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3951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi, The Petraeus/Susan Rice affair; allegations of military misconduct on: December 27, 2012, 12:24:53 PM
Interesting posts Rick and Crafty.  What we know for sure is that we will never hear the whole story through official administration channels.  Something else was going on in that facility.  The "independent" review seems to be more smoke and mirrors.  Tough talk about failure, then 4 mid-level staffers get their desks moved. 

Hillary leaves office with a 66% approval ratings, wholly unquestioned on all aspects of Benghazi.  She took responsibility, then she didn't.  The injury/illness seems like either BS or hiding something more serious (Daily Mail says it is not brain cancer even though the National Enquirer is known to check, re-check and check again before going to print: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/12/27/article-2253548-16A97F89000005DC-296_306x389.jpg).  You couldn't keep her off a plane or away from a world leader, now she has been in hiding since December 7.  Missed her testimony day, missed the State Dept Christmas party, missed the John Kerry announcement, didn't report the "fall" when it happened.  That is not how you make health rumors go away, but worked pretty well for making hearings go away.  How do you hold someone responsible for incompetence or malfeasance after they already resigned?

Politico is ready to help.  Accuse the right of hate instead of the responsible party of dodging: http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/when-will-the-right-start-hating-hillary-again-85510.html
3952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues - "Legalization" of drugs on: December 26, 2012, 12:42:06 PM
I warned that legalization will lead to greater regulation and taxation, and not remove the money and black markets of drugs as promised.  

This LA Times is about environmental aspects, and starts the ball rolling on regulation first and taxation sure to follow:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pot-enviro-20121223,0,1182034,full.story

Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment
Burgeoning marijuana growing operations are sucking millions of gallons of water from coho salmon lifelines and taking other environmental tolls, scientists say.

Wildlife technician Aaron Pole surveys a forest trashed by growers. Carbofuran, an insecticide lethal to humans in small doses, is found regularly at large-scale pot farms. Also flowing into the watershed are rodenticides, fungicides, diesel fuel and other pollutants
-----------
Libertarians should have worked toward reversing Wickard v. Filburn before thinking legalization is possible.  (Growing wheat on your own property that is consumed on your own property is an act of interstate commerce.)  Also Kelo where they can just take your property for other private purposes.
3953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Washington Post: Dems push for tax cuts they "staunchly", viscerally opposed on: December 26, 2012, 12:26:59 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/fiscal-cliff/democrats-now-pushing-for-tax-cuts-they-once-opposed/2012/12/25/bc318a84-4df4-11e2-950a-7863a013264b_story.html

a remarkable turnaround for Democrats, who had staunchly opposed the tax breaks when they were written into law about a decade ago.  - WashPost 12/25/12


Where have we seen that before?
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1791.msg68596#msg68596
"Interesting to note that Democrats opposed cutting the rates that will now be re-imposed..."  - 12/21/12
3954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues: David Gregory, gun crime or journalistic fraud? on: December 26, 2012, 12:00:45 PM
From the transcript:

DAVID GREGORY:" ...here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets."
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50283245/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/december-wayne-lapierre-chuck-schumer-lindsey-graham-jason-chaffetz-harold-ford-jr-andrea-mitchell-chuck-todd/#.UNsuvVKIiqk

Video clip:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sncWW-1Lwb0

No gun, no ammunition, I don't get what his point was in having one in hand.  His guest wasn't the least bit interested in that line of questioning and a magazine versus having a rifle or even a sharp knife wasn't the least bit dramatic.

From the thread:  "No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm."

Gregory's problem is deeper.  To avoid the crime he will have to maintain he committed something worse, journalistic fraud. (Some of us already made that call.)  I think he would prefer the $1000 fine, but a year in prison?

I am curious what the real penalty would be for others caught on a DC street, a black man not dressed in a business suit for example, with similar possession?  Probation? 

With a gun law conviction, would he recuse himself from subsequent, professional journalist discussions about gun control laws?

