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Our Senate has some oddball logic December 18, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Justice, Politics.
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I’m pleased to see that the Senate finally voted to get rid of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy governing military service. It’s a step toward facing up to one of the realities in our make-up as a nation — the one where we all are differently blessed, differently obligated.

Even those who might profess that homosexuality is a sin had no leg to stand on with this wink toward injustice. For if we barred sinners from military service, or fair treatment after military service, I’m guessing the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs budgets dip to near zero.

But I’m left shaking my head by votes from Republican Sens. John Ensign of Nevada and Richard Burr of North Carolina. These two stalwarts joined the supermajority in removing the policy. But not before they voted in lockstep with most Republicans to block a vote on the matter with what passes for a filibuster today.

What’s that all about? I don’t really want to vote, but if we’re going to I’m for it? On an issue such as this, that rises or falls on a principle, you go for that kind of stuff — it’s more important to stand with my “team” and try to block consideration of such an important matter, even though I’m in favor of the matter and want my vote counted publicly as an “Ay?”

That’s the wrong message gentlemen: The people want matters to get full consideration, discussion, debate and then a vote.

We tire of these kind of games — and fancy footwork who you can pull a John Kerry someday and be for it and against it.

Grab your stones and stand for something.


Yes, let’s put Goldman back in charge December 4, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Economy, Environment, Justice, Politics, U.S. Budget, Wall Street.
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I’ve been listening very very closely to all the reform talk down in the Swamp, emerging only with confusion.

One group – the bright Red one – rails against an end to what always was limited tax relief for the top 1 percent or 2 percent of earners, now casting any act to not extend this relief as a move that would sap the slow 3 percent recovery we are in the midst of. Can’t take that $80-$100 billion a year out of circulation in what they continue to say is a “recession,” even though the economy stopped receding and started proceeding four quarters ago.

They know that. But they lie because it’s convenient for the narrative.

This group, then, does a wonderful spin with full gainer, and demands an end to extended unemployment benefits and an immediate return to 2008 spending levels, reigning in such stimulus-intended measures as broadened Medicaid coverage, boosted university research grants, various individual tax credits designed to spur household spending on energy efficiency upgrades. This, if put into effect, would take at least $100 billion in spending by individuals out of the economy – spending on doctors, medicines, researcher salaries and equipment purchases and all those things all those people scraping by need to buy. You know, rent, milk, bread, gasoline, spaghetti sauce, mostly from small businesses, if that matters (actually, the Wal-Marts are counting on taking that “market share” pretty soon, so it doesn’t long term).

Somehow, the Red team doesn’t think this will in any way slow down the economic expansion, though study after study show without dispute that the poor and unemployed and even the middle class university research assistant have a much higher propensity to spend than does the individual or couple making $250,000 and up. So if you are going to pull $100 billion out of the economy – and either way you are doing that – and your true intention is to not hurt the recovery, you draw from the top, not the bottom, of the take-home ladder, because the subtraction of spending multiplied down the line is less.