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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

OTP - March 2014: Russia denies calling shots in Ukraine’s Crimea standoff

Only Babe Ruth calls shots!

At a press conference for Kremlin-controlled media on Tuesday, Putin reiterated his position that Moscow has the right to use “all means” necessary to protect ethnic Russians and vital military assets in Ukraine, first among them the Black Sea fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

 

Bitter Mouse Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:54 AM | 3254 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: lies, politics, war

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   501. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 07, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4668002)
Flip
   502. GregD Posted: March 07, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4668005)
Russia either needs to integrate into the West, or be contained as a threat. There is no third way.
Isn't there a possible third way of Russia doesn't integrate into the west and enters an economic tailspin and can't afford expansionism and so becomes an annoying irrelevancy that we prop up from time to time to make sure that the nukes stay in Putin's hands and don't go to somebody crazier?
   503. Mefisto Posted: March 07, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4668006)
I say exactly the same thing about China. We should be working actively to strengthen/reassure Japan, S. Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc., to keep a firm perimeter preventing Chinese expansionism.


If Russia isn't part of that perimeter, it can't succeed. We need Russia to balance China.
   504. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4668010)
On a somewhat Ukraine-related matter, Americans Support Keystone Pipeline By Nearly 3 To 1:
Americans support the idea of constructing the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the United States by a nearly 3 to 1 margin, with 65 percent saying it should be approved and 22 percent opposed, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The findings also show that the public thinks the massive project, which aims to ship 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta and the northern Great Plains to refineries on the Gulf Coast, will produce significant economic benefits. Eighty-five percent say the pipeline would create a significant number of jobs, with 62 percent saying they “strongly” believed that to be the case.

Efforts to make Ukraine and the rest of Europe less dependent on Russian energy supplies won't be taken seriously or amount to much if we don't do what we can to increase available alternatives. Obama has been straddling this issue since he took office, and it appears he may even push a decision past yet another election. A decision is long overdue, even our notoriously polite Canadian allies are running out of patience.
   505. spike Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4668013)
Russia either needs to integrate into the West, or be contained as a threat. There is no third way.

I don't think I've ever heard the definition of Jingoism put so beautifully.


   506. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4668015)
Isn't there a possible third way of Russia doesn't integrate into the west and enters an economic tailspin and can't afford expansionism and so becomes an annoying irrelevancy that we prop up from time to time to make sure that the nukes stay in Putin's hands and don't go to somebody crazier?

I guess. But that doesn't seem to be a viable strategy for Russia :-)
   507. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4668016)
Russia either needs to integrate into the West, or be contained as a threat. There is no third way.

And there's no third way for Ukraine between East and West. Purgatory is not its friend.
   508. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4668020)
I don't think I've ever heard the definition of Jingoism put so beautifully.

I am unapologetic in my belief that Western democracy/market-based economies are superior to every other form of societal organization in the world.
   509. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4668025)
I am unapologetic in my belief that Western democracy/market-based economies are superior to every other form of societal organization in the world.
And if you disagree, it's go time.
   510. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4668026)
And there's no third way for Ukraine between East and West. Purgatory is not its friend.


And you call others ideologues.
   511. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4668030)
I am unapologetic in my belief that Western democracy/market-based economies are superior to every other form of societal organization in the world.


When did you quit Catholicism?
   512. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4668033)
When did you quit Catholicism?

Catholicism has no problems with democracy and market based economies. Have you paid attention to anything the Popes have written on politics and economics in the last 150 years?
   513. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4668048)
Have you paid attention to anything the Popes have written on politics and economics in the last 150 years?


Have you paid attention to anything the Pope has said on economics in the last 150 days?
   514. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:40 PM (#4668054)
Have you paid attention to anything the Pope has said on economics in the last 150 days?

He's condemning materialism, he's not condemning market based economies. There are a huge range of market based systems possible.

I too am against the globalized, corporatist economy we currently have. You must have heard me rant against globalization 50 times.

   515. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4668058)
Salon: The “Texas Miracle” fraud: Turns out it involves taxing the poor to help the rich get richer

But here’s one important fact that Texas’ conservative and libertarian boosters reliably fail to mention (perhaps because they don’t know it): If you’re not rich, Texas is not actually a low-tax state. In fact, most Texans pay more taxes than most Californians. That seems strange and incorrect at first — Texas doesn’t even have an income tax! — but it’s true. Thanks to sales and property taxes, Texas is among the states with the ten most regressive tax systems. Texans in the bottom 60 percent of income distribution all pay higher effective tax rates than their Californian counterparts. Texas’ top one-percent are the ones enjoying the supposed low-tax utopia, paying an effective rate of 3.2 percent. The rate for the lowest 20 percent is 12.6 percent.
   516. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4668061)

Wow, looks like California and Illinois and New York are doing just swell, and it's Texas that's a mess. Glad Salon cleared that up for us.
   517. spike Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4668066)
I am unapologetic in my belief that Western democracy/market-based economies are superior to every other form of societal organization in the world.

That's a long poke from "all others will be treated as a threat."
   518. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 07, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4668070)
That's a long poke from "all others will be treated as a threat."

I didn't say "all others will be treated as a threat". I don't view Vietnam or Myanmar or Bolivia as a threat.

But, those countries that don't want to integrate with the West, and show pronounced expansionist and Imperialist tendencies, yeah, they need to be viewed as a threat, because they are.
   519. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4668072)
Wow, looks like California and Illinois and New York are doing just swell, and it's Texas that's a mess. Glad Salon cleared that up for us.
We've been over this a few times now — and JoeK pretty much just sees what he wants — but California's budget is in it's best shape this century. What screwed California but good in the first place was in-state energy deregulation and Texas' own Enron screwing the state out of about $30 billion dollars and sending the budget into a death spiral for a decade.
   520. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4668073)
If they're not fer us they're agin us.
   521. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:03 PM (#4668074)
California's budget is in the best shape this century
I agree, but absolutely nothing will convince conservatives the state is moments away from sliding into a dystopian socialist hellhole. Nothing.

ADDENDUM: California has been on the precipice practically since Jerry Brown was elected the first time but, somehow, the place just keeps on keepin' on.
   522. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4668077)
   523. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4668079)
Wow, looks like California and Illinois and New York are doing just swell, and it's Texas that's a mess. Glad Salon cleared that up for us.


