Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Canadian Independence Day Daytime Movie Lineup

  1. Candian Bacon (certainly Michael Moore’s best work of fiction), starring John Candy
  2. So I Married an Axe Murderer / Mike Meyers
  3. Airplane! / Leslie Nielsen
  4. Chain Reaction / Keanu
  5. Bright Lights, Big City / Michael J. Fox (who has no Elvis in him, but does good work)

I think they’re trying to convince everyone to be outside.

More Canadian Content here, via my Loyal Reader.

UPDATE: The NYT honours the day. Highlight from Malcolm Gladwell:

In history class, in seventh grade (or as we like to say in Canada, grade seven) we learned the story of the American Revolution…Turns out you were all a bunch of ungrateful tax cheats. And you weren’t very nice to the Loyalists. What I miss most about Canada is getting the truth about the United States.

He’s got a point there, except about the Loyalists. And that the “tax cheats” were really fighting the East India Company (think Wal-Mart with a British accent).

Also, we had Stevie Wonder last night and you didn’t. The bad news is it was the night before a National Holiday in a relatively large city and a free concert. So most of couldn’t get within five blocks of it.

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Bernie Sanders Draws the Line on Health Care

by Bruce Webb

Sanders makes the case I have been thinking of making (bolding mine):
Bernie Sanders Demands Democrats Commit To Stopping Health Care Filibuster

One of the Senate’s most vocal progressives is demanding that the Democratic Party commit to voting against filibustering health care legislation now that, with the impending arrival of Al Franken, the party has 60 caucusing members.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), called on the White House and Democratic leadership in Congress to ensure that party members agree unanimously to support cloture on legislation that would revamp the nation’s health care system. Democratic senators on the fence, he added, could still oppose the bill. But at the very least they should be required to let the legislation come to an up-or-down vote.

“I think that with Al Franken coming on board, you have effectively 60 Democrats in the caucus, 58 and two Independents,” Sanders said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “I think the strategy should be to say, it doesn’t take 60 votes to pass a piece of legislation. It takes 60 votes to stop a filibuster. I think the strategy should be that every Democrat, no matter whether or not they ultimately end up voting for the final bill, is to say we are going to vote together to stop a Republican filibuster. And if somebody who votes for that ends up saying, ‘I’m not gonna vote for this bill, it’s too radical, blah, blah, blah, that’s fine.'”

“I think the idea of going to conservative Republicans, who are essentially representing the insurance companies and the drug companies, and watering down this bill substantially, rather than demanding we get 60 votes to stop the filibuster, I think that is a very wrong political strategy,” Sanders added.

There is nothing in the Constitution that suggests that ordinary legislation or amendments thereto should require a 60 vote super-majority to move to a vote. But the filibuster exists and the majority cannot deny the minority some opportunity to demand debate (not that the filibuster ever is actually used to honestly debate anything). Still enough is enough. The Senate has never had the Whipping system of say the British Parliament, indeed its tradition allows leading members to buck Leadership and the White House on final legislation. However extending that principle to the point that unless everyone capitulates to every demand of the most center-right member of the caucus every time is to make a mockery of the Constitution itself. Exactly when did we decide to turn total power over to Ben Nelson?

Time to play hardball. Nelson doesn’t have to be a good soldier every time, he can vote against every bill that violates his conscience or ideology or that goes against the interest of his state. But there have to be sanctions for going AWOL time after time and even more severe sanctions for giving Aid and Assistance to the Enemy. Currently Ben Nelson sits on four powerhouse committees: Agriculture, Appropriations, Armed Services, and Rules. First offense? Lose Rules. Second offense? Off of Appropriations. What’s his recourse? Becoming the permanent Mr. No as the junior member of the Republican caucus?

Look we are not looking for a blood oath here, just an agreement to let legislation go to an up or down vote. Time to get things which have majority support among the American people and the US Senate done.

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US federal deficits, debt, and conversation starters

Instapundit offered a chart on the growth of actual and projected Federal government budget deficits a couple months ago:

Treasury lists the numbers of the on-going rise in debt as well. The new ceiling for spending is 12.1 trillion USD, but we are close to that now at an estimated 11.3 trillion USD.

09/30/2008 10,024,724,896,912.49
09/30/2007 9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86

CBO provides various snapshots as well.

My take on posts and comments on other blogs have included these observations:

1. There are plenty of partisan viewpoints about responsibility for this deficit and debt situation. This usually starts out with comments about who is responsible for the spending (with a hat tip to the Bush eight years of war and military spending funded by the mechanism of tax cuts), or blaming the Dem congress of the last two years as controllers of spending, or Obama for extending the Bush policies under TARP and military spending, but then adding “stimulus” and health care costs on top of everything else.

2. Technical arguments about some forms of ‘crowding out’ of private investment or not with the caveats of how money is spent domestically on public works, and which companies are favored in which administration (Cheny vs. Immelt?)

3. Policy memes centered around domestic savings and consumption, fiscal responsibilty, stimulus spending and ‘multipliers’, and how tax cuts will pay for current spending habits or allowing the sunset of the Bush tax cuts. Little discussion of raising taxes so far.

4. Consideration of the current ‘US trade deficit with the world’ as an underlying driver of our problems appears to be a somewhat marginal consideration in the current public debate except as part of ‘we are financed by foreigners’ or protectionism is bad,

5. With little discussion of how we are to prepare ourselves for a future role in the world that involves less dominance, less consumption, better exports to imports ratios from a US perspective, and what kind of jobs are thus created.

What could be re-worded or has been left out in broad strokes…obviously much detail and scope of particular interest? Five posts overall, with posts from Bears and guests to add proof and detail?

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