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      As many have heard, John Tory, the mainstream right wing candidate, won convincingly in Toronto and Olivia Chow came in third place, even doing worse than Doug Ford (brother of the famous crack-smoking Rob Ford.)  Much hand wringing has ensued that progressive just can’t win elections in Toronto. While it’s true that Toronto is hard [...]
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Pentagon Releases Findings on DADT

Today the Pentagon releaseda long-anticipated surveyregarding military service by gay men and lesbians. The study states, as predicted, that service by openly LGBT personnel would have little to no impact on long-term military cohesion and effectiveness.

The study took place over a period of 10 months, and is expected to have huge implications for the future of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—the 17-year-old controversial law prohibiting military service by openly gay and lesbian citizens. Officials familiar with the results of the study—which was based on responses by about 115,000 service members and 44,200 military spouses—said that a clear majority of respondents indicated opposition to the law, with 70% predicting that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed, or no effect on their units. Furthermore, about 70% of respondents reported working with someone whom they believed to be gay or lesbian, and 92% of these reported having a neutral or positive experience in their unit’s ability to work together. The survey authors write that “both the survey results and our own engagement of the force convinced us that when service members had the actual experience of serving with someone they believe to be gay, in general unit performance was not affected negatively by this added dimension.” Over 60% of respondents said repeal would have a positive or no effect on their personal morale, and 67% believed there would be a positive or no effect on their personal readiness.

Those sneaky gays! Always proving to us that they are human beings and more than their sexuality! It makes it so much harder for us to discriminate against them!

Tuesday Morning: Falling Chips

How to speak to the public without a teleprompter for 15 minutes:

Yes, dear World, we passed her up for this (skip to 1:51 to hear Hillary’s response):

It appears that Obama is following Hillary’s foreign policy.

Just sayin’.

Meanwhile, WaPo is reveling in the damage that Wikileaks has done to our foreign policy.  Instead of investigating how such a breach could have happened in the first place (I am with myiq and Anglachel on this one.  An army private shouldn’t have this much access.  It’s unnatural.), the post is {{GASP!}} appalled that such a thing has ruined, RUINED everything we have tried to accomplish in the past 230 years.  And it was on Hillary’s watch.  Yeah, the paper of Sally Quinn must just love that.  But Benjamin Netanyahu has what seems like a logical assessment of the situation:

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the WikiLeaks disclosures will make it harder for American diplomats to be honest in their assessments of political situations abroad and will inspire more caution among foreign leaders when they are dealing with U.S. officials.

“It’s clear this will happen,” he told the Association of Tel Aviv Journalists.

“Diplomacy is built on secrecy,” he added. “Journalism is built on revelations. And the result of what happened with WikiLeaks, in my view, is that it will be harder for you to do your work and it will be harder for us to do our work.”

That pretty much sums it up.  The leaked cables will make everyone more skittish that their every word will be reported.  Stuff will still need to be discussed, non-trivial tidbits passed on, intuition related, but now they’ll have to do it through Skype, where the encryption method has been only partially cracked.  Or they’ll be reduced to interpreting body language.  It’s not fatal and the countries that are “lamenting” the loudest are just taking advantage of an awkward situation.  The fallout reminds me of those days in middle school when one girl finds a note from another girl she thought was her friend and she now realizes that her “friend” has been talking trash about her to someone else and now everyone’s feelings are hurt. Oh, Please. Is this what countries around the world have been reduced to?  Petty sniping between adolescents?  Adolescents with nukes?   But diplomacy will go on, because it *has* to.

Moving on.  I take that back.  We must continue to observe that President Obama does not know what he is doing and that the Obots (who are even more clueless than Palinophiles) pushed him on us without thinking:

Obama Orders Pay Freeze for Federal Workers

Well, that ought to make all those surly clerks more user friendly.  Yes, stick it to virtually the only sector that has any kind of protection at all.  Do not try to impress on the public the consequences of this action, such as decreased spending during a recession, more unemployment and decreased tax revenue.  THERE!  That will show them nasty Republicans.  Obama will triangulate before it’s even necessary to triangulate AND he’ll pursue even more pointless and harmful policies that will add to the deficit and recession.  Take THAT, GOP!  You’re not going to push Barry around, nosiree.

Gawd, this is so depressing.

BTW, for an enlightening podcast on Barry’s childhood in Indonesia, check out this episode of Witness from BBC.  You’ll have to sit through a few painful moments of Barry reading from one of his bestsellers but the recollection of one of his Indonesian childhood friends is very interesting.  We should have seen this coming.

Merrill Goozner has a crack at the new liberal version of a deficit reduction plan.  He suggest that it may represent the “new silent majority”, that would be us, oh Best Beloveds, who no political party wants to be beholden to but who tend to vote anyway.  Here are the money quotes:

Some historical perspective: the debt-to-GDP ratio remained below 50 percent throughout the Great Depression; peaked near 120 percent after World War II; fell steadily to around 33 percent in 1980; but rose quickly after Ronald Reagan became president and continued except for a few years near the end of Bill Clinton’s term in office. It stood at 57 percent when George W. Bush became president and spiked to 93 percent as a result of the Great Recession that began late in his term.

The liberals want to stabilize near this higher number (no new additional debt, but no pay down, either) because they see a long-term role for public investment in rebuilding America. The Bowles-Simpson plan would use some of its new revenue (from eliminating tax expenditures like corporate tax loopholes and all middle-class tax expenditures like the home mortgage deduction) to both pay down debt and lower income tax rates across the board.

The Bowles-Simpson plan also preserves some room for spending on infrastructure and research and development. But it is nowhere near the amounts called for in the liberal plan, which would use the money raised from higher taxes on corporations (they only remove so-called tax expenditures when they benefit high-income households) to invest in “quality child care, infrastructure, public transit, rural broadband connectivity, and research and development.”

The liberal alternative also steps up a number of income transfer programs like the earned income tax credit. The cash comes from eliminating corporate tax loopholes and a new carbon tax. “Despite having a higher-than-average statutory tax rate, because of preferences embodied in the tax code the United States collects just 2% of GDP in corporate tax revenue, compared with 2.5% across other developed nations,” the report says. “We suggest several changes that would broaden the tax base for corporations, including eliminating fossil fuel production tax credits, limiting the deductibility of financial corporate debt interest payments, closing the dividend loophole for foreign source income, and removing active financing tax deferral for financial firms.”

Translation: tax oil and coal companies, big banks, and the overseas operations of multinational firms while discouraging corporate debt. Instead of using all of that money for deficit reduction, transfer some to low-and-moderate income workers, whose increased consumption will stimulate the economy, and invest in infrastructure that promotes long-term growth.

The plan asserts that too much of the public debate to date has focused on Social Security, which plays only a minor role in the long-term deficits facing the country. Then there’s health care, whose skyrocketing costs will turn everybody’s deficit reduction plans into so much confetti unless brought under control.

I like this guy.  Check him out.

Anyway, I have to hit the shower, sports fans.  It’s off to work, for as long as it lasts.  Might as well enjoy it.

I leave you with this ditty from the coolest girl at the lunch table, Gwyneth Paltrow, who in addition to being a talented actress and easy on the eyes, turns out to be able to sing and play a guitar.  The song says it all: we will get through this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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