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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

OTP - Jan 2013: Jewish Journal:E1: An error in baseball and Mideast politics

Tripon Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:48 PM | 2805 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ot, politics

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   401. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4340805)
Tt
   402. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4340806)
Benefit of the doubt: "He's either a liar or stupid; so if he's not stupid, he must be a liar."
Yeah; it's kind of like the whole "shovel-ready" debacle in the stimulus package. Everyone on the planet knew that there weren't any such things; a year later Obama said, "Oh, I'm shocked to find out that there weren't."
   403. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 07, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4340810)
Politician acts in a political fashion, oddly some folks only object and write the worst when they don't agree with that politician. Film at 11.
   404. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4340816)
This is debatable, due to the "full faith and credit" clause. He's legally obligated to spend the money appropriated, and he's legally obligated to not have a default. Given those constraints, the debt ceiling itself is of questionable constitutionality.

You are aware of this line of reasoning, of course.
The full faith and credit clause has nothing to do with anything; that's the clause that says that states have to give effect to the judicial acts of other states. The argument raised during the last debt ceiling debate was about the 14th Amendment's 4th paragraph, which states that the validity of U.S. debt shall not be questioned. But the legal claim that this somehow authorized the president to borrow money without Congressional authorization is frivolous; the clause was not a guarantee against default, but simply outlaws the renunciation of the debt. They didn't want the rebel states, after readmission, to argue that they didn't have to pay the debts incurred in fighting the civil war. (That is, the debts incurred by the union; it explicitly renounces debts incurred by the traitors.)

The fact that two laws conflict in no way makes one "of questionable constitutionality." That's actually quite common, and there are well-established canons for deciding which law takes precedence when they can't be reconciled.
   405. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4340821)
You are still wrong. I could posit about you in a similar fashion to what you did to Obama, but I won't. Governments can not run out of money. It can pay foreign debts in its currency.
It can try. I can try to pay my taxes in cheddar cheese if that's all I have. But if the IRS doesn't accept cheddar cheese, my attempt to do so will not actually have any effect. And saying that I have plenty of money because other people will accept cheddar cheese from me in payment is meaningless. When the IRS's jackbooted thugs come knocking at my door, I'm out of money to pay them. And if country A has borrowed money from a foreign country (or foreign bank, or global institution), and agreed to pay it back in the currency of country B, country A's attempt to pay it back in its own currency will not actually have any effect. Go tell the North Korean government that they don't have to default on foreign debts because they can just print more won. See how well that will work for them.
   406. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4340826)
How much of our debt is tied up in debt that we must pay back in foreign currency?
   407. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4340828)
Think I found it myself. As 9/30/12 we had 235 million dollars worth of short term foreign currency debt and a little over a 1 trillion dollars of long term foreign currency debt. Foreign currency debt makes up less than 10% of our gross external debt.
   408. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4340834)
Think I found it myself. As 9/30/12 we had 235 million dollars worth of short term foreign currency debt and a little over a 1 trillion dollars of long term foreign currency debt. Foreign currency debt makes up less than 10% of our gross external debt.
Without looking up those numbers, I agree that they sound like the right ballpark. Again, I am not claiming the U.S. is in danger of running out of money. I was just making a point that a country hypothetically could.

This whole tangent came about from someone misinterpreting a shorthand statement of mine.
   409. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4340839)
Unless a country takes themselves off publicly traded currency exchange markets wouldn't it be possible for a country to simply print enough money to pay off the debt?

If we owe Mexico a billion pesos wouldn't we simply trade in our dollars for pesos or give Mexico the appropriate dollar amount for those pesos?

If somebody doesn't accept your money that doesn't mean you "ran out of money" just like if you make a mistake and apologize and the other person doesn't accept it that doesn't mean you didn't apologize.
   410. tshipman Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4340851)
The full faith and credit clause has nothing to do with anything; that's the clause that says that states have to give effect to the judicial acts of other states. The argument raised during the last debt ceiling debate was about the 14th Amendment's 4th paragraph


My bad, I've seen it listed that way, but the 14th does say validity. It's what I was referring to in either case.

But the legal claim that this somehow authorized the president to borrow money without Congressional authorization is frivolous; the clause was not a guarantee against default, but simply outlaws the renunciation of the debt. They didn't want the rebel states, after readmission, to argue that they didn't have to pay the debts incurred in fighting the civil war. (That is, the debts incurred by the union; it explicitly renounces debts incurred by the traitors.)


I don't quite see what the point is of your argument. The fact that it was originally written for one purpose does not mean that it isn't still the law of the land. In your opinion it's frivolous, but there isn't any precedent one way or another.

Now, the platinum coin option, that's frivolous (but hilarious!).
   411. Mefisto Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4340867)
This discussion about countries "running out of money" is missing the point. If we mean the paper currency, then of course the US can print more. But that's not the fundamental economic issue because that's just a discussion of what the government can do, not of what the country can do.

What's really at issue is whether the country can pay its debts. We don't need to worry about whether the government can print money or not, we need to worry about whether the citizens have assets to pay. In the case of the US, they obviously do. The country isn't "unable" to pay unless and until its citizens lack the assets to pay; otherwise it's just a question of taxation.

And DMN's argument about foreign-denominated debt is pretty silly. I'm not even sure if those debts are included in the debt ceiling. But if they are, I say we stiff the furriners right after we stiff DMN.
   412. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4340872)
And DMN's argument about foreign-denominated debt is pretty silly. I'm not even sure if those debts are included in the debt ceiling. But if they are, I say we stiff the furriners right after we stiff DMN.
For the last time, I am in no way suggesting that this is relevant to the actual issue facing the U.S.


Now, the platinum coin option, that's frivolous (but hilarious!).
It's factually silly, but not legally frivolous.
   413. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4340932)
Ok as someone who doesn't understand business theory etc and did lousy in his Economics classes pretend this question is from someone who isnt in their 40's. Let say that the U.S. miraculously pays off all of its debt and is now bringing in more money than it spends. Is that a bad thing for a country to run at a profit and why? Because it seems that most if not all governments from the Federal level on down to the local level operate by spending more money that they bring in.
   414. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4340942)
Again, I am not claiming the U.S. is in danger of running out of money. I was just making a point that a country hypothetically could.


No a country can't run out of money. Money is not a real thing like iron or coal or roads*. It is an abstraction and an accounting device (The government somewhat controls the supply of it, but it won't run out unless it wants to).

Either Obama is being disingenuous or he misunderstands the government budgeting process. If the government reaches the debt ceiling and runs out of money, then it has to stop spending; it does not have to default on existing debt payments.


