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3801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 12, 2014, 11:17:31 AM
Her whole life has built up to this moment.  She is a shoo-in for the Dem nomination and the Rep field is strikingly weak.  She has the vast left wing conspiracy of the Pravdas on her side.

She will run.

Some smart people agree with you:

Based on trading:  Hillary is more than a 3:1 favorite for the Democratic nomination.

the contours of the presidential race are now clear. On the Democratic side, the nomination is still Hillary Clinton's to lose.

Clinton begins the long campaign as the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination, according to a nationwide Washington Post-ABC News poll

Hillary Clinton, Giuliani Early Favorites  A look at the next presidential election

Hillary Clinton is favorite of Democrats

Majority of Americans say they are likely to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president

Hillary Clinton Easily Paces Democratic Field
Two-thirds of Americans rate her as a strong leader

Can She Be Stopped?: Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States

Whoops, that was all about 2008, before she began to campaign.  To be fair, she did run that year.

Did anyone get it right - early in that race?

Re: The 2008 Presidential Race
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2007, 12:51:04 AM »
It's so far off, it's hard to say how it'll all unfold, but I will say that Obama is the front runner for the nomination, if not the presidency.
3802  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 12, 2014, 10:39:33 AM
"Sixty-eight percent of Americans favor allowing immigrants living in the country illegally who were brought to the United States as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college."

Allowing people who come here illegally serve in the military for citizenship?  Talk about immoral.

Go to college?  We will pay for all that.  cry

Agree, agree.  And what would we need them for in the military.  We already ended all wars.

51% of republicans and 63% (?) overall favor some path to citizenship.  A very carefully drafted and enforced agreement could settle this and unlike Obamacare get both sides on board.  But Dems negotiate in bad faith - and keep upping the ante by allowing another new influx.

Hillary Clinton: Cantor Opponent 'Ran Against Immigrants'
(No he didn't.  He ran as a 10th amendment constitutional conservative: Powers not granted to the federal government belong to the States and the people.)

How did the new influx of illegals get past the 2006 fence?
3803  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 12, 2014, 10:17:18 AM
Update on Hillary running or not and my bet with ccp:

There is no doubt she is acting like a candidate with the release and promotion of this book.  This is a full blown trial balloon, if not the kickoff.

There is no doubt she HATED the tough questions from Diane Sawyer.  How dare her ask that!

There is no doubt she lacks the political magic and skill of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  She also exhibited NO CONCEPT of the idea of managing people.  The only way she could think of to have done more to protect the facility in Benghazi would be to have taken courses in analyzing blueprints!

But there is still plenty of doubt as to whether or not she knows she is a lousy candidate and that this will end again in failure.  No one hired by her campaign is going to tell her that and her husband isn't going to do it.  He probably can't duck fast enough anymore when she throws the lamp at him.

What happens when we see and hear more of Hillary:
"Hillary Clinton favorability rating keeps falling, poll shows"  (Who knew that would happen?)

This is before news of her gaffes starts to spread.
The 18-time Most Admired Woman was at her lowest of the last 12 years when running for President.
The Presidential table was set for her far better in 2008 than it is in 2016.  Bush finally leaving instead of Obama finally leaving.

Here is your choice Hillary: Go out on top as the most admired woman, or forever be known as a loser.
3804  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz -No longer has dual citizenship with Canada on: June 12, 2014, 09:38:17 AM
After many, many months of promising to renounce his Canadian citizenship, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has finally achieved that goal.

Cruz's Canadian citizenship was officially terminated in May, according to the Dallas Morning News. The senator was notified by mail of the renunciation a few days ago.
3805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 12, 2014, 09:35:19 AM
In the aftermath of Cantor:

“What’s the difference between Elvis and immigration reform in Congress?  Immigration reform is definitely dead.”

If reform / amnesty is dead in Congress, and if Republicans take the Senate, what will the Commander in CHief with a pen and a phone do?  Grant a Presidential pardon to every illegal alien living in this country.

If he does, does that mean citizenship?

Steven Hayward at Powerline:
Therefore, a modest suggestion: every GOP candidate—especially for the Senate—should force Democratic candidates on the record before the campaign on the question of how they would respond if President Obama uses his pardon power to grant amnesty to every illegal alien currently in the country.  Get them on record now, ahead of the election.
3806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: No doubt Baraq will get right on this , , , on: June 12, 2014, 09:16:12 AM
...the administration is considering several options, including ...

doing nothing.

It was the "wrong war", he said.  He had his laser focus on Afghanistan.  And jobs.

This is very sad to see, all the American effort, lives and fortune squandered. 

What is so deceitful is for him to portray our exits as "ending the wars".  Why not say what he believes: they aren't worth it.

If the lesson learned is that the pursuit of a stable democracy in Iraq was unattainable all along, besides George Bush, Hillary, Biden and all the rest, we have Colin Powell's idiotic mantra, "If we break it, we must fix it", to blame.  We didn't break Iraq by toppling a murderous regime.  It was already broken, as evidenced in the 23 justifications for going to war in Iraq.

Fred Kaplan blames this on Nouri al-Maliki, not the United States.

As the U.S. pullout began under the terms of a treaty signed in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush, Maliki, the leader of a Shiite political party, promised to run a more inclusive government—to bring more Sunnis into the ministries, to bring more Sunnis from the Sons of Iraq militia into the national army, to settle property disputes in Kirkuk, to negotiate a formula on sharing oil revenue with Sunni districts, and much more.

Maliki has since backpedaled on all of these commitments and has pursued policies designed to strengthen Shiites and marginalize Sunnis. That has led to the resurgence of sectarian violence in the past few years. The Sunnis, finding themselves excluded from the political process, have taken up arms as the route to power. In the process, they have formed alliances with Sunni jihadist groups—such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which has seized not just Mosul but much of northern Iraq—on the principle that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. (more at link)
3807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IRS gave FBI MILLION pages of taxpayer data to prosecute conservatives on: June 12, 2014, 08:39:35 AM
It is just about impossible to keep up with all of the Obama administration scandals, but the corruption of the Internal Revenue Service ranks near the top. Unfortunately, it has gone hand in hand with Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s corruption of the Department of Justice. The perversion of law enforcement agencies for political ends is starkly revealed by the fact that in 2010, as part of its effort to stem the Tea Party movement, the IRS gave the FBI disks containing more than 1.1 million pages of documents on Section 501 non-profits, so that the FBI could selectively prosecute conservative groups and donors.

The facts, as we know them so far, were laid out yesterday in a letter from Congressmen Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan to John Koskinen, Commissioner of the IRS. The letter includes a series of emails that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has finally obtained, after more than a year of stonewalling by the Obama administration. The IRS originally told the House committee–falsely–that the disks contained only publicly available filings by the non-profit organizations. But the IRS later admitted that it had illegally transferred confidential taxpayer information to the FBI.

The IRS’s purpose was explicitly political. Sarah Ingram, Lois Lerner’s predecessor in charge of tax-exempt organizations at the IRS, wrote in a September 21, 2010 email, the subject of which was a favorable front-page story in the New York Times:

Thanks, as always, for the excellent support from Media. I do think it came out pretty well. The “secret donor” theme will continue–see Obama salvo today and Diane Reehm (sp).

The reference is to Diane Rehm, an NPR radio host. So the IRS, at its highest levels, was trying to advance the Democratic Party’s “secret donor” theme on the eve of the 2010 election, and breaking the law to do so. Could someone maybe go to jail one of these days?

When will Obama administration criminals pay the price?

Here is the Issa/Jordan letter in its entirety. You really should read it; hardly anyone will. It tells a sad story of government corruption and stonewalling, the hallmarks of the Obama administration. It also reminds us that there are Republicans in Washington who are doing great work, trying to sustain the rule of law under very difficult conditions. One more thought about that in a moment; first, the letter:  (below)

A final thought: I [John Hinderacker, Powerline] have spent my entire adult life in the world of litigation. It is not unusual for parties to lawsuits to stonewall, to obfuscate, sometimes even to lie, as the Obama administration did here, in order to prevent damaging facts from coming to light. Yet litigants rarely succeed in their stonewalling in the way the Obama administration has successfully stonewalled, time after time.

Why is that? The answer is simple: in a lawsuit, the discovery process is supervised by a judge or (in the federal system) a magistrate. A party that refuses to answer questions or produce documents on the basis of flimsy objections, as happened here–the objections quoted in the Issa/Jordan letter are laughable–will be ordered by the court to comply, and may have sanctions assessed against it. The problem that Congressional investigators face is that there is no judge. Legal process can be invoked, of course, as a last resort, as happens on rare occasions. But that takes years; no judge sits ready to rule on frivolous positions like those so often taken by the Obama administration. In the political realm, the only real judge is the electorate. So far, at least, that is not a reassuring thought.

If posted images come out scrambled, read it at:
3808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillbillary: Not ready for prime time, Senator Lincoln? on: June 11, 2014, 11:53:10 PM
Flowers is only alleging that Bill, a known cheater and liar, told her, not that she had any personal, direct knowledge.

Referring back when they "struggled" with money, were "dead broke", and had to charge such inordinate speaking fees because Bill grew up poor.  But why didn't she buy a Wall Street Journal subscription - again - and put a couple dollars down on commodities futures?  It worked last time.  Or was she lying then?

Gaffes continued:  “I actually write about Rahm in the book,” Clinton said. “I asked him not to read it before we sat and did our interview! But it was in the very first chapter, the chapter I rightly call ‘Team of Rivals’ because that’s what it was in the beginning. A senator from Illinois ran against a senator from New York just as had happened way back with a senator from Illinois named Lincoln and a senator from New York named Seward. And it turned out the same way.”

Ummm, Abraham Lincoln was never a Senator.  This is not an off the cuff mis-speak but a carefully thought out analogy - that happens to be wrong.  I wonder how much money they made renting out the Lincoln bedroom without ever knowing what the guy did for a living.

News Reports confirm what I alleged last week:  "Fact Check: Hillary came up with Benghazi video explanation"

Hillary Clinton’s newly released memoir leaves little doubt she was the first member of the Obama administration to publicly link an anti-Islam video to the 2012 Benghazi terror attack – though she does not explain what intelligence she relied on to make the faulty connection.

The former secretary of State and potential Democratic presidential candidate discussed the Benghazi attack in her memoir “Hard Choices.” The 33-page Benghazi chapter sheds some light on events, but it leaves plenty of inconvenient details out.

According to the chronology she offers, Clinton issued the statement linking Benghazi to the video before she called President Obama on the night of the attack to provide an update, suggesting she was the originator of the flawed explanation.

The State Department press release, issued in her name, on Sept. 11, 2012 at 10:07 p.m., tied the death of Foreign Service officer Sean Smith to the video. Later that evening, a mortar strike killed former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, permanently maimed another CIA contractor and severely injured diplomatic security agent David Ubben – all of whom were defending the CIA annex. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens also died in the Benghazi assault.

The accuracy of the mortar attack, three out of five rounds on target, from more than a half mile away in the dark of night in under a minute, required military training, and premeditation according to multiple military and intelligence professionals.

