90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Week In The News: Biden In Beijing, Pension Reforms And Nelson Mandela

Biden in Beijing. Public pensions under the gun. Mandela gone – our Weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, chats with his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao before heading to their luncheon at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. (AP)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, chats with his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao before heading to their luncheon at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. (AP)

Nelson Mandela over all the news this week.  South Africa’s great leader, emancipator, inspiration to the world, dead at 95 and celebrated as that rarest of figures – the moral hero.  In China, Vice President Joe Biden dances with Beijing over China’s expanded territorial claims.  Seeks to calm Japan, Korea.  In Detroit, a judge clears the way for bankruptcy and cuts to public pension plans.  Many cities take note.  We’ve got a train off the rails in New York.  Driver in a “daze.”  Healthcare.gov doing better.  The economy and job growth, too.  This hour On Point: our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– Tom Ashbrook


Gideon Roseeditor of Foreign Affairs.

David Shepardson, Washington, D.C. bureau chief for The Detroit News. (@davidshepardson)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Detroit News: Detroit pension funds seek direct appeal of bankruptcy ruling — “The city’s pension funds and its largest union asked for permission Wednesday to appeal the city’s bankruptcy eligibility to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing the historic case needs to be heard by a higher court before retiree pensions are cut. The pension funds and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are trying to protect retiree pensions from cuts in a fight that could lead to the U.S. Supreme Court and avoid a ruling that could impact pensions in struggling cities nationwide.”

BBC News: US and China in ‘very direct’ air zone talks — “Talks in Mr Biden’s Asia trip have been dominated by a new air zone declared by China, which covers islands controlled by Japan in the East China Sea. China says its move is consistent with ‘international law and practice.’ China announced a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) last month, and said aircraft flying through the zone must follow its rules, including filing flight plans. The ADIZ covers islands claimed and controlled by Japan, and a submerged rock claimed by South Korea.”

New York Daily News: MTA: Alert system for engineer was on wrong end of derailed Metro-North train — “The ‘alerter’ system sounds a warning after 25 seconds of inactivity from the engineer. It can activate the brakes automatically if the engineer doesn’t respond to the prompt in 15 seconds. That may have prevented disaster when engineer William Rockefeller apparently nodded off before the train approached a sharp curve near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx on Sunday morning — a bend that requires trains to slow down from a 70 mph limit to just 30 mph.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Nelson Mandela was a great man and certainly worthy of acknowledgment. However, several months ago when Margaret Thatcher, long time prime minister of our closest and most important ally died, the Obama Administration sent NO ONE and did not acknowledge her role in any way. If the Obama Administration now sends anyone, particularly a high level person such as Kerry, Biden, or Obama himself, then this administration can legitimately be accused of racism.

    • JGC

      Former Secretaries of State George Schultz and James Baker headed the official U.S. delegation to Thatcher’s funeral. They had a personal connection with her that was appropriate.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        As much as he hated to do so, Obama should have sent someone from his administration as an acknowledgment of her great friendship to the U.S. and her great accomplishments (standing with Reagan against the USSR and lazy overpaid and underworked labor unions).

        • Mike_Card

          To borrow one of Gregg’s phrases, “Please don’t tell me what I think.” BHO

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        No problem sending Baker and Schultz but where was Joe Biden. The only official duties for a veep are funerals and a pulse. His absence showed a lack of respect.

        Since Baker had a personal relationship with Mandela, Obama will be certain to include Baker in Mandela’s official delegation too?

    • NewtonWhale

      So you must be equally disturbed that the Bushes didn’t go either, am I right?

      “Funeral organizers said that they had invited all the former American presidents, but that none had accepted. Officials said they had cited a range of reasons, including poor health, in the case of the first President George Bush, and previous engagements, in the case of the second President Bush.”


      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Yes, one of the Bushes should have gone as well as other conservatives as private citizens.

        The fact of the matter is that as POTUS, he should have sent an official delegation representing the U.S. as I predict that he will for Nelson Mandela. Thatcher’s skin color is wrong, so that’s why she was snubbed. If he does send an official representative, he is inviting the accusation of racism. I’m sure that if the situation was reversed and Bush had not sent anyone to Mandela’s funeral but had to Thatcher’s, you lefties (and Oprah Windbag and the race baiter Al Sharpton) would have accused him of racism.

        • NewtonWhale

          He did:

          (Reuters) – President Barack Obama is sending two high-level Reagan-era officials to head the U.S. delegation at the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the White House said on Monday.

          George Schultz, a secretary of state for Republican President Ronald Reagan, and James Baker, who had a number of senior roles in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies, will lead the U.S. delegation at the funeral in London on Wednesday, the White House said.

          There were no reported plans by any of the former U.S. presidents, or for current Vice President Joe Biden, to travel to Britain for the funeral.

          Rounding out the U.S. delegation were Barbara Stephenson, charge d’affaires to Britain and Northern Ireland, and Louis Susman, former U.S. ambassador to Britain.


          The conservative need to perpetually throw hissy fits about imagined slights and outrages is tedious and juvenile.

          Grow up.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            I’m sure that Obama will find someone in the CURRENT administration to send to Mandela’s funeral. Unless none of them can make it because all hands need to be on deck to fix Obamacare.

          • NewtonWhale

            You must lie awake at night frothing at the mouth over stories like these:

            You Might Hate Obamacare, But It’s Saved These People’s Lives

            Miss M. Turner couldn’t pay for a tumor surgery until Obamacare came along because insurance providers decided she had a pre-existing condition.

            Eric Wolske’s job didn’t provide health insurance. When a motorcycle accident took his left foot in September, he was able to afford the medical bills because he could still be covered by his parents’ insurance plan.

            Erica Chain lost her health insurance when she volunteered abroad and fell into a coma. No one would insure her when she returned to the U.S. but now she has a PCIP.

            Joseph LaMountain went the last 18 months without health insurance because it would have cost him $1,500 every month out of pocket. Now he’s insured for $168 per month.


          • Fiscally_Responsible

            Actually, I was very offended (but not surprised) that Obama did not see fit to send anyone from HIS administration to Thatcher’s funeral. I mourn the death of Mandela and acknowledge him as a great person and leader. But I have wondered that when this day came, would the Obama Administration be equal in it’s treatment in terms of not officially acknowledging him as it ignored Thatcher, or would we have a double standard? And as far as Obamacare, I’m not the one who lied about being able to keep your plan, your doctor, being able to save money, etc.etc. etc. and misled the American public about the millions who would lose their coverage…His administration did.

          • NewtonWhale

            BTW, both Stephenson and Susman were in the Obama administration.



            Do you ever bother to check anything you say?

        • hennorama

          F_R — it’s actually only your “opinion of the matter,” and not “the fact.”

    • John_in_Amherst

      Is it too much to ask the trolls
      of both left and right to give us all a break while we celebrate the
      life of one of the greatest men to have lived during our lives?

      This links to the text and full audio of Mandela speaking at his trial:


      Stunned silence, punctuated by sobs, followed his concluding remarks, some of the most heroic words anyone could utter.

      There is no comparison between Mandela, willing to die fighting for the unity of his country and the victory of justice and equality and Thatcher, one of the most divisive and mean-spirited leaders in modern Britain.

    • TFRX

      Looks like you got a new hobbyhorse to ride today. Congratulations.

  • SteveTheTeacher

    Pope Francis was right on in his critique of the “new tyranny” of global capitalism.

    “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by
    rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,”

    And, with fast food workers in the streets calling for a living wage, even President Obama has acknowledged that one of the biggest challenges we face is the huge wealth gap between the rich and the rest of us.

    Given the inherent accumulation of wealth by the few and resulting anti-democratic/plutocratic trends in US and world capitalism, why is it that no one in the mainstream media is willing to explore alternatives to capitalist economics?

  • SteveTheTeacher

    As the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, I hope some thought will be given to the many less famous activists in jails around the world as a result of their advocacy for a social justice.

    Will Nelson Mandela’s death inspire the pardon of native American political activist Leonard Peltier (in jail nearly 40 years based on questionable “evidence”).

    • Labropotes

      Agreed. Let’s cast a glance at the 300,000 non violent drug offenders in jail in America too, and the 3,000,000 on parole for the same reason, and God knows how many stained by a “criminal” record. There but for the grace of God go I.

    • Don_B1

      It seems every great person who has actually advanced the life conditions of millions of people (think Martin Luther King, Mahatmas Gandhi, etc., as well as Nelson Mandela) had to spend serious jail time in their efforts.

      This should not be, but it certainly reflects the vicious push back of the entrenched elites in the corrupt societies that they fought to change.

      • Labropotes

        Dr. Johnson, usually very great, said that the persecutors of Christianity were in the right becuase persecution is an ordeal through which truth must pass, and always passes successfully. That’s crazy of course.

    • Don_B1

      It is worth reading Nelson Mandela”s favorite poem, “Invictus” by William Earnest Henley:


      Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
      I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

      In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
      Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

      Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
      And yet the menace of the years
      Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

      It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll.
      I am the master of my fate:
      I am the captain of my soul.

      William Ernest Henley


  • JGC

    That photo of Biden up there – he is looking very presidential, don’t you think?

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      I’m sure he thinks that this is a big “you know” deal!

    • John Cedar

      Presidential of the Hair Club for Men?

      It is hilarious that he doesn’t make the short list of contenders, and that it is a 100% fact that Obama considered replacing him with Hillary for the second term. I wonder if that is because his side recognizes that he is so unlikable?

      • olderworker

        Where do you get the idea that Biden is unlikable? I certainly like him, and it is my understanding that his approval ratings are pretty high.

  • alsordi

    Whenever the words “democrat” “republican” “house” or “Mitch” “Reed” “Bonner” or any such repellent word appears on NPR, I change the channel. Its all nonsense.

    I also do this when I hear the words “Obamacare”. More nonsense.

    If the people who control Obama really want to bring health care to the nation, they would take the INSURANCE COMPANIES completely out of the picture and directly fund the hospitals, clinics and medical services for the people, who can pay directly to the hospital based on their income.

    The USA spends two to three trillion on useless wars and they have the nerve to come up with this Obamacare nonsense.

  • Ray in VT

    The War on Christmas is once again in full swing this year. I’m sure that in this hour of need conservatives are turning to an age old office for guidance and backing a man who can speak to the faithful regarding the spirit of Christmas versus how we “celebrate” it in our consumer culture. How are conservatives speaking of the Pope these days? I’m out of the loop.

    • Ed75

      Conservatives, though the labels are inaccurate when applied to Catholics, are concerned about the pope because of how the media reports his talks, inaccurately. When they read his speeches (and translation has been an issue), they love him. He isn’t going to give us doctrine and theology as John Paul (philosophy) and Benedict did (theology), that’s there, he’s going to evangelize, shake us up, drive us to God.

      • Ray in VT

        It seems that there is a certain segment of American conservatism that has a problem with the Pope talking about economic inequality and social justice. I just find it interesting that some of the talking heads who claim to be defending Christmas against some sort of existential attack are also attacking the head of the world’s largest religious organization.

        I am fairly well disposed towards the Pope’s social message. However, that having been said, I am still totally fine with my having left the Church at age 7 and the total lack of any sort of religious faith that pushed me to do so.

    • 1Brett1

      They’ll have to pry Christmas from my cold, dead hands…

      • Ray in VT

        If they aren’t on the case making sure that Christians and non-Christians alike get wished a Merry Christmas, then who will?

        • 1Brett1

          I heard one of those right-wing hacks (I think it was O’Reilly) ask, rhetorically, “now that Hanukkah is over, what holidays are people talking about when they say Happy Holidays?” O’Reilly always acts as if he’s got liberals on the run and is courageously “calling them out.”

          This is such trumped up nonsense…By the way, Ray, Happy Holidays to you and your family, in case I forget later. I love to say ‘Happy Holidays.’ It goes along with my anti-American/communistic sensibilities in general. And I won’t stop until every Xmas tree is torn asunder and laid waste in a pit, or the first week in January, which ever comes first!

          • Ray in VT

            Thank you Brett, and a Happy Holidays to you and yours, be it Christmas, Kwanza, Festivus, Sol Invictus, or whatever. Just make sure that you get yourself a pagan fir symbol to stick in your house, as my family does.

            I just think that it is ridiculous. The President gets criticized for the cards that it sends out. It doesn’t have a Christmas Tree. It doesn’t mention Jesus. Who cares? I read John Gibson’s The War on Christmas years ago, and what a total waste of time that was, but it was about what I expected it to be. When I worked for Barnes and Noble they wanted us to say Happy Holidays, because you don’t know what someone celebrates, and I think that it is better to leave the door open with a broad statement and to let people take it how they want. Now, when one of the local sisters came in wearing the habit, then I generally went with Merry Christmas, or if someone wished me a Merry Christmas, then I returned it. People just need to calm down.

            Keep up the good fight.

          • 1Brett1

            Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is perfectly fine, but as you allude to, it is presumptuous and exclusionary to consider someone is Christian or who celebrates Christmas. Like you, I say whatever is called for, but saying ‘Merry Christmas’ only as some sort of defiant and imagined battle is silly…to me “Merry Christmas” can be exclusionary in certain situations. Saying, “Happy Holidays is inclusive.

          • Ray in VT


    • John_in_Amherst

      the “war on Christmas” is a phrase coined by FOX talking heads, who see no irony in celebrating the birth of Jesus, who taught caring for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, with an orgy of consumer spending on ourselves.

    • hennorama

      Ray in VT – as you might expect, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show have a few things to say on the topic.

      Last night, they had a segment titled “World War C – Happy Holidays. Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly rush to Christmas’s defense, despite its not being in any way threatened.”


      They also had this segment about raising the Federal Minimum Wage, and Pope Francis’s recent economic message, titled “The Amazing Raise – Stuart Varney vs. Pope Francis. Pope Francis denounces trickle-down economics as unfair to the poor, but Fox’s Stuart Varney respectfully disagrees with the infallible Holy See.”


      • Ray in VT

        I saw the World War C bit. It was funny, I thought, as usual. I just don’t get this sense of outrage and sense of being under siege that some people either seem to, or need to, have. Just take a look at the outrage by some over the Kinky Boots bit at the Macy’s parade. Of course, some people probably got their undies all in a bunch years ago over Hair, so it’s probably not really new.

      • Don_B1

        I saw recently, probably on The Daily Show, that the “War” was being extended to a “War on Thanksgiving.”

        • hennorama

          Don_B1 — I believe some were also concerned about The War On Halloween, but spent zero time trying to confirm.

    • John_in_Amherst

      Palin is “Taken aback”, Limbaugh is convinced the Pope is being fed Marxist doctrine and unwittingly mouthing the same. The talking heads at FOX are blathering on mindlessly, as usual, decrying any affront to free market capitalism.

      • Labropotes

        I’d like to see real big business crooks like Madoff shot against a wall. Ken Lay should not have died a natural death so as to focus the minds of our titans of finance. But I think the pope constructed an absurd scarecrow in his description of the capitalist system. The problem with the capitalist system is that too many of the players are selfish lying a–holes, which is a problem in a lot of human institutions. I could make lots of stupid, incendiary characterizations of the Church of Rome, but that’s harmful, wrong and beneath me.

        • John_in_Amherst

          suggest you read the Pope’s encyclical. I am not about to convert, but he is obviously eloquent, compassionate and deeply thoughtful. Just today he formed a group to address the problems of child abuse by priests. He is also reportedly sneaking out of the Vatican dressed as a regular priest in order to minister to the homeless in the streets of Rome. Pope Francis is bound for the history books, and for all the right reasons

          • Labropotes

            I like Francis a lot. I have read it, and could quote at length phrases that I think are absurd, but I don’t feel the need. I would like to be a part of the Catholic Church. I don’t mock it or its pope.

  • Ed75

    The administration is removing the U.S. Embassy from the Vatican and placing it on the grounds of the embassy to Italy. The U.S. Embassy to the Vatican was started by Ronald Reagan in 1984, and helped the Vatican and the U.S. to work to defeat the Soviet Union, which they did.
    The Vatican is the prime listening post in the whole world. Ambassadors from all over the world go there to speak with the pope and his ambassadors, and while there they go to the American Embassy to speak with our ambassador. This shows that the president’s ideology – anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-God – is more important to him than the welfare of the country. (Who elected this snake? He could repent, but I doubt he will.)
    PS How many people can name the Prime Minister of Italy? (With no disrespect to Italy.) How many people know who the name of the pope?

    • Ray in VT

      First of all, we are not “removing the U.S. embassy from the Vatican”. We will still have an embassy. It will just be in the same place as the Italian embassy. Secondly, it appears that the new facility will also be closer to the Vatican City than the current one. Thirdly, talk and moves regarding relocating the embassy began when George W. Bush was president.