This is what started the sub-thread. the reason your shorthand of "runs out of money" equals "can't legally borrow more money" annoys me is how it feeds into the fears and ignorance of the people who really don't undestand money and how governmental budgets are not like household budgets. Monetary policy is often counter-intuitive, but that doesn't mean it is not understandable. And the "runs out of money" shorthand ignores the fact that there are people lined up around the block to lend the US money.

Anyway, enough of that.

* EDIT: Yes money is represented by real thigns like coins and bills, but even there a huge percent is all virtual at this point.
   415. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4340951)
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

A group critical of President Barack Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense on Monday purchased the Web site domain ChuckHagel.com to oppose the former Nebraska senator's nomination.

The Emergency Committee for Israel, an advocacy group led by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, is sponsoring the new site and has already produced television ads against Hagel's nomination.
   416. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4340961)
Is that a bad thing for a country to run at a profit and why?


In isolation it is neither good nor bad. It all depends on what the rest of the economy is doing (including the rest of the world). Governments are not households nor are they business. besides any time we get close to having a net surplus suddenly everyone wants the money given back to the citizens.

This forces government to basically always run at a deficit over the long run. Then the folks that wants all that money "given back to the people" can point at how terribly government is run, it is always at a deficit.

Ideally according to Keynesian theory in good times the government should build up a surplus, and then in bad times the government spend down that surplus, goosing the economy. Since the US is (politically) not allowed to have a surplus it means in good times we run a smaller deficit (and the Debt/GDP ratio changes one way) and in bad times we run a larger deficit (and the debt/GDP ratio changes the other way).

And of course in either good or bad times the GOP answer is cut taxes.
   417. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4340967)
Because it seems that most if not all governments from the Federal level on down to the local level operate by spending more money that they bring in.


Actually most (all?) state governments have to have a balaced budget over the budgeting cycle. I suspect most lacalities do as well. Since they are not sovereign entities it makes sense that they have to balance their budgets. Note: They do some off things with projections and bonds, but in theory (if not practice) their budgets are suppossed to balance.

Side Note: "The Emergency Committee for Israel" is an awesome name.
   418. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4340969)
Because it seems that most if not all governments from the Federal level on down to the local level operate by spending more money that they bring in.

Which they should since they aren't here to buy us candy bars but to build giant costly things that we as individuals couldn't afford to do.

Would you rather buy a $20,000 house because that is all the extra cash you have on hand at the moment or use that as a down payment on a $200,000 house? That's basically what the government is doing plus throw in the fact that what they are building will aid future generations for years and years so the cost should be spread out. If we build a damn today I can't promise the employees and various companies that I'll pay the what I owe in 100 years. We have to pay them now. So we borrow the money to pay the bills today and pay back what we owe over time and by doing that the future years help pay for the goods and services they are using such as a damn that could be productive for decades.

As for governments running at a profit that tends to cause inflation which to prevent requires governments to spend that money which is what China is doing.
   419. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4340973)
Ok as someone who doesn't understand business theory etc and did lousy in his Economics classes pretend this question is from someone who isnt in their 40's. Let say that the U.S. miraculously pays off all of its debt and is now bringing in more money than it spends. Is that a bad thing for a country to run at a profit and why?


It depends. For a small country, if there are foreigners investing in its currency and it is not borrowing, its currency will appreciate, making exports less competitive. What effect that has depends on its economy. As noted above it can lead to inflation.

For the U.S., a larger issue is that many businesses and government entities need reliable securities in which to invest their funds and U.S. government securities are the most desirable asset from that standpoint. If the U.S. does not issue treasuries, pension funds and corporate accounts will need to find some other place to put their money. Having our government debt so desirable does present us with certain advantages. But it wouldn't be the end of the world if we paid it off.
   420. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4340990)
No a country can't run out of money. Money is not a real thing like iron or coal or roads*. It is an abstraction and an accounting device (The government somewhat controls the supply of it, but it won't run out unless it wants to).
Money is an accounting device -- but what does it represent, ultimately? The productive power of the economy. You can print an infinite supply of currency, but you can't make the economy infinitely productive.

And the "runs out of money" shorthand ignores the fact that there are people lined up around the block to lend the US money.
Not if the U.S. were actually defaulting on its debts!
   421. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 07, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4341008)
Would you rather buy a $20,000 house because that is all the extra cash you have on hand at the moment or use that as a down payment on a $200,000 house? That's basically what the government is doing plus throw in the fact that what they are building will aid future generations for years and years so the cost should be spread out.

That's a good analogy.
   422. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4341026)
Money is an accounting device -- but what does it represent, ultimately? The productive power of the economy.


Money does not represent the productive power of the economy, it is an accounting device. Of course back when the world was onthe gold standard things were different (and worse).
   423. Mefisto Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4341027)
Ok as someone who doesn't understand business theory etc and did lousy in his Economics classes pretend this question is from someone who isnt in their 40's. Let say that the U.S. miraculously pays off all of its debt and is now bringing in more money than it spends. Is that a bad thing for a country to run at a profit and why? Because it seems that most if not all governments from the Federal level on down to the local level operate by spending more money that they bring in.


Depends on who you ask, but the basic answer is that this would be deflationary. It's deflationary because the government would be taking money out of the economy every year; reducing the supply of money is a form of deflation.

The effect this would have depends on the existing conditions. If there's inflation, then running a government surplus would slow the inflation. If there's a liquidity trap, as there is now, then running a surplus would crash the economy.

For fiscal reasons (McCoy 418) and monetary reasons, it's best for the government to run constant deficits up to the point where those deficits don't cause inflation beyond what the society wants (right now, policy is 2%, but some economists argue for 3-4).
   424. SteveF Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:11 PM (#4341043)
For fiscal reasons (McCoy 418) and monetary reasons, it's best for the government to run constant deficits


This depends on the cost of borrowing the money, right? The strongest argument to be made in favor of raising the debt ceiling yesterday is the cost of borrowing. Treasury yields are comically low and getting political with the debt ceiling will only serve to increase the cost of borrowing.

That needn't, however, be the case. If the cost of borrowing were too high, then you'd behave differently and perhaps might avoid running a deficit.
   425. GregD Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4341071)
strongest argument to be made in favor of raising the debt ceiling yesterday is the cost of borrowing.
The strongest argument is that Congress has already appropriated the money and in the past automatically voted to raise the debt ceiling to cover the expenses it had already approved.

Separately, a projected increase in rates would be a good reason to work to cut down the deficit by some combination of increasing revenues and reducing expenditures.
   426. SteveF Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4341093)
The strongest argument is that Congress has already appropriated the money and in the past automatically voted to raise the debt ceiling to cover the expenses it had already approved.


Touche. I'd agree with you, of course, but how's that argument been working lately? Persuasion isn't about persuading yourself.
   427. GregD Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4341110)
If we're talking about persuading Republican congressmen, then neither argument is going to be persuasive at all. The number of Republican congressmen who will vote for the debt ceiling if rates are below 2% but won't if they go above 4% is zero.

