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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dubai security chief urges coalition with Israel?!? on: March 25, 2016, 11:04:21 AM

A breath of fresh air.  This has been more than two decades in coming.  Saddam Hussein attacked four of his neighbors, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi and Israel, but Israel doesn't count because everyone wants to attack them. 

ISIS is enemy to both Sunni and Shia states plus Israel (and the US, Russia and Europe, etc.).  Israel is probably the strongest power in the region other than what's left of Obama's America and The Soviet Putin.  How long can you ignore your strongest potential ally while your existence is threatened?

Meanwhile, Israel is threatening no one other than those who are actively attacking them.
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz gets fired up!!! on: March 25, 2016, 10:50:21 AM
Good to see him show some apparently real emotion (and good politics)

https://www.facebook.com/tedcruzpage/videos/10153996328207464/?pnref=story

His opponent, a master of winning these types of exchanges, walked right into a baited trap.

No tweets (at this point) from DT since this one - that didn't fly:

"I didn't start the fight with Lyin'Ted Cruz over the GQ cover pic of Melania, he did. He knew the PAC was putting it out - hence, Lyin' Ted!"

No Donald.  By law, Cruz didn't coordinate the Pac's ad and he disavowed it immediately after.  He is the liar unless he has evidence of a campaign felony to bring forward.  His sudden silence answers that. The original ad would have gone unnoticed.  It was Trump who drew attention to it.  And it wasn't an attack; it was her proud work product - the cover of a major magazine.

Ted's points are spot on.  Real men don't do this, threaten to attack wives.

On radio, it sounded like a very carefully worded press release attack.  On video, you could see he was most certainly not reading this but emotionally and methodically making the case.

He landed a punch with his scared to debate him accusation too, drawing the contest back to issues and readiness.  Cruz needs to elevate that challenge.  There is no doubt now that Trump fears being in an issues debate, one on one, with Cruz right now and plans to never do that.

Trump illustrates his shallowness with the side by side wife comparison series.  Trump's third wife looks like a better supermodel, a dream girl, and Heidi Cruz looks like a First Lady.
153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: finally came right out and said it on: March 25, 2016, 09:50:35 AM
Now that his 8 yrs are almost up he finally says that he didn't really believe in American' exceptionalism all along.  It was obvious to us.  But now he just says it out loud:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BadFTesAPzY



Proves us right but quite embarrassing for the country.  Argentina has figured this out faster than the Americans.

Does Pres. Dumbsh*t have some examples to offer of where socialism and communism lifted civilizations out of poverty to match what freedom and free enterprise have done??

It is still necessary to challenge this President and his record, label it for what it is, failure, and drive his numbers down.  Even though he isn't running again, his record is.
154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential - Why a Contested Convention Favors Cruz on: March 25, 2016, 09:45:02 AM
The GOP nomination now comes down to process.  If Trump has 1237 before the election, he wins on the first ballot.  Experts say that will be really really close.  If the rest of the states were proportional he would fail, but he wins NY, leads in Calif, etc.

If Trump fails to win on the first ballot, the advantage goes to Cruz:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/433136/republican-contested-convention-favors-ted-cruz-over-donald-trump

Why a Contested Convention Favors Cruz
...
there are states such as New Hampshire, Georgia, and Ohio, which have open primaries that allow Trump-leaning Democrats and independents to cast ballots, but where delegates are elected through processes set up by state Republican parties who are by definition, well, Republicans.
...
There is perhaps no better example of Trump’s potential weakness on the floor in Cleveland, and of Cruz’s strength, than South Carolina. Trump won every single one of the 50 delegates up for grabs in the state’s February 20 primary, which was open. But to serve as a delegate from South Carolina, one has to have been a delegate to the 2015 state convention, held before Trump even announced his candidacy.
...
[Arizona] Trump won the state’s primary on Tuesday evening, but regardless of what any campaign does, the majority of Arizona’s 58 delegates, who are unbound after the first ballot, are likely to defect to Cruz on subsequent votes.



155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: appears dick morris agrees with objectivist on: March 25, 2016, 09:31:18 AM

"The Trump voter is exactly the type that stayed home in 2012."

Yes, his support comes from new or alienated voters but it comes at the cost of 70% disapproval of all women and many other negative factors.  He loses nationwide by double digits (current polling), loses NY by 19 points.  I was wrong about him not bringing new states into play; he could be the first Republican to lose Utah.

Some polls are wrong, but Republicans can believe all polls are wrong to their peril. 

Trump supporters believe that with his talent he will change those polls, we have 7 months to go.  He hasn't fought that fight yet.  But just as supporters stand by him, detractors are pretty set in their opinion of him too.

No one here may vote for Hillary but I might admit she is better on foreign policy and on trade policy.  Trump won't be competitive in my state.  He will cost us the state house and 2 congressional seats.
156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Peters: Slums have become Islamist colonies on: March 24, 2016, 09:11:24 PM

More on this:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/brussels-attacks-how-extremism-flourished-amid-lack-of-integration-in-molenbeek-a6948896.html

Brussels attacks: How extremism flourished amid lack of integration in Molenbeek
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillbillary Clintons - put the "AWFUL legacy of the last 8 years" behind us on: March 24, 2016, 09:03:20 PM
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/03/21/bill-clinton-knocks-obamas-awful-legacy/82094792/

See Bill Clinton for yourself, short clip.  He sounds awful.

What the hell is he talking about?  Inadvertent truth?
158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: March 24, 2016, 02:46:44 PM
"The war on drugs" is a poor metaphor. Just as the war on crime isn't really a war. Is there an endpoint or just something that has to be done to preserve some semblance of civilization.

Also the 'war on poverty' has just prolonged whatever we define as poverty.  Of course the results the 'war on drugs' include failure.  For one thing, driving up the price drives up the incentives for trafficking, etc.  We are the side of recognizing and criticizing unintended consequences yet seem to have no answer for this.

WOD failures don't necessarily mean legalize all drugs or remove all drug laws.  I would like to see innovative thinking toward strategies other than total prohibition or total legalization.  (I don't have an answer for that.)

BBG, your posts and viewpoints are appreciated here!

From a libertarian viewpoint, in theory, our liberties extend out until they adversely affect someone else. 

I would like to see drug use or drug possession laws and prosecution apply only when it is connected with adverse affect on others.

Obviously, there are times when drug use or abuse affects others, contributing to crime and tragedies.

One major setback on drug use and many other things is the idea that your healthcare is now a public good, not your private business, based on bad policy choices and wrongly decided Supreme Court cases.  Personal risk taking is now everyone's business. 

I don't like to see meth, heroin, etc on an equal footing with pot in the legalization discussion.  I don't think it advances the cause.

I have a house, ski and spend a lot of time in Colorado.  Everybody has an opinion about how pot 'legalization' is going.  A topic in itself.  Latest news is the crackdown and prosecution of 'unlicensed' grow houses.  Legalization is a funny word to use.  Reminds me of gambling and Fast and Furious gun sales where it is legal only if the government does it.

Generally speaking, I prefer decriminalization to legalization and government sanctioning.  Also prosecutorial discretion over mandatory sentences for activities that are widely accepted, if not harming others.

As I have posted on privacy issues, we need to take stock of what liberties we have lost, rank them in order of priority and possibility of getting them back, and start working out some strategies to gradually get them back.  Right now we are moving swiftly in the opposite direction.  Our side is divided and the statists are still advancing.

Even pot legalization in places like Colorado looks to me like a big government takeover. 

Further complicating legalization is the question of prescription drugs.  Hit by a car at 17, I felt about like BBG does now.  My mom turned down pain prescriptions for me when I left the hospital; she said dad could write a prescription if needed.  In teenager fashion I figured, whatever, I'll get what I need at school.  A year later I lost a cousin to some kind of drug accident.  It could have been almost any of us.

If drugs were truly legal, pharmacies wouldn't need a back room and many ailments would be self addressed, especially with information available today on the internet.  We could use our own wisdom and discretion of what we want or need.  The practice of medicine would be drastically changed, partly for better, partly (mostly?) for worse.

Some of the free choice thinking doesn't fully fear or appreciate the power of addiction.  Also mal-use and mis-dosage.
159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: March 24, 2016, 12:49:49 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnpO_RTSNmQ

HBO, Jon Stewart's successor(?).  This was from before Super Tuesday, still spot on, unfortunately.  No doubt he will be the keynote speaker at the Dem convention.
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: March 24, 2016, 12:38:45 PM
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Grannis: lousy economy, great job security on: March 24, 2016, 12:36:11 PM

Everyone who can be laid off, fired or eliminated already has been.
162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, weak opponents on: March 24, 2016, 12:26:51 PM
This illustrates the problem for Republicans:

President Obama Job Approval (Real Clear Politics)
Approve 48.8
Disapprove 46.8
Approve +2.0

He was at a significant negative when 17 pretty good Republicans set out to replace him.  With available and obvious facts, they should have been able to drive his approval to rock-bottom.  Hillary running and winning on a platform of more-of-the-same was inconceivable.

