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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 19, 2017, 02:11:33 PM
quote author=G M

I think some law that redistributes the money equally, so that every player gets exactly the same pay is required! EQUALITY!

Yes and some people vote like that makes sense, need it pointed out that not all work has the same value, or even near the same value. 

Since equality runs against the natural state of things, it requires coercion.  Oppression and tyranny are features, not bugs, of a socialist system. 

The nice thing about discovering an economic ladder in a free society is that you can climb up it, not to LeBron's spot, but to your own potential.
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The bee sting that drove Putin to seek revenge on: October 19, 2017, 11:50:04 AM
quote author=Crafty_Dog
I can't say that this is something I would have opposed at the time , , ,
[Sticking it to Putin in 2012]

I agree.  It begs the question of how to deal with these complex relationships (China, Russia, Saudi, etc.).  Not kowtow to them but not poke them in the eye at every opportunity. 

The instincts of Trump (his call with Taiwan for example) may be just as good (or bad) as the judgment of the experts and careerists.  Let them know they will get some cooperation and some aggravation out of us, carrot and stick.  Make them want to influence us positively, from their point of view.

Condi Rice was quite the Russian expert.  What did she accomplish?  I don't know, mixed results, mostly bad.
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Trade Issues: Reagan, 1988, Freedom to Trade on: October 19, 2017, 11:32:09 AM

The video above of President Reagan’s radio address towards the end of his second term on November 26, 1988, was just released today by the Reagan Library. Although Reagan’s comments on trade were made almost 30 years ago, they are still fresh and relevant today, maybe even more so in the new era of rising protectionism. And Trump, “the first authentic protectionist to win the White House since the 1920s,” should pay especially close attention to Reagan’s remarks, which expose many of Trump’s faulty ideas on trade. For example:

Part of the difficulty in accepting the good news about trade is in our words. We too often talk about trade while using the vocabulary of war. In war, for one side to win, the other must lose. But commerce is not warfare. Trade is an economic alliance that benefits both countries. There are no losers, only winners; and trade helps strengthen the free world. Yet today protectionism is being used by some politicians as a cheap form of nationalism.
… Our peaceful trading partners are not our enemies. They are our allies. We should beware of the demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war against our friends, weakening our economy, our national security and the entire free world. All while cynically waving the American flag. The expansion of the international economy is not a foreign invasion. It is an American triumph.

(President Trump, listen up!)
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - unequal pay hypocrisy on: October 19, 2017, 10:56:38 AM
Does LeBron James’s concern about ‘equality’ extend to the 98.9% very unequal ‘gender pay gap’ for the WNBA vs. NBA?
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Thomas Sowell: Higher tax rates do not mean higher tax revenues on: October 19, 2017, 10:40:11 AM
This (below) is thomas Sowell writing in 2012, quoting Andrew Mellon from 1924.  Some things never change.  George Gilder explained his move away from economics:  I thought we won that argument.  With the liberal left, an argument is never won.  They keep pounding the same old failed ideas nearly a century later.  Tediously, we need to keep answering them.

If you are a liberal, you want your country to collect dollars, not percentages of something, to pay for programs.  The right tax strategy for you is to maximize the dollars, not the percentage of something, coming in.  Countries maximize government revenues by having a healthy and dynamic sector, not by killing it. 

If you are a leftist, cf. Obama, you want high rates on the rich for other purposes, to win elections or sabotage capitalism, enact social change.  Rules for radicals.  That is another matter.  Let's get the facts straight and call out these activists like Krugman on their falsehoods, deceptions and/or radical intentions.  Growing the American economy should be a bipartisan endeavor.

Ordinary, well meaning Dems in your family, friends and neighborhood are mostly not leftists trying to take down the country, but they are being led, educated and influenced by people who are.  Spread the word; they aren't going to read any of this in the NYT or hear it on NPR.

A Book for Republicans   5/23/2012
By Thomas Sowell | Democrats have been having a field day with the cry of "tax cuts for the rich" — for which Republicans seem to have no reply. This is especially surprising, because Democrats made the same arguments back in the 1920s, and the Republicans then not only had a reply, but one that eventually carried the day, when the top tax rate was brought down from 73 percent to 24 percent.
What was the difference then?

The biggest difference is that Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon took the trouble to articulate the case for lower tax rates, in articles that appeared in popular publications, using plain language that ordinary people could understand. Seldom do Republican leaders today even attempt to do any such thing.

In 1924, the ideas from these articles were collected in a book which Mellon titled "Taxation: The People's Business." That book has recently been reprinted by the University of Minnesota Law Library. Today's Republicans would do well to get a copy of Mellon's book, which shows how demagoguery about "tax cuts for the rich" can be exposed for the nonsense that it is.

People in the media could also benefit by seeing how the "tax cuts for the rich" demagoguery collapses like a house of cards when you subject it to logic and evidence.
Those who argue that "the rich" should pay a higher tax rate, and that the revenue this would bring in could be used to reduce the deficit, assume that higher tax rates equal higher tax revenues. But they do not.

Secretary Mellon pointed out that previously the government "received substantially the same revenue from high incomes with a 13 percent surtax as it received with a 65 percent surtax." Higher tax rates do not mean higher tax revenues.

High tax rates on high incomes, Mellon said, lead many of those who earn such incomes to withdraw their money "from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities" or otherwise find ways to avoid receiving income in taxable forms.

That is even easier to do today than in Andrew Mellon's time. The very same liberals who complain that Mitt Romney — among thousands of others — puts his money in the Cayman Islands nevertheless act as if raising the tax rates automatically raises tax revenues. It can instead drive money out of the country and drive jobs out of the country with it.

The United States has long been a place where foreigners from around the world have sent their money to be invested, more than offsetting the money that Americans invested abroad. But, in recent years, the net flow of investment is out of America to places overseas that don't tax as much.

Mellon cited statistics that showed the opposite of what the high-tax advocates claimed. Although incomes in general were rising from 1916 to 1921, the taxable income of people earning $300,000 and up dropped by about four-fifths.

That didn't mean that "the rich" were becoming poor. It meant that they had arranged to receive their incomes in forms that were not taxable. Mellon asked where the money of these high income earners went. He answered: "There is no doubt of the fact that much of it went into tax-exempt securities." In today's global economy, much of it can also easily be sent overseas — much more easily than workers can go overseas to get the jobs this money creates in other countries.

After Mellon finally succeeded in getting Congress to lower the top tax rate from 73 percent to 24 percent, the government actually received more tax revenues at the lower rate than it had at the higher rate. Moreover, it received a higher proportion of all income taxes from the top income earners than before.

Something similar happened in later years, after tax rates were cut under Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and G.W. Bush. The record is clear. Barack Obama admitted during the 2008 election campaign that he understood that raising tax rates does not necessarily mean raising tax revenues.

Why then is he pushing so hard for higher tax rates on "the rich" this election year (2012)? Because class warfare politics can increase votes for his reelection, even if it raises no more tax revenues for the government.
Same is true today.  The rhetoric war of 'taxes on the rich vs the middle class' is waged to lock in Democratic votes, not to increase dollars to the Treasury, the median wage, or the take home pay of a worker or voter.

They lowered the top rate (in the 20s) by 2/3rds and revenues surged.  The rich actually paid a higher proportion of the total taxes at the lower rate.  Isn't that what liberals want??

Counter-intuitive?  Yes.  So what.  All of liberalism is first level thinking.  We must challenge people to look and think past that - or we lose.
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Andrew Mellon: Taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid on: October 19, 2017, 09:44:17 AM
Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, 1924:
The history of taxation shows that taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid. The high rates inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw his capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities or to find other lawful methods of avoiding the realization of taxable income. The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up; wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; and capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people.

