Sunday, July 31, 2011

BREAKING NEWS -- Fwd: Budget Deal ANS Bulletin

Joyce just sent me this breaking news to send on to you all.  This is the latest proposal, it hasn't been accepted yet: it still needs to be voted on, but this is the compromise they may just accept on both sides. 

The latest budget Deal and Why Obama Does more than people think he does.
Obama announced a compromise budget deal with GOP lawmakers today Sun -7:00PM PST
The details in a nutshell :
1.       ~ $3 trillion in cuts to year 2021
2.       ~$1 trillion now, no revote on the debt ceiling until after 2012 elections
3.       Not tied to Bush cuts
4.       Committee of six Dems six GOPs recommend remaining cuts to 2021.
5.       If not reach goal, auto cuts across the board.
6.       President has authority to override recommendations (Playing Chess here); he or she will have the power to add or subtract from military, SS, Medicare: This means in the future, there will be less SS or MED cuts if we have a Dem president and congress, lots if Republican Pres and congress -- it's our choice to support liberals and get them in office, or not.  This is where us "having his back" is the most important thing here.
All this subject to change house might not go with it.

ANS -- Dogs and Smurfs

This is a bit of feminism revisited....  Unfortunately, it's still dealing with a current problem. This is about the reasons.  (Why isn't there a key on my keyboard that works like "backspace", only instead of erasing, it Capitalizes?)
If you go to the site and look at the comments, notice that many of them are from outside the US.  Some fresh perspectives for us.  One of them says to use "per" as a gender-neutral pronoun -- it's from the word "person".  I like that.
Find it here:   


Fri 08

Dogs and Smurfs

What Max Reckons  This has been a great year for male writers, with women shunted aside for major prizes and all-new hand-wringing about why it is so. Because, I don�t know if you�ve noticed, but male writers get taken more seriously. Also, stories about men, even if written by women, are considered mainstream, while stories about women are �women�s fiction.� This despite the fact that women read more than men, and write more, and are over-represented generally throughout publishing.

As the father of two girls, one aged five and one ten months, I know why. It�s because of dogs and Smurfs. I can�t understand why no-one else realizes this. I see these knotted-brow articles and the writers seem truly perplexed. Dogs and Smurfs: that�s the answer.

Let me walk you through it. We�ll start with dogs. I have written about this before, but to save you the click: people assume dogs are male. Listen out for it: you will find it�s true. To short-cut the process, visit the zoo, because when I say �dogs,� I really mean, �all animals except maybe cats.� The air of a zoo teems with �he.� I have stood in front of baboons with teats like missile launchers and heard adults exclaim to their children, �Look at him!� Once I saw an unsuspecting monkey taken from behind and there was a surprised silence from the crowd and then someone made a joke about sodomy. People assume animals are male. If you haven�t already noticed this, it�s only because it�s so pervasive. We also assume people are male, unless they�re doing something particularly feminine; you�ll usually say �him� about an unseen car driver, for example. But it�s ubiquitous in regard to animals.

Now, kids like animals. Kids really fucking like animals. Kids are little animal stalkers, fascinated by absolutely anything an animal does. They read books about animals. I just went through my daughter�s bookshelves, and they all have animals on the cover. Animals everywhere. And because publishing is terribly progressive, and because Jen and I look out for it, a lot of those animals are girls. But still: a ton of boys. Because of the assumption.

Here�s an example: a truly great kids� book is Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers. I love this story, but on page 22, after being called �it� three times, an otherwise sexless penguin twice becomes �he.� This would never, ever happen the other way around. The only reason a penguin can abruptly become male in an acclaimed children�s book without anybody noticing is because we had already assumed it was.

Then you�ve got Smurf books. Not actual Smurfs. I mean stories where there are five major characters, and one is brave and one is smart and one is grumpy and one keeps rats for pets and one is a girl. Smurfs, right? Because there was Handy Smurf and Chef Smurf and Dopey Smurf and Painter Smurf and ninety-four other male Smurfs and Smurfette. Smurfette�s unique personality trait was femaleness. That was the thing she did better than anyone else. Be a girl.

Smurf books are not as common as they used to be, but Smurf stories are, oddly, everywhere on the screen. Pixar makes practically nothing else. I am so disappointed by this, because they make almost every kids� film worth watching. WALL-E is good. I will grant them WALL-E, because Eve is so awesome. But otherwise: lots of Smurfs.

Male is default. That�s what you learn from a world of boy dogs and Smurf stories. My daughter has no problem with this. She reads these books the way they were intended: not about boys, exactly, but about people who happen to be boys. After years of such books, my daughter can happily identify with these characters.

And this is great. It�s the reason she will grow into a woman who can happily read a novel about men, or watch a movie in which men do all the most interesting things, without feeling like she can�t relate. She will process these stories as being primarily not about males but about human beings.

Except it�s not happening the other way. The five-year-old boy who lives up the street from me does not have a shelf groaning with stories about girl animals. Because you have to seek those books out, and as the parent of a boy, why would you? There are so many great books about boys to which he can relate directly. Smurf stories must make perfect sense to him: all the characters with this one weird personality trait to distinguish them, like being super brave or smart or frightened or a girl.

I have been told that this is a good thing for girls. �That makes girls more special,� said this person, who I wanted to punch in the face. That�s the problem. Being female should not be special. It should be normal. It is normal, in the real world. There are all kinds of girls. There are all kinds of women. You just wouldn�t think so, if you only paid attention to dogs and Smurfs.

Is it the positive role model thing? Because I don�t want only positive female role models. I want the spectrum. Angry girls, happy girls, mean girls. Lazy girls. Girls who lie and girls who hit people and do the wrong thing sometimes. I�m pretty sure my daughters can figure out for themselves which personality aspects they should emulate, if only they see the diversity.

It�s not like this is hard. Dogs and Smurfs: we�re not talking about searing journeys to the depths of the soul. An elephant whose primary story purpose is to steal some berries does not have to be male. Not every time. Characters can be girls just because they happen to be girls.

P.S. Don�t talk to me about Sassette. Sassette was like the three millionth Smurf invented. You get no credit for that.

ANS -- 102 Things NOT To Do If You Hate Taxes

I've been debating for a week whether or not to send this list out to you all.  Because of the last thing I received (secondhand) from the right, I am sending to you.  Save it and send it to any of your friends and relatives who think they shouldn't have to pay taxes.
Find it here:   

102 Things NOT To Do If You Hate Taxes

May 18, 2011
By Stephen D. Foster Jr.

So, you're a Republican that hates taxes? Well, since you do not like taxes or government, please kindly do the following.