------
Aside from the increase in homicides, the District of Columbia actually has a very low crime rate.  - Marion Barry, Natl Press Club, 23 March 1989  http://www.snopes.com/quotes/barry.asp
3955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: December 24, 2012, 12:26:31 PM
PP, Your chart from 1960 shows what I have been asking or saying of Wesbury.  The tail end of that chart showing very slight improvements from the near zero point of the collapse is all we hear, statements like 'up from a year ago' or 'highest level in 3 years', without showing the historical context of how bad things still are.  Readers here are getting a better picture of it.

With all the health and energy efficiency improvements available, wouldn't everyone want a new home today if economic conditions allowed it?
3956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science - IPCC "Chapter 11" on: December 24, 2012, 12:12:06 PM
Anyone out there who is fluent in agendadriventechnobureaucraticbabble want to translate this from the IPCC report into English:

"As discussed in Section 8.2.1.4.1, a recent satellite measurement (Harder et al., 2009) found much greater than expected reduction at UV wavelengths in the recent declining solar cycle phase. Changes in solar uv drive stratospheric O3 chemistry and can change RF. Haigh et al. (2010) show that if these observations are correct, they imply the opposite relationship between solar RF and solar activity over that period than has hitherto been assumed. These new measurements therefore increase uncertainty in estimates of the sign of solar RF, but they are unlikely to alter estimates of the maximum absolute magnitude of the solar contribution to RF, which remains small (Chapter 8 ). However, they do suggest the possibility of a much larger impact of solar variations on the stratosphere than previously thought, and some studies have suggested that this may lead to significant regional impacts on climate (as discussed in 10.3.1.1.3), that are not necessarily reflected by the RF metric (see 8.2.16)."
http://climatefailfiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/ch11_near-term_wg1ar5_sod_ch11_all_final.pdf


David M. Hoffer writing at he world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change translates it this way:
They got the physics completely reversed, but we should still trust them that the order of magnitude is small, but allow that the impacts might be larger anyway?
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/23/ipcc-chapter-11-bankruptcy-protection/


Tropical cyclones, what about hurricanes getting worse:
"Two recent reports, the SREX (IPCC, 2012; particularly Seneviratne et al., 2012) assessment and a WMO Expert Team report on tropical cyclones and climate change (Knutson et al., 2010) indicate the response of global tropical cyclone frequency to projected radiative forcing changes is likely to be either no change or a decrease of up to a third by the end of the 21st century."

The science says nothing about intensity, but on frequency, somewhere between no change and a one third decrease. One would think that a projection of up to a one third decrease in tropical cyclone frequency would be important enough to make it into the Executive Summary.
3957  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word - The Meaning of Christmas on: December 24, 2012, 10:39:27 AM
A brief one minute clip that Charles Schultz slipped past the CBS censors in 1965:

3958  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professional Journalist commits felony on Nat'l TV on: December 24, 2012, 10:21:32 AM
He may have some form of diplomatic immunity arising out of the work he does for the Obama administration.

For more information on the immunity that protects Obama administration officials from prosecition on existing gun laws, please see 'Fast and Furious'.
3959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - 7 Most Telling Economic Charts of 2012 on: December 22, 2012, 12:13:18 PM
I won't post all at once, but at least mark this good link from The Blaze:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/these-are-the-7-most-telling-economic-charts-of-2012/

7 Most Telling Economic Charts of 2012

1. (Exploding) Debt under Obama's 2013 Budget.
2. Collapse of the Labor Force participation Rate
3. (Major decline in) Workers as a Share of the Population
4. The Jobs Gap
5. Growth Gap - below
6. Median Household Income
7. The Obama Administration's (False) Unemployment Forecast (vs. actual)

The Growth gap:


This chart illustrates our current situation.  It shows how there is growth without recovery.  It shows the cost over time in the trillion of accepting this anemic, new economic normal.  The gap shows that investment moved away from production and stayed away.  Jobs were lost, paychecks lost, output, consumption, personal savings and wealth all lost, and of course - lost revenues to the Treasury.

The area between the lines is the boat anchor effect of our misguided economic policies.
3960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: December 22, 2012, 10:56:33 AM
Being logically conflicted about a loss of civil liberty from increased anti-terror efforts seems perfectly logical to me.   smiley
3961  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: December 21, 2012, 05:41:29 PM
I have come to like Rand Paul more and more over time,  but these last two issues, NDAA and FISA opposition, are not his best ones IMHO.