Valuable resource, read his book on taxation free at:

He was right.

Tax rates were slashed dramatically during the 1920s, dropping from over 70 percent to less than 25 percent. What happened? Personal income tax revenues increased substantially during the 1920s, despite the reduction in rates. Revenues rose from $719 million in 1921 to $1164 million in 1928, an increase of more than 61 percent.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Asia, Buddhist wisdom on islam on: October 19, 2017, 09:23:18 AM
quote author=G M, (Myanmar thread)
The west should take this to heart.

"You can be full of kindness and love but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog.
If we are weak, our land will become Muslim."    - Ashin Wirathu, Myanmar

Myanmar will not become the next Bangaladesh (?)

(Bangaladesh green, Myanmar orange)

I am a little late (centuries) to this; others here are on it.  For all of the turmoil we dwell on in 1) the Middle East, 2) pouring into Europe, this was already happening and escalating in south and southeast Asia.  Note the last two posts, Myanmar and Philippines.  

Two times as many Muslims live in South Asia as the Middle East/North Africa.
Roughly equal number Muslims in southeast Asia as Middle East

Largest Muslim population countries in the world:
1. Indonesia
2. Pakistan
3. India
4. Bangaladesh

Are these struggles local or global?  Where are they 'radicalized; where are they peaceful?  Where are they peaceful but turning radical?

Is anyone tracking it with any 'strategery'?  Deep in the Pentagon but telling no one?  Even here we thread it into regions and countries.  I hate to ask - is there something the US should be doing to help?  With the fall of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria and Iraq, are other areas more vulnerable to radical inflow.  Oddly, is this a struggle where Russia and China are on our side?  
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy, Krugman Projecting, Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies,lies,lies... on: October 18, 2017, 04:03:50 PM
A friend dragged me into reading and commenting on Paul Krugman's latest NYT column.

Krugman the Nobel laureate opens his column by calling all conservatives liars and backs it up with Trump mis-speaks and his own distortions, see below.  You would think his standard for accuracy and honesty would be at precision level in a column about his opponents titled, 'Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies'.  His civility isn't above Trump's either.  

(Krugman, quoting Trump I presume) Lie #1: America is the most highly-taxed country in the world

If Trump said that, he's wrong, unless the context was our corporate tax rates that are highest in the developed world where we are 60% higher than the OECD average.  More than 80% higher in MN!)   The US was second highest to Japan before they began cutting theirs:

Our corporate tax rates are higher than so-called Communist China where they have rates of 25% and 15% for  government preferred enterprises.  

By coincidence, China's falling GDP growth rate is still many times greater than the US economy in recent years.
Let's not confuse correlation with causation, but over-taxation on employers isn't helping our workers.

Lie #2: The estate tax is destroying farmers and truckers

Besides morally offensive (at least to some), taking people's after-tax savings when they die is one of many forces working against the formation of capital.  The defense that it only applies to very few others, not you, fails any reasonable test of equal protection under the law.  Our government isn't stopping all capital formation, but at as we win the war against capital, labor and middle income people suffer more than the rich.  See Republic of the Congo, and Venezuela.

Lie #4: Cutting profits taxes really benefits workers

Maybe the reverse is easier to understand.  Take away too large a share of the return on capital and labor suffers.  Every time.  Capital employs labor.  In a free country you can be on either side of that, or both.

Lie #5: Repatriating overseas profits will create jobs

Again, look at the reverse.  Companies, dollars and innovation leaving the US hurts jobs here. Who disputes that? Money and jobs going overseas is only one sign of a disincentive system run amok.  Companies that never started and jobs that were never created are hard to measure.

"Medtronic joined a parade of prominent U.S. companies that have set up operations overseas to lower their tax bills."

Lie #7: It’s a big tax cut for the middle class

Earners at the top pay the vast majority of the federal income taxes, before and after any tax reform.  Therefore we should never reform taxes?  There is no reform of a disincentive system that doesn't benefit those who are most invested.  Saying the rich will keep more of what they earn doesn't mean they will pay less in taxes in a dynamic economy.  (See Clinton's results below.)  

People who pay little or no federal income tax are hurt more than the rich when over-taxation hinders growth.  The rich can hold  assets instead of capturing gains - or keep the old yacht.  They can pay high taxes out of income and cash flow.  But all of us pay the price of opportunities not created when growth stops.  Lack of economic growth is what caps wages.  When no one competes for your labor, your wage does not go up.  Real wages and median wages were not helped in recent years by class warfare talk or implementing the policies of anti-growth.  When we're done fighting each other ("middle class interests vs. the top 1%"), maybe we can get on with what Democrats a generation ago used to call, "a rising tide lifts all boats".

Lie #9: Cutting taxes will jump-start rapid growth

Krugman: "For Bill Clinton raised taxes, amid cries from the right that he would destroy the economy. Instead he presided over a boom that surpassed Reagan in every dimension. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this boom was Clinton’s doing. But it certainly refuted the proposition that cutting taxes is both necessary and sufficient for prosperity."

Bill Clinton's Presidency is a good period to compare tax policies since he both raised tax rates early and lowered them later.  When Clinton raised rates in 1983, we continued a slow recovery already underway with below average growth.  When Clinton lost Congress, he changed course.  Unmentioned by Krugman, Bill Clinton "ended welfare as we know it" and cut the highest capital gains tax rate to 20% in 1997.  What were the results (and where are Democrats on that now)?

Real wages under Bill Clinton grew at 0.8 percent growth rate after the tax rate hikes and grew at 6.5 percent rate after the capital gains tax rate cuts.  Wages grew 8 times faster after tax rate cuts.  While calling others liars, Krugman is happy to draw a circle around the entire period and attribute Clinton's best success to his least effective policy.  That's not liberal; that's dishonest.

Lie #10: Tax cuts will pay for themselves

What is the history on that?

The tax rate cuts of the 1920s were followed by a 61% increase revenues over 7 years.
The Kennedy tax rate cuts brought a 62% increase in revenues over 7 years.
The Reagan tax rate cuts yielded a 54% increase over 6 years.

After Bill Clinton cut the capital gains tax rate, capital gains revenues surged from $54 billion in 1996 to $99 billion in 1999.  

Revenues surged 60% in 4 years under Bush tax rate cuts.  One news story:
Who knew?  (Paul Krugman doesn't read the NYTimes or OMB data?)

Job growth ended exactly as Bush's opponents won congress promising to reverse the rate reductions.  (Correlation is not causation, but that's when it happened.)

The crash occurred when the effects of our misguided policies caught up with us.  The federal government with a 90% market share in the mortgage market pressured lenders to lend on criteria other than creditworthiness and when daylight peeked through the house of cards fell.  

It is very Trump-like of Krugman to call a multi-year, double digit surge in revenues a "lackluster recovery", imply tax rate reductions caused the crash and higher tax rates fuel growth.  

Don't take investment advice from this guy either.
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: October 16, 2017, 01:09:12 PM
From Iran thread, as it applies to NK: 
[Years ago Stratfor wrote of the Iranians being a very serious military problem , , , and that was then.]
Similarly the Norks.
What is the morality of waiting for North Korea to inflict a strike that could potentially kill 90% of Americans?
   Good point!   What are the lessons of other threats?  Act sooner, before the threat becomes too large.

Choices for us:

1)  The easy answer: kick the can down the road.  Worked for Madelyn Halfbright, Clinton, Bush and Obama.  This is NOT the right answer but it is one down side of our system of government.  In 4 years or 8 years and counting down, it will be someone else's problem.  Russia, China, NK, Iran, Hitler, etc. don't think that way.  Funny that none of those are term limited democracies.

2) The right answer from a national security point of view is to take out the threat.

3)  The moral answer is to take out the threat, take down the regime and free the people.

