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Waddling towards a deal on tax cuts

Mark Mardell | 13:46 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

As the lame duck session of Congress waddles painfully to its Christmas demise the wiggle in its walk says something about the state of American politics.

At stake this week are the tax cuts made in 2001 and 2003 by President George W Bush and the Republicans, which run out in the New Year.

The shape of a deal to stop taxes automatically going up for all Americans is emerging. It throws into stark outline the different priorities of the two parties and so the difficulty of chalk merging with cheese.

The Republicans will only agree to taxes in general being kept down if couples earning over $250,000 a year are included. They argue it is vital for the economy: that many of these couples are what are called over here "mom and pop" businesses, small family businesses, and to put their taxes up would damage the economy, mean less investment, fewer jobs. Democrats retort these people are "the rich" and most sit on their money and don't invest or spend any extra windfall. Moreover, extending the tax cuts would add $7bn (£4.46bn) to the deficit.

Many Democrats are opposed to any deal. Full stop. Period. Others will agree to it only if unemployment benefits are extended. Few seem to make a loud economic argument, but if they wanted they could maintain that it strengthens the economy by making sure even the unemployed have a little to spend and don't lose their homes. They could say many countries have what in the jargon is known as "automatic stabilisers": such benefits are part of the system and so prevent widespread economic disruption in a time of economic crisis. Republicans counter the unemployed have no incentive to find work, and that is why America is more dynamic than Europe.

But this is not about economics. These positions are only rarely adopted after people have looked long and hard at the economics and come to a difficult conclusion. They are emotional and political calculations. Do you want to aid the rich more than the helpless? Do you want to damage enterprise but throw money at the feckless? What will the big bosses of corporations want you to do? How will the unions expect you to help their more unfortunate members?

It seems from this episode that the Republicans have the better tactics but the Democrats potentially the stronger strategy, if they manage to conjure some sort of coherence and indeed enthusiasm.

Given their dispirited demeanour, they may well not.

If the deal comes off, the Republicans will avoid having to hold a separate vote in January introducing tax breaks solely for the better-off. They will have pleased their constituency, the aspirational, the rich, business, big and small, and tax-cutting enthusiasts, without being too exposed.

Some Democrats think Republicans will thus fall into a trap. Expose where their priorities lie, sharpening the argument in 2012. But Democrats in Congress can't really agree on the road ahead. One senior party source told me that many feel they have a big target on their back and are all about saving their own skins in two years' time. He added that people wanted to talk at length and he was not yet worried about the lack of agreement on political direction. But he would be if it was still true in two weeks' time.

President Barack Obama's approach is to appear bipartisan and indeed give Republicans some of what they want, as long as their fingerprints are all over the deal. But he is doing so with what seems to be a mild indifference. He read some fairly strong words after the recent bipartisan meeting with all the verve of a man reciting a bus timetable. One of the most perceptive articles I have read recently argues that if you listen to the mood music, not the words, you could believe he's just about given up. Unless he gets back some spring in his step he might as well have thrown in the towel.

Next year is, on paper, the dullest in the political cycle. No presidential election, no congressional election, not the first year of the president's term, nor the last. But it may be the most telling.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:10pm on 06 Dec 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    That's about a lame duck can do is waddle, maybe peck a little, sleep a lot. A lame duck is not exactly designed for progress.
    A lame duck cannot see, is not high enough to see, that there are important matters in need of decisive action.
    What about all those unemployed folk who will be running out of benefits soon? Last I read the American jobless rate was around 10%.
    History: Congress has always extended benefits when unemployment sits at about 7.4% or higher. Will this Congress be the first?
    What would it mean?
    More people losing their homes, less activity for the economy. The $5B monthly unemployment benefits is $5B that will not be helping the US economy.
    Now comers the really weird part: Congress is considering extending the Bush tax cuts for everybody.
    What would this mean?
    The foregoing of $5B a month in taxation revenue.
    Republicans say that the wealthiest Americans create employment, own small busineses...Well if that was so how come they arent creating jobs NOW while they still have their tax cuts.
    Next year appears to be the dullest on the political cycle.
    Maybe.
    But in my bones, combined with all this Wikileak dumping, I feel that something BIG is coming; something that will happen on American soil. Something that will unite the American people like 9/11. Something that will bring good fortune and profit to the American military/industrial complex.
    This upcoming dull period, would be the perfect time. People would forget about tax cuts and unemployment. America would get back into the heavy, HEAVY war on terror, and the American economy would pick up.
    All Americans need is a good cause for war.

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  • 2. At 3:12pm on 06 Dec 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    here is the things,

    most people would rather have the tax cuts extended and have the following done

    no aid to illegals
    not only a freeze but a cut to govt worker salaries

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  • 3. At 3:17pm on 06 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    "Democrats retort these people are "the rich" and most sit on their money and don't invest or spend any extra windfall. Moreover, extending the tax cuts would add $7bn (£4.46bn) to the deficit.

    Many Democrats are opposed to any deal. Full stop. Period. Others will agree to it only if unemployment benefits are extended."


    Such an extension would also add to the deficit and/or the national debt. So how is the Democrat proposal any different again?

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  • 4. At 3:20pm on 06 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #1

    "Well if that was so how come they arent creating jobs NOW while they still have their tax cuts."

    Would you hire on someone new if you weren't sure that you could rely on this tax break to help you pay their salary, after January 1st?

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  • 5. At 3:31pm on 06 Dec 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #1 and 4

    We are in a major period of restructing in term of workers needed for certain industries.

    Techonlogy has made some workers superfolous. Other firms are seeing that they can maintain effiency with fewer people.

    this is a time of readjustment and firms have to look at many factors. but like the luddites the special interest groups will oppose.

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  • 6. At 4:00pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Letting Bush tax cuts expire:
    1) help reduce the deficit
    2) change the taxes for rich and corporations to what they paid their whole entire lives before Bush, which some rich, like Warren Buffet, support.
    3) possibly reduce jobs, as corps/rich usually want to spend as little as possible, however, there is no guarentee that it would actually reduce jobs...this is a question mark, an 'if'.

    Extending Bush tax cuts would:
    1) increase the deficit
    2) keep the taxes artificially low for rich/corps just like Bush wanted
    3) possibly increase jobs, but there is no guarentee it would, because rich could simply save money/invest with extra money or corps could give bigger bonuses to executives...this is also an 'if' question.

    Due to this, I believe that letting the Bush tax cuts expire would actually be most beneficial.

    And by that, I mean expire on all of us. I think that the middle class and upper class, including rich and corps, should all pay normal taxes until our deficit is significantly lowered, then we can decrease them again possibly.

    I support changing the taxes to what they were before Bush took office.

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  • 7. At 4:09pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    MagicKirin wrote:
    no aid to illegals
    not only a freeze but a cut to govt worker salaries
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Although I disagree with MK on Bush tax cuts (I feel they should expire on all of us to reduce the deficit and put taxes to what they were before Bush/recession), I highly agree with MK on no aid to illegals and a cut to govt. salary workers, which is a very smart idea.

    But regardless, I believe that what will happen is "Let's make a deal!"

    Obama likely is going to extend Bush tax cuts and then Repubs are likely going to vote for START to be ratified in return, especially since extra funds were wrote in to properly take care of nuclear material, which Repubs requested. Then Obama can at least hail START and the Repubs can at least hail tax cuts for everybody.

    As for DREAM act (aka American Dream Destroyer Act) and DADT repeal, I hope and pray that neither will pass, because there is much opposition against both, including my own...

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  • 8. At 4:21pm on 06 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #6

    The deficit is not what is ailing America, at the moment, it's the high unemployment rate, the housing market depression and the sluggish business environment. The US has been running a deficit for many years.


    Fix those three issues and the deficit will naturally narrow or even disappear from the increased tax revenues generates by those three improvements.


    Reducing the size of the deficit will not create jobs. Reducing the deficit will not help people pay their mortgages or keep the houses they just bought. Reducing the deficit will not entice small businesses (the ones you call "the rich") into growth and new hiring. Reducing the deficit will only result in one thing. Higher taxes.

    "2) keep the taxes artificially low ..."


    Whenever I see people using the term "artificially low" in the context of taxation, I always laugh a little to myself. As if there is anything natural about taxation...:)

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  • 10. At 4:50pm on 06 Dec 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Berlin,
    Mr. Hewitt has written another contribution to the European blog, but it is still not possible to make comments, and there is no explanation.

    His latest contribution is on Wikileaks, more precisely how the relation between Washington and its partners in Europe is influenced, now that the Europeans know more about their nicknames in Washington etc.
    Actually, it seems the Britons have more to consider than anybody else, since the Americans regard “the special relationship” as paranoia, at least some of the time.

    In Germany, the country the Americans (correctly) evaluate as the strongest in Europe, there have been some personal consequences of the leaks, but they have had no influence on the political relation so far. Germans never thought they had any special relationship with the USA, and the war policy during Bush-Blair made that clear to those in doubt.

    It is in the evaluation of the war policy, which European voters are making in these months and years, the effect of the disclosures can be observed in some European countries. Blair never has a ghost of a chance to become chairman of the EU council. Further, the evaluations are likely to lead to changes in European governments in coming elections, and contrary to the election in the UK in a more continental direction.

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  • 11. At 5:10pm on 06 Dec 2010, Ranking Dillinger _Murderer wrote:

    Wikileaks - USA
    MBS CDO's ARE REAL WMD's
    TAKE=OUT&TARGET=WTC 7 MMD's

    More cable at 11

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  • 13. At 5:17pm on 06 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #10


    "Germans never thought they had any special relationship with the USA, and the war policy during Bush-Blair made that clear to those in doubt."


    Or with NATO, for that matter :)

    Yes, we are members of NATO and will fulfill our treaty obligations but only if we get to do so in a way that involves the least amount of actual fighting. Is there a quiet part of Afghanistan? The North? What a coincidence! That looks like the perfect place for Germany to discharge its treaty obligations...:D


    Germany never has to worry about developing any kind of a special relationship with the US. The only special relationships the Germans are interested in is the "special relationship" that exists between the US bases in Germany and the German towns near such bases.

    > Cue Pink Floyd's "Money" song...:)

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  • 14. At 5:45pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    J wrote: Reducing the size of the deficit will not create jobs. Reducing the deficit will not help people pay their mortgages or keep the houses they just bought. Reducing the deficit will not entice small businesses (the ones you call "the rich") into growth and new hiring. Reducing the deficit will only result in one thing. Higher taxes.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    I know lots of people with small businesses and none of them are rich.
    They, too, want taxes to go back to what they were before Bush.
    Why would reducing the deficit result in higher taxes?

    I agree with you that unemployment is the number one thing, but corps and rich people have had very low taxes these last years during recession and it hasn't helped create jobs...

    In fact, during the recession, when the rich and corps have had low taxes, then America has actually lost many of our full time jobs and gained temporary or part-time jobs...

    Since America has only lost jobs during Bush tax cuts, why would we want to continue the Bush tax cuts, thus losing more jobs?

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  • 16. At 6:05pm on 06 Dec 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    Our deficit would become largely resolved even under current levels of taxation if we returned to the levels of economic growth experienced during the Clinton years. Growth is the present solution; sustainable growth is the long term solution.

    Our present economy (jobs) is substantially based on consumerism-- for better or worse, it's what we've got. The growing concentration of wealth we're experiencing subverts consumerism. As increasing numbers of people are less fully able to participate in the economy, demand slackens and investment in businesses reliant on sales of goods or services make less sense and jobs are not created.

    Obama's effort to allow earned income tax cuts to sunset on the wealthier segment of our society while retaining the cuts for the less affluent makes sense in our current situation, and even under Obama's proposal, the Bush cuts toward the wealthiest in regard to capital gains and inheritance taxes are retained.

    Our nation's growing concentration of wealth further inhibits our ability to move from domestic consumerism toward those economic and production areas where education is necessary and must be affordable/accessible. If we view large swaths of our own population as surplus instead of assets, we ultimately undermine all economic tiers of our country.

    Any outcome from our current tax debate by itself will not entirely solve our problem, but Obama's expressed preferred approach is a comparative step in the right direction.

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  • 17. At 6:11pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Mathiasen wrote: Actually, it seems the Britons have more to consider than anybody else, since the Americans regard “the special relationship” as paranoia, at least some of the time.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Interesting, though, isn't it, the new EU aka Europe as a whole?

    I read somewhere that Margarent Thatcher had warned that Great Britain should avoid a European superstate, have you heard this?

    Something about how it would make Great Britain 'just another country' in Europe as opposed to Great Britain being individual and of 'a special relationship' with USA and other countries?

    Also, does this mean Great Britain has to follow all of EU's rules like our states do the federal govt.?

    That means that EU can take away or change GB laws, such as immigration, taxes, everything, right?

    What about the Queen of England- shouldn't she hold power over GB and not EU?

    Do what you want to do, Great Britain and other European countries, but remember that America is a great ally to have on your side outside of Europe, including EU...

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  • 18. At 6:21pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Mathiasen wrote: His latest contribution is on Wikileaks, more precisely how the relation between Washington and its partners in Europe is influenced, now that the Europeans know more about their nicknames in Washington etc.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Who is funding the terrorists?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101206/ts_nm/us_wikileaks_usa_mideast

    An exerpt:
    It concluded that "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide" and offered similarly critical views about other countries in the region.

    The United Arab Emirates was described as having a "strategic gap" that terrorists could exploit, while Qatar was seen as being "the worst in the region" on counterterrorism and Kuwait was dubbed "a key transit point.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    And aren't the Saudis, ect. the ones who want us to stop Iran?

    Didn't Qatar just get the World Cup over us?

    Interesting...

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Here's a good, heartwarming, American story...

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101206/lf_nm_life/us_food_hunters

    An exerpt:
    Deer hunters in Pennsylvania are expected to donate about 100,000 pounds of venison to help meet the surging demand from the state's food banks.

    Hunters will shoot about 300,000 deer during the two-week hunting season that began on November 29. Some of their haul will be given to Hunters Sharing the Harvest, a program run by the state's agriculture department.

    It provides meat to local food banks which redistribute the venison to more than 4,000 local food-assistance organizations that help people unable to feed themselves because of the economic downturn.

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  • 19. At 6:30pm on 06 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    Regardles of the merits of the idea (if any), Republicans have done a poor job of explaining to the American people why extending the tax cuts to people in the upper income brackets is a good idea while Democrats (with the help of their American media allies) have done an effective job of painting the issue as one of Republicans working to benefit rich plutocrats.

    If it takes a compromise that secures extension of the tax cuts in return for extension of unemployment benefits both sides should hold seize the deal and claim victory. Democrats get to polish their image as champions of the working class while Republicans get the satisfaction of extending tax cuts to some of their influential consituents (and since the cuts that were already in effect extending them just extends the status quo).

    More importantly, a compromise would let Republicans avoid the trap of cutting unemployment benefits right before the holidays and thereby giving editorial cartoonists the not to be missed opportunity to portray them as the Grinches who stole Christmas from the children of down on their luck working class Americans.

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  • 20. At 6:34pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Mr. Mardell, what is it with the word 'waddle'?

    First, Americans were 'waddling toward oblivion,' to quote you and now we are 'waddling toward a deal on tax cuts'?

    That's a lot of 'waddling'...

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  • 21. At 6:57pm on 06 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #6. At 4:00pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    "Extending Bush tax cuts would:
    1) increase the deficit
    2) keep the taxes artificially low for rich/corps just like Bush wanted
    3) possibly increase jobs, but there is no guarentee it would, because rich could simply save money/invest with extra money or corps could give bigger bonuses to executives...this is also an 'if' question."


    Artificially low? As in: "This budget contains no artificially low tax rates, only all natural high tax rates on the wealthy were used to calulate this budget..."

    As for the idea that a tax cut would be wasted because the rich would only save or invest the money, where do you think the money comes from to start up new busineses, expand existing ones or re-tool factories to meet the demands of changing product lines? It comes from savers and investors. And when corporations increase profits they pay dividends to investors, including ordinary people who have invested either directly or through a retirement fund.

    The government recently released figures that ordinary Americans in lesser tax brackets are also saving more, does that mean the middle class "deserves" to be taxed more so they won't waste their money by saving it?

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  • 22. At 7:05pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Now here's something interesting, also...USA's new census count...

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101206/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_census_population_estimates

    An exerpt:
    Census surprise? The government provided new estimates Monday showing the U.S. population grew to somewhere between roughly 306 million and 313 million over the last decade, acknowledging uncertainty due to rapid shifts in immigration.
    In 2000, the official census count was 281.4 million.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    So USA gained 35 million people in the last ten years?

    That seems like a lot...especially since we are going through recession...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    So where are these new people coming from?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101206/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_census_population_estimates

    An exerpt:
    Hispanics accounted for all the growth in the youth population in the last decade. In 2000, Hispanics made up 17 percent of the U.S. population under age 20. They now represent somewhere between 22 and 25 percent of that age group.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    So hispanics are the new growth and they now account for one-quarter of young Americans under 20, now how many of these are legal or illegal?

    (too bad the census doesn't ask that)

    So what would have happened if hispanics, legal or illegal, hadn't added new growth?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101206/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_census_population_estimates

    An exerpt:
    Without Hispanics, the number of young people in the U.S. would have declined between 2000 and 2010. Based on the estimates, the non-Hispanic youth population declined somewhere between 1.25 million and 2.9 million.
    ------------------------------------------------------------ -

    So as the American white, black, asian, ect. population is decreasing by the millions, hispanic legal and illegal growth is increasing by the millions?

    And that, folks, is the future of America, if we do not stop illegal immigration while we still can!!!
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101206/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_census_population_estimates

    An exerpt:
    The stakes are high. After state numbers are released later this month, the Census Bureau will begin to release population and race breakdowns for more local areas in February, triggering a process in which states gaining or losing House seats will redraw political boundaries.

    Current projections by Election Data Services indicate that a dozen congressional seats affecting 18 states would change hands. They include four seats for Texas, two for Florida and one each for Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. New York and Ohio are projected to lose two seats apiece, while eight states would lose single seats — Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    So doesn't this mean Americans are losing seats due to illegal immigration?

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  • 23. At 7:10pm on 06 Dec 2010, Ranking Dillinger _Murderer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 24. At 7:25pm on 06 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #14

    "Why would reducing the deficit result in higher taxes?"

    Because to reduce the deficit you must do one of two things:

    1) Increase your tax revenue (higher taxes)

    or

    2) Decrease your budget/expenditures (program cuts)


    In the context of Mark's article, we are talking about the Bush era tax cuts about to expire. By allowing tax cuts to expire, you are in effect allowing a tax increase. So, while that may minimally help with the deficit, the deficit is not what the US is trying to deal with, at this point in time. Instead, it's those three issues I mentioned earlier and raising the tax helps with none of them.

    A medication that doesn't cure your cancer but alleviates the pain in your joints is not very helpful, in the long run


    "I know lots of people with small businesses and none of them are rich."


    You have a different interpretation of "small business" and "rich" than Mark and Congress.


    The Democrats consider anyone who makes over 250K, as "rich". The Republicans consider anyone who makes over 250K, as a "small business". The former is debatable. The latter is a fact. For every Buffet, there are 10 million "small businesses". To the democrats, they are both in the same boat, they are all "rich". And "rich" = "taxable" in their language.



    Ever wondered why you pay any taxes, at all? I mean, what is your tax money supposed to go towards?

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  • 25. At 7:27pm on 06 Dec 2010, Ranking Dillinger _Murderer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 26. At 7:45pm on 06 Dec 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    @ LucyJ #6:
    I hate to say it, but I agree. Letting the breaks die is a good idea for our Economy.

    Unfortunately, 'higher taxes' are kind of unpopular among voters. Our Politicians would never willingly increase... um... Hey WAIT! If these lame ducks just 'Deny & Delay' long enough, they can EACH blame EACH OTHER for the higher taxes! Gosh. Convenient.
    -- Hmmm... it's a crazy idea, but it just might work...

    ACTUALLY - I kinda figured that the GOP could hold the NEW START treaty Hostage! Offering to help ratify the treaty If (and only if) the DEMs cave in about upper-income tax breaks. Gosh, how exciting!

    Well... actually... it'd be more exciting if there were spies, secrets, and comical escapee rabbits and such. Oh well. Wikileaks trumps economic policy for movie ratings.

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  • 27. At 9:35pm on 06 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Any self respecting terrorist would use Google Earth -

    --accuracy down to a few meters and a fantastic view.

    -- and an excellent American product.!

    Wikileaks is far from being even 2nd. best !

    -- Can terrorists get a bulk price reduction on Google Earth ?

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  • 28. At 9:46pm on 06 Dec 2010, Ranking Dillinger _Murderer wrote:

    15. At 5:49pm on 06 Dec 2010, you wrote:

    == What time is it now?!
    Hitsville USA?
    We're here for a purpose
    (or we were here for one)
    but we can't be axed anymore
    you can't keep ignoring us
    and ignorance is no excuse
    for not providing normal bad service
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA8ok82Di74
    Do I Make Myself Clear / I Don't Wanna Fuss
    A Little Taste Of Soul / Here You Come Running,
    Say Yeah Yeah Yeah / If You Don't Think

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  • 29. At 10:36pm on 06 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    18. At 6:21pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    Who is funding the terrorists?
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101206/ts_nm/us_wikileaks_usa_mideast
    An exerpt:
    It concluded that "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide" and offered similarly critical views about other countries in the region.

    And aren't the Saudis, ect. the ones who want us to stop Iran?
    --------------------------------------------------
    The key word here is "Sunni". What you need to understand is the difference between the Sunni and Shia Muslims and the conflicts between them. It's not just as simple as 'us' against 'them Muslims'.
    Iran is primarily a Shia country.
    Saddam Hussein was Sunni, but the people of Iraq were predomimnately Shia and he oppressed the majority Shias. Now Iran (Shia, remember) has been trying since his downfall to gain more influence in Iraqi politics.
    The Taliban are Sunni, just like the Saudis. Pakistan has internal Sunni-Shia conflict but many, many Sunnis have come across the border to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban.
    That's about it in a nutshell.

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  • 30. At 10:39pm on 06 Dec 2010, McJakome wrote:

    Make tax cuts, if any, depend on hiring Americans not illegals and not exporting jobs. Anyone caught doing so while receiving a tax cut, tax break or tax exemption should lose not only the present breaks, but retroactive breaks for at least two years.

    Let the Dems add this to any Republican "welfare for the well-off" bill, and the support for it will wither on the vine. I am in the extremely odd position of agreeing with LucyJ that NO tax cut for anyone is the best tax cut, and roll-back to pre-Bush tax levels to get through the economic crisis is the best way to go.


    Instead of outing gays, major efforts should be made to out tax cheats, money paid to well-off individuals and businesses, corrupt deals for defense contractors, etc. I might even go for confiscatory fines unless all ill-gotten gains are repaid ASAP.

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  • 31. At 10:45pm on 06 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    17. At 6:11pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    What about the Queen of England- shouldn't she hold power over GB and not EU.
    ---------------------------------------
    You mean Queen Margarent Thatcher?

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  • 32. At 11:20pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Scott 21 wrote: As for the idea that a tax cut would be wasted because the rich would only save or invest the money, where do you think the money comes from to start up new busineses, expand existing ones or re-tool factories to meet the demands of changing product lines? It comes from savers and investors. And when corporations increase profits they pay dividends to investors, including ordinary people who have invested either directly or through a retirement fund.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Don't most small businesses get money from grants?
    (aka govt.)

    If the rich/corps are creating jobs by having tax cuts, then where are the jobs?

    During the Bush era, the rich and corps have gotten tax cuts, and USA has steadily lost more and more jobs, so this is why I feel like the tax cuts have all been wasted- for all classes- and made things where they are today cause' if we didn't have the tax cuts (its estimated USA loses out on 700 million yearly due to rich and wealthy tax cuts), that means that USA might not be in recession, if it wasn't for those tax cuts...ten years= 8 billion dollars we could have used to decrease our deficit and maybe we wouldn't be where we are today!

    In the Midwest, we have lost a lot of factory jobs in particular during Bush era. It used to be during Clinton era, half the people I know were employed by factories before the recession, because the factories supported thousands of jobs with benefits. Where have the factories gone and how can we get new factories?

