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3851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Psalm 23 on: November 04, 2013, 10:26:43 AM
I remember the first time I heard Psalm 23 spoken was at a funeral for someone who very unexpectedly died over a weekend where I was doing some part time work.  He died suddenly of a heart attack without warning.  No one could believe it.   It was in a Catholic hospital near where I lived. 

I went to the afternoon service at the Chapel because he had been kind to me.   It would have been 1980 or 1981.   Being Jewish I never heard those words before.  The power of those words struck me immediately and now 32 years later I still vividly recall the Priest reciting those words with elevated volume tone and conviction.   Their power just vibrated through my senses.    I don't remember anything else that was said - just those words!     

Powerful and beautiful stuff.   Cut through my different religious background like water can cut through pure rock.

Thanks CCP.  This goes back to David, King of Israel roughly 1000 BC.  I read this at my father's Christian funeral.  I believe you will find it in Jewish teachings as well.
3852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 04, 2013, 10:11:08 AM
Krauthammer is very sharp, no doubt.  Great insights.  But like everyone else right now he seems to have no idea what the way out of this mess is. 

In the Stewart conversation he left the impression that welfare state programs were an unequivocal success.  That can't be his view.  No intelligent person on the right can see good from those without also seeing irreparable damage done to our society.  Maybe he can explain what he meant.  I think what he is saying is that a winning candidate on the right will reform these programs, not end them.  Conservatives accept a safety net, just not one this large and distorted.

He explains the recent Ted Cruz v. establishment split on the right quite well.  We all are want to end Obamacare, but disagree on the tactics.  That is not a huge philosophical divide to bridge.

What I don't understand and didn't hear from the so-called more reasonable voices on the right, such as the WSJ editorials, CK, and Rove-type establishment figures is just how they will end Obamacare if not through de-funding.  Even as it implodes, we only have the votes to de-fund, not repeal.  When will we have 60 votes in the Senate, control of the White House, control of the House simultaneously to repeal as Dems did to deem it passed?  This will all happen either never, or after Republicans sound like liberals, or else too late to stop an entrenched program that million hundreds(?) are counting on for their health care.

3853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word, The Lord Is My Shepherd on: November 01, 2013, 09:04:42 AM
Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
        He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
        He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
        I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
        Thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
        and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
3854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, Virginia Governor's race on: October 31, 2013, 10:57:23 AM
An interesting and well articulated point made by Sean Trende on Real Clear Politics that also relates to our discussion on 'the way forward':

"Cuccinelli’s problem in a nutshell is this: The Old Dominion would probably vote for a candidate who had sued a professor at the University of Virginia over his climate science research. It would probably vote for a candidate who referred to homosexuality as unnatural. It would probably vote for a candidate who tried to limit no-fault divorce. It would probably vote for a candidate who covered up an exposed breast on the state seal. It would probably vote for a candidate who wasn’t sure if the president was born in the United States. It would probably vote for a candidate who told colleges and universities to strip protections for gays and lesbians.

What it won’t typically do is vote for a candidate who holds all of these positions, and is unapologetic in them. Truth be told, Virginia hasn’t been particularly fond of strident social conservatives for quite some time; Oliver North, Michael Farris, Mark Earley, and a host of other similar Republicans have met similar fates. The mold of a successful statewide Republican here has been John Warner, Jim Gilmore, and Bob McDonnell, all of whom would check most of the boxes on a conservative scorecard, but who also knew how to communicate those stances to your average suburban voter in a non-threatening way."

3855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: October 31, 2013, 10:33:20 AM
"why didn't you take GM to task for painting the entire Democratic party in an ugly light. Why only step in now?"

You were answering GM's take quite well without my help.  I agree his longer post about Democrats was unfairly one sided, but these points get compiled to answer a huge narrative out there that one side is racist.  I agree with you that from within the political arena, it was LBJ who led the civil rights legislation.  He passed it with a majority of Republicans and a minority of Democrats.  My failed attempt at a point on total realignment was that some of the Democrats who voting against civil rights legislation switched sides, for other reasons I think, and some like Al Gore Sr. did not.  Southern Democrats who left the Democrat party did so (IMO) because the national party did not match their views on the issues, not about race or racism.  Rick Perry's conservative economic ideology fit inside the Texas Democrat party not that long ago, as one example.  Certainly not now.

Being a Republican and having been to countless conventions and events, I have witnessed no racism inside the party.  I don't know of a Republican who wants blacks to stay poor or that doesn't wish more would come to our side.  The charge liberals make of racism is laziness IMO and a diversion from not addressing the ideological differences.  We see individual economic freedom as a better way to let people rise up, while leftist groups like ACORN go into black neighborhoods and push 'welfare rights', which largely keep people down.  For the record, economic freedom IS a far better way for people rise up out of poverty.  

"Nothing excuses sexism, but illustrating a point of sexism doesn't sweep something else under the rug."

Point well taken, but I was happy to point out that man's selective ability to take offense.  
3856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, Colin Powell, realignment on: October 31, 2013, 12:45:32 AM
This point was posted to rebut other things posted on the 'tea party' thread. The claim is made that Republicans are racist, so let's take a look.

"D) that the first black Secretary of State left the Republican party, after his aide pointed out that the GOP is "full of racists":"

The other point I question is racist 'realignment'.

Colin Powell and his aide did not like hearing that Powell supported Barack Obama for President only because of race.  But it was Powell who gave no coherent reason other than race as to why he supported Obama IMO and many others.  And that makes those noticing that and pointing it out racists?

Is Powell not the poster person for Republican in name only charge?  He worked for Republicans and at some point said he was one - a Barack Obama Republican.  Sure.  Barack Obama was the left-most member of the United States Senate.  His sole executive experience qualifying to be President was running a campaign staff.  His only foreign policy credential was to articulate a position on the main question of the day the exact opposite of Colin Powell's.  Obama's domestic policy positions were the exact opposite of Republican up and down the line.  And Powell chose him over a war hero and over a successful moderate Republican experienced executive.  For what reasons other than race?  None that he articulated.

Realignment?  It was not a total realignment, nor does it demonstrate one side is racist.  Did I read or understand that wrong?  Some of us were Republican before and after that, and at least claim to not be racist.  There were other issues too.  Of these southern Democrats where racism was prevalent, were they still racist after the switch of parties?  Wasn't the switch largely because the Dem party nationally did not match the views of Dems on other issues in those southern states?  Were they racist if they voted for tax cuts or for a stronger foreign policy?  And what about those who did not realign?  Fritz Hollings, Robert Byrd come to mind.
If the point at least implied is that the racists were Republican, I'm not convinced and haven't seen any evidence of it.  Even if Ed Schultz' sidekick says it's so.

"suggesting that the vast majority of blacks could be so easily "fooled" Democratic party is demeaning to people's intelligence, and is itself racist"

Blacks vote largely Democratic.  Why?  Republican racism?  If so, where is that evidence?  The Col. Lawrence Wilkerson accusation?  Wilkerson is a regular guest of the Ed Schultz show; he tolerates the host who called Laura Ingraham a "right wing slut".  Sexism, he sees nothing, but he knows racism and switched parties.  Convenient.

Blacks vote Dem because they were told and a large majority believed those policies were better - for blacks and for the country.  Now we know better.  Maybe we'll see a new 'realignment'.
3857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: No Tea Party in this neighborhood on: October 30, 2013, 01:11:17 PM

“They take us for granted. They feel like we are going to vote for them (democrats) anyway, but if there was a republican out here doing what he said he’s going to do, I would vote for him.”

