This thread includes in its subject heading "the stock market". We here have been predicting disaster as the DOW and the NAZ have more than doubled. That is one helluva a move to have missed-- and if armaggedon (sp?) does not come, some of us are going to have a hard time explaining that. If it does come, that does not mean it was good investing strategy to have sat on the sidelines in wait of proof of our prophecies.
Wesbury has been right in hindsight on his conclusion to stay invested in equities over this period. Also true is that he spins some of his words and picks the economic observations that back his conclusions. Also true is that he did not see the last collapse. So he is good on the upside, not good on the downside. And the naysayers have missed the entire upside.
My interest is the economy more than the stock market; Wesbury and the thread cover both. The markets have performed well since the last trough, no doubt. The economy is in a plowhorse 1st gear, under-performing its historic growth line by tens of trillions of dollars of income and tens of millions of workers not employed or under-employed. Wesbury would agree with this but glosses over the negatives IMHO. When people say stock market, the greatest interest is in where it will go from here as much as what did it do last year, last 5 years etc. On the future from right here, we don't know if Wesbury or the naysayers are right.
Alan Greenspan famously suggested “Irrational exuberance” more than 50 months before the tech stock crash of March 2000 and more than 7 years before the DOW bottom of 2002-2003. Was he right voicing his concerns or was he wrong? Certainly his timing was lousy. People made and then lost a lot of money during that period. While riding the market up, awareness of the vulnerabilities in hindsight was probably a good thing.
Greenspan: "Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. We can see that in the inverse relationship exhibited by price/earnings ratios and the rate of inflation in the past. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade?" — "The Challenge of Central Banking in a Democratic Society", 1996-12-05
My view of off-year politics is that iti it our job to get the positions on the issues right and then win over the hearts and minds. Keystone is falling the way of Obamacare, for the Republicans and against the Democrats. Another indicator of which way things are turning. We need a few more victories.
Income inequality is a fact, not an issue. But candidate Obama worked the guilt and envy for all he was worth. He gained power personally but his policies made income inequality worse.
They thrive on it, they live in it and they depend on it. The party of Income Inequality is the Democrats. Interestingly, the congressional district with the lowest level of income inequality is Michele Bachmann's district, the most conservative district in MN. The highest income inequality in the nation is found in Dem strongholds like NYC and LA.
...So no wonder Democrats are enamored with all of that rhetoric about inequality and class warfare. Their constituents, the audience they are addressing, are far more likely to live in the American equivalent of Rio de Janeiro, a class society starkly divided between squalid, hopeless, crime-ridden favelas and safe, beautiful downtown playgrounds for the rich. ... The Democratic Party is the party of inequality. They are the political faction that has a vested interest in inequality, because they depend on appeals to guilt and envy. To upper-middle-class elites, they promise to alleviate any spiritual discomfort caused by contemplating their relative good fortune, by the easy expedient of voting to spend a little extra money on welfare handouts—preferably the money of somebody just a little bit richer than them—rather than doing anything that would actually help the city’s poor find jobs and housing and transportation. For the poor, they promise to take the rich down a notch and distribute some of the loot. ... this does call into question the political wisdom of the Democratic Party’s effort to make income inequality the centerpiece of its national economic agenda, because this fall’s election will be decided by voters in suburban and rural districts, where inequality tends to be lower. And control of the Senate will be decided largely in states with low levels of inequality relative to the national average.
Washington Post: The president’s cynical Keystone XL strategy BY ED ROGERS April 22
On Friday, the State Department quietly released a notification that the Keystone XL pipeline decision is being delayed yet again. The president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Terry O’Sullivan, called the delay “another gutless move” by the administration. We could also dismiss the announcement as just more of the usual dithering from this White House. I don’t think the delay is gutless or dithering, but a more sinister, cynical ploy by this administration to manipulate two groups into continuing to support vulnerable Democrats in an attempt to keep the Senate in 2014. By appearing to have not made a decision, President Obama keeps the money pouring in from those on the fringe left — like billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer – who want the Democrats to swear allegiance to their global warming agenda. And at the same time, the delay — not outright denial — deceptively makes voters in key states like Louisiana believe there is still some hope that the pipeline will come to life. In Louisiana, voters think that if they reelect Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who touts her ability to influence the president on such things, the pipeline will become a reality. One side or the other is being played for a fool. But given what we know about the weakness of the president’s second-term agenda, and the fact that he could have approved the pipeline already if he wanted to, one would have to bet Keystone XL has no chance of being approved after the 2014 elections. There is nothing new about government officials manipulating announcements of planned projects and the like to suit their political objectives. But Obama’s manipulation has reached a peak. Neither side that he is playing will win. (more at link)
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts demonstrates that life on Earth is not suffering from rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels. Citing reams of real-world data, it offers solid scientific evidence that most plants actually flourish when exposed to both higher temperatures and greater CO2 concentrations. In fact, it demonstrates that the planet’s terrestrial biosphere is undergoing a great greening, which is causing deserts to shrink and forests to expand, thereby enlarging and enhancing habitat for wildlife. And much the same story can be told of global warming and atmospheric CO2 enrichment’s impacts on terrestrial animals, aquatic life, and human health. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (The toxicity level for CO2 poisoning is 40,000 ppm, not 400!)
