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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 20, 2012

0 The Morning Flap: December 20, 2012

These are my links for December 19th through December 20th:

  • Dec. 21, 2012: Fearful ‘end of world’ callers flood NASA – If there’s one government agency really looking forward to Dec. 22, it’s NASA.The space agency said it has been flooded with calls and emails from people asking about the purported end of the world — which, as the doomsday myth goes, is apparently set to take place on Dec. 21, 2012.The myth might have originated with the Mayan calendar, but in the age of the Internet and social media, it proliferated online, raising questions and concerns among hundreds of people around the world who have turned to NASA for answers.Dwayne Brown, an agency spokesman, said NASA typically receives about 90 calls or emails per week containing questions from people. In recent weeks, he said, that number has skyrocketed — from 200 to 300 people are contacting NASA per day to ask about the end of the world.

    “Who’s the first agency you would call?” he said. “You’re going to call NASA.”

  • House set to vote on Boehner’s Plan B – A scheduled showdown vote Thursday evening in the U.S. House will determine how Congress and the White House proceed on fiscal cliff negotiations.With less than two weeks until the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts of the fiscal cliff take effect, the House will consider two measures proposed by Speaker John Boehner in the latest wrinkle of tense negotiations with President Barack Obama.One of the proposals would amount to both a concession by Republicans and a hard-line stance against the president on taxes. It would extend tax cuts scheduled to expire at the end of the year for most people while allowing rates to increase to 1990s levels on income over $1 million.A second proposal would change the automatic spending cuts set to kick in next year under the fiscal cliff, replacing cuts to the military with reductions elsewhere.

    The White House threatened Wednesday to veto Boehner’s tax plan, saying it would achieve little and diverted the focus from efforts to negotiate a broader agreement to reduce the nation’s chronic federal deficits and debt.

    While considered a negotiating tactic to pressure Obama to make more concessions, the vote also seeks to turn public opinion that now backs the president over Republicans in the talks.

  • Day By Day December 20, 2012 – As Good as it Gets – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 20, 2012 – As Good as it Gets #tcot
  • Here’s What to Watch in Debate on GOP’s Plan B – Welcome to the preview of the debate on the Plan B bill—or is that bills?— where the drama will unfold according to an unacknowledged script of party politics.One of the leading actors in the recitation, House Speaker John Boehner, was not even in the room when the Rules Committee debated well into Wednesday night, before voting to send to the floor the speaker’s fiscal cliff proposal that extends Bush-era rates on people who earn $1 million or less as well as on spending cuts, a late addition to the agenda and a retread of a bill the House passed earlier this year.The spending-cut measure, dubbed the “magical mystery bill” by Democratic Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts, because it was not added to the agenda until late Wednesday, is evidence that the speaker did not have the support in his conference for Plan B alone. Spending cuts were needed to sweeten the deal for the restive members of the conference.”Of course, spending cuts were a very important part of this and we passed the reconciliation package last May, and there were members who were concerned that this didn’t have spending cuts in it and so that’s why the inclusion of this will allow that to happen,” Chairman David Dreier said in an interview.
  • As Election Sting Lingers, Republicans’ Recalibration Advances – An influential Republican operative lamented that Jindal cast light on something that had fallen out of the national dialogue, complaining that there’s no reason to remind the public of an issue that caused Republicans fits this past year. But Jindal, who is widely expected to consider a 2016 presidential bid, observed that the Democrats successfully painted the GOP as opposing the use of birth control. That misconception is something high-level Romney campaign aides Katie Gage and Rich Beeson have said was a tough one for them to refute during the election, noting that it hindered their candidate’s electoral prospects.In addition to losing support among women, Republicans lost the Latino vote by historic margins on Election Day. While officials on both sides of the aisle have cautioned that the Hispanic population doesn’t rise and fall based solely on the nation’s immigration policies, the optics of a legislative fight on the issue do hold significance.In March, the American Conservative Union will host its annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. And while the country’s largest gathering of conservatives typically boasts a speaker roster peppered with controversial firebrands, the ACU unveiled a lineup of young and diverse headliners for the 2013 confab.Among the speakers are Tim Scott, the 47-year-old African-American congressman from South Carolina who was appointed to the Senate this week; Ted Cruz, a 41-year-old Canadian-born Latino who was elected to the Senate from Texas last month; Marco Rubio, also 41 and a Cuban-American senator from Florida; and Susana Martinez, the 53-year-old Mexican-American governor of New Mexico. The 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, will also speak, as will Ron Paul, Jim DeMint and noted immigration reform champion Jeb Bush.
  • The Auto Bailout Failure Is Now Complete – You may recall that during the presidential election, the Treasury Department refused requests by General Motors to unload the government’s stake in the giant automaker.Taxpayers had sunk $50 billion into a union bailout in 2009 and were now proud owners of 26.5 percent of the struggling company. Reportedly, GM had growing concerns that the stigma of “Government Motors” was hurting sales in the United States. At the time, any transaction would have come at a steep loss to taxpayers and undermined the president’s questionable campaign assertions that the auto union rescue had been a huge success.Well, now that the election is over and the Treasury Department is freed of political considerations, it plans to sell its 500 million shares of stock over the next 12 to 15 months and ease its way out of the company. GM will buy around 200 million shares at $27.50 per share by the end of the year. GM’s buy brings taxpayers back to around $5.5 billion of the $27 billion the company still owes. The special inspector general for TARP estimated in October that the Treasury would need to sell the remaining 500 million shares at $53.98 per share just to break even on its investment.Once GM buys its 200 million shares, the taxpayer stake in the company will drop to 19 percent, but the price to break even on the remaining 300 million shares will be around $70 per — or, in other words, probably never. As of this writing, GM shares are trading at around $27 per share. That, in the Obama era, is considered a successful transaction between the state and private industry. So successful that you’ll also remember that during the campaign, Obama maintained that “what we did with the auto industry, we can do in manufacturing across America.”

