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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: June 19, 2014, 05:03:03 PM
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / National Journal, Peter Beinart: A UNIFIED THEORY OF HILLARY on: June 19, 2014, 01:31:23 PM
More disciplined than Bill Clinton, more hands-on than Barack Obama, this article goes through her strengths and weaknesses as a candidate and policy maker with serious analysis.

Lacking the author's same interest in balance, I pick out this: 
The so-called smartest woman in the world started her law career by failing the Washington DC Bar Exam in 1973.  2/3rds of the test takers that year passed the exam.
153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We say ISIS, they say ISIL. What is "The Levant"? on: June 19, 2014, 01:04:18 PM
ISIL’s advance puts Saudi Arabia between Iraq and a hard place
Analysis: The kingdom is trapped between Sunni fighters it dislikes and expanding Iranian clout in Baghdad
June 17, 2014 11:59PM ET
by Tom Kutsch @tomkutsch
The battle between Iraq’s government and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which threatens to plunge Iraq back into the chaos of sectarian civil war, puts Saudi Arabia in an increasingly awkward position

So what is "The Levant"?  The eastern Mediterranean.  We think they are fighting for Iraq and Syria(?) and they think they are fighting for control of the region which also includes, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel.
154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: June 19, 2014, 12:53:17 PM
Are there four other white guys on this board that would like to sign a petition to the Trademark Office describing how we cannot sleep eat or calm down over the name Cracker Barrel?

Why are not 50 Senators spending their time with this?   No time between raising cash I guess.  One absurd meaningless crusade is as much as they can handle.

Very funny!  Yes, another agency without oversight.
155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: IRS manages to vaporize Lerner's emails. on: June 19, 2014, 12:51:18 PM
Lerner Emails (Really) Gone
How green! The IRS recycled former-IRS official Lois Lerner's computer hard drive, making it impossible to retrieve the lost emails that would undoubtedly be another smoking gun on the Tea Party targeting scandal. An IRS spokesman said, "We believe the standard IRS protocol was followed in 2011 for disposing of the broken hard drive. A bad hard drive, like other broken Information Technology equipment, is sent to a recycler as part of our regular process." Furthermore, the magnetic tapes -- the backup system the IRS uses -- only keeps information for six months before it's written over with new information. In other words, they did a thorough job of "losing" those emails. Meanwhile, ABC and NBC ignored the story while making room for a report that Britain's royal baby, Prince George, was learning how to walk. More...
For fuller coverage see

The irony (and elephant in the room) is that this is the agency that controls the record keeping of all Americans with its enormous federal powers.  It galls me that you have to be a right winger to feel outrage over this.

The IRS is part of the executive branch of the federal government.  Over the months they have been trying to hide find the Lois Lerner emails, all the chief executive above them had to do was order all of his government, the White House in particular, to release to the committee their copy of whatever email exchanges with Lois Lerner that they had.  Part of his deny, delay, deflect, and divert attention strategy is that: HE DID NOT DO THAT. 

This scandal and coverup goes all the way to the top!  If the IRS knew for months, he knew for months (or should have know, same thing).  Administration of the IRS is part of his sworn responsibilities.  He chose to have his White House NOT cooperate with this investigation.  Delay as long as possible and then not disclose is not what people thought they were choosing with "the most transparent administration ever".

IRS, ATF, INS, NSA, DOJ etc., without oversight, eventually will evoke some nazi analogies...

My latest thought is that the House and Senate should take up impeachment after the 2016 election and before the end of his term, out of principle, leaving not enough time on the clock to swear in the Vice President as his replacement.  Appoint the special investigators now, get all the information now, and mark history with the precedent that this country does not tolerate this kind of governance.
156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: June 19, 2014, 11:34:39 AM
Very witty but what implications for US strategy?  IMHO this piece is full of them.

From near the ending of the article:

"Many say hopefully that Tunisia is building the new model. “The Tunisians proved you can make compromises without losing your existence,” said Emad Shahin, an Egyptian political scientist close to many Islamists, who spoke by telephone from Washington because he, too, had been forced to flee Egypt.

No, Tunisia is quite different than Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc.  Note that the Egyptian political scientist close to many Islamists, "spoke from Washington because he had been forced to flee Egypt".

If there is any truth to the idea that the US projection of strength or weakness influences events around the world, then the implication for the US for the long run is clear.  Short version, be the opposite of an Obama-led America.  Even when he orders an aircraft carrier moved "in case it is needed in Iraq", it has no meaning without resolved leadership.
Instead of help, he says, "We can't do it for them".

The Cheney article had it right.  Also Thomas Sowell today, comparing our post-war presence in Germany and Japan to our abandonment of Iraq and Afghanistan.

We can't instantly undo the damage of our recent and current policies, especially with him still in office.
My view forward, US Strategy should:
Rebuild our economy.
Rebuild our military.
Rebuild our leadership.
And hope there is a world left to influence and protect by the time we get our act back together.

What should the US do, right now, with the President we have, to truly make a difference in what appears to be out of anyone's control?  I don't think anyone knows.  He can't draw a red line, he can't commit troops or anything else, He can't gather trust and support from even his own country or congress, his words have lost meaning, even President Obama's actions, like ordering an aircraft carrier to the region "in case it is needed", have lost all meaning.

Lost in the historical archives is the 1991 Saddam Hussein surrender speech where he declared victory for waiting out the American invasion.  "We won because we persevered."  Even hanged, Saddam has more influence in Iraq today than does our current, can't wait to leave, President.
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 18, 2014, 08:45:17 AM
The current border crisis proves that the 2006 fence law was not followed.  This ongoing tragedy is caused by the President and Congress announcing they would like to make all illegal minors into US citizens, and it is enabled by the fact our borders are still porous.

The decline previously in illegal immigration was caused by the lack of opportunity here compared with faster growth rates south of the border.  A no-growth, high unemployment economy is not an acceptable substitute for border security. 
158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: June 18, 2014, 08:29:54 AM
Doug:  I am going to challenge you here.  Go back and you will see him consistently warning that this would come.

You are right he has warned that QE has gone on too long, should have tapered sooner, and we are risking price increases ahead.  At the same time he seemed to be in denial that the money supply was going up at an alarming rate all this time.  He denies that the stock market's remarkable (nominal) rise was largely more money chasing the same old companies in a stagnant economy.  He keeps giving us other reasons for the equity increases, but growth in actual goods in services has been at a fraction of the rate of monetary expansion over the last 5 years. 
159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, IRS scandal, Lois Lerner lost emails on: June 17, 2014, 10:52:50 PM
Late afternoon on Friday the 13th, the IRS informed Congress on page 15 of a 27 page letter that 26 months that the Lois Lerner emails had been destroyed.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) knew this for months, even before the current IRS commissioner testified that his agency would produce all of them!

I don't see where the details of how this transpired were reported in the mainstream media, NY Times, for example.  I google the details and see nothing but right wing sites.  I'm bet NYT etc covered the President alleging it was a "phony scandal" with precision.  How about covering the evidence that proves him wrong?
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: June 17, 2014, 10:36:03 PM
"The long-awaited acceleration in inflation is finally here"

Wesbury is the expert, my my thoughts...

Inflation is / was the increase of the money supply we all saw happen while growth in goods and services was approximately zero.  Price increases are what most certainly follow excess money growth as a consequence.

CPI is a notoriously inaccurate economic measure (like almost all other highly reported economic measures).  The real amount of inflation is unknown. 

The above quote is surprising; long awaited, like we all knew this was coming.  I don't recall him warning us much of the dangers of what we were doing with our money supply.  I thought it was us warning him!  Maybe it's just me, but what I was hearing from the optimists was denial of what was most certainly happening. 
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 17, 2014, 03:36:40 PM
I'm thinking Doug has nailed it. 

Bringing this forward:

Did anyone get it right last time, this early in that race?

Re: The 2008 Presidential Race
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2007, 12:51:04 AM »
It's so far off, it's hard to say how it'll all unfold, but I will say that Obama is the front runner for the nomination, if not the presidency.

Understood that it is a long shot that a front runner won't run and she most certainly is playing the part of candidate running right now.

Everyone wants their portrait to hang in the halls of glory as President of the United States.  Surely no one on her staff is telling her she is a lousy candidate, lousy campaigner, lousy manage and lousy person.

The job itself is very hard.  We need someone who wants to DO THE JOB, which is to lead the greatest nation in the world.  Current occupant wanted to be President, like the title loves the perks, but does not want to do the job:
Middle East burns while Barack Obama played his 175th and 176th (18 hole) rounds of golf as president.

