Belmont Club

Solitaire

While politics is ostensibly about governance, suggesting that it does something constructive, in reality is often an activity for its own sake.  In other words, the purpose of politics is to serve politicians. Recent news, excerpted after the Read More, provide examples of politicians engaged in the crazy pointless things. We have “Green Czars” who believe 9/11 was a conspiracy; legislators who play solitaire on their laptops while session is in progress; bankrupt government agencies; health care that is really about empowering the taxman; and our favorite North Korean Dear Leader creating a second source of fissile material, as if one were not enough. In order to keep doing these bizarre things, politicians need power. Why? So they can get more power. There doesn’t have to be a reason for their activity, only an apparent reason. The real goal of many government “reforms” and initiatives may simply be to help politicians get their hands on more authority.For what purpose, one might ask? Why do people play solitaire? Simply because.

  • Green jobs czar signed ‘truther’ statement in 2004 – The Back Story – Washington Times
    • President Obama’s “green jobs czar” Van Jones has been targeted again and again by conservatives for his controversial views and now they’ll have another item to use as fodder.
    • His name is listed with 99 other prominent signatories supporting such an investigation on the 911Truth.org website, including Code Pink co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodi Evans, comedienne Janeane Garofalo, Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and others.  He’s identified as the executive director for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights on the statement, which he founded before going to the White House. The statement is available here. Mr. Jones is number 46.
    • “I think in most cases they spoke to them personally,” he added. “No one’s name was put on that list without them knowing it.”
    • UPDATE: A response was provided to reporters Thursday evening. In it, Mr. Jones apologized for signing the statement and said he doesn’t feel that way today and never has had such thoughts, although the 911Truth group claims to have personally confirmed support from all of their signers.
  • CT Legislators Play Solitaire During Session | NBC Connecticut
    • A photo captured by an Associated Press photographer showed two lawmakers playing solitaire online during a special session to pass a two-year budget in the state.
    • “It’s bad enough that taxes and spending are going up,” Foley said in a letter, which he also posted on his campaign Web site.  “It’s even worse to think that our elected representatives would rather play computer games than listen to arguments against their reckless tax-and-spend philosophy.”
  • Loan Losses Spark Concern Over FHA – WSJ.com
    • The Federal Housing Administration, hit by increasing mortgage-related losses, is in danger of seeing its reserves fall below the level demanded by Congress, according to government officials, in a development that could raise concerns about whether the agency needs a taxpayer bailout.
    • Rising defaults have eaten through the FHA’s cushion. Some 7.8% of FHA loans at the end of the second quarter were 90 days late or more, or in foreclosure, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, a figure roughly equal to the national average for all loans. That is up from 5.4% a year ago.
    • If its reserves fall short, the agency is obliged to notify Congress, which could spark a commotion over the extent to which the government is funding losses in the housing market. Some housing analysts have said losses might lead the FHA to pull back lending, which has helped boost flagging housing demand.
  • Health care reform means more power for the IRS | Washington Examiner
    • In short, health care reform, as currently envisioned by Democratic leaders, would be built on the foundation of an expanded and more intrusive IRS.

      Under the various proposals now on the table, the IRS would become the main agency for determining who has an “acceptable” health insurance plan; for finding and punishing those who don’t have such a plan; for subsidizing individual health insurance costs through the issuance of a tax credits; and for enforcing the rules on those who attempt to opt out, abuse, or game the system. A substantial portion of H.R. 3200, the House health care bill, is devoted to amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in order to give the IRS the authority to perform these new duties.

      The Democrats’ plan would require all Americans to have “acceptable” insurance coverage (the legislation includes long and complex definitions of “acceptable”) and would designate the IRS as the agency charged with enforcing that requirement.

    • That means the personal tax information of millions of Americans would enter the system whether they want it to or not. “There’s a mandate to buy insurance,” says one Republican House aide. “You have to buy it. You have millions of people who can’t buy it without a subsidy, so they will have no choice but to accept the subsidy in order to buy insurance, and then the Health Choices Commissioner will have access to their tax records.”
  • North Korea says in last stage of enriching uranium | World | Reuters
    • SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea said on Friday that it was in the final stage of enriching uranium, a process that would give it a second path to making a nuclear weapon.

      After a series of conciliatory gestures by the North over the past month, the announcement raises the stakes in efforts by the international community to convince the reclusive state to give up its nuclear weapons programme.

    • “We are prepared for both dialogue and sanctions. If some permanent members of the UNSC wish to put sanctions first before dialogue, we would respond with bolstering our nuclear deterrence first before we meet them in a dialogue.”

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