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Letter to the Editor: Filibusters valued by both parties


In his letter to the editor on Sept. 7, Waller Wilson contradicts my online comments referring to a united government in 2009-10, noting that this period under the Democrats was "not filibuster-proof."

Wilson also takes issue with my rounding-up to $1 trillion the costs incurred by the Recovery Act - citing the bill as being $787 billion - then satirically posing whether he is quibbling.

Finally, he warns that austerity is the reason that Greece and Spain are failing - a preposterous claim. My precise answer: Yes. Wilson is quibbling.

The filibuster is valued by both parties. The device serves as a brake to the Senate majority's tyranny. Moreover, this president and the Senate majority leader could have worked to cobble successful cloture as needed. Repeatedly, this president has demonstrated that he's not been up to such compromise.

Filibusters notwithstanding, President Obama did get a lot done during his first year; that massive stimulus bill, taking big stakes in GM and Chrysler - after favoring unions over both the creditors and Ford Motor Company in the auto bankruptcies - and expanding a children's health care program. Most notably, his overreaching health care bill (barely) made it through Congress at the end of his second year.

Then came the rebuke of the mid-term elections. Pointedly, Wilson avoids mention of Obama's response: the last-minute ruination of the grand bargain to curb spending afterward. Afterward, a year ago last May, the Senate voted 0-97 against the budget Obama submitted to Congress.

In truth, the Democrat Senate is now the place where all House Republican economic remedial efforts go to die.

The Democrats now claim similarity between Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. In reality, the comparison is more accurately made to Jimmy Carter.

As to the cost of that failed "stimulus:" The borrowed $787 billion comes with the additional debt costs of about $350 billion or more. That makes for at least $1.137 trillion - doing little for employment but an awful lot toward adding to our spiraling public debt. By rounding to $1 trillion, I was actually being generous to the president - and this president needs all the generosity he can get.

Dan Flathers, Toms Brook


So I'm taking it as "yes" that Mr. Wilson was correct when he pointed out the Senate was "not filibuster proof" contrary to your assertion.

I now understand better how we can disagree over a stipulated fact, Ronbo44.

Nowhere do I dispute the 'fillibuster-proof' issue. The point is that Wilson offers it as a lame excuse.

Speaking of excuses by and for this president: Which of the many Administration versions of the embassy attacks have you settled on as of today?

You’re gonna have to do better than that Flathers. That’s just the same old right wing propaganda one hears over and over again on Fox “News.” I’m still looking for that “actual fact" you promised.

2010 -- Exclusive: Obama stimulus reduced our pain, experts say
President Obama's stimulus package saved jobs — but the government still needs to do more to breathe life into the economy, according to USA TODAY's quarterly survey of 50 economists.
Unemployment would have hit 10.8% — higher than December's 10% rate — without Obama's $787 billion stimulus program , according to the economists' median estimate. The difference would translate into another 1.2 million lost jobs.


2012 -- ...in a survey of leading economists conducted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, 92 percent agreed that the stimulus succeeded in reducing the jobless rate. On the harder question of whether the benefit exceeded the cost, more than half thought it did, one in three was uncertain, and fewer than one in six disagreed. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-23/the-u-s-economic-policy-debate-is-a-sham.html

Shortly after noon on July 5, House Speaker John Boehner’s "tweeted " a July 3 blog posting from the conservative Weekly Standard’s website, labeling it "POTUS’ economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per job."

So where does that leave Boehner’s tweet that said "POTUS’ economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per job."

The figure attributed to the president’s economists does not appear anywhere in the White House report.

Rather, the Weekly Standard attributed the number to economists at the White House after it made its own calculations and conclusions.

The methodology used to get that number was previously termed suspect because it lumps all costs associated with stimulus projects together as if they are wages, suggesting it would have been cheaper to just "cut a $100,000 check" to each person who found work as a result of the stimulus.

On the Truth-O-Meter, we rate Boehner’s tweet (and the subsequent variations of his claim) as F A L S E.


Mr Flathers in response to your mathematics of the deficit, explain to me the fiscal responsibility that was taken in the previous 8 year term of 2 unfunded wars coupled with tax credits. If you go back in history and look at what got us out of the depression it certainly was not a freeze on government spending, just the contrary. And when they began to cut that spending too early the country began to decline rapidly. Obama's stimulus did exactly what a stimulus is meant to do, halt the decline and begin to turn the economy around. Why is it that people think it is some magic button to fix 8 years of fiscal irresponsibility....bad mathematics to be more precise. A bit of amnesia thrown in there too.

I'm with you Ronbo, that was a whole lot of blathering and misdirection to just say, yeah "I lied".

The amnesia is over what you recall the president claimed the stimulus would affect at the time.

I did honestly answer Ronbo; he then failed to answer me. (How you can claim I have lied is incumbant on you to demonstrate. Put up or don't -- I really don't care.)

Since honesty seems to matter, are you game for my question, Katybug?

Which of the many Administration versions of the embassy attacks have you settled on as of today?

None Dan. I prefer my own. They hate us. We have ZERO business there and contrary to the belief of some we are not the world police. Our continued presence in any of those nations creates more terrorists. The children whose homes are destroyed, family killed will never grow up thinking Americans did it for any kind of good intentions. All they will remember is the violence American's brought. We are a country built upon Freedom, yet we are traveling the middle east forcing our way of life on others. They were fighting amongst themselves before America ever stepped foot on their soil and will be fighting when America leaves. We need to mind our own business, are we not bankrupt enough?