We need plenty of protections for our civil liberties, but I don't believe that anti-terror agents hunting down clues of terrorist acts in planning too zealously is among the top 100 problems in this country.

Sen. Paul:  "Would you want government agents listening to your phone calls? Looking at your email? Spying on your online activity?  Chances are they have, and you didn't even know it. "

Most of the time I don't want government in my life at all, but the reality is that running down clues after a terrorist attack is too late, especially in this day of suicide attacks.

Perhaps Kentucky is not a target or terrorist rich area, 8000 miles from Yemen, but Al Qaeda has big ties here.  MSP is where Zacarias Moussaoui came for 747 flight training.  The Imams performed their practice run here.  CAIR owns a congressman here.  We have had dozens of recent, Al Qaeda related arrests in Minneapolis with terrorists in our local Somalia community recruiting for Jihad back home: http://www.adl.org/NR/exeres/D0E7DF5A-46A1-47F9-8252-784E6AFBB52C,DB7611A2-02CD-43AF-8147-649E26813571,frameless.htm

5 9/11 hijackers lived very close to my rentals in Florida as well.  It is a small world.

As learned in Australia, once recruits here join the Jihad they don't limit the attacks to overseas.

I'd rather see conservatives like Rand Paul work on overturning Kelo, the fight against the taking our homes instead of making a scare out much needed counter-terrorism.

If misuse of these powers is the concern, stiffen the penalties for misuse of these powers.
3962  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: budget process on: December 21, 2012, 12:56:38 PM
My understanding is that Ryan was on board with the Boehner Plan B that was shot down by the rank and file.  The big failure was not on taxes but that nothing was gained on discretionary spending, entitlements or deficit reduction in return for the proposed surrender on taxes.  

Republicans need the spending or entitlement deal to come out bipartisan, not unilateral leaving themselves with no cuts enacted and all the push-Granny-off-the-cliff blame.

The Republican collapse last night actually strengthened Boehner's hand.  No amount of private arm twisting with a weak leader in matters in getting a deal.  

The burden moves to the Senate.  Does anyone new like a Marco Rubio, or leaving like Jim Webb, have any ideas that would keep Republicans largely together and pull over 4 or more Democrats? I don't see how, but that would put this back on the R House and Dem President to accept or take all blame.

The estate tax and AMT are caught in the balance. Also the 2% temporary cut in FICA, and unemployment benefit extensions.  New Obamacare taxes are coming on line either way.

The end result I suppose will be a short extension and a continued fight in the new year.  They have about 3 business days left, counting New Years' Eve.  

Investors are betting this gets resolved with markets only down 1% at the moment.  They know something that I don't.  
------
Stocks fall more than 1% on fiscal cliff fears
CNN Money  Dec 21 1:11pm
3963  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Govt programs, spending, deficit, budget process - Unfunded Liabilities on: December 21, 2012, 11:43:52 AM
3964  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 21, 2012, 11:41:09 AM
Interesting to note that Democrats opposed cutting the rates that will now be re-imposed if there is no deal - and they will blame Republicans for the increase.
3965  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Wesbury proven (partly) right on: December 21, 2012, 11:31:51 AM
Wesbury warned a year or so ago that although we are badly mis-managing our economy, the American economy has enough resilient and strength that growth will recover enough that Republicans will have to more in the campaign than just rely on failed results.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/12/the-economic-uptick-that-may-have-saved-obama.php

The economic uptick that may have saved Obama

The Commerce Department has upwardly revised third-quarter real GDP to 3.1 percent. Previously, third-quarter growth was reported as 2.7 percent. With this revision, the third quarter of 2012 becomes the strongest quarter of the year and the third strongest since the economy began picking up in the summer of 2009.

As James Pethokoukis suggests, the increasing strength of the economy during this summer likely played a significant role in President Obama’s reelection.
-----

Growth is half of what it should be, but it turns out thought that we didn't want a better economy than this.  It would screw up 'fairness'.
3966  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: December 21, 2012, 11:13:51 AM
Interesting that Mayor Bloomberg and Pres Obama have armed personnel surrounding them at all times.  Why?  Will the new Biden Commission bill end that?  Why not?
3967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending, deficit: Spending Up 78% After Inflation Since 1998 on: December 21, 2012, 10:17:15 AM
http://news.investors.com/121912-637656-real-federal-outlays-up-78-since-98-spending-cap-key.aspx

Federal Spending Up 78% After Inflation Since 1998

By David Hogberg, Investor's Business Daily  12/19/2012

President Obama says he wants a "balanced" approach to the fiscal cliff. But critics argue the real problem is spending, which has far outstripped rising tax revenue as well as economic growth.