“As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss,”Clinton’s press release said. “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet."

In her book, Clinton makes passing reference to the Sept. 11 press release, and the former secretary of state offers this argument for citing the video:that violence was erupting all over the Middle East and the obscure Internet video was to blame, throwing Benghazi, without credible intelligence reporting, into the same category.

“[The video] was unquestionably inciting the region and triggering protests all over, so it would have been strange not to consider, as days of protests unfolded, that it might have had the same effect here, too,"Clinton wrote. "That's just common sense."

What else does she know that isn't true?
3809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Diane Sawyer Destroys Hillary Clinton on Benghazi on: June 11, 2014, 11:03:41 AM
Painful to watch.

3810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary gaffes on: June 11, 2014, 10:17:38 AM
We charge $100 million in speaking fees because we "struggled".  She worked two jobs (total) in college, you know, and Bill grew up poor.

"We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt," Clinton told ABC's Diane Sawyer for an interview that previewed the Tuesday launch of Clinton's memoir, "Hard Choices."

They were dead broke because of legal costs of the 'hard choices' made by her husband.

Clinton recalled how she "struggled" to purchase "houses".

The friend who 'helped" the "struggling" family with an extra 1.35 million out of the goodness of his heart for one of their houses is now Governor of Virginia.

And this woman will win, unchallenged, in a national mood of anti-government, anti-cronyism, anti-Obamacare, anti-Washington, anti-big money, anti-Wall Street?  I don't see it.
3811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stingers on: June 11, 2014, 10:01:35 AM

Hillary's State Department tried to turn over advanced anti-aircraft weapons to anti-Khadafy forces -- this is what appears to have been happening in Benghazi -- and they ended up with the Taliban.

If congress declared war in Libya weren't they just taking necessary risks to execute national policy...   Oops

The 'gaffe' that takes down Hillary might already have been made.
3812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / David Brat: The term limit of the status quo on: June 11, 2014, 09:19:11 AM
I wonder why Brat was able to win against the money and name recognition when other were not.  The Mitch McConnell.
Was it the makeup of his constituency or he was simply a better candidate?
I don't know.

All of the above I presume.  Maybe it was his campaign slogan, "I am Eric Cantor's term limit."  Or maybe Mark Levin has good coverage in the area.

I don't know what is unique about immigration attitudes in his district.  It is conservative in the sense that Romney beat Obama 57-42 there. The district is 17% black and 5% Hispanic:'s_7th_congressional_district

There is a feeling that conservative districts should have conservative representation.

Maybe the news story about minors being dumped over the border for citizenship has pushed people over the edge.

There is a more general feeling that the status quo including everything to do with Obamacare and Obamanomics is unacceptable.  People see our country unraveling and are not content with the go-along,-get-along attitude of Republican leadership in opposition.

People see what a difference one Senator like Ted Cruz can make working in the minority in the Senate and wonder why we can have the entire majority in the House for 4 years and can't make any impact on policy or direction. 

Two days before the election, the state's largest newspaper said Cantor is “indispensable”and touted his "willingness to work across the aisle to move legislation."

No, he is not indispensable, and willingness to work across the aisle to move bad legislation is not a good quality. 

Cantor took a try at leadership and failed.  But he will easily find a job in Washington.
3813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Congress; Congressional races,T Eric Cantor loses his Republican primary on: June 10, 2014, 11:57:21 PM
Stunning loss!  Does anyone remember a Majority Leader losing reelection in a primary?  Brat's victory over Cantor in the primary marked the first defeat of an incumbent House Majority Leader since the position's creation in 1899.

Tea party candidate, economics professor David Brat was behind by double digits in every poll.  Eric Cantor raised over $5,400,000.  Brat spent 122,000.
Don't tell me polls tell outcomes or that politics is all about money.
I used to like Eric Cantor.  The House leadership lately has been fighting the will of its members and its constituency.  Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama ignoring the left wing of their party?  This establishment loss will have many, many repercussions.
3814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bret Stephens WSJ: Hillary Clinton's book invites us to forget her record on: June 10, 2014, 11:38:22 PM
A diplomatic record she "came to regret"...

Hillary Clinton will likely be the next president of the United States, and why not? We live in an age of choreographed reality, and hers is among the most choreographed of lives. Also, an age of the triumph of symbol over substance and narrative over fact; an age that demonstrates the power of the contention that truth matters only to the extent people want it to matter. Mrs. Clinton's career is testimony to these things as well.

Which brings me to the subject of her book.

I obtained an advance copy of "Hard Choices," her latest doorstop of a memoir, and started reading it before its publication Tuesday. There she is, bitterly regretting her vote to authorize the war in Iraq. There she is again, standing by her actions during the Benghazi debacle, insisting on the relevance of the "Innocence of Muslims" video.

Elsewhere we find her equivocating over her opposition to the Iraq surge (which, as we learned from Robert Gates's memoir "Duty," she privately admitted was purely political), or allowing that the Obama administration's decision to stand silent over the stolen 2009 Iranian revolution was something she "came to regret."

Addressing the Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco, April 8. ASSOCIATED PRESS
And so on. But to go point-by-point through the prose would be to miss the book's true purpose. Like Victorian children who were supposed to be seen but not heard, this is a book that is supposed to be bought but not read, discussed but not examined, excerpted but not critiqued.

In fact, it's not really a book at all. It is an artifact containing printed words, an event conveying political seriousness. Perhaps it could have been written at half its length (635 pages) with twice the interest. But that would have made it easier to read from start to finish, defeating its own purpose of being big and therefore, presumably, weighty. Ceci n'est pas une pipe, wrote (or painted) René Magritte. Just so with "Hard Choices": Ceci n'est pas un livre.

How then, are we supposed to understand the memoir?

Surely it isn't about the money. Her publishers at Simon & Schuster are reported to have paid a $14 million advance for "Hard Choices," a nice raise from the $8 million she got for her first memoir, "Living History." After taxes and ghostwriting expenses (in the acknowledgments, Mrs. Clinton credits her "book team" for "making sense of my scribbles") the fee isn't so eye-popping.

Surely it isn't about the story, either. Dean Acheson, Harry Truman's secretary of state, told the riveting tale of how the Cold War began—and how the U.S. organized itself to fight it—in "Present at the Creation." George Shultz told the inside story of how the Reagan administration won the Cold War in "Turmoil and Triumph." Probably the best of the diplomatic genre, at least from a literary point of view, are the first two volumes of Henry Kissinger's memoirs, "White House Years" and "Years of Upheaval."

These books are important not (or not merely) as personal testimonies or historical documents. They describe the complex process by which a diplomat pursues great aims under the concrete pressure of events using the cumbersome mechanisms of government. They are arguments for policy and manuals for statesmanship.

Mrs. Clinton, by contrast, doesn't really have a story to tell: Her book is an assemblage of anecdotes, organized geographically, held together by no overarching theme, or underlying analysis, or ultimate accomplishment. In April she was asked to name her proudest achievements as secretary. She fumbled for an answer, as well she might. There are none.

Nor, finally, is it about the argument. What is Mrs. Clinton's version of Acheson's containment, or Mr. Kissinger's triangular diplomacy, or Mr. Shultz's muscular idealism? Perhaps it's what she used to call "smart power," a phrase that is more of an intellectual conceit than a foreign-policy concept. Calling your diplomacy smart doesn't make it smart. Saying isn't showing. And showing off isn't doing.

Which brings me back to the real purpose of the book.

However one feels about Mrs. Clinton, she was the least consequential secretary of state since William Rogers warmed the seat in the early years of the Nixon administration. This is mainly the fault of the president for whom Mrs. Clinton worked, and of the White House hacks who had the larger hand in setting the tone and shape of foreign policy. Most everyone knows this, and most everyone doesn't want to admit it. So in place of a record we have a book.

Then again, Mrs. Clinton has, prospectively, the most consequential future of any secretary since James Buchanan (the last of her predecessors to become president). How does she secure her ambition?

There is a Platonic dialogue, the "Phaedrus," which observes that the surest way to forget is to write it down. Preferably in minute detail, at extravagant length. If there's a book you can consult, no need to remember it for yourself. "You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding," warns Socrates, "and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom."

Mrs. Clinton has produced a book that asks us to forget her tenure as secretary of state. It's going to be a blockbuster.
3815  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: blue state inequality on: June 09, 2014, 04:45:31 PM
It's not a bug, it's a feature.

a. Elect us because of income inequality.
b. Dems win, Inequality gets worse.
c. Elect/re-elect us because of income inequality.
d. Inequality gets worse yet.
e. repeat
f. repeat.
g. repeat
z. people finally catch on?
It is a familiar formula:
Elect us because of poverty.
We win and our policies cause poverty to worsen and become permanent.
Worst case scenario for Democratic strategist:
Republicans are the party of the wealthy.
Republicans win and open economic freedom to everyone.
Everyone who wants to - succeeds.  Fewer and fewer people need the party of bloated government.

3816  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury caught reading the forum? on: June 09, 2014, 04:34:23 PM
"The real problem with Europe has nothing to do with money. It has to do with heavy labor regulations, high tax rates, government spending, and excessive redistribution." ...
"Using central banks to fix problems caused by fiscal mistakes just creates bigger problems. Negative interest rates are just such a policy."

Reminds me of points people here have been making about US monetary policy:
"It isn't a Monetary Problem"
3817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: June 09, 2014, 04:24:05 PM
Me too, but I fear
a) he tends to be tone deaf on certain issues; STRONGLY intellectual he tends to be weak on communicating with those who use emotion as their dominant modality.
b) complete lack of executive experience
c) apparently not much time or thought over time to international issues.

Agree on all three.  He will connect emotionally just fine with people that start on his side.  The biggest question I have for all of them is who will rise up with the charisma (and emotion) to lead with our principles and connect with people who used to vote differently, moderate or liberal.  We need to change millions of hearts and minds, not just eek out one win while the opponent is down.  You have to bring the people with you to pass )or repeal) legislation even if you win the Presidency, House and Senate.

Ted Cruz is an extremely valuable asset even if he never rises above Senator - and his influence goes up every time we send him another like-minded Senator - or President.
3818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Blue State Path Brings Greater Inequality on: June 09, 2014, 10:07:45 AM
Stephen Moore, Heritage

For those in Washington obsessed with reducing income inequality, the standard prescription involves raising taxes on the well-to-do, increasing the minimum wage, and generally expanding government benefits—the policies characterizing liberal, blue-state governance. If only America took a more “progressive” approach, the thinking goes, leaving behind conservative, red-state priorities like keeping taxes low and encouraging business, fairness would sprout across the land.

Among the problems with that view, one is particularly surprising: The income gap between rich and poor tends to be wider in blue states than in red states. Our state-by-state analysis finds that the more liberal states whose policies are supposed to promote fairness have a bigger gap between higher and lower incomes than do states that have more conservative, pro-growth policies.

The Gini coefficient, a standard measure of income inequality, calculates the ratio of income at the top of the income scale relative to the income of those at the bottom. The higher the ratio, the more inequality. A Gini coefficient of zero means perfect equality of income and a Gini coefficient of one represents perfect inequality, such as if one person has all the income.