60% of Republican voters are embarrassed by this campaign while the persuadable in the middle see it worse.  Caliphate it the Middle East, ISIS in Europe, global stagnation and the worst US economic recovery in history are all the new normal, the results of this governance, and the Republicans are seen as offering a circus sideshow instead of an about-face change of direction in policy and results.

First place for the Republicans is the guy who matches up worst against Hillary and second place is the one who matches up second to the worst.

She could beat these guys wearing an orange jumpsuit.

Is there some good news I missed in this?
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump: Screw NATO, South Korea, etc; waterboarding on: March 23, 2016, 12:46:31 PM

Interesting comments from Britain.
The only group in the UK that agrees with Trump on questioning the value of NATO is the very far left.
The only group in Britain that agrees with Trump on some other issues is the very far right.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the recent Trump interviews is his lack of focus.  Rambling doesn't work on world security issues. 

Defending Israel or the west isn't a deal we can walk away from if we don't get it on our terms.

Very odd to back out of NATO instead of the UN. 

164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WaPo: Hillary's numbers are worse than they appear, on: March 23, 2016, 12:33:26 PM

All these defects in her character, record, candidacy and support are true, yet she is a 71% favorite right now to win the White House.  (source: CNN)

She succeeds in politics the way I did in sports; I attribute all of my success in sports to weak opponents. 

Some of us actively tried to put someone up against Hillary who could defeat her.  Others knew better.
165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Race and intelligence on: March 23, 2016, 12:16:45 PM
One followup point on the topic:

If you had in front of you the overlapping bell curves from sample data showing the intelligence range of 3 different race-ethnic groups studied for white, black and Asian for example, and you had in front of you 3 applicants, one each black, white and Asian, the group data would tell you nothing about the individuals.
166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Inherited Intelligence, Charles Murray, Bell Curve on: March 23, 2016, 12:02:07 PM
Also pertains to race and education. 
Charles Murray was co-author of The Bell Curve, a very long scientific book that became a landmine for a small point in it that exposed differences in intelligence between races, therefore author is a racist...  His co-author died about when this was published so he has owned the work over the two decades since it was published.  

Intelligence is 40%-80% inherited, a wide range that is nowhere near zero or 100%.

People tend to marry near their own intelligence making the difference grow rather than equalize over time.  He predicted this would have societal effects that have most certainly become true.

Being called a racist for publishing scientific data is nothing new, but Charles Murray has received more than his share of it.  What he could of or should have done is cover up the real results to fit what people like to hear, like the climate scientists do.  He didn't.

Most recently his work received a public rebuke from the President of Virginia Tech.

His response to that is a bit long but quite a worthwhile read that will save you the time of reading his 3-4 inch thick hardcover book if you haven't already read this important work.

https://www.aei.org/publication/an-open-letter-to-the-virginia-tech-community/

Charles Murray
March 17, 2016 9:00 am

An open letter to the Virginia Tech community

Last week, the president of Virginia Tech, Tim Sands, published an “open letter to the Virginia Tech community” defending lectures delivered by deplorable people like me (I’m speaking on the themes of Coming Apart on March 25). Bravo for President Sands’s defense of intellectual freedom. But I confess that I was not entirely satisfied with his characterization of my work. So I’m writing an open letter of my own.

Dear Virginia Tech community,

Since President Sands has just published an open letter making a serious allegation against me, it seems appropriate to respond. The allegation: “Dr. Murray is well known for his controversial and largely discredited work linking measures of intelligence to heredity, and specifically to race and ethnicity — a flawed socioeconomic theory that has been used by some to justify fascism, racism and eugenics.”

Let me make an allegation of my own. President Sands is unfamiliar either with the actual content of The Bell Curve — the book I wrote with Richard J. Herrnstein to which he alludes — or with the state of knowledge in psychometrics.

The Bell Curve and Charles Murray
I should begin by pointing out that the topic of the The Bell Curve was not race, but, as the book’s subtitle says, “Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life.” Our thesis was that over the last half of the 20th century, American society has become cognitively stratified. At the beginning of the penultimate chapter, Herrnstein and I summarized our message:

Predicting the course of society is chancy, but certain tendencies seem strong enough to worry about:
An increasingly isolated cognitive elite.
A merging of the cognitive elite with the affluent.
A deteriorating quality of life for people at the bottom end of the cognitive distribution.
Unchecked, these trends will lead the U.S. toward something resembling a caste society, with the underclass mired ever more firmly at the bottom and the cognitive elite ever more firmly anchored at the top, restructuring the rules of society so that it becomes harder and harder for them to lose. [p. 509].
It is obvious that these conclusions have not been discredited in the twenty-two years since they were written. They may be more accurately described as prescient.

Now to the substance of President Sands’s allegation.

The heritability of intelligence

Richard Herrnstein and I wrote that cognitive ability as measured by IQ tests is heritable, somewhere in the range of 40% to 80% [pp. 105–110], and that heritability tends to rise as people get older. This was not a scientifically controversial statement when we wrote it; that President Sands thinks it has been discredited as of 2016 is amazing.

You needn’t take my word for it. In the wake of the uproar over The Bell Curve, the American Psychological Association (APA) assembled a Task Force on Intelligence consisting of eleven of the most distinguished psychometricians in the United States. Their report, titled “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns,” was published in the February 1996 issue of the APA’s peer-reviewed journal, American Psychologist. Regarding the magnitude of heritability (represented by h2), here is the Task Force’s relevant paragraph. For purposes of readability, I have omitted the citations embedded in the original paragraph:

If one simply combines all available correlations in a single analysis, the heritability (h2) works out to about .50 and the between-family variance (c2) to about .25. These overall figures are misleading, however, because most of the relevant studies have been done with children. We now know that the heritability of IQ changes with age: h2 goes up and c2 goes down from infancy to adulthood. In childhood h2 and c2 for IQ are of the order of .45 and .35; by late adolescence h2 is around .75 and c2 is quite low (zero in some studies) [p. 85].
The position we took on heritability was squarely within the consensus state of knowledge. Since The Bell Curve was published, the range of estimates has narrowed somewhat, tending toward modestly higher estimates of heritability.

Intelligence and race

There’s no doubt that discussing intelligence and race was asking for trouble in 1994, as it still is in 2016. But that’s for political reasons, not scientific ones.

There’s no doubt that discussing intelligence and race was asking for trouble in 1994, as it still is in 2016. But that’s for political reasons, not scientific ones. Once again, the state of knowledge about the basics is not particularly controversial. The mean scores for all kinds of mental tests vary by ethnicity. No one familiar with the data disputes that most elemental statement. Regarding the most sensitive difference, between Blacks and Whites, Herrnstein and I followed the usual estimate of one standard deviation (15 IQ points), but pointed out that the magnitude varied depending on the test, sample, and where and how it was administered. What did the APA Task Force conclude? “Although studies using different tests and samples yield a range of results, the Black mean is typically about one standard deviation (about 15 points) below that of Whites. The difference is largest on those tests (verbal or nonverbal) that best represent the general intelligence factor g” [p. 93].

Is the Black/White differential diminishing? In The Bell Curve, we discussed at length the evidence that the Black/White differential has narrowed [pp. 289–295], concluding that “The answer is yes with (as usual) some qualifications.” The Task Force’s treatment of the question paralleled ours, concluding with “[l]arger and more definitive studies are needed before this trend can be regarded as established” [p. 93].

Can the Black/White differential be explained by test bias? In a long discussion [pp. 280–286], Herrnstein and I presented the massive evidence that the predictive validity of mental tests is similar for Blacks and Whites and that cultural bias in the test items or their administration do not explain the Black/White differential. The Task Force’s conclusions regarding predictive validity: “Considered as predictors of future performance, the tests do not seem to be biased against African Americans” [p. 93]. Regarding cultural bias and testing conditions:  “Controlled studies [of these potential sources of bias] have shown, however, that none of them contributes substantially to the Black/White differential under discussion here” [p. 94].

Can the Black/White differential be explained by socioeconomic status? We pointed out that the question has two answers: Statistically controlling for socioeconomic status (SES) narrows the gap. But the gap does not narrow as SES goes up — i.e., measured in standard deviations, the differential between Blacks and Whites with high SES is not narrower than the differential between those with low SES [pp. 286–289]. Here’s the APA Task Force on this topic:

Several considerations suggest that [SES] cannot be the whole explanation. For one thing, the Black/White differential in test scores is not eliminated when groups or individuals are matched for SES. Moreover, the data reviewed in Section 4 suggest that—if we exclude extreme conditions—nutrition and other biological factors that may vary with SES account for relatively little of the variance in such scores [p. 94].
The notion that Herrnstein and I made claims about ethnic differences in IQ that have been scientifically rejected is simply wrong.

And so on. The notion that Herrnstein and I made claims about ethnic differences in IQ that have been scientifically rejected is simply wrong. We deliberately remained well within the mainstream of what was confidently known when we wrote. None of those descriptions have changed much in the subsequent twenty-two years, except to be reinforced as more has been learned. I have no idea what countervailing evidence President Sands could have in mind.