Federal government revenue rose from $1.7 trillion to $2.4 trillion from fiscal 1998 to 2012, slightly exceeding inflation. Revenue growth averaged 2.9% annually, despite two recessions, bear markets — and tax cuts.

But federal spending rose nearly twice as fast — 5.7% per year — surging from $1.6 trillion to $3.5 trillion over that same span.

The spending spike also exceeds growth in the population.

Some of the spending surge came during the Bush administration — the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, increases in non-defense discretionary spending and the creation of the Medicare prescription drug entitlement.

But spending accelerated under Obama. While he inherited a budget increase from Bush in fiscal 2009, an omnibus bill he signed plus his stimulus package helped boost spending $535 billion in his first year, hiking total spending from $2.9 trillion in 2008 to $3.5 trillion in 2009. Spending has never returned to the already-high 2008 level even after controlling for inflation.

Dan Mitchell, senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, says the U.S. government needs a spending cap.

"It's an issue of trendlines and that's everything in fiscal policy," Mitchell said. "If you are on a path where government spending grows faster than the private sector of the economy, which is your tax base, then in theory there is no level of taxation that will be enough to stabilize the system. ... If we had kept government spending down to just increases for inflation and population growth, we wouldn't be in the trouble we're in now."

Limiting spending to increases in inflation and population growth over 1998-2012 (an annual average of about 3.3%) would have given dramatically different results. The U.S. would have spent $2.6 trillion in FY 12, about $900 billion less than what it actually did. The latest deficit would be $157 billion, a fraction of the actual $1.089 trillion.

The government ran up $6.7 trillion in national debt from FY 1998-'12. Yet if spending had just risen with inflation and population, the U.S. would have reduced the debt by $177 billion.

3968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Govt spending, deficit, budget process: Grant gave Lee more at Appomattox. on: December 21, 2012, 10:04:11 AM
WSJ:  "After the debacle of 2011, Mr. Obama could have treated the negotiations as the art of the bipartisan deal that could set the stage for immigration reform and other second-term achievements. Flush with victory, he could have at least made a gesture on entitlements.

Instead, he has treated the talks as an extension of the election campaign, traveling around the country at rally-style events at which he berates Republicans for not accepting his terms of surrender. Grant gave Lee more at Appomattox."
3969  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - Time Magazine Person of the Year on: December 20, 2012, 01:38:54 PM
"low information voter"

Doug,  I know what you mean.

But I really think it unwise politically to assume that many voters for the Dems are just plain ignorant.

I think most know exactly what they are voting for.  That is entitlements and make the rich pay more
...

CCP,

I agree with this part.  The President received about 51% of the vote.  Most are from the core Democratic, partisan constituencies and they are not low information voters.  Biased information maybe, but not low information.  The story Time tells is how these other people came out to provide the margin of victory, "the people who don’t much care for politics...aren’t political in the cable-TV sense of the word", and put their faith in Barack Obama.

Link to the Time Magazine Hagiography:  http://poy.time.com/2012/12/19/person-of-the-year-barack-obama/

Quoting Time from the second page:

"...the poll questions did not account for Obama’s secret weapon: the people who don’t much care for politics. A sizable chunk of the President’s most ardent backers don’t admire either party yet think Obama is somehow above it all, immune to all the horse trading and favor mongering that politics entails. These voters aren’t political in the cable-TV sense of the word. But in 2012, they stuck by Obama. In the last month of the Obama campaign’s voter registration, 70% of those signed up were women, minorities or people under 30.

The Democrat coalition is complex.  The core constituencies include liberal elites, teachers union members, rial lawyers, civil servants and plenty of successful business people who are affluent and well informed, at least in terms of the amount of time spent paying attention to the issues.  My point from the Time piece is that the margin of victory came from the turnout of these infrequent, less informed, unlikely voters who came out and put their faith in Pres. Obama. 