1. Do not use Medicare.
2. Do not use Social Security
3. Do not become a member of the US military, who are paid with tax dollars.
4. Do not ask the National Guard to help you after a disaster.
5. Do not call 911 when you get hurt.
6. Do not call the police to stop intruders in your home.
7. Do not summon the fire department to save your burning home.
8. Do not drive on any paved road, highway, and interstate or drive on any bridge.
9. Do not use public restrooms.
10. Do not send your kids to public schools.
11. Do not put your trash out for city garbage collectors.
12. Do not live in areas with clean air.
13. Do not drink clean water.
14. Do not visit National Parks.
15. Do not visit public museums, zoos, and monuments.
16. Do not eat or use FDA inspected food and medicines.
17. Do not bring your kids to public playgrounds.
18. Do not walk or run on sidewalks.
19. Do not use public recreational facilities such as basketball and tennis courts.
20. Do not seek shelter facilities or food in soup kitchens when you are homeless and hungry.
21. Do not apply for educational or job training assistance when you lose your job.
22. Do not apply for food stamps when you can't feed your children.
23. Do not use the judiciary system for any reason.
24. Do not ask for an attorney when you are arrested and do not ask for one to be assigned to you by the court.
25. Do not apply for any Pell Grants.
26. Do not use cures that were discovered by labs using federal dollars.
27. Do not fly on federally regulated airplanes.
28. Do not use any product that can trace its development back to NASA.
29. Do not watch the weather provided by the National Weather Service.
30. Do not listen to severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service.
31. Do not listen to tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake alert systems.
32. Do not apply for federal housing.
33. Do not use the internet, which was developed by the military.
34. Do not swim in clean rivers.
35. Do not allow your child to eat school lunches or breakfasts.
36. Do not ask for FEMA assistance when everything you own gets wiped out by disaster.
37. Do not ask the military to defend your life and home in the event of a foreign invasion.
38. Do not use your cell phone or home telephone.
39. Do not buy firearms that wouldn't have been developed without the support of the US Government and military. That includes most of them.
40. Do not eat USDA inspected produce and meat.
41. Do not apply for government grants to start your own business.
42. Do not apply to win a government contract.
43. Do not buy any vehicle that has been inspected by government safety agencies.
44. Do not buy any product that is protected from poisons, toxins, etc…by the Consumer Protection Agency.
45. Do not save your money in a bank that is FDIC insured.
46. Do not use Veterans benefits or military health care.
47. Do not use the G.I. Bill to go to college.
48. Do not apply for unemployment benefits.
49. Do not use any electricity from companies regulated by the Department of Energy.
50. Do not live in homes that are built to code.
51. Do not run for public office. Politicians are paid with taxpayer dollars.
52. Do not ask for help from the FBI, S.W.A.T, the bomb squad, Homeland Security, State troopers, etc…
53. Do not apply for any government job whatsoever as all state and federal employees are paid with tax dollars.
54. Do not use public libraries.
55. Do not use the US Postal Service.
56. Do not visit the National Archives.
57. Do not visit Presidential Libraries.
58. Do not use airports that are secured by the federal government.
59. Do not apply for loans from any bank that is FDIC insured.
60. Do not ask the government to help you clean up after a tornado.
61. Do not ask the Department of Agriculture to provide a subsidy to help you run your farm.
62. Do not take walks in National Forests.
63. Do not ask for taxpayer dollars for your oil company.
64. Do not ask the federal government to bail your company out during recessions.
65. Do not seek medical care from places that use federal dollars.
66. Do not use Medicaid.
67. Do not use WIC.
68. Do not use electricity generated by Hoover Dam.
69. Do not use electricity or any service provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
70. Do not ask the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild levees when they break.
71. Do not let the Coast Guard save you from drowning when your boat capsizes at sea.
72. Do not ask the government to help evacuate you when all hell breaks loose in the country you are in.
73. Do not visit historic landmarks.
74. Do not visit fisheries.
75. Do not expect to see animals that are federally protected because of the Endangered Species List.
76. Do not expect plows to clear roads of snow and ice so your kids can go to school and so you can get to work.
77. Do not hunt or camp on federal land.
78. Do not work anywhere that has a safe workplace because of government regulations.
79. Do not use public transportation.
80. Do not drink water from public water fountains.
81. Do not whine when someone copies your work and sells it as their own. Government enforces copyright laws.
82. Do not expect to own your home, car, or boat. Government organizes and keeps all titles.
83. Do not expect convicted felons to remain off the streets.
84. Do not eat in restaurants that are regulated by food quality and safety standards.
85. Do not seek help from the US Embassy if you need assistance in a foreign nation.
86. Do not apply for a passport to travel outside of the United States.
87. Do not apply for a patent when you invent something.
88. Do not adopt a child through your local, state, or federal governments.
89.Do not use elevators that have been inspected by federal or state safety regulators.
90. Do not use any resource that was discovered by the USGS.
91. Do not ask for energy assistance from the government.
92. Do not move to any other developed nation, because the taxes are much higher.
93. Do not go to a beach that is kept clean by the state.
94. Do not use money printed by the US Treasury.
95. Do not complain when millions more illegal immigrants cross the border because there are no more border patrol agents.
96. Do not attend a state university.
97. Do not see any doctor that is licensed through the state.
98. Do not use any water from municipal water systems.
99. Do not complain when diseases and viruses, that were once fought around the globe by the US government and CDC, reach your house.
100. Do not work for any company that is required to pay its workers a livable wage, provide them sick days, vacation days, and benefits.
101. Do not expect to be able to vote on election days. Government provides voting booths, election day officials, and voting machines which are paid for with taxes.
102. Do not ride trains. The railroad was built with government financial assistance.

The fact is, we pay for the lifestyle we expect. Without taxes, our lifestyles would be totally different and much harder. America would be a third world country. The less we pay, the less we get in return. Americans pay less taxes today since 1958 and is ranked 32nd out of 34 of the top tax paying countries. Chile and Mexico are 33rd and 34th. The Republicans are lying when they say that we pay the highest taxes in the world and are only attacking taxes to reward corporations and the wealthy and to weaken our infrastructure and way of life. So next time you object to paying taxes or fight to abolish taxes for corporations and the wealthy, keep this quote in mind…

"I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Fwd: Look at the numbers and the sources that provide them:

Hi -- I got this from one of our readers.  It's a nice clear graphic. 

Look at the numbers.  14.3 trillion dollars in debt, GWBush is accountable for

close to 1/2 of it.


ANS -- Fwd: What the heck is wrong here? Please read

This is to show you that there is finally a more reasonable mass email going around.  I haven't checked the math or the facts, but I just wanted to show you what is going around.  The concept is correct: we paid for our Social Security insurance.  The right sends around hundreds of this kind of thing with their slant on them -- telling people to get outraged at all the power poor people have over them and ignore the fact that all the power is in the hands of the rich (if you think about it, all the bad things happening have to be the responsibility of the people and corporations who have the power to do stuff, not of the people who have no power to make things happen.... duh....). 
When we use the word "entitlement" to refer to things we actually ARE entitled to, because we paid for them ourselves, we need to make that explicit.  Don't let the Right get away with changing the word "entitlement" to mean a free gift, or welfare. 

An "Entitlement???"
What the hell is wrong here?
Remember, not only did you contribute to Social Security but your employer did too. It totaled 15% of your income before taxes. If you averaged only 30K over your working life, that's close to $220,500. If you calculate the future value of $4,500 per year (yours & your employer's contribution) at a simple 5% (less than what the govt. pays on the money that it borrows), after 49 years of working (me) you'd have $892,919.98. If you took out only 3% per year, you receive $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30 years, and that's with no interest paid on that final amount on deposit! If you bought an annuity and it paid 4% per year, you'd have a lifetime income of $2,976.40 per month. The folks in Washington have pulled off a bigger Ponzi scheme than Bernie Madoff ever had.
Entitlement my ass, I paid cash for my social security insurance!!!! Just because they borrowed the money, doesn't make my benefits some kind of charity or handout!! Congressional benefits, aka. free health care, outrageous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays, three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days, now that's welfare, and they have the nerve to call my retirement entitlements !!!!!!.....scroll down..............
Emergency Rooms for their general health care -At just one hospital the cost to tax payers totaled over 25 million a year!!!

Someone please tell me what the HELL's wrong with all the people that run this country!!!!!!

We're "broke" & can't help our own Seniors, Veterans, Orphans, Homeless etc.,???????????

In the last months we have provided aid to Haiti , Chile , and Turkey . And now Pakistan home of bin Laden. Literally, BILLIONS of DOLLARS!!!

