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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons, the Marine and the old man on: December 12, 2016, 10:17:49 AM
Too bad to see this thread fade off into history...    wink

So, have you heard the one about the old man and the United States Marine standing guard at the White House?

On a sunny day at the end of January 2017, an old man approaches the White House from Across Pennsylvania Avenie where he’d been sitting on a park bench.
He walked up to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, “I would like to go in and meet with President Hillary Clinton.”
The Marine replied, “Sir, Mrs. Clinton is not President and doesn’t reside here.”
The old man said, “Okay,” and quietly walked away.
The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, “I would like to go in and meet with President Hillary Clinton.”
The Marine again told the man, “Sir, as I said yesterday, Mrs. Clinton is not President and doesn’t reside here.”
The man thanked him and again quietly walked away.
The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same Marine, saying “I would like to go in and meet with President Hillary Clinton.”
The Marine, understandably a bit agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, “Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mrs. Clinton.  I’ve told you already several times that Mrs. Clinton is not the President and doesn’t reside here.  What don’t you understand about these facts?”
The old man answered, “Oh, I understand you fine, Sir.  I just love hearing your answer!”
The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, “See you tomorrow, Sir.”
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cong. Cramer of North Dakota: What the Dakota Access Pipeline is Really About on: December 07, 2016, 09:48:11 AM
"The pipeline does not cross any land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux. The land under discussion belongs to private owners and the federal government."

"More than 50 tribes were consulted, and their concerns resulted in 140 adjustments to the pipeline’s route. The project’s developer and the Army Corps were clearly concerned about protecting tribal artifacts and cultural sites."

"Other pipelines carrying oil, gas and refined products already cross the Missouri River at least a dozen times upstream of the tribe’s intake."

"Other pipelines carrying oil, gas and refined products already cross the Missouri River at least a dozen times upstream of the tribe’s intake."

"the new intake, according to the Bureau of Reclamation, will be 1.6 miles downstream of an elevated railroad bridge that carries tanker cars carrying crude oil." (Far more hazardous)

The author is highly qualified and knowledgeable.  These are facts not generally stated anywhere else.

I just drove through that area.  Interestingly, Native Americans buy and sell gasoline, the refined kind that works in vehicles.  They mostly don't live the lifestyle of whatever your stereotype might be from 200 years ago.

I listened to liberal radio and they were so elated when Pres. O held up the project.  The host had an activist on and asked where she was when she heard the amazing news.  She was driving her truck on County Road such and such.  Obvious point is that if you're going to benefit from the use of energy, we are going to have to produce it.  It is a public good as much as an ambulance and a hospital, in fact the ambulance and hospital are powered by it.  We have a responsibility to do it in the best and cleanest and safest and most cost effective ways possible but for the time being, heating your homes (below zero temps here today) and powering your vehicles is a 2016 necessity.

I am against private takings and this comes close to that line.  The refined products are being used by all in this region; is that private use?  (That's not the issue anyway.)  What is being taken here?  Not land, not drinking water, not sight lines.  If landowners are being unfairly put out  there ought to be compensation.  Mineral rights owners of the land in North Dakota are THRILLED at the oil boom, getting a piece of the action.  I don't know why pipeline land owners aren't making a millionth of a cent per gallon.  I would take a 36" pipe, 100 ft underground, for a small price, across my land, anytime.  I've already offered to store nuclear waste casks in my garage and my home for the money we wanted to pay Nevada.
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iraqi Kurdistan on the Cusp of Statehood on: December 06, 2016, 09:49:35 AM
Food for thought.
See map:
The Kurds Are Nearly There
Christian Caryl DECEMBER 8, 2016 ISSUE
From Tribe to Nation: Iraqi Kurdistan on the Cusp of Statehood
a report by Amberin Zaman
Wilson Center, 31 pp., available at
The Kurds: A Modern History
by Michael M. Gunter
Markus Wiener, 256 pp., $68.95; $26.95 (paper)
Invisible Nation: How the Kurds’ Quest for Statehood Is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East
by Quil Lawrence
Walker, 386 pp., $17.00 (paper)
Kurdistan Rising? Considerations for Kurds, Their Neighbors, and the Region
by Michael Rubin
American Enterprise Institute, 139 pp., available at
The battle for Mosul has begun. For the past two years, Iraq’s second-largest city has languished under the harsh rule of the Islamic State (ISIS). Now a combined force of Iraqi army troops, Shiite militias, and Kurdish fighters, backed up by a US-led coalition of more than sixty nations, is pushing forward to retake the city. The stakes are high. Dislodging ISIS from the city where its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared his “caliphate” in 2014 promises to be a formidable undertaking, given the ferocity of resistance so far. But if the coalition manages to restore Iraqi government control over Mosul, it will certainly count as a major blow to the ambitions of the jihadists—even if final victory over them is still a long way off.

So far the campaign appears to be going well. Yet its initial successes—to be expected, perhaps, in a situation where the attackers outnumber the defenders by more than twenty to one—cannot conceal the fact that the members of the anti-ISIS forces in Iraq have strikingly divergent interests. The United States and its Western allies are concerned above all with thwarting the Islamic State’s ability to stage terrorist attacks against them. Preserving the territorial integrity of Iraq, while important, is a secondary aim. The Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, is intent on restoring his government’s sovereignty over the country as a whole and reasserting, along the way, the dominance of the Shiite majority over a restive Sunni minority that, at least for a time, saw the Islamic State as a protector of its interests.

And then there are the Kurds. For the past twenty-five years, since a crucial intervention following the first Gulf War by the United States to protect them from Saddam Hussein’s killings, the 5.5 million Kurds of northern Iraq have been quietly running their own affairs. Currently some 40,000 Kurdish troops are taking active part in the effort to retake Mosul, and dozens have died since the operation began. But the peshmerga, as the Iraqi Kurdish militias are known, are not fighting to preserve Iraq. They are fighting to remove a major threat to their own homeland, the three northern provinces that make up the Kurdish Region of Iraq. The Islamic State, which is dominated by Salafist Sunni Arabs, has always regarded the Kurds as mortal enemies, and when the jihadists staged their surprise attack on Mosul in the summer of 2014, the momentum of their offensive brought them within just a few miles of the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil. It took a series of hasty American air strikes to stop the jihadists from going further.

Since then the Kurdish region has shared an uneasy thousand-mile border with the territory controlled by the Islamic State to its south, and the Kurds are determined to put an end to this lingering security threat. There is an urgency to their mission. For the continued existence of the ISIS caliphate is, in effect, the last remaining obstacle between the Iraqi Kurds and their fondest wish: the creation of the first independent Kurdish state.

There are more than 30 million Kurds scattered across the Middle East, most of them in the four countries of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria—a circumstance that helps to explain the label they are often given—“world’s largest people without a nation.” The Kurds in all of these countries have endured various forms of persecution. And yet, as the Turkish journalist Amberin Zaman notes in her report “From Tribe to Nation,” “The Iraqi Kurds have endured far greater horrors and betrayal than any of their brethren across the borders.” The government of Saddam Hussein repeatedly subjected his Kurdish population to acts of genocidal violence, including, most notoriously, the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish communities in 1988. Every Iraqi Kurd has long and searing tales of trauma: childhoods spent in refugee camps, relatives dispatched to the anonymity of mass graves, villages razed to the ground.

The dream of a national homeland is one that all Kurds share, no matter where they currently live. For the past century—ever since World War I brought about the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent creation of new nation-states that excluded Kurdish aspirations—they have yearned in vain. Yet now circumstances have conspired to bring the Kurds—or some of them, at least—closer to achieving a workable state than at any other time in recent memory.

To be sure, not all of the Kurds are equally well positioned to take advantage. The Kurds of Iran, who briefly enjoyed a self-governing state under Soviet tutelage after World War II, seem the least likely to strike out on their own, given the strength of the Tehran government and the relative weakness of the Kurdish nationalist movement. In southeastern Turkey, the goal of self-determination has long been pursued with particular ferocity by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has carried on a four-decade-long insurgency against the government in Ankara. After years of effectively denying the existence of the roughly 15 million Kurds within its borders, the Turkish state embarked on a policy of cautious rapprochement that culminated in the launching of peace negotiations in 2013. Last year, however, the war flared up again, prosecuted on the Turkish side by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had, for a time, pursued the peace process with more determination than any of his predecessors. The return to war, amid scenes of extraordinary destruction in Kurdish communities, makes the attainment of any sort of independence for the Turkish Kurds—a long shot under the best of circumstances—even less likely.

The situation in Syria, at least on the surface, offers more grounds for hope. The outbreak of the civil war in 2011 led to the weakening of government control over the Kurdish regions in the country’s northeast corner, and the Kurds there were quick to seize their chance. Over the past five years the Syrian Kurds have steadily built up formidable institutions of self-rule. In contrast to Iraq’s Kurdish region, however, the regions currently controlled by their Syrian counterparts contain large populations of Arabs and other minority groups, and their presence might well complicate an aggressive push for independence.

Even so, it is hard to overestimate the degree of international goodwill that the Syrian Kurdish forces have managed to acquire thanks to their muscular prosecution of the war against the Islamic State. Since the Assad government doesn’t seem especially keen on confronting the caliphate, the Kurdish-dominated forces have been supplying most of the fighters on the Syrian front of the war against ISIS. It is precisely for this reason that the Obama administration has recently begun directly supplying the Syrian Kurds with weapons. This would amount to an extraordinary departure from past practice, since providing arms would implicitly bolster the Kurds’ control over their part of Syria, and potentially bring them closer to independence—a prospect of which Washington policymakers have long been leery, since it would entail a fundamental redrawing of the borders of the Middle East.

Such caution is understandable. Yet US policy toward the Kurds will face a crucial test in the next few years—and it will almost certainly come from the Kurds of Iraq, who believe that their twenty-five-year experiment in self-government is approaching its logical culmination. The leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government, based in Erbil, have explicitly declared that they have independence in their sights. Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Region of Iraq, has announced plans to conduct a referendum on statehood once the threat from ISIS has abated. Washington, meanwhile, doggedly maintains that nothing can be allowed to compromise Iraq’s territorial integrity, periodically warning its Kurdish allies not to test its resolve. In view of the long history of thwarted Kurdish aspirations, one has to wonder: When the day finally comes, will the Kurds really be willing to wait for permission?

