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3851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US State Dept: President Putin's Fiction, 10 False Claims About Ukraine on: March 10, 2014, 11:54:44 AM

President Putin's Fiction: 10 False Claims About Ukraine
Washington, DC
March 5, 2014

    1. Mr. Putin says:  Russian forces in Crimea are only acting to protect Russian military assets. It is “citizens’ defense groups,” not Russian forces, who have seized infrastructure and military facilities in Crimea.

    The Facts:  Strong evidence suggests that members of Russian security services are at the heart of the highly organized anti-Ukraine forces in Crimea. While these units wear uniforms without insignia, they drive vehicles with Russian military license plates and freely identify themselves as Russian security forces when asked by the international media and the Ukrainian military. Moreover, these individuals are armed with weapons not generally available to civilians.

    2. Mr. Putin says:  Russia’s actions fall within the scope of the 1997 Friendship Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

    The Facts:  The 1997 agreement requires Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, which have given them operational control of Crimea, are in clear violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

    3. Mr. Putin says:  The opposition failed to implement the February 21 agreement with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

    The Facts:  The February 21 agreement laid out a plan in which the Rada, or Parliament, would pass a bill to return Ukraine to its 2004 Constitution, thus returning the country to a constitutional system centered around its parliament. Under the terms of the agreement, Yanukovych was to sign the enacting legislation within 24 hours and bring the crisis to a peaceful conclusion. Yanukovych refused to keep his end of the bargain. Instead, he packed up his home and fled, leaving behind evidence of wide-scale corruption.

    4. Mr. Putin says:  Ukraine’s government is illegitimate. Yanukovych is still the legitimate leader of Ukraine.

    The Facts:  On March 4, President Putin himself acknowledged the reality that Yanukovych “has no political future.” After Yanukovych fled Ukraine, even his own Party of Regions turned against him, voting to confirm his withdrawal from office and to support the new government. Ukraine’s new government was approved by the democratically elected Ukrainian Parliament, with 371 votes – more than an 82% majority. The interim government of Ukraine is a government of the people, which will shepherd the country toward democratic elections on May 25th – elections that will allow all Ukrainians to have a voice in the future of their country.

    5. Mr. Putin says:  There is a humanitarian crisis and hundreds of thousands are fleeing Ukraine to Russia and seeking asylum.

    The Facts:  To date, there is absolutely no evidence of a humanitarian crisis. Nor is there evidence of a flood of asylum-seekers fleeing Ukraine for Russia. International organizations on the ground have investigated by talking with Ukrainian border guards, who also refuted these claims. Independent journalists observing the border have also reported no such flood of refugees.

    6. Mr. Putin says:  Ethnic Russians are under threat.

    The Facts:  Outside of Russian press and Russian state television, there are no credible reports of any ethnic Russians being under threat. The new Ukrainian government placed a priority on peace and reconciliation from the outset. President Oleksandr Turchynov refused to sign legislation limiting the use of the Russian language at regional level. Ethnic Russians and Russian speakers have filed petitions attesting that their communities have not experienced threats. Furthermore, since the new government was established, calm has returned to Kyiv. There has been no surge in crime, no looting, and no retribution against political opponents.

    7. Mr. Putin says:  Russian bases are under threat.

    The Facts:  Russian military facilities were and remain secure, and the new Ukrainian government has pledged to abide by all existing international agreements, including those covering Russian bases. It is Ukrainian bases in Crimea that are under threat from Russian military action.

    8. Mr. Putin says:  There have been mass attacks on churches and synagogues in southern and eastern Ukraine.

    The Facts:  Religious leaders in the country and international religious freedom advocates active in Ukraine have said there have been no incidents of attacks on churches. All of Ukraine’s church leaders, including representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, have expressed support for the new political leadership, calling for national unity and a period of healing. Jewish groups in southern and eastern Ukraine report that they have not seen an increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

    9. Mr. Putin says:  Kyiv is trying to destabilize Crimea.

    The Facts:  Ukraine’s interim government has acted with restraint and sought dialogue. Russian troops, on the other hand, have moved beyond their bases to seize political objectives and infrastructure in Crimea. The government in Kyiv immediately sent the former Chief of Defense to defuse the situation. Petro Poroshenko, the latest government emissary to pursue dialogue in Crimea, was prevented from entering the Crimean Rada.

    10. Mr. Putin says:  The Rada is under the influence of extremists or terrorists.

    The Facts:  The Rada is the most representative institution in Ukraine. Recent legislation has passed with large majorities, including from representatives of eastern Ukraine. Far-right wing ultranationalist groups, some of which were involved in open clashes with security forces during the EuroMaidan protests, are not represented in the Rada. There is no indication that the Ukrainian government would pursue discriminatory policies; on the contrary, they have publicly stated exactly the opposite.
3852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 10, 2014, 11:51:09 AM
China stocks hit 5 year low. major indexes across the region registering steep declines

NYSE and S&P Margin Debt at (another) all time record high

Jobs report: At This Rate, It Will Take 28 Years To Get Everyone Back To Work

US stocks at record highs

If the writing was on the wall, what more would it need to say?
3853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Asian Geopolitics? Where is the Malaysian airliner? on: March 10, 2014, 10:24:32 AM
More likely terror than science, I did not realize they still have not discovered what happened to the Malaysian airliner.  North Korea has been playing around with shooting missiles at moving objects.  Given the location, more likely this was done by either a terrorist group in possession of serious weaponry or exploded from above by the the two men who boarded with stolen passports.

Many Chinese aboard, among others.  Assuming foul play, still hard to say who was the target, what was the motive?

We still don't know what happened to flight MH370
USA TODAY ‎- 52 minutes ago
The fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared three days ago with 239 people aboard remained a mystery Monday

Maybe it would help if we knew what happened to TWA flight 800 over Long Island, NY.
3854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: March 09, 2014, 05:44:53 PM
What has Cruz said about the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

Looks like he has speaking out on the crisis since at least last December as co-sponsor of Senate Resolution 319:

January 23, 2014:
The President and Congress should unite in a coherent and sustained program to support the opposition and encourage Yanukovych to both rescind his restrictions on the rights of the Ukrainian people and renounce violence against those engaged in protest... The Department of State should be commended for implementing visa bans against Ukrainian officials this week. We should follow-up swiftly with targeted economic sanctions as well, including freezing the assets of those responsible for the violence.

January 28, 2014, 12:39 pm
Cruz: Putin plays chess, Obama plays checkers on foreign policy
He also called on Obama to take a more active role in helping pro-democracy protesters in Ukraine who are trying to break the grip of Russian influence.
The Obama administration should consider short-term and long-term steps such as setting up a free-trade zone to help bolster the Ukrainian economy and protect it from Russian economic coercion, he said.
Cruz said the United States should share the expertise of American companies to assist in the development of Ukraine’s domestic shale gas reserves and assist with the construction of liquid natural gas import infrastructure so that the former satellite state does not have to depend on Russia as a source.

February 19, 2014
Ted Cruz: The World Cannot Afford to Be Distracted as Ukrainians Are Brutalized by Their Own Government

Feb 28, 2014
Ted Cruz: "Stand Up To Putin's Power Grab... Stand With Ukraine"
"look into suspending Russia from the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Security Council"
the U.S. needs to suspend "Russian membership in the Group of Eight (G8)," and we need to do so "immediately."

Cruz argued for immediately passing a new free trade treaty with Ukraine and “looking at existing treaties between the United States and Russia, and considering abrogating those treaties.”  He said Russia should be kicked out of the G-8.
3855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: March 09, 2014, 05:07:39 PM
Fox News interview video.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday over the occupation of southern Ukraine, with the libertarian-leaning Republican claiming that “if he’s going to act like a rogue nation, he will be isolated.”

Paul spoke to Fox News’ Greta van Susteren at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he delivered a speech on Friday. “What will you do about Putin and Ukraine?” the reporter asked the prospective 2016 presidential candidate.

Often criticized by right-wing hawks for his push to limit American involvement overseas Paul’s response indicated a willingness to articulate clear consequences to aggression without resorting to military confrontation. “We have to tell him that his behavior is unacceptable. He needs to be isolated,” the senator said. “And if he’s going to act like a rogue nation, he will be isolated.”

“I don’t think that involves a military option,” Paul continued, “and I think that most of the party has come to my way of thinking on this, that there really isn’t a military option for us there. That doesn’t mean that we don’t react, and that we don’t let Putin know in clear and uncertain terms that what he’s done is unacceptable.”

The senator also noted that if Russia pushes beyond Crimea and invades the rest of the country, an international response may be the least of Putin’s problems. “If he tries to further occupy Ukraine, my prediction is Ukraine becomes Syria,” he said, referencing the bloody 3-year civil war ravaging that country. “If Ukraine becomes Syria it’ll be a disaster for Russia, and he better think twice about it. Because one Ukrainian teenager with $200 of explosives could disrupt his pipelines.”

“So they’re not going to submit to the will of Russia,” he concluded. “They’re not going to submit to subjugation. So I think this hand is not yet over.”

Libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Sunday that he would have responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by “drilling every possible conceivable place” in the U.S. if he were president.

Following his Saturday win in the Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll, Paul was asked by Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday if he was willing to let Russian President Vladimir Putin have the Ukraine peninsula of Crimea.

