Tag Archives: bankruptcy

Restrain yourself!

Link here.

After the mass shooting in Las Vegas last night, it’s time to invoke the 72-hour rule for shootings and terrorist attacks. The rule is: offer immediate sympathy and aid for the victims and their families, but shut up about the political implications, and for crying out loud stop trying to score partisan points for at least 72 hours afterward.

This is partly out of consideration for the victims and their families, who deserve not to have their grief exploited. Or, if we’re being realistic, they should at least have a brief respite before their grief is exploited. But the 72-hour rule also exists to protect you, the commenter—whether amateur or professional—from saying something embarrassingly stupid. Or, if we’re being realistic, this should at least provide a brief respite before you go off and embarrass yourself later.

Right now, cable news shows and newspaper websites and social media feeds are full of wild speculations about the shooter, his motives, the weapons he used, and the political reforms that will supposedly prevent something tragic like this from ever happening again (but probably won’t). Most of it will be wrong. Even the stuff that is not just a rumor on the Internet but seems to have a legitimate source will be wrong. Even things announced by the authorities in the early hours of the attack will be wrong. People speculate. People jump to conclusions based on incomplete data. Insiders make up facts and pass along incomplete, poorly understand information because they like attention from reporters. Eyewitnesses misremember events or pass on speculations as if they were truth.

We know all of this, because it happens with every mass shooting, every terror attack, every controversial police shooting. It takes days, weeks, months to filter through all of the noise and sort fact from fiction.

The one advantage normal decent people have when others violate this 72-hour rule is it that their stupid and foolish posts, issued before they have the slightest idea what really happened, reveal for all who they really are and who they really hate. And all too often, that hate isn’t aimed at the murderous killer who gunned down dozens of innocent lives.

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Webb Space Telescope delayed again

NASA announced today that they are further delaying the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope from October 2018 to late spring 2019.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope now is planning to launch between March and June 2019 from French Guiana, following a schedule assessment of the remaining integration and test activities. Previously Webb was targeted to launch in October 2018. “The change in launch timing is not indicative of hardware or technical performance concerns,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington. “Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected.”

As part of an international agreement with the ESA (European Space Agency) to provide a desired launch window one year prior to launch, NASA recently performed a routine schedule assessment to ensure launch preparedness and determined a launch schedule change was necessary. The careful analysis took into account the remaining tasks that needed to be completed, the lessons learned from unique environmental testing of the telescope and science instruments at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the current performance rates of integrating the spacecraft element.

Webb’s original launch date was supposed to be 2011, making its launch now verging on a decade late. The original budget for the telescope was supposed to be $1 billion. It is now expected to cost more than $9 billion. Like SLS/Orion, this project more resembles feather-bedding, providing NASA employees and the contractors involved a steady paycheck, regardless of whether they ever get anything done. In fact, both Webb and SLS/Orion seemed designed to encourage failure. The project never gets cancelled no matter what goes wrong. Instead, more money gets poured in.

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Republican tax plan unveiled

As expected, the Republican leadership has unveiled a new tax proposal that would consolidate the number of tax brackets while increasing the rate of the lowest bracket and increasing the standard deduction.

I admit that I have grown very cynical about these proposals. They never end up simplifying anything. Instead, each time Congress has done this in the past three decades they have only made the tax code more complicated. I see no evidence so far that this Congress and this Republican leadership will do anything different.

Moreover, Congress and Trump continue to make little effort to rein in spending, so I expect the result here will also be a significant increase in the crushing federal debt.

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Republican leaders to introduce tax increase

Failure theater: The Republican leadership in Congress is about to introduce tax increase, increasing the tax rate for the lowest bracket from 10% to 12%, while making believe that it really is a tax cut.

The plan will also increase the tax deduction, which they will then claim means that the tax increase really doesn’t matter.

They really have an utter contempt for the people who voted for them, not unlike the utter contempt being shown right now by the NFL to its customer base. Well, if you spit on your supporters don’t expect them to support you much longer.

