There’s a great quote in this piece on how the Republicans demand spending cuts to lift the debt limit. They won’t say what to cut. It’s this:
“If you exempted defense, veterans, Social Security and Medicare spending, you’d have to cut everything else by 85%,” said Marc Goldwein, an expert at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a think tank that advocates for reducing red ink. “It’s possible as a mathematical proposition. But the question is: Is it possible as a policy proposition? And the answer is no.”
The crucial fact is this: the US government is an Insurance Company with an Army. (From Paul Krugman’s blog of over 11 years ago,) That leave any one governing with really two choices: cut the insurance or cut military spending if you want to make significant reductions in the budget. If you cut the insurance, good luck getting reelected. And while I think they could easily still dominate the world with a much smaller military, good luck as well persuading many American voters of that.
Some Republican politicians love to imagine they can reduce government spending significantly during these Debt Ceiling discussions. All the best with that. (Even Mitch McConnell is moving on this time.)
With all the news concerning the US Supreme Court, I did some digging to see how the current court measures up against its predecessors. Here some pieces I found on the worst decisions ever made:
And here are two articles on the worst members of that court:
Judge for yourself. 🙂
For anyone needing medication in the USA, you need to check out this service provided by the billionaire Mark Cuban: Cost Plus Drugs. They cover a wide range of medication and they clearly illustrate how they go about doing it.
Kudos to Cuban for doing this. It’s a highly practical and substantially useful service for people. I hope it saves people a ton of money. More importantly, I hope it saves and extends the lives of many in the USA.
I was reading this analysis of a recent speech by George W. Bush (‘The Nation I Know,’ by George W. Bush – by James Fallows – Breaking the News) and it got me thinking about him again.
It’s easy to forget about Bush. Most Republicans act like they have. Many Democrats too. While reviled towards the end of his presidency — so much so that he was shunned by his party at their conventions — there are people who still think positively of him (For example, Michelle Obama Explains Her and George W. Bush’s Candy Exchange and Friendship).
But no one should forget about Bush and all the terrible things done during his presidency, from torture to war. To see what I mean, read this: The Legacy of America’s Post-9/11 Turn to Torture – The New York Times. While some in America would like to forget all that and think better of him, much of the world likely thinks like this: George W Bush should shut up and go away | US & Canada | Al Jazeera. Even there, the idea is to dismiss him and forget about him.
Perhaps Bush is a genial and charming man. But he will also be the man that brought the United States and the World to a worse place. That should not be forgotten.
(Image above: Official White House photo by Pete Souza – https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/4291602492/ (direct link))
That is an odd title, because while there is much talk in the United States about the Filibuster, they are really only talking about the use of the filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Mind you, because of the composition of that current political body, there will be much more talk about it. If you want to have some context regarding it, read this: The History of the Filibuster
If you just want to know about filibusters in general, read this.
(Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash)
If you thought that Bill Gates was thinking about pandemics last year, you are incorrect (although he has put a lot of thought into them). No, what he was thinking about when he wrote this,What I’m thinking about this New Year’s Eve, was taxes. Specifically, how to make taxes in the U.S. fairer.
It’s worth reading regardless of your political beliefs. If you are more right wing, you will find things to agree and disagree with. Likewise if you are left wing.
There is too much inequality and poverty in the world. Fairer taxes is one way to address that.
(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)
I understand the importance of Thanksgiving in the US. It’s a big deal, and a big part of that is coming together. But coming together might mean spreading COVID-19, not just with the people you visit, but others after the visit.
Because of that, I hope you will stay in your respective dwellings and take advantage of this offer from Zoom: Thanksgiving on Zoom: Your family get-together can surpass 40 minutes.
Normally if you have a free Zoom account, you are limited to how long your online session can last. Happily, Zoom is waiving that for this year. It’s a great offer: you should jump on it.
I hope people will meet up virtually in the US this Thanksgiving. It will make a world of difference.
Posted in advice
Tagged advice, covid, covid-19, covid19, family, gettogethers, holidays, pandemic, Thanksgiving, travel, USA
Because as this shows, How California went from a coronavirus success story to a new hot spot – Vox, all you need to do is let your guard down and the disease comes back. I am reading stories of many places having surges and many places are having to go back into lockdown. I understand why people want to read stories of places like New Zealand where life has returned to normal. Life hasn’t returned to normal: all places have done is managed through strong measures to stop it from spreading in their area. Meanwhile it is spreading to other areas of the globe, like India. All it will take is enough relaxing of controls and it could come back stronger.
We know very little about this disease. Social distancing and masks seem to be helping to control it. That’s what we have for now: some level of control. No medicine is coming to help us yet. No mutation is coming to blunt it yet. We may have a long way to go.
Whatever else you think of Sanders and his politics, if you think he is ineffective, then I recommend these two pieces:
I used to wonder if he was effective, but not anymore. Based on those piece, I think he has been effective, and if anything, very effective in certain years.
…likely this guy: James Buchanan.
And this piece makes the case for why he — and not the current guy — is the worst: No, Trump isn’t the worst president ever – Indivisible Movement – Medium. In a nutshell:
In order to wrest the title of worst president from Buchanan, a contemporary commander in chief would need to wreck the economy, revoke all human rights from an entire race, violate the constitutional separation of powers, and plunge the country into a ruinous civil war that kills nearly 2% of the US population.
With all the staggering incompetence and corruption of the 45th presidency, it may seem hard to believe anyone could be worst. I believe in time Trump will be in the bottom 5 presidents. But to wrestle the title of worst President ever, he still needs to do worse. Let’s hope he does not.
..is to follow this, from Bloomberg: Who’s Winning the Presidential Delegate Count?
You can still read the news and follow along, state by state, but what really matters more and more is the delegate count.
One thing that surprised me: right now, Ted Cruz is alot closer to Donald Trump than I imagined. Obviously there is a way to go still, but he is doing well. Will Cruz win? I think the odds are against him, but right now they are not insurmountable.
As for the other side, I believe Hillary Clinton is going to win, regardless of the Michigan surprise showing of Bernie Sanders. Sanders is performing better than many imagined, but she has a big lead in delegates and that will only get larger as we go along.
There’s two ways to tell who will be the next president of the United States.
- Listen to the pundits: The Most Likely Next President Is Hillary Clinton – Bloomberg Politics
- Follow the betters: 2016 Presidential Election – Next President bet | betfair.com
In this case, at this moment, they are both in agreement: Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. Now, the election is so very far away, anything can happen, a week is a long time in politics, blah blah blah, but right now it is hers to lose.
If you ask me, ignore the pundits and follow the betters: the latter are rarely wrong. Read the pundits if you want to know why she is winning.
Check out this map:
And then read this piece by a very realistic US Republican on the upcoming US presidential election: A reality-check on the 2014 results
If you are a fan of Hillary Clinton* then it is great news. If you are a supporter of anyone else, you will see why it is going to be very difficult for anyone from the GOP to become president in 2016.
But don’t take my word for it: read the article. Bookmark it until next year. It’s very likely going to be true, regardless of the thousands of articles and millions of words that will be written between now and election day.
(* Yes, in theory, Bernie Sanders could be the nominee. In practice, I think it is very unlikely.)