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Week In The News: Snowy South, Debt Ceiling, Michael Sam

Sochi medals. A debt-ceiling deal. Monsieur Hollande in Washington. Snowmageddon  in the South. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Cars are left abandoned along Franklin Street after a winter storm left poor conditions in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting into Thursday covering 95 of the state's 100 counties. (AP)

Cars are left abandoned along Franklin Street after a winter storm left poor conditions in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting into Thursday covering 95 of the state’s 100 counties. (AP)

Upside down weather this week.  Sixty degrees at Sochi’s Winter Olympics and snowmageddon in the American South.  New weather in Washington, too.  Republican votes putting a debt ceiling hike over the top.  No conditions.  Tea Party not happy.  Comcast moves to buy Time Warner Cable.  You know where they got all that money.  The N.F.L. may get its first openly gay player, Michael Sam.  The French president comes visiting. And the White House orders another delay in the rollout of Obamacare.  This hour On Point:  our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Major Garrett, chief White House correspondent for CBS News. Correspondent-at-Large for National Journal. (@MajorCBS)

Laure Mandeville, U.S. bureau chief and chief White House correspondent for Le Figaro. (@lauremandeville)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: The Four Most Notable Nuggets From ‘The Hillary Papers’ – “Republicans are seizing Monday on a report published Sunday titled “The Hillary Papers.” The lengthy piece from the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news Web site, details personal documents from one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s closest friends, Diane Blair, a political science professor who died in 2000.”

CNN: The Southern snow was round one; here comes ice, the heavyweight –” The snow was here, two weeks ago. With just a smattering of white, it wreaked havoc on the South. But it may have been just an opening round. Now, an ice storm is hitting. And matched with snow, it’s the heavyweight of the two. Weather mavens expect up to an inch of ice will give broad swaths of the South a good shellacking. An inch doesn’t sound impressive? A foot of snow may look big and bad, but it’s a bunch of fluff compared to a solid inch of ice.”

Politico: Obamacare finally clears the tower – ”The new report is good enough that it might reset Washington’s expectations: maybe Obamacare isn’t going to be a train wreck after all. Maybe it’ll be more like one of those Metro trains that runs kind of slowly, and sometimes stops in the middle of the tracks for no apparent reason, but eventually gets you where you need to go.”

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  • carol

    Can you please help me
    I
    really need a paid job and this minute i cant go outside to get myself
    one ( no car, low in money no work/economy) so im looking for a bloggers
    job but they ask for 2000 plus followers and friends
    Please follow my pinterest com/rialinardakis2
    and friend facebook ( my dads) george plakidas azaleamy blog job3in.weebly.com

    • Ed75

      What’s a ‘bloggers’ job?

      • John Cedar

        Acorn/Soros financed paid shills who repeatedly copy illiberal lying lies from the dkos/Huffpost/NYT and then past into the rest of the internet aether

      • J__o__h__n

        What does it pay? This is my 5,958th comment.

  • Ed75

    This past week the UN committee reviewed for the second time compliance by signatories with a 1990 treaty on the protection of the child. They blasted the Vatican for:
    -establishing an environment where abuse can occur
    -speaking against homosexuality which creates a climate where discrimination can occur
    -speaking against abortion.
    Just some small problems with the UN criticism:
    -The Vatican signed the treaty with the understanding that they were signing as Vatican City State, not the whole Church. If there is concern about abuse in Ireland, for example, they have to talk to the Irish.
    -Homosexuality is not mentioned in the treaty.
    -Abortion is not mentioned in the treaty.
    The U.N. has three agendas: to attack the Catholic Church; the promote the idea that homosexual activity is OK; to promote the right to abortion. They’re wrong on all counts.

    • John Cedar

      The catholic church treats homosexual better than 90%+ of the UN members.
      ’tweren’t little GIRLS that were at the most risk.

      • J__o__h__n

        The priests preyed on both.

      • Don_B1

        Predatory behavior of men on boys or girls is NOT RELATED to HOMOSEXUALITY in ANY WAY.

        They are separate behaviors!

        • John Cedar

          I assume there are pedophiles who prefer victims of the opposite sex and are therefore heterosexual pedophiles, and some with no preference, who are are therefore bisexual pedophiles and then some that prefer the same sex who would be homosexual pedophiles.
          I checked Wikipedia to see if they were categorized that way but didn’t find an answer. I did learn that a disproportionate number of pedophiles are left handed. I’ve always been skeptical of left handed people, so that didn’t surprise me.

          • Don_B1

            Totally UNBELIEVABLE ! ! !

            You really are some piece of work!

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe just more “satire”, like when he questioned whether or not the Holocaust happened.

    • J__o__h__n

      This week yet more proof that the Bible takes liberties with facts – camels were not domesticated until well after the Bible claims they were.

      • Ray in VT

        I saw that too. Very interesting. My wife was saying last night that she considered a career in archeology due to her fascination with Pompeii.

        • J__o__h__n

          Did she get a chance to see the Boston Museum of Science exhibit a couple of years ago? It was great.

          • Ray in VT

            No. That is too bad. She really would have enjoyed that. I also wanted to get up to Montreal to see the terracotta warriors from the tomb of China’s first emperor, but we missed out on that one too.

          • J__o__h__n

            I saw those as a child and would love to see them again. I think PF Chang has knockoffs.

          • Ray in VT

            We did see the Titanic exhibit in New York City a few years back. That was pretty powerful, and a bit creepy. There were a couple of pieces that you were actually allowed to touch.

      • Ed75

        When does the Bible say they were domesticated? (And when were they?) thanks,

  • Ed75

    In the East we’ve gotten snow and below freezing weather starting on January 22nd and now ending with Valentine’s Day weekend. I wonder if there is a message here? Snow -> white -> reminds us that the virtue of purity is what our society needs. (Cf. Our Lady of America 1950s).

    • Acnestes

      You remind us that what you need is Thorazine.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that the message is that it is snowy in winter in much of the country.

    • NewtonWhale

      Get back to us after you’ve tried a less opinionated breakfast cereal.

    • J__o__h__n

      The snow doesn’t stay white very long.

    • lobstahbisque

      Ed you should remember Mae West’s great line, “I used to be snow white, but I drifted.”

      • Ed75

        Very good!

    • TFRX

      Wow. No abortion sht. My prayers to the Being (Who may or may not exist) havebeen answered.

  • JONBOSTON

    Tom Ashbrook,
    Important story of the week is Obama’s decision to continue delaying the small employer mandate until 2016 to avoid the inevitable midterm political fallout when more employees lose their employer-sponsored health insurance. Even more outrageous is the IRS requirement that for employers to avail themselves of this latest delay , employers must first certify that they haven’t laid off employees in order to avoid parts of the ACA. Obviously this is an effort to silence politically damaging reports in the media of layoffs caused by the ACA. This is the 27th change by the Obama administration of the Affordable Care act and there is a growing sense among Americans of all political persuasions that this president is acting lawlessly and unconstitutionally. An even greater story is the deafening silence of the mainstream media and the Washington press corps in questioning this president over these unprecedented actions, the IRS scandal, etc. Are they nothing more than clapping seals?

    • Floyd Blandston

      I’ll agree that this is a BIG story. I think it’s all part of O’s attempt to boost employment using the limited tools available through the executive branch.

      • JONBOSTON

        Brilliant analysis–yea, you boost employment by making it more expensive to hire labor. Suggest you replay the show , listen to Major Garrett’s point that at the margins , this will hurt employment and that Obama’s delay of the employer mandate was his tacit acknowledgement of this fact. Do that and you might learn something.

        • Floyd Blandston

          ‘S-OK Jon. I don’t expect you or Major to understand how E-Co-Nommics works. Just keep harping on the deficit enough to convince the Chinese we won’t default and you’ll be serving your role of ‘useful idiot’ while the grownups get things done.

          • JONBOSTON

            I was formerly counsel at a major Washington antitrust law firm with an undergrad degree in economics from a highly selective major university. I have been involved in some noteworthy DOJ contested mergers, leading edge FTC investigations, etc. and I can assure you –you sound like you know absolutely nothing about macro or micro economic theory.

          • Floyd Blandston

            Jon, if being recognized as a peer by someone with your temperament, knowledge base, or credentials mattered to me, I wouldn’t be spending my time on meaningless internet chatter. What’s your excuse?

            I completely understand the ‘formerly’ aspect, however. Bon chance!

          • JONBOSTON

            I like conversing with not useful idiots.

          • Floyd Blandston

            So it’s peer-to-peer relationships you’re lacking; the syntactically challenged?

    • OnPointComments

      I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

      Unless it’s not politically expedient, then I’ll do whatever I want.

      • PoliticsWatcher

        Fiction.

  • HonestDebate1
    • John Cedar

      An illiberal who is a hypocrite. I’m shocked.

  • John Cedar

    Obamacare finally clears the tower? Ha!
    Thank you Obama for delaying the employee mandate for another two years until after the elections.

    • OnPointComments

      Anyone who doesn’t know that the delay is solely for political purposes is hopelessly naïve.

      • northeaster17

        That does not necessarily make the delay bad.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          Yes.

  • Yar

    Recap of the News from Kentucky this week. Nuns join hundreds in State Capital to oppose natural gas liquids pipeline and advocate for clean energy and citizen power. Natural Gas pipe explodes in rural area, destroying two homes. Sinkhole forms under Corvette Museum swallowing 8 cars. All Man made structures will fail, citizens should have a say what in what risks they are exposed to on their own land. The deferred costs of fossil energy is like deficit spending, the rest of the price comes from spills explosions and illness. Dan river Coal ash spill comes on top of a West Virginia Coal ash spill and a toxic chemical discharge that left 300,000 without water. Not a good week for old energy.

  • Ray in VT

    I was quite surprised to hear on Sunday that Michael Sam, an NFL draft prospect, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and an All American, was coming out of the closet, although such a move could hurt his prospects. I thought that it said something very positive about where we have come on the issue of gay rights. Apparently, though, some choose to see this as further evidence that the straights are under attack and a harbinger of the day when being straight won’t be cool.

    Also, it lookers like Virginia might be for more lovers today than it was yesterday: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/va-judge-sex-marriage-unconstitutional-22510341. I’m sure that this is just anther sign of the impending apocalypse.

    • J__o__h__n

      Can we blame him for the snow?

      • Ray in VT

        Sure. We didn’t have this snow storm when he was in the closet. Coincidence? I think not.

        • olderworker

          LOL!

  • JONBOSTON

    French socialist premier Hollande visits the White House and the media focused on Hollande’s love life and the invitation list for the White House dinner and its extravagance. Rather they should have focused on Hollande’s failed socialist policies that has caused foreign investment in France to drop nearly 77% last year and wealthy French taxpayers to leave for Belgium . Apparently Hollande has reconsidered his policies and is now promoting tax cuts , reduced government spending , relaxed labor laws, etc. These policies worked in the UK where economic growth outpaces other EU nations and now may be spreading across the channel. Too bad they haven’t yet spread across the Atlantic. As Margaret Thatcher once said, the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. Obama still hasn’t learned this.

    • Duras

      Yeah, the rich are so poor in this country, and the poor are so rich. No wonder raising taxes reduces revenues, while lowering taxes increases revenues. If we could only make the rich a little richer, the middle class could get their pensions back.

      As someone who lives by what other people have said and can’t think for myself, Thatcher is right on. And liberals need to learn that all that socialism and Big Government before the Great Depression forced FDR to cut the size of government, which enabled working people to have money and create the greatest middle class the world has known.

      • JONBOSTON

        I would respond to your comments but I honestly can’t figure out what you’ve said.

        • Duras

          It’s okay. I don’t expect you to understand history and why the Great Depression came about. I’ll just say, it didn’t happen because socialism was running amok. Yet, somebody ran out of money….
          As for the top of my comment: I guess somebody making 3 million every year but paying 60% or 70%, etc., every year would run out of money….? It doesn’t make any logical sense, which is why I guess republicans believe that lower taxes would grow the economy and ultimately raise revenues.

          • JONBOSTON

            Thanks –you made more sense when I had no idea what nonsense you were spewing.

    • Don_B1

      The UK has relaxed some of its austerity policies over the last six months or so, while France has implemented some austerity policies, though mostly by raising taxes rather than cutting spending for the poor. Of course that approach has been strongly criticized by V.P. Olli Rehn of the European Commission, currently serving as European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro.

      But when you look at the performance of both the U.K. and France, your comment has difficulty getting traction:

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/running-economies-into-the-sand/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Opinion&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body

      it is only lately when the U.K. has eased the “austerity” you preach and Hollande has adopted some “austerity,” going so far as to endorse “Say’s Law”:

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/france-by-the-numbers/

      which lead to more poor performance but will be twisted to mean that it was earlier policies, not the lack of aggregate demand, that caused it.

      As John Wooden’s office plaque stated [paraphrase]:

      “It is what you learn after you know it all that matters.”.

      Are you even willing to learn anything at this point or will you just avoid the facts that falsify your arguments and cherry-pick unrelated data and twist it to force fit your world ideology?

      • JONBOSTON

        The IMF just raised its UK growth forecast to 2.4% from a previous forecast of 1.9% which exceeded all other advanced G7economies. The UK Treasury responded that the upgrade was ” …further evidence that the government’s long term economic plan is working” (see article in Guardian , January 21,2014 , Katie Allen). The IMF’s past concern over UK’s austerity drive was misplaced as the UK is well ahead of Germany’s growth forecast of 1.6%. France’s economy is projected to grow a much weaker 0.9% given IMF’s concerns that “policy uncertainty is weighing on growth”.

        I just returned from a business trip in France and I can tell you , the country is hurting. With persistent 10.5% unemployment , the gap between rich and poor is significant. Homeless people just lie on the street in Paris as pedestrians walk past high-end Parisian shops. And the business community is in despair with a socialist government that doesn’t know the first thing about increasing economic growth, spurring entrepreneurship and unburdening business ( sound familiar?). Rather than think of expanding investments in France ,
        businesses of all sizes are primarily focused on how to cut their losses in France.

        PS- Paul Krugman is the only “economist” the left ever cites. He long ago relinquished any credibility he ever had as an economist. He’s nothing more than a left wing hyper-partisan ideologue.

        • Floyd Blandston

          What do you make of the recent Economist article claiming that increased GDP growth in the UK is primarily derived from increasing employment, with the relational cause being increased inflation? I understand how counter-intuitive principles such as these might be beyond you, so feel free to speculate according to your preferred ideology…

        • Don_B1

          What did I say about the changes that both the U.K. and France have made over the last six months to a year or so? Did you read the linked articles and see the graphs showing the relative performance of the two countries? And did you read the explanations for their performance?

          Both made changes, the U.K. away from austerity and France toward austerity, that I said were the causes of the recent changes in their performance.

          But it is typical that you choose to ignore what the opposite view actually says and put up a false strawman argument.

  • WRB2

    Comcast/TimeWarner must not go through.

    Much of “Is it a Monopoly” attention is on the consumer side
    of the merger which Comcast is artfully adjusting themselves to avoid. This downstream view is but half of the total equation. The upstream view, the power Comcast will wield on content providers is the other half and has been ignored. Comcast will become like Walmart was in the 1990’s, a 18,000 pound gorilla pushing the prices they are willing to pay for goods (programming) lower and lower as a way to increase their
    profits.

    Entertainment is the only industry where the US still is the
    world leader. Do not let our entertainment industry be decimated the way NAFTA and Walmart did to our manufacturing
    industry.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      The only solution to the problem is to unbundle TV.

      FTA:
      America’s 100 million cable and satellite subscribers are forced to pay ever-higher bills for a growing number of channels they do not watch. The American people are being ripped off.

      http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/22/opinion/la-oe-mccain-cable-tv-choice-20130523

      On this issue Sen McCain and I agree. It is as if the electric company could force you to run an air conditioner everyday of the year to justify charging you for high electricity usage.

      • J__o__h__n

        We should have municipal internet as an option in all cities where there is not a choice of more than two companies. Capitalism requires competition to improve service and keep prices reasonable. A handful of companies establishing regional monopolies is not a marketplace.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          A very reasonable point. I am treating these companies as classic utilities so I would regulate them in the same way. A counter argument would be to consider satellite vs terrestrial TV providers as competitors. I don’t subscribe to that opinion, and would insist on “unbundling” for all providers.

        • WRB2

          Internet access should be fiber everywhere and regulated like water, gas, electric and land-line phone companies are.

          Want to put americans to work, put in government funded fiber everywhere like Ike did with the interstate highways!

          • Duras

            The internet should be free. It was invented in the mid-1960s, and 90% of the money that funded its development was public. Clinton privatized it nonetheless, but it should be basic infrastructure.

