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3751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 21, 2012, 02:27:36 PM
"Michigan is the whole shooting match," said one senior GOP strategist not aligned with a campaign. Says another: "If Romney loses Michigan, all hell breaks loose."

If Santorum wins, he is the sustained frontrunner; he is the already the leader at this point.  Feb 28 is the turning point either way for Romney.  Michigan is a primary not a caucus state and the other side is uncontested so anyone eligible to vote and willing to show up and say they are Republican will get a ballot.  In Feb 2000, moderates showed up for McCain.

Only one debate (tomorrow, Mesa AZ, CNN) before the vote.
3752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian: Constitutionality of marriage? on: February 21, 2012, 01:43:28 PM
Wishing to drop the cultural issues for this election cycle, but so many questions are unresolved.  Jumping around with some quotes/excerpts here, hopefully keeping the original meaning as posted.

bigdog wrote: "You gents don't seem to get that marriage laws, like any other laws, can be changed."

This is a good point.  It is separate from the question of whether existing marriage laws are unconstitutional.

bigdog wrote:

"Gay marriage does NOT have to be compelled by the Constitution for it to be accepted by the Constitution."

Very true.  My question: is it compelled by the constitution?

bigdog continued: "... the 9th Amendment leaves open the possibility that there are other, unenumerated rights.  Privacy, of course, is one that has been recognized.  I know, from prior discussions with you (Crafty), that you acknowledge the right to privacy.  As JDN states, there could be an argument made that gay marriage could be allowed, based on privacy precedent. 

Public recognition of a gay union is the opposite of a right to privacy, is it not? 

bigdog:  "But, there could be, at least in theory, a stand alone right found in the 9th."

This is a good point. Some certainly see it that way.  Depends on which 9 people you ask.  It seems to me that if a standalone right is found for any citizen to be offered the designation of married, not just gay couples, isn't that the same as ending the public designation of married? 

I still fail to understand what rights are denied to a gay American who is in a loving, committed gay relationship that are also not denied to a single person who does not have a heterosexual partner consenting to marry.  In all cases you have the right to marry one person of the opposite sex with certain conditions applied, if and/or when those specific circumstances apply to you.

I asked JDN to no avail, but why does the 'equal protection under different circumstances' concept apply to all other areas of public policies including taxing, spending and regulating (see 2012 SOTU), but not apply to marriage? 

bigdog: "in some areas of civil rights, such as handicapped, special accommodations are exactly what they are entitled to."

Very true, but they are entitled to certain accommodations because a federal law was passed by the people's representatives and signed by the President.  It was not an unenumerated right found in the constitution. 
3753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: February 21, 2012, 11:14:59 AM
"I am not for or against "climate change" resulting from human behavior.  I am simply confused." - CCP

If it turns out that humans are irreparably harming the planet right now and that we have a short time to act, the phony, agenda driven 'scientists' like Michael Mann set beck the quest for that truth by about 20 years in my estimation with their dishonesty, deceit and monopolistic practices to take over and dominate the profession.

"...the worst that can happen is that we ruin the planet" ... which is of course justification for all ends and all means.  Strangely coincident is that the solution for warming would be bigger and stronger governments, if not world government, and smaller and smaller personal and economic liberties - the same environmental agenda pushed before the discovery of warming.  Who knew? Also strange is that none of the scientists or big advocates have quit heating or air conditioning their work spaces, or shrunk their work spaces, or moved into their work spaces, or ended the ritual of all expenses paid global travels to meet with each other regularly - while suggesting all of that is necessary for everyone else to do so.  Meanwhile the mercury-based light bulb mandate is now in effect on you, from people who know better than you, unless you can get a waiver from people more powerful than you.
3754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: February 21, 2012, 10:52:35 AM
A lot of banter over one's profession over on Political Economics, the least of our spending problems come from paying real people to do real work that really is the function of that level of government like local police and fire. Still it begs the constitutional question, under what authority is nationalizing the hiring police and teachers derived?  Or the potential bailouts of the states and localities who commit to compensation and retirement packages they cannot afford? 

Examples:

"President Barack Obama said Monday that he would like to extend the school year and raise teacher pay to help improve the U.S. education system." WSJ 9/27/2010

"President Clinton today announced the first round of police hiring grants under the new crime bill, an important step toward his goal of putting 00,000 police on America's streets. "  http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/Pre_96/October94/590.txt.html  (Oct 1994)

Supreme Court Justices are NOT the only government officials sworn to "...preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/tocs/a2_1_8.html

3755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Surprising Presidential Polls on: February 21, 2012, 09:33:39 AM
Obama is leading in the individual matchups at this point in spite of presiding over a miserable economic 'recovery', therefore he will win in November; that is the pessimism I have been hearing.  Polls from other Presidential years:

Gallup Jan 1980 Carter 63%, Reagan 32%

Dukakis up by 17% over George H.W. Bush, July and August 1988
3756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: February 17, 2012, 12:53:52 PM
Rachel Maddow has uncovered unreported results before they were reported or recorded?  Yes maybe a scandal of timing or incompetence with the volunteers.  She presents the question of whether or not it was rigged without even a suggestion of evidence of rigging.  The accusation is that someone may have tried to affect the timing of reporting in order in one area in Maine to influence a news story. OMG.

Slow news day, that is a lot of hoopla over a non-binding straw vote of caucus attendees.  In our caucus we were required by state law to announce to the caucus the exact results of the vote before it was called in.  Then it was called in cell phone to cell phone (to the volunteer daughters of one of the organizers) and accumulated with other results to try to get something preliminary reported onto the evening news.  The procedure was set long before anyone knew who the result would favor.  That is not exactly an election result certified by a Secretary of State.

Someone please post the video of Rahel Maddow's outrage over the 'uncounted' Al Franken votes found in the trunk of a Minneapolis car late on election night after Norm Coleman was originally called the winner and dozens of other irregularities in an ABC documentary .I have posted previously. I'm sure she was all over it.  Votes known to be wrong were certified by the move-on.org Sec State and provided the 60th vote in the Senate to deem health care passed, affecting everyone for generations, not an evening news non-binding straw poll preliminary result.  Just my two cents.
3757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 17, 2012, 12:06:46 PM
Bigdog, Thanks for joining in.  I am answering only for my part.  Father and son, absolutely! My list was not intended to single out, just tried not to drag it out too far since my attempted point was lost anyway!

"the idea somehow that fathers and sons, or mothers and daughters don’t/can’t/shouldn’t (here is where I am not sure I understand the point of the argument) have a strong, or special, relationship is pretty crappy."

No, no, no, I meant exactly the opposite.  I don't love anyone in the world more than my own father nor regret anything in the world more than not having a son.  I was trying to say ALL those relationships and many not named can be special, extremely special and private, and better and stronger than many marriages, and half of them may be opposite sex relationships as with your examples other than with your wife, but none of them are marriage.  So we already discriminate in law between all these relationships and marriage, not just gay relationships.   Seems to me we should strike down marriage if unconstitutional like slavery or if not try to agree on some special accommodations for gay unions over on the legislative side of the government.

I find the comparison to race and America growing out of slavery to be quite uncompelling even if some of the same words or phrases were used. 

Where is the similar evidence that gays are similarly abused by our laws.  Gay incomes are equal or higher to straights and housing is already protected and widely available.  I don't know a restaurant or drinking fountain that asks orientation before allowing service.  And single people don't receive spousal privilege.

Is marriage as we know it wrong?  Is it unconstitutional?  In 200+ years, was it ever struck down?  Why not?  Marriage only applies to a select group of people, restricted by age, gender and circumstance, not just orientation.  If marriage as we know it is a violation of pre-existing rights, as with slavery, end it, not extend it to one more group still at the exclusion of others.

In what way is a gay person who does not choose to be a part of husband-wife marital union denied any right that a single heterosexual person who does not have a heterosexual partner willing to marry is not similarly denied?