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In new Obamacare vote, Republican leaders offering bribes

Finding out what’s in it, part 2: The Senate Republican leadership is offering Senator Lisa Murkowsky (R-Alaska) specific rewrites favoring just Alaska in order to buy her vote on their new attempt to revise Obamacare.

The bribe includes three provisions, but this one I think is most corrupt:

Alaska (along with Hawaii) will continue to receive Obamacare’s premium tax credits while they are repealed for all other states. It appears this exemption will not affect Alaska receiving its state allotment under the new block grant in addition to the premium tax credits.

There are also some indications that this secret bill for which no text has been made public, as far as I can tell, also keeps the Obamacare requirement that insurance companies will not be allowed to deny anyone insurance no matter how sick they are. This is the provision that is essentially bankrupting the industry and forcing premiums to skyrocket. By keeping it, these Republicans reveal their overall support for Obamacare.

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“I am just in shock how no one actually cares about the policy any more.”

The quote above, from this article. is from a Republican lobbyist, and is in reference to the new so-called Obamacare replacement bill being pushed right now in the Senate, not because it will repeal Obamacare but because it will provide Senators a fake vote where they can make believe they repealed Obamacare..

The bottom line: The repeal-and-replace bill sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy is gaining steam because it has the appearance of gaining steam — not because of the changes it would make. “If there was an oral exam on the contents of the proposal, graded on a generous curve, only two Republicans could pass it. And one of them isn’t Lindsey Graham,” a senior GOP aide told Caitlin.

I could condemn the Republican leadership here, but the fault actually lies with the press, which is allows them to do this. The number of fake insane bills with “feel good” names in the past two decades that the press has accepted with little analysis is legion. This is only another in that long list.

If you want to find out some real details about this new fake bill, read the whole article. It provides enough information to sicken your stomach about any bill our bankrupt Congress writes.

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Brown University to offer segregated dinners to minorities

Bigoted academia: Brown University has received a $30K grant to offer segregated dinners for blacks and Muslim women.

The university received a $30,000 grant from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, which represents liberal arts schools, to create a campus center whose mission is to “break down racial hierarchies and create a positive narrative about race in the community,” according to The Brown Daily Herald.

These grants, provided with the assistance of the Newman’s Own Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will go towards hosting racially and religiously segregated “dinner discussion groups.” These discussions are being led by Brown University Chaplain Rev. Janet Cooper Nelson, who told The Daily that “one [group will be] for black students and the other [will be for] for Muslim women on campus.”

Democrats created and controlled the south when segregation ruled. They now control all of academia, so no one should be surprised if they are once again encouraging the idea there.

It all comes down to bigotry. Modern academia is obsessed with race, gender, and ethnicity. It is all they see when they look at a person. Thus, it shapes everything they do, including building segregated societies founded on racial and ethnic hate. And we can see the long term result of this in what is happening in St. Louis this week.

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Federal debt tops $20 trillion

The coming dark age: Because of the Democratic/Trump deal raising the debt limit, the federal government’s debt officially topped $20 trillion last week.

From March 16 through Sept. 7, every Daily Treasury Statement showed the total federal debt subject to the legal limit opening and closing each day at $19,808,747,000,000. That was because the previous suspension of the debt limit had expired on March 15 and the debt limit had been reset at the level the debt reached at the close of business that day–which was $19,808,772,381,624.74. The Treasury then started using what it calls “extraordinary measures” to keep the debt subject to the limit about $25 milion below the limit.

This is all a fraud. Not only do they cook the numbers to make the debt ceiling appear legal for as long as possible, the debt is actually far larger, as this doesn’t include the raids to the Social Security trust fund that Congress has routinely been making for the past few decades, and never paying back.

But hey, who cares? What is really important is that we call looters “heroes” and any cops who try to arrest them “racists!”

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Journalist and author claims police actions against looting equals “white supremacy”

Our bankrupt intelligentsia: Journalist and author Sarah Jaffe went on Twitter yesterday to claim that the police effort to catch and arrest looters in Florida is the equivalent of “white supremacy.”