If we're talking about persuading a rational observer, I'd say the already-passed budget is the #1 way to justify the debt ceiling since it covers all potential cases barring cataclysmic disaster, while the low interest rate argument suggests that there are times when a reasonable congressman should vote against the debt ceiling after having voted for the budget.
   428. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4341113)
Let say that the U.S. miraculously pays off all of its debt and is now bringing in more money than it spends. Is that a bad thing for a country to run at a profit and why?


The money supply contracts, servicing long term debt becomes prohibitively expensive, millions of people will own assets that traditionally appreciate in value, but are now "under water"
because assets are not expected to appreciate in value borrowing against them becomes harder and the money supply will shrink further... money for investment shrivels up

if the economy is expanding and we're in an inflationary cycle this might actually be good short term, most other times this would be catastrophic (ie., Great Depression level catastrophic).

   429. GregD Posted: January 07, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4341152)
Alan Greenspan famously testified that the surpluses at the end of the Clinton administration posed economic problems or at least serious questions. Perhaps he wrote on this topic in his famously under-lock-and-key dissertation!
   430. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 07, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4341159)
Because it seems that most if not all governments from the Federal level on down to the local level operate by spending more money that they bring in.



Actually most (all?) state governments have to have a balaced budget over the budgeting cycle. I suspect most lacalities do as well. Since they are not sovereign entities it makes sense that they have to balance their budgets. Note: They do some off things with projections and bonds, but in theory (if not practice) their budgets are suppossed to balance.


I lived most of my life in San Jose so using my past experience there was probably a bad idea to form that question.
   431. Ron J2 Posted: January 07, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4341175)
#402 It's just another example of American exceptionalism (as sAM put it, short bus style. I love the phrase and intend to use it often). As I've pointed out here several times Canada had no problem finding shovel ready projects for their stimulus. Something north of 90% of the money earmarked for infrastructure based stimulus was disbursed and the work was done. (A condition of getting the money was that the work had to be basically shovel ready.)

In the US they didn't go around fixing sewer systems, bridges and the like -- work I flat guarantee is shovel ready and needs doing -- but in general opted for new projects.

The US infrastructure needs massive amounts of work but it's not something that decision makers get a lot of credit for, so it tends to be low on the list of priorities.
   432. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4341176)
The money supply contracts, servicing long term debt becomes prohibitively expensive, millions of people will own assets that traditionally appreciate in value, but are now "under water"
because assets are not expected to appreciate in value borrowing against them becomes harder and the money supply will shrink further... money for investment shrivels up


I'm not sure I understand or agree with this. Paying off the debt doesn't necessarily mean a contraction of the money supply. It could be consistent with a substantial increase in the money supply. Yes, paying off the debt now by slashing spending would be a huge contraction of the money supply, but that's not the only way the debt could be paid off.
   433. spike Posted: January 07, 2013 at 08:15 PM (#4341288)
   434. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 07, 2013 at 09:00 PM (#4341311)
We have something north of $80 trillion in unfunded entitlement obligations. It's unsustainable. — snapper
Of course it's sustainable. This is silly. The President's 2012 budget had very few entitlement cuts and had the deficit below 3% of GDP within 8 years or so. — tshipman #382
Treasury has said that even if you go to some form of "Super PayGo" where you pay bonds coming due with moneys from tax revenue coming in daily, they would likely default. — tshipman #388

The latter two comments seem to be at odds with each other.
   435. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 07, 2013 at 09:16 PM (#4341315)
What's really at issue is whether the country can pay its debts. We don't need to worry about whether the government can print money or not, we need to worry about whether the citizens have assets to pay. In the case of the US, they obviously do. The country isn't "unable" to pay unless and until its citizens lack the assets to pay; otherwise it's just a question of taxation.

This might be true in the strict sense, but it's pie-in-the-sky to say that the debt issue is "just a question of taxation."

The U.S. government has almost $17,000,000,000,000 in debt. If Obama could magically confiscate 100 percent of the net worth of the richest 1,000 Americans — not their income, but their net worth — that would generate less than $4 trillion, which leaves $13 trillion or so in debt (and tens of trillions more in unfunded liabilities). However, absolutely nobody in America believes the government has de facto liens against their homes and bank accounts to cover such debts. The U.S. will default on its debts sooner than Americans will voluntarily downsize their homes or give up other luxuries to help pay down the debt or avoid default.

The biggest problem with our current systems of taxation and budgeting is that people want/expect/demand more and more from government but don't actually want to pay for it themselves. Unfortunately for the liberals who seem to believe everything will be fine if only "the rich" start to pay their "fair share," there simply isn't enough wealth concentrated among "the rich" to come close to solving the fiscal issues facing the United States. At current spending levels, no one is paying his or her fair share.
   436. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 09:17 PM (#4341317)
Noted conservative intellectual journal "World News Daily" says fear not true patriots - all is not yet lost!


An open letter to the honorable chief justice

When you administered the oath of office to Barack Obama for his first term as president, you could have been excused for believing that Mr. Obama was qualified under the Constitution to hold the office of president, which he had sought and won. After all, Obama’s opponent, John McCain, never raised the issue of Mr. Obama’s qualifications.

Now that Mr. Obama has been re-elected and is preparing to serve a second term of office, there can be no doubt regarding his qualifications. This is because by Mr. Obama’s own admission, his father was of Kenyan nationality and perhaps holding British citizenship as well.

In addition to the nationality of Mr. Obama Sr. listed on Barack Obama’s birth certificate, we know that Obama Sr. was not an American citizen because of correspondence surrounding his stay in this country.

Because Obama Sr. lacked American citizenship, Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen, as required by our Constitution. He is not natural born, and can never be natural born, because of his father. Therefore, Barack Obama is not qualified to be president and never will be qualified. This would still be true, even if he received every vote cast...Given the gravity of this situation, we therefore urge you to take the honorable course of action and refuse to administer the oath of office to Mr. Obama.




   437. tshipman Posted: January 07, 2013 at 09:24 PM (#4341326)
The latter two comments seem to be at odds with each other.


Unfunded entitlements are a problem 20-30 years in the future. In addition, a budget deficit smaller than a country's GDP is sustainable infinitely.

This might be true in the strict sense, but it's pie-in-the-sky to say that the debt issue is "just a question of taxation."

The U.S. government has almost $17,000,000,000,000 in debt. If Obama could magically confiscate 100 percent of the net worth of the richest 1,000 Americans — not their income, but their net worth — that would only generate something like $3– or $4 trillion. That leaves $13 trillion or so in debt — and tens of trillions more in unfunded liabilities — but absolutely nobody in America believes the government has de facto liens against their homes and bank accounts to cover such debts. The U.S. will default on its debts sooner than Americans will voluntarily downsize their homes or give up other luxuries to help pay down the debt or avoid default.

