Tuesday, July 26, 2011

James beats Asa, the Republicans seem +-, my outrage over recent events

James Black (white) won the following nice game against Asa Hoffman in the Marshall's FIDE Monday tournament. He hangs a pawn in the opening and has to move his kingside rook, but gets a brutal attack and wins quickly. This was James' first win in many games against Asa.

        I watched Obama's speech and Boehner's response last night. I was open jawed. It was like watching an adult plead for democracy to work, and then watching a two year old have a tantrum. A two year old who was just looking slightly off-camera. but regardless of your political leanings, is it not clear to everyone when someone is behaving decently and when someone is an asshole? I do not understand what the other side of the coin could be.
       That aside, it seems to me that objectively the Republicans are already positionally winning. Why can't they push one ultra-right wing bill through the House of Representative; the Senate will cave and Obama is too big-picture to veto it?
       I have become convinced in the last 3 years that the US is being turned into a Russian/Saudi Arabian-style oligarchy, and a Fox News- Republican-ultra right wing conspiracy exists to change the nature of this country by unfunding education (so people won't understand what is being done to them), removing the middle class and turning this country into a feudal society of wealthy landowners and impoverished serfs, buying the media and turning them into propaganda machines, and encouraging religious extremism as a tool of social control.

     Oh and let me add, I find the behavior of the prosecutor in the Dominique Strauss Kahn case absolutely outrageous. The idea that because the woman lied on an asylum application years ago, that she's not credible in a rape case when multiple pieces of physical evidence (on the floor and trauma to her body) support her story-- again, what?? It is clear cut cases like this, when dozens of women in this man's past accuse him of rape, assualt, violence, when physical evidence supports the victim, that I am just amazed by how people believe what they want to. I'm also amazed when people seize on tiny details, things like her recollection of what she did immediately afterwards changing slightly, to prove she's lying.  Doesn't it seem normal that she was traumatized by what happened, and didn't behave in a totally collected fashion afterwards? She's not making up his bodily fluids on the floor.


Anonymous said...

It is obvious that your are referring to Obama as the two year old. He was up there crying because he can’t get the Republicans to cave on their principles. Something that the liberals have no problem in doing. Why can’t Obama lead, where is his plan, why is he always campaigning? I am so sick and tired of the “woe is me “ attitude and blame Bush and or the Republicans for everything. For two years he had control of both the House and Senate, but failed to pass a budget. Talk about leadership !!! It is so typical of liberals, when they don’t have a leg to stand on, they start the personal attacks, they start calling the other side names.

Anonymous said...

"encouraging religious extremism as a tool of social control."

This is a bit extreme even for a liberal.

Anonymous said...

I think Steven Colbert eviserated the concept of standing by your principles when he gave that speech to George W. Bush some years ago:

"Here is a man who stands by his principles. He thinks the same thing on Thursday that he thought on Monday, no matter what happened on Tuesday or Wednesday."

All this crazy pledge-signing and refusing to compromise is anathema to actually governing. The Tea Party likes to worship the Founding Fathers. Let's worship the Founding Fathers and remember a little event called the "Great Compromise". It was part of what made this country great.

Jimio said...

I think both major parties forgot what the word compromize means. Without compromize, nothing will ever get done. Both R and D seem to only care about their own personal agendas and not about the general well being of all the citizens.

Anonymous said...

Since you did ask (“I don’t understand what the other side of the coin could be…”) the reason there is going to be a problem come August 6th is that the government is committed to spending 2.5 trillion dollars (!) that it does not have. What President Obama wants to do is borrow it (bringing the total official debt to over 17 trillion) which, of course, will have to be paid back, with interest (and, btw, that official figure of 17 trillion doesn’t take into account many things, like pension obligations and future social security and medicare/Medicaid obligations—a serious argument could be made that the real debt figure is over 100 trillion). Pretty soon the entire U.S. budget will be spent on interest payments alone. Not defense. Not social programs. Not education. Not NPR. Just interest. This is the future and frankly there is probably no way to avoid it. The problem has been ignored for far too long. The “draconian” cuts that the evil republicans are proposing are ridiculously insufficient. But at least it stops digging the hole deeper.

And, incidentally, I don’t know how many “millionaires” you think there are in the country but I assure you there aren’t enough to cover a 17 trillion dollar debt even if you taxed them at 100% (i.e., just went and confiscated their wealth). And, of course, you could do that only once. Then what?

And lastly, I don’t think “unfunding” is a word.


