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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Soda Tax has Unexpected, Unintended Results on: August 14, 2017, 04:51:57 PM
Who knew??

A new Tax Foundation report finds that the 1.5-cent-an-ounce levy that took effect in January is hurting low-income workers and producing less revenue than promised, is helping beer sales.

It's okay to hurt low income workers, right, I mean if you're a well-intended, leftist-run city?

Tax it and get less of it, unexpectedly, that doesn't apply to capital, investment, employment, labor or private sector growth, does it?
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Intel Matters, Unmasking Samantha Power on: August 14, 2017, 04:40:28 PM
Why did the Obama administration need to know the identities of the Trump officials?  Why was Samantha Power, wife of Cass Sunstein, Ambassador to the United Nations the point person on that?

[Why was Susan Rice, fully removed from the situation, the point person on Benghazi?]

Oddly both were UN Ambassadors.

Who will write the definitive account of the Obama administration once all the failures and scandals are fully known?

"...if high-level members of the Obama Administration were abusing intelligence to spy on Trump people during that same campaign, the American people deserve answers on that..."

153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues, Dr Judith Curry. Climate has become politicized. on: August 14, 2017, 04:26:58 PM

"On balance, I don’t see any particular dangers from greenhouse warming. [Humans do] influence climate to some extent, what we do with land-use changes and what we put into the atmosphere. But I don’t think it’s a large enough impact to dominate over natural climate variability."

154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker... on: August 14, 2017, 02:48:54 PM
" It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. "

  -  by Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776
155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: August 14, 2017, 02:45:30 PM
Previously on these pages:  It would be great to wake one day to the news that our President had created a quiet coalition between the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan, for just this one purpose and they successfully disarmed and dethroned the dictator.  Easier now than later.

Since then...   Russia voted for sanctions.  China voted for sanctions.  China will stop the import from NK of coal, iron ore, fish and other items shorting them of a billion in badly needed hard currency.

Supporting us in a military operation against the nuclear threat of Kim Jung Un is one more step away.

They help in this not because they like us or want to help us but for their own purposes and because the world's largest economy and military still has levers if we are willing to use them.

156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: If he ran as a Democrat on: August 14, 2017, 02:14:48 PM
He could be President:

What a joke.  He has far higher ratings with the opposing party.  When have we ever seen that?

They only like him as a Republican.  In 2008, no one crossed over to vote for him.  Given the choice, they took a smooth talking junior community organizer for commander in chief over a war hero and they did it with historic enthusiasm.
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security, TSA conducts behind-the-scenes security tours for Jihadis on: August 14, 2017, 10:02:19 AM
You can't make this stuff up.  This came out of the local newspaper coverage of the Minnesota trial of a Somali ISIS recruiting operation in the Twin Cities.

"...behind-the-scenes security tour with about 50 imams and other members of the Muslim community at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. "

Content redacted on a Freedom of Information Act disclosure.

Who brought these Jihadis here in the first place?!  Who else gets back room TSA tours?  Do you folks want a blueprint to take with you?
158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hugh Hewitt interviews McMaster on: August 10, 2017, 12:15:06 PM
159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Sun did it on: August 10, 2017, 12:08:47 PM

This is a great find!

It turns out the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has over-estimated future global warming by as much as 10 times, he says.  “Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is. CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20 per cent of the global warming in the last few decades”.

This matches what I have posted here and what I told a liberal, Yale-educated friend recently.  He asked something like, do I really deny global warming and all the science behind it?  I told him I think it is 2 1/2 to 7 times overstated and THAT is backed up in science too.

Article continued:

His discovery explains why none of the climate models used by the IPCC reflect the evidence of recorded temperatures. The models have failed to predict the pause in global warming which has been going on for 18 years and counting.

“The model architecture was wrong,” he says. “Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.”

There is another problem with the original climate model, which has been around since 1896.

While climate scientists have been predicting since the 1990s that changes in temperature would follow changes in carbon dioxide, the records over the past half million years show that not to be the case.

So, the new improved climate model shows CO2 is not the culprit in recent global warming. But what is?

Dr Evans has a theory: solar activity. What he calls “albedo modulation”, the waxing and waning of reflected radiation from the Sun, is the likely cause of global warming.

He predicts global temperatures, which have plateaued, will begin to cool significantly, beginning between 2017 and 2021. The cooling will be about 0.3C in the 2020s. Some scientists have even forecast a mini ice age in the 2030s.

If Dr Evans is correct, then he has proven the theory on carbon dioxide wrong and blown a hole in climate alarmism. He will have explained why the doomsday predictions of climate scientists aren’t reflected in the actual temperatures.

Dr David Evans, who says climate model architecture is wrong, with wife Jo Nova, Picture:
Dr David Evans, who says climate model architecture is wrong, with wife Jo Nova, Picture: australianclimatemadness.comSource:Supplied
“It took me years to figure this out, but finally there is a potential resolution between the insistence of the climate scientists that CO2 is a big problem, and the empirical evidence that it doesn’t have nearly as much effect as they say.”

Dr Evans is an expert in Fourier analysis and digital signal processing, with a PhD, and two Masters degrees from Stanford University in electrical engineering, a Bachelor of Engineering (for which he won the University medal), Bachelor of Science, and Masters in Applied Maths from the University of Sydney.

He has been summarising his results in a series of blog posts on his wife Jo Nova’s blog for climate sceptics.

He is about half way through his series, with blog post 8, “Applying the Stefan-Boltzmann Law to Earth”, published on Friday.

When it is completed his work will be published as two scientific papers. Both papers are undergoing peer review.

“It’s a new paradigm,” he says. “It has several new ideas for people to get used to.”

Link again:
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, California secession? Okay on: August 10, 2017, 11:52:33 AM
Secession looks more interesting now that it is the Left proposing it.  It makes me think, what if they did secede?

VDH often points out that Calif is really two states, not north and south but coastal versus all the rest.  If the liberals on the coast want out, and if liberal geographic blocs elsewhere want out too, what if we let them? 

They would take with them some of America's greatest assets, Silicon Valley, the Bay area, L.A, NYC, Wall Street, Boston, even Chicago.  They would get many of the greatest universities and largest newspapers (good riddance).  We would have to innovate and replace what we would lose, like the colonists losing Britain.

We would need new ports granted as part of the settlement and to keep at least our fair share of our military assets.  They probably don't want them anyway.  Both sides would need some form of free trade agreement and reasonable freedom of travel privileges, or right to migrate upon accepting the rules.

I'm sure there are many good reasons not to do this, but how else in our hopelessly divided country can we restore self determination, choice and consent of the governed?

I don't want to live under their socialist, Utopian, coercive government based system and they don't want to live in an individual freedom centered society.  Can we look for a win-win, live under two separate systems?
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration Letter, RAISE, Tom Cotton, Perdue, Cruz, Rubio on: August 10, 2017, 10:17:37 AM
162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How Obama’s Weakness Encouraged Russian Election Meddling on: August 10, 2017, 10:15:22 AM
It was Obama not Trump who was calibrating policy toward Russia

How Obama’s Weakness Encouraged Russian Election Meddling
From the mysterious death of Mikhail Lesin in Washington DC to the assault on an American in front of our embassy in Moscow, President Obama was very careful in calibrating his responses to Russian provocations throughout 2016. Too careful.