When she was lambasted by numerous other Twitter users for this dumb statement she doubled down, implying (with an obscenity) that her critics were all Nazis.

This minor story illustrates two things. First, that someone as uneducated and thoughtless as this person can get published and be treated as a respected author demonstrates the intellectual bankruptcy of our modern elites. Everything to her is race and bigotry. Capitalism is evil. Anyone who disagrees with her is a racist or a Nazi. Comparing this childishness with the thought processes seen when you read Shakespeare, John Adams, or William Butler Yeats, and you will see that the future of modern western civilization does not look good.

Second, this story shows again why anyone who has any intelligence should avoid Twitter. That venue is not for thoughtful discussion. It is specifically designed to cause people to hurl insults at each other, and only serves to lower the level of our intellectual discourse. And I am not alone in this opinion.

Far more fundamental is the way Twitter intensifies and amplifies pathological social tendencies among those who act within, report on, and write about the political world. It turns politicians, political staffers, reporters, editors, pundits, and analysts into petty, vain, childish, showoffy, hostile, vindictive, dogmatic, impulsive, careless versions of their best and most professional selves. This makes Twitter horrible for our politics and equally bad for journalism. The single best thing for both politics and journalism would be for Twitter to go out of business tomorrow.

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Trump teams up with Democrats on debt limit deal

Trump today backed a Democratic proposal to only extend the debt limit by three months, instead of the Republican plan to extend that ceiling first 18 months, than six.

While it is clear the Democrats want more debt ceiling negotiations in order to force the Republicans to make repeated concessions each time, I find it disgusting that the Republican leadership is more interested in kicking the can down the road than to address the problem now. In a sense, this might be why Trump is siding with the Democrats, as it keeps the debt ceiling on the table as a political issue, and might eventually force these brainless cowards to eventually do something to gain some control over the budget.

Then again, it might not. It could also be that none of these politicians, including Trump, has any interest in controlling the budget, and are merely playing petty politics with the nation’s future.

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John McCain, Liar

In commenting about the failure yesterday by Senate Republicans to pass a trimmed down version of an Obamcare repeal by a vote of 49-51, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has this to say:

There are going be a great many Americans who tonight feel a sense of betrayal. …If you stand up and campaign and say we are going to repeal Obamacare and you vote for Obamacare, those are not consistent. And the American people are entirely justified in saying any politician who told me that and voted the other way didn’t tell me the truth. They lied to me.

He then added:

“No party can remain in power by lying to the American people.”

Cruz is right, but only partly. The entire Republican Party did not lie to its voters. Instead, a small contingent of fake Republicans lied, led by John McCain, king liar and the most likely person to stab a friend in the back I have ever seen.
» Read more

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Republican Senate committee restores all cuts to NASA climate budget

Failure theater: The Senate Appropriations Committee today marked up NASA’s budget, restoring almost all of the proposed cuts, including cuts to the agency’s climate programs that both the Trump administration and the House had proposed.

The only program it appears the Senate cut was NASA’s planetary program, which they trimmed by almost 25%.

This only provides more evidence that the large number of the Republicans in the Senate are not really Republicans. They certainly aren’t conservative. And it sure appears that they aren’t very smart either, considering that NASA’s planetary program is one of its most successful endeavors.

We shall see how this budget shakes out in the coming months. Overall I am not hopeful. It appears to me that this Republican Congress wants to spend big bucks, and is hell bent on doing it.

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Republican health tweak of Obamacare dead, Senate to vote for straight repeal

This is a victory: The Republican leadership in the Senate, lacking the votes to pass their own version of Obamacare, have decided to instead go for full repeal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bowed to pressure tonight from conservatives — and President Trump — to bring up a straight repeal of most of the Affordable Care Act as the next step now that the Senate health care bill appears to be dead. It will be based on the repeal bill Congress passed in 2015, which then-President Barack Obama vetoed.

His statement: “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful. So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up … a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable health care.”

McConnell’s hand was forced when two conservative senators, Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) announced earlier today that they would not vote for the bill.