If you already answered that, sorry I missed it.
----------
On the point of 5 people deciding gay marriage, the constitution couldn't be more silent about couple's rights IMHO but has always included a mechanism for adding to or changing the text.  If people of different circumstances must be treated exactly the same in law, we have a whole lot of programs ready to fall.  Public policy wouldn't come down to 5 chosen people if the path written into the constitution to change it was followed.  Slavery was ended in war but it was also ended in the constitution in the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Five people didn't decide that.
3758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: February 17, 2012, 10:23:03 AM
"...University of Southern California (USC).  Actually quite a conservative school; at least in comparison to many others.  I had been accepted at Berkeley but my parents thought it was too liberal..."

Your parents did the best they could for you under the circumstances.   wink  Some of us here are trying to lure you to that next level of interest in economics, i.e. how people respond to different incentives and disincentives to produce.

"most of our time we spent racing, chasing girls, drinking, or just sailing down to Mexico."

The lifestyle of the 1%.  We should tax it more.  Or just ban it (sailing) with a federal law as they have done in the most beautiful part of MN.

"the truly rich do not have the greatest sensitivity to tax rates."

Please back that up at your leisure with something empirical. 

I would link this thread and this forum as a one-sided documentary as to the opposite, and I would be happy to pull out specifics across the world and throughout history for you, if requested.
3759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 17, 2012, 12:35:28 AM
Cleveland I think was the 22nd and 24th President.  Obama may also want to take a little break.
3760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: February 16, 2012, 08:25:52 PM
Rove is right on this. It is all targeted politically as other people's money.  They had it all planned out many times over how they were going to spend the money from letting the Bush tax cuts expire - raising rates only on the rich.

Pres. Obama includes himself as among the 'fortunate' who can afford to pay more, partly to brag,  but he never took a risk that involved employing people or even held a full-time private sector job.  He wasn't fortunate (lucky), he was clever, leveraging his public fame into personal wealth.

They don't target the rich because they can afford to pay more.  They pretend to target the rich to make the lower 98% think that their recklessness won't affect them.

Rich with other peoples' money means entitled to staff - up to the point where they don't even know how many they have.  The first lady denies the Glen Beck claim that she has 43 staff.  She says (through a staff person) that it is closer to 25. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/mar/04/glenn-beck/glenn-beck-says-first-lady-michelle-obama-has-43-h/  If this is a math problem, 33 is closer to 25 than to 43, not counting staff that are not called staff and not counting the ones hired since.  She has had 3 chiefs of staff, "The turnover, greater than under recent first ladies, underscores the pressure and high expectations of working in an operation known for its polish and discipline" [with other peoples money].  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55832.html#ixzz1mbNmWVEt
3761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 16, 2012, 07:50:26 PM
"One could argue that gays are included..."

Yes, if you change or ignore the meanings of the words involved: marriage, husband and wife.  I now pronounce you individual and individual. - ?

"we will see how the Court rules....."

Yes, then we will know what 5 people think.  This wasn't written or settled in the constitution and I can't figure out why in the Declaration of Independence they chose the phrase 'consent of the governed' if they meant governed by the dictate of 5 chosen people.   (
3762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: February 16, 2012, 07:36:38 PM
"I think we can raise taxes (sorry)..."

a)  Why be sorry if its the right thing to do. 

"... on the rich."

b) Why are we back less than 24 hours after worrying about equal protection,  again applying the laws unequally to different people depending on their circumstances?  Let's raise taxes on those people, over there.  If you don't like flat tax rates, at least make the changes across the board, affecting everybody.

c) My friend JDN, is it really not possible to train you to distinguish between taxes and tax rates after all these discussions?  You are an economist - and a voter- we need you to draw the distinction! I believe Crafty gave you 5 major examples where lowering tax rates raised taxes (revenues to the Treasury).  From what you write we have no idea if you favor raising tax rates or lowering them to generate more revenues.  If you are saying raise tax rates even further on the people who have the most options and the greatest sensitivity to tax rates, then I think all that will do is stall the economy out even further - and push unemployment up even further.  You should consider changing your thinking to pro-growth (Huntsman-like policies) sometime between now and the election. )
3763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Liberal fascism: Warren Buffet mix of crony investing and politicking exposed on: February 16, 2012, 10:49:16 AM
Fairly long article and I don't think it is fair to summarize.  If you are interested, read it start to finish.  Many examples of buying in, advancing the public argument to have ntaxpayer money follow his to bolster his position, and profit to no end.  This is the opposite of a free market, opposite of equal protection under the law, and proves false the perception that big investment, big business, big banks, big favoritism is a uniquelyRepublican phenomenon.  This guy is a big liberal with no apologies.

There is nothing conservative (or constitutional) about government favoring one business over another.

http://reason.com/archives/2012/02/09/warren-buffett-baptist-and-bootlegger
3764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Breaking his Pledge on: February 16, 2012, 10:40:29 AM
"Today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office."  - Pres. Obama, Feb 2009

Not going to happen: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/02/16/president_obama_punts_on_us_deficit_113142.html
--------------
Obama Budget Director says no budget in the Senate is Republicans fault because 60 votes are needed.  Yet he knows damn well that budget matters only need a simple majority to pass, 51 votes, 50 votes, sometimes fewer.
--------------
President Obama argues that the health care penalty for not buying health insurance is not a tax.

In Court, for the constitutional authority to levy it (or impose an individual mandate)  he is arguing that it is a tax.
--------------

How could anyone ever defeat this guy?  Hmmm.

One possibility might be to go negative - with your surrogates (lots of material available) - while the nominee paints a positive, pro-growth and pro-freedom path forward for the nation.
3765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 16, 2012, 10:27:52 AM
JDN: "I too agree marriage should be between a man and a woman. "

What the hell were we arguing about?...............  

If we could all agree that, legally and constitutionally, gays already have all the pre-existing rights, endowed by their Creator, self-evident, unalienable, just like the rest of us including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  What we are arguing (IMO) is whether or not it is good public policy to choose to make special accommodations for gays, not whether their pre-existing rights have been violated.  

By all means, make a special accommodation.  Make it easy to get those other recognitions (end of life decisions etc.) if so desired.  Make it binding on no one else, private insurance companies etc.  And LEAVE THE CHILDREN OUT OF IT.  
3766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 15, 2012, 02:04:27 PM
It used to be:  Accept us, we are different.

We did, pretty much.  that was not good enough.  Quickly it became:  Accept us, we are the same as you.

But gay people are not the same in the context of family structure, procreation, child rearing.  Gay people are God's creatures, citizens, Americans - they live among us, work hard, serve our country, pay taxes and vote in our society.  They are entitled to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and equal protection under the law.  That does not mean they are entitled to special accommodations - such as the changing the meanings of our words or our accepted institutions.

If marriage results in a bond between a husband and a wife, gays have, as every other person has, the liberty to choose to enter that institution, also the liberty to choose not to.  (Contrast that with other places in the world where today they still have pre-arranged marriages!)

A bond between a mother and a son or a father and a daughter is special.  A bond with a close grandparent can be special, or between siblings  Teo unmarried siblings might decide to look after each other for the rest of thier life..That's great.  It's not better or worse than marriage, but it is something different than marriage.

LA Times:  "What is the purpose of denying the use of one word — "marriage" — to a class of people..."

Yes, that is the nut of the deal.  You are asking us to change an institution that you choose to not join.  Accept marriage for what it is, and do something different.  Gay Unions was an idea call it something different.  Attach a meaning such as designating end of life decisions, shared bank accounts etc.  No one is threatening your private or public freedom of association.  Just don't tell me you are husband and wife when you chose a different path.


LA Times continued:  "...fully capable of taking on all of the child-raising..."

Right.  Do you see how that keeps creeping!?  We went from ending the concept of husband and wife to ending the distinction that having a mom and a dad is what families strive for.  

Gayness by definition is the opposite of choosing to procreate and populate the planet.  If we should choose as a society to put children with gay couples that they obviously born to (or adoption to singles) is a public policy question, not a pre-existing right. Gay people are not banned from being a part of forming families that lead to children, they are choosing a different path.
3767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: February 14, 2012, 05:16:13 PM
Limited time here but some numbers to help calculate

Workforce (BLS defined): 130,000,000 Non-farm, farm employment is pretty small.

(Participation rate: 63.7%)

Unemployment rate 8.3%

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

Number of votes 2008:  130,000,000

US population 310,000,000

info at the link.  I will come back to this.
3768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 14, 2012, 04:34:57 PM
CCP,  The biggest reason we can't drop race, gender or orientation from our awareness is because it would end gender-based lawsuits.  We already have people between categories that don't know which restroom to use.

