Bob and Chez Show

The Bob & Chez Show Presented by 3/8/16

Bob and Chez
Written by Bob and Chez

RELM_buttonRiotous Clusterfuck: The Fox News Democratic Town Hall; Bernie Nails it on Healthcare; Do Not Interrupt The Bernie; Michigan and Mississippi Primaries; No Path to Victory for Bernie; Bernie Defends Firearm Corporations; Why is Bernie Against TARP; Trump Endorsed by Sandy Hook Truther; Louis CK on Trump, Hilter and the GOP; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius, the Amazon Link and The Bowen Law Group.



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  • Wayne Villeneuve

    The attacks on Tammy Duckworth and Max Cleland are nothing more than Repugnantcan Jiu Jitsu…using an opponent’s strengths as a weopon against them. Classic Lee Atwater/Carl Rove tactic.

  • I can’t believe you had a conversation about Republicans and Democrats should take turns without mentioning the reality of what happens when a Democrat wins the presidency. At least from the late 1970s until today. The GOP prides itself on outright obstruction and refusing to recognize the legitimacy of a Democratic president. Basically they’ve decided that the voter’s will doesn’t count unless a Republican is elected.

    If there weren’t over 30 Obama administration judges and other political appointees currently held up because of traitorous Republicans, I’d be more likely to buy into your “let’s all take turns” happy talk. If I saw any sign that the health and well being of America as a whole, top to bottom, was a priority for the GOP, I might agree that the parties should switch back and forth.

    One party focuses on plundering American resources for the 1%, as quickly as possible. The other party tries at least part of the time to make the USA the best it can be for the maximum amount of citizens. Caretakers of the future that needs to exist, long after most of us are gone.

    • 1933john

      Your last paragraph sums it up without lucubration.

  • Christofloridian

    I kind of hate it when I feel the need to defend Bernie Sanders on the issues, because if the internet of the last 6 months has taught me anything it is that the result will be calls of “Bernie Bot,” “Bernie Bro,” or something else even less civil. But I think you are missing a perspective on the Guns issue and the TARP issue.

    First, guns; since that is by far the easiest issue to explain. Bob’s right that part of it is Bernie Sander’s Vermont constituency. But it is really an intersection between constituent preference, fairness, and vulnerability. The bill protects gun manufacturers and gun shop owners who abide by all relevant laws; it protects them from a lawsuit in the event that a legal gun sale ends with a shooting.

    Fairness is the easiest angle to explain. When we talk about fairness, it comes in two forms. There is literal
    fairness–the same criteria apply equally, everywhere. This law is not
    literally fair, as it provides immunity to an industry for lawsuits that
    should pretty much always be found to be frivolous, but that none the
    less can still be filed against most anybody else in the nation. The
    other form of fairness is de facto fairness, where the fairness is
    sought in the outcomes rather than the criteria. That’s what this law
    is; because if Industry A and Industry B both produce legal products and
    can both be sued, but in practice Industry B is targeted excessively as
    an attempt to use the court as a tool of punishment, it is hard to
    argue that is fair anywhere except on paper.

    Guns have a single purpose; the danger of a firearm–the fact that it is made to kill living creatures–is not hidden from the consumers. A gun killing something is a gun that works exactly the way it is supposed to. If that is unpalatable or unacceptable, then you need legislative change. Suing someone for a product that is sold legally and is working exactly as intended should always be frivolous, but gun lawsuits are going to come on the heels of highly emotional and tragic events. Hillary Clinton’s appeal on the Sandy Hook lawsuit did not use logic and reason, it was focused on emotion and empathy. “Imagine you suffer this loss…” is not suddenly good grounds for a lawsuit, and this is a unique scenario faced by few-to-no other legal products to my knowledge. The bill only protects those who have followed all the laws required of them. A person who abides by all the laws in doing business is said to be acting in good faith. It is hardly fair to allow a suit to proceed against someone who was acting in good faith, who abides every restriction placed upon them.

    Vulnerability; Senator Sanders tends to pivot to small mom and pop gun shop owners when this bill is brought up. These are vulnerable parties and this comes back to the fairness point. Acting in good faith, selling a legal product, these are exactly the people who cannot afford to defend themselves in a protracted legal battle against a well-funded group that aims to sue them out of existence. Unlike in England, where the loser of a lawsuit pays the legal fees of the winner, even winning these lawsuits can amount to losing through the costs associated with the suit.