      • 1Brett1

        Ed is repeating a Republican meme from earlier this week, which was proven to be false almost as soon as it was repeated…maybe he doesn’t have TV, read the newspapers or get Internet access, to be fair–no, wait…

        The new facility’s location will be a much more secure place…maybe Ed wants a less secure embassy? Who knows?

        • John Cedar

          Over the last 12 years or so, seems like at least 9 times out of 10, when I hear someone use the word “meme”, it is coming from the left.

          Has that word evolved into a pejorative?
          And is it really such a fun word to use?

          • 1Brett1

            Would you have preferred “discredited talking point”? Because that’s what Ed engaged in. Are you defending the falsehoods in his posts?

      • hennorama

        Plus, it will be less expensive.

        • Ray in VT

          Plus, as 1Brett1 points out, it will be more secure. It seems like a pretty logical and responsible move.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — hmmm … more secure, less costly … now which American political faction should love this?

            Ed75′s correct — it’s obviously irresponsible, and proof the President hates Catholicism, Christianity, and God!

      • Ed75

        Well, perhaps I’m wrong, but they interviewed the last two U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican last night on The World Over and they thought it a very bad move. (And the money involved is not the issue.)

        • Don_B1

          Raymond Flynn deeply embarrassed himself in his self-important attempt to call attention to his position on issues contradicting Clinton administration policy when he was Ambassador to the Vatican. He also pushed his support for weakening the separation of church and state. I recognize that in this case that does not bother you, but what if it was the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia advocating for teaching Islam as a policy for the United States?

    • NewtonWhale

      Washington Post Fact Checker:

      The bogus claim that Obama is ‘closing’ the Vatican embassy

      Jeb Bush’s tweet and a petition campaign by the NRSC (under the headline “Obama Closes Vatican Embassy”) suggest that the Obama administration is taking a dramatic diplomatic step because of some sort of animus or bias against Catholics. Bush is Catholic — but so is Secretary of State John R. Kerry.

      What’s actually going on here?

      Both claim the embassy is “closing,” which suggests the ambassador is being withdrawn. Instead, the embassy building is simply moving — for both post-Benghazi security reasons and for budget savings, two issues that Republicans often have highlighted as important.

      Meanwhile, both the tweet and the petition immediately jump to the conclusion that this is an anti-religious act by President Obama. In fact, this was an internal State Department decision that was first advocated during the George W. Bush administration. The hyperbole is entirely misplaced, and thus these comments fall into the “whopper” category.

      Four Pinocchios


      • hennorama

        NewtonWhale — please stop confusing people with facts that do not fit their narrative. It’s quite rude. ;-)

      • Ed75

        That’s a lot of Pinnochios. (Really, security at the Vatican?)

        • John_in_Amherst

          Recent history has seen an assassination attempt on a pope, and God is not riding shotgun at the Vatican

        • Don_B1

          A Pope did get shot, or don’t you remember?

          • Ed75

            I’ve been looking at this the wrong way. If the US Embassy is going to be blown to bits, it’s better that it’s not on the Vatican grounds, it’s kind of a favor to the Vatican.

    • Labropotes


      • Ed75

        I’ll vote for Bob!

    • John_in_Amherst

      the decision (based on security and economical reasons) to move the embassy follows several other European nations, who have done the same. The process was begun by G.W. Bush, not Obama. The new embassy now actually offers easier to access the Vatican.

  • alsordi

    As I listened NPR’s Robin Young stutter miserably through her report on Nelson Mandela’s death, I sensed an uncomfortable feeling on her part, and for that matter, on the part of the PSEUDO LIBERALS who abound on this venue.

    The key to their discomfort is of course their hypocrisy towards PALESTINE !!

    While the Pseudos are obliged to acknowledge this great man, they have constantly ignored and whitewashed the plight of the Palestinians who are just in worse shape as the Black South Africans, as well as growing movement to boycott Israel.

    • Don_B1

      The problem is that the Palestinians (and the Arabs in general) have not developed their equivalent of Nelson Mandela. And that is not just because “liberals” have not done enough; after all, both President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher strongly opposed boycotts of trade with South Africa.

  • hennorama

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) just released the November Employment Situation Summary:

    “The unemployment rate declined from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent in November, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 203,000. Employment increased in transportation and warehousing, health care, and manufacturing.”


    “The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 331,000 to 7.7 million in November. These
    individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)”


    “Health care employment continued to increase over the month (+28,000). Job gains occurred in home healthcare services (+12,000) and offices of physicians (+7,000), while nursing care facilities lost jobs (-4,000). Job growth in health care has averaged 19,000 per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 27,000 in 2012.”


    “Federal government employment continued to decline (-7,000) in November. Over the past 12 months, federal government employment has decreased by 92,000.”


    “The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in November.”

    Wow. Look how “Obamacare is killing jobs.” Look at how “Obama wants big government.”

    No doubt someone is going to claim faked data or something else. Good news makes some people angry for some reason.


    • John Cedar

      I believe it.
      My employee numbers grew at least 10% as I cut individual employee weekly hours just prior to the July Obamacare deadline. I never put them back even after he unilaterally bypassed our constitutional process and gave a one year delay for businesses.

      • hennorama

        John Cedar — so you’re deliberately being an [insert expletive here] to your longer-term employees, despite what you admit is no need to reduce their hours due to what you describe as “the July Obamacare deadline”?

        You’re a real peach.

        • HonestDebate1

          John Cedar is employing people, is that bad?

        • John Cedar

          What you yappin’ about now?
          I will be more than happy to have my employees send their resumes to you, so that you can hire them, treat them better and pay them more than I…er um me. But you can’t do that in the faculty lounge, Kenya? {ha!… love that phrase, “faculty lounge”…pure poetry!…Did I get that from Rush?}

          All of my “long term employees” are full time. Both my long-term and short-term employee-turn-over-rate, is half what the national average is for my industries. In fact, my employee turn over rate is significantly less than everyone’s in my share groups, which is a much more regional metric.

          I don’t know what the look-back window will be for Obamacare after the delay is over. Maybe i will look it up some time, but in the mean time I will live my life and run my business, since it is subject to change at Obama’s whim. Regardless, there was a cost associated with hiring, training and supplying uniforms to those new employees. I doubt it is more ethical for me to fire those new employees and increase the hours of the longer employees, as you imply I should do.

      • StilllHere

        It’s always good to hear from the real-world practitioners instead of the Obama apologists.

    • HonestDebate1

      Someone posted the part-time numbers the other day and the graph looked peachy until you realize it was as a “Share of all workers”. Once the numbers are looked at in the context of the devastating LFPR the picture changes. It hasn’t been this low for decades.

      As I’ve pointed out before, fewer people looking for jobs in a shrinking universe of jobs can result in a lower unemployment rate.

      No, these numbers are not good news faked or not.

      • Ray in VT

        We’re all doomed! DOOOOOMED I tells ya! As has been true throughout the year, the economy has been adding jobs at a rate above that of people entering the job market.

        That having been said, though, I still can’t find a jib anywhere in this job market. Not even the cut of one. It’s truly depressing.

        Jobs numbers faked? Sounds like a conspiracy. I bet that only the people who know the real truth even suspect anything. That guy who left that department in 2011 is still probably manipulating these numbers. Damn you, Obama!

    • Labropotes

      During the Obama administration labor force participation has gone from 64.6 o 63%, which is about a million less jobs. The fed buys $85 billion in marked-to-unicorn securities every month in the name of full-employment, so each of those 200,000 jobs added in November was bought for just $420,000! Is this a great country or what?

      • hennorama

        Labropotes – thank you for your response.

        Let’s put aside your simplistic “Fed purchases = added jobs” argument, as it is virtually impossible to prove or disprove.

        As to the LFPR, perhaps you missed this in the BLS press release (EMPHASIS added):

        “The civilian labor force ROSE by 455,000 in November, after declining by 720,000 in October. The labor force participation rate changed little (63.0 percent) in November. Total employment as measured by the household survey increased by 818,000 over the
        month, following a decline of 735,000 in the prior month. This over-the-month increase in employment partly reflected the return to work of furloughed federal government employees. The employment-population ratio INCREASED by 0.3 percentage point to 58.6 percent in November, reversing a decline of the same size in the prior month.”

        And please allow me to correct your data points. The Labor Force Participation rate (LFPR) was 65.7 percent in January 2009, and 63.0 in November 2013.


        Please also allow me to point out that the LFPR has been declining since the year 2000. The decline is not a new phenomenon, but it sharply accelerated during the Great Recession.

        LFPR is mostly influenced by long term factors – namely demographics and cultural changes. LFPR is only weakly procyclical. In other words, the LFPR changes are also related to the business cycle, but the strength of this correlation is much smaller than the long term demographics and cultural factors.

        -business cycle good = LFPR increase
        -business cycle poor = LFPR decrease

        The Great Recession’s magnitude influenced the LFPR much more than typical recessions.

        Some history:

        LFPR increased from the mid 1960s to 2000 due to:

        baby boomers entering workforce (demographics)
        women entering workforce (cultural shift)

        LFPR declined since 2000 due to:

        baby boomers aging (demographics)
        fewer young people entering workforce due to increased college enrollment (cultural shift)
        fewer college students working while in college (cultural & economics)

        One can see this very clearly using the link above. At the top, “Change Output Options” to the year 2000, then click (GO). For a long term view, change the year to 1950 or 1960.

        Here are some comments about the LFPR from various Federal Reserve researchers:

        There’s an interesting paper from the KC FED titled “Interpreting the Recent Decline in Labor Force Participation” by Willem Van Zandweghe. Mr. Van Zandweghe concludes:

        “The sharp decline of the LFPR since the onset of the recent recession is due to long-term shifts related to demographic trends and to the cyclical downturn in the labor market. A variety of evidence indicates that, on balance, trend factors account for about half of the decline in labor force participation from 2007 to 2011, with cyclical factors accounting for the other half.”

        He defines “trend factors” as demographic, cultural, and institutional trends.

        It’s quite an interesting paper, published in 2012. You can download it here:

        And from the Conclusion from Leila Bengali, Mary Daly, and Rob Valletta, in a May 2013 Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letter article, titled “Will Labor Force Participation Bounce Back?”


        “The U.S. labor force participation rate has declined sharply since 2007, intensifying a downward trend that has been evident since about 2000. Distinguishing between long-term influences on the participation rate, such as demographics, and short-term cyclical effects is important because it helps us understand and predict the future path of macroeconomic variables such as the unemployment rate. Using state-level evidence on the relationship between changes in employment and labor force participation across recessions and recoveries, we find evidence, reinforcing other research, that the recent decline in participation likely has a substantial cyclical component. States that saw larger declines in employment generally saw larger declines in participation. A similar positive relationship was evident in past recessions and recoveries. In the current recovery, it will probably take a few years before cyclical components put significant upward pressure on the participation rate because payroll employment is still well below its pre-recession peak.”


        And also from a March 2012 Chicago Fed Letter, by Daniel Aaronson, vice president and director of microeconomic research, Jonathan Davis, associate economist, and Luojia Hu, senior economist, titled

        “Explaining the decline in the U.S. labor force participation rate”

        “The authors conclude that just under half of the post-1999 decline in the U.S. labor force participation rate, or LFPR (the proportion of the working-age population that is employed or unemployed and seeking work), can be explained by long-running demographic patterns, such as the retirement of baby boomers. These patterns are expected to continue, offsetting LFPR improvements due to economic recovery.”


        Thanks again for your response.

        • Labropotes

          Christ man! “None wished it longer.” I stand corrected on the labor force participation at the beginning of his first term. I looked at the wrong date. If I find my self in traction, I will real all you wrote. I concede all arguments by default.

          • hennorama

            No concessions are needed. Apologies as to the length, but the LFPR is not the most simple of topics, and yours was not the sole response about it.

        • Labropotes

          Ah, one point, per Forbes, through Sept 2012, 5.9 million had been added to the rolls of SSDI where as 2.5 million jobs had been created, under the Obama admin.


          • hennorama

            Labropotes – TY for your reply. Forewarning: mine is a bit lengthy.

            The Forbes article (from Jan. 2013) does not cite its sources, unfortunately. Where the numbers come from is a complete mystery, and one cannot duplicate them anywhere. For comparison, the TOTAL number of ALL types of Social Security beneficiaries were:

            Jan 2009 51,101,982
            Sep 2012 56,447,043

            This is an increase of 5,345,061, well short of the author’s figures, and inclusive of ALL beneficiaries, not just those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

            Please demonstrate otherwise, if you are able. You might want to check your sources more thoroughly.

            One also notices the attitude of the writer, from this phrase:

            “Of the 653,877 souls that departed the program in 2011, 36% departed by being gracious enough to die …”

            Very classy.

            Now, for some actual stats from the Social Security Administration:

            “Number of Social Security recipients —time series for 3 selected benefit types
            Selected benefit type(s):
            Disabled worker, spouse of disabled worker, child of disabled worker “ (in other words, all disability beneficiaries)

            Jan 2009 9,296,490
            Nov 2013 10,982,920

            And as to disabled WORKERS only, since the topic was the LFPR:

            Jan 2009 7,442,377
            Nov 2013 8,941,660 (increase of 1,499,283 disabled workers, which is 20.1 percent, and 25,850 per month)

            For comparison purposes, under the Bush II administration:

            Jan 2001 5,052,895
            Nov 2005 6,509,958 (increase of 1,457,063 disabled workers, which is 28.8 percent over the same number of months, an average of 25,122 per month)

            Jan 2009 7,442,377 (an overall average increase of 24,890 per month under Bush II)

            Wow. What a HUGE difference.

            http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/ProgData/icpGraph.html (graph showing Number Of Social Security Beneficiaries, By Type Of Beneficiary)
            http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/ProgData/icp.html (Time series reports by beneficiary type)

            Keep in mind also that, as one commenter (who indicated their occupation as “a Social Security attorney”) to the Forbes article pointed out:

            “First, the rise in the Social Security roles [sic] has been happening well before 2009 as the baby boomer population moved into the prime age for disability (45-65). In addition, the numbers have also risen due to the increase in the people eligible for the program. This includes the increase of woman [sic] in the workplace who have earned their quarters of coverage, the inclusion of some state and federal workers in the program, and the baby boomers. But, despite the increase in pure numbers, the percentage of the adult population on the disability roles [sic] has remained steady.”

          • Labropotes

            Good work, man. I’ll look around. I bet he was counting additions and not subtractions, due to, eg, such graciousness as dying.

          • Labropotes

            Not only are you right, it looks like the most rapid growth in SSDI happened under the most worst of the last two presidents, Bush. The rolls have hardly changed under Obama. (The figures don’t count disabled kids or widow(er)s.)


          • hennorama

            Labropotes – thank you for your response, and the link.

            If you look at page 2 of the link (Graphs of disabled worker data), you’ll notice that the 12-month moving average for both Disability Applications and Disability Awards have significantly declined from their peak in early 2011, and are back to the levels seen in early- to mid-2009


            Occasionally, one gets things right. Thanks for noticing.

        • Labropotes

          Why do you say things like, “your simplistic ‘Fed purchases = added jobs’ argument.” I didn’t make the argument. The Fed did. And even if I had, why not leave out the insult? I ask because you seem mostly reasonable to me, so I really do want to understand why there is so much contempt and vitriol among the commenters here. I don’t mean to put you down or to alienate you.

          • hennorama

            Labropotes — thank you for your response and your questions.

            No insult was intended. Rather, the term “simplistic” was used to mean “oversimple,” or in other words, “It’s far more complicated.” This was implied in the subsequent phrase, “as it is virtually impossible to prove or disprove.” Therefore, putting the argument aside seemed the best course of action.

            Keeping interest rates low does not necessarily lead to increased employment, and the linkage of Federal Reserve purchases of long-term Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities to changes in employment are indirect and tenuous, making such linkage difficult if not impossible to verify.

            I apologize for failing to make that more clear to you. My aim in general is to add to the overall knowledge of the group, and if I disagree with someone, to do so without being disagreeable in response.

            This aim is not always achieved, but that is the general aim nonetheless.

    • William

      It is great to see federal government hiring going down.

      • hennorama

        William – Agreed.

        Other than the temporary increases for the 2010 Census, Federal employment has declined during the Obama Administration, and is lower than it was at the beginning of the Bush II period:

        January 2009: 2,789,000
        November 2013: 2,706,000 (P)
        (P) Preliminary

        This is in contrast to the prior Bush II administration, which saw an increase in Federal employment:

        January 2001: 2,753,000
        January 2009: 2,789,000


      • WorriedfortheCountry

        They must be getting jobs at CGI or some other no-bid federal contractor. It looks like healthcare.gov might end up costing the tax payer $1B. It is really outrageous.

    • StilllHere

      Impossible, what with the depression brought on by the partial, temporary government shutdown.

      • hennorama

        StilllHere — perhaps you might actually read the press release, and also remember that the shutdown began and ended in October, not November.

