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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: October 01, 2014, 11:41:40 PM
"Wisely selected immigrants"

Yes.  Welcoming invited guests is a very different concept than just leaving the door open.
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 30, 2014, 02:26:09 PM
He missed 58% of his Daily Intelligence Briefings.  Can't even vote present anymore.
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics, Kevin Williamson: The inequality bed-wetters are misleading you on: September 30, 2014, 10:24:34 AM
Thank you to Kevin Williamson at National Review for trying to make the points that I have been trying to make about income inequality.  This is a misleading measure resurrected to play off of resentment and envy to make healthy, growing economies look bad.  That was fine for liberals during the good years of the Bush administration, but everything the Dems have done since has made it worse.  People like Krugman put forth screwy ideas and then free market advocates are put on perpetual defense.  Why are we on defense when their policies make income, wealth, growth, jobs, AND inequality worse?

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
The Gelded Age
The inequality bed-wetters are misleading you.
By Kevin D. Williamson

The inequality police are worried that we are living in a new Gilded Age. We should be so lucky: Between 1880 and 1890, the number of employed Americans increased by more than 13 percent, and wages increased by almost 50 percent. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Barack Obama years will not match that record; the number of employed Americans is lower today than it was when he took office, and household income is down. Grover Cleveland is looking like a genius in comparison.
The inequality-based critique of the American economy is a fundamentally dishonest one, for a half a dozen or so reasons at least. Claims that the (wicked, wicked) “1 percent” saw their incomes go up by such and such an amount over the past decade or two ignore the fact that different people compose the 1 percent every year, and that 75 percent of the super-rich households in 1995 were in a lower income group by 2005. “The 3 million highest-paying jobs in America paid a lot more in 2005 than did the 3 million highest-paying jobs in 1995” is a very different and considerably less dramatic claim than “The top 1 percent of earners in 1995 saw their household incomes go up radically by 2005.” But the former claim is true and the latter is not.
Paul Krugman, who persists in Dickensian poverty, barely making ends meet between six-figure sinecures, is a particularly energetic scourge of the rich, and he is worried about conspicuous consumption: “For many of the rich, flaunting is what it’s all about. Living in a 30,000 square foot house isn’t much nicer than living in a 5,000 square foot house; there are, I believe, people who can really appreciate a $350 bottle of wine, but most of the people buying such things wouldn’t notice if you substituted a $20 bottle, or maybe even a Trader Joe’s special.” In an earlier piece on the same theme, he urged higher taxes as a way to help the rich toward virtue: “While chiding the rich for their vulgarity may not be as offensive as lecturing the poor on their moral failings, it’s just as futile. Human nature being what it is, it’s silly to expect humility from a highly privileged elite. So if you think our society needs more humility, you should support policies that would reduce the elite’s privileges.” That is, seize their money before they order the 1982 Margaux.

I live in the same city as Donald Trump, so the existence of rich people with toxic taste is not exactly a Muppet News Flash for me. But poor people are not poor because rich people are rich, nor vice versa. Very poor people are generally poor because they do not have jobs, and taking away Thurston Howell III’s second yacht is not going to secure work for them.  Nobody has ever been able to satisfactorily answer the question for me: How would making Donald Trump less rich make anybody else better off?

There is, obviously, one direct answer to that question, which is that making Trump less rich by seizing his property and giving it to somebody else would make the recipients better off, and that is true. But the Left does not generally make that straightforward argument for seizing property. Rather, they treat “inequality” as though it were an active roaming malice on the economic landscape, and argue that incomes are stagnant at the lower end of the range because too great a “share of national income” — and there’s a whole Burkina Faso’s worth of illiteracy in that phrase — went to earners at the top. It simply is not the case that if Lloyd Blankfein makes a hundred grand less next year, then there’s $100,000 sitting on shelf somewhere waiting to become part of some unemployed guy in Toledo’s “share of the national income.” Income isn’t a bag of jellybeans that gets passed around.

Further, if your assumption here is that this is about redistribution, then you should want the billionaires’ incomes to go up, not down: The more money they make, the more taxes they pay, and the more money you have to give to the people you want to give money to, e.g., overpaid, lazy, porn-addicted bureaucrats. Maybe you think that the tax rates on the rich are too low, especially given that the very rich tend to have income taxed at the capital-gains rate rather than at the much higher income-tax rate. Strange that when Democrats had uncontested power in Washington — White House, House, and Senate — they did not even make a halfway serious effort to change that. It’s almost as if Chuck Schumer has a bunch of Wall Street guys among his constituents. The tepidness of our national economic-policy leadership suggests very strongly that we are living in a Gelded Age, not a gilded one. We do need radical economic reform, not of the sort that Elizabeth Warren desires but of the kind that will allow the modestly off to thrive through mechanisms other than the largesse of politicians looting others on their behalf.

You can make the straightforward case for property seizure, though Democrats generally are not all that comfortable doing so around election time, or you can ritually chant the 1,001 names of the ancient demon Inequality. Or you can make it a matter of public morals and good taste: David Brooks received jeers for writing that the rich should adhere to a “code of seemliness,” but there’s something to be said for a less ducal executive style. How far you want to take that, though, is a matter of very wide discretion. Old millionaire Main Line families used to look sideways at anybody who drove anything flashier than a Buick — Lincolns and Cadillacs were not for Protestants, and BMWs weren’t even on the mental map. Michelle Obama wears a lot of Comme des Garçons for a class warrior, and the makers of the world’s most expensive cigars say Bill Clinton is a fan. We can do this all day.

What Paul Krugman et al. should do rather than fret about the rich and their conspicuous consumption is take the advice of a superior economist, the one who suggested that we should “focus on the stagnation of real wages and the disappearance of jobs offering middle-class incomes, as well as the constant insecurity that comes with not having reliable jobs or assets.” That’s not advice for a rich-are-too-rich problem, it’s advice for a poor-are-too-poor problem. And those are not the same problem.

That those words were Professor Krugman’s own makes it all the more puzzling that he fails to follow where they lead. The late 19th century saw substantial improvements in the standard of living for average working people in the United States. The early 21st century, not so much. This Gilded Age has a lot of catching up to do before it is anything near as successful as the last one.
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: September 30, 2014, 09:41:29 AM
McCain is definitely a hawk, but not a steady indicator of anything, especially judging Republican nominees. 

The source of that is Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker with an extensive background piece on Rand Paul, a very worthwhile read IMO:
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics, Success in Germany? Are Free markets over-rated? on: September 29, 2014, 05:51:19 PM
German people have a strong, cultural, work ethic.  Given that, wouldn't it be better to compare German workers in Germany with German-American workers in the US if you're comparing economic systems?  The US states with the highest proportions of German American workers have lower unemployment rates than Germany:  Only Japan beats German low unemployment according to the article.  Japanese-Americans also have a lower unemployment rate in the US than Japanese workers in japan, and their economy is notoriously stagnant.

The author points to America under Obama and the housing crash under Bush, while mortgages were 90% federal, as free markets running wild.  What?

Speaking of stagnation, look at the German growth.  The average GDP growth rate in Germany from 1991 to 2014 was 0.30%.  And we should copy them??!!

Germany is the 21st most prosperous nation in the world according to the CIA Fact Book (per capita income measured with purchasing power parity).  Germany is ahead of Greece, Portugal, etc. but behind the US, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, Netherlands, Australia, Austria, and many more.  How did the article jump from one positive measurement to concluding that a German, crony government in bed with large industries system is better than economic freedom?  That doesn't make sense.
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Michelle Malkin rips Colorado Gov Hickenlooper on: September 24, 2014, 10:21:53 AM
A couple of Governors need to win reelection first in order to enter the 2016 Presidential hunt.  Hick now trails badly in his bid for reelection.  Michelle Malkin explains why.

I hope the Dem Gov's weakness carries over into the close Senate race.
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: September 24, 2014, 10:06:37 AM
So, since the white house intruder successfully climbed the fence and made it to the front door, shouldn't he be free to live there without fear of prosecution or ejection?

G M hit this one out of the park!!  

By reaching inside safely, the intruder is entitled to possession of a wing of the White House, golf and Air Force One privileges, free healthcare, and gratis enrollment for his children at the Obamas' private school.  