As a people, the Kurds are magnificently contradictory. They have a sharply formed sense of identity, and yet their ethnic self-understanding allows for a dizzying diversity. Most Kurds adhere to the beliefs of Sunni Islam, yet there are also Kurds who profess Shiism, Christianity, Judaism, and radical secularism—not to mention ancient sects such as the Yazidis and the Shabaks. Moreover, millions of Kurds have, over the years, fled oppression at the hands of the nations in which they lived, creating a vast global diaspora. There are some 800,000 Kurds in Germany alone. (The largest concentration of Kurds in the United States is a population of some ten thousand in Nashville, Tennessee.)

Kurdish identity often delineates itself along linguistic lines. The Kurdish tongue—based on three rather distinct dialects—belongs to the Indo-Iranian language family, giving the Kurds a degree of cultural kinship with Iran. (Unlike the Turks and Arabs, the Kurds observe Newroz, the traditional Persian New Year.) Geography is also an important source of Kurdish self-understanding. The core Kurdish population has long been centered on the spine of mountains that reach from southeastern Turkey across northern Iraq and into the northwestern corner of Iran.

Some Kurds trace their origins back to the Medes, an ancient people who built an empire in what is now Iran and Iraq. Historians are inclined to doubt this, but it seems clear enough that Kurds have had a long presence in their region. Saladin, the leader of the Muslim armies who defied the invading Crusaders in the twelfth century, was a Kurd—though he gained fame as a religious and military leader, not as a representative of his ethnic group. The Ottomans recognized the Kurds as a distinct minority, even coining the term “Kurdistan.” The Kurds engaged in periodic uprisings against Ottoman rule, but their rebellions were almost always cloaked in the language of religious discontent. Like so many other peoples of the Middle East, they were relative latecomers to the modern idea of ethnic nationalism.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire seemed, at first, to offer a perfect opening for a Kurdish state. The victorious Allies originally planned to carve a Kurdish homeland out of the old Ottoman territories, a Kurdish delegation having pleaded its case at the Paris Peace Conference. But the Turkish nationalist leader Kemal Atatürk had other ideas. His victory in the Turkish War of Independence thwarted the West’s plans for the partition of Anatolia, and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which endorsed his new Turkish Republic, scotched the idea of a Kurdish state by including a large chunk of Kurdish-populated territory within the new Turkish borders.

This amounts to one of the great ironies of history. As Michael Gunter writes in The Kurds, Atatürk had originally envisioned his new state as a mutual homeland for both Turks and Kurds, and Kurdish fighters had formed a large part of his forces. The first Turkish parliament included seventy-five Kurdish deputies. As the years went on, however, Atatürk began to narrow his vision of the new republic to a mono-ethnic state for Turks alone. Ankara’s policies became correspondingly repressive. Within a few decades merely acknowledging the existence of a Kurdish minority had become a criminal offense.

The Kurds in the new post-Ottoman state of Syria had it somewhat better, at least at first. But as Syrian democracy withered, to be replaced by the Arab national socialist ideology of Baathism, the state’s tolerance for ethnic difference evaporated. During the 1960s, the government came up with a novel approach to making its Kurdish problem go away: it simply denied citizenship to many Kurds.

To the east, the post–World War I settlement had created yet another new state, called Iraq, which had been cobbled together from three Ottoman provinces, to be ruled under a British mandate between 1920 and 1932. The British soon found themselves facing a major threat from the Kurds of the north, who launched a full-blown jihad against their colonial masters under the leadership of a charismatic chieftain named Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji.

One of his deputies, Mullah Mustafa Barzani, would go on to become a central figure in the twentieth-century history of the Kurds—a career that ran from an old-fashioned tribal revolt to a cold war–style national liberation struggle. In the mid-1940s Barzani found himself turning for help to the Soviet Union, which became his patron during his brief period as defense minister of the short-lived Kurdish republic in Iran in 1946. When it collapsed, Moscow granted him asylum until he was finally able to return to Iraq a decade later, where he continued the struggle against the increasingly intransigent regimes in Baghdad in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite these contortions, Barzani never quite managed to live down his origins as a traditional tribal leader. The organization he created in Iraq, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), remains to this day very much under the spell of the Barzani family.

Other claimants to leadership of the Kurdish independence movement soon appeared. Within Iraq, critics of the KDP’s ascendancy—many of them members of the rival Talabani clan—formed in 1975 a party of their own, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), setting the stage for a tortuous relationship that has, on occasion, been known to explode into outright warfare.

In Turkey, the increasingly harsh oppression of the Kurdish minority under successive military governments prompted the rise of another resistance leader, Abdullah Öcalan, who founded the PKK in 1978. Unlike its Iraqi counterparts, who remained beholden to their clannish origins, the PKK started off as a classic Marxist-Leninist party but with strong nationalist claims. Öcalan ran his party along rigidly authoritarian lines, and like so many of his revolutionary predecessors, he pursued and eliminated rival Kurds with even greater ruthlessness than he attacked his enemies in the Turkish military. His claim to ultimate leadership of the global Kurdish community invariably brought him into conflict with the Iraqi Kurdish parties—a feud that continues to shape the Kurdish question today. (Öcalan, captured in 1999, is still held in a Turkish prison.)

The Kurds became deeply enmeshed in cold war politics, something that had a great deal to do with the fateful geography of their homeland. Both Turkey (with one of NATO’s biggest armies) and Iran, vital US allies, shared borders with the Soviet Union; Iraq, increasingly controlled by its own particularly virulent strain of Baathism, found a natural ally in Moscow. The PKK accordingly received active support from various revolutionary regimes around the Middle East. It sent its fighters to train in East Bloc–sponsored camps in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley alongside a hodgepodge of other terrorist groups.

The United States was just as happy to exploit the Kurds for its own purposes—most infamously in the 1970s, when Secretary of State Henry Kissinger backed the Shah of Iran, Washington’s most important regional client, in sponsoring an Iraqi Kurdish rebellion against the Iraqi government, by then well on its way to becoming a Soviet client state. Once the rebellion had achieved the Iranian aim of extracting concessions from Baghdad, the Shah, and Kissinger, cut off support for the insurgents, leaving them to face the full wrath of their enemies. Thousands of Kurds died in the reprisals that followed. It wasn’t the first time the Kurds were betrayed by their ostensible friends; nor was it the last. Their own propensity for factionalism didn’t help their cause. For much of the cold war they appeared powerless to break the curse of history.

The turning point came from an unexpected quarter. President George H.W. Bush, an old-school foreign policy realist, had no intention of supporting Kurdish self-determination when he set out to defeat Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War in 1990. But in the war’s aftermath, his administration confronted an appalling humanitarian crisis in northern Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of Kurds were fleeing retribution from Saddam’s forces. (Bush himself had called upon the Kurds and Shias to bring down Saddam’s regime, but then failed to offer the rebels air cover, leaving them at the mercy of Baghdad’s air force.)

The images of women and children suffering amid the snowy peaks excited a public outcry, and in April 1991 the United States, the UK, and France agreed to create a safe haven for the Iraqi Kurds. Operation Provide Comfort, as it came to be called, imposed a no-fly zone north of the 36th parallel, effectively preventing Saddam’s planes and helicopters from killing Kurds, and enabling the Kurdish militias to push Iraqi troops back out and reassert control.

They have never relinquished it. “The Kurdish safe haven was supposed to serve Washington’s Iraq containment strategy, a launching pad for the harassment of Saddam Hussein,” as Quil Lawrence writes in Invisible Nation:

But there was an unintended consequence: one of the most successful nation-building projects in American history. The Kurds held elections, set up their own social services, and started educating their children in Kurdish, not Arabic. They banned the Iraqi flag and the currency with Saddam’s face on it.

This nation-building effort continued apace after the US-led invasion in 2003. Ironically, Ankara’s refusal to allow US troops to cross Turkish territory on the way to Iraq compelled the Americans to seek other options for the northern prong of the campaign; the Kurds were only too happy to offer their support. Throughout the war the Kurds proved themselves conspicuously loyal allies of the US. While the rest of Iraq descended into a frenzy of war and sectarian chaos, the Kurdish region became for the coalition a secure and reliable hinterland (with a relatively stable economy). The Kurds are rightfully proud that the US military didn’t lose a single servicemember on Kurdish territory during the war. This goes a long way to explaining why the Iraqi Kurds have managed to build strong bipartisan support in both houses of Congress over the past fifteen years, which could prove useful when the issue of independence comes to a head.

Even so, Iraqi Kurds will need more than congressional goodwill if they want to turn their region into a state. Though they can probably defy the Iraqi government in a pinch, achieving independence with Baghdad’s acquiescence would certainly be more desirable than the alternative. They may already be on their way to getting it. Amberin Zaman, one of the sharpest observers of Kurdish issues, observes that the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi government have already created two committees to discuss the details of a possible divorce. She also points out that Baghdad and Erbil have worked out a resource-sharing agreement for the rich oilfields in the region around the disputed city of Kirkuk—just the sort of compromise that could accompany Iraqi Kurdistan’s separation from Iraq.

But what about the neighbors? Given their own restive Kurdish minorities, would the Turks, Syrians, and Iranians be prepared to tolerate a Kurdish proto-state on their borders? In fact, current indications are that Turkey, and to some extent Iran, may be willing to accept just this possibility. Much depends on the factional fault line that still divides the Kurds themselves. During the past decade, the Turkish government, fully aware of the bad blood between its own Kurdish rebels and their Iraqi rivals, has seen the wisdom of cultivating good relations with the Iraqi KDP as a way of undermining the Turkish PKK.1 There are also sound economic reasons for such a partnership, since Turkey has benefited hugely by serving as the main conduit for Iraqi Kurdish oil to global markets. An independent Iraqi Kurdistan, given its landlocked position, is unlikely to prove economically workable without some sort of access to global markets—but the Iraqi Kurdish leaders in Erbil have already signed long-term agreements with the Turks to ensure just this sort of access.

