We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, September 16. 2016
Paris, Sept. 2016
A reminder about O'Sullivan's Law
How to tell if you're a jerk: If you think everyone around you is terrible, the joke may be on you.
Milo Yiannopoulos update
As Marijuana Prohibition Winds Down, What Will Control Freaks Ban Next?
Computer prices go one way, college tuition goes another — why?
Merkel Meets With German CEOs To Address 99.97% Unemployment Among "Highly Unqualified" Migrants
DHS accused of sitting on damning border report as immigration issue drives presidential race
Unaccompanied minors swelling ranks of American gangs, say experts
On his recent Asian tour, President Obama characterized his fellow
$216 Million From Clinton Foundation Donors Bought 205 Invitations to White House State Dinners
The $1 million supper
U.S. confirms two more freed Guantanamo inmates rejoined militant groups
Internet Group ICANN Boosted Member Who Transferred U.S. Technology to Iran - Obama administration pushing to hand over control of internet to ICANN
First female soldier in Green Beret training fails to complete the course
‘New Peace Theory’ aside, the persistent nature of war has a way of giving the lie to rumors of its demise.
Sultan on 9-11
Tracked: Sep 18, 09:52
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Next? Outlawing tobacco consumption has been the target for a while. That isn't necessarily bad since it really is a health hazard. It's kind of ironic since the health benefits of marijuana (not THC) are more assumed than proven and the health risks of marijuana are usually ignored, often by the same people pushing marijuana legalization (libertarians excepted).
edit - Irony is that the same folks who want marijuana legalized (and ignore it's risks) are often the most intent on making sure tobacco is effectively outlawed.
The even greater irony is that the push to outlaw tobacco comes from the same source that keeps hiking up the cigarette tax for revenue and then hands subsidies to tobacco growers. Can't work both ways.
Laws of stupid people...The New Peace ...Sultan on 9/11...
All of these ignore the possibility of other effects. Stupid actions - bar fights are mentioned - are part of a context in which human beings have general strategies for getting mates and getting resources that are clearly very effective, as their own existence clearly proves. They are not foolproof; also, sometimes we overestimate, sometimes underestimate the intensity of our strategy needed.
Similarly, most wars look pointless and counterproductive in retrospect, because the consequences of not going to war (or going to another war, or going to war differently) are hidden from us. We see only the horrible cost, and the benefits are always less than we hoped. People make arguments that most of our wars, including the American Revolution or the Civil War could have been foregone and everything would have still turned out just fine. Except we don't really know that. We don't know, except at a very approximate level, what would have happened otherwise.
A good friend of mine says that if you ever find yourself getting into bar fights, you aren't paying enough for your beer.
"Marijuana Prohibition Winds Down"
There seem to be two arguments favoring pot. One is the health or medicinal issue which is for the most part nothing more than a ploy to allow legal pot to addicts. In my state medical marijuana is legal and it is out of hand. The state themselves admit that about 2% of those with a medical marijuana card need it medically. The system is a joke.
The second approach that Colorado embraced is to make it legal and treat it somewhat like booze in that it can be sold in authorized stores and taxed. It seems to be working as expected. Of course car accidents from pot use are way up and deaths caused by pot smoking drivers is skyrocketing. In other words it is working as expected. If the pot smokers only killed themselves it would be less troubling but when they take out a mother and her three kids on the highway it seems to take away from the argument that pot is harmless.
Should pot be legalized for adult use? I tend to lean towards allowing it but I think certain precautions must be taken. I wouldn't want to be operated on by a pot smoking surgeon. I don't want to drive on the highway with pot smokers. I don't want pot smokers near my children. Perhaps what we need is not so much a prohibition on pot but rather a prohibition on pot smokers. If you smoke pot you should not be allowed any free stuff (welfare), or jobs that could put others at risk, or a drivers license, etc. Protect those who are not addicted from those who are addicted.
