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Bill USA

Bill USA's Journal
Bill USA's Journal
December 26, 2014

Why you shouldn't drive slowly in the left lane - Vox (Finally! this is one of my pet peeves!)


There are basically two types of drivers: those who get worked up about people driving slowly in the left lane, and those who do it all the time and have no idea they're upsetting everyone else.

In case you're in the second group, some background: every state has some sort of law that discourages people from traveling in the left lane on multi-lane roads and highways. It's not that you're never allowed in the left lane, just that you should only use it when necessary, for passing, then get back over.

That's because even if you're driving fast, there's always someone going faster. If you promptly get back over after passing, that car will be able to pass you, allowing everyone on the road to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. If you don't, it'll inevitably lead to buildups of traffic and likely raise the chance of accidents.

The system works best when people aren't hogging the left lane. That's one reason why National Motorists Association has declared June Lane Courtesy Month in an effort to to raise awareness about the importance of getting out of the left lane.

December 24, 2014

need help finding lobbying dollars by industy BY PARTY - OpenSecrets obviously isn't making it easy

to see how much each industry gives to each party.

I"ve been able to do this in the past but now it seems nearly impossible to find this info. can anybody help me out here?

December 18, 2014

Democrats = Action .... Republicans = Reaction

Democratic ideology is predicated on man’s desire to improve the human condition. Society is not ... or should not be, a static thing. It is not realistic to suppose that society, in its current state, cannot be improved upon. Democrats basically, see making changes to society so that its benefits are available to more people, generally by enabling more opportunity for greater participation in the economy, as a desirable thing. Democrats feel this can rightly be called progress.

Republicans on the other hand, represent the forces opposed to any change. These forces generally emanate from those who enjoy the most power and wealth in society.   But these forces also come from those found in any society who are impaired by ignorance (who generally fear change of any kind). Consequently, virtually all the ideas or theories proposed by the Conservatives are specious: fabricated to stand in opposition to ideas proposed by Democrats. These ‘theories’ that Conservatives propose start out with the purpose or objective of contradicting a contention of a needed action - usually proposed by Democrats - but just as frequently proposed by social scientists who, coincidentally share with Democrats, the objective of wanting to make society work better for more people (I guess Conservatives would say, right there(!), the social scientists, by believing in that objective, are ‘guilty’ of being partisans - of being Democrats.

This makes the Conservative contention that the media is ‘biased’.. by definition against the Conservatives - the biggest of the Big Lies, or at least the biggest example of Disinformation, promulgated by the Conservatives. While Conservatives constantly chant the media is biased against them, it is the Conservatives who propose theories predicated upon or designed solely to contradict or appear to disprove Democratic proposed ideas/solutions. It is the Conservatives who are proposing theories/ideas which are NOT the result of an open minded, logical analysis of the relevant facts, but which start with the objective of DIS-proving a proposed solution to a problem offered by Democrats.
December 17, 2014

How the GOP Plans to Rig Congress to Embrace Trickle-Down “Voodoo Economics” - Bill Moyers


Republicans are signaling that when they take control of the Senate in January, they’ll try to change the way a key government watchdog does math. If they get their way, it will effectively put a thumb on the scale of all future legislation.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) informs virtually all of our political debates. Made up of non-partisan career technocrats, the CBO’s most important function is to “score” proposed legislation, projecting how a bill would impact future budgets if it were passed. When the CBO concludes that a piece of legislation will increase future deficits, it provides a powerful argument against the measure. When they project that a proposal will shrink the government’s debt, it allows proponents to claim that it’s the “fiscally responsible” thing to do. Key findings from the CBO’s reports are eagerly consumed and broadly disseminated by politicians, pundits and political reporters.

A number of Republicans have called for the CBO to incorporate what US News & World Report calls a “gimmick” that would result in tax cuts magically paying for themselves in future CBO scores. In fact, it would likely result in the CBO claiming that even deep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy would result in more revenues coming into the government’s coffers. We could have our cake and eat it, too!