If all this sounds far too optimistic, Michael Rubin, in Kurdistan Rising?, has good reasons for pessimism, pointing to the many obstacles to Kurdish statehood—whether restricted to an Iraqi enclave or incorporating larger swathes of the regional Kurdish population. For all its successes, he writes, the Kurdish region of Iraq remains plagued by deep-seated pathologies. The collapse of global oil prices, coupled with the costs of prosecuting the war against ISIS and the influx of a huge number of refugees (1.8 million at last count, more than a third of the population), have sent the economy into a tailspin. Corruption remains pervasive at every level of government. Factional differences between the KPD and the PUK affect every level of administration, including the peshmerga themselves, who still answer to their respective party leaders rather than to the Kurdish government.2 The Kurds’ hard-earned reputation for relatively democratic governance has been undermined by the extension of emergency powers to President Barzani, who, citing the exigencies of the war, has remained in office long beyond his legally set term—much to the anger of the other parties in the Erbil parliament.

Rubin has a novel suggestion for future sources of Kurdish money. He suggests that the Kurds issue a symbolic currency “equivalent in value to the US dollar or European euro. In this, there is precedent in Panama and Timor-Leste, which utilize the US dollar as their currency for all practical purposes.” When it comes to the idea of a future Kurdish state achieving recognition by its neighbors, however, Rubin remains deeply skeptical—a view he shares with many other outside experts.

Rubin is entirely right to scrutinize these potential pitfalls. Creating a new Kurdish state is likely to be a highly complex affair in the best of cases. Yet it is also true that some new countries have started life under even less auspicious circumstances. As Zaman points out, Kurds have been waiting for a state of their own for a century—and they’re unlikely to go on waiting until conditions are optimal. “The ‘we are not ready’ camp cites the economic crisis, corruption, the lack of unity, and opposition from Iran and Turkey as the main obstacles to Iraqi Kurdish statehood,” she writes. “Yet, many of these issues will not be resolved by remaining part of Iraq.” The Kurds are already on the march. Their friends in the rest of the world—including the next US president—will soon have to decide whether they want to keep up.
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Justifying Coercive Paternalism, WSJ on: December 06, 2016, 09:42:29 AM
James Taranto:  "Conly's greatest contribution to philosophy may be the slippery-slope argument against slippery-slope arguments."

I would like to point back to this before it slips off the internet.  James Taranto's column alone often makes the WSJ subscription worth the money. They take news tips at 'Best of the Web' at the WSJ and I sent this email to Mr. Taranto, online editorial page editor, on Feb 12, 2013, knowing that his sense of humor might do wonders with it:

Subject: Justifying Coercive Paternalism, It’s For Your Own Good!
A must read if you missed it.  Honest thoughts of leftists are on rare, open display here, why government should make personal decisions for you.  You could base an entire column on this..  - Doug MacGxxxxxx

NY Review of Books: Cass Sunstein reviewing "Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism",  by Sarah Conly

A month later he published the following and listed me in the credits:   )


Don't Nudge Me There
If government may dictate soda size, why not sexual behavior?
March 25, 2013

If you want to get published on the op-ed page of a major newspaper, a good way to go about it is to make a reasonable, or at least reasonable-sounding, case for an unpopular and outlandish position. It's important that the issue be trivial, so that readers will get riled up but no one will really feel offended or threatened.

Philosopher Sarah Conly, author of a new book called "Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism," has discovered the formula. In a New York Times op-ed titled "Three Cheers for the Nanny State," she defends Mayor Michael Bloomberg's almost universally ridiculed (and judicially enjoined) ban on large sodas and other sugary beverages.

Conly's argument doesn't seem unreasonable, though it is incoherent in places. In a parenthetical aside, for example, she mocks opponents for objecting over such a trivial matter: "Large cups of soda as symbols of human dignity? Really?" (Note to the editors: That "Really?" is lazy writing. Why not let a rhetorical question stand on its own? See what we mean?) But of course she wants us to take her defense of this silly policy as a serious philosophical argument.

Then there's this priceless passage: "Do we care so much about our health that we want to be forced to go to aerobics every day and give up all meat, sugar and salt? No. But in this case, it's some extra soda. Banning a law on the grounds that it might lead to worse laws would mean we could have no laws whatsoever."

Oddly, Conly bases her reductio ad absurdum on false empirical premises. The benefits and risks of exercise, and of particular forms of exercise, vary from individual to individual. And giving up all meat and salt, unlike sugar, is likely to harm your health.

The best part is that conclusion. Essentially she's saying that if you accept one slippery-slope argument, you have to accept all slippery-slope arguments. Therefore, slippery-slope arguments are unsound.

But wait, that's a slippery-slope argument! You've heard of the liar's paradox? Its simplest form is the statement "This statement is false." Conly's greatest contribution to philosophy may be the slippery-slope argument against slippery-slope arguments. Call it the slipper's paradox.

We're less impressed with Conly's argument in favor of the soda ban and measures like it. She rebuts John Stuart Mill, the 19th-century liberal philosopher who established the "harm principle"--the idea that coercion is generally justified only to prevent individuals from harming others. Mill also allowed that there were unusual cases in which government would be justified in restricting an individual's behavior for his own good--"when we are acting out of ignorance and doing something we'll pretty definitely regret." Since it's common knowledge that large quantities of refined sugar are bad for you, that wouldn't justify the soda ban.

Conly thinks Mill didn't go far enough in justifying coercion. Science has shown "that we often don't think very clearly when it comes to choosing the best means to attain our ends," she writes. "We make errors. . . . We are all prone to identifiable and predictable miscalculations." Thus we should surrender a measure of autonomy and yield to rules promulgated by experts, who presumably know what's good for us: "Giving up a little liberty is something we agree to when we agree to live in a democratic society that is governed by laws."

Again she brings up the slippery slope: "What people fear is that this is just the beginning: today it's soda, tomorrow it's the guy standing behind you making you eat your broccoli, floss your teeth, and watch 'PBS NewsHour' every day."

Crazy, right? Maybe not. Conly's op-ed never mentions smoking, but in a sympathetic review in the New York Review of Books, Cass Sunstein reports that in "Against Autonomy" she argues "that because the health risks of smoking are so serious, the government should ban it." (Sunstein, a legal scholar and former Obama administration official, is coauthor of the 2008 book "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness," which makes an argument similar to Conly's.)

What's interesting about the smoking-ban proposal is that while it is culturally radical, it is not philosophically radical. Is there any doubt that if cigarettes were a new invention, lawmakers would quickly ban them? Libertarians would object, on the same ground that they argue for the legalization of other drugs. But their point of view would command little public support, at least unless and until illicit cigarette smoking became as widespread as illicit marijuana use is today.

That is to say that a moderate form of Conly's philosophy has long prevailed, even in as freedom-loving a country as America. While we may bridle at being told we can't do something we are used to doing or didn't realize we weren't supposed to do, generally we don't do so as a matter of principle. (Libertarians, you're off the hook on that observation.) Generally speaking, Americans accept a wide variety of regulations on their personal behavior that are designed to be in their own good.

So what does Conly have to say that is original? Well, her book is called "Against Autonomy" and subtitled "Justifying Coercive Paternalism." That makes it sound as if she is advocating aggressive and thoroughgoing government intrusion into individual decision-making. Her positions on the soda ban and tobacco prohibition seem to bolster that. But those take her only slightly beyond the views that today prevail among the left-liberal elite.

Similarly, according to Sunstein, she endorses Bloomberg's ban on trans fats as well as "regulations designed to reduce portion sizes"--presumably of solid food as well as dissolved sugar. But in areas in which her philosophy would seem to conflict with prevailing left-liberal views, she's less adventurous than Bloomberg:

She is far more ambivalent about Mayor Bloomberg's effort to convince the US Department of Agriculture to authorize a ban on the use of food stamps to buy soda. She is not convinced that the health benefits would be significant, and she emphasizes that people really do enjoy drinking soda.

You'd think the logic of "coercive paternalism"--of government-imposed restrictions designed to promote individual welfare--would apply more strongly when individuals are dependent on government for financial support of their welfare. To put it another way, someone who is financially autonomous has a stronger argument that he ought to be personally autonomous. We're not sure what Conly thinks of that argument--the $95 cover price (0% off at Amazon) has nudged us away from acquiring her book--but we suspect she adheres less strongly to "coercive paternalism" than to the orthodoxies of contemporary left-liberalism.

An even better example is this observation from Sunstein's review: "Because hers is a paternalism of means rather than ends, she would not authorize government to stamp out sin (as, for example, by forbidding certain forms of sexual behavior)."

What a staggering cop-out. The past 50 years or so have seen a massive deregulation of personal behavior in the sexual sphere, a revolution of law, technology, custom and economics, all in the name of personal autonomy. Never mind "sin"--this has had bad consequences for public health (AIDS and other new sexually transmitted diseases), for children (far more of whom are born out of wedlock and reared without fathers), and even for the future of the welfare state (since declining fertility makes old-age entitlements unsustainable).

It may be that the sexual revolution is irreversible and the concomitant problems are intractable. If Conly lacks the imagination to come up with policy solutions, so do we. But if she dismisses this enormous question as a matter of "sin" and focuses instead on trivia like soda-size regulations, why should we take her philosophy seriously?
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - Life of Julia on: December 06, 2016, 09:22:26 AM
Can't really say goodbye to the Glibness without asking ... who the hell is Julia and why am I paying for her whole life?
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: December 06, 2016, 09:18:48 AM
BTW, apparently last week the Chinese flew nuclear capable planes around Taiwan.
I am assuming the Obama administration sprung into action at this provocative act towards a country we are obligated to defend.
Perhaps a red line was drawn?

Right.  And what is the evidence that China walks on eggshells worrying what the US (Pres. Obama) thinks about their every provocative move?

It was a phone call.  Marc Thiessen, Washington Post, also thought it was brilliant.  Just saying, under new management shortly.
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary's Final Disgrace, Bill Whittle on: December 05, 2016, 10:50:04 PM
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: December 05, 2016, 10:39:33 PM
I love how China has been slapping Obama in the face with their dicks and the US MSM has done zero coverage of it, and now suddenly Trump taking a phone call from Taiwan is the end of the fcuking world.

Great move by Trump even if he was only taking an incoming call.

Mike Pence to Stephie Stephanopoulus:  “It's a little mystifying to me that President Obama can reach out to a murdering dictator in Cuba in the last year and be hailed as a hero for doing it and President-elect Donald Trump takes a courtesy call from a democratically elected leader in Taiwan and it’s become something of a controversy,”

Well put.

A democratically elected leader of 24 million people in a crucial and strategic area of the world, why wouldn't you take the call?
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media, Ministry of Truth - MSM major newspaper endorsements 57 Hillary-2 Trump on: December 05, 2016, 10:29:54 PM
G M: "No one cares what they [MSM] have to say. If Trump were to walk on water, the MSM would scream "Trump aquaphobic!"