Giving credit where credit is due. That with the OBL kill makes at least twice that he has done the right thing. It shows that down deep they know there are such things as bad guys/terrorists/militants plotting and planning to kill us. And we all know that the leftists including a Senator or citizen Obama would be 'up in arms' if these drone killings were carried out by a Republican administration.
Yemen Confirms 55 Militants Killed in Joint Aerial Campaign ________________________________________ Yemen's interior ministry confirmed that 55 al Qaeda linked militants were killed in what a Yemeni official called an "unprecedented" joint aerial campaign between Yemen and the United States in the mountainous Abyan, Shabwa, and Bayda provinces from Saturday to Monday. Air strikes, possibly from U.S. drones, reportedly targeted a training camp as well as several vehicles in the region. Another Yemeni official estimated the number of dead in the 40s. According to the interior ministry, three senior members of al Qaeda were among the fatalities as well as three civilians. Additionally, reports suggest Ibrahim al-Asiri, al Qaeda's chief bomb maker, may have been killed in an ambush over the weekend by U.S. backed special forces. Since the weekend's strikes, gunmen have killed four senior security officers, according to Yemeni officials.
How to Energize a Lackluster Recovery Allowing the full and immediate deductibility of capital investment would spur growth and raise wages. By Edward P. Lazear April 20, 2014 5:35 p.m. ET
April always brings complaints about the pain of paying taxes—and the complaints are justified. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, over 30% of U.S. gross domestic product is taxed away to fund federal, state and local governments. Tax compliance costs are also large, estimated to be around 1% of GDP.
The hidden cost of the tax system is the biggest of all—namely, the slower economic growth that results from taxing investment, which impedes the formation of capital and hinders productivity and wage growth. An easy way to remove the impediment to growth is to move toward a consumption tax by allowing the full and immediate deductibility of capital investment.
The argument rests on two points. First, consumption taxes are better for economic growth than are income taxes. Second, allowing full expensing (immediate deductibility) of investment turns the current tax system into a consumption tax.
Consumption taxes are better for economic growth because they create stronger incentives to save and invest than do income taxes. Under an income tax, a person who consumes what he earns immediately is taxed once, specifically on the earnings that he receives in that year. If instead he invests what he earns, the interest on that investment, which is compensation for deferring consumption, is also taxed. This pushes him toward consuming more now and saving less.
The reduced incentive to save that results from taxing returns drives up interest rates and retards investment. Incentives to invest would be improved if the returns were untaxed. By contrast, a consumption tax does not tax the returns to investment. It taxes only once, at the time that actual consumption occurs. Moving to a consumption tax eliminates the tax on returns to investment and improves investment incentives.
Allowing investment expenses to be fully and immediately deductible turns an income tax into a consumption tax, but the logic is subtle. All of an economy's output is used to produce either current consumption or investment goods. If all income, which must equal output, is taxed, then both consumption and investment are taxed. But if we tax only the part of output that is not investment by allowing investment expenditures to be deductible, all that remains is consumption so only consumption is taxed.
There is no need for any complicated new tax laws or bureaucracies to make this change. Investments in plants, equipment, R&D and even human capital would be deductible from profits when paying taxes, and the deduction could be used now or against future or past tax liabilities.
The potential benefits of moving away from taxing investment to a consumption tax are well documented. A 2005 Tax Advisory Panel appointed by President George W. Bush estimated from Treasury data that moving to a consumption tax by removing taxes on investment would result in a 5%-7% increase in GDP. (Its scoring included lower and flatter individual and corporate rates, though expensing accounted for most of the gain.) A 2001 study in the American Economic Review by David Altig, Alan J. Auerbach and others estimates that GDP would rise more than 9% by moving to full expensing of investment spending (with a flat tax).
Taxing investment reduces after-tax returns to investing. Investors care about after-tax returns and a tax policy that lowers investment returns is especially harmful to long-term economic growth. For example, a 2001 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, "Tax Policy Reform and Economic Growth," found that corporate taxes are the most harmful type of tax for economic growth, followed by personal income taxes and then consumption taxes, with recurrent taxes on immovable property being the least harmful tax.
Capital taxation introduces the most distortions because capital can move across international borders easily. If one country overtaxes investment, the marginal investor will move money to a country that treats investment more favorably. It is more difficult for labor to move so taxing labor has fewer adverse incentives. Finally, land is truly locked in and land taxes are the least problematic from an economic efficiency standpoint.
Lower corporate tax rates is a move in the right direction, but it is not as effective in stimulating investment as is full-expensing. The bang-for-the-buck was estimated by Treasury to be about four times as high for full-expensing than for lowering rates. The reason? Lowering corporate rates reduces taxes for all capital, old and new alike. An investment that was made 10 years ago gets the benefit of lower rates as does one that is made tomorrow. But full expensing applies only to new investment because it is only investment going forward that is deductible. As a result, all of the power of reducing taxes works for new investment in the case of full expensing.
Full expensing will likely be labeled a "trickle down" policy that will not help the working American. This is unfortunate because labor would benefit greatly. Investment is crucial for increasing labor productivity and higher productivity is necessary for higher wages. Productivity and wages move together. Without productivity increases wages cannot grow.
