...the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised."
Thomas Jefferson.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Paul Ryan's Record Of Deficit Spending

This comes from The Republican Liberty Caucus Of Wisconsin, which is here

Paul Ryan on Bailouts and Government Stimuli-Voted YES on TARP (2008)
-Voted YES on Economic Stimulus HR 5140 (2008)
-Voted YES on $15B bailout for GM and Chrysler. (Dec 2008)
-Voted YES on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)
Paul Ryan on Entitlement Programs
-Voted YES on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. (Nov 2003)
-Voted YES on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers. (Jun 2006)
-Voted YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks. (Oct 2008)
-Voted YES on Head Start Act (2007)
Paul Ryan on Education
Rep. Ryan went along with the Bush Administration in supporting more federal involvement in education. This is contrary to the traditional Republican position, which included support for abolition of the Department of Education and decreasing federal involvement in education.
-Voted YES on No Child Left Behind Act (2001)
Paul Ryan on Civil Liberties
-Voted YES on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists. (Feb 2005)
-Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
-Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. (Sep 2006)
Paul Ryan on War and Intervention Abroad
-Voted YES on authorizing military force in Iraq. (Oct 2002)
-Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Apr 2003)
-Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date. (Jun 2006)
-Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days. (May 2007)
Congressman Ryan supports the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, federal bailouts, increased federal involvement in education, unconstitutional and undeclared wars, Medicare Part D (a multi trillion dollar unfunded liability), stimulus spending, and foreign aid.
According to Michelle Malkin in 2009, “[Paul Ryan] gave one of the most hysterical speeches in the rush to pass TARP last fall; voted for the auto bailout; and voted with the Barney Frank-Nancy Pelosi AIG bonus-bashing stampede. Milwaukee blogger Nick Schweitzer wrote: ‘He ought to be apologizing for his previous votes, not pretending he was being responsible the entire time, but I don’t see one bit of regret for what he did previously. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him get away with it’.”
Congressman Ryan: if you don’t like debt, stop voting for debt.

Keep The Debt In Perspective

I am much relieved to read this, the whole article is here

Proportionality and the national debt
The projected $70 trillion debt referenced above is accumulated over the next 75 years.
But how does it compare to the nation's ability to pay? That is, what proportion is $70 trillion to the 75-year national income?
Just like the prospective homeowners, we don't know how fast America's national income will grow, but we can estimate high, low and "best guess" numbers.
At a "pessimistic" economic growth rate of zero percent, the gross domestic product will total $1.05 quadrillion over the next 75 years; at an "average" 2 percent rate, the GDP will total $2.46 quadrillion; and, at an "optimistic" 3 percent rate, the GDP will total $3.95 quadrillion.
Comparing $70 trillion to these three numbers, we see that debt as a percent of the GDP varies from 7 percent at zero economic growth to 2.84 percent at 2 percent growth and to slightly more than 1.77 percent at 3 percent growth. Such computation demonstrates that while the projected $70 trillion debt figure represents an important problem, it is also a problem that is quite manageable. Sure, let's get better control over the national budget, but there is no need to panic or take sudden actions with Social Security, or continue the neglect of our roads and rail networks.
Omitting information is misleading
In national budget discussions, projecting large, scary numbers such as $70 trillion should not be introduced without placing them in proportion to the economy's projected ability to pay. Omitting this second factor is to introduce false and possibly misleading information, to present a deceptive picture.
During the recent debates over the extension of the Bush-era tax rates, and the current debate over raising the debt ceiling, the urgent economic challenge of stabilizing the economy at reduced unemployment rates seems lost in the din over the 75-year projection of the national debt. Three debt-reduction commission reports made alarming assertions without using basic arithmetic to properly portray a sense of proportion.
Because much of the general public has only a tenuous understanding of such large numbers, we propose the following rules for the commentariat — reporters, politicians, pundits and professors.
Rule No. 1: Never use large debt numbers without stating the time period in which they are incurred and the corresponding proportion to ability to pay.
Rule No. 2: Never repeat statements made by others that fail to adhere to Rule No. 1, unless it is to include the missing information.
Rule No. 3: Report all failures to adhere to Rule No. 1 as a failure of professional ethics.
Charles O. Kroncke is associate dean in the University of South Florida College of Business. William L. Holahan chairs the department of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spending Statistics

The link he gives does not have the article any more so I can't verify this to my satisfaction but it's interesting to think about, anyway. This is from Atypical Guy.