Amid the unrelenting media din accompanying the latest twist in the White House’s ongoing personnel struggles last week, BuzzFeed News managed to cause a minor stir by publishing an update on the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of Mikhail Lesin, the former Putin advisor instrumental in cowing Russia’s lively media in the early 2000s. Lesin, who died in a Washington DC hotel room on November 5, 2015 of “blunt force injuries of the head,” was said to have fatally injured himself by falling after being “excessively” drunk for several days. The death was officially ruled an accident in October 2016. The BuzzFeed article updated the narrative: two FBI agents with some knowledge of the case seemed to suggest that Lesin had in fact been beaten, perhaps with a baseball bat; that he was in Washington to talk to the Feds, and was put up at his hotel by the Department of Justice; and, implicitly, that there had been some kind of cover-up by the Obama Administration.

I was at a small conference in Lithuania almost two years ago, alongside several other Russia-watchers, when the news of Lesin’s death first broke. As our phones lit up with notifications, the consensus was unanimous: “He’s been whacked!” Russia experts have a kind of gallows humor reflex about unexpected deaths of those surrounding Vladimir Putin. Lesin had stepped down as the head of Gazprom Media a little less than a year before amid rumors of having fallen out with someone well-placed in the Kremlin, so his death immediately conjured up conspiracies in our minds. The fact that the Russian Embassy was furiously spinning the story hours after it had broken, saying Lesin had died of a heart attack when there was no way they could have known, just added fuel to the fire. And when it took more than four months for the D.C. coroner to announce that Lesin had died from a blow to the head, and another seven months for investigators to conclude that he had received it from an unlucky drunken fall, those suspicions hardened into a theory: The Obama Administration didn’t want this spiraling out into a large scandal because, among other things, it sought Russian cooperation on Syria and Ukraine.

Does BuzzFeed’s article confirm the theory? Not necessarily. We on the outside can’t know everything the Obama Administration was seeing at the time as it was calibrating its policy towards Russia, and we won’t know definitively for many more years to come. But given what we know of President Obama’s foreign policy thinking during his second term, largely due to the work of Jeffrey Goldberg and David Samuels, we can say that as a tendency, the President saw Putin’s Russia as a problem child to be corralled, not as an aggressive actor to be confronted. And in practice, that personal tendency of the President manifested itself as an over-reluctance to react on the part of his Administration—a kind of timidity.

This timidity was on display all throughout 2016, well before the President was confronted with a detailed report from the CIA containing evidence of Russian interference in our elections. In July of that year, just a little after Trump, Jr. held his meeting with the so-called Russian lobbyists in New York, an explosive video started making the rounds—footage of a Russian security guard wrestling an alleged U.S. spy to the ground right outside the U.S. embassy in Moscow, in the process fracturing the American’s shoulder. It was an act of unprecedented aggression on the part of the Russians, with at least one former U.S. intelligence official noting how such brazen behavior was unheard of even at the height of the Cold War. And it was but the most egregious manifestation of what appears to have been a concerted effort to intimidate U.S. diplomats in Russia. One American family had found its dog killed upon coming home; another diplomat discovered human feces smeared on his rug; and around the time the video, already months old, was leaked to the press, a military helicopter had repeatedly buzzed a car carrying a U.S. defense attaché in the north of Russia. To these provocations, the Obama Administration repeatedly turned the other cheek, presumably out of a desire to not scotch what they hoped were promising signs of a breakthrough in Ukraine or Syria.

Of course, not only did the promising breakthrough not materialize, but a month later, CIA Director John Brennan was knocking down President Obama’s door with a grim intel assessment: President Putin had personally authorized his agencies to commence meddling in the U.S. elections. It was armed with this knowledge that Obama said he confronted Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Huangzhou, China, telling him to “cut it out, or there would be serious consequences.” Putin must have had himself a hearty laugh.

In explaining how he approached Putin, Obama defended his understated manner at a press conference in December. “There have been folks out there who suggest somehow if we went out there and made big announcements and thumped our chests about a bunch of stuff, that somehow it would potentially spook the Russians,” Obama said. “I think it doesn’t read the thought process in Russia very well.” Given the fuller picture we now can piece together, it’s clear that it is Obama who didn’t read the Russian thought process very well. If Russian agents had bludgeoned Lesin into a pulp on U.S. soil under the nose of the Feds and had beaten a U.S. spy on the threshold of the U.S. embassy in Moscow without any perceptible blowback, what possible danger was there for Putin to roundly ignore Obama’s feeble threats?

And indeed, as the Washington Post reported, while Obama did in the end quietly authorize U.S. intelligence agencies to start developing and deploying a powerful cyber-weapon into critical Russian infrastructure, the most visible element of his response to Russian election meddling was taking two compounds used for intelligence gathering and expelling 35 suspected Russian spies—a symbolic gesture. Adding to the irony, the confiscations and expulsions were originally mooted as a response to the roughing up of the American agent in Moscow. Had Obama acted forthrightly then, Putin would have taken him more seriously when he leveled his threats in September.

Many Democrats seem to have conveniently forgotten just how halting, indecisive, and weak President Obama’s approach to Putin’s Russia had been in practice. When the BuzzFeed story first broke, some of the more prominent conspiracy theorists even tried to tie it to the Trump-Russia investigations:

"BREAKING: Vladimir Putin has likely killed another Russian related to the Trump-Russia probe. That makes it... {counting}... a *lot*."  (Seth Abramson - Twitter)

The truth is, insofar as Russian interference helped elect Donald Trump at the margins, it was Obama’s timidity that encouraged them to try such brazen things in the first place.
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues, Chicago on: August 10, 2017, 10:08:46 AM
ccp,  The quality of the public courts in Lincoln Park was impressive.  I could feel the cushion as I walked on, similar to playing on a tour level facility. Very expensive to build, up to date and heavily used.  And the elegant brick houses where liberal elites live are so tall and close together that you can't even hear the gunfire from the south side.

My first job also was in tennis.  At 16 I would go in (on my bicycle in January) and clean carpeted indoor tennis courts for $1.65/hr.  (Jobs they mostly don't have in the inner city).  At 17 I was teaching assistant to an NCAA champion and at 18 I strung racquets that won two  events at Wimbledon (1974).  But in liberal nonsense America, we degrade entry level jobs, remove the economic ladder and want to see how many people can make it by starting at the top!

No they don't make wooden racquets anymore, the Jimmy Connors (steel) T2000, nor are space shuttle aircrafts made out of Kitty Hawk materials... )  Occasionally groups will host a wooden racquet tournament so people can see how hard it used to be.
164  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: How bad is the rioting and looting in the Twin Cities? on: August 10, 2017, 09:19:59 AM
"Any chants of "No justice, no peace!"? Sporadic looting?"

They were able to correct past kitchen looting mob issuess by over-serving meals and beverages on a regular basis.  In technical political economic jargon, it's called free sh*t.
165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: another one we have to get rid of, (McCain) on: August 10, 2017, 09:13:05 AM

This issued was settled in the 2016 election.  McCain's view was on the ballot via his surrogate Lindsey Graham.  Graham won 0.1% of the Republican vote in two states and 0.0% in the rest while Trump and 'Build the Wall' won the nomination and 30 states.

I backed Rubio's approach and it failed.  Elections have consequences.
166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races, the problem and the solution on: August 10, 2017, 09:09:06 AM
Hannity, Levin, even Trump are blaming McConnell for the failure of healthcare reform and the people are blaming the Republican party. I don't buy that. It's McConnell's fault only if there were 50 votes there and he failed to find them.  The blame for health care (IMHO) and other unaccomplished reforms lies with those blocking it, McCain, Murkowski and Collins and the 48 Democrats who opposed it.  

McCain was the most deceitful to his electorate of them all.  He said what he needed to say to get reelected, repeal Obamacare - I approve this message.  Then on his deathbed of brain tumor surgery he realized he never has to get reelected again and went back without remorse to being himself.