    The constituency angle doesn’t need explaining, but I think the argument of fairness and the vulnerability of certain parties were also a major influence because those things are central to Sanders’ beliefs that you treat others as you would be treated: fairly.

    TARP is more complicated, but some things need to be cleared up first. TARP didn’t make a profit. TARP took six years to pay back fully, and the amount received essentially does not counteract the cost of inflation. In addition, some of those funds were paid back through loans obtained through other government programs. If you lend me $20, and then I get you to lend me $40, of which I give you $21 to repay my previous loan, the jury is still out on whether or not you’ve profited from this whole exchange. In the best case scenario (ignoring inflation and where they got the money to repay), the profit gained on TARP was less than if we had invested it in Treasury Bonds. But making a profit on TARP wasn’t the point. The point was to prevent the United States and the global economy from becoming a post-collapse hellscape where gasoline and bullets are currency. It actually had little say in whether or not that hellscape came to pass, but the additional money did help (and eventually hurt) the situation.

    Calling it a loan is true on the face of it, but it kind of leaves out the context. It was a loan with a gun to our heads. The problem with TARP (and this kind of muddles the metaphor) is that there was nothing in the bill to prevent the Financial Industry from screwing up against in the future with the expectation that it would be able to once more put the gun to our collective heads and force the taxpayer to ride in to the rescue. The Democrats who voted against the TARP bailout voted against the form of the TARP bailout, not against saving the world economy. Bernie Sanders voted for the auto bailout out of concern for all the jobs that would be lost letting the industry fail; you think he would have let the world economy burn down if his was the deciding vote? No, his and the other Democrats concern (in the 2nd TARP vote, which had the auto bailout funds) was over the accountability and effectiveness of the program at a time when bank executives were paying themselves multi-million dollar bonuses that were technically due to them, after receiving bailout money..

    If we’re going to be realistic about this; it was never an option between save the world or let it burn. There was zero chance of not bailing out the Financial Industry. Once you accept that you are going to put the taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out bad actors, what you are confronted with is “how are you going to structure the deal?” And no matter how you look at it, Congress screwed the pooch on accountability. Of all the things they could have done, all the options they could have chosen, they went with “hand over the money to the exact same people who burnt the place down and tell them to fix it.” There were plenty of ways we could have saved the world without saving the very same people who put us in that situation. I wonder why we chose the approach we did? I’m sure it has nothing to do with Banks lobbying the Senate Banking Committee, or that Committee’s members getting $5.2M from future-TARP recipients. So when the Banking Industry buys the kid gloves that it then convinces our Congress to treat them with, I for one appreciate that there is someone (or several someones, in this case) saying “What the hell? This is the best we can do?”

    And because I can’t end without pointing out the non-issue of it all as it concerns the auto bailout, it really didn’t end up meaning much. The Senate tried to give the auto industry $15B, but failed. GW Bush diverted $13.4B (I think) from the first TARP allotment to the auto bailout. Senators had a say on another $4B for the auto industry as a Bush promise in the second TARP vote… and then President Obama actually saved the auto industry by going ahead and quadrupling the money that had been given to the auto industry, totaling around $80B all told.

    TARP itself was a not inconsequential but small part of the actual bailout, which including the too-small Stimulus package amounted to in total about $14T of taxpayer money, mostly used by the Fed behind the scenes and returning incredible profits, as well as through administrative actions taken by the Executive branch that thankfully did not require any input from Congress. I include this only because it shows that when it really comes down to do or die, what needs to get done gets done despite what the well-paid squabbling children in the two chambers of Congress get up to.

  • Badgerite

    Very good last point made by Bob. This is also why I am not in a mood to take a big risk this election based on the idea of a ‘social movement’. And this also goes to his point about Sanders vote against the TARP legislation. It is as if the left thinks it would be a good idea to run the country into the ground to ‘save’ it.
    That never really works and can have a lot of unintended consequences that they don’t seem to even consider.

    • Scopedog

      That never really works and can have a lot of unintended consequences that they don’t seem to even consider.