Among those  getting it wrong this past election, the major newspaper endorsements were 57-2 Hillary over Trump.

Still, the continuous drivel takes a toll.  It is possible to overcome them when they are dead wrong but their echo chamber and wide reach will eat up a Republican or conservative when he or she screws up.

Besides almost every network and newspaper, also caught in the left bias are Google and Facebook.
And the people went a different way.
Final newspaper endorsement count: Clinton 57, Trump 2

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has received fewer endorsements from the editorial boards of the nation's largest newspapers than any major-party presidential candidate in history.  Among the top 100 largest newspapers in America, just two — the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville — endorsed Trump. The Review-Journal is owned by Sheldon Adelson.
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Carson at HUD on: December 05, 2016, 06:42:31 PM

It's risky to take responsibility for a big, failed bureaucracy, but I see good coming out of this.  People in the black inner cities need some kind of contact with one of the great black conservative minds and personalities of our time, and this appointment presents that opportunity.  Someone needs to reach out and inspire people with a message different than the race and welfare baiters are selling and Ben Carson has the potential to do that. 

What's wrong in HUD housing is not the houses or the costs.  Housing is a people business.
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: December 05, 2016, 06:34:47 PM
"I couldn't be less interested in the corrupt left's pearl clutching over theoretical ethical issues with Trump as they ignore actual bodies from the ignored scandals of Obama."

It's okay for the msm to go nuts over him but what Trump can't do is let his approval levels slip to George Bush's ending levels. If 29% stick with him and the rest turn against him, nothing will get done.  

The Trump business is a conflict, they feed off of favors from foreign governments and it isn't easy to divest or distance himself from it.  But not solving that affects the Supreme Court, healthcare, tax reform, etc. IMHO.  I hope he has a good plan.
212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Representative Keith Ellison on: December 04, 2016, 12:56:42 PM
"Please make him the DNC head! Please!"

First expose him for what he is and what he stands for, then watch them choose their leader and direction in full knowledge and in public view.

Until now, Minneapolis liberals just thought they had a good guy.  That won't be but ought to be reconsidered.

As suggested, he should be a serious political liability for them wherever he serves.

This is a rare case of facts breaking through the mainstream media wall. 

They still haven't hit his war on police past.
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Outing Keith Ellison, from Powerline outward on: December 04, 2016, 10:25:54 AM
As he spearheaded the takedown of Dan Rather, Scott Johnson of Powerline has researched this and stayed with it until it reached all the new right media and is now reaching the so-called mainstream.  When Ellison was only relevant to 80℅ liberal Minneapolis, no one CAIRed, as head of the whole, failed DNC, people are starting to take note.

And what a 50 year old said in office in 2010 is not a youthful discretion.
Keith Ellison is trying to plug the leaks that have sprung in his nascent campaign to head the Democratic National Committee. Ellison seeks to plug the leaks with lies and he’s lying as fast as he can talk. Let’s tune on him in action.

Last week the Investigative Project on Terrorism released audio of Ellison speaking during a 2010 political fundraiser, criticizing what he saw as the inappropriate and disproportionate influence Israel carries over American foreign policy. The IPT audio caught Ellison on tape: “The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million,” said Ellison, D-Minn. “Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes. Can I say that again?”

This was enough for the Anti-Defamation League to dismount from Ellison’s train. The ADL’s left-wing executive director Jonathan Greenblatt has succumbed to institutional imperatives. Greenblatt has declared Ellison’s comments “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.” That’s because, “whether intentional or not, his words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government, a poisonous myth that may persist in parts of the world where intolerance thrives.”

Jonathan Martin reports in the New York Times that Ellison responded in an open letter to the ADL. Hey, in 2006 it worked for him with the Jewish Community Relations Council in Minneapolis. Why not now?

In his open letter to the ADL Ellison falsely claimed that “the audio released was selectively edited and taken out of context.” He also claimed that he was merely “responding to a question about how Americans with roots in the Middle East could engage in the political process in a more effective way.” And then he chose to attack the IPT, as he has “right-wing blogs” closer to home.

In “”Keith Ellison’s disinformation campaign” the IPT has now posted the complete audio of Ellison’s remarks. It responds: “None of Ellison’s comments are true.” That’s what I’ve been saying now for 10 years.

None of Ellison’s comments in his 2006 letter to the JCRC letter was true either. This time around, however, Ellison lacks the protection of a cow town’s local paper and its devoutly Democratic Jewish power brokers.

On the contrary, one major national Democratic donor and power broker has been paying attention. He’s got Ellison’s number. Speaking on Friday at the gala dinner organized by the Brookings Institution in connection with the Saban Forum, Haim Saban unloaded on Ellison: “If you listen to Keith Ellison today, and you see his statements he’s more of a Zionist than Herzl, and Ben Gurion and Begin combined. It’s amazing, it’s a beautiful thing. If you go back to his positions, his statements, his speeches, the way’s he voted, he’s clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual.”

That signifies. Ron Kampeas covers Saban’s remarks on Ellison at length for the JTA in “Saban says Keith Ellison’s DNC win would bring ‘disaster’ to relationship between Jews and Dems.” Martin notes Saban’s remarks in “Question facing Ellison: Could he lead DNC as part-timer?”

Ellison is lying as fast as he can. In response to national interest the University of Minnesota Daily posted the complete works of “Keith E. Hakim,” Ellison’s four columns advocating the Nation of Islam line in 1989-1990 as a third-year student at the University of Minnesota Law School. In the columns Ellison called for reparations and a separate black nation. Ellison explicated his columns for the hometown crowd on Minnesota Public Radio last week: “Those stories were tongue in cheek when I wrote them. It was over 26 years ago.” I think this falls into the category of nonresponse response: “People are going to try and dig up stuff to undermine my candidacy, but we’ve all been on a life journey and have hopefully learned something over the past quarter century, and I have too.”

This is a variation of Ellison’s claims of ignorance of what he was doing in the Nation of Islam after his graduation from law school while he was on the make in Minneapolis. He put it this way on Medium last week: “In my effort to pursue justice for the African-American community, I neglected to scrutinize the words of those like Khalid Muhammed and Farrakhan who mixed a message of African American empowerment with scapegoating of other communities. These men organize by sowing hatred and division, including, anti-Semitism, homophobia and a chauvinistic model of manhood. I disavowed them long ago, condemned their views, and apologized.”

Does the Democratic National Committee really want to join Ellison on his “life journey”? We shall see.
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration, Taiwan call on: December 04, 2016, 10:08:36 AM
Kudos from this poster to the Pres-elect for that long needed move.

Reagan didn't do that as he faced down the bigger Soviet threat but I think would fully support the idea that Taiwan is our ally and the PRC/PLA is a rival or worse.

It was a phone call, not nuclear attack, and it got their attention.

Talk about fake news, the idea that Taiwan doesn't exist and Cuba, N.K., Iran, etc. are US and UK recognized countries is Orwellian and insane.
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 04, 2016, 09:48:52 AM
Thou100% agreed that spending and deficit/debt remain huge and growing, but it does look like the tax code and Obamacare may well be about to be fixed and the zero interest rate policies too.  These are all BFDs and IMHO the potential for a  real take off in economic growth is very real. 

True about Trump's proposals and the economic growth that should follow if enacted.  Also consider in the difficulty of passing major reforms.  Not just Trump's and Ryan's views but the policy views of Hillary Clinton clone Claire McCaskill, the 8th most moderate Democrat Senator needed to reach 60 votes are suddenly and potentially decisive.  ((((

If the market assumes that tax reform and healthcareare repeal are coming and something less transpires, what then for the markets?

On GM's point, also look at the big unfunded liabilities not likely to be addressed.  Doubling our growth rate, if it happens, is a step not a fix for a bankrupt trajectory.

If the Obama stock run-up was partly tied to QE and that is ended, what effect has that?   And if the stock indices run-ups were skewed because they track the most entrenched companies protected from disruption by excessive regulations and that is reversed ...  what then?  The DOW 30, NASDAQ 100 or S&P 500 going up and up and up without interruption or correction as a stagnant economy becomes dynamic, is that a certainty? (No.)

I make no prediction, just agree that the fix is not started but more possible to do now than it has been for a very long time.
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Connecting with the youth vote on: December 02, 2016, 01:10:24 PM
“Pelosi is 76. Her second-in-command, Maryland’s Steny Hoyer, is 77. Jim Clyburn, the 3rd ranking House Democrat, is 76.” Nothing says “forward-looking leadership” like a trio of septuagenarians at the top of the food chain."

  - Chris Cillizza
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Disgruntled on Flynn on: December 02, 2016, 12:59:10 PM

From the article:   "During his stint as Mullen’s intelligence chief, Flynn would often write “This is bullshit!” in the margins of classified papers he was obliged to pass on to his boss, someone who saw these papers told me."

That may sound bad to a typical New Yorker reader but I have forwarded things without comment and people presume I am forwarding something I endorse or agree with.  It would be irresponsible not to put some such comment on something passed along to a superior for consideration or awareness if that reflects his own knowledgeable and professional view.  His boss wants his comment.  Furthermore, aren't those comments on a classified document passed between two top clearance people also classified?  The person revealing that has committed a crime(?) and so has the New Yorker in publishing it.  No?    "Hey, here's what I saw on a US military intelligence document marked Classified Top Secret!"  "Great, let's publish it!"   Really??

It tells me the guy doesn't mince words, nor was there any indication his boss offended.

The 'disgruntled' author called Flynn's service to his country in this high position, "during his stint as".  As suggested, they are looking for something to deride or complain about and finding very little of significance.  Like worrying about Bannon while elevating Ellison...
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism, crony capitalism, SJW: on: December 02, 2016, 11:14:16 AM
CD writes:
"One of the arguments we are going to hear from the other side about the Carrier deal is that Obama did the same sort of thing with the auto industry."

ccp:  2 days ago Rush discussed this very issue.  Fortunately I am able to find the transcript online.  You may have to peruse further down the article to get to the part where he negates the argument that the deals are the same.   One reason is Obama's deal was for the unions.   Secondly the BHO administration basically  bought GM and told them what to do:

Good work on both the question and the answer.  My view is that it is either unconstitutional or just plain wrong (equal protection under the law) for any government to offer any business any special treatment that would not be available to all, and WAY out of bounds for the federal government to take on the task of running a so-called private business.