The first question on the mortgage application to prevent discrimination based on race is to ask you your race.
3769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian: Spouse 1 and Spouse 2 on: February 14, 2012, 01:54:48 PM
My question was, how is that different from what single people not gay who never marry someone of the opposite sex experience, not how is not married different that married.

"Just off the top of my head.  Unless specific documents are drown up (yes you can draw up papers), a partner has very few if any rights.  If you are sick they can't visit you (Yes you can designate that.).  They can't make major decisions for you if you are incapacitated, etc. (Yes you can designate that too.) It costs money, time and effort; something that automatically given to a heterosexual married couple. (No, they had to draw up papers.)

More specific, they cannot file a joint return.(I'm sure that will change.)  At this time, Immigration Law does not recognize a gay marriage, therefore you cannot obtain rights through your "spouse".  I married a legal alien.  After marriage, she immediately was given a green card.  Now she is citizen.  IF I had been gay, even though I loved the person dearly, merely having me as a partner would not have entitled him to a green card, etc. (Nor are there any special immigration entitlements for a single person straight not in a relationship.)  We would have been broken up. (You would be back to the same rights single people have.) Many/most employers will not cover a gay partner on the corporate insurance plan.  Numerous other issues exist."


Add gay marriage to marriage and the proposal still discriminates against (single) people based on marital/family status - but you appeased one constituency.  The only real 'fix' (assuming the system that worked thousands of years is broken)is for government to end all acknowledgement of couples and family relationships, and based on your corporate insurance example ban all private sector acknowledgement of these relationships too.  A nation only of individuals so everything is completely fair. One collective family. That would fit the liberal dream - it takes a village.

Let's get gender off the license information next.  It is sooo outdated.  What business is it of the government what gender we are?  That alone could solve it.  Gay couples only need to designate one of the genderless persons as husband and one as wife.  We don't do a chromosome or pants check anyway.  If they want to be parents, then they need to designate one as the mom and one as dad.  But eliminate gender, open up gay marriage and we still are discriminating, single people, polygamists and categories I haven't thought of. Make private insurance companies recognize all designated spouses, attach additional pages if necessary.  Of course the determinant of where to draw the line is only the size and strength of the constituent group, not equal protection under the law.
------------

One of my newest friends through sports is a gay man who is in a committed relationship.  We don't know each other's politics and we likely don't want to hear anything about each other's sexual life or thoughts.  He is a great guy.  He is one of God's creatures, like me and you  He didn't choose his orientation IMO, I don't agree with that theory at all.  He does not choose to participate in a sham heterosexual marriage as people like Billie Jean King used to do to gain legal benefits and acceptance that comes with that - so we have come at least that far in a short time.  I wish for him (and everyone)  all the pursuit of happiness possible in the world, not discrimination. I think my political views overall offer him more freedom and pursuit of happiness than the state-based opposing view even if that does not include a re-definition of marriage.  Ours is a gay friendly town adn he can choose a gay friendly or private life neutral place of employment, maybe not work for a sole owner homophobe but so what.  At work he is judged by his work and in our sport we are judged by attitude and competence.
--------------
"I didn't respond to your comment(Crafty's) because I am necessarily a proponent of Gay Marriage"

Then you must have some reservations too.  Probably the same ones as the rest of us.

3770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Entitlements and how to go after them on: February 14, 2012, 11:36:45 AM
"The idea that a crash will then usher in a marxist system will not play out as the left hopes."  - Seems like it worked last time...

The dollar wasn't destroyed in the great depression and the USG wasn't drowning in an ocean of red ink back then.

Good points for the depression, though disastrous government policies led to a big expansion of disastrous government policies then too.  I was trying to refer to the (mini?)crash of 2008.  Their CRAp policies and RINO/Dem currency expansion led to crash and panic that led to bigger and bigger government including movement toward the Marxist dream of public ownership of the means of production.

I think CCP has this right except that it is no significance whether or not their destruction of the economy is intentional.  I think the bumbling C-student(?) Marxist didn't really know that promising to raise taxes, accelerating the rule by regulators, nationalizing industries, massively increasing the portion of resources consumed by the public sector and doubling the cost of energy on the private sector (until it doubles again) would actually hurt economic growth and employment.  He thought IMO that he would have the Reagan recovery at this point and win 49 states by doing exactly the opposite.
3771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 14, 2012, 11:17:11 AM
JDN, My attempts at typing on the new handheld are not going very well.

"Rather I look to your Grandfather who simply wanted companionship and wanted it to be a legal marriage.  He could have just lived with his new found love, but he chose to marry at 80."

He married at 80 in my estimation not to form a new family and procreate but to pass on that respect for that institution to the next generation.  (Shame on those of us who did not follow.)  Still his later life marriage was a marriage because a man and a woman became husband and wife and pledged the rest of their lives together (and kept that promise).  He did not seek to redefine anything.  As an aside in a world a few decades ago where one had respect for their elders not just for the traditions of our society, he did not say 'what do you think', he said "meet your new grandmother".

As our conversations go, unanswered is what rights in law (inheritance, tax advantages, spousal privilege in law, etc.) is a gay person or couple denied that a single heterosexual person possesses. (None that I know of.)

Having the government involved in race was both controversial and based on righting a past wrong known as slavery.  For women it is partly the same although it is a myth that women were kept out of professional fields like engineering when my mom became an aeronautical engineer in the 1940s.  We do business with Jews, Mormons, Scottish people and even Green Bay Packer fans because their money spends the same as any other, not only because of a law against discrimination.

When snowboarding really began, nearly all ski resorts banned them. Copper mountain was first in Colo to cater to them. We joked that they were all gang members. Also a sideslipping intermediate boarder wastefully wipes off the untracked powder for everyone else.  Now all resorts except Alta, Utah accept them.  Why?  Because of a federal mandate?  No.  Because they are half the market and their money looks just like skiers' money.  The same reason LA Times should try to sell newspapers to conservatives too.  Their money looks the same and it would expand their potential market.  If they don't, we can address that through freedom of competition or we can pass a law.

Not every problem has a government solution.
3772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Entitlements and how to go after them on: February 14, 2012, 10:27:46 AM
"The idea that a crash will then usher in a marxist system will not play out as the left hopes."  - Seems like it worked last time...
-----------
Good to see the NY Times sending a foreign correspondent out to the heartland for a story with all their own cutbacks.  The Rep. mentioned in the story, Chip Cravaack, is unfortunately one of the seats from 2010 that R's will lose this year.  The story misses the fact that life is expensive for the seniors on fixed income and for the hard working shop owner because of embedded taxes and regulations unmeasurable on their tax return.  His customers would have more to spend if they weren't working only to pay some kind of government burden during Jan-Aug months of the year.  To turn down the EIC, school lunch or a college subsidy is like the Obamites said about the super PAC - to disarm unilaterally.  You may oppose the programs but you lost that argument and are already paying for them - and getting back only 0.70 on the dollar even if you do surrender your principles.
--------
Important points are brought up in the bigdog post.

First is that I draw a distinction a conservative and an elected Republican: "Why is it hard for conservatives to cut entitlements?  It may be because it isn't in their own self interest".  A conservative would not flinch at that, but also would never be elected or re-elected.  So we whine about people like Santorum of PA, about as conservative as they get, yet voted for steel subsidies and against freedom to trade.  He still eventually lost by 17 points after all the pandering to the electorate and reaching to the middle.

This study is old but backs up what was posted in more detail:
http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/266.html
http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/22685.html

Still there are flaws in measurement.  Washington DC is the district LEAST dependent on the federal government for revenues?  Good grief.

Not all expenditures are equal.  Defense would seem to be a federal function while some of us argue that other functions are not.

My blue state MN is listed as receiving back 72 cents on the dollar and for that our bluest Senator Amy Klobuchar (Al Franken is to her right) comes into reelection with a 60% approval rate.  During her 6 years in Washington the nation lost 5 million jobs, borrowed $6 trillion, her state sends a river of money to support failure and the people love her.  Go figure.  At 72 cents on the dollar, civil war or secession might be a more reasonable reaction than reelection based on the status quo.  

