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Week In the News: Fort Hood, GM, Obamacare

Fort Hood shooting, again. GM’s CEO  in the hot seat. Money politics. Obamacare signup. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Lucy Hamlin and her husband, Spc. Timothy Hamlin wait for permission to re-enter the Fort Hood military base, where they live, following a shooting on base on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Fort Hood, Texas. (AP)

Lucy Hamlin and her husband, Spc. Timothy Hamlin wait for permission to re-enter the Fort Hood military base, where they live, following a shooting on base on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Fort Hood, Texas. (AP)

Gunfire and death at Fort Hood again this week.  An American soldier, the shooter.  American soldiers, the targets.  Terrible.  In Washington, a milestone for Obamacare and a White House smile with 7 million signed up.  But it’s still a work in progress.  The Supreme Court, ruling again against restraints on big money in our politics.  If you’re rich, it’s a green light.  We’ve seen GM’s CEO Mary Barra in the hot seat.  Hopes of a Middle East peace grown cold.  Afghanistan preparing to vote.  And David Letterman, headed out.  This hour On Point:  Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

John McCormack, senior writer at The Weekly Standard. (@McCormackJohn)

Kristen Welker, NBC News White House correspondent. (@kwelkernbc)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Scrutiny for Wall Street’s Warp Speed — “Already, officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York office are investigating whether such firms traded ahead of other players in the market, in what may amount to insider trading or other fraud, according to an agency spokesman. Regulators in Washington and in New York State have opened their own inquiries.”

Associated Press: U.S. Secretly Created ‘Cuban Twitter’ To Stir Unrest — “At its peak, the project drew in more than 40,000 Cubans to share news and exchange opinions. But its subscribers were never aware it was created by the U.S. government, or that American contractors were gathering their private data in the hope that it might be used for political purposes.”

CNN: Obama takes minimum wage pitch to Michigan — “Having declared his signature health care initiative a success – at least for now – President Barack Obama headed to Michigan Wednesday to push another top domestic priority, raising the federal minimum wage. Speaking to a rowdy crowd at the University of Michigan, Obama used much of his remarks to lambast Republicans who oppose such a hike, saying it amounted to giving working-class Americans ‘the shaft.’”

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  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Will OnPoint cover the contradictory testimony given Wednesday by a top ex-CIA official on the Benghazi tragedy?

    The CIA official also contradicted the NYTimes coverage of Benghazi regarding al Quaeda tied involvement in the planned attack and blew out of the water the NYT assertion that no one in US intelligence thought al Quaeda was involved.

    • jefe68

      You left this part out of course.

      Morell patiently explained that there was no conspiracy. Saying that the CIA compiled the “talking points” on the Benghazi attack, immediately after it occurred, based on the “best available information at the time,” Morell added:

      I never allowed politics to influence what I said or did—never. None of our actions were the result of political influence in the intelligence process—none…. The White House did not make any substantive changes to the talking points, nor did they ask me to.

      Morell explained to the shouting committee members:

      I believed what my analysts said, that there was a protest. I also believed it to be a terrorist attack. You see, we never, we never saw those two things as mutually exclusive, and so I believed both of those at the same time.

      http://www.thenation.com/blog/179177/benghazi-redux-and-redux-and-redux

      It’s amazing how the far right is so ginned up over this.
      But then again Obama can’t tie his shoes with the right wing having a hissy fit.

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

        …no conspiracy…

        • Ray in VT

          Yup. Pretty terrible when a convicted felon gets nabbed for violating the terms of his probation.

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

            Good to see you are up and ready for the day.

          • Ray in VT

            I have little kids. I’ve been up for hours already. Mostly I’m just trying to clear some stuff from my desk so I can take most of next week off.

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

            Good luck.

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks. Lots of painting to do next week. Have to get the new place ready to move into ASAP.

          • John Cedar

            Says the guy who objects to blacks getting in trouble for the crimes they commit.

          • Ray in VT

            Interesting. When did I say that?

          • John Cedar

            When did I say you said that?

            You just reference biased incomplete statistics when you complain that blacks are treated unfairly when they get suspended or sentenced for offenses.

            I am sure any minute you will be citing statistics about the fairness this probation violator received and how his sentence compared to those of other people who committed similar offenses. Not.

          • Ray in VT

            In response to my comment : “Says the guy who objects to blacks getting in trouble for the crimes they commit.” So that is, I guess, where you say that I did.
            I reference biased or incomplete statistics? Well, I’m sure that you know better than the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the vast amount of data that they look at. Please provide your sure to be laughable sources on the matter.

      • Don_B1

        Michael Morell was on The Charlie Rose Show for the whole hour last night:

        http://www.charlierose.com/

        though it will not be available online untill midafternoon. If you get PBS’s World Channel, it repeats there either at noon or 1 p.m. depending on your local PBS station.

    • Ray in VT

      Where are those gound breaking revelations that were sure to come? I did hear of the new conspiracy about how Morell is supposedly taking the fall in order to clear the way for Clinton in 2016. Thanks Michelle Bachmann.

      • HonestDebate1

        Morell will probably take the fall by getting a cush job in the seven figure range.

        • Ray in VT

          Yup. Just more of the elaborate conspiracy that just must exist. Maybe it will turn up after another dozen hearings or so.

          • jefe68

            This will be going on, and on and on, even after Obama is out of office.

          • Don_B1

            Michael Morell on Charlie Rose gave his opinion, that it would last until either Mrs. Clinton decided not to run in 2016 or lost the election or completed her term of office.

          • HonestDebate1

            There is nothing elaborate about it. First the State Department drops the ball on security after repeated attacks and threats. As Al Qaeda gets stronger and more active the candidate thumps his pigeon chest about having decimated them. They don’t take kindly his horn blowing about killing their leader. And the choir sings: “Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is decimated”. The terrorist chant, “Death to America” and commit a well planned highly coordinated act of war. The President checks out at 5. The fight rages for 8 hours in two waves. The CIA knows what happened. The Libyan eyes on the ground know what happened. The military knows what happened. They make assessments, put them in writing and hand it to the political machine for a scrubbing. Obama calls Hillary freaking his choir might realize the refrain is dubious. She’s freaking at the blood on her hands. It’s almost like a movie….. Hey!… I think I have an idea.

          • Ray in VT

            That sounds awful. It’s just a shame that so much of it is just the same deluded, factless tripe that the right has been repeating for a year and a half.

          • HonestDebate1

            Okay, I’l rewrite it.

            The State department after having put in place the requested security took a sober look at the recent attacks. Al Qaeda is on the run, they have been decimated. They are no longer a factor. All was peachy until that protest inciting video that led to the breaching of the high security. Obama was on it. He ordered the military to take all measures to leave no man behind. The President addressed the nation with brutal honesty and then followed it up by sending Hillary… I mean the next one down the chain to level with the American people. The election played no factor.

            Believe what you want.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, believe what you want. If you are so invested in the TOP narrative that you want to distort reality in order to make it fit your view, then that is your right. It’s just not honest debate.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ll leave it to those nutty enough to read this stuff to decide which version is the honest one.

          • Ray in VT

            What nutty stuff? Your diatribes? Care to hit us up with some stand down order stuff? Maybe a didn’t send aid or left them there to die? The day is young. Let the fact-free talking points fly.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ll take that as an endorsement of the version that says Obama was on it, he ordered the military to take all measures to leave no man behind.

          • Ray in VT

            Them’s the facts, but if believing in the anti-Obama conspiracies are easier to fit into your worldview, then go right ahead and flail about.

          • sickofthechit

            You seem to have forgotten that it was the republicans who blocked increased security funding for the State Department a year or so prior to the Benghazi attack.

          • HonestDebate1

            Old failed talking point. It’s not true on any level. They beefed up security in Barbados for Pete’s sake.

          • Don_B1

            At the cost of another cool $1 million or more of taxpayers’ money. But the deficit doesn’t matter when false slander can be disseminated.

            Watch the trolls push it here!

    • Shag_Wevera

      What do you want?

  • SteveTheTeacher

    Who ran the covert operation to instigate an overthrow of the Cuban government through the creation of a “Twitter” in Cuba?

    - The humanitarian aid group, US AID.

    How does the government justify that this illegal use of a humanitarian agency for clandestine work is OK and that this will not put other US humanitarian workers operating in hostile environments in jeopardy?

    - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the even overt U.S. operations have to be “discreet” when undertaken in “non-permissive environments.” He also said: “The program referred to by the Associated Press was a development
    program run by the United States agency for International Development
    and that program was completed in 2012,” Carney said. ”

    How does the US government justify the critique of Russia’s actions in Eastern Ukraine in light of the US military occupation of eastern Cuba (Guantanamo), the continued economic embargo, the long history of US supported military and terrorist actions to overthrow the government?

    ?

    • Steve_the_Repoman

      Way down front in the Amen pew sits Uncle Sam, better than you.

      With apologies to Ray Stevens and the Great Squirrel Revival.

  • Fredlinskip

    Justice Roberts in defense of recent ruling states, “There is no right in our democracy more basic, than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”
    If one increases the power of a few to influence electoral outcomes, is it not fairly obvious that this decreases the power of the many?

    For “originalists” diligently scouring our constitution as to forefathers thoughts, one need not look further then “We the people”
    ( not hard to find- right there at top).
    Few would disagree that it was founders intent to promote government “of the people, by the people”.

    So now we have a ruling promoting government “of and by the few”.
    Is there REALLY any doubt that this was not founder’s intent??

    Well fine, but let’s all at least lend support to a constitutional amendment so as to change those first few words to avoid future ambiguity to:
    “We the few aristocrats that rule over all other life on Earth”.

    Perhaps we can abolish our whole constitution for the one of Saudi Arabia or something-
    Our constitution does not appear to be written plainly enough for our Supreme Court justices to understand..

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

      A) No, political power is not a zero sum game.
      B) No, our founders created a constitutional republic.
      C) Please see (A) and (B).
      D) If don’t want a Bush or a Clinton then you need to join with the Tea Party movement to stop them.
      E) The problem you have with our Constitution is that it does not say what you want it to say.

      “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”

      [Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]”
      ― Harry S. Truman

      • Fredlinskip

        A) Political power appears (by ruling) to be a large sum ($) game.
        B) Apparently founders (by ruling) created a Republic “for, by and of ” the few.
        C) Please see A & B
        D) A Clinton would seem preferable as social mobility seemed to flourish under Bill.
        E) I have no problem with voice of opposition.
        I do have a problem with gerrymandered state districts and gerrymandered reinterpretations of U.S. constitution in ways that quite obviously do not reflect the intentions of the FF’s or the “spirit” of that most relevant founding document.

        • HonestDebate1

          D)

          There you have it, the overwhelming factor above all else to explain the 90′s. Impeccable logic. All we need to do is look at the name.

          • Don_B1

            No, you are wrong again!

            Fredlinskip indicated that Mrs.Clinton would be preferable to the other candidates, not that she was the only candidate he could support.

            And any candidate from the Tea Party would be at the bottom of the good candidate list, only beating out another Tea Party candidate.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, preferable because the last time we had someone named Clinton, things went well.

          • Don_B1

            They went a whole lot better than the last time there was someone named Bush!

            And if that person with the last name Bush had supported competent regulation, the egregious action of signing the Commodity Futures Modernization Act or 2000, which prohibited the regulation of derivatives. That could have been reversed and the new head of the S.E.C. could have been someone who was not a “free-market” advocate.

            That, or if Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan had used the power a Democratic congress had given the Fed to regulate the “shadow banking” industry, the overleveraging that has made the recovery from the Great Recession so difficult.

          • HonestDebate1

            See, it IS the last name, I told ya’ so.

          • John Cedar

            On second thought, I believe the SCOTUS is wrong and money is not speech. However, money IS freedom of the press.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ll have to think about that a minute.

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

          I don’t believe protests of only wanting fair play and being opposed to political shenanigans.

          • Fredlinskip

            Perhaps that’s because T Party which pretends to be grass roots organization, obviously isn’t?

    • Human2013

      This was always destined to be. A country founded on free labor (slavery, indentured servitude), a country that so deeply divided humanity on issues of “race” and class. We are just returning to our roots; the love of free labor and the love of the wealthy. This country is in it’s infancy and doesn’t appear it will make it to its toddler years. Our leaders lack vision, foresight, humanity, intelligence and wisdom. It was a nice try.

      • Don_B1

        This country was on this trajectory back in the Gilded Age, then began reform in the 1910s, finally making big strides in the 1930s after a “last fling” in the 1920s. It took 40 years for the plutocrats to recover, aided by the OPEC oil crisis of the early 1970s and the stagflation it triggered.

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

    In case you are counting on CNN for your news.

    FTA:
    In an affidavit filed in federal court on March 23, FBI special agent Emmanuel Pascua detailed how the investigation into Chow led to Yee’s arrest on political corruption and gun-trafficking charges last Wednesday. It’s an incredible saga that includes purported links to Chinese organized crime, a crooked political consultant, Eastern European arms dealers, and Muslim rebel groups in the Philippines.

    Yee’s arrest derailed his campaign for secretary of state. He withdrew from that race Thursday, and the following day the Legislature voted to suspend him from the State Senate. On Monday, though Yee’s lawyer indicated that he will plead not guilty, Gov. Jerry Brown called for him to resign.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/leland-yee-2014-4#ixzz2xurvEJqM

  • Duras

    Republicans cheer the Supreme Court decision on allowing more money into the political system, while democrats “express disappointment.”

    For now, the elites will narrow the people’s choices to whom they find acceptable; i.e., Bush vs. Clinton.

    And I think that election will also reflect America’s growing distaste and self-hatred of working class life and the growing love of aristocracy.

    It’s a sad week. Vote Green. Vote Libertarian Party. And demand a constitutional amendment limiting campaign financing.

    • SteveTheTeacher

      Pretty much agree, although I find libertarianism, particularly Randian libertarianism, tends to even greater entrenchment of social castes.

      As Ralph Nader said:

      “The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the
      velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock
      on their door. That’s the only difference.”

      • J__o__h__n

        Iraq war and huge tax cuts. Thanks for running Ralph.

        • SteveTheTeacher

          That’s the party line.

          What did the Democrat party do to embrace some of the progressive alternatives presented by Nader?

          On the contrary, the Democrat party moved, and continues to position itself, to the right of center.

          In the upcoming elections, if the leaders of Democrat party truly feel at risk due to the presence of a progressive third party candidate, they should adopt some core principles of the progressive platform.

          • J__o__h__n

            Throwing your vote away and equating the Democrats as being as bad as the Republicans is folly. The Democrats are more centrist than I would like, but they have to get elected which requires getting swing voters. The Republican party is a much bigger foe than the flawed Democratic party. Siphoning votes away helps the Republicans more than Presidents Nader and Stein.

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

            It is interesting hear the same argument from the “Left” that I normally hear from the “Right.” Not surprising really. But it tends to show how similar the organizations are.

          • J__o__h__n

            Not at all. I fully support the efforts of the Teabaggers and Libertarians in their principled stand against voting for the Republican party!

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

            If you could rephrase that comment ever so slightly, you might appear to be a reasonable person who loves their country and is trying to advance the public discourse.

            As it is you prove my point about comment moderation on this site.

          • Don_B1

            J_o_h_n’s comment is a bit snarky, but not nearly as atrocious as that of the trolls here who post distractions and outright lies in their effort to offer alternatives to the truth.

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

            This being the “The Week in the News” I share some stories that I believe may have escaped your notice. You respond with ad hominem attacks. And then lecture me about my intolerance. I hope you can see why I work to keep you from holding any power over anyone.

          • Don_B1

            My comment was on the nature/content of the posts; there are a group here who constantly cite sources that have been long discredited for twisting stories to the point of even making up stuff.

            Sorry if I abbreviated my post too much for you.

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

            No worries Don_B1. I am not offended and I commented with tongue firmly in check.

            But it seems that the “Sit’n Bull” has been closed.

          • J__o__h__n

            They were calling themselves that for a while and I find hijacking the name of an historic event for their extremist group to be offensive and refuse to use it.

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

            Which branch of the Democratic Party are you from Phelps, or LaRouche?

          • J__o__h__n

            Elizabeth Warren’s

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

            We are as far apart a two people can be.

            On a tangent do you think that her endorsement will be as valuable to candidates in the Democratic Party as Sarah Palin’s is to candidates in the Republican Party? How much money has she been able to raise?

          • J__o__h__n

            I think she has been successful at raising money for other candidates and is respected by most of the party. There are probably a few lackeys for the banks that wouldn’t want her endorsement, but I don’t think anyone has to refudiate an association with her like the RINO/moderate Republicans do with Palin.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Again with the party line.

            I disagree that a vote for a candidate that promotes a progressive platform is “Throwing away” my vote.

            On the contrary, the ones who throw away their votes are the ones who have progressive principles, yet vote for a candidate from a party with a right leaning platform.

            Look at the Democrat party now: In favor of that subsidies for big business, killing through unmanned drones, universal surveillance, etc.

            Why will the Democrat party stop moving to the right when progressives continuing to vote for Democrat party, regardless?

            When more people with progressive principles decide to vote in favor of progressive third party candidates, we will begin to see a real challenge to the present state of plutocracy, militarism, and universal surveillance.

          • J__o__h__n

            I admitted the Democrats are flawed. I haven’t seen that on a Democratic bumper sticker. Rather than pushing the Democrats to take more principled stands, keep siphoning away progressives on a futile quest and help elect more Republicans. As bad as Gore was, was he really no worse than Bush? As flawed as Obama is, is he no worse than McCain and Romney? How many more wars we be in if McCain won? How would the 47% be faring under Romney?

          • SteveTheTeacher

            I apologize for my characterization of you as just following the party line. It was unfair and bad manners.

            I agree that the Democrats are better than the Republicans. But, if someone were to ask me to choose between getting hit on the head with a stick or an iron crowbar, my choice would be neither.

            Our strategies are different – change the system versus change from within the system. I will stick to mine and I’m sure that you will stick to your’s. Hopefully at least one strategy will prove successful.

          • Don_B1

            The problem with that is that it opens both the insiders and outsiders to defeat by division, that traditional method whereby a minority rules over the majority.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Or, perhaps it increases effectiveness by creating pressure from the outside that gives more influence to those pushing for change on the inside.

            A multi-pronged approach to social change may be characterized using a “prisoner’s dilemma”/ “united we stand divided we fall” paradigm. However, the prospect of an alternative to the status-quo lesser of two evils may also encourage involvement and action on the part of those who would otherwise opt out of the electoral process.

          • Don_B1

            At the primary level, you have a valid argument. Even if your choice does not win, with enough votes the candidates in the next election could well support some of the same things your candidate ran on.

            And even in that first election, the winner may well support some of the points, in the general election, an opponent was pushing in the primary.

            But that is not a panacea as the second-best candidate in the primary might not win without your vote and then you get neither in the general election.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Agreed.

            Part of the problem is the generally accepted notion, in the US, that the electoral process is, by definition, democratic.