    Taxpayer funds and unions for everyone.

  • Fiscal Cliff’s Dirty Secret: It’s Not About Taxes At All, But Too Much Spending – There’s a lot of talk right now about an impending fiscal cliff. But we already went over a cliff economically in this country a long time ago.The current debate over tax hikes is an empty one built upon a false premise. The debate is whether raising tax rates will address our current crisis. The premise is that it is a lack of taxation that has led to the crisis. Both are hopelessly wrong.President Obama’s proposed tax increases on the top 2% of earners would fund the federal government for about eight days. Even if we taxed Americans earning over $1 million on 100% of their income, we would raise only about $600 billion in revenue.Taxing citizens at this level is a tyranny even Europe hasn’t reached, and still it would only address about one-third of our deficit.

    If one actually does the math, “taxing the rich” turns out to be no real solution at all, only fantasyland rhetoric.

    Every dollar the government takes is another dollar used unproductively. Every dollar removed from the private sector and wasted in the hands of bureaucrats is a dollar that will not be used to purchase goods, to pay for services or to meet a payroll.

  • Examiner Editorial: Boehner’s Plan B is conservatives’ best hope | WashingtonExaminer.com – You are wrong, sir | RT @JohnCornyn Examiner: Plan B is conservatives best option
  • Mass. poll: Scott Brown for John Kerry’s seat – Kevin Robillard – POLITICO.com – Brown beats all Dems handily | RT RT @politico New Massachusetts poll: Scott Brown for John Kerry’s seat:
  • Here’s What to Watch in Debate on GOP’s Plan B – Hopefully failure RT @HotlineJosh RT @mikecatalini: What to watch for in today’s Plan B floor debate in the House
  • Examiner Editorial: Boehner’s Plan B is conservatives’ best hope | WashingtonExaminer.com – No way! RT @ByronYork RT @conncarroll: Examiner Editorial: Boehner’s Plan B is conservatives’ best hope #tcot
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19
  • Is the Handwriting on the Wall for Rep. Buck McKeon? – Flap’s Blog – Is the Handwriting on the Wall for Rep. Buck McKeon? #tcot
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-19 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-19 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19
  • Philip Klein: How to evaluate ‘fiscal cliff’ proposals | WashingtonExaminer.com – Philip Klein: How to evaluate ‘fiscal cliff’ proposals | #tcot
  • Philip Klein: How to evaluate ‘fiscal cliff’ proposals – After weeks of relative calm, America’s “fiscal cliff” drama has now been overtaken by a flurry of proposals, counterproposals and legislative maneuvering.As various ideas have been floated, they have triggered two main reactions among conservatives. One is to insist that if Republicans firmly stand their ground long enough, they will eventually get what they want from President Obama. Another is to side with House Speaker John Boehner and to act as if anybody who rejects any of his proposals is completely detached from reality.If Republicans refuse to back any deal that doesn’t preserve all of the Bush-era rates in hopes of protecting the GOP’s reputation as the low-tax party, they risk accomplishing the exact opposite. Americans would likely blame the GOP for taxes going up on everybody — as would happen automatically on Jan. 1 if no deal is struck. At that point, Obama could propose a massive tax cut for those making less than $250,000 per year, and it would be difficult for Republicans to resist. If they continued to do so, their reputation as tax cutters would be deeply damaged.
  • Obama Digital Team Say Mobile Ads Targeting Young, Females and Hispanics Worked – Obama Digital Team Say Mobile Ads Targeting Young, Females and Hispanics Worked #tcot
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: New Prophylatic Antibiotic Guidelines for Joint Replacements Issued by the American Dental Association – New Prophylatic Antibiotic Guidelines for Joint Replacements Issued by the American Dental Association
  • Judge Robert H. Bork – R.I.P. – Flap’s Blog – Judge Robert H. Bork – R.I.P. #tcot
  • The Morning Flap: December 19, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 19, 2012 #tcot
  • Day By Day December 18, 2012 – The Environmentalists – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 18, 2012 – The Environmentalists #tcot
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 20, 2012