For all our errors made about the reading of the polls, I remember posting that Obama's lead was most impressive in the group called "unlikely voters".

I honor them here - right now,"for better or for WORSE", as "Person of the Year" -  for giving their faith, trust and support, instead of honoring President Obama for receiving it.
3970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law) - Bork and Privacy on: December 20, 2012, 10:06:28 AM
Crafty, regarding Robert Bork on Rest in Peace:

"Personally I opposed Bork's nomination on the grounds that he did not believe that there is a right to privacy in the Ninth Amendment, but I regarded him as an honorable man."


I think I understand your point and agree on the privacy point but I think your right of privacy would have fared much better with Bork on the court than Kennedy or most of the others who followed.  Bork I think would also have been quite restrained about reading government powers into the constitution as well.

One request:  Could you (or anyone else) please put to words what you believe the text of that widely accepted unenumerated right might be.  It sure seems like a moving target.

Bork was saying in confirmation that Griswold could be overturned by legislature instead of by courts, much like what Roberts said more recently upholding Obamacare.  Is there a right of privacy in health care? 

Kennedy, who followed Bork, told the committee he did believe in a right of privacy.  He found a right of privacy in Lawrence, but went on to concur in Kelo where you can forget about privacy in your home, you don't have a right to live there.  Like the Japanese American internment, maybe the right of privacy is transferable.   The government can tell you where your right of privacy will or will not be. 

Kelo is a property rights case, not a privacy case they say.  Where would you have privacy if not on your own bought and paid for property?    I don't know but not there, see also Wickard v. Filburn.  sad
3971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Regular woman tells of how gun could have saved her parents on: December 20, 2012, 09:13:32 AM

Wow!  Very powerful.
3972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi, The Petraeus/Susan Rice affair; allegations of military misconduct on: December 20, 2012, 09:05:31 AM
Four low level officials out, for allegedly... “husbanding resources” ... and that this culture contributed to the security deficiencies in Benghazi. According to the report, the culture at State “had the effect of conditioning a few State Department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation.”

Instead of firing these public servants maybe we could have transferred them over to HHS, GSA or SSA.  Or to the new Pentagon where defense cuts are the order of the day, screw national security.
3973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Time Magazine Person of the Year vs. Little Sisters of the Poor on: December 20, 2012, 08:58:10 AM
http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/21212-Obama-Vs.-Little-Sisters-of-the-Poor.html

Wednesday, December 19. 2012
Obama Vs. Little Sisters of the Poor

The Little Sisters of the Poor are another example of religious based charitable organizations whose scruples and finances would be violated by Obamacare's requirement that it provide medical insurance that includes contraception and medical treatments that cause sterility or can cause abortions. Aside from its 300 sisters working in their facilities, non-users but still charged for the increased premium, the Little Sisters hires without regard to religion and cares for people without regard to religion. So, according to Obamacare, the Little Sisters of the Poor does not qualify for exemption.

Operating on the principles that are inherent in their religion and such work for the poor and operating on very thin margins, Medicaid providing half the costs of quality care, the Little Sisters of the Poor may have to cease operations in the United States. As the Daily Caller reports from Sister Constance Carolyn Veit:

    “As Little Sisters of the Poor, we are not strangers to religious intolerance,” she wrote. “Our foundress was born at the height of the French Revolution and established our congregation in its aftermath. Our sisters have been forced to leave numerous countries, including China, Myanmar and Hungary, because of religious intolerance. We pray that the United States will not be added to this list.”
3974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - Time Person of Year 2012 on: December 19, 2012, 12:59:37 PM
Time Person of Year 2012  - a person, group, idea or object that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year" - should have gone to the "low information voter".
3975  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: December 19, 2012, 11:46:58 AM
PP, interesting.  Like life insurance, it is a form of legalized gambling.  Only the federal government could turn that into a big money loser.

"FHA and other reverse lenders cannot determine losses because they have no idea how long the homeowners are going to live. Some who die "quickly", the losses will be small.  Those who die slowly, the losses will be quite severe."