            But the US uses a “winner take all” electoral system. This type of system leaves large segments of the population without political power.

            Some sort of proportional representative system would be more democratic. Perhaps such a system would be better, although it has problems too.

          • Don_B1

            The economist Kenneth Arrow proved that there is no multiple candidate voting system that cannot be “gamed” by the candidates and voters; from Wikipedia:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow's_impossibility_theorem

            “In social choice theory, Arrow’s impossibility theorem, the General Possibility Theorem, or Arrow’s paradox, states that, when voters have three or more distinct alternatives (options), no rank order voting system can convert the ranked preferences of individuals into a community-wide (complete and transitive) ranking while also meeting a specific set of criteria. These criteria are called unrestricted domain, non-dictatorship, Pareto efficiency, and independence of irrelevant alternatives. The theorem is often cited in discussions of election theory as it is further interpreted by the Gibbard–Satterthwaite theorem.”

            Another economist, James Tobin also worked on voting systems and part of his work on this subject appears in this book, well worth reading on its own:

            http://www.tobinproject.org/books-papers/race-reform-regulation-electoral-process

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Thanks Don.

            I appreciate the references.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Progressive personal principles, Libertarian governance principles.

            Only way we will move forward from our confused ideological malaise.

            Rule of Law, Much harsher Accountability to the Rule Breakers.

            But Rules against cheating, lying, stealing, killing, hurting, colluding and rigging are a WORLD APART from Centrally Planned, Technocratic management by an ostensibly well-meaning elite who we have hand our power to.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Its not even worth calling it “right” of center. When the whole corrupt “middle” or whatever it is, is void of sound and honest principle, serving only political expediency and entrenchment of elite power clubs with Ds or Rs next the name, that just provides more cover.

            Ds and Rs just wait their turns, act like it matters around elections, and enjoy the growing fruits of their collusion, corruption and the cynicism and apathy of the country.

          • Don_B1

            Unfortunately, your approach is almost certainly doomed to failure and frustration. This country is like a big aircraft carrier that has to change course, which will have to be done incrementally or the ship will break up with the huge forces needed to lift it out of the water and put it back down with a different orientation.

            You do preach nice bumper-sticker slogans, but they do not spell out the steps necessary to get where you want to go.

    • HonestDebate1

      So can the Tea Party now buy your vote?

      • John Cedar

        They bought mine…
        by using compelling logical arguments.

        • Don_B1

          Based on false assumptions.

          • HonestDebate1

            Cue the Obamacare music.

          • Don_B1

            No, cue the dystopian music which will be appropriate for a TeaParty-run world:

            http://8tracks.com/olivercldwll/dystopia

            except that my example is still too upbeat for what Republicans will inflict on the 99%. Maybe you can find something even darker, like where your mind must be most of the time when you are thinking about the 47%?

    • J__o__h__n

      Throwing your vote away instead of voting for the lesser of two evils brought us George W Bush.

      • nj_v2

        The myth persists.

        More Democrats in Florida voted for Shrub than for Gore.

        Nader didn’t cause Gore to lose the election. Voting for the best candidate isn’t “throwing away” a vote.

        • Don_B1

          There are many ways that the Florida 200 Presidential Election was imperfect, and best estimates of all the possible ways that votes where miscounted votes might be corrected would have yielded a Gore victory, although it would have been difficult to get agreement on the corrections:

          “The New York Times did its own analysis of how mistaken overvotes might have been caused by confusing ballot designs. It found that thebutterfly ballot in heavily Democratic Palm Beach County may have cost Gore a net 6286 votes, and the two page ballot in 57% Bush Duval County may have cost him a net 1999 votes, each of which would have made the difference by itself.[7] The rest of the media consortium did not consider these because there could be no clear determination of a voter’s intent. Separate analyses suggest that confusion over the butterfly ballots may have cost a Gore victory by perhaps a few thousand votes.”

          See:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_election_recount

          But the Florida legislature would have sent its own delegation to the Electoral College, so the SCOTUS really put its foot in it when it stopped the recount.

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

    How does this compare to the reportage on the scandal involving the Gov. of NJ.

    FTA:
    CNN, home (also until last week) of Piers Morgan, whom Yee had praised for his anti-gun activism, didn’t report the story at all. When prodded by viewers, the networksnarked that it doesn’t do state senators. Which is odd, because searching the name of my own state senator, Stacey Campfield, turns up a page of results, involving criticisms of him for saying something “extreme”. Meanwhile, CNN found time to bashWisconsin state senator and supporter of Gov. Scott Walker, Randy Hopper over marital problems.

    But there’s a difference. They’re Republicans. When Republicans do things that embarrass their party, the national media are happy to take note, even if they’re mere state senators. But when Democrats like Yee get busted for actual felonies, and pretty dramatic ones at that, the press suddenly isn’t interested.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/04/01/fbi-guns-leland-lee-column/7081115/

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

    Did you hear about the Tea Party leader that used their charity exemption to funnel grant money into her own pocket?

    FTA:
    Margolies continues to run the charity as its president. She has taken no salary while running for Congress, but her pay had reached as high as $164,000 in 2011. For nonprofits with budgets from $1 million to $2.5 million — like WCI — the median compensation for all CEOs is $94,924, according to the most recent data from Guidestar, which tracks nonprofits.

    But beyond Margolies’ own pay, her charity differs in another significant way from others of its size, said Sandra Miniutti, vice president of the charity evaluation group Charity Navigator. “[It's] unusual to have both a president and an executive director for a charity as small as this,” said Miniutti, noting that typically the responsibilities are handled by the same person.

    Kerri Kennedy, WCI’s former executive director, made between about $78,000 and $100,000 from 2009 to 2011, according to the charity’s filings with the Internal Revenue Service.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/31/marjorie-margolies-charity-_n_5043352.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

    Oh, Wait Ms. Marjorie Margolies it the Mother-in-law of Chelsea Clinton and current Democratic congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district.

  • OnPointComments

    My favorite thing that I’ve read so far today — Ben Stein writing on the causes of poverty:

    Senator Elizabeth Warren, a genuine moron, not a fake one, says it’s because of “corporations.” What can that mean? Corporations are not vampires. They are aggregations of workers, owners, and customers. Senator Warren infamously noted that “corporations don’t cry,” but their workers do when government regulators shut them down for environmental infractions. Their stockholders do when mistaken federal policy causes their stock to crash so that old people cannot retire and young people cannot go to college. If you substituted the words “groups of Americans” for “corporations” I wonder how much applause and hatred you would whip up even at a DNC convention.

    My humble observation is that most long-term poverty is caused by self-sabotage by individuals. Drug use. Drunkenness. Having children without a family structure. Gambling. Poor work habits. Disastrously unfortunate appearance. Above all, and counted in the preceding list, psychological problems (very much including basic laziness) cause people to be unemployed, have poor or no work habits, and enter and stay in poverty.
    http://spectator.org/articles/58633/poverty-and-income-inequality

    • nj_v2

      Poor Ben. Often, he can be funny, but just as often, completely clueless. I’ll refrain from calling him a moron.

      It says a lot about OnPointComments that this is their “favorite” read of the day.

      • sickofthechit

        When someone as educated as he is, says something so stupid, he is a moron.

    • Shag_Wevera

      And those personal failures you describe represent the vast majority of the poor, right? Poverty isn’t at all structural or beneficial to a capitalist state.
      The fact that you work SO hard to blame the poor for their misfortune makes you, in my eyes, a hateful and perhaps selfish person.

      • HonestDebate1

        Are you arguing that the vast majority are helpless hopeless victims?

        • Shag_Wevera

          Are YOU answering questions with questions?

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes and yes, you?

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Because of course one can be a collectivist, or a racist.

    • HonestDebate1

      Excellent, thanks for posting.

    • J__o__h__n

      If corporations continue with the myth that they have no responsibilities other than to their shareholders, then they are vampires. The owners have much more power in their administration than workers and customers.

      • OnPointComments

        Please provide us with a link to any CEO who has said that corporations “have no responsibilities other than to their shareholders.” I don’t know of any. Every corporation with which I interact values its employees and its community.

        • J__o__h__n

          Milton Friedman wrote it. I doubt any CEO is dumb enough to repeat it exactly, but many of them appear to follow it based on their actions.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Its a mechanism. What is the big deal? The corporations have a simple goal, which they try to achieve WITHIN A SET OF GROUNDRULES.

            If we spent more time enforcing laws against truly monopolistic or collusive or market rigging behavior, in order to ensure a truly competitive, dynamic marketplace, where companies are accountable to being both productive and attractive to employees, we would have what we want.

            Unless we want socialism.

        • sickofthechit

          No involvement with any Koch industries affiliates, or any coal companies, or any energy companies then I guess.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        When collectivists start making iPhones and and surgical robots in the woods in their yurts, we’ll finally see the alternative.

        What an insult to what I imagine are the vast majority of people who got educated and qualified and committed themselves to a career track to work for companies and are very satisfied with their employment and lives.

        How wide will we cast the “vampire” net? Anyone willing to wake up before 10, and say no to any number of instant gratifications and distractions?

        We want jobs, we just don’t want to work.

        • sickofthechit

          I think Iphones are made in China.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Yes, they really are like serfs. I wish we didn’t trade with un-equal liberty partners.

          • Don_B1

            And then how would the Chinese laborers gain better-paying work and raise their standard of living?

            No matter how cheaply we think they have worked, it was for more than they could earn elsewhere and their wages have been rising as the supply of new poorer workers from the countryside has diminished. That is why labor-intensive production (garments, etc.) have moved to even poorer countries, e.g., Bangladesh, Cambodia, etc. And that is a good thing as the wages for labor across the world have been rising. It has been (too) slow, at least for the continuing impacts on developed countries, but it is doing what economics 101 predicts.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Yes, we exploit them. I believe in free trade within a Constitutional, Rule of Law, protecting individual liberty system. China doesn’t meet that.

        • red_donn

          As someone in the educated, corporate career-track bracket, I identify the issue along fairly straightforward economic lines. When the income-compensation for labor is significantly less than

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            I can agree with that, and just want us to work tirelessly toward rational, equal information situations.

    • Human2013

      Corporations have taken away pension plans, suppressed wages, conspired to reduce their taxes all while benefiting from unprecedented gains in productivity. I suggest Thomas Picketty’s, “Capital in the 21st Century” – a book of facts. Try not post in this forum again until you read the book, interact with the impovershed and then sit in a corporate boardroom. I don’t like name calline, but you’re a CLOWN!!

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Bring back communes. The rest of the world will follow, don’t worry.

        • Human2013

          If communes mean that humans won’t go hungry and have a chance at happiness, please bring it on.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Of course. But they don’t.

            And the rest of the world will NOT play along in a utopian fantasy, and will keep competing and consuming and producing, etc.

            So either we work for the best model for recognizing the foibles of human nature, which is our Bill of Rights and Constitutional Self Government, and enjoy the relative opportunity and freedom that it brings, or be ready to accept the China model of human Organization.

            And of course the civil war that will occur before that is swallowed.

          • sickofthechit

            Oh yeah, I really love walking around where any dweeb with $100 or $200 and an hour or two of training is “qualified” to carry a concealed deadly weapon anywhere he wants to go, including a national park. Thanks, liberty and freedom. Funny I no longer feel “free” to visit national parks. name withheld by sanity.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Do point us to the “liberty-freaks” running around shooting people.

          • Don_B1

            Here is the evidence that just repealing the requirement for background checks has increased the number of shootings while the number in adjacent states which did not change their background check laws went down:

            http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/02/13/1589161/study-gun-homicides-increased-25-percent-after-missouri-background-check-laws-repeal/

            This is pretty strong evidence and it is just a first-order effect of relaxing gun regulation. Then there is the increased militarization of the police, where SWAT is used for what used to be “normal” law enforcement where people get shot when they would not have been by “normal” police.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Who are the shooters? What are their backgrounds?

            Valid question, as most gun restrictions are placed on honorable, law abiding citizens, providing cover for pandering politicians, but doing nothing about criminality.

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

            That’s a big if…

    • TFRX

      Dear Ben Stein: Stick to movie cameos and playing rabbis on Seth McFarlane’s animated shows. People will think better of you for it.

      • hennorama

        “Bueller … if you’re absent you’re going to live in poverty for the rest of your life because you’re basically lazy… Bueller …”

    • John Cedar

      Actually, the majority of poverty is caused because we redefined what it means to be impoverished.

      But don’t underestimate how much of an advantage it is to be able to “not speak without a negro dialect unless you want to.”

      Having a criminal record is bad for your future too. That’s why my state passed a law under David Patterson which forbids employers from unnecessarily discriminating against felons.

    • olderworker

      Well, you may have a point about long-term poverty, but I can tell you that I actually work in a nursing home, with plenty of people making $11/hour, working very hard, having to work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. They are the poor that I’m concerned about.

  • Oh bummer

    Furious Kerry calls Netanyahu to complain about Israeli defense minister’s remarks

    http://rt.com/usa/furious-kerry-calls-netanyahu-137/

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

    I have a very low opinion of Sen. Harry Reid. He has used his time in office to enrich himself and his family. He has regularly used the floor of the Senate to say shamefully untrue things about his political enemies. But even a person as flawed as I believe him to be is above wishing suffering death on to a person battling cancer. But it seems there is no level below which his supporters will stoop. To coin a phrase: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?’

    http://hotair.com/archives/2014/04/01/anti-obamacare-cancer-patient-attacked-by-reid-now-receiving-death-wishes-from-liberals/

    • OnPointComments

      Harry Reid is one of the most despicable members of Congress, and that’s saying something because the competition is fierce.

    • JONBOSTON

      Harry Reid is the biggest slimiest scum bag in the US Senate. The fact that the Dems have chosen him as their majority leader and Nancy Pelosi as the minority leader in the House says legions about the state of the Democratic party today.

      • Don_B1

        And Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner are such angels of virtue aren’t they?

  • Ray in VT

    Who wants to take the first nay-saying shot at the addition of 192,000 private sector jobs in March, plus upwards revisions in January and February by a further 37,000 jobs?

    • Coastghost

      Hoorah and hooray! that our market economy fares as well as it’s permitted to by zealous regulators and intervening commissars.
      Most of these jobs were found across sectors of the health-care industry, correct?

      • jefe68

        Thanks for the morning chuckle.
        Are you trying out some new comedy routines here?

      • Ray in VT

        Yes, it’s only a shame that more people don’t have the liberty to work for less. We could probably have tons more jobs if people worked for next to nothing, like companies have found that they can get people to do in places like China or Vietnam.

        Health care accounted for 10% of the March jobs.

        • Coastghost

          Good luck, Ray, trying to convince our populist royalty (Hollywood’s current crop of A-list celebrities, our celebrated divas, tunesters, and songsmiths, our top-performing professional athletes, our leading directors and producers, some of our publishers, et al.) to accept the kinds of pay-cuts they’d need to absorb in order to create extensive and solid second- and third-tier ranks of talent in these respective industries of mighty entertainment.
          I expect not to be hearing of Lord Springsteen’s or Lady Gargoyle’s abdication any time too soon.

          • Ray in VT

            I am not in favor of upper end pay limits. Perhaps you are? Changes in tax policy could affect changes if you are outraged about how much they make.

          • Coastghost

            Oh, I misconstrued your earlier post, in which you made participation in wealth distribution sound a lot like a zero-sum game, my mistake.

          • Ray in VT

            Many companies have done quite well by ditching American workers and hiring cheap foreign labor. I’m sure that the outsourcing of good paying manufacturing jobs and replacing them with lower paying service industry jobs doesn’t do anything to affect wealth distribution.

          • Coastghost

            Equally, many an A-list celebrity, pop star, conspicuous athlete, less conspicuous producer or director, sleep well most mornings knowing that competitors have been displaced or eclipsed. (Can you imagine a Hollywood studio WANTING to sign a C-list actress to an A-list contract? Nor can I.)
            These ARE the same rules of economics that American companies live with, Ray, is this not so?

          • Ray in VT

            Of course, I am totally arguing that the janitors should be making exactly the same pay as the CEO.

          • Coastghost

            As I’ve said more than twice, we have permitted “equality” to become such a self-evidence that we are unable to agree precisely on what it means or what it even suggests, much less how to implement it or enforce it.
            “Equality”? Have we not absented it from political consideration entirely by refusing to agree on what it means or can mean?

          • Ray in VT

            Not really. It depends upon what type of equality one is talking about.

            I also did not say anything about equality.

          • Don_B1

            The only way “equality” has been denigrated as a political goal is because, from the past when it was used to talk about equality of opportunity, the rightwing ideologues have consistently immediately redefined it to be equality of result rather than opportunity, because this country can be shown to grievously lack equality of opportunity and attempting to equalize opportunity means that the wealthy would have to give up some of their undeserved advantages. And therefore, in their eyes, “we” cannot have that.

            Anyone just as to read your post to see you doing just that.

            The rightwing cleverly uses the statistical means that must be used to determine how well the country provides equality of opportunity to confuse the two different ideas. They focus on the measures of inequality of opportunity to say that they call for opportunity of result, which they do not.

            The rightwing dismisses the argument, inferring that everyone who is rich definitely deserved that attainment and everyone that is not rich deserved that outcome. This is demonstrably false, but the right avoids that discussion.

          • Coastghost

            I can be glad I’m no member of the rightwing, then, if its argumentation is as lumbering as you suggest.
            I continue to argue that equality is politically incoherent, not because of any dread confusion of opportunity with outcome, but because “equality” is equally unable to confer “equal opportunities” AND “equal outcomes”.
            “Equal opportunity” CANNOT be conferred and thus cannot be believed: it’s exactly as remote from human experience as equal outcomes can be said to be distributed naturally among human populations.
            The ONLY basis for equality I discern is mortality, and I would not rush to declare it even there.

          • Don_B1

            You just confirmed my argument by repeating your previous points though in different terms.

            Of course, “equal opportunity” is elusive as there are so many different and confounding ways that it is denied to so many. But that does not make it any less an inspirational goal that needs to be strived for by all, which will redound to the benefit of all.

            Most conservatives do need to revisit the work of John Rawls, who wrote A Theory of Justice which conservatives revile with intense ad hominem arguments because it strikes at their arguments, many of which you have expressed here, for doing away with “equality”:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Theory_of_Justice

            with readings from the book here:

            http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/classes/econ362/hallam/readings/rawl_justice.

          • Coastghost

            Thanks for the invitation to Rawls, but indulging ANOTHER neo-Kantian is not high on my to-do list when I still haven’t read most of Hume.

          • Don_B1

            So you want to investigate the function of passion over rationalism? You are probably already too passionate in your beliefs, and avoid empiricism too quickly.

            Somehow transcendental idealism seems to be the source of so much ugly thinking that elevates some ideal above the real world suffering that striving to attain it yields.

            Good luck to you, but may you eventually decide to put your feet on the ground and look at what works for everyone rather than just a few.

            May you look to what is wrong with Hume as avidly as you do philosophers with whom you disagree and really think about it.