“If they annex Crimea, Ukraine will almost certainly come within the Western orbit,” Paul explained. “So, it will backfire on them. Because you will be taking Russian-speaking voters that have been speaking for Russian-speaking presidents of Ukraine, you’ll be taking them out of the population.”

“The other thing I’ve said is, that I would do something differently from the president,” the Kentucky Republican added. “I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas.”

“And I would begin drilling in every possible conceivable place within our territories in order to have production we can supply Europe with if it’s interrupted from Ukraine.”
3856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Is Dr. Ben Carson the candidate who can win? on: March 09, 2014, 01:27:38 PM
Crafty has already posted about this movement to draft Ben Carson, but there is quite an effort going on at CPAC to support this.
Their argument is that if a Republican, ANY Republican, can win 17% of the black vote, it is all over for the Democrats.  My argument is that with a Rubio-Carson ticket, for example, you could change enough hearts and minds that it would not matter what color, ethnicity, skill set or first language a person has or is, they will want to jump in and earn a piece of the new freedom,  peace and prosperity that will be coming to their neighbrhood and their country.

The draft committee raised $2.83 million dollars from 47,000 donors in its first six months of operation, which ended in late February. "We crushed Ready for Hillary in fundraising,"
3857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ukraine, "Russia has already lost", NY Times on: March 09, 2014, 12:28:31 PM
Anther take on Ukraine, optimistic and maybe similar in view to the National Journal article BD posted:
(Author Chrystia Freeland is a Liberal member of the Canadian Parliament.)
I hope she has this right; we will see.

KIEV, Ukraine — OVER the past two weeks, residents of Kiev have lived through its bloodiest conflict since the Second World War, watched their reviled president flee and a new, provisional team take charge, seen Russian troops take control of part of the country, and heard Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, assert his right to take further military action. Yet the Ukrainian capital is calm.

Revolutions often falter on Day 2, as Ukraine has already bitterly learned twice — once after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and then again in 2005 after the Orange Revolution. That could happen again, but the new revolution is enjoying a prolonged honeymoon, thanks to Mr. Putin, whose intervention in Ukrainian foreign and trade policy provoked the uprising in the first place, and whose invasion has, paradoxically, increased its chance of long-term success.

Kiev smells like a smoky summer camp, from the bonfires burning to keep the demonstrators still out on Independence Square warm, but every day it is tidier. Sidewalks in the city center are checkerboarded with neat piles of bricks that had been dug up to serve as missiles and are now being put back.

The police, despised for their corruption and repression, are returning to work. Their squad cars often sport Ukrainian flags and many have a “self-defense” activist from the protests with them. A Western ambassador told me that the activists were there to protect the cops from angry citizens. My uncle, who lives here, said they were also there to stop the police from slipping back into their old ways and demanding bribes.

This revolution may yet be eaten by its own incompetence or by infighting. A presidential election is scheduled for May, and the race, negative campaigning and all, has quietly begun. The oligarchs, some of whom have cannily been appointed governors of the potentially restive eastern regions, are jockeying for power. But for now, Ukrainians, who were brought together by shared hatred of the former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, are being brought closer still by the Kremlin-backed invasion.

“Yanukovych freed Ukraine and Putin is uniting it,” said Iegor Soboliev, a 37-year-old ethnic Russian who heads a government commission to vet officials of the former regime. “Ukraine is functioning not through its government but through the self-organization of its people and their sense of human decency.”

Mr. Soboliev is a former investigative journalist who grew frustrated that carefully documented revelations of government misbehavior — which he says “wasn’t merely corruption, it was marauding” — were having no impact. He and a few friends formed Volya, a movement dedicated to creating a country of “responsible citizens” and a “state worthy of their trust.”

“People in Odessa, Mykolaiv, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk are coming out to defend their country,” Mr. Soboliev said. “They have never liked the western Ukrainian, Galician point of view. But they are showing themselves to be equally patriotic. They are defending their country from foreign aggression. Fantastical things are happening.”

This conflict could flare into Europe’s first major war of the 21st century, and Crimea may never again be part of Ukraine. But no matter what happens over the next few months, or even years, Mr. Putin and his vision of an authoritarian, Russian-dominated former Soviet space have already lost. Democratic, independent Ukraine, and the messy, querulous (but also free and law-abiding) European idea have won.

So far, the only certain victory is the ideological one. Many outsiders have interpreted the past three months as a Yugoslav-style ethno-cultural fight. It is nothing of the kind. This is a political struggle. Notwithstanding the bloodshed, the best parallel is with Prague’s Velvet Revolution of 1989. The emphasis there on changing society’s moral tone, and each person’s behavior, was likewise central to the protests that overthrew Mr. Yanukovych.

For Ukraine, as well as for Russia and much of the former U.S.S.R., the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was only a partial revolution. The U.S.S.R. vanished, but the old nomenklatura, and its venal, authoritarian style of governance remained. Mr. Putin is explicitly drawing on that heritage and fitfully trying to reshape it into a new state capitalist system that can compete and flourish globally. An alliance with Mr. Yanukovych’s Ukraine was an essential part of that plan.

That effort has now failed. Whatever Mr. Putin achieves in Ukraine, it will not be partnership with a Slavic younger brother enthusiastically joining in his neo-imperialist, neo-Soviet project.

The unanswered question is whether Ukraine can be a practical success. The economy needs a total structural overhaul — and that huge shift needs to be accomplished while either radically transforming, or creating from scratch, effective government institutions.

This is the work Central Europe and the Baltic states did in the 1990s. Their example shows that it can be done, but it takes a long time, requires a patient and united populace, and probably also the promise of European partnership.

The good news is that Ukraine may finally have achieved the necessary social unity. The bad news is that it isn’t clear if Europe, struggling with its economic malaise and ambivalence toward its newish eastern members, has the stomach to tutor and support Ukraine as it did the Visegrad countries — Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland — and the Baltic states.

THIS should be Ukraine’s biggest problem. But with Russian forces in Crimea, the more urgent question Kiev faces is whether it will find itself at war.

The answer depends in large part on Russia. Sergei Kovalev, a former dissident who became a member of the Russian Parliament in the 1990s, once told me that a good rule for understanding Russian strongmen was that “eating increases the appetite.” Mr. Putin has thus far lived up to that aphorism.

Thanks to his agility in Syria, his successful hosting of the Sochi Olympics and even, at first, his masterful manipulation of Mr. Yanukovych, Mr. Putin has won himself something of a reputation as a master strategist. But he has made a grave miscalculation in Ukraine.

For one thing, Mr. Putin misunderstands the complexities of language and ethnicity in Ukraine. Certainly, Ukraine is diverse, and language, history and culture play a role in some of its internal differences — just as they do in blue- and red-state America, in northern and southern Italy, or in the north and the south of England.

The error is to believe there is a fratricidal separation between Russian and Ukrainian speakers and to assume that everyone who speaks Russian at home or voted for Mr. Yanukovych would prefer to be a citizen of Mr. Putin’s Russia. The reality of Ukraine is that everyone in the country speaks and understands Russian and everyone at least understands Ukrainian. On television, in Parliament, and in the streets, bilingual discussions are commonplace.

Mr. Putin seems to have genuinely believed that Ukraine was Yugoslavia, and that his forces would be warmly welcomed by at least half of the country. As Leonid D. Kuchma, a former president of Ukraine and once a senior member of the Soviet military-industrial complex, told me: “His advisers must have thought they would be met in eastern Ukraine with flowers as liberators. The reality is 180 degrees opposite.”

Many foreign policy realists wish the Ukrainian revolution hadn’t happened. They would rather Ukraine had more fully entered the corrupt, authoritarian zone the Kremlin is seeking to consolidate. But we don’t get to choose for Ukraine — Ukrainians do, and they have. Now we have to choose for ourselves.

3858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ukraine - 5 myths? on: March 09, 2014, 12:16:48 PM
CNN author makes a bunch of straw arguments in the '5 myths' format, IMHO.
Myth 1. We're back in the Cold War - No, we are in a new one. 
2. Putin is Hitler - No one is Hitler, but the similarities are worth noting. 
"Russia believed its vital interests in Ukraine were threatened and it had the means, will, and proximity to act on them. And it's about time we faced up to it."  - Hitler I suppose had his apologists in the west as well.
3. It's all Obama's fault - No, not the motives or the exact events, but the timing is certainly tied to perceived American weakness.
4. Bombing Syria would have saved Ukraine - Bombing Syria wasn't anyone's proposal in total, but actually it probably would have slowed Putin and saved Ukraine as we knew it.
5. Ukraine can have a 'Hollywood' ending - The goal of peace through strength and deterrence is not to have a happy ending to a brutal, hard fought, nuclear confrontation.  The author is either too deep in his cocoon to know that or is intentionally obfuscating.   Perfect example of what we mean by mainstream or lamestream media coverage, where the more you read the less you know.
3859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: March 09, 2014, 11:38:41 AM
Point well taken.  In my view, the speeches by Ben Carson, Mia Love, Herman Cain, Alan West, TJ Shannon, Tim Scott, (as well as speeches by Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich, Marco Rubio and others) are also outreaches to minorities, in fact if not in title.