Your cunning counter-argument of 'ignore it and snark about how stupid the magazine is instead' will certainly carry the day, Joey.
   524. BDC Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4668080)
I hate to even be perceived as tending to give the faint impression of agreeing with Kehoskie, but that Salon piece is not very thoughtful. The report that Alex Pareene at Salon is ultimately referring to, via Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, concludes that

virtually every state’s tax system is fundamentally unfair, taking a much greater share of income from middle- and low-income families than from wealthy families


Pareene and Drum are pleased that California taxes the wealthy at a far higher rate than Texas does, eliding the fact that California too, even at that, taxes the poor at a higher rate than the wealthy. And while tax rates on the poor are relatively high in Texas, they are lower than in Washington or Illinois or Florida, and about the same as in Pennsylvania.

Whether you pay 10 or 11 or 12 percent of your income in taxes (as poor people tend to do nationally) matters far less than whether you have a job at all. And the study also notes that 1.6% of poor people's income tends to go to excise taxes on items like liquor and tobacco. Now I'm really going to sound patronizing, but I have an idea: don't smoke, and stop drinking so much. I've been poor in Texas and I've found those ideas to help in practice. In fact, since Texas doesn't tax food, poor families can find that their actual individual rates are well below the state average, or even the national average for their income bracket.

We'd have better services here if we taxed the richer more. But I cannot argue with economic success, on a very basic level: I moved to Texas because I couldn't find work anywhere else. Call me shallow :)
   525. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4668095)
Pareene and Drum are pleased that California taxes the wealthy at a far higher rate than Texas does, eliding the fact that California too, even at that, taxes the poor at a higher rate than the wealthy. And while tax rates on the poor are relatively high in Texas, they are lower than in Washington or Illinois or Florida, and about the same as in Pennsylvania.
If someone wants to argue that state and federal tax rates are not as progressive as they should be, I'm not going to stand opposed.
   526. BDC Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4668098)
Me neither; it's just that the quoted article(s) were full of what a progressive paradise California is, which is full of it :)
   527. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4668102)
Me neither; it's just that the quoted article(s) were full of what a progressive paradise California is, which is full of it :)
It's definitely not; people generally just assume that since Governor Moonchild is back, everything's crazy-out-of-whack left, and that's simply not the case. Unions across the board have a tough time with Brown, and fracking's going to start in central California. The budget's still dealing with cutbacks everywhere from the Ahnold era.

A lot of this has to do with the new budget rules. They've rendered the GOP basically dead in the state legislature. A lot of people assumed this meant CA would lean crazy left, but the opposite has happened; Democrats are free to be as non-lefty as they want and suffer no electoral backlash, and they've done that.
   528. Lassus Posted: March 07, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4668107)
The list of biology professors who have been driven out of conservative Christian colleges for espousing evolution is a long one.

Please present examples of left-wing speakers being invited to speak at a conservative university.

You'll find a hundred Condi at Rutgers examples before a single Hillary at Bob Jones.


I'd like to see snapper or Clapper - or anyone else who is decrying the left's hypocrisy vs. the right's awesomeness regarding differing viewpoints - address this.
   529. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 07, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4668109)
Unions across the board have a tough time with Brown
I pray that means he's not giving the prison guards' union everything it wants. Every state has a union that punches above its weight, and in California it's them. (Here in Arizona, it's the firefighters; in Iowa, teachers.)
They've rendered the GOP basically dead in the state legislature.
Eh, the budget rules just delivered the coup de grâce to a slow-moving suicide.
Democrats are free to be as non-lefty as they want and suffer no electoral backlash, and they've done that.
Responsible governing has no ideology. Three cheers to Sacto for running a great state well. It's been too long a time.
   530. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 07, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4668110)
I pray that means he's not giving the prison guards' union everything it wants. Every state has a union that punches above its weight, and in California it's them. (Here in Arizona, it's the firefighters; in Iowa, teachers.)
Cal teachers, law enforcement, fire, and prison guards are all finding Brown not to be the lotto ticket outsiders assumed he'd be. Cynics have said that Brown's been forced to deal with them because of budget pressures, or that the unions have to deal with Brown because the GOP alternative would seek to sink them. I don't think it matters what the motivation is; the fact is, the budget is under control, and that's the good thing.

Eh, the budget rules just delivered the coup de grâce to a slow-moving suicide.
Perhaps. FWIW, CA GOP members in the legislature have also been given the freedom to move left, so there's been some meeting of the minds. Of course, they're still going to end up with some hard-right candidate for the gubernatorial race, but no one expects that election to be within shouting distance. My concern is that CA Dems get fat and happy, and you start seeing the normal kinds of corruption fat and happy legislators end up being involved in. For now, though, it's the best it's been in a long time... not that any outside conservatives will admit to this.
   531. Steve Treder Posted: March 07, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4668112)
My concern is that CA Dems get fat and happy, and you start seeing the normal kinds of corruption fat and happy legislators end up being involved in. For now, though, it's the best it's been in a long time... not that any outside conservatives will admit to this.

Agreed and agreed. (And not any inside conservatives will admit to it, either.)
   532. zenbitz Posted: March 07, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4668118)
The university system in CA from the city colleges up to Cal Berkeley are a total disaster.
Not so sure I am a big fan of the K-12 Education either, but I guess it's great if you live in Palo Alto or Mountain View.
   533. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 07, 2014 at 08:01 PM (#4668123)
California's university system used to be great, to hear the old-timers. But the old-timers also say Reagan cut the schools' funding because he was pissed off by the antiwar protests.
   534. Mefisto Posted: March 07, 2014 at 08:20 PM (#4668127)
California's university system used to be great, to hear the old-timers. But the old-timers also say Reagan cut the schools' funding because he was pissed off by the antiwar protests
.

Both of those things are true.
   535. Publius Publicola Posted: March 07, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4668130)
So it looks like Putin intends to annex Crimea:
For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea

MOSCOW — Russia signaled for the first time on Friday that it was prepared to annex Crimea, significantly intensifying its confrontation with the West over the political crisis in Ukraine and threatening to undermine a system of respect for national boundaries that has helped keep the peace in Europe and elsewhere for decades.

Leaders of both houses of Russia’s Parliament said that they would support a vote by Crimeans to break away from Ukraine and become a region of the Russian Federation, ignoring sanctions threats and warnings from the United States and other countries that a vote for secession would violate Ukraine’s constitution and international law.

Even as tensions flared between Russian and Ukrainian forces in Crimea, the moves by Russia raised the specter of a protracted conflict over the status of Crimea, which Russian forces occupied a week ago, calling into question not only Russia’s relations with the West but also post-cold-war agreements on the sovereignty of the nations that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union.



