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3751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Next is the Pot Tax on: March 29, 2013, 01:17:35 PM
First this on the previous post - people are leaving failed liberal states and going to the freer, lower tax, supply side states for economic reasons.  Unfortunately they are not leaving their failed political ideas behind.  Case in point: Colorado.  Leading us to this:

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/buzzkill-cash-strapped-states-eye-pot-tax-89412.html
Cash-starved states eye pot tax     3/28/13

The legalization argument went something like this, make it legal, drive the price down and liberty will replace crime across the fruited plain.

Enter the tax man.  Pass these bills and your private transactions are no longer legal - or private.  I wonder if this is what the libertarian, just leave me alone, recreational users had in mind.

Half the states already tax it even while it is illegal:http://www.ksrevenue.org/perstaxtypesdrug.html  In 10 years under the stamp act in MN, fewer than 20 people bought the stamps and I doubt if the reasons were for tax law compliance.

3752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chicago, L.A. and NYC ranked last in terms of federal gun law enforcement on: March 29, 2013, 12:48:26 PM
Chicago leads the nation with lowest rate of prosecution for federal gun crimes.  ?

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2013/03/28/chicago-los-angeles-new-york-prosecuted-fewest-federal-gun-crimes

Good news I suppose that the strict local laws have chased away gun violence. ?  Tell that to the victims:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/15/chicagos-murder-epidemic-complicates-obama-gun-ban-pitch/

If only we had more laws - to further restrict the rights of the law-abiding.
3753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Shiller= economic illiterate? on: March 29, 2013, 12:38:15 PM

Yes. Same Shiller.  The piece begins: "With much of the global economy apparently trapped in a long and painful austerity-induced slump..."  Austerity-induced slump??!!

"There is a way out of this trap...away from austerity...increasing taxes even more..."

As a Professor of Economics at Yale University, this is what we choose to teach our best and brightest.  sad   Taking from Reagan, "it is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so."

Shiller continued: "This kind of enlightened stimulus (good grief!) runs into strong prejudices. For starters, people tend to think of taxes as a loathsome infringement on their freedom, as if petty bureaucrats will inevitably squander the increased revenue on useless and ineffective government employees and programs.

Yes we do!

With Prof. Case a fellow at Harvard and Prof. Shiller teaching at Yale, living in a bubble takes on new meaning.  Thanks to PP and Crafty, I don't think I will quote a Case-Shiller index ever again except for taking any opportunity to discredit it.

For credibility(?), it is now called the S&P Case Shiller Index.  Isn't S&P the group charged by the Eric Holder Justice Department with Fraud?  http://business.financialpost.com/2013/02/12/obamas-5-billion-sp-lawsuit-a-culmination-of-four-years-of-investigation/


3754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 28, 2013, 06:30:45 PM
"I have no idea what Mort Zuckerman is talking about that foreigners coming here for education are not staying here."

http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/lwp/people/staffPapers/vivek/Vivek_Losing_the_best_and_brightest.pdf
http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/foreign-national-students-in-united-states-plan-to-return-to-native-countries.aspx

The studies confirm both sides. Plenty are staying.  Most at the highest technology levels are planning to leave.
3755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: March 27, 2013, 04:30:16 PM
"d) "“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve gotta (sic) have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded [as the United States military]”–Candidate Barack Obama, 2008"


"A civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as the United States military" - it turns out the President-to-be was mocking the constitutional phrase 'well regulated militias'.  He was actually proposing to expand the government workforce or, worse yet, make government service mandatory for young people.  Unarmed but "just as powerful, just as strong" is an example of why people here came up with the phrase "cognitive dissonance - glibness'.  Meanwhile he is disarming our military and canceling missile defense sites.

Tough words like unarmed civilians did not scare off the Benghazi attackers, just like gun free zone signs don't scare off criminals.

3756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: March 27, 2013, 12:38:40 PM
I'd love to see the data for 2011-12 as part of the graph , , ,

It would appear that both the SSDI new application rate and the unemployment rate are in a flat line pattern right now, both at unacceptably high levels:  http://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/dibStat.html

What should be shocking, and isn't, is that disability is more closely tied to economic not medical condition.
3757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues - Economic Liberty is your accesss to the pond on: March 27, 2013, 11:08:29 AM
We know about the programs, taxes and regulations here in the US that are overly burdensome.  Then we hear of stories from third world countries where regulations are even worse, much worse.  Only the richest people with the deepest pockets and highest connections can jump through the hoops that empower the powerful and hold down the masses.

While we argue the age old question of whether you help people best by giving them a fish or by teaching them to fish, one observer pointed out that what we really are doing with our policies is denying them access to the pond.

Economic liberty is your access to the pond.  You shouldn't be taxed and regulated like a mulit-national conglomerate with teams of extra employees dedicated to compliance before you have found your first customer or earned your first dollar.

The default position ought to be that a person who is infringing on no one else ought to have a right to make a living.

One comprehensive set of measurements applied across the globe over time is the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom (already posted in other threads):  http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking  What we know is that with each country's policies they are choosing between being rich and poor.  If the choice is between being free and prosperous versus forcing people to either stay in poverty or be held back from improving their lives, aren't we really choosing between right and wrong?
3758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economy: Great Recession Has Been Followed by the Grand Illusion on: March 27, 2013, 10:06:23 AM
Monday's WSJ:

Mortimer Zuckerman: The Great Recession Has Been Followed by the Grand Illusion

Don't be fooled by the latest jobs numbers. The unemployment situation in the U.S. is still dire.

The Great Recession is an apt name for America's current stagnation, but the present phase might also be called the Grand Illusion—because the happy talk and statistics that go with it, especially regarding jobs, give a rosier picture than the facts justify.

The country isn't really advancing. By comparison with earlier recessions, it is going backward. Despite the most stimulative fiscal policy in American history and a trillion-dollar expansion to the money supply, the economy over the last three years has been declining. After 2.4% annual growth rates in gross domestic product in 2010 and 2011, the economy slowed to 1.5% growth in 2012. Cumulative growth for the past 12 quarters was just 6.3%, the slowest of all 11 recessions since World War II.

And last year's anemic growth looks likely to continue. Sequestration will take $600 billion of government expenditures out of the economy over the next 10 years, including $85 billion this year alone. The 2% increase in payroll taxes will hit about 160 million workers and drain $110 billion from their disposable incomes. The Obama health-care tax will be a drag of more than $30 billion. The recent 50-cent surge in gasoline prices represents another $65 billion drag on consumer cash flow.

February's headline unemployment rate was portrayed as 7.7%, down from 7.9% in January. The dip was accompanied by huzzahs in the news media claiming the improvement to be "outstanding" and "amazing." But if you account for the people who are excluded from that number—such as "discouraged workers" no longer looking for a job, involuntary part-time workers and others who are "marginally attached" to the labor force—then the real unemployment rate is somewhere between 14% and 15%.

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Corbis

Other numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have deteriorated. The 236,000 net new jobs added to the economy in February is misleading—the gross number of new jobs included 340,000 in the part-time, low wage category. Many of the so-called net new jobs are second or third jobs going to people who are already working, rather than going to those who are unemployed.

The number of Americans unemployed for six months or longer went up by 89,000 in February to a total of 4.8 million. The average duration of unemployment rose to 36.9 weeks, up from 35.3 weeks in January. The labor-force participation rate, which measures the percentage of working-age people in the workforce, also dropped to 63.5%, the lowest in 30 years. The average workweek is a low 34.5 hours thanks to employers shortening workers' hours or asking employees to take unpaid leave.

Since World War II, it has typically taken 24 months to reach a new peak in employment after the onset of a recession. Yet the country is more than 60 months away from its previous high in 2007, and the economy is still down 3.2 million jobs from that year.

Just to absorb the workforce's new entrants, the U.S. economy needs to add 1.8 million to three million new jobs every year. At the current rate, it will be seven years before the jobs lost in the Great Recession are restored. Employers will need to make at least 300,000 hires every month to recover the ground that has been lost.

The job-training programs announced by the Obama administration in his State of the Union address are sensible, but they won't soon bridge the gap for workers with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Nor is there yet any reform of the patent system, which imposes long delays on innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs seeking approvals. It often takes two years to obtain the environmental health and safety permits to build a modern electronic plant, a lifetime in the tech world.

When employers can't expand or develop new lines because of the shortage of certain skills, the employment opportunities for the less skilled are also restricted. To help with this shortage, the administration's proposals for job-training programs do deserve support. The stress should be on vocational training, postsecondary education and every program that will broaden access to computer science and strengthen science, technology, engineering and math in high schools and at the university level.

But the payoffs from these programs are in the future, and it is vital today to increase the number of annual visas and grants of permanent residency status for foreigners skilled in science and technology. The current situation is preposterous: The brightest and best brains from all over the globe are attracted to American universities, but once they get their degrees America sends them packing. Keeping these foreigners out means they will compete against us in the industries that are growing here and around the world.

More at the link:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323393304578364670697613576.html?mod=opinion_newsreel

Mr. Zuckerman is chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.
3759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs, spending, deficit, budget: SSI Disability on: March 27, 2013, 10:01:19 AM
As the number receiving disability checks approaches 12 million and the number of new recipients growing faster than job growth, it seems to me we should either:  a) fire the surgeon general for completely ignoring the known cause of this epidemic, or b) celebrate the fact that we now have the healthiest disabled workers to ever walk this planet, helping to support our restaurants, bars and golf courses across the fruited plain.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/03/disability-insurance-americas-124-billion-secret-welfare-program/274302/
http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/
http://economics.mit.edu/files/7388

Obama's economy is empirically causing American disability, more than heart attacks or strokes, cigarettes or sodas:

3760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Liberal fascism: James Taranto WSJ on Nanny State Advocacy on: March 26, 2013, 11:51:50 AM
First, bringing this post over from Cognitive Dissonance of the Left thread:

Continuing in our get to the know the left series. 

It’s For Your Own Good!
Cass R. Sunstein

Left thinker Sunstein reviews "Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism"
by Sarah Conly which explains with a straight face why a system of "paternalist" government-based decision making is better than individual free choices.  I kid you not.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/mar/07/its-your-own-good/

"Conly convincingly argues that behavioral findings raise significant questions about Mill’s harm principle [coersion can only be to prevent harm to others]. When people are imposing serious risks on themselves, it is not enough to celebrate freedom of choice and ignore the consequences."

Yesterday Sarah Conly argued her points in the New York Times: 
Three Cheers for the Nanny State
By SARAH CONLY
Published: March 24, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/opinion/three-cheers-for-the-nanny-state.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

In today's online WSJ and linked at Real Clear Politics Opinion Journal Editor James Taranto taking her to task, pointing out a little cognitive dissonance in the choices of liberal left nanny state advocates.  In our continuing, content sharing agreement with the WSJ I thank them for generously listing yours truly in the credits at the end of the column.  )

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324105204578382572446778866.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

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

By JAMES TARANTO

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

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

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

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

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

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

We police the front seat. Why not the back seat?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It may be that the sexual revolution is irreversible and the concomitant problems are intractable. If Conly lacks the imagination to come up with policy solutions, so do we. But if she dismisses this enormous question as a matter of "sin" and focuses instead on trivia like soda-size regulations, why should we take her philosophy seriously?
3761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Congressional races 2014, Sen Tim Johnson (D-SD) out on: March 26, 2013, 11:11:35 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/26/tim-johnson-retirement_n_2954549.html

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson was expected to announce his retirement Tuesday, making the state the fifth where Democrats will have to defend a seat without an incumbent seeking re-election. The decision opens up a 2014 race that Republicans had already labeled as a top target to grab a seat.
...
Johnson joins Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey as seasoned and influential Democrats departing the chamber, where Republicans need to gain six seats to take control.
-----

Former Gov. Mike Rounds and current Rep Kristi Noem would be possible replacements.  )
3762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hillary's emails hacked on: March 20, 2013, 01:22:03 PM

I hope they prosecute the hacker but also learn from the info about what was going on / not going on relating to this attack and scandal, since no one else will tell us.  My understanding is that Valerie Jarrett was the director of the coverup.

