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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 05:25 PM
Number of posts: 4,777

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

Latest GOP obscenity: the cynical "Gabriella Miller Kids 1st Research Act" doesn't appropriate $1

for pediatric research. As written it would "end $12.5 million in funding for party nominating conventions and authorize the money for pediatric research grants instead." Note that "authorizing" funds does NOT appropriate any money. Democrats say it's to divert attention from the GOP's execrable record on cutting funding to the National Institutes of Health.

http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/the-surprise-bill-that-has-democrats-and-republicans-at-each-others-throats/
(emphases my own)

But Democrats see the bill as nothing more than a cynical messaging ploy.

Matt Dennis, a spokesman for Appropriations Democrats, said it wouldn’t boost funding “by one dime.”

“Rather than increasing the amount that can be appropriated to NIH, it merely creates an unnecessary and unfunded authorization — a solution completely irrelevant to the problem,” Dennis said. “It is a cynical attempt by the majority to obscure their shameful record on medical research funding.”

The NIH has been squeezed by billions of dollars since Republicans took over the House, Democrats note, and the caps under the sequester for the Labor-HHS-Education budget would not be changed by the bill.
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even if the funds were approved - a big "IF" given GOP's implacable opposition to funding social programs at the expense of obscenely low tax rates for hedge fund gambler managers - it would "add about four-tenths of 1 percent to the roughly $3.6 billion the NIH spent on pediatric research last year"


Treasury Secretary Lew attacks reduced funding for financial reform - "de facto Deregulation"

.. the GOP hates and fears Jack Lew. He is not afraid to go toe to toe with them. He is credited with seeing that the Volcker rule actually was put into a form that all the affected agencies could agree to it and lobbied for its passage.. This is what it takes to get stuff passed. you have to get in the 'mud the blood and the beer' and keep pressing for it.


http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/12/05/lew-financial-reform/3879251/

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday denounced proposals in Congress to limit funding for financial reform, saying such efforts would effectively gut the legislation.

"After failing in efforts to block or roll back reforms, some in Congress would now simply starve the regulatory agencies of funding so they lack the resources to do their job," Lew said in a speech at Pew Charitable Trusts. "Failing to fund supervision and enforcement of the new rules amounts to virtual deregulation. "

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Congress has not increased funding for regulatory agencies such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission since financial reform was passed three years ago. Instead of passing annual budgets, lawmakers have approved continuing resolutions that maintain spending levels across the government, but have the option of boosting spending for specific purposes.

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Lew said that if Congress cannot provide "adequate funding," it should consider shifting these regulatory agencies "out of the current budget process" and ensure they're "self-funded" through industry fees, much like banking regulatory agencies.

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The Punishment Cure - Paul Krugman

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/09/opinion/krugman-the-punishment-cure.html?src=recg

Here’s the world as many Republicans see it: Unemployment insurance, which generally pays eligible workers between 40 and 50 percent of their previous pay, reduces the incentive to search for a new job. As a result, the story goes, workers stay unemployed longer. In particular, it’s claimed that the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which lets workers collect benefits beyond the usual limit of 26 weeks, explains why there are four million long-term unemployed workers in America today, up from just one million in 2007.

Correspondingly, the G.O.P. answer to the problem of long-term unemployment is to increase the pain of the long-term unemployed: Cut off their benefits, and they’ll go out and find jobs. How, exactly, will they find jobs when there are three times as many job-seekers as job vacancies? Details, details.

Proponents of this story like to cite academic research — some of it from Democratic-leaning economists — that seemingly confirms the idea that unemployment insurance causes unemployment. They’re not equally fond of pointing out that this research is two or more decades old, has not stood the test of time, and is irrelevant in any case given our current economic situation.

The view of most labor economists now is that unemployment benefits have only a modest negative effect on job search — and in today’s economy have no negative effect at all on overall employment. On the contrary, unemployment benefits help create jobs, and cutting those benefits would depress the economy as a whole.
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Denmark firms show cellulosic bio-ethanol fermentation on industrial scale with 40% higher yield

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/12/20131209-dsm.html

Royal DSM, together with DONG Energy (Denmark), has demonstrated the combined fermentation of C6 and C5 sugars from wheat straw on an industrial scale. The combined fermentation results in a 40% increase in ethanol yield per ton of straw, which can result in significant cost cuts in the production of bio-ethanol from cellulosic feedstock.