Couple hundred thousand per speech, or get questioned about Keystone, Benghazi, ISIS, Crimea.

Crafty: "Without her, the Dems have NO ONE."

(They have NO One with her! )  In 1992, the Dems had no one, if Mario Cuomo did not run.  Just a few small fish out there, the Governor of Arkansas, etc.  The Dems had no one in 2012 (a failed incumbent) and still won.

In the last 2 weeks, every half-prominent Dem is asking themselves, is this my time, especially if she suddenly announces herself out.  She can't drop out until book sales peter out.   Whoops, maybe now:

April 19, 2007
Huge Increase in Hillary's Negatives Changing Presidential Race
There has been a sudden and highly significant shift in the Democratic Presidential race: Hillary Clinton is rapidly losing her frontrunner position to Barack Obama as her negative ratings climb.
According to the Gallup poll, most Americans don't like Hillary Clinton and the number of people who view her negatively has been steadily increasing ever since she announced her candidacy for President in January.
Hillary isn't wearing well. It seems as if the more people see her, the less they like her. Now, for the first time, her low likeability levels are costing her votes, as Democratic party voters are abandoning her to support Barack Obama.
In February, Hillary had a 19 point lead over Obama. He is now only 5 points behind her.

162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary Gaffes are going to need their own thread - Keystone Pipeline on: June 17, 2014, 08:32:29 AM
Hillary went to Canada, took questions and has no opinion on Keystone Pipeline!

Let's see.  It's our closest ally.  It's their biggest product.  We are their biggest customer.  It is the safest way by far to ship the stuff.  It is a State Department issue.  And she doesn't have an opinion.

Do you believe that?  I don't believe that.

Of course we should build the pipeline.  (Unless she is a NAFTA supporter who opposes cross-border trade.)
But if and when she says that:
a) She loses support from her wacky base.
b) Her approval numbers go down further
c) She guarantees herself a challenge from the left.

So...  The whole charade is more popular, more profitable, more successful and more fun if she does NOT run or make "Hard Choices".
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Head of Real Clear Politics: 5 Reasons Hillary Won't Run on: June 17, 2014, 08:18:34 AM
Famous people reading the forum?  The number of people in the world who now believe Hillary Won't Run has doubled to two!  (It was getting lonely over here.)

5 Reasons Hillary Won't Run
By Tom Bevan - June 17, 2014

Hillary Clinton's minions are hard at work assembling a political machine and fine tuning it for another go at the White House. Mrs. Clinton is doing her part preparing for a run as well, churning out a bland memoir about the "hard choices" she faced as secretary of state and coyly positioning herself (again) as the inevitable nominee of the party. But after the troubled beginning to her book tour, we're beginning to see the reasons why Hillary may eventually decide to pull the plug on a 2016 presidential run. Here are five:

1) She's just not that good at campaigning. If the last two gaffe-prone weeks have reminded us of anything about Hillary, it’s that she’s a mediocre politician at best. Her shortcomings are significant: she can be stiff and wooden in public; she lacks the aura of a natural politician; she’s not a great public speaker, and she can come across as politically flat-footed and tone deaf -- as she did with her “dead broke” response to a rather benign question about relating to the financial challenges of the average voter. People still seem to believe that the Clinton name is synonymous with political skill, but that assumption is only half-true: If Hillary possessed even half of Bill’s political talent and acumen, she wouldn’t have lost to Barack Obama in 2008.

2) The “fire in the belly”question. Certainly, Mrs. Clinton shares her husband’s seemingly limitless ambition. It’s been the driving force behind their existence as individuals and as a couple for more than four decades. But I’m with Mike McCurry on this one: Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to be 67 years old on October 26. Does she really want to spend her golden years working 16 hours a day shaking hands at high school gyms in Dubuque, Iowa, and rubbing elbows at diners in Manchester, New Hampshire? Especially when she can burnish her legacy with meaningful work through the Clinton Global Foundation -- while making millions a year at $200,000 a pop for 45-minute speeches -- and spend time with her soon-to-be born grandchild.

3) It ain’t gonna be a coronation. HRC must have been taken aback last week when two members of the traveling sisterhood – Diane Sawyer of ABC News and Terry Gross of NPR – actually pressed her with uncomfortable questions about Benghazi and gay marriage, respectively. Hillary didn’t respond well in either situation, and the ensuing coverage was instructive. If she can’t count on favorable press coverage during the choreographed rollout of a self-reverential memoir, what does that tell us about how she’d do in debates against a determined opponent? And does Clinton really want to face the scrutiny, not to mention the slings and arrows, that come with any campaign?

4) Obama is leaving a mess. President Obama’s second term is complicating matters significantly for Hillary. His foreign policy, which Clinton helped direct for four years – is adrift. The situation has unraveled dangerously in Syria and now Iraq. The infamous “reset” with Russia is a joke. Obama’s job approval rating is on the slide, and not only on foreign policy. He’s struggling to stay relevant in Washington or to move any sort of domestic agenda forward, which will be made even more difficult if Republicans take the Senate in November. It’s hard to see how any of these dynamics change for the better in the next two years -- and they may get worse. Hillary will not want to be seen as running for Obama’s third term, yet she won’t be able to distance herself too far from his record. That will be a tough needle to thread politically (see point #1).

5) The country wants real change. America was mesmerized by Obama’s call for change in 2008. It was one of the narratives that propelled him over Hillary in the first place. Eight years later, Obama has failed to deliver much of what he promised on uniting the country and changing business as usual in Washington. As a result an even stronger populist, anti-establishment, anti-incumbent fervor is coursing through the electorate. That does not bode well for Hillary Clinton, who embodies the elite establishment -- and the past. If the famed Clinton political acumen still exists in that family, Hillary will figure this out and take a pass on 2016.

Tom Bevan is the co-founder and Executive Editor of RealClearPolitics
164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential - Gov. Scott Walker on: June 16, 2014, 07:51:09 PM
My favorite political reporter, Eliana Johnson, covering Scott Walker's visit with donors:

JUNE 16, 2014 4:00 AM
Scott Walker Gets Ready
The Wisconsin governor meets donors — in Chris Christie’s territory.
By Eliana Johnson

Scott Walker is already thinking about how to defeat Hillary Clinton. “You gotta move it from a personality race, because if it’s a personality race, you got a third Clinton term,” the Wisconsin governor told a lunchtime crowd of about 30 last Tuesday assembled at the Lakewood, N.J., home of Rich Roberts, one of his biggest financial backers. “The only way we win that election is to transform her personality to Washington versus the rest of us. Senator Clinton is all about Washington, everything about her is all about Washington.”

Walker is up for reelection in November — his third time on the ballot in four years, he likes to point out — but it is almost certainly his presidential ambitions that brought him to the Orthodox Jewish enclave of Lakewood, where he toured the town’s yeshiva and lunched with Roberts and his friends. Roberts has always donated to Republicans, but after selling his pharmaceutical company for $800 million in 2012, he began pouring a lot more money into the coffers of GOPers, including Walker, Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Senator Rand Paul (Ky.), and former Florida congressman Allen West.

With Walker at his side, Roberts recounted receiving threatening e-mails after donating $50,000 to ward off Walker’s recall from the governorship. “With three days to go until the election, now I’m receiving all these threats, so what am I going to do? I wired him another $50,000,” Roberts said to laughter and applause.
As Walker shook hands, posed for pictures, and spoke to the group gathered in Roberts’s dining room and an adjoining room — men and women separated by a wall, as is sometimes customary among Orthodox Jews — the broad outlines of a campaign platform were clear. In a 20-minute speech and a question-and-answer session that followed, he touted his expansion of school vouchers to religious institutions, cited his victory on tort reform, and recounted staring down Wisconsin’s public-sector unions and the protesters who stormed the state on their behalf.

You could see him taking subtle shots at his potential rivals. The governor took a swipe at his friend Chris Christie on Christie’s home turf, touting his own success reducing property taxes in Wisconsin after a decade of steady increases. New Jersey’s astronomical property taxes are notorious, and Christie, who has a full-blown budget crisis on his hands right now, has done little to address the problem.

On foreign policy, Walker positioned himself firmly in the establishment camp, dismissing arguments that Republican voters want to see the United States reduce its engagement with the world. “I don’t believe that,” he said. Without naming him specifically, he rejected the idea that Kentucky senator Rand Paul has captured the hearts and minds of Republican voters on matters of foreign policy. “I believe fundamentally the reason why many young voters are suspect about foreign policy and the wars and many things like that is that they just haven’t been properly administered,” he said.