There are many changes that would improve the efficiency of the tax code, but cutting the tax on investment heads the list.
Mr. Lazear, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-09, is a professor at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and a Hoover Institution fellow.
Important and interesting work. I can't tell if he is suggesting raising tax rates on consumption in exchange for lowering taxes on capital, or is he simply saying these taxes are self defeating on the economy.
That said, we are not headed politically toward anything that looks like zero tax rates for investment income. Every Republican contender for the Presidency in 2012, from Herman Cain to Jon Huntsman to Mitt Romney, had an aggressive proposal for lowering the tax on capital that would have grown the economy and increased the demand and pay for labor. They all lost and we ended up instead with much higher tax rates on capital with a diminishing demand for labor. The lesson to learn from the political failure of good ideas is perhaps unknown at this point.
Consumption taxes: Heaping a regressive federal consumption tax on top of a revenue source relied on heavily by the states is not a good idea either. The Herman Cain 9-9-9 plan was bold and tempting - and far better than our current system. But it wasn't going to happen.
Still the professor is right. We need people to know that the war on wealth and the taxes that prevent capital movement and formation mostly result in keeping more people from getting wealthy. Those that were already wealthy survive just fine.
Real tax reform needs to done in conjunction with spending and entitlement reforms that make government's load on the economy smaller.
Rubin (Hurricane) Carter, Fearsome Boxer Wrongly Convicted of Murder, Dies at 76 Rubin (Hurricane) Carter, a star prizefighter whose career was cut short by a murder conviction in New Jersey and who became an international cause célèbre while imprisoned for 19 years before the charges against him were dismissed, died on Sunday morning at his home in Toronto, his friend and onetime co-defendant, John Artis, confirmed. He was 76. The cause of death was prostate cancer, Mr. Artis said. Mr. Carter was being treated in Toronto, where he founded a nonprofit organization, Innocence International, to work to free prisoners it considered wrongly convicted. READ MORE » http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/sports/hurricane-carter-fearsome-boxer-wrongly-convicted-of-murder-dies-at-76.html?emc=edit_na_20140420
Too bad, I love their music. Water would argue he is not ant-Jew or anti-semitic, he is anti-the policies of Israel, and he is exercising his free expression and personal activism on his beliefs. He deserves the free expression back challenging the merits of his vacuous, reckless arguments.
As long as the alarmists rely on anecdotal evidence, I would like to share my anecdotal rebuttals.
It is late April and in not too long of a time the days will again begin to get shorter, yet parts of MN received 19 inches of snow this week, the Great Lakes are still 37% frozen over (below) and our own 17,000 acre skating rink pictured here in the twin cities metro shows winter in full bloom. It is 70 now and spring will spring quickly, but this was one heck of a winter here for the record books.
To all my good friends of that break-away faction of Judaism known as Christianity my warmest good wishes and prayers on this Good Friday-Easter weekend.
Your kind words are well-received from the break-away faction and the wishes go both ways! I get to celebrate with family and pray in the Christian church this weekend. During the past week enjoyed Passover leftovers with friends. With all of that I feel doubly blessed - and then some.
Bringing this request forward with a few thoughts.
a. The central point and purpose of the constitution is to define limits on all rule and majority rule in particular. Division of powers and super-majorities required on various important things are examples of this. b. We are a union of states so the is in each contest in each state for who we want to empower as chief executive. c. Because of the EC, a distribution of support is required to win. c. In a close election like happened in Florida 2000, imagine that recount fiasco happening simultaneously in all precincts of all 50 states.
To those who oppose the electoral college I would ask, do you oppose the Senate and the Supreme Court as well. Both are also designed to potentially deny or delay the majority their will.
I don't have a citation for it, but I have seen in several usually sound sources reports that the Census Bureau is changing the questions it asks with regard to health care and that the net effect will be that it will eliminate a consistent basis for data with regards to how many people do not have health insurance and that Team Obama will be able to, yet again, lie.
In other words, yet again the non-political agencies of our government are being politicized.
Polls show that most Americans want something in between. Close the border. Allow entry only to those who have legal permission. Ensure that employers hire only those foreign nationals who have valid green cards. Permit those who have resided here for a while, who are without criminal records and are employed, to apply inside the U.S. for either a pathway to citizenship or legal residence.
Require that those residing here unlawfully pay a fine for breaking the law and wait in line until immigrants who followed the law are first processed. Reform legal immigration to make it ethnically blind and predicated on skill sets and education rather than on proximity to our borders or on family connections to those residing here unlawfully. ... The obstacles to reform are not bogeymen who want to deport everyone, but the disingenuous who prefer to deport no one. The culprits are not mustachioed villains who want to close the border, but the more sophisticated who want it to stay wide open. And the real reactionaries are not those seeking to make ethnicity incidental to legal immigration, but those who want to ensure that it remains absolutely essential.
And the country's policy direction has been ever since they've been in power. This goes back "6, 7, 8 years...", as he alludes.
The Obama / Leftist / Democratic / Government-centric economic record goes back to the day that Democrats took control of congress, Nov 2006 / Jan 2007, back when unemployment was 4.6% and workforce participation was millions ahead of where we are now. These policies have brought on epic failure, besides crash, putting our economy on what looks like a permanently slower growth path with fewer and fewer people participating. He didn't inherit the crash only from Bush; he inherited the collapse from himself, a congress led by Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden and Hillary. That is when the political control arrow switched directions in Washington, not at his inauguration in 2009.