Murkowski is her own story and Collins is Collins, Republican in name only for the most part.  Maybe Trump and McConnell have more leverage with the Trump state Democrats, especially the ones running for reelection in states Trump won by HUGE, double digit margins:

Of the 10 Democratic incumbents running for reelection in 2018 in states won by Trump, 5 or 6 of those were very lopsided:

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Trump won by 42%
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Trump won by 36%,
Jon Tester of Montana, Trump won by 21%
Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Trump won by 19%
Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Trump won by 18%

One angle to this story is their likelihood of being reelected.  A more timely question is, what they will be willing to do to show their electorate their independence from the extreme progressive, Trump derangement, movement?

Bill Nelson (Fl), Sharrod Brown (Oh), Bob Casey (Pa), Tammy Baldwin (Wi), and Debbie Stabenow (Mi) make up the other five of the ten.

On the other side of the coin, Dems need to win in TEXAS (against Cruz), defeat incumbent Republicans in Arizona and Nevada, plus run the table in the ones listed above, North Dakota, West Virginia, Montana, Indiana, Missouri, to swing the Senate!  What is the winning liberal message that accomplishes that??  Open borders?  Transgenderism?  Higher taxes?
  Liberal judges?  Government healthcare?  Certainly not what they are doing now!

Terms like the stupid party or the party with a national leadership crisis need to be plural.

167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reform or End the CBO, Mike Lee says make the CBO show its work on: August 09, 2017, 10:05:44 AM
Newt Gingrich promised to reform the static and biased CBO, baseline budgeting and false tax and spending cut math.  A quarter century we still battle the same dinosaurs that act to stop reform of both health care and taxes.

I shouldn't need a link to prove that point.  Has CBO ever been right on ANYTHING?

When you deny the positive, largely predictable effects of improving incentives in the economy, you are denying science.

The official policy of the US Government in 2017 is to deny science.  Reform the swamp - or drain it.

Famous people caught reading the forum...

When Democrats passed Obamacare on a party-line vote in March 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that by 2016, 21 million people would receive health insurance through the law's exchanges. In reality, just 10 million people did.

The CBO's model was off by more than 100 percent.

The same CBO estimate predicted that Medicaid would grow by 17 million enrollees to about 52 million. In reality, more than 34 million people have signed up for Medicaid since Obamacare became law, for a total of 74.5 million recipients today.

Again, the CBO's model was off by around 100 percent.

Now the CBO wants us to believe, based on the same models, that just repealing Obamacare's individual mandate, without a single dime's worth of cuts to Medicaid, would cause more than 7 million people to abandon their Medicaid coverage.

There are good reasons to be skeptical of the quality of healthcare that lower-income Americans receive through Medicaid, but why would 7 million voluntarily give up Medicaid coverage they receive for free? These CBO projections, and others like it, strain the boundaries of common sense.

When it comes to topics like the effectiveness of the individual mandate, there are sharp disagreements among experts. That's why, in the academic community, scholars have to "show their work" by publicly disclosing their data, estimates, and analysis to scholarly scrutiny, and most importantly, refinement and improvement.

Congress does need a scorekeeper to provide budgetary estimates for the policy changes it considers. But at a bare minimum, that scorekeeper should be forced to show how its models work. Currently the CBO doesn't have to do that. It's a "black box," a secret formula even Congress can't be allowed to see, yet which the House and Senate must treat as if they were handed down on stone tablets at Mt. Sinai.

It's an indefensible situation.

That is why I have introduced the CBO Show Your Work Act of 2017. This bill would require the CBO to publish its data, models, and all details of computation used in its cost analysis and scoring. CBO would keep its role as official scorekeeper of congressional budget proposals – but now the public and the economic community would be able to see what's going on in all those spreadsheets and algorithms.

That is, it would hold CBO to the same standard the American Economic Association's "Data Availability Policy" sets for all academic economists: requiring all paper authors to ensure their data "are readily available to any researcher for purposes of replication."

Consider again Obamacare's individual mandate. President Barack Obama opposed an individual mandate while campaigning in 2008, but saw the light later when the CBO started scoring Obamacare drafts.

A 2009 memo written by then-White House health adviser Nancy-Ann DeParle informed the president, "Based on our policy analysis, we believe that a weak requirement for all Americans to have insurance may come close to achieving the maximum coverage that can be achieved through aggressive outreach and auto-enrollment. Unfortunately, however, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will likely take the position that without an individual responsibility requirement, half of the uninsured will be left uncovered."

Following this memo, Obama chose to substitute the CBO's policy judgment for his own. The individual mandate became a pillar of the largest policy change in a generation.

Policymakers need data and data analysis to do their jobs. But to do their jobs well, they need the best analysis. And centuries of practical experience tell us that transparency and replicability are essential to the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge. There is simply no serious argument for insulating the most influential economic modelers in the United States from the academic standards that govern everyone from Nobel Prize-winning physicists to second graders "carrying the one" as they learn long addition.

We can do better as a Congress and a nation. We are never going to agree on what the best healthcare, tax, or energy policies should be. But when we make our arguments about the costs and benefits of our preferred policies, we should at least be willing to explain how and why our policies would work.
168  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: How bad is the rioting and looting in the Twin Cities? on: August 09, 2017, 09:28:27 AM
I figure both Minneapolis and St. Paul are burning now, right?

[Black Somalian cop shoots white Australian woman.]  I can tell you it's gone crazy.  I haven't seen anything like it - since last summer.   I don't know if a photo of a recent weekend can capture the level mayhem here in MN.  The mayor of Minneapolis is asking us to embrace the discomfort of transformation.  At the MacG compound, people were seen in a state of panic, fleeing in life rafts, utilizing boats of all types, wind and gas powered, paddling, some pulled by a rope behind a speed boat with only a ski underfoot, others under water, some running, biking, swimming for their lives.  Some accepted the defeat and just sat taking alcohol internally rather than flee.  Will try to keep you updated.
169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues, Chicago continued on: August 09, 2017, 08:57:31 AM
I visited my daughter in Chicago over the weekend and witnessed the amazingly diverse parts of the urban experience.  I visited the downtown financial district.  Saw the outdoor concert crowds.  We played tennis in Lincoln Park while people walked their dogs and new parents attended to their young children on swings.  Biked the Lake Michigan coastline.  Flew in through O'hare.  Left via the bus station. Within this 9 million person metro one can find the best and the worst in our 2017 civilization.

While we enjoyed a beautiful, peaceful day in Lincoln Park on a Sunday afternoon...

other people in other parks had a different experience:

4:20 p.m. Friday — Man shot in Humboldt Park
4:39 p.m. Friday — Man shot following argument at Chicago Lawn business
7:55 p.m. Friday — Man, 29, wounded in Austin shooting
8:24 p.m. Friday — 2 shot in Brighton Park
10:15 p.m. Friday — Man shot, seriously wounded in parked vehicle in Gresham
11:20 p.m. Friday — Man shot on sidewalk in Lawndale
1 a.m. Saturday — Man hurt in Portage Park shooting
1:22 a.m. Saturday — Man shot in chest in Albany Park
5:44 a.m. Saturday — Man in critical condition after Back of the Yards shooting
11:04 a.m. Saturday — Man critically hurt in East Garfield Park shooting
10:15 p.m. Saturday — 2 teenage boys among 3 wounded in Little Village shooting
10:40 p.n. Saturday — Police: Man shot to death while driving in Englewood
11:50 p.m. Saturday — Man shot, critically wounded in South Chicago
12:20 a.m. Sunday — 2 men wounded, 1 critically, in Hanson Park shooting
2:35 a.m. Sunday — Police: 14-year-old boy killed in Pilsen drive-by shooting
3:20 a.m. Sunday — Man shot in Humboldt Park
4:10 a.m. Sunday — 2 wounded in East Garfield Park shooting
4:41 a.m. Sunday — Man shot in Sheridan Park
5 a.m. Sunday — Man wounded in Pilsen drive-by shooting
5:18 a.m. Sunday — Police: Man killed in domestic-related shooting in Clearing
7:56 p.m. Sunday — 2 men wounded in Near North Side shooting
10:50 p.m. Sunday — 19-year-old man shot in South Shore
11:50 p.m. Sunday — Man wounded in West Pullman shooting
3:58 a.m. Monday — Man, 23, shot in Washington Park
170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: USMC: All Male Units are better than Mixed Gender on: August 07, 2017, 06:31:17 AM
Let's see, not Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.  Outside of ccp and Reagan winning in Grenada, Japan 72 years ago was our last victory?
171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: USMC: All Male Units are better than Mixed Gender on: August 06, 2017, 10:18:18 AM
I thought that trannies were the key to military dominance.