Does this mean that, if they succeed, the rest of ukraine gets rolled into the EU first, then possibly NATO later? If so, that doesn't sound like a real smart trade for Putin.
   536. Srul Itza Posted: March 07, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4668131)
Generally, one's reaction to Henry Kissinger should be to find some bamboo shoots, a car battery and some jumper cables and return some of his war crimes back to him bodily.


Actually, when I saw that article, my reaction was acute surprise that he was still alive. Seriously, I thought sure he had passed on some time ago.

Living proof that only the good die young.
   537. Steve Treder Posted: March 07, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4668132)
Does this mean that, if they succeed, the rest of ukraine gets rolled into the EU first, then possibly NATO later? IF so, that doesn't sound like a real smart trade for Putin.

Yes, but from his perspective, does he have any better plausible options?
   538. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 07, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4668136)
Living proof that only the good die young.

Tom Lehrer: "Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."
   539. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 07, 2014 at 10:45 PM (#4668163)
Tom Lehrer: "Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."

Along with Le Duc Tho, who at least had the grace to decline it.
   540. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 08, 2014 at 12:11 AM (#4668175)
Today's ObamaCare polling is similar to yesterday's - Negative View Of ObamaCare Could Give GOP 2014 Edge:
A new survey finds that a strong contingent of Americans still don't like Obamacare, and that intensity is likely to bring out more votes for Republicans than Democrats this fall. Democrat Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff, the lead pollsters of the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, presented their new analysis at an annual insurance industry conference Thursday. According to their numbers, 2014 could be shaping up to be a Republican year, a cause for concern for Democrats who could lose the Senate majority over close reelection bids.
. . .
Among all voters surveyed, 45 percent indicated they oppose the law, and 36 percent of those reported strong opposition. Roughly 34 percent support the law, and of those 23 percent strongly support it.

Another issue for Democrats in 2014, Hart said, is the lack of support for the law among the uninsured. Roughly 49 percent of voters without health coverage oppose the law and 23 percent support it. Among those who drop in and out of insurance, 54 percent oppose the law and 28 percent support it.

Maybe more waivers would help.
   541. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 08, 2014 at 01:00 AM (#4668181)
Another issue for Democrats in 2014, Hart said, is the lack of support for the law among the uninsured.
OCF addressed this statistic problem with this point previously. Just sayin'.
   542. OCF Posted: March 08, 2014 at 01:41 AM (#4668185)
It turns out that there are some dropped-coverage horror stories under the new law that are actually real. It's just that you're never going to see them featured on a conservative attack ad.

Who am I talking about? Undocumented immigrants. The scenario plays out something like this: the individual has a steady job. He or she is listed at work under a false SSN (which means that he's paying FICA taxes that he'll never benefit from), and he has a different IRS-assigned identification number that he uses when he files his income taxes. The employer has offered group health insurance - crappy, substandard health insurance, but at least it's something. That policy gets canceled because it's non-compliant. More likely, before it ever gets to that point, the employer pulls out of it and tells the employees to go on the exchanges. But the individual I'm talking about cannot get any subsidies on the exchanges, and even if he (or she) tries to sign up without subsidies, how does he identify himself? Which number to use?

A considerable swath of the political public (maybe 90% of the Republicans and 50% of the Democrats) has no sympathy for this individual. You do all remember what Joe Wilson's "You lie!" during a State of the Union speech was about, right? Let me just point out three things:

1. The rate of deportations is at an all-time high. Immigrant rights groups have been complaining about this for some time; recently, the complaints have become more strident, and directed at Obama as the "Deporter in chief." (Needless to say, this gains Obama less than zero credibility among conservatives.)

2. The last I heard, the net migration rate between the U.S. and Mexico stood at approximately zero.

3. Remember that we are talking about human beings.
   543. JE (Jason) Posted: March 08, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4668224)
Does this mean that, if they succeed, the rest of ukraine gets rolled into the EU first, then possibly NATO later? If so, that doesn't sound like a real smart trade for Putin.

NATO membership doesn't make you totally immune from big-time Russian interference. Just ask Bulgaria.
   544. JE (Jason) Posted: March 08, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4668226)
Double post.
   545. Publius Publicola Posted: March 08, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4668234)
Steve, I realize it isn't in Putin's DNA to think this way but he could consider changing Russia's traditional path of empire building to one of internal reform and modernization, something Peter the Great tried with some considerable success. A first step would be gradual integration into the EU economy. I think that would yield greater overall benefits.
   546. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 08, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4668266)

Does this mean that, if they succeed, the rest of ukraine gets rolled into the EU first, then possibly NATO later? IF so, that doesn't sound like a real smart trade for Putin.


There is no way Ukraine gets into the EU any time soon; its economy is a basket-case, and the adjustments needed to conform to EU standards would put it further into the hole. The government that implemented those would be gone within a year.

By long-standing tradition, NATO membership is not offered to any country with ongoing territorial disputes with its neighbors.
   547. Publius Publicola Posted: March 08, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4668273)
By long-standing tradition, NATO membership is not offered to any country with ongoing territorial disputes with its neighbors.


Then how the hell did Greece, Poland, the Baltic states, and Turkey get in?
   548. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 08, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4668274)
By long-standing tradition, NATO membership is not offered to any country with ongoing territorial disputes with its neighbors.

Ahhh, good ol' lefty land -- wherein getting invaded by your neighbor (*) a week ago represents an "ongoing territorial dispute with [your] neighbors."

(*) The very neighbor NATO was created to stymie from invasion.
   549. Lassus Posted: March 08, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4668296)
Ahhh, good ol' lefty land -- wherein getting invaded by your neighbor (*) a week ago represents an "ongoing territorial dispute with [your] neighbors."

What a bizarre way to ascribe proper english definitions to lefty land. Whether it's their fault or not, it's still a non-NATO country's ongoing dispute with a neighbor.
   550. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 08, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4668304)
(*) The very neighbor NATO was created to stymie from invasion.


Quoting getting invaded by NATO's nominal enemy as reason to gain entry into NATO is fallacious reasoning.
   551. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 08, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4668308)
Lefty land is the bizarre place wherein that supposed principle would apply to this situation. Ukraine isn't involved in an "ongoing territorial dispute" with Russia by any serious interpretation of that term.

It's a howler of the highest order to suggest that Ukraine can't get into NATO because of its "ongoing territorial dispute" with Russia.(*) But then again we're talking about the same fantasyland wherein Putin had "backed down" after Day One of his Crimean excellent adventure because of Obama's deliberate and measured diplomacy.

