Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the May 26, 2016 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.

Babe Ruth, Historic Home Run Hitter
And he wasn't even thinking about Jihads in those days but I am thinking Jihads these days

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T.S. Eliot

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
George S. Patton

If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.
Yogi Berra

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau

I grew up in Bulgaria and my early childhood was spent under a communist dictatorship. But for all its evils, communism had one silver lining — when everyone had very little, no one felt like somebody else was cruising past them motorized by privilege.
Maria Popova --- https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/05/16/annenberg-commencement/?mc_cid=94b2eea625&mc_eid=4d2bd13843

Iran Threatens That it Could Destroy Israel in Eight Minutes ---
Jensen Comment
But President Obama assures us that Iran is nowhere close to having weapons of mass destruction.

Our culture has created a reward system in which you get points for tearing down rather than building up, and for besieging with criticism and derision those who dare to work and live from a place of constructive hope. Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively, in yourself and in those you love and in the communication with which you shape culture. Cynicism, like all destruction, is easy, it’s lazy. There is nothing more difficult yet more gratifying in our society than living with sincere, active, constructive hope for the human spirit. This is the most potent antidote to cynicism, and it is an act of courage and resistance today.
Maria Popova --- https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/05/16/annenberg-commencement/?mc_cid=94b2eea625&mc_eid=4d2bd13843

“A federal judge has now exposed how the Justice Department systematically deceived lower courts,” notes a Journal editorial. On Thursday District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that Obama Administration lawyers committed “intentional, serious and material” misconduct in defending Mr. Obama’s 2014 order that rewrote immigration law to award legal status and federal and state benefits to nearly five million aliens.The executive branch repeatedly deceived the judiciary about when the program began, which had the effect of strengthening its legal position. The editorial board adds that “this is a constitutional challenge with major consequences for the separation of powers, and the deceit must have required the participation and coordination of dozens of political appointees and career lawyers.
WSJ Newsletter on May 23, 2016

Facebook admits rogue employees may have shown bias against conservatives ---

That IRS targeting of conservative nonprofits ranks as one of the worst federal scandals in modern history (that made a huge and unconstitutional difference in the 2012 re-election of President Obama). It is topped only by the outrage that no one has been held to account. Or perhaps by the news that the targeting continues to this day . . . Judge Sentelle said there is a “pretty good case” that “egregious violations of the Constitution” had been committed, and he dared an IRS lawyer to “stand there with a straight face” and say otherwise. Judge Ginsburg, who spent the hearing catching out the IRS’s conflicting statements, at one point simply asked: “How much has really changed?”  Answer: not much.
Kimberly A. Strassel --- http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-irss-ugly-business-as-usual-1463700465?mod=djemMER

The House Judiciary Committee meets May 24, 2016 to consider (impeachment of) IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. As Don Corleone said to the Heads of the Five Families, “How did things ever get so far?“
The IRS Scandal, Day 1108

Paul Caron --- http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/05/the-irs-scandal-day-1108.html

The Supreme Court rules (once again) unanimously against the EEOC agency's frivolous lawsuits ---

Sorry, Bernie fans. His health care plan is short $17,000,000,000,000. The studies, published jointly by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute in Washington, concludes that Sanders's plans are short a total of more than $18 trillion over a decade ---
Max Ehrenfreund. Washington Post ---

Trump's only consistent position on taxes is that he's not going to make his tax returns public ---

The USA Justice Department Adopts an Ella Fizgerald Theme Song for Public Bathrooms ---

Fiddling Away Black Futures
Walter E. Williams  ---

Wall Street whistleblower drops Clinton Foundation bombshell
Dennis Huber
Also see
Jensen Comment
Isn't it sad. Our two choices for President in November will be a Crazy versus a Crook. Both are better than a socialist dreamer who would destroy the USA.

Former Clinton Chief of Staff Walks Out of FBI Interview Due to 'Off-limits Topic' ---
Courtney O'Brien

A Latina-American from Laredo, Texas, tells me she and most of her friends are for Trump because he wants to keep Mexicans out. She thinks too many Mexicans have come here illegally, making it harder for those here legally
A union member from Pittsburgh says he’s for Trump because he’ll be tough on American companies shipping jobs abroad, tough with the Chinese, tough with Muslims.
A small businessman in Cincinnati tells me he’s for Trump because “Trump’s not a politician. He’ll give them hell in Washington.”

