Sunday Sunday (links)

Well, post swim lactic acid and endorphin levels have ruined my chance to offer a intelligent essay. So … on to links.

  1. A middle ground?  You mean like where people who want guns can get them and those that don’t don’t. Sounds like a middle ground to me.
  2. So the left has been full frontal attack mode on Mr Walker. They’re making him a more and more attractive candidate from where I sit. I mean, for example, when you demonize a guy for “gosh he’s making it illegal on Wisconsin campuses to report rapes and assaults” … uhm, dig just a little bit and you find he’s doing that at the effing request of the University (not a hotbed conservative place, btw). And the whole, “he’s clearly unqualified” after giving reasonable responses to stupid/unreasonable questions. Uhm, no. That’s not unreasonable, but hey, the questions were.
  3. On speaking truthfully, unless you are a politician. (for a prime example see our President), in which case (to borrow from Shania Twain) as we know politicians only lie when they’re breathing.
  4. On the IRS and Obamacare.
  5. On the IRS and their breathing thing, or lying thing .. whatever.
  6. Tech for the plant floor.
  7. Cool image.
  8. Evil and consequences.
  9. Zoom.
  10. A school (down under) getting it all wrong.
  11. Left wing boorish bullying, an example.
  12. So, Obama vetoed Keystone, because he things rail is much cleaner safer way to transport oil. Teh stupid, it burns.
  13. So, will the Rubicon be crossed in the next decade or two? Wonder if anyone is laying odds.

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40 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    Pipelines are about equally as safe as rail. Pipelines are subject to greater catastrophic risk. When they go the damage can be huge. A rail car is limited to either spilling or burning only the oil inside it (about 700 barrels). Pipelines can spill a nearly unlimited amount of oil (in ND a pipeline leaked over 20,600 barrels and wasn’t noticed until a famer started finding oil seeping into his field).

    Rail cars can explode and burn but that is usually due to dissolved gas evaporating to the top of the tanks and then the tanks being pierced. The chances of this happening can be greatly reduced by upgrading the tanker cars currently in use to the newer designed. Most rail spills, however, are nearly irrelevant environmentally (most being <5 gallons).

    Rail does have a few other advantages. It can be built or torn down must faster than a pipeline. Rail lines can be used for other types of transport between oil shipping. Both shippers and receivers have greater competition since trains can be diverted while pipelines are limited only to their ends. From a security POV pipelines do seem more vulnerable to attack IMO.

  2. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    And to be fair you should note the benefits of pipelines.

    What does it take to ship a comparable quantity of oil by the two methods? Hmm?

    From a security POV pipelines do seem more vulnerable to attack IMO.

    ???

  3. Boonton says:

    To attack a train you need access to its schedule and unlike commuter trains, private freight trains are not as easy to lookup. I suppose you could, TE Lawrence style, stake out a section of track and wait for a massive train to come by and then blow it up, but that leaves you exposed for a period of time.

    Pipelines I believe are ‘always on’ meaning that they are always pressurized so all you have to do is pierce it anyone along the line and since much of the line will go through empty areas that are rarely supervised there’s plenty of opportunity. You could avoid this by burying the pipeline deep underground or protecting it with multiple layers of concrete, steel etc. But then that raises the cost dramatically and makes it difficult to detect and address accidental breaks that might happen.

    For example, back in 2001 a drunk Alaskan hunter shot .338 rifle at the trans-Alaskan pipeline. The result was nearly 300,000 gallons of oil spilled over the tundra and a 3 day shut down as repair crews had to get to a remote location to stop it. That’s around 9000 barrels. Since a typical train car holds 720 barrels so a drunk hunter would have to shoot nearly a dozen train cars to pull off a similiar feat…and since I suspect the tanker cars are not under high pressure hitting them with a single shot would not cause them to empty entirely.

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I’m not seeing you notice advantages of pipelines. And, you might investigate the marginal increase in pipelines. Pipelines run all over our country now with a lot of different products (crude, gas, methane). You don’t seem to admit that the Keystone addition is a small marginal change in the pipeline inventory.

    How much more can you ship in a pipeline and how much cheaper than rail? Hmm?

  5. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    via google.

    America depends on a network of more than 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, nearly 320,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines, and more than 2 million miles of gas distribution pipelines to safely and efficiently move energy and raw materials to fuel our nation’s economic engine.

    So. Adding 1,200 miles. Why are you talking about increased “terror” exposure?

  6. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    You don’t live near any tracks to you?

  7. Boonton says:

    You have a habit of forgetting your arguments. America has a huge network of pipelines. America has a huge network of roads. A huge network of rail lines. Etc. Etc. You asserted that we should approve a pipeline because otherwise we’ll burn up in rail explosions. Well rail explosions are actually very rare and unlike pipelines, when accidents do happen with rail lines they are usually trivial spills that are detected, reported and addressed quickly. Even in the worse cases, the damage a rail disaster is capable of is limited by the fact there is a finite amount of oil in even the largest rail convoy while pipelines can sprew a theoretically infinite amount through a break.

    You don’t live near any tracks to you?

    Actually we do have a rail line that runs cross the street less than a half mile away. It isn’t used much except to make some deliveries to some local businesses that run along it. Every now and then some do-gooder types try to put some caps on it, even though it only runs once a week, in the afternoon and moves at less than 5 mph. I can pretty much guarantee there’s been more accidents with trucks in the area than the rail line.