A more apt question (IMO) than the one posed for Republicans is why do Democrats (and independents) accept the status quo.  Republicans I think would make sweeping reforms if they could get the support they need from the people.

The reform if it ever happens needs to be bold and comprehensive.  You do not end ethanol subsidies with the support of Iowans without a package that ends all similarly stupid and unconstitutional (equal protection under the law?) subsidies.  You do not eliminate the mortgage deduction without reform of the rest of the tax code.  In fact you will not likely reform taxes ever again when 51% of voters believe they are receiving goodies and paying nothing.

Someone with a backbone needs to step forward and point out that directing more and more resources out of the productive economy, whether it is directly charged to you or not, is a tax on your economy, a tax on your children and a tax on all of your out of work neighbors and relatives.  At some point with everyone else riding, there is no incentive for anyone to pull the wagon.  The load is just too heavy.

It was said about Japan in about 1990 that the only thing that could get the economy going again was bold reform, and that the one thing for sure their political system was incapable of was bold reform.  History proved that to be right.

Once we get back to about 2.5% sustained growth (where breakeven 'growth' is about 3.1%) and we are only shedding say a half million jobs per year instead of 1.2 million in one month, then the opportunity to make truly comprehensive, definitional reform of government spending and taxes will have passed, and stagnation and gradual decay will be our future.

At the end of the big spending Republican congress in Nov 2006 this country needed a sharp turn toward transformational change; we just turned the wrong direction.

Four years later the message from the early tea party movement was clearly cut spending first and shrink the size and scope of government.  That movement resulted in a pretty strong and difficult to repeat election result in 2010, which resulted in a 5% annual increase in spending, after all the shutdown/debt limit hysteria, and that was above and beyond the 'temporary', 'emergency levels' of the previous years!  

It is hard to take the polling of today (or the candidates that we have) and be optimistic about real change.
3773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 14, 2012, 08:21:41 AM
JJDN ,I wish you would answer my point regrding different circumstancex.

Laws against "marrying" same sex apply equallly to all.

That you can"t make a husband and wife out of any combinatikon other than one man and one woman without chanvging the meaning of the words is a fact not an issue.

What is it in law they are denied that a single person is not also denied?
3774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: February 13, 2012, 11:24:18 PM
Must give Crafty credit for recognizing that the administrations assault on Catholic teachings is not a Catholics-only issue.  it is not a birth control method question, it is not a religious issue.  It is a limited government issue. 

Luckily for us we have a firewall called the constitution to stop any encroachments by the government on our liberties and we have 9 justices sworn to make sure that can never happen.  (Why does that sound like sarcasm in 2012?)
3775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 13, 2012, 10:55:20 PM
"refusing to serve a black or a Jew, refusing to hire or promote a woman, etc. is discrimination, IMHO an evil that has no place in America."

I moved the question out of race/religion for a reason.  There is no income or housing difference between gay and straight.  Aren't you making up a problem that doesn't exist?  Gays that I know are competent and conscientious in their work, and well-paid.  Employers I know are in need of and appreciative of competent and conscientious employees.  Businesses I know now accept (Jews, blacks and) gays as customers. Where is a sign in America that we don't serve gays?  Again, where is the problem that is in need of a government solution?


"...A man can marry a woman, and vice versa."

"But a man can't marry a man.  Or a woman a woman.  Where is the equality?"


You are missing a point, not just disagreeing with it.  A gay man can (under the law) fall in love and marry a woman, he just doesn't.  Some heterosexuals never marry the opposite sex either, not just gay people. Equal protection, different circumstances.  Again, it is a concept in law that the entire tax code and government is built on.  I don't see why you support it wholeheartedly with taxes and refuse to accept it here.  It may be a bad idea in your estimation, but hardly unconstitutional unless all of our government is set up exactly that way, not just taxes but government payments and services too.

Expanding on that point: Estate tax applies to some people not others. the 39.6% tax rate will apply to some and not others. Double federal taxation applies to some and not others. Food stamps, Medicaid, Pelle grants, they all go to some and not others.  Equal protection, different circumstances.  3.1 million households get Section 8 housing vouchers, the rest get none - and for VERY arbitrary reasons.  Even voting, some and not others.  Everyone gets to vote when they turn 18?  Not everyone lives to 18, therefore are/were never legal to vote, yet the law is considered equal protection.  Solydra, Chrysler, General Motors: millions of dollars in subsidies.  Dog brothers and JDN Inc: Nothing.  That is equal protection or the President should be impeached.  You make the call.

What I don't get is that you are arguing my political viewpoint and against yours (IMHO).  Most of these things are NOT equal protection.  The government is clearly favoring and discriminating in almost everything that it does.  Read page 1 of any IRS form, 'who has to file this form?' Some yes, some no.  It depends on your circumstance.
3776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: Earth's temperature fluctuates. Who Knew? on: February 13, 2012, 01:36:54 PM
Russian Astrophysicist Predicts Global Cooling

“We can expect the onset of a deep bicentennial minimum of total solar irradiance (TSI) in approximately 2042±11 and the 19th deep minimum of global temperature in the past 7500 years – in 2055±11. After the maximum of solar cycle 24, from approximately 2014 we can expect the start of deep cooling with a Little Ice Age in 2055±11.” –Habibullo I. Abdussamatov, Russian Academy of Science, 1 February 2012

    Bicentennial Decrease of the Total Solar Irradiance Leads to Unbalanced Thermal Budget of the Earth and the Little Ice Age

    Applied Physics Research, Vol. 4, No. 1 February 2012
Abstract: http://ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/apr/article/view/14754
Full Study: http://ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/apr/article/view/14754/10140
3777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 13, 2012, 01:30:43 PM
From Santorum thread, I'm not sure why that got copied to race thread?

Crafty wrote: "Of course state consitutions cannot go against the rights guaranteed by the US Constitution, so the real question is the meaning of the equal protection clause.  I think it safe to say that gay marriage was not on the mind of those who passed the equal protection clause; of course it need not to have been for the clause to be applicable-- but Santorum I think is on the right track here: Judicial Imperialism and arrogance.

Surely a certain degree of humility is called for when the people of a state amend their consitution-- especially when this step is to reverse a judicial creation of a right!  My point of view is that gay marriage is not required by the equal protection clause.  A man can marry a woman, and vice versa.

I think the real solution here is for people to be free to be gay and other people to be free to be grossed out by it, with or without God's blessing.

Yes, I am saying that people should be allowed to discriminate.

Anyone wanting to discuss this further, please take it to a relevant thread (e.g. Gender; Gay and Straight)"
-----------------------

My evolving view.  People with an agenda I think exaggerate the numbers, but if you are gay, you are gay.  If you are American, you have a right to pursue happiness.

It is bad business to discriminate against major groups unless there is good reason.  What the laws should be, I don't know exactly.

Marriage is a unique relationship where a man and a woman become husband and wife and make certain lifelong promises to each other.  Heteros screw it up badly enough, breaking promises etc but that is not reason to abandon it or change its meaning.  Marriage is the foundation of family, a man and a woman under one roof is the formula also for continuation of the species.  My grandfather got re-married at 80 so I understand it is not only about procreation, but in their case they did both keep their first marriage promises of until death do we part and chose that if they were to live together the rest of their lives it would be in marriage.

If marriage is a cross gender union, husband and wife, particularly aimed at family structure for child rearing, gays are entitled to their own form of commitments and choices.  I have no idea what those should be just that that other forms of commitment are different, not the same.  What role the government needs to play, I don't know.  They deserve all rights I presume they already have have of being able to will to each other, designate each other for power of attorney on crucial matters etc. just the same as single people deserve rights, but not the right of a spouse of the opposite sex unless he or she consents.

The key difference in marriage is that the agenda seems to be aimed at saying a mother and a mother, or a father and a father, is the same as a mother and a father.  It isn't and flaws in hetero-marriages don'[t change that. 

In housing, a landlord would be crazy to discriminate against great tenants, or a seller to discriminate against a class of buyers. 

In business, same.  You are crazy to eliminate people from employment for something private that has nothing to do with work performance.  OTOH, it should be perfectly legal to discriminate in a private business against people who outwardly make other people, co-workers or customers, uncomfortable, no matter the reason.  Right?  'Don't ask, don't tell' was strangely a perfect solution.  You keep your private life out of the workplace and only then is it none of our business.

