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To: JohnM who wrote (187941)5/1/2012 12:09:39 PM
From: JohnM
of 375098
An anti-tax party
By Steve Benen
Tue May 1, 2012 11:30 AM EDT

There's an enormous fight looming at the end of the year over taxes and revenue, when all of the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire, just as major spending cuts from the debt-ceiling agreement are set to begin. The only thing both sides agree on is that this will be an enormous mess.

House Republicans, meanwhile, want to make a one thing clear before discussions can even begin in earnest.
House Republicans say they have no plans to pay for the extension of the Bush-era tax rates, a move that could erase the deficit reduction they have achieved since winning their majority in the chamber in 2010. [...]

[M]oving to extend the Bush tax rates without offsetting spending cuts or revenue increases could leave the GOP vulnerable to attacks on the deficit, particularly for a party that has spent years accusing Democrats of bankrupting federal coffers and used their House majority to insist on controlling the exploding debt.
Ya think?

This is probably a convenient time for a big-picture fact: the Republican Party is an anti-tax, anti-government party, not the party of fiscal responsibility.

Recent history doesn't leave any room for doubt. GOP officials spent the last decade putting two major tax cuts, two wars, and Medicare expansion on the nation's credit card. Republicans not only failed to pay for their agenda, they didn't even try.

All of a sudden, in January 2009, these identical Republicans decided the single most important priority in the nation is reducing the debt they'd just spent eight years increasing by trillions of dollars. By now, the rhetoric should be familiar -- we're facing a "debt crisis" that will crush our children, bankrupt our government, and quite possibly destroy civilization.

And how do we know they don't mean it? Because they want all of the Bush tax cuts left intact, at a cost of trillions of dollars over the next decade, and the same Republicans in a faux panic over the debt don't have the slightest interest in paying for these tax breaks.

It's almost impressive that GOP officials still talk about fiscal restraint with a straight face. It's even more impressive that Republicans have convinced the political establishment to take them seriously on debt reduction.

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To: JohnM who wrote (187941)5/1/2012 12:10:18 PM
From: epicure
of 375098
I think it's cool a dem got Obama. And all the bullcrap the reps try to throw at that issue, just keeps the issue in front of the public- and it's obvious, Obama got Osama and Bush didn't. And I laugh at them trying to talk that down. And I hope they know most people are laughing. Y'know that old fable, the fox and the grapes? Yeah. It's like that. And we all know it.

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To: JohnM who wrote (187942)5/1/2012 12:12:18 PM
From: JohnM
of 375098
Chris Christie is trying to get into the game.
Chris Christie's bid for attention
By Steve Benen
Tue May 1, 2012 10:56 AM EDT

As the scuttlebutt surrounding Mitt Romney's search for a running mate continues unabated, a couple of Republicans are shamelessly putting themselves forward, hoping for consideration.

Virginia Gov. Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell (R) has arguably been the most brazen, but he's not the only one.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday said Romney "might be able to convince" him to serve as his No. 2 on the Republican presidential ticket.

"He might be able to convince me. He's a convincing guy, but I really love this job. I really want to stay in this job" Christie said during a high school visit in Plainsboro Township, New Jersey. [...]

"I really have no interest in being vice president, but if Governor Romney calls and asks me to sit down and talk to him about it, I'd listen because I think you owe the nominee of your party that level of respect and who knows what he's going to say," Christie said. "We'll wait and see."
Hmm. Christie "really" isn't interested in the gig; it's just a coincidence that he finds himself talking about his availability for the 2012 ticket over and over and over again in recent weeks, while taking steps to raise his national profile.

Perhaps "he might be able to convince me" is Christie's way of playing hard to get?

For the record, the governor may have trouble overcoming the vetting process -- Christie has been burdened by multiple controversies recently, and polls show him doing little to improve his party's chances of winning New Jersey in November.

However, this will not, apparently, interfere with Christie's not-so-subtle campaigning for the VP slot.