Since 1970, spending has grown 64% faster when a Republican sits in the White House than when a Democrat does.
  • In the twelve years that a Democrat has sat in the White House, spending has increased at an average rate of 1.29% per year; during the 22 years of Republican presidencies, government spending has risen at an average rate of 2.12%. In other words, spending has grown 64% faster when a Republican sits in the White House than when a Democrat does.
  • During the 20 years Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress, spending has grown at an average rate of 1.84% per year, more than double the average rate of 0.89% per year during the six years the GOP ran Congress. (During the other eight years, when control of Congress was split between the two parties, spending grew at an average rate of 2.52%. The split-control years all occurred during Republican presidencies.)
  • When Democrats controlled the White House plus both houses of Congress, spending grew at 1.70% per year, slightly below the average growth rate of 1.83% for the entire period.
  • The slowest spending growth occurred when a Democrat sat in the White House and Republicans controlled both houses of Congress. Spending rose by an average of just 0.89% during the six years of this situation, which all occurred with Bill Clinton as president and Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House.
  • During the 14 years Republicans controlled the White House and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, spending grew at an average annual rate of 1.92%. During the eight years with a Republican president and a split Congress, spending grew at 2.54% per year.
The results are quite clear – not only do Republican presidents spend far more money, but they often spend it on such “necessities” as creating wars.  Sadly, the American people are extremely unlikely to let the use of any for of facts, figures, or statistics inform their decisions.

Millionaires’ Gain and Middle-Class Pain

I cannot believe people vote for republicans. They show their hand in everything they do, if only their voters would look. While I'm sure some people understand clearly what the agenda is and vote for it because they LIKE the plan to destroy our democracy and install...I don't know what. Do they want a corpocracy? (A society dominated politically and economically by large corporations).We are nearly there in some respects. Do they want an aristocracy? (Government by a ruling class) You could say we're nearly there too and this plan would probably accomplish it. Maybe a plutocracy? (Government by the wealthy) Well we've always had that to a large degree and with the strength of the lobbyists and the new Citizens United ruling it can only get worse. Andrew Fielding at the Economic Policy Institute looks at the plan:

 Ryan Roadmap proposes:
Raising taxes only on those Americans making between
$20,000 and $200,000, while slashing taxes in half
for the wealthiest Americans. The middle class would
pay higher average tax rates than millionaires – an
unprecedented reversal of progressive U.S. tax policy.
Eliminating taxation of corporate income and replacing
it with a consumption tax that would disproportionately hit middle-class Americans.
Placing the entire burden of deficit reduction on
spending cuts. The Ryan Roadmap prioritizes dismantling social insurance programs, not balancing
the budget.
Replacing Medicare and Medicaid with inadequate
vouchers to purchase health insurance in a broken
Privatizing Social Security for wealthy Americans
and ending Social Security’s role as universal social
insurance with benefits tied to lifetime earnings.

There is much more over here.

Here's some takes on the plan:

The Ryan Tax Plan: Higher Taxes for 90% of Americans, Less Revenue for the Government

From The Fourth Branch:

Frankly, Ryan’s plan is a disaster. The roadmap was designed to take drastic measures to eliminate the deficit and, eventually, the national debt. Not only does Ryan’s roadmap promote draconian and foolish policies in pursuit of a goal of no national debt, it utterly fails to achieve that one stated goal. In fact, Ryan’s roadmap would put the US economy in a far worse position than it’s in today while making American lives miserable in the process.
According to the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, full implementation of Ryan’s roadmap would raise the debt to GDP ratio to 175%, a staggering number which would likely crush the US economy. For perspective, the US debt to GDP ratio has never exceeded 122% which is where the US economy was in 1945 following the Great Depression and World War II.
Ezra Klein:

Paul Ryan's budget proposal does not balance the budget

All the republicans want to do is take from the middle and lower income people and give to the rich and the corps, even when they claim to care about balancing the budget. No reasonable person can believe they care about the budget, at all, considering their behavior since Reagan was inaugurated.