    Is this an argument for ripping out all pipelines to bring back mass rail? No. But that does take some of the steam out of the fake urgency over Keystone. It also helpfully reminds us the jobs argument runs in both directions.

  8. Boonton says:

    So, will the Rubicon be crossed in the next decade or two? Wonder if anyone is laying odds.

    Pretty tame stuff. Ignoring the courts isn’t exactly the same as being a dictator (the original vision the Founders had probably did not envision the courts having to spend so much time settling Constitutional questions…they probably thought dictatorship would be avoided by the power of the legislature and the individual autonomy of the states together acting as a check). Even more tame when you consider that for every rank and file Democrat who answered yes to the question, there was almost another Democrat who answered no (43% vs 35%).

    In other interesting polling news, 57% of Republicans think the Constitution should be ditched and Christianity established as a ‘national religion’.

  9. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    In other interesting polling news, 57% of Republicans think the Constitution should be ditched and Christianity established as a ‘national religion’.

    Cite?

    Ignoring the courts is not trivial, after all, “ignoring the courts” means you are also ignoring Congress (you’re in the courts because you’re breaking the laws which were passed by … tada).

    “even more tame”, uhm a number at all greater than 0% answering yes is in itself problematic.

  10. Mark says:

    You’re still (apparently) not wrapping your head around why there are any pipelines at all. After all, according to you, rail is cheaper, more flexible and safer. Odd then that anyone would use pipes if not coerced if that were the case.

  11. Boonton says:

    The citation is trivially easy to get, look for it yourself. Voters often get lots of basic stuff wrong so it isn’t shocking that they would approve of doing things that would be beyond the pale for actual elected officials to do. Speaking of which, we actually do have real public officials who have declared they intend to ignore court rulings about SSM, so I guess you should consider upping your homeowners insurance before you start throwing stones (get that ‘glass house’ option checked!)

    I didn’t say rail was cheaper. Obviously pipelines are less labor intensive since rail cars need to be loaded, attached, driven, and then unloaded. Likewise pipelines can handle a larger amount of oil than a rail car, that’s why a single small break produces tens of thousands of gallons.

    So clearly there are pros and cons from multiple metrics (safety, flexibility, cost, etc.). But you are the one with the agenda here, the GOP is demanding that Keystone be given special treatment and fast track approval with gov’t help. Their arguments have been that it will generate an exceptional amount of jobs. Well that’s false since less labor intensive by definition means fewer jobs. Now they are arguing for safety. That too is false. While some rail disasters could be worse than some pipeline disasters, it is hardly clear that pipelines are a winner in so dramatic a manner that they merit special treatment.

  12. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    So clearly there are pros and cons from multiple metrics (safety, flexibility, cost, etc.)

    Well, nice of you to admit that. Previously you only admitted to seeing pipeline cons and rail pro sides of the discussion.

    But you are the one with the agenda here, the GOP is demanding that Keystone be given special treatment and fast track approval with gov’t help.

    Interesting spin. Democrats have been blocking this. Removal of stonewalling and blocking is “fast-tracking”. Wow. I mean really. Wow.

    Speaking of which, we actually do have real public officials who have declared they intend to ignore court rulings about SSM.

    And I’ve noted that as “pretty tame stuff”? Oh, wait. I didn’t and haven’t.

    As to the survey “316 Republican voters” with no mention of how they selected them. Cricket races ahoy, eh? Look. I go to a pretty average fairly conservative Christian church. I can think of only one guy who might say yes to questions on “establishing Christianity as the official religion”. Just one. Out of 50 or so. And the only reason he’d be saying that is that he has grew up in a country (Belo-Rus) where they had an official religion, atheism, and he wants to avoid any possibility of a repeat of the Soviet rule and methods here. So, I think there is a strong sense of region and education and class in the response of that survey. That being said, the question that arises is why? Why are they saying that?

  13. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    You say pipelines have higher safety and emissions (accidental) rates. But … you are comparing apples to trucks of apples. You need to compare a pipeline with the amount of rail to transport an equivalent amount of oil. It isn’t obvious that your claims of better safety &c are correct. If, for example, it takes 50 or 100 busy lines of rail to replace one modern pipeline … then it isn’t obvious that the environmental and safety ledger balances toward rail.

  14. Boonton says:

    800‑813‑HOPE (4673)

    Interesting spin. Democrats have been blocking this. Removal of stonewalling and blocking is “fast-tracking”. Wow. I mean really. Wow

    Nothings been blocked. Keystone’s application is still in environmental review with the state department ruling it didn’t find any negative effects.

    As to the survey “316 Republican voters” with no mention of how they selected them. Cricket races ahoy, eh? Look. I go to a pretty average fairly conservative Christian church. I can think of only one guy who might say yes to questions on “establishing Christianity as the official religion”.

    It appears to be a weekly survey whose main concentration is tracking the front runners for the Presidential nomination. As I’m sure you know from statstics 101 a random sample of 316 is pretty good, provided it is random (even a random sample of 30 can be very powerful). The error range is +/- 5 points so 57% so even if you assume a high error you are still well above 50%. Glass house my friend.