Is winning wars still the objective of the US military?  Or is it a social spending program with an emphasis on social and cultural transformation? 

172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump era redefines political approval measures on: August 05, 2017, 06:59:20 PM
A story last week said only 14% of Republicans support the job the (Republican) Congress is doing, right after health care reform imploded.  The correct number should be zero.  Who on the right can approve of failure?  That may hurt fundraising,  turnout and brand polling but doesn't make anyone who hates big government switch to favor failed government programs amd the party that brought us that.

Trump approval apparently has hit new lows while nothing seems to get done, yet I would bet he has increased in stature since becoming President and would defeat Hillary more handily now than he did last year.

With his tweeting, his mis-steps, his big mouth, his ego-centric personality, his loose connection with accuracy or truth etc, I could never say I approve of him as President or tell a son or daughter to grow up to be like him.  But I would vote for him over every possible Democrat imaginable. 

We had a 180 degree turn on almost everything important.  The Supreme Court, environmental regulation over-reach, attempts to roll back Obamacare, tax reform effort coming, and on and on.  The question is not whether you approve of him.  The question is whether you want him to keep going.  I do.
173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: August 05, 2017, 06:41:00 PM
"China May Finally Be Ready to Work With the United States on North Korea"

This is all silly.
We have had this dance for decades and where are we now.  Only thing that will work is force.

Otherwise we accept NK a nuclear power - just as Krauthammer pointed out.

I am an optimist on this.  There are a lot of levers available other than force - and we have force too.  I wrote this before but wouldn't it be great if the art of the deal guy with all the levers of the leader of the free world, with logic, power, safety and ?everything else on his side, could get China to cooperate on this?

If they don't and if we don't take out the threat...  Japan, South Korea, Taiwan will go nuclear too, and others.  When the world's lowest tech country can go nuclear, they all will.  A nuclear Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines?  How is THAT in China's best strategic, control of their own backyard, interest?
174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues on: August 05, 2017, 06:28:36 PM
second request:  I need this to shut someone the F up.

Need a citation for the NYT fake newsing a few days ago that DOJ was starting an investigation into anti-white discrimination but it turned out to be anti-Asian discrimination

Could be this...  ?

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.
175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Recess appointments blocked on: August 04, 2017, 08:31:20 AM

How would they have the power to do that?  Does saying otherwise make recess not so?  Court challenge likely if Trump makes a "recess" AG appointment.  MHO.

"Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned last month that Democrats had "tools in our toolbox" to block a recess appointment."

How about just stay in session until their work is done?
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCarthy explaining what this means, Grand Jury on: August 04, 2017, 08:24:18 AM
Does anyone think for more then a fleeting second the mostly Obama ad Clinton tied lawyers will not find SOMeTHING?
It is much harder to believe this could end well then vice a versa   cry

If having a special counsel at all was called for, this would be a routine step.  But given other special prosecutors' history of running wild, this cannot end well.  Mueller is certainly trying to be too entrenched to be dissolved.  Might as well put him in the cabinet at this point, and in the Presidential chain of succession.  It looks like a permanent department, like we had after Fast and Furious and IRS Targeting...  oh skip that.

Grand Juries only hear the prosecutor's side of a story.  Defense comes later, after being charged and in front of a different jury.

Just speculating, they will find irregularities in Trump's past Russian dealings, enough to make the derangement side go nuts  but not enough to impeach or remove him from office.  Like Scooter Libby, somebody will fall, guilty or not, for trying to help the boss, maybe a family member.  

Unless there is some crime they know of and we don't, this is a witch hunt.  If Putin had inside plants in the US government during the 2016 election, those officials were in the Obama administration.  It's hard to believe that's where this is leading but that's where the power was and where the violations of law most likely occurred.  Trump didn't need their money - like the Clintons did.  And everyone seeks opposition rearch.

I can't imagine that a prosecutor staffs up for war and then ends up taking my view that Trump was an oaf for saying he hopes Russia will hack and disclose Hillary's emails and his offspring same thing for taking the fake meeting, but did nothing seriously wrong.

The electorate already ruled on the parts we already knew.  None of that leads to impeachment.  It has to be something new, big and unexpected.
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McMaster grants Susan Rice security clearance on: August 04, 2017, 07:41:48 AM
Perhaps this is routine?   not sure why she needs this or is clued in to national security issues at this point.

It sure smells, doesn't it.  The man has quite an impressive background:

She doesn't have an impressive background at all, known for bad faith, motives and methods.  This either sets up some Sandy Burglar opportunities to steal more documents or it sets up a trap for the old administration perhaps to get out of her own unmasking vulnerability.  She was likely only unmasking wrongly at the instruction of others.  Maybe the IC needed McMaster to grant this access but I can't fathom why.

I can't conceive of how she is still relevant to national security - except to cooperate in an investigation where the target is higher up, which includes only the former President, VP and Sec State that I can think of.  Nor can I think of any conceivable conspiracy that would include Rice and McMaster.

Of course this could be a fake doc, no date or address info at the top, but the disclosure source seems reliable to me.

"National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has concluded that Rice did nothing wrong, according to two U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to me on condition of anonymity."  - Eli Lake (reliable reporter IMHO)

McMaster will be on Hugh Hewitt tomorrow, 8am (eastern?) MSNBC.

As Drudge would say, developing...
178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the Left, Lincoln saw them coming on: August 03, 2017, 12:45:33 PM
“If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?
The answer is four: calling a tail a leg does not make it so.”
  - Abraham Lincoln debating Stephen Douglas

Today's Left uses control of the language to control the issue.

a woman's right to choose
affordable healthcare
affordable housing
smart growth
undocumented workers
minimum wage
$800 billion in Medicaid cuts
giving it all to the wealthy
tax cuts for the wealthy
marriage equality
black lives matter
gender studies
welfare rights
climate change
CO2 a pollutant
income inequality
benevolent paternalism
embrace the discomfort of the transformation

Transgender man shares his joy after giving birth to a baby son with his gay husband after suffering a devastating miscarriage last year   (Huh??)
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs, spending, budget process, Reform or End the CBO on: August 03, 2017, 12:28:12 PM
Newt Gingrich promised to reform the static and biased CBO, baseline budgeting and false tax and spending cut math.  A quarter century we still battle the same dinosaurs that act to stop reform of both health care and taxes.

I shouldn't need a link to prove that point.  Has CBO ever been right on ANYTHING?

When you deny the positive, largely predictable effects of improving incentives in the economy, you are denying science.

The official policy of the US Government in 2017 is to deny science.  Reform the swamp - or drain it.
180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Compare Medical and College Inflation with Services, not Goods, Alan Reynolds on: August 03, 2017, 11:50:25 AM
Catching up on my Alan Reynolds readings this am.

