Paul Ryan, Party Above Everything
Aug24

Paul Ryan, Party Above Everything

Paul Ryan appeared on Face the Nation this morning and among other things said that even though he disagreed with the GOP strategy he said nothing for the sake of party unity. Here is his justification. “I don’t think it was constructive for conservatives to be carping at each other. At the same time, the purpose of that passage is to try and unify our party. I don’t think we can succeed if all we do is criticize and...

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This is Not the Jobs Program You’re Looking For
Aug23

This is Not the Jobs Program You’re Looking For

Or at least it isn’t the one you should be looking for if you want something with waste approaching a rationally low level of waste. After all, no project undertaken by humans will be perfect. But using massive “defense” projects as job projects is more wasteful than usual. But there’s wasteful and then there’s two of the most disgraceful excuses for defense programs in existence that have, so far as I...

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Changing the Focus of the Political Debate
Jul17

Changing the Focus of the Political Debate

Few would disagree with the observation that Washington is dysfunctional. Much necessary legislation fails to be enacted and many federal agencies’ performance is below par. One of the main reasons is that the Republicans and Democrats have different perceptions about the size and role of government. The Republicans want a much smaller Federal government and are unwilling to raise taxes or increase revenues if that will lead to...

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Between Russian and the West: Ukraine’s Insurmountable Task (Rzeczpospolita, Poland)
Mar20

Between Russian and the West: Ukraine’s Insurmountable Task (Rzeczpospolita, Poland)

Is there any hope whatsoever that Ukraine’s young government, born out of the fire of revolt against Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovitch, will survive the apparent loss of Crimea to Russia? For Poland’s Rzeczpospolita, columnist Jedrzej Bielecki paints an intimidating picture for interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who leads a nation deep in debt, comprised of squabbling factions, which has been left to face...

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Ukraine – Hagel and Dempsey:  ‘Pursuing Measures’
Mar05

Ukraine – Hagel and Dempsey: ‘Pursuing Measures’

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey appeared before the Senate House Armed Services Committee today to discuss the president’s fiscal year 2015 budget request for DOD, and Hagel mentioned the Ukraine situation. In his remarks Hagel said that, over the past few days, he and Dempsey have been in constant touch with their fellow ministers and chiefs of defense in NATO,...

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(Update) Cheney: How to Conflate National Security with Food Stamps
Feb27

(Update) Cheney: How to Conflate National Security with Food Stamps

Update: Mr. Cheney — instead of bringing up the food stamps canard — may want to talk to his Republican friends in the Senate to truly support the troops. The Hill: Senate Republicans stopped Democrats from advancing a bill that would have expanded healthcare and education programs for veterans. In a 56-41 vote Thursday, the motion to waive a budget point of order against the bill failed, as Democrats fell short of the 60...

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Our Indebted Nation
Feb25

Our Indebted Nation

For the last several years, the media and political parties have been focused on our budget deficits and the national debt and how they will negatively affect our nation years down the road. The vast majority of this debt has been accruing because of the entitlement programs, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. However, the decision to lower taxes during the Bush administration while we were conducting two wars, and the passage...

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The Success Of The Stimulus
Feb18

The Success Of The Stimulus

Barack Obama’s economic stimulus was launched five years ago. Regardless of how successful it turned out to be, conservatives would attack it in order to try to avoid giving Obama credit for reversing the economic problems created by George Bush and Republican economic ideas. Michael Grunwald looked at the report from the Council of Economic Advisers on the success of the stimulus, finding that its report is consistent with...

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House Votes To Increase Debt Ceiling
Feb11

House Votes To Increase Debt Ceiling

The House passed a clean bill increasing the debt ceiling today, showing that the Democrats have learned their lesson to refuse to negotiate with terrorists. The bill extending the debt ceiling until March 2015 passed by a margin of House voted 221-201, with the support of only 28 Republicans. Initially Republicans had hoped to tie their vote to some concessions, such as elimination of the risk corridors form the Affordable Care Act....

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Abe Adopts ‘North Korean Tactics’ on Yasukuni Shrine (Ismedia, Japan)
Jan24

Abe Adopts ‘North Korean Tactics’ on Yasukuni Shrine (Ismedia, Japan)

Why did Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, one of the most successful Japanese politicians in modern times, choose this moment to worship at the notorious Yasukuni Shrine, where 14 class-A war criminals are interred? For Japan’s Ismedia, columnist Koga Shigeaki seeks to explain Abe’s apparently self-destructive behavior, and in the process issues a powerful indictment of the Japanese right. For Ismedia, Koga Shigeaki writes in...