Mia Love at RNC
3860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Will keeping the spotlight on the outrageous behavior of the IRS on: March 09, 2014, 11:03:23 AM
"The rules that Obama says befuddled the IRS boneheads — to his benefit — read today exactly as they have read since 1959. For half a century they did not prevent the IRS from processing applications for tax-exempt status in less than three months."

"[Obama] After calling the IRS behavior “outrageous,” he now says there is not a “smidgen” of evidence of anything to be outraged about. He knows this even though the supposed investigation of the IRS behavior has not been completed, or perhaps even begun. The person he chose to investigate his administration is an administration employee and a generous donor to his campaigns."

The IRS’s behavior taxes credulity

By George F. Will,  March 7 2014

What’s been said of confession — that it is good for one’s soul but bad for one’s reputation — can also be true of testifying to Congress, so Lois Lerner has chosen to stay silent. Hers, however, is an eloquent silence.

The most intrusive and potentially most punitive federal agency has been politicized; the IRS has become an appendage of Barack Obama’s party. Furthermore, congruent with exhortations from some congressional Democrats, it is intensifying its efforts to suffocate groups critical of progressives, by delaying what once was the swift, routine granting of tax-exempt status.

So, the IRS, far from repenting of its abusive behavior, is trying to codify the abuses. It hopes to nullify with new rules the existing legal right of 501(c)(4) groups, many of which are conservative, to participate in politics. The proposed rules have drawn more than 140,000 comments, most of them complaints, some from liberals wary of IRS attempts to broadly define “candidate-related political activity” and to narrow the permissible amount of this.

Lerner is, so far, the face of this use of government to punish political adversaries. She knows what her IRS unit did and how it intersects with the law, and for a second time she has exercised her constitutional right to remain silent rather than risk self-incrimination. The public has a right to make reasonable inferences from her behavior.

And from Obama’s. After calling the IRS behavior “outrageous,” he now says there is not a “smidgen” of evidence of anything to be outraged about. He knows this even though the supposed investigation of the IRS behavior has not been completed, or perhaps even begun. The person he chose to investigate his administration is an administration employee and a generous donor to his campaigns.

Obama breezily says there was nothing more sinister than “boneheaded decisions” by wayward and anonymous IRS underlings. Certainly boneheadedness explains much about this administration. Still, does he consider it interesting that the consequences of IRS boneheadedness were not randomly distributed but thwarted conservatives?

The rules that Obama says befuddled the IRS boneheads — to his benefit — read today exactly as they have read since 1959. For half a century they did not prevent the IRS from processing applications for tax-exempt status in less than three months. Some conservative group should offer $10,000 to anyone who can identify a liberal group that had the experience scores of conservative groups have had — an application delayed more than three years and receipt of an IRS questionnaire containing at least 60 questions.

Speaking of questions: Can anyone identify a Democratic Senate candidate whose tax records were leaked, as Christine O’Donnell’s were when she was the Republican candidate in Delaware in 2010? Is it a coincidence that in January 2011, after Catherine Engelbrecht requested tax-exempt status for two conservative groups she founded in Texas — King Street Patriots and True the Vote — the Engelbrecht family business was notified of its first IRS audit? Does James Comey wonder why (this was before he became FBI director), five months after Engelbrecht’s tax-exemption request, FBI agents appeared seeking information about attendees at the King Street Patriots meetings? Were five subsequent FBI contacts “checking in” for “updates” on the group’s activities really necessary? Why did the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show a sudden intrusive interest in the Engelbrechts’ business, which has nothing to do with alcohol or tobacco or firearms or explosives?

The idea that politicians should write laws restricting people critical of them is as perverse as the idea that the sprawling, opaque IRS bureaucracy should be assigned to construe and apply such laws. It is bad enough that there is the misbegotten Federal Election Commission to do what the First Amendment forbids — government regulation of the quantity, content and timing of political speech.

This column has previously noted that in 1996 a Republican Senate candidate called the FEC to dispute campaign finance charges made by Democrats. The head of the FEC’s enforcement division told the Republican: “Promise me you will never run for office again, and we will drop this case.” So spoke Lois Lerner.

There almost certainly are people, above her and beyond the IRS, who initiated or approved the IRS’s punitive targeting of conservative groups and who hope Lerner’s history of aggressive partisanship will cause investigators to conclude that she is as high as responsibility for the targeting rises. Those people should hire criminal defense attorneys.
3861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: R.I.P. on: March 09, 2014, 10:42:51 AM
Thank you guys for the kind words, support and friendship!
3862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gov. Chris Christie on: March 07, 2014, 10:40:48 AM
He is not my favorite, but I am not as negative on Chris Christie as ccp is. (But I don't live there.)  I don't know that he is guilty on this scandal.  Blue (yellow?) state Republican governors are one of two types, either a lean with the wind rino or a true conservative who has learned to soften the edge and turn it down a little to get elected.  I have no idea how Christie would govern as a President on economic or foreign policy.   It makes more sense to me that he be treated as an unknown than as a frontrunner. 

The way he behaved around his reelection exposed his ego over the interests of state or country.  I can't imagine Rubio, Rand Paul or Jindal putting personal gain ahead of public interest, like holding the Senate election a month before his reelection to keep Senate Dem voters away from the Governor race.

Executive experience is one thing.  But direction, results and character matter.  We need the trains not just running on time (lanes open?) but running in the right direction.
3863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: March 07, 2014, 10:11:06 AM
"Certainly the libertarian wing of the Reps offers one, but IMHO it contains some serious flaws."

"Libertarians have a foreign policy beyond 'me and my shotgun on my front porch'?  Really? Do tell."

It isn't that they have an answer for the growing threats around the world.  It is that in the context of American war fatigue from Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam(?), their policy of 'do nothing, this isn't America's problem' is quite popular and tempting.  Rubio is acknowledging that.  He or any other candidate will have to unite the two sides (or lose).  Rand Paul has also moved at least his rhetoric to the middle from his father's blame America first, hands off, stay home approach.  This will be interesting to watch.

Rubio's approach is more likely to lead to peace, through strength and deterrence while the appeasers approach always seems to just embolden enemies and lead to even more trouble.  Case in point, Barack Hussein Obama: how are those Berlin 2008 speeches and Cairo 2009 speeches working out for us?  Can't we all just get along?

I like to remind isolationist libertarians that we had a little foreign assistance securing our liberties!  As Rubio points out, living without oppression is the exception in human history.
3864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Senator Marco Rubio on: March 07, 2014, 09:49:26 AM
For some years now I have been posting here about the lack of a coherent American foreign policy.  Certainly the libertarian wing of the Reps offers one, but IMHO it contains some serious flaws.  Rubio begins to threaten to offer a vision.  This bears watching.

I don't know if anyone has a complete foreign policy 2014 answer, but at least Rubio understands the reality of the global threat situation.  He also gets the political and practical aspects of it: "that doesn't mean were going to be involved in 15 wars."  He gets the role of energy dependence in it.  He gets the moral case, and he is able to express it! 

He calls out liberals on their lame tactics, "that we are going to pit Americans against each other on issue after issue is something we should never accept as a people".

Best of all, he demonstrates a rare ability to express a populist case against big intrusive government regulations and taxation:

"If you are a big corporation or multi-billionaire, you may not like big government but you can afford to deal with big government.  You can hire lawyers and lobbyists and try to influence that regulation and navigate it.  If you are trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom of your home, probably a violation of the zoning code, but if you are trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom of your home, you can't deal with runaway regulations and complicated laws.  And that's why we're not getting the investment and innovation this country so desperately needs."

'American corporations have more cash sitting on the sidelines than the size of the entire German economy.'  Are Hillary et al going to point that out, make a speech like this or make a compelling case of how to get things going again?  No. They can't.

Barack Obama received the black vote, but he didn't change minds - on anything.  Marco Rubio may have very little in common with Mexican-Americans or many other Hispanics in America, but he can make this same case in equally articulate Spanish.  No liberal can do that.  Not because of language, but because we already know their policies lead to failure.

We don't need a candidate to eek out a win on the electoral map in 2016.  We need to permanently change a few hearts and minds.

Objections to Marco Rubio:  He is too young and inexperienced. Same age roughly as Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, and Barack Obama at this point of the 2008 cycle.  Same age as the median voter.  And Rubio has economic and foreign policy credentials.

The immigration reform fiasco.  He tried sincere negotiations with people who aren't.  Probably learned something!  His effort on this angered conservatives but likely made him more electable, which helps conservatism.

Executive experience.  He could go back and serve as Florida Governor for two terms.  (He already was Speaker of the Florida House.)  But where will America be if we wait until 2026 for a perfectly credentialed candidate?  We need to turn this ship around now.
3865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: March 07, 2014, 08:24:08 AM
Interesting take here on housing policy.  By favoring housing with our policies, we screw up the market for housing and hurt the people we are trying to help.  Sounds familiar, just like government interventions in nearly everything else.

Michael Milken: How Housing Policy Hurts the Middle Class
Many buyers decided that the largest-possible house was a better idea than a retirement fund or a child's education

WSJ March 5, 2014  Opinion, (link below)

The American dream traditionally meant that anyone could get ahead based on ability and hard work. But over the past few decades, the United States government created incentives through housing programs and the tax code that changed the dream for many Americans. Middle-class families began to think of homes as investments, not just shelter. When the housing market crashed, everyone suffered—homeowners, investors, wage-earners and taxpayers.

