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  1. #341
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    I wonder what Joe Biden's response would be if I asked about his Catholic belief in Transubstantiation.

  2. #342
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    Saxby Chambliss rules...

    From Politico:

    Saxby Chambliss takes aim at Grover Norquist

    Sen. Saxby Chambliss took aim at Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist on Wednesday, telling a local television station he’s not worried about a potential primary challenge if he votes to raise taxes.

    “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” said Chambliss, who signed Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” when he first ran for Senate. “If we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”

    The Georgia Republican told WMAZ that he expects his defiance of GOP anti-tax orthodoxy to earn him a primary challenger in 2014.

    “But I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist,” said Chambliss, a member of the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of senators focused on crafting a long-term deficit reduction deal.

    In a statement, Norquist said the senator would be breaking a promise to Georgians.

    “Senator Chambliss promised the people of Georgia he would go to Washington and reform government rather than raise taxes to pay for bigger government. He made that commitment in writing to the people of Georgia,” Norquist said. “If he plans to vote for higher taxes to pay for Obama-sized government he should address the people of Georgia and let them know that he plans to break his promise to them. The Senator’s reference to me is odd. His promise is to the people of Georgia.”

    Norquist also highlighted a letter Chambliss signed with fellow Gang of Six members Mike Crapo of Idaho and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma where the three said they hoped for a plan with “lower individual and corporate tax rates for all Americans.”

  3. #343
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    @DiscoBiscuit

    The major issue, I think, relates to what Senator Rubio's answer implies. When President Obama was asked and answered a similar question, there was clarification during the same interview:

    Obama then went on to state that he strongly believes in the principles of science and evolution, saying that they coexist alongside and even strengthen his religious views. That's very much in line with his early stated goals and subsequent successes in pushing for increased funding for scientific initiatives and promoting the importance of teaching evolution in schools.
    I completely recognize that a politician needs to be as ambiguous in his answers as possible, or needs to appeal to his base. I don't like it, but I accept it as a practical necessity. However, there are subtle differences between the answers of the two men: the President gave his answer and immediately addressed the underlying concern as to whether science and scientific theory should be supported, and whether they should be taught (without religion) in schools. However, I will be observing the Senator closely in the following days/weeks/months/years to see whether there is evidence that he values science (evolution, climate science, etc). This was simply a red flag that he needs to be scrutinized.



    As to your post about atheists, need I really do a google search for offensive religious groups? It is pretty common for some people of all denominations and faiths to do things that are offensive and insulting to others. It seems a little off topic.
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  4. #344
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    @DiscoBiscuit

    The major issue, I think, relates to what Senator Rubio's answer implies. When President Obama was asked and answered a similar question, there was clarification during the same interview:



    I completely recognize that a politician needs to be as ambiguous in his answers as possible, or needs to appeal to his base. I don't like it, but I accept it as a practical necessity. However, there are subtle differences between the answers of the two men: the President gave his answer and immediately addressed the underlying concern as to whether science and scientific theory should be supported, and whether they should be taught (without religion) in schools. However, I will be observing the Senator closely in the following days/weeks/months/years to see whether there is evidence that he values science (evolution, climate science, etc). This was simply a red flag that he needs to be scrutinized.
    The differences in their answers are reflective of the different audiences they are communicating with.

    Regardless, the answers reflect the strait jacket that anyone in elected office is placed in.

    Why does someone who values science have to focus on evolution and climate change? Science can equally mean, cleaner energy from nuclear, coal, or natural gas. It can mean new military technologies such as missile defense systems.

    I fail to see this as a red flag. For me this is a textbook case of a politician being a politician, ask him a question intended to make him look stupid and he'll punt (not very artfully in this instance).

    In fact, as far as Republicans speaking on the matter this seems to be a small step forward for the party.

    You have to keep your expectations reasonable, things change slow or not at all.

    As to your post about atheists, need I really do a google search for offensive religious groups? It is pretty common for some people of all denominations and faiths to do things that are offensive and insulting to others. It seems a little off topic.
    It is a little off topic, about as off topic as taking a politicians non answer to a "gotcha question" as tacit belief in YEC.

  5. #345
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    When you say "Science can equally mean, cleaner energy from nuclear, coal, or natural gas. It can mean new military technologies such as missile defense systems." it slightly misses the point. I am strongly against picking and choosing the parts of scientific evidence that suit one's personal needs. Underlying scientific principles about the universe can lead to new technologies. It is very hard to deny the existence of a technology you can see with your own eyes, but much easier to deny the truth of these underlying principles, which can stifle progress. When people deny things like evolution and climate science, they are denying the parts of science that are inconvenient for them, because they can (since the evidence isn't so obvious or tangible). This can lead to a lack of funding for certain kinds of research, changes in policy, etc., that are unfavorable to progress.