"My good friend Chris" couldn't get his security requests answered to save his life.   If we are so far into this administration that they didn't even think to blame the disaster on George Bush, then this administration has almost nothing left.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE NOW - that we let al Qaida win this round.  Hillary has moved on to gay marriage.  If she is out of public life, who cares what she thinks about social issues.
3763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: March 18, 2013, 02:39:10 PM
MHO, because they went up way too far, too fast previously, up 4 times more than the Dow since 2000.
3764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: America's Inner City; WRM - Detroit's governing decadence on: March 16, 2013, 09:51:04 AM
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/03/15/detroit-dems-enrich-wall-street-as-city-goes-bust/

March 15, 2013
Detroit Dems Enrich Wall Street As City Goes Bust
Walter Russell Mead

Michigan made it official this week: Detroit can no longer survive without adult supervision. Michigan’s governor named Kevyn Orr, a DC bankruptcy lawyer, to handle the city’s affairs on an emergency basis as the deep blue city makes a last ditch effort to avoid the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history.

During the long grim slide, much of Detroit’s population fled the implosion; those who remained suffered through declining city services. Schools, police, fire, infrastructure: all the vital services cities are supposed to provide have gone into steep decline.

But while the city’s mostly low-income and mostly African-American residents struggled to survive civic decline, the ill wind from Detroit blew somebody good: well connected Wall Street firms have feasted on the Motor City’s carcass.

Ever since the long death spiral began, Detroit has relied on periodic bond sales to keep its bills paid. The thinking was clear: borrow now, pay it back later when the city’s finances recover. Of course, Detroit’s finances never recovered, and now it’s on the hook for much of this borrowing, in addition to the fees that these banks charged.

And these are serious fees. Bloomberg reports that since 2005, Wall Street banks have charged the city a whopping $474 million. As a comparison, that’s about as much as the city’s current entire police and fire budget for this year:

    “The banks promise to get you the money and say you can pay later,” said Greg Bowens, spokesman for Stand Up For Democracy, a Lansing group that campaigned last year to repeal the law allowing appointment of a financial manager. “They get their fees off the top, and you trust that they’re doing what’s in your taxpayers’ best interest.”

As Detroit is learning now, in many cases they weren’t. And Detroit is not alone: In city after city, struggling pension funds have turned to exotic Wall Street investments claiming high returns and minimal risks. In some cases this is working out, in many more it isn’t, but either way, Wall Street is collecting its fees and leaving taxpayers and pensioners to pick up the pieces when it falls apart.

Democrats are shocked, shocked by the news that there is gambling going on in America’s blue cities. They do their best to avert their eyes from the close political ties between corrupt urban political machines and exploitative Wall Street banks. In the lame progressive mindset that characterizes these decadent times, Wall Street is bad, and urban politicians are good. There can’t possibly be some sort of symbiotic relationship between them. How could something so good, so honest, so dedicated to serving the poor as the Detroit Democratic machine be engaged in a vicious conspiracy with Wall Street to bleed the poor and suck the city dry?

Some Democrats don’t like this kind of talk because they are cynical and others don’t like it because they are naive. The cynics are either in the game themselves or knowingly agree to look the other way because they value the support of political allies and don’t care how much those allies bleed the poor. The naive ones, and there are lots of starry eyed intellectuals in this country who don’t know a hawk from a handsaw, think that because many of these urban thugs are African-American, and because they advocate for more government programs to help the poor, they must obviously be sincere and be part of a general wave of good progressive people fighting to make this world a better place. Surely nobody is so cynical as to lobby for government programs because they plan to cream off the money?

Others have an uneasy sense that something is amiss, but a combination of historical ignorance and race sensitivity strikes them dumb. They look around America and see a number of urban areas with predominantly African-American populations. They see that many (not all) of these cities are run by incompetent, race-baiting hacks and criminals who use identity politics to bond themselves to the voters they exploit.

Because they don’t understand that corruption and identity politics have been the hallmark of American municipal government since the 1830s and 184os, they think the ghastly spectacle of demagogic corruption ruining our cities today is somehow a racial phenomenon. The racists among us see that picture and want to draw racist conclusions about African-American capacity for self governance; most of the rest of us are made so uncomfortable by the whole topic that we let the subject slide.

But thieves like the despicable Kwame Kilpatrick in Detroit are anything but a racial phenomenon. There were Irish, Jewish, Italian, Polish and Greek Kilpatricks in their day. We can confidently expect a wave of Latino Kilpatricks as Latino voting power pushes African-American machines aside in more urban areas.

And there’s another thing American history teaches: unscrupulous politicians will find unscrupulous bankers who will float them abusive loans in exchange for fat fees.

If our so-called ‘progressives’ today weren’t so intellectually decadent and, well, historically challenged, they would be leading the charge to clean up American cities. Instead they are mostly silent — and sometimes even defend the machines.

It’s a terrible shame because reformers and progressives really can fight the rot and help the poor — if they can get past their messed up ‘political correctness’ illusions long enough to recognize the basic facts of the case. Some people are trying. Politicians like (one hopes) Cory Booker are part of the wave of renewal and change that slowly and bit by bit can make a change. Courageous prosecutors, crusading attorneys-general, fiercely determined governors are part of the solution. And so are presidents who believe that their oath of office obliges them to attack with special force and determination the organized political machines that use a whole series of corrupt and collusive procedures to deprive American citizens of their right to a republican form of government.

Meanwhile, back in Detroit, Governor Snyder’s choice of Kevyn Orr to take the reins in Detroit is looking good. For one thing, Orr has a history of turning around failing organizations in Michigan. He was partially responsible for guiding Chrysler through bankruptcy in 2009. Given that many expect Detroit to enter bankruptcy as well, Orr’s skill set in this area is likely to come in handy. But perhaps most importantly, Orr, along with 82 percent of Detroit’s population, is black.

The mix of political machines, unscrupulous bosses and low income voters is not inherently a racial issue, but Detroit’s problems can’t be separated from racial concerns. Ever since the state of emergency was announced, many in Detroit have been concerned that the emergency manager law is effectively taking control away from the city’s black population and putting it in the hands of a manager appointed by a white Republican governor.

Michigan has a real mess on its hands. As Bloomberg notes, Detroit now joins Flint, Benton Harbor, Pontiac and a few other, smaller cities under emergency management. These cities account for nearly 50 percent of the state’s black population, so that almost half the black people in Michigan now live in places where local government has effectively lost power. In Benton Harbor in particular, the current situation has sparked racial concern:

    “If I’m a young, African-American person growing up in Detroit or Benton Harbor or one of these mostly black areas, what is the message that sends?” Pilgrim said. “It certainly looks like the message is that people that look like you can’t govern.” [...]

    “I don’t see how it couldn’t be racially motivated,” Williams, 30, said of the law. “We will stop this because of folks who stood before us, like Medgar Evers, who fought for voting rights.”

It’s true that the emergency manager law is taking power away from Detroiters and other Michigan urbanites, and we certainly hope that the state can return control to the people as soon as possible. But despite the fears of a hostile outside takeover, most of Detroit’s problems come from the corrupt political machine that has been looting the city for decades — and from the indifferent state and national prosecutors and politicians who failed to address the lawless state of city government and left the city’s poor to the mercies of heartless thugs.

Following in the footsteps of cheap foreign demagogues like Robert Mugabe, Kwame Kilpatrick and others of his ilk have played relentlessly on identity politics to earn support from poor, minority communities while using the power of their office to funnel money out of these same communities and into their own pockets. And while Kilpatrick—who was just indicted on 24 charges of corruption—may be the worst of the lot, he was far from alone.

What they have left behind is a city where taxes are among the highest in the nation, yet which can’t afford to pay its pensions, provide adequate police service, or keep the lights on.

The best way to stop future tragedies like this is to enforce the law. From voting fraud to corrupt relations with contractors and financiers to fraudulent accounting on pensions, many American cities are being run more like criminal conspiracies than anything else. And the cost isn’t just the money the politicians steal, or the inflated profits that those doing business with a crooked city can earn or even the sweetheart deals with public sector unions who function as part of the machine. It is the shambolic education offered to generations of poor kids, the lack of protection for person and property, the burden of a government that is both costly and ineffective and the enterprises and jobs such a government kills or drives away: corrupt big city machines may be the most important single civil rights issue in America today.

This is not, repeat not, a black thing. Historically, most of America’s worst urban machines have been white criminal enterprises. Often in American history, a combination of identity politics, fear and hopes of getting scraps from the machine have prevented poor people in the cities from organizing against their criminal masters. In the past it was often progressives and middle class reformers, some of the same ethnicity as most of the victims, others from different groups, who banded together to drive out the crooks. The criminals did their best to smear the reformers and identity politics was part of their shtick. Tammany Hall accused its critics of being anti-Catholic or anti-Irish bigots. Prosecutors who attacked the mafia were called anti-Italian. And so it goes.

Urban machines have a legitimate place in American politics. New waves of immigrants into urban America — whether from Europe, Asia, Latin America or the rural South — benefit from organizing to protect their economic and political issues. The machines allow them to assert themselves, claim a share of city patronage and business, and direct city resources to communities that might otherwise be overlooked.

But unchecked and uncontrolled, these machines have a tendency to go over the line. Graft proliferates; crony appointments degrade the quality of governance to the point that city administration is no longer able to function. This is where the reformers come in, pushing back against the tendency of political machines to jump the shark, imposing some limits and discipline on what goes on. Partly because today’s progressives are moral cowards who have allowed themselves to be shamed by the race card, this process of balance and reform didn’t really get underway in Detroit (and perhaps elsewhere) until enormous damage had already been done.

By overlooking the corruption and a mafia thinly disguised as a political party for so long, the authorities of the United States deprived the citizens of Detroit of the equal protection of the law. That must not happen in our other cities; municipal government in this country needs to be much more transparent, and law enforcement really needs to crack down.

Without this, all the federal block grants or social programs in the world will help those trapped in the inner cities escape poverty and get the education and skills they need to build the kind of future all Americans want.

This is the pre-eminent civil rights problem of our day and is devastating minority communities throughout the country. Our political establishment, our university faculties and fashionable intellectuals, our newspaper editorialists, our legal profession and our clergy stand essentially silent; it is the silence of shame.
3765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: March 15, 2013, 11:34:04 AM
When does Woodward wake up to find a horse's head in his bed?

In the first term maybe it would have been a dead fish. "one pollster who notoriously ticked off Rahm Emmanuel received a 2 1/2 foot decomposing fish in the mail -- ripe, stinky, and to the point."  http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2008/11/06/the_five_most_infamous_rahm_emanuel_moments

What is amazing in the Woodward smear is that all these attack pieces start by admitting the context and motive.

I never really liked Woodward.  But if it is not him, who is the gold standard of Washington reporting?
3766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters, tax policy, climate? EU to suspend aviation carbon tax on: March 15, 2013, 11:26:26 AM
EU to suspend aviation carbon tax

http://www.iol.co.za/business/international/eu-to-suspend-aviation-carbon-tax-1.1485577#.UUNIdFLNvTq
3767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Univ of Colorado (Boulder) hires conservative for temporary outreach program on: March 15, 2013, 10:59:32 AM
A long national search has resulted in Steven Hayward of Powerline, AEI, Reagan biographer and prolific author etc.  chosen by Univ Colo as their temporary, visiting conservative.

I don't know if this is sad, funny, an admission of guilt or encouraging.   I will go with the latter.   Univ of Colo, was recently the comfortable home of Prof. Ward Churchill [Americans killed on 9/11 deserve their fate because they were participants in the capitalist system.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,146031,00.html#ixzz2NcjZ4FUP]  Churchill was fired for research misconduct, not for his outrageous statements.

The campus of 32,000 students and 3,800 tenured and tenure-eligible faculty could use a resident scholar of conservative thought and policy — maybe two or three... A survey conducted at the University of Colorado found only 23 of 825 faculty respondents self-identified as Republicans.

Hayward announces that UC "agreed with my insistence that they not set up a separate “conservative studies” program that would implicitly ratify the separatism (or “ghettoization”) of gender studies, etc.  Instead, I’ll be working in and through the political science department, teaching regular catalogue courses (one of them will be the two-semester sequence of Con Law I & II for undergraduates)."

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/03/campus-diversity.php

"it may be that the folks at Colorado see conservative thought and policy as a sort of historical artifact — something that will help students understand why almost all of their professors have embraced progressive ideas and liberal solutions to our personal and social challenges."

"Regrettably, it is likely that Hayward’s classes will become a refuge for conservative students in search of relief from the liberal condescension that rolls effortlessly off the tongues of many faculty members. But liberal students of a truly liberal mind will not be disappointed if they register for a Hayward class. They might be challenged, they might be outraged, but they will not be disappointed. Unfortunately, whatever Colorado accomplishes with this little experiment, it is a blip on the radar screen of the national academy."

http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/15/do-we-need-affirmative-action-for-conservative-professors/#ixzz2NciD9rJv

This will be interesting to watch.
3768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dem budgets never balance - leave a legacy of debt on: March 15, 2013, 10:32:34 AM
Dem Senators want to raise taxes by a trillion and a half and still never balance the budget even working with a ridiculously long ten year time frame.

