Open Line Friday!

“All there is is a continuing collapse of this great country, a collapse of the economic system, a collapse of the political system.”

–Rush Limbaugh, yesterday

41 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I don’t know how valid the points in this are. But it is a joy to read – Falklands/Argentina comment on CNN

  2. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    An amazing mea culpa from the IMF’s chief economist on austerity.

    Blanchard and Leigh deduced that IMF forecasters have been using a uniform multiplier of 0.5, when in fact the circumstances of the European economy made the multiplier as much as 1.5, meaning that a $1 government spending cut would cost $1.50 in lost output.

    Apparently some of the top economists are finally starting to figure this out. However, figure the Republicans and Senator Bennet will still be pushing for cuts, cuts, cuts.

    • Cutting spending in a weak economy is BAD. Up to $2.50 per dollar cut, according to an analysis of historical U.S. figures. They place an upper bounds of about $3.00 per dollar cut in their working paper.

      Cutting spending in a healthy economy – not so bad. Money that is reduced from government spending during good times is pretty much one for one – i.e. take one dollar out of spending and you’ve taken one dollar out of the economy.

      If that dollar during good times is taken out of a balanced budget with no debt, and revenue collection reduced by the same amount, even better according to classical economic theory – the private sector tends to do a better job converting that otherwise unattached dollar into economic growth.

      Of course, the government remains a better option for investment in certain tasks. No private industry was able to come up with an effective health insurance program for the elderly. No private industry is able to compel spending into social safety net programs that benefit all of society by sharply reducing poverty among the elderly. And private industry has not proven good at driving mass vaccination programs without government help.

      The problem current Republican fiscal theory has is that it removes all the “ifs”, “ands”, and “buts” from accepted economic science. It takes the statement that investment in the private sector is more productive than investment in government spending during good times, and extrapolates it to mean that government spending is always bad and that private sector spending is always better. That is not true, neither based on our history nor in accepted economic theory.

      If we worked on the classical (i.e. pre-Reagan) Republican theory that we should let the private sector responsibly do what it will, except where it won’t or can’t, and let government fill in the gaps, today’s Democrats would be in 90+% agreement.

    • sxp151 says:

      The time for pushing stimulus instead of austerity in America was back in 2010 when some people were still trying to elect Republicans and sit on the sensible centrist fence.

  3. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Black and Whitey: How the Feds Disable Criminal Defense

    It is quite possible that Black might have totally prevailed in his case, unnecessarily obscure and complex though it was, had he been able to employ from start to finish his initial legal counsel of choice: the fabled Washington, D.C. firm of Williams & Connolly, which had been representing him with considerable vigor in the pre-indictment stages. But the DOJ did what it routinely does in well-defended cases brought against well-heeled targets: it froze the bulk of Black’s considerable assets, including the $9 million proceeds from the sale of his New York apartment that Black had specifically allocated for his legal defense. Black could no longer fight utilizing his “A” team.

    • Here’s mine…

      The current laws regarding asset seizure and asset freezes were IMHO well-intentioned but are being over-used and misused.

      I’m with the lawmakers who passed the bill in stating that you shouldn’t be able to spend illicit gains once you’ve been arrested; that was resulting in drug dealers transferring all of their money to somewhere that the government couldn’t reach – where it was being used by the rest of the cartel…

      Lord Black should have had access to enough personal wealth – excluding the sale of the company – to mount an effective defense. If the Feds seized all of his assets, then that was too broad.

      “Whitey” Bolger’s case is more difficult; his entire career before going on the run was in the mob, or double-dealing with the FBI about the mob. What assets he had were pretty much tied to his mob work. On this case the article sounds like the whining of a defense advocate rather than a convincing argument for reform.

      More concerning are the cases where loaned vehicles are confiscated during drug busts – assets that don’t even belong to someone indicted in the case.

  4. PitaPita says:

    OK, I admit the first time I’ve set foot in a movie theater in 4 years was to see the movie, Lincoln.  Now comes the advertising for “Promised Land” with Matt Damon that revolves around a story line most of us know well, fracking. (Some, like our friend Duke, know it better than others.)

    To be expected, the proponents don’t like it.

    Matt Damon called ‘liar’ by pro-fracking filmmaker

    Has anyone seen the movie? The reviews are mixed – does it matter if it heightens the public’s understanding of the issue?

    • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

      I am in Ky. Back in Colorado for COGCC hearings..home on Wednesday.

      I hope to see it while in GJ. Do you want to get a group together so we can hoot and catcall at the bad guys??  🙂  *

      *jus’ kiddin’

  5. Albert J. Nock says:

    Here she is!

    • ClubTwitty says:

      but only in a general way.  After all we may pass on the street someday.  