4)  In the context of politics, diplomacy and international law, we should time the takedown to be an immediate response to NK crossing a red line, such as firing a missile toward or over Japan.  Control the news cycle.  NK fired, the US and allies responded - 'disproportionately'.  That is better (diplomatically than having our action called a first strike.

Note how worthless the 'UN Security Council' is with security threats Russia and China holding permanent seats with a veto while many of our best allies do not.

The choice is simple, do nothing which includes all the hot air about diplomacy, sanctions etc that have failed and failed and failed and make us less safe and our allies and west coast in danger, or take decisive action and face the consequences.

Is North Korea (or Iran) an imminent threat?  Note how Un backed off of his direct threat on Guam.  He was handing Trump his justification.

From the dictionary on imminent:  impending, close (at hand), near, (fast) approaching, coming, forthcoming, on the way, in the offing, in the pipeline, on the horizon, in the air, just around the corner, coming down the pike, expected, anticipated, brewing, looming, threatening...

Imminent does not mean instant like minutes or seconds.  During the Iraq debate, the threat was described as "a grave and gathering danger", a better descriptor but that still means imminent.  The threat is on the way.  The NK threat ship has sailed.  Nothing short of military strikes on military locations, as best as we can identifythem, can stop it.  Allowing the threat to grow larger and stronger is nothing short of irresponsible.  MHO.
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Robert Samuelson: Build the Wall on: October 16, 2017, 10:20:30 AM
He is somewhat of a mainstream journalist (moderate Dem, oxymoron?) and he is telling Dems to take the deal with Trump.

It allows DACA children to stay.
"the beneficiaries were brought illegally to the United States as children by their parents, it's hard to make a case that they should be punished. As a practical matter, most have grown up as Americans.   They have few roots in their country of birth."

Samuelson justifies his support for a wall on three grounds:
reduce -- though not eliminate -- illegal immigration  (not a goal for the left!)

the wall would symbolize a major shift in U.S. immigration policy -- a tougher attitude  (Who knew?)

Finally, the wall is required as a political act of good faith to immigration opponents. They believe the wall would be effective, and the only way to prove -- or disprove -- these claims would be to try it.  (We had an election on that.  He says, honor it!)
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Manchin's vote on: October 13, 2017, 01:55:57 PM
It would be a breakthrough to get all republicans and a few democrats make this bipartisan.  Win Manchin and Heitkamp and NOT lose Collins , Murkowski, etc. 

If not and they don't care about reforming this country, let there be consequences.
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Tax rates and tax revenues on: October 12, 2017, 07:22:14 PM
Scott Grannis:  The media is full of stories claiming that lower tax rates will cause a huge and damaging increase in the federal deficit and will fail to stimulate the economy. Here are some charts which show that those claims are not backed by historical experience. On the contrary: worrying about tax cuts is not necessarily sensible at all.

The point I have tried to make on these pages is that even if there was no increase in revenues from a tax rate cut, it is phenomenally healthy for the economy to be able to take in the same amount at lower rates.  When you do that, you have done less harm in terms of forcing people to make economic decisions that move them away from earning and reporting income.  

If the rate drops 25% and the revenue stays the same, then pre-tax income has gone up by a theoretical 25% and take home by even more!  And beyond that, revenues do go up - historically.  Look at the Reagan years, the W Bush cuts, the Clinton capital gains rate cuts, the Kennedy cuts and the Coolidge for examples.  

How do critics answer that?  By conflating time periods, distracting with inequality data and by measuring tax % of GDP instead of dollars top the Treasury.

I'm happy to keep bringing this forward:

The tax rate cuts of the 1920s were followed by a 61% increase revenues over 7 years.
The Kennedy tax rate cuts brought a 62% increase in revenues over 7 years.
The Reagan tax rate cuts yielded a 54% increase over 6 years (100% over 10 years).
Under Bill Clinton, Real wages grew 8 times faster after tax rate cuts later in his Presidency than earlier after he raised taxes on the wealthy.
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues, STEM degrees on: October 12, 2017, 03:38:49 PM

The difference is staggering and all the numbers are surprisingly low.  In a country of 325 million we only have 500,000/yr. college degrees in all STEM subjects?  It makes me proud of my daughter but not of my country on that point.  That points to a larger problem than (legal) immigration.
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Puerto Rico on: October 12, 2017, 03:31:50 PM
I would add that per capita income in P.R. is one third of that in the rest of the US.  They would be our poorest state by far, meaning that a lot of our one size fits all laws like minimum wage don't fit them very well.

Whether they split or join, we should be bringing ideas to Puerto Rico that will raise up their prosperity - just as we should here.
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 12, 2017, 12:25:52 PM
From Cog Diss Republicans thread:
CCP:  Doug
...But I don't understand what you mean here:

"And why is the Trump side opposed to bring the best and the brightest in, especially when they hold the screening controls?"

Are you saying Trump is restricting the best and brightest?  I don't see that. Look at our academic institutions.  They are *loaded* with foreign born.   And now the children of foreign born.

Did you see the Asian American lawsuit against Harvard?  They are claiming they are being discriminated against because they are Asian .  If true half the staff of Harvard should be Chinese.    So Trump may not be the ones restricting them. 

What great scientist can you name that has not been able to work in the US? 

Thanks ccp, good points.  I can answer you more generally.  With illegal immigration and Democrat-led immigration we had some problems (understatement).  Again, see Ann Coulter's Adios America, well researched data.  The problems had to do with abandonment of what got us originally to the point of American greatness. 

1.  E Pluribus Unum: out of many, one.  Not to pick on any one Hispanic but as a group we have a lot of people  not becoming 'one' with the already here Americans.  The illegal flood wrongfully puts a cloud over the legal ones.  They aren't all going back so we need settlement of this issue, a stop to the flood and a pause or tightening of the legal inflow from where too many have come too fast to assimilate.

In this town, ditto that for Somalians who have other problems.  They aren't assimilating and a certain percentage of them are hostile to everything we stand for like peace and prosperity. 

If the problem today were Scandinavians, Scots or conservative political board writers, then pause or stop that too.

2.  Overstayed visas.  Non enforcement of our laws brought us 9/11.  The wall and southern border is only one aspect of the law breaking.

3.  National security and sovereignty: We can't have war gangs deciding who comes in.

4.  The phenomenon of "free shit".  Muslims don't go to Sweden for the weather or sunshine; they go for the world's most generous government benefits.  Same partly goes for us.  Liberals compare current inflow with previous ones, but people in the past did not come for that reason.  They came to pursue the American Dream in the Shiny City on the Hill.  Immigrants suffered, sacrificed, perservered and bettered themselves and the country.  Contrast that with now.

5.  Lastly or firstly, WE should decide who comes in, not be victims of it.

Regardless of where Trump is on this, in general, we will need laborers.  The US, like Europe, have demographic challenges.  But as mentioned, we have 100 million adults already here and not working at a point we are defining as full employment.  In fact, the size of our workforce is a fluid number that depends on incentives and disincentives to work - and has plenty of room to move.  So maybe the need for laborer is later.  Right now we need to entice some labor out of existing population.  But if we aren't willing to do that, we need laborers now.

I know that when we read the MIT class list or faculty list we don't see the most common names we have here:  Johnson, Anderson, Nelson, Olson, Peterson, Smith, Larson, Miller.  But I don't know by seeing their names how many are foreign students, how many are citizens, how many are allowed to stay and how many are forced to leave upon graduating - as G M referenced. 

