I pity you so greatly.

  • Glenn, by golly, you’ve stumbled upon the solution. Let’s just get rid of all the conservatives, the Republicans, the Tea Party and all the menace it poses, and everything will be honky dory. They’re the evil mothers who stand in the way of fulfilling your dreams.

    Why haven’t I thought of it?

  • zingzing

    roger wants mass executions of conservatives! or glenn does!

    either way, that’s what roger says glenn says and now i say that’s what roger says!

    we can all play this game!

    weeeee! what a fun game!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Roger also wants to eliminate mothers, apparently. Or Glenn does.

    The evil knows no bounds.

  • Well, since the conservatives are what’s wrong with this country, let’s get rid of them mothers. Glenn should be happy!

  • S.T..M

    The only good thing you can say about the recent impasse on the US is that it shows democracy is alive and well and functioning.

    However, the idocy of a small group within the Republican party with no idea about how world markets work has tried to stare down Obama to get what it wants, and the end result has been an absolute fucking disaster.

    For the US to lose it’s AAA credit rating is really bad for the US, because it costs much more to borrow money. Losing that rating will add many more billions to the interest bill.

    Of course, Obama will get the blame. I wonder how many Americans unable to approach this on a bipartisan basis realise that while Obama has been a tad wishy-washy, he didn’t create the problem, he inherited it.

    The epicentre of this was – and still is – in Wall Street, where unfettered greed almost brought the global economy to its knees. I’d bet most of the shysters selling wonderful investment schemes more akin to betting on two flies crawling up a wall are believers in small government, as long as small government means they get very deep pockets.

    At some point in the future, people will look back on this and blame Obama because he was in power at the time. Well kind of.

    The Tea Party mob in Congress were the ones really wielding the power. I hope that the situation doesn’t turn any more pear-shaped than it already is over there, but of it does, I also hope people remember who it really was that created a problem the money lenders couldn’t ignore: that would be the Tea Party folks. Even their own colleagues in the mainstream of the Republican party know the truth.

    This so-called grassroots movement seems to be accompanied by pride in its anti-intellectualism and its lack of understanding of how America’s problems, monetary or otherwise, are the world’s problems, and vice-versa.

    Ten per cent unemployment and a downgraded credit rating from Standard and Poors are really serious issues.

    The reason Americans have them right now is nothing to do with taxes or (any (minor) social engineering dressed up by the fear mongers of the new right as “socialism”.

    It’s from those in the chorus who are singing the song of “small government” without actually understanding that what was right 200 years ago, or 50 years ago, isn’t going to work today.

    The US could get out of its malaise today by doing two things: Making sure the rich and corporations meet their tax obligations the same as everyone else, and by making comparitively small cuts to defence budgets.

    The world’s changed: No one needs massive fleets of destroyers sitting in San Diego harbour anymore, or a huge army designed to fight a conventional war. Of course, these are the very things the Republicans might find onerous.

    Pity, because the money spent on minor “social engineering”, and pulling in tax dollars from people who think only little people like you and me should pay tax, might work much better towards making America a happy, healthy, industrious and inclusive society.

    For a people my father told me were “can do”, you’ve almost certainly moved towards “can’t do” of late, and that can’t be good for anyone on this planet … and especially can’t be good for Americans themselves.

  • zingzing

    do the conservatives have no part in this, or are they just beyond roger’s contempt?

  • zingzing

    stm on the money.

  • Just changed my mind. Let’s throw zing instead into the ring of fire. I’d settle for that.

  • zingzing

    zing won’t go. it’s his right. if you try to force him, he’ll throw you in.

    roger, robert says elvis says me.

  • zingzing

    you’re a dreamer, roger, and that’s a good thing, but it’s of no use. lennon would be sad, but lennon’s fucking dead. (so is lenin.)

  • And you’re a waste, and that’s even sader.

  • After all that, exactly what net gain did either of you accomplish?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Oh, I get it – Roger believes NOBODY should get the blame!

    If Roger had half the objectivity he thought he did, he’d remember the times that I took the side of the conservatives, or the articles I wrote speaking of the good that Reagan did, or the good the Dubya did.