Walker also threw some elbows at Washington Republicans, criticizing them for harping on issues like the debt and the deficit without offering a positive vision for the future. “We have to be optimistic,” he said. He pointed to a particular senator who “constantly talks about how horrible the debt is.” Walker said that, while he shares the sentiment, the issue has limited popular appeal. At times, he said that listening to the senator harping on it makes him “want to slit my wrists because I’m just like, ‘My God, this is so awful, I cannot believe this.’”

The Obama administration, of course, came in for the harshest judgments. Walker accused the president of relying on his “​political shop”​ to make decisions of national and global import. He cited the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five high-profile Taliban prisoners: “I think what happened with the exchange — remember that movie years ago, Wag the Dog?” He fears, he said, that Obama’s political advisers — trying to cope with the political flak over the ongoing scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs — jumped at the opportunity to make the exchange happen, without clearing the decision with the secretaries of state and defense, who would have put the brakes on such a deal.

As Walker was garnering applause from the lunch crowd, the aides he had in tow were getting less positive feedback. Though operating on friendly turf, they acted skittish, guarded, and unfriendly. An event organizer complained that the governor’s team was dismissive and difficult to deal with, and that she found it nearly impossible to get Walker on the phone with his host.

Since Walker rose to national prominence when he faced down the unions in 2011, Republican donors have admired his steeliness, his calm, and his quiet resolve. But they have privately wondered whether he has the star power and political judgment necessary to succeed on the presidential level. This event offered a small sample size, but maybe the donors also need to wonder about his team. After all, Walker was less than 40 miles from Trenton, where the man who just six months ago seemed to have an inside track for front-runner status in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination had his fortunes reversed by his own aides.

Walker brought a national message to this gathering at a top donor’s home, an indication of the seriousness of his presidential ambitions.​ For the time being, Hillary Clinton is sucking up all the media oxygen. For three days last week, the Drudge Report featured a photograph of a pregnant Chelsea Clinton in leather pants over a headline about the $600,000 salary she earned at NBC News. The low-key Wisconsin governor is a stark contrast to that flashiness, and he is hoping a wholesome Midwesterner becomes Hillary Clinton’s worst political nightmare.

— Eliana Johnson is a political reporter for National Review Online.
165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: June 16, 2014, 05:06:15 PM
I would note that apparently Brat's opposition to the Ex-Im Bank, a.k.a. the Bank of Boeing, led to a 2+% drop in its stock the next day.

The issue of funding the export-import bank splits the right.  On the surface, it is a pro-business program helping businesses and jobs.  Other countries do it.  But more importantly, it is a question of where in the constitution is the federal government empowered to do things like this?  If nowhere, then end it.

It is a test your principles (or character) to oppose the over-reaches of government and subsidies that seem to benefit you.
166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How did 800 ISIS fighters rout 2 Iraqi divisions (30,000 Iraqi Army soldiers)? on: June 16, 2014, 04:13:25 PM
I don't see a precise answer here, but an interesting question:

How did 800 ISIS fighters rout 2 Iraqi divisions?
Jun. 12, 2014
An image from a video posted by a group supporting the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows a militant in front of a burning Iraqi army Humvee in Tikrit, Iraq. (The Associated Press)

By Andrew Tilghman and Jeff Schogol
But the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, apparently has routed an estimated 30,000 Iraqi Army soldiers who were trained by the U.S. military and given billions in sophisticated American military equipment.

The stunning outcome reflects widespread desertions among the Iraqi units in the north as well as the Sunni-Shiite sectarian tensions that underlie the military battles, experts say.

“It’s a relativity small force that managed to take the city [of Mosul], and it’s shocking that they were able to do that,” said Charlie Cooper, who studies Islamic extremism for the Quilliam Foundation in London.

“To me, that suggests there is collusion or at least deliberate capitulation on the part of Sunni tribes in western and northern Iraq,” Cooper said. “It’s likely that this happened because Sunni tribes in the area let it happen.”

Check this ISIS slideshow. Contains pics of US made military material taken from #Iraq army:
167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Astronomy : Two more planets beyond Pluto? on: June 16, 2014, 03:59:32 PM
At least two more large planers in our solar system out past Pluto?

Astrophysics > Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
Extreme trans-Neptunian objects and the Kozai mechanism: signaling the presence of trans-Plutonian planets?

...The analysis of several possible scenarios strongly suggest that at least two trans-Plutonian planets must exist.
168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward, The Dave Brat Message, constitutional, free market conservatism on: June 16, 2014, 03:54:06 PM
Is it the Eric Cantor loss, or the Dave Brat win.  The Brat campaign was not single issue on anti-amnesty.  Immigration came up but was not the center of the agenda that won.  Look at what won:

What Dave Brat Taught Conservatives
A real free-market agenda remains more popular than redistribution.


June 12, 2014 7:14 p.m. ET
With Washington determined to take a lesson away from Dave Brat's rout of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, let's make sure it's an enduring one. Let's talk "reform" conservatism.

Yes, immigration came up in this race, though it didn't get ugly until the end. It happens that Mr. Brat, an economics professor, spent the bulk of his campaign rallying voters to a traditional free-market, pro-growth economic agenda. It centered on a tough criticism of crony capitalism and a clarion call for a flatter and more efficient tax code.

Mr. Brat reprised his themes for Fox News's Sean Hannity the night of his victory, explaining: "We need to take free markets seriously. That means we have to put an end to all these tax credits and tax deductions and loopholes. [Michigan Rep.] Dave Camp had a good bill which simplified the tax code and had a Reagan-esque 10 and 25 percent rate. That made sense and it was going to be pro-growth." This clearly resonated with the 56% of voters who chose to rout a sitting majority leader.

Mr. Brat's victory is surely awkward for a new wing of the conservative movement that has taken to arguing that the whole free-market, supply-side, Reaganesque agenda is passé. Humbly declaring themselves the "reform" conservative moment, this group has made some waves with their manifesto "Room to Grow"—including introductions by former Bush speechwriter Pete Wehner and National Affairs Editor Yuval Levin. "Room to Grow" has some interesting ideas, all overshadowed by the book's central premise: That conservatives need to embrace government to better endear themselves to the "middle class."

The authors are clear that politics, not principle, needs to drive conservative policy. Nowhere is that clearer than in the chapter by former Bush Treasury official Robert Stein on tax policy. A summary: Marginal tax rates are no longer popular because they don't give much to the middle class. Republicans instead need to embrace redistribution and lard the tax code with special, conservative-approved handouts for said middle class—namely a giant tax credit for children, similar to that proposed by Utah Sen. Mike Lee. (The book has many more tax-credit suggestions, too.)

Absent from the chapter is any recognition of why Reagan, and the party, embraced tax cuts. It's this thing called "economics." Cutting taxes on capital—and cutting high marginal rates—spurs investment, which grows the economy, which benefits everyone, including the middle class. The good politics follows. The middle-class beneficiaries of Reagan's economic boom showed their own appreciation by signing up for a conservative political realignment that lasted decades.

Mr. Stein never uses the word "capital" in an entire chapter on tax policy. It's also devoid of a corporate tax reform—perhaps because talking about "corporations" isn't a middle-class thing. Defenders of the new agenda have struggled to explain how tax distortions are "pro-growth." AEI scholar James Pethokoukis has taken to arguing that supply-side economics is about a greater supply of children and to justify redistribution. Mr. Levin and National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru this week explained that conservative redistribution is now acceptable, since it counters liberal redistribution.

The biggest cheerleaders for the conservative "reformers" are liberal commentators such as Ezra Klein. No surprise: They understand that "Room to Grow" is a capitulation to the left's inequality and middle-class talking points. They are more than happy for future tax fights to center solely on which party gets more money to divvy up among Solyndra, parents, welfare, farmers and so on.

What matters to the "reformers," explained New York Times columnist Ross Douthat last year, in praising the Lee tax plan, is moving conservative tax policy beyond "1979." This again confuses policy and politics. Good economic policy doesn't have a sell-by date. ( Adam Smith ? Ugh. He is just so 1776.)

What can require periodic overhaul is political messaging. The "reformers" are right that, politically, selling a cut to a 39.6% top rate is harder than was Reagan's job of selling a cut to a 70% rate. What they miss is that the past 40 years have provided entirely new and powerful selling points for a flatter, cleaner code. Americans have grown frustrated with the insane complexity of taxes, furious over the crony loopholes, and wary of the power all this hands abusive IRS bureaucrats.

Which gets us back to this week's rout. Mr. Cantor never endorsed the more dramatic proposals of the "reformers," though he spoke broadly kind words about "Room to Grow." His "Making Life Work" agenda made him a poster boy of that new GOP impulse to focus on populist initiatives that cater to the middle class.