The demonstration took place in DONG Energy’s Inbicon demonstration plant in Kalundborg (Denmark), the longest running demonstration facility for cellulosic bio-ethanol production in the world. (Earlier post.) The facility was reconstructed in 2013 in order to be able to conduct mixed fermentation of C6 and C5 sugars. In a two-month fermentation test mixed C6 and C5 fermentation using DSM’s advanced yeast was found to yield 40% more ethanol per ton of straw than traditional C6 fermentation.

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The joint work by DONG Energy and DSM is co-funded by the KACELLE project. In November 2009, DONG Energy and DSM together with four other partners (Statoil, University of Minho, University of Copenhagen, DBFZ) signed the Kalundborg Cellulosic Ethanol Project (KACELLE), devoted to demonstrating and further optimizing the Kalundborg cellulosic bio-ethanol plant, under the EU 7th Framework Programme.

The aim of the 4-year KACELLE project—which received €9.1 million in EU funding—was to bring the patented Inbicon Core Technology from a pre-commercial level to a near-commercial level, making the technology available in the market and attractive to investors. The project will demonstrate 4 t/hr continuous operation at industrial scale and further develop selected process steps resulting in significant cost cuts in ethanol production.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Reach $544B Worldwide

http://domesticfuel.com/2013/12/09/fossil-fuel-subsidies-reach-544b/


According to the World Energy Outlook fossil fuel consumption subsidies have reached $544 billion in 2012, up from $523 billion in 2011. This news has caused the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) to criticize leaders of the most developed nations for failing to reduce fossil fuel subsidies despite their commitment to eliminate them four years ago.

This weekend marked the end of this year’s United Climate Change Conference and Bliss Baker, GRFA spokesperson said “Another year has passed without any progress being made in eliminating these wasteful crude oil subsidies. These market distorting subsidies hurt developing economies and slow the development of alternative fuels, like biofuels.”

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 11.22.41 AMIn 2009, at the Pittsburgh G20 Summit, the world’s most developed countries committed to eliminating unnecessary fossil fuel subsidies. Back in 2009, fossil fuel subsidies had reached $300 billion, 45 percent less than where they are today.

This year’s figure of $544 billion in fossil fuel consumption subsidies shows that efforts to reduce them are not working says Baker. Even more egregious is the fact that this number does not include the production subsidies governments provide directly to crude oil companies, which is widely accepted to be in excess of $100 billion he adds.
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The government is the only reason U.S. inequality is so high (it's the tax code) -Dylan Mathews WaPo

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/05/the-government-is-the-only-reason-u-s-inequality-is-so-high/




While the rhetoric in President Obama's big inequality speech Wednesday was characteristically soaring, the policy proposals were largely rehashes of past administration initiatives. What's more, a surprising number of them had little to do with tax or transfer programs. Things like increasing exports, reducing certain regulations, boosting spending on scientific research and other investments, and raising the minimum wage are intended to reduce inequality before taxes or transfer programs like Social Security and the Earned Income Tax Credit come into the picture.

That's a totally valid way of tackling the problem, and there are plenty of other initiatives, such as patent reform or reducing occupation licensing requirements, that would reduce inequality before taxes and transfers. Dean Baker at the Center for Economic Policy Research has a long list of worthwhile proposals along these lines.

But it's worth noting that you can get U.S. inequality down to the levels seen in extremely egalitarian societies like Sweden by doing nothing but changing tax and transfer policies. Pre-tax/transfer inequality in the U.S., as the above chart by the Luxembourg Income Study’s Janet Gornick shows, is about equal to that of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Finland, Germany, and Britain actually have higher pre-tax/transfer inequality than the U.S. does. The only reason these countries enjoy such low levels of inequality is that their tax and transfer systems reduce inequality much, much more than the U.S. system does.