"Of course car accidents from pot use are way up and deaths caused by pot smoking drivers is skyrocketing."
Hmmm...skyrocketing, you say? Really??
"Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows" Oh, well nevermind then.
But please keep on trying with the scaremongering and disinformation, it's been great.
Of course they're skyrocketing, statistically!
Before legalization there might have been 2-3 accidents a year attributed to MJ intox.
Since legalization, there have been 3-4 accidents attributable to MJ, thus a A FIFTY PERCENT increase!!!
Remember: Lies, damned lies and statistics!
"...in other states that have legalized pot for medical purposes, we’ve seen an increase in the number of drivers testing positive for the drug who were involved in fatal car accidents."
"...in Washington state, the number of drivers in that state testing positive for pot jumped by a third."
There are too many articles showing the dramatic increase in pot related accidents and crimes to cite them all. It doesn't seem to me that it is a winning argument to claim there is no increase.
The Hillary Facts Legacy Media are Hiding From You. Off topic, but we seem lately to use a number of colorless terms to describe the entrenched establishment media. I propose we settle on archaic. If you prefer a longer word, I could accept anachronistic. If you insist on something hip, how about moth-eaten? Any of these are more descriptive, and paint a clearer picture than legacy or mainstream.
"Ford to move all small-car production to Mexico from U.S."
When did FOMOCO become an arm of "TRUMP for President?"
When moving the production of low margin cars to Mexico became necessary.
BTW, I'm not a fan of his proposed fix for companies off-shoring production. Rather than make it punitive to expand off shore production, he should make the business climate better in the US, which isn't to say that he doesn't propose some of that, too.
Eyes on the prize-mudbug. 3 things: not a lawyer, not a career politician, not Hillary. The perfect candidate has long since left the building. I try not to even be exposed to much of the pre-election buzz. Keep it simple. I'm a simple person. :)
Believe me, mary, my eye is firmly on the prize. There are many things Trump has been saying that I very much agree with and as I say, I don't totally disagree with what he wants to do wrt the economy and jobs. That is just one place where I disagree. I'd be happy if that were just political posturing.
It is in America's economic and national interest that we retain manufacturing and jobs within the country. I think a simple solution is possible:
1. Cut federal corporate income taxes to zero.
2. Impose a tax on all imports of 20% of retail value.
3. Fair trade implies a two way street so place limits on what can be imported from other countries that will encourage them to import from us. For example if China imports $100 billion in goods and services from us than they can only export $100 billion in goods and services to us.
These things can be easily implemented and are eminently fair and reasonable.
The pride in that itemized opinion notwithstanding, it's still all symptomatic, and to conclude these things can be easily implemented and are eminently fair and reasonable is simply preposterous on its face.
I'm generally opposed to import duties because it allows local companies to be less competitive, but I admit duties don't always work negatively but in general, if your competitors have a 20% hurdle that you don't, that's 20% of slack you can afford.
Do you know why there's a trade imbalance? Why the US is a gutted manufacturer? And no, it's not unions or Obama. In fact, Trump has already hit on it.
It's not so much that I favor import duties or tariffs. But today we have a 39% tax on our own companies (sometimes lower depending on various things) and we set that rate without even blinking an eye. If it is acceptable to penalize our own industries by 39% than certainly a mere 20% on imports should be fair. I would go a step further and allocate that income to pay into the SS trust fund, unemployment and welfare which are harmed by offshoring our jobs.
As for the corresponding complete reduction in federal corporate income taxes; I don't consider this either a penalty aimed at offshore companies or punitive in anyway. It is simply recognition that business taxes hurt businesses and by extension hurt jobs and our economy. It is simply good policy.
So very, very much wrong with that.
First, rightists are always on about their zero sum game where all tax on business is bad for business and all tax on the individual is as the Framers intended, "skin in the game". Neither are true as either pragmatic policy or original structuralism go. In point of fact, both are expressly warned against in the Founding.