JULY 24, 2017
Compare Medical and College Inflation with Services, not Goods

A Wall Street Journal report, “Colleges Pull Back Tuition’s Long Rise,” includes a graph showing the cumulative increases in consumer price indexes (CPI) since 1990 for College Tuition, Medical Care, and All Consumer Prices.

Adding up nearly three decades of increases looks dramatic, but doesn’t show when various prices changes accelerated or slowed. More important, prices for college tuition and medical care are dominated by skilled human services, so they should be properly compared with service prices in general rather than with all items.

All Consumer Prices (shown as an erratic black line in the graph) includes falling quality-adjusted prices for such tech products as computers and televisions, for example, and cyclically-volatile prices of internationally traded commodities such as oil, steel, and grain.

Service prices largely reflect wages and benefits for skilled labor, which (unlike commodity prices) almost never fall. If service prices did not increase faster than the CPI in general, then real compensation in service sectors could never rise.

See graph:

Medical care prices compared to other services & CPI

This graph omits college tuition because that CPI item is particularly problematic due to averaging large differences in quality and “financial aid” (selective discounts from sticker prices). The Bureau of Labor Statistics explains some of the difficulties:

“The inclusion of financial aid has added to the complexity of pricing college tuition. Many selected students may have full scholarships (such as athletic), and therefore their tuition and fixed fees are fully covered by scholarships. Since these students pay no tuition and fees, they are not eligible for pricing. In addition, there are other students who pay a very small fee to the college since the majority of their tuition and fixed fees are covered by scholarships. When these situations are priced by BLS Field Staff, normal increases in tuition/fees and minor declines in scholarship awards can provide extremely large changes for entry in the CPI index. For some of these same quotes, minor tuition declines or minor scholarship award increases can actually result in negative prices, which make the quotes ineligible for use in the CPI.”

The graph compares two decades of year-to-year price increases for Medical Care and Services in general. The CPI for medical services alone (not shown in the graph) has actually increased somewhat less than the CPI for all Medical Care, which suggests prices of drugs and medical devices increased faster than physician and hospital fees. There have been major improvements in the quality of drugs and medical devices, however, and economists doubt the CPI adequately adjusts for quality improvement. As a BEA report notes, “If there are unobserved attributes that change over time (e.g. perceived efficacy or experience with the drug), these indexes will count any price increases associated with these changes as increases in price, not quality.”

Have Medical Care prices risen faster than Services prices in general? Yes, but the difference in annualized price increases was typically smaller than one percentage point except in 2002 and 2010, when recession’s aftermath depressed other services prices more than (heavily-subsidized) medical care prices.

Recessions’ impact on commodity prices pushed the year-to-year overall CPI below zero at times, which underscores the inaptness of comparing prices of medical or educational services to any price index such as the CPI which is heavily weighted by goods.
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Alan Reynolds, Cato, Border adjustment tax (BAT) is no free lunch on: August 03, 2017, 11:40:36 AM
This former House proposal is already dead, but the reasons need to be documented for future reference.

The Border-Adjustment Tax Is No Free Lunch

By Alan Reynolds
This article appeared on Investor’s Business Daily on June 16, 2017.
House Republican leaders Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, are still pushing their year-old scheme of a “border adjustable tax” (BAT) to exempt exports from their proposed 20% corporate tax while disallowing firms any deduction for the cost of imported parts, materials or inventories.

Congressmen Ryan and Brady claim the BAT will “level the playing field” which, in the plain English of Boston University economist Larry Kotlikoff, means “reducing the U.S. trade deficit.” The tax is also projected to raise $1 trillion over the next ten years. In other words, a “free lunch” that will pay for itself.

Unfortunately, if the tax truly is to raise $1 trillion dollars, it “cannot change the size of the trade deficit,” as BAT supporter and Harvard economist Martin Feldstein puts it. The BAT is a tax on the trade deficit, and would raise nothing if that deficit ceased to exist.

A BAT could wreak havoc on some of the largest employers in the country, including retailers and automakers.
Feldstein and other BAT advocates argue their plan won’t affect trade because it will drive the dollar up 25% and thus make imports cheap and U.S. exports costly.

The reason for the dollar’s assumed rise is that tax-free exports would rise, increasing the world’s demand for dollars, while newly taxed imports would fall, reducing the world dollar supply. The reason the trade deficit can’t change, in other words, is that imports and exports must first change quite a lot before the supposedly end up unchanged.

Why else would the dollar soar? Scholars may say that initial trade disruption is temporary, but they can’t tell us whether “temporary” means months or years.

The promised 10-year revenue windfall rests on a shaky foundation, and contradicts politicians’ promises of a level playing field. Yet foregoing that hypothetical treasure might mean “settling for a 25% corporate rate,” which isn’t ideal for Rep. Brady.

In reality, 25% under current law is about the same as 20% under the Ryan-Brady plan, which Goldman Sachs economists estimate has an effective rate of 24%. Why? Because the Ryan-Brady plan taxes costs as if they were income.

Companies could no longer deduct the cost of imports or interest, which makes a huge difference when imports or interest are an important cost of doing business. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers noted the Ryan-Brady tax could “substantially exceed 100% of profits” for large retail chains with thin margins who count on imports for much of their inventory.

Even in the same industry, a BAT would hit different firms differently. Refiners could still deduct the cost of Dakota crude oil under the BAT, but not Canadian crude. Manufacturers of electric motors could deduct the cost of Arizona copper, but not Chilean copper.

BAT proponents claim it is like a foreign VAT (value-added tax), but also entirely different. A VAT clearly raises consumer prices, for example, but BAT fans insist their plan won’t do that. A VAT applies equally to foreign and domestic goods, but a BAT only applies to imports.

BAT architect Alan Auerbach of U.C. Berkeley says retailers, refiners and automakers are wrong to worry; the 20% tax on corporate imports will be totally painless, because “a stronger dollar would make imports cheaper, offsetting the increase in taxes paid.”

Economists can’t predict exchange rates. But even if other currencies really did fall by 20%, there is no evidence import prices would fall nearly that much.

In a 2009 study for the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), Cathy Jabra surveyed the evidence and found that, aside from crude oil, very little of exchange rate changes were passed through to import prices. Only 18% of rate changes passed through in the case of consumer goods in general, only 12% for those from Japan and zero for imports from New Industrialized Economies such as China, Mexico and South Korea.

So even if all currencies did fall 20% against the dollar, prices of consumer goods might drop by only about 3.6%, rather than by the 20% required to make the BAT harmless. Prices of imports from the New Industrialized Economies might not fall at all.

Arguments for slapping a new border adjustment tax on corporate imports and exempting exports from the same are like running through a maze in Wonderland. The tax is said to level the playing field for trade and raise a ton of money, but that shimmering pot of gold on that horizon depends on trade being totally unaffected.

If these contradictory conjectures are half as mistaken as they appear to be, a BAT could wreak havoc on some of the largest employers in the country, including retailers and automakers. And if the U.S. economy goes down, tax revenue will too.
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fiscal drain' of illegal immigrants is 6 times cost of deportation on: August 03, 2017, 11:19:35 AM
We have a word in English for the act of an illegal person taking a legal person's money...  theft.
Why are illegals entitled to ANY taxpayer dollars?
Maybe we can also achieve economies of scale with those deportation costs.

Report: 'Fiscal drain' of illegal immigrants is 6 times cost of deportation
by Paul Bedard | Aug 3, 2017

The "fiscal drain" of illegal immigrants on American taxpayers is about 6 times the price of deporting them, according to a new study that bolsters the Trump administration's bid to remove criminal illegals and cut overall immigration costs.

The Center for Immigration Studies on Thursday said in a new report that deportation costs an average of $10,854. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that includes apprehension, detention, and processing.