    Anyway, the factories have left us and that's why Midwest has so much unemployment, cause' it used to employ whole communities...
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Scott wrote: The government recently released figures that ordinary Americans in lesser tax brackets are also saving more, does that mean the middle class "deserves" to be taxed more so they won't waste their money by saving it.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Everybody deserves to be taxed more- the best solution is to let ALL tax cuts expire- which means everybody has to pay up the amount they did before Bush!!!

    If the rich and corps haven't created jobs while having the tax cuts last ten years and unemployment has skyrocketed because of it, then why would we want to continue tax cuts and losing jobs?

    They say don't fix it if its broke- but right now its broke and needs fixed!!!

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  • 33. At 11:27pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    So who was the first to report the secret sites?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_wikileaks_secret_sites

    An exerpt:
    The BBC was the first to report on the U.S. cable detailing the secret sites, and linked its story to the full cable on the WikiLeaks site. The BBC did not respond to questions about its decision to do so.

    WikiLeaks had been working with a select group of international media, but has been offering its cable revelations to new media partners in recent days.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Does that mean BBC is wikileaks new media partner?

    Gee, thanks, BBC.

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  • 35. At 11:28pm on 06 Dec 2010, Illogicbuster wrote:

    Part of the 'lame' in this duck is the obsession with giving amnesty to criminals. For the life of me I don't know why Dims are playing that card rather than concentrating on the tax & unemployment situation. Pretty 'lame'.

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  • 36. At 00:24am on 07 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    LucyJ, (#20. At 6:34pm on 06 Dec 2010)

    “Mr. Mardell, what is it with the word 'waddle'? ...”
    It may be that it alludes to a lame duck, as in this session of congress.

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  • 37. At 00:32am on 07 Dec 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #19

    Exactly the opposite, the American people see the Democrats spending without any responsbility.

    the Republican have made a strong and the correct case.

    The only ones benefiting in this economy are govt workers and union workers

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  • 38. At 00:42am on 07 Dec 2010, BK wrote:

    "Obama reaches deal with Republicans over tax cuts"
    Ahhh! It feels good to see The One, The Messiah, The Unprecedented, The Historical, The Phenomenal, The Chosen, etc., etc., join the rest of the politicians at the compromise table, trading tit for tat (so to speak)...amazing what a bit of balance can accomplish in Congress now that "Princess" can't run rough-shod over the House and Harry has been tamed in the Senate...meanwhile, I'd like to point out that cutting the Bush "tax breaks for the wealthy" was another broken campaign promise.
    Let's tally it up: Iraq? Still there carrying weapons, with more and more foreign fighters slipping back in daily; Afghanistan? 2014...too funny! No end in sight; GTMO? Still open for business, and housing foreign citizens on "U.S. soil without charge or hearing;" Healthcare? Exceptions and permitted opt outs above 100 and rising and perhaps rescinded when the 112th Congress convenes; Undeserved/unearned Nobel Prize? Yep...(what was that for again?) Oh yeah...most likely to posture like a President? Immigration Reform? Not unless attacking Arizona, and enjoining foreign governments in the attack is reform; Cap and Trade? Hahahaha! Labor's "card check" gift from Obama, Princess and Harry? DOA!
    Most continuous attempt to gut the Constitution by a "Constitutional Lawyer"? BINGO!
    Well at least he's got the Nobel!

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  • 39. At 00:53am on 07 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    I'm pleased to see that Congress reached a compromise that extended unemployment benefits. No one wants to see further hardship put on people who have lost their jobs, especially around the holidays.

    Now hopefully Congress can focus on getting the economy growing again and start getting people back to work--which isn't going to be easy without new taxes if the new crop of Republican freshmen are serious about tackling the deficit and reducing the size of government debt.


    And on another note, I hope the British police stumble across Mr. Assage soon and hand him over to Sweden for justice, the man belongs in prison whether its for "sexual misconduct (as the press here is so delicately putting it) or for endangering the national security of who knows how many countries.

    By posting the list of critical resources Wikileaks may as well have handed terrorists a list of suggested targets critcal not only to the U.S. but to other nations as well. No need for terrorists to do their own research anymore, all they have to do is read Wikileaks to see where to do maximum damage. Assage is as dangerous as any jihadist sitting in the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

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  • 40. At 00:56am on 07 Dec 2010, Charles_Martel wrote:

    This debate is founded on ideological principles that cannot be reconciled. I think Mardell does a good job of highlighting some of the differences. However, he would do well to talk more about the Left’s traditional antagonism towards the wealthy. The Left in America is divided into essentially two groups, you have the hard-line Progressives that dominate educational institutions and liberal think tanks and then you have the more moderate liberals that tend to be elected officials (obviously these roles are often reversed). The Far Left views competition as a form of exploitation, it will not countenance the capitalist system. The problem with compromise between Democrats and Republicans is that should certain Democrats extend the tax cuts a lot of their voting base will be up in arms.
    The Left views the world in terms of class structures and will not suffer people having more than others. They equate equality with everyone having equal or very similar standards of wealth. They are, however, entitled to believe what they wish.
    Most economists agree that a certain level of unemployment (3-4%) is healthy because it allows for a fluid economy; it is a sign people are changing jobs and that the economy is self adjusting. Even in a healthy economy people will be unemployed it is the 10% unemployment that has economists worried.
    However, when it comes to solving unemployment the Democrats are advocating treating the symptom rather than the cause. Giving the unemployed large benefits at the expense of entrepreneurship will cause structural unemployment which is much harder to solve. Job creation is what lifts people out of poverty-putting them to work. Large companies can offshore labor to where it is cheap but not so small businesses. The income bracket of roughly $250,000-$500,000 is often the income of small to medium businesses. Allowing taxes to rise will create large setbacks which will result in hiring freezes leaving people permanently unemployed. Furthermore, there are currently 8 different tax brackets and employers go through much paperwork simply to hire/fire people. This reduces the dynamism of the economy. Business is what provides jobs. What is needed is substantial tax reform including a change in the tax system itself.
    If the rich are to truly help the poor they should give to charity. Charities have people committed to helping the poor and are willing to dedicate their lives towards helping people. This extends beyond financial aid and on to mentoring and developing skills, motivation and overcoming bad habits. This is much more effective at helping others overcome poverty. Often (not always) unemployment benefits are abused. People will not work for low paying jobs when they can receive free money from the government.
    The Democrats are trying to assign greater and greater roles for government where it needn’t nor shouldn’t. The taxes are not ‘artificially low’, they are actually pretty high. Federal taxes should be reduced and a flat tax system adopted nationally. If people think higher taxes are necessary then they can vote such taxes onto their respective states. That is the beauty of a federal system-let California have high taxes and Texas low taxes-see who emerges the wealthier and better off (my bet is Texas).

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  • 41. At 01:00am on 07 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #24. At 7:25pm on 06 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:
    "A medication that doesn't cure your cancer but alleviates the pain in your joints is not very helpful, in the long run"


    I'm curious, are British viewers bombarded with ads from the drug companies advertising their latest wares purporting to treat a wide variety of ailments and accompanied by disclosure of side effects that are often worse than the ailment they claim to treat? Or since you're all covered by national health do the drug companies save their advertising budgets for medical professional publications?

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  • 42. At 01:24am on 07 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #22. At 7:05pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    ...Current projections by Election Data Services indicate that a dozen congressional seats affecting 18 states would change hands. They include four seats for Texas, two for Florida and one each for Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. New York and Ohio are projected to lose two seats apiece, while eight states would lose single seats — Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    "So doesn't this mean Americans are losing seats due to illegal immigration?"

    -------------------------------
    Lucy J, here in Washington state our population is swelled by legal immigration, people flee here from the state of California (or the state of Confusion as some are calling it) in droves. We've asked the Border Patrol to to put a stop to it but they insist they're only resonsible for patrolling our northern border with Canada. We tried pointing out how nice Oregon is but our neighbors to the south objected to our promoting their state as a destination for Californians looking for a new home, they said something about about already being overrun with refugees. We even thought about setting up agricultural inspection stations to stop traffic and harass out of state visitors like California does and perhaps discourage them from coming here but in these times of tight state budgets that idea didn't get far.

    I suppose we'll just have to take our extra seat in Congress with good grace and try to make the most of it. If only we could keep those former Californians from voting here, they have the most outlandish ideas about expanding state services without paying for them...

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  • 44. At 02:32am on 07 Dec 2010, McJakome wrote:

    Mr. Mardell, "the wiggle in [Congress'] walk says something about the state of American politics."

    Yes, indeed, spot on! One can see the same wiggle on display at night on busy street corners of European and North American cities. And no wonder that it is the same, considering the relationship between the congress critters and their lobyists.

    Too bad the vice squad can't arrest them [they have immunity]. Some of them can be shamed into resigning, but most are hardened criminals, and quite shameless.

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  • 47. At 04:39am on 07 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    UKW:

    Are you there?

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  • 48. At 06:17am on 07 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #32

    "If the rich and corps haven't created jobs while having the tax cuts last ten years and unemployment has skyrocketed because of it, then why would we want to continue tax cuts and losing jobs?"

    What makes you think that they have not created jobs in the last 10 years? You are probably only selectively remembering only the last 2 years or so, since the economy went into the toilet and employment with it.

    Well it doesn't matter in the end, Obama signed a "compromise" with the Republicans, no tax raises for anyone and 13 more months of extension on unemployment benefits. Great no? Both add to the same deficit you are so worried about.

    Or maybe it won't if Congress decides to borrow that money from the Chinese instead. The borrowed money is the cancer I mentioned before, the deficit is like a head cold, by comparison.

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  • 49. At 06:35am on 07 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #45


    The Beatles talked about the "Taxman", long ago.



    "1,2,3,4,1,2

    Let me tell you how it will be,
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me,
    ‘Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don’t take it all.
    ‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.

    (If you drive a car ), I’ll tax the street,
    (If you try to sit ), I’ll tax your seat,
    (If you get too cold ), I’ll tax the heat,
    (If you take a walk ), I’ll tax your feet.
    Taxman.

    ‘Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    Don’t ask me what I want it for
    (Taxman! Mister Wilson!)
    If you don’t want to pay some more
    (Taxman! Mister Heath!),
    ‘Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.

    Now my advice for those who die, (Taxman!)
    Declare the pennies on your eyes, (Taxman!)
    ‘Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    And you’re working for no-one but me,
    (Taxman)."

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  • 51. At 09:21am on 07 Dec 2010, Nimeth wrote:

    41. At 01:00am on 07 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    I'm curious, are British viewers bombarded with ads from the drug companies advertising their latest wares purporting to treat a wide variety of ailments and accompanied by disclosure of side effects that are often worse than the ailment they claim to treat? Or since you're all covered by national health do the drug companies save their advertising budgets for medical professional publications?
    ______________________________________________________

    To answer your question, no we don't see adverts for various medications. Those sorts of things are discussed with your doctor. Sometimes we do see the occasional ad for private health insurance but that's about it in the way of advertising.

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  • 52. At 10:05am on 07 Dec 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    I believe the Congessional Budget Office placed the value amount of the Bush era tax cuts at $180 billion per year in new deficits, or $1.8 trillion over ten years.

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  • 53. At 10:47am on 07 Dec 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    49. JClarkson:

    #45

    The Beatles talked about the "Taxman", long ago.

    ***********
    Now, Paul McCartney could sing:

    (If you use Twitter) I'll tax your tweet
    (If you're obese) I'll tax your sweet
    (If you commute by bike) I'll tax your bicycle seat
    (If you have a gluten allergy, to be fair) I'll tax their wheat

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  • 54. At 11:00am on 07 Dec 2010, The Toothbrush Man wrote:

    41. At 01:00am on 07 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    "I'm curious, are British viewers bombarded with ads from the drug companies advertising their latest wares purporting to treat a wide variety of ailments and accompanied by disclosure of side effects that are often worse than the ailment they claim to treat? Or since you're all covered by national health do the drug companies save their advertising budgets for medical professional publications?"

    We live near a US air force base and I have family working in the NHS. They tell me that they have a steady stream of ex-US air force personnel turning up seeking treatment - not unreasonable - but go on to request that they be given this drug, or that drug, on demand. The doctors are quite shocked. Some of the stuff they are asking for is pharmaceutical grade - available only in hospitals, and often completely inappropriate for what is wrong with them. They seem to have self-diagnosed using some internet site and have already decided what is wrong with them - they just want the doctor to fill in the prescription form.

    Drug companies will only lobby the doctors themselves. When it comes to the serious drugs (not the aspirin) they are not allowed to advertise to the public. Doctors are supposed to keep themselves up-to-date with the latest drugs (and techniques) available using various publications, but there are concerns over here that some doctors are milking the drug companies for everything they can get, and are compromising themselves when prescribing drugs that a) don't help, and b) win them a free car from the drug company.





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  • 55. At 11:04am on 07 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    It’s hard for me to see this as anything but a political setback for the President. He pledged that he would not extend the tax cuts for the rich, then sought to extend them only temporarily while making the rest permanent. Republicans forced him to give in on both issues.

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  • 56. At 11:19am on 07 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 49 JClarkson wrote:

    “The Beatles talked about the "Taxman", long ago.”

    “Let me tell you how it will be,
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me,
    ‘Cause I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don’t take it all.
    ‘Cos I’m the Taxman,”

    ____________________________________________-

    The Beatles put this out in 1966.

    Worth noting that there was actually a 95% ‘supertax’ rate then, which is what the lyrics refer to.

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  • 57. At 11:29am on 07 Dec 2010, The Toothbrush Man wrote:

    40. At 00:56am on 07 Dec 2010, Charles_Martel wrote:

    "However, he would do well to talk more about the Left’s traditional antagonism towards the wealthy."

    "The Left in America is divided into essentially two groups, you have the hard-line Progressives that dominate educational institutions and liberal think tanks and then you have the more moderate liberals that tend to be elected officials (obviously these roles are often reversed)."

    "The Far Left views competition as a form of exploitation, it will not countenance the capitalist system."

    "The Left views the world in terms of class structures and will not suffer people having more than others. They equate equality with everyone having equal or very similar standards of wealth. They are, however, entitled to believe what they wish."

    I am always suprised at the way in which Americans lump the "left" into a single group, and then exhibit supernatural powers of telepathy by stating what the "left" are thinking.

    Here, you talk about the "far left" and "hard-line progressives" that "view the world in terms of class structures" but such are an extreme fringe and are practically non-existent anywhere, let alone in the US.

    Yet you claim they "dominate educational institutions and liberal think tanks" - this is blatant nonsense. The vast majority of those on the "left" are not anti-capitalist, do


    "However, when it comes to solving unemployment the Democrats are advocating treating the symptom rather than the cause. Giving the unemployed large benefits at the expense of entrepreneurship will cause structural unemployment which is much harder to solve. "

    I think the unemployment situation is bad - but the big problem for the US is the debt. Fix the debt. Fix the debt. Fix the debt. This is a problem of unprecedented peril that will come to a head next year. If not addressed by then, the US will default. This would be a disaster for the US economy. Quite frankly, faced with such an issue, the employment figures just don't matter one iota.

    And yet I hear stuff about needing more tax cuts, to stimulate the economy, to reduce unemployment. This is the last thing the US needs.




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  • 58. At 11:59am on 07 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    John_From_Dublin, (#56. At 11:19am on 07 Dec 2010)

    “... The Beatles put this out in 1966.

    Worth noting that there was actually a 95% ‘supertax’ rate then, which is what the lyrics refer to.“

    If it is reasonable that a government’s past economic decisions influence the country’s economy, then that tax contributed to GB’s current economic status.

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  • 59. At 12:41pm on 07 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 58 Chryses wrote:
    “John_From_Dublin, (#56. At 11:19am on 07 Dec 2010)

    “... The Beatles put this out in 1966.

    Worth noting that there was actually a 95% ‘supertax’ rate then, which is what the lyrics refer to.“
    If it is reasonable that a government’s past economic decisions influence the country’s economy, then that tax contributed to GB’s current economic status.”
    _________________

    “If it is reasonable that a government’s past economic decisions influence the country’s economy…”

    That appears reasonable.

    “…then that tax contributed to GB’s current economic status.”

    Indeed. Except you could presumably say that about every tax ever levied or economic decision made by any UK government.

    I doubt whether a tax introduced c half a century ago and AFAIK long repealed is of great relevance to the current UK economy.

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  • 60. At 12:47pm on 07 Dec 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    "Wouldn't throw a punch!" Mark. No offence Mr harrison - talking Stateside her though mate.
    Just read that allegedly one side in one House was accused of not being up for a fight to get their views across. Compromise as a result?
    Punching! Hmm. I am not a big fan for the puglists art etc but that Lame Duck title.
    My view to Parrotphrase is - This Duck is NOT Lame. 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This Duck is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, etc etc.
    Dead Duck Session perhaps allegedly? Just call me woefully disappointed.

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  • 61. At 1:19pm on 07 Dec 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    55. Chryses:

    "It’s hard for me to see this as anything but a political setback for the President. "

    **********
    It's interesting to hear his many references to both sides having to compromise, etc. He's become "Mr. Compromise". Avoiding "gridlock" may be his public position, but in private I'm sure there are an awful lot of political calculations being made. Although this is probably wishful thinking on my part, maybe, just maybe, some advisors with business experience have been giving him some helpful hints.

    Or maybe someone whispered in his ear that tax cuts for the middle class are most helpful to them when they actually have incomes to tax.

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  • 62. At 1:31pm on 07 Dec 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #55
    Chryses wrote:
    It’s hard for me to see this as anything but a political setback for the President. He pledged that he would not extend the tax cuts for the rich, then sought to extend them only temporarily while making the rest permanent. Republicans forced him to give in on both issues.

    _____________

    He did campaign on being a uniter and getting away from partsian politcs

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  • 63. At 1:33pm on 07 Dec 2010, The Toothbrush Man wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 64. At 2:11pm on 07 Dec 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    47. At 04:39am on 07 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    UKW:

    Are you there?

    ----------------------------
    No I`m here & for good reason many would depute both!.

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  • 65. At 2:37pm on 07 Dec 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    So let's see: $900,000,000,000 in quantitative easing and $800,000,000,000 in extended and new, improved payroll tax cuts since the TEA party Republicans launched their "new era of fiscal responsibility in America." All deficit-financed, of course -- and this time, actually put on the books.

    Sounds like they're doing a hell of a good job to me.

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  • 66. At 2:52pm on 07 Dec 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    382. At 11:58pm on 06 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote on the other thread,
    UKWales

    Thanks for the link.

    It appears the days of ´Dixon of Dock Green´are really gone--even in Wales.

    I suppose every society has its own causes for breakdown ---have you any ideas for your area in Wales why it happens ?
    -------------------------------------------
    A little while back I glanced through a book on famous people from my
    home town of Haverfordwest,it was not a large book.One guy named Harries
    was an officer in the Union Army during your civil war that and/or Spanish/Mexican war & is buried at Arlington.In his letters during a visit to his home town he stated that there was more drunkenness
    in H`west than all the Americas,this was in the late 1800`s.It seems here
    that it is a rite of passage,young folk generally stay off drugs but drink to oblivion.I do not know why,but confess to the same stupid behaviour when for me too,the sun was once young.
    Our police are so patient & do an incredible job in the most trying circumstances.Because of our involvement in the thick of it with street
    pastors,may be one day we will have earned the respect of those in charge
    and have some say in the licence hours that drink can be sold.Tony Blair, relaxed the drinking hours,trying to reduce the binge drinking in reduced
    hours.I think he may of thought that with longer drinking time we would become like the more civilised Mediterranean,but he totally forgot that most of us are descended from the Vikings!!..

    ------------------------------------

    One thing is clear --it does´nt usually happen on a large scale in dictatorial or strict societies.
    -----------------
    I will agree,but Wales is neither strict or dictatorial,stay away from
    pubs & clubs at shut tap & its gentle...

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  • 67. At 3:18pm on 07 Dec 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    I hope the Tea Party folks see who the Republicans represent and it isn't them. Personal taxes are different from business taxes and the Republicans like to confuse the issue. It was the wealthy that benefited from from the housing scam of the bankers. Yet, they feel no obligation to help solve the problems they caused. There does not appear to be any new taxes on the banks while they remain flush with cash. Basic economics tells that demand creates jobs...if there are few customers there is no need for additional workers. This is a shell game promoted by the Republicans to protect the wealth of the wealthy while everyone else pays a greater percentage of taxes. One should also consider the tax breaks that afforded the wealthy and their ability to avoid taxes thanks to a willing Congress. The continued selfish actions of the Republicans and the wealthy will keep the economy in a stall. It is the daily purchases of the middle class that drives the economy. The Democrats are not much different on these matters as they too are dependent on campaign contributions from the wealthy. Votes are bought.

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  • 68. At 3:30pm on 07 Dec 2010, SusqueHannah wrote:

    Lucy at #22

    Frankly, I am a bit annoyed that Pennsylvania will probably be losing a seat in the House as a result of the census, but I don't think the problem (if you call it a problem) is illegal immigration. The problem is legal emigration.

    The group of people in Pennsylvania that tends to have the largest families is conservative religious folks, including the Anabaptists and Christian homeschoolers and so on. As the population expands, it becomes less affordable to buy land in PA so more people move to other states where land is cheaper. Prior to the natural gas boom, people would also move to Bradford county and other counties in the northern tier if they wanted cheap land. Now that land isn't quite so cheap (unless you just buy the land and the mineral rights have already been leased out).

    Basically, it just comes down to the law of supply and demand. The soil is good, the water tastes good and the weather is perfect here in Central PA but it is expensive to live. Those who want a cheaper place to live can go out West where the land is cheap but the climate is unpleasant and the water tastes awful (at least to those not used to it) and the soil is bad. It's a free country.

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  • 69. At 3:36pm on 07 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    64. At 2:11pm on 07 Dec 2010, ukwales wrote:

    "No I`m here & for good reason many would depute both!."

    -----------

    Presumably "there" means Wales, and not, for example, Woodcote, Reading, Berkshire, where, as I understand, one may on occasion drink sherry with the headmaster.

    Now onto the more customary fare, ...





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  • 70. At 3:40pm on 07 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    65 Curt -

    LOL.

    And so the Congressional VISA card is pulled out once more, and the gravy train rolls on.

    Thanks heavens it is fiscally responsible Republican borrow-from-our-children-and-grandchildren-and-spend profligacy, instead of Democrat tax-and-spend profligacy.

    Oh, Lord, let me turn from sin, but just not quite yet.

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  • 71. At 3:58pm on 07 Dec 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Well, well, well...
    The lame duck has waddled into another fine mess!
    Obama has extended ALL Bush-era tax cuts. Period: 2 years.
    Democrats wanted to extend the lower tax rates for individual's with income up to US $200,000. Republicans wanted to maintain the tax cuts for the richest: You know - all those rich, small business owners who are engaged in the relentless pursuit job creation.
    What Obama lost:
    • The United States can't afford the extra billions it will cost to fund the tax breaks for the rich.
    • Capital gains & dividends will remain taxed at top rate of 15%. Obama had wanted 20%. Obama conceded to Republican demand re estate tax. A 35% tax with a US $5M individual exemption level. Obama had wanted to renew the tax at 2009 levels of 45% rate with a US $3.5M exemption level.
    I can't see this one afecting little, estate-less people anyway.
    • Unemployment Insurance extention of 13 months, otherwise, two million people would have lost their benefits at year-end. Usually, jobless benefits expire after 6 months, but since the recession, Congress has voted to extend the benefit period.
    So what did Obama get for all these concessions?
    Obama says: in exchange for agreeing to renew the Bush tax cuts, the agreement extends
    - the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families,
    - a child tax credit and
    - a college tax credit...
    Don't be looking for anything else on this list because that was it!

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  • 72. At 4:24pm on 07 Dec 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    69. At 3:36pm on 07 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    64. At 2:11pm on 07 Dec 2010, ukwales wrote:

    "No I`m here & for good reason many would depute both!."

    -----------

    Presumably "there" means Wales, and not, for example, Woodcote, Reading, Berkshire, where, as I understand, one may on occasion drink sherry with the headmaster.

