Open Mic for Thursday, July 21, 2011

Welcoming back open mic was quite a wise suggestion to me a week or so ago. When we eliminated the open mic we were under the premise that we would have several authors presenting regular articles and that would fill up our days each week. As we have found, getting regular contributions to SUFA isn’t as easy as one might think. Not that I hold any ill will towards those who intended to contribute weekly. Of all people, I know full well how hard it is to find time to write in depth articles with some research and facts. Far too often over the last year, I have been forced to fall back on writing opinion pieces that were long on rant and short on research. When I didn’t have time to research, I resorted to offering what was on my mind. That will continue, although I will continue to attempt to add researched topics whenever I can.

So a few thoughts for now: First, if anyone is interested in writing for SUFA more regularly, I am open to hearing from you. As many of you already know, I do not in any way alter the opinions or points of view from potential articles. I also do not in any way have any requirement that you share my point of view, or that of anyone else here at SUFA. If you are diametrically opposed to my world view, that doesn’t mean I don’t value your opinion or you submissions. SUFA has always been meant to be a place where all views are welcome, and that isn’t going to change.

Second, I am interested in building the readership back up to previous levels. While I am sure that some will claim that readership dropped because I am batshit crazy and no one wants to read, I believe that the more likely reason is that articles have not been as plentiful and regularly posted as they used to be. Additionally, I don’t think the articles have been the catalyst for rational discussion as they were less researched and more opinionated, at least on my part.

But I won’t write a whole article about that stuff just now. Instead, I start this thread for open mic. Since I wasn’t able to get on during the day and discuss the comments that were posted to Monday’s article, I figured I would start open mic by replying to some of those….


  1. USWeapon says:

    @Charlie Stella

    Agreement … but with an understanding why American workers will feel more jerked than usual (i.e., the bailout that came with similar warnings of financial Armageddon wound up benefitting the most wealthy in the country (like usual). ZERO stipulations to protect American workers have allowed Goldman Sachs et al to not only reward themselves with record bonuses and profits (on the backs of American taxpayers), they continue to ship American jobs overseas. For those of you who “claim” to be against corporatism, why isn’t there any angst about that? (or should they be “free” to find less than minimum wage workers wherever they want?)

    I know you will find this hard to believe, but I am not in any great hurry to defend corporations simply to defend corporations. What I will defend is freedom. As such I don’t like jobs being shipped overseas, but I am sure not going to take a stand to stop it. To do so would go against the freedom I believe in. That being said, I am in no way able to support corporate welfare or the special deals that companies like Goldman Sachs have gotten. I think that they are crappy companies and I have no sympathy for whatever befalls them.

    I do disagree with the “free to find less than minimum wage workers wherever they want” statement though. First, minimum wage is relative. So that is an odd way to define it. Minimum wage in the US is living like a king in some countries. I support the right of companies to do what is right for their bottom line, so long as it isn’t immoral or unethical. Sweat shops I will not support, moving away from the most expensive workforce in the world? I certainly understand it even if I don’t like it.

    Honest question: Do you agree at all with the notion that we have the most expensive workforce? If so, do you think that we a disproportionately expensive? In other words, has the American system and the multitudes of conveniences and “nice to haves” worked to price ourselves out of the market?

    A question for Republicans who voted for the bailouts: If Wall Street was too big to fail, why isn’t the United States of America?

    I, for one, was one of those that fell for the too big to fail mantra when it came to the economic markets. I now believe that I was wrong. We should have let it fail and dealt with the repercussions. I have now gotten to the point where whenever the government tells me that something will cause financial armageddon, I chalk it up as another scare tactic. I wish I hadn’t supported it back in 2008, and I certainly wouldn’t support a similar bailout of Wall Street today.

    the fact it is owned by the very people who benefited from the last crisis makes me all the more skeptical.

    You and me both. I am simply not buying it. We didn’t bail out Wall Street last time even though that was the claim. We simply helped big banks by giving them taxpayer money. We got screwed in the deal.

    1) an immediate withdrawal of our troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan (in as expedient a manner without endangering our troops as possible). That would be a major cut to our defense budget costs (which help average American workers, except those working in defense contract plants, in no way shape or form).

    Agreed. I have made it clear in the past that I support falling back to a defense only position regardless of the financial aspect of things. It is the right thing to do anyway. The fact that we would save so much cash is merely a fringe benefit in my eyes.

    2) an immediate significant scaling back of all foreign aid (as much as 50%).

    I would even support as much as 100%. When you are operating in the red, you don’t give money away. Especially given what we get in return.

    3) putting an end to lifetime healthcare and pensions for all elected officials; if it isn’t good enough for the people who elect them, why should pols get it?

    Agreed again. I have never supported them getting these things in the first place. Personally I think they are overpaid for what they do while IN office, let alone getting paid afterwards. They should have a salary based around the national average and their health care should be the Blue Cross/Blue Shield bullshit that the rest of us have to deal with. And they should get nothing once they are done serving other than a thanks and a going away cake.

    4) significant term limits that might help preclude politicians being owned.

    I am unsure that significant term limits would accomplish this. On the flip side term limits coupled with #3 above may may them even more eager to take a bribe or benefit in some way. Term limits are a real conundrum for me. Black Flag’s stance on why they fly in the face of freedom is very convincing and threw a kink in my whole thought process around them. While I hate career politicians, I cannot support term limits as they seem to tell free people they cannot elect the representative of their choosing. Do you see my problem? I don’t know the answer to this one. Perhaps I will do an article on it soon to really talk it out with the rest of SUFA.

    5) an end to all corporate tax loopholes so they are no longer a part of the 47% who don’t pay taxes (which no one here seems to point to).

    I completely support the closing of all the corporate loopholes that you are talking about. They seem to overwhelmingly benefit big business but not small business. In exchange, I would like the corporate tax levels reduced to be more in line with, and hence more competitive with, the rest of the world. The majority of corporations are not leaving the US because of employee pay, they are leaving because of high tax rates coupled with intense regulation and ridiculous requirements. Just my opinion.

    6) Then we can start talking about cutting other entitlement programs and a balanced budget amendment.

    I think the balanced budget amendment should be done now. The Senate and the President are so opposed to it because they are well aware that it would easily pass the 2/3 of the states muster. The American people overwhelmingly support the idea of a balanced budget amendment. The other entitlement programs need massive reform and in some cases, complete elimination. We ignore this reality at our own risk.

    Or let it all collapse (as should have happened in 2008) and let the revolution begin already.

    If it is going to happen, I would rather get it over with. But unlike many here, I don’t think it would be good and I am not real optimistic that the eventual outcome would be what many who wish for the collapse think it would be….

    • Here’s why Steny doesn’t want a balanced budget amendment:

      Steny Hoyer: A Balanced Budget Amendment Would Make it Virtually Impossible to Raise Taxes

      If you’re on the fence as far as an opinion on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, Steny Hoyer seems to be unwittingly trying to push you in the “pro” direction:

      ( – House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) said on the House floor last night that if the balanced budget amendment Republicans are supporting is ratified and included in the Constitution it would make it “virtually impossible” to raise taxes.

      “In order to pay our bills, Republicans would require us to pass a Constitutional amendment that would permanently enshrine their partisan budget priorities in law and make it virtually impossible to raise revenue,” Hoyer said.
      Hoyer was evidently alluding to the amendment’s requirement that taxes could only be increased with a supermajority vote of Congress when he said the proposal would make it “virtually impossible to raise revenue.”
      It might make it virtually impossible to raise taxes, which is Hoyer’s obvious concern, but he’s wrong in saying it would make it virtually impossible to raise revenue. That part isn’t hard at all. Shrink government, back off and watch the economy grow — the revenue will come. That was the Reagan philosophy, and what DC Democrat isn’t running around these days quoting Reagan?

      They’re all about Reagan at the moment because Reagan raised the debt ceiling many times. Democrats even used snippets excised with surgical precision from one of Reagan’s radio addresses in an ad. But what they’re not playing are other sections of the same address:

      “You don’t need more taxes to balance the budget. Congress needs the discipline to stop spending more, and that can be done with the passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.”
      There’s the Republican response to the Democrat ad right there. I don’t recall ever hearing Reagan expressing concern that a potential Balanced Budget Amendment would make it too difficult for the government to raise taxes. That might have been a reason he’d have supported it, but I’ll bet a case of jelly beans it wouldn’t have been a deal-breaker.

      Hoyer can rest easy though, because the odds are against a Balanced Budget Amendment making it through the entire process and preventing the Democrats and any willing Republicans from increasing those economy-growing taxes.

    • Minimum wage in the US is living like a king in some countries. I support the right of companies to do what is right for their bottom line, so long as it isn’t immoral or unethical. Sweat shops I will not support, moving away from the most expensive workforce in the world? I certainly understand it even if I don’t like it.

      Exactly, which is why business can almost always find cheaper labor elsewhere. If they are going to be free to do whatever they want, you can expect a much higher unemployment rate than we currently have, I think. It’s a global economy and as my wife and I learned, no jobs are safe. Both of us forced to make career changes in our 50’s and we’re blessed to be able to do so. The majority of Americans our age simply are not as blessed (degrees, etc.). That level of business freedom is frightening. Why would they ever keep jobs here if they can take them elsewhere at will (which is what they’re doing now)? It isn’t helping the market here, that’s for sure. It isn’t growing the economy here. Their products certainly aren’t cheaper (law firms?) … unless we’re shooting for absolute anarchy (which I grow closer to every day), I don’t see that level of business freedom as benefiting anybody but those owning the means of production (a nasty phrase, yet accurate).

      Honest question: Do you agree at all with the notion that we have the most expensive workforce?

      We may well have the most expensive workforce. We also have the highest profits for businesses. Don’t forget we’re factoring in CEO salaries and bonuses that skyrocket no matter how the companies do (see those bailed out). The record profits recorded post bailout didn’t come from the outsourcing of mail room clerks, word processors and proofreaders. They came from the rewards CEO’s gave themselves for screwing up.

      If so, do you think that we a disproportionately expensive? In other words, has the American system and the multitudes of conveniences and “nice to haves” worked to price ourselves out of the market?

      I see where you’re going, but that can be brought to such extremes, almost all jobs would flee the country. You’re ALWAYS going to find cheaper labor elsewhere. None of us has jobs (including Mathius) that can’t be done elsewhere and with little (if any) reduction in quality. It’s just a fact of life (where the premise –all men are created equal really does apply). Hot jobs (specialty like hedge fund managers today will be mail clerks tomorrow–see below).

      Go to my first answer above, if you free up business to that degree, eventually hedge fund managers will lose their jobs (I use extremes for a reason). Even Matthius who claims he’s EARNED his way by going to school, etc. (and I’m not doubting his hard work, I’m seriously questioning whether he thinks that can’t be done elsewhere and for a lot cheaper). It can and it is. Right now it is a hot specialty job and is treated as such. Word processing was once a hot specialty job in New York (America in general). We were all making money hand over fist (relatively speaking) working wherever and whenever we wanted. The need was that great. Now, say goodbye to an entire industry. To be clear: I have as much faith in the profit motive of businessmen as I do in the government; if the chance for greater profit lies overseas, the jobs will go there. At some point you have an unemployment rate of American workers that will lead to absolute chaos.

      they (politicians) should have a salary based around the national average

      I like this USW … there’s some socialism (fairnesss) in you yet …

      I lean more towards anarchism these days for very different reasons than BF (although I “think” he’d be okay with it). Enough people would eventually form communes (for lack of a better word–communities where they share rather than horde). Business is heading overseas anyway (for profit) … it will go no matter what happens. So be it. The way the system is running now, this government (can we blame the FF for this?) has turned to shit. There’s nothing anyone should trust anymore … about anything. We’re lied into wars by both parties, we’re lied into financial crisis that bail out the wealthy, we’re stripped of basic human necessities and the corruption just multiplies daily. Who has rushed to DC over the last few days over this latest crisis? Lobbyists, that’s who. Who will pay for whatever new bomb they drop on us? The middle class. And while people fight over Rep vs. Dem, they take another step closer to their own demise. Screw it all. Let the chaos begin.

      You’re right, it probably wouldn’t be a good thing in the short term (a depression) but it “may” bring a more level playing field in the long run (i.e., a realization we’re all in this together and profit be damned, we need to work together).

      • Regarding term limits

        So long as there are minimal consequences to corruption, you’re right, it will never make a difference and some will be tempted to go for the under the table money sooner rather than later. On the other hand, throw these SOB’s were so-called organized criminals do their time (those that actually do their time), and you “might” see a reduction in the corruption.

      • “we’re stripped of basic human necessities”

        Did I miss something, or are there people dying out on the roadside?

        Your jealousy of the wealthy misleads you into believing that people don’t have what they need to survive. Many people in poverty in this country (and Europe) are living better than the upper-middle class of the rest of the world.

        • Your jealousy of the wealthy misleads you into believing that people don’t have what they need to survive. Many people in poverty in this country (and Europe) are living better than the upper-middle class of the rest of the world.

          JB, you’re a fool (there, I’ll start it). Speaking out of your ass. I’ve had big money, my friend (it simply doesn’t impress me, so get over it). I guess your solution is since there is worse poverty elsewhere, our poor should adapt. My beef with “the rich” (in case you’re unaware) is nobody can become so without the help of others (it’s a basic Marxist theme I happen to agree with). Nobody “earns” what they have without the help of others. Nobody can “work” hard enough to earn $650K an hour (Bill Gates), never mind $2.4 million an hour — a hedge fund manager last year). I won’t get into the “market” arguments over this one. On top of the fact they can’t “earn” that much, they certainly don’t “need” that much. I take great issue with that kind of unbalance. It’s my position. I’m sure yours is different.

          Jealousy of the wealthy? Blow it out your ignorant asshole.

          • I’m not usually one to take offense in a debate like this, but this was taking it a bit too far, my friend. I apologize if I offended you in the first place.

            • And I apologize right back.

              It’s the premise that bothers me (what lessens BF’s argument with me). Not all people who seek a more balanced economy (no matter what their politics, economics, ec. are “evil” or jealous or anything other than expressing their views. There are even billionaires on the left who are willing to pay more (not give everything up, just pay more) towards those more in need. They obviously aren’t jealous of the rich or evil either. The world just isn’t that black and white. Likewise, those who side with your view aren’t “evil” either (not in my eyes). I don’t demonize the wealthy; I demonise the method by which they became/become so. It’s just a personal belief (not right or wrong). Not every rich person (or corporation probably) is evil to me. That said, I am NEVER impressed by money … ever. Some people work very hard to achieve wealth (and need others to maintain it) and some step in shit … or inherit it. And there are lazy SOB’s willing to ride the backs of other (but not every unemployed person wants to live that way). The unemployment does not consist of the lazy; for the most part, it represents people up against it.