   552. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 08, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4668318)
It's a howler of the highest order to suggest that Ukraine can't get into NATO because of its "ongoing territorial dispute" with Russia.(*) But then again we're talking about the same fantasyland wherein Putin had "backed down" after Day One of his Crimean excellent adventure because of Obama's deliberate and measured diplomacy.
The answer, of course, is to immediately bring Ukraine into NATO, and prepare for World War III. It's just the right thing to do. Sure, it will be apocalyptic, but we have our principles.
   553. GregD Posted: March 08, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4668324)
Lefty land is
No intelligent sentence has ever begun this way
   554. Srul Itza Posted: March 08, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4668346)
  551. The Id of SugarBear Blanks



No intelligent sentence has ever begun this way
   555. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 05:35 PM (#4668350)
For now, though, it's the best it's been in a long time... not that any outside conservatives will admit to this.

It might be the "best it's been in a long time" but it still isn't better than Texas', which was the topic under discussion.

A lot of this has to do with the new budget rules. They've rendered the GOP basically dead in the state legislature. A lot of people assumed this meant CA would lean crazy left, but the opposite has happened; Democrats are free to be as non-lefty as they want and suffer no electoral backlash, and they've done that.

To whatever extent California Dems have done this, and it's debatable, they've done it because some basic realities forced them to do so. Despite our resident Californians' incessant preening about California being a progressive paradise, not many Californians of average or better income are agitating for tax increases, and nothing makes Californians scream like threats to undo their precious Prop 13 property tax system.

Sacramento has also seen the effects of high state income taxes, which have resulted in a substantial flight of people, jobs, and capital from California. No vote speaks louder than a vote with one's feet. And if not for illegal immigration, California's population would have declined over the past two decades, which says a hell of a lot about the actual state of affairs in California as assessed by people with education and job skills.

If these trends reverse, I'll change my tune. Until then, the California cheerleading is little more than self-righteous propaganda.
   556. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 08, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4668354)
It's a howler of the highest order to suggest that Ukraine can't get into NATO because of its "ongoing territorial dispute" with Russia.(*)


The whole point of NATO is _not_ to be drawn into a war with Russia. That's why the Baltic States weren't omitted until they had negotiated a treaty of friendship with Russia that resolved all border disputes.
   557. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 08, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4668360)
The whole point of NATO is _not_ to be drawn into a war with Russia. That's why the Baltic States weren't omitted until they had negotiated a treaty of friendship with Russia that resolved all border disputes.

Ukraine also has a treaty with Russia that supposedly resolved any border disputes and guaranteed the current borders, including the Crimea. The United States & United Kingdom were parties to that agreement, which also removed the nuclear weapons Ukraine possessed upon the demise of the Soviet Union.
   558. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4668362)
Ukraine also has a treaty with Russia that supposedly resolved any border disputes and guaranteed the current borders, including the Crimea. The United States & United Kingdom were parties to that agreement, which also removed the nuclear weapons Ukraine possessed upon the demise of the Soviet Union.

"If you like your borders, you can keep your borders."
   559. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:06 PM (#4668364)
"If you like your borders, you can keep your borders."


Wherein the resident GOP troll chorus continues to argue for America as World Police (#### YEAH!) until something bad happens in Mogadishu and domestic politics dictates that they take the opposite position.
   560. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4668370)
Wherein the resident GOP troll chorus continues to argue for America as World Police (#### YEAH!) until something bad happens in Mogadishu and domestic politics dictates that they take the opposite position.

Looks like someone still isn't very good at "reading for comprehension."

Just as with Obama's false promises re: keeping one's health plan, if Obama didn't want to play "World Police," he shouldn't have made promises he didn't intend to keep.

It's sad that such a basic principle is apparently seen as quaint by so many on the left. Speaks volumes.
   561. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:19 PM (#4668379)
To whatever extent California Dems have done this, and it's debatable, they've done it because some basic realities forced them to do so. Despite our resident Californians' incessant preening about California being a progressive paradise,
I wrote a follow-up post talking about how California is so NOT a progressive paradise. JoeK sees what he wants to see. #524 addresses the rest of the post.

In this context, it is appropriate to note that California's previous budget destruction — nearly $30 billion worth — ended up almost entirely in Texas, in the coffers of Enron's energy consortium. To blame Californian Republicans and Texas energy companies may be simplistic, but it's also exactly right. The CA GOP is dead because it deserved to be killed. (It also seems strange to see a self-professed conservative mock California's Prop 13, which keeps property taxes super low, especially for big businesses. Texas generates four to five times more money in property taxes than California, one of the reasons they can get away with no state income tax.)
   562. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4668380)
Just as with Obama's false promises re: keeping one's health plan, if Obama didn't want to play "World Police," he shouldn't have made promises he didn't intend to keep.
Another vote for war. How many is that now?
   563. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4668385)
Another vote for war. How many is that now?

Yet another lefty who's not good at "reading for comprehension." Sad.

Pointing out Obama's false promises re: Ukraine isn't remotely a "vote for war."

I wrote a follow-up post talking about how California is so NOT a progressive paradise.

Yes, you said that California isn't progressive enough when you were talking to another progressive. Doesn't even come close to refuting my point that BBTF's lefty Californians often look down their noses at the rest of the country.

#524 addresses the rest of the post.

No, it doesn't. #524 doesn't come close to addressing the issues I mentioned in #555.

In this context, it is appropriate to note that California's previous budget destruction — nearly $30 billion worth — ended up almost entirely in Texas, in the coffers of Enron's energy consortium. To blame Californian Republicans and Texas energy companies may be simplistic, but it's also exactly right. The CA GOP is dead because it deserved to be killed.

LOL. Even if the $30B number is true, $30B is ashtray money when you look at California's spending over the past two or three decades. And the above doesn't explain why California municipalities are going bankrupt on a regular basis.

(It also seems strange to see a self-professed conservative mock California's Prop 13, which keeps property taxes super low, especially for big businesses. Texas generates four to five times more money in property taxes than California, one of the reasons they can get away with no state income tax.)

Yikes, another "reading for comprehension" failure. Is English not your first language?
   564. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:37 PM (#4668387)
Another vote for war. How many is that now?

Zero. Since at least 1980, liberals have confused asserting US interests with a desire for war. Nor does standing up robustly for US interests make war more likely. Nothing in the history of postwar US-Soviet/Russian relations supports such a conclusion.
   565. zenbitz Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4668388)
Prop 13 is a wretched disaster, was a bad idea even back in 1976, and is the single reason why the public schools are in the pooper.
   566. GregD Posted: March 08, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4668398)
And the above doesn't explain why California municipalities are going bankrupt on a regular basis.
Nothing proves the nefarious nature of California coastal liberals more clearly than the governance of San Bernardino and San Joaquin counties!
   567. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 07:27 PM (#4668400)
Nothing proves the nefarious nature of California coastal liberals more clearly than the governance of San Bernardino and San Joaquin counties!

