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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marco Rubio in Senate hearings: A short course on Iran on: January 28, 2015, 10:52:36 PM

Please watch the video.

Interestingly, of all the allegations of facts and analyses, the Deputy Sec of State is able to correct or counter none of them.

Has anyone ever heard Hillary or Jeb  or or Mitt or Huck or ... ever dive in with this level of depth and clarity?
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reminder, this is the electorate on: January 28, 2015, 12:19:38 AM

Yes, and the dangers mentioned of di-hydrogen monoxide.  People immersed in it are dying, yet no one will ban it.
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 27, 2015, 04:06:54 PM
I am pretty excited about the run to Iowa and NH, for both parties. For real.

Bigdog, You are missed here!  Your thoughts on the current scene?  Let me know if you wold like to meet up at an Iowa political event.  
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential - Rubio on: January 27, 2015, 04:06:37 PM
ccp:  "Sure I like Rubio but I am not sure if he has already peaked.   Not sure."

Look at the skill he exhibits in his first sentence in the Megan Kelly interview on broken families that Crafty posted (Rubio thread):

"So let's be clear from the beginning, there are courageous single parents out there that are raising their children in less than ideal settings, and they're doing a great job and those kids are going to succeed.  But statistically speaking..., (we know, that children that are raised in a home with two parents do better)."  

This is without notes, teleprompters or handlers as far as I can tell.  His is prepared and knows what he wants to say.  He presents core conservative ideas and principles in a non-threatening way, intelligently and intuitively, and with passion!  Compare that with Romney 2012 (or whoever).  When Romney was caught in his 47% comment, he couldn't find the words to defuse that in days that followed, while Rubio has defused potentially similar criticisms of single families in his prefacing remark.

Any one of them might implode at anytime, but he has already gone out there and exposed himself on all the key issues, and always seems ready for the reaction he gets from his detractors.

Immigration is supposedly the one thing he can't overcome, except that:  he sees both sides of the issue, he truly favors a secure border, he has already tried engaging up close and personal with the duplicitous left on this and failed.  He is less threatening to independent voters who have a friends or relatives living "in the shadows" than the rest of would be, and he is more likely to get a good outcome on immigration than a perfectly conservative position that would not win in a general election.

You don't think he would look good, look sharp, hold his ground standing next to Hillary and offer a better alternative, a better future that people in the middle and non-political can relate to?  Appeal to young voters, women voters, Hispanics, even gain ground with blacks?  Without losing ground with the base, conservatives, whites and males?  I do.

The Rubio agenda reads something like the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom where we now rank out of the top ten, behind New Zealand, Estonia and Mauritius, among others.  I ought to be a no-brainer to support moving up on this list - in the direction of restoring our freedoms, but most can't or won't articulate that.

It is the Governors who have the executive experience.  But they will be tripped up when they can't name the leaders of India, China, Japan and the UK, etc.  Hillary is loving the idea of telling us about her last dinner with each of them (while Bill was at the camp for old timers and underage nubiles).  Mike Pence has both congressional and executive experience.  But will he create this kind of excitement?  Do people want to hear about the business successes in Indiana (Orville Redenbacher is what he came up with)?  Probably not.  They want to hear about the shining city on the hill and visualize their families doing well there.  Otherwise they will take whoever offers them the biggest safety net.
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: January 27, 2015, 02:45:32 PM
We could let the free market actually determine prices and let free individual determine what kind of health care they wanted to obtain, and insurance companies could compete for business.   shocked

Exactly.  And free choices and competition are the only way that costs come down.  Now welcome to a world where the right answer is not the right answer.  Also, that is the reason why R's haven't easily settled on a solution.  The question at the moment is, what canl realistically move us in that direction.  What will turn the liberal wedge upside down?  What reverses Cloward-Piven and the current, rules for radicals sequence?

We've created generations of people for whom working for a living is an abstraction.

Now we need to create generations of people where the vast majority have a stake in the success of our society and feel it.  Healthcare is a big part of it.  Too many people today are ready to give up on working and earning more in order to qualify for free healthcare for life.  How do we show them the opportunity to grow their incomes to the point where market price for healthcare is affordable and acceptable?

On our current course, the government is on track to make up 66% of healthcare spending.
An element of dependency comes with that. (!)

Immediate elimination of the federal government's (mostly unconstitutional) role in healthcare opens the door for the endless and successful, taking-away-Granny's-meds, commercials and guarantees losses in elections.  Every cut in O-care will elicit the Republicans-want-to-kill-you response, but the accusation sticks better with some proposals than with others.

The Republican plans listed above do not remove the federal government but hopefully remove the dynamic where people give up and take whatever the government will give them.  The plans listed have some level of government support based on need, yet leave people with choices and, more importantly, a stake in their costs and coverage, resulting in what GM wrote above - free markets determining prices, individuals determining what kind of health care they want, and insurance companies competing for business.

The so-called ACA does none of what it promised to do.  We will not end it by standing out on a precipice and giving our opponents a clear shot to take us down.  (MHO)
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: January 27, 2015, 11:20:28 AM
This is from a progressive site, but the point is dead on:   The Reps are years past where they should have a list of bullet points to answer the question presented here:

Republicans have alternative plans, but they don't have a consensus on one - or leadership.  They can't do anything until 2017, but they can't do anything then, either, if they don't get clear and persuasive and win the argument about where we need to be heading.

Republicans need to reassure conservatives that they really will repeal Obamacare if given the chance and reassure the public at large that they will replace it in a way that does not leave millions of beneficiaries bereft. They could accomplish both of these tasks at once if they devised a conservative health-care plan that replaces Obamacare without threatening people’s coverage. Then they could commit themselves to that plan without making swing voters anxious, and thereby begin showing conservatives that they have a real plan to get rid of the law.

This course of action does not amount to searching for a unicorn. Several plans that meet these criteria have been put forward, such as the CARE Act, proposed by Senators Orrin Hatch, Richard Burr, and Tom Coburn, and a plan put forth by the 2017 Project, a conservative nonprofit (links above). The key step would be to change the tax treatment of health insurance. We now have a tax break for employer-provided health insurance, including fairly expensive employer-provided insurance. That break should be flattened — so that it no longer rewards people for choosing the most expensive insurance options, and so that people who do not have access to employer-provided plans can use an equivalent tax break to buy insurance on the individual market.

A replacement plan should also make existing entitlement programs more market-friendly. Most of Medicaid should be converted into subsidies that help beneficiaries buy into this enlarged individual market. Ideally, Medicare, too, would be converted into a system in which private plans compete for the business of empowered consumers, as almost all Republicans have already endorsed.