Mr. Brat openly derided "Making Life Work," referring to its "catchy little phrases to compete with Democrats for votes." As he told Mr. Hannity: "I do not want the federal government trying to make my life work." Mr. Brat also ably tied together the cronyism/complexity/growth arguments to make the case for real tax reform (rather than Democrat-lite tax spending).

The hallmark of conservative policy innovation is the use of markets to limit government and expand citizen freedom and choice. That's reform. The lesson of the Brat-Cantor race is that the traditional reform concept is still popular (and populist). At least when it's delivered with economic understanding and conviction.
169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: June 16, 2014, 08:41:12 AM
Yes the Larry Summers view certainly is misguided, if accurately quoted and portrayed.  And the response posted is right on the money and worth reading more than once.

If not Summers, it could be said about almost any leftist politician, they think the laws and forces of economics and human spirit don't apply to their failed ideas.

I have said often, capital employs labor.  And a greater investment in capital makes labor more productive resulting in higher pay.  The responder says money is not capital and is right, but when money becomes capital, it employs labor.

Without capital, no one gets employed.  Poor people don't employ anyone.  Poor economies with anti-business, anti-employment, anti-economic freedom rules and customs employ no one at a good wage.  Wealthy people who have had it with business and investment and keep their money on the sidelines employ almost no one compared with the when they were risking their capital and building their businesses. 

Capital is a substitute for Labor?  What bunk!

Let's take a simple example.  Our business digs ditches or moves earth for building foundations.  Our capital is in shovels and we employ a few laborers.  Over time, our business or at least the industry if invested with capital now owns giant diesel powered powered products from Cummins and Caterpillar and we now can dig with one person in one machine what used to take a thousand people to do.  By Summers math, or Obama, etc. that productivity gain just put 999 workers out of work.  Same as the Obama argument that the ATM (which hit the market in the 1970s) is costing us jobs.  That argument is wrong in so many ways.  Innovation improves and grows jobs.  If yo9u can't see that intuitively, you can easily see it empirically.

We could analyze the math and see that jobs grew at the machinery companies and supply chains etc. and trace and calculate all of that.  The biggest advancement though is that much larger jobs are now possible.  A guy holding a shovel is displaced, but if he also responds to the changes in a dynamic world, he moves quickly from that to bettering himself.  When we remove all incentives, responsibilities and consequences, likely he doesn't.

More simple is to understand that the dynamic economy that fosters innovation will grow and prosper and an economy burdened with rules slowing and stopping change does not.  Economic success includes monetary prosperity but also is tied to things like health, education, environment and longevity.

Economies that innovate, prosper.  Nothing unleashes human innovation like a private, freedom based risk capital system.  Look around the world.  Look through human history.  Compare the Heritage Freedom indices with the results the leading countries are attaining.  Yet we keep hearing every argument in politics that pulls in the opposite direction.  Capital is no longer tied to jobs, good grief!

If leftist lived by the rules they impose on the private sector, they would be forced to disclose the harm they inflict with their policies and get sued for the damages.
170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on Brazil on: June 16, 2014, 07:51:18 AM
I appreciate hearing from someone in Brazil about Brazil.

Yes!  Honored to hear about what is happening first hand.  I am am encouraged by your optimism.  I hope you are correct about throwing the leftists out this year.  The fight for individual freedom over state power needs to go on across the globe.  It is a difficult fight.  Brazil certainly has the potential to grow a great and free economy for the benefit of all the people.

I will appreciate hearing your views on any topic!
171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillbillary Clintons can relate to Middle class? Hillary issinking like a stone. on: June 13, 2014, 05:42:15 PM
Chelsea Clinton received a whopping $600,000 annual salary from NBC for her (almost negligible) work there.

They are just like us, student debt, etc.  How much does your kid make for doing "almost negligible work"?

Hillary is sinking like a stone.  (Who knew?)  It's almost too late for her to step out gracefully while she is still on top:
Clinton’s Popularity Drops to 52% as 2016 Edge Shrinks
Hillary Clinton’s popularity continues to slide as she takes on a more political posture and Republicans raise questions about the deadly 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya on her watch.
Fifty-two percent of Americans view the former secretary of state favorably, down from 56 percent in March and 70 percent in December 2012, according to the Bloomberg National Poll.
The decline means Clinton wouldn’t enter a possible 2016 race as a prohibitive favorite over key Republican rivals. While she still bests them in head-to-head matchups, she doesn’t have majority support against any of them.

She doesn't have very much further to fall to be under 50% favorable, down from 18 time most admired woman.

After Hickenlooper wins reelection in Nov, I wouldn't expect HRC to be Dem front runner for very long.   wink

172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 13, 2014, 10:51:24 AM
That will require someone else making a better and clearer case.

Yes it does!

(previously) " the Rep field is strikingly weak"

Doesn't that always appear to be the case before a real leader emerges?  It is darkest before sunrise?  I would say instead that the Republican field is strikingly wide and deep.  Each looks small right now, some with no foreign policy experience, like Reagan, some with no executive experience, like Lincoln, but we need one person to rise to a level of greatness in leadership that we haven't seen in a long time.  It is easy to be pessimistic after a long stretch of weak and flawed candidates, but if there is not one person left in this country who can connect with energy and emotion to the ideas of freedom and strength, then we deserve the demise that is otherwise coming.
173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: June 13, 2014, 10:37:18 AM
If we have the ability to turn things around now in Iraq,  we should negotiate now for our help what we should have negotiated before leaving, a lasting security presence, a well-located, permanent, American military base, and protections in the Iraqi constitution to guarantee individual freedom in Iraq worth protecting.  If that is not what we want, or is not attainable, or if there are no good guys left to help, then... we let them slug it out and step in again later with air power next time they pose a direct threat to our interests.

This President has lost all credibility and is incapable of leading or visualizing an end game.  He already did his Mission Accomplished dance on Iraq, while these players were waiting us out.   The question is more hypothetical to me.  If we had a great president who has credibility and capability, what could and should he or she do now and what should have done throughout the Obama years in Iraq?

From the article:
"Iraq is a major oil-producing country that shares borders with Iran and Syria. The United States has a large embassy in Iraq, and the country has attracted sizable foreign investment. "We're committed to this country," [James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq], said. "Its stability is important." Growing chaos in Iraq would lead to a spike in oil prices and would likely spread instability throughout the region."

This President wants high energy prices and is NOT committed to the stability of Iraq.  He is committed  only in the sense of focus group polling problems at home and the obvious black eye these developments put on his record in history.

Optimistically, reforming the problems in the Middle East is a 300 year project that hasn't started yet.  The immediate world peace plan is not top down, but is coming out of the ground in places like North Dakota, Texas and Canada.  Produce enough affordable energy for the needs of the developed world without relying on terrorists in war zones.  Get our own act together and rebuild our own capabilities because trouble around the world is most certainly still brewing.
174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 13, 2014, 10:06:19 AM
It is always a pleasure to see Hillary squirm about her lying.

Yet, sadly half the country could care less about lying with the ubiquitous come back,
"they all do it".  Ever point out her lying to a lib.  When boxed in with logic this is ALWAYS the comeback.

In my view lying should automatically cancel one out for any public office.

I didn't listen to the exchange but lying was only one of the character defects exposed.  Maybe people will get tired of the lying or maybe it is something else about her that will end this charade.  Her temper, her arrogance, her record of failure, her lack of people skills, lack of professional management skills, and especially her inability to admit she is wrong -  all come to mind.

Most importantly, whether the name is Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, whether it is the first half-black or the first woman President,  people should be tired of having their country led in the wrong direction.  People are being lied to everytime they hear that these policies bring economic recovery, prosperity, world peace or a strong America.   After trying these policies, everyone should now recognize failure.
175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 12, 2014, 11:17:31 AM
Her whole life has built up to this moment.  She is a shoo-in for the Dem nomination and the Rep field is strikingly weak.  She has the vast left wing conspiracy of the Pravdas on her side.

She will run.

Some smart people agree with you:

Based on trading:  Hillary is more than a 3:1 favorite for the Democratic nomination.

the contours of the presidential race are now clear. On the Democratic side, the nomination is still Hillary Clinton's to lose.

Clinton begins the long campaign as the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination, according to a nationwide Washington Post-ABC News poll

Hillary Clinton, Giuliani Early Favorites  A look at the next presidential election

Hillary Clinton is favorite of Democrats

Majority of Americans say they are likely to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president

Hillary Clinton Easily Paces Democratic Field
Two-thirds of Americans rate her as a strong leader

Can She Be Stopped?: Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States

Whoops, that was all about 2008, before she began to campaign.  To be fair, she did run that year.