Aggressive housing programs have not always helped the poor and middle class. The median net worth of American adults is now one of the lowest among developed nations—less than $45,000, according to the Credit Suisse CSGN.VX +1.32% Global Wealth Databook. That compares with approximately $220,000 in Australia, $142,000 in France and $54,000 in Greece. Almost a third of American adults have a net worth of less than $10,000. Those statistics don't convey the pain endured by millions of American families who lost their homes.
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As recently as 1980, government-sponsored Fannie Mae FNMA +10.08% and Freddie Mac FMCC +8.18% held, guaranteed or securitized fewer than 10% of U.S. mortgages or less than $100 billion. Today, it's $4.7 trillion. Add Ginnie Mae's mortgage guarantees, and the number exceeds $6 trillion. Since 2008, these agencies have been involved in more than 95% of all new mortgages. This massive exposure has been justified by clichés: Housing should be affordable; ownership creates financial independence; government programs sustain the economy by increasing ownership. But did ownership increase?

According to the Census Bureau, 65.6% of households owned a home in 1980. More than three decades and trillions of dollars later, the needle hasn't budged—it's still about 65%. Subsidized mortgages did create three things, none of them good:

1. The largest housing price bubble in American history. Research by Nobel economist Robert Shiller shows that U.S. housing prices declined in about half of the years since 1890. While U.S. stocks during those years enjoyed an average real rate of return of about 6% a year, the annual inflation-adjusted return on houses was a meager 0.18%. Factor in real estate's heavy transaction costs and that number turns negative. Nevertheless, in the housing-boom decade before 2007, many buyers decided that the largest-possible house (with an equally large mortgage) was a better idea than a retirement fund or their children's education.

By contrast, according to CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, middle-class households in 11 Asian nations spend an average 15% of income on supplemental education for their children—nearly as much as the 16% spent on housing and transportation combined. Americans spend only 2% on supplemental education and 50% on housing and transportation. For American home buyers taking on big loans, there was no margin for error if they lost their job or the roof leaked.

2. Misguided economic priorities. Uniquely among nations, the U.S. gives mortgage borrowers a trifecta of benefits: extensive tax advantages, no recourse against the borrowers' nonresidential assets if they walk away, and typically no protection for the lender if the borrower prepays the loan to get a lower rate.
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Getty Images

These policies long seemed like a great deal for borrowers, but they wreaked havoc on the financial system. People with marginal credit were encouraged to finance more than 90% of the purchase price with 30-year mortgages. If interest rates later fell, they could refinance. If rates rose, they could congratulate themselves for locking in a low rate. If prices rose, they enjoyed all the upside and could tap the equity. If prices fell and they faced foreclosure, their other assets were protected because the loans were usually non-recourse.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now wants to tip the scale even more against lenders by asserting the legal theory of "disparate impact." Consumers can sue if the volume of loans to any racial group or aggrieved class differs substantially from loans to other groups. No intent to discriminate is required, and it's illegal for a mortgage application to ask the borrower's race. Financial institutions trying to avoid making bad loans by implementing prudent underwriting practices can inadvertently get in trouble. A bank forced to pay a fine one year because it irresponsibly made "predatory" loans to people with bad credit can be fined the next year for not making similar loans.

3.Damage to the environment and public health. As the nearby chart indicates, the size of the average American house grew by more than half—about 900 additional square feet—over the past three decades while the number of people in the average house decreased. Larger houses need larger lots that are usually farther from the home owner's job. Construction, heating, cooling, landscaping and extended commutes consume more natural resources. Because breadwinners spend more time in cars, they have less time for their families.

As someone who helped finance several of the nation's leading residential builders, I understand the important role the industry plays in the economy. Homebuilders didn't create the problems. Policies made in Washington distorted the banking system and discouraged personal responsibility by subsidizing loans that borrowers couldn't otherwise afford. This encouraged housing speculation supported by financial leverage. Ultimately, taxpayers got the bill.

Housing's 2008 collapse led to the U.S. Treasury takeover of Fannie's and Freddie's obligations even as the Federal Housing Administration increased its guarantees to more than $1 trillion and the Federal Reserve stepped up purchases of mortgage-backed securities. Federal debt surged.

Americans will eventually have to pay for that through some combination of inflation, higher taxes, higher interest rates or reduced benefits and services. For now, the Fed is doing what the savings and loan industry did in the 1980s: borrowing short term while lending long term. When interest rates rise, the value of the government's mortgage holdings will decline.

Many housing experts believe that the solution is to reduce the government's role by attracting private capital. That's the centerpiece of proposals presented to the Senate Banking Committee last fall by Phillip Swagel, a senior fellow at the Milken Institute's Center for Financial Markets. Rather than hold or securitize mortgages, Fannie and Freddie would retain only a limited role as secondary guarantors. With the government as a backstop and private capital risking the first loss, mortgage interest rates would undoubtedly rise. But the taxpayer subsidy would fall. It's a reasonable tradeoff to transfer risk from taxpayers to investors and let the market determine rates. Congress appears to be moving in that direction as it debates various proposals.

Fortunately, the private sector is well-positioned to assume much of the government's role. Thanks to booming capital markets and accommodative central banks, there is tremendous liquidity worldwide. Fannie and Freddie have now paid the Treasury more in dividends than they received in the bailout. Private capital already plays a substantial role in commercial real estate and has the capacity to make comparable residential commitments.

Investments in quality education and improved health will do more to accelerate economic growth than excessive housing incentives. That will give everyone a better chance to achieve the real American dream.,7,121,122,201,401,641,1009
3866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking with clarity and passion, answers Crafty's challenge! on: March 07, 2014, 12:29:11 AM
Some real fire in the belly there!  He needs more of this!

Sen. Marco Rubi read Crafty's post and has agreed to step up his game.
On Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) addressed the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference attendees with a fiery speech focused on redefining America’s approach to foreign affairs. He defined the threats he warned that the United States will face in the near future and defined current and long-term America’s economic challenges in terms relating to the preservation of free trade guaranteed by American military and diplomatic strength.

“We are right on the verge, if we make a few right decisions, of a new American century,” Rubio began. He took a populist approach to arguing against “big government” by saying that large corporations are able to “deal with big government,” while other smaller firms are not able to compete. He added that Democratic politicians are creating “disunity” in the country by focusing on addressing “inequality” rather than expanding access to opportunity.

“This notion that we’re going to pit Americans against each other on issue after issue is something that we should never accept as a people, because it’s never been who we are and it isn’t who we are right now,” Rubio said.

He pivoted to foreign policy, defining the threats faced by the United States. He said that China is threatening to take parts of the South China Sea which would limit trade and threaten America’s allies, a nuclear North Korea is testing missiles, Venezuela is slaughtering protesters, and Cuba remains an oppressive dictatorship. He added that Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons and regional hegemony and Russia is attempting to “reconstitute” the former Soviet Union.

“And by the way, what do all these countries have in common?” he asked. “These are totalitarian governments.”

“There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarianism,” Rubio said. “The United Nations cannot do this. In fact, they cannot do anything.”

“We cannot ignore that the flawed foreign policy of the last few years has brought us to this stage, because we have a president who believed but by the sheer force of his personality he would be able to shape global events,” Rubio asserted. “We do not have the luxury of seeing the world the way we hope it would be. We have to see the world the way it is. And we have to address these issues before they grow unmanageable, and they threaten, not just our freedoms, but our economy.”

“[Ronald] Reagan dealt with the Soviet Union because they had nuclear weapons and he wanted peace, but he never accepted the Soviet Union,” he declared. He said went on to outline how the behavior of the Iranian government should be unacceptable to the American public and regarded as illegitimate.

“If you think high taxes and regulations are bad for our economy, so is global instability and the spread of totalitarianism,” Rubio added. “What we have in America is the exception, not the rule, in human history. Almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet didn’t’ get to choose their leaders, and they didn’t get to choose their life either.”

“Every time I talk about how special America is, some commentator or whoever it may be will roll their eyes and say, ‘Well, that’s just something Americans tell each other to make themselves feel good,’” Rubio said. “You have the right to believe that. I don’t have that option, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”
3867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / God Bless my Mom on: March 06, 2014, 10:24:46 AM
3868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: PJ O'Rourke's amici brief on: March 06, 2014, 10:18:17 AM

Steven Hayward called it the "Best. Supreme Court. Brief. Ever."
Steven Driehaus is the sore-loser Democrat who is suing Susan B. Anthony List for independent ads they ran in the election that cost Driehaus his Ohio congressional seat.  I can’t imagine he has much of a case, but it’s made it to the high court anyway.  O’Rourke and his co-authors, which include the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro, defend the idea that opinionated speech is not only protected under the First Amendment, but essential to democracy.  Such as:

    After all, where would we be without the knowledge that Democrats are pinko-communist flag-burners who want to tax churches and use the money to fund abortions so they can use the fetal stem cells to create pot-smoking lesbian ATF agents who will steal all the guns and invite the UN to take over America? Voters have to decide whether we’d be better off electing Republicans, those hateful, assault-weapon-wielding maniacs who believe that George Washington and Jesus Christ incorporated the nation after a Gettysburg reenactment and that the only thing wrong with the death penalty is that it isn’t administered quickly enough to secular- humanist professors of Chicano studies. . .