Plans along these lines have been estimated to be competitive with Obamacare on the number of people insured, and superior to it in cost and choice of doctors. A higher proportion of the insured would have protection from large medical expenses, and coverage would generally be of higher quality than Medicaid (which is responsible for most of Obamacare’s expansion of coverage). The resulting system would feature lower premiums and taxes than Obamacare. It would lack the law’s centralizing Medicare board and essential-benefits package, its employer mandate, and its individual mandate. It could be structured to avoid discouraging work, as Obamacare’s subsidies do.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2016 (Vice) Presidential: Carly Fiorina on: January 27, 2015, 10:25:58 AM
Crafty, previously:  "She was distinctly unimpressive when she ran here in CA"
This speech was perhaps the biggest surprise in the recent event in Iowa - the contest to selected as Rubio's running mate.   wink

It is possible that she choked in her recent Senate race because she knew these views did not fit with that audience, the California electorate.  Still she only lost 52-42 in a far left state.

She makes very powerful and persuasive points about government getting too big.  For wherever her candidacy leads, it is a very positive thing for the process to have a sharp and experienced woman up on the stage making the conservative case.

She has met Putin, knows Netanyahu, understand cyber-warfare and the Chinese policy supporting theft of our technology.  She explained beautifully how big businesses can hire lawyers to deal with over-regulation while small businesses cannot.

And she didn't wear a pant suit.

Fiorina has degrees from Stanford and MIT.  Breast cancer survivor.  Worked as a secretary out of college, worked her way up at AT&T/Lucent.  She was named Fortune magazine's most powerful woman in business prior to being chosen CEO at HP.  She led the world's largest technology company 5 years through troubled times with mixed results.  

She was quite comfortable taking on Hillary Clinton directly.  Took a jab at the Putin reset button, said I'll tell you what difference it makes regarding Benghazi, and asserted that flying is an activity, not an accomplishment.

8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe, No Go Zones(?) continued on: January 25, 2015, 04:25:53 PM
The authorities in the various countries don't admit the "no-go" terminology.  But read the Swedish Police report in Swedish (with the help of Google translate) and see if these same things are not happening at times in similar areas within these other countries, UK, France, Germany, etc.  The borders within Europe are open.

...loosely connected networks, broad-based youth environment.
...criminal settlements which manifest itself in serious violence in public places, various forms of extortion
and unlawful influence.
...Witnesses don't come forward. Difficulty to get people to testify.  Police vehicles attacked.
 ...establishes an informal power structure ultimately benefits the criminal actors.
...the public's fear of reprisal led to the ordinary justice system to some extent being sidelined

55 specific areas in 22 cities with these characteristics are identified on detailed maps. 

No mention of a religion in the demographics, or of "no-go zones".  It is only on the opinion pages that observers call these areas no-go zones for police or non-Muslims.  The official police report refers to the situation as "serious" and "worrisome".
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Seattle's minimum wage claims. Correction: "SeaTac" population 26k on: January 25, 2015, 01:11:12 PM

In Seattle, the adoption of a $15 per hour minimum wage begins April 1, 2015.  The legislation will phase-in a $15 per hour minimum wage annually over 3 to 7 years, depending on employer size.

(You were duped, and so was I most of the way through writing a reply!)

The question on minimum wage is not how much to pay, but who should decide. 

The journalism here is quite misleading.  This policy is for a little municipality called SeaTac, population 26k located in the overpriced airport area of Seattle Tacoma.  It affects a .007 proportion of the (3.6 million) Seattle metropolitan area.  Airport areas are notoriously over-priced because of a captive audience.  That means the nation should do this??  (Seattle itself is only 18% of the "Seattle" metro area.) 

Alternatives to paying minimum wage workers include installing more labor saving innovations and setting up shop elsewhere.  Neither happens instantly.  From automated gas pumps to automated teller machines to automated french fry cookers, the effects are seen in the longer term. 

Even if you believe in having our all-knowing government meddle in minimum wage law, the correct number for each industry and each location is different.  Note that this experiment is in one city, not a metropolitan area, a whole state, much less a nation.   

You've got to love the thought process of the liberal commentary:  "They forgot the words of wisdom from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an address given in Cleveland, Ohio on October 16, 1936  "It is to the real advantage of every producer, every manufacturer and every merchant to cooperate in the improvement of working conditions, because the best customer of American industry is the well-paid worker." 

That of course has absolutely NOTHING to do with the minimum wage situation around the airport.  Maids don't rent rooms at The Ritz or buy many Boeing products!  What they do is end up on public support when jobs disappear.

"The biggest sign that the higher wage did not impact Seatac however comes with the news that the Seatac airport will be undergoing a half-billion dollar renovation and expansion."

Huh?  The public sector expanding means what??  Good grief!  Are these liberal sources coming from Crafty's facebook friends?  )

The minimum wage is entry pay for mostly unskilled work - the bottom wrung of the economic ladder.  The worker is supposed to gain skills and experience and move up the ladder.  But not if the government forces entry level work to be ever more lucrative, or if it causes the elimination of the first step on the ladder for more and more people.

What percent of American households live off of minimum wage with no other support? Almost none.  The average family income of a minimum wage worker is $53,000.

False reporting of a false issue, IMHO.
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe, Jindal, No Go dispute, 55 Police No Go Zones in Sweden on: January 25, 2015, 12:00:00 PM
Bobby Jindal's allegation of "No Go" zones in Europe set off a firestorm last week here on the left, and in parts of Europe.

"Muslim immigrants have created "no-go zones" in Europe where non-Muslims are not welcome."

Others have said entire cities such as Birmingham are such, and have had to back down from erroneous statements.  The mayor of Paris is suing Fox News.  (I assume these Paris "suburbs" are not in Paris.)

Here on the forum, we have documented the looting of Jewish grocery stores in France, the car fires of Clichy-sous-Bois, Villiers-le-Bel, the inability of Sweden to host a Davis Cup tennis match versus Israel, and massive riots that broke out over that.

I don't know about no-go zones in the UK, but bring forward this post documenting 55 police no go zones in Sweden:
A place formerly known as Sweden now has 55 Police No Go Zones
« Reply #435 on: October 30, 2014»
The Swedish police has released a map of 55 areas where they publicly admit to having surrendered control to the criminal gangs. The report describes outright attacks on police officers trying to enter the areas, which is a step up from the previous problem with attacks on mailmen, fire trucks, ambulances and similar services; it used to be that fire trucks and ambulances had to wait for police escort to enter the areas, but now the police themselves need protection.

The no-go areas heavily coincides with the map of the 186 “exclusion areas” aka. crowded, predominantly muslim immigrant ghettos, where education is low, employment is lower, and the only local business thriving is that of the drug dealing (which takes place openly and continues to do brisk business.)