              I do apologize … again. Peace, brother/sister.

  2. USWeapon says:

    @Ray Hawkins

    USW is claiming the following:

    “The President of the United States has resorted to outright lying to make a case for what he wants to do. In his appeal to the American people, he attempted to claim that 80% of Americans are in favor of raising taxes to fix the problem. “The American people are sold. The problem is members of Congress are dug in ideologically.” What a complete load of horse manure.”

    – Well that isn’t exactly true is it? We cannot call his statement 100% true, but it certainly is not “a load of horse manure”.


    First of all, politifact is anything but factual or unbiased. But I read what they said before I typed out that statement above. Change the wording of that poll to “raising taxes” instead of “increasing revenue” and you will lose half the people who favored it. Go back to politifact and read their appraisals of other statements around similar topics and you will find that politifact appears to be bi-polar. They won’t call the President a liar. But they also say those who make the opposite statements are being honest. It comes down to them giving POTUS the ultimate benefit of the doubt on his statement. What the President said, and more importantly, what he was insinuating, is a lie. And he knows it. Most dishonest President in history, in my personal opinion.

    Additionally, much as a I despise Moody’s and S&P – it is erroneous for USW to claim they are irrelevant – the problem is they are very relevant. Until there is a solution that places complete/near complete objectivity into financial instrument rating (go ahead free marketers – this is one I’ve never heard a good answer to) – both “agencies” are still completely prone to influence from the very entities they rate.

    Perhaps irrelevant is a bad term. What I meant to say is that I don’t respect them at all because if they think the US deserves the best credit rating possible after watching us completely screw up our economy, then they are more than “prone to influence,” they are completely playing a game. Unfortunately, what they say IS relevant because people refuse to hold them accountable for objective reasoning. I don’t know what answer the free market has for objectivity in financial instrument rating. I haven’t heard a good one yet either, and I certainly am not willing to simply accept “the free market will magically come up with an answer if government gets out of the way”. In this realm, show me a better path forward and I will then argue for government to get out of the way.

    In my opinion the answer rests in:

    (1) An increase in the ceiling – there must be enough float in that new gap for us to un-fuck ourselves;

    How much float are you thinking? The 2.5 trillion they are talking about or more? Would you accept a one time increase that can accomplish “un-fucking ourselves” with the condition that a balanced budget amendment must be joined at the hip and an understanding that we will NOT, under any conditions, raise it again?

    (2) A balanced budget amendment

    I addressed this with Charlie above. I want it and I want it now.

    (3) Normalization and simplification of tax policies – I’m not talking about “sock it to the rich” – I’m talking closing loopholes so we don’t have 50 definitions of income

    100% agree. I would like the tax code simplified down to no more than 20 pages for individuals and 100 pages for businesses. Close all the loopholes, make it so that tax lawyers are never needed again, and stop with the tax games that the federal government plays way better than any of us can.

    (4) Significant and pervasive and deep cuts in spending – this means things like eliminating Social Security (for me – on a gradual progressive scale),

    100% agree. I think you know I have argued for the exact same thing. The gradual progressive scale is the only fair way to do so.

    complete elimination of foreign aid (goodbye UN),

    100% agree

    eliminating multiple Federal-level Departments (e.g. Labor, Education, etc),

    100% agree

    complete Defense overall (e.g eliminate separate branches of services)

    This is interesting. I would like to learn more about this. Defense overall I am obviously in agreement with. I would like to better understand the benefits of eliminating separate branches of service.

    (5) Consider radical term limit requirements – up a House Rep to 4 years but limit them to 2/3 terms. Limit Senators to 2 terms, limit SCOTUS, limit POTUS to a single term…….

    I addressed this with Charlie above as well. Term limits are something I am really up in the air on as I cannot find a solution that meets my freedom of choice requirement for voters while eliminating the pitfalls of career politicians. I am OK with eliminating the lifetime appointments of SCOTUS (wouldn’t confirmation hearings be more interesting if they were re-held every 8-12 years or so) and I would consider one term Presidencies.

    • @USW – I don’t know what the right “float” number is – we have a lot of un-screwing of ourselves to do and there will be a lot of uncomfortable landings. (the effect of eliminating Dept of Education – we cannot just pull the rug – there has to be some cutoff though – and no exceptions such as has occurred with Health Care reform – the funding simply stops.

  3. USWeapon says:


    Wasn’t there something recently where the Marine Corps didn’t want the Army to use its camouflage? What is wrong with this? They are on the same team.

    I saw this when it happened. I was absolutely outraged by it. The Marine Corps has a more effective camo design and they would withhold that from the rest of the US Military? How ridiculous! I almost wrote an article about it because I was so perplexed by the whole thing. I still can’t understand why the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs or the Commander in Chief didn’t slap the shit out of them for it.

    • USWep,

      The “not invented here” is a serious disease, no matter where it appears.

    • Naten53 says:

      I was hoping D13 could respond to this with his thoughts on this dispute over equipment.

      • I do have several things to say about it….but I am researching my archives and notes (memoirs) on the years of inter service disputes as to weapons, ammunition, food, and clothing. You made me think of all the “individual” issues of equipment. I will be back to you.

  4. USWeapon says:

    @Robert Nuckolls

    “Additionally, much as a I despise Moody’s and S&P – it is erroneous for USW to claim they are irrelevant – the problem is they are very relevant.”

    Absolutely! But the relevancy is not the value of their service as an adviser for potential investors in US debt. Their relevancy is the bald faced lies they publish intended to keep investors buying our paper. It’s the folks who get commission on handing our paper who need the AAA credit rating. THEY get commissions for handling the paper based on its face value. They have no risk (unless they also hold some paper) but if investors quit buying the paper, no paper-flow, no commissions, business suffers.

    If you and I conducted our borrowing business like the United States Congress, we’d have a credit rating of zero. Nobody in their right mind would invest in a borrower who’s level of debt is in a perpetual state of growth.

    It’s almost a certainty that the so-called rating services for US creditworthiness have little concern for folks who HOLD the increasingly worthless paper, only in the folks who get commissions on piles of paper that cross their desks. Those very same folks sang the siren song that dragged trillions of dollars down the hole in over-rated housing mortgage securities. Now that government has swept THAT particular thievery under the rug, what makes anyone believe that the same ratings services are now magically trustworthy?

    The US AAA rating is a scam, has been a scam for a long time.

    You tapped into exactly what I was trying to say and did so better than I could have. Thank you.

    “(4) Significant and pervasive and deep cuts in spending . . .”

    Stone Simple Task: Pick an unconstitutional department of government and notify all employees that, “next Friday is your last day. You will continue to receive a paycheck on the regular schedule for the next ten years. One year at 100%, next year at 90% . . . final year at 10%. Please use this money and newly financed spare time to get yourself an education in a independently self sufficient skill to replace your no-value added career here with the US Government.”

    Close their offices. Auction off the furniture, sell the buildings, cars, and computers. Shut off funding for all budget items over and above the graduated salaries cited above.

    A wonderful thing happens immediately. The daily operating costs for that department disappear tomorrow. Their economy and liberty killing activities disappear tomorrow. The growth of that department stops . . . in fact, all expenses associated with its support probably drops immediately by half and totally disappears in ten years.

    Spending of taxpayer dollars to “retrain the unemployed for new jobs” has been a favorite canard of the government for as long as I can remember. Okay, if it works for the laid off oil platform worker, it works even better for a laid off bureaucrat.

    I’d start with Department of Education, Department of Energy, and Department of Agriculture.

    Any chance I could get you to write a guest article going more in depth with this. It is an interesting concept and one I haven’t heard before. I like it on its surface, but would like to flesh it out a bit more. Let me know if you are interested.


    • @Robert Nuckolls

      Sheesh, skip writing a guest article, you need to run for office! Fantastic ideas!

      • Kathy,

        You are the most evil (no insult or slight intended, because I know you do so innocently)

        Anyone who runs for “office” must believe that their beliefs are “so good” it is worthy of inflicting violence on others to achieve them.

        What does that say about that person, or their beliefs???

        • ROFLMAO!

          Kathy is a barbarian! Too freakin funny!

          BF cut her some slack! Robert has brought some fresh conversation to SUFA! Actually he stole the thoughts from my brain~!

          Still laughing 😆

        • Then call me evil – so be it. (Hell, as white and middle class, DHS has me back on their terrorist list today too!)

          I don’t get you. I understand your whole “violence” thing. But the reality is we have a government, we have laws, we have, we have, we have. To reduce this, “we have”, we need people willing to get in and reduce, reduce, reduce. Yeah, would that be violence against, say Dept of Ed employees when they come to work and find “CLOSED” on the door? Perhaps in your world. I view it as a necessary evil – ha! You are right, I am evil! 😈

          • Kathy,

            Evil is a definition – “violence on the non-violent”.

            But the reality is we have a government, we have laws, we have, we have, we have.

            Is it not enough to know evil for us to shun it?

            Do we do evil as long as it benefits us, and only shun it when it harms us?

            Or do we dismiss evil no matter how much it offers benefit for us?

            If we cannot dismiss evil, then let us be sincere and say we love evil too much to let it go.

            (paraphrase of Gandhi)

            To reduce this, “we have”, we need people willing to get in and reduce, reduce, reduce.

            Dear Kathy – you hold dearly to the belief that a person can entire a System whose entire design is to prevent change to the System.

            The System of Government is to maximize its impact on People. It demands, controls, dictates, forces, commands all under the threat of its violence.

            You want to entire this system to stop government from its very purpose. You want to reduce its demands, its controls, its dictates and its commands.

            In this, you believe you can succeed.

            In this, you believe your message of cutting off people who completely rely on government for the source of their food and shelter will endear these people to you.

            But I am sure they will condemn you to the most maximum degree they can – and maybe even more.

            Thus, it is utterly futile to even attempt what you wish – and action in futility is a crime against the Universe, because you can NEVER regain the lost TIME spent there, when you could have been doing something FRUITFUL elsewhere.

            Yeah, would that be violence against, say Dept of Ed employees when they come to work and find “CLOSED” on the door?

            You leap into your projected future:
            Kathy wins! Kathy follows through on her promises! Government shrinks!
            …and that gives you a belief that you will be successful!

            But you cannot win.

            The Evil Force you wish to rally behind you is the Evil Force you want to change – and that Evil Force WILL NOT CHANGE.

            It will NOT rally behind you, and indeed, will rally to DESTROY YOU by any means possible.

            Perhaps in your world. I view it as a necessary evil – ha! You are right, I am evil!

            No, and in the most sincerely honorable possible measure, you are merely naive.

  5. USwep,

    Do not measure your value by the number of readers – that is fickle.

    Measure the value of your blog by the coherent and rational responses, pro or con.

    If the responses are long, filled with depth and emotion, and occasionally rational – you have a winner, even if it merely a dozen.

    Do not measure your value by ignorant morons rants.

    • “If the responses are long, filled with depth and emotion, and occasionally rational…”

      Oh for pete’s sake, did you reinjure that elbow patting yourself on the back with that one??????

  6. A Puritan Descendant says:

    Is not President Obama saying almost the same thing? 🙂

    No matter how unreasonable house conservatives may be, Obama still has the final choice of cave or go over the edge.

    He will be blamed.

    • I really don’t know if he would be blamed or not but I doubt it-things get hard and people change their views. But as of today-one can be hopeful.

      Poll: Weakened Obama would lose vote today
      by Dave Boyer

      Published on July 21, 2011

      A Democratic polling firm said President Obama’s already weak job-approval numbers are “worse than they appear” and he likely would lose the election if it were held today.

      For the first time in a year, Mr. Obama does not lead former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Public Policy Polling’s monthly national poll on the 2012 presidential race. They are tied at 45 percent, and Mr. Obama is losing among independent voters by a margin of 49 percent to 44 percent.

      Worse for Mr. Obama, PPP said, the “vast majority” of undecideds disapprove of the president’s performance. The survey of registered voters was conducted July 15-17.

      “There’s a very good chance Barack Obama would lose if he had to stand for re-election today,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP. “This is his worst poll standing in a long time, and he really needs the economy to start turning around.”

      In an interview this week with a Kansas City, Mo., TV station, Mr. Obama said the election will be more about his record than the platform of the eventual Republican nominee.

      “Americans understand that we didn’t get into this problem overnight,” Mr. Obama told KMBC-TV, one of three interviews he gave to regional TV outlets at the White House on Wednesday. “If next November they feel like I’ve … been working as hard as I can and have been getting some things done to move us in the right direction, then I’ll win. If they don’t, then I’ll lose.”

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        If he allows the country to go past Aug 2nd without a deal, and the economy goes over a cliff, I think he would be blamed. Especially since he and his administration repeatedly warned of dire consequences for going past Aug 2 without a deal. It would be as if he knowingly and willingly destroyed our economy.

        I think a lot of people would forgive him if he caves into Republican demands.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          I think the opposite.

          If Obama stands firm, the deadline passes and the economy goes down, people will be more likely to blame the GOP.

          If Obama caves to the GOP demands — once again — I know a lot of people who will be looking to vote for someone else come 2012.

          • Terry Evans says:

            I pretty much agree with you Buck…only I believe that whichever side caves will be looked upon by their constituents as weak.

          • So what do you think Obama should do, Buck. Both for the debt ceiling and the debt. He has not put forth a plan (nor have the Dems). What would Buck’s plan look like?

            • Buck the Wala says:

              First lets remember that there is no absolute NEED to tie deficit reduction to the debt ceiling. They can be separate pieces of legislation. But the powers that be have opted to only proceed with a vote on the debt ceiling if it is tied to deficit reduction. Working within that framework, there should be an agreement reached that has elements of spending cuts with elements of increased revenue. On the spending side, leave out Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, other than possibly a few measures to root out inefficiency, fraud and waste, at least for now. Look towards the defense budget and other programs at the moment. I believe the proposal now calls for 3 Trillion in cuts; that’s a pretty good start, wouldn’t you say. I would have to look more closely to see exactly where this is coming from though. On the revenue side, close some tax loopholes (and no, you don’t get to then offset the increased revenue from closing loopholes with lowering tax rates!) Allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, at least for the wealthy (I would propose adding some tax brackets actually to allow the current rates to be maintained for those making between 250K and lets say 500K). I would have to give it much more time than I currently have to come up with anything really concrete at the moment, but the above are just some thoughts on whree I stand at the moment.

              Oh, by the way Kathy, thought you would get a kick out of this:

  7. I read an article this morning in the local paper (Indy Star) about the government shutdown in Minnesota that got my gears turning (and blood boiling). It included a comment from a government worker who lamented the shutdown because she will find it hard to catch up in terms of workload (totally understandable) and financially (really quite disturbing). It made me think about where we have come as a culture. I would estimate that probably 80% of people in this country wouldn’t last one month without government services (unemployment and food stamps) if they lost their income.