Or is there a different set of rules for protecting the powerful and elite than for protecting the rest of us?

They require full Picture ID to enter and oppose voter ID at their political conventions and traveled more than a million jet miles to fight the CO2 emissions of little people at the global warming summit.  

Hypocrisy is a feature, not a bug of liberalism.
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Senators Lee and Rubio introduce a new kind of tax reform on: September 23, 2014, 10:41:13 AM
See WSJ today, someone please post.

From two Republican senators, a new kind of tax reform
By Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

Part of the GOP’s time warp problem — it’s always 1981 — has been making tax reform synonymous with lowering marginal tax rates. But as conservative reformer Robert Stein puts it, “Too often, advocates of comprehensive tax reform have focused on the particular means of Reagan’s plan — the lowering of marginal income-tax rates — rather than on its more general ends: correcting economic distortions caused by government policy, lightening the tax burden on American families, and encouraging more work and investment.” He continues: “Lowering tax rates today could still enhance the incentives to invest, particularly in the corporate sector. But the distortions caused by marginal tax rates are not nearly as great as they were in 1980. And attempts to solve other problems caused by the tax code itself — like the biases in favor of consumption over saving, or home building over business investment — could never in themselves garner the public support necessary for a major overhaul.” Moreover, this tends to underestimate the impact of other reforms in generating economic growth — immigration, regulatory reform, trade policy and energy policy.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have adopted a new conservative tax approach, one that is more ambitious but also focused on wider social goals. They write that “it bears remembering that the end goal of economic policy isn’t simply growth, but freedom—clearing the obstacles from each American’s unique pursuit of happiness.” In other words, it aims to increase family income, lessen the cost of parenting, promote work and spur growth.

It’s basic components include an enhanced child tax credit of $2500, expansion and reform of the earned income tax credit and corporate tax reform to promote investment and growth in the U.S.:

On the business side, we would cut the current 35% corporate tax rate to make it competitive in the global economy. The exact rate will be determined as we continue to shape the legislation, but it must be low enough to end the problem of corporate inversions and the loss of American jobs to other nations. We will also allow companies large and small to deduct their expenses and capital investments while integrating all forms of business taxation into a consolidated, single-layer tax. . . .

We will also propose that businesses only be taxed in the country where income is actually earned, rather than double-taxed when the money is brought back home. The way to reverse corporate inversions and bring capital in off the sidelines isn’t to punish companies for obeying outmoded laws, but to change those laws to make America once again the best place in the world to pursue happiness and earn success.

The senators also want to go after “cronyist giveaways” in the tax code.

Reform conservatives have tended to be too defensive about the family-friendly provision. The senators are right: It’s good social policy; not every tax change has to be about cutting rates. (Minus the Obamacare tax add-on the top marginal rate would go back to 35 percent.) There are ample pro-growth items to satisfy supply-siders and address real problems of American uncompetitiveness.

A senior aide to Lee concedes it has not yet been scored for revenue neutrality and not all specifics are finalized, but this is a policy proposal, not a bill. He does confirm that most deductions on both individual and business side will either be gone or reformed. Lee’s individual side reform gets rid of all of the individual deductions except charitable giving and a capped mortgage interest deduction. That is certainly consistent with a broader tax base at a modest rate. Backers of the concept like Stein estimate that “under the proposal, a married couple with two children earning $70,000 would get a tax cut of roughly $5,000 per year compared to current law. ” That is better policy and better politics than say a flat-tax, which would almost certainly be more regressive than the current code.

The plan is conservative in the best sense of the word. It tries to accommodate competing aims, not zealously strive for one goal at the expense of others. It protects the most important elements of civil society (thereby insuring modest government and vibrant voluntary associations) — the family and charitable entities. It reduces cronyism and other barriers to free market success. And it strengthens the work ethic and upward mobility.

It is a serious plan worth studying and a challenge both to Democrats whose idea of tax reform is simply raising taxes on the rich and to single-minded supply siders whose ideas don’t attract much support outside staunch conservative bastions and Big Business. If you are going to change the image and focus of the party, this would sure be one way to do it.
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Abortion Linked to Breast Cancer, Gender selection abortions - in US on: September 23, 2014, 10:36:06 AM
Liberal groups push poor women and black women into abortion.
Gender selection abortions are killing girls by the tens of millions. 
12 out of 12 recent studies link Abortion to Breast Cancer.
But Republicans are prosecuting a war on women by trying to slow all of that.

Abortion box score: one dead, one injured.

Gender selection abortions are not just in Asia!

"...among American families of Chinese, Korean and Indian descent, the likelihood of having a boy increased to 1.17 to 1 if the first child was a girl, according to the Columbia economists. If the first two children were girls, the ratio for a third child was 1.51 to 1 — or about 50 percent greater — in favor of boys."

No wonder Asian American women vote Democrat.  You wouldn't want to lose a woman's right to gender select by killing off your own baby girls.  It's legal if you make that choice early enough.  And this offends no one?
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Jobs report disappoints on: September 23, 2014, 10:10:05 AM
Gaining part time jobs.  Losing full time jobs.  Forcing and enticing people out of the workforce.  Worst recovery in history.

Obama Labor Secretary Thomas Perez:  "there are still 3 million long-term unemployed Americans, and we can do more to help those who are still struggling to recover".

"We can do more to help" - bring this country down even further.  Sounds like a threat. 

Please stop doing everything you are doing to cause this.
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Home sales unexpectedly declined in August on: September 23, 2014, 09:51:51 AM
Did Wesbury see this coming? (No)  Investors pull back. Who saw that coming?  (Our PP)  

Why do they say "Unexpectedly"?  Housing is tied to incomes and employment.  Were we doing something right on that front? (No)
212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs, Who is No. 1? on: September 23, 2014, 09:41:32 AM
As China's economy gets poised to overtake Obama's America, we can still take pride in being number one in the world in social spending programs:


The enormous welfare handouts, which Hoft relates are now in excess of $1 trillion annually, are unsustainable. Contrarily, he contends that Asia Pacific, including Australia, Japan, and China, are prospering by increasing their reliance on capitalism, creating smart tax policy, and spending substantially less than the U.S. on social programs.
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mark Mills, A Four-Step Energy Strategy For Our Time on: September 23, 2014, 09:31:04 AM
All are simple and obvious:

Step 1: Encourage yet more production on private and state lands. This could be done with expeditious regulatory approvals, as opposed to today's heel-dragging, especially relating to collateral infrastructure from pipelines to refineries and ports (think Keystone pipeline). And to really accelerate things, we could offer the classes of tax credits, subsidies, and special favors now given to non-hydrocarbon energy.

Step 2: Completely repeal antiquated laws that constrain or ban exports of natural gas and petroleum. These anti-free-trade rules were put in place eons ago when people thought we were running out of energy. This no-cost move would, by itself, stimulate more production. American companies shouldn't have to ask for permission to sell to overseas buyers; the federal government should help them do it.

Step 3: Reduce corporate taxes, not just to stimulate more production and jobs, but also to accelerate the trend of foreign investment in the U.S. energy sector; nearly $200 billion has already flowed here in the past half-dozen years. We could even offer a tax holiday for the repatriation of foreign profits of American firms, provided the money supports the strategy.

Step 4: Open up federal lands for more oil and gas production to reverse the six-year decline in output under current policies. The feds control half America's land and nearly all off-shore domains, but lease under 2 and 6 percent, respectively, of the controlled territories. Let's have a policy to foster growth in production on federal lands to match what's happening on private and state lands.
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Palin to campaign with Roberts in Kansas on: September 23, 2014, 09:26:53 AM
There is a little humor and irony in the fact that the RINOs and decaying establishment need the the face of the tea party to step in and rescue their losing campaign to win the Senate after viciously fighting off a tea party challenges in hotly contested primaries.  Sarah takes one for the team.
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left - Ezekiel Emanuel, Die by 75 on: September 23, 2014, 09:08:40 AM

It is a bad sign that Obamacare's architect thinks you have no value past 75.  65 really, he just gives you a 10 year cushion.
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: The Science is Settled?? The Science is Not Settled!! on: September 22, 2014, 03:13:50 PM
Trees offer a way to delay the consequences of climate change
Washington Post,  Sept 19, 2014

To Save the Planet, Don’t Plant Trees
New York Times,  Sept 19, 2014

Climate Science Is Not Settled
Wall Street Journal,  Sept. 19, 2014

Powerline Blog,  Sept 21, 2014

You can't make this stuff up!
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: September 22, 2014, 10:27:56 AM

218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Articulating our cause/strategy against Islamic Fascism on: September 22, 2014, 10:25:19 AM
The article and the French are correct to NOT call them by their ever changing, chosen names, ISIS, ISIL, IS, Islamic State, which all concede that which we aim to prevent.  

