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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential - Charles Krauthammer on: March 28, 2015, 03:28:16 PM
CK made some remark like that and the warning is fair, we should be careful to pick someone ready for the job.  But those with the longest, widest and deepest experience (Kasich?) are not necessarily best for the job either. 

The column I was teeing off on was this one at the Federalist (Cruz thread):

Charles redeems himself here I think.  This is a first look at what he thinks will happen.  He is right that Cruz is a long shot, may break out - especially in the debate setting.  He pick Rubio first, also a first termer and also a long shot at this point.

The GOP racing form: First edition
By Charles Krauthammer  March 27

With Ted Cruz announcing and Rand Paul and Marco Rubio soon to follow, it’s time to start handicapping the horses and making enemies.

No point in wasting time on the Democratic field. There is none. The only thing that can stop Hillary Clinton is an act of God, and He seems otherwise occupied. As does Elizabeth Warren, the only Democrat who could conceivably defeat her.

On to the GOP.

First Tier

1. Marco Rubio. Trails badly in current polls, ranking seventh at 5 percent, but high upside potential.

Assets: Foreign policy looms uncharacteristically large in this election cycle, and Rubio is the most knowledgeable and fluent current contender on everything from Russia to Cuba to the Middle East. The son of Cuban immigrants, he can break into flawless Spanish (so can Jeb Bush) and speak passionately about the American story in a party that lost the Hispanic vote by 44 points in 2012.

Liabilities (in the primaries): His Gang of Eight immigration apostasy, though his current enforcement-first position has wide appeal. Second, after Barack Obama, will voters want another first-term senator with no executive experience? (Same for Cruz and Paul.)

Major appeal: Fresh, young, dynamic persona is a powerful counterpoint to Clinton fatigue.

Goes out at 3-1.

2. Jeb Bush. The consensus favorite (though I remain a bit skeptical). Solid, soft-spoken, serious, with executive experience and significant achievements as governor. What he lacks in passion, he makes up for in substance. And he has shown backbone in sticking to his semi-heretical positions on immigration and Common Core.

Obvious liability: His name. True, it helps him raise tens of millions of dollars, but it saddles him with legacy and dynastic issues that negate the inherent GOP advantage of running a new vs. old, not-again campaign against Hillary.

Odds: 7-2.

Cruz announces 2016 run for president(2:07)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) announced his intention to run for president in the 2016 election during a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. (AP)
3. Scott Walker. A fine record of conservative achievement. Has shown guts and leadership in taking on labor unions and winning three elections (five if you count proxy elections) against highly energized Democrats.

Good, rousing speech in Iowa, but has stumbled since, flubbing routine questions on evolution and patriotism, then appearing to compare the Islamic State to Wisconsin demonstrators. Rookie mistakes, easily forgotten — if he learns from them.

Pandered on ethanol and fired a staffer who complained about Iowa’s unwarranted influence. Sure, everyone panders to Iowa, but Walker’s calling card is standing up to pressure.

Most encouraging sign: ability to maintain altitude after meteoric rise. Numbers remain steady. And his speeches continue to impress.

Odds: 4-1.

Second Tier

4. Chris Christie. Some politicians have their one moment. Christie might have missed his in 2012 when his fearless in-your-face persona was refreshingly new. Over time, however, in-your-face can wear badly. That plus Bridgegate cost him traction and dropped him out of the first tier. Biggest problem: being boxed out ideologically and financially by Jeb Bush for the relatively-moderate-governor-with-cross-aisle-appeal slot. 12-1.

5. Ted Cruz. Grand, florid campaign launch with matching rhetoric. Straightforward base-oriented campaign. Has developed a solid following. Could break out, especially in debate. 15-1.

6. Mike Huckabee. Great name recognition, affable, popular. But highly identified with social/cultural issues — how far can that carry him beyond Iowa and evangelicals? 15-1.

7. Rand Paul. Events have conspired against him. Obama’s setbacks and humiliations abroad have created a national mood less conducive to Paul’s non-interventionism. His nearly 13-hour ­anti-drone filibuster would not fly today. Is trying to tack back, even signing the anti-Iran-deal letter of the 47 senators. Strong youth appeal, though outreach to minorities less successful thus far. Bottom line: High floor of devoted libertarians; low ceiling in today’s climate. 30-1.

Longer Shots

8. Carly Fiorina. Getting her footing. Given current societal taboos, she is best placed to attack Hillary and has done so effectively. Can she do a Huckabee 2008 and, through debates, vault to the first tier? Unlikely. But because she’s talented and disciplined, not impossible. 50-1.

9. Ben Carson. Polling high, but is a novice making cringe-worthy gaffes, for example, on the origins of Islam and on gay choice (“a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay”). And not knowing that the Baltic states are in NATO. Truly good man, brilliant doctor, great patriot. But not ready for the big leagues. Chance of winning? Zero.


Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and John Kasich — still below radar. If they surface, they’ll be featured in the next racing form
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: March 27, 2015, 11:39:13 AM
Obama's rise to power was based on his opposition to the war that stopped Saddam's Iraq, who had already bombed Israel, from going nuclear.  We shouldn't be surprised now.
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: March 27, 2015, 10:24:33 AM
Things like this make Obama and the US far worse than just an ally who won't help; he undermines security in the region to the point causing a nuclear arms race.  It makes me upset about the comparisons of Obama to Cruz or Rubio.  He doesn't do this because he has is young (over 50) or because he was once a first term Senator.  What will Cruz do on the other side of the spectrum, go nuts about liberty and security because he is young and inexperienced?  Obama does things like this because he is a jerk, narcissist, liar who is wrongheaded about which side America should be on.  Did they bother to deny the leak?  Or other leaks, or wiretapping journalists, or using the IRS against political opponents, or a thousand other acts of deception, corruption...  Why don't they leak documents that are under subpoena from Congress?
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: March 26, 2015, 04:04:50 PM
None of this stuff will stop the Clinton machine.  No matter what we hear the first response is, "no laws were broken".  Every single time and the machine rolls ahead.
The MSM fawns and the opposition just twists and wrings our hands in frustration.  

Yes, but laws WERE broken.  

That was Politico and NYTimes bringing it up again.

The Clinton machine was impotent in 2007-2008.  Their last national win was in 1996 when the youngest voters of 2016 were -2 years old.  Even then, with Bill's magic and a very weak opponent, they never won 50% of the vote.  

And she doesn't have his skills.
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Commodity Straddles and The Mystery of Hillary's Trades, WSJ, April 1994 on: March 26, 2015, 12:32:23 PM
...  I would LOVE to find that article that I remember in the WSJ.  Now thanks to this article here we have a much more narrowly defined time range to define our search.   What I remember of the article was that it appeared on the editorial page and was written by the man who had been the IRS attorney in charge of prosecuting tax frauds manipulating "commodity straddles".

Emailed to me this morning by James Taranto, Deputy Editor of the WSJ.   )

The Mystery of Hillary's Trades
By David L. Brandon
1724 words
7 April 1994
The Wall Street Journal
(Copyright (c) 1994, Dow Jones & Co., Inc.)
As former head of the IRS chief counsel's Commodities Industry Specialization Team in the mid-1980s, I have followed with great interest the media stories on Hillary Clinton's excellent adventures in the commodities markets. As a proud capitalist and free market proponent (and an avid beef eater), I would be the first in line to salute this woman's success with cattle futures. But based on my years of experience with these markets, her story just doesn't add up. In fact, the chances of someone making almost $100,000 in the futures markets on her first try are about as great as walking into a casino in Las Vegas, hitting the million-dollar jackpot on your first try at the slots, then walking out never to play again. It just doesn't happen that way.

For those unfamiliar with the details of Mrs. Clinton's remarkable venture into the commodities markets, she allegedly made more than $99,000 in cattle futures (and other commodities) in late 1978 and 1979, withdrawing from trading just before the markets went bust. No explanation has been offered of how Mrs. Clinton managed to satisfy state laws that require futures investors to demonstrate a minimum net income and net worth, nor how a novice could have such uncanny timing.

There is, in fact, a much more probable explanation for Mrs. Clinton's good fortune. The media have already suggested that trades may have been moved to Mrs. Clinton's account after gains had been realized. However, the stories thus far have not clearly focused on a common trading strategy called a "straddle" that was very much in vogue at the time.

Straddles have the unique ability to produce exactly equal and offsetting gains and losses that can be transferred or used by the straddle trader for a variety of purposes. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, straddles were used for all kinds of illegal activities, ranging from tax evasion to money-laundering and bribes. In fact, this activity prompted a number of legal and regulatory changes by the Reagan administration to curb the abuses.

Although it sounds somewhat esoteric, a commodities straddle is a relatively simple trading device.

A commodities futures contract is nothing more than an agreement between two parties to buy or sell a certain type of commodity (in Mrs. Clinton's case, cattle) for a stated price on some date in the future. If the price of the commodity goes up before the contract delivery date, the individual who agreed to buy the commodity will realize a gain equal to the difference between the current price and the contract price. The individual who agreed to sell will realize a loss in an equal amount. Conversely, if the price goes down, the buyer will lose and the seller will gain.

A straddle is created when an investor enters into contracts to both buy and sell the same commodity. In this case, any gain on one contract will be exactly offset by a loss on the opposite contract. While straddle trading today is used in a variety of legitimate ways, these transactions lend themselves to all sorts of abuses as well. Before regulatory changes in the 1980s, it was common to enter into straddles to wipe out large capital gains for tax purposes. For example, an investor who realized a $100,000 capital gain in the stock market might enter into a large straddle in the commodities market. When the commodity price moved, the investor would close the loss leg of the straddle and realize a $100,000 loss, which offset his gain in the stock market. The investor was not required to report the unrealized $100,000 gain in the opposite leg of the straddle until that leg was closed in the following year. Typically, the investor entered into another straddle in the following year, thereby indefinitely rolling over the capital gain into subsequent years.

