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3851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Global cooling and tornado activity on: May 21, 2013, 11:10:41 AM
In the first place, I think tornado activity is actually down.  That news is no help to today's victims.

Hearts and prayers go out to the Oklahoma tornado victims.  This is a HORRIBLE tragedy.  Where I live people can't imagine homes without basements, that may have saved hundreds or thousands of lives in Mpls 2 years ago.  Besides that people who could not get below ground for cover, another part of the story is saying that a number of children got to the school basement for safety and drowned there!  This is Sandy Hook and far worse I think.  Ughhh!  Glenn Beck was broadcasting live from Moore, OK this morning and has a relief fund setup on his site to donate directly to help victims:

All that said, on a lighter note, Newsweek predicted global cooling could cause this kind of carnage:

3852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Unknown Mathematician Proves Elusive Property of Prime Numbers on: May 21, 2013, 10:36:52 AM

Thanks for posting this!  I found the first part quite humorous.  No one outside of a known, circle of elites was expected to solve any of the great, unsolved, math problems. 

3853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: May 20, 2013, 02:13:59 PM
Getting rid of the IRS via a national sales tax could have considerable appeal , , ,

You get rid of the IRS as we know it by repealing the 16th amendment.  Adding a national sales tax would be a way to make up some of the difference.

The likelihood that super majorities will support a zero tax rate on the income of the wealthy at this time being zero, the IRS
is not going away.  You bring down their excesses by simplifying the laws and having them apply evenly.  In this case, a simple reform for 501c3's and c4's might be that income can only be taxed once and to clarify that the first amendment is still valid.  In other words, let people spend after-tax income on political speech anytime, any place, in any amount they want in this country. 
3854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: May 19, 2013, 02:38:23 PM
In our world of perpetual campaign, while the co-defendants and co-dependents are squirming to shake off the scandal hook, conservatives and Republicans should launch a pro-jobs, nationwide campaign to roll out comprehensive tax reform, regulatory reform and a national free market energy plan, not just be the prosecutors of the corrupt administration.
3855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's scandal bracket sheets are now posted on: May 19, 2013, 02:31:03 PM
Put my data mining allegation under wildcard, here are the brackets:

Click here for full size view:

Who will be the Champion of Obama scandals?  I say a wildcard pick will win it.  We know about the arrogance of power; we just don't yet know all the details.
3856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 19, 2013, 02:09:35 PM
The IRS 'heightened scrutiny' targeting of conservative groups in an election year, the Benghazi coverup, the Sebelius story of cronying up with big health care etc., all these known scandals together are but the tip of the iceberg of the misconduct that occurred between the administration and the campaign in the 2012 election.

I am calling for 'heightened scrutiny' of the campaign's "data mining" operation for its collusion with government regarding the supposedly private information owned by the various departments of the governments.  They knew who was African American, they knew who was Hispanic and they knew who all the program recipients were in all the key states.  Is there not one 'low level' Cincinnati Census or food stamp official ready to come forward and tell us how it really worked?!
3857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 19, 2013, 01:51:13 PM
"Obama must work to salvage what’s left before Republicans likely win big in 2014, and he goes from being a lame duck to a soiled, sitting duck amid investigation after investigation."

A.B. Stoddard writing at The Hill, 5/15/13.
3858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: May 19, 2013, 01:45:26 PM
"Didn't the Supremes weigh in on the Nixon tapes?"   - Yes
"The only other thought is public opinion turns and the media do their job."

 - That's right.  The media got dragged in with the AP scandal and the combination of the scandals begins to expose the emperor.  Ask his predecessor, you cannot enact a domestic agenda while approval ratings are approaching the 30s.  Same goes for helping with congressional campaigns in swing districts, no one wants a soiled-duck to come out on his or her behalf.

What really happened in the White House during the Benghazi attacks gets known by what they call in math, calculating the negative space.  We know what didn't happen and fill in the rest accordingly.  We know they knew our people were facing an organized terrorist attack from the beginning.  We know that they knew they had screwed up on providing prior security.  We know their answer right from the beginning was to wave the white flag.  We know they violated all rules of military decency by abandoning our people.  We know three of the dead violated direct orders by going there to help.  We know they were wrong to decide help couldn't get ther in time to do any good.  The stand down order was a BIG BIG BIG blunder and we know responsibility for that goes to the top, whether he was sitting there, turned it over to a top general or relied on the advice of a campaign adviser. 

We know they were wrong to house operations there at all.  We don't know what the operations were.  We know they were wrong and stupid to not beef up security for the anniversary of 9/11.  We know they didn't respond to prior requests from Benghazi and Libya for greater security.  We know they handled it wrong and knowingly lied to our faces after the fact.  What more do we need to know?  The rest of it, arms sales to Syria or whatever, is the drip, drip, drip, as Krauthammer put it, that keeps it in the news.

All we don't know is whether or not people care. 

The Pres. cannot blame decisions he made or should have made on a Secretary or anyone else and she can't blame much on him either; she is culpable too.  That joint appearance on 60 Minutes now looks like guilty co-defendants swearing to stand by each other until the bitter end.   We can hope that someone in the loop turns on them soon and spills out the real behind the scenes story.  What we really hope is that these same people are never trusted again.
3859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The death of the rule of law on: May 16, 2013, 11:42:51 AM
At present, Baraq is have Sec Treasury Lieu (sp?) handle the investigation.  In that IRS is part of Treasury, this bodes poorly for sincerity in the investigation.  A special prosecutor is called for here.

Exactly.  Sec. Lew should be facing his own perjury and contempt of congress charges for the last time he lied to congress under oath, instead receiving appointment to higher office.

I realize he is new to Treasury, but he is not new to serving at the highest levels of the administration.  This happened under his watch and we just saw how they change facts at the highest levels to avoid criticism.  Wasn't Lew the Chief of Staff when Susan Rice was looking for direction?  Neither Lew nor Eric Holder, nor any other administration political appointee is removed or impartial enough to investigate or prosecute this.  

"A special prosecutor is called for here." !!

Also needed is reform and re-write of the 501c3/c4 laws they purport to be enforcing.  
3860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Boener is the problem on: May 16, 2013, 11:26:37 AM
No.  The Obama administration is the problem.  Parts of this are valid, but the shift of blame isn't helpful.  The drip, drip, drip of the scandal, as Krauthammer put it, is not all bad for Republicans politically.  The speaker has to deal with the perception of half the country that these inquiries are just opportunistic Republicans running wild.

Boehner should be pressing for oversight for sure, but his main public focus should be focussed on policy answers to policy problems.  He should calling out regulatory excesses, pushing for comprehensive tax reform, etc. and making it clear that it is the other side that is bogging the country down with their arrogance and abuses of their power, and not addressing the nation's problems.  MHO )
3861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: IBD: Did IRS try to swing the election to BO? on: May 16, 2013, 11:13:35 AM
Obama is stuck on saying how awful this IRS thing is - IF it happened.  It happened.  And it IS awful.  What have they ever gotten to the bottom of, fast and furious, job losses, crony green energy abuse, Benghazi, AP, IRS?  How hard can it be to get to the bottom of something when you have the largest intelligence operation in the world (for Benghazi, Mexican arms running, Secret Service scandal, etc.), the largest, most intrusive computer system in the world (IRS scandal), and nearly complete control over everything including their phone records, emails and texts needed to get to the bottom of this.

In the case of IRS abuse, the federal government is the prosecutor (as well as the accused).  The prosecutor doesn't need to get stuck on innocent until proven guilty; they need to put the charges in the form of a criminal complaint, make arrests and prosecute crimes.  Generally that leads to plea bargains on the way up to the top. 

How about appointing an Independent Counsel to investigate and prosecute if he is serious?

When did the administration know that the victims were being victimized?  They monitor the right wing sites, they should have known all of this AS IT WAS HAPPENING!  The claim by the head of the executive branch that everyone near him is deaf, dumb, blind and stupid, is tempting to believe - but I don't buy it.  If these were left wing women were being harassed by powerful, white, right wing men, would this have been ignored for this long?  I don't think so.

Whoever called these people, who are professionals of the federal government entrusted with the power to investigate and destroy America, LOW LEVEL EMPLOYEES should be fired too!  MHO
3862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness' Scandals on: May 15, 2013, 10:44:08 AM
I hope all the uproar over the Benghazi attack lying, IRS shutting down political dissent, White House tracking reporters' phone records, and Secretary Sebelius overtly fundraising from those she wishes to regulate will not draw time and resources away from the administration's commitment to get to the bottom of the FAST AND FURIOUS, dead Mexicans and border guard scandal.

I don't know why I haven't heard an update on that.  Does anyone know when Attorney General gets out of jail for his CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS citation?  Who prosecuted that anyway?
3863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IRS Scandal Rocks Obamacare on: May 15, 2013, 10:35:59 AM
Some are starting to figure out the connection between our failed trust in the IRS and the trainwreck known as Obamacare.  The first big investment the federal government made in heathcare reform was for the IRS to spend (invest?) nearly a billion and hire thousands of new IRS agents to scrutinize further those of us that they believe need more scrutinizing.

Byron York today:

What's happened heightens fears about how the IRS will handle taxpayer information and wield its power when it enforces Obamacare starting next year."

The IRS is critical to Obamacare. The structure created by the Affordable Care Act requires the government to know about both the health care coverage (or lack of it) and the financial resources of every American. The IRS, which already knows the latter, was the only agency with the reach to do the job.
Sign Up for the Byron York newsletter!

A look at the text of the health care law reveals that much of it consists of amending the Internal Revenue Code to give the IRS more power. When Obamacare goes fully into effect in January, every American will have to prove to the IRS that he or she has "qualifying" health coverage, meaning coverage with a list of features approved by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. That will be done by submitting a document to the IRS, something like a W-2, to confirm coverage.