    Now onto the more customary fare, ...

    --------------------
    Wow,memory,& it is Wales.That dreaded sherry party is next week.I am hoping for a large aspidistra plant pot with no one looking,then keep moving & hope no one offers another.The things one suffer when one is too shy to say no..

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  • 73. At 4:37pm on 07 Dec 2010, ainglis wrote:

    41. At 01:00am on 07 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #24. At 7:25pm on 06 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:
    "A medication that doesn't cure your cancer but alleviates the pain in your joints is not very helpful, in the long run"


    I'm curious, are British viewers bombarded with ads from the drug companies advertising their latest wares purporting to treat a wide variety of ailments and accompanied by disclosure of side effects that are often worse than the ailment they claim to treat? Or since you're all covered by national health do the drug companies save their advertising budgets for medical professional publications?

    ----------------

    No we aren't, in fact I'm fairly sure such adverts are actually illegal in the UK (at least for prescription strength medication). These adverts were one of the most obvious differences I found when I moved here to the US!

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  • 74. At 5:37pm on 07 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #65 CC

    -- wrote #371 --last blog

    -any comments ?

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  • 75. At 6:14pm on 07 Dec 2010, marieinaustin wrote:

    I bet quietoak was born and educated in the US.


    Last blog, #328, when I said to ukwales: “I wanted to tell you that if this blog was called UKWales, your newfound friend would be all over you.” I meant from researching quietoak, that if this blog was called ukwales, your newfound friend quietoak would be BASHING you and Wales all over. Quite like he bashes Britain on their blog.



    Great effort by #40 C_M. But I don’t think they’re hearing.

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  • 76. At 6:21pm on 07 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    72. At 4:24pm on 07 Dec 2010, ukwales:

    Well, you never know, the headmaster might have something other than sherry waiting for you. I've never really understood what an aspidistra is, so as to recognize one on the street. It seems to me that Gracie Fields used to sing about having a rather large one. Suspect she didn't pour sherry on it.


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  • 77. At 6:22pm on 07 Dec 2010, marieinaustin wrote:


    …but perhaps some in Washington are listening:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B31Z020101207



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  • 78. At 6:27pm on 07 Dec 2010, Charles_Martel wrote:

    For ‘The Toothbrush Man’:
    I understand that when I create these categories I am making generalizations. I know that ‘Left-wing’ means more than Marxist or Socialist or Liberal etc…However, the views I pointed out are impressions from what I have read in left leaning editorials and from conversations with self proclaimed ‘Liberals’. I need to make some generalizations in order to actually talk politics because each individual has slightly varying beliefs. What consistently comes across though, is suspicion of business and the capitalist system. When economic crises hit there is often very strong attacks against businessmen and the established system. Liberal politicians seem much less swift to attack the system than Liberals in academia.
    I do not pretend to know what they think but in general what the Left writes provides a window into its mind/opinions. Left-leaning blogs and editorials consistently target business (in the USA). Secondly, Far Left need not be limited to Communists-they do not have a monopoly on leftwing ideas. There is a lot of quasi-Marxist talk-especially on university campuses. Simply because self-proclaimed Progressives are great in number, does not mean that their views are in any way centrist or moderate. The political spectrum is not defined by what people call themselves, but by what they believe.
    Much of the Federal Debt is the result of deficits that the government has failed to confront until now. Borrowing money to pay off debts only changes the name of your creditor and does not actually get rid of debt. Government needs revenue that is real money with which it can pay off debts-not borrowed money. What troubles me is that the Left has promised generous government programs that are unsustainable making it operate on a budget beyond its means. Then the Left miscasts Republicans as heartless cronies of ‘Big Business’ when they try to reduce government. You need to grow the economy to get revenue and this is stifled when the government increases taxes. When people don’t have jobs they cannot pay taxes, if you want revenue you need to allow people to create wealth (be employed). All of this goes back to what I initially said-the debate is based on ideological principles which are irreconcilable. The Left thinks that large government intervention in the economy is legitimate and the Right does not.

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  • 79. At 6:30pm on 07 Dec 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    Good News!

    Assange has been denied bail

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  • 80. At 6:35pm on 07 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    U K
    Drugs are advertised in medical journals but doctors are given lists of the NHS Britsh Medical Assocaition accepted medicines which they are allowed to use under national health services.
    Practically all private doctors work for the NHS and use there facilities for Operations and Beds for a fee.
    There are some who maybe solely private now US Style, but it used to be impossible to function without NHS affiliation.
    Private work used to be for forign patients only mainly

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  • 81. At 6:50pm on 07 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #79 MagicKirin

    Don´t worry Mastercard and visa can still be used for KKK contributions !

    --- Democracy is not in danger !

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  • 82. At 6:54pm on 07 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #77 Grateful Marie

    --The long- time religious unemployed ?

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  • 83. At 7:13pm on 07 Dec 2010, rtcon wrote:

    MagicKirin wrote:

    Good News!

    Assange has been denied bail

    -------------------------------

    Tempest in a tea pot. Assange isn't dangerous, however the Congressional spend and charge it mentality is.

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  • 84. At 7:19pm on 07 Dec 2010, Jay wrote:

    The republican tactics to extend Bush-era tax cut for wealthy Americans is simply disgusting. It is more so as they (the Republicans) tied that with unemployment benefit for jobloss and poor people. I hope democrats will use that example in next election effectively. Obama administration should extend the tax cut for wealthy Americans till next year (just before the election year) and then refuse that to extend it any more. Then let the people who suffered job loss react during election.

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  • 85. At 7:22pm on 07 Dec 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    74. At 5:37pm on 07 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    -any comments ?
    ===========

    I'm not sure.

    If your comment on "family" was a rejection of the concept of collective guilt, then I'd say: I agree totally. I have enough trouble dealing with my -own- guilt without assuming responsibility for someone else's. (Which isn't to say I can't learn something from the aggregate guilt -- or try to, anyway.)

    Where "freedom" is concerned, I'm an overt existentialist. I'm free to say "no," and that's about it. Otherwise, having spent a lifetime in one metaphorical cage or another, when the bell rings I salivate and hope for a food pellet just like everybody else.

    Where humanity in general is concerned, I prefer dogs. There are a few exceptions, but not many.

    I'd be curious to know what you experienced in Haiti. What did you see vrs. what you were told? Everything I read about the Docs seemed pretty much like human "business as usual" to me -- maybe even -less- nasty than the usual "business as usual."

    The planet is chock-a-block filled with places where people are left under palm trees to die. It seems to me that at your age and having travelled, this should no longer strike you as noteworthy. God knows there are -worse-fates we can deal out to each other.

    Have you seen Stella by Starlight?
    Standing alone, wind in her hair?
    Have you seen Stella by Starlight...
    When have I known rapture so rare?

    It's the only thing that seperates us from the hell, my friend. If you've missed it, you've been damned already.

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  • 86. At 7:53pm on 07 Dec 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    #78 Charles_Martel:

    "...Much of the federal debt is the result of deficits that the federal government has failed to confront until now. ..."
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yesterday a proposal for the renewal of tax cuts, extension of unemployment benefits, and what else? Am I missing something?

    Sometimes things might be more clear by disregarding the political rhetoric of both parties and considering their actions instead. To suggest the left favors state spending in the economy while the right does not, may succeed as the rhetoric of the day, but fail as a description of historical fact.

    The only occasion I can think of when the federal civilian pay roll was reduced was 1993, in the 1993 Budget Reconciliation Act, which received no Republican votes in congress, was supported only by Democrats and was signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton. It also included a small tax increase, and ended our record deficits, created a surplus, and was allowing us to pay down the national debt until Bush II entered as president, giving us tax cuts and massive spending increases supported by the Republican Party.

    The electorate rewarded the congressional Democrats of 1993 for their reduction of federal civilian personnel and budget balancing taxation by removing them from being the congressional majority in favor of the Republicans-- which may go a long way toward explaining the dubious nature of political rhetoric, and while it may be understandable, it doesn't mean it should be taken at face value.

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  • 87. At 7:59pm on 07 Dec 2010, modernJan wrote:

    American small businesses, "mom and pop" shops if you will, make $250.000 a year nowadays? Damn, USA here I come and I'm opening a store that will make me filthy rich, because those republicans can't possibly be lying, right?

    On a more serious note, yes, those republicans ARE lying. Storeowners don't make $250.000 a year, not in America, not in Japan, not anywhere. I admire the republican spin doctors: when penniless students (who will eventually turn into taxcows, if allowed to graduate) in Europe (or America) protest the umptieth tuition increase they are called "lazy slobs who rely too much on the state", the same goes for hardworking Americans who are demanding healthcare that won't bankrupt anyone who isn't a millionaire, but when the richest 2% of greatly indebted America (people who will just spend the money abroad, or sit on it) want yet another tax cut then "that's just good for the economy" and the people buy it, are the conspiracy nuts right, is there really something in the water in America?

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  • 88. At 8:34pm on 07 Dec 2010, Mark M wrote:

    JClarkson makes some good points--then some things also never make any sense-Pres. Obama in his speech today revealed his desire to fly,above the crowd(status quo)/and be a intellectual but still hiding many fates-America has ills,many like education and then many just like Barack Obama..Tax the rich-or define more exactly what is what..is where the Dems become scoundrels,the Repubs look like emotional boobs-nursing a scoundrel/all the while America winds up kidding itself about the jobs.

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  • 89. At 9:00pm on 07 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    What is missing is a correct solution to kick start the economy.
    In my opinion the most important consideration is to keep people in jobs and homes and help them survive and avoid bankruptcy. Help should be given to negotiate resettled debt amounts that are affordable taking into account all notified changes in circumstances. One solution might ('might' with emphasis) be to impose an emergency tax for a short period, so effectively the whole country is working like a social charity where the employed are helping the unemployed, but I guess that would be 'unamerican' or other red expletives

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  • 90. At 9:01pm on 07 Dec 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:

    87. At 7:59pm on 07 Dec 2010, modernJan wrote:
    American small businesses, "mom and pop" shops if you will, make $250.000 a year nowadays? Damn, USA here I come and I'm opening a store that will make me filthy rich, because those republicans can't possibly be lying, right?

    On a more serious note, yes, those republicans ARE lying. Storeowners don't make $250.000 a year, not in America, not in Japan, not anywhere.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Your are idiot...

    Most small business in the USA are set up an "S" corp. Which means that any profit of the company passes thru the company to the owner of the small business. Thus even if you only pay yourself a survival paycheck to pay your basic life needs, you are personally liable for any sucess the businss may have at the end of the year.

    According to "know it all" libs like your yourself that has NEVER had to put in the time, sweat, tears, sacrifice and incredible stress and personal short-term loss that it takes to run a small business, they are now "rich" because on some tax form it says that they make a "profit", which is then rolled back into the company for payroll, supplies, equipment, adverstising and savings for cash flow and operations.

    News flash for you libs out there...the small business owner is the LAST to get the rewards, if there are any. no vacation time, no guaranteed paycheck at end of the week, no insurance, no nothing. The only thing they have is what they have EARNED at the end of the year if god willilng there is anything.

    Be a small business owner in America today. I bet 99% if the libs here couldn't do what it takes for 90 days....

    RICH?.....please....only to those trying to make excuses why its OK to STEAL from them...

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  • 91. At 9:08pm on 07 Dec 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:

    How many of the libs "experts" here have even the smallest idea of how hard it is to start, maintain, expand and have some sucess after YEARS of toil that it takes for a small business in the USA....

    I'm sick to my eyeballs of these goofballs that have ZERO idea how hard it is to run a small business, complaining about what other have and they dont have.

    You want more?....got WORK for it...stop trying to STEAL it by using the GOVT to steal it for you. Taking something you did not earn is called stealing...

    Do it with a gun, you are a criminal. Do it with a vote, you are a liberal


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  • 92. At 9:08pm on 07 Dec 2010, Kit Green wrote:

    77. At 6:22pm on 07 Dec 2010, Grateful Marie wrote:

    …but perhaps some in Washington are listening:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B31Z020101207
    -------------------------------------------------------

    If that link is typical of the depth of news coverage in the USA then it shows that they have lost the ability to think.

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  • 93. At 9:41pm on 07 Dec 2010, marieinaustin wrote:

    #92 Kit,

    Are you afraid of me? Your insult sounds like it.


    Since I cruise in and out of this blog during my workday, I’d say it isn’t the most important thing on my mind.


    I would like to give you a list of links, but I have 1 minute. How’s this?


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11940642


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  • 94. At 9:56pm on 07 Dec 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #87

    Don't take mom and pop store literaly.

    What republicans and other are refering are to the 1-50 person's firms.

    I can tell you that many in my industry are downsizing or taking furloughs

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  • 95. At 10:07pm on 07 Dec 2010, marieinaustin wrote:

    lol, I hadn’t even read my last link through, because (like a lot of other people NOT sitting on a blog) I’m busy doing something that may help your economy, as well as mine…if people would let it, instead of railing against the hand that feeds it. You can thank me later (or still pout, whatever) when things turn around. Now, back to work!

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  • 96. At 10:28pm on 07 Dec 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    Elizabeth Edwards has died.

    Although I disagreed with her politicaly her example in fighting cancer inspired many people.

    Rest in Peace

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  • 97. At 10:36pm on 07 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    John_From_Dublin, (#59. At 12:41pm on 07 Dec 2010)

    “... ‘If it is reasonable that a government’s past economic decisions influence the country’s economy…’
    That appears reasonable.
    ‘…then that tax contributed to GB’s current economic status.’
    ... I doubt whether a tax introduced c half a century ago and AFAIK long repealed is of great relevance to the current UK economy. “

    That’s good to learn. We only disagree on quantity, not quality.
    What size do you believe the interval is?

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  • 98. At 10:49pm on 07 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #56


    "The Beatles put this out in 1966.

    Worth noting that there was actually a 95% ‘supertax’ rate then, which is what the lyrics refer to."

    Two of the other 3 verse should be entirely familiar to anyone today.

    "(If you drive a car ), I’ll tax the street,
    (If you try to sit ), I’ll tax your seat,
    (If you get too cold ), I’ll tax the heat,
    (If you take a walk ), I’ll tax your feet."


    InterestedForeigner would probably see this as an endorsement to his gasoline taxing scheme, while Londoners would no doubt be able to say that the Beatles were psychic.



    "Now my advice for those who die, (Taxman!)
    Declare the pennies on your eyes, (Taxman!)"



    Ah yes, this too sounds familiar. Inheritance taxes. Tax the living for the earnings of the dead. The dead of course already paid taxes on that income, while they were not-dead but now that they are dead, their living relatives or beneficiaries may be taxed again...:)








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  • 99. At 10:57pm on 07 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #96

    Indeed, very unfortunate. Her husband is a clown, though.

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  • 100. At 11:02pm on 07 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #85 Curt Carpenter

    Yes, that is my point with nationalism (family), it is a slippery slope. In no time flat, scapegoats for the family´s atrocities must be (and are) found. Whether the arguments are -- ´Their atrocities are worse than ours´or ´Our massacres are not atrocities´.

    It surprises me how many are only ´partially pregnant´--and retain virginity.

    Our view on the freedom of the Right to say ´NO´are identical -so no discussion point there. I remember seeing an art gallery picture only with ´YES´on it -- getting closer it was really 1000´s of ´NO´s.

    Haiti --- The self doubt of ´What am I doing here ?´began at customs. The sunglass´d machine gunned customs officer told me to empty my backpack on the table -- and poked through my belongings with the gun tip.

    Marie appeared to be the middle point for 5 or 6 street children. After a few days one began talking to me with his few English words and hands and feet (I don´t speak Creole) --already sweating, I sweated more as he was telling me of executions and arrests by Papa Doc and his thugs. The film ´The Comedians´was no exaggeration.

    The propaganda and blockade against Cuba was in full swing --and the ´Family´is protecting THIS ?





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  • 101. At 11:07pm on 07 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #100 Curt Carpenter

    --pressed the wrong button

    -- and the ´Family´ is protecting THIS --as the lesser evil ?

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  • 102. At 11:10pm on 07 Dec 2010, modernJan wrote:

    @Curious American

    Wow there, most "small businesses" have nowhere near $250k turnover and those that do can still deduct many expenses like employee salaries and operating costs. Owners get taxed over profit, net income, the owner may decide to invest that income if he likes but it's not the governments responsibility to fund the expansion of businesses (otherwise the owner could deduct anything as "investments" and pay virtually no taxes while business is booming). So if your store has $300k turnover, while employees and operating costs total $200k, you will be taxed for $100k. Besides, the difference in taxation between a $250k and a $300k income is only $1.500, so I'm having a hard time believing businessowners stop working for a month or two to stay under $250k, because when you're in that league you earn that $1.500k back in a day or two and you'll still end up having at least three times as much money as a teacher and five or six times as much as a carpenter or a construction worker (and you don't work five times as hard as them, because there aren't enough hours in a day for that), so it's not exactly poverty, in addition to that you'll have all kinds of loopholes that employees don't have.

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  • 103. At 11:34pm on 07 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #100 Addition Curt Carpenter.

    -- Those were the first dying under palm trees.

    --Now your Stella is catching my attention-

    The path of true lust never did run smoothly !

    and/or

    It is better to have loved and lost ! ?

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  • 104. At 11:35pm on 07 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#70. At 3:40pm on 07 Dec 2010)

    "... Thanks heavens it is fiscally responsible Republican borrow-from-our-children-and-grandchildren-and-spend profligacy, instead of Democrat tax-and-spend profligacy ..."
    I believe you are mistaken. Are these not the same Representatives as before the election?

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  • 105. At 11:42pm on 07 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Jay, (#84. At 7:19pm on 07 Dec 2010)

    ”... Obama administration should extend the tax cut for wealthy Americans till next year (just before the election year) and then refuse that to extend it any more. Then let the people who suffered job loss react during election.”
    Perhaps I am misreading your post, but are you advocating that the President pursue policies to increase joblessness in America for political gain?

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  • 106. At 11:55pm on 07 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #105 Chyres

    -- He is not saying the Republicans did not blackmail the unemployed.

    - Do you deny or accept the accusation of Republican blackmail against the poor ?

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  • 107. At 11:57pm on 07 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #102. At 11:10pm on 07 Dec 2010, modernJan wrote:
    "@Curious American

    Wow there, most "small businesses" have nowhere near $250k turnover and those that do can still deduct many expenses like employee salaries and operating costs. Owners get taxed over profit, net income, the owner may decide to invest that income if he likes but it's not the governments responsibility to fund the expansion of businesses"


    Whoa, back up there. "It's not government's responsibility to fund the expansion of busineses"?

    Small business loans, targeted tax credits, loan guarunties, wage subsidies for new workers, corporate bailouts, government subsidies for infrastructure associated with building or expanding plants, tax waivers for businesses that relocate to an area...and you tell us it's not the government's responsibility to do any of those things? Next you'll be telling us the regulation of commerce clause isn't a free pass for Congress to do almost anything it likes.

    Say, what are you, some kind of wild eyed radical trying to start a revolution?

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  • 108. At 00:03am on 08 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#106. At 11:55pm on 07 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    #105 Chyres

    -- He is not saying the Republicans did not blackmail the unemployed.

    - Do you deny or accept the accusation of Republican blackmail against the poor ?

    ----------

    If Republicans were blackmailing the poor by holding up extension of unemployment benefits to get tax custs what do you call Democrats threats to filibuster the bill containg the extension of unemployment benefits in order to end tax cuts?

    I say they were both more interested in pushing their partisan agendas than securing relief for unemployed workers. Shame on both sides!

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  • 109. At 00:07am on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    quietoaktree, (#106. At 11:55pm on 07 Dec 2010)
    “-- He is not saying the Republicans did not blackmail the unemployed ...”
    I did not suggest that he did say so.

    I did ask if Jay is advocating that the President pursue policies to increase joblessness in America for political gain. How about you? Do you think Jay is advocating in his post #84 that the President pursue policies to increase joblessness in America for political gain?

    “...- Do you deny or accept the accusation of Republican blackmail against the poor ?”
    Do you walk to school or carry your lunch?

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  • 110. At 00:17am on 08 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Why am I not surprised wikileaks is going after NATO?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101207/ap_on_hi_te/wikileaks

    An exerpt:
    The latest batch of confidential U.S. cables could strain relations between Washington and Moscow. The documents show that NATO secretly decided in January to defend the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania against military attack.

    Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO, said Tuesday that Moscow will demand that NATO drop the agreement, which he argued is clearly aimed at his country.

    "Against whom else could such a defense be intended? Against Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Iceland? Against polar bears, or against the Russian bear?" Rogozin said.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Ever heard of the American Bear? Well, its really the American Chicago Bears!!! Their Bear Claw needs just one swipe to get the ball!!!
    Go Bears!!!!!!!!!!! :)


    So now because of wikileaks Russia may drop out of partnership with NATO...that's pretty big...

    Even though I think its great that we are having warming affairs between the two former icy foes, the fact that Russia is still so protective and domineering over countries that don't belong to it just cause' they are next to it is daunting...

    Russia, ever heard the song, "Let it Be'?

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  • 111. At 00:25am on 08 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    quietoak tree wrote: How do you know I am not American ?
    ---------------------------------------
    I don't know. But I get the feeling you are European, because of how you sound...
    ------------------------------------
    oak wrote: Blonde Groisch ???

    --Where does that come from ?
    -----------------------------------
    From one of the coolest countries in the world...the Netherlands!!!
    There's the regular Grolsch, which is awesome, as well, but the Blonde Grolsch is phenomenal!!!
    ---------------------------------
    oak wrote: Did you know that pils is fermented at a far lower temperature than the Ale (sometimes called export). Fermentation at lower temperatures inhibits the production of the ´undesirable alcohols´-- and is easier on the headache ?

    -- Are you choices pils or export ?
    ------------------------------------
    No, I did not know that. Interesting...I don't really get headaches from beer...

    I like just about all beers. Because I have three older brothers who love 'good beer', then I've drank a pretty good range.

    The best cider ever? Woodchuck's Fall Special...lots o' cinnamon, spices, ect., I think its from Vermont, but its limited edition, sadly, so its kind of tough to get. They should make it year round...

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  • 112. At 00:31am on 08 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    John wrote: I am fond of English, and correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. It’s a nice language. I don't like to see it spat on.
    --------------------------------------------
    I am also fond of English, cause' its my homeland's language. I know bits of Spanish, but don't really care to speak it. English is my language, too and I would never spit or spat on it. I actually won our school's fifth grade spelling bee. Its just sometimes I type really fast, mix things up, but yeah, the grammar is confusing sometimes. Mixed up grammar won't stop me from writing just as much, though!
    --------------------------------------------
    John wrote: By creativity, you mean of course being creative with the truth, facts, logic, and accusations of racism. Well, that’s one word...
    ----------------------------------------------------
    No, I mean creativity with stories. I think reading the Hobbit helped expand my mind a bit. Great book!!! ;)
    -----------------------------------------------------
    John wrote: Lucy – as someone said to Joseph McCarthy - have you no shame? Have you no decency?
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Truth be told, John, I have only too much decency...

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  • 113. At 00:37am on 08 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #109. At 00:07am on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:
    "Do you walk to school or carry your lunch?"

    Maybe its just me, I admit I'm not up on the latest "hip" expressions and sometimes I miss attempts at humor but what the heck does that mean?

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  • 114. At 01:17am on 08 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #92. At 9:08pm on 07 Dec 2010, Kit Green wrote:
    77. At 6:22pm on 07 Dec 2010, Grateful Marie wrote:

    …but perhaps some in Washington are listening:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B31Z020101207
    -------------------------------------------------------

    If that link is typical of the depth of news coverage in the USA then it shows that they have lost the ability to think.

    -----------------

    In all fairness to my fellow citizens the article also demonstrates what passes for journalism in the mainstream media here these days. You're right though, critical thinking and logic aren't given the emphasis they deserve in American schools these days, instead they're taught to swallow whatever the media spoon feeds them.

    I thought the president was doing great right up to where he said: "I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers". Ouch! So much for the spirit of bi-partisan cooperation he talked about wanting to create.

