Saturday, February 28, 2015
Scott Walker's immigration problem is that he doesn't put Americans and legal immigrants ahead of violators
"If people want to come here and work hard and benefit, I don't care whether they come from Mexico or Ireland or Germany or Canada or South Africa or anywhere else. I want them here."
"Not only do they need to fix things for people already here, or find some way to do it, there's got to be a larger way to fix the system in the first place. Because if it wasn't so cumbersome, if there wasn't such a long wait, if it wasn't so difficult to get in, we wouldn't have the other problems that we have (with people living here illegally)."
-- Scott Walker, July 3, 2013, "Walker Endorses Path To Citizenship"
Posted by a countryman at 7:08 AM
Friday, February 27, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
German actions have not themselves been entirely pure. In 2002, Germany, along with France, began the process of easing the strict rules of the Maastricht Treaty when it was able to get an exemption from the cap on budget deficits at 3 percent of GDP, essentially scrapping the Stability and Growth Pact. German banks also had their eyes wide open in awarding loans to Greece and the other weaker European economies, throwing prudential caution aside. In fact, some major financial and corporate entities have allegedly facilitated deceptions by earlier Greek governments or to have been involved in outright corruption in connection with some loans. Then, there is also the inconvenient fact that outstanding German debt is itself well above the 60 percent cap in the euro zone ground rules. Another inconvenient fact is that just 11 percent of the facilities extended to Greece have been used to support the Greek state, as the facilities have ultimately been used to prop up the banking sector in the lending countries.
Although Germany was not responsible for the financial collapse of 2008 that set the stage for the long crisis in the euro zone, its neo-mercantilist economic and trade policies, which one Philippe Legrain dubbed Merkelism, has exacerbated the situation and impeded an effective response. Germans take justifiable pride in the excellent quality of their industrial products, which produced yet another record trade surplus of €215 billion in 2014, second only to China. Yet, large balance of trade surpluses in Germany mean that other European countries are running large balance of trade deficits, which exert downward pressure on those other economies. The counter that other countries should attempt to be more like German industry rings only partially true. Once again, Germany is itself not adhering to European rules in that a trade surplus of 7.4 percent of GDP well exceeds the target cap under the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure. Even worse, that cap was set abnormally high as, on the flip side, euro zone countries are not supposed to run trade deficits greater than 4 percent of GDP. The very rules build in and sanction a balance of trade advantage to Germany. This advantage is enabled not just by German industrial competitiveness but by the fact that the euro confers a much more favorable exchange rate than were Germany still operating under its own independent Deutsche Mark. This fact has led some commentators to brand Germany a stealth currency manipulator and even for the country itself to be removed from the euro zone.
Cutting off heads and burning people alive in cages is one thing, but destroying priceless artifacts? O.M.G!
Hype. Advocacy. Partisanship.
Posted by a countryman at 3:36 PM
Posted by a countryman at 10:51 AM
Paul, who like Bush is considering whether to seek the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, contrasted Bush's opposition to legalizing medical marijuana with his admitted drug use while a student at Phillips Academy, an elite prep school in Andover, Mass.
Notice the libertarian Paul isn't going after Bush's amnesty stand. No, it's not that Jeb isn't conservative enough, it's that he isn't libertarian enough.
Meanwhile Scott Walker and Jeb Bush have sucked all the air out of Rand Paul's room. Paul is way back in the polling, pulling 9.5% compared to 13% and 14.5% for the respective front runners in the latest Real Clear Politics average.
At this stage of the game it looks like this is going to be a Bush Walker ticket in 2016.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
US Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain remind me of the spineless Michigan Republican legislature
Here's Lindsey Grahamnesty:
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” Sunday that he supports voting for a clean DHS bill and letting the court decide on immigration.