The IRS will also decide who is, and who is not, eligible for Obamacare's subsidies. The law authorizes the IRS to share confidential taxpayer information with the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of determining those subsidies. And since subsidies don't just apply to a relatively small number of the nation's poorest citizens -- under the law, they can go to a family of four with a household income of nearly $90,000 -- they will affect a huge segment of the population.

In addition, the IRS will keep track of even the smallest changes in Americans' financial condition. Did you get a raise recently? You'll need to notify the IRS; it might affect your subsidy status. Have your hours been reduced at work? Notify the IRS. Change jobs? Same.

Last August, IRS official Nina Olson testified before Congress on the changes Obamacare will bring to Americans' dealings with the nation's tax collector. "Do you believe that most Americans are going to update the IRS or state exchanges when they change jobs, get married, move states, whatever?" Michigan Republican Rep. Tim Walberg asked Olson.

"I think it's going to be a very great learning curve," Olson answered. If Americans don't keep the IRS up to date on their financial status, they might incur penalties, which the IRS will collect by withholding income tax refunds. "I think it will be a surprise to taxpayers if they don't update their information,"
WSJ today:

A larger government always creates more openings for abuse, as Americans will learn when the IRS starts auditing their health care in addition to their 1040 next year.

"ObamaCare is "the most extensive social benefit program the IRS has been asked to implement in recent history."  This March the IRS Inspector General reiterated that ObamaCare's 47 major changes to the revenue code "represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years." Thus the IRS is playing Thelma to the Health and Human Service Department's Louise. The tax agency has requested funding for 1,954 full-time equivalent employees for its Affordable Care Act office in 2014."

"Instead of going after tax cheats, these bureaucrats will write and enforce tax regulations for parts of the economy in which they have no core competence. For example, do ski instructors or public school teachers count as seasonal workers? How long is a "full time" work week? Is it 40 hours, or 30?"

"...the IRS and HHS are now building the largest personal information database the government has ever attempted. Known as the Federal Data Services Hub, the project is taking the IRS's own records (for income and employment status) and centralizing them with information from Social Security (identity), Homeland Security (citizenship), Justice (criminal history), HHS (enrollment in entitlement programs and certain medical claims data) and state governments (residency)."

What could possibly go wrong?

Newt Gingrich:  "Why would you trust the bureaucracy with your health if you can't trust the bureaucracy with your politics?"

3864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jimmy Connors should not have told. Why not? on: May 15, 2013, 09:56:52 AM
The Atlantic, and everyone else in media it seems, is aghast that Jimmy Connors hinted that Chris Evert had an abortion during their engagement, in a year that both of them won Wimbledon.  The outrage seems to hint that people might think she did something wrong.  It is a book about his life, public and private.  It's not like she killed his first kid - without even discussing it with him.  Or is it.
3865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother, IRS Scandal is going to need its own topic on: May 14, 2013, 08:52:42 AM
The Obama administration has been lying about the scope of the IRS’s harassment of conservative-leaning non-profits. The Washington Post has obtained documents that show the anti-conservative effort was directed from Washington, D.C., and was not a rogue operation out of the agency’s Cincinnati office, as the administration has claimed.

Does anyone know when Eric Holder gets out of jail from his Contempt of Congress citation?  Maybe he can get to the bottom of this - like he did with Fast and Furious.

I wanted this administration to fall based on failed economic policies, but their arrogance and duplicity was bound to catch up with them too.
3866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Victor Davis Hanson: Count me out on Syria on: May 14, 2013, 08:33:55 AM
I can't remember disagreeing with VDH.

Count Me Out on Syria    by Victor Davis Hanson    May 13th, 2013

There are good reasons to go into Syria, but far better ones to stay out.

Let us review a few of them. Syria is a humanitarian crisis with over one million refugees and 70,000 dead. But there are similar outrages in Mali, Somalia, and the Sudan. Why no calls to go there as well? Would U.S. troops, planes, or massive shipments of weapons stop the killing, or simply ensure endless cycles of death following the Assad departure? Will Syria’s Christians and other minorities become worse off with or without Assad?

More importantly, we do not at this late stage know which terrorist is a pro-Western Google-type, and which is a hard-core jihadist. The history of the Middle East in particular (see Iran in 1980) and world history in general (cf. France, 1794 or Russia, 1917) suggests that the more extreme, better organized revolutionary zealots, even when in the minority, usually win out over the moderate and sensible reformers in the post-war sorting out and sizing up. There are not many Washingtons, Jeffersons, or Madisons in the annals of revolutionary history.

When Assad goes, the postbellum mess will either go straight to the sham election of a Mohammed Morsi type, who will try to suspend the very constitution that brought him to power, or we will witness round two of Libyan-type violence. The bitter remedy for either, of course, is an Afghanistan or Iraq occupation, in which Americans spend blood and treasure to teach locals not to be their tribal selves. But that third alternative is absolutely politically unsustainable.

Of course, there are also strategic reasons for toppling Assad. How wonderful to see Hezbollah lose their Iranian-arms conduit, or to remove Syria from the Iran-Hezbollah axis. But is that not happening now anyway?

Apparently Israel thinks so. As I understand, their new cynical but strategically adept policy runs something like the following: now and then when Assad shows signs of recovery, or more bloodlust, or renewed interest in bringing down the region with him, bomb his assets just a little bit to refigure the score. That confuses everyone in Syria: do rebels damn or thank Israel, or both? Do Sunni nations smile or scowl? Does Assad retaliate and deplete his arsenal that is so critical to killing his fellow Arabs? Will rebels join with Assad against Israel, or remember that it helped them a bit when on the downside? In short, so far America has not intervened, and Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah are all three worse off for it.

Well apart from Benghazi, Susan Rice and Samantha Power’s Libya is a blueprint for nothing. This time around we will not get UN approval after assuring Russia and China last time that our “humanitarian aid” and “no-fly zones” did not entail ground support, which of course it immediately did. Do we want again to ignore the U.S. Congress and seek permission instead from the UN and Arab League?  Was the murder of Americans in Benghazi preferable to the so-called “new Gaddafi,” whom everyone from John McCain to the Europeans were suddenly fond of as a “reformer” intent on handing power over to his Westernized progeny?

And who not long ago said Bashar al-Assad was a “reformer”?

And who visited Syria in 2007 while Americans were dying in Iraq from jihadists harbored in Syria? And who blasted Bush for alienating Syria by ostracizing such an otherwise eager interlocutor (“The road to Damascus is the road to peace”)?

Consistency Should Matter

I have another confession about why, as a supporter of removing Saddam Hussein, I did not favor either the Libyan bombing or the proposed Syria intervention. In short, I have no confidence in those now calling for intervention to be there should things not go as planned. More have been killed in Afghanistan during Obama’s 52 months than during Bush’s nearly seven years. Announcing simultaneous surges and withdrawal dates is not wise. After all the blood and treasure spent in Iraq, not leaving a tiny monitoring force was shortsighted. An administration that not only lied about Benghazi but knew it was lying does not inspire confidence, especially in its amoral calculus in promoting a pre-election narrative of a weakened al-Qaeda after the killing of bin Laden and a reforming Libya after the removal of Gaddafi over the interest of truth and the safety of our own in Benghazi.

Consistency of any sort should matter also. I admire those like a Max Boot who wanted to go into Iraq and supported the cause to the bitter end. I even sort of admire a Pat Buchanan who thought Iraq a folly, and as a useful idiot on MSNBC damned those like me who supported the occupation. And I even admire Dennis Kucinich-types who thought intervention was wrong and staying on worse, and were ridiculed when the statue fell and the “Mission Accomplished” euphoria persisted. But I have no admiration for the zealots who called for the attack, basked in the spectacular removal of the Hussein regime, and then peeled off as the violence spiked and the soldiers were more or less on their own.

Like most of you, I did not write a letter in 1998 calling for the preemptive removal of Saddam Hussein. Most of us were indifferent to Bill Clinton’s regime change act. And I think most of us did not even know about those who wrote another letter to George W. Bush after 9/11 calling for preemption in Iraq again. But most of us agreed with 70% of the people that the Congress had logic and morality in their 2002 23-writ resolution calling to oust Hussein. Colin Powell made a sincere, but flawed, presentation. (It was not just the faulty intelligence, but the failure to mention all of the congressional resolutions for war.)

Once we did go in — along with the widespread support of the American people — I vowed to support the American effort to rebuild the country to the bitter end. And the end was certainly bitter. But by 2009 the American role in the war was all but over, a plan for a residual force to ensure the peace was in place, and what happened after that was now up to a new administration. I think leaving in toto was a bitter mistake, but leave we did and as a nation we live with the consequences.

Most Who Called for Removal of Saddam Eventually Turned on Bush

Here is my point. Most of those who called for preemption between 1998 and 2001 eventually turned on Mr. Bush, who had listened to them. Almost all the liberal and conservative pundits of the New York Times and Washington Post who wanted intervention eventually bailed with the suspect excuse of something like “my three-week brilliant take-down, your stupid five-year occupation.” Some claimed missing WMD gave them an out (as if we suddenly also learned that Saddam had not posted rewards for suicide bombers, murdered thousands, tried to kill a U.S. president, harbored terrorists, broke UN resolutions, gassed his own people, etc.).

Those who once sung Bush’s praises the loudest and urged him onward (give him the Nobel Prize, nuke Saddam, “I wrote the Axis of Evil line,” sweep the Middle East) were always the most clever of critics, as if the more Hillary screamed or Harry Reid declared the surge lost, the more we would forget their October 2002 calls to arms.