Anonymous said...

Re: Anon

But that is the weird thing! The President went a long way towards the kinds of deep cuts the Republicans wanted. No one denies that deep cuts must be made. Of course, he didn't give them everything they wanted because that isn't how compromise works. He asked for tax increases and loophole closings as part of a compromise for deep cuts.

And here is the weird part. The Republicans, getting pretty much everything they wanted, turned this down because of relatively minor taxes.

The fact is, no amount of cuts and taxes can wholly deal with the problem. Even the combination of deep cuts and high taxes can't do the whole job.

However, instead of doing something significant through compromise, the House Republicans said they would prefer something wholly inadequate. In fact, they would prefer nothing at all.

You know who else bargained that way? My brother and I, when we were 10 years old.

Anonymous said...

The federal government grows every year, taking more and more control over our lives, completely violating the federalist principles of the Constitution - and it is the conservatives taking over? It's amazing how political bias can generate delusions.

When Obama continued Bush's neocon foreign policy without skipping a beat, did you get a headache at least, or were you able to completely ignore it?

J.A. Topfke said...

The debt ceiling crisis is a charade.

We are going to default on our debt one way or another. If we keep spending and the politicians keep sticking their hands in the Federal Reserve cookie jar, then we will have run-away inflation, which has already started. If you create 50% inflation then you've cut the debt in half. Every time you put gas in your car or buy a box of Cheerios and look at the prices you can think of that as paying off the debt. That is a form of taxation on the American people and I would suggest it is a more insidious way to default as it places a greater burden on the poor people, for instance like the people in your district. Grandma will get her Social Security check, it just won't buy anything.

When the politicians talk about "cutting spending" they are not cutting anything. They don't mean cutting spending in the way you or I would think about cutting spending. They are talking about cutting spending from a projected 9 trillion dollar increase in spending. For example, if the House were to freeze all spending today and leave it exactly where it is now --don't add anything, don't cut anything, just leave it at the current level-- the CBO would score it as a 9 trillion dollar budget cut. That's like saying I smoke one pack of cigarettes a day, but I smoke a pack and a half tomorrow and tell everybody I quit smoking. Why? Because I had planned to smoke two packs.

The Republicans like to use the phrase "cutting spending" because it appeases their dim-witted base. The Democrats like to use the phrase "cutting spending" because it is a scare tactic for their dim-witted base. The media tries to drive us into a frenzy and keep us agitated and divided down false left/right lines, just like you pull for the Yanks and I pull for the Cards. The real two-year-olds are not Obama and not Boehner, but we, the country bumpkins who can't figure out how we are being played as rubes. The reason you can't see the other side of the coin is because the media and the politicians only show us the same two sides of the coin and give us the illusion that we are getting both sides of the story.

Can't find anything to cut? How about we start with the TSA? How about Obama takes his boot heel off the face of our civil liberties and stops molesting and humiliating women and children at the airport? How about we stop spending billions of dollars bombing Libya?

If the debt is the problem -- and it is the problem -- raising the debt ceiling is clearly not the answer.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Not a single one of you knows what he's talking about.

Anon 12:45 PM comes closest to the truth, but s/he blows it with "The fact is, no amount of cuts and taxes can wholly deal with the problem. Even the combination of deep cuts and high taxes can't do the whole job." This is an absurd statement. When the time comes to erase the deficit -- and that time is not now, but after the nation has finally undergone a real recovery -- the gap can be closed easily by doing the following:

- End military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and reduce the Pentagon budget by an additional $300 billion, bringing it back down to Clinton-era levels. (Currently the U.S. military budget is greater than those of China, Russia, India, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Saudi Arabia combined. Even after the $300 billion cut, we'd still be outspending all that bunch except for Italy, India and Germany. Eventually we should cut it down to another 50 percent below that, returning us to a pre-Cold War level of spending. After all, isn't the Cold War supposed to be over?)

- Raise the income cap on FICA, and you won't have to worry about Social Security's solvency for another century at least. (BTW, the Social Security Trust Fund has a $22 trillion surplus at the moment. It is not going broke. Nor is it bankrupting the government: on the contrary, Social Security lends money to the government by buying T-bills.)

- Repeal Bush-era tax cuts and tax capital gains at the same rate as earned income. Add an additional 60 percent marginal bracket for single-earner incomes over $500,000 and joint-earner incomes over $900,000. Wind down the home mortgage interest deduction.