    What ever happened to personal and financial responsibility? Have you ever listed to any personal financial advise? One of the first things you should do is save up an emergency fund. If I lose my job, I know I’ll be fine because I have at least 3 months of my income ready to catch me. I am working on increasing that to 6 months and I’ll keep it up.

    The current debt issues are just a symptome of our inability to be responsible for ourselves. We are living above our means and are unwilling to cut back. An excellent example is Social Security. It was NEVER INTENDED to be a RETIREMENT FUND for workers, but that is how many people treat it. Financial commen sense says save enough money to support your lifestyle for as long as you expect to live, not rely on the government to support you. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have it, but let’s treat it as it is intended, as a SAFETY NET! If we view it in this way, it is totally reasonable to raise the retirement age. I want to work as long as I can and with today’s technology and barring any unforseeable accidents, I think that could be well into my 80’s for my profession (professor).

    The mantra of tax the rich more so we can keep spending on these programs is precisely redistribution of wealth. If you support it, say so, but don’t hide behind false ideals. You want to take money from the wealthy (jealousy?) so that you can live above your means and not have to worry what will happen if you lose your job (irresponsibility?).

    If we’d all get our feet under ourselves as we’re supposed to, we wouldn’t even care if the government cannot offer all these services.

    • This reminds me of when I was a lot younger and a family member asked my father for some financial help(it wasn’t me 🙂 ) He gave the help but he offered the advise that maybe they could live without a few luxuries-like their TV-I remember we all thought he was being so mean-no TV-they already didn’t have the money to go anywhere-so they had to have a TV-to expect them to give up their TV was just unreasonable. Boy, we just didn’t get it . I know my father just wanted to scream at how spoiled we were-but he continued on to patiently teach us better.

      • I became greatly disillusioned once while donating my time and money donating food to needy people with my church. We walk in with bags of groceries to give to people sitting on a nice couch in front of a big screen tv watching cable and wearing nice clothes. I’m sure people like Charlie think the rich take advantage of the poor, but I also believe that the poor (not all of course, just some) take advantage of the generous.

        • See what I wrote above; that kind of nonsense exists at both ends of the spectrum (wealth-poverty). It’s a shame it is that way, but not everybody in need is sitting on couches waiting for handouts. Likewise, not every rich person is looking to scam the poor. Deadbeats are deadbeats … scam artists are scam artists … and there’s a huge group of people inbetween victimized by both (why it isn’t black and white).

    July 21, 2011
    Report pinpoints frozen job market
    Rick Moran

    Tina Korbe at Hot Air links to a Heritage Foundation study that showed private sector job creation grinding to a halt after Obamacare passed:

    From the recession’s low point in January 2009 until April 2010, when Obamacare went into effect, the private sector created about 67,600 jobs a month. After the president signed PPACA into law, that number slowed to a meager 6,400 jobs a month – a more than 90 percent decrease or less than one-tenth the previous rate.

    As the report states, correlation cannot prove causation – but the change in course is statistically measurable and testing reveals a structural break between April and May of 2010. Moreover, small-business owners have said Obamacare is a deterrent to hiring. Take Scott Womack, the owner of 12 IHOP restaurants in Indiana and Ohio, as just one example. Before Obamacare became law, he had development plans in Ohio. Now, he’s worried he won’t be able to carry out his original plans unless Obamacare is repealed. Those restaurants he planned to open would provide jobs not only for his future employees, but also for everyone involved in the construction of the restaurant buildings themselves.

    Anecdotal evidence is one thing. But when numbers are crunched proving what most of us know, it becomes political.

    Obama hasn’t exactly blamed business yet for the paucity of jobs, but that would logically be his next target. Liberal blogs have been railing against businesses for months, accusing them of deliberately trying to sabotage the recovery. It would not be surprising if Obama picked up on that theme and began to demonize businesses, blaming them for his own incompetence and horrid policies.

      • And he wants to raise taxes even more and spend more money.. Obamacare may not be the only reason but add in all the regulations and job killing energy policies and it seems pretty clear-that his overall game plan-is total CRAP.

        Just for fun read this-All I could do was laugh 😦

        New report shows even clean energy projects are dying in regulatory nightmares

        While the Obama administration has repeatedly pushed for the development of a renewable energy industry, its regulatory process is strangling clean energy projects before they even get off the ground, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Project No Project” initiative.

        The study, which was meant to quantify the economic impact of stalled energy projects due to regulatory burdens, found that there are more renewable energy projects currently caught up in red tape than projects in the fossil fuel industry.

        The report by TeleNomic Research, titled “Project Denied: The Potential Economic Impact of Permitting Challenges Facing Proposed Energy Projects,” was conducted by Steve Pociask, president of the American Consumer Institute, and Joseph Fuhr, economics professor at Widener University and senior fellow at the American Consumer Institute.

        “The fact that we ended up having more renewable projects than coal was probably the biggest surprise in the entire study,” said Bill Kovacs, U.S. Chamber senior vice president of Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs.

        “But it shouldn’t be,” Kovacs told The Daily Caller, adding that they decided to do the report during the height of the recession when the focus was on “shovel-ready projects.”

        “We were starting to see more and more coal and gas, but we were also starting to see renewable projects too,” Kovacs said of projects caught up in red tape. “We sent a stinging letter to the Hill on the stimulus program, saying that unless Congress enacts legislation to address this problem, even green jobs will struggle.”

        One specific project Kovacs mentioned is Sunrise Power, a renewable power plant in California that waited on a permit from 1980 to February 2011.

        All together, the authors found 351 stalled energy projects around the country that they say, in the aggregate, are costing the U.S. economy $1.1 trillion in GDP and at least 1.9 million jobs in 49 states. The reasons for the delays, say the authors, are what they call “Not In My Back Yard” activism, a broken permitting process and a system that allows for never-ending lawsuits.
        Ads by Google

        In Colorado, for example, the Colorado State University Green Power Project for wind power is currently “in progress, with opposition.” The $500 million project would power the school’s main campus, but opponents – mainly local property owners – are challenging the project on the grounds that it would not meet sufficient funding or wind velocity requirements.

        In Florence County, South Carolina, construction for a Pee Dee Facility for coal has been cancelled. Though the project faced massive opposition from the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, the necessary permits were obtained by February 2009. However, in August of that year, developers cancelled the project due to regulatory uncertainty over federal regulations on carbon dioxide emissions.

        The coal facility is just one of three projects in South Carolina that have been stalled. All together, the projects would have produced an average of 58,000 jobs a year, according to the report.

        California has a staggering 32 stalled energy projects, with a total economic output of more than $59 billion, the report says. One of them, the SunPower California Valley Solar Ranch, is stalled because local residents haven’t warmed to the idea of the proliferation of solar projects in their area. The project has also had to wait because the site is home to 13 different species the federal government has deemed endangered, which means the impact on the local environment has to be assessed by biologists.

        • Terry Evans says:

          IMO, it is also no coincidence that the job market really started going down the tubes as soon as he was elected.

  9. Leave it to women to make the debt-ceiling debate funny.

    A parody ad from the group Concerned Women for America begins airing today and advertises “Spenditol,” the new miracle drug — made in Washington” and the “answer to all the painful problems Americans face.”

    In a pitch-perfect spoof of the standard drug ads seen on TV, “Spenditol” features an attractive, suburban soccer mom suffering from the “chronic pain” of gas prices, potential unemployment and paying the bills. Then she cheerfully announces:

    Spenditol is Washington’s answer to all the painful problems Americans face. How to borrow $800 billion dollars for a stimulus that didn’t create jobs or fix the economy? Spenditol.

    The minute-long ad is set to run in Florida, Ohio, Nebraska and Montana, and nationally on the Fox News Channel and CNN, according to CWA, which spent $1.4 million on the campaign.

    The conservative advocacy group covers a wide range of issues for a female audience; CMA CEO Penny Nance said creating the ad was another chance to do just that.

    “This ad is targeted specifically to women because we know that women tend to hold the purse strings of the family,” Nance told The Daily Caller. “We know women are making very difficult choices everyday as they sit at the kitchen table with a pile of bills deciding what gets paid and … there’s a frustration out there as to why can our nation’s leaders not make the same tough choices.”

    Sometimes the best way to reach women — and the public at-large — about very serious issues, is with a sense of humor, said Nance.

    Read more:

  10. Canine Weapon says:

  11. But, USW….you ARE bat shit crazy….(and it takes one to know one) Didn’t you know that anyone that jumps out of perfectly good airplanes with a 75 pound pack tethered to your waist, trying to miss the trees and fences because the winds changed direction at the drop zone, hit the ground in a controlled fall with out breaking your legs, ankles, and/or knees and being dragged with a 20 mph ground wind through whatever obstacles Mother Nature saw fit to put into your landing area because I am convinced Mother Nature has a warped sense of humor, then “Ranger Walk” (run to most people) 15 miles and fight a pitched battle against four to one odds is bat shit crazy? So, of course you are bat shit crazy…..then you throw on top of that being friends with a Dread Pirate and a demented Colonel that raises different breeds of Raptors, rapping with the likes of Charlie, the Stella Man (who eats crap like Canoli instead of meat and taters) and who thinks that Musolini and Kruschev and Karl Marx were heroes….and you want others to think you are not bat shit crazy? BF is right…..judge your blog by the quality and the in depth discussions…not the number. Numbers are misleading….and despite the psychotic ravings of the far left liberal thought (did I say that?) and the seemingly incontrovertible thought of the far right fringe (did I say that?)…there is not one on here on a steady basis that I would not trust if the chips were actually down. Much like the military family, I bet you or I could call on Ray or LOI or JAC or VH or Mathius or any of the family we have here and they would help in any manner they could….even BF ( who often says he would not get involved ).

    So…having said all this… is my interpretation that you are in fine company of the



    • Mathius™ says:


      As the duly appointed representative of the lunatic fringe*, I feel I should point out that bat shit crazy is a perfectly acceptable descriptor for me, and all of my alter-egos.

      *according to the SUFA definition, elsewhere referred to as “center left”

      PS: I don’t like the new font.

      PPS: This happened to me the other day – I assume it was your fault.

    • Despite encouraging viewers not to pay attention to a person’s race in determining whether or not they may be a terrorist, almost all of the scenarios in the clip proceed to portray white people as the most likely terrorists. Bizarrely, nearly every single one of the “patriotic” Americans who reports on their fellow citizen is either black, Asian or Arab. Imagine if the video had portrayed every terrorist as an Arab and every patriotic snoop as white, there’d be an outcry and rightly so, but this strange reversal must have been deliberate on the part of the DHS, but why? Is this merely political correctness taken to the extreme or is something deeper at work?

      Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the DHS’ own internal documents list predominantly white conservative groups as the most likely terrorists, such as Ron Paul supporters, gun owners, gold bullion enthusiasts, and a myriad of other comparatively banal political interests that are largely the domain of white middle class Americans.

  12. God Bless Texas

    God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael, the archangel, found him, resting on the seventh day.
    He inquired, “Where have you been?” God smiled deeply and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, “Look, Michael. Look what I’ve made.”

    Archangel Michael looked puzzled, and said, “What is it?” “It’s a planet,” replied God, and I’ve put life on it. I’m going to call it Earth and it’s going to be a place to test Balance.” “Balance?” inquired Michael, “I’m still confused.”
    God explained, pointing to different parts of Earth. “For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is going to be poor. Over here I’ve placed a continent of white people, and over there is a continent of black people. Balance in all things.”

    God continued pointing to different countries. “This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice.”The Archangel , impressed by God’s work, then pointed to a land area and said, “What’s that one?”
    “That’s Texas , the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful bluffs, rivers and streams, lakes, forests, hills, and plains. The people from Texas are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent, and humorous, and they are going to travel the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, high achieving, carriers of peace, and producers of good things.”

    Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then asked, “But what about balance, God? You said there would be balance.”

    God smiled, “I will create Washington, DC. Wait till you see the idiots I put there .”

    • Terry Evans says:

      I read this this morning and immediatly thought of D13!

      This was in the Waco Tribune Herald, Waco , TX Nov 18, 2010
      > Put me in charge . . .
      > Put me in charge of food stamps. I’d get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash
      > for
      > Ding Dongs or Ho Ho’s, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans,
      > blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want
      > steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.
      > Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I’d do is to get women
      > Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations. Then, we’ll test
      > recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and
      > piercings. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get
      > tats and piercings, then get a job.
      > Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks?
      > You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your
      > “home” will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be
      > inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your
      > own place.
      > In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or
      > you will report to a “government” job. It may be cleaning the roadways of
      > trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We
      > will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo
      > and speakers and put that money toward the “common good.”
      > Before you write that I’ve violated someone’s rights, realize that all of
      > the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules.. Before
      > you say that this would be “demeaning” and ruin their “self esteem,”
      > consider that it wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for
      > doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.
      > If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should at least
      > attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system
      > rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.
      > AND While you are on Gov’t subsistence, you no longer can VOTE! Yes that
      > is
      > correct. For you to vote would be a conflict of interest. You will
      > voluntarily remove yourself from voting while you are receiving a Gov’t
      > welfare check. If you want to vote, then get a job.Now, if you have the
      > guts – PASS IT ON…

      • I can live with except the one “common good” phrase…..But if that is the only common good phrase…I can live with it.

        Hope I did not cause you to lose sleep….. 🙂

  13. Mini SUFA gathering later today!

    I am off, leaving the great state of WI, cruising down I94 and crossing over into enemy territory of MI to Anita land!

    No doubt we will be analyzing our friends here at SUFA – if your nose starts itching, your ears start buzzing – it’s not allergies or mosquitoes, it’s us! Hope you’ve been kind!! (and haven’t made evil comments……..)

    I’m outta here!

  14. Charlie,

    The majority of Americans our age simply are not as blessed (degrees, etc.). That level of business freedom is frightening.

    Frightening? Why?
    The fact is that Americans have for a quite a while believed they have a Right to a job, and government will get it for them.

    But no such Right exists. This is awareness and with awareness, one manages their own affairs with that in mind, and it becomes an opportunity.

    Why would they ever keep jobs here if they can take them elsewhere at will (which is what they’re doing now)?

    Because Americans are productive.

    It helps to think economically, Charlie.

    Say’s Law:
    Products buy Products

    Only producers buy the products of other producers.

    If people are selling to Americans, it means Americans are producing goods to sell.

    This can be thrown out of order by government intervention which masks unproductive workers in a cloak of being “productive” by artificial means, such as creating artificial money, or creating artificial interest rates.