Hillary Clinton’s top 2016 worry is ‘Obama’s economy’
"...count me as skeptical that she will run — and even more skeptical that, if she does run, she wins. Because, based on everything she’s telling people about the problems of inheriting the Democratic Party from President Obama, even she’s skeptical of her chances." ---------------------------
Not to mention his foreign policy failures, most easily tied to her!
This week, Australian justice Michael Kirby, who led the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, is briefing members of the U.N. Security Council regarding the widespread atrocities being committed on a daily basis against innocent people by one of the world’s most repressive regimes.
Given Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine and other global challenges, the report of this U.N. commission has not received the attention it deserves.
Under the dictatorship of Kim Jong Un, the North Korean regime routinely engages in torture, arbitrary detentions, indiscriminate disappearances, starvation, and executions. North Koreans who pay insufficient homage to the country’s deceased founder, Kim Il Sung, can be sent to prison along with their families. Prisoners are often subjected to human experiments, denied food, and essentially worked to death in North Korea’s network of infamous prison camps. Pyongyang continues to isolate itself and its people from the rest of the world. There is no freedom of the press or access to the Internet. If you are one of the “lucky elite” in North Korea to have access to a radio, the simple act of tuning your dial to a foreign broadcast could result in your imprisonment or even execution. Similarly, there is no freedom of religion, and members of North Korea’s dwindling community of Christians face significant persecution.
The horrific, systematic violations of human rights in North Korea have been going on for many years. And for far too long, these abuses have taken a back seat to international concerns about North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program and other provocative behavior. Publicly and frequently documenting the widespread abuses and mistreatment of the North Korean people is an important step toward change and a potential deterrent to other would-be human-rights abusers.
This is exactly what the three-member United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in North Korea did with their report, after spending a year looking into the North Koreans’ plight. During hearings in Seoul, Tokyo, London, and Washington, the commission heard firsthand accounts from individuals who fled torture and inhumane conditions in North Korea. Some of them will join Justice Kirby in briefing Security Council members this week.
Their report concludes that crimes against humanity were committed in North Korea over a multi-decade period “pursuant to policies established at the highest level of the state.”
North Korea, unsurprisingly, refused to cooperate with the COI investigation. Many countries in the region did support the commission — with the important exception of China, which refused to grant the commission access to its territory, raising concerns about Beijing’s ongoing support for Pyongyang.
Yet despite these attempts to withhold access, more information about the brutality of the Kim regime is emerging, as North Korean defectors courageously share their personal stories of deprivation and, ultimately, survival. I was honored to be able to meet with a number of North Korean defectors on a trip to South Korea earlier this year and to hear their stories firsthand. They told me that it is important to recognize that exposing the regime’s heinous crimes against humanity as often and as publicly as possible is one of our most powerful tools against the continued brutality of the North Korean regime.
I am under no illusion that this commission will profoundly alter the present-day horrific human-rights situation for the long-suffering North Korean people. But I do believe that the work of the Commission of Inquiry will raise — and, indeed, already has raised — public consciousness about the deplorable plight of the North Korean people.
When we look back at the Holocaust and the murders of millions of innocents in Europe during World War II, many ask why we didn’t do more to stop those atrocities until it was too late for so many who did not survive to see the day the camps were liberated. Some hide behind supposed lack of knowledge, but in this day and age, we have no excuse. Anyone with an Internet connection can use Google Earth to view the modern-day gulags in North Korea.
It is time for the United States and for all who cherish freedom to make it our common cause to pressure the regime to open these camps for international inspection and to make clear that those involved in these horrific crimes will one day be held accountable.
I wonder if we will ever know why this suddenly heated up and why they suddenly backed down. Why does the federal government still own 80% of Nevada? How do we have armed resources available for this but can't defend our country 75 miles inside our southern border? Will we waive the turtle protection when solar panels become the encroachment? Again and again, it is whom you know (Harry Reid?), not what the law saws.
APRIL 16, 2014 4:00 AM The Rule of the Lawless Armed federal agents defend turtle habitat but fail to secure our national borders. By Kevin D. Williamson "our national borders are a joke, but the borders of that arid haven upon which ambles the merry Mojave desert tortoise are sacrosanct"
The relevant facts are these: 1) Very powerful political interests in Washington insist upon the scrupulous enforcement of environmental laws, and if that diminishes the interests of private property owners, so much the better, in their view. 2) Very powerful political interests in Washington do not wish to see the scrupulous enforcement of immigration laws, and if that undercuts the bottom end of the labor market or boosts Democrats’ long-term chances in Texas, so much the better, in their view. This isn’t the rule of law. This is the rule of narrow, parochial, self-interested political factions masquerading as the rule of law.