This would have been a clever retort, if conservatives were the ones who spent Stockton and San Bernardino into bankruptcy.

They weren't.
   568. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 08, 2014 at 07:42 PM (#4668402)
Obama never should have signed that treaty in 1994.
   569. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 08, 2014 at 07:49 PM (#4668404)
Yikes, another "reading for comprehension" failure. Is English not your first language?
It really isn't.

Doesn't even come close to refuting my point that BBTF's lefty Californians often look down their noses at the rest of the country.
You certainly can't be guilty of looking down on California, can you.

LOL. Even if the $30B number is true, $30B is ashtray money when you look at California's spending over the past two or three decades. And the above doesn't explain why California municipalities are going bankrupt on a regular basis.
Not entirely, but partially. California was rolling in dough in the mid-90s from the tech boom, and spent like it. The main reason wasn't because of liberals or conservatives necessarily, but proposition-mandated spending that demanded something like 40% of general spending go to K-12 education. When the budget tightened, pols (and outside Joeksters would blame the opposing party) but it was literally illegal for lawmakers to cut general spending without also slashing other places, which is why university education became an easy target.

California's money basically comes from three taxes: Sales, property, and income. Income tax revenue's pretty steady, but when the economy dipped, sales dipped. And because of Prop 13, California always gets the shaft on property taxes. You drop the nearly $30B on top of a ~$103 billion budget that they were already short on, and the state budget just broke.

In the subsequent decade, the state had to borrow like crazy to make up the annual shortfalls, everything got cut, and nothing got done. And now, even with the state still constantly paying back its debts, a Democratic governor and a Democratic legislature have California righted for the first time since 2001. It's not perfect — we've gone over that many times — but the turnaround is indisputable, and it's been done almost completely without Republican input. The UC and CSU systems have to be fixed for the turnaround to be sustained. Texas gets to float on oil; California's great resource was the endless supply of smart, young educated people coming out of what used to be the greatest state university systems in the world.

This would have been a clever retort, if conservatives were the ones who spent Stockton and San Bernardino into bankruptcy.

They weren't.
Wall Street bankrupted those municipalities.
   570. greenback calls it soccer Posted: March 08, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4668405)
Obama, as a good liberal, is supposed to put promises to remote foreigners ahead of the interests of the United States citizens. If he has to use his thug army and FEMA camps to suppress conservative dissent, then so be it.
   571. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4668406)
Obama never should have signed that treaty in 1994.

I'm actually starting to feel bad for the Obama cultists. Bush supporters at least had the decency to turn on him when he started breaking promises.
   572. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 07:55 PM (#4668408)
Not entirely, but partially. California was rolling in dough in the mid-90s from the tech boom, and spent like it. The main reason wasn't because of liberals or conservatives necessarily, but proposition-mandated spending that demanded something like 40% of general spending go to K-12 education. When the budget tightened, pols (and outside Joeksters would blame the opposing party) but it was literally illegal for lawmakers to cut general spending without also slashing other places, which is why university education became an easy target.

California's money basically comes from three taxes: Sales, property, and income. Income tax revenue's pretty steady, but when the economy dipped, sales dipped. And because of Prop 13, California always gets the shaft on property taxes. You drop the nearly $30B on top of a ~$103 billion budget that they were already short on, and the state budget just broke.

In the subsequent decade, the state had to borrow like crazy to make up the annual shortfalls, everything got cut, and nothing got done. And now, even with the state still constantly paying back its debts, a Democratic governor and a Democratic legislature have California righted for the first time since 2001. It's not perfect — we've gone over that many times — but the turnaround is indisputable, and it's been done almost completely without Republican input. The UC and CSU systems have to be fixed for the turnaround to be sustained. Texas gets to float on oil; California's great resource was the endless supply of smart, young educated people coming out of what used to be the greatest state university systems in the world.

This is just one big rationalization for years and years of bad liberal governance at the state and local levels in California.

And, again, "best it's been in a long time" still isn't "better than Texas," which was the original topic of discussion.

Wall Street bankrupted those municipalities.

LOL! You're killing me.
   573. Lassus Posted: March 08, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4668409)
...Obama cultists. Bush supporters...

Obama has cultists, Bush has supporters.

Why your objective conclusions are doubted astounds me.
   574. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 08, 2014 at 08:01 PM (#4668410)
This is just one big rationalization for years and years of bad liberal governance at the state and local levels.
My fault. I gave a substantive answer to an insubstantial jib.

And, again, "best it's been in a long time" still isn't "better than Texas," which was the original topic of discussion.
I never claimed it was. Merely that it's (1) much better than before, and (2) it was done in the absence of Republican input, both of which are indisputable.

LOL! You're killing me.
The subprime crisis was all Obama's fault.
   575. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 08:01 PM (#4668411)
Obama has cultists, Bush has supporters.

Why your objective conclusions are doubted astounds me.

Your answer was right there in #571: Cultists are blindly loyal; supporters typically are not.
   576. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 08, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4668412)
Obama never should have signed that treaty in 1994.

Bill Clinton, actually, but close enough for Yellow Rickey, I guess. However, there was nothing wrong with the treaty, the fault lies with Obama assuming that the problems with Russia were the fault of his predecessor and could be cured by a "reset" based on hopes & wishes.
   577. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4668414)
My fault. I gave a substantive answer to an insubstantial jib.

No, you didn't.

I never claimed it was. Merely that it's (1) much better than before, and (2) it was done in the absence of Republican input, both of which are indisputable.
The subprime crisis was all Obama's fault.

Looks like there's quite an argument going on in your head. On the one hand, California's Dems are geniuses who are leading the state into a bright new era. On the other, those same Dems were rubes who were duped worse than anyone else in the country during the real estate boom. Seems tough to reconcile, but I'm sure it makes sense to you.
   578. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 08, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4668419)
On the one hand, California's Dems are geniuses who are leading the state into a bright new era. On the other, those same Dems were rubes who were duped worse than anyone else in the country during the real estate boom.
Does that follow for Florida as well? How about Nevada or Arizona? The liberal bastions that were the brokerage firms that juggled all the securitized debts? The states hit hardest by the subprime fallout were the states that had the largest housing booms during the mid-2000s, driven by easy money. If you break it down further, the biggest subprime markets included those states as well as Tennessee and Virginia. It wasn't about liberals or conservatives, but money; even you should be able to find a way to wrap your mind around that.