On a related matter, I see that Powerline yesterday picked up on my 2013 post of "A Jew in Malmo, Sweden":
Maybe not really a Jew in Malmo, but a Scandinavian wore a kippah to see the reaction.

My thought on this controversy is that it is good to force people like the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Mayor of Paris to make sure and make pubic that this is NOT happening!  That is Jindal's point, no-go zones within western allies must not stand.  Religious intolerance in places like Tehran and Hebron is enough.
As stated elsewhere by ccp, this isn't about militant Islamists attacking Jews.  It is about militant Islamists attacking Jews first.  Their war is against all others.
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Two lakes in Greenland on: January 24, 2015, 06:59:40 PM

Interesting phenomenon.  Odd that the author finds a natural occurrence he doesn't understand to be "catastrophic".
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Real unemployment rate is 11%, Bernie Sanders on: January 24, 2015, 09:29:42 AM
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science, Methane Deceptions on: January 24, 2015, 09:25:06 AM
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: January 23, 2015, 05:12:40 PM
I watched the full 32 minutes of the interview.  I agree, he handled things very well.   Not only that, but he impressed me as having more heft than I previously had seen.  He definitely moved up in my opinion.

Moving up in the polls - with support from women!
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: January 15, 2015, 05:55:04 PM
ccp:  "I know of one."
Doug, do you mean Rubio?

Yes.  I think he is saying now exactly what he plans to say in the general election and while governing.  He doesn't say he is more conservative than some other Republican.  He is saying this is the agenda we need, economic freedom and strength, and here is how we can do it.  He doesn't have an authenticity problem or need to shift directions later.

ccp:  What is your take a Jindal?   All know he is not a front runner but he appears to want to run.

GM:Jindal would be one I could support.

(Doug)  Me, too.  Jindal would be just fine with me.  Two term governor, smart and conservative, young and qualified.  Not a boring white guy.  He is not my first choice because I don't rank him first for persuasive skills and connecting with people, but he could make a fine President if elected.  Pundits are saying a little bit condescendingly that he is running for Vice President.  He would be great for that too.

Louisiana is the median population state, 25th, (8 times larger than Howard Dean's Vermont).  Major port, major cities, major energy producer, diverse economy, mixed race population, divided politics. Survived plenty of troubles.  Being a two term governor of La. is significant, executive, governing experience.

People who know him say he is brilliant, but thinks and talks at a mile a minute and people can't follow him.  So when he gave a national response speech, they told him to slow it down and he sounded like he was reading to children.  He needs to be himself, communicate clearly and persuasively, and let the chips fall.
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: January 14, 2015, 11:36:51 PM
Mittens can run to the right of Jeb and still be to the left of the base.


Yes.  He will run the to the right of Jeb, he governed to the left of Jeb, and the main problem he needs to overcome is a lack of authenticity.

Michael Barone asks if there is someone who can run with the same platform in the primaries, the general election and to govern.

I know of one. 
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: January 14, 2015, 11:26:01 PM
People might remember that it was Katie Couric who tripped up newcomer Sarah Palin in 2008.  So who did Marco Rubio choose for his first book interview this week?  None other than Katie Couric.  She came at him hard, in her own snitty, snippy, snotty sort of way, and he handled it quite well IMHO.  Here is a link to it:
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: January 13, 2015, 11:12:04 PM
This is quite a good interview with a journalist who was a witness on the scene in Paris.
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 13, 2015, 07:48:56 PM
Paul Ryan is out.

Romney is in.

Elizabeth Warren now says she will not run.  (Assuming Hillary is in.)

This is starting up early!

Stealing the photo from Crafty's post, how do we compete with the accomplishments, good looks and charisma of this woman?

20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: January 13, 2015, 07:43:18 PM
Latest news in the Hillary drama, they have hired the North American marketing manager of CocaCola to join the campaign. 
What are they planning to sell??

Maybe it was Bill that hired her:

21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 11, 2015, 12:16:17 PM
Great comments by ccp.  Jeb did a good job with Florida as Governor.  He had good circumstances, Republican legislature, Marco Rubio Speaker, no income tax etc.  He wasn't run by his father or big brother, was his own man.  He has a couple of issue problems to resolve if he wants conservative support and he doesn't seem to want to do that.

Like Walker,  Chris Christie stood up to unions.  Unlike Walker, he didn't turn the rest of the problems in the state around. Maybe couldn't have because it is a Dem state, but didn't.  NJ is not either his fault nor his accomplishment.  He has a medium record, upset a lot of R's with his 2012 Obama embrace, has a controversial personality and like most governors has no real record on foreign policy.

With Jeb and Mitt maybe in, Chris Christie is one more Rino to split the moderate-establishment wing vote, so we should hope all of those get in - and lose.    smiley
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 09, 2015, 11:50:09 AM
GM: "Ted Cruz or bust."
Crafty: "as a Presidential candidate he would suck and our next President will be Hillary."

And I was hoping we would reach consensus by now.  smiley

My view on Cruz is in between these two.  He is a high risk choice, but maybe one worth taking.  Like Gingrich last time, he is one guy you wish was there on the stage when our candidate has no answer to lying liberalism.

Ted Cruz will be accused of shutting the government down.  17% of it for 16 days.  But, on the ticket and in the media, he can answer that.  He didn't shut it down, Barack Obama and Harry Reid did.  The Republican budget funded everything except the exact part they were sent there to stop. 

He will be accused of being the far, extreme right.  But is he also the guy that makes sense of those conservative positions to the persuadable?  Hillary, if she runs and is nominated, will be candidate of the status quo.  Cruz would be new guy on the stage arguing for change.  That said, I don't think he can win the nomination.

Waiting to hear from obj, ccp, and others!

We want someone a) who can win, and b) who can turn this country around.  If you can't win, you can't turn the country around.  If you win but govern Dem-lite and can't defend good policies, then you set the stage for failure, like last time.

One of these people, we hope and pray, is the next leader who can connect, persuade, move the debate and the people.  Who is that?
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: January 08, 2015, 07:23:24 PM
Yes, great history and analysis!  What a meddled market!  The Fed is still propping things up with money and the government still has too many intervention programs.  As PP suggests, what happens to values when mortgage rates go up (and incomes are flat)?  It won't be pretty.  And the only reason rates aren't going up is because demand is so soft in the economy.  The policy makers have not allowed housing to correct (proven in pp's figures).  

