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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: August 11, 2014, 11:42:15 AM
"...he seems to be hemmed in by his previous isolationism"

Yes.  Also, so far he has always been able to avoid explaining and distancing himself from a long record of controversial remarks by his dad.  As he rises in stature, the need to clarify will become greater.

For better or for worse, he would be slowest to respond to these situations as they arise, such as the bonfire once called the Middle East.  If these two were the nominees, Hillary sadly would win the peace through strength argument.
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues, James O’Keefe Crosses US Border Dressed As OBL on: August 11, 2014, 11:33:00 AM

James O’Keefe Crosses The US-Mexico Border Dressed As Osama Bin Laden

Investigative filmmaker James O’Keefe exposes the U.S.-Mexico border’s vulnerability to terrorism in his latest undercover project, obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller.

O’Keefe’s Project Veritas video reminds viewers of recent statements by the president and Obama administration officials that the southern border is secure. O’Keefe then proceeds to Hudspeth County, Texas, to easily cross back and forth cross the Rio Grande wearing the costume of modern history’s most recognizable terrorist.

“I see no border patrol. I see no security,” O’Keefe said in the video before donning a bin Laden mask. “Thousands of people have stood in my footsteps right now. They’ve come from South America, Honduras, Guatemala, and they’ve all crossed the border. And if they can cross, anybody can cross.”

Read more:
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: SOFA up from the memory hole on: August 11, 2014, 12:41:24 AM

It would not be fair to these other creatures to call him a weasel or a snake for the way he passes blames and shifts positions.
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul, foreign policy on: August 11, 2014, 12:37:31 AM
Rand Paul said in June he would not rule out air strikes in Iraq, but still it would seem that he is to the isolationist side and to the left of Pres Obama and potential foe Hillary Clinton on Libya, Iraq, Syria and foreign policy in general.
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: August 10, 2014, 11:32:53 PM
The political result of the "shutdown" is not exactly what the media-based conventional wisdom tells us. It was a 17% "shutdown" for 16 days.  Republicans only delayed the rollout of one failed new program, Democrats shut down the government.  Republicans clarified their opposition to Obamacare just before America found out it was a disaster.  The poll that matters is Nov 2014, not Oct 2013.  Polls today say Democrats now have no chance of taking the House and every chance of losing the Senate.  But Cruz and Mike Lee et al were wrong to rock the boat?!  Our Mike has this right (IMHO), rock the boat.

Ted Cruz has no executive experience.  Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, all have that same missing piece, and Abraham Lincoln too!  While the governors with executive experience mostly lack foreign policy and national policy experience, as Reagan did.  But we will have to choose on of them anyway.

Crafty wrote:  "Humans have four basic modalities: thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition.  Cruz is OVERWHELMINGLY a thinker-- who for all his considerable IQ has little idea how to communicate effectively with other modalities."

Very well put.  More simply I would ask whether or not Cruz has the charisma and ability to connect with people who are not already conservative, and draw tens of millions to the cause if placed at the top of the ticket.   I don't know the answer to that.  I will be supporting the one who I think can do that.
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Israel-Egypt Alliance on: August 08, 2014, 12:40:49 AM
I can't figure out what they think went wrong.

"But their miscalculations [Egypt and Israel] triggered a crisis."

What did they miscalculate?  Had this not happened, the tunnels would still be operational with terrorists and explosives getting free passage in.  This is not a crisis.  It is an operation that is disarming and dismantling an active terror group.  A crisis is what they had before the war.
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: August 08, 2014, 12:25:40 AM
Not sure what to make of this article about Cruz.   Especially from the Post.  The "established" insider right is clearly going after Cruz.   I don't get the impression anyone one of them is necessarily trying to form any alliance with him.

It looked to me like a sweeping hit piece that landed no punch.  Cruz, they say. is burning bridges and has no loyalty - right while he is making the biggest splash since entering the Senate of any new Senator since Obama, and he has done it with substance, not sizzle.  His loyalties are to principles and his following is with the people not the Bob Doles, Trent Lotts of the Senate cloak room.

They were just accusing him of being Speaker Cruz when he called House Republicans together and stopped Boehner and a bad immigration bill.  That is a lot of national clout for a freshman, junior Senator from a party out of power, on a very big issue.

But he is going about it all wrong, lol.

208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Allen West's proposed strategy on: August 06, 2014, 05:13:15 PM
Supporting/working with the Kurds makes sense to me:

Agree.  To not help them is to throw away the last remnant of everything we fought for.

The original theory on not helping Kurds directly I believe was that it would undermine our relationships with Turkey and Iran.  Now Turkey seems to be a full fledged enemy and Iran has been that for 35 years.  It seems to me we could use an ally (and a base) in the region, if invited and the terms were right.  Maybe there are other considerations.  I wish we had a Commander in Chief looking our for our interests.
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 06, 2014, 04:56:22 PM
Famous people caught reading the forum...

I have been alleging repeatedly on these pages that the rate of real new business startups is at a record low.  I have been alleging but not backing it up with anything.  I say it is hard to measure because people file LLCs to protect assets with no intention to ever hire any employees. 

I also have been alleging that the stock market going up (until recently) while the economy is stagnant happens because the DOW, S&P, etc. measure only the performance of entrenched players in each industry, who benefiting unfairly from the fact that over-bearing over-regulations are locking out start ups, innovation and the normal process of dynamic, creative destruction.

Now enter Robert Samuelson of Newsweek/Washington Post fame, writing today to fill in the missing details.  He poses the question so delicately, interviewing economists:  What happened to all the entrepreneurs? Good question.  We do not have an explanation, ... One theory is that the cumulative effect of regulations, he says, discriminates against new businesses and favors “established firms that have the experience and resources to deal with it.” What allegedly deters and hampers startups is not any one regulation but the cost and time of complying with a blizzard of them.

Yes, that's right!

Where have all the entrepreneurs gone?

By Robert J. Samuelson  August 6

We may have a “senile economy,” says economist Robert Litan of the Brookings Institution. That’s senile as in old, rigid and undynamic.

We are taught otherwise. Americans are reared on the notion that we’re the most entrepreneurial of peoples — and many success stories seem to prove it. There’s a long legacy from Thomas Edison to Mark Zuckerberg. Our economy is constantly kept young by the “next new thing.”

Litan dissents. What’s happening now, he says, is that the economy is increasingly dominated by older firms tied to proven products and familiar business methods. Litan is not just blowing smoke. In a new study, he and Ian Hathaway measured the age of U.S. businesses. They were astonished by what they found: From 1992 to 2011, the share of U.S. firms that were 16 and older jumped from 23 percent to 34 percent.

“Like the population, the business sector of the U.S. economy is aging,” they write. The trend “has occurred in every state and metropolitan area, every firm size category, and in each broad industrial sector.”

Even more startling, they argue, is the main source of this aging: a sharp drop in entrepreneurial activity. They define entrepreneurship as the number of startups — new firms ranging from plumbing to biotechnology. From 1978 to 2011, startups fell from about 15 percent of all firms to 8 percent; the slide was gradual until the 2008-09 financial crisis, when it accelerated. By these numbers, the economy’s rejuvenation from below is weakening; though conspicuous, the Internet’s influence is exaggerated.

Other studies reach similar conclusions. Shrinking entrepreneurship is hurting job creation and productivity, write economists Ryan Decker and John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland and Ron Jarmin and Javier Miranda of the Census Bureau in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Start with jobs. From 1980 to 2010, U.S. employment increased by an average of 1.4 million jobs annually, report the economists. Over the same period, employment gains by startups averaged 2.9 million annually. By this math, startups accounted for more than the total gain in U.S. employment.

That is probably not true, because many of those jobs later disappeared. Most new firms fail within five years. Still, many surviving startups grew rapidly and generated much of the gain in total employment. Companies five years and older don’t much increase overall employment, note the economists. Some older firms add jobs, others subtract them; on balance, gains seem modest. The economy needs the employment boosts of startups.