The measure has some obvious flaws: If everyone is doing better but some get richer at a faster pace, the Gini coefficient will increase, and so rising prosperity and economic progress will look like retrogression. Still we used it in our analysis, since it is the favorite measure among advocates of greater equality and the stick used to beat free markets. Conveniently, the U.S. Census Bureau annually calculates the Gini coefficient for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to 2012 Census Bureau data (the latest available figures), the District of Columbia, New York, Connecticut, Mississippi and Louisiana have the highest measure of income inequality of all the states; Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, Hawaii and New Hampshire have the lowest Gini coefficients. The three places that are most unequal—Washington, D.C., New York and Connecticut—are dominated by liberal policies and politicians. Four of the five states with the lowest Gini coefficients—Wyoming, Alaska, Utah and New Hampshire—are generally red states.

In the Northeast, the state with the lowest Gini coefficient is New Hampshire (.430), which has no income tax and a lower overall state tax burden than that of its much more liberal neighbors Massachusetts (Gini coefficient .480) and Vermont (.439). Texas is often regarded as an unregulated Wild West of winner-take-all-capitalism, while California is held up as the model of progressive government. Yet Texas has a lower Gini coefficient (.477) and a lower poverty rate (20.5%) than California (Gini coefficient .482, poverty rate 25.8%).

Do the 19 states with minimum wages above the $7.25 federal minimum have lower income inequality? Sorry, no. States with a super minimum wage like Connecticut ($8.70), California ($8), New York ($8) and Vermont ($8.73) have significantly wider gaps between rich and poor than those states that don’t.

What about welfare benefits? A Cato Institute report, “The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013,” measured the value of all welfare benefits by state in 2012. In general, the higher the benefit package, the higher the Gini coefficient. States with high income-tax rates aren’t any more equal than states with no income tax. The Gini coefficient measures pretax, not after-tax income, and it does not count most sources of noncash welfare benefits. Still, there is little evidence over time that progressive policies reduce income inequality.

To be clear, our findings do not show that state redistributionist policies cause more income inequality. But they do suggest that raising tax rates or the minimum wage fail to achieve greater equality and may make income gaps wider.

Here is why we believe these income redistribution policies fail. The two of us have spent more than 25 years examining why some states grow much faster than others. The conclusion is nearly inescapable that liberal policy prescriptions—especially high income-tax rates and the lack of a right-to-work law—make states less prosperous because they chase away workers, businesses and capital.

Northeastern states and now California are being economically bled to death by their pro-growth rivals, especially in the South. Toyota didn’t leave California for Texas for the weather. The latest IRS report on interstate migration provides further confirmation: The states that lost the most taxpayers (as a percent of their population) were Illinois, New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

When politicians get fixated on closing income gaps rather than creating an overall climate conducive to prosperity, middle- and lower-income groups suffer most and income inequality rises. The past five years are a case in point. Though a raft of President Obama’s policies—such as expanding the earned-income tax credit and food stamps, and extending unemployment benefits—have been designed to more fairly distribute wealth, inequality has unambiguously risen on his watch. Those at the top have seen gains, especially from the booming stock market, while middle-class real incomes have fallen by about $1,800 since the recovery started in June 2009.

This is a reversal from the 1980s and ’90s when almost all income groups enjoyed gains. The Gini coefficient for the United States has risen in each of the last three years and was higher in 2012 (.476) than when George W. Bush left office (.469 in 2008), though Mr. Bush was denounced for economic policies, especially on taxes, that allegedly favored “the rich.”

Our view is that John F. Kennedy had it right that a rising tide lifts all boats. It would be better for low- and middle-income Americans if growth and not equality became the driving policy goal in the states and in Washington, D.C.
3819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate: Economic Freedom vs. greater govt powers on: June 09, 2014, 09:23:54 AM
Mortgages are already highly regulated by government and 90+% of them have government backing.  Yet...  
The originator, appraiser, servicer and master servicer have no interest in seeing the loan succeed and the investors have no power to act.  Every key player in the process has either an upside down incentive or is powerless to act.

The government's 'solution' to the foreclosure crisis has been to delay and stall off the solution, the foreclosure process, making it harder and harder for the lender to recover the securing asset from the defaulted loan.  

I forget the exact timing but a friend of mine lived in his house maybe 4 years after he quit paying.  This is because of tangled up rules coming out of government, state, federal and local, not lender choice.  The no consequences environment didn't help him either.  He was just trying to quit an over-borrowed situation.

Not all upside down owners paid too much for their property.  Some borrowed it up after the fact.  In either case, these were consensual transactions, even the foreclosure clause is consensual.  Takings are not.

The best way to get new loans made is to secure the loans; that is the point of a mortgage and the mortgage industry, as opposed to unsecured loans.  But a loan is not secured if the lender cannot repossess the property in a timely manner before it is destroyed.  And as pp suggests in the macro sense, these lenders can't repossess even before the city is destroyed.

The answer to government power gone awry is not to give the government far greater power, to right many wrongs with more and more wrongs.  Like Crafty, I don't buy it.  The way you fix it is to simplify the rules, clean up the existing laws.  If you don't meet the terms of your mortgage, you lose your home.  The law should allow a reasonable delay to clear up misunderstandings, check lost in mail, give a short time to find a different funding source, but not years and years of delays.

Defaulted loans and foreclosed properties are part of a continuous correction that keep the market at market value.  It is a positive thing that makes widespread home ownership possible.  A market prevented from correcting is not a market.  It is a quagmire.

This takings idea is made 'legal' by the Supreme Court Kelo decision.  It was a wrongly decided, 5-4 decision.  Public taking for private use unconstitutional and wrong.  As Crafty suggests, local governments are not smarter than free markets and Nazi-Soviet-style central planning is not better than free people making free choices.  Let's just go back to what worked before all the government over-meddling.

One example of where public taking for private use did not work out is the Kelo property in New London.

Eminent domain by definition does not pay the amount that a willing seller and a willing agree to, fair market value.  

When cities start taking up properties in default to 'improve' neighborhoods, they will not limit their takings to defaulted properties.

A mortgage with a right to take back the property in the event of default is a contract.  Places where ordinary contracts are not enforceable are called third world countries.  Yes, I would include Detroit and Obama's vision for America in that category.

Where in the constitution does it say government shall not take private property for other than compelling public use?  Perhaps in the 9th, 5th and 2nd amendments.
3820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: June 07, 2014, 11:50:53 PM
Thanks.  We aren't very far apart on any of this. 
3821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Federal Reserve... on: June 07, 2014, 05:53:48 PM
Absolutely I advocate eliminating the Federal Reserve.  It's nothing more than a legalized cartel that steals wantonly from American citizens at will. This country's economy ran just fine without it up until 1913, and there was actually much less volatility, and MUCH less debt - as the Fed by definition incentivizes the creation of massive amounts of debt.  This way - Congress doesn't have to raise taxes nearly as much to fund its wild spending sprees.

And yes - fiat money needs to be eliminated as well.  At the very least - a gold standard needs to be re-introduced, and it needs to have teeth.  Otherwise we are at the mercy of international bankers who will create money as they see fit to manipulate markets and economies.  This is where we are at now - and we're about to reap the whirlwind...

The Founders also understood that ancient Rome faced the same dilemma before its collapse, as their coinage had been debased to the point where it was virtually worthless by the Emperors.  They steadily reduced the amount of precious metals in the coins until rampant inflation occurred in the general marketplace.

I am with you in spirit, but see a different way forward.  Unlike putting toothpaste back in a tube, reforming the mission of the Fed is do-able, right now, eliminating the Fed is not.

The US inflation rate is currently 2%:
We target it to be no less than 1%.  It averaged 3.33 Percent from 1914 until 2014.  It could be targeted lower - today - and we could hit lower targets if we were not trying to solve non-monetary problems with monetary tools and QE nonsense.  We could require the Treasury to borrow funds (sell T-bills) in advance of all deficit spending checks issued eliminating the need for QE (currency flooding).  We could pass a balanced budget amendment with a percent of GDP spending limit in it easier than closing the Fed IMHO and that would remove the need for the Fed to behave the way it is.

Without changing the current structure, the Fed could and should be targeting the value of the dollar to keep the price level stable for a basket of goods with the price of gold having the heaviest weight of all goods and commodities tracked.

Making every dollar including electronic dollars and all our "fiat currency" convertible to gold or made of gold, after all this inflating, is easier said than done.  For one thing, we don't even know how many dollars (or measure anything else accurately) we have and if we did, it changes every second.

Quite a few complex functions go on down at the 12 districts of the Federal Reserve Bank.  My experience was at the 9th District; Hermann Cain's was Chairman of the 8th.   How do I say this delicately.  You are trying to accomplish something that has 1% support right while we fail to accomplish things that have 60% support.  Herman Cain did not propose elimination of the Fed.  Is he too liberal, or part of the Cartel?  I don't think so.  He thought cutting 2/3 of the federal income tax, even on the rich, in the middle of the Obama years, would be easier to achieve!
3822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: June 06, 2014, 04:28:57 PM
Do you propose to eliminate the Federal Reserve and eliminate paper and electronic money? If so, good luck.
3823  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Seven-minute history of the Federal Reserve System... on: June 06, 2014, 10:32:10 AM
Worth watching and sharing with those who are ignorant about the Fed:

Plenty is wrong over at the Fed but the video is misleading in many ways. 

They find the name 'Federal Reserve"  deceptive, but the motto "In God We Trust" implies an even larger backing... 

One feature of the Federal Reserve that always seems to get overlooked in these attacks is that the Federal Reserve returns the profit it makes to the Treasury.

Another overlooked feature is that the selection of the people running it is a process nearly the same as Judiciary / Supreme Court selections (though not lifetime appointments).  Indirect control is intentional!  What is the alternative they propose that is better?

Conspiracy is implied at the founding but it is bankers who know banking.  Should the Federal Reserve Act have been drawn up by plumbers, electricians or a random cross-section like a jury?  The Act was passed by the elected representatives, and not repealed in all those years.
The video does not address the largest problems IMHO, such as the Humphrey-Hawkins Act, where lawmakers assigned the Fed a "dual mandate" making them believe they are in charge of "full employment", something well beyond its control that greatly weakens their real mandate which is to manage a stable and reliable money supply.  This is what politicians did in their 1970s economic wisdom and still have not repealed.  Other changes in direction came earlier in the 70s, Friday the 13th in August 1971:  Those were your elected officials acting.

The video implies that running the money supply at arms length from politicians is worse than giving Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Ford-Bush-Dole et al direct control.  Really?  Do we want it run more like the V.A.?