Discriminate, not the legal word but to make choices, is what we do all the time.  JDN (who asked the question) discriminates against other states and climates to live in California.  Discriminates against other neighborhoods to choose yours.  Discriminates against other restaurants to choose the one you will take your wife to tomorrow, discriminate against other golf courses for the one you choose, against all other barbers except the one you trust and feel most comfortable with, etc.etc.  What are your reasons?  I don't know.  Those are YOUR reasons.
--------------
"My point of view is that gay marriage is not required by the equal protection clause.  A man can marry a woman, and vice versa."

For a gay or a single person, the law regarding marriage is the same for straight people or couples in similar circumstances.  If you fall in love with a person of the opposite gender, no matter who you are, you have the same rights as a heterosexual individual or couple under the law.  If that is unconstitutional then so is our entire, complex,  progressive tax system that treats people differently that are in different circumstances.
3778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Electoral process, vote fraud: Easy registration. Project Veritas on: February 12, 2012, 01:26:41 PM
Vikings fans are excited to see Tom Brady and Tim Tebow getting registered to vote in MN.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=GqMVxeZhflI&feature=player_embedded

Support ID check.
3779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 11, 2012, 05:50:05 PM
Post updated, sorry.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/02/10/mitt_romney_i_am_severely_conservative.html
There are other URLs in my computer that could have been worse...
3780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 11, 2012, 01:50:50 PM
"Government Bailout Actually Hurt Housing Recovery"

Yes.  The real force of the crash came from the size of the bubble.  every poicy I can think of was designed to slow or prevent the correction.  All the underlying causes are still largely in place.

Housing comes back when employment and income comes back.  Of course a big part of the employment problem is zero construction.  If you artificially stimulate that, you re-inflate the bubble.

We learned from that problems of letting the mortgage industry become 90% federal government.  Now it will be 100%.  The Fed is holding interest at roughly zero.  Savings interest is 0.  Energy costs nearly double.  Property taxes up.  5.5 million people left the work force.  Young adults and old adults moving back ini with family.  Fine, but no help for the demand for housing.  Or the affordability.
3781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: February 11, 2012, 01:38:38 PM
It would take a dislocated Uzbek to not know that turning control of the United States of America over to Joe Biden is a really bad idea friend and foe alike.
3782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Gov Romney Addresses CPAC, Also Sen. Marco Rubio on: February 11, 2012, 01:34:12 PM
There are parts of this speech that show me that he gets it, looks like a President and sounds Reagan-like themes.  I like the part where he seems to know where the greatness in this country came from and where it will need to come from again.  There are also times I think where conservatives sense inauthenticity.  All he can do now about that is move forward everyday with clarity and consistency.  These positions are now on tape.  He doesn't need to shift away from conservatism or move to the center, he needs to sell conservatism, make the hard choices of governing within old fashioned constitutional limits.

One point about his background as largely an outsider, just a one term governor, is that he does lack some experience in the  political game, for better and worse. He makes political mis-steps, but so does the President.  Also note that his Republican competitors lack executive experience.  He makes a good point about how as chief executive in success you share and spread out the credit, and in failure you take responsibility.  Obama had no executive experience and sees it differently; governing is a game of always trying to gain personal political advantage.  The speech:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/02/10/mitt_romney_i_am_severely_conservative.html

Also his running mate Sen. Marco Rubio at CPAC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEdyViVg1i4&feature=related

He starts a little off the cuff and speaks without a teleprompter, but when he gets going he is clear and passionate. WATCH IT ALL!  He said he did not want to be Pres or Vice Pres, not ready yet.  By summer he will get it that he cannot save the country in time as 1 of a hundred in the senate waiting until his seniority builds up.  If asked, I think he will serve.  He is not afraid of debating taking on the President and he is not not likely afraid of debating Joe Biden over the direction of the country, lol.  This painful process could actually have a happy ending if these two people could step forward and simply do what they are saying.
3783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Uninsurenment Camps on: February 10, 2012, 11:49:53 AM
Thank you GM, great post IMO, WOW!.  One of my both favorite and least favorite aspects of participating in the forum is being proven wrong. I hate being wrong but knowing it sooner rather than later helps keep my foot out of my mouth as much as possible as I go about my day.  I have many times said and many times written that there is absolutely no precedent for anything like the individual mandate.  Dead F-ing wrong.  What could be more similar to the individual mandate than having you and your family rounded by your 'liberal' government for internment and more constitutional than having that particular law 'reviewed' by a Court packed by that same President.  This is barely an inconvenience compared to that - hardly breaking new ground.

"So why don’t they cite [this law and this decision]?"  Great question!!

Just like slaughtering your young, it is all "settled law".  If we are going to 'successfully' wage a war against self insurance and market based economics, then it follows that it is 'constitutional' to use every government power necessary win that war!  Instead of fining those who won't insure, maybe we ought to round them up for internment until the war is won.

i was also wrong about the right to an abortion being the only 'constitutional right' that we would want to be rare.  Hardly anyone favors internment anymore for people who have done nothing wrong.  
3784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 09, 2012, 12:56:04 PM
One of my media issues but I saw a headline in our local paper about "Foreclosure Victims".

Who is the victim in a foreclusure.  One party lends the money with the right to take back the house if timely payments are not made.

One party agrees to make timely payments or give back the house and gets full possession of the house for that period of time until paid in full or defaulted.

In either outcome, I fail to see a victim.  They were maybe a victim of job or income loss perhaps, but a victim of foreclosure? How?

If you can't take the house back - in a timely and cost effective manner, who would ever lend?  How many homeowners would we have then?

I will be attending the award ceremony for JDN on this issue!
3785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Santorum on: February 09, 2012, 12:49:08 PM
Like GM, I will predict a short-lived thread.  Support steel tariffs, oppose NAFTA etc, pander to the local constituency to get elected like everyone else does... okay.  Then tell us he is different and he lost because he held a strict line on principle?  Not so much.  He took his own turns sitting on the couch with Nancy.  So the purity test failed with all of the candidates.  Now the question will be how to win and get the best policies going forward that we can.

I wrote elsewhere, but Santorum's wins in Colo, MN and MO (plus Iowa) should provide a teachable moment to the frontrunner to go through his own policies and his arguments and get some focus, clarity and backbone before it is too late.
----------
Must say that Santorum's wins this week came as quite a surprise to me.  He is the only candidate that did not reach me through mailers or media and he won the caucus votes from the activists who turned out by almost 3-fold over Romney.
3786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: February 09, 2012, 12:34:45 PM
Doug, I was using Mitts (Gov. Romney?) as an example.  Over and over did you notice I acknowledged that in my opinion he did absolutely NOTHING wrong.

Looking for wrongdoing was the lure used to get his private information into the public domain.  Now that everyone has his private information they (you) move to what else can we do with it, even pose hypotheticals that are absurd about what he has not done.  Doesn't fly with me. 

Again, what rate would you quadruple tax illusory incomes at?  Again, the inflation component of a gain is not a again, yet it is quadruple taxed.  Your story did not answer that.  If you can answer with a tax code less than twice the length of the Bible, then we may have an improvement over the current code.
---------------

This Crafty quote deserves repeating:

The wage earner does not risk losing money he has already received.  The wage earner does not have to put up his previous earnings in order to get the job.

I would add that the investor has already paid his FICA contribution when the money was earned.  Does anyone even know what the FICA 'tax' stands for anymore?  What are the second and third words??

Federal Insurance Contributions Act - It is an insurance contribution.  Like a pension, would you want Gov. Romney to be taxed all the way up on his income and then federally insured up to all or most of his highest annual income for his old age retirement.  I think not and same with the people who designed the system.

Social Security and FICA have already been partially repealed with the Obama political keynesian move to put a coffin nail through its biggest strength - that is was allegedly fully funded.

If you want to lower the tax on labor, do so!  If you want to further penalize and disincentivize the formation of capital in this country, do that too, but don't expect that the further lowering of investment with even fewer factories and employers hiring will help employment, national income or revenues to the Treasury, because it won't.  It's not rocket science.