Here are charts showing increases to the debt and deficit under republican administrations and decreases under democrats.. When something is so consistent, no excuse-making by Heritage Foundation can explain it away. First, the debt:

The deficit:

The income gap: (the Reagan revolution)

At the website Who Rules America you can find charts and analysis telling us things such as the top 5% hold 62% of all the wealth our country had in 2007. The top 1% had 43%. Then there's this: Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy in that 21-year-period, 1983- 2004, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%. A whopping 94% went to the top 20%, which of course means that the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the '80s, '90s, and early 2000. It can only be so much worse now. There is no way someone can claim with a straight face that they vote republican because they believe in balanced budgets, paying down the debt, fiscal responsibility, creating a healthy middle-class or creating a healthy economy. They don't create jobs either but that's for another day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Zoo News

I found a new favorite blog. It's called Zoo News and it has viewers from 150 countries. AND it has my template. :)


Primitive Conservatives and Decisive Liberals?

Our political allegiances could be hard-wired into our brains, neuroscientists believe.
Researchers have found evidence that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those of Left-wingers.
Scans of 90 students’ brains at University College London uncovered a ‘strong correlation’ between the thickness of two particular areas of grey matter and an individual’s political views.

Self-proclaimed right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala - a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion.
It is an almond-shape set of neurons located deep in the brain's medial temporal lobe.
However, those aligned to the left had thicker anterior cingulates - which is an area associated with anticipation and decision-making.
The research was carried out by Geraint Rees director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience who said he was 'very surprised' by the finding, which is being peer reviewed before publication next year.
It was commissioned as a light-hearted experiment by actor Colin Firth as part of his turn guest editing BBC Radio 4's Today programme but has now developed into a serious effort to discover whether we are programmed with a particular political view.

'The anterior cingulate is a part of the brain that is on the middle surface of the brain at the front and we found that the thickness of the grey matter, where the nerve cells of neurons are, was thicker the more people described themselves as liberal or left wing and thinner the more they described themselves as conservative or right wing,' he told the programme.
'The amygdala is a part of the brain which is very old and very ancient and thought to be very primitive and to do with the detection of emotions. The right amygdala was larger in those people who described themselves as conservative.

'It is very significant because it does suggest there is something about political attitudes that are either encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that our brain structure in some way determines or results in our political attitudes.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1342239/Brain-study-reveals-right-wing-conservatives-larger-primitive-amygdala.html#ixzz1AwkkQEn0

Hey, Serfs!

Good job, Reagan! And to think conservatives and republicans are not satisfied yet. How low do they want us to go? Can you say plutocracy, anyone? And look at how much more we work than the rest of the world. At the rate we're going, we'll all be working 70 hours a week for minimum wage which will be $6.00 an hour if we're lucky. Lots of interesting charts at Imgur.

Shares of After-Tax Income, Selected Income Groups, 1979 & 2007 « Charts and Graphs - Imgur

Where Income Tax Money Is Spent « Charts and Graphs - Imgur

This should be more widely known. It puts the lie to 'fiscal conservative's' mantra that spending is the problem, because they never mention cutting anything but those things that would hurt we the people instead of cutting spending on the military-industrial complex, which benefits those 'fiscal conservative's' districts. We spend money on useless programs and obsolete equipment to order to make work for otherwise unemployed people. If we put a stop to needless spending in this area we would see very different patterns of where people decide to live. Think of Florida, for example. The 'free market' would not provide enough jobs to support even half the population without military/ NASA spending I'd wager. What a waste.