    BUT HE DOESN’T WANT TO CONSIDER THAT. All he wants to do is complain because I’m pointing the blame where it belongs for much that has gone wrong with America in the past decade…and that blame deservedly lays where it should – with the people he’s supporting in deed if not in word.

    A robber should get the blame for the robbery. A murderer should get the blame for the murder. The president who causes us to illegally invade a nation on false pretenses and then commits war crimes (torture) in the process richly deserves the blame. A party that passes legislation that torpedoed the budget surplus we once had richly deserves the blame for passing that legislation.

    So grow up, Roger, willya? Clavos is every bit as hardheadeded and wrong on the issues as you, but I’ve got a lot more respect for him because he never pretended to be anybody other than what he is – AND performs his duty as an editor well without letting his political leanings affect his work. Like myself, he is always sincere (sarcasm notwithstanding) – and because of that, I trust his observations and his judgment concerning my writing (which means much to me) if not my politics. He earned my trust. You, on the other hand, showed insincerity and lost my trust.

    There’s nothing wrong with standing up for your political beliefs (wrong though they may be) – but there’s everything wrong with showing a tendency towards insincerity and patronization. Clavos has never made those mistakes. You should learn from him.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Roger –

    If it ticks you off that I’m giving you a lecture on morality, too bad. Somebody’s got to tell you, and it might as well be me.

  • Glenn, it doesn’t matter to me what you do or say anymore. I’ve already told you what I think of you. No need to repeat it.

  • There is a (relatively) simple way to revolutionise the world we live in.

    What we have seen in the world of computing over the last 30 years is that computers keep getting both more powerful and cheaper. We also see this pattern emerging in many different industries.

    Now we are almost at the stage where things as complex as mobile phones can be simply printed by simple devices based on inkjet printers.

    The main area where increased production at reduced cost is still struggling is food, but presumably this can also be addressed.

    When we get technology such as nuclear fusion and that sci-fi staple nanotechnology developed, we will have essentially unlimited safe energy and the ability to make anything out of literally dust.

    At this point, what exactly is money or wealth?

    Lay over that the increases in how long people are living – people are already eight times more likely to live to be 100 than they were 50 years ago – a process that is almost certainly going to continue – and the meaning or importance of money will be quite different to the way we see it today.

    In summary, it is increased wealth, to the point where money ceases to be important, that is going to save us all, not superficially attractive but ultimately meaningless philosophical ideas as some like to pontificate about.

  • “After all that, exactly what net gain did either of you accomplish?”

    killed some time on a Saturday night

  • Could someone please explain what cutting social security and medicare have to do with reducing the deficit in the first place, being that they aren’t even budget items?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    They’re political footballs, and that’s all. They’re being used for the same false purposes as Reagan’s “welfare queen” lies back in the 80’s.

  • zingzing

    roger: “And you’re a waste, and that’s even sader.”

    if you’re going to nitpick about language, you have to be better than that.

  • Here, let me fix it for you: “And you’re a total waste of time, and that’s even sadder.”

    Happy now?

  • You’re assuming, Christopher, a sudden turnaround on the part of the ruling classes. It ain’t going to happen under the present capitalist system.

    As to “superficially attractive but ultimately meaningless philosophical ideas,” the idea of true democracy is one such idea (and the Arab spring one of the consequences). The same with communism, and I mean by that the producers/workers controlling the disposition of the product. The Bolshevik Revolution, although not the most happy of consequences, nonetheless shook the world and dictated the course of world’s events for the most part of the 21st century.

    Which doesn’t detract from the point you’re making concerning the unforeseeable effects of the technological revolution in progress. We can’t quite fathom what they might be, but I’m certain they’ll be momentous. Richard Dawkins, your alter ego, I’m tempted to say, exemplifies this kind of mindset.

  • Cindy, you’re right about Social Security but not about Medicare. It really is a budget buster.

    As baby boomers reach retirement age, and as medical expenses increase in cost faster than almost anything else, Medicare will continue to drain more and more federal money. Something’s gotta give, and that will probably be both increased taxes and cost savings in the program.

    SS may eventually require some sort of adjustment to stay solvent, but it is indeed separate from the rest of the budget.

  • Roger, no, I’m not “assuming a sudden turnaround on the part of the ruling classes”. I really have no idea where you got such a notion from.

    As to superficially attractive ideas, I was actually referring to all the stuff you and Cindy chuff on about, none of which has any prospect of coming to pass.

    Nor did my remarks in #100 make any point about unforeseeable effects and I know very little about Richard Dawkins, but seriously doubt he is my alter ego at all.

  • I know what you were referring to, Christopher. As to Dawkins, I would have thought you were quite steeped on him because in some aspects you sound practically alike.

  • Roger, if you knew what I was actually referring to, why did you mention “true democracy” and “communism”?

    Clearly you are mistaken in presuming that I was “quite steeped” in Dawkins; as I said, I know little of his work. He seems a sensible chap but isn’t someone I pay attention to.

  • As examples of the power of the idea, Chris, that’s why.

  • Uhuh…

  • Chris, you should be ashamed engaging in a battle of witts with an unarmed man… tsk tsk.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jet – Roger isn’t unarmed, but he chose to unload his mental firearm when he decided to start attacking those who didn’t agree wholeheartedly with him.

  • You’re insisting on acting like a jerk, Jet?

  • Jordan Richardson

    You don’t leave people any other choice, Roger.

  • I calls them as I sees them…

  • Roger, I’m sorry, I consider you a friend, but in this instant I disagree with your tactics… admit it you’ve painted yourself into a conversational corner.

    by the way I’m working on my new website, so I’m a little slow on the responses and snappy retorts.

  • Another dig, Jordan, or am I misreading it, perhaps? I see, you’re acting as a friend, having my welfare in heart.

    Anyway, Jet can speak for himself, I should think, unless you find it necessary to bat for him.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice, friend.

  • No, I haven’t, Jet. Chris made a disparaging comment concerning the quality of my thinking and my exchanges with Cindy et al, so yes, I just reminded him that ideas matter. And that was all, the end of conversation. Nothing else to add, nothing to subtract. But you decided to try to make something out if it because you were bored perhaps or for some other reason.

    Remember, it was you and Handy who have commented earlier on this thread that this kind of sparring makes no sense. Are you still of the same mind, or perhaps this doesn’t apply to you?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Nope, that was a dig. Jet can speak for himself, just like Maurice, Cindy, troll, zingzing, Christopher Rose, Dr. Dreadful, Jordan Richardson, Richard Dawkins, Glenn Contrarian, handyguy, etc. can speak for themselves without being easily categorized, mischaracterized, misjudged, misread, and/or misinterpreted by roger nowosielski.

    Perhaps there’s a lesson here?

  • I’ve learned to meat my compliments out sparingly, so that people will know that if I say I agree, or think it’s a valid statement, that that’s the way I feel.


    It’s not your argument Roger, it’s the arogant way you’re presenting it… the word tact comes to mind.

    by the way, if Chris Rose gets involved, take it as a hint that you’re floundering.

  • Of course it was, and at least you’re not hiding this time under the guise of friendship. Which is precisely why, if there is a lesson here, I’m not going to take it from you.

  • …ooops, Roger says I’m only supposed to participate in my own articles and no others… sorry for the slip

  • Never questioned your sincerity, Jet, only your mischaracterization of the exchange as battle of wits. Perhaps Chris saw it that way, perhaps you did, but I did not nor did I intended it as such.

    And if I stepped over the line, Chris will email me as he usually does. I don’t think he needs help to be able to do his job.

    BTW, #122 was addressed to Jordan, not to you.

  • To quote a great visionary… Happy traaaaails to youuuuu, untilllll we meeeet agaaaaaain….

    Diplomacy in action

  • You know I haven’t said that, Jet, but your contribution to the topic thus has been limited to what you like or dislike about me.

  • Whatever.

  • zingzing

    roger: “Happy now?”

    it saddens me to see you act so cowardly, making me all the sader. i had two requests: that you accurately describe my political beliefs (which never in this world could you hope to do, but i’d like to see you try), and that you consider the consequences of revolution vs evolution in political change.

    you have done neither. i am not shocked. it’s a “tactic” of yours to call and end to a conversation whenever you feel fit. that’s your right, but it’s certainly a telling feature of how you go about a “battle of wits,” as you put it.

  • zingzing

    -d inb4

  • troll

    zing – wouldn’t it be more challenging to accurately describe your own political beliefs rather than asking Rog to construct a strawzing for you to tear apart?

    …but if we’re all invited to play I’ll colo(u)r you politically (and in part of course) as a young Machiavellian prince with strong hedonist not to mention nihilist tendencies

  • As to zing’s attempt at insult by calling me cowardly, I’ve invited him more than once to visit my series of articles on anarchism and related subjects where I struggle to articulate my political beliefs. In spite of numerous invitations, however, zing had never done so to the best of my knowledge and never posted even a single comment in the context of my own writings. He’d chosen instead the strategy of taking pot shots at my positions without bothering to think through them first as I present them.

    And no, I don’t consider my exchanges with Cindy, troll and Anarcissie as “battle of wits,” nor have I used that expression to characterize it so. If you’d care to examine the thread, it was Jet’s phrase, and I took objection to it. So if you post things about me, at try to be accurate in your descriptions.

    And no, it’s not a “tactic” of mine to call an end to a conversation, only to put an end to conversations that lead nowhere. And by virtue of my experience of our exchanges in the past, not to mention the reasons delineated earlier in this comment, yes, I’ve come to a conclusion that in most cases conversations with you lead nowhere. I think it’s about time you recognize this and act accordingly.

  • zingzing

    troll: “wouldn’t it be more challenging to accurately describe your own political beliefs rather than asking Rog to construct a strawzing for you to tear apart?”

    sure. but roger seems to think he’s got it all figured out.

    “I’ll colo(u)r you politically (and in part of course) as a young Machiavellian prince with strong hedonist not to mention nihilist tendencies.”

    that’s about as accurate as my horoscope, in that it could apply to most of us at some point.

  • zingzing

    roger: “He’d chosen instead the strategy of taking pot shots at my positions without bothering to think through them first as I present them.”

    until you do any different, i wouldn’t expect any different. at least i actually use your words rather than just making stuff up.

  • I said all I am going to say in this regard and that’s the end of discussion as far as I’m concerned. You can either take it or leave it.

  • zingzing

    don’t forget your ball.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hm. The insult ‘cowardly’ has been hurled and assailed. But – in the context of a political blog discussion group, what is ‘cowardly’?

    I’d say it’s:

    1 – the refusal to every admit error not only on minor points or issues but especially on major points or issues. It’s not hard to own up to mistakes on minor issues, but it takes real courage to own up to error on major issues.

    2 – the refusal to criticize or even question one’s own political party and – conversely – the refusal to point out policies or actions by the opposing party’s politicians that deserve kudos.

    3 – the insistence on pooh-poohing statistics that the other side uses by repeating the old saw that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure” as if that somehow in and of itself negates the statistics.

    4 – intransigent opposition against this or that policy or solution to a problem while refusing to provide a better policy or a better solution to the problem.

    Perhaps others would like to add more definitions, but I challenge them to do so without adding sarcasm or snide implications.

  • troll

    re 133 – all of my comments should be so ‘accurate’

    …and then there’s your ‘evolution’/’revolution’ distinction

    both terms describe processes of social change that cannot be denied and which yield only relative stability…thus what would your evolutionary political stability be without the occasional mercantile industrial or information revolution leading to changes in political forms?

    (there is some speculation out there that the property relations required by capitalism will be unable to survive the last mentioned revolt – which is leading to new productive (and political) relations…maybe good; maybe bad – but the ball keeps bouncing)

  • Someone changed the abreviation “BC” to “Bitchfest Continues” while I was gone?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Looks like.

    There’s so many comments I’d love to make…but perhaps it would be wiser if I just went and got a bag of popcorn and a diet soda and enjoyed the show.

  • troll

    …not sure how responding to zing’s two requests constitutes an ‘elbichofest’

    and watch that diet soda Glenn – the shit’ll kill ya

  • Stick with fava beans and a nice chianti…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    nice –