Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Saturday, December 01, 2012
As long as news organizations think that the causes of Global Warming are worthy poll questions, misinformation will continue to run rampant. The planet itself really doesn't CARE whether people think temperature trends are caused by human activity or not. Science is not a matter of opinion.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Those of us who pay attention to the political landscape on a daily basis have trouble understanding the viewpoint of people who don't pay any attention at all. The entire Romney campaign is based on the assumption that his target audience doesn't know any better. His most severe miscalculation was thinking that Ohio autoworkers might be among those who don't pay attention.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
TalkingPointsMemo has a new 'prime' site up. The first thread was full of introductions. Here's mine:
I'm 54 years old. I spent 17 years working in manufacturing, working my way up from QC technician to Production Manager. In that capacity I was instrumental in helping to resist several Union organizing drives. I was convinced that Labor Unions had performed an important service in the past but had outlived their usefulness. Then the company was acquired by a much larger entity. Needless to say, within two years I was busy deciding the order to let people go as we shuttered the plant. Having no particular ties to the area, my wife and I then relocated to the US Virgin Islands where I split my time as an Office Manager by day and a Musician in the evenings. I feel very fortunate, but I nevertheless have strong opinions about how the dire state of our economy is directly related to the fact that we have allowed our manufacturing capacity to be outflanked. It's an issue that NEITHER party seems willing to address in any forceful manner.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
It's no secret that I don't think that the deception inherent in Mitt's tax plan is getting enough coverage. He's refused to say how he would offset the revenue losses. But more importantly he's relying on the same "growth fairies" that the GOP has been selling for as long as I've been paying attention to politics (Hint: that's 40 years) Here's the question. If tax cuts invariably lead to growth that in turn leads to more revenue, then why aren't the Bush tax cuts doing JUST THAT for us now? They're still in place. If they worked, then they're still working. If they aren't working then what possible basis do we have to believe that we just need more of the same to make things right?
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
There's a fundamental problem with Romney's tax plan which is creating havoc among the "fact-checkers" His plan is basically this: 1 Keep all the Bush tax cuts 2 Cut all tax rates by 20 percent across the board 3 ? 4 Continue to collect as much revenue as you had been. As long as CNN et al are willing to pretend that "?" represents an acceptable enunciation of a tax policy then they are going to continue to get their "facts" horribly wrong. This is NOT an acceptable situation!
Monday, October 01, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Sunday, September 16, 2012
The New Rupublic
But the stories about this episode have made Romney look bad because, you know, Romney looked bad. Even staunch conservatives and Republicans, like Peggy Noonan, were taken aback at Romney’s reaction. It was based on false premises and, these conservatives felt, it was wildly inappropriate. (As Sophie Quinton noted in the Atlantic, it was the very nearly the opposite reaction that Ronald Reagan had in 1980, after the failed mission to rescue the Iranian hostages.)