- End subsidies to agribusiness.

In a healthy economy, these would be more than enough to balance the budget. (In fact, there was enough of an annual surplus at the end of the Clinton adminstration that if the government had just gone into a static loop, neither raising nor lowering spending or taxes, getting into no new wars, the debt we had at that time would already have been paid off by now.) The trick is getting from where we are now (U-3 rate 9.2 percent, U-6 rate 16.2 percent, liquidity crisis, home foreclosure crisis, House Republicans strapping a political bomb to their chests and threatening to take us all out with them if their demands aren't met) to real recovery. Just like the United Fruit Co. a hundred years ago, which sat on millions of acres of uncultivated land in Latin America while Latin American peasants clamored for land they could use to support themselves, today's corporations and merchant banks are sitting on colossal cash reserves and putting none of it into the economy, where it could do some good. Cutting their taxes won't change anything -- when the FAA was shut down this week because the House failed to pass a funding continuation, the airlines took the taxes they would have had to pay and stuck the money in their own pockets. Ticket prices didn't drop one cent! Businesses don't hire because you do them favors. They hire when they can't meet demand with the workforce they've got -- and before hiring anyone new, they'll try to squeeze every last drop of productivity out of their existing employees first.

Anonymous said...

Somehow that hoarded cash has to be brought back into the economy. One way to do this might be to issue higher-interest "Putting America to Work" bonds, like war bonds but dedicated to funding a WPA-style infrastructure restoration program. The American Society of Civil Engineers has reported that our highways, railroads, bridges and water systems are in atrocious disrepair. "Noooo! Big government spending bad bad evil blaaahh hurrrggghhh!" Come on -- if critical infrastructure isn't the government's responsibility, what is? It would put Americans to work in construction and manufacturing, which are the two sectors of the labor force suffering the most; it would address critical deficiencies; and it would get money circulating in the economy again.

The second dip of the Great Depression in 1937 was caused by exactly the sort of belt-tightening that the Banana Republicans in the House are ramming down our throats right now with their debt-ceiling extortion. If we continue on our current course, things are going to get grim.

LinuxGuy said...

As we become more of have vs. have-not society, obviously the rich have to be taxed more. You don't want to cut SS and have the elderly out on the street.

The Repubs are acting like a-holes, IMHO, and I am a Repub. I think people wanted govt. to cut spending, not give the rich and powerful all of these tax breaks. The Reubs keep complaining about taxes hurting jobs, it's about the dumbest thing - the jobs disappear for different reasons. They disappear more because of incentives to, not because of dis-incentives. You can't have the rest of the world do everything for you (developing nations), and then wonder why there are no jobs here.

We are 99% of the economy in Afghanistan, U.S. dollars flowing into there. The govt. has no common-sense, basically.

It's so ridiculous that it's not even worth getting upset about. I didn't see Obama's speech, but in this case, I'd have to agree with whatever he said.

LinuxGuy said...

And then these complaints about the DJIA being down because of all this. Wasn't it down to 6500 just a couple years back, and now it's over 12,000? What a joke, it should be worth next to nothing as far as I'm concerned. Hot air piled on top of hot-air, can't believe people invest their money into that and not expect it to tank big again someday, just like the last couple of times. Third time's the charm, when it comes to learning, I guess.

Bill Brock said...

James's recovery after blundering the pawn was impressive. I like his restraint in not exchanging beautiful knight for ugly rook and simply proceeding with the plan.

Anonymous said...

I have to give major props to anjiaoshi for being a world-class liberal kool-aid drinker.

It takes quite the cult-like devotion to one's political beliefs to claim that Social Security has a surplus.

In case there are some reading who think anji's confident tone denotes actual knowledge, here is a quick summary of reality:

1. For a long time, SS took in more than it paid out (real money).
2. This surplus was used to purchase special treasury bonds (IOUs) and the government was then able to use that real money in its general "revenue" fund.
3. Now we've come to a time where SS is not taking in more than it pays out.
4. The trust fund is opened and is filled with IOUs.

If you want to see a liberal's head explode, politely ask them how to convert IOUs to real money, in order to pay out the SS benefits.

Bill Brock said...

"If you want to see a liberal's head explode, politely ask them how to convert IOUs to real money, in order to pay out the SS benefits."

Simple: repeal the tax cuts that were financed by Social Security. The 15% qualified dividend rate would be a good place to start.

LinuxGuy said...

Save 2.4 trillion (...over 10 years).