“I think they are self-motivated and their interests aren’t in the community and in a lot of cases, they don’t even live in the community.”

I like this post.  The support that most blacks have for Dems came mostly from people telling them how to vote and what is in their best interest (government programs).  But the status quo sucks and they are vulnerable to the persuasion that could come from hearing a different view - if our message was clear, understandable and effectively presented to them.  Most real persuasion happens face to face.  Most tea partiers, libertarians, conservatives, do not live in 'the community' either, from the point of view of inner city blacks.  That is a hard one to overcome.  Escaping failed Dem rule of the cities is one reason why most conservatives already moved further out.
3858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dems: Those aren't 'cancellation notices,' they're 'transitions' into Obamacare on: October 30, 2013, 12:54:54 PM
Top Democrat says those aren't 'cancellation notices,' they're 'transitions' into Obamacare  (Oh Good Grief!!)
By JOEL GEHRKE | OCTOBER 29, 2013 AT 1:53 PM

Insurance companies aren't sending out cancellation letters, they're helping people "transition" into Obamacare, according to a top Democrat.

"If [the companies] changed [the insurance plans] then they have to notify the people who have to have the opportunity to have another policy," said House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich.

In fact, according to Levin, the "so-called cancellation notices" merely "help people transition to a new policy."

Levin cited comments made by Florida Blue CEO Patrick Geraghty, the insurance company executive who originally floated the "transitioning" talking point on Sunday's Meet the Press.

"We're not cutting people, we're actually transitioning people," Geraghty told NBC's David Gregory. "What we've been doing is informing folks that their plan doesn't meet the test of the essential health benefits, therefore they have a choice of many options that we make available through the exchange."  (At double the cost!)
3859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / stock market, investment strategies: 3 plays on The Natural Gas Engine Rollout on: October 30, 2013, 12:41:11 PM
The move to using clean domestic natural gas for transportation including cars and freight trucks is certain, except for all of the ways that government can potentially screw it up.  Natural gas burns cleaner in terms of pollution emissions and in terms of CO2 emissions than gasoline or diesel.  Over the road trucks haul nearly 70% of our freight.  Solar and wind will not get you there.  The limiting factor is availability. 
Truck stop chain TravelCenters of America (TA) has partnered with Shell (RDS.A) to add liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel lanes at 100 different facilities across the United States. Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) has partnered with private truck stop giant Pilot Flying J to embark on a mission to provide as many as 150 facilities with a natural gas solution.

The collaboration of Cummins (CMI) and Westport Innovations (WPRT) is leading the way with new engine designs that run on natural gas. Westport develops the technology while Cummins manufacturers the equipment.

The biggest risk to investing in the evolution of the natural gas engine via Cummins, Westport Innovations, and Clean Energy Fuels is that all three companies are so linked to each other's successes and failures.

More at link, free registration required.
3860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DAVID PETRAEUS: How We Won in Iraq, & why gains are in danger of being lost on: October 30, 2013, 12:00:41 PM
How We Won in Iraq
And why all the hard-won gains of the surge are in grave danger of being lost today.

One of five internet pages, more at the link.  Free registration required or (contact me).

 The news out of Iraq is, once again, exceedingly grim. The resurrection of al Qaeda in Iraq -- which was on the ropes at the end of the surge in 2008 -- has led to a substantial increase in ethno-sectarian terrorism in the Land of the Two Rivers. The civil war next door in Syria has complicated matters greatly, aiding the jihadists on both sides of the border and bringing greater Iranian involvement in Mesopotamia. And various actions by the Iraqi government have undermined the reconciliation initiatives of the surge that enabled the sense of Sunni Arab inclusion and contributed to the success of the venture.  Moreover, those Iraqi government actions have also prompted prominent Sunnis to withdraw from the government and led the Sunni population to take to the streets in protest.  As a result of all this, Iraqi politics are now mired in mistrust and dysfunction.

This is not a road that Iraqis had to travel. Indeed, by the end of the surge in 2008, a different future was possible.  That still seemed to be the case in December 2011, when the final U.S. forces (other than a sizable security assistance element) departed; however, the different future was possible only if Iraqi political leaders capitalized on the opportunities that were present.  Sadly, it appears that a number of those opportunities were squandered, as political infighting and ethno-sectarian actions reawakened the fears of Iraq's Sunni Arab population and, until recently, also injected enormous difficulty into the relationship between the government in Baghdad and the leaders of the Kurdish Regional Government.

To understand the dynamics in Iraq -- and the possibilities that still exist, it is necessary to revisit what actually happened during the surge, a history now explored in a forthcoming book written by my executive officer at the time, Col. (Ret.) Peter Mansoor, now a professor of military history at the Ohio State University.

Leading the coalition military effort during the surge in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 was the most important endeavor -- and greatest challenge -- of my 37 years in uniform. The situation in Iraq was dire at the end of 2006, when President George W. Bush decided to implement the surge and selected me to command it. Indeed, when I returned to Baghdad in early February 2007, I found the conditions there to be even worse than I had expected. The deterioration since I had left Iraq in September 2005 after my second tour was sobering. The violence -- which had escalated dramatically in 2006 in the wake of the bombing of the Shiite al-Askari shrine in the Sunni city of Samarra -- was totally out of control. With well over 50 attacks and three car bombs per day on average in Baghdad alone, the plan to hand off security tasks to Iraqi forces clearly was not working. Meanwhile, the sectarian battles on the streets were mirrored by infighting in the Iraqi government and Council of Representatives, and those disputes produced a dysfunctional political environment. With many of the oil pipelines damaged or destroyed, electrical towers toppled, roads in disrepair, local markets shuttered, and government workers and citizens fearing for their lives, government revenue was down and the provision of basic services was wholly inadequate. Life in many areas of the capital and the country was about little more than survival.

In addition to those challenges, I knew that if there was not clear progress by September 2007, when I anticipated having to return to the United States to testify before Congress in open hearings, the limited remaining support on Capitol Hill and in the United States for the effort in Iraq would evaporate.

In short, President Bush had staked the final years of his presidency -- and his legacy -- on the surge, and it was up to those on the ground to achieve progress. In the end, that is what we did together, military and civilian, coalition and Iraqi. But as my great diplomatic partner Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, and I used to note, Iraq was "all hard, all the time."

The Surge of Forces and the Surge of Ideas

The surge had many components. The most prominent, of course, was the deployment of the additional U.S. forces committed by President Bush -- nearly 30,000 of them in the end. Without those forces, we never could have achieved progress as quickly as we did. And, given the necessity to make progress by the hearings anticipated in September 2007, improvements before then were critical.

As important as the surge of forces was, however, the most important surge was what I termed "the surge of ideas" -- the changes in our overall strategy and operational plans. The most significant of these was the shift from trying to hand off security tasks to Iraqi forces to focusing on the security of the Iraqi people. The biggest of the big ideas that guided the strategy during the surge was explicit recognition that the most important terrain in the campaign in Iraq was the human terrain -- the people -- and our most important mission was to improve their security. Security improvements would, in turn, provide Iraq's political leaders the opportunity to forge agreements on issues that would reduce ethno-sectarian disputes and establish the foundation on which other efforts could be built to improve the lives of the Iraqi people and give them a stake in the success of the new state.

But improved security could be achieved only by moving our forces into urban neighborhoods and rural population centers. In the first two weeks, therefore, I changed the mission statement in the existing campaign plan to reflect this imperative. As I explained in that statement and the guidance I issued shortly after taking command, we had to "live with the people" in order to secure them. This meant reversing the consolidation of our forces on large bases that had been taking place since the spring of 2004. Ultimately, this change in approach necessitated the establishment of more than 100 small outposts and joint security stations, three-quarters of them in Baghdad alone.