This is what they should have done from the beginning. Granted, it is likely to fail because of Democratic opposition, but then it will be clear going into the next election who is standing in the way of fixing the problem. Had they passed any version of their turkey of a bill, the health insurance business would have continued to fail, but they would no longer have had clean hands. It would have become their problem, and it would have cost them votes in 2018.

Now, things will be clean, and we will get to see who really is on our side, from both parties. Expect several Republican senators especially to suddenly “evolve” and decide that they can’t go along with the very repeal they’ve voted for repeatedly in the past, because it might “hurt people.”

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House appropriations approves NASA and NOAA budgets

The squealing of pigs: The House appropriations committee yesterday approved the budgets for both NASA and NOAA, essentially accepting the budget numbers approved by its subcommittee.

Overall, the House increased spending over the Trump administration’s proposed cuts. Only in the area of climate did the legislators appear to support those cuts, and even here they pumped more money in.

The Trump Administration proposed a deep cut to [NOAA’s Polar Follow-On mission] saying it will re-plan the program ($180 million instead of the $586 million NOAA said last year it would need for FY2018). The committee went even further, approving only $50 million, but added it would reconsider if NOAA provides a better explanation of how it is restructuring the program. NOAA’s plans for new space weather satellites also fell far short of what the agency planned last year, although the committee provided more ($8.5 million) than the Trump Administration requested ($500,000).

In general, do not expect this Republican Congress to gain any control over the federal deficit. They are as spendthrift as Democrats. The only difference is their choice of programs.

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House Republicans push for big spending in Defense and NIH budgets

Failure theater: Two different House committees have chosen to ignore the budget cutting recommendations of the Trump administration and add billions to the budget of the National Institute of Health while approving — against the objections of the administration — the creation of a military “space corps.”

The first story is especially galling. Instead of cutting NIH’s budget to $25.9 billion, which is about what the agency got in the early 2000s, the increase to NIH would raise its budget from $31.8 billion to $35.2 billion. Worse, the House proposal would continue the policy where NIH pays the overhead for any research grants, which has been an amazing cash cow for American universities, most of which are leftwing partisan operations whose focus these days is often nothing more than defeating Republicans and pushing agenda-driven science.

Trump was right to push for those cuts. The Republicans are fools to eliminate them.

As for the second story, as I noted yesterday, the limitations of the Outer Space Treaty are almost certainly what is pushing Congress now to create a separate military space division. That and a greedy desire to establish another bureaucracy where they can take credit for any additional pork barrel funding. While such a force will certainly be necessary should the Outer Space Treaty not be revised to allow sovereignty and the establishment of internationally recognized borders, it is simply too early to do so now. The result will be a bureaucratic mess that will only act to waste money and possibly hinder private development in space.

But then, that’s what too many Republicans, like Democrats, want. They aren’t really interested in the needs of the country. They are interested in pork and power, for themselves.

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“We will get better aim.”

Leftwing fascists: A protester at the Tucson office of Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) was arrested after telling staffers there that the real solution to the “Republican problem” is “better aim.”

“You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem? They are going to get better aim,” he said. “That last guy tried, but he needed better aim. We will get better aim.” The protester was likely referencing last month’s shooting in Alexandria, Virginia.

Nothing to see here. So what that actual Republican congressmen were shot, one nearly killed, by a Democratic party supporter who had campaigned for Bernie Sanders? So what that actual threats and simulations of violence against Trump and Republicans can be seen almost daily in leftwing culture?

No. What we need to get outraged about is a silly tweet sent out by Trump

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As predicted climate scientists begin adjusting satellite data to fit models

If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts! The scientists in charge of the climate satellite data produced by Remote Sensing Services (RSS) in California have decided to adjust their satellite data to increase the warming trend since 2000 and make that data more closely match the surface temperature data that NASA and NOAA have already altered to show that same warming trend.