Robert Reich --- http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/05/24/why_trump_might_win_130653.html
Jensen Comment
What's important about the above article is that the author (Professor Reich) is the very, very liberal UC Berkeley economist and former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton.
What Reich implying is it's not so much the liking of Trump as it is the fears of what the USA became under eight years of President Obama's leadership or lack thereof.


The last seven years may have diluted that patriotic sentiment. Yet, square our national veneration of the bald eagle with a federal rule to allow the rotor blades of wind turbines to butcher 4,200 bald eagles per year for thirty years—four times the previous limit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), an agency legally bound to protect wildlife and with no jurisdiction over energy, stated that the rule’s purpose was to help spur more renewable (wind power) installations.

Pew Research Center: Israel's Religiously Divided Society ---

Recent incidents at DePaul and UC Irvine raise the question of what obligations a college has to make sure that protesters -- while objecting to an event -- can't shut it down or block its ideas from being heard.
Jensen Comment
To say nothing about blocking emergency vehicles from doing their job or instructors from having class.

Valerie Jarrett Cites 'Ending Two Wars' as Obama Accomplishments
Jensen Comment
Say what? Where were the wars that ended?

It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.

Babe Ruth, Historic Home Run Hitter

Moocher Hall of Fame --- https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/the-moocher-hall-of-fame/

Well, the rifleman’s stalking the sick and the lame
Preacherman seeks the same, who’ll get there first is uncertain
Nightsticks and water cannons, tear gas, padlocks
Molotov cocktails and rocks behind every curtain
False-hearted judges dying in the webs that they spin
Only a matter of time ’til night comes steppin’ in

Bob Dylan

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the booked obligation of $19+ trillion) ---
The US Debt Clock in Real Time --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/ 
Remember the Jane Fonda Movie called "Rollover" --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollover_(film)

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the unbooked obligation of $100 trillion and unknown more in contracted entitlements) ---
The biggest worry of the entitlements obligations is enormous obligation for the future under the Medicare and Medicaid programs that are now deemed totally unsustainable ---

Entitlements are two-thirds of the federal budget. Entitlement spending has grown 100-fold over the past 50 years. Half of all American households now rely on government handouts. When we hear statistics like that, most of us shake our heads and mutter some sort of expletive. That’s because nobody thinks they’re the problem. Nobody ever wants to think they’re the problem. But that’s not the truth. The truth is, as long as we continue to think of the rising entitlement culture in America as someone else’s problem, someone else’s fault, we’ll never truly understand it and we’ll have absolutely zero chance...
Steve Tobak ---

"These Slides Show Why We Have Such A Huge Budget Deficit And Why Taxes Need To Go Up," by Rob Wile, Business Insider, April 27, 2013 ---
This is a slide show based on a presentation by a Harvard Economics Professor.

Peter G. Peterson Website on Deficit/Debt Solutions ---

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm

Bob Jensen's health care messaging updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm

Thomas Piketty --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Piketty

"Why Does Inequality Matter? Reflections on the Political Morality of Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century"
SSRN, December 11, 2015
Tax Law Review, Vol. 68, No. 3, 2015


Liam Murphy,  New York University School of Law


In the Conclusion to Capital in the Twenty-First Century Thomas Piketty issues a call for a political and historical economics. Like Marx and the political economists before him, Piketty is interested in how markets work because he is interested in the rights and wrongs of institutional, especially legal, design. His is book is guided by a clear sense that economic inequality, especially inequality of wealth, raises serious prima facie problems of social justice. This essay is a critical investigation into the political morality underlying Capital in the Twenty-First Century that unravels and evaluates the different ways in which economic inequality may or may not matter.

The Inspector General for the IRS said Thursday that the tax collection agency continues to be at risk of paying out billions of dollars in fraudulent Earned Income Tax Credit payments each year, and that there's nothing the IRS can do about it. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released a report that said almost 25 percent of EITC payments issued last year should not have been issued. That amounts to $15.6 billion in payments under a program that's meant to boost low and moderate-income people and families.