Letting illegal immigrants stay in the U.S., results in a bill to taxpayers of $65,292 "for each illegal immigrant, excluding their descendants," according to Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies. That includes government benefits.

Camarota, citing two key fiscal impact studies, said that reason the cost of illegal immigration is high is because many are poorly educated and require more in government benefits than others.

"In short, illegal immigrants are a large net fiscal drain because of their education levels and this fact drives the results. Deportation, on the other hand, is not that costly relative to the fiscal costs illegal immigrants create," he wrote.

His key findings:

Deportation costs

In April of this year, ICE reported that the average cost of a deportation, also referred to as a removal, was $10,854 in FY 2016, including apprehension, detention, and processing.
Partly due to policies adopted in the second term of the Obama administration, ICE removed nearly 170,000 fewer aliens in 2016 than in 2012, even though it actually spent 8 percent more in 2016 in inflation-adjusted dollars. The removal of so many more illegal immigrants in FY 2012 means that the average cost per removal in that year was $5,915, adjusted for inflation.
If the average cost of a deportation was what it had been in FY 2012, then the larger enforcement budget in FY 2016 would have allowed for 200,000 more removals without spending additional money.
Costs of illegal immigrants

Researchers agree that illegal immigrants overwhelmingly have modest levels of education — most have not completed high school or have only a high school education. There is also agreement that immigrants with this level of education are a significant net fiscal drain, creating more in costs for government than they pay in taxes.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimated the lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) of immigrants based on their educational attainment. Averaging those estimates and applying them to the education level of illegal immigrants shows a net fiscal drain of $65,292 per illegal — excluding any costs for their children.
Based on this estimate, there is a total lifetime fiscal drain of $746.3 billion. This assumes 11.43 million illegal immigrants are in the country based on the U.S. government's most recent estimate.
The fiscal cost created by illegal immigrants of $746.3 billion compares to total a cost of deportation of $124.1 billion, assuming a FY 2016 cost per deportation, or $67.6 billion using FY 2012 deportation costs.

183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why Health Care Reform is so Hard on: August 02, 2017, 05:18:45 PM
Greg Mankiw goes over some of the basics.

Why Health Care Policy Is So Hard
Economic View

“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” President Trump said that in February, yielding more than a few chuckles from pundits and late-night comedians.

In fact, anyone who has spent some time thinking about the issue sees its complexity. With the collapse of the Senate health care bills this week, the president has certainly been reminded of it.

But Mr. Trump’s epiphany raises some questions: Why is health care so complicated? How does it differ from most of the other goods and services that the economy produces? What makes health policy so vexing?

In Econ 101, students learn that market economies allocate scarce resources based on the forces of supply and demand. In most markets, producers decide how much to offer for sale as they try to maximize profit, and consumers decide how much to buy as they try to achieve the best standard of living they can. Prices adjust to bring supply and demand into balance. Things often work out well, with little role left for government. Hence, Adam Smith’s vaunted “invisible hand.”

Yet the magic of the free market sometimes fails us when it comes to health care. There are several reasons.

Externalities abound. In most markets, the main interested parties are the buyers and sellers. But in health care markets, decisions often affect unwitting bystanders, a phenomenon that economists call an externality.

Take vaccines, for instance. If a person vaccinates herself against a disease, she is less likely to catch it, become a carrier and infect others. Because people may ignore the positive spillovers when weighing the costs and benefits, too few people will get vaccinated, unless the government somehow promotes vaccination.

Another positive spillover concerns medical research. When a physician figures out a new treatment, that information enters society’s pool of medical knowledge. Without government intervention, such as research subsidies or an effective patent system, too few resources will be devoted to research.

Consumers often don’t know what they need. In most markets, consumers can judge whether they are happy with the products they buy. But when people get sick, they often do not know what they need and sometimes are not in a position to make good decisions. They rely on a physician’s advice, which even with hindsight is hard to evaluate.

The inability of health care consumers to monitor product quality leads to regulation, such as the licensing of physicians, dentists and nurses. For much the same reason, the Food and Drug Administration oversees the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals.

Health care spending can be unexpected and expensive. Spending on most things people buy — housing, food, transportation — is easy to predict and budget for. But health care expenses can come randomly and take a big toll on a person’s finances.

Health insurance solves this problem by pooling risks among the population. But it also means that consumers no longer pay for most of their health care out of pocket. The large role of third-party payers reduces financial uncertainty but creates another problem.

Insured consumers tend to overconsume. When insurance is picking up the tab, people have less incentive to be cost-conscious. For example, if patients don’t have to pay for each doctor visit, they may go too quickly when they experience minor symptoms. Physicians may be more likely to order tests of dubious value when an insurance company is footing the bill.

To mitigate this problem, insurers have co-pays, deductibles and rules limiting access to services. But co-pays and deductibles reduce the ability of insurance to pool risk, and access rules can create conflicts between insurers and their customers.

Insurance markets suffer from adverse selection. Another problem that arises is called adverse selection: If customers differ in relevant ways (such as when they have a chronic disease) and those differences are known to them but not to insurers, the mix of people who buy insurance may be especially expensive.

Adverse selection can lead to a phenomenon called the death spiral. Suppose that insurance companies must charge everyone the same price. It might seem to make sense to base the price of insurance on the health characteristics of the average person. But if it does so, the healthiest people may decide that insurance is not worth the cost and drop out of the insured pool. With sicker customers, the company has higher costs and must raise the price of insurance. The higher price now induces the next healthiest group of people to drop insurance, driving up the cost and price again. As this process continues, more people drop their coverage, the insured pool is less healthy and the price keeps rising. In the end, the insurance market may disappear.

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) tried to reduce adverse selection by requiring all Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. This policy is controversial and has been a mixed success. More people now have health insurance, but about 12 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 remain uninsured. One thing, however, is certain: The existence of a federal law mandating that people buy something shows how unusual the market for health care is.

The best way to navigate the problems of the health care marketplace is hotly debated. The political left wants a stronger government role, and the political right wants regulation to be less heavy-handed. But policy wonks of all stripes can agree that health policy is, and will always be, complicated.

N. Gregory Mankiw is the Robert M. Beren professor of economics at Harvard University.
184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why The Middle East Is a Disaster (Obama) on: August 01, 2017, 12:54:17 PM
Writing for Powerline, David Horowitz has this about right.


During the eight years of the Obama administration, half a million Christians, Yazidis and Muslims were slaughtered in the Middle East by ISIS and other Islamic jihadists, in a genocidal campaign waged in the name of Islam and its God. Twenty million others were driven into exile by these same jihadist forces. Libya and Yemen became terrorist states. America – once the dominant foreign power and anti-jihadist presence in the region – was replaced by Russia, an ally of the monster regimes in Syria and Iran, and their terrorist proxies. Under the patronage of the Obama administration, Iran – the largest and most dangerous terrorist state, with the blood of thousands of Americans on its hands – emerged from its isolation as a pariah state to re-enter the community of nations and become the region’s dominant power, arming and directing its terrorist proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Yemen.

These disasters are a direct consequence of the policies of appeasement and retreat of the Obama administration. Beyond that, they are a predictable result of the Democratic Party’s long-standing resistance to the so-called war on terror, and its sabotage of George Bush’s efforts to enforce 17 UN Security Council resolutions in Iraq, aimed at maintaining international order and peace in the Middle East.