    “Pretty average fairly conservative Christian Church”? You previously described the Orthodox Church as ‘odd’ or ‘strange’ by American standards. Your statement is a bit akin to an NBA player asserting that he thinks the average American is well over 6 feet tall based on his teammates.

    It is also interesting that you seem to think how you imagine people you know might respond to a question is somehow more accurate than actually asking people and recording how they respond. IMO this is why many of your arguments are so unproductive. You don’t actually address real people who disagree with you but versions of those people who exist in your imagination.

    Of course I would say with both the majority of Republican voters who think freedom of religion can be ditched and the minority of Democratic voters who think select court rulings can be ignored, in both cases I suspect voters have not really thought through such positions. Since these positions are not well formed, you don’t actually see elected politicians trying to adopt them.

    So, I think there is a strong sense of region and education and class in the response of that survey.

    Ok so if we aren’t going to take the actual answer literally and treat it as representing something else, like group membership, badging, whatever then that has to apply to both surveys….not just the one that puts your party in a bad light. Even worse, though, you actually have state officials in your party who are actually declaring that they are ignoring court rulings on SSM.

    But … you are comparing apples to trucks of apples. You need to compare a pipeline with the amount of rail to transport an equivalent amount of oil. It isn’t obvious that your claims of better safety &c are correct. If, for example, it takes 50 or 100 busy lines of rail to replace one modern pipeline … then it isn’t obvious that the environmental and safety ledger balances toward rail.

    That’s a fair metric, what is the accident rate per gallon of oil transported one mile via rail and via pipeline. But that’s only one metric of safety.

    Consider 9/11. Two airplanes brought down the Twin Towers. If thousands of cars drove into the towers at full speed, they couldn’t have brought them down. While airplanes beat out cars in terms of death and destruction per mile, that doesn’t change the fact that an airplane is a lot more dangerous then a car. While planes have a better average metric due to their efficiency, they also have a lot more ‘upside’ in terms of their potential for disaster.

    So again where is the special argument for Keystone? It isn’t jobs, it isn’t cheaper gas, and now it isn’t safety.

  15. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    But you are the one with the agenda here, the GOP is demanding that Keystone be given special treatment and fast track approval with gov’t help.

    That’s BS. The last phase of the pipeline, to get gas out of the Dakotas has been blocked by the admin and Democrats in Congress. It’s not being “not fastracked”, it’s being actively opposed. See the wiki.

    Likewise pipelines can handle a larger amount of oil than a rail car, that’s why a single small break produces tens of thousands of gallons.

    So … when you compare cost and flexibility, you need to compare pipelines with rail that can carry equivalent quantities of product.

    Speaking of which, we actually do have real public officials who have declared they intend to ignore court rulings about SSM,

    So? I don’t support that. On the other hand, yah think you can find some Democrats who want to ignore the Constitution regarding the current ACA case? Hmm? Odd that none of the arguments defending the administration’s position mention either the text of the law or the intent of the law, just the consequences. Put that in your “pass it to find out what’s in it” pipe and smoke it, eh?

  16. Boonton says:

    On the other hand, yah think you can find some Democrats who want to ignore the Constitution regarding the current ACA case?

    Actually no you can’t. If you could you’d be citing them instead you are clining to a survey which shows nearly 70% of self-identified Democrats reject the idea that the President should just ignore court rulings (and I’ll note the question didn’t specify which court rulings BTW, so the ACA isn’t relevant here).

    So? I don’t support that.

    And your lack of support does not appear to have influenced the Republican Party in general from being weaker in support of Constitutional principles as evidenced by their desire to retract the First Amendment and what would probably almost certainly be majority or near marjority support for *actually* ignoring court rulings.

    That’s BS. The last phase of the pipeline, to get gas out of the Dakotas has been blocked by the admin and Democrats in Congress.

    Nothings been blocked, the pipeline’s application is still submitted and comments on both sides are being collected. Congress doesn’t decide when pipeline applications are processed.

    When you say ‘blocked’ you mean this particular pipeline hasn’t gotten special treatment. Why does this pipeline merit special treatment? As you pointed out we already have a huge network of pipelines. Because we have to get gas out of the Dakotas?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline#

    The pipeline already runs through the Dakotas with live lines. If this is now about getting gas out of the Dakotas that problem is solved.

  17. Boonton says:

    Let me once again try to save this discussion by linking to something actually interesting:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/3/2/8120063/american-democracy-doomed

    Since both the president and the Congress are directly elected by the people, they can both claim to speak for the people. When they have a serious disagreement, according to Linz, “there is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved.” The constitution offers no help in these cases, he wrote: “the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate.”

    This, of course, explains your 1/3 figure. The ACA is generally the will of the people. Ditching on essentially a technicality, suddenly hitting millions of people with huge bills for no good reason, is something the people don’t want. Of course a lot of people will, as a first instinct, simply say “why should we listen to such an insane assertion”?