Did anyone get it right - early in that race?

Re: The 2008 Presidential Race
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2007, 12:51:04 AM »
It's so far off, it's hard to say how it'll all unfold, but I will say that Obama is the front runner for the nomination, if not the presidency.
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 12, 2014, 10:39:33 AM
"Sixty-eight percent of Americans favor allowing immigrants living in the country illegally who were brought to the United States as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college."

Allowing people who come here illegally serve in the military for citizenship?  Talk about immoral.

Go to college?  We will pay for all that.  cry

Agree, agree.  And what would we need them for in the military.  We already ended all wars.

51% of republicans and 63% (?) overall favor some path to citizenship.  A very carefully drafted and enforced agreement could settle this and unlike Obamacare get both sides on board.  But Dems negotiate in bad faith - and keep upping the ante by allowing another new influx.

Hillary Clinton: Cantor Opponent 'Ran Against Immigrants'
(No he didn't.  He ran as a 10th amendment constitutional conservative: Powers not granted to the federal government belong to the States and the people.)

How did the new influx of illegals get past the 2006 fence?
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 12, 2014, 10:17:18 AM
Update on Hillary running or not and my bet with ccp:

There is no doubt she is acting like a candidate with the release and promotion of this book.  This is a full blown trial balloon, if not the kickoff.

There is no doubt she HATED the tough questions from Diane Sawyer.  How dare her ask that!

There is no doubt she lacks the political magic and skill of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  She also exhibited NO CONCEPT of the idea of managing people.  The only way she could think of to have done more to protect the facility in Benghazi would be to have taken courses in analyzing blueprints!

But there is still plenty of doubt as to whether or not she knows she is a lousy candidate and that this will end again in failure.  No one hired by her campaign is going to tell her that and her husband isn't going to do it.  He probably can't duck fast enough anymore when she throws the lamp at him.

What happens when we see and hear more of Hillary:
"Hillary Clinton favorability rating keeps falling, poll shows"  (Who knew that would happen?)

This is before news of her gaffes starts to spread.
The 18-time Most Admired Woman was at her lowest of the last 12 years when running for President.
The Presidential table was set for her far better in 2008 than it is in 2016.  Bush finally leaving instead of Obama finally leaving.

Here is your choice Hillary: Go out on top as the most admired woman, or forever be known as a loser.
178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz -No longer has dual citizenship with Canada on: June 12, 2014, 09:38:17 AM
After many, many months of promising to renounce his Canadian citizenship, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has finally achieved that goal.

Cruz's Canadian citizenship was officially terminated in May, according to the Dallas Morning News. The senator was notified by mail of the renunciation a few days ago.
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 12, 2014, 09:35:19 AM
In the aftermath of Cantor:

“What’s the difference between Elvis and immigration reform in Congress?  Immigration reform is definitely dead.”

If reform / amnesty is dead in Congress, and if Republicans take the Senate, what will the Commander in CHief with a pen and a phone do?  Grant a Presidential pardon to every illegal alien living in this country.

If he does, does that mean citizenship?

Steven Hayward at Powerline:
Therefore, a modest suggestion: every GOP candidate—especially for the Senate—should force Democratic candidates on the record before the campaign on the question of how they would respond if President Obama uses his pardon power to grant amnesty to every illegal alien currently in the country.  Get them on record now, ahead of the election.
180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: No doubt Baraq will get right on this , , , on: June 12, 2014, 09:16:12 AM
...the administration is considering several options, including ...

doing nothing.

It was the "wrong war", he said.  He had his laser focus on Afghanistan.  And jobs.

This is very sad to see, all the American effort, lives and fortune squandered. 

What is so deceitful is for him to portray our exits as "ending the wars".  Why not say what he believes: they aren't worth it.

If the lesson learned is that the pursuit of a stable democracy in Iraq was unattainable all along, besides George Bush, Hillary, Biden and all the rest, we have Colin Powell's idiotic mantra, "If we break it, we must fix it", to blame.  We didn't break Iraq by toppling a murderous regime.  It was already broken, as evidenced in the 23 justifications for going to war in Iraq.

Fred Kaplan blames this on Nouri al-Maliki, not the United States.

As the U.S. pullout began under the terms of a treaty signed in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush, Maliki, the leader of a Shiite political party, promised to run a more inclusive government—to bring more Sunnis into the ministries, to bring more Sunnis from the Sons of Iraq militia into the national army, to settle property disputes in Kirkuk, to negotiate a formula on sharing oil revenue with Sunni districts, and much more.

Maliki has since backpedaled on all of these commitments and has pursued policies designed to strengthen Shiites and marginalize Sunnis. That has led to the resurgence of sectarian violence in the past few years. The Sunnis, finding themselves excluded from the political process, have taken up arms as the route to power. In the process, they have formed alliances with Sunni jihadist groups—such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which has seized not just Mosul but much of northern Iraq—on the principle that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. (more at link)
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IRS gave FBI MILLION pages of taxpayer data to prosecute conservatives on: June 12, 2014, 08:39:35 AM
It is just about impossible to keep up with all of the Obama administration scandals, but the corruption of the Internal Revenue Service ranks near the top. Unfortunately, it has gone hand in hand with Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s corruption of the Department of Justice. The perversion of law enforcement agencies for political ends is starkly revealed by the fact that in 2010, as part of its effort to stem the Tea Party movement, the IRS gave the FBI disks containing more than 1.1 million pages of documents on Section 501 non-profits, so that the FBI could selectively prosecute conservative groups and donors.

The facts, as we know them so far, were laid out yesterday in a letter from Congressmen Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan to John Koskinen, Commissioner of the IRS. The letter includes a series of emails that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has finally obtained, after more than a year of stonewalling by the Obama administration. The IRS originally told the House committee–falsely–that the disks contained only publicly available filings by the non-profit organizations. But the IRS later admitted that it had illegally transferred confidential taxpayer information to the FBI.

The IRS’s purpose was explicitly political. Sarah Ingram, Lois Lerner’s predecessor in charge of tax-exempt organizations at the IRS, wrote in a September 21, 2010 email, the subject of which was a favorable front-page story in the New York Times:

Thanks, as always, for the excellent support from Media. I do think it came out pretty well. The “secret donor” theme will continue–see Obama salvo today and Diane Reehm (sp).

The reference is to Diane Rehm, an NPR radio host. So the IRS, at its highest levels, was trying to advance the Democratic Party’s “secret donor” theme on the eve of the 2010 election, and breaking the law to do so. Could someone maybe go to jail one of these days?

When will Obama administration criminals pay the price?

Here is the Issa/Jordan letter in its entirety. You really should read it; hardly anyone will. It tells a sad story of government corruption and stonewalling, the hallmarks of the Obama administration. It also reminds us that there are Republicans in Washington who are doing great work, trying to sustain the rule of law under very difficult conditions. One more thought about that in a moment; first, the letter:  (below)

A final thought: I [John Hinderacker, Powerline] have spent my entire adult life in the world of litigation. It is not unusual for parties to lawsuits to stonewall, to obfuscate, sometimes even to lie, as the Obama administration did here, in order to prevent damaging facts from coming to light. Yet litigants rarely succeed in their stonewalling in the way the Obama administration has successfully stonewalled, time after time.

Why is that? The answer is simple: in a lawsuit, the discovery process is supervised by a judge or (in the federal system) a magistrate. A party that refuses to answer questions or produce documents on the basis of flimsy objections, as happened here–the objections quoted in the Issa/Jordan letter are laughable–will be ordered by the court to comply, and may have sanctions assessed against it. The problem that Congressional investigators face is that there is no judge. Legal process can be invoked, of course, as a last resort, as happens on rare occasions. But that takes years; no judge sits ready to rule on frivolous positions like those so often taken by the Obama administration. In the political realm, the only real judge is the electorate. So far, at least, that is not a reassuring thought.

If posted images come out scrambled, read it at:
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillbillary: Not ready for prime time, Senator Lincoln? on: June 11, 2014, 11:53:10 PM
Flowers is only alleging that Bill, a known cheater and liar, told her, not that she had any personal, direct knowledge.

Referring back when they "struggled" with money, were "dead broke", and had to charge such inordinate speaking fees because Bill grew up poor.  But why didn't she buy a Wall Street Journal subscription - again - and put a couple dollars down on commodities futures?  It worked last time.  Or was she lying then?

Gaffes continued:  “I actually write about Rahm in the book,” Clinton said. “I asked him not to read it before we sat and did our interview! But it was in the very first chapter, the chapter I rightly call ‘Team of Rivals’ because that’s what it was in the beginning. A senator from Illinois ran against a senator from New York just as had happened way back with a senator from Illinois named Lincoln and a senator from New York named Seward. And it turned out the same way.”