The financial crisis is over, stop the emergency programs.  Cut back on these efforts to get people to buy a home without saving for the down payment.  3% down is not a commitment or security against value fluctuation.  Allow interest rates to right-size.  People need to save, not just borrow.  There is no balance to it.  Most of all, housing affordability is a function of income, not about houses.  We need to grow the economy and grow incomes if we want people to afford homes.
I agree with PP that they are "engaging in a conspiracy to commit fraud".  We still have too big to fail and live in a bailout world.  Values are still inflated. If knowing about risk causes them to lose out on a profit, then covering their eyes works just fine, from their point of view.  If they miscalculate, fail, and collapse, it won't be the first time.  It's not like they will lose their house.  They might not even lose their bonus. 
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 08, 2015, 06:56:14 PM
Thanks for the detailed response. 

Romney has learned a lot I'm sure.  I agree he earned credibility on calling some things right, that his economic plan would have worked and the people wish he had won last time in hindsight.  But some of the key part I think we need is not in him.  In a nutshell, he opposed Reagan, expanded government when he had the chance, and couldn't defend capitalism or his own work in the free enterprise system when pressed.  I will vote for him again if that's all there is, but he is not the leader that will change minds of millions or bring a new generation over to our side.  I will not forget that he choked and backed off when Candy Crowley (wrongfully) stepped into the debate.   Why was he making that (valid) accusation against the President of the United States in a scheduled debate if he was ready, willing and able to back it up?  He lacked the fire in the belly then and is likely to have even less now.  Speaking of Christy at the convention, what happened to Romney there?  They had a week of free media and gained nothing from it.  He mostly played defense.  He is a good man.  Too bad he didn't step up when he had the chance.

Rand Paul.  "Which candidate would you trust to be your son's commander in chief while serving in the middle east?"  - I would trust him to have the least casualties in foreign lands, but also to make us the least secure at home.  ISIS has captured strategic territory, revenue sources, weapons, and is breeding a new generation of terrorists through gender slavery and rape.  Time for us take a little breather?

Does boring white guy (Pence, Walker) mean ruled out because they are unelectable? 

I didn't know white male was a disqualifier. wink  And aren't they all boring to the general electorate when they talk about key issues, taxes, spending, entitlements, regulations, budgets, security, foreign entanglements, monetary policy, judiciary philosophy, etc.  That's why they turn to boxers, briefs and what's in your playlist.  For Obama, it was Greek columns and speeches full of nothingness.   If we don't choose Carson, Bachmann, Fiorina, or Jindal, Cruz, Rubio, Ayotte, Haley... then might we have to get behind a boring white guy??

One other observation.  No names were added to the list (so far).  With almost all ruled out, we are down to very few good choices.
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: January 08, 2015, 12:06:33 PM
Rough translation (through google) of Denny's Spanish language post today:

Maduro was humiliated in Russia

DolarToday / Jan 6 , 2015 @ 7:00 a.m.

Nicolas Maduro was humiliated in Russia when received by an official of third rank of the Putin administration , Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation , Sergey Ryabkov Alexeevich.

Despite the humiliation received, Maduro expressed " solidarity with the government of President Putin to claim destabilizing USA ", he said the minister.

The Minister for Communication and Information, Jacqueline Faria, reported that this visit of Venezuelan president to Russia is a pre-destined for an international tour that will take work to China and nations of OPEC (OPEC).

" Technical stop in Moscow at the top of this presidential tour of China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Algeria ," he wrote in his JacquelinePSUV account , which also published photos of the game , which can be seen participating in the meeting Minister for Economy , Finance and Public Banking, Rodolfo Marco Torres, and Chancellor Delcy Rodríguez .

Maduro began Sunday trip to the People's Republic of China to strengthen bilateral cooperation relations diplomatic, economic and commercial character with this nation.

During his visit to China , Maduro will meet with President Xi Jinping and also participate in the first China - ministerial forum Community of Latin American and Caribbean States ( CELAC) which will be held on 8 and 9 January in Beijing.

Later, he will tour countries of the OPEC in order to address the issue of falling oil prices.

26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 08, 2015, 11:55:13 AM
From Jeb Bush thread:
I am so sick of the republican structure pushing democrat-lite candidates. I will not vote for them again. I will worry about local issues and ignore the national goat rope.

If we want to compete with Rinos on the Republican side who are already charging forward, we will have to do that same work on our side too.  The establishment has donors and networks.  Where are ours?  Our side better get started, organize, choose a leader and raise money.  It is time to start naming names.  Too often we sit back and take defeat by default. 

To everyone, unless you want lousy choices handed to you later, pick a leader.  Go to Youtube, search their name, hear them speak.  Read the backgrounds, find their positions.  There are 17-20 Republican choices available:

Jeb Bush -  Too Rino?
Chris Christie -  Too Rino? or whatever else?
Mitt Romney - Too Rino, blew it last time, can't articulate certain things, and will never escape Romneycare.

Marco Rubio - Too young?  Too new?  (Looks good to me.)
Ben Carson -  No political experience? But raising grass roots money. (Worth a try?)
Ted Cruz - Too divisive?  (or just what is needed?)
Bobby Jindal - Not exciting?  (So what.)
Rand Paul - Wrong on foreign policy? 
Rick Perry - Blew it last time.  3 term governor of the largest, Republican-led state.
Rick Santorum - Unelectable.
Mike Pence -  Has both congressional and executive experience.  (The adult in the room?)
Scott Walker - Questionable national appeal?  (Or maybe just right.)

Carly Fiorina - Too Rino, no political experience.
Mike Huckabee - No.
Kelly Ayotte -  Too new, too Rino?
Susana Martinez - Not yet on the national stage.
Nikki Haley -   same?
Who did I miss -  ?

27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: January 08, 2015, 09:21:01 AM
Can't read the WSJ link; my subscription access ran out.

More attainable and less controversial than abolishing the corporate tax layer would be to lower the rates from highest in the world to being competitive with our OECD trading partners.  Lowering these rates would not cost us money, just as punishing these employers for locating here (and forcing them out) is gaining us nothing.

We aren't going to abolish federal income taxation before we win the argument that people should generally be more self reliant, that charities should be the primary source of help, and federal spending becomes of fraction of what it is today (which right now sounds like never).

As we came into 2010, with the reaction to Obama-Pelosi-Reid governance, which was a direct reaction to failed GOP governance, my take on the whole rise of the tea party movement was that in order to ever really cut the burden of over-taxation, what we all could agree on is that we will need to cut spending first.  Instead, we call it no growth in spending when Republicans agree with Democrats to make a trillion a year of "emergency spending" permanent.
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 07, 2015, 04:59:16 PM
Chris Christy has taken a number of hits lately.  Today's news says that more people are leaving NJ than any other state.  Comments from our man on the scene?
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jeb Bush on: January 07, 2015, 04:55:26 PM
"I know we here have strong doubts about him (amnesty, common core)"

  - Yes, those are the two.  I would think he could back off of common core rather easily.  He was trying to raise educational standards in an initiative coming out of the states.  It turned into an escalation of liberal leftist, central federal government totalitarian control over schools.  Schools should be controlled locally.  Just say so.  How he finesses amnesty support into a Republican nomination will be more difficult and he seems to be immovable.  There are two sides to it.  Jeb is only showing that he gets the compassion for the illegals side of it and not the rest like laws, security and sovereignty.  Good for him (sarc.), but then he is running for the wrong endorsement.  The candidate who wins will have to acknowledge both sides of it and strike the right balance.

