OldGeezer comments

Posted in: Top U.S. Army, Air Force warn against lifting gay ban too quickly See in context

With all of the various opinions about the matter, few ask about how this might affect the rank-and-file. Military service is not a right and the military is not some sort of social club. Good order and discipline are essential to operations, particularly in the face of the enemy. While there will always be the "bottom 10%" (not literal) that behave in a manner unbecoming, the last thing we need is for politicians (both in and out of uniform) to decide to submerge the military in some social experiment.

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Posted in: Man, angry at IRS, crashes small plane into Texas building See in context

Joseph Stack was apparently not a registered voter in Texas, hardly indicative of a political activist. Moreover, his "manifesto" appeared to indicate strong leftist leanings, lambasting the previous President as a "puppet", bashing corporations, the wealthy, drug and insurance companies, as well as lamenting the lack of progress on health care reform. In general, his positions were very much contrary to the beliefs of the Tea Bag Party, with the exception that he hated the current tax system.

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Posted in: Obama pleads for civility, cooperation in politics See in context

yabits,

It is improper to merely compare on the basis of % change in debt as going from $10 to $100 is a tenfold increase, as a $90 change in debt to someone earning $1000 a year does not have the same consequences to someone earning $2000 a year. That is why I also included debt as a percentage of GDP, the economic measurement of production.

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Posted in: Obama pleads for civility, cooperation in politics See in context

yabits,

The section of the constitution you posted does not contain the "B-word."

In your mind, having "Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States", to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof", as well as the power to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof", does not constitute all aspects of controlling the purse strings?

Congress can ignore it, but since the 1930s when the responsibility for forming the budget passed from Congress to the executive branch, they never have. You appear to be arguing from the theoritical perspective of the consititution, which makes no specific mention of responsibility for it. I am arguing from nearly 3/4 century of actual practice.

That much precedence trumps theory, period.

From the 1921 Budget and Accounting Act to modern times, the President's budget is still a proposed budget and is named as such by Congress and the White House (including in budget documents themselves). The President still requests a budget and Congress decides what the budget will be, period. The President will typically request what he thinks the Congress will allocate (or can be persuaded to allocate). It doesn't work the other way around.

It's interesting to note that from 1982-1989, the percent of GDP that the Federal Deficit consisted of averaged 4.3%. The current proposed budgets for 2010-2014 average a Federal Deficit of 4.7% of GDP (assuming everything goes well). The year-end Federal Debt from 1981-1988, grew an average of $211.5 billion. The year-end Federal Debt from 2009-2012, is projected to grow an average of $1.2 trillion / $1,191.9 billion (assuming that everything goes well).

Someone asking for civility and cooperation should be civil and cooperative. Civility and cooperation is a two-way street.

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Posted in: Obama pleads for civility, cooperation in politics See in context

BTW, I do not exonerate Presidents from their role in the Federal debt as they could veto Congress's budget. Yes, it's likely that Congress would simply overrule it, but it remains that signing the budget means that President endorses it, be it halfheartedly or wholeheartedly.

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Posted in: Obama pleads for civility, cooperation in politics See in context

It's not semantics. It's a budget recommendation / proposal since Congress can, if it so chooses, completely ignore the President's proposed budget and often makes very significant changes to the proposed budget. It is Congress that controls the purse strings, period.

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

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Posted in: Obama pleads for civility, cooperation in politics See in context

Correction Federal debt accrued from (estimated 2009 - 2012): $6.58 trillion Total Federal Debt (estimated EOY 2009): $12.87 trillion Total Federal Debt (estimated EOY 2012): $16.57 trillion

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Posted in: Obama pleads for civility, cooperation in politics See in context

Incorrect. The President makes budgetary recommendations and Congress makes the actual budget. The President can sign or veto Congress's budget, but it is Congress that controls the purse strings.

BTW, according the President's own proposed budget, the total federal debt to be incurred during his first term (2009 - 2013), assuming Congress's actual budgets do not exceed expectations, will be $6.58 trillion. However, the programs that his administration are pushing would increase the debt far beyond that measurement.

