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Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the February 15, 2017 edition of Tidbits         
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side because it's been fertilized with more bullshit.


Shoot for the space in between, because that's where the real mystery lies.
Vera Rubin


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

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen


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

Babe Ruth, Historic Home Run Hitter
What's sad is to witness what Syria has become because nobody will give up.

Why, we grow rusty and you catch us at the very point of decadence --- by this time tomorrow we may have forgotten everything we ever knew. That's a thought isn't it? We'd be back to where we started --- improvising.
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Act I)

And "because they're nonstate actors, it's hard for us to get the satisfaction of [Gen.] MacArthur and the [Japanese] Emperor [Hirohito] meeting and the war officially being over," Obama observed, referencing the end of World War II.
President Barack Obama when asked if the USA of the future will be perpetually engaged in war.

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley
Even conversations that are not politically correct.

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
Why were nearly all poll statisticians thinking alike in 2016?

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

People voted for Hitler and then he destroyed his people
Pope Francis

Economists are the idiot savants of our time.
John Stuart Mill

If progressives are looking to be shocked, terrified, or incensed, they have plenty of options. Yet in the past two weeks, many have turned to a different avenue: They have shared “fake news,” online stories that look like real journalism but are full of fables and falsehoods.
Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

How Womens Studies Erased Black Women ---

When School Choice Works ---

Vouchers would relieve parents from the terrible choice of leaving their kids in lousy schools or bankrupting themselves.(by moving to more expensive suburbs)
Senator Elizabeth Warrem
As quoted from “The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are (Still) Going Broke” (2003) by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi 

Merkel hopes to step up migrant deportations ---

Let's Face It, Gorsuch is Actually Pretty 'Mainstream'
Rachel Maddow, MSNBC Commentator and Liberal Activist

Koch Brothers Oppose Trump's (albeit temporary) Immigration Ban ---

Koch network launches effort to kill Republican border tax plan ---

Obama temporarily banned all refugees from Iraq. He enforced a de facto ban on Christians from Syria. Jimmy Carter banned refugees from Iran. In all these instances the media never complained ---

If Iran is helping to sustain the Assad regime, then why should it not accept its share of Syrian refugees?
It's hypocrisy for Iran to criticize the USA for not accepting Syrian refugees when Iran won't accept Syrian refugees.

Trudeau says Canada will take refugees banned by the USA ---
Does that include those with violent records, including rapists, former ISIS fighters, and supporters of ISIS?

Teen Throws Paper Airplane in Class. He Was Arrested and Faces 30 Days in Jail ---
Jensen Comment
I once had a teacher who showed us how to make paper airplanes and explained how they stay aloft.

Chelsea Clinton's husband Marc Mezvinsky shut down his hedge fund in December just weeks after Hillary lost election  ---
Mark Mezinsky ---

Voter Fraud a Myth? That’s Not What New York Investigators Found
Larry Levy, The Wall Street Journal

Climate Scientists Manipulated Temperature Data to Fool Politicians and Public, Claims 'Whistleblower'---

Sweden:  Refugee Given Two Months in Jail for Raping 13 Year Old ---

Unprofessional CNN Things Jake Tapper Won't Discuss
CNN Rigs Debates:  First it got caught feeding Hillary Clinton CNN's questions it withhelf from Bernie Sanders. After the election it handed out questions it wanted the audience to ask in the Sanders-Cruz debates ---

Wikipedia Has Banned Daily Mail as an Unreliable Source ---

Three new plants in California show how lithium-ion storage is ready to power the grid ---

Maxine Waters Thinks Putin Invaded Korea ---

The NAACP has been highly critical of President Trump’s nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be U.S. attorney general, but it seems the group is unaware that its Alabama chapter doesn’t seem to agree—or least it didn’t back in 2009 when it awarded him their “Governmental Award of Excellence.”

Bob Dylan's Nobel Speech ---

As a performer I've played for 50,000 people and I've played for 50 people and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona, not so with 50. Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.
Bob Dylan

They say that patriotism is the last refuge
To which a scoundrel clings.
Steal a little and they throw you in jail,
Steal a lot and they make you king.
There's only one step down from here, baby,
It's called the land of permanent bliss. 
What's a sweetheart like you doin' in a dump like this?

Bob Dylan

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

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son
And what did you see, my darling young one
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

Bob Dylan

Patti Smith Sings Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rains Gonna Fall” at Nobel Prize Ceremony & Gets a Case of the Nerves ---

The Crisis of Race in Higher Education ---

New York Times: About 40% of adults between 22 and 24 years old get financial help from their parents to cover living expenses, surveys show. On average, they receive about $250 a month ---
Jensen Comment
 Many are employed but find their incomes cannot fully cover costs of housing, car ownership, insurance, etc. For example, I know several families that help finance cars, car insurance, medical insurance, and apartments of their children. This is especially common when their children are K-12 young teachers in high cost urban areas like metropolitan Boston.  Sharing rent with roommates is often unstable because roommates come and go. Single parents have an especially rough time trying to make it without parental assistance, especially if they're bearing an added expense for daycare. Making child support payments after a divorce can also be quite burdensome without parental help.