    As a remedy, we have attempted Plato’s option of giving the Constitution pseudo-mythological or religious status (a few on the right go to such an extreme that they close in on implying the Founding Father’s had some special type of Revelation from God…giving them a type of secondary status to the Scripture itself). But this is only so effective. The system has to work or else in the long run it is going to break. Trying to save a failing system by creating a mock faith behind it is not going to carry it through unless it can correct its problems. And the problem is, of course, that the Republican Congress has toyed with the idea of breaking the system rather than doing its job. The short run gain is some potential policy victories….delaying immigration reform, frustrating the ACA, etc. but in the long run the underlying logic leads to trashing the system. Either the current Republican Party has to break or the system will. End of story. So which way will it go? Well it does seem like the GOP leadership has retreated from the tactic of trashing the system. For example, the periodic fake shutdown crises seem to becoming less embraced as a tactic. But rank and file Republicans seem to want to double down. Which will win in the long run?

    The gist of the essay is about the odd fact that most democracies use a Parlimentary system. Presidential ones are more common in Latin America and none have ever been stable. The excpetional thing here about American exceptionalism is that America has never had a coup or serious Constitutional crises (no Watergate doesn’t count and partisans of the “Lincoln was a tyrant” ilk don’t get to count in this conversation). The question is why?

    The answer appears to be that a lot of American history has either been dominated by non-partisan parties. Partisanship increased dramatically around the issue of slavery (where the Constitution failed and we had a Civil War) and then in the Gilded Age. But then the partisanship was around patronage and spoils rather than ideas so compromise was more feasible. As parties have become more ideological, the system starts looking more like Latin American ones.

    Partisanship has worked very well in parlimentary systems. It is interesting that when the US was in the real nation building game, formulating governments in Germany and Japan, it was taken as a given that their systems would be Parlimentary. No one ever seriously considered doing a Presidential system in those countries, why? One possibility is that by the 20th Century ideology had won. Gov’t was no longer about corrupt rent seeking. It was about expressing ideas for how society should run. So it was more natural for parties to be ideological rather than simply ‘teams’ trying to score the most spoils.

    So the challenge is can you have a Presidential system with ideological parties? If the answer is yes then the next question is should we want such a system or would a parliamentary system be better? If a parliamentary system is better can you get there from here? I think this might be a more logical possibility for historical change in the US than your theory of the US breaking into smaller countries.

  18. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    The ACA is generally the will of the people. Ditching on essentially a technicality, suddenly hitting millions of people with huge bills for no good reason, is something the people don’t want.

    Odd that a liberal would want to insist on some imaginary “will of the people” and not the law … because gosh, the will of the majority in the 50s was to perpetuate racism. Hmm. But it is instructive to see how this played out.

    1. The Democratic authors of ACA penned a carrot/stick feature into their “exchanges”. They wanted the states to set up exchanges, and had a carrot (which has Constitutional issues regarding federalism and forcing the states by funding) … and a stick no funding if the states didn’t set up exchanges.
    2. Then, without zero cooperation from the other party they forced this bill through.
    3. Many (a majority I believe) of the states then didn’t set up exchanges.
    4. Now. The Democrats, claiming amnesia, want the sticks to go away ’cause it will be ” suddenly hitting millions of people with huge bills for no good reason” … they had a good reason when they wrote it 5 or so years ago. What changed? Hmm.
    5. So what they ask for now, to avoid “millions getting huge bills” is to let the administration change the law to whatever the administration wants whenever they want. An interesting new power which directly contravenes the stated intention and the obvious interpretation of what the law state. But because of #2 above they have no chance in hell of getting Congress to pass a change to pen the changes to “fix” this. ’cause if they open the bill up to “fixes” you can bet your whatever that the opposition party (now in power) has lots of “suggestions” to write into the law, eh?

    Here’s the rub. Do you think agencies should be able to “willy nilly” ignore the intent of Congress and do whatever they feel like? Do you want that as a feature of your government in a future where the opposition party might controls the executive offices? Truly? I don’t believe you do.

    Which will win in the long run?

    Hopefully the big haircut of America 3.0, and “medical treatment” as right will go away.

  19. Boonton says:

    #1 I see no evidence that the authors of the bill particularly wanted states to set up their own exchanges and I don’t really see any logic for why that would be the case. Whether an exchange is run from a server controlled by the Federal Dept. of Health and Human Services or a state one doesn’t really alter the mechanics of the law. So what exactly is so special about having 50 different exchanges run by 50 different states versus 50 exchanges run by the Federal gov’t? I suspect the reason states were offered the ability to set up their own exchange was an attempt to make the bill appealing to critics prone to accuse it centralizing health care.

    #2 “Then, without zero cooperation from the other party they forced this bill through.” This means the bill was voted through and signed into law. Several elections took place since and despite one party running hard on the idea of repealing the law, they failed to convince enough voters to either put a veto proof majority in Congress or put a repeal friendly President in office.

    #3 Irrelevant as this was totally optional.

    #4 What again was that ‘good reason’? No one in this debate has been able to produce any reason or statements that assert there’s something special about having all the states setting up exchanges versus the gov’t doing it for some or all of the states.

    Hopefully the big haircut of America 3.0, and “medical treatment” as right will go away.

    Your death panel awaits.