Our retired seniors living on a 'fixed income' receive no aid nor do they get any breaks while our government and religious organizations pour Hundreds of Billions of $$$$$$'s and Tons of Food to Foreign Countries!

They call Social Security and Medicare an entitlement even though most of us have been paying for it all our working lives and now when its time for us to collect, the government is running out of money. Why did the government borrow from it in the first place?
We have hundreds of adoptable children who are shoved aside to make room for the adoption of foreign orphans.

AMERICA: a country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed hungry, elderly going without 'needed' meds, and mentally ill without treatment -etc,etc.

They have a 'Benefit' for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations, ships and planes lining up with food, water, tents clothes, bedding, doctors and medical supplies.

Imagine if the *GOVERNMENT* gave 'US' the same support they give to other countries.


99% of people won't have the guts to forward this.
I'm one of the 1% -- I Just Did



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Saturday, July 30, 2011

ANS -- Stop Calling This a "Debt Crisis" - It Isn't

this is true: it's not a "debt crisis", it's a debt blackmail.  It's the Shock Doctrine: the Republicans/Teapartiers are creating a crisis so they can then steal us blind in the ensuing chaos. 
Find it here:   

Stop Calling This a "Debt Crisis" - It Isn't

Friday 29 July 2011
by: Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future | Op-Ed

You have probably been hearing about "the debt crisis." I can't open a newspaper or turn on the radio or TV without hearing about "the debt crisis." Well stop calling it that, because that isn't what is going on. There is no debt crisis; the only crisis going on is the threat of several members of the House to vote against raising the debt ceiling if they don't get their way, thereby sending our country into default. They are trying to get around the rules of democracy and force deep cuts in the things We, the People do for each other while keeping taxes really low for the wealthy.

The Fight

There is a fight going on in Washington over whether we should have a democracy that works for all of us, or a plutocracy that runs things for the benefit of the already-wealthy. Unable to change public opinion, the conservative Republicans are trying to force changes in who our government is for and who gets to have a say in how things are decided. These ideological conservatives say government "takes money out of the economy" by spending on education, infrastructure, health care, etc. for you and me and our small businesses and startups, and they want that money to instead go to the billionaires and large, multinational corporations that fund their campaigns. As you know, they already voted to eliminate Medicare, and voted for cuts in Social Security, education, infrastructure spending, and all the other things We, the People have decided to do for each other, so we know they are serious about this. They say if they can't have a country that is run their way then we can't have a country at all.

"Debt Crisis"

The "mainstream media" has decided to name this fight a "debt crisis." This leads people to think that somehow the country is in crisis over debt, when the crisis is over a few people forcing default if they don't get their cuts. There is no debt crisis. There is a lot of debt, the result of tax cuts, increases in military spending, wars and giveaways to large corporations that have occurred under the Bushes and Reagan. But the way to solve a problem that resulted from tax cuts and military spending increases is to put taxes back where they were before Reagan, and cut the military back at least to where it was when we were fighting the Soviet Union, even though the Soviet Union is long gone.

Giving In To Hostage-Takers Is A Mistake

Last year these conservatives took the unemployed hostage, refusing to keep unemployment benefits going unless we extended the bush tax cuts for the wealthy. The hostage-taking succeeded.

So, having succeeded at taking hostages, the conservatives then took another, even bigger hostage. They demanded big spending cuts, outside of the normal budget process and decision-making mechanisms of our democracy, or they would "shut down the government." The hostage-taking succeeded.

So, having succeeded at taking hostages, the conservatives have taken another, even bigger hostage. This one is the big kahuna of hostages. If they refuse to raise the debt limit the country could go into default, destroying our economy and the economy of much of the world.

The official policy of the US government on hostage-taking is as follows:

"Based upon past experience, the U.S. Government concluded that making concessions that benefit hostage takers in exchange for the release of hostages increased the danger that others will be taken hostage. U.S. Government policy is, therefore, to deny hostage takers the benefits of ransom, prisoner releases, policy changes, or other acts of concession."

It says that past experience has shown that giving in to hostage-takers "increased the danger that others will be taken." We gave in to hostage-takers, and the result was that more and bigger hostages have been taken. During these "negotiations" every single time Democrats have agreed to their demands it has resulted in their asking for even more.

It was a mistake to give in then, and it would be a mistake to let them get anything from taking hostages this time. If they get rewarded again next time is guaranteed to be even worse.
Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson (Redwood City, CA) is a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, writing about American manufacturing, trade and economic/industrial policy. He is also a Senior Fellow with Renew California.

Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience including positions as CEO and VP of marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. And he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. More recently he helped co-found a company developing desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US.

Friday, July 29, 2011

ANS -- Transforming Oklahoma

Here is a positive article for a change.  It's about a Democrat running for Oklahoma state representative against a homophobic Republican. 
Find it here:   

|| Politics ||
Posted on March 26, 2010 12:23:33 PM

Transforming Oklahoma

Brittany Novotny is hoping to become Oklahoma's first transgender state representative ­ by giving the boot to Sally Kern.
By Michelle Garcia

Brittany Novotny sent a letter to Oklahoma state representative Sally Kern this week ­ she of the quotable statements "Gays are a bigger threat to the nation than terrorism or even Islam" and "We're trying to teach 2-year-olds that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle."

The letter was Novotny's way of introducing herself, letting Kern know she plans to run against her in the upcoming election after several of Kern's constituents encouraged Novotny to take on the challenge.

"In your nearly six years in the legislature, statements you've made and positions you've taken on issues have encouraged division instead of unity and pushed new business away from Oklahoma," she wrote. "People are ready for a change."

But Novotny is not just another outraged citizen. The 30-year-old practicing attorney is an alumna of the University of California Hastings College of the Law, a member of the national Democratic Party, and the first transgender person to chair the Young Democrats' LGBT Caucus. After running her own law practice for four years, Novotny took a position with the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 916, where she handles cases for union members.

And she even handles her own Twitter account.

The Advocate: Did you anticipate that you would be running for office when you were younger?
Brittany Novotny: It was certainly something on my horizon ­ something that hoped I could do. I was involved with student government in college, and I decided it was a career that I at least hoped I could obtain.

Months before Kern was reelected in 2008 was the event that made her famous to a lot of people, when a video in which she called gays, among other things, more dangerous than terrorists was posted on the Internet. Why do you think she was reelected?
There's a lot of factors as to why she won reelection in 2008. Most Oklahomans are good people, and they really didn't agree with a lot of her comments. They may not be pro-gay rights, but they're certainly not antigay homophobes by any sense of the imagination. But that being said, it requires a lot of time, effort, and money to run a campaign, and we haven't had anyone with that kind of time or the kind of money that was needed to do the job here in house district 84. I don't think people with vote against somebody just because of something they said. They need somebody that they will vote for.

When did you first decide you were going to run against Kern?
As I stated in that letter, there's been a lot of talk about her obviously, and one of our most respected business newspapers, TheJournal Record, really called her out this past July because she had signed this citizens' proclamation for morality, which blamed the economic situation on gays and abortions and had quotes from the Founding Fathers that were taken out of context, and it became fodder for national media to make fun of Oklahoma again and make us look like we're not moving forward. It really hurt our image because Oklahoma City is really becoming a great place to live. It's an amazing city with a lot of diversity and a great culture. Our downtown has really been thriving, there's a lot of urban renewal going on, metropolitan area projects that have renovated our downtown like our new arena, we have an NBA team, a new skyscraper going up. We've put a lot of effort in renewing the business environment here, and we're trying to attract more young professionals who would hopefully make this their home. Her pushing this agenda that blames economic problems on certain parts of our population and creating a divisive climate just pushes people and business away. It hinders our ability to draw young people here. 