Adhering to these principles might have cost us Chrysler in 1979, 2009, Harley Davidson in 1983 and General Motors in 2009.  The positive effects of a consistent and dynamic, free and fair economy would more than make up for that, but telling that to the displaced workers would not be persuasive, consoling or pay the bills.  Trump's approach polls better.

Part of what Trump offered Carrier is offered to all, the promise that lower tax rates and more reasonable regulations are coming.  The rest I believe was the state offering special incentives in a deal brokered by Trump.  I oppose that kind of thing even though it is common at the state and local level and nothing like what Obama did with General Motors.  By coincidence, the Governor of Indiana is ... Mike Pence.

Obama acted to prevent the auto workers union from having to take major losses in bankruptcy.  He preventing bankruptcy laws from working as intended.  GM was trying reorganize and President Obama took sides, putting the full faith and credit of the United States where it legally and constitutionally did not belong.

Article WHAT? of the constitution authorizes the federal government to acquire and run an automobile manufacturing company??
219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration, Sec State on: December 01, 2016, 02:18:24 PM
Regarding Sec. of State, I guess we'll all know soon enough. 

Romney was proven right on some things as compared with Obama.  I think his appointment would be a good thing, but tough for Pat-types to swallow after all the negativity both ways.

Rand Paul is to the left or non-interventionist side of Obama, Hillary and Trump on foreign policy.  Extremist in his passivity, IMHO.  Great on some domestic issues but that is another matter. 

Bolton is to the right or hawk side of Trump.  Would send a different signal, but not a very compatible voice nor a fight worth taking up with the senate unless Trump was endorsing Bolton's foreign policy and he isn't.

Petreus turned a war around, single-handedly in terms of leadership.  How that translates into diplomacy I don't know.  He admitted his mistake (eventually) when caught, plead guilty, paid the price.  I forgive him, but also don't know if that is worth the price of a fight for confirmation.

Sen. Corker I believe to be the wrong choice.

Giuliani, I am skeptical.  Would support him if nominated.

Newt Gingrich should be press secretary.

Where does that leave us, Trump's choice.  Maybe I pull for Romney IF they both do it for the right reasons, not to undermine each other.

Sec of State is on the short list in succession to be President.  (Ask Al Haig about that!)  It should be someone well respected, prominent and already vetted.  It also needs to be someone with real organizational skills.  That department needs to be turned upside down for a thorough cleaning and rebuilding.

220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re. US Economy, Stock Market, Wesbury: Give thanks for the coming boom on: December 01, 2016, 10:27:18 AM
He will finally get the recovery he has been predicting the last years. It must be very exciting for him!

With my bias toward supply side policies, I also think the economy will boom - once good policies are fully enacted.

If there is certainty or at least consensus that much better policies are imminent, the market will anticipate that, in the reverse way that investors pulled back decisively when Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Clinton took control of Washington in 2007-2008.

The Reagan boom was preceded by the Volcker tightening that should have happened simultaneous with the tax rate cut stimulus.  A horrible recession filled the interim.

On Dec 13-14 the Fed will raise rates again, though only by 1/4 point and to levels that are still far too low.  That hike alone won't tank investment or the economy but a delay or roadblock in the 52-48 Senate of the tax and regulatory reforms we were promised perhaps will.

Any thoughts from others as to whether or not this market can continue to go up and up ahead of real growth even if we start doing things right?

Disclosure:  My money is not in the stock market.  My money was lost in a previous stock market.  Maybe it is still there, but it isn't mine anymore!

Wesbury has been more accurate than us - on the up markets.  He generally misses the crashes and corrections.
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: more psychobabble on: December 01, 2016, 10:00:08 AM
"NFL is corrupt for marketing its product like big tobacco.  Football is now labelled an addiction.

Football is hazardous to body and brain?  Who knew or would have guessed that a 200 to 300 pound person crashing into you at full speed knocking you off your feet and smashing you to the gournd could cause serious injury?"

While the left works to ban it, they continue to subsidize it, building stadiums for billionaire owners, millionaire players and mostly rich people who buy tickets, hence the thread name cognitive dissonance!

"If someone likes to play tennis and watch that all the time why would that not be called an addiction?"

Actually they do, but at least we don't subsidize it.  Or treat it or cure it.  Tennis addiction causes you to live longer, costing the country billions...

[Tennis trivia for ccp, what do we call a 90 mile an hour fastball in tennis?  A soft second serve.  ) ]

222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Left and the Little guy, Bernie Madoff political contributions in 2008 on: December 01, 2016, 08:53:11 AM

Madoff Made Hefty Political Contributions to Top Officials
Published December 15, 2008
It reads like a who's who of liberal Democrats: Clinton, Corzine, Dodd, Schumer, Kerry, Markey, Rangel, Bradley, Lautenberg ... and yes, even Obama.
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / In MN, Republicans gained with high turnout on: December 01, 2016, 08:29:19 AM
Minnesota, the only state Reagan never won, had the highest voter turnout in the nation in 2016 and turned it's state houses Republican.

Liberal Dem Senator Amy Klobuchar won MN in 2012 by 35 points.  Hillary won in 2016 by 1.5℅.

The pundit class is still too shocked to explain this.
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration, Mnuchin, Ross and Ricketts on: December 01, 2016, 07:55:26 AM
It looks to me like each came from Big Business to become an entrepreneur.  That's not all bad.
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Grannis: Closing the Obama Gap on: November 30, 2016, 10:16:27 PM

If will take 5℅ growth for 8 years to close the Obama gap.

3.1℅ growth is average growth, never achieved in an Obama year.
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Donald Trump has only himself to blame for his likely loss, Oct 23, 2016 on: November 29, 2016, 12:34:18 PM
Also, Cog Diss of the Left!  With the outcome prediction wrong, how does that change the underlying logic?  Trump is this bad and the alternative was that much worse!  Smug liberals refuse to eat their own words.  Let's get on with the recounts.

Knoxville News Sentinel

Trump has only himself to blame for likely loss  (WITH COMMENTS)

Fifteen days remain before Election Day, but it’s not too early to start the autopsy on Donald Trump’s candidacy and the wreckage of the Republican Party left in its wake.

There is no electoral path to the presidency left for The Donald. He knows there isn’t. So now he is trying to de-legitimize the election by claiming that it has been rigged by a shadowy global conspiracy to prevent him becoming president of the United States. (NOW WHO THINKS IT WAS RIGGED?) Trump is the one who has prevented himself becoming president by his foul mouth, repeated lies and incoherent policy statements.

Claiming that all Mexicans coming to America are criminals (DID HE SAY ALL?), drug dealers and rapists; repeatedly stoking the coals of “birtherism” in an effort to undermine the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president (BIRTH LOCATION IS RACE?); and Trump’s misogynistic view of women have proven caustic.

As a defense against the many women coming forward to accuse him of doing exactly what he told Billy Bush he did on the "Access Hollywood" bus, Trump has basically said that none were attractive enough to sexually assault. Was that a confession that if a woman was beautiful enough in his eyes, he would feel entitled to sexually assault her?

I have been black all my life, and for most of it I have been poor. But during none of it have I feared that walking out my front door would subject me to being shot(WRITER PROBABLY DOESN'T LIVE IN THE SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO). That’s ridiculous. So too is his invitation for Russian President Vladimir Putin to interfere in an American presidential election. How does an American presidential candidate justify asking Russia to get involved in our nation’s politics? Trump’s buddy, Putin (THEY'VE NEVER MET.), recently announced the completion of a rocket air defense system to fight the Islamic State in Syria. But ISIS does not have any airplanes. So where could Russia possibly aim its rockets in that area? Oh, U.S. aircraft operating in Syrian airspace.  (IT WAS PRES OBAMA WHO TURNED SYRIA OVER TO PUTIN.)

In his death spiral of a campaign, Trump is inflicting heavy damage on the GOP. (OR IS THIS EXACTLY BACKWARDS?) His refusal during Wednesday night's debate to state that he would acknowledge Hillary Clinton's victory -- should that be the will of the American people -- undermines our democracy and is unprecedented in American history. (NOW SHE DOES THAT.) He is playing a serious role in Democrats making gains in both the House and the Senate and possibly in state legislative races.  The reversals in the makeup of state lawmaking chambers (EXACTLY BACKWARDS AGAIN) could have a profound impact in the redrawing of congressional districts following the 2020 census and eliminate many of the gerrymandered Republican congressional seats. Think Texas. 

Some Senate Republican candidates have endorsed Trump, then unendorsed him, only to re-endorse him out of fear of his supporters in their states. What a pickle they are in. And the fratricidal battle for the soul of the Republican Party is already underway. There have been chants of “Paul Ryan Sucks” -- in his own state of Wisconsin. That is a party coming apart. (GOP NOW HAS 34 GOVERNORSHIPS, 70% of STATE CHAMBERS, HOUSE, SENATE and PRESIDENCY.) How does the GOP put this Humpty Dumpty back together again?

This Republican debacle is all the making of the GOP by getting in bed with the hypocritical and so-called Christian conservatives. (WHY DON'T DEMS COMPETE FOR THOSE VOTES?)  How do you square the call for character with Trump’s description of what he does to women? Perhaps the same way they voted for Ronald Reagan (WHO WON OVER 1000 ELECTORAL VOTES IN 93 STATES), whose wife checked with astrologers before allowing him to board an airplane, over Jimmy Carter, who got up every Sunday morning to teach Sunday school at his church (AND KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE ECONOMY OR DEFENSE).

There was their embrace of the tea party. Let’s not forget that the Republican Party in the South was built on the resentment of Southern whites because nationally Democrats supported civil rights legislation (FALSE, DEMS VOTED AGAINST THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT), overturning decades of Jim Crowism. They have lied too many times to their base over things they knew were untrue for political expediency.

Last week, Obama called for Trump to “stop whining.” Many in my community knew the rest of that sentence. But to rile the president, Trump brought Obama's half-brother from Kenya to get back at him. Does he believe the president really cares? Or that Clinton could pick him out of a crowd?

The only conspiracy to deny Trump the presidency is that found in the mind of this self-loathing narcissist. My mom drilled it into me that if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. That is what the GOP has done -- only this time they are also getting up with ticks.  (HILLARY'S SUPPORTERS ARE NOW UNCONTROLLABLY SCRATCHING.)
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Epic stupid, Part II on: November 29, 2016, 12:11:04 PM

Amazing.  Not just obscure liberals either.  Tim Kaine!