Kick the can down the road.  Who lives down the road?  Our children.  What American generation would leave their children worse off than themselves?  Only our own as far as I know.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/03/do-we-have-a-debt-crisis.php
http://www.investors.com/editorial-cartoons/michael-ramirez/647968
3769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media still pounding on Woodward on: March 14, 2013, 04:25:34 PM
Bob will-regret-this Woodward had quite an awful career in journalism I have very recently learned, 3rd or 4th post on this:

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2013/03/bob_woodward_and_gene_sperling_what_woodward_s_john_belushi_book_can_tell.single.html

http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/03/12/the-wapo-continues-to-devour-its-own/

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/03/13/Woodward-Sullivan-Media

The Breitbart story in particular is loaded with links.

Slate excerpts:

"How accurate is his reporting? Does he deserve his legendary status?  I believe I can offer some interesting answers to those questions."...
"he’d put down the mechanics of the story more or less as they’d happened. But he’d so mangled the meaning and the context that his version had nothing to do with what I concluded had actually transpired."
"The wrongness in Woodward’s reporting is always ever so subtle."
"Again, Woodward’s account is not wrong. It’s just … wrong."
"Like a funhouse mirror, Woodward’s prose distorts what it purports to reflect."
"Bob Woodward, deploying all of the talent and resources for which he is famous, produced something that is a failure as journalism."

Woodward's employer, the Washington Post owns Slate.

I wonder what pissed everybody off...

3770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / For Communist Party leader and military chief: a 'China Dream' of Military Power on: March 14, 2013, 03:49:42 PM
I wonder if Admiral Locklear and/or President Obama have read this report about the other religion of peace.  No mention of global warming as the biggest threat.
-----------
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324128504578348774040546346.html

WSJ   CHINA NEWS (not the opinion section)  March 13, 2013, 8:19 a.m. ET

For Xi, a 'China Dream' of Military Power

By JEREMY PAGE

BEIJING—Soon after taking over as Communist Party and military chief, Xi Jinping launched a series of speeches referring to "The China Dream."

Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping visited the destroyer Haikou in December and spoke of the 'dream of a strong military.'

It was music to the ears of Col. Liu Mingfu of the People's Liberation Army.

Three years ago, the former professor at its National Defense University wrote a book of the same name, arguing that China should aim to surpass the U.S. as the world's top military power and predicting a marathon contest for global dominion. The book flew off the shelves but was pulled over concerns it could damage relations with the U.S., according to people familiar with its publication.

The day after Mr. Xi's first "China Dream" speech, however, Col. Liu's publisher called to say he had gotten approval to launch a new edition. Now, it is on display in the "recommended books" section of a state-run bookstore.

"I don't know if he read the book, but he has sent a strong message," Col. Liu said in an interview at his apartment here, leaping to his feet with excitement to leaf through letters of support. "He could have grasped the economy, or some social issues, but instead he grasped the military."

As Mr. Xi prepares to add Chinese president to his other titles on Thursday, during a parliament meeting that caps a once-a-decade leadership change, "The China Dream" has become his signature. Officially defined as the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, it in some ways echoes previous leaders dating back to the Qing Dynasty's collapse in 1912. But Mr. Xi is making the idea his own by giving it a strikingly military flavor.
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"This dream can be said to be the dream of a strong nation. And for the military, it is a dream of a strong military," Mr. Xi told sailors in December on board the Haikou, a guided-missile destroyer that has patrolled disputed waters in the South China Sea. "To achieve the great revival of the Chinese nation, we must ensure there is unison between a prosperous country and strong military."

Mr. Xi has also made high-profile visits to army, air force, space program and missile command facilities in his first 100 days in office, something neither of his two immediate predecessors did. He has taken personal control of China's military response to a newly inflamed territorial dispute with Japan. And he has launched a campaign to enhance the armed forces' capacity to "fight and win wars."

All this leads many diplomats, party insiders and analysts to believe Mr. Xi is casting himself as a strong military leader at home and embracing a more hawkish worldview long outlined by generals who think the U.S. is in decline and China will become the dominant military power in Asia by midcentury.

In doing so, they say, Mr. Xi is setting the stage for a prolonged period of tension between China and its neighbors, as well as for a potentially dangerous tussle for influence with a U.S. that is intent on reasserting its role as the dominant Pacific power.

He has even set a precise date for the fulfillment of his dream: 2049, the 100th anniversary of the Communist takeover of China.

No doubt Mr. Xi has a domestic political agenda. As the son of a revolutionary leader, he has strong family ties to the military and a keen appreciation for its role in elite Chinese politics. In another speech, he made clear he believes the Soviet Union collapsed largely because the Soviet Communist Party lost command of the military.

Some believe Mr. Xi is trying to build support among China's powerful generals as a prelude to launching potentially disruptive economic and other reforms, including moves to curb corruption within the military itself. Others suspect he is trying to distract attention from problems that could derail Chinese growth, especially official corruption and abuse of power, an issue highlighted by the Bo Xilai scandal last year.

More broadly, Mr. Xi is determined to set himself apart from his predecessor, Hu Jintao, who was popularly viewed as relatively weak and colorless, say party insiders, family friends, diplomats and analysts.

Whatever his domestic goals, Mr. Xi's military posturing represents a clear break with the past that has potentially profound implications for China's foreign and defense policies.

"I think this reflects Xi's mind-set, his view of China's strength and relations with the outside world," said Li Mingjiang, an assistant professor and China security-policy expert at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. "Given his close personal ties, a lot of the information and policy suggestions he gets come from the military."

For three decades, the foundation of China's international relations has been the principle of taoguang yanghui—"hiding capabilities and biding one's time"—which was promoted by the late leader Deng Xiaoping.

Jiang Zemin, who became party and military chief in 1989 but had little authority over the generals until Mr. Deng's death in 1997, eventually won them over with defense-spending increases but kept them focused on building the capacity to defend borders and retake Taiwan.

After Mr. Hu became party chief in 2002, he kept a low military profile, not least because Mr. Jiang remained commander-in-chief until 2004. He focused on China's "peaceful rise," a term later toned down to "peaceful development." Although Mr. Hu encouraged the military to take on broader responsibilities, such as cybersecurity, he stressed their defensive nature.

By contrast, Mr. Xi has quickly asserted his authority over the 11-man Central Military Commission, on which he is the sole civilian. Among his first moves was to issue orders for the armed forces to focus on "real combat" and "fighting and winning wars," suggesting to many observers preparation for conflict beyond China's borders.

Mr. Xi also has added a qualification to Mr. Hu's signature foreign-policy idea: "We will stick to the road of peaceful development," he recently told the Politburo, according to the Xinhua news agency, "but we absolutely will not abandon our legitimate rights and interests, and absolutely cannot sacrifice core national interests." In China, the "core interests" term is taken to mean issues of sovereignty over which China would be prepared to go to war.

Mr. Xi has backed up his words with actions, overseeing a military response to the territorial dispute with Japan that included scrambling Chinese fighter jets and, according to Japanese and U.S. officials, locking weapons-guiding radar onto a Japanese ship and helicopter. Chinese officials deny those incidents.

"The Chinese are making up their own rules," said one U.S. military official, who described the radar incidents as "a serious escalation."

Mr. Xi's words and actions have played well with the Chinese public, as well as with military hawks like "China Dream" author Col. Liu. He and other outspoken officers don't reflect official policy but play an important part in molding public opinion, and do reflect the mind-set of more senior commanders, analysts say.

Col. Liu's book has a preface by Gen. Liu Yazhou, the political commissar of the National Defense University. "In my opinion," the general writes, "the competition between China and the U.S. in the 21st century should be a race, that is, a contest to see whose development results are better, whose comprehensive national power can rise faster, and to finally decide who can become the champion country to lead world progress."

Gen. Liu is among a small group of officers who have met regularly in private with Mr. Xi and helped to shape his strategic worldview, say people familiar with the matter.

For three years or so, many U.S. and Asian officials have attributed China's more assertive behavior, especially on territorial issues, partly to military hawks exerting pressure on a weak civilian leadership through the media, academia and informal lobbying channels.

Now those U.S. and Asian officials' concern is that Mr. Xi, while establishing clear authority over China's generals, has endorsed the more muscular approach to international relations, and a more prominent role for the military in China's development. Since his speech aboard the destroyer, China's military newspapers have been peppered with references to the "dream of a strong military" and the need for "combat readiness."

The PLA's General Staff Office published an article in Qiushi, the official journal of the party's Central Committee, in February that said: "History and reality show us that what determines the political and economic pattern of the world is, in the final analysis, a comparison of great powers' strength, and ultimately depends on force."

The PLA has also issued instructions for training to focus on real combat. Recently it for the first time published a schedule of exercises for the year, which will consist of 40 drills involving joint air-land combat and live fire operations on the open sea.

"Make no mistake, the PRC Navy is focused on war at sea and about sinking an opposing fleet," said Capt. James Fanell, deputy chief of staff for intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, at the U.S. Naval Institute in January. "In terms of their ultimate goals, they write a lot about national rejuvenation—restoration of China's rightful place. Well, we have to say: What does that mean? Where were they when they were back in their rightful place?"

For PLA commanders, according to many analysts, the dream of a strong military means securing the defense-spending increases needed to fund costly weapons programs such as aircraft carriers and stealth fighter jets, even as economic growth slows over the next decade.

The PLA has been focused for much of the past decade on developing and deploying the weapons it believes it needs to deny U.S. forces access to waters around China's shores. But while wary of entering an arms race with the U.S., it is increasingly preoccupied with enhancing capabilities to operate farther afield and establishing China as a maritime power.

"Even a blind man could see there is going to be a butter-versus-guns debate not far down the road," said Kenneth Lieberthal, an expert on Chinese politics at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Many Chinese and foreign analysts see Mr. Xi's military stance, especially regarding the territorial dispute with Japan, as a direct response to the U.S. "pivot" toward Asia.

The short-term aim, those analysts say, is to discourage countries that have territorial disputes with China from feeling emboldened by the U.S. strategy of focusing more on Asia. Longer term, the goal is to convince the U.S. that the strategy is unsustainable, given financial pressures on the Pentagon and China's expanding power.

"China's strength can play a positive role in the region," said Xu Guangyu, a retired PLA general and now a senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association. "It's a strategic mistake for the U.S. to rely on Japan for its rebalancing in Asia."

One U.S. military adviser said Chinese military strategists see China becoming the dominant power in Asia by midcentury, by which time they believe the world will be divided into spheres of influence dominated by at least four great powers: China, the U.S., the European Union and Russia.

That view also appears to be reflected in Mr. Xi's main foreign-policy initiative, which is a proposal to redefine China's relationship with the U.S. as one between equal "great powers."

U.S. officials and analysts are still waiting for details about the proposal. But many foreign governments fear it is an attempt to curb U.S. influence in Asia, in much the way the U.S. sought to restrict European meddling in the Americas with the Monroe Doctrine in the early 19th century.

War remains an unlikely prospect, say most observers. Even Col. Liu, whose next book is titled "Why the People's Liberation Army Can Win," didn't predict war in "The China Dream," seeing instead a protracted competition that Beijing is destined to win.

Lee Kuan Yew, the former Singaporean leader, has said that Chinese leaders recognize they can't confront the U.S. militarily until they have overtaken it in terms of the development and application of technology. Nonetheless, he says he is sure they aspire to displace the U.S. as the leading power in Asia.

"The 21st century will be a contest for supremacy in the Pacific because that is where the growth will be," Mr. Lee was quoted as saying in a recently published book. "If the U.S. does not hold its ground in the Pacific, it cannot be a world leader."
3771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: March 14, 2013, 12:36:47 PM
Thanks Objectivist.  Sorry that I missed that.
3772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Parenting, the breakdown of the shotgun marriage on: March 14, 2013, 12:03:06 PM
WSJ columnist James Taranto on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to reduce illegitimate parenting

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324281004578356422222235976.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

By JAMES TARANTO   WSJ opinion excerpt
...
At issue is a subway ad campaign by the New York City Department of Social Services. It features photos of grumpy-looking infants (carefully chosen for racial diversity), captioned by messages to their putative parents, written in a toddler-like scrawl. Examples: "Dad, you'll be paying to support me for the next 20 years." "Honestly Mom . . . chances are he won't stay with you. What happens to me?" "If you finish high school, get a job, and get married before having children, you have a 98% chance of not being in poverty." Viewers of the ad are invited to "text 'NOTNOW' to 877877 for the real cost of teen pregnancy."