In your open letter to Kern, you said you would run a fair campaign with no personal attacks. What if the political landscape starts to get personal or below-the-belt?
There's nothing I can do to stop whatever might happen. I hope that Representative Kern will hold true to her word. She gave some interviews around the time that I announced my candidacy and indicated that the way she saw it was that I'm a Democrat, she's a Republican, and we would run on that. So I hope she'll maintain that. Certainly there are third parties out there who may not listen to me and may go ahead and personally attack her, just like she may have supporters that don't take the lead from her and personally attack me. It happens. I hope that those voices are kept to a minimum and they don't overshadow the campaign, because I really do think there are some serious differences in how we see the future of Oklahoma and what we think will be best for our economic development. I think the voters deserve the chance to discuss those differences.

When I told our staff that we would be interviewing you today, someone said, "Those are going to be some interesting debates." What are the issues concerning your district, and how will you two shape the debate among those issues?
Right now I've been particularly concerned with legislation that she's been pushing that would basically have Oklahoma opt out of Environmental Protection Agency regulation and take that on ourselves. We're not at a time in the state budget where we can take on that kind of responsibility by ourselves. Environmental regulation is going to take a lot of time and money, and nowhere in her bill does she account for budgeting and responsibilities that our department of environmental quality would have to take on. I believe in fiscal responsibility. You can't just push legislation because it plays into the fears of our federal government. You have to look at how this actually impacts our budget. You have to ask yourself, "What is this actually going to do for the lives of everyday Oklahomans?" 

Oklahomans deserve to hear that debate. She's continued to push a lot of these states' rights legislations. They're going to cost us a lot of money in lawsuits. It will cost us money if we actually did have to start carrying this stuff on our own, and people need to know that and not just fall for rhetoric of "the federal government is taking away Oklahoma's rights. "

Do you feel that Oklahomans are ready to elect a transgender person to represent them?
You know, I do get that feeling. In fact, I've even received e-mails and messages from folks who identify as conservative Republicans who support me. They say, "I may not agree with you on everything, but I agree with your approach to this. This is the kind of approach we expect from our leaders, so we support you." I've been open about my past as a trans woman. There was a two-part segment about me on our local Fox affiliate, and an article ran in our main alternative weekly newspaper. The only negative feedback I've really received was based on a policy issue.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fwd: the real plans - not the green party hype

This is a comparison between the two plans the Congress is looking at.  Both seem vague to me. 

Here's a look at how the plans compare:
How much does it raise the debt ceiling?
House Republican plan:
Less than $1 trillion immediately -- enough to last at least through the end of the year
Boehner's plan would allow President Obama to make a separate request for a $1.6 trillion increase later, if Congress passes a special plan, created by 12-member "Joint Committee of Congress," for additional spending cuts. In essence, this plan could re-create the entire debt ceiling debate.
Senate Democratic plan: Reid says his plan would allow Congress to raise the debt limit "through 2012." Mr. Obama has said the debt ceiling must be raised by $2.4 trillion to last through 2012.
How much does each plan cut?
Both the GOP plan and the Democratic plan call for $1.2 trillion in immediate cuts, but they don't specify where those cuts would come from -- they simply say the cuts would come from discretionary spending. The Democratic plan specifies that those cuts include both defense and non-defense spending.
House Republican plan: $1.2 trillion in savings over a decade -- in both cuts and caps on discretionary spending. The spending caps would trigger automatic, across-the-board spending cuts if not met.
Senate Democratic plan: $2.7 trillion in savings over a decade.
In addition to the $1.2 trillion in unspecified discretionary spending cuts, Reid's plan counts $1 trillion in savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is seen as something of an accounting gimmick, although House Republicans included the savings in the budget they passed earlier this year.
That leaves $500 billion in savings to account for. As much as $400 billion comes from interest savings. Democrats point out that interest savings were included in the House-passed GOP budget as well.
The final $100 billion comes from "mandatory" savings. Democrats have loosely outlined where that money would come from, but the specifics are still unclear. For instance, that figure includes $30 billion in savings from "Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac reforms," and $40 billion in savings from "integrity savings"-- in other words, reducing fraud and abuse in mandatory programs. That figure also includes $15 billion in spectrum sales and $10 to $15 billion in agricultural subsidies.
Plans for deficit commissions
Both plans call for the creation of a bipartisan, 12-member deficit reduction committee. Both plans say that the committee's deficit reduction proposal should get an up-or-down vote, without any amendments, by the end of 2011.
House Republican plan: Boehner's plan for a deficit commission is more specific. It calls for the commission to identify $1.6 to $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over a decade. Additionally, Republicans insist the committee will not recommend tax increases.
Under Boehner's plan, the commission would have until November 23 to report its recommendations to Congress. Both chambers would have to vote on it by December 23. As noted above, its passage is a condition of raising the debt ceiling again.
Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security?
Neither plan has a specific proposal for modifying Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.
The difference: Democrats are boasting their plan does not affect the entitlement programs, while the GOP plan suggests the deficit commission will recommend modifications to the programs.
Other conditions?
House Republican plan:
Unlike the GOP's earlier plan, "cut, cap and balance," Boehner's plan does not make raising the debt ceiling contingent upon passing a balanced budget amendment. It does, however, require that both the Senate and the House at least vote on a balanced budget amendment by the end of the year.
Why they oppose each other's plans
The speaker said today that the Democratic plan is "full of gimmicks."
Under Reid's plan, Boehner said, "We're not making any real changes in the spending structure of our government." He added the plan "doesn't deal with the biggest drivers of our deficit and debt" -- entitlement programs.
Reid: Democrats plan say Boehner's plan is unacceptable since Congress would have to fight over raising the debt ceiling again in six months.
Reid said today, "Speaker Boehner's plan, no matter how he tries to dress it up, is simply a short-term plan, and is, therefore, a non-starter in the Senate and with the president."

Monday, July 25, 2011

ANS -- The Chart That Should Accompany All Discussions of the Debt Ceiling

This is a pretty clear chart.  It shows where the debts come from.  That should show where we should cut.  If we were logical.  but we aren't: that's the cost of destroying education in this country -- you have to learn to be logical, it's not innate.
Find it here:    

The Chart That Should Accompany All Discussions of the Debt Ceiling

By James Fallows

Jul 25 2011, 10:58 AM ET
It's this one, from yesterday's New York Times. Click for a more detailed view, though it's pretty clear as is.


It's based on data from the Congressional Budget Office and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Its significance is not partisan (who's "to blame" for the deficit) but intellectual. It demonstrates the utter incoherence of being very concerned about a structural federal deficit but ruling out of consideration the policy that was largest single contributor to that deficit, namely the Bush-era tax cuts.

An additional significance of the chart: it identifies policy changes, the things over which Congress and Administration have some control, as opposed to largely external shocks -- like the repercussions of the 9/11 attacks or the deep worldwide recession following the 2008 financial crisis. Those external events make a big difference in the deficit, and they are the major reason why deficits have increased faster in absolute terms during Obama's first two years that during the last two under Bush. (In a recession, tax revenues plunge, and government spending goes up - partly because of automatic programs like unemployment insurance, and partly in a deliberate attempt to keep the recession from getting worse.) If you want, you could even put the spending for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in this category: those were policy choices, but right or wrong they came in response to an external shock. 