          • Coastghost

            Thank you for the kind regards, and kind regards in return.
            You can sleep well, perhaps, knowing that my anti-rational convictions preclude my becoming any kind of rational egoist.

          • Don_B1

            It is not a perfect zero-sum game, but the more the top tiers take in the less that is left for the rest. Part of that is that the growth of the pie is lessened with each increment in the portion taken by the top “earners.”

            If you have trouble acceptig that, please review the latest (book) from Piketty and Saez.

          • Coastghost

            I think you focus on the wrong segments of the economy. The zero-sum game you describe really is more of how Hollywood and the entertainment industries work: rival talent is ALWAYS being occluded or eclipsed, stars in motion all the time.
            I think most of the rest of the economy does not quite function according to the same business model, but I’ve not heard yet from Piketty and Saez.

          • Don_B1
          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB
          • Don_B1

            For all the ridiculousness of pay in Hollywood, the total earnings of actors, subject to periods of no pay, do not amount to a row of beans next to the constant earnings of the 0.01%.

            Actors’ pay scales make great headlines but are not a huge part of the U.S. economy, unlike that of the 0.1%.

          • Coastghost

            In a world of movable decimals, perhaps even the wealth accrued by Lord Springsteen really doesn’t amount to very much.
            But why would Lord Springsteen’s hundreds of millions be construed as qualitatively different from Mitt Romney’s equivalent number of hundreds of millions?
            The tens of millions that any A-list celebrity can plausibly be worth isn’t ontologically distinct from the tens of millions made by some hotshot high-frequency trader, surely: if so, exactly on what basis? Talent meets market, same result: why prefer the grubby wealth of entertainers who are profligate with botox injections and plastic surgeries and hair plants, drugs of any quality and quantity desired, all the sexual diversions, et cetera, you have interest in cultivating, all the places around the globe you can jet to while shearing away the ozone layer up above: why privilege this crowd for ITS wealth appropriation? Because they spout humanist verities?

          • Don_B1

            And how many “Lord Springsteens” are there? Even Mitt Romney’s “fortune” is small compared to that of anyone in the 0.01%.

            I have not seen the relevant income tax returns or other data on spending patterns, but my guess would be that Bruce Springsteen spends a greater portion of his wealth and income on things that benefit the 90% that those in the 0.01%, and even those in the 10%.

            Warren Buffet would be another exception.

            And that gets to your confusing the need for an individual to never do something they oppose but find an alternative that meets their requirements. Many times that is possible, say in separating their trash for proper disposal, but often it is not.

            But using something that is eventually harmful does not mean that the use of that forever should not be opposed and, if another thing needs to be made available, but will not be without people working to make it so, then everyone must minimize the use of whatever is harmful while working to make alternatives available for the nearest future possible.

          • Coastghost

            If you derived that from Piketty and Saez, you’re welcome to it.
            I simply see no cogent basis for preferring “left capitalism and left wealth” intrinsically to “right capitalism and right wealth”, if that’s the distinction you are in fact making. Populist multi-millionaires don’t necessarily impress me favorably with their philanthropies, which is virtually equivalent to my favorable impression of the philanthropies of non-populist multi-millionaires.
            The critique of wealth is whole, entire, and across the board, or it’s not. I don’t see why exemptions would be welcome, just as I see NO sign that widespread aspirations to wealth are fading from existence or history.

          • Don_B1

            You are again setting up a strawman argument. My distinction lies much more in the source and size of the wealth which is destructive for the future of this country.

            The rentier source of wealth, that predominates in the top of the top incomes (the distribution is fractal, in that the distribution looks much the same with each successive slice of the top 1% to the top 0.1% to the top 0.01%, etc.).

            Hollywood income and wealth does not have that type of inheritance with a few exceptions. The first generation does get an entry, but disappears when talent does not show up.

            When did I disparage the aspiration to wealth? Isn’t that what equality of opportunity (to get rich) all about?

            Just refusing to respond to the core of my argument does not work.

          • Coastghost

            Being no more professional economist than professional philosopher, I defer on the specifics to Professors Cowen and Tabarrok, whose summary view seems to be that the high levels of wealth you cite are not susceptible to capture through facile taxation.
            Whether wealth is effectively sequestered from the prevailing economy upon its creation, seizure, or inheritance, or just how wealth circulates or performs economically once it is “captured”, is not a question I’ve seen explicitly posed or addressed, a natural consequence of not having looked.

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      I’m sure that many of those jobs were as a result of the federal government’s wise investment in Solyndra, a veritable beacon of the wisdom of government economic policy. If only the Republicans had allowed the Democrats to make more of these kinds of investments, every American would have a high-paying climate-improving job!

      • Ray in VT

        Great non-addressing of the issue. I’m sure that, for instance, the 1,100 people who were recently hired by Chrysler to build Jeeps in America are really upset by the terrible policy of the government in making investments and loans in order to spur job creation. Maybe we can get our steel workers to labor for a dollar or two per hour or convince people to make shoes here for $60ish/month. It’s just too bad that those darned unions won’t let our people have the liberty to work for those wages.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          Actually, I did address the issue. The federal government should stay out of the way and allow the private sector to work and private parties to decide whether or not they want to invest in ventures such as Solyndra. And the government should definitely not be in the business of protecting the anti-productivity, anti-consumer unions. Workers at Volkswagen wisely voted against unionizing and realized that working with management and actually for the consumer will be the best way to protect their jobs in the long run.

          • J__o__h__n

            Government interference with a company is fine as long as it is to defeat the union.

          • Ray in VT

            I guess that you should get off of the Internet, then, seeing as how it came from a DOD project back in the 1960s. I echo J_o_h_n’s sentiment below. I will remember next week how you want me to have the liberty to work for less when I take the vacation that my evil union fought for me to have the right to have.

          • Don_B1

            Do remember that union members are also consumers and if all the workers had higher wages, as they would if they were in unions, there would be more purchasing of goods and services, even at a slightly higher price and the whole economy would benefit from that. A big part of the slow recovery has been the stagnation of wages of the 90% at the bottom of the wage scale.

            There have been bad results from some of the restrictions on the workplace when workers unionized, but these could be handled without de-unionizing. Which shows that the main objection of business owners is the higher wages that they have to pay rather than the second-order effects of running the business, although those second-order effects are not to be trivialized, as it does impact their “control-freak” natures.

    • hennorama

      Ray in VT — with the important caveat that the household survey figures are extremely volatile, the civilian labor force has increased by 1.29 million so far in the first three months of 2014, the number of employed persons has gone up by 1.156 million, and at the same time, the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) has increased by 0.4 percent.

      During the same time period, 1.3 million unemployed people lost their benefits.

      This is a very curious combination, which will require further time to determine what it means, and whether it is a trend.

      It is also rather confounding data for the Federal Reserve to consider regarding interest rates.

      • Ray in VT

        Oh, I do not tend to ascribe a great deal of importance to one particular data point, but, in general, I think that this report shows the good trend and trajectory of things in a number of areas of the job market. A lot of indicators coming out of the business community also seem positive. I just wanted to give people the chance to say how awful this report was.

    • Don_B1

      A good take on the numbers is provided by Jared Bernstein here:

      http://jaredbernsteinblog.com/jobs-report-first-impression-2/

      where the first commenter, Tom in MN posts this:

      The growth in labor force participation rate and no drop in unemployment indicates to me that the idea that there is structural unemployment is wrong and instead as the economy improves more people will come back into the labor force. This means that the unemployment rate is a poor indicator of how bad the economy really is.

      There are other worthwhile comments (and some showing ignorance) that are worth reading here.

  • Oh bummer
    • Shag_Wevera

      Baloney.

  • OnPointComments

    President Obama, who once told us that “only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation,” commented yesterday on Paul Ryan’s budget:

    “If they tried to sell this [budget] sandwich at Zingerman’s, they’d have to call it the stinkburger, or the meanwich.”

    Laughter ensued. I guess a more civil discourse means not calling anyone a poopy-head.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I’m okay with mocking irrational opponents. Anything else?

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

        So am I Stink_weaver….

    • Ray in VT

      Obama a “socialist dictator” – Randy Weber (R-Texas).

      I think that perhaps the President has just finally realized who and what he is up against from the other side of the aisle.

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — plus the obvious consideration that, especially during his first term, he wants to avoid being characterized as an “angry black man.”

        • OnPointComments

          I doubt anyone would characterize President Obama as an “angry black man.” He’s far too clean and articulate for that characterization.

          • hennorama

            OPC — thank you for your response.

            While your reference is very droll, it does not counter President Obama’s not wanting to be characterized as an “angry black man.”

          • sickofthechit

            If you are willing to have your eyes opened, might I suggest a jaunt to nearly any small hamlet here in Kentucky?

          • Don_B1

            I am sure that most of Mississippi and Louisiana contain a majority of individuals equally likely to evince such characterizations! And a lot of the other red states are there also.

    • sickofthechit

      In his first two years in office I wrote dozens of letter to President Obama. I always addressed them “Dear B.O.” or “Dear Stinky” (I figured it was probably his secret service handle).
      It was a term of affection, then frustration, when they didn’t immediately implement any of my great ideas. charles a. bowsher

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    During our anti-Rule of Law nap after the Wall St Fiasco……the market got more rigged! Who woulda thunk it?!

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-03/marc-cubans-primer-hft-idiots

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-31/market-rigged-michael-lewis-explains-how-hfts-screw-investors-every-day

    Dodd Frank Blah Blah Blah, pure political cover and more beurocratic power grab……

    Meanwhile High Frequency Traders PAY the Exchanges for PHYSICAL PROXIMITY to the super computers, LITERALLY because the shorter cable length lets them see market data faster than other traders (institutional, IRAs, Pensions, etc.) and they can SEE “dumb” orders, buy low before, sell higher to dumb in nanoseconds, GUARANTEEING profits.

    They PAY for the opportunity for a no risk SKIM.

    Where is the outrage? That kind of access is EXACTLY the kind of stuff that Dem and Repub collusion with Wall St donors creates, and that they ignore but is absolutely anti-equal treatment under transparent playing field rules.

    And we think Hillary will clean that up?

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Can we please get the non-sensical response about out how pro-free market, transparant Rule of Law, libertarian principles, as opposed to corrupt, discretionary, rule of men “oversight” and empty legislation to create DC jobs but ensure loopholes for political allies is to blame?

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Jonathan Pollard, who took matters into his own hands in spying on the U.S. government, should be kept in jail for the rest of his life. Releasing him will accomplish nothing in the way of moving the peace process forward (the only thing that can do that is for Israel to stop building additional settlements). And speaking of putting traitors in prison for the rest of their life, Edward Snowden should join him.

    • J__o__h__n

      Pollard should not be released. Neither side wants peace.

  • OnPointComments

    Forget McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. It’s pennies compared to where the really big money in politics is:

    Excerpt:

    …what often goes unnoticed or is, in fact, tolerated, is a different sort of corruption that is far more common than millionaires purchasing members of Congress…the ability of incumbent politicians to raid the public treasury for expenditures to buy the votes of certain constituencies is not only legal, it is the most decisive form of campaign finance available.

    …Landrieu, who is seeking a fourth term in the Senate, has been lavishing some of New Orleans’ white suburbs—whose swing voters will probably decide the election—with a deluge of federal money, including a loan forgiveness provision inserted into a Homeland Security Appropriations bill, and every manner of post-Hurricane Katrina disaster funding known to the federal government…Mary Landrieu is buying more votes in Louisiana with taxpayer money than any Republican with access to the checkbooks of the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson ever could.
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/

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

      The Truth will out…

    • brettearle

      The Senators in the story, Graham and McCain, have lost all credibility with any part of the informed public, who are reasonably objective and sophisticated in their understanding of public issues.

      Ever since the current President has been in office, these two slime-balls have been going after the White House with monstrously petty or inaccurate swipes.

      It has reached the point where we even have to put up with objections, from one of them, as to the kind of bus Obama travels in.

      They’re pathetic.

      • Oh bummer

        I agree with you. Graham and McCain are war-mongers who should have been voted out of office a long time ago.

    • damnspot

      Well, let’s look at the record: Kerry tried to get a Syria accord – nope; Kerry tried to get Russian to back off of Crimea – nope; Kerry has tried three times to get an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord – nope.

      But by the Democrats’ standard, McCain has no credibility.

      • Oh bummer

        Agreed

      • red_donn

        The impotence of the US in certain world affairs hardly gives McCain a leg up. If the selection of Sarah Palin as VP, or photo-op with members of a terrorist organization in Syria in his efforts to show how we can sort out the mess, don’t hint at a detachment from reality, then I’m not sure what would.

        Kerry is unable to get Russia to back off, mostly because the US has very little leverage. We won’t go to war over Crimea and our trade only makes up 2% of the Russian economy – what threats could we bring? Putin has utilized the military to boost popularity in such situations several times before, and without a material backlash the simple calculus remains in his favor.

      • sickofthechit

        you forgot, McCain is a great singer.

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

    So many people in politics are truly, blissfully, un-self-aware.

    FTA:
    Perhaps lacking the most in McCabe’s presentation was any sense of irony or self-awareness. According to one recent report, AFT has been the 12th-largest contributor to candidates and outside spending groups in America over the last quarter-century, shelling out $37 million to support Democratic candidates almost exclusively. Further, WDC is a liberal lobbying group that advocates for progressive reforms while refusing to disclose its donors, and McCabe himself is a registered lobbyist.

    Thus, this cavalcade of hypocrisy comprised one state special interest group explaining to another super-wealthy special interest group that the influence of special interest groups is ruining democracy. These groups think they are the innocent Penelope Pussycat being terrorized by Pepe le Pews of the right, but, in fact, they are all skunks.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/the-lefts-own-law-factories-b99237031z1-253465591.html

  • JONBOSTON

    Tom Ashbrook:

    The mainstream media is fixated that 7.1 million people have ” enrolled” in Obamacare. Surprising isn’t it that the administration is able to come up with such a precise figure when for the past 6 months they can’t tell the American public how many have paid, demographic break out of “enrollees”, percentage of people who lost their coverage and then enrolled in Obamacare, number of newly insured , etc.
    As far as I’m concerned , the only important stat that the mainstream media and public should be concerned with is the number of newly insured–which was the reported purpose for this travesty. If it is as low as 1.0m as some reports have said , then this confirms that Obamacare has been a disaster. To upset our entire healthcare marketplace to enroll a million or more people while 35-40m remain uninsured is insanity.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Question for panelists: will you now act upon your constitutionally protected right to donate $3.5M every two years to political candidates? Any strings attached to your “generosity”?

  • TFRX

    Will On Point cover the revelation that GOP leaders admitting that

    getting voters in long lines and getting others to abandon voting altogether was designed by Florida Republicans to inhibit Democratic voters

    ?

    I’m surprised someone said this out loud on that side. Not surprised about it being a “feature, not a bug”.

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/early-voting-curbs-called-power-play/nTFDy/

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Just the flip side of encouraging illegal immigration amnesty and entitlements to grow the Dem roles/vote.

      Are you really surprised by smarmy political pragmatism?

      Good ol hyprocrisy never seemed to bother you before…..

      These are side issues that let the D-R status quo distract and continue ad infinitum.

      I guess that’s our role here though, continue the distractions and protect the party.

      • TFRX

        Your newfound fascination, needing to say something in favor about those keeping people from the franchise, is duly noted.

  • Coastghost

    Obama crows that 47 million Americans without health insurance coverage remain uninsured as of 1 April 2014. Hoorah, hooray for Obamafraud.

  • Oh bummer

    US drone strike kills 78 in Somalia

    http://presstv.com/detail/204501.html

    • hennorama

      Oh, this keeps getting dumber and number:

      “About PressTV

      Press TV takes revolutionary steps as the first Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis.

      Our global Tehran-based headquarters is staffed with outstanding Iranian and foreign media professionals.

      Press TV is extensively networked with bureaus located in the world’s most strategic cities.”

      See:
      http://presstv.com/about.html

      [PS: the linked item is from Oct. 2011 you Determinedly Ignorant "Real Truther".]

      • Oh bummer

        Sorry,

        I’m not willing to give Obama a pass for KILLING 78 innocent civilians in Somalia as you clearly are.

        As the Irish MP declared in the Irish Parliament:

        ‘Obama is a war criminal.’

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Had the Founding fathers had the median age of the members of the current Supreme Court, there never would have been a United States of America. We’d still be a conservative, moribund, landed-gentry, English colony. Rule Geriatrics!

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I had a dream; one day we’d build safe, practical, affordable, handsome motor vehicles that everyone would want to drive.
    –The NEXT General Motors CEO

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    Of all the photos available, why use that photo? A woman embracing the boot of a man.

  • damnspot

    Fort Hood: one of our most rigidly-enforced gun-free zones. How’s that working out?

    • Don_B1

      While the military does offer marksman badges, military training does not rely on marksmanship, which is why military weapons always have automatic modes, where the soldier “wins” by putting more bullets to the enemy than vice versa.

      So how many would have been killed/injured in the resulting crossfire if all the people on the base were armed. Remember the incident in New York City where police officers wounded five civilians while firing at a man who had shot someone a few blocks away?

      If you would take this seriously, it might be a revelation:

      http://www.salon.com/2014/04/05/5_things_conservatives_lie_about_shamelessly_partner/

      but that would cause a big case of cognitive dissonance.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    As I preface any comments that I make on the AHA, it is in my personal interest for it to work. I think that the president should avoid claiming “Mission Accomplished” moments. Until we know what the mix of people who signed up is (what percentage are young invincibles who will help subsidize those who consume disproportionately more health insurance dollars), how many of those who signed up were newly insured vs. the result of their employers dropping their plan or their insurer cancelled their plan, and how all of this impacts the 2015 insurance rates and willingness of providers to provide services in light of reductions in reimbursement rates, it is far too early to claim success. Unless, they believe that this is the only opportunity they will have to claim success. What will the total spending on healthcare be under AHA vs. the former system? Is it actually reducing cost, or just adding to the deficit which few politicians, especially on the left, actually care about?

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

    106 comments before the broadcast even starts…

    And almost none of them on this week’s news.

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

      I exchange a few pleasantries with another commentator and your hackles get up? Weellll! excuuuusee! Meeee!

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

        Yes, it is all about you …

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

          I see, I didn’t wish you a good morning and you are feeling left out. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to slight you. Perhaps it is not too late and we can start in a more friendly way.

          Nice to see you here Mr. Blanchard. I hope all is well with you. Perhaps we can meet for drinks later, I remember a place called Sitting Bulls that was nice.

    • jefe68

      Well, the right wingers are here to tell the liberals what’s what. They do seem to be very dedicated to removing all doubt om being nothing short of fools.

    • J__o__h__n

      We didn’t get the weekly abortion/gay news/natural disaster update. I hope Ed is enjoying a vacation.

  • MrNutso

    Everywhere Jack, except in the chambers of the legislature.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Fort Hood = a free fire zone. Long live our war in Vietnam.