“I hope that Republicans will come together and back the court case, file a friend of the court brief with the court, and fund DHS,” Graham said. “I am willing and ready to pass a DHS funding bill and let this play out in court. The worst possible outcome for this nation is to defund the Department of Homeland Security, given the multiple threats we face to our homeland, and I will not be part of that.”
Graham’s main Senate cohort, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, had a similar sentiment Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“We now have an exit sign. And that is the federal court decision saying that the president's actions unilaterally are unconstitutional,” McCain said. “And I think we have got a great argument to the United States Supreme Court, where it will go, because 22 times the president of the United States said it was unconstitutional for him to take the action that he had decided to take.”
In other words, elected representatives to Washington DC should do everything but represent their constituents in order that nothing may make them a target on election day.
These spineless cowards hide behind the skirts of the judicial system in a way which reminds me of nothing so much as the politics of the state of Michigan, where legislators defer everything controversial to the decision of the electorate.
Here in Michigan incendiary issues like taxes and spending are typically put to a referendum and made a part of the constitution, which can't be changed without another such vote of the people, giving the politicians a skirt to hide behind less black than the robes worn by the judiciary, but just as effete.
We might as well dispense with the expense and farce of representation, and let the courts decide everything, or the people, since we have no men left to lead us.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Last year on this date the total ice cover was just 67%, when GDP was going negative supposedly because of the terrible winter we were having. The year before, ice cover on this date was 74.3%. As of yesterday, ice covers 84.4% of the Great Lakes, 25% ahead of last year.
Will GDP tank in 1Q2015 because of this?
We won't have what passes for complete knowledge about this until the end of June.
If Obama can say Edward Snowden and George Bush aren't patriots, then Rudy Giuliani can say whatever he wants about Obama
Sunday, February 22, 2015
WaPo worries about Jeb's wife's spending of personal money, totally ignores Michelle Obama's marathon milking of the taxpayers
It took a FOIA request of the most transparent government ever to find out that Moochelle Obama milked the taxpayers for a $250,000 vacation in Ireland in 2013, but the Washington Post is all abuzz tonight over Jeb Bush's wife's personal spending on jewelry.
Keith Koffler reported here in April 2014 about Moochelle:
"First Lady Michelle Obama’s egregious use of the G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland last June to stage a luxury, touristy side-trip for herself and her daughters to Dublin cost taxpayers at least $251,161 according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch.
"But the cost is almost certainly much higher. For example, a separate Air Force jet that appeared to be Air Force Two, which costs more than $10,000 an hour to fly, was dispatched to Ireland to handle Michelle’s vacation-related travel. This cost is not included in the figures provided to Judicial Watch."
But WaPo's story, "Documents show the expensive tastes of Jeb Bush’s low-key wife", here, only has this to stay about the extravagant and unethical spending of President Obama's wife:
"First lady Michelle Obama drew fire for wearing a pair of sneakers that cost upward of $500 when she went to bag groceries at a food bank in 2009."
Senate Democrats to mount fourth filibuster to block funding of Dept. of Homeland Security before it runs out of money
Here's the lede from Politico:
Late Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will force the fourth vote in three weeks on a bill to fund the massive agency that protects Americans from terrorists, floods and incursions across the borders. Senate Democrats will almost certainly block it again.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
“I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that this President loves America. He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up: To love this country."
“Look, this man was brought up basically in a white family, so whatever he learned or didn’t learn, I attribute this more to the influence of communism and socialism. I don’t (see) this President as being particularly a product of African-American society or something like that. He isn’t. Logically, think about his background. . . The ideas that are troubling me and are leading to this come from communists with whom he associated when he was 9 years old."
Posted by a countryman at 2:11 PM
Mr Tsipras added the extension would finally put an end to the "asphyxiation" Greece has suffered since 2012.
"Yesterday's agreement with the Eurogroup cancels the commitments of the previous government for cuts to wages and pensions, for firings in the public sector, for VAT rises on food, medicine," added the prime minister.