The point is that governments can respond to but not control external shocks. That's why we call them "shocks." Governments can control their policies. And the policy that did the most to magnify future deficits is the Bush-era tax cuts. You could argue that the stimulative effect of those cuts is worth it ("deficits don't matter" etc). But you cannot logically argue that we absolutely must reduce deficits, but that we absolutely must also preserve every penny of those tax cuts. Which I believe precisely describes the House Republican position.

After the jump, from a previous "The Chart That Should..." positing, an illustration of the respective roles of external shock and deliberate policy change in creating the deficit.

UPDATE: Many people have written to ask how the impact of the "Bush-era tax cuts," enacted under George W. Bush and extended under Barack Obama (with the help, as you will recall, of huge pressure from Senate Republicans), is divided between the two presidents. I don't know and have written the creators of the chart to ask. (They have responded to say: it indicates the legacy effects of the changes made by each Administration. For instance, neither Bush nor Obama is credited with the entire cost of Pentagon spending or entitlements, but only the changes his Administration made, up or down. By this logic the long-run effect of cuts initiated by Bush is assigned to him, as any long-run effect of savings he initiated would be too.)

But to me it doesn't matter. As I said above, the point of the chart really isn't partisan responsibility. It is the central role of those tax cuts in creating the deficit that is now the focus of such political attention. Call them the "Obama-Extended Tax Cuts" if you'd like: either way, a deficit plan that ignores them fails a basic logic, math, and coherence test.

From this item three months ago:


More: For how the Democrats are mishandling both the politics and the substance of this argument, see Joshua Green on " The Democrats Cave."

For how President Obama could use his inherent powers, in a " This is bullshit" way, see Robert Kuttner.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

ANS -- Republicans, Zealots and Our Security

This is a very articulate article about domestic financial terrorism, perpetrated by the GOP and the Tea Party, though he doesn't dare name them here.  It's from the NY Times. 
Find it here:   

Op-Ed Columnist

Republicans, Zealots and Our Security


Published: July 23, 2011

IF China or Iran threatened our national credit rating and tried to drive up our interest rates, or if they sought to damage our education system, we would erupt in outrage.

Damon Winter/The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof

On the Ground

Share Your Comments About This Column
Nicholas Kristof addresses reader feedback and posts short takes from his travels.

Go to Columnist Page »


Well, wake up to the national security threat. Only it's not coming from abroad, but from our own domestic extremists.

We tend to think of national security narrowly as the risk of a military or terrorist attack. But national security is about protecting our people and our national strength ­ and the blunt truth is that the biggest threat to America's national security this summer doesn't come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.

House Republicans start from a legitimate concern about rising long-term debt. Politicians are usually focused only on short-term issues, so it would be commendable to see the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party seriously focused on containing long-term debt. But on this issue, many House Republicans aren't serious, they're just obsessive in a destructive way. The upshot is that in their effort to protect the American economy from debt, some of them are willing to drag it over the cliff of default.

It is not exactly true that this would be our first default. We defaulted in 1790. By some definitions, we defaulted on certain gold obligations in 1933. And in 1979, the United States had trouble managing payouts to some individual investors on time (partly because of a failure of word processing equipment) and thus was in technical default.

Yet even that brief lapse in 1979 raised interest payments in the United States. Terry L. Zivney, a finance professor at Ball State University and co-author of a scholarly paper about the episode, says the 1979 default increased American government borrowing costs by 0.6 of a percentage point indefinitely.

Any deliberate and sustained interruption this year could have a greater impact. We would see higher interest rates on mortgages, car loans, business loans and credit cards.

American government borrowing would also become more expensive. In February, the Congressional Budget Office noted that a 1 percentage point rise in interest rates could add more than $1 trillion to borrowing costs over a decade.

In other words, Republican zeal to lower debts could result in increased interest expenses and higher debts. Their mania to save taxpayers could cost taxpayers. That suggests not governance so much as fanaticism.

More broadly, a default would leave America a global laughingstock. Our "soft power," our promotion of democracy around the world, and our influence would all take a hit. The spectacle of paralysis in the world's largest economy is already bewildering to many countries. If there is awe for our military prowess and delight in our movies and music, there is scorn for our political/economic management.

While one danger to national security comes from the risk of default, another comes from overzealous budget cuts ­ especially in education, at the local, state and national levels. When we cut to the education bone, we're not preserving our future but undermining it.

It should be a national disgrace that the United States government has eliminated spending for major literacy programs in the last few months, with scarcely a murmur of dissent.

Consider Reading Is Fundamental, a 45-year-old nonprofit program that has cost the federal government only $25 million annually. It's a public-private partnership with 400,000 volunteers, and it puts books in the hands of low-income children. The program helped four million American children improve their reading skills last year. Now it has lost all federal support.

"They have made a real difference for millions of kids," Kyle Zimmer, founder of First Book, another literacy program that I've admired, said of Reading Is Fundamental. "It is a tremendous loss that their federal support has been cut. We are going to pay for these cuts in education for generations."

Education programs like these aren't quick fixes, and the relation between spending and outcomes is uncertain and complex. Nurturing reading skills is a slog rather than a sprint ­ but without universal literacy we have no hope of spreading opportunity, fighting crime or chipping away at poverty.

"The attack on literacy programs reflects a broader assault on education programs," said Rosa DeLauro, a Democratic member of Congress from Connecticut. She notes that Republicans want to cut everything from early childhood programs to Pell grants for college students. Republican proposals have singled out some 43 education programs for elimination, but it's not seen as equally essential to end tax loopholes on hedge fund managers.

So let's remember not only the national security risks posed by Iran and Al Qaeda. Let's also focus on the risks, however unintentional, from domestic zealots.

I invite you to comment on this column on my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook and Google+, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on July 24, 2011, on page SR5 of the New York edition with the headline: Republicans, Zealots and Our Security.

ANS -- New Evidence of Vote Hacking Emerges In Ohio 2004 General Election Lawsuit

This is a provocative article.  It seems it doesn't prove election fraud, but proves it was designed to perpetrate election fraud.  However, in the comments readers have offered links to other articles on this topic.  I will add them. 
Find it here:  

July 24, 2011 01:00 PM

New Evidence of Vote Hacking Emerges In Ohio 2004 General Election Lawsuit

By karoli

The outcome of the 2004 Ohio General Election has always been a thorn in my side. I was tracking it on election night and it never made sense to me. Never.

Over time, evidence has emerged that supports the allegation that Ohio's vote data made an unscheduled detour through Chatanooga, TN and during that stop, was doctored to make sure George W. Bush won Ohio and the election.

Until now, the architectural maps and contracts from the Ohio 2004 election were never made public, which may indicate that the entire system was designed for fraud. In a previous sworn affidavit to the court, Spoonamore declared: "The SmarTech system was set up precisely as a King Pin computer used in criminal acts against banking or credit card processes and had the needed level of access to both county tabulators and Secretary of State computers to allow whoever was running SmarTech computers to decide the output of the county tabulators under its control."

Spoonamore also swore that "...the architecture further confirms how this election was stolen. The computer system and SmarTech had the correct placement, connectivity, and computer experts necessary to change the election in any manner desired by the controllers of the SmarTech computers."

Project Censored named the outsourcing of Ohio's 2004 election votes to SmarTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee to a company owned by Republican partisans as one of the most censored stories in the world.

This is one story where a picture really is worth a thousand words. Click the thumbnail at the top of the page to see the larger view of the chart. The part you need to pay attention to are the red arrows. They illustrate how the data flow could have been leveraged to tweak results in Bush's direction under the careful oversight of Ken Blackwell, Ohio's corrupt Secretary of State.