  • Oh bummer

    Irish MP slams West for supporting ‘right-wing, semi-fascist’ forces in Ukraine

    http://rt.com/news/mp-attacks-ukraine-policy-365/

    • creaker

      It’s what happens when you do that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” stuff. When we were fighting fascists we were supporting communists.

      • Oh bummer

        History has a strange way of repeating itself.

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

          …first as tragedy then as farce…

    • hennorama

      Homer Bum — using Russia Today as a source again I see.

      You sure have a knack for picking ‘em.

      • Oh bummer

        I really don’t care about the source, I care a lot more about what the Irish MP said,

        The West (Obama), is supporting violent neo-fascists in Ukraine.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    We had Lopez in the shop.
    –Lt. Gen Milo Q. Wackobird, Commanding

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    I’ve got it! Lets mandate mental health evaluations in the next version of Obamacare, and be sure the Federal Government has access to those records, so that the Constitutional Rights of suspicious people can be promptly removed. NSA can help.

    That kind of thing would never be abused.

    Of course politicians of “good parties” and the well connected would be exempt, or get waivers.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    US Senate Democrats. Cowards in Residence.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The world’s greatest army can’t protect itself. Too difficult. Too demanding. Too expensive. Too time consuming.

    Too many excuses. From generals.

  • Oh bummer

    Irish MP declares in the Irish Parliament:

    ‘Obama is a war criminal’, and ‘hypocrite of the century’

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1wh2wA_BDk

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Who is working to have people not have health insurance?

    People are working against Government mangling of Health Sector.

    People aren’t as gullible any more to Obamas false rhetoric.

  • Coastghost

    Obamafraud seems positioned to serve as a springboard for the Democrats straight to the bottom of a deep and water-free swimming pool. They are welcome to perform just as many pirouettes as they are capable of prior to reaching the bottom.

  • damnspot

    The shooter at Ft. Hood was stopped by whom?
    A woman with a gun.
    What’s the lesson here?

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      There is no lesson. We have no idea why he decided to kill people, we have no idea why he decided to put a bullet in his head rather than trying to put one in hers.

    • sickofthechit

      How did she “stop” him if he put a bullet in his own head?

      • damnspot

        She drew her pistol and was ready to shoot him. Without her intervention he would have continued shooting.

    • red_donn

      If more people having guns kept people safe, then wouldn’t an army base be one of the safer places in America? Instead, mentally deranged individuals have utilized the weaponry to kill trained individuals on multiple occassions. I’d venture to say that the availability of high-level firearms to all people in these situations gives us some insight into the dangers.

      Perhaps the most cited study I’m aware of that indicated firearms are a greater cause of preventing harm than causing it was a self-reported one drawn from an NRA magazine, then extrapolated to the public. An absolute horrorshow in terms of statistical relevance, yet it is one of the four most cited studies by the NRA, and therefore gun advocates in general. Two more of the top four have now been likewise discredited for utilizing selective data, including removing various states and manipulating the correlation with the crack epidemic.

      I’ll leave aside the mention of heavily armed ghettos, since the people there are probably not considered “good people” by NRA advocates. It’s telling, as Smiley pointed out, that the NRA didn’t come out to say that Trayvon Martin would still be alive if he had a gun in his possession when Zimmerman stalked him.

      • damnspot

        You just haven’t been paying attention, have you? Private firearms are prohibited on all army bases in the USA and new restrictions were added after the ’09 shooting. This is an example of how well gun-free zones work.

        • red_donn

          Military bases still have a greater presence of firearms than, say, a public square. I consider it imperative to note that one of the locations most associated with firearms and combat training in America has been subject to repeated atrocities. This correlation should not be blatantly taken to support the gun-advocacy groups. Indeed, the Army Chief of Staff has already come out against allowing more weapons on base. Rather, the question of mental instability and the ability to pre-empt threats is raised each time:

          http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/04/03/shooting-renews-debate-on-private-weapons-on-base.html

          As cited above, one can just more easily argue it was the intense protections surrounding his private rights to weapon ownership that made way for this shooting. One person pointing a gun at him at the end doesn’t mitigate the rest of the episode, particularly in light of the many other mass shootings ending in suicides.

          It is important to consider, however, the point that you make. Army bases and schools have been the targets many times, which could lead one to argue it is the lack of weapons in both places that contribute to the attacks. However, I’d point to the psychological associations of these places as being a greater determinant of why they are targeted.

          • damnspot

            You don’t know how many weapons are at hand in a public square but we know how many are available at a military base: none. The fact that soldiers train there may strike you as ironic but the fact remains that you may have more armed people in a public square and if I were there I would be one of them.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Is Obamacare the best mechanism for maximum health care access and effectiveness and affordability?

    We are not allowed to ask that anymore.

  • AF_Whigs

    The “mass shootings” that happen in our society – seemingly in increasing numbers, but I haven’t looked into that aspect of it – are always tragic and always unexpected. I am exasperated by the constant search for “motive”. I strongly believe that that is irrelevant. These are people who probably have considered suicide but decide to “leave their mark” by going out with a news-making event. Their motive, most often (I believe), is simply to kill themselves in a more astonishing fashion than offing themselves in their living room.

    These are disturbed individuals. Our society has easy access to guns. Things like this are obviously going to continue to happen.

    The one thing I’d like to see – one thing that SHOULD happen – is that the media needs to stop publicizing and constantly repeating the names of the shooters. That’s what they wanted. How many Sandyhook victims are known by name? I don’t know any off the top of my head, but I’ve heard the shooter’s name countless times.

    We should memorialize and mourn the victims and stop sensationalizing the shooters.

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

      Why has Australia had zero mass shootings in over a decade?

      • sickofthechit

        Maybe you should type that in all caps and they might be able to “hear” you.

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

    John McCormack says that no one is working against the ACA.

    Yeah, right.

    Whatever the number of people who now have (better) healthcare – it is more than had it before the ACA.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      He said against people getting health insurance/health care.

      Is that conflation deliberate or subconscious?

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

        Difference without a distinction …

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Are you serious? I fear you are, and so many think that way.

          Being against Obamacare/ACA is being against healthcare.

  • TFRX

    There’s just something weird about someone from the Weekly Standard, who spread their share of now-debunked horror stories, talking about “we’ll see if the public accepts it” and “now let’s have the debate”.

    Hahahaha.

    Tom, where’s the liberal to counteract the Weekly Standard guy?

    And every GOP counterproposal to the ACA is laughable.

    • hennorama

      TFRX — I’m not sure that all of the Republican Obamacare alternative plans are laughable, but the fact that there is no comprehensive proposal that they can agree on might be.

      And of course, their “the third time, plus another 4 dozen or so times, is the charm” efforts regarding repeal of the PPACA are beyond silly at this point.

      • HonestDebate1

        It’s actually only six times, you are spreading propaganda.

        • sickofthechit

          It’s 51, or do you mean how many different sessions of Congress the house has voted to repeal the Affordable Health Act. Then I think you might be right at 6.

          • HonestDebate1

            There have been 6 votes to repeal Obamacare, that’s all. It’s just an untrue marching order you received.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Question for panelists.

    How about that Cuban twitter youngsters-to-the-barricades revolution stuff orchestrated by the “plumbers” in the White House basement? And no one now claims to know about it. Not the members of Congress. Not the State Department. I wonder if the CBO scored it.

  • Jo Bleaux

    Don’t believe a word Bobby Jindal says! For years he’s been doing his best to destroy his own state to earn creds with the Tea Party in his quest for the presidency.

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

      He defends free speech – until he is criticized.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        and then what, did he throw someone in jail? Stick the state tax collector on someone?

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

          He is suing in court. He is trying to intimidate political speech – a billboard that points out how he is denying ~242,000 of his constituents healthcare.

          Nice guy – and definitely not stupid.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      And all those stupid racists keep voting for him!

      (sarcasm)

      • Jo Bleaux

        Sarcasm noted. But, from what I’ve been reading and seeing first-hand, they wouldn’t vote for him again. He sanctimoniously pandered to the conservative social values of his constituents while sharpening his knife all the while.

        Now that they’re feeling the loss of blood, people are catching on to him.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Will be interesting to see. I don’t really follow him and don’t know if he sincerely stands for anything or not.

  • creaker

    One thing that doesn’t get mentioned a lot – after the crash when many young folks were unable to find real jobs, they were able to get onto or remain on their parent’s healthcare. Under old system they would have been SOL.

  • Pax Bobrow

    This is the new feudalism. Up the armament of every citizen so that people live in fear and cluster around the most ruthless people who consolidate their ownership and power, until Democracy, which was once the greatest concept to escape Feudalism, is utterly destroyed.

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

      You missed the turn off on the “Road to Serfdom.” Private Property is the only protection from Feudalism.

      • Pax Bobrow

        Many homes are only theoretically owned by the homeowners. The banks own the note. It doesn’t take much in a person’s life to tip over into no longer “owning” their home.

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

          That is a fair point. But it ignores the larger problem of those Government programs that lower standards for lending and created the Housing Bubble. Today a similar bubble is being inflated in higher education, to the tune of $1 trillion. When it bursts it will cause even more economic suffering. All because some politicians had to buy votes to win election.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Jindal’s “high risk”pool is the antithesis of the way insurance works. The ONLY way insurance works is when the pool is large and all encompassing.

    I doubt his plan and any idea he has of becoming President will go far.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Where is the Supreme Court taking America?
    –Tom Ashbrook

    Back to the gilded age. So who is Boss Tweed nowadays? And where is Ida Tarbell when we need her?

  • Coastghost

    But, Tom Ashbrook: Democrats CANNOT and WILL NOT be rebuked for hypocrisy in accepting contributions the Republicans are self-consistent in accepting.
    Democratic morality is SO untainted and pristine, it’s hard to appreciate it properly without bodily prostration and veneration.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Why are people saying “not repealable”? Our representatives can enact/retract whatever we want them to with the bounds of Constitutionality.

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

    Has anyone the panel read Mr. Koch’s op-ed? Can they explain why the party they work for has spent so much trying to villainize him? Is it just because he hasn’t given them money?

    FTA:

    I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.

    Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.

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

      The Koch’s are model citizens. Of some dystopia.

      • Oh bummer

        The same could be said about George Soros.

    • jefe68

      I dare say that the Koch brothers are not what one wold call saints. They have spent a lot of time and money trying to do away with environmental regulations and laws just to boost their bottom line. If they had their way the EPA would cease to exist. Which is ironic as it was started when Nixon was in the oval office.

      In short, they have earned the vitriol aimed at them for a reason.

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

        FTA:
        Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”

        Our refineries have consistently ranked among the best in the nation for low per-barrel emissions. In 2012, our Total Case Incident Rate (an important safety measure) was 67% better than a Bureau of Labor Statistics average for peer industries. Even so, we have never rested on our laurels. We believe there is always room for innovation and improvement.

        Can you provide evidence that they are working to eliminate the EPA

        • jefe68

          Yep, they back candidates that has openly called for the EPA to be dismantled.

          Those in favor of saying goodbye to the EPA include former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, elected officials like Republican Representatives Mike Rogers and David McKinley to name a few.

          I beg to differ on the environmental record, especially being that Koch industries is a conglomerate is made up of over 20 companies.

          The Political Economy Research Institute ranks Koch Industries as the tenth worst air polluter in the U.S. in their Toxic Release Inventory. CARMA reports that Koch releases about 200,000 tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide annually.

          http://www.polluterwatch.com/koch-industries

    • damnspot

      The Koch villains support WGBH with millions, support cancer research with tens of millions, and have done more for charity than all their whining critics combined.

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

        They can’t buy credibility.

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

          But they have bought my support for legalized pot…

        • Oh bummer

          Can George Soros?

    • OnPointComments

      It isn’t just the Koch brothers who are under attack by Democrats.

      I can’t recall another time in history when we’ve had a president, his administration, and members of Congress publicly villifying specific individuals by name, specific companies by name, and groups of people in general. President Obama promised to bring the country together; he has not only failed, he has purposely done precisely the opposite.

      President Obama regularly villifies the rich. His campaign named individuals on its website and slurred their reputations, then government agencies retaliated against the named individuals.

      Harry Reid, always unrestrained by any allegiance to the truth, regularly excoriates the Koch brothers by name. Chuck Schumer has joined Reid. Other members of Congress are sure that Walmart is the greatest threat to the country. Congress has a hearing to chastise Caterpillar for taking advantage of the tax law that was passed by Congress, yet no one in the hearing can name one law that Caterpillar has broken, nor explain why IRS audits of Caterpillar found nothing wrong.

      The Democrats are definitely not interested in “only a more civil and honest public discourse.”

    • hennorama

      RWB — without comment as to Mr. Koch’s opinions, you are aware that a member of the panel, John McCormack, works for The Weekly Standard, right?

      (Not to mention that the others are not employed by any political party.)

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Are you sure? There is an NBC political reporter on the panel — bought and owned by the D party.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    General Electorate pays taxes. General Electric doesn’t.

  • MrNutso

    A great idea Nathan. However, amendments originate in the Congress. We can all guess how far that will go.

  • OMA_OPINES

    The first two, perhaps three topics of discussion reveal the sickness of America. Dear NRA – there are NO GOOD MEN!! We all, if we are honest, see the potential for violence in ourselves. And as the Legislators in Georgia and the continuing attacks on the ACC show, many, MANY in this land will defend to the death their RIGHT to kill their Neighbor but will not share one nickel to care for them by helping them obtain health care. Then unlimited money to spread lies in support of these issues and other fear-mongering. God have mercy on America.

  • creaker

    I get so tired of the “repeal Obamacare” with a black hole as the replacement (you have to approve it to find what’s in it). It’s like your utility saying it’s going to shut down their only running new electric plant because some people don’t like it.

    • HonestDebate1

      Things will improve immediately on many levels upon repeal. First things first.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        I trust that you will send me money so my 21 Y/O daughter with preexisting conditions can buy health insurance if the ACA is repealed and we go back to the “good old days” of health insurance.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          So f– the rest of the country as long as you have yours?

          Great attitude.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            Quite the opposite. There is no valid reason ANY member of a family should not be able to be on a “family” policy, regardless of age. What difference does it make if your child is 5 or 35?

            I support Universal Health Care. EVERYONE should be able to get general health care regardless of their financial status. Medicare for all if you like. Supplemental private insurance for those that need and can afford it.

            Prior to the ACA, the only people with health insurance were those who:
            - Were eligible for Medicare/Medicaid
            - Worked for companies that provided it (regardless of pre-existing conditions)
            - Had enough money to buy it in the very expensive individual pool of 1 private market. And, as hennorama said, IF the FOR PROFIT of the execs and shareholders of the insurance company would even sell you a policy.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I retracted my previous comment — an overreaction (you probably can’t see it w/o a refresh).

            I do think a single payer system would be better than Obamacare but I also think there are much better ways to lower costs AND improve outcomes.

            Your proposal for family plan is interesting. Logically, you would have to pay more for such plan. Right?

            Good luck.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            “Your proposal for family plan is interesting. Logically, you would have to pay more for such plan. Right?”

            To a point, yes. I already pay based on the number of people I cover, including my 2 adult “children”, my wife and myself. But there is an “interesting” and illogical “plus 3 or more” pricing.

            That means I pay the same as a couple with 10 kids. Now HOW does that make sense?? Those 8 extra kids are surely going to use more medical services (in general) and cost the insurance company more than 8 NON existing kids!

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I agree with you on the 3+. That is why the actuaries get the ‘big’ bucks or it may have more to do with state regulations?

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            No idea. I suppose you can make the argument that the bigger the pool, the less likely a certain percentage will have a claim in a given year which is why Single Payer IS the way to go – one pool of 314 million people. No “small or no pool” insured subsidizing the insurance and actual charges of the “big pool” insured.

            But 12 is NOT a big pool and a greater percentage of 10 siblings in the same house are more likely to get sick with the same disease (I’m thinking seasonal flu, etc) than 10 “generic” unrelated people. And 10 kids means 10 “well baby” visits a year.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I understand the arguments FOR single payer and that there would be many pluses. If you can get over depending on central planning and a bureaucracy from running anything efficiently (the Feds NEVER run anything efficiently) I still have an issue with how a single payer will stifle medical innovation. If we do end up with single payer, I hope it is NEVER run by the Feds. It should be run by the states or maybe a regional authority similar to the way the electric grid is administered regionally. It is the classic efficiency vs. accountability argument.

            We may have the most expensive healthcare in the world but the world depends on US innovation. Even with Obamacare R&D on medical devices is down.

            I would much prefer systemic changes to open up transparency on both health care costs and outcomes so free market forces can lower costs dramatically like they did with optional procedures like Lasik.

          • sickofthechit

            Please don’t say the Feds can’t run anything. The Post office is awesome. They are the most secure form of communication in the country. Ask Former President Jimmy Carter. Additionally, their prices are cheaper than fedx or ups even though they have been saddled the last four our so years with a draconinian retiree funding requirement courtesy of the repugnicans in CONgress..charles a. bowsher

          • hennorama

            sickofthechit — I consider it something of a minor miracle that I can send a physical object hundreds or thousands of miles away at a cost of less than a half dollar.

            I also have a semi-subversive way in which I support the USPS:

            I return all the unsolicited offers I receive, in the Business Reply Mail envelopes that come with the unsolicited offers (after writing NO in big and bold letters across the printed offer response card).

          • hennorama

            WftC — good on ya.

            Here’s hoping more of us will publicly admit our errors/overreactions/changes of heart.

        • hennorama

          BHA_in_Vermont — first off, best wishes regarding your daughter’s health.

          That said, your comment presumes that your daughter could get health insurance if we go back to the “good old days.”

        • HonestDebate1

          She’s your kid, pony up.

          • jefe68

            What a coward you are. Maybe you should keep your lousy backward ideas to yourself sometimes.

      • creaker

        As long as you’re content to sit in the dark as long as it takes until they agree on something else…

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    I think if this episode in our history, where Obama and supporters said, “look nothing is being done, we are going to ram this home with total partisan support, in order to advance the real debate, make the stakes higher”, leads to a better system following repeal/alteration of the current thing, due to the masses getting more educated about the pros cons of government and market etc, it will be a good thing.

    I don’t think that is their goal however, the growth in the DC machine this thing brought with all the loopholes and waivers (lawyers) and micromanagement needs will be a cancer difficult to remove.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    You wouldn’t know ACA is the law in Pittsburgh. UPMC and Highmark are in an advertising war. Shouldn’t they be forced to lay down their assault weapons and make peace.. under provisions of the law?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Robber barons = Gilded Age.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    I would be interested in seeing the questions asked with regard to “had the ACA helped your family” poll. If it is that generic, a LOT of people equate the ACA with the website not the function.

    If they asked “is your child aged 19 to 26 on your insurance” the number who answer yes is likely to be a lot higher than the 10% who said the ACA has helped their family. By default those people WERE helped by the ACA.

    • TFRX

      Oh, there are a lot of holes with that poll.

      I’m tired of reading about people who say “I didn’t look at it but I know it’s bad for me. I rebooted my computer while trying to sign up, what’s wrong with that website? My premiums went down and my preexisting condiitions are covered, but my Pullman-style company coverage is better, somehow.”