    I don't have unreasonable expectations. I will continue to be one of many who provide political counter-pressure to those who speak about such things, in an effort to facilitate political "evolution," if you catch my drift. I understand that these people thinks it's ok to be ambiguous, and my job is to make it a little less ok by doing my part to stifle their political careers for doing so.
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  6. #346
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    When people deny things like evolution and climate science, they are denying the parts of science that are inconvenient for them, because they can (since the evidence isn't so obvious or tangible). This can lead to a lack of funding for certain kinds of research, changes in policy, etc., that are unfavorable to progress.
    When people deny things like the pressing nature of our fiscal issues, and the dire need for spending restraint and cuts (in addition to revenue), they are denying the parts of economics that are inconvenient for them, because they can. This can lead to a Federal spending culture that is unfavorable to pulling out of recessions.

    I don't have unreasonable expectations. I will continue to be one of many who provide political counter-pressure to those who speak about such things, in an effort to facilitate political "evolution," if you catch my drift. I understand that these people thinks it's ok to be ambiguous, and my job is to make it a little less ok by doing my part to stifle their political careers for doing so.
    Sounds a lot to me like tilting at windmills.

    But someone has to fight the good fight.

  7. #347
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    From Michael Medved at the Daily Beast:

    The Unanswered Question: What About Clinton-Era Spending Rates?

    Neither Democrats nor Republicans, careening toward the dreaded fiscal cliff, appear willing to explain how we can return to Clinton-era tax rates without cutting spending to Slick Willy’s levels. Michael Medved says we need an honest response.

    In the debate on our fiscal crisis, one crucial question is never answered or even asked: if we’re supposed to go back to Clinton-era tax rates because they were good for America, why don’t we simultaneously return to that era’s spending rates?



    In other words, what is government doing so much better today than it was then to justify vastly increased expenditures, totaling more than $1 trillion a year in inflation-adjusted dollars?

    The question came up during our Thanksgiving holiday, when I honored my personal tradition—which reliably annoys family and friends—of playing cherished orchestral music by the great American composer Charles Ives (1874-1954). “Uncle Charlie,” as he’s become known in our home, was a New England eccentric who wrote rich, challenging, impressionistic scores that draws on folk and popular music to sketch vivid sound images of America of a hundred years ago. “Thanksgiving and Forefathers’ Day,” his masterpiece for chorus and orchestra, always seems particularly appropriate for our November celebrations. But this year I’ve also spent much of the holiday with his weirdly evocative tone poem “The Unanswered Question,” a mysterious piece for strings behind a probing, insistent trumpet solo.

    The relevant “unanswered question” of this moment in history centers on our federal government’s shocking spending levels.

    In arguing for a return to Clinton-era tax rates for wealthy households, with a top marginal rate of 39.6 percent rather than the Bush-era 35 percent, President Obama suggests that Slick Willy cooked up precisely the right recipe for growth and prosperity. The boom times and economic dynamism that characterized the last five years of Bill Clinton’s presidency strongly support that contention. But by addressing only the taxing part of the equation and not the spending levels, Democrats leave out the most important element in the winning formula.

    Indeed, even if we went back to the good old days of Clinton taxation levels but maintained our current rates of spending, we’d suffer from devastating deficits of close to $1 trillion each year.

    According to official government figures, the feds collected revenues totaling 20.6 percent of the gross domestic product in 2000, the final full year of Clinton’s term. Under Obama in 2012, however, Washington spent money at a near-record rate of 24.3 percent of the GDP. Even with all of Clinton’s tax revenues, that still would have left a deficit of 3.7 percent of GDP, significantly higher even than the worst full year of the much-reviled George W. Bush.

    Moreover, to reach Clinton-era revenue levels, Congress and the president would need to let all the Bush-era tax cuts expire, not just erasing breaks that benefit the wealthy. Yearly tax burdens for a typical, middle-class family earning $50,000 a year would increase $3,700, a development leaders of both parties consider utterly unacceptable. And all those punishing payments by hard-working, stressed-out Americans would still leave us with dangerous, damaging levels of deficit spending.

    To put the situation in perspective, federal spending went up from 18.2 percent of the economy in the last year of the Clinton administration, to 20.8 percent in the last full year of the Bush administration, to 24.3 percent of the just-completed fiscal year. In raw dollar terms, the Clinton government shelled out an even $2 trillion for all federal programs. The Obama administration is lavishing $3.2 trillion in constant dollars even before its costly health-care reform takes effect.

    Meanwhile, revenues declined at almost exactly the same rate as federal spending increased, going from 20.6 percent at the end of Clinton’s reign, to 17.6 percent in the final year of Bush, to an appalling 15.8 percent at the end of Obama’s first four years. It’s especially important to note that the low federal revenue numbers under Obama reflect the sour, slow-growth economy, not some new, unheralded tax cuts. Sure, Bush tax reductions contributed mightily to declining rates of government revenue between 2000 and 2008, but since Obama did nothing to alter the Bush tax reforms in his first four years, it’s illogical to blame those rates for the much lower revenue collections under the leadership of the hope-and-change president.

    Conservatives ought to face up squarely to the uncomfortable fact that there’s scant evidence that sharply reduced taxation since the Clinton era has helped middle-class Americans build wealth or improve their economic standing.