If in 2002 Iraq was to be a “cakewalk,” by 2004 it was “Bush’s war.” To name just a few across the political spectrum in random order, I’m sure that a Francis Fukuyama, Fareed Zakaria, Andrew Sullivan, George Will, the late William F. Buckley, Jr., Thomas Friedman, John Kerry, and thousands of others all had legitimate reasons in abandoning the cause of Iraq. Lord knows it was unwise to let thousands of scattered Ba’athist soldiers roam the streets of Iraq unemployed. How stupid was it to focus only on WMD when the Congress gave lots of reasons to remove Saddam? More tragic still was pulling out of Fallujah in April 2004 only to have to retake it in November. Why was a junior three-star mediocrity like Ricardo Sanchez put in charge of ground troops in Iraq? Why did Tommy Franks just quit almost at the moment the three-week war stopped and the reckoning started? “Bring ‘em on” and “Mission Accomplished” are speaking loudly while carrying small sticks. The list of screw-ups goes on and on. But the fact remains that victory in war goes not to those who make no mistakes, but to those who learn the most quickly from them in order to ensure the fewest in the future.

I also grant that one can change one’s mind. But here is the point, to paraphrase Matthew Ridgway of the mess he inherited in Korea: the only worse thing for a great power with global responsibilities than fighting a poorly conducted war is losing one.  I know too the age-old nostrums — that was then, this is now, things change, only with self-reflection comes wisdom, change is sometimes necessary, etc., etc.

But I have also lost all trust in the Democratic Senate, the commentariat, and the media to call for any U.S. intervention in the Middle East, given that there is a chance that it will go badly, the zealots will bail, and the soldiers alone will be stuck on the battlefield in a Middle East miasma, with little support at home — a Michael Moore lauding the enemy as “Minutemen,” a MoveOn.Org labeling Petraeus “General Betray Us,” an Alfred Knopf published novel imagining the assassination of a U.S. president, a prominent conservative confessing how he was “duped” by the “neo-cons,” and on and on. Again, been there, done that, sick of it.

One day drones and Guantanamo are war crimes originating from Afghanistan and Iraq, the next day they are … what, exactly? One day in 2004 Barack Obama has no problem with current U.S. policy in Iraq (“There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage”); one day in 2007 he wants all U.S. combat troops out by March 2008? In short, there is no evidence that either those in this administration or our elites in general are up for another bloody slog in the Middle East.

I also have only little sympathy now for “Arab reformers,” especially those ensconced at U.S. and European universities. Yes, Iraq was a mess. Bush was a twangy Texan, we know. I am sorry that we do not have mellifluous Martin Luther Kings or Abraham Lincolns around to send in F-16s. The fact remains that Bush was also an idealist, naïve maybe, but not an imperialist or colonialist. He was someone who really believed in establishing the chance of freedom in the Middle East, in the manner that he sought to provide cheap AIDS medication for Africa or expand Medicare prescription drugs, whether all on borrowed money or not. Hate him if you must for being a naïf, but not a British imperialist or Nixonian strategist.

Yes, call him dumb, naïve, amateurish, but not conniving or Kissengerian — as his realist critics, in fact, lamented. So the U.S. removed a monster who had killed a million. It stayed on at great cost. It took no oil. It took no territory. It ended up without even a base. After 9/11 it sought to remove a terrorist-subsidizing tyrant, end the no-fly zones, create something better, and spread constitutional governments in the wake. The Chinese, French, and Russians ended up profiting from U.S. blood and treasure.

Please, Spare Us Now “You Owe Us Help”

If Arab reformers ever wanted a shot at democracy, Iraq was still their golden opportunity. Instead, almost all damned the effort and caricatured Americans. I once in 2006 sat in a clinic in Tripoli listening to Arab intellectuals (or rather Gaddafi minders) explain to me the Jewish roots of the Iraqi war, and how Americans were siphoning oil off in the desert and flying it in tankers home. Finally, I could not even follow all the conspiracy theories concocted to explain how wicked the Maliki government was.

Please, spare us now “you owe us your help.” Al Jazeera one day magically can show videos of an IED tearing apart American soldiers, and the next day it is just a “media outlet” that gives Al Gore millions of its petrodollars for his access to cable TV. I’m sure it will advocate for Assad to go, for reformers to take his replace, and demonize the U.S. and “the Jews” all through the process.

We have been there, done that, and we have learned some great lessons about the 21st century, pre-modern Middle East, and any interventions into it: a) Arab reformers damn the U.S. for doing nothing, but they will damn it far more for doing something; b) interventionists believe that all success is their offspring, and failure is outsourced to someone else, usually the military or those who sent the military in; c) the Middle East lesson of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya is that only a huge U.S. ground presence, in the fashion of postwar Italy, Germany, or Japan, coupled with abject defeat of the enemy, can lead to any chance of consensual government.

Without bloody fighting and without massive U.S. aid either the enemy wins and takes over, or what replaces the enemy reverts to the mindset of the enemy. We can stand-off bomb as we did in the Balkans to bring something better, but the Balkans are in Europe, and we still have troops in the Balkans, and lots of those who pushed Clinton into bombing later wanted him to stop when it seemed all we could do was hit embassies and rest homes rather than missile sites.

Does this mean that under no circumstances should we ever bomb Iran, or take out a mass murderer with WMD? Perhaps not. But it does suggest that after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, neither is the Middle East ready for U.S. invention nor is this generation of American elite leadership up for the task.

There is irony in seeing the opportunistic war critic Barack Obama out-drone Bush or be attacked on his Left by liberals, who rail at his callousness in not intervening in Syria. But there is not enough irony for schadenfreude — given that American soldiers might be sent into a theater by those who would support them only to the degree that they were deemed successful and blame their setbacks on everyone but themselves.

A nearly bankrupt and divided America after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya is not up for Syria — and an Arab Spring that on its own chose Winter does not deserve any more American blood.

Sorry, that’s just the way it is.
3867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: May 13, 2013, 05:26:59 PM
Thanks for the replies.  Crafty, yours might have just been for all the extra questions on the regular Census?  On that, they do have the constitutional authority to know just the basics (that you answered), which would be how many people live there and I suppose enough extra information to verify accuracy and know they aren't double counting from you somewhere else.  This survey is 28 pages.  

What I think I have learned is that the penalty is 'up to $5000' (confirmed in GM post) and no one has ever been fined or jailed for not answering the American Community Survey because they don't want it tested in Court.  They will however keep coming back to harass, not take no for an answer for up to about 7 attempts.

I answered my 10 year Census the way Crafty suggested, race=other, etc.  My plan for this is to tell them I'll take the fine and the jail time, be the test case, and try to make it all back by writing a book.  

I also read that the House has voted to end this, and Rand Paul has introduced a measure in the Senate.

Repeal would be great, arguing, refusing, closing the door is okay, but I still would like to know what happened to my right of privacy.

From the website on Bigdog's post:

"To protect your privacy, the American Community Survey NEVER asks for:  your Social Security number, your personal information via email, money or donations, credit card information"

But that doesn't answer my concern.  Even without my name, and they already have that, my address ties this all to me and it sits in their database.  Similar databases of banks, credit card companies, Stratfor, the State Dept cables, etc are cracked every day.  Has anyone at Census ever heard of Wiki-leaks?  Even if there is zero risk of data lost or zero impact on me if there was a breach, aren't I entitled to as much privacy as a woman killing her fetus:  'No Ma'am, you can't have the procedure unless you tell us your ancestry, what time you leave your house, how many travel in your car, how many times you've been married, first mortgage, second mortgage, value of your house. property insurance, health insurance.'  For how long would the big government types put up with that?

I've lived here 27 years and what I paid is already a public record on the internet for all to see.  I haven't had it appraised and have never tried to sell it.  The house didn't change.  Why don't they tell me what the value of the dollar I bought it with is?

The ACS started in 2005 under a Republican President, House and Senate.   It may not be a Supreme Court case, but we aren't living in a country that is headed back toward original intent.

Next time they ask for my health insurance info, there will be a real fine for not answering!

My brother has a concealed carry permit, and not necessarily a gun.  He called 911 during a neighborhood disturbance.  They needed to know where HE kept his gun before they came out to help.  How did they know that?  They marked his information from one agency onto other records.  I'm not much of a conspiracy nut, but this is information we give them just by complying with all these laws.
3868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Census Bureau "American Community Survey" on: May 13, 2013, 01:20:15 PM
My address has been randomly selected to receive the 28 page "American Community Survey", all of it a violation of my privacy and offensive to me.  I have just received their third communication, including the following:

"You are required by law to respond to this survey."

We can discuss this in detail.  What I need right now is legal advice!  I can't imagine answering this.  

What article of the constitution authorized this?  The value of my house?  Property insurance?  How many times has this person been married?  College degrees?  Ancestry?!  The federal government needs to know that to determine whether to build a road or hospital?  The federal government builds roads and hospitals near me??  Absences from work, how many minutes it takes to get to work?  Do I have to disclose any stops I make?  How many ride in my car?  Income - Don't you already have that?  Health insurance with choices a-h!  Who saw THAT coming?


My name, address, phone number, birth date?

When was the last time you guys had a breach of private information, campaign 2012?? ??
3869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: May 13, 2013, 12:37:20 PM
The IRS targeting scandal is about cheating in elections, preventing opponents from organizing and acting in the same ways that your own campaign and supporters are organizing and acting.

GM: "There should be criminal investigations regarding this conduct."

Undermining our elections, to me, is treason, extreme acts against one's nation.  Beheading, after a fair trial, comes to mind as a remedy that might discourage similar acts in the future.

If these were "low-level" employees, how much do we pay people who decide how to allocate resources in the IRS?  Minimum wage?  Were they laid off, considered no more essential than air traffic controllers, during the sequester?  I don't think so.

This one tip of a big iceberg, with no one looking under it.  There is no way this was the only cooperation between the Obama Executive Branch of our government and the Obama campaign.  There is no question in my mind that the "data mining" and turnout operations of the campaign were getting welfare and program recipients lists from inside the federal government.

3870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi Deception on: May 13, 2013, 11:49:42 AM
I just heard a rumor that Petraeus no longer feels the loyalty to Team Obama (can't blame him either!) and will be saying and doing things this week , , ,

Makes sense.  As CIA Director, his product was the first version (true version) of what happened in Benghazi, before the 12 revisions.  He has already faced the humiliation of his infidelity.  He may still face legal or military culpability for details within that.  Either way, he has very little choice but to step forward when called to testify, and tell the truth.