      Too many asterisks to count. And none of them are getting discussed.

  • Government_Banking_Serf
    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      I take with both hands. –Chuck Schumer

  • Oh bummer

    Obama fears NYC nuclear attack, but he again proposes to cut budget for city’s protection

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/obama-calls-cut-funds-protecting-nyc-article-1.1734773

    Obama is worried about a nuke attack on NYC, but he wants to cut the funding that might prevent such an attack? That’s really stupid, even for Obama. And after all Obama did to help al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria, it obviously didn’t buy him any love or gratitude from the jihadists.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Robber barons. YES. We want to call them that.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Tom, while on the topic of Pay to Play, how about the High Frequency Trading in the news lately?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Don’t confuse McCutcheon ruling with the NL MVP for 2013. Different bloke. For one thing, Andrew works for his money. Then again, he’s also a Pirate.

  • John Roberts

    Citizens United was the final nail in the coffin. Now the privileged few are gleefully digging the grave for free & fair elections and a government that represents ‘we, the people’.

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

      Citizens United = Dred Scott x 10.

      • damnspot

        Yes. Free speech is too great a burden to bear.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Why do the hard work of self governing, when someone else can do it for us?

          Save us China, please!

  • creaker

    “robber barons, if we want to call them that”

    funny – when I grew up many years ago, that’s how they were labeled in the history books – but they’ll probably “fix” that

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Under SCOTUS, money is speech. So yes, they will whiteout the scurrilous charges.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Right, because after they got FILTHY rich with their tactics, driving others out of business, they got “ethics religion” and became philanthropists.

  • J__o__h__n

    Why didn’t Microsoft resurrect Clippy?

    • http://onpoint.wbur.org/about-on-point/sam-gale-rosen Sam Gale Rosen

      Because he is the enemy of all right-thinking Americans.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Because killing ANNOYING AS HELL Clippy is the best thing MS has ever done. Then Google comes out with their new maps and what do we get? ANNOYING AS HELL Pegman. What WERE they thinking??

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    When did pledge drive get associated with the word “interminable”?

    • J__o__h__n

      Next month is the Mother’s Day flower sale which they don’t mention when trying to get you to give now so they can skip the June fundraiser. I don’t mind the asking between segments, but what it the point of listening when so much of the shows are replaced with constant begging?

      • olderworker

        Not to mention all those spots from their endorsers or whatever they’re called.

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

      Did you give money to WBUR?

      • HonestDebate1

        Every American does.

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

    The rich have more of a voice than the poor. No duh!

    So the solution is to let the rich have an even stronger voice?

    • Coastghost

      I hear the logic at work: populist Lord Springsteen equipped with a $300 million voice will have greater range and vocal quality than populist Lord Springsteen with only a $200 million voice.
      The logic of American populism at work.

      • creaker

        a Lord Springsteen with a $200 million voice will have greater range than 2 million people that can’t scrape together $100 a piece for contributions to speak in a single voice.

        • Coastghost

          Is THAT how much his tickets go for these days? Not that I’m so surprised, but STILL . . . . (I no longer attend concerts, though, he may be poormouthing, for all I know).

      • TFRX

        You don’t like Bruce.

        We get it.

        The more you say it, the less persuasive it gets.

        • Coastghost

          If it affords any consolation, I am chortling just hard enough to choke right now.
          My apologies to each and all who follow my argumentation every bit as closely as TFRX does.

    • creaker

      They can only get so loud. Eventually the rich will use their money to get their government cronies to suppress the other voices.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Let people waste their money in the political pit.

    Do we really arrogantly think everyone else but we, are too dumb to see through political ads and political alliances and to know who politician A B or C is really representing?

    Until voters rise up against the Status Quo and Incumbents, it just doesn’t matter.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Afghanistan. Outside of the Beltway, NOTHING is at stake for the American people. Except pocketing some spending and fewer disturbed soldiers wandering around with loaded assault weapons.

  • Coastghost

    Never release Pollard without demanding and receiving Snowden. That might be close to a fair trade.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    That’s how we got out Vietnam. We just left.
    Thanks much.. Vietnam-era Draftee/Veteran

  • olderworker

    Why are you guys talking about Benghazi? There seem to be a lot of other talking points in today’s show.

  • TFRX

    Re the wax cylinder of laughing from long ago.

    If you really, really want to hear someone lauging on an old record, go to this at the internet archive.

    Our greatest scientific minds have yet to determine what psychoactive consumables resulted in this failed take of a man trying to play a trumpet.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Israel-Palestine. Two cousins of the same tribe fighting over the same small, dusty, scrap of dirt. Move ON.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    GM killed 13 people. I do not care how many times their new CEO says “I’m sorry”. I want to know WHO made the decision to NOT replace the ignition switches after people started dying. THOSE people should be in jail. I don’t care if the replacement was $0.99 or $999, they should have been replaced given the potential risk.

    • OnPointComments

      The families of the victims of the GM ignition switch have my sympathy. The stories of these victims are tragic enough without any additional hyping up, as is happening in some instances.

      Two days ago I was listening to an interview on NPR with a mother who says her daughter was killed by the GM faulty ignition switch. The 8-10 minute interview focused on how bad the mother thinks GM is, but for 15 seconds in the interview the mother was asked “Are you sure that your daughter’s death was caused by the ignition switch, and not by the fact that she was drinking and driving, going at excessive speed, and not wearing a seatbelt?” The mother said she was sure.

      It made me wonder why NPR had bothered with this particular interview.

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

      They should recall *all* SUV’s, because they have deadly faults that have killed thousands of people. Like high Cg (center of gravity) and virtually no crash tests.

  • SteveTheTeacher

    Best comment I heard on the McCutcheon ruling was:

    - The first amendment guarantees free speech, but it doesn’t grant equality in the ability to speak.

    What next?

    - One man, one vote, doesn’t imply that a vote by a non-wealthy person is given as much weight as the vote of a wealthy person.

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

      Originally, only land-owning white men could vote.

      We are trying to close that circle?

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        That was my thought yesterday as well.

        Those in power want to keep power so naturally the 18th through mid 19th century land holding RELIGIOUS (and the RIGHT religion in any given area) adult white men who could vote worked hard to make sure it stayed that way. It took a majority of them to decide that non land holders could vote. Of course that didn’t include women and they enacted literacy test to exclude groups of people.

  • sickofthechit

    GM should have to publicly admit that the Edward Norton scene in “Fight Club” where he is explaining to his female seat mate how car recalls are “calculated” by the Big Three. They have a formula that puts a value on the number of lives expected to be lost from the defect, then compare it to the cost of the recall. If curing the defect is calculated as a higher cost, they avoid the recall and pay for the lawsuits. It is a fantastic scene about 20 minutes in if I remember right. I’ll update later with more specific timing or a link. charles a. bowsher

    • hennorama

      sickofthechit — you’re forgetting the First Rule of Value of Preventable Deaths vs. Cost Of Fixing The Defect Club.

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

        = Obamacare Death Panels

        • BHA_in_Vermont

          There were never any “death panels”. A concept made up by the likes of Sarah Palin.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Ok, not-supporting-life-anymore panels.

            Rationing will occur, by economics, by legislation by the people, or by unaccountable discretionary panels.

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

            That’s rich…
            http://youtu.be/tDnvmOQDkkw

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            The insurance companies already decide what they will and will not cover, they are the de facto “death panels”.

            If you watch the video you linked you will see they talk about not covering treatments that are NOT effective, NOT deciding who gets to live and who does not. Yet that is what Palin et al spun the “death panel” to be.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Registered gun owners first to have their “ineffective” medicines taken away.

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

            Or Black people. Or Christians. Or Gays or who ever didn’t vote for the political bosses or owns something that they want.

            I wrote about this:http://www.righttorefuseamendment.com/obamacare-is-discrimination-and-oppression/

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Well, the Dems are going to in power forever more, hadn’t you heard? Don’t worry about that stuff……

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

            I’m not a worrier…
            I’m a happy warrior standing up for Peace Prosperity and Freedom.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            This stuff is nonsense. Do you know how fast research and medical tech is evolving? Did we just have a show on the Sat Fat/Cholesterol 50 year misguided recommendations feeding us diabetes inducing sugar and carbs instead?

            McGovern Report to Death Panels, are you kidding?

            Todays bureaucrat/technocrats are smarter, better versions of yesterdays?

            What a recipe for disaster and outrage.

            But who wants peace when you can have control?

          • J__o__h__n

            So Snackwells were a government conspiracy and not a triumph of the marketplace solving all problems?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Did you eat Snackwells? I didn’t fall for it.

            Conspiracy? No, they met a demand of people who had been told over and over to avoid fat. Thats how a market works.

            If you don’t like the arrival of Snackwells, blame the fat zealots coming out of McGovern report era and the force of government propoganda. Don’t need to invoke conspiracies, just well meaning, but misguided do-gooder zealots who want to impose their beliefs on the rest of us for our own good.

            Snackwells should fail in a free market with open information and a lack of emotional, well meaning, but faulty promotion by the government.

            Especially today with all the free information transfer going on.

          • J__o__h__n

            I didn’t eat them. The message was communicated poorly, misunderstood by people who wanted a quick easy solution, and most importantly marketed. How do you propose having a free market with open information and lack of emotional decision making with marketing?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Marketing has competing marketers. Government has no competitor.

            We do have pretty free information. Google, Libraries. More than ever in human history.

            People rightfully look critically at what businesses are trying to sell them.

            People trust the Government.

          • J__o__h__n

            People should be skeptical of everything. Google doesn’t sort for validity. The anti-vaccine idiots flourish on the internet.

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

            You refute your own claim in your own comment. If an insurance company won’t pay for a procedure you can still have it preformed. The matter is simply getting the money to do it. That barrier is crossed many times for all sorts of reasons . Only a Government can outlaw a procedure and prevent willing patients and willing doctors from doing what they believe is in their best interest. That is the “Death Panel” I seek to warn you about. Are you familiar with the Justina Pelletier case? That is an example of how “Death Panels” already exist.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            WAY out there on a very thin limb RWB. No one has EVER said procedures would be outlawed by the government, only that they might not by covered by insurance.

            And are YOU familiar with the Justina Pelletier case? There is NOTHING related to “death panels”. In fact it was the DOCTORS at Boston Children’s who decided she had a psychiatric condition rather than a medical one and would not release her to her parents who had been told otherwise by the doctor that sent them to BC to see a gastroenterologist (which never happened). There was no government involvement in the case.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Oops. The Krugbots won’t like that one.

          • hennorama

            RWB — in the video clip, Mr. Krugman defined the parameters of what had been characterized as “death panels” by others, and then used the term “death panels” as he defined it:

            “OK, look — Medicare is going to have to decide what it’s gonna pay for, and, at least for starters, it’s gonna have to decide which medical procedures are not effective at all and should not be paid for at all. In other words, it should have endorsed the panel that was part of the health care reform. If it’s not even … if the Commission isn’t even brave enough to take on the “death panels” people, then it’s doing no good at all. It’s not educating the public, it’s not telling people about the kinds of choices that need to be made.”

            So when he then said that the long-term solution eventually would be “a combination of “death panels and sales taxes. It’s going to be that we’re actually gonna take Medicare under control, and we’re gonna have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT,” he was referring to his definition: a review panel that determines “which medical procedures are not effective at all and should not be paid for at all.”

            Context is important.

        • hennorama

          RWB — thank you for your response.

          I believe you are pointing to the Cost Of Briefly Extending Lives Of The Chronically Ill vs. The Cost Club.

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

            Always a pleasure Hennorama.

          • hennorama

            RWB — backatcha.

      • Steve__T

        $0.56 per car.

  • sickofthechit

    Toyota should have been made to run public service announcements on TV with videos of how to get a car racing out of control safely pulled to the side of the road. They should have been made to run these til the recall was complete. GM should be having to do the same thing, showing people single key usage in the ignition and distribute free of charge those key chains that separate into two parts with a push of a button. charles a.. bowsher

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      You would think that a trained veteran Highway Patrol officer would know to put the car in neutral. I doubt any “generic person” would remember the PSAs.

      And then there were the frauds. Like the guy who claimed his Prius was racing out of control for MILES and refused to put it in neutral when told to do so by the 911 operator. In the end, examination of his brake disks and drums show he was NOT trying to stop the car.

      Toyota was thrown under the bus. There are ZERO instances of a Prius running out of control. All claims were proven to be operator error (hit the gas, not the brake) or (as above) fraud. I told the dealer to NOT cut the bottom off my accelerator pedal. There is ABSOLUTELY no way a properly installed OEM floor mat (of which I have 2 sets, carpet and rubber depending on the season) will catch the pedal. To cut the pedal down on all of the cars IN CASE someone decides to put the wrong mats in, to stack mats, etc was ridiculous. All they should have had to do is issue a safety statement.

      • OnPointComments

        I agree. I’m not a mechanic or even mechanically-inclined, but I feel certain that I could find a way to stop my car in the time it takes to pick up a cell phone and make a call.

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

          When I had the transmission in my Taurus fail I was able to coast to a safe stop on the shoulder of 495. And I have no great driving skills. But that does acknowledge that in other circumstances there could have been a horrible accident.

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

        Don’t you think people are smart enough to learn from PSA’s?

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

      That seems like a just response to me.

  • Oh bummer

    British MP, George Galloway: America openly funding Al Qaeda!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsAV16vSuhY

    • hennorama

      [instaclick of the handy minus sign]

      • Oh bummer

        Ditto for you as well.

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

      The US funded Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, and essentially started Al Qaeda then.

      The US funded Saddam Hussein.

      The US funded Iran under The Shah and during the Iran Iraq War.

      • Oh bummer

        So you’re saying that Obama decided to forgive Al Qaeda for 9-11, and that Al Qaeda has ‘reformed’ itself and is no longer a threat to the US?

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        “The US funded Iran under The Shah and during the Iran Iraq War”

        You have that one backwards. We funded Hussein during that war because we were mad at Iran. The ever popular and ALWAYS fails US foreign policy: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

        Which is why the USA funded Bin Laden and the mujahideen – they were fighting our arch enemy – the USSR. And the result of our support was the Taliban and Al Quaeda.

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

          We supported *both* Iraq and Iran in their war.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Central Banks have been supporting both sides of wars for centuries.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            I presume you are referencing Reagan’s “arms for hostages”?

            If so, I guess you can argue it supported Iran but I think it is a different thing all together.

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

            In addition to the Iran/Contra crimes, we supplied arms to Iran and Iraq during their war.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            I found no references to supplying arms to Iran other than through Israel and specifically related to Iran/Contra.

            I’d be happy to be informed otherwise if you have references! :)

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Bad news on the freedom front.

    The intolerant left successfully ousted the CEO of Mozilla simply because he gave a $1000 political donation in 2008 (CA prop 8) . There is no evidence of his personal views at the office.

    How can any tolerant person on the left, right or center endorse this kind of outrageous intimidation?

    I support gay marriage in states when it is legalized through referendum or the state legislatures — not the courts. This intolerance for differing personal opinions is outrageous.

    Oh well, I used to use Firefox.

    http://blog.heritage.org/2014/04/04/ceo-made-political-donation-lost-job-liberals-didnt-like/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

    • J__o__h__n

      Why are the rights of the individual compared to the corporation only raised when it is the CEO? He has the freedom of contract to work somewhere else. His contributions made the company look bigoted and could cost them business.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        So you endorse these bully tactics?
        No, it didn’t reflect poorly on Mozilla. It is a look back into history when times were much different. Prop8 passed with a solid majority.

        Using this same litmus test, you could NEVER hire Obama as a CEO since he was against gay marriage in 2008.

        • J__o__h__n

          Obama wasn’t a supporter of it but he didn’t actively oppose it. If the subject were donations to a white supremacist group hardly anyone would be defending the CEO.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Wrong on Obama. He was a major party candidate for President. He was very clear on his opposition to gay marriage. Much more damaging to the ’cause’ than a silent $1000 donation.

          • J__o__h__n

            He opposed DOMA. He stated in his book that he opposed marriage but he was open to continuing to think about it which he did. He wasn’t advocating banning gay marriage during the campaign. He just didn’t support it.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” – April 17, 2008, Barack Obama, while running for president, defining marriage at the Saddleback Presidential Forum.

          • J__o__h__n

            How does that refute what I stated? He personally didn’t support it but didn’t work to ban gay marriage. Many Democratic politicians claim that they personally oppose abortion but support the right to chose. Does that make them pro-life?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Do you actually buy that position and change as sincere?

          • J__o__h__n

            I thought he was being a politician by looking for what was then the centrist position. Based on his otherwise complete acceptance of the “gay agenda” I read between the lines of his claims that he could evolve on it.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Understood. I just don’t believe we need to accept politicians lying, and that we need to read between the lines. Recipe for all the political/economic disasters we have/had.

            But until voters are more demanding, we will keep being hoodwinked and the status quo power elite will continue to pull the strings.

          • pete18

            Distinction without much of a difference. Although I do agree with you that it’s perfectly acceptable for people to react to
            people’s speech by not buying products related to a political position or idea that they don’t like. However, it seems pretty counter productive for the cause of gay rights to use such bully tactics.

          • J__o__h__n

            There is a big difference between being personally opposed to gay marriage but also promising to get rid of DOMA and not doing anything to work towards banning gay marriage and sending a contribution to pass Prop 8. Obama was on record as a candidate as opposing Proposition 8. Would it be bully tactics if the CEO gave money to the KKK and there was an outcry from civil rights groups that resulted in his resignation?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Robert Byrd was once an active member in the KKK yet Democrats elected him to leadership positions in the party for the bulk of his 50 year career. By your standards Byrd and the Dems that supported him should be held accountable — forever.

          • J__o__h__n

            Robert Byrd should be held accountable and his career should permanently be disgraced. Byrd at least apologized and claimed he no longer was a racist. Most of the racists switched parties after the Southern Strategy. I don’t think Byrd was a practicing racist at the time he was in leadership.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Does the fact that the Mozilla CEO apologized change your calculus?

          • J__o__h__n

            He gave an I’m sorry if anyone was offended sort of apology and refused to say if he still supported banning gay marriage rights.

          • jefe68

            You have a barn full of straw horse arguments.

          • pete18

            A presidential, or a presidential candidate, speaking out against an idea like gay marriage, can carry as much weight, if not more, in influencing the outcome of vote or a process, as someone who donates $1,000 to a cause.

            I hope you are not comparing people’s disagreement with gay marriage to the positions of the KKK? That’s an extreme correlation. I certainly believe that everyone has the right to pressure companies based on their products, their activities, or their political beliefs. That is free speech in a nutshell.

            However, I think it’s a bad tactic for society as a whole and gay rights groups in particular, to try and have a litmus test on people’s political positions, except in the most extreme cases, for commercial activity. I personally approve of gay marriage but I understand the arguments against it and think they are legitimate and understandable. There are a large number of people who hold this view and they won’t be won over be this type of harassment or vilification. If differences of opinion aren’t tolerated in these situations we will move closer to a fascist Orwellian state.