At this point, some readers may be saying to themselves, “But wasn’t The Bell Curve the book that tried to prove blacks were genetically inferior to whites?” I gather that was President Sands’ impression as well. It has no basis in fact. Knowing that people are preoccupied with genes and race (it was always the first topic that came up when we told people we were writing a book about IQ), Herrnstein and I offered a seventeen-page discussion of genes, race, and IQ [pp. 295–311]. The first five pages were devoted to explaining the context of the issue — why, for example, the heritability of IQ among humans does not necessarily mean that differences between groups are also heritable. Four pages were devoted to the technical literature arguing that genes were implicated in the Black/White differential. Eight pages were devoted to arguments that the causes were environmental. Then we wrote:

If the reader is now convinced that either the genetic or environmental explanation has won out to the exclusion of the other, we have not done a sufficiently good job of presenting one side or the other. It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences. What might the mix be? We are resolutely agnostic on that issue; as far as we can determine, the evidence does not yet justify an estimate. [p. 311].
That’s it—the sum total of every wild-eyed claim that The Bell Curve makes about genes and race. There’s nothing else. Herrnstein and I were guilty of refusing to say that the evidence justified a conclusion that the differential had to be entirely environmental. On this issue, I have a minor quibble with the APA Task Force, which wrote “There is not much direct evidence on [a genetic component], but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis” [p. 95]. Actually there was no direct evidence at all as of the mid-1990s, but the Task Force chose not to mention a considerable body of indirect evidence that did in fact support the genetic hypothesis. No matter. The Task Force did not reject the possibility of a genetic component. As of 2016, geneticists are within a few years of knowing the answer for sure, and I am content to wait for their findings.

But I cannot leave the issue of genes without mentioning how strongly Herrnstein and I rejected the importance of whether genes are involved. This passage from The Bell Curve reveals how very, very different the book is from the characterization of it that has become so widespread:

In sum: If tomorrow you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the cognitive differences between races were 100 percent genetic in origin, nothing of any significance should change. The knowledge would give you no reason to treat individuals differently than if ethnic differences were 100 percent environmental. By the same token, knowing that the differences are 100 percent environmental in origin would not suggest a single program or policy that is not already being tried. It would justify no optimism about the time it will take to narrow the existing gaps. It would not even justify confidence that genetically based differences will not be upon us within a few generations. The impulse to think that environmental sources of difference are less threatening than genetic ones is natural but illusory.
In any case, you are not going to learn tomorrow that all the cognitive differences between races are 100 percent genetic in origin, because the scientific state of knowledge, unfinished as it is, already gives ample evidence that environment is part of the story. But the evidence eventually may become unequivocal that genes are also part of the story. We are worried that the elite wisdom on this issue, for years almost hysterically in denial about that possibility, will snap too far in the other direction. It is possible to face all the facts on ethnic and race differences on intelligence and not run screaming from the room. That is the essential message [pp. 314-315].
I have been reluctant to spend so much space discussing The Bell Curve’s treatment of race and intelligence because it was such an ancillary topic in the book. Focusing on it in this letter has probably made it sound as if it was as important as President Sands’s open letter implied.

But I had to do it. For two decades, I have had to put up with misrepresentations of The Bell Curve. It is annoying. After so long, when so many of the book’s main arguments have been so dramatically vindicated by events, and when our presentations of the meaning and role of IQ have been so steadily reinforced by subsequent research in the social sciences, not to mention developments in neuroscience and genetics, President Sands’s casual accusation that our work has been “largely discredited” was especially exasperating. The president of a distinguished university should take more care.

It is in that context that I came to the end of President Sands’s indictment, accusing me of promulgating “a flawed socioeconomic theory that has been used by some to justify fascism, racism and eugenics.” At that point, President Sands went beyond the kind of statement that merely reflects his unfamiliarity with The Bell Curve and/or psychometrics. He engaged in intellectual McCarthyism.
167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, big money influencing elections on: March 22, 2016, 12:49:01 PM
In response to all the complaints about big money in politics, i.e. free speech, less than we spend promoting laundry soap, it needs to be noted that $500 million plus has already been wasted on candidates that are no longer running while the frontrunners get all kinds of attention without spending that kind of money.
-------------------------------------------------------------
http://time.com/4266176/campaign-finance-republican-donors-congress/
So far, donors have funneled more than $520 million collectively into campaigns and outside groups supporting Republican presidential candidates who have now dropped out — and the primaries are far from over.
168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea, etc) Japan changes military approach on: March 22, 2016, 12:44:54 PM
This is good and bad.  For about 70 years we didn't want Japan to be militaristic.  Now, in response to American impotence we need their help.  As we move past the Obama doctrine of unilateral disarmament and disengagement, we will need to build alliances with countries like Japan, Australia, India, and others.

(relevant to other threads as well, North Korea, etc.)
--------------------------

Japan allows its military to help defend U.S., other allies
http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-japan-military-20140702-story.html

Japan on Tuesday announced a reinterpretation of its pacifist post-World War II Constitution that allows the country's military to help defend the United States and other allies.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the decision by the Cabinet to adjust the interpretation from one that limited the armed forces to defending Japan was necessary because of regional changes. The decision allows Japan's forces to help protect U.S. ships that may come under attack in nearby waters, Abe said.

"This will be a deterrent," he said during a news conference. "The basic thinking on how the constitution is presently interpreted will not change because of the Cabinet decision that was made."

169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe, Belgium attacks on: March 22, 2016, 12:36:29 PM
Attacks in the airport and metro in Brussels: what we know from Belgium
Twenty people were killed and 106 were injured in the subway attack alone, and 14 were killed and 92 injured at the airport.
http://www.vox.com/2016/3/22/11282730/belgium-attacks-airport-metro-maelbeek
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We care about Europe for its own sake but we also follow this because what is happening there is coming to a theater near you!

My daughter just stood through a TSA line at MSP for 45 minutes at 5:00am on a Saturday morning.  While we are 'securing' the flights, we are leaving thousands of people packed together in cattle gates, exposed to attacks from unscreened terrorists.  We fight the terrorists by looking in the rear view mirror at their strategies from 15 years ago while they adapt, adjust ad move on.  I commented on this to a friend just before terrorists attacked the Brussels airport. It didn't take rocket science to recognize that risk.  What kind of security do we have by making people stand closely together as sitting-ducks in a known, unsecured area?  It's just like mass shootings happening in gun free zones, and then surprise, no one can shoot back.

It sucks being more stupid than our enemy.
170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gov. Kasich running with Soros money on: March 22, 2016, 12:21:30 PM

Kasich is still in because of money and the money is coming from people who want Republicans to lose.  Do Republicans realize this?

No wonder Kasich did not want to debate Cruz.  Do you think this might have come up??
171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: March 21, 2016, 06:00:32 PM
"Thank God for progress."   - Agree.

Reminds me of a bumper sticker / billboard seen recently:

I am color blind.   - God
172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, Columnist in Communist Cuba? on: March 21, 2016, 04:26:40 PM
A slip up? Or not?

Brian Williams: Wash Post's Eugene Robinson Is a ‘Pulitzer Prize-Winning Communist’

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/scott-whitlock/2016/03/21/brian-williams-eugene-robinson-pulitzer-prize-winning-communist

Why did he try to correct himself when he had it right the first time?
173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump, Plagiarize Scandal on: March 21, 2016, 01:44:23 PM
Where is the outrage?
http://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archives/2016/03/17/trump-earns-an-f-for-plagiarism-if-this-was-college-someone-would-say-get-him-out-of-here
http://dailycaller.com/2016/03/16/trump-appears-to-have-heavily-plagiarized-op-ed-from-carson/

More accurately, Trump's people plagiarized.  Trump himself isn't a policy guy.

Ben Carson: ‘It doesn’t bother me at all’ if Trump plagiarized my op-ed."
https://www.yahoo.com/politics/trump-carson-plagiarism-141659130.html
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/mar/17/ben-carson-it-doesnt-bother-me-at-all-if-trump-pla/
174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics, New info, analysis on Income, Wealth, Spending Inequality on: March 21, 2016, 01:37:00 PM
Important work, I think, studying inequality over lifetime instead annually and looking more to spending rather than income wealth.  Realistic conclusions, policies must take disincentives to work at both ends of the spectrum into account.

https://newrepublic.com/article/131517/weve-measuring-inequality-wrong

175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran, Why executions in Iran have hit a 27-year high on: March 21, 2016, 01:27:03 PM
Our allies in the Middle East?  Our ally of our ally (Putin)?  Is it because crime is up a totalitarian, Sharia Law governed regime? 

I thought they just "elected" a "moderate" "reformer"!

(It isn't democracy folks.  They didn't elect anyone and they aren't reforming except if that means to become more radical and extreme.)

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2016/03/18/Why-executions-in-Iran-have-hit-a-27-year-high.html
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics & Science. Carbon Dioxide emissions peaked two years ago on: March 21, 2016, 01:21:34 PM
Who knew?  It's an MIT publication (highly respected institution?), but the analysis of this new fact I think is wrong.

In the US at least, emissions are down because of fracking, not because of solar kleptocracies.