Crafty has been ahead of this with "Islamic Fascism".  That is the best anyone has come up with.  Fascism describes their methods and wish for complete control over people as closely as anything other term.

But Fascism has meaning and connotation from a different time.  Dictionaries tie fascism to a dictator, which is not really true here, and "socialism under a capitalist veneer".  This evil aspires to be worse than Nazism, but it is different and I wish we could define it and name it in words exactly as it is.  Define them in a way that explains why we are right to fight and kill them until they stop.

I don't have anything better - need help here.  Brainstorming: Islamic Suicide Bombers and Beheaders, ISIB?  But I would like to take away the (Islamic) concession that these barbarians have their religion right and peaceful Muslims have it wrong.    Genocidal, Terroristic, Fascist, Islamic Delusionalists?   To be continued...  

What is it about them that causes us to declare war against them while we tolerate other evil?  

Part of it is offense vs. defense.  They are not contained and aspire to cross and wipe out multiple borders.  Iran (OTOH) claims to need nuclear for energy of defensive purposes and we have let them be.  Iraq attacked or invaded 4 neighbors plus shot at US planes and we eventually waged war.  Hezbullah and Hamas attack our ally with limited success and we play a balancing act.  These guys, especially if we see all the factions and iterations the same as the more familiar term al qaida, are quite active and vocal about attacking us and allies everywhere, including on our homeland, and have done so enough times to deserve a decisive military response until they are defeated.

Maybe it is more simple than that.  We will fight and hunt down any group of our choosing that declares war on the US or allies.  

ISIS calls for 'lone wolf' US supporters to show up at the homes of soldiers and 'slaughter them'

This war is their choice.  There should be a disproportional consequence for that.
219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rubio on defense on: September 19, 2014, 11:51:17 PM
I don't know if it is a political winner or not, but he is right.
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: September 19, 2014, 03:26:10 PM
"...there are always more ready to pick up where she leaves off."

Yes.  It is so easy to pick on the personal flaws of Pres. Obama or Hillary Clinton, but the more lasting hit is to expose the flaws and fallacies of that governing philosophy to everyone.

Obamacare (or HillaryCare) did not fail because of who was President or because of website or a bad roll-out.  It failed because it is a bad idea.  The economy isn't stalled because Obama plays golf.  It is stalled because that is the best case, economic effect of all these policies.  Hillary is dishonest, in bed with wall street and has no management skills, but the reason I don't want her to be President is because she would lead us further in the wrong direction.

If we succeed in knocking HRC out of her political captain's chair, some clone with better communication skills and less baggage will emerge with an even better sounding version of the same old liberalism/socialism - like what happened in 2008.

We probably would be better off pulling for her to win the nomination, and then lose.

But I agree with Bigdog who once mentioned Jim Webb, or some other moderate Democrat.  America would be better off if both parties looked for candidates with some common sense and required a high level of integrity in their leaders.  It would be nice if the country didn't completely fall off the deep end every time Republicans put up a losing candidate.
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Gathering Cluster has arrived on: September 19, 2014, 12:03:52 PM
All true.  On the other hand, the Islamic militants are enemies of not only the US and Israel, but of Russia and China too, who normally backstab us on matters like this.  If the threat to them becomes greater than the fun they have thwarting the US everywhere, that would be quite a coalition.  India, population 1.25 billion, fully understands this threat.  France, under socialist rule, started air strikes.  Britain opted out, but will return at some point.  Japan is a good ally.  Spain is threatened.  Saudi and Egypt are threatened and cooperating.  Places like Lebanon, Jordan and the gulf states see the threat at their door and have resources in the region.  The turning point probably happens when peaceful Muslims everywhere get the confidence to stand up and fight back.  Right now they just see that as certain death.

Recent history says that when the US doesn't lead, there is no leadership.  But heading into Year 7 of Obama, the world has seen that we are not a free and reliable security blanket.  A more hawkish successor of Obama would take this fight more seriously, and take a harder line with allies too.  You want our help, our protection, then you have some responsibilities of your own to fulfill.

Also the enemy is fractured, has its own leadership void, has no above-ground safe haven.

We are headed into regional disaster and Obama's plan can only slow and partially contain it.  But we still have it within our power to survive this disaster and defeat this enemy globally.  (IMHO)
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More on Kansas on: September 19, 2014, 10:58:55 AM
Kansas is reliably red if you consider Bob Dole and Kathleen Sebelius to be conservatives...

We also discussed Kansas here:

(I see that young Eliana Johnson, daughter of Powerline's Scott Johnson, is now Washington Editor of National Review.)

SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 4:00 AM
Can Brownback Survive?
A conservative reformer is under siege.
By Eliana Johnson

Even before his election as governor in 2010, liberal observers were warning about Sam Brownback. In October of that year, the New York Times warned that the mere prospect of Brownback’s ascent was “redefining” the Republican party. That’s certainly been his goal. Operating on the assumption that change in the states drives change in Washington, Brownback has, over the past four years, slashed income taxes, privatized Medicaid, expanded gun rights, and taken on the state’s teachers’ unions.

Those reforms may have made him a hero to conservatives, but they have also made him a major target this election cycle. For Democrats, the former senator and 2008 presidential candidate is a high-profile scalp whose defeat would galvanize liberals across the country. Implementing his agenda also meant alienating the state’s many moderate Republicans, whom Brownback actively and successfully tried to defeat in the 2012 state legislative elections; for them, picking him off is a matter of simple revenge. Several of them have joined a group of over 100 Republicans to support Brownback’s Democratic challenger, the state’s house minority leader, Paul Davis.
Outside money from both sides has poured into the race, including $2.8 million on advertisements alone even before the end of September. The governor’s tax-cutting agenda has also attracted the attention of liberal journalists, who have denounced him en masse in an attempt to make Kansas an illustration of the catastrophe of conservative governance. “Brownbackistan” is now a Facebook group and the name of a Tumblr account; it is emblazoned on T-shirts and has its own entry in Urban Dictionary. Philadelphia magazine called it “the Koch Bros. experiment with making Kansas stupider, meaner, and more difficult.”

Much of this blowback was prompted by the tax cuts Brownback signed into law in 2012, which brought the personal income-tax rate down to 3.9 percent from 6.45 percent and exempted pass-through income — income earned by individual proprietors — entirely. No state had ever tried exempting pass-through entities.

“It was a totally new, untested thing,” says Lyman Stone, an economist with the Tax Foundation, a conservative tax-policy research organization. “Experts on the left and the right raised the alarm about this policy because we thought it might cause tax distortions, it was hard to predict in terms of the revenue changes.”

Revenues have fallen more than expected, and liberals have rejoiced. The New York Times’ Paul Krugman derided the “charlatans and cranks dictating policy in Kansas.” reported that, while “Kansas was supposed to be the GOP’s tax-cut paradise, now it can barely pay its bills.” Another piece on the site explained “How Sam Brownback’s tax cuts backfired.”

At the same time, defenders of the cuts say they’​ve created economic growth. The state’s unemployment rate has steadily decreased since Brownback took office in 2010, and the unemployment rate today stands at 4.9 percent, more than a percentage point lower than the national average. The number of private-sector jobs has increased.

“The fact that revenues were down was kind of like, ‘Duh,’” says Dave Trabert, president of the free-market Kansas Policy Institute. “That was the plan. It was anticipated that revenues would fall off dramatically because we cut taxes dramatically.” That’s true, but Stone points out that the amount of income claimed by sole proprietors has risen dramatically, which suggests that the pass-through exemption is playing a large role in the state’s revenue decline.