What I know or believe is more general, that whether we are or not right now, it is in our best interest to retain and recruit the best and the brightest, the most ambitious and especially to attract and retain entrepreneurs, the dearth of the last ten years.  MHO. 

cf: Einstein was a nice catch for the US, won WWII.
Also András Gróf: 
How many people are employed by the industry Intel (first microchip) pioneered and who is the next one to do that?
40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by either immigrants or the children of immigrants

Others are certain to not do anything like that and some predictably pose a net loss loss to our country.  The point is that: we choose who gets in, based on our best interests.
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China will 'compel' Saudi Arabia to trade oil in yuan on: October 12, 2017, 11:36:42 AM
Or else?!  They will buy their oil from the US?  Venezuela (Venezuelan Bolívar)?  Japan, lol.
Maybe Russia, which of these countries needs a flood of Yuan for their consumer purchases?  Angola?

If they partner up with Iran, how 'bout we do the same with Taiwan?

Does anyone remember when over-reliance on unreliable oil sources was a finance and national security nightmare - for the importer?
China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest net importer of petroleum in 2013. Within the next few decades, it is expected to buy roughly 70 percent of its oil from foreign sources, much of which will come from countries known for instability. Sudan alone provides 7 percent of China’s oil imports, and over one-third of Chinese oil imports come from Sub-Saharan Africa. Some of China’s largest oil suppliers are Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea, which are all known for political instability.

“Iran could also be a big supplier to Beijing in the months and years to come, as well as a partner that Tehran could call on to supply important loans, technology, and resources to develop Iran’s oil and natural resource sectors,” Kazianis concluded.

China is already heavily investing in Iranian oil, according to The New York Times and has been Iran’s largest trading partner for six years in a row. The two largest suppliers of Chinese oil, Russia and Saudi Arabia, are politically stable but are involved in Middle Eastern conflicts. China prefers to avoid being drawn into such confrontations, especially given recent tensions with its own Muslim minorities.


Let's see what Scott G says.  It seems to me that:  a) none of these countries were using the US$ by choice.  They used it because it was in their best interest to do so.  If so, then switching makes them worse off.  b) Currency is a medium of exchange, doesn't change underlying fundamentals.
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental Question, How can gasoline emissions cause drought? on: October 12, 2017, 11:11:12 AM
Combustion formula of gasoline:

Natural Gas:

We worried about peak oil.  We worry about CO2.  Why aren't we worried about Oxygen depletion and H2O production, both happening at a faster rate than CO2 emission.

H2O is a far more effective greenhouse gas than CO2.  When the CO2 scare winds down and the Napa fires burn down, I predict we will worry next about too much water vapor in the atmosphere.

Trivia question:  What is mother nature's most efficient way of combating global warming, the very fastest method known of removing the largest quantities of the 'worst' greenhouse gas  from the atmosphere? 
Answer:  Hurricane

18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, global warming: evaporation of the Great Lakes, Got water? on: October 12, 2017, 10:41:45 AM
Hat tip Powerline, John Hinderaker

Congressional Record June 25, 2013

What we are seeing in global warming is the evaporation of our Great Lakes. It is a scary thing to think about what this will ultimately do to us.  Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL

Climate change is lowering Great Lakes water levels.
National Resources Defense Council, August 7, 2013

Climate Change Drive(s) Low Water Levels on the Great Lakes
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Water Currents, National geographic, November 20, 2012

Scientists at the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that climate change is playing a role in determining Great Lakes water levels.  - National Public Radio News

And now this:

Lake Superior is near record high and threatening shoreline
Star Tribune  OCTOBER 11, 2017

Lakes Michigan and Huron... the water is higher than normal there, too.

“Rainwater doesn’t have anywhere to go,” he added. “Everything’s saturated.”

Weather is cyclical.  Who knew?

I know there is drought and fires in Calif.  Droughts are local/regional, and cyclical; we are swimming in water here.

For translation, one inch of Lake Superior water equals 551 BILLION gallons of water.  That number increases as the shorelines overflow.

19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professional Journalists! Iowahawk on: October 12, 2017, 08:09:44 AM
Journalism is about covering important stories.
With a pillow, until they stop moving.

   - David Burge, Iowahawk via PJ Instapundit Glenn Reynolds

How NBC ‘Killed’ Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein Exposé
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nudge Economics? Don't Nudge Me There! James Taranto, WSJ on: October 11, 2017, 01:54:27 PM
From Crafty's post on the cyber war thread:
Cass Sunstein, (Marc:  shocked shocked shocked) who co-wrote a book titled “Nudge” with Thaler, which helped to popularize his ideas on behavioral economics, ...

Nudge economics is to blame for Obamacare's tax on the poor, the mandate penalty:

Speaking of the memory hole and posted previously, a few years ago I sent a column idea on that book and topic to (friend of the forum?) James Taranto, then online editor of the WSJ opinion page.  He hit it out of the park and put yours truly in the credits.  )

Don't Nudge Me There
If government may dictate soda size, why not sexual behavior?
March 25, 2013
If you want to get published on the op-ed page of a major newspaper, a good way to go about it is to make a reasonable, or at least reasonable-sounding, case for an unpopular and outlandish position. It's important that the issue be trivial, so that readers will get riled up but no one will really feel offended or threatened.

Philosopher Sarah Conly, author of a new book called "Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism," has discovered the formula. In a New York Times op-ed titled "Three Cheers for the Nanny State," she defends Mayor Michael Bloomberg's almost universally ridiculed (and judicially enjoined) ban on large sodas and other sugary beverages.

Conly's argument doesn't seem unreasonable, though it is incoherent in places. In a parenthetical aside, for example, she mocks opponents for objecting over such a trivial matter: "Large cups of soda as symbols of human dignity? Really?" (Note to the editors: That "Really?" is lazy writing. Why not let a rhetorical question stand on its own? See what we mean?) But of course she wants us to take her defense of this silly policy as a serious philosophical argument.

Then there's this priceless passage: "Do we care so much about our health that we want to be forced to go to aerobics every day and give up all meat, sugar and salt? No. But in this case, it's some extra soda. Banning a law on the grounds that it might lead to worse laws would mean we could have no laws whatsoever."

Oddly, Conly bases her reductio ad absurdum on false empirical premises. The benefits and risks of exercise, and of particular forms of exercise, vary from individual to individual. And giving up all meat and salt, unlike sugar, is likely to harm your health.

The best part is that conclusion. Essentially she's saying that if you accept one slippery-slope argument, you have to accept all slippery-slope arguments. Therefore, slippery-slope arguments are unsound.

But wait, that's a slippery-slope argument! You've heard of the liar's paradox? Its simplest form is the statement "This statement is false." Conly's greatest contribution to philosophy may be the slippery-slope argument against slippery-slope arguments. Call it the slipper's paradox.

We're less impressed with Conly's argument in favor of the soda ban and measures like it. She rebuts John Stuart Mill, the 19th-century liberal philosopher who established the "harm principle"--the idea that coercion is generally justified only to prevent individuals from harming others. Mill also allowed that there were unusual cases in which government would be justified in restricting an individual's behavior for his own good--"when we are acting out of ignorance and doing something we'll pretty definitely regret." Since it's common knowledge that large quantities of refined sugar are bad for you, that wouldn't justify the soda ban.

Conly thinks Mill didn't go far enough in justifying coercion. Science has shown "that we often don't think very clearly when it comes to choosing the best means to attain our ends," she writes. "We make errors. . . . We are all prone to identifiable and predictable miscalculations." Thus we should surrender a measure of autonomy and yield to rules promulgated by experts, who presumably know what's good for us: "Giving up a little liberty is something we agree to when we agree to live in a democratic society that is governed by laws."

Again she brings up the slippery slope: "What people fear is that this is just the beginning: today it's soda, tomorrow it's the guy standing behind you making you eat your broccoli, floss your teeth, and watch 'PBS NewsHour' every day."