Without Expanded Error Correction Authority, Billions of Dollars in Identified Potentially Erroneous Earned Income Credit Claims Will Continue to Go Un addressed Each Year
April 27, 2016

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

USA:  The Most Under-Represented Groups In Law Teaching Are Whites, Christians, Republicans, Males
"MEASURING DIVERSITY: LAW FACULTIES IN 1997 AND 2013," by James Lindgren,  Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy ---

When the white male Protestants who ran American law schools thought that women and minorities were better suited for sweeping the classrooms than for teaching in them, one did not need statistics to know which groups were underrepresented. Women and minorities were locked out, and Jews were subject to quotas in many law schools and locked out of others. By the late 1990s, which groups were the most underrepresented in legal academia?2 After twenty-five years of increasingly vigorous affirmative action hiring, there had been a few pockets of success—enough to merit the first careful comparison of the racial, gender, religious, and political makeup of law faculties with the populations from which professors are drawn. It is time to take a close look at how far we have come and how far we have left to go to reach parity with the general population—or at least with the lawyer population.3 Additionally, it would help to know which subgroups within the broad traditional diversity categories are the most underrepresented and thus most in need of redoubled efforts on their behalf.

Continued in article

Affirmative Action Favors Women, Blacks and Latinos Over Whites and Asian Males  in Science Tenure Track Hiring

"Advantage Women,," by Colleen Flaherty," National Academy of Sciences via Inside Higher Ed, April 14, 2015 ---

Many studies suggest that women scientists aspiring to careers in academe face roadblocks, including bias -- implicit or overt -- in hiring. But a new study is throwing a curveball into the literature, suggesting that women candidates are favored 2 to 1 over men for tenure-track positions in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Could it be that STEM gender diversity and bias awareness efforts are working, or even creating a preference for female candidates -- or is something more nuanced going on? Experts say it’s probably both.

Wendy M. Williams, professor of human development at Cornell University, and Stephen Ceci, the Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology at Cornell, are no strangers to complicating research on gender bias in STEM. In a 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for example, they argued that women’s life choices, whether voluntary or constrained, better explain women’s underrepresentation in STEM than the usual suspects of discrimination in journal and grant reviewing and hiring. (They argued such biases were things of the past, and that efforts to address them missed the real source of the problem.)

Continued in article

38 Percent Of Women Earn More Than Their Husbands," by Mona Chalabi, NPR via Nate Silver's 5:38 Blog, February 8, 2015 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action in colleges and universities ---

So you want to have a baby. Why leave anything -- gender, intelligence, personality, propensity for disease -- to chance? Welcome to the future of sex-free reproduction
Is This the End of Sex --- http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2016/05/end-sex 

A baby grown from a flake of skin or from the genes of three parents – the future of reproduction is mind-boggling

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Since the writings of Darwin we've known that evolution is the process of adaptation which, according to Darwin, leads to survival of the fittest. One of the concerns with cloning is that it will halt adaptation. But by the time this is a genuine problem we will be building robots that do the adaptation for us.

"Puerto Rico Breakthrough," The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2016 ---

Pssst. Don’t tell Ted Cruz or the media, but the Republican Congress is using conservative principles to solve an urgent problem caused by progressive government. With some fortitude and a little luck, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico might even be able to grow again.

House Republicans this week plan to mark up a revised bill to let Puerto Rico restructure its $72 billion debt under the supervision of a federal oversight board. Puerto Rico needs Congress’s help to prevent a creditor brawl when the island’s debt issuers inevitably default, as well as to arrest a decades-long recession and population exodus. The urgency of the problem gave Republicans political leverage with the Obama Administration, and Speaker Paul Ryan has used it.

The bill offers debt relief to Puerto Rico in return for a mechanism to overrule the territory’s feckless current government and impose reform. The legislation explicitly pre-empts conflicting laws and regulations passed by the commonwealth. It also stipulates that legal challenges will be heard in federal rather than commonwealth court.

The key to the reform is a seven-person control board modeled after the board that pulled the District of Columbia out of a debt spiral in the 1990s. The President would select the board from nominations by the House Speaker (two), Senate Majority Leader (two), House Minority Leader (one) and Senate Minority Leader (one). The President has sole discretion to choose the seventh. The appointments must be made by Dec. 1, and the terms last three years, so the GOP majority’s choices will steer the board’s crucial early decisions.