Researchers from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), based in California, have released a substantially revised version of their lower tropospheric temperature record. After correcting for problems caused by the decaying orbit of satellites, as well as other factors, they have produced a new record showing 36% faster warming since 1979 and nearly 140% faster (i.e. 2.4 times larger) warming since 1998. This is in comparison to the previous version 3 of the lower tropospheric temperature (TLT) data published in 2009.

How have they done this? They made several changes, the first two of which appear quite questionable. First, they addressed the “time of observation issue.” There is a belief among some climate scientists that the time temperature readings were taken can introduce an error in the long term trends.

To account for changes in observation times, the RSS group used a number of different approaches and models to try and estimate what the temperature would have been if the measurement time remained constant. This involves a combination of satellite observations (when different satellites captured temperatures in both morning and evening), the use of climate models to estimate how temperatures change in the atmosphere over the course of the day, and using reanalysis data that incorporates readings from surface observations, weather balloons and other instruments.

Depending on the time of the observation correction approach chosen, the resulting temperature trends between 1979 and 2016 ranged from as low as 0.13C per decade to as high as 0.22C per decade. The RSS group ultimately decided that the most reasonable set of parameters give a temperature trend of 0.17C. [emphasis mine]

I am puzzled by this, since satellites in orbit do not take readings at one particular time, but at a wide range of times. In fact, I would say that the number of readings, at all different times, would easily introduce enough randomness into the results that any error would be insignificant. Instead, these scientists have decided to adjust the raw data to add a warming trend of almost a tenth of a degree centigrade.

Next, they simply decided that the data coming from some satellites should be excluded.
» Read more

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Republican Senate restores spending in NASA budget

The Senate subcommittee marking up the proposed NASA budget has followed the House lead and restored most of the cuts proposed by the Trump administration.

The bill provides nearly $780 million more for NASA than the administration’s request, including an increase of more than $615 million for exploration programs, such as the Space Launch System and Orion. “We made sure the Space Launch System is fully funded, and that astronauts will have the ability to go beyond low Earth orbit in the Orion crew vehicle,” Culberson said.

The bill restores funding for NASA’s Office of Education, which was slated to be closed in the budget proposal. The bill provides $90 million for the office, including funds for two programs in that office, Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, that would have been shut down.

More here.

It appears that Republicans, like Democrats, have no interest in gaining any control over its out-of-control spending. The Trump budget was a very reasonable document, and would have done no harm to NASA’s overall mission, and in many ways would have helped focus it. Congress however can’t stop spending, no matter who the voters put in power.

The only area where Republicans seem willing to fight for cuts is in NASA’s climate budget. With both the House and the Senate bills, the Republicans supported most of these cuts, though not all.

Overall, this whole process, and the contempt Congress and Washington has for the American people, was best demonstrated by this quote from Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia):

“I’m not sure the private sector is going to step in with so much left undone.”

In other words, private enterprise can’t do it! We need big government, routinely over budget and behind schedule, to make it happen!

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Republican House restores spending in NASA budget

The House committee marking up NASA’s budget has added about $800 million to the budget proposed by the Trump administration, restoring the proposed cuts in the SLS/Orion budget as well as in NASA’s education programs.

NASA’s exploration account receives the largest increase in the House bill: a $616 million increase over the request to $4.55 billion. The bill would fund the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System at the same levels as in the 2017 omnibus bill, rather than the lower levels in the budget proposal. It increases funding for ground systems and exploration research and development above both the request and the 2017 omnibus bill.

The bill would also restore much of NASA’s education program, which the administration proposed closing in its 2018 budget request, offering $37.3 million in closeout costs. The bill offers $90 million for education, $10 million below the 2017 level. The bill specifically funds two programs in that office, Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, that would have been shut down in the budget request.

Plans to end those education programs faced bipartisan opposition when the CJS subcommittee held a hearing on NASA’s budget proposal June 8. “I’m concerned about, in your budget, your cuts to the Office of Education,” said Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee who is now a member of the CJS subcommittee. “I can’t understand why you would want to cut that.”

The budget also adds money to the planetary budget, but also micromanages NASA by ordering it to fly two missions to Europa.