Where is the truth in such statements when the detail that follows is like a hammer-blow?

Hey everybody, I am going to be a millionaire! (...over 50 years so I will only need to make 20k/yr).

And as far as I know they still have to figure out how they are going to save all that money.

Why can't they balance a budget half with cuts and half with additional taxes - for sake of argument. I think they should cut everything, and raise taxes, and balance a budget. Be realistic. Can always cut more later if people can't stand that solution.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Social Security surplus documented here: http://investmentwatchblog.com/social-security-surplus-at-22-trillion/

"If you want to see a liberal's head explode, politely ask them how to convert IOUs to real money." The same way you liquidate any other security: Either wait for it to mature, or sell it to someone else. *checks head* Still intact.

Anon 10:45 AM thinks he wants to get into it with the son of a retired Social Security Administration deputy director of operations and an SSA claims rep, but he doesn't.

Anonymous said...

"the son of a retired Social Security Administration deputy director of operations"

Wow, way to name drop. Too bad the son wasn't paying close attention when they covered Econ 101, or likely the father didn't want to answer embarrassing questions that expose the whole Ponzi scheme.

If you take in more money than you pay out, you have a surplus. But if you take that extra money and spend it right away, replacing every dollar with an IOU (bond), then you no longer have a surplus. Because when the time comes when you need to cover the gap between money taken in and money paid out - reach into that surplus, in other words - you have to find a way to redeem those IOUs with actual money.

So if you want to claim that the government can just print more money or raise taxes to redeem the IOUs and thus convert the 'trust fund' to money, sure. But that's not the same thing as SS having an actual surplus - because you need more money coming from somewhere to turn that IOU surplus into a money surplus.

It is not surprising that a liberal doesn't understand the difference between money and debt. Or understand the difference between economics and magic.

Anonymous said...

I have to mostly agree with anjiaoshi:
"Wow. Not a single one of you knows what he's talking about."
It seems obvious that:
1. Bush tax cuts were a horrible idea & the sooner they go, the better.
2. All three wars are stupidly expensive, while either Iraq or Afghanistan dwarfs Libya in the expense area, I'm much less convinced about the stupidity. Wasn't it Qaddafi(Don't even go there on the spelling!) who famously renounced nuclear weapons?
3. If we can spend Trumpteen billions of dollars (re)building infrastructure in far away (discretionary) war-torn regions, why can't we do it here.
4. "Sticking to one's principles." doesn't automatically imply that one has strong character; sometimes it's simply clear proof that (s)he's an ideologically recalcitrant douchebag.

Anonymous said...

You are on the right track last anon.

The big green weenie hasn't "done" Afghanistan yet. Why do you want the girl that you can have for 50 cents (Libya), when there is the girl that you could never have (Afghanistan). Same thing with Vietnam really. Was that a war over sex-appeal (communism) or what. I'm really disappointed that we don't fix up N. Korea so that they can crush us economically. It's really not fair that we still have jobs in our country. I'm kidding.

My mental picture of Afghanistan is "Elbonia" from Dilbert. Completely useless. Let them grow poppies and forget about them. It would make just as much sense to "fix" Somalia to stop the pirates from raiding ships from nearby areas. There are endless futile quests to pursue while the nation's credit rating plummets. Why are we taking on other countries' own problems.

It's not a crusade. Nope, has nothing to do with it. Look, just because we are a 'Christian nation' and they are a 'Muslim nation' doesn't mean that it's a crusade. Why would you ever think such a thing? I, for one, am glad that we have puppet govt.'s in nations that are fundamentally the opposite of ours. This is brilliant strategy my friends. Or, not. Plus, it keeps our mind off of jobs.

Oops, did I just say all of that?

Marvin Sparrow said...

Hang in there girl. I love you! Don't let the idiot right wing conservatives get you down. Change gonna come.

You forgot me, of course, but I knew you when you were a barefoot teen in a sun dress playing at the weekend Rawlee Phi Kappa Blancas

Anonymous said...

Nice wedding photos!
but what else is new, let's move on with chess and life
-nothing new in the chess world

Anonymous said...

Any apology to the Kahn prosecutor you maligned since it turns out the maid is a full-time liar?

I understand your need to believe that the white man is always guilty, but at least have the class to admit when you are wrong.

David Pruess said...

Great recovery by James after dropping the pawn. Wow, what a chess player!! I don't want to be up a pawn against him ;-) and Asa is a tough customer. wonderful.