The knee jerk reaction to this is not more stupid than the other situations where the rules and laws they propose (gun free zones?) are either already in place or wouldn't have prevented the carnage.  This one is just more obvious!  Gun control to prevent knife and vehicle attacks!  How about Somali-control?  Or radical-Somali-control.  The knowledge of this vulnerability swayed the election.  For the left, nothing learned.
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cuba, Fidel Castro dead, finally on: November 26, 2016, 11:32:38 AM
Whatever the opposite of rest in peace is my wish here.

If this were a just world, 13 facts would be etched on Castro’s tombstone and highlighted in every obituary, as bullet points — a fitting metaphor for someone who used firing squads to murder thousands of his own people.

●He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.

●He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on earth.

●He was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.

●He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.

●He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.

●He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.

●He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.

●He outlawed private enterprise and labor unions, wiped out Cuba’s large middle class and turned Cubans into slaves of the state.

●He persecuted gay people and tried to eradicate religion.
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Left loved the Electoral College before they hated it. on: November 24, 2016, 07:59:28 AM
They had a name for it and it guaranteed that they had the advantage in all presidential elections. They called it "The Blue Wall" and no ordinary Republican would ever again be able to climb past it.      Oops.

All you have to do to get rid of the EC is get 38 smaller states agree to give up power to NY and Calif.  They never talk of amending the Constitution, just 'getting rid of' things they don't like.
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, SNL transgender joke backfires on: November 24, 2016, 07:46:25 AM
The media and the left are overlapping threads.

37 genders night be why they "we" lost the election.  Not funny to sensitive leftists.
231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Even if Trump wanted to divest, it wouldn’t be easy. on: November 23, 2016, 07:49:29 PM
It's not like stocks where you can just click close this position.  It's not like Jimmy Carter's peanut farm.  He can't necessarily hire a stranger nor can he not talk to his children or shutter the business.  The voters should have thought of this.
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Thanksgiving on: November 23, 2016, 05:39:29 PM
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

When the Washington Post or NY Times tries to debunk or 'factcheck' something to be false, you generally know it's true.  So it goes for the story of first or early Thanksgiving where Bradford the colony's first governor splits up the shared work growing and releases the beginnings of free enterprise and commerce in the first colony:

They don't happen to put their own take on it in the opinion section for some reason.  If you follow only the facts, they really are saying the story of success switching from parcels in common to individual parcels where each keeps the fruits of his or her own labor is true.
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ellison: "We don't get no justice, you don't get no peace." on: November 23, 2016, 05:27:03 PM

Face the Nation missed it but the chatter is starting to break through.  Famous people reading the forum...

Scott Johnson links:

The membership in Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, Stokely Carmichael, ties to CAIR, Muslim Brotherhood, indirect ties to Hamas are all disconcerting.  9/11 denial.  What bothers me the most is the support for the cop killers.  I remember this from television news but Scott Johnson documents it.  Besides bad grammar, leading a group chanting "we don't get no justice, you don't get no peace" comes from the defense of cold blooded cop killers and charges back against police that were proven false.  This was in the 1990s 20 years ahead of today's Black Lives Matter violence and innocent cop targeting.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / proud we have not had the kinds of scandals that plagued other administrations on: November 23, 2016, 05:08:15 PM
I would totally disagree with the part of Obama's Presidency being scandal free
Mr. McCarthy doesn't even get into the IRS and other scandals that seem to be covered up in the MSM hooplah...

.@POTUS: "I'm extremely proud of the fact that over 8 years we have not had the kinds of scandals that have plagued other administrations."
5:12 PM - 20 Nov 2016

Scandal free?  Good grief! 1) Fast and Furious comes to mind first.  Both 2) IRS targeting and 3) Benghazi helped push him over the edge for reelection. 4) Plane loads of cash to the world's number one sponsor of terror for hostages.  5) Hillary's email scandal was in his administration, and he was one of her unsecured pen pals.  6)  EPA poisoned a Colorado River, denied the extent of it by 2 million gallons.  7) How about the passing of Obamacare with a series of bald faced lies?  Cool Shovel ready projects.  9) Cash for Clunkers, removed Ford trucks off the roads right before gas went to $2 and replaced them with small Hondas and Toyotas - to help our economy!  10) Flying a separate plane to Martha's vineyard - for the dog, 11) Flying Michelle and Barack in separate planes to Hawaii,  Michelle and her entourage to Madrid,  12)  300 rounds of golf.

This link has several more:
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pat Toomey's very different path to Victory in Pennsylvania than Trump's on: November 21, 2016, 09:37:18 AM
Amazingly the same small margin of victory with different voters, many crossover votes. Different candidates, different strategies.
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media, Ministry of Truth Issues, Face the Nation, no questions on affiliations on: November 20, 2016, 10:15:47 AM
Just after I posted the Keith Ellison, Caroline Click piece published last week, John Dickerson questioned him on Face the Nation and not a single question about his past or present affiliations was asked.  Just given a platform to continue the campaign against Donald Trump.

I'm not surprised, just making note of it.
237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Representative Keith Ellison, Caroline Click, anti-Semitism on: November 20, 2016, 09:46:21 AM
It is important that vague charges like racism or anti-Semitism are backed up with specifics..I was wondering what some of the specific charges are against Keith Ellison on anti-Semitism and Caroline Glick lays out that case very well here.  This could also go in the anti-semitism thread.  Note that she references the good work done by Scott Johnson at Powerline at the time the Keith Ellison was first elected.  Also note the hypocrisy that one side is putting on nominees about their past affiliations and past statements while they elevate this man who was a member and spokesman for Nation of Islam, with ties to CAIR, Muslim Brotherhood, indirect ties to Hamas, to party leadership.

The Ellison Challenge
17 Nov 2016
 The Democratic Party’s move toward antisemitism, a move made apparent through Ellison’s rise, is one movement the Jews mustn’t lead.

The Democratic Party stands at a crossroads today. And so do the Jewish Democrats.

Out of power in the White House and both houses of Congress, the Democrats must decide what sort of party they will be in the post-Obama world.

They have two basic options.

They can move to the center and try to rebuild their blue collar voter base that President-elect Donald Trump captivated with his populist message. To do so they will need to loosen the reins of political correctness and weaken their racialism, their radical environmentalism and their support for open borders.

This is the sort of moderate posture that Bill Clinton led with. It is the sort of posture that Clinton tried but failed to convince his wife to adopt in this year’s campaign.

The second option is to go still further along the leftist trajectory that President Barack Obama set the party off on eight years ago. This is the favored option of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. Sanders’s supporters refer to this option as the populist course.

It is being played out today on the ground by the anti- Trump protesters who refuse to come to terms with the Trump victory and insistently defame Trump as a Nazi or Hitler and his advisers as Goebbels.

For the Democrats, such a populist course will require them to become more racialist, more authoritarian in their political correctness, angrier and more doctrinaire.

It will also require them to become an antisemitic party.

Antisemitism, like hatred of police and Christians, is a necessary component of Democratic populism.

This is true first and foremost because they will need scapegoats to blame for all the bad things you can’t solve by demonizing and silencing your political opponents.

Jews, and particularly the Jewish state, along with evangelical Christians and cops are the only groups that you are allowed to hate, discriminate against and scapegoat in the authoritarian PC universe.

From the party’s initial post-election moves, it appears that the Democrats have decided to take the latter path.

Congressman Keith Ellison from Minneapolis is now poised to be selected as the next leader of the Democratic National Committee. This position is a powerful one. The DNC chairman, like his Republican counterpart, is the party’s chief fund-raiser.

When a party is out of power, the party chairman is also treated like its formal leader, and most active spokesman.

Ellison is the head of the Democrats’ Progressive Caucus. His candidacy is supported by incoming Senate minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer and outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid. Obama has indicated his support for Ellison. Sen. Bernie Sanders is enthusiastically supporting him.

Ellison made history in 2006 when he was elected to serve as the first Muslim member of Congress. As the representative of an overwhelmingly Democratic district, once he won the Democratic primary in 2006, he was all but guaranteed that he could serve in Congress for as long as he wishes.

As Scott Johnson, a prominent conservative writer who runs the popular Power Line blog website reported extensively in 2006, Ellison is an antisemite. He also defends cop killers.

As Johnson reported, Ellison was a long-standing member of the antisemitic Nation of Islam. During his 2006 congressional campaign, the local media gave next to no coverage to this association. But when it did come up, Ellison soothed concerns of Minneapolis’s Jewish community by sending a letter to the local Jewish Community Relations Committee.

In the letter Ellison claimed that he had only been briefly associated with Louis Farrakhan’s outfit, that he was unfamiliar with its antisemitism, and that he had never personally expressed such views.

The local media and the Jewish community were happy to take him at his word.

But as Johnson documented, he was lying on all counts.

Ellison’s association with the Nation of Islam dated back at least since 1989 and stretched at least until 1998. During that period, he not only knew about the Nation of Islam’s Jew-hatred, he engaged in it himself.

As Johnson noted, in 1998, Ellison appeared at a public forum as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam.

He was there to defend a woman who was under fire for allegedly referring to Jews as “among the most racist white people.”

Whereas the woman herself denied she had made the statement, Ellison defended and justified her alleged statement. Referring to her slander of Jews he said, “We stand by the truth contained in [the woman’s] remarks... Also it is absolutely true that merchants in Black areas generally treat Black customers badly.”

As Johnson reported, aside from engaging in anti-Jewish propaganda and actively promoting antisemitic messages and leaders, decades before the Black Lives Matter was formed, Ellison was a prominent defender of murderers of policemen.

After the September 11 attacks, Ellison likened the attacks to the Reichstag fire in 1933, intimating that the al-Qaida strike was an inside job. He then agreed with an audience member who said that “the Jews” gained the most from the attacks.

As a member of Congress, Ellison has been among the most hostile US lawmakers toward Israel. He has close relations with Muslim Brotherhood-related groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America. Both groups were unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism funding trial, implicated in funding Hamas and al-Qaida.

And now, Sens. Schumer, Sanders and Reid and President Obama along with the Democratic grassroots activists and other party leaders are supporting Ellison’s bid to serve as chairman of the DNC.