Efficient investment is necessary for robust employment.  Hindering it kills off jobs and keeps capital from flowing to its most valuable use.  Does anyone ever look at actual results?  Or just focus group polling to set tax policy.
3787  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: February 09, 2012, 12:00:12 PM
"Or D*** advertised saying he will only accepted rental applications from females between the ages of 21 and 37?"

I think we should not go hypothetical on actual, traceable posters committing federal crimes they did not commit.  Thank you.  I've been wrongfully investigated and rightfully exonerated before.  The main difference between that experience and being accused of being a Jew in Nazi Germany was that at the end of my long, intrusive, humiliating ordeal, they let me live.
3788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: February 09, 2012, 10:34:55 AM
JDN,  You wrote personal and hypothetical about the advantages Gov. Romney had.  Deducting interest which is ludicrous, he doesn't need to borrow to buy a home.  They goaded him into releasing tax returns to look for wrongdoing, found none and then exploited his perdsonal information for political cheapshotting. Romney's homes didn't cause tax burdens to go up on someone else.  Michelle's lifestyle does.  FDR ( a Dem) was winniong WWII with less staff than the first lady.  If the idea is to stay on topic, please post what YOU think the rate for quadrupletaxation rates should be on illusory, inflationary gains.

Comparing with the average Joe (schmuck?)?  The American at the 50th percentile pays roughly NOTHING in federal income tax.  If you are counting FICA and oppose it, then good, let's all work to repeal it.

The poor do not work harder than the rich and I watch that pretty closely.  But if they did or didn't would that affect what tax rates should be?  Should we factor that in as a difficulty factor like they do for gymnastics or figure skating, or ... a wild idea, tax all income of all taxpayers from all legal sources at the same rate, without judgment from the government.

The nice thing about the Mitt and Buff personal stories is that if the rich are not in fact paying a higher rate, why are we so obsessed with continuing that failed policy?
3789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 08, 2012, 09:10:46 AM
Santorum swept MN Colo and Missouri caucuses last night.  Big setback for Ron Paul IMO who thought that was his ticket to be a factor in the race and the convention.  Big setback for Newt too who on paper should have been able to sweep these grass roots events.  It is a small setback for Romney who could and should use this as a teachable moment.  The people he needs first are still not sold.  If he enters the general election like McCain did still needing to reach to the right instead of focusing on winning the center of the nation, he will lose.

Very quick update from the caucus I convened last night in MN.  Our group followed closer to the discussions here I thought.  One guy my age spoke passionately for Ron Paul, very strong on anti-tax and anti-big spending.  He conceded that he didn't agree with Paul's foreign policy and that he was unelectable.  He said he would vote Libertarian rather than for one of the others in the election.Two first time voters to be also came out to support Ron Paul.  I tried to talk afterward with one of them to find out how Paul is reaching these people.  One lady spoke passionately for Newt, but conceded the same problems with him that we have seen that accompany his brilliance and his unique accomplishments.  Santorum only had one vote, considered unelectable, uncharismatic but probably the most conservative of the bunch.  Romney won our vote based on a perception he can win; beating the incumbent and changing course was the top concern.  Guest speakers from State officials.  R's won the state house and senate but lost the governorship in 2010.  A very fluid situation here with the thin majority in the Republican state senate particularly vulnerable, but a better situation than usual for one of the nation's bluest states - the only state Reagan never won.  I was reelected co-chairman with all but one vote - mine.  I liked the other candidates better for doing the work of the next 2 years.

I tried to tell the young people supporting Ron Paul that there are differences and their final vote will matter.  Supreme Court picks is the most obvious one, just look at the latest two appointees.  What I didn't get said:  The Supreme Court is kind of a buzz word for social conservatives (and liberals) because abortion etc. but the Court is also where the power for the big government they so strongly oppose got authorized or validated.  Look at the case for and against Obamacare right now for example.  The decision of whether that is a federal power will come down to who is on the Court more than the merits of the arguments (IMO).  There is no clause that says congress shall set healthcare rules and standards.  Standing on principle to not let a Republican lesser of two evils win and getting 4 more years of Obama will move you backwards for generations, maybe forever, from ever limiting the size and scope of government.
3790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Six Years Since 2006: 5.5 million fewer Americans have jobs = more Dem voters? on: February 07, 2012, 01:15:57 PM
Copying this important line from a WSJ piece(and the Dept. of Labor) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204369404577206980068367936.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop I put earlier in Glibness and Fairness to stand by itself in the election thread:

5.5 million fewer Americans have jobs today than in 2007

That would be very troubling if we had a declining population, BUT WE DON'T, so it much, much worse.

Why?  What happened / what changed in Jan 2007?

In 2007 Sen. Obama along with Sen. Biden along with Sen. Hillary Clinton, and Senators Reid, Durbin, Dodd, Boxer, Schumer and Bernie Sanders, all moved to majority power in congress along with Speaker Pelosi and 232 other House  Democrats, they took control of both chambers at once making the scapegoat Pres. Bush truly a domestic lame duck 2 years early and then they took the White House too.  New Mpls Rep. Ellison put his hand on the Holy Qur'an in Jan 2007 and together with his co-conspirators they  promised the transformational destruction of American wealth and they got it.  What they didn't seem to know is that employment involves employers, investors and a healthy, globally competitive business climate.

What is ironic is that there is actually more government money available to redistribute under pro-growth policies than there is under redistribution focused policies.

If Republicans cannot make that most obvious and provable case persuasively now, then we all deserve what we get.  Per GM, buy your ammo and canned food now and beat the hoarders.
3791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: February 07, 2012, 12:33:55 PM
"...in place of "overcorrecting" I would suggest the Rep recapture of the House, thus enabling blockage of the worst of Baraq has much to do with it."

True.  They can block more from coming but they have the power at this point to repeal almost nothing so it is a mixed bag. 

Fluctuations aside, the markets are at the value of what a slow growth economy deserves.  Missing in the index of existing, named, successful companies is the lack of new startups and domestic expansions that should have been taking place the last several years.  Lack of new competition and creative destruction may be good for entrenched players but bad for the economic outlook overall.

Even the massively increasing regulations can be good for the profit outlook of the entrenched players (GE, Goldman Sachs etc.) but thwarting of new competition and innovation and bad for US employment and our economic outlook overall.  That may explain why 'the markets' do fine under Democrat and RINO rule.
3792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: February 07, 2012, 12:19:32 PM
Crafty regarding 'Hide from Google' article: "Thank you for that GM."

Ditto!  I have enjoyed the 'free' products from Google especially  web search and searchable email.  I try not to support the company because of differing politics but hey, free is free, and getting information and saving information is valuable to me.

Of course free is not free.  These large players like to get their subscriber base and traffic way up before filling it with ads or starting the fees.  A great and scary line from the article:

"If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold."

Unless you want a record of your life kept for sale at private companies, we should all be taking the steps suggested in the article at the very minimum and that will only limit their knowledge of you.

I have warned people about obvious privacy losses on Facebook and the less obvious ones like facial recognition searching.  It affects even people not on the network.  Google holds nearly all of my correspondence back to the first days of gmail.  If the State Dept can be hacked and Stratfor and everyone else, why not these sites.  They don't even need to be hacked; they already admit reading your mail, tracking where you go and selling you off as a product.
3793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People (Gun rights): Wisconsin Open Carry Right on: February 07, 2012, 10:51:56 AM
West Allis (City in Wisc.) pays $30,000 to man arrested for wearing gun

(He was planting a tree in his back yard! In America! "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."??)

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/138816959.html

The city of West Allis has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit prompted by one of the first tests of Wisconsin residents' right to openly carry guns.

Brad Krause was planting a tree in his backyard in August 2008 -- while wearing a holstered handgun -- when police arrived, drew their weapons and arrested him.

In February 2009, a municipal judge found Krause not guilty of disorderly conduct, and in April of that year state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a memo advising law enforcement agencies that the mere fact of wearing a gun, by itself, would not support a charge of disorderly conduct.

Krause sued the city in federal court in 2010.