The gimmick is called “dynamic scoring,” and is based on economic models that purport to show that tax cuts unleash so much new economic activity that ultimately, they result in more taxes being collected.

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
December 17, 2014

Health Care spending for country held at 17.4% of GDP for the last 5 years (CMMS) - Centers for

... Medicare and Medicaid Services....


Jason Millman: “The United States spent $2.9 trillion on health care in 2013, or about $9,255 per person, according to a new detailed accounting of the nation’s health care dollars. The 2013 totals represent just 3.6 percent growth in national health spending from 2012 — the lowest annual growth rate since 1960, according to a federal report published in the policy journal Health Affairs.”

Jonathan Cohn: “On Wednesday, actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their annual estimate of national health expenditures—that is, all the money that Americans spent on medical care last year, whether directly or through insurance plans and government programs like Medicare … In 2013, CMS announced, national health spending was 17.4 percent of GDP.”

“The more important news is how that fraction changed between 2013 and 2014: It didn’t change at all. In fact, because of revisions to some past years, CMS now thinks that health care spending has held steady at that same level (17.4 percent of GDP) for five years.”
December 16, 2014

with insertion of Dodd-Frank rollback, Wallstreet's Wolfpack dispenses with the sheeps clothing

.. In a bit of an indicator of what things will be like starting in January, the GOP inserted a roll-back of a provision of the Dodd-Frank Finanacial reform law into the Omnibus funding bill. The inserted bit of language allows banks to play with Credit Default Swaps with Federally insured deposits and in another classic example of GOP civic cynicism - it was written by Citigroup lobbyists. Thus, Wallstreets Wolfpack, the GOP, is dropping all pretenses of responsible governance - there is no ethical or economic rationale for such a move - and is beginning its unabashed run-down and destruction of rational regulation of Casino bankers. Give the GOP a few years and we should be right back where we were in the last bit of Supply Side prosperity we enjoyed, complete with credit meltdown and imminent economic collapse.

Wall Street’s Revenge - Dodd-Frank Damaged in the Budget Bill - Paul Krugman


Last week Congress passed a bill to maintain funding for the U.S. government into next year, and included in that bill was a rollback of one provision of the 2010 financial reform.

In itself, this rollback is significant but not a fatal blow to reform. But it’s utterly indefensible. The incoming congressional majority has revealed its agenda — and it’s all about rewarding bad actors.


Now, this isn’t the death of financial reform. In fact, I’d argue that regulating insured banks is something of a sideshow, since the 2008 crisis was brought on mainly by uninsured institutions like Lehman Brothers and A.I.G. The really important parts of reform involve consumer protection and the enhanced ability of regulators both to police the actions of “systemically important” financial institutions (which needn’t be conventional banks) and to take such institutions into receivership at times of crisis.


But what Congress did is still outrageous — and both sides of the ideological divide should agree. After all, even if you believe (in defiance of the lessons of history) that financial institutions can be trusted to police themselves, even if you believe the grotesquely false narrative that bleeding-heart liberals caused the financial crisis by pressuring banks to lend to poor people, especially minority borrowers, you should be against letting Wall Street play games with government-guaranteed funds. What just went down isn’t about free-market economics; it’s pure crony capitalism.

And sure enough, Citigroup literally wrote the deregulation language that was inserted into the funding bill.


December 14, 2014

The Unsurpri$ing Connection Between the Two Odious Parts of the Cromnibus

(emphasis my own)

Progressives revolted over two provisions in the massive compromise spending bill about to become law. One provision rolls back banking regulation of derivatives under the Dodd-Frank Act passed during the financial crisis. The other provision will vastly increase the amount of money which individuals can donate to political parties. A couple could give their favorite political party over $3 million during a two-year election cycle. (It is quite sad for the House to pass the provision the night of Tom Mann’s retirement party from Brookings; Tom was so instrumental in the writing and passage of the McCain-Feingold law, whose soft money limits have now been severely undermined by the Cromnibus.)