While President Obama isn’t from Kenya, he is a Keynesian—so you can see where the confusion arises.

    Driehaus voted for Obamacare, which the Susan B. Anthony List said was the equivalent of voting for taxpayer- funded abortion. Amici are unsure how true the allegation is given that the healthcare law seems to change daily, but it certainly isn’t as truthy as calling a mandate a tax.

See also:
3869  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Know your rights when the police stop you on: March 06, 2014, 09:58:41 AM
This seems to me like something that should be broadly disseminated for the good of all, LEO and citizen alike.
GM, does this pass muster for you?
I didn't see any glaring errors. I'll look it over in more detail and report back.

Under "Never" it says "Never Answer Questions"

This is written from a defense attorney's point of view to a future client.  Whatever the accused said is on the record and won't go away.  I would just add, on the other hand, there are times with law enforcement where you might want to be helpful. 

Late night police stops around here for minor infractions, tail light, rolling stops, etc. are aimed at finding something else, drunk drivers in particular.  IF you have had nothing to drink and have nothing else to hide, being cooperative seems like a better strategy than saying I don't have t answer that.  Not consent to a search, but to answer their questions hopefully shows your sobriety quickly so they can get on with their next stop.

I had one encounter with law enforcement that comes to mind; it was not a police stop but a criminal investigation of sorts.  I was leaving my office to meet with the Mpls Fire Chief about an apartment building fire when my insurance adjuster warned me on the phone that as owner of the building with an insurance policy in force, I was their first suspect.  I was shocked; that is ridiculous!  I was a thousand miles away when it happened and I can prove it.  Then I thought through that excuse and realized that sounded exactly the same as the alibi they would hear if I had arranged the fire.  So I got focused on being extremely helpful and forthcoming in helping them solve the crime.  With my keys I got them into units where the tenants would not let him in.  Answering everything and then some sure seemed like a better strategy than acting guilty, but only I knew I was innocent and that no evidence could be discovered that would point to me.  (Now I self-insure.)

3870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: March 05, 2014, 09:12:15 AM
On this day in 1946 Winston Churchill delivered his Iron Curtain Speech at Westminster College in Fulton Missouri:
3871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Congressional races 2014, Charlie Cook: a very ugly year for Democrats on: March 04, 2014, 05:13:11 PM
Charlie Cook
March 3, 2014

"There are now at least 10, and potentially as many as 13, Democratic-held [US Senate] seats in jeopardy."
3872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ukraine gave up its weapons in exchange for US protection on: March 04, 2014, 05:09:10 PM
1994, Ukraine was a nuclear pwer.  Does ANYONE remember this?

The two Western powers signed an agreement with Ukraine in 1994, which Kiev's parliament wants enforcing now. The Budapest Memorandum, signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – promises to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

Article one reads: "The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine ... to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine."

And Kiev is now claiming that their country's borders are not being respected. 
3873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: March 03, 2014, 02:35:35 PM
JFK: "The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society."

Barack Obama:  “This has been a secret project we’ve been working on for a long time."  Private researchers working with the  Pentagon, classified, maybe, not really, ha ha.
3874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Rule by the Ignorant on: March 03, 2014, 01:02:47 PM

These are dark days - being ruled by the ignorant.
3875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Dave Camp's proposal deserves comment on: March 03, 2014, 12:55:33 PM
Camp's proposal is not exactly what I am looking for, but I respect him for stepping forward with a real plan.  John E. Sununu comments on it in the Boston Globe today.

Tax reform: Ski it if you dare
By John E. Sununu    March 03, 2014
When David Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, released tax reform legislation last week, the first thing that sprang to my mind was Mount Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine. Looming just 2 miles or so from the Pinkham Notch visitor center, the greatest natural snow bowl east of the Mississippi beckons thousands of hardened skiers every year. The ravine’s 50-foot snow pack entices them with the promise of beauty and exhilaration. For those who conquer it, there’s a sense of achievement to which nothing else compares.

In Washington, the siren of tax reform calls out to devoted policy wonks in the same way. Designing a simpler tax system, like skiing the ravine, allows suitors to take on as much as they dare: corporate taxes, personal income taxes, or the entire 75,000-page code. At Tuckerman, the higher you climb, the steeper the grade. The ultimate thrill is reserved for those willing to attack the sheer face from the snowfields above.

Approaching the steep headwall from that relatively flat terrain, the slope falls away so abruptly that skiers cannot possibly see what awaits below — until they pass the point of no return. Tax seminars, hearings, and speeches are the Washington version of those snowfields. Everyone gets the opportunity to posture, talk about what could be, and pretend they know what lies over that horizon. But as Camp found out last week, talking and doing are different things. Once you crest the lip and are clinging to a 55-degree slope, the mountain becomes a lonely place.

Camp’s loneliness has nothing to do with ability. The Michigan Republican is an outstanding congressman with an effective, inclusive leadership style. But the “discussion draft” he made public contains something that makes most members of Congress uncomfortable: details. Every deduction, credit, exemption, and loophole makes the tax code more complicated, and simplification demands that they must go. Meaningful tax reform requires trade-offs. But when confronted with hard choices, most members of Congress start looking for a way to bail out.

Camp’s bill demonstrates the courage of his convictions. Rafts of deductions are capped, phased out, or eliminated altogether. The bill reduces the number of personal income tax brackets from seven to three: 10 percent, 25 percent, and an additional surcharge on income over $400,000. The corporate tax rate would drop from 35 percent today — one of the highest in the world — to 25 percent.

Wisely, Camp designed his bill to be revenue-neutral. It doesn’t attempt to raise or cut tax collections overall. Perhaps more important, it is “distributionally” neutral; he makes no effort to raise or lower taxes for the rich, the poor, or the middle class. This debate should be about how we pay, not how much — and about making the code and our entire economy more efficient, productive and fair.

Avoiding class warfare rhetoric makes for a smoother trail, but those who benefited from the code’s complexity will still be unhappy. Every wrinkle in the current tax code has its own constituency. Farmers, ranchers, teachers, caregivers, and gamblers — an endless list — are singled out within the law. Everyone loves the idea of simplicity, but getting there will require that we think of ourselves as taxpayers, not part of a special group.

To date, few in Congress have been willing to support the bill publicly. The more narrow-minded have clung to their opposition to the bill’s “bank tax,” which was designed to pay for future bailouts under the Dodd-Frank regulations passed in 2010. If that’s the biggest flaw they can find, fine. Drop that piece and get on with it. At least we’ll learn who has genuinely committed to reform and who just wants to pay lip service.

Most important, everybody needs to realize no one can possibly agree with every element in such a comprehensive bill. You need to believe that the fundamental economic fairness that comes from taking the plunge makes it worth the trouble . . . and then push over the edge.

A good friend once described his favorite Tuckerman moment, watching an enthusiastic father encourage a group of young teenagers to take on the headwall. “Come on guys!” he waved while crossing the upper lip. Catching an edge on his crucial first turn, he bounced and slid like a rag doll several hundred yards to the floor of the ravine. The young gaggle behind followed without incident, no worse for having witnessed the spectacle.

Camp’s tax reform effort is unlikely to pass, but his willingness to take the plunge with honesty and substance deserves enormous credit. Most important, if he inspires just a few to follow his courageous path, we may remember his pioneering run for a long time.

John E. Sununu, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire, writes regularly for the Globe.
3876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Patriot Post: The soft bigotry of low expectations on: March 03, 2014, 12:45:57 PM
,,,A former president had a phrase for this sort of thing: "The soft bigotry of low expectations."

That phrase works fine without the 'soft' qualifier.  Low expectations for an individual based on his or her race IS bigotry.

It is 2014.  When do we move to to being color blind, at least in our governance.

3877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: February 27, 2014, 10:32:53 AM
Crafty and Bigdog may be right here about the negative effect for Republicans with independents and centrists.  Still I think it is important that someone keep pointing out truths about both Clintons.  On one hand we are saying that Ted Nugent can't be used to rev up a crowd because of association of a candidate or official with statements Nugent made or words he has used.  Then on the other hand, in a most crucial Senate race we see a pretty, married, 35 year old woman (Grimes of Kentucky) use a serial sexual predator to rev up a crowd for her, while running against the 'Republican war on women'.  Why does this not shine badly on her judgment?  The hypocrisy should go unmentioned?

As it applies to 2016, I don't see Rand Paul as the nominee.  Typically it is the VP who does this type of hatchet work.  I do see Rand Paul as an excellent tactician.  Maybe he is not running, as he has implied, and this type of work is just taking one for the team.  Or maybe he is acting like a VP candidate now with a plan of elevating in time for 2016.  If he is running, this is not the general election, it is the fight for the nomination, and what counts is his standing with people who vote in Republican caucuses and primaries.

The Bill Clinton behavior was not run of the mill unfaithfulness.  It was a conspiracy run with the power of the Governor's office and then the power of the Presidency, putting demands on everyone from highway Patrol and Secret Service to executive staff.  The 'shenanigans' were not all consensual.  Upon learning about it, attacking Republicans is not the normal wife/girlfriend response.  The anger she expressed was about him being stupid and getting caught.  Has Hillary ever called him out for the abuse of his executive power?  No, instead she attacked ALL the people who did that.