The Fed under Yellen (and Bernancke etc.) is being run the way the politicians who chose them want it run.  A change of direction could easily be done within the current Federal Reserve system if that mandate came from the people through their representatives.  As simple as passing Humphrey Hawkins, a new Act could repeal the dual mandate, or prohibit QE activities and things like covering deficit spending without borrowing, bailing out uninsured non-financials, and other irresponsible activities.  No eery, conspiratorial music, just a change of direction coming out of new, elected, national leadership.
3824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 06, 2014, 09:20:31 AM
You make a good argument.  My position one can never underestimate the Clinton machine.   No matter how unbelievably dishonest Bill would be, let alone her, they would always manage to weasel out of trouble still on their feet.   shocked

I would like to place some heavy duty wagers with you:
1)  If she doesn't run I buy dinner.  If she does I get a dinner.
2)  If she doesn't win the Democratic nomination I buy lunch.  If she does you buy  lunch.
3) If she wins the Presidency I get breakfast.   IF not you do.

Okay, you're on.  But if Hillary wins the Presidency, as GM alludes, we may be in the bunker eating the end of the canned food.  My treat!

At the end of this ordeal I hope we can close the thread while the Clintons ride off quietly off into the night never to be heard from again.

Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow, ...
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone. 
3825  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interesting interview w Putin (check out comments on Hillary) on: June 05, 2014, 02:20:19 PM

Spoiler alert.

" It’s better not to argue with women. But Ms Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements. Still, we always met afterwards and had cordial conversations at various international events. I think even in this case we could reach an agreement. When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman."
"Someday I will indulge myself and we will laugh together at some good joke. But when I hear such extreme statements[comparing Russia now to Hitler in the 1930s], to me it only means that they don’t have any valid arguments."
3826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glib Hostage Negotiations on: June 05, 2014, 02:14:20 PM
Paraphrasing Glibness logic:

It is okay to negotiate with terrorists because "the war is over".  This what nations do at the end of wars.

But of course this war isn't over.  No one won.  No one lost.  We just quit.  It was part of a larger war which is most certainly not over, whether you call it the war on terror or the war waged against us by Islamo-fascist Terror Jihad.

If we leave, no one will target our troops in Afghanistan ever again.  Good grief, how far and wide do they have to look across the globe to find a target as high in value as PFC Deserter?  They could take one American anywhere in the world and demand any number of terror combatants  released from Guantanamo anytime they want to.

The only leverage Obama has left is that he was going to release them all anyway.
3827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary Rodham Clinton for President, wisdom from failure on: June 05, 2014, 12:52:47 PM
"My cover all bases prediction was that she will not run, won't win the Dem nomination if she runs and won't win the Presidency if she runs and is nominated"
Well you do make three predictions here.
How are you so sure?
'Inside info' you can share here?

Yes, there is some hedging there with the 3 predictions.   wink
I am only certain that she is not a great politician and this is not great timing for her to achieve her (disappearing) dream.  If Obama approval was at 60%, healthcare was roaring, the plowhorse was in a canter, and people were demanding more, she would be the gal.

On paper, to a Dem, she has a perfect resume.  Executive, Legislative, and Foreign Policy experience.  She was co-President during a rather successful administration.  She served in the US Senate.  She ws Secretary of State.  She is a woman.  And she leads in ALL polls!

But a resume is not a list of titles held.  It is the basis for a discussion about what you accomplished in the roles that you had.  Each of these is loaded with problems.  She wasn't really co-President.  The part they gave to her she bungled.  Her husband didn't grow the economy - until he partnered with a Republican congress.  Even before that he ran as a split with the politically failed left.  She won her Senate seat in the yellowest of yellow states. (Formerly called Blue)  And did it as a sitting First Lady, the easiest place to get an approval rating up.  She accomplished nothing positive in the Senate.  She has already run for President as certain frontrunner and people on her own side ran away from her. Her Sec of State record is loaded with ALL kinds of problems, and those WILL be scrutinized.  First female President would be more exciting if it was not right after first half-Black President. Also someone a little more feminine... ?!   But we are electing a President and policy direction, not a portrait.  Issues will be front and center, the economy and the dangerous world.  She can't perfectly triangulate a serious split with Obama while needing and securing all of his help.  At some point they will say F-U.  We don't even know that Bill won't undercut her too.  The age and health thing is real  in terms of energy (and look), if not real problems.  The rising crop of Republicans are in their early 40s.  The job of running all these functions of government is grueling.  She didn't even stay up for Benghazi.

She got popular by stepping away from the day to day issues.  She wins early polls with name recognition.  Her own publicists can't name her achievements other than holding high posts, traveling great distances and knowing many names.  The campaign is harder than that and more and more missteps will come up.  Example today, she favors the Taliban deal?!  Any chance she will shrink away from that in the next 2 years?  Not based on hard facts already known but based on public reaction that she TOTALLY misjudged.

As a Republican I would be far more afraid of another unknown Democratic outsider from across the heartland emerging with any charisma who can draw a distinction between themselves and the Democratic past.  (I see Hickenlooper leading in Colo again.)  Bill Clinton didn't come to the Presidency as a frontrunner.  He had no chance of the nomination until Mario Cuomo stepped out and they were left with something more like the 1988 seven dwarfs again.  Paul Tsongas, Bob Kerrey?

Mostly I have an optimism that America, including some core Dem constituency groups, will figure this out - eventually.  Without that blind and maybe stupid optimism it is hard to care or go on.
3828  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The war on the rule of law on: June 05, 2014, 11:45:22 AM

That is why he went around Congress, not some unknown health issue.  

The Framers had it wrong on checks and balances.  As he has clearly and directly said, I will go through Congress when they agree with me and go around them otherwise.  

The law he signed was unconstitutional and the release was illegal.  Who cares, right?  No consequence.  It's not like we're a nation of laws.  Yes, he cannot be impeached; iImpeachment like everything else including the Court is political.

Cap and Trade was also rejected by congress and a Dem Senate:
17 years and 9 months counting with no warming:

But the planet cannot wait for Congress, checks and balances or consent of the governed!
3829  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Elizabeth Warren and Thomas Piketty on: June 05, 2014, 10:51:07 AM
Together in Boston, a dream event for the silent leftists on the forum:

Described here on National Review for the rest of us:
3830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: (Hillary) It's official on: June 05, 2014, 10:18:24 AM
Cover of People.  


her marriage
grandmother status
sleeping in to 8 AM
so involved
time to break the highest glass ceiling
post more botox and a quarter inch of makeup
saving the elephants
getting to know her [again]
the real Hillary behind the scenes
and of course an "oh my gosh"

Yes - it appears to be on.  That's how you sell books.  This book is meaningless but the money beats working for a living.  The next book will be the blueprint for her Presidency if she is running.

The deadline for not running is coming up shortly - after the book revenue runs its course,  after the midterms in November, about the same time Hillary becomes a Grandma.  

The Oh my "Gosh" statement (more likely uttered with f-words) was that they couldn't believe they could just sit and watch TV, OMG!  That's the image on sale here, just Bill and Hill together snuggling up watching TV - like the walk on the beach after Monica.  I'm visualizing more of a living room war-room where both have staff bustling around, Bill's mostly young and busty, and Hillary with Huma and some focus group managers going over the Obamanomic plowhorse damage demographic by demographic, and the TV in the background

My cover all bases prediction was that she will not run, won't win the Dem nomination if she runs and won't win the Presidency if she runs and is nominated.  Looking wrong on all counts, but I stand by it.  

The 2016 table is getting set with Obama scandal and malaise fatigue along with recurring Hillary-fatigue, while the opposition is poised to sweep the 2014 elections and enter with fresh faces and fresh ideas for 2016.  She will need to separate herself from Obama, on the past and on policy, without pissing him off because she will need his complete cooperation to have a chance - of all his staff and his magical Get Out The Vote operation right while she is separating herself.  She needs to sound like him, hope and change, the first fill in a different blank President, the winning formula, and yet not sound like him or govern like him.  More like Pelosi, we need a woman to clean up the House, how is that going?  And she will need Bill disciplined on a short leash, mostly quiet, but ready to pull off his magic from time to time because she is a run of the mill politician without him.  Two for the price of one?  Again?  Meanwhile, aging and health issues are plaguing both of them.  The end of 8 years of a (hypothetic) Hillary administration is 34 years after the start of the 1992 campaign and 48 years after being 'elected' First Lady of Arkansas.  They were the new generation, full of excitement and promise.  Still true?  I don't think so.

Washington Post poll today, 55% say Obama made America weaker.  When George H.W.Bush followed two terms of Reagan, the implication was 'stay the course'.   Good luck with that in 2016!
3831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: CNN analyst: Baraq broke law on: June 04, 2014, 05:44:26 PM
Two Americans walked off their post in the POW scandal, one in Afghanistan in 2009 and one in the Oval Office this week.
3832  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The March Toward A Global Currency... on: June 04, 2014, 05:36:43 PM
It's only a matter of time before the US Dollar loses its global reserve status. ...

Unless sane people take back America first.
3833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / THE SETTLED SCIENCE OF POLAR BEARS on: June 03, 2014, 03:06:16 PM
Leftists decided that their global warming scam needed a poster child, and polar bears were selected for that honor. For some years now we have been exposed to mournful photographs of polar bears floating away on ice floes, or otherwise appearing endangered:

The theory on which polar bears are supposed to be endangered because their environment is becoming more benign has never been entirely clear, nor has there been data to support the claim that their populations are declining. Indeed, polar bears inhabit such remote and forbidding regions that no one has much idea how many of them there are. But no matter. Polar bears are cuddly–from a distance, anyway–and so they served the hoaxers’ purpose.

Like so much of the global warming fraud, the polar bear theme has unraveled. Thomas Lifson has the latest. A prominent advocate for the endangered polar bear theory has just admitted to an actual scientist that he made the whole thing up:

[P]olar bear scientist Dr. Susan Crockford…publishes the website Polar Bear Science. In it she documents how a scientist responsible for an alarmist lowball estimate of polar bear population is backing away from numbers that she has been questioning:

Last week (May 22), I received an unsolicited email from Dr. Dag Vongraven, the current chairman of the IUCN [International Union for the Conservation of Nature – TL] Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG).

The email from Vongraven began this way:

Dr. Crockford

Below you’ll find a footnote that will accompany a total polar bear population size range in the circumpolar polar bear action plan that we are currently drafting together with the Parties to the 1973 Agreement. This might keep you blogging for a day or two. [my bold]

It appears the PBSG have come to the realization that public outrage (or just confusion) is brewing over their global population estimates and some damage control is perhaps called for. Their solution — bury a statement of clarification within their next official missive….

The statement of clarification is an Emily Litella classic: oops, never mind!

Here is the statement that the PBSG proposes to insert as a footnote in their forthcoming Circumpolar Polar Bear Action Plan draft:
“As part of past status reports, the PBSG has traditionally estimated a range for the total number of polar bears in the circumpolar Arctic. Since 2005, this range has been 20-25,000. It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand. It is also important to note that even though we have scientifically valid estimates for a majority of the subpopulations, some are dated. Furthermore, there are no abundance estimates for the Arctic Basin, East Greenland, and the Russian subpopulations. Consequently, there is either no, or only rudimentary, knowledge to support guesses about the possible abundance of polar bears in approximately half the areas they occupy. Thus, the range given for total global population should be viewed with great caution as it cannot be used to assess population trend over the long term.” [my bold]

I love that phrase, “in a scientific sense.” Nothing about the claims made by the global warming hysterics should be taken in a scientific sense.