"We averted plans by blind conservative powers, within and outside the country, to asphyxiate Greece on February 28," he said.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
"It's hard to avoid concluding that Republicans aren't trying to make the right arguments. In fact, it kind of looks like they're intentionally throwing the fight on amnesty. If a Republican majority in both houses of Congress can't stop Obama from issuing illegal immigrants Social Security cards and years of back welfare payments, there is no reason to vote Republican ever again."
Note to Ann: "intentionally" is redundant when throwing a fight.
"Newsmax, a conservative news organization, last year pledged $1 million to the Clinton Foundation over a five-year period, according to a spokesman for Chris Ruddy, the organization’s CEO. Mr. Ruddy has been friends with the Clintons since 2007," reports the [The Wall Street] Journal.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Here in "The Beatles And Wealth Inequality: A Reminder That Education Is Irrelevant To Success".
It's a veritable cornucopia of wrong, sentimental tosh in pursuit of a thesis.
It ignores the fact that George Harrison went to a pretty good school in Liverpool. It doesn't understand that Ringo was prevented from making academic progress as a child by recurring severe illnesses. It is unaware that Ringo actually was punching a time clock at a day job when he became interested in the drums, and that though it was his life's work he didn't play when the band wasn't recording.
Tamny also makes a mountain out of the molehill of Ringo Starr's two-week hiatus from the Beatles in 1968, which supposedly showed the rest of the Beatles how much they needed him. They didn't. Ringo spent much of his time in studio playing cards while the others whacked out their tracks as the group headed for a breakup.
Tamny would have made a better case using Rush Limbaugh as his example. The man's made piles and piles of dough but routinely slaughters math, attacks college education and has a lazy mind.
From the story here:
A federal judge in South Texas on Monday temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, giving a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit that aims to permanently stop the orders.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's decision comes after a hearing in Brownsville in January and puts on hold Obama's orders that could spare as many as five million people who are in the U.S. illegally from deportation.
Hanen wrote in a memorandum accompanying his order that the lawsuit should go forward and that without a preliminary injunction the states will "suffer irreparable harm in this case."
"The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle," he wrote, adding that he agreed with the plaintiffs' argument that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a "virtually irreversible" action. ...
Hanen, who's been on the federal court since 2002 after being nominated by President George W. Bush, regularly handles border cases but wasn't known for being outspoken on immigration until a 2013 case. In an order in that case, Hanen suggested the Homeland Security Department should be arresting parents living in the U.S. illegally who induce their children to cross the border illegally.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Gretchen Morgenson smells a rat: Fannie/Freddie bailout cost us nearly $188 billion, but Treasury rakes in the profits
Gretchen Morgenson for The New York Times, here:
For decades, the companies had maintained that their mortgage operations posed no risk to taxpayers; their pals in Congress echoed this refrain. But then came the mortgage debacle, and taxpayers had to shore up the companies with $187.5 billion. Initially, Fannie and Freddie had to pay interest on the loan. But in August 2012, the Treasury and F.H.F.A. abruptly changed the agreement; under the so-called third amendment, the government began sweeping all the companies’ profits into the Treasury. Since then, Fannie and Freddie have been immensely profitable. As of last December, the Treasury had received a total of $225.4 billion from the companies. ...
The initial $187.5 billion loan remains outstanding, however, because of the deal’s structure. ...
But recall what was going on in mid-2012. The presidential election was in full swing, and Democrats and Republicans were clashing over the debt ceiling. That May, in a shock to many, Fannie and Freddie reported profits from their operations for the first time since the mortgage crisis. The amount: $4.5 billion. And plenty more was to come. Certainly, giving the Treasury access to billions of dollars in the companies’ profits during this time provided financial flexibility to the executive branch that Congress might not otherwise have approved.
Posted by a countryman at 6:18 PM
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Friday, February 13, 2015
SCARBOROUGH: Are you serious? You're saying [Scott Walker] might not be qualified because he didn't finish college?