The Industrial Reserve Army as Defined by Friedrich Engels  and Used Karl Marx ---

About 32% of potential labor force persons in the USA are not in unemployment statistics because they are not seeking work. Most are unfit mentally or physically to hold down jobs, although many are not receiving disability compensation. Many are drug addicts with varying degrees of addiction. Many are depressed for one reason or another, most of whom are depressed by their drug addictions. Some turn to crime such as house burglaries and prostitution. Others turn occasionally to the underground economy for occasional day jobs. Others turn to begging. Many live in the home of a parent or in a camper or boat beside the house of a parent. Some are homeless and living on the streets.

These are what in a communist regime would be called a part of the industrial reserve army. It's a bit different today in this army, because Engels and Marx did not anticipate the 20th Century explosion is newer types of drugs and addictions to those drugs that generate a higher proportion of the industrial reserve army.

Here are five case studies described in some detail.
The New Face of American Unemployment

If you've not done so, you should also awe and/or weep over the performance of Maggie Smith in the 2015 film called The Lady in the Van ---

In some states you need a driver's license to e-file a tax return but not to vote ---

Everyone in Europe wants to know much it would cost to leave the euro ---

"The IMF Comes Clean on Greece Years too late, the fund tells the truth about Athens and bailouts," The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2017 ---

Now they tell us. The International Monetary Fund released a set of reports this week on Greece’s bailouts in 2012 and 2015. The verdict: Greece can’t be fixed by foreign technocrats bearing cash until Greek politicians, supported by their voters, elect to fix themselves.

The belated awakening sets the stage for another Greek crisis, perhaps as early as this summer. Not that anyone should be surprised. It’s been clear for years that Greek voters don’t have the stomach for major reforms. They reminded creditors of their views in January 2015 when they elected the far-left euroskeptic Syriza party of Alexis Tsipras. As if to underline the point, Mr. Tsipras keeps trying to prosecute for treason Andreas Georgiou, the government statistician who first fixed Athens’s fiddled books and exposed its fiscal crisis in 2010—as if Greece’s only mistake was to follow European accounting rules.

That reality seems to have been lost on Berlin and other creditors, who have repeatedly tried to pretend that maybe reform would be possible anyway under the auspices of a technocratic bailout memorandum. The IMF is now saying this strategy is exhausted.

The fund’s report on Greece’s 2012 bailout notes that Athens managed briefly to bring its finances into line with targets via deep spending cuts and steep tax hikes. Yet neither the IMF nor anyone else prevailed on Greece to implement the supply-side reforms, such as privatizations and pension overhauls, that creditors keep demanding. So growth has frequently missed targets and crises recur whenever investors get nervous at signs Athens is reneging on its deals.

The IMF sensibly refused to join the 2015 bailout, amounting to €86 billion ($92.03 billion). But Berlin continues to insist the fund must eventually sign on to the deal because Germans don’t trust Brussels to impose reform discipline on Athens. Other creditors agree, notably the Netherlands, where Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned Wednesday that the IMF’s withdrawal could scupper the bailout. With the IMF absenting itself, those governments will have to decide whether to continue unlocking tranches of that package, including money Athens will need to avoid defaulting on debt repayments this summer.

Technically this is a difference of opinion about what level of fiscal surplus and debt relief is manageable for Athens. Germany, the Netherlands and other EU creditors demand that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus of 3.5% of GDP and wait for several years to negotiate more debt relief.

The IMF says those targets are implausible, to put it kindly, and will participate in the new bailout only if creditors accept a surplus of 1.5% of GDP and immediately forgive some of a debt burden amounting to 180% of GDP.

But the real question is whether any economic forecasts and budget assumptions matter when nobody wants to address political reality. Dutch, German and other Northern European voters have to decide how much they’re prepared to subsidize an unreforming Greece for the political goal of keeping the eurozone intact. With elections this year in several creditor countries, especially the Netherlands and Germany, Europe may finally get the crisis it has needed all along: the moment when European taxpayers vote on what they’re willing to pay to preserve the currency bloc

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
People in Greece will probably argue that they've already been made to suffer with lower pensions, higher unemployment, and bursting refugee camps. The real problem is that there does not appear to be a good solution for fixing the economy of Greece. And the problem is not unique to Greece --- think Italy. Portugal, and the other EU nations burdened down with unaffordable debt. Things will probably get even worse for nations placing way too much hope for cash fromf tourism.

Jensen Comment
Note that both software types will read each others' tax returns. This means that you can read a Turbo Tax 2015 tax return into H&R Block software to start a 2016 tax return and vice versa.