Something similar is happening to labor productivity. (Productivity is economists’ jargon for efficiency and is measured as output per hour worked.) Higher productivity supports higher living standards. Competition among firms, write the economists, raises productivity. More efficient firms drive out the less efficient. One study attributes 35 percent of productivity gains to this “churning” of firms; the fall in startups dampens these improvements.

All this is consistent with an economic recovery characterized by weak investment, low productivity gains and mediocre employment growth. Older firms serving mature markets have limited opportunities for increased investment and hiring. With some market power, they may also cling to outdated and costly practices. Just recently, Procter & Gamble — the consumer brand giant that makes Tide, Pampers and Crest — said it might eliminate dozens of poorly performing brands and concentrate on big winners.

What happened to all the entrepreneurs? Good question.

“We do not have an explanation,” write the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau economists. Neither does Litan. “One theory is that the cumulative effect of regulations,” he says, discriminates against new businesses and favors “established firms that have the experience and resources to deal with it.” What allegedly deters and hampers startups is not any one regulation but the cost and time of complying with a blizzard of them.

Economist Haltiwanger says the falloff in entrepreneurship changed character after 2000. Before, it was “concentrated in sectors like retail trade and services” and, in part, reflected “mom and pop retail firms being displaced by large . . . firms like Wal-Mart” — a productivity-enhancing shift. Since then, the decline has spread to high-tech sectors and even successful startups create fewer jobs than before.

None of this is reassuring. It challenges the conventional wisdom that the Internet’s relentless advance attests to the economy’s underlying vitality. Old-line companies will change or be replaced by new tech-savvy companies. This may be wishful thinking that conceals deeper forces holding the economy back. We need to discover what they are and what, if anything, might be done about them.
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs: Americans Got $2 Trillion in Federal Benefits in 2013 on: August 05, 2014, 08:41:11 AM
Americans Got $2 Trillion in Benefits from Federal Government in 2013

That is more than half the budget.  (SOME of these people deserve federal benefits.)

Benefits are nice, if you can get them, but for the most part, THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH GOVERNING.

In other news, new debt under this one President is now over 7 TRILLION DOLLARS.

Hope and change?  Throwing money at problems is not exactly new.
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans - Why did Eric Cantor resign early? on: August 05, 2014, 08:33:35 AM
Why did Eric Cantor resign early?

If you lived in the Virginia - DC area, or thought for a moment about what the greatest  industry of American 2014 is, the answer would be obvious.  He resigned to start the clock 5 months early on the ban on revolving door lobbying.  To hell with representing the people of Virginia, the big money is in selling back all that influence and he can't wait to get started. 

Prove us wrong Eric, but it looks like your core principles are power and influence and the people of your district got it right.
212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 31, 2014, 10:54:31 AM
Why would anybody trust the US again?  We abandoned Iraqis who helped us just like we abandoned the Kurds and just like we abandoned S. Vietnamese who helped us.
Shimon Peres on CNN saying he trusts Obama and Kerry?  Oh common!   Give me a break. 

Add to that Polish Foreign Minister saying alliance with US is worse than no alliance because of any false sense of security [that comes from our leader's lips moving].

The answer: Make promises carefully and keep them.  Then repeat for a half century or so until people begin to believe us.  Same goes for enforcing our borders, embracing free trade and free markets, backing up the dollar, etc.
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: July 30, 2014, 09:43:11 AM
That is a strong response by Scott Grannis.  These guys working in the same field are kind of tough on each other.  Hussman missed the entire run-up.  Most on Grannis' side of it missed the entire crash, also a pretty big event of the last decade.  Taking the middle ground, I say you don't get to compare performance only from rock bottom unless you called both the crash and rock bottom.

As interesting as the images in the rear view mirror are, the point between the optimists and pessimists today is who is right today.

Scott does a nice job of both hedging and backing up his view.  This is a post worth re-reading after the market makes its next move in either direction.  If it is up 224% every 5 years and you believe current polls then the DOW hits 38,000 at the end of Hillary's first term.  Back up the truck, as we used to say.

But then Scott would also be right if, as he says, "eventually, of course, [Hussman] will be right and the market will suffer a correction, and perhaps a serious one."

We are all lousy market timers.  I know a number of people who do large money management.  I would take the compensation but wouldn't want the responsibility of getting all of the market returns for their clients now while fully protecting them against the next, inevitable, serious correction.

To me, the stock market offers you cloudy title to a company.  You share ownership with people who have very different time frames, objectives and systems for getting in and out of ownership than you do.  Psychology, emotions and subtle tipping points that trigger other events matter, and most of that we can't see.

Scott G:  "The standard PE ratio of the S&P 500 is 18, as compared to its long-term average of 16. That is not particularly stretched, in my view, especially in light of the fact that corporate profits are close to record levels relative to GDP and long-term interest rates are exceptionally low."

From here record profits could continue to go up forever (lol), or go down in a very possible recession, or stay flat for years.  The DOW still at 17000 in 5 years not at all out of the realm of possibilities, nor a worst case scenario.  Artificially low interest rates will most certainly go up the instant moment we quit holding them artificially down.  And reserves parked safely is still money created (out of thin air).

Good luck to everyone who is in.  I lost all my stock market money last time I was dead wrong.

214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: July 29, 2014, 01:33:56 PM
Supporting Hamas isn't seen as a bad thing to many dems.

No, but they are fighting for that elusive Georgian swing voter.  There were quite a few other extreme left causes in that document.
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maybe it was the Dems this year who didn't fully vet their Senate candidates on: July 29, 2014, 10:08:15 AM
National Review writer Eliana Johnson (daughter of the Powerline co-founder who helped take down Dan Rather) breaks the story of Michelle Nunn, Georgia Dem Senate candidate and her charity's ties to terrorism and Hamas, and other extremist work.

Though the campaign plan recommends emphasizing Nunn’s accomplishments at the Points of Light Foundation, which she has done on the campaign trail, her strategists express enormous concern about attacks that might arise from her work there. She has served as CEO of Points of Light since 2007 and, according to the document, it has made grants to “terrorists” and “inmates” during her tenure. The document also makes reference to a 2010 audit that concluded Points of Light’s accounting system was “not adequate to account for federal funds.”

According to the IRS Form 990s that Points of Light filed in 2008 and 2011, the organization gave a grant of over $33,000 to Islamic Relief USA, a charity that says it strives to alleviate “hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide.” Islamic Relief USA is part of a global network of charities that operate under the umbrella of Islamic Relief Worldwide. Islamic Relief USA says on its website that it is a legally separate entity from its parent organization, but that they share “a common vision, mission, and family identity.”

Islamic Relief Worldwide has ties to Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. In June, Israel banned the charity from operating in the country because, according to Israeli officials, it was funneling cash to Hamas. In 2006, Israelis arrested Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali. They said he was working to “transfer funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations.” Ali admitted to cooperating with local Hamas operatives while working in Jordan and, on his computer, Israeli officials found photographs of “swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols,” and of Nazi officials, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Islamic Relief USA highlighted the work of Islamic Relief Worldwide in Palestine in its 2012 annual report, in which it talks generally about the work of Islamic Relief charities in the region without drawing a distinction between the branches. The organization has raised eyebrows before. According to a 2012 report, its bank account was closed by UBS and it was “under constant scrutiny by other banks due to nervousness about counterterrorist regulations.” The group’s terror ties extend beyond Hamas, according to a former Israeli intelligence official. He says that Islamic Relief Worldwide’s country director in Palestine, Muneed Abugazaleh, met in April 2012 with Dr. Omar Shalah, a leader of the terror group Islamic Jihad and of the Riyad al-Saleheen Charitable Society, which is affiliated with the group. He is also the brother of Ramadan Shalah, the leader of Islamic Jihad.

But she has such a peaceful sounding last name.