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Posted in: Obama playing banks against taxpayers See in context

Both auto-manufacturing and finance executives travel via private jet... as do certain union bosses (to the tune of $1.8 million in 2006 for one machinist union). Conspicuous consumption is not warrant for financial punishment, but neither should it warrant special treatment. They simply should not have been bailed out in the first place. They should have been liquidated and parted out. "Too big to fail" really means "too big to adapt." Even the biggest fish in the sea die eventually and their carcasses feed the fish that are leaner and meaner. Government intervention disturbs the financial cycle by keeping institutions alive whose time has passed.

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Posted in: Obama playing banks against taxpayers See in context

As mentioned in the article, the companies that aren't likely to pay back the loans anytime soon (e.g. GM and Chrysler), aren't going to get hit with the tax. Of course, now that the unions have a big chunk of two of the "Big Three" (at the expense of the original creditors), there's no chance that this administration is going to cross them, particularly since this next election cycle is going to be very tough on their political party. Of course the consumer/taxpayer is going to be the one ultimately footing the bill.

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Posted in: Groundbreaking gay marriage trial starts in California See in context

Lastly, the reason you don't see the injustice done to gay people is because you have no love in your heart for them.

I normally stand by while other folks get riled up over this stuff, but I thought this it was a funny statement. As I see it, you don't need to be married in order to love your "significant other". Moreover, you don't even need to be married to have the same legal benefits. The ring and titles husband and wife are pretty much social niceties that people use to avoid getting labeled as "immoral". As such, it seems to me that getting married will offer no such benefit to homosexual couples as American society in general still regards such relationships as immoral, whatever you call it.

Getting the rest of society to call your relationship a "marriage" does not create any real positives externalities, nor does it eliminate any real negative externalities. As such, there is no injustice that will be corrected by instituting gay marriage. Eliminating government involvement in marriage so it isn't even a legal institution is probably a wiser course of action, but I don't expect wisdom from the political activists.

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Posted in: Obama on terror threats: 'The buck stops with me' See in context

adaydream,

OldGeezer we had the opportunity to elect change last year and we voted for Barack Obama. That's change you can believe in.

That's not reasoning. That's campaign propaganda.

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Posted in: Obama on terror threats: 'The buck stops with me' See in context

adaydream,

RE: Guiliani

When Giuliani was questioned later Friday about his statement, he explained to CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he misspoke.

"I usually say we had no domestic attacks, no major domestic attack under President Bush since Sept. 11," he said. He said after all the warnings of more attacks that came immediately after Sept. 11, many were surprised that this country avoided another major terrorist attack.

Giuliani said: "I did omit the words 'since Sept. 11.' I apologize for that."

Shoe bomber Richard Reid tried to bring down a trans-Atlantic flight from Paris to Miami in December 2001 using similar methods to the Christmas Day attempt. In both cases, quick action by courageous passengers and crew members helped avoid catastrophe.

Concerning Friday's interview, GMA's George Stephanopoulos said he should have asked Giuliani what he meant.

"All of you who have pointed out that I should have pressed him on that misstatement in the moment are right," he wrote on his blog. "My mistake, my responsibility."

Of what consequence is the public "owning up"? Did Franklin D. Roosevelt take responsibility for Pearl Harbor? No, he did not. Public posturing does not matter. Which would you prefer: an unapologetic President that takes care of business or an apologetic one that does not? The Fort Hood Massacre should have woken up the administration, never mind the "smaller", but equally indicative attacks (both successful and unsuccessful) last year.

As with President Bush's failure to remove Rumsfeld, President Obama's failure to remove Napolitano indicates that there is no serious change in policy taking place. Yes, there are other appointees other than the Secretary of Homeland Security that need to be replaced, but the top is a good place to start.

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Posted in: Obama refocuses on jobs after weak labor report See in context

So long as the administration does not encourage another bubble, it shouldn't turn into a double-dip recession. However, we are looking at a long-term recession. They need to cannibalize failed institutions and stop propping up the federal GSEs. Fannie and Freddie represent ~$5 trillion in obligations that the United States government can not afford to take on in addition to its own obligations of ~$12.28 trillion. $250 billion for the GSE's... it's the tail wagging the dog. The taxpayer is paying for government corporations that lobby the very legislative body that is supposed to oversee them. Fannie Mae (2008): $3.86 million, Freddie Mac (2008): $5.81 million, Sallie Mae (2008): $2.58 million, etc. It's time to cut the purse strings.