  20. Boonton says:

    Actually something occurs to me, if the law intended to pressure the states to set up their own exchanges, if this was an integral intention and part of the law’s design, then why would that not be implemented? The law did in fact have a ‘forcing’ provision in it. It required the states to expand Medicaid to the poor in general (Medicaid is an ‘AND’ program, to get it you have to be poor AND something else (like disabled, a pregnant woman, old, etc.)). The SC struck down that provision so now it is voluntary for states to expand Medicaid, but that came later. If Congress wanted the states to set up exchanges they could have simply written the same mandate they did for Medicaid. Yet they didn’t and when the law was being implemented you won’t find anyone saying “wait, how are we going to force the states to set up exchanges if we give the subsidies to everyone!” But supposedly forcing the states to set up exchanges was a prime motivation according to you…everyone just forgot about it? Naaa, I don’t think so.

    And your mechanism is pretty suspect. Medicaid is pretty direct. If a state expands, the Federal gov’t picks up more of the cost. The subsidy system doesn’t smell like the typical way the Fed. gov’t provides incentives to states. If people on the Federal exchange don’t get subsidies then their prices would be higher. How exactly would that translate into them blaming their state governments rather than the Federal government? Likewise if a state sets up an exchange their residents would enjoy lower prices but it doesn’t seem clear at all how voters would associate the lower prices with efforts by their state politicians and presumably reward them with votes. This incentive doesn’t seem to be consistent with the motivation you allege the bill’s writers and supporters had.

    But because of #2 above they have no chance in hell of getting Congress to pass a change to pen the changes to “fix” this.

    Yes, and this coincides with your charge that the bill had ‘no cooperation’ as well. Your assumption is the problem was the bill but we now have multiple examples where the system is comng apart. The loyal opposition is no longer loyal, at least to the system. Instead the tactic of trying to govern by taking hostages is becomming more and more common.

    While clearly the GOP is at fault here since they have embraced the idea of government by pointing guns to heads, the system itself may be the real problem, hence my interest in the Vox article. The US Constitution to me appears ideal for a geographically diverse government but not an ideologically diverse one. One could argue that the US at its Founding was contending with the problem of governing with geographical diversity and interests that split along geographical lines. The Constitution worked by promoting checks and balances along geographical lines (for example, the President and VP have to be from different states, the Senate provides representation by states rather than people etc.). A geographical system works find for geographical diversity (for example, if the UN was a ‘world government’ it would almost certainly have to be set up along the lines of hte US Constitution) but fails when the diversity becomes ideological since clearly the incentive is for ideological factions to work across geographical lines to hold the system hostage.

    This leads to the argument for a parlimentary system where the system goes to whoever attains a majority but the primary check is as soon as a majority is lost, the gov’t collapses and a new one is formed. A minority ideology can either play the role of spoiler, joining with a larger group to provide the majority OR it can bide its time and hope that failure by the majority ideology will give enough support to tip the scales away and allow them to assume power instantly. It would be interesting to think about how you would amend the Constitution to make the system more Parlimentary without scrapping the whole thing….(for example, have the Congress elect the President and have members of Congress subject to recall elections at any time). More disturbing, though, is that maybe the time has come to ask if we have to start moving in that direction?

  21. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    I see no evidence that the authors of the bill particularly wanted states to set up their own exchanges

    Apparently you haven’t been paying attention to the buildup to this case. The designers specifically admitted that the intent of the penalty was to convince states to set up exchanges. The fact that the states didn’t set up exchanges in fact was not anticipated (or at the the number of non-participating states would be very small). The issue at hand is that a thing that those who crafted the law didn’t anticipate occurred and they would like to change it outside of Congress. This is obviously un-Constitutional. There is no out there. If you think this is a needful change, then you need to go through Congress to make those changes.

    The question you ignore continually is that the law is generalization. By thinking this is a good idea, you are making the following statement. That you think that any President and administration just because they think a change is needful should be able to bypass Congress and just ignore the intent and letter of the law … I fail to imagine how you think giving that power to a President. Ever. Seriously. How can you, with a straight face, make that claim?

    Your death panel awaits.

    That makes zero sense. There were no death panels in the 19th century. Odd that.

  22. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Your assumption is the problem was the bill but we now have multiple examples where the system is comng apart. The loyal opposition is no longer loyal, at least to the system. Instead the tactic of trying to govern by taking hostages is becomming more and more common.

    You misunderstand. The only point of the difficulty of passing the bill and the lack of getting any buy in from the other party, is that when you’re party no longer has a majority, making changes (like you’d like to do now) becomes impossible. What you reaped, you sow.

    While clearly the GOP is at fault here since they have embraced the idea of government by pointing guns to heads,

    Well, now that Congress is held by GOP on both upper and lower houses, and the veto train has begun, perhaps you’ll come to realize that this this “pointing guns” and intransigence is not a one party thing.

  23. Boonton says:

    Apparently you haven’t been paying attention to the buildup to this case. The designers specifically admitted that the intent of the penalty was to convince states to set up exchanges

    I’ve seen no such evidence. The only thing I heard was Jonathan Gruber supposedly said a year after the bill that states would risk losing subsidies if they didn’t setup their own exchanges but he is not a designer of the bill, not a writer of the bill, not a lawyer and speaking long after the bill was already passed.