SmarTech has an interesting genealogy. It was run by the late Michael Connell, IT guy for Karl Rove and the Bush family. He also ran GovTech, the company contracted by the state of Ohio (Blackwell) to handle the IT aspects of return processing. Connell was closely associated with the Donatelli clan and other notorious Republican bad guys. From Plaintiffs' brief (PDF):

A group of academic researchers functioning under the rubric of ePluribus Media discovered and reported, shortly after the 2006 election, that a partisan Republican company, SmarTech, was hosting the Ohio Secretary of State's vote count for both the 2004/2006 elections. Collaborative research with a member of this network, holding a PhD in a scientific field, and establishment of a fact/expert relationship with Stephen Spoonamore led to plaintiffs' counsel Arnebeck and Fitrakis meeting with U.S. House Representatives Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, and U.S. House Representatives Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations Oversight, Kucinich, to discuss the possibility of bringing witnesses Stephen Spoonamore and Michael Connell before their respective committees. This was in fulfillment of plaintiffs' commitment to help gain federal involvement in the inquiry into the election theft of 2004 as part of the settlement concept for this case.

This collaboration was also the basis upon which plaintiffs were able to establish relationship between Michael Connell's work on behalf of Karl Rove in elections, and Connell's work on behalf of the tobacco industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups, including the front group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, that operated as a purportedly independent expenditure group in the 2004 presidential election. Plaintiffs' trial counsel had previously been involved in successful litigation against the Ohio and United States Chamber of Commerce in connection with their illegal expenditures of secret corporate money to influence the outcome of Ohio Supreme Court elections over the 2000 through 2004 election cycles.

Here's another disturbing quote from the brief:

In 2009, a CIA expert on the rigging of elections in foreign countries described at a meeting of the Election Assistance Commission just such a man-in-the-middle attack in the notorious 2004 Ukraine presidential election. The unraveling of the Ukrainian presidential election fraud had the help of overheard cell phone conversations directing the cover-up of the rigging operation.

On March 3, 2009, the German Federal Constitutional Court declared that the electronic voting machines used in the 2005 Bundestag elections for the German national parliament were outside of the bounds of the German Constitution.

I've been following this since 2004 and I don't intend to stop now. Having evidence of a built-in architecture for vote fraud is, I believe, just the tip of an iceberg that should begin to thaw any time now. In the meantime, let this argument from the brief resonate with each and every one of us who know in our gut that Republicans steal elections they can't win, whether by fraud or by disenfranchisement.

The practice of permitting the use of touchscreen electronic voting machines in partisan elections, when such machines are, according to every scientific test and measure are insecure against hacking, and in the face of abundant evidence that Jim Crow, that is the misuse of law and practice to curtail and obliterate the votes and the voting power of African-Americans, is sufficient to meet plaintiffs' burden of proof in the civil rights case.

Tags: 2004, Ohio, vote hacking
A couple of comments with further links:
lex ­ 7/24/11 4:52pm

The election was stolen (as was the 2000 election), I heard this evidence before.
Here's some more info...

"Was the 2004 Election Stolen?
Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.
by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. " 
lex ­ 7/24/11 7:05pm

Brad Blog and VR has done a great job covering election fraud.

"Ohio Attorney Files to Lift Stay on '04 Election Case, Cites Allegations, Evidence of Massive Fraud by a Number of GOP Operatives"

"In fact, in 2004, the Ohio Secretary of State election servers were suddenly re-routed to the GOP controlled servers at Smartech in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the results flipped from John Kerry to George Bush. Bush's IT guru Mike Connell was responsible for setting up that manipulation with the assistance of Ken Blackwell, and Connell was later killed in a mysterious plane crash after he indicated he was ready to talk about the matter."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

ANS -- Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated

This is the latest word on what makes us gain or lose weight.  I need more sleep. 
Find it here:  

July 18, 2011

Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated

It's no secret that Americans are fatter today than ever before, and not just those unlucky people who are genetically inclined to gain weight or have been overweight all their lives. Many who were lean as young adults have put on lots of unhealthy pounds as they pass into middle age and beyond.

It's also no secret that the long-recommended advice to eat less and exercise more has done little to curb the inexorable rise in weight. No one likes to feel deprived or leave the table hungry, and the notion that one generally must eat less to control body weight really doesn't cut it for the typical American.

So the newest findings on what specific foods people should eat less often ­ and more importantly, more often ­ to keep from gaining pounds as they age should be of great interest to tens of millions of Americans.

The new research, by five nutrition and public health experts at Harvard University, is by far the most detailed long-term analysis of the factors that influence weight gain, involving 120,877 well-educated men and women who were healthy and not obese at the start of the study. In addition to diet, it has important things to say about exercise, sleep, television watching, smoking and alcohol intake.

The study participants ­ nurses, doctors, dentists and veterinarians in the Nurses' Health Study, Nurses' Health Study II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study ­ were followed for 12 to 20 years. Every two years, they completed very detailed questionnaires about their eating and other habits and current weight. The fascinating results were published in June in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The analysis examined how an array of factors influenced weight gain or loss during each four-year period of the study. The average participant gained 3.35 pounds every four years, for a total weight gain of 16.8 pounds in 20 years.

"This study shows that conventional wisdom ­ to eat everything in moderation, eat fewer calories and avoid fatty foods ­ isn't the best approach," Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study, said in an interview. "What you eat makes quite a difference. Just counting calories won't matter much unless you look at the kinds of calories you're eating."

Dr. Frank B. Hu, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the new analysis, said: "In the past, too much emphasis has been put on single factors in the diet. But looking for a magic bullet hasn't solved the problem of obesity."

Also untrue, Dr. Mozaffarian said, is the food industry's claim that there's no such thing as a bad food.

"There are good foods and bad foods, and the advice should be to eat the good foods more and the bad foods less," he said. "The notion that it's O.K. to eat everything in moderation is just an excuse to eat whatever you want."

The study showed that physical activity had the expected benefits for weight control. Those who exercised less over the course of the study tended to gain weight, while those who increased their activity didn't. Those with the greatest increase in physical activity gained 1.76 fewer pounds than the rest of the participants within each four-year period.

But the researchers found that the kinds of foods people ate had a larger effect over all than changes in physical activity.

"Both physical activity and diet are important to weight control, but if you are fairly active and ignore diet, you can still gain weight," said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the study.

As Dr. Mozaffarian observed, "Physical activity in the United States is poor, but diet is even worse."

Little Things Mean a Lot

People don't become overweight overnight.

Rather, the pounds creep up slowly, often unnoticed, until one day nothing in the closet fits the way it used to.

Even more important than its effect on looks and wardrobe, this gradual weight gain harms health. At least six prior studies have found that rising weight increases the risk in women of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and breast cancer, and the risk in men of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.

The beauty of the new study is its ability to show, based on real-life experience, how small changes in eating, exercise and other habits can result in large changes in body weight over the years.

On average, study participants gained a pound a year, which added up to 20 pounds in 20 years. Some gained much more, about four pounds a year, while a few managed to stay the same or even lose weight.

Participants who were overweight at the study's start tended to gain the most weight, which seriously raised their risk of obesity-related diseases, Dr. Hu said. "People who are already overweight have to be particularly careful about what they eat," he said.

The foods that contributed to the greatest weight gain were not surprising. French fries led the list: Increased consumption of this food alone was linked to an average weight gain of 3.4 pounds in each four-year period. Other important contributors were potato chips (1.7 pounds), sugar-sweetened drinks (1 pound), red meats and processed meats (0.95 and 0.93 pound, respectively), other forms of potatoes (0.57 pound), sweets and desserts (0.41 pound), refined grains (0.39 pound), other fried foods (0.32 pound), 100-percent fruit juice (0.31 pound) and butter (0.3 pound).