The establishment of each of the new bases entailed a fight, and some of those fights were substantial. We knew that the Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias would do everything they could to keep our troopers from establishing a presence in areas where the warring factions were trying to take control -- and those areas were precisely where our forces were needed most. Needless to say, the insurgents and militias would do all that they could to keep us from establishing our new operating bases, sometimes even employing multiple suicide car bombers in succession in attempts to breach outpost perimeters. But if we were to achieve our goal of significantly reducing the violence, there was no alternative to living with the people -- specifically, where the violence was the greatest -- in order to secure them. Our men and women on the ground, increasingly joined during the surge by their Iraqi partners, courageously, selflessly, and skillfully did what was required to accomplish this goal.

"Clear, hold, and build" became the operative concept -- a contrast with the previous practice in many operations of clearing insurgents and then leaving, after handing off the security mission to Iraqi forces that proved incapable of sustaining progress in the areas cleared. Then -- Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq, and his staff developed and oversaw the execution of these and the other operational concepts brilliantly. Indeed, in anticipation of the new approach, he ordered establishment of the initial joint security stations in the weeks before I arrived.  His successor in early 2008, then Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, did a similarly exemplary job as our operational commander for the final portion of the surge. On receiving the Corps' guidance, division and brigade commanders and their headquarters orchestrated the implementation of these concepts. And our company, battalion, and brigade commanders and their troopers translated the new strategy and operational concepts into reality on the ground in the face of determined, often barbaric enemies under some of the most difficult conditions imaginable.

But the new strategy encompassed much more than just moving off the big bases and focusing on security of the people. Improving security was necessary, but not sufficient, to achieve our goals in Iraq. Many other tasks also had to be accomplished.

The essence of the surge, in fact, was the pursuit of a comprehensive approach, a civil-military campaign that featured a number of important elements, the effects of each of which were expected to complement the effects of the others. The idea was that progress in one component of the strategy would make possible gains in other components. Each incremental step forward reinforced and gradually solidified overall progress in a particular geographic location or governmental sector. The surge forces clearly enabled more rapid implementation of the new strategy and accompanying operational concepts; however, without the changes in the strategy, the additional forces would not have achieved the gains in security and in other areas necessary for substantial reduction of the underlying levels of ethno-sectarian violence, without which progress would not have been sustained when responsibilities ultimately were transferred to Iraqi forces and government authorities.
(Much more at link)
3861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness, NBC News: He Lied on: October 29, 2013, 01:35:24 PM

Obama administration knew millions could not keep their health insurance

By Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye, NBC News

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

Obamacare supporter Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune:
" that’s one of those political lies, you know." [ If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance.]

"He said it repeatedly in a political campaign that he won, so that’s what a political lie is all about, right?"

HH: Do you think he’s telling us the truth, or is he lying again about not knowing that Merkel’s calls were being tapped?

CP: "Now there’s a lie"

"either they lied, or they were too ignorant."
3862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics - Is Inequality Inefficient? on: October 29, 2013, 01:31:04 PM
Defending the One Percent

by Greg Mankiw, Chairman and Professor of Economics at Harvard University

Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2013, pages 21-34
I am unable to cut and paste an excerpt from the pdf.
Mankiw's blog:

3863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Graham Slams Hold On ALL Nominations Til Admin Names Benghazi Folks on: October 29, 2013, 11:29:52 AM

From the article:

In a broad exercise of the senatorial privilege of temporarily stopping a nomination, known as a “hold,” Sen. Lindsey Graham announced this morning that he will not allow any Obama administration nominations to proceed.until he is told the names of those he calls the “Benghazi survivors.”

Good for him.  Politically, we may see Graham as a wimp but he is also a tough prosecutor and is facing a primary challenge in a state more conservative than he is.  Nice that they don't leave all the heavy lifting for Ted Cruz. 

A DEM should have done this!  Is it partisan to want to know what happened to Americans 14 months later?
3864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The (latest) court case against Obamacare on: October 29, 2013, 11:23:02 AM
Good analysis here I think.  If the judge reads the law strictly and accurately, only citizens in the states that set up exchanges will get subsidies.  If so ruled, the lack of nationwide applicants could bring down the program.  Or proponents could use that as leverage to force the other states to set up their exchanges.

How the Court Case Against Obamacare Subsidies Stacks Up

By Sean Trende - October 29, 2013   real Clear Politics

Read more:
3865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - "Unaware" on: October 29, 2013, 11:16:23 AM
Working separately, WSJ online editor James Taranto compiled a list of recent headlines regarding the attentiveness of this President, if you believe ANY of these...

    "Obama 'Unaware on Investments"--headline, Albany (Ga.) Herald, March 8, 2007

    "Obama 'Unaware of Illegal Aunt' "--headline, BBC website, Nov. 1, 2008

    "Obama Unaware of Tea Party Protests"--headline,, April 15, 2009

    "Obama Unaware of Backroom Deal, White House Says"--headline, Dallas Morning News website, June 4, 2010

    "Blago Judge: Obama Unaware of Seat Exchange Bid"--headline, Associated Press, May 16, 2011

    "Sebelius: Obama Unaware of ACA Website Glitches Before Launch"--headline,, Oct. 23,

    "Obama Reportedly Unaware NSA Spied on 35 World Leaders"--headline,, Oct. 28
They don't have a headline for it, but wasn't he also unaware of a planned, sophisticated terror attack on the Benghazi compound all the way up to the election?

No question he was aware that putt should have broken right in the previous photo.  We know what he looks like when he puts his full attention into it.
3866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Unbearable Lightness of His Glibness - Bret Stephens, WSJ on: October 29, 2013, 11:06:48 AM
As our unwritten content sharing agreement continues, WSJ and 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner Bret Stephens chose the same golf photo I posted a couple of months ago in this thread to illustrate the (lack of) seriousness of this President.

Stephens today:

The Unbearable Lightness of Obama
The president didn't know the NSA was spying on world leaders, but he's found time for at least 146 rounds of golf.
By Bret Stephens    Oct. 28, 2013

Is there a method to President Obama's style of leadership, his methods of decision-making, his habits of attention, oversight and follow-through? In recent months I've been keeping a file of stories that might suggest an answer. See what you think.

"President Barack Obama went nearly five years without knowing his own spies were bugging the phones of world leaders. Officials said the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn't have been practical to brief him on all of them.

"They added that the president was briefed on and approved of broader intelligence-collection 'priorities,' but that those below him make decisions about specific targets."

—The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 28, 2013

One of at least 146 rounds of golf this president has played. ASSOCIATED PRESS

" is the highest-profile experiment yet in the Obama administration's effort to modernize government by using technology, with the site intended to become a user-friendly pathway to new health insurance options for millions of uninsured Americans.

"'This was the president's signature project and no one with the right technology experience was in charge,' said Bob Kocher, a former White House aide who helped draft the law."

—The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 28, 2013

"Tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have grown sharply in recent months. President Barack Obama authorized the CIA to provide limited arms to carefully vetted Syrian rebels, but it took months for the program to commence. . . .

"One Western diplomat described Saudi Arabia as eager to be a military partner in what was to have been the U.S.-led military strikes on Syria. As part of that, the Saudis asked to be given the list of military targets for the proposed strikes. The Saudis indicated they never got the information, the diplomat said."

—The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 21, 2013

"Besides the Syrian government's gains, there was mounting evidence that Mr. Assad's troops had repeatedly used chemical weapons against civilians.