"I'm pretty sure we fought a war or two so as to avoid hereditary rulers."

  - No problem, they will just both go by their first names, like my neighbor Prince Nelson.

"I have read in more than one place that he has a very good record as Gov. of FL."
"Enough of the rinos."

   - His record during two terms in Florida is more conservative than Ronald Reagan's record serving two terms in California.

They said a long time ago that he was the best of the Bush's.  If so, then why did we have to suffer through the rudderless father and somewhat confused older brother first?

I am planning to support new blood first.  This also could turn into a head fake.  Like Hillary, he may find out this is not what he wants.  But right now, he is the Republican front runner.

30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Myth of the 20 million on: January 06, 2015, 01:38:08 PM

Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics shoots this down quite effectively:

"...add up the total number of votes cast for all Democratic candidates and Republican candidates in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections ... [and eliminate the double count of special elections] the margin shrinks to 2.1 points."

Interestingly, the proposal to eliminate the Senate, even by constitutional amendment, is specifically prohibited by Article V of the constitution.  " state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate."

31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: January 06, 2015, 01:26:46 PM
I think he strikes many as simply "too young" but a good showing could get him the VP nominee slot.

Too young in quotes probably means maturity level, projected and real, also perhaps too new to the national stage and federal issues.  I agree, these are question marks.  The larger deficiency for me is the lack of executive experience (for a lot of these contenders, not just Rubio).  Also his experience with immigration reform set him back a few miles, though that may turn into a positive.

Rubio is older than the median voter and winning the mature vote is something he has done, winning Florida by 20 points and more than a million votes.  Part of the argument being made against this being a Bush v. Clinton contest is generational.  Relating to and motivating young people is also a necessity.  The youthfulness of Marco Rubio is partly a plus. 

Noted by Crafty: if he makes a good showing.  We will see if his performance in debates matches my high expectations.  Seems to me he is extremely committed to being informed and ready.  I didn't like that he got dragged into a contest with Rand Paul on Cuba.  Most say Rubio won that exchange, but heated battles within the same team can do damage.

"...could get him the VP nominee slot."  We aren't very far apart.  The qualifications for VP nominee:  ready and qualified to be a great President and brings energy, persuasion and electability to the ticket.  That is pretty close to the qualifications needed for the top slot!

I could see him as a good VP pick IF the top slot is filled with someone very like minded in direction, as well as very experienced as an executive and carrying and projecting all the maturity and gravitas needed.  I think he would be a lousy VP pick if his strengths are seen as qualities the nominee lacks.  For example, Dole putting Kemp on the ticket did not make Bob Dole more like Jack Kemp and Palin did not make McCain any younger, cuter or more conservative.

Perhaps if someone like Mike Pence won the nomination with an agenda is nearly identical to Rubio's, then Rubio might make a great addition to the ticket as a second salesman.  But Gov. Pence (or Walker or whoever) will not be the nominee if they are deficient at building excitement for the agenda.  More traditionally, the VP nominee is the hatchet person who brings the opponent down a notch, leaving the top of the ticket more free to stay positive and on-message.

The very best spokesman for the cause needs to be at the top of the ticket (IMHO), selling freedom, strength, security and limited government principles at every stop.  If there is someone better than Marco Rubio at doing that, please point him or her out... SOON!

Other qualities like competence, experience, and maturity are essential too, but I see this election cycle as a choice and change of direction.  We need foremost an articulate, charismatic and tireless leader with a superb sense of direction. 
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hmmm , , , this is odd on: January 05, 2015, 01:59:53 PM

We are a Union of States and the majority of those are Republican by choice.  The Democrat party has amazing loyalty and turnout power in a relatively small number of concentrated areas. 

Rule by majority was contemplated by our founders - only in the context of how to prevent it.

"The problem is that the deck is stacked in favor of small states".

   - That is a feature, not a bug, of the constitution.
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / National Journal: Marco Rubio has the highest upside on: January 05, 2015, 01:17:33 PM
National Journal Presidential Power Rankings:
(See link below for full list.)

2. Marco Rubio

The senator from Florida has the highest upside of anyone on this list. His combination of biography, demographic profile, and rhetorical skill had convinced many Republicans in the wake of his 2010 Senate victory that he was the future of the Republican Party. He still could be. Rubio has assembled a top-notch political team and is planning a major media blitz in mid-January to promote his new book, American Dreams. These would seem to be surefire signs of an imminent presidential campaign. But Rubio's future suddenly looks uncertain now that Bush has entered the race and is threatening to suck Florida's donor community dry.

We're still betting that Rubio will jump in. He's too talented—and too ambitious—to pass up a race that could define the GOP for a generation. Still, a Rubio run isn't the sure thing we thought it would be a few months ago. And although we think he's the candidate with the most potential if he does run, the sudden doubt over whether he will bumps him to No. 2 for now.
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: January 05, 2015, 01:07:14 PM
"Voter turnout in 2014? The 36.4% of eligible citizens who bothered to vote represented the lowest turnout in any election cycle since World War II."

   - Voters and voter demographic groups lost faith in leftism as represented by the President and supporting cast of Pelosi-Reid, etc., without being converted over to the other side (yet).  Meanwhile, conservatives have lost faith in their leadership and their party's ability or desire to truly turn things around.

President Kennedy: "ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country".

   - That feeling has been gone for quite a while.  Had Obama taken that approach, he could have inspired millions of people to do better for themselves!

Ronald Reagan: "Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction."

  - Unfortunately, proven true.

I would add two quotes.

Mark Steyn:  "You Can't Have a Conservative Government with a Liberal Culture"

Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev said to our grandparents:
"I can prophesize that your grandchildren in America will live under socialism,"

We are one leader away from changing direction at this historic, political inflection point, before no one ever again remembers what made this country great.
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ready for Hillary? Or not. on: January 05, 2015, 12:39:52 PM
It's coming down to crunch time for my bet with ccp: 
She won't run. If she runs, she won't win the endorsement. If endorsed, she won't win.

Odd that she is such a shoe-in yet more than 20 Republicans are chomping at the bit to run against her!

Coverage is starting to slip the other way.  She had better jump in quickly to reverse that!