The biggest problem with our current systems of taxation and budgeting is that people want/expect/demand more and more from government but don't actually want to pay for it themselves. Unfortunately for the people like Obama who seem to believe everything will be fine if only "the rich" start to pay their "fair share," there simply isn't enough wealth concentrated among "the rich" to come close to solving the fiscal issues facing the U.S. At current spending levels, no one is paying his or her fair share.


This post also seems quite confused. The national debt does not have to be paid off tomorrow, and might in fact be better to not be paid off at all. As long as deficits are below growth, there is no problem.

Any discussion of future obligations has an inherent calculation about the rate of growth in the economy. In a hypothetical world where we discovered cold fusion tomorrow, unleashing furious technological innovation and an annualized 10% GDP growth rate, then our biggest problem is our massive wealth surplus.

Any projections beyond a ten year window involve a huge amount of guesswork. What is your baseline for growth? If it's 2.5%, then we might have issues in the future. If it's 3.5%, then we don't have issues.
   438. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 07, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4341339)
Noted conservative intellectual journal "World News Daily" says fear not true patriots - all is not yet lost! ...

As if BBTF wasn't overwhelmingly liberal to begin with, it seems like there's been an increasing trend here of lefties finding and posting the weirdest things they can find on the right-winger sites. Since the liberals here all claim to be adamantly opposed to trolling, I can only assume these quotes are brought here in good faith. If so, it seems like a strange habit, especially since those same lefties object when non-liberals mock their tendency to high-five each other here.
   439. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4341348)
Bill Kristol-led PAC considering swiftboating Hagel
Did you mean to link to a story that actually said what you claimed?
   440. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 07, 2013 at 09:46 PM (#4341362)
Unfunded entitlements are a problem 20-30 years in the future.

Even assuming we have that much lead time, which is a dubious proposition, why wouldn't we want to start addressing the problem now? Did kicking the can down the road help with avoiding Katrina or Sandy? Did not worrying about airline security help us on 9/11?

In addition, a budget deficit smaller than a country's GDP is sustainable infinitely.

Wow, "infinitely." I guess every mention of the debt and deficit over the past 40 years has been a total fraud, a total waste of time.

This post also seems quite confused. The national debt does not have to be paid off tomorrow, and might in fact be better to not be paid off at all. As long as deficits are below growth, there is no problem.

LOL. You've been calling the GOP "hostage-takers" for the past year for their position vis-a-vis the debt ceiling, but now you're implying that a total default of that debt might actually be a better course of action?

Any discussion of future obligations has an inherent calculation about the rate of growth in the economy. In a hypothetical world where we discovered cold fusion tomorrow, unleashing furious technological innovation and an annualized 10% GDP growth rate, then our biggest problem is our massive wealth surplus.

Yes, and in a hypothetical world in which the 89 competitors from last year's Miss Universe pageant all showed up in my bedroom, I'd have a "good" problem, too.

Any projections beyond a ten year window involve a huge amount of guesswork. What is your baseline for growth? If it's 2.5%, then we might have issues in the future. If it's 3.5%, then we don't have issues.

Wait, aren't you the guy who makes a big show of bashing anyone who has the temerity to question CBO or BLS numbers? The head of the CBO says the U.S.'s long-term debt is "unsustainable." Who are you to question him?
   441. tshipman Posted: January 07, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4341418)
Wow, "infinitely." I guess every mention of the debt and deficit over the past 40 years has been a total fraud, a total waste of time.


Most of them, yeah.

LOL. You've been calling the GOP "hostage-takers" for the past year for their position vis-a-vis the debt ceiling, but now you're implying that a total default of that debt might actually be a better course of action?


Oh, I see what you're doing here. Pretty clearly, I am not implying we should not continue to revolve the debt, just that it might not be prudent to pay it off completely.

Yes, and in a hypothetical world in which the 89 competitors from last year's Miss Universe pageant all showed up in my bedroom, I'd have a "good" problem, too.


You would die from suffocation, most likely.

Wait, aren't you the guy who makes a big show of bashing anyone who has the temerity to question CBO or BLS numbers? The head of the CBO says the U.S.'s long-term debt is "unsustainable." Who are you to question him?


The date of that story? 4/8/2010, or when the 10 year budget was 3 trillion dollars higher.
   442. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 07, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4341458)
Oh, I see what you're doing here. Pretty clearly, I am not implying we should not continue to revolve the debt, just that it might not be prudent to pay it off completely.

Then you should have said that, rather than saying, "The national debt does not have to be paid off tomorrow, and might in fact be better to not be paid off at all."

The date of that story? 4/8/2010, or when the 10 year budget was 3 trillion dollars higher.

Oh, please. You're not seriously claiming the long-term financial outlook of the United States has gotten dramatically better in the last two-plus years, are you?

You would die from suffocation, most likely.

No, I'd throw a few out the window if I had to. It would be like my own one-person death panel, but for a much better cause than Obamacare. No jury would ever convict!*


* Except maybe an all-female one.
   443. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4341484)
As if BBTF wasn't overwhelmingly liberal to begin with


I know I'm frequently mistaken for Wavy Gravy. Has anyone used "Wavy Gavvy Cravath" yet?

it seems like there's been an increasing trend here of lefties finding and posting the weirdest things they can find on the right-winger sites


This isn't some fringe site populated by pajamas-wearing tinfoil-hatters in their monther's basement! Paddy Buchanan, Rick Santorum, Thomas Sowell, Phyllis Schafly, John Stossel, Andrew Napolitano, and the inviolable Chuck Norris, respected conservatives intellectuals all, wouldn't take a filthy nickel from any employer propagating shameless lies for profit. Ask them, they'll tell you.

Since the liberals here all claim to be adamantly opposed to trolling, I can only assume these quotes are brought here in good faith.


U mad, bro?

BOOYAH
   444. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 07, 2013 at 10:46 PM (#4341507)
This isn't some fringe site populated by pajamas-wearing tinfoil-hatters in their monther's basement! Paddy Buchanan, Rick Santorum, Thomas Sowell, Phyllis Schafly, John Stossel, Andrew Napolitano, and the inviolable Chuck Norris, respected conservatives intellectuals all, wouldn't take a filthy nickel from any employer propagating shameless lies for profit. Ask them, they'll tell you.

And yet, the lefties here never seem to quote "Paddy Buchanan, Rick Santorum,* Thomas Sowell, Phyllis Schafly, John Stossel, Andrew Napolitano, and the inviolable Chuck Norris." They only seem to quote random unknown people on the fringe.


