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Old 02-24-2013, 07:03 AM   #126
Charles Kozierok
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The real root of the problem is the American people, who deal with the federal budget deficit the same way they deal with their waistlines:

1. Live a sedentary lifestyle.
2. Behave like gluttons.
3. When they get fat, refused to change either #1 or #2 because that requires work, and instead look for magic pills, too-good-to-be-true diets, and people to blame.

We spend too much -- on everything. We don't take in enough tax dollars. But nobody wants their spending cut or their taxes raised.

As the old joke goes: "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree".

In a couple of generations, we've gone from people who accepted rationing of even basics like sugar and butter, to a bunch of whiny brats who scream that the world is going to end because their bloated military and/or non-military programs are being trimmed by what, 3%?

Americans get the government they deserve. And they have.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:30 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by Charles Kozierok View Post
The real root of the problem is the American people, who deal with the federal budget deficit the same way they deal with their waistlines:

1. Live a sedentary lifestyle.
2. Behave like gluttons.
3. When they get fat, refused to change either #1 or #2 because that requires work, and instead look for magic pills, too-good-to-be-true diets, and people to blame.

We spend too much -- on everything. We don't take in enough tax dollars. But nobody wants their spending cut or their taxes raised.

As the old joke goes: "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree".

In a couple of generations, we've gone from people who accepted rationing of even basics like sugar and butter, to a bunch of whiny brats who scream that the world is going to end because their bloated military and/or non-military programs are being trimmed by what, 3%?

Americans get the government they deserve. And they have.
Although a point of note is that in the present economic climate, trimming spending even 3% is a really bad idea.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:45 AM   #128
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Although a point of note is that in the present economic climate, trimming spending even 3% is a really bad idea.
I used to agree, but no longer.

I think a quick, sharp slap to the side of the head is exactly what this country needs right now.

Yes, the economy will suffer. I've been suffering from it for years. But something needs to change, and nothing will until the people of this country wake up, even a little bit.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:03 AM   #129
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I used to agree, but no longer.

I think a quick, sharp slap to the side of the head is exactly what this country needs right now.

Yes, the economy will suffer. I've been suffering from it for years. But something needs to change, and nothing will until the people of this country wake up, even a little bit.
On what economic basis are you making this judgment? Are you saying that the country needs to feel righteous pain in order to change our behavior? If so, on what basis do you think this will be effective and what policy changes do you expect to see from it?

These sorts of ideas feel good emotionally, but are exceptionally foolish economically.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:18 AM   #130
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I think a quick, sharp slap to the side of the head is exactly what this country needs right now.
Anecdotes about what to do to a recalcitrant individual are poor examples to live by when running a country.

Taking an axe to the federal budget is a poor way to fix any spending problem.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:22 AM   #131
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Anecdotes about what to do to a recalcitrant individual are poor examples to live by when running a country.

Taking an axe to the federal budget is a poor way to fix any spending problem.
Yes, attempting to punish an economy the way you punish a bad kid is some of the same thinking that has screwed Europe over so heartily.

There's no excuse for letting your emotions cloud good public policy.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:23 AM   #132
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Yes, my position is to a large degree based on emotion.

Yes, it's a poor way to fix it.

But they can't come up with a smart way. So this is what we get.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:32 AM   #133
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Yes, my position is to a large degree based on emotion.

Yes, it's a poor way to fix it.

But they can't come up with a smart way. So this is what we get.
What exactly necessitates this slap anyways? With fairly modest additional (backloaded) deficit reduction the US debt\gdp ratio stabilizes pretty easily. The long term drivers of debt are medical cost inflation and changing demographics. (lots more old people!). Neither of those issues appears to be some sort of moral failure to me, and more importantly for the terms of this discussion I see absolutely zero way in which this situation would be improved through forcing a recession now.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:33 AM   #134
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But they can't come up with a smart way. So this is what we get.
They can't or they won't? I believe that they could, but you have mindless constituents electing intractable representatives that don't understand that running a government in such a diverse country is about building compromises and that compromise doesn't mean "I get all I want and you get none of what you want."