Ummm, Abraham Lincoln was never a Senator.  This is not an off the cuff mis-speak but a carefully thought out analogy - that happens to be wrong.  I wonder how much money they made renting out the Lincoln bedroom without ever knowing what the guy did for a living.

News Reports confirm what I alleged last week:  "Fact Check: Hillary came up with Benghazi video explanation"

Hillary Clinton’s newly released memoir leaves little doubt she was the first member of the Obama administration to publicly link an anti-Islam video to the 2012 Benghazi terror attack – though she does not explain what intelligence she relied on to make the faulty connection.

The former secretary of State and potential Democratic presidential candidate discussed the Benghazi attack in her memoir “Hard Choices.” The 33-page Benghazi chapter sheds some light on events, but it leaves plenty of inconvenient details out.

According to the chronology she offers, Clinton issued the statement linking Benghazi to the video before she called President Obama on the night of the attack to provide an update, suggesting she was the originator of the flawed explanation.

The State Department press release, issued in her name, on Sept. 11, 2012 at 10:07 p.m., tied the death of Foreign Service officer Sean Smith to the video. Later that evening, a mortar strike killed former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, permanently maimed another CIA contractor and severely injured diplomatic security agent David Ubben – all of whom were defending the CIA annex. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens also died in the Benghazi assault.

The accuracy of the mortar attack, three out of five rounds on target, from more than a half mile away in the dark of night in under a minute, required military training, and premeditation according to multiple military and intelligence professionals.

“As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss,”Clinton’s press release said. “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet."

In her book, Clinton makes passing reference to the Sept. 11 press release, and the former secretary of state offers this argument for citing the video:that violence was erupting all over the Middle East and the obscure Internet video was to blame, throwing Benghazi, without credible intelligence reporting, into the same category.

“[The video] was unquestionably inciting the region and triggering protests all over, so it would have been strange not to consider, as days of protests unfolded, that it might have had the same effect here, too,"Clinton wrote. "That's just common sense."

What else does she know that isn't true?
183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Diane Sawyer Destroys Hillary Clinton on Benghazi on: June 11, 2014, 11:03:41 AM
Painful to watch.

184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary gaffes on: June 11, 2014, 10:17:38 AM
We charge $100 million in speaking fees because we "struggled".  She worked two jobs (total) in college, you know, and Bill grew up poor.

"We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt," Clinton told ABC's Diane Sawyer for an interview that previewed the Tuesday launch of Clinton's memoir, "Hard Choices."

They were dead broke because of legal costs of the 'hard choices' made by her husband.

Clinton recalled how she "struggled" to purchase "houses".

The friend who 'helped" the "struggling" family with an extra 1.35 million out of the goodness of his heart for one of their houses is now Governor of Virginia.

And this woman will win, unchallenged, in a national mood of anti-government, anti-cronyism, anti-Obamacare, anti-Washington, anti-big money, anti-Wall Street?  I don't see it.
185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stingers on: June 11, 2014, 10:01:35 AM

Hillary's State Department tried to turn over advanced anti-aircraft weapons to anti-Khadafy forces -- this is what appears to have been happening in Benghazi -- and they ended up with the Taliban.

If congress declared war in Libya weren't they just taking necessary risks to execute national policy...   Oops

The 'gaffe' that takes down Hillary might already have been made.
186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / David Brat: The term limit of the status quo on: June 11, 2014, 09:19:11 AM
I wonder why Brat was able to win against the money and name recognition when other were not.  The Mitch McConnell.
Was it the makeup of his constituency or he was simply a better candidate?
I don't know.

All of the above I presume.  Maybe it was his campaign slogan, "I am Eric Cantor's term limit."  Or maybe Mark Levin has good coverage in the area.

I don't know what is unique about immigration attitudes in his district.  It is conservative in the sense that Romney beat Obama 57-42 there. The district is 17% black and 5% Hispanic:'s_7th_congressional_district

There is a feeling that conservative districts should have conservative representation.

Maybe the news story about minors being dumped over the border for citizenship has pushed people over the edge.

There is a more general feeling that the status quo including everything to do with Obamacare and Obamanomics is unacceptable.  People see our country unraveling and are not content with the go-along,-get-along attitude of Republican leadership in opposition.

People see what a difference one Senator like Ted Cruz can make working in the minority in the Senate and wonder why we can have the entire majority in the House for 4 years and can't make any impact on policy or direction. 

Two days before the election, the state's largest newspaper said Cantor is “indispensable”and touted his "willingness to work across the aisle to move legislation."

No, he is not indispensable, and willingness to work across the aisle to move bad legislation is not a good quality. 

Cantor took a try at leadership and failed.  But he will easily find a job in Washington.
187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Congress; Congressional races,T Eric Cantor loses his Republican primary on: June 10, 2014, 11:57:21 PM
Stunning loss!  Does anyone remember a Majority Leader losing reelection in a primary?  Brat's victory over Cantor in the primary marked the first defeat of an incumbent House Majority Leader since the position's creation in 1899.

Tea party candidate, economics professor David Brat was behind by double digits in every poll.  Eric Cantor raised over $5,400,000.  Brat spent 122,000.
Don't tell me polls tell outcomes or that politics is all about money.
I used to like Eric Cantor.  The House leadership lately has been fighting the will of its members and its constituency.  Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama ignoring the left wing of their party?  This establishment loss will have many, many repercussions.
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bret Stephens WSJ: Hillary Clinton's book invites us to forget her record on: June 10, 2014, 11:38:22 PM
A diplomatic record she "came to regret"...

Hillary Clinton will likely be the next president of the United States, and why not? We live in an age of choreographed reality, and hers is among the most choreographed of lives. Also, an age of the triumph of symbol over substance and narrative over fact; an age that demonstrates the power of the contention that truth matters only to the extent people want it to matter. Mrs. Clinton's career is testimony to these things as well.

Which brings me to the subject of her book.

I obtained an advance copy of "Hard Choices," her latest doorstop of a memoir, and started reading it before its publication Tuesday. There she is, bitterly regretting her vote to authorize the war in Iraq. There she is again, standing by her actions during the Benghazi debacle, insisting on the relevance of the "Innocence of Muslims" video.

Elsewhere we find her equivocating over her opposition to the Iraq surge (which, as we learned from Robert Gates's memoir "Duty," she privately admitted was purely political), or allowing that the Obama administration's decision to stand silent over the stolen 2009 Iranian revolution was something she "came to regret."

Addressing the Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco, April 8. ASSOCIATED PRESS
And so on. But to go point-by-point through the prose would be to miss the book's true purpose. Like Victorian children who were supposed to be seen but not heard, this is a book that is supposed to be bought but not read, discussed but not examined, excerpted but not critiqued.

In fact, it's not really a book at all. It is an artifact containing printed words, an event conveying political seriousness. Perhaps it could have been written at half its length (635 pages) with twice the interest. But that would have made it easier to read from start to finish, defeating its own purpose of being big and therefore, presumably, weighty. Ceci n'est pas une pipe, wrote (or painted) René Magritte. Just so with "Hard Choices": Ceci n'est pas un livre.

How then, are we supposed to understand the memoir?

Surely it isn't about the money. Her publishers at Simon & Schuster are reported to have paid a $14 million advance for "Hard Choices," a nice raise from the $8 million she got for her first memoir, "Living History." After taxes and ghostwriting expenses (in the acknowledgments, Mrs. Clinton credits her "book team" for "making sense of my scribbles") the fee isn't so eye-popping.

Surely it isn't about the story, either. Dean Acheson, Harry Truman's secretary of state, told the riveting tale of how the Cold War began—and how the U.S. organized itself to fight it—in "Present at the Creation." George Shultz told the inside story of how the Reagan administration won the Cold War in "Turmoil and Triumph." Probably the best of the diplomatic genre, at least from a literary point of view, are the first two volumes of Henry Kissinger's memoirs, "White House Years" and "Years of Upheaval."

These books are important not (or not merely) as personal testimonies or historical documents. They describe the complex process by which a diplomat pursues great aims under the concrete pressure of events using the cumbersome mechanisms of government. They are arguments for policy and manuals for statesmanship.

Mrs. Clinton, by contrast, doesn't really have a story to tell: Her book is an assemblage of anecdotes, organized geographically, held together by no overarching theme, or underlying analysis, or ultimate accomplishment. In April she was asked to name her proudest achievements as secretary. She fumbled for an answer, as well she might. There are none.