"This is a clear victory for Mr. Krause and Wisconsin residents who wish to assert their rights under the state and federal Constitution to bear arms lawfully," said his attorney, John Schiro.
3794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: February 07, 2012, 10:17:52 AM
JDN answered the Obama question, are you better off than you would have been.  The emergency funding to avoid panic and collapse however was in the transition period with Bush, McCain, Obama, Geithner and Bernancke all in agreement. Hardly the policy direction difference that will determine the next election.
3795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nobel Lauriate Krugman sharply rebukes JDN: Things are NOT Okay! on: February 07, 2012, 10:08:37 AM
My first time putting Krugman in Political Economics instead of Cognitive Dissonance because he doesn't in this column get to the part of what he would do about it.  (More of the same - much more.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/opinion/krugman-things-are-not-ok.html?_r=1

Op-Ed Columnist
Things Are Not O.K.
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: February 5, 2012

In a better world — specifically, a world with a better policy elite — a good jobs report would be cause for unalloyed celebration. In the world we actually inhabit, however, every silver lining comes with a cloud. Friday’s report was, in fact, much better than expected, and has made many people, myself included, more optimistic. But there’s a real danger that this optimism will be self-defeating, because it will encourage and empower the purge-and-liquidate crowd.

So, about that jobs report: it was genuinely good, certainly compared with the dreariness that has become the norm. Notably, for once falling unemployment was the real thing, reflecting growing availability of jobs rather than workers dropping out of the labor force, and hence out of the unemployment measure.

Furthermore, it’s not hard to see how this recovery could become self-sustaining. In particular, at this point America is seriously under-housed by historical standards, because we’ve built very few houses in the six years since the housing bubble popped. The main thing standing in the way of a housing bounce-back is a sharp fall in household formation — econospeak for lots of young adults living with their parents because they can’t afford to move out. Let enough Americans find jobs and get homes of their own, and housing, which got us into this slump, could start to power us out.

That said, our economy remains deeply depressed. As the Economic Policy Institute points out, we started 2012 with fewer workers employed than in January 2001 — zero growth after 11 years, even as the population, and therefore the number of jobs we needed, grew steadily. The institute estimates that even at January’s pace of job creation it would take us until 2019 to return to full employment.

And we should never forget that the persistence of high unemployment inflicts enormous, continuing damage on our economy and our society, even if the unemployment rate is gradually declining. Bear in mind, in particular, the fact that long-term unemployment — the percentage of workers who have been out of work for six months or more — remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression. And each month that this goes on means more Americans permanently alienated from the work force, more families exhausting their savings, and, not least, more of our fellow citizens losing hope.

So this encouraging employment report shouldn’t lead to any slackening in efforts to promote recovery. Full employment is still a distant dream — and that’s unacceptable. Policy makers should be doing everything they can to get us back to full employment as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way many people with influence on policy see it.

Very early in this slump — basically, as soon as the threat of complete financial collapse began to recede — a significant number of people within the policy community began demanding an early end to efforts to support the economy. Some of their demands focused on the fiscal side, with calls for immediate austerity despite low borrowing costs and high unemployment. But there have also been repeated demands that the Fed and its counterparts abroad tighten money and raise interest rates.

What’s the reasoning behind those demands? Well, it keeps changing. Sometimes it’s about the alleged risk of inflation: every uptick in consumer prices has been met with calls for tighter money now now now. And the inflation hawks at the Fed and elsewhere seem undeterred either by the way the predicted explosion of inflation keeps not happening, or by the disastrous results last April when the European Central Bank actually did raise rates, helping to set off the current European crisis.

But there’s also a sort of freestanding opposition to low interest rates, a sense that there’s something wrong with cheap money and easy credit even in a desperately weak economy. I think of this as the urge to purge, after Andrew Mellon, Herbert Hoover’s Treasury secretary, who urged him to let liquidation run its course, to “purge the rottenness” that he believed afflicted America.

And every time we get a bit of good news, the purge-and-liquidate types pop up, saying that it’s time to stop focusing on job creation.

Sure enough, no sooner were the new numbers out than James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed, declared that the new numbers make further Fed action to promote growth unnecessary. And the sad truth is that the good jobs numbers have definitely made it less likely that the Fed will take the expansionary action it should.

So here’s what needs to be said about the latest numbers: yes, we’re doing a bit better, but no, things are not O.K. — not remotely O.K. This is still a terrible economy, and policy makers should be doing much more than they are to make it better.
3796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fairness Quiz for the President and his Policies on: February 07, 2012, 10:01:35 AM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204369404577206980068367936.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

A Fairness Quiz for the President
Is it fair that some of Mr. Obama's largest campaign contributors received federal loan guarantees?

By STEPHEN MOORE

President Obama has frequently justified his policies—and judged their outcomes—in terms of equity, justice and fairness. That raises an obvious question: How does our existing system—and his own policy record—stack up according to those criteria?

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?

Is it fair that the richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country's income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?

Is it fair that American corporations pay the highest statutory corporate tax rate of all other industrialized nations but Japan, which cuts its rate on April 1?

Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run, and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C.—but millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?

Is it fair that Americans who build a family business, hire workers, reinvest and save their money—paying a lifetime of federal, state and local taxes often climbing into the millions of dollars—must then pay an additional estate tax of 35% (and as much as 55% when the law changes next year) when they die, rather than passing that money onto their loved ones?

Is it fair that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel and other leading Democrats who preach tax fairness underpaid their own taxes?

Is it fair that after the first three years of Obamanomics, the poor are poorer, the poverty rate is rising, the middle class is losing income, and some 5.5 million fewer Americans have jobs today than in 2007?

Is it fair that roughly 88% of political contributions from supposedly impartial network television reporters, producers and other employees in 2008 went to Democrats?

Is it fair that the three counties with America's highest median family income just happen to be located in the Washington, D.C., metro area?

Is it fair that wind, solar and ethanol producers get billions of dollars of subsidies each year and pay virtually no taxes, while the oil and gas industry—which provides at least 10 times as much energy—pays tens of billions of dollars of taxes while the president complains that it is "subsidized"?

Is it fair that those who work full-time jobs (and sometimes more) to make ends meet have to pay taxes to support up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who don't work?

Is it fair that those who took out responsible mortgages and pay them each month have to see their tax dollars used to subsidize those who acted recklessly, greedily and sometimes deceitfully in taking out mortgages they now can't afford to repay?

Is it fair that thousands of workers won't have jobs because the president sided with environmentalists and blocked the shovel-ready Keystone XL oil pipeline?

Is it fair that some of Mr. Obama's largest campaign contributors received federal loan guarantees on their investments in renewable energy projects that went bust?

Is it fair that federal employees receive benefits that are nearly 50% higher than those of private-sector workers whose taxes pay their salaries, according to the Congressional Budget Office?

Is it fair that soon almost half the federal budget will take income from young working people and redistribute it to old non-working people, even though those over age 65 are already among the wealthiest Americans?

Is it fair that in 27 states workers can be compelled to join a union in order to keep their jobs?

Is it fair that nearly four out of 10 American households now pay no federal income tax at all—a number that has risen every year under Mr. Obama?

Is it fair that Boeing, a private company, was threatened by a federal agency when it sought to add jobs in a right-to-work state rather than in a forced-union state?

Is it fair that our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids—who never voted for Mr. Obama—will have to pay off the $5 trillion of debt accumulated over the past four years, without any benefits to them?
3797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Thomas Sowell on Minimum Wage Law on: February 07, 2012, 09:55:23 AM
This could go also in Presidential 2012 because Thomas Sowell launches into this as a rip on candidate Romney for an escalating minimum wage statement he made.  Republicans gave up this fight because fighting against minimum wage laws doesn't poll well.  Butur economy and our society suffers and indeing it to inflation makes the damage permanent.  The question should not be how much to pay someone before they develop any skills or positive work habits.  The question should be: who should decide?  The answer is employees and employers negotiating in a free markets, not government, state or federal.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/02/07/a_defining_moment_113044.html

February 7, 2012
A Defining Moment
By Thomas Sowell

Governor Mitt Romney's statement about not worrying about the poor has been treated as a gaffe in much of the media, and those in the Republican establishment who have been rushing toward endorsing his coronation as the GOP's nominee for president -- with 90 percent of the delegates still not yet chosen -- have been trying to sweep his statement under the rug.