And, interestingly, the way they do that is by using relatively regressive but highly efficient consumption taxes to fund very generous welfare states. That's a marked contrast to the U.S. approach of having relatively progressive income taxes but stingier spending programs.



We do our biggest redistribution of wealth by Privatizing Profits and Socializing Losses.. in other words, everybody picks up at least part of the tab for businesses losses (and those of gamblers like Hedge fund managers) while they keep the largest portion of their profits! WHAT A COUNTRY!!!



The Truth re Tax Cuts 4 The Rich, Deregulation & Job Creation: a GREAT debunking of Trickle-Down BS

.. this article dispatches the conservartive fairy tale of Trickle Down bullshit as good as any I have seen. It summarizes the various criticisms and provides links to great articles on the biggest con the CONservatives have been so successful selling over the last 30 yrs (thanks in no small part to the Corporate media GOP toadies)

http://bridgeproject.com/?reads_detail&id=48&sort=0


Summary

Despite demanding immediate deficit reduction in a difficult economy, conservatives insist that any increase in tax rates for top income earners will kill jobs. Instead, they argue for lowering tax rates on the wealthiest Americans (while downplaying the deficit impact of such a tax cut) as way to increase hiring. There is no evidence for this argument, however intuitive it may seem. Lower tax rates on the rich are not associated with more hiring or stonger GDP growth, and while conservatives insist that top income tax rates hit small businesses heavily, their ludicrous definition of “small business” renders that statement meaningless. Along with the threat of higher taxes, conservatives insist that federal regulations are holding back job creation and have made loosening the rules a focus of their agenda. However, tax breaks for the wealthy and deregulation do almost nothing to increase consumer demand, which is the true driver of hiring and expansion decisions.

Tax Breaks For The Wealthiest Americans Do Not Create Jobs Or Grow The Economy

Lower Top Marginal Tax Rates Are Not Historically Associated With More Job Creation Or Economic Growth. The following two charts from the Center for American Progress show the average annual growth in GDP and total payroll employment, by top marginal tax rate since 1950:





According to CAP: “These numbers do not mean that higher rates necessarily lead to higher growth. But the central tenet of modern conservative economics is that a lower top marginal tax rate will result in more growth, and these numbers do show conclusively that history has not been kind to that theory.”



CBO: Reducing Income Taxes Is Less Effective Than Other Policies To Encourage Job Growth. According to the Congressional Budget Office:

"Policies that would have the largest effects on output and employment per dollar of budgetary cost in 2012 and 2013 are ones that would reduce the marginal cost to businesses of adding employees or that would be targeted toward people who would be most likely to spend the additional income. Such policies include reducing employers’ payroll taxes (especially if limited to firms that increase their payroll), increasing aid to the unemployed, and providing additional refundable tax credits in 2012 for lower- and middle-income households.

Policies that would primarily affect businesses’ cash flow but would have little impact on their marginal incentives to hire or invest would have only small effects. Such policies include reducing business income taxes and reducing tax rates on repatriated foreign earnings."

CBO prepared the following chart showing the projected effect on employment of various policy options:



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they referred to a David Leonhardt article in the NYT without giving a link. Here is the articles link:

Were the Bush Tax Cuts Good for Growth?
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/were-the-bush-tax-cuts-good-for-growth/?_r=0

... Why should we believe that extending the Bush tax cuts will provide a big lift to growth?

Those tax cuts passed in 2001 amid big promises about what they would do for the economy. What followed? The decade with the slowest average annual growth since World War II. Amazingly, that statement is true even if you forget about the Great Recession and simply look at 2001-7.

The competition for slowest growth is not even close, either. Growth from 2001 to 2007 averaged 2.39 percent a year (and growth from 2001 through the third quarter of 2010 averaged 1.66 percent). The decade with the second-worst showing for growth was 1971 to 1980 — the dreaded 1970s — but it still had 3.21 percent average growth.

The picture does not change if you instead look at five-year periods. Here’s a chart ranking five-year periods over the past 50 years, in descending order of average annual growth:



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This article provides a lot of good information in one place to use in commenting on web-sites like those of M$M and others where conservative loud-mouths shout their bullshit.