    • BlueCat says:

      The fiscal cliff is in the rear view mirror but not exactly for the reasons she states.  

      And isn’t this just a recap of the same old discredited crap. If she’s so “savvy” why does she talk about the top income tax rate as if it applies to all of a person’s income instead of just to the marginal portion? And why does she leave out all the ways those poor rich people get to avoid most of it anyway while middle class shmoes pay every penny of payroll tax?

      Guess she’s never noticed that people like the Romneys pay more like 0-15%, not over a third?  Maybe she’s unaware that they are more likely to park it offshore than to invest in ways that create jobs? That, in fact, as the rich have become richer the middle class has shrunk and become poorer?

      As for the rest, we’ve heard it all before without a scrap of evidence to back up any of the basic underlying premises. Yeah, it’s all a spending problem.  That’s why austerity has been such a boon to so many economies, right? See Dave’s comment above.

      By the way, though lately Rs seem to love wringing their hands about our becoming  just like Greece, they always leave out the part about how not paying taxes at all is a long established national institution in Greece, like mom and apple pie here. Yes, it’s tough to run an economy where nobody pays taxes and gets to retire on the government dime at 55 but that’s relevant to our situation how?

      And her goggle eyed cuteness? It wears off pretty quickly.  

    • sxp151 says:

      I don’t remember you ever referring to the attractiveness of any other commentators.

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        Why does it matter if she’s cute?

        I don’t remember you ever referring to the attractiveness of any other commentators.

        Nock told me I have great legs!

          Seriously, while she goes on too long, she does rip the Rs a new one for saying the Defense budget can’t cut a dime, even while noting that the alleged cuts are only reductions in the rate of increase.


  6. Fidel's dirt nap says:

    something has really been troubling me lately, and I couldn’t put a finger on it, but alas I figured it out.

    Why the hell would the talented and extremely beautiful Kate Winslet marry a guy named ” Ned Rocknroll” ?  I mean, really, who the fuck renames themself “Ned Rocknroll”?  Is he in a band ? Does he have that much of Unc. Richard’s money ?  Does he just rock all the time ?

    Why the hell would she even want to be associated with a character who makes decisions like this ?  I mean, she probably can be pretty damn choosy.  No, i’ll take Ned Rocknroll. WTF ?

    I just don’t get it.  I really don’t.  Depressing actually.

    • BlueCat says:

      I’m sure she wouldn’t have if only she’d known how much you care.

      Sadly, most of our favorite actors have the IQ of fruitflies when it comes to anything other than acting.  

      • Fidel's dirt nap says:

        I really do.  When someone makes a choice like that they are trading down to Kardashian level, and why would you do that to yourself ?  I give it one year.

        • VanDammerVanDammer says:

          It’s her 3rd time:  first for love, second for money, and maybe this one just for companionship?  

          Her “Clementine” is one of my favorite roles in a great movie (even gotta give props to Carey un-Ace acting).

          Maybe Obamacare will cover a Lacuna trip to help you forget your concerns.

          • Fidel's dirt nap says:

            they told me given my past lifestyle habits that my unique distress qualifies me for a can of Dales Pale Ale and a half a Sominex.  I took it.

            As for the new moniker, although my life consists of completely rocking it out day and night, and fighting the powers that be, you won’t see Rocknroll in it, because that shit would just be redundant.

            And yes, she was awesome as “Clementine”.  Have a good weekend.  I feel better already.

    • sxp151 says:

      Their relationship seemed turbulent.

      • BlueCat says:

        nothing about Winslet’s relationships? I also have never seen Titanic. Romance between the upper deck and one of the unwashed masses. Yeah, right. It sounded too much like the kind of girlie, sappy romances I never could abide, even when I was a girl.

        I’m glad you guys like her, though, as she’s one of the few female stars who looks like she actually eats something once in a while.  

  7. BlueCat says:

    the continuing collapse I see is the GOP’s connection with the 21st century.  Oreven the post 60s 20th.

    They let the Violence against Women Act lapse because they feel that the current version is too supportive of immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans.

    I’m sure they will once again be stunned that anyone would interpret this as more evidence of bigotry and racism so deeply ingrained they aren’t even aware of it, no matter how many times it trips them up and they have to do the “sorry if anyone was offended” thing.  

    They also will fail to recognize that their willingness to throw even the “right” kind of women, white straight ones, under the bus to make sure no gays or brown people (I’m sure by immigrants they don’t mean people from Canada or Holland) or Injuns benefit could be interpreted as not giving a damn about an entire gender that makes up 55% of the voting public.

    Nope, they continue to be strangely baffled as to why just finding the occasional  fill-in-the-blank to run for something or appear on a podium isn’t doing the trick with women and minorities.  