          • J__o__h__n

            Obama didn’t speak out against gay marriage. He just didn’t support it. He was not an anti gay marriage advocate. I most certainly am comparing opposition to gay marriage with denying civil rights based on race. There are no legitimate reasons to oppose it.

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

          Free speech protects your right to say anything – but it does not indemnify you from the results of your speech.

          If you are bigot, and you let the world know by saying something. you might have to bear the results.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Like Obama in 2008?
            ““I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.”

            No, this is modern day McCarthyism.

          • J__o__h__n

            Obama had the right to believe that. The CEO had the right to believe that. The CEO doesn’t have the right to expect that his work to deny rights to gays should not be criticized. Obama didn’t undertake any actions to deny rights to gays. Obama’s lack of a perfect position in the past does not create a false equivalency for people actively trying to deny gays equal rights.

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

            How is that a free speech issue? If a person changes their position, that has nothing to do with free speech.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Obama made a public statement in 2008.
            The CEO made a private contribution in 2008.

            The campaign to oust the CEO is McCarthyism.

          • J__o__h__n

            Obama opposed Prop 8. That is not the same position as the CEO who sent the Prop 8 proponents a $1,000.

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

            No it is not. The former CEO can have any opinion he wants to, and he can choose to express it or not.

            Since he is a bigot, anybody can express themselves about that, or not.

      • OnPointComments

        Let’s say, for example, that a company fired an employee for giving a contribution in support of gay marriage, because the company believed that it might cost the company business. Would your opinion change, or would still cite the freedom of contract to work somewhere else, and say that the firing was justified?

        • J__o__h__n

          If it were a low level employee, I wouldn’t think that it reflected on the company so the company wouldn’t have grounds to fire him. If it is a CEO or a celebrity paid to endorse the company, there would be a harm to the company’s image if the Board determined it to be so. My point about freedom of contract is that it is the standard response to any claim on behalf of the workers.

          • Steve__T

            So what are your thoughts on this situation.

            UPS Fires 250 Workers for Staging 90-Minute Walkout

            UPS is firing 250 unionized drivers for staging a 90-minute walkout in February to protest the dismissal of a longtime worker. The New York Daily News reports UPS has already fired 20 workers from a facility in Queens, New York, and told the remaining 230 they will be dismissed as soon as their replacements are trained.

            I know that the reasons for the original termination are not given but….

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      The “intolerant left” didn’t oust him, he ousted himself. The board did not toss him. Employees called for him to leave over this contribution.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Glad to see you support mob rule.

        You are wrong. There would be no calls for him to leave if emotions weren’t stirred up by gay activists like Andrew Sullivan.

        • pete18

          Andrew Sullivan has his faults, but he does not support this as a tactic for gay rights:

          “Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the
          stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone
          interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights
          movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the
          religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about
          intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the
          anti-gay bullies who came before us.”

          http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/04/03/the-hounding-of-brendan-eich/

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            My apologies to Mr. Sullivan. Thanks for pointing it out. [and I need to work on my reading skills since it was in the heritage piece I linked :( ].

          • hennorama

            WftC — again, good on ya for admitting your error.

            Here’s hoping such actions become contagious.

            No worries though, as we all make mistakes. As they say in baseball, “Hits happen.” ;-)

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        But the employees are serfs of the vampire? How did they find the power to do that?

        J_o_h_n?

        • J__o__h__n

          I was refuting Ben Stein’s denial that corporations were not vampires and that if they behaved in certain ways then the label fit. I wasn’t labeling all as such. I assume that the employees at Mozilla are highly skilled and are thus valuable to the corporation. I don’t think they asked the janitors for their opinion.

    • John Cedar

      So what browser did you switch to?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Actually, I’m still looking. Chrome appears to be much faster for some things but I’m not sure what google doing behind the scenes.

        As Larry Olivier said in Marathon Man: “Is it safe?”

    • TFRX

      THe Dixie Chicks called. They want to know how many copies of Firefox were burned.

      • HonestDebate1

        I love the Dixie Chicks!

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          They were the entertainment at a corporate function I attended at the Southfork Ranch near Dallas before Natalie Maines was the lead. There were good. Even better with Natalie.

          • HonestDebate1

            I saw their first show back in the States (Greenville, SC) after the thing in Europe. They were great. Such a sad story how they threw it all away.

          • sickofthechit

            How is that they “threw” it away?

          • HonestDebate1

            I am very opinionated on this but it’s just my opinion. Music is sacred to me for many reasons, It is/has been my livelihood so I understand the business end and what it’s like for an average schmuck to eek out a living. I just think a musician should focus on music. Music can move anyone, why would you even bring your political views up only to alienate your fans? It was a non-sequitur regarding their music. It was unnecessary.

            If a musician wants to make a political statement that’s cool. Music is a powerful medium, an awesome tool. But they are drifting into political activism which is separate. Add to that these are not the days of drafts, Kent State and Woodstock.

            The Dixie Chicks are absolutely incredible musicians, the songs on “Wide Open Spaces” and “Fly” were refreshing masterpieces. Their songs were not political.

            Dylan was aghast that people labeled him a sage. He knew he was just a musician. The Chick’s error wasn’t so much in making a political statement, it was in taking themselves too seriously because they were stars. The fans didn’t take them as seriously as they took themselves. That’s not good business.

    • red_donn

      I would not equate a severe and aggressive opposition to homophobia, which is the root to all such opposition, as “intolerance.” It would be much less controversial if the employees demanded the ouster of a CEO who remained in opposition to interracial marriage, for instance, though one can make all the same arguments in the CEO’s defense.

      When I was a teen, long before I identified as bi- or pan-sexual, I explained, that, “I don’t tolerate homosexuality, I support it when I support people to love who they will. Homophobic views are my enemy, and I want to destroy them.”

      (The formality of my language may be slightly paraphrased)

      Now, it is true that I tolerate homophobia insofar as I modulate my response to it. I wouldn’t punch someone in the face for saying they are opposed to gay marriage, obviously, but I would never allow that to go verbally uncontested. If someone told me to “die of aids” for my sexual orientation, they would have exceeded my tolerance and would receive said physical response – I know when verbal exchanges are useless, and am no pacifist.

      I know plenty of people who are very mildly homophobic, much as many middle-class white people are very mildly racist. I can say I would feel uncomfortable hiring onto a firm where a manager provided strong support for banning gay marriage, but I’m not so sure that I would support a knee-jerk protest for an ouster without knowing more about the person’s views. For instance, I know people who fear legislation of gay marriage may open up legal polygamy, and seek to preempt that outcome. I have a series of legal and moral arguments as to why the latter does not necessarily follow, particularly a history of materially damaging outcomes in the case of polygamy, but wouldn’t demand that they be fired for a modest slippery slope fallacy.

  • sickofthechit

    President Obama missed a lot of good opportunities to change our nation’s dynamic. In his first two years in office I wrote dozens of letter to President
    Obama. I always addressed them “Dear B.O.” or “Dear Stinky” (I figured it was probably his secret service handle).
    It was a term of affection, then frustration, when they didn’t immediately implement any of my great ideas. Especially the one where I said the money that was going to the Federal Reserve should have been distributed to each of us
    equally to be spent how we saw fit. It would have really boosted the economy instead of being used by the banksters to invest in treasuries and more CDO’s. I haven’t written for a while. I did receive back one response, but I couldn’t really tell which letter he was responding to. It’s here somewhere, but I haven’t seen it lately.charles a bowsher

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      I would have supported that bailout along with a massive one time punitive penalty tax for all Finance industry executives.

      Jailtime to essentially all the Financial CEOs who were in all the secret meetings with Paulson. Paulson too.

      We could at least have poured molten gold over their meeting room. A more fitting, heavier, tar and feather.

      • hennorama

        G_B_S — that gets a [Vote up] solely on the basis of the Game of Thrones “golden crown” reference.

      • Steve__T

        I’m curious what your thoughts are on news that
        Citigroup Faces Criminal Probes over Fraud at Mexican Unit, and The bank is also facing a separate probe from federal prosecutors in Massachusetts over the possible laundering of drug money through a Citigroup account.
        I hope someone gets nailed to the wall.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      There really is no good argument as to why all that bailout/stimulus money should not have gone straight to average citizens to stimulate economy with organically, and have Finance Industry pay it all back over time.

      Don’t tell me you trust the people more that the elites, CAB.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        dfg

        “The recession was caused by a failing financial system. All the supply or consumer side “stimulus” in the world wouldn’t have fixed the underlying problem.

        The total cost of TARP will cost the taxpayer far less than what it cost them for the S&L bailout of the late 80′s. Geithner did some magic there that you will probably never understand.

        I’m sure you will reply to this. Don’t take my lack of interest in that as a sign of acceptance.”

        Perfect, we just shut up and believe in Oz.

        What caused the failing financial system?

        Where is the accountability to those who took it down and gave us this mess of debt etc?

        Accountability would give the country some closure and an ounce of trust once again in our institutions.

        But no, shut up and accept what you are told.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=32606540 Brian Belgard

      Do you mean the small amount of money that goes to the fed at the beginning of every year? Or the larger amount of money that they turn back over to the to the Treasury at the end of the year?

      Why don’t we try to actually understand the Fed before we criticize it Stinky.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/25/how-the-fed-has-earned-80-billion-in-profits-in-fiscal-2012.html

  • OnPointComments

    Yet more proof of vote fraud.

    DEMS’ VOTER-FRAUD DENIAL
    How do you address a problem they insist doesn’t exist?

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/375021/dems-voter-fraud-denial-john-fund

    Excerpt:

    Kim Strach, the new director of North Carolina’s Board of Elections, disagrees. She just searched a database that comprises about half the registered voters in the U.S. and found 35,750 voters in her state whose first and last names and full date of birth match with someone in another state who also voted in the 2012 election. A smaller number (765) had exact matches on Social Security numbers, but that total is artificially low because only some states provide that number for any or all of their voters.

    Remember: In 2008, Barack Obama only carried North Carolina by 14,177 votes out of 2.3 million cast.

    The report also stated that a 10-year death audit uncovered more than 13,000 deceased North Carolinians whose names had not been removed from voter rolls, including 81 who voted from the grave.

    • hennorama

      OPC — I assume you read the full report, so please inform us as to how many of the doubly-registered voters actually voted in both states in which they are/were registered.

      That would be actual voter fraud, and not merely an issue of someone’s name not being removed when they moved.

      • John Cedar

        Not necessarily. In my state of NY, if you are a republican, your vote doesn’t count, so it wouldn’t hurt to vote in another state. And at least 10% of the democrat votes could be sacrificed while still guaranteeing the democrats would win in NY. But if you registered in a swing state but only voted in the swing state, even though you really lived in NY, it would still be voter fraud.

      • OnPointComments

        I believe it’s under investigation.

        INVESTIGATION CATCHES 94 ILLEGAL FLORIDA VOTERS, LIKELY HUNDREDS MORE
        http://mediatrackers.org/florida/2014/03/18/investigation-catches-94-illegal-florida-voters-likely-hundreds

        Excerpt:

        WBBH conducted a public records search for people who responded to jury duty notifications by swearing under oath they are non-citizens and therefore cannot sit on a jury. Investigative reporters then cross-checked the names and addresses of people who opted out of jury duty with voter registration rolls. WBBH confirmed at least 94 non-citizens registered to vote yet opted out of jury duty. WBBH further confirmed non-citizens are actually voting in elections, and are not simply dormant registered voters.

        The Times has nevertheless verified non-citizens voting in Florida, as well as nearly 7,000 convicted felons illegally voting in the Sunshine State.

        • hennorama

          OPC — Thank you for your response.

          So, no actual “proof of vote fraud,” as you wrote, then? Good to know.

          Regarding your second linked item, is there any actual “proof of vote fraud,” that these people didn’t simply lie to get out of jury duty?

          And is there any “proof of vote fraud,” that the convicted felons didn’t simply make a mistake?

          You do realize that fraud requires intent, right?

          Thanks again for your response.

          • OnPointComments

            The voting by felons is described as illegal, not fraudulent. However, an illegal vote counts just as much as a fraudulent vote if both go undetected.

          • hennorama

            OPC — the topics of voting fraud and illegal voting are indeed serious ones, but what you have presented is more accurately described as “evidence of possible voter fraud” rather than “proof of vote fraud.”

            In addition, the article that your linked piece described as “The Times has nevertheless verified non-citizens voting in Florida, as well as nearly 7,000 convicted felons illegally voting in the Sunshine State” does not specifically state that those “nearly 7,000 convicted felons” actually voted in any election, but only that,

            In the first four months of 2012, election supervisors removed nearly 7,000 voters from the rolls following recent felony convictions.

            This would of course be prior to the 2012 general election (but some may have still been on the rolls for the Jan. 31, 2012 primary).

            Even the one example they cited did not indicate that the named individual had voted after being convicted of a felony:

            Edward Call, 24, of St. Petersburg was one of the removed voters. A Democrat, he voted in the 2008 presidential primary and general election, but his guilty plea to a felony drug charge reached the Pinellas elections office, which sent him a certified letter and ran a legal ad before removing him from the rolls.

            See:
            http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/of-7000-felons-purged-from-voting-rolls-many-are-democrats-blacks/1231444

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

        Which is an exceedingly common occurrence. Many town and city clerks do not take their duties seriously.

    • jimino

      People move without telling the election commissioner! And they die!
      Now that’s a scoop.

      • OnPointComments

        Voting after you die either represents a miracle or the most entrenched sense of civic duty ever witnessed.

        • OnPointComments

          Or I guess it could be fraud.

        • hennorama

          OPC — it is of course possible to cast one’s ballot by mail or in early voting, and then die before Election Day, none of which is miraculous.

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

      In person voting fraud is vanishingly tiny.

      What about wide spread systematic voting fraud – like from unsecured electronic voting machines with zero transparency or verified backup up loading results to unsecured servers?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Do you have any evidence to either of your statements.

        I know there is no way for you to support your statement that “In person voting fraud is vanishingly tiny.” because the system is set up to make it impossible to measure fraud or lack of fraud.

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

          Show some cases of in person voting fraud, please!

          If the Diebold voting machines have faulty coding and/or they are unsecured and unverifiable, then there is no way to know there was fraud – and this makes it all the more important to guard against.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            This Ohio poll worker bragged about voting for Obama 6 times in 2012. She was sentenced to 5 years.

            http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/17/cincinnati-illegal-voting/2530119/

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

            One voter? Five extra votes?

            Would a voter ID have prevented that woman from doing what she did?

            How many legitimate voters will be prevented from voting because of an additional voter ID? A lot more than one, that’s for sure.

    • HonestDebate1

      We actually have no idea the extent of the fraud because there is no real way to measure it. There is no telling how many names don’t match the voter unless we check ID’s. I don’t think it’s unreasonable, as crucial as the integrity of the system is, to assume the fraud is rampant and act accordingly. I think it’s foolish to ignore obvious flaws, back doors and vulnerabilities while we wait for something impossible to prove to be proven.

  • Coastghost

    Any Federal liability to be found in the GM death-car debacle? The Feds were fostering co-dependency through at least half of the period under discussion, no?

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      No. Not any more than you are responsible for the decisions made by any company in which you own stock. The government wasn’t running GM, not in the room where decisions are made on whether or not a fault should be recalled.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        We live in a 0 accountability, Bail Out nation now. I’m sure it didn’t help.

        Same sense of shame should be on shareholders of regular companies.

        Of course letting them fail would be the best medicine and spanking to all involved in shirking responsible behavior.

      • Coastghost

        Discovering just where risk and carelessness are permitted to reside amongst our sturdy institutional players never lacks in value.

      • John Cedar

        The US government owned 60.% of GM.
        Plus they pulled the strings on the kangaroo court that give the union 17% of shares.
        That is a lot different than, “any company in which you own stock”

  • pm05

    Supreme Court decision on money.

    Is Roberts stupid, naive, uninformed? No! Roberts is calculating, dishonest (just look at his confirmation), and very much “bought and owned” by Republicans. Where is the “corruption” ? Just look at Roberts and Scalia and Thomas (these men actually attend Republican fundraisers and meetings!!!). Where is the corruption – In our Court!

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Per capita wine consumption. DC leads — by far.

    25.7 L/ capita

    That’s 34 bottles per person per year. This could explain job performance in Washington.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/wine-consumption-map-united-states-2014-3

    • hennorama

      WftC — or it could reflect the large transient population, or the large numbers of tourists, depending on the methodology.

      In other words, if the method of calculation is something like “Liters of wine sold in DC per year/Official population of DC,” then the results would not take tourism into account.

      Still, an interesting item.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Ah it’s more fun to explain away incompetent, corrupt politicians as a bunch of sots.

        Of course this is just wine. Wait till we see the stats on the hard stuff.

        And this doesn’t even include Nancy Pelosi’s jet bar tab:

        “It reads like a dream order for a wild frat party: Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey … and Corona beer.

        But that single receipt makes up just part of the more than $101,000 taxpayers paid for “in-flight services” – including food and liquor, for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trips on Air Force jets over the last two years. That’s almost $1,000 per week.”

        http://www.wnd.com/2010/01/123472/

        • Steve__T

          Here’s the Whole shebang.

          National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research Alcohol Epidemiologic Data System

          APPARENT PER CAPITA ALCOHOL
          CONSUMPTION: NATIONAL, STATE, AND REGIONAL TRENDS, 1977–2009

          Alcohol Consumption Data
          AEDS makes every effort to obtain alcoholic beverage sales data from all States and the District of Columbia because sales data more accurately reflect actual consumption of alcoholic beverages than do production and 2
          shipments data from beverage industry sources.
          For 2009, AEDS received complete beverage sales and/or tax receipts reports from 29 States for beer, 29 States for wine, and 25 States for spirits.

          For the remaining States and the
          District of Columbia, shipments data from beverage industry sources (Beverage Information Group 2010a, b, c) were used for the numerator to calculate per capita consumption.

          Although sales and tax receipt data tend to provide slightly lower per capita estimates (about .01 to .02 points per capita), the mixed use of data from sales and shipments sources appears to have little effect on overall trends in per capita alcohol consumption (Campbell et al. 1994).
          http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Surveillance92/CONS09.pdf

          Another sight that has even higher ratings of alcohol consumption I believe using the above formula with newer data. DC although not a state came in #2 out of 10 as the drunkest States.

          Washington particularly enjoys its wine and at 40.1 bottles a person per year, it takes the gold as the nation’s biggest wino.

          Total pure alcohol consumed: 3.84 gallons per person

          Beer: 211.5 cans per person

          Wine: 40.1 bottles per person

          Spirits: 21 bottles per person

          http://www.thestreet.com/story/12119523/10/the-drunkest-states-in-america-2013-vintage.html

    • HonestDebate1

      They live high on the hog in DC. Luxury items are a dime a dozen in the nations capital.

  • hennorama

    Just an offhand extension of logic:

    Rep. Paul has talked about “a poverty trap” and has said, in response to a question about “a plan to help people get out of poverty,” that “work works.”