What this budget tells me is that the Republicans in Congress have no idea why Trump was elected. The public likes space, but it does not like its tax dollars wasted, and the public who voted for Trump (and the Republicans) considers much of what the federal government does to be a big waste. They want that budget trimmed. The Trump budget didn’t gut NASA, but it did try to refocus its effort away from pork. These House changes reinstate much of that pork.

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California government healthcare plan shelved

The head of California’s assembly on Friday shelved the senate’s proposed government takeover of that state’s entire healthcare industry, saying that the plan was “woefully incomplete.”

The plan, which was estimated to cost $400 billion, several times California’s annual total budget, had not included any way to pay for it.

At first glance it appears that common sense has arrived in California. A closer look shows no such thing has happened.

“We are disappointed that the robust debate about health care for all that started in the California Senate will not continue in the Assembly this year,” Democratic Sens. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens and Toni Atkins of San Diego, the bill’s authors, said in a statement. “This issue is not going away.”

The legislation was championed by the state’s nurses’ union and the Democratic Party’s more liberal wing. “The California Nurses Association condemns the decision by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to destroy the aspirations of millions of Californians for guaranteed health care,” the union’s co-president, Deborah Burger, said in a statement that also critiqued the timing of Rendon’s announcement, which was sent out shortly before 5 p.m. “Announcing this decision at 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon is a cowardly act, developed in secret without engaging the thousands of Californians who have rallied to enact real health care reform.”

Rendon suggested the Senate draft a new version of the bill that addresses how to finance the plan and more clearly details how it would work. He also suggested the plan could be taken to voters in the form of a ballot measure. In the meantime, he said he would not advance the bill through the Assembly committee process. “This action does not mean SB 562 is dead,” Rendon said. “In fact, it leaves open the exact deep discussion and debate the senators who voted for SB 562 repeatedly said is needed.”

Even if they rewrite it to include a plan to pay for this government-run healthcare system, it won’t work. It never does. The program will still cost far more than they can afford, and it will still bankrupt California, as has socialism in Russia, Venezuela, Europe, and anywhere it has been tried. Every. Single. Time.

Not that these plain facts matter to the political leaders in California. They and their voters want free stuff, and darn it, they are going to give it to them!

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Four reasons why college degrees are becoming useless

Link here. The first two reasons are illustrated forcefully by the madness we have recently seen in many college campuses, where mobs of screaming thugs take over and drown out anyone who wants to discuss the issues at hand rationally.

The last two reasons are less noticeable but more economically important. Combined with the first two reasons, expect there to be a collapse in attendance at colleges in the coming years.

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Senate introduces its version of Trumpcare

Failure theater: The Senate today introduced its version of an Obamacare replacement, and proved once again that the Republican leadership in Congress has no interest in repealing Obamacare and the parts of that law that make it economically unsustainable.

The most popular provisions of Obamacare are kept in place in the bill, including language allowing children to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan until age 26 and preserving coverage for people with pre-existing illnesses.

The bill does repeal some of Obamacare, but without freeing the insurance company from the requirement to accept anyone, whether they are sick or not, makes it impossible for the entire health insurance business to make any profit. It also does not appear that this bill frees insurance companies to offer any kind of insurance they wish, including the popular and less expensive catastrophic insurance plans that Obamacare banned.

The problem here is that the Republican leadership is timid. They fear the squealing of pigs, and thus attempt to come up with plans that will please those pigs. The result? A mish-mosh that no one likes and that solves nothing.

Update: The Senate’s own freedom caucus speaks: Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul reject Senate bill, as written.

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A congressman acts to limit competition in solid rocket motor production

We’re here to help you! Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-California) in March introduced a new bill that requires U.S. companies building solid rocket motors to purchase the oxidizer from within the U.S.

That oxidizer, ammonium perchlorate, is only available from one Utah company, a company that also happens to belong to a member of the Washington establishment.