STRATEGY AFTER CRIMEA Playing Putin’s Game WALTER RUSSELL MEAD
Long, serious piece with specific proposals. Worthwhile read!
http://www.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2014/04/15/playing-putins-game/ ... Our new policy towards Putin’s new Russia must begin with NATO. Before we can hope to induce Putin’s Russia to respect anything else, we must teach it that NATO is real and that we are in earnest. This probably cannot be done at this point without substantial and visible upgrades to NATO’s presence in the periphery states of the alliance. There will have to be more NATO installations and more US troops in places like Estonia and Romania. Right now, there is a non-negligible chance that Russia might try to create facts on the ground inside one or more of the Baltic Republics. The border defenses of those republics must be reinforced to make that impossible. That move may infuriate Putin but it will also be a healthy reminder of his impotence in the face of genuine allied resolve, and will make a serious war crisis less likely. There is a real security threat to the Baltic states, and any failure to address that proactively would be reckless imprudence. There are burglars in the neighborhood and the windows and doors must be bolted shut.
ccp: "Perhaps someone should email him (Hank Aaron) the post of the history of racism and the two major American parties on the racism board."
Another case where emotion trumps logic in the human brain. His adoring fans are probably majority white and possibly majority Republican. But the vocal hatred of a few is what hits the hardest and won't let go. Returning fire with group hate back has a very unfortunate irony to it that he does not see. The casualty rate of the First Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg was the highest in Union Army. Still, more ultimately died from disease than did from enemy fire.es n The casualty rate of the First Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg was the highest in Union Army. Still, more ultimately died from disease than did from enemy fire.
Yes, I'll bet you could trace those hate letters back to Dem voters and we can trace everything from the freeing of slaves to the passing of civil rights legislation to the Republicans, but that makes no difference.
One day early in my housing rental side business a man named Fontaine came after me with an iron pipe behind an apartment building in a tough neighborhood of south Minneapolis while he was having some kind of a mental illness episode. He kept saying, "you don't know who I am!" All I could draw out of him was that he was a descendant of slaves and wanted me to know that I didn't know what he had been through - as if I had oppressed him then or was oppressing him now by offering low cost housing in a free market. If logic were applied, then I am a white Minnesotan, the free-state home of Dred Scott, where we helped elect Republican Abraham Lincoln twice and sent the first troops to the war to free the slaves. http://sites.mnhs.org/civil-war/minnesota-and-civil-war-first-last "The casualty rate of the First Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg was the highest in Union Army."
I'm not expecting a thank you, but it would be nice to move someday past race to judging people by the content of their character.
1 hospitalized after carbon dioxide poisoning Associated Press 9:19 p.m. EDT April 14, 2014
ROCHESTER, Minn. - A Rochester bar employee is hospitalized after being overcome by carbon dioxide from the restaurant's pop machine. Authorities say 63-year-old Jerry Johnson was poisoned by the gas while working Monday morning at Rooster's Barn and Grill. Deputy Fire Chief Vance Swisher tells KTTC-TV employees at Rooster's heard what sounded like something leaking. That's when Johnson went downstairs to check it out. Swisher says a carbonation machine that puts the fizz into the restaurant's pop had malfunctioned and filled the basement with carbon dioxide. Johnson collapsed when he went into the basement. A co-worker called 911. Restaurant patrons and employees tried to pull him out, but turned back because they couldn't breathe. Firefighters had to use breathing tanks while inside the restaurant. Mayo Clinic says Johnson is in serious condition.
Ben Carson: White House wanted apology for ‘offending’ Obama 11:41 PM 04/14/2014
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson says the White House wanted him to apologize for “offending” President Obama after he famously delivered a conservative message at the National Prayer Breakfast last year.
Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, recalls the events surrounding his 2013 speech in his new book, One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future. The Daily Caller obtained an advance copy of the book, which is set for release May 20.
“He did not appear to be hostile or angry,” Carson writes of Obama, “but within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him. I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”
I wonder what any Rand Paul supporters here think of the specific points made by Stephens, such as this one:
Dick Cheney, who opposed driving all the way to Baghdad when he was defense secretary in the first Bush administration, later went to work for Halliburton. "Makes hundreds of millions of dollars, their CEO. Next thing you know, he's back in government and it's a good thing to go into Iraq." Mr. Paul's conclusion: "9/11 became an excuse for a war they already wanted in Iraq."
Let's dissect that a little. The circumstances for not going into Baghdad a decade earlier were different - a misleading and empty comparison. The reasons to want to go into Iraq prior to 9/11/01 were lengthy including the violation of all agreements made in the original ceasefire, supporting terrorists - yes, nuclear inspection refusals and shooting daily at American aircraft. To focus on the Halliburton profit take is to join and validate the shameful left, in my view. The Ron Paul view , and Rand Paul too if he embraces it, is that we shouldn't have been there in the first place enforcing those agreements, leaving him/them again with only the strange bedfellows of the far-left.
Let's accept that we all have different views on foreign policy. People including Bill Krystal (and Crafty) heavily faulted Rumsfeld and Bush for staying too long with a failed strategy in Iraq. But that is VERY different from the statement above which attacks the motive of the American - Republican Vice President, not just the strategy of the people who disagree with him, even on his own team.
Besides rejecting the winning concept of peace through strength, needlessly attacking your own side below the belt is not exactly Reaganesque.
In case Hank Aaron is reading the forum: The hate mail you received was not from 'all of us' and maybe not from any of us, and the reason we don't like Barack Obama as President is because of his policies, not his race. If he was Dennis Kucinich or Howard Dean, the opposition would be the same or worse.