* Well, they do quote Santorum, but mostly while advancing their false claims that condoms would be illegal if Santorum ever manages to get back into office somewhere.
   445. tshipman Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:05 PM (#4341554)
Oh, please. You're not seriously claiming the long-term financial outlook of the United States has gotten dramatically better in the last two-plus years, are you?


Yes, it is dramatically better. Here's a graph illustrating.

The fiscal cliff deal stabilizes the deficit at 73% of GDP for the next ten years. At the time of that article, the debt was expected to grow to 90% of GDP. That is dramatically better.
   446. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:09 PM (#4341561)
Yes, it is dramatically better. Here's a graph illustrating.

Citing a graph that purports to project almost 40 years into the future is kind of odd, since you just said this in #437:

Any projections beyond a ten year window involve a huge amount of guesswork. What is your baseline for growth? If it's 2.5%, then we might have issues in the future. If it's 3.5%, then we don't have issues.
   447. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4341563)
And yet, the lefties here never seem to quote "Paddy Buchanan, Rick Santorum,* Thomas Sowell, Phyllis Schafly, John Stossel, Andrew Napolitano, and the inviolable Chuck Norris."


Why would they? Despite these well-paid figures being well-respected intellectuals in conservative circles, residents of the reality-based community aren't required to gaze approvingly at Creationist dimwittery and the dimwits that profess it. It's not my circus but I think I'm free to mock whichever clown I want under the big top. 58% of Republicans can't all be RINOs you know.

So which one of these upright conservative heroes would take a check from a known distributor of lies? Which of these rock-ribbed conservative stalwarts would soil their hands with filthy money week-in and week-out? Maybe Stossel, I don't think he's religious enough.

#358 HIGHFIVE!
   448. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:18 PM (#4341574)
Why would they? Despite these well-paid figures being well-respected intellectuals in conservative circles, residents of the reality-based community aren't required to gaze approvingly at Creationist dimwittery and the dimwits that profess it. ...

And yet, you and your lefty amigos keep going to such sites and bringing quotes back here. Strange.
   449. tshipman Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4341576)
Citing a graph that purports to project almost 40 years into the future is kind of odd, since you just said this in #437:


That's why I only looked at the first ten!
   450. Lassus Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:24 PM (#4341582)
it seems like there's been an increasing trend here of lefties finding and posting the weirdest things they can find on the right-winger sites.

That can't even be close to the weirdest.
   451. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:24 PM (#4341583)
That's why I only looked at the first ten!

Ha ha. Yeah, the deficit has been stabilized "at 73% of GDP for the next ten years." Not 72 percent, not 74 percent, but 73 percent. Funny stuff.
   452. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:31 PM (#4341601)
Aw geez how could I forget respected political comentator Jerome Corsi?

If President Obama truly believes John Kerry can elude his Swift Boat history, he is most likely only deluding himself.

Watching Barack Obama nominate John Kerry to be secretary of state serves as a reminder the radical leftist activists that have hijacked leadership in the Democratic Party continue to operate from an anti-American consciousness that dawned in the late-1960s, condemning the United States, much as did hard-core communists at the time, as an imperialistic military power advancing colonialist aims...John O’Neill, my co-author in writing the 2004 best-seller “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,” has expressed via email that an illness prevents him from taking an active role reorganizing Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth to oppose Kerry’s nomination.


Surely this sober WND journalist is worthy of citation. His articles leading up to the election showed the sort of hard-nosed analytical rigor we've all come to expect from the serious conservative media. Also this.

And yet, you and your lefty amigos keep going to such sites and bringing quotes back here. Strange.


We need to know what the real, intellectually robust conservatives think. If I quoted only RINOs you'd protest the depth of their Scottish ancestry.
   453. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:39 PM (#4341611)
That can't even be close to the weirdest.


Yeah, this is mainstream stuff in the Dittosphere. The nutty stuff probably involves organ harvests and death panels.

True or Poe?
   454. Lassus Posted: January 07, 2013 at 11:58 PM (#4341643)
#358 HIGHFIVE!

Am I the only one who enjoys reading old political threads?
   455. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 08, 2013 at 05:22 AM (#4341762)
Am I the only one who enjoys reading old political threads?
No. But I like older ones than that. It's more fun to go back to the 2008 election.
   456. RollingWave Posted: January 08, 2013 at 06:22 AM (#4341766)
I am continuously amused at how only in the US, would largely center right folks be called lefty.

Then again, the whole right /left classification is generally stupid, most party / people mix some views from all sides anyway.

In Taiwan, a largely socially conservative and fiscally conservative country, we have a full health care, a military draft, gay marriage, generally legal abortion (though this part is messy, it was quite common even before being legalized), taxes would be off the charts low by US standard, but also full gun ban (well some remote hunters can own crappy hunting rifles). and generally speaking most people think government should take the lead role in almost everything (sometimes too excessively so.) yet it is generally considered very pro business.

The fact is, by making an extremist stand, the GOP will only be able to retain the status quo, which they claim sucks, but that is the problem isn't it ? if your going to take a no-comprimise stand on issue, it is inevitable that the opposing sides will sooner or later do the same, and we'll all be forever stuck with the status quo. so unless you think the status quo is your objective, what exactly is the point of such a tactic?




   457. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 08, 2013 at 07:15 AM (#4341769)
The fact is, by making an extremist stand, the GOP will only be able to retain the status quo, which they claim sucks, but that is the problem isn't it ? if your going to take a no-comprimise stand on issue, it is inevitable that the opposing sides will sooner or later do the same, and we'll all be forever stuck with the status quo. so unless you think the status quo is your objective, what exactly is the point of such a tactic?

If you continually give the other side half of what it wants, it eventually gets all of what it wanted in the first place.
   458. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 08, 2013 at 07:59 AM (#4341780)
#402 It's just another example of American exceptionalism (as sAM put it, short bus style. I love the phrase and intend to use it often).

Is that dirty southerner stealing all my credit again?
   459. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 08, 2013 at 09:23 AM (#4341802)
If you continually give the other side half of what it wants, it eventually gets all of what it wanted in the first place.


And thus is the GOP mindset illuminated. Compromise, finding areas of agreement, horse trading so both sides get something they want, forging tactical political alliances (short or long term), and in fact anything but "I get what I want" is "continually give the other side half of what it wants".

The GOP is not trying to govern the US, not trying to prioritize its goals and achieve some of them (not if it means sacrificing other prioprities), no the GOP wants its toys right now or else. I am not saying every member of the GOP is like this or even a majority, but the party as a whole is certainly acting in that fashion.

It is actually kind of interesting to watch, I just wish they were acting this way in some other country.
   460. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4341824)
The Emergency Committee for Israel, an advocacy group led by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, is sponsoring the new site and has already produced television ads against Hagel's nomination.