  • Badgerite

    Bernie Sanders attitude toward the finance industry is also something that to me is problematic. It is easy to vilify these guys after what they wrought in 2008 but modern commerce runs on credit. Without it, the economy constricts and screeches to a halt. I remember how businesses in town in 2008 suddenly had to cancel orders because there was no credit available. I don’t think any American benefits from an attitude toward the finance industry that is to line them up against a wall and shoot. Even as a new republic, America sought and needed credit. I do want them to not engage in fraud with no consequences to themselves but the situation in 2008, by all accounts, was dire. What was bad was the lack of standards in the legislation.

    • Christofloridian

      I think you have a misconception of Bernie Sanders’ stance towards the finance industry. He doesn’t object to its existence, but rather the out-sized influence it wields on the Congress. He objects to how they essentially get to write the laws that govern them, to their own enrichment at the cost of everyone else. Why do you think there was a lack of standards in the legislation? The Financial Industry lobbies the Senate Banking Committee every year, and 2007-2008 were no different. Those on the Committee received in total $5.2M dollars from Banking lobbyists representing future TARP-fund recipients.

      In the end, you can’t advocate for banking regulation without advocating for the existence of a banking system.

      • Badgerite

        Without the credit industry, that is finance, being stabilized by TARP the country would have fallen into a great depression. The recession was bad enough and had consequences on democracies throughout the world. It did not foment a left ward movement in governments. Quite the contrary.
        The finance industry has the right to lobby. You cannot tell them they cannot.
        However, Sanders people are the ones who are always pooh poohing concerns about the Supreme Court, just as Nader did in 2000. And because of that ridiculous smug decision, George Bush had two Court appointments and we now have Citizens United. Tell me how that made the lobbyist influence less. I’m all ears. It was under Obama that Dodd-Frank was passed and the Consumer Act that Elizabeth Warren supports. But stabilizing the economy came first. Without that, no reforms would have been possible. And until TARP was passed, credit for business had just frozen up. Sanders voted against something that was vital to the country. To punish Wall Street. Well, this goes to judgement and how to get things done. For me, you make sure the country is stabilized first. Then you look to hold people accountable.

        • Christofloridian

          I think people can keep more than one thing in mind at the time, which is why you can both stabilize the country and hold people accountable in the same bill. Hell, you can include taxpayer protections. You can put strings on the deal. They’re not flipping egg timers in Congress, writing Flash-Legislation. It isn’t speed Chess. The absence of accountability cannot be anything but intentional. Pretending this was an episode of 24 with a ticking clock intellectually dishonest at best and ignorant at worst.

          Speaking of ignorance, the credit freeze is a very persistent myth. Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke were doing their best Chicken Little impersonation, claiming the sky was falling and the credit was frozen–but studies by economists from MIT and the NY Fed found that no such thing happened. During the so-called credit freeze, banks were lending to eachother, and the credit markets were not frozen. Hundreds of billions of dollars were being borrowed and paid back each day. Lending didn’t tighten until action from the Fed started paying interest on reserves. Here’s the article that explains it:

          If we’re going to talk about Dodd-Frank (and Elizabeth Warren) we should mention how weak reforms are when they aren’t enforced. Dodd-Frank has some serious guns that the regulators just refuse to use on financial institutions that remain essentially unsecured nukes in the global economy. Since you invoked Elizabeth Warren, I’ll invoke one of her recent articles basically eviscerating the Obama administrations weak handling of corporate criminality. Here is it for your reading pleasure:

          • Badgerite

            Credit froze for businesses actually making things. One of them was local and had to lay people off. You can say TARP should have been structured with more controls and I would agree with that. Certain creditors like Goldman Sachs should have had to take some kind of loss on the unwise and unscrupulous bets they made but , as with the auto bailout, the people a no vote would really be hurting would be working people.

          • Christofloridian

            Look, it’s really not my intention to call your personal experiences into question. But whenever possible, I try to stick to the story that the data tells, and the data says that the credit markets were still open and the lending didn’t tighten up until the Fed created incentives for having larger reserves on hand.

            From that perspective, I’d be curious to know if that local business hired those people back once the supposed credit freeze thawed, or if they stayed more or less permanently laid off or hired back on some more limited schedule. They wouldn’t be the first business and they won’t be the last business to take whatever is happening in Washington or on Wall Street and use it as justification for some unpopular action they’ve been meaning to take anyway. Look at all the reports of businesses that started making changes “because of Obamacare” long before any of the actual parts of Obamacare went into effect.