I am sure that there are places in which we can be saving money. Such as not buying the second engine for the JSF (which includes development costs for a new engine, having to have spare parts for it, increased training requirements for mechanics, etc...), not buying 300 more tanks that will sit in the Nevada desert with 3000 others, fixing problems within Medicare and Medicaid, etc.... But the way they are going about it now is just wrong and will just hurt people overall.

On a partially related note, it's interesting how leaders in the US are always pushing for STEM leadership from grade school through professionals, but now, they are going to be cutting 8% of the federal research budget, a big driver of basic and applied research in all areas of science. I guess being a leader in these areas isn't that high of a priority.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:22 AM   #135
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Showing you have no idea where the problems are. Congress is the symptom, not the problem.
That's all I've really been trying to say. We can scream at Congress and blame one party or another but that's just really dealing with the symptom, but the symptoms will never go away (or at least be significantly reduced) unless you deal with the root illness.

The electoral problems is one area I've said here that needs fixing. Another would be big money/interests. Some of the problems are a little more amorphous and have to deal with social values, but these are the things that need focus for real, better change to happen.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:22 PM   #136
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In the end, if you think 3rd parties are impossible then I believe you are going to be very limited in the types and quality of solutions and policies available, and the direction we are headed will not change. That is extraordinarily depressing.
I have some bad news for you, but not a bad as you think.

Our system is highly pressured to continue as a two-party system. Note that even the so-called 'Tea Party', even with its sponsorship using it by billionres like the Kochs, doesn't really run as a 'third party' but as a faction of the Republican Party (remember how they tried to say they're non-partisan equally Republican or Democrat?)

It is next to impossible for a third party to make any headway.

The better news for you is that the two parties can be influenced - see what the Tea Party is doing to Republicans, though I disagree with that.

The Democrats are not the party of FDR - unfortunately - and Republicans are unrecognizable since Reagan much less Nixon much less Teddy Roosevelt.

Go watch FDR's fourth state of the union with his second bill of rights - really, watch it, link below - the Democratic can be that, or this corporate-friendly one we have now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St..._Roosevelt.ogg

That's what makes sense - changing the parties. Trying to make third ones will waste resources and split the vote of the side doing it handing elections to the other side.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:38 PM   #137
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I used to agree, but no longer.

I think a quick, sharp slap to the side of the head is exactly what this country needs right now.

Yes, the economy will suffer. I've been suffering from it for years. But something needs to change, and nothing will until the people of this country wake up, even a little bit.
That's just a pointless, misguided plan and metaphor.

If the greatest economic crash since the Great Depression didn't provide the 'slap' you wrongly think will help, what makes you think further impovershing citizens - at the same time records are being set by the wealthy increasing their wealth, corporatie profits and the hoarding of wealth - will do something useful? It won't.

Rather you sound like someone with no idea what to do just lashing out your frustration.

It's really simple. Those with the most have the resources and dedication to fight for their interests and have gamed the system for themselves. In the meantime, the citizens put very little effort into the issue, over 98% never give a cent to help the people who would represent their interests win, and they are led around by propaganda easily by the agents of those wealthy interests who trick them with lies about things like 'job creators'.

The results are predictable, those with the most getting more and everyone else getting less wealth and power and growing cynical about government weakening it even more.

Which then further allows those with the most to convince people further that the government - not the wealthy - is their enemy and take even more.

We in the US take a strong middle class for granted, but in fact it's a historical anomoly from human history that is filled with the masses having very, very little.

We're racing in that direction again because you can fool most of the people some of the time.

To repeat a quote, "'We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both", said Louis Brandeis.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:54 PM   #138
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I have some bad news for you, but not a bad as you think.

Our system is highly pressured to continue as a two-party system. Note that even the so-called 'Tea Party', even with its sponsorship using it by billionres like the Kochs, doesn't really run as a 'third party' but as a faction of the Republican Party (remember how they tried to say they're non-partisan equally Republican or Democrat?)

It is next to impossible for a third party to make any headway.