"Even as the debate about arming the rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient and disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry BB.T +1.05% or slouching and chewing gum."

— New York Times, NYT +1.70% Oct. 22, 2013

"On Saturday, as the shutdown drama played out on Capitol Hill, President Obama played golf at Fort Belvoir in Virginia."

— Washington Post, WPO +0.94% Sept. 28, 2013

"For French President François Hollande, it seemed like the perfect response: a lightning-quick strike on Syria to punish the government for an alleged chemical weapons attack.

"But with President Obama's surprise decision to ask Congress for a go-ahead on military action, Hollande has found himself embroiled in political controversy abroad and at home. Instead of vaunting Hollande as a warrior charging off to do battle, critics say he now looks more like a sidekick who was left in the lurch by his American ally."

—Washington Post, Sept. 6, 2013

"The essence of Eisenhower's hidden hand, of course, is that there was real work going on that people didn't know at the time. If that's true now, then Obama really is emulating Ike. If, on the other hand, he's simply doing nothing or very little, that would be passivity, not hidden-hand leadership."

—Eisenhower biographer Jim Newton, quoted in New York Times, July 15, 2013

"In polo shirt, shorts and sandals, President Obama headed to the golf course Friday morning with a couple of old friends, then flew to Camp David for a long weekend. Secretary of State John Kerry was relaxing at his vacation home in Nantucket.

"Aides said both men were updated as increasingly bloody clashes left dozens dead in Egypt, but from outward appearances they gave little sense that the Obama administration viewed the broader crisis in Cairo with great alarm."

—New York Times, July 5, 2013

"The president had a truly disturbing habit of funneling major foreign-policy decisions through a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisors whose turf was strictly politics. Their primary concern was how any action in Afghanistan or the Middle East would play on the nightly news, or which talking point it would give Republicans."

— Vali Nasr, "The Dispensable Nation," April 2013

"Mr. Obama's reluctance to put American forces on the ground during the fight, and his decision to keep America's diplomatic and C.I.A. presence minimal in post-Qaddafi Libya, may have helped lead the United States to miss signals and get caught unaware in the attack on the American mission in Benghazi. Military forces were too far from Libya's shores during the Sept. 11 attack to intervene."

—New York Times, Nov. 17, 2012

"For the people who go out, on to the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they're coming to get us, that our back is covered. To hear that it's not, that's a terrible, terrible experience."

— Gregory Hicks, former deputy chief of mission in Libya, on "60 Minutes," Oct. 27, 2013

Call Mr. Obama's style indifferent, aloof (glib?) or irresponsible, but a president who governs like this reaps the whirlwind—if not for himself, then for his country.
3867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: October 29, 2013, 10:38:00 AM
If a liberal made that argument I would call it straw.  Our worst fear is that interest rates will go to 4%?!  They have been higher than that for most of the time since Eisenhower's first term, as much as 5 times higher in irresponsible times. (link below)  Our debt a little ways down the road isn't going to be $17 trillion; it has gone up billions just since he wrote that yesterday.   If we have $10 trillion of our own money invested, let's say through social security receipts, what is our return on the money we pay ourselves?  Zero?  Did we not have the opportunity cost of investing that money elsewhere?  And a leading economist says that has no cost?  Good grief.

No, the worst (short term) fear is more like this: $17 trillion will soon be $25 trillion in the blink of an eye and if interest rates spiral up out of control they could be worse than they were under Carter when the prime rate was 21.5%.

If we want to quantify a fear and worst case scenarios in the near term, take $25 trillion times, say, 25% interest and the cost is 6.25 trillion per year, more than all that we take in now by double.
3868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: What sorts of threats will the US military face in the “deep future"? on: October 28, 2013, 06:04:51 PM

Very interesting.  Surprising that Russia and especially China are not mentioned in the top 3 threats.
3869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 28, 2013, 01:39:56 PM
Anything of interest in this?
Anyway, what I'm looking for right now is for us to develop the sound bites to win and implement something much better than what we have now.

Of course that plan no longer has Dem support with Obamacare in place and the Republican co-author Bennett was the Senator Mike Lee took down in Utah.  That said, the bill is far better than ACA.  I think the main Republican alternative standing when Obamacare passed (or deemed) was the Ryan plan:  The Patients' Choice Act.   Pelosi-Reid-Obama arrogant Dems should have compromised with one or both of these plans in exchange for a few R votes.  Perhaps they could have kept the House and won the support of the center of the country with the new program.

A Republican alternative now cannot look like it has the complexity of Obamacare.
3870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party and race on: October 28, 2013, 12:26:38 PM
My thought is that there are racist element across the political spectrum.  This includes the Tea Party. 

There is now a coordinated campaign to sink the Tea Party as a socially acceptable position by a) making shit up and b) finding occasional outliers like the bigoted idiot under discussion here this morning.

What to do?

My thoughts:
a) Identify racism as across the spectrum.  This means we must have some sound bite examples of racism on the left.  Anyone?   
b) Point out the respect and leadership positions held by TP voices such as
*Herbert Cain
*Thomas Sowell
*Dr. Ben Carson
*Allen West
*Clarence Thomas (you'll have to be ready to counter the condescension)
*Larry Elder
*Walter Williams
*add you own examples.

I despise group politics but that is the battlefield we play on.  I agree with the points above.  First I would ignore race and move beyond race, as we mostly have.  Secondly and simultaneously I would go in and go after all the pet Dem groups, refute their failed messages and chip away at their support.  The Obama/liberal agenda has been horrible for the economics and families of blacks, Hispanics, gays, young people, women.  Not more freebies, but live and raise your kids in a better, more prosperous society with lower unemployment and expanded opportunities.   Get a message, and go to their media, their neighborhoods, etc. and make the case.  Marketers know who they are how to reach them.  A 4% switch of allegiance is an 8% shift in the vote, enough to swing back even a so-called landslide election.  That is attainable; look at the persuasive capability just within the list above.  With gains in these groups comes improvement with independents and moderates who don't want to be seen as siding with racists and extremists.  The Obama campaign called it competing in all 50 states.  In order to win 51%, we need to compete in every venue for every vote.
3871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 28, 2013, 11:43:56 AM
" if you just simply say "free market" people are going to think of people being left to die for lack of money.  How to answer this?"

The poor and the elderly already had unlimited free health care and the uninsured were not being turned away from any emergency room.  Obamacare was not aimed at anything like that. 

Republicans in my view favor reform of the safety net in order to save the safety net. 

Healthcare was already more than 50% government-based which was the reason costs were running wild.  But above the safety net level, the more that the health care system can be 'free market', the more likelihood there is for innovation and cost containment.

Obamacare is wrongly called the 'Affordable Care Act'.  Cost containment is what is lost with central planning and trying to making all policies the same.

Imagine a dynamic system that moves the deductible up to what each person can reasonably afford, encourages personal and family savings for health and involves people mostly spending their own money, as much as practical, for their own choice of services and care, with the government still playing a large role under that system.
3872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / God Bless my Dad on: October 28, 2013, 11:19:19 AM
One of a many who interrupted their young adult lives to go defeat Adolf Hitler and Nazism, he served under General Patton behind front lines in a medical crew- in England, France and Germany including the liberation of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.  I didn't know until now, looking for dates and info in his documents, that his unit received a long list of awards and medals. 