Companies are not penalized by taxes any more than individuals are - typically much less - which is why the obsession with letting them go scott free (once they've corrupted government with the rightist's other myth, that they and their lobbies are the "free speech equals" of individuals) is so utterly wrong-headed and zero-summing. Even the arithmetic doesn't work.
Tax on companies is tax on an entity not the individual, which has a very great deal to do with original liberty, which happens to be the point of liberty. The rate of that tax is utterly irrelevant and any argument that conflates the rate with the need is therefore doubly wrong and adolescent.
Second, "cutting federal corporate income taxes to zero" is not how you solve a trade imbalance, not how you solve off-shoring, not how you bring back either manufacturing or trade, absolutely not how you correct globalism or monetary incentives like pegged currencies, and not how any sane argument would propose to do anything except recreate more positive feedback of the same kind that got us into these messes.
Third, "imposing a tax on all imports of 20% of retail value" is likewise idiotic, if for no other reason that retail value is irrelevant - wholesale value is maybe relevant - that in a system of pegged currency the exporter will avoid just by moving the peg and starting a whole new round of destructive positive feedback, and that it immediately starts a trade war, bankrupts 3/4 of the business that, artificially or not, depends on the current trade system, and does absolutely nothing to address the underlying problems and causes.
Fourth, whether or not fair trade "implies a two way street" is completely irrelevant outside of the abstract and "limits on what can be imported from other countries that will encourage them to import from us" is exactly backwards. It'll encourage a trade war. Not only that, it directly conflicts your dumb 20% tariff rule and as such creates yet another positive feedback mechanism, this time before the ink's even dry on your own soil. Do you even own a spreadsheet? How bright is it to prevent the very trade you're taxing, Windy?
The problem is that rightists think like that neocon idiot Larry Kudlow who presumably actually believed it when he said it 20 years ago that the FIRE* economy was simply healthy capitalism seeking its natural course and level. Any fool knows you can't live in a haircut, eat a prostate exam, wear a yard service, or drive on a wait service staff, which obviously means that once you have given away your manufacturing sector to a nation that just absorbed all your industry because of monetary devices and mechanisms you're royally screwed.
The 2008 collapse should have taught rightists something: Monetizing everything that wasn't tied down is suicide. Of course, it didn't teach rightists a damn thing and so nobody's complaining about 100,000,000 unemployed, 100,000,000 on some degree of assistance, $1,000,000,000,000 a year in new debt, and $100,000,000,000,000 in total combined debt and unfunded obligations to actually go and reform anything. It's a tertiary problem behind our partisan political rhetoric
Rightists evidently see this as something to gently complain about but what remains a necessary component of "capitalism". It's neither. And some rightists value their own opinions so much as to present their foolish enabling notions with the patina of wisdom.
*Finance, Insurance, Real Estate.
A little of both might be best. If one doesn't pay off, the other one might. Seems any and all of these kinds of policy moves are little more than a roll of the dice. Sometimes they work out to a greater or lesser degree, sometimes they don't. In recent years they seem almost invariably not to work out in favor of the people. I think the dice have been loaded.
Incorrect. The "business climate" in the US, above the level where offshoring becomes viable, is all cronyism. Making it more beneficial here is a terribly loaded term and needs a raft of definition.
All problems stem from their sources. Here, it's the monetary system, enabled and concurrent trade imbalance, and cronyism.
This is a point the ostensible American right is the greatest statist force on earth about.
It's not the American Worker that Ford is trying to get away from, it's the UAW.
That doctor's note was the 1930s version of a weed card
Hillary's glass castle:
Thanks. I needed that laugh. HER asking ANYONE if they would put their financial interests ahead of the nation's good is stunning. Pot calling the kettle black.
To point out the obvious, businesses don't pay taxes. They just collect them for the government by passing them onto the consumer as higher prices. The so called corporate taxes are actually consumer taxes.