    When this mask comes off, the unproductive workers who benefited from the mask are doomed to suffer – but the productive workers have no threat the mask did not help them, and the removal of the mask will not hurt them.

    Americans are by their nature very productive – the most productive in human history. I do not worry that this has been eroded to such a degree that it is now the opposite.

    Remove the mask, and the truth will be revealed.

  15. Heirs Lose Fight With Gov’t to Keep Rare Gold Coins
    By Maryclaire Dane
    | Wednesday, Jul 20, 2011 | Updated 5:41 PM EDT

    A jury has decided that a set of rare gold coins found in a bank deposit box rightfully belongs to the U.S. government.

    The decision, made on Wednesday, caps an unusual civil case that combined history, coin collecting and whether the set of rare $20 “double eagles” should have ever let the U.S. Mint in 1933.

    Federal prosecutors had asserted that the coins never circulated when the country went off the gold standard. Most of the batch was instead melted down.

    But Joan Langbord, the daughter of a Philadelphia jeweler, said she found the 10 coins in her father’s bank deposit bank after he died.

    She said that her father could have acquired them legally, perhaps through a trade of gold scrap.

    One 1933 double eagle sold for $7.6 million in 2002.

    Not in the court room-so have limited info.-was not circulated and MOST was melted down-hmmm what happened to the ones that weren’t melted down-is it 100% sure that they were stolen by someone or is there another possibility. If there is even a tiny bit of doubt -this woman should get to keep the coins. AND WHO SOLD THIS DOUBLE EAGLE IN 2002 IF THEY WERE MELTED AND NOT PUT INTO CIRCULATION???????

    • V.H.

      But that is not the legal theory.

      The theory is:
      – FDR legally confiscated ALL Gold Eagles, therefore, ALL Gold Eagles are owned by the government.
      – possession of a Gold Eagle in the USA is possession of property of the US Government.
      – US government has the Right to determine the state of its own property.
      – US Government has seized the coins and added it to its own gold store.
      – US government does not care what “value” others put on the coins, it values the gold at $32/oz. Period.

      • It said that these coins weren’t circulated-not that they were coins that were confiscated-at least that’s what I got from the article. Did I misread?

        • V.H.
          The US Mint had created a new set for year 1933 – but did not send them out due to the confiscation order.

          These were to be melted down.

          If any of these coins exist, they must have been stolen from the mint.

          This is why these coins are so valuable – they “officially” do not exist.

          If you have this coin, do not repatriate it to the USA.

          • I wish I had just one 🙂 I have to admit since I feel like the government basically stole from the people when they took the gold-I would have had a real hard time voting to give those coins back to the government even if they were stolen. If I had an option-since I do not know that her father actually stole them-I would have ruled that if she paid the government the value of the gold coins in 1933 she could keep them.

            • V.H.

              From the eyes of the court, it was stolen property, and the owner gets his property back

              • Sometimes BF, I just have to say ______ the court. A court is supposed to dispense justice. I think my idea does that. Why should the government benefit over the individual because they instated policies that should have been deemed illegal in 1933.

              • Or if it sits better with people She could pay the currant value of gold by the ounce-

              • Dang it-hit the stupid button-that way the government loses nothing-except the artificial rise in value that was caused by their illegal actions.

  16. It seems more reasonable to suppose that there is no ruling class, that we are ruled, rather, by a myriad of quareling gangs, constantly engaged in stealing from each other to the great impoverishment of their own members as well as the rest of us.

  17. Marco Sauceda of Lufkin, Texas, did nothing wrong to any living soul. Yet the mentally handicapped 30-year-old was pepper-sprayed, shot with a pepper-ball gun, and severely beaten by nine police officers in his own home after they mistook him for a robber. Now he’s going to jail for 30 days and will have to pay a $500 fine for the supposed crime of resisting arrest.

    Sauceda, who speaks little English, hid in the bathroom when the police laid siege to his home on March 15, 2009. A neighbor had called in a report that a “black male” was kicking in the front door. Once the terrified man — described as having “the mind of a child” — had been extracted from the bathroom it was clear that he wasn’t the suspect described in the report.

    Any human being in which so much as a fugitive flicker of decency exists would have dismissed the charge, given the opportunity. Angelina County Attorney Ed Jones, however, is a prosecutor — a caste in which such decency is, for all practical purposes, extinct. Thus he insisted that the case had to be taken to court because “the statute says that you do not have the right to resist the arrest. We were going to try the case no matter what.”

    The jury had the right, the legal authority, and moral duty to nullify the application of that statute. Instead, they convicted him and told the trial judge, Derek Flournoy, that Sauceda “has been wronged” and asked him to display leniency. The Judge didn’t agree with the Jury’s characterization, lecturing Sauceda that “I don’t agree you are a victim in this case” and insisting that when the terrified man hid in a bathroom he “put … the officers in harm’s way.” As if expecting plaudits and laurels for his forebearance, Flournoy told Sauceda that absent the jury’s timid and equivocal request, the sentence would have been six months in a government cage.

    Sauceda entered the courtroom “wearing a tan button down shirt and navy dress slacks,” reported the Lufkin Daily News, “but by the end of the day found himself in county orange” — as punishment for receiving a beating he didn’t deserve at the hands of costumed thugs who are never to blame.


    Remember, the police are not there to help you, nor to defend you, nor are your friend.

    They are the violent arm of Evil – and exist only to enforce its edicts.

    • An Ohio police officer is being widely criticized for a threatening rant caught on his dashboard camera during a recent arrest.

      The June 8, 2011 video, which was obtained by a gun rights group, shows a Canton police officer grow irate after he indicates that the driver of a stopped vehicle waited too long to inform him of his concealed gun, even though he had a proper permit to carry it.

      “I could blast you right in the mouth,” the officer said. “I am so close to caving in your God d— head.”

      “It’s how f—ing cops get killed.”

      Once inside the police car, the officer continues the rant, saying, “I tell you what I should have done. As soon as I saw your gun, I should have taken two steps back, pulled my Glock 40, and just put 10 bullets in your ass and let you drop. And I wouldn’t have lost any sleep.”

      Read more:

  18. 1. Open Google Maps:
    2. Click on “get directions”
    3. Type “china” as your start point
    4. Type “ Taiwan ” as your destination
    5. Read Step number “48”
    6. When you stop laughing email this to your friends so they can laugh as well

    • Buck the Wala says:

      They used to have the same thing for directions from NYC to London. For some reason, they would have you drive up to the Boston Harbor first; guess it was a shorter swim?

      Always got a kick out of it.

    • Hey, they let you kayak across the Pacific to Hawaii ! 🙂

  19. GHEI: The crony-capitalist triumph
    Dodd-Frank anniversary highlights dangers of socializing risk

    Beware politicians whose legislation bears a grandiose title. You can be certain their schemes will accomplish the opposite of their purported intent. Such is the case with the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law one year ago today. The massive 2,300-page tome – commonly known as Dodd-Frank – promised to fix the financial system, streamline regulation and end bailouts. Like so much of President Obama’s legislative achievements, this bill promised much, delivered little and cost a great deal.

    By the Government Accountability Office’s reckoning, implementation will require $1.25 billion in new spending. It’s not cheap marshaling an army of 2,800 newly minted federal bureaucrats wielding fresh power over the private sector. Over the next decade, businesses will shell out $27 billion in fees, assessments and tithes to their new regulatory masters, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

    The enterprise was a knee-jerk reaction to the financial crisis of 2008, where the feds had just bailed out the investment bankers at Bear Stearns and elsewhere. Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, and then-Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, insisted creation of agencies like the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection would crack down on Wall Street and end the ingrained idea that some firms are “too big to fail.”

    The actual result has been a mountain of red tape. At least 400 new federal rules will be layered on top of existing regulations. New bureaucracies will have overlapping jurisdiction with existing regulatory bodies. Affected banks and businesses are scrambling to comply, but frequently they don’t know what they are supposed to be complying with. Only 21 of these rules have been finalized, and the remainder are being rammed through with nearly no time made available for cost-benefit analysis, public comment or reflection.

    Far from getting rid of bailouts, Dodd-Frank institutionalized them. Title II empowered the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation with “orderly liquidation” authority, giving the agency discretion to intervene between a financial institution and its creditors in any way it sees fit. Markets have not been slow to recognize this. Historically, large banks have paid higher interest rates on their loans than small banks; since the passage of Dodd-Frank that relationship has been reversed. Markets believe Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner when he says the federal government is prepared to do “exceptional things” if warranted. That means the “too big too fail” ethic still applies.

    Dodd-Frank has largely severed the relationship between risk and return, which is the necessary discipline imposed by a free market. Now, the big banks get to keep the rewards, but American taxpayers bear the risk. If that sounds familiar, it should. That is precisely what happened in Greece, when the International Monetary Fund underwrote hundreds of billions of dollars in loans, leaving American and German taxpayers stuck with the bills. To add insult to injury, these financial institutions are sophisticated market players, with a wealth of resources at their disposal to assess risk. They don’t need any further protection, and certainly not at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer.

    Dodd-Frank has been an expensive exercise in command and control by the federal government. It encourages crony capitalism while undermining free markets and limiting competition. A year later, the folly of this legislation has only grown more apparent.

    You might take notice that all these regulations and fees and crap that is spread out between ALL the banks is just another way to make small business( along with the people) continue paying for the bailouts-while the big banks are still under the protection of the “to big to fail” bull-who cares if all this makes small banks more likely to fail- but as a ploy to grow government-it works. 😦

  20. 😐

    • In April 2009, climate realist Christopher Monckton, a former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was invited to testify before Congress about global warming alongside Nobel laureate Al Gore.

      The following video of a debate that happened in Australia Tuesday will perfectly demonstrate why Monckton, after he had arrived at Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C., was informed that House Democrats refused his appearance at the hearing:

      Please notice how Monckton continually referred to data and scientific papers to support his view of anthropogenic global warming, while his opponent, Richard Denniss of the Australia Institute, merely echoed the “scientific consensus” nonsense without bringing data or facts into his rebuttal.

      Denniss did the same thing in his article about the debate published at Crikey Wednesday:

      Put simply, Lord Monckton is a case study of the emphasis placed by the media on confidence over content. A harder question for the media, however, is why they have given so much prominence to climate sceptics with no qualifications in science when they pay virtually no attention to immunisation sceptics without qualification in epidemiology or fluoride sceptics with no qualifications in chemistry or biology?

      Denniss’s entire argument Tuesday, and in his article Wednesday, was that the science is settled, and people like Monckton shouldn’t be listened to.

      Yet, what Monckton did a number of times when questioned by Australian journalists at the debate was identify that it was press members like those present that are just repeating the information given to them by global warming alarmists, and that they are failing in their duties to not only research the science but also fairly report it to the public.

      Read more:

  21. I know it’s long-but well worth reading.

    A Fling with the Welfare State
    From the best of intentions to bankruptcy and recriminations

    The intentions of Democrats are only the best. They want all of the old to have lavish retirements, all of the young to have scholarships, verse-penning cowboys to have festivals funded by government, and everyone to have access to all the best health care, at no cost to himself. In the face of a huge wave of debt swamping all western nations, this is the core of their
    argument: They want a fair society, and their critics do not; they want to help, and their opponents like to see people suffer; they want a world filled with love and caring, and their opponents want one of callous indifference, in which the helpless must fend for themselves. (“We must reject both extremes, those who say we shouldn’t help the old and the sick and those who say that we should,” quips the New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg.) But in fact, everyone thinks that we “should” do this; the problem, in the face of the debt crisis, is finding a way that we can. It is about the “can” part that the left is now in denial: daintily picking its way through canaries six deep on the floor of the coal mine, and conflating a “good” with a “right.”

    Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt linked “freedom from want” to “freedom of speech” and “freedom of worship,” the left has been talking of everything that it thinks would be nice to have in terms of an utter and absolute right: a right to a job and a right to an income, a right to retire in comfort in Florida, a right to the most advanced health care without paying much for it, and a right to have your children taken care of while you work all day at your job. The problem is that these are all goods and services, though of varying importance, and goods and rights are not the same things. People tend to concur upon rights (except for the speech rights of those who oppose them), and they do not depend upon others to supply and pay for their rights. With goods, there is always a political argument: about the value of the good, who is to get it and who is to pay. And all this comes down to the question of “fairness,” about which there is no end of disputation and grief.

    And on nothing does the rights/goods division loom larger than on the issue of health care. Rights come from nature, and cost no one money, but good health in nature is rare. It is only thanks to human ingenuity over centuries and billions of dollars of effort that we have been able to conquer illnesses not long ago fatal, rebuild bodies broken in war or by accidents, postpone or ameliorate the problems of aging, and bring people back from the dead. The roll call of miracles that surrounds us today—the vaccines and the pills that have vanquished infections, the devices that let amputees run marathons, the organ transplants and the open heart surgeries, the techniques that replace hips, knees, and heart valves, not to mention the treatments that make so many public men cancer survivors, that saved Bob Dole years ago, are saving Dick Cheney, and once kept John Kennedy able to function—all of these are the result of the time, sweat, and strain of doctors and nurses, technicians and scientists, inventors and makers of drugs and devices, administrators of hospitals and large corporations, whose time is expensive, and who need to be paid.

    Paid by whom, one may ask? Not by the patient alone, as the cost of a serious illness or accident overwhelms the resources of all but a few. They are paid by the state, or a private insurer, which in turn are funded by citizens, through taxes, or premiums paid.

    But when costly new drugs and treatments appear on the scene (and are demanded by patients) they are paid for by hikes in the taxes and premiums, which reduce the money people have to spend elsewhere. This is true for governments, too. They either end up rationing care, cutting back other programs, or simply printing money. The people who insisted that goods had to be treated as rights, (which is to say, as universal and limitless), refused to seek cuts, and went on printing money. Even as the whole western world seemed to run out of money, the Obama administration decided it was high time for a massive expansion of government benefits. Then, in early May 2010, just after the American left passed its huge and hugely unpopular health care reform bill, the republic of Greece hit a wall.

    From that day on, the world and the country would be given a series of lessons in the dangers inherent in treating a good as a right. The European Union extended a bailout to Greece in exchange for a series of deep cuts. The country was to reduce its deficit from 13.6 percent of its gross national product to less than 1 percent in 2015, by way of “reduced wage costs in the public sector .  .  . and lower defense and health care spending.” Other countries in Europe began preemptive measures to deal with their own budget problems. In Britain, David Cameron planned cuts of $130 billion over a five-year period, cutting welfare and causing riots by raising fees in universities. In France, Nicolas Sarkozy raised the retirement age from 60 to 62, and limited pensions. In Spain, Socialist José Luis Zapatero did much the same thing. “An elaborate cocoon of benefits faces disassembly,” the Washington Post reported on May 15, 2010. “We can’t finance our social model any more,” the European Council president said. “Workers have been forced to accept salary freezes, decreased hours, postponed retirements and health care reductions,” Edward Cody wrote in the Post on April 25, 2011. “From blanket health insurance to long vacations and early retirement, the cozy social benefits that have been a way of life [in Europe] appear be luxuries the continent can no longer afford.”