China is cutting back on coal because of soot and smog, not because of global conscience or agreements over CO2 that makes crops and forests grow more vibrantly.  The global economy is sick and mostly stagnant, which also slows emissions.  The largest capacity carbon-free fuel is nuclear, still largely untapped.

Still the peak is noteworthy.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601055/global-carbon-dioxide-emissions-have-now-been-flat-for-two-years-running/#/set/id/601047/
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: What is Putin up to in Syria? on: March 21, 2016, 01:13:36 PM
Related to other posts here, what is Putin up to in Syria?

It's nice having others fight wars instead of us, except that they have far different objectives and we have no control or even knowledge over what is happening and decisions that are made along the way.

Interesting fact, analysis and speculation here:

https://pjmedia.com/michaelledeen/2016/03/17/whats-putin-up-to-in-syria/

(Excerpt)  ... offer from Iran: if the Russians joined Iran on a big scale, Tehran would cover the Kremlin’s Middle Eastern expenses up to $5 billion per year, starting April 1. Details would be managed, as always, by Ali Bagheri, Iran’s point man on everything Russian.

Putin was certainly impressed; the question is whether he wants that sort of relationship with the ayatollahs. He’s got problems with radical Islamists on his borders, long supported by Tehran, and Khamenei’s help would be welcome in the ‘stans. On the other hand, what’s an Iran deal worth? The economy is a mess, even with Obama’s gifts. The banks are pretty much rupt, the pension funds have been looted, industry is gasping along at roughly one-quarter of capacity, unemployment is about 8 million, and the government owes a cool $21 billion to infrastructure companies.

No wonder the Iranians are the second biggest group of foreign émigrés in Germany.

What kind of ally is that? Shaky, at best. And he knows they’re not great fighters. That’s what got the Russian soldiers and warplanes into Syria in the first place.

Then it turns out the Iranians aren’t content with the Russian S-300 antiaircraft missiles. They want the 400s. And they want cooperation on operations against Israel, which Putin surely doesn’t. Indeed, there are so many rumors about Russian/Israeli/Egyptian/GCC/Saudi joint ventures that I can’t keep track of them all. And next month the Iraqi Kurds will be discussing arms deals in Moscow.

So Putin is hedging his Iranian bet. He says he can send bombers any old time, and he’s keeping his ground and sea bases, so it’s clear that Khamenei did not have advance warning from the Kremlin, and you can be sure he’s cursing out the Russian president as the New Year approaches.

Final point: like Khamenei, Putin knows time is running out on The Wonderful Thing That Happened in Washington (aka the Obama administration). So whatever he wants to get, now is the time. Maybe he’s got plans for those bombers …

178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Charles Murray, Inherited intelligence, race, science, politics (and education) on: March 21, 2016, 01:00:58 PM
Charles Murray was co-author of The Bell Curve, a very long scientific book that became a landmine for a small point in it that exposed differences in intelligence between races, therefore author is a racist...  His co-author died about when this was published so he has owned the work over the two decades since it was published.  

Intelligence is 40%-80% inherited, a wide range that is nowhere near zero or 100%.

People tend to marry near their own intelligence making the difference grow rather than equalize over time.  He predicted this would have societal effects that have most certainly become true.

Being called a racist for publishing scientific data is nothing new, but Charles Murray has received more than his share of it.  What he could of or should have done is cover up the real results to fit what people like to hear, like the climate scientists do.  He didn't.

Most recently his work received a public rebuke from the President of Virginia Tech.

His response to that is a bit long but quite a worthwhile read that will save you the time of reading his 3-4 inch thick hardcover book if you haven't already read this important work.

https://www.aei.org/publication/an-open-letter-to-the-virginia-tech-community/

Charles Murray
March 17, 2016 9:00 am

An open letter to the Virginia Tech community

Last week, the president of Virginia Tech, Tim Sands, published an “open letter to the Virginia Tech community” defending lectures delivered by deplorable people like me (I’m speaking on the themes of Coming Apart on March 25). Bravo for President Sands’s defense of intellectual freedom. But I confess that I was not entirely satisfied with his characterization of my work. So I’m writing an open letter of my own.

Dear Virginia Tech community,

Since President Sands has just published an open letter making a serious allegation against me, it seems appropriate to respond. The allegation: “Dr. Murray is well known for his controversial and largely discredited work linking measures of intelligence to heredity, and specifically to race and ethnicity — a flawed socioeconomic theory that has been used by some to justify fascism, racism and eugenics.”

Let me make an allegation of my own. President Sands is unfamiliar either with the actual content of The Bell Curve — the book I wrote with Richard J. Herrnstein to which he alludes — or with the state of knowledge in psychometrics.

The Bell Curve and Charles Murray
I should begin by pointing out that the topic of the The Bell Curve was not race, but, as the book’s subtitle says, “Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life.” Our thesis was that over the last half of the 20th century, American society has become cognitively stratified. At the beginning of the penultimate chapter, Herrnstein and I summarized our message:

Predicting the course of society is chancy, but certain tendencies seem strong enough to worry about:
An increasingly isolated cognitive elite.
A merging of the cognitive elite with the affluent.
A deteriorating quality of life for people at the bottom end of the cognitive distribution.
Unchecked, these trends will lead the U.S. toward something resembling a caste society, with the underclass mired ever more firmly at the bottom and the cognitive elite ever more firmly anchored at the top, restructuring the rules of society so that it becomes harder and harder for them to lose. [p. 509].
It is obvious that these conclusions have not been discredited in the twenty-two years since they were written. They may be more accurately described as prescient.

Now to the substance of President Sands’s allegation.

The heritability of intelligence

Richard Herrnstein and I wrote that cognitive ability as measured by IQ tests is heritable, somewhere in the range of 40% to 80% [pp. 105–110], and that heritability tends to rise as people get older. This was not a scientifically controversial statement when we wrote it; that President Sands thinks it has been discredited as of 2016 is amazing.

You needn’t take my word for it. In the wake of the uproar over The Bell Curve, the American Psychological Association (APA) assembled a Task Force on Intelligence consisting of eleven of the most distinguished psychometricians in the United States. Their report, titled “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns,” was published in the February 1996 issue of the APA’s peer-reviewed journal, American Psychologist. Regarding the magnitude of heritability (represented by h2), here is the Task Force’s relevant paragraph. For purposes of readability, I have omitted the citations embedded in the original paragraph:

If one simply combines all available correlations in a single analysis, the heritability (h2) works out to about .50 and the between-family variance (c2) to about .25. These overall figures are misleading, however, because most of the relevant studies have been done with children. We now know that the heritability of IQ changes with age: h2 goes up and c2 goes down from infancy to adulthood. In childhood h2 and c2 for IQ are of the order of .45 and .35; by late adolescence h2 is around .75 and c2 is quite low (zero in some studies) [p. 85].
The position we took on heritability was squarely within the consensus state of knowledge. Since The Bell Curve was published, the range of estimates has narrowed somewhat, tending toward modestly higher estimates of heritability.

Intelligence and race

There’s no doubt that discussing intelligence and race was asking for trouble in 1994, as it still is in 2016. But that’s for political reasons, not scientific ones.

There’s no doubt that discussing intelligence and race was asking for trouble in 1994, as it still is in 2016. But that’s for political reasons, not scientific ones. Once again, the state of knowledge about the basics is not particularly controversial. The mean scores for all kinds of mental tests vary by ethnicity. No one familiar with the data disputes that most elemental statement. Regarding the most sensitive difference, between Blacks and Whites, Herrnstein and I followed the usual estimate of one standard deviation (15 IQ points), but pointed out that the magnitude varied depending on the test, sample, and where and how it was administered. What did the APA Task Force conclude? “Although studies using different tests and samples yield a range of results, the Black mean is typically about one standard deviation (about 15 points) below that of Whites. The difference is largest on those tests (verbal or nonverbal) that best represent the general intelligence factor g” [p. 93].

Is the Black/White differential diminishing? In The Bell Curve, we discussed at length the evidence that the Black/White differential has narrowed [pp. 289–295], concluding that “The answer is yes with (as usual) some qualifications.” The Task Force’s treatment of the question paralleled ours, concluding with “[l]arger and more definitive studies are needed before this trend can be regarded as established” [p. 93].

Can the Black/White differential be explained by test bias? In a long discussion [pp. 280–286], Herrnstein and I presented the massive evidence that the predictive validity of mental tests is similar for Blacks and Whites and that cultural bias in the test items or their administration do not explain the Black/White differential. The Task Force’s conclusions regarding predictive validity: “Considered as predictors of future performance, the tests do not seem to be biased against African Americans” [p. 93]. Regarding cultural bias and testing conditions:  “Controlled studies [of these potential sources of bias] have shown, however, that none of them contributes substantially to the Black/White differential under discussion here” [p. 94].