For a more comprehensive review of the polar bear fraud, along with many other topics, check out the Congressional testimony of Daniel Botkin, Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at UC Santa Barbara, President of The Center for The Study of The Environment, and author of Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the 21st Century and the textbook Environmental Science:

Some of the [IPCC's 2014 report's] conclusions are the opposite of those given in articles cited in defense of those conclusions.

For example, the IPCC 2014 Terrestrial Ecosystem Report states that “there is medium confidence that rapid change in the Arctic is affecting its animals. For example, seven of 19 subpopulations of the polar bear are declining in number” citing in support of this an article by Vongraven and Richardson, 2011. That report states the contrary, that the “decline” is an illusion.

In addition, I have sought the available counts of the 19 subpopulations. Of these, only three have been counted twice; the rest have been counted once. Thus no rate of changes in the populations can be determined. The first count was done in 1986 for one subpopulation.

The U. S. Marine Mammal Commission, charged with the conservation of this species, acknowledges “Accurate estimates of the current and historic sizes of polar bear stocks are difficult to obtain for several reasons–the species‘ inaccessible habitat, the movement of bears across international boundaries, and the costs of conducting surveys.”

According to Dr. Susan Crockford, “out of the 13 populations for which some kind of data exist, five populations are now classified by the PBSG [IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group] as ‘stable’ (two more than 2009), one is still increasing, and three have been upgraded from ‘declining’ to ‘data deficient’. . . . That leaves four that are still considered ‘declining’‐ two of those judgments are based primarily on concerns of overhunting, and one is based on a statistically insignificant decline that may not be valid and is being reassessed (and really should have been upgraded to ‘data deficient’). That leaves only one population – Western Hudson Bay – where PBSG biologists tenaciously blame global warming for all changes to polar bear biology, and even then, the data supporting that conclusion is still not available.”

To anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the Earth’s history, the suggestion that polar bears are threatened by a change in the planet’s average temperature of a degree or two–or five or six, if we pretend that the climateers’ models have any scientific basis–is ludicrous. Polar bears have been around, I suppose, for millions of years. Yet, in just the last 450,000 years–practically the blink of an eye–polar bears have lived through climate changes far more drastic than anything now predicted by the fraudsters:

I think that to the extent the climate hysterics are able to fool anyone, it is largely because most people have no idea of the natural variability of the Earth’s climate.
3834  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Inequality - from transactions of mutual benefit on: June 03, 2014, 02:58:39 PM
The Little Miracle Spurring Inequality
Extreme leaps in innovation, like the invention of the microprocessor, bring with them staggering fortunes.

Updated June 2, 2014 7:35 p.m. ET
Judging by the Forbes 400 list, the richest people in America have been getting richer very quickly. In 1982, the first year of the list, there were only 13 billionaires on it. A net worth of $75 million was enough to earn a spot. The 2013 list has nothing but billionaires, with $1.3 billion as the cutoff. Sixty-one American billionaires aren't rich enough to make the list.

Many regard this as a serious problem, seeing the development of a plutocracy dominating the American economy through the sheer power of its wealth. The French economist Thomas Piketty, in his new book "Capital in the 21st Century," calls for an 80% tax on incomes over $250,000 and a 2% annual tax on net worth in order to prevent an excessive concentration of wealth.

That is a monumentally bad idea.

The great growth of fortunes in recent decades is not a sinister development. Instead it is simply the inevitable result of an extraordinary technological innovation, the microprocessor, which Intel brought to market in 1971. Seven of the 10 largest fortunes in America today were built on this technology, as have been countless smaller ones. These new fortunes unavoidably result in wealth being more concentrated at the top.

But no one is poorer because Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, et al., are so much richer. These new fortunes came into existence only because the public wanted the products and services—and lower prices—that the microprocessor made possible. Anyone who has found his way home thanks to a GPS device or has contacted a child thanks to a cellphone appreciates the awesome power of the microprocessor. All of our lives have been enhanced and enriched by the technology.

This sort of social transformation has happened many times before. Whenever a new technology comes along that greatly reduces the cost of a fundamental input to the economy, or makes possible what had previously been impossible, there has always been a flowering of great new fortunes—often far larger than those that came before. The technology opens up many new economic niches, and entrepreneurs rush to take advantage of the new opportunities.

The full-rigged ship that Europeans developed in the 15th century, for instance, was capable of reaching the far corners of the globe. Soon gold and silver were pouring into Europe from the New World, and a brisk trade with India and the East Indies sprang up. The Dutch exploited the new trade so successfully that the historian Simon Schama entitled his 1987 book on this period of Dutch history "The Embarrassment of Riches."

Or consider work-doing energy. Before James Watt's rotary steam engine, patented in 1781, only human and animal muscles, water mills and windmills could supply power. But with Watt's engine it was suddenly possible to input vast amounts of very-low-cost energy into the economy. Combined with the factory system of production, the steam engine sparked the Industrial Revolution, causing growth—and thus wealth as well as job creation—to sharply accelerate.

By the 1820s so many new fortunes were piling up that the English social critic John Sterling was writing, "Wealth! Wealth! Wealth! Praise to the God of the 19th century! The Golden Idol! The mighty Mammon!" In 1826 the young Benjamin Disraeli coined the word millionaire to denote the holders of these new industrial fortunes.

Transportation is another fundamental input. But before the railroad, moving goods overland was extremely, and often prohibitively, expensive. The railroad made it cheap. Such fortunes as those of the railroad-owning Vanderbilts, Goulds and Harrimans became legendary for their size.

The railroad also made possible many great fortunes that had nothing, directly, to do with railroads at all. The railroads made national markets possible and thus huge economies of scale—to the benefit of everyone at every income level. Many merchandising fortunes, such as F.W. Woolworth's five-and-dime, could not have happened without the cheap and quick transportation of goods.

Many of the new fortunes in America's Gilded Age in the late 19th century were based on petroleum, by then inexpensive and abundant thanks to Edwin Drake's drilling technique. Steel, suddenly made cheap thanks to the Bessemer converter, could now have a thousand new uses. Oil and steel, taken together, made the automobile possible. That produced still more great fortunes, not only in car manufacturing, but also in rubber, glass, highway construction and such ancillary industries.

Today the microprocessor, the most fundamental new technology since the steam engine, is transforming the world before our astonished eyes and inevitably creating huge new fortunes in the process.

To see how fundamental the microprocessor—a dirt-cheap computer on a chip—is, do a thought experiment. Imagine it's 1970 and someone pushes a button causing every computer in the world to stop working. The average man on the street won't have noticed anything amiss until his bank statement failed to come in at the end of the month. Push that button today and civilization collapses in seconds. Cars don't run, phones don't work, the lights go out, planes can't land or take off. That is all because the microprocessor is now found in nearly everything more complex than a pencil.

The number of new economic niches created by cheap computing power is nearly limitless. Opportunities in software and hardware over the past 30 years have produced many billionaires—but they're not all in Silicon Valley. The Walton family collectively is worth, according to Forbes, $144.7 billion, thanks to the world's largest retail business. But Wal-Mart couldn't exist without the precise inventory controls that the microprocessor makes possible.

The "income disparity" between the Waltons and the patrons of their stores is as pronounced as critics complain, but then again the lives of countless millions of Wal-Mart shoppers have been materially enriched by the stores' staggering array of affordable goods.

Just as the railroad, the most important secondary technology of the steam engine, produced many new fortunes, the Internet is producing enormous numbers of them, from the likes of Amazon, Facebook  and Twitter.   When Twitter went public last November, it created about 1,600 newly minted millionaires.

Any attempt to tax away new fortunes in the name of preventing inequality is certain to have adverse effects on further technology creation and niche exploitation by entrepreneurs—and harm job creation as a result. The reason is one of the laws of economics: Potential reward must equal the risk or the risk won't be taken.

And the risks in any new technology are very real in the highly competitive game that is capitalism. In 1903, 57 automobile companies opened for business in this country, hoping to exploit the new technology. Only the Ford Motor Co. survived the Darwinian struggle to succeed. As Henry Ford's fortune grew to dazzling levels, some might have decried it, but they also should have rejoiced as he made the automobile affordable for everyman.

Mr. Gordon is the author of "An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power" (HarperCollins, 2004).
3835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: June 03, 2014, 02:41:37 PM
Thank you Obj for making an empirical case for what I have been saying is deductively obvious.

1) Start with Milton Friedman's bumper sticker,  MV=PQ   [Money Supply, Velocity, Price Level, Total Output]

2) Price level P have been amazingly constant.

3) Total output Q is extremely flat with real growth almost exactly at zero.

4) Therefore MV Money Supply M times Velocity V has also been constant, while the money supply M has been exploding by something like 3/4 Trillion dollars per year.  Pathetically low Velocity is the only explanation for what we are seeing.

Obamanomics has brought us the worst, standstill economic velocity in our lifetime.  And it won't get better, Brian Wesbury, until we undo some of the destructive policies that are the cause.

Another monetary point: our monetary policy is not just enabling, but CAUSING our deficit spending.  While everyone else argues that fiscal policy causes the need for monetary expansion.  I believe that if not for irresponsible accommodation by the Fed, we would not be spending anywhere near this far beyond our means.  Not in the later Bush years and not in the Obama Presidency.  If the US government had to borrow money at market interest rates through bond sales (borrowing) in advance of every dollar of deficit spending, the reckless spending would have been corrected in the political process - long ago, IMHO.  
3836  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: June 03, 2014, 02:03:33 PM
So, would the children of Vietnamese immigrants have to pay taxes for reparations ?

Some African Americans are white from South Africa. Some are black and descendants of slave owners or slave traders.   How about somethi8ng to white northerners whose ancestors fought to free slaves.  Recipients of reparations should have a little more slave in their blood that Faux-cahantas Warren has of Cherokee.

What we should pay are welfare reparations.  That is what did the most harm to people still in the so-called underclass.  Pay the damages and then stop doing it.
3837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Mark Mills: The Future Electric Grid on: June 02, 2014, 04:55:55 PM
Interesting piece on the grid by a qualified author.  Doesn't answer all questions or solve all challenges but makes good sense for as far as it goes.  Nuclearis  not mentioned?

"Demand for reliability is rising faster than demand for kilowatt-hours themselves."

"the entire planet’s annual production of lithium batteries for all purposes can store about five minutes worth of U.S. electric demand."

"the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts a 12 percent rise over the next decade – that will require the United States to add capacity equal to Germany’s entire current grid."

"PV costs [solar] will decline by [only] another 30 percent by 2030 — important but hardly revolutionary.

"EIA sees natural gas and coal, in almost equal shares (coal still dominates in EIA’s forecast), providing about 70 percent of electric supply a decade out. These two fuels are now in a race to the bottom in terms of price, to the benefit of consumers and ensuring a permanent, low-cost electricity future (absent meddling from policymakers) that will confer an enormous economic advantage on U.S. industries."

The Future Electric Grid

AEI Online Magazine

The Future Electric Grid
By Mark P. Mills
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Filed under: Science & Technology, Economic Policy

We hear increasingly that technology is making today’s electric utility model ‘obsolete’ and will put its companies into a ‘death spiral.’ Is it possible that so much has changed so quickly?