    If one is in a trap, then one is not free.

    If a plan to get people out of “a poverty trap” (and thereby making them free) is “work works,” is that the same as saying “work makes you free”?

    Please note the above is not meant to imply anything about Rep. Ryan in regard to the phrase “Arbeit macht frei,” that was at the entrance to several Nazi concentration/extermination camps. This is just a simple extension of logic.

    As previously stated, I think Rep. Ryan is insensitive and tone-deaf, but not racist, and deserves credit for his public attention to the often-ignored topic of poverty. To me, he seems quite earnest and genuinely concerned, and I hope he continues to push for solutions, and avoids such language in the future.

    Source:
    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/article/2014/mar/14/context-paul-ryans-poverty-comments-racial-attack/

    • John Cedar

      Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Into Goodwin territory now?

      • OnPointComments

        I didn’t think it kicked in until 400 comments, but they must have changed the rule.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          You start at 400 automagically if you’ve thrown granny off the cliff.

          • hennorama

            With 400 you get “heads roll”?

      • hennorama

        WftC — is it really an instance of Godwin’s law if there is a specific disclaimer in the comment?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Could be. It was just a friendly jab because new politically correct rules say we aren’t allowed to have Nazi references anymore or so they tell me. :)

          • jefe68

            Are you tying to say that you want to use nazi references? You think it’s funny to be told that you’re wrong when it’s used in ways that are inflammatory?

            Again the swagger of the right on this forum in context to how they want to use, and use language is very informative.

    • HonestDebate1

      I see nothing insensitive at all, I see compassion. On the other side I see the soft bigotry of low expectations.

      Work teaches you discipline, loyalty and responsibility. You learn and nurture skills. You learn teamwork. You set goals. You earn your own money and it feels good. You get something done and accomplishments feel good. You build your own reputation which comes with you. These things give you options, any young person that has them going forward can chose their destiny. Work makes you free.

      • jefe68

        Work makes you free… Arbeit macht frei.
        Are you aware of the historical significance of that phrase?

        • pete18

          Goodwin is everywhere in this discussion.

          • jefe68

            It’s about context. Using a phrase such as “work makes you free” is loaded and the only thing you can come up with is Goodwin. That speaks volumes.
            First off, I never called anyone a nazi or anything of the sort.

            It speaks volumes that your political dogma is so overbearing that you can’t even see how language can have meanings that are beyond the intent.

            I would also add that work does not set you free. It’s an inane comment made even more absurd here by it’s historical context.

            It’s interesting is how you double down on the right wing rhetoric in support if such comments.

          • pete18

            I agree, context is everything. Do you think HD was making his point with knowledge of this historical context? Does that one part of his phrasing change the meaning of his post or give it some subconscious malevolence? What was the purpose of you making this link?

            Work certainly does set you free if you don’t money or a job. There is great value in having work so you can learn skills, improve yourself and become useful to your family and society. Work isn’t the only part of freedom, but applauding and encouraging it as a part of being a free and fully developed adult is certainly a positive position.

          • HonestDebate1

            If you look for hate you will surely find it. It’s better to look for truth.

            I assure you Nazis do no live in my head. My comment was just a statement of opinion. If you want to manufacture some absurd conspiratorial dog whislte I suppose I can’t help that.

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — what I find interesting is that the-moniker-so-inapt-it-shall-never-be-typed avoids the question that was posed (If a plan to get people out of “a poverty trap” (and thereby making them free) is “work works,” is that the same as saying “work makes you free”?)

          This is of course not even slightly surprising.

          BTW — I’ve come to agree with your DFTT advice pertaining to Bum Homer.

          • jefe68

            The poor and folks who are unemployed are being used as scapegoats in my opinion. Ryan does very little to hide his disdain for people who are weaker than him. I read of a woman who is 60 and had been working since she was 18. She was laid off and now faces losing her home.
            I sometimes wonder how it is that someone who has worked hard for 40 plus years gets thrown on the scrap heap and someone like Ryan, who has been in government for most of his working life, gets a free ride after only a few years.

            In my view something is really wrong with that situation.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — TYFYR.

            Well, to a great degree, many politicians, pundits and others are in effect saying the solution is simple. Those who are poor and/or unemployed should simply get out of the “hammock” and “get a job already!”

            Everyone has a magic wand that allows them to do so, after all, so why are they still poor and/or unemployed?

            Answer: it’s their “culture.”

            As I asked of another forum member,

            “Let’s suppose that rather than discussing “this tailspin of culture in our inner cities,” Rep. Ryan had instead discussed “the large majority (over 85 percent) of persistent-poverty counties that are nonmetro, with nearly 84 percent of persistent-poverty counties located in the South”?

            “(The above is derived from recently updated info from the USDA’s Economic research Service, using Census data.)

            “Do you think the reaction would have been the same? If over 85 percent of “persistent-poverty counties” are nonmetro, and nearly 84 percent of “persistent-poverty counties” are located in the South, why would Rep. Ryan limit his remarks to “our inner cities…these blighted neighborhoods”?”

            (Apologies for my laziness in not editing the quotation marks.)

            Source:
            http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/rural-economy-population/rural-poverty-well-being/geography-of-poverty.aspx#.U0F406hdV_Q

            I do give Rep. Ryan credit for at least discussing the topic of poverty. This is despite his being, in his words, “inarticulate,” which is of course quite similar to his former running mate’s “inelegantly stated” remarks.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • pete18

            It’s amazing that you would both make so much out of this wording rather than than the basic and more important point about work that HD is making. Do you disagree with that basic idea?

          • hennorama

            pete18 – TYFYR.

            “It’s amazing that you would … make so much out of this [individual's comment] rather than than [sic] the basic and more important point about [Rep. Ryan's remarks] that [hennorama] is making. Do you disagree with that basic idea?”

          • pete18

            ??

          • HonestDebate1

            I find it takes mind reading, myopia and a lot of words to eruditely evade the elephant in the room. It’s not complicated. It’s gone well beyond low expectations, at this point there is an active disdain for an honest day’s work. There is open discouragement. There is a collective entitlement mindset. And this all at a time when our economy’s only sliver of hope is in the work-ethic that built America.

            But instead we get mind-numbngly vacuous prattle from the left. They attempt to divide and conquer. This is awful.

    • JONBOSTON

      Rep Paul’s comments were neither insensitive or tone deaf – they happen to have been the truth –which is why his political opponents seized on them. It says a lot about our prevailing sick culture that when someone speaks the truth about dealing with a persistent decades old problem, the remarks are regarded as politically incorrect. The greatest and most successful anti-poverty program is a job.

      • hennorama

        JONBOSTON – thank you for your response.

        You (and Bruce94 and OPC) and I have had lengthy exchanges on this topic, but as a reminder to the rest of the forum, these are the pertinent remarks from Rep. Ryan, including the context, which was omitted from the quote that has been making the rounds (the quote making the rounds is emphasized):

        Bill Bennett: Suck it up, deal with it, tough – Betty Ryan. But I mean, a boy has to see a man working, doesn’t he?

        Rep. Ryan: Absolutely. And so, that’s this tailspin or spiral that we’re looking at in our communities. You know your buddy (conservative scholar) Charles Murray or (public policy professor) Bob Putnam over at Harvard, those guys have written books on this, which is we have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities, in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work; and so there’s a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with. Everybody’s got to get involved. So, this is what we talk about when we talk about civil society. If you’re driving from the suburb to the sports arena downtown by these blighted neighborhoods, you can’t just say: I’m paying my taxes, government’s going to fix that. You need to get involved. You need to get involved yourself – whether through a good mentor program or some religious charity, whatever it is, to make a difference, and that’s how we help resuscitate our culture.

        So, let’s suppose for a moment that what you wrote,“Rep Paul’s comments were neither insensitive or tone deaf – they happen to have been the truth,” is correct.

        First of all, who is he talking to? It’s certainly not those who are “… in our inner cities,” or “in particular, [the] men [who are] not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work…”

        Next, we need to define an important term – culture. From merriam-webster.com, what seems to be the best definition, given the context:

        “5a : the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations”

        See:
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/culture

        (Remember, Bill Bennett’s question was “But I mean, a boy has to see a man working, doesn’t he?”)

        So, again supposing here, if there is “this tailspin of culture in our inner cities,” then Rep. Ryan is saying that there’s a pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior that needs to be changed, right?

        Now, exactly who is supposed to change? Is it the people to whom Rep. Ryan is talking, who he says are “driving from the suburb to the sports arena downtown by these blighted neighborhoods,” and who “need to get involved yourself – whether through a good mentor program or some religious charity, whatever …”?

        Or is it the people who are living “in our inner cities…these blighted neighborhoods,” who need to change?

        Your response implies the latter, in essence saying “get a job” to these individuals.

        That’s all well and good, but pray tell how would Rep. Ryan’s words, and Bill Bennett’s words (“Suck it up, deal with it…”) convince them to do so?

        And let’s say that those “men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work” who live “in our inner cities…these blighted neighborhoods,” somehow suddenly draw inspiration from the words of Rep. Ryan and Mr. Bennett, just exactly where and how will individuals living in these areas find and get a job?

        I don’t see many “job creators” flocking to create jobs “in our inner cities…these blighted neighborhoods,” do you?

        The point is that if Rep. Ryan is trying to convince those living “in our inner cities…these blighted neighborhoods,” to change “this tailspin of culture in our inner cities” it would be helpful for him to recognize that his words, combined with referring to the very controversial Charles Murray, would not be well-received by those who Rep. Ryan thinks need to change their “integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior,” even if his words, as you wrote, “… happen to have been the truth.”

        Thanks again for your response.

        • JONBOSTON

          TYFYR–Ms Henn.

          If we as a country are going to ever solve the problems in the inner city , the first order is to identify the problem and then propose solutions and attack the problem. I think what Ryan has attempted to do is first raise the awareness of the public at large and begin a national conversation. Unfortunately too many Democrat politicians would rather attack those who offer ideas and potential solutions than extend out a welcoming hand. Kudos to Paul Ryan for introducing into the national conversation the problems in black inner cities.

          • hennorama

            JONBOSTON – in addition to the usual pleasantries, let me begin by apologizing to both you and [John Cedar], as I had confused your identities in my now-edited comment.

            Next, a caution. Your use of “Ms” when addressing me is likely based on an assumption, which may or may not be accurate. Please note that I only put forth these cautions regarding instances where I am addressed in the first person, as the large number of third-person references are at this point too numerous to warrant separate responses.

            In addition, I’ll let pass as intentionally provocative your use of the terms “Democrat politicians” and “black inner cities.”

            Further, one notes your lack of responsiveness to the questions posed in my comment:

            - Who is Rep. Ryan talking to?

            - Rep. Ryan is saying that there’s a pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior that needs to be changed, right?

            - Now, exactly who is supposed to change?

            - exactly where and how will individuals living in these areas find and get a job?

            - I don’t see many “job creators” flocking to create jobs “in our inner cities…these blighted neighborhoods,” do you?

            In addition, in his statement the next day, Rep. Ryan said

            “I was not implicating the culture of one community — but of society as a whole,” he said. “We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities. The predictable result has been multi-generational poverty and little opportunity. … The broader point I was trying to make is that we cannot settle for this status quo and that government and families have to do more and rethink our approach to fighting poverty.”

            Source:
            http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/paul-ryan-poverty-comments-were-inarticulate-104637.html#ixzz2y7UJedqE

            “… government and families have to do more and rethink our approach…” are rather general and ambiguous “solutions,” wouldn’t you agree?

            As to your comments – there is no shortage of awareness of poverty. As previously stated on multiple occasions, Rep. Ryan deserves credit for devoting time and attention to the often-ignored topic of poverty, regardless of whether one agrees with his words and proposals.

            However, if he wants to convince anyone to change their ways, perhaps he might be more aware of how his language and references are likely to be received by those he believes need to change their “culture.”

        • pete18

          Ryan and others, Democrat hero Patrick
          Moynihan being one of the first, are in part addressing their comments to the political class who create programs and laws based on their interpretations of the problems. Ryan is suggesting, accurately I think, that if the political class doesn’t recognize and deal with this aspect of the problem they will not make any progress. To close one’s eyes to it for fear of being labeled “insensitive” means it is never confronted or addressed.

          Certainly it is a huge problem that will take a long to time to change and can’t be done solely by government, whose power to influence it is limited. However,
          government policies or programs can definitely make things worse or better. The power to push things in the right direction can only happen if politicians are willing to be honest about it and address it head on. I know those two things are an anathema to most in politics but we should certainly encourage it and not attack it when it does occasionally happen.

          • hennorama

            pete18 – thank you for your thoughtful response.

            Let’s suppose that rather than discussing “this tailspin of culture in our inner cities,” Rep. Ryan had instead discussed “the large majority (over 85 percent) of persistent-poverty counties that are nonmetro, with nearly 84 percent of persistent-poverty counties located in the South”?

            (The above is derived from recently updated info from the USDA’s Economic research Service, using Census data.)

            Do you think the reaction would have been the same? If over 85 percent of “persistent-poverty counties” are nonmetro, and nearly 84 percent of “persistent-poverty counties” are located in the South, why would Rep. Ryan limit his remarks to “our inner cities…these blighted neighborhoods”?

            After all, he would have been “willing to be honest about it and address it head on,” right?

            Geography of Poverty

            In the United States, people living in poverty tend to be clustered in certain regions, counties, and neighborhoods rather than being spread evenly across the Nation. Research has shown that the poor living in areas where poverty is prevalent face impediments beyond those of their individual circumstances. Concentrated poverty contributes to poor housing and health conditions, higher crime and school dropout rates, as well as employment dislocations. As a result, economic conditions in very poor areas can create limited opportunities for poor residents that become self-perpetuating.

            Regional Patterns

            While the overall rate of nonmetro poverty is higher than metro poverty, the difference in nonmetro and metro poverty rates varies significantly across regions. The nonmetro and metro poverty rate gap for the South has historically been the largest, averaging 5.1 percentage points over the last two decades. In 2012, the South had a nonmetro poverty rate of 22.1 percent—nearly 7 percentage points higher than in the region’s metro areas. The difference in poverty rates in the South is particularly important for the overall nonmetro poverty rate because an estimated 43.1 percent of the nonmetro population lived in this region in 2012. Regional poverty rates for nonmetro and metro areas were most alike in the Midwest and the Northeast in 2012.

            Source:
            http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/rural-economy-population/rural-poverty-well-being/geography-of-poverty.aspx#.U0F406hdV_Q

            Thanks again for your response.

          • pete18

            I think the reason he didn’t address other countries is because the United states is unique in both its culture and history. Of course there may be overlapping concerns with other countries but I think his point was focused on the effects of domestic programs and cultural changes on the inner city in particular. This is similar to what Patrick Moynihan discussed in his 1965 report on the “Negro Family” which found that the increase in single parent households among black families at that time was a huge factor in poverty. That continues to be a problem today for all races but it is disproportionally large for
            African Americans: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/was-the-moynihan-report-right-sobering-findings-after-1965-study-is-revisited/2013/06/13/80eac980-d432-11e2-b05f-3ea3f0e7bb5a_story.html

            Obviously this isn’t the only reason and roadblock for people in poverty but study after study finds a huge correlation between single parent families and poverty.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — psst … “counties,” not “countRies.”

          • pete18

            You’re kidding, right?

      • hennorama

        JONBOSTON — here’s a “Find & Replace” result, for your consideration:

        Bill Bennett: Suck it up, deal with it, tough – Betty Ryan. But I mean, a boy has to see a man [exercising], doesn’t he?

        Rep. Ryan: Absolutely. And so, that’s this tailspin or spiral that we’re looking at in our communities. You know … we have got this tailspin of culture in [Wisconsin], in particular, of men [eating cheese, drinking beer, watching the Packers on TV, and not exercising] and just generations of men not even thinking about [exercising] or learning the value and the culture of [exercise]; and so there’s a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with. Everybody’s got to get involved. So, this is what we talk about when we talk about civil society. If you’re driving from the suburb to the sports arena downtown by these [neighborhoods where men are eating cheese, drinking beer, watching the Packers on TV and not exercising], you can’t just say: I’m paying my taxes, government’s going to fix that. You need to get involved. You need to get involved yourself – whether through a good mentor program or some religious charity, whatever it is, to make a difference, and that’s how we help resuscitate our culture.

    • OnPointComments

      Isn’t it something that we’ve gotten to the point of endlessly parsing whether it’s good or bad to say that work, i.e., having a job, is a good idea and a solution to poverty. It never entered my mind that “work works” was part of the secret code and an oblique reference to the Nazi concentration camps’ “work makes you free.” What foolishness.

      My prediction is that if Paul Ryan had instead made his comment about the persistent-poverty counties located in the South, Rep. Barbara Lee would have remained silent, the statement would have received nearly zero press coverage, Tom Ashbrook and On Point would not have covered his comment, and liberals, if they commented at all, would have said “I don’t usually agree with Paul Ryan, but yes, yes, he is right this time.”

      • hennorama

        OPC – Thank you for your response.

        No one has disputed “whether it’s good or bad to say that work, i.e., having a job, is a good idea and a solution to poverty.”

        Please note the specific disclaimer that I made regarding Rep. Ryan. Admittedly my mind works differently than that of most others, but extending the logic in the way that I have was intended only to spark a discussion.

        Still, the extended logic has been neither questioned nor disputed.

        As I’ve said all along, Rep. Ryan was simply playing to his audience. He was speaking directly to noted “culture warrior” Bill Bennett, and used terms and references that align perfectly with Mr. Bennett’s way of thinking. Rep. Ryan also was speaking to his other, larger audience, those he described as routinely “…driving from the suburb to the sports arena downtown [past] these blighted neighborhoods…,” so he used language that might appeal to them.

        It’s not surprising therefore that those he was talking about, rather than to, might take issue with the references and language that he used, and which Rep. Ryan himself described as “inarticulate.”

        Thanks again for your response.

        • HonestDebate1

          He was giving his educated opinion. That is not something that varies depending on the audience.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    More on the outrageous and dangerous Mozilla CEO ouster.
    Here is a sane essay in the Atlantic — very well researched and thought out.

    “Mozilla’s Gay-Marriage Litmus Test Violates Liberal Values
    The forced resignation of Brendan Eich will have a chilling effect on political discourse.”

    “Most vexing of all is Mozilla’s attempt to present this forced resignation as if it is consistent with an embrace of diversity and openness.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/mozillas-gay-marriage-litmus-test-violates-liberal-values/360156/

    • John Cedar

      Did he resign voluntarily, or not?

      There were librul values being violated.

      Par for the course.

      Is why we don’t let them #occupy the label of liberal.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Side effect of full disclosure of campaign contributions?

    • OnPointComments

      In 2008, Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich made a $1,000 contribution in support of Proposition 8, which read “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” and said “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.”

      Oops. I got that wrong. Eich did not make that statement.

      In 2008, Candidate Obama said “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage,” and gave a $1,000 contribution in support of Proposition 8.