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Posted in: Obama refocuses on jobs after weak labor report See in context

As I mentioned before, the stock market's performance is irrational as the fundamentals have not changed.

Consumer Credit in U.S. Drops Record $17.5 Billion in November

By Vincent Del Giudice

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Consumer credit in the U.S. dropped a record $17.5 billion in November as unemployment close to a 26- year high discouraged borrowing and banks limited access to loans.

The slump in credit to $2.46 trillion was more than anticipated and followed a revised $4.2 billion drop in October, Federal Reserve figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a decrease of $5 billion. The figures track credit card debt and non-revolving loans, such as those to buy autos. [...]

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Posted in: Obama says terror attack 'dots' not connected See in context

[edit]"civilian criminal court" not "civil court."

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Posted in: Obama says terror attack 'dots' not connected See in context

Once again, the administration ignores legal precedence. Unlawful combatants (e.g. foreign terrorists) should be before a military tribunal, not a civil court.

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Posted in: Holdout senator rejects abortion compromise See in context

Nebraska is a "deep red" state in which virtually every major state and federal representative has a (R) by their name. As such, he has to be very mindful of what Nebraskans think, if he's going to remain a Senator. He is considered to be a very moderate Democrat with a 28/100 "liberal" and 25/100 "conservative" rating. This makes him a "swing voter" in the Senate. He's going to be around for at least three more years, so Democrats can't afford to permanently alienate him, because he could change parties and continue winning reelections without DNC support.

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Posted in: Atheists at Christmas: Eat, drink and be wary See in context

As an agnostic, I neither accept or reject theology, though I am skeptical. Simply put, I don't know what the answer is or whether there is an answer to the question of God(s) (or a separate spiritual existence). However, I do not mind if people practice their religion and give voice to their beliefs. Expression of belief does not necessarily translate into imposition of belief. Religious expression surrounds us; it is part of every society's culture. The vast majority of it is fairly innocuous, some of it is charming, and a bit of it can be annoying, but that's life. Live and let live.

For those observing their holy days: enjoy them and be of good cheer, just don't puke or relieve yourself in front of my stoop on the way home from your parties.

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Posted in: Vanquished See in context

alphawolf,

Nations tend to take very good care of their national athletes who represent them on the world stage... communist countries, even more so. They are, after all, the biggest source of pride for their impoverished people, aside from their military.

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Posted in: White House still lacks solid intel on bin Laden See in context

taka,

Treating terrorist actions as a law enforcement issue would not have yielded any real results. The Taliban refused to surrender bin Laden and hosted terrorist training camps. Do you really expect that any wrangling from the law enforcement perspective would have prodded the Taliban into changing their minds? Would a court decision make a difference? The military option could have been used more effectively, but usage of it has driven most state-sponsored terrorism underground.

It remains that a true solution to Islamic terrorism will only arise with changes in Islam, a modernization of beliefs and purging of extremist teachings.

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Posted in: Climate summit opens with boost from U.S. See in context

Climate change is a natural occurrence and solar radiation likely has a far larger effect than CO2 AGW proponents admit. Furthermore, as the global temperature trend downwards, ice growth in the Antarctic has outpace ice melting.

"Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison said sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years had been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica. [...] Ice core drilling in the fast ice off Australia's Davis Station in East Antarctica by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre shows that last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m.

A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded." http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/revealed-antarctic-ice-growing/story-e6frg6no-1225700046908

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Posted in: White House still lacks solid intel on bin Laden See in context

Unlawful enemy combatants are not entitled to civilian trials. In fact, military tribunals have been used by the United States to try unlawful enemy combatants (German infiltrators/saboteurs) since WWII. Civilian trials of unlawful enemy combatants such as KSM et al goes against precedence and risks exposure of intelligence assets and techniques. That is why the military and intelligence community is against civilian trials of such persons. New Yorkers are against NYC trials because 9/11 is a highly sensitive subject. Many conservatives are against the civilian trials because they do not trust the motives of administration for defying precedence for these trials and not others. Some liberals are against it because it has the hallmarks of a show-trial, a trial whose outcome is guaranteed, regardless of civilian restrictions on trial evidence.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa): “I don’t think you can say that failure to convict is not an option, when we have juries in this country.”