Crazy, right? Maybe not. Conly's op-ed never mentions smoking, but in a sympathetic review in the New York Review of Books, Cass Sunstein reports that in "Against Autonomy" she argues "that because the health risks of smoking are so serious, the government should ban it." (Sunstein, a legal scholar and former Obama administration official, is coauthor of the 2008 book "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness," which makes an argument similar to Conly's.)

What's interesting about the smoking-ban proposal is that while it is culturally radical, it is not philosophically radical. Is there any doubt that if cigarettes were a new invention, lawmakers would quickly ban them? Libertarians would object, on the same ground that they argue for the legalization of other drugs. But their point of view would command little public support, at least unless and until illicit cigarette smoking became as widespread as illicit marijuana use is today.

That is to say that a moderate form of Conly's philosophy has long prevailed, even in as freedom-loving a country as America. While we may bridle at being told we can't do something we are used to doing or didn't realize we weren't supposed to do, generally we don't do so as a matter of principle. (Libertarians, you're off the hook on that observation.) Generally speaking, Americans accept a wide variety of regulations on their personal behavior that are designed to be in their own good.

So what does Conly have to say that is original? Well, her book is called "Against Autonomy" and subtitled "Justifying Coercive Paternalism." That makes it sound as if she is advocating aggressive and thoroughgoing government intrusion into individual decision-making. Her positions on the soda ban and tobacco prohibition seem to bolster that. But those take her only slightly beyond the views that today prevail among the left-liberal elite.

Similarly, according to Sunstein, she endorses Bloomberg's ban on trans fats as well as "regulations designed to reduce portion sizes"--presumably of solid food as well as dissolved sugar. But in areas in which her philosophy would seem to conflict with prevailing left-liberal views, she's less adventurous than Bloomberg:

She is far more ambivalent about Mayor Bloomberg's effort to convince the US Department of Agriculture to authorize a ban on the use of food stamps to buy soda. She is not convinced that the health benefits would be significant, and she emphasizes that people really do enjoy drinking soda.
You'd think the logic of "coercive paternalism"--of government-imposed restrictions designed to promote individual welfare--would apply more strongly when individuals are dependent on government for financial support of their welfare. To put it another way, someone who is financially autonomous has a stronger argument that he ought to be personally autonomous. We're not sure what Conly thinks of that argument--the $95 cover price (0% off at Amazon) has nudged us away from acquiring her book--but we suspect she adheres less strongly to "coercive paternalism" than to the orthodoxies of contemporary left-liberalism.

An even better example is this observation from Sunstein's review: "Because hers is a paternalism of means rather than ends, she would not authorize government to stamp out sin (as, for example, by forbidding certain forms of sexual behavior)."

What a staggering cop-out. The past 50 years or so have seen a massive deregulation of personal behavior in the sexual sphere, a revolution of law, technology, custom and economics, all in the name of personal autonomy. Never mind "sin"--this has had bad consequences for public health (AIDS and other new sexually transmitted diseases), for children (far more of whom are born out of wedlock and reared without fathers), and even for the future of the welfare state (since declining fertility makes old-age entitlements unsustainable).

It may be that the sexual revolution is irreversible and the concomitant problems are intractable. If Conly lacks the imagination to come up with policy solutions, so do we. But if she dismisses this enormous question as a matter of "sin" and focuses instead on trivia like soda-size regulations, why should we take her philosophy seriously?

 James Taranto
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: October 11, 2017, 01:12:23 PM
Very funny! 

Times change rapidly.  This was just 9 years ago, the two Republicans at the top of the ticket opposed gay marriage, the two top Democrats including the left-most member of the Senate promised they also oppose gay marriage, same as the Republicans.  The NPR moderator says "wonderful" to we all oppose gay marriage, "let's move on".  Gays hear that and vote Democrat because they know Republicans are telling the truth and Democrats are just saying that to get elected. 

In a sense, nothing has changed.
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: October 11, 2017, 12:05:01 PM
Doug really good analysis.

I am curious to see what the income brackets are going to look like.

I don't know why people in the bottom rung wind up paying 12 % rather then 10% .  Or why other likely will see no cuts.  Or if the state income tax deduction  is dropped how anyone in the middle will wind up with anything more then where they started

I also don't know why 47 % pay nothing.  Yet I am sure the MSM is happy to poll them on questions like :

should OTHERS pay more?

or why do have a right to participate in polls about taxes when you pay nothing.  I digress...   but if I see one more poll taken by popsugar or newsweek ....

also gotta love Dems when they  say this tax "cut" will balloon the deficit.  Suddenly the deficit is a major concern for them.

"I don't know why people in the bottom rung wind up paying 12 % rather then 10%"

Doubling the standard deduction takes care of this mathematically if not politically. 

"I also don't know why 47 % pay nothing."

That will take a real leader to call out the country on this. People like Trump and Romney are too personally vulnerable on the 'issue' of the 'rich' to take it on.  Like Bush, Dole Bush, McCain and Romney, Trump cannot articulate why marginal rates need to be lower.  Even Reagan could not articulate why everyone who is capable needs to have skin in the game.

Rush L used to say they had identified a group of Americans who are not paying their fair share... it's the poor!
That does not sell either, nor Romney conflating the 47% who do not pay in with the 47% who will never vote for him.  Different but overlapping groups.

This current lousy package has some good points that are still not fully developed.  If the top rate on S-corp pass through income is 25%, in a sense that becomes the new top rate.  Many loophole protectors will be thrown in to prevent that kind of 'abuse', high earners taking the 25% rate. 

There is no political will for it but a constitutional amendment should be passed that prevents spending above 20% of GDP without supermajority, emergency approval to exceed it and limit all federal marginal tax rates to 25%.  If you want more spending on yourself, then vote yourself more taxes, not impose them on others.  If you want more dollars to the Treasury, grow the economy, not penalize the participants.

A 25% rate still means a 35% rate in places like CA, NY, MN, NJ?  Tax rates higher than that enlarge the importance of income and tax avoidance.

Also missing in the plan is indexing capital gains to inflation.  Labor is nothing without capital and locking assets in place defines the opposite of a healthy, dynamic economy.

To think we can achieve optimum growth without reforming our monstrous tax code is to deny math, science and history.
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans, Both sides openly splitting the party on: October 11, 2017, 11:14:15 AM
WSJ editorial page calls the wall builders "restrictionists":
"Immigration Bait and Switch
Trump bows to the restrictionists and may scupper a deal.
White House demands include 70 immigration “priorities” that amount to everything that the restrictionist right has ever sought. They include appropriating funds to complete a wall along the southern border and slashing legal immigration by half.

I am a big fan of the WSJ opinion page - since the late 70s. (That doesn't mean I agree with them on everything.) In the age of Trump and to his supporters, they are the enemy, called "establishment" and worse.  Ask Bannon, Buchanan and Sparta about that.  A critical distinction in immigration is the difference between legal and illegal.

Ann Coulter in 'Adios America' went after legal and illegal immigration and Trump launched his campaign based on her findings.  But that has nothing to do with software engineers and needed entrepreneurs, etc.  Trump, you are President now, draw a distinction.

Why is the wsj editorial board opposing a "wall" (didn't we have an election on that?) and why is the Trump side opposing the good side of legal immigration? 

Back to the article:  "The real labor problem is a shortage, as the jobless rate has hit 4.2% nationwide. America’s tight visa caps are sending high-tech jobs to Canada and agricultural production to Mexico."

Why are they using  a failed measure of the left, jobless rate 4.2%, when 100 million adults don't work?  And why is the Trump side opposed to bring the best and the brightest in, especially when they hold the screening controls?

And why the name calling?  "Restrictionists".  Answer in kind?  The vitriol on the other side is worse.  Ask Sparta
what they think of Rubio.