          • Don_B1

            Susan Crawford has written a book, Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the Gilded Age, and discusses it on NPR’s Fresh Air:

            http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/02/06/272480919/when-it-comes-to-high-speed-internet-u-s-falling-way-behind

            The last paragraph of the “Interview Highlights” lists two approaches to rectifying this grave problem, but does not include the part of the interview that discusses how mayors of cities can follow the example of cities in Europe that have accomplished this.

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

        I agree we need ‘à la carte’ TV – and we need net neutrality, as well.

        • northeaster17

          I put a brick through my TV a while ago. Lovin it

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          As we are in agreement I am willing to work with you to make this come to pass. So how do we start?

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

            Drop your cable. Use an antenna and use the Internet.

          • Don_B1

            Easier said than done, when the cable companies, which also are the Internet suppliers can degrade the delivery of programming from sources other than the cable TV providers.

            See my earlier more detailed response.

            One thing might be to require the big Cable companies to sell their local networks to the local city at bargain prices if the Internet performance does not match the best performance anywhere else in the world.

            Then the local cities could ensure equal performance for all suppliers. How local cities can develop local Internet service is detailed in the Fresh Air program I linked to above.

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

            It is also possible to not watch TV. Cable TV used to be a way to watch movies with no ads. Now they just cram ads in even though we pay them.

          • Don_B1

            Learning by watching great movies, like reading great literature, is a worthy activity. While I agree that the ads are distracting as a minimum and often much more than that, actually putting out false information, there are some movies and educational documentaries that are rewarding. At least premium channels such as HBO do not run ads in the middle of a movie or documentary, at least that I have seen.

            Often the most rewarding are not all that popular and so are not streamed on the Internet except, maybe, by small providers which will need equal access to be profitable and continue their service.

        • Don_B1

          Bundling of TV channels is actually indispensable for new sources of programming to get access to customers and grow as entrepreneurs. It is a relatively low price for getting access to new programming. That does not mean that cable TV providers have to accept the demands of some established channels to incorporate extra fees per customer in a large bundle (e.g., NFL, even TCM, which want to be in a bundle but get an extra $1 or more per customer).

          Net Neutrality is essential but was not built in when the FCC decided that “competition” would enforce the maintenance of Net Neutrality by all Internet providers. That was also when making Internet providers utilities was also abandoned.

          But both Comcast and Time Warner are large providers of programming, not just transmitters of others’ programming. Therefore there is an incentive for them to give their programming better delivery performance than the delivery performance of their competitors. Note that there are many subtle ways to degrade a competitor’s performance which will be hard to detect but have noticeable end results.

        • John Cedar

          Net neutrality is never going to be popular until they change the name to something that better describes what it is .

      • Don_B1

        As usual you suggest a solution for something that is NOT the problem!

        It is NOT the bundling of TV channels, but the potential to deny users of the Internet the ability to get programming from sources other than those owned by the cable/Internet provider, otherwise known as the potential to abandon “Net Neutrality,” even though Comcast has supposedly committed itself (in the past, when it bought NBC) to honor Net Neutrality.”

        But if you have watched programming over the Internet (NetFlicks, YouTube, Amazon, etc.) and have to suffer the spinning wheel while the streaming data slowing slips down the Internet pipe, you have experienced denial of equal service if when you go to watch programming supplied by your Internet provider (e.g., Comcast and/or Time Warner, the two biggest suppliers) there are never such delays. See:

        http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/02/06/272480919/when-it-comes-to-high-speed-internet-u-s-falling-way-behind

        This program documents how the performance/price ratio is up to 18 (eighteen!) times better in most European and Asian developed economies. In other words, Americans should be paying 1/18 of their current Internet bill or getting much better (faster and with more bandwidth) performance over their Internet connections.

    • creaker

      What’s scary is they will likely also have more push to dissolve net neutrality – and Comcast will be able to pick and choose which internet sites you have or don’t have access to – or maybe bundle up all the good ones and limit them to the internet “premium” package.

  • NewtonWhale

    Boehner may suffer an embarrassing discharge petition

    The discharge petition allows an absolute majority of the House of Representatives (218 lawmakers) to force a floor vote on a bill, even if the leadership, who usually controls what legislation makes it to the floor, is opposed. The opposition party can, in theory, use the technique to hijack the legislative agenda on an issue that divides the majority.

    The problem with the discharge petition is that it requires an issue to be so important to members that they are willing to disobey their party’s leadership. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said very clearly that he will not bring the Senate’s immigration bill to a vote unless a majority of his caucus supports it. Boehner has struggled with party discipline recently, with the unexpected failure of the farm bill last week, but the agitators are to his ideological right. It’s difficult to imagine a significant group of centrist Republicans alienating their most powerful ally by signing a discharge petition.

    Another way a discharge petition could succeed would be with the G.O.P. leadership’s tacit consent, as Kevin Drum has argued:

    If Republicans really do want to pass immigration reform just to get it over and done with, but they want to do it without getting their fingerprints all over it, the discharge petition is easily their best bet. As Steve says, all it requires is 20 or 30 Republicans in safe seats to vote for it, while the entire rest of the caucus gets to continue railing against it while secretly breathing a sigh of relief. That’s totally logical.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/06/29/the-discharge-petitions-role-in-immigration-reform-explained/

    • Floyd Blandston

      TOTALLY waiting for the headline; ‘Boehner Suffers Nocturnal Discharge Petition’….

      • NewtonWhale

        Here I thought I had to be sly to get by the moderator. You went right there!

        • Floyd Blandston

          I know not of what you are referring to, sir.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Then it is a good thing that there are NO Republican safe seats.

  • Potter

    It never fails to amaze me how commenters take good news and make something bad about it. Those who have been against ACA, Obamacare, will go on and on ad nauseum about it’s faults. The ACA obviously was going to need some adjustment, I love the quote from Politico above.

    • OnPointComments

      I wonder how many other states have enrollment/coverage data that is off by 35 percent.
      From the Charleston (S.C.) newspaer Post & Courier
      http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140212/PC16/140219793/1005/

      “More than 41,000 South Carolinians selected a health insurance plan on HealthCare.gov between Oct. 1 and Feb. 1, according to new federal enrollment data released Wednesday.

      “But one state official says the federal report is misleading because only about 65 percent of those residents are actually insured under Obamacare.

      The number of people who have selected a plan and paid their first month’s premium – a requirement for true enrollment – is 26,923, according to S.C. Insurance Director Ray Farmer.”

      • northeaster17

        If South Carolina had accepted the expanded medicaid offered by the ACA I’m sure the numbers would have been higher

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      “…Maybe it’ll be more like one of those Metro trains that runs kind of slowly, and sometimes stops in the middle of the tracks for no apparent reason, but eventually gets you where you need to go.”

      I guess if our final destination is the grave then that may seem reasonable.

      • Potter

        Where we need to go is health coverage for everybody, rich or poor. Even Rolls Royce insurance or paying out of pocket could not keep you or the very rich out of the grave.

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

          ^^^
          Single payer.

          • Don_B1

            I think a lot of us here would agree with that, but that was just not about to pass in Congress, either branch but particularly in the Senate, where Sen. Max Baucus (D, MT) ran the show to suit his insurance company supporters, along with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I/D, CT), Sen. Ben Nelson (D, NE), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D, AR), and likely others.

            But a public option can be added to the PPACA which would almost certainly morph into single payer.

      • Potter

        AGAIN- regarding the metaphor: the healthcare train destination is to give everyone healthcare. Everyone is destined to the grave anyway in life but with healthcare life is a lot different.

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

    Don’t forget hot Alaska, drought in California, record flooding in the UK – in addition to warm Sochi and snow in the southern US. All of this is what we can expect in our changing climate.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Droughts are not unusual in California. In fact, it is the norm.

      • Euphoriologist
        • Don_B1

          WftC and others don’t think twice about inventing new statistical hypotheses when what has been accepted for over a hundred years doesn’t give them the desired result!

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

        The current drought is much worse than any since ~1480, according to tree rings, apparently. And it is not over yet …

  • Coastghost

    How did the French domestic audience take US Asst. Sec. of State Victoria Nuland’s contemptuous dismissal of the EU from last week?

  • OnPointComments

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” –Senator Barack Obama, March 16, 2006

    • WRB2

      The easiest way for America to pay back it’s debt is to grow middle class jobs. Just cutting and cutting will do nothing but turn us into a country that is worse off than Spain. You must create jobs that create infrastructure that we need for the next century. Build a Smart Grid, build ultra-high speed fiber internet backbone to every city/town in America (perhaps along the same path at the same time?), build renewable energy farms (e.g. wind, solar, wave). Those three areas of focus will do more to bring America back and put us in a position to become strong and independent from a financial and energy perspective.

      • northeaster17

        The right likes to not acknowledge that the government actually is a big part of our economy. Which is why so many of their so called solutions do not make sense.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          The left likes to not acknowledge that our economy is actually bigger than our government. Which is why their solutions don’t solve anything.

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

            The government is a big part of our economy, so it can be a big part of the solution.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Fair enough, I would like to see a truly massive reduction in Federal debt which would force investment off the sidelines and into small business which in turn would create jobs and wealth. The Federal Debt is a cause of income inequity that allows the 1% to profit securely.

          • olderworker

            If there were more high-paying jobs, in either the private or public sectors, there would be more tax revenue. Or, if corporations paid their fair share of taxes, there would be more tax revenue. Either way, there would be a massive reduction in the Federal debt.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            There are too many high paying jobs in the public sector. The fact that not even dead children can stop a $10,500.00 pay raise for the infamous Ogre Roach is evidence of that.

            http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/opinion/op_ed/2014/02/graham_dcf_is_a_tragedy_without_end

          • Don_B1

            There are much worse examples in the private sector.

            In a company with $31 million in profits, what does the CEO of AOL do to justify a pay package of $12 million, other than suggest that two women who had difficult pregnancies cost the company money that had to be made up by severely cutting AOL’s contributions to its 401(K) program? [He did get shamed into retracting the changes, but ...]

            What did Jamie Dimon do to justify his $20 million pay package when J.P. Morgan Chase got fined for illegal activities to the tune of some $70 billion?

            This is not to justify any public shenanigans, but they happen everywhere and the public ones are usually much less than the private sector ones.

            Also note that public employees are performing tasks that require a higher level of education (teachers, even many first responders) so comparing average or median salaries is comparing apples with oranges. The average pay for all public employees is justifiably higher than the average or median of all workers.

          • Don_B1

            The biggest cause of inequality is the lack of full employment, with technological gains temporarily causing some dislocation and some other issues also contributing.

            If you really want to know why the deficit is not a problem for the next few years, note that it has been dropping like a stone and the economy has not improved much over the last two years or so.

            Take a look at the charts showing the growth in income across the different wage levels, shown in the book by Baker and Bernstein that I referenced above.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            I assert that you are agreeing with me. The lack of full employment is due to a lack of capitol. If that capitol came off the sidelines in search of return on investment it would fund small businesses which create jobs. It is because of that causal relationship that the DEBT (as opposed to the DEFICIT) is a very big problem.

            On what page is the chart to which you refer.

          • Don_B1

            No, I am DEFINITELY NOT AGREEING with you!

            The lack of full employment is due to the lack of aggregate demand which is what is keeping the plentiful supply of capital in private hands from being spent productively!

            If the companies holding over $1 TRILLION in CASH had investments they thought would provide enough return, they would spend them now.

            That is why they invested in the developing world a few years ago and are withdrawing those investments now, causing the current downturn. See:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/opinion/krugman-talking-troubled-turkey.html?ref=opinion

            where the uncontrolled movement of capital to places that leads to bubbles due to investors’ making incautious investments leads to building troubles and eventual financial crisis.

            If the federal government made the investments in repair and construction of infrastructure which would provide for greater economic growth in the future, it would put unemployed workers to work and their wages would generate the needed demand so that the wasted investment that is causing financial instability across the world would find a more productive use here which would then take over the investments that only the government can make right now.

            Read the first three chapters and you will find the chart; I would tell you more, but then you would only look there and miss a lot of the analysis that you need exposure to.

          • Salvor Hardin

            The Federal Debt has nothing to do with investment. There is plenty of captial available for banks to lend small businesses the money. But what do you expect these small businesses to actually do? Small businesses are based on market need and there just isn’t much a market need for thousands of new small businesses. Who is going to buy their services?

            A massive reduction in Federal debt would actually require us to completely eliminate the Federal deficit immediately which would take at least $600 billion one year cut in spending or probably a massive cut in spending in conjunction with a massive increase in taxes. And that would be just to break even. Then to reduce the actual debt you would require even more spending cuts and tax increases. Not counting the fact that these massive cuts and tax increases would then throw us into a depression reducing revenue even further.

          • Duras

            Taxing the rich to boast public employment (which is currently 14% of the economy) would create multiplier effects in the private market. There is certainly much room for real job plans and real jobs before we get anywhere close to Greece.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            “Taxing the rich” never happens. How did that millionaires tax work out for Delaware?

            “Create a multiplier effects” never happens either. Did the People Mover project or any of the other grand schemes save the city of Detroit?

          • Duras

            Eisenhower taxed the rich 91% and it was the greatest period of American capitalism.
            History beats politics.
            Also, the Labor Department says that every dollar spent on infrastructure over the last 30 years has brought back $1.80.
            Sorry, but what is more important to a business, costumers with money to spend or a lack of an individual tax.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            I guess that when you say tax the rich you mean raise the rate so high that no one pays it.

            FTA:
            In 1958, an 81% marginal tax rate applied to incomes above $140,000, and the 91% rate kicked in at $400,000 for couples. These figures are in unadjusted 1958 dollars and correspond today to nominal income levels that are about eight times higher. That year, according to Internal Revenue Service records, about 10,000 of the nation’s 45.6 million tax filers had income that was taxed at 81% or higher. The number is an estimate and is inexact because the IRS tables list the number of tax filers by income ranges, not precisely by the number who paid at the 81% rate.

            http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324705104578151601554982808

          • Ray in VT

            I’m pretty sure that pro ball players and bank executives and such would still make a ton of money next year if they paid high rates this year. Pujols isn’t going to stop playing a game for a living even if after taxes he was only makes a few million.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            This illustrates one of our core disagreements. I wish to collect taxes to fund the important functions of government with the least amount of invasion into the privacy of our citizens or distortion to the market place. Others seem to embrace the axiom that the power to tax is the power to destroy and attempt to weld the tax code as a weapon. They are the people responsible for the crimes committed by Lois Lerner in service to her political agenda.

            http://townhall.com/tipsheet/carolplattliebau/2014/02/12/surprised-all-501c4s-audited-by-irs-were-conservative-n1793833

            Just as I do not advocate lawlessness, I do not condone the use of such tactics against anyone.

          • Ray in VT

            Are you implying that I wish to wield the power to tax attack and destroy people? I think that anyone seeking tax exempt status should go through the ringer in order to assure that they are not acting in ways that would make them ineligible for such a status, and I have grave doubts about many of these “social welfare” organizations.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            I have my doubts about the entire classification. There seems to be plenty of room for objection based on First Amendment issues. All stemming from the Chief Justice John Marshall’s quote.

            From the way you choose to write your last comment I have grave doubts that you do not condone the use of such tactics.

          • Ray in VT

            Groups are free to say whatever they want, but if such groups want the privilege of tax exempt status, as well as the privilege of keeping the identity of their donors secret, then there is a line that they have to walk.

            Believe whatever you want about what I have said.

          • Don_B1

            What should happen, the return to the wording of the beginning of the 20th Century law, that only groups exclusively promoting the “social welfare” of the community should get tax-exempt status.

            An I.R.S. regulation, written in 1959 changed “exclusively” to “primarily” and should be undone as illegal and none of these political operations groups, liberal or conservative, should have tax exemption, particularly in hiding donors’ names.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that there is a great deal of difference between many of these groups and the Elks or the Knights of Columbus. The secrecy around who is funding these groups really does concern me.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, I take it that you are implying that this has come from the White House. If so, then please provide that evidence, as such evidence has not surfaced to my knowledge.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            FTA:
            Just a joke about the power of the presidency. Made by Jay Leno it might have been funny. But as told by Mr. Obama, the actual president of the United States, it’s hard to see the humor. Surely he’s aware that other presidents, most notably Richard Nixon, have abused the power of the Internal Revenue Service to harass their political opponents. But that abuse generated a powerful backlash and with good reason. Should the IRS come to be seen as just a bunch of enforcers for whoever is in political power, the result would be an enormous loss of legitimacy for the tax system.

            http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB124260113149028331?
            mod=wsj_share_tweet

            http://youtu.be/J80nxsplKwE

          • Ray in VT

            It certainly would be a problem if people saw that agency as merely a political tool. It is a shame that some see some short term political benefit from attempting to spread the belief that it already is being used in such a way.

          • Duras

            Eisenhower raised the rates from 90% to 91% to pay for the highways. His policy ended up raising revenue and he balanced the budget, building the highways quickly.
            Kennedy lowered taxes and it did not cause revenues to increase. Bush told Reagan that in 1979.