    In the United States, the states patterned most on the Old Europe model—those with high taxes, high spending, and strong public unions—suffered the same plight as Europe, while those with free-market models did not. “The eight states with no state income tax grew 18 percent in the past decade,” Michael Barone tells us. “The other states grew just 8 percent.” The 22 states with right-to-work laws grew 15 percent in the past decade, the 28 others grew 6 percent. The 16 states that don’t require collective bargaining with state employees grew 15 percent, the others grew 7 percent. The most rapid growth—21 percent—was in the Rocky Mountain states and Texas, which have low taxes, weak unions, and light regulation.

    Among the states with high taxes, strong unions, and heavy public employee pension burdens are those in the Rust Belt around the Great Lakes. As Matt Continetti writes in the Washington Post, “Five of the eight states that border the Great Lakes now have Republican governors working to limit union power,” while one Democrat, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, son of a much revered liberal icon, has been praised by New Jersey’s Chris Christie as his cost-cutting twin. And to everyone’s shock, the Democratic legislature in Massachusetts has voted to rein in unions, too.

    “For decades, the Great Lakes states have subscribed to a high-tax, high-spend, closed-shop political model,” explains Continetti. “That hasn’t worked out.” That didn’t work out in Europe (whose welfare states the American left has always looked up to); that didn’t work out in American states such as California and Michigan; that didn’t work out in Detroit, which is becoming a wasteland in spite of massive infusions of government money, and that didn’t work out for General Motors, which turned in time into a retirement plan with a car company attached to it, which priced itself out of the general market while foreign car companies built factories in right-to-work states in the South, employed hundreds of thousands of people, and took its share of the market away. It probably won’t work out in Illinois, either, where the Democratic governor passed a massive tax increase, and the Republican governors of neighboring states invited Illinois businessmen to relocate there.

    Was it wrong for the liberals to try to create an entitlement paradise when World War II ended? No, the war’s end seemed a good time to start over; the link between the rights that they fought for and the “right” to a middle-class standard of living seemed rather more plausible then, and they had no way of knowing it might one day prove too expensive. When Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, it was meant to start coverage at age 65 at a time when 58 was the average life span of male Americans. (Roosevelt himself died at 63 ten years later.) When President Johnson signed Medicare, life spans were still well below today’s standards, and most major medical breakthroughs were still in the future. (Johnson also would die in his 60s.) Neither imagined a world in which people routinely lived into their 80s and 90s, with knee replacements and heart transplants and home dialysis machines. Roosevelt opposed public employee unions, whose pension demands and early retirements are now driving some of our states and cities into bankruptcy. It’s easier to think of goods as rights when the costs are low, and they therefore take little from others. It’s when the costs rise—as in medical treatments—that the political trade-offs rise, too.

    And of course, their intentions were laudable. But so are those of most people, within the bounds of what they think is realistic, is feasible, and is likely to work out in real life. Two times in recent memory Americans have tried to “fix” health care, and each time the script is the same. They start out, according to pollsters, by trying to think it’s a right. They think it unfair that income can alter the access to treatments. They bleed for poor people whose children are sick. They know they are one diagnosis or car crash away from financial as well as from medical challenges. They want everyone to be covered, no one turned down due to pre-existing conditions, want no limits on payments for medical treatments. Encouraged, Democrats draw up their bills, proudly present them, and wait for the thanks of the rapturous public. Then the fine print is revealed, and people are shocked at the expense and conditions. It’s then that their attitudes change.

    What the fine print reveals beyond disputation is that health care is a good, not a right; that goods involve trade-offs, and that the trade-offs are high: higher costs and less choice for those covered already, rationing inflicted by government bureaucrats, interference by bureaucrats in medical doings, doctors threatening to leave the profession, less incentive (and money) to develop new treatments and drugs. They still want what they wanted before, but not at the cost of the harm it will wreak on the system in general. They vote their concerns, and 1994 and 2010 turned out very badly for Democrats. Stunned, Democrats fall back on their noble intentions, and say their opponents are mean.

    They aren’t mean, of course, merely weighing their options, and finding that the costs to be paid by all of the people outweigh the gains made by the few. It would be mean indeed if standards declined, hospitals closed, cancer patients had to wait months for surgery, or if life-saving treatments stopped being developed. It would be mean indeed if the burdens of welfare brought down the economy. And nothing would be meaner than if Medicare remained unreformed and ran out of money, or if Social Security also ran out of money, because trimming benefits, raising the age of retirement, or imposing a means test is “mean.”

    It was not wrong to have a fling with the welfare state sixty-five years ago, when it was a noble experiment that had not yet been attempted. It is wrong to ignore the evidence that in some ways it is failing, that the model set up has become unsustainable, and that renovations are needed if its critical functions are to survive. Goods are not rights. Pensions and access to health care remain social goods that a decent society will try to provide to its -people. But goods are not rights, and the old model, which claimed that they are, is broken. We need a new one, which provides sustainable ways to convey social goods to those who most need them. Good intentions are fine, but without means they are useless. They are the things with which the road to Gehenna is paved.

  22. Terry Evans says:

    A little humor to start your day…

    The Haircut

    One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut.
    After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied,
    ‘I cannot accept money from you; I’m doing community service this week.’
    The florist was pleased and left the shop.
    When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

    Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied,
    ‘I cannot accept money from you; I’m doing community service this week.’
    The cop was happy and left the shop.
    The next morning when the barber went to open up, there were a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

    Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied,
    ‘I can not accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.’
    The Congressman was very happy and left the shop…
    The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

    And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.

  23. Well its road trip time. So unless I find a computer along the way, I’ll see yall in about a week.

    Best wishes to all.


    General Electric reported a 21.6 percent rise in profit, topping estimates, boosted by strong demand outside the United States for its heavy equipment including jet engines and electric turbines.

    Sebastien Bozon | AFP | Getty Images

    The largest U.S. conglomerate [GE 19.16 ], whose shares were up 2.3 percent in premarket trading, said Friday second-quarter profit attributable to common shareholders came to $3.69 billion, or 35 cents per share, compared with $3.03 billion, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.

    Factoring out one-time items, profit was 34 cents per share.

    On that basis, analysts had looked for profit of 32 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

  25. We’ll look here-Yet they begrudgingly bring it to a vote-from my understanding-didn’t even consider making changes on things they disagreed with and send it back to the house-NOPE-none of that compromise stuff-just bring it up-talk bad about it-instead of changing it-then vote it down.

      Gang of Six Plan Would Increase Taxes by $2.3 trillion

      by Keith Koffler on July 22, 2011, 12:41 pm

      An analysis by former Bush National Economic Council Director Keith Hennessey of the Senate “Gang of Six” proposal finds that the plan would raise taxes by $2.3 trillion over ten years.

      The proposal is one of the main deficit reduction strategies being considered as Obama and Republicans try to reach some kind of a deal in time to raise the debt ceiling before it is breached Aug. 2.

      Sure, Hennessey is biased, though he’s a straight shooter and you’ll notice his analysis is clinical and non-strident. But you don’t have to trust Hennessey. Trust yourself, because the math is very straightforward.

      Hennessey notes that according to CBO, current tax law – which includes the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the application of the alternative minimum tax to more and more taxpayers – will cause taxes to increase by $3.8 trillion over then years.

      The authors of the Gang of Six Plan themselves state that CBO would score the plan as reducing taxes by $1.5 trillion. “If CBO scored this plan, it would find net tax relief of approximately $1.5 trillion,” the Gang states.

      According to Hennessey, this is a carefully worded phrase, because CBO scores relative to current law.

      So, subtract the $1.5 trillion reduction from $3.8 trillion – the tax increase scheduled under current law – and you get $2.3 trillion in tax increases still set to go in effect over ten years under current law if the Gang’s plan is passed.

      It’s not complicated. Forget which provisions stay or which go – whether some of the Bush tax cuts remain or if the rate brackets get altered. THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE: $2.3 trillion in new taxes, however you slice it.

      Earlier this week, I projected the Gang of Six plan would increase taxes by $2 trillion over ten years. But I was only using the sunsetting of the Bush tax cuts and the growing AMT in my calculation, which totals about $3.5 trillion in tax increases set under current law. The CBO figure of $3.8 trillion includes all of the tax increases that will occur if current law is not changed.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        Complete and utter hogwash.

        As the author of the article writes himself, the CBO currently estimates that, given the current tax law, there will be an ‘increase’ in taxes by 3.8T absent any legislation to the contrary. Once again, absent the Gang of Six proposal, there will be an ‘increase’ of 3.8T. The Gang of Six proposal, then, would REDUCE that 3.8T figure by 1.5T. To somehow come away with an argument that this proposal increases taxes by the difference is absolutely ridiculous.

  26. What the heck is going on-it is garbage pickup in my neighborhood today-4 trucks have come by-two trucks came together to pick up yard waste that was stacked on the ground. Then a third truck came by and picked up yard waste that was in a can. And now the 4th truck has come by to finally pick up the garbage in the can. Now I’m used to 2 trucks coming by on different days-one to pick up regular garbage and one to pick up all yard waste. So again what the heck is going on-am I wrong to assume it is just a way to increase the cost of garbage pickup-in order to give out more jobs to the union-unnecessary jobs.

    I know it was suggested to privatize garbage pickup at a great savings but that was shot down on the basis -that Martin Luther King came here and was killed fighting for the garbage pickup people. 😦

  27. Wow! Just caught our little pouty man-boy president, stomping his feet and telling more lies to the American public. What a disaster he is.

    • Scary isn’t it. This man child has his finger on the button. What would happen if something/one really put stress on him like the Huns attacking from the north while the barbarians from the south were raiding Denver?

  28. Colonel, are the raptors hungry? I cooked for them … real eye-talian.

    • And the house of cards continues to fall……..

      • Is it falling? If the debt ceiling isn’t raise, by law supposedly all debts must be paid. We have the revenue to do so with some left over. This would mean massive reductions in the federal government. Maybe it would be a good thing in the long run, whereas raising the debt limit would mean continued spending and stacking those cards higher.

        It seems they had a deal that included 800 billion in additional revenue. Obama added 400 billion in new taxes and Boehner walked. Comes back to if it’s about revenue or more “fairness”.

        • They’re all progressives. Boehnner, McConell, all of them. It’s probably all scripted in advance who stomps out on what day. Why is no one LEADING? We’re a joke. This debt ceiling debate, the hugeness of it, gives us a bad rep anyway. Who are they kidding? Do not raise the roof! Let the chips fall where they may. You can’t get out of a hole until you STOP DIGGING, duh!

          • I’m so conflicted on this issue-it makes my head hurt. I want to scream “don’t raise the debt ceiling” this death march has to stop. But on the other hand-I really see it as killing any chance republicans have of taking office and getting Obama OUT in 2012. I see the Tea Party reps. having the desired effect of making the other republicans in office be more conservative in their actions-it isn’t perfect but it’s getting better. I look at the numbers and I don’t see where we have all the money needed to pay what we have to pay without causing mass chaos. Welfare payments gone-overnight-Federal employees-don’t get paid. something necessary doesn’t get paid and Obama or the Treasury are the ones who get to make these decisions-that alone should scare you.

            But then again, if not now when-if the Republicans get control in 2012 and they don’t cut spending-what then-does this same argument allow them to continue on with destroying our country. I guess, in the end-it is my hope that we will vote in more Tea party candidates in 2012 and that they will really have enough power to change Washington-that makes me want to give it another shot-before confronting the horrors of half our country being angry and dangerous and really hurt by these “immediate changes” . And the horror of what our country will become if Obama -is elected again-with an even stronger democrat controlled Congress behind him.

            • Then I read things like this-and I have more questions and increased concern over the possible outcome of a default.

              The Democrat Downgrade: Reality and Repercussions
              July 19, 2011 8:01 P.M.
              By Kevin D. Williamson

              Tags: Fiscal Armageddon

              Question: How many U.S. banks and insurance companies do you think will remain rated AAA if the U.S. government gets downgraded?

              That is not a rhetorical question.

              The direct consequences of a downgrade of Uncle Sam’s credit on U.S. public finances would be pretty bad. But, as with natural disasters, the aftershocks of this man-made catastrophe might prove more devastating than the main event. In this case, imagine a tsunami of rolling corporate downgrades following the earthquake of a Treasury downgrade, a run on the banks, a discredited FDIC, frozen money-market funds, and a plunging dollar.

              It’s not Beijing that’s going to take it in the shorts — it’s our still-fragile financial system.

              Standard & Poor currently gives AAA ratings to six major insurance companies: New York Life, Northwestern Mutual, etc. Those companies already are on the watch-list for a downgrade, simply because of their extensive holdings of U.S. Treasury securities — regardless of the fact that Treasuries themselves have not yet been downgraded.

              Many banks could find themselves downgraded as well, just because of all the U.S. government debt on their balance sheets. One of our old friends from the bailout days, the AAA-rated Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, could get downgraded as well, along with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and, critically, the FDIC. And Fannie and Freddie still prop up a bunch of mortgage-backed securities. What happens to them? Here’s what Fitch says: “Ratings on bonds with direct credit enhancement provided by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or other GSEs would generally reflect the ratings of the credit enhancement provider.” In English: If the government isn’t AAA, nothing that the government backs is AAA, either.

              Fitch also warns that money-market funds could face “liquidity pressure,” something to keep in mind if there’s a run on downgraded banks backed by a downgraded FDIC.

              So, who’s who in this world of hurt?

              The ten major holders of U.S. Treasury debt are, in order: 1. the Fed, which has more than doubled its holdings of U.S. sovereign debt in the past few years; 2. individual investors, mostly in the United States; 3. the Chinese; 4. the Japanese; 5. pension funds; 6. mutual funds; 7. state and local governments; 8. the Brits; 9. the banks; and 10. insurance companies. (More here.) The national governments have worries of their own already — some of them are in pretty dire straits (the Japanese national debt is 200 percent of GDP) and some of their situations are basically unknowable (China). God alone knows what the Fed will do.