I try to avoid products that give someone a motive to speed up my demise...   wink
3976  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi probe faults 'systemic failures' at State Department on: December 19, 2012, 11:21:44 AM

Who will be held accountable?  Low to mid level resignations for systemic failures?

“did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.”

Huh?  No one (at the top) had a duty to have our security rise above systemic failure - at our most dangerous diplomatic mission - on the anniversary of 9/11? 

"The report also confirms that there was no peaceful protest ahead of the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, as the Obama administration initially said in the days after the attack."

Then why did they say there was?  Who decided to put out a patently false story?  If we can't hold the President accountable and if not the messenger Rice, Then whom?

The report itself http://thehill.com/images/stories/news/2012/12_december/19/arb-report-benghazi.pdf reads like a political document to me.  No one held accountable, except an unveiled attempt to blame the deceased:

"Plans for the Ambassador’s trip provided for minimal close protection security support and were not shared thoroughly with the Embassy’s country team, who were not fully aware of planned movements off compound. The Ambassador did not see a direct threat of an attack of this nature and scale on the U.S. Mission in the overall negative trendline of security incidents from spring to summer 2012. His status as the leading U.S. government advocate on Libya policy, and his expertise on Benghazi in particular, caused Washington to give unusual deference to his judgments."

The report goes on to blame the Libyans:  "Libyan response fell short in the face of a series of attacks that began with the sudden penetration of the Special Mission compound by dozens of armed attackers."

We don't know who if anyone controls Libyan forces right now, especially in Benghazi.  Who believed we could rely on Libyans for American security at a "high risk, high threat post"?
3977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why they came for Susan Rice’s scalp on: December 18, 2012, 12:58:12 PM
This is too stupid to answer... but here goes:

A NY Daily News opinion piece linked at Real Clear Politics today has the headline:

Why they came for Susan Rice’s scalp

Answer:  "It is about her skin color. It is also about her being female."  Exact quote.

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/susan-rice-scalp-article-1.1220678#ixzz2FQlcxxv0

Photo accompanying the bizarre answer:


It could be my television set but I watched those shows and didn't notice she was 'a person of color'.  Nor do I care.  They went after her because she lied - on an important matter when the whole point was to get accurate information out to the American people.

The author must not have known that the same day the Indian American Republican Governor of South Carolina would appoint tea party favorite: Tim Scott.  RCP used this photo:


Excusing them for not knowing, they might though have known that the darling of the Republican party in the campaign of 2012 was Mia Love:


Neither Democrat lying, nor conservative favoring limited government is a topic about race - or gender!


3978  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rest in Peace: R.I.P. Sen. Daniel Inouye, Hero of the 442nd on: December 18, 2012, 11:24:06 AM
R.I.P. Sen. Inouye, Hero of the 442nd
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/335863/rip-sen-inouye-hero-442nd-daniel-foster
December 17, 2012

We have just learned that Senator Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii) has passed away at 88. Whatever else the president pro tempore of the Senate was, he was a Nazi-socking badass of a G.I.:

    In the fall of 1944, Inouye’s unit was shifted to the French Vosges Mountains and spent two of the bloodiest weeks of the war rescuing a Texas Battalion surrounded by German forces. The rescue of “The Lost Battalion” is listed in the U.S. Army annals as one of the most significant military battles of the century. Inouye lost ten pounds, became a platoon leader and won the Bronze Star and a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant.

    Back in Italy, the 442nd was assaulting a heavily defended hill in the closing months of the war when Lieutenant Inouye was hit in his abdomen by a bullet which came out his back, barely missing his spine. He continued to lead the platoon and advanced alone against a machine gun nest which had his men pinned down. He tossed two hand grenades with devastating effect before his right arm was shattered by a German rifle grenade at close range. Inouye threw his last grenade with his left hand, attacked with a submachine gun and was finally knocked down the hill by a bullet in the leg.

    Dan Inouye spent 20 months in Army hospitals after losing his right arm. On May 27, 1947, he was honorably discharged and returned home as a Captain with a Distinguished Service Cross (the second highest award for military valor), Bronze Star, Purple Heart with cluster and 12 other medals and citations.

Aloha, Senator.
3979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: December 18, 2012, 10:59:41 AM
I share the sentiments of P.C. expressed in the previous post of this thread.  Very well put!

There is copycat element