See if THIS is in the NY Times this morning, lol.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution has it!
Leaked doc: Michelle Nunn non-profit validated grants to charity with Hamas-tied affiliate

The National Review got hold of a 144-page internal document drafted for the Michelle Nunn campaign in December. It includes plenty of juicy revelations on campaign strategy, including a potentially serious issue with a Points of Light connection to a charity that has ties to Hamas, which is now at war with Israel.

Full document:
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: July 29, 2014, 09:38:34 AM

US Home ownership rate in 2013 was 65%

Labor Force Participation Rate for 25-29 Year Olds Hits Record Low,

As a landlord I can tell you it is tough as hell collecting rent in the Obama economy.

Areas of US facing record rates of evictions.  Blacks, women and children are hit hardest.

Just some random, unconnected thoughts.

San Francisco eviction map:

Meanwhile, DOW is over 17,000.  Crisis?  What crisis?
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 29, 2014, 09:05:12 AM
Thomas Sowell:
" If ceasefires were the road to peace, the Middle East would easily be the most peaceful place on the planet."
Cease the Ceasefires     (read it all)

Victor Davis Hanson:
"Hamas sees the death of its civilians as an advantage; Israel sees the death of its civilians as a disaster. "
"When Israel wins militarily, it seems to lose politically. When Hamas loses, it seems to win."

"Timidity explains much of the Europeans’ easy damnation of Israel. Putin escapes the disdain accorded to Netanyahu, because Netanyahu governs a small nation and is predictably reasonable; Putin governs a large one and is predictably unreasonable. Trashing Putin might involve some risk; trashing Netanyahu brings psychological relief. If Israel were large and Netanyahu demonic, and if Russia were small and Putin Westernized and reasonable, then our cheap scorn would be leveled at Russia and not Israel."

" If Israel blows up Hamas’s tunnels, dismantles its arsenals, destroys its missiles, devastates its military, and leaves Hamas weak and discredited, the world will quietly turn its attention away in a sort of grudging admiration of Israel’s success, with an unspoken conclusion that Hamas may have gotten what it asked for. And those left amid the wreckage that Hamas brought upon them will among themselves blame Hamas as much as Israel for their miseries — in the tradition in which losers blame their own dictators as much as they blame the victors."

"Israel must ensure that Hamas nevertheless loses far more than Israel itself does, not because the world will publicly sympathize with the cause of the Jewish state, but because, for all its ideological chest-pounding, an amoral world still privately gravitates to the successful and distances itself from the failed. Only if Israel finishes its ongoing dismantling of Hamas will the current war end."
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: viriliter agite on: July 29, 2014, 08:47:05 AM

Excellent, Bigdog!

"Benjamin Franklin, Teddy Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill ...all were proficient in Latin."  And it was my Dad's 'foreign language'.

Another I like, post hoc ergo propter hoc, describing the logic fallacy, after this, therefore because of this.  Also means, that logical fallacy is as old as the Latin language.
(I see it comes up in the comments along with other good ones.)
219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury on Fed's huge power grab on: July 29, 2014, 08:32:45 AM
The Fed’s Massive Power Grab
...The Fed has seamlessly morphed from an institution that occasionally intervened in financial markets to a monster that apparently wants to control a great deal of the US financial system.

I like the Brian Wesbury who speaks out boldly against failing policies much better than the one who tells us things will be just fine no matter how badly we screw things up.
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 28, 2014, 09:22:55 PM
"Doug, I don't see him losing media at all.  As for public support I don't see that either."

The media is still liberal, but he has let them down with his undeniable failures.  I should have said that he has lost a step with them, not lost them.  They would still vote for him.  

He is upside down in Gallup daily job approval by 11 points, 41% qpproval, 52% disapproval.  At his Hyde Park speech height his approval was roughly 70% compared to 20% disapproval, a 50% spread and a 61% swing, just by us getting to know him and seeing the results of his policies.

As an aside, Hillary was and is a clone of the guy (without the charisma) who was up by 50 points and is now down by 11 points with ties to him that run all the way from Hillarycare to Libya to the Russian reset button.  Who would like to be the Obama clone to run next??  

People hate Obamacare, the world is going to hell, and the economy is in decline.  Median household is down something like 35% since liberalism won over America.  Biased headlines and spin don't make that go away.

Conservatism needs to capture the disillusioned people who dabbled with liberalism and lost.   African-American voters would be a good place to start - how are liberal policies working out for you?  Who will give gays more liberty and rights, the people who brought you gay marriage or the people that would give you all your liberties including property rights and keeping the fruits of your labor?  Young voters, how is that Obama thing and all the liberalism they taught you in school working out for you?  Have you ever heard about rebelling against institutional authority?  My parents had a great basement but at some point its better out there on your own.  
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: July 28, 2014, 08:39:21 PM
Yes, welcome Robert!.
"I'm a Christian Conservative Republican."
There aren't many places where you can say that anymore, lol.

"along the lines of Reagan, and George Washington, if I had to choose. I believe in limited government, as they are only supposed to be there to create a safe environment for the purpose of our individual growth, to the benefit of us all. Strong individual States......United."

Very well put! That is a message I wish we could share with the tens of millions of people who have recently become disillusioned with the false promises of big government liberalism.

Imagine for a second that we allowed, even encouraged people to prosper without limit instead of stomping out success,  And then in a Judeo-Christian spirit, the people who succeed help others who actually need and deserve help.  Those who achieve and give back would feel rewarded instead of robbed and those receiving help would feel thankful, instead of entitled.  It is a debate or question I call tax vs. charity.  I would like to hear a liberal explain why that wouldn't work in place of the all-powerful government system that is failing so badly.  The liberal argument comes down to condescension; people are too greedy to help others without coercion, but that isn't true.

Anyway, welcome and see on the other threads...
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, Q2 'growth' could be 1%, could be negative on: July 28, 2014, 09:06:17 AM
If second quarter "growth" comes in below 2.9%, we are net-negative for the year.  Consensus estimates are something like 3% which is net-zero growth for the year.  Economist Gary Shilling says that may be closer to 1% growth and could be negative making this a recession since the first of the year.  Remember that last quarter we did not learn of the decline until revisions came in months later.  This time that should be right around election time.

Gary Shilling: "Q2 GDP Was Closer To 1% Than To 3%. It Could Even Be A Negative Number"
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy: Too Loose for Too Long on: July 28, 2014, 08:56:37 AM
The President of the Dallas Fed says there are dangers from having monetary policy be too loose for too long.  Both Wesbury and Scott Grannis think the Fed has already been "too loose for too long'.  Why do we think there will be no consequence from that?

The Danger of Too Loose, Too Long
With an improving labor market and an uptick in inflation, the danger now is to wait too long to tighten.

July 27, 2014 6:14 p.m. ET
I have grown increasingly concerned about the risks posed by current monetary policy.

First, we are experiencing financial excess that is of our own making. There is a lot of talk about "macroprudential supervision" as a way to prevent financial excess from creating financial instability. But macroprudential supervision is something of a Maginot Line: It can be circumvented. Relying upon it to prevent financial instability provides an artificial sense of confidence.

Second, I believe we are at risk of doing what the Fed has too often done: overstaying our welcome by staying too loose, too long. We did a good job in staving off the deflationary and depression risks that were present in the aftermath of the 2007–09 financial crisis. But we now risk fighting the last war.

Given the rapidly improving employment picture, developments on the inflationary front and my own background as a banker and investment and hedge fund manager, I am increasingly at odds with some of my respected colleagues at the policy table of the Federal Reserve as well as with the thinking of many notable economists. The economy is reaching the desired destination faster than we imagined.

Third, should we overstay our welcome, we risk not only doing damage to the economy but also being viewed as politically pliant.