If California liberals are so across-the-board stupid, then why has the state righted itself despite a non-existent GOP presence? Seems tough to reconcile, but I'm sure it makes sense to you.
   579. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 08, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4668426)
Does that follow for Florida as well? How about Nevada or Arizona?

Have those states had a bunch of municipal bankruptcies?

Regardless, "We're almost as good as Florida!" isn't very confidence-inspiring.

The states hit hardest by the subprime fallout were the states that had the largest housing booms during the mid-2000s, driven by easy money. If you break it down further, the biggest subprime markets included those states as well as Tennessee and Virginia. It wasn't about liberals or conservatives, but money; even you should be able to find a way to wrap your mind around that.

You're really flailing around now. Again, if California's Dem leaders are so smart, how come California ended up in worse shape than places like Florida and Tennessee, the former of which got creamed by the real estate bust and doesn't even have a state income tax as a source of state revenue? Don't smart leaders plan ahead for the inevitable downturns?

And, by the way, if California was "rolling in dough" during the tech boom in the 1990s and then again during the real estate boom in the 2000s, how come California's schools and infrastructure are still such a mess? Where did all that money go?

If California liberals are so across-the-board stupid, then why has the state righted itself despite a non-existent GOP presence? Seems tough to reconcile, but I'm sure it makes sense to you.

Yikes, you're so out of ideas that all you can do is parrot my comments. This isn't even any fun anymore.

California hasn't righted itself — not by a long shot. Call me when California's domestic migration trends change, and when its public schools aren't a punchline, etc., etc.
   580. bobm Posted: March 08, 2014 at 08:57 PM (#4668433)
http://www.timesofisrael.com/iranian-general-obamas-threats-are-the-joke-of-the-year/

The Iranian news agency Tuesday published a political cartoon mocking the US president, calling it: “All Options on Table.” This Time for Russia.” In a jab at US non-intervention in Ukraine, the cartoon portrays Obama peering forlornly into an empty paint can with the label “Red Line” while Russian President Vladimir Putin walks away saying, “I think you used it all on Syria.” 
   581. Howie Menckel Posted: March 08, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4668438)

caught a little of Palin's speech to CPAC tonight; it was on Fox News.

set substance aside - she gives 'em what they want, that's for sure. If they handed out torches and pitchforks afterwards, I wouldn't want to be in the line of fire of that crowd....

   582. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 08, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4668441)
Again, if California's Dem leaders are so smart, how come California ended up in worse shape than places like Florida and Tennessee, the former of which got creamed by the real estate bust and doesn't even have a state income tax as a source of state revenue? Don't smart leaders plan ahead for the inevitable downturns?
Sure, but rainy day funds don't hold out. Texas, for example, was rolling in oil money and still ended up with a budget deficit of over $20 billion just a few years ago. The new Texas budget has a rainy day fund of just over $5 billion, less than three percent of the budget. Smart states, stupid states, nobody budgets for downturns.

And, by the way, if California was "rolling in dough" during the tech boom in the 1990s and then again during the real estate boom in the 2000s, how come California's schools and infrastructure are still such a mess? Where did all that money go?
I already said: proposition-mandated spending. Prop 13 spawned Prop 4, which spawned Prop 98, and because propositions are law and need a supermajority to suspend, it's pretty much impossible.

Yikes, you're so out of ideas that all you can do is parrot my comments. This isn't even any fun anymore.
It isn't. I let you troll me, but only because there's nothing good on television.
   583. OCF Posted: March 08, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4668458)
Sure, but rainy day funds don't hold out.

Also, surpluses create calls for tax cuts. One California response to surpluses (I think it was the Pete Wilson administration) was to cut the "car tax" - the portion of automobile license fees that depends on the value of the car. And Davis's attempt to undo that became Arnold's primary campaign issue.

The one quibble I have with what El Hombre is saying is that the income tax isn't stable, either. A significant fraction of that comes from capital gains and other investment income, and that's cyclical. The only cyclically stable taxes for the support of municipalities, school districts, and so on, are property taxes of one sort or another. While the primary property tax is the real estate tax, that "car tax" is also a property tax and was supposed to go to local governments. Cutting it created a need for the state to backfill some funds from the general fund to localities, as the state has backfilled K-12 education.

It's not the system you'd design if you were starting from scratch.
   584. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 08, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4668471)
Guess these folks missed out on the exceptions, exemptions, waivers, postponements & delays - Union Workers May Strike Over ObamaCare Costs:
Contract negotiations are stalled for thousands of workers at casinos on the Strip and in downtown Las Vegas to the point where they may go on strike — and the sticking point is Obamacare. On Feb. 20, thousands of housekeepers, porters, cooks, cocktail servers, and others represented by Nevada’s largest union, the Culinary Union Local 226, voted to end a contract extension the workers agreed to last summer. The union wants to maintain its current benefits — including health care coverage at no cost to workers, pensions, and guaranteed 40-hour workweeks.

Rising health care costs due to provisions in the Affordable Care Act could put those benefits in jeopardy, the union says. “The biggest hurdle to reaching settlements in Vegas is the new costs imposed on our health plan by Obamacare,” Donald “D” Taylor, president of Unite Here, the parent union of CU Local 226, told BuzzFeed in a statement. “Even though the president and Congress promised we could keep our health plan, the reality is, unless the law is fixed, that won’t be true.”

Wait until the Employer Mandate and so-called Cadillac Tax kicks in.
   585. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:19 AM (#4668479)
Speaking of California, Tesla just gave a big thumbs-down to its business climate:
California pollution-control policies enable Tesla to rake in tens of millions of dollars each year from selling environmental credits to other automakers — a key source of Tesla's revenue.

But is this a case of unrequited love? When it comes to building a $4-billion to $5-billion battery factory that will employ 6,500 workers, Tesla is shunning the Golden State.

The automaker is looking at 500- to 1,000-acre sites in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Although the location hasn't been determined, Tesla has crossed California off the list. The company declined to comment on the reasons.