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  • 115. At 02:29am on 08 Dec 2010, Illogicbuster wrote:

    Curt Carpenter wrote:
    So let's see: $900,000,000,000 in quantitative easing and $800,000,000,000 in extended and new, improved payroll tax cuts since the TEA party Republicans launched their "new era of fiscal responsibility in America."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Umm, what does the "Tea Party" have to do with the Fed Reserve & a Dem controlled House, Senate & President?

    Well?

    I didn't think you had a coherent answer.

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  • 116. At 03:11am on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Illogicbuster,

    It would seem that some of the posters to this thread are unaware that these are the same members of Congress who stood for election in November. Both the “$900,000,000,000 in quantitative easing and $800,000,000,000 in extended and new, improved payroll tax cuts” were products of the same Representatives, Senators, and President.

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  • 117. At 03:24am on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Scott0962, (#113. At 00:37am on 08 Dec 2010)

    "... Maybe its just me, I admit I'm not up on the latest "hip" expressions and sometimes I miss attempts at humor but what the heck does that mean?"
    Alas, it has been quite a while since anyone has accused me of being hip. :o

    Jay, (#84. At 7:19pm on 07 Dec 2010)

    Jay's post #84 contained, "... Obama administration should extend the tax cut for wealthy Americans till next year (just before the election year) and then refuse that to extend it any more. Then let the people who suffered job loss react during election."
    My reading of those two sentences leads me to believe that he was advocating that the President (Obama administration) pursue policies (extend the tax cut for wealthy Americans until just before the election and then refuse that to extend it, thereby rendering some positions economically less attractive) to increase joblessness in America for political gain (Then let the people who suffered job loss react during election).

    If my reading is correct, then, if I might quote another "have you no shame? Have you no decency?"

    Of course, I might be mistaken, and Jay was not urging the President to manipulate the tax laws so that people would lose their jobs just before an election, but the reading is at least plausible. I therefore asked him to clarify his position. "Perhaps I am misreading your post, but are you advocating that the President pursue policies to increase joblessness in America for political gain?"

    So far, it seemed like a reasonable dialog.

    The next post, #106 by quietoaktree read
    "#105 Chyres
    -- He is not saying the Republicans did not blackmail the unemployed.
    - Do you deny or accept the accusation of Republican blackmail against the poor ?"

    Obviously, the two sentences are addressed to me, as he identified post #105, and was able to spell much of by ID correctly. Let us examine the first sentence. By asserting that he (Jay) is not saying the Republicans did not blackmail the unemployed, quietoaktree is implying that I did make such a claim. Clearly that is false, and I let quietoaktree know that I had not made such a claim. The second sentence pertains to nothing in either Jay's post #84, or to my post #105. As such, it is a non sequitur, so I felt it appropriate to respond with a meaningless answer.

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  • 118. At 05:05am on 08 Dec 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    109. At 00:07am on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    "Do you walk to school or carry your lunch?"

    113. At 00:37am on 08 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #109. At 00:07am on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:
    "Do you walk to school or carry your lunch?"

    'Maybe its just me, I admit I'm not up on the latest "hip" expressions and sometimes I miss attempts at humor but what the heck does that mean?'
    ________________________________

    And then you have the good grace to explain it all through gritted teeth...

    got a belly laugh from this curmudgeon


    KSc

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  • 119. At 05:37am on 08 Dec 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:

    Liberal theology is the reason europe has been on a death spiral
    for the last 60 plus years. (Yes it is a religion to them)

    The bill for the rent is past due and you're about to be evicted. You had the money, but you blew all on fast living and easy women. You run screaming in the street about how "unfair" it is that you have to actually PAY for things you want.

    Grow up, pay your own bills, live within your budget and stop stealing from your fellow countrymen.

    Has everyone noticed how the actions of post-modern western liberals are so similar to spoiled teenagers. We need a national "Supper Nanny" for these professional mal-contents
    -Always complaining its not enough
    -Never thankful for what they do have
    -If you don't give it to them right away, they throw a "hissy fit"

    Its past time we send them to their room and let the adults go about doing the hard work of running a sucessful nation

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  • 120. At 06:10am on 08 Dec 2010, Jay wrote:

    Dear Chryses (#109).
    I do not think that the "new" tax rate would be applicable this tax season (ending 31st Dec 2010), even if Obama extend the tax cut for working class Americans but not for the rich ones this time.
    I think that it will be better for Obama to extend the Bush Tax cut till Dec-2012.So the next president (elected by 2012 Nov election) will decide on the future of the tax cut for rich Americans. If Democrats win both houses, then collect tax from such rich American families (who earn more than $ 250,000 per annum) in retro-grade (if possible) OR increase tax rate to cover the 2 year (2010-2012) deficit.

    Moreover, Democrats must use this issue as THE biggest agenda (if something worse does not come up in the mean time) in next election and keep the pressure on Republican leadership who is shamelessly protecting the interest of rich Americans as the cost of unemployed and poor people.
    Obama need to play the politics as a politician to deliver better policies in the long run for the country. More importantly, he needs to speak the language this shameless Republican leadership understand.

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  • 121. At 06:18am on 08 Dec 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Tonight my wife and I went to the annual free holiday community concert - the city symphony played and a college choir sang. Choral music is very good in the colleges and universities here in the vast middle of the country, I suspect it is the Scandinavian and German heritage.

    About six thousand came, and after those who had ordered advance (free) tickets were admitted, the general public was allowed to come in to fill the place. After considerable milling about, the announcer requested that those who had empty seats beside them stand up and move to the center to free seats on the aisles for those who had not found one.

    There was an empty seat directly in front of me, and beside it a well dressed executive type - a very handsome young couple beside him on the other side, a darling two year old, and an equally darling grandmother on the aisle. The gentleman ignored the public request and numerous direct stares and kept the empty seat to himself, for the purpose of having, I suppose, full use of the seat's arm.

    He was clearly a Republican.

    I was indignant at him, that he felt his privilege and arrogance entitled him to a spare seat he had not paid for, and to deny to another human being the simple public accommodation and comfort he and his family were enjoying. I was becoming a 'professional malcontent', but I remembered myself and the criticisms made of liberal busybodies who pretend to know what is best for everyone, and who proceed to order the world about. I held my tongue.

    In the row above at the far end was an elderly man as well heeled as the other but obviously with worse knees, who after a bit got up and seemed to hesitate several times while looking down the stair at the people still searching for seats. Finally he struggled down to a young woman with three children, and quietly and graciously showed them that there were four seats newly opened on the aisle near him.

    I don't pretend to know whether he was a Republican or a Democrat, but he showed that he understood the true meaning of Christmas.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 122. At 09:32am on 08 Dec 2010, Kit Green wrote:

    119. At 05:37am on 08 Dec 2010, CuriousAmerican


    Let me change a few words to see what is really going on in the world run for financial institutions (banks for shorthand):

    Has everyone noticed how the actions of banks are so similar to spoiled teenagers. We need a national money tree for these professional mal-contents
    -Always complaining its not enough
    -Never thankful for what they do have
    -If you don't give it to them right away, they throw a "hissy fit"

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  • 123. At 10:52am on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Jay, (#120. At 06:10am on 08 Dec 2010)

    “... I do not think that the "new" tax rate would be ... increase tax rate to cover the 2 year (2010-2012) deficit ...”
    Fair enough. That may well be true.

    ”... Obama need to play the politics as a politician to deliver better policies in the long run for the country. More importantly, he needs to speak the language this shameless Republican leadership understand.”
    While I will agree with you that the President is most effective when functioning as a politician, it does seem that you propose the President sacrifice the workers’ jobs to gain power over the Republicans. Not the sort of domestic policy I would agree with, but we do not all share the same ideals of Good.

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  • 124. At 1:03pm on 08 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 97 Chryses wrote:
    “John_From_Dublin, (#59. At 12:41pm on 07 Dec 2010)

    “... ‘If it is reasonable that a government’s past economic decisions influence the country’s economy…’
    That appears reasonable.
    ‘…then that tax contributed to GB’s current economic status.’
    ... I doubt whether a tax introduced c half a century ago and AFAIK long repealed is of great relevance to the current UK economy. “
    That’s good to learn. We only disagree on quantity, not quality.
    What size do you believe the interval is?”

    To be honest, I have absolutely no idea. I doubt whether anyone can know for certain. I doubt whether there is a clear cut off point that limits the effects of a tax or other governmental economic decision.

    We are all familiar with the theories of how a butterfly moving its wings in one continent can lead to a hurricane in another (that may be more of a metaphor than a fact), or the stories of fictional time travellers who go back in time, step on a bug and change the course of history. Similarly, for all I know penal tax rates may have led to one or more people leaving the UK who would have changed its history for the better if they had stayed. (Having said that, the ones one tended to hear about were more often tax exile rock stars.)

    Having said that, I still doubt that tax rates c half a century ago were a proximate cause of the UK’s current economic troubles – but I have an open mind if you have evidence to the contrary.

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  • 125. At 1:05pm on 08 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #111 Lucyj

    Never mind the spices - the mere thought of being under the affluence of incohol with cider would pose a dilemma.

    -- suicide before retiring or the slow death the next morning.

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  • 126. At 1:15pm on 08 Dec 2010, modernJan wrote:

    @119 Curious American

    Europeans pay more taxes and their governments have less debt than America, so Europeans don't get anything for free (neither do most Americans, except the fat cat insurers, doctors and lawyers with their ridiculous wages that are in no way justified by their services). Europeans found a way to offer the same quality in health care and education for half the cost, much more efficient than America. The American system lends itself (slightly) better to entrepeneurship, but most of all America has more favourable demographics (more young people, especially if you count illegal foreign workers) and that is a huge advantage that is not the result of hard work but of the fact that America borders Mexico (high birthrate) and Europe borders Eastern-Europe (low birthrate). Ideally we could all learn from each other: European-style education and health care would free up massive resources in America, both in the pockets of the government and that of the common man, leading to growth spurts in the economy, while American entrepeneurship would lead to more economic growth in Europe.

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  • 127. At 1:28pm on 08 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 112 LucyJ wrote:
    “I am also fond of English, cause' its my homeland's language. I know bits of Spanish, but don't really care to speak it. English is my language, too and I would never spit or spat on it. I actually won our school's fifth grade spelling bee. Its just sometimes I type really fast, mix things up, but yeah, the grammar is confusing sometimes. Mixed up grammar won't stop me from writing just as much, though!”

    By grammar I think you mean basic spelling and punctuation. As I have already pointed out, the word is etc., not ect. Similarly – another fave of yours - it’s excerpt, not exerpt. And ‘it’s’ as an abbreviation always takes an apostrophe.

    “Truth be told, John, I have only too much decency...”

    Lucky you to have such a high opinion of yourself.

    As I recall, someone recently wrote a book decrying the modern, and particularly American, obsession with self-esteem. They suggested that many of our problems aren’t caused by those who don’t esteem themselves, but rather by those who have no esteem for others. Moreover many of our problems are caused by those who’ve been led to believe that their thoughts and opinions are of value simply because they have them, regardless of their basis (if any) in fact.

    Regarding your decency or otherwise, as on other issues, I will judge based on the facts and the evidence. I have provided the evidence for my views at some length. Your ‘evidence’ is, as usual, merely your own opinion. You're entitled to have your opinions, but if you express them in a public forum you can expect them to be challenged. And if they include paranoid and unfounded theories about “ultraliberals”, gays, and blacks determined to hurt white people to get revenge for slavery, you may expect people to draw their own conclusions.

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  • 128. At 3:01pm on 08 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:


    A clue to a purpose of the Wikileaks may be a message from Wayne Madsen Research that WikiLeaks received information on Julius Baer´s secret clientele. A publication would destroy confidence and allow a hostile takeover by Soros´ friends at Goldman Sachs. By extension, Assange announced to disclose banking secrets of one or 2 major banks, the Bank of America probably aimed at, to create a bank run with consequent collapse of finance and banking industries in early 2011.

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  • 129. At 5:39pm on 08 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    John wrote: As I have already pointed out, the word is etc., not ect. Similarly – another fave of yours - it’s excerpt, not exerpt. And ‘it’s’ as an abbreviation always takes an apostrophe.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    Well, I'm pronouncing it correctly, which means I would still win in Jeopardy- in which its all about pronunciation and not spelling. (Although I'm waaaaaayyyyy better at Wheel of Forture.) Besides, you know what I mean by it, so even if a word is slightly mispelled, people usually know what is implied...you still knew that exerpt meant excerpt and its only one letter- a 'c'...which the x kinda sounds like a little anyway in that word...
    -------------------------------------------------------
    John wrote: Moreover many of our problems are caused by those who’ve been led to believe that their thoughts and opinions are of value simply because they have them, regardless of their basis (if any) in fact.
    -------------------------------------------------------
    So do you believe any conservatives' thoughts and opinions have value?
    Or, in your mind, is it only ultraliberals whose thoughts and opinions have value?
    -------------------------------------------------------
    John wrote: Regarding your decency or otherwise, as on other issues, I will judge based on the facts and the evidence. I have provided the evidence for my views at some length. Your ‘evidence’ is, as usual, merely your own opinion. You're entitled to have your opinions, but if you express them in a public forum you can expect them to be challenged. And if they include paranoid and unfounded theories about “ultraliberals”, gays, and blacks determined to hurt white people to get revenge for slavery, you may expect people to draw their own conclusions.
    -------------------------------------------------------
    I don't think it matters how much evidence I show you, cause' your mind is where it is and my mind is where it is...although particular issues can be singled out. I am more in line with Democrats on some issues like expiring the tax cuts and extending unemployment, but on moral and security issues such as amnesty, building Ground Zero Mosque and gay or animal or multiple partner marriage- of which I am against, I am more in line with Repubs.
    I can't say that your evidence is any more evidential than mine- depending on what viewpoint you look at it from.
    Also, I did not say all were out for revenge- only some, but its those you hafta watch out for...maybe the only way to heal is more time.
    I wish I was simply 'paranoid' or 'unfounded' but I've got lotsa gut instinct/intuition and its rarely let me down.
    When Bush was in office, I felt something was wrong, but I couldn't put my finger on it. When Obama was initially in office, I felt fantastic and for awhile I thought that he would solve a lot of what went wrong, but now I half like him and half don't like him- I like some of what he wants to do, but when I think of amnesty, repealing DADT, building Ground Zero Mosque, etc., then I get the feeling that something is wrong.

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  • 130. At 5:47pm on 08 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    John wrote: Lucky you to have such a high opinion of yourself.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Hey, everybody's got highs and lows. In high school, I did not have very much self esteem because I felt that I was supposed to be perfect, yet I could not quite achieve it. Today I have more because I know that perfect's not real. But some days are better than others and I know that's normal.


    ModernJan wrote: but most of all America has more favourable demographics (more young people, especially if you count illegal foreign workers) and that is a huge advantage that is not the result of hard work but of the fact that America borders Mexico (high birthrate) and Europe borders Eastern-Europe (low birthrate). Ideally we could all learn from each other: European-style education and health care would free up massive resources in America, both in the pockets of the government and that of the common man, leading to growth spurts in the economy, while American entrepeneurship would lead to more economic growth in Europe.
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Illegals are not Americans...unless in some cases, they can become citizens by serving in our military for a certain number of years...

    Its the result of the fact that our border is not secured, greedy people making money by paying less than min. wage aka illegal slave labor and our laws against illegals not being enforced...

    Yeah, I'm sure that's just want Europe wants- a bunch of illegals overrunning them and taking their jobs, paying for their financial aid with taxpayers' money- yeah, right!

    As far as I'm concerned, President Obama and Congress should investigate each and every farm to root out any illegals, shut down any employers who hired illegals and deport the illegals, as well...its called 'doing the right thing.'



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  • 131. At 5:57pm on 08 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    BBCBreaking

    Former British Prime Minister Tony
    Blair has been recalled to give
    extra evidence to the #Chilcot
    Inquiry into the #Iraq war

    Hackers who support #WikiLeaks founder Julian #Assange say
    they´ve taken down the website of the credit card firm
    Mastercard

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  • 132. At 6:29pm on 08 Dec 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MagicKirin wrote:
    Good News!

    Assange has been denied bail.






    Even better news: his supporters have finally revealed themselves for criminals they are by using malware and botnets to launch massive denial of service attacks against sites which have refused to carry Wikileaks stuff.

    So from that point none of them will be able to hide behind 1st Amendment any longer.



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  • 133. At 6:37pm on 08 Dec 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Lucy wrote:

    The (leaked) documents show that NATO secretly decided in January to defend the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania against military attack.

    Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO, said Tuesday that Moscow will demand that NATO drop the agreement, which he argued is clearly aimed at his country.






    I guess comrade Rogozin has not noticed that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are all NATO members and therefore it would be pretty amazing if the mutual defense pact refused to defend them.


    And if Russia doesn't attack them - it has obviously nothing to fear. :-)

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  • 134. At 6:48pm on 08 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    119. At 05:37am on 08 Dec 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:
    Liberal theology is the reason europe has been on a death spiral
    for the last 60 plus years. (Yes it is a religion to them)
    The bill for the rent is past due and you're about to be evicted. You had the money, but you blew all on fast living and easy women. You run screaming in the street about how "unfair" it is that you have to actually PAY for things you want.
    Grow up, pay your own bills, live within your budget and stop stealing from your fellow countrymen.
    Has everyone noticed how the actions of post-modern western liberals are so similar to spoiled teenagers. We need a national "Supper Nanny" for these professional mal-contents
    -Always complaining its not enough
    -Never thankful for what they do have
    -If you don't give it to them right away, they throw a "hissy fit"
    Its past time we send them to their room and let the adults go about doing the hard work of running a sucessful nation
    -------------------------------------------
    Europe in general has managed to produce a better-educated, healthier, longer-lived populace than the USA. Why? Because apparently they actually paid attention in Kindergarten when the teacher taught them to share.
    Let's hear real, adult, discourse from the folks that will now be receiving their tax break extensions thanks to the Repubs: "We have Beemers and summer houses but WEEEEE don't want to share just so that unworthy little poor kid over there can have a decent education."
    BTW: Is somebody paying you to post these attacks?

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  • 135. At 7:07pm on 08 Dec 2010, modernJan wrote:

    @Lucy J

    Great way turning my words around, just superb. I was talking about Mexican and Eastern European immigrants, both groups of hard working people, the difference being the Mexicans get a lot more children, sure it costs some money to school them but they'll pay back in the end when Europe is grey and America still youthful. Schooling a child of a Mexican immigrant, legal or illegal, is a lot cheaper than the pension and medicare of an elderly citizen wouldn't you agree? I'm NOT defending illegal immigration, that's just you jumping to conclusions.

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  • 136. At 8:47pm on 08 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #132 Powermeerkat

    --- don´t panik !

    -- Nazis and KKK can still hide behind the 1st.

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  • 137. At 8:59pm on 08 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    Hmmm.. some opinionated posters seem to do nothing but put spin on everything they post ♻ as though they were working for the Rotschilds & Co. (.. Magic and Power)

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  • 138. At 9:47pm on 08 Dec 2010, modernJan wrote:

    "40. At 00:56am on 07 Dec 2010, Charles_Martel wrote:

    The Left views the world in terms of class structures and will not suffer people having more than others. They equate equality with everyone having equal or very similar standards of wealth."

    That's just ridiculous, the vast majority of the left doesn't hold those views. When they talk about "redistributing wealth" they mean that there should be enough wealth at the bottom of society for people born out of poor parents to have a fair shot at a decent education, a decent salary and decent health care. Like you said capitalism is all about competition and that's fine, but at least give people a fair chance when they start at square one. The left acknowledges something that part of the right is still in denial about: that people usually get rich because of luck (by birth and by gambling in business) and a willingness to play foul, rather than by working hard and that no economy can function when everyone is a banker or a lawyer, so workers are necessary and should therefore be valued. It is not fair that if you are born from poor parents you can work all you want but you will never be able to afford most forms of education, meaning you don't get a fair shot at competing in the great ratrace of capitalism. It is also not fair that if you are thus condemned to a life of worker jobs, or if you choose such a job because your desire to contribute to society is greater than your desire to die with the most toys you cannot get decent health care because rich people and insurance companies are driving up prices and that your children will never be able to choose a different kind of career. So there is nothing wrong with taxing the rich more to provide basic services to the poor, unless the rich think they can live with without the poor (which they can't because nobody would maintain infrastructure, build anything, nurse the sick, or defend people against thugs and foreign armies). In the system I described you can only get rich by birth or through luck in business (because the option of education doesn't exist for the poor), so it's not like the rich "worked hard" for their money and they shouldn't complain that part of their money is diverted to help right the wrongs that plague the poor. Then you get a system where the poor do have a chance of rising through the ranks based on skill and luck, rather than just luck, these "new rich" may complain they shouldn't have to pay to help the poor because they were poor once and worked harder to get where they are than the "old rich", but the truth is they still have a "debt" to society for receiving the gift of education and their wealth too is not entirely based on hard work (again, luck is very much part of the process) and they are still having it relatively easy if they get to keep half of their $300k salary ($150k) while a worker gets to keep two thirds of his $30k ($20k) salary because they sure as hell don't work 7,5 times as hard as that worker. Even factoring in things like responsibility of the job, toughness of education, danger of the job and skill required doesn't warrant the monster salaries for the majority of highly paid jobs, so really the rich should count their blessings and be content with the fact that society still allows them to make free money. Because the left (most of them, only the communists see things differently) is content with letting the rich keep most of their free money and only taking as much as is needed to give the poor a fair chance at life. The rich could argue that it isn't their job to provide "taxes for charity" for the poor but 1) they got rich over the backs of the poor or through luck, so they do owe something to society and 2) the poor could then in turn decide that it isn't their job to service the rich, unless their wages are vastly increased (enough for them to send their children to college and get health care), which would hurt most of the rich more than "taxes for charity", while costing the super duper rich CEO's and bankers less, the people who have the most free money.

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  • 139. At 10:43pm on 08 Dec 2010, McJakome wrote:

    119. At 05:37am on 08 Dec 2010, CuriousAmerican wrote:
    "Liberal theology is the reason europe has been on a death spiral
    for the last 60 plus years. (Yes it is a religion to them)

    The bill for the rent is past due and you're about to be evicted. You had the money, but you blew all on fast living and easy women. You run screaming in the street about how "unfair" it is that you have to actually PAY for things you want."

    To quote the ancient Socialist [or was he a Communist?] revolutionary, J. Christ, "Why do you complain about the mote in your neighbor's eye when there is a boulder* in your own?" [*There are several translations, of which this is the most locical, IMHO.]

    In addition, it is quite clear that our [America's] problems are either directly due to or very much exaggerated by overuse of credit and living beyond our means [individuals no less than governments]. Therefore that previousely mentioned [non-white] socialist's other statement, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

    Peace {go and sin no more}. Old version.
    Chill out, dude {and cut out the chargin'!} Modern version.


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  • 140. At 10:44pm on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    John_From_Dublin, (#124. At 1:03pm on 08 Dec 2010)

    ”... I doubt whether a tax introduced c half a century ago and AFAIK long repealed is of great relevance to the current UK economy. “
    That’s good to learn. We only disagree on quantity, not quality.
    What size do you believe the interval is?’

    To be honest, I have absolutely no idea. I doubt whether anyone can know for certain. I doubt whether there is a clear cut off point that limits the effects of a tax or other governmental economic decision ...”

    I wasn’t, in this thread, asking you to provide certainty. But not to worry. What do you think the impact of an almost confiscatory tax would be? I would suspect that it would suppress investment in new plant, but I might me wrong.

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  • 141. At 10:52pm on 08 Dec 2010, McJakome wrote:

    121. At 06:18am on 08 Dec 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote: "I don't pretend to know whether he was a Republican or a Democrat, but he showed that he understood the true meaning of Christmas.

    KScurmudgeon"

    Neither Republican nor Democrat, but real Christian or non-sectarian humanist. Bless his soul.

    What has my generation wrought, that this is rare and remarkable?

    Not for nothing are we called the "ME!" generation [which is a much beter fit than the neutral "Baby Boomers].

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  • 142. At 11:09pm on 08 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 129 LucyJ wrote:
    “Well, I'm pronouncing it correctly, which means I would still win in Jeopardy- in which its all about pronunciation and not spelling.”