Can the Black/White differential be explained by socioeconomic status? We pointed out that the question has two answers: Statistically controlling for socioeconomic status (SES) narrows the gap. But the gap does not narrow as SES goes up — i.e., measured in standard deviations, the differential between Blacks and Whites with high SES is not narrower than the differential between those with low SES [pp. 286–289]. Here’s the APA Task Force on this topic:

Several considerations suggest that [SES] cannot be the whole explanation. For one thing, the Black/White differential in test scores is not eliminated when groups or individuals are matched for SES. Moreover, the data reviewed in Section 4 suggest that—if we exclude extreme conditions—nutrition and other biological factors that may vary with SES account for relatively little of the variance in such scores [p. 94].
The notion that Herrnstein and I made claims about ethnic differences in IQ that have been scientifically rejected is simply wrong.

And so on. The notion that Herrnstein and I made claims about ethnic differences in IQ that have been scientifically rejected is simply wrong. We deliberately remained well within the mainstream of what was confidently known when we wrote. None of those descriptions have changed much in the subsequent twenty-two years, except to be reinforced as more has been learned. I have no idea what countervailing evidence President Sands could have in mind.

At this point, some readers may be saying to themselves, “But wasn’t The Bell Curve the book that tried to prove blacks were genetically inferior to whites?” I gather that was President Sands’ impression as well. It has no basis in fact. Knowing that people are preoccupied with genes and race (it was always the first topic that came up when we told people we were writing a book about IQ), Herrnstein and I offered a seventeen-page discussion of genes, race, and IQ [pp. 295–311]. The first five pages were devoted to explaining the context of the issue — why, for example, the heritability of IQ among humans does not necessarily mean that differences between groups are also heritable. Four pages were devoted to the technical literature arguing that genes were implicated in the Black/White differential. Eight pages were devoted to arguments that the causes were environmental. Then we wrote:

If the reader is now convinced that either the genetic or environmental explanation has won out to the exclusion of the other, we have not done a sufficiently good job of presenting one side or the other. It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences. What might the mix be? We are resolutely agnostic on that issue; as far as we can determine, the evidence does not yet justify an estimate. [p. 311].
That’s it—the sum total of every wild-eyed claim that The Bell Curve makes about genes and race. There’s nothing else. Herrnstein and I were guilty of refusing to say that the evidence justified a conclusion that the differential had to be entirely environmental. On this issue, I have a minor quibble with the APA Task Force, which wrote “There is not much direct evidence on [a genetic component], but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis” [p. 95]. Actually there was no direct evidence at all as of the mid-1990s, but the Task Force chose not to mention a considerable body of indirect evidence that did in fact support the genetic hypothesis. No matter. The Task Force did not reject the possibility of a genetic component. As of 2016, geneticists are within a few years of knowing the answer for sure, and I am content to wait for their findings.

But I cannot leave the issue of genes without mentioning how strongly Herrnstein and I rejected the importance of whether genes are involved. This passage from The Bell Curve reveals how very, very different the book is from the characterization of it that has become so widespread:

In sum: If tomorrow you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the cognitive differences between races were 100 percent genetic in origin, nothing of any significance should change. The knowledge would give you no reason to treat individuals differently than if ethnic differences were 100 percent environmental. By the same token, knowing that the differences are 100 percent environmental in origin would not suggest a single program or policy that is not already being tried. It would justify no optimism about the time it will take to narrow the existing gaps. It would not even justify confidence that genetically based differences will not be upon us within a few generations. The impulse to think that environmental sources of difference are less threatening than genetic ones is natural but illusory.
In any case, you are not going to learn tomorrow that all the cognitive differences between races are 100 percent genetic in origin, because the scientific state of knowledge, unfinished as it is, already gives ample evidence that environment is part of the story. But the evidence eventually may become unequivocal that genes are also part of the story. We are worried that the elite wisdom on this issue, for years almost hysterically in denial about that possibility, will snap too far in the other direction. It is possible to face all the facts on ethnic and race differences on intelligence and not run screaming from the room. That is the essential message [pp. 314-315].
I have been reluctant to spend so much space discussing The Bell Curve’s treatment of race and intelligence because it was such an ancillary topic in the book. Focusing on it in this letter has probably made it sound as if it was as important as President Sands’s open letter implied.

But I had to do it. For two decades, I have had to put up with misrepresentations of The Bell Curve. It is annoying. After so long, when so many of the book’s main arguments have been so dramatically vindicated by events, and when our presentations of the meaning and role of IQ have been so steadily reinforced by subsequent research in the social sciences, not to mention developments in neuroscience and genetics, President Sands’s casual accusation that our work has been “largely discredited” was especially exasperating. The president of a distinguished university should take more care.

It is in that context that I came to the end of President Sands’s indictment, accusing me of promulgating “a flawed socioeconomic theory that has been used by some to justify fascism, racism and eugenics.” At that point, President Sands went beyond the kind of statement that merely reflects his unfamiliarity with The Bell Curve and/or psychometrics. He engaged in intellectual McCarthyism.
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin on the US Supreme Court on: March 21, 2016, 12:50:03 PM
Just a point of curiosity.  This could go under constitution but someone should mention it somewhere.  If Merrick Garland is confirmed, the U.S. Supreme Court will have 5 Catholics and 4 Jewish Justices and no other religions represented.  No big deal except that the current regime is SO consumed with people being part of a demographic sub-group.

I like Jewish people  smiley , some of my best liberal and conservative friends are Jewish.  I find it mostly irrelevant in my dealings, friendships, politics, even dating.

That said, doesn't the over-representation of these groups that have histories of being discriminated against and of being blamed for disproportionate control (banks, networks, etc.), on a Court with a history of wrongly decided cases, risk the future possibility that a future bad decision will incite blame and inflame future anti-Semitism?

Just a thought that I might point back to someday...
180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary Clinton's crimes and political problems on: March 21, 2016, 12:28:59 PM
It's hard to keep up with the Hillary Crime Family update posts.  It is so ho-hum to say she has committed a felony or two, but I need to clear my spindle once in a while.

One small fact keeps her commodities trading from being a prosecutable felony, the statute of limitations.  All other facts indicate she is guilty and the crime was trading stolen money to enrich one side and buy political favors for the other.  Not a small deal for a politician.

The email fiasco is also most certainly a felony.  The undercharging of Hillary by an administration that supports her, right as she runs is a political favor corruption crime of its own, of the worst kind. 

Other stories:

CLASSIFIED EMAILS REVEAL HILLARY CLINTON WORKED WITH GOOGLE/YOUTUBE TO BLOCK BENGHAZI VIDEO(S)
http://www.conservativeoutfitters.com/blogs/news/93521217-emails-reveal-hillary-had-youtube-block-benghazi-videos
http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0226/7001/files/Classified_Emails_Reveal_Hillary_Clinton_Worked_with_Google_YouTube_to_Block_Benghazi_Video_1024x1024.png?9685109793385273701
After the Benghazi attack Hillary's State Department emails show her administration was in contact with Google regarding a blocked YouTube video after President Obama admitted that the Benghazi attack was a preplanned act of terror.

Gaffe?  Already mentioned here, http://ktar.com/story/967243/hillary-clinton-us-has-done-a-really-good-job-securing-arizona-mexico-border/

http://freebeacon.com/politics/hillary-clintons-four-days-of-gaffes/

Black Dems aren't turning out for Hillary>
http://nypost.com/2016/03/18/black-dems-arent-turning-out-for-hillary-like-they-did-for-obama/
The number of African-Americans who voted in Tuesday’s primaries plummeted by an estimated 40 percent in Ohio, 38 percent in Florida and 34 percent in North Carolina compared with the 2008 Democratic primary when Barack Obama was on the ballot.

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2016/03/18/four_stories_with_four_different_reasons_why_hillary_clinton_is_the_worst_democrat_nominee_in_history

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/18/us/politics/as-hillary-clinton-sweeps-states-one-group-resists-white-men.html?_r=0
While Mrs. Clinton swept the five major primaries on Tuesday, she lost white men in all of them, and by double-digit margins in Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, exit polls showed — a sharp turnabout from 2008, when she won double-digit victories among white male voters in all three states.

Huff Post, 10 reasons Hillary could fail:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/les-leopold/think-again-hillary-democ_b_9495560.html

Authenticity problems:
http://dailycaller.com/2016/03/17/report-obama-pushes-donors-to-back-hillary-despite-authenticity-problems/

Hillary has an NSA problem, not just an FBI problem.
http://observer.com/2016/03/hillary-has-an-nsa-problem/
[Blunethal's unsecured emails to Clinton ("keep them coming") "illegally lifted from four different NSA reports, all of them classified “Top Secret / Special Intelligence.” Worse, at least one of those reports was issued under the GAMMA compartment, which is an NSA handling caveat that is applied to extraordinarily sensitive information (for instance, decrypted conversations between top foreign leadership, as this was). GAMMA is properly viewed as a SIGINT Special Access Program, or SAP, several of which from the CIA Ms. Clinton compromised in another series of her “unclassified” emails."
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Is solar a dying industry? on: March 21, 2016, 12:00:09 PM

There was another solar financial collapse last week, largest ever, hardly reported, bailed out (again) by the government that made the anti-economic investment possible in the first place.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/03/the-great-solar-epic-fail-of-all-time.php

The large scale solar projects are burning up birds, like wind power is chopping them up, while nuclear power is still carbon free and can now be built to withstand a tsunami.