Gail Collins, liberal writer at the NY Times, in "Hillary versus History":
"Do you think she contemplates the fact that no Democrat has been elected to succeed another Democrat since James Buchanan in 1856?"
"Did I mention that Buchanan (160 years prior to 2016) was also the last former secretary of state elected president?"

Many speculating now that Hillary won't run, will lose, or fail liberals, would be better off on the Supreme Court... (posted previously);_ylt=A0LEViQizKpUrAsAoR8PxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTBybnV2cXQwBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMgRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw--

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, "I'm not convinced she's going to run"

The fact is that Hillary Clinton learned so many lessons from her surprising 2008 defeat that she’s repeating each of them all over again. Once more she is running as the overconfident, inevitable nominee with safe speeches filled with mush and a bloated campaign staff that already is leaking against each other in the press.

Ten other Democrats wait to see if Hillary runs for president – but who would benefit most if she decides to stay out?

CBS News on New Years Day: What if Hillary Clinton doesn't run for president?  "Is it possible?"  OMG, LOL.

The real determinants will be health, and beauty - so to speak.  It will come down to health issues we don't know about as well as her view of how long and how well the latest cosmetic surgery efforts will hold up.  She will not be out of the public eye for extended periods again for ten painful years - unless she says out now.
I do not mean to be critical of the look of a young woman approaching 70; it is just quite clear that SHE is not comfortable with her look as she continually changes it.  I have never seen a serious and successful candidate for President put on weight just before entering a grueling 1.5 year campaign and taking the toughest job in the world.  Again, not critical, just reporting what I see.
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Huckabee on: January 05, 2015, 11:32:51 AM

Huckabee splits the Santorum vote.  I kind of hope they are both in or both out.  Neither should or will be the nominee.
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tell Your Rep: Boehner Has To Go! on: January 05, 2015, 11:28:47 AM
I sent that suggestion today to my RINO friend and congressman.  The vote for Speaker is tomorrow - Tuesday.

Given his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, there isn't a snowball's chance in hell he is interested in rocking the boat.
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental issues - The Cause of the Pause (in global warming) on: January 05, 2015, 10:29:46 AM
A serious scientist ponders the cause of the 18+year pause in "global warming".  The only thing we know for sure is that the models used for forecasting alarmist outcomes are wrong.  CO2 has a minor greenhouse gas, heat trapping effect, smaller than widely believed.  And then there are positive and negative feedback factors, most poorly measured or completely unaccounted for.

December 29, 2014
Cause of Pause in Global Warming
By S. Fred Singer

There has been essentially no global warming since 1998.  Some would choose 1997, others would more conservatively use 2002 as the proper starting date, based on satellite data.  Of course, this is quite unexpected, since CO2 -- a leading GHG, which climate models presume to cause anthropogenic global warming (AGW) -- has been increasing rapidly in the 21st century.

Even if we cannot readily find the cause for the “pause” -- as it is sometimes called -- we can be absolutely sure that it was not predicted by any of the dozens of the UN-IPCC’s General Circulation Models (GCMs).  Therefore, logically, such non-validated GCMs cannot, and should not, be used to predict the future climate -- or as a basis for policy decisions.

Here I would like to discuss some of the possible causes for the GW “hiatus.”  Its existence is creating a scientific challenge for climate skeptics -- and a real crisis for alarmists; it can no longer be ignored by any who consider themselves to be scientists -- nor, indeed, by responsible politicians.

One possibility, of course, may be that the pause is simply a statistical fluctuation, like tossing a coin, with 15 to 18 heads in a row.  Such an explanation cannot be dismissed out of hand, even though it has a very low probability -- which becomes even smaller with each passing year of no GW.  Obviously, climate alarmists like this possibility -- although the number of such ‘true believers’ is shrinking.  Most have started to look for a physical cause for the pause -- an explanation of why current GCMs are failing to match observations.

Internal and external causes

When we look at possible causes, we should first of all distinguish between internal and external ones that might offset the expected GW from CO2.  Internal causes rely on negative feedbacks from either water vapor (WV) or clouds; they act to decrease the warming that should be attributed to increasing CO2.  The problem with internal effects is they can never fully eliminate the primary cause -- almost by definition.  So even if they diminish the CO2 effect somewhat, there should still be a remaining warming trend, though small.

It is quite important to obtain empirical evidence for a negative feedback.  In the case of water vapor, one would look to see if the cold upper troposphere (UT) was dry or moist.  If moist, as assumed implicitly in current IPCC-GCMs, one gets a positive feedback -- i.e., an amplification of the CO2-caused warming.  On the other hand, if the upper troposphere is dry, then most emissions into space take place from WV in the warm boundary layer in the lower troposphere.  This leaves less energy available to be emitted into space from the surface through the atmospheric ‘window,’ and therefore produces a cooler surface.

[NB: To avoid the vexing issue of the effects of the down-welling infrared radiation, it is easiest to think of long-term zero energy imbalance, as measured by satellites at the top of the atmosphere -- after the underlying atmosphere adjusts.  Imbalance = incoming less reflected solar radiant energy minus the heat energy from surface and atmosphere escaping to space.]

The physical model I have in mind for this negative WV feedback is based on a proposal of Prof. William Gray (Colorado State University), who pictured cumulus clouds carrying moisture into the UT, but occupying only a small area; the remaining (and much larger) area experiences descending air (“subsidence”) -- hence drying.  In principle, it should be possible to measure this difficult-to-explain effect fairly easily, using available satellite data.

Negative feedback from increased cloudiness is easier to describe but more difficult to measure.  The idea is simply that a slight increase in sea-surface (SST) temperature (from the GH effect of a rising CO2) also increases evaporation (according to the well-known “Clausius-Clapeyron” relation), and that this increased atmospheric moisture can also increase cloudiness.  The net effect is a greater (reflecting) albedo, less sunlight reaching the surface, and therefore a negative feedback that reduces the original warming from increasing CO2.

Unfortunately, establishing the reality of this cloud feedback requires a measurement of global cloudiness with an accuracy of a small fraction of a percent -- a very difficult problem.

We now turn to external effects that might explain the existence of a global warming pause; the principal ones are volcanism and solar activity.  The problem here is one of balancing; the amount of cooling by volcanism, for example, has to be just right to offset the warming from CO2 during the entire duration of the pause.  It is difficult to picture why exactly this might be happening; the probabilities seem rather small.  Still, the burden is on the proponents to demonstrate various kinds of evidence in support of such an explanation.

Similarly, atmospheric aerosols, generally human-caused, can increase albedo and cool the planet -- especially if they also increase cloudiness by providing condensation nuclei for WV.

Hidden Warming?