    You’ve dodged my question. If it really was the intent of the bill’s writers to force the states to set up their own exchanges, then why? If they thought it was very important for that to happen, how exactly did it suddenly become unimportant? I mean if we are to believe your story a lot of people thought it was vital that states create their own exchanges at point A in time and in point B no one does. OK people may change their minds but a lot of very smart people doing a 180 degree change without even a single mention along the lines of “gee this felt like it was very important to have a year ago but maybe it isn’t”? I mean I remember people speculating that if the court struck down the mandate maybe the system could still work without it since most people want to be covered even without a tax penalty. I mean come on here, this is one area that is filled with policy wonks chatting about every aspect of the system and whether it is working, not working and where it will go. You can’t sell the idea for one moment everyone thought one thing and then just forgot in a case of mass amnesia.

    And why did they think it was important? The exchange is essentially PayPal matching people buying insurance with those selling it. Why exactly is it very important that the exchange be created and hosted on servers run by a state gov’t rather than the Fed. gov’t on the state’s behalf?

    The question you ignore continually is that the law is generalization. By thinking this is a good idea, you are making the following statement. That you think that any President and administration just because they think a change is needful should be able to bypass Congress and just ignore the intent and letter of the law

    It isn’t so much about whether I think it is a good idea. If your argument is that the intent of the law was to push states to do their own exchanges, then presumably you can show the bill’s authors thought that was a good idea. Presumably that is somehow a part of the bill’s logic and intent. You don’t have to agree with the logic and intent to know if an idea coherently fits into that narrative or doesn’t.

    Everything we know about how the bill works says it isn’t. And everything we know about how Congress crafts incentives to get states to do or not do things also says it isn’t. You go to Healthcare.gov to buy insurance because your state hasn’t set up an exchange and find you have to pay a lot more than your buddy who goes to NYHealthCare.gov. Why would politicians think your most likely response would be to punish your state politicians? If anything you are likely to blame the Federal gov’t rather than state gov’t. This would be like congress trying to get states to spend more on roads by saying the post office will slow down mail in states that cheap out. The average voter would most likely just blame the post office rather than tracing out the cause and effect relationship between their state transportation funding and the slow mail. Certainly you aren’t going to tell us the average Congressman doesn’t understand the dynamics of what motivates the average voter.

    You misunderstand. The only point of the difficulty of passing the bill and the lack of getting any buy in from the other party, is that when you’re party no longer has a majority, making changes (like you’d like to do now) becomes impossible. What you reaped, you sow.

    Actually that is rarely true. Up until now most bills are supported with the majority party but there is a minority in both parties who end up on the other side. For example, see Bush’s tax cuts. This is often true even for very partisan issues, such as Clinton’s impeachment, the nomination of Robert Bork or Thomas.

    The ACA fit the pattern of previous bills. It has dozens of changes that were done for the minority party ranging from major design features (no public option) to trivial (a declaration no gov’t agency can keep a database of who owns guns or require doctors to ask you if you have guns). Let’s not even mention the structure of the bill is Mitt Romney’s Mass. plan. Yet not a single Republican broke ranks.

    This indicates IMO a problem not with the bill (as you would have it) but with the Republican Party. But ultimately it hints to me at an underlying system problem, that maybe the support beams under the floor are cracked and the Republicans just are the first to jump on them. “Loyal opposition”, perhaps, has to require some overlap between the parties so that you should not see 100% votes down a party line for or against. Your side has failed to preserve the adjective in that phrase and perhaps we all are going to soon reap what has been sown.

    Well, now that Congress is held by GOP on both upper and lower houses, and the veto train has begun, perhaps you’ll come to realize that this this “pointing guns” and intransigence is not a one party thing.

    Well that’s the question isn’t it. Because the easier solution would be to just vote out Republicans.

  24. Boonton says:

    Speaking of Rubicon
    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2015/03/lindsey-graham-fascist

    Presidential front runner ‘literally’ asserts the President should use the military to force Congress to increase its funding.

  25. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    So. Do you believe that? Or are we in Obama thinks there are 56 states in the Union territory?

    And … btw, I had to use Google to figure out who he was. I’m thinking you’re not pretending I’m a fan of his? What’s your point?

  26. Boonton says:

    It really isn’t my problem you don’t know who Lindsey Graham. Recall you began this thread by quoting a study showing a minority of rank and file Democrats would entertain the President ignoring court rulings (you inserted the latest ACA issue, but the actual question did not mention which hypothetical court rulings were being addressed).

    I pointed out that a *majority* of Republican voters favor overturning the First Amendment. So your tit has been equally meet with my tat and exceeded. But then I also pointed out that actual GOP officials are actively declaring they will ignore some court rulings on SSM. There’s a huge difference between regular voters being open to a leader doing something unconstitutional and actual officials doing it. Now a Senator who sits on numerous powerful committes in the Senate advocates using the military to override legislative decisions about budgets and what do you have to show here? Do we really believe he would do such a thing if he took office? Or he can’t be that important if you don’t know who he is?

    Who exactly has more power? Someone who Mark knows or someone who sits on the committees listed below:

    Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    Subcommittee on Defense
    Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
    Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (Chairman)
    Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

    Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
    Subcommittee on Personnel (Ranking Member)
    Subcommittee on Seapower

    Committee on the Budget
    Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
    Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
    Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism (Ranking Member)
    Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law

  27. Mark says:

    The point of “knowing” who he was was to doubt your “front-runner” claim, not that he in office.

    I’m not sure we’re going to get anywhere “tit/tat” counting, after all, just today I noticed Obama thinking “requiring everyone to vote” would be OK. Riiiight.