But Romney's statement about not worrying about the poor -- because they "have a very ample safety net" -- was followed by a statement that was not just a slip of the tongue, and should be a defining moment in telling us about this man's qualifications as a conservative and, more important, as a potential President of the United States.

Mitt Romney has come out in support of indexing the minimum wage law, to have it rise automatically to keep pace with inflation. To many people, that would seem like a small thing that can be left for economists or statisticians to deal with.

But to people who call themselves conservatives, and aspire to public office, there is no excuse for not being aware of what a major social disaster the minimum wage law has been for the young, the poor and especially for young and poor blacks.

It is not written in the stars that young black males must have astronomical rates of unemployment. It is written implicitly in the minimum wage laws.

We have gotten so used to seeing unemployment rates of 30 or 40 percent for black teenage males that it might come as a shock to many people to learn that the unemployment rate for sixteen- and seventeen-year-old black males was just under 10 percent back in 1948. Moreover, it was slightly lower than the unemployment rate for white males of the same age.

How could this be?

The economic reason is quite plain. The inflation of the 1940s had pushed money wages for even unskilled, entry-level labor above the level specified in the minimum wage law passed ten years earlier. In other words, there was in practical effect no national minimum wage law in the late 1940s.

My first full-time job, as a black teenage high-school dropout in 1946, was as a lowly messenger delivering telegrams. But my starting pay was more than 50 percent above the level specified in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Liberals were of course appalled that the federal minimum wage law had lagged so far behind inflation -- and, in 1950, they began a series of escalations of the minimum wage level over the years.

It was in the wake of these escalations that black teenage unemployment rose to levels that were three or four times the level in 1948. Even in the most prosperous years of later times, the unemployment rate for black teenage males was some multiple of what it was even in the recession year of 1949. And now it was often double the unemployment rate for white males of the same ages.

This was not the first or the last time that liberals did something that made them feel good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake, especially among the poor whom they were supposedly helping.

For those for whom "racism" is the explanation of all racial differences, let me assure them, from personal experience, that there was not less racism in the 1940s.

For those who want to check out the statistics -- and I hope that would include Mitt Romney -- they can be found detailed on pages 42 to 45 of "Race and Economics" by Walter Williams.

Nor are such consequences of minimum wage laws peculiar to blacks or to the United States. In Western European countries whose social policies liberals consider more "advanced" than our own, including more generous minimum wage laws and other employer-mandated benefits, it has been common in even prosperous years for unemployment rates among young people to be 20 percent or higher.

The economic reason is not complicated. When you set minimum wage levels higher than many inexperienced young people are worth, they don't get hired. It is not rocket science.

Milton Friedman explained all this, half a century ago, in his popular little book for non-economists, "Capitalism and Freedom." So have many other people. If a presidential candidate who calls himself "conservative" has still not heard of these facts, that simply shows that you can call yourself anything you want to.
3798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: February 07, 2012, 09:42:40 AM
Crafty: JDN raises an interesting theoretical question of import here.

JDN: "Well it seems the financial markets are impressed. [by jobs report]...

I don't look at short term moves as matter of import.  Dow is lower now than when JDN wrote that - about where it began.  The headline sounded positive; the deeper analysis of it over the weekend wasn't.  Stocks across the global economy don't move on one reason only, contrary what headline writers say.

JDN:  Dow finishes at highest since 2008, Nasdaq at highest since 2000

Away from short term hysteria we move to peak and trough analysis.  Another way of saying this is that the Dow is still below levels of 4 years ago and the NASDAQ is still below levels of 12 years ago meaning net negative 'growth' over selected longer periods of time.

The Dow is NOT a measure of the US economy, it is an index of named companies operating globally.  NASDAQ also.  The growth rate in emerging markets is 3 times what it is in America or Europe and these companies are still free to participate in that.

When I ask friends in Dow companies like 3M how business is and they don't tell me about expanding opportunities in NYC or LA.  They are shipping safety equipment as fast as they can build it to the nuclear site in Japan and expanding their manufacturing capabilities in China.  Are you hearing something different?

The market correctly predicted 13 of the last 4 recessions.  Tell me what the market will do in the next 6 months and that is helpful information.  If you announced to the market that the government of 2009 Obamanomics will be reinstalled for the next 4+ years with Pelosi as Speaker writing more laws into healthcare and stricter CO2 bans with Al Franken casting the 60th vote in the Senate and Obama as multi-term President 'growing jobs' at this rate for as far as the eye can see, then tell me what the markets would do.   sad

Markets are up slightly since the crash because of previous over-correcting.  Is it really more complicated than that?
3799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 06, 2012, 12:58:34 PM
All true, and his drivel almost makes sense (if you are Rip van Winckle), but...  Is the voter better off now than he or she was $5 trillion ago?  Can Obama run against a do-nothing congress when the do-nothing chamber is still led by his colleague Harry Reid of Pelosi-Reid-Obama fame.  Does the Obama agenda correct anything that is holding us back?  Will the local candidates even campaign with him in the vulnerable districts?

The news may say unemployment percentages are down, but millions leaving the workforce is a force that can't be ignored.  Fewer people pulling the wagon and more people riding on it is a very heavy, double-negative force that can't be papered over with words.

Romney may not be articulate in supply side economics, but he has enough specifics in his plan to actually turn things around if elected and if his proposals were to be enacted.  Also, he sounded quite persuasive to me the other day ridiculing the Obama campaign theme (I can't find the quote) -  a vision in failure reduced to telling us it would have been even worse without them. We can do better than that.

Weaknesses of Mitt or Newt aside, the contrast will be stark.  The excitement level in the black inner city where I frequent is zero.  If they show up they might pull the lever for him one more time, but not for anything historic or for any expectation of bettering themselves or their families. The white vote is admittedly lost for Barack.  The Jewish support is way down.  The Hispanic vote is conflicted.  The youth vote would have to be stupid with blinders on to think the current direction brings jobs to next year's college graduates.  He won't win the Catholic vote by 10 points again!  Best case for Obama IMO is to sound out moderate themes through November, paint his opponents as scary villains, hope for an uneventful economy and eek out some kind of close popular victory - just like Al Gore did in 2000.  wink

This is not the recovery of 1984; this is more like Jimmy Carter's 2nd or3rd term.  You and I might not be impressed with Romney, but the moderates and independents I know are drawing a collective sigh of relief to not have a fire breathing far right winger (like a Bachmann, for example) as their only real alternative to Pres. Obama.
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Dick Armey, now President of Freedomworks, has it right (must be reading the forum).  If you are conservative and uninspired by the Presidential choices remaining as most conservatives are, then put your money and energies this year right now into winning the House and Senate where the bills will need to be written and passed.  Margins and victors in congress will be crucial to governing no matter who wins the Presidential race.
3800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: February 06, 2012, 12:14:24 PM
Then I would head to the microfilm at the library before publishing a story implying that our host who had the rest of the facts correct was wrong.  If LAT was wrong in cover, then there is quite a difference between proving them right and proving they knew better.  We will see...
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The NY Times has quite a history of putting out truth much later is very small print buried in a section called corrections that really could be its own major publication. Perhaps a mis-spelling should go in corrections, but correcting falsehoods should be in a size and location equal or greater to the original, unless they are content to leave a false impression in the minds of millions who read the original story.
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In a different story of irresponsible reporting, our paper reported a tragic fire a few years ago killing multiple young college students in private housing at the university.  For the first few days the Red Star ran with every story they dig up to insinuate that the landlord must have had some negligence that led to the fire.  He was caught once doing his own gas piping, OMG! (Safe install of gas pipe is not rocket science for an experienced multiple building owner.)

But it turned out in investigation that the victims own friends killed their roommates through drunken passing out with cigarettes burning near flammables, but by then the story was old news and the real story was buried deep if covered at all, leaving roughly 99% of the readers with the false impression, as intended.  To inform is not their mission.  To fit the story into their agenda and to sell newspapers - that is what matters.
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Back to Crafty's story:  In MN, it was the previous election where the minor party candidate for Senate rose to 15% of the vote that opened the door for one wrestler without a real party to win the Governor's office in a 3-way race the next time around.

Not covering the minor candidates leads to more of the same while polls keep showing people dissatisfied are with the choices.
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