            And frankly, I think if we’re going to be realistic and call ourselves realistic, we can’t pretend that the vote was in danger of failing, that the financial sector was ever in danger of not getting bailed out. Look at the actual auto bailout bill. It got the “No” vote. It died in the Senate. The automotive industry was bailed out regardless. The Senate only ever got to vote on $4B for the auto bailout (outside of the failed $15B bailout bill). The auto industry received almost $80B in bailouts.

            The Fed took it upon itself to dole out astronomical amounts of bailout cash at effectively 0% interest. It bought up a lot of dubious assets, holding onto them longer than any corporation could afford to, and turning around a lot of it into assets worth something and selling them off to get the government a good return on that investment. The Congress was in a unique position to remove the bad actors from play and either leave the corporations in question to elevate new leaders to fix the situation, or put someone in oversight. They didn’t, and I’d argue that they didn’t want to.

            If I’m to be completely honest, what gets me is people treating no votes as if they are “let the world burn down” votes. They aren’t and they never were. The idea that voting “no” on this particular bill would mean that the auto industry is just dead, or the financial credit services industry is just dead–that’s a fantasy as far as I’m concerned. Because somehow, when it is a bankruptcy bill or a deregulation bill, those things are zombies and they keep rising no matter how many times you put them down. But saving the auto industry? Keeping the world economy from exploding? You only get one shot at voting on that bill, you only get to consider one set of terms? Why do people believe that? Yeah, we can’t take 6 months to reconsider the terms of a bailout deal, but we can take 72 hours. We can take a week. The sky wasn’t falling, the end wasn’t nigh. A “no” vote isn’t a “never” vote, it’s a “not on these terms” vote.

          • Badgerite

            So, it is ok for other people to take the political heat and make the vote necessary to save the economy. And Sanders was therefore justified in posturing with a no vote that he didn’t really mean. Hmmmm. His criticisms of the Obama administrations are pretty vacuous then.
            No, this local business had to cancel orders. This wasn’t a long term strategy of automation and lay off. This was a credit freeze for them. And it blind sided them. To me, saving the auto industry at that particular point in time was critical to millions of jobs spread out through the economy. That was not the time for posturing. Nor is now the time for posturing. This is a very important election.
            There was a column in Salon by a Sanders supporter who claimed that the 1968 election showed how effective a ‘progressive’ candidate can be and named Gene McCarthy of Minnesota, of all people, as the person responsible for making LBJ back out of the election. LBJ had served 7 years as president and had a very serious heart condition. He would not have survived another term. He backed out of the race because he realized he had made a mistake in Vietnam, had opened peace talks in Paris and wanted to take politics out of those talks so that they would have the greatest chance of success. Gene McCarthy ran for president every election cycle after that one and had about as much success as Ralph Nader. He became the Harold Stassen ( and also ran asterik) of the Democratic party. The anti war movement went to Chicago and pooped all over the Democratic convention thus ensuring a Nixon win. Nixon had illegally sent out feelers to the leaders of South Vietnam that if they walked away from the Paris talks, he would get them a better deal. And so they did. The ‘peace’ movement elected a man who prolonged the Vietnam War and ensured that the progressive in the race ( she referred to him as ‘establishment’) Hubert Humphrey would not get elected. Hubert Humphrey was ‘establishment’ only in the sense that he was an old New Deal Progressive who had come to the Senate via the Minnesota Farm Labor Party. As LBJ’s VP, he could not be vocally anti war, regardless of his own sentiments. Nixon went on to screw up Vietnam for another 4 years and through the country into a Constitutional crisis known as Watergate. He also took bag money from the mafia, but I digress. Sanders supporters have been sold the idea that a ‘social movement’ can accomplish a great turning point in our society. Well, yes it can, but not without some practical plans as to how to do that. When pushed, as Chez points out, Sander’s plans always come down to ‘revolution’.
            Social movements without a practical side, without an awareness of the actual effects of their tactics, can and do have unintended and unanticipated consequences. And those can frequently be the opposite of what was intended.

          • Christofloridian

            You still don’t seem to understand my point and I thought I had, if not eloquently, at least done a serviceable job in conveying it. If no vote had ever taken place, the economy would have still be bailed out. The most significant actors in the economic bailout were the Fed and the Executive branch. If the second TARP vote had failed, a new bill would have quickly risen to take its place and do the same thing–perhaps with a different set of terms. We see this all the time with legislation that needs to be passed, and especially with special interest legislation. If it fails, it comes back. It’s not about letting other people take political heat. It’s about punctuating your entirely valid concerns with a No vote if the bill is so bad that it warrants a No. In the context that the American government was not going to let the global economy burn to a cinder, in that context you have no reason to accept a bad bailout bill. No taxpayer guarantees? No oversight? No accountability? Why would we pass this bill in this form? “Because it is absolutely urgent that you pass this right now.” But as it happens, no, it wasn’t.