“The tax plan has a lot of positive features, including the shift to a positive tax base and a reduction of taxes overall,” says Stone, “but in the short term there are some features of the tax plan, like the exemption for pass-through income, that have not met expectations and that do raise concerns.”

At times, the governor has not helped himself in the face of these challenges. His critics seized on his remark that he was undertaking a “real live experiment” in red-state conservatism. But his supporters argue that Democrats are threatened by the prospect that Kansas will, if Brownback wins reelection this year, come to serve as an example of red-state success. “There’s been a fundamental shift in state policies,” a top Brownback adviser tells me. “If it works, [the Left] is really in trouble.”

The Sunflower State was always going to be a tough place to lead a conservative revolution. It has long been home to a relatively liberal Republican party — “the most liberal Republican party in America outside of the Acela corridor,” says the Brownback strategist. Brownback himself has said Kansas has a “three-party system,” and there’s some truth to that claim. One former GOP chairman, Mark Parkinson, switched parties and went on become to become Kathleen Sebelius’s gubernatorial running mate, and to serve out her term as a Democrat when she joined the Obama administration.

Brownback has never shied away from intra-party battles, and his reforms have exacerbated tensions in the GOP. When he ran for the Senate in 1996, he defeated a more moderate Republican in the primary and, two years ago, when moderates in the state senate voiced their opposition to his tax plan, he went after them in that year’s elections and succeeded in ousting nine of them from office. It is in this context that Republican senator Pat Roberts is locked in a close race with his ill-defined independent challenger, the businessman Greg Orman.

Brownback’s reforms have not made him popular. His approval rating has for months languished in the mid 30s. All of the recent polls show Davis, his opponent, leading by single digits, and the race is considered a toss-up. The Tax Foundation’s Stone notes that it will take time to feel the impact of Brownback’s reforms. “Tax cuts are not a shot of adrenaline to the economy,” he says, “but a structural feature that has an effect in the long run, where you get an overall higher level of growth the next decade.” It will be a boon for Democrats if they can boot Brownback from office before that happens, assuming it’s in the offing.

Brownback, for his part, appears uncowed by the onslaught, and his strategy for victory is becoming clear. Up to this point, all of the focus on Brownback’s record has allowed Davis to avoid staking out his own positions. In their first debate earlier this month, Brownback called Davis “the Nancy Pelosi of Kansas.” Davis represents a house district in eastern Lawrence, home to Kansas University and widely considered more liberal than the rest of the state. While Kansas voters may not be fiery conservatives, they are not Lawrence liberals.

And they are certainly not Obama liberals. As Brownback’s strategist puts it, “If people look at the difference between Brownback, four times elected statewide, two times by double digits, versus Davis, a two-time Obama delegate, I think we know how this movie ends.”

How the movie ends will have broad implications for Brownback’s red-state experiment, whether it’s ultimately held up as an example by liberals, who will draw energy from upending it, or by conservatives, who, as Brownback hopes, will cite it as a model of good governance that ultimately reaches Washington, D.C.
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rand Paul and the Foreign Policy delusions of libertarianism on: September 19, 2014, 10:47:29 AM
John Hinderacker at Powerline (excerpted, link below):
Rand Paul and the Foreign Policy delusions of libertarianism
Rand Paul began his speech today by saying that “there is one theme that connects the dots in the Middle East.” He was wrong. The Middle East, and more broadly the Islamic world, are complex places. There are many causes of their dysfunction, but the most important one is the cultural heritage of Islam. ...  In that region, as elsewhere, different situations call for different remedies. The idea that there is only “one theme”–that terrorism is the result of chaos, which is the result of overthrowing otherwise-stable and benign secular dictators–is false.
The number one sponsor of terrorism over the last thirty years has been Iran. Did the mullahs take control because of an ill-advised American intervention? No. The Shah was, perhaps, the paradigm of the benign Middle Eastern dictator, and he was our ally. While one can argue–I certainly do–that the Carter administration should have done more to support him, it wasn’t U.S. intervention that overthrew the Shah, it was a fundamentalist Muslim revolt.

How about the Taliban, which took over Afghanistan and harbored al Qaeda? Was the Taliban’s takeover the result of America’s toppling of a secular dictator? No, not unless the dictator was the Soviet Union, back in the 1980s.

No groups have contributed more to chaos in the Middle East than Hezbollah and Hamas. Does either organization owe its existence to some foreign policy mistake on the part of the U.S.? No.

A great deal of chaos in sub-Saharan Africa, especially Somalia and Nigeria, has been caused by radical Muslim groups (including, in Somalia’s case, al Qaeda). In either instance, was the cause of the chaos or the rise of terrorist groups, American intervention? No.

Rand Paul offers Iraq as an instance where the “prime source” of chaos that breeds terrorism was our “intervention to topple [a] secular dictator.” But is that really what happened in Iraq? Put aside for a moment the assumption that Saddam–who had a Koran written in his own blood and sponsored terrorism by Muslim extremists–was “secular.” Likewise, forget that Saddam was a bitter enemy of the United States, so that, when George W. Bush took office as president, there was one place on Earth where American servicemen were routinely being shot at–Iraq. We certainly did topple Saddam, a feat of which, in my view, we should be proud. Was chaos the necessary result? No. As of last year, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were hailing a stable, prosperous Iraq as one of their administration’s greatest achievements. Chaos and the ascendancy of ISIS in Iraq was the result of our needless abandonment of that country.

And where did ISIS come from? Syria. Here, Paul’s words are mystifying. He includes Assad as a secular dictator who was mistakenly “toppled” by U.S. intervention. But that is ridiculous: rightly or wrongly, America hasn’t intervened to overthrow Assad, nor has any other Western nation. The rebellion against Assad arose from two distinct sources: popular dissatisfaction with his dictatorial rule, largely on behalf of the Alawite minority, and radical Islam as embodied in ISIS. Syria disproves Rand’s implicit assumption that “secular dictators” will be secure and will maintain the sort of order that precludes terrorism, if only we leave them alone or support them. Saddam, ruling on behalf of a Sunni minority, would not have been able to preserve order (such as it was) indefinitely in Iraq, for the same reasons that Assad couldn’t in Syria.
The second major problem with Paul’s approach is the way he characterizes those who disagree with him. ...  completely over the top. No one wants “perpetual war,” no one wants “boots on the ground everywhere,” no one believes that “war is the answer for every problem.” To the extent he is talking about members of his own party, Paul is choosing a peculiar path to the presidential nomination.

Much of what Rand Paul said today was sensible. ...  But Paul could have made those points without asserting his overarching claim that the “prime source” of Middle Eastern turmoil and terrorism is America’s actions.
Paul is right, I think, about Libya. That is a case where the West overthrew a dictator that, while once a sponsor of terrorism, had been de-fanged, and what followed was much worse. The Libyan venture was a serious mistake by the Obama administration.
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War: Krauthammer, Jihadi logic on: September 19, 2014, 10:26:31 AM
Krauthammer says (paraphrasing) that either the Jihadis are stupid, which is not likely, or they are luring us into this Mideast war with the beheading videos intentionally, to raise their profile among competing jihad organizations,  knowing that we don't have the leadership or resolve to beat them.  Unknown a year ago, now they are the talk of the town.
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Single motherhood on: September 19, 2014, 10:12:42 AM
I don't follow how they made the leap from a business not firing her for caring for her son to having the government force the business to pay her whether she comes to work or not.  Since they are arguing policy with anecdotal stories, Whole Foods is already under a squeeze right now with competition coming at them from all sides.  Paying the people who don't work already took down the airline and automaking industries.  Let's take down your local store next and you can drive further with no car to a Soviet style supply outlet with its empty shelves.

What about the consumer?  There are women in that role too.  They worked hard all day but can't buy fresh fruits and vegetables for their little ones because their preferred store is no longer has one checkout lane open with the workers out on paid leave.  Unintended consequences of liberal activist policies are not that hard to imagine.  What we can't see are all the business competing for workers that never started because the all rules are just too complicated, costly and constraining.