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share save 120 16 Flaps Links and Comments for April 12th on 16:16

These are my links for April 12th from 16:16 to 16:41:

  • The Real Medicare Divide – The Treaters Vs. Rationers – That’s why I’m convinced the major fault line in the health care debate in the coming decades won’t be between those who do and don’t want to diminish the  government’s role–by, say, replacing the open-ended benefits Medicare recipients now get with a Ryan-style limited subsidy for purchase of health insurance. Sure that’s one debate, and it’s happening now. But the bigger fault line will be the line that is just emerging, between those who want Americans to keep getting whatever health care will make them better–which is more or less Medicare’s current, costly posture–and those who accept some system, whether public or private, that would deny them some treatments because of their expense: The Treaters vs. the Rationers.**

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    Read it all

  • Is Obama going to endorse the debt commission’s plan? – Obama will not blaze a fresh path when he delivers a much-anticipated speech Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University. Instead, he is expected to offer support for the [debt] commission’s work and a related effort underway in the Senate to develop a strategy for curbing borrowing. Obama will frame the approach as a responsible alternative to the 2012 plan unveiled last week by House Republicans, according to people briefed by the White House.

    Letting others take the lead on complex problems has become a hallmark of the Obama presidency. On health care, last year’s tax deal and the recent battle over 2011 spending cuts, Obama has repeatedly waited as others set the parameters of the debate, swooping in late to cut a deal. The tactic has produced significant victories but exposed Obama to criticism that he has shown a lack of leadership.

    The Post reporters also note that Obama will speak favorably of the so-called Gang of Six, a group of senators who favor a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts.

    But what does this really mean? Saying nice things about a panel whose specific proposals he never endorsed and which are an anathema to much of his party doesn’t seem like a formula to move the ball ahead. A senior Republican Senate aide deems the “let others lead” approach as “ridiculous,” given the necessity of presidential leadership if we are to make progress on the debt.

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    Well, Obama has to do something and class warfare is the easiest – despite the details.

    Obama has not led on the economy, unemployment or foreign policy. What makes anyone think he will do anything different on the federal budget deficit?

  • Paul Ryan’s desperate critics on the LEFT – The Democrats have a problem. They can’t abide by the notion that we have to spend less on entitlement programs in order to solve our long- term debt, so rather than offer their own plan they’ve resorted to name-calling and straw-man arguments.

    Ezra Klein, for example, deems Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan a “joke,” accusing him of failing to raise taxes (well, yes that’s true) and of savaging “programs serving the poor.” Actually, Ryan would impose means-testing of the rich on Medicare and give block grants to the states to try to more effectively manage health services delivered to the poor. If we do nothing, of course, these plans will collapse. A Ryan spokesman had this to say:

    The CBO warns that if policymakers don’t take action to save Medicare, taxes “would reach higher levels relative to the size of the economy than ever recorded in the nation’s history, payments to physicians under Medicare would be reduced well below current rates, and payments to other Medicare providers would grow more slowly than the cost of their inputs; nevertheless, federal debt would continue to grow relative to GDP.”

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    Read it all.

    So, what does Ezra Klein want to do when Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare collapse under their own weight?

    Another government bailout? And, that works how when the country is bankrupt?

  • Sen. Rand Paul says he’s considering filibuster of budget agreement – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he's considering a filibuster of the budget agreement to fund the government for the remainder of this fiscal year.

    Paul, who said yesterday that he would vote against the agreement reached last Friday to cut $39.9 billion between now and September, acknowledged that he's considering waging a filibuster, which would make it so that leaders need 60 votes to pass the deal and advance it to President Obama's desk.

    "Yes, but we haven't really made a final decision on that yet," Paul said on conservative talker Sean Hannity's radio show.

    A filibuster would make it difficult for the Senate to pass the budget deal by midnight Friday, when the government's spending measure expires.

    Paul acknowledged that even if he were to filibuster, it's unlikely that he'll attract 40 other senators' votes in order to sustain his procedural roadblock to the budget deal.

    But such a move might crystallize conservative dissatisfaction with the deal brokered by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in last-minute negotiations with Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Conservatives are angry the deal falls short of the benchmark of $100 billion in cuts below Obama's original budget proposal for this fiscal year.

    Paul said that he would be more inclined to block action in the upper chamber if it led to consideration of the Senate GOP's balanced budget amendment.

    ======

    Tilting at windmills here.

    The government might shut down for really no reason and the GOP extremists would be blamed to the detriment of the entire party.

    Better to hold his fire for the debt ceiling vote.

share save 120 16 Flaps Links and Comments for April 12th on 16:16

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