Nor, finally, is it about the argument. What is Mrs. Clinton's version of Acheson's containment, or Mr. Kissinger's triangular diplomacy, or Mr. Shultz's muscular idealism? Perhaps it's what she used to call "smart power," a phrase that is more of an intellectual conceit than a foreign-policy concept. Calling your diplomacy smart doesn't make it smart. Saying isn't showing. And showing off isn't doing.

Which brings me back to the real purpose of the book.

However one feels about Mrs. Clinton, she was the least consequential secretary of state since William Rogers warmed the seat in the early years of the Nixon administration. This is mainly the fault of the president for whom Mrs. Clinton worked, and of the White House hacks who had the larger hand in setting the tone and shape of foreign policy. Most everyone knows this, and most everyone doesn't want to admit it. So in place of a record we have a book.

Then again, Mrs. Clinton has, prospectively, the most consequential future of any secretary since James Buchanan (the last of her predecessors to become president). How does she secure her ambition?

There is a Platonic dialogue, the "Phaedrus," which observes that the surest way to forget is to write it down. Preferably in minute detail, at extravagant length. If there's a book you can consult, no need to remember it for yourself. "You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding," warns Socrates, "and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom."

Mrs. Clinton has produced a book that asks us to forget her tenure as secretary of state. It's going to be a blockbuster.
189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: blue state inequality on: June 09, 2014, 04:45:31 PM
It's not a bug, it's a feature.

a. Elect us because of income inequality.
b. Dems win, Inequality gets worse.
c. Elect/re-elect us because of income inequality.
d. Inequality gets worse yet.
e. repeat
f. repeat.
g. repeat
z. people finally catch on?
It is a familiar formula:
Elect us because of poverty.
We win and our policies cause poverty to worsen and become permanent.
Worst case scenario for Democratic strategist:
Republicans are the party of the wealthy.
Republicans win and open economic freedom to everyone.
Everyone who wants to - succeeds.  Fewer and fewer people need the party of bloated government.

190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury caught reading the forum? on: June 09, 2014, 04:34:23 PM
"The real problem with Europe has nothing to do with money. It has to do with heavy labor regulations, high tax rates, government spending, and excessive redistribution." ...
"Using central banks to fix problems caused by fiscal mistakes just creates bigger problems. Negative interest rates are just such a policy."

Reminds me of points people here have been making about US monetary policy:
"It isn't a Monetary Problem"
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: June 09, 2014, 04:24:05 PM
Me too, but I fear
a) he tends to be tone deaf on certain issues; STRONGLY intellectual he tends to be weak on communicating with those who use emotion as their dominant modality.
b) complete lack of executive experience
c) apparently not much time or thought over time to international issues.

Agree on all three.  He will connect emotionally just fine with people that start on his side.  The biggest question I have for all of them is who will rise up with the charisma (and emotion) to lead with our principles and connect with people who used to vote differently, moderate or liberal.  We need to change millions of hearts and minds, not just eek out one win while the opponent is down.  You have to bring the people with you to pass )or repeal) legislation even if you win the Presidency, House and Senate.

Ted Cruz is an extremely valuable asset even if he never rises above Senator - and his influence goes up every time we send him another like-minded Senator - or President.
192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Blue State Path Brings Greater Inequality on: June 09, 2014, 10:07:45 AM
Stephen Moore, Heritage

For those in Washington obsessed with reducing income inequality, the standard prescription involves raising taxes on the well-to-do, increasing the minimum wage, and generally expanding government benefits—the policies characterizing liberal, blue-state governance. If only America took a more “progressive” approach, the thinking goes, leaving behind conservative, red-state priorities like keeping taxes low and encouraging business, fairness would sprout across the land.

Among the problems with that view, one is particularly surprising: The income gap between rich and poor tends to be wider in blue states than in red states. Our state-by-state analysis finds that the more liberal states whose policies are supposed to promote fairness have a bigger gap between higher and lower incomes than do states that have more conservative, pro-growth policies.

The Gini coefficient, a standard measure of income inequality, calculates the ratio of income at the top of the income scale relative to the income of those at the bottom. The higher the ratio, the more inequality. A Gini coefficient of zero means perfect equality of income and a Gini coefficient of one represents perfect inequality, such as if one person has all the income.

The measure has some obvious flaws: If everyone is doing better but some get richer at a faster pace, the Gini coefficient will increase, and so rising prosperity and economic progress will look like retrogression. Still we used it in our analysis, since it is the favorite measure among advocates of greater equality and the stick used to beat free markets. Conveniently, the U.S. Census Bureau annually calculates the Gini coefficient for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to 2012 Census Bureau data (the latest available figures), the District of Columbia, New York, Connecticut, Mississippi and Louisiana have the highest measure of income inequality of all the states; Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, Hawaii and New Hampshire have the lowest Gini coefficients. The three places that are most unequal—Washington, D.C., New York and Connecticut—are dominated by liberal policies and politicians. Four of the five states with the lowest Gini coefficients—Wyoming, Alaska, Utah and New Hampshire—are generally red states.

In the Northeast, the state with the lowest Gini coefficient is New Hampshire (.430), which has no income tax and a lower overall state tax burden than that of its much more liberal neighbors Massachusetts (Gini coefficient .480) and Vermont (.439). Texas is often regarded as an unregulated Wild West of winner-take-all-capitalism, while California is held up as the model of progressive government. Yet Texas has a lower Gini coefficient (.477) and a lower poverty rate (20.5%) than California (Gini coefficient .482, poverty rate 25.8%).

Do the 19 states with minimum wages above the $7.25 federal minimum have lower income inequality? Sorry, no. States with a super minimum wage like Connecticut ($8.70), California ($8), New York ($8) and Vermont ($8.73) have significantly wider gaps between rich and poor than those states that don’t.

What about welfare benefits? A Cato Institute report, “The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013,” measured the value of all welfare benefits by state in 2012. In general, the higher the benefit package, the higher the Gini coefficient. States with high income-tax rates aren’t any more equal than states with no income tax. The Gini coefficient measures pretax, not after-tax income, and it does not count most sources of noncash welfare benefits. Still, there is little evidence over time that progressive policies reduce income inequality.

To be clear, our findings do not show that state redistributionist policies cause more income inequality. But they do suggest that raising tax rates or the minimum wage fail to achieve greater equality and may make income gaps wider.

Here is why we believe these income redistribution policies fail. The two of us have spent more than 25 years examining why some states grow much faster than others. The conclusion is nearly inescapable that liberal policy prescriptions—especially high income-tax rates and the lack of a right-to-work law—make states less prosperous because they chase away workers, businesses and capital.

Northeastern states and now California are being economically bled to death by their pro-growth rivals, especially in the South. Toyota didn’t leave California for Texas for the weather. The latest IRS report on interstate migration provides further confirmation: The states that lost the most taxpayers (as a percent of their population) were Illinois, New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

When politicians get fixated on closing income gaps rather than creating an overall climate conducive to prosperity, middle- and lower-income groups suffer most and income inequality rises. The past five years are a case in point. Though a raft of President Obama’s policies—such as expanding the earned-income tax credit and food stamps, and extending unemployment benefits—have been designed to more fairly distribute wealth, inequality has unambiguously risen on his watch. Those at the top have seen gains, especially from the booming stock market, while middle-class real incomes have fallen by about $1,800 since the recovery started in June 2009.

This is a reversal from the 1980s and ’90s when almost all income groups enjoyed gains. The Gini coefficient for the United States has risen in each of the last three years and was higher in 2012 (.476) than when George W. Bush left office (.469 in 2008), though Mr. Bush was denounced for economic policies, especially on taxes, that allegedly favored “the rich.”

Our view is that John F. Kennedy had it right that a rising tide lifts all boats. It would be better for low- and middle-income Americans if growth and not equality became the driving policy goal in the states and in Washington, D.C.
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate: Economic Freedom vs. greater govt powers on: June 09, 2014, 09:23:54 AM
Mortgages are already highly regulated by government and 90+% of them have government backing.  Yet...  
The originator, appraiser, servicer and master servicer have no interest in seeing the loan succeed and the investors have no power to act.  Every key player in the process has either an upside down incentive or is powerless to act.

The government's 'solution' to the foreclosure crisis has been to delay and stall off the solution, the foreclosure process, making it harder and harder for the lender to recover the securing asset from the defaulted loan.  

I forget the exact timing but a friend of mine lived in his house maybe 4 years after he quit paying.  This is because of tangled up rules coming out of government, state, federal and local, not lender choice.  The no consequences environment didn't help him either.  He was just trying to quit an over-borrowed situation.