Where Income Tax Money Is Spent « Charts and Graphs - Imgur

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

That Gun Don't Make You No Hero, Mister

 This is what I've been saying to those that would listen. People in the crowd the day of the assassination attempt with guns would have been a much worse scenario than we already had. Thank goodness this guy who did turn out to have a gun kept his head but it was darn close, frighteningly close. And there was a guy walking around with the safety off and his finger on or near the trigger, turning a corner. Ay. Yi. Yi. There's a great cartoon that goes with this.  here
"If I'd gone down there sooner, maybe I could have shot him myself," Mr. Zamudio, age 24, said in a phone interview Sunday night.
... By the time Mr. Zamudio was in close range, others had wrestled the suspect to the ground. Mr. Zamudio helped hold him down.
And young Mr. Zamudio deserves all due credit for his assistance during the chaos. But what the WSJ leaves out in their story Bystander Says Carrying Gun Prompted Him to Help (yes, that's the real title) is this part, via Slate and Digby:
But before we embrace Zamudio's brave intervention as proof of the value of being armed, let's hear the whole story. "I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready," he explained on Fox and Friends. "I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this." Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. "And that's who I at first thought was the shooter," Zamudio recalled. "I told him to 'Drop it, drop it!'
 " But the man with the gun wasn't the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. "Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess," the interviewer pointed out.
Zamudio agreed: I was very lucky. Honestly, it was a matter of seconds. Two, maybe three seconds between when I came through the doorway and when I was laying on top of [the real shooter], holding him down. So, I mean, in that short amount of time I made a lot of really big decisions really fast. … I was really lucky.
When Zamudio was asked what kind of weapons training he'd had, he answered: "My father raised me around guns … so I'm really comfortable with them. But I've never been in the military or had any professional training. I just reacted."
The Arizona Daily Star, based on its interview with Zamudio, adds two details to the story. First, upon seeing the man with the gun, Zamudio "grabbed his arm and shoved him into a wall" before realizing he wasn't the shooter. And second, one reason why Zamudio didn't pull out his own weapon was that "he didn't want to be confused as a second gunman."
This is a much more dangerous picture than has generally been reported. Zamudio had released his safety and was poised to fire when he saw what he thought was the killer still holding his weapon. Zamudio had a split second to decide whether to shoot. He was sufficiently convinced of the killer's identity to shove the man into a wall. But Zamudio didn't use his gun. That's how close he came to killing an innocent man. He was, as he acknowledges, "very lucky."
Daniel Hernandez, who kept Giffords from bleeding to death, didn't have a gun. Neither did 61-year old Patricia Maisch, who kept the shooter from reloading, or Roger Sulzgeber, the man who helped Zamudio hold him down.
Guns aren't magic. Guns don't make heroes. Heroism does.

Two Years Worth Of RW Outrage

This is from a commenter at Frum Forum.

June 26, 2008—The case of District of Columbia v. Heller is decided by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling. The opinion not only endorses the National Rifle Association’s “individual right” interpretation of the Second Amendment; it also affirms that one of the purposes of the right is to “assure the existence of a “citizens’ militia” as a safeguard against tyranny.” The NRA’s amicus brief in the case had argued that “the Second Amendment refers to the utility of an armed population in preventing government tyranny.”
July 27, 2008—Jim Adkisson shoots and kills two people at a progressive church in Knoxville, Tennessee, wounding two. Adkisson calls it “a symbolic killing” because he really “wanted to kill…every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book,” but was unable to gain access to them.
September 18, 2008—Dick Heller, the plaintiff from the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, provides testimony to the D.C. Council regarding firearm-related legislation. Heller’s written, submitted testimony states, in part: “‘We the people,’ armed, are TRULY what the Writers of the Constitution intended for us to be in Art. 1, Sec. 8, para. 15, and that is the CITIZEN MILITIA. If suicide terrorists DO attact our city, ARMED CITIZENS could be the First to counter these hostilities in our individual neighborhoods.”
September 22, 2008—The National Rifle Association launches its GunBanObama website, which predicts that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, “if elected…would be the most anti-gun president in American history.” The website is part of a $15 million NRA campaign to discredit Obama.
December 9, 2008—FBI teams investigating the murder of white supremacist James Cumming, 29, a resident of Belfast, Maine, find supplies for a crude radiological dispersal dervice and other explosives in his home. Cumming’s wife, who shot him to death after being abused by him repeatedly, explains, “His intentions were to construct a dirty bomb and take it to Washington to kill President Obama. He was planning to hide it in the undercarriage of our moter home.”
February 5, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts an hour-long special on Fox called “We Surround Them,” a “grassroots effort to wake up our Nation’s leaders and let them know what many, if not most, Americans truly believe in and stand for.”
February 20, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts a program that games a 2014 civil war scenario called “The Bubba Effect.” It involves citizen militias in the South and West taking up arms against the U.S. government.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Happened To Arizona?

Oh my. This is a terrible, terrible situation. Arizona looks to be a hellhole. I can't see how they can ever repair the damage done by their failed economic policy. This is from Harper's Magazine. Original story here