"The campaign pulls no punches," writes Goff, though in fact it pulls a very large punch by defining the problem as "teen pregnancy" rather than illegitimate childbearing. If an 18-year-old woman marries and has a child, that's almost certainly better for society, and for the child, than if she waits until she's 20 and gives birth out of wedlock.

Goff describes the opposition to the Bloomberg ad campaign:

    Well, according to Planned Parenthood, "The latest NYC ad campaign creates stigma, hostility and negative public opinions about teen pregnancy and parenthood rather than offering alternative aspirations for young people." I'm not sure where to start with this lunacy. First off, I thought that as one of the nation's leading sexual-health organizations, Planned Parenthood would focus on decreasing the number of unplanned pregnancies, not celebrating and encouraging them. Did I miss something?

Did you ever! Planned Parenthood may describe itself as a "health organization," but in reality it is an ideological outfit. It is committed to the idea of "reproductive rights" that belong only to women. In the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, for instance, the group persuaded the Supreme Court that a married woman has a constitutional right to abort her husband's child without telling him.

If men have no reproductive rights, it follows logically that they have no reproductive responsibilities. That's an abstract formulation, and one with which the law is often inconsistent: Family courts frequently attempt to hold men responsible for their offspring (though that poster slogan "Dad, you'll be paying to support me for the next 20 years" almost surely makes a false promise to Mom).

But culturally this logic has proved irresistible. In a 1996 study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics and excerpted by the Brookings Institution, George Akerloff and Janet Yellin found that the introduction of the pill, which gave women control over the reproductive process, freed men from the sense that they were responsible for it. The result was the breakdown of the tradition of the shotgun wedding. Before, it was understood that if a man impregnated a woman, he would marry her. Now, it's up to her to exercise her "reproductive rights" and get an abortion--or to keep the baby and assume primary responsibility for it. Even if a court docks the man for child support, the burden is much greater on the woman.

The contemporary problem of illegitimacy, then, is largely the consequence of Planned Parenthood's ideology of female "reproductive rights" and the technology that made it feasible. Planned Parenthood's hostility toward any effort to tackle, or even acknowledge, the problem is anything but coincidental.

The ad campaign's focus on "teen pregnancy" rather than illegitimacy illustrates a class bias. The two may seem more or less interchangeable inasmuch as the idea of marrying and starting a family at 18 is today virtually unthinkable within the educated class. Today's privileged woman is expected to follow a life script in which high school is followed by college and a career. In that script, a period of sexual and romantic experimentation begins in college or before (made possible thanks to contraception, with abortion available as a Plan C), and marriage and children are expected to wait until after she is established in her career.

The "98%" poster alludes to that life script and makes the dubious supposition that following it--at least if one leaves out college--is realistic for all women. But an important reason women bear children out of wedlock is because they don't expect to find husbands. That's true of some educated older women, who take the plunge into single motherhood as the biological clock approaches its final tick with no suitors in sight. But in society's lower strata, even young women have limited marital prospects.

The illegitimacy rate among black Americans began to reach troubling levels even before the pill and the sexual revolution. "Both white and Negro illegitimacy rates have been increasing, although from dramatically different bases," observed Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his famous 1965 report. "The white rate was 2 percent in 1940; it was 3.07 percent in 1963. In that period, the Negro rate went from 16.8 percent to 23.6 percent." The black illegitimacy rate now approaches 75%; the white rate is higher than the black rate was in the 1960s.

Why were blacks a leading indicator of this disturbing trend? The common explanations are racism, poverty and alleged shortcomings in "black culture." In their 1983 book, "Too Many Women? The Sex Ratio Question," Marcia Guttentag and Paul Secord largely reject those hypotheses: "So far as we have been able to ascertain, the social conditions that we report all follow from demographic features of the black population."

The central demographic feature was a low sex ratio--that is, a shortage of men--among urban blacks: "In 1930, four-fifths of all black families lived in the South, and most were rural." By 1960, less than 60% of black families were Southern and more than 75% of all blacks lived in cities. But more women than men moved to the cities. The low sex ratio was further lowered by black men's high propensity to join the military or end up in prison and by the high rates of infant mortality among blacks (boys are more apt than girls to die during childhood).

Guttentag and Secord explained:

    Predictions for the cluster of social, sexual, and cultural consequences of low sex ratio demography include the following: black men would be reluctant to make a long-term marital commitment to one woman throughout her childbearing years; black men would be reluctant to marry and to invest in parenthood; black men would have a number of women sequentially or simultaneously; sexual libertarianism would be the ethos, and illegitimate births would be common; brief sexual liaisons with black men would be frequent; black male attitudes would be misogynistic; women would not be highly valued or respected; sex roles would be less differentiated; and black women would seek and possibly achieve economic, social and sexual independence for themselves, rather than acquiring economic or social status through marriage. . . .

    To avoid any misunderstanding, let us . . . emphasize that none of these social consequences has anything to do with being black. . . . Our position is that the same social consequences would follow for a white population having similarly low sex ratios and similar accentuating conditions.

Sex ratios are not sufficient to explain the subsequent explosion of illegitimacy across the population, but sex-ratio theory helps explain how another social revolution of the 1960s--feminism, in this context meaning female careerism--contributed.

As this column has repeatedly noted, women are hypergamous, which means that their instinct is to be attracted to men of higher status than themselves. When the societywide status of women increases relative to men, the effect is to diminish the pool of suitable men for any given woman. If most women reject most men as not good enough for them, the effect is no different from that of a low sex ratio. High-status men, being in short supply, set the terms of relationships, resulting in libertine sexual mores and higher illegitimacy.

Suppose Bloomberg's ad campaign is successful at inducing a large number of lower-class teenage women to stay in school, pursue careers, and forgo childbearing until marriage. If they succeed in school and work, they will find their marital prospects further limited by competition from other successful women. The problem of illegitimacy isn't soluble through moral suasion. The sexual and feminist revolutions are so deeply embedded in American culture and law that it may not be tractable at all.
3773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama administration budget nonsense: The children won't get vaccinations? on: March 14, 2013, 11:48:34 AM
Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland:  "So let me get it — let me get it straight. Under the president’s cut of $58 million to the 317 program, you think you could get around that to avoid cutting vaccines to children, but under a sequester ($30 million 'cut'), that the president blames on Republicans, you don’t know if you can do that?"

Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control: We’re going to do everything we can to limit any damage that occurs because of the across-the-board cut, but it reduces our flexibility significantly.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/the-gop-congressman-who-destroyed-obamas-sequester-scare-story/article/2524071
3774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues on: March 14, 2013, 11:30:12 AM
In Obama's third term maybe he will look to a Keystone pipeline protestor to head the Pacific fleet, or someone with a meteorology or IPCC background instead of military.

Admiral Locklear: “It is not just about China and everybody else, because there are disputes between other partners down there, too. Sometimes I think the Chinese get handled a little too roughly on this.”

I wonder if our friends and allies in the region agree with him:
http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1096687/china-naval-build-major-concern-india
http://chinadailymail.com/2013/01/05/chinese-navy-buildup-no-threat-to-us-but-a-possible-threat-to-japan/
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/strengthening-of-chinese-navy-sparks-worries-in-region-and-beyond-a-855622.html
http://thediplomat.com/2010/09/29/china%E2%80%99s-naval-build-up-not-over/
http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20130209000029&cid=1703
3775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NY Times: Holocaust numbers are so much higher than what we originally thought on: March 14, 2013, 11:11:15 AM
Important historical NYT piece from March 1 2013 that I did not see posted:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/sunday-review/the-holocaust-just-got-more-shocking.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking   Published: March 1, 2013  Sunday New York Times

THIRTEEN years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.

What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.

The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington.

“The numbers are so much higher than what we originally thought,” Hartmut Berghoff, director of the institute, said in an interview after learning of the new data.

“We knew before how horrible life in the camps and ghettos was,” he said, “but the numbers are unbelievable.”

The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.

Auschwitz and a handful of other concentration camps have come to symbolize the Nazi killing machine in the public consciousness. Likewise, the Nazi system for imprisoning Jewish families in hometown ghettos has become associated with a single site — the Warsaw Ghetto, famous for the 1943 uprising. But these sites, infamous though they are, represent only a minuscule fraction of the entire German network, the new research makes painfully clear.

The maps the researchers have created to identify the camps and ghettos turn wide sections of wartime Europe into black clusters of death, torture and slavery — centered in Germany and Poland, but reaching in all directions.

The lead editors on the project, Geoffrey Megargee and Martin Dean, estimate that 15 million to 20 million people died or were imprisoned in the sites that they have identified as part of a multivolume encyclopedia. (The Holocaust museum has published the first two, with five more planned by 2025.)

The existence of many individual camps and ghettos was previously known only on a fragmented, region-by-region basis. But the researchers, using data from some 400 contributors, have been documenting the entire scale for the first time, studying where they were located, how they were run, and what their purpose was.

The brutal experience of Henry Greenbaum, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor who lives outside Washington, typifies the wide range of Nazi sites.

When Mr. Greenbaum, a volunteer at the Holocaust museum, tells visitors today about his wartime odyssey, listeners inevitably focus on his confinement of months at Auschwitz, the most notorious of all the camps.

But the images of the other camps where the Nazis imprisoned him are ingrained in his memory as deeply as the concentration camp number — A188991 — tattooed on his left forearm.

In an interview, he ticked off the locations in rapid fire, the details still vivid.

First came the Starachowice ghetto in his hometown in Poland, where the Germans herded his family and other local Jews in 1940, when he was just 12.

Next came a slave labor camp with six-foot-high fences outside the town, where he and a sister were moved while the rest of the family was sent to die at Treblinka. After his regular work shift at a factory, the Germans would force him and other prisoners to dig trenches that were used for dumping the bodies of victims. He was sent to Auschwitz, then removed to work at a chemical manufacturing plant in Poland known as Buna Monowitz, where he and some 50 other prisoners who had been held at the main camp at Auschwitz were taken to manufacture rubber and synthetic oil. And last was another slave labor camp at Flossenbürg, near the Czech border, where food was so scarce that the weight on his 5-foot-8-inch frame fell away to less than 100 pounds.

By the age of 17, Mr. Greenbaum had been enslaved in five camps in five years, and was on his way to a sixth, when American soldiers freed him in 1945. “Nobody even knows about these places,” Mr. Greenbaum said. “Everything should be documented. That’s very important. We try to tell the youngsters so that they know, and they’ll remember.”

The research could have legal implications as well by helping a small number of survivors document their continuing claims over unpaid insurance policies, looted property, seized land and other financial matters.

“HOW many claims have been rejected because the victims were in a camp that we didn’t even know about?” asked Sam Dubbin, a Florida lawyer who represents a group of survivors who are seeking to bring claims against European insurance companies.

Dr. Megargee, the lead researcher, said the project was changing the understanding among Holocaust scholars of how the camps and ghettos evolved.

As early as 1933, at the start of Hitler’s reign, the Third Reich established about 110 camps specifically designed to imprison some 10,000 political opponents and others, the researchers found. As Germany invaded and began occupying European neighbors, the use of camps and ghettos was expanded to confine and sometimes kill not only Jews but also homosexuals, Gypsies, Poles, Russians and many other ethnic groups in Eastern Europe. The camps and ghettos varied enormously in their mission, organization and size, depending on the Nazis’ needs, the researchers have found.

The biggest site identified is the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, which held about 500,000 people at its height. But as few as a dozen prisoners worked at one of the smallest camps, the München-Schwabing site in Germany. Small groups of prisoners were sent there from the Dachau concentration camp under armed guard. They were reportedly whipped and ordered to do manual labor at the home of a fervent Nazi patron known as “Sister Pia,” cleaning her house, tending her garden and even building children’s toys for her.

When the research began in 2000, Dr. Megargee said he expected to find perhaps 7,000 Nazi camps and ghettos, based on postwar estimates. But the numbers kept climbing — first to 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now 42,500.

The numbers astound: 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers.

In Berlin alone, researchers have documented some 3,000 camps and so-called Jew houses, while Hamburg held 1,300 sites.  (more at link above)
3776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Michelle Malkin - Obama’s pending secretary of illegal alien labor on: March 13, 2013, 01:31:01 PM
Obama’s Nominee for Secretary of (Illegal Alien) Labor
    
By Michelle Malkin  •  March 13, 2013
http://michellemalkin.com/2013/03/13/obamas-nominee-for-secretary-of-illegal-alien-labor/

My column today refreshes your memories of radical assistant attorney general for Obama’s DOJ civil rights division, Thomas Perez. As icing on the corrupto-cake, here’s a brand-spanking — emphasis on spanking — new DOJ Inspector General’s report on the racialist foul play at Perez’s bureau, where “polarization and mistrust” reign.