DEAN: I think there are going to be a lot of people who worry about that.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you worry about people that don't finish college?
DEAN: I worry about people being President of the United States not knowing much about the world and not knowing much about science. I worry about that.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh my God. Let's name the people that didn't finish college that have changed this world.
DEAN: Harry Truman, who was a great president, there's no question about it.
Posted by a countryman at 8:12 PM
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Just one more for the record, showing that National Review is now sadly many more bricks short of a load than it used to be, here:
"Paradoxical though it may sound, blasphemous or offensive speech is a God-given right."
Posted by a countryman at 9:05 AM
But all you're going to hear about is how Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin never finished at Marquette, where he still needs 34 credits to graduate.
WaPo is already on the warpath, here, saying Walker "was not close to graduating", under the headline "questions linger over college exit".
Hm. When it comes to Brian Williams, I'd say questions linger over his (many) college entrance(s). Whereas Walker is "about one-quarter of the required total away from earning his degree", Brian Williams is more than three-quarters of the required total away, having attended a community college, Catholic University of America, and George Washington but accumulating only 18 college credits.
Williams is not even in the same class of serial matriculators as Sarah Palin because she actually finished her degree after six whacks at it, but Williams still got to quote an NBC poll to her face in October 2008 in which 55% of Americans supposedly didn't see Palin as qualified to be president because the fourth estate doesn't really care about qualifications, just about who it is who doesn't have them.
Well, 33% of Americans today have now developed an unfavorable view of Williams in the wake of the revelation of the history of his many fabrications, according to Rasmussen here:
"Thirty-three percent (33%) view him unfavorably, with 18% who hold a Very Unfavorable view."
They are a little late, but we'll take it.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Jake Novak goes off the reservation, here:
With his recent call against vaccination laws of any kind, Ron Paul, a former Republican congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate, undermines the cause just as much [as statists] by acting like an anarchist.
Congressman Paul also borrows another aggravating rhetorical weapon overused by statists against libertarians, when he wrote: "Giving the government the power to override parental decisions regarding vaccines will inevitably lead to further restrictions on liberties." ...
This anti-vaccine law stance is just another all-or-nothing mispackaging of libertarianism.
That no two libertarians can agree about much of anything is proof of the anarchism inherent in the thinking.
That no two libertarians can agree about much of anything is proof of the anarchism inherent in the thinking.
Anyone who is homosexual who claims to be both a Christian and a conservative is nothing if not competitive . . . for attention.
Posted by a countryman at 10:23 AM
Monday, February 9, 2015
The meme began with Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator, here, whose real motive was to beat up the party for nominating another moderate:
"On Tuesday night, it comes clear, as this is written using the latest Fox News figures, Mitt Romney lost to President Obama by 2,819,339 votes. And the news ekes out that Moderate Nominee Number 10 Romney received some 3 million Republican votes less than Moderate Nominee Number 9 -- John McCain in 2008."
Blurted out as it was on November 8, 2012, no one could possibly have known that to be true at the time or trust it, but it has been accepted and remains endlessly repeated as the truth, mostly by the likes of Rush Limbaugh who uses it to browbeat his audience whenever someone spills some lemonade on the still open wound of the Romney defeat. The Republican base was at fault for not showing up, we are told, and Rush is never going to let you forget it. He's as angry at the right as John McCain is, but the meme just reverberates down through the conservative food chain through every microphone until you just want to scream out loud because it simply isn't true.
This is demoralizing for everyone and needed to stop long ago. But why it hasn't stopped has more to do with conservatives' penchant for self-flagellation for their failure to find a new Reagan than with anything else. What they should be doing is trying to learn something from the episode so that they do win next time, but you get the feeling that they don't do that because they really don't believe that they can win next time. Republicans want a Saviour to do the job for them, instead of doing it themselves.
I know why this is, and so do you.