The Fed has been running a hyper-accommodative monetary policy to lift the economy out of the doldrums and counteract a possible deflationary spiral. Much of what we have paid out to purchase Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities has been put back to the Fed in the form of excess reserves deposited at the Federal Reserve banks. As of July 9, $2.517 trillion of excess reserves were parked on the 12 Fed banks' balance sheets, while depository institutions wait to find eager and worthy borrowers to lend to.

But with low interest rates and abundant availability of credit in the nondepository market, the bond markets and other trading markets have spawned an abundance of speculative activity.

There are some who believe that "macroprudential supervision" will safeguard us from financial instability. I am more skeptical. Such supervision entails the vigilant monitoring of capital and liquidity ratios, tighter restrictions on bank practices and subjecting banks to stress tests. All to the good. But whereas the Federal Reserve and banking supervisory authorities used to oversee the majority of the credit system by regulating depository institutions, depository institutions now account for no more than 20% of the credit markets.

I am not alone in worrying about this. In her recent lecture at the International Monetary Fund, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said, "I am also mindful of the potential for low interest rates to heighten the incentives of financial market participants to reach for yield and take on risk, and of the limits of macroprudential measures to address these and other financial stability concerns." She added that "[a]ccordingly, there may be times when an adjustment in monetary policy may be appropriate to ameliorate emerging risks to financial stability."

I believe that time is fast approaching.

Some are willing to tolerate the risk of financial instability because the Fed has yet to fulfill the central bank's mandate of "promot[ing] effectively the goals of maximum employment and stable prices." Where do we stand on those two fronts? Answer: closer than many think.

While it is difficult to define "maximum employment," labor-market conditions are improving smartly, quicker than the principals of the Federal Open Market Committee expected. The commonly cited household survey unemployment rate has arrived at 6.1% a full six months ahead of the schedule predicted only weeks ago by the central tendency of the forecasts of FOMC participants. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' so-called Jolts (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) data indicate that job openings are trending sharply higher, while "quits" as a percentage of total separations continue to trend upward—a sign that workers are confident of finding new and better opportunities if they leave their current positions.

Wages are beginning to lift. Median usual weekly earnings collected as part of the Current Population Survey are now growing at a rate of 3%, roughly their pre-crisis average. In short, the key variable of the price of labor, which the FOMC feared was stagnant, is beginning to turn upward. It is not doing so dramatically, but wage growth is an important driver of inflation.

The FOMC has a medium-term inflation target of 2% as measured by the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index. The 12-month consumer-price index (CPI), the Cleveland Fed's median CPI, and the so-called sticky CPI calculated by the Atlanta Fed have all crossed 2%, and the Dallas Fed's Trimmed Mean PCE inflation rate has headline inflation averaging 1.7% on a 12-month basis, up from 1.3% a few months ago. PCE inflation is clearly rising toward our 2% goal more quickly than the FOMC imagined.

I do not believe there is reason to panic on the price front. But given that the inflation rate has been accelerating, this is no time for complacency either. Some economists have argued that we should accept overshooting our 2% inflation target if it results in a lower unemployment rate. But the notion that we can always tighten policy to bring down inflation after overshooting full employment is dangerous. Tightening monetary policy once we have pushed past sustainable capacity limits has almost always resulted in recession, the last thing we need.

So what to do? My sense is that ending our large-scale asset purchases this fall will not be enough. The FOMC should consider tapering the reinvestment of maturing securities and begin incrementally shrinking the Fed's balance sheet. Some might worry that paring the Fed's reinvestment in mortgage-backed securities might hurt the housing market. But I believe the demand for housing is sufficiently robust to continue improving despite a small rise in mortgage rates. Then early next year, or potentially sooner depending on the pace of economic improvement, the FOMC may well begin to raise interest rates in gradual increments. (more at link)

Mr. Fisher is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. This article is excerpted from his speech on July 16 at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, stock market: An equity bubble? on: July 28, 2014, 08:46:57 AM
This was published in USA Today:
"Yes, this is an equity bubble"
John Hussman, PhD Stanford
Not easy to dismiss.
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 28, 2014, 08:33:11 AM
Yes Obama accomplished those things and ccp has been right all along about him wanting to make as many as possible dependent on the government for cynical political purposes and flood the country with millions of new Democrats to ensure the future.  Must also point out though that he lost the House, will lose the Senate, is losing the media, lost public support, lost world peace, and is proving to history that liberalism is a failed economic idea.

He is a very strong failure.

Where is that reset button?
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: July 28, 2014, 08:22:08 AM
Good points.  Just to clarify on Reagan, I didn't mean immigration but just that he brought a lot of people over to his way of thinking on policy and philosophy that were previously headed a different direction.  Blue collar Democrats in particular.

On immigration I think Reagan would agree with you that what they did back then failed.  There is no reason to think he would be soft on border security today or let gangs control our southern border in this age of terrorism.  I'm guessing the 1987 law would have worked had it been followed.

In the context of Calif, the issues where Kashkari is wrong to our thinking  tend to be things out of the Calif governor's control and might actually help him with credibility in some demographics on the other fronts such as personal responsibility and reining in the role of government.

We don't need conservative purity in the deep yellow (blue) states.  We need a little traction and momentum wherever we can find it.
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Campaign slogans featuring Hillary Clinton's foreign policy experience on: July 27, 2014, 05:40:07 PM
"When smart diplomacy became a punchline."
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California, Neel Kashkari on: July 27, 2014, 05:26:22 PM
Oops, I put my post on this in the states thread instead of in 'California'.
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: prediction on: July 27, 2014, 05:02:25 PM
Nominees for the Democratic ticket will be:

Hillary for Prez
Elizabeth Warren for V Prez

Can only one imagine the liberal and their MSM hoopla over this?
They will trumpet this as the seminal turning point in human civilization.

Very possibly right. So many campaign slogans are possible with those two, perhaps "unify by polarizing".  I am still betting against Hillary being the nominee, but it occurs to me that if nominated she might pick Biden!
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israel vs. Hamas, THE GAZA WAR, When Strategies Collide, Walter Russell Mead on: July 25, 2014, 07:31:58 PM
WRM writes a bit like Stratfor and explains his analysis of motives and calculations on both sides in a very understandable way.  The way that Egypt and Saudi come into it is quite interesting.  I wonder if people here see it similarly.

In understanding both sides thinking it is pretty easy to predict this conflict goes on beyond our lifetimes unless you are quite a bit younger then me! Since Israel will never completely annihilate them this ends when Hamas and the people of Gaza give up their quest to destroy Israel which is also never.  Both sides have a strong motive to see the current conflict continue.

Walter Russell Mead
Published on July 25, 2014
When Strategies Collide
Many wars are fought over accidents and misunderstandings. This is not one of those times. With key interests at stake, the conflict in Gaza is likely to continue.

As the politicians, pundits, and foreign policy panjandrums of the world Western world wring their hands over the chaos and carnage in Gaza, it’s worth noting that there are solid reasons why peace is proving so elusive. Both sides have reason to think they can pull off a significant victory in the current round of fighting, and neither side thinks it can live with the consequences of a defeat. Until something happens to change the thinking on one or both sides, a cease fire will be hard to achieve.


Israel continues to fight because it believes that with more time, it can destroy enough tunnels and inflict enough damage on Hamas to significantly degrade the organization’s military strength and weaken it politically. Furthermore, both Saudi Arabia and Egypt are, perhaps for the first time, quietly rooting for Israel to crush the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas. Given this, Israeli officials presumably think they have a golden opportunity for the extended and crushing war that they really need to inflict serious damage. Any war with the Palestinians involves political costs and setbacks for Israel, but at this particular moment, war in Gaza is less politically expensive than at other times. Given that Hamas is a significant and growing danger, Israeli leaders are likely to think, why not use the opportunity for all it is worth?