I like solar energy as an off grid, security and independence-based private luxury that becomes a necessity if and when the grid fails, not as a pretend cost-effective alternative to nuclear, natural gas or newer innovations.

It should be sold that way, as a niche product.  Everyone who can afford it and wants protection against a terror-based grid shut down should buy and install enough solar and other alternatives to survive and function in those times.

Good luck heating your house with solar - at night.
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 19, 2016, 12:11:23 PM
IMHO Reps need to stand firm, even against this politically shrewd choice by Obama and BE HONEST about it, none of this "Let the people decide" crap.

Especially when a nominee would change the balance of the court (as versus a lib replacing a lib or a conservative a conservative) and the country is in the middle of an election, well then wait until the lame duck session.

Well put!  We are hearing 'let the people decide' without hearing what our side is of what is at stake.  Where you say, be honest, I would add, be specific and be persuasive.  I have written about Ted Cruz reaching out in this campaign only to the people who already agree with him (or us) on various things.  This is the time to step up and be a national leader, be a historic leader, not a niche candidate in a crowded field.  Someone needs to make the case for what we are talking about out loud.  He has hundreds of millions to spend on a message, why not make it a positive and important/crucial one. He should give a national address on this.  This is an opportunity, not a problem.  And this is where you fly by DT if he can't keep up, stuck on the wrong side of limits and liberties, see Kelo for example.  It is also where you hold this stand even if you lose the Presidency and majority of the Senate.  This isn't a continuing resolution or a zoning variance; this is the definition of our country we are fighting to preserve.  "A Republic, if you can keep it".

Merrick Garland is among the top judges in the country serving in a time where Judicial rulings have shrunk the constitutional limits on government and allowed its expansion of power over our lives and liberties which keep getting smaller and smaller.  The Honorable Judge Garland would be a perfect pick if continuing down this path of national destruction was acceptable.  But it isn't.
183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump killis it in NY on: March 18, 2016, 04:54:23 PM

Fact check: Trump loses to Hillary in  NY by 19%
   - Source:  same poll

Trump's celebrity status and does not bring a single, additional state into play including hs home state.  Reminds me of how he mocked Rubio for trailing in his own home state.
184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 18, 2016, 11:37:10 AM
Comments and questions regarding Merrick Garland:

1)  He is bad on the Second Amendment.  How bad?  I would like to read his opinions.

2)  He is moderate on other things compared to others Pres. O. might have chosen.  How moderate?

3) He has largely hidden his views in hopes of someday getting to this stage.  Yet Obama trusts him to be liberal-left.  What are his views?

4) Republicans could 'slow-walk' this, but then there becomes public pressure to vote and confirm as the guy comes across as smart and qualified.

5) What are the odds that Republicans win the Presidency and the Senate? (Less than 50-50.)

6) And if they won both, or the Pres but not the Senate, what nominee could they get through an angry Democratic Senate that currently needs 60 votes to take a vote?

7) If Hillary wins, will she keep Garland or start over and go younger and further left?

8 ) If Republicans fail to take any action, will that hurt them?  How much?

9) If Republicans who promised no action on this nomination, then act on it, will that hurt them?

10) My sense is this election is going down the tubes and the Senate being too busy to take up a Supreme Court nomination is an excuse only makes it worse.  

11) The other possibility is to take this up, run through the whole process, run out the clock, take a vote, have every Senator vote their own conscience, not give the President the benefit of the doubt on his nominees as you might for a cabinet position.  The standard he should be held to has a name, Antonin Scalia.  

12) What the hell is a "moderate" or "centrist" on the question of whether or not to rip up the words and original meanings of the constitution that you have taken an oath to uphold and replace them with the personal views of a 9 person politburo?  In my view, you are either an originalist/textualist or you are a traitor/saboteur/communist revolutionary.  That he is an ivy league educated, white male who speaks well, is considered centrist and wears business suits doesn't preclude the latter.

The living breathing portion of the constitution is called the amendment process.  Yes, times change, so change the text of the constitution by way of 2/3rds of both chambers of congress 3/4 of the state legislatures, not by selecting five willing elites.  
185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: March 18, 2016, 10:59:06 AM
'Trump has won 37% of 'GOP' votes cast'
"...Trump would enter the convention in Cleveland with 1,170 delegates"

And his only shot at 1237 is to bully delegates who vehemently oppose him to switch their vote.

I have attended as a delegate many state conventions that were 'contested'.  And hardly anyone has experience with a national convention that was truly contested.  (I believe Gerald Ford in 1976 was nominated on the first ballot though the convention was considered 'contested'.  Maybe Crafty remembers the Dems in 1968.  Wikipedia shows results of a 'final ballot' and violence but nothing on ballot result sequence.

Back to Trump, 2016.  He called Fiorina a what? "Just look at her!"  Ugly hag might be the words he meant if you listen to his rant.  He called Cruz "a nasty, nasty guy".  Among other things he called Rubio, "Little Marco", and so on.  Christie and Carson have endorsed Trump, neither has many delegates.  Kasich is the wild card with maybe or maybe not enough votes to swing Trump over the top if he tried.

Before the deal making begins (as I understand it), the first ballot goes the way of the scorecard.  Guessing from current trends, Trump in first, a little short of 1237, Cruz in second a few hundred back.  Kasich and Rubio have most of the remainder.

On the second ballot, if no deals were made and delegates just vote their preference, my guess is that Trump's numbers go slightly down.

Then what?  None of the anti-Trump people want the VP slot.  Kasich is the one who might take it for the country.  I guess any of them could.  Otherwise, what deal does Trump offer other than his promise to bring down the whole party if not awarded what he did not win.

Lindsey Graham's thinking is that the deadlock opens up the elevation of Kasich.  My earlier thinking was that it opens up the elevation of Rubio, but not after losing Florida and losing momentum everywhere else first.

More likely, the only alternative to 1st place short of a majority is second place, Ted Cruz.  Will Rubio endorse Cruz (yes) and will the Cruz and Rubio delegates combined be more than Trump?  (I don't know.)  Would Rubio want his delegates to go to Cruz for better governance or to Trump for legitimacy, finishing in first place?  I don't know.

Between ballots, there are delays and speeches.  Rubio, for one, steps up to the podium and "releases" his delegates to vote for (Trump or Cruz).  [Bush has delegates, probably doesn't make a long speech] Kasich is the wild card, probably keeps campaigning for himself on the second ballot, hoping to win on the 15th.  Then they vote again and delegates vote for whomever they please.  Slow process, results are announced and so on.

At the state level, delegates tend to be more conservative than the constituency.  That favors Cruz.  Cruz supporters probably also tend to be more involved in the party than Trump people, also favoring Cruz.  At the national level, you might find more of the so-called 'GOPe' types, more likely to favor Kasich.  Kasich polls better against Hillary; that becomes more relevant as time goes on and the other two can't get to 1237.

The question of stealing is to ignore the rules established for the process.  All along, Trump has wanted to use the benefits of the party while trashing it and its workers who made it all possible.

Where this ends, no one knows, but my point is that whatever the delegates decide on is the legitimate result, more so than elevating someone short of a majority who is (deservedly) strongly opposed by the majority.
186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 17, 2016, 12:11:21 AM
[Leftist, Liberal] "I thought the two were the same. What's the difference? I ask in earnest."

My understanding follows; G M can add to this or correct it.

Liberal is a mis-used term taken by the left for its softer sound.

Liberal, open to new behavior or opinions, synonyms, wide-ranging, broad-based.

Leftism is the orthodoxy of statism that people, especially in certain demographic groups aren't allowed to stray from.

187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: March 16, 2016, 04:28:07 PM
unbelievable.

Putin is assassinating people in our country right under our noses and no repercussions.  huh


Wouldn't it be great if they could find evidence to link Putin to this murder on US soil. 

There still would be no consequence.
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: March 16, 2016, 04:25:37 PM
Switching over to the Dems and Hillary's security breach investigation...

a) She is guilty.  The test is gross negligence and she did it. What the FBI and the DOJ say is another matter.

b) The precedent is David Petreous.  The analogy fails; what she did is far worse.  He leaked to just one person.  Petreus' biographer had security clearance but not at that level.  They both broke the law and the rules.  Petreous received leniency - a fine and probation for his lapse and leak. 

c) The timing of this favors having Hillary putting it behind her now.  Assuming political forces play a part and they always do, having this aired out while she is winning the nomination but still competing will help inoculate her against the same bad news later from Republicans.

d) Therefore, the FBI and DOJ will soon conclude its work and either excoriate her for carelessness that fails to rise to a criminal level, they could charge her underlings and not her, or more appropriately, charge her with a misdemeanor plea bargained down to the Petreus deal. 

e) Getting that outcome now would help her win the Presidency better than letting it fester longer.  She will put her spin on it and move on in the campaign, just as she is doing anyway.  And then it dies off as other issues rise.  A small scar is better for the campaign than the endless slow drip.

ccp is right.  She will run for President, win the nomination and win the general election - even if she promised that nothing classified was sent or received and it turns out thousands of classified messages were.  Did someone here doubt her?  (
189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: March 16, 2016, 04:03:40 PM
Many important points in that post.