Showing a little compassion is good for a business in the eyes of their customers, community and in their competition for good workers.  Having the rules for those businesses all same-sized and set in Washington takes away competitive differences and advantages, increases the costs, cuts out competition, worsens the service and raises the prices.  That is a women's issue too.

Women are faring TERRIBLY in the Obama era economy.  Thom Tillis, Sen candidate in NC, was just making that point, but no one is shouting it nationwide from the rooftops.

The Clinton administration (of the 90s) started a lot of this with the big push for "family leave".  They said it was limited to larger companies and it was unpaid leave.  How can we be against that?  Well, for one thing it is the federal government setting local, private establish rules, and secondly we know that mandated unpaid leave leads to mandated paid leave, which is one more way of paying people to not work.

Paid leave is what Adrian Peterson is receiving, by union rules and government subsidy from our far-left Governor.  $700,000 a week for beating up children with no wear and tear on your knees is not bad pay, and with the money committed to Peterson, the team can leave that position vacant, lose games, money and viewership.  What could possibly go wrong with feminist and activists running our formerly private sector.

How about if we leave welfare programs to the government, and allow businesses employ workers in privately negotiated agreements between consenting adults.
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: September 18, 2014, 12:46:01 PM
Thank you Doug.  
Are the deficits the only big issue?  I vaguely remember reading that there were some other issues as well.

I don't know.  i would assume it is also the refusal to address the problem.  Maybe others know.  
I hope there is something positive learned from the Kansas tax rate cut experience.  You will not see and cannot promise "supply side" results when you improve one factor by a point or two while other factors are moving 20-fold in the opposite direction.  Supply side economics means to address ALL the policies that are unnecessarily hampering productive economic activity. States need to compete with neighboring states on tax rates but they also need to pay their bills and balance their budgets.  Credibility is lost when our side screws up and over-promises.  Bigdog made this point, that there are examples out there of the Laffer curve not working, but it really means that practitioners including Prof. Laffer are not always following it by its true and full meaning.  The Laffer Curve does not suggest that all tax cuts pay for themselves.  Economic phenomena, no matter how valid, need to be expressed with the caveat, all other things are held constant.  In this case, it wasn't and they weren't.

President Bush gave supply side a bad name without ever trying it.  He cut tax rates, and revenues surged!  But he also presided over huge spending increases that take valuable resources from the productive economy.  And he let regulations, bureaucracy, crony government and everything else bad for the economy keep right on growing.  And so we had a ticking, economic time bomb, set off with the election of the anti-supply-side, Pelosi-Obama-Reid congress.

When everyone knows tax cuts won't last, in Kansas now or during the last two years of the Bush administration nationally, the stimulative effect disappears.  You are left with applying a lower rate to a depressed income to get insufficient revenues, while investors and employers are already making their decisions based on the higher, future rates.
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: September 18, 2014, 11:27:27 AM
1. Benghazi was not blamed on a video?
A poster can say this avoidable tragedy was not blamed on a video, and Candy Crowley can say something akin to that to the nation, but I was watching live when they did exactly that - on every network.  No string of links will change that.  And Susan Rice was no loose cannon; she was reciting a State Dept and administration script.  The President repeated the same inference to the UN and Hillary and staff were the likely authors of it.  That they spoke out of the other sides of their mouths at other times mentioning other things such as possible terror does not make this false talking point (LIE) go away.  It's only a minute; WATCH IT.

The issue was not only relevant, but crucial to them to not let the exploding Middle East derail their foreign policy mantra and their chance to serve a second, failed term.  This was the line to get them through the 2012 election.  Hillary chose not to be the face going forward with this DELIBERATE LIE and did not to speak up later to correct it.  Instead she said to grieving families that they would get the person who made that video, and later more publicly she proclaimed, when pressed, the famous, "WHAT DIFFERENCE AT THIS POINT DOES IT MAKE...".  Honorable Madam Secretary, it matters when our government lies so boldly to our face!

2.  There was no wrongdoing?  Joking, right?  He must mean provable criminally prosecutable wrongdoing and in that case, the evidence of document purging is just now surfacing and was not part of the committee reports cited.  No list of links changes the fact that we put an Ambassador in a war zone on an unnamed mission with UNARMED "security" at the gate, on the feared anniversary of 9/11.   Was that wrong?  We didn't dispatch help from the start.  Was that wrong?  We lied to the American people and the world.  Was that wrong?  A hyper-partisan can say there wasn't enough Republican authorized funds in a 500 Billion dollar defense budget or her million mile State Dept budget to give these guards a gun or to fly in assistance, but it just isn't so.  The poster says this is about Hillary.  Yes it is.  This all happened on her watch.  She claims she had too many underlings to manage, and too many incoming emails to know that Ambassador Stevens was out there crying for help.  And now, like Susan Rice, she deserves a promotion??

3.  There was no stand down order?  The book, "13 Hours", with the account from the inside says otherwise.  That was the order on the ground, where it mattered, "Stand Down".   People died defying that order.  Perhaps that order did not come from the Commander in Chief or the mystic situation room; we don't even know the President's whereabouts during the 13 hours.  Then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton was not returning calls to Benghazi during the crisis while they were desperate to hear back.  They couldn't reach her and she probably could not reach the President or at least couldn't get the right response.  The compound burned and the Ambassador suffered a slow, smoke inhalation death, while a few others fought, with no back up on the way.  Stand down was not only true, but perhaps unprecedented in US history.

4.  This has already been fully investigated?  That is a great one, right out of the scandal management play book.  Those who claim that can answer the unanswered questions - which is pretty much everything to do with this tragedy, before, during and after.   The links provided certainly don't do that.

5.  Speaking of truthiness, the poster re-directs blame to George Bush, lol.   Good grief.  This happened 13 times under Bush?   No.  Nothing like this happened under Bush, and if it did, how would that change anything?

The alternative route that this President and administration opted against was the truth.  They could have said:  'We made a mistake allowing the Ambassador to be there, unguarded, in the first place.  We misjudged the time length of the multiple attacks on multiple facilities when we decided not to fly in more resources from further away to at least intimidate the attackers.  The attack was never about a video.  Al Qaeda and its offshoots are not defeated, nor on the run.   In fact, our intelligence says they are about to take over nearly all of the Middle East in our second term because of our failed policies and neglect in the region.  Please vote for us anyway.'  The campaign nixed that idea.

And when Hillary saw Susan Rice lie to the nation, she could have spoken up and said she will not part of this lie.  She could have resigned in disgust and distanced herself.  Instead she left the administration with their mutual, back-slapping non-interview on 60 Minutes.  

It was Hilary who famously put forward the 3am question for any potential President:   It's only 30 seconds; WATCH IT.  The call came and she did not take it or call back.  She can say that HE was President, but if she would have done differently than President Obama, before, during or after this crisis, she could have said so and she didn't.  Now Hillary is neck deep in it and still digging.  And her defenders are grasping at links to say that what is right in front of our face is not true.
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The math in Kansas on: September 18, 2014, 12:55:30 AM

Kansas lowered the top, state income tax rate from 6.45 to 4.9%, and lowered all the other rates too.  In the short run, no new rush of business has flocked to Kansas.  Places like South Dakota, Texas and Florida already have lower tax rates still.  Their real objective was to slow the rate of people retiring and leaving Kansas with their money and investment income.  Well that would take time to show in the numbers, and slowing an exodus isn't going to show as in increase anyway.  In any case, it was over-promised and over-sold.  Taxes should have been cut only by the amount they were willing to cut spending.  

The Kansas tax cuts had no chance of stimulating the economy when they were rolled out simultaneously with these new federal government tax increases:

Chained CPI tax increase
Itemized deduction cap.
Death tax hike.
Buffett rule.
Tobacco tax hike.
IRA and 401(k) plan restrictions.
Carried interest capital gains tax hike.
Energy tax hikes.
Tax increases on international income.
Financial system tax increases.
Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax
Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax
Obamacare 3.8 percent surtax on investment income
Obamacare Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans
Obamacare Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax
Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax
Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hik
Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Cap
Obamacare Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers
Obamacare Cut for Medical Itemized Deduction
Obamacare Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage
Obamacare Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike
Obamacare Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals
Obamacare Tax on Drug Companies
Obamacare Tax on Health Insurers
Obamacare Bio-fuel tax hike

Reading this partial list of federal tax increases coinciding with the Kansas tax rate cuts, a 1.6% state tax cut had no chance of having a stimulative effect.