Jonah Goldberg made a very significant point in Crafty's post here May 10: 

'Help [that was ordered to stand down] just couldn’t get there in time.'

True or false in hindsight, that excuse HAD to be written after the fact.  It could not have been known at the start of an 8 hour attack.

Goldberg: "If you see a child struggling in the ocean, you have no idea how long she will flail and paddle before she goes under for the last time. The moral response is to swim for her in the hope that you get there in time. If you fail and she dies, you can console yourself that you did your best to rescue her."
Mark Steyn:
A terrorist attack isn’t like a soccer game, over in 90 minutes. If it is a sport, it’s more like a tennis match: Whether it’s all over in three sets or goes to five depends on how hard the other guy pushes back. The government of the United States took the extremely strange decision to lose in straight sets. Not only did they not deploy out-of-area assets, they ordered even those in Libya to stand down."
Peggy Noonan explained the non-response ordered by the non-meeting in the situation room, where the President and Secretary of State were not following the events as they transpired (also posted May 10): 

"If you want something to be a nonstory you have to have a nonresponse".

Michael Barone wrote today:  (excerpts)

We know that [Sec. Clinton] assured one victim’s father, Charles Woods, that “we’re going to prosecute that person that made the video.”

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Clinton was knowingly attempting to mislead. She certainly knows the difference between Cairo and Benghazi.

And it’s undisputed that Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 man in our Libya embassy, reported that it was an “attack” on September 11. That was the word he heard in his last conversation with Christopher Stevens.

It’s undisputed as well, after testimony at the House committee hearing last week, that Beth Jones, acting assistant secretary of State’s Near Eastern division, e-mailed on September 12 that “the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.”

That e-mail went to Clinton counselor Cheryl Mills and State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, among others. You may remember Mills as one of the lawyers defending Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial.

On September 15, the day after Clinton’s assurances to Woods, State Department and White House officials prepared talking points for members of Congress and for ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who was scheduled to go on five Sunday talk shows the next day.

Who chose Rice as the administration’s spokesman? As Barack Obama said after the election, when she was reportedly under consideration to be the next secretary of state, Rice had “nothing to do” with Benghazi.

Selecting which officials go on the Sunday talk shows is a White House function. Either the president or someone who had good reason to believe he was reflecting Obama’s wishes selected Rice, who was out of the loop on the issue.

The expectation must have been that she would say exactly what she was told — and would not betray any inconvenient facts known to those in the loop like Clinton.

The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes got hold of the series of September 15 e-mails in which White House and State Department officials prepared the talking points.

References to warnings State received before September 11 of Ansar al-Sharia–and al-Qaeda-linked attacks in Benghazi were deleted. Nuland describes these as “issues . . . of my building’s leadership.”

The final talking points said, “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex.” Rice went on TV and parroted the line.

That was refuted by Hicks. The video was a “non-event” in Libya, he told the House committee. And he testified that he was chastised by none other than Mills for briefing Republican representative Jason Chaffetz without a lawyer present.

The FBI did not find time to interview Hicks. But State found time to yank him out of his job and give him a desk job he regards as a demotion.

Obama continued to attribute the Benghazi attack to a protest against a video on September 18 (Letterman), September 20 (Univision), and September 25 (The View and the United Nations).

There were obvious cynical political motives for attempting to mislead voters during a closely contested presidential campaign.

Obama did not want his theme of “Osama is dead, al-Qaeda is on the run” to be undercut by an Islamist terrorist attack on our ambassador.

Clinton did not want her department’s denial of pleas for additional security in Libya to become known.

3871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 12, 2013, 11:38:13 PM
I thought the sole opinion of Thomas on Obamacare was strategic, in a long term sense.  Putting that view in a clear and concise way into the record is better than having no one express it.  The persuasion might take a hundred years.

"And, its pretty hard to live up to strict construction."

I agree with this.  These difficult cases don't lend themselves well to purity.  So you at least look for the  opportunities to take small steps in the direction of constitutional intent.  Instead, with Obamacare, we took another giant leap away from constitutionally limited government. 
3872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: May 11, 2013, 08:35:49 PM
400 PPM and also a BBG sighting.  Very funny!

Maybe writing it as fraction would help:


They always seem to show the graph like 400 or 500 PPM is 100% saturation.  The atmosphere is 99.96% NOT CO2.  Aren't we dangerously close to zero at any of these levels?

All hydroponic enthusiasts know enhanced CO2 helps plants grow better, which in turn give off oxygen, which is useful for me and for all animal life.

Oxygen depletion to these levels and headed downward or CO2 disappearing would scare me much more!
3873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / If you want attack in Benghazi to be a nonstory, you have to have a nonresponse on: May 10, 2013, 12:30:45 PM
Who ordered the stand down?

First ask, who CAN order a military action in a foreign land?  That would be -- only -- the Commander in Chief.

Why did he order a stand down?

That is why the investigation into the fraudulent talking points is so important.  If the biggest considerations after the fact were all based in politics, so was the thinking DURING the attack!

Peggy Noonan today:

"...the implied question that hung over the House hearing, and that cries out for further investigation. That is the idea that if the administration was to play down the nature of the attack it would have to play down the response—that is, if you want something to be a nonstory you have to have a nonresponse."

The stand down also could have been because the President was unreachable, off the grid.  He was never in the situation room that day, where they all sat during the OBL kill.  No one has said they spoke with him during the 8 hour attack?  Maybe Mark Sanford knows where he was...
3874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 09, 2013, 05:18:19 PM
I will need Bigdog's help to understand if or how these opinions and decisions rolled back what conservatives considered to be the excesses of the New Deal era.  (I think that was the point of the article that started this.)

I am aware of the joined dissent on Obamacare, but the point Thomas made alone was that he would go further, "reconsider" (overturn) previous decisions, which is the conservative view IMO.  He would roll back federal powers derived from the commerce clause, not just oppose more expansions.

Regarding the 4 cases cited, same.  In Lopez, controlling guns in schools was considered beyond the scope of the interstate commerce clause.  That is a better decision than the alternative, but not exactly a right turn curtailing government excesses previously authorized (as I read it).  US v. Morrison recognized limits on the further expansion of federal power, as did Solid Waste v. Corps of Engineers where the filling of a local pond at a landfill was prohibited under a migratory bird law pretending to be authorized by the commerce clause.  (We still pay for a migratory bird commission, see below.) The Court said:  "The grant of authority to Congress under the Commerce Clause, though broad, is not unlimited".  Whew!  And then in Sebelius, dissent aside, the Court essentially said that power IS unlimited.  Four justices said that to my reading and one said he would stay up nights until he could find a way, any way, to uphold the expansionary products of the elected government.  I wish he had stayed up to ponder the rights of mine he was trampling.

Asking this a different way, after these 30 years, what industry was controlled by the federal government then, that is not now, due to a shift in direction on the Court?  I'm in housing.  It is hard to find anything more local than housing and urban development.  Which Supreme Court decision closed HUD?  Even though housing is defined as a federal function, my city state and county all regulate it too! 

Conservatives think federal government powers grew beyond original intent.  After a conservative Court stripped the federal government of much of its regulatory authority, this is all that remains:

    Architect of the Capitol
        United States Botanic Garden
    Government Accountability Office
    Government Printing Office
    Congressional Budget Office
    Library of Congress
        Congressional Research Service
        United States Copyright Office
    Office of Compliance
    United States Capitol Guide Service
    United States Capitol Police
    Administrative Office of the United States Courts
    Federal Judicial Center
    Judicial Conference of the United States
    Office of Probation and Pretrial Services
    United States Sentencing Commission
    Council of Economic Advisers
    Council on Environmental Quality
    Domestic Policy Council
    National Economic Council
    National Security Council
    Office of Administration
    Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
    Office of Management and Budget
    Office of National AIDS Policy
    Office of National Drug Control Policy
    Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
    Office of Science and Technology Policy
    Office of the President
        Office of the First Lady
            Office of the First Children
    Office of the Vice President
        Office of the Second Lady
            Office of the Second Children
    President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board
    President's Intelligence Oversight Board
    President's Intelligence Advisory Board
    United States Trade Representative
    White House Office
    White House Military Office
    Agricultural Marketing Service
    Agricultural Research Service
    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
    Economic Research Service
    Farm Service Agency
        Commodity Credit Corporation
    Food and Nutrition Service
    Food Safety and Inspection Service
    Foreign Agricultural Service
    Forest Service
    Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
    Marketing and Regulatory Programs
    National Agricultural Statistics Service
    National Institute of Food and Agriculture
    Natural Resources Conservation Service
    Risk Management Agency
        Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
    Rural Business and Cooperative Programs
    Office of Rural Development
    Research, Education and Economics
    Rural Housing Service
    Rural Utilities Service
    Census Bureau
    Bureau of Economic Analysis
    Bureau of Industry and Security
    Economic Development Administration
    Economics and Statistics Administration
    Export Enforcement
    Import Administration
    International Trade Administration
        Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
        Invest in America
    Manufacturing and Services
    Marine and Aviation Operations
    Market Access and Compliance
    Minority Business Development Agency
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
        NOAA Commissioned Corps
        National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
        National Marine Fisheries Service
        National Oceanic Service
        National Weather Service
    National Telecommunications and Information Administration
    Patent and Trademark Office
    National Institute of Standards and Technology
        National Technical Information Service
    Trade Promotion and the U.S. And Foreign Commercial Service
    Department of the Army
        United States Army
        Army Intelligence and Security Command
        Army Corps of Engineers
    Department of the Navy
        United States Navy
            Office of Naval Intelligence
            U.S. Naval Academy
        Marine Corps
            Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
    Department of the Air Force
        United States Air Force
            Civil Air Patrol
        Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency
    Joint Chiefs of Staff
        J-2 Intelligence
    National Guard Bureau
        Natural Disaster and Disaster Help Program
        J-2 Intelligence Directorate
        Air National Guard
        Army National Guard
        America Citizen Militia
            America Citizen Militia Intelligence
    Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
    Defense Commissary Agency
    Defense Contract Audit Agency
    Defense Contract Management Agency
    Defense Finance and Accounting Service
    Defense Information Systems Agency
    Defense Intelligence Agency
    Defense Logistics Agency
    Defense Security Cooperation Agency
    Defense Security Service
    Defense Technical Information Center
    Defense Threat Reduction Agency
    Missile Defense Agency
    National Security Agency
        Central Security Service
    National Reconnaissance Office
    National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
    Naval Criminal Investigative Service
    Pentagon Force Protection Agency
    United States Pentagon Police
    American Forces Information Service
    Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
    Department of Defense Education Activity
    Department of Defense Dependents Schools
    Defense Human Resources Activity
    Office of Economic Adjustment
    TRICARE Management Activity
    Washington Headquarters Services
    West Point Military Academy
    Energy Information Administration
    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    National Laboratories & Technology Centers
        University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
    National Nuclear Security Administration
    Power Marketing Administrations:
        Bonneville Power Administration
        Southeastern Power Administration
        Southwestern Power Administration
        Western Area Power Administration
    Administration on Aging
    Administration for Children and Families
        Administration for Children, Youth and Families
    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
        National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
        Epidemic Intelligence Service
            National Center for Health Statistics
    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Food and Drug Administration
        Reagan-Udall Foundation
    Health Resources and Services Administration
    Patient Affordable Healthcare Care Act Program {to be implemented fully in 2014}
        Independent Payment Advisory Board
    Indian Health Service
    National Institutes of Health
    National Health Intelligence Service
    Public Health Service
        Federal Occupational Health
        Office of the Surgeon General
        United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Federal Emergency Management Agency
        FEMA Corps
        U.S. Fire Administration
        National Flood Insurance Program
    Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
    Transportation Security Administration
    United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    United States Coast Guard (Transfers to Department of Defense during declared war or national emergency)
        Coast Guard Intelligence
        National Ice Center
        United States Ice Patrol
    United States Customs and Border Protection
        Office of Air and Marine
        Office of Border Patrol
            U.S. Border Patrol
                Border Patrol Intelligence
        Office of Field Operations
    United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    United States Secret Service
        Secret Service Intelligence Service
    Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
    Office of Health Affairs
        Office of Component Services
        Office of International Affairs and Global Health Security
        Office of Medical Readiness
        Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense
    Office of Intelligence and Analysis
    Office of Operations Coordination
    Office of Policy
        Homeland Security Advisory Council
        Office of International Affairs
        Office of Immigration Statistics
        Office of Policy Development
        Office for State and Local Law Enforcement
        Office of Strategic Plans
        Private Sector Office
    Directorate for Management
    National Protection and Programs Directorate
        Federal Protective Service
        Office of Cybersecurity and Communications
            National Communications System
            National Cyber Security Division
                United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team
            Office of Emergency Communications
        Office of Infrastructure Protection
        Office of Risk Management and Analysis
        United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT)
    Science and Technology Directorate
        Environmental Measurements Laboratory
    Innovation/Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency
    Office of Research
        Office of National Laboratories
        Office of University Programs
        Program Executive Office, Counter Improvised Explosive Device
    Office of Transition
        Commercialization Office
        Long Range Broad Agency Announcement Office
        Product Transition Office
        Safety Act Office
        Technology Transfer Office
    Border and Maritime Security Division
    Chemical and Biological Division
    Command, Control and Interoperability Division
    Explosives Division
    Human Factors Division
    Infrastructure/Geophysical Division
    Business Operations Division
        Executive Secretariat Office
        Human Capital Office
        Key Security Office
        Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
        Office of the Chief Information Officer
        Planning and Management
    Corporate Communications Division
    Interagency and First Responders Programs Division
    International Cooperative Programs Office
    Operations Analysis Division
        Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute
        Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute
    Strategy, Policy and Budget Division
    Special Programs Division
    Test & Evaluation and Standards Division
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
Main article: United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Federal Housing Administration
    Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (HUD)
    Departmental Enforcement Center
    Office of Community Planning and Development
    Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
    Office of Equal Employment Opportunity
    Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
    Office of Field Policy and Management
    Office of the General Counsel
    Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control
    Office of Hearings and Appeals
    Office of Labor Relations
    Office of Policy Development and Research
    Office of Public Affairs
    Office of Public and Indian Housing
    Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities
    Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae)
    Bureau of Indian Affairs
    Bureau of Land Management
    Bureau of Reclamation
    Fish and Wildlife Service
    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
    Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
    National Park Service
    Office of Insular Affairs
    Office of Surface Mining
        National Mine Map Repository
    United States Geological Survey
    Antitrust Division
    Asset Forfeiture Program
    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    Civil Division
    Civil Rights Division
    Community Oriented Policing Services
    Community Relations Service
    Criminal Division
    Diversion Control Program
    Drug Enforcement Administration
    Environment and Natural Resources Division
    Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Executive Office for Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces
    Executive Office for United States Attorneys
    Executive Office for United States Trustees
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Federal Bureau of Prisons
    Foreign Claims Settlement Commission
    INTERPOL - United States National Central Bureau
    Justice Management Division
    National Crime Information Center
    National Drug Intelligence Center
    National Institute of Corrections
    National Security Division
    Office of the Associate Attorney General
    Office of the Attorney General
    Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
    Office of the Chief Information Officer
    Office of the Deputy Attorney General
    Office of Dispute Resolution
    Office of the Federal Detention Trustee
    Office of Information Policy
    Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison
    Office of Intelligence and Analysis
    Office of Justice Programs
        Bureau of Justice Assistance
        Bureau of Justice Statistics
        Community Capacity Development Office
        National Criminal Justice Reference Service
        National Institute of Justice
        Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
        Office for Victims of Crime
    Office of Legal Counsel
    Office of Legal Policy
    Office of Legislative Affairs
    Office of the Pardon Attorney
    Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties
    Office of Professional Responsibility
    Office of Public Affairs
    Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking
    Office of the Solicitor General
    Office of Special Counsel
    Office of Tribal Justice
    Office on Violence Against Women
    Professional Responsibility Advisory Office
    Tax Division
    United States Attorneys
    United States Marshals
    United States Parole Commission
    United States Trustee Program
    Bureau of International Labor Affairs
    Bureau of Labor Statistics
    Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (DOL)
    Employee Benefits Security Administration
    Employment and Training Administration
    Job Corps
    Mine Safety and Health Administration
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
    Veterans' Employment and Training Service
    Wage and Hour Division
    Women's Bureau
    Administrative Review Board
    Benefits Review Board
    Employees' Compensation Appeals Board
    Office of Administrative Law Judges
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy
    Office of the Chief Financial Officer
    Office of the Chief Information Officer
    Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
    Office of Disability Employment Policy
    Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
    Office of Labor-Management Standards
    Office of the Solicitor
    Office of Worker's Compensation Program
    Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program
    National Council for the Traditional Arts
    Bureau of Intelligence and Research
    Bureau of Legislative Affairs
    Office of the Legal Adviser
    Executive Secretariat
    Office of the Chief of Protocol
    Office for Civil Rights
    Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
    Office of the United States Global AIDS Coordinator
    Office of Global Criminal Justice
    Policy Planning Staff
    Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
    Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
    Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
    Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
    Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
    Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
    Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs
    Bureau of Administration
    Bureau of Consular Affairs
        Office of Overseas Citizens Services
    Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS)
        Diplomatic Security Service (DSS)
        Office of Foreign Missions (OFM)
        Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
    Bureau of Human Resources
        Family Liaison Office
    Bureau of Information Resource Management
    Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations
    Bureau of Resource Management
    Foreign Service Institute
    Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation
    Bureau of African Affairs
    Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
    Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
    Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
    Bureau of International Organization Affairs
    Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
    Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
    Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
    Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
    Bureau of International Information Programs
    Bureau of Public Affairs
        Office of the Historian
    Office of Policy, Planning and Resources for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
    United States Mission to the African Union
    United States Mission to ASEAN
    United States mission to the Arab League
    United States mission to the Council of Europe (and to all other European Agencies)
    United States Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
    United States Mission to the European Union
    United States Mission to the International Civil Aviation Organization
    United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
    United States Mission to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
    United States Mission to the Organization of American States
    United States Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
    United States Mission to the United Nations
    United States Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome
    United States Mission to the United Nations Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva
    United States Observer Mission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
    United States Permanent Mission to the United Nations Environment Program and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme
    Bureau of Transportation Statistics
    Federal Aviation Administration
        Air Traffic Organization
    Federal Highway Administration
    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
    Federal Railroad Administration
    Federal Transit Administration
    Maritime Administration
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Office of Intelligence, Security and Emergency Response
    Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
    Research and Innovative Technology Administration
    Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
    Surface Transportation Board
United States Department of the Treasury
    Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
    Bureau of Engraving and Printing
    Bureau of the Public Debt
    Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
    Federal Consulting Group
    Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
    Financial Management Service
    Internal Revenue Service
    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
        Office of Thrift Supervision
    Office of Financial Stability
    United States Mint
    Office of Domestic Finance
    Office of Economic Policy
    Office of International Affairs
    Office of Tax Policy
    Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
    Treasurer of the United States
    National Cemetery Administration
    Veterans Benefits Administration
    Veterans Health Administration
    Board of Veterans' Appeals
    Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
    Center for Minority Veterans
    Center for Veterans Enterprise
    Center for Women Veterans
    Office of Advisory Committee Management
    Office of Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication
    Office of Survivors Assistance
    Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    Veterans Service Organizations Liaison
    Administrative Conference of the United States
    Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
    African Development Foundation
    Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
    Armed Forces Retirement Home
    Central Intelligence Agency
    Central Counterintelligence Agency
    Commission on Civil Rights
    Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Consumer Product Safety Commission
    Corporation for National and Community Service
    Corporation for Public Broadcasting
        Public Broadcasting Service (Partially funded)
        National Public Radio (Partially funded)
    Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency
    Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
    Election Assistance Commission
    Environmental Protection Agency
    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    Export-Import Bank of the United States
    Farm Credit Administration
    Federal Communications Commission
    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
    Federal Election Commission
    Federal Housing Finance Board
    Federal Labor Relations Authority
    Federal Maritime Commission
    Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
    Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
    Federal Reserve System
        United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
    Federal Trade Commission
    General Services Administration
    Helen Keller National Center
    Institute of Museum and Library Services
    Inter-American Foundation
    International Broadcasting Bureau
    Merit Systems Protection Board
    Military Postal Service Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    National Archives and Records Administration
        Office of the Federal Register
    National Capital Planning Commission
    National Constitution Center
    National Council on Disability
    National Credit Union Administration
        Central Liquidity Facility
    National Endowment for the Arts
    National Endowment for the Humanities
    National Labor Relations Board
    National Mediation Board
    National Science Foundation
        United States Antarctic Program
        United States Arctic Program
    National Transportation Safety Board
    Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Office of the Federal Coordinator, Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects
    Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
    Office of Compliance
    Office of Government Ethics
    Office of Personnel Management
        Federal Executive Institute
        Combined Federal Campaign
    Office of Special Counsel
    Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive
    Office of the Director of National Intelligence
        Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
    Overseas Private Investment Corporation
    Panama Canal Commission
    Peace Corps
    Postal Regulatory Commission
    Railroad Retirement Board
    Securities and Exchange Commission
    Securities Investor Protection Corporation
    Selective Service System
    Small Business Administration
    Social Security Administration
    Tennessee Valley Authority
    U.S. Trade and Development Agency
    United States Agency for International Development
    United States International Trade Commission
    United States Postal Service
    Strategic Economic and Energy Development
    Inspector General - full list U.S. Inspectors General
    Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation
    Administrative Committee of the Federal Register
    American Battle Monuments Commission
    Appalachian Regional Commission
    Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (United States Access Board)
    Arctic Research Commission
    Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Interagency Coordinating Committee
    Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation
    Broadcasting Board of Governors
    Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
    Chief Acquisition Officers Council
    Chief Financial Officers Council
    Chief Human Capital Officers Council
    Chief Information Officers Council
    Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
    Commission of Fine Arts
    Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (United States Helsinki Commission)
    Commission on Wartime Contracting (Will sunset when announced (currently not announced) )
    Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled
    Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements
    Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
    Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
    Defense Acquisition University
    Delaware River Basin Commission
    Denali Commission
    Endangered Species Committee
    Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board
    Federal Advisory Committees
    Federal Executive Boards
    Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council
    Federal Financing Bank
    Federal Geographic Data Committee
    Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds
    Federal Interagency Committee on Education
    Federal Interagency Council on Statistical Policy
    Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Federal Library and Information Center Committee
    Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
    Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation
    Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor Commission
    Indian Arts and Crafts Board
    Interagency Alternate Dispute Resolution Working Group
    Interagency Council on Homelessness
    Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
    J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
    James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation
    Japan-United States Friendship Commission
    Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries
    Joint Fire Science Program
    Marine Mammal Commission
    Migratory Bird Conservation Commission
    Millennium Challenge Corporation
    Mississippi River Commission
    Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation
    National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare
    National Indian Gaming Commission
    National Interagency Fire Center
    National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
    National Park Foundation
    Northwest Power and Conservation Council (Northwest Power Planning Council)
    Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board
    Preserve America
    Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
    President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
    Presidents Management Council
    Presidio Trust
    Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
    Regulatory Service Center (Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs)
    Social Security Advisory Board
    Susquehanna River Basin Commission
    Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Veterans Day National Committee
    Vietnam Educational Foundation
    White House Commission on Presidential Scholars (Presidential Scholars Program)
    White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance
These organizations are some of the organizations who hold a congressional charter. They aren't part of the United States government, even though some are funded by the United States government.
    YMCA of America Inc.
    YWCA of America Inc.
    Boys and Girls Clubs of America
    American Red Cross
    American Red Crescent Movement
    Boy Scouts of America
    Girl Scouts of the USA
    National Ski Patrol
    National Academy of the Sciences
    Quasi-Official Agencies
    Legal Services Corporation
    Smithsonian Institution
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    State Justice Institute
    United States Institute of Peace
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Brand USA
    Graduate School USDA
    Graduate School USA
    Private Regulatory Corporation
    Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
    Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
    Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board
    National Futures Association
Government entities created by acts but are independent or other entities
    American Institute in Taiwan
    Cotton Incorporated
    Dairy Management Inc.
    Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation
        Washington National Cathedral
    Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
    Howard University
    National Consumer Cooperative Bank
    National Corporation for Housing Partnerships
    National Endowment for Democracy
    National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
    National Technical Institute for the Deaf
    Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
    Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation
    The Financing Corporation
    Sister Cities International
        Twin Cities International
    United States Olympic Committee (also chartered)
        United States National Paralympic Committee
        United States Anti-Doping Agency
Federal Government Enterprises
    Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation
    Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac)
    Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac)
    Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)
    Federal Home Loan Banks
    Farm Credit System
3875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters - Greg Hicks on: May 09, 2013, 02:58:19 PM
I know Crafty is right about the in-fighting point.  The security issues are much much larger.  Still my mind is stuck on the completely fabricated story put out to the American people.  Also, according to some, the lying played a role in causing the Libyan government to delay the entry of the FBI to the crime scene until 2 1/2 weeks later, while the evidence was degrading.  Possibly the reason that no one has been brought to justice as promised.
Yesterday's testimony of Greg Hicks was described by journalists present as the most riveting since Oliver North and Alexander Butterfield.