Another ploy common during that time required the assistance of a friendly broker. An investor could create a straddle using two separate investment accounts with his broker. After the straddle had moved, so that a gain and an offsetting loss had been created, the friendly broker simply wrote in the name of the investor's tax-exempt retirement fund on the account that held the gain leg of the straddle. The result was that a loss was realized that was reported on the investor's tax return, while the gain went unreported in the tax-exempt retirement account.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the IRS began noticing large numbers of individual tax returns that curiously showed commodities losses just big enough to wipe out unrelated capital gains; no corresponding commodities gains, which would suggest a straddle, ever appeared on subsequent returns. Even more curiously, the profile of these investors always had one thing in common, which was limited experience or no prior experience in commodities trading. In the early 1980s, an IRS agent in Chicago thought to look into one taxpayer's retirement fund and, of course, found the hidden gain leg of the straddle.

After that experience, the IRS redoubled its efforts to seek out thousands of missing straddle gains. It found them in retirement accounts, in London, in the Cayman Islands -- almost anywhere a taxpayer thought he might hide them from the IRS. With respect to these thousands of mysterious, isolated commodities transactions that showed up on tax returns, the IRS uncovered some form of questionable trading in virtually 100% of the cases it investigated. Well before the close of the 1980s, the IRS had assessed more than $7 billion in delinquent taxes and penalties attributable to these transactions and eventually settled these cases out of court for approximately $3.5 billion.

While most of the IRS's efforts were directed at finding hidden gains of the ubiquitous straddle, the trading device could just as easily be used to openly transfer gains while hiding the offsetting loss. If someone desired to make an illicit payment to another party, a straddle could be used to accomplish this purpose with no incriminating or suspicious-looking bank withdrawals or deposits. In fact, the IRS found numerous incidents of straddles being used for money-laundering purposes.

Does Mrs. Clinton's trading activity fit the profile of the illegitimate straddle trader? She was a novice in the commodities markets who, against all odds, realized large gains. Although she intermittently realized losses, it does not appear that she ever had to risk her own capital beyond her initial $1,000 deposit, which itself may have been insufficient to cover even her first transaction (which netted her $5,300). According to the trading records released by the White House, most of Mrs. Clinton's gains were recorded as intra-month transactions. This means that these records include no information regarding key elements of the trade, such as the type and quantity of the contracts, acquisition dates, acquisition prices, etc. Such information is needed to determine whether trades were part of a prearranged straddle.

It also appears that Mrs. Clinton's broker, Robert L. "Red" Bone, was no stranger to the spicier practices of commodities trading, according to The Wall Street Journal's front-page article last Friday.

It seems more than coincidental that Mr. Bone was a former employee of Tyson Foods and that Mrs. Clinton's investment adviser, James Blair, was the company's legal counsel. Tyson, the poultry concern, is one of the largest employers in the state of Arkansas. The fact that the Clintons withheld disclosing only those tax returns that included their commodities gains until the transactions were reported by the New York Times in February also appears quite suspicious. From my standpoint as a former government staff attorney with extensive experience in these matters, Mrs. Clinton's windfall in the late 1970s has all the trappings of pre-arranged trades.

How would a straddle have been used in Mrs. Clinton's case? The Journal has already reported that gains theoretically could have been transferred to Mrs. Clinton's account, while "others" may have absorbed losses. Such a transaction could be accomplished with a straddle.

A party desiring to transfer cash to another's personal account for legal or illegal purposes could enter into a straddle in a particularly volatile commodity, such as cattle futures in the late 1970s. After gains and losses were generated in the opposite sides of the straddle, the gain side would be marked to the beneficiary's account, while the loss side would remain in the account of the contributor. The contributor might even be entitled to use the loss to offset other gains. Such a transaction would be not only well-hidden from government authorities but potentially tax-deductible.

No direct evidence of wrongdoing has been produced in the case of Mrs. Clinton's trading activity. In fact, no conclusive evidence of anything has been produced. In order to settle the legitimate questions surrounding her trades, a satisfactory explanation is needed for her apparently low initial margin deposit and whether the requirements relating to an investor's minimum net income and net worth were satisfied. In addition, the details of her numerous intra-month trades should be provided, as well as the details of the trades of persons who may have had a special interest in how well she did. If it is discovered that certain interested parties happened to realize losses in cattle futures at the same time, and they were comparable in size to the gains reported by Mrs. Clinton, this would amount to a "smoking gun."

This is not a matter of partisan politics. Even if the public had never heard of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the circumstances surrounding her unusual good fortune would still appear suspicious to anyone awake to abuses of the commodities markets. In this writer's experience, the normal trading world just doesn't work that way.


Mr. Brandon was a career attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service from 1983 to 1989. During that time he also served as head of that department's Commodity Industry Specialization Team, which was responsible for coordinating and developing the IRS's legal positions on tax issues arising in connection with commodities transactions.

Dow Jones & Company

Document j000000020011029dq470095u

6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz Baraq Obama in several ways on: March 26, 2015, 12:24:28 AM

(Respectfuilly) I strongly, vehemently, take issue with this.  The first 8 of these are either bogus or are not negatives, they served in state government, taught constitutional law, are populists, have eligibility issues(?!), etc.

Read our thread, Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness.  Of all the things wrong with Barack Obama as President, virtually none of it comes from his lack of executive experience or any of these so-called commonalities.  He would be an even worse President if he had more experience prior to taking office, unless he changed his viewpoint.

He is arrogant, snubs his nose at constitutional issues.  He thinks government has all the answers and individuals with their liberties have none of them.  Barack Obama was a pretend constitutional lecturer.  So am I.  wink  Ted Cruz won BIG cases at the US Supreme Court.  Barack Obama wants to transform America away from what made it great.  Ted Cruz wants to focus precisely on what made America great.  That's hardly the same.

Obama's lack of experience didn't stop him from getting things done.  It was the least of his problems.  He got PLENTY of things done.  Just all the wrong things!

On point 9, "both are divisive and intensely disliked by an opposing faction."  That happened to work for Obama.  He IS President.  And so it is no reason to discount Ted Cruz' chances.

Finding similarities like that they both have dark hair and birthdays in December misses the whole point of both these men, IMHO.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interesting Morris analysis on: March 26, 2015, 12:00:16 AM
Interesting, and mostly right, I think.  Morris is a pollster so I presume this is a pretty good poll for this point in time.  That still means + or - 3 or 4% for all of them.  I like that my pick Rubio is being careful not to peak too early, lol.  He keeps getting just enough support to stay relevant.

The Morris bracket framework of quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals fits the Republican path to the Presidency pretty well this time around.  The nomination will most likely be wrapped up about 11 months from now unless it goes to the convention.  That leaves some time but it's not that far off either.

Morris' first test, that you are either for or against frontrunner Jeb Bush is a valid one, except that most people don't really know Jeb yet.  He is more likable and more politically skilled than people think so that number should go up some.  And, as mentioned, he will have the money to do that.

I think Morris reads Rand Paul's support correctly.  His fans already know him.  There are a good number of them.  They won't leave him easily, if ever.  Nor will he gain much as the process unfolds.

Scott Walker perhaps is peaking too early.  Based on the 2012 experience with Newt, Michele Backmann, Hermann Cain and others all having big surges that fizzled, it is easy to think that with the scrutiny of being front and center too early, Walker may eventually stumble.  However, he also is an underestimated politician and we don't know how far he can go. 

Morris wrote:  "Setting aside the poll's stragglers, we have to view the candidacies of Walker,
Rubio, Carson and Cruz as a unit, together getting 33 percent of the vote. Some
voters may prefer one or the other, but their support is, at the moment, likely
interchangeable. The winner of this four-way contest will emerge to challenge Bush
-- and the former Florida governor is vulnerable."

Add Kasich and Jindahl's support to that and that bracket reaches 36%, which could become a winner take all.

Of that group, I still see Rubio as the one emerging to challenge Bush and Paul.  Walker is the successful governor of the group, but now they argue his results are no better than the bordering states.  I will refute that, but can he, and can he hold his own on foreign policy and all kinds of other issues that don't come up as Governor of Wisconsin?  Walker appeared on Hugh Hewitt (radio) today and was questioned hard on foreign policy.  He did surprisingly well and will only get better.  He did have to say a couple of times that I agree with Rubio on that.

Carson is great and I wish he was ready for this but he isn't.  No one can be in that short of a time. 

Cruz is Cruz.  He is great but he has crossed too many people to suddenly become well liked.  This is partly a popularity contest, not just how good would you be if elected.  Ted Cruz didn't shut down the government but he did take the rap for it.  It's supposed to work just the opposite, you build up favors and cash in chips to win the nomination.  A groundswell of hundreds of thousands of conservatives won't push Cruz over the top.  He needs tens of millions.

It's going to be exciting; I hope we pick the right one this time.

Bigdog, if you are out there, I am ready to meet up with you in Iowa. 
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: March 25, 2015, 12:32:23 PM
In addition to our shared doubts about his electability, I would add that apparently his father is a pretty extreme character-- a lot of shiny objects there with which to disrupt Ted's campaign.