It was only a little more than ten years ago that a National Academy of Engineering report ranked the invention of the electric grid at the top of a list of the 20 greatest inventions of the 20th century. Not just one of the great engineering achievements, but first amongst them. The Academy ranked the Internet 13th.

Now we hear increasingly that technology is making today’s electric utility model “obsolete” and will put its companies into a “death spiral.” Is it possible that so much has changed so quickly?

Post-utility advocates point to three technologies as disrupters: photovoltaics (PV), batteries, and smart or micro grids. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), along with a conga line of venture firms in Silicon Valley, invested tens of billions of dollars in these three domains over the past half-dozen years. Volumes of analyses and claims can be summarized in three paragraphs:

Solar arrays on the roofs of homes and buildings, it is argued, will obviate central power generation, especially much-reviled coal plants, and will do so rapidly, as PV costs decline and approach “grid parity.” The Department of Energy released a report chronicling the progress, titled Solar Revolution, that inspired palpitations from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who wrote that “it’s no longer remotely true that we need to keep burning coal to satisfy electricity demand.”

It is true that the nation’s electric grid is morphing, but just not quite the way green energy proponents imagine.
Lithium battery technology, incredibly improved courtesy of the mobile Internet, we’re told will now migrate into basements of homes and buildings to store PV electricity for nights and cloudy days, obviating the grid as backup. The global proliferation of lithium-powered hybrid-electric cars is just a first step. And when Tesla recently announced plans to build a “gigafactory” that would alone produce more than all of the world’s existing lithium battery factories combined, the green-tech media erupted with excitement, claiming such economies-of-scale promise revolution, not just for electric cars, but also the grid.

Finally, third in the triad, a smart grid, in particular in the form of “micro grids,” connects everything. With far more granular and real-time information about how much, when, and where electricity is used, advocates assert that social and economic behavior will change to radically reduce energy use and further undermine utility revenues.

These three technology forces in combination, the post-utility analysts claim, will “transform the way the utility industry meets energy demand.” It is, we frequently hear, analogous to and as inevitable as the destruction of the Ma Bell landline phone model when cell phones emerged. (Apparently none who offer this analogy notice that AT&T is doing just fine, and is still a huge if differently regulated business.)

The central problem with this post-utility construct is that the physics of information and electricity are profoundly different, and render the Bell analogy meaningless. More on that shortly. First though, it is true that the nation’s electric grid is morphing, but just not quite the way green energy proponents imagine.

The need for a harder grid

Modern society is in much more urgent need of a harder grid, not so much a greener grid. Demand for reliability is rising faster than demand for kilowatt-hours themselves. Two words epitomize this new reality – Metcalfe and Sandy.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s widespread and persistent outages, federal and state policymakers called for more spending on grid resilience and recovery. And more recently, policymakers and utilities are still reacting to the fallout from learning about a terrorist-like gunfire attack on California’s Metcalf substation last year, an incident that had been kept a secret until this past spring. That attack prompted a flurry of “what if” scenarios about potential blackouts from future, similar attacks on any of the nation’s tens of thousands of substations.

Electricity powers everything people think is modern about our economy, from older but indispensable things like lights, motors, refrigerators, and air conditioners, to new technologies like the Internet, electric cars, 3D printing, and gene sequencing.
On average though, more mundane events lead to the vast majority of increasingly intolerable blackouts: car accidents, squirrels chewing through cables, and old equipment failing. The average incidence of grid outages has been rising at about 8 percent to 10 percent annually since 1990. And the duration of outages has also been rising by about 14 percent per year. (Eaton Corporation provides revealing state-by-state data and trends in their Blackout Tracker.) And then there are the rising concerns over cyber attacks on the grid – arguably one of the most critical areas, demanding increased spending and attention.

All this comes at a time of greater demand for “always on” power to keep our digital and information-centric economy humming. Electricity powers everything people think is modern about our economy, from conventional but indispensable things like lights, motors, refrigerators, and air conditioners, to new technologies like the Internet, electric cars, 3D printing, and gene sequencing.

The share of the U.S. GDP associated with information is three times bigger than the share associated with the transportation sector that moves people and stuff. The former is entirely dependent on electricity and is growing far faster than the latter, which uses oil. (For more on the Cloud’s surprising electricity appetite, see my earlier report.)

It should thus be unsurprising to learn that studies find the cost of outages, measured per kilowatt-hour, is ten to ten thousand times more than the cost of the power itself.

Even as the importance of reliability grows, the consumption of kilowatt-hours also keeps growing, despite billions invested trying to stifle that growth. U.S. electric demand today is 10 percent higher than 2001, perhaps a seemingly modest amount, but for a grid the scale of America’s this increase equals Italy’s entire annual use. For the future, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts a 12 percent rise over the next decade – that will require the United States to add capacity equal to Germany’s entire current grid.

Thus the future will not be dominated by trying to bolt more renewables onto the grid for their own sake, but in using them to meet growing demand and to add resiliency and reliability.

Technological limits

Smart grids. The key to a more resilient, flexible, and useful grid is to operate it like the Internet, which is nodal, interactive, and highly controllable. This is where “smart” meters and microgrids come in, and where solar energy and batteries play a role.

The future will not be dominated by trying to bolt more renewables onto the grid for their own sake, but in using them to meet growing demand and to add resiliency and reliability.
An Internet-like grid will know how much power is needed, when and where, and even what "flavor" of electrons some customers prefer — say, greener or cheaper. It would help moderate variations in peak demand by using software to negotiate in real-time with local and remote power sources, as well as by purchasing “avoided” power (temporarily cycling off air conditioners and refrigerators, but not computers and TVs). It would also reduce outage frequency through predictive analytics that anticipate maintenance before failures. And when failures occur, it would reduce outage duration by more rapidly locating, identifying, and optimally dispatching.

But thus far, spending on the smart grid has been dominated by smart meters that allow more granular and frequent readings and the transmission of that data to the utility, eliminating the old-fashioned meter reader. But just adding a communications feature to the meters is not deeply game-changing; it is the equivalent of installing a speedometer and gas gauge without a steering wheel and brakes. The game-changer is in controlling power.

Internet-like real-time control of power is mainly found at low power levels inside homes and buildings, not on the grid, and is unimaginatively labeled “building automation.” This is a small part of the smart-grid architecture wherein, to continue the information analogy, it is equivalent to the era of stand-alone mainframe computing before the Internet. But control of megawatt-hours, not megabytes, on big grids is a daunting technology problem.

The difference between the two power levels, controlling traffic on the Internet versus grid-power traffic, is what dictates physical material, and safety challenges. That difference is comparable to going from controlling a toy drone to a Boeing 777. Technologies are emerging that make grid-level dynamic switching and control possible, but they’ll take some time yet to get deployed. In the future you’ll hear a lot more about new classes of power transistors and semiconductors, like gallium nitride and silicon carbide, that can manage weapons-grade flows of electrons.

It’s still early days for such technology, and deployment in smart microgrids has barely begun. The country’s most successful and arguably only operational microgrid to date is on the campus of the University of California at San Diego. That 40 MW microgrid seamlessly exits the local public grid when regional demand (or prices) peak, and keeps the campus and its supercomputer lit with on-site power that includes fuel cells, solar arrays, batteries, and natural gas turbines. Notably it’s natural gas that supplies 75 percent of the on-site power.

Microgrids are a start but not the end game. To continue the information analogies, microgrids no more replace central power plants than WiFi networks replace Google’s central computing.

Photovoltaics. It is with the collapsing cost of PV cells that post-utility advocates assert we are close to the tipping point for grid and central power plant disruption.

No regulatory fiat, as exhibited notably by California policymakers implementing the nation’s only mandate for that state’s utilities to install grid-scale storage, can change the reality of simple arithmetic.
The capital cost of PVs has improved by a remarkable 200 percent in the past decade. But that rate of decline is slowing as the underlying technologies mature and physics limits are approached. (This happens to everything: aircraft engines improved more than 200 percent in their early years too, and now get better at single-digit percentages at best). Going forward, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute recently estimated that PV costs will decline by another 30 percent by 2030 — important but hardly revolutionary. And today, an unsubsidized PV array on homes and buildings, Fraunhhofer notes, produces far more expensive electricity than a central power plant.

And, it is argued, the central plant depends on a costly grid to get power to consumers. But solar needs the grid too. In order to ensure the 24-7 electric supply society demands, a PV array today uses the grid as “back-up.” But that raises questions about how to share the cost of the grid’s power plants and infrastructure, an issue regulators are struggling with in many states.

The alternative is to convert episodic on-site solar generation into “always on” power using batteries, or on-site back-up generators. The latter solution, distributing millions of small car-sized engine-driven power plants to every home or office to back up solar arrays, is not economically viable, much less sensible. It is battery technology that post-utility solar advocates hold out as the Holy Grail. Just store the electricity for when the sun’s not shining.

Batteries. Assume for the sake of argument that big batteries are cheap. Even then, a solar-only or solar-dominated system remains economically untenable. Supplying electricity all day, every day with a battery-solar combination requires, on average, buying two to three extra solar panels for every one installed in order to generate and store extra power when the sun is shining, thereby doubling or tripling system costs.

And assume again that batteries are cheap, the world would have difficulty producing enough of them to be impactful at grid levels. California policymakers apparently think otherwise, having implemented the nation’s only mandate for that state’s utilities to install grid-scale storage. Consider the reality of simple arithmetic:

All the world’s lithium battery factories collectively produce about 30 GWhr (30 billion watt-hours) of storage capacity annually. The United States alone consumes about 4,000,000 GWhr of electricity a year. Thus the entire planet’s annual production of lithium batteries for all purposes can store about five minutes worth of U.S. electric demand.

Politicians face increasing peril if their policies cause something as important as electricity to become increasingly expensive and less reliable.
As for Tesla’s putative gigafactory, if it gets built, its entire annual output adds another five minutes of U.S. grid-scale storage. And at that, Tesla batteries cost at least 500 percent more than today’s solution for providing electricity when outages or peaks happen. Reliability of supply comes from building extra power plants to have on standby, and storing gas in caverns or coal in piles adjacent to those power plants.

This reality is precisely why society-levels of reliable, affordable electricity supply is such a great engineering challenge, and why the National Academy honored that achievement. For other energy commodities (and in general, most commodities), it is technically easy and inexpensive to store several months — not minutes — of demand at any given time in order to ensure price stability and physical reliability.

Still, better battery technology will emerge in due course. But it will come from some university research lab using big data to unravel chemical mysteries, not from building bigger buildings using yesterday’s chemistry. And you can bet that the company that invents the new way to store electricity will focus on selling into the huge high-value market for powering mobile devices. That’s where battery fortunes will be made, because consumers pay $20 per kilowatt-hour to keep iPads and iPhones lit, compared to $0.20 a kWh to keep the grid lit.