Not all upside down owners paid too much for their property.  Some borrowed it up after the fact.  In either case, these were consensual transactions, even the foreclosure clause is consensual.  Takings are not.

The best way to get new loans made is to secure the loans; that is the point of a mortgage and the mortgage industry, as opposed to unsecured loans.  But a loan is not secured if the lender cannot repossess the property in a timely manner before it is destroyed.  And as pp suggests in the macro sense, these lenders can't repossess even before the city is destroyed.

The answer to government power gone awry is not to give the government far greater power, to right many wrongs with more and more wrongs.  Like Crafty, I don't buy it.  The way you fix it is to simplify the rules, clean up the existing laws.  If you don't meet the terms of your mortgage, you lose your home.  The law should allow a reasonable delay to clear up misunderstandings, check lost in mail, give a short time to find a different funding source, but not years and years of delays.

Defaulted loans and foreclosed properties are part of a continuous correction that keep the market at market value.  It is a positive thing that makes widespread home ownership possible.  A market prevented from correcting is not a market.  It is a quagmire.

This takings idea is made 'legal' by the Supreme Court Kelo decision.  It was a wrongly decided, 5-4 decision.  Public taking for private use unconstitutional and wrong.  As Crafty suggests, local governments are not smarter than free markets and Nazi-Soviet-style central planning is not better than free people making free choices.  Let's just go back to what worked before all the government over-meddling.

One example of where public taking for private use did not work out is the Kelo property in New London.

Eminent domain by definition does not pay the amount that a willing seller and a willing agree to, fair market value.  

When cities start taking up properties in default to 'improve' neighborhoods, they will not limit their takings to defaulted properties.

A mortgage with a right to take back the property in the event of default is a contract.  Places where ordinary contracts are not enforceable are called third world countries.  Yes, I would include Detroit and Obama's vision for America in that category.

Where in the constitution does it say government shall not take private property for other than compelling public use?  Perhaps in the 9th, 5th and 2nd amendments.
194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: June 07, 2014, 11:50:53 PM
Thanks.  We aren't very far apart on any of this. 
195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Federal Reserve... on: June 07, 2014, 05:53:48 PM
Absolutely I advocate eliminating the Federal Reserve.  It's nothing more than a legalized cartel that steals wantonly from American citizens at will. This country's economy ran just fine without it up until 1913, and there was actually much less volatility, and MUCH less debt - as the Fed by definition incentivizes the creation of massive amounts of debt.  This way - Congress doesn't have to raise taxes nearly as much to fund its wild spending sprees.

And yes - fiat money needs to be eliminated as well.  At the very least - a gold standard needs to be re-introduced, and it needs to have teeth.  Otherwise we are at the mercy of international bankers who will create money as they see fit to manipulate markets and economies.  This is where we are at now - and we're about to reap the whirlwind...

The Founders also understood that ancient Rome faced the same dilemma before its collapse, as their coinage had been debased to the point where it was virtually worthless by the Emperors.  They steadily reduced the amount of precious metals in the coins until rampant inflation occurred in the general marketplace.

I am with you in spirit, but see a different way forward.  Unlike putting toothpaste back in a tube, reforming the mission of the Fed is do-able, right now, eliminating the Fed is not.

The US inflation rate is currently 2%:
We target it to be no less than 1%.  It averaged 3.33 Percent from 1914 until 2014.  It could be targeted lower - today - and we could hit lower targets if we were not trying to solve non-monetary problems with monetary tools and QE nonsense.  We could require the Treasury to borrow funds (sell T-bills) in advance of all deficit spending checks issued eliminating the need for QE (currency flooding).  We could pass a balanced budget amendment with a percent of GDP spending limit in it easier than closing the Fed IMHO and that would remove the need for the Fed to behave the way it is.

Without changing the current structure, the Fed could and should be targeting the value of the dollar to keep the price level stable for a basket of goods with the price of gold having the heaviest weight of all goods and commodities tracked.

Making every dollar including electronic dollars and all our "fiat currency" convertible to gold or made of gold, after all this inflating, is easier said than done.  For one thing, we don't even know how many dollars (or measure anything else accurately) we have and if we did, it changes every second.

Quite a few complex functions go on down at the 12 districts of the Federal Reserve Bank.  My experience was at the 9th District; Hermann Cain's was Chairman of the 8th.   How do I say this delicately.  You are trying to accomplish something that has 1% support right while we fail to accomplish things that have 60% support.  Herman Cain did not propose elimination of the Fed.  Is he too liberal, or part of the Cartel?  I don't think so.  He thought cutting 2/3 of the federal income tax, even on the rich, in the middle of the Obama years, would be easier to achieve!
196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: June 06, 2014, 04:28:57 PM
Do you propose to eliminate the Federal Reserve and eliminate paper and electronic money? If so, good luck.
197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Seven-minute history of the Federal Reserve System... on: June 06, 2014, 10:32:10 AM
Worth watching and sharing with those who are ignorant about the Fed:

Plenty is wrong over at the Fed but the video is misleading in many ways. 

They find the name 'Federal Reserve"  deceptive, but the motto "In God We Trust" implies an even larger backing... 

One feature of the Federal Reserve that always seems to get overlooked in these attacks is that the Federal Reserve returns the profit it makes to the Treasury.

Another overlooked feature is that the selection of the people running it is a process nearly the same as Judiciary / Supreme Court selections (though not lifetime appointments).  Indirect control is intentional!  What is the alternative they propose that is better?

Conspiracy is implied at the founding but it is bankers who know banking.  Should the Federal Reserve Act have been drawn up by plumbers, electricians or a random cross-section like a jury?  The Act was passed by the elected representatives, and not repealed in all those years.
The video does not address the largest problems IMHO, such as the Humphrey-Hawkins Act, where lawmakers assigned the Fed a "dual mandate" making them believe they are in charge of "full employment", something well beyond its control that greatly weakens their real mandate which is to manage a stable and reliable money supply.  This is what politicians did in their 1970s economic wisdom and still have not repealed.  Other changes in direction came earlier in the 70s, Friday the 13th in August 1971:  Those were your elected officials acting.

The video implies that running the money supply at arms length from politicians is worse than giving Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Ford-Bush-Dole et al direct control.  Really?  Do we want it run more like the V.A.?

The Fed under Yellen (and Bernancke etc.) is being run the way the politicians who chose them want it run.  A change of direction could easily be done within the current Federal Reserve system if that mandate came from the people through their representatives.  As simple as passing Humphrey Hawkins, a new Act could repeal the dual mandate, or prohibit QE activities and things like covering deficit spending without borrowing, bailing out uninsured non-financials, and other irresponsible activities.  No eery, conspiratorial music, just a change of direction coming out of new, elected, national leadership.
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 06, 2014, 09:20:31 AM
You make a good argument.  My position one can never underestimate the Clinton machine.   No matter how unbelievably dishonest Bill would be, let alone her, they would always manage to weasel out of trouble still on their feet.   shocked

I would like to place some heavy duty wagers with you:
1)  If she doesn't run I buy dinner.  If she does I get a dinner.
2)  If she doesn't win the Democratic nomination I buy lunch.  If she does you buy  lunch.
3) If she wins the Presidency I get breakfast.   IF not you do.

Okay, you're on.  But if Hillary wins the Presidency, as GM alludes, we may be in the bunker eating the end of the canned food.  My treat!

At the end of this ordeal I hope we can close the thread while the Clintons ride off quietly off into the night never to be heard from again.

Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow, ...
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone. 
199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interesting interview w Putin (check out comments on Hillary) on: June 05, 2014, 02:20:19 PM

Spoiler alert.

" It’s better not to argue with women. But Ms Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements. Still, we always met afterwards and had cordial conversations at various international events. I think even in this case we could reach an agreement. When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman."
"Someday I will indulge myself and we will laugh together at some good joke. But when I hear such extreme statements[comparing Russia now to Hitler in the 1930s], to me it only means that they don’t have any valid arguments."
200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glib Hostage Negotiations on: June 05, 2014, 02:14:20 PM
Paraphrasing Glibness logic:

It is okay to negotiate with terrorists because "the war is over".  This what nations do at the end of wars.

But of course this war isn't over.  No one won.  No one lost.  We just quit.  It was part of a larger war which is most certainly not over, whether you call it the war on terror or the war waged against us by Islamo-fascist Terror Jihad.

If we leave, no one will target our troops in Afghanistan ever again.  Good grief, how far and wide do they have to look across the globe to find a target as high in value as PFC Deserter?  They could take one American anywhere in the world and demand any number of terror combatants  released from Guantanamo anytime they want to.

The only leverage Obama has left is that he was going to release them all anyway.
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