True.  Rafael (Sr.) has said things that will distract.
The Six Craziest Quotes From Ted Cruz’s Father, Rafael Cruz  (Mostly from 2012)

1) No one is going to send Obama "back to" Kenya or Indonesia.  That type of hyperbole is a distraction that no one needs. Those of us on the right wouldn't even like his governing ideas to continue in third world countries.  
2) Murder? Reasonable people actually do believe the intentional act of killing a baby who made it out of the mother alive is... well... murder.   President Barack Obama was the only member of the Illinois legislature to not support a bill to provide medical care for newborns who survived failed late-term abortions.  
3) Just like Fidel Castro? Governing by decree, by executive order?   - Check the record!
4)' Gay marriage is a government plot to destroy the family...Socialism requires that government becomes your god.  They have to destroy all loyalties except loyalty to the government'??  - It is not politically helpful to comment on your opponents bad motives.  But yes, breakdown of family was the result of liberal social policies, as warned by extremists on the right.   Dependence on the government is politically helpful to left; belief in God is not.  You don't need to impugn motives when the facts (prior to gay marriage) already make the case.  That said, it is hard to look at the amazing breakdown of marriage and family in response to liberal policies especially since the 1960s and left's ambivalence to all that and not at least ponder the idea that it is intentional.
5) Media: The U.S. has its very own “ministry of misinformation” that governments in communist countries like Cuba employ to spread their messages. That propaganda machine, he said, is the liberal media. “They just tell us what they want us to hear. They are rewriting history…because they have an agenda. And unfortunately the agenda is an evil agenda. It’s an agenda for destroying what this country is all about”.   - This is only slightly over the top.  Don't we have a thread here with 1520 posts and 256015 reads documenting something pretty close to that?  In some ways, the apparent conspiracy of our mainstream media through so many channels is worse than their ministry with one.
6) 'Our enemies control our energy.  Because of Obama’s excessive regulation, the oil industry is stifled...We are buying 40 percent of our oil from our enemies (pre-fracking)…Our enemies control the energy that we use or do not use. And they have the power to shut down the valves and bring us to our knees.'  - Liberals have continuously fought our efforts to produce our own energy.  Enemies don't control all our foreign supplies, but there is a significant element of truth in that concern.  For example, we can't seem to solve the crisis in Ukraine now or the Baltics next because of Russia's willingness to supply them with gas versus our inability or unwillingness based on restraints put on our energy industries by leftist policies here.  Russia, Iran and Venezuela could easily be considered enemies.  Saudi, Libya, etc. arguably so.  Saudi is somewhat of an ally at the moment only because of worse threats in the region.  It only takes a partial shutdown of sources to create havoc in supplies and prices.  We are less vulnerable now despite, not because of, their policies.

[Rand Paul also has a father problem; he has written as recently as this week on the Iraq situation.]

One feather of many in Cruz' cap is the DC v. Heller case, a great decision for individual liberty that was based on the merits of the arguments made by Ted Cruz, who as Solicitor General of Texas wrote the Amicus brief signed by 31 states and was Counsel of Record for the winning side, the US constitution.  In the Elk Grove case, he wrote the U.S. Supreme Court brief on behalf of all 50 states that was successful.  Cruz authored 70 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.

The next President of the United States should appoint Ted Cruz to the US Supreme Court.
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: March 24, 2015, 07:18:00 PM
I'm glad he is in and think he is probably the best of those trying to win the right side of the spectrum.  He is a far better candidate than Huckabee, Santorum or Rick Perry, among others.  I trust his agenda better than I trust Jeb and others.  Pundits are over-using the word "purity".  He is emphasizing something like that, but also points out he will compromise, as Reagan did, if that will gets parts of his agenda started.

Cruz is not my first choice right now because I am not convinced he is the best candidate to unite our side and bring more people over to our side.  (I have written elsewhere who is doing that better.)  The challenge is on Cruz (and all of them) to demonstrate they are up to this challenge.

That said, I like him a lot and will enthusiastically support him if he is the nominee, or the last conservative standing.  He seems to have it right on all the key issues, and is very willing to fight for what is most important.  He is very sharp and could do very well in one on one debates against the big government liberal, if he gets that far.
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / On this day in 1775, "Give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry on: March 23, 2015, 09:28:15 PM
On this day in 1775, 240 years ago, Patrick Henry gave his powerful "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech. In Colonial Williamsburg.
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: March 23, 2015, 05:06:28 PM
Wow! There are big problems in the black community; most of the visible and statistical ones come from black males.  This is what a pack of black females can look like.  I argue strongly that this kind of dysfunctionality comes from a learned culture, and is not race-based.  This is proven to me by how easily a black can opt out and how easily a white or anyone else can opt in.

The observer making comments and opinions happens to be black.  Assuming we all believe in free speech, anyone should be able to make those same comments.  Good luck with that.

Nothing will turn a culture like that around instantly.  The Dems say more money to job training, health care, etc. is the answer.  Maybe a shovel-ready project on the site, lol.  If you are a job trainer, do you want one of these people to be required to attend your class, at taxpayer expense, against their will?  Who would benefit?  No one.  Who would lose out?  Those who really wanted job training.

Paraphrasing the premise of George Gilder's bestselling book "Wealth and Poverty" (1981), you cannot study poverty.  Poverty is by definition the lack of something.  You can't study something that isn't there.  Instead, study wealth (success).  Then when you see poverty, you can look to see what elements of wealth and success are missing.

These people may or may not fit the definition of poverty.  If they are largely part of an inner-city demographic common in other cities, they have all the basics of life paid for, free food, shelter, clothing, schooling, etc.  If they are among the so-called poor in America, then statistically they also have air conditioning, cable tv, smart phones, 2 cars and surround sound video theater.  But to the extent that their main source of income is not earned, they most likely lack other important things, such as self discipline, individual responsibility and a schedule full of priorities and commitments. 

When those things are gone, other things fill the void, like time on their hands with little or no sense of being invested in the community.  This video is what the result of that can look like.
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: March 23, 2015, 01:32:19 PM
Normally I tend to blow off WND as a source; IMHO far too often it bloviates and misleads, but that was an interesting article.

Agree.  Another source:
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons: commodities continued on: March 23, 2015, 12:39:50 PM
Mrs. Clinton traded with Mr. Bone[known crook], the chief broker in 1978 at the Springdale, Ark., offices of Ray E. Friedman & Co., or Refco. In 1981, Mr. Bone was fined $100,000 and barred from trading for three years after an investigation of allegations that he had been allocating winning positions to favored clients.

Crafty: "...I would LOVE to find that article that I remember in the WSJ.  Now thanks to this article here we have a much more narrowly defined time range to define our search.   What I remember of the article was that it appeared on the editorial page and was written by the man who had been the IRS attorney in charge of prosecuting tax frauds manipulating "commodity straddles".  "

My subscription-based searching powers have expired but I will try with library resources when time permits.
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in America, from Minneapolis to ISIS on: March 23, 2015, 12:11:59 PM
From the Muslim prayer room at Normandale Community College to Damascas...
From Minneapolis to ISIS: An American’s Path to Jihad
Minneapolis family worries that son, 20, is headed to Syria

Proud son, sobbing on the phone, but smiling with gun in photo:
[NYT link]

Previously in this thread, 24 Minneapolis al Qaida arrests in one year.
Zacarias Moussaoui, trained and arrested in MN.

Now, Somali unrest in St. Cloud, MN:

Mall of America Heightens Security After al-Shabab Threat

New wave of Islamic immigration planned for U.S.

What could possibly go wrong?
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: March 23, 2015, 11:11:04 AM
The stock market success is NOT based on QE or our easy money policies, we are told, but when the Fed talks of ending the absurdity of zero interest rates, the market falls and when they talk of continuing it even longer, the market continues to rise. 
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: March 23, 2015, 11:05:56 AM
Agreed.   Watch for Hillary come out to secure the Democratic Jewish vote with strong remarks for Israel.

If she doesn't I would be very surprised. 

And I wouldn't count on the Democratic party to lose the liberal Jewish vote either way though.  Maybe they would sit out the election but it seems hard to believe any of them would be willing to vote for a Republican.   To them Repubs are worse than Nazis.  cry

That's right.  No R is going to win the liberal Jewish vote.  But most of my Jewish friends are traditional Democrats, CFOs and small business owners, who are conflicted with what they see happening.  They are successful and see firsthand the policies of attacking success.  Not just federal, but we have some new state taxes here worse than Calif!  They see over a prolonged period that it is Republicans (and Christians) who want to protect the Jewish state of Israel, and it is liberals and Democrats who keep siding with the terrorists who attack Israel and committed to its destruction.  At some point you stop pulling that lever.

Meanwhile, the Dem coalition has Muslims, gays and Jews all playing on the same team.  And they think WE have problems!  Chipping away at the support of core Democrat demographic constituencies is exactly what we need.  If the black vote for Obama at 98% drops to maybe 88% with weaker enthusiasm and if the Dems hold on Jews that already dropped 21% in 8 years ( falls even further, and if gains are made with Hispanics...  trends like that can change the direction of the country.
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary Rodham Clinton, commodities trader extraordinaire (or pathological liar) on: March 23, 2015, 10:43:25 AM
My first search to find Hillary commodity trading scandal background information brought up this thread as a top ten search result!  I've looked through some WSJ material from the 1990s but found neither the article Crafty referenced nor the editorial that I remember.  One interesting point at the start is that it was the NYT that first brought forward the story.  Her earliest explanation was that she got her information from the WSJ.  In response, the editors said we're flattered but no, it doesn't work that way.

In fact, the odds of doing what she did without cheating the system are one in 31 trillion against her, best case.  Assuming that the return is made in the most efficient way possible, this probability falls to approximately 1.5×10−16.
As the joke goes, so you're sayin' I got a shot!

What really was going on?

The person feeding her information and hand placing her trades with hindsight was chief counsel to one of the state's most powerful companies as her husband was Attorney General and leading candidate for Governor.  In crony corruption language, quid pro quo is the exchange of goods or services where one transfer is contingent upon the other.  "During Mr. Clinton's tenure as Governor, Tyson benefited from several state decisions, including favorable environmental rulings, $9 million in state loans, and the placement of company executives on important state boards."  (

Politico, March 10, 2015
A few days after Hubbell’s resignation [Hillary's law partner who plead guilty for bilking clients], the New York Times ran a lengthy story about Hillary’s commodity trades. Her aides and lawyers had finally provided financial records to the Times, but only after the newspaper made clear that it was preparing to publish a detailed account of her trading profits.

Initially, senior aides to the Clintons said in March 1994 that Hillary “based her trades on information in the Wall Street Journal.” That explanation was subsequently dropped. An aide to Hillary then said she had withdrawn from the market in the fall of 1979 because she had found trading too nerve-racking in the final months of her pregnancy. But another White House aide quickly declared that excuse “inoperative” after it was disclosed in April 1994 that Hillary made $6,500 in a commodities-trading venture in 1980 but failed to report that profit to the IRS.