        “Among the unemployed, the number who reported being on temporary layoff decreased by 377,000. This largely reflects the return to work of federal employees who were furloughed in October due to the partial government shutdown.”

        “Total employment as measured by the household survey increased by 818,000 over the month, following a decline of 735,000 in the prior month. This over-the-month increase in employment partly reflected the return to work of furloughed federal government employees.”

        • StilllHere

          So depressions have no lingering impact, good to know. Maybe you’ll have to revisit your calculations on its economic cost.

          • hennorama

            StilllHere — thank you for your response.

            One realizes you are attempting to be chucklesome with your comments, but you seem only to succeed at attaining chucklehead status.

            Sorry that you are unable to attain your goal.

          • StilllHere

            Ad hominems, pathetic.

  • John_in_Amherst

    It can only be hoped that anyone ready to spout off about the Pope’s encyclical has actually read it. It has been abundantly clear that most commentators have not, based on their remarks.
    The complete document is found at:

    • hennorama

      John_in_Amherst — thanks for the link.

      One would be surprised if the talking heads read more than a handful of the nearly 300 paragraphs and more than 200 footnotes.

      Of course, this would not be new. It’s far easier to join the echoing chorus of critics, and remain ignorant of the actual words from Pope Francis.

  • John Cedar

    As governor Moonbeam and baby Cuomo pretend to balance their budgets while raiding the pension systems, it will be interesting to see how the Detroit bankruptcy plays out. Will the court be kangaroo like the one that gave undue favor to the UAW in the GM bankruptcy?

    Even the great Scott Walker left the cops and firefighters alone when he was reigning the teacher’s cartel in. Here in NY, baby Cuomo did the same thing. As he constantly called for teacher evaluations but none for other public employees. Meanwhile those cops and firefighters get twice the pension as the teachers for working half as many years.

    So the point is, Detroit could probably get away with screwing all the pensioned up people if they just take care of the cops and firefighters pensions.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    There is bipartisan (although not enough) criticism of Obama’s trampling of the constitution.

    Here is liberal law professor and constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley on Obama:

    “Turley: Obama’s “Become The Very Danger The Constitution Was Designed To Avoid”


    • OnPointComments

      Excerpt from the statement of Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law, George Washington University, Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee:

      “I believe that President Barack Obama has crossed the constitutional line between discretionary enforcement and defiance of federal law. Congress is given the defining function of creating and amending federal law. This is more than a turf fight between politicians. The division of governmental powers is designed to protect liberty by preventing the abusive concentration of power. All citizens – Democratic or Republican or Independent – should consider the inherent danger presented by a President who can unilaterally suspend laws as a matter of presidential license.

      “Despite the fact that I once voted for President Obama, personal admiration is no substitute for the constitutional principles at stake in this controversy. When a president claims the inherent power of both legislation and enforcement, he becomes a virtual government unto himself. He is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he becomes the very danger that the Constitution was designed to avoid.”

    • brettearle

      Turley does not give examples–at least in this video he doesn’t.

      Come up with the examples and then argue them.

      Turley doesn’t simply mention Obama.

      He includes Obama AND BUSH. He is discussing a general trend–NOT one that speaks to a political party.

      Through your convenient editing of what you present here, Your political BIAS is glaring.

      I doubt that some of the Supreme Court justices would agree with Turley.

      Not only that, but when you consider the Recalcitrant Right’s shooting down Obama appointees, left and right, regardless of the quality of credentials–apparently unprecedented in Congressional History–I’m afraid that Professor Turley is ignoring another Expansion of Power that could very well be threatening the strength of the Constitution.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Memo to brettearle, Bush isn’t President. Hasn’t been for five years.

        In the old days, both parties would revolt when congressional power is usurped by the executive.

        • John_in_Amherst

          circa 1970 something, when Nixon was trying to subvert the constitution

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I’m not a Nixon fan. Wage and price controls?

            Nixon resigned only when those in his own party demanded it.

      • OnPointComments

        “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law…. With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed… There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”
        –President Obama, 03/28/2011

        President Obama subsequently did exactly what he said the law prohibited him from doing. In June 2012, President Obama issued an order to federal agencies that the Administration would no longer deport individuals who came to this country illegally as children despite the fact that federal law mandates such deportation.

    • John_in_Amherst

      the breakdown of our constitutional system owes as much to the Party of NO (aka, the GOP) as it does to Obama. Care to address the infringements of the ironically named “Patriot Act”? Or perhaps elaborate on what a president is to do when the extreme wing of the minority party obstructs all but the most trivial laws and refuses to allow the president to appoint qualified people to administrative and judicial positions?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Are you justifying Obama’s trampling of the Constitution?

        It seems to me that Obama has not used the tools at his disposal (the media and bully pulpit) to rail against GOP slow walking appointments. Could it be that HE knows the slow walks are often simply tools by the opposition to extract information that is not forthcoming from “the most transparent” regime in the history of the USA? Perhaps a spotlight on the reasons WHY would not be favorable to the regime?

        That’s OK because Harry Reid fixed the transparency issue by changing 200 years of Senate precedent. Obama can now continue to be opaque.

        • John_in_Amherst

          The facts behind the change in filibuster rules: Nearly HALF of all filibusters of judicial appointees in the entire history of the country have occurred since Obama took office and the GOP vowed to see him fail.

          • Enuff_of_this

            The appointments have been blocked/slowed at the behest of the americans who elected to the house. Not everyone is content by simply following following the donkey and sipping Kool-Aid out their juiceboxes.

          • John_in_Amherst


          • Enuff_of_this

            have another swig

          • John_in_Amherst

            the Democrats won about 5M more votes in the 2012 election than the GOP. The house and senate vowed in 2008 to see Obama fail, rather than to work for the common good, so that the rich elite backers of the GOP could succeed in thwarting the will of the majority as expressed in the democratic election they failed to win at the polls, and by insisting on veto-proof super majorities for anything to pass, they have gamed the system in a way never foreseen by the “framers”. (BTW, filibustering is NOT mentioned in the constitution) They have verged on treason since day 1 of Obama’s presidency. In addition, the House GOP represents areas that are disproportionately allocated votes, and/or have been gerrymandered into “safe” districts to protect GOP reps. In addition, the teabaggers have consistently yanked the GOP to the extreme right, and the more moderate (sensible) members of the GOP have been quaking in their boots at the threat of being “primaried” by the radical right. The GOP is making a mockery of the system, not protecting it, and they have obstreperous trolls abetting their scheme in forums like this.

          • Enuff_of_this

            Don’t confuse being the majority with being right. Ever. I’ll just withhold comment on your filibuster comment until the dems become the minority in the senate the huge chunk that will have been bitten out of your collective a$$e$ Takes it’s toll

          • John_in_Amherst

            I won’t Ever. wtf.

            I’m not in elementary school, you condescending git. And Democracy IS about majority rule, it is not about gaming the system as the GOP has been doing with redistricting, gerrymandering, voter supression tactics, etc.

          • StilllHere

            You’re really channeling your inner Mandela now.

          • John_in_Amherst

            sorry I can’t cite a reference for what Mandela would do if a right wing troll addressed him as a 6 year old… Any suggestions?

          • Enuff_of_this

            What world do you live in?

          • StilllHere

            Remember your inspiration.

          • John_in_Amherst

            Like I said, he never wasted his time with internet trolls on chat sites.

          • StilllHere

            He’s been a failure all by himself.

          • John_in_Amherst

            The health care roll out has been rocky, not a failure. and as for a lot of other stuff that has NOT gotten done, it IS the Grand Obstructionist Party’s tactics of stall, subvert, etc., not Obama’s shortcomings that have made the last 2 congressional terms historically unproductive.

  • NewtonWhale

    The Obama Recovery kicks into high gear

    The U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs in November, as the unemployment rate falls to 7.0 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

    A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate in November to a five-year low of 7 percent. The gains in the job market could spur greater economic growth.

    The Labor Department said Friday that employers added 203,000 jobs, nearly matching October’s revised gain of 200,000. The job gains helped lower the unemployment rate from 7.3 percent in October.

    The strengthening job market is likely to fuel speculation that the Federal Reserve may scale back its bond purchases when it meets later this month.

    The economy has now generated an average of 204,000 jobs from August through November. That’s up from 159,000 a month from April through July.

    Many of the November job gains were in higher-paying industries. Manufacturers added 27,000 positions, the most since March 2012. Construction firms gained 17,000. The two industries have created a combined 113,000 jobs in the past four months.

    Another month of robust hiring follows other positive economic news. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the July-September quarter, the fastest growth since early 2012, the government said Wednesday.


    • WorriedfortheCountry

      “High gear”????????

      The recession ended in June 2009 — 4.5 years ago.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        What is Congress doing about it?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          The House continues to pass reforms that Reid won’t allow to come to the floor to a vote. I have no idea if they would have done anything substantive but there is clearly no leadership and more importantly no understand of what is holding back economic growth in the White House.

          And what happened to Simpson-Bowles tax simplification reform? It died at the hands of President Obama.

          We need a leader in the WH who will push for real reforms instead of going around giving speeches that divide the people.

          • HonestDebate1

            The House also passes a budget every year.

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      And the federal debt climbing above $17 TRILLION. And that doesn’t exclude the future explosion due to Obamacare.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        That is almost entirely because of the Bush tax cuts, and the unfunded Bush wars – TWO of them, and also because of the worst economic crash since 1929 that happened under Bush, as well.

      • NewtonWhale

        The U.S. debt burden is starting to decline. That’s right – it’s going down, not up.

        The important measure of the debt is not the dollar amount, but its size relative to that of the economy. Just as a wealthy family easily can handle a mortgage that would crush a poor person, a large economy can handle a much bigger debt than can a smaller one.

        Economists measure the debt relative to the total size of the gross domestic product. By that measure, the debt grew rapidly during most of President George W. Bush’s tenure and President Obama’s first term as the government borrowed money to fight two wars and the deepest recession in more than half a century. But the rapid growth ended more than a year ago.

        Debt held by the public currently stands at about 75% of the GDP and will remain at about the same level next year, according to the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office. After that, the debt will tick down slowly to around 71% of GDP in 2018, then get back up to 74% a decade from now.


        • StilllHere

          Why is relative to GDP pertinent? Increasing government debt to fund government spending which increases GDP is illogical.

          • NewtonWhale

            For the same reason that Bill Gates can buy Miami and you can’t.

          • StilllHere

            I could buy Miami, Ohio.

    • William

      Holiday jobs…go away in January.

      • NewtonWhale

        What part of “5 year low” do you not understand?

        If I remember correctly, the War on Christmas did not cause it to disappear from the calendar over the previous 4 years.

        • HonestDebate1

          7% is nothing to write home about but even so a “five year low” is peanuts. The labor force participation rate is at a 35 year low.

        • William

          Remember those numbers don’t reflect the people that have dropped out of the work force.

      • Ray in VT

        And those numbers are seasonally adjusted, which means that they realize that there are fairly predictable factors that occur at certain times throughout the year and they take those considerations into account.

    • StilllHere

      This has more to do with productive resources shifting to the private sector as the federal government shrinks. The halo effect of the shutdown continues!

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Are you dizzy yet?

        • StilllHere

          Sorry, I can’t hear you, your sphincter appears to be distorting your words.

      • NewtonWhale

        “The good news on jobs comes one day after the Commerce Department reported a surprisingly strong gain in third-quarter economic growth, an annual rate of 3.6 percent.”


        The shutdown took place in the 4th quarter.
        Your argument holds no water.

        • StilllHere

          The government’s been shrinking all year long, thanks to the sequester, try to keep up.

          • NewtonWhale

            So now you meant “sequester” instead of “shutdown”. As Captain Renaud would say:

            “A clever tactical retreat.”

          • StilllHere

            No, I didn’t but I’m not surprised you still don’t get it. Where in the public sector do you work?

          • NewtonWhale

            I don’t. You know what they say about making assumptions.

          • Guest

            Did you notice that U comes first?

  • HonestDebate1

    Obama was hands off when it comes to his signature…er, achievement. It’s really amazing.


    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Perhaps Sebilius doesn’t play golf?

  • OnPointComments

    Excerpt from the statement of Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee:

    “The President has a personal obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The word “faithfully” is, perhaps, a broad grant of discretion, but it is also a real and important constraint. The President cannot suspend laws altogether. He cannot favor unenacted bills over duly enacted laws. And he cannot discriminate on the basis of politics in his execution of the laws. The President has crossed all three of these lines.”

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    It wasn’t “moraly clarity” when Mandela canoodled w. Bill Clinton LIVE during a White House appearance during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Old men die everyday. Mandela just joined the queue.

    China is and will be a much more important story. If the US can get over the navel gazing and flag lowering re: someone it mostly ignored throughout his entire lifetime.

    Thanks much. Citizen Skeptic

    Let’s not forget the many thousands of South Africans who revolutionized their country including their many courageous leaders. Mandela was one of these. Just one.

    • jimino

      You make a good point. We need to stop celebrating George Washington’s birthday unless we give equal billing to all the others who were involved in our country’s founding. After all, wasn’t he “just one” of those responsible?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        There is at least one comparison between Washington and Mandela. Both could have been king for life but they left office at the height of their power.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The world is big and the day is long. Perhaps Tom Ashbrook and guests will move onto news from the rest of planet Earth. Hoober Doober

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      The death of one of the most important people of the last century – is *soooo yesterday*…

      • nlpnt

        Normally I’d agree with you, but Tom’s already planned to give it the whole second hour, so why should it get more than a passing mention and a “stay tuned” in the first?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Time to move on to C-SPAN. It’s going to be Mandela week for the navel gazers in the American media. Hoober Doober

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      We already know that you are small minded – you don’t have to keep proving it.

      • StilllHere

        What would Mandela say?

  • Coastghost

    Floating Apex Alert: with John Kerry and Joe Biden co-heading our valiant foreign policy just now, Obama can confidently attend Mandela’s funeral. By the time Obama returns from Mandela’s funeral, though, any bubbling panic due to health insurance enrollment dysfunction perpetrated by ObamaFraud will just be beginning in earnest.
    If Obama now understands how dismissive foreign leaders are of his Presidency, what domestic peril will Obama be in as 2014 begins? Obama has not enjoyed a good 2013 overall, but what kind of domestic insulation does he dare risk, and what specific delegations of responsibility are left for him to give whatever appearance of competence and management skill he can salvage?

  • StilllHere

    Personally, I would prefer the Obama’s sequester continuing to the budget deal that’s being leaked.

  • William

    I agree with Jack and Obama should bow to the Chinese.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Just as corporations declare bankruptcy and work with the Pension Benefits Guarantee Corporation in giving retirees a reduced pension amount, so should this occur in the public sector. The problem is that most city/state governments are run by Democrats in bed and beholden to the overpayed “out of touch with economic reality” unions.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Who ruined Detroit?

    50 years of horrible, corrupt single party (Democrat) governance.

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      You nailed it!

    • StilllHere

      Bankruptcy looks like the best way to achieve pension reform. This will probably not be the last.

      • John_in_Amherst

        easy to say when it isn’t your pension and financial security in retirement at stake….

        • StilllHere

          Sorry, I just pay for it.

          • John_in_Amherst

            you live in Detroit?

          • StilllHere

            I live in a state/city that needs drastic pension reform, and by that, I mean cuts.

          • John_in_Amherst

            so signed contracts should not be binding because they are inconvenient and might require higher taxes to fulfill the obligations to workers who have planned to rely on their pensions for security in retirement? Sounds like a typical GOP solution to a problem that affects average workers and not upper income types… What DO you propose for those workers?

          • StilllHere

            Contracts are amended all the time. Grow up.

          • John_in_Amherst

            Another condescending right wing git, eh? You are confusing the words amending and breaking, and since when is it OK to break a contract and calling it “amending”?….

          • StilllHere

            Contracts are broken all the time, ok.

          • John_in_Amherst

            I still haven’t seen what you would propose to do with the workers affected, or how you would react if it was your pension that was so glibly broken

    • John_in_Amherst

      auto makers who smugly ignored trends and continued churning out antiquated lemons, thereby losing market share to Japan and Korea had nothing to do with it….

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        So it was the horrible deals that the big three cut with the unions that made their companies uncompetitive that ruined Detroit?

        OK, I agree that was a contributor. But the Detroit “public servants” didn’t react to the times. Instead, many went to jail.

        • John_in_Amherst

          more like the horrible products they tried to sell. And there can be no defense of the pols who failed in their protection of the pensions promised to workers, or the public who declined to pay attention and vote at the polls

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            It is a corrupt system when public sector unions buy and pay for politicians that are responsible for negotiating wage and benefit contracts. Even FDR saw the danger.

  • Unterthurn

    Why isn’t the state bailing out the city? Will these people not receive a penny of their pensions?
    This makes the EU look pretty good bailing out their troubled states.

    • jimino

      Maybe the Fed can pony up $85 billion every month to assure these commitments to working people are honored. That would more than cover it, wouldn’t it?