WSJ continued:  "Many Republicans also oppose the wall as a needless waste of money that won’t stop criminals and drug traffickers. The costs would vastly outweigh any benefits, especially since border apprehensions have been falling during the Trump Administration and are down 24% from last year. The number of unaccompanied children who are apprehended has dropped by more than half since last October.

If Mr. Trump feels he needs a symbolic wall victory, he’d be smarter to settle for a virtual wall with drones, aerostat blimps and towers with infrared sensors to fill gaps in fencing where the border patrol has difficulty accessing. Newer technology has facial recognition features that can capture biometric data. A virtual wall could be installed within months, not years, and it can be continually improved.

The fall in border crossing is not reason to change the policy and this is not an either/or decision.  (Again), we had an election on this and elections (should have) consequences.  We need some kind of a wall and we need all of these technologies.  The days of organized crime and Mexican gangs 'controlling' need to be over, and if you want Trump voters to move past single issue politics, build the damn wall.

Name calling and parotting the left does not pass for persuasion.

Immigration and free trade are big splitting points on the right.  How does this get resolved?  Divide and lose?  Why not find reasonable solutions and pass them.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump Administration, VDH with a balanced recap of the DT Presidency so far on: October 11, 2017, 10:33:22 AM
The message vs. messenger.
Victor Davis Hanson, always worth a read.

VDH: "...did any recent past Republican nominee—forget Trump’s motivations or questions about his relative sincerity—even run on the premise that working Americans were ignored and losers in the redirects of globalization, open borders, and outsourcing and offshoring? Or that consequently they deserved empathy and a second-chance at the American dream? Was there a chance that Trump saw not just a political opening but an injustice perpetrated against political outcasts deserving of concern in a way that other more politically qualified and supposedly empathetic candidates of 2016 did not?"
[Doug] I supported Rubio and others supported Cruz.  There is  a very good chance neither would have broken the 'blue wall'  as Trump did, or run the table on the swing states to win.  The obstacles to restoring this country right now are a few easily identifiable individuals in the Senate.  Trump, with all his warts, is not the problem (at this point).

25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Biden/Obama 2008: We do not support gay marriage, "no difference" with the right on: October 11, 2017, 10:12:40 AM
I was looking for something else and found this tidbit:

[Gwen] IFILL: Let's try to avoid nuance, Senator. Do you support gay marriage?

BIDEN: No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that [gay marriage]. That is basically the decision to be able to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it.

The bottom line though is, and I'm glad to hear the governor, I take her at her word, obviously, that she think there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple. If that's the case, we really don't have a difference.

IFILL: Is that what you [Sarah Palin] said?

PALIN: Your question to him was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not.

IFILL: Wonderful. You agree. On that note, let's move to foreign policy.
In the calendar of so-called human rights, that's not very long ago!

Can anyone remember when gay marriage finally passed.  That's right, it didn't.  It was decided by one Justice (Anthony Kennedy) in a 5-4 divided Supreme Court.  Biden, chair of the senate judiciary committee, opposed Bork for his "originalism".  Leftists take a long and deceptive path to advance their agenda.

Oddly 'Republican' Donald Trump is the first President to run and win the Presidency while supporting gay marriage.
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Humor on: October 11, 2017, 09:34:08 AM
Don't call them "illegal firearms".  Call them "undocumented weapons" and give them sanctuary.

Excellent!  )
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: GPF: North Korea-- where China can beat US on: October 10, 2017, 11:42:47 AM
A few points in response:

1.  'US would lose in NK'.  We don't know that.  This isn't 1950 and how is Vietnam analogous if we didn't invade the North.  We don't have to 'win' and rule them; we have to disarm them of missiles and nukes.

2.  Trump is not Carter etc.  He WILL recognize Taiwan. (He already has.)  I will come down sort of like "Mr. Gorbochev, Tear Down This Wall.  His advisers will all say no, too dangerous, too provocative and then he will do it.

3.  China's ego-like victory over the US by prolonging the NK crisis is trivial compared to Japan arming and going nuclear.

Japan updates satellite technology for domestic 'GPS', which also gives them the best view ever of NK (and China).

Given all that, I see NK as more a crisis for China.  When will they see that?
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics, Janet Yellen: This economy still sucks. on: October 09, 2017, 12:50:14 PM
“My colleagues and I may have misjudged the strength of the labor market,”
    - Janet Yellen  Sept 26, 2017

So let's oppose all reforms that would energize growth and help labor...
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, 10 years of Plowhorse and we are still worse off! on: October 09, 2017, 12:45:04 PM
What say Wesbury to this?

80% of U.S. reported less income in 2016 survey than in 2007.

Net-worth midpoint is $42,400 below pre-crisis level.

(What is your net worth AFTER you subtract your share of the federal debt, and how has THAT changed?)

Newly released income and wealth data from the Federal Reserve Board’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances show that America’s richest families enjoyed gains in income and net worth over the last decade. Not part of the top 10 percent? Then your income probably fell.
Readers of this thread know:  For ten years we chased the policies of equality over growth.  While we destroyed growth and inequality widened.

Lessons learned:  NOTHING.
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People, gun rights, What sells more guns? on: October 09, 2017, 12:36:13 PM
I wrote my complaints from the media thread to Fox News Sunday and added this, something everyone here already knows:

If fewer guns is your safety point, look at what escalated gun sales in America more than anything else, the perception that guns will be taken away or not available to buy later.

Obama is the best gun salesman in America

Gun Sales Have Dropped Since Trump's Election

Once again and as always, liberalism involves first level thinking.  Nothing would contain gun sales like running our government like the Founders intended, securing the country and enforcing all of our constitutional rights.  Nothing scares people into arming, building fortresses and stocking ammunition like threatening to take our rights away, without a constitutional amendment and without due process.
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media, Chris Wallace Fox News Sunday smears NRA on: October 09, 2017, 12:12:05 PM
I wish to revise and retract anything positive I have said about Chris Wallace.  His interview the with NRA executive director yesterday was AWFUL.  He blamed him, accused him, spewed liberal talking points, interrupted, didn't let him answer.  Not fair, no balance.

2 or 3 of their panelists were worthless too.  Juan Williams every week for balance?  Not exactly compelling TV or analysis.

One thing in media, why they don't split their time something like 50-50, allow a guest to give his/her side of it and also challenge them where they are wrong or where there is another side to it.

This is noteworthy in media because it seems that Fox News is ripe for replacement on the right.  They want to be fair and balanced and end up on the far left part of the time.  That leaves an opening a mile wide for a conservative alternative to emerge.

NRA already agreed with 'bump stock' regulation.  What else would have helped here?

Disclaimer, I don't watch cable news so must admit an occasional once a week peek is not a full examination.  Their radio news however often speaks with the same liberal talking points of the hated MSM.
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Feinstein, 84, not going softly into the night on: October 09, 2017, 11:51:06 AM
She's running again!

And she will win again.

California's best senator...

Ages at the next Presidential election:
Feinstein 87, Pelosi 80, Steny Hoyer 81, Clyburn 80, Jerry Brown 82.
Democratic Leadership Looks Like Old Soviet Politburo

Which is better for their cause, stay in office forever or groom new leaders for tomorrow?
(Remember that 'their cause' is to personally hold onto power for as long as possible.)
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 17 statements of NO EVIDENCE to support claim of Trump Russian collusion on: October 09, 2017, 10:54:53 AM
Sharyl Atkisson formerly of CBS lays out what we know so far:

1. The New York Times
Nov. 1, 2016
According to the newspaper, the FBI says there’s no definitive connection between Donald Trump and the Russian government, reaching that conclusion after a wide-ranging investigation. The Times cited law-enforcement officials who said any cyberattacks carried out were “aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Trump.” The FBI also found no conclusive evidence of deliberate communications between Trump and a Russian bank, that were alleged earlier.