And, as better, cheaper battery technology does emerge, it will be as valuable, arguably more valuable, for conventional power plants, for reasons of simple economics. One would store the cheapest electrons when they are in surplus — i.e., coal-fired electricity in surplus at night delivered on uncongested lines — to resell later when prices and grid congestion are highest, around midday. Cheap grid-scale batteries will reinforce and arbitrage a complementary role for coal and solar. Somewhat ironic perhaps.

Speaking of coal, it’s impossible to talk about the grid and not make note of the carbon and global warming issues. To tilt the field away from hydrocarbon fuels, policymakers and regulators have taken actions that increase their costs, and also subsidize non-hydrocarbon energy. But the laws of physics of energy, and laws of economic reality, cannot be ignored. Politicians face increasing peril if their policies cause something as important as electricity to become increasingly expensive and less reliable.

Today’s technological breakthroughs: Smart drilling and big data

The two technologies that are reshaping the electric grid, allowing both more resilience and reliability, are not the ones pundits and policymakers expected: smart drilling, and big data.

Smart drilling has unleashed an entirely unexpected bounty of shale gas, not only making it easier to meet rising demand, but also to ensure reliability with plenty of spare capacity, all at low cost.

The entire planet’s annual production of lithium batteries for all purposes can store about 5 minutes worth of U.S. electric demand.
Just as technology lead to a 200 percent drop in the capital needed to produce a unit of PV electricity over the past decade, so too has technology driven a similar 200 percent (and even greater) decline in capital needed to produce a unit of shale gas – but the latter has happened in the past four years, and continues.

EIA sees natural gas and coal, in almost equal shares (coal still dominates in EIA’s forecast), providing about 70 percent of electric supply a decade out. These two fuels are now in a race to the bottom in terms of price, to the benefit of consumers and ensuring a permanent, low-cost electricity future (absent meddling from policymakers) that will confer an enormous economic advantage on U.S. industries.

The other disruptor, big data analytics, is made possible by the combination of proliferating low-cost sensors, ubiquitous wireless connectivity, and the Promethean power of computing. While big data will eventually impact every sector of the economy, one of the immediate benefits that real-time analytic intelligence brings is to wring greater value out of existing supply chains and infrastructures.

For some indication of the power of big data, consider the unheralded success of the PJM ISO — the system operator for the long-distance transmission system that lies between Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C., and its new sensor, control, and big data analytics system. After bringing it on line a little more than a year ago, it not only resulted in greater reliability and hundreds of millions of dollars in operational savings, but it also increased the system’s power-carrying capacity two-fold without adding new power lines.

Tesla batteries cost at least 500 percent more than today’s solution for providing electricity when outages or peaks happen.
While it is technically more difficult to implement that architecture on the local grids — the urban roads of the grid, versus the interstates of long-distance transmission — that is what will come next. Big data will also create greater markets for solar arrays and batteries as a feature of a central-power-plant grid. While the future may lead to different kinds of companies owning some or all the pieces of the grid, it will still be a grid and for consumers it will still feel as much like a “utility.”

Still, some utility CEOs, notably NRG’s outspoken chief David Crane, believe in a post-grid world. Earlier this year, Crane said: “Think how shockingly stupid it is to build a 21st-century electric system based on 120 million wooden poles... the system from the 1930s isn’t going to work in the long term.” This is not much of an improvement over the flawed Ma Bell analogy. Today we still build furniture and houses out of wood, a system predating the Romans; we just use the same materials much more efficiently.

When the National Academy of Engineering gets around to a 21st-century retrospective, odds are that ranked as top achievements will be whatever we end up calling big data, and whatever we end up calling the technologies that unlocked the shale. And the grid, pioneered in the 20th-century, will still be around, just a lot better.

Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and CEO of the Digital Power Group.
3838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bureaucracy and Regulations in action: The Fourth Branch of the US Govt. on: June 01, 2014, 11:35:21 AM
Columnist Mona Charen: "After the press loses interest in the Veterans Affairs scandal, after the investigations have been completed and one or two officials have resigned, nothing will change. Is this cynicism? Not really. It comes down to one's view of how much government can achieve by bureaucratic, top-down management. ... Even if Obama were the best manager in the world, the problems with efficient service delivery by government would continue -- because the government is too large, too unwieldy and too lacking in incentives for efficiency to yield much, if at all, to management. A business that fails to deliver services will be crushed by its competitors. Government can never go out of business. ... No central authority can make a system like the VA or the IHS or Britain's National Health Service run efficiently. Competition is the only system that gives the power to consumers to reward good service and punish bad. But progressives cannot shed their faith that more government is the answer to bad government, so this story is sure to be repeated."

It boggles the mind that any honest liberal who would not trust a small number of corporations to control any industry because they would only be in it for themselves would instead trust one bloated, top-down, power hungry bureaucracy with that same responsibility - even after they are proven to be a corrupt, self-interested and miserable failure.
3839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi attacks on: June 01, 2014, 11:28:02 AM
On pins and needles I will wait for her big, exclusive, hard-hitting interview with Diane Sawyer.  Meanwhile a couple of questions I would pass forward:

1)  Tell us everything you said and did during the 8+ hours of the Benghazi crisis to try to persuade the President to use all available means to support and rescue your ambassador and the Americans that were left to die at the hands of terrorists attacking Americans and America in an act of war on September 11, 2012 in which Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans were murdered.

2)  Tell us everything you would have said and done at every juncture during that crisis to get help to the compound if the Ambassador's name or his assistant there was not Chris Steven but Chelsea Clinton.  Same answer as the first question, right?
3840  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Was Hillary Clinton a good secretary of state? on: June 01, 2014, 10:55:21 AM
Walter Russell Mead puts her service in pretty good balance though I think misses some of the main criticisms.

Was Hillary Clinton a good secretary of state?

By Walter Russell Mead, Published: May 30
Walter Russell Mead is the James Clarke Chace professor of foreign affairs at Bard College and editor at large of the American Interest. He is the author of “Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World.”
For some realists, “global meliorism” — the belief that U.S. foreign policy can and should try to make a better world — is a dirty word. For Clinton, it is a bedrock conviction. “We are the force for progress, prosperity and peace,” she said during a remarkable speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in early 2013.
These ambitious new ideas [focus on the rights of women and girls, and emphasis on Internet freedom and connectivity]— though not amounting to the Clinton “doctrine” foreign policy junkies hunger for — could come back to haunt us. The U.S. emphasis on human rights and democracy, as well as the active support for civil society organizations, contributed to China’s harsh response to the pivot to Asia and probably deepened Vladi­mir Putin’s view of the West as a danger to Russia. For Moscow and Beijing, Washington’s work to engage and strengthen democracy activists and movements represents an aggressive effort to undermine the Russian and Chinese regimes. And the push for changing gender relations allows Islamists to portray the United States as a threat to religious values. American opponents often fear ideological and cultural “aggression” as much as U.S. military power.
Historians will probably consider Clinton significantly more successful than run-of-the-mill secretaries of state such as James G. Blaine or the long-serving Cordell Hull, but don’t expect to see her on a pedestal with Dean Acheson or John Quincy Adams anytime soon.
3841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: May 30, 2014, 04:45:11 PM
For my part, I respect the smarts and integrity of those two and am happy to have the opportunity to express disagreement with their conclusions.  There is both a connection and a disconnect between the market and the economy. I assume the two are both equally relevant to this thread.
3842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A Plowhorse doesn't plow backward, even in winter on: May 30, 2014, 10:17:44 AM
Scott Grannis:  "One negative quarter does not make a recession."

No, but two does, and that's just an arbitrary definition.  The point is that we are in a no growth economy no matter how they spin it, and we are doing everything wrong in terms of trying to grow out of it.

I wholeheartedly agree that supply side being the main determinant of economic growth.  But how is that going?  The George Will piece started to back up the allegation I have been making.  We're in a horrible rut of not launching enough real new startup companies that have the potential to grow into large, dynamic, employing entities to grow the economy.  The dearth of startups is hard to measure because people are filing LLCs as they scale their work down to part time, solo operations.  I file one for every 80 year old house I buy, but I am not employing anyone or growing the economy. 

Obamacare has a myriad of disincentives to dissuade employment, full time employment, or employment beyond 50 employees.  This is happening right while we need new companies to grow and employ thousands of employees.  Capital gains taxes just went up by how much federally?  33%?!  Does anyone remember the surge in investment and innovation when those rates went down?  Our largest state California, along with where I live and elsewhere just raised the top rates on Capital Gains, and everything else.  The negative effects of that aren't showing up as quickly or badly as I would think, but if you believe the supply side matters, the damage will reveal itself and maybe is starting to show.

North Dakota is growing gangbusters, but it is North Dakota.  The engine driving that is driving that growth is illegal activity in New York state, or on federal land and the feds own 50% of the western U.S.  And they are trying to shut it down everywhere else too. 

The Obama administration is still hell-bent on shutting down coal, but coal generates 40% of our electricity, and we are building no new nuclear plants.  You would make a long term investment and build a manufacturing facility in the face of that kind of uncertainty?  I wouldn't.  The big industry here is medical devices.  Now they are subject to a new tax on gross sales.  Not on profits, on sales before you even figure in costs, and that is on top of all other taxes.  You would expand those businesses or launch a new one facing that?  I wouldn't.  Instead, people are trying to figure out how to make a living without employing anyone, and without subjecting themselves to risk and uncertainty.  Did I mention highest corporate tax rates in the OECD and 175,500 total pages in the Code of Federal Regulations.  Good grief, this business climate is the opposite of the supply side model - and Wesbury and Grannis both know it.

Liberals in MN say these taxes don't matter.  We still have decent employment and growth numbers.  Tell that to the state's oldest and most successful company, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M).  After 112 years here they just held their first annual meeting in Austin Texas.  They can avoid state taxes that way but they can't avoid federal taxation and regulaiton without ending or moving operations out of the country, and they most certainly are doing that too.

Corporate profits are up 3% while stock prices are up 25%.  What could possibly go wrong?

Back to the Scott G's main theme, supply side is the main determinant, but demand matters too.  When sales go down. profits disappear, wealth and investment shrink, and a downward spiral appears with no tools left to stimulate it.

These guys were right about the stock market of the last few years.  I do not buy that they were right about the US economy.  A plowhorse doesn't plow backwards.

The experts blame the cold winter for the economic doldrums, but more likely it was the obsession with global warming and the all-powerful government and anti-private growth fever that came with it that is causing the malaise.
3843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: More on why Piketty is wrong on: May 29, 2014, 09:27:42 AM
The point made herein about the Reagan tax cuts appearing to concentrate wealth by causing more money to allow itself to be exposed to taxes is one I have made a number of times on this forum-- probably in the Taxes thread.

Thank you to Crafty and GM for continuing coverage on the flaws of Piketty.  It turns out his data is wrong and deceptive, his analysis of the false data is flawed, and his prescription for a 'solution' is pure nonsense.  Yet he became a far-left sensation before his book was read.  (shocking)

If the rate of return on investments is greater than the growth rate in the economy and that is perceived to be a problem on a par with climate change(!), why not pursue policies that accelerate the growth rate instead of pursuing policies that destroy job-supporting investment? 
3844  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 29, 2014, 09:10:53 AM
Investors Business Daily says today that Pres. Obama is campaigning for himself to be UN Secretary General - which I think could put him directly at odds with US President Marco Rubio on world issues.  If succe3ssful in his campaign, maybe he could win a Nobel Peace Prize, lol.