  • OnPointComments

    I wonder what the count is now on enrollments vs. cancellations. I bet cancellations are still way ahead.

    • StilllHere

      Yes, it would be great to see a net number. The December 23rd deadline fast approaches. Young people don’t seem to be buying Obama’s bait and switch.

      • HonestDebate1

        They said they need 7 million by the end of March.

        • Labropotes

          Two interesting points on ACA. VT hired some consultant to design a funding plan for their already promised, but unfunded, single payer program. The result was the recommendation of a 14% payroll tax. The idea’s been rejected, but it is the clear, naked cost of the program, after the feds fund their large share.

          I work in VT for an ins. in Louisiana. I was on their state exchange looking at the costs for our employees in Louisiana. You type in the number, and their ages. I guessed the ages, and the number is 7. $2200 per month per employee for comparable coverage. That’s like twice the current cost. We don’t have to go this way for another year.

    • OnPointComments

      Some are predicting a maelstrom in 2014 when many people who were told by the healthcare website that they are enrolled find out that the data either wasn’t sent to the insurance company or was so inaccurate that the insurance company couldn’t use it, and that they are uninsured.

  • AlanThinks

    Tom, Boston has joined the list of cities with unsupportable financial obligations. The city council just awarded patrolmen a 25.6% pay increase to the tune of @ $80M. The cost will increase as the award is provided to the non-patrol officers, and followed by the firemen whose contracts are up soon. What is not reported is the pension obligations that accrue with these raises. Officers typically retire after 25 years at 75% of the final 3 years of their pay. Meanwhile, residents of Boston – who have not received any pay raises, or are unemployed, struggle with average wages less than 1/2 the average cop. And watch as the city is forced to lay off more workers and unable to afford school reforms. The new Mayor, who did not ask the councilors to vote no on the contract, has failed to lead even before he takes office.

  • MrNutso

    Single payer.

  • Coastghost

    Jack Beatty: listen to yourself: no one is listening to Obama’s “important speeches”.

    • Labropotes

      Some people are listening. Those who expect to benefit from the initiative du jour. And lasting resentment will be the result when nothing comes of this one too, directed at the president’s “enemies.”

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Regarding the current comment on Obamacare saving her family money, our small group obtained a cost quote for a plan with similar out of pocket maximums to what we have. For our premiums to stay approximately the same as they are now, our out of pocket maximums will increase by $68000 per year or 50%. Alternatively, if we pick out a plan with the same out of pocket maximums, our premium costs go up by 50%. Our current health insurance provider recommended that we drop our policy and get the federal government subsidy (which is presumably paid by young “invincibles” who enroll in the plan. This is basically a Ponzi scheme or great subsidy transfer from one generation to another. So if that is considered “working successfully”, then I guess Obamacare is working. And I’m sure that all of the 60-64 year old women out there who now have forced maternity benefits can sleep better at night now.

    • hennorama

      Fiscally_Responsible — a few questions spring to mind:

      1. Where did your small group obtain said cost quote? (current insurer, broker, healthcare.gov, etc.?)

      2. How many other quotes have you gotten?

      3. What is the historical experience level of the group as far as meeting and exceeding their deductibles? Obviously a higher deductible would be less important to those who regularly do not spend enough on health care to exceed it, and the lower premiums might be their choice, and vice versa.

      4. What is the historical level of premium increases and increased deductibles/benefit limitations that your small group has accepted in the past?

      BTW, there are numerous online resources available to help you weigh the choices.

  • OnPointComments

    The president’s brow wrinkled as he furtively thought to himself, “How can I possibly distract the media and the citizens from the abject failure and incompetence I have shown in my signature legislative initiative?” His assessment was correct; he had failed, and his poll numbers were below 40% on every issue polled. Suddenly his eyes widened. “Eureka! I’ll launch another salvo in my class warfare agenda. They always fall for that!” He would once again blame the rich, CEOs, corporations, and Republicans, while glossing over lack of education and the breakdown of family structures, the principle drivers of poverty. He knows that it is never politically advantageous to mention anything related to personal responsibility.

    The opening chapter of the book I’m writing. I can’t decide whether to classify it as nonfiction or fiction.

    • 1Brett1

      If it were funnier/had cartoonish pictures, you could call it a comic book.

      • brettearle

        Glad to see your return

        • 1Brett1

          Thanks, brettearle, but I only plan to check in every now and again. And, I find myself only reading certain posts with thoughtfulness, like yours. There are just too many of the usual suspects saying the same things over and over…I haven’t visited for a while, except for a couple times in the last couple of months. The issues sort of stay the same and the commentary sort of stays the same; it has gotten boring.

          There is so much disinformation generated and biases (and it doesn’t all come from the right, either, don’t get me wrong) that one would have to spend more time than I’m willing to spend to counter many of those comments…It’s kind of funny to see certain comments from right-wingers about how biased this site is and how lopsidedly liberal it is when most of the commentators are now conservative.

          • brettearle

            Thanks for your comments about my work, here, on the Forum…

            Well, I’ve pulled back, too, somewhat. I simply don’t have the time to substantiate.

            The Right has a relentlessness to it, that is for sure.

            They’re bullheaded and they’re equipped with a lot of bull, in the process.

            Before “On Point”, I was on another social-media-issues forum site like this one–and it became infected with fanatics and zealots.

            And so, like you, I left.

            And, yes, this site is becoming more difficult for clear-minded folks to navigate through.

            But you, personally, have a great deal of insight with a lot of knowledge to back it up.

            I can assure you that guys like TFRX, Ray In Vermont, Jefe68, Bruce94, JGC, Labropotes, Hennorama and. Don_B1–and some others who I have inadvertently left out–would be saying the same thing, as I am saying:

            We’d like you to come back. We need you to come back.

            Unless you can recommend a better place to express our views, somewhere else on the Web….

    • Bruce94

      Ahem…individual mandate = personal responsibility.

      And as I recall the would-be Out-Sourcer-In-Chief, Mitt Romney, would prefer to see tuition assistance and student loans scaled back advising poor college bound students to ask their indigent parents for a loan, while other Republican champions of education advocate cutting Head Start and Food Stamps as well as closing the Dept. of Education all of which would negatively affect educational opportunity and performance and further destabilize the families whose breakdown you are ostensibly concerned about.

  • Ray in VT

    As my comment seemed to disappear, I am reposting. Has anyone mentioned how the Reagan administration labelled the African National Congress as a terrorist organization or how former Vice President Richard Cheney has said that he does not regret having voted against the Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986? Way to keep it classy.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      I heard it estimated that Mandela may have set back his movement by up to ten years by aligning with the Soviets and thus alienating the West.

      • Ray in VT

        Do you have a specific reference for that? It may certainly be true, although it was quite true during the Cold War that we weren’t really all that interested in supporting human rights and freedom when we thought that it was not in our interests. South Africa was likely a place where we could have found some common ground with the Soviet Union, and we chose to back a horribly racist regime that perhaps leaned economically more in our direction. At that time we were also supporting murderous groups and governments in Central America, so supporting groups fighting against oppressive governments wasn’t really high on our list of priorities.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          It was from an expert on South Africa — but I don’t remember his name. The thesis makes sense given the cold war. Sometimes you can be on the side of right but pick self-destructive tactics.

          Mandela was a man of many contradictions. But one thing is clear; he was a great and courageous leader against generations of injustice.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that at many points during the Cold War we worked against not only our ideals but also our longer term interests by some of the choices with whom we chose to align ourselves in the shorter term.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Sure. But Mandela cut a deal with the devil for free weapons and it cost his cause. Of course, hind sight is always 20/20 (nice cliche, eh?).

          • Ray in VT

            But who was he supposed to turn to? We had been supporting the Apartheid regime for years. We didn’t really care how many Africans that regime persecuted or murdered, so what were his options? A deal with the devil was likely his best, or only, option.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            ” A deal with the devil was likely his best, or only, option.”

            Clearly that is what he thought. But, apparently not since it set back his cause ten years.

          • Ray in VT

            What was that that you were saying about hindsight being 20/20?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Yes, and hindsight tells us that Mandela was Mandela and not Robert Mugabe.

    • William

      Well it was a terrorist organization and aligned itself with the Soviet Union and Communism.

      • Ray in VT

        Britain considered our Founding Fathers to be essentially terrorists and traitors, and the ANC was engaging in a battle for freedom and equality against a brutal, racist regime. What help did those seeking freedom and equality in South Africa get from the U.S.?

        • Labropotes

          We withdrew our protection of their persecutors.

          • Ray in VT

            At what point?

          • Labropotes

            According to Noam C., whom I love, the advent of this law. Before it, the US had been the last supporter of the apartheid government.


          • Ray in VT

            And that is the act that Mr. Cheney has said that he still feels fine about having opposed.

        • William

          The Brits considered the founding fathers traitors, rebels but certainly they were not worried about them enslaving the population of America like the Communists do when and wherever they take over. In South Africa it was a clash of cultures based on tribes. They had the Boers/British decendents vs the various black tribes. Now the ANC not only wanted to take over the country but wanted to make it a Communist country. The USA choose to fight Communism which was the greater threat to the world. When Communism collapsed South Africa achieved it’s political changes.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Revisionist history?

          • William

            Capitalism won in South Africa as it defeated Communism. The apartheid system was doomed to fail under the pressure of capitalism.

          • Labropotes

            Hi William, Ontario, Canada, considers 1984 to be their bicentennial year. 1784 was the year that the loyalists came flooding in, driven from their homes and lands by their victorious neighbors, the American revolutionaries, swelling the population of Upper Canada to Dominion status!

            “No refuge could save the… slave from the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: and the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

          • William

            It is interesting 1/3 fought against the British, 1/3 fought with the British and 1/3 did not care.

          • Ray in VT

            The goal of Communists everywhere was to enslave America? Hmmm, that would be news to, for instance Ho Chi Minh, who had long worked to free his country from Western imperialism, or perhaps Marshall Tito, a communist whom we supported during the Cold War. Why would we support a man who wanted to overthrow our government? That doesn’t seem to make any sense.

            Please provide some evidence that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War brought about the end of Apartheid. Here I thought that it was years of international political and economic isolation, the latter which Cheney and Reagan opposed, that played the major role in bringing about the end of that system, but I’m sure that you know better than the people who say that.

    • JGC

      Believe it or not, Ray, if you first posted referring to our former vice-president by his 4-letter nickname for “Richard”, that seems to be a forbidden word on Dicksus.

      HonestDebate and I went through the whole process about a month or two ago, with our posts to each other gettin auto-deleted, before we finally figured it out. Bizarre, eh?

      By the way, Cheney attended Margaret Thatcher’s funeral as part of the official U.S. representation. (I thought only Schultz and Baker made the trip.) I wondered why George W. did not go…was he recovering from surgery at that time, or was he trying to avoid sitting next to Cheney in the U.S. delegation?

      • Ray in VT

        I figured that that was the problem when I saw that my message got moderated, which is why I recomposed the message and used Richard. It’s rather an annoyance to be sure.

  • Don_B1

    That has been the problem across all the most developed countries, the United States being the worst case, with the highest rate of inequality and the lowest rates of upward mobility.

    That would appear to be one of the main reasons for your “dislike” of President Obama’s message.

    Well, you do appear to live in a fantasy world, so I guess you can avoid the cognitive dissonance that actually looking up the facts on these conjoined issues would create in your mind. And since sources have been pointed out multiple times to no recognition from you, no one should expect you to learn anything here.

    • John Cedar

      Income inequality is an affliction suffered only by the envious. You would think these jealous folks would be more concerned with asset inequality. As that accounts for much of the income inequality.

      But then they might be forced to recognize that a corporate asset in the hands of Galt is akin to a golf club in the hands of Tiger and either one in the hands of the unwashed masses would produce no income.

      They might be forced to recognize that that wealth is not a gym size safe full of gold coins that Scrooge McDuck dives but rather widget factories, refineries and strategic real estate locations, which if put in the hands of the unwashed masses would be defunct inside of a year’s time. But in the hands of the one-percenters will continue to thrive and bring them their Walmart flat screens and their better cell phone coverage so that they can text Applebee’s before picking up their take out.Upward mobility has been hindered greatly by librul policy but as always proves to be easily within reach for new immigrants. Demonstrating that those not marinated and constrained in liberalism can rise as high and fast as they dream.

  • brettearle

    The Republicans, including the President at the time, who refused to oppose Apartheid, should be called out– especially now.

    Cheney ought to be publicly confronted.

    An utter Disgrace.

    And bespeaks–actually and symbolically–of our own flawed history, going back to the Framers.

  • OnPointComments

    Report: Scientists predict a century of global cooling

    “German scientists found that two naturally occurring cycles will combine to lower global temperatures during the 21st century, eventually dropping to levels corresponding with the “little ice age” of 1870.”

    I can imagine the reaction from the Chicken Little contingent of climate change enthusiasts: “Yeah, but it would have been so much colder if it wasn’t for global warming.”

    • Ray in VT

      Hmmm. Another “skeptical” group puts out a paper predicting global cooling. I think that I’ll pass on this at least until the scientific community gets a hard look at it. My bet is that it holds little water.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Amazing how we keep finding these three percenters who have findings contrary to “the consensus”.

        They appear to be multiplying like the fish and loaves.

        • Ray in VT

          Except for that so many of them are just the same people from the same circles, often with ties to the same energy companies. Where was this “report” published, by the way? I did not see anything in the article that shows where this has gone through the peer review process. I did, however, see a few quotes from some of the people who often seem to contribute to many pieces of such a nature.

          For instance, what is the European Institute for Climate and Energy”? Who funds it and who is in it. Der Spiegel describes it as having “little more than a P.O. box address in the eastern German city of Jena.
          The group’s president, Holger Thuss, is a local politician with the
          conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).”


          and it has partnered with Heartland. Just seems like more of the same. Any bet that they favor laissez-faire economics?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Ah, everything goes back to the Koch brothers. Seems like Germany could do with some laissez-faire energy policies given their bone headed actions in the past few years — starting with their decision to shutter their nuclear plants which caused an increase in their reliance on coal power.

          • Ray in VT

            I’d be willing to bet that they’re getting cash from some Koch entity, but seeing as how they don’t appear to release their funding sources the world may never know.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            This particular study could be a crock but I’m confident that the climate science is not “settled” despite the 95% confidence levels touted by the IPCC.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that there are very likely aspects of the climate system that are not presently well understood, however I consider it pretty unlikely that the global scientific community is either as blind, incompetent or corrupt as some would suggest.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Judith Curry appears to recognize that the propaganda promoted by a few activists in the climate science community is hurting the reputation of the community. She has a blog where she attempts to elevate the discussion and expose some of the issues. I wouldn’t call her a skeptic but she recognizes that the state of climate science is unhealthy. I find her approach refreshing.

            Here is a recent posting.

            “Reflection on reliability of climate models”


          • Ray in VT

            I think that the reputation of the community is being hurt far more by the sorts of organizations that promote some of the “skeptical” work out there than the statements of a few activists who may go too far in some of their statements. Also, given a couple of her statements that I have heard I do wonder if her ideology may prevent her from seeing any sorts of larger (i.e government inspired or mandated) solutions as being either desirable or workable. (edit) Unlike some, or many, skeptics, though, at least she is educated and schooled in the field, which does appear to make some in the field bristle when she associates herself with those who have cast doubt upon the integrity or competence of others in the field.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            It isn’t a few ‘activists but the IPCC itself is in her cross hairs and rightfully so. Also, peer review. Propaganda by the media, etc.

            How are these ‘skeptical’ groups hurting the ‘community’ when they are shunned by the ‘community’? Some of the activists were actually caught committing fraud against Heartland.

            “her ideology”
            I’m not aware of her ‘ideology’. Are you? She seems to want to get the science right, that’s all.

          • pete18

            Funny how the questions of ideology never comes up when talking about the IPCC.

          • OnPointComments

            Everything goes back to the Koch brothers? I thought everything went back to George Bush.

          • StilllHere

            Have we ever seen them in the same place at the same time? Hmmmm.

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t see this before i posted. Sorry.

          • HonestDebate1

            Have you ever seen the Koch Brothers and GWB in the same room at the same time?

        • John_in_Amherst

          so, if you took your car to 100 mechanics and 97 of them said your breaks were about to fail, you’d load up the family & head out to cross the country?

          Yesterday a countervailing report to your “what? me worry?” tack stated that the globe is heading for catastrophe with an even smaller rise in temperature than was previously thought possible.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Memo to john: the 97% number is bogus. fiction. myth. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

          • OnPointComments

            In the 1600s, nearly everyone was certain that the value of even a single tulip bulb was more than a year’s wages times 1000. Almost everyone jumped on the tulip bandwagon. Then they found out they were wrong.

            The 3% who didn’t buy tulip bulbs were the smart ones.