Former DOJ attorney and brave whistleblower J. Christian Adams has much more. He writes:

    The 250-page report offers an inside glimpse of systemic racialist dysfunction inside one of the most powerful federal government agencies.

    The report was prepared in response to Representative Frank Wolf’s (R-VA) outrage over the New Black Panther voter intimidation dismissal. In response to the report, Rep. Wolf said today, the “report makes clear that the division has become a rat’s nest of unacceptable and unprofessional actions, and even outright threats against career attorneys and systemic mismanagement.”

    Former Voting Section Chief Chris Coates and I both testified about the hostility towards race-neutral law enforcement by the Justice Department.

    Today’s report paints a disgusting portrait, confirming our accounts.

Roll over or stand up to this injustice, GOP? Your move.

***

Obama’s Nominee for Secretary of (Illegal Alien) Labor
by Michelle Malkin

The Beltway is buzzing over President Obama’s likely nomination of Thomas E. Perez as the next head of the U.S. Department of Labor. But when Americans find out whom Perez has lobbied for most aggressively over the course of his extremist leftwing social justice career, they’ll be wondering which country Obama’s pick really plans to serve.

Press accounts describe Perez, currently the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division, as a “tireless advocate of worker and civil rights.” The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Perez was a former special counsel for the late illegal alien amnesty champion Sen. Ted Kennedy.

During the Clinton years, Perez worked at the Justice Department to establish a “Worker Exploitation Task Force” to enhance working conditions for … illegal alien workers. While holding down his government position, Perez volunteered for Casa de Maryland. This notorious illegal alien advocacy group is funded through a combination of taxpayer-subsidized grants (totaling $5 million in 2010 alone from Maryland and local governments) and radical liberal philanthropy, including billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

That’s in addition to more than $1 million showered on the group by freshly departed Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez’s regime-owned oil company, CITGO.

As I’ve reported previously, Perez rose from Casa de Maryland volunteer to president of the group’s board of directors. Under the guise of enhancing the “multicultural” experience, he crusaded for an ever-expanding set of illegal alien benefits, from in-state tuition discounts for illegal alien students to driver’s licenses and tax-subsidized day labor centers. Casa de Maryland opposes enforcement of deportation orders, has protested post-9/11 coordination of local, state and national criminal databases, and produced a “know your rights” propaganda pamphlet for illegal aliens that depicted federal immigration agents as armed bullies making babies cry.

The group can claim credit for pushing the White House to issue an estimated 800,000 illegal alien deportation waivers by executive fiat. And now, Casa de Maryland is currently leading the charge for an even broader illegal alien “path to citizenship.”

Questioned by GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions during his DOJ confirmation hearing in 2009 about the illegal alien rights guide produced by Casa de Maryland, Perez grudgingly stated that “the civil rights division must not act in contravention to valid enforcement actions of our federal immigration laws.”

But “act(ing) in contravention” of the law is at the heart of Perez’s and Casa’s radicalism — and not just on behalf of illegal aliens.

During his tenure with the Obama DOJ, Perez sought to undermine electoral integrity by attacking South Carolina’s voter ID law. His race card antics were rebuked by a unanimous U.S. District Court panel (which included a Clinton appointee), and the law prevailed.

Perez was instrumental in covering the backsides of the militant New Black Panther Party thugs who menaced voters and poll watchers in Philadelphia in 2008. The American Spectator’s Quin Hillyer recounted that a federal judge challenged the veracity of Perez’s testimony about DOJ political appointees’ interference on behalf of the Panthers. “This came after Perez also had, apparently unlawfully, refused to honor valid subpoenas from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights — and it was in addition to yet another falsehood by Perez, this one to the effect that DOJ had sought the maximum allowable penalty against the Panthers,” Hillyer reported. “While the original decision to dismiss the case pre-dated Perez’s appointment to the Justice Department, his direct involvement in, and hands-on management of, what amounted to a cover-up of the decision’s origins should alone be disqualifying for any Cabinet post.”

Perez also helped spearhead the lawsuit against Arizona over its immigration enforcement measures and launched a three-year DOJ witch-hunt against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The vengeful investigation against Arpaio, the nation’s most outspoken local law enforcement official against illegal alien crime, was dropped without charges last summer. Perez is leading similar witch-hunts against police departments across the country based on leftwing junk science theories about racial “disparate impacts.”

With Senate Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham and company folding like lawn chairs on Obamamnesty, open-borders groups are thrilled at the prospect of another victory with Perez’s nomination.

Last week, conservatives stood with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., over John Brennan’s nomination as CIA director. Who will stand for American workers in opposition to Obama’s pending secretary of illegal alien labor? Anyone?
3777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 13, 2013, 01:02:10 PM
"I am comparing where I was at the last peak to where I am now"

That makes sense.  A share of a global company is not entirely a dollar (or any other currency) based asset.  You are buying in a sense a piece of their market share in a global industry.  That involves plenty of risk but is better than holding dollars guaranteed to go down in value while earning 0% interest.  The post calculating the Dow in gold terms or silver instead of dollars illustrates that we aren't really moving forward, just trying to slow the rate of moving backward.  For me it is real estate.  By buying low, buying smart and adding value i believe I can still yield after-inflation appreciation of zero over the long run which is sadly better than most dollar-based assets.

Wesbury closes with:  "We still expect more inflation in the trade sector in the year ahead due to loose monetary policy."

For an eternal optimist, that is quite a candid warning.
-------------------------------------------------------------

G M posted yesterday:  Why America's middle class is losing ground
'milk up 70 cents from what she paid last year' - plus gas up 50 cents.

G M, Core CPI 'excludes goods with high price volatility, such as food and energy'.  Those prices didn't go up for her, they are just "volatile".

Payroll tax rate went up too, I wonder where they figure that in the consumer price index.

"Full-time employment is one casualty of the recession"

Full time employment is a casualty of Obamacare as well.  Companies no longer expected to hire full time or pay benefits should mean stocks going up even further.
3778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 13, 2013, 01:45:55 AM
Good points.  Just saying that in total there is plenty of trouble brewing out there.  We lived through a pretty big crash or two.  Hard to carry that experience and face the current scenario with no fear or doubt.

Everyone leaves money on the table when we measure exact trough to peak.  That is not a fair measurement.  Anyone all-in since the summer of 2009 was probably in for the losses of 2008 as well. 
3779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races, Ashley Judd on: March 13, 2013, 01:27:08 AM

""Ashley Judd is cute and smart, charismatic I presume. , , ,Mitch McConnell comes across old, worn out and has lousy approval numbers"

Hard to think of a worse face for the Reps than MMcC or a less articulate communicator for that matter and contrast that with a pretty, professional liar-- excuse me I meant actress-- who has been an appealing figure in many movies that many women have seen.  If AJ has a Harvard masters degree in public affairs, she may be utterly wrong on the issues, but she is no bimbo.

Yes, by smart I meant well educated.  I don't see many movies so I googled her work:  http://www.break.com/usercontent/2009/9/actress-nude-ashley-judd-1265460  http://www.break.com/usercontent/2010/3/8/judd-nude-1774642

John Kerry running for President fell into a trap.  He was too liberal for the country and had already been pegged as a flip flopper.  The only way he could alleviate the too liberal charge was further toward flipflopper, and lose either way.

Ashley Judd's views are off the charts liberal: "It's unconscionable to breed with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries."  For one thing I wonder how many families call it "breeding".

What is refreshing in a liberal like Ashley Judd is the purity of their views.  A beautiful actress working with impoverished kids doesn't have to compromise.  But if she tries to move toward the political center of Kentucky the purity will be gone and she will have to answer like Mitt Romney for the contradictions from previous positions and statements.

If she is so smart, she will not run.  MHO
3780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: March 13, 2013, 12:17:20 AM
"Still waiting on the Stevens autopsy report"


Interesting point made by one of the talk pundits:  Do you notice what President Obama and then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton both call the deceased ambassador?

Not Mr. Stevens, not Ambassador Stevens, never Ambassador Christopher Stevens.  They call him Chris.  First name only.  Buddy to buddy.  Nobody knew him better, except maybe his wife and kids.  Barack and Hillary, I wonder if he called them by their first names too.  Closest of friends, probably would be golfing together right now if he was around.

Yet 'Chris' couldn't get a message about security through to either one of them over a period of many months to save his life.
3781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 12, 2013, 11:49:16 PM
Well, I'd be damn near 100% ahead of where I am now if I hadn't listened to me , , ,

Hindsight not being 20/20...

If you knew in advance 4 years ago that the growth rate coming out of the worst economy in memory would be 0.8% dropping to 0.1% in the last quarter, if you knew Europe would be in near collapse, if you knew we would leave two wars without real victory, that we would be under heavy cyber-attacks from China who is still supporting North Korea while they go nuclear and threaten to hit America, if you knew Russia would return to a Soviet-like stance, with Putin stronger than Brezhnev and Obama more eager than Carter to give away American defense, if you knew of the unrest in nuclear armed Pakistan and that Iran was a minute away from going nuclear too, the Muslim Brotherhood running Egypt, civil war in Syria, if you knew we would get hit with another deadly embassy attack this time in Libya, if you knew the trillion dollar deficits would go on for 4 years and counting, that we wouldn't even sell bonds to cover our debt, workers leaving the labor force exceed all new jobs coming back and that the Fed would be diluting our dollar by trillions, that U6 unemployment figured at the old labor participation rate would be 20%, that Obama would be reelected and taxes would be raised on the rich and the poor...

If you knew all that, except for the rise in the Dow, perfectly in hindsight, would you have gone all-in to the stock market?  

If you add to the above that the Dow has already gone up for all this time yet we still have all this hanging over us plus Obamacare kicking in, steep tax hikes in largest state, amnesty next, and the lowest business startup rate in our history, would you go all in now?

Or would a rational person be a little bit skeptical?

3782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 12, 2013, 10:55:12 PM
"then it should handle spending restraint"
Umm , , , in that we are not Keynesians here, may I suggest that the budget cuts are a contributory cause to the market going up?

Poorly expressed in my post, but I strongly agree.  If the market survived the bad things that happened, it can handle the good like a surprising dose of govt spending restraint.
3783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2 on KY, Judd on: March 12, 2013, 04:37:41 PM

Thanks Bigdog.  This link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/how-ashley-judd-can-win tells 'How Ashley Judd Can Win', but they compare what she needs to do in conservative Kentucky with what Al Franken did to win his 0.0% victory in liberal Minnesota.  Franken was actually to the right of Obama and his fellow Dem.  Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Ashley Judd is cute and smart, charismatic I presume.  She is also extremely liberal, perhaps to the left of Obama.  The carpet bagger attacks may get old but the idiological questions will not.

Mitch McConnell comes across old, worn out and has lousy approval numbers.  The challenge for Judd and any Democrat is that there will be serious liberal vs. conservative questions at stake and Romney beat Obama in 2012 in KY by roughly 60-38%.  Conservatives and libertarians tired of McConnell will see Rand Paul at his side with his own national reputation on the line trying to deliver a Republican victory in his home state. 

Based on the analysis in BD's second link, tying Dems nationally to some of her statements and tying Democrats in KY to the Obama agenda, I hope she runs.
3784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 12, 2013, 03:58:48 PM
My stellar opinion of Wesbury keeps slipping:  "Real GDP increased just 0.1% in Q4 2012".   - A steady trot?  Not really.

"jobless rate slipping to 7.7%":    - More people left the workforce than found jobs.

The labor force participation decline is largely demographic?  Okay, then what positive force offsets that?

"Stocks have surged with the S&P 500 hitting our year-end 2012 forecast of 1475 just two weeks behind schedule, in mid-January."     - From this thread: If you bought gold instead of Dow Jones stocks at the start of year 2000, you could keep 3/4 of your gold and buy the same quantity of the same stocks today with just 1/4 of your gold.  Stocks have surged is a rear view mirror indicator.

He mixes his lipstick-on-a-pig view of the US economy with optimism for the index of global companies.  Hard to draw conclusions from that.  We must admit that if this market held up through the Obama reelection, the fiscal cliff, at least two tax increases on the people own the most stocks, and 0.1% quarterly growth, then it should handle spending restraint and a country coming into spring and summer - until some external shock hits and selling panic ensues.

The market I believe will continue to go up or hold fairly constant - right up until it starts to go down again.   wink

3785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Gay & Straight on: March 12, 2013, 02:43:48 PM
Also looking forward to discussion on the questions Crafty posed.