Obama's Bid For U.N. Secretary-General Has Begun
3845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Jay Cost thinks Hillary will win Dem nomination on: May 29, 2014, 09:06:10 AM
I predicted the opposite.  Jay Cost knows more than me and has excellent analysis here.  I will stick with my prediction.

Jay Cost:  "None of this is to claim that Clinton is an objectively strong candidate. She manifestly is not..."

Note that he is only predicting the Dem nomination.

The Frontrunner
Hillary’s Democratic challengers are likely to fall short.
JUN 2, 2014, VOL. 19, NO. 36 • BY JAY COST

Hillary Clinton is back in the news, facing questions about her health and lingering doubts about what exactly happened in the aftermath of the Benghazi terror attack. Meanwhile, some Democrats—Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont most notable among them—have been making noises about challenging Clinton for the Democratic nomination. In light of the fact that Clinton was the overwhelming frontrunner at this point in the 2008 cycle, such events cannot be overlooked. It’s a fair question to ask: Is Clinton really as strong as she appears for the 2016 Democratic nod?


In a word: yes. While she’s unlikely to go unchallenged, the landscape favors her overwhelmingly.

The rules of the two parties’ nominations systems are virtually identical, but since their coalitions are different, the dramas play out differently. On the Republican side, voters tend to be demographically similar, and the main question is ideological, with candidates squaring off over economic, foreign, and cultural issues. On the Democratic side, there are substantial demographic differences, and the interplay of race, gender, and socioeconomic status has often been determinative.

So to get an early read on the 2016 Democratic battle, one can start by looking at the groups that make up the Democratic party. Who are they, and whom might they support? First, the party has a substantial and growing minority population. Barack Obama’s coalition in 2012 was 45 percent nonwhite, compared to 35 percent in 2008 and 27 percent for Bill Clinton in 1996. Within the nonwhite population, Latino and African-American voters have been known to back different candidates.

Then there is the socially upscale, usually white liberal vote: university professors, government and nonprofit workers, college students, and so on, who are very interested in causes like abortion and environmentalism.

Next, there are a class of voters whom we might call the “Robert Rubin Democrats.” Well-heeled, culturally and economically influential, their votes do not matter as much as their checkbooks.

Finally, there is the so-called white working class. Socioeconomically downscale whites have been trending Republican since the 1960s, but this bloc remains important in Democratic presidential politics, especially in the Ohio River Valley.

In the 2008 battle with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton won Latinos and the white working class overwhelmingly. She lost black voters overwhelmingly and liberal whites by a good margin. She split the unions and the Robert Rubin Democrats. Importantly, her coalition was probably large enough to win, had she run a better campaign. Obama’s victory among pledged delegates was a scant 127 out of a total of 3,424. His entire margin of victory rested upon his superior organization of low-turnout caucus states like Idaho and Maine, where Clinton’s potential coalition was probably stronger. So, assuming that Team Clinton learns the rules of its own party this time around, a would-be challenger will actually have to build a bigger coalition than Obama’s.

Moreover, recent polling on the race has indicated that African Americans are inclined to support Clinton in 2016. Furthermore, the moneyed party donors look pretty well unanimous. For instance, Hollywood bigshot David Geffen supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in 2008, but this time around looks set to go with Clinton.

So where do the potential Clinton challengers stand in relation to the Democratic electorate? Can any of them hope to cobble together a coalition that can challenge Clinton’s? Let’s take each in turn.

A Beltway fixture for more than 40 years, Vice President Joe Biden lacks much of an electoral bond with any Democratic constituency group. He could poach some of Clinton’s white working-class vote and raise some cash from Wall Street, but it is hard to see him breaking through.

Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont could both play effectively to upscale white liberals; as a woman, Warren might attract some of the voters Clinton would otherwise win for identity-based reasons. Still, both would scare the bejesus out of Wall Street, where Democrats go to subsidize their anti-Wall Street demagoguery. And it is hard to see how either would have appeal for minority voters.

Former senator Jim Webb of Virginia and former governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana might attract the white working class, but the power of Bill Clinton to appeal to these voters cannot be overestimated. It is hard, too, to see how they would win over minority voters or raise substantial sums from wealthy Democrats.

What about Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York? He might raise substantial money, but who in the Clinton coalition would bolt for him? Ditto Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland.

That leaves two primary concerns for Team Clinton. The first is Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. As an African American, he would be a threat to Clinton with the black vote, which would virtually guarantee a real race. And he might be able to raise substantial money; it is no coincidence that in the last 26 years, Massachusetts has supplied 3 of the 10 nonincumbent major party nominees.

The other concern for Team Clinton would be an interactive effect amongst these candidates. Suppose, for instance, that Schweitzer, Patrick, and Warren all attracted significant support from their electoral bases, at Clinton’s expense. That scenario might be chaotic, and thus jeopardize Clinton’s path to the nomination. This would not be unprecedented in Democratic politics; something similar happened in 1976, 1988, and 1992, although in none of those instances was a candidate as strong a frontrunner as Clinton will probably be.

In the end, Clinton’s greatest advantage might be the continued political weakness of Obama. History is not on the side of the Democrats as they try to win the White House for a third consecutive term. A party has only done so once in the postwar era—in 1988, when Ronald Reagan’s job approval was in the mid-50s by Election Day. Currently, Obama’s is mired in the mid-40s. Yet Clinton has a personal reputation that might transcend Obama’s unpopularity, and she polls extremely well at the moment. So long as that continues, risk-averse Democrats of all demographic stripes might be inclined to put aside their internecine battle to prevent a Republican victory, something they all equally oppose.

None of this is to claim that Clinton is an objectively strong candidate. She manifestly is not; otherwise she would be president right now. But objectivity does not matter when you are battling for the nomination. Everything is relative to where your party stands in the public mind and where you stand in relation to the other candidates seeking nomination. Right now, both of these factors conspire to make Hillary Clinton the odds-on favorite for 2016.
3846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics, George Will: Ignoring the path to recovery on: May 29, 2014, 08:36:13 AM
Required reading for Brian Wesbury, and for all so-called 'millennials'.

Ignoring the path to recovery
Wednesday - May 28, 2014
By George F. Will

Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

It is said that the problem with the younger generation — any younger generation — is that it has not read the minutes of the last meeting. Barack Obama, forever young, has convenient memory loss: It serves his ideology. His amnesia concerning the policies that produced the robust recovery from the more severe recession of 1981-82 has produced policies that have resulted in 0.1 percent economic growth in 2014's first quarter.

June begins the sixth year of the anemic recovery from an 18-month recession. Even if what Obama's administration calls “historically severe” weather — aka, winter — reduced GDP growth by up to 1.4 percentage points, growth of 1.5 percent would still be grotesque.

The reason unemployment fell by four-tenths of a point (to 6.3 percent) in April while growth stalled is that 806,000 people left the labor force. There are about 14.5 million more Americans than before the recession but nearly 300,000 fewer jobs, and household income remains below the pre-recession peak.

Paul Volcker, whose nomination to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board was Jimmy Carter's best presidential decision, raised interest rates to put the nation through a recession to extinguish the inflation that, combined with stagnant growth, ruined Carter's presidency. Then came the 1983-88 expansion, when growth averaged 4.6 percent, including five quarters over 7 percent.

Ronald Reagan lightened the weight of government as measured by taxation and regulation. Obama has done the opposite. According to Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, four of the five largest yearly totals of pages in the Federal Register — the record of regulations — have occurred during the Obama administration. The CEI's “unconstitutionality index,” measuring Congress' delegation of its lawmaking policy, was 51 in 2013. This means Congress passed 72 laws but unelected bureaucrats issued 3,659 regulations.

The more than $1.1 trillion of student loan debt is restraining consumption, as is the retirement of baby boomers. More than 40 percent of recent college graduates are either unemployed or in jobs that do not require a college degree. This is understandable, given that 44 percent of the job growth since the recession ended has been in food services, retail clerking or other low-wage jobs.

In April, the number of persons under 25 in the workforce declined by 484,000. Unsurprisingly, almost one in three (31 percent) persons 18 to 34 are living with their parents, including 25 percent who have jobs.

So, the rate of household formation has, Neil Irwin reports in The New York Times, slowed from a yearly average of 1.35 million in 2001-06 to 569,000 in 2007-13. However, a Wall Street Journal headline announces that Washington has a plan: “U.S. Backs Off Tight Mortgage Rules.” It really is true: Life is not one damn thing after another; it is the same damn thing over and over.

There is, however, something new under the sun. The Pew Research Center reports that Americans 25 to 32 — “millennials” — constitute the first age cohort since World War II with higher unemployment or a greater portion living in poverty than their parents at this age. But today's millennials have the consolation of having the president they wanted.
3847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Summer ice? "97% of scientists" agree, earth is warming and we are causing it on: May 29, 2014, 07:52:38 AM
While it is 82 and a sunny, gorgeous day in Mpls today, signs of the past winter remain in the Great Lakes region:

May 27 2014, Duluth MN, Lake Superior

Don't be fooled by your lying eyes.  Ice is still on the lake and in 3+ weeks the days start getting shorter. 

Earth warming by 0.5 degrees C over the last century with no measurable warming in the last 18 years does not mean the end of the world.
3848  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: CEO pay... on: May 27, 2014, 06:24:15 PM
... NO ONE ought to be allowed to be on the board of 20 different companies.  It simply is not possible for one person to know enough about all those separate entities to make effective, informed decisions about how they should be run.

Or in a free market, potential stockholders would look at the quality of management and the board of directors and not buy those stocks.  If companies were losing demand for stock ownership on that basis, they would re-evaluate those practices.
3849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Median CEO pay for 2013 exceeds $10 million... on: May 27, 2014, 03:33:52 PM
This is for large" companies only.  For a benchmark, a medium cap company is worth $2 to 10 billion.  What is the average increase these companies had over this period?  The article doesn't say.  What portion of the increase went to the top executive?  Doesn't say.

My math:  $14 Trillion in the S&P 500 is about $28 billion per company, on average.  Stocks went up 26% last year or about 7.3 billion per company.  The lead executive, who we don't credit for the increase, made about $10 million or about .001 of the increase.  Outrageous (sarc.)

First we want their pay tied to performance.  Then we don't like it when that amounts to a lot of money.

What I don't like is when they make a lot of money for leading failure.  Government Motors comes to mind.

The question I would ask is this:  What policies do we have that favor large established companies over newer, smaller ones.  That is what over-regulation does. The largest companies with compliance departments and officers, human resource departments etc. know how to navigate within the myriad of rules and the rest of us couldn't open a lemonade stand without a team of lawyers and lobbyists, much less start an investment bank to compete with Goldman Sachs and the rest.
3850  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / UTA Commencement 2014, 10 Life Lessons From Seal Training on: May 22, 2014, 10:49:09 AM

A worthwhile watch or read.
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