            $400K was the equivalent to $3 million today.

            I am for taxing millionaires that high.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            This idea you have is not supported by the historical facts.
            FTA:
            The individual income tax’s top rate has been as high as 91 percent as recently as 1960 and has been as low as 28 percent in the late 1980s. And yet the income tax raised on average 8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and had never exceeded 10.2 percent (reached only once in 2000 at the height of the tech bubble).

            http://blog.heritage.org/2013/02/02/the-income-tax-turns-100-years-old/

          • Duras

            a blog on heritage….. If you pull a legitimate source, I start doing the leg work and pull legitimate sources as well.

            The effective tax rate on the top (before Reagan) was no lower than 45%. The effective tax rate since Reagan has been no higher than 35%.

            The revenue-to-GDP ratios were higher before Reagan.

          • Don_B1

            You might want to review the work or Piketty and Saez on income taxation, where they show that people do not slow their work effort even with marginal tax rates slightly over 70%. But I have not seen any economist recommending a top tax bracket over 50% or maybe 60%.

            But that would not hurt the super rich in any meaningful way; what most of them like is the bragging rights, although I suppose they need to keep it just among their friends.

          • Duras

            I used to think the Laffer Curve was legitimate.
            From what I’ve seen of academic economist, half are conservative and have are liberal. By liberal, they want to return to the same effective tax rates that existed before Reagan.
            So long as there is some form of meritocracy, people will always work to be on top, no matter what the tax rates are.

          • Don_B1

            Certainly there is a “Laffer Curve,” but, significantly, the right wing never tells you where the economy is on that curve.

            When President Kennedy and his economic advisor, Walter Heller, advocated for tax cuts, the rate of the top marginal tax bracket was 91%, and it is fairly easy to see that some might consider that confiscatory (Ronald Reagan as an actor, did) and decide not to work when the person’s income reaches that limit. Thus the top rate taxes were on the right side of the curve, where lower taxes could increase the economy and thus increase tax revenue.

            But empirical data developed by Piketty and Saez show that the top marginal tax rate might even be set at over 80% (I should have checked this source for my other, lower, percent numbers I have posted here; but NO one, is suggesting setting them that high!):

            http://www.voxeu.org/article/taxing-1-why-top-tax-rate-could-be-over-80

            The bottom line is that the part of the tax curve that the economy is operating at right now is on the left side, where higher taxes increase the revenue and also increase the economy GDP because taxes on lower income workers do not have to be raised to pay for necessary benefits (which include infrastructure spending for ALL).

          • Don_B1

            No one, REPEAT, no one is suggesting that the top rate should be 90% or higher, but Piketty and Saez have well respected by all sides studies that show that the top rate beyond which people are significantly deterred from work is around 70% which is a lot higher than any numbers I have seen proposed.

          • Duras

            NAFTA and prior free trade agreements killed Detroit. Detroit was strongest during the 1950s when unions were strong and country had tariffs.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Detroit was strongest when most of the rest of the world was still smoldering from WWII.

          • Duras

            Right after NAFTA was passed GM moved a plant from Detroit to Mexico.

          • Duras

            And look at the rest of the world. Are you saying that our labor should compete with Japan’s labor and Europe’s labor today? Great because their labor conditions are better than ours.

            Are you saying that our labor should be competitive with Mexican labor? Fine, but don’t say you are looking out for the middle class or America as a whole.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Are you saying that our labor doesn’t compete with labor everywhere? Where was your TV made?
            How can you say you are for the “middle class” (a term I dislike) when you want them to over pay for what they buy?

          • Duras

            Price index is not determined by labor costs. It is a fallacy. The CEO-to-average wage ratio can be narrower without raising prices. The increase in prices is due to lack of market competition.
            When Reagan stepped on labor and radically changed how income is distributed, the price index increased because government stopped blocking corporate mergers–wages flat-lined while prices increases, which means, technically, wages have decreased.

          • Don_B1

            Detroit was mortally wounded by the arrogance of the automobile company executives who thought they did not have to respond to the changes in the world, from the ability of other companies to design better cars to the need for more energy efficient cars.

            Note that GM was doing well in China because it designed cars that met the needs of its customers while it was stodgy in the U.S. because it refused to analyze its production process.

            Note that as part of the “bailout” of GM, those overseeing the restructuring to get out of bankruptcy forced the changes in management that have resulted in much better cars that has allowed GM to become profitable.

          • Don_B1

            A single “project” was never going to, and I doubt it was sold as, solve all the economic problems of Detroit, which developed over at least 40 years of “white flight,” lack of metropolitan taxing for common needs, etc.

            The project certainly gave some temporary employment for construction and some (lesser) long-term employment for operation, but there is no way that alone could solve the much deeper problems which the state government needed to step up to the plate on and totally failed as it has in several other cities where the state has appointed “managers” who are only creating more destruction without building permanent solutions.

          • Don_B1

            Where in your fantasyland does that assertion, that the “left likes to not acknowledge that our economy is bigger than out government,” come from?

            That should get you laughed off the planet!

            But just like the control voltage on the base connection of a transistor affects the much larger current between the emitter and collector terminals, government action, when it puts unemployed persons to work can create the aggregate demand needed to stimulate the much larger economy into a much stronger state.

            But right now business is seeing a drop in aggregate demand from the middle class, which is hurting the overall economy because the middle class does not have enough jobs to allow them to spend as they otherwise would. See:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/03/business/the-middle-class-is-steadily-eroding-just-ask-the-business-world.html?_r=1

            and you will see the reasons why companies are not investing in the products that would sell to much larger demographics than the small class in the top income brackets.

      • Don_B1

        Your argument is nicely laid out with strong references to multiple studies in a book by Dean Baker and Jared Bernstein, Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People, downloadable here:

        http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/books/getting-back-to-full-employment-a-better-bargain-for-working-people

    • Potter

      The government is not run like your family… macro economics 101.

      • jefe68

        Careful, you’re asking for rational thought here.

      • OnPointComments

        Are you saying that when Senator Obama made his statement he did not realize that the government is not run like your family, or do you think he was simply saying what he thought would get him elected?

        • Potter

          I think he was pandering or catering to the uninformed opinion out there probably in his usual mode of allowing for differences of opinion regardless of their worth. In other words taking the easy route while knowing better.

    • PoliticsWatcher

      He was right then, and the GOP is wrong now. Different circumstances demand different responses.

      Confusing, I know.

      • StilllHere

        Gotcha, Obamapologist.

      • Don_B1

        President Obama has stated that he regrets his vote against raising the debt ceiling, but note that voting against raising the debt ceiling was a time-honored tradition in both parties where a few would symbolically vote against raising the debt ceiling while KNOWING that the ceiling would be raised.

        The difference today it that those voting against raising the debt ceiling ACTUALLY WANT TO NOT RAISE THE CEILING even though it would cause irreparable, at least in the medium run, to this country’s and the world’s economies.

        The total lack of understanding of those voting against paying contracted bills is hard to believe, rising to the realm of real stupidity.

    • TFRX

      Up or down vote, or gobstopping filibuster?

      Funny how that never makes it into the right’s screeds.

      • jefe68

        Oh they love to post reams of screeds, do they not….

  • Ray in VT

    In a sign that some people just need to keep up the fight long after the writing is on the wall, Ted Cruz introduced a bill (S.2024 A bill to amend chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, with regard to
    the definition of “marriage” and “spouse” for Federal purposes and to
    ensure respect for State regulation of marriage) to attempt to keep the feds from acting in such a way as to recognize same sex marriages nationwide (I guess), and legislators in Kansas introduced a bill that would allow any person or organization to deny services to gay couples without legal consequence.

    • creaker

      The Kansas one is truly scary – legislated permission to discriminate. Sounds more like 1930′s Germany.

      • Ray in VT

        Oh, we don’t have to go all Godwin on that one. We can just look back to pre-Civil Rights Era America for similar legalized discrimination. It blew my 9 year old’s mind to see images and footage of segregated facilities from back in the 1960s when some stuff was aired back on Martin Luther King Jr Day. He just couldn’t understand why such a thing would be.

        • keltcrusader

          we have short memories and attention spans in this country – to our detriment!

    • jefe68

      This puts new meaning to Dorothy’s quote: “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.”

      • Ray in VT

        There was also that Oklahoma bar that I saw a piece about. Did you see that?

        • Floyd Blandston

          Enid, Oklahoma- “Paris of the Prairies”

          • Ray in VT

            How of the bar where all of the great whites are welcome, although not much of anyone else.

  • creaker

    On Sochi – it’s ironic that gay athletes got better treatment there than from the NFL.

    • northeaster17

      The NFL needs to loose it’s tax exempt status and it’s dependence on publicaly funded stadiums. The Not For Long League is a joke.

  • William

    Jack…your selective memory is playing tricks on you again..the only reductions in spending were done by President Obama’s sequester plan…

    • Ray in VT

      Some aspects of federal spending have declined as the country has moved further and further away from the collapse in 2008 and the economy has recovered somewhat.

      • William

        How much money has the federal government spent since the 2008 economy collapse and how much money has the fed pumped into the stock market during the same time frame?

        • Ray in VT

          A bunch. Is that supposed to be a counter or a rebuttal to my statement?

          • William

            It was not a rebuttal to you but to Jack. All the money spent and we still have massive unemployment, wealth gap, huge numbers of people on food stamps, people dropping out of the work force. All that big government spending did nothing to help the economy.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, now that you have settled it by giving us this knowledge from on high I guess that we can move on. It’s just too bad the opinions of people who really research this sort of thing don’t line up with that assessment. Take this for instance:

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/did-the-stimulus-work-a-review-of-the-nine-best-studies-on-the-subject/2011/08/16/gIQAThbibJ_blog.html

            I’m sure that if we didn’t have the big, bad government providing a safety net to the poor, the unemployed, the disabled or the elderly then everything would be just hunky-dory now.

          • Don_B1

            Right, thousands of lower- and middle-income workers would have their lives ruined, permanently out of work or consigned to lower-income jobs for the remainder of their lives. Once those events are on their records, employers discriminate based on events over which they had no control and they never get a chance to redeem themselves.

          • Don_B1

            And just how do you know how much money was needed to generate a strong recovery? What criteria do you use?

            The U.S. suffered something like a loss of $2 trillion in the 2008-2009 “crash” and the ARRA had less than 3/8 of that as spending over TWO YEARS to try to replace the aggregate demand lost in the economy. While an exact one-for-one replacement was not necessary, at least half and more likely 60% was really needed to get the economy going.

            Then, every time the economy showed signs of recovery, the Tea/Republicans created a spending reduction and uncertainty about how much more cuts in spending would occur in the near future, creating doubt in the business community so it cut back on hiring and producing new goods and services and the recovery understandably weakened.

            The Great Recession is charted here:

            http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3252

            where the loss of jobs continued past the point where GDP made the turn back into growth, due to employers being able to extract longer working hours from workers in fear of losing their jobs and without any bargaining power, resulting in the wealthy (those using rent-seeking in forms of ownership -capital gains, etc. – and upper management taking large bonuses, etc.) were able to get 95% of the gains in profits in the 2009-2011 period. So workers did not get increased income to help pay down mortgages and increase spending and saving capability.

            Behind all that was the fact that a large percentage of homeowners were under water with their mortgages so they were using any income to pay down debt rather than making new purchases of new goods and services from businesses. Additionally, because of the weak economy, other consumers were worried about losing their jobs so they pulled back on new purchases also. This led to further business pull back and further pressure further lowering aggregate demand. Because of overhyped worries of “moral hazard,” every approach to help homeowners who were underwater on their mortgages was turned back by Tea/Republicans and the banks receiving TARP were not required to revisit and rework mortgages where they had taken advantage of the homeowner. All of which has worked to slow the deleveraging necessary to get a strong recovery, which is easily possible when, rather than a private balance sheet recession like the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the Federal Reserve drives up interest rates like in the Reagan double dip recession of 1981-1983 and then can quickly end it by lowering interest rates.

            But you love to cherry-pick data that you can misinterpret to argue your case, but your effort will ALWAYS fail.

    • northeaster17
  • William

    “Get right with the law”….that is the new catch phrase in DC now….you see it when amnesty for illegals is being discussed…getting illegals “right with the law”….

  • Coastghost

    Tom Ashbrook: why not ask your French guest a question relevant to her expertise and query her on Ms. Nuland’s contemptuous remark concerning the bulk of our European allies, including (putatively) France. Don’t ask what the official govt. response was: ask what French public opinion made of Ms. Nuland’s performance.

    • northeaster17

      That would be like asking Tom Delay what he thinks of freedom fries

  • creaker

    This is the result of not implementing single payer healthcare – make Medicare the floor for everyone, and let people buy and/or employers offer add-on packages. But it would never happen here – in the US healthcare is just another profit center,

    • PoliticsWatcher

      We in America don’t care how good an idea is, if it wasn’t invented here it’s A Bad Idea. Because exceptionalism!

  • Mina

    We are not going back Republicans. Get over it. We are not going back to the days of insurance companies being able to deny coverage for pre existing conditions. We are not going back tp policy caps. We are not going back to allowing insurance companies being able to drop coverage if you come down sick. We are not going back to college students not being able to be on their parents plan. Good luck on trying to turn the ship around. The sooner they accept that the less tax dollars they continue to waste trying to bury Obamacare.

    • creaker

      Since the Republicans have not offered any plan to implement with all their attempted repeals, that would be where we would have gone back to.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Actually they have offered several alternatives. The problem is the Dems aren’t interested in any alternative. It is really crazy time in DC.

        • Duras

          Name one full scale alternative republicans have presented.

          Republicans don’t have an alternative because Obamacare was originally the republican alternative to Hilarycare in the 90s.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Wait, I thought Obamacare was the same as Romneycare. Yup, that 60 page Massachusetts law somehow morphed into a 2700 page disaster.

          • Duras

            Well, I guess one small state would have the same page length as the entire country….

            But I guess lawyers don’t read long texts of any kind. I know in law school, no one reads miles of law review. Page length is such a valid reason to undo a law. I have an argument for a different healthcare system, but my carefully thought out rationales can’t match the fact that something is too long to read.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Central planning never works. We are now seeing a spectacular central planning flame-out first hand. I just hope we can recover without destroying too many lives.

          • Duras

            Germany has free health care and free college. It works. In fact, nationalized medicine works much better in other countries than America.

            What about WWII? Was there not a nationalized manufacturing. Did we not build the high ways?

            What about the inverse? Has our localized education system worked?

            I think it is a little more ambiguous than you think.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Government services are much more efficient locally because there is accountability. There is zero accountability at the federal level. Maybe if we had a balanced budget amendment they would be forced to make tough choices.

          • Ray in VT

            It funny how the GOP stopped pushing for that as soon as one of their guys got in and then brought it up again once he was out. You do hit both sides on issues like this often, and whereas I often disagree with you on some of these matters, I find that at least you are willing to hit both sides for doing what you dislike.

          • Duras

            You ever notice when there is an argument the republicans can’t possibly win, they say “Let the stated decide.”

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Or maybe because the States deciding will lead to a better solution. After seeing the debt and unfunded federal entitlements grow to the tipping point it is now clear that without a balanced budget amendment all entitlements need to be run from the states where they have to balance their budgets and make the tough choices.

          • Ray in VT

            How has states rights worked out for minorities seeking equal access and equal protection under the law?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I was referring to entitlements not civil rights.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t really trust some states not to screw certain groups regarding entitlements either.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Guess what? You can move if you don’t like your state’s policies or direction. You are stuck if you have a one size fits all federal disaster. Competition is the great equalizer.

          • Ray in VT

            So rights and treatment should be subject to where one lives. If people are getting screwed over in one state, then they should move to another instead of expecting better treatment at home. Great plan.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Good grief.

          • Duras

            You should try living in the South.
            There is a reason why the blue states carry this country economically and the red states are the suckers of the federal nanny.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I thought Texas was in the South? Hold on I’ll check a map.

          • Duras

            Yeah, the one state that isn’t a leach because it is the only energy-rich state.

          • olderworker

            What you’re calling “entitlements” may have been EARNED by those of us paying into, for example, unemployment insurance and Social Security.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Fiction. Yes, we all pay in but if those payments are not sufficient to cover the promised payouts then actuaries can measured the deficit. They call this deficit: “unfunded liabilities”. Our current unfunded liabilities are to the tune of $100T. It is one measure of false promises by our politicians. Don’t delude yourself. There will be a day of reckoning.

          • Don_B1

            That is because they extrapolate beyond reason to 75 years out, when the CBO isn’t able to realistically project even 4 years!