Shortly after that, Hillary took responsibility—in her standard combination of singular acknowledgment and plural blame—for her aides’ confusing answers to reporters, saying they stemmed from her being away, working on other issues. “I probably did not spend enough time, get as precise,” she explained, “so I think that the confusion was our responsibility.”

[No criminal investigation was made because the statute of limitations had long expired before the tax returns were made available.]

They note the similarity to the private email scandal press conference and a similar one in 1994:

By mid-April [1994], Hillary’s approval ratings had dropped from 56 percent the year before to 44 percent, a historically low mark for a First Lady. Aides knew that Hillary’s stubborn reluctance to speak with the press was one of the sources of the public’s displeasure with her. For weeks, her aides and friends had urged her to con- front the negative reports and innuendos in an open, candid way. It was one thing to stay in the background, but by not providing Americans with an example different from her initially off-putting public appearance, she was leaving it to her political enemies to define her.
In late April, Hillary told her chief of staff, Maggie Williams, “I want to do it. Let’s call a press conference.”
“You know you’ll have to answer all questions, no matter what they throw at you,” Williams responded.
“I know. I’m ready.”

18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Senate Floor speech, Marco Rubio: Obama's assault on Israel on: March 23, 2015, 08:54:45 AM

Israel should have this friend in the White House. 
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: Government Policies Killed the Two Parent Family on: March 19, 2015, 10:09:46 AM
This liberal article goes halfway to the truth of causation, IMHO.

"Yes, Culture Helped Kill the Two-Parent Family. And Liberals Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Admit It."

They suggest more liberal policies as the solution. 

Causation is a little more simple than this deep article suggests.  Government took over the role of the husband and father.  And would like to take over the role of the mother too!

The solution, in law of holes - when you realize you are in one, is generally to stop digging.
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, George Will on Ohio Gov. John Kasich on: March 19, 2015, 09:52:03 AM
We have kind of ignored John Kasich here.  However, he is a two term Governor of a major state and also with big-time Washington experience, especially on the budget. 

Kasich isn't going to go out and compete with Jeb Bush and others for the big donors, but he is sitting there in Columbus with all his ideas, ready to serve.

He is not my first choice, but could be a very acceptable choice.  Goes to show what a deep bench this is for just one side.

Read George Will today:
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: March 19, 2015, 09:49:50 AM
I believe Crafty wrote early on that his first political endeavor should not be running for President.
And this, "Carson may make a very appealing VP candidate."

On the previous post, I find him to be on the right side of the net neutrality fight, but not extremely persuasive.

Now this, right after my post predicting Hugh Hewitt would bring down a few of our own.
 Ben Carson Forgets Baltic States Are in NATO, Dates Islam to Before Christ in Flubbed Foreign Policy Interview March 18, 2015 7:35 PM

Neurosurgeon and prospective Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson stumbled on key foreign policy questions during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, appearing to not realize the Baltic States are members of NATO and dating the founding of Islam to well before the birth of Christ. “I don’t do ‘ambush’ interviews,” Hewitt began, first asking Carson if he felt prepared to tackle some questions on foreign affairs. The neurosurgeon seemed keen, but quickly got into trouble. When asked about the origins of the rage felt by Islamic fundamentalists against the West, Carson said “You have to recognize that they go back thousands and thousands of years — really back to the battle between Jacob and Esau.” “Dr. Carson,” Hewitt said, “you know, Mohammed lives in 632 A.D. So it’s a 13, a 1,400-year-old religion. How do you go back to Jacob and Esau, which is B.C.?” “I’m just saying that the conflict has been ongoing for thousands of years,” Carson replied haltingly. “This is not anything new, is what I’m saying.” “So it’s not specific to the Islamic faith, or to the Salafist offshoot of the Islamic faith?” Hewitt pressed. “Well the Islamic faith emanated from Esau,” Carson said. Biblical tradition claims that Esau is one of the sons of Isaac and the ancestor of all Arabs — but even with that understanding, he was born thousands of years before Islam was first founded. Carson also said he believes that, despite being locked in a brutal regional war, Sunni and Shi’a Islamic radicals could “unite” against the United States. It was an assertion Hewitt called “unique,” and one that many foreign policy experts would likely dismiss entirely. Hewitt later turned to the threat of Vladmir Putin, asked the doctor how to best combat an aggressive and expansionist Russia — particularly in the vulnerable Baltic States. “We need to convince them to get involved in NATO, and strengthen NATO,” he said. “Well, the Balts, they are in NATO,” Hewitt said. “When you were saying ‘Baltic states,’ I thought you were continuing our conversation about the former components of the Soviet Union,” Carson tried to explain. “Obviously they are only three Baltic states.” “Yeah, and they’re all part of NATO,” Hewitt said, adding that he was concerned that the same questions that tripped up Sarah Palin in 2008 could trip up Ben Carson in 2016. “How are you going to navigate that?” Hewitt asked. “Have you been doing geopolitics? Do you read this stuff? Do you immerse yourself in it?” “I’ve, uh, read a lot in the last six months,” Carson chuckled. “There’s a lot of stuff to learn, there’s no question about that.”
Still, I would like to see him on the debate stage, along with Carly F and all the boring white guys.
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krugman's fatal conceit, 'Austerity' didn't stop (plowhorse) growth on: March 19, 2015, 09:34:32 AM
Also file under cognitive dissonance of the left.  Somehow, cutting deficit spending from over a trillion every year to mere hundreds of billions per year is defined as "austerity" in this argument, but liberal economic icon Paul Krugman was wrong nonetheless.  Two charts make his point. (Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review) Please read the rest at the link:
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Black Lives Matter?? Depends on the issue!! on: March 19, 2015, 09:18:33 AM
First, stipulate this:  black lives matter, yes they do!

File this also under cognitive dissonance of the left.

Somehow the mantra 'black lives matter' cannot be extrapolated into the larger truth, 'all lives matter'.

Why not?  I don't know, but let's stick with black lives mattering for this brief post.

The death penalty is unfair because it has been dealt disproportionately to blacks.  Guilt is not the issue.

Ferguson and other police departments arrest blacks disproportionately.  This is wrong, unfair and racist no matter of guilt.

Darren Wilson is a white cop who killed an unarmed black teenager.  This is wrong and racist no matter the facts or 200 years of law and precedent that govern justified homocide, such as SELF DEFENSE.

Now switch issues.  Black babies are aborted in America at FIVE TIMES the rate of white babies.  Aborted, killed, terminated, had their young life stopped short, however you want to put it.  This is NO PROBLEM.  In fact, more is better!  Liberal politicians are up in arms when tricked into supporting legislation that would at all minimize this racial disparity.  Go figure.

Twice as many blacks are killed by abortion as by all other causes of death combined, including old age. No race issue here.  Now back to police being too tough on street criminals.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bill and Hillary made nearly $20M from UAE on: March 18, 2015, 10:56:09 PM

It's hard to fathom the scale of the Clinton misdeeds, but remember the other William Jefferson - the Louisiana Congressman who got caught with $90,000 CASH in his freezer.  It is quite a vivid kickback that people can visualize and remember.  This allegation is to line up 222 of those stocked freezers throughout the Clinton household when the Feds come in to search.  Instead of sneaking in, it is done by wire transfer right under the Feds' watch.

Maybe the new Attorney General will open an investigation.  Lol.
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel election, Netanyahu on: March 18, 2015, 10:24:45 AM
Over here we wonder how this election could have even been close.

(WSJ)  "During the campaign, Mr. Herzog accused the prime minister of neglecting Israel’s economy."

This accusation resonated.  We have seen the success of the Israeli economy but lately there are serious complaints of very high cost of living, over-regulation, and other problems.  Netanyahu reportedly neglected domestic issues with his focus on security threats.  His opponents would address these problems with the wrong solutions.  Now that he won, I hope he will do as America should do, energize the free economy at home, as the right thing to do AND as an essential component of any national security strategy.
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons' email, Jack Lew can't remember on: March 17, 2015, 11:24:41 PM
Secretary of the Treasury isn't really a position of slouch.  The position, high in the order of succession to the Presidency, was held by many distinguished Americans including Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Mellon, George Schultz.  Now enter Jack Lew of the most transparent administration.  Did he notice Hillary used an email address not of the variety.  He was, after all, Undersecretary of State reporting to her.  He isn't able to even say the words, I don't recall.


One other point on Clinton emails.  The system was set up by "President Clinton", is guarded 24/7 by Secret Service, is used presumably to take care of his official duties as former President among other things.  If so, then most likely it was paid for in full or in part with federal dollars, which makes it a public asset subject to oversight by Congress.  No?

27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Washington Post's David Ignatius, not certain she's going to be a candidate on: March 17, 2015, 04:15:07 PM
One more liberal pundit, Washington Post's David Ignatius,  "I'm still not certain she's going to be a candidate."

Me neither.   wink
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: March 17, 2015, 03:46:44 PM
Washngton Post, The Fix:
Nobody can match Marco Rubio’s upside
Although Rubio hasn't been at the top of GOP primary polls for many months, the new poll shows he's the guy most Republicans could see themselves voting for.
More at the link:

And a BIG negative story yesterday on Rubio at Politico - contains nothing that wasn't vetted in 2010 and nothing in it comes close to landing a punch.  It could even be Rubio people making sure this story is forever old news.
Marco Rubio’s house of horrors
A Tallahassee home co-owned by a scandal-plagued ex-congressman is the locus of questions about the senator’s finances and judgment.
By Marc Caputo  3/16/15

The friend's money problems had to do with the lobby expanding gambling in Florida and Rubio opposed that.  He paid the bills when the friend didn't.  Used his RNC credit cards a couple of times and reimbursed them. 

His tenant at the "House of Horrors":

The tenant declined to speak with POLITICO, but she said in a written statement that Rubio and his wife “have been very gracious and understanding of my circumstances.” She called them “extraordinary landlords” and expressed her “deep appreciation … for all that you’ve done.”