Joining his own father in dental practice, he served generations of patients for 63 years and taught in the University Dental School for a quarter century.  He skied in the mountains and played golf and tennis with us through age 88.
3873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and... Shiny Media Objects on: October 28, 2013, 10:19:54 AM
This is a wet dream for liberals and obviously for the media.  They have been dying to find a poster boy for right extremism.  I wonder how many assassination statements are discovered everyday - for any President.  This one is exciting because of the opportunity to say tea party with it, though of course there is no Tea Party and 'they' never endorsed or elected him.  He had a measly 4% of the vote for city office in a city we never heard of.  He took back his bad words and, unlike some other kooks, didn't actually shoot anyone.  What were the political views of John Hinckley?   Who held other anti-Reaganites accountable for that lone gunman?  Same for Kathleen Soliah, Bill Ayers, etc.  The view of the kook doesn't add anything to the discussion of the issues.

Meanwhile, real issues linger unpursued and unresolved.  I will patiently await Huffington Post coverage of the peer reviewed Burkhauser study, June 2013, refuting everything on income inequality ever published on their pages.  That would be as easy to find as this, "a screen shot uploaded by Facebook group "Americans Against the Tea Party" and relayed by Your Black Politics blog".

BTW, I'm glad it was posted; look at the reaction it stirred.  And Huff Post does have serious stories from time to time.  Good to know what others are reading.
3874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - income inequality has not risen from 1989 to 2007 on: October 27, 2013, 10:55:14 PM
I have tried (about a dozen times on the forum) to make the point that the income inequality measures widely published and cited are a farce, not including income of the poor and greatly exaggerating income the rich.  Income that belongs to the IRS and others is not their income.  In the category of famous people reading the forum, economists and columnists for research institutions such as AEI are jumping in to back me up on this.  I thank them.

This is important stuff.  It is the foundation for the liberal argument of why the free market and Republican policies are so unfair.

Income inequality is the existence of an economic ladder, available for all to climb, not evidence of unfairness. Perfectly equal outcomes is the worst possible outcome and could happen only if effort, talent, investment, incentive, disincentive, risk and reward have no meaning.  Equality could exist only with everyone at the bottom in poverty.  Do liberals ever consider what the opposite of income equality would mean.

From the article (with occasional comment):

 "The official measure...doesn’t include (the main income of lower income people) non-cash benefits, like food stamps or Medicaid and Medicare and it doesn’t take into account taxes (the multi-trillion dollar equalizer against the rich). (One example:) So when part of the federal response to the recession was to reduce taxes, particularly the payroll tax, that isn’t incorporated into the official measure.  When you do take into account those things, you find that disposable income for the middle class was back to its 2007 level in 2011. We’ve actually fully recovered. If you look at the bottom, that too looks like it’s recovered to its 2007 level. It depends on how you value Medicaid and Medicare..."

"If you think that government ought to be redistributing money or providing a safety net during downturns, that’s exactly what it did"
"Burkhauser and his colleagues start with those numbers, which include the capital gains that people realize when they sell assets like stocks. That’s a big part of the story because the stock market has done well over these past few decades. When the stock market is at a peak, people sell and realize these big gains that have been accumulating over time. Instead of showing gradual increases in income over time, they show up as these spikes when the market peaks and people sell. It will also show up as spikes when tax policy changes affect the returns to come of these investments.

Rich and his colleagues said, “Let’s take into account year by year capital gains that are accruing to people, many of which are behind the scenes because people are not actually selling these assets.” By the way, in some years, there are capital losses that we don’t see because of the 2008 financial crisis where there are these huge losses at the top. When they attempted to account for the accrued gains and losses behind the scenes, they found that inequality has not risen from 1989 to 2007."
"The income growth for the middle class has been stronger than people realize. Since about 1979 it’s gone up about 40 percent."

Unmentioned in the piece is that the slowdown in income mobility up for the lower incomes was caused by the safety hammock of the programs.  Extravagant programs require limits on other income and many people in them face effective marginal tax rates way over 100% for additional dollars of income.  Great incentive to climb.
3875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Krauthammer v. Jon Stewart on: October 26, 2013, 02:00:28 PM
This is a 3 part video of 30 minutes, especially good for me to see because I don't watch cable tv where these characters hang out.

  At times CK is brilliant, but also he validates some of the points liberals are making and misses some opportunities.  Stewart gets called out in part but is quite persuasive with many of his points.  Important questions perhaps for 'the way forward', how to answer the liberal take on all of this more effectively and how do you get conservatives to be more on the same page in order to do that.
3876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - shutdown on: October 26, 2013, 12:11:17 PM
McClintock makes a valid point. 

Just a sidenote here, the whole 'shutdown' question is another case of liberals owning our language and the rest of us allowing them to do that.  The Affordable Care Act isn't about affordable care and the shutdown wasn't a shutdown.

We had a partial shutdown, a 17% shutdown, a non-essential pause, a 16 day, partial, 17% non-essential paid vacation, but we didn't have a shutdown.

Imagine if we did have a shutdown.  Shut down the airports, close the military bases, lock up the Courts and the White House, end food inspection, turn off the missile defense, etc etc.  Disaster, disease, famine, that isn't what happened.  The effect I saw was that rush hour traffic moved a little bit better.

Let the pollsters ask, who do you blame for the 16 day paid pause of 17% non-essential federal functions.  51% or more should say who cares.
3877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: October 26, 2013, 10:20:36 AM
The various expressions of the fundamental vision disagreement that now afflict our country such as
a) guns and self-defense vs. the sheeple
b) the nanny state vs. freedom
c) gay marriage, gay parenting
d) pre-birth life life vs. abortion
e) free minds and free markets vs liberal fascism
f) etc.

Thanks for that.  Before you posted 'engage in the culture wars', my thinking was to mostly put 'social issues' that divide us aside and at least electorally build a majority that can agree on economic issues.  Maybe I am wrong on that.

This year we stopped new gun control efforts without putting it front and center in elections.  Of course not without a fight.

On abortion, I believe in the slow fight of changing hearts and changing minds ahead of forcing view on others with new laws the way liberals do with their causes.  Without majority support in 38 states, this doesn't get resolved either way in the constitution.

The gay marriage issue is lost from a conservative point of view, and not worth putting on the front burner.  The gay parenting issue is odd - with gayness being the opposite of the instinct to form families.  The breakdown of marriage and family is now a miserable, overwhelming fact in this country.  How we move forward on that I have no idea.  That loss is closely tied to the rest of our problems.

Foreign Policy is going to divide us in the next Presidential season.  Many conservatives are becoming screw the rest of the world isolationists while others like Marco Rubio sound very Reaganesque (and like Obj) in terms of peace through strength.  Peace through Strength is right, but people have become very skeptical about interventions.

The happy warrior point, made earlier, is crucial.  There is a lot of negativity on our side, anger, despair, etc., deservedly.  But we need to put on a face that is persuasive with optimism and a positive plan.  We need to focus on moving the needle ever so slightly with everyone we come in contact with.  This isn't about narrowing our allies down to a smaller group that agree perfectly with us.  It is about making our viewpoint more appealing to those in the middle, and bringing people in.  We need far greater participation from within our own core groups and we need to chip away at liberal, Democratic loyalty from their core constituencies.  Most of the latter has gone uncontested and that is a big part of our failure.

Strategies and tactics matter.  We are getting KILLED in the ground game, far short of where we need to be in the money game, completely lost in the major media game, getting our asses kicked in messaging, etc.,  - yet we are still winning roughly half of elections and losing big ones by only a handful of percentage points.

Obj: "One thing is certain - I'm NOT going to curl up in the fetal position and accept defeat."

That is the key.  There are ups and downs but this fight never ends.