President Trump
2. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin, House Speaker)
Feb. 28, 2017
No one has ever showed us any evidence that any collusion had occurred between an American involved with the political system and the Russians.”

3. James Clapper (Former Obama Director of National Intelligence)
March 5, 2017
“[Regarding] NSA, FBI…CIA…Director of National Intelligence (DNI), that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians, there was no evidence of that included in our [January] report,” Clapper testified. He was asked, “…but does it exist?” He answered, “Not to my knowledge.”

Former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
4. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California, House Intelligence Committee Chairman)
March 20, 2017
During a hearing, Nunes questioned then-FBI Director James Comey:
NUNES: Do you have any evidence that any current Trump White House or administration official coordinated with the Russian intelligence services?
COMEY: Not a question I can answer…
NUNES: Well, I think — I understand that…but I can tell you that we don’t have any evidence and we’re conducting our own investigation here.
Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of House Intelligence Committee

5. James Comey, then-FBI Director
March 20, 2017
Comey was asked if he agreed with former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Clapper who said there was “no evidence” of “collusion between the members of the Trump campaign and the Russians.” Comey replied, “I think he’s right about characterizing the [January] report which you all have read.”

6. Rep. Chris Stewart, (R-Utah, House Intelligence Committee)
March 20, 2017
“At this point, everyone on this dais should agree with Mr. Clapper because we in the committee have seen no evidence, zero, that would indicate that there was collusion or criminal wrongdoing between any members of the previous [sic] administration or campaign and Russian officials.”

The Kremlin in Moscow is the official residence of the Russia’s President.
7. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California, House Intelligence Committee) 
April 2, 2017
When asked, “Can you say definitively that there was collusion, there were people affiliated with the Trump campaign who were working with Russians to time the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton that had been hacked either from [Hillary campaign chair] John Podesta or the DNC?” Schiff replied, “I don’t think we can say anything definitively at this point.”

8. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California, Senate Intelligence Committee)
May 3, 2017
When asked if she had evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, Feinstein replied, “Not at this time.”

9. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia, Senate Intelligence Committee)
May 8, 2017
“People that might have said they were involved, to what extent they were involved, to what extent the president might have known about these people or whatever, there is nothing there from that standpoint that we have seen directly linking our president to any of that.”

10. James Clapper (again)
May 8, 2017
At a hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) asked Clapper if it’s still accurate that he has no knowledge of the existence of evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. Clapper replied, “It is.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Photograph by: Frank Plitt via Wikimedia Commons

11. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California)
May 9, 2017
Rep. Waters has repeatedly stated that President Trump “has colluded with the Russians,” but when asked if she has seen evidence to back up her claims, Waters replied: “No, we have not.”

12. President Donald Trump
May 9, 2017
In a letter of termination to FBI Director Comey, President Trump wrote that Comey had informed him “on three occasions that I am not under investigation.” (This was later confirmed by Comey, contrary to reporting that stated Trump was “lying.”)
President Donald J. Trump

13. James Clapper (yet again)
May 28, 2017
On NBC, Clapper states that in looking at possible Russian collusion, “my dashboard warning light was clearly on” but “I have to say, at the time I left, I did not see any smoking gun certitude evidence of collusion.”

14: Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
June 4, 2017
On CNN, Sen. Warner is asked whether he has seen any evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. He says: “There is a lot of smoke,” but “we have no smoking gun at this point.”

15. Former FBI Director James Comey (again)
June 8, 2017
Comey confirmed to Congress that he had, indeed, told President Trump three times that he was not personally under investigation.

16. Jeh Johnson, Obama Homeland Security Secretary
June 21, 2017
In Congressional testimony, Johnson was asked whether, at the time he left the government in January 2017, he had  “seen any evidence that Donald Trump or any member of his campaign colluded, conspired or coordinated with the Russians or anyone else to infiltrate or impact our voter infrastructure?” He said, “Not beyond what has been out there open-source, and not beyond anything that I’m sure this committee has already seen and heard before, directly from the intelligence community. So anything I’d have on that is derivative of what the intelligence community has — and the law enforcement community.”

17. Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) at press conference with Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA)
Oct. 4, 2017
“We can certifiably say that no vote totals were affected, that the tallies are accurate. The outcome of the election, based upon the counting votes. They did not in any way shape or form that we’ve been able to find alter that.” As for collusion with Russia, “the issue of collusion is still open, that we continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses, and that we’re not in a position where we will come to any type of temporary finding on that until we’ve completed the process.”
34  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VP Pence walks out on kneelers, Kneelers call it a "PR stunt" on: October 09, 2017, 10:08:23 AM

Kneeler call it a PR stunt.  Pot calling the kettle ... silver, or however that expression goes.

35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bobby Jindal for HHS Chief, Trump’s Best Chance At Obamacare Repeal on: October 06, 2017, 10:07:01 AM

Jindal’s health-care policy bona fides can’t be overstated. Anyone who’s interviewed him or been present for an open-ended Q&A knows that he can expound at length on, say, the problem of counting hospital uncompensated care as a reimbursable Medicaid expense. Or the ways that federal Medicaid matching funds incentivize states to spend more than they need to. Or any number of arcane aspects of health policy

Jindal had among the most detailed and realistic plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, which he unveiled back in 2014. If anyone could push Congress toward the policies that would have the most effect, and might actually get past a divided GOP Congress, it would be him.
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: TPP withdrawal hurts US on: October 06, 2017, 10:00:26 AM
That's right.  The US should be the leader of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact talks and every clause in it should be about free trade, not giving up sovereignty.  Now it will be negotiated badly and we'll still be pressured to join.
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Leftist of the Year Award, Nobel Faux-Peace Prize on: October 06, 2017, 09:56:32 AM

A group against nuclear weapons.  What progress are THEY making in Iran (or NK)?

If the peaceful people disarm, the rogue states win.  Leftist logic leads to unintended consequences.

What year did Reagan and Thatcher win the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing down the Soviet Union?  What would Norway look like if the US and NATO had not contained them?

Carter, GORE and Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, but not Reagan.  Good grief.
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, Sedition, and Treason? on: October 06, 2017, 09:44:55 AM
Regarding tin foil and Vegas shooter,
It seems to me the Sheriff on the news is a 'straight shooter'.
Nothing makes sense but what I've learned is that unless you can help, look away for a while and let facts be gathered and substantiated.

This fits one narrative if he was Islamically radicalized etc and another if it was political or cultural, but still these events always make no sense to a rational mind.

He didn't clean up after himself.  Either casings were there or they weren't.  If they are hot as they fall, then there are carpet burns and smoke.  Was it out on a balcony?  WItnesses saw where it came from and experts were in the room immediately after.  No plan or motive for a coverup. 

Aiming isn't a big deal to kill 58 in a crowd of 22,000 and thousands of shots.

Nothing makes sense but what I've learned is that unless you can help, look away for a while and let facts be gathered and substantiated.
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California, Sanctuary / sovereign state? on: October 06, 2017, 09:25:52 AM
Jerry Brown signs sanctuary STATE bill into law.

They don't respect our laws.  How is this different than Roy Moore not implementing gay marriage passed by one swing vote activist Supreme Court Justice?
ccp on Catalonia leaving Spain:  "Like California separating from US."

Okay, what if they did?

What if we respect self determination.  They already have split.  Let them go.  We will need some ports and to keep our military assets that they don't want anyway.  They can keep their share of the debt.  I'd like to see that repayment schedule.  Much of the state can stay, let them vote county by county or precinct by precinct, and let others join them.  Hopefully we can negotiate free trade and travel for anyone who was a citizen before the split.

Here is a political map as recent as 2000.  Note red and blue reversed!