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From: epicure5/1/2012 12:14:46 PM
of 375098
I think we all pretty much knew this- but here it is confirmed by a study:

Highly Religious People Are Less Motivated by Compassion Than Are Non-Believers
ScienceDaily (Apr. 30, 2012) — "Love thy neighbor" is preached from many a pulpit. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the highly religious are less motivated by compassion when helping a stranger than are atheists, agnostics and less religious people.

In three experiments, social scientists found that compassion consistently drove less religious people to be more generous. For highly religious people, however, compassion was largely unrelated to how generous they were, according to the findings which are published in the most recent online issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The results challenge a widespread assumption that acts of generosity and charity are largely driven by feelings of empathy and compassion, researchers said. In the study, the link between compassion and generosity was found to be stronger for those who identified as being non-religious or less religious.

"Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not," said UC Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer, a co-author of the study. "The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns."

Compassion is defined in the study as an emotion felt when people see the suffering of others which then motivates them to help, often at a personal risk or cost.

While the study examined the link between religion, compassion and generosity, it did not directly examine the reasons for why highly religious people are less compelled by compassion to help others. However, researchers hypothesize that deeply religious people may be more strongly guided by a sense of moral obligation than their more non-religious counterparts.

"We hypothesized that religion would change how compassion impacts generous behavior," said study lead author Laura Saslow, who conducted the research as a doctoral student at UC Berkeley.

Saslow, who is now a postdoctoral scholar at UC San Francisco, said she was inspired to examine this question after an altruistic, nonreligious friend lamented that he had only donated to earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti after watching an emotionally stirring video of a woman being saved from the rubble, not because of a logical understanding that help was needed.

"I was interested to find that this experience -- an atheist being strongly influenced by his emotions to show generosity to strangers -- was replicated in three large, systematic studies," Saslow said.

In the first experiment, researchers analyzed data from a 2004 national survey of more than 1,300 American adults. Those who agreed with such statements as "When I see someone being taken advantage of, I feel kind of protective towards them" were also more inclined to show generosity in random acts of kindness, such as loaning out belongings and offering a seat on a crowded bus or train, researchers found.

When they looked into how much compassion motivated participants to be charitable in such ways as giving money or food to a homeless person, non-believers and those who rated low in religiosity came out ahead: "These findings indicate that although compassion is associated with pro-sociality among both less religious and more religious individuals, this relationship is particularly robust for less religious individuals," the study found.

In the second experiment, 101 American adults watched one of two brief videos, a neutral video or a heartrending one, which showed portraits of children afflicted by poverty. Next, they were each given 10 "lab dollars" and directed to give any amount of that money to a stranger. The least religious participants appeared to be motivated by the emotionally charged video to give more of their money to a stranger.

"The compassion-inducing video had a big effect on their generosity," Willer said. "But it did not significantly change the generosity of more religious participants."

In the final experiment, more than 200 college students were asked to report how compassionate they felt at that moment. They then played "economic trust games" in which they were given money to share -- or not -- with a stranger. In one round, they were told that another person playing the game had given a portion of their money to them, and that they were free to reward them by giving back some of the money, which had since doubled in amount.

Those who scored low on the religiosity scale, and high on momentary compassion, were more inclined to share their winnings with strangers than other participants in the study.

"Overall, this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people," Willer said.

In addition to Saslow and Willer, other co-authors of the study are UC Berkeley psychologists Dacher Keltner, Matthew Feinberg and Paul Piff; Katharine Clark at the University of Colorado, Boulder; and Sarina Saturn at Oregon State University.

The study was funded by grants from UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley's Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging, and the Metanexus Institute.

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To: JohnM who wrote (187944)5/1/2012 12:15:51 PM
From: JohnM
of 375098
Do the Republican congressional leaders care about the debt/deficits? Clearly not.
May 01, 2012 11:48 AM
True Colors
By Ed Kilgore