Also not too surprising were most of the foods that resulted in weight loss or no gain when consumed in greater amounts during the study: fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Compared with those who gained the most weight, participants in the Nurses' Health Study who lost weight consumed 3.1 more servings of vegetables each day.

But contrary to what many people believe, an increased intake of dairy products, whether low-fat (milk) or full-fat (milk and cheese), had a neutral effect on weight.

And despite conventional advice to eat less fat, weight loss was greatest among people who ate more yogurt and nuts, including peanut butter, over each four-year period.

Nuts are high in vegetable fat, and previous small studies have shown that eating peanut butter can help people lose weight and keep it off, probably because it slows the return of hunger.

That yogurt, among all foods, was most strongly linked to weight loss was the study's most surprising dietary finding, the researchers said. Participants who ate more yogurt lost an average of 0.82 pound every four years.

Yogurt contains healthful bacteria that in animal studies increase production of intestinal hormones that enhance satiety and decrease hunger, Dr. Hu said. The bacteria may also raise the body's metabolic rate, making weight control easier.

But, consistent with the new study's findings, metabolism takes a hit from refined carbohydrates ­ sugars and starches stripped of their fiber, like white flour. When Dr. David Ludwig of Children's Hospital Boston compared the effects of refined carbohydrates with the effects of whole grains in both animals and people, he found that metabolism, which determines how many calories are used at rest, slowed with the consumption of refined grains but stayed the same after consumption of whole grains.

Other Influences

As has been suggested by previous smaller studies, how long people slept each night influenced their weight changes. In general, people who slept less than six hours or more than eight hours a night tended to gain the most. Among possible explanations are effects of short nights on satiety hormones, as well as an opportunity to eat more while awake, Dr. Hu said.

He was not surprised by the finding that the more television people watched, the more weight they gained, most likely because they are influenced by a barrage of food ads and snack in front of the TV.

Alcohol intake had an interesting relationship to weight changes. No significant effect was found among those who increased their intake to one glass of wine a day, but increases in other forms of alcohol were likely to bring added pounds.

As expected, changes in smoking habits also influenced weight changes. Compared with people who never smoked, those who had quit smoking within the previous four years gained an average of 5.17 pounds. Subsequent weight gain was minimal ­ 0.14 pound for each four-year period.

Those who continued smoking lost 0.7 pound in each four-year period, which the researchers surmised may have resulted from undiagnosed underlying disease, especially since those who took up smoking experienced no change in weight.

Friday, July 22, 2011

ANS -- Ron Paul’s Surprisingly Lucid Solution to the Debt Ceiling Impasse

Here's a creative idea of how to reduce the debt (then raising the ceiling becomes a moot point for a couple of years).  It's an interesting thought.  Is it unlikely to happen?
Find it here:  

Ron Paul's Surprisingly Lucid Solution to the Debt Ceiling Impasse

  • Dean Baker
  • July 2, 2011 | 12:00 am

Representative Ron Paul has hit upon a remarkably creative way to deal with the impasse over the debt ceiling: have the Federal Reserve Board destroy the $1.6 trillion in government bonds it now holds. While at first blush this idea may seem crazy, on more careful thought it is actually a very reasonable way to deal with the crisis. Furthermore, it provides a way to have lasting savings to the budget.

The basic story is that the Fed has bought roughly $1.6 trillion in government bonds through its various quantitative easing programs over the last two and a half years. This money is part of the $14.3 trillion debt that is subject to the debt ceiling. However, the Fed is an agency of the government. Its assets are in fact assets of the government. Each year, the Fed refunds the interest earned on its assets in excess of the money needed to cover its operating expenses. Last year the Fed refunded almost $80 billion to the Treasury. In this sense, the bonds held by the Fed are literally money that the government owes to itself.

Unlike the debt held by Social Security, the debt held by the Fed is not tied to any specific obligations. The bonds held by the Fed are assets of the Fed. It has no obligations that it must use these assets to meet. There is no one who loses their retirement income if the Fed doesn't have its bonds. In fact, there is no direct loss of income to anyone associated with the Fed's destruction of its bonds. This means that if Congress told the Fed to burn the bonds, it would in effect just be destroying a liability that the government had to itself, but it would still reduce the debt subject to the debt ceiling by $1.6 trillion. This would buy the country considerable breathing room before the debt ceiling had to be raised again. President Obama and the Republican congressional leadership could have close to two years to talk about potential spending cuts or tax increases. Maybe they could even talk a little about jobs.

In addition, there's a second reason why Representative Paul's plan is such a good idea. As it stands now, the Fed plans to sell off its bond holdings over the next few years. This means that the interest paid on these bonds would go to banks, corporations, pension funds, and individual investors who purchase them from the Fed. In this case, the interest payments would be a burden to the Treasury since the Fed would no longer be collecting (and refunding) the interest.

To be sure, there would be consequences to the Fed destroying these bonds. The Fed had planned to sell off the bonds to absorb reserves that it had pumped into the banking system when it originally purchased the bonds. These reserves can be created by the Fed when it has need to do so, as was the case with the quantitative easing policy. Creating reserves is in effect a way of "printing money." During a period of high unemployment, this can boost the economy with little fear of inflation, since there are many unemployed workers and excess capacity to keep downward pressure on wages and prices. However, at some point the economy will presumably recover and inflation will be a risk. This is why the Fed intends to sell off its bonds in future years. Doing so would reduce the reserves of the banking system, thereby limiting lending and preventing inflation. If the Fed doesn't have the bonds, however, then it can't sell them off to soak up reserves.

But as it turns out, there are other mechanisms for restricting lending, most obviously raising the reserve requirements for banks. If banks are forced to keep a larger share of their deposits on reserve (rather than lend them out), it has the same effect as reducing the amount of reserves. To take a simple arithmetic example, if the reserve requirement is 10 percent and banks have $1 trillion in reserves, the system will support the same amount of lending as when the reserve requirement is 20 percent and the banks have $2 trillion in reserves. In principle, the Fed can reach any target for lending limits by raising reserve requirements rather than reducing reserves.

As a practical matter, the Fed has rarely used changes in the reserve requirement as an instrument for adjusting the amount of lending in the system. Its main tool has been changing the amount of reserves in the system. However, these are not ordinary times. The Fed does not typically buy mortgage backed securities or long-term government bonds either. It has been doing both over the last two years precisely because this downturn is so extraordinary. And in extraordinary times, it is appropriate to take extraordinary measures­like the Fed destroying its $1.6 trillion in government bonds and using increases in reserve requirements to limit lending and prevent inflation.

In short, Representative Paul has produced a very creative plan that has two enormously helpful outcomes. The first one is that the destruction of the Fed's $1.6 trillion in bond holdings immediately gives us plenty of borrowing capacity under the current debt ceiling. The second benefit is that it will substantially reduce the government's interest burden over the coming decades. This is a proposal that deserves serious consideration, even from people who may not like its source.

Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. His most recent book is False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fwd: July 1 to August 1

Hi -- this is a bit late, but I just got it....

A little late but still a good idea


Well over 50 yrs ago I knew a lady who would not buy Christmas gifts if they were made in  China. Her daughter will recognize her in the following.

Did y'all see that Diane Sawyer has a special report coming up this week.    They removed ALL items from a typical, middle class family's home that were
not made in the  USA .

There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink. Literally. During  the special they are going to show truckloads of items -  USA made - being brought in to replace everything and will be talking about how to find these  items and the difference in price etc..