The result: The Kansas economy has not grown.  The state government is taxing stagnant income at a much lower rate than before, therefore taking in sharply reduced revenues.  Gov. Sam Brownback is in trouble.  Sen Pat Roberts is in trouble too, for different reasons.

Forbes says maybe the cuts need more time to show results:

Forbes liked the cuts better in 2013:
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: September 17, 2014, 12:50:21 PM
...How do Republicans win over single mothers?   
How do they win over American workers?
How do they win over blue collars?
How do they win over other ethnic groups?
(Forget liberal Jews - no hope)
Spanish Speaking groups?

More specifics as we go.  In short, Obama won by less than 3points in the last Presidential election and Republicans are already competitive in mid-terms.  We need to make a loud and clear and persuasive message to all of the members of these groups and get 1.5% of them to switch sides.  In addition to taking a small bite out of these groups, 4 million Republican voters stayed home instead of voting for Romney.  A flawed candidate (Romneycare?) ran a weak campaign and left votes on the table.  For example, where was his response to Candy Crowley when she butted in, what does self deportation mean, why are we conceding 47% of the vote if the argument is that the President is failing for all of us?

My thoughts to a gay person: in spite of (previous) opposition to gay marriage, conservatives offer you more liberty overall.

To Hispanics:conservatives offer you more opportunity to get ahead. 

To blacks:   a conservative agenda offers you more opportunity going forward, a move toward color blindness and will not remove the safety net for those trying to catch up.

To most Jews: conservatives support what you support.

To blue collar workers:  Conservatives respect the fruits of your labor, and your hard work is worth more in a healthy economy with a secure border.

To single moms:  Do you want your wonderful kids growing up in a failed state owing more than he/she will ever earn, or in a great country with a vibrant economy.

Asian Americans as a group hate us too.  Yet they tend to be hard working producers and strong parents, strong families.  We can do better with them.

To Americans:  Conservative offer you a better agenda for national security.

Single moms and other groups mentioned, may largely see government as their economic security.  But it is actually those who grow the economy that funds the government that provide the security.  Failure to move the economy forward hurts everyone in every economic situation.  We need to move a very small portion of each of these groups to win.

One point from Obama, stop doing stupid things.  Paul Ryan called himself out on one of those.  We aren't just makers and takers.  You aren't a taker if you are a retiree is receiving an earned benefit from the government or a disabled veteran or and entitlement recipient truly unable to work.  Broad sweeping statements are unhelpful especially when you are willing to fund almost all of the federal government anyway.  To focus and the agenda needs to much more clear and realistic if we want to take power away from the scare mongers.

If we can't make an economic or freedom argument after 8 years of Obama, ...
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Corruption: Emails show ‘collusion’ between Obama’s EPA, environmental lobby on: September 17, 2014, 11:06:23 AM
Emails show ‘collusion’ between Obama’s EPA, environmental lobby

The EPA and environmental groups are exceptionally close for a government agency and lobby groups, with a revolving door and pressure from the groups often shaping EPA’s policies, according to a new report from a conservative watchdog group based on emails obtained in a yearslong battle with the agency.
231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IRS, Justice Dept, corruption, collusion on: September 17, 2014, 11:01:34 AM

Boy, did he get a wrong number
Justice Dept. official offers conditional leak of IRS documents, to House GOP staffers.

Published: Sept. 15, 2014 Updated: 4:34 p.m.

The staff of the House Oversight Committee’s Republican majority received a curious phone call two Fridays ago from Brian Fallon, director of the Justice Department’s office of public affairs.

Mr. Fallon confided that he had certain documents pertaining to the Internal Revenue Service scandal, which had been requested by Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa.

He asked that staff leak the documents to “selected reporters” – affording Attorney General Eric Holder’s spokesman an opportunity to publicly downplay their significance – before he handed them over to Rep. Issa.

It was an artful plan by Mr. Fallon, which he almost certainly would have pulled off but for one slip up: He called Rep. Issa’s staff when he meant instead to call staff for Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s ranking Democratic member. Mr. Fallon’s phone call confirmed suspicions that Rep. Cummings has been running interference for the Justice Department.

It also suggests to us that the President Obama’s attorney general is less interested in getting to the bottom of the IRS scandal – in which conservative groups were targeted for special scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status routinely conferred to liberal groups – than he is in containing the episode’s political fallout.

The documents that prompted Mr. Fallon’s misdialed phone call concerned former Justice Department lawyer Andrew Strelka, who previously worked for Lois Lerner, who headed the scandalized IRS office that placed conservative groups on the agency’s “Be on the Lookout List.”

One of those groups was Z Street, a Philadelphia-based pro-Israel organization, which was informed by Ms. Lerner’s shop that it was targeted for special scrutiny because its views “contradict those of the administration,” Z Street founder Lori Lowenthal charges.

Ms. Lowenthal’s group filed a lawsuit in 2010 against the IRS – Z Street v. Koskinen. And of all the attorneys the Justice Department could have assigned to represent the IRS in the suit, Mr. Strelka was one of those chosen.  Mr. Issa’s committee is understandably interested in speaking to Mr. Strelka, who worked directly for Ms. Lerner, and whose participation on the Justice Department’s defense team in Z Street constituted an obvious conflict of interest.  But Mr. Strelka has been nowhere to be found. The Justice Department told Oversight Committee staff – the same staff Mr. Fallon mistakenly phoned – that Mr. Strelka is no longer on the payroll. But Justice has not provided contact information for its former counsel of record in the Z Street suit.

That’s the kind of ducking and dodging – in legal parlance, a better term would be “obstruction of justice” – that has marked the Justice Department’s investigation of the IRS scandal since Mr. Holder announced it 15 months ago.

Indeed, about the only things we know at this point is that Mr. Holder decided more than six months ago that no one would face criminal charges stemming from the IRS scandal – not even Ms. Lerner. And that the attorney general sees no need to turn over the investigation to an independent counsel.

Well, we take issue with Mr. Holder on both counts.

We think the suspicious loss of Ms. Lerner’s emails, as well as the destruction of her BlackBerry after a congressional investigation was launched, could very well be evidence of a criminal cover-up.  We also think that the Justice Department investigation of the IRS scandal is so compromised – as evidenced by Mr. Fallen’s unwtting phone call – that Mr. Holder needs to turn it over to an independent counsel.
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Just a poll but... on: September 17, 2014, 10:26:42 AM
If this happens how does Republicans rid themselves of Rove?  ...

Rove was caught running amnesty ads against Grimes in the Senate race in Kentucky, when Rove and same group, Crossroads, supported the same legislation at the time.

Overall, I don't share your view that Rove is the problem, but he also isn't the solution.  Groups like his rise in importance when millions and millions and millions of conservatives don't rise up at all and do or say anything about what is happening.

I see polls moving again after Nate Silver's last report and as poll companies move from registered voters to likely voters.  GOP Ernst now leading in Tom Harkins' Iowa seat, +6.  Dem Gov Hickenlooper way down in swing state Colo. down, -10. Fla Gov GOP +5.

Of course R's could still blow this.  The bigger problem I see is if R's win too small this year to hold the Senate majority in 2016.  Eking out a win without bringing voters over to a positive agenda going forward is a tremendous and historic loss.  Failure to nationalize this race and win with purpose just sets us up for failure in the next cycle.
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Lets us play arm chair general for a moment , , , on: September 17, 2014, 10:11:49 AM
Allow me to throw out an idea for our collective arm chair “generaling”:
What if we really embrace the idea of abandoning the Sykes Picot lines?  What possibilities are opened up by our so doing?  For example:

a)   Kurds get their own country, including the parts of Kurdistan that are now in Syria, Turkey (!) and Iran (!!!)  Perhaps the non-Sunni parts of Syria would like to join them?

b)   Turkey gets suitable pieces of Syria in return.  

c)   Iraq is done for.  In the south the Shias—hell, maybe even a grand bargain with Iran that includes no nukes?--  and the sunnis left landlocked in the middle

d)   Egypt is given green light to straighten out Libya

e)   Israel and Egypt given green light to crush Hamas

f)   I lack sufficient knowledge to begin to opine how this would play out with Lebanon and Hezbollah, but as best as I can tell Assad would be diminished essentially to local warlord fighting to keeping his head.

g)  What play for Jordan?