Nothing pisses off Bill Kristol quite so much as someone being right about the entire Iraq debacle from the start.

The sliming of Chuck Hagel is pathetic.
   461. zonk Posted: January 08, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4341828)
Bill Kristol-led PAC considering swiftboating Hagel

Did you mean to link to a story that actually said what you claimed?


The Emergency Committee for Israel, co-founded by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, is campaigning strongly against the Hagel choice and has disclosed that it is buying advertising to build support for the effort.


Unleash the LEGALESE - is this 'swiftboating', yada yada...

Kristol and the neocons - not merely content with being completely discredited - now see Secs of Defense and State coming that are complete rejections of their decade of fail... swiftboating is probably the least they'll resort to in a vain attempt to stay relevant.
   462. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4341869)
Kristol and the neocons - not merely content with being completely discredited - now see Secs of Defense and State coming that are complete rejections of their decade of fail... swiftboating is probably the least they'll resort to in a vain attempt to stay relevant.


Bill Kristol actually promoted Chuck Hagel as a potential VP for John McCain in 2008. He was, as they say in the Village, before it before he was against it.

The confirmation of Chuck Hagel will be an interesting exercise in seeing which Senators value American foreign policy goals over Israeli foreign policy goals.
   463. GregD Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4341898)
The confirmation of Chuck Hagel will be an interesting exercise in seeing which Senators value American foreign policy goals over Israeli foreign policy goals.
If only that were the issue...my sense is there is a good chunk of the Senate that is more pro-Israel than Israel. (Not just relative to public opinion polls but even to Bibi's own policies.) Someone with Bibi's exact positions would get backlash. It's truly through the looking glass.
   464. spike Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4341901)
The confirmation of Chuck Hagel is going to happen. There is no way a Democratic Senator is going to refuse the President his choice on Secretary of Defense. In fact, I'm not sure you could get uniform Republican opposition to make a filibuster stand up, even if McConnel has the chutzpah to try it (which I also doubt).
   465. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4341908)
The confirmation of Chuck Hagel is going to happen. There is no way a Democratic Senator is going to refuse the President his choice on Secretary of Defense.


Agreed. But the kabuki theater and the Kristol/neocon driven attempts to slander Hagel as an "anti-semite" is going to be interesting to watch. This is a good belle weather of how weakened the neocon faction is in DC.
   466. GregD Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4341909)
The confirmation of Chuck Hagel is going to happen. There is no way a Democratic Senator is going to refuse the President his choice on Secretary of Defense. In fact, I'm not sure you could get uniform Republican opposition to make a filibuster stand up, even if McConnel has the chutzpah to try it (which I also doubt).
I agree with this; there will be grandstanding! But it will pass in the end.

I wonder if Barney Frank cost himself the Senate appointment with this Hagel speaking out--ain't no way Patrick is going to cross Obama on this one--and interesting to watch Frank back-pedal quickly when he realized the damage he'd done to his chances.
   467. zonk Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4341913)

I wonder if Barney Frank cost himself the Senate appointment with this Hagel speaking out--ain't no way Patrick is going to cross Obama on this one--and interesting to watch Frank back-pedal quickly when he realized the damage he'd done to his chances.


Frank has reversed course - he's said he'd vote for Hagel...
   468. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4341921)
Frank has reversed course - he's said he'd vote for Hagel...


"I need to vote for this guy to get a Senate seat tacked onto my legacy? OKAY!"
   469. GregD Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4341927)
Frank has reversed course - he's said he'd vote for Hagel...
I noted that but I still wonder if his early talk cost him the shot. Since Patrick can name anyone he wants, why trust Frank's change of heart? You have to assume Frank's main goal is to somehow hurt Markey, whom he loathes, but what's to rein him in if he goes off-res once he's appointed?
   470. Tilden Katz Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4341976)
If only that were the issue...my sense is there is a good chunk of the Senate that is more pro-Israel than Israel. (Not just relative to public opinion polls but even to Bibi's own policies.) Someone with Bibi's exact positions would get backlash. It's truly through the looking glass.


A significant chunk of this country believes that Jesus cannot return unless Israel exists. This is reflected in the Senators those people elect.
   471. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4341980)
Agreed. But the kabuki theater and the Kristol/neocon driven attempts to slander Hagel as an "anti-semite" is going to be interesting to watch. This is a good belle weather of how weakened the neocon faction is in DC.
Yes, pointing out Hagel's positions is "smearing" him, but accusing Jews of dual loyalty¹ is perfectly fine, to Sam.



¹ I'm being charitable here; he's really making accusations of disloyalty, not dual loyalty.
   472. spike Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4341991)
A significant chunk of this country believes that Jesus cannot return unless Israel exists.

That this is pretty much irrefutable is about the saddest possible commentary on the current state of affairs in this country.
   473. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4341995)
Yes, pointing out Hagel's positions is "smearing" him, but accusing Jews of dual loyalty¹ is perfectly fine, to Sam.


I'm not accusing anyone of dual loyalty. I'm saying a significant wing of the DC Village, centered around AIPAC and the neocon remnants, for differing reasons perhaps, think that American policy in the middle east should be "whatever Israel's PM says we should do." I oppose that vision of the American interest in the strongest possible terms, and I appreciate that the Washington consensus seems to be, ever so slightly, moving back to my way of thinking.

There is absolutely no policy position which would disqualify Chuck Hagel from the appointment of SecDef. If you think there is, please name that position and explain why it's against America's best interests.
   474. zonk Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4341996)
The crux of what's drawing fire to 'Hagel's positions' seem to be primarily bound in the fact that he doesn't particularly care for Israeli foreign policy of the last decade or so, and hasn't been shy about advocating alternate paths when he feels the best interests of US foreign policy diverge from the wishes of the current Israeli government.

... I have a really hard time seeing the problem with that -- especially when you consider that those points of debate ought to be matter for State, not the DoD, anyway.

EDIT: or what Sam said...
   475. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4341998)
To be clear, I think of Israel the same way I think of Turkey and Poland. Allies all. With flaws and benefits. All are client states of the great power, not vice versa.
   476. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4342012)
A significant chunk of this country believes that Jesus cannot return unless Israel exists. This is reflected in the Senators those people elect.

Bingo.

--------------------------------------------------

Yes, pointing out Hagel's positions is "smearing" him, but accusing Jews of dual loyalty¹ is perfectly fine, to Sam.

There's nothing wrong with disagreeing with Hagel's views, but cherry picking some of his comments while ignoring his overall record in order to build a bogus case that he's "anti-Israel" is very much a smear.