Hamas on the other hand is elated by its success in temporarily but significantly hampering operations at Ben Gurion Airport (arguably the most significant single Palestininan tactical accomplishment since the 1948 War). In addition its fighters have had unexpected success killing Israeli soldiers on the ground, and the Arab street is electrified by the conflict. The resulting publicity offers Hamas an opportunity to emerge from the isolation it faced after the overthrow of the Morsi government in Egypt. Since more Israeli progress on the ground will inevitably and tragically mean more civilian deaths, Hamas can also hope for big propaganda victories to offset any military setbacks that prolonged hostilities will bring. Hamas and its Turkish and Qatari allies can also hope that the longer the war lasts, the worse Egypt and Saudi Arabia will look. The Gaza war isn’t just a war between Israel and Hamas; it is a stage in the struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and its Arab opponents. The longer Hamas can bear up under Israel’s military pressure, the more success it has in the intra-Arab struggle.

The hope of victory is one reason the two sides keep fighting; both Israel and Hamas also believe that defeat would impose unacceptable costs.


For Israel, there are three big reasons why losing is unacceptable. First, as a small country surrounded by enemies and facing hostile public opinion in the world at large, Israel’s security depends in large part on its reputation for military supremacy. That reputation, Israelis feel, deters many more attacks and keeps opposition passive and political rather than encouraging it to be active and military. This is an advantage that Israel will not lightly give up; hostilities are unlikely to end until and unless the Israelis feel they have made their point.

That motive is always present, but it became much more important after a rocket from Gaza caused a significant interruption in service from Ben Gurion Airport. People don’t travel much across Israel’s land frontiers; the airport is Israel’s vital link with the rest of the world. Hamas and anti-Israel forces everywhere were wildly elated by this success, and Israel’s enemies now think they can imagine a new strategy to drive the Jewish state to its knees by cutting it off from the outside world. Israeli defense officials likely feel that they must now do two things: eliminate the capacity of Hamas to repeat this attack, and make the consequences so wounding and expensive to Hamas as to reduce the attractiveness of repeat efforts. This new factor is a military game-changer, and it greatly raised the stakes of the conflict. (The biggest political mistake of the war so far? The American officials who banned U.S. flights from using the airport made a cease fire much harder to obtain.)

Second, there are specific political reasons why Israel is intent on hitting Hamas as hard as it can. Some of this is about Palestinian politics. Fatah may be corrupt, incompetent and in the eyes of many Palestinians fatally compromised by its willingness to compromise with Israel, but the more the ‘resistance’ path championed by Hamas looks like a historical dead end, the less Fatah’s flaws matter in the competition for Palestinian leadership.

But Israel is after much bigger game than Hamas in this war. Weakening Hamas isn’t just an Israeli project: Riyadh and Cairo are rooting for the Gazan terrorists to lose as well.  This strange new band of brothers is Israel’s Plan B alliance in case the U.S. folds on Iran. The Saudis and their Egyptian allies also hate and fear Hezbollah; from an Israeli point of view a successful war against Hamas could be the first step in cooperative action against Hezbollah and, beyond it, Iran. Israel wants this war to go well because it could pave the way to more effective cooperation with the most populous and wealthiest of the Arab states.

It’s also worth noting, from the standpoint of very-long-term Israeli interests, that the willingness of the Saudis and Egyptians and their friends, even silently and tactically, to align with Israel is a promising sign that Israel may someday be accepted in the region. Israel has been given a chance to audition for the role of a tacit ally of the Sunni Arab world against both Sunni and Shia radicals; it doesn’t want to blow this chance and its desire to build its relations with neighboring Arab states may outweigh its concerns about annoying Europe or even the U.S.

The third big reason why Israel needs a win is the one that most of the press commentary focuses on: security. Hamas has developed a network of tunnels and a capacity to launch missiles against much of Israel. Israeli officials will want to see that capacity significantly degraded. From the Israeli point of view, the price of a war in Gaza is high, but the incremental political cost of a few more days of combat, could now be less than the benefits from substantial progress in dismantling tunnels, breaking up Hamas’ leadership and destroying its weapon and missile stockpiles.

Thus from an Israeli point of view, the costs of this particular war are lower than usual, thanks to the tacit Arab support from Hamas’ many Arab enemies, and the need for decisive military results is greater than usual. That would suggest that Israel is likely to want to continue fighting until either its goals are reached or it is clear that they cannot be within a manageable time frame or at an acceptable cost. That point doesn’t appear to have been reached yet.


Like Israel, Hamas’ war strategy seems to be guided by solid calculations about the organization’s vital interests, and the leadership appears to believe that this is a war that the movement can’t afford to lose.

The chief problem and the real enemy for Hamas is not, however, Israel. Israeli hostility is something Hamas understands and can deal with. The real problem for Hamas is the Saudi-backed Sisi government in Egypt. The current Egyptian government sees Hamas as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, and crushing the Muslim Brotherhood as thoroughly as possible is Egypt’s top priority these days. Egypt’s Saudi patrons feel the same way; the Muslim Brotherhood looks to the Saudis like a challenge to their claim to lead the forces of orthodox Sunnism—and Hamas in the past has been willing to ally itself with Saudi’s arch enemies in Syria and Iran.

The change in the status quo that led to war with Israel had nothing to do with Israel itself; what has happened is that Egypt has systematically intensified the blockade of Gaza, hoping to throttle Hamas, disrupt its support, and put enough economic pressure on Gaza to force Hamas from power.

For Hamas, the pre-war status quo was a death sentence, allowing Egypt to quietly strangle Gaza. The business networks dependent on smuggling were hurting, civil servants weren’t getting paid, and residents were increasingly unhappy with a lousy economy and no progress in sight. Hamas is a cornered animal striking out in desperation. A return to the status quo ante is not acceptable to Hamas, which feels it absolutely must gain some relief or it will go under.

There are reports of splits between the political and military leaders of Hamas in the run up to war, but it seems clear that whoever is now calling the shots in Gaza, so to speak, believes that Hamas is in a war for survival, and short of crushing defeat, Hamas is unlikely to accept a cease fire that restores the status quo ante.

Hamas wants a cease fire that will allow it to import enough goods into Gaza to keep the economy going and to allow it to rebuild its military stockpiles. If Israel and Hamas were the only two entities involved, this might not be so hard to arrange. They have had cease fires before, and while each hates the other and wants it destroyed, on a pragmatic, day by day basis, Israel and Hamas have managed to work things out for long periods of time.

The trouble is that it is hard for Hamas to force Egypt and Saudi Arabia to accept this deal. The Saudis and their allies are happy for Israel to pay the political price for a war against Hamas that they want the Jewish state to win. Meanwhile, it is Egypt that ultimately can decide on peace or war: when Egypt feels that Hamas has been weakened and punished enough that it’s OK to show it some mercy, then the balance of forces will shift and some kind of truce will become much easier to achieve.

Under the circumstances, Hamas’ strategy is a convoluted one: Hamas is trying to create such a hot crisis by staging a war with Israel that the U.S., Europe and an enraged Arab street will force Egypt and Saudi Arabia to give up their drive to starve Hamas out. That may yet work, but it is unlikely to work all that quickly. Neither Egypt nor the Saudis are particularly unhappy if Israel is getting bad press around the world; as far as they are concerned, if rampaging mobs burn every Israeli embassy in Europe, it is no skin off President Sisi’s nose.

This suggests that for Hamas as well as for Israel, the high price of a long (by Israeli-Palestinian standards) war may make sense. It will take time for the kind of political pressure to build that would lead Egypt to soften its blockade of Gaza; it’s hard to see a good reason (except for the obvious humanitarian one) why Hamas would give up before giving its strategy time to work.


Many wars come about by accident or by misunderstanding. This particular war, however it was originally triggered, seems to be driven by the real interests of the chief parties involved. In such cases, peace is hard to make until the parties have seen how things go on the battlefield.

This doesn’t necessarily mean a long, drawn-out war. Gaza is a very small place and Hamas’ reserves are not very deep. It is not in Israel’s interests for the war to drag on and some more-horrendous-than-usual event could so shock public opinion around the world and in Israel itself that the calculus could change.