Try getting a tenant to give their landlord a great reference.  It's not that easy!

29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: March 17, 2015, 03:24:34 PM

I enjoyed it too.  I have been wondering about the credibility of Blood Feud author Ed Klein, once of Newsweek and referenced by Dick Morris.  Here he was ripped pretty badly for accuracy and sourcing by liberal radio on his 2005 Hillary book.  They are a little unfair to him, but mostly make the point he is willing to just repeat juicy things, unverified, to make a buck.

False but true, the overall point stands; there is a divide between the Clinton and Obama camps and it will get worse when she has to define how she is different.
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: VDH: Hillary campaign slogan will not be "more of the same"? on: March 17, 2015, 02:26:08 PM
Victor Davis Hanson: "...Clinton will not run in 2016 on the slogan of continuing the hope-and-change policies of Barack Obama.

That's right.  They're having trouble coming up with a winning theme. 

Previously, here:  "...[lack of] excitement of kicking off a campaign theme called 'more of the same'.
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2016 Presidential - 21 Democrats who could maybe take Hillary Clinton's place on: March 17, 2015, 02:10:58 PM
This list doesn't add much to what is already posted in this thread.  Hard to take serious anyone listed behind Bernie Sanders, Terry McAuliffe, and others.  But who knows?
Here, in roughly ascending order of feasibility, are 21 prominent or semi-prominent Democrats who could step up for a 2016 presidential run:

Dannel Malloy
Malloy was supposed to be headed for a tough 2014 re-election race for governor of Connecticut, but he ended up winning easily. A spokesman said he was not interested in the Oval Office — but also indicated the Washington Examiner is not the first publication to ask. "As the Governor has said repeatedly, he loves his current job as Governor of Connecticut and has no interest in running for President," Malloy's office said. "He believes that should Secretary Clinton become a candidate for President, she has the outstanding credentials, experience and record to be a very strong candidate."

Tom Udall
The son of a Kennedy-era secretary of the interior and nephew of a powerful Arizona congressman, Udall won a senate seat in New Mexico in 2009. He brings no youth at age 66, but he hails from American royalty. Udalls have had starring political roles in the American Southwest for more than a century. Is it time for a President Udall? Udall declined to comment.

Bernie Sanders
Vermont's junior senator is the most prominent (out of the closet) socialist in American politics, a status that makes him a favorite with reporters (because he gives good copy) and the Democratic base (because he's a socialist). Strangely, the usually forthright and garrulous Sanders has turned coy about his previous 2016 talk. Sanders told Politico Friday he was not eager to run "a poor campaign" that was "not well funded," adding that he had not raised much money. The 73-year-old did not respond to Examiner requests for comment.

Jay Nixon
For better or worse, the Ferguson riots made the governor of Missouri a national figure, and he declined to give a flat "No" when Politico asked him about being a potential Hillary replacement in February — before the email story broke. Nixon did not respond to requests for comment.

Bill Nelson
At 72 years young, the senior senator from Florida is a reliable liberal who occasionally finds common ground with Republicans on defense and intelligence votes. He would also be America's first spaceman president, having traveled into the vacuum as a payload specialist on space shuttle Columbia in 1986. A Nelson spokesman told the Examiner his 2016 answer "is a no."

Martin Heinrich
That New Mexico boasts two Democratic senators is a rare success story for the party. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 3-to-2 ratio in the Land of Enchantment, Democrat hold large majorities in both chambers of the state house, and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez runs moderate to liberal on the GOP spectrum. Nevertheless, Heinrich — though he toes the party line on abortion and environmentalism — is careful to shore up conservative appeal. While he now supports gay marriage, the epiphany that brought his deeply held beliefs into compliance with Democratic Party norms came very late — in 2012 — and only when a primary opponent attempted to flank him on the issue. He opposes the federal "assault weapons" ban. He is just about as handsome and untested as Barack Obama was in 2008. Heinrich declined to comment.

Tom Wolf
A one-time forklift operator with a Ph.D., Wolf successfully ran his family's York-based building materials company for 30 years, before spending a generous chunk of his fortune on a successful 2014 campaign for governor of Pennsylvania. He has assumed office at a time when the Keystone State has nowhere to go but up. GDP growth was anemic under Republican predecessor Tom Corbett, and the city of Chester boasts the second-highest violent crime rate in the country. None of that may add up to a presidential profile for the 66-year-old, but Democrats could use a candidate who has not spent his life seeking one political office after another. Wolf did not comment.

Steve Beshear
Governor of Kentucky since 2007, Beshear has followed a familiar economic-management pattern, with predictable results: A scheme to lure manufacturing of environmentally correct Zap cars went nowhere, as have his efforts to get the Bluegrass State a bigger share of the declining casino gambling business. Kentucky has nevertheless enjoyed reasonable prosperity during his administration, and with two of the Republican Party's most prominent senators, it's the kind of state Democrats need to know how to win. Beshear will be 71 next year, and while fans frequently propose him as a prospective Hillary Clinton running mate, he declined to comment for this article.

Al Gore
What Democrat can ever forget that Al Gore beat George W. Bush in the popular vote in 2000? Like many folks on this list, the two-term vice president is of a certain age. But he has not been idle in his 66 years, having amassed a fortune estimated at $200 million. Various media have quoted anonymous sources saying Gore — whose work history includes honorable service in Vietnam and employment as a journalist, senator and knockabout presidential candidate even before environmentalism made him a Nobel laureate – is interested in a 2016 run. Gore did not respond to requests for comment.

Amy Klobuchar
The senior senator from Minnesota can't quite boast of having appeal in a battleground state: Her colleague Al Franken, also on the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party ticket, snoozed his way to re-election last November. A Republican wave across the great lakes region has failed to reach the Gopher State, where the DFL still holds the governor's office and one house of the legislative branch. Which means at this point, big labor may need a Minnesotan, and Klobuchar does her part, most recently lamenting U.S. Steel's decision to close a major plant by noting that she's in contact with Local 2660 about the matter. She declined to comment and remains an outside bet at best.

Joe Manchin
If the Democrats are interested in again finding the center of American politics, they could ask West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin the way. Republicans have repeatedly tried to lure him to switch parties. Crucially, he is untainted by Obamacare, having come into office after the Affordable Care Act was enacted, and he is generally pro-gun and pro-coal. Although he'd be running from the Senate, Manchin has executive experience as governor of West Virginia. So far he has made no 2016 moves. Nor has he ruled out the possibility of a run. "I'm not serious about running," Manchin told a West Virginia CBS affiliate. "On a national ticket, it would be a pretty far reach probably for me."

John Hickenlooper
The governor of Colorado could put together a coalition of labor, hipsters and louche libertarians. A secession movement during Hickenlooper's administration went nowhere. A concentrated backlash against his extremely broad gun control law cost several Centennial State Democrats their jobs, but Hickenlooper is still around. He declined to comment.

Rahm Emanuel
Emanuel combines the vices of Andrew Cuomo (unions hate him) and Terry McAuliffe (clinging Clinton odor). On the plus side, Chicago's GDP has grown 10.5 percent since he assumed office, and despite widely reported murder spikes, the city's violent crime rate has declined on his watch, according to a database of violent crime statistics from all law enforcement agencies in cities with populations more than 25,000. Wealth in Chicago is highly concentrated, and Emanuel is highly connected there and in Los Angeles. He declined to comment to the Examiner.

Cory Booker
Booker's passion for retail politics gave him a national profile even before he became mayor of Newark, N.J., in 2006 (the 2005 documentary "Street Fight" details his first, unsuccessful attempt to beat the Sharpe James machine). He ran the Brick City with a penchant for colorful — usually unverifiable — tales of hands-on constituent service. Since joining the Senate in 2013, Booker has more than once found common ground with likely Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky. He declined to comment on the 2016 election.

Jerry Brown
A fixture of California politics since the time of Zorro, Jerry Brown will be 77 next year. But he is an American original whose idiosyncratic career includes a serious challenge to candidate Bill Clinton in the 1992 primary (Brown ran on a flat-tax platform) and a lifelong desire to become president. Now in the second term of his second tenure as California governor, Brown has arguably been a more conservative executive than his Republican predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's also remarkably popular, though claims of a broad California recovery don't bear scrutiny. But he says he's no longer eyeing the Oval Office. "Running against Hillary is like running against Jerry Brown in California," Brown told the Washington Post Friday. "In the Democratic Party, it's not going to happen."

Terry McAuliffe
A gleefully political animal, the current governor of Virginia had the good fortune of following Republican Bob McDonnell, whose recent conviction on corruption charges softens McAuliffe's own reputation for pushing the limits (of good taste if not political ethics). McAuliffe is a longtime Clinton crony, but intriguingly, he said last year he has no intention of helping her campaign. "I've done that," McAuliffe told Richmond's NBC affiliate. "It's been a great part of my life, but to be honest with you, I'm past the politics, I'm now into governing."

Andrew Cuomo
Cuomo wouldn't comment to the Examiner about his presidential thoughts, but he is one of the Democratic Party's most effective fundraisers, and he's the governor of the not-inconsiderable state of New York. The Empire State's dire finances sometimes put him at odds with the labor unions essential to all Democrats. Idealistic leftists — who will be crucial in the primaries — have no passion for him. Last year unnamed Cuomo associates told the New York Post the son of Mario Cuomo is keeping his powder dry for 2020.

Jim Webb
Webb has one of the most impressive résumés in America: Vietnam veteran with a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts; Reagan administration secretary of the Navy; Emmy-winning journalist; inspired author of both fiction and non-fiction; and former Virginia senator who chose to leave office after one term. He told Politico last year he could run a "first-class campaign" reminiscent of his upset over Republican Sen. George Allen. Webb is a Jacksonian Democrat, a type of populism with potentially broader appeal than Warren's professorial jabs at inequality. That could also be his Achilles heel: The Democratic base has moved steadily leftward, and Webb's Scots-Irish candor and emotional patriotism make him a tough sell in the primaries.