Some in industry are arguing the legislation is an earmark to help a now struggling business — American Pacific, owned by the Huntsmans of Utah — with political ties to the Trump administration. Jon Huntsman, former two-time Republican presidential candidate, is tapped to be the next ambassador to Russia.

And if the legislation passes as part of the fiscal year National Defense Authorization Act, the business would be propped up, but potentially at the expense of a larger solid rocket motor industry and the U.S. government, sources interviewed by Defense News argued.

Essentially, this bill would give Jon Huntsman’s company a monopoly and would likely increase the cost of making solid rocket motors.

The article is very detailed. While on the surface it sure looks like a case of crony capitalism, it is a bit more complicated. Demand for ammonium perchlorate has dropped since the shuttle was retired, causing Huntsman’s company to struggle. While it could be argued that this bill is an effort to save this company as well as encourage new American companies to form, there are many factors described in the article that suggest this isn’t going to happen, including this tidbit:

The other factor is the price for [ammonium perchlorate] will improve naturally when the government has more demand in roughly six years when NASA’s Space Launch System kicks off in full and the nuclear missile fleet is refreshed, so a solution that is more temporary could be in order, several sources suggest.

Since it is doubtful SLS will ever “kick off in full,” it is unlikely that demand for solid rocket motor oxidizer will ever rise as predicted. A better solution would be for Congress to mind its own business and let the market function normally. There are other companies in Europe providing this oxidizer, and the competition would force Huntsman’s company (as well as other new American companies) to innovate to stay competitive.

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Illinois facing budget collapse

Leftist governance: Having now gone three years without an official budget and having expenses exceeding revenues by large amounts on a monthly basis, Illinois now faces a budget collapse.

A mix of state law, court orders and pressure from credit rating agencies requires some items be paid first. Those include debt and pension payments, state worker paychecks and some school funding. Mendoza says a recent court order regarding money owed for Medicaid bills means mandated payments will eat up 100 percent of Illinois’ monthly revenue.

There would be no money left for so-called “discretionary” spending – a category that in Illinois includes school buses, domestic violence shelters and some ambulance services

More here. Essentially, this state, run for decades by Democrats (and Republican helpers) and their union buddies, has unfunded pension liabilities that make it impossible to pay its real bills. I saw this happen in New York City in the 1970s, after almost a century of one-party Democratic rule. Watch it happen again here, as well as in California and several other radicalized blue states. They have decided to go full socialist, and as such are guaranteed societal failure.

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California passes single payer health plan, without a way to pay for it

Running out of other people’s money: The state senate of California today passed a single payer health plan, essentially proposing to take over the health industry in that state.

It is estimated that the proposal will cost California $400 billion per year, which is twice more than three times that state’s annual budget. A Massachusetts study claims the government health plan can be paid for by adding additional taxes, including 15% payroll tax, but I am exceedingly skeptical. When have any of these kinds of studies ever correctly predicted the true cost of a government program? In truth, never. The cost is always higher than predicted, and the revenues raked in by taxes always less.

The article at the second link about the study has this interesting tidbit about the typical California voter:

The first-ever question to Californians on the topic by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that the vast majority of state residents were in favor of a universal, government-run health care system — as long as it doesn’t raise their taxes. But the prospect of paying the government for health care through new taxes caused support for the proposal to fall from 65 percent to 42 percent.

Another poll, commissioned by the nurses’ union, found that 70 percent of Californians were in favor of a universal, single-payer health care system — a percentage that dropped to 58 percent after those surveyed heard arguments from the opposition about the cost.

In other words, Californians want this stuff given to them, for free. They are living in a fantasy world, which might explain the behavior of their government, dominated by pie-in-the-sky Democrats.

Despite this, I expect California to pass this bill, and then find they can’t pay for it. They will then demand that the U.S. government bail them out.

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Did the Pentagon give ULA $27.4 million for work already done?

Corruption: It appears that a Department of Defense $27.4 million contract awarded to ULA on May 16 to develop new avionics for its rockets was for work already completed by the company.