Nevertheless, the peacemaking wannabes have a tricky task ahead of them and the U.S. administration in particular will not enjoy some of the choices it must make. Barring a Hamas collapse, a political solution to the war involves getting not only Israel but also Egypt (and its Saudi backers) to accept some kind of arrangement that loosens the blockade enough to let Hamas survive.

The trouble is that neither the Egyptians nor the Saudis seem interested in making Barack Obama’s life any easier these days. Both countries bitterly resented his support for the Morsi government, and the ineffectiveness of his support deepened their contempt without dulling their anger. They do not trust him over Iran, Syria or Iraq, and they increasingly feel that they must organize the defense of the region without deferring to him. They may take a certain grim satisfaction in his discomfort if a Washington failure to broker a Gaza cease fire makes the Obama administration look weak.

Unhappily for the Obama administration, the best way for the U.S. to hasten the arrival of a durable cease fire in Gaza is to promise a more robust and hawkish policy in the rest of the region. The Israelis will be more willing to make concessions on a Gaza cease fire if they believe that the U.S. will back them more effectively against Iran, and the Saudis and Egyptians are more likely to give ground in Gaza if the U.S. offers real support in the rest of the region.

This is the opposite of the way much of the left and the press understands how the Middle East works, but the new Middle East is a more complicated place than it used to be. The battle between Sunni Arabs and Israelis is no longer the most important issue on the table for key Arab governments as well as for Israel. While that old conflict has not disappeared, it has been eclipsed by the new conflict between a resurgent Iran and the leading Sunni Arab states.

We must hope that American diplomats and other hopeful peacemakers grasp the new and sometimes counterintuitive dynamics of the region. Otherwise the Gaza war could drag on as the peacemakers chase red herrings and run up blind alleys. Fundamentally this war is one of the many dangerous consequences of the regional perception that the United States is in retreat; only by changing that perception can the Obama administration hope to stabilize the region and bring the killing, in Gaza and elsewhere, to an end.

Clausewitz wrote that in war, “the side that feels the lesser urge for peace will necessarily get the better bargain.” Both of the combatants are used to pain, loaded for bear, and feel their essential interests are in play. The most likely outcome is probably an uglier and longer war than usual, followed by another unhappy truce.
231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 750 well documented Glibness lies, cronyism, broken promises, illegal acts on: July 25, 2014, 07:21:20 PM
I prefer to defeat the governing philosophy instead of finding flaws in the humans at the top, but lying to us, talking out of both sides of the mouth, misrepresenting everything, along with cronyism and corruption all seem to be an essential component of the governing philosophy.  Someone needs to expose it. 

This is from a blog called Dan from Squirrel Hill (Pittsburgh).  Nothing particularly new here, just a very nice job of compilation and sourcing.  Links and full explanations are included for every item.

1) Carried out military interventionism in Libya without Congressional approval
In June 2011, U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said that Obama had violated the Constitution when he launched military operations in Libya without Congressional approval.
In April 2014, Ralph Nader said that Obama should be impeached for his actions in Libya.

2) Gave a no-bid contract to Halliburton cronies – just like Bush did
In May 2010, it was reported that the Obama administration had selected KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, for a no-bid contract worth as much as $568 million through 2011, just hours after the Justice Department had said it would pursue a lawsuit accusing the Houston-based company of using kickbacks to get foreign contracts.
Don’t be fooled by the words “former subsidiary.” These are the same Halliburton cronies that Bush gave a no-bid contract to.

3) Has an administration full of lobbyists, after promising he wouldn’t have any
On November 15, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Obama said that lobbyists
“… will not work in my White House.”
However, by February 2010, he had more than 40 lobbyists working in his administration. A list of them can be seen here.
5) Broke his promise to close Guantanamo Bay   ...

Oops, the list is now 780.  (link is above)
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, One number decides national elections on: July 25, 2014, 07:00:15 PM
I think this is a rare truth coming from an analyst from the left.  If you divide the voters in half, those with incomes above 50k, roughly the median income and those below, Republicans win the upper group, but by not that large a margin and by a fairly predictable amount.  According to this analysis, Democrats win nationally when they carry those making less than 50k/yr by closer to 20 points and lose nationally when they carry that group by closer to 10 points.

"Republicans consistently win voters making $50,000 or more, approximately the U.S. median income. The margin doesn't vary too much: In 2012, Mitt Romney got 53 percent of this group's vote; in 2010, Republican House candidates got 55 percent. And Democrats consistently win voters making less than the median—but the margin varies widely."

233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: July 25, 2014, 02:15:03 PM
Well, I'm not down with the amnesty, but that is a federal issue , , , and the federal courts have taken gay marriage away from the vote so I suppose he doesn't hurt on those two issues.
Good message that the Reps are the party of work, etc.
Let's see.

Yes, I wonder if a person can be wishy-washy on something like sovereignty and yet genuine and passionate on things like freedom and responsibility.  As you said, let's see.

He is saying to a lot of immigrants and other groups, you can differ with conservatives on one issue (or two or three) and still vote conservative to move the country (state) in a better direction.  Certainly Reagan did that in his day with a wide range of voters.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Will:Calif Gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari defines new conservatism on: July 24, 2014, 11:47:51 PM
I wonder what our Calif forum members think of the Calif R. Gov candidate.  I take from this column that George Will sees something good in Kashkari's brand of conservatism.  We are long overdue for new, real leaders who can begin to reach people and change minds.  Being on the top of the ticket on the nation's largest state presents an opportunity to do that.  Does anyone ever hold these Dems accountable for their record, reach out to all groups, offer an alternative?  Maybe he does.

In his own words, my first look at him:

235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / There goes another Senate seat, Iowa Dem couldn't be bothered with VA oversight on: July 24, 2014, 12:50:42 PM

Braley under fire for missing VA oversight meetings

Des Moines Register, July 23, 2014

"Over a two-year period, Democratic (Senate candidate) U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley missed 75 percent of meetings for a committee that provides oversight over the Veterans Administration, including one meeting on a day he attended three fundraisers for his 2012 campaign."

Hey, he won that campaign.  Who needs oversight?
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science: Parts of the deeper ocean show cooling on: July 24, 2014, 12:40:54 PM
"OK, folks, what do we make of that?"

We have gone from the planet is being destroyed by an out of control heat spiral to concern about  "above average temperatures"? lol.

Weren't we in a warming phase before the industrial age?

Now we are in a warming "pause".  The buffer allowing the pause is believed to be the absorption of heat by the oceans.  Is that so?

There’s a new paper just out in the Journal of Physical Oceanography by Carl Wunsch of Harvard and Patrick Heimbach of MIT

—both prominent figures in the field, neither known as a climate “skeptic”—that is likely to make waves (pun intended).  This sentence in particular appears significant:

Interpretation requires close attention to the long memory of the deep ocean, and implying that meteorological forcing of decades to thousands of years ago should still be producing trend-like changes in abyssal heat content.

In other words, it would not be unfair to suggest that ocean trends might have much longer-term causes than the emissions from your SUV alone.

And there’s this possibly inconvenient fact:

Parts of the deeper ocean, below 3600 m, show cooling.

And on p. 22 of the complete manuscript, the authors say this:

Direct determination of changes in oceanic heat content over the last 20 years are not in conflict with estimates of the radiative forcing, but the uncertainties remain too large to rationalize e.g., the apparent “pause” in warming.

In other words, “we don’t know.”

Steven Hayward, Powerline, yesterday  (more at link)
237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, stock market , investment strategies: GM disappoints on: July 24, 2014, 12:11:20 PM
I'm not sure if General Motors falls under US Economy or Cognitive Dissonance of Government Programs.  Who saw THIS coming?

GM Debt Climbs to Over $40 Billion, Earnings Disappoint

Other than trouble in housing, transportation, employment, healthcare, education, and global security on the brink of collapse, things look pretty good out there.