  28. Mark says:

    I suppose I should add the term “front-runner” for an election more than a year and half out is somewhat suspect.

  29. Mark says:

    Boonton
    That being said, why do you think the President is negotiating in good faith?

  30. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Oh, and to answer your question “Who exactly has more power? Someone who Mark knows or someone who sits on the committees listed below”. Hmm. I’ve heard of Obama. Is he more powerful than Mr Graham? Apparently I do in fact “know” people more powerful than a person sitting on the committees listed.

  31. Boonton says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by asking is Obama negotiating in good faith? If you think loyalty is optional then how do you measure faith?

  32. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Apparently you don’t know the meaning of the expression “in good faith”. If you and I negotiate (anything), if one of us is negotiating in bad faith that means we don’t intend to hold to that which we agree. Like (as per the example) neither Stalin nor Hitler with respect to the partitioning of Poland were intending lasting peace even though that was what was agreed upon. Say Iran tells Obama that “we won’t attempt to build a nuclear device”. Do you think they are negotiating in good faith, i.e., that their statement is not a lie? Likewise, do you believe Obama will commit the US to promises he does not believe we (or he) intend(s) to keep? That is what is meant by that.

    An example, Mr Clinton, when the Soviet states dissolved convinced the Ukraine to give its nuclear weapons to Russia. He promised to defend them against future Russian aggression. Mr Obama has chosen not to honor this promise. Is that because Mr Clinton promised in bad faith, or did Obama not follow through with our promise?

  33. Boonton says:

    An example, Mr Clinton, when the Soviet states dissolved convinced the Ukraine to give its nuclear weapons to Russia. He promised to defend them against future Russian aggression. Mr Obama has chosen not to honor this promise. ..,

    So you are siding against your country, as were the other Senators. Again you are free to say the US should keep its promises, you are free to say the US should not offer other countries deals it won’t hold too, but it is a far cry between that and actually advising a foreign leader (one who we have an adversial relationship with to boot) to disregard your President in negotiations.

  34. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Again you are free to say the US should keep its promises, you are free to say the US should not offer other countries deals it won’t hold too, but it is a far cry between that and actually advising a foreign leader (one who we have an adversial relationship with to boot) to disregard your President in negotiations.

    I’ll agree it is disingenuous (of those Senators) to expect Iran to care either way. Everybody knows neither side is offering anything in good faith.

    The question remains, is what does Mr Obama think the US will get out of the deal? What is he coming back to sell to his country? What advantage does he see for our interests here?

  35. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Another thing, when you quoted

    An example, Mr Clinton, when the Soviet states dissolved convinced the Ukraine to give its nuclear weapons to Russia. He promised to defend them against future Russian aggression. Mr Obama has chosen not to honor this promise

    you apparently missed one of the main points of that remark. The thing is, did you think Clinton was advising in good faith when he told the Ukrainians that the US would defend them against Russian aggression? Do you think, if push came to shove, that he’d back that with US force? Truly? Because if you don’t then you are basically saying that Clinton was not bargaining in good faith. He was making promises he never intended to keep. This was bad then. This is bad now. Bargaining in bad faith is bad strategically and tactically. So why y’all Dems like it so much? Why is do y’all never think good faith is valuable?

  36. Boonton says:

    The question remains, is what does Mr Obama think the US will get out of the deal? What is he coming back to sell to his country? What advantage does he see for our interests here?,

    What he thinks the US will get out of a deal would be:

    A. Improved relations with Iran
    B. A practical way to either slow down or even roll back Iran’s nuclear development via intense inspections and restrictions.
    C. Hopefully a framework where Iran is incentivized to get on board with more acts of good behavior rather than fewer.

    As for whether or not Iranian leaders take advice from Republican Senators, it is irrelevant. It doesn’t change the fact that it is disloyal to attempt to negotiate with a foreign leader against your President…even if it is just ‘for show’ (and it isn’t all ‘for show’, the message beign communicated is that a Republican President would not feel pressured to honor any deal they needn’t bother being serious about honoring one either).

    The thing is, did you think Clinton was advising in good faith when he told the Ukrainians that the US would defend them against Russian aggression? Do you think, if push came to shove, that he’d back that with US force? Truly?

    Hard to say. It is interesting Russia has not simply invaded the Ukrain and asserts that it is rebels and ‘freelancers’ only who are fighting there. Clearly Russia is not 100% comfortable doing just anything there because if push came to shove a full scale invasion just might end up with nuclear powers entering a shooting war with each other.

    One interesting thing to note here is that if Clinton didn’t do what he did, we’d have two nuclear powers shooting at each other today. While Russia’s behavior is bullying and unjust, I don’t think anyone here thinks it would be better if nuclear weapons were returned to the Ukrain. So…

    Bargaining in bad faith is bad strategically and tactically….

    Actually no it isn’t always. It happens all the time. What you mean to say is bargaining in bad faith has a cost since when your bad faith is uncovered, you will loose credibility. But a tactical loss can be acceptable if it moves you closer to your strategic goals.

    But you are free to disagree and still remain loyal. What you are not free to do is try to circumvent your own country’s tactical decisions.

    How would you feel, for example, if Republican Senators provided foreign leaders with classified documents indicating the US was ‘bargaining in bad faith’? Even if they felt the bad faith was a strategic mistake for the US, such an act would also be disloyal both to the country and to the Constitutional role of Head of State.