   586. Lassus Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:17 AM (#4668494)
Speaking of California, Tesla just gave a big thumbs-down to its business climate:
Jason Epstien - Psychic or invisible boardroom spy?
The company declined to comment on the reasons.
   587. Tripon Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:17 AM (#4668495)
http://tv.yahoo.com/news/jon-stewart-fox-news-pundits-seem-way-too-153700247.html

Is there a reason why Republicans speakers are such big Putin fans? Isn't that basically admitting you like fascism?
   588. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:52 AM (#4668502)
The Tesla story has been widely reported, and I wouldn't expect them to comment, assuming they are bidding the states against one another. Land, wage costs have to figure large.
   589. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 09, 2014 at 02:09 AM (#4668503)
It's important to the RW belief system that California will fail any minute now. So important, I recall it being said 20 years ago.
   590. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 09, 2014 at 02:18 AM (#4668504)
Oops: The Texas Miracle That Isn’t:

The idea that vast numbers of Americans are “voting with their feet” for liberty and prosperity by abandoning blue states and moving to Texas has become conservative gospel.

...Within Texas, liberal legislators (and there are a few) have updated a publication every year since 2003 entitled “Texas on the Brink,” which provides rankings meant to point out the state’s worst deficiencies, such as being last in the percentage of the adult population who graduated from high school while being first among the states in carbon dioxide emissions and in the share of the population lacking health insurance.

...Texas has indeed outperformed the nation as a whole in job creation during the Obama years. And it has done so with a state government under the total control of ever-more-conservative Republicans, who now hold up that fact as validation of their whole economic agenda. Progressives, and everyone earnestly interested in improving the nation’s economic performance, need to confront all this Texas bragging and find out what, if anything, it proves.

...The first and most obvious question to ask about the Texas boom in jobs is how much it simply reflects the boom in Texas oil and gas production. Texas boosters say the answer is very little, and play up how much the Texas economy has diversified since the 1970s. And indeed, Texas has more high-tech, knowledge-economy jobs than it did forty years ago. But so does the rest of America, and the stubborn truth is that, despite there being more computer programmers and medical specialists in Texas than a generation ago, oil and gas account for a rapidly rising, not declining, share of the Texas economy... Only a few years ago, Texas’s oil production had dwindled to just 15 percent of U.S. output; by May of last year it had jumped to 34.5 percent...

...The next big question is how much Texas’s growth in jobs just reflects its growth in population. For many decades, Texas has grown much faster in population than the U.S. as a whole, indeed about twice as fast since the 1990s. On its face, there is nothing particularly impressive about a rate of job formation that is just keeping pace with increases in population. But in the conservative narrative, this population growth is largely driven by individual Americans and businesses fleeing the high taxes and excessive regulation of less-free states. In other words, Texas’s rate of job creation is supposedly more a cause than a consequence of its population growth. If that were true, the Texas boosters would be right to brag. But among the many problems with this story is the reality that, even with an oil boom on, nearly as many native-born Americans are moving out of Texas as are moving in.

For example, according to Census Bureau data, 441,682 native-born Americans moved to Texas from other states between 2010 and 2011. Sounds like a lot. But moving (fleeing?) in the opposite direction were 358,048 other native-born Americans leaving Texas behind. That means that the net domestic migration of native-born Americans to Texas came to just 83,634, which in a nation of 315 million isn’t even background noise. It’s the demographic equivalent of, say, the town of Lawrence, Kansas, or Germantown, Maryland, “voting with its feet” and moving to Texas while the rest of America stays put. ...Net domestic migration to Texas peaked after Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi, and has been falling off ever since.

...This comparatively low level of net domestic migration to Texas is consistent with another little-appreciated fact that runs counter to the conservative narrative about the Texas Miracle. It is that, for most Americans, as well as for most businesses, moving to Texas would not mean paying less in taxes, and for many it would mean paying more.

Oh yes, I know what you’ve heard. And it’s true, as the state’s boosters like to brag, that Texas does not have an income tax. But Texas has sales and property taxes that make its overall burden of taxation on low-wage families much heavier than the national average, while the state also taxes the middle class at rates as high or higher than in California. For instance, non-elderly Californians with family income in the middle 20 percent of the income distribution pay combined state and local taxes amounting to 8.2 percent of their income, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy; by contrast, their counterparts in Texas pay 8.6 percent.

...Moving a business to Texas also turns out to have tax consequences that are inconsistent with the conservative narrative of the Texas Miracle... [M]ost Texas businesses, especially small ones, don’t get such treatment. Instead, they face total effective tax rates that are, by bottom-line measures, greater than those in even the People’s Republic of California. For example, according to a joint study by the accounting firm Ernst & Young and the Council on State Taxation, in fiscal year 2012 state and local business taxes in California came to 4.5 percent of private-sector gross state product. This compares with a 4.8 percent average for all fifty states—and a rate of 5.2 percent in Texas. With the exception of New York, every major state in the country, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, has a lower total effective business tax rate than Texas.

...Using methodology developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago... California businesses pay $2.30 in taxes for every dollar they get in benefits, while Texas businesses pay $5. By this measure, Texas is the ninth-worst state in the country in the cost/benefit ratio it offers businesses on their taxes. Assuming that 50 percent of education spending benefits business, California businesses pay $1 in taxes for every dollar they get in benefits, while Texas business pay $1.50.

...[Texas] may be a great place to be a big oil or petrochemical company, or a politically favored large corporation able to wring out tax concessions. Its state laws are also hostile to unions, and its wage levels are generally lower than in much of the rest of the country. But for the vast majority of businesses, which are small and not politically connected, Texas doesn’t offer any tax advantages and is in many ways a harder place to do business. This is consistent with Census Bureau data showing that a smaller share of people in Texas own their own business than in all but four other states.

...In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, children who grew up in families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution had only a 12.2 percent chance of rising to the top fifth as adults. Those who grew up in or near San Diego or Los Angeles had even lesser odds—only 10.4 and 9.6 percent, respectively. It’s depressing that for so many Californian children, the chances of realizing the American Dream are so slim. But California looks like the land of opportunity compared to Texas.

In the greater Austin area, children who grew up in families of modest means had only a 6.9 percent chance of joining the top fifth of earners when they became adults; in Dallas, only 7.1 percent; in San Antonio, just 6.4 percent. Yes, Texas offers more chances for upward mobility than places like Detroit and some Deep South cities like Atlanta. Yet the claim that Texas triumphs over the rest of America as the land of opportunity is all hat and no cattle. Children raised in the postindustrial wasteland of Newark, New Jersey, during the 1980s, it turns out, had a better chance of going from rags to riches than did children born in Houston, which was the best city in Texas for upward mobility during that time.