238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, INCOME INEQUALITY IN 2010 on: July 24, 2014, 11:45:10 AM
Leftist power, leftist results, how did it all work out?
(skip to the bottom if you don't like my long intro)

In November 2006, based mostly on Iraq war fatigue, the American people transferred nearly all power in Washington to the left. The last initiative won by the lame duck George Bush was the surge; all domestic policy momentum shifted to the Democrats, led in name Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and in fact by the Presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  What happened in that time?  Unemployment doubled.  Real estate crashed.  There was a financial run on the too big to fail institutions unprecedented at least since 1929.  Then there were the bailouts, TARP, a Presidential change, QE, cash for clunkers, cash for home buyers, cash for solar, cash for hybrids, cash for quitting work, artificially low interest rates and a debatable 'recovery' of sorts and a recession ending in the summer of 2009, the recovery summer of 2010 and so on.  If you invested everything you owned at the exact bottom of the market, you would have at least two or three times (nothing) today!

For the left, this was the perfect storm, complete control of the House, the White House, and the swearing in of the (stolen) 60th Democratic Senate seat in July 2009.  Tax increases on the rich became inevitable, along with the passage (or "deemed passed") of Obamacare along with a couple dozen more taxes that made it all possible.  As good as it gets!

Jumping forward, Republicans swept the House elections in Nov 2010 to be sworn in and take control of the one chamber in Jan 2011, limiting the growth and spread of leftism to just Republican caving and administrative over-reaches.  So the best year to judge the results of our leftist American storm was in their last big year, 2010, when George Bush had totally and completely left the building.

Here are the results of all this leftist euphoria, measured in terms of progress on their number one priority, income inequality.

Today's New York Times, Journal of the Left, Pravda on the Hudson, lifted from the trusted  Editorial Page, from one of their most trusted columnists, Nicholas Kristof, telling us how bad income inequality is, (drum roll please):

" In 2010, 93 percent of [all] additional income created in America went to the top 1 percent."
Idiot's Guide to Income Inequality

This, from the party of the middle class and the expanding underclass?? Unfortunately, the policies of cronyism, government takeover, class envy and punishment of personal achievement are not how you rise the tide that lifts all boats. 
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paul Ryan on: July 24, 2014, 10:56:33 AM
Nice post and good work by Paul Ryan.  He has been quietly visiting and studying poverty in America, seeing what most people outside certain areas never see.  If we had everyone who can, fully participating in our economy, this would be a prosperous nation beyond our wildest imagination.  Instead we are saddled with programs intended to help that are holding millions and millions of people back unmercifully.

Paul Ryan may not be the person with the charisma to win over the nation from the Presidential podium, but he is most certainly the right person to lead the House Ways and Means committee and the next President with a positive agenda going forward.
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors, Ban lifted on: July 24, 2014, 10:39:32 AM
"The Democrat Party is the new religion for 75-80% of American Jews."

Very funny, if it was not so true.  From my Jewish friends closer to home I have heard passion for general liberalism more than for the defense of Israel.  More American Jews should consider moving toward conservatism - for many reasons!

Israel is the canary in the coal mine.  As already demonstrated, when terrorist are not purging Jews, they are attacking gays, Christians, atheists, agnostics, infidels, and the 'wrong' sect of Islam, whether to them that is Sunni, Shia or moderate.  We don't stand with Israel because they are Jewish.  We stand with them because we are moral human beings, and we stand with them as a practical matter for our own self defense because the same people would like to kill us next.  

I don't like Mayor Bloomberg but he has got a couple of things right recently and deserves specific credit for that.  (The other was calling out Harvard and Ivy league schools for their one-sided political suppression.)
Ban lifted

Interesting that the "FAA" lifted its ban after 36 hours.  Wonder if that was because it was the right thing to do or because they were getting hammered politically with criticism such as was posted here from Newt.  BTW, do we have a President in charge of our foreign policy or just administrative agencies acting on their own?  No mention of that in the story.  Maybe the President only learned of our policy flip flop in the news.
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education, only liberals can teach on: July 16, 2014, 07:13:22 PM
A 49 to 1 advantage is not good enough!
"Professor Wagner sought a full-time position legal writing position at the University of Iowa College of Law after working there on a part-time basis. She was well known as a stalwart social conservative among the school’s faculty, which at the time numbered 49 Democrats and one Republican. The law school is overwhelmingly liberal. When she didn’t get the job and an inferior candidate did, she brought her lawsuit in federal court under section 1983, the statute that allows civil rights claims against state actors to be litigated in federal court."

Read about the case at the link.
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics, How inherited wealth helps the economy on: July 16, 2014, 07:06:56 PM
Greg Mankiw is head of the Harvard Economics Dept.
His blog:
This article:

How Inherited Wealth Helps the Economy

JUNE 21, 2014


Is inherited wealth making a comeback?

Yes, says Thomas Piketty, author of the best seller “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” Inherited wealth has always been with us, of course, but Mr. Piketty believes that its importance is increasing. He sees a future that combines slow economic growth with high returns to capital. He reasons that if capital owners save much of their income, their wealth will accumulate and be passed on to their heirs. He concludes that individuals’ living standards will be determined less by their skill and effort and more by bequests they receive.

To be sure, one can poke holes in Mr. Piketty’s story. Since the book came out, numerous economists have been doing exactly that in book reviews, blog posts and academic analyses.

Moreover, given economists’ abysmal track record in forecasting, especially over long time horizons, any such prognostication should be taken with a shaker or two of salt. The Piketty scenario is best viewed not as a solid prediction but as a provocative speculation.
An undated photograph shows John D. Rockefeller, wearing a bow tie, and family members. Credit Rockefeller Archive Center

But it raises the question: So what? What’s wrong with inherited wealth?

First, let’s consider why parents leave bequests to their children. I believe that this decision is based on three principles:

INTERGENERATIONAL ALTRUISM This starts with the prosaic premise that parents care about their children. Economists simplify this phenomenon with the concept of “utility,” a measure of lifetime satisfaction or happiness. Intergenerational altruism within the family is modeled by assuming that the utility of Generation One depends on the utility of Generation Two.

And it doesn’t stop there, because future generations will also care about their children. Generation Two’s utility depends on Generation Three’s utility, which depends on Generation Four’s utility, and so on. As a result, each person’s utility depends not only on what happens during his own lifetime but also on the circumstances he expects for his infinite stream of descendants, most of whom he will never meet.

CONSUMPTION SMOOTHING People get utility from consuming goods and services, but they also exhibit “diminishing marginal utility”: The more you are already consuming, the less benefit you get from the next increase in consumption. Your utility increases if you move from a one- to a two-bathroom home. It rises less if you move from a four- to a five-bathroom home.

Because of diminishing marginal utility, people typically prefer a smooth path of consumption to one that jumps around. Consuming $50,000 of goods and services in each of two years is generally better than consuming $80,000 one year and $20,000 the next. People smooth consumption by saving in good times and drawing down assets when conditions are lean.

REGRESSION TOWARD THE MEAN This is the tendency of many variables to return to normal levels over time. Consider height. If you are much, much taller than average, your children will most likely be taller than average as well, but they will also most likely be shorter than you are.

The same is true for income. According to a recent study, if your income is at the 98th percentile of the income distribution — that is, you earn more than 98 percent of the population — the best guess is that your children, when they are adults, will be in the 65th percentile. They will enjoy higher income than average, but much closer to that of the typical earner. (This regression to the mean over generations, of course, has nothing to say about a nation’s overall income inequality, which is an entirely separate issue.)

This phenomenon is clearest for the most extreme cases. In their own times, John D. Rockefeller and Steve Jobs each created one of the world’s most valuable companies and made a ton of money along the way. They must have known it was unlikely that their children would accomplish the same feat.