Happily married people ask how the gay marriage issue could possibly affect their marriage.  Obj's proposal illuminates that.  First we define marriage to not mean marriage, then make it unrecognized altogether.

The federal government is already shifting to parent-one, parent-two designations, removing recognition of basic natural phenomena like mother and father as fast as they can.  Why only two parents or spouses, politicians and bureaucrats only know.

Like Barack Obama, my own thinking has evolved.  Somewhere between 2 and 3% of people are gay.  Condemnation of that is not helpful.  Everyone has the right of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. 

Denying the unique relationship of a man and a woman becoming husband and wife is not helpful either.  Nor is dropping a societal preference that a child have a mother and a father in love, married and living under one roof whenever possible.
3786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics: VDH, How to weaken an economy... on: March 12, 2013, 11:30:20 AM
I have tried hard to describe how the principles of supply side economics center around all the things we can logically do to grow a healthy economy.  To that, people yawn and move on.  Perhaps more persuasive is the opposite - identify all the things you could do to weaken a healthy economy, then look at the anti-growth and prosperity agenda being implemented here in the U.S.

http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/how-to-weaken-an-economy/?singlepage=true

How to Weaken an Economy   by Victor Davis Hanson

...there are plenty of ways to slow down even an inherently strong economy. History offers plenty of examples. But as more contemporary models, take your pick of successfully ruined economies — the Venezuelan, the Cuban, the North Korean, the Greek, the Italian, the Portuguese, or pretty much any from Mediterranean Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. There are certain commonalities about why and how they fail. Let’s review some of them.

Government

The state can never be too big. Ensure that it is unaccountable and intrusive, in constant need of more money and more targets to regulate. The more government, the more people are shielded from the capital-creating, free-market system. Think the DMV or TSA, not Apple. The point is for an employee to spend each labor hour with less oversight, while regulating or hampering profit-making, rather than competing with like kind to create material wealth. Regulatory bodies are a two-fer: the more federal, union employees, the more regulations to hamper the private sector. The more federal mandates, like new health-care requirements and financial reporting, the less employers profit and the fewer employees they can hire. Washington should be a growth city, absolutely immune from the downturn elsewhere, a sort of huge and growing octopus head with decaying tentacles. State jobs should be redefined as something partisan — whose expansion is noble and helps the helpless, and whose contraction is evil and the design of a bitter and aging white private-sector class.

On the other end of the equation, ensuring 50 million on food stamps, putting over 80,000 a month on Social Security disability insurance, and extending unemployment insurance to tens of millions all remind the jobless that life is not too bad (thanks to the government), and certainly a lot better than working at a “low-paid” job that equates to giving up federal support. To paraphrase Paul Krugman, the more and the longer the jobless receive, the less likely they are to take chances looking for a job. That too might be again a good thing if you wish to slow down the economy. In general, even Arnold Toynbee, a man of the Left, acknowledged that the greedy drive of the scrambling private sector was not as pernicious to civilizations as the collective ennui produced by vast cadres of lethargic and unaccountable public “servants” doing supposedly noble work.

The Law

To ensure capriciousness and unpredictability for both suspect employers and investors, make the law malleable, even unpredictable from day to day, in the style of an Argentina or Venezuela. Redefine the law as what is deemed socially useful. For federally subsidized bankrupt auto companies, creditors should be paid back on the basis not of contractual law, but of nobility — why borrow to give a rich man a return on his superfluous investment, when a retired auto worker might have to pay a higher health care premium? Boeing wants to open a non-union plant in South Carolina? Have the NLRB try to stop it (and illegally staff the NLRB with recess appointments). Illegal aliens? They are neither illegal nor aliens, as federal immigration law is itself a capricious construct. Does the Senate really have to present a budget? Do presidents need to meet budget deadlines? Who said there is a Defense of Marriage Act?

What law says that gays cannot serve overtly in the military or women cannot fight at the front — some reactionary construct? The point is to restore a simulacrum of popular sovereignty: the law is what 51% of the people are perceived by technocrats to want on any given day. I would hammer away at legal fictions like the very idea of borrowing and paying back loans and debts. Soon the popular culture would respond in kind, and run ads constantly on radio, TV, and the Internet in a way rare just a generation ago: how to renegotiate IRS debt, how to renegotiate mortgages, how to renegotiate credit card debt, and how to renegotiate student loan debt.

The man who owes $50,000 has been taken advantage of; the man who is owed $50,000 already has enough without being paid back. The aim is to create a general climate where when one borrows, one does not necessarily have to the pay back the full sum for a variety of legitimate considerations. The more bubbles — housing, student loan, credit card — the more avenues for government intervention and relief. Do all that and perhaps lending itself might slow down, again not a bad thing for our purposes. The debtor, not the lender, is the true American success, as our collective debt underscores.

Cynicism

Don’t forget the value of cynicism in weakening an economy. It is a critical tool in sowing distrust and fatalism, as in “Why try, when it doesn’t matter anyway?” or “Why should I follow the rules, when they don’t?” Greece, for example, is a cynical country to the core and one can see where such endemic distrust got them: a successfully ruined economy.

I would lecture about the evils of federal bailouts to Wall Street fat cats who then take million-dollar bonuses for mediocre performance — and then appoint a Treasury secretary who did just that. I would trash offshore accounts as something amoral and unpatriotic — and then appoint a Treasury secretary who did just that. I would lecture about paying your fair share and hiking taxes — and then appoint a Treasury secretary who avoided paying the income taxes he owed. I would sermonize on the evils of the revolving door — and then appoint as my top financial officials those who for a lifetime have gone into the White House, out to Wall Street, and back into the White House. Again, if “they” do that, why then do “we” need to pay our taxes or follow ethical behavior? The cynical mindset is a valuable tool in recreating a Greece or Italy. Indeed, almost any cynicism is a good thing: so why not praise federal financing of campaigns and then be the first to refuse it, or campaign on the evils of the Bush anti-terrorism protocol and then embrace or expand almost all of it?

Top Down, Not Bottom Up

Leveling must go in one direction, not two.  To ensure equality, the public schools should lower standards so that all are the same. The more who need remediation upon entering college, the more likely the curriculum will have to adjust to level the playing field, and the less skilled will emerge the average graduate. The more that those with “Cadillac” insurance plans can have procedures rationed, the more others will see their own options expanded.

The world is a finite system, a pie with only so many slices. There is no middle class, just rich and poor. For each F student, an A student stole the former’s resources. I would invest not in honor students, but in remedial ones. Grades and test scores should count little for college admission; life “experiences” and community service far better would ensure the presence of mediocre students. The aim again is not to turn out graduates with expertise or knowledge who build a strong economy, but to graduate students, brand them with degrees, and ensure they are invested in a similar ideology of redistribution. If California — of Caltech and Stanford repute — can dumb down its public schools to rank 48th or 49th in the nation in math or English testing, then there is hope for the country at large.

The War of Words

Prosperity is always relative, never absolute. A car, a house, or a job is not to be judged on its own merits, but in comparison to someone else who has one better.  If today’s Kias are better than a Mercedes of 20 years ago, it matters little: they are not as nice as someone else’s Mercedes of today. Britain in the postwar 1940s discovered the power of envy and what it can do to slow down ill-won prosperity.

From Plato to Marx to Tocqueville, philosophical minds, for both good and bad reasons, have always appreciated that human nature is attracted to the idea of enforced equality, to such a degree that most would rather be poor and the same, than better off with some far better off. Let’s give them that chance!

I would try to redefine the entire capitalist notion of profit, getting ahead, and being rich or successful as something arbitrary. Better yet, it should be analogous to cheating, proof of unfairness, or incurring general shame. The point is to make profit-making synonymous with failure; and poverty something inherently noble. Compensation should be seen as capricious, never based on logical requisites like education, knowledge, experience, level of responsibility, hard work, personal comportment, or even the less predictable such as health, luck, fate, and chance. Redefine rich and poor to emphasize the fact that one making $20,000 a year and another $200,000 is unfair, period — and to be corrected by a fair, all-knowing, and compassionate government. I would talk always of poverty and hunger, never of the epidemic of obesity or the nation’s collective youth glued to iPhones.

Sometimes, sloppy language is critical: jumble together “millionaires” with those worth 1,000 times more, and you earn the force-multiplying evil “millionaires and billionaires.” The word “fair” is critical: as in “pay your fair share.” But “patriotic” is even better, as in “unpatriotic” past presidents who run up debt, and “patriotic” present egalitarians who borrow in four years what used to take eight.

I would also redefine entire professions in negative terms: bankers are “fat cats”; the rich “junket” to Las Vegas; CEOs are “corporate jet owners”; doctors lop off limbs and yank out tonsils to pile up profits. Material wealth alone defines us. Mitt Romney is a man with lots of money, a big house with an elevator, a wife with horses. Who cares what he did with the Olympics or as governor?

I could continue, but you get the picture: the point is to slow down the capitalists by making them look over their shoulders, to hamper the grasping small businesses by prepping a psychological battlefield in which the rich deserve higher taxes and regulations to atone for their sins. If lots of those who once made $400,000 a year no longer do, is that not progress? Did they not at last realize that they had made enough money and that it was no longer the time to profit? My goal would be to convince the pizza-parlor owner that after 12 hours on the job, he was taking away money from his noble customers and had a duty to pay more in taxes and cut his profits for those more noble who could not afford his crust. But there would be one exception: fat cats can buy exemption by loudly supporting the president, serving on his jobs council, or investing in green energy. In other words, send the message that getting rich building a Solyndra is noble in a way Exxon is not. A Warren Buffett or George Soros is not a “billionaire” but a “philanthropist,” whose profits are channeled in the right direction. That’s an important message to send if one wants to warp an economy — suggesting that the rich can pay proper homage and thereby win exemption from being culpably rich.

Everywhere a War

The rich/poor dichotomy is valuable, but perhaps not enough in itself to harm the economy. Political stasis is also critical. Think the blues and greens in the hippodrome, fighting over everything from religion and civil service to class, ethnicity, and sports.  And what better way to seed acrimony and to ensure constant bickering than unleashing a series of domestic wars? The camouflaged assault-weapon killers who hide behind the 2nd Amendment are at war with millions of innocent children. Even female celebrities and lawyers are under attack by misogynists and chauvinists, who won’t pay for their birth control. Latinos are targeted by nativists. The latter even hunt them down at ice-cream parlors. Blacks are back to near slavery as racist conservatives want to put them back in chains. Greens battle nobly against the polluters, gays against the homophobes. Muslims are demonized as terrorists by racists and bigots.

The point would be to introduce so many divisive fault lines that no one can much agree on anything — other than a common enemy. Worry over unemployment, slow or nonexistent growth, and massive debt gives way to more pressing issues like gay marriage and banning semi-automatic assault weapons. Distraction is valuable: who cares that the real unemployment rate is way over 10% if  the Keystone pipeline will destroy the Nebraska aquifer or Jim Crow is back on election day? A “jobless recovery” and the “misery index” can become artifacts of a distant era.

Deficits

I would borrow as much money as possible, to the point of making the word “trillion” synonymous with the old “billion,” and “billion” now not more than a mere “million.” On its coins, a fading Rome pressed bronze over a thin silver core; we have done better with the Fed. Think of all the ways in which deficits are good: they spread the wealth through greater entitlements; they eventually require higher taxes from the wealthy; they usually lead to inflation that erodes wrongly accumulated wealth. For every trillion borrowed, there is a greater likelihood that the deserving will receive more federal largess and the undeserving will have to pay for it — and the country itself will slow down and smell the roses. Is it not far preferable for the government to print money than the cumbersome private sector to create it?

Interest

Zero interest is as important as sky-high interest. Thus, 1% on passbook accounts can be as valuable in stalling the economy as 15%. If there is no gain in stored wealth, why seek to store it? If owing is better than being owed, why work to create capital? A good way to ensure inflation is to ensure zero interest. The many who have no money deserve the use of free money and the few who have it have no need to profit from it. Again, if the state employee’s pension pays out more in annual revenue than the multi-millionaire’s passbook account, is not that a distortion worth institutionalizing? The point would be to guide the retiree into real estate, precious metals, or the stock market, anywhere with real risk to beat his .5% passbook return. Or better yet, do away with the idea of the retiree altogether, as the poor fool keeps working to earn what his savings won’t — thereby providing an added benefit of keeping his would-be younger replacements jobless.