            Consider the projections that the CBO made in 1996, of continued deficits through 2000, while the direction of the deficits reversed to surplus of about the same amount in 2000:

            “In 1996, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a large deficit for the year 2000 of $244 billion, or 2.7 percent of GDP (CBO 1996). It turned out that we actually ran a surplus in 2000 of $232 billion, or roughly 2.4 percent of GDP, amounting to a shift from deficit to surplus of $476 billion, or 5.1 percentage points of GDP. It would be as if the annual deficit fell by $820 billion in 2013. ”

            Baker, Dean and Jarod Bernstein, Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People, downloadable (free) here:

            http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/books/getting-back-to-full-employment-a-better-bargain-for-working-people

          • Duras

            Remember age of tax and spend liberalism when there were balanced budgets after balanced budgets. Then Reagan got elected.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Ugh. Now we’ve gone from “blame Bush” to “blame Reagan”.

          • Ray in VT

            How was the deficit under that fiscal conservative?

          • Duras

            It’s all about the political economy. This is a Reaganist political economy.

            If we still taxed the snot out of the rich, the budget would look better. The only thing that keeps you from seeing that is ideology. If you want a balanced budget, look at the economic systems in history that have delivered balanced budgets. If you want deficits and bubble and bust economies, look at today and the pre-Depression era.

          • Don_B1

            A requirement for a good economy for EVERYONE, rich to poor, is a full employment economy. As seen from the slow development of problems in the economy since Reagan, it just take time for them to develop.

            But if he country waits for the next development, it will be a worse financial crash than the 2007-2009 Great Recession. See:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/opinion/krugman-talking-troubled-turkey.html?ref=opinion

            for a description of how economic crises are occurring more frequently and with worse effects as deregulated movement of capital from developed economies to less developed or weaker economies causes huge distortions in the “target” economies.

          • Duras

            And also, you are not putting up much of a counterargument.

            Facts are facts–Reagan radically changed the structure of the American economy, and we have never radically transformed it to a liberal political economy since. Now we can look at 34 years of results. Just as we can look at the 40 years of the FDR republic. The liberal political economy had balanced budgets, went to the moon, created Silicon Valley, had pensions, affordable tuition, a strong middle class, and a much faster growing economy.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Back as recently as JFK, 50% of federal spending was on national defense. Yes, things have changed but I don’t think it was Reagan that changed the trajectory.

          • Duras

            Before Reagan, 70% tax rate on the top. After Reagan, 28% tax rate, 39.5% high.

            Before Reagan, tariffs, blocking unnecessary corporate mergers, no right to work, credit card debt limits, strict campaign financing limits.

            After Reagan, free trade, lack of market competition due to government no longer blocking mergers, unions became weak and once they became weak they were blamed for jobs moving over seas (the jobs didn’t move while unions were stronger).

            Before Reagan, government regulated Wall Street,

            After Reagan, Wall Street regulates the government (and that includes Dodd-Frank by the way!).

            Face it, the economy that you grew up in was far more liberal and had much more opportunity than the one my kid has to grow up in.

          • lobstahbisque

            Reagan made USA! a debtor nation.

          • Euphoriologist

            What tipping point? Why would we have to make tough choices now?

          • Ray in VT

            Did you mean “let the states decide”? If so, then I think that you are somewhat right. I think that we should have differences between the states on some things, but I don’t think such an approach works when it comes to dealing with issues such as civil rights.

          • TFRX

            Kansas is proving your point as we speak.

          • Duras

            I don’t see the basis of your claim. The federal government is unaccountable because republicans fought long and hard for unlimited campaign contributions. Politicians are accountable to the people when they aren’t corrupted.

            Look at the space race: NASA alone undermines your comment. The health department is far more accountable than private companies right now.

          • Ray in VT

            So how is it that national health care systems in other countries have delivered the same or better outcomes for substantially less money?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            We aren’t talking about other countries systems. We are talking about Obamacare, the $2,7T disaster that the CBO claims will still have 31 million uninsured in 2024. Obama, when trying to sell this scheme in 2009, defined the ‘problem’ of 30 million uninsured. #MassiveFailure
            Seems clear that is time to reset before we do permanent damage.

          • Ray in VT

            Yet those are centrally planned systems and they seem to work. The CBO also started with a different figure (57 million I think), which some have ignored in an attempt to argue that the ACA isn’t projected to reduce the number of the unemployed.

          • Don_B1

            Just what do you think big corporations do?

            Central planning is paramount to their success and most do it reasonably well (otherwise they would not exist), but with the occasional misstep, just like what has happened with the PPACA.

          • hennorama

            Duras — if we use the MA page count (silly though this measurement might be) as the standard, then 60 pgs. X 50 states (plus D.C. & Territories, etc.) means that the PPACA is actually brief.

          • Duras

            Yeah, I’ve looked at it. The actual pages are brief too. It would take longer to read “Ulysses” than the health care law.
            Also, Ted Cruz could have gone page by page when he did that 24 hour filibuster, but he didn’t. He talk mostly about inane crap. …I wonder why. Personally, I think the republican politicians like the health care bill, except the tax increases on the rich.

          • hennorama

            Duras — well, to be fair to Cuban-Canadian Senator Rafael Edward Cruz, Green Eggs and Ham are important topics for the Senate.

        • creaker

          Words – were any alternatives written into any of the the 30 something bills they tried to push through?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            So what? You are talking about process. It seems to me you would need to repeal this national distaster to bring the power hunger Dems to the table to negotiate an alternative.

          • creaker

            So you lied.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Huh? I never lied.

        • Ray in VT

          Let’s see. Latest proposal: “would repeal the ACA’s requirements that most people have insurance, as well as requirements that insurers offer minimum benefits and employers offer insurance or face potential fines” (so hello again policies that end up noteally covering anything at all)

          “would eliminate most of the taxes and fees that the law imposes to pay for the generous tax credits offered to help people pay for the required insurance” (how are these new credits going to be paid for?)

          “And the plan would repeal the requirement that insurers cover people
          with pre-existing health conditions, although people who remain “continuously covered” for at least 18 months could not be denied or
          charged more. And while the plan would keep the ACA’s ban on insurers’
          imposing a lifetime limit on insurance benefits, annual limits could return.” (those sound great)

          “The GOP plan also would let insurers charge older people more than the ACA does” and “would end the expansion of Medicaid to include all people below a certain income level”.

          “And while the aides insisted that the overall plan is intended to create
          less disruption for people insured through their jobs, the GOP plan
          would be financed via a highly controversial mechanism: capping the
          so-called at 65 percent. That means that for the average worker, 35
          percent of the health insurance benefits that are currently tax-free
          would instead be considered taxable income.” Hello tax increases for people getting employer provided health insurance.

          http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/27/267220145/key-senate-republicans-offer-their-plan-to-replace-obamacare

          Sounds awesome.

      • northeaster17

        Which is probably why they do not offer any alternative. So many people being duped.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Obama’s incompetence and refusal to go back to congress to fix what is broken is tanking Obamacare. The GOP hasn’t touched Obamacare so how can you possibly blame them?

      And most of Obama’s unconstitutional ‘fixes’ have been political in nature — like pushing deadlines past the election instead of fixing what is clearly broken.

      • Mina

        I blame them because they have drug their feet kicked and screamed like a 2 year old when they could have been offering ideas. Oh thats right it was their idea befor Obama was for it and now they are against it. Spinning every lie they can.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Clearly you didn’t pay attention back in 2009 when they were crafting Obamacare. The GOP amendments were blocked.

  • OnPointComments

    Kathleen Sebelius – November 6, 2013 testimony to Congress about possible ACA delays:

    SEBELIUS: Now, some have asked, why not just delay implementation of the new law until all of the problems are fixed? And there’s a pretty straightforward answer: Delaying the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t delay people’s cancer or diabetes or Parkinson’s. Didn’t delay the need for mental health services or cholesterol screenings or prenatal care. Delaying the Affordable Care Act doesn’t delay the foreclosure notices for families forced into bankruptcy by unpayable medical bills. It doesn’t delay the higher costs all of us pay when uninsured Americans are left with no choice but to rely on emergency rooms for care.

    So for millions of Americans, delay is not an option. People’s lives depend on this. Too many hard-working people have been waiting for too long for the ability to obtain affordable health insurance.

    We want to save families from going bankrupt. We want to save the lives of more of our friends and neighbors by allowing them to detect medical issues early. We want to keep prices down. Delay is not an option.

    For President Obama and the Democrats, elections trump cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, mental health services, cholesterol screenings, and prenatal care. If the ACA is so great, why does the President keep delaying parts of it?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    There wasn’t a smidgin of ice on my driveway this morning.

    #DelusionOrLie

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Boehner, the Republicans and especially the Tea Partiers just do not get that they ALREADY VOTED to spend the money. You do not get to then say no raising the debt limit unless you also get to change what you passed.

    I wonder why this congress’ positive rating is near zero. Actually, I don’t. By contrast, Vladimir Putin’s positive rating is 65%. We may not like him but he is making a WHOLE lot more people happy in Russia than our government is here.

  • Duras

    If the 2016 presidential races comes down to Bush vs. Clinton, we will have gone nowhere as a country. And those results will speak to how corrupted are political system is: Bush and Clinton are the top two choices of the business elite. And they will prefer Clinton over most other republicans.

  • olderworker

    Why is Tom Ashbrook referring to Michael Sam as “Michael Gay”?

    • Yar

      I am pretty sure he did. It is funny that Football players might feel objectified in the locker room.

      • olderworker

        He said it at least twice.

    • Tim Rohe

      Wow! I posted a comment that seems to have been deleted because former House Majority Leader Richard Armey’s nickname of choice can also be used as a slang euphemism, even though I was using it as a proper name and I was directly quoting an allegedly unintentional slip of the tongue where he referred to former Mass. Representative Barney Frank on the House floor as “Barney F@g,” which is another word that probably got it flagged. Doesn’t a human being read these things when they get flagged?
      Anyway, my point was that Mr. Armey’s comment was most likely a traditional “Freudian slip,” masking his true feelings, where as Tom’s slip of the tongue just seemed to be a genuine slip of the tongue.

      • hennorama

        Tim Rohe — there is a filter that kicks comments to The Moderator, who eventually reviews the ones “awaiting moderation.” Next time you might use “Cock Armey,” as that will pass the filter.

        • Ray in VT

          I am surprised that that one makes it past the moderation.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — as was I when I discovered it.

        • Tim Rohe

          Interesting. From now on, I’ll also be sure to refer to Richard Nixon as Tricky “Cock” Nixon as well.

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

      I don’t think he did. He says “Michael Sam” several times.

      • olderworker

        Interestingly, I listened to the program at 10:00 a..m., then again at 7 p.m. — on the morning show, he did (accidentally, I’m guessing) say “Michael Gay” at least twice. Then on the 7 p.m. show, it was changed to “Michael Sam”.

        • nj_v2

          Seriously, they doctored the file?

          • olderworker

            Not sure, but since he obviously misspoke, it may have been a reasonable thing to revise.

      • nj_v2

        I heard it twice in the original broadcast, a few minutes apart.

  • Davis

    lol, Tom keeps calling Michael Sam Michael Gay

  • nj_v2

    For the love of Pete. Mr Ashbrook makes enough money to know that the U MO lineman’s name is Michael Sam, not Michael Gay, which he said twice!!

    Unbeleivable.

    • Ray in VT

      I thought that Donte Stallworth offered some interesting thoughts on the Sam issue. I don’t know if you say those tweets.

    • hennorama

      nj_v2 — well, in all fairness, Sam and Gay are both the same inside.

    • Steve__T

      At least he didn’t call him Marvin.

  • OnPointComments

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Miley Cyruses and Justin Biebers of the world would learn something from the life of Shirley Temple Black.

    • J__o__h__n

      I don’t think Ambassador Miley would be a good idea. Bieber could be mayor of Toronto though.

  • Floyd Blandston

    Did anyone else notice Major Garret referring to the tolerated ‘non-gay’ behavior of NFL players as “other criminal activities”. :D

    • J__o__h__n

      Yes, but I think it was a slip as the rest of his comments were not bigoted.

      • Floyd Blandston

        Dr. Freud knows; no such thing as a dishonest ‘slip’.

  • dt03044

    NO WAY to the Comcast merger. That company already crushes its customers with very high rates and poor customer service. I’d rather see the introduction of new players in the cable sector and more choices for consumers. I hope the govt. shoots it down.

    • StilllHere

      How do you figure? Are TW and Comcast competing to offer you cable now?

  • bilbo44

    I have wondered while allowing gays in locker room why this is allowed when we have separate locker rooms and restrooms for men and women. is there a reason we have separated facilities for men and women? If so what is it? If not just have coed facilities. Is having gay and hetro ‘s together any different than having men and women together?

    • J__o__h__n

      I support keeping men and women bathrooms separate. Combining them would result in the worst of both: long lines for men and disgusting bathrooms for women.

      • Floyd Blandston

        aaaaannnd the REAL reason comes to light.

    • Yar

      A bathroom for every definition?

      Facebook just added 56 genders.

      Agender

      Androgyne

      Androgynous

      Bigender

      Cis

      Cisgender

      Cis Female

      Cis Male

      Cis Man

      Cis Woman

      Cisgender Female

      Cisgender Male

      Cisgender Man

      Cisgender Woman

      Female to Male

      FTM

      Gender Fluid

      Gender Nonconforming

      Gender Questioning

      Gender Variant

      Genderqueer

      Intersex

      Male to Female

      MTF

      Neither

      Neutrois

      Non-binary

      Other

      Pangender

      Trans

      Trans*

      Trans Female

      Trans* Female

      Trans Male

      Trans* Male

      Trans Man

      Trans* Man

      Trans Person

      Trans* Person

      Trans Woman

      Trans* Woman

      Transfeminine

      Transgender

      Transgender Female

      Transgender Male

      Transgender Man

      Transgender Person

      Transgender Woman

      Transmasculine

      Transsexual

      Transsexual Female

      Transsexual Male

      Transsexual Man

      Transsexual Person

      Transsexual Woman

      Two-Spirit

      • J__o__h__n

        They should have just gone with “it’s complicated.”

    • northeaster17

      Most of us just get over it. Change our clothes and get on our way.

      • bilbo44

        I agree. But would there be a question or uproar if a man or women went in a women’s or women in man’s locker room and starting undressing. I do not think we have reached this point in he US

    • hennorama

      bilbo44 — if you’ve used public facilities, you’ve likely already “been with” a gay person at some point. Did you perceive any difference?

  • Coastghost

    Laure Mandeville’s comments are the commonplace we’ve come to accept: the question remaining is, is the Olympics a sporting competition dominated by political and commercial concerns, or is it a political and commercial event sponsoring sports competition?

    • olderworker

      Given the number of minutes dedicated to exhibiting the skiing, skating, etc. vs. the minutes of advertising I saw last night, I’d say it’s a commercial event with a smattering of politics and sports.

  • nj_v2

    Selected right-wing, regressive jacka**ery, regression, and idiocy of the week:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/kansas-gay-couples-refuse-services-bill

    Kansas Bill Would Allow Companies To Refuse Service To Gay Couples

    [[ A bill passed Wednesday by the Kansas House would allow businesses and government employees to deny services to same-sex couples on the basis of their religious beliefs, the Kansas City Star reported.

    It now heads to the state Senate; it has already earned the tacit endorsement of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

    “Religious liberty issues are ones that I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve fought for religious liberty in many countries and with many different faiths,” Brownback told the Wichita Eagle last week, adding that he had not reviewed the bill's specific language yet. “It’s basic in the Bill of Rights.” ]]

    (snipped)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/13/ted-cruz-gay-marriage-bill_n_4780699.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013

    Ted Cruz Introduces Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

    [[ WASHINGTON -- It seems Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has taken up a new cause in Congress -- defending states' right to regulate marriage.

    Amid a wave of court decisions striking down anti-gay marriage laws in states, the Texas Republican introduced a bill to the Senate Wednesday to amend U.S. law "with regard to the definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse' for Federal purposes and to ensure respect for State regulation of marriage." Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is the bill's only co-sponsor so far. ]]

    (snipped)

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/missouri-anti-evolution-law-parental-notification

    Unprecedented Attack On Evolution ‘Indoctrination’ Mounted In Missouri

    [[ A Missouri lawmaker has proposed what ranks among the most anti-evolution legislation in recent years, which would require schools to notify parents if "the theory of evolution by natural selection" was being taught at their child's school and give them the opportunity to opt out of the class.The bill had its first public hearing Thursday after being introduced in late January.

    State Rep. Rick Brattin (R), who sponsored the bill, told a local TV station last week that teaching only evolution in school was "indoctrination."

    "Our schools basically mandate that we teach one side," he told KCTV. "It is an indoctrination because it is not objective approach." ]]

    (snipped)

  • olderworker

    Thank you, Jack Beatty, for your support of the unions proposed in Tennessee!

    • Floyd Blandston

      Love this story! VW WANTS the union in it’s plant, cracker state politicians say no…

      • Duras

        Talk about government inference with the free market. Whoever thinks republicans are for free markets, doesn’t understand free market principles.