          • John_in_Amherst

            “nearly everyone”= some get-rich-quick proto-republicans in Holland.
            And investing in flowers and hitting an irreversible tipping point are different, except in the minds of fools.

          • John_in_Amherst

            FOX tell you so?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Fox? Fox News? Michael J. Fox? Megan Fox?

            You can’t get 97% of any large group to agree that we landed on the moon. Common sense tells you it is bogus. But the study from which was derived (by an Australian psychology graduate student) has been thoroughly debunked.

          • John_in_Amherst

            I’d settle for “vast majority”, if you are troubled by numbers, and pssst! it IS the vast majority

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            That’s a good start. My big gripe is with the propaganda and how a few alarmists try to spread the meme that the science is ‘settled’. Climate science is in its infancy and the more they learn the less they realize they know.

          • John_in_Amherst

            suggest you dig deeper. Who is “they”? Science is always open to inquiry, but the closer people in the know look at the climate problem, the more (not less) they are alarmed, and the more sure the data is indicating we are headed for catastrophic warming. You fancy yourself conservative. So why not take the conservative view that we might want to error on the side of saving the planet as it is, rather forcing radical change on the climate? The industrial revolution and burning fossil fuels are the “new” technologies, relative to the lengthy history of both humanity and the world.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “the more sure the data is indicating we are headed for catastrophic warming.”

            You have encapsulated the nut of the alarmist propaganda in that one statement. Sorry, but I don’t buy it.

            17 years of no warming while CO2 emissions increasing 20% should give you pause [no pun intended]. None of the models predicted it.

            If I did buy into the alarmism, then I would fully support a crash program to expand nuclear power generation. I would start with the gen III+ that already been approved and then quickly move the gen IV plants like the LFTR thorium reactor that is even cheaper and safer.
            It is the ONLY scalable CO2 free technology currently available.

          • John_in_Amherst
          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Excellent. Keep the propaganda coming.

            “But most scientists who study Kilimanjaro’s glaciers have long been uneasy with the volcano’s poster-child status.

            Yes, ice cover has shrunk by 90 percent, they say.

            But no, the buildup of greenhouse gases from cars, power plants and factories is not to blame.”

            So when the “experts” debunk the alarmist MISTAKE did the alarmists announce their error. NO. Because that is the way the big lie works. Keep repeating it. This should raise caution flags with you. Right?


          • John_in_Amherst

            suggest you check “Chasing Ice”, if the before & after pics here don’t seem convincing. And it is still the VAST majority of scientists you disagree with, not just me.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I’m just pointing out how propaganda works.

            I fully acknowledge that the climate is changing. It has been changing throughout the history of this rock. Specifically, it has been slowly warming since the end of the last mini-ice age.

          • John_in_Amherst

            I acknowledge someone on the right should know how propaganda works, and a lot about hot air. I wish you were right. I, and the vast majority of the scientific community know it is highly probable you are wrong.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Ah, they didn’t show you the Muir glacier in 1950 when the CO2 was well below the ‘safe’ 350 ppm level. It appears most of the melting was BEFORE 1950.

            Again, watch out for propaganda. Be skeptical.


          • John_in_Amherst

            Ya? Take your own advice, pal. And get your facts straight.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            What fact didn’t I get straight? Don’t you want a ‘complete’ picture? Your link provided two pictures (1941 and 2004). Mine had 3 (1941,1950, and 2004). Which is more informative?

            Watch out for cherry picking.

          • John_in_Amherst

            actually, the link had more pics, before and after. and check “Chasing Ice” for a couple hours more. There are a few places in the world where ice is building up – including some parts of Antarctica – due to the fact that warmer air carries more moisture. But over all, glaciers are diminishing rapidly, and MUCH more rapidly in the last 50 years than at any time in the last millennium, especially in the arctic, Greenland, and the high altitude tropics.
            Now check CO2 levels. Compare the rise in the last couple thousand years to human activity, and specifically to industrialization and the consumption of fossil fuels. See any parallels?

            Ask yourself, why would a few outliers deny anthropogenic climate change? Now look at where their funding comes from. You will notice connections to big oil/coal, and especially to the Kochs, all of which have huge financial interests to bend the narrative. And ask again, Why would the vast majority of scientists push the idea that we are causing catastrophic warming? Who benefits financially?? and then track the money. You think renewable energy producers or conservation groups can compete with petro/coal money, or that they have the same stake? How is it that the Pentagon and most of the world’s developed countries are already preparing for the consequences of catastrophic warming? They have all missed it? REALLY?

          • HonestDebate1

            What if you asked 100 people who have ever changed a tire (call them mechanics) to comment and only 31 did. And what if you hand picked those 100 from a pool who owned stock in the brake pad industry. And then say 30 of the 31 that actually responded said buy new brake pads.

            Would you still say 97% of all mechanics agree?

          • John_in_Amherst

            what if the ostriches on the right pulled their heads out of the sand….

          • HonestDebate1

            … they’d go whole hog behind Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and the Tea Partiers, happy days ensue.

          • John_in_Amherst

            who gets to play the Fonz?

        • John_in_Amherst

          also amazing how FOX and a few GOPers are willing to hand them a megaphone while ignoring the vast majority who hold the opposite view…

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Here is a short video on how deniers view global warming.

      Very instructive. Great if you want to nail a denier.


      • HonestDebate1

        That’s great! I laughed out loud, thanks,

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Kudos to the dude who put that together. It was hilarious.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    If the jobs numbers so rosy why are the Dems in congress insisting on extending the unemployment benefits as part of the budget deal?

    • OnPointComments

      2014 is an election year, and they need the unemployment money to buy votes.

      • hypocracy1

        As if there’s a chance those free-loaders would vote Republican….amiright?

  • OnPointComments

    Fewer Americans Have Jobs Today Than Seven Years Ago
    1,148,000 Fewer Employed Now Than in November 2006

    • hypocracy1

      Cut taxes for the Job Creators.

      • StilllHere

        Pay people to do nothing.

    • hennorama

      OPC — exactly which BLS data point/data series does this chart supposedly illustrate, and what is the source that created the chart?

      • OnPointComments

        Employment Level – Civilian Labor Force – LNS12000000

        • hennorama

          OPC – thank you for the source.

          The data used in the chart is from the monthly sample survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS). The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses both the CPS and the Current Employment Statistics (CES) to estimate various elements of employment and unemployment.

          The CES uses a much tighter definition of who is considered to be “employed.” The CES definition is likely closer to what the general public perceive when they think about who is “employed,” as the CES definition excludes the self-employed, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, and private household workers.

          Per the BLS website:

          “Why are there two monthly measures of employment?

          “The establishment survey [CES] and household survey [CPS] both produce sample-based estimates of employment and both have strengths and limitations. The establishment survey employment series has a smaller margin of error on the measurement of month-to-month change than the household survey because of its much larger sample size. An over-the-month employment change of about 100,000 is statistically significant in the establishment survey, while the threshold for a statistically significant change in the household survey is about 400,000. The establishment survey provides employment estimates for over 900 detailed industries, for the United States, each State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and about 400 metropolitan areas. The household survey has a more expansive scope than the establishment survey, because it includes the self-employed, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, and private household workers, who are excluded by the establishment survey. The household survey also provides estimates of employment for demographic groups.”

          Obviously, the CPS definition of “employment” is much more expansive than the CES definition.

          Using the narrower CES data for the time periods in the chart in your post:

          November 2006: 136,758,000
          November 2013: 136,765,000

          As you can see, the November 2013 CES employment figure is higher.

          It’s still below the January 2008 peak of 138,056,000, but up by 7,445,000 from the February 2010 low of 129,320,000.


          For those interested in the details, the two definitions are:

          For the CPS (the data used in the chart in your post):

          “Who is counted as employed?

          “Employed persons consist of:

          All persons who did any work for pay or profit during the survey reference week.

          All persons who did at least 15 hours of unpaid work in a family-owned enterprise operated by someone in their household.

          All persons who were temporarily absent from their regular jobs, whether they were paid or not.

          “Not all of the wide range of job situations in the American economy fit neatly into a given category. For example, people are considered employed if they did any work at all for pay or profit during the survey reference week.

          “This includes all part-time and temporary work, as well as regular full-time, year-round employment. Persons also are counted as employed if they have a job at which they did not work during the survey week because they were:

          On vacation
          Experiencing child-care problems
          Taking care of some other family or personal obligation
          On maternity or paternity leave
          Involved in an industrial dispute
          Prevented from working by bad weather”


          In contast, this is the CES definition:

          “What is the CES definition of employment?

          “CES employment is an estimate of the number of nonfarm, payroll jobs in the U.S. economy. Employment is the total number of persons on establishment payrolls employed full-or part-time who received pay for any part of the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month. Temporary and intermittent employees are included, as are any employees who are on paid sick leave, on paid holiday, or who work during only part of the specified pay period. A striking employee who only works a small portion of the survey period, and is paid, would be included as employed under the CES definitions. Persons on the payroll of more than one establishment are counted in each establishment. Data exclude proprietors, self-employed, unpaid family or volunteer workers, farm workers, and domestic workers. Persons on layoff the entire pay period, on leave without pay, on strike for the entire period, or who have a pending job but have not yet reported for work are not counted as employed. Government employment covers only civilian employees; it excludes uniformed members of the armed services.”


    • HonestDebate1

      I’m trying to think, what happened in Nov. of 2006? Anything?

      • OnPointComments

        Lord Voldemort got his power?

      • jimino

        The bubble economy that is the pride and joy of so-called conservatives was at its greatest size and about to burst. Try to think harder.

        • HonestDebate1

          Damn Democrats.

    • hennorama

      OPC – The data in the chart is from the monthly sample survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS).

      Now let’s look at the other measure of employment used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – the Current Employment Statistics (CES), which gives us a different result..

      The CES uses a much tighter definition of who is considered to be “employed.” The CES definition is likely closer to what members of the general public perceive when they think about who is “employed,” as the CES definition excludes the self-employed, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, and private household workers.

      This is the CES data for the pertinent time period:

      November 2006: 136,758,000 employed persons
      November 2013: 136,765,000 employed persons

      As you can see, the November 2013 CES employment figure is HIGHER than six years ago. Funny how you left that out.

      It’s still below the January 2008 peak of 138,056,000, but up by 7,445,000 from the February 2010 low of 129,320,000.


      (Anyone interested in the particular differences between the CES and the CPS should read my post below.)

      • OnPointComments

        When the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Friday that the unemployment rate had declined from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent in November, as you yourself noted in an earlier comment, which data did the BLS use to compute the unemployment rate, the Current Population Survey or the Current Employment Statistics?

        • hennorama

          OPC – thank you for your question..

          The unemployment rate uses the CPS data. However, the BLS press release that was quoted and linked to in my prior post discusses BOTH the CPS household survey, AND the CES establishment survey.

          However, in marked contrast, YOU pointed not to the unemployed, but to a claim that “Fewer Americans Have Jobs Today Than Seven Years Ago. 1,148,000 Fewer Employed Now Than in November 2006.”

          The data used in this claim include self-employed people, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, and private household workers.

          One doubts that most people perceive the self-employed and unpaid family workers as having “Jobs.” If you believe otherwise, please present your argument.

          My aim is to clarify that the second survey used by the BLS, which surveys employers and includes only PAID EMPLOYEES (a.k.a. those who have “a paid position of regular employment” A.K.A. “Have Jobs,”), gives a very different result.

          Quoting the BLS website again:

          “CES employment is an estimate of the number of nonfarm, payroll JOBS in the U.S. economy. Employment is the total number of persons on establishment payrolls employed full-or part-time who received pay for any part of the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month.

          “Data exclude proprietors, self-employed, unpaid family or volunteer workers, farm workers, and domestic workers. Persons on layoff the entire pay period, on leave without pay, on strike for the entire period, or who have a pending job but have not yet reported for work are not counted as employed. Government employment covers only civilian employees; it excludes uniformed members of the armed services.”

          Thank again for your response.

          • OnPointComments

            Uh huh, so the BLS used the CPS data, not CES data, to compute the decline in the unemployment rate that it announced on Friday. Funny how you left that out of your preceding comment. But I guess that fact didn’t fit your narrative.

            “One doubts that most people perceive the self-employed and unpaid family workers as having ‘Jobs.’ ” I’m hard pressed to remember hearing a more ridiculous statement. “One” must be all the people in Hennyland. I doubt if “One” asked many doctors, lawyers, and other business owners “What’s your job” they would reply “I don’t have a job.” My guess is that if most people outside of Hennyland were asked “Do you think persons who work in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of their family, have jobs?” they would answer yes.

          • hennorama

            OPC – the favor of your reply is appreciated.

            Perhaps you should conduct a survey in the forum, asking about the definition of “Job.”

            My “narrative” is to provide the complete picture, rather than to present only one of the two employment measures that the BLS uses. I also point out the sources of the information presented, which you have not, despite a direct question asking “what is the source that created the chart?”

            Allow me to point out (again) that the claim you posted is not about Unemployment, but is instead about “Jobs.”

            There is only one source of monthly Unemployment data (the CPS), but there are TWO monthly measures of employment – the CPS and CES. Part of the reason that the CES figures are widely quoted is that the CES surveys over 550,000 establishments, whereas the CPS surveys only about 60,000 households. This means the CES data has a much smaller margin of error, and is subject to fewer wide (and wild) oscillations.

            Let’s look again at the press release that I quoted in a different post. It demonstrates the wide differences in employment numbers provided by the two surveys.

            First, a quote about the CPS Household Survey Data:

            “Total employment as measured by the household survey increased by 818,000 over the month [of November], following a decline of 735,000 in the prior month.”

            And now, a quote about the CES Establishment Survey Data:

            “Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 203,000 in November.”


            Which figure was used by virtually every news organization — 818,000, or 203,000? Certainly if there were 818,000 “Jobs” added in November, that figure would have been all over the news.


            I also quoted the following, which demonstrates how the BLS uses BOTH the CPS and CES:

            “The unemployment rate [per the CPS] declined from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent in November, and total nonfarm payroll employment [per the CES] rose by 203,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.”

            By way of explanation, the BLS has this FAQ on their website:

            “1. Why are there two monthly measures of employment?

            The household survey and establishment survey both produce sample-based estimates of employment, and both have strengths and limitations. The establishment survey employment series has a smaller margin of error on the measurement of month-to-month change than the household survey because of its much larger sample size. An over-the-month employment change of about 100,000 is statistically significant in the establishment survey, while the threshold for a statistically significant change in the household survey is about 400,000. However, the household survey has a more expansive scope than the establishment survey because it includes self-employed workers whose businesses are unincorporated, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, and private household workers, who are excluded by the establishment survey.

            The household survey also provides estimates of employment for demographic groups.

            For more information on the differences between the two surveys, please visit



            I highly recommend perusing the .pdf in the FAQ quoted above, as it “is intended to help data users better understand the differences in the surveys’ employment measures as well as divergences that sometimes occur in their trends.”

            Thanks again for your reply.

          • OnPointComments

            If I was asked the question “Are there as many people working on November 6, 2013 as were working on November 6, 2006,” and was offered only one of two sets of data,

            (1) only wage and salary employees on the payrolls of nonfarm establishments (excluding domestics and other private household workers), or

            (2) wage and salary employees on the payrolls of nonfarm establishments (including domestics and other private household workers), and those who work in a business they own (which includes self-employed persons), and those who work on a farm, and those who worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of their family,

            I’d choose (2) every time. And if I was asked to present a graph of my findings, I’d give them this:

          • hennorama

            OPC — that may be, but the claim said “Fewer Americans Have JOBS Today…” not “Fewer Americans Are WORKING Today…”

          • OnPointComments

            A distinction of little significance or consolation to the 1,148,000 persons not working.

          • hennorama

            OPC – a few points:

            1. You have no way to determine that, especially in light of the fact that since Nov. 2006, a large number of people have retired.

            “Retired workers” receiving Social Security benefits:

            Nov 2006 30,958,565
            Nov 2013 37,833,877

            That’s an increase of 6,875,312, dwarfing the figures in your claim. Certainly more than 17 percent of them need no “consolation” about “not working.”


            2. You might instead ask a question that is more pertinent to the claim made in your original post.

            Q: Which more accurately describes your understanding of the following headline?


            Fewer Americans Have Jobs Today Than Seven Years Ago
            1,148,000 Fewer Employed Now Than in November 2006

            A) There are fewer Americans working as paid employees today, compared to 7 years ago

            B) There are fewer Americans who are self-employed, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, private household workers, and paid employees today, compared to 7 years ago

            3. Are you ashamed of the source of your chart? I ask only because you have now twice failed to identify it, despite direct questions as to its identity.

          • HonestDebate1

            So you want to look at retirees who have always been retiring but are not acknowledging the gazillions who have left the workforce against their will. That does not happen every day. How much has the population grown since 2006?

            Is this what you call the complete picture?