In my meditation on Jon Chait’s fine evisceration of the Paul Ryan Legend yesterday, I noted that for all the endless talk about Ryan being a Very Serious debt-fighter willing to make “touch choices,” deficit reduction has always been a third-order priority for him, far less important than high-end tax cuts and spending reductions as an end in themselves (aimed at the gross immorality of aiding the unsuccessful). In this respect he’s very representative of his fellow House Republicans, as evidenced by their lack of interest in identifying “offsets” for the trillions it will cost to extend the Bush tax cuts. Here’s the latest on that issue from The Hill’s Russell Berman and Bernie Becker:
House Republicans say they have no plans to pay for the extension of the Bush-era tax rates, a move that could erase the deficit reduction they have achieved since winning their majority in the chamber in 2010.
The income and investment tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 are set to expire at the end of the year and are at the center of a thicket of fiscal decisions that Congress must make in the next several months….
The political problem for Republicans comes from the system used by congressional score-keepers, which projects that extending the 2001 and 2003 cuts and other income tax provisions included in the 2010 tax deal would cost roughly $2.4 trillion over a decade. Republicans lawmakers have long expressed frustration with that system and want the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to score tax proposals more dynamically — that is, more fully take into account economic growth.
Yes, Republican lawmakers have long express frustration with arithmetic. So they’ll ignore it, knowing full well that if and well deficits swell, they’ll just blame it on “runaway spending,” and/or on Democratic governance that has frightened job-creators into hoarding their tax cuts or sending them overseas instead of investing them in the U.S.

It’s a nice, closed system that is intended precisely to avoid “tough choices.” The problem, though, is that nearly all of them have voted for Ryan’s budget, which may be intentionally vague when it comes to the “tax reform” initiatives that will supposedly offset still lower rates on high earners and businesses, but is pretty specific in hammering programs affecting the poor and elderly.

In any event, by asserting once again that tax cuts are eternally a free lunch, House Republicans shown their true colors, and their ultimate loyalties.

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To: Wharf Rat who wrote (187906)5/1/2012 12:20:00 PM
From: koan
of 375098
Rememeber Eric Fromm: "the most neurotic person is a person who adjusts succssfully to a neurotic system.

The right wing keeps moving more and more rightward and we keep adjusting to it. If anyone is going to stop that it wil be the liberals. Moderates cannot even tell the difference between the two parties.

That is exactly how the Third Reich did it. Bit by bit.

99% of the most sophisticated ideas are on the left because we have vetted the ideas. We have gone over them. And we use science to form our ideas.

There is no viable right wing theory. The reason there ar no sophisticated right wing thinkers or politicla party. They have nothing to put forth except primitive ideas.

Look at Ryan, a Catholic who makes his staff read Rand who was a an atheist. I wish someone would explain that one to me.

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To: JohnM who wrote (187944)5/1/2012 12:20:52 PM
From: epicure
of 375098
This is so funny.

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To: Win Smith who wrote (187909)5/1/2012 12:25:07 PM
From: Sam
of 375098
"It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged. People tell me I need to start with The Fountainhead then go to Atlas Shrugged [laughter]. There’s a big debate about that. We go to Fountainhead, but then we move on, and we require Mises and Hayek as well."

"But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand."

Gee, it wasn't his Catholicism?!

These Rand-related slams, Ryan says, are inaccurate and part of an effort on the left to paint him as a cold-hearted Objectivist. Ryan’s actual philosophy, as reported by my colleague, Brian Bolduc, couldn’t be further from the caricature. As a practicing Roman Catholic, Ryan says, his faith and moral values shape his politics as much as his belief in freedom and capitalism does ...

Please pick Ryan, Mitt, please pick Ryan, please pick Ryan!


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To: epicure who wrote (187948)5/1/2012 12:26:25 PM
From: JohnM
of 375098
I think Christie is beginning to worry about reelection. His numbers aren't terribly good. His only consolation at the moment is that there is no strong candidate on the Dem side. He was elected because the Dems lacked a strong candidate in Corzine, even though he was the sitting governor. And Christie may get reelected because the Dems lack a strong candidate.

I also think some of them, perhaps Christie among them, now think Romney's chances aren't all that bad. That the economy will still be a very big issue in late fall.

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To: JohnM who wrote (187944)5/1/2012 12:26:49 PM
From: Wharf Rat
of 375098
"Christie has been burdened by multiple controversies recently"

As America's Waistline Expands, Costs Soar

NEW YORK, April 30 (Reuters) - U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.

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