    • OnPointComments

      VW workers in Tennessee reject UAW in devastating defeat for union
      http://www.freep.com/article/20140214/BUSINESS0104/302140095/uaw-volkswagen-chattanooga

      The UAW suffered a devastating defeat at Volkswagen’s plant here as workers rejected union representation by a 712-626 margin.

      The defeat, which came despite Volkswagen’s neutrality, tarnishes UAW President Bob King’s legacy and could make it next to impossible for the union to extend its reach beyond domestic automakers.

      “The workers at Volkswagen looked at the history of this union and made the best decision for themselves, their jobs and their community. In spite of the UAW’s multi-million dollar propaganda machine, and with company and government officials at Obama’s NLRB aiding the union in every possible way, workers learned the facts and were able to make an informed decision.” –Matt Patterson, ATR Executive Director

  • hennorama

    It was interesting to see that Republican leaders in both the House and Senate actually led, and a clean debt limit bill passed.

    • TFRX

      Funny how that happened after the last two debt limit tussles wherein Dems stopped trying to enter into negotiation with the GOP House.

      The House Dems have hopefully learnt that no matter what our Beltway Inbreds plead for, there’s no way to negotiate with the GOP now.

      Now if someone like Major Garrett or Ron Fournier will say “Not giving in to the GOP is good politics for Democrats, because Howard Baker and Bob Dole aren’t around any more”.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Also a very interesting theory.

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

      They voted in secret though, in the Senate, because they do not want to be responsible for their vote.

    • Duras

      The business elites have had enough of the Tea Party–the pawns they thought they had are now disrupting their pocket books in a different way. They told the leadership to quit the even more radical politicking.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Interesting theory.

  • TFRX

    WaPo fluffing the Free Beacon?

    Tom, can’t you pull anything better–y’know, fact checked by someone rather than put through the whitewash cycle of “made respectable”?

    • hennorama

      TRFX — as an anagrammer, I feel obligated to point out that Free Beacon = Be One Farce.

      The truth in plain sight, again.

  • Ray in VT

    More great ideas:

    “The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” Perkins said during an event hosted by Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky.
    “But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a
    million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/14/tom-perkins-votes_n_4788086.html

    At least he has the guts to come right out and say that he wants the rich to be able to squeeze the poor out of the political system and just have it run overtly by the rich.

    • Duras

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually gave these morons exactly what they wanted: eliminate it all, food stamps, welfare, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, pay to vote, etc…….forget the notion of society … and let’s just let it be.

      A hundred bucks says Tom Perkins will start to like the idea of democracy and society real quick.

      • Ray in VT

        I tend to think that in the long run he might not like what his proposals would I think likely do. Of course, given that he is 82, then he might not care about effects years down the road.

      • Ray in VT

        Such talks reminds me of some of the 18th century state constitutions, where requirements for the franchise was set at limits that excluded most from the democratic process.

        • Duras

          To me, the speech wreaks of 18th-Century French Aristocracy values.

          My hope is that Americans eventually figure out that the side that corruption helps is the wrong side. If corruption helps promote one’s political vision, that person should reevaluate his or her principles …….. I think that’s a good indicator of whether one is on the right side of history.

      • William

        Not a bad idea. Most of those people sucking up the producers hard earned money would get up, go find work, and we would all be better off. The 10 percent that would not, well, we always had and will have 10 percent that won’t work.

        • Duras

          Do you notice how my comments are grounded in history, while your comments are floating in magical theory-land?

          • jefe68

            Come on now, do you expect a member of the right wing meme club to have a sense of history?

        • Ray in VT

          “the producers”! Ha. That’s a good one, considering how hard many people who aren’t paying federal income taxes are or have worked while a guy like Perkins rakes in billions.

          • jefe68
          • Ray in VT

            That’s such a great movie. Some of the scenes from Springtime For Hitler was hilarious (I’m thinking of the spinning swastika of dancers).

        • Duras

          If the top 1% disappeared off the face of the earth, this country would be just fine. We have universities, infrastructure, schools, police departments, etc.

          If 99% of the people disappeared, the 1% would eat their young.

          • Ray in VT

            That reminds me of something from the 1890s. Someone, perhaps William Jennings Bryan, said something to the effect that if the cities disappeared, then the farms (or countryside) would still exist, but if the opposite was true, then the cities would wither and die.

          • Duras

            Yeah, Lincoln said (in the first inaugural) that capital is important but labor is more important than capital.

            The above is a philosophical statement to prove Lincoln’s contention.

          • Ray in VT

            Did you mean Lincoln’s first first State of the Union (December 3, 1861)?

            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=29502

          • Duras

            Yeah, my bad.

            “Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits.”

          • Ray in VT

            Ah, the days when Republicans, or at least a Republican, were the liberals and favored labor over capital.

          • Floyd Blandston

            :D Take the first half of that statement on its own and it’s Marxism; the second half is the only thing keeping 1%’er heads off pikes.

            The key word is ‘mutual’.

          • William

            Not according to the political elites that run this country.

          • jefe68

            Nah, they would eat their servants first.

    • WRB2

      AKA Poll Tax.

      Rather against the law a few years back. Not sure if the striking down of the Voting Rights Act made it legal again or not.

      Bad idea, just bad idea.

      • Ray in VT

        I think that the part of the VRA that was struck down was the coverage areas for pre clearance. Voting taxes were banned under the 24th Amendment.

    • hennorama

      Ray in VT — Mr. Perkins is yet another wealthy individual who thinks economic success = additional rights under the law.

      He’s also yet another wealthy individual who thinks their political opinions shoud be taken seriously, no matter how silly their opinions are.

    • OnPointComments

      Gee, next thing you know Tom Perkins will be saying that anyone who doesn’t agree with his political point of view isn’t welcome in the state where he lives…no, wait, that wasn’t Perkins who said that…

      • Ray in VT

        Hmmm, I wonder if one were to look at all of Governor Cuomo said, then I wonder if one would find that he wasn’t saying that people who don’t agree with him should get out of the state? Nah. It’s easier to just repeat whatever garbage the right wing spin machine churns out. Another hit from the makers of “you didn’t build that”. Congratulations.

  • NewtonWhale

    I would cut Tom some slack given his record.
    I would not do so for Armey given his.

  • TFRX

    Tom, can you get anyone at Politico who covers actual flicking policy, rather than politics?

    I’m not the only one who’s rolling their eyes when they want news and a Politico piece jircle-cerks about “the buzz in Washington” on Obamacare.

    Maybe it’s time to stop making Politico and leave it to the political junkies. This hour is supposed to be more for news junkies, no?

  • William

    It was Obama’s plan and got bi-partisan support for it. Jack acts like Obama had nothing to do with it.

  • hennorama

    Note to self: do not play loud music while parked at any Florida gas stations, as this can be hazardous to one’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    • Ray in VT

      Well, as long as you feel threatened, then just be the one to reach for your gun and start blazing away.

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — I personally rid myself of all firearms long ago; as a separate matter, I rarely if ever feel threatened.

        • Ray in VT

          I have mine (mostly acquired over a decade ago), and I have rarely felt threatened as well, regardless of where I have lived or whether or not I then owned or had in my current possession a fire arm.

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — as to Shoot Your Gun laws, one pair of researchers “… found that homicide rates in states with a version of the Stand Your Ground law increased by an average of 8 percent over states without it — which translates to roughly 600 additional homicides per year. These homicides are classified by police as criminal homicides, not as justifiable homicides.”

        (Insert the usual correlation/causation disclaimer here.)

        See:
        http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/02/13/the-deadly-consequences-of-stand-your-ground-laws/

      • TFRX

        Is there a standard “Your Honor, I felt threatened first” defense there yet?

        • hennorama

          TFRX — are you hypothesizing about a case of mutual use of deadly force in which neither party is killed?

          • TFRX

            Sorta, I guess.

            Whatever the legal term is for “if one of them had better aim, the other would be dead”.

            Delving into police procedural fiction (as close as I get to that scene) I don’t know how deadly force, as a TV DA would read it, lines up with the classic hitman’s line “That was a warning shot. If I wanted him dead, he’d be dead.”

          • hennorama

            TFRX — thanks for your reply.

            As I understand Shoot Your Gun law, one is allowed to defend oneself with the use of deadly force (sufficient to cause serious bodily harm or death) in order to prevent harm to yourself (or other serious circumstances).

            My question was related to the hypothetical idea of two individuals firng at each other virtually simultaneously, and each getting seriously wounded but not killed. (Think of the stereotypical Old West duel in the street, but spontaneous.)

            Theoretically, both might use the Shoot Your Gun defense, similar to your “Your Honor, I felt threatened first” idea.

    • Duras

      I grew up in Jacksonville. That guy vented race-based anger, and nothing more. I don’t doubt that he felt threatened–lot’s of working class J’ville white men feel threatened by skin color.

      Memories of older white males complaining about the “black guys standing on a street corner” bubble up when I think about that murder.

      • hennorama

        Duras — thank you for your response and your personal perspective.

        Whether there was “race-based anger” or any perceived threat on Mr. Dunn’s part or not, there was an undisputed combination of factors on Mr. Dunn’s part:

        alcohol consumption + easy access to a firearm

        This is an often lethal combination.

    • brettearle

      Note to self:

      Where has Henno been?

      Can we not account for our time–and have therefore been thru a UFO abduction?

      We need answers to these questions!

      • hennorama

        brettearle — all inquiries are appreciated.

        Where has Hennon been?
        Hen New Banshee Hero?
        (Hen’s Been Nowhere — HA!)

        UFO abduction?
        Bud Of Caution.

        Questions, answers, we t[w/o]o need these.

        • brettearle

          [S]He’s b-a-a–a-a-c-k!

          Did you catch the petty flak [3 dislikes], from my comment, above?

          How many will this one garner?

          How pathetic can human nature become, to think that someone objects to a whimsical personal note?

          “Wilma…there’s goes that jerk, Brettearle again, prattling on to Hennorama. How insipid. How so non-public affairs! I’m sick of reading this!

          I know! Yes, I know! I’ll….fix….him. I’ll give him a, THUMBS DOWN.

          That’ll fix his wagon! Yesirreee, Bob…

          • hennorama

            brettarle — neither reason nor rhyme (Inane Horror, Serene Myth?) yonder votes be; neither be they vetos.

            Wrong or right, strong or trite, long or lite, it’s our right to write, making this write rite quite right, right?

          • brettearle

            Henn, I still can’t conjure what synaptic quirk gives you the neural freedom to do that!

          • hennorama

            brettearle — I can’t take all the credit, as I do use anagram generators for much of the brute work. That said, I do “see” words differently. It’s mostly innate, but repetition improves and enhances, as some patterns emerge.

            To an extent, it’s like a slot machine with all the subject letters on each wheel, but far faster and noise-free.

  • OnPointComments

    SECOND AMENDMENT VICTORY: LIBERAL COURT RULES UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR GOVERNMENT TO RESTRICT CONCEALED CARRY PERMITS BASED ON “NEED”
    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/02/13/second-amendment-victory-ninth-circuit-court-of-appeals-strikes-down-bans-on-carrying-in-public-n1794703

    “The infamously liberal Federal Ninth Circuit Court of appeals has struck down a California law practically banning people from carry a gun in public for self defense…the State cannot restrict an individual from carrying a firearm because a government official doesn’t think they face enough threats to justify doing so and affirms carrying a gun in public for self defense is in fact a protected right under the Second Amendment.”

    I bet the people in the following stories are glad that they didn’t have to wait on a court order to allow them the right to protect themselves.

    FATAL SHOOTING RULED A ‘CLEAR CASE OF SELF-DEFENSE’ FOR 76-YEAR-OLD LINCOLNVILLE MAN
    http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140213/PC16/140219700/1006/self-defense-taser-jskajak-ljdk-lasdj-akl-deck-aksjdkl-als-kjds-klj-dsk-ljdkls-jdl-ajd-skl-asd-asd

    “The young man who confronted 76-year-old Charles Petit outside his Lincolnville home Sunday had parked his car a quarter-mile away. He used a stun gun disguised as a cellphone to shock Petit. Petit told them that he ventured outside his house on Dunmeyer Hill Road to warm up his car…Outside his car, Petit was attacked. Deputies later found defensive wounds on his hands and an injury on his face.”

    POLICE: HOMEOWNER FIGHTS BACK, SHOOTS INTRUDER
    http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/02/04/police-homeowner-fights-back-shoots-intruder/

    “Police say a home invasion suspect is on the loose after his partner in crime was shot by a quick-thinking homeowner in Oakland County.”

    WOMAN FINDS TWO TEENS IN HER HOME, GRABS HER GUN
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/woman-finds-two-teens-in-her-home-grabs-her-gun/ndC4C/

    “When a DeKalb County woman returned home early Tuesday to find two teenagers in her home, she knew she needed to protect herself. She grabbed her gun.”

    MAN DRAWS GUN, KILLS THREATENING DOG
    http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/man-draws-gun-kills-threatening-dog

    “A father was forced to shoot a dog to death in front of a local grocery store to protect his daughters who were under attack, the Grand Junction Police Department reported…The dog began biting one of the girls and pulling at her coat, police reported.”

  • NewtonWhale

    Some Republicans Love Obamacare

    “I did not vote for Obama,” she said. “But I am so in love with this plan, with this health care plan, what can I do?”

    She knows that her party wants to repeal it. “But I don’t think they’re going to,” she said. “There are too many people out there who need this and require it.”

    She says her husband Ronald died last year from a rare sarcoma because he waited too long to see a doctor after he felt a lump.

    “If my husband had gone, if he had insurance at the time, when it was the size of a marble and had gotten an x-ray and taken care of it at stage 1 level, he would be alive today.”

    Another Republican who wants to keep the Affordable Care Act is Mary Fallon of St. Petersburg. She was a teacher for many years, but because she was paid from grant funds she didn’t qualify for health insurance. She had to buy her own policy, but then she got sick. Hello, pre-existing condition.

    She was between “a rock and a hard place. If I canceled my insurance, I was uninsurable.”

    If she dropped the policy and got sick, she could lose everything.

    “By the time I canceled my policy I was up to $768 a month, so what is that, almost 10 grand a year? With $5,000 deductible. Do the math.”

    Then came the Affordable Care Act and Healthcare.gov. After running into glitches, Fallon found her way to Johnnie Ruth Clarke health center in St. Petersburg. And a navigator, Johanna Santiago.

    “In a half hour she had my account set up, and I had a confirmation, a password, a login, and I was good to go,” said Fallon, 49. “This was December and I cried. I just held my hands up in the air. Thank you, god. Finally, some relief. I couldn’t do it anymore.”

    Now her premium is $150 a month, she said. Her deductible is only one-third as much as it used to be.

    “ I have dental insurance!” she said in wonder. “And all the doctors that I do see, my dentist, my GYN, for a whole year I’m paying less than I paid per month.”

    Fallon says she thinks the Affordable Care Act will help the economy. “The difference is now I can take the money that was going to that one insurance premium and I can go to the hair stylist,I can get my house repaired. I’m spending money in my community. This is going to be a ripple effect, this is going to restart the economic engine. We have been so enslaved by the health insurance system.”

    She says people who have health care security — such as veterans and Medicare patients — need to see that others need health care, too. But she knows they don’t think that way; as a registered Republican, she sees it in her mail.

    “Every day I receive four-color glossy postcards for the election from candidates. It’s all hate mail. There’s no platform or program for fixing the problem of insurance, there’s just anti-Affordable Care. It’s just anti-Obamacare, all this hate. There’s no solution.”

    Peggy Arvanitas of Seminole has been a Republican for decades. In fact, she helps get GOP voters out to the polls.

    And yet, on her car there’s a bumper sticker that says “I Heart Obamacare.” Here’s why: She lost her coverage last year when the company she worked for went under; she had to take a part-time job with no benefits.

    Then the health law kicked in. Since Jan. 1, she’s had a Humana plan she likes. Because her income is low, she pays just $10 a month.

    When Arvanitas finishes her business degree and passes the CPA exam, she says, her income will go up, and the premium will, too. She sees that as sensible and fair.

    “It isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue,” she said. “It’s a health care issue.”

    http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/some-republicans-love-obamacare

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Let me quote our esteemed Governor, Deval Patrick:

      “Just anecdotes”

      • NewtonWhale

        If you were really worried for the country you’d help folks like Ron instead of dismissing their deaths as “Just anecdotes”.

        • TFRX

          Hey, I know that anecdote:

          “The doc says you’re gonna die, Slim.”

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Take your gripe to Deval.

    • William

      Who would have thought all we had to do to fix the problem with medical insurance for the 15 percent of Americans who did not have it, for whatever reason, was to take it away from people that did have it.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “White House, Press Corps Cover up Obama’s ‘Alex de Tocqueville’ Gaffe”

    My, my, why am I not surprised.