"despite the overwhelming hype, he’s won 37 percent of the cast votes so far."

"Trump fans gleefully point to his 7.5 million votes in the primary so far, and forget that the universe of voters in the general election will be on a completely different scale -- probably 130 million voters"

"We know how quick Trump is to hurl accusations he’s being cheated -- even when they’re baseless."


We also heard he is the world's greatest deal maker.  What 'deal' does he offer me if I am a Rubio-Cruz-Kasich delegate that would cause me to back him versus forming an alternative coalition in the later ballots of a contested convention?  The only offer on the table is the promise of riots if I don't switch to him against my will.

For the record, I don't have an answer for the dilemma.  At this point, I wouldn't want Rubio offered up as an illegitimate candidate sure to piss off all Cruz and Trump supporters and lose.  Making it Cruz doesn't get us a win. Kasich is unacceptable unless he won it outright.  There are no uniters available or we would already have heard from them.  A third party conservative cannot beat Hillary with Trump still in, endorsed or not.  As already stated endlessly, we are screwed.
190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law) Merrrick Garland on: March 16, 2016, 11:38:39 AM
(Do we have a thread for the political side of this?)

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA_SUPREME_COURT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-03-16-10-05-51

OBAMA NOMINATES GARLAND TO HIGH COURT

Garland, 63, is the chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose influence over federal policy and national security matters has made it a proving ground for potential Supreme Court justices.


What should the GOP Senate do?
1) I have no idea.  I haven't reviewed his horrible record yet, and politically, this is going to get worse.
2) My instinct is - do your job (if you are the GOP Senate).  Schedule and hold hearings, in regular order, not rushed, and hold them around campaign events that already started before this came up.  Put the judge and that whole, anti-constitutional side of it on trial, if time permits.  Vote him down if the facts indicate he won't uphold the constitution.  None of the other liberals have.
3) I like that he is 63 instead of 40-something.
4) Accuse the Democrats of race and gender discrimination.  Do we really need another white male on the Court?  (Half-joking on that one.)
5) This is a losing battle.  Elections have consequences.

The Chief Judge of the DC Court of Appeals should be the most qualified person in the land.  Now we see if this one is...
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: March 16, 2016, 11:14:57 AM
"[Canada] sounds like good idea but I don't like baby Trudeau either."

If I moved to the moon, my income would still be taxable in MN.  My only personal strategy has to be to start caring less about the future of the country if I want the downward spiraling political and economic  developments to not bother me as much in my twilight years.
--------------------------

Where did candidate Rubio go wrong? A few thoughts.

As Crafty said early on, he looks too young, and with that he hasn't had big accomplishments he could point to.  He isn't General Eisenhower or Gov. Reagan.  There is nothing in that weakness he could have overcome.  He should have answered the charge head-on and then run on his strengths.  As I said from the beginning, this contest needed to be about who can best articulate the value of freedom and free enterprise in persuasive words.  This is a change of direction election from our point of view, not a resume election.  From a resume point of view, we had [lenty of two term GOvernors and strong personalities to choose from.

His tax plan increased one credit (Dem-lite) and eliminated all capital gains taxes which is not politically possible nor necessary.  As I have said about Cruz' plan, not fully ready for prime time and general election scrutiny.  That isn't what lost it but took away from his ability to say he is fully ready

His abortion view is out of the mainstream.  He could have expressed those thoughts differently.  That isn't what lost it for him.

His Gang of 8 thing is something he never recovered from.  Conservatives absolutely hate him for that.  His support for that compromise and failed deal making needed to be handled better then and explained better later.  He left a mile wide opening for Trump and Cruz with that.

I never liked the "New American Century" theme.  For one thing, we are 17 years into it and for another he got labeled a marketing job, not a leader.  Trump's theme is best, make America great again, I just disagree with him on how to do it.  Jeb's motto was second best, right to rise.  That captures what we want to offer people though he never successfully articulated how to do it.

He also never pushed his lead in general election polling, seeing that as a negative to pure conservatives and vulnerable to the whim of the next poll coming out.  Still he led in that important measure for as long as Trump led in GOP polling.  He never used my logic to answer his gang of 8 charge, his fence or wall will be bigger and better if he wins than Trump's will be if he loses - and that is what the all important polling was telling us.

And then there was the establishment thing.  It stuck and hurt him largely as it tied to the gang of 8 experience.  Other than that experience, he was certainly and consistently anti-establishment, whatever that means.  Even then, he needed to answer the establishment charge directly.  As he said in the concession speech, the question has to be, what is the new establishment?  He needed to embrace wide endorsement from within the party (where was Jeb's endorsement?) and uniting of different factions without being establishment.  A feat he never accomplished.


"The defeat (of Rubio in Florida yesterday) was extraordinary and will complicate Rubio's political future."

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/donald-trump-cruises-to-florida-primary-victory-marco-rubio-trails-behind/2269478
192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Hillary beats Trump and takes the Senate too on: March 16, 2016, 10:25:59 AM
Rubio lost his home state by 19 points.  Kasich won his with less than a majority.  Judge by that standard, Trump loses his home state NY to Hillary by 20, not exactly bringing more states into play as promised.

A sad moment for me.  My endorsement now goes to Cruz, but I can't see a path to victory for him even though he has beaten all expectations I had for him earlier.  

Yes, Kasich is playing the role of jerk and spoiler, but he us right on one thing.  Paraphrasing, if you are in school and you know all semester that 90% is required for an A and you get 87, 88 or 89% your grade is not an A.

1237 delegates is an arbitrary number but not a random one.  It is a majority, 50% +1 just like the party has had for 160 years.  In state and local politics, the threshold to nominate is often 60%.  To be extreme, let's say Trump gets 1236 but pisses of all of the others.  Does he get the nomination?  That depends.  If 'the party' then 'throws' it to someone else after the first ballot, his supporters will call that stealing it.  But if Trump wins the extra vote by threatening riots as he is, that is endorsement by extortion or intimidation.  A political convention is run by the 'seated' delegates, not the people who sent them there -after the first ballot.  On the second, third ballots etc. they will do what they think is right or best.  If not-Trump becomes a team and has more votes than Trump, so be it.  Either way we are divided and screwed.  To leave Cleveland without making an endorsement is another (obscure) possibility.

Reagan said someone who agrees with you 80% of the time, agrees with you.  Trump isn't there for me.  His tax plan is good (but he can't enact it).  But he won't cut spending to make up the difference.  The wall is good, but most of his immigration talk is hype.  Where else do I agree with him?  Or trust him?  Did he call for shrinking the size and scope of government?  If so, I missed it.  He is courting the trade protectionists, running against free trade, which also happens to be the Sanders view.  His view on Kelo and private property is abominable.  Small issue, says Pat?  No, it is core foundation of private property rights vs crony government power.  It defines where he would go with judicial appointments which is to the left of Sandra Day O'Connor, making constitutional limits on power even more meaningless.  He sides with the Bush Lied People Died Left on foreign policy and doesn't know what a nuclear triad is much less whether to rebuild it.  Basically stay home until attacked.  Good luck with that.  Planned Parenthood does good work; he would federally fund it. 50 million slaughtered, 50 million injured.   Under the authority of what Article or Amendment is the rest of the work they do authorized under the constitution?  Who cares about that when you are a living, breathing, shrinking constitutionalist.

His politics ensures a loss in the Senate meaning that enacting his tax plan and the rest is not do-able.  What is he going to do now, go from state to state campaigning for the Republican establishment Senate candidates, hyping up their records to the electorate while running against them?  The Senate for 2017-2018 is 50-50 if you count 3 tossups as going to the Democrats.  http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/2016-senate/  Pres. Hillary gets the majority (but not 60).  Pres. Trump does worse than 50-50 in the Senate if he continues running against his own party.  Whether he wins or loses the Presidency, he already lost the Senate.

The likely outcome now is that Trump gets the endorsement by virtue of his lead, and twice as many conservatives and Republicans stay home as did with Romney and the Republicans lose the Presidency, Senate, Supreme Court and possibly the House.  But hey, the Trumpests got what they wanted.  They sent a message to Washington and that message is that the R establishment sucks and Republicans will never unite and get their act together.
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump, the plurality problem on: March 15, 2016, 08:41:31 AM
Hopefully (from my point of view) DT will lose Illinois and Ohio today.  In a contested convention, each delegate should switch their vote to the frontrunner on the second ballot and turn a plurality of support into a majority IF they believe that is in the best interest of the party and the country.  This could quite turn into a fiasco if the anti-Trump passion in the convention is strong and divided. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sean Trende on nominations and contested conventions:

"The common rejoinder I hear is that the will of the people will have been thwarted if Trump wins the most votes, but is not the nominee. This is pure and simple nonsense. There is no expression of the “people’s will” with a plurality of the vote, especially when it is somewhere in the 30 percent range (as Trump’s is)."
...
"The GOP has required that its nominees receive a majority of the vote from its delegates for 160 years now. And this requirement has been consequential: Along the way, multiple candidates have received a plurality of the vote, yet failed to become the nominee. For example (note: The following percentages are of votes cast, not of the total number of delegates, many of whom would abstain in early rounds): William Seward (1860, 41.5 percent of the vote); James G. Blaine (1876, 45.9 percent); Ulysses S. Grant (1880, 41.3 percent); John Sherman (1888, 33.9 percent); Leonard Wood (1920, 45.5 percent); Frank Lowden (1920, 41.5 percent); Tom Dewey (1940, 36.1 percent)."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/03/15/plurality_wont_entitle_trump_to_the_nomination_129969.html
194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: March 15, 2016, 08:06:24 AM
It may be his political end.