Those who have a web-site (free hosting provided by www.Google.com/sites) or a facebook page (create a new page just for public issue info. - if you use your own home page and paste a link in there it will soon slide down out of sight - hard to find when you need it.) You can also just insert/paste links to articles in a Word file and save it to you hard drive with a name which will enable you to find it later when you want to refer to the articles you have listed in there.


Jobs: 203,000 added in Nov, Unemployment rate 7% - There will be much gnashing of teeth & rending of

garments in Republican salons today. THe good economic data suggests we may be on our way to digging ourselves out of this Republican Dystopia of a lethargic recovery from the Republican Trickle Down-Deregulation disaster. All the GOP efforts to kill any recovery before it could begin by filibustering virtually every economic stimulus bill and demanding cuts to Government programs as the price for NOT causing a Government shutdown or default on the public debt - while certainly slowing the recovery by at least two years, seems to finally be failing to entirely kill off an economic recovery. Score one for America and one against the GOP - at last!




U.S. economy adds 203,000 jobs November; unemployment rate down to 7 percent


The Labor Department report also showed that the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent — the lowest level in five years. The decline reflected a pickup in hiring rather than a shrinking labor force, which has pushed down the jobless rate in previous months. An estimated 455,000 people joined the job market in November.

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“This is just a clean sweep,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services Group. “It’s a very good report. It’s across the board.”

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Strong data from the labor market signal that the private sector is healing despite the head winds from Washington, potentially prompting the Fed to pull back on its stimulus sooner rather than later. Government spending cuts and higher taxes enacted at the beginning of the year depressed gross domestic product growth by as much as 1.5 percentage points, analysts say.

Many economists worried that the federal government shutdown and partisan gridlock over the national debt limit this fall would throw a new wrench into the recovery’s momentum. But data over the past two months showed that businesses continued to hire at a rapid clip, manufacturing activity increased and consumers spent more.
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At Least 1 in 4 Dark Money Dollars in 2012 Had Koch Links - OpenSecrets.org

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2013/12/1-in-4-dark-money-dollars-in-2012-c.html

Political money flowed freely in the world of conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch in 2012.

With most of the annual tax filings for nondisclosing nonprofits now in, it's clear that no other conservative or liberal dark money network matched, in combined size and complexity, the constellation of Koch-linked groups that churned hundreds of millions of dollars into elections around the country last year.

In 2012 alone, $301 million poured into this system -- $196 million of which was given, in the form of grants, to dark money groups that engaged in federal electioneering. The network includes such well-known groups as Americans for Prosperity, 60 Plus and Americans for Job Security -- copiously funded 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations and 501(c)(6) trade associations, none of which are required to disclose their donors to the public. Some of the entities in the web are simply way stations for cash that is doled out to other, more politically active groups in the system.

On the other side of the ledger, political spending reported by this system's members to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) came to $170 million in 2012. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that roughly $86 million of that -- or more than one-fourth of all dark money spending reported in 2012 -- came in the form of grants from other Koch-linked groups.



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The Media's Obamacare "Horror Stories" prove to be mostly BULLSHIT - if anybody would investigate

... I've been wondering if anybody was investigating all this anecdotal evidence of Obamacare disasters inflicted on people who have had insurance in the individual market. Knowing the penchant for Republicans to trot out half-truth reports which the GOP toadies of M$M are only too happy to pass on - WITHOUT INVESTIGATING THE SITUATION FULLY (Fuck "fully" try "at all").
In the past horror stories have been bounced around by the clowns of M$M only later to be shown to be mostly half truths and egregious distrotions (i.e. LIEs). - Of course, the FACTS got virtually ZERO air time from Republican sucking M$M clowns.