Or, as they reported on the low information voter news sites, Kim Kardashian is still pregnant.

All through the different phases of the attack, told with great detail and credibility, one had to wonder if help was on the way, when, and why not?

Liberal journalist tried to downplay the testimony.  Dana Milbank of the Washington Post called Hicks a storyteller that disappointed the committee Republicans that invited him.  Milbank said of Hicks, "his gripes were about bureaucratic squabbles rather than political scandal".

Milbank continued:  this whistleblower spent a good bit of time tooting his own horn. “I earned a reputation for being an innovative policymaker who got the job done. I was promoted quickly and received numerous awards,” Hicks informed the lawmakers. “I have two master’s degrees. . . . I speak fluent Arabic. . . . I fast became known as the ambassador’s bulldog because of my decisive management styles. . . . Incoming charge Larry Pope told me personally that my performance was near-heroic.”

Milbank may not know that this formerly competent diplomat, the number one man in Libya after Stevens' death with two masters degrees and fluent in Arabic, was demoted to a desk job after expressing his "shock" about the Susan Rice's account of it and his perceived cooperation with congress.


Hicks received a call from Mills (Sec. Clinton's Chief of Staff), whom he described as being “very upset.” Mills, he said, demanded to know what was said [to congressional investigators].

Text of Hicks testimony:

President Obama, September 12, 2012 in Las Vegas, after a few words of nothingness about the attack: "[Republicans] want to give you more tax cuts, especially tilted towards the wealthy, and everything will be okay.
THE PRESIDENT:  And this is their prescription for everything — tax cuts in good times, tax cuts in bad times; tax cuts when we’re at peace, tax cuts when we’re at war; tax cuts to help you lose those few extra pounds — (laughter) — tax cuts to give your love life that extra kick.  (Laughter.) "
3876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races - Mark Sanford on: May 09, 2013, 01:44:16 PM
The Mark Sanford candidacy and election could be harmful to the Republican brand elsewhere and his personal baggage cost him at least 5 points Tuesday, but his win of that seat means the House will be one seat harder for Democrats and Obama to capture and that the polls are back to over-estimating Dem support by between 5-10 points.  Sanford was favored by 1% and won by 9%.

Sean Trende of RCP predicts 2014 House results will be between a 5 seat gain and a 10 seat loss for Democrats.  They need a 17 seat gain to gain control.  The vast majority of the seats on both sides are a match for the electorate of that district, meaning that most are not very vulnerable in the upcoming, mid-term election.
3877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues - Milton Friedman on: May 09, 2013, 01:26:38 PM

"you cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state,"

  - Milton Friedman, 1999
3878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: May 09, 2013, 01:23:18 PM
Asked if White House officials made any changes [to the lies about the attack], Carney claimed that “the only edits were stylistic and non-substantive.”

Hey Mr. Carney,  This is an congressional investigation of history's most transparent administration.  The report made to the American people was a complete fabrication.  How about if you disclose all the changes made by all of the parties including the White House and State Department and we will decide what is "stylistic and non-substantive.”

What was said in these open hearings that could not have been said last September and who has been brought to justice so far for attacking the United States of America?

The message sent to terrorists is: attack the United States, kill diplomats, and they will "stand down" and then deny that you did it.

Meanwhile, some small-time filmmaker is world famous and in prison.
3879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 09, 2013, 12:49:38 PM
Doug: "We are perhaps down to one conservative on the Court."

Bigdog:  "And there has been plenty of literature of how the current SC is among the most pro-business in history."

GM:  "There is a critical difference between being "pro-business" which can mean "pro-big contributors who bought access to public funds and get laws passed to suppress competition" and pro-free market."

Crafty: "Yes."

Bigdog: "Agreed. But "conservative" is a wide enough description encompass both."

Conservatism does not encompass support for big contributors to buy access to public funds and preferential treatment.  True that elected officials who said they were conservative have done this, but it is the exact opposite of all conservative principles, judicial, economic or political, as I understand them.

