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Sunday, December 02, 2012

OTP December 2012 - Pushing G.O.P. to Negotiate, Obama Ends Giving In

Mr. Obama, scarred by failed negotiations in his first term and emboldened by a clear if close election to a second, has emerged as a different kind of negotiator in the past week or two, sticking to the liberal line and frustrating Republicans on the other side of the bargaining table.

Bitter Mouse Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:15 PM | 6172 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   5801. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4335469)
Kindly justify no-knock raids


Are you looking for legal justification, moral justification, efficacy justification or what?
   5802. Lassus Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4335470)
Honestly now, I don't always chase you around witlessly bickering on matters glee club related, do I? Kindly justify no-knock raids on other grounds, or shoo fly.

I see no need to justify asking for something less off-the-cuff as far as the inarguable reasoning behind no-knock raids that you provided. That was your stance. If that's what you've got, that's what you've got.

   5803. CrosbyBird Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4335483)
The words "effectively facilitate" are doing some lifting here. It isn't costing them more money to do it. They want to deny other's access to something. I don't think not being allowed to deny access to something (in this case full healthcare that is available to everyone else in similiar positions - insured) is being forced to "effectively facilitate".

I think you're swinging too far in the other direction. The Catholics don't want to deny employees access to contraception (at least through this particularly application of policy); they simply don't want to be the ones directly or indirectly providing that access.

Should it be mandatory for businesses run by Jehovah's witnesses to provide employee coverage for blood transfusions? Or for businesses run by Christian Scientists to offer non-faith-based medical coverage? Or for Scientologists to offer psychiatric care? I don't think this is as clear an issue as you're making it out to be because of how little regard you have for the belief system behind the issue.

Bear in mind that I'm saying this even though I think pretty much all religion is dangerous nonsense. I'm not defending the Catholic position on birth control; I called it "impractical and immoral." I'm just saying that if we are to be a country that considers religious freedom to be nearly inviolate, the Catholics actually have a good point here.

EDIT: I don't remember if I said it before or cut it out in an edit, but this is one of the reasons why I dislike the idea of mandatory employer-provided health insurance. You can avoid almost all of this issue by going to a single-payer system.
   5804. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4335487)
Not really. There are plenty of occupations available outside of providing health insurance policies.

Yeah and there were plenty of people his own race for Richard Loving to marry. And there were plenty of other things for Gregory Lee Johnson to burn to express his opinions.

You're just using authoritarianism to undermine the choices of mutually-consenting parties. Does Westboro have a Southern chapter?



   5805. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4335491)
The words "effectively facilitate" are doing some lifting here. It isn't costing them more money to do it. They want to deny other's access to something.

They're not denying access one bit.

As part of the compensation package offered for working at that particular Catholic company, the employer has offered x salary with y benefits. Those Y benefits include some things and not others, one of the things it has not included in the offer is coverage for birth control. Either side is free to walk away at any time.

ESPN does not provide me a with a limousine from Hartford. They are not denying my access to a limousine, they simply did not offer one when the two mutually consenting parties (me and ESPN) sat down and discussed the terms of the contract, nor did I request one in return for other consideration that I was offering.

I have only slept with a handful of the billions of eligible people living on this earth. That doesn't mean that I'm being denied access to sexual intercourse by the majority of the earth, only that my relations with the majority of the earth have not involved the offer and acceptance of sexual intercourse. I have the right to seek another party to have mutually agreed-upon sexual intercourse, but I do not have the right to have sexual intercourse offered to me as a matter of force. Just like McDonald's has the right to not sell pizza. Or Walgreen's has the right to not sell pornography. Or insurance companies have the right, under a just law, to choose to offer or not offer coverage that specifically covers birth control. Or abortions. Or strawberry jam. Or Bon Jovi tickets. Or my hat getting stolen by a bear.
   5806. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4335500)
Oh PLEASE. Don't tell me you really buy this. Which party took the lead in protesting construction of a ####### Mosque? Which party's state legislatures are busily passing anti-Sharia laws?

Meanwhile, Dems want insurance to cover birth control...which party is worse on religious liberty, Dave? Or does that liberty only apply to religions you like.
So your argument is that Republicans are passing symbolic laws that for the most part don't actually do anything except ban what is already unconstitutional (the use of religious law in American courts), while Democrats are infringing on actual religious belief, so the two parties are identical?


EDIT: In terms of protesting the GZM, I'm not aware that any party took the lead in protesting it. A handful of kooks did.
   5807. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4335503)
It's sufficient to note the GOP is interested in only a very, very narrow range of economic liberty; essentially only that of maximizing profit regardless of how many other rights must be suppressed during its accomplishment. The party certainly isn't interested in doing other than suppressing the ability to maximize wages.

Nor is it interested in economic liberty when it comes to ensuring a minimum wage for millions, let alone a living wage for millions. It isn't interested in the economic liberty involved in the right of millions to unionize. It isn't interested in the economic liberty involved in allowing towns and cities to keep large chains from locating within their boundaries. And so on, almost ad infinitum.
Right; it's not interested in the "economic liberty" which involves stealing money or property from some and giving to others.

You have to sustain the childish fiction of free markets and free contracts in order to pretend the GOP has any interest in economic liberty (which is not, of course, divorceable from economic justice) for more than a small fraction of our citizenry.
Ever notice that any adjective in front of the word "justice" automatically negates the actual word?
   5808. Lassus Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4335510)
ESPN does not provide me a with a limousine from Hartford.

For which you should be glad. You don't know who's been in that thing.
   5809. CrosbyBird Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4335514)
Or my hat getting stolen by a bear.

I'd pay an extra couple of cents per month for this kind of comprehensive coverage.
   5810. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4335518)
I think I've figured out why some people are libertarians. It allows for smugness, ideological rigidity, and base idiocy, all wrapped in a pretty little bow.
   5811. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4335519)
The libertarian defense of the Catholic Church is unintelligible on its face, but it's even worse when you consider the basic economics. Employee benefits are equivalent to wages. Indeed, libertarians will argue exactly this point when people want to discuss labor's share of GDP. All benefits are wages, whether the company car or the retirement plan or the insurance.

But if health insurance is wages, then covering contraceptives is no different than an employee using her wages to pay for them. The company isn't paying for them. Management certainly isn't in any joint stock company, and it's management which is trying to force the employees to follow Catholic doctrine.

In fact, it's not clear that anyone is paying for contraception. From the perspective of an insurance company, it's cheaper to supply contraception than to pay for the costs of childbirth. Thus, it's quite possible that policies which cover contraception cost less than those which don't. In this case, the authoritarian imposition of religious doctrine on the employees should be clear even to a libertarian.
   5812. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4335533)
Yeah and there were plenty of people his own race for Richard Loving to marry. And there were plenty of other things for Gregory Lee Johnson to burn to express his opinions.


These are silly examples that don't speak to the case. At all. Employing people has regulations associated with it. You can't chain them to their desk and work them 90 hours a week in dangerous conditions after taking a kidney from them and selling it on the open market even if they agree to it, even if their religion mandates that is how employment should be and anything else is immoral. It is against the law.

They are arguing the law is immoral. You are arguing all laws of that sort are immoral. Just because both sides agree this law is wrong does not mean you can reasonable conflate both sets of arguments against the law.

A) It is not immoral because is it not forcing the Catholic Church to do anythign against their morals. They are providing access only. And if that is such a problem they can stop doing this activity, which is not central to their religion. Things central to their religion already have a waiver in the law, but just because they are Catholic does not mean they get universal waiver from the law it doesn't work that way. No one gets to opt out of all laws just because "Freedom of Religion".

B) I understand you think this sort of issue is all about contracts and willing parties and so on. Not to minimize your belief, but society as a whole, every organized government on Earth larger than a few hundred people rejects your premise on this including (most importantly) the US. You get to keep arguing about it, but the fact is we had, have, and will continue to have laws regulating activities like labor, health care, insurance, building, and so on.



   5813. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4335537)
Right; it's not interested in the "economic liberty" which involves stealing money or property from some and giving to others.


It is not stealing. Taxation is not stealing.

stealing present participle of steal (Verb)
Verb
1.Take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it: "thieves stole her bicycle".
2.Dishonestly pass off (another person's ideas) as one's own: "accusations that one group had stolen ideas from the other were soon flying".


It may be unfair. It may be immoral. But taxation is very clearly legal, and thus not stealing.
   5814. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4335541)
But if health insurance is wages, then covering contraceptives is no different than an employee using her wages to pay for them.

Of course it is. In one, the company freely agreed to provide that particular conversion of wages into benefit, in the other, it didn't. Choice covers more than mathematical equality.

I do not have any right to compel my employer to compensate me in $75,000 in US currency and $5,000 in cheeseburgers rather than $80,000 in US currency simply because the bottom line figures are the same.

In fact, I do not have the right to even compel *beneficial* arrangements. My neighbor would benefit immensely if I offered him $100 to pick me up a gallon of milk next time he goes to the store - clearly, $100 is *more* than equivalent to the effort he would need to go to put the milk in his cart and walk it next door. Still, it's his choice whether to decline or not.

   5815. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4335542)
It may be unfair. It may be immoral. But taxation is very clearly legal, and thus not stealing.

Arguing with David about the morality of taxation is like trying to debate pea placement with a three shell monte artist. Not much future in it.
   5816. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4335548)
Right; it's not interested in the "economic liberty" which involves stealing money or property from some and giving to others.
Unless there's someone to invade, and there's always the defense budget to consider. In that case, it's okay.
   5817. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4335550)

Take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it: "thieves stole her bicycle".


Oh, now this is just absolutely precious. Bitter Mouse's First Postulate of the English Language: Proper usage of words is determined by the first result he finds on a Google search for that word.

Merriam-Webster, of course, uses the word "wrongfully" instead of without legal right (which travels to unjust, injustice, and then violation of the right or rights of another, to being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper).

Dictionary.com leaves out legal and just goes with right. So does the Free Dictionary.

Wiktionary uses to illegally *or* without the owner's permission.

But then, none of these had that authority granted by Google.

   5818. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4335551)
Arguing with David about the morality of taxation is like trying to debate pea placement with a three shell monte artist. Not much future in it.


I am not debating the morality of taxation, just his incorrect usage of the word "stealing".

Dan: Feel free to find a definition of the word "stealing" that fits for what taxation is. Yes I googled it, so what. Is the definition I found wrong? Or are you just randomly attacking me because I don't agree with you? Honestly I thought better of you, but I suppose everyone has a bad day now and then.

EDIT: I see you added on, Dan. I fail to see the point, taxation is not wrong, it has happened in every organized society on Earth the last few centuries (unless every society is "wrong"). I never claimed my (or Googles) definition is definitive, however I do maintain that taxation is not stealing under any definition of stealing.

EDIT #2: Typically Dan when you edit a post with substantive new information, adding the "EDIT" is preferred, but hey it is not a law or anything.
   5819. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4335554)
Dan: Feel free to find a definition of the word "stealing" that fits for what taxation is. Yes I googled it, so what. Is the definition I found wrong? Or are you just randomly attacking me because I don't agree with you? Honestly I thought better of you, but I suppose everyone has a bad day now and then.

Me? You actually just wrote a post for the purposes of arguing a word choice even when you obviously knew what the poster intended and for which there are plenty of other equally valid sources for the definition of that word that fit with what the poster said.

Thought better of me? I thought way better of you before just now. The fact that you're actually throwing a fit about being called out on a very blatant bit of douche-baggery suggests that me that I wrongly believed you to be an honest broker. So I'm done with with you.
   5820. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4335555)
Arguing with David about the morality of taxation is like trying to debate pea placement with a three shell monte artist. Not much future in it.

I am not debating the morality of taxation, just his incorrect usage of the word "stealing".


The problem is that David's definition of "stealing" is wholly based in his Randian moral worldview, and nothing else. Of course if you can ever get him to admit that, I'm going to send you a plate full of the fanciest Roquefort cheese your bitter mouth has ever tasted.
   5821. CrosbyBird Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4335556)
It is not immoral because is it not forcing the Catholic Church to do anythign against their morals. They are providing access only.

The problem is that "providing access" IS against their morals. You may draw the line of culpability in a different place than they do, in which case it doesn't violate your morals but does violate their morals. Frankly, I think we're more than a little too accommodating of religion in the public sphere, but that's not really the system we've come to expect in this country.

I don't think this is merely a "regulation is immoral" issue; I may be in a different place than Dan here. I think this is a regulation vs. acknowledged fundamental right, and that conflict should entail a very high level of scrutiny. Mandating that Catholic organizations provide contraception as part of a universal health care plan sounds reasonable enough; I think contraception (and abortion, but that's more controversial) is a significant part of rational family planning and sexual freedom, both of which clearly impact physical, mental, and emotional health, so any universal health care system should provide for such services. The problem is that if religion is indeed a fundamental right on the order of racial equality and speech, then "reasonable" isn't enough of a standard... it must be "compelling."
   5822. Srul Itza Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4335557)
5. Reducing the noise is a health issue, preventing deafness and related problems, thus saving us all money. For the children.


Of course, if what I have read is accurate, even with a suppressor, the noise level is so high in most cases that it would not, in fact, accomplish its supposed purpose of protecting the hearing of the shooter. If you want to protect children's hearing (a) do not take them to a place where a lot of guns are being shot or (b) have them wear hearing protection.
   5823. SteveF Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4335558)
   5824. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4335559)
Of course it is. In one, the company freely agreed to provide that particular conversion of wages into benefit, in the other, it didn't.


The company DID freely agree. It agreed to provide health insurance. In fact, Hobby Lobby provided health insurance for years before the ACA, and all that time that insurance covered contraceptives. Even today, any company could stop providing health insurance as a benefit. Of course, then its employees would all leave because of the reduction in compensation relative to other employers, but management could still do that. The fact is, companies freely agree to a compensation package for their employees.

I do not have any right to compel my employer to compensate me in $75,000 in US currency and $5,000 in cheeseburgers rather than $80,000 in US currency simply because the bottom line figures are the same.


No, but you have the right to bargain for that. And if the company agrees to your demand, it can't later back out of the deal by claiming that cheeseburgers violate Kashrut. If the company did renege, you'd win a suit for the lost wages, which you'd then use to buy cheeseburgers. The company couldn't prevent you from doing so, and it would be preposterous to claim a religious right to prevent you.
   5825. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4335563)
The company DID freely agree. It agreed to provide health insurance.

No, they didn't. They agreed to offered health insurance with specific provisions.

McDonald's provides food. That doesn't mean they agreed to provide all items that fall under the category of food. I can't go in there, demand a Big Mac, an apple pie, and a chocolate souffle. And when they don't give me a chocolate souffle, go whine to the statists to make them. Well, I could, but I would be doing something unjust.


   5826. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4335565)
courtesy of the ap:

The House will miss the midnight Monday deadline lawmakers set for voting to avoid the fiscal cliff. House Republicans notified lawmakers that the chamber will vote Monday evening on other bills. They say that will be their only votes of the day.
President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Monday they are near a deal to avoid wide-ranging tax increases and spending cuts — the fiscal cliff — that take effect with the new year.

Both men said they were still bargaining over whether — and how — to avoid $109 billion in cuts to defense and domestic programs that take effect on Wednesday. It remained unclear whether the Senate would vote Monday. Congress could pass later legislation retroactively blocking the tax increases and spending cuts.
   5827. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4335566)
also from the wsj:

The emerging tax agreement between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) would raise roughly $600 billion in new revenue over 10 years when compared with current policy, people familiar with the talks said.

It’s important to remember that the deal hasn’t been officially agreed to in the Senate, let alone the House of Representatives, but the $600 billion figure is an important measuring stick.

Here’s how it would get there:

It would raise tax rates on income above $400,000 for single workers and $450,000 for households from the rates that have been in place for the past 12 years. Roughly 1% of households earn income above $450,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.
It would raise the tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 20% (from 15%) for capital gains and dividends exceeding $400,000 for single workers and $450,000 for households.
It would reduce the tax deduction benefits for singles earning more than $250,000 and households earning more than $300,000.
Raise the estate tax to 40% on assets after a $5 million exemption threshold.
The roughly $600 billion in revenue that would be achieved through these changes would represent the largest tax increase in decades, but it would also be only half of the White House’s most recent $1.2 trillion “ask” in bipartisan talks with House Republicans. And it would also amount to less than 20% of the potential tax increase that would have occurred if no agreement was reached and all current tax rates were allowed to expire.

President Barack Obama, in remarks on Monday, made clear he would seek additional revenue when Congress soon begins debate of a larger deficit-reduction package.
   5828. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4335567)
Moreover, service in a knock knock manner is not something you do when you anticipate that the place you will serve pursuant to the search warrant has an armed hostile army. You don't have to bend over in the communal shower just because someone asked you to. Was the government justified in taking precautions? In assuming that BD's might be violent?
No. Indeed, local law enforcement, who were familiar with the BDs, kept telling them otherwise, but they wouldn't listen because they wanted the PR stunt of a big raid. Shamefully, our statist media loves to glorify the paramilitary cop wannabes.

Defenders of Koresh say he was approachable outside of the compound during the day. Well, he knew of the warrant. Why didn't he just accept the warrant voluntarily
When an "armed hostile army" approaches one's house aggressively, one may just doubt their good faith.


The government pleaded, coaxed, cajoled, wheedle—for 50 days. They wanted Koresh to at lease release the women and children. Once it was clear beyond all doubt that Koresh & Co. were never going to submit, or accede in any way, the government had two choices: walk away or attempt to breach the defenses.
No, they had a third choice: wait. Was the federal government running low on funds? It couldn't afford to pay overtime any longer?
   5829. Dan The Mediocre Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4335569)
No, they had a third choice: wait. Was the federal government running low on funds? It couldn't afford to pay overtime any longer?


Wait for what?
   5830. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4335573)
Me? You actually just wrote a post for the purposes of arguing a word choice even when you obviously knew what the poster intended and for which there are plenty of other equally valid sources for the definition of that word that fit with what the poster said.

Thought better of me? I thought way better of you before just now. The fact that you're actually throwing a fit about being called out on a very blatant bit of douche-baggery suggests that me that I wrongly believed you to be an honest broker. So I'm done with with you.


I argue with using the word stealing, because it is the wrong word. Taxation is not stealing. If he, you, or any of my Liberal brethren wrote something so wrong I would likely (and actually have previously) wrote a post about that. Words matter.

I still don't have a problem with you, other than a few posts of yours today are a bit out there. That said I can't help you being done with me or not. Regardless taxation is not stealing, but feel free to call it unjust, unfair, and immoral - it could be any oth those, it just is not stealing. Why you feel the need to attack over that, I am not sure, but whatever.

EDIT: BTW - I grabbed the laziest possible definition for the word. Had some other definition come up I would have used that. It is not a plot, it is lazy. At least insult me for the right thing :)
   5831. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4335577)
No, they had a third choice: wait. Was the federal government running low on funds? It couldn't afford to pay overtime any longer?

Wait for what?
Wait for the BDs to believe in the rule of law.
   5832. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4335578)
The libertarian defense of the Catholic Church is unintelligible on its face, but it's even worse when you consider the basic economics. Employee benefits are equivalent to wages. Indeed, libertarians will argue exactly this point when people want to discuss labor's share of GDP. All benefits are wages, whether the company car or the retirement plan or the insurance.
Indeed, but the relevance of that to either the libertarian position or the Catholic one escapes me.

The libertarian position is that wages are a contractual matter between employer and employee, and that the government has no business dictating either the form or quantity of those wages. If an employer wants to pay in federal reserve notes, monopoly money, health insurance that only covers homeopathic treatments, or Magic: The Gathering playing cards, that's between the employer and employee. It doesn't matter whether one is equal to another, or can be converted into the other.

(The Catholic position is, apparently, that providing contraceptive coverage is sinful. The fact that an employee could use other employee compensation to buy birth control is irrelevant. That's a matter of Catholic doctrine, not something you can argue away simply because you personally wouldn't view it that way.)

Management certainly isn't in any joint stock company, and it's management which is trying to force the employees to follow Catholic doctrine.
Management isn't trying to force the employees to follow Catholic doctrine. That's not even wrong. If management were threatening to fire anyone who used contraception, that would be trying to force the employees to follow Catholic doctrine. But management isn't forcing the employees to do anything. There's only one party using force here, and it's the government, and said force is being applied to the employer, not the employee.
In fact, it's not clear that anyone is paying for contraception. From the perspective of an insurance company, it's cheaper to supply contraception than to pay for the costs of childbirth.
No. It's only cheaper from the perspective of the insurance company if the people for whom it is buying contraception wouldn't have used contraception anyway. If they would have, then they wouldn't have gotten pregnant anyway, so the insurance company isn't saving any money on childbirth and is picking up all the extra costs of birth control that were formerly being paid by others.
Thus, it's quite possible that policies which cover contraception cost less than those which don't. In this case, the authoritarian imposition of religious doctrine on the employees should be clear even to a libertarian.
Except that your analysis is utterly and totally wrong. Nothing is being imposed on the employees (who are, of course, free to change employers if something were being imposed on them). Moreover, whether it "costs less" is irrelevant to anything. The government mandating that I do something which saves me money is just as unlibertarian as the government mandating that I do something that costs me money.
   5833. Lassus Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4335580)
Was the government justified... in assuming that BD's might be violent?

No. Indeed, local law enforcement, who were familiar with the BDs, kept telling them otherwise, but they wouldn't listen

Wait, so... you're saying that the Branch Davidians weren't violent?
   5834. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4335589)
Wait for the BDs to believe in the rule of law.


The Branch Davidians believed in the rule of law. They simply disagreed on Whose authority the final law rested. The did not believe in the authority of secular law because they believed it had been overturned by the revelation of Divine Law by the returned Christ, David Koresh.

Wait, so... you're saying that the Branch Davidians weren't violent?


They were just collecting the arsenal for show. They all went off by accident and those four agents happened to be in the crossfire. (The fact that they shot their own children and burned their own members alive is not relevant, because, you know, STATISM and stuff.)
   5835. Tripon Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4335591)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House will miss the midnight Monday deadline lawmakers set for voting to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
House Republicans notified lawmakers that the chamber will vote Monday evening on other bills. They say that will be their only votes of the day.
President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Monday they are near a deal to avoid wide-ranging tax increases and spending cuts — the fiscal cliff — that take effect with the new year.
Both men said they were still bargaining over whether — and how — to avoid $109 billion in cuts to defense and domestic programs that take effect on Wednesday.


We're going over the cliff!
   5836. GregD Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4335595)
I'm curious about the House. Can they really get a majority of Reps to support a McConnell bill? I don't really see how, which makes me think the last few days has focused on the Senate Reps and Obama working together to make each other look good. They're on it!

But if the House votes down a McConnell-Biden plan, we're back at zero. The difference would be that Obama would feel he won the week by working toward a compromise. And I assume Senate Republicans would just sit back and watch the show since they can't do anything.

   5837. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4335596)
I'm curious about the House. Can they really get a majority of Reps to support a McConnell bill? I don't really see how, which makes me think the last few days has focused on the Senate Reps and Obama working together to make each other look good.


The point is to make Boehner #### or get off the pot. The Biden-McConnell compromise could pass the House so long as Boehner accepts that he's going to lose the Speakership and combines the GOP votes with Pelosi's Dem votes, telling the Teaper nuts to #### off.
   5838. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4335598)
my understanding is that the timing is meant to have the bill cued up after the speaker locks up his speakership

and all of you latecomers with the news can send the cokes to wisconsin

no c.o.d
   5839. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4335611)
No, they didn't. They agreed to offered health insurance with specific provisions.


Sorry, Dan, but there's no other word for this than "lie". As in, what you said is a flat out lie. Hobby Lobby is the perfect example: its policies have covered contraception for years. Management obviously didn't "agree to specific provisions" (unless you now think they're lying). No, it did what all managers have always done, namely be willing to provide a certain amount of money in lieu of wages to provide compensation to its employees. The insurance company determines the coverage offered for that price, and management is interfering with the right of the insurance company to market its policies by controlling their terms.

Management isn't trying to force the employees to follow Catholic doctrine. That's not even wrong. If management were threatening to fire anyone who used contraception, that would be trying to force the employees to follow Catholic doctrine.


You left out the part where employee benefits are a form of wages. Management is telling employees how the employees can use their own compensation.

It's only cheaper from the perspective of the insurance company if the people for whom it is buying contraception wouldn't have used contraception anyway. If they would have, then they wouldn't have gotten pregnant anyway, so the insurance company isn't saving any money on childbirth and is picking up all the extra costs of birth control that were formerly being paid by others.


You can't win this argument. There are two, and only two, options:

1. The policies with contraception cost LESS than those without. In this case management has no say in the matter -- it's entirely up to the insurance company.

2. The policies with contraception cost MORE. In this case the benefits belong to the employees and management can't take them away unless it provides equal compensation in return.
   5840. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:31 PM (#4335626)
Hobby Lobby is the perfect example: its policies have covered contraception for years. Management obviously didn't "agree to specific provisions" (unless you now think they're lying).

Are Hobby Lobby employees working under a collective bargaining agreement? Are they signed under particular contracts? Or are they at-will employees. If the latter, both they, and their employees, have the right to renegotiate their contract at any point and if an agreement cannot be made, to walk away. Hobby Lobby can choose to always have birth control, never have birth control, or only offer birth control Mondays and Thursdays. It's not the business of anyone but the two mutually consenting parties.

You left out the part where employee benefits are a form of wages.

And they're getting a cut in those wages.

The policies with contraception cost MORE. In this case the benefits belong to the employees and management can't take them away unless it provides equal compensation in return.

If they're at-will employees, of course they can take them away.
   5841. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4335630)
And looking at it now, Hobby Lobby *isn't* taking anything away. They covered preventative birth control, but not morning-after pills. They did not include that specific option as part of their offered compensation package to employees. As far as I can tell, they also didn't offer trips to Vienna or Cinnabons, either.
   5842. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4335632)
Happy New Year, all.
   5843. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4335636)
Indeed, but the relevance of that to either the libertarian position or the Catholic one escapes me.


The libertarian position is ALWAYS to defend the most thuggish and authoritarian institution they can find rather than the rights of actual people.

Are Hobby Lobby employees working under a collective bargaining agreement? Are they signed under particular contracts? Or are they at-will employees.


I don't know.

If the latter, both they, and their employees, have the right to renegotiate their contract at any point and if an agreement cannot be made, to walk away.


Maybe. Depends on the reliance interests the employees have in the policies. Even if there are no reliance interests, what happens in the future depends on lots of variables. For example, there may zero policies offered without contraception coverage. In this case, HL could try attracting employees at the lower implied wages of offering no health care coverage, or it could raise wages and the employees would use some portion of that compensation just as they do now: to buy a health care policy that includes contraception.

But this doesn't really get at the heart of the problem. HL is saying that it wants to control the lives of its employees. It doesn't want them to use their own compensation in order to buy something that the employees want to buy and that a willing seller wants to sell. That interferes both with the contractual rights of the market participants and the religious freedom of the employees. As to why libertarians would find themselves in the position of defending that result, see my response to DMN above.
   5844. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:00 PM (#4335637)
No fair, Joe. You can't wish anyone HNY until the time stamp on the comment shows midnight.
   5845. tshipman Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:22 PM (#4335644)
(The Catholic position is, apparently, that providing contraceptive coverage is sinful. The fact that an employee could use other employee compensation to buy birth control is irrelevant. That's a matter of Catholic doctrine, not something you can argue away simply because you personally wouldn't view it that way.)


This is actually not true. An analogous example might be if Jewish foodbanks were required to serve pork to gentiles. It's not that it's sinful, it's repellant.

From Vatican II: "It is the married couple themselves who must in the last analysis arrive at these judgments before God." The Catholic Bishops council have repeatedly stated that it goes against the health care and school organization leaders' conscience to pay for contraceptives, not that it was sinful.

Finally, even if it were the Church's position that paying for contraceptive coverage were sinful, it wouldn't be relevant. The Church is not paying for contraceptive coverage. The insurers are. The Council of Bishops response was that it would require Catholic insurers to act against their conscience.
   5846. tshipman Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:23 PM (#4335645)
It would raise tax rates on income above $400,000 for single workers and $450,000 for households from the rates that have been in place for the past 12 years. Roughly 1% of households earn income above $450,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.
It would raise the tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 20% (from 15%) for capital gains and dividends exceeding $400,000 for single workers and $450,000 for households.
It would reduce the tax deduction benefits for singles earning more than $250,000 and households earning more than $300,000.
Raise the estate tax to 40% on assets after a $5 million exemption threshold.
The roughly $600 billion in revenue that would be achieved through these changes would represent the largest tax increase in decades, but it would also be only half of the White House’s most recent $1.2 trillion “ask” in bipartisan talks with House Republicans. And it would also amount to less than 20% of the potential tax increase that would have occurred if no agreement was reached and all current tax rates were allowed to expire.


I am pretty so-so on this deal. If Obama really is willing to break the Republicans over the Debt Ceiling, then okay, it's a decent deal. If he gets rolled in February and agrees to some bullshit "compromise" with domestic terrorists, this will have been an awful decision when he had all the leverage.
   5847. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4335647)
Mefisto, I'll be long asleep by then.
   5848. Morty Causa Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4335649)
5828:

That's clown talk, bro.
   5849. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4335651)
But this doesn't really get at the heart of the problem. HL is saying that it wants to control the lives of its employees.

Nonsense. HL is saying it wants to control the benefits it offers to its employees.

If I hire a new assistant but refuse to include an annual all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World in the compensation package, I'm not "controlling" the person's life or "denying access" to Disney World. I'm just not paying for the trip to Disney World or handling the details thereof.
   5850. Morty Causa Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:04 PM (#4335660)
Man: Now don't you fret. When I'm through, he won't set foot in this
town again. I can be very, _very_ persuasive. [reloads his gun]
[Scene change to a bar]
Man: [whining] C'mon, leave town!
Bob: No.
Man: I'll be your friend?
Bob: No.
Man: Aw, you're mean!
-- How to Win Arguments and Influence People, The Simpsons' "Cape Feare"
   5851. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:11 PM (#4335664)
Mefisto, I'll be long asleep by then.


Hey, I might be too, and I'm on the West Coast.
   5852. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:03 PM (#4335679)
Management isn't trying to force the employees to follow Catholic doctrine. That's not even wrong. If management were threatening to fire anyone who used contraception, that would be trying to force the employees to follow Catholic doctrine.

You left out the part where employee benefits are a form of wages. Management is telling employees how the employees can use their own compensation.
No, they're not. That's even more confused. Benefits are not "their own compensation" until after those benefits are given to the employees. They're absolutely not telling employees how they can use their own compensation; they're telling employees what compensation they'll get in the first place.

Imagine that an employer decides that it is going to give all employees a tablet computer this year. Is that tablet a form of wages? Sure. But if the employer insists on giving everyone Kindles -- instead of iPads -- is the employer telling the employees how they can use their own compensation? No, that's silly. He's simply deciding what compensation to give them. It's not their compensation until after he gives it to them.

Similarly, if he decides to give them contraceptionless health insurance rather than contraceptionful health insurance, he's not telling them how they can use their compensation; he's deciding what compensation to give them. Those are different products, like a Kindle and iPad.
   5853. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:13 PM (#4335683)
No, they're not. That's even more confused. Benefits are not "their own compensation" until after those benefits are given to the employees.


In most cases, and in the specific case of Hobby Lobby, the policies are already in effect. Thus, even by your own standard they are "already given to the employees".

As for the future, see my 5843.
   5854. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:18 PM (#4335685)
Fivehirtyeight.com is sooooo last month. But nevertheless, here's an interesting article about the statistical decline of "swing districts" in the House, some reasons why, and the impact this change is having on legislative action (or inaction). See: cliff, fiscal.

Too bad it wasn't published during the BBTF discussion about increasing Congressional incumbency; this double nugget would have been apropos:

Because there are so many fewer swing districts today, the amount of turnover in the House is much less. The 63 seats that Republicans gained in 2010 was large by modern standards — but relatively small by historical ones considering that there had been more than a 17-point swing in the national popular vote for the House.

This year also featured a relatively large swing in the popular vote for the House: Democrats won it by one point nationally rather than losing it by seven in 2010, an eight-point shift. But they gained only eight House seats out of 435. The House has arguably never been so partisan — and yet there have probably never been so few members of the House who were at risk of losing their seats.
   5855. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:27 PM (#4335689)
Hertitage and the AFL-CIO hate this deal, so it's got that going for it.
   5856. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4335696)
The libertarian position is ALWAYS to defend the most thuggish and authoritarian institution they can find rather than the rights of actual people.

Government is the biggest thug on the block, and the one that progressives don't just defend, but they worship.
   5857. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4335698)
But this doesn't really get at the heart of the problem. HL is saying that it wants to control the lives of its employees.

Non-responsive and borderline hysterical. Hobby Lobby simply doesn't desire to offer a specific provision as part of its negotiations with other free parties. It's no different than arguing that McDonald's not offering pizza or stew is an attempt to control the diets of their customers.
   5858. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:57 PM (#4335703)
Maybe. Depends on the reliance interests the employees have in the policies. Even if there are no reliance interests, what happens in the future depends on lots of variables. For example, there may zero policies offered without contraception coverage. In this case, HL could try attracting employees at the lower implied wages of offering no health care coverage, or it could raise wages and the employees would use some portion of that compensation just as they do now: to buy a health care policy that includes contraception.

Except this is completely nonsensical. Hobby Lobby did not offer coverage for morning-after pills at any time previously or make any promises or suggestions of any type that they were going to offer coverage for morning-after pills at any time. There are no reliance damages involved here whatsoever.
   5859. Lassus Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4335706)
Government is the biggest thug on the block, and the one that progressives don't just defend, but they worship.

As someone who has spent the better part of the past two years around card-carrying progressive communists from the 60s, I'm going to be comfortable calling this rather gross hyperbole.
   5860. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4335709)
Government is the biggest thug on the block, and the one that progressives don't just defend, but they worship.


As opposed to libertarians, who prance about talking about "thugs" and "freedom" and "liberty" while scuttling along like scarab beetles in the castle's sewer systems.

*yawn*
   5861. thok Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4335713)
Given the choice between having a fiscal cliff deal made in a last minute panic tonight, and giving everybody a chance to sleep on it and work on it some more over the next week, I'd much prefer it if Congress went to sleep.

Honestly, it almost doesn't matter if the deal passes today or next week. If there's no deal in March 1st, then one can legitimately worry.
   5862. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:35 PM (#4335715)
In most cases, and in the specific case of Hobby Lobby, the policies are already in effect. Thus, even by your own standard they are "already given to the employees"
As a minor point, I think you're mixing up cases. Hobby Lobby offers contraceptive care and has no objection to doing so in the future. It's the so-called morning after pill that Hobby Lobby objects to covering. You're conflating the Hobby Lobby case with the K&L case out of the 7th circuit, I think, where K&L formerly offered contraceptive coverage and now, claiming they didn't realize it, don't want to do so in the future.

But setting that issue aside, no, they are not "already given to the employees"; health insurance is given anew each week/month/whatever. K&L isn't trying to retroactively take away past contraceptive coverage; it's simply trying to not offer it in the future.

Your 5843 is simply based on this same error, and has the same confused idea that not giving someone a type of compensation is "controlling" them. They're not firing employees who buy iPads; they're just not giving out iPads.
   5863. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4335716)
Where were they supposed to serve it? It was a search warrant. They would have to go to the compound. what makes you think serving it somewhere else would have made everything hunky-dory when they arrived to search after service?
The issue is the manner in which they served it, not the location.


Side note: when did this Waco tangent start? It's spectacularly uninteresting.
I agree that the Waco thread is mostly uninteresting, except insofar as it further exposes the extreme fascism of Morty.
   5864. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4335717)
Hobby Lobby did not offer coverage for morning-after pills at any time previously or make any promises or suggestions of any type that they were going to offer coverage for morning-after pills at any time.


Morning-after pills are no different from any other contraception. If HL believes differently, it simply doesn't understand basic biochemistry. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_contraception

Hobby Lobby simply doesn't desire to offer a specific provision as part of its negotiations with other free parties.


No, HL is intruding itself into a relationship in which the only two relevant parties are the insurer and the employee. It's doing that in order to impose its own religious priorities on them.

Government is the biggest thug on the block, and the one that progressives don't just defend, but they worship.


Government is the only entity which protects the powerless from the thugs and authoritarians whom libertarians worship. In this particular case, libertarians are happy to trample on the religious freedom of the employees; only that nasty, evil government is actually willing to protect their rights. As usual.

See, libertarians have the same utopian view of society as the communists. Just as the dictatorship of the proletariat was never going to fade into an ideal system, neither are the oligarchs whom libertarians defend going to recognize the rights of the proles.
   5865. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:46 PM (#4335718)
I think you're mixing up cases. Hobby Lobby offers contraceptive care and has no objection to doing so in the future. It's the so-called morning after pill that Hobby Lobby objects to covering. You're conflating the Hobby Lobby case with the K&L case out of the 7th circuit, I think, where K&L formerly offered contraceptive coverage and now, claiming they didn't realize it, don't want to do so in the future.


You may be right. But in that case, as I said above, HL doesn't understand that the "morning after" pill IS contraception. I see no reason to enforce a religious belief that rests on a flawed understanding of basic facts.

But setting that issue aside, no, they are not "already given to the employees"; health insurance is given anew each week/month/whatever.


Of course they are. The employees took the job with the understanding that they would have that coverage. HL is now saying, in effect, "I'm altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it further." Nice company you keep.

   5866. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:56 PM (#4335722)
Morning-after pills are no different from any other contraception. If HL believes differently, it simply doesn't understand basic biochemistry. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_contraception


Irrelevant. A burger with blue cheese isn't fundamentally different from a burger with American cheese, but that doesn't mean I have a right to have a hissy fit if McDonald's doesn't have one available for me to purchase.

No, HL is intruding itself into a relationship in which the only two relevant parties are the insurer and the employee. It's doing that in order to impose its own religious priorities on them.

Nope, it does no such thing. The specific insurance Hobby Lobby picks forms part of their compensation offer to the employee. The employee is free to accept it and work at Hobby Lobby, decline it and work at Hobby Lobby, or dissolve their business relationship and seek an arrangement from a different free, consenting party.

Government is the only entity which protects the powerless from the thugs and authoritarians whom libertarians worship. In this particular case, libertarians are happy to trample on the religious freedom of the employees; only that nasty, evil government is actually willing to protect their rights. As usual.

You're getting pretty entertaining here. What religious freedom has Hobby Lobby trampled on? Hobby Lobby has denied employees rights to freedom of religion to the exact same degree that Scarlett Johansson has denied me access to sex with Scarlett Johansson. The only authoritarian I see in this discussion is the comedian in your mirror.
   5867. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:58 PM (#4335723)
Of course they are. The employees took the job with the understanding that they would have that coverage.

If, upon taking a job, you have an understanding you will get a benefit that was never offered to you in any way, shape, or form, it's not a job you need, but a guardian ad litem.



   5868. DA Baracus Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4335726)
A burger with blue cheese isn't fundamentally different from a burger with American cheese


This is the most ridiculous thing you've ever said.
   5869. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4335727)
HL is now saying, in effect, "I'm altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it further." Nice company you keep.

Except none of this actually happened. An employee offers particular services from Hobby Lobby for a particular arrangement, none of which contained any provision for morning-after pills. Is a particular arrangement is unsatisfactory, Hobby Lobby and the employee are both free to go their own way and enter into arrangements with other freely consenting parties.

Hobby Lobby employees had no more right to expect morning-after pill coverage than you have the right to expect sex from a woman you buy dinner for. It may be nice, but you're not entitled to it in any moral sense whatsoever.
   5870. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4335728)
This is the most ridiculous thing you've ever said.

Well, on a chemical level, they're very similar substances!
   5871. Lassus Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:25 AM (#4335735)
This is the most ridiculous thing you've ever said.

Mostly because blue cheese is just plain vile.

   5872. Morty Causa Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:40 AM (#4335743)
The issue is the manner in which they served it, not the location.


How, in your view, was it served? Why was that wrong? How should it have been served?

Then tell us how they do the actual search.
   5873. Morty Causa Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:47 AM (#4335745)
Government is the biggest thug on the block, and the one that progressives don't just defend, but they worship.


What makes government a thug, and why is it the biggest on the block? Who are the others, and why are they lesser? When did this happen? Was there a time when it wasn't the biggest thug on the block? When and where was that?
   5874. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4335747)
Of course they are. The employees took the job with the understanding that they would have that coverage. HL is now saying, in effect, "I'm altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it further." Nice company you keep.
The employees did no such thing. First of all, that doesn't actually happen in the real world. Second, no reasonable person could have done so, since the particular health plans offered by a an employer change on a regular basis. And apparently you don't understand the concept of employment at will. There is no "deal" when you take a job -- just a temporary arrangement subject to alteration at any time.

Government is the only entity which protects the powerless from the thugs and authoritarians whom libertarians worship.
No. The government never protects the powerless; the proverbial invisible hand, on the other hand, does. The government is the thug/authoritarian.
In this particular case, libertarians are happy to trample on the religious freedom of the employees; only that nasty, evil government is actually willing to protect their rights. As usual.
This is so dumb I'm wondering who you let use your computer, Mark. Unless an employee's religious tenet is that her employer should buy her birth control, her religious freedom is utterly unaffected. The employer isn't doing anything to the employee. The employee is free to buy or use contraception if she wants.
   5875. Mefisto Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:00 AM (#4335749)
Irrelevant.


Not if they want to make a religious argument it isn't. You can't claim a religious belief against abortion and then declare that aspirin is a contraceptive if held between one's knees. At least not if expect to exercise a First Amendment right.

Unless an employee's religious tenet is that her employer should buy her birth control, her religious freedom is utterly unaffected.


Nonsense. It's the employee's money. The employer isn't buying birth control (and management certainly isn't), the employee is. She's taking compensation in lieu of wages and using it for contraception. It's exactly the same as using wages. Her manager wants to prevent her from doing that, a clear violation of her religious (and market) freedom.
   5876. Jay Z Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:42 AM (#4335756)
No. The government never protects the powerless; the proverbial invisible hand, on the other hand, does. The government is the thug/authoritarian.


Come off of it. The invisible hand doesn't give a #### whether anyone lives or dies. Embarrassing tripe.
   5877. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:38 AM (#4335767)
Not really. There are plenty of occupations available outside of providing health insurance policies.


Odd. When I suggested that there were plenty of jobs available for Walmart workers to get instead if they didn't like working on Thanksgiving night (the horror), I believe you and your cohorts jumped on me and fought me to the ground.

"Hey, there are plenty of women available for gay men to marry! What's the problem?!"
   5878. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 01, 2013 at 04:21 AM (#4335778)
Not if they want to make a religious argument it isn't. You can't claim a religious belief against abortion and then declare that aspirin is a contraceptive if held between one's knees. At least not if expect to exercise a First Amendment right.

Who cares? It's their business, not mine, not yours, not the governments. For all the business it is of ours, a just law would let them offer unlimited birth control, zero birth control, or anything they choose to offer in the context of negotiations between two consenting parties. You've have no more moral ground for interfering in the practices of mutually consenting adults than Fred Phelps does. You can tell yourself how caring and how special and how well-intentioned and how superior are, but your whole overwrought elitist liberal shtick bears little difference from a thug waving a bible and demanding other parties conform to your beliefs.
   5879. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 01, 2013 at 04:25 AM (#4335779)
As opposed to libertarians, who prance about talking about "thugs" and "freedom" and "liberty" while scuttling along like scarab beetles in the castle's sewer systems.


Considering you are on record as believing black slaves prior to the civil war had no rights violated, that's rich.
   5880. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 01, 2013 at 06:40 AM (#4335787)
deal reached in the senate. goes to the house today:

Major elements of the compromise would permanently raise tax rates on income over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for jointly filing couples; raise rates on capital gains and dividends for those same households to Clinton-era levels of roughly 20%, from the current 15%; and limit the value of personal exemptions as well as the value of itemized deductions. Those last two restrictions would kick in at $250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for couples. Those limits disappeared in 2010.

The deal would also set the estate-tax rate at 40% on estates over $5 million; currently there’s a 35% rate for estates over $5.12 million. The compromise rate isn’t as high as the 45%, with a $3.5 million exemption, sought by Mr. Obama.

The deal would delay for two months part of the $110 billion in spending cuts that otherwise would have taken place in early January—cuts that would be replaced by tax increases and cuts in other programs.

It continues an existing pay freeze for members of Congress for the current fiscal year, but doesn’t extend the pay freeze for federal government workers.

The bill also included a measure preventing a sharp increase in the price of milk that was feared early in the new year, and extending some other agricultural programs through September. The last five-year farm bill expired at the end of last September due to the inability of lawmakers to reach a deal on the sweeping legislation.

Left out of the bill were any disaster-relief funds to help assist the recovery effort from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy across the Eastern U.S. in October. The Senate passed a bill last week providing $60 billion in emergency relief, but the House has yet to act to bring forward similar legislation.
   5881. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:17 AM (#4335788)
It continues an existing pay freeze for members of Congress for the current fiscal year, but doesn’t extend the pay freeze for federal government workers.

Yeah, like that'll pass the house.
   5882. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:34 AM (#4335794)
best wishes to secretary clinton:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a blood clot in a vein that runs between her brain and her skull, her doctors said, complicating health problems that have kept the top U.S. diplomat out of public view for more than three weeks.

Clinton has suffered no neurological damage or stroke, is in good spirits and is expected to make a full recovery, Dr. Lisa Bardack of the Mt. Kisco Medical Group and Dr. Gigi El- Bayoumi of George Washington University said in the statement released by the State Department yesterday.
   5883. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 01, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4335813)
No. The government never protects the powerless; the proverbial invisible hand, on the other hand, does. The government is the thug/authoritarian.


I'm curious: when you say things that are this stupid, are you dumb enough to be convinced, or is it just a tenet of your faith?
   5884. Mefisto Posted: January 01, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4335814)
Who cares? It's their business, not mine, not yours, not the governments.


Uh, Dan, they're demanding that the government protect rights which they assert under the Constitution. That makes it everyone's business.

Look, the ACA functions like the minimum wage. If employers paid less, the employees wouldn't be able to buy contraceptives (or abortions). Now the government requires that, in addition to a minimum salary, the employer pay a minimum amount for health insurance. The only relevant fact for the employer is the amount of money paid. The coverage offered is between the insurer and the employee.
   5885. Mefisto Posted: January 01, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4335816)
deal reached in the senate. goes to the house today:


Yet again, Obama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
   5886. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4335834)
Should it be mandatory for businesses run by Jehovah's witnesses to provide employee coverage for blood transfusions? Or for businesses run by Christian Scientists to offer non-faith-based medical coverage? Or for Scientologists to offer psychiatric care?


Yes, yes, and yes.

You can avoid almost all of this issue by going to a single-payer system.


Hell yes.

   5887. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4335835)
No. The government never protects the powerless; the proverbial invisible hand, on the other hand, does. The government is the thug/authoritarian.


I'm curious: when you say things that are this stupid, are you dumb enough to be convinced, or is it just a tenet of your faith?

David is to lawyers what Jane Fonda is to actresses. They both excel in supporting themselves with their work, but beyond that, the less said the better.
   5888. Lassus Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4335840)
Yet again, Obama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

I'd rather not agree with this, but I'm pretty sure I do.
   5889. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4335843)
Considering you are on record as believing black slaves prior to the civil war had no rights violated, that's rich.


You realize every time you say this it makes you looks more and more stupid, right?
   5890. GregD Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4335849)
deal reached in the senate. goes to the house today:
Harveys, do you still think the House is going to sit on it until after the Speaker election on Thursday? Or do you think that's now off the table and they will vote before then? If the markets crash on Wednesday because the House hasn't passed the bill, they are going to get a lot of criticism. (Ridiculous criticism since the government shouldn't operate for the short-term daily fluctuations of the market, but still.) Can Boehner both get this bill through and keep his job? If the House starts amending the bill, can anyone restrain them from amending it out of existence?

It is interesting to me that Cantor allowed King to split the Hurricane Sandy bill into two parts, so all Republicans could vote for the short-term relief, while the longer-term projects would be passed by a majority of Democrats with (presumably, King says, 30-40 Republicans.) That bodes something about being open to working with some majorities that have lots of Democrats plus a decent number of influential Republicans.
   5891. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4335850)
No. The government never protects the powerless; the proverbial invisible hand, on the other hand, does.


Good god almighty, David. It's not even necessary to construct a caricature when you drop in. You're a national treasure, just due to the way you make the underlying elements of the Randian stupidity so clear and evident to anyone outside of the cult. (This does, of course, put into normalized light your desire to defend the Koreshian cultists; all of you irrational rubes need to stick together in your combined, multipronged assault on reality, I suppose.)
   5892. Morty Causa Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4335851)
You realize every time you say this it makes you looks more and more stupid, right?

Yes, stuff like that is pathetically desperate. And they do it likes it's an addiction.
   5893. GregD Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4335860)
Yet again, Obama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

I'd rather not agree with this, but I'm pretty sure I do.
I am also tempted to agree with this but will say let's revisit in March. Walking the tax rate from 250k to 400k was mostly optics; it's not a huge amount of revenue. And the extension of unemployment was obviously important, and was something that had to be traded for, so I don't disagree with that. Setting the capital gains and estate tax rates was also important. I would have liked to keep the payroll tax cut another year for a bit more stimulus. But nothing was given up on Social Security.

If February comes, and the grand resolution of the sequester and the debt limit is something like chained CPI and some increase in revenues with some mild cuts, then it's a good deal.

If February comes, and it's trillions of cuts plus no new revenue plus continued threats of blowing up the credit any time they don't get 100% of their Santa's list, then it's a disaster.

The White House seems to think they can navigate the debt limit fight. Hope they're right.

I'm still interested in whether this House will pass it. Or the next one. Or any House at all.
   5894. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4335863)
This has already been talked about (I was at lunch), but explain to me what part of "follow the law when you have employees" violates their moral code? Are Catholics being forced to use contraception? Where in the moral code of Catholics does it say don't allow your employees access to health care?/quote]Like many non-religious people, you have a very cramped view of religion. It's not merely a matter of private personal belief to an observant person. Are Catholics being forced to use contraception? No, but they're being forced to buy contraception for other people. Since they regard the use of contraception as a sin, they're being forced to participate directly in a sin, which is itself a sin. A Jew is not merely forbidden from eating pork; he's forbidden from providing pork to another Jew.
And even if it is that terrible then stop engaging in the activity that is forcing you to break your moral code. If the codes for building a house are unacceptible and doing that break your moral code, then stop building houses.
And now we're back to that love-it-or-leave-it liberal line. If a contractor in the Jim Crow south were ordered to build all buildings with separate bathrooms, entrances, water fountains, etc. for black and white, and he protested on the grounds that segregation violated his religious beliefs, would your response have been, "Oh well. If you don't like it, shut down your business"?
   5895. tshipman Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4335869)
If February comes, and the grand resolution of the sequester and the debt limit is something like chained CPI and some increase in revenues with some mild cuts, then it's a good deal.

If February comes, and it's trillions of cuts plus no new revenue plus continued threats of blowing up the credit any time they don't get 100% of their Santa's list, then it's a disaster.

The White House seems to think they can navigate the debt limit fight. Hope they're right.


I would say that any deal made over the debt ceiling is a mistake. The official policy of POTUS has always been to not negotiate with terrorists for a reason. The nation's credit is too important to negotiate over. IMO, any negotiation that does not re-routinize the debt ceiling is a failure.

I'm still interested in whether this House will pass it. Or the next one. Or any House at all.


McConnell's too good a politician to get rolled like Boehner. It will pass the house.

   5896. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4335870)
greg

i think the speaker is working to explain to his guys that this will be the very last tax related measure that will be placed in front of them for a vote

the president got one chance to pass a tax related measure where house members 'might' vote without thinking their political careers might end.

the president won't get a second bite at that apple.

that's all i am sure about
   5897. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4335871)
Like many non-religious people, you have a very cramped view of religion. It's not merely a matter of private personal belief to an observant person. Are Catholics being forced to use contraception? No, but they're being forced to buy contraception for other people.


As a matter of Catholic teaching, it is not immoral or an ethical issue for the university or hospital to provide coverage that includes birth control options.
   5898. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4335872)
Unless an employee's religious tenet is that her employer should buy her birth control, her religious freedom is utterly unaffected.

Nonsense. It's the employee's money.
No, it isn't. Or, to explain this in small steps: when you say, "It's" the employee's money, the issue is what the "it" is. And the "it" is only what the employer has already given to the employee. The employer isn't giving her insurance that covers contraception, so such a policy was never the employee's to begin with. Limits on what insurance covers are inherent in the policy itself.
The employer isn't buying birth control (and management certainly isn't), the employee is. She's taking compensation in lieu of wages and using it for contraception. It's exactly the same as using wages.
She can't use a health care plan that doesn't cover contraception and use it for contraception. The compensation that the employer is willing to pay her does not involve anything that can be used to get contraception. It's a Kindle, not an iPad. It can't be used to buy things from the iTunes store, no matter how much she wants to. If the employer offers health insurance but not dental insurance as compensation, is it her money that she can take and use for dental care if she wishes? No, because that's not what's being given to her.

The insurance policy that the employer provides does not cover cosmetic surgery. Does that impinge on the employee's religious or economic freedom? Does it prevent her from using her compensation as she sees fit?
Her manager wants to prevent her from doing that, a clear violation of her religious (and market) freedom.
Her manager is not preventing her from doing anything. She is free to take her money and buy contraception with it. She is free to use contraception. I realize abortion and birth control are sacraments to the left, but nothing in this impacts her religious freedom in any way. Not giving someone an item that isn't against her religion does not prevent her from practicing her religion. A Jewish-owned business that does not serve ham in its company cafeteria does not impact on a Christian's religious freedom, even though the Christian is allowed to eat ham.
   5899. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4335875)
Every DMN post can be boiled down to: "tough titty".


edit...Happy New Year, DMN.
   5900. GregD Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4335876)
I would say that any deal made over the debt ceiling is a mistake. The official policy of POTUS has always been to not negotiate with terrorists for a reason. The nation's credit is too important to negotiate over. IMO, any negotiation that does not re-routinize the debt ceiling is a failure.


I am resigned to the debt limit fight being a fight. If one outcome is taking future fights off the table and making the debt limit a part of the budget bills, then I'd be happy with that. I don't see how it's not a fight this year, and doesn't involve some horse-trading.

McConnell's too good a politician to get rolled like Boehner. It will pass the house.
Does McConnell have influence over House members? Why would they listen to him if they won't listen to the guy they elected leader?

I think McConnell adroitly helped himself and his colleagues look reasonable. I have no idea whether anybody can do anything with the House unless Boehner and Cantor let a bill go to the floor with significant but perhaps not majority support among Republicans.
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