Conservatives have become prisoners of a utopian dream. They keep thinking that if the right guy or gal comes along in the mold of the Gipper, we'll finally, finally, be able to take over the government and show everybody how it's supposed to be done once again, and all will be right with the world.
This is crazy.
The fact is there were just eight states lost by Romney to Obama in 2012 where McCain did better. Here they are, showing how many more votes McCain got than Romney:
New Mexico: 11,044
New Jersey: 134,458
New York: 262,275
Rhode Island: 8,187
Total votes by which McCain did better than Romney, but still lost: 613,443 . . . nowhere near 3 million.
Keep in mind that Romney garnered a net 984,084 more votes nationwide than McCain did in 2008, despite that under-performance in eight states detailed above, and despite what Jeffrey Lord told you in the wake of the election and people like Rush Limbaugh have endlessly repeated ever since. On top of that net better performance, Romney also won North Carolina and Indiana, both of which McCain had lost in bitterly narrow outcomes in 2008. Romney ended up winning 24 states vs. only 22 for McCain. You don't do that with 3 million Republicans staying home in 2012 who didn't in 2008.
To think so now at this late date is a form of mental illness.
Romney's better performance than McCain overall was despite two important factors working against Romney: a lower turnout nationwide in 2012 by 1.6% overall compared to 2008 (2.2 million); and a suppressed voter turnout in New Jersey and New York because of Hurricane Sandy right before the election, which makes McCain's better performance than Romney in those two liberal states in 2008 look questionable, quite apart from being inconsequential.
In New Jersey and New York in 2012 5.9% and 7.3% fewer votes respectively were cast than in 2008, alone totaling a whopping 789,000 votes. Based on Romney's performance in those two states in 2012, as many as 288,000 of those votes could have been his but were not, due to weather related impacts on the election. But they hardly mattered except to show that McCain's so-called out-performance was nothing of the kind.
The only state of the above eight which really mattered for Romney in the 2012 calculus to win was Ohio, where Romney lost by 2.98 points, or 166,272 votes.
Turnout in Ohio was also down in 2012, by 2.3% or 131,000, a rate of no-showing almost 44% higher than in the country as a whole (Just where was Gov. John Kasich when we needed him, hm?). With third party voting in Ohio turning out the same percentage in 2012 as it had in 2008, you have to reckon with the fact that Ohio's 101,788 third party votes in 2012 had a greater impact on the outcome in the lower turnout environment of 2012, and they did.
49,493 of those third party votes in Ohio went to the self-described Republican spoiler from the Libertarian Party, the Republican Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, who was just coming off being snubbed by the Republican Party in the presidential debates of late 2011. Another 33,722 votes in Ohio went to assorted libertarian and right of center fruits, nuts and flakes. Then add in the known 16,383 who voted for McCain in 2008 but not for Romney in 2012 and you're up to 99,598 of the 166,272 Romney lost by in Ohio in 2012. That leaves 66,674 additional votes Romney lost to account for, which as luck would have it is about 51% of the total reduced turnout, closely enough mirroring the 47.6% by which Romney ended up losing in Ohio to satisfy the equation's solution. The point is there was nothing terribly unusual about this outcome which couldn't have been remedied by a better boots on the ground operation than Romney fielded, outnumbered as it was by Obama by 10 to 1. Romney's failure in Ohio was remediable.
One gets the feeling from that that Romney too was looking for a Saviour when he should have been working harder. Only after the election was it confirmed by his family that he really didn't have the fire in the belly. We should have known. "ObamaCare's not worth getting angry about". "I'm not going to light my hair on fire".
Ohio, plus New Hampshire, Virginia and Florida in the east together would have given Romney the 270 electoral votes he needed instead of the 206 he actually received. Romney lost those four states, and the presidency, by just 429,522 votes.
Posted by a countryman at 8:19 PM
Sunday, February 8, 2015
Posted by a countryman at 4:40 PM
CNBC.com has a story up celebrating the 110th birthday of Ayn Rand, here (I don't recall seeing one for Ronald Reagan this week, whose 104th it was), entitled "Ayn Rand is 110 and still in your face after all these years".