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On My Writing…
Jan17

On My Writing…

This is a sort-of, kind-of, what-the-hell follow-up to my anguished post earlier this week on the realization that there are “just too many words” that have lost all meaning and value. I ask forgiveness from the editors and readers of TMV for more of my (Omphaloskepsis)navel contemplations. I decided to review some of my prior posts from TMV (a mistake). I started blogging on TMV in early 2009 and was rather prolific for the first...

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Politics and the Generational Divide
Jan06

Politics and the Generational Divide

New Year, same problems. In America, as in many other developed nations, older members of society have been robbing the young. Not outwardly and blatantly, but in the way governments distribute benefits. Unfortunately, the needs of older people do not mesh with those of younger citizens and political power rests in the hands of those who are older. The problem in the U.S. is generated mainly by the social safety net. These pay out...

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Pensions and the Urban Financial Crises
Dec23

Pensions and the Urban Financial Crises

While only a small number of American cities have declared bankruptcy, many have significant financial problems along with a number of counties and states. In terms of bankruptcy, Detroit is best known, but the list includes San Bernadino and Stockton, California, Central Falls, Rhode Island, and Jefferson County, Alabama. Other cities have requested bankruptcy protection and were turned down by the courts. Various municipal agencies...

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Does Passage of the Budget Deal Indicate a New Era of Bipartisanship?
Dec17

Does Passage of the Budget Deal Indicate a New Era of Bipartisanship?

Whoopee! The House passed a budget deal that will avert a government shutdown for two years when it’s enacted by the Senate. Does that indicate a new era of comity and bipartisanship is about to descend on Washington? Don’t hold your breath and shout Kumbaya. First of all, Senate Republicans are steaming mad over the Democrats use of the “nuclear option,” eliminating the filibuster as a way to block presidential appointees. Removing...

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The Debate Over a Higher Minimum Wage Continues
Dec13

The Debate Over a Higher Minimum Wage Continues

are, you’ve probably heard about some of the low-wage workers who are demanding an increase in pay. Across the country, workers in fast food restaurants, retail stores and other establishments have been appealing to the federal government to raise the minimum wage. To most of us, raising the minimum wage makes sense — if you’ve worked at a low-paying job for even a short period of time you know just how difficult it is to...

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Will Paul Ryan Replace Boehner as Speaker?
Dec13

Will Paul Ryan Replace Boehner as Speaker?

The Deal is even bigger than it appears on the surface. As the first break in two years of wall-to-wall Tea Party obstruction in the House of Representatives, it forebodes a new alignment there. Paul Ryan, who ran for VP last year as a policy wonk and ended up exposed as an habitual liar, is now in line to pull the House GOP together as the next Speaker. Lying can be a disability one heartbeat from the Oval Office, but it’s part of...

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The Republican War on the Impoverished
Dec03

The Republican War on the Impoverished

In March of 1964, in a message to Congress, Lyndon Johnson proposed legislation labeled the Economic Opportunity Act to conquer poverty in the United States as part of his “Great Society” initiative. This became known as the “War on Poverty” because of its objective of helping the poorest Americans escape poverty through federal programs. Though its goals were laudable, it was never considered a significant success, possibly because...

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Looking Back on the Shutdown
Nov04

Looking Back on the Shutdown

Looking back on the government shutdown forced by right-wing Republican conservatives in the House last month, the questions should be asked by all Americans, what did it accomplish and what were its costs? The shutdown lasted sixteen days closing non-essential government agencies and furloughing non-essential employees. Tabulating what the shutdown achieved is easier than determining its costs, as the latter are continuing and will...

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Spineless Joke
Oct30

Spineless Joke

This might be funny if it were not so sad.  An example of what a spineless joke the Republican Party has become. 27 GOP Senators ‘Disapprove’ Of Their Own Vote To Raise Debt Ceiling Twenty-seven Republican senators voted with Democrats on Oct. 16 to lift the debt ceiling and avert a catastrophic default. And each one of those 27 senators voted Tuesday to “disapprove” of their own votes. The vote Tuesday was a...

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Don’t Surrender and Don’t Call Them Entitlements
Oct25

Don’t Surrender and Don’t Call Them Entitlements

According to Joshua Green at BusinessWeek, Gene Sperling is strongly hinting that Democrats are just going to have to swallow “entitlement” cuts. My problem with statements like that is simply that it distills the penalties for the human beings who need those services to some kind of political calculus. Even using the word entitlements in place of social programs is a surrender to those who would ignore the reality of why...

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