The government award to ULA reinforces the notion that, traditionally in aerospace, the government pays for rocket upgrades. But it is also curious because of its timing—for work to be completed two years from now. Based upon information in an article written by two ULA engineers and published in Advances in the Astronautical Sciences Guidance, Navigation and Control, the avionics system has already been upgraded. Moreover, the February 5, 2016 launch of a GPS satellite for the Air Force marked the first launch of the common avionics system.

“The launch of GPS IIF-12 in February 2016 represents the culmination of several years of development work to update avionics hardware and flight software as well as simulation and test environment tools,” the research article states. “Common avionics addresses the challenge of parts obsolescence any program with the longevity of (this one) must face. ULA has taken advantage of this opportunity to design and produce a more affordable solution for vehicle control that will also expand the capability of our launcher fleet.”

A call into the Air Force for an explanation resulted in no response at all.

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Connecticut: sinking in debt with a fleeing population

Running out of other people’s money: Connecticut, run for years by Democrats, is sinking in debt with a population that is shrinking as people flee.

The administration of Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat who has been in office since 2011, projects a budget deficit of more than $5 billion over the next two years, thanks to generous pension benefits and the burden of servicing its big debt, plus falling tax revenue due to the exodus of large employers and residents reaching retirement age.

Its budget woes, as well as concerns that they will be repeated year after year, helped lead General Electric in 2015 to consider moving its headquarters out of the state. Last year, it did exactly that.

The state’s population is falling: Its net domestic out-migration was nearly 30,000 from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, it lost slightly more than 8,000 people, leaving its population at 3.6 million. Indeed, recent national moving company surveys underscore the trend, showing more people leaving Connecticut than moving in. In 2016, the state also saw a population decline for the third consecutive year, according to Census Bureau estimates.

One of the companies, United Van Lines, reported that of all their Connecticut customers, 60 percent were leaving compared to 40 percent who were moving there. Only three other states had higher rates of people moving out – New York, New Jersey and Illinois. One out of five of those leaving said they were retiring. [emphasis mine]

Isn’t it interesting that the four states with the most people leaving are four states that have been largely run by Democrats for decades. And in those cases where Republicans have been in charge, they have taken the moderate go-along-to-get-along approach, essentially rubber-stamping the high spending and high tax agenda of the Democrats that dominate the political region.

Unfortunately, it is this agenda that dominates Washington and the federal government, and the Republican leadership there seems quite willing to do the same as the moderate Republicans in this states. Worse, we don’t have another country we can escape to.

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California single-payer $400 billion healthcare plan approved by state committee with no funding

Running out of other people’s money: A California legislative committee yesterday approved a single-payer state healthcare plan that is estimated to cost $400 billion, twice the state’s entire annual budget, without indicating how they intend to pay for it.

Details, details! Who cares about how one pays for an entitlement program? The point is to pass it, and let your great-granchildren figure it out. In this case, however, the problem is so large that it’s impossible to do without the funding in place first, because of the need to pay providers for goods and services. California hardly has an extra $200 billion laying around, and even if it did, it would need to shore up its collapsing pension system first. The state is also on the hook for a $100 billion high-speed rail system whose funding is still unclear. Democrats don’t have much idea about how to pay for their current priorities, let alone their seizure of the health-care sector. [emphasis in original]

The leftists in California want to secede from the U.S. Maybe we should let them, since that state is about to go bankrupt and I am sure most Americans in the remain 49 states don’t wish to stuck with the bill.

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Sixty-six programs slated for elimination in Trump budget

The Trump budget followed through in one area very clearly: It proposes to completely eliminate sixty-six government programs.

The programs eliminated would only save $26.7 billion, which in terms of the deficit is chicken-feed. Still it would be a step in the right direction.

The pigs are squealing however, including one recent failed presidential candidate:
Clinton: Trump Budget Shows ‘Unimaginable Level of Cruelty’

Based on past experience, expect the Republican leadership in Congress to gut most of these cuts. The budget will grow. The deficit will grow. The federal debt will grow. The power of the people in Washington will grow. And we will be one step closer to bankruptcy and collapse.

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