Now don't get me wrong Dan, I do care. Watching CNN video from Syria when they are pulling out the dead bodies of children made me cry and unable to continue watching. But my first concern is my own children and America needs to look at her own needs before we aren't able to help ourselves at all. We have a barely recovering economy, a severe lack of living wage jobs, an immense disparity in wealth, an enormous debt and more to pay attention to.

*On the lie, Wilson wrote in rebutting your statement "The Anointed One had a unified government his first two years." An often repeated lie within the GOP following banking on the fact that most of its following has no idea of the difference between a majority and a filibuster proof majority. The lie is the misrepresentation of facts.

AND as to White House statements, I would imagine each day they are learning information, which will change previous statements. It would appear they are updating as they learn new information and trying to keep Americans calm. *my own opinion of course.

Are you going to deny once again Mr. Flathers that you did indeed say Obama had a unified Government the first two years of his administration?

Posted by Dan Flathers:
"The Anointed One had a unified government his first two years"..

Please explain what that exactly meant. The other 47 % of us want to know? Honesty indeed is requested and not the spin you have tried to put on your comment.

It's hilarious that Flathers thought there was a climate of cooperation when McConnell told the Atlanta Constitution we want Obama to be a one term president. Where is that cooperative attitude President Obama was supposed to work with?

Hey Dan, could you tell me the cost plus inflation of Bush's two unfunded wars?

correction make that the interest on the debt for the two wars. And do you have a link for your $350 M figure?

DF: "Which of the many Administration versions of the embassy attacks have you settled on as of today?"

Have you ever witnessed a car accident on a highway? When the police interview the witnesses to the accident, do you know how many different stories they hear about that accident? Ten witnesses, probably ten different versions of what happened. Why didn't the US ever find out what really happened in the JFK assassination? Why didn't the police close the JonBenét Patricia Ramsey murder; her poor mother went to her grave never knowing the truth and with a cloud of suspicion hanging over her.

Flathers, I referred to you with a few not so nice names in a previous post. Oh, how I wish you were still re-enforcing their truth!

Please recite this several times a day.....

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Oh, how I wish you were NOT repeat NOT still re-enforcing their truth!

DF: "Which of the many Administration versions of the embassy attacks have you settled on as of today?"

A Pakistani government minister has offered a $100,000 (£61,616) reward for the death of the maker of an anti-Islam film produced in the US. Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour said he would pay the reward for the "sacred duty" out of his own pocket.


The anger has been sparked by a 14 minute trailer for what is supposed to be a two-hour low-budget film that was first posted online in early July. The film, called Innocence of Muslims, allegedly cost $5m to make and insults the Prophet Mohammad, depicting him as a fraud, a womaniser and a paedophile. The trailer first started generating attention when it was dubbed in Arabic. Youtube has now blocked the video clip from being seen in Libya and Egypt. As the anger grows, we ask why such an obscure production should provoke such a strong reaction and whether such films should be allowed under the rules of free speech.


Aljazeera is a Middle Eastern paper.

DF: "Which of the many Administration versions of the embassy attacks have you settled on as of today?"

“There is no doubt that the film is provocative to Muslims, but that should not push anyone to resort to acts that tarnish the image of Islam and its followers and depict them as if they were mobs, as Muslims belong to a religion that calls for being civilised,” Yasser Zaatreh, a writer at Ad Dustour daily, wrote in a column on Saturday. “Most Muslims condemned the killing of the US ambassador in Benghazi,” said the writer.


“Those who made this movie should be condemned in the harshest terms. But insulting religion cannot be an excuse to attack people,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, according to daily Hürriyet.


DF: "Which of the many Administration versions of the embassy attacks have you settled on as of today?"

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front cautioned Friday its members against any violent reactions on the anti-Islam “Innocence of Muslims” film, but wants the international community to “criminalize” deliberate attacks on any religion. The acting governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Mujiv Hataman, said it is obvious that the producer
of the film aimed at instigating violent reactions against Muslims around the world.


A German far-right group's threat to screen the video has prompted heated debate over whether or not the authorities should ban the film on security grounds.

In neighboring Austria, about 500 people protested outside the US embassy in the capital Vienna.

In France, riot police were out in force in several parts of Paris to enforce a ban on protests, a week after an unauthorised demonstration against the film led to 150 arrests.


DF: "Which of the many Administration versions of the embassy attacks have you settled on as of today?"

Protests over an anti-Muslim film turned violent Friday across Pakistan, with police firing tear gas and live ammunition at thousands of demonstrators who threw rocks and set fire to buildings. At least 17 people were killed and dozens were injured.


DUBAI, Sept 13 - Saudi Arabia on Thursday condemned a film Muslims consider blasphemous to Islam but also denounced the violent anti-American protests it has sparked in some Muslim countries.


Just go ahead with your mea culpa, Flathers. All the previous posters have done a good job of cutting your legs from under you with facts (as they usually do) and you can't spin your way out of this, or divert the conversation, without looking even more foolish than you already do.

DF: "Which of the many Administration versions of the embassy attacks have you settled on as of today?"

There is no doubt the terrorist saw the opportunity and acted given the civil unrest on the streets of Libya. Were they planning to kill Ambassador Stevens? Probably, he was popular and respected among the people; the extremist know he was hurting their cause. Were they armed and ready, maybe even rehearsed? More than likely. These protests provided them excellent cover; in fact, they may have manipulated the onset of the Libyan demonstrations under the guise of students reacting to the (US) anti-Islam film to further their mission.

Was our government wrong in not immediately declaring this a terrorist attack? Given what was happening throughout the region, absolutely not. The U.S. does not leap first and evaluate second. Will our government bring these terrorists to justice? We believe so; after all, look how long it took to get bin Laden?

Do you understand now, Mr. Flathers?

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