This story is amazing. The Feds concede the loss of control, turn it to state and local authorities and then ban them from any enforcement. If it's not safe or secure 75 miles in, then its not safe anywhere - it's not like we have another line of defense somewhere further in.
Let HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell explain Obamacare lie:
“if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan.”
Burwell was OMB director when Obama declared on Sept. 26, 2013: “Now, let’s start with the fact that even before the Affordable Care Act fully takes effect, about 85 percent of Americans already have health insurance — either through their job, or through Medicare, or through the individual market. So if you’re one of these folks, it’s reasonable that you might worry whether health-care reform is going to create changes that are a problem for you — especially when you’re bombarded with all sorts of fear-mongering. So the first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.” ---- "Burwell should explain to Congress and the American people how her office allowed blatant falsehoods to get into presidential speeches, including whether political aides overruled career policy advisers who warned that the president’s claims were untrue." - Marc Thiessen, Washington Post
Nothing is going right for Hangzhou at this moment. Walmart will be closing its Zhaohui store in that city on April 23 as a part of its overall plan to dump marginal locations—about 9% of the total—in China.
Thanks to the world’s largest retailer, another large block of space in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, will go on the market at a time when there is generally too much supply. The problem is especially pronounced in the city’s premium office market. Hangzhou’s Grade A office buildings at the end of 2013 had, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, an average occupancy rate of 30%.
The real weakness, however, is Hangzhou’s residential sector. The cause is simple: massive overbuilding. Sara Hsu of the State University of New York at New Paltz writes that Hangzhou faces “burgeoning swaths of empty apartment units.”
Hangzhou’s market has not yet collapsed. There are still secondary sales, for instance. Singapore’s Straits Times reports Allen Zhao, a businessman, has been looking to sell his two-bedroom flat in Hangzhou for 2 million yuan. His neighbor just let go a similar unit for 1.7 million. If Zhao also sells for that amount, he will make a profit, but he will be disappointed. “That is not much more than the price I paid in 2012,” Zhao told the paper. “Now I’m regretting not selling earlier—more bad news about the property market keeps coming in every day.”
New homes also face price pressure. Developers in Hangzhou are now offering deep discounts, and investors and owners are noticing. And not just in that city. “It seems that the 30% price cut in Hangzhou really changed the way Chinese people think about real estate,” writes Anne Stevenson-Yang of J Capital Research, “and I doubt there is any turning back from here.” (more at link)
Try this thought experiment. Imagine that someone grows up in poverty, works his way through law school by holding the night shift as a Capitol Hill policeman, and spends all but two years of his career as a public servant. Now imagine that this person’s current salary — and he’s at the top of his game — is $193,400. You probably wouldn’t expect him to have millions in stocks, bonds, and real estate.
But, surprise, he does, if he’s our Senate majority leader, whose net worth is between 3 and 10 million dollars, according to OpenSecrets.org. When Harry Reid entered the Nevada legislature in 1982, his net worth was listed as between $1 million and $1.5 million “or more,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. So, since inquiring minds inquire, let’s try to figure out how Reid’s career in public service ended up being so lucrative. He hasn’t released his tax returns, which makes this an imperfect science, but looking at a few of his investments helps to show how he amassed his wealth.
In 2004, the senator made $700,000 off a land deal that was, to say the least, unorthodox. It started in 1998 when he bought a parcel of land with attorney Jay Brown, a close friend whose name has surfaced multiple times in organized-crime investigations and whom one retired FBI agent described as “always a person of interest.” Three years after the purchase, Reid transferred his portion of the property to Patrick Lane LLC, a holding company Brown controlled. But Reid kept putting the property on his financial disclosures, and when the company sold it in 2004, he profited from the deal — a deal on land that he didn’t technically own and that had nearly tripled in value in six years.
When his 2010 challenger Sharron Angle asked him in a debate how he had become so wealthy, he said, “I did a very good job investing.” Did he ever. On December 20, 2005, he invested $50,000 to $100,000 in the Dow Jones U.S. Energy Sector Fund (IYE), which closed that day at $29.15. The companies whose shares it held included ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and ConocoPhillips. When he made a partial sale of his shares on August 19, 2008, during congressional recess, IYE closed at $41.82. Just a month later, on September 17, Reid was working to bring to the floor a bill that the Joint Committee on Taxation said would cost oil companies — including those in the fund — billions of dollars in taxes and regulatory fees. The bill passed a few days later, and by October 10, IYE’s shares had fallen by 42 percent, to $24.41, for a host of reasons. Savvy investing indeed. Here’s another example: The Los Angeles Times reported in November 2006 that when Reid became Senate majority leader he committed to making earmark reform a priority, saying he’d work to keep congressmen from using federal dollars for pet projects in their districts. It was a good idea but an odd one for the senator to espouse. He had managed to get $18 million set aside to build a bridge across the Colorado River between Laughlin, Nev., and Bullhead City, Ariz., a project that wasn’t a priority for either state’s transportation agency. His ownership of 160 acres of land nearby that stood to appreciate considerably from the project had nothing to do with the decision, according to one of his aides. The property’s value has varied since then. On his financial-disclosure forms from 2006, it was valued at $250,000 to $500,000. Open Secrets now lists it as his most valuable asset, worth $1 million to $5 million as of 2010.