  37. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    . It is interesting Russia has not simply invaded the Ukrain and asserts that it is rebels and ‘freelancers’ only who are fighting there. Clearly Russia is not 100% comfortable doing just anything there because if push came to shove a full scale invasion just might end up with nuclear powers entering a shooting war with each other.

    Hmm. Crimea? Forgotten already, eh?

    Actually no it isn’t always. It happens all the time. What you mean to say is bargaining in bad faith has a cost since when your bad faith is uncovered, you will loose credibility.

    Interesting how your “bad faith” loses credibility mixes with your “team player” thing in another thread. Obama’s continual bad faith hasn’t cost you credibility ’cause he’s on your team.

    Even if they felt the bad faith was a strategic mistake for the US, such an act would also be disloyal both to the country and to the Constitutional role of Head of State.

    I see. If they think the act is harmful to both the US (and perhaps the Constitution) they should do nothing. Really? You seem to be under the impression that Congress critters both can never disagree with the President and never talk to anyone overseas. Have you ever heard of junkets? You know when Senators and Reps go overseas. I hadn’t realized that you feel that they are never allowed to talk to anyone when they are overseas. Can you show the Constitutional clause which prohibits a Congressman from talking to a foreigner. Ever. ?!

    I hadn’t realized it is disloyal to disagree with the President. Puts the opposition party in a new light? Perhaps you want to re-examine your statements made regarding Iraq during the Bush admin. Hmm?

  38. Boonton says:

    Interesting how your “bad faith” loses credibility mixes with your “team player” thing in another thread. Obama’s continual bad faith hasn’t cost you credibility ’cause he’s on your team. ,

    I’m not really sure who you think lacks credibility here. As you pointed out it was Clinton, not Obama, who supposedly offered to defend the Ukrain no matter what. The decision not to go to war with Russia over Crimea was supported by both parties. So by your standard there would be no possible President from the conventional candidates in either party who could said to be purely ‘good faith’ in terms of negotiations. Likewise the Iranian gov’t also cannot produce any ‘good faith’ leaders. But who ever said negotation was only a toll for totally trustworthy angels?

    I see. If they think the act is harmful to both the US (and perhaps the Constitution) they should do nothing. Really? You seem to be under the impression that Congress critters both can never disagree with the President and never talk to anyone overseas

    They can speak against the President’s neogiating strategy, they can question the administration’s strategy in hearings, they can vote against any implementation legislation proposed. There are quite a few options to ‘do something’ but attempt to circumvent the US head of state by appealing to the leaders of a country we are in opposition too?

    Have you ever heard of junkets? You know when Senators and Reps go overseas. I hadn’t realized that you feel that they are never allowed to talk to anyone when they are overseas.

    Huge difference between talking to someone overseas and attempting to neogitate around the Head of State of your own country. I’m curious what ethical limits would you impose on these Senators? If they happened to come upon a briefing book for the administration’s negotiators could they share it with Iran’s intelligence service? What if it wasn’t classified? Could they take a paying job to negotiate on behalf of Iran in your opinion?

  39. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Huge difference between talking to someone overseas and attempting to neogitate around the Head of State of your own country

    Exactly. But there is a striking similarity between sending a letter and talking to someone overseas, and a similar difference between letter writing and negotiations. You make my point for me.

    Regarding your question. Could they take a paying job to negotiate on behalf of Iran in your opinion?. That sir, would serve as a good leading question for Ms Clinton and her foreign donor list(s), but she won’t answer you directly.

    The decision not to go to war with Russia over Crimea was supported by both parties.

    So what? Clinton promised. But, as history shows, he did nothing at all to make his promise mean a thing. We have no ties to Ukraine economically speaking in the decades after the promise that would make a Crimean incursion not to speak of the current activities that would make our interests over there yield any compelling reason for the promise to be kept.

    So by your standard there would be no possible President from the conventional candidates in either party who could said to be purely ‘good faith’ in terms of negotiations.

    Who should be “keeping the faith” on a Clinton foreign promise. If, you even grant, that Clinton even meant the promise to mean more than cold spit when he gave it.

    Mr Obama promised Assad if you do X we will attack. Assad did X. We didn’t attack. Good faith? Not. Has Mr Obama in your view, ever promised anything to the people or a foreign state in good faith? If so, what?

    His standard rhetorical style is one of bad faith all the time. His SOP is to start with “this issue X should not be politicized” and the remainder of the speech consists of him politicizing the same issue.

  40. Boonton says:

    Who should be “keeping the faith” on a Clinton foreign promise. If, you even grant, that Clinton even meant the promise to mean more than cold spit when he gave it.

    Strictly speaking then Clinton kept his promise. After he left office it can no longer be his responsibility to keep it.

    Mr Obama promised Assad if you do X we will attack. Assad did X. We didn’t attack. Good faith? Not.

    Which demonstrates keeping promises is only one value among many. X was war which would have likely killed thousands. Assad offered, to avoid war, to give up his WMDs and remarkably delivered thousands of tons of the stuff to be destroyed under supervision of the US military. Should Obama have ‘kept his promise’ nonetheless? Or should Obama have never made such a promise, which would have likely resulted in no pressure for Assad to avoid using his WMDs or destroying them after.