The two objectionable provisions might seem unrelated, but in fact they are quite interrelated. Both show the importance of the role of money and influence in Washington. On the derivatives law heavily favored by the banking industry, the NYT explains:

“The language in the spending bill was inserted by Representative Kevin Yoder, Republican of Kansas, but he did not write it. Citigroup did. In 2013, the bank and its allies were able to corral a bipartisan vote to pass the rollback out of the House Financial Services Committee. In an analysis by The New York Times of Citigroup emails, more than 70 lines of the committee’s 85-line rollback bill came from Citigroup’s recommendations. The banking industry strongly supports the rollback measure. James C. Ballentine, an executive vice president at the American Bankers Association, said financial instruments like credit deferred swaps are used to mitigate risk, not bolster it. To force their trading into units unprotected by federal taxpayers would be onerous, he argues.”

On the campaign finance measure, this was not something that anti-regulationist Mitch McConnell forced on unwilling Democrats. This was negotiated by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and likely supported by President Obama. No one has been a bigger hypocrite on campaign finance than President Obama, who has always talked about the need for campaign finance reform while his actions did a tremendous amount to undermine and weaken existing law.

Neither of these provisions were the subject of hearings or deliberation. Both were snuck into a massive bill through the back door at the behest of the powerful.

The Senate has not voted on the Funding bill, so you still have time to call your Senators to tell them what you think of this back door sabotage of Democracy.

December 14, 2014

Democrats Bow down to Wall Street - Bill Moyers & Company

...corporate 'Democrats', TPP and hollowing out the Middle Class. Another great show, interviewing John MacArthur publisher of Atlantic Magazine.

Video and transcript....


BILL MOYERS: Yeah. You say if he wins the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he'll be giving away big chunks of our remaining manufacturing base to Japan and Vietnam and other Pacific Rim countries. Why does he want to do that?

JOHN R. MACARTHUR: Because he's the fundraiser in chief. And again, this goes back to Bill Clinton. Because Obama's really just imitating Bill Clinton. Clinton made an alliance with the Daley machine in Chicago, which Obama, he's inherited that alliance with the two Daley brothers. The people who were thriving are the people in power. Rahm Emanuel is now mayor of Chicago. Bill Daley and Rahm Emanuel were the chief lobbyists for passing NAFTA under Clinton. They're the ones who rounded up the votes. They're the ones who made the deals with the recalcitrant Democrats and Republicans who didn't want to vote for it. These people are in the saddle. They succeeded each other as--

BILL MOYERS: They're Democrats, too.

JOHN R. MACARTHUR: Democrats. But Daley succeeded Rahm Emanuel as Obama's chief of staff. These are the people Obama talks to all the time. And they're saying, free trade, great. We don't know about factories closing. But it's a great way to raise money.

Obama Is Still Pushing Two Giant Trade Deals — Here’s What You Need to Know
Last week, Barack Obama called once again for establishing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a mega-deal regulating trade in 12 countries that account for about 40 percent of the world’s economic activity. The deal has been in the works for almost a decade.


Why are we talking about this now?

In addition to President Obama’s comments that he had made “good progress” discussing the deal with other leaders at the Asia-Pacific Summit last week, many observers believe that these trade agreements, especially the TPP, represent one area where the new Republican-controlled Congress and the White House can find common ground. And, as American University scholar James Thurber told NBC News, “the president believes that a trade deal will define his legacy.”

But there’s reason to be skeptical that a deal is possible. A complex treaty is impossible to negotiate without Congress giving the president “fast-track” trade authority. Fast-track strips Congress’s ability to amend any agreement the president makes with other countries — they would only be able to vote yea or nay.

Whereas there was once a solid, bipartisan consensus in favor of these kinds of trade deals, it has since fallen apart. According to Public Citizen, only eight House Democrats are on record as favoring fast-track. On the other side of the aisle, as I noted in January, the tea party wing of the Republican Party has dubbed the TPP “Obamatrade,” and is warning, in the words of one “analyst” on the Tea Party News Network, that TPP is a “weapon aimed straight at our Constitution, straight at our sovereignty and straight at Christians around the world.”

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About Bill USA

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

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