The better news for you is that the two parties can be influenced - see what the Tea Party is doing to Republicans, though I disagree with that.

The Democrats are not the party of FDR - unfortunately - and Republicans are unrecognizable since Reagan much less Nixon much less Teddy Roosevelt.

Go watch FDR's fourth state of the union with his second bill of rights - really, watch it, link below - the Democratic can be that, or this corporate-friendly one we have now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St..._Roosevelt.ogg

That's what makes sense - changing the parties. Trying to make third ones will waste resources and split the vote of the side doing it handing elections to the other side.
I pretty much agree with you and I would not expect there to be another party on par with the Reps and Dems. But I do believe a sizable independent voting block will influence the Reps and Dems in a way that cuts down on the polarization and gridlock. It will force them to compromise, moderate and work to get these "independents," which will overall have a great effect. It's not so much having a massive party to compete with the Rems and Dems, it's about influencing them and making them behave better. I believe this is one of the very few reasonable and workable ways to change the parties.

Getting there will mean some election/electoral reform at the state and national level. But I think it can be done. Independents as a group has been growing steadily and should continue. The Tea Party (which initially drew in a good amount of independents) and even OSW indicates that there is enough dissatisfaction and that is evidence that the time is ripe. The barriers to raising money and getting the message out, the two essential things you need to do, are not as difficult as they used to be with modern tech/social changes. I am not saying this is a guarantee, but it's the best way forward, to broaden the access and choices and tap into the growing number of people who can think critically outside of party doctrine and just want basic solutions, not partisanship.

Not only do I think this is a good solution, I see it as a larger, natural correction. As the two parties continue to polarize and the functioning of government continues to wallow, and the big issues we face cannot be addressed, more people will abandon the sides and demand better. They will do this by doing what I have explained. Many less partisan Reps and Dems will surely stay Reps and Dems but will merge with independents to create this "centrist" force that will bring the parties closer together and things can actually function on an intelligent level.

This is why when I see the sheer hate thrown on each side from the other I just tune out. The "Reps are evil" and "Dems are evil" chorus is not productive and only drives the sides further apart. I repeat, nothing good can come of that. The only way to bring them closer together, to help fix them, is to have a viable "3rd way" to influence them.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:26 PM   #139
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I pretty much agree with you and I would not expect there to be another party on par with the Reps and Dems. But I do believe a sizable independent voting block will influence the Reps and Dems in a way that cuts down on the polarization and gridlock. It will force them to compromise, moderate and work to get these "independents," which will overall have a great effect. It's not so much having a massive party to compete with the Rems and Dems, it's about influencing them and making them behave better. I believe this is one of the very few reasonable and workable ways to change the parties.

Getting there will mean some election/electoral reform at the state and national level. But I think it can be done. Independents as a group has been growing steadily and should continue. The Tea Party (which initially drew in a good amount of independents) and even OSW indicates that there is enough dissatisfaction and that is evidence that the time is ripe. The barriers to raising money and getting the message out, the two essential things you need to do, are not as difficult as they used to be with modern tech/social changes. I am not saying this is a guarantee, but it's the best way forward, to broaden the access and choices and tap into the growing number of people who can think critically outside of party doctrine and just want basic solutions, not partisanship.

Not only do I think this is a good solution, I see it as a larger, natural correction. As the two parties continue to polarize and the functioning of government continues to wallow, and the big issues we face cannot be addressed, more people will abandon the sides and demand better. They will do this by doing what I have explained. Many less partisan Reps and Dems will surely stay Reps and Dems but will merge with independents to create this "centrist" force that will bring the parties closer together and things can actually function on an intelligent level.

This is why when I see the sheer hate thrown on each side from the other I just tune out. The "Reps are evil" and "Dems are evil" chorus is not productive and only drives the sides further apart. I repeat, nothing good can come of that. The only way to bring them closer together, to help fix them, is to have a viable "3rd way" to influence them.
While the number of registered independents has risen in recent years, studies have shown the significant majority of independents not to actually be independent at all, but partisans seeking to avoid a label. Their voting patterns are in many cases indistinguishable from partisans. In the same vein, crossover voting has precipitously declined in the last thirty years (that being people who vote for candidates of both parties.) So not only are there not as many independents as people think, but those persuadable few in the middle have actually shrunk.