    I also hear they have a job opening for an austrian-english translator at the WH. #shovelready

    http://townhall.com/news/around-the-web/2014/02/12/white-house-press-corps-cover-up-obamas-alex-de-tocqueville-gaffe-n1793884

    • OnPointComments

      Remember the foofaraw over Ann Romney wearing a $900 blouse on a TV show? I wonder why the press hasn’t expressed the same criticism of the $12,000 dress Michelle Obama wore to the state dinner with the French president.

      • StilllHere

        Give it time.

      • jimino

        Obama has made it clear he would like to emulate Reagan, so having a first lady who wears designer dresses in the midst of a recession is part of it, I expect. Has Michelle ordered new china, directed an expensive remodel of the already fancy White House and consulted astrologists on matters of national importance yet? If so I’m sure you will be right on it.

    • hennorama

      WftC — you and the writer of the linked article clearly have too much time on your hands if you are concerned about a missed syllable.

      • HonestDebate1

        Now that’s funny coming from you!

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        What was I thinking? We should stick to discussing the extra-constitutional actions by this President.

        • hennorama

          WftC — write about whatever you want, but if you believe that dropping a single syllable is deserving of national attention, you’re among a very small like-minded crowd.

          Now, if the President had said “Alex de Torquemada,” or “Alex de Rodriguez, and it was ignored and revised, then you’d have a point.

          Otherwise, this is little ado about nothing.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Ah, I’m sure you were among the crowd complaining about all the wasted ink mocking Bush when he pronounced the word “nuclear” the same way the famous ‘nucular’ engineer, Jimmy Carter, did.

          • hennorama

            WftC — thank you for your response.

            While I certainly found Pres. Bush II’s folksy pronunciation of ‘nuclear’ to be both grating and goofy, it was far from his only “contribution” to language. The former President’s Manglish abilities are “misunderestimated” at one’s peril, and effectively guaranteed full employment for comedians.

            And of course, Pres. Bush II was not the only President who garbled ‘nuclear,’ as I have pointed out to you before, here:

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/10/15/nobel-prize-research-funding#comment-1083307644

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            LOL!!!!! Now who has “too much time” on their hands.

          • hennorama

            WftC — I make no apologies for remembering my own words, and rarely have too little time to defend them.

    • Floyd Blandston

      Impeach….

      • hennorama

        Imp, each.

  • marygrav

    Tom seems to announce all death as long as they are on the AIPAC Approval List. When Ariel Sharon and Ameri Baraka died in the same week, only Sharon’s death was eulogized on air. Baraka was not even mentioned. I am supposing that Shirley Temple Black is on the Approval List so she gets mentioned.

    • OnPointComments

      I heard a black comedian say his father took personal affront and saw racism in everything, no matter how innocuous. Walking down the grocery store aisle with his father, his father stopped to rant about olives. “Look at this! Green olives in a jar! But the black olives are in a can! Why the black olives got to be in a can, and the green olives get to be in a jar! The Man’s keeping the black olives down!”

      The comedian didn’t say his father’s name was marygrav, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

      • Steve__T

        Thanks for pointing out that you are to dense to get the joke.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Hmmm. Couldn’t help but notice the state dinner this week when President Obama hosted the French president. I’m not sure if the first course of quail eggs and caviar helped with Obama’s income inequality theme. But the first lady certainly looked stunning in her $12,000 designer dress.

    btw- anyone know the carbon footprint to heat the outdoor tent where they feted the elites on the taxpayer dime? Just wondering when they had a perfectly good heated building adjacent to the tent.

    • StilllHere

      I believe Brian Williams said she rocked it.

  • davecm

    Well, the Govt. maxed out another credit card and is now applied for another. Take a guess how much interest we are paying a day on our debt?????
    Does anyone know????
    Does anyone care????
    Looks like my prediction of debt hitting 20 Trillion before Obama leaves office will come true!
    I wished Bush was still Pres. I would love to hear all the outrage on this site from all you good folks.

    • jimino

      You mean like all the so-called fiscal conservatives, which I expect you consider yourself, were so outraged when it increased by 186% under Reagan, or 101% under “W”, both more than twice the rate under Obama?

      I wonder if my prediction that almost al so-called fiscal conservative are actually unprincipled partisan hacks will ever be shown to be false.

      • jefe68

        Rational thinking, what a concept.

      • HonestDebate1

        But don’t you think looking only at who is President without regard to Congress, the economy, geo-politics, natural disasters, GDP, wars, bubbles, bursting bubbles and don’t forget the end results, is a shallow way to draw any meaningful conclusion?

        And doesn’t your criticism rely on a premise you really can’t substantiate? Bush lost Congress in 2006 and the Tea Party was born because of his fiscal insanity. Why do you assume anyone thought it was peachy?

        • jimino

          You ask “But don’t you think looking only at who is President without regard to
          Congress, the economy, geo-politics, natural disasters, GDP, wars,
          bubbles, bursting bubbles and don’t forget the end results, is a shallow
          way to draw any meaningful conclusion?”

          Of course I do. But is it OK if I label anything that contradicts my point to be no more than a “blip” despite its obvious profound impact on a rational analysis, like you do?

          • HonestDebate1

            It should have been a blip.

          • Fredlinskip

            Your arguments seem to be a blip, involving a lot of circular reasoning and an irrational insistence of NEVER conceding a point.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, right. Sure.

      • OnPointComments

        When I bought my first house and got my first mortgage, I increased my debt by at least 10,000%. So what? While the percentage increase was high, I could afford to make the payment. Could I increase my debt by 10,000% again and still make the payment? No. I’d never earn enough money to pay off the debt.

        Rule of thumb: when they give you percentages, ask for amounts; when they give you amounts, ask for percentages.

        Reagan’s debt increase: $1.8 trillion
        GW Bush debt increase: $5.0 trillion
        Obama debt increase (so far): $6.6 trillion

        “When Mr. Obama became president in January 2009, the total federal debt stood at $10.6 trillion. This week [10/9/2013], it hit $16.7 trillion [$17.3 trillion on 02/15/2014] — an increase of 57 percent. In the same time frame under President George W. Bush, total federal debt rose 38 percent. Under President Clinton, it rose 32 percent.

        “On Oct. 4, the debt held by the public — not including Social Security and Medicare — had risen 89.3 percent since Mr. Obama took office, according to FactCheck.org, a nonprofit project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The administration recently projected an annual deficit of $750 billion in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 and $626 billion the year after that.

        “At that rate, the debt owed to the public will more than double during the Obama presidency,” FactCheck said in its quarterly statistical report on Mr. Obama’s tenure in office.”
        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/9/obamas-national-debt-rate-on-track-to-double/

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          An honest analysis will also credit the “peace dividend” reaped by Clinton to Reagan (at least partially).

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s a great but often overlooked point.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            They never understand the concept of ROI. #ShovelReadyStimulus

          • Fredlinskip

            Infrastructure spending creates job growth, creates consumer spending, which propels economy. In times of low private sector investment, as we had after Sir W left office, it is one of the best “tools” an administration has.
            Not complicated.
            Unless perhaps you prefer doing nothing and watching recession perhaps morph into Depression.
            (perhaps we ought to be having this conversation on the Larry Summers comments page)

          • Fredlinskip

            Let’s hear it for Peace!
            Peace analogy doesn’t work quite as well for Reagan, however as he tinkered with military conflicts to the nation’s discredit.
            Also his exponential “Defense” spending did not bode well for one who wishes to preserve the peace.
            I think history generally dictates that military buildup eventually leads up to the use of that might.

      • pete18

        Actually, lots of conservatives were upset with Bush’s spending, it was a big contributor to many of them staying home during the 2006 elections. But the debt has gone up far more under Obama.

        You can always find players in both parties that are going to hold a double standard on policy positions when their own guy gets into office, but surely you’re not suggesting that Republicans have been worse about holding their guys to their principles than the Democrats have been with Obama?

        Remember all the things Dems were wanting to lock Bush up for when he did them:

        Warrantless wiretapping

        Guantanamo Bay

        No-Bid contracts to Haliburton

        Military Interventionism without Congressional approval

        Lobbists

        Wall Street money

        And of course the endless war protests, which have disappeared despite the ongoing war in Afghanistan

        http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/02/what-happened-to-the-antiwar-movement.php

        Now, even though Obama is practicing all of these previously “evil” activities, with a few small exceptions, not a peep out of anybody on the left.

        • jimino

          You are wrong about “the left” remaining silent about Obama, which can only mean your sources in information are quite limited. And maybe I missed all the criticism from so-called conservatives about Bush and Reagan, but the latter’s elevation to some sort of god-like status in so-called conservative circles makes me seriously doubt it.

          I don’t defend Obama, who I consider the third-most right-wing president since Nixon, and whose economic policies are as favorable to the wealthy, primarily financial-sector elite, to the detriment of our overall economy, as any Republican.

          • pete18

            “I don’t defend Obama, who I consider the third-most right-wing president
            since Nixon, and whose economic policies are as favorable to the
            wealthy, primarily financial-sector elite, to the detriment of our
            overall economy, as any Republican.”

            Good to hear, although pretty laughable that you would consider him or Nixon “right wing .”

            Although there is some critique of Obama from the left, it is rarely on the same issues or at the same volume or intensity that it was leveled at Bush from. That suggests to me these issues were not really what mattered for most of those critics. Hammering Bush was the main point.

            This is certainly true of the right on Obama on some issues but I don’t think at quite the same level.

            People on the right certainly knocked Reagan on spending but given that he actually improved the economy and national security with his policies there is much to be celebrated about his presidency. Outside of getting Osama Bin Laden, I’m not sure what can be pointed to under the Obama presidency that is cause for celebration or even minor praise. But I think you might agree with me on that.

          • Fredlinskip

            One thing that clouds the issue a bit is that Fed policy, supposedly operates independent of whoever is in office, and plays a decisive role in the economic performance/debt attributed to any given administration.

            For example, after Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which lowered rates on upper incomes precipitously, and we then entered into the deepest recession experienced in America (at the time) since Depression, Volcker of the Fed decided, “Gee I wonder if I lower Prime Interest Rate 70% less than we had under Carter, if that might do any thing?”

            It was only after this occurred that we began to see improvement in economy/employment.

            As logic might predict, National debt skyrocketed, of course.

        • Fredlinskip

          “Military Interventionism without Congressional approval”? Not sure of your point. Was Obama supposed to go to Congress to see if that power could be taken away from him? When has he exercised this “privilege”?

          Guantanamo? If we could inter inhabitants on the mainland, then Gitmo could be closed immediately.
          Oh yeah- GOP wouldn’t allow it.

          Lobbyist problem has persisted for quite some time. Suggestions? Perhaps if Obama administrations eliminated earmarks, that might help? Oh Yeah, he did!

          Isn’t wiretapping and “data collection” 2 different subjects/? The info is accessed only after warrant is attained.

          Obama is winding down War efforts, if you hadn’t noticed.

          Wall St. $? How do you suggest we incentivize Corps to watch out better for Main St? I see you have Tax code suggestions up above- one things for sure though, if it comes to bringing in revenue ($ is required to pay down debt- look it up), GOP won’t approve it.

      • davecm

        When Bush came into office the Nat’l debt was $5.73T, when he left office 8 yrs. later it was $10.63T, a increase of $4.9T.
        So!!!! when Obama came to office the debt was 10.63T. In just 5 yrs. it has increased to 17.29T/
        Do the math jimino.

        • jimino

          If you know how to “do the math” without partisan blinders on, then you agree with me. What were doing when Bush ran up proportionately greater deficits than Obama? Or when Reagan was the father of the type of deficit spending we now see?

        • Ray in VT

          Bush started with a government in the black and left it with trillion dollar deficits. It’s pretty easy to rack up less debt when you start out in a remarkably better position.

  • SBreyak

    While listening to what I normally consider the most intelligent program on the radio I heard Tom Ashbrook open the show with the “lonely” French President Hollande. The same program that would later discuss sexual liberation in what is normally seen as are most masculine of careers. I’m deeply disappointed that even On Point can’t resist the US tabloids-as-news lead. Apparently what goes on in your bedroom is only none of our business if the little Puritan in all of us doesn’t find it inappropriate. Hawthorne had us pegged.

    • brettearle

      The little Puritan in you took Tom’s satire seriously.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        C’est la vie!

        • Floyd Blandston

          La vie en rose.

          • hennorama

            Arroz by any other name is still rice.

          • Floyd Blandston

            ….a rising toad bodes all lift.

          • hennorama

            Abodes by another name: adobes.

          • brettearle

            Let’s let welter enough alone.

          • hennorama

            Gimme helter-skelter welter.

          • brettearle

            It’s just a bot away

          • hennorama

            brettearle — I half-expected someone to reply wishing for a summer swelter or an ice melter, talking about winter storms Pax and Quintus as pelters, or to riff against coal ash as [an indirect] product of a smelter.

            Oh well … ;-)

        • SBreyak

          If it’s laid, it leads.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “OBAMACARE RECRUITING ILLEGALS IN CALIFORNIA”

    Looks like President Obama, the media elites and the Dems owe Joe Wilson an apology.

    Any chance that Eric Holder will sue Covered CA for violating the law? Oh wait, Eric Holder sued Arizona because they were upholding federal law. I guess I won’t hold my breath.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/02/14/Obamacare-Enrolling-Illegals-in-California?utm_source=e_breitbart_com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+February+14%2C+2014&utm_campaign=20140214_m119195347_Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+February+14%2C+2014&utm_term=More

    • hennorama

      WftC — Complete nonsense.

      There is no “RECRUITING ILLEGALS,” and there is no violation of the law for undocumented/illegal immigrants who are simply enrolling family members, and NOT themselves.

      Children of undocumented immigrants are eligible under the PPACA if said children are either citizens or lawfully present.

      If so, they are then eligible:

      -to purchase from the state insurance exchange.
      -for premium tax credits and lower copayments.
      -for Medicaid or CHIP.

      To get better informed, see:
      http://www.nilc.org/immigrantshcr.html

    • nj_v2

      Breitbart!

      Hahahahahahahahaha!!

  • OnPointComments

    VW workers in Tennessee reject UAW in devastating defeat for union
    http://www.freep.com/article/20140214/BUSINESS0104/302140095/uaw-volkswagen-chattanooga

    The UAW suffered a devastating defeat at Volkswagen’s plant here as workers rejected union representation by a 712-626 margin.

    The defeat, which came despite Volkswagen’s neutrality, tarnishes UAW President Bob King’s legacy and could make it next to impossible for the union to extend its reach beyond domestic automakers.

    “The workers at Volkswagen looked at the history of this union and made the best decision for themselves, their jobs and their community. In spite of the UAW’s multi-million dollar propaganda machine, and with company and government officials at Obama’s NLRB aiding the union in every possible way, workers learned the facts and were able to make an informed decision.” –Matt Patterson, ATR Executive Director

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

      VW wanted the union.

    • Steve__T

      The union drive was a direct threat to the low-wage economy on which the South’s manufacturing base has been built.

      Deep-pocketed union-busters mounted a coordinated campaign against organized labor. They even told Tennesseans that the union wanted to take their guns. And Stephen Greenhouse reported for The New York Times that “Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader, helped underwrite a new group, the Center for Worker Freedom, that put up 13 billboards in Chattanooga, warning that the city might become the next Detroit if the workers voted for the union.”

      What’s more, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said that a ‘yes’ vote would result in the company losing its tax incentives. A powerful state lawmaker called the union drive “un-American,” and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that he’d been secretly assured that a ‘no’ vote would win the plant the production of a new SUV — a claim the company flatly denied.

      http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/16/how-fear-beat-the-uaw-in-tennessee/

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    I don’t know about you but I’m ready for a tropical vortex.

    • Steve__T

      Move to So Cal. It’s 80′ F.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Hey, that might be a good idea.

        Should I bring my own H20? I hear that historically they’ve had droughts that have lasted decades and they are in one now.

        • HonestDebate1

          In California they are on the cutting edge. They have a giant new solar thermal bird scorching plant that is only doubling energy prices. Maybe they can swear off of nuclear too, it’s working so well in Germany.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Doubling prices? $.26/kwh is more than double other energy costs and that doesn’t include the required backup costs when the sun doesn’t shine. On the plus side they could serve those crispy birds as pre-cooked treats at the food pantries.

            Regarding nuclear, they’ve already decided to shutter the San Onofre nuclear plant instead of fixing some plumbing problems.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea, but it’s for the greater good so it doesn’t have to make sense.

          • hennorama

            WftC — two points of clarification:

            A private corporation, Southern California Edison, the owner-operator of the San Onofre facility, “decided to shutter the San Onofre nuclear plant instead of fixing some plumbing problems.”

            Neither the State of California nor the Independent System Operator made the decision.