He appears not even popular in his home state!   cry

Right.  I don't see how he even runs for Governor if today goes the way of the polls.  And who would want to lead a state while the nation is headed in the wrong direction?

Is this collective political wisdom or just a tragic mistake?  Rubio IMO had a chance to lead us out of this.  But only if he connected with people.  Apparently he didn't.

One thing we should be able to say is that Florida voters (mostly) know what is at stake. They prefer a suicide mission to electing a young, dynamic leader who performed near perfectly on the top stage except for repeating himself on a key point.  

All of Trump's political issue faults aside, he loses to Hillary in the general election (according to polls) and both are fully known entities with no chance to make a second first impression.  Posting from a coffee shop at the top of the Rockies, I hear the young girl at the counter say she knows 12 year olds more mature than Trump.  No doubt true.  This is our America.  Just like Obama 2008, people want change without thinking through what kind of change they want.

Prediction update: Democrats take the Senate, the White House and the Supreme Court while Doug is last seen shopping for property in Revelstoke (British Columbia) after settling his election gambling losses on the board.
---------------------------------

An aside, would you trust the electorate of today to have a 'constitutional convention' (convention of the states) and 'improve' on what our Founders try to leave for us?
195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: March 12, 2016, 03:45:59 PM
They steal intellectual property on a massive basis via hacking.

That's right.   We need enforcement,  not a trade war.
196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: March 11, 2016, 10:20:58 PM
Latest Poll, Hillary leads Trump 51-38%. 
http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/how-trump-rubio-cruz-would-fare-against-clinton-november-n534191

Trump is wrong on protectionism.

Trump is wrong on property (non) rights.

Trump is wrong on the constitution.

Trump is wrong on defense and doesn't care to know the basics.  see nuclear triad.

Trump has been wrong on almost every vote he has taken, by his own standard, having come to our side so recently.

Trump turns good people away with his personality.

Trump has been wrong about Presidential powers.  (Has corrected himself some on this)

Trump loses to Hillary.

Trump polls worst against her of the top 3.

Trump is a caricature of what others think the GOP is, hate Muslims, sympathy for KKK, misogyny...

Trump will lose the Senate for the GOP.

Trump will lose future Presidential elections for the GOP.

Barack Obama sold more guns and lost more Democratic seats in America in history.  similarly, Trump is the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic party.


"Hold your nose, and keep an image of Hillary Clinton in your mind and the possibility of holding that thought for 8 years."

I don't know G M's state but Trump is not putting MN in play.  I don't have to hold my nose and vote for him.  His kind of bravado doesn't sell here, but he will cost MN their Republic state legislature and probably two congressional seats.

Trump last known phone call before entering the race was to Bill Clinton.  I don't buy the conspiracy aspect that implies, but all the signs are there.

Our party and our country is in the process of making a historic mistake. 
197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Trump is right about China on: March 11, 2016, 09:58:37 PM
people I have spoken to about China who have first hand knowledge tell me the Chinese are laughing at us and think we are stupid. Only Trump points this out:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/11/trump-may-be-proven-right-on-china-tariffs-chang.html

If so, then he is like Perot, good at pointing out the problem and lacking in solutions.

'All we do is lose, lose, lose... All they do is win against us...'

They are 'getting rich' by devaluing their country via its currency.  That worked where?  When?

Never?
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: more on PACS on: March 08, 2016, 03:43:27 PM

Yes the PACs have been all negative on Republicans, doing the work for Democrats.
199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: March 08, 2016, 12:52:18 PM
Last chance, Rubio must win his home state to stay in the race.  I sent him money today.  If he loses, Rubio is out, Trump starts taking big winner take all states, likely wins thenomination and loses the election.

If Rubio wins, which is possible, it means a number of things:
1.  It could mean nothing; it was Rubio's home state.
2. It could mean Trump has lost Ohio to Kasich as well. 
3. Trump can't reach 1200 delegates prior to the election if he loses these two.
4.  It means Trump shows weakness in crucial states.
5. The frontrunner is no longer inevitable.  The magic and momentum is gone.
6.  Rubio gets a big momentum bump, a much better story to tell, overcame 20 point deficit with EVERYONE writing him off...
7.  The primary map moves to different areas of relative strength and weakness for the candidates. 
8. We are left with a very messy, divided, 4 way race.  Questions remain:
9. Will the convention change the rules in the week prior?
10. Will the convention feel it has to endorse the candidate who is leading even if they are well short of the threshold required?
200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance Glibness, Biden shut down confirmation of John Roberts 1992 on: March 08, 2016, 12:27:12 PM
How Biden killed John Roberts’s nomination in 1992 (to the DC Court of Appeals)

By Marc A. Thiessen  February 25, 2016,  Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-biden-killed-john-robertss-nomination-in-92/2016/02/25/c17841be-dbdf-11e5-81ae-7491b9b9e7df_story.html?postshare=3631456434039221&tid=ss_fb

In 1992, then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Joe Biden launched a preemptive attack on any nominee President George H.W. Bush named to the Supreme Court, warning that if Bush tapped someone, Biden’s committee “should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination . . . until after the political campaign season is over.”

While Biden did not get the chance to kill a Supreme Court nomination that year, he did kill the nomination of a future chief justice of the Supreme Court — John G. Roberts Jr.

On Jan. 27, 1992, President Bush nominated Roberts to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Roberts was immensely qualified for the job. He had served since 1989 as principal deputy solicitor general of the United States, arguing 39 cases before the Supreme Court, making him one of the country’s most experienced Supreme Court litigators.

But his nomination to the federal bench was dead on arrival at Biden’s Senate Judiciary Committee. Biden refused to even hold a hearing on Roberts’s nomination, much less a vote in committee or on the Senate floor. Roberts’s nomination died in committee and was withdrawn on Oct. 8, 1992. It was only about a decade later that he was re-nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush — and we all know the rest of the story.

Roberts was not alone in being denied a hearing or a vote by Biden. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in 1992 Biden killed the nominations of 32 Bush appointees to the federal bench without giving them so much as a hearing. And that does not count an additional 20 nominations for the federal bench where Biden did not hold hearings that year, which CRS excluded from its count because they reached the Senate “within approximately [four] months before it adjourned.”

So none were cases in which time simply ran out. There was plenty of time to consider the nominations. But Biden refused. Why? According to an article in Texas Lawyer magazine, cited in the CRS report, some of the “nominees reportedly fell victim to presidential election year politics, as Democrats hoped to preserve vacancies in expectation that their presidential candidate would win election.”

That’s not all. In 1988, then-Chairman Biden also killed the nominations of nine candidates for the federal bench appointed by President Ronald Reagan without so much as a hearing. The New York Times reported at the time that “Democrats were determined to bury” some of the nominations because, as one liberal lobbyist told the paper, “the appellate seats were too precious to for us to give up” in a presidential election year.

Biden’s defenders claim that he made his 1992 remarks about killing a Supreme Court nominee in June of an election year, not February. But some of the nominees Biden killed that election year had been nominated as early as January 1991 — 17 months before the presidential election. And some of the nominees he killed in 1998 had been nominated as early as February 1987 — 16 months before voters went to the polls to choose a new president.

Biden’s record of election-year judicial obstruction came to light in 1997, when he tried to force then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms to hold a hearing on the nomination of Massachusetts Gov. William Weld to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico (I was on Helms’s committee staff at the time). When Helms declared Weld’s nomination dead on arrival, Biden and other committee members forced Helms to convene a committee meeting, which they hoped would take up Weld’s nomination. Instead, Helms turned the meeting into a lecture on the “History of Presidential Nominees Not Receiving Confirmation Hearings.” He presented 10 pages of charts prepared by CRS detailing 154 presidential nominations during the previous decade that had been killed without a hearing — including dozens of judicial nominations that Biden had killed.

When challenged by Helms on his record, Biden explained that the nominees in his case were different than Weld’s, because they were nominated in an election year. “When I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee,” he admitted to Helms, “there were a number of judges who were left at the gate who did not in an election year get through.”

His point was that this was normal Senate practice — and he is right. Both parties have a history of killing judicial nominations without a hearing in an election year, particularly in cases where the nomination would shift the balance of the court. The CRS report notes that in 1995 and 1996, when Republicans controlled the Senate, they killed 14 of President Bill Clinton’s nominees to the federal bench without a hearing.

The bottom line is that what Republicans are doing today is far from unprecedented. To the contrary, it is the norm. There is a graveyard filled with judicial appointments killed without a hearing by both Republicans and Democrats in an election year.

Just ask John Roberts.
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