OTOH this "dual loyalty" charge is equally bogus. You'd hear variants of this slander thrown around against German-Americans during the World Wars, against the Nisei during WWII, and even against Eastern European-Americans during the Cold War, regardless of the political stance of the actual individual. To take one example, William Kristol may be a de facto sock puppet for the most hawkish political factions in Israel, but he's also a chickenhawk when it comes to every other part of the world, and we don't say that chickenhawks in general have "dual loyalties" to Iraq or Afghanistan. Why are Jewish American chickenhawks any different from their gentile counterparts?

Beyond that, why is anti-interventionism when it comes to trouble spots any more of a "pro-American" stance than being a hawk? Isn't it possible, just possible, that chickenhawks (and hawks with actual military credentials---there are some of them out there) are just as sincere in their beliefs as anti-interventionists? Do they all have to be nothing but shills for Boeing and the military-industrial complex?

The reason I react to this sort of simplistic rhetoric is because during the Vietnam war and for much of the Cold War, this was exactly the same sort of language that was aimed in the other direction. "Go back to Russia" and "anti-war protesters 'hate America'" and all that sort of crap. I suppose that to an extent, turnabout is fair play, but I still don't see how it contributes much to any discussion.
   477. Danny Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4342013)
Nothing pisses off Bill Kristol quite so much as someone being right about the entire Iraq debacle from the start.

What does that have to do with Chuck Hagel?
   478. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4342014)
Yes, pointing out Hagel's positions is "smearing" him


try googling it, quite a few are calling Hagel an "anti-semite"


   479. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4342032)
What does that have to do with Chuck Hagel?


Hagel was correct about Iraq going in. Kristol was dead wrong. Kristol doesn't like that a realist is being appointed to SecDef. He wants a neocon radical in that position. (See also the attempt to appoint John Bolton.)
   480. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4342040)
try googling it, quite a few are calling Hagel an "anti-semite"


Well, let's call things as they are in this thread as well. David's comment above, accusing me of accusing "Jews" of dual or disloyalty, is a veiled charge of antisemitism as well. Note specifically how David rewords my statement from @462.

The confirmation of Chuck Hagel will be an interesting exercise in seeing which Senators value American foreign policy goals over Israeli foreign policy goals.


morphs into the much more nefarious

accusing Jews of dual loyalty¹...

¹ I'm being charitable here; he's really making accusations of disloyalty, not dual loyalty.


Note how my statement, which is specific to the real world foreign policy goals of the US and the state of Israel, suddenly becomes a generic, blanket accusation of disloyalty to all Jews. Notice how my basic political point is transmogrified into a blanket, ethnic slur against an entire people. Notice how the distinction between Israeli foreign policy and 'the Jews' is eliminated entirely in order to create the lurking undercurrent of "Sam, passing off the historical slue of disloyalty against all Jews."

You don't have to explain to David how the neocon right is slurring Chuck Hagel with charges of antisemitism. He's soaking in it.
   481. Danny Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4342042)
Hagel was correct about Iraq going in. Kristol was dead wrong. Kristol doesn't like that a realist is being appointed to SecDef. He wants a neocon radical in that position. (See also the attempt to appoint John Bolton.)

So you think voting for the AUMF is part of "being right about the entire Iraq debacle from the start?"
   482. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4342047)
So you think voting for the AUMF is part of "being right about the entire Iraq debacle from the start?"


I think you can be right and cautious and still vote for the AUMF, actually. The AUMF was drastically overused by the admin. That doesn't mean he got everything right, of course, but he's a lot better than most.
   483. zonk Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4342049)
PPP has a fun poll out on the approval of Congress (9% approve/85% disapprove) --

Popularity-wise, Congress ranks below lice, NFL Replacement refs, Nickleback, and root canals -- but does manage to barely outpoll the Kardashians and Lindsay Lohan and completely destroys North Korea and Ebola...
   484. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4342051)
When it's Piers Morgan vs Alex Jones, root for the meteor


ALEX JONES: We did it as a way to bring attention to the fact that we have all of these foreigners, and the Russian government, the official Chinese government -- Mao said political power goes out of the barrel of a gun, he killed about 80 million people because he's the only guy who had the guns -- so we did it to point out that this is globalism, and the mega banks that control the planet and brag they have taken over -- in Bloomberg, AP, Reuters, you name it -- brag that they're going to get our guns as well. They've taken everybody's guns, but the Swiss and the American people and when they get our guns, they can have their world tyranny while the government buys 1.6 billion bullets, armored vehicles, tanks, helicopters, predator drones, armed now in U.S. skies, being used to arrest people in North Dakota.

The Second Amendment isn't there for duck hunting. It's there to protect us from tyrannical government and street thugs. Take the woman in india, your piece earlier on CNN earlier, I was watching during Anderson Cooper's show, didn't tell you the women of India have signed giant petitions to get firearms because the police can't and won't protect them.

Te answer is -- wait a minute, I have FBI crime statistics that come out of a year late, 2011, 20-plus percent crime drop in the last nine years, real violent crime because more guns means less crime. Britain took the guns 15, 16 years ago. Tripling of your overall violent crime. True, we have a higher gun violence level, but overall, muggings, stabbing, deaths -- those men raped that woman to India to death with an iron rod 4 feet long. You can't ban the iron rods. The guns, the iron rods, Piers, didn't do it, the tyrants did it. Hitler took the guns Stalin took the guns, Mao took the guns, Fidel Castro took the guns, Hugo Chavez took the guns, and I'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms! It doesn't matter how many lemmings you get out there in the street begging for them to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them. Do you understand?


Of course, this exchange was pretty amusing


ALEX JONES: I already said earlier that England had lower gun crime rate because you took all the guns. But you have hoards of people burning down cities and beating old women's brains out out everyday. They arrest people in England if they defend themselves, that's on record. My God, you have a total police state. Everybody is fleeing the country because -- you've had to flee, bud. Yeah, you fled here. Why don't you go back and face the charges for the hacking scandal?

PIERS MORGAN: Answer this question. How many --

JONES: Why did you get fired from the Daily Mirror for putting out fake stories? You're a hatchet man of the New World Order. You're a hatchet man! And I'm going to say this here, you think you're a tough guy? Have me back with a boxing ring and I'll wear red, white, and blue, and you'll wear your Jolly Roger.
   485. Danny Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4342053)
I'm not accusing anyone of dual loyalty. I'm saying a significant wing of the DC Village, centered around AIPAC and the neocon remnants, for differing reasons perhaps, think that American policy in the middle east should be "whatever Israel's PM says we should do." I oppose that vision of the American interest in the strongest possible terms, and I appreciate that the Washington consensus seems to be, ever so slightly, moving back to my way of thinking.

The confirmation of Chuck Hagel will be an interesting exercise in seeing which Senators value American foreign policy goals over Israeli foreign policy goals.