Sunday, September 02, 2012
One of the most blatant paradoxes of today's Republican party is how they like to scream and moan about deficit spending but that the moment anyone mentions that increasing revenues would address the problem they utterly clam up. The following article is a long read but it explains clearly the History behind this particular brand of doublethink: PDF File The money quote comes from Milt Friedman:
There is an important point that needs to be stressed to those who regard themselves as ﬁscal conservatives. By concentrating on the wrong thing, the deﬁcit, instead of the right thing, total government spending, ﬁscal conservatives have been the unwitting handmaidens of the big spenders. The typical historical process is that the spenders put through laws which increase government spending. A deﬁcit emerges. The ﬁscal conservatives scratch their heads and say, “My God, that’s terrible; we have got to do something about that deﬁcit.” So they cooperate with the big spenders in getting taxes imposed. As soon as the new taxes are imposed and passed,the big spenders are off again, and there is another burst in government spending and another deﬁcit. (1978b, 11)
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The problem with Capital gains taxes, is that its not their rates that determine economic activity, It's the anticipated change in their rates. If rates are scheduled to go up, a flurry of selloffs will follow resulting in stocks losing value and more cash (and cash equivalents) being hoarded. If rates are scheduled to go down, then investors will prefer to sit tight on their appreciated assets, and wait for the taxes to drop before they cash in. The resulting distortions are what cause people to claim that lowering taxes cause revenue windfalls. They're one shot deals that don't continue after the new rates are settled in. I personally find it difficult to justify that people who live on their investments are taxed significantly less than people who earn salaries. I'm all for simplifying the tax code but none of the proposals on the table do anything but make the stratifying of our society even worse than it already is.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
What's actually killing the middle class is the disparity in standards of living between the USA we know and love and the rest of the developing world. Neither party is actually willing to discuss the problem in detail because neither party has a solution. The difference though is that Obama is at least willing to use phrases like 'investing in education' and such to act a:as if the problem exists and b: as if something can be done about it. Romney OTOH, simply wants to make sure that money earned offshore can be repatriated tax free.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Whether we like it or not, we're going to move away from manufacturing towards a service based economy There's the problem in a nutshell. Whenever we think of any activity that earns money, we have to ask ourselves, "How does this add value?" Measured in terms of fulfilling actual human needs as opposed to simply drawing attention and cash, the only activities that actually add value are farming, manufacturing and transportation. Everything else is a matter of trading cash for vapor. Thinking that the American economy can make do without actually producing anything is the number one fundamental problem with out current economy. It's also the number one topic that everyone refuses to talk about.
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Some edumacation for the trolls:
There has been a five percentage-point Democratic advantage, on average, in Fox News polls this year. In this poll, the Democratic edge is nine points. That may or may not be on the high side, although it is similar to other recent national polls conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, which puts Democrats up 11 percentage points and the Pew Research Center, with Democrats up by 13 percent.That my friends is Fox news taking away the number one excuse the Teaheads offer when confronted with a negative poll. OVERSAMLPLING!!!!!!! Link
Friday, July 13, 2012
Saturday, June 30, 2012
1: In the anti-injunction section of his ruling Roberts makes clear that the Congress did not intend for the penalty to be regarded as a tax. Anyone who uses this as a basis to claim that "Obama lied" about raising taxes are themsleves, lying. 2: It's a tax that NO ONE has to pay. The mandate is not a tax. The penalty is. It results in no ones taxes going up except in the rare event that they steadfastly refuse to provide for their own medical care. Furthermore the HCR law DOES include some taxes which the Republicans are respinning as affecting earners under 250K. But in each case, the claim is based on the actual payers of the tax passing them on to their customers as higher prices. This does NOT constitute a tax. People who claim otherwise are lying
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
No one covering the latest Supreme court ruling seems to be noticing this crucial point:
(2) It is not clear at this stage and on this record that §2(B), in practice, will require state officers to delay the release of detainees for no reason other than to verify their immigration status. This would raise constitutional concerns. And it would disrupt the federal framework to put state officers in the position of holding aliens in custody for possible unlawful presence without federal direction and supervision. But §2(B) could be read to avoid these concerns. If the law only requires state officers to conduct a status check during the course of an authorized, lawful detention or after a detainee has been released, the provision would likely survive preemption—at least absent some showing that it has other consequences that are adverse to federal law and its objectives. Without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from the state courts, it would be inappropriate to assume §2(B) will be construed in a way that conflicts with federal law. Cf. Fox v. Washington, 236 U. S. 273, 277. This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect. Pp. 22–24.In other words 2(B) stands if and only if in actual practice it is not allowed to be the basis to detain anyone.
Friday, June 22, 2012
It has become fashionable now that Obama has created a 'Dream Act by Fiat" for Republicans to complain that he 'didn't do anything about immigration" when the Democrats controlled Congress.
Needless to say, this is a lie........