  8. A California appeals court has thrown out the rape conviction of a man who crept into a drunk sleeping woman’s house and had sex with her. She initially thought it was her boyfriend, who she had gone to sleep beside – but her boyfriend had to get up early to go to work…

    When the woman realized that it wasn’t her boyfriend, she pushed him away and cried out.

    The appeals court agreed with the defense that an 1872 law exempted the man from prosecution. The law states: “any person who fraudulently obtains the consent of another to sexual relations escapes criminal liability (at least as a sex offender under title IX of the Penal Code), unless he (or she) […] masquerades as the victim’s spouse.” So because she initially consented under the false impression that it was her (not married to him) boyfriend, the perp gets to walk.

    The appeals court called the perp’s actions “despicable”, and suggested that the law be reviewed in further appeals and perhaps overturned.

    • BlueCat says:

      not exactly the center of the red universe. Let’s hope that review is coming soon.  

      • The court ruled based on the existing law, as it is probably required to do, and told the prosecutors to take the case up to the California Supreme Court for a review of the law itself…

        • BlueCat says:

          I’m not dense. I understand all that. Lots of archaic laws remain on most, if not all, states’ books. It just goes to show that they should be periodically cleaned up, even the ones people find ridiculous and assume are harmless because they’re not enforced. And I hope this one, now brought to the court’s and public’s attention, will be.

        • sxp151 says:

          Can you imagine if we lived in a country where rich people could go to jail for committing crimes?

          The horror, the horror…

  9. Craig says:

    He voted against Sandy relief.  As linked below during the fires last summer, let Colorado Springs burn.

    • BlueCat says:

      answer questions or make explanations because of his district. Hard to believe most of his constituents actually even like him and can’t think of anything much he’s ever done for them, besides the begging Obama for some of that dirty federal money after Waldo, but that doesn’t matter either.  

  10. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    That’s pretty good for this kind of deep-thought topic.

    Congratulations to all who contributed, especially to my doughty foil, Elliot Fladen, who can be exasperatingly repetitious but who certainly prompts thoughts on serious subjects.

    • parsingreality says:

      IIRC, the diary was about health care.

      Gecko must be dead.  Rapid Cranial Auto-expansion after Obamacare was given constitutional status by the Supremes.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      with that kind of respons are worthwhile. Remember, bj had one during the Buck campaign about god or religion. I never read that one because of who wrote it and therefore knowing, or thinking, it would be worthless. Yours was worthwhile and took some work. I appreciated it.

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        after it had hit something like 200 responses.   It was basically about his fundamentalist religious views, the 6,000 year old earth, six-day creation, etc.  I promoted it just because this is a reader driven blog and you can’t argue with that kind of expression.

          It went on to hit something like 500 responses, maybe as many as 1,000, I can’t remember exactly.   It was an astonishing turnout either way, though I teased him that it was essentially 500 people 500 people saying he was an idiot and 500 responses from him saying he was NOT an idiot.  

  11. Or did Boehner extend his now 2peat streak of scheduling a vote on the House floor which passed only because Democrats helped it?

    The Sandy relief mini-bill only passed with Democratic help, since 67 heartless Republicans voted “no”.

    And further, was that the first bill of the session to come to the floor? Boehner’s not developing a record Republicans will like, and he’s less than a day into his re-election.

    • sxp151 says:

      The Hastert rule says that a bill should have a majority of the Republicans supporting it, not that it should require a near-unanimous vote of Republicans (which is what it would take to pass a bill without Democratic help).

      • In general, Boehner has limited bills coming to the floor to those that could pass with his caucus only. In the 112th, they had a larger margin (net loss of 8 seats to them in the 113th), and with that bunch, majority caucus support generally meant being able to sell the bill to enough Republicans to actually pass the bill without Democratic support.

        (And given the whole struggle within the party, not being able to have a majority vote with just Republicans meant he wasn’t keeping his caucus in line…)

        He’ll need to rely on Democrats more in the 113th; even if he keeps the Hastert Rule you’ll probably see more votes like this one where he alienates his ultra-conservative frenemies and gets crossover votes from Democrats.

      • BlueCat says:

        as applied has indeed meant an overwhelming majority of the R majority. They have not, in practice, been willing to bring to the floor, much less pass, anything that that almost all Rs would not vote for.  They have not been willing to bring anything that would require Dem help, certainly not substantial Dem help.

        So, for Boehner, this continuing process, besides winning re-elction to the Speakership by just a few votes over the required number when most win their own party unanimously or close to it, has been and will probably remain a painful one. At least he always has his beloved merlot. Bet he’s had a bellyful of tea by now.

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