Not cited by anyone here, but an example of what the literature views as a pro-business decision is Kelo, where big 'business' was the alleged winner over the homeowners.  This is a conservative win only if conservatism has no meaning.  Business in bed with government power is government, not free enterprise.  Like Wickard, Obamacare, and so many others, this was a case of big government expanding its own central planning and control powers over the most basic rights of citizens.   It gives government-connected enterprises a path around free market constraints get what they want using the methods of fascism, not freedom.  I've been to the private takings court and lost.  In New London it was homeowners, but more often the victims of private takings are smaller businesses without government ties in favor of government's deeper pocket cronies.

Growing your own food on your land to feed your own animals is a Court-upheld, federal offense from the 1930s.  The pattern of the more recent rulings has not been to uphold, strengthen and expand on these powers.  Where, in the last 30 years, did the 'conservative' Court roll back any of the excesses of the New Deal era?  If it did, I missed it.

"We are perhaps down to one conservative on the Court."

There are quite a few Justice Thomas sole dissent opinions on the record.  I'll post one in its entirety below, NFIB v. Sebelius (a.k.a. Obamacare), in which Thomas disagreed with the court's "substantial effects" test established in the Wickard, Morrison, and Gonzales rulings.  Where are the others on this?  I could be wrong, but I took from their silence that they do not support his call to reconsider the precedents that authorized these massive federal government powers at the expense of liberty.

Justice Thomas, NFIB v. Sebelius dissent, June 2012, with no one joining:

I dissent for the reasons stated in our joint opinion, but I write separately to say a word about the Commerce Clause. The joint dissent and The Chief Justice correctly apply our precedents to conclude that the Individual Mandate is beyond the power granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. Under those precedents, Congress may regulate “economic activity [that] substantially affects interstate commerce.” United States v. Lopez, 514 U. S. 549, 560 (1995) . I adhere to my view that “the very notion of a ‘substantial effects’ test under the Commerce Clause is inconsistent with the original understanding of Congress’ powers and with this Court’s early Commerce Clause cases.” United States v. Morrison, 529 U. S. 598, 627 (2000) (Thomas, J., concurring); see also Lopez, supra, at 584–602 (Thomas, J., concurring); Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U. S. 1–69 (2005) (Thomas, J., dissenting). As I have explained, the Court’s continued use of that test “has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits.” Morrison, supra, at 627. The Government’s unprecedented claim in this suit that it may regulate not only economic activity but also inactivity that substantially affects interstate commerce is a case in point.

The Kelo decision contained another Justice Thomas opinion with no one joining him.  This is only an excerpt of a longer opinion.

Kelo v. New London, Justice Thomas dissenting, June 2005

    Long ago, William Blackstone wrote that “the law of the land … postpones even public necessity to the sacred and inviolable rights of private property.” 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 134—135 (1765) (hereinafter Blackstone). The Framers embodied that principle in the Constitution, allowing the government to take property not for “public necessity,” but instead for “public use.” Amdt. 5. Defying this understanding, the Court replaces the Public Use Clause with a “ ‘[P]ublic [P]urpose’ ” Clause, ante, at 9—10 (or perhaps the “Diverse and Always Evolving Needs of Society” Clause, ante, at 8 (capitalization added)), a restriction that is satisfied, the Court instructs, so long as the purpose is “legitimate” and the means “not irrational,” ante, at 17 (internal quotation marks omitted). This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a “public use.”

    I cannot agree. If such “economic development” takings are for a “public use,” any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution, as Justice O’Connor powerfully argues in dissent. Ante, at 1—2, 8—13. I do not believe that this Court can eliminate liberties expressly enumerated in the Constitution and therefore join her dissenting opinion. Regrettably, however, the Court’s error runs deeper than this. Today’s decision is simply the latest in a string of our cases construing the Public Use Clause to be a virtual nullity, without the slightest nod to its original meaning. In my view, the Public Use Clause, originally understood, is a meaningful limit on the government’s eminent domain power. Our cases have strayed from the Clause’s original meaning, and I would reconsider them. ... More at link:
3880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: May 09, 2013, 09:16:13 AM
The State allocating interest rates according to which sector from which someone comes is certainly economic fascism, but one has to admire the political logic of the sales pitch:

"one has to admire the political logic of the sales pitch"

The other half of this clever strategy is hinted at on Education thread.  The government injects massive amounts of money into higher education to keep the price high for one constituency, while causing the majority of young adult voters to come out of college deep in debt and dependent on people like Elizabeth Warren instead of on their own negotiating and earning power for solvency.
3881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 08, 2013, 04:49:41 PM

From the article:

The history of the Federalist Society is a story of how disaffection, bold ideas, commitment to principle, and enlightened institution-building have created a significant conservative shift in the legal, policy, and political landscape of America over the past 30 years. The society reports that more than 45,000 lawyers and law students are involved in its various activities, with approximately 13,000 dues-paying members. With a national budget of about $10-million, in 2010 its 75 lawyer chapters sponsored nearly 300 events for more than 25,000 lawyers, and the society sponsored 1,145 events at law schools for more than 70,000 students, professors, and others. Through conferences, debates, publications, litigation, education, and by holding key positions in government and the judiciary, the society has changed law and policy in areas like property rights, access to courts, affirmative action, privacy rights including abortion and same-sex marriage, and the influence of international law on the domestic legal system.

Property rights are getting worse.  Privacy rights apply only to liberal causes.  Roe v. Wade is still essentially the law of the land.  Obamacare, the biggest government takeover in  history, was upheld.  Affirmative action is still happening.  The great influence the 'federalists' had on Republican appointments didn't seem so powerful during the Harriet Meirs choice.  Or Sandra Day O'Connor, or David Souter.  Government powers keep growing while individual rights keep shrinking, in my view.  Wickard can still stop Filburn from growing wheat on his own property to feed his own animals.  We are perhaps down to one conservative on the Court.  The authors obviously come at this from a very different perspective.

Still, I am always happy to read an opposing view.  )
3882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: May 08, 2013, 04:20:59 PM
CCP in Benghazi thread:  "Yesterday the sleaze in ex chief - Bill announced Hillary is not definitely running for his past job...."

She polls well because of being out of day to day, issue politics for 5 years.  George W. Bush raised his numbers above Obama's the same way.  Saying she is out forever is a way of making her malfeasance and refusal to give answers in the Benghazi scandal less important.  Needless to say they want this scandal to go away.

The way we know if the Clintons are lying is to watch closely and see if their lips are moving.  The problem with listening to liars is that it is a waste of time.  We get no information whatsoever about whether she will run or won't run by hearing either of them saying anything either way, especially during the investigation of one of their scandals.

Hillary said under oath:

"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans," Clinton said. "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"

The whole thing is a false choice.  It wasn't a protest.  It wasn't guys out for a walk.  It was a planned terror attack.  A question in response to a question is an evasion, not an answer at all.   What is the matter with her and why can't anyone hold her accountable?!

The question was: "Do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest?"

The honest answer she wouldn't say, testifying before a Congressional committee, was that she did not need to make that phone call.  She knew all along what this was and how the false cover story was concocted.

What did Haldeman or Erlichman ever do that was any worse than this, perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice? 

3883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Revenues up 12% on: May 08, 2013, 03:53:04 PM

Let's keep an eye on this, tax revenues are a pretty good measure of economic activity.

"In April alone the federal government ran a $112 billion surplus."

April is always a 'surplus' tax collection month. 

If we are seeing a year to year improvement right now, it is in the context of comparing with a record fifth straight trillion dollar deficit year, not exactly the gold standard of fiscal performance.
3884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Benghazi: How much evidence does it take? on: May 07, 2013, 03:00:32 PM
Good to see the Benghazi scandal finally under scrutiny.  The lying is so thick it is hard to know where to start or end exposing it.

LT. COL. RALPH PETERS: I believe that President Obama lied to the American people, himself. Secretary [Hillary] Clinton lied to Congress. Susan Rice lied to the UN. Jay Carney lied to the media. And the mainstream establishment media have protected this administration right down the line.  [An unpleasant image of professional journalist Candy Crowley comes to mind.]

Hillary was absent when her help was needed.  The dead Ambassador had no way of reaching her for months in advance with his plea for help.  And she never made a phone call during the all day attack.

The President never said where he was for the 3am (5pm) call, then he did nothing.

It was our first Ambassador murdered in 33 years.  This attack was a big f'ing deal.  

The Obama advisers ordered:  Stand down.  The President left the room.  Who was in charge?

Rand Paul had this right: "Dereliction of Duty".  “Had I been president at the time, and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post,”

Hillary was most certainly IN the loop when the talking points were changed from true to false.  She will never be President.

3885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Michael Barone: The meaning inside the political numbers on: May 07, 2013, 02:18:48 PM
Some interesting political points here.

Michael Barone contends that both parties have a problem or two.  For the Democrats, it is clustering. Their loss in the house was not only because of re-districting in certain states, but because their support and turnout came from a smaller number of large urban centers.

"Democrats carried the popular vote in black-dominated districts 80%-17% in 2012. They made significant gains in Hispanic-dominated districts, which George W. Bush lost by 11% but Mitt Romney lost by 32%."  Republicans had a 52%-46% in the remainder.  Only two House Republicans represent Hispanic-dominated districts.

Republicans need to improve their standing with black and Hispanic Americans.  Democrats need to improve their standing out-state.  "Both parties have reason to feel insecure."
3886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Economics: Employment report wasn't just bad, it was Ominous on: May 07, 2013, 02:04:34 PM
A different view:

Part time is replacing full time employment because of Obamacare.

May 6, 2013
Why Friday's Jobs Report Was Ominous
By Louis Woodhill   Forbes contributor / Real Clear Markets


"The April jobs numbers describe a mass replacement of full-time workers with part-time employees, coupled with a fall in the length of the average workweek. This happens to be precisely what you would expect, given the perverse incentives baked into Obamacare, which took effect on January 1."

"During April, the FTE jobs ratio fell for the fifth month in a row, to 53.09." (Now that jobs are part time, the totals are measured in 'full time equivalent'.)