Together, these ideas explain why top earners often leave sizable bequests to their families. Because of intergenerational altruism, they make their consumption and saving decisions based not only on their own needs but also on those of their descendants. Because of regression toward the mean, they expect their descendants to be less financially successful than they are. Hence, to smooth consumption across generations, they need to save some of their income so future generations can consume out of inherited wealth.

This logic also explains why many people aren’t inclined to reduce their current spending so they will have money saved for bequests. For those in the bottom half of the income distribution, regression toward the mean is good news: Their descendants will very likely rank higher than they do. Even those near the middle can expect their children and grandchildren to earn higher incomes as technological progress pushes productivity and incomes higher. Only for those with top incomes does the combination of intergenerational altruism, consumption smoothing and regression toward the mean lead to a significant role for inherited wealth.

From a policy perspective, we need to consider not only the direct effects on the family but also the indirect effects on the broader economy. Rising income inequality over the past several decades has meant meager growth in living standards for those near the bottom of the economic ladder, and one might worry that inherited wealth makes things worse. Yet standard economic analysis suggests otherwise.

When a family saves for future generations, it provides resources to finance capital investments, like the start-up of new businesses and the expansion of old ones. Greater capital, in turn, affects the earnings of both existing capital and workers.

Because capital is subject to diminishing returns, an increase in its supply causes each unit of capital to earn less. And because increased capital raises labor productivity, workers enjoy higher wages. In other words, by saving rather than spending, those who leave an estate to their heirs induce an unintended redistribution of income from other owners of capital toward workers.

The bottom line is that inherited wealth is not an economic threat. Those who have earned extraordinary incomes naturally want to share their good fortune with their descendants. Those of us not lucky enough to be born into one of these families benefit as well, as their accumulation of capital raises our productivity, wages and living standards.

N. Gregory Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard.
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Employment is going down. on: July 16, 2014, 07:01:13 PM
Friday, June 6, 2014  by Casey Mulligan, Economist, University of Chicago
Employment just went down
Please don't forget that the establishment survey excludes agricultural workers and many of the self-employed. The establishment survey has a lot going for it, but only for the part of the economy it covers. For anyone interested in the national economy, I recommend using the establishment survey plus unincorporated self-employed (from the household survey, seasonally adjusted) plus agricultural workers (also from the household survey, seasonally adjusted). See also the BLS on this matter.

One of the critiques of the household survey is that it is noisy month-to-month -- I agree. But my proposed augmentation of the establishment survey is not particularly noisy because the vast majority of its employment is from the establishment survey.

Changes from April 2014 to May 2014 (100s of workers):

+217 establishment survey
-213 unincorporated self-employed
-109 agricultural workers (excluding self-employed)
-105 National employment change

[The average monthly change since December 2013 has been +152: just keeping up with population growth. The avg monthly change in 2013 was +171. This employment measure has increased 36 out of the past 40 months (going back to 2010, not counting this month). This month's change is 1.9 standard deviations below the average change since 2010.]
[2010 was the labor-market's low point by most employment measures. But unincorp self-employment has fallen another 567,000 since then. If you use the establishment survey, you miss that.]
Posted by Casey B. Mulligan, Univ. of Chicago
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 13, 2014, 04:02:47 PM
Doug posts:

"Meanwhile, fracking has no known incidents of poisoning ground water, and (posted elsewhere) the $100 Billion Germany is investing in solar will the delay the final destruction of the planet by 38 hours, according to peer-reviewed, scientific models."

If we replaced all coal with natural gas I wonder how much we could delay the end of humanity by.

Instead the left wants solar, etc that won't work for the bulk of what we need.

If you did 200 projects worldwide on a scale of the $100 Billion German solar project, you would extend life on this planet by one year (using THEIR math).

That calculation is meaningless, of course.  We aren't destroying the planet, the doom scenario is wildly exaggerated, and the energy production from these overly expensive sources is so minuscule that the gain from all them combined is meaningless.

Since that would do nothing, solve this a better way, through prosperity and free innovation.  We know nuclear has zero CO2 emissions and many improvements and variations of it are barely in development stages.  See next generation nuclear, pebble bed, Thorium, who knows?  What we will use for power 100 years from now isn't going to be gasoline, especially if bureaucrats are not in the lead.  Solar is great is some situations, and wind, and geothermal, but let them all compete on equal footing with every other idea.
245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The war on the rule of law on: July 11, 2014, 09:34:23 PM
Exactly so.

We won't impeach, but if we did, what would be the articles of impeachment against him?  Will anyone add, correct or fill in details to make the case:

1)  Fast and Furious, what exactly are we charging them with doing there?

2) IRS Targeting, applying the laws and enforcement mechanism unequally under the law with the intention of stifling opposition gaining unfair advantage in the election.

3) A long list of 'passing' laws by administrative decree when he couldn't get the votes to pass in congress, as required by the constitution.  EPA rules, for one example.  Removing the work requirement for welfare, for another.

4) 13 Unanimous rulings in the Supreme Court against the administration for over-reach of executive power.

5) Benghazi:  Putting Americans in harm's way, not sending help, then deliberately misleading the American people about what happened.

6) Immigration and border unenforcement.

7)  ...

246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The war on the rule of law on: July 11, 2014, 02:15:02 PM
Politically I'm thinking it would be a bridge too far, even though both he and the nation thoroughly deserve it.

For one thing, we don't have direct proof tying the President to some of the worst offenses.  Hard to say if willful neglect in governing equals high crimes and misdemeanors.

Impeachment is a political solution that would fail, install Biden as President if successful, and  most certainly backfire on Republicans. 

Republicans have a public perception problem.  They need to be seen as relentlessly advancing real solutions to real problems - every time they get a camera or microphone to their podium.  They need to change hearts and minds and they need to win races.

People are seeing how bad Democratic policies and governing can be, but haven't fully jumped over to conservative governing principles.  This is an enormous and historic opportunity to win people over and change directions.  The over-reaches of power and lawless governing are abominable, but side issues to being on the wrong track headed the wrong direction.
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: July 11, 2014, 01:52:22 PM
EXACTLY the kind of material which this thread is about.  I look forward to giving that clip a proper listen.

It is quite insightful and worth your time IMHO.  Look forward to your comments.  Bringing the link forward:
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Without fracking we'd be fuct on: July 11, 2014, 01:47:42 PM

$6 /gallon, and getting worse.

Meanwhile, Germany is banning fracking, since - just ask Ukraine, it is so easy to buy energy from your friendly neighbor.  Gas price in Germany, $8.28 and getting worse.

Meanwhile, fracking has no known incidents of poisoning ground water, and (posted elsewhere) the $100 Billion Germany is investing in solar will the delay the final destruction of the planet by 38 hours, according to peer-reviewed, scientific models.
249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, left fights left in Minneapolis on: July 11, 2014, 01:37:08 PM
I wrote about this race somewhere, probably under election fraud, but the ugliness exposes a rift in the Dem party.  Jewish liberal Democrat incumbent since 1972 Phyllis Kahn is facing a serious primary challenge from Islamic Somali immigrant Mohammed Noor.  Phyllis Kahn is a household name around here, on a par maybe equal to what Ted Kennedy was nationally.  The liberal lioness is now blowing the whistle on Democrat fraud they perpetrated earlier as it backfires against her.  More fraud incidentally than the Al Franken margin of victory that gave Obamacare it's 60th vote in the Senate.  Perhaps more interesting than cheating is the cultural divide in the party the race is exposing.   I wonder how well her position on gay rights fits with Sharia law, lol.  Minneapois-based Powerline is covering the race, calling it business as usual:

250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Peer Reviewed Fraud: scientific journal retracts 60 papers on: July 11, 2014, 01:15:56 PM

 Chen created up to 130 fake email accounts of "assumed and fabricated identities" that created a "peer review and citation ring." In other words, it appears that he suggested his own fake identities to the journal as reviewers of his papers.

That isn't very different than the IPCC cartel working behind the scenes to cherry pick studies and data, hand pick reviewers and block out dissent.
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