    Yawre sew rite, itt duzent matter wot ewe right az long az ewe say itt properlee.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Me “Moreover many of our problems are caused by those who’ve been led to believe that their thoughts and opinions are of value simply because they have them, regardless of their basis (if any) in fact”.

    Lucy “So do you believe any conservatives' thoughts and opinions have value? Or, in your mind, is it only ultraliberals whose thoughts and opinions have value?”

    Congrats. Even by your own exalted standards, this is a truly spectacular leap of logic

    I believe thoughts and opinions, whether conservative, liberal, centrist, whatever, have value, if they can be backed up by fact, logic and evidence, as opposed to simplistic, barely understood, half thought out bigotry and prejudice. I have never said that “conservatives' thoughts and opinions have no value’... If you think I have, prove it. See – that evidence thingy again.

    Moreover, I am not an ‘ultraliberal’, except by the Lucyland definition of ultraliberal, ie ‘anyone more liberal than Lucy’. Most notably, you endlessly whine about how the ultraliberals want to scrap DADT, ignoring the fact that most Americans support repeal of DADT. Presumably, therefore, by your peculiar ‘logic’ (stretching the meaning of the word to extremes) you consider most Americans ultraliberal.

    -------------------------------------------------------
    “I don't think it matters how much evidence I show you, cause' your mind is where it is and my mind is where it is...although particular issues can be singled out. I am more in line with Democrats on some issues like expiring the tax cuts and extending unemployment, but on moral and security issues such as amnesty, building Ground Zero Mosque and gay or animal or multiple partner marriage- of which I am against, I am more in line with Repubs.”

    (a) Untrue – unlike you, I am open to persuasion based on facts
    (b) This is the umpteenth time you have dragged out the tedious canard that allowing gay marriage is equivalent to and/or must lead to, legalised marriage with animals and legalised bigamy. You previously also claimed it is equivalent to and/or must lead to legalised paedophilia. These are ludicrous and bigoted claims. When asked for evidence you ignore the question and change the subject. Perhaps you would be so good as to point to a few leading Democrats who have come out in favour of legalised marriage with animals and legalised bigamy? No? Thought not

    “I can't say that your evidence is any more evidential than mine- depending on what viewpoint you look at it from.”

    It is clear why you want to think that. It allows you to disregard any evidence that doesn’t suit your prejudice. Unfortunately, it isn’t true. Facts are facts.

    “Also, I did not say all were out for revenge- only some, but its those you hafta watch out for...maybe the only way to heal is more time.”

    Wonderful. First Obama is only racist some of the time. Now it’s only SOME African Americans (including, according to you, Obama) who want to destroy white America in revenge for slavery. How broadminded of you. You will be pleased to hear that it’s also only some white Americans who are slavering bigots obsessed with paranoid racial theories. So that’s alright then.

    “I wish I was simply 'paranoid' or 'unfounded' but I've got lotsa gut instinct/intuition and its rarely let me down.”

    Except less than 2 years ago, you supported Obama and now you think he’s a racist out to destroy America. But apart from that minor detail...

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  • 143. At 11:17pm on 08 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 140. At 10:44pm on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:


    “I wasn’t, in this thread, asking you to provide certainty. But not to worry. What do you think the impact of an almost confiscatory tax would be? I would suspect that it would suppress investment in new plant, but I might me wrong.”

    I have no idea, and am distinctly unsure what the point of speculating about it is, since I know of no mainstream politician or party in any advanced country calling for such a thing. (I am taking an ‘almost confiscatory tax’ to be something like the 95% tax the Beatles sang about.) I imagine it would tend to either demotivate high earners or lead them to find ways to avoid or evade it, legal or otherwise.

    (Having said that, as I recall the Beatles kept on making music, didn’t emigrate – when they were the Beatles anyway – and even managed to write a good song or 2...)

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  • 144. At 11:40pm on 08 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    John wrote: ignoring the fact that most Americans support repeal of DADT.
    ------------------------
    I don't know a single American that supports repeal of DADT.
    So 'selected' polls to me are not evidence, nor fact, unless each and every person is polled and unless there is an independent company that can verify it. Its easy to for pollsters to select in particular ultraliberals or conservatives- they can lean whatever way they want and claim its true, even if its not.

    If you want to know whether Americans support repeal of DADT, let each and every single one of us vote on it. Of course, many pro-gay rights groups do not want us to vote, because when Americans have had the chance in states to vote for gay marriage, it has failed every time. The states where gay marriage has passed was done through the law every time and when people voted, they voted against it every time. Even in Cali.
    So what do you think the people want, John?
    Do you REALLY ACTUALLY believe the polls?

    But as I said, I don't know a single person who supports repealing DADT. In fact, I have heard many people say they may not want to join the military if DADT is repealed. Because in their minds, they said they would feel uncomfortable.
    ------------------------
    John wrote: Presumably, therefore, by your peculiar ‘logic’ (stretching the meaning of the word to extremes) you consider most Americans ultraliberal.
    ------------------------
    On the contrary, I consider most Americans in rural and Midwest to be conservative and most Americans in cities to be ultraliberals...I used to be more liberal and would write letters to the editor in our newspaper about how I did not like what Bush was doing to our country and you would not believe what I got called. The place I live most everyone is superconservative but then we've got the college crowd, which in many cases is ultraliberal, so we get to contrast each other. I will admit that the college crowd brings in much, much bucks, especially from Chicago, they have kept our real estate booming and restaurants/food places also are always packed. And you can tell them by their Obama Biden 'Hope' stickers...I still have my Obama Biden t-shirt, which is actually pretty neat. I missed seeing Obama by 15 mins, but I did get the t-shirt. Lol.

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  • 145. At 11:46pm on 08 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    John wrote: Wonderful. First Obama is only racist some of the time. Now it’s only SOME African Americans (including, according to you, Obama) who want to destroy white America in revenge for slavery. How broadminded of you. You will be pleased to hear that it’s also only some white Americans who are slavering bigots obsessed with paranoid racial theories. So that’s alright then.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    What does slavering mean?
    (not 'slobbering' I hope)

    If you think I'm what you said, you have no idea. I know many people who truly are racist and in such a group, I am the nice one.

    I have heard names that I cannot repeat nor say. And I have been called names that I cannot repeat nor say.

    I do not like racism, whether its racism or reverse racism. But both exist. And now and then, one or the other comes back to haunt us.

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  • 146. At 11:58pm on 08 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    John_From_Dublin, (#143. At 11:17pm on 08 Dec 2010)

    ”... What do you think the impact of an almost confiscatory tax would be? I would suspect that it would suppress investment in new plant, but I might me wrong.’

    I have no idea, and am distinctly unsure what the point of speculating about it is, since I know of no mainstream politician or party in any advanced country calling for such a thing. (I am taking an ‘almost confiscatory tax’ to be something like the 95% tax the Beatles sang about.) ...”

    Surely you agree that HM’s Labor Government led by Harold Wilson in the 1960s was a mainstream political party in an advanced country? They did didn’t they? As it has happened before, there’s no reason it cannot happen again, is there? Rather takes the sting out of speculation, doesn't it?

    ”... I imagine it would tend to either demotivate high earners or lead them to find ways to avoid or evade it, legal or otherwise ...”
    That is consistent with what I have read.
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/04/23/how-the-budget-affects-you-the-public-give-their-verdict-91466-23451824/

    ”... (Having said that, as I recall the Beatles kept on making music, didn’t emigrate – when they were the Beatles anyway – and even managed to write a good song or 2...)”
    They did didn’t they?

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  • 147. At 11:59pm on 08 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    ModernJan wrote: Great way turning my words around, just superb.
    ---------------------------------------
    I'm just being honest here Jan. You were trying to make it sound so great, but illegal immigration is just plain wrong.
    --------------------------------------
    Jan wrote: I was talking about Mexican and Eastern European immigrants, both groups of hard working people, the difference being the Mexicans get a lot more children, sure it costs some money to school them but they'll pay back in the end when Europe is grey and America still youthful.
    ---------------------------------------
    Yes, I have read that one-quarter of people under 20 in America are hispanic, legal or illegal. I have also read that if we did not have illegal and legal immigrants, that our youth population would actually be declining right now. A new generation is taking over the old one.
    Personally, I would rather be youthful and American than grey and illegal.
    -------------------------------------------
    Jan wrote: Schooling a child of a Mexican immigrant, legal or illegal, is a lot cheaper than the pension and medicare of an elderly citizen wouldn't you agree?
    -------------------------------------------
    Until that immigrant, legal or illegal, gets older and then needs medicare. So its really just a matter of time.
    When the immigrants, legal and illegal, get old, they will need services just as much as the elderly do now.
    Basically, it just puts the weight to be born on the next generation.
    ----------------------------------------------
    Jan wrote: I'm NOT defending illegal immigration, that's just you jumping to conclusions.
    ----------------------------------------------
    Well, I'm glad to hear that you do not defend illegal immigration...

    Its hard to make a stand sometimes, but its worth it.
    At some point, you have to draw the line.

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  • 148. At 00:14am on 09 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 149. At 00:21am on 09 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    Speaking of Tax.. A few months ago an employee of Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC) in Switzerland walked out of the Bank with data containing the names of 24,000 account holders from its Private Banking Div. which the French Gov’t seized following a complaint from Switzerland. The French authorities checked the list and found that some of its citizens had accounts (minimum opening deposit $500.000) which earned income that wasn’t declared or taxed. The list was also shared with the Gov’ts of Britain, USA and Canada which also discovered that citizens from their respective countries also had accounts with large balances which earned undeclared/untaxed income.

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  • 150. At 03:05am on 09 Dec 2010, Charles_Martel wrote:

    For #139 modernJan:
    You raise a lot of good points but you should consider this:
    (1) Your response is exactly the tone I am talking about. Firstly, you are portraying this as the class struggle I was highlighting. You write as if it is always the rich versus the poor. Also the tone of your response seems to suggest that wealth is rarely gained without luck. However consider that many people save money and live frugally enrich themselves in the future. Being wise even with a small amount of money can take you very far. Money they could spend on consumer goods is saved for college or for their children to offer them a better future. People employ delayed gratification, some even to the extent that only their children see the fruits of their labor.
    (2) Also, you are selectively attacking my analysis. I do not advocate not helping the poor. What I am saying is that the Left’s solution is only treating the symptom and not the cause. Charities are much more effective because they are more personalized and thrifty with resources. Money should be devoted to charity as opposed to government welfare programs. Furthermore, I am saying that raising taxes too high will encourage the rich to leave in the long run or transfer their finances to places where they are not taxable. This is what happened to New York back in the 1970’s-people left the state or became residents of other states like Texas and Florida where taxes are relatively low. If you raise taxes too high nationally then the rich will leave along with their corporations and you will have ‘killed the goose that laid the golden egg’. Despite the best of intentions the Left is actually hurting the very people it tries to help.
    (3) As long as the rich earn their wealth lawfully then they should be allowed to use it however it pleases them. It is their money, not society’s, it is private property, they are not being leased it by the community. You seem to be implying that somehow society gave them the wealth and now they must pay part of it back. This concept of collective wealth is fairly Marxist. It is not the government’s role to tell them that they must give ‘x amount’ to the poor. Giving to the poor is something that must come from within being forced to give to someone else is not true compassion. In fact, many rich already give a lot of money in the form of charity.
    (4) What constitutes a fair starting level? This seems rather arbitrary. Does everyone have to have the same education, starting salary and background? See, where do you draw the line? Also, everyone alive today is living off of the work and labor of their forebears. Our ancestors sailed the world, developed penicillin and fought the elements etc…we are benefitting from their labor and they have no access to these benefits. Simple fact is life is not fair, not everyone has the same skill sets, good looks—some people are born paralyzed or blind. There are things that inhibit everyone. You cannot achieve material fairness. You are equating ‘fairness’ with ‘justice’.
    (5) Lastly, what the Right is saying is that the government is trying to assume responsibility for things it should not. Once it presumes to be responsible for people’s welfare, college payments, healthcare provision etc… it then cannot morally deny people these things because it lacks money. So they raise taxes on the rich who eventually leave and the government is left with greater and greater deficits until it finally fails. The Left is making a moral argument which is good (help the poor) but they are attempting to use the wrong avenue (government) when there are better ways to do so without damaging business. Government spending must be cut in the long run. Cut the programs that are causing deficits. The lower income people still receive tax cuts, but also allow the rich to as well. Encourage the wealthy to come to America and spend. That is how you will have long term growth which raises the standard of living.

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  • 151. At 09:44am on 09 Dec 2010, marieinaustin wrote:

    114. At 01:17am on 08 Dec 2010, Scott0962 wrote:
    re. #92. At 9:08pm on 07 Dec 2010, Kit Green wrote:
    77. At 6:22pm on 07 Dec 2010, Grateful Marie wrote:
    “In all fairness to my fellow citizens.... You're right though, critical thinking and logic aren't given the emphasis they deserve in American schools these days, instead they're taught to swallow whatever the media spoon feeds them.”
    _____________________________

    If you’re including my post, then - judgement based on a link? In that case, you’d do better to edit to ‘American private schools in the seventies and eighties.’ Of course, I don’t agree with you there.


    About the latest news, I now see that Obama knows he can’t lose Democrat votes in 2012. His “tax compromise” is solely to try to win disheartened Republican or independent votes. He’s at his typical and only job – campaigning. And we’re paying dearly for it.

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  • 152. At 12:06pm on 09 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    It is amusing to learn that now the President is having difficulties getting enough Democratic votes to pass his tax compromise. His is a tough row to hoe.

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  • 153. At 1:04pm on 09 Dec 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 154. At 1:40pm on 09 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    142. At 11:09pm on 08 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 129 LucyJ wrote:
    “Well, I'm pronouncing it correctly, which means I would still win in Jeopardy- in which its all about pronunciation and not spelling.”

    Yawre sew rite, itt duzent matter wot ewe right az long az ewe say itt properlee.

    ----------

    It's the bouncy, ever-fresh effervescence: weebles wobble but they don't fall down. "Just around the corner, there's a rainbow in the sky; so let's have another cup of coffee, and let's have another piece of pie."

    I am reminded of a cork that keeps bobbing back to the surface, no matter how rough the waves. It'll stop bobbing up and down if the water is left tranquil or if the water is let out of the tub.

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  • 155. At 2:11pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 144 LucyJ wrote:

    (responding to my writing “…ignoring the fact that most Americans support repeal of DADT.” -

    “I don't know a single American that supports repeal of DADT./So 'selected' polls to me are not evidence, nor fact, unless each and every person is polled and unless there is an independent company that can verify it. Its easy to for pollsters to select in particular ultraliberals or conservatives- they can lean whatever way they want and claim its true, even if its not./If you want to know whether Americans support repeal of DADT, let each and every single one of us vote on it. …So what do you think the people want, John?/Do you REALLY ACTUALLY believe the polls?”

    Give me strength.

    Why do I waste my time trying rational argument in your little logic-free zone?

    What is a ‘selected’ poll?

    You say the only poll you will believe is one that asks every single person. Ie no poll in existence. You ignore the evidence that properly carried out polls in general correctly predict elections or come close – so that the cases where they don’t receive much attention. You ignore, or more likely are unable to comprehend, that the science of statistics proves that a properly conducted poll can accurately assess the opinion of a large group from a relatively small sample Truly your carapace of blissful ignorance and self satisfaction is quite impenetrable by any shaft of fact or logic. Because ‘people an extreme right-winger like Lucy knows’ believe something, that must be the view of all Americans.

    And the policy must only be changed by a national referendum, which has never been held before in the US? What about the fact that Obama ran on a policy of abolition and won a clear victory. As indeed did Clinton. In fact the only thing stopping abolition is the rule that only 60 votes in the Senate can overcome a filibuster – so most of your elected representatives back abolition too. And perhaps you think Truman should have held a referendum in 1948 when he desegregated the military?

    And why exactly would reputable major polling organisations, whose existence depends on the accuracy of their polling, deliberately skew their polls? Presumably part of the great international gay, ultraliberal African American conspiracy.

    Presumably you discount the results of the mid term elections – after all millions of voters didn’t vote?

    ”In fact, I have heard many people say they may not want to join the military if DADT “is repealed. Because in their minds, they said they would feel uncomfortable.”

    So they don’t mind working with people who are openly gay – assuming they have jobs. And they don’t mind serving with gay people – as long as those people aren’t allowed to admit publicly they are gay.

    “On the contrary, I consider most Americans in rural and Midwest to be conservative and most Americans in cities to be ultraliberals”

    Indeed. What a wonderful gift for sweeping generalisation. And why is it that these conservatives are not ‘ultraconservative, and its only liberals who are ultraliberal. Sorry, I forgot – I am wandering of your swamp of illogic.

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  • 156. At 2:23pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 145 LucyJ wrote:

    ”If you think I'm what you said, you have no idea. I know many people who truly are racist and in such a group, I am the nice one.”

    I have absolutely no difficulty in believing that you have many racist friends, and that you are relatively less racist than they are. Just as I have no difficulty in believing, as you said before, that you were top of your class in English...

    “I do not like racism, whether its racism or reverse racism. But both exist. And now and then, one or the other comes back to haunt us.”

    By reverse racism I deduce you mean black against white racism. Because that is the only one I have ever heard you complain about. Ie Obama and his administration hate white people and therefore are(plotting to destroy the US in revenge for slavery.

    To be blunt, being less racist than extremely racist people is really not much of a boast...

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  • 157. At 2:33pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 146 :

    Chryses wrote
    ”... What do you think the impact of an almost confiscatory tax would be? I would suspect that it would suppress investment in new plant, but I might me wrong.’
    I wrote

    Me
    I have no idea, and am distinctly unsure what the point of speculating about it is, since I know of no mainstream politician or party in any advanced country calling for such a thing. (I am taking an ‘almost confiscatory tax’ to be something like the 95% tax the Beatles sang about.) ...”

    Chryses
    “Surely you agree that HM’s Labor Government led by Harold Wilson in the 1960s was a mainstream political party in an advanced country? They did didn’t they? As it has happened before, there’s no reason it cannot happen again, is there? Rather takes the sting out of speculation, doesn't it?”

    This appears to me to be a massive leap of logic. “As it has happened before, there’s no reason it cannot happen again, is there?” Take that to its logical conclusion, and one might as well say that once in the UK - less than a century ago in fact - women were unable to vote. It happened before – therefore it could happen again? (Granted that one is especially unlikely since presumably women would have to vote for it. OTOH, men greatly outnumber women in Parliament…)

    I repeat - “I know of no mainstream politician or party in any advanced country calling for such a thing.” – ie a tax rate of 95%. I mean now – not nearly half a century ago, in the days when a lawyer famously asked a jury ‘is this really a book you would want your wife or servants to read’ (or words to that effect).

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  • 158. At 2:59pm on 09 Dec 2010, modernJan wrote:

    @150 Charles Martel

    "However consider that many people save money and live frugally enrich themselves in the future. Being wise even with a small amount of money can take you very far."

    No, a carpenter, soldier or teacher will never become a millionaire, no matter how frugal they live and most of them will never be able to give their children university education, that's the whole point I'm trying to make.

    "What constitutes a fair starting level? This seems rather arbitrary. Does everyone have to have the same education, starting salary and background? See, where do you draw the line?"

    A fair starting level is having the same chances at education, regardless of birth, that's all. Is that too much to ask?

    "Charities are much more effective because they are more personalized and thrifty with resources. Money should be devoted to charity as opposed to government welfare programs."

    Charities will not reach everyone in need: a poor child should not have to "hope" that maybe a charity will give them a scholarship, it should be a certainty, they have to know that their hard work in high school will be rewarded.

    "Lastly, what the Right is saying is that the government is trying to assume responsibility for things it should not. Once it presumes to be responsible for people’s welfare, college payments, healthcare provision etc… it then cannot morally deny people these things because it lacks money."

    The alternative is an uprising of the poor: "pay us more or we won't work for you and stop paying taxes because this country currently offers us nothing". As I explained before that would actually cost most of the rich people more than higher taxes because costs will not be fairly shared between the rich and the super-rich if the wages of the poor just go up a lot. The second reason is that if government pays for education and health care it gets a say in those organizations so it can stop those organizations from increasing fees just to feed bonuses for the CEO's and other scams. The best known example is health care: European and Asian countries provide the same quality of health care as America, only they spend much less of their GDP on it? Why? Because good health care (and education) are not profitable, so the free market won't make them more efficient like it would for car manufacturing (or any commercial business that is better off in private hands). In the US the extra costs go to exorbitant salaries for doctors and more profit for insurance companies (who make cartels, because there are too few companies to cause real competition), not to more quality.

    "Furthermore, I am saying that raising taxes too high will encourage the rich to leave in the long run or transfer their finances to places where they are not taxable."

    Go where? The United States is already seen as the place to be for rich Westerners, everywhere else taxes are already higher, except for third world countries where the rich wouldn't feel at home. And don't make any illusions about money being transferred to tax havens: those loopholes are already maxed out.

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  • 159. At 4:38pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    · 154. At 1:40pm on 09 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    “It's the bouncy, ever-fresh effervescence: weebles wobble but they don't fall down. "Just around the corner, there's a rainbow in the sky; so let's have another cup of coffee, and let's have another piece of pie."

    I am reminded of a cork that keeps bobbing back to the surface, no matter how rough the waves. It'll stop bobbing up and down if the water is left tranquil or if the water is let out of the tub.”

    Indeed – except I have never yet encountered a cork with paranoid rightwing views about gays, African Americans and ‘ultra-liberals’.

    Still – she’s happy. ‘Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise’…(‘Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College’, Thomas Gray, 1742)

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  • 160. At 4:40pm on 09 Dec 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #153 CBW

    -- A personal vendetta is no substitution for ´rocking horse´military charges !

    Try proper arguments, experience and comparisons-- if you intend to impress.

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  • 161. At 6:28pm on 09 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    157. At 2:33pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    I mean now – not nearly half a century ago, in the days when a lawyer famously asked a jury ‘is this really a book you would want your wife or servants to read’ (or words to that effect)."

    ________

    Reminds me of a song from that era by Tom Lehrer

    "Some folks have hobbies,
    like reading or philately;
    I have a hobby -
    re-reading Lady Chatterly"

    ...

    "As the judge remarks the day
    that he acquitted my Aunt Hortense,
    to be smut it must be ut-
    -terly without redeeming social importance ... "

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  • 162. At 6:30pm on 09 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    159. At 4:38pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:
    154. At 1:40pm on 09 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    C'mon now, you guys are getting too mean to LucyJ. I'm a little to blame here, too. Neither of you are American, but I am and I see that she represents a large part of this country. There are a few issues, like the "patriotism" thing, that are hard-wired, and the educational system here is not anything to write home about. (But we've all discussed that ad nauseum already.)
    The BBC board is not a place to get a lesson in history, civics, or anything else, but it would be good to point her in the direction where she can learn some of the basics instead of making fun of her.

    LucyJ: I'll say it to you straight. Intellectually speaking, you've wandered in over your head. You've got a high-school education and you're conversing with folks who have, perhaps, advanced degrees in Political Science or History. I'm not trying to talk down to you here. I have friends who have PhD's in Biochemistry and when they talk science around me, they might as well be speaking Greek.
    You don't have to go to college to become a more well-informed person. Just stay away from Glenn Beck's reading lists and start by reading some basic US and World History. I for one am impressed that you come here and post and read the articles. You have intellectual curiosity, and that puts you ahead of many, many people.

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  • 163. At 7:39pm on 09 Dec 2010, eugene57 wrote:

    The Obama administration is a pro at stating negatives as positives and positives as negatives. They are better propagandists than the Nazis were.

    For example, "We didn't lose 30,000 jobs, we saved 60,000 jobs." And now we hear, "Extending the tax cuts would add $7bn (£4.46bn) to the deficit." Have you ever heard such insanity? Now let me get this straight. By not stealing money from the American tax payers, that 'not' stolen money will ad to the deficit. Insane!!

    How about the Obama administration tries this out... "If the Obama administration stops spending money they do not have, Obama's administration will stop adding to the deficit."

    The Obama administration knows exactly what they are doing. They are purposely spending the US into debt, trying to destroy the US economy and stature in the world.