As Ellison’s statement about “merchants” makes clear, the Democrats’ Jew-hatred may not be of the “Jews are the sons of apes and pigs” variety. In all likelihood, it will be propagated through angry rhetoric about “bankers” and “financiers,” and “the rich.”

Ellison, a supporter of the antisemitic BDS movement, has libeled Israel by likening the Jewish state to apartheid South Africa. Under his leadership, we can expect for Democratic politicians to veer even further away from Israel and to embrace the slander that Zionism is racism.

The populist Sanders route seems more attractive to the Democrats than Bill Clinton’s moderate path because the notion is taking hold that Sanders would have been a stronger candidate in the general election than Clinton was.

This view is hard to accept. Most Americans reject socialism, and populist or not, it is difficult to see how Sanders would have sold his radical positions to an uninterested public.

The other problem with the “Sanders would have won” argument is that it misses the distinction between Trump’s populism and Democratic populism.

Trump’s populism stemmed from his willingness to say things that other politicians and authority figures more generally wouldn’t dare to say. Trump’s allegation that the political system is rigged, for instance, empowered Americans who feel threatened by the authoritarianism of the politically correct Left.

Trump’s opponents insist that his populism empowered white power bigots. But that was a bug in his ointment. It wasn’t the ointment itself. Trump’s willingness to seemingly say anything, and certainly to say things that were beyond the narrow confines of the politically correct discourse, empowered tens of millions of voters. It also empowered white bigots at the fringes of the Right.

Whereas empowering white bigots was a side effect of Trump’s populism, empowering bigots is a central feature of leftist populism. And this is where it gets dicey for Jews.

As Obama – and Ellison – have shown, when Democrats channel populism, they use it to demonize their opponents as evil. They are “fat cats on Wall Street.”

They are “racists,” and other deplorables.

There are scattered voices on the Left that are calling for their fellow leftists to revisit their authoritarian practice of labeling everyone who doesn’t walk lockstep behind them as racists and otherwise unacceptable. But for the most part, the populists are winning the argument by essentially demanding more ideological radicalism and more rigidity.

This policy is completely irrational from a political perspective. It’s hard to see the constituencies that will be swayed to support an angry, hateful party.

But this brings us to the Jews, who voted 3:1 for the Democrats, and to the American Jewish leadership whose support for Clinton was near unanimous.

When antisemitic, populist voices like Ellison’s began taking over Britain’s Labour Party, British Jews began heading for the exits. When push came to shove they preferred their individual rights and their communal rights as Jews above their partisan loyalties.

So far, this doesn’t appear to be the case among Jewish Democrats.

Consider the Anti-Defamation League’s unhinged onslaught against Trump’s chief strategist, former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon.

While ignoring Ellison’s record of antisemitism and support for Israel’s enemies, as well as his ties to unindicted co-conspirators in funding Hamas, the ADL launched a scathing assault on Bannon, accusing him of being an antisemite.

The ADL’s assault on Bannon follows its absurd claim in the final days of the campaign that Trump’s ad criticizing George Soros was antisemitic. It also follows the group’s bizarre condemnation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent video clip in which he stated the plain fact that the Palestinian demand that Jews be ethnically cleansed from the territory they wish to take control over is an antisemitic demand.

As many prominent US Jews on both sides of the partisan divide have made clear, the accusation that Bannon, whose Breitbart website is one of the most pro-Israel websites in the US, is antisemitic is appalling on its face. The allegation is simply unsubstantiated.

So why do it? Why allege that a friend of the Jews is a Jew-hater while ignoring the actual antisemitism of another man? The answer is depressingly easy to discern.

The ADL appears to be trying to give cover to the rising forces of antisemitism in the Democratic Party.

By falsely accusing Bannon and through him Trump of antisemitism, the ADL defuses the real problem of Democratic antisemitism. And if the ADL doesn’t think there is a problem with Ellison taking over the DNC, but alleges that Republicans hate them, then rank and file Jews will stay put.

The ADL of course isn’t alone in sending this message.

Following the election, Conservative and Reform congregations in major cities throughout the US organized communal shivas, to mourn Clinton’s defeat as if it was a death in the family. Such actions, along with characterizations of Trump and his advisers as Nazis or Hitler or white supremacists work to bind Jews to a party that is inhospitable to their communal interests while blinding them to the fact that Republicans do not hate Jews or the Jewish state.

For decades, American Jews have been at the forefront of every major social movement on in the US.

But the Democratic Party’s move toward antisemitism, a move made apparent through Ellison’s rise, is one movement the Jews mustn’t lead.
238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care, Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review on: November 18, 2016, 11:34:15 AM

Yes, We Should Protect People with Pre-existing Conditions

by RAMESH PONNURU   ,  November 16, 2016 4:13 PM

There is a way to repeal Obamacare that accomplishes that goal.

President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he wants to replace Obamacare while keeping its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. I agree with Trump that Obamacare should be repealed and that people with pre-existing conditions should be protected, and recently wrote here about how these goals could be reconciled.

The key, in my view, is to alter an Obamacare regulation that prevents insurers from charging the sick more than the healthy. That regulation gives healthy people an incentive not to buy insurance: They can always buy it when they get sick. But insurance markets won’t work if only sick people buy insurance. That’s the reason the Obamacare legislation coupled this regulation with the infamous “individual mandate” requiring most people to buy health insurance.

Many Republicans have suggested a different regulation: Insurers could be required to charge people with pre-existing conditions the same as healthy people so long as those people had maintained their insurance coverage. That regulation would not create an incentive to forgo coverage; it would add to the incentive to get it. And so the mandate would no longer be needed.

At the same time, I suggested, the government should give people who do not have access to employer-based coverage a tax credit that would allow them to purchase catastrophic health insurance (or more extensive coverage if they supplement that credit with their own money). This coverage would no longer be subject to Obamacare’s definition of essential benefits; the states would return to being the primary regulator of benefits, as they were before Obamacare. But individuals would be free to buy insurance from other states, which would be particularly helpful if their own states’ regulations were too costly.

Michael Cannon, the Cato Institute’s health-policy expert (and a friend of mine), disagrees with both Trump and me. He raises four objections to my suggestions and advances his own alternative.

The first objection is that the new regulation would create perversities of its own. Every year the sickest people would choose the most generous plan, and insurers would try to make their policies unfriendly to the sick to counteract their efforts. This concern seems greatly overstated. The regulation should be drawn to provide a narrow protection: If you had maintained your insurance coverage, getting sick would entitle you to get coverage comparable to what you had at the same rate as healthy people. That should nullify this objection.

Cannon’s second point is that the tax credit is the equivalent of an individual mandate. The mandate fines you for not buying insurance. The credit gives you a tax break for buying insurance. Either way, you pay more taxes if you don’t buy insurance. So are they really the same thing? No. Obamacare attempted to make it illegal for people to choose not to buy health insurance. That’s why the individual mandate went to the Supreme Court. The mortgage-interest deduction didn’t, even though you could apply the same argument to try to present it as a “house-buying mandate.” Maybe the mortgage-interest deduction is good policy and maybe it isn’t, but it’s not a mandate. The same goes for a tax credit to buy catastrophic health insurance.

Third, Cannon argues that getting rid of Obamacare’s employer mandate and providing a tax credit to people who don’t have employer-based coverage would give employers an incentive to drop their plans. But we have had very little of such employer dumping even though the employer mandate has not been put into effect and individuals without employer coverage have been able to use tax credits on Obamacare’s exchanges. Again, the concern seems exaggerated. Republicans are leery of simply abolishing Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions for both humanitarian and political reasons.

Fourth, Cannon says that replacing Obamacare along the lines I’ve discussed would “entrench Obamacare’s worst features into federal law, permanently, by giving them a Republican imprimatur.” To accept this conclusion requires both buying those three prior points and losing all sense of perspective. The replacement I’m talking about would get rid of the individual and employer mandates, the essential-benefits regulations, federal support for the exchanges, the medical-device tax, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and more. The federal government would have a smaller distortionary role in health care than it did before Obamacare, let alone than the one it has played since then. For example, the federal government would no longer be giving people with access to employer coverage a much larger tax break than people without such access, and it would do a lot less to push people to buy the most expensive health plans available.

Republicans are leery of simply abolishing Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions for both humanitarian and political reasons. Cannon proposes a way to handle that problem: Abolish as much of Obamacare as possible except for its regulations on pre-existing conditions. “Americans will see the actual costs of those supposedly beneficent and popular provisions when they cause insurance markets to collapse. The damage would be so swift and severe, Congress would quickly repeal the pre-existing-conditions provisions, filibuster or no filibuster.”

Either you can see instantly that this strategy is a terrible one or you can’t, so there’s not much to say about it. Besides this: I cannot imagine House and Senate Republicans’ pursuing it. — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor at National Review.
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care, House Republican Plan, June 2016 on: November 18, 2016, 10:32:51 AM
For people without insurance through their jobs, the Republicans would establish a refundable tax credit. Obamacare also provides subsidies for people to buy insurance if they do not qualify for Medicaid.

It also includes long-held Republican proposals such as allowing consumers to buy health insurance across state lines, expanding health savings accounts, reforming medical liability rules and giving block grants to states to run Medicaid programs for the poor.

Also does not have all the answers.
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care, Ben Carson Plan on: November 18, 2016, 10:28:08 AM
Emphasis on Health Savings Accounts supplemented with major medical insurance policies.  He is right in the general concept, pay as much of the nation'a healthcare expenses with people's own money, first party pay.  Then let them buy policies they choose to cover their major medical with high deductibles, if that is what will bring their monthly and annual costs down.

This does not answer all the questions.

First-dollar coverage for out-of-pocket expenses and premiums to buy the insurance of your choice.
Your Money. Your Account belongs to you, whether you change jobs or cross state lines.
Transferable between family members, because each of us has different medical needs.
Save Medicare and Medicaid by putting beneficiaries in control:

Give Medicare beneficiaries a fixed contribution to buy the health insurance they actually want and need.
Give Medicare and Medicaid enrollees HEAs to cover first-dollar expenses and insurance premiums for coverage they get to choose
Modernize Medicare to keep pace with medical advances by gradually increasing the eligibility age (by 2 months each year) until it reaches age 70.
Treat Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries like the rest of us. Give Medicaid beneficiaries the same insurance coverage, doctors and choices that other Americans enjoy, with HEAs to provide first-dollar coverage, supplemented by a major medical insurance plan of the patient’s choice.
Save Medicaid by providing fixed-dollar support to the states, which must use the funds for premium payments and HEAs for beneficiaries — not wasteful state bureaucracies.
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: keep the individual mandate? on: November 17, 2016, 07:10:57 PM

Making a provision for pre-existing conditions is quite popular.  The individual mandate is not, but perhaps needed to keep people from waiting until they need expensive treatment to buy a policy.

