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A Horse Named Stranger

US Politics: Ted Cruz - A Tale of two Snowflakes

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4 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

I could've missed something, but I didn't see anywhere where Bird was in favor of bailing out the businesses at all.

 Texas, like Nevada, Florida and a few others chooses to not collect state income taxes. When these expenses arise, they shouldn't get to shift the burden onto the federal taxpayers.

So I have to say I don’t love that line of argument.  It’s basically the same argument you hear from the right regarding sending money to high tax [blue] states, where the fiscal “irresponsibility” of the state in question (unwise pensions! Over generous union pay! Medicare is free money for the lazy poors! Bad for business!) is promoted as a reason why those states shouldn’t get federal dollars (“no bailouts for blue states!”).

No matter what I think about the economic decisions of any particular state (and let’s be honest Texas’ no tax no regulation magical thinking was going to fail spectacularly at some point), there are people who are in pain, who are hungry, who are struggling.  That’s the point of federal dollars.  I can’t support on the one hand aid for, e.g., my very high tax state which has made plenty of questionable fiscal decisions, including recently, but not support aid for Texas without at least acknowledging that I am virtue testing the politics of the state against my own standard.  I don’t think that is correct.  It’s just an insidious version of the “deserving poor” myth.  

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I think we can protect and support people whose state governments have failed them without just handing a bunch of cash to utility companies.  This is corporate extortion - there is no good reason that energy prices should increase the way they did under any circumstances.  These debts are not valid or even real- it's just a cash grab to loot the public coffers through taxpayers during an emergency.   Contract or no, there shouldn't be any kind of legal basis for these charges.  And honestly anyone on the board of these companies should be criminally liable for extortion.  

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I’m going to repeat the discussion from the beginning. It started with the idea Texas would use FEMA money to help Texans pay their electric utility billls. Larry commented on that and I thought Americans should be upset with the idea. I saw on CNN or CNBC someone ask Greg Abbott if that’s what federal money would be partly used for and he said yes. 

Now, my opinion may be influenced by a misunderstanding about FEMA, which I thought provides money and support to rebuild infrastructure after a natural disaster, and also provide humanitarian aid like food, water and shelter. What I object to is the idea the money would be used to support outrageous price gouging instead. As I reported a few days ago the power companies were charging over $8,000 per KWh hour for electricity instead of the normal $40 per KWh hour. I assume these are the same power companies that also will receive FEMA money to do the upgrades they were told to do 10 years ago after the last freeze and didn’t bother to, except for one city that took the state recommendations seriously.

Larry just posted and I don’t know what the laws are in Texas about price gouging, who knows, maybe there aren’t any of those either, but anywhere else these contracts wouldn’t be allowed to stand. One of the points I made along the way was that in exchange for the money for upgrading, those utility bills should be cancelled.

If you want to call FEMA infrastructure money “bailing out businesses”, I guess you can, but I think a natural disaster is different from the GFC and the funding of vaccines. That was the rabbit hole Horse and I got into, when he said all countries in the world do the same thing, use taxpayer money to bail out companies.

Edited by Fragile Bird
Sp

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16 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

But we would have more than two parties. We would, hopefully, drop the “big tent” stuff and have issue oriented parties so indepence of elected officials would be less important than the parties doing what they claim they will do.

So are you proposing to eliminate presidency in favor of a parliamentary system? Because this kind of multi-party idea doesn't work so well with a solitary executive.

Also, even if you accomplished all this somehow, I'm not sure it would be much of a panacea to our current problems. As we've seen with countries like Israel and Belgium, when you've got two deeply entrenched sides it doesn't matter how many different parties there are, there's going to gridlock.

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21 minutes ago, Fez said:

So are you proposing to eliminate presidency in favor of a parliamentary system? Because this kind of multi-party idea doesn't work so well with a solitary executive.

Also, even if you accomplished all this somehow, I'm not sure it would be much of a panacea to our current problems. As we've seen with countries like Israel and Belgium, when you've got two deeply entrenched sides it doesn't matter how many different parties there are, there's going to gridlock.

There is no Panecea.  I simply think that system is better and much more representative than our existing structure.

I’d love to be able to remove our chief executive by a simple vote of “No Confidence” as opposed to our archaic and outdated methodology.

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I wonder if there is a legal mechanism to remove the senior leadership teams of the utilities that failed to winterize their businesses in exchange for receiving payment from tax dollars?

We did a corporate exile for three years to Austin in the 2000s, and the comment Mlle. Zabzie made about "magical thinking" in Texas corresponds with my own perceptions.  Without being too detailed, two of our fabs received power from sources that failed to comply with Orange Book standards, and it was on the Board report every quarter as a risk.  The only other place in the world with such a type of risk was Germany, where the main power source was a natural gas pipeline from Russia, with all the political risks that entailed.

And the "magical thinking" in Texas included other things like our household garbage.  We were required to separate household waste into three separate containers that were collected on three different days of the week.  When we first moved to Austin was I okay with this, but about 18 months later I discovered that all three types of garbage were just thrown down into two giant holes in the ground on the west side of town.

Or the toll roads.  Or the major highways without connecting high-speed ramps.  Or the terrible and outdated highways.  If you don't have a real means for tax collection, your infrastructure is going to be incomplete, and Texas has some terrific roads that are available to wealthy Texans and some badly-designed or badly-maintained roads that serve the less affluent.  This is true in a lot of states, but in Texas it just seems more in-your-face.  The roads were my own first real life evidence of all those theories of public goods being more than just theories in a macroeconomics book.