SHE was a crook.  If Rand Paul is making a strategy of going after the Clintons and he seems to have done his homework, I doubt if we have seen all he has to say.  When people have heard enough about the Clinton scandals of the 70s, 80s and 90s, Rand Paul can move right over to Benghazi:
Washington Post, November 12, 2013: Rand Paul suggests Benghazi disqualifies Clinton in 2016
3878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: February 27, 2014, 09:33:12 AM
Doug, thanks.  Maybe I misread the article of have misunderstood Parker and
I have not made political persuasion a study but I always saw her as leftist:

Maybe she is a faux-conservative, along the lines of David Brooks.  The line of hers you identified was leftist.

"he is not visually “one of us” in the way some Republicans have demonstrated they’re most comfortable.

Not just leftist but bad journalism.  Where is the supporting evidence to make such a bold claim?  They give out those Pulitzers  like they are just Nobels.
3879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: February 26, 2014, 11:10:34 PM
Ted Nugent, 2003, Denver 103.5FM:  Nugent insisted he was trying to make the point that the offensive terms were merely words and shouldn't offend anyone.  The show's Korean producer KATHY LEE admits she wasn't personally offended.

Has anyone ever used the n-word just discussing the issue of using the n-word, intending to slur no one?  If so, did you lose your free speech rights and all credibility forever?

Nugent has used the mongrel term for white people: “So much media has lost its soul lying Saul Alinsky Joseph Geobbells freaks,” Nugent tweeted. “CNN Joseph Goebbells Saul Alinsky propaganda ministry mongrels (sic).”

'The Wrap' writer:  "For the record: Yes, we get it — he’s being sarcastic but epic ridiculousness deserves to be recognized."

3880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics - Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility on: February 26, 2014, 10:59:18 AM
According to a recent study of mobility (see Figure 1), the correlation between parent's income rank and children's income rank is about 0.3.
3881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: What's happening to the workweek in low-wage industries? on: February 26, 2014, 10:48:33 AM

Liberal policies are having the opposite effect of their marketed intention.

Asked to comment, frontrunner Hillary Clinton said:  "AT THIS POINT WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?!"
3882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science, Michael Mann v. Mark Steyn on: February 26, 2014, 10:19:43 AM
Is anyone following the Michael Mann v. Mark Steyn legal contest?  Maybe it is more a freedom of speech or freedom of press issue, but it is based on the merits of the pathological science.

Steyn I think has been quiet but posts the views of others here:

Mann About the House

by Mark Steyn
February 24, 2014

UPDATE! My fellow free-speech warrior Down Under, Andrew Bolt, threatens to sue Michael Mann for a characteristically witless and leaden Tweet from a guy with the warm-monger's version of Tourette's. Hey, come on in, Andrew, the more the merrier!

UPPERDATE! Mann has apparently deleted the Tweet, and apologized. He's already in court in Virginia, the District of Columbia and British Columbia. I guess he figured side-trips to Melbourne would play havoc with his schedule. Easier to stick to bullying notorious Koch-funded denialist Diane Rehm.


Steve McIntyre continues his series on self-conferred Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann's equally false claims (in his legal pleadings against me and my co-defendants) to have been "exonerated" by multiple international inquiries. On Lord Oxburgh's panel, the President of the Royal Statistical Society described Mann's methods as "inappropriate" and the results "exaggerated". With the Muir Russell report, Mann and his lawyers doctored a quote to make it appear as if it applied to him rather than merely faculty of the University of East Anglia.

Now Steve turns his attention to the third of the United Kingdom's "official exonerations" of Mann cited in his court pleadings - by the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons. There's no reason why a committee at Westminster would investigate a professor at a university in Pennsylvania, and indeed they don't: the handful of references to Mann in the report are in the recipient lines of emails, plus a reference to "Mike's Nature trick". Nevertheless, on page 20 of his Plaintiff's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendants National Review and Mark Steyn's Motion to Dismiss, Mann and his Big Tobacco lawyer falsely cite the House of Commons report in Paragraph Two of Section C, titled "Dr Mann is Exonerated":

    In March 2010, the United Kingdom's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report finding that the skeptics' criticisms of the CRU were misplaced, and that its actions "were in line with common practice in the climate science community."

As Steve McIntyre puts it:

    The first sentence is completely untrue: the Committee Report said nothing of the sort. The assertion that "criticisms of the CRU were misplaced" is neither made nor supported in the Committee Report. This phrase originated instead with SKS [Skeptical Science, a Mann-friendly site], who, once again, altered the language, though, in this case, not going so far as to fabricate a quotation.

But the second half of that first sentence is even worse. With the Muir Russell report, the result of doctoring the quote is that it appears inclusive of Mann. With the House of Commons report, the meaning of the quote is entirely inverted. Here's what the Commons report actually says:

    As we explained in chapter 2, the practices and methods of climate science are a key issue. If the practices of CRU are found to be in line with the rest of climate science, the question would arise whether climate science methods of operation need to change. In this event we would recommend that the scientific community should consider changing those practices to ensure greater transparency.

In other words: If the Mann-Jones hockey-sticky hanky-panky is indeed normal climate-science behavior, then climate science needs to change. The Commons committee returns to this point:

    54. It is not standard practice in climate science and many other fields to publish the raw data and the computer code in academic papers. We think that this is problematic because climate science is a matter of global importance and of public interest, and therefore the quality and transparency of the science should be irreproachable. We therefore consider that climate scientists should take steps to make available all the data used to generate their published work, including raw data; and it should also be made clear and referenced where data has been used but, because of commercial or national security reasons is not available. Scientists are also, under Freedom of Information laws and under the rules of normal scientific conduct, entitled to withhold data which is due to be published under the peer-review process. In addition, scientists should take steps to make available in full their methodological workings, including the computer codes. Data and methodological workings should be provided via the internet.

In other words: all the stuff that Mann has spent the last 15 years obstructing access to - including right now in court in Vancouver and Virginia.

The brazen misrepresentation of these reports, the doctored quotations and inversions of meaning, in Mann's court pleadings is remarkable. I said above that Skeptical Science was a "Mann-friendly site". That's true. It's where he and his lawyers turned to get the bogus quotes they use in their legal pleadings. But, behind the scenes, Skeptical Science operated a private forum in which the "climate community"'s disquiet over Mann's methods and their distaste at feeling obliged to defend them is palpable. Robert Way:

    I don't mean to be the pessimist of the group here but Mc brought up some very good points about the original hockeystick. The confidence affirmed to it by many on our side of the debate was vastly overstated and as has been shown in the recent literature greater variability on the centennial scale exists than was shown. The statistical methodology used by Mann did rely too much on tree rings which still are in debate over their usefulness to reconstruct temperature and particularly their ability to record low-frequency temperature variations. I've personally seen work that is unpublished that challenges every single one of his reconstructions because they all either understate or overstate low-frequency variations. My personal experience has been that Moberg still has the best reconstruction and his one does show greater variability. That's why I don't like to talk the HS stuff, because I know a lot of people who have doubts about the accuracy of the original HS.

    Just like we complain about skeptics like Pielke and Christy etc letting their work be miscontrued, Mann et al stood by after their original HS and let others treat it with the confidence that they themselves couldn't assign to it. They had just as much of a responsability to ensure their work was used to promote properly just as Christy et al do. It is a tight rope we must all walk afterall.

And again:

    Even his newest reconstruction doesn't validate past 1400 if you don't include disputed series (which I have no idea why he's including them at all).

Principal Component Analysis honcho I T Jolliffe:

    'My strong impressive is that the evidence rests on much much more than the hockey stick. It therefore seems crazy that the MBH hockey stick has been given such prominence and that a group of influential climate scientists have doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics...' [THIS IS THE EPITOME OF HOW I FEEL-Robert Way]

Neal King of UC Berkeley:

    The real question is, Why would you believe the tree-ring proxies at earlier times when you KNOW that they didn't work properly in the 1990s? I guess there is a good answer to that, but no one has ever given it to me.

    I believe a good 50% of the game is being able to avoid booby traps. Because the science is at the edge of ignorance, mistakes WILL be made. The question is, How do you avoid putting your foot in the traps? I think Mann (and maybe Steig) are examples of how NOT to proceed.

Robert Way again:

    MBH98 was not an example of someone using a technique with flaws and then as he learned better techniques he moved on… He fought like a dog to discredit and argue with those on the other side that his method was not flawed. And in the end he never admitted that the entire method was a mistake. Saying "I was wrong but when done right it gives close to the same answer" is no excuse. He never even said that but I'm just making a point. What happened was they used a brand new statistical technique that they made up and that there was no rationalization in the literature for using it. They got results which were against the traditional scientific communities view on the matters and instead of re-evaluating and checking whether the traditional statistics were valid (which they weren't), they went on and produced another one a year later. They then let this HS be used in every way possible (including during the Kyoto protocol lead-up that resulted in canadian parliament signing the deal with many people ascribing their final belief in climate change being assured by the HS) despite knowing the stats behind it weren't rock solid.

John Cook of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland:

    I have to tell you that you should warn those doing that particular one to stay away from Mann's 2008 paper if they take this topic as it seems it has actually been invalidated by climate audit (as much as I hate to admit it they are right about the issue of the study failing verification statistics past 1500 for one)

This is what the climate community says to each other about Michael Mann in private. Why won't they say it in public?