How Reid acquired that land is interesting, too. He put $10,000 into a pension fund his friend Clair Haycock controlled, to take over the 160-acre parcel at a price far below its assessed value. Six months later, Reid introduced legislation that would help Haycock’s industry, a move many observers said appeared to be a quid pro quo, though Reid and Haycock denied that the legislation was the result of a property deal.
We don’t know how much more money Reid has or how he made all of it. For that, we’d have to see his tax returns.
'Smart growth' means that leftist, centrally planned governments will tell you where you may work, live and travel.
THE LEFT’S DREAM IS THE TWIN CITIES’ NIGHTMARE Relying on the excellent work of Katherine Kersten, we’ve written before about the left’s big plans for the Twin Cities. The Metropolitan Council, an unelected body, wants to steer new jobs, homes, and economic development to areas within one half mile of major transportation stops. These stops will mostly be in the urban core and inner-ring suburbs.
In these favored areas, tax dollars will be lavished on high-density housing, bike and pedestrian amenities, and subsidized retail shops. The money thus lavished will come from people who live elsewhere.
The transportation needs of the rest of the metropolitan area will take a back seat. Money to improve highways and bridges will shrink. Congestion will grow and traffic safety will suffer. Residents will be pushed into “stack and pack” high-density housing.
As Kersten observes in her latest column on the subject, such a regime “is a tough sell in a democracy in which people believe they have a right to govern their own towns with their neighbors.” Accordingly, it is being promoted as the price the Twin Cities region must pay to remain “economically competitive” with peer regions. The Council insists that without its program — which it markets as Thrive MSP 2040 — the Twin Cities will lose jobs and creative young professionals to more enlightened metro areas like Portland and Seattle.
Intuitively, though, it seems obvious that, in Kersten’s words, people don’t move to a metro area for light rail; they move for opportunity. Similarly, intuition tells us that rigid central planning around a leftist agenda does not promote opportunity.
The facts bear this out. According to the Council’s own data, between 2000 and 2010, while the Twin Cities were was losing population and New York and Los Angeles were experiencing a mass exodus, Atlanta gained 415,000 residents; Dallas-Fort Worth 318,000; Houston 241,000, and Raleigh, North Carolina 190,000.
What do these “people magnets” have in common? Less burdensome government regulation and fewer land use restrictions. Both are strongly correlated with greater economic growth. Thus, Kersten concludes that the Council’s plan will push the Twin Cities in exactly the wrong direction.
In reality, though, Thrive MSP isn’t about competing with other areas for jobs and creative professionals. Rather, it’s about implementing a vision of how, as a matter of leftwing ethics and aesthetics, we should live. People always seem to vote with their feet against this top-down, authoritarian approach.
The Council’s other rationale for Thrive MSP is concern about the economic plight of the region’s low-income households. Here, the Council may be sincere. However, as Kersten shows, these households are likely to suffer most from its misguided policies:
The council deplores our region’s lack of “affordable housing.” Yet its drive for densification likely will significantly increase housing prices, which will harm low-income residents. Rents will rise, too. In Portland, for example, income-adjusted median gross rents in high-poverty areas rose more than 2.5 times the increase in the rest of the metro area during densification from 1999 to 2009.
The “gentrification” that accompanies transit-oriented development often disproportionately displaces low-income households, driving them from the urban core to more dispersed areas with less transit. Low-income families also suffer disproportionately when bus service must be cut to pay for light rail serving well-heeled suburbanites, as frequently occurs.
Clinton administration memories from an Obama cabinet appointee.
Don't get me wrong, Sylvia Mathews Burwell is a Rhodes Scholar level trash sorter. And we believe her about what she decided was important and not important in what they found, took, hid and discarded from Vince Foster's office - the day that he died.
http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/26/us/no-intention-to-question-first-lady.html Members questioned Sylvia Mathews, a former White House aide, in laborious detail about what she had found in Mr. Foster's garbage on the night he died. Other than a few routine documents, the garbage contained nothing that shed light on Mr. Foster's thinking, said Ms. Mathews, who is now chief of staff at the Treasury Department.
Republicans on the committee found it significant, however, that Ms. Mathews had also managed to retrieve a special bag of garbage containing classified and sensitive papers that was usually destroyed by the Secret Service. The contents of that bag were never examined by anyone to see if Mr. Foster had left anything in it that might shed light on his state of mind.
Ms. Mathews said that she got the bag from the Secret Service and began looking briefly through it, when she discovered that it contained all of the classified garbage from the West Wing. Concerned about a possible security breach, she sought Mr. Nussbaum's opinion about whether to continue looking through it. She said she was told by Mr. Nussbaum that since Mr. Foster did not have a classified garbage bin in his office, it was doubtful that there would be anything from Mr. Foster in the bag. Therefore, she said, Mr. Nussbaum told her to return the bag unexamined to the Secret Service to be disposed.
The White House said after the hearing that a Secret Service agent on detail that evening said Mr. Nussbaum had been mistaken and that in fact there had been a special classified garbage bin, or "burn bag," in Mr. Foster's office. But the agent also said Mr. Foster's classified bin had never been emptied into the bag that Ms. Mathews had retrieved.