            The TARP bailout plan was proposed on Sept 20th, 2008. The first vote on it in the House failed on Sep 29. The Senate amended another bill into being the TARP bill on Oct 1, and the House voted for it on Oct 3 and Bush signed the bill. In September, 2008, the US lost 159,000 jobs. In October, it was another 240,000 jobs. Are you really trying to say that taking a bit more time to craft a better TARP bill would have endangered *millions of jobs*? Does moving the timeline a week cost a million jobs? Two million jobs? To me, TARP was sold much the way the Patriot Act was sold; told there is a gun to your head, you should panic and just go ahead and say yes.

            Now, if I’m being honest, no acceptable version of TARP would have been passed, no matter how much additional time was taken to craft it. The very scenario where the TARP bill fails and continues to fail is one that imagines a Congress seized by the right wing ideology that caused much of the GOP to vote against TARP. A Congress not beholden to special interests would have written a better TARP bill, maybe not on the first try and only if it didn’t buy into the impending doom narrative that demanded action without deliberation.

            None of that makes it any less useful to vote against bad legislation that you know will pass anyway. Unless you are an absolute cynic, the goal is to eventually have a Congress that passes good legislation, and dissent against bad bills is rarely a mistake.

            And every election is a critically important election. 2007 was the start of the recession. Democrats were urging Hillary Clinton to exit the primary in order to protect party unity; a plea which she wisely ignored (and was her right to ignore), perhaps because she understood that panic puts people in a big damn hurry often when the thing that they really need to do is take a moment to stop and think. She stuck it out until June.

  • I had someone call me “smug” in our discussions regarding Berniebots who said they were perfectly willing to let others suffer for their decision. And the opposite was true. If I lose my health insurance, I’m totally screwed. And these bots are the smug ones, safe in their health and access to healthcare. Not caring that I might die because of their vote or lack of voting IS not ethical in any way shape or form. So yeah, fuck their conscience.

    • Scopedog

      Agreed. It’s why I frankly wish I could unscrew their heads against the threads, especially the really smug ones (H.A. Goodman, Walter Bragman, Dave Lindorff, etc.). They won’t suffer at all, but are just fine with the rest of us getting tossed over the fence and given the business.

  • rubbydub

    I just heard Chez say “Fuck you and fuck your conscience”, in effect to me,a Bernie Sanders supporter. Damn,I feel like I’ve been escorted out of Bob and Chez’s audience like a black person at a Trump rally. When I voted for Bernie on Tuesday in the Michigan primary (which he won by the way), I truly believed that I was doing something for the common good.

    • Scopedog

      I don’t think Chez meant supporters like you–I’d say he was referring to those on the Far Left for whom purity is of the utmost importance, the ones who will take nothing but a spotless white lamb and routinely blather one about how they’d rather see everything fall apart instead of choosing the “lesser of two evils” (they always love to say that). True, that describes some Sanders supporters, but those are the most rabid ones (see H.A. Goodman), not the general group of supporters. If you voted for Bernie, that’s no problem for me–at least you voted, period.

      The ones that Chez was talking about always brag about how they never vote and how voting’s useless.

      So yeah, no need to feel like a black person at a Trump rally. And frankly, Bernie and Hillary are waaaayyyy better than that blowhard or anyone in the GOP at the moment.

  • Woody Jones

    Loved Bob’s mentioning of the latest GOP hit-job on Tammy Duckworth. I’m not a veteran, but stuff like this makes my blood boil, as well as it should anyone with a conscious. Before I could get the words “Max Cleland” out of my mouth, Bob was talking about Sen. Cleland too, and the story about the framed text from the Senator. The GOP’s treatment of Max Cleland in 2002, and Kerry in 2004, is precisely why I will never vote for another Republican as long as I live. The GOP loves to fund raise off of the military, but when a veteran is not of their party you see their true colors emerge. They are completely classless and soulless. They deserve Trump as much as Trump deserves them.