Martin O'Malley
O'Malley completed two terms as Maryland governor this year, and his legacy is mixed at best. In a very surprising upset, Old Line State voters elected a Republican over his chosen successor, and painful memories of his "rain tax" and other schemes linger. But he is on record as wanting to run, and "Vote for M.O'M" is a campaign slogan that writes itself. On MSNBC this week he criticized Clinton over the email scandal and said he would decide this spring whether to run.

Joe Biden
The vice president is one of a handful of Democrats who have expressed verbal interest in running for president next year. "There's a chance, but I haven't made my mind up about that," he told ABC in January. "We've got a lot of work to do between now and then. There's plenty of time." Biden is hamstrung by his age, a strong habit of putting his foot in his mouth, and an even stronger habit of putting his hands on uncomfortable-looking women during photo ops. But he is the Democrats' sort-of-lovable uncle, and his current job is a natural — though far from guaranteed — springboard to a presidential run.

Elizabeth Warren
The freshman senator from Massachusetts provided much of the intellectual firepower for Obama-era innovations like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. More than any other potential candidate (Clinton included), she speaks to the hard economic Left that provides most of the party's grassroots energy these days. When Democrats look in their hearts, it's Elizabeth Warren they see. Warren repeatedly disclaims any interest in a 2016 run, a stance she has maintained through Clinton's current troubles and repeated when asked by the Examiner.
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Glenn Beck tells NRA: "It's Grover Norquist or Me." on: March 17, 2015, 12:30:42 PM
It would seem that our Obj had this right (about Grover Norquist) all along.  His no new taxes pledge isn't really advancing that cause anymore either.  Dems use it against us and Rs raise 'fees' instead of taxes. 
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Clinton Rumors (Who is your daddy?) snopes and politics on: March 17, 2015, 12:24:58 PM

+ 3) Valerie Jarrett leaked the HRC Clinton email info.

1)  Yes, the cute, blonde 16 year old looks like Bill, sounds totally possible and at least a little bit credible if a court is at least willing to hear the arguments (but they aren't).  A DNA test is either ordered or agreed to, paternity or not is determined quickly.  If this was true, then what happens?  Hillary is the victim which is how she broke out of the doldrums in the first place.  The new girl becomes a star.  Bill takes responsibility and lectures us about how we all need to do that, year of the woman, etc.  In other words, this would not be a political winner if true. In any case, that story disappeared from that link and SNopes says "fiction".  We need to be careful what we spread...

2)  Yes, if these photos are actual, she is a spitting image of Webb.  But...  it can't be proven, they'll never admit to it, it's totally off-limits politically, and it doesn't amount to anything even if true.  If Arkansas is at all like state law here, the married husband is the legal father of the child no matter the actual DNA. Hillary would be seen as justified, plus Chelsea is 35 now, and a mother.  It can only turn back on the meddling accusers.

3)  Yes, someone like Jarrett and the Obama machine might be one source of some of Hillary's problems.  The author of 'Blood Feud' is just as credible as either the Clintons or the Obamas, which is not saying much.  Again, it won't be admitted to or proven.  NYT isn't giving up sources.  The two camps are bound to split apart if they haven't already.  But our interest IMHO is to paint them both with the same political brush, just as Obama in 2008 was always running against George Bush.

It is important that we defeat these people directly on their failed political ideology, and not get tempted with all the shiny objects that come floating by, Obama's birth certificate and these stories, etc.  Distractions don't change these facts: we are badly over-taxed, over-regulated and are in the process of letting our constitution, sovereignty, national security, fiscal integrity, monetary system, work ethic and culture go to hell if we don't change course pretty soon.
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Valerie Jarret did it?!? on: March 16, 2015, 03:48:33 PM

White House non-denial denial:
... he answered with just two words: “Utter baloney.”
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / National Journal on Hugh Hewitt on: March 13, 2015, 10:19:51 AM
Along with John Hinderaker of Powerline who has done local radio here, I find Hugh Hewitt to be a conservative on radio who is thoughtful and persuasive without the flame throwing that I think turns centrists and undecideds away from conservative talk and comment.  Lately he has been getting all the best guests, often first, stumping Jeb Bush on naval capabilities and posing very tough questions about Obama to David Axelrod, for examples.

Real Clear Politics entitles their link to the piece today, the "GOP Establishment's Go-To Pundit".

"He is tough but fair, as they say,"
"he's an intellectual's ideologue"
He puts out full transcripts because "you don't want the media to filter for you what [the guest] said."
...named Hewitt as the first conservative figure who will get to ask questions of the candidates.  His selection was widely praised, inside the party and out. ...predicted that Hewitt "is probably the most likely to ask a debate question that knocks a candidate out of the race."

[Reince] Priebus wasn't stingy with his praise. "He's a star on talk radio and a star in the conservative media circles and someone who I think is reasonable but tough," he told me. "And I think he's very well respected no matter where you fit in in our party."
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krauthammer, Early Onset Clinton Fatigue. Conceal and control, not convenience. on: March 13, 2015, 09:58:57 AM
First, Chris Wallace this morning on radio called the move to keep (incriminating) emails on a private server a "genius", "politically genius" (meaning evil genius) move.  She served on the Watergate committee and learned from Nixon's mistakes.  Nixon could have destroyed his own incriminating evidence and didn't.  She faces about a month-long uproar now, a year and a half before the election, but then nothing jumps out later to take her down. 

I disagree.  This has lasting hurt.  She isn't as smart as she thinks she is or as smooth an operator as her slippery husband.  If she thought she was protected, she may have been sloppy with what shouldn't have been put in writing.  Those emails and other skeletons will come back to haunt her. 

Famous people caught reading the forum (?), or in this case can we humbly say great minds think alike.  Charles Krauthammer writes with great clarity the same points all of us are making about the HRC email scandal:

Early Onset Clinton Fatigue

By Charles Krauthammer Opinion writer, Washington Post (today)

She burned the tapes.

Had Richard Nixon burned his tapes, he would have survived Watergate. Sure, there would have been a major firestorm, but no smoking gun. Hillary Rodham was a young staffer on the House Judiciary Committee investigating Nixon. She saw. She learned.

Today you don’t burn tapes. You delete e-mails. Hillary Clinton deleted 30,000, dismissing their destruction with the brilliantly casual: “I didn’t see any reason to keep them.” After all, they were private and personal, she assured everyone.

How do we know that? She says so. Were, say, Clinton Foundation contributions considered personal? No one asked. It’s unlikely we’ll ever know. We have to trust her.

That’s not easy. Not just because of her history — William Safire wrote in 1996 that “Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our first lady . . . is a congenital liar” — but because of what she said in her emergency news conference on Tuesday. Among the things she listed as private were “personal communications from my husband and me.” Except that, as the Wall Street Journal reported the very same day, Bill Clinton’s spokesman said the former president has sent exactly two e-mails in his life, one to John Glenn, the other to U.S. troops in the Adriatic.

Mrs. Clinton’s other major declaration was that the server containing the e-mails — owned, controlled and housed by her — “will remain private.” Meaning: No one will get near them.

This she learned not from Watergate but from Whitewater. Her husband acquiesced to the appointment of a Whitewater special prosecutor. Hillary objected strenuously. Her fear was that once someone is empowered to search, the searcher can roam freely. In the Clintons’ case, it led to impeachment because when the Lewinsky scandal broke, the special prosecutor added that to his portfolio.

Hillary was determined never to permit another open-ended investigation. Which is why she decided even before being confirmed as secretary of state that only she would control her e-mail.

Her pretense for keeping just a single private e-mail account was “convenience.” She doesn’t like to carry around two devices.

But two weeks ago she said she now carries two phones and a total of four devices. Moreover, it takes about a minute to create two accounts on one device. Ray LaHood, while transportation secretary, did exactly that.

Her answers are farcical. Everyone knows she kept the e-mail private for purposes of concealment and, above all, control. For other State Department employees, their e-mails belong to the government. The records officers decide to return to you what’s personal. For Hillary Clinton, she decides.

The point of regulations is to ensure government transparency. The point of owning the server is to ensure opacity. Because she holds the e-mails, all document requests by Congress, by subpoena, by Freedom of Information Act inquiries have ultimately to go through her lawyers, who will stonewall until the end of time — or Election Day 2016, whichever comes first.

It’s a smart political calculation. Taking a few weeks of heat now — it’s only March 2015 — is far less risky than being blown up by some future e-mail discovery. Moreover, around April 1, the Clinton apologists will begin dismissing the whole story as “old news.”

But even if nothing further is found, the damage is done. After all, what is Hillary running on? Her experience and record, say her supporters.

What record? She’s had three major jobs. Secretary of state: Can you name a single achievement in four years? U.S. senator: Can you name a single achievement in eight years? First lady: her one achievement in eight years? Hillarycare, a shipwreck.

In reality, Hillary Clinton is running on two things: gender and name. Gender is not to be underestimated. It will make her the Democratic nominee. The name is equally valuable. It evokes the warm memory of the golden 1990s, a decade of peace and prosperity during our holiday from history.

Now breaking through, however, is a stark reminder of the underside of that Clinton decade: the chicanery, the sleaze, the dodging, the parsing, the wordplay. It’s a dual legacy that Hillary Clinton cannot escape and that will be a permanent drag on her candidacy.

You can feel it. It’s a recurrence of an old ailment. It was bound to set in, but not this soon. What you’re feeling now is Early Onset Clinton Fatigue. The CDC is recommending elaborate precautions. Forget it. The only known cure is Elizabeth Warren.


Peggy Noonan says she looks tired, not hungry.  On the other issue no one else will mention, I have wondered if Hillary's occasional disappearances had anything to do with so-called plastic surgery facial work being done.  Maybe that sounds sexist to ask, but it was fair for the media to ask Reagan if he colored his hair and use his denial as proof of dishonesty.  Below is the photo that ran with the Krauthammer column.  If she had work done, I think we can all agree it wasn't successful.  (Nothing personal against her, I am removing mirrors from my own home as aging sets in.)  Besides sexist, this sounds trivial, but a woman's aversion to photos like this being published, criticisms like this, and the efforts with makeup etc it takes to fight this might become the last straw as to why she doesn't run.