Bold post.  Great, out of the box thinking!  Could it all happen and we see a peace in the Middle East in our lifetime?  I doubt it, but still it is great to explore new ideas.

Caroline Glick wrote yesterday:  
"The Kurds will not fight for anything but Kurdistan."

a) Kurds:  I agree with Crafty's point, Kurds get their own country.  But that doesn't gain us anything else and I don't think
(b) Turkey gets reimbursement for that in Syria.  Our support for an independent Kurdistan follows from Turkey's choice to leave our alliance and move its support to the Islamic extremist side.  Crafty: "maybe even a grand bargain with Iran that includes no nukes?"  Yes if true, but their word is no good.  Expanding Iran population and territory to add 25 million Iraqi Shia (and move Iran closer to Israel, Syria etc.) looks like surrender and a grave mistake to me.  It may become fact, but should not be our choice.  Likewise with expanding an unfriendly Turkey with parts of Syria.  It may happen, but not by our choice.

Iran:  We missed an opportunity to support an uprising from within Iran in 2009.  Someday maybe that opportunity will come again and be met with a more support from the outside.  A freer Iran that is working to better themselves instead of to take down others would seem to be an essential part of the larger, regional solution, including a safe and stable Iraq.  Iraq either at war with foreign fighters or under rule by Islamic extremists is the center for unending trouble in the region (IMHO).

c) Iraq: Glick wrote, "The Iraqi Army is a fiction. The Iraqi Sunnis support IS far more than they trust the Americans."  

Iraq blew their chance at peace just as we blew our chance to support the peace.  If we split away the Kurd region as a result of driving out ISIS, Iraq is left with a Sunni-Shia struggle to settle both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.  The US role, with world allies, IMO is to contain that conflict to Iraqi Sunnis and Iraqi Shia and not foreign fighters and munitions, through the base we never secured in Iraq, built in new Kurdistan.  

Syria:  The Syrian mess between the bloody dictator and beheading extremists is not a solvable puzzle.  We had better be careful who we support.  Again, all I see is possible rescue operations, containment and patience.  If there is anything we can do from over the horizon to limit the recruitment and flow of foreign fighters to any of these conflicts, then that ought to be our focus, (along with air strikes on terror camps anywhere).

d)  Libya: I don't know what our role is in Libya with its competing militias.  We could try to influence events behind the scenes, with things like Crafty suggested, giving the green light to Egypt to intervene.  But this administration tends to choose opposite sides of what people here favor.  Regime change at home is a prerequisite to solving almost any of the above.

e)  Hamas:  Give Israel and Egypt given green light to crush Hamas.? Yes.  That is our view but at odds with the UN and "world opinion".  Again, you need regime change at home, where the US would support Israel over Hamas, to move forward.

f)  Hezbullah gets de-funded when the regime of Iran goes down.  And vice versa, these conflicts won't shrink while international funding and support for terror groups is rampant.

g)  Jordan:  If Jordan can survive and remain stable and neutral, like a new Kurdistan, that is the best we can do there.  They will not be a major part of war outside their borders without inviting war in.

Overall, abandoning the lines drawn after WWI is what our enemy, the emerging caliphate, favors.  We better be ready to fight and defeat them when the nearly century old lines are erased.  At this time, under this administration and this free world leadership void, we most certainly aren't.  (My two cents or less worth.)
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cuban spies influence policy decisions? on: September 17, 2014, 08:21:19 AM
"Cuba’s communist-led intelligence services are aggressively recruiting leftist American academics and university professors as spies and influence agents, according to an internal FBI report published this week."

What a bizarre story!  On one hand it seems too wild of an accusation to be true, and on the other it seems like a waste of their money to be bribing people to do what they are already highly motivated to do.
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential - Huckabee on: September 16, 2014, 02:05:54 PM
May I ask you to briefly restate your objections to him?  My impression from his FOX show is that he has much to recommend him, though I think he would lose against Hillary.

In general, I am looking for, and we desperately need, someone who comes from the right and can reach successfully to the center with our message and philosophy presented optimistically and persuasively.  Someone with core conservative values, especially on economic issues, who will be the voice and teacher of those to the center and to the country and the world.  My view of Huckabee is that he will lose because he is perceived as too conservative while in fact he is not conservative enough.  I think he would be a stronger conservative on the social issues, a southern preacher, at a time when most of the social issues are lost and we so need desperately to right our economic ship before it sinks.

GM gave an example of leniency turned fatal and blame shifting.  If we forgive one mistake or two, he still has an economic record. 

Cato beats him up pretty badly here:

"If you liked George W. Bush’s brand of big-spending, big-government conservatism, you’ll love Mike Huckabee. ... As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee dramatically increased state spending. During his two-term tenure, spending increased by more than 65 percent — at three times the rate of inflation.  The number of government workers increased by 20 percent, and the state’s debt services increased by nearly $1 billion. Huckabee financed his spending binge with higher taxes. Under his leadership, the average Arkansan’s tax burden increased 47 percent, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, including increases in the state’s gas, sales, income, and cigarette taxes. He raised taxes on everything from groceries to nursing home beds."

There is no such thing as a big government conservative, and the federal government does not have the built-in constraints that a state has.

I think his support for the Fair Tax shows political naivete.  We can't get enough votes right now to even slow the rate of new tax increases, but we are going to suddenly get supermajorites in the House, Senate, and states to REPEAL the income tax amendment?  That is a strategy, repeal all taxes on all incomes, even billionaires?  It isn't going to happen.  That is loose talk for a pundit and out of bounds for a nominee, IMHO. 

Executive experience is on my wish list, but in spite of Bill Clinton winning in 1992, being Governor of Arkansas doesn't alone bring all the experience, clout and respect that is needed.  Also it was a while ago with no further executive experience since then.

I never saw him on Fox so I have missed out on his good qualities.  My sister lived in Arkansas while he was Governor and loved him.  He talks a good conservative game.
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2016 Presidential, Mike Huckabee on: September 16, 2014, 10:27:40 AM
I'm no fan of Mike Huckabee for reasons stated last time around.  But it looks like he is running and will be a factor in the race.
237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential: Meet the Dems, Martin O'Malley on: September 16, 2014, 10:24:23 AM
Beating Hillary looks like a distraction to me.  Another 'fresh face' is going to pop out and haunt us with even more liberalism if the conservative side does not get its act together soon.

Wash Post covers the Gov of Maryland:

O’Malley is stumping for fellow Democrats in battleground states and boning up on foreign policy at a time when no other Democrats are talking as openly about a White House bid.
238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The top 50 Hillary Benghazi Lies on: September 16, 2014, 10:19:41 AM
Loaded with links and extremely well documented.  These are not small issues that will go away easily.
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary goes back to Iowa where she finished 3rd last time around on: September 16, 2014, 10:15:12 AM
Liberal journalist John Dickerson from Slate covers the trip:

One observer: based on what he’d heard, that she was running for president. “It's obvious she is. I mean, unless you're really, really dumb.”

More correctly she is "obviously" testing the waters, failing, and now we will see if SHE is "really, really dumb”.    wink

"The conventional complaint among Democratic campaign veterans and strategists who are not in the Clinton camp is that she has not developed a message and a rationale for her candidacy. She’s running on the fact that it’s her turn. Inevitability is deadly for candidates."
(Dickerson goes on, unpersuasively, to disagree with that view.)

I asked a man passing by what he thought of the afternoon. “She’s no Bill,” he said.
There is no doubt in my mind that she hates campaigning, hates being questioned, and above all, hates losing.  Dickerson argues she is working to fix her problems.  But they can't all be fixed.  The only way she wins is in a hold-your-nose election where everybody hates all of the candidates.
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CBO: Cost of Obamacare Subsidy Will Increase 8-Fold in 10 Years on: September 16, 2014, 09:57:35 AM
CBO: Cost of Obamacare Subsidy Will Increase 8-Fold in 10 Years

(The increases in the out-years are most certainly UNDER stated.  - Doug)

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the federal government requires Americans to purchase a health-insurance plan that meets government specifications. If they buy that insurance through a government-run exchange, and earn less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, the U.S. Treasury will pay a part of their premium. The amount the Treasury pays decreases as a person’s income increases toward the 400-percent-of-poverty level.