  • MrDHalen

    Good show guys!! As a (sensible) Bernie supporter, I didn’t feel thrown under a bus as some bot or bro in this episode. So, thanks!

    On the Gun issue, one of the reasons I am drawn to Bernie is the fact that money is SO important to our politicians, they can’t budge on gun regulations because of money from the gun industry. We can’t do anything in our government because our politicians first need “money” from industry to get their name on a ballet for people to vote them in, but they are loyal to their source of “money”, not their source of vote. That is the root of all of our other unsolved issues. Who pays the most money, gets the governmental solution they want. It has to stop. Over the last decade or two, it has all been about social wins, but economically, we have continued to lose with either a Democrat or Republican in the executive or legislative branches. IT HAS TO STOP. ACA, as many people as it helped, it is still heavily involved with insurance companies. All we really did was force them from being completely evil to people and be satisfied with a generous profit off of sick people.

    You guys did a good job of grilling Sanders on the Gun issue and to question his motives behind his legislative record on it. I think it would also have been helpful had you asked those same sort of questions about Hillary and her connections to Wall Street leadership when discussing the whole “frog-walk” topic. That is the real concern of many of the (sensible) Bernie supports with regards to Clinton. We (as you do) understand why Obama couldn’t do much on this. He was busy rebuilding a working economy (even if mostly benefited the wealthy), so that we were stable again. Many Liberals put their faith in the idea of the next Liberal president fixing the “To Big To Fail” nature of our economy. Hillary’s recent behavior prior to this election has been abhorrent with regards to corporate money taking. How she missed this or her advisers, is just head shaking. It speaks to an out-of-touch Democratic leadership in Washington to miss such a slight to the very people she would need to show up and vote. If we get out-flanked by this by the likes of Donald Trump, god help us!! The line from Donald Trump to Ted Cruz on stage might have flown over the heads of most elite Republicans, but it stuck with me. When he said “I gave you money Ted”, and “yes, I expected something in return”, it is exactly what Trump is going to bring against Clinton. Knowing Trump, he probably gave to Hillary or Bill at some point. He’s got plenty of photos.

    As much as I like Bernie, the numbers are daunting. A political revolution is needed, but it does not look like the rest of my fellow Democrats are on board for doing it at this time. I really think its a mistake on our part. I think Clinton will be beat either this election or the next. There is a populist movement in this country and one party will grab hold an win with it. I don’t think Clinton is that person. I hope I am wrong, but that’s what I see. If we’re lucky, she wins this time, packs a few new Liberal supreme’s on the court and we ride a left court into some change. Her lack of action against Wall Street and income inequality will lead to a Republican in 2020 and we also get a wave of redistricting to cement more Republican control of the House.

    Truth is, it’s really not the people in Washington, but the American people. We still control our government, but it really feels like we are just terrible at it right now.

    • Scopedog

      Good points. I do disagree with you about Clinton–but it’s good to read what you’ve said here. I’ve felt that the “Bernie-Bros” are just a small fraction of Sanders supporters, and that the majority of Sanders supporters are reasonable pragmatists like you. It’s just that the BBs seem to have taken the mike and have dominated the comment sections….

      I am supporting whoever gets the nom from the Dems. None of this, “Bernie or else I’m voting for Trump!” or “I’m not voting because both parties are the same” bulls#@!–if people have not noticed the miles-wide chasm between the Democrats and the GOP, then that is truly sad. The debates for the Democrats have been tense, but they have been a hell of a lot more civil than the GOP ones. And there’s no discussion about who has the bigger set of equipment.

      • MrDHalen

        Yeah, I just shake my head at people demanding “Bernie or Bust”. That is not how our system works and they have no right to bash Republicans for their lack of compromise. You don’t always get your way in Democracy. Clinton is a Democrat and if that’s who we’ve picked as a party, then we need to come together and get her into office. You were never a member of the party if you want to run away when you don’t get your way.

        Don’t get me wrong, I think money has corrupted even our Democratic party, but we will only fix it when the majority of our members are ready to fix it. That requires changing hearts and minds, not burning everything down.

  • Badgerite

    I don’t #Feel The Bern as such but I will vote with enthusiasm for either of these two candidates who wins the Democratic nomination. But I want the candidate who will win. And the emphasis on what government is supposed to do versus the GOP lets #Drown It in the Bathtub is why. I find it deplorable that someone like that Shkreli turd could easily get any healthcare related treatment he might need while that guy in Milwaukee would die because of a very treatable but pre-existing condition. If our economies don’t serve the interests of life, the people who live in our society, what good is it?