          • OnPointComments

            You note the number of people retiring, but ignore the number of people entering the workforce, which dwarfs retirees.

            It surprises me that you apparently think it is irrelevant whether Americans who are self-employed, or agricultural workers, or private household workers, can find work. I shouldn’t be surprised; you routinely ignore the casualties of Obama administration policies.

            No, I’m not ashamed of the source of the chart. I’ve become familiar with your propensity to become totally distracted by the website if it is one that you don’t like, regardless of the accuracy and legitimacy of the information presented. The chart that I presented clearly came directly from BLS data. If 2+2=4 appeared on a website that you don’t like, you’d probably abandon all belief in mathematics.

          • hennorama

            OPC – your continued engagement is valued.

            The bottom line is that the claim you pointed to, from cnsnews.com, discusses “Jobs.” The article that is the source of both the headline and the chart in your original post used the words “jobs” and “job” once in the headline, six times in the first four sentences, and three more times in the last eleven sentences.

            There was not a single mention of the self-employed, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, or private household workers.

            That may simply have been coincidence, or a lack of knowledge on the part of the writer. Or it may have been intentional, to give a particular impression to readers.

            The BLS uses both the CPS and CES due to the complexities of measuring employment and how individuals contribute to the economy. Leaving out either measurement leaves a misleading impression.

            That’s the main point I’ve been trying to make – the claim you pointed to is misleading at best.


          • OnPointComments

            Anecdotal evidence: my brother, who owns his own business, just telephoned me. I told him “Don’t ask me why I’m asking you this, or any other questions. Just give a yes or no answer. If a stranger on the street was conducting a poll and asked you if you have a job, what would you tell the stranger?” He said he’d answer yes. So would I.

            Defining “jobs” is nothing but semantics and technicalities. CES excludes the self-employed, unpaid family members who work 15 hours or more a week in an enterprise operated by a member of their family, agricultural workers, and private household workers; CPS includes these people. In a discussion of who is working in America, the more inclusive CPS provides more complete information.

          • hennorama

            OPC — thank you for your anecdote.

            Do you think that the headline and the chart that you cited were discussing “who is working in America”? (as you have not disputed the source, I will assume my post was accurate)

            FYI, the word “working” appears only once in the article.

            On the other hand, all of the following phrases appear, in order:

            Have Jobs
            held jobs
            held jobs
            hold jobs
            have jobs
            Have Jobs
            have a job
            sought a job
            holding jobs
            have a job
            have a job

            Thanks again for your story.

          • OnPointComments

            You say eye-ther, and I say ee-ther,
            You say nye-ther, and I say nee-ther,
            eye-ther, ee-ther, nye-ther, nee-ther
            Let’s call the whole thing off.

            With apologies to the Gershwin brothers.

          • HonestDebate1

            And too many people are still out of work.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, you’re narrative relies on avoiding the complete picture. Population growth is outpacing job growth in many states. How can the picture be complete by omitting that fact? Or the number of people who have quit looking for work? Or the number of part time jobs? Or the number of people who took a pay cut? Why aren’t you talking about the U6 rate?

            Please spare us the disingenuous claims.

            We need more jobs and more people working. Obama’s tax policies are antithetical to jobs. Ditto his regulations, energy policy and Obamacare.

  • Bruce94

    There’s a toxic brew:

    –Thurmond, the ardent, filibustering segregationist-Dixiecrat

    –Cheney, one of the major neo-con architects of our ill-conceived and disastrous war with Iraq

    –Gramm, the chief author and sponsor of the law that deregulated banking by repealing parts of Glass-Steagall the effect of which, according to most non-partisan economists, was to lay the foundation for the worst financial collapse and recession since the Great Depression

    Reagan’s alignment with these GOP rogues gallery characters placed him squarely on the wrong side of history, sorta like today’s GOP Congressional leadership kowtowing to the shady characters and fear mongers epitomized by the Tea Party zealots.

  • JGC

    In case any one is puzzling over what to get me for Christmas, I would like a nice donation to an NPR station. Or a Hoodie-Footie from Pajamagram (promo code: RUSH).

    • HonestDebate1

      Can I direct my NPR donation to Liberty Mutual (promo code: TOM)?

      • JGC

        Only if they cover Obamacare.

        • HonestDebate1

          I’ll have my people look into it and then contact your people. Fingers crossed.

  • http://hammernews.com/ hammermann

    On this entire train there wasn’t one other employee who knew the route well enough to warn him? People doze off everywhere- I’ve barely saved myself driving a few times.. but with a train how hard or expensive is a warning or shutdown system,????!@!#@$$%^&^&

  • Michael Bristol

    As we hear it from Gideon Rose [ NAFTA, TPP ], Foreign Affairs
    is so well placed under the cash cow that coming up for air is no
    longer necessary.

  • JGC

    I just got an e-newsletter from my Club-for-Growth Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey. In this time of awareness of food security and nutritional sustenance, disparate income levels, the threat to cuts in the SNAP program while holding the line against an increase in the minimum wage, Toomey made a proud mention of his contribution (on behalf of Pennsylvania food processors) to the Philadelphia Camp Out for Hunger. He provided a photo of the Toomey food pyramid, which had a base of Chef Boyardee canned pastas and Miniwheats Touch of Fruit, then a heaping helping of PopTarts in the middle of the pyramid, and at the top, megabottles of Reagan’s favorite vegetable, Heinz tomato ketchup.

    • TFRX

      Chef Boyardee? That’s name brand, you moocher! Generic is good enough for you sort.

    • hennorama

      JGC — no doubt the fact that Sen. Toomey’s 2012 Amendment 2217, to eliminate the organic certification cost share assistance program, having been not agreed to in the Senate by a Yea-Nay Vote. 42 – 57 was not prominently featured in the newsletter. (The amendment was introduced June 7, 2012 with NO Cosponsors, and was “not agreed to” on June 19, 2012.)

      Also, FYI, when one searches for “Toomey food pyramid” (sans quotation marks, bien sûr) this is one result:


      Funny, that.


      • JGC

        Ha! That is one of life’s ironies (Toomey Natural Foods)

        From your other source, Toomey’s Senate website, if you click on the “Sen. Pat Toomey’s e-update, Dec.6″ found on the upper right of that page and scroll down to the third photo, you will see the Senator Toomey food pyramid I was referring to, featuring Toomey’s Four Essential Food Groups (canned pasta, sugary cereal with fake fruit, PopTarts and ketchup).

        Bon appetit, Hennorama!

        • hennorama

          JGC — thanks for the tip o’ the cap.

          That pic is hilariously referred to as “Pennsylvania-grown and produced food,” although it’s difficult to discern anything that was “Pennsylvania-grown.”

          Adding to the list of things discovered along the way, from the PA Dept. of Agriculture’s site:

          “Leading the Nation…

          “Pennsylvania is known as the “Snack Food Capital of the World.” With major producers of pretzels, potato chips, confectioneries, and chocolate, Pennsylvania’s snack food and confectionery industries generate more than $5.1 billion in sales annually.”

          “When it comes to food processing, Pennsylvania’s 2,300 food-processing companies are number one among the 50 United States in the value of shipments of canned fruit and vegetable specialty products, chocolate and cocoa products, potato chips and pretzels.”

          “Pennsylvania leads the United States in mushroom production, with an annual production of more than 425 million pounds, valuing more than $330.7 million per year.”

          Maybe there are some PA mushrooms somewhere in the pile of processed stuff that Sen. Toomey is so proud of.


          Thanks again.

          • JGC

            “Let them eat snacks!” – Toomey

    • JGC

      Oh look! Fair and balanced, just like FOXNews: I get 2 upvotes and 2 downvotes at the moment…

  • pete18

    The lies continue to add up:

    “The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future,”President Barack Obama said of his signature Affordable Care Act on Tuesday. It would be easier to believe the president if he hadn’t said in 2009, “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you
    can keep your doctor, too.”

    One million Californians who lose their individual plans in 2014 know that’s not true; when many saw their new premiums, they experienced “sticker shock.” Next comes “doc shock” — the revelation that many folks also won’t be able to
    keep their doctors.

    Meet Chico, Calif., attorney Kenneth Turner. His wife found out that she has breast cancer two days before they received their cancellation notice. She’s scheduled for surgery Dec. 20 and will hear the prognosis Dec. 30. Two days later, she loses the doctor who will have operated on her, as well as other
    doctors she has seen for decades.

    Because state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones used a technicality to force Blue Shield to grant 90-day reprieves, the Turner family will be able to extend its plan — and face two years’ worth of deductibles in 2014.

    Turner is just glad the family can afford that. “A lot of people couldn’t swing this,” Turner said. “I’m lucky I can.”

    California Association of Health Plans President Pat Johnston acknowledged that the state’s 19 regions can restrict access to outside providers. Johnston believes that all consumers will have access to “quality care” but not necessarily the same doctors.


    And anyone who lives in the real world could have seen this coming:

    “An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state’s Obamacare health
    insurance exchange and won’t participate, the head of the state’s largest medical association said.

    “It doesn’t surprise me that there’s a high rate of nonparticipation,” said Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association.

    Thorp has been a primary care doctor for 38 years in a small town 90 miles north of Sacramento. The CMA represents 38,000 of the roughly 104,000 doctors in California.

    “We need some recognition that we’re doing a service to the community. But we can’t do it for free. And we can’t do it at a loss. No other business would do that,” he said.”


    • hennorama

      pete18 — please explain how Mr. Turner’s spouse “loses the doctor who will have operated on her, as well as other doctors she has seen for decades.” Have these doctors all given up their profession? Are they all prohibiting her from seeing them? Are the Turners moving?

      Please also explain this passage from the article to which you linked:

      “Blue Shield is restricting access to close to half of its doctors and a quarter of its hospitals in the individual market — and Blue Shield spokesman Steve Shivinsky told The Orange County Register these providers “had to agree to cut their rates” to get into the network.

      “In Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported, Health Net individual policyholders will have access to less than a third of the doctors on employer plans.”

      Are all of these health care providers refusing “access” to patients?

      Perhaps you should define what is meant by the terms “loses the doctor,” and “access” in these remarks.

      • pete18

        Please tell me that this is not a serious question. You’re not now holding onto a literal interpretation of the question to pretend that we’re not talking about the access to doctors via insurance policies are you? Are you really that desperate to avoid critiquing Obamacare?

        • StilllHere

          Great questions. Answers will not be forthcoming.

        • hennorama

          pete18 –thank you for your response.

          In order to have a discussion, it’s important to have common definitions. It’s unfortunate that you won’t share your specific understanding of these terms. There was no pretense or desperation in the inquiry, but merely a desire to avoid misunderstanding.

          Your comment implies that you believe that in order to have “access” to health care providers, payment for their services must be covered by one’s health insurance policy. By implicit extension, you appear to believe that one “loses the doctor” if this changes.

          Please correct any misunderstanding.

          Mr. Turner’s spouse is free to go to ANY health care provider she chooses, and her access to providers is not restricted in any way, shape, or form.

          • pete18

            “Mr. Turner’s spouse is free to go to ANY health care provider she
            chooses, and her access to providers is not restricted in any way,
            shape, or form.”

            So were the 48 million people who were uninsured before 2009 and all the people who had pre-existing conditions. That’s not really the point, is it?

            You sound like the teacher who’s so clueless about context that when he goes to optometrist for an examination and the doctor says that he wants to examine your pupils, you reply that you’ll have to get permission slips from their parents first.

            Why are you being so disingenuous about this and what defines Obama’s honesty about the ACA?

          • hennorama

            pete18 – TY for your semi-polite response.

            As you have not put forth any alternate explanations, the inferences made as to the terms “access” and “loses the doctor” stand as written.

            One also feels obligated to point out that, per the first link in your OP, “the Turner family will be able to extend its plan…”

            In addition, absolutely no information was offered as to alternative health insurance policies and/or insurers that might include the Turners’ existing health care providers in their networks. In other words, only a very small part of the whole story was presented. This is unsurprising, as this has been the pattern of much of the media coverage of those whose health insurance policy status is changing.

            That’s something that is accurately described as “disingenuous” – telling only a part of the story.

            As the premise of your question is not accepted, you can reasonably expect no response.

            Thanks again for your reply.

          • pete18

            “One also feels obligated to point out
            that, per the first link in your OP, “the Turner family will be able to extend
            its plan…”

            You conveniently left out the next line
            in the article that indicated that their plan is only extended for 90 days
            based on a technically that the insurance commissioner was able to use to force
            Blue Cross to accommodate. For that brief extension the Turners will have to
            pay double the annual deductible out of pocket in 2014.

            The two articles posted document how Obamacare, via the way
            the exchanges are structured and how new reimbursement rates for doctors have been drawn up, guarantee that many doctors who were in people’s health networks before are now not and it is reasonable to assume that many more won’t in the future. This was entirely predicable and was forecast by us critics years before the act was implemented.

            As you well know, President Obama’s promise about keeping
            your doctor was not referring to your ability to pursue a doctor privately and
            paying for him or her out of your own pocket, it was used to reassure people
            that if his health plan was passed, not only would people be able to keep the
            coverage that they had and liked but that coverage would allow for their
            insurance to pay for the same doctors they had been using through their old
            plans. This was an important point because people were rightfully leery that
            the demands of his reforms might curtail what doctors they would be able to see
            through their plans. It is only partisan revisionist history that
            tries to paint that promise as anything else and it is completely dishonest of
            you and others to try use that excuse to defend or ignore the fraudulent guarantee Obama made on this (and many other) points.

          • hennorama

            pete18 – thanks for your reply.

            So, the fact that the Turners are able to choose to extend their policy, for whatever reason, is a bad thing? Aren’t “losing access” and “losing the doctor” (however you define these terms) were catastrophic events, to be avoided at all costs. Did this change?

            BTW, the CA Insurance Commissioner David Jones did not use “a technicality … to force Blue Cross [Blue Shield, actually] to accommodate.” Rather, he threatened legal action over a disagreement about whether three or six months of notice were required. Blue Shield voluntarily complied.

            If interested, you can read more about this issue here:


            The Turners are not required to extend their policy, and if they do indeed choose to do so, they have been fully informed about the ramifications. They could instead freely choose another policy or insurer, negating any duplication of deductibles.

            Again, absolutely no mention was made about any alternatives available to the Turners.

            As to the balance of your post, we two have discussed this in both depth and breadth, and at significant length, and I see nothing to be gained by extending the discussion.

          • pete18

            See the top of the thread for my response.

  • OnPointComments

    President Obama has lost the millenials. In a Harvard University survey, Americans ages 18-29 disapprove of the way President Obama is handling his job. 66% of these Americans voted for Obama in 2008, and 60% of them supported him in 2012. Only 46% of them say they’d vote for him again, and 52% would recall and replace President Obama if they could.

    Harvard University Institute of Politics survey
    Americans ages 18-29, 10/30/2013-11/11/2013

    Do you approve or disapprove of the comprehensive health reform package President Obama signed into law in 2010?
    56% Disapprove

    Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Obama is handling…
    Syria: 60% Disapprove
    The economy: 61% Disapprove
    Iran: 56% Disapprove
    Health care: 61% Disapprove
    Federal budget deficit: 66% Disapprove

    In general, do you approve or disapprove of President Obama’s job performance?
    54% Disapprove

  • OnPointComments

    The sequester is really taking its toll. How can our government agencies continue to operate under these austere conditions? I’m sure it was only careful scrutiny of spending that allowed the State Department to commission a $1 million sculpture for its London embassy, saying it was “a good use of our limited resources.” Perhaps the State Department spending in September of $180,000 on alcohol (just before the Democrat’s government shutdown) was to celebrate this acquisition from Irish-born artist Sean Scully. I hope Scully’s London embassy sculpture is as impressive as his “Wall of Light Cubed 2.”

    • StilllHere

      According to the Obama apologists, there is no such thing as wasted government expense; more art installations are needed. Time to soak the productive.

      • OnPointComments

        As one journalist noted, if the $1,000,000 London embassy sculpture is similar to “Wall of Light Cubed 2,” it might be helpful to include a sign saying “Embassy art sculpture” so that the pile of granite isn’t mistaken for building materials.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    December 7th (72 years hence) — a day that will live in infamy.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Just in from the science is ‘settled’ desk:

    “Selection bias in climate model simulations”

    “However, it is abundantly clear (see also this previous post Climate model tuning) that ‘expectations’ of model simulations do influence which model versions and combinations of parameter choices are used in the final model version for production runs.”


  • OnPointComments

    “We are going to work with you to lower your premiums by $2,500. We will not wait 20 years from now to do it, or 10 years from now to do it. We will do it by the end of my first term as president.”
    –Candidate Obama, February 2008

    Last year my health insurance cost went up 50%. I’ve just received notice that next month it will go up by 50% again (now I’ve got pediatric health care, but no children for it to benefit). Is it any wonder that HHS has picked the YouTube video “Forget About The Price Tag” as its grand prize Obamacare winner?