Note that all the explanations mentioned so far act to reduce ‘climate forcing’ -- defined as the energy imbalance measured at the top of the atmosphere (TOA)

There is an important school of thought that does not rely on offsetting the forcing from increased CO2; instead it assumes that there really exists an imbalance at the TOA and that GW is taking place somewhere, but is not easily seen.  Many assume that the “missing heat” is hiding in the deep ocean.  It is difficult to see how such a mechanism can function without also raising surface temperatures; but an oscillation in ocean currents might produce such a result.

Still, if measurements could demonstrate a gradual increase in stored ocean heat, one would be forced to consider possible mechanisms.  Its proponents might be asked, however, why the storage increase started just when it did; when will it end; and how will the energy eventually be released, and with what manifestations?

There is yet another possibility worth considering:  The missing energy might be used to melt ice rather than warm the ocean.  Again, quantitative empirical evidence might support such a scenario.  But how to explain the starting date of the pause -- and how soon might it end?

Yet another explanation

It is generally accepted that the warming effect from CO2 increases roughly as the logarithm of CO2 concentration.  The reason has to do with the broadness and shape of the CO2 absorption lines -- as is well known among molecular spectroscopists.  But even the log of CO2 would show a steady rise, albeit smaller than that of CO2 itself; so that this simple explanation does not work.

But CO2 is an interesting and complicated molecule.  Its climate-forcing effect might actually decline to zero -- albeit for only a number of years.  The reason is that part of the CO2 absorption and emission takes place in the stratosphere, where the temperature gradient is positive, i.e. there is warming with increasing altitude, instead of cooling.

But until someone does the necessary work, by analyzing available satellite data, one should not put too much faith in this hypothesis.

So after all, the global warming pause still remains somewhat of a puzzle.  The simplest description is that the climate sensitivity is close to zero -- as demonstrated empirically.  But why?  How then to explain the reported surface warming from 1975 to 2000?


Regardless of any unsettled science details, it seems sure that current climate models cannot represent what is actually happening in the atmosphere -- and therefore one should not rely on predictions from such unvalidated models that are based simply on increases of carbon dioxide.  It should be obvious that this discussion has important policy consequences since so many politicians are wedded to the idea that CO2 needs to be controlled in order to avoid “dangerous changes of the global climate.”

S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project.
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: January 05, 2015, 09:08:44 AM
My fifteen year old son Conrad is now registered on the forum.  I'm hoping he will actually show up  grin

Welcome Conrad!  Jump in with your viewpoint or ask questions on things that don't make sense to you.
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: January 04, 2015, 03:17:43 PM
More on the same point and same data...

If you wanted to grow government, and all leftists do, then maybe you should adopt Republican, "supply side" policies. 

The greatest growth in government was made possible by the decrease in capital gains tax rates in particular under the Bush administration:

On the other hand, had we successfully grown the private sector WITHOUT the expansion of government spending, the bungled housing policies and the monetary insanity, we could have had the real economic growth without the damage of inflating the bubble, the workforce meltdown and the ensuing collapse.
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Do Krugman and Keynes have it wrong?? on: January 04, 2015, 03:08:59 PM
Krugman's theory is that government "stimulus" causes growth, and too much austerity hampers growth. 

However, roughly since the Republicans won the House in 2010, spending as a percentage of GDP has been falling, the super deficits have been falling too, while growth has been steadily (and allegedly) improving.

Dan Mitchell at Townhall makes this point with US and UK numbers.

"But where’s his evidence? Whether you look at OMB data, IMF data, or OECD data, all those sources show that overall government spending has been steadily shrinking as a share of GDP ever since 2009." 
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: France drops its super tax on millionaires - WHY? on: January 04, 2015, 02:03:15 PM
The previous post is intended to add insight into this.  Even ultra liberal, manupilaconomist Thomas Piketty was AGAINST this tax.  Meanwhile, The President of the United States, the Governor of my state, the entire MSM, and half the voters are totally clueless as to why this punitive tax did not succeed.

It turns out that the attempt to punish wealth hurt investment, employment, the economy, the little guy and the entire nation of France.  Who (expletive) knew??!!
France drops its super tax on millionaires

PARIS (AP) — It was supposed to force millionaires to pay tax rates of up to 75 percent: "Cuba without the sun," as described by a critic from the banking industry. Socialist President Francois Hollande's super tax was rejected by a court, rewritten and ultimately netted just a sliver of its projected proceeds. It ends on Wednesday and will not be renewed.

And that critic of the tax? He's now Hollande's economy minister, trying mightily to undo the damage to France's image in international business circles.

The tax of 75 percent on income earned above one million euros ($1.22 million) was promoted in 2012 by the newly-elected Hollande as a symbol of a fairer policy for the middle class, a financial contribution of the wealthiest at a time of economic crisis.

But the government was never able to fully implement the measure. It was overturned by France's highest court and rewritten as a 50 percent tax paid by employers.

Faced with a stalling economy and rising unemployment, the government reversed course in 2014 with a plan to cut payroll taxes by up to 40 billion euros ($49 billion) by 2017, hoping to boost hiring and attract more investments.

All the while, Prime Minister Manuel Valls kept repeating his new credo: "My government is pro-business".
View gallery
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2014, file photo, French President …
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2014, file photo, French President Francois Hollande, left, shakes hands wit …

Ultimately, while the super tax affected only a small number of taxpayers, it triggered huge protests in business, sporting and artistic communities.

French actor Gerard Depardieu decried it vociferously and took Russian citizenship. Soccer clubs threatened to boycott matches for fear that 114 of their players or coaches would be taxed. The final version of the tax allowed them to minimize the burden.

The announcement of the 75 percent tax had "a very bad psychological effect" in business circles, says Sandra Hazan, a lawyer who heads Dentons Global Tax Group. Even if most of the companies were able to minimize or avoid the tax, "I think it had an extremely devastating impact on the attractiveness of France for foreigners."

At the time of its proposal, British Prime minister David Cameron ironically proposed to "roll out the red carpet" to French companies willing to avoid the tax.

Economist Thomas Piketty, author of the book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", criticized it as "a millstone around the neck" of the government, asking instead for global reform of tax laws.

Proceeds from the tax are estimated to total 420 million euros ($512 million) for about 1,000 employees in 470 companies, according to the government. By comparison, France's budget deficit has soared well over 80 billion euros ($97 billion).
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Laffer Curve on: January 04, 2015, 01:04:45 PM
Previously posted on SCH Economics thread:

Original Laffer Curve
Source of the drawing:  Washington Post

a) when you tax something you get less of it, and when you tax something less, you get more of it

b) There is a point on a curve, a marginal tax rate somewhere before you hit 100%, where if you raise the tax rate further you will collect LESS revenue.

c) The straw man argument against is when they say that for all points on the curve.

d) More pertinent, in almost all cases you do not get all the revenue projected without taking into account that the tax will cause you to see less of that activity, work, savings, investment, for examples. 