  • muselet

    Chez, I would describe Bernie Sanders as grumpy, not angry. Even when he turns up the outrage to 11 and breaks off the knob, he sounds like he’s kvetching, not ranting.

    Sanders isn’t wrong about healthcare. To my mind, the whole point of having a society is to help those who need it.

    Bob, I think the better constitutional argument is that access to healthcare falls under the heading of “the general welfare.”

    Chez, you’re kind of arguing for the French system of insurance.

    Chez, Hillary Clinton sounds like everyone’s mom.

    Clinton and Sanders haven’t abandoned civility. I don’t know if that counts for anything in the larger public, but I appreciate it.

    Bob, frankly I’m surprised you guys only said “dick” 31 times last week.

    Holding firearms manufacturers liable for manufacturing defects (of the standard materials and workmanship variety, anyway) in their products should—should—be noncontroversial. Beyond that, holding them liable for what others do with those products is … tricky. As stupid and dangerous as it is to hold firearms manufacturers blameless for anything done with the products they make is, the alternative could be worse. If someone uses a specific brand of mobile phone to orchestrate a terrorist attack, for example, should the manufacturer of that phone be held liable for the attack?

    Tl; dr version: it’s bad public policy to give manufacturers unqualified immunity, but it’s just as bad to make manufacturers absolutely responsible for what their products are used for. All of that said, Bob, I agree: let’s treat firearms as we do any other consumer product and let the courts decide the merits of any claims of liability.

    The thinking, if that be the right word, about TARP for Bernie Sanders and his supporters is probably that TheBigBanks! should have been held criminally liable for their irresponsibility, and that banks’ activities should have been more closely regulated in the aftermath of the global economic implosion. I don’t disagree with any of that; a perp-walk featuring Jamie Dimon would be a fine way to begin a day. However, as you guys point out, not passing TARP would probably have made what was left of the world economy auger in as well.

    Chez, appeals to The Greater Good have never worked, except on an individual level. H. sapiens is a very selfish critter.

    The NRSC’s tweet was remarkable. It’s almost as if that thing were created in a lab to be the single most offensive, tone-deaf message ever sent. “Disgraceful” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    Carl Gallups sounds like a real charmer.

    Media Matters:

    A January 13 press release on Trump’s website touted Gallups as “incredible” and one of several “prominent community leaders in Florida” to endorse him. Trump stated in the release that it’s a “great honor” to receive Gallups’ endorsement.

    Donald Trump isn’t Adolf Hitler. He’s more in the mold of Benito Mussolini, and I’m joking only slightly. I don’t know if that invokes Godwin’s Law at one remove or not.

    Gee, guys, it sounds like you miss sane conservatives as much as I do.


    • MrDHalen

      ^^ALL OF THIS^^

  • Aynwrong

    Graf made a similar point below better than I could but I’ll give it a shot.

    I love Bernie but God he’s just wrong about his defense of the law that provides immunity to the gun industry. The tobacco industry has been exposed to law suits for decades and they have lost some of those law suits. The tobacco industry clearly still exists.

    It’s been said many times that Hillary Clinton will ultimately benefit from campaigning against Bernie Sanders. He will expose her weak points and she will be forced to adjust before the general. I don’t know if this is true but it makes sense. What I think this campaign is that Bernie (this will sound awkward) could have used his own Bernie to run against before running against Hillary. A campaign to smooth out the edges. Because to listen to a very liberal candidate who I like very much defend the gun industry in a way that sounds almost right wing is painful.

    Then again…

    I get that he had his own political concerns to worry about in Vermont just as Hillary had her own political environment that she had to navigate for so long and that he had no choice but to worry about them. That’s how politics works and I’ll judge him by that same standard. I have absolutely no use for purity trolls. Even Saint Bernie can’t be pure.

    • MrDHalen

      Aynwrong – I’m not really trying to defend Bernie on the gun issue with this reply, but having grown up in a rural setting and then living in a urban area like LA as an adult, I can understand the two mindsets that differ on gun ownership. I am for STRONG gun regulations, but I also believe in access to guns. In my urban lifestyle, I personally have no need for a gun, but from my youth, I learned how to and used guns for hunting and general care of farmland. Out in the sticks, gun ownership is a real and heartfelt issue for many reasons not associated with urban lifestyles. Hearing people of urban life talk about making guns $50,000 dollars or punishing manufactures for making them seems to go over a line and hurting people who actually use guns as a tool in a rural lifestyle.