At the same time, the Affordable Care Act expands the Medicaid rolls by providing subsidies to states that make people earning up to 133 percent of poverty eligible for the program. People signing up for insurance on the exchange whose income is below that level must be enrolled in Medicaid.

“ACA’s Medicaid expansion provisions have the potential for affecting eligibility for premium credits if certain low to middle income individuals and families seek health insurance through the exchanges,” says the Congressional Research Service. “Under ACA, states have the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to include all nonelderly, non-pregnant individuals (i.e., childless adults and certain parents, except for those ineligible based on certain noncitizenship status) with income up to 133% FPL.”

“States that choose to implement the ACA Medicaid expansion will receive substantial federal subsidies,” says the Congressional Research Service. “If a person who applied for premium credits in an exchange is determined to be eligible for Medicaid, the exchange must have them enrolled in Medicaid.”
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Technology, MIT Robot Cheetah Has Evolved and Can Now Run Free on: September 16, 2014, 09:50:22 AM
"Our robot can be silent and as efficient as animals. The only things you hear are the feet hitting the ground," said Sangbae Kim, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. "This is kind of a new paradigm where we're controlling force in a highly dynamic situation. Any legged robot should be able to do this in the future."
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Weinberger Doctrine on: September 16, 2014, 09:17:11 AM
1. No overseas commitment of U.S. forces to combat should be made unless a vital interest of the United States or a U.S. ally is threatened.
2. If U.S. forces are committed, there should be total support - that is, sufficient resources and manpower to complete the mission.
3. If committed, U.S. forces must be given clearly defined political and military objectives. The forces must be large enough to be able to achieve these objectives.
4. There must be a continual assessment between the commitment and capability of U.S. forces and the objectives. These must be adjusted if necessary.
5. Before U.S. forces are committed, there must be reasonable assurances that the American people and their elected representatives support such a commitment.
6. Commitment of U.S. forces to combat must be the last resort.

Much to consider there.  This is a different enemy with a different threat than Sec. Weinberger faced or contemplated.  Perhaps all of that still applies.  Setting objectives and the completion of the mission do not have obvious definitions in a war that looks like it will never end.  The only thing obvious is that doing nothing is not an option.  There is no question that Israel and other allies are threatened by an expanding ISIS and there is no question that acting sooner is better than acting later to stop them.

Pres. Obama's mission I believe needs to  be broken down into objectives that can be achieved within his term.  With full use of allies and coalition, we need to take back specific territory from ISIS, degrade their capability to prosecute war and choke off their control over oil and money used for terror and militarism.  Meanwhile, a Presidential campaign is starting and the public will part of a full debate over our level of involvement in the future.

Europe and the US, and elsewhere like Russia, India, China, etc. face a large threat of homegrown and imported terror.  Now that the US government admits we are in war with an enemy sworn to kill us, our first and most obvious step should be to take control of our own border.
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary aides picking which Benghazi documents to disclose, new polls on: September 15, 2014, 10:57:07 PM
The discussion on the Benghazi thread is worth noting here.

Hillary is not popular anymore
"a staggering decline in favorability"

Worse yet her strong approval / disapproval is now in negative territory.

The story ends with a good point, that the Republican nominee is the one who can still improve his/her standing, still make a good first impression.  Hillary cannot.

244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: September 15, 2014, 10:47:27 PM
I saw about this-- let's stay on it!

Who knows where the truth lies, but... this is a named source, a key player, telling what they saw and heard first hand, and a reporter who actually is a "professional journalist".  This is exactly the kind of story CBS didn't want Sharyl Attkisson working on.

Once again, if true, a Clinton has underlings doing their dirty work for them while she stays out of the building and above the fray.  Maybe you can't convict her, but you can't trust her either.

245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: September 15, 2014, 04:21:27 PM
"the multiplier [to grow the economy by stimulating demand] is way less than one"

"if you reclassify things such as education, housing assistance, and health as transfer payments, then over 75% of the $840 billion allocated to "stimulus" was essentially income redistribution"

"Only 8%—$65.5 billion—went for transportation and infrastructure (i.e., the "shovel-ready" projects"

  - He was out on the stump right after the $840 billion saying that we needed to invest in infrastructure.  Well, why didn't we?!

Not a dime went to increase anyone's incentive to work harder or invest more.

  - The sad story of the last 8 years.
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Clinton aides involved in Benghazi document cover up on: September 15, 2014, 12:46:25 PM
a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
by Sharyl Attkisson (formerly of CBS)
“Basement Operation”

Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” He describes it as a large space, outfitted with computers and big screen monitors, intended for emergency planning, and with small offices on the periphery.

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

Did Hillary Clinton aides withhold damaging Benghazi documents?

A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.

In an interview Monday morning on Fox News, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, named the two Hillary Clinton confidants who were allegedly present: Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff and former White House counsel who defended President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial; and Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan, who previously worked on Hillary Clinton’s and then Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Obama plans major Ebola offensive on: September 15, 2014, 12:36:46 PM
I actually agree with Obama on this one! ...

The difference is that you are interested in public health and he is interested in focus group polling.
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Congressional, races, MN Senate, Al Franken, Mike McFadden on: September 15, 2014, 10:01:47 AM
Yours truly responds to Al Franken $10 million in television ads (with one free letter in the monopoly newspaper):
First under 2014 campaign.

Explanation:  Bermuda is where Mike McFadden, like Romney, is accused of avoiding taxes.  Medtronic is one of MN's most successful companies, leaving for Ireland through inversion, and Burger King is a former MN company when it was under Pillsbury ownership, allegedly leaving for Canada via inversion.
249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marco Rubio: Marking the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner on: September 15, 2014, 08:31:07 AM
This man expresses love for country more eloquently than the current occupant of the White House...

SEPTEMBER 13, 2014 4:00 AM
Our Star-Spangled Banner
Two hundred years after the Battle of Baltimore, the flag still gives us chills.
By Marco Rubio

My father took me to my first Miami Dolphins game in 1977, and I remember looking up at him as we stood to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.” Just as it is today, Miami back then was a city of enormous diversity, with many people like my father who had come from other nations and had their lives changed by America.

In that crowd, you could have found some people who loved salsa and merengue and others who preferred R&B. I’m sure some were even (inexplicably, I might add) fans of the Bee Gees and other disco acts of the ’70s. But in that moment, all of us there, representing every background imaginable, were united by our appreciation and respect for our national anthem. Through this song, we became “out of many, one.”

I’ve been to numerous sporting events since then — from the NFL to the MLB to peewee football — where our national anthem is sung before the competition begins. I’ve also watched on TV some of the most unforgettable renditions, including Whitney Houston’s powerful Super Bowl performance in 1991 and Marvin Gaye’s famous version at the NBA All-Star Game in 1983. And every time, as I look around the audience and see Americans standing with their caps removed, it still gives me chills.

In those moments, no one cares whether the people to their left or right are Republicans or Democrats, immigrants or native-born. No one even minds if they’re fans of the opposing team.

Instead, we’re reminded that we’re all Americans. We’re all proud of our heritage, grateful to those who died to ensure our freedom, and forever indebted to those who continue that fight today.

Our national anthem is a stirring reminder of our solidarity as a people. So as we mark the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s penning of “The Star Spangled Banner,” let us take this chance to reflect on the history and promise of our nation — on how the things that divide us as individuals will never be more powerful that what unites us as Americans.
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Supply and Demand Venn Diagram on: September 14, 2014, 10:29:59 PM
This is aimed at Paul Krugman but applies to all of the hypocritical left.  How is it that they believe that hiking the cost of fossil fuels will kill energy use, but deny that an artificially high minimum wage law kills jobs or that high marginal tax rates kill off economic activity and job creating investment?  It seems to me you can have it one way or you can pretend to have it the other, but you can't have it both ways.

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