It was interesting that Diane said that if every American spent just $64  more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create something like
200,000 new jobs!




Are we Americans as dumb as we appear --- or --- is it that we just do not  think while the Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior and  even toxic products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American

70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese  should be suspended.

Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? DO IT  YOURSELF,  AMERICA !!

Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says 'Made in  China ' or 'PRC' (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese

products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.

Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real
  ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example. The point  is do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own.

THINK ABOUT THIS: If 200 million Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of  Chinese goods, that's a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our!!

Most of the people who have been reading about this matter are planning on  implementing this on JULY 1st and continue it until AUGUST 1st. That is only  one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the  total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they might have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness were worth it.

Remember, July 1 to August 1st !!!!!!  START NOW.

Send this to everybody you know. Let's show them that we are Americans and  NOBODY can take us for granted.

If we can't live without cheap Chinese goods for one month out of our lives,  WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET!

Pass it on,  America .

Well instead of doing it for just 1 month why not try to do it all the time.


57 Year Old Mom Looks 27!
Mom Reveals $5 Wrinkle Trick That Has Angered Doctors!


ANS -- the way to save the economy

I just posted this on Norman Goldman's Facebook page.  If you don't know him, he's on the radio (Green 960) in the afternoons, and he's a lawyer. 
Find it here: 
this is what I said: 

The Republicon Party has said that they intend to crash the economy in order to get Obama voted out of office. The way they are intending to crash the economy is to limit government spending severely. This amounts to an admission on their part that the way to save the economy is to increase government spending. Even they know it's true. As it says in the Bible: save during the fat years and spend during the lean years.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fwd: ANS - Fwd: theRSAorg just uploaded a video

This is a repeat for some of you, but it bounced back as undeliverable for a lot of you, so I am trying again. 

 The RSA films are great, and this is a new one.  It's called the economics of good and evil.  And he makes it pretty easy to understand, though the sound is only so-so.  It's not typical of RSA because the illustrations aren't as elaborate. 
Then there's another one that pops up, that's about Motivation.  It shows some surprising results from scientific studies about what motivates people to work hard or not, to succeed or not at the work they are trying to do.  This one is really well illustrated.
Find the link to the first one below, and to the Motivation one here:

YouTube   Help Center | Email Options

theRSAorg just uploaded a video:
The Economics of Good and Evil
Former economic advisor to President Vaclav Havel, and one of the '5 Hot Minds in Economics', Tomáš Sedláček visits the RSA to investigate the ethics of economics.Listen to the full audio: More

Saturday, July 16, 2011

ANS - Fwd: theRSAorg just uploaded a video

 The RSA films are great, and this is a new one.  It's called the economics of good and evil.  And he makes it pretty easy to understand, though the sound is only so-so.  It's not typical of RSA because the illustrations aren't as elaborate. 
Then there's another one that pops up, that's about Motivation.  It shows some surprising results from scientific studies about what motivates people to work hard or not, to succeed or not at the work they are trying to do.  This one is really well illustrated.
Find the link to the first one below, and to the Motivation one here: 

YouTube   Help Center | Email Options

theRSAorg just uploaded a video:
The Economics of Good and Evil
Former economic advisor to President Vaclav Havel, and one of the '5 Hot Minds in Economics', Tomáš Sedláček visits the RSA to investigate the ethics of economics.Listen to the full audio: More

Thursday, July 14, 2011

ANS -- Fwd: Can you believe this????????????!!!!!!!!

Hi --- One of our readers sent this to me.  I am sending it on just in case you hadn't been following what's happening in Wisconsin. 


Fake Democrats lose in Wis. primary recalls

  • A voter in Glendale, Wis., casts a ballot in a Democratic prima  
  • A voter in Glendale, Wis., casts a ballot in a Democratic primary on Thursday, July …

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) â€" All six fake Democrats lost to Democrats supported by the party in primaries Tuesday that are the first in a series of recall elections targeting nine Wisconsin state senators for their positions on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's divisive union rights restrictions.

The winners advance to take on incumbent Republicans targeted for recall on Aug. 9.

The state Republican Party orchestrated the placement of the fake Democrats on Tuesday's ballot, thereby delaying the general election for a month. That gave the Republican incumbents more time to campaign and distance themselves from the turmoil over the union law that they voted to support in March, spurring the recall efforts.

Five of the six winners had at least 65 percent of the vote, based on unofficial results. The sixth, Shelly Moore, had 54 percent.

Moore defeated Issac Weix, a Republican on the ballot as a Democrat who had previously run twice before and lost as a GOP candidate for the state Assembly. The St. Croix County Republican Party sent emails and paid for phone calls on behalf of Weix, urging Republicans to support him in the Democratic primary.

But Moore, a 37-year-old Ellsworth public school teacher from River Falls in western Wisconsin, prevailed. She will advance to face Republican Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and independent BJ Cook, both of River Falls.

In the 2nd District, former De Pere mayor and Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum, 64, easily defeated fake Democratic candidate Otto Junkermann, an 82-year-old who served as a Brown County supervisor in the 1980s and one year as a Republican in the state Assembly.

Nusbaum, who had 65 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting, will face Republican Sen. Rob Cowles in the general election.

In the 32nd District, state Rep. Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse handily defeated fake Democrat James D. Smith, a former county Republican executive committee member also from La Crosse. Shilling, who had 71 percent of the vote, takes on Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke.

State Rep. Fred Clark defeated fake Democrat Rol Church of Wautoma in the 14th District to advance to take on Republican Sen. Luther Olsen. Clark got 67 percent of the vote.

And in the 18th District, attorney Jessica King, 35, defeated John Buckstaff, 81, a retired furniture business owner. King, who had 69 percent of the vote, will face Republican Sen. Randy Hopper.

Tuesday's primaries marked the first of four recall elections during the next five weeks. The six targeted Republicans voted for Walker's bill and the three Democrats fled to Illinois for three weeks to delay a vote on the measure that takes away collective bargaining rights from most public employees.

The stakes are huge. If the Democrats gain three seats, they will take majority control away from the Republicans and be in a position to stop Walker and the GOP's agenda.

Republicans can vote in the Democratic races because Wisconsin has an open primary, raising the possibility of further mischief in the elections. State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said he was concerned Republicans would attempt to vote for the fake Democrats on Tuesday, but he was confident the real ones would prevail.

In Republican Sen. Alberta Darling's district in suburban Milwaukee, several dozen voters waited in line at Glendale City Hall about noon to choose between Democratic state Rep. Sandy Pasch and fake Democratic candidate Gladys Huber.

Pasch won with 67 percent of the vote.

Jim Krivitz, a 66-year-old retired museum executive, called the primary "phony." He said he was voting for Pasch in part to register his disapproval of Darling and her GOP colleagues.

"I don't like the way the current Republican administration is moving precipitously to the right on everything," he said.

Self-described conservative Walter Schoenfeld, 69, said he was voting for Huber to protest the actions of 14 Democratic state senators who fled the state.

"Democrats played like little children," said Schoenfeld, a retired health care administrator. "What's the saying? Elections have consequences. Live with it."

There is a Republican primary in two other races on July 19 and a general election in the Green Bay area with Democratic Sen. Dave Hansen versus GOP challenger Dave VanderLeest. The general election for the other two races targeting Democratic incumbents is Aug. 16.

Also Tuesday, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin public policy director Chris Taylor emerged from a field of six Democrats to win a primary for a seat in the Assembly representing a portion of Dane County that was vacated by Joe Parisi when he left in April to serve as Dane County executive. Taylor has no opposition in the Aug. 9 general election.