The board can subpoena documents, conduct audits, hold hearings, veto overspending and impose reforms to, say, pensions, taxes and worker pay. It can compel the Puerto Rican government to privatize assets. Most importantly, the board can override laws, regulations, contracts and executive orders that conflict with its fiscal plans.

Creditors and the commonwealth’s 18 debt issuers would be encouraged to cut deals with terms that could be more favorable to both parties than those that might later be imposed by a judge. But the legislation also includes a collective-action mechanism that would allow two-thirds of the principal amount of each creditor pool to bind holdouts. If voluntary negotiations fail, a supermajority of the control board could authorize a federal court-supervised restructuring similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

This process would extend the nine-month automatic stay on litigation imposed by the legislation. After ensuring that financial audits and a fiscal plan have been completed, the board would propose a plan of adjustment that is fair and equitable. The legislation explicitly requires that the plan respect creditor priorities and liens and be “in the best interest of creditors.” So if Democrats later control the board, they couldn’t subordinate general obligation bondholders to pensioners.

Pensions are Puerto Rico’s single biggest liability at $46 billion. In recent years the commonwealth has raised the retirement age, increased worker contributions and shifted employees to hybrid plans similar to cash-balance accounts. But because the pension funds are nearly broke, the control board will have to further modify benefits. The legislation also requires that the fiscal plans “provide adequate funding for public pension systems,” so Puerto Rico can’t short pensions as it has in the past.

The board would remain in effect until Puerto Rico’s government has access to short- and long-term credit markets and has produced four consecutive balanced budgets. We’d prefer a longer time horizon that would keep the board in abeyance similar to New York’s financial control board if the commonwealth returns to perdition. But Washington will need Puerto Rican support to implement reforms, and promising to return complete control will encourage cooperation.

Continued in Article




Finding and Using Health Statistics --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/usestats/index.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics and databases ---

Medicare Fraud is Rampant ---

Here’s What You’ll Pay for Health Care In Retirement (Social Security benefits won't even cover your health care costs if you add supplemental Medicare insurance (that I recommend by the way)) ---

Forget about retiring on Social Security. Health care costs alone will devour the entire lifetime benefits—and then some—of a 45-year-old couple when they retire, according to projections released Wednesday by HealthView Services, a Danvers, Mass.- based company that provides retirement health care cost data and tools to financial advisers.

Social Security payments will stretch farther for current retirees, but the numbers are still stark: In 2016, the average 66-year-old couple will require 57% of their lifetime, pre-tax Social Security benefits to pay for health care costs, according to HealthView Services. The average 45-year-old couple, by contrast, will need 116% of lifetime Social Security payments to cover health care costs.

Total retirement health care expenses for that 45-year-old couple planning to retire at age 65 will come to $592,275 in today’s dollars and $1.6 million in future dollars, HealthView Services projects. The projection assumes the male member of the couple will live to 87 and the female to 89.

The total tab includes premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers doctors’ visits, Part D, which covers drugs, and Part F, which is the most comprehensive supplemental insurance. It also includes expenses not covered by Medicare, such as dental work and hearing aids. Notably, it does not include long-term care costs. Medicare does not pay for long-term stays in nursing homes, or for assisted living facilities.

Of course, these averages won’t reflect everyone’s experience. People’s individual health status will influence how much they pay. What’s more, not everyone will choose to buy a Part F Medigap policy. It’s a popular but expensive choice, with monthly premiums that vary widely by region but average around $200.

While expensive, Part F plans eliminate a lot of the uncertainty of medical expenses. Premiums are predictable and cover most of beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket expenses. Without a supplemental plan, beneficiaries could be on the hook for even more if they have a big medical episode, such as a stroke, or a serious diagnosis like cancer.

On Plan F, “if you never have a problem and drop dead at 110, you’ll have wasted a lot of money,” said Ron Mastrogiovanni, founder and CEO of HealthView Services. A more likely scenario, he said, is that, “We’re not going to stay healthy throughout retirement.”

Continued in article


Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm 

Sorry, Bernie fans. His health care plan is short $17,000,000,000,000. The studies, published jointly by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute in Washington, concludes that Sanders's plans are short a total of more than $18 trillion over a decade ---
Max Ehrenfreund. Washington Post ---

Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm 

Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/