Re Ford moving to Mexico:
Here is what everyone is missing. Mexico is a more competitive location for export than the US is.
Automakers also locate new plants in Mexico because it has far more trade agreements than the United States, meaning that automakers can avoid paying burdensome tariffs on cars manufactured in Mexico. For example, automakers must pay a 10 percent tariff on cars exported to Europe from the United States. They must pay a 35 percent tariff on cars sold in Brazil.
In a report published last month, Swiecki and a colleague estimated that the labor to assemble a Ford Fusion would cost about $600 less in Mexico than in Michigan. If the car were sold in Europe, the tariffs would be about $2,500 less.
In other words, 80% of the savings come from Mexico’s free-trade advantage over the US. Ford’s not the only manufacturer noticing this either. Volkswagen already moved its Audi luxury vehicle line to Mexico three years ago, a car line that is popular in Europe and the US.
$216 Million From Clinton Foundation Donors Bought 205 Invitations to White House State Dinners
Welcome to America! In this case, at least, the Clintons hit up their friends and colleagues for charitable causes.
The program percentage for the Clinton Foundation is 88%, which, if you were interested, you could determine for yourself by looking at the audited filings. They do, however, provide live-saving drugs to millions of people.
Like all Clinton documents, the audited filings a have been revised beyond all understanding and belief. In short, they have been rendered incomprehensible (just like Hillary's medical history!).
Agencies that run checks on charitable organizations, find that the Clinton Foundation is primarily a questionable scam, at best.; a criminal enterprise is more like likely.
B48: In short, they have been rendered incomprehensible
Actually, they're quite easy to follow. You have to do more than wave your hands, though.
B48: (just like Hillary's medical history!)
The letters provided by her doctor are quite comprehensible.
B48: Agencies that run checks on charitable organizations, find that the Clinton Foundation is primarily a questionable scam, at best.; a criminal enterprise is more like likely.
Charity Watch: RATING: A
Charity Navigator: Overall Score & Rating 94.74 ★★★★
The blogisphere is repleat with claims of paid commenters who sit in the underwear in their parents basement posting 24/7 to support the Marxist/leninist/Alinsky cabal. I always though it was over the top and at best an exaggeration and at worst a crazy conspiracy theory. But Zach has turned me around, made me a believer. Zach, who do I call to get a job like this and how much does it pay? Do I get paid vacations, health care and bonuses? Do I have to make believe I agree and believe in the lies I tell or do they not give a shit what I actually think as long as I spout the party line? They won't throw me under the bus if it all turns to shit will they? I don't want to have to show up in front of some congressional committee someday claiming the 5th will I? Also do they provide me with a complimentary copy of bleachbit and an hours warning of a visit from the FBI? Oh that's right, you guys bought the FBI off so maybe there will be no legal consequences, right?
IdahoBob: posting 24/7 to support the Marxist/leninist/Alinsky cabal.
Charity Watch and Charity Navigator are part of the Marxist/leninist/Alinsky cabal? Who knew? In any case, B48 introduced the topic of charity rating agencies. We merely filled in the blanks with supportable specifics.
IdahoBob: Do I have to make believe I agree and believe
All our expressed opinions are our own, and freely given. You're welcome! By the way, how much do they pay you for posting diversions?
"All our expressed opinions are our own"
Help me out here Zach. Is the "our" you reference a gender option kind like LGBQTIA-All? Or does it mean you are on a team like Kaepernick and when one of you takes a knee, so to speak, your team mate(s) type in the inane stuff for you? Or maybe it is a company (more likely a tax free organization) who's job is to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt throughout the bloggersphere? So, help me I mean 'us' or maybe you-all out and tell us who "our" is.
Just 5.7 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s massive 2014 budget actually went to charitable grants, according to the tax-exempt organization’s IRS filings. The Clinton Foundation spent a hair under $91.3 million in 2014, the organization’s IRS filings show. But less than $5.2 million of that went to charitable grants.