Energy

I would try to find a way to discourage private gas and oil production through more regulation and cancellation of projects like the Keystone pipeline: keep the country paying steep import fees and keep it vulnerable to Persian Gulf oil. New technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling are to be declared de facto synonymous with pollution and destroying the environment. How can energy “skyrocket” or gas reach “European levels” — that alone will ensure a cooler planet or government- and union-run mass transit — if freelancers can find hoards of natural gas on land the government can’t touch? I would also borrow billions to subsidize wind and solar power. The more costly the kilowatt, the more expensive energy might slow down human activity and finally stop the rat race.

Success is Failure

Finally, I would double down. The more higher taxes, class warfare, bigger government, borrowing, zero interest, and political stasis began to slow down the economy, the more I would demand more of them all, and declare that the economy is expanding and growing. Again, the key to fine tuning a properly moribund economy is to stay the course — and learn to redefine failure as success.
3787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: Obamacare in a photo on: March 12, 2013, 11:04:50 AM
Nancy Pelosi said that we’d have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.  Refreshing to hear an honest liberal...

If Congress passes a statute–even one that is 1,600 pages long like Obamacare, but the law can’t go into effect as written, it is not really a law at all.  The simple proof is the photo here that Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office has released, showing the 20,000-plus pages of regulations issued so far for the implementation of Obamacare.  ”Regulation” is just a multi-syllabic word for “law,” after all.  The point is, administrators–the slightly nicer term for “bureaucrats”–now govern us much more than our elected lawmakers do.  (Powerlineblog.com)

Comply with THIS!  Regulations issued SO FAR for the implementation of Obamacare
3788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Leftist with an honesty problem = cabinet secretary, meet Thomas Perez on: March 12, 2013, 10:54:15 AM
Another perfect fit for the Obama second term cabinet and inner circle:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/high-ranking-doj-official-gave-false-testimony-about-voter-intimidation-case.php

High-ranking DOJ official gave false testimony about voter intimidation case

Federal Judge Reggie Walton has found that internal DOJ documents about the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case “contradict Assistant Attorney General [Thomas] Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in” the decision to dismiss the case. In other words, as Hans Von Spakovsky says, “the sworn testimony of Perez, the Obama political appointee who heads the Civil Rights Division, before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights was apparently false.”

Judge Walton serves on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He has presided over high profile trials including those of Scooter Libby and Roger Clemens.

This particular case was brought by Judicial Watch, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking “documents relating to the DOJ’s decision to dismiss civil claims in the New Black Panther Party case.” According to Judge Walton, the DOJ documents, including emails from former Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli (who was the number-two official at DOJ) and former Democratic election lawyer and Deputy Associate Attorney General Sam Hirsch, “revealed that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims.”

This finding directly contradicts the sworn testimony of Assistant Attorney General Perez. At a hearing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on May 14, 2010, Perez was asked whether “any political leadership [was] involved in the decision not to pursue this particular case.” Perez’s answer, on page 79 of the transcript of that hearing, was an unqualified “No.”

Accordingly, as von Spakovsky concludes, it is clear that Judge Walton was being polite when he said that thre documents and the testimony of Perez are contradictory and “cast doubt on the accuracy” of Perez’s account.

Perez’s conduct should, at a minimum, be the subject of an investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (did Perez violate his ethical and professional obligations as a DOJ attorney) and/or the DOJ inspector general (did Perez violate 18 U.S.C. §1621, which outlaws presenting false statements under oath in official federal proceeding). But don’t hold your breath.

And don’t expect much, if any, any coverage by the mainsteam media which, no doubt, would be howling if a Republican political appointee at DOJ had been found by a federal judge to have given “inaccurate” testimony under oath.
3789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues American Creed (Constitutional Law): Windsor, gay marriage, DOMA on: March 12, 2013, 10:47:47 AM
The Reuters story that follows introduces the facts and issues for the current Supreme Court case on gay marriage.  This will be an interesting case to follow, perhaps a landmark decision, IMO.  Gay marriage advocates picked a perfect case to try because Ms. Windsor is missing out on a couple million of tax sheltered money because of not the preference of a heterosexual-marriage.  (When did marriage start needing a hyphen?)

It is easy for me to sympathize with both sides of this argument.  Conservatives should probably want gays to be monogamous, paired and settled for life for many of the same reasons other than procreation that we wish that for heteros.

On the other hand, what right was Ms. Windsor denied that is not also denied to a heterosexual single person?  A single heterosexual person does not have a right to either marriage (that requires consent of another person) nor a right to the estate-sheltering, tax deduction in question.

There are two logical, constitutional end-points I can see in this case (the two least likely outcomes of this Court): 1) Uphold current law by ruling that the legislative branch by definition has already set tax law and DOMA law in the way that we-the-people have determined best advances the 'general welfare' of the people.  2)  Or they could strike down all tax code preferences encouraging marriage and all other social preferences if the Court believes a government committed to equal protection can not be in the business of setting preferences or treating different people and different groups differently.  In that view, equal protection would come to mean that all income from all people and all sources must be taxed evenly.

The least logical decision (most likely) is to strike down thousands of years of language, common law and natural law that define a marriage to be when a man and a woman make a choice and a commitment to become a husband and wife often leading to also becoming a father and a mother, with gender terms intentionally specific.  Instead, carve out the politically expedient exception that two same-sex adults can become legally recognized as husband(?) and wife(?), spouse 1 and spouse 2(?), but leave in place all other discrimination in the law against all other persons and groups.
--------------
http://news.yahoo.com/analysis-death-taxes-supreme-courts-gay-marriage-case-050623739.html

Analysis: Death, taxes and Supreme Court's gay marriage case
By Kim Dixon | Reuters

By Kim Dixon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, the lesbian couple at the center of a major gay rights case set to go before the Supreme Court this month, were in many ways a typical New York power couple.

Spyer was a psychologist; Windsor, a consultant at IBM. They met in a Greenwich Village restaurant in the 1960s and lived together for decades, summering at a Long Island beach house.

They waited until they were in their mid-70s to marry in Canada in 2007. When Spyer died in 2009, Windsor inherited her spouse's estate, worth about $4.1 million, according to lawyers.

But because she is gay, Windsor missed out on one of the most lucrative tax breaks enjoyed by affluent Americans - the exemption from federal estate tax on wealth passed from one spouse to another.

"The biggest benefit of marriage, financially, is when you die," said Fred Slater, a New York tax accountant.

The spousal exemption to the estate tax is denied to same-sex couples because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law passed by Congress and signed by the president in 1996 that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Windsor is challenging DOMA in a case the nine-member high court will hear on March 27. At its core, Windsor's fight is with the Internal Revenue Service over how much federal tax she owes on Spyer's estate.

She seeks the return of hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes she would not have had to pay if she and Spyer had been of opposite sexes. Her challenge asks whether married gays should be able to claim the same exemption as married heterosexuals do.

The Supreme Court ruling is likely to affect estate taxes paid by only the most affluent of gays. But at stake is a bigger question: Are married gay couples entitled to the same federal tax and other benefits as married heterosexuals?

A ruling is expected by the end of June.

More broadly, however, if the court strikes down DOMA, married gay couples would likely be able to file their income tax returns jointly in states that allow gay marriage - a prospect with ramifications as complex as the tax code itself.

ESTATE TAX IMPACT

In bringing her case to the Supreme Court, Windsor argues that DOMA violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. DOMA backers say the law is valid.

Of the 50 states, 31 have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. It is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C.

The remaining states' policies vary, with some recognizing marriage from other states, some providing some of the legal benefits of marriage and others denying marriage by state laws, but not constitutional amendments.

The Obama administration said in 2011 that it viewed DOMA as a violation of the U.S. Constitution and said it would no longer defend it in court. A group appointed by the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has asked the justices to uphold DOMA.

When Spyer died, the general estate tax exemption was $3.5 million. So Windsor inherited that amount from Spyer tax-free, including gifts received during Spyer's lifetime.

But because they were a lesbian couple, under the DOMA law Windsor could not take advantage of the spousal exemption, which says that a spouse may inherit any amount tax-free from a deceased spouse.

So Windsor was charged $363,000 in estate tax by the federal tax-collecting Internal Revenue Service. She paid her IRS bill but then sued, seeking a refund. She won in district court and in a federal appeals courts, but her case gradually took on increased prominence and eventually made its way to the Supreme Court.

The Williams Institute, a University of California-Los Angeles think tank that studies sexual orientation, estimates that if DOMA is overturned, only about 50 same-sex couples would qualify for the spousal exemption each year.

The institute based its estimate on figures from the U.S. Census and the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a think tank.

MARRIAGE PENALTY

But if Windsor wins her case, there would also be changes ahead in income tax filing and other benefits for some 130,000 same-sex married couples, as estimated by the Census Bureau.

A post-DOMA landscape would expose married gays to some of the same problems faced by married opposite-sex couples.

For instance, tax bracket and tax credit variations for singles versus married couples might mean wealthier couples and the working poor could face a "marriage penalty," while middle-income couples with one breadwinner could get a tax break.

"Equality is not always a net fiscal positive" for couples, said Brian Moulton, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for gay rights.

The maximum amount free of tax, whether for a spouse or not, has risen since Spyer died in 2009, and is now $5.25 million. As a result, most estates are passed on tax-free.

Only 3,600 estates were subject to estate tax in 2012, according to government figures, while the richest 10 percent of Americans paid almost all of the estate tax collected, said the Tax Policy Center.
3790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Budget process, Paul Ryan: Republican budget assumes repeal of Obamacare on: March 11, 2013, 03:11:56 PM
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/03/10/paul_ryan_2013_gop_budget_assumes_repeal_of_obamacare.html

Paul Ryan: Republican budget assumes repeal of Obamacare

Chris Wallace: Well, that's not going to happen.

Doug: Who originates appropriations bills for fiscal year 2014, the Pelosi-Reid congress of 2009?

3791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rice as NSA? on: March 11, 2013, 03:00:55 PM
National Security Adviser does not require senate confirmation.  Who knew that advise and consent was such a bad thing in some cases, could expose character flaws - like lying.  We need nothing but honest people in these positions - like Sandy 'boxers' Berger.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16706-2005Mar31.html  He described the episode as "an honest mistake." Oops, "It was not inadvertent."  Lies and smear, said Media Matters, prior to Berger's confession and plea bargain.  http://mediamatters.org/research/2004/07/23/anatomy-of-a-smear-sandy-berger-socks-shocker-l/131484

Susan Rice (in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack) will fit in fine with the likes of James Clapper (Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular), Jack Lew (can’t pass a budget without 60 votes) and John (cut-off-their-ears) Kerry to work with the President who promised unemployment would be down to 5% by 2013 if we pass his stimulus. http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-unemployment-chart-2012-9 

Unless the world ends now, we don't know who has the last laugh.
3792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics: More Are Quitting the Workforce Than Getting Jobs on: March 11, 2013, 12:27:55 PM
Investors Business Daily / Bureau of Labor Statistics:



http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/030813-647381-job-growth-outpaced-by-growth-in-nonworkers.htm

More Are Quitting the Workforce Than Getting Jobs

While the country gained 236,000 jobs, the ranks of those not in the labor force — people who don't have a job and stopped looking — swelled by 296,000.

Looked at another way, just 58.6% of Americans work today, down from 60.6% when Obama took office. The average over the previous two decades was 63%.

3793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, Worst recovery since 1948 on: March 11, 2013, 12:19:38 PM
This recovery compares poorly with all previous ones since 1948.  Why?



http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/02/15/172116698/the-scariest-job-chart-ever-isnt-scary-enough

More detailed graph with lines labeled:

http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2013/03/08/employrecfeb2013_custom-0b0541f7aa3b6c2d0eca91666dd078aa4cbfe1e6-s40.jpg
3794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Dow on Gold and Silver terms on: March 11, 2013, 12:15:08 PM
What part of the DOW's rise is just the dollar devaluing, all of it and then some?   Wesbury at First Trust and other securities companies like to look back at rising periods of the DOW.  Let's look back further and compare blue chip stocks with gold and silver instead of money:

The Dow on Gold's terms:    (http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article39400.html)

    During January 2000 gold traded at an average price of $284.32
    January 2000 the Dow was 10,900
    10,900/$284.32 per ounce = 38.33 gold ounces to buy the Dow

Today [Mar 09, 2013] gold is trading at $1570.90 while the Dow Jones (DJIA) continues to break records, up another 30 points as I write to 14,284.

14,284/1570.90 = 9.09 ozs of gold to buy the Dow today.

38.33/9.09 = 4.2
-----
(Doug) If you bought gold instead of Dow Jones stocks at the start of year 2000, you could keep 3/4 of your gold and buy the same quantity of the same stocks today with just 1/4 of your gold.
-----
The Dow on Silver's terms:

    During January 2000 silver averaged $4.95 oz
    January 2000 the Dow was 10,900
    10,900/$4.95 per ounce = 2202 silver ounces to buy the Dow

Today silver is trading at $28.62, the Dow is 14,284.

14,284/28.62 = 499 ozs silver to buy the Dow.

2202/499 = 4.4
-----
(Doug) If you bought silver instead of the Dow at the start of year 2000, you could keep 3/4 of your silver and buy the same stocks today with just 1/4 of your silver.

One moral of the story is that hindsight conclusions are highly dependent on the timeframe and measuring stick selected.
3795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: March 11, 2013, 11:40:34 AM
Looks like Capriles is off to good start.  No pressure, but what Venezuela does in the next 30 days may determine their future for the rest of our lifetimes.
3796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Detroit mayor found guilty on: March 11, 2013, 11:37:44 AM
Shocking.  Detroit ex-Mayor found guilty of corruption.

Wonder if the Pravda's will fit party affiliation into the headline.  
3797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left - Bill Clinton on gay marriage on: March 09, 2013, 06:11:20 PM
Bill Clinton now argues that DOMA, the defense of marriage act, that he signed is unconstitutional.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bill-clinton-its-time-to-overturn-doma/2013/03/07/fc184408-8747-11e2-98a3-b3db6b9ac586_story.html?hpid=z2

Like minimum wage laws killing off jobs, what is good and bad policy, what is right and wrong, and what is constitutional and unconstitutional if you are a lefty is largely determined by the latest public opinion poll.

Was he sworn to uphold the constitution?  Did gays change, did the constitution change?  Is it too late to impeach him?

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/03/its-too-bad-we-cant-impeach-bill-clinton-again.php

3798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Libertarian Issues - Is THIS what we had in mind with drug legalization? on: March 09, 2013, 06:06:27 PM
(Is THIS what we had in mind with drug legalization?)

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2013/03/06/drug-testing-company-sees-spike-in-children-using-marijuana/

Drug Testing Company Sees Spike In Children Using Marijuana
March 6, 2013 11:53 PM
Share on email 488
(credit: CBS)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A drug testing company says it’s seeing a big spike in children using marijuana following the passage of Amendment 64.

...It’s not just more students, but it appears they’re using pot more often. ... “In high school it has kind of gotten out of hand,” student Alaina Tanenbaum said.

Experts say the test results show that children are getting higher than ever with alarming levels of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, in their bodies.  “A typical kid (is) between 50 and 100 nanograms. Now were seeing these up in the over 500, 700, 800, climbing,”  (More at link)
3799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Allan Savory - How to green the world's deserts, reverse desertification on: March 09, 2013, 05:54:16 PM
This 22 minute talk comes touted by Anthony Watts this week as "one of the most important posts ever" on Watts up with that, one of the top environmental sites on the internet.

Ecologist Allan Savory shows how to solve with low technology and relatively low cost the climate change problem that is perhaps worse than all fossil fuel use, the turning of the world's grasslands into deserts.



http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/08/a-bridge-in-the-climate-debate-how-to-green-the-worlds-deserts-and-reverse-climate-change/
3800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: ACORN review on: March 09, 2013, 12:29:07 PM
If true, I also find the post helpful.  I did not know one ACORN office had already called the police. It would be nice if they added to the report the timing of that and the actual police report if it is public information.  There were many ACORN offices approached in that film, did they all call the police?

That film was beyond bizarre. Entertaining perhaps, but not among the original allegations levied against ACORN.

If Fox misses this update after playing up the original story then shame on them.  Mark it against them on their career scorecard.  The other main conduits are missing much bigger stories every day IMHO.  I resent having to go to right wing sources for basic facts and I appreciate when Bigdog or anyone else helps set the record straight.  It does not advance a partisan political agenda to be repeating a falsehood, (unless you are liberal).


Going back a step on ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now was founded in 1970.

1) My first allegation against ACORN is strictly political.  They are highly funded, highly organized, EXTREMELY left wing and highly effective at getting their message out in urban areas to people vulnerable to that message.  They were so highly targeted that they operated under the radar of nearly everyone not running in those circles.  I was shocked to discover them in my inner city operations and how far off of mainstream they really were.  So far so good, there is nothing wrong with being left wing, extreme, political, organized and effective.  As a matter of politics I think people who favor economic freedom ought to be aware of the operations of these extreme groups in order to expose their extreme views and counter them politically with a more hopeful message than shaking down others for money.  Jump forward to the Obama reelection campaign of 2012 and remove the tarnished name ACORN, these organizations perhaps delivered the political victory more than almost any other factor.

One of their their main political and legal causes was to cause more housing resources to go to people who could not afford them, a big factor leading to the collapse in housing, banking, employment and the economic prospects for the people they purport to help.  Here is a video, not of ACORN, but of their view represented at the highest levels, then Sec. of Housing (HUD) a youthful Andrew Cuomo in 1998 admitting these federally backed housing loans would not be made on creditworthiness criteria and yes "there will be a higher risk and I'm sure there will be a higher default rate...": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFlYmLAMbrw&feature=player_embedded

2) ACORN merged its extreme left wing political activities with community do-gooding.  Nothing wrong in concept with that.  A non-profit operating to help a community in need ought to be able to have a political voice too, like businesses and unions should.  IRS questions come up because they are subsidized by the taxpayers in the form of tax deductible donations for different purposes.  Are they political, are they charity, does it matter?

3) ACORN mixing political activism with charitable work receives direct taxpayer support - big time.  To this, I object.  We shouldn't have taxpayer money supporting a political message.  They were funded to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, almost unmeasurable, and they were funded in different names after congress voted to revoke their funding.  Because they know their political operations shouldn't be taxpayer funded, they built the FIREWALL.

4) A FIREWALL that separates all charitable work from all political activities, if you believe that!  I watched the head of ACORN tell us on the PBS News Hour, posted somewhere in this thread, that taxpayer money cannot bleed over into political operations because of the FIREWALL.  I will offer a reward for an authentic photograph of the firewall or information that would lead to the discovery of its exact location.  I believe it may sit right next to the social security lockbox - or in the safety deposit box area of Gringotts.

5) And then we have the criminal, electoral corruption of ACORN, enough to have put this operation in the category of an organized crime ring IMO, also documented in this thread.  


http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-complete-guide-to-acorn-voter-fraud/?singlepage=true

October 14, 2008    ACORN Voter Fraud Guide

...a national community organizing group is being investigated in at least 14 states and several swing states for massive irregularities. This news would make headlines anyway, but what made it worse was that Barack Obama was a key player in this organization, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, in the past. Obama trained its local leaders, represented the organization in court, and worked to funnel funds to the organization. The Obama campaign also donated $800,000 this year to an ACORN affiliate.

What is ACORN?

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is a community-based organization that advocates for low and moderate income families founded in 1970 by Wade Rathke and Gary Delgado. Rathke, one of the most powerful hard-Left activists in America, is a former member of a radical 1960s group, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The Weathermen terrorist group split off from the SDS in 1969. ACORN says its priorities include better housing and wages for the poor, more community development investment from banks and governments, and better public schools.

ACORN is also known for its voter registration efforts.  This year alone (2008) ACORN has registered 1,315,037 voters.

Although the organization prides itself for its registration efforts, it also has a long history of scandal. In the state of Missouri in 1986, 12 ACORN members were convicted of voter fraud. But that case was not an isolated incident in the state. In December 2004, in St. Louis, six volunteers pleaded guilty of dozens of election law violations for filling out registration cards with names of dead people and other bogus information. Authorities launched an earlier investigation after noticing that among the new voters was longtime St. Louis alderman Albert “Red” Villa, who died in 1990. The volunteers worked for “Operation Big Vote” — a branch of ACORN — in St. Louis.

On February 10, 2005, Nonaresa Montgomery, a paid worker who ran Operation Big Vote during the run-up to the 2001 mayoral primary, was found guilty of vote fraud. Montgomery hired about 30 workers to do fraudulent voter-registration canvassing. Instead of knocking on doors, the volunteers sat at a St. Louis fast food restaurant and wrote out names and information from an outdated voter list. About 1,500 fraudulent voter registration cards were turned in.

In October 2006, St. Louis election officials discovered at least 1,492 “potentially fraudulent” voter registration cards. They were all turned in by ACORN volunteers.

In November 2006, 20,000 to 35,000 questionable voter registration forms were turned in by ACORN officials in Missouri. Most all of these were from St. Louis and Kansas City areas, where ACORN purportedly sought to help empower the “disenfranchised” minorities living there. But the ACORN workers weren’t just told to register new voters. The workers admitted on camera that they were coached to tell registrants to vote for Democrat Claire McCaskill.

In 2007, in Kansas City, Missouri, four ACORN employees were indicted for fraud. In April of this year eight ACORN employees in St. Louis city and county pleaded guilty to federal election fraud for submitting bogus voter registrations.

And, that was just Missouri.

This year there have been several accusations of fraud against ACORN. Over a dozen states are investigating the organization already. Here is a complete list of the ongoing investigations:

North Carolina — State Board of Elections officials have found at least 100 voter registration forms with the same names over and over again. The forms were turned in by ACORN. Officials sent about 30 applications to the state Board of Elections for possible fraud investigation.

Ohio — The New York Post reported that a Cleveland man said he was given cash and cigarettes by aggressive ACORN activists in exchange for registering an astonishing 72 times. The complaints have sparked an investigation by election officials into the organization, whose political wing has supported Barack Obama. Witnesses have already been subpoenaed to testify against the organization.

Nevada — Authorities raided the headquarters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now on Tuesday October 7, 2008, after a month-long investigation. The fraudulent voter registrations included the Dallas Cowboys starting line-up.

Indiana — More than 2,000 voter registration forms filed in northern Indiana’s Lake County filled out by ACORN employees turned out to be bogus. Officials also stopped processing a stack of about 5,000 applications delivered just before the October 6 registration deadline after the first 2,100 turned out to be phony.

Connecticut — Officials are looking into a complaint alleging ACORN submitted fraudulent voter registration cards in Bridgeport. In one instance, an official said a card was filled out for a 7-year-old girl, whose age was listed as 27. 8,000 cards were submitted in Bridgeport.

Missouri — The Kansas City election board is reporting 100 duplicate applications and 280 with fake information. Acorn officials agreed that at least 4% of their registrations were bogus. Governor Matt Blunt condemned the attempts by ACORN to commit voter fraud.

Pennsylvania — Officials are investigating suspicious or incomplete registration forms submitted by ACORN. 252,595 voter registrations were submitted in Philadelphia. Remarkably, 57,435 were rejected — most of them submitted by ACORN.

Wisconsin — In Milwaukee ACORN improperly used felons as registration workers. Additionally, its workers are among 49 cases of bad registrations sent to authorities for possible charges, as first reported by the Journal Sentinel.

Florida — The Pinellas County Elections supervisor says his office has received around 35 voter registrations that appear to be bogus. There is also a question of 30,000 felons who are registered illegally to vote. Their connections with ACORN are not yet clear.

Texas — Of the 30,000 registration cards ACORN turned in, Harris County tax assessor Paul Bettencourt says just more than 20,000 are valid. And just look at some of the places ACORN was finding those voters. A church just next door is the address for around 150 people. More than 250 people claim a homeless outreach center as their home address. Some listed a county mental health facility as their home and one person even wrote down the Harris County jail at the sheriff’s office.

Michigan — ACORN in Detroit is being investigated after several municipal clerks reported fraudulent and duplicate voter registration applications coming through. The clerk interviewed said the fraud appears to be widespread.

New Mexico – The Bernalillo County clerk has notified prosecutors that some 1,100 fraudulent voter registration cards were turned in by ACORN.

Other links:
http://blog.heritage.org/2008/10/22/morning-bell-the-lefts-fraudulent-embezzzling-illegal-vote-stealing-machine/
http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2003806904_webvotefraud26m.html
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Reform-group-turned-in-2-000-suspicious-voter-1229151.php
http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/86913867.html
http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/7-acorn-workers-charged-with-forgery-341234/
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/nov/23/ex-acorn-official-gets-probation-voter-registratio/
http://www.lvrj.com/news/acorn-pleads-guilty-to-felony-compensation-for-registration-of-voters-119367839.html
http://www.lvrj.com/news/judge-fines-acorn-5-000-for-voter-registration-scheme-127467598.html
http://www.doj.state.wi.us/media-center/2008-news-releases/october-14-2008-2

Give CNN credit for this excellent piece:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gkUKOSnv2zY
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