3878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: October 26, 2013, 12:44:17 AM
Ultimately I think we have to engage in the culture wars in a "happy warrior" way-- and win.  If we win, we do not need to write a new C.  If we lose, we will lose in the writing of a new C.

While I formulate my own answer to obj, may I ask Crafty, what do you mean by the "culture wars"?
3879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: Charles Krauthammer on: October 25, 2013, 09:46:17 AM
Excellent piece on "the Right's most prominent commentator", Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Examiner yesterday:

Harvard Medical School, his accident, his work and his criticisms of this President.

"Krauthammer, 63, sits atop one of the highest perches in the news media. Every night on Fox News' Special Report, he is the star of Bret Baier's political panel. Every Friday, his column appears in the Washington Post and scores of other papers (he won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for commentary)."
3880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MIT Tech Review: The Decline of Wikipedia on: October 25, 2013, 09:40:17 AM
Long, interesting story out of M.I.T. about challenges over at Wikipedia:

Based on a study done at U. of MN:
3881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: October 25, 2013, 09:25:06 AM
Obj: "Guys - please read my previous post once again."

I agree with much of it and I like Mark Levin, but you lost me on this point:

"The plan Mark Levin outlines in his book "The Liberty Amendments" I believe - is the only way to stop this nation's accelerating decay"

Right now we can't get 50% to agree with us, so instead we will get 75% to agree with us and pass amendments wiser, stricter, and smarter than what the founders could write and shrink government to something far smaller and less intrusive than what voters support now.  How?
3882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Medical Device Tax - Device manufacturers shedding jobs on: October 24, 2013, 10:34:47 AM
Medical Device Tax - is not mentioned in the first 5 paragraphs of this story about a large number of medical device manufacturers shedding jobs, Boston Scientific, Medtronics, St. Jude Medical, and that's just the local effect here.   Keep reading.

It cost Boston Scientific 15% of its global workforce.  Who knew?

The good news, more enrollees for Obamacare, and more Democratic voters.  It is truly a win-win when your world and your math is upside down.

"In January, Boston Scientific announced it was cutting 900 to 1,000 jobs from its global workforce in an effort to manage the effects of the United States’ new medical device tax while investing in new products and geographical markets. Those cuts brought the total number of reductions in an earlier restructuring program to 2,400 jobs, or about 10 percent of the company’s global workforce." (Not counting these further reductions.)

"...the reductions add to a wave of cuts by Minnesota’s largest medical technology companies. In May, Medtronic Inc. announced it was eliminating 2,000 jobs worldwide, including 500 in Minnesota. Medtronic officials said at the time they were “growing in some areas and making changes in others.” A year earlier, Medtronic cut 1,000 jobs."

Only a rules for radicals, glibness administration would subject pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators to a 'sin' tax - in the name of making healthcare more "affordable".
3883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: October 24, 2013, 09:55:52 AM
Fake outrage. We spy on everyone and they do the same in return.

And they will stop cooperating with us on the fight against terrorism?  Good luck with that.

Like drone warfare, Libya intervention and so many other things, imagine if this had happened under Bush - or Romney, Pres. Cruz. etc.  Like you say, instead we see the obligatory, fake outrage.  Other than seek campaign contributions, Obama isn't going to do anything with the information.
3884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: October 24, 2013, 09:36:24 AM
Dealing with the horrific effects of leftist policies is the only thing that will wake some up.

Yes, but even then the answer in this mindset is double down on failure.

CCP has posed a difficult question, once we have more than half the people on the taking/riding side of the equation, how do we win elections.  As Rush put it after the last election, how do you beat Santa Claus if he can offer you free everything.

Romney was half right and half wrong about the 47%.  41% today (RCP poll average) look at abject failure and say good job.  Half of Americans rely on some government benefit or subsidy, but they aren't all the same people as the core liberal vote.  Plenty of liberal voters are rich and in high tax brackets,  Plenty of swing voters are professionals living in nice neighborhoods, working and paying in.  Plenty of people who take a check from the government vote conservative and plenty more are swing voters.  The sell has gotten harder but it isn't as mathematically impossible as the premise suggests.  As always, you have to win on the margin.

CCP argues we need more than platitudes.  Some of it in the eye of the beholder.  When I hear empty platitudes like economic freedom it brings a tear to my eye for all the people denied theirs and those who died fighting for it.  I also connect it in thought with the things like the Heritage index that show economic freedom synonymous with prosperity, also with peace and a clean environment.

The message will soon come down to who more than than how.  Bad candidates or undisciplined ones cost us the Senate, and arguably the Presidency.  A Margaret Thatcher for example can bring what you see as platitudes to life with real meaning.  Finding the next Reagan is another platitude but good people are stepping forward.

Messaging needs to be both offense and defense, not necessarily from the same messenger.  Someone noteworthy needs to be in immediate response mode (remember the Clinton war room) calling out this administration and other liberals on their BS and drivel as fast as it comes out.  Then true leadership needs to be on offense, relentlessly pushing what could, would and should be the agenda to address our challenges.

Most of all, as we say in tennis, we need to cut back on our unforced errors!
3885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Michelle Malkin: Obamacare's Electronic Medical Records Wreck on: October 23, 2013, 09:21:06 AM
What is wrong with Obamacare is not a software glitch. 

"...distracted doctors are seeing more pixels than patients,"

Don't Forget Obamacare's Electronic Medical Records Wreck
Michelle Malkin | Oct 23, 2013

Obamacare's top-down, tax-subsidized, job-killing, privacy-undermining electronic record-sharing scheme has been a big fat bust. More than $4 billion in "incentives" has been doled out to force doctors and hospitals to convert and upgrade by 2015. But favored EMR vendors, including Obama bundler Judy Faulkner's Epic Systems, have undermined rather than enhanced interoperability. Oversight remains lax. And after hyping the alleged benefits for nearly a decade, the RAND Corporation finally 'fessed up that its cost-savings predictions of $81 billion a year -- used repeatedly to support the Obama EMR mandate -- were (like every other Obamacare promise) vastly overstated.

In June, the Annals of Emergency Medicine published a study warning that the "rush to capitalize on the huge federal investment of $30 billion for the adoption of electronic medical records led to some unfortunate and unintended consequences" tied to "communication failure, poor data display, wrong order/wrong patient errors and alert fatigue." Also this summer, Massachusetts reported that 60 percent of doctors could not meet the EMR mandate and face potential loss of their licenses in 2015. And a few weeks ago, the American College of Physicians pleaded with the feds to delay the mandate's data collection, certification and reporting requirements.

More at link
3886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Abortion: Is killing a pregnant wife one murder or two? on: October 23, 2013, 09:16:26 AM

Attorneys for Apple Valley man argue fetus' death was an abortion

When an Apple Valley woman died in March, her 15-week-old fetus, too young to survive outside the womb, died with her.

Margorie Holland's husband, Roger Holland, is charged with murder in the deaths. But with his trial scheduled for Monday, his attorneys are making a novel argument: The death of the fetus was an abortion, not a murder, and the only person whose rights that such an act could have violated -- the mother -- already was dead.
3887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: My friend Donald asks: on: October 22, 2013, 11:52:39 PM
In the case of Senator and then President Barack Obama, it is important to note that he was a majority leader (in fact, not title) of the Senate for the two years coming into the Presidency.  The non-renewing effect of tax rate cuts played a role in the economic stall.  His actions favoring Fannie Mae and CRA lending rules played a role in the crash.  (Not sole blame by any means!)  The emergency measures, TARP, Stimulus I, QE1, etc. that were started in the fall prior to his inauguration were done all with his support and consent.  The budget year that started Oct 1, 2008 had his seal of approval on it as well.  Had he fallen out of an airplane into the White House in Jan. 2009 instead, I would view his first year and his first term differently.