Does someone, Trump, Ryan, McConnell, have another way of solving this?

I can think of some ways but they wouldn't be popular.
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 17, 2016, 02:55:46 PM
I think the argument is that this will replace welfare, not add to it.

In that case, this is an idea that Milton Freidman used to put forward.  He was making the point we could give them quite a bit directly in place of all the bureaucratic programs.

I am still skeptical that Ontario will do this in lieu of all other programs, they still get free health care for example.  Nor will they be able to keep it at 1320 or measure its success by how many people no longer need it.  I am also skeptical that formalizing the idea that all people are entitled to a decent paycheck whether they work or not is not in direct contradiction to crucial incentives to produce.

The current system of receiving a myriad of programs and free money that other people earned is “seriously demeaning”.

How about minimum income with a minimum work requirement, set at a humane limit of what each person is able to do, with a built-in incentive to get off of it.

Our welfare reform under Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich was mainly a work requirement to receive welfare and that had a tremendous result from my point of view.   Since then other programs have grown around that.
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Keith Ellison on: November 17, 2016, 02:43:52 PM

Ellison was on one of the big Sunday shows (Meet the Press or Face the Nation).  They went through a big election recap deciding that Democrats never reached out to rural America.  The host wondered what Dems were going to do about that.  Next up was Keith Ellison, possible choice to head up the party, 'we'll ask him what his party plans to do about this', nothing. Ellison told them essentially he would double down on all the progressive ideas they already were committed to.  Good for him, as they say.

Funny thing is, I can find no public record that Keith Ellison has ever been to rural area in the United States.  No record I can find he has ever set foot in a red county as defined by the Trump vote map.  

Ellison was born and raised in Detroit.  Went to college in Detroit, law school at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.  Lived in and represented north Minneapolis (where my rental properties are) in the state legislature, downtown St. Paul.  He most certainly knows Washington DC, the Capitol Building, CAIR headquarters etc.  He has visited Iraq (to oppose the war, during the war).  He's traveled to Mogadishu, Gaza, Mecca and Guantanamo.

The Trump map has better coverage than Verizon wireless.  Democrats won the big cities and about two other areas. To my knowledge, their is no public record or press account that Keith Ellison has ever set foot in a county marked red.  Yet he is the 'right person' to lead a national party that wants to connect with all of us...
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Canada testing guaranteed income on: November 16, 2016, 10:14:39 AM

"What Happens When You Give Basic Income to the Poor? "

Is income the only thing poor people are missing?

As we had with static scoring of massively different tax and spend alternatives here, does anyone believe that providing a comfortable income without working (along with legalization of marijuana) will have no effect on the incentive or disincentive to produce?

75% death tax will not affect the incentive to build wealth. 

Highest business taxes in the world is not why companies are leaving. 

And punishing capital investment is not related to productivity and wage stagnation, no connection.

Which side again has the deniers of science?  Or is economics not a science?

It fits perfectly with the mentality here with minimum wage law is how you raise incomes of 'minimum wage workers'.  Why can't Haiti pass a $15 minimum wage law or 1320/mo minimum income decree and vote itself out of poverty?  Is it possible something else is missing?

245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues, Major Newspaper Endorsements 57-2 on: November 16, 2016, 09:56:36 AM

Can anyone guess which side that favored?

How much more help did she need?  Amazing that he overcame this kind of bias - or does anyone believe the bias was limited to the editorial page?

Note: previous post deleted out.
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Let them go! Time for the national divorce on: November 16, 2016, 09:36:22 AM
Foolishness, I think, but a couple of considerations.  If we lose the American southwest to Mexico, we still need the wall - just in a little further.  If the bluest areas of our coast secedes to Canada, can we keep some coastline away from the big cities to build ports, and could we please have the Canadian Rockies and  their conservative areas and oil in return?

This is all silliness, but wouldn't it be great if we could all live under the system we prefer instead of being ruled by others on either side.

Maybe the Founders should have set up a union of states instead of such a strong, all-knowing, all-ruling central government, and let the states run their own experiments on taxes, regulations, spending, marriages and abortion.  Just use the central government for necessary central functions like national defense.   

Oh wait, maybe they did!
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American Creed. Constitutional Law, Madison's original Article 16 on: November 15, 2016, 06:03:22 PM
I support  Madison's original article 16 but I don't support the convention of the states. Open to further persuasion.

I would like to revise and extend my remarks...

The typical way of passing a new amendment, if I understand this correctly, is for 2/3rds of the House and 2/3rds of the Senate to pass a proposed amendment to send to the states where it must be ratified by 3/4ths of the state legislatures.

In this second way, the convention of the states can be called by 2/3rds of the states.  Then what comes out of that convention still needs to be ratified by 3/4ths of the state legislatures.

The fear is that some great sounding liberal thing will come out of this and all but the strongest of conservatives will be guilted into supporting it.  A right to (free) healthcare would be an example.

What has changed is that Republicans control more state legislatures than ever before.  If there was something urgent and ready to go that would really fix things, now might be the time.  Term limits for House and Senate would be potential examples.

I am still undecided on the term limits amendment and skeptical about starting about this process.  I still worry it will later be used against us.  The Founders were smarter than us and not that much has changed that hasn't already been amended, slavery ended and women voting for examples.
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 15, 2016, 05:31:35 PM
How did he do this "single handedly?"

He does not strike me as having stood up the LEftist rebel (yes rebels - they are - not us) onslaught."

Of course every Senate republican who stood with him also had a hand in it and the public who never screamed in outrage that the vacancy wasn't being filled promptly.  This one-year delay was led by Mitch McConnell, not Trump, Paul Ryan, Rush Limbaugh or anyone else.  He spoke up early, was decisive, took an enormous risk and never wavered.

Same Senate Republicans who never defunded Obamacare did something heroic here, placed a bet that jeopardized their own power and required exactly this outcome, and they won.  Now Trump, all conservatives and presumably the American people are the beneficiaries.

To have done otherwise was to take an even bigger risk, what some of us thought was the irreversible end of the country as we knew it. 

Sean Hannity was ripping Mitch McConnell today in advance of the Trump inauguration for things he hasn't done wrong yet.  Mark Levin too, I imagine.  Maybe they should check their facts and give credit where credit is due.  This was a BIG deal.  MHO.
249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues American Creed Constitutional Law, Trump's First Supreme Court Pick on: November 15, 2016, 05:10:58 PM
The list:
1. Keith Blackwell

2. Charles Canady

3. Steven Colloton

4. Allison Eid

5. Neil Gorsuch

6. Raymond Gruender

7. Thomas Hardiman

8. Raymond Kethledge

9. Joan Larsen

10. Mike Lee

11. Thomas Lee

12. Edward Mansfield

13. Federico Moreno

14. William Pryor

15. Margaret A. Ryan

16. Amul Thapar

17. Timothy Tymkovich

18. David Stras

19. Diane Sykes

20. Don Willett

21. Robert Young

The Promise:
"This list is definitive and I will choose only from it in picking future justices of the Supreme Court."
Note the plural on justices, applies also to future picks.

Some details:
Keith Blackwell is a justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. He was appointed to the position in 2012. He had previously served on the Court of Appeals of Georgia. Before serving on the bench, Justice Blackwell was a Deputy Special Attorney General of the State of Georgia, an Assistant District Attorney in Cobb County, and a commercial litigator in private practice. Justice Blackwell is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law.

Charles Canady is a justice of the Supreme Court of Florida. He has served in that role since 2008, and he served as the court's chief justice from 2010 to 2012. Prior to his appointment, Justice Canady served as a judge of the Florida Second District Court of Appeal and as a member of the United States House of Representatives for four terms. Justice Canady is a graduate of Yale Law School.

Neil Gorsuch is a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He was appointed to the position in 2006. Judge Gorsuch previously served in the Justice Department as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Judge Gorsuch was a Marshall Scholar and received his law degree from Harvard. He clerked for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.

Mike Lee is the Junior U.S. Senator from Utah and currently serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Utah and as a Supreme Court Clerk for Justice Alito.

Edward Mansfield is a justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. He was appointed to the court in 2011 and retained by voters in 2012. Justice Mansfield previously served as a judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals. He also teaches law at Drake University as an adjunct professor. Justice Mansfield is a graduate of Yale Law School.

Federico Moreno is a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He previously served as a state and county court judge in Florida. Judge Moreno is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law.

Margaret A. Ryan has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces since 2006. Judge Ryan served in the Marine Corps through deployments in the Philippines and the Gulf War. She then attended Notre Dame Law School through a military scholarship and served as a JAG officer for four years. Judge Ryan clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit and Justice Clarence Thomas.

Amul Thapar is a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, serving since his appointment in 2007, when he became the first South Asian Article III judge. He has taught law students at the University of Cincinnati and Georgetown. Judge Thapar has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C. and the Southern District of Ohio. Immediately prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Thapar was the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Judge Thapar received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Timothy Tymkovich is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Judge Tymkovich was appointed to the bench in 2003. He previously served as Colorado Solicitor General. Judge Tymkovich is a graduate of the University of Colorado College of Law.

Robert Young is the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan. He was appointed to the court in 1999, and became part of a majority of justices who embraced originalism and led what one scholar described as a "textualism revolution." Justice Young previously served as a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals. Chief Justice Young is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

William Pryor, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Atlanta, "titanium spine"
Joan Larsen, Michigan Supreme Court, former Scalia clerk
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Huffington Post Announces possible Bolton pick, "Extreme Militant" on: November 15, 2016, 04:52:41 PM
Donald Trump Leaning Toward Extreme Militant John Bolton As Secretary Of State

a)  Wouldn't it be our enemies that are the "extreme militants"?  And if so, wouldn't you want a pretty serious Secretary of State to organize against them?

b)  Didn't Hillary Clinton vote for all the same wars Ambassador Bolton supported?  Plus one additional in Libya that never was brought to Congress.
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