Attorney General Eric Holder: "I have thought about that possibility. Congress has passed legislation that would not allow the release of these individuals in this country. If there is not a successful conclusion to this trial, that would not mean that this person would be released into this country . . ."

Grassley: "My understanding is that if for some reason he’s not convicted, or a judge lets him off on a technicality, he’ll be an [unlawful] enemy combatant, so you’re right back where you started." (brackets mine)

According to the discussion with the Attorney General of the United States, no matter the outcome, the government still has the recourse of a military tribunal and there is no intention of ever releasing KSM. If so, why bother with the civilian trial? It defies precedence, creates a spectacle (like the Moussaoui trial), risk intelligence assets, and is effectively a show trial. All of the above are sound reason to not hold a civilian trial of unlawful enemy combatants.

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Posted in: White House still lacks solid intel on bin Laden See in context

KSM is the self-admitted mastermind of 9/11 and known to have been behind other terrorist attacks (as confessed by captured terrorists and KSM himself). He claimed to have proposed the plan to OBL who approved it. Al Jazeera has aired footage of OBL in a planning session with two of the 9/11 hijackers. OBL was clearly involved in planning 9/11, but if there is a "mastermind", it appears to be KSM. Keep in mind that he may have been exaggerating that he planned it all "from A to Z."

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Posted in: Obama calls for new ideas to create jobs See in context

Simplified explanation: The number of jobs decreased by 11,000 but unemployment dropped by 0.2%. Why? The number of people considered unemployed decreased, even though there are less jobs. For example, the number of persons unemployed for 15 weeks or longer increased by 0.2%, suggesting that individuals are dropping off the chart, even though they are still unemployed. This eliminates long-term unemployment in the statistics.

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Posted in: Obama calls for new ideas to create jobs See in context

What happens in the fourth quarter of most years, even during recessions? Unemployment decreases as companies take on both seasonal and permanent workers to meet fourth quarter demands. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment percentage of married men remained the same while the unemployment percentage of married women/female bread-winners decreased. In other words, women are having to make up for unemployed/underemployed spouses/significant others/support-paying spouses by getting jobs made available due to the annual fourth-quarter boost.

The new speculative bubble, driven by low interest rates, has boosted employment rates, but the resulting growth of GDP is unsustainable. Coupled with the collapsing commercial credit market, the danger of a double-dip and/or prolonged recession looms over the inflating economy.

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Posted in: Obama to plead U.S. case at global warming summit See in context

BTW, the CRU has admitted that the data and e-mails are genuine, just "taken out of context".

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Posted in: Obama to plead U.S. case at global warming summit See in context

You see, it depends upon what data you choose to see.

If you are unbiased, you have to admit that Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away. The British Antarctic Survey will be publishing a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that confirms that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded. However, if you have an agenda, you cherry pick your data and look at ice melt in the Western section, where it has shrunk.

If you are not biased, you admit a correlation between sunspots and global temperature. If you are not biased, you admit that temperature tends to lead CO2, not the other way around. If you have an agenda, you declare solar changes to be minimal and adjust the data to fit your expectations.

If you are unbiased, you admit that tree ring data is not exactly dependable. If you have an agenda, you toss out ring data that does not fit.

If you are unbiased, you admit that the urban heat island effect (and poor locating of temperature measurement locations) skews the data. If you have an agenda, you don't admit that any such thing poses any significant effect.

If you are unbiased, you welcome healthy academic debate and contrary publishing. If you have an agenda, you expel any 'unbeliever' from peer and professional groups and seek to suppress the publishing of any contrary papers.

... Climate science has become less about science and more about politics. Receiving tens of millions of dollars in grant money for further CAGW/CAGCC research is further incentive for some, apparently.

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Posted in: Self-centered zombies running rampant through Japanese society See in context

If companies and local governments were actually that concerned about phone etiquette, they would utilize cellphone jammers in those sensitive areas, during performance times, and so forth. As it is, it is more of an annoyance that a real concern.

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Posted in: Obama makes midnight visit to Dover Air Force Base to honor fallen soldiers See in context

The relaxing of military rules was done so for political reasons. Only one family gave permission for photos to be taken. The remainder did not.

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