    Right from the start, the Democrats have been spending money they do not have, all the while, planning to collect it on the back end, by saying, "Oh my. Look how far the US is in debt. We poor innocent, irresponsible pliticians must now raise all of the taxes, if we are to circumvent the looming financial disaster. Lions, tigers, and bears!"

    American tax payers are NOT stupid. Lenient, but not stupid.

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  • 164. At 8:55pm on 09 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Is it possible that sanity may yet prevail?

    That Congress might trip, stumble, and bumble to the right answer?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10357567

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  • 165. At 9:22pm on 09 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    I see more downsides than upsides here. The Democrats will be seen as weak and divided. The unemployed are totally hosed and ready to point fingers. This is only good news if you are a Repub and you want Obama to go down in flames in 2012.
    It's like totally throwing the war just to win one battle.

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  • 166. At 9:23pm on 09 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    162. At 6:30pm on 09 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    159. At 4:38pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:
    154. At 1:40pm on 09 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "C'mon now, you guys are getting too mean to LucyJ. I'm a little to blame here, too."

    [[No, actually, I'm neither intending to be mean nor "too mean". It is time for a little light humour, though.]]

    "LucyJ: I'll say it to you straight. Intellectually speaking, you've wandered in over your head."

    [[Unique style, sure. You might say her style has distinctly non-linear, or non-Newtonian, aspects. Oddly reminiscent of Ali doing the rope-a-dope. (Lucy is far too young to remember that, though.) But we all have unique styles in one way or another. Over her head? On the whole, no, not so much.]]

    "You've got a high-school education and you're conversing with folks who have, perhaps, advanced degrees in Political Science or History."

    [[Who knows? Lots of historians, certainly.]]

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  • 167. At 9:24pm on 09 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    ```Riots In UKay
    Well now is the time to find out who are the real Revolutionaries.. babylon is burning.. with anxiety.. babylon is burning baby can't you see, babylon is burning with anxiety

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  • 168. At 9:32pm on 09 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    164 IF,

    "Is it possible that sanity may yet prevail?

    That Congress might trip, stumble, and bumble to the right answer?"

    You were a little vague on what the right answer is. Was it to allow for all the tax cuts to expire? If so, that is the wrong answer and will lead to more money being parked on the side line starting in the next two weeks when the economy needs that money for growth.

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  • 169. At 9:49pm on 09 Dec 2010, Jay wrote:

    @ eugene57 (#169). Dear, oh dear. Democrats did not NOT start that spending spree. It is Republican president George W Bush who started that with his stimulus plan first. If you like to go deeper, it is again the republicans who took US to this stage of sold-out corporate democracy. It ultimately lead to this financial collapse. Before Bush, US had a much better economy (thanks to previous Democrat admin).
    Now almost every eminent economists support the spending by govt to rescue the economy first. Fiscal deficit comes next in priority.
    When the republicans talk about spending cut they should talk about tax increase ( at least for the richest Americans) and more discipline to our financial sector and industries (e.g bank). But they do not do so.
    Probably democrates have done a good job by rejecting Obama formula to extend tax cut to wealthy Americans with unemployed people used as hostage by the republicans. Now US working class and unemployed people need to feel the heat and that heat will be transferred to the republicans and those rich peole in next 2 years? I hope so.

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  • 170. At 9:53pm on 09 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    166. At 9:23pm on 09 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    162. At 6:30pm on 09 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:
    "LucyJ: I'll say it to you straight. Intellectually speaking, you've wandered in over your head."
    [[Unique style, sure. You might say her style has distinctly non-linear, or non-Newtonian, aspects. Oddly reminiscent of Ali doing the rope-a-dope. (Lucy is far too young to remember that, though.) But we all have unique styles in one way or another. Over her head? On the whole, no, not so much.]]
    -------------------------------------------
    17. At 6:11pm on 06 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    "What about the Queen of England- shouldn't she hold power over GB and not EU?"

    'Nuff said. Basic knowledge of history, world governments, statistics, science etc.... is key. (Even if you just want to spin it like some other folks do.)

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  • 171. At 10:29pm on 09 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    169 Jay,

    "Probably democrates have done a good job by rejecting Obama formula to extend tax cut to wealthy Americans with unemployed people used as hostage by the republicans. Now US working class and unemployed people need to feel the heat and that heat will be transferred to the republicans and those rich peole in next 2 years? I hope so."

    Yes, I can see it now. In two years Democrats will reap the reward of sticking it to the unemployed and working class over a two year extension of the current tax code. Who is holding who hostage again?

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  • 172. At 11:25pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 162 DenverGuest wrote:

    “159. At 4:38pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:
    154. At 1:40pm on 09 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    “C'mon now, you guys are getting too mean to LucyJ. I'm a little to blame here, too. Neither of you are American, but I am and I see that she represents a large part of this country.”

    Sadly, I find that easy to believe. If you want to understand why Palin is adored by many, who look down on academics, scientists and experts as ‘elitist know-alls’ – look at Lucy.

    However, it isn’t her lack of knowledge that I mock but her blatant prejudice, quite untouchable by fact or evidence.

    I think it was Plato or Socrates or one of those Greek dudes who observed that the beginning of wisdom is to understand how little you know. You could fill several libraries and a multi storey car park with things I don't know. But I try not to pontificate on them – or at least accept my ignorance if I do make a comment. LJ talks nonsense – dangerous and vitriolic nonsense, such as Obama is trying to destroy the US to get revenge on whites for slavery – you challenge her, and she blithely moves on or changes the subject.

    “The BBC board is not a place to get a lesson in history, civics, or anything else, but it would be good to point her in the direction where she can learn some of the basics instead of making fun of her.”

    Problem is, it’s not just that she don't know – it’s that she really don't care that she don't know. She relies on her ‘gut’, and what her friends think. Anything that disturbs this is just evil ultraliberal gay African-American propaganda.

    “You have intellectual curiosity, and that puts you ahead of many, many people.”

    That's just the problem. She doesn’t.

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  • 173. At 11:28pm on 09 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #171

    "In two years Democrats will reap the reward of sticking it to the unemployed and working class over a two year extension of the current tax code."

    The unemployed got a 13 month benefit extension on top of the previous extensions already granted. If that constitutes "sticking it to the unemployed" then don't be too shocked if you hear them asking for "More!" :)

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  • 174. At 11:31pm on 09 Dec 2010, rtcon wrote:

    rodidog wrote:

    Yes, I can see it now. In two years Democrats will reap the reward of sticking it to the unemployed and working class over a two year extension of the current tax code. Who is holding who hostage again?

    ______________________________________________


    Easy the GOP is holding the unemployed, and the lower and middle classes hostage. Its nothing at all for them to actually do the right thing and at the very least extend the unemployment benefits and/or extend tax cuts to people who may actually need them. But instead they've chosen to hold that help hostage so that people who don't even need the cuts can sit on more resources.

    They're just counting on their base to forgive them anything because when voting time comes they'll toss out soundbites like: "Take America back!" or "Conservative values!" or maybe "Patrol our borders!" and the right wing base will come running believing everything they're told. Again. I don't really blame the GOP though this strategy has worked well for the last three decades.

    To be honest any tax cuts are irresponsible at the moment, BUT at least the tax cuts for lower and middle class will yield some benefit. Tax cuts for people who don't even need them during a time of financial crisis is just stupid. The unemployment benefits however are necessary and help the economy as that money will be instantly put back to work in the economy.

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  • 175. At 11:40pm on 09 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #167

    "Well now is the time to find out who are the real Revolutionaries..."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11954333


    Hehehe. I needed a laugh today and the British students delivered.



    Not only did they rain rightful vengeance and indignation upon those responsible for the tuition fee increases, Prince Charles, but they also exacted retribution from those who also were to blame for this affront to the dignity of the entitled. As follows:


    "* Setting the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square alight
    * Smashing windows at shops in Oxford Street
    * Vandalising statues in Parliament Square, including that of Winston Churchill
    * A sit-in by about 150 students at the National Gallery"


    Yay! :D Send the repair bills to the taxpayers and the insurance companies.

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  • 176. At 11:48pm on 09 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    Rebublicans win the fight in being Negative Obstructionists
    USA Loses :
    : sǝsol ɐsn
    sʇsıuoıʇɔnɹʇsqo ǝʌıʇɐƃǝu ƃuıǝq uı ʇɥƃıɟ ǝɥʇ uıʍ suɐɔılqnqǝɹ

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  • 177. At 11:54pm on 09 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #172


    "LJ talks nonsense – dangerous and vitriolic nonsense, such as Obama is trying to destroy the US to get revenge on whites for slavery..."


    Why do you consider it dangerous?

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  • 178. At 00:12am on 10 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Jay, (#169. At 9:49pm on 09 Dec 2010)

    "... Probably democrates have done a good job by rejecting Obama formula to extend tax cut to wealthy Americans with unemployed people used as hostage by the republicans ..."
    Quite right! It will be much better to raise the taxes for those who can least afford it than to let "the rich" also get tax breaks. Good thinking.

    "... Now US working class and unemployed people need to feel the heat and that heat will be transferred to the republicans and those rich peole in next 2 years? I hope so."
    There it is in black and white. You do think it appropriate to raise the taxes for two years for those who can least afford it so that they will vote the way you think they should. With apologies to John_From_Dublin, "Jay - as someone said to Joseph McCarthy - have you no shame? Have you no decency?" That's not quite right, but it's close enough.

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  • 179. At 00:14am on 10 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #174

    "Tax cuts for people who don't even need them during a time of financial crisis is just stupid. The unemployment benefits however are necessary and help the economy as that money will be instantly put back to work in the economy."

    Do you recall why the Democrats wanted to allow the tax cuts to expire? Something to do with the deficit, wasn't it? What do the extended benefits do to the deficit?


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  • 180. At 01:02am on 10 Dec 2010, McJakome wrote:

    165. At 9:22pm on 09 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:
    "I see more downsides than upsides here. The Democrats will be seen as weak and divided. The unemployed are totally hosed and ready to point fingers. This is only good news if you are a Repub and you want Obama to go down in flames in 2012.
    It's like totally throwing the war just to win one battle."

    I am experiencing a rebirth of depression and paranoia. I originally saw the last election as an obviously rigged scam.

    Think about it, a war hero and all-American soccer mom pitted against a young [ish] black man with a Muslim name whose runnungmate was a Washington insider with foot-in-mouth disease. I believed it was a set up and that the unexpected financial crisis threw a monkey wrench into the "plan" and got the intended loser elected.

    I had not voted for President Obama because I believed that he was too inexperienced and nuanced to be able to stand up to the Republicrats and win. Well, it seems I was half right, he won.

    What has he done with the win, however? He has failed to push through what he had the votes to do. He has failed to defend himself and his proposals from the cynical, deceitful and selfish propaganda of the FOX/GOP/TEA Party. He has failed to mobilize either his party members in congress or the voters who voted him into office to initiate change.

    So I am now contemplating the sour fact that it was, indeed, a set up, but the setters up were clever enough to have the intended fall guy be a secret member of the ruling elite. The Democratic Party is nothing less than a sham [not even a shadow] oposition. The same Fagins control them as control the GOP. Unfortunately, I now realize that things are not going to get better before they get a whole lot worse.

    When they have lost almost everything, the American people will experience a waking up and wising up, and the corporatists and their stooges will wish they had been less greedy, because it will be their turn to lose everything.

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  • 181. At 01:31am on 10 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Ah, conspiracy theories! Ya gotta love 'em!

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  • 182. At 02:16am on 10 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #180

    "I had not voted for President Obama because I believed that he was too inexperienced and nuanced to be able to stand up to the Republicrats and win."


    "He has failed to mobilize either his party members in congress or the voters who voted him into office to initiate change."



    You should feel vindicated in your initial evaluation of Obama then, rather than depressed. :)

    He hasn't failed to stand up to the "Republicrats", he has failed to stand up to the American voters who empowered the "Republicrats". Don't feel bad because Democracy worked, it leaves the impressions that you have a better alternative and that would be delusional :)

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  • 183. At 02:47am on 10 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    It has been another tough day for the President. The Democrats in the House of Representatives rejected the deal he struck with the Republican minority to cut taxes and extend unemployment benefits. The Democrats in the Senate failed to cut off debate on repealing DADT. Repealing DADT was a campaign promise he made.

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  • 184. At 03:27am on 10 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    170. At 9:53pm on 09 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    I don't know how to respond to you, but I have been watching this board for a fair length of time.

    Hard news junkies come here because it is really difficult to get a solid diet of hard news from any of the American news services, other than PBS and NPR, and they have miniscule budgets and audiences. This is the premier hard news service in the world.

    You may have noticed that some posters seem to have vast research libraries at their fingertips.

    Other posters hammer on at the same crude themes on very narrowly focused topics. If the blog ever came anywhere near one of those topics, a predictable barrage would commence. There was, and is, a distinctly Stalinist aspect to it. It was, for example, how this blog used to end up going down the Levantine rat-hole on string after string after string.

    There are some whose postings simply slavishly echo the talking points of political parties or lobby groups.

    There are posters who write genuinely interesting, thoughtful, postings on many subjects. They are contributing, as opposed to merely shouting.

    And then there's Lucy, whose postings are, in some ways, like no others here.

    ----------

    There's a book, by the way, called "Instruments of Darkness" by Alfred Price. You may like it.

    ----------

    172. At 11:25pm on 09 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin

    I don't disagree with what you say.

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  • 185. At 03:51am on 10 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    174. At 11:31pm on 09 Dec 2010, rtcon wrote:

    "They're just counting on their base to forgive them anything because when voting time comes they'll toss out soundbites like: "Take America back!" or "Conservative values!" or maybe "Patrol our borders!" and the right wing base will come running believing everything they're told. Again. I don't really blame the GOP though this strategy has worked well for the last three decades."

    [[In fact, ever since the religification of American politics by Ronald Reagan.]]

    "To be honest any tax cuts are irresponsible at the moment, BUT at least the tax cuts for lower and middle class will yield some benefit. Tax cuts for people who don't even need them during a time of financial crisis is just stupid."

    [[Yep.]]

    "The unemployment benefits however are necessary and help the economy as that money will be instantly put back to work in the economy."

    [[Agree that unemployment benefits are necessary. Not sure that I agree that the money is effective in stimulating the economy. I think it merely stops things from getting even worse.

    [[I have come to think that cash transfers to individuals are a very poor way to stimulate the economy. What they do is stimulate consumer spending on non-essentials, which, roughly a third of the time, means manufactured goods from China. They do not seem to stimulate expenditures on plant and equipment very effectively. So all this money is being spent, and it isn't creating very many jobs. (There was an article on this in the Globe last Saturday(?), too).

    That's why it would be far better to use that money to build long-lived public infrastructure assets in America, now.

    I see in the news that "High Speed Rail" is going to get the chop. I am not a fan of "High Speed Rail". I am a fan of ordinary speed rail.

    To my mind paying people to do nothing is just plain dumb, when you could just as easily pay a lot of the same people to do something that would leave public assets in place at the end of the day.

    It makes far more sense to pay workers to build, upgrade, or repair rail lines, roads, bridges, tunnels and so on, than to send the same money to people who are merely collecting income support cheques that are delivered to their mailbox. It is the same public expenditure, why not at least leave a public asset so that there is something to show for that expenditure at the end of the day? Right now, all the public is getting in return is debt.

    Japan played this public expenditure game for 15 years, and found itself no better off, just deeper in debt.

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  • 186. At 04:15am on 10 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    174 rtcon,

    "Easy the GOP is holding the unemployed, and the lower and middle classes hostage. Its nothing at all for them to actually do the right thing and at the very least extend the unemployment benefits and/or extend tax cuts to people who may actually need them. But instead they've chosen to hold that help hostage so that people who don't even need the cuts can sit on more resources."

    Republicans already agreed to extending unemployment benefits and the current tax code. If it fails to go through it will be because of democrats holding everyone hostage for their irrational need to prevent top income earners from keeping their current tax bracket, as is, for two more years.

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  • 187. At 04:33am on 10 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Regardless of whatever any people may think of personalities that they simply do not understand, there are gazillions of completely opposite personalities of people. I admit at times perhaps can be unhinged. But definitely rockin' it out the best way I know how. Which is forward, never straight. Perhaps once something's done, its done.
    Sometimes good things do happen...

    Just recently:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101210/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_gays_in_military

    An excerpt:
    Senate Republicans blocked a major year-end push by Democrats to lift the military's ban on openly gay troops on Thursday, dealing a huge blow to gay rights groups' hopes for repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" any time soon. President Barack Obama instantly appealed to lawmakers to make another, last-ditch try before going home for the year.

    ------------------------------------------------

    This is some of the best news I've heard in months!!! :)

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  • 188. At 04:40am on 10 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    If wrote: And then there's Lucy, whose postings are, in some ways, like no others here.
    --------------------Thanx, If. How very kind of you...

    --------------------------------------------------------------
    John wrote: Sadly, I find that easy to believe. If you want to understand why Palin is adored by many, who look down on academics, scientists and experts as ‘elitist know-alls’ – look at Lucy.
    ---------------------Oh, yes. Look at me. That must be why I voted Democrat my entire life until the last election in November, in which I voted for a Republican the first time ever. And I've got lots of votes left in me and lots of miles to drive.

    ----------------------------------------------
    Clarkson: Why do you consider it dangerous?
    ------------------------Because it scares them to hear what some people really think and they want to pretend its not real...

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  • 189. At 04:43am on 10 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    173. JClarkson,

    "The unemployed got a 13 month benefit extension on top of the previous extensions already granted. If that constitutes "sticking it to the unemployed" then don't be too shocked if you hear them asking for "More!" :)"

    I'm not sure that is accurate. My understanding is that, currently, there are no extended benefits for the unemployed beyond what they receive from their state. We had the unemployed who received 99 weeks of benefits, but those who more recently were unemployed have been cut off from extended benefits entirely. Those who have already received 99 weeks of benefits would not be getting new extensions on unemployment.

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  • 190. At 04:53am on 10 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    168. At 9:32pm on 09 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    "Is it possible that sanity may yet prevail?
    That Congress might trip, stumble, and bumble to the right answer?"

    "You were a little vague on what the right answer is."
    "Was it to allow for all the tax cuts to expire?" [[Maybe. Not sure]]

    "If so, that is the wrong answer and will lead to more money being parked on the side line starting in the next two weeks when the economy needs that money for growth." [[You might be right, but I don't believe this is necessarily true.]]

    ----------

    The thing that is so hard to figure out is if tax cuts (which, as we all know, are going to have to be paid for by borrowing) at this point would actually help the recovery or hinder the recovery. The assumption is that putting more money into the economy will stimulate it.

    But I am no longer sure that is what will happen.
    Keep in mind that Japan tried that for 15 years and got nowhere.

    I think that every dollar that the government pumps into the economy by borrowing, is offset by dollars that private citizens are taking out of the economy and putting on the sidelines.

    In fact, I believe that for the last two years private citizens have been taking quite a bit more money out of the economy than the government has been pumping in, hence the persistent fears of a "double dip" recession and deflation (which one blind, deaf, and dumb poster here doubted was happening).

    I believe this problem is going to continue so long as it appears that America lacks either (a) the ability; or (b) the political will, to do what is necessary to put the house in order.

    More than any other single thing, it appears to me that markets don't believe that America's government - and by this I mean the House, the Senate, and the President - have any clear idea of how to get the job done, or any clear ability or stomach for administering harsh medicine.

    I believe that if Congress voted, tomorrow, to cancel the tax cuts - and I mean all of them, not just the richest 2%, - voted to raise gas tax incrementally to an eventually significant amount (i.e., way more than $ 1, not 15 cents); and increased the age to collect social security to 68 as fast as possible, the markets would soar, and all that money would come off the sidelines.

    The markets are looking to see that an adult is in charge.
    They are looking for a signal that America's government is capable of being serious about solving America's financial problems.

    They are looking for evidence that there is someone with a steady hand at the helm.
    Someone who was ready to fire the air traffic controllers;
    Someone who was ready to stare down Arthur Scargill;
    Someone who was going to raise interest rates to 22% if that's what it took to squeeze inflationary expectations out of the market;
    Someone who "isn't for turning";
    etc., etc.

    That's what they don't see.
    That's why the money is sitting on the sidelines.

    Right now there is no evidence that anybody with a brain and a steady hand - and the will to run down anyone who gets in the way - is steering the ship.

    When they were evacuating Odessa, some well-to-do Whites tried to load the ships with their luxuries and furniture, including pianos.
    Peter Wrangel had it all thrown overboard or burned on the docks.
    By doing so, he imposed order where there had only been panic.
    That's what's needed here.

    When violent armed thugs from Skagway tried to cross the border into the Klondike, Sam Steele set planted an RCMP detachment at the top of the pass, set up Maxim guns, and made it amply clear he'd shoot down anyone who tried to cross without authorization. By doing so, he imposed law where there had been none.
    That's what's needed here.

    Instead, there are people who think that now is the time to borrow more money to extend tax cuts - including tax cuts for the wealthiest people: The American version of evacuating pianos from Odessa.

    There are people who think a 15 cent rise in gas tax is daring.

    There are people whose most extreme position on dealing with unfunded Social Security liabilities is to enact measures that won't take effect for 20 - 50 years.

    They think those measures are severe.

    It's insane.
    There is no evidence that an adult with a brain, or courage, is in charge in Congress.

    That's why companies don't want to commit to hiring people.

    With respect, that problem is a problem in Congress, not the White House. And voters just made that problem 60 seats worse in the House, and six seats worse in the Senate.

    ----------

    So, is ending all the tax cuts the right solution?
    Well, it might be, if it were done with purpose and resolution.
    Not sure it would have the same effect if it were to come about as a bumbling accident.

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  • 191. At 05:07am on 10 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    DenverGuest wrote: I'll say it to you straight. Intellectually speaking, you've wandered in over your head. You've got a high-school education and you're conversing with folks who have, perhaps, advanced degrees in Political Science or History. I'm not trying to talk down to you here. I have friends who have PhD's in Biochemistry and when they talk science around me, they might as well be speaking Greek.
    ----------------------

    So in your opinion, if someone don't have an 'advanced degree' that meets your qualifications, then that person shouldn't write on BBC?

    Interesting, your thoughts on how level of education


    ...should affect one's right to freedom of speech...


    And just what do ultraliberals consider 'advanced' these days?
    Would they consider a job that helps people to get better 'advanced'?


    Or do you think websites that sometimes have knowledge only should only be frequented by people with so-called 'advanced' educations?


    Is this not a feeble attempt to make fun of what is percieved to be 'lower class'?


    Is this just me or is this ultraliberalism in its finest shining moment of glory?

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  • 192. At 05:39am on 10 Dec 2010, rtcon wrote:

    rodidog wrote:

    Republicans already agreed to extending unemployment benefits and the current tax code. If it fails to go through it will be because of democrats holding everyone hostage for their irrational need to prevent top income earners from keeping their current tax bracket, as is, for two more years.

    ______________________________________________________

    So not wanting to needlessly raise the deficit is now irrational? Interesting. Not surprising but interesting. The bills have to be paid. The sooner we start working towards sanity the better it will be. What is irrational is the Republican need to hold everyone hostage just so extend tax cuts to people that don't need it when the nation is starving for revenue.

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  • 193. At 05:43am on 10 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #189


    It varies from state to state. The state pays the first 26 weeks. The 99 week cap remains but this extension renews eligibility within the extensions already granted. In other words, EB and EUC are re-opened to those who have already exhausted them.


    Here is a more detailed explanation.


    http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/26892.html



    Either way, it's more money for the unemployed, even if fewer unemployed may directly and immediately benefit from it.


    Far from sticking it to them, the Democrats have stuck it to the deficit, instead. I find it ironic that on one hand they argue for the expiration of the tax cut, ostensibly to "narrow the deficit" (as if that would create jobs) and yet have no qualms about widening the deficit (when confronted with resistance from the Republicans) TWICE as wide as before, with the unemployment extension; which again creates no jobs but at least recirculates some of that money back to the government, in the form of taxes. Of course, they are only recovering about 10 cents on every dollar they pay out but I guess they think it's worth it.