              Even if the banks and insurances companies don’t get downgraded, a Treasury downgrade is still going to be enormously disruptive to their businesses. Typically, regulated financial institutions are required to hold “investment grade” assets, which does not limit them to AAA bonds. AA is still “investment grade.” So they don’t have to dump all their Treasuries. (Which is not to say they won’t.) But capital-requirement rules — which govern the amount of money a financial institution has to hold in reserve — naturally take into account whether bonds are AAA, AA, or something else. That’s because $1 worth of Exxon debt is not really worth the same thing as $1 worth of debt from Barney’s Subprime Bait-’n’-Tackle, and $1 million in Swiss bonds is not the same thing as $1 million in Haitian bonds. A downgrade of U.S. Treasuries would mean that basically every bank and insurance company of any stature would immediately have to raise a great deal of capital to offset the downgrade of the more than $1 trillion worth of U.S. Treasury debt they are holding. They’ll have to try to raise that capital in a market suffering a jacklighted panic over that sovereign downgrade, scrambling for investment in an environment in which the U.S. government is no longer considered a gold-plated, top-shelf safe haven. In terms of a “credit event,” that’s probably going to make 2008 look like a day relaxing upon the sandy beaches of Calais with tropical-themed umbrella-garnished drinks.

              State and local governments are holding another $1 trillion or so in Treasuries, meaning that the credit profile of our already struggling states and cities would have about as much credibility as Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s wedding vows. A lot of that pension-fund exposure to Treasury debt is for state and local government retirees, too, so Austin and Sacramento and Boise and Augusta will be right between the hammer and the anvil, getting pounded. And so will Springfield — the Typhoid Mary of fiscal contagion at the state level. As I’ve written before, I suspect that Illinois will be the first state to go into something like a full-blown insolvency, largely due to its unfunded pension liabilities. Just Monday, Ben Bernanke confessed himself worried about the situation in Illinois and California. And if I may be forgiven for repeating myself: Most states have either statutory or constitutional obligations to pay those pensions, so they cannot just reduce them or walk away. There’s really no such thing as a state-bankruptcy law, so nobody knows how a default would unfold. How’s that for uncertainty in the markets?

              Back to those banks and insurance guys: Contrary to what our dear leaders in Washington have claimed, the world’s financial system has not been reformed. In fact, a great deal of the bailouts and the legislation that followed them was designed specifically to prevent the kind of fundamental reforms that are needed. A global financial system brought to its knees by a raft of bad mortgages is going to be knocked ass-over-teakettle by a downgrade of U.S. Treasury debt.

              I was in Washington Monday, debating Cato’s erudite Dan Mitchell about the no-new-taxes pledge. Mr. Mitchell and I agree on the fundamentals and differ on the politics. What I found mildly despair-inducing, however, was the question-and-answer session, during which the predominant concern expressed by the audience was how to ensure that our guys “win” the debt-ceiling debate. While I understand that you have to win elections to get things done, we simply must head off a downgrade, even if at great political cost. Nobody is going to “win” a downgrade.

              The thing that has not been sufficiently understood, I think, is this: The United States is not on a downgrade watch because the markets fear we won’t raise the debt ceiling in time to avoid a default; the United States is on a downgrade watch because the markets believe the debt-ceiling debate presents the last real opportunity for the government to enact a meaningful fiscal-reform program before it is well and truly too late to avoid a national crisis. The credit agencies, wisely or not, aren’t worried about the short-term political fight leading to an immediate default, but about the near- to medium-term fiscal situation, which is plainly unsustainable.

              I sincerely hope that in five or ten years, I will have to sheepishly admit that I was among the alarmists back in 2011. But right now, I believe that the question isn’t how to “win” the debt-ceiling fight, but how to survive the underlying economic disorder it represents.


              • For those long in cash, I am sure they are waiting in absolute glee saying, “Yes, please panic!” Panic creates bargains.

              • I take it you think this is totally overblown and nothing to worry about. 🙂 Because believe me I would love to be convinced that a default wouldn’t occur and if it did it wouldn’t be a big deal. 🙂

  29. Just cuz I like the song. Good day LOI

  30. This is an interesting take-I figured they tabled it-because they didn’t want to debate the bill-to come out and actually say they are against a balanced budget-not just the specifics of this bill-which they could have changed and sent back to the house for discussion-which I still think-but is it possible that it might have passed?

    July 23, 2011
    It’s All About the Senate
    Herbert E. Meyer

    President Obama has done nothing to earn his Nobel peace prize, but after yesterday’s performance at the White House
    podium no one should begrudge him an Oscar. His performance was mean-spirited, petulant, more politically vicious than anything we ever heard from Richard Nixon — and altogether a total crock of you-know-what.

    But it served the president’s purpose, which is to avoid having to make the one choice he fears most: either cutting back government entitlements, or going down in history as the American president who defaulted on our country’s debt and drove the world’s most productive economy over a cliff. He doesn’t want to cut back entitlements because he’s a left-wing socialist ideologue (Note to readers who may object to this description: I’ve spent my entire life studying socialism, and I know one when I see one). And if he defaults and drives our economy off the cliff, getting re-elected in 2012 will be nearly impossible, no matter who the Republicans choose to run against him.

    What’s put President Obama in this jam is a development none of the Washington-based genius commentators seems to have noticed: the President and his Democrats have lost control of the US Senate. Yes, the Democrats are technically the majority party, by a margin of 53-47. But it’s a fragile majority, with several Democrats including Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan heading into tough re-election campaigns in which their only hope for winning lies in moving toward the right. And then there’s Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who’s a Democrat in name only and who may well switch parties at some point. And Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman isn’t even a Democrat in name any more.

    This explains why the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in two years: the votes just aren’t there to pass any budget the president can support.

    And it explains why the Senate voted last Friday to “table” the hugely-popular Cut, Cap & Balance bill passed a few days earlier by the GOP-led House. Not because the votes to pass it weren’t there, but because they were. Had the Senate actually voted on the House bill, rather than vote to not vote on it, Cut, Cap & Balance would have passed because a handful of Democratic senators would have caved in to public opinion and supported the bill. And that would have left the president with a choice of either signing the bill into law — and thus destroying his dream of turning the US into Europe-with-second-rate-paintings — or vetoing the bill, taking us off that cliff and heading back to Chicago with Michelle and the kids after 2012.

    So far, Speaker Boehner and his team have held the line while taking enemy fire. Good for them. Now it’s time to go on the attack by demanding — demanding, damn it, and not taking “no” for an answer — that the US Senate vote on Cut, Cap & Balance. It’ll pass, and when the bill lands on the president’s desk he’ll throw himself to the floor, bang his little fists on the carpet — and then sign it.

    • It’s the real version of Clifford the Big Red Dog! Tack on $50/wk for food!

      • Can you imagine-I have labs and they can destroy the house just with their wagging tails.

  31. I hope the voters are paying attention- that old saying-“The truth is in the pudding” or if you want to go back further “The proof of the pudding is in the eating 🙂 seems to apply.

    Walker’s Vindication
    The controversial Wisconsin budget reform saves teachers’ jobs.

    Emily Koczela had been anxiously waiting for months for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill to take effect. Koczela, the finance director for the Brown Deer school district, had been negotiating with the local union, trying to get it to accept concessions in order to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall. But the union wouldn’t budge.

    “We laid off 27 [teachers] as a precautionary measure,” Koczela told me. “They were crying. Some of these people are my friends.”

    On June 29 at 12:01 a.m., Koczela could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The budget repair bill​—​delayed for months by protests, runaway state senators, and a legal challenge that made its way to the state’s supreme court​—​was law. The 27 teachers on the chopping block were spared.

    With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap. Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan​—​such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)​—​saved $200,000. Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.

    “Everything we changed didn’t touch the children,” Koczela said. Under a collective bargaining agreement, she continued, “We could never have negotiated that​—​never ever.” Koczela, a graduate of Smith College and Duke University Law School, is no Republican flack. She says she’s a “classic Wisconsin independent. I vote both parties. I voted for Senator [Russ] Feingold but I voted for [Republican state] Senator Alberta Darling too.”

    In Brown Deer and school districts across the state, Walker’s budget repair bill, known as Act 10, is working just as he promised. To make up for a $2.8 billion deficit without raising taxes, state aid to school districts (the largest budget line) was reduced by $830 million. Act 10, Walker said, would give districts “the tools” needed to make up for the lost money as fairly as possible.

    But union leaders argued that the fight over the budget repair bill had nothing to do with balancing budgets. It was all about stripping public employees of their “collective bargaining rights.”

    “We have said all along that this isn’t about pay and benefits,” Mary Bell, president of the state’s teachers’ union, said in February. “We are prepared to implement the financial concessions proposed to help our state in these tough times. But .  .  . we will not be denied our right to collectively bargain.”

    Acceding, at least rhetorically, to higher benefit contributions​—​5.8 percent of salary for pension (up from nothing) and 12.6 percent of health care premiums​—​looked like a smart tactic. It made teachers seem reasonable and focused the fight on collective bargaining “rights.”

    What few people may have understood, though, is that these are “rights” that most people, including federal employees, don’t have. But Americans don’t like taking away anybody’s rights. The polls in Wisconsin showed voters overwhelmingly opposed to “weakening” or “stripping” or “eliminating” collective bargaining rights. President Obama called the bill an “assault on unions.” Democratic state senator Lena Taylor compared Scott Walker to Hitler.

    But as the abstract debate over collective bargaining collides with reality, it is becoming clear just how big a lie the Big Labor line was. Now that the law is in effect, where are the horror stories of massive layoffs and schools shutting down? They don’t exist​—​except in a couple of districts where collective bargaining agreements, inked before the budget repair bill was introduced, remain in effect.

    In Milwaukee, nine schools are shutting and 354 teachers have been fired due to a drop in state funding and the end of federal stimulus funding. But if teachers there agreed to the 5.8 percent pension contribution, the school district says it would rehire 200 of those teachers. (Other changes could offset the rest of the layoffs.)

    Despite the promise from Mary Bell that all teachers would contribute something toward their pensions, Milwaukee teachers’ union president Bob Peterson won’t agree to the change. In doing so he’s made it clear that “collective bargaining rights” is code for “union veto power.”

    “You have a choice: layoffs or pension contributions. Do you see that choice?” a local Fox News reporter asked Peterson. “Why did you make a choice of layoffs?”

    “I didn’t lay off anybody,” Peterson replied. He thinks Milwaukee teachers have conceded enough and blames Walker’s budget cuts for the layoffs. But a year ago​—​before Walker was elected and when Democrats controlled all branches of government​—​there were also layoffs.

    Given the choice between fewer benefits and layoffs, the Milwaukee teachers’ union chose the latter. In 2010, 482 teachers, including Megan Sampson, a young educator named an “outstanding first year teacher” by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English, got the axe. CNN reports that this year “Milwaukee teachers are offering meals and moral support to 354 fellow educators who will be laid off.” Meals and moral support? The union’s got your back. A job? Not so much.

    The only other district seeing such massive layoffs is Kenosha, where 212 teachers will be fired this year. “Kenosha is in the same boat as [Milwaukee], with a collective bargaining agreement signed before Walker took office that lasts until June 30, 2013,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on July 16. “But most other Wisconsin districts have avoided layoffs and massive cuts to programs.”

    One striking feature of Walker’s budget repair bill is the flexibility it has given school districts to balance their budgets. For example, things are looking up in the tiny town of Pittsville in the heart of the state, where the district balanced its budget mostly through increased pension contributions and not replacing four retiring teachers.

    “We didn’t change anything in our health care at all,” Superintendent Terry Reynolds told me. “If Act 10 hadn’t passed,” he said, “I don’t think the teachers’ union would have wanted to approve the 5.8 percent contribution” to pensions. “That would have been a hard battle to fight. I’m not sure we would have saved dollars there.” Enough money was freed up that Pittsville property taxes will decrease by 9 percent next year.

    While class sizes increased slightly in Pittsville, they’re going down in the Kaukauna school district, where the school board used the budget repair bill to turn a $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. In addition to the 5.8 percent pension contribution, the board pared back personal days from ten to five, increased the deductible for a family health insurance plan from $250 to $500, and required middle school and high school teachers to teach six classes instead of five. Any or all of these changes could have been vetoed by the union under a collective bargaining agreement.

    The reforms will allow Kaukauna to spend $300,000 in merit pay for teachers next year and offer more Advanced Placement classes and languages like Chinese or Arabic in the future, according to board president Todd Arnoldussen. Bringing down class sizes “was a win for the kids and a win for everybody,” he told me.

    But as Patrick Meyer, the head union negotiator in Kaukauna, says in a video, “morale has been terrible” in the district. Might teachers be spread too thin now? “Elementary teachers already teach seven hours a day,” says Arnoldussen. “That’s a horrible argument. I mean, come on. Six classes at 50 minutes.”

    If morale is down, interest in teaching at Kaukauna isn’t. An opening for an elementary teacher attracted “over 500 applicants,” says Arnoldussen. “So you obviously have a huge amount of people that really want to work for Kaukauna .  .  . under our noncollective bargaining agreement.”

    Just three weeks after Walker’s budget went into effect, its sweeping success is already apparent. But will it be enough to spare the six Republican state senators who face recall elections on August 9? Whether or not the Democrats gain the three seats they need to take over the senate, Walker’s collective bargaining success won’t be undone anytime soon. But a victory could embolden Democrats, who are gearing up for a recall election against Walker as early as the spring of 2012.

    “I don’t think they think the sky’s going to fall,” says Emily Koczela of Brown Deer residents, who will vote in the recall election of Republican state senator Alberta Darling.

    As for the teachers, “some of them will feel better in a year or two.” Koczela says the union told them that “this is all a sham. There isn’t really a budget shortfall. If we just all stop giving tax breaks to wealthy corporations you’ll all be fine.”

    “They didn’t know who was lying to them.” But soon enough they will.

    • Okay, timing really weird-thought I had somehow posted this on the wrong blog. 🙂

      • Another V moment? 🙂 You gotta get those under control V!

        • I’m afraid they are just gonna get worse 🙂 But really- I pushed the post button everything was a nice gray-when it came back up-I was shocked by bright rusty orange 🙂

    • What a concept huh? And for this radical move by our governor, we had to put up with wingnuts banging drums, blaring horns, urinating in our capitol. What idiots. Stop and educate yourselves (teachers – there’s an oxymoron!) about the need and the potential results.

  32. Access to Comment page and comment list on blog page-I would really miss both 😦

  33. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
    Over, Done, Dead?
    2:58 PM, Jul 22, 2011 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL

    Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced the failure of “Cut, Cap and Balance” on the Senate floor: “We just completed a very important vote. We’ve now demonstrated that the House Republicans’ Cut, Cap and Balance is over, done, it’s dead.”

    Other defenders of failing status quos have over the years pronounced reform efforts of their day “over, done, dead.” History has its surprises, though. Republican senators ought to help history surprise Harry Reid by pledging to offer Cut, Cap and Balance as an amendment to every piece of legislation that is brought up in the Senate until there is some other debt ceiling proposal to debate, and then should offer Cut, Cap, and Balance as an alternative to the Democrats’ proposal, when they deign to offer one.