Well, she wouldn't be in your face this week if it weren't for CNBC. And I swear the Randians use Google Alerts to swarm the comments section for any story that pops up about their heroine. CNBC even egged them on with an online poll embedded in the article.
Those of us old enough to have voted for the Gipper remember the critical verdict against Ayn Rand from the likes of Reagan's intellectual compatriots William F. Buckley Jr. and Whittaker Chambers, and against libertarians generally from people like Russell Kirk, all of whom insisted that man does not exist for his own sake, implying a transcendent, as opposed to a purely immanent, moral order. It was that precisely ideological character of Objectivism, that theological mistake, which made it but the other side of the totalitarian coin which Ayn Rand still carried in her pocket from the USSR, and which American conservatives instinctively rejected.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
If I had a subscription to the NYTimes, I'd cancel it just for how David Brooks defended Obama's equation of Christianity and ISIS
David Brooks' defense of Obama is here.
Obama plays New York intellectuals like a fiddle.
Like Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton has had her shot at the presidency and failed, so why isn't she out, too?
Posted by a countryman at 9:13 PM
here May 17, 2012 on occasion of the suicide of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s wife Mary, also an environmentalist:
Mary’s close friend pointed to the strain of her 18-year marriage. “She was lovely. She always looked out for you,” she said, but added, “She did not have it easy, being Bobby’s wife. “I remember being seated at a dinner next to Bobby around 10 years ago that [Mary] was also at — it was the first time I had met either of them — and he put his hand on my thigh under the table. We hadn’t even spoken but to say hello. He is such a dog that way.” ... [T]he philandering took “a terrible toll,” the source said, adding, “He got all the glory, and she got no acknowledgment for what she did: holding it all together at home.”
Posted by a countryman at 6:02 PM
Friday, February 6, 2015
He'll rip your government unions a new one if you don't watch out, Jon.
Posted by a countryman at 7:57 PM
The eviscerated New Republic defends Obama's indefensible prayer breakfast remarks equating Christians with ISIS
The commenters are all over the affirmative action president like white on rice, if that's possible in this instance.
Talk about kicking a dog when he's down . . . for the Muslim cause.
And you thought America was lost.
Posted by a countryman at 7:32 PM
Posted by a countryman at 10:02 AM
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Might as well have a real moderate Muslim as president instead of the one we've got. You know, someone who names the enemy and wants to take it to the enemy instead of lecturing Christians that they are sinners too, confusing people about whose side he's really on.
"Any man I see out there, I'm gonna kill him. Any son of a bitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only going to kill him, I'm going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down."
Story here from Byron York.
Surprise: Lefty Michael Tomasky wants to punish the middle class with an increase in the regressive gasoline tax
Here in "Pony Up, Middle Class, for a Gas Tax", recommending Hillary do it in 2017 like her husband did with income taxes in 1993, by lying about it:
"And the rich, even though they’re rich, only have so much to contribute. The top marginal tax rate just isn’t going to get much higher, and the corporate tax rate if anything should be lowered (although as loopholes are simultaneously closed). So you’re going to have to pay a little.
"I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for a campaign. But let us not forget that the husband of the putative Democratic nominee in 2016 got into office in 1993 and promptly raised taxes, and fairly substantially, on just about everybody."
Of course, Tomasky doesn't mention Bill Clinton specifically promising in October 1992 NOT TO RAISE TAXES on the middle class, period.
Americans were forced in the aftermath of those tax increases to plunder home equity to maintain their standard of living. Owners' equity as a percentage of the value of household real estate subsequently plunged from 60.88% when Clinton was elected to 57.43% in the autumn of 1997 even as those housing values began to soar in the gestating housing bubble. We won't digress about how Clinton then threw gasoline on the housing fire in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 just as the percentage of owners' equity had hit that new low.