Here's some Obamacare horror stories courtesy of GOP toadies of M$M. This article should be referred to in comments all over the internet (including Corporate media sites) to shove the truth in the faces of people who still don't know that M$M gossip mongers don't investigate any of the GOP Propaganda they cheerfully repeat on the air for the suckers to swallow.


http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/11/05/the-medias-obamacare-horror-stories-continue-to/196753

MYTH: ACA Caused Family's Premiums To Double. Hannity's October 11 show also featured Allison and Curt De Nijs, a couple who claimed their existing health care plan was being cancelled and their new health insurance policy would double:


ALLISON DE NIJS: Well, we became self-employed three years ago. And over the course of three years, our insurance has jumped 49 percent. We just got our letter from our insurance carrier that our policy is going to be terminated, and we're going to be transitioned to an ACA-compliant policy because it has to include essential health care benefits.

HANNITY: Right.

ALLISON DE NIJS: And we don't even have insurance for our daughter, who has a pre-existing condition. So we're looking at probably $20,000 in premiums next year.

HANNITY: Up from?

ALLISON DE NIJS: Up from -- well, originally, it started out at about $740 and going up to $1,105 next year.

HANNITY: Wow.

ALLISON DE NIJS: And plus our daughter's going to be about $600 a month.

HANNITY: So you're going to pay 13 -- 19,000 grand a year in health insurance, between you -- just you guys and your daughter, $19,000?

ALLISON DE NIJS: Yes.

HANNITY: Which is how much higher than what it was? Twice as high?

CURT DE NIJS: Twice as high. (Fox News, Hannity, 10/11/13)



REALITY: The Couple Had Not Compared ACA Plan Pricing And Would Likely Save Money On The Exchange. Salon's Stern also contacted Allison De Nijs, who admitted that she had not shopped on the exchange. After researching their situation, Stern found that the couple would save 60% on their health care costs:


I asked Allison if she'd shopped on the exchange, to see what a plan might cost under the new law. She said she hadn't done so because she'd heard the website was not working. Would she try it out when it's up and running? Perhaps, she said. She told me she has long opposed Obamacare, and that the president should have focused on tort reform as a solution to bringing down the price of healthcare.

I tried an experiment and shopped on the exchange for Allison and Kurt. Assuming they don't smoke and have a household income too high to be eligible for subsidies, I found that they would be able to get a plan for around $7,600, which would include coverage for their uninsured daughter. This would be about a 60 percent reduction from what they would have to pay on the pre-Obamacare market. (Salon, 10/18/13)


MYTH: ACA Caused Couple's Premiums To Increase By 50 To 72 Percent. Hannity also hosted Robbie and Tina Robinson, who claimed that their plan was being canceled and similar coverage would increase their policy's cost by 50 to 72 percent:


ROBBIE ROBINSON: Well, Sean, I've been -- I've been self-employed for 20 years and --



ROBBIE ROBINSON: But for about 20 years now. And recently, we heard from our insurance provider that our current policy will be canceled, no longer available when it ends. And our new policy that we can have won't have the same benefits to it. Anything similar, though, is going to rise between, like, 50 to 72 percent, and it'll have things in it that we have no choice. Like, we'll have to have maternity benefits. And we're not planning on having any more kids.

HANNITY: Yes.

ROBBIE ROBINSON: And we're going to have to have pediatric eye care and other things like that, and we -- our kids are all away from home.

HANNITY: Yes.

ROBBIE ROBINSON: So...

HANNITY: So it's not -- it's not -- it's not a plan that you need.

ROBBIE ROBINSON: Exactly. (Fox News, Hannity, 10/11/13)


REALITY: The Robinsons Could Access Coverage For 63 Percent Less Under ACA Exchanges. Stern contacted the Robinsons and found that they hadn't shopped for coverage on the exchanges, where they could have accessed a policy that would cost 63 percent less than their current plan:


When I spoke to Robbie, he said he and Tina have been paying a little over $800 a month for their plan, about $10,000 a year. And the ACA-compliant policy that will cost 50-75 percent more? They said this information was related to them by their insurance agent.

Had they shopped on the exchange yet, I asked? No, Tina said, nor would they. They oppose Obamacare and want nothing to do with it. Fair enough, but they should know that I found a plan for them for, at most, $3,700 a year, 63 percent less than their current bill. It might cover things that they don't need, but so does every insurance policy. (Salon, 10/18/13)

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