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Every time I call a company have to navigate a seven layer maze in order to reach a human I am reminded that the entire rationale for the technology that businesses buy is to eliminate jobs. In a day and age when entry level positions simply don't exist, celebrating additional triumphs of robotic thinking strikes me as horribly misguided.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
The difference between Jobs, Job losses and Job loss rates seems to confuse people so I thought I'd draw my own picture. The blue bars represent the public sector job loss data that is often published on Left leaning sites including the White House. The red line is just the sum of those job losses or if you want, just label it Jobs. The green line (with the black trendline) is the month to month variation of the red line. I only mention it because Heritage once created a graphic designed to treat it as significant that there was an inflection point in it just as HCR was passed. I hope this chart demonstrates just how ridiculous THAT chart was.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
I'm delighted that Obama cited the Golden Rule as one basis of his decision. What strikes me more than anything is the volume of Scripture that people have to ignore in order to justify actively opposing Gay Marriage. If the Gospel teaches us anything its that 1: Our responsibility is to keep our own House in order and concern over condemning others is itself sinful. 2:Prayer should be a private matter between you and your Creator and that public displays of piety count for naught. 3: We are ultimately judged by how we treat prisoners and beggars and outcasts. Engaging in behavior designed to create outcasts is directly contrary to Jesus's direction. It never ceases to amaze me how many people fail to notice these simple points.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
As an actual policy proposal, the Buffet tax is a really bad idea. It just adds an additional layer of if/then calculations to a tax code that's already virtually incomprehensible. The value it brings to the campaign though is that it demonstrates in stark terms that the Right doesn't care about deficits and in spite of all the wailing and rending of garments, they never did. The fact that it would only cover a small percentage of the deficit is NOT an argument against it. If I have a chance to save 15% on my mortgage payments by refinancing, I'm not going to turn it down just because I still have to pay the rest. The bottom line is that the entire campaign strategy being presented now, is a direct result of the debt limit battle in August. Having demonstrated that Eric Cantor's agenda has dire real world consequences, Obama's now going to run directly against it.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Illinois is unique in that it has all the demographic elements of the entire country laid out in sharply defined geographical boundaries. The city of Chicago is ethnically diverse and solidly Democratic. The surrounding counties (DuPage and Lake) in particular are entirely filled with the sort of preserve-my-wealth Republicans who nevertheless feel comfortable with the city, actually know gay people and are mostly uninterested in the Culture wars. From I-80 south OTOH the entire rest of the State is cornfields peppered with pop. 2000 town and a few minor almost-urban areas (Champaigne, Kankakee, Peoria, Springfield, Joliet) It is there, where fear of strangers, open unapologetic racism, and religious certainty are all welcome, that Santorum is able to shine. The reason that Romney is the inevitable nominee, is that the third category is a large area but very sparsely populated. (Don't tell any of those inhabitants that they don't represent the real America though) Those are fighting words!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The biggest LLC checks to Restore Our Future in January came from entities close to one industry: short-term lenders.
It's interesting that it takes a discussion about campaign finance to finally begin a discussion about predatory lending. As the rich and the poor choose up sides in our political system and invest their best efforts aligning sympathy from those who are neither rich nor poor one simple fact gets easily lost in the noise. Being poor is expensive. It's often said "it takes money to make money". Just as true is a similar slogan. "It costs money to need money" Between the lack of credit and the lack of transportation, not having a leg-up in life ends up being a chronic condition. Of course the reason this sees little discussion is that it interferes with the notion that the poor are just parasites who deserve their fate. At the end of the day though, any business model that relies on the ignorance of its customers is NOT an example of normal Capitalism at work.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
While everyone goes back and forth arguing over what a recession is, it obscures an important point. We are not in a recession and haven't been for a long time. Corporate profits are quite healthy. Productivity is healthy. The stock market is healthy. What isn't healthy is the job market. The irony then is the fact that we can lay the blame for our current morass on one place and one place only. The Job Creators®. For a bunch of folks who insist that the government can do no right, the current crop of Republicans are sure spending a lot of time blaming the Government for a situation that's directly under the control of the private sector. But as I've said before, when you're a purchaser of labor, high unemployment is a feature, not a bug.