No wonder then, that the flow of Americans moving to Texas is so modest. The state may offer low housing prices compared to California and an unemployment rate below the national average, but it also has low rates of economic mobility, minimal public services, and, unless you are rich, taxes that are as high or higher than most anywhere else in America. And worse, despite all the oil money sloshing around, Texas is no longer gaining on the richest states in its per capita income, but rather getting comparatively poorer and poorer.

It’s hard to think of any two states more different than Texas and Vermont. For one, Texas has gushers of oil and gas, while Vermont has, well, maple syrup. As early as the 1940s, Texas surpassed Vermont in per capita income. Vermont had virtually nothing going for it—no energy resources except firewood, no industry except some struggling paper mills and failing dairies. By 1981, per capita income in Vermont had fallen to 17 percent below that of Texas. That year, the state’s largest city elected a self-described “democratic socialist,” Bernie Sanders, to be its mayor. Vermont, it might seem, was on the road to serfdom and inevitable failure.

But then a great reversal in the relative prosperity of the two states happened, as little Vermont started getting richer faster than big Texas. By 2001, Texas lost its lead over Vermont in per capita income. By 2012, despite its oil and gas boom and impressive job creation numbers, Texas was 4.3 percent poorer than Vermont in per capita income. This is not an isolated example. Since the early 1980s, Texas has also been falling behind many other states in its income per person.

...[The Texas] model of economic development, which also combines a highly regressive tax system with minimal levels of public investment, has not allowed Texas to keep up with America’s best-performing states in per capita income or rates of upward mobility. And that’s what most people, including in Texas, most want the economy to deliver. The real Texas miracle is that its current leaders get away with bragging about it.
   591. Lassus Posted: March 09, 2014 at 02:43 AM (#4668505)
It's important to the RW belief system that California will fail any minute now. So important, I recall it being said 20 years ago.

I prefer Tool's version.
   592. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:16 AM (#4668509)
However, there was nothing wrong with the treaty, the fault lies with Obama assuming that the problems with Russia were the fault of his predecessor and could be cured by a "reset" based on hopes & wishes.


At the time of the reset, Medvedev was President and had signaled a decent amount of openness to progress in building trade relations and reducing nuclear weapons. Indeed, START was a huge success. Everyone forgets, but the reason why we had a debt ceiling standoff in 2011 was because Obama wanted to get New START ratified in 2010 lame duck and didn't want to deal with Rs mucking up the Senate's calendar before it could get done.

I don't think the reset was bad policy at the time. It would have been very hard to predict Putin's current behavior three years ago. It would have been very hard to predict Putin becoming President again at all. I think any discussion about the reset being bad policy is only working with the benefit of hindsight.

***

I think I am the only person who advocates being willing to escalate to a full shooting war to protect Ukranian sovereignty. My rationale is pretty much 100% based on disarmament reasons, and I've made that argument before.
   593. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:51 AM (#4668510)
@Rickey


I think his task here was to sneak in an equivocation where supporters of the Israel boycott movement are lined up on the same side as devotees of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and the KKK. Which would be about as much "censorship" as Rutgers decision to drop Condi from the graduation program.


I want to make clear that I *emphatically* oppose censorship. Boycotting settlements is one thing, but BDS is another entirely and it is explicitly anti-Zionist in its goals. That having been said, if you think there isn't an extremely significant overlap between anti-Semites and the anti-Zionists who populate and lead the BDS movement, you're sorely mistaken. I'm certain there are some good faith binational state advocates but they are sorely in need of a guide for the perplexed. For all the cries that "anti-Semite" is overused, go check out the comments (or most of the posts) on Mondoweiss or Electronic Intifada *cough*orbooksendorsedbyJohnMearsheimer*cough* and you will see some real, serious Judenhass.
   594. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 09:50 AM (#4668518)
The Tesla story has been widely reported, and I wouldn't expect them to comment, assuming they are bidding the states against one another. Land, wage costs have to figure large.

Agreed. Three of the four states being considered have right-to-work laws, New Mexico being the exception. And most important of all, California isn't even a finalist in this potential $2 billion expenditure.
   595. bobm Posted: March 09, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4668520)
It would have been very hard to predict Putin's current behavior three years ago. It would have been very hard to predict Putin becoming President again at all.

Really? Very hard?

Putin, Citing Roosevelt, Hints at a 3rd-Term Bid
By CLIFFORD J. LEVY
Published: September 6, 2010

MOSCOW — For months, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin has done nothing to dampen speculation that he is seriously considering a bid to return to the presidency in the 2012 election. On Monday night, he offered another hint at his plans by referring to the political career of a former president of a different country: Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Mr. Putin, asked whether he would damage Russia’s political system if he chose to run again, noted that Roosevelt was elected four times in the United States because at the time, it was allowed under the Constitution.

Mr. Putin seemed to be suggesting that if he ran again, it would be as proper because he would be complying with Russia’s Constitution.

Mr. Putin was elected to two terms as president but was barred under the Constitution from a third consecutive term. He nominated his protégé, Dmitri A. Medvedev, as his successor, and after easily winning in March 2008, Mr. Medvedev appointed Mr. Putin as prime minister. Mr. Putin is still widely seen in Russia as the country’s paramount leader


.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/world/europe/07putin.html
   596. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4668521)
That having been said, if you think there isn't an extremely significant overlap between anti-Semites and the anti-Zionists who populate and lead the BDS movement, you're sorely mistaken.

I find it borderline hysterical tragic that some of the same folks who are so quick to call others racist then get all weepy when they are called out on their noxious views regarding whether the Jewish people have a right to a state of their own.
   597. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4668524)
Jason, are you referring to Jewish the religion or Jewish the ethnic group (whatever that is)? I think it makes a difference if it's one or the other.
   598. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4668526)
Anybody find if odd that the centers of technological innovation and economic dynamism, the Bay Area, greater Boston, the I-95 corridor in Penn and NJ, Austin, Research Triangle, La Jolla, are all deep blue strongholds? The funny thing is the GOP meneychangers need liberals to do their thinking for them so they can make their loot.
   599. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4668528)
Even Los Angeles 2020, authored by the left-of-center establishment, offered a bleak assessment of the city's future:
Cited in the report as the pressing issues currently plaguing the city are poverty, weak job creation, lack of industry, poor economic development, traffic, declining school system, budgetary cuts and deficits, and more. "Los Angeles is barely treading water while the rest of the world is moving forward. We risk falling behind in adapting to the realities of the 21st century and becoming a city in decline," reads the report. "Los Angeles is sinking into a future in which it no longer can provide the public services to which our people's taxes entitle them and where the promises made to public employees about a decent and secure retirement simply cannot be kept."

   600. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4668529)
Flip.
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