Additionally, a viable third party is very unlikely to exist in the US due to something called Duverger's Law. It's not as ironclad as it sounds, but basically it describes the collective action problems that third parties face in a winner take all system such as ours that make them unlikely to arise.

So my argument would be that not only are the people you're talking about not actually becoming more common, but the fundamental structure of US democracy makes a center party the type of which you are describing extremely unlikely. With this in mind, what electoral reforms do you want to undertake that changes this fact and how would you go about getting them implemented?
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:58 PM   #140
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Why should they have to play ball? Their job is to represent what they feel is the best interests of the country or at least their district. The people decided that they wanted that person, with certain ideals to stand up for them.

It is to not be a lemming!

While you may feel that they should, unless you have them as a representative, your opinion on the subject applies only to your representative, Senators and the President.
Do you even know what I was responding to? It was the charge that the democrats did the "same" thing during the bush years... and the amount of fillibusters tells a different story... along with the republicans refusing to pass obvious bills like healthcare to first responders or violence against women.. or this debt ceiling nonsense.

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Old 02-24-2013, 04:02 PM   #141
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"Santa clause is a fat man that kills gremlins; gnomes take my under pants at night; Iraq had WMDs" All of 'thos ARE the facts...' too.

A fact is, unlike an opinion, something that is verifiable: in the case of the previous 3 statements, my factual statements are verifiable false. I asked for verification/evidence/sources and you got defensive; you remain in a mode of yelling about things being facts instead of providing evidence. It's not like the world revolves around your 'facts' and they are always right until proven wrong; providing support for your 'facts' is essential to advancing a dialog. And based on 'facts' or not, your rhetoric was presented in a biasing manner; so given your argumentation is presented in a clearly bias manner and uses a constant appeal to emotion, requesting evidence in support of 'facts' is not unreasonable.

If you are arguing that something is demonstrably true the burden is on you to demonstr when asked


A historical example of success is not a necessary criteria for an idea to be valid; That said, without more than simple generic appeals to "real changes to the system, holding people and groups accountable" There's no way to assess the argument being advanced, as it is simply a rhetorical restatement of belief, not a position that can be confronted.

It's no more 'true' or 'false' than if I were to argue:

"I think everyone should be kind to each-other and do the right thing!"

Right... well, how do you propose we implement this principle?
You want verification of the record number of fillibusters? Of republicans fillibustering their own bill? That the Republicans vote against renewal for the 3rd time of a violence against women bill or voting against healthcare to first responders? Seriously?
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #142
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Tell me something...don't you think Democratic leaders met to discuss political strategies for winning the 2004 election with their "primary focus" to make Bush a one term president as well? Don't you think they talked about ways to circumvent various aspects of his politcal agenda as well?

Anyway...I was talking about the sequester...not sure what you're talking about that's relevant to the topic....or anything else for that matter.
Except they didn't use record breaking amounts of fillibusters and didn't refuse to play ball on EVERY bill, including a bill that passed with flying colors twice before dealing with violence and women... and they certainly didn't fillibuster their own bill for the first time in Senate history...
Why should they have to play ball? Their job is to represent what they feel is the best interests of the country or at least their district. The people decided that they wanted that person, with certain ideals to stand up for them.

It is to not be a lemming!

While you may feel that they should, unless you have them as a representative, your opinion on the subject applies only to your representative, Senators and the President.
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You are making opinions and claiming them as facts.

Filibusters are fact. What they are actually filibustering may be a legit grievance.

You may not think so, that is your opinion. I do not have to agree with your assessment. That is my choice. It does not make either opinion better than the other.

Many bills have riders attached that are snuck in on top of a popular item because on their own, the rider item is a piece of crap.

Such does not get reported.