"there also has never been a case where the FTE jobs ratio fell for five months in a row and a recession did not follow."

"If labor force participation had remained at the level it was when Bush 43 left office, April's unemployment rate would have been reported at 10.9%." (Confirming Crafty's recent post.)

"During the first 76 months of the Reagan recession/recovery, the value of the dollar in terms of gold actually went up by 6.47%. During the equivalent period of [this] recession/recovery, the gold value of the dollar fell by 56.9%."

"The dollar debasement under Bush 43 and Obama has been driven by three rounds of the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing" (QE), which have produced a massive (and completely unprecedented) 257.19% increase in the monetary base."

"The recent five-month decline in the FTE jobs ratio coincides exactly with Ben Bernanke's QE3."
3887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: May 06, 2013, 11:41:48 AM

“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” Bradshaw said. “What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’ ”

Palm Beach County was home for Mohamed Atta and other 911 hijackers briefly, but the example they give to watch for is the right wing kook.
3888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: May 06, 2013, 10:31:06 AM
"Colleges Cut Prices by Providing More Financial Aid "

It is a strange system, almost modeled after the airlines where every customer pays a different price.  My daughter is in her first year at college.  I almost never discuss with other parents what she is paying, receiving, or was offered at other places because everyone seems to have their own arrangement.  Like the airlines, I suppose someone is willing to pay full price so they keep that number really high.

The easiest to compare academic measure for colleges I found is the 25th and 75th percentile ACT score.  The goal for the college is not to take a kid who is above the minimum, but to enroll the kids who move the college's percentiles upward.  People need to know in advance that colleges pay cash for ACT scores.  (SAT too I'm sure.)  We thought the tests were only for admittance.  My advice even for students who do will great anyway on these tests is prepare all you can and take the test more than once.  If you bump your score up just slightly, it doesn't just change where you are admitted, it changes the price.
3889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: May 06, 2013, 09:34:10 AM
My own rambling 2 cents: CCP identified the problem far before Romney butchered it, far too many people are reliant the government.  Of those, far too few realize a government check, deserved or undeserved, is dependent on the health and vigor of the private economy and the free market.  Liberals make an even more explicit argument: by aiming at the top 1 or 2% to fund it all they are saying the dependent percentage is 98-99%.

Romney mangled together what only has limited overlap.  He said there are 47% who just won't consider voting for him.  It turns out that number was 51%.  And something like 47% or 50% get a check every month from the government.

But the Obama coalition is a large, weird mix: rich elites, young people, Democrat voters with middle incomes, plus the underclass who see themselves as vulnerable and dependent.  The people receiving support from the government include a very wide range too, including veterans who earned it, Social Security recipients who paid in their entire working life, government employees who do real work, etc.  I would guess that it is 0% who see themselves as taking an undeserved check.

Politically you can't lump together in one statistic, the deserving with the waste, with the innocent people responding to the perverted incentives of our welfare system - and a badly designed welfare system is not the fault of the recipient.  You will not win people over by blaming them.  So we need to be aware of the CCP Principle, that 50% of families have a direct tie to a government check and this affects voting, but we move forward only by putting the focus on the positive: grow the economy with the policies of economic freedom.

Reagan doubled revenues to the Treasury in the decade of the 1980's.  Funding for programs grew similarly.  Obama is limiting his own big government spending ideas with his policies that cause economic stagnation.
3890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: No Separation of God and People on: May 06, 2013, 08:26:11 AM
This is good to see recognized in all the constitutions at the state level.    If there was a separation between man and God, it would be an artificial, man-made one.
3891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bloomberg refused second slice of pizza on: May 02, 2013, 06:23:41 PM
Bloomberg is fully deserving of this, but I have to think this one is a great spoof.

His taxi driver should give him a ride half way back, pull over, open the door, and tell him that walking the rest would better for him.

The story reminds me of Scott Ott's writings on Scappleface:

Weeping First Lady Pushes Chicago to Ban Stolen Guns
April 11th, 2013 Scott Ott

First Lady calls on Chicago to ban stolen guns

First Lady Michelle Obama, in an intensely personal speech Wednesday, called for Chicago to ban stolen handguns, the most commonly-used murder weapon, in a city that tallied more than 500 murders last year.

April 18th, 2013 Scott Ott

Obamacare to Cover Train Wrecks, White House Says
April 1st, 2013,   Obama Declares April 1 ‘Fiscal Responsibility Day’
3892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Harry Reid's great-great uncle on: May 02, 2013, 06:01:28 PM
Sen. Reid was a congressman back when Paul Laxalt held that Senate seat.

Very funny writing!  I hope that line never gets into my obit:  He "passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."
3893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Syria's Chemical weapons and locations? on: May 02, 2013, 01:19:06 PM
Syria's Chemical weapons and locations?

A citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows black smoke rise from buildings due to government forces shelling in Aleppo, Syria, on March 19. (Aleppo Media Center/AP)
“We’ve lost track of lots of this stuff,” said one U.S. official. “We just don’t know where a lot of it is.”
July 13, 2012:  U.S. Concerned as Syria Moves Chemical Stockpile
Pres. Obama Aug 19, 2012:  “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is, we start seeing a whole bunch of weapons moving around or being utilized.”

What is a "red line for us"?  NY Times calls it "Mr. Obama’s first direct threat of force against Syria".  Question remains, what is a "direct threat of force" translated from the original weasel-speak?

Obama's Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper of 'Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular' fame, clarifies:  “It would be very, very situational dependent to render an assessment"

3894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 02, 2013, 12:56:02 PM
CCP, you make good points.  Still there is nothing acceptable about the status quo of our immigration policy, which is look the other way for people already here, run our economy in a way that attracts no new workers, and advertise unlimited free food for anyone not interested in work.

The GOP options are: 1) Put enforcement with a mass deport or 'self deport' platform on the ballot for 4 more years, 8 more years, 12, 16, or the rest of our lives even though we know it will never happen - and lose ground on all other issues in the meantime.  2) 'Compromise' which means surrender and sign on with a very bad bill.  Or 3) Go where Rubio was before the rotten details of this bill were exposed.  Pursue in good faith some kind of reasonable, acceptable, permanent solution.

All indications are that Obama, Schumer, Durbin, Pelosi et al want an issue for 2014, not a solution in 2013.  That makes the GOP negotiating strategy harder, if not impossible.  MHO.
3895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria on: May 02, 2013, 11:34:56 AM
"Isn't the US track record on nuke weapon program detection a tad weak after Iraq?"

The final word I read (Iraq Study Group) was that Saddam was 6 years away from being fully nuclear - 11 years ago.  I don't know about our track record, but our credibility is gone.  One of the stories from the WMD elusive stockpile hunt was that the chemical weapons were being trucked to Syria.  If true, we were twiddling in meeting rooms with a seven month delay while they were moving, hiding, saving chemical weapons that perhaps still haunt us.  We still don't know what happened.  I don't hear anyone even ask the question now, where did Assad's chemical weapons originate?

If our President is planning to do nothing, drawing a lot of red lines for rogue states to cross isn't particularly helpful.  'If you gas your people one more time, we will, we will, we will help the rebels with bandages and medicine!'
Israel has a different way of expressing concern about Syrian weapons:

September 6, 2007, Operation Orchard was an Israeli airstrike on a nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. The White House and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) later confirmed that American intelligence had also indicated the site was a nuclear facility with a military purpose.

Jan 30, 2013, Israeli jets bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border, apparently hitting weapons destined for militant group Hezbollah.
3896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 01, 2013, 02:12:38 PM
Two good points:

"... the immigration bill introduced to the U.S. Senate a week and a half ago would, if passed, allow illegal immigrants to access state and local welfare benefits immediately"

Yes, this seems implied by the constant reference to no receiving no federal benefits.  But the receiving of state and local benefits should also make the applicant a 'charge' and therefore not eligible for citizenship.  That loophole/exception is a perfect example of what ought to be tightened in order to win anyone's support.

"Separately I wonder why the need to grant citizenship instead of simply having a "statute of limitations" concept that would allow for legalization of status, but not citizenship."

Agree in concept and I think that statute of limitations thinking does figure in to why we are addressing this.  Failure to prosecute and deport for such an extended period became de facto legalization.  The 14 year time frame, or whatever it is, is also a reflection of this.  But a big part of this problem is political.  If you live here and work here permanently and don't ever have voting rights, it reminds people of injustices of the past, not of the new immigrant's original wrongful entry.  If there is no path ever, the issue remains front and center forever.
3897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi - Prosecute Hillary on: May 01, 2013, 02:02:26 PM
Similarly, the House charged Attorney General Eric Holder with a Contempt of Congress over its non-responsiveness in the Fast and Furious, Dead Mexicans and Border Guard scandal.  It turns out that the Attorney General declined to prosecute himself.  Allowing that to go unanswered was the set up for the next coverup.
3898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria on: May 01, 2013, 01:52:04 PM
My 3 point plan for no ground troops in Syria: Day 1) Take out the nuclear facilities in Iran with air strikes.  Day 2) Take out the North Korean missile threat with air strikes.  Day 3) Call Pres. Assad and ask if we can talk.
3899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: May 01, 2013, 12:18:07 PM
We are lucky the constitution only grants to the federal government authority over housing that is transported across state lines.  Right? 
3900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: May 01, 2013, 11:53:50 AM
Yes, unfortunately the electric car is a government program.  General Motors still needs a subsidy?? In the US the electric car runs on coal more than any other fuel source, so the fuel emission argument over gasoline is false.  Like Ethanol.  Don't tell the taxpayers and motorists paying for it.  If we shifted our electricity to all-nuclear, the electric car would be CO2-free, but we aren't.  The best advancement we could make right now would be to encourage more vehicles to run on compressed natural (CNG).  To go down that road we would have to legalize fracking.  The environmental protesters don't want us to even use sand:
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