There's a significant difference between (1) saying that people who strongly support everything Israel does are wrong to think this broad support is in America's best interest, and (2) saying that people who strongly support everything Israel does value Israel's goals over America's goals.

The former simply says they're wrong about what America's goals should be, while the latter is an accusation of disloyalty.
   486. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4342055)
The former simply says they're wrong about what America's goals should be, while the latter is an accusation of disloyalty.


There is a faction of the DC lobby/village who believes that the only proper relationship between US policy and Israeli policy is "no daylight." That is to say, the US simply mirrors Israeli policy. It is hard to distinguish that from putting Israeli goals ahead of American interest. When your stated endgame is identical behavior, and you vocally condemn and slander anyone who has the audacity to disagree with Israeli politicians' and their public statements (including the POTUS) then the conclusion is limited.
   487. OCF Posted: January 08, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4342060)
PPP has a fun poll out on the approval of Congress (9% approve/85% disapprove) --

Talk is cheap, and that's all a poll like that is, talk. And there's a substantial practical difference between "Congress," a faceless institutional collective, and Congressman Blowhard, who represents my district. Incumbency will still be a large advantage in 2014 and beyond.
   488. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 08, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4342065)
The reason I react to this sort of simplistic rhetoric is because during the Vietnam war and for much of the Cold War, this was exactly the same sort of language that was aimed in the other direction. "Go back to Russia" and "anti-war protesters 'hate America'" and all that sort of crap. I suppose that to an extent, turnabout is fair play, but I still don't see how it contributes much to any discussion.


In fact, you don't have to look hard for examples of people that will bring up Walter Cronkite with a negative connotation because of what he said about the "Tet Offensive" during his broadcast. Some of them accuse him of being highly irresponsible and others wanted him tried for treason for coloring the negative perception that the public had of the Vietnam War. I guess it doesn't factor into their thinking that even with Mr. Cronkite's commentary, the war would go on for another 5 years.



   489. Dan The Mediocre Posted: January 08, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4342068)
Talk is cheap, and that's all a poll like that is, talk. And there's a substantial practical difference between "Congress," a faceless institutional collective, and Congressman Blowhard, who represents my district. Incumbency will still be a large advantage in 2014 and beyond.


Exactly. The problem people have isn't with their representative or senator, but those chosen by others.
   490. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4342078)
Talk is cheap, and that's all a poll like that is, talk. And there's a substantial practical difference between "Congress," a faceless institutional collective, and Congressman Blowhard, who represents my district. Incumbency will still be a large advantage in 2014 and beyond.


I suspect there's some weird cognition games going on with polls like this. If you ask Joe Teaperhead to evaluate congress, he'd give you a terrible review because of how those evil Dems are blocking all of the good things the The Real Representatives of Real America were trying to do. If you asked Jenny Liberalpants she'd give you an equally scathing review of how the vile Republicans are clogging up the process and holding the nation hostage to their radical demands. Both say they disapprove strongly, but for totally different reasons.
   491. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 08, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4342103)
Oh and thank you everyone for the explanation on national debt. I guess the moral of the story is large debt is good for countries but not so much for individuals.
   492. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 08, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4342111)
I guess the moral of the story is large debt is good for countries but not so much for individuals.


Large debt is sometimes good for countries but rarely for individuals.

There are, of course, situations where an individual is smart to carry large debt. There are, of course, situations where large debt is bad for a country. The United States is not currently in an economic condition where carrying large debt is problematic. Deficit/debt hawks are behaving on moralistic, not economic principles.
   493. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 08, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4342130)
The United States is not currently in an economic condition where carrying large debt is problematic. Deficit/debt hawks are behaving on moralistic, not economic principles.


QFT.

An example of when debt is OK for individuals is post college. Well the debt is not good, but the net value of what the debt bought (college education) is worth more than the net value of the money and also worth more than saving money and buying the education later in life. I am not saying education debt is always worthwhile, merely that it can be.

The value of what the debt buys can be worth more than the cost of the debt for a nation. This is especially true since nations have a much longer time horizon than people do and because nations are much less "slave to their debt" than people are (the joy of being a sovereign nation).

In other words debt for a nation has all the upside of debt for everyone else and less downside (though there is of course some downside), so it is not surprising that as a class nations accumulate more debt than individuals do.

To my mind it makes more sense to be moralistic about what the debt was incurred for, if a nation incurs a huge debt buying hookers and blow for gvoernmental officials than that sounds pretty immoral to me, but perhaps spending on hooker/blow vouchers given out to its citizens would be less immoral, but just talking about debt as immoral and being bad for itself is puritan silliness at its height.
   494. steagles Posted: January 08, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4342141)
but just talking about debt as immoral and being bad for itself is puritan silliness at its height.
welcome to 21st century american politics.
   495. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 08, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4342142)
"I'm not accusing anyone of dual loyalty."

vs.

"The confirmation of Chuck Hagel will be an interesting exercise in seeing which Senators value American foreign policy goals over Israeli foreign policy goals."


Right. Saying that an American values Israel's goals over those of the U.S. isn't an accusation of dual loyalty. Sure, Sam.
   496. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 08, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4342152)
Nothing pisses off Bill Kristol quite so much as someone being right about the entire Iraq debacle from the start.
By the way, this might be true, for definitions of "from the start" that begin counting three years after the war began. Hagel voted for the invasion of Iraq. Hagel didn't break with the mainstream Republican party position on Iraq until the surge, which he opposed.
   497. Steve Treder Posted: January 08, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4342154)
Deficit/debt hawks are behaving on moralistic, not economic principles.

And a remarkable proportion of these deficit/debt hawks within the ranks of the Republican Party suddenly discovered these moralistic principles on 20 January 2009.
   498. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 08, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4342165)
There's a significant difference between (1) saying that people who strongly support everything Israel does are wrong to think this broad support is in America's best interest, and (2) saying that people who strongly support everything Israel does value Israel's goals over America's goals.

The former simply says they're wrong about what America's goals should be, while the latter is an accusation of disloyalty.
Exactly. Well said. All those BBTF cliches. +1.
   499. McCoy Posted: January 08, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4342167)
Large debt is sometimes good for countries but rarely for individuals.

More like almost always so for individuals. You need a car and a house, despite recent years, is almost always a good investment.

Most people who own a house are in debt many times over their annual salary.

Now large amnount of non-asset debt is rarely good for individuals with some obvious exceptions like school loans which should provide a non-fungible asset of good value.
   500. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 08, 2013 at 03:29 PM (#4342171)
but just talking about debt as immoral and being bad for itself is puritan silliness at its height.
Government debt is incurred via government spending. Government spending creates government programs. Government programs are bad. Ergo, government debt is bad.
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