44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nikita Krushchev, 1957: Your grandchildren in America will live under socialism on: December 31, 2014, 03:34:45 PM
"I can prophesize that your grandchildren in America will live under socialism," he said, wagging a finger.    - Nikita Khrushchev on "Face the Nation", June 2, 1957.

Who knew we would win the cold war and then adopt their system anyway?
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Wesbury: You guys are so wrong 2.0 on: December 31, 2014, 11:04:36 AM
On his main point, he is in agreement with us:

"the same things that boosted growth 150 years ago and 25 years ago are still the same things that boost growth today. What are those things? The answer: Entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity."

On his data, he seems to be cherrypicking:
"GDP grew 5% last quarter and stock prices are at all-time highs"
(Growth was negative in a different quarter of the same year!)
"Profits are at an all-time high and so are stocks"
(Profits, that is, in the narrow world of entrenched company equities that he deals with.)
"the U.S. entrepreneur has refused to be held back."
(That is pure BS.  Real startups are at historically low levels.  So is the workforce participation rate, historically low and trending downward into unsustainable territory - unmentioned in his rosy scenario, equity pumping diatribe.)

On his hedge:
"In spite of government mistakes..."
(Wesbury fully dismisses the costs of these.)  Other economists such as labor economist Casey Mulligan at University of Chicago measure these and conclude differently, that "if you like your weak economy, you can keep your weak economy".

On his main prediction:
"Chicken Little will be wrong again in 2015", meaning big gains across all the main markets for yet another year, maybe forever up ...  that remains to be seen!
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, Global Warming Pause’ Lengthens to 18 years 2 months on: December 31, 2014, 10:44:14 AM
Weddell Sea being in Antarctica just to clarify (photos show the Arctic Ocean and some may state "yes, but... Antarctica...").

Thanks DDF for the clarification.  I was picking different excerpts hoping to encourage people to read the source.  Yes there is a global map at the link showing the antarctic sea marking "scientist" Hanson's colossal error.

Overnight windchill in the Twin Cities was -25 F last night. (  Where does global warming occur if not here, arctic, antarctic or anywhere else?

Satellite Temperatures Reveal the ‘Global Warming Pause’ Lengthens to 18 years 2 months

Which of the alarmists' models predicted warming would take a two decade pause?

47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: Arctic sea ice is nearly identical to 30 years ago on: December 31, 2014, 10:18:29 AM
Cherry pick your data point and prove any trend that you want.

The area of Arctic sea ice is nearly identical to 30 years ago

All of these things are the exact opposite of what experts forecast.  Hansen predicted peak sea ice loss in the Weddell Sea, right where the peak gain has occurred.
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama Imposed 75,000 Pages of New Regulations in 2014, Cost $2 Trillion /yr on: December 31, 2014, 10:12:24 AM
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, while they add new "laws" at the rate of 75k pages per year, federal alone.
Were we under-regulated prior to 2014??!!  Are they done now - is everything fully regulated?
Obama Imposed 75,000 Pages of New Regulations in 2014
(All without a vote from Congress.)

Federal Regulations Cost U.S. $2 Trillion Per Year, Study Shows!searchResults;rpp=25;po=0;np=15;dct=FR%252BPR%252BN
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / HarperCollins' subsidiary removes Israel from Middle East school atlases on: December 31, 2014, 10:04:07 AM
You wouldn't want to offend the wipe-Israel-off-the-map crowd with - the truth - in a text book.  How will the children learn to hate and attack them if they can't find Israel on a map?
Leading Publishing House Wipes Israel Off Its Map
HarperCollins' subsidiary remove Israel from school atlases for Middle Eastern countries to appease 'local preferences.'

HarperCollins' subsidiary Collins Bartholomew, which specializes in maps, are selling "Collins Middle East Atlases" to English-speaking schools in the Gulf states which depict Jordan and Syria extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

Collins Bartholomew told The Tablet that the reason they wiped Israel off their maps was that including the Jewish state would be "unacceptable" to their customers in the Gulf states.
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dr. Ben Carson: The Wisdom of Peace Through Strength on: December 31, 2014, 09:40:12 AM
One step forward on preparing to serve as leader of the free world, Dr. Ben Carson shows that he understands the basics of foreign policy - unlike the current President.

The Wisdom of Peace Through Strength
Dr. Ben Carson | Dec 31, 2014

It was extremely encouraging to see the United States and Sony eventually stand up to the cyberbullying of the North Koreans by allowing the movie "The Interview" to be released despite threats of retaliation.

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are hallmarks of American life, and we must jealously guard these values from both internal and external threats. In fact, all of the freedoms guaranteed to American citizens by our Constitution must be steadfastly preserved, or they will be eroded. Vigilance and courage are necessary every day if we are to remain a free society.

I am proud of the president of the United States for taking a tough stand on this issue, although I am not sure that his promise of proportional retaliation is the correct answer. The response should go far beyond proportionality, and an example should be made of the perpetrators by using a host of available options to inflict punishment not be easily forgotten. If we use proportionality as our standard, future adversaries need only consider certain consequences for encroaching on our rights. If, on the other hand, they realize that they will suffer enormous consequences, I believe their adventurism would be tempered.

I do not advocate becoming a bully on the global stage, but I do believe that strength is a quality that is respected by all cultures, regardless of their ideological bent. I remember how much trouble students in my high school in Detroit caused the weak teachers who had no idea of how to control them. There was one teacher, 5 feet tall, who tolerated no foolishness and even the burly football players feared her. You could hear a pin drop in her room, though the same students produced total chaos in other classrooms. She was extremely nice to me and the other cooperative students and would go out of her way to ensure we received a good education. I think the lesson here is obvious.

There was a time when American citizens were relatively safe, no matter where they traveled in the world. Everyone knew that there would be significant consequences for harming Americans. Today, not only is the fear gone, but there is little respect for our leaders because our nation appears to be a paper tiger. This is a situation that can be quickly rectified with courageous and principled leadership. Many will remember the Iran hostage crisis in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During that time, we had a president who was neither feared nor respected. On the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president, the hostages were released.

It is imperative that, as a nation, we say what we mean and we mean what we say. This contributes to the safety and stability of the world and, in the long run, will cost us less money and fewer lives. Our friends around the world should have no better ally, and our enemies should have no fiercer foe. We certainly do not need to make everyone conform to our values, but we must protect and defend those values, including freedom of expression. We should never yield to evil nor should we ignore it at our own peril.
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