Can we build ports in the 2000 'blue' areas?
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: October 06, 2017, 09:10:29 AM
Like California separating from US.

Yes.  An even bigger part of Spanish economy than Calif is to US.

Other independence movements in Europe.  Scotland obviously and 6 others:
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Pakistani Awan Connection on: October 06, 2017, 08:57:56 AM
Youtube interview yesterday.  Judicial Watch Director of Investigations & Research interviews the lead investigative reporter of "The Daily Caller," who broke the story.  They discuss the latest developments in the case of the Awan, what we know so far:

Since no one will tell us what really happened under all these suspicious and criminal circumstances, maybe someone here can weave it all together in a plausible scenario...

Obviously these people were either hired to commit crimes or they discovered nefarious acts that makes these 50 Democrats not inclined to turn against them.

The crazy payment amounts are for what?

The Pakistan connection means what?

Republicans shy away from a Democrat scandal, why?

They are receiving money from politician in Iraq.

They are paying the police in Pakistan.

They receive a government motorcade when in Pakistan, work at McDonalds here.

Democrats say it's no big deal.  DWS kept paying him after caught.

Imrom (sp) had multiple wives here, abusive bizarre behavior.

Court date today.

Members of congress or chiefs of staff adjust prices of government acquisitions, hiding how they spend taxpayer dollars.  Procurement fraud and much worse(?)
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues: Norway: Full Carbon Capture by 2022 on: October 05, 2017, 09:41:54 AM
That is really interesting!

My thought too!  

We know now that CO2 emissions can be captured and stored in the ground, right where they came from, (before they previously originated in the atmosphere).

What is yet to be determined is how affordable this will be.  Too expensive, I assume, to use widely at first and then on a downward path like all new technologies.  We can assume there will be a diminishing value at some point where removing one more molecule isn't worth the cost and we don't need or want to remove all of it anyway.  

The important point to me is that projections in 'climate change' that assume we will continue to emit at the same per capita rate for the rest of the century and until the planet is unlivable without drastic government action ignore completely the accelerating rate of change of these kinds of innovations.  We could have cut emissions easily in half by now if we had just switched the grid to mostly nuclear and the transportation sector mostly to natural gas.  Once we solve the battery issue with electric vehicles, a good part of the transportation sector can go carbon-free too.  As homes and solar and wind products get more efficient, they will be less and less reliant on the grid as well.  Jet travel can be replaced by magnetic levitation transportation, electric and carbon free - if the grid wasn't still powered by fossil fuels:
Denver to Vail in 9 minutes.  Denver to Dallas in 73 minutes:

With successful carbon capture, coal plants could be 'environmentally friendly' too.

What we need to solve all of this is: more prosperity, faster, sooner, greater.  Not less of it.  The solutions aren't coming out of third world countries that don't do the research and can't make the investment.

Have you read anything about whether the frackers can use the CO2 to inject into the wells?

I don't know but assume the technology will apply to all stationary sources.   The question will be a matter of economics (and politics).  It will apply most economically to coal where it can do the most good.  Natural gas is already 40% 'cleaner' than coal so the cost/benefit gain is not as great for natural gas.

We are at the inflection point right now, not centuries away from changing the way we make and use energy - without heavy hand of government botching it.
43  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: When the excrement hits the fan, mass killings, etc on: October 05, 2017, 08:50:37 AM

Famous people reading the forum(?), I was pleased to see the President include this in his remarks yesterday.
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Pakistani Awan Connection on: October 05, 2017, 04:53:52 AM
A lot of detail here, I don't think this link is in our thread yet.

MANY names beyond DWS listed in this, Charlie Crist, Rahm Emanuel and Joe Donnelly the vulnerable Democratic senator running for reelection in Indiana...
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (gun and knife rights stuff ) on: October 04, 2017, 10:32:02 AM
Not to minimize the deaths of 58 perhaps going on a hundred in a crowd of 22,000, but imagine for a moment that the gun control crowd succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, completely unrealistically, and eliminated every gun of every type in America forever.  There are trucks and knives but also weapons available and under development that could kill all 22,000 and more, made from readily available sources.  Same mass murderer possessed ammonia and fertilizer for example.  Neutron bomb, Cuban sonic attack and so many other possibilities if mass destruction is your aim.  Same crowd ironically favors open borders so no matter what is illegal here it will be brought in under their system of non-enforcement.

The killing will end when we identify killers before they kill, and each episode ends when someone shoots the shooter.  In every mass murder we can say that was not soon enough.
46  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Las Vegas Mass Murder on: October 04, 2017, 10:14:44 AM
Somewhere in this discussion of the mass murder where people are still dying it should be noted that, like during 9/11, while people were frantically racing for any possible exit, law enforcement and first responders were entering the area under fire.  Words can't describe that level of courage and valor nor express our thankfulness for it.
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental issues: Norway: Full Carbon Capture by 2022 on: October 04, 2017, 09:49:35 AM
If true, if made affordable, this changes everything. )  We can stop the greening of the planet.

Norway says could achieve full carbon capture and storage by 2022

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Market to Grow Rapidly Owing to Increasing Demand for Clean Energy Globally
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: I'm ashamed of the country on: October 04, 2017, 09:37:04 AM
ccp:" I feel sorry for her [Michelle Obama].  She has had a tough life."

Very funny.  Paid 316k per year as vice president for community and external affairs (community organizer?), like everybody else does.  Her title and salary tripled when her husband's importance skyrocketed, like HRC.
Oppressed like her husband who got into the Ivy League Harvard without publishable grades.  I feel sorry for him too.  Like Kaepernick, he never really had a chance, half black in such a racist country.
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Catalonia to move to declare independence from Spain on Monday on: October 04, 2017, 09:14:44 AM
G M:
Fracturing/collapsing nation-states isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, expect it to spread globally.
"Catalonia to move to declare independence from Spain on Monday
by Reuters"

It makes me wonder, what is Spain without its strongest region.  What is Spain without Barcelona, losing a good deal of Mediterranean coast bordering on the south of France, tourism, agriculture, employment?  Catalonia is one of the richest regions in Spain.

As the most prosperous of Spain's 17 regions, Catalonia houses roughly 19 percent of Spain's economy, benefiting from tourism, exports, manufacturing, and industry.

As GM suggests, what other regions of what other countries will follow.  

Is Spain even a country?  Or is EU the country?

In some ways, aren't we generally better off with smaller, self-governing jurisdictions that make voluntary agreements for security and trade with our neighbors?

Muslims want Iberian peninsula back.
Does this make the rest of Spain more vulnerable?  The parts closer to and touching north Africa?
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Puerto Rico on: October 04, 2017, 08:45:53 AM
PR voted for statehood last time but with lousy turnout.

Of course we should pay for disaster relief.  Isn't that what their federal income taxes go to pay for?

"Most residents do not have to pay the federal personal income tax."

To be fair, most mainland residents don't pay either.

"As American citizens, they are eligible for all welfare entitlement programs."
The following programs are provided by the U.S. Federal government in Puerto Rico:
Head Start Program
Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico (Programa de Asistencia Nutricional)
Section 8 (housing)
Community Development Block Grant
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Minimum wage in Puerto Rico
 Employers not covered by the FLSA will be subject to a minimum wage that is at least 70 percent of the federal minimum wage or the applicable mandatory decree rate, whichever is higher. The Secretary of Labor and Human Resources may authorize a rate based on a lower percentage for any employer who can show that implementation of the 70 percent rate would substantially curtail employment in that business. Puerto Rico also has minimum wage rates that vary according to the industry.

One side sees them as a reliable voter group.  But imagine these are two companies in merger acquisition talks.  What does each side offer the other?

If both sides passed balanced budget amendments, we would have no use for each other.  There would be no spending increases to distribute.
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