Tea party in the Sonora:
For the future of G.O.P. governance, look to Arizona

In 1897, when the Territory of Arizona was seeking to demonstrate its fitness for statehood, the legislature solicited bids to design a new capitol building and grounds in Phoenix. The winning entry was that of James Riely Gordon, the architect behind a number of well-regarded public buildings in Texas and Maryland. He drew up ambitious plans: an expansive dome, a grand rotunda, stately wings for each house. But funding fell short, and so the legislative wings were scrapped, and a diminutive lead-alloy top was chosen in lieu of Gordon’s more elaborate dome. Worse, in the building’s interior, a mosaic of the state seal was bungled by the contractor, who forgot to include the images of cattle and citrus, two of Arizona’s “five C’s” (the others being climate, copper, and cotton).
Despite much talk over the years of an upgrade—including a proposal from none other than Frank Lloyd Wright, who envisioned the addition of fountains, gardens, and reflecting pools—all plans were rejected as too expensive. In the 1960s, two new buildings were finally erected on either side of the capitol, one for the house and one for the senate; but these structures, which resemble Soviet apartment blocks, only made matters worse. Nowadays, the capitol’s dingy, unshaded plaza is bare save for a few small rosebushes and some patches of dry grass. The buildings themselves have been plagued by plumbing problems and leaks, making the complex “wholly inadequate” to Arizona’s future needs, according to a task force charged with studying the matter.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Death Of A President

"In that third year of the Kennedy Presidency a kind of fever lay over Dallas County. Mad things happened. Huge billboards screamed “Impeach Earl Warren.” Jewish stores were smeared with crude swastikas. Fanatical young matrons swayed in public to the chant, “Stevenson’s going to die–his heart will stop, stop, stop and he will burn, burn burn!” Radical Right polemics were distributed in public schools; Kennedy’s name was booed in classrooms; junior executives were required to attend radical seminars. Dallas had become the mecca for medicine-show evangelists of the National Indignation Convention, the Christian Crusaders, the Minutemen, the John Birch and Patrick Henry societies . . .
In Dallas a retired major general flew the American flag upside down in front of his house, and when, on Labor Day of 1963, the Stars and Stripes were hoisted right side up outside his own home by County Treasurer Warren G. Harding–named by Democratic parents for a Republican President in an era when all Texas children were taught to respect the Presidency, regardless of party–Harding was accosted by a physician’s son, who remarked bitterly, “That’s the Democrat flag. Why not just run up the hammer and sickle while you’re at it?" - William Manchester, Death of a President.

We can’t say we weren’t warned about Arizona shooting tragedy - Chicago Sun-Times

We can’t say we weren’t warned about Arizona shooting tragedy - Chicago Sun-Times

Insurrectionism Timeline - Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Insurrectionism Timeline - Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Friday, January 7, 2011

A 98 year old woman in the UK wrote this to her bank

This isn't really a true story but it sure rings true and makes me wish it were true. Someone did write it after a check bounced but for a column in a newspaper as sardonic humor. 

This 98 year old pensioner was charged the £30 fee for being overdrawn on her bank account.

A 98 year old woman in the UK wrote this to her bank. The bank manager
thought it amusing enough to have it published in the Times.

Dear Sir,
I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to
pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have
elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of
the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly
deposit of my Pension, an arrangement, which, I admit, has been in place for
only thirty eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief
window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account £30 by way of
penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me
to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally
attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am
confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity
which your bank has become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal
with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan payments will therefore and hereafter no longer be
automatic, but will arrive at your bank by cheque, addressed personally and
confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware
that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such
an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I
require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight
pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows
about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or
her medical history must be countersigned by a Solicitor, and the mandatory
details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and
liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, I will issue your employee with PIN number which he/she must
quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28
digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses
required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As
they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press
buttons as follows:
1.. To make an appointment to see me.
2. To query a missing payment..
3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
7. To leave a message on my computer (a password to access my computer is
required. A password will be communicated to you at a later date to the
Authorized Contact.)
8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through to 8.
9. To make a general complaint or inquiry, the contact will then be put on
hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this
may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the
duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an
establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.
May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.
Your Humble Client

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book Details Prejudice in Health Care

Book details prejudice in health care

  Enlarge Photo    y
Monday, January 3, 2011; 11:11 PM
Looking for unbiased health care "Seeing Patients" (Harvard University Press, $27.95)
Augustus White, a professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, says there's a quick way to get the very best medical care in case of a heart attack: Be a white, straight, middle-class male. White's engaging new book, "Seeing Patients," is about unconscious bias in health care. The first half of the book is autobiographical. White recounts growing up African American in segregated Memphis, serving as a combat surgeon in Vietnam and becoming the first black department chief af the Harvard teaching hospitals. In the second half, White explains how individuals and health-care systems can recognize and overcome their unconscious prejudices.