      Darn. I got it wrong again. Sorry — I can’t keep these two essentially similar opinions straight.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “$6 Billion Goes Missing at State Department”

    “In a special “management alert” made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned “significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.”

    Hillary Clinton was overheard responding “what difference, at this point, does it make”

    Joe Biden, weighed in: “This is a big f–’n deal”

    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/04/04/6-Billion-Goes-Missing-State-Department

    • OnPointComments

      I honestly don’t know how anyone can support raising taxes when waste and fraud in government is rampant. Here are some articles I’ve read in the past week or so.

      Excerpt from the first article link:
      “To return to a point I’ve been hammering lately: this bloated government is stupid drunk on the trillions of dollars it has imbibed. There are far too many departments and agencies where outrageous abuse goes on for years before inspectors catch up with it. The results of these inspections are kept secret from taxpayers until someone – usually Fox News, or some other conservative media organization – drags it out into the open with a Freedom of Information Act request. Not coincidentally, the Obama Administration rewrote the Freedom of Information Act on the down-low in 2009, to make it easier to thwart potentially embarrassing document requests.”

      TAXPAYER MONEY USED FOR GAMBLING BY POSTAL SERVICE EMPLOYEES
      http://www.humanevents.com/2014/03/27/taxpayer-money-used-for-gambling-by-postal-service-employees/

      EPA WORKERS USED TAX DOLLARS TO BUY GYM MEMBERSHIPS, GIFT CARDS
      http://washingtonexaminer.com/epa-workers-used-tax-dollars-to-buy-gym-memberships-gift-cards/article/2545210

      ARMY LOST $586 MILLION IN EQUIPMENT, WEAPONS IN AFGHANISTAN
      http://washingtonexaminer.com/army-lost-586-million-in-equipment-weapons-in-afghanistan/article/2545277
      “Poor security and inaccurate records of Army supplies in Afghanistan led to the loss of $586 million in equipment between May 2012 and May 2013, including weapons and other sensitive information”

      • Markus6

        It amazes me how little mostly the left, but also the right appears to care about how much anything costs. It’s on this issue that the Tea Party has me.

        Obamacare will succeed because our government will bury us in red ink to buy people off. When we had the web site mess, I never thought it would be more than a bruise for the government because they would simply pour money into the problem and eventually fix it. And we dopes would forget the whole thing once it was fixed. When the red herrings of death panels, freedom to choose docs or even poor healthcare were raised by republicans, I knew they’d lose. Cause the government is subsidizing massive numbers of people. They are buying votes and a large percentage of us are too stupid to understand debt of this size.

        In short, we’re too dumb to care about efficiency.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Abandon baseline budgeting. Move to zero based budgets — 20% of the government each year on a rotating basis to avoid chaos. It might help.

        • Steve__T

          And too sanctimoniously righteous to give a _____about the poor

          • OnPointComments

            Why don’t you explain to us how the $586 million in equipment that was lost in Afghanistan, or the $6 Billion missing at the State Department, helped the poor.

          • Steve__T

            That is the stupidest question ever! What has That got to do with my statement or the post I was replying to?

    • hennorama

      WftC — this is interesting, and certainly something to be concerned about, but it’s rather small potatoes when one considers that the entire Dept. of Defense has [not] been properly audited since the mid-1990s. But don’t worry — they have a plan to fix it by 2017.

      And oh yeah, BTW, the last State Department IG, Howard Krongard, resigned in Dec. 2007, after allegations that he had blocked investigations into Iraq-related contract fraud, and alleged arms smuggling by Blackwater Worldwide, where his brother was on [the] board.

      Sources:
      http://m.thefiscaltimes.com/fiscaltimes/#!/entry/why-the-dod-cant-balance-its-books,528d72e8025312186c8cefbd
      http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-krongard8dec08,0,2205571.story?coll=la-home-center#axzz2xxm2ekvm

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        So sad. This is what austerity looks like? Dr. Krugman, please weigh in?

        And an acting IG for that long? Who’s responsible for that?

        • hennorama

          WftC — TYFYR.

          Given the length of time between confirmed State IGs, over two Presidential admins. and multiple sessions of Congress, and I’d say there’s plenty of blame to go around.

          Also, to put the State Dept. sitch into some further perspective, remember the missing shipping containers of cash from early in the Iraq War? It was originally thought to be $12 Billion, but they were able to account for some of it:

          This month [June 2011], the Pentagon and the Iraqi government are finally closing the books on the program that handled all those Benjamins. But despite years of audits and investigations, U.S. Defense officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion in cash — enough to run the Los Angeles Unified School District or the Chicago Public Schools for a year, among many other things.

          For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error. Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an office created by Congress, said the missing $6.6 billion may be “the largest theft of funds in national history.”

          See:
          http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/13/world/la-fg-missing-billions-20110613

        • HonestDebate1

          Gerald Walprin was fired for outing that point guard who was using grant money to schlep for Obama. Obviously in typical fashion Obama couldn’t just fire him, he destroyed him.

  • Oh bummer

    Guantanamo detainee sues Obama over ‘medieval’ torture

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbiCHzjlNyk

  • Cacimo

    Welkers analysis of Obamacare is more wishful thinking then reality.

  • Cacimo

    Is Welker completely clueless. Republicans are going to sue to get direct donations from unions!! Unions are the democrat base.

  • pm05

    Really, John McCormack? Can you get anyone more bias on the show? Yuck!

    • dale_dale

      Tom’s Friday panels range from center-right ‘objective reporters’ to right-wing hacks like McCormack, who aren’t disclosed as such.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Jack Beatty thanks you for your support.

        • dale_dale

          He whines too much. Getting flashbacks to Alan Colmes sometimes.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Now that is funny.

          • TFRX

            Alan “Coma” Colmes?

            Jack Beatty doesn’t needlessly apologize and let himself be run, a la Colmes on a show he co-headlined.

            To paraphrase the joke about Coolidge:

            “Alan Colmes is no longer debating Sean Hannity.”

            “How can you tell?”

  • Alchemical Reaction

    The biggest news story that has gotten no airtime this week is the multi-national copyright and patent agreement. Someone invents something new in the US, they have to pay patent fees to someone in the Netherlands, etc. who patented something similar. Look it up.

    • OnPointComments

      Another big story that has gotten too little airtime is the Obama administration’s desire to force the US to give up its role in Internet governance.

      The U.S. has a strong interest in maintaining an open and free Internet. If Internet functions were harmed, not only would there be economic damage, but a vital forum for freedom of speech and political dissent would be compromised. While the transition of Internet stewardship from the U.S. may have been inevitable, it is unclear why the U.S. surrendered its greatest point of leverage prematurely. Surrendering U.S. oversight of ICANN was a key objective of many nations that wish to curtail freedom on the Internet.
      http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/03/important-work-to-be-done-before-the-us-relinquishes-stewardship-of-icann

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “Hillary struggles to list accomplishments during tenure as Secretary of State”

    Awkward video for ole Hill. Well, she does have 2 years to work on the answer. Historians often rewrite history. She’ll need some major political gymnastics to pull it off in two years.

    http://capitolcityproject.com/hillary-struggles-list-accomplishments-secretary-state-tenure/

  • olderworker

    GM didn’t prevent the deaths, however, which means they’re culpable.

  • hennorama

    46 years ago tonight, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

    May he rest in peace.

    • HonestDebate1

      That is a beautiful sentiment, really it is. But on the off chance God really did give his only begotten Son to offer us eternal life in the kingdom of heaven as the Southern Baptist black Conservative believed to the pit of his soul with every fiber of his being then he is rolling over in his grave at all the judging by the color of skin without regard to the content of character.

      How many people voted for Obama because he is half-black?

  • jayay

    …Back to the Supreme Court ruling on campaign contributions. Not, thank you, unrelated to the discussion below. I’ve seen this online, and can’t begin to guess who thought of it first. But a good couple of years ago, it landed on me that there’s a significant distinction, constitutionally as well as semantically, between free (versus the
    B-llsh-itese) and (mmm…Waitforit) Bought speech.
    …Both of the above contexts are, I think, significant. See esp. Orwell and, maybe more implicitly, Huxley on the violence that these people are willing to do to the language that the rest of us use to try to communicate with eachother.

  • OnPointComments

    H.R. 2532 “FREEDOM FROM THE PRESS ACT” would place strict limits on how much a corporation or individual could spend putting out a newspaper or any other medium in which political opinions are expressed. A news release issued with the text of the bill stated

    “For too long, wealthy media companies have been able to dominate the political debate, drowning the voices of ordinary citizens who may not agree with these companies’ elitist views on subjects such as campaign contributions by wealthy corporations…Media corporations dominate the political debate, not just because of money but because they control the established channels of communication. This bill will be one step toward a level playing field.”

    • OnPointComments

      As explained in the linked article, “There is, in fact, no such bill as the Freedom From the Press Act, limiting anyone’s right to publish a newspaper or broadcast a talk show. But if there were, is it possible that the media might find this bill just a tad unconstitutional? Might they not invoke every cliche of First Amendment jurisprudence…And wouldn’t they be right?

      “The solution when you don’t like someone’s speech is not to silence that person, or that corporation. It’s more and louder speech of your own.”
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-kinsley-the-solution-to-money-in-politics/2014/04/04/5ac0b412-bb8c-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

      • John Cedar

        Obviously when the Constitution was amended to forbid “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”, they intended that right only to apply to a single press operator pressing things for a well regulated militia. The founders could not possibly envision the development of media of mass destruction that we have today, and would never condone such a thing if they could foresee it.

  • Fredlinskip

    The Supreme Court Decision encourages wealthy contributions to candidates, thereby putting seal of approval on corruption.

    From an ”originalist” perspective (those that scan founding documents for FF’s intent), there are really only 2 ways to look at recent ruling.

    The ruling either:
    1) confirms the fact that the FF’s being wealthy landed gentry, hoped to create a society run by the same privileged class; OR…
    2) is completely contradictory to FF’s intent in that they hoped our American experiment, would be “of, for, and by the people.

    This difference shines a light on the stark difference between the 2 major political parties :
    The Conservative GOP under the guise of supporting “a Republic”, believe that the wealthy should rule,
    while the Dems believe the people should rule.

    Your really talking about 2 different political systems.

    Which America do you prefer?

    • pete18

      Pretty limited and silly range of interpretations that you give us to pick from regarding the court’s intent.

      From the ruling:

      The right to participate in democracy through political contributions is protected by the First Amendment, but that right is not absolute.Congress may regulate campaign contributions to protect against
      corruption or the appearance of corruption. See,
      e.g.,Buckley v.Valeo 424 U. S. 1, 26–27. It may not, however, regulate contributions simply to reduce the amount of money in politics, or to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others. See, e.g., Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v.Bennett, 564 U. S.

      1st amendment:

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      Where’s the contradiction from an Originalist’s perspective?

      • John Cedar

        The left continues to vehemently defend the indefensible, because they have no choice but to do so, or concede their voting block is made up of the most gullible and ignorant collective in all of history. It is imperative they limit freedom of the press for those on the right, while having no limits on NYT’s editorials or on Oprah when she chooses which presidential candidates she allows on her show for a bazillion dollars worth of commercial exposure and endorsement.

        • pete18

          I generally agree but Oprah did interview Romney and his wife and by law could not ONLY allow Obama on her show without making the same amount of time available to other candidates. But her public endorsement of Obama certainly carried a huge amount of weight. Would people who propose limiting the amount of money spent on political candidates also be in favor on a limit to what, how many, or by the degree of power and influence public figures were allowed to endorse candidates or political causes?

          • John Cedar

            I was referring to the ’08 election where she used her show to give a bazillion dollars worth of Obama contributions that don’t get counted. But did not afford the same to Hillary or Mccain.

          • pete18

            I know she did fund raising for him at her home but how did she raise money for him on her show?

        • Fredlinskip

          “The left continues to vehemently defend the indefensible”?

          You’re right.
          Who in right mind would want to defend an electoral system unless corruption is the rule?

      • Fredlinskip

        The decision is one more step in direction of removing campaign contribution limits, because according to Roberts, 1st amendment “protects political campaign speech” (obviously ? “money is speech“).

        Breyers- “Today’s decision …fails to recognize the difference between influence resting upon public opinion and influence bought by money alone, overturns key precedent, creates serious loopholes in the law, and undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform,” “When money calls the tune, those ideas, representing the voices of the people, will not be heard.”

        Cutting through the chaff, this is simply another win “by the wealthy, for the wealthy”

        • pete18

          That certainly is the other side of the argument but the 1st amendment does not speak to qualifying “influences,” its only stated concern is preventing government overreach and that is the only thing its language addresses,
          “Congress shall make no law…..abridging the freedom of speech.”

          I think justice Robert’s question in
          the second part of my post is most illuminating on this point and is certainly
          a conundrum for your side of the argument. If congress can limit the number of candidates an individual can support via a dollar amount, why can they not also limit the number of candidates that a newspaper supports? Why not? Aren’t they parallel situations?

          • Fredlinskip

            Why not?
            Because $ is not speech.
            If $ WAS speech then there would be a parallel.
            A newspaper is exercising it’s freedom of speech.
            While an individual may be exercising his freedom of $ by contributing huge amounts of $ to candidates in ways that can distort outcomes of elections, possibly ‘buying” a candidate (with understanding that favors will be returned after election), his freedom of $ for such a purpose should not be protected by 1st amendment.

          • pete18

            Are you kidding? Do you know how much it costs to buy a full page ad in a newspaper? Why do you think candidates lobby so hard for newspaper endorsements? Because they can have a huge effect on the vote. Doesn’t that also “distort” the outcome of an election? Does that not also have enormous value for a candidate? Why isn’t that the equal of $$? Isn’t a newspaper endorsement often more important than millions of dollars of campaign ads? Isn’t that disproportional power in the hands of a few? Can the average Joe walking down the street in times square yelling out his support for a candidate in the senatorial race have as much impact as the New York Times publishing an endorsement?

          • Fredlinskip

            Sounds as if you’ve got a personal vendetta against newspapers.
            Don’t know why you’re so worked up over them- they’re on their way out (if they reported with greater integrity this might not be the case).

            I’d be more worried about other media sources such as prominent TV stations some directly owned and operated by political operatives. Unfortunately, SC under Reagan eliminated the “Fairness Doctrine”, by which broadcasters were required by law to air both sides of controversial arguments.
            I’d also be concerned about full disclosure of campaign ads.

            Media outlets play huge role in molding public opinion. So are people supposed to not have any information sources whatsoever? It’s called free speech.
            Back in Founders days there were only a few newspapers- and they played huge role in influencing opinion.

            SC is bursting wide open our political electoral system, creating one where it’s not the most “free speech” that determines the victor, but one where the best funded candidate wins.
            1st amendment is not about freedom of $- that is a Conservative position damaging our nation.

            But Conservatives and GOP seem to be all bout distorting electoral results, ethics be damned.

          • pete18

            Sounds like you weren’t couldn’t respond to any of my points and shifted to speculating to how I feel about newspapers.

            “Media outlets play huge role in molding public opinion. So are people
            supposed to not have any information sources whatsoever? It’s called
            free speech.
            Back in Founders days there were only a few newspapers- and they played huge role in influencing opinion.”

            Exactly, you are making my point. Under the principle of free speech we allow the media, whether its newspapers, television, movies or the internet enormous power, that the average person doesn’t have, to influence opinion. We do not restrict them. To say that private citizens have a more limited power to exercise their free speech based on the amount of money they can spend because the POTENTIAL for corruption is not consistent with the first amendment. Corruption is also possible and happens everyday in the press (a good recent example here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/04/the-washington-post-corrects-disingenuously.php ) yet we don’t use this as an excuse to limit the press’s speech, nor should we.

            The First Amendment was all about limiting the government from constricting speech, that’s why its first line is, “Congress shall make no law…”

    • ExcellentNews

      There are no “principles”. Both parties serve those who pay their bills. It just happens that the Republican party bills are paid for by the modern “landed gentry”, while the financial base of the Democratic party is broader.

      • HonestDebate1

        Best to pay your own bills and be free. It’s crazy, I know.

  • OnPointComments

    Liberals are worried that because of the Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, vast sums of money will purchase more of the influence wielded by Washington politicians.

    Instead of decreasing the money in campaigns and lobbying, why not decrease the influence? If the money that millionaires and billionaires spend is corrupting, then surely the bottomless well of money and influence possessed by Washington politicians must be vastly more corrupting.

    “A government able to pick winners and losers through regulation, spending, or the tax code is a government worth influencing, whether through campaign donations or lobbying activities.

    “Numerous studies and analyses have calculated a massive “return on investment” from lobbying. For instance: a 2013 Boston Globe series found that by forking over a mere $2 million over two years to Washington lobbyists, Whirlpool secured the renewal of an energy tax credit worth a combined $120 million over two years.”

    THE ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM IS SMALLER GOVERNMENT
    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2014/04/the-ultimate-campaign-finance-reform-is-smaller-government/

  • ExcellentNews

    Why does the oligarchy NEED to have campaign finance limits repealed ??? Because even Nascar races, flag-waving rallies, and mega-churching are not enough to fool the 55% or so of Americans who hold conservative values. Barring a small fraction of mentally dissociated right-wingers, most Americans see that our country is becoming a banana republic, run by the billionaires for the billionaires. And this is not how the likes of Rupert Murdoch or the Koch Brothers will get the inheritance tax repealed and their dynasties established for a 1000-year lordship…

  • OnPointComments

    It’s like I’ve said all along: if the highway patrol decided it would pull over all vehicles exceeding the speed limit, and also all vehicles driven by African-Americans, it wouldn’t mean that everyone was treated equally because there were some whites in the first group.

    IRS AGENTS’ TESTIMONY: NO PROGRESSIVE GROUPS WERE TARGETED BY IRS
    http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/07/committee-staff-report-no-progressive-groups-were-targeted-by-irs/

    Excerpt:

    IRS agents testified before Congress that the agency’s political targeting did not apply to progressive groups as Democrats and the media have claimed…

    “Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word ‘progressive,’ all of which were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays. While some liberal-oriented groups were singled out for scrutiny, evidence shows it was due to non-political reasons…

    “[T]he Administration and congressional Democrats have seized upon the notion that the IRS’s targeting was not just limited to conservative applicants,” the report states. “These Democratic claims are flat-out wrong and have no basis in any thorough examination of the facts. Yet, the Administration’s chief defenders continue to make these assertions in a concerted effort to deflect and distract from the truth about the IRS’s targeting of tax-exempt applicants.”

    “[T]here is simply no evidence that any liberal or progressive group received enhanced scrutiny because its application reflected the organization’s political views,” the report stated.

    • hennorama

      OPC — first of all, you might get more attention for this on Friday, as it’s not part of last week’s “Week In the News.”

      Second, ZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

      Wake me when there’s something actually significant to report, especially something that’s not written by the majority’s staff members.

  • HonestDebate1

    Pete Seeger is an activist, which is fine.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

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3 Comments