37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: March 13, 2015, 09:18:32 AM
People are going to want someone of whom they have already heard, and who the hell is O'Malley?

Not only is she a woman, but Warren is the darling of the Dem-Progressive base.  They will work hard for her.

I miss the good old days when admitting you're a militant, far left, extremist meant you couldn't get elected to national office.

Crafty doesn't think O'Malley's story about the Maryland Miracle, with unemployment 50% above the national average, will fly?

Speaking of NE Liberal Governors with unemployment rates higher than the national average, what about Patrick Deval and Andrew Cuomo?

We should hope the more known, flawed, Democratic candidate, Hillary Problem Clinton is the nominee.
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness/Jarrett and Warren on: March 12, 2015, 02:20:32 PM
Note: This story is old - from August 2014.  Jarrett and Warren have plenty of reasons to talk and no one knows the content of these talks.  But since these people aren't transparent, we only have conjecture to figure it out.  )  Jarrett is telling Warren to stay ready for when the President gives her the green light to run.  (I fear Warren more than Hillary, FWIW.)

New York Times best-selling author and long-time journalist Ed Klein said that Valerie Jarrett has been engaging in secret meetings with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in recent months, giving rise to speculations that the Massachusetts political newcomer is actually the administration’s choice to head the White House in 2016.

“President Obama has authorized Valerie Jarrett, his most important political adviser, to hold secret meetings with Elizabeth Warren to encourage her to challenge Hillary Clinton because the Obamas do not want to see the Clintons succeed them in the White House,” Mr. Klein said.  He believes the stories he’s heard from sources about the meetings are “absolutely true,” Newsmax reported.   Mr. Klein said the feud between the Obamas and Clintons — which he details in depth in his recently released “Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas” — has been largely ignored, despite its “deep and gut-wrenching” aspects.

“[Clinton] is looking quite vulnerable” for 2016, he said... Ms. Warren is being pushed by a handful of high-ranking politicians to run for president in 2016, including the “Kennedys and a lot of people on the left wing of the Democratic Party,” Mr. Klein said. “And Elizabeth Warren really gets that left wing base of the party excited, where Hillary does not.”
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: March 12, 2015, 02:09:10 PM
Good work covering this!  

"Who gave the money is one question.  Who got the money is another question."

This points out that is what the foundation is all about - moving money, power and influence around the globe.  If you or I set up a family foundation, no money would move; we don't have power or influence  But when the Clintons do it, billions move.  Why?  As Rich Lowry pointed out, not because donors don't know about the Reds Cross.  You give to Clintons to buy influence - with Clintons.  The Clintons chooses who receives based on what advances their mostly corrupt interests.  Follow the money on both sides!

Nothing classified was sent.  But was anything classified received?  If there is no issue with security, why all the bragging about secret service guarding the service?  What experience do armed guards outside the house have with security breaches over the internet?  What a joke.

She did this for "convenience" reasons.  NO, she did this to not let anyone see what she doesn't want us to see, namely her corrupt entanglement of personal interests and government influence.  She knew she would have to stand up some day and tell these lies to the camera with a straight face.  Whatever corruption she planned made all of this worth it to her.

She didn't know when she set this up that there would be a Benghazi scandal and investigation.  She didn't know 'mainstream' 'journalists' and some Democrats would stand up against her.  It's got to remind her of 2008 when the tide shifted against her without anything else really going wrong.

Keeping your secret life secret is great, but then don't choose to work in "public service" in "the most transparent administration ever".  There are plenty more shoes still to drop.  She knows what some of them, but other troubles will come from Bill having his own unscrutinized private life.  She knows she can do this routine over and over.  Ignore facts for a while, answer them by standing there and not answering, then let time pass and say that is all old news.  

But is this what she wants to be doing?  The private life of retirement, making speeches, writing books, running a foundation and disappearing off the public stage for months at a time is quite easy, powerful and profitable, without all this scrutiny.  Weigh that against the excitement of kicking off a campaign theme that will be called 'more of the same'.  Getting her name in the record books forever as first female President is pretty exciting, but she knows somewhere down deep that the voters turned against her last time.  

She faces an easy choice.  Run and lose, or step aside gracefully.
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Clinton fatigue: Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: March 10, 2015, 11:00:13 AM
Welcome back to the Clinton baggage years.

Clinton's problem is based on right wing talking points?  Again?  Still?

Even Carville's main point is that it's never going to change and predicts a bigger scandal coming.  I predict that also.  People like this have more problems out there than we know.  Even MSNBC thinks HRC broke an important promise - to not take foreign money into the foundation while serving as Secretary of State.  What say she about THAT?!

Rich Lowry pegs the Clinton contribution scandal.  "There is a reason that so many of Hillary’s political donors also give to the family foundation, and it’s not because they have never heard of the Red Cross."  (It is to buy favor.)

Why did Obama knowingly tolerate her personal email use?

Why do the defenders think she did nothing wrong or illegal?  The laws cited don't apply to her?  Why not?  It just took us years to find Lois Lerner emails.  Bad timing for Hillary that people are sick of all the dodging.  She is going to stall this off past the election?  And win?  Like Obama did with an election coming 2 months after Benghazi.  I don't think that will fly here.  Carville gives us every reason to move on past Hillary.  Is there really no one with ANY integrity they can put forward?

Why don't we trust Hillary to cherry pick her own emails and tell us which ones are relevant?  Either committees have access to her body of work or they don't.  Either there is oversight or there isn't.  She took an oath and claimed to be a public servant, not a private plotter.  Either Dems promised greater transparency or they didn't.  I know we are sick of the Clintons, and distrustful of them.  When will the left admit they are sick of them and distrustful of them too?  Dems jumped at the first sign of a credible alternative in 2008.  What will they do now? Judging by the reactions of Andrea Mirchell of MSNBC and Diane Feinstein, senior statesman of the Dems in the US Senate, maybe not just stick their heads in the sand.
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: March 10, 2015, 10:16:15 AM
Someone called into the Mark Levin radio broadcast and brought up an excellent point.  The US government has severe restrictions on peaceful use of nuclear power here in our country yet they support the use of nuclear power in Iran.
Anyone see a contradiction?

Isn't that a great observation! 
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Krugman: Rubs our nose in it - with bs on: March 10, 2015, 10:14:51 AM
What did we predict?  From my point of view, we predicted a high risk of inflation AFTER demand and velocity return to the economy.  But that hasn't happened.  We predict that that it will difficult to phase out years of monetary insanity.  That has proved true.  Even Krugman expresses fear of returning interest rates to normal after all this phenomenal, artificial growth.  What specifically did we predict?  That pouring more gas in the tank won't repair the three flat tires we are riding on, nor get us where we wish to go.  What else?  That low interest rates helps one side while obliterating the other, namely savings and new investment in the economy.  We were right on that!

What did Krugman, who knows better, omit?

We now have the worst workforce participation rate since women widely entered the workforce.  It is the worst workforce participation rate EVER for men, since before caveman days.  And now the lowest workforce participation for women in modern time.  Obama-Krugman policies also caused the worst startup rate in our lifetimes for businesses with the capability of growing to employ future generations, leaving behind economic expectations on a par with the Soviet Union in its last decade - if we don't change course.

By the end of the Obama era, to put a number on it, 100 million adults in the US won't work, out of 244 million.  That is 41% real unemployment as the intentionally deceitful Nobel prize winner tells you we are now hitting full employment.

If the economy really was back on rock-solid footing, why would an award winning economist want interest rates held artificially lower even longer yet?  That makes no sense.

Nothing is holding up this economy and holding down overall price levels more than the fracking revolution that all these leftists still vehemently oppose.  Yet they blabber on about their successes.

The economic issue they ran on when they took political power was to address and correct income inequality, not to fight against 1-2% inflation.  So they stepped on economic growth in the pursuit of fairness.  But everything they did made the disparities grow even wider.  Go figure.
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Netanyahu: Deal doesn’t block Iran’s path to nuclear bomb; it paves the path on: March 03, 2015, 11:33:02 AM
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ALAN REYNOLDS: The Mumbo-Jumbo of ‘Middle-Class Economics’ on: March 03, 2015, 09:50:54 AM
"People often form strong opinions on the basis of weak statistics."  Great followup here to our Elizabeth Warren discussion.  (Did I mention a fact check was needed?)  $20 trillion of income missed in just one category.  The income measure Warren quotes (from Piketty) excludes 40% of income and then she is disturbed by the lack of income.

The Mumbo-Jumbo of ‘Middle-Class Economics’
The statistics used to claim that average incomes have stagnated since 1980 also show stagnation since 1968.
March 2, 2015 7:01 p.m. ET

In the “Economic Report of the President” released on Feb. 19, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers defines “middle class economics” primarily by the average income of the bottom 90%. “Average income for the bottom 90 percent of households,” according to the ERP, “functions as a decent proxy for the median household’s income growth.”

This is absurd: The average income for the bottom 90% is not a decent proxy for the median nor even a decent measure of household income. It is instead a roughly fabricated estimate of pretax “market income” reported on tax returns that falls below some threshold for the top 10% ($114,290 in 2013). But this dodgy number does serve as the basis for CEA Chairman Jason Furman ’s assertion a day later on the Vox blog that the U.S. has suffered a “40-year stagnation in incomes for the middle class and those working to get into the middle class.”

The measure has become popular on the left. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) recently asked an AFL-CIO conference, “Since 1980, guess how much of the growth in income the [bottom] 90% got? Nothing. None. Zero.” NPR displayed the same bottom 90% data and stretched it even further, claiming that “after 1980, only the top 1% saw their incomes rise.”