To help ease the pain of filing taxes, you may want to consider online tax-preparation software that will help you get your affairs organized. Two of the most popular choices are TurboTax or H&R Block.

When it comes to choosing one over the other, don't stress too much — at the end of the day, they're pretty similar, says Michael Solari, a certified financial planner at Solari Financial Planning. "They're only as good as the person inputting the data," he tells Business Insider. "If you're making above $250,000, you should have someone prepare your taxes because of the complexity. Otherwise, I wouldn't go too crazy spending money on tax software."

Both programs offer a free federal edition for simple tax returns. The other editions — from "basic" to "home and business" — vary in price, depending on your needs. Filing for your business is the most expensive option in both cases.

TurboTax and H&R Block offer similar services at similar prices. Here's how they stack up:

Continued in article

"Can Chris Kennedy fix Illinois? The Midwestern state is (worse than) broke," The Economist Magazine, February 13, 2017 ---

ILLINOIS was a mess when Bruce Rauner took over as the first Republican governor in many years in January 2015. This large Midwestern state, with a population of 13m, had the most underfunded retirement system of any state and the largest pension burden relative to state revenue. Its bond rating was the lowest in the union, which meant it had sky-high borrowing costs. Pundits compared the state’s finances to those of Greece—or Botswana: Moody’s gave Illinois and Botswana the same credit worthiness rating.

Two years on, Illinois is an even bigger mess. It seemed hardly possible for the state’s finances to have deteriorated further still, but they did. Illinois has not had a budget in two years thanks mainly to Mr Rauner’s inability to agree on a compromise with the legislature controlled by Democrats. On February 10th the Civic Federation, a watchdog, published a new report that said Illinois needs a new budget immediately and admonished Mr Rauner and lawmakers for their intransigence in the budget standoff. "Illinois is in the unenviable position of having by far the worst-rated credit in the United States and the most notoriously dysfunctional state government," said Laurence Msall, boss of the Civic Federation.

Two days earlier, on February 8th, Chris Kennedy, a Democrat and successful businessman, declared his intention to run for governor of Illinois next year. He accused Mr Rauner of destroying the state’s economy and blamed him for turning a disagreement on the state’s budget into economic chaos for the state. “I don't think it needed to go that way. And I think it's fixable," said Mr Kennedy, who is one of the many children of Bobby Kennedy, an icon of liberal Democrats and former attorney-general, and a nephew of John F. Kennedy.

Mr Kennedy has toyed with the idea of running for public office several times in the past. He came to Illinois in 1986 when he moved to Decatur for a job at Archer Daniels Midland, a food maker and commodities trader. He is best known in Chicago as head of Merchandise Mart Properties, a developer and manager of real estate headquartered in an imposing downtown building that was once the largest building in the world, and chairman of the University of Illinois’s board of trustees. After stepping down at Merchandise Mart, he and his wife founded Top Box Foods, a non-profit organisation that provides nutritious food to poor families.

Mr Kennedy’s career history is not dissimilar to Mr Rauner's. Both are former entrepreneurs; both are wealthy. Neither were in politics until they decided to run for the governorship. Mr Kennedy may face J.B. Pritzker, another rich businessman whose family owns the chain of Hyatt hotels, in the Democratic primaries. The only Democratic candidate who has officially declared his intention to run is Ameya Pawar, an alderman from the North side of Chicago.

In an interview with Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business, a weekly, Mr Kennedy focused on Mr Rauner rather than his potential Democratic rivals. He said that he had recently talked to “the head of the largest sovereign wealth fund” about investing in Illinois and was rejected because Illinois is the only state in the country without a budget. He complained that Illinois is losing jobs and people. None of the investors he is in touch with, said Mr Kennedy, talk about tort reform or the high cost of workers’ compensation, two crucial elements of Mr Rauner’s turnaround agenda on which he refuses to compromise with Democratic lawmakers. Mr Rauner’s other pet reforms are a freeze of property taxes, the imposition of legislative term limits and a weakening of collective bargaining rights for union members

Continued in article













    Finding and Using Health Statistics ---

    Best Medical Schools in the World (2013) ---
    More of the Top 50 are in the USA relative to any other nation.

    World Health Organization ranking of health systems in 2000 ---

    From Our World in Data
    Financing Health Care
    Lots of interesting comparisons here
    Added considerations should be that having insurance with enormous deductibles is like having no insurance for people who cannot afford thousands of dollars in deductibles before the insurance kicks in,"
    Added considerations include having insurance that the major providers (hospitals and doctors) refuse to accept is like having no insurance.

    World Health Organization: World Health Statistics 2015 ---

    Updates from WebMD ---

    Medical Malpractice Lottery for Lawyers or Criminals or Both ---

    Bob Jensen's Threads and Timeline for  Obamacare ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on medicine ---

    Here's How Many People in Every State Who Do Not Have Health Insurance---



    Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging ---

    Bob Jensen's Home Page ---