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Do you even know what I was responding to? It was the charge that the democrats did the "same" thing during the bush years... and the amount of fillibusters tells a different story... along with the republicans refusing to pass obvious bills like healthcare to first responders or violence against women.. or this debt ceiling nonsense.

Afar as I can tell by your post you were complaining about the amount of fillibusters and the types of bills that were fillibustered against.


Any my comments seems to be that when bills are corrupted by riders; those bills need to be carefully reviewed to see if the riders are valid or they are unable to stand on their own.

Is it possible that you lost track of your arguments or tried to lump multiple arguments together
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:28 PM   #143
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Afar as I can tell by your post you were complaining about the amount of fillibusters and the types of bills that were fillibustered against.


Any my comments seems to be that when bills are corrupted by riders; those bills need to be carefully reviewed to see if the riders are valid or they are unable to stand on their own.

Is it possible that you lost track of your arguments or tried to lump multiple arguments together

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That the Republicans vote against renewal for the 3rd time of a violence against women bill or voting against healthcare to first responders?
Maybe if you provided evidence as requested EK wouldn't have totally decimated your argument :-\ but instead you could point out why he is wrong...

I wasn't asking for evidence because I disagree with you, S99, I was asking for evidence because I agree with you.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:53 AM   #144
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Afar as I can tell by your post you were complaining about the amount of fillibusters and the types of bills that were fillibustered against.


Any my comments seems to be that when bills are corrupted by riders; those bills need to be carefully reviewed to see if the riders are valid or they are unable to stand on their own.

Is it possible that you lost track of your arguments or tried to lump multiple arguments together
My original post was responding to part of what you quoted.

"ell me something...don't you think Democratic leaders met to discuss political strategies for winning the 2004 election with their "primary focus" to make Bush a one term president as well? Don't you think they talked about ways to circumvent various aspects of his politcal agenda as well?"

My point is that they aren't even close to what the Republicans have done and then I included my reasoning.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:57 AM   #145
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Maybe if you provided evidence as requested EK wouldn't have totally decimated your argument :-\ but instead you could point out why he is wrong...

I wasn't asking for evidence because I disagree with you, S99, I was asking for evidence because I agree with you.
I just don't generally think I need to cite something that is available all over the place.

22 Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women Act in the Senate. The House Republicans are trying to weaken it:

The House GOP bill entirely leaves out provisions aimed at helping LGBT victims of domestic violence. Specifically, the bill removes "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" from the list of underserved populations who face barriers to accessing victim services, thereby disqualifying LGBT victims from a related grant program. The bill also eliminates a requirement in the Senate bill that programs that receive funding under VAWA provide services regardless of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally, the bill excludes the LGBT community from the STOP program, the largest VAWA grant program, which gives funds to care providers who work with law enforcement officials to address domestic violence.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_2742096.html

Keep in mind this bill passed with flying colors 5 and 10 years ago.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:41 AM   #146
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I just don't generally think I need to cite something that is available all over the place.

22 Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women Act in the Senate. The House Republicans are trying to weaken it:

The House GOP bill entirely leaves out provisions aimed at helping LGBT victims of domestic violence. Specifically, the bill removes "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" from the list of underserved populations who face barriers to accessing victim services, thereby disqualifying LGBT victims from a related grant program. The bill also eliminates a requirement in the Senate bill that programs that receive funding under VAWA provide services regardless of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally, the bill excludes the LGBT community from the STOP program, the largest VAWA grant program, which gives funds to care providers who work with law enforcement officials to address domestic violence.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_2742096.html