    “Ain’t about the, uh, cha-ching cha-ching. Ain’t about the, yeah, bla-bling bla-bling. Affordable Care Act. Don’t worry ’bout the price tag.”

    Honestly, this contest, and “Forget About The Price Tag” video with its $2,000 prize, and “bla-bling bla-bling. Affordable Care Act” are all so utterly ludicrous and absurd that it’s hard not to laugh. But it’s not funny.


    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Low information voter.


  • HonestDebate1

    The press is trying very hard to compare Obama to Mandela but Clarence Thomas is a much closer camprison.


    • John Cedar

      Obama a closer match.
      both won the peace prize
      both born in Africa
      both were devout communists in their youths
      biggest difference is that Mandela actually confounded the terrorist group he supported which killed civilians, whereas Obama did little more than admired the weather underground and its civilian killing members..

      • Don_B1

        You really are sick.

        • John Cedar

          and hilarious.

    • StilllHere

      Fascinating stuff, thank.

    • Fredlinskip

      Comparing Mandela to Clarence Thomas-

      The most obvious comparison to draw here is between Rush & Clarence Thomas- in that both have relatively little of relevance to offer any conversation.

      Only difference being:
      While Thomas’ speaks sparingly- his witty contributions to cases before Supreme court: have been to date: ” when is this going to end- I’ve got to pee. Y’all know I’m going to vote same as Scalia and Alito,
      so why do I have to be here?”);
      Rush speaks nonstop absurdity.

      • HonestDebate1

        No, not really.

    • jefe68

      That’s pretty absurd, and from Rush Limbaugh to boot.
      Do you really think you’re honoring Mandela or anything he stood for by posting this garbage?

      • HonestDebate1

        On the day Mandela died the White House issued a picture of Obama in Mandela’s cell. The press has been all over themselves trying to make the comparison. That is what is dishonoring Mandela, not me.

        Which part do you take issue with?

        • Fredlinskip

          What was a picture of Obama doing in Mandela’s cell?? (kidding).

          When Obama visited S. Africa, he decided to visit the place Mandela spent all those years in confinement.
          It’s not all that surprising that the media would post that picture at this time.

          Nor I suppose does it surprise that Rush and Honest Deb would try to manufacture some sort of conspiracy over this.

          Life goes on.

          • HonestDebate1

            It wasn’t the press, it was the White House that released the photo.

        • jefe68

          The amount of BS you post.

          • HonestDebate1

            Please clarify, where was Rush wrong? Do you think Obama should be compared to Mandela? If so, on what basis?

          • jefe68

            Limbaugh is nasty piece of work and an opportunist of the worst sort. Personally, I think anyone who listens to that mans rantings is not that bright in my view.
            You’re little game is pretty lame buddy.

          • HonestDebate1

            They were simple questions.

          • Don_B1

            (Dis)HonestDebate has previously claimed to not listen to the Rush. It’s interesting that he now uses him as a source.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ve been listening since ’91 but not as long as I’ve been listening to NPR. When have I said I didn’t listen to Rush?

    • JGC

      That is really bizarre and twisted thinking. Much like my former PA Senator Rick Santorum likening his struggle against Obamacare to Mandela’s struggle against apartheid.

      • hennorama

        JGC — it’s not only bizarre, Mr. L said absolutely nothing about “the press” in the transcript.

      • HonestDebate1

        I was actually thinking about you when I heard it. Did you happen to be listening that day? I thought Rush was very respectful and seemed truly offended by the comparisons in the press. I am sure there are things he could criticize but not on that day. Rush seemed to hold Mandela in a much higher regard than he holds Obama. I do too. I just don’t think this barrage of press reports linking Obama to Mandela is appropriate. But by the White House’s own statement with the picture they must disagree.

        And Rush wasn’t comparing Mandela to Thomas, he was saying if you want to make the comparison then Thomas fits better than Obama. That’s Clarence Thomas, the highly successful black Conservative, the most hated constituency of all. Libs hate black conservatives, especially if they were down with the struggle. I thought it was a brilliant jab that illuminated the narcissistic absurdity… but you know how I am.

        • JGC

          You can pass on the information, but do you really believe it? That distinction of Limbaugh not comparing Mandela to Thomas, but really comparing Thomas against Obama is too slight for the average low information voter.

          Limbaugh saw an opportunity to 1.)attempt to diminish the legacy of Nelson Mandela while 2.)taking his usual dig at Obama… and at the same time, providing 3.) multiple links on his page to shill Clarence Thomas’ autobiography: that is what they would call a “hat trick” here in Canada.

          • HonestDebate1

            I just don’t see how Rush diminished the legacy of Mandela or why he would want to. He expressed admiration. And I don’t see how the White House releasing a picture of Obama can’t be viewed as inappropriate. But you’re right about the low information voters.

          • JGC

            Limbaugh never admired Mandela. Definitely the opposite. If he appears to now, it is an opportunistic aberration.

            But Nelson Mandela will become, if he isn’t already, an inspirational figure like Abraham Lincoln, belonging to everyone, belonging to the “ages”.

          • HonestDebate1

            I can’t read minds so I go by what is said. I really don’t know what basis you have to make that claim.

            And I agree with your assessment of Mandela’s legacy. Rush said the same thing.

        • JGC

          I have to add this, too, about the appropriateness of “linking Obama to Mandela”: It is a fact that as a very young man, a university student, Obama was fully, forcefully engaged in promoting divesture sanctions against South Africa to precipitate the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and to remove the barriers of apartheid. There is the link.

          • HonestDebate1

            So did a lot of people. Obama is no Mandela, to suggest otherwise is a disservice to Mandela.

          • JGC

            Obama is no Mandela, agreed. Obama would agree as well. In fact, the life of Nelson Mandela is unique, and there is no contemporary comparison to his life, and that includes of course, Limbaugh’s totally pulled-out-of-a-hat comparison to Clarence Thomas.

          • HonestDebate1

            On the continuum of comparison, Thomas is much closer but Rush didn’t compare Thomas to Mandela. His point was about the narcism of Obama, the sycophantic press and the ironic hatred for blacks, when they are conservative, by liberals.

      • jefe68

        Santorum’s comments sounded to me like the rantings of a delusional person.

        • JGC

          That is an affront to delusional people.

  • HonestDebate1

    Bill Clinton took 6 million people off of welfare and it was a great success. Every recipient gets their money from the taxpayer. Turning 6 million recipients into taxpayers had a huge positive affect on the economy. The predictions were dire but it never happened because there were jobs to be had.

    George W. Bush took 6 million of the poorest off of the tax rolls and lowered the rate for everyone else. The rich took up the slack and are paying more than ever. He is hated for it. Go figure.

    • Don_B1

      The “Welfare Reform” act passed and signed by President Clinton appeared to be successful because the economy was growing in that period. When the economy stopped providing enough jobs for those who want jobs, some 12 million or more, the deficiencies of that “reform” act are becoming clear to those who look at the data, which unfortunately does not include most Republican politicians and their supporters such as you.

      The rich are paying “more than ever” only because they are making so much more than ever that the lower rates they are paying still results in more revenue.

      But if more workers earned higher wages then they would pay more than they do today and the whole country would be growing faster and be better off.

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s what I meant by “there were jobs to be had”. That is why the effects of Obama’s job killing policies are so devastating. It can’t be fixed with the tax code.

        And no, the reason the rich are paying more than ever is because there are more poor than ever paying nothing thanks to GWB. I don’t know why the libs vilify him for making the rich pay more.

        Unless I’m mistaken 2007 still holds the all time record for revenue. There isn’t extra revenue. The lower rates caused more risk taking and job creation. That’s what makes revenue.

        Obviously higher wages would help but those who still have jobs most likely took a pay cut or moved to part time. How would you create jobs? And keep in mind every government job drains from the economy.

  • OnPointComments

    An interesting interview exchange between Chris Wallace and Obamacare architect Zeke Emanuel:

    Chris Wallace: “President Obama famously promised, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Doesn’t that turn out to be just as false, just as misleading, as his promise about if you like your plan, you can keep your plan? Isn’t it a fact, sir, that a number, most, in fact, of the Obamacare health plans that are being offered on the exchanges exclude a number of doctors and hospitals to lower costs?”

    Zeke Emanuel: “The president never said you were going to have unlimited choice of any doctor in the country you want to go to.”

    Chris Wallace: “No. He asked a question. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Did he not say that, sir?”

    Zeke Emanuel: “He didn’t say you could have unlimited choice.”

    Chris Wallace: “It’s a simple yes or no question. Did he say if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?”

    Zeke Emanuel: “Yes. But look, if you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that. This is a matter of choice. We know in all sorts of places you pay more for certain — for a wider range of choices or wider range of benefits.The issue isn’t the selective networks. People keep saying, Oh, the problem is you’re going to have a selective network–”

    Chris Wallace: “Well, if you lose your doctor or lose your hospital–”

    Zeke Emanuel: “Let me just say something. People are going to have a choice as to whether they want to pay a certain amount for a selective network or pay more for a broader network.”

    Chris Wallace: “Which will mean your premiums will probably go up.”

    Zeke Emanuel: “They get that choice. That’s a choice they always made.”

    Chris Wallace: “Which means your premium may go up over what you were paying so that, in other words –

    Zeke Emanuel: “No one guaranteed you that your premium wouldn’t increase. Premiums have been going up.”

    Chris Wallace: “The president guaranteed me I could keep my doctor,” said Wallace.

    Zeke Emanuel: “And if you want to, you can pay for it.”

    It is so-o-o-o hard to get anyone associated with the Obama administration to admit that Obamacare was sold with a lie.

    • brettearle

      When the President made his now much-maligned statement, I do not believe he was lying. He was ill-informed.

      And that is ultimately his fault for not being more thorough.

      To regard it as a Lie is to do nothing but to surge the predicament with a crap of propaganda.

      Insofar as the problems that have plagued ACA, thus far, Right Wingers have plenty of ammunition–without falling into the place where they often wind up in:

      The Gutter.

      • OnPointComments

        President Obama made his “keep your plan, keep your doctor” at least 37 times. It wasn’t a one time accidental slip of the tongue. Someone had to know that the statement was false; certainly HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had to know–HHS wrote the regulation that invalidated current insurance plans, yet even today the whitehouse.gov blog post by Kathleen Sebelius still says “if you like your doctor and plan, you can keep them.” If the misrepresentation wasn’t on purpose, why didn’t someone in his administration inform him that the statement he repeated over and over and over again was not true?

        • brettearle

          I think your question is a good one.

          But I also do not believe that the Obama Administration would be so irresponsible as to intentionally Lie.

          You do–in part because of your political bias; and, in part because you need to demonize your political enemies.

          Above and beyond Emanuel’s comment–which, arguably is a somewhat of a Spin–it would be necessary for me to research your “37-times” claim and see what is behind it all…more, right now, than BOTH you and I know.

          I admit that it is a glaring problem for the Obama administration.

          But it is fool-hardy for you to believe that he actually Lied.

          People, who are reasonably-minded, lose respect for you–when you make such thoughtless claims.

          • OnPointComments

            It may be true that I believe President Obama deliberately misrepresented the facts because of political bias, and it’s just as likely that you believe he didn’t because of political bias.


          • brettearle

            I looked at the link.

            I have respect for that web site.

            The problem in our disagreement is that you are willing to believe that Obama, Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Sabelius, Plouffe, Valerie Jarret, and the first Lady would all–COLLECTIVELY–ALLOW THE PRESIDENT TO LIE.

            Sorry…your explanation does not cut it.

            When Presidents Lie–and they certainly are capable of it–they do not lie over and over and over again like that.

            That is MUCH TOO self-destructive.

            They all would KNOW that it is.

            And if they don’t know it, then they are pathological liars.

            And if you wish to buy into that belief, then I have some Mental Health Coverage that I might be able to sell you…..IF the ACA covers it….

          • HonestDebate1

            I think when Politifact had to admit their lie of the year was actually true they lost all credibility. I’m not saying they can’t ever be right but I would not use the word respect after such a public charade.

          • brettearle

            What are you talking about?

            The link exposes the misrepresentation, glaringly.

            But I disagree strongly, with you, that it’s a lie.

            My explanations are entered above–when responding to OPC–as to why I doubt, very, very seriously, that it was a deliberate lie.

            If you believe that it was a lie, then your credibility sinks even further…if that’s possible.

          • HonestDebate1

            I understand you don’t think I have credibility. If you feel better by hurling gratuitous insults, that’s fine.

            I was reacting to your comment that you respect Politifact. I said they can be right but again they accused Romney of uttering the lie of the year in 2012 and after the election admitted that Romney was telling the truth. I don’t claim it was a factor, I just can’t respect their conclusions at face value. It’s a general beef of mine. There are many so called fact checker publications but just because they have the word “fact” in their title means little. IMO many people attach too much significance to them.

            Having said that, I do not need a fact checker to claim that Obama lied about keeping your plan. I knew it was a lie the first time I heard it as many many many people did. You are in a very small minority on this but that’s cool.

          • brettearle

            OK, I take back my comment on your credibility.

            It was tacky….

          • Ray in VT

            Romney could have avoided all of this by just not telling people that “is thinking of moving all (Jeep) production to China”. I think that the big lie from the subsequent misleading ad was “Mitt Romney will fight for every American job”. I don’t know why anyone would believe that. It certainly had not been true previously.

          • brettearle

            Gergen exposed Romney and his pitiful stand on Michigan’s recession before Tarp and during the 2008 campaign.

            If you have the chance, you might be interested in reviewing it.

            I never saw Gergen so adamant.

          • Ray in VT

            Do you have a piece specifically in mind?

          • brettearle

            It was a commentary amongst a few `panelists’, during the campaign.

            The hunt may be futile–for it may be a search only reserved for the truly passionate, on the subject.

            Ray…hope you and your family have a very pleasant Christmas. I’ve had a passionate love affair with Vermont, for my entire adult life.

            We were up in Weston, a couple of months ago…..

            Thanks for your quality contributions on the Thread. Minds like yours keep me coming back for more…..

          • Ray in VT

            Some of those things can be hard to track down, especially if someone is prolific or it is some sort of group discussion. Maybe I’ll do some digging.

            Thank you for your kind words, as always, berttearle. I hope that you and yours also have a good Christmas. Things are shaking up okay here. Got the kids’ picture with Santa yesterday. Might trim the tree tonight. We’ll see.

            I’ve always loved my home state, although I recognize that it has its shortcomings. Having moved out of state for a time, though, I am not at all compelled to do so again. I very much enjoy, among other things, the small town sense of community that many here have attempted to maintain, despite trends in the other direction.

          • OnPointComments

            Why would they all collectively lie? The 2012 election seems like a good reason to me. Imagine if the President had campaigned saying “Many of you will lose the health plans you have, and also your doctors. The numbers could be in the tens of millions. But it’s all for the greater good.” Imagine the debates, with Mitt Romney saying “If I’m elected, on day one I’ll do away with Obamacare,” and Barack Obama responding “You’ll lose your health plan and your doctor, but more people will have insurance.” Do you think it would have had an effect? I do. The President said “You can keep your health plan, you can keep your doctor,” and nobody knew differently until the election was over.

          • brettearle


            You deserve a reply.

            And I have one.

            But I am not able to give you a reply right now.

            Perhaps I can in the not-too-distant future.

          • HonestDebate1

            Do you think Obama lied about uncle Omar? It’s a serious question. I think it’s clear that Obama lied about Obamacare, the Benghazi video and many other things. The uncle Omar thing is cut and dried. I just want to see where your line is.

          • brettearle

            The Uncle is a minor matter. It’s stupid.

            It’s stupid to conceal it; it’s stupid to make a big deal about it.

            I do NOT see the Administration entering into a concerted effort to Lie.

            I DO see, however, certain patterns of obfuscation or omission or spin that remind me of the previous administration.

            And, so, yes, I see the candor as tarnished.

            But I think that these matters have more to do with sloppiness and anxiety–and that they show up a lack of organization and a lack of across-the-board communication, up and down the chain of command.

            Obama’s mismanagement skills are biting him in the rear….

          • HonestDebate1

            See, I disagree Brettearle. Omar got into trouble and Obama said he never met him. Uncle Omar then went under oath and said he stayed with him. Now Obama admits that’s true. I don’t see how that is not a lie. While the underlying (no pun) issue may be inconsequential, the lie is not. Is it your position that Obama forgot that he knew his uncle? Or do you simply refuse to call a lie a lie? If so, why?

            Is there any basis whatsoever to say it was not a lie?

          • brettearle

            You are going to hang Obama know matter what he’s done.

            You’re desperate to pounce on him, no matter what.

            Therefore, if you catch him in a minor fib–the Uncle–you will therefore decide that he is 1000% guilty of all other supposed prevarications.