If you take together his contribution to the crash and his Presidency, and that his policies all tend to both slow economic growth and to increase spending, he is responsible for a boatload of debt, still amassing.

Let's go through the points made by Donald:

"I understand the debt is ultimately destructive to our society. The blame though is all over the place and involves both parties."  - True

"But how much of that increase of 70% over the last 5 years can be directly blamed on Obama? He entered office with the country in a financial mess. Surely you can't say Obama created any significant amount of that debt in his first 6-12 months."

  - He supported all the policies that led to the disaster and dealt with it.  Obama says the crash was caused by Bush tax cuts but in fact it was the impending end of the tax rate cuts, along with the housing debacle that triggered the fall.

"The monster was already charging ahead in part fueled by lower tax revenue due to a recession he did not create."

  - You would have to ask Donald what policies he thinks created or caused this recession.  Nothing significant regarding domestic policy or fiscal policy went through the House or Senate in the two years leading up to the crash that did not have his approval, and Hillary's, the front runners for the coming election.  He was not fighting off the easy money at the Fed.  He was not fighting to stop irresponsible lending practices in housing, 90% of which was from the federal government.  He was winning the fight to end tax rate cuts that had spurred the economy to 50 consecutive months of job growth.  He took office and the majority in Congress with unemployment at 4.6%.  There should be SOME accountability for that.  Bush had no new domestic or economic policies advanced after Pelosi-Reid (and Obama) took over the Congress in his last two years.

"Since getting into office he and Congress have been at total loggerheads with obstructionism being the one and only mantra and agenda of the GOP. No statesmen can function in that environment, and they don't."

  - This is not true.  Pres. Obama had total control of Congress the first two years including a 60th vote in the Senate.  Squandered it on passing a program that failed in the polls, that he didn't even want implemented until his second term, and lost the House of Representatives over it.  He compromised absolutely nothing on that program and its passage with Republicans and he reaped what he sowed.  He called his opponents andtheir  tactics terrorists, arson, ransom, etc.  The loggerhead was not someone else's fault.  In fact Republicans had a healthcare plan on the table with all the popular provisions, pre-existing conditions etc.  The only changes he made were to win Democrat votes in Nebraska and Connecticut.

"My question is this why is Obama alone blamed for the increase of $7T ?   Does Bush's "blame" for how out of whack our budget is end on his last day in office? I think not. Similarly, Obamacare's effect on the economy will not end on his last day in office. What if a Republican is elected in '16. Would he/she be blamed for any increase in debt during his/her term?"

  - I agree with Donald in the concept of runners left on base at the start and end of a Presidency. I also don't think the President alone deserves all credit and or blame for the term, so the exact amount of blame is hard to quantify.  But it was enough to most certainly be "destructive to our society".
3888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: October 22, 2013, 10:10:43 PM
Do a search on Sanger at discover the networks.

Margaret Higgins Sanger was a radical feminist, eugenicist, Marxist, and the founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
According to her New York Times obituary, she sought to encourage birth control and/or abortion among “subnormal children.”
(1939) Sanger turned her attention specifically to the reproductive practices of black Americans. She selected former ABCL director Clarence J. Gamble (of the Procter and Gamble company) to become BCFA's southern regional director. That November, Gamble drew up a memorandum titled "Suggestion for Negro Project," whose ultimate aim was to decrease the black birth rate significantly. Anticipating that black leaders would be suspicious of anyone exhorting African Americans to have fewer children, Gamble suggested that BCFA place black leaders in high positions within the organization, so as to give the appearance that they were in charge of the group's agendas. BCFA presented birth control as a vehicle for the upward economic mobility of blacks.

More relevant today than racism in the previous century is the way abortion hits black babies now, killing them at a rate three times that of the white ones.  Imagine if that was a Republican policy!  What liberal over at Planned Parenthood or DNC or MSM has ever expressed concern much less outrage over that?

3889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 22, 2013, 01:23:18 PM
ABC's Jon Karl To Carney: How Can You Tax People For Obamacare When The Website Doesn't Work?
3890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: October 22, 2013, 01:19:45 PM
Anyone have a citation or two on the eugenics driven origins of Planned Parenthood/the abortion movement?
3891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Paul Krugman the Invincible on: October 22, 2013, 01:05:24 PM
Niall Ferguson — Harvard professor (and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution fellow — launched a three part series, in the Huffington Post, entitled Krugtron the Invincible, Parts 1, 2 and 3 with a notable coda at Project Syndicate.  Ferguson succeeds in methodically humiliating New York Times columnist, celebrity blogger, and Nobel economic prize laureate Paul Krugman.

Krugtron the Invincible, Part 1

Krugtron the Invincible, Part 2

Krugtron the Invincible, Part 3
3892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jon Stewart On Obamacare Rollout on: October 22, 2013, 12:40:39 PM
Jon Stewart On Obamacare Rollout: "How Are Democrats Going To Spin This Turd?"

Democrat programs are doing badly if Jon Stewart decides to rip on them:

He starts with the obligatory rip on Republicans, then...
3893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Peter Schiff: Investors Have a Green Light To Load Up On Gold on: October 22, 2013, 12:31:43 PM
Twice in 2 days I find myself quoting economic doomsayer Peter Schiff.  It would be nice if his reasoning was false. but it makes sense to me.

It is rare that investors are given a road map. It is rarer still that the vast majority of those who get it are unable to understand the clear signs and directions it contains. When this happens the few who can actually read the map find themselves in an enviable position. Such is currently the case with gold and gold-related investments.

The common wisdom on Wall Street is that gold has seen the moment of its greatness flicker. This confidence has been fueled by three beliefs: A) the Fed will soon begin trimming its monthly purchases of Treasury and Mortgage Backed Securities (commonly called the "taper"), B) the growing strength of the U.S. economy is creating investment opportunities that will cause people to dump defensive assets like gold, and C) the renewed confidence in the U.S. economy will shore up the dollar and severely diminish gold's allure as a safe haven. All three of these assumptions are false. (Our new edition of the Global Investor Newsletter explores how the attraction never dimmed in India).

Recent developments suggest the opposite, that: A) the Fed has no exit strategy and is more likely to expand its QE program than diminish it, B) the U. S. economy is stuck in below-trend growth and possibly headed for another recession C) America's refusal to deal with its fiscal problems will undermine international faith in the dollar.
The reality is that Washington has now committed itself to a policy of permanent debt increase and QE infinity that can only possibly end in one way: a currency crisis. While the dollar's status as reserve currency, and America's position as both the world's largest economy and its largest debtor, will create a difficult and unpredictable path towards that destination, the ultimate arrival can't be doubted. The fact that few investors are drawing these conclusions has allowed gold, and precious metal mining stocks, to remain close to multi year lows, even while these recent developments should be signaling otherwise. This creates an opportunity.

Gold moved from $300 to $1,800 not because investors believed the government would hold the line on debt, but because they believed that the U.S. fiscal position would get progressively worse. That is what happened this week.
Investors should be concluding that America will never deal with its fiscal problems on its own terms. ... The hard choices that our leaders have just avoided will have to be made someday under far more burdensome circumstances. ...  More at link.
Or as economic optimist Wesbury put it on radio last week, a choice between jumping out a 2nd floor window now or off the 10th floor rather soon.
3894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Parady website on: October 22, 2013, 12:04:59 PM

Point and Click on Apply Now!
3895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The war on the rule of law, Obama’s fingerprints all over IRS Tea Party scandal on: October 22, 2013, 12:01:31 PM

Obama’s fingerprints all over IRS Tea Party scandal
by Jay Sekulow

It’s past time for the media to begin asking President Obama tough questions about the IRS conservative targeting scandal.  After all he was involved, publicly, from the beginning.