What's noteworthy is how enthusiastic the left is to punish the middle class, now as then. They haven't changed a wit, and neither have their methods. Everyone is paying higher taxes now in the form of healthcare premiums (hello HillaryCare), and if they get their way they'll raise federal gasoline taxes, too.
Of all the taxes which hurt working and middle class people more it's gasoline taxes, euphemistically referred to as user taxes by libertarians. The current federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon generates about $131 of federal revenue for every vehicle driven 15,000 miles annually getting 21mpg. While that's hardly noticeable to your person making $50,000 per year, a mere quarter percentage point, it's like adding almost one percentage point to the taxes of a minimum wage earner making $15,000.
The problem is then greatly magnified by the states, which add on another 29.89 cents per gallon on average, also in the name of transportation funding. Suddenly your 1% tax on the poorest drivers becomes a 2.3% tax.
Any addition at the federal level will only exacerbate this regressiveness. It's not that liberals don't know any of this. They do. It's just that they don't care.
Everyone benefits from roads, not just the users. Everyone should pay for them.
Posted by a countryman at 12:09 PM
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Ann Coulter gets reinstated here, for this, clearly delineating the new fault line for 2016, with Mitt Romney the only one on the right side of the issue:
The only Republican who has ever opposed the media and big campaign donors on immigration was Mitt Romney. You know, the guy we just kicked to the curb. On immigration, the elites speak with one voice: The donors want cheap labor, and the media hate Republicans who push ideas that are wildly popular with voters. ...
But with the cheap-labor plutocrats up in arms during the 2012 presidential campaign over Romney's suggestion that their serfs "self-deport," all the Republican lickspittles rushed to denounce his untoward remark. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker -- all of them lined up to take Sheldon Adelson's loyalty oath, swearing that, as far as they were concerned, illegal aliens should be treated as honored guests.
Michael Lind is right: American progressives should thank libertarians for hijacking American conservatism
From a perceptive (because he agrees with me) obituary for economic conservatism in Salon, here, by ex-neocon Michael Lind:
In today’s debate about the economy, populist liberals, centrist neoliberals and libertarians are represented. One group is missing from the American economic debate: economic conservatives.
The economists and economic pundits who are usually described as “conservatives” in the U.S. are really libertarians, or, if they are more moderate, right-neoliberals. While genuine conservatives are anti-utopian in temperament, most right-wing economists in the U.S. [today] share the utopian belief that many if not most public services and publicly regulated utilities can be replaced with competitive private markets. ...
The once-influential conservative historian Russell Kirk dismissed libertarians as “chirping sectaries” and declared that any genuine conservative would sooner be a socialist than a libertarian. From Kirk’s Burkean conservative perspective, libertarians or classical liberals were crazed, hyper-rationalist, utopian radicals, like Marxists.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
The episode, summarized here, shows the true colors of the politically related liberals and libertarians. Silencing speech is what they are both about, all the while claiming to champion it. Accordingly both resort to the ad hominem: Rand Paul is a "brat" to Salon while he says liberals typically need to "calm down", implying emotional inferiority.
I wonder if Joan Walsh protested being used in this way. And I do mean used: She never once suggests Rand Paul should be shushed, but the headline writer at Salon sure did the dirty work for her. Don't kid yourself. She was OK wit dat.
From the story here:
On Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), agreed to pay $1.375 billion to settle claims by the Department of Justice and multiple state governments that the ratings agency defrauded investors in the lead up to the financial crisis.
Theoretically Standard and Poors made about $7 billion during the period in question, so the claw-back is theoretically 20%.
There are plea bargains, and then there are plea bargains.
Posted by a countryman at 7:50 PM
Here, in The New Criterion:
'As for the herds of “Je Suis Charlie” marchers in Paris and elsewhere, it is worth noting how very few actual “Charlies” there were. It is one thing to carry a placard. It is another to take a stand by, for example, publishing a caricature of Mohammed.'