GoneWithTheWind: Just 5.7 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s massive 2014 budget actually went to charitable grants, according to the tax-exempt organization’s IRS filings.
You are confusing charitable grants with charitable works. Most of the Clinton Foundation's spending is on in-house projects. You can find that detailed in their audited findings under "program expenses".
Programs. Weasel word. Sorry, I know you would like this to be true and think the best of them, but this is a "Jobs For Pals To Go Out And Make Speeches" charity.
I admit that is Washington Standard, and conservatives do a lot of that too. It is a mentality that word-people, speech-people, and influence people get into, that they cannot distinguish from the reality of actually helping people - as the Clinton Foundation actually had done in Africa - and talking about how nice it would be if we could all just pass legislation. It doesn't mean you and I have to fall for it.
Assistant Village Idiot: I know you would like this to be true and think the best of them, but this is a "Jobs For Pals To Go Out And Make Speeches" charity.
Program expenses are distinguished in the audited filings from overhead expenses. The Clinton Foundation has over 2000 employees, most of whom work in third world countries, such as health associates in Lilongwe on how to improve health services, HCV analysts in New Dehli on mapping the spread of the disease and treatment strategies, and HIV associates in Phnom Penh developing plans for cost-effective treatment.
Well, actually the latest figures show that, as suspected, only a very small percentage of Clinton Foundation money is actually used for charitable activities. 5.7 percent, to be exact.
The Clinton Foundation is a scam.
Jim: Well, actually the latest figures show that, as suspected, only a very small percentage of Clinton Foundation money is actually used for charitable activities. 5.7 percent, to be exact.
You're confusing charitable grants with charitable works. If you look at their audited filings, you will find charitable works under "program expenses".
"Clinton Foundation Is Charity Fraud Of Epic Proportions", Analyst Charges In Stunning Takedown
feeblemind: "Clinton Foundation Is Charity Fraud Of Epic Proportions", Analyst Charges In Stunning Takedown
Well, the "stunning takedown" starts with a easily verified falsehood.
Charles Ortel: the Clinton Foundation illegally veered from its IRS-authorized mission within days of Bill Clinton’s departure from the White House in January 2001
The original IRS application included the bylaws of the Foundation, which have a broad statement of Purpose: "The corporation may engage in any and all other charitable, educational and scientific activities permitted to an organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code." As this is easily verified from public records, it's not clear that the author has any analytic credibility.
Zach we are stringing you along. We all know the Clinton foundation is part of the Clinton crime family and crooked as hell. You know it too and everyone with a warm body temperature and more than two brain cells knows it. Yeah! You can find left wing reporters and 'investigators' who have done their best to cover for the Clinton crime family but even they know the Clintons are the two most dishonest people on the planet. We just enjoy watching you grovel and lie to continue the coverup. In truth though you are disappointing us. Show some spunk. Make stuff up. Change the subject when it gets too tough, dance the Texas two step. You just aren't very convincing. We would hate to see Hillary get mad at you or maybe fire you.
GoneWithTheWind: Make stuff up.
No. We prefer to stick to the facts. Most of the Clinton Foundation's spending is on in-house projects. You can find this detailed in their audited findings under "program expenses".
GoneWithTheWind: Change the subject
No. We prefer to stick to the topic, which is the claim that the Clinton Foundation Is charity fraud. The article making the "stunning takedown" starts with an easily verified falsehood, undermining the author's credibility.
Oldest known melody -- I listened at Althouse. But I think it needs a dance remix.
I acknowledge the irony in demonizing tobacco while idolizing pot, but I have every bit as much trouble with our habit of demonizing pot while blithely accepting booze. Not that I would outlaw booze in a million years. In both cases, we've got intoxicating substances and people who, one way or another, will have to learn to be grownup enough to use them safely or stay away from them. We can't just hold their little hands for them all their lives.