    Love this idea!!!! 🙂

  34. Did You Know? Palestinian Law Says Selling Land to Jews ‘Punishable by Death’

    * Posted on July 22, 2011 at 3:06pm by Madeleine Morgenstern Madeleine Morgenstern

    By Palestinian Authority decree, Arabs face the death penalty if they’re caught selling their land to Jews.

    It‘s a law that’s been in place since before Israel declared statehood in 1948, and while the decree is apparently well known in the region, it is relatively unknown in the West.

    The Christian Broadcasting Network reports on a man whose death, his brother believes, was caused because people believe he sold his house to Jewish settlers:

    “Who killed him nobody knows, but it was because of the house,” said resident Abraham.

    Abraham told CBN his brother was innocent, and said the Jewish residents even said they bought it through someone else. Nevertheless, the situation is all too common, with some real estate transactions even including extra money for the Arab sellers to leave the region and settle somewhere safer.

    According to CBN:

    Israeli correspondent Pinchas Inbari said it’s widely known that under the Palestinian Authority, an Arab caught selling land to Jews faces the death penalty.

    “People have already been executed on these charges or to be killed by the militias, by Fatah, or the Islamic jihad. or whatever you have,” Inbari said.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought up the law when speaking to members of the foreign press earlier this year:

    “Ten minutes from here in the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, there is a law, a decree that if you sell land to Jews, it’s punishable by death,” Netanyahu said. “Now you think that’s something worthy of reporting?”

    Watch CBN’s full report below:

  35. HOw can you NOT like the new look. University of Texas colors.

  36. Another Breakdown?
    July 23, 2011 8:44 P.M.
    By Andrew Stiles

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has released a statement slamming Republican “intransigence” for “pushing us to the brink of default.” He says he is “deeply disappointed in the status of negotiations with my Republican colleagues” — which began today at the White House and continued in House Speaker John Boehner’s (R., Ohio) office this afternoon — to find a way forward on raising the debt ceiling. Upon leaving the Capitol this evening, Reid allegedly told reporters to “talk to Republicans…We did our best.”

    Earlier in the day there appeared to be progress toward a deal. In a conference call with House Republicans, Boehner said he hoped to unveil a final plan by Sunday afternoon before financial markets open in Asia in order to avoid a potential panic. Sources familiar with the call confirm that the speaker discussed a “two-tiered” plan that would raise the debt ceiling and achieve “savings” of between $3 trillion and $4 trillion. The plan would likely involve a short-term debt increase paired with spending cuts that exceed the amount of the increase, and would establish a framework for additional cuts and savings, whether by establishing a special commission (as outline in the McConnell-Reid plan) or issuing guidance to congressional committees to come up a set level of savings by a target date.

    Following the meeting in Boehner’s office, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) confirmed that a two-tiered approach was under discussion, and suggested that revenues would be included in the second tier.

    Reid says he won’t support a two-tiered option, which is understandable given that he has 20-plus Senate Democrats facing reelection next year who would presumably wish to avoid multiple votes to raise the debt ceiling, not to mention President Obama’s insistence that any increase get him through the to 2013. But Reid’s statement has Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) written all over it. Back in April, Schumer was doing everything he could to force a government shutdown, believing it would play to Democrats’ political advantage. And several GOP sources speculate that he was behind the leaked report of a “grand bargain” between Boehner and the White House, in an effort to scuttle the deal because it included some changes to entitlement programs (thus rending less effective the “Mediscare 2012″ campaign Democrats are gearing up for).

    If the president’s press conference last night was not evidence enough, it’s becoming more and more clear now that Democrats may be actively be trying to spook financial markets in the hopes that Republicans will bear the brunt of the blame. And that is deeply disappointing, to say the least.

    UPDATE: Byron York reports that House Republicans are moving forward on a two-tiered proposal to raise the debt ceiling:

    House Republicans are finishing work on a new proposal to resolve the standoff over the debt ceiling. The proposal, set to be finished Sunday, will be in two parts. The first will combine a short-term increase in the debt ceiling with spending cuts. The second will lay the groundwork for a longer-term increase in the debt ceiling coupled with far-reaching deficit reduction.

    “Senator Reid said on Friday that he is going to wait for us to move,” says a well-informed GOP House aide. “So we’ll move.” Another well-informed aide confirmed the basic outline of what’s happening.

    Staff of the House Rules Committee is involved in the work, which is an indication that the process is nearing completion. Before any bill can be considered on the House floor, the Rules Committee must first pass a rule setting out the process for its consideration. Once the proposal is finished, it would likely be posted on the Rules Committee website, probably no later than Monday, so the committee could meet to consider it on Tuesday and it could be on the House floor by Wednesday.

    Work on the new proposal was underway before negotiations with the White House blew up on Friday. Sources say the plan was being created last week, even as the House leadership devoted considerable time to passing the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” proposal. Once the Senate Democratic leadership blocked “Cut, Cap, and Balance,” House leaders stepped up work on the new proposal. Right now, the new direction is believed to be the only way forward. “McConnell-Reid is just not a viable option in the House,” the aide says, referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s complicated proposal to allow the president to increase the debt ceiling.

    More here.

    UPDATE II: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office weighs in: “There is bipartisan agreement on the need to prevent a default, but given the unprecedented size of the debt ceiling increase the President is requesting, this is not an easy process.”

  37. This is something I posted on our local newspaper blog in response to a liberal pushing the party line. It involved a list of things to do to reduce our financial problems at the federal level.

    OK James you will get my list. Your list is far too limited in what needs to be done. First, a few comments on your and other’s comments regarding the dining out letter.
    1) Funding of Bush’s 2 wars was no different than Vietnam. We took the guns and butter approach instead of cutting back spending in other areas to fund the war. Like Vietnam, we are now paying as we did during Carter’s years. And now we have 3+ wars, the last being entirely illegal. Nothing has changed.
    2) Regarding jobs under Bush, I seem to recall that unemployment was close to 5% until near the end of his 2nd term. This was despite the, telecom, Worldcom, Enron and 9/11 busts. I also recalled that he warned about Fannie and Freddie but Congress ignored him. Had they acted, the impact would have been less. I also seem to recall a meeting at the WH before TARP involving Congress and the candidates. So to blame Bush for everything is just plain wrong as Congress including Obama need to man up and take their share of the blame.
    Now for the list but a first a commercial from our sponsors :
    I would follow a philosophy of individual and corporate responsibility. The push would be to get government out of our lives as much as possible and to get the federal government back within the confines of the Constitution.
    1) Eliminate all corporate subsidies including oil, ethanol, wind, solar, ag and others.
    2) Instead of raising taxes on the rich (Bush tax cuts), I would restructure the entire tax code towards a flat tax. Gone would be many of the loopholes and deductions currently available. We should not be forced to structure our lives or businesses around tax policy. Nor should Congress be able to “sell” favors via tax code. This flat tax system would mean that many not paying now would see some deductions but in general the overall tax load would be reduced and made much fairer. It would also have the advantage of eliminating the need for many tax lawyers and IRS agents. This alone would save our society much $ and grief.
    3) SS would be on the table. The IOUs in the treasury are worthless. I would write them off and reduce our debt $2.6T tomorrow. We need to raise the money again anyway so this changes nothing but makes the debt look smaller. I believe in individual responsibility. SS should be privatized but this will take 2 or more decades. I would allow the young people to put funds into 401Ks or IRAs. Eventually the SS administration will die of atrophy thus reducing the size of government more. I would expand the role of 401K/IRAs to include HSAs, Medicare, and unemployment. A well funded HSA becomes your Medicare for old age.
    4) I am not sure what to do with Medicare but any health care system which does not involve the individual financially in the services being requested is doomed to overruns. Medicaid is welfare. It too needs reform.
    5) We need tax payers not higher taxes. One area that could have a significant impact on our economy is energy. We need to stop the environmental roadblocks for oil, coal and nuclear development. This would bring jobs home, lower our energy costs, encourage businesses to expand here and stop the bleeding of nearly $1T/yr to foreign countries. It would also reduce our desire to defend those oil fields.
    6) Reduce government regulations on business. We generate far too much paper to satisfy government at all business levels. Permitting processes for new plants take far too long. It is no wonder corporations look abroad.
    7) Eliminate DOE. They have had 30 years to make us energy independent. They failed, goodbye.
    8) Eliminate the D of Ed. This is a state and local function. Get the feds out of it. Stop collecting the taxes that went to this department so they can be collected at the lower levels.
    9) There are other departments that should go as well like HUD. DOT should be part of Interior.
    10) Stop subsidies to states and local governments. It is not efficient to over tax at the federal level to refund the monies at lower levels. Too much is lost in the bureaucracy.
    11) Eliminate the blanket debt ceiling business. Congress should vote explicitly on bond issues for specific projects before Treasury issues the bonds. This is how it was done before WWI. Bonds should be used for long term funding of infrastructure and other projects that have potential for improving the economy. They should not be used for daily operations or to Congress’ pet projects.
    12) Reduce the maximum corporate tax rates to be competitive with other countries. Allow corporations to repatriate their earnings overseas.
    I will stop now but I am sure I could come up with more.

    • That’s a pretty good list T-Ray. What was the guy’s response?

      • Radical right and TP BS. It is much easier to dismiss arguments by applying labels rather than logic. That is why I like this site so much.

    • #3 Could you really just write them off 🙂 I know the figures can be manipulated depending on accounting practices-but just how would that work?

      • It is money that we owe to ourselves collectively not individually. Hence writing it off would be a truthful admission that the pols (thieves that they are) used the money for other purposes. All of the funds need to be raised again in either case so nothing changes except the $ figure of the debt goes down by $2.6T. It would also point out the fallacy of giving the government more money now for them to return later. Never trust politicians to hold your money. They are like little kids near the cookie jar. No self control.

        We overtaxed ourselves starting in 1984 to prepare for the boomer retirement. Had we put those excess funds in private 401K/IRA type funds, boomer retirement would not be a problem today. I think we should start working now towards a private SS-IRA type fund that gets our kids and grandkids off relying on government. For the current boomers, we will need to make some changes such as increased retirement ages, raising the withholding on earned incomes to $500K or unlimited and possibly some means testing but with a high threshold. Boomers who were frugal and planned ahead instead of spending all their money in real time should not be penalized. We could start by diverting the employee contribution of younger people to their 401K accounts. The amount diverted should increase as the boomers die off.

        I would also allow/encourage individuals to add healthcare $s to their 401K/IRAs. A healthy person would have a substantial fund available by retirement. Insurance would still be needed but it should be of the catastrophic kind. Individuals should pay directly for routine office visits and medical care.

        • Alot of great ideas-My husband set down and roughly figured out how much we have paid in SS taxes, then estimated how much money we would have with just a small return on our money-and we would be sitting pretty right now-but I still don’t get how coming out and admitting that the money to cover SS isn’t in a lock box would decrease our debt.

          • Writing off the SS debt changes nothing in reality. It moves the debt from acknowledged debt to unfunded liabilities. It does change the perception of our debt to the credit rating companies as our acknowledged debt goes down by $2.6T. It is a gimmick. The part I like about it is that it is truthful. It forces everyone to admit the money is gone. Like a drunk, once the problem is acknowledged, fixes can be made.

            I too have done ROI calculation for SS. I went back and calcluated the excess funds withheld starting in 1984 to present and virtually put them in an IRA. It would be a nice pot of money to have now. Despite the myriad stock market busts in the last 30 yrs, my IRA has grown at a rate greater than inflation.

            When Bush 43 was being interviewed about privatization and being asked about the safety of Wall Street compared to government bonds, I used to screem at the TV for Bush to ask the interviewer where his 401K and IRA money was. Odds are they too invested in Wall Street but were following the Dem party line with their questions.

            • It is mind boggling to me-that unfunded liabilities would be looked at differently from acknowledged debt when it comes to your credit rating-if you owe it ,you owe it.

              I don’t think my ignorance is at fault in this situation 😀 it makes absolutely no common sense.

  38. So off to court they go-There’s no telling how much money has been wasted-fighting the unions and the environmentalist in this country. I would normally say if you were promised a raise you should get it-but come on-their third raise-when many people have had to take cuts in order to stop layoffs. But the unions just keep claiming they would agree to cuts without losing part of their collective bargaining “rights”. Yea , right.

    RASMUSSEN: Time for public-union temper tantrums
    Labor whines as overextended state tightens the purse strings

    By Kristina Rasmussen The Washington Times

    7:28 p.m., Friday, July 22, 2011

    Another day, another union up- rising. This time, Illinois’ government unions are up in arms about raises they were supposed to receive on July 1. But don’t be fooled – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn isn’t joining the ranks of the governors of New Jersey, Wisconsin and Ohio.

    Earlier this month Mr. Quinn, a Democrat, announced that his administration would not fund the next round of pay raises for tens of thousands of unionized state employees. July 1 was set to be the third – yes, third – round of raises for state workers over the past seven months – with more scheduled in 2012.

    Mr. Quinn, a liberal who campaigned on the line “early to bed, early to rise, work like hell to organize,” hasn’t suddenly woken up to the problem of out-of-control government compensation. Rather, he simply wasn’t given the $75 million needed for the raises. Although the Illinois General Assembly passed a record budget this year, legislators funded programs and government employee pensions instead of pay raises.

    Expectedly, the union brass reacted with fury, stating Mr. Quinn had “sunk lower” than Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both Republicans who recently have overseen implementation of sweeping changes to public-sector unionization rules in their states.

    This temper tantrum comes less than a year after the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) endorsed Mr. Quinn for re-election in his gubernatorial campaign and sent more than $500,000 into his election coffers. A few days after the fall endorsement, the governor inked a no-layoff, no-facility-closure deal with the union. As part of that deal, the unions accepted delays to their pay-hike schedule to give the governor some breathing room in the budget.

    AFSCME has said it has an inviolable deal with the government. Make no mistake – the union’s reason for existence is to squeeze as much as possible from taxpayers for union members. And they’re usually slick communicators with strong allies in the press.

    But the union’s strident demands are coming back to bite them. When nearly one in 10 Illinoisans are unemployed, the state’s government unions are angry over not getting yet another raise. This doesn’t sit well with families who are losing out on an extra week’s worth of wages thanks to a record income tax hike passed in January.

    Increasingly, the public is catching on to the game in which government employees, in effect, set their own pay by electing their employers. A June 2011 poll showed that nearly half of likely Illinois voters believe the average government worker is paid more than the average private-sector worker; just 13 percent felt government workers earned less.

    Government worker pay in Illinois, as with many other states, has outpaced the private sector in recent times. In real terms, private-sector compensation (wages plus benefits) in Illinois declined 2 percent over the past 15 years, while state-worker compensation increased by 17 percent. In 2008, the average compensation for an Illinois state worker was $69,500. The average private-sector compensation? Just $56,500.