Whatever one thinks about the US' role in the world, and whether or not we should be the world's policman, can we just agree on one obvious certainty - under this leadership and mindset the US is going to defend no one.
Under any real threat of aggression, the non-nuclear states of Taiwan, Japan and South Korea are going to fold like Asian Ukraines, falling first for the neo-liberal-US 'guarantee' of their security, and second for non-threatening rhetoric of their power hungry neighbors.
Let Asia Go Nuclear | The National Interest | April 14, 2014
America’s policy of opposing the proliferation of nuclear weapons needs to be more nuanced. What works for the United States in the Middle East may not in Asia. We do not want Iran or Saudi Arabia to get the bomb, but why not Australia, Japan, and South Korea? We are opposed to nuclear weapons because they are the great military equalizer, because some countries may let them slip into the hands of terrorists, and because we have significant advantage in precision conventional weapons. But our opposition to nuclear weapons in Asia means we are committed to a costly and risky conventional arms race with China over our ability to protect allies and partners lying nearer to China than to us and spread over a vast maritime theater.
None of our allies in Asia possess nuclear weapons. Instead, they are protected by what is called extended deterrence, our vaguely stated promise to use nuclear weapons in their defense if they are threatened by regional nuclear powers, China, North Korea and Russia. ... More at link --------------
As we build down our arsenal, de-fund our ships, bring home our troops, and focus on our bureaucracy at home, what is Plan B for securing our allies?
pro-Russian forces taking control of the police headquarters in Kramatorsk
Takeover Of A Local Government Building In Kramatorsk, In The Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine, April 12, 2014
A video that clearly shows the ontology of the takeover of a local government building in Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk region. First, organized spetsnaz teams enter--guns blazing. They are followed by organized bands of less well armed "titushky" ( paid $ 500 if they participate in a takeover) and these are followed by local protestors--mainly poor, some ideological-- (many of whom are reportedly encouraged with payments of $50 for participation in protests). Phase one and two of such a takeover is chillingly recorded in this video. This is a planned, military and paramilitary operation.
Sebelius: The Greatest Hits Collection It's been quite a year for the outgoing HHS secretary. And now she won't get to keep her health plan.
Kathleen Sebelius, who has presided over the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act, is expected to resign as Secretary of Health and Human Services. The news comes less than two weeks after she told the Huffington Post that she would "absolutely" stay in office through November. A Journal editorial notes that her departure "before the election reckoning" is "best understood as one more attempt to dodge political responsibility."
It's been quite a year for the former Kansas governor. At around this time in 2013 Ms. Sebelius was pressuring private companies she regulates to make "independent" donations to outfits promoting ObamaCare.
But the aggressive sales job could not overcome defects in the product. October brought the failed launch of the healthcare.gov website, which Ms. Sebelius initially characterized as simply the result of surging consumer demand for ObamaCare and a "great problem to have."
December brought more embarrassing news as Ms. Sebelius waived the law's individual mandate to buy insurance by categorizing ObamaCare itself as a hardship worthy of exemption.
This was just one of many on-the-fly rewrites the administration claimed the authority to make under a law passed by Congress and signed by the President. As recently as last month, Ms. Sebelius enacted what a Journal editorial called "ObamaCare Delay Number 38"—an extension of the deadline for individuals to enroll in an insurance plan— just weeks after she told Congress that such a delay would not occur.
Though she is leaving now, her legacy is secure, as her name adorns several of the most consequential federal cases resulting from the law. Halbig v. Sebelius is testing whether the Obama Administration can continue to subsidize insurance exchanges created by the federal government, even though the law says it cannot. And the cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius test whether the Obama Administration can force the owners of private businesses to violate their religious beliefs.
Of course there's a reason that the law isn't called SebeliusCare. She is merely the person charged by the President with imposing the law upon American patients and doctors. Her resignation doesn't change the fact that Democrats will remain politically accountable for a law sold on a fraudulent promise from Mr. Obama.
But this latest news does mean that not even the Secretary of Health and Human Services will get to keep her insurance plan.
I heard that new Health Secretary has private sector experience. Turns out it was giving money away at private foundations. -----------------------------
A graduate of Harvard University and Oxford University as well as a former Rhodes Scholar, Burwell also was President Bill Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. Before joining the Clinton White House she was chief of staff to then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.
After leaving Washington, Burwell worked in philanthropy. She ran the global development program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In January, 2012 she was named president of the Wal-Mart Foundation, which gave $959 million in cash and in-kind contributions worldwide in 2011, according to its website. She held the job until Obama chose her for OMB in March, 2013.
Her White House connections are deep. National Security Adviser Susan Rice helped introduce Burwell to her husband, lawyer Stephen Burwell, with whom she has two children. The two women first met as Rhodes Scholars at Oxford University. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan was a dormitory mate at Harvard.
When Obama nominated Burwell last year as his budget director, she went before the Senate as Obama and Republicans were squaring off in another battle: raising the federal debt limit and dealing with the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. She was confirmed on a 96-0 vote.
I appreciate the Wesbury posts. That said, I don't recall him telling us we were not experiencing Plow Horse growth this past winter. Spinning only the positive? Positive economic performance reported last fall was adjustted downward, BTW.
"After a winter hibernation, the Plow Horse economy has woken up and is ready to go"