The source cited in the ERP for the claims about stagnating average incomes is the World Top Incomes Database. The U.S. data come from economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, the same source cited by Sen. Warren and NPR.

Amazingly, these same statistics also show there has been no increase for the “bottom” 90% since 1968. Measured in 2013 dollars, average income of the bottom 90% was supposedly $32,730 in 1968, $32,887 in 1980, $35,326 in 2007 and $32,341 in 2013.

This is totally inconsistent with the data the Bureau of Economic Analysis uses to calculate GDP. For example, real personal consumption per person has tripled since 1968 and doubled since 1980, according to the BEA. Are all those shopping malls, big box stores, car dealers and restaurants catering to only the top 10%? The question answers itself.

Instead of the White House concoction, consider the Congressional Budget Office estimates of actual median household income. Measured in 2013 dollars, after-tax median income rose briskly from $46,998 in 1983 to $70,393 in 2008 but remained below that 2008 peak in 2011. The sizable increase before 2008 is partly because the average of all federal taxes paid by the middle fifth has almost been cut in half since 1981—from 19.2% that year to 17.7% in 1989, 16.5% in 2000, 13.6% in 2003 and 11.2% in 2011.

Census Bureau estimates of median “money income,” on the other hand, do not account for taxes, so they miss a major source of improved living standards. They also exclude realized capital gains, public and private health insurance, food stamps and other in-kind benefits. Even so, the Census Bureau’s flawed estimate of median income rose 13.7% from 1984 to 2007 before falling 8% from 2007 to 2013.

Both CBO and Census estimates show only six years of middle-class stagnation, not 40.

The Piketty and Saez data are crucially flawed. The total income reported on individual tax returns, which is the basis of their estimates, is substantially less than any official measure of total income, and the difference keeps getting wider. In their original 2003 study, Messrs. Piketty and Saez mentioned one rapidly expanding source of missing income—disappearing dividends in tax-return data. These were “due mostly to the growth of funded pension plans and retirement savings accounts through which individuals receive dividends that are never reported as dividends on income tax returns.”

The same is true of interest and capital gains accumulating inside such tax-free savings accounts. These have grown to nearly $20 trillion, according to a 2014 report by Tax Foundation economist Alan Cole.

Messrs. Piketty and Saez shrink the total income numbers further by subtracting all transfer payments, such as Social Security and unemployment benefits, and excluding all health and retirement benefits provided by private employers or government agencies. The result, as Brookings Institution’s Gary Burtless noted, is that, “The Piketty-Saez measure [of total income] excluded 24% of NIPA [National Income and Product Accounts] ‘personal income’ in 1970, but it excluded 37% of ‘personal income’ in 2008.” It excluded 40% of personal income by 2011.

Because of their increasingly understated estimates of total income, Messrs. Piketty and Saez estimate that in 2013 the “other 90 percent”—meaning all incomes smaller than $114,290—had an average income of only $32,341. That number is not remotely credible.

According to the CBO, that $32,341 would have been below the $34,000 needed to escape from the poorest fifth of two-person households in 2011, when half of all households earned more than $75,200 before taxes. Even using the Census Bureau’s narrow definition of money income, average income for the middle fifth was $72,641 in 2013, and half of us earned more than $51,939.

In short, the Piketty-Saez average of all incomes below the top 10% is far lower than any official estimate of incomes among the middle fifth of the income distribution. This means their comparisons of cyclical shares of income growth among the top 10% and bottom 90% during booms and busts are invalid. And so too are their estimates of the shares of mismeasured “total income” supposedly received by the top 1%-10%.

People often form strong opinions on the basis of weak statistics, but this “bottom 90%” fable may be the worst example yet. The Economic Report of the President’s description of “middle-class economics” rests on a far-fetched claim that middle incomes have stagnated for four decades rather than from 2008-13—most of these years during the Obama presidency.

Mr. Reynolds, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, is author of a 2012 Cato paper, “The Misuse of Top 1 Percent Income Shares as a Measure of Inequality.”
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary Clinton broke the law doing State Dept business on her personal email on: March 03, 2015, 09:22:40 AM

"Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required that any emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records. But Mrs. Clinton and her aides failed to do so."

It was not until two months ago, nearly two years after Clinton had resigned from the State Department that her aides, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. They eventually turned over 55,000 pages of emails.

Only the Clinton aides know how many emails involving official business they did not turn over. And even these aides probably don’t know whether or to what extent Clinton’s emails previously were purged.
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IS THE GOVERNMENT MANDATING INCOMPETENT BANKING? on: March 03, 2015, 09:16:19 AM
As Crafty asks, why aren't WE attacking the crony corruption link between big government and big business.

Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat announced last week that Citi is going deep in green technology. Citi “will lend, invest and facilitate $100 billion over 10 years for projects ranging from energy, to clean tech, to water, to green infrastructure. Simply put, it is a $100 billion investment in sustainable growth.” That all this reflects the No. 1 domestic priority of the Obama Administration is no doubt a coincidence.

Citigroup says it has already met a 2007 objective of raising $50 billion for “climate friendly projects.” With Mr. Corbat’s announcement it will add $100 billion by looking for “opportunities to finance greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and resource efficiency in other sectors, such as sustainable transportation.”

We don’t doubt there will be such projects worthy of financing when the planets of market economics align. But green projects not subsidized by taxpayers have been at a price disadvantage for years, and their competitiveness isn’t likely to improve as the price of oil and natural gas declines.

Shaping a lending policy around a green agenda while the politics and science of climate change remain controversial and the technology of fossil-fuel extraction is advancing rapidly seems like a recipe for raising risk.

WSJ Editorial
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, Gruber Obamacare videos on: March 03, 2015, 09:10:14 AM
Short video at the link.  Sharyl Attkisson's interviews the guy who found the Gruber Obamacare videos.

A financial adviser who lost his health insurance plan looked into the ACA.  Why couldn't the mainstream media do this research or figure this out before it all hit?
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Elizabeth "Forked Tongue" Warren, Fauxcahontas, Harvard's first woman of color on: March 03, 2015, 08:56:35 AM
I humbly suggest that you are missing a piece of the pie here.

IMHO her critique overlaps more than a little with our Liberal Fascism critique-- which also addresses rent seekers, corruption of the political process by favored business interests and the like.

"Nearly all would buy into this"


WE should be making some of these points AND offering actual solutions.

Agree in part.  Yes, most certainly, rent seekers and corruption of the political process by favored business interests should be OUR attack on THEIR system. 

Her attacks on capitalism and free enterprise however do not hold up to scrutiny.  Free enterprise and constitutional capitalism does not favor special interests over the interests of those not connected and powerful; it is the exact opposite.  In a free society, the government does not get in bed with one business over another.  They can cooperate only in the open, public bidding system of providing a product or service to the government.  The government is the referee, not the participant, yet her side partners up with interest after interest, with auto makers, health insurers, the mortgage industry, the solar cronies, the colleges and everything up to the marriage industry.  Her claims are laden with factual errors and her proposals or solutions make each of these problems worse. 

Candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are running campaigns expressly on the concept of upward mobility which IMO does address specifically the problem of stagnation of the middle class.  I know what is holding me back, regulation and taxes, and I know that what is holding back the formation of new small businesses that will create and grow the better jobs is over-taxation and over-regulation, as unexciting and cliche as that may sound.  As Rubio has said, the giant, entrenched corporations with compliance departments can deal with all of that, but a startup business run out of spare bedroom cannot.

The great growth of the Obama administration she brags of is 2% growth and more than 100% of that came out of fracking which she and Obama vehemently oppose.  What is left if they prevailed in those states is decline.  They passed their big bank regulations, their health monstrosity - the largest wealth transfer in history, their tax rate increases in two dozen different ways and a hundred thousand new regulations and the result was that middle class income is stuck and income inequality widened.  Her answer now is the same as Hillary's, do more of the same, double down on failure.  Every economic statistic and every symptom of a private economy weighed down by a bloated public sector is another reason for her to make further increases to the size and scope of central government.  That carries the day when our messengers are Boehner and McConnell in the context of committee and floor votes on liberal policies through the filter of reading it in the mainstream media.  We haven't had a leader in a very long time who could reach the people articulate the other side of it and now we have several of them.  That is why I have tried to get out early in support of whoever can best express the link between freedom and prosperity and define the differences between that and the Elizabeth Warren mindset. 

I would like to come back to her rant, point by point, and expose the deceptions and contradictions within it.  Median income stays stagnant even during growth, for one reason, because we have added tens of millions of new people to the country at the low end.  People stay off the lower steps of the economic ladder because we offer them more not to work.  Disability is the fastest growing profession of the Obama economy.  The greatest building block to economic success is marriage and the liberal culture wars have decimated that.  She opposes the entire concept of an economic ladder, saying that all who work should be fully compensated regardless of value.  Some people stuck on the line between programs and work face effective tax rates on their next dollar of income earned greater than 100%.  Worst of all is the dearth of real, new business startups which is hidden by the fact that most LLC new filings are just people trying to protect existing assets from liability.

She is missing a link in her liberal economic logic.  She says the top 10% or top 1% experienced all of this success, but she doesn't follow it with what is stopping the rest from doing that too!  It isn't the wealth and success of some that is limited the economic opportunities for the middle class; it is the programs and policies she espouses that are doing that.

I am all ears to learning of solutions beyond giving people back some of the freedom and responsibility to take care of themselves and their own families.

49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: March 03, 2015, 07:38:27 AM
One pundit said that people like Rubio can overcome the cash disadvantage they have compared to establishment candidates by taking interviews like this one with a television station in New Hampshire and staying until the last question is answered.  No handlers, no script, no podium, this didn't cost him anything except a trip to the studio.  It ran on NH tv and was covered by a Florida newspaper.
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hillary knew that night on: March 02, 2015, 10:57:50 PM

Yes, she knew it was a terrorist attack right from the beginning.  I find that lie about the video, among all their other lies, particularly offensive.  4 dead, no rescue, and their focus was on how to minimize the political damage.  Pathological lying backfire on them someday.

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