To reprise Judith Curry's words from yesterday:

    For the past decade, scientists have come to the defense of Michael Mann, somehow thinking that defending Michael Mann is fighting against the 'war on science' and is standing up for academic freedom. It's time to let Michael Mann sink or swim on his own. Michael Mann is having all these problems because he chooses to try to muzzle people that are critical of Mann's science, critical of Mann's professional and personal behavior, and critical of Mann's behavior as revealed in the climategate emails. All this has nothing to do with defending climate science or academic freedom.

~If you'd like to support Steyn's pushback against Mann and his enforcers, please see here.
3883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: February 26, 2014, 10:11:21 AM
"The usual left wing media hit job."

The Washington Post author is Kathleen Parker, somewhat conservative and 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner for Commentary.  She does however work for the Post.
3884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: February 26, 2014, 09:57:00 AM
RP continues to hit on the Monica Lewinsky meme.

This, IMO, shows major tin ear.  Of course I get the point, but it is NOT going to play well with most women.    On top of that, lot's of people will wonder WTF Bill's dalliances have to do with Hillary being president or not and more people will say "We've been through this quite a bit already-- including impeachment.  Is this the best you've got?"

Major tactical mistake here by RP.

I think it's exactly the opposite. Dems want to push their bs "war on women" meme, someone needs to remind everyone exactly how dem icons really treat women.

I agree with GM.  Bill needs to have his baggage pinned to him.  Hillary was the enabler and the leader of the smear campaign against the women.  Neither of them has ever acknowledged the predatory nature of the 'relationships' or the enabler role that she played. 

Rand Paul has no insecurity about lack of substance.  I'm sure he would love to debate Hillary anytime on any issue.  The best we've got is that Hillary supported the policies that are taking down this nation.  She logged a zillion miles as Sec State and has no accomplishment to show for it.

How many young people know Bill Clinton was impeached, shamed the Oval Office, lied under oath, was disbarred?  How many young women know Hillary was conspiring to smear each of Bill's accusers and victims?  Dropping drawers, groping, fondling rape, it wasn't all consensual!  People should know and the media isn't going to tell them.

BTW Hillary is writing a book about her time as Secretary of State.  I wonder how the chapter on Benghazi is going.  I'll suggest a title - in a shrill tone:  AT THIS POINT WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?!
3885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: February 26, 2014, 09:32:34 AM
Okay, understood after having it explained.  If Nugent has had other episodes of race issues, then maybe this is strike three, but I have not heard of any.

It's hard for me to believe we are race sensitive about a guy who was popularly elected President of the United States - twice.  Yet any Dem commentator can look at a tea party crowd or a Republican debate and denigrate their gender or race if it looks too lilly-white or vanilla to them.  The only "white" guy I've ever seen was my grandfather in a casket.  Caucasians have pigmentation too!  The issue with this President is not his looks, his race or his heredity, it is that he is destroying the country.
3886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bobby Jindal comes out swinging on: February 26, 2014, 09:14:29 AM
"he is not visually “one of us” in the way some Republicans have demonstrated they’re most comfortable."

Conservatives and Republicans are thrilled to draw leadership (and rank and file) from other than older white males.  They gave Herman Cain a good, close look.  They liked having Bachmann on the stage, and they like Rubio's authentic, fluent Spanish.  Mia Love was the star of the last convention.  Asian Americans are anther group conservatives need to start reaching.  This will come down to merit, experience, positions on issues and ability to communicate a clear message - to all.

Bobby Jindal has the smarts and experience to be a great President.  He will win the nomination if he is seen as the best at conveying the message and getting things done.
3887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Marco Rubio, clarity and passion on: February 26, 2014, 08:48:49 AM
Some real fire in the belly there!  He needs more of this!
From a political point of view, this could play well too.

Peggy Noonan picked up on this as well.  Interesting to know that this is not teleprompter material from speechwriters.  The Harkin Cuba talk he is addressing was made on the Senate floor just prior to Rubio.  His notes were regarding the Venezuelan atrocities.  He expresses the moral side of freedom, at home and abroad.

Do you think he could hold his own with Joe Biden or Hillary, Hickenlooper, Schweitzer?
    February 25, 2014, 4:28 PM

Viva Rubio,  (by Peggy Noonan

What a great, myth-destroying statement from Marco Rubio, on the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday afternoon, on the facts about Cuba and their connection to events in Venezuela.

We have pressed in these parts for American political figures to speak clearly and with moral confidence about American sympathies in various international disputes. Rubio’s speech is honest political indignation successfully deployed.

Late last month Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa came back from a week-long trip to Cuba full of the wonders he’d seen. In a meeting with reporters he spouted inanities that were clichés a quarter-century ago: Cuba has fabulous health services, everyone can read. Yesterday Harkin decided to haul his inanities onto the floor of the Senate. Rubio heard what he’d said and followed him on the floor soon after.

Rubio pointed out Cuba has fabulous health services only if you believe a totalitarian government’s health statistics, its people can read only what that government allows them to read. They are an abused people in an oppressed culture.

What Rubio was speaking of is the moral meaning of things and the need for America to recognize and address the moral meaning of things. America should not stand mute when presented with political dramas in other nations, particularly when they occur in our own hemisphere. We have a voice. We should use it. If we don’t show our sympathies, who will? If we do not articulate our values and beliefs, who will?

What to do in the future about Cuba—what relations to have with it and policies to adopt toward it—is the subject of legitimate debate. How to approach and respond to what is happening in Venezuela is a matter of debate. But you can’t begin that debate with fan fiction. You begin it with facts and go from there.

If you don’t get the facts right, you’ll never get the policy right. And it does the world no good to see a great power fallen into relentless, mealy-mouthed obfuscation. That only adds to the slump-shouldered, depressed feeling that a lack of clarity always brings.

Rubio’s statement may make a bigger impression on the Republican base than he perhaps expected, and the pundit class may start to see him again as a 2016 force. An observation: Everyone in national politics worries about getting the right speech text, the right words. But Rubio got the words and meaning right through notes and pictures, not a prepared text. Cesar Conda, Rubio’s chief of staff, said the senator had intended to speak that day on Venezuela, but included Cuba because he wanted “to set the record straight.”
3888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Marco Rubio comments on Tom Harkin's trip to Cuba! on: February 25, 2014, 08:25:08 PM
John Hinderacker of Powerline:  Marco Rubio has been in the doghouse with lots of conservatives because of his endorsement of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. But he is solid on virtually every other issue, and is one of the most talented politicians on either side of the aisle. Yesterday he reminded us how great he can be, when he rose to respond to Tom Harkin’s paean to the wonders of socialist Cuba. For twelve minutes or so, Rubio ripped into the corrupt socialist governments of Cuba and Venezuela, and their enablers here in the U.S. It was a brilliant, impassioned defense of freedom and human rights. Rubio’s speech has rightly attracted a lot of attention; if you haven’t already watched it, you should:

A big mention of the atrocities in Venezuela as well.  "This is what the Castro regime supports.  Always on the side of tyrants."

3889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: February 25, 2014, 08:00:11 PM
Clearly President Obama is 100% human, and clearly Ted Nugent knows that, was angry and displeased with him, said something stupid and untrue and apologized for it, but how does calling someone a 'subhuman mongrel' qualify as 'racist'?  Seems to me it was a slur against millions of innocent canines.  A real 'subhuman' mongrel, man's best friend, does not try to take our country down.
3890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tin hat or true tragedy? on: February 25, 2014, 07:42:55 PM

Try entering a Dem event without 'Voter ID' !

Data-sharing between government agencies and the campaign completes the trifecta of 2012 election scandals, along with IRS targeting and voter fraud.  That doesn't count the ugliest part, Candy Crowley and her debate assist on Benghazi or the most blatant part of election stealing, lie to their face and repeat the lie until everyone has it:  Other than all that, I thought it was a fair contest.
3891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues on: February 25, 2014, 07:23:49 PM
Clarifying, I hope:
Two predictions:  Marco Rubio will rise up and oppose this [Obama and Hagel gutting the military].  Rand Paul will embrace [Hagel's cuts] and perhaps want to cut further. 
3892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: GOP lobbyist drafts bill to ban gay athletes from playing in the NFL on: February 25, 2014, 02:13:33 PM

From the article:

According to the statement, the idea for a Congressional ban on gay athletes in the NFL came to him after he watched coverage of Michael Sam’s decision to come out of the closet prior to the NFL draft. In recent weeks, Sam has been praised by many Democratic lawmakers, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama, who called him “an inspiration.”

This story looks like a spoof to me.  If it's not, it should be.  The GOP does not oppose freedom of association, no matter what one 'Lobbyist' says.

I've been part of the GOP for a long time.  I've been Chairman, Co-Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Delegate, Alternate, Caucus Convener and Attendee.  There is no position in the GOP called 'Lobbyist'.

Wikipedia:  "A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature."  'Under consideration' by Congress is a fact not mentioned in the article.

"GOP" is not mentioned in the source article at The Hill.  So this is neither the GOP, nor a bill, just a stupid idea.
3893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues on: February 25, 2014, 11:56:42 AM
"The cuts proposed by Hagel look to be quite terrible."