In fact, the primary cause of the disasters in the Middle East is the Democratic Party’s sabotage of the War in Iraq. Democrats first voted to authorize the armed overthrow of Iraq’s terror regime but within three months of its inception reversed their position 180 degrees and declared the war “immoral, illegal & unnecessary.” The reason for the Democrats’ reversal on the war had nothing to do with the war itself or the so-called absence of weapons of mass destruction, but was rather a political response to the fact that an anti-war Democrat, Howard Dean, was running away with their presidential nomination. It was this that caused John Kerry and his party to forget that the war was about Saddam’s defiance of 17 UN Security Council resolutions, and refusal to allow the UN inspectors to carry out their efforts to ascertain whether he had destroyed his chemical and biological arsenals.

Beginning in June 2003, Democrats began claiming – falsely – that Bush had lied to secure their support for the war. “Bush lied, people died,” became the left’s slogan to cripple the war effort. Bush couldn’t have lied because Democrats had access to every bit of intelligence information on Iraq that he did. But this false narrative began what became a five-year campaign to demonize America’s commander-in-chief and undermine his efforts to subdue the terrorists and pacify the region.

The Democrats’ anti-war crusade climaxed with the election of Barack Obama, a leftwing activist and vocal opponent of the war, and of the majority of Senate Democrats who voted for it. At the time of Obama’s election, America and its allies had won the war and subdued the terrorists by turning the Sunnis in Anbar province against them. But the new commander-in-chief, refused to use American forces to secure the peace, and instead set out to withdraw all American military personnel from Iraq. This was a fatal step that created a power vacuum, which was quickly filled by Iran and ISIS.

Obama’s generals had advised him to maintain a post-war force of 20,000 troops in country along with the military base America had built in Baghdad. But Obama had made military withdrawal the centerpiece of his foreign policy and ignored his national security team’s advice. Had he not done so, American forces would have been able to effectively destroy ISIS at its birth, saving more than 500,000 lives and avoiding the creation of nearly 20 million refugees in Syria and Iraq.

Instead of protecting Iraq and the region from the Islamic terrorists, Obama surrendered the peace, turning Iraq over to Iran and the terrorists, and betraying every American and Iraqi who had given their lives to keep them out. The message of the Obama White House – to be repeated through all eight years of his tenure – was that America was the disturber of the peace, and not “radical Islamic terrorism” – words he refused to utter. Instead he even removed the phrase “war on terror” from all official statements and replaced it with “overseas contingency operations.”

Second among the causes of the Middle East’s human tragedy was Obama’s support for the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad whom his secretaries of state, Clinton and Kerry both endorsed as a democratic reformer on the very eve of his savage war against his own people. This was followed by Obama’s refusal to enforce the red line he drew to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons on the Syrian population. When Assad did use them, Obama averted his eyes and papered over his culpability by arranging a phony deal with Russia to remove Assad’s chemical arsenal. Six years later, Assad was again using chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, the exposing Obama’s ruse.

This capitulation to the Syrian tyrant was a powerful reiteration of Obama’s signature message: The United States is the problem and is therefore committed to taking itself out of the picture. In other words, anti-American dictators and genocidal maniacs in the Middle East can have their way.

The third cause of the Middle Eastern morass was Obama’s failure, early on in his Obama administration, to support the green revolution in Iran, when its brave citizens poured into the streets in 2009 to protest a rigged election and the totalitarian regime. Obama’s silence was in effect support for the Jew-hating and America-hating regime, into whose ruling group Secretary of State Kerry’s daughter soon married. Obama’s betrayal of the Iranian people was a reiteration of his signature message to the region: America no longer cares to support freedom, and is willing to support its enemies, even those who kill Americans in the name of Islam.

The fourth cause of the Middle Eastern morass was Obama’s intervention in Egypt – his overthrow of an American ally, Hosni Mubarak, and his open support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the spawner of al-Qaeda and Hamas and the chief sponsor of the Islamic jihad against the West. Obama’s support for the Brotherhood was so strong that when it was overthrown by the Egyptian military following massive protests of the Egyptian people, the White House opposed the new regime of the pro-American General, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Through these policies, Obama alienated America’s most important Arab ally in the Middle East and opened the door to Russia’s influence in the region, and to the Kremlin’s alliance with its most barbaric regimes, Syria and Iran.

The fifth cause of the terrorist upsurge that has shattered the peace of the Middle East was Obama’s unauthorized, illegal intervention in Libya and murder of its ruler Gaddafi – a ruthless dictator no doubt – but a dedicated enemy of al-Qaeda with whom he was actively at war. The result of this naked American aggression, whose chief advocates were Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power, was a Libya devoured by the terrorist wolves who now rule it – a failed state and a haven for the bloodthirsty savages of al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The sixth reason the Middle East is now in flames is Obama’s policy of what he calls “strategic patience” but is in effect strategic cowardice and worse. Obama’s failure to act decisively against ISIS – to take only one example – allowed the Islamic State (which Obama has even refused to concede is Islamic), to become the largest terrorist force ever, and to provide its armed missionaries with a free hand to destroy the oldest Christian community in the world in Iraq, exterminating 200,000 members of the faith, while driving many more into exile.

By way of contrast and showing what the Obama White House could have done, sixth months into the Trump administration, the ISIS stronghold of Mosul is liberated and Raqqa is about to fall, spelling the end of the Islamic State. The blood of those slaughtered Christians, as well as the Yazidis and Muslims, is squarely on the head of Barack Obama and his White House enablers – the Democratic Party and the Democrats’ kept press.

The seventh cause of the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East – and the one with the most long-lasting consequences – is Obama’s embrace of the terrorist regime in Iran. Iran has killed more Americans than any other enemy of this country. Its kill list goes back to the Marine bombing of 1983 and includes the supply of every I.E.D. in Iraq used to blow up several thousand American soldiers.

Yet Obama built his entire Middle East policy around the so-called “deal” with Iran, which provides that nation with a path to nuclear weapons, and has no realistic inspection or enforcement mechanisms. The “Iran deal” lifted the sanctions that had been placed on a regime whose leaders were so openly contemptuous of Obama that they led chants of “Death to America” in the middle of the negotiations. The Iran deal brought America’s mortal enemy out of international isolation, provided it with the opportunity to acquire nuclear weapons, turned a blind eye to its ballistic missile development and stuffed its war chest with $200 billion in cash payments used to fund its weapons programs, and to support terrorist armies, including Hizbollah, Hamas and the Yemenite Houthis, busy creating havoc throughout the Middle East.

The Obama regime’s role in the human disasters in the Middle East is a warning about what happens when American leaders sympathize with our enemies, hamstring our armed forces and abandon our responsibilities to help maintain the peace and defend freedom in a fractious, authoritarian and bloody-minded world. The Obama administration’s enabling of the most barbaric forces in the Middle East is a national disgrace, and the most shameful episode in America’s post-World War II experience.

The path to rectifying these disasters and to stopping Islamic genocides of “infidels” in the Middle East, is first of all to restore America’s active presence in the region, taking a firm stance against radical Islamic terrorism. This is an effort which, thankfully, the Trump administration has already begun. Second, it is to make America’s policy firmly and consistently anti-terrorist, which the Trump administration has not yet done. This would mean, for example, cutting off all funds to the terrorist Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza, and halting all “peace” negotiations until the Palestinians renounce terror and support Israel’s right to exist.

The lesson to remember in all this is that despite its human weaknesses and flaws, America is still the only great power in the world today that cares about human dignity and decency and has the wherewithal to defend them and the peace.
185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: us or them ? on: August 01, 2017, 11:54:49 AM
That's right ccp.  On national security issues, 'Reaganite' Buchanan is with the leftists and Lindsey Graham is with the hawks.  It seems like common sense to me to want to take out a lunatic that is actively and seriously threatening us. 

Peace through strength.  The more strength we have, the less we need to use it.  And vice versa, all hell broke loose during our periods of retreat and weakness.