    But Democrats and other Obama apologists must confront the even more obvious truth that similarly steep hikes in federal outlays have done nothing to lift the circumstances of ordinary Americans. Washington has increased its share of the national economy by a frightening 34 percent since Slick Willy left office. It’s not possible to blame all of that on Bush’s two costly wars or his prescription drug benefit, as Obama increased federal spending as a share of GDP far more rapidly than did Bush.

    Which brings us back to the question neither Democrats nor Republicans seem willing to confront as they contemplate budgetary disaster and the dreaded fiscal cliff:

    If it’s appropriate to consider reinstating Clinton-era rates of taxation, why should it be unthinkable to restore Clinton era patterns of spending?

    Composer Charles Ives, who made his living in the insurance industry and loved actuarial numbers, would have appreciated some honest response to that unanswered—and perhaps unanswerable—question.

  8. #348
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Again, this is not relevant to the topic at hand. We were discussing science and belief in scientific evidence. However, I understand that it takes two willing participants to have a discussion, and I see that you're no longer interested in discussing that, so I'll bite:



    Skip to 2:14. I think this is relevant to the current topics at hand. You believe that the best way to reduce the deficit and/or debt is what? Reduce government spending? I disagree. I think that tax increases on the wealthy, investment in science/technology/energy independence through renewable sources will all lead to the current debt being a non-issue; these will lead to increases in GDP. As it stands right now, we are producing enough to provide for our citizens, and we will continue to do so in the future. It isn't as though this debt is going to come due and suddenly people will be starving on the streets. The largest debt holder is, by far, the US Federal Reserve. Accumulating debt is aimed at adjusting expectations and driving the economy forward, and it had never been needed more than today, when we are faced with low consumer confidence and a jobless recovery.

    Edit: To those who believe that the government cannot create wealth... you're idiots. Define "creating wealth" and I'll show you why the government can do it as well.
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  9. #349
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The fact that you can't see that Rubio is clearly punting here so as not to piss off part of the base, not affirming his belief in YEC, is telling.

    Allow Rod Dreher to humbly rebut your ridiculous assertion:

    The 7,000 Year Old World
    I read the article and here are my critiques:

    If Rubio is actually punting, that's even worse. Then he's spineless.

    I want ALL religion out of politics, not just conservative religion.

    The fact that many people can't explain how radiometric dating works does not mean that believing the Earth is 4.5 billion years old is the same as believing the Earth is 6000 years old. This is a false equivalence, something that religious apologists almost always resort to.

    I do agree that this nation has a serious science illiteracy problem. I used to be one of those people who was passive about scientific ignorance, taking the position that people can believe anything they want and it doesn't matter. Then I studied what happened to Islamic civilization. I no longer take our scientific and technological progress for granted.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  10. #350
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    To quote my Daily Beast article above:

    In the debate on our fiscal crisis, one crucial question is never answered or even asked: if we’re supposed to go back to Clinton-era tax rates because they were good for America, why don’t we simultaneously return to that era’s spending rates?

    In other words, what is government doing so much better today than it was then to justify vastly increased expenditures, totaling more than $1 trillion a year in inflation-adjusted dollars?

    Indeed, even if we went back to the good old days of Clinton taxation levels but maintained our current rates of spending, we’d suffer from devastating deficits of close to $1 trillion each year
    .

    According to official government figures, the feds collected revenues totaling 20.6 percent of the gross domestic product in 2000, the final full year of Clinton’s term. Under Obama in 2012, however, Washington spent money at a near-record rate of 24.3 percent of the GDP. Even with all of Clinton’s tax revenues, that still would have left a deficit of 3.7 percent of GDP, significantly higher even than the worst full year of the much-reviled George W. Bush.

    Moreover, to reach Clinton-era revenue levels, Congress and the president would need to let all the Bush-era tax cuts expire, not just erasing breaks that benefit the wealthy. Yearly tax burdens for a typical, middle-class family earning $50,000 a year would increase $3,700, a development leaders of both parties consider utterly unacceptable. And all those punishing payments by hard-working, stressed-out Americans would still leave us with dangerous, damaging levels of deficit spending.

    To put the situation in perspective, federal spending went up from 18.2 percent of the economy in the last year of the Clinton administration, to 20.8 percent in the last full year of the Bush administration, to 24.3 percent of the just-completed fiscal year. In raw dollar terms, the Clinton government shelled out an even $2 trillion for all federal programs. The Obama administration is lavishing $3.2 trillion in constant dollars even before its costly health-care reform takes effect.

    Meanwhile, revenues declined at almost exactly the same rate as federal spending increased, going from 20.6 percent at the end of Clinton’s reign, to 17.6 percent in the final year of Bush, to an appalling 15.8 percent at the end of Obama’s first four years. It’s especially important to note that the low federal revenue numbers under Obama reflect the sour, slow-growth economy, not some new, unheralded tax cuts. Sure, Bush tax reductions contributed mightily to declining rates of government revenue between 2000 and 2008, but since Obama did nothing to alter the Bush tax reforms in his first four years, it’s illogical to blame those rates for the much lower revenue collections under the leadership of the hope-and-change president.

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