Anyways, enough Texas-bashing.  My main question is, do we as a society have a means of removing failed leadership from public utilities?

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8 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

I could've missed something, but I didn't see anywhere where Bird was in favor of bailing out the businesses at all.

 Texas, like Nevada, Florida and a few others chooses to not collect state income taxes. When these expenses arise, they shouldn't get to shift the burden onto the federal taxpayers.

No. My broader point was, that the socializing of costs is not a uniquely Texan way of capitalism. My confusion was more about the fact, that she seems to be particularly mad about the fact, that fema gives money to Texans, to pay off the energy provider. Which is what confused me.

The energy providers jacking up costs to charge several thousands of US $ for one kw/h is the more enraging thing. And there I'd have a few questions about the legality of that. I don't know how electricity bills/contracts with energy providers look like in the US, but isn't there like a price kw/h in the contracts. I mean the management of those companies should be tarred and feathered regardless.

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So, the Pentagon just decided not to defend the country. Which is their fucking jobs and this is after us pumping a ton of money in to their decade after decade. Craven dogs.

 

Capitol security officials point fingers over disastrous January 6 riot response

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/23/politics/us-capitol-attack-senate-hearing/index.html

Quote

Acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee described a phone call shortly after the Capitol was breached by pro-Trump rioters, and how Pentagon officials were apparently unable or unwilling to quickly send in National Guard troops.
"I was surprised at the reluctance to immediately send the National Guard to the Capitol grounds," he said.


 

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The state government in Texas should be able to forgive exorbitant utility bills, I imagine, while at the same time fend off criticism from people who always paid their bills on time.

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32 minutes ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

Wisconsin really needs to do better than Ron Johnson...ugh...

How could you let Russ lose to that moron….twice.

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4 hours ago, Week said:

I did not have Grim Tuesday griping about the "virtue signalling" that replacing Tanden (who he has called a ghoul) with a qualified black woman on my 2021 bingo card. 

The response to criticism of "the most diverse cabinet" is no inoculation to criticism - I agree - however this as a response ain't it. Expending breath over concern that a black woman's (potential) appointment is essentially affirmative action (as you seem to have put it) and broadly axe-grinding capitalist culture is pretty offensive. Those arguments are valid and utterly separate from Young's potential nomination. You've assumed she's not qualified or not ideally qualified for the sake of your argument. The optics there don't reflect well.

I mean, I have no problem replacing Tanden, I just want whoever they replace her with to be as similar to me ideologically as is possible given the current climate, just like anyone else.

I was trying to make it absolutely clear that the larger point was completely separate from Young herself, or any one single individual, though clearly I should have just left that part out as it is being misconstrued (and probably less than well articulated). I'm going to cut it here since I've dug myself a hole, but I just want to make it clear that my issue here is not Young or her qualifications or this specific situation, but rather the cynical use of identity as a matter of optics, not as a method for achieving equity.

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Several posters said that one or two cabinet nominees would always get rejected. I wonder if Tanden was set up as the fall guy so that the others would get accepted?

Edited by Mindwalker

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25 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

How could you let Russ lose to that moron….twice.

As I didn't live in the state for those elections, I really have no idea.  Honestly, this states is so messed up on so many levels. I will enjoy voting for a ham sandwich against Johnson next year if that's who's put up against him.

 

Watching Josh Hawley ask others if they were complicit in the January 6th attacks is gross.  

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Lotta competition for worst senator, but Ron Johnson regularly makes a run for the crown.

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I only saw a short sound bite from the Garland confirmation hearing, but what I saw was Cruz and Hawley whining about Garland’s potential for “vengeance politics”. I tried to search the topic and nothing comes up.

Did anyone see that?

What I did see was that Grassley was once again justifying refusing to hold hearings on Garland’s nomination for the Supreme Court.

 

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I think what @Fragile Bird is missing in the comparisons is in those cases none of the problems were caused by privatizing public infrastructure. The grid went out because it was not prepared for those people to all turn their heat on. That only happened because it was privatized to circumvent the regulation that would have prevented both the outages and the price gouging. This is an issue caused entirely by corporate greed at consumer expense. Why it’s a question of whether to pay out is that whether we pay the individuals or pay the corporation we would be providing a financial windfall for corporate negligence. It would be a better solution to reclaim the grid for the public and build one that wouldn’t do this again

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47 minutes ago, GrimTuesday said:

I mean, I have no problem replacing Tanden, I just want whoever they replace her with to be as similar to me ideologically as is possible given the current climate, just like anyone else.

I was trying to make it absolutely clear that the larger point was completely separate from Young herself, or any one single individual, though clearly I should have just left that part out as it is being misconstrued (and probably less than well articulated). I'm going to cut it here since I've dug myself a hole, but I just want to make it clear that my issue here is not Young or her qualifications or this specific situation, but rather the cynical use of identity as a matter of optics, not as a method for achieving equity.

That's all fair - you kind of do it again here in the bold though. You're beating at strawmen in such a way that does not further "achieving equity".

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Tanden was an obviously poor choice in the sense that there are many other qualified candidates that don't have her baggage. I'm sure she was a political value for the Clinton factions, but it was something of an own goal. 

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