      Guns should be regulated, but not priced out of regular people’s lives. Hunting in our country is a big part of animal population control in some areas and a source of food for people. You can say guns are made for hunting, knives are made for cooking, rope is made for pulling, but all of them can be used for killing people as well.

      • Aynwrong

        I think what Bob and Chez were saying about guns and bullets costing $50,000 was more about making a point regarding the cost of health care coverage. Guns and bullets shouldn’t cost 50 grand. But neither should a life saving surgery.

        I don’t want to see anybody lose the ability to hunt. But I don’t understand the need of anyone to own an AR-15 or an AK-47. And when these weapons are sold and used to kill people en masse I don’t see a reason why these companies shouldn’t be held to account at least in some measure.

        Knives and rope are not guns. They are not intended for the same purpose.

        • MrDHalen

          Yeah, I’m not defending AR-15s or AK-47s. Those are assault weapons pure and simple. I will say though, if our society has not outlawed these from public ownership, I don’t see how we sue them for someone using it for killing people. It just feels like it’s a slippery slope if we try to use that method to obtain gun control. If they marketed them to people as “Hey partner, have you had enough? Well we can help with this beautiful AR-15.” Now, that would be negligence. It’s like 70 to 80% of the public want sensible gun control. The only reason we don’t get it is because the gun lobby buys inaction.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Regarding the PLCAA (statutory immunity from civil suit for gun manufacturers and sellers):

    If it were truly impossible for a gun manufacturer or seller to be in any way at fault for any harm resulting from the use or misuse of a firearm, if there were truly nothing they could reasonably be expected to do to reduce the risk of gun-related harms, they would not need statutory immunity; they could never be successfully sued. The fact that they were given statutory immunity means that there are things that they could be doing that would save lives, but Congress wanted to let them off the hook for not bothering to do them.

    The only way we’re ever going to get a handle on gun violence is to start making it really, really expensive for everyone involved in the gun trade, from manufacturers to sellers all the way down the line to end users, to simply sit back and let it happen. “Not my gun, not my fault” can’t cut it anymore. Start by repealing PLCAA. Then put in place registration requirements that tie every gun to everyone who ever touched it, and insurance requirements to give another major industry a stake. We need economic incentives, not just criminal laws, and everyone who wants to play with these deadly toys has to have skin in the game.

    Gun-control laws and law enforcement will never be enough to reduce gun violence. That plus some serious economic incentives might be. When insurance companies start paying through the nose and the cost of doing business in the gun trade goes through the roof every time there’s a mass shooting, I guarantee you’ll start to see fewer mass shootings.

  • Cybercarl4

    Great analogy describing our political system as a “trash bag” fillet with hornets. Would you really advocate leaving a trash bag of hornets as undisturbed as possible in your home? No, you would throw it away as quickly, carefully and safely as possible. This status quo preservation attitude isn’t going to fix our problems.

  • katanahamon

    You know, screw it, I’ll try again..see what you think. There was also a great defense of Hillary and why she is not a paid Wall Street shill…

  • katanahamon

    I tried posting a link on your Banter story linking to Bernie’s record, and how he received support from the NRA in order to get into congress, it wouldn’t post for whatever reason. I’ll let people google it. It will be interesting for your next show to see if you think Bernie’s chances are improved given results of yesterday’s proceedings. Last nights comment boards, stories from O’Hehir and HA Goodman, pretty dismal gloating and no realism was happening.

    • Aynwrong

      I think they have to be careful about allowing links to be on the Banter comment section. They got trolled pretty heavily a while back. It got…..gross.

  • Draxiar

    A friend of mine once wisely said that “universal healthcare is the highest form of civilization”. A conservative friend (who was also a semi-born again though not in any way annoying about it) sitting at the table wanted to disagree because it was counter to what conservatives were generally preaching but offered up his statement of “I have no logical argument against that.” It was an interesting conversation.

  • HilaryB

    “Excuse me, I’m talking!” Lol. I’m going to use that next time my gun-loving, conservative co-worker wants to talk politics with me.