            If we uncovered all the weaknesses and all strengths of all the Presidents–especially since the 24/7 Media Age–we would see behind-the-scenes character defects that could be indicative of glaring behavior on stage, before the Public.

            But such patterns MAY not be true.

            You’re like a Prosecutor who wishes to cherry pick evidence to fit your pre-conceived beliefs about the Defendant–just so you can convict the guy and throw him in the slammer for a couple of decades.

            You smell.blood.



          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t like liars, sue me. It’s not partisan. I just wanted to know where your line was, a minor fib it is. At least you admit that much. He also said his mother was denied health insurance, that was another minor fib. The lie abut shovel ready jobs was a bit more significant. The lie about the Benghazi video was a disgrace. He lied about no lobbyist in his administration. He lied about his plan not having a mandate, and then said his mandate was not a tax. He lied about closing Gitmo, we knew he couldn’t. He lied about people getting ice cream in Arizona. He lied about transparency. He lied about his ties to ACORN. He even lied about his lie about keeping your plan by claiming he made a caveat regarding changes. He did not. He even lied about his dad serving in WWII. And on and on. You don;t have to agree.

            How do you characterize those who refuse to call a lie a lie? Is that partisan?

            But My really burning question is, why do you think I would say these things if I didn’t believe them?

          • brettearle


            Both of us–and I mean both of us–do not know how much of what you list are half-truths, distortions, misquotes, spins, manipulations….ones that might be coming in any direction, from any side.

            If you and I were privy to the Truth–rather than your version of the Truth–then I might agree with you.

            Maybe you have the time to feed your Agenda by doing the necessary research.

            But I don’t.

            I don’t even have the time to feed my own Agenda.

            But, in any case, I don’t think Research is going to help us uncover what we need to know–so as to make a considered conclusion or judgement.

            You always seem to feel that you self-righteously have a hold of the Truth.

            I think that’s Bullshit.

            In the past, you have acknowledged that I have a certain degree of flexibility.’

            You are welcome to change your view on that, at any time–although you may have already done that.

            But as was once said in a favorite film of mine, “Your heroes and villains are pretty clear to you.”

            Mine are not.

            On the other hand, I am NOT saying that what you aver is not true.

            What I am saying is that you don’t really know.

            You simply THINK you know.

            The truth behind any incident likely often
            goes through 50 prisms and 50 games of Telephone.

          • HonestDebate1

            I really don’t understand how you can say these things. Just nasty I guess. I hold no ultimate truth. Please don’t tell me what I think.

            But I do think the absolute refusal to call a lie a lie is very destructive and bitterly partisan.

          • brettearle

            I said it could be a Lie.

            For you to say it is a Lie is a leap of Hubris.

            For me to say that it might not be a Lie is the same as saying that it could be a Lie.

            I don’t think we know.

            But YOU DO think we know.

            In my opinion, there LIES your problem–not mine.

          • HonestDebate1

            That is only true if you are prepared to explain why it isn’t a lie. And forgive me Brettearle if I am being picky but some on this blog claim it is possible to lie without knowing you are lying. I disagree with your conclusion but if you truly believe Obama thought he was telling the truth then that is a principled stand… albeit misguided in my view.

          • Ray in VT

            Some claim? Do you mean the dictionary?

          • pete18

            Obama had the motive to lie both in passing the plan in the first place and then in winning reelection in 2012. He had the information available to him that showed what he was saying was false (this is not debatable after the bill was passed and it is certainly at least arguable as he was selling the bill, since what he was guaranteeing was clearly not possible even with the most optimistic predictions of how the bill would be crafted). He has already demonstrated his willingness to lie to sell this plan with the example of his mother and her illness (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/11/22/remembering_stanley_ann_dunham_obama_120748.html)
            ), so how is it demonization or propaganda to add those things up and draw the conclusion that he was lying? If the CEO of a company had done all those things in selling a product or service and people were damaged as a result (similar to people losing their insurance or doctors or having their costs go up) it would be easy to convict him of fraud. Why would you hold Obama to a different standard?

          • brettearle

            You are presupposing that:

            a CEO sets a Global Moral Standard

            that a CEO has a country’s prestige at stake

            that a CEO has a signature and sweeping reform for the future of the country at stake

            that a CEO has to answer to his vast array of political enemies in Washington

            that a CEO has to answer to his vast array of political enemies in print and electronic media

            and that

            a CEO has to live with his malicious and blatant comment, for the full and entire history of the Legacy of his position as the Leader of the Free World

            For you to actually believe that the President would willfully LIE, under such conditions, as listed above,

            than you are much more biased and naive than I thought…and almost Irrational in your belief system.

            And I truly wonder whether you will do nothing but ignore this Comment…..

          • pete18

            Well, I answered this about two-hours ago but it went into the comment review nether zone, so I’ll try again using language that doesn’t arouse the bots.

            The naive point of view would be the one that believes that prestige, global moral standards, historical legacies, or political enemies would be any sort of restraint on a president lying. This obviously isn’t true because our history is full of lying presidents. Sometimes their lies are justified, like when Roosevelt told the public he was “lending” equipment to our allies before we entered World War Two to help them fight the Nazis rather than admitting that he was in fact giving them arms and equipment that would never be returned. He realized this had to be done before the US was able to get into the war or our allies might get overrun by the Nazis.

            I’m sure Obama rationalized his lies because he thought he was doing a great and important thing and the ends justified the means. Or, he thought he wouldn’t get caught, the other oft used rationalization, because the press has been so compliant with him for so long.

            My comparison to the CEO wasn’t to understand how a CEO or a President view their own acts but how we the public should evaluate them when they engage in mendacious activity. A President shouldn’t be held to a lower threshold of moral and legal accountability than a CEO–as you seem to be suggesting–they should be held to a much higher one because their acts can be cause far more widespread and pernicious damage than a CEO’s can.

          • pete18

            As to your links, I finally read them. I already addressed the issue of Ron Paul
            and the health care debate in the original thread. While I agree that the
            audience response to Wolf Blitzer’s line about letting someone with cancer die
            was repugnant, it was only made by a handful of people and was hardly a
            reflection on the Republican or Tea Party positions on healthcare or their
            sense of benevolence. Ron Paul’s actual answer was a compassionate one
            indicating he believed more in community and volunteer responses to these situations than big government dependency. You may not agree with that but it certainly was not reflective of Ron Paul suggesting that he wanted “the
            poor suckers to die” as suggested by our self anointed media “expert.”

            And whatever you think of Ron Paul’s position he wasn’t the Republican’s
            nominee, Mitt Romney was. Ron Paul has never been a mainstream candidate in the GOP. Romney had a thoughtful healthcare policy, as did John McCain before him. But it’s not surprising that the commissar “colleagues” here would
            use an instance of a few bozos in a debate crowd making noise over Wolf
            Blitzer’s question as a measure to whether the right cared about healthcare or not.

            I have no problem with the audience responses on the death penalty or
            enhanced interrogation, which was mentioned in one of the articles, because I don’t think they reflect some sort of perverse glee in killing or torturing
            people, as was the op-ed’s implication, but show people’s support for firm
            punishment for murder and hardline tactics for stopping terrorists and preventing future mass casualties. Those audience outbursts were driven by the frustration felt over so many policies that are willing to treat murderers and terrorists so gently. This is no different from the bi-partisan celebration in the street by thousands of people over the killing of Bin Laden or President Obama’s endless victory dance about it. People don’t see justice delivered enough in life and it’s worth showing some emotion when it happens. And, ironically, what everyone forgets was that it was enhanced interrogation that helped us find and kill Bin Laden, so people can’t have it both ways.

            The one audience outburst that I think is reflective of a widespread stain
            in Republican politics, was the booing of the gay service man for his question.
            I think that does represent some of the policy views held by a large number of
            Republicans (gay marriage etc.) and although I think one can fairly argue against gay marriage without being intolerant about homosexuals, I think there probably is a widespread lack of acceptance of that lifestyle on the right.

          • brettearle

            Very well put. Very well considered.

            I’m hard pressed to answer you because of time–but I appreciated your comments.

            I don’t fully agree with your comments–but I appreciated them, quite a bit.

            It’s a welcomed opportunity to read a Republican with character and integrity.

            I will try to respond–but I can’t promise.

            My next job is to provide you with links about ACA and the potentially fatal future of the national economy, without implementation of the (original) ACA….before it was diluted by Congress…..

            Thanks, again.

  • JGC

    Here is the start from reporter Stephanie Nolen’s piece on Nelson Mandela’s legacy this weekend, “A Complex Hero” in the Globe and Mail (Nolen was the Globe’s African correspondent from 2003 to 2008, based in Johannesburg, and was awarded four national newspaper awards for her work.) –

    “When Nelson Mandela arrived on Robben Island at dawn on a frigid, rainy morning in July, 1964, it fast became clear to the Afrikaner prison officials that he commanded great respect among the inmates, that he was a natural leader. As a consequence, they singled him out.

    Other prisoners described how, a few years into his incarceration, guards ordered him to dig and then climb into a grave-shaped trench. He must have wondered whether this was the end. Then, as he lay in the dirt, they unzipped their trousers and urinated on him.

    Many years later, an aide asked Mr. Mandela to provide a list of those he wished to invite to his inauguration dinner as president of South Africa. The great figures of the liberation struggle would be there, of course, but the sole name he’s said to have insisted on was that of a former jailer.”

  • OnPointComments

    An excellent suggestion, but unfortunately hubris would never allow President Obama to do this.


    “What Obama needs right now [for Obamacare] more than ever is a turnaround artist.

    “He needs someone with serious management experience and corporate consulting acumen, who’s dealt with a prominent national project while in the public eye, who’s completed a significant Olympic-sized undertaking under the pressure of a hard timeline. He needs someone with no future ambitions or plans to run for office again, a true non-ideological technocrat, someone who won’t manipulate a bureaucratic undertaking toward personal or political ends, but is just interested in solutions, in making things work.

    “… there is exactly one person in America who has all these qualities. And he’s got time on his hands.

    “All Barack Obama has to do is pick up the phone and say the magic words: “Help me, Mitt Romney. You’re my only hope.”

    • hennorama

      Hahaha hahaha! Thanks for the comic relief, OPC.

      • brettearle

        Help Me Ponder

        Since Obama put me down

        I’ve been out, makin’ much more br—e—ad

        I come in late at night
        In the mornin’, I get R-afalca fed

        Well, A-C-A…you’ve so de-clined
        And I know it wouldn’t take much time

        For me to help ya, Barry

        Help ya get a fresh new start

        Help Ya Barry
        Help,Help Ya Barry
        Help Ya, Barry
        Help, Help Ya Barry

        Lay another fart.

        • hennorama

          brettearle — kudos for incorporating the name of Mrs. R’s equine. Very well done, sir.

          [PS] perhaps the title Help Ya ‘Boma might be superior.

          • brettearle

            Maxwell Perkins to the rescue, once again….

          • hennorama

            brettearle — dude, I am by no means an editor, and certainly not anywhere in the stead of Maxwell Perkins.

            Hell, if anything, I NEED an editor!

          • brettearle

            Henn…do me a favor…

            Please let me know when:

            You are spoofing my spoof


            You are spoofing the suspension of a mututal belief that we aren’t being serious


            You are spoofing the suspension of a mututal belief that we are being serious

            or that,

            You are mocking my admiration of your wit [out of your own self-conscious humility]


            You are mocking my spoof


            You are mocking your spoof


            You are spoofing your spoof

            WHICH IS IT?


            Please…I beseech you….Fill….Me….In!

            That way, you can throw me off, even more, by you being the verbal equivalent of Harpo Marx….yet again, the next time around….

            and/or….by you changing configuration, yet again, like a quick-change artist [but not like a Virus].

            You friggin’ Trickster You….

            I may soon be….the only one….on to you…[except for the Creator, of course].

            So…..are you going to be an Informant on yourself…..or do I have exercise an executive subpoena

            [as in...maybe...Obama's Katrina]?


          • hennorama

            brettearle — we are not fonda demands, especially demands that Wanda into areas of “belief.”

            OTOH, we wonda about your sanity, and feel it’s time to retire to the veranda, near a Honda, to panda our next course of action.

            Thankfully, not in Tonawanda, Rwanda or Uganda, and free of the dreaded anaconda.

            Letters to the editor may be sent to:

            Orlanda Fentanyl
            Poste Restante
            Mund der Ratte, FL 33431-9999

          • brettearle

            This, too, shall I ponda

          • brettearle


          • hennorama

            Don’t discount the possibility of Spocking one’s MOOF.

            Also, Don’t Ignore Your Guest(s).

          • brettearle

            Don’t I at least get an E for Effort?

      • HonestDebate1

        Who do you suggest he turns to because this is a debacle?

  • HonestDebate1

    Antarctica just experienced the coldest temperature on record, minus 135.8 F. No wonder the deniers changed the language from global warming to climate change.


  • pete18

    “So, the fact that the Turners are able
    to choose to extend their policy, for whatever reason, is a bad thing? Aren’t “losing access” and “losing the doctor” (however you define these terms) were catastrophic events, to be avoided at all costs. Did this change?”


    It’s amazing how much you avoid the heart of these matters
    to try and make points on the immaterial periphery. Yes, it is a bad thing to lose your insurance and the doctor you have been using to treat your cancer on the eve of major surgery as a direct result of the application of a health policy that promised that neither of those things would happen. To have regained your policy back for a measly 90 days, so the doctor could perform that surgery, at a much higher cost, because an insurance commissioner threatened to sue an insurance company over the number of days notice given on the cancelation, was pure luck and has nothing to do with the effectiveness or genius of Obamacare. It is absurd to suggest such a thing.

    What, in my opinion, is intellectually dishonest of you in
    both this conversation and in our previous one, isn’t your use of numbers, or your research, which are usually your strengths, it’s your premise for what is truthful and deceitful in the President’s promises about Obamacare and your unwillingness to discuss or respond to any challenges to it.

    For someone who has shown a propensity to write Russian
    novel length replies in support of the smallest details of disagreement, your truncated “we just disagree” reaction to the definition of the lie in question, seems out of character and quite an “abrupt” closing argument for you. This part of the
    discussion has not been “tilled over and over,” it’s been completely avoided. I have brought it up numerous times and you have ignored it, deferring to an invented syllogism that very few people would use as a commonsense definition of honesty or fraud and that you yourself probably wouldn’t accept in another context.

    You began your defense of the president’s promises by saying that they weren’t lies because when he made them he was
    doing so with the assumption that the Public Option would be part of the final bill. How having the Public Option would insure a different result from what happened I don’t know, but this defense was rendered null and void by the President’s own statement in June 2009, “That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

    That was the President stating in no uncertain terms that his promise was not dependent on the Public Option being in the bill.

    But for the sake of argument, let’s give the President an absurd amount of latitude on this statement and pretend it was neither a lie, nor a false promise and move onto the area where even you agree there are problems. The bill has passed, there isn’t any Public Option within it and yet the president is still
    adding “periods” at the end of his guarantees for people to keep their plans and their doctors.

    You have drawn up the poetic criticism of the President in this circumstance as having not “adjusted” his statements after the bill was passed. Obama did nothing more than make a casual typo on the napkin that he drafted his speeches on, a completely forgivable omission in his heroic and tireless endeavor to deliver affordable healthcare to the masses, and save the world from the drooling zombies of the Tea Party.

    However, whatever slight criticism of the president you might have tacitly admitted to here, you quickly absolve him from it in your next morphing definition, which posits the bewildering supposition that no matter what the president forgot to put on
    his napkin, he still can’t be accused of lying because not everyone has lost their insurance yet. Even though his promise was that anyone could keep their insurance if they wanted to, for you that can only become a falsehood if the inverse (all Americans lose their insurance) happens. Kind of like saying if a car dealer promises to refund all of your money if you don’t like the car you bought, he isn’t lying or committing fraud as long as he gives you at least one dollar back from your original purchase when you return the car.

    When I have given you other contrasting examples to show the
    absurdity of your measure of honesty and fraud in this situation, you responded with a cycle of straw men in response, rather than addressing the issue directly.

    So I ask again, how can a promise or guarantee that is all
    encompassing –you will all keep your policies, anyone who finds a problem with this car will get all their money back, honey, I will always be faithful to you– not be a lie or the equivalent of fraud if it is only partially fulfilled? You will only get ½ your money back when you return the car, what did you expect? Sorry honey I only slept with a few women this year, but the the 362 other days I was completely faithful to you, so we’re good right? Five-million of you have lost your policy, thousands of you lost your doctor as a direct result of my policies, but you know when I was saying “you” and “your” I didn’t mean really meanyou! That was clear, right?

    Where else in the real world is that a standard that anybody uses?

    • hennorama

      pete18 — you’ll need to find another fish to fry, as I won’t be rising to your bait.

      • pete18

        No surprise there, they are tough questions that you’ve consistently avoided. Answering them honestly might prove fatal to your faulty premise.

Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment