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Friday Talking Points [368] -- The Winnowing Process

[ Posted Friday, November 6th, 2015 – 17:44 PST ]

We're going to begin today with a definition, just because it's amusing to do so.

winnow vb -- 1 : to remove (as chaff from grain) by a current of air; also : to free (as grain) from waste in this manner  2 : to get rid of (something unwanted).

Yes, we have entered the winnowing phase of the Republican presidential primary process, as those two bastions of the liberal media -- Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal -- announce they're downsizing who will be allowed into the next televised debate. They are, by definition, getting rid of something unwanted -- in this case, Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee. They are freeing debate-watchers from wasting their time listening to either one. Even the kids' table debate got winnowed, bumping Lindsey Graham and George Pataki off the airwaves entirely. Maybe they can get together with Jim Gilmore in a bar somewhere, and watch it on the teevee. One can only imagine the drinking game they'd come up with.

The Republicans running for president started the week seemingly united against debate rules they didn't like. They wanted the debates baby-proofed, so there would be no sharp corners or electrical outlets threatening the precious candidates. They ended the week with two of the most conservative networks laying down the law, in true "only Nixon could go to China" fashion. What are the candidates going to complain about, after all? The "liberal media" of the freakin' Wall Street Journal and Fox? It is to laugh, no?

Personally, we're glad there will only be eight on the main stage, as we've been pointing out for a while now that there really are only six candidates with any realistic chance, at this stage. It's really hard to argue that Christie and Huckabee don't deserve to be on the stage but that Rand Paul and John Kasich do. All four are mired in the same below-five-percent swamp in the polling, and their trendlines are almost indistinguishable from each other's.

What we'd like to see, at this point, is the debate hosts dropping the whole kids' table debate altogether, since it is such a pointless exercise. Then set a hard bar at an average of four or five percent in the polling for inclusion to the main debate. This would leave the six candidates who have an actual shot at winning the nomination: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb! Bush, and Carly Fiorina. Fiorina's been plummeting in the polls of late, so she'd most likely be the next to go (if Bush didn't beat her to it). With six people on the stage, each would get a comfortable amount of time to make their case to the American people, or those who will be voting in Republican primaries, at any rate. But we do applaud the beginning of the winnowing process, because it's definitely time to start ignoring some of these candidates altogether. If they haven't convinced voters by now that they're worth supporting, it's doubtful they ever will.

Speaking of the winnowing process, a candidate dropped out from the Democratic nomination race, but you can certainly be forgiven for not knowing he was even running in the first place. Lawrence Lessig ended his quixotic campaign this week, after being informed that he wouldn't be invited to the next Democratic debate. Which means the Democratic field is officially down to three, and political writers won't have to add that extra clause: "Oh, and Larry Lessig's pretending to run, too" in all their articles. But the next Democratic debate looks to be shaping up to be a bigger battle than the last one, as the barbs both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are tossing at each other have gotten a lot sharper of late. Oh, and Martin O'Malley's still running (to be Hillary's veep choice), too.

We had an off-off-year election this week, and (as usual) progressives didn't do too well when there isn't a presidential race happening. Hey, that's what you get when your base doesn't bother to vote, right? We have no one to blame but ourselves, folks. There were a few silver linings in the results, including some good news on redistricting (which I wrote about earlier this week). The other good news, for the people of Michigan, is that the two adulterous legislators who were running to get their jobs back were both defeated. So that's something.

What else? We found out that the taxpayers shelled out at least $6.8 million dollars to professional sports teams to pretend they were patriotic. Only in America!

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Two senators stood out this week as worthy of at least an Honorable Mention. Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill to give everyone on Social Security a bonus check next year, since there will be no cost of living adjustment. She'd pay for it by cutting the tax break corporations get for shoveling millions at their CEOs. Of course, it'll never pass, but it sure sounds like a good idea, doesn't it?

Bernie Sanders also introduced legislation that is likely doomed to fail, but even so it represents a big step forward in the discussion about how to wind down the federal war on marijuana. Bernie's bill wouldn't just "reschedule" marijuana, it'd completely "deschedule" it -- and hand over responsibility to the federal department that it really should belong in, the folks over at Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Sooner or later, this is what has to logically happen. It's the only thing that makes any sense, now that over half the states have legalized medical marijuana and four have legalized recreational use. The people are leading on the issue, and Bernie Sanders is trying to get the federal government to follow. More power to him, although as we stated, we doubt it'll happen in this legislative session.

But the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week was President Barack Obama. After an excruciatingly long delay, today Obama announced he had rejected the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all. There were many reasons for doing so (ask any environmentalist, they'll tell you -- in chapter and verse), but the politics were always going to be dicey. Obama waited until the price of gasoline went down before doing so, which is not exactly a profile in courage or anything, but in the end he made the right decision.

Obama's delay also allowed him to announce his decision on the day the unemployment rate officially fell to five percent. This deflates the entire "we need the jobs!" argument, since the pipeline only would have created a handful of permanent positions (instead of the tens of thousands proponents like to claim). It's hard to make the "job-killing" claim when we're at the level that economists call "full employment." The Obama recovery didn't happen as fast as most would have liked, but it has finally brought us to this point. Exactly six years earlier, just after Obama had taken office, we saw the worst of the Great Recession when the rate topped 10 percent. Obama can now accurately claim that he cut the unemployment rate in half during his term in office.

So for both his long-awaited decision on Keystone XL and for hitting a big milestone on unemployment, Barack Obama is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week.

[Congratulate President Barack Obama via his White House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

We don't have anyone else to go with this week, so we're just going to hand the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week to Lawrence Lessig. He didn't personally disappoint us, but all the people who ponied up a total of a million bucks to watch him run must be at least a little disappointed in his early exit.

Lessig's campaign seemed to perfectly fit the description of "gadfly." He ran on a promise to pass one legislative package, and then immediately quit the office. Who in their right minds would have actually voted for that? He did back off this claim later, but it made no difference at all. His campaign was nothing more than a political science experiment gone awry, and six months from now nobody will even remember it (and that's being generous -- most people right now aren't even aware he was running).

So for all those donors who amassed Larry's million-dollar campaign chest, we are awarding Lawrence Lessig this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week. Better luck next time.

[We do not, as a rule, provide links to candidate websites, so you'll have to dig up Lawrence Lessig's contact information yourself if you'd like to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 368 (11/6/15)

This week, the political media turned their microscope upon Ben Carson, and the results so far have been pretty laughable. Carson's not really doing anything differently -- he's been out there saying nutty stuff for the entire campaign, in fact. But now that his poll numbers have topped Trump's, people are paying attention. Pop yourselves some popcorn, because this sideshow ain't over yet -- there are bound to be further revelations of the inner workings of Carson's brain, and it sure promises to be entertaining, from what we've so far learned.

Carson wanted to make news this week by releasing a rap ad (which is pretty awful, by rap standards) -- showing that he was boldly reaching out to both the youth vote and the African-American vote, two groups Republicans traditionally do very poorly in. But alas, the rap ad got buried in the "Did you hear what Ben said about this?" stories this week.

Carson's audience is pretty faith-based, so it'll be interesting to see what happens to his numbers after all the recent revelations. Redemption is big among this crowd, but bald-faced lies are not. So we'll see.

We did limit ourselves to only two talking points on the Ben Carson follies, although we probably could have come up with more. The rest are a mixed bag. As always, use responsibly!

 

1
   Full employment

Toot this horn as loud as you can.

"The unemployment rate is down to five percent, a figure most economists call 'full employment.' Six years ago, the rate was at ten percent. We added 271,000 jobs last month, quite a change from when Barack Obama took office and we were losing 800,000 jobs each month. Republicans have been slapping the label 'job-killing' on pretty much everything Obama has done, from the Affordable Care Act to the Keystone XL pipeline decision, but it certainly looks like all that job-killing never actually took place, doesn't it?"

 

2
   Makin' stuff up

This one is going to be fun to use, from now on.

"Ben Carson is taking time off from his presidential campaign to sell another one of his books. But while he's doing so, we're finding out that in previous books he pretty much just made a bunch of stuff up. When subjected to examination, it seems several stories he told just don't hold water. At the rate this is going, we're going to find out that he was really nothing more than a dentist, pretty soon."

 

3
   Pyramid scheme?

Hoo boy.

"It's not even just the stories he tells, what frightens me about Ben Carson is his downright bizarre beliefs. Have you heard what he thinks about the pyramids? That they weren't built as tombs but rather to store grain, because of his whacky interpretation of the Old Testament? Wow. Part of the job of president is to take expert advice from scientists and then act on it. Carson seems completely incapable of doing so, even on a subject that pretty much every scientist ever agrees upon. That is a truly scary thought, and it's why I think he's absolutely disqualified to be president."

 

4
   Anti-monopoly, not anti-weed

This is an important distinction to make, and it's actually a credit to the media because most of them pointed it out explicitly in their coverage (meaning we've come a long way already).

"Some are suggesting that the vote against recreational marijuana in Ohio is some sort of indication that legalization is moving too fast. Nothing could be further from the truth. The voters in Ohio were smart enough to reject ten business operations trying to write themselves a license to print money. This was the wrong way to go -- we don't want legalization to be hijacked by those who just want their own state-sanctioned monopoly or oligopoly. You watch what happens in 2016, when much better legalization initiatives will be on many states' ballots. The voters may want to end the War On Weed, but they also recognize a con job when they see it."

 

5
   Call it what it is

Kudos to Pelosi for paving the way on this one.

"Nancy Pelosi named the Democratic members to the committee being formed to demonize Planned Parenthood this week. But she's got a great point -- let's call it what it really is: The Select Committee To Attack Women's Health. That's the entire purpose and mission of the committee, so let's all just be honest when we refer to it from now on, OK?"

 

6
   Nice work if you can get it

A favorite subject for ridicule, at least in this column.

"I see the congressional schedules for next year are out, and it seems that the House will only be bothering to show up for work a paltry 111 days out of all of next year. In 2011, they worked for 175 days. In 2015, they managed to work 132 days. Next year? Down to 111 days. That is downright pathetic, folks. We're paying these slackers to show up for work, on average, for only two days out of the week for all of next year. Well, if they only want to work two days out of every five, how about we just cut their salaries by sixty percent? Seems only fair to me."

 

7
   Something in the HP water, perhaps?

This is just too, too funny.

"Carly Fiorina, after firing 30,000 people at Hewlett-Packard and leaving in disgrace, ran for the Senate the same year that Meg Whitman also ran for office in California. Both were soundly defeated, but now Meg's got Carly's old job. She's following in Fiorina's footsteps at HP, by announcing that 30,000 more workers needed to be fired. But even Meg Whitman's honest enough to admit that Carly is simply unqualified to be president, saying recently: 'I just think literally having some experience in politics is probably an important criteria for the highest office in the land.' If being the head of Hewlett-Packard is supposed to be such an impressive job, then maybe Carly should take Meg's advice to heart, and just drop out of the race. Her poll numbers are collapsing, so it'd be the perfect time for her to do so."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

53 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [368] -- The Winnowing Process”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    President Obama and Secretary Kerry know that they haven't prevented the extraction of more dirty oil from the Alberta tar sands nor even limited more Canadian crude from crossing the border. But, of course, that wasn't the point.

    The rejection of this relatively minor stretch of pipeline has a very direct and substantial impact on America's global leadership role with respect to mitigating the negative consequences of climate change. More importantly, allowing this pipeline, which has become a kind of litmus test on how serious you are about fighting climate change, would have diminished the seriousness with which the rest of the CO2 emitting world would take the US position on what to do about climate change.

    While the use of this new section of pipeline to distribute crude into the US may have negligible effects on the environment (and may arguably be a better and more environmentally-friendly method of crude transport than by rail or truck), if the US wishes to continue in its role as world leader on this issue then, politically speaking, it had to be rejected.

    And, though some may think that this decision has taken the pressure off our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, I would suggest the opposite. Now the pressure is full on as Trudeau prepares for next month's climate meeting in Paris. We shall see just how serious he and others are about taking action to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Basically, Obama had a choice...

    He could support American workers and the middle class...

    Or he could cave to the lobbyists and special interests and environmental whack-jobs.

    As per the norm, Obama screwed over everyday Americans in favor of special interests and lobbyists..

    The GOOD news is, it's going to be that much harder for Democrats to get elected in a year...

    So, there IS a silver lining... :D

    Michale

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    We shall see just how serious he and others are about taking action to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.

    And what makes you think that the human race has the capability to control the climate??

    Humans can't even control the weather and ya'all think they can control the planet's climate??

    And people call ME arrogant?? :D

    Michale

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    "But she's got a great point -- let's call it what it really is: The Select Committee To Attack Women's Health. That's the entire purpose and mission of the committee, so let's all just be honest when we refer to it from now on, OK?"

    OK, we can refer to it like that from now on...

    But, as long as we're being "honest", we'll start calling the Democrat Party, The Harvest Baby Parts For Fun And Profit Party

    I mean, if you want "truth" (as opposed to FACTS) in labeling.......

    Michale

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Ben Carson is taking time off from his presidential campaign to sell another one of his books. But while he's doing so, we're finding out that in previous books he pretty much just made a bunch of stuff up. When subjected to examination, it seems several stories he told just don't hold water. At the rate this is going, we're going to find out that he was really nothing more than a dentist, pretty soon."

    Considering how much BS has been PROVEN to be in Obama's books, do you REALLY want to go there??

    :D

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    And what makes you think that the human race has the capability to control the climate??

    Humans can't even control the weather and ya'all think they can control the planet's climate??

    And, please..

    Unless ya'all are ready to acknowledge ALL the science, not just the "science" that supports the Left Wingery agenda, don't even bother..

    Arguing with Flat-Earthers who only use cheery-picked "science" to prove the existence of their god is extremely time-consuming and annoying.. :D

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Arguing with Flat-Earthers who only use cheery-picked "science" to prove the existence of their god is extremely time-consuming and annoying.. :D

    As I am sure ya'all would readily agree with... :D

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, in Hillary news...

    Clinton Signed NDA Laying Out Criminal Penalties for Mishandling of Classified Info

    Dem presidential candidate and top aides signed NDAs warning against ‘negligent handling’ of classified information

    As the nation’s chief diplomat, Hillary Clinton was responsible for ascertaining whether information in her possession was classified and acknowledged that “negligent handling” of that information could jeopardize national security, according to a copy of an agreement she signed upon taking the job.

    A day after assuming office as secretary of state, Clinton signed a Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement that laid out criminal penalties for “any unauthorized disclosure” of classified information.
    http://freebeacon.com/politics/clinton-signed-nda-laying-out-criminal-penalties-for-mishandling-of-classified-info/

    The excuse that she didn't know it was classified intel is now completely and utterly moot..

    It was her JOB to know... And if she didn't know, it was her JOB to find out BEFORE she sent anything thru her private insecure bathroom closet email server...

    Hillary is going to jail....

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "Carson's audience is pretty faith-based"

    This is true. He says that he retreated to studying an ancient book of contradictory, sinister fairy-tales about a violent, tyrannical, irrational god thingy to reduce his impulse to attack people with knives and hammers. Such nonsense. It's a good thing that Trump is calling him out on his pack of lies since he's just going to keep stone-walling the media jackals. Some of the jackals were standing much too close to him last night - within hammer range. Very risky, but not as risky as giving an impulsive, apocalyptic fanatic like Carson access to nukes.

  10. [10] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "today Obama announced he had rejected the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all"
    "Obama waited until the price of gasoline went down before doing so"

    According to media reports, TransCanada had asked the U.S. government to suspend its permit application on Monday.

  11. [11] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    This was fun to watch. I really thought that Billo was going to shout Benghazi!™ at that hack.

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4600724969001/an-attack-on-killing-reagan/?#sp=show-clips

  12. [12] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    Thanks for convincing the powers that be to limit the number of candidates in the upcoming debate.
    Excellent work that.

    Now, as there have been calls from the Repubs to focus on substance, let's hope the debate actually does so, because Americans deserve to know that Repub candidates have none.

    As for Carson, I think another definition deserves to be included in your post.

    Faith- belief that is not based on proof

    So, your predictions about Carson's support falling among the faith-based community may be a tad optimistic. By definition, his false assertions may have little effect in their beliefs about him.

    Can't say I'm on board with your use and acceptance of a 5% unemployment rate being considered "full employment"... despite the fact that "most economists" agree.
    The concept has establishment fingerprints all over it... in other words, political cover for changing monetary policies in a manner that will make it much harder for the millions who remain unemployed to get jobs.

    Try going to a job fair or unemployment office and asserting that we're at "full employment".
    The term is downright Orwellian... and offensive to everyone seeking work.
    Likewise, you'd find a similar reaction, if not worse, among the minority populations and age groups whose official unemployment numbers aren't anywhere near 5%.

    Maybe consider including one of those "claims are not meant to be factual" qualifiers that Repub congresscritter made famous...

    ... or at least some mention of how the "reasoning" of economists can distort reality and commonly accepted definitions like "full" when it comes to employment.

    A

  13. [13] 
    altohone wrote:

    Oh Micha

    How can you continue to deny you are a wingnut?
    Comments 2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8 make it plain as day.

    Come out of the closet already.
    Be honest and true to yourself and others.

    Of course, you did manage a little attempt at changing the subject trollery too.

    Why can't you admit that registering as an independent had no effect on who you are?

    No sense in pretending that personal change can be accomplished by filling out and submitting a form.

    A

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    How can you continue to deny you are a wingnut?

    Thank you for your concession that you have no logical or rational response and must therefore resort to childish personal attacks and immature name-calling..

    Your concession of my superiority is appreciated, albeit irrelevant..

    I see you haven't found yer little blue pill yet, eh? :D

    Michale

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Can't say I'm on board with your use and acceptance of a 5% unemployment rate being considered "full employment"... despite the fact that "most economists" agree.
    The concept has establishment fingerprints all over it... in other words, political cover for changing monetary policies in a manner that will make it much harder for the millions who remain unemployed to get jobs.

    Try going to a job fair or unemployment office and asserting that we're at "full employment".
    The term is downright Orwellian... and offensive to everyone seeking work.
    Likewise, you'd find a similar reaction, if not worse, among the minority populations and age groups whose official unemployment numbers aren't anywhere near 5%.

    Gotta agree with Biga on this one..

    Mainly because I have been saying the EXACT same thing for months now....

    Cherry picked employment data does not reality make... :D

    Michale

  16. [16] 
    altohone wrote:

    Micha

    I was only responding to the nature not the content your comments, so your cut and paste projection is once again off topic... not to mention dishonest and delusional.

    And, you may have noticed that personal attacks are a violation of the comment policy here.
    Since my comments get posted, you should consider that my description of your wingnuttery and trollery is simply factual.

    Stating the obvious about your political ideology and dishonest tactics is all you will get, as I don't feed trolls or debate liars.

    Likewise, your mischaracterization of my comment about employment is bizarre... as it is completely unrelated to what you have written in the past beyond the general topic of unemployment.

    Your right wing selectivity as a defense of your fellow partisan wingnuts is establishmentarian to the core, and clearly contradicts the anti-establishment gist of what my comment was about.

    I have no problem with you agreeing with me, but don't claim your interpretation is at all comparable. The corporatists in both parties use the same methodology for unemployment, and the same reality twisting definition, so your "agreement" is nonsense as written, and you clearly failed to comprehend my words... and the effort to claim validation for your wingnuttery is pathetic as I did no such thing.

    A

  17. [17] 
    dsws wrote:

    Our congress-critters are wasting 111 days of the year on the formalities of being in session? Outrageous. They should be spending much more of their time in their offices, drafting legislation and communicating with constituents and experts. The ceremonial nonsense on the floor of the chambers should only take a couple days per month.

  18. [18] 
    rdnewman wrote:

    @altohone [#12], @Michale [#15]

    Just to be clear, "full employment" in this context is actually short for the macroeconomic statement "the lowest unemployment that can exist before inflation becomes likely". The usual Fed estimation of that "ideal employment rate" is generally between 5% and 5.2% based on historical results.

    Because it's a macroeconomic figure based on national statistics, it clearly doesn't take into account that some geographic areas of course vary and there are still structural employment disparities (and always are of some sort). For instance, technology workers with college degrees are certainly at much lower than 5% unemployment rate while those over 50 years old or under 21 years old and no high-school diploma are likely quite a bit higher than 5%.

    There is also some "necessary" unemployment as people voluntarily switch careers and employers and companies open and close -- if the unemployment rate is too low, that suggests that it may be hard to people and companies to make changes that might otherwise be desirable. When unemployment rates are too low, then a kind of "friction" develops (so called "frictional unemployment")

    Since its the one place that politics can enter what is referred to as "full employment", it's certainly fair to question unemployment rate calculation methodologies as well underemployment rates and discouraged worker rates and how these correspond with anecdotally observable unemployment. Still, if people aren't applying for the jobs that employers want to fill for whatever reasons, then wage rates are nonetheless under pressure, potentially triggering inflation and so fulfilling the definition of what is meant by the macroeconomic definition of "full employment."

    One could be forgiven for thinking that pressure for employers to increase wages is a good thing, but it doesn't take long for that to translate into higher prices for everything. That's why keeping wage pressure controlled at a lower level is generally considered a Good Thing by a Fed that's tasked with limiting inflation in its charter.

    It would probably be a less misleading phrase to say "macroeconomically ideal unemployment rate" than "full employment" but that's really what is meant.

    Of course, all of this is scant comfort if you're among the people that want to find a job in your chosen location and profession and are unable to...

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, you may have noticed that personal attacks are a violation of the comment policy here.
    Since my comments get posted, you should consider that my description of your wingnuttery and trollery is simply factual.

    BBWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Now THAT was funny!! :D

    Thanx for that.. :D

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    RD,

    Of course, all of this is scant comfort if you're among the people that want to find a job in your chosen location and profession and are unable to...

    Exactly...

    My point has always been that there are several economic factors that are usually prevalent when politicizing the issue..

    More specifically, when the unemployment rate has risen the Democrats would tout the number of jobs created or the numbers of actual unemployed has gone done etc etc..

    When the number of jobs created has gone down, the Democrats would tout that the unemployment rate is actually better..

    That's what I mean by "cherry picking" the data...

    It's all nothing but spin...

    As you said, there are still millions and millions of Americans who are unemployed and under-employed..

    The REAL fact is that, if you ask Joe or Jane Sixpack if their lives are any better under Obama and the Democrats, you will get a very big resounding "NO"..

    I don't begrudge Democrats their spin.. Republicans do it too...

    But lets not kid ourselves and pretend it's actually indicative of anything beyond partisan spin..

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:
  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    I have no problem with you agreeing with me,

    Yea... It shows.... :D

    Yer just like JFC... Ya'all don't care, and ya'all go to great lengths and long abundant comments to show everyone how MUCH ya'all "don't care".... :D

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    On the Iran front..

    Obama held hostage: How Iran’s using the nuke deal as license to go wild
    http://nypost.com/2015/11/07/obama-held-hostage-how-irans-using-the-nuke-deal-as-license-to-go-wild/

    Who could have POSSIBLY thought that the religious fanatics of Iran would use America's tacit endorsement and approval of Iran's activities to go hog wild..

    Oh.... wait.....

    Michale

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:


    Makin' stuff up

    This one is going to be fun to use, from now on.

    "Ben Carson is taking time off from his presidential campaign to sell another one of his books. But while he's doing so, we're finding out that in previous books he pretty much just made a bunch of stuff up. When subjected to examination, it seems several stories he told just don't hold water. At the rate this is going, we're going to find out that he was really nothing more than a dentist, pretty soon."

    Speaking of "making stuff up"...

    Politico Admits Fabricating A Hit Piece On Ben Carson
    Politico's editorial staff on Friday conceded that entire basis of attack on Carson was invented out of whole cloth.

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/11/06/politico-admits-fabricating-a-hit-piece-on-ben-carson/

    It's funny to see the Left jump all over ANY BS claim that comes down the pipe about Republicans, but completely ignore the very real FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton...

    :D

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:
  26. [26] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hi rdnewman

    Thanks for the translation... with all the usual justifications, but also some of the caveats and exceptions that are usually swept under the rug.

    Funny how wages get the focus by the corporatists, eh?

    All those problems with inflation, here and abroad, historical and present... too many people working and getting paid too much.

    Who would have guessed?
    Sort of puts Orwell to shame.

    "Macroeconomically ideal" for who again?

    All those factories were shipped to China because "people weren't applying for the jobs employers want to fill"?

    Yeah, capital squeezing out an extra nickel is "desirable" and therefore it's "necessary" for all those people to be unemployed.

    I particularly like the "for whatever reason" part... it fits nicely with the "structural" term among others, so economists and politicians don't have to get into the ugly details about who exactly is being left out of the great American dream and why.

    Just to be clear rdnewman, it's the message not the messenger I'm railing against. I'm well aware that what you wrote is basically straight out of the textbooks written by and for THEM. And it's not really the economics either, it's the application and execution that abuses and pervert the economics under political cover.

    It's completely ridiculous that political inaction about the problems we face has left monetary policy as the only tool left available, but since that is the reality, the needs of the masses should come first. Particularly since we are talking about future potential risk of inflation, not current, actual inflation.
    Throw in the underemployment, discouraged, and workforce participation rate numbers, and there seems to be ample reason to be careful about tapping the breaks right now.

    A

  27. [27] 
    altohone wrote:

    Micha

    There is absolutely nothing funny about your right wing ideology or the tactics you use to "defend" it.

    You're laughing with yourself.

    And, for the record, your partisan attack shtick that ends with "Republicans do it too" just shows your hopeless flailing while missing the forest for the trees. A wingnut partisan hack doesn't regain credibility by straddling the fence... just another blow to the family jewels.

    And don't think I didn't notice how you wimped out yet again when I called you out on your unemployment nonsense.
    Typical troll.
    You can't even admit you were wrong for agreeing with me when I pointed out we were talking about two different things.
    Such a simple admission with no impact on your... whatever it is you think you accomplish here... and you couldn't even bring yourself to be honest just once.
    You've truly internalized the essence of trollery.

    A

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    Thank you for your concession that you have no logical or rational response and must therefore resort to childish personal attacks and immature name-calling.

    Your concession of my superiority is appreciated, albeit irrelevant.

    People like you have come and gone around here, Biga..

    No debate, no argument, just immaturity and childish-ness..

    I have outlasted them all..

    I will outlast you as well..

    But hay... Thanx for playing.. :D

    Michale

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    You're laughing with yourself.

    And, just for the record, since you appear to have a reading comprehension problem, let me dumb it down for you...

    "If you dumb it down any more, I'm going to punch you!"
    -Lt Col John Shepard, STARGATE: ATLANTIS

    :D

    I was laughing at you and the utter inanity of you, ONCE AGAIN, trying to interpret, influence and/or have a say in the commenting policies here in Weigantia...

    It's frakin' hilarious! :D

    Michale

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    And turning to one of MY favorite topics.. :D

    Democrats Asked for Obamacare but Now Try to Duck Out of Paying for It
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/426748/obamacare-cadillac-tax-democrats-unions-harry-reid-nancy-pelosi

    Who knew that TrainWreckCare would be such an apt name for it..

    Oh.... wait..... :D

    It's funny.. No one wants to talk about TrainWreckCare anymore..

    "Gee, I wonder why that is??!!"
    -Kevin Spacey, THE NEGOTIATOR

    :D

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    And turning to one of MY favorite topics.. :D

    Democrats Asked for Obamacare but Now Try to Duck Out of Paying for It

    Who knew that TrainWreckCare would be such an apt name for it..

    Oh.... wait..... :D

    It's funny.. No one wants to talk about TrainWreckCare anymore..

    "Gee, I wonder why that is??!!"
    -Kevin Spacey, THE NEGOTIATOR

    :D

    Michale

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, in honor of the upcoming Global Warming....er... I mean Climate Change... oh wait.. It's Climate Disruption now... conference in Paris, a conference that is being billed as the "LAST CHANCE TO SAVE THE PLANET" by politicians and scientists alike (which in this issue, there is no difference)...

    In honor of all that, I felt it fitting to review all the other "Last CHANCE!!!"es we have endured over the years..

    =======================

    Last chance! – Bonn, 2001
    Oh my gods, the sky is falling!!! This is our "LAST CHANCE"!!!!

    Last chance! – Montreal, 2005
    HOLY PLANETARY DESTRUCTION, Batman!!! This is REALLY our "LAST CHANCE" to prevent the end of the planet!!

    Last chance! – Bali, 2007
    HOLY CRAP!!! This is REALLY REALLY the last chance to save humanity!!!

    Last chance! – Copenhagen, 2009
    Oh dear!! This is really, really, REALLY, REALLY the last chance before the planet dies... REALLY!!!

    Last chance! – Doha, 2012
    Come'on guys!! OK OK.. This is REALLY the REALLY FINAL last chance to save the planet.. Truly...

    Last chance! – Lima, 2014
    Are you shitting me!!?? Com'on.. NO ONE is going to be stupid enough to fall for this crap again!!! Oh aww right... People, this is really the last chance... Do nothing now and we all are going to die... Truly... They mean it this time..

    Last chance! – Paris, 2015
    OK, you people are royally nucking futz!! How many times are you people going to play Chicken Little!? Fine, I know you are paying me... So, here goes... Hi everyone. The world will end (yaaawwwnnnn) unless we do something.. (burrrppp) ANYTHING... There, I did my schtick, give me my paycheck..

    ==================================

    So ends the history of the Global Warming.... I mean Climate Change... Oooopss Climate Disruption religion...

    And all of this begs the question...

    Since Paris is the absolute one and only truly and really "Last Chance"......

    Does that mean AFTER this, the Global Warming fanatics will SHUT UP about it!!???

    "If only.... If only...."
    -Hades, HERCULES

    The Hysterical Left sounds like those preacher whack-jobs who are always predicting the end of the world..

    Funny story about that...

    I have a computer repair shop at a local flea market.. This one group of religious whack-jobs had a booth at the flea market.. They were preaching the end of the world is 2 months away or something like that... One of the guys came in and bought a laptop from me.. Normally, I give a one year warranty on all my laptops... But, tongue in cheek, I told the guy that I would only give him a 2 month warranty.. We haggled for a bit and finally settled on a 6 month warranty... He left, very happy with his purchase.. It was all I could do to keep a straight face...

    True story... :D

    Anyways, I am sure that we are going to have to endure yearly "Last Chance" conferences, because it's not about climate or saving the planet..

    It's all about the money, the power and the control...

    And anyone who follows this hokey religion is part of the problem.. NOT part of the solution...

    Michale

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    The rejection of this relatively minor stretch of pipeline has a very direct and substantial impact on America's global leadership role with respect to mitigating the negative consequences of climate change. More importantly, allowing this pipeline, which has become a kind of litmus test on how serious you are about fighting climate change, would have diminished the seriousness with which the rest of the CO2 emitting world would take the US position on what to do about climate change.

    I had a doozy of a response to this, Liz.. Unfortunately, the NNL filters kicked in.. :D

    CW, would ya mind?? :D

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I can't even imagine ...

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    :D You'll like it.. It's hilarious!! :D

    Michale

  36. [36] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Speaking of the winnowing process, the Prediction Markets have been busy, lustily puffing Republican chaff into their cruel "not gonna happen" bucket.

    The latest order, with theatrically themed comments is:

    1: Rubio, probability of securing nomination about 38%

    Rubio, oh Rubio, say have you met Rubio?
    Rubio the top dog laddie?
    He has features the markets adore so
    And he's moving up ever more so.

    Rubio oh Rubio, that encyclopedio
    Rubio the unsung top dog
    Jeb! has met his Waterloo
    On the Wreck of the Hesperus 2!

    2: Trump, volatile (what else), but lately 15-20% and trending up. A BIG SNL spike!

    3: Cruz, 10% lately volatile, but quietly accelerating (mostly) upwards the past few months. Musical adaptation of The Little Engine That Could, chugging up that big nomination hill..McCarthy McCarthy McCarthy.

    4: Jeb!, 9% See Rubio. The musical some wags have dubbed The Man From Who Wants Ya.

    5: Carson 5% Unlicensed touring production of Godspell. The Jesus character forgets his lyrics and just wings it.

    6: Christie 3% "You New Jersey audiences are the greatest"

    This has been a Remora Production, a commensal attachment to CW.com

  37. [37] 
    rdnewman wrote:

    @altohone [#26]

    Particularly since we are talking about future potential risk of inflation, not current, actual inflation.
    Throw in the underemployment, discouraged, and workforce participation rate numbers, and there seems to be ample reason to be careful about tapping the breaks right now.

    I agree, there's even evidence to suggest that the usual ~5% marker for what is referred to as "full employment" could actually be moved lower (for instance, see the 1990s).

    The only way to know that is empirically -- that is, don't tap the brakes and wait for inflationary pressures to rise. If the definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, there could be an argument that "full employment" could be defined as a two consecutive quarters of rising inflation (i.e., not just positive inflation, but going up) and that that inflation is because of raising wage pressures.

    I'm not enough of an amateur economist to know how much that POV might be considered, but really the management should be more empirical and reactionary than simply getting in front of some historical marker.

    I can appreciate that someone minding the boiler room wants to back the pressure off before crosses thresholds and becomes hard to lower, but at the same time, one needs to get a head of steam going (not sure if that's a mixed metaphor...).

    So, with regard to the point you raised that I quoted above, I agree with you. Let the wage pressures form and labor shortages occur more before "tapping the brakes" -- prove the "full employment" line is there empirically before acting. Nonetheless, even 2 or 3% won't likely address the kind of stubborn unemployment that occurs because some positions just aren't in as much demand as they used to be.

    Where I disagree with many people that vote D, is that I'm sympathetic with free trade agreements. For instance, I generally perceive NAFTA in a positive light and was open to TPP in principle (I haven't examined its terms with any rigor). In general, I know there are downsides but there are also substantial upsides assuming that the manufacturing, labor, and export environments can move toward comparable landscapes among the trading nations involved. Not that they must be comparable or similar before the agreement is in force but rather I expect that having such agreements active will promote more similarity and progress in economic contexts over time.

    Further, I explicitly do not mind that some of our workers may experience worse employment because of such agreements -- creating competitive pressures for us to respond to is a net positive (for instance, education anyone?). But that's because I also have faith that pressure will be placed on other participating nations to have to reform and improve their labor and governance practices over time in ways that are unlikely without such agreements in place.

    What I'm about to write will take us further afield from the original employment discussion, but is tangentially relevant (as are most things in economics)...

    One of the things that the US must address is the income equality problem not simply for ethical fairness of some egalitarian standard, but because of economic prosperity regardless of political and philosophical outlook. The amount of waste in our economy because, for instance, single minority women have to spend additional hours arranging health care and child care JUST BECAUSE of poverty-level incomes instead of going to school or starting businesses is an economic drag and holds us all back. The fact that we incarcerate at some of the highest rates in the developed world is a huge drag on our economy.

    Being in trade agreements where we are open to competition from other countries to step up our capacity will, over time, put economic pressure on us to do better in ways that I am hopeful will improve all of our lot and not just the proverbial 1%. And, at least in principle, I consider global free trade agreements consistent with a liberal economic POV even if today's labor unions stridently disagree with that.

    And before someone decides to debate the merits of the TPP with me: I haven't read it in anywhere close enough detail to know if it fits my more theoretical general perspective on free trade agreements. All I can say is that in general, I'm glad we pursued a new free trade agreement.

    So it's not that I consider those worker populations forced to undergo more unemployment rates as some kind of acceptable economic casualties (some sort of "there but for the grace of God..." attitude), but rather that free trade agreements have a strong potential to create and maintain pressures for the sort of creative destruction necessary for more expansive prosperity.

  38. [38] 
    rdnewman wrote:

    @altohone [#26]

    Particularly since we are talking about future potential risk of inflation, not current, actual inflation.
    Throw in the underemployment, discouraged, and workforce participation rate numbers, and there seems to be ample reason to be careful about tapping the breaks right now.

    I agree, there's even evidence to suggest that the usual ~5% marker for what is referred to as "full employment" could actually be moved lower (for instance, see the 1990s).

    The only way to know that is empirically -- that is, don't tap the brakes and wait for inflationary pressures to rise. If the definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, there could be an argument that "full employment" could be defined as a two consecutive quarters of rising inflation (i.e., not just positive inflation, but going up) and that that inflation is because of raising wage pressures.

    I'm not enough of an amateur economist to know how much that POV might be considered, but really the management should be more empirical and reactionary than simply getting in front of some historical marker.

    I can appreciate that someone minding the boiler room wants to back the pressure off before crosses thresholds and becomes hard to lower, but at the same time, one needs to get a head of steam going (not sure if that's a mixed metaphor...).

    So, with regard to the point you raised that I quoted above, I agree with you. Let the wage pressures form and labor shortages occur more before "tapping the brakes" -- prove the "full employment" line is there empirically before acting. Nonetheless, even 2 or 3% won't likely address the kind of stubborn unemployment that occurs because some positions just aren't in as much demand as they used to be.

    What I'm about to write will take us further afield from the original employment discussion, but is tangentially relevant (as are most things in economics)...

    Where I disagree with many people that vote D, is that I'm sympathetic with free trade agreements. For instance, I generally perceive NAFTA in a positive light and was open to TPP in principle (I haven't examined its terms with any rigor). In general, I know there are downsides but there are also substantial upsides assuming that the manufacturing, labor, and export environments can move toward comparable landscapes among the trading nations involved. Not that they must be comparable or similar before the agreement is in force but rather I expect that having such agreements active will promote more similarity and progress in economic contexts over time.

    Further, I explicitly do not mind that some of our workers may experience worse employment because of such agreements -- creating competitive pressures for us to respond to is a net positive (for instance, education anyone?). But that's because I also have faith that pressure will be placed on other participating nations to have to reform and improve their labor and governance practices over time in ways that are unlikely without such agreements in place.

    One of the things that the US must address is the income equality problem not simply for ethical fairness of some egalitarian standard, but because of economic prosperity regardless of political and philosophical outlook. The amount of waste in our economy because, for instance, single minority women have to spend additional hours arranging health care and child care JUST BECAUSE of poverty-level incomes instead of going to school or starting businesses is an economic drag and holds us all back. The fact that we incarcerate at some of the highest rates in the developed world is a huge drag on our economy.

    Being in trade agreements where we are open to competition from other countries to step up our capacity will, over time, put economic pressure on us to do better in ways that I am hopeful will improve all of our lot and not just the proverbial 1%. And, at least in principle, I consider global free trade agreements consistent with a liberal economic POV even if today's labor unions stridently disagree with that.

    And before someone decides to debate the merits of the TPP with me: I haven't read it in anywhere close enough detail to know if it fits my more theoretical general perspective on free trade agreements. All I can say is that in general, I'm glad we pursued a new free trade agreement.

    So it's not that I consider those worker populations forced to undergo more unemployment rates as some kind of acceptable economic casualties (some sort of "there but for the grace of God..." attitude), but rather that free trade agreements have a strong potential to create and maintain pressures for the sort of creative destruction necessary for more expansive prosperity.

    Good grief, I do ramble on...sorry.

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Brag about the "Blue Wall" and your Electoral College advantage all ya want, people..

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/11/hillary_clinton_s_candidacy_doesn_t_have_democrats_excited_president_obama.html

    But if yer people aren't excited about the criminal Queen Bee, then 2016 will be a replay of 2014....

    Michale

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    Good grief, I do ramble on...sorry.

    Twice, even... :D

    J/K couldn't resist... :D

    Michale

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    The New Intolerance of Student Activism
    A fight over Halloween costumes at Yale has devolved into an effort to censor dissenting views.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/the-new-intolerance-of-student-activism-at-yale/414810/

    Very interesting article...

    It's long, but well worth the read..

    It's a fine expose on the Political Correctness that is making American life a living hell...

    Somewhere along the line, the Left Wingery has decided that they have a RIGHT never to be offended by anything. And anyone who DOES "offend" must be destroyed.. Completely and utterly destroyed..

    It's a sad country we live in..

    Not because of the alleged "evil" or "greed" from the Right..

    But because of the complete and utter intolerance from the Left...

    Michale

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obama loses again..

    Appeals court rejects Obama plan to shield 5 million illegals from deportation
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/9/obama-plan-shield-millions-deportation-rejected-ap/?page=1

    Mr President, what part of "NO" do you not understand???

    You are NOT allowed to mint millions of fresh new Democrat voters..

    It's not allowed...

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    Thanx for rescuing that comment from NNL, CW.. :D

    Michale

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Joshua,

    As an educator, I would be very interested in your opinion of the article mentioned in comment #41..

    Am I truly off base to think how whacked some of these want-to-be-coddled "students" are??

    Michale

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    CONGRESS OKS BILL BANNING GUANTANAMO DETAINEES FROM US
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CONGRESS_DEFENSE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-11-10-13-29-57

    Now we'll see what's more important to Obama and the Democrat Party...

    The safety and security of the country??

    Or their own partisan agenda..

    And I am SURE ya'all will jump right in with the claims of "hostage taking" directed at Obama and the Democrat Party.... Right?? :^/

    "In a pig's eye!"
    -Dr Leonard McCoy, STAR TREK, Amok Time

    :D

    Michale

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Wooops... I stand corrected..

    Obama is NOT going to be able to take hostages...

    Because the legislation has a VETO-PROOF majority!!!

    hehehehehehehehehehe

    SUCK IT, Obama!!!! :D

    {{deep breath}}

    OK, OK.. I got that out of my system...

    Michale

  47. [47] 
    altohone wrote:

    Wow Micha

    So, let me try to explain it for you.
    In reference to your response to comment 12...

    I said the sky was blue.

    In a desperate quest for validation, your response was-

    "I agree, the sky is green.
    That's what I've been saying all along."

    So, no, I don't have a problem with you agreeing with me... but you weren't agreeing with me.

    You misunderstood the English.
    You read what you wanted to read, instead of what was written.

    Then you misunderstood a simple comparison of reality to the policy here (#29), that exposes your claims to be false, as wanting to change the policy... so as much as you want to laugh at me, you are just laughing at what you want to believe, rather than the truth... in other words, at yourself.

    So, to take a page out of your book...

    ... I agree with you. Your reading comprehension skills really blow. I'm glad even a wingnut troll such as yourself can admit it finally.

  48. [48] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hi rdnewman

    Thanks for your response.

    Always nice to find some agreement with others.

    As for the rest of your comment, in theory, I agree with you mostly, but in practice our free trade agreements have been hijacked as vehicles to impose regulations favorable to certain corporate interests and as vehicles for corporate interests to avoid existing regulations.

    These clauses that allow for extrajudicial "arbitration" for corporations by lawyers with inherent conflicts of interest to demand damages for regulations that have been deemed desirable through the democratic process are particularly offensive.

    I also have issues with the notion that the race to the bottom in wage competition internationally has created net positives for our economy, rather than just the 1%.
    Sure, helping other countries expand their economies will likely in the long run create opportunities for more trade and better jobs here, but the disruption is not being offset currently.

    Right now, a handful are getting better jobs while millions are left twisting in the wind...

    ... and not only are the affected Americans not getting assistance in retraining and education, the offshoring has been corrupted by crony capitalism (not fair competition) with tax benefits and other subsidies.

    The free trade benefits of the TPP in particular were kind of a joke from the beginning because the tariffs imposed by the 12 countries were negligible already.

    Getting away from American interests, I have moral qualms with forcing our patent system on poor countries... particularly in regards to prescription drugs (movies, books and software aren't necessities).
    If drug prices in our trading partner countries are forced higher, with the exclusion of competition from drugs from India for example, many people will lose access, many will suffer, and many will die needlessly.

    If you look at the effect of NAFTA, farmers in Mexico were devastated by the competition with subsidized American corporate agribusiness.

    So, I think we need to consider the effects more carefully, because the acceptable disruptions (according to those writing these pacts) are not in line with American values.

    I also have doubts about your faith in pressure being applied on economic, labor and environmental reforms by our trading partners. We not only get a lot of lip service in that area, we're also getting currency manipulation going unchallenged and other shenanigans to prevent the desired effects from occurring... with no small amount of complicity and profit by and for a small segment of Americans.

    A

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    I said the sky was blue.

    In a desperate quest for validation, your response was-

    "I agree, the sky is green.
    That's what I've been saying all along."

    Talk about re-writing recent history.. :D

    Suffice it to say that I have been saying the EXACT same thing you have said regarding employment figures..

    The only difference is, I have been saying it for years as anyone here can attest to..

    You have only been saying it for a couple weeks.. :D

    I'm glad even a wingnut troll such as yourself can admit it finally.

    Thank you for your concession that you have no logical or rational response to my position and must, therefore, resort to immature personal attacks and childish name-calling.

    Your concession of my superior argument is appreciated, albeit not really relevant to anything save your own damaged and disturbed ego..

    :D Have a happy... :D

    Michale

  50. [50] 
    rdnewman wrote:

    @altohone [#48]

    Thanks for detailing some of your objections to TPP (and NAFTA). I'll pay more attention to/research the specific points you've made so that I'm not just naively believing "it'll all work out someday"...

    Principle and theory is fine, but as you say, it's the practice that matters.

    Richard

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Mizzou Student Body President Issues Warning on ‘Confirmed’ KKK Presence on Campus — Amid Online Panic, the Truth Emerges
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/11/11/mizzou-student-body-president-issues-warning-on-confirmed-kkk-presence-on-campus-amid-online-panic-the-truth-emerges/

    Once again, this shows the wisdom of taking *EACH* and *EVERY* claim/accusation of racism with a HUGE grain of salt...

    The problem is that the majority of "racism" claims are made by people with an agenda and a vested, often FINANCIAL interest in perpetuating the racism myth and rumor...

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    altohone wrote:

    Sorry Micha

    Either your memory problems are coming back or you are too lazy or dishonest to recognize that we were addressing different aspects of the unemployment numbers.

    Go seek false validation from someone else.

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    Go seek false validation from someone else.

    Does that mean you'll start REALLY ignoring me now?? :D

    Michale

Comments for this article are closed.