Choosing our battles and the timing of them carefully is a form of wisdom.  Unwillingness to use our strength, ever, is weakness.
186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Humor, Iowahawk on: July 31, 2017, 04:34:01 PM
Difference between a Cubs fan and a socialist?  A Cubs fan can point to a success every 108 years
187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Environmental issues, real climate change is survivable on: July 31, 2017, 08:19:10 AM
"Most buildings are rebuilt about every 50 years. If we simply stopped building in flood-prone areas and started building on higher ground, even the costs of moving cities would be bearable."
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Unified tax-reform framework on: July 27, 2017, 09:29:55 AM
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told attendees at an event Tuesday at the Capitol Hill Club that the unified tax-reform framework would be unveiled later in the week, and that the House Ways and Means Committee would then write legislation based on the principles.

What say this group on tax reform?
189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: July 27, 2017, 09:24:45 AM
My congressman Erik Paulsen of the House Ways and Means Committee called me back this weekend regarding my letter about tax reform.    )

He shares my frustration, says they have 80% agreement right now between the Republicans in the House, Senate and White House.

(They need closer to 100% agreement)

He gave me the tel no of the assistant who is his point person on tax reform.  Please write your realistic tax reform proposals on our tax thread and I will submit them.
190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 10 years ago John Taylor warned about Fed's role in the housing crisis on: July 27, 2017, 09:10:55 AM

Interest rates held unjustifiably low from 2003 to 2006 along with lack of accountability for mortgage originators, what could possibly go wrong.

On the 'lessons learned' section he should have left it blank.
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: look at the comments section on: July 26, 2017, 08:20:03 AM
Trump is losing his support.  He keeps stepping in it.    He is done unless he shuts the blank up, and of course he won't.

Very strange that he needs a public fight with Sessions.  The recusal mistake turned out to be a disaster but it seems something more immediate is driving this.  I would have to guess Trump is furious that the current AG leadership refuses to fire Mueller.

Sessions backed Trump because of the wall.  Sessions gave up a secure, senior Senate spot for this.  I suppose he liked being an instant crowd hero too.  Now he can have a book deal.
192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: July 26, 2017, 08:02:09 AM
"Doug pointed out there would only be impeachment if Republicans themselves turn."

Removal requires 67 Senators (2/3rds) and some Trump state Democrats would be the last to turn.  The majority of the President's own party would have to turn to get there. But Trump doesn't really have a party so impeachment happens when Trump voters turn on Trump.  That will not happen on media/opposition fabricated stories alone.  He would have to actually commit high crimes and misdemeanors to be removed.  All the noise in the room is just noise in the room until a real crime happens.  Tweeting about Sessions, commenting on the French first lady's figure, dissing Morning Joe, general oaf and gaffe behavior, or things that sound horrible or cloddish to people who already hate him won't get him impeached.
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: July 20, 2017, 02:05:10 PM
"Trump has stepped into this mess multiple times with OWN his big mouth"

Very true, however only criminality should be the test in the Russia matter - from the point of view of the AG, DOJ, FBI, IC etc.
194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: this is really bad on: July 20, 2017, 09:05:46 AM
quote author=ccp
To come out publicaly and criticize your own AG like this and blame him rightly or wrongly is really unbelievable.  If I were Sessions I would resign.  If I were Trump I would replace Sessions (not because Sessions deserves it) due to T burning his bridge which he keeps doing:

It is bad and done in bad taste but I agree with Trump on the substance of it.  Sessions should not have wrongly recused himself on what turned out to be a very big deal.  And if he was so compromised that he couldn't perform his duties he shouldn't have taken the position.  MHO

Recusal was seen as the Administration'a first admission of guilt where there was none.

It weakened the adminstration, let an investigation grow out of control and it conceded acceptance of the Democrat's double standard of Justice.  It opened a one sided  case where the other actually has guilt.

The original bond of Sessions and Trump was over border security, a small to medium sized piece of the AG job.
195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Trump's accomplisments and promises kept on: July 20, 2017, 08:48:10 AM
196  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Law Enforcement issues and LE in action, latest Mpks incident on: July 19, 2017, 09:19:52 AM
I wonder what G M and others speculate happened, Somali born cop shot white Australian woman for no apparent reason.
See startribune or powering.
197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Leaders of the Left, Ted Kennedy on: July 19, 2017, 08:06:08 AM
JULY 18, 2017
ON THIS DAY IN 1969: “Shortly after leaving a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy of Massachusetts drives an Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond. Kennedy escaped the submerged car, but his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, did not. The senator did not report the fatal car accident for 10 hours.”
Still though, as Charles Piece of Esquire infamously wrote in the Boston Globe in 2003, “If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”

   - Instapundit
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science, Greatest Scientific Fraud continued, adjusting the data on: July 17, 2017, 07:19:40 PM
John Hinderaker of Powerline following the forum:

Besides the adjustments exposed (must read), take a look at some charts of practical, relevant, human witnessed data:

199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul, no health care reform on: July 17, 2017, 01:50:17 PM
I watched Rand Paul on Fox News Sunday.  He made perfect sense - if we were arguing this in theory or in a college debate.  But we aren't.  I wish we had 51 or 100 Senators like him on tax and spend issues.  But we don't.  Senator Paul, if you have a better plan, put it on the table and name your other 50 votes.  This isn't a play or a skit or a rehearsal we're working on here.  It's the future of the country and we're deciding it RIGHT NOW.  If you can't roll back all of the government's power you had better start right now rolling back some of it.  Or else we will very soon and very suddenly be turning in the other direction - on policy and in the elections.  Trump already said he's going to work with Democrats on healthcare if he can't work with Republicans.  He is a deal maker and you, apparently, are not.
200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races 2018 on: July 17, 2017, 01:17:22 PM
G M: "Failure to end Obamacare and to cut taxes will result in real losses next year. The republican party never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

Tax cuts should have been passed instantly and made retroactive to the beginning of this year.  Now what?  Don't pass them at all?  Make people wait another year?  What does that do for an economy coming into an election?

Some factors in 2018:
1) House districts were drawn by Republicans.  Dems popularity tend to be concentrated in urban and coastal areas.  Big advantage R.
2) Presidents party typically loses 20-25 seats in the midterm.  Current margin = 24.  Advantage back to neutral.
3) Republicans have 52-48 currently in the Senate.
4) Democrats have to defend 25 seats in the Senate, more than half their total.  Advantage R.
5) 5 of those seats are in states Trump won by 19 points or more.  Huge advantage: R.
6) Dem leadership is broken or lost nationally and in both chambers.  Advantage: even.
7) The left universally hates Trump. Resist. The right is divided and frustrated.
 Advantage: D
8 ) The media universally hates Trump.  Resist.  Advantage: D
9) The popularity of Trump in the counties he won is still at 50%.  Advantage:  Neutral.
10)  Deciding factor will be the economy (stupid) if we're not at war.  Republicans are governing under Democrat no-growth policies once again.  Conservatives and Republicans will have no reason to show up if the elected officials fail to keep promises and enact agenda.  Independents will have no reason to favor Republicans if they can't govern.  The middle generally favors divided government anyway.  Advantage back to the Dems unless Republicans suddenly get their act together.

Republicans have one chance to turn this country and they are screwing it up royally, proving they can't govern.  They can't even remember why they wanted to win majorities or where they want to lead.  OMG, not smaller government!  These bills that aren't passing aren't very good anyway.  

When RINOs screw up, voters don't turn to the conservatives.  They take a sharp left turn, see 2006, 2008.

Dems could take Heller's seat in Nevada.  They could take 2 seats in Arizona; McCain is not looking very healthy to me.  And they could run the table on all 25 of their own incumbents.  If this really becomes a wave election leftward, it will be way worse than that.
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