            As to what you somewhat dismissively describe as “plumbing problems”:

            “San Onofre was [initially] shuttered after a tube in the plant’s replacement steam generator system leaked a small amount of radioactive steam on Jan. 31, 2012. Eight other tubes in the same reactor unit later failed pressure tests, an unprecedented number in the industry, and thousands more tubes in both of the plant’s units showed signs of wear.

            “The wear was blamed on tube vibration caused by excessively dry and high-velocity steam and inadequate support structures, particularly in one of the plant’s two units. Tube vibration and wear has been a problem at other plants, but the specific type of vibration at San Onofre had not been experienced in the industry.”

            See:
            http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/07/local/la-me-ln-edison-closing-san-onofre-nuclear-plant-20130607

          • StilllHere

            I prefer my endangered songbirds well-done.

  • Floyd Blandston

    Yes, it’s true; Garrett is part of the liberal media conspiracy. You can go back to your nap now…

  • pete18

    Good point about the faulty premise of the progressive tax code:

    “Indeed, even proportional taxation was not, and is not, enough for our progressives. A flat tax on income would be perfectly proportional: A man earning $100,000 a year would pay ten times as much as a many earning $10,000 a year. Most conservatives would be perfectly happy with that arrangement. Progressives demand more. Not only must high-income
    people pay taxes that are proportional to their incomes, they must pay taxes that are disproportionately high as a share of their incomes: 10 percent of one dollar earned, 15 percent of the next.

    The case for an income tax that is proportional is far from obvious, and the case for one that is progressive even less so. The principle of equality under the law suggests, to my mind at least, that every man’s standing in relation to the state should be the same as every other man’s, regardless of his wealth or income. So why should somebody pay 20 times
    or 50 times or 10,000 times the taxes that another man pays? It is sensible and just to charge people fees for the use of specific
    services, which is why I favor, e.g., toll roads over highways that are supported through broad taxation. But some general taxation is necessary for public goods, and if we are all to be equal before the law, why —as a matter of principle — should a wealthy man pay more for the use of the courts or for the protection of the police than one who earns less
    money? The usual answer given to that question is “the rich can afford to pay more.” That is true, but it is not a principled reason. A rich man could afford to pay more for a Big Mac or a Honda Civic, too, but we do not expect him to do so. Another popular explanation is: Paying the same rate as everybody else would be too hard on the poor man. True, but that is an argument for lower taxes, not for progressive taxation.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/371169/taxation-and-representation-kevin-d-williamson

    • hennorama

      pete18 — this opinion piece is an argument in support of Tom Perkins, who favors disproportionate representation, based on income. Mr. Perkins proposes “One dollar, one vote.”

      It’s rather strange to rail against progressive taxation to support such nonsense, wouldn’t you agree?

      • jefe68

        David Simon sums up this ideology perfectly:

        Ultimately we abandoned that [the idea that unions had a place in an economy] and believed in the idea of trickle-down and the idea of the market economy and the market knows best, to the point where now libertarianism in my country is actually being taken seriously as an intelligent mode of political thought. It’s astonishing to me. But it is. People are saying I don’t need anything but my own ability to earn a profit. I’m not connected to society. I don’t care how the road got built, I don’t care where the firefighter comes from, I don’t care who educates the kids other than my kids. I am me. It’s the triumph of the self. I am me, hear me roar.

        • jefe68

          The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile. It’s a juvenile notion and it’s still being argued in my country passionately and we’re going down the tubes. And it terrifies me because I’m astonished at how comfortable we are in absolving ourselves of what is basically a moral choice. Are we all in this together or are we all not?

          – David Simon

          • pete18

            Here is a primer on the reason the market works better than central planning. There is no claim here that the market solves every problem or that there isn’t a role for government, only that it puts the decision for the unavoidable decisions made in an economy in the right place, with the individual rather than the collective because the collective:

            “So why is central planning not only unwise, but dangerous to liberty?
            This is Hayek’s key insight that escapes Dionne (and apparently Judt,
            although I haven’t read Judt, so I’m relying on that quote at least
            being accurate). Hayek’s great insight was that moving economic
            decision-making from individual decision-making through the market to
            collective decision-making through the state does not eliminate the
            economic problem. The reality of economics is still present: scarce
            resources and unlimited wants. The only question is “Who decides?” Do
            you decide for yourself (through markets) or does someone else decide
            for you (through politics)?

            Hayek observes that the socialists of the time essentially thought
            that they could have it both ways: that they could simply control the means
            of production (such as by nationalization of large industry or central
            planning of prices and wages) but that they could leave unaffected the ends
            of production. In other words, socialists thought that we could simply
            respect consumer preferences–i.e., we could continue to respect the
            preference for Honey Boo Boo instead of children’s vaccines–and then
            just come up with more efficient ways of meeting those needs by planning
            the economy, without messy business cycles and the discoordinations of
            the market process.

            What Hayek pointed out though is that this is impossible–you cannot
            control the means of production without also controlling the ends. In
            the end, someone has to decide between Honey Boo Boo and children’s
            vaccines, or more realistically, manufacturing Priuses or Ram trucks.
            You can’t just say we will manufacture “cars” (well I guess you could,
            but most people didn’t like that system).
            So this means that in the end the central planner has to decide who
            will have their ends met and who will have their ends disappointed. Once
            you throw out the price system (which basically says that individuals
            decide according to impersonal market processes) then you have to decide
            who gets what

            At this point Hayek says there are only two choices. The first is to
            essentially try to reeducate everyone in society to be truly selfless
            and to weigh the preferences of others as heavily as themselves–i.e.,
            for me to say even though I really want a new Prius I recognize that you
            have a greater need for a new Ram truck and so I voluntarily allow the
            importance of my ends to yield to your preferences. In short, we create a
            uniform system of value for all of society where we all agree to an
            overall ranking of the importance of all the ways in which social ends
            could be met. (This leaves aside, of course, the economic calculation
            problem which is an entirely different, and unsolvable problem, and
            focuses only on the ethical/social point). This world essentially is
            more or less the dream of Mao’s cultural revolution or 1984–to
            basically subordinate every individual to the collective and have us all
            live in one great comradeship. Hayek doesn’t belabor this option
            because he is assuming that most people reject this option because of
            the horrendous, totalitarian implications. Nevertheless, it is an
            option: in theory the problem could be solved through brain-washing
            people to abandon their unlimited wants and to freely subordinate them
            to the collective in some way.”

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/02/14/dionne-v-hayek/

          • jefe68

            I disagree with all of this. It makes pretty extreme claims. It’s either the libertarian every person for themselves ideology, or it’s totalitarianism. Which is such a immature way of looking at how to make society work better.

            What Simon is on about, which you have missed altogether, is that our system of capitalism works better when there is tension between labor and capitol. Such as there was form after WW2 up to the 80′s.

          • John Cedar

            Where is libertarianism defined as anarchy? Where is it defined as laissez-faire? As far as I can tell, libertarianism comes in many flavors, is subjective and tends to err on the side of freedom when it cannot be determined if a law or tax is worth implementing for the cost of the freedom it takes away.

            Whereas American liberalism/democratic party, prefers to err on the side of totalitarianism when it comes to implementing a law or tax, regardless of the amount of freedom it costs.

            You are correct though, ultra left wing extremist libertarianism, is a philosophy for the immature.

          • jefe68

            I never said it was anarchy.
            Again, see the above comment by David Simon as it puts in words better than I can the reasons libertarianism is a absurd construct. You keep using the word freedom and somehow I get the feeling you’re ideal of this is so different than mine and Mr. Simon’s.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — the fundamental problem with this opinion is that it argues against something that does not exist. There is no “central planning” of the US economy. Rather, there are laws, rules and regulations that impact the economy as a whole at the margins, leaving the rest to the judgments and decisions of corporations, individuals, and other entities.

            If you want to look at “central planning,” simply examine corporations, which are rather definitive examples of the idea.

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — thank you for your response.

          This “I did this all by myself” myopia extends to the visceral and vehement disdain some feel towards President Obama, since he was a communty organizer, and clearly believes that “we’re all in this together.”

          [PS] The above was composed prior to reading your subsequent quote from David Simon, below.

        • HonestDebate1

          We paid for it.

        • pete18

          The pros and cons of the market economy has anything to do with the fairness of taxation, you are completely missing the point. The market economy is better of course, but that’s a different argument.

          • jefe68

            No, you’re missing the point.
            You’re response just backs up Simon’s argument that libertarianism is a juvenile construct.

            You say the market economy is better.
            I wonder how well that would work without decent infrastructure and police, fire departments, courts, and a healthy workforce.

      • pete18

        “this opinion piece is an argument in support of Tom Perkins, who favors
        disproportionate representation, based on income. Mr. Perkins proposes ‘One dollar, one vote.’”

        Actually, if you read it carefully, it’s not. Williamson is using Perkins comments, which have been in the news recently to make a point. He isn’t suggesting that “One dollar one vote” is a good idea but he is pointing out that the logic of progressive taxation would lead one to that position:

        “If our political liabilities — taxes — should be as a matter of justice proportional to our income, then why shouldn’t our political input
        be likewise proportionate? Why should proportionality be the rule in
        one context and not the other? The leap from “No taxation without
        representation” to “proportional taxation with proportional
        representation” is not a very dramatic one.

        • hennorama

          pete18 — thank you for your response.

          Sorry that I failed to communicate clearly enough so that you would understand. I did not write that the article supported Mr. Perkins’ idea of “One dollar, one vote, but rather that the article supported Mr. Perkins, “who favors disproportionate representation …”

          This support for Mr. Perkins is quite clear, from the subhead, “Tom Perkins has a point,” continuing to the lede, “Tom Perkins is not exactly a sympathetic figure, but the man has a point,” all the way to the closing, “Tom Perkins may be a bit cranky, and he may be too loose with Nazi analogies. But he has a point.”

          Thanks again for your response, and sorry that you misunderstood.

          [PS] I’ve edited my original post to make it more clear. Thank you again.

      • John Cedar

        Perkins seems a little extreme on this subject. A good happy medium might be to normalize the votes based on the highest marginal tax rate the voter pays. Those in the 10% bracket could get one vote and those in the 40% could get 4 votes. Or better yet would be a constitutional amendment that would require 38% of voters to be taxed at the same percentage.

        Allowing the majority the power to vote for someone who would promise to tax all income from the top one percent, is certainly a large flaw in our democracy.

        • hennorama

          John Cedar — thank you for your response.

          I disagree completely.

          No one has “promise[d] to tax all income from the top one percent.”

          One person, one vote, and majority rule are fundamental tenets of The American Way. These concepts are STRENGTHS OF, not “flaw[s] in our democracy,” and do not need amending in any way, shape or form.

          Remember, all Americans with income are subject to progressive Federal taxation, whether they pay any net Federal taxes or not.

          Thank you again for your response.

          • Fredlinskip

            note: FDR actually proposed a 100% tax rate on upper incomes at one point to be turned down by Congress.
            (Of course the effective rate would have been much lower as there were loopholes gallore- many designed to stimulate domestic spending and hiring.)

          • hennorama

            Fredlinskip — thank you for your excellent response.

            This proposal was during the middle of WWII. Here is a excerpt of a letter FDR sent to the House Ways and Means Committee:

            Letter to the House Ways and Means Committee on Salary Limitation.

            February 15, 1943

            Some days ago you wrote me that there was a proposal before your committee to amend the Public Debt Bill by adding a provision nullifying the Executive Order issued by me under the Act of October 2, 1942, limiting salaries to $25,000 after taxes, and asked if I cared to submit any views with reference to the proposal. In reply I told you that I hoped the Public Debt Bill could be passed without adding amendments not related to the subject, but that if the committee thought otherwise I would later write you my views.

            In a message to the Congress on April 27, 1942, I stated:

            “Discrepancies between low personal incomes and very high personal incomes should be lessened; and I therefore believe that in time of this grave national danger, when all excess income should go to win the war, no American citizen ought to have a net income, after he has paid his taxes, of more than $25,000 a year.”

            See:
            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=16363

            This was an example of the concept of “we’re all in this together.”

            Thanks again for your excellent response.

          • Fredlinskip

            Thanks for the response and link.
            Interesting that FDR sought to exercise 100% tax on salaries over 25,000.

            FDR-“This desire to limit personal profits during wartime is no new thought. Its origin is neither alien nor obscure. It is in accord with the solemn pledges of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.”
            “I trust, .. that without such tax levies the Congress will not rescind … the existence of inequities that seriously affect the morale of soldiers and sailors, farmers and workers, imperiling efforts to stabilize wages and prices, and thereby impairing the effective prosecution of the war.”

            Can’t help but wonder if such policy had been in place during recent “adventures” in Iraq & Afghanistan, if these Wars might have ended MUCH sooner.
            The country seemed to pretend somehow that these Wars had no cost or that the resultant oil revenue “would pay for our ticket”.

            Too bad the “all in this together” concept didn’t occur following financial collapse as we seemed to be teetering on the brink.
            The last time this concept occurred seemed to be right after 9/11.-
            It didn’t take W admin long, with some very misguided policy, to drive the wedge back in.
            IMO

          • hennorama

            Fredlinskip — thanks again for your thoughtful reply.

            A minor quibble: FDR intended that “no American citizen ought to have a net income, AFTER he has paid his taxes, of more than $25,000 a year.”

            This was because he felt that “all excess income should go to win the war…” We were facing an actual existential threat, after all.

            Coincidentally, I considered adding the rhetorical question “In contrast, what happened the last time the U.S. invaded and occupied foreign countries,” but thought better of it.

            It seems we are in the same row of the choir.

            Thanks again.

          • John Cedar

            There are folks who advocate and sing the praises of a 90%++ tax rate for “the wealthy. Currently there is nothing to stop our government from enacting such a tax rate. Such a rate is uncounionable even though it never truly existed do to tax loopholes. Currently, there is nothing in the Constitution to stop the majority from taxing away all of the assets and income of the minority.

            The American Way has many checks and balances against majority rule. The three branches, the electoral college, The Bill of Rights, all act to counter majority rule from time to time.

            One person one vote is a relatively new American policy, but still has been mitigated by the electoral college which has been known to nullify the popular vote.

          • hennorama

            John Cedar — TY again for your response.

            Your points are generally well-made and well-taken.

            If anyone who had “promise[d] to tax all income from the top one percent” were ever to be elected as POTUS, and if a sufficent number of such persons were elected to control Congress, and corresponding laws were passed and enacted, there would likely be few of “the top one percent” remaining as US citizens, as many/most would have fled the country and denounced their citizenship.

            Do you see any serious prospect of such combination of events on the horizon? I certainly do not.

          • John Cedar

            I absolutely foresee it coming.

            Candidates don’t need to promise anything more than that they agree the wealthy should be taxed at a high rate.

            Or congress can give the president war powers and the president can give executive orders like FDR did when he made it illegal to posses gold.

            As far as leaving the country, we have expatriation tax and increasing that has been proposed.

            We have already had rates as high as 94%, although they were mostly a ruse by the CPA accounting cartel to charge money for arranging tax avoidance, while placating the unwashed masses into thinking the rich were being taxed.

            At the very least, I consider any rate over 50%, where the government ends up with as much or more than the citizen, to be confiscatory in nature.

            With a 17 trillion dollar debt, somethings got to give eventually. My bet is that whatever ‘gives’ will more likely be the poor than the wealthy.

        • jimino

          Why do you hate the principles enshrined by the founders of our country?

          • John Cedar

            Because they are mostly “a charter of negative liberties” and don’t address “social justice”.
            But I am curious how you knew I hated them? As voting is not addressed very specifically by the founders.

    • OnPointComments

      When I read this National Review article, my perception of the author’s point was the same as I think yours is: if Mr. Perkins’ suggestion is outrageous (as I think this author and most people would agree), i.e., Mr. Perkins stated “only partly tongue-in-cheek, that people who pay an enormously disproportionate share of the taxes should have a disproportionate say in public policy,” why is not equally outrageous that someone who earns 10 times as much as another person pays “20 times or 50 times or 10,000 times the taxes that another man pays?”

      “The principle of equality under the law suggests, to my mind at least, that every man’s standing in relation to the state should be the same as every other man’s, regardless of his wealth or income…high-income Americans pay a share of taxes that is far disproportionate to their share of income.”

  • hennorama

    In an odd twist, Michael Dunn was convicted on 4 of the 5 charges against him, but the jurors were unable to come to a verdict on the most serious charge of first-degree murder. Mr. Dunn fired 10 times at a vehicle containing four teenagers, and killed one of them, Jordan Davis.

    “Dunn was charged with first-degree murder, three counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of firing into a vehicle in the Nov. 23, 2012, shooting. The jury couldn’t reach a decision on the first-degree murder charge, but convicted on the other four.”