Keep in mind this bill passed with flying colors 5 and 10 years ago.
I hate to raise a factual issue on something I'm not sure I remember right, but I will - I think I heard the provisions in question, for same-sex households and a couple others such as Natice Americans - a huge issue with rape, see a great documentary in the Vanguard series on Current TV - are new provisions, not ones that passed before. But I completely agree with adding them and object to the narrow-minded, immoral pandering to bigots by Republicans who oppose them - but just a factual correction, if I'm correct.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:58 PM   #147
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I hate to raise a factual issue on something I'm not sure I remember right, but I will - I think I heard the provisions in question, for same-sex households and a couple others such as Natice Americans - a huge issue with rape, see a great documentary in the Vanguard series on Current TV - are new provisions, not ones that passed before. But I completely agree with adding them and object to the narrow-minded, immoral pandering to bigots by Republicans who oppose them - but just a factual correction, if I'm correct.
According to wiki- "VAWA was reauthorized by Congress in 2000, and again in December 2005.[5] The Act's 2012 renewal was opposed by conservative Republicans, who objected to extending the Act's protections to same-sex couples and to provisions allowing battered undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas.[6] In April 2012, the Senate voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and the House subsequently passed its own measure (omitting provisions of the Senate bill that would protect gay men, lesbians, American Indians living in reservations, and undocumented people who were victims of domestic violence)."

Still pretty sick and disgusting... but that is what the Republicans have been doing on almost a daily basis anyhow and mostly get away with it. No healthcare for first responders of 9/11, voting against a bill that would require companies hired by the federal government to allow workers to sue if raped(many have people sign clauses disallowing the ability to sue) on the job, vaginal probes galore, supporting rape throughout the party, trying to remove birth control from insurer coverage(http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013...son/?mobile=nc)...
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:22 AM   #148
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What is particularly sad about this business is that it appears that the austerity policies enacted this year will shave about 1.25% off of annual growth and particularly in the case of the sequester, may be self defeating in terms of government debt ratios.

When growth slows to a crawl or the US re-enters recession later this year I'm sure that people will once again argue that somehow this situation shows the failure of stimulative fiscal policy, not the failure of austerity. That will be a really depressing conversation to have.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:16 AM   #149
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What is particularly sad about this business is that it appears that the austerity policies enacted this year will shave about 1.25% off of annual growth and particularly in the case of the sequester, may be self defeating in terms of government debt ratios.

When growth slows to a crawl or the US re-enters recession later this year I'm sure that people will once again argue that somehow this situation shows the failure of stimulative fiscal policy, not the failure of austerity. That will be a really depressing conversation to have.
I heard the reduction for the economy will be about 1.5% when you include things like the end of the payroll tax suspension, which has taken $100 billion from the economy this year.

Here's how I've heard Republicans discuss the issue, justifying the destruction of the economy:

"When there's a big economic downturn, you never hear a Congressional leader's name put on the downturn - only the president's". It's the usual 'terrorism', elect them or else.

Of course when they are elected it's far worse, as they skyrocket the deficit (which has gone down hundreds of billions and every year under Obama, which only 6% of Americans are aware has gone down when polled), and give us things like the great crash of 2008, and so on.

But they know their best chance is to screw things up. A country thriving under Democrats will elect Democrats, so...

They have to become the enemies of the American people for that reason also (in addition to the core pro-wealthy agenda).
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:09 AM   #150
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According to wiki- "VAWA was reauthorized by Congress in 2000, and again in December 2005.[5] The Act's 2012 renewal was opposed by conservative Republicans, who objected to extending the Act's protections to same-sex couples and to provisions allowing battered undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas.[6] In April 2012, the Senate voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and the House subsequently passed its own measure (omitting provisions of the Senate bill that would protect gay men, lesbians, American Indians living in reservations, and undocumented people who were victims of domestic violence)."

Still pretty sick and disgusting... but that is what the Republicans have been doing on almost a daily basis anyhow and mostly get away with it. No healthcare for first responders of 9/11, voting against a bill that would require companies hired by the federal government to allow workers to sue if raped(many have people sign clauses disallowing the ability to sue) on the job, vaginal probes galore, supporting rape throughout the party, trying to remove birth control from insurer coverage(http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013...son/?mobile=nc)...
Of course; the fact that is allows bypassing other Federal requirements for illegals is not a concern.

As I previously stated; items are added to bills that should not be there because such will not stand on there own.

What I bolded was one example and only based on what was published in the reference.

I am sure that there are other items within the bill; the reference was targeting on only the primary bill intentions.

Post up the acual text of these bills and we can discuss/debate the riders.
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