You see, by Roger Kimball's standard, unless I myself engage in a certain form of speech of which he approves, nay requires, I am an enemy of the West and all it stands for. It's not enough that I subscribe to the principle that one has a right to say or publish anything. Unless I actively read it and publish it myself I am not worthy. Kimball's world has no room in it for people who censor themselves out of religious and moral principle, who believe that without such principles there can be no civilization to begin with. Instead I must become a pornographer, I must become a blasphemer, I must join The Party.
Totalitarian ideology never looked so familiar.
Posted by a countryman at 8:40 AM
Monday, February 2, 2015
Stephen Moore tells some whoppers: Income was FALLING long before the 2013 increase in the capital gains tax rate
From Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, here:
"When Mr. Obama entered office the capital gains and dividend tax was 15 percent. Then he raised it to 20 percent and then he added a 3.8 percent investment surtax, bringing the rate to 23.8 percent. The tax rose by more than 50 percent. ...
"Wages have stagnated under Mr. Obama as taxes have risen on capital."
Nice try at hiding the chronology, Moore, but no cigar.
Real median household income and real gross private domestic investment crashed in tandem and in concert with the 2007 recession. The investment side rebounded quickly, but real household income did not, and still hasn't. What's more, the whole phenomenon preceded any increase in the capital gains tax rate, which didn't pass until January 2013, with Republican support by the way.
And it won't do to talk about wages stagnating, either. Real incomes have actually fallen, and fallen big. Employers figured out that the 2008 crisis gave them the cover they needed, their golden opportunity, to shed millions of expensive workers and rehire younger, cheaper ones. It's the biggest scandal in recent history, much bigger than the lies about ObamaCare, but no one is going to talk about it, least of all libertarians who are happy that the business inputs cost less.
The incredible rebound in investment is on the backs of all this labor shed in the crisis, helped along by rock bottom interest rates for those who are first in line for the money: bankers and businesses.
So-called conservatism never looked so bad.
From Robert Samuelson, here:
". . . in poorer neighborhoods . . . the actual borrowers . . . were much richer than average residents. In 2002, home buyers in these poor neighborhoods had average incomes of $63,000, double the neighborhoods' average of $31,000. ...
"In 2002, the mortgage-debt-to-income ratio of the poorest borrowers was 2; in 2006, it was still 2. ...
"[T]he bulk of mortgage lending and losses [during the housing bubble] - measured by dollar volume - occurred among middle-class and high-income borrowers. In 2006, the wealthiest 40 percent of borrowers represented 55 percent of new loans and nearly 60 percent of delinquencies (defined as payments at least 90 days overdue) in the next three years."
Sunday, February 1, 2015
And 23.2 inches of snow after December's paltry 0.3 inches and November's deluge of 31.0 inches.
Here we go again.
It speaks volumes about our society that Rush Limbaugh has never been able to count in Roman numerals
Under his "Pearls of Wisdom" no less, here, last week:
"Is this Super Bowl XLIX? Super Bowl XLIX. I've lost track of the ability to count the Roman numerals. Not that I ever did know."
Maybe he'll finally figure it out next year at "Super Bowl L".
Oops, sorry. The NFL is giving up the Roman numeral counting system for Super Bowl 50, according to Wikipedia, here:
"Instead of naming it Super Bowl L with Roman numerals like in previous Super Bowls, this game will be marketed with the Arabic numeral '50'. The game is scheduled to be played on February 7, 2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the home stadium of the San Francisco 49ers. This will be the first Super Bowl held in the San Francisco Bay Area since Super Bowl XIX in January 1985."
I guess you'll still need to know the Roman numeral system to count Super Bowl XIX.
Surely The Apocalypse is nigh.
But to me it will still be "Super Bowl L", not to be confused with the official name of the trains of the Chicago Transit Authority:
Only in the United States of Moronica.
Posted by a countryman at 8:25 PM