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  • 194. At 07:13am on 10 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    190 IF,

    "If so, that is the wrong answer and will lead to more money being parked on the side line starting in the next two weeks when the economy needs that money for growth." [[You might be right, but I don't believe this is necessarily true.]]

    If either one of us knew for certain we’d make a killing. But, I think its probable when you consider folks will divest and pay capital gains on this year’s tax rate instead of risking what might be the tax rate for next year.
    -------------

    “The thing that is so hard to figure out is if tax cuts (which, as we all know, are going to have to be paid for by borrowing) at this point would actually help the recovery or hinder the recovery. The assumption is that putting more money into the economy will stimulate it.”

    What we do know is that higher taxes dampen economic growth. It would initially give the government more revenue but would later actually decrease revenue due to shrinking economic activity.

    As for borrowing in order to pay for tax cuts; I have two thoughts on that. First, the government does not pay people to keep more of their own income. They are simply taking less money and can adjust the budget accordingly. Second, instead of borrowing to “pay” for tax cuts, just print more money. This has several advantages when an economy is fighting deflation. One, it puts more money into circulation, which is needed. Two, it puts more money into consumers hands, which they need. Three, you don’t owe anyone anything since you’re not borrowing. If we were fighting inflation the reverse would be true and we would need to take money out of circulation.
    --------------

    “I believe that if Congress voted, tomorrow, to cancel the tax cuts - and I mean all of them, not just the richest 2%, - voted to raise gas tax incrementally to an eventually significant amount (i.e., way more than $ 1, not 15 cents); and increased the age to collect social security to 68 as fast as possible, the markets would soar, and all that money would come off the sidelines.”

    I believe money is staying on the sidelines because of uncertainty in what congress and this administration will do about taxes and new regulations. When you’re uncertain about new rules and how they will affect your investment the tendency is to stay pat or look elsewhere for better opportunities.
    -------------

    “It's insane.
    There is no evidence that an adult with a brain, or courage, is in charge in Congress.

    That's why companies don't want to commit to hiring people.”

    I agree. But I would extend that to include the White House.

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  • 195. At 07:33am on 10 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    192 rtcon,

    "So not wanting to needlessly raise the deficit is now irrational? Interesting. Not surprising but interesting. The bills have to be paid."

    Oh, I agree with that. But where are you on all the other deficit spending? The last two years have seen dramatic increases in government spending. When do you decide the government needs to be weaned off the tax payer’s teat and start aligning their budgets with realistic revenue forecasts? Government always assumes revenue will increase so why stop spending more money?

    Personally, I admit to having two conflicting view points. One is that government needs to slash spending while keeping taxes low for everyone in order to get rid of deficit spending while increasing consumers and investors income and thus increase ecomonic activity. The second is that government needs to spend more money until we are out of this deflationary cycle and instead of borrowing the money they should simply print it. I might be going insane but I'm starting to believe its possible to both at the same time.

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  • 196. At 07:51am on 10 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    193 JClarkson,

    After reading your link, I believe that is essentialy what I had said earlier. Or at least attempted to say.

    I do find it intersting that deficit spending is okay on the one hand but not so much on the other. I suppose its in the eyes of the beholder. For me, I think unemployment benefits should be extended. Times are tough out there. I also think extending the tax cuts for everyone is the right thing to do. I also dislike spending money you don't have. But, in for a penny, in for a pound I guess.

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  • 197. At 08:14am on 10 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    This ridiculous soap opera finale to the aspirations of nations great and small.

    Superpowers carping about the injustice of leaked emails, but illegally developing programs to read yours and everyone else’s on a permanent basis for their own perceptions of security for their illegal protection of the status quo.

    If you see mine, can I see yours too, you Dirty Doctor?
    Sorry, no, that’s treason.

    Let me get this straight, now I’m paying you, to spy on me, to save me from the threat which you created, with the money I gave you, to protect me, from the very people you recruited.

    Lord come for your world. Their will is done.

    You could not make this up

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  • 198. At 08:40am on 10 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 191 LucyJ wrote:

    "Is this just me or is this ultraliberalism in its finest shining moment of glory?"

    It's just you.

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  • 199. At 09:20am on 10 Dec 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    Deal or No deal? Franken-Duck perhaps, Mark? No offence anyone - but that so called Dead Duck Senate/House of my earlier post. oops. You shouldn't be too hasty steelieboy!
    Who could forget Colin Clive's "It's Alive! It's Alive!" in that film Frankenstein? Well I did and never did Duck a l'orange seem so off the menu! No offence anyone. a l'orange I mean.
    I fear it will be dish of the day again soon though. Bully beef for me though.lol

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  • 200. At 10:43am on 10 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Dub Vendor, (#197. At 08:14am on 10 Dec 2010)

    ”... Superpowers carping about the injustice of leaked emails, but illegally developing programs to read yours and everyone else’s on a permanent basis for their own perceptions of security for their illegal protection of the status quo ...”
    You wouldn’t happen to have any evidence to corroborate your claims, would you? You claim that more than one superpower is illegally developing programs to read everyone’s mail, and you claim that this is done for the illegal protection of the status quo.

    Are you like some other posters here? Do you just post whatever you believe without any basis? Alternatively, will you be one of the posters here who base their theories on evidence?

    Show us why we should take you seriously, unlike the long posters without evidence.

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  • 201. At 11:05am on 10 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    rodidog, (#186. At 04:15am on 10 Dec 2010)

    "... Republicans already agreed to extending unemployment benefits and the current tax code ..."
    You're correct. That is what people mean by compromise, a settlement of differences by mutual concessions.

    "... If it fails to go through it will be because of democrats holding everyone hostage for their irrational need to prevent top income earners from keeping their current tax bracket, as is, for two more years. "
    What is amusing is that the President would not have had to have broken one of his campaign promises - raising taxes on high earners - if he had been able to secure the votes from the Democrats. Remember, the Congress voting on these measures has a Democrat majority. The Republicans will not take control of the House until January. Politics certainly makes for some strange bedfellows!

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  • 202. At 11:32am on 10 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    Chyses If You Are A Non-Believer You Will Have to Do Your Own Knowledge Search And Crypto Research http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram.html
    Freedom To Speak Out Loud. Think Outside Of The Colonial Box. Clinging The Colonial Mentality Is Nothing More Than European Invented Identities That Were Created Solely For The Benefit Of Europe/America. If you were far-sighted you would see that this is the only thing left for us to do if the future generations are to be saved from a fate where prostitution is the main vocation.

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  • 203. At 11:55am on 10 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Dub Vendor, (#202. At 11:32am on 10 Dec 2010)

    "... Chyses If You Are A Non-Believer You Will Have to Do Your Own Knowledge Search And Crypto Research http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram.html ..."
    If you don't mind me asking, in what sense is the above a semantically meaningful statement?

    "... Freedom To Speak Out Loud. Think Outside Of The Colonial Box. Clinging The Colonial Mentality Is Nothing More Than European Invented Identities That Were Created Solely For The Benefit Of Europe/America ..."
    Other than for the sake of posting something, whatever possessed you to post the above?

    "... If you were far-sighted you would see that this is the only thing left for us to do if the future generations are to be saved from a fate where prostitution is the main vocation."
    Yes, yes. If you say so. I'm confident that in your heart you know you are very right.

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  • 204. At 1:32pm on 10 Dec 2010, Iapetus wrote:

    Re: 191.

    Oh ,for goodnes sake Lucy.

    "So in your opinion, if someone don't have an 'advanced degree' that meets your qualifications, then that person shouldn't write on BBC?

    Interesting, your thoughts on how level of education...should affect one's right to freedom of speech..."

    That's not what he said at all.

    He specifically said "You don't have to go to college to become a more well-informed person. Just stay away from Glenn Beck's reading lists and start by reading some basic US and World History."

    Not only that, he immediately followed it with "I for one am impressed that you come here and post and read the articles. You have intellectual curiosity, and that puts you ahead of many, many people."

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  • 205. At 2:07pm on 10 Dec 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    194. At 07:13am on 10 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    "What we do know is that higher taxes dampen economic growth. It would initially give the government more revenue but would later actually decrease revenue due to shrinking economic activity."

    [[Usually, I would agree with this, but right now, I don't know.

    The reason that taxes generally dampen economic growth is that they tend to force the economy to contract. They tend to result in less than optimal deployment of resources in the marketplace. In a vigorously expanding economy, I'm sure that's still true. But this isn't a vigorously expanding economy. It's a stagnant and skittish economy. Private citizens are causing the economy to contract by themselves by stuffing money under the mattress. Ironically, by taxing some of that money out from under the bed, and deploying it in the economy, the government might, for once, drive economic activity rather than hamper it.

    I.e., right now cutting taxes to spur private sector economic activity is like pushing on a rope. No amount of pushing is going to solve the basic problem that people aren't investing because there is too much uncertainty.]]


    "As for borrowing in order to pay for tax cuts; I have two thoughts on that. First, the government does not pay people to keep more of their own income. They are simply taking less money and can adjust the budget accordingly. Second, instead of borrowing to “pay” for tax cuts, just print more money. This has several advantages when an economy is fighting deflation. One, it puts more money into circulation, which is needed. Two, it puts more money into consumers hands, which they need. Three, you don’t owe anyone anything since you’re not borrowing. If we were fighting inflation the reverse would be true and we would need to take money out of circulation.

    [[I agree with this, in a lot of ways, as a short term measure.

    There are, however big problems with it in the long term.]]

    [[The biggest problem is that the reason the Fed would be driven to doing that is because it is the default solution, chosen only because it can be done without having to mollify, bribe, cajole, or kow-tow to every special interest entrenched in Congress.

    I.e., at the elected level, the government is unable to formulate and enact credible economic policy. So it's just another big, flashing red neon light telling everybody that America's elected institutions are non-functioning.

    The long term problem is that, institutionally, America's government seems unable meaningfully to confront major challenges America faces, either domestically or in foreign affairs.

    Why?

    In my view it is because America has allowed the institutions of its democracy to be undermined.

    They have been undermined by unlimited campaign spending.
    They have been undermined by elimination of the fairness doctrine in broadcasting.
    They have been undermined by the damage that the "culture wars" have done to the Supreme Court.
    They have been undermined by an inability systematically to address the problem of Gerrymandering.
    They have been undermined by the Senate filibuster rules.
    They have been undermined by both the corporatization and the religification of politics.

    Here's two questions:

    1) How is it possible that when the Bush II presidency ended - unquestionably the worst US government in my lifetime, and one of the two or three worst in all of US history - the subsequently elected government lacked the legislative ability to enact its program?

    2) How is it that two years later the very same groups who were behind, and supported to the hilt, that same, disastrous administration, can be back in charge in the House, the only difference being a cosmetic change of name and a change of figurehead/sock puppet?


    --------------


    "I believe money is staying on the sidelines because of uncertainty in what congress and this administration will do about taxes and new regulations. When you’re uncertain about new rules and how they will affect your investment the tendency is to stay pat or look elsewhere for better opportunities."

    [[I agree with this, but I think the problem is much bigger than temporary uncertainty about tax rules.]]



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  • 206. At 2:49pm on 10 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Iapetus wrote: reply...

    "So in your opinion, if someone don't have an 'advanced degree' that meets your qualifications, then that person shouldn't write on BBC?

    Interesting, your thoughts on how level of education...should affect one's right to freedom of speech..."

    That's not what he said at all.

    He specifically said "You don't have to go to college to become a more well-informed person. Just stay away from Glenn Beck's reading lists and start by reading some basic US and World History."

    Not only that, he immediately followed it with "I for one am impressed that you come here and post and read the articles. You have intellectual curiosity, and that puts you ahead of many, many people."
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Iapetus, did you not read the entire comment?

    He or she also said:
    DenverGuest wrote: I'll say it to you straight. Intellectually speaking, you've wandered in over your head. You've got a high-school education and you're conversing with folks who have, perhaps, advanced degrees in Political Science or History. I'm not trying to talk down to you here. I have friends who have PhD's in Biochemistry and when they talk science around me, they might as well be speaking Greek.
    -------------------------------------------------------

    To me, he or she is trying to tell me I shouldn't write here because I do not have an 'advanced enough degree'...

    What is bullying?

    Intimidation...

    Is freedom of speech not applied to everyone equally, regardless of educational levels?

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  • 207. At 4:36pm on 10 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    This weeks No 1
    Julian Assange*

    (*)Victim of a honeytrap plot?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1336291/Wikileaks-Julian-Assanges-2-night-stands-spark-worldwide-hunt.html

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  • 208. At 5:24pm on 10 Dec 2010, JClarkson wrote:

    #207


    "Victim of a honeytrap plot?"


    Of course. The best way to lure Assange into a rape charge is to throw a radical thirtysomething year old "radical feminist" in his bed...:)

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  • 209. At 5:27pm on 10 Dec 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    191. At 05:07am on 10 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    So in your opinion, if someone don't have an 'advanced degree' that meets your qualifications, then that person shouldn't write on BBC?
    Interesting, your thoughts on how level of education ...should affect one's right to freedom of speech...
    --------------------------------------------
    You don't understand the issue of "freedom of speech". If the FBI broke into your house and took your computer because you were posting on the BBC, THAT would be a "freedom of speech" issue. Disagreeing with your viewpoint or pointing out that you sometimes display a lack of basic knowledge about an issue is in no way infringing upon your freedom to express yourself as you please.
    More importantly, I did not write that you 'should not' express yourself here. What I was getting at was that you are not going to be taken very seriously by the other posters if you display a lack of basic knowledge about an issue when you post about it. Remember, this was a respone I wrote when some other posters were poking fun at you.


    And just what do ultraliberals consider 'advanced' these days?
    Would they consider a job that helps people to get better 'advanced'?
    ------------------------------
    I know that you are some sort of travelling health care aide. That's great. I applaud you and it has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion at hand.


    Or do you think websites that sometimes have knowledge only should only be frequented by people with so-called 'advanced' educations?
    -------------------------------
    I recall that in my post I applauded you for coming here and reading and posting. IMO, EVERYBODY should seek to better themselves through education. I know that's why I come here. It does not matter at all how educated one happens to be at the outset. I just suggested that this is not the right place for a person to get the basics.


    Is this not a feeble attempt to make fun of what is percieved to be 'lower class'?
    ------------------------------
    Actually, this was a response to some other posters making fun of you.


    Is this just me or is this ultraliberalism in its finest shining moment of glory?
    -------------------------------------
    No. This is common sense. If I went on a board where they discussed
    Cricket and tried to put in my two cents I would be made fun of because I have not even a rudimentary knowledge of how the game is played. Same idea.
    The only reason why I posted what I did was because you (sometimes) seem like you genuinely want to learn about what is going on in the world. When you do, what you learn will challenge some of your strongly-held beliefs about things like 'ultraliberalism' and 'patriotism'. But first you have to get that chip off your shoulder..........

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  • 210. At 7:29pm on 10 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    201 Chryses,

    "You're correct. That is what people mean by compromise, a settlement of differences by mutual concessions."

    That's right. It's called give and take. If democrats did not wish to give on the issue they should have settelrd it when they had the power to do what they wanted.

    "What is amusing is that the President would not have had to have broken one of his campaign promises - raising taxes on high earners - if he had been able to secure the votes from the Democrats. Remember, the Congress voting on these measures has a Democrat majority. The Republicans will not take control of the House until January. Politics certainly makes for some strange bedfellows!"

    Democrats had an agenda and spent their time and political capital on issues that, IMO, were mostly secondary to what most people wanted. They could have changed the tax policy over a year ago and most likely would have garnered some moderate republican votes. Now they are forced to compromise or explain why they allowed the bottom income bracket to see a 50% raise in their taxes.

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  • 211. At 10:00pm on 10 Dec 2010, rtcon wrote:

    "rodidog wrote:

    Oh, I agree with that. But where are you on all the other deficit spending? The last two years have seen dramatic increases in government spending. When do you decide the government needs to be weaned off the tax payer’s teat and start aligning their budgets with realistic revenue forecasts? Government always assumes revenue will increase so why stop spending more money?"

    ______________________________

    Well the government will never be weaned from the tax payer because taxes are a constant and foundational part of government revenue. Pretty much always has been. That said there are times when taxes can be eased, and times when it's foolish to do so. At this point the absurd spending that our nation has indulged in especially starting at the Reagan administration forward has put the US into a situation where soft measure just aren't going to cut it. Taxes must be levied.

    Income taxes are not the only source though. Tariffs on goods from US companies manufactured overseas would be good as well. Forcing US businessmen to keep their accounts in US banks is another good idea. On the same hand we can offer tax cuts to companies who open facilities in US and hire domestic workers and/or provide good benefits packages. If the individual is putting his/her money to work in the US providing jobs and benefits for workers then I have no problem at all with helping that employer out. Nothing at all wrong with making money. But when individuals take advantage of the system that allows them to make that money and then try to avoid their civic responsibilities in supporting that system I lose all sympathy.

    Obviously the best form of revenue is for US citizens to be working. The problem we have now is the GOP wants to throw away revenue while saying we need to make unspecified "cuts in spending" but don't really seem at all interested in job creation. Oh they say the words but haven't really proposed anything new, and they won't. Their base is happy with the current trends. And history has shown that their voting block will keep hiring them regardless of what they do or don't do.

    Cuts in spending must come as well. The US no longer has the resources for an imperial military. We've spent like a drunken teenage girl with her daddy's credit card but daddy just got the bill and we're busted. No outside enemy did this to us. We did it to ourselves just like great civilizations before us we have over extended ourselves. We need to close foreign bases, bring our boys home, and stop spending for new tech (temporarily). I do mean temporarily by the way. The US as a whole benefits in many ways from the research that develops new weapons. Humanity is never so creative as when they're trying to figure out how to blow things up. Its not the most elegant method of research to be sure, but practically speaking it helps to drive science.

    And while social services must by necessity keep the priority in spending even those likely will have to take a hit too. Or even better be reorganized to be more efficient but more than likely they'll just have to take the hit (if we cut back on defense conservatives will be in no mood). We'll need to make sure people aren't being kicked out to the street, and are able to eat, and see the doctor. But other than those necessities everything else will probably be up for review. A single payer health system would save us money as well but the public has been so bombarded with propaganda on that subject that it will likely be another generation before the fear subsides enough for that to be brought back up.

    Its tough times ahead. But if we learn the right lessons from all of this then we can rebuild and be better than before.

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  • 212. At 10:11pm on 10 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    205 IF,

    “The reason that taxes generally dampen economic growth is that they tend to force the economy to contract. They tend to result in less than optimal deployment of resources in the marketplace. In a vigorously expanding economy, I'm sure that's still true. But this isn't a vigorously expanding economy. It's a stagnant and skittish economy. Private citizens are causing the economy to contract by themselves by stuffing money under the mattress. Ironically, by taxing some of that money out from under the bed, and deploying it in the economy, the government might, for once, drive economic activity rather than hamper it.”

    You’re correct in that people are hording their money. They are also paying down debt and cutting expenses. When you can’t print money it’s the smart thing to do on a limited budget. Government does not have this problem because they can print money. If government chooses higher taxation during a down turn, that will only make things worse since people will have even less discretionary income for spending.
    -------

    "I.e., right now cutting taxes to spur private sector economic activity is like pushing on a rope. No amount of pushing is going to solve the basic problem that people aren't investing because there is too much uncertainty.]]"

    That’s why Keynesian economics calls for government spending in order to “prime” the pump of economic activity. The problem is that government is not spending their money correctly while at the same time sowing uncertainty by calling for higher taxes and more regulations.
    -------


    “[[The biggest problem is that the reason the Fed would be driven to doing that is because it is the default solution, chosen only because it can be done without having to mollify, bribe, cajole, or kow-tow to every special interest entrenched in Congress.”

    “I.e., at the elected level, the government is unable to formulate and enact credible economic policy. So it's just another big, flashing red neon light telling everybody that America's elected institutions are non-functioning.”

    I certainly agree with your premise that government is not functioning correctly. My view is that we are spending money we do not have and need to align our budget with more realistic revenue projections rather than searching for new ways to wring money out of the economy through ever increasing taxes.
    -------

    “In my view it is because America has allowed the institutions of its democracy to be undermined.

    They have been undermined by unlimited campaign spending.
    They have been undermined by elimination of the fairness doctrine in broadcasting.
    They have been undermined by the damage that the "culture wars" have done to the Supreme Court.
    They have been undermined by an inability systematically to address the problem of Gerrymandering.
    They have been undermined by the Senate filibuster rules.
    They have been undermined by both the corporatization and the religification of politics.”

    I disagree with all of the above. Essentially, the problem is that we have different special interest groups that are at odds with each other philosophically or that are meaningful interests that are hard to deny would benefit society. These special interest are really groups of Americans petitioning their government for action. The problem is not that these groups petition the government but that government has become incapable of prioritizing between what is its primary function and what are secondary considerations once those primary functions have been financed appropriately. IMO, everything has become a sacred cow and the only answer for a bloated government is to continue eating or upset those special interest groups. We need, as you mentioned somewhere else, a group of adults willing and able to just say no.
    ---------

    Here's two questions:

    “1) How is it possible that when the Bush II presidency ended - unquestionably the worst US government in my lifetime, and one of the two or three worst in all of US history - the subsequently elected government lacked the legislative ability to enact its program?”

    I disagree that Bush II was the worse President in our life time. First you have Carter and running for the first place position is Obama. They are not the worse because of a lack of intelligence; they are the worse because of a lack of effective leadership.

    The second part of your question is the more interesting one. I’m sure the future holds many books on what went wrong for democrats. IMO, it goes back to a lack of leadership. Obama allowed democrats on the hill to drive his agenda rather than the other way around. He allowed himself to get caught up in the petty politics of congressional wrangling rather than staying above it and bringing both sides to the table. I believe this was done because they had a super majority and had no need of republican support and thought they could score political points while doing, legislatively, anything they wanted. Remember, they had a filibuster proof senate and a huge majority in the house. Republicans were helpless to stop democrats from achieving whatever they wanted. In the end, it was democrats that shot themselves in the foot by focusing on an agenda they wanted rather than one the people wanted. Or perhaps it was their inability to unite their own party. Either way they failed in the eyes of voters and republicans were given a second chance.

    “2) How is it that two years later the very same groups who were behind, and supported to the hilt, that same, disastrous administration, can be back in charge in the House, the only difference being a cosmetic change of name and a change of figurehead/sock puppet?”

    Because the Bush administration actually governed with slim majorities and had support from both parties on many issues, even those you consider disastrous. Also, the republicans were left out of the legislative decisions democrats made and were thus immune to the ill feelings voters had towards the government’s response to our economic problems. Finally, they were proven right that the democrat’s efforts in improving the economy were wrong. They now have two years to be seen as more effective.


    --------------


    [[I agree with this, but I think the problem is much bigger than temporary uncertainty about tax rules.]]

    I agree. But both tax rules and new regulations which dampen economic activity are certainly part of the reason for money remaining on the side line.

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  • 213. At 10:41pm on 10 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 206 Lucy J

    “What is bullying?

    Intimidation...

    Is freedom of speech not applied to everyone equally, regardless of educational levels?”

    If you don't know what bullying and intimidation are, I suggest you acquire a dictionary, or even use an online one.

    Of course, what you really mean is not that you want a definition of these words. What you mean is that you are implying – without having the nerve to come straight out and allege it - that DenverGuest’s postings to you constitute bullying and intimidation. They do not.

    She’s also not stopping you posting – she cannot – so freedom of speech doesn’t enter into it.

    DenverGuest, as she has pointed out, did not say that only graduates should post – merely that it would be advisable for posters not to pontificate on subjects they know nothing about.

    I don't necessarily think that lack of knowledge is your problem – or at least not your only one. I am reminded of GWB – a number of people said of him that he wasn't dumb so much as intellectually incurious. This meant that he had little interest in hearing opposing points of view. In particular, once he had made a decision – based on his ‘gut instinct’ – he would allow no questioning of it. Similarly, it is clear that you find the ‘facts’ to match your beliefs, rather than the other way round, and just ignore any you do not like. .

    I also suspect that part of what DG was saying was that old observation, ‘better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove any possible doubt’...