Peace through weakness, when did that work?  Hagel showing why he was chosen.

Unilateral disarmament, even if you believed in it, why wouldn't you try to get reduction commitments from your adversaries as you risk the consequences? 

"This is a "Profile in Courage" moment for those who believe that Peace comes through Strength.  Let's see who speaks up , , , and who does not."

Two predictions:  Marco Rubio will rise up and oppose this.  Rand Paul will embrace the strategy.
3894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 22, 2014, 02:59:33 PM
They are insisting that I accept cookies, blah blah.  May I ask you to share it here?

Medical tourism
Médecine avec frontières
Why health care has failed to globalise
Feb 15th 2014 | From the print edition

CLARE MORRIS hardly noticed when she tore the meniscus in her knee while dancing. The pain started only when she heard that repairing the damage at a hospital in South Carolina, where she lives, would cost $15,000. With limited insurance, she would have had to pay much of that herself. But after shopping around she found that she could have her knee repaired at a good hospital in Costa Rica for $7,400—and take a holiday, too.

Just a decade ago, stories like hers seemed to point to the future of health care. If a person could save thousands by shopping in the global health market, the reasoning went, insurers and governments could save billions. A knee replacement costs $34,000 in America, but just $19,200 in Singapore, $11,500 in Thailand and $9,500 in Costa Rica, according to Patients Beyond Borders, a consultancy. Even within Europe savings are to be found: a hip replacement is $4,000 cheaper in Spain than in Britain.

In the mid-2000s American insurers set out to find these savings by touring foreign private hospitals. They found that many were as good as their rich-world counterparts, and far cheaper. A big shake-up seemed likely. In 2008 Deloitte predicted an “explosive” boom in medical tourism, saying that the number of Americans going abroad for health care would grow more than tenfold by 2012.

It did not happen. Poor data were part of the problem: whereas Deloitte counted 750,000 American medical tourists in 2007, McKinsey, another consultancy, found at most 10,000 a year later. It is generally agreed that the number of medical tourists has grown since then—Thailand’s Bumrungrad hospital, which is popular with foreign patients, reports “steady growth”. But the data are still fuzzy. Patients Beyond Borders estimates that as many as 12m people globally now travel for care, perhaps 1m of them Americans. Industry insiders admit that growth has not matched the initial heady expectations.

Patient interest also turned out to be lower than predicted. Though some patients in the rich world seek out deals, most receive adequate health care at a manageable price and would prefer to stay at home. Potential savings are often insufficient to trump concerns about quality and the lack of recourse if something goes wrong. In 2008 Hannaford, an American supermarket chain, offered to pay the full cost of hip and knee replacements for its employees, including travel and patients’ usual share—provided they would go to Singapore. None took up the offer.

The predicted growth depended on medical tourism evolving from an individual pursuit to a cost-saving measure embraced by insurers and governments. But without reliable projections, insurers were reluctant to invest in the idea, says Ruben Toral, a health-care consultant. And cooler measures of the size of the opportunity dimmed their ardour. In 2009 Arnold Milstein of Stanford University estimated that less than 2% of spending by American insurers went on the kind of non-urgent procedures that might be moved abroad.

The legwork required also turned out to be formidable. Insurers had to choose foreign hospitals, negotiate contracts and malpractice insurance, and arrange follow-up care with American providers. They also risked upsetting the locals who would continue to take most of their custom. By the time the battle over Obamacare distracted them from contemplating transnational forays, most seemed to have concluded that they would not be worthwhile anyway. Companion Global Health Care, a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield, is the only big medical-tourism offshoot of an American insurer.

Governments have shown a similar lack of enthusiasm, perhaps because state promotion of medical tourism is usually seen as an admission of policy failure. In 2002 Britain allowed patients facing long waits to seek treatment elsewhere in Europe. Liam Fox, the shadow health secretary at the time, called the decision “humiliating” and criticised the government for not spending more at home. In Germany patient advocates blame government stinginess for the fact that some retired people choose, for reasons of cost, to live in eastern European care homes. Overall, only 1% of public health-care spending in Europe now crosses borders.

But the mere possibility of medical tourism is starting to change health care in unexpected ways. The biggest gains have gone not to patients, insurers or governments, but to hospitals, which have calculated that they could win more business by reversing the trend and going abroad to find patients. America’s Cleveland Clinic will open a branch in Abu Dhabi next year. (It already manages Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, a 750-bed hospital in Abu Dhabi.) Singapore’s Parkway Health has set up hospitals across Asia. India’s Apollo Hospitals, a chain of private hospitals, has a branch in Mauritius.

And though American firms and insurers have mostly stopped scouring the globe for bargains, some have negotiated bulk rates with top-notch hospitals at home. Lowes, a home-improvement firm, offers workers all around the country in need of cardiac care the option of going to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. PepsiCo, a food giant, made a deal with Johns Hopkins in Maryland. Other firms are said to be working on similar schemes. The future of medical tourism may be domestic rather than long-haul.
3895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th &'t kn 9th Amendments on: February 22, 2014, 02:56:20 PM
How does Bing rate on the privacy scale?

Don't know.  It is a Microsoft product so I would assume lousy.  They definitely retain your searches.

Some say better than google:

Google says:
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

I am trying:  for searches.

I would be more interested in email featured like gmail, with privacy, without high cost. offers something like that, $40/yr.  Don't know the quality or features.
3896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ukraine on: February 22, 2014, 02:40:38 PM
When Obama told Medvedev he would have more flexibility after the election, who knew it meant getting bent over by Putin over and over again?

He should have checked with George Bush before speaking about the power of an unpopular, lame duck.
3897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: February 22, 2014, 02:37:39 PM
"A plan to divide California into six separate US states is closer to making it on to a November ballot, with organizers gaining approval to collect signatures."
"that would increase the Senate by 10 senators"

And decrease the clout of every other state and Senator.

Article IV, section 3:

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.

Surprisingly, I don't see anything about super-majorities.  I would have expected the procedure to be more like the process of ratifying a constitutional amendment.

Northeastern Colorado wants to split too.  As do I.

3898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dems hesitant to answer for Obamacare on: February 21, 2014, 12:30:21 PM
At this point, what difference does it make?

Minnesota Dems Hesitate To Answer Obamacare Question At Town Hall - Video at link

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar with Congressmen Tim Walz and Collin Peterson (all D-MN) faced a question about Obamacare at a town hall meeting.

"I thought the Affordable Care Act would save $2500 per family," a resident asked. "What happened?"

After a pause, Peterson grabbed the microphone and said, "I voted 'no,' so I'll let these guys handle that."

(Peterson is chair of the House Ag. committee, one of very few Dems who voted no.)

The expressions, blank stares, and laughter is priceless.  Klobuchar smiles and throws her hands up in the air.

Too bad Sen. Klobuchar didn't face a serious challenge to reelection last year.  We'll see what Sen. Franken's excuse is soon.
3899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Privacy issues: Google vs a very small competitor that is hardcore about privacy on: February 21, 2014, 11:35:41 AM
Besides Big Government, the biggest usurper of privacy is Google (or are they now one and the same?).

I carry an Android smartphone (Google operating system).  I leave the location feature off, but miss nice features by not being tracked.  I use google search and google mail, among other things.  It is more than a little creepy.  At some point they know everything about you - and they are willing to share!

Interesting article:
Inside DuckDuckGo, Google's Tiniest, Fiercest Competitor
DuckDuckGo's Secret Weapon: Hardcore Privacy
When you do a search from DuckDuckGo's website or one of its mobile apps, it doesn't know who you are. There are no user accounts. Your IP address isn't logged by default. The site doesn't use search cookies to keep track of what you do over time or where else you go online. It doesn't save your search history. When you click on a link in DuckDuckGo's results, those websites won't see which search terms you used. Simply put, they're hardcore about privacy

I am going to try this as my default search engine for now and see how it goes.  Now Google knows that too.
3900  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: February 21, 2014, 10:56:40 AM
OK.  Not arguing in what follows, just looking to explore where this leads.

Is it fair to say that we both know that as a practical matter an officer can make up a reason, before or after, for the stop?  Thus as a practical matter does the standard become the police can demand ID of anyone at any time.

What if a person does not have ID with him?  May he be searched for ID?  Fingerprinted?  Arrested?

When police 'make up a reason', I think we all can agree justice is undermined. 

Laws are different for operating a motor vehicle on a public street than for just existing, or being somewhere.  I sometimes don't have ID when driving, even though it is required.  When pulled over, they already know I match the photo and description of the person who owns the car, and they know my record, warrants, etc.  Police are also doing more and more with 'shooting' license plates without a driving infraction to look for legal or criminal issues with the vehicle, owner or driver.

I would not carry a wallet for just walking and maybe just a credit card or a bill if I was planning to buy something on the walk.  I wonder if facial recognition software will change the ID and fingerprint question of the innocent person looking suspicious to law enforcement.  I assume that if you are out in public they believe they have the right to shoot security footage.  Can't they run checks that way - soon if not now?  Less intrusive in one way, but far worse perhaps in the potential for abuse.

There will always be a contention between the right to be left alone and a need for law enforcement to try to prevent things like a terror attacks before they occur.  Crafty, how would you like to see that balance struck?
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