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-michael-dunn-loud-music-verdict-20140213,0,5446202.story#ixzz2tVAs7wGw

    Mr. Dunn faces more than 60 years in prison for the crimes he was convicted of, and prosecutors have announced their intention to re-try him on the murder charge.

    Condolences to the Davis family and loved ones, especially today, which would have been Jordan’s 19th birthday.

    No doubt Mr. Dunn’s family and loved ones are suffering as well, and one hopes they find some solace.

    • brettearle

      It’s a troubling case for several reasons.

      The overarching cultural pathology, that we can see in this tragedy, is that the syndrome of Road Rage and Airplane Rage is playing itself out in a variety of clone-like situations.

      There is, of course, now, “check-out-at -grocery-counter rage” and “making-noise-in-movietheatre” rage.

      As people become angrier and live under more stress, we seem to be seeing these violent outbursts more often–although perhaps it is partially because Media are glomming on to such incidents more and more, and are reporting them more often and are repeating the same reports, more often.

      That having been said, it seems as if the subtext of the violence may have been gross and false assumptions about race.

      However, absent of forensic evidence or impartial eye-witnesses, it must still be a very high threshold, of evidence, to overcome, for a conviction, in such an incident

      • hennorama

        brettearle — thank you for your thoughtful, reasoned, and reasonable response.

        A few points:

        Media coverage of this case (and others) is of course largely driven by $$$, especially in light of the significant amount of public attention/interest involved in the Martin-Zimmerman case. One would hope that ANY case involving someone being killed after a dispute over loud music would garner national attention, but without the factor of racial difference, this seems unlikely.

        Whether racial animosity and/or bias was involved from either or both parties is an open question, but it would only be relevant if it was clearly an element of the crimes involved.

        Having not seen and heard all of the evidence, I’ll defer to the judgment of the jurors, despite the odd split between verdicts of guilt on attempted murder of the individuals left alive, and no verdict regarding the killing of Jordan Davis.

        One might also interpret this terrible incident as an extension of the increased selfishness of many in our society. Mr. Dunn clearly had options, such as simply moving to another parking space, but chose to engage the teenagers, putting his interest in peace and quiet above their enjoyment. The teens also had the choice of moving, or moderating the volume of the music, but chose to put their interest in their musical enjoyment above Mr. Dunn’s as well.

        One might also observe how drivers often view their vehicles as an extension of themselves, rather than as part of what might be properly viewed as the ultimate in cooperative activity — driving on public roads.

        The additional factors of alcohol consumption, and easy access to a firearm, combined with testosterone and/or adrenaline, and resulted in tragedy.

        Thanks again for your thoughtful response.

        • brettearle

          The issue of selfishness is a more central way of describing the root causes of these public outbursts of rage.

          Spot on.

          Selfishness increases with increases in cultural pathology and cultural dysfunction for a number of reasons, I think.

          However, the need to adjust one’s behavior to avoid confrontation–while a VERY good idea–might be beside the point, as to whether the Defendant’s legal rights were violated.

          One, of course, can allow for misjudgements (without overt provocation), by staying put–in this case, in the parking spot.

          The legal intent, it seems to me, would be determined after this misjudgement took place.

          But a misjudgement it WAS.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — TY again for your continued thoughtful engagement.

            Your points are well-taken.

            Society allows for a wide range of behaviors, and participants in modern societies must recognize that others will not always conform to the ideal of what Mr. Dunn described as “common courtesy.” (This forum being a clear example that “common courtesy” isn’t always common, nor is common sense.)

            It’s easy in retrospect to see the alternatives for the parties involved in this case. It’s also difficult to imagine a similar outcome had all the parties been female rather than male.

            What will be interesting is what, if anything, society at large will learn from this case. Will conceal carrying of firearms increase or decrease? Will more or fewer arguments escalate into gun battles? Will more people take the interests of others into account?

            Unfortunately, I think the answers to these questions are Yes, More, and No, respectively, although I fervently hope to be proven wrong.

            Thanks again for your thoughts.

          • brettearle

            Henn–

            Yes, it ought to become even more of an important case–before the public eye–than it already is….for the reasons you say.

            Please note my additional comment, above, to John Cedar.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — your support is appreciated.

            Your response to [John Cedar] is generally well-taken, and as previously stated, you’re kinda fun to read when you get riled.

            That said, he’s entitled to his opinion.

            Had I been on the jury in this case, I would have pointed out the following:

            Mr. Dunn indicated:

            -the music was off when he first parked
            -the music was loud enough (paraphrasing) “to vibrate body panels, vibrate my eardrums”
            -he wasn’t angry/agitated/upset when he first interacted with the occupants of the other vehicle

            I find this somewhat hard to believe, due to what’s known as the Startle Response.

            “The Startle Response is also known as the startle reflex and the alarm reaction.

            The alarm reaction is a completely natural, involuntary reaction to a stimulus such as a flash of light, a sudden threatening movement or loud noise. The startle reflex is considered to be innate, being found in newborn babies, in which case it is known as the Moro reflex.

            The alarm reaction is brought about by the activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System, SNS, and still occurs even when the stimulus is anticipated and people are trying to stop their reaction, although the strength of the response can be modified.

            Research has shown that the startle reaction takes place within milliseconds of the stimulus, in a way that is designed to protect the body from attack. Frank Pierce Jones (1951) showed that the reflex starts with the head which jerks as the neck muscles contract and the eye muscles tighten and blink. Then the response moves down into the torso which flinches; the shoulders raise and arms stiffen, the abdominal muscles contract and the chest flattens, then the knees flex – all this in around one second. Alongside these external changes, breathing and blood pressure levels change and the heart rate accelerates. Interestingly, ‘the response begins with extension’ and immediately changes to flexion.

            Whilst the muscular changes that take place in the startle reaction can return to normal fairly quickly if the danger recedes, breathing and the vascular system take rather longer to calm down, as the Parasympathetic Nervous System, PNS, begins to take over to bring back a state of calm to the whole system. If the perceived danger continues, then the fight/flight response may develop.”

            See:
            http://www.hilaryking.net/glossary/startle-response.html

            Note the last sentence, which bears repeating, with EMPHASIS added:

            “If the PERCEIVED DANGER CONTINUES, then the FIGHT/FLIGHT response may develop.”

            If the music went from zero to ultra-loud, one would expect a Startle Response, with all the associated physical reactions for Mr. Dunn. In common parlance, “his blood was up.”

            Of course, whether the Startle response could be considered by the jury is unclear, but I certainly would have wanted to talk about it as well-known human behavior.

            Thanks again for your support.

          • brettearle

            Henn, I will try to get to this FASCINATING stuff later.

            So try to look out for my response, tomorrow or later tonight….or later in the week.

            But, I wanted to say quickly that I appreciate your support, generally–and for example, for your support, when ” I get riled up”.

            I’m so busy, etc, these days, that it’s hard to keep up with topics and discussions. And it’s hard to maintain my edge. And so I periodically lose it.

            I’m still also working behind the scenes about an incident, on the “On Point” Forum, from well over 3 weeks ago. But I am not currently enjoying as much success, with regard to this investigation, as I have in the past.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — you’re welcome, and backatcha.

            Consolidated replies:

            Understood as to your PI work, and its connection to your recently risen dander.

            Clearly there are too few leaders who are women.

            There’s room for sanity, and there’s plenty of it all around, but precious little media attention is paid to it. Sane = boring = unprofitable.

            Dunn case commonalities on both sides: selfishness, ego, and testosterone.

            Dunn case differences (per the evidence): Mr. Dunn had recently consumed alcohol, and had easy access to a loaded firearm.

            Finally, as to King Laius and Oedipus — for some reason, Al Pacino having once played Oedipus came to mind, followed immediately by a mental image of Pacino’s Oedipus giving a Dog Day Afternoon shout upon arrival at his exile location.

            And once again, no, we are not James Burke.

            I look forward to your next comments, and the reason for your being busy is of course far preferable to the alternative.

          • brettearle

            Regarding, what Women would have done….

            Yet, perhaps, another reason for why Women ought to lead?

        • brettearle

          Ultimately, this stuff so often boils down to insecure Ego and petty Bravado.

          The phenomenon of a vehicle being an extension of one’s self is a significant observation.

          That blistering projection can endanger the driver and everyone else.

          Recall King Laius and Oedipus.

          [And, at the same time, give me credit for such an ingenious insight. Har-Har-Hardee-Har-Har.....]

      • John Cedar

        As people become angrier? How do we know people are any more angry than they ever have been in history? Didn’t people used to shoot each other in the wild west?

        This kid was obviously gunned down in cold blooded murder. And the sad truth is he would not have been murdered, if he had been more considerate with his loud music.

        • brettearle

          We DON’T know that people are more angry, these days. That’s a fair point.

          But to many people–not just to me–it feels as if people are angrier now, than they were 20, even 10, years ago.

          I’ve heard this kind of complaint from a number of people, in recent years…..

          *************************

          Unfortunately–and I mean MOST unfortunately–you seem to be implying that I am somehow excusing the defendant’s behavior.

          I am not, necessarily, excusing it AT ALL.

          But I can’t be responsible for you not seeing that.

          Nor, apparently, can I be held responsible for your incapacity to see the subtler distinctions between moral justice and the threshold for criminal behavior–ACCORDING TO THE EVIDENCE.

          5 will get you 10 that many Criminal Defense Attorneys–given the available evidence, about the incident, in the public domain–would have claimed that the defendant was convicted NOT beyond a reasonable doubt.

          You, indeed, have jumped to the conclusion that the defendant was guilty–simply because you and I believe it to be true.

          Indeed, I happen to believe that the guy’s guilty.

          But THAT IS NOT WHAT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS ALL ABOUT.

          THAT was my point. And THAT’S what I am talking about.

          The defendant was convicted, NOT because of forensic evidence.

          But rather because the jury believed the victims’ story.

          That is NOT necessarily, at all, the way to convict a defendant of a serious crime–unless THERE IS concrete evidence.

          If you do so convict, then you are handing down a verdict that may very well be unjust, based on the issue of reasonable doubt.

          How fdo you know the victims DIDN’T have a gun?

          Because THEY said they didn’t?

          There is a difference BETWEEN what a juror PRESUMES is true versus what actual evidence, there is, to hand down a conviction.

          The only evidence seems to be a He said/She said situation.

          And the jury believed the victims because they were shot.

          And even though they might not have been shot in self-defense, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PROVE THAT IT WASN’T SELF-DEFENSE?

          By TAKING THE WORD OF THE PLAINTIFFS, WHO ARE THE VICTIMS, we have decided to convict the Defendant?

          That is NOT Beyond Reasonable Doubt.

          No, I…..don’t…think…..so, my friend.

          • John Cedar

            I did not imply that you excused the shooters behavior. Where did I give you that impression? I merely question that people are angrier than they used to be. People been killing each other since Kane and Abel. We just get to see it in the news more often…especially if there is a white on black crime component to it.

            The burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. If you shoot someone in self defense but don’t report the incident to the police until THEY come looking for YOU, then you are not going to want me sitting on your jury.

          • brettearle

            The aspect of the case, that you point out–regarding Dunn not reporting the incident–was not in the LA Times article.

            I am quite surprised that such a factor was left out.

            It does, indeed, possibly imply that there is an increased potential for guilt.

            However, it is ALSO true that any potential suspect might have been afraid to go to the police–because the police might not believe his story.

            Where are you getting your information and how, then, did they catch up with Dunn?

            You’re implying that a period of time elapsed between the incident and the initial questioning.

            My viewpoints were based on the LA Times article.

            Where are you getting your information?

          • John Cedar

            I get all of my information from Fox news. So that is likely where I heard what few details I think I know.

            I am not particularly invested in my opinion that the shooter is guilty. So allow me to retract my earlier statement that he is obviously guilty. Let me just say that I don’t have much sympathy for him.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — the LA Times article is not by any means a comprehensive reporting of the case.

            It is indeed true, according to the evidence, that Mr. Dunn, after firing 10 rounds at an occupied vehicle, left the scene with his fiancee, drove to their hotel, had a drink, ordered pizza, walked his dog, watched TV, went to sleep, checked out of the hotel the next morning, drove 2 1/2 hours back home, went to his neighbor’s house, and was arrested, ALL WITHOUT EVER REPORTING THE INCIDENT.

            In addition, his fiancee testified that Mr. Dunn expressed a dislike of “that thug music,” and that HE NEVER MENTIONED SEEING A WEAPON OF ANY KIND.

            It’s quite a surprise that the jury was hung on the murder charge, but agreed that Mr. Dunn attempted to murder the three othe occupants of the vehicle he fired upon.

            Again, please insert the usual disclaimer about not having seen or heard all of the evidence here.

          • brettearle

            Thanks, Henn.

            Your supplementary evidence weighs heavily on the actions of, more likely now, a guilty man. [Although I always felt he was likely guilty, one needs to hear and see more incriminating information.]

            I might have been tempted to convict based on the above added information.

            However, I am skeptical of the fiancee’s testimony.

            Did she turn state’s evidence and cut a deal–because she was implicated for criminal action, as accessory or accomplice?

            The Criminal Defense Attorney [CDA] for Dunn, according to inclusions in the LA Times, did not try to account for Dunn’s behavior, after leaving the scene.

            Either it is a blatant omission by the CDA or else the journalist [for not explaining the CDA's omission].

            Or both.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — you’re welcome, of course.

            If I was representing Mr. Dunn, I wouldn’t want to say one single word about what he did after firing all those shots at an occupied vehicle.

            As the saying goes, if the facts are against you, argue the law; if the law is against you argue the facts; if both the facts and the law are against you, argue, argue, argue, and attack everyone other than your client.

            And remember, Mr. Dunn IS guilty, according to the jury, of 4 of the 5 charges he faced, and has not been exonerated of the murder charge.

            As to Mr. Dunn’s fiancee, she was inside making a purchase when the incident occurred (there’s surveillance video), and was an emotionally distraught and reluctant witness when testifying. It seems doubtful that the police and prosecutors ever considered leveling any charges against her, as she had no involvement in the shooting. Mr. Dunn testified that she was “a wreck” afterward, as one might expect of a rational person.

          • brettearle

            There are so many Mr. Dunns in our country.

            Is there any room for sanity?

  • OnPointComments

    Washington, January 21, 2017

    President Ted Cruz, citing what he called “The Obama Precedent” today unilaterally repealed Roe v. Wade, once again making abortion illegal in the United States.

    The White House briefing room erupted in a chorus of anger as the President’s new press secretary joked that “the President found former President Obama’s pen and telephone hidden in a safe underneath a floorboard in the Oval Office.” The White House spokesman cracked that the safe had a note addressed “Dear Hillary” and held the safe’s combination.

    The comment, a reference to the defeated 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, drew a scathing rebuke from a number of reporters who asked if the former Secretary of State’s narrow, 44-state loss to Cruz was “cause for humor.”

    Democrats immediately assailed the move, with a furious Senate minority leader Harry Reid saying: “The president is rewriting law on a whim.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi led a group of female legislators on a protest outside the White House.

    Former President Obama, vacationing in Hawaii, had no comment.

    As this article notes, “What is happening with the repeated changes in Obamacare and the use of the IRS is setting precedent. And it is precedent that liberals will come to regret…What’s really going on here is a total disregard for the Constitution of the United States. For the law. And once started down that path, as was demonstrated vividly in the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, nothing good can come of it. To let the president get away with such vivid law-breaking is the summons to precedent, sending the signal to future presidents that they can disobey the law with impunity simply because they are president.”
    http://spectator.org/articles/57791/should-president-be-impeached

    • Don_B1

      The “Spectator” falls far short of The Onion on all counts!

  • hennorama

    Anyone interested in U.S. demographics should check this out. It’s an animation of the age distributions of the populace, actual and projected, from 1900 through 2060.

    From the article:

    “There are many interesting points – the Depression baby bust, the baby boom, the 2nd smaller baby bust following the baby boom, the “echo” boom” and more. What jumps out at me are the improvements in health care. And also that the largest cohorts will all soon be under 40. Heck, in the last frame (2060), any remaining Boomers will be in those small (but growing) 95 to 99, and 100+ cohorts.”

    See:
    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2014/02/by-request-repeat-us-population-by-age.html#Fdb4uVzoYJDDJOHp.99

    The blog itself is quite informative overall, with multiple interesting data points in addition to this particular one.

  • Patrick James

    http://www.thirty-thousand.org/

    Please check out the link above. I think the issue this website discusses is one that should be a part of America’s modern dialogue. I came across it after pondering the question of why there is an arbitrary (435) limit on the number of house members in congress. Perhaps you will understand why Americans are so out of touch with the body politic. We are not being represented appropriately. Everyone should know a congressman/should have one as a neighbor.

    I should add that I am not affiliated with the website, but found it while pondering why I do not know any politicians personally. The website needs a facelift, but I hope you’ll receive the ideas within with an open mind.

  • Potter
ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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