    State workers also have advantages in job security, sick-time accrual and early retirement. Over a 40-year career, the average Illinois state worker will receive about 510 more paid vacation days than the average-private sector worker. And contrary to what they may say at the picket lines, public workers know they have a plum arrangement – that’s why turnover rates among state workers are a fourth of what they are in the private sector.

    Ultimately, Mr. Quinn’s decision to rescind government employee pay hikes is less about setting up a fair and sustainable arrangement with state workers and more to do with legislative decisions that tied his hands. A state arbitrator ruled in favor of the unions last week, but the case is likely to end up in the courts.

    This doesn’t change the fact that there must be parity between those who work for government and those who labor to pay for government.

  39. Okay, I’m not economically astute-but isn’t this just an underhanded way of nationalizing the mortgage industry

    uly 21, 2011 4:00 A.M.
    Dodd-Frank’s Fannie Trap
    A bad law and bad administration rules will only make the housing crisis worse.

    One year ago today, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Despite the “Wall Street” moniker, the tentacles of Dodd-Frank’s 2,315 pages and hundreds of pending rules reach across many American streets to many types of businesses, from manufacturers that use derivatives to hedge inflation and interest rates, to small stores that extend credit through layaway plans.

    Ironically, about the only two firms Dodd-Frank doesn’t touch are the two most responsible for the crisis: the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In their new book, Reckless Endangerment, New York Times financial columnist Gretchen Morgenson and market analyst Joshua Rosner write that Fannie “led both the private and public sectors down a path that led directly to the financial crisis of 2008.” At the end of the book, the authors note with dismay, as have many conservative critics, that the law doesn’t lay a glove on Fannie and Freddie.

    GSE reform is coming, promises the Obama administration. In an op-ed yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, which largely consisted of blasting Republicans for efforts to lessen Dodd-Frank’s impact, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner proclaimed, “We have started the process of winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and reforming the overall mortgage market.”

    Yet Fannie and Freddie are bigger than ever, securitizing nine out of ten home mortgages and receiving unlimited guarantees from the taxpayer, thanks to the Obama administration’s Christmas Eve bailout of 2009. And one provision of Dodd-Frank has not only slowed the momentum of reforming the GSEs, but threatens to make them even bigger.

    Dodd-Frank’s rules on “qualified residential mortgages” — as currently proposed in a joint regulation by banking agencies, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Securities and Exchange Commission — aggrandize the GSEs by putting shackles on their private-sector competitors. The regulation sets overly strict rules for down payments for mortgages to be securitized, but then exempts from these requirements any home loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration or purchased by Fannie or Freddie.

    The rules from Dodd-Frank’s section 941 are a multi-step process. They start with a requirement that firms originating mortgage loans retain 5 percent of the risk on their books. Because this requirement would price out many small financial institutions — the American Enterprise Institute’s Peter Wallison has written that such risk “can only be carried by a securitizer that has a substantial balance sheet” — the law creates various exemptions.

    The regulators created one exemption for mortgages with down payments of 20 percent or more. Mortgages with very low down payments — and sometimes no down payments — were indeed part of the problem. They were also, as Morgenson and Rosner document, greatly encouraged by Fannie, Freddie, and the mandates of the Community Reinvestment Act. These loans were also encouraged by the Federal Housing Administration’s lowering of standards in the Clinton and Bush administrations for the mortgages it would insure.

    But 20 percent is by many measures — to use a phrase popularized by a marginal political candidate — too damn high; it would rule out many mortgages and refinancings to responsible borrowers. And such a high threshold would be especially hard on families in states where the housing market has tanked and equity has eroded, if they need to move or refinance. A white paper for the Coalition for Sensible Housing Policy — an umbrella group of trade-association and policy groups, including the liberal Center for Responsible Lending — states: “For those borrowers that have already put significant ‘skin in the game’ through down payments and years of timely mortgage payments, only to see their equity eroded by the housing collapse, the proposed definition tells them they are not ‘gold standard’ borrowers and will have to pay more.”

    Not to worry, say the Obama administration and Dodd-Frank’s architects. If a loan is bought by Fannie or Freddie or insured by the FHA, none of this applies. Loan originators do not have to retain 5 percent credit risk, and borrowers do not have to meet the high down-payment requirement. Borrowers would only have to comply with these agencies’ minimal guidelines — and these guidelines may be lowered even further. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the administration is considering “having taxpayer-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac relax their rules for loans to investors.”

    The administration also closed the door on the option of creating any exemption for private mortgage insurers if they create models to reduce risk, as some have proposed. In the Obama administration’s view, the answer is government backing for mortgages, period.

    The good news is that a strong bipartisan bloc of more than 320 members of Congress isn’t buying the administration’s line. The legislators have written to regulators demanding the new rules be scrapped. The bad news is that if Congress doesn’t move fast to repeal, delay, or modify the qualified-residential-mortgage provisions, the administration is likely to dig in its heels, and the GSE-expansion option will become more appealing, even to some Republicans. Witness the bill of Rep. John Campbell (R., Calif.), which would create a single GSE potentially more costly than Fannie and Freddie.

    Anticipation of the rule is already adding to the precarious state of the housing market, and is helping to fulfill the contrived prophecy that the GSEs are needed because the private sector won’t provide mortgages on its own. Private-sector firms certainly won’t if they are handcuffed while their GSE competitors roam free. On this anniversary of “financial reform,” it is clearer than ever that the road to reforming Fannie and Freddie starts with the repeal of provisions from Dodd-Frank.

  40. THUNDER OVER MICHIGAN! Oh Yeah baby! The Blue Angels & Co put on helluva show at Willow Run Airport near my home. It’s been a yearly event here since I was young. I haven’t been since the kids were young but we got up & out early today and melted in the heat but it was well worth it. Watched several staged dogfights by the smaller planes, a flyover by the Air Force B1 Lancer supersonic bomber (B2 Stealth flew yesterday), and the finale by the Blue Angels. AWESOME!!!!

  41. Figured I’d send this on. The text says it’s been verified by Snopes (lol), I haven’t checked it out at all but it was sent to me by my wealthy, financial planner cousin. He is normally on top of things. Read em & weep!

    Here is one for a strong objection campaign—-Write everyone you know and tell them what is happening in Washington DC

    1% tax on all bank transactions HR4646

    Watch for this AFTER November elections. Remember
    this BEFORE you VOTE in case you think Obama’s
    looking out for your best interest.

    1% tax on all bank transactions HR 4646 – ANOTHER NEW OBAMA TAX SLIPPED IN WHILE WE WERE ASLEEP. Checked this on snopes, it’s true! Check out HR 4646.

    President Obama’s finance team is recommending a one percent (1%) transaction fee (TAX). Obama’s plan is to sneak it in after the November elections to keep it under the radar.

    This is a 1% tax on all transactions at any financial institution – banks, credit unions, savings and loans, etc. Any deposit you make, or even a transfer within your account, will have a 1% tax charge.
    ~If your paycheck or your social security or whatever is direct deposit, it will get a 1% tax charged for the transaction.
    ~If your paycheck is $1000, then you will pay Obama $10 just for the privilege of depositing your paycheck in your bank. Even if you hand carry your paycheck or any check into your bank for a deposit, 1% tax will be charged.
    ~You receive a $5,000 stock dividend from your broker, Obama takes $50 just to allow you to deposit that check in the bank.
    ~If you take $1,000 cash to deposit at your bank, 1% tax will be charged.

    Mind you, this is from the man who promised that, if you make under $250,000 per year, you will not see one penny of new tax. Keep your eyes and ears open, you will be amazed at what you learn about this guy’s under-the-table moves to increase the number of ways you are taxed.

    ~Oh, and by the way, you receive a refund from the IRS next year and you have it direct deposited or you walk in to deposit that check, you guessed it. You will pay a 1% charge of that money just for putting it in your bank. Remember, any money, cash, check or whatever, no matter where it came from, you will pay a 1% fee if you put it in the bank.

    Some will say, oh well, it’s just 1%. Are you kidding me? It’s a 1% tax increase across the board. Remember, once the tax is there, they can also raise it at will. And if anyone protests, they will just say, “oh,that’s not really a tax, it’s a user fee”! Think this is no big deal? Go back and look at the transactions you made from last year’s banking statements. Then add the total of all those transactions and deduct 1%. Still think it’s no big deal???

    • A quick look at the bill says this is supposed to replace the personal income tax; however, there is a confusing section of credit being applied to income taxes. The stated objective is to implement a tax system without all the expenses associated with income taxes.

      One thing I see happening is a lot more cash transactions since this applies to all bank and credit card transactions. It looks like it has been in the Appropriations committee since Feb.

  42. I problem with this debt ceiling crisis is this.

    Screw the ideological diffences between the parties. The same goes for whether it makes that big a difference or not. The biggest problem I have, and this is a Democratic malfunction, is the Balanced Budget Amendment.

    I mean, what is their problem with that? Could maybe some of you others explain why this is? Why should the Feds not be contrained to live within their means? And why should taxes HAVE to be raised? Why can they not just cut how much they spend.

    This is the problem when mostly Lawyers are in charge of the government instead of businessmen. they have no idea what living within their means is.

  43. Just read that Marco Rubio might not be eligible to run for V.P or President because his parents weren’t citizens when he was born.

  44. Whatever your thoughts on homosexuality-this is an interesting article-What I get from it-we shouldn’t try to control the science of psychology based on a political stanch.

  45. Esom

    Why should the Feds not be contrained to live within their means? And why should taxes HAVE to be raised? Why can they not just cut how much they spend.

    This is a common comment from many, but you need to answer these questions first.

    (1) What “items” is the Feds responsible for? That determines where they are “living in” them.

    If you believe the Feds have responsibilities, you are then equally committed to accept that by whatever means they need to use to manage such responsibilities is correct.

    (2) How do YOU believe you can constrain a government?

    (3) How do YOU believe they can cut spending on if you hold (1) as valid?

  46. Opinion
    The Sleepover Question
    Published: July 23, 2011

    Amy Schalet is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the author of the forthcoming “Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens and the Culture of Sex.”

    Amherst, Mass.

    NOT under my roof. That’s the attitude most American parents have toward teenagers and their sex lives. Squeamishness and concern describe most parents’ approach to their offspring’s carnality. We don’t want them doing it — whatever “it” is! — in our homes. Not surprisingly, teenage sex is a source of conflict in many American families.

    Would Americans increase peace in family life and strengthen family bonds if they adopted more accepting attitudes about sex and what’s allowable under the family roof? I’ve interviewed 130 people, all white, middle class and not particularly religious, as part of a study of teenage sex and family life here and in the Netherlands. My look into cultural differences suggests family life might be much improved, for all, if Americans had more open ideas about teenage sex. The question of who sleeps where when a teenager brings a boyfriend or girlfriend home for the night fits within the larger world of culturally divergent ideas about teenage sex, lust and capacity for love.

    Kimberly and Natalie dramatize the cultural differences in the way young women experience their sexuality. (I have changed their names to protect confidentiality.) Kimberly, a 16-year-old American, never received sex education at home. “God, no! No, no! That’s not going to happen,” she told me. She’d like to tell her parents that she and her boyfriend are having sex, but she believes it is easier for her parents not to know because the truth would “shatter” their image of her as their “little princess.”

    Natalie, who is also 16 but Dutch, didn’t tell her parents immediately when she first had intercourse with her boyfriend of three months. But, soon after, she says, she was so happy, she wanted to share the good news. Initially her father was upset and worried about his daughter and his honor. “Talk to him,” his wife advised Natalie; after she did, her father made peace with the change. Essentially Natalie and her family negotiated a life change together and figured out, as a family, how to adjust to changed circumstance.

    Respecting what she understood as her family’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Kimberly only slept with her boyfriend at his house, when no one was home. She enjoyed being close to her boyfriend but did not like having to keep an important part of her life secret from her parents. In contrast, Natalie and her boyfriend enjoyed time and a new closeness with her family; the fact that her parents knew and approved of her boyfriend seemed a source of pleasure.

    The difference in their experiences stems from divergent cultural ideas about sex and what responsible parents ought to do about it. Here, we see teenagers as helpless victims beset by raging hormones and believe parents should protect them from urges they cannot control. Matters aren’t helped by the stereotype that all boys want the same thing, and all girls want love and cuddling. This compounds the burden on parents to steer teenage children away from relationships that will do more harm than good.

    The Dutch parents I interviewed regard teenagers, girls and boys, as capable of falling in love, and of reasonably assessing their own readiness for sex. Dutch parents like Natalie’s talk to their children about sex and its unintended consequences and urge them to use contraceptives and practice safe sex.

    Cultural differences about teenage sex are more complicated than clichéd images of puritanical Americans and permissive Europeans. Normalizing ideas about teenage sex in fact allows the Dutch to exert more control over their children. Most of the parents I interviewed actively discouraged promiscuous behavior. And Dutch teenagers often reinforced what we see as 1950s-style mores: eager to win approval, they bring up their partners in conversation, introduce them to their parents and help them make favorable impressions.

    Some Dutch teenagers went so far as to express their ideas about sex and love in self-consciously traditional terms; one Dutch boy said the advantage of spending the night with a partner was that it was “Like Mom and Dad, like when you’re married, you also wake up next to the person you love.”

    Normalizing teenage sex under the family roof opens the way for more responsible sex education. In a national survey, 7 of 10 Dutch girls reported that by the time they were 16, their parents had talked to them about pregnancy and contraception. It seems these conversations helped teenagers prepare, responsibly, for active sex lives: 6 of 10 Dutch girls said they were on the pill when they first had intercourse. Widespread use of oral contraceptives contributes to low teenage pregnancy rates — more than 4 times lower in the Netherlands than in the United States.

    Obviously sleepovers aren’t a direct route to family happiness. But even the most traditional parents can appreciate the virtue of having their children be comfortable bringing a girlfriend or boyfriend home, rather than have them sneak around.

    Unlike the American teenagers I interviewed, who said they felt they had to split their burgeoning sexual selves from their family roles, the Dutch teens had a chance to integrate different parts of themselves into their family life. When children feel safe enough to tell parents what they are doing and feeling, presumably it’s that much easier for them to ask for help. This allows parents to have more influence, to control through connection.

    Sexual maturation is awkward and difficult. The Dutch experience suggests that it is possible for families to stay connected when teenagers start having sex, and that if they do, the transition into adulthood need not be so painful for parents or children.

    Oh-Give me a friggin break-Come on kids just do whatever you want to-I’m gonna discourage being young and stupid-by allowing you to be stupid with my blessings.

%d bloggers like this: