At a holiday party I had a conversation with someone who is a frequent DailyKos.com reader but who had never heard of Digby/Hullabaloo or Atriois/Eschaton or Crooks & Liars. Not quite sure how that could be, but she was impressed that I had a Diary on DK (something for you single folks to note?).

So here's my holiday gift to DK readers. Check out http://www.eschatonblog.com/ for starters; it makes a nice addition to your DK read. Atrios is concise and very perceptive.

I have not edited or condensed the posts. Here's a sampling from the last few days...

People Disagree About Stuff
Many people seem to believe that if all agreed on the basic facts of an issue, that this would lead us to agree on the implications. There's one right way forward, essentially, and we just need to figure out what it is. But people have legitimate disagreements about policy which have nothing to do with arguing over the facts.

Endless Appetite
A few municipalities will resist, but I'm not optimistic that the free money for rich people who own sports teams era will ever end. For reasons I don't quite understand sports have a weird place in our culture. The public doesn't seem to get too upset about these deals. They might not always be popular, but they're more popular than losing the treasured sports team, though those leaving the city threats are often not credible.

Done right, baseball especially can deliver some benefits (which is not to say that those benefits justify massive public subsidies), but cities that throw cash at football stadiums are corrupt and/or stupid.

Crazy Talk
You're saying that when people don't have any money they don't spend it? That's nuts. It's obviously the confidence fairy or Mayans or something.

But They Will Always Smash It On The Floor

Remember the context: Mankiw loved the Bush-era fiscal policies to create long-run structural budget deficits, and worked hard to implement them--the unfunded war and unfunded tax cut and unfunded entitlement policies that did so much to create our structural deficit. Mankiw did his best to join in the process of taking the work that we in the Clinton administration had done in the 1990s to restore America's fiscal balance--work that was very well done, very important, and work that we were and are very proud of--and casually smashing it on the floor.

But Republicans will inevitably see a balanced budget as an opportunity to give money to rich people (tax cuts and crony capitalism). The reward for liberals for this well done very important work? Tax cuts for rich people and unpaid for disastrous wars.

Liberals should spend their time in office figuring out how to implement a sticky liberal agenda, one which is hard to dislodge, not figuring out how to create a pot of money for Republicans to steal when it is their turn.

Austerity! Not Austerity!
I'm curious how your typical totebagger has handled the whiplash. Austerity was supposed to save us all except now that it is about to arrive it is going to cause a recession.

The fiscal cliff is the austerity bomb they've all been begging for. Except for the part about raising taxes on rich people. That part they do not like, so suddenly austerity bites.

I Don't Even

Dick Armey stages armed coup, gets rewarded with $8 million severance.

Conservatives is weird.

Somebody Is Wrong On The Internet

Remember that time when Republicans controlled Congress and the presidency and they shrunk the government? Oh, wait, that didn't happen.

But for Republicans, agreeing to those tax increases means agreeing to a larger government than would be possible in the absence of those tax increases. That undermines their real goal: Not smaller deficits, but smaller government.

They don't care about smaller government. Or the deficit. They care about taxes for rich people. Sure they want to kick the olds and the poors, but unless they can steal Social Security there isn't all that much money there.

Reporting For Duty
The people who are attracted to the idea of volunteering to stand around all day with a gun at your third grader's school probably shouldn't be doing it.

What Could Go Wrong

100,000 unpaid people with guns "working" full time at your schools.

Their Agenda
If their agenda was cutting the deficit, they'd love the fiscal cliff. Obviously their agenda is something else.

What's Boehner Thinking

The way these things are supposed to work is that Republicans do "something" and then there's a huge media drumbeat about the need for Democrats to do something which is pretty much what the Republicans did because bipartisan.

I'm not entirely sure why it's not going to work that way (though it still could of course!). It might simply be because the media narrative on this issue is completely self-contradictory nonsense. After telling us for years that what we need is Austerity Now, austerity is somehow a bad thing, except it's also good because unicorns.

I do wish more people who manage to fully comprehend the broad trauma a mass shooting can have on our country would consider the consequences of a decade of war.

Hero Fantasies
What pisses me off most about all of the vigilante-hero fantasizing gun nuts is that their limited view of heroism involves... killing a bad guy. If you want to be a hero, there are plenty of ways to step up and be one every day. Unless your fantasy isn't about heroism at all, just killing.

So Many Mobs

I don't have a very educated thought about this, but it's worth contemplating how white dudes killing each other are characterized as "mob hits" while similar non-white people killing each other tends to be characterized as "gang activity."

It's all the same thing, really. Not sure why we need different words for it. Perhaps there are reasons.

Impossible To Shame

Pointing out that the plutocracy fluffers are, in fact, nothing more than plutocracy fluffers will not shame them, because they're laughing all the way to the bank.

Things That Aren't Explained

There is a large deficit reduction plan which is current law.

Villagers who spend all of their time hating deficits hate the deficit reduction plan.

A few hate it for the right reason, that contractionary policy is contractionary, though you can't get them to admit that expansionary policy is expansionary.

Most hate it simply because it raises taxes on rich people, cuts the Defense gravy train that their friends dine out on, and doesn't punish the poors and the olds quite enough.

They've Never Cared About The Deficit

Deficit hawks generally oppose deficit reduction plans (see "fiscal cliff").

“The Clinton plan doesn’t come close to balancing the budget, even in the near term,” wrote Peterson. “Inevitably, Clinton’s deficit path will mean a much larger public debt.”

They want lower tax for rich people and, to a lesser extent, gutting of the safety net, though mostly because the latter makes the former easier.

That's it. The Big Conversation in Washington my entire adult life is a total con job, and all the Very Serious People fall for it, or pretend to.

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