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  • 214. At 11:00pm on 10 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    211 rtcon,

    “Well the government will never be weaned from the tax payer because taxes are a constant and foundational part of government revenue. Pretty much always has been. That said there are times when taxes can be eased, and times when it's foolish to do so. At this point the absurd spending that our nation has indulged in especially starting at the Reagan administration forward has put the US into a situation where soft measure just aren't going to cut it. Taxes must be levied.”

    Perhaps I chose poorly in using the word weaned. I did not mean to imply that taxes would be abolished, merely that you can only increase taxes so much to account for budget short falls. Eventually, you need to make choices and live within a tax structure that balances the needs of government while not unduly driving down economic activity. Right now, most people believe they are taxed enough.
    ------

    “Income taxes are not the only source though. Tariffs on goods from US companies manufactured overseas would be good as well. Forcing US businessmen to keep their accounts in US banks is another good idea. On the same hand we can offer tax cuts to companies who open facilities in US and hire domestic workers and/or provide good benefits packages. If the individual is putting his/her money to work in the US providing jobs and benefits for workers then I have no problem at all with helping that employer out. Nothing at all wrong with making money. But when individuals take advantage of the system that allows them to make that money and then try to avoid their civic responsibilities in supporting that system I lose all sympathy.”

    First off, certain goods can no longer be made in this country because of labour costs. Until Americans decide to pay more for those goods they will continue to be made overseas. If you add on tariffs to US companies manufacturing overseas those goods will cost more at the store; which means those companies would have less sales to tax here or would relocate all together which would lead to less revenue to the government. You can’t force a person or business to use US banks. If you did, other countries might respond accordingly and US banks could lose international business. We already offer incentives to businesses. I’m not sure what you mean in your last sentence when you say people are avoiding “their civic responsibility”.
    -------

    “Obviously the best form of revenue is for US citizens to be working. The problem we have now is the GOP wants to throw away revenue while saying we need to make unspecified "cuts in spending" but don't really seem at all interested in job creation. Oh they say the words but haven't really proposed anything new, and they won't. Their base is happy with the current trends. And history has shown that their voting block will keep hiring them regardless of what they do or don't do.”

    I agree with your first point completely. In regards to the GOP, they do not believe extending the tax cuts is throwing away revenue. They see it as providing investors and small businesses with more money to increase economic out-put and thus create additional employment, which leads to more government revenue. Conversely, the GOP believes not extending those tax cuts would lead to less economic activity. They have also suggested rolling back the government budget to 2007 or 2008 levels. That seems pretty specific to me.
    --------

    “Cuts in spending must come as well. The US no longer has the resources for an imperial military. “

    I agree that cuts in military spending should be on the table. We can and should close bases that are no longer vital to our national interests or projection of power. We can also save money on more effective technology that reduced personnel requirements. I do not agree that those cuts should include R&D in new technologies.
    ------

    “And while social services must by necessity keep the priority in spending even those likely will have to take a hit too.”

    Every line item in the budget, accept for R&D, needs to take a “hit” and be rolled back.

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  • 215. At 00:25am on 11 Dec 2010, rtcon wrote:

    rodidog wrote:

    "Perhaps I chose poorly in using the word weaned. I did not mean to imply that taxes would be abolished, merely that you can only increase taxes so much to account for budget short falls. Eventually, you need to make choices and live within a tax structure that balances the needs of government while not unduly driving down economic activity. Right now, most people believe they are taxed enough."


    Everyone believes they are taxed to much. If taxes were 1% of income the majority will feel it was excessive. No one likes giving up money. In reality the US has very reasonable taxes, even without the Bush Tax Cuts.
    ___________________________________________


    "First off, certain goods can no longer be made in this country because of labour costs. Until Americans decide to pay more for those goods they will continue to be made overseas. If you add on tariffs to US companies manufacturing overseas those goods will cost more at the store; which means those companies would have less sales to tax here or would relocate all together which would lead to less revenue to the government. You can’t force a person or business to use US banks. If you did, other countries might respond accordingly and US banks could lose international business. We already offer incentives to businesses. I’m not sure what you mean in your last sentence when you say people are avoiding “their civic responsibility”."


    Actually yes items can still be manufactured in the US for reasonable prices. What is impossible now is for items to be priced reasonably and the share holders and executives to make the same level of profit at least per unit. They'll still get rich if they make desirable goods but just not to the same extent. If taxes are applied they'll lower they're prices and dip into their profits or they'll lose their profits all together. Some may take that path, but there will be others who will enthusiastically replace them. Which might be a good thing. Taxes used to be MUCH higher than they are now, and it didn't stop the rich from making money.

    Its true other country's might respond in kind. But if we continue with economic principles that we've embraced since the 80's we're going to be a third world nation and I'm not sure that will be good for outside investments either. Right now if US industry is not forced to invest in the US there will be no other option for US workers than to continually downgrade their economic status until we're a nation of ghettos. The only leverage that a worker has is to accept less pay. I've yet to hear a conservative come up with a plan that doesn't leave that eventuality ever looming before us.

    By civic responsibility I mean not dodging taxes with off shore accounts, investing in their own nation which has provided them with the opportunities that they were lucky enough to have. In stead of finding every possible way to screw over everyone else, maybe it would be good for them to appreciate what they have, and return some of it to the society that nurtured them.

    _____________________________________

    "I agree with your first point completely. In regards to the GOP, they do not believe extending the tax cuts is throwing away revenue. They see it as providing investors and small businesses with more money to increase economic out-put and thus create additional employment, which leads to more government revenue. Conversely, the GOP believes not extending those tax cuts would lead to less economic activity. They have also suggested rolling back the government budget to 2007 or 2008 levels. That seems pretty specific to me."


    I'd say the GOP knows very well that its throwing away revenue. Its just not throwing away their own or their investor's revenue. Small business already get many incentives and tax breaks. Both parties support that. However tax breaks for the top 2% has never encouraged job creation. Demand creates jobs. Demand is created when the lower class and the middle class have money in pocket. As these classes spend most of their income for survival. My honest opinion is that the GOP is satisfied with things as they are. Their base is doing very well. The suggestion of going back to the 2007/2008 budgets is kind of an indicator of that. Two very bad budgets that continue the status quo. Its clever really. Take two spend happy budgets and yet look like you're "trimming things down".

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  • 216. At 02:35am on 11 Dec 2010, Jay wrote:

    I listened Obama's speech defending his decision to keep Bush tax cut for rich Amerasians in exchange of extension of unemployment benefit. I liked his reasons in NPR (listen in NPR- http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=131944348&m=131945605) (although I am very against that tax cut for rich).
    I hope it is not a stage managed political drama to show that some of dems are so against the Obama compromise, yet they accepted it (probably they will)! Or am I thinking too .....?

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  • 217. At 02:48am on 11 Dec 2010, Jay wrote:

    According to the NPR interview this morning with Morning Edition host Steve Inkseep, President Obama reflected this point of view, agreeing that the tax cuts for the wealthy will not create one single job (www.npr.org/2010/12/10/131944348/obama-confident-congress-will-pass-tax-dea). Is there anyone who can give me any alternative view, as advertised by many republicans or other supporters of tax cut for rich that prove otherwise (from a reputed source)?

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  • 218. At 02:57am on 11 Dec 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    It was a delight to see former president Clinton in front of the presidential seal, in his element, fielding questions from the press while Obama did a quick stage left out the back door. It was like hearing the father speak in place of the teenage son. Don't get me wrong. We love our president but there's something mesmerizing about Clinton that excites the American people. His voice is soothing and his presence is dominating in such a way that it relaxes the American people. With him they believe that there will be better, brighter days to come, hopefully!

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  • 219. At 05:58am on 11 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    215 rtcon,

    “If taxes are applied they'll lower their prices and dip into their profits or they'll lose their profits all together. Some may take that path, but there will be others who will enthusiastically replace them. Which might be a good thing. Taxes used to be MUCH higher than they are now, and it didn't stop the rich from making money.”

    When taxes are applied to goods and services they’re passed on to the consumer. They’re not eaten by the business which is taxed. If you want a great example of this simply review your cable bill.
    People with money always make money unless they’re careless with their behaviour or investments. They will not risk their money on new ventures with the potential of slim margins due to over regulation and taxation. It’s simply not worth the effort.

    “Its true other country's might respond in kind. But if we continue with economic principles that we've embraced since the 80's we're going to be a third world nation and I'm not sure that will be good for outside investments either. Right now if US industry is not forced to invest in the US there will be no other option for US workers than to continually downgrade their economic status until we're a nation of ghettos. The only leverage that a worker has is to accept less pay. I've yet to hear a conservative come up with a plan that doesn't leave that eventuality ever looming before us.”

    Contrary to some opinions, the US is not on the verge of becoming a third world nation either now or any time soon. The US economy has doubled since the 1980’s and no single nation is anywhere near the US GDP. The US is by far the largest importer and exporter in the world and is the final destination for a significant portion of the world’s goods. We have vast resources and the most capable military on the planet. When you add all that together with our rules on contract law you begin to understand why the US is the reserve currency of the world and the place to park your money in times of crisis. If you want a true reading on what international investors think of the US, simply review were the Federal Reserve accepted forging currency in exchange for trillions of dollars during this recession back in 2008 while at the same time providing trillions in loans at the discount window to every bank and corporation that was eligible to receive them. The Fed made billions in profit at the time all that money went back into the US Treasury.
    ------

    “By civic responsibility I mean not dodging taxes with off shore accounts, investing in their own nation which has provided them with the opportunities that they were lucky enough to have. In stead of finding every possible way to screw over everyone else, maybe it would be good for them to appreciate what they have, and return some of it to the society that nurtured them.”

    There are laws against dodging your taxes, just ask Wesley Snipes. Of course, had Obama made him the Treasury Secretary perhaps he could have avoided jail. Or he could have become a Federal employee. I seem to recall reading an article where Federal employees are dodging their taxes. Seriously though, corporations do invest in the US and pay 24% in corporate taxes while providing jobs that also add to government revenue. Many corporations also give to charities and help with local reinvestment initiatives. While there are some bad apples in the bunch we should try not to generalize.
    ------

    “I'd say the GOP knows very well that its throwing away revenue. Its just not throwing away their own or their investor's revenue. Small business already get many incentives and tax breaks. Both parties support that. However tax breaks for the top 2% has never encouraged job creation. Demand creates jobs. Demand is created when the lower class and the middle class have money in pocket.”

    Well, I just explained why the GOP disagrees with your notion. Apparently, it slid right off your back. I’ll leave it at that. Although, I am curious to know whose revenue you believe is being thrown away since, according to you, it’s not the GOP’s or their investors?

    Where have you learned that the top 2% has never encouraged job creation? It’s totally ridiculous. Even if those folks did nothing but buy big houses, boats, and fancy cars they have encouraged job creation. In reality, it’s the top 2% that pays 50% of all income taxes and provides capital to business ventures and charitable organizations.
    --------

    “My honest opinion is that the GOP is satisfied with things as they are. Their base is doing very well. The suggestion of going back to the 2007/2008 budgets is kind of an indicator of that. Two very bad budgets that continue the status quo. Its clever really. Take two spend happy budgets and yet look like you're "trimming things down".

    Those two budgets were smaller than the one we have now (wait one, did congress ever adopt a budget this year?) so it would not just look like a trimming, it actually would be. But I agree, let’s go even further back in time to find a good budget year to use as a model. Do you have a particular year in mind?

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  • 220. At 06:06am on 11 Dec 2010, rodidog wrote:

    217 Jay,

    "tax cuts for the wealthy will not create one single job"

    "Is there anyone who can give me any alternative view, as advertised by many republicans or other supporters of tax cut for rich that prove otherwise (from a reputed source)?"

    It's a throwaway line that is complexly ridiculous and untrue. Common sense should answer that question for you. People with money do not behave like scrooge; they spend it and invest it.

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  • 221. At 06:54am on 11 Dec 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Well, it seems one can reduce national debt and increase revenues by LOWERING taxes. :-)



    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/us/politics/10tax.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a2

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  • 222. At 11:27am on 11 Dec 2010, mgoulden wrote:

    #40 Charles Martel wrote:

    "If the rich are to truly help the poor they should give to charity. Charities have people committed to helping the poor and are willing to dedicate their lives towards helping people. This extends beyond financial aid and on to mentoring and developing skills, motivation and overcoming bad habits. This is much more effective at helping others overcome poverty."

    I don't like to criticize people's opinions, but I work for a charity - the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) - and I can say that the above comment is retarded. However, I will say your heart is in the right place, Charles Martel, so please don't take my negative response to your opinion as personal.

    My position in the CAB isn't paid for by a non-existent philanthropic billionaire, it's paid for by the government, and it gets the money to pay for it through taxes. If the rich truly want to help the poor, they should understand that government, when ran properly, is the best instrument for social justice and lifting people out of poverty. In short, in times of need, those with more should know they will be asked for more.

    As another poster above said, when someone finds themselves in debt, they have two options: cut spending or increase income, hopefully both. In terms of the government, that equates to public sector cuts and tax increases. It's harsh, but that's the cold, hard truth of the matter. You are not going to pay for a budget deficit of this magnitude through tax cuts. If I was advising someone on debt, I would never advise them to go to their employer and ask for drop in wages or hours. That's insane.

    Obviously there is no simple solution to this mess. Thanks to public sector cuts, I will lose my job in the new year. That's ok because I know I have the qualifications and experience on my CV to find another job. Meanwhile, the queue of people needing and seeking help outside the CAB every morning gets longer and longer. I can't help those people in that queue every morning if I'm not getting paid for it, and 99% of millionaires couldn't give a damn about those people or that queue.

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  • 223. At 2:44pm on 11 Dec 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    221 powermeerkat wrote:
    “Well, it seems one can reduce national debt and increase revenues by LOWERING taxes. :-)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/us/politics/10tax.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a2

    That seems to me to be a misreading, deliberate or otherwise.

    As far as I can see, ‘lowering taxes’ may increase revenues in 1 of 2 scenarios

    (a) If a tax rate is so high that lowering it leads to greater economic activity and/or less effort at evasion or avoidance. (It seems to me that the Reps and TP’s are of the view that , because this sometimes happens, it must always happen. Taken to its logical conclusion, it would mean massive tax revenues at a rate of 0%....)

    (b) If, as the article seems to propose, you simplify the tax system and “rid the code of its complex buildup of deductions, credits and exemptions, thereby broadening the base of taxes collected and allowing for lower rates — much like a bipartisan majority on Mr. Obama’s debt-reduction commission recommended last week in its final blueprint for reducing the debt through 2020.” Therefore your tax take will be higher even though the actual rates have been lowered. (You have the added bonus that, as the article says, you can “address warnings by American business that corporate tax rates and the costs of complying with the tax code are cutting into their global competitiveness.”)

    PMK implies that the article is about (a), when it is really about (b). That is to say, I doubt whether most people would believe that a government has lowered taxes if the net effect of its changes is that taxpayers pay more tax on the same income.

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  • 224. At 2:56pm on 11 Dec 2010, Jay wrote:

    @ Rodidog (#220).
    I do not think any logical sense will answer the question I raised. Tax break has nothing to do with automatic investment and/or job creation. It is well established that wealthy people do not always invest/spend the extra money they get (as tax break or otherwise). They show a higher tendency to invest/save that as compared to poor people (to some extent middle class as well).

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  • 225. At 2:56pm on 11 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    DenverGuest wrote: I know that you are some sort of travelling health care aide. That's great. I applaud you and it has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion at hand.
    -------------------------------------------
    Yes, somewhat. I am not a nurse, not a cna, not an aide, but I am someone who helps people get stronger and better. I also help decrease their pain and increase their mobility. Help older people maintain their independence as long as possible. For these reasons is why I have to stay very positive. A smile and understanding goes a long way. Thanx...
    -----------------------------------------
    DenverGuest wrote: I just suggested that this is not the right place for a person to get the basics.
    ---------------------------------------
    Maybe you're right. I just do not fit in well on this blog, because I'm not a historian and never put much effort into such. My education was more about the body, not about the world. Thats's why I came on this blog, to try to learn more, but also to defend America. Guess I didn't do a very good job. Just one of those awkward moment things, I guess.
    ----------------------------------------
    DG: Actually, this was a response to some other posters making fun of you.
    ----------------------------------------
    Well, then, let them make fun of me all they want to.
    That's life, right?
    -----------------------------------------
    DG: No. This is common sense. If I went on a board where they discussed
    Cricket and tried to put in my two cents I would be made fun of because I have not even a rudimentary knowledge of how the game is played. Same idea.
    ------------------------------------------
    Well, let's take this blog for example. Waddling toward a deal on tax cuts. In your opinion, what knowledge should an American have to comment on a British blog about their opinion of American tax cuts?

    I pay taxes every paycheck. So wouldn't I have some insight also, even if I do not have much knowledge of world?

    But why come to a British blog to talk about Americans' taxes? I don't know. I guess I just thought it was kinda fun and well, different. I have learned a lot about Europeans and Europe from this blog.
    --------------------------------------------
    DG: The only reason why I posted what I did was because you (sometimes) seem like you genuinely want to learn about what is going on in the world. When you do, what you learn will challenge some of your strongly-held beliefs about things like 'ultraliberalism' and 'patriotism'. But first you have to get that chip off your shoulder.......
    -------------------------------------------
    My patriotism will never go away...its in me for life.

    What is the chip?

    That I am against gay marriage and repealing DADT?

    That I am against illegal immigration?

    Is it really due to lack of world knowledge or is it because I lean toward conservative moral viewpoints?

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  • 226. At 3:01pm on 11 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    Charities are non-profit social based organizations that help the Community. The latest scam is to force the unemployed to volunteer services for free or loses benefits. Several profit making companies exploit free labour supplied relying solely on non-paid workers in 'job trials' where they have no intention of making any real job offers.

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  • 227. At 3:11pm on 11 Dec 2010, Jay wrote:

    I agree with Mgoulden (#222) that national government is the best way to help its citizens, mainly the less privilaged ones, if done in a transparent way. The best example probably will be Norway which found a new source of wealth in form of huge oil reserve and "Norway has turned the income from 3.3 million barrels a day of offshore oil production into a government-owned investment fund that recently, for the first time, topped one trillion kroner, or about $165 billion": (NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/01/business/worldbusiness/01norway.html?pagewanted=print&position=).
    That huge fund will/is being used for public education and employee retirement. That is far better utilization than handing over the oil fields to private enterprises. Probably it work better in Norway as it has cleaner, more transparent government, as compared to US (as per transparency international: Norway ranking is 10 while US is 22 in 2010 ranking.

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  • 228. At 3:14pm on 11 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    John wrote: I don't necessarily think that lack of knowledge is your problem – or at least not your only one.
    -----------------------
    Well, thanx, John. Glad to know that someone's got a note of confidence. I appreciate your...good cheer.
    --------------------
    John wrote: I am reminded of GWB – a number of people said of him that he wasn't dumb so much as intellectually incurious. This meant that he had little interest in hearing opposing points of view. In particular, once he had made a decision – based on his ‘gut instinct’ – he would allow no questioning of it.
    -----------------------------
    I depend on my gut instinct everyday. I have no reason to doubt it.
    Do you doubt your gut instinct, John?

    Some say Bush and Obama are so different, but you know, Bush and Obama have some things in common- one for example, Bush and Dems wanted to pass a bill giving millions of illegals citizenship, but the Repubs stopped it...now Obama and Dems want to give millions of illegals citizenship and hopefully the Repubs will stop it again...
    --------------------------------
    John: Similarly, it is clear that you find the ‘facts’ to match your beliefs, rather than the other way round, and just ignore any you do not like.
    --------------------
    Who doesn't look for facts that parlay with beliefs?

    Some issues just do not span the oceans, maybe others do, but the point it, we all have very different minds. The world is not meant to have the same mind. We are all meant to be unique and wholly individual creations.

    It is true that I do not trust polls, unless everybody is polled. You know, many said Gore would win in polls, but then Bush won. I was too young to vote that year, but if I could have, I would have voted for Gore. I deeply dislike polls, because only using some people's opinions is discounting the ones who were not polled, like me. I don't even have a chance to not vote for it in a poll, so I just don't believe it the way that I believe some reality shows are rigged- how would we know they weren't?
    -----------------------
    John wrote: I also suspect that part of what DG was saying was that old observation, ‘better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove any possible doubt’...
    ---------------------
    What about

    "Speak now or forever hold your peace..."

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  • 229. At 3:22pm on 11 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101210/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_holy_tree

    An excerpt:
    LONDON – Legend has it that the rare thorn tree on a hill in southern England had ties to the earliest days of Christianity, and pilgrims often left offerings at its base. In more recent times, local children honored its current incarnation each year by cutting sprigs to place on Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas dining table.

    Now British police want to know who sawed the limbs off the Glastonbury Holy Thorn Tree, reducing it to a stump. And they want to know why.
    ----------------------------

    To the British,

    I am very sad to hear about your Christian Christmas tree being chopped down...

    Who would do such a thing?

    Do some people think they can stop Christianity by chopping down trees and destroying nature?
    ----------------------------------

    I don't know, but when I was growing up, everybody used to say "Merry Christmas!" Now on tv, many announcers and channels will only say "Happy Holidays!"

    It is begining to feel like Christmas now, though, I have seen gazillions of poinsettias, Christmas trees, lights, everything...its great and beautiful. And well, just fun...

    So here's one early shout-out...

    "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!" :)

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  • 230. At 3:28pm on 11 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    Lucy (I think) people are attacking you based on your perceived small-mindedness to other races stated. You need to mix with all types in society and realize others have a lot more in common than you think and have all the same rights to life and respect as you expect to be treated with.

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  • 231. At 4:51pm on 11 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    LucyJ, (#229. At 3:22pm on 11 Dec 2010)

    ”... I don't know, but when I was growing up, everybody used to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ Now on tv, many announcers and channels will only say ‘Happy Holidays!’ ...“
    Leads one to wonder if they will have a Merry Christmas, no?

    “... It is begining to feel like Christmas now, though, I have seen gazillions of poinsettias, Christmas trees, lights, everything...its great and beautiful. And well, just fun...”
    Enjoy it as best you can while you can!

    “So here's one early shout-out...

    ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!’ :)”

    And a very Merry Christmas to you!

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  • 232. At 7:57pm on 11 Dec 2010, Chryses wrote:

    Ex-President Clinton said, "I don't believe there is a better deal out there," after a private meeting with President Obama.

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  • 233. At 9:49pm on 11 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Dub wrote: Lucy (I think) people are attacking you based on your perceived small-mindedness to other races stated. You need to mix with all types in society and realize others have a lot more in common than you think and have all the same rights to life and respect as you expect to be treated with.
    --------------------------
    And what do you consider 'small minded'?

    No, I am not world travelor because its easier and safer to stay in USA, but maybe someday. I know people who have not even been out of our state. However, I have travelled all across USA- from Cali (in which you won't find more opposite people there) to Wash DC (again, very diverse), I have been friends with different races, including mixed, in college, I had a roomate from Nepal, which we got along okay. In fact, she was more conservative than me. At the time I was a Democrat, my roomate was the head of the Republican party. Maybe she influenced me more than I thought. But I am not of the rich high class Repubs, I am more of the moderate getting by Tea Partyer type. I merely choose to live a more conservative lifestyle, which in USA, is considered normal.

    I do not look down on other races, because each race is beautiful in its own way. But at the same time, I also practice self-defense and you have to be smart about where you go. Some parts of the States are fine and dandy, but we have dangerous neighborhoods also in which you can get shot just for being white- this is why I am cautious.

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  • 234. At 9:53pm on 11 Dec 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Chryses wrote: Leads one to wonder if they will have a Merry Christmas, no?
    -------------Lol...well, Christmas is Christmas!!!

    I love the Christmas songs...

    Let it snow!
    Let it snow!!
    Let it snow!!!

    Just don't drink too much eggnog...

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  • 235. At 11:05pm on 11 Dec 2010, Dub Vendor wrote:

    Lucy, I agree some Americans travel more than Europeans just by visiting friends and family in different states in the US. The views you state about race are not much different to a lot of people only a few years ago, but nowadays they get labeled un-pc for stating them in public, as opposed to keeping them private like others do.

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