Last Friday, the American Center for Law and Justice (where I serve as Chief Counsel) filed its Second Amended Complaint against the United States, the IRS, and a legion of IRS officials.  This Complaint, in which we represent 41 organizations in 22 states, presents perhaps the most complete story yet of the IRS conservative targeting scandal.

And it is an ugly story indeed.

What was sold to the American public as a low-level scandal perpetrated by a few rogue employees – a scandal stopped after senior officials became aware and asserted control – is now (to borrow a Watergate phrase) “no longer operative.”

    Was Obama involved in the IRS scandal?  He was the one who identified the targets – in the most public manner possible.

Instead, we detail a long-running assault on the Tea Party, beginning shortly after its emergence in 2009, that is empowered, encouraged, and orchestrated not only by senior IRS officials in Washington, but also through outright targeting by the White House, Congressional Democrats, and the mainstream media.

In fact, the IRS was doing little more than focusing its attention exactly where the president of the United States told it to focus – on the groups the president himself identified as a “threat to democracy.”

Consider President Obama’s aggressive public statements – made just as we now know senior IRS officials were intentionally and aggressively scrutinizing conservative groups’ applications for tax exemption.

On August 9, 2010 the president warned of “attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names” during his weekly radio address.  The President said:  We don’t know who’s behind these ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them . . . you don’t know if it’s a foreign controlled corporation. ... The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.”

On September 16, 2010, President Obama once again warned that some unidentified “foreign-controlled entity” could be providing “millions of dollars” for “attack ads.”  Less than one week later, he complained that “nobody knows” the identities of the individuals who support conservative groups.

On September 22, 2010, President Obama warned of groups opposing his policies “pos[ing] as non-for-profit social and welfare trade groups” and he claimed such groups were “guided by seasoned Republican political operatives” and potentially supported by some unidentified “foreign controlled entity.”

On October 14, 2010, President Obama called organizations with “benign sounding” names “a problem for democracy”; the next week he complained about individuals who “hide behind those front groups,” called such groups a “threat to our democracy,” and claimed such groups were engaged in “unsupervised” spending.

Next, consider the IRS’s actions following those statements.  Not only did the IRS continue its targeting, it issued broad questionnaires that made unconstitutionally-intrusive inquiries designed to get answers to exactly the questions President Obama posed.

Who are your donors?

What is the political activity of your family and associates?

What are the passwords for your websites?

After all, according to the president, you’re only afraid to answer these questions if “you’ve got something to hide.”

The demagoguery is breathtaking.  Not only does he raise the wholly-unsubstantiated possibility of shadowy “foreign” involvement in the Tea Party groups, a charge incredible on its face, but he goes the extra mile of calling such groups, a “threat to our democracy.”

When the president of the United States declares these groups a “threat to our democracy” is it any surprise that his enthusiastic supporters (and donors) within the IRS responded with an unprecedented campaign of selective targeting, intimidation, and governmental intrusion?

One grows weary of stating the obvious, but if President Bush had declared a specific category of citizen groups a “threat to democracy” potentially run by “political operatives” or “foreign-controlled,” and the IRS launched an unprecedented campaign of targeting and intrusive questioning, the mainstream media would have been relentless not only in its independent investigations but in its calls for accountability – at the highest levels.

Was the president of the United States involved in the IRS scandal?  He was the one who identified the targets – in the most public manner possible.

A president singling out citizens groups for targeting and intrusive questioning merely because he dislikes their message and fears their political influence?

Now that is a “threat to democracy.”

Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice
3896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 22, 2013, 11:20:47 AM
(I should stay out, but...) I wrote "totally unqualified" and should clarify.  Anyone who can get nominated and confirmed is arguably qualified.  And legal training is a plus, not a minus, same for loyalty if it is well-directed.  

Johnson's "policy making role" was to advise policy makers; he was not a policy maker. (No one said he was.) On that, he has no experience or track record, which unfortunately is a plus in the eyes of the President - for confirmation purposes.

A better question than is he qualified: who is MOST qualified for that job?  On that I would start with the people who have run the most similar operations successfully.  If you started at the top of that list and headed down it forever, his name will never come up.

Is management and policy making experience a crucial qualification for a job managing the performance of 230,000 security and law enforcement agents?  I think so!
3897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: October 22, 2013, 10:26:15 AM
Or put another way, how can we win people over by ignoring their questions and by posing answers to questions they are NOT asking?

Yes, precisely! 

Start ignoring false questions and answering real ones.

False question are questions based on false premises.  In politics, they are endless.  How come Republicans want to starve the poor, take away Grannies' meds, don't care about working people, only care about the rich, care only about themselves, don't have a plan of their own, only know how to say no, hate government, hate black people, are war mongers, etc.  How come Republicans want people to raise a family on $8 an hour?  How come they want to stop 20 million people from getting health insurance?  The more we answer these questions, the deeper the hole we have dug.

The question that resonated in the Dem electoral takeover that began in 2006 was the income inequality farce, that reinforces the false choice between siding with rich people and siding with poor or middle class people.  It originated with some of the liberal thought wonks, was brought forward by people like Robert Reich and Paul Krugman, and then repeated ad nauseam by liberal candidates and office holders.  We had John Edwards' "Two Americas", we had the surge of Howard Dean from the left, we had the changeover of congress to Pelosi-Reid-Obama et al right as the economy was hitting 50 consecutive months of job growth, and then we had the elevation of the Senate's most liberal member to President.  During that time we also had the elevation of the CRAp, fairness-based lending, to the top of our national housing policy with Republicans (including Newt!) jumping in to defuse Democrats 'it's all so unfair' argument.  It ended in a crash, but by their measures and even when Dems controlled all branches and all chambers, we still have the rich getting richer - at an alarming rate!

What do we know about income inequality?

a) It is badly measured and greatly overstated,

b) It is a fact, not an issue, and

c) Focusing on this false injustice leads you to all the wrong policy choices.

Back to part two of the CCP axiom:  "posing answers to questions they are NOT asking?"
Yes!  What are the questions middle voters REALLY are asking? (or should be)

Aren't they really asking something like this:  How can we raise up everyone's prosperity and quality of life?

If so, the argument might be between the performance of state run economies over time and across the globe versus the more free economies and we would win with every look at the data.
3898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 20, 2013, 03:38:36 PM
Surprising considering their cooperation with the other inquiries, Fast and Furious, IRS Targeting, Benghazi, etc.

Wouldn't refusal to accept congressional oversight be valid reason to de-fund?
3899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 20, 2013, 03:31:32 PM
The question might be, what is the closest experience he has to running a similar 230,000 employee law enforcement / national security operation - at a time when we are under attack.

Another question might be, what would be the Dem reaction be if a Republican president chose a totally unqualified partisan to run a crucial national security agency.
3900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: October 20, 2013, 02:37:32 PM
What a nightmare ! Amazing we survived as a nation.

Did you know that during the 'shutdown', no one was weeding Michelle's garden?

"Michelle Obama's garden is back to being weeded and cared for now that the government has reopened."
How do they get away with calling these functions of government non-essential?  She could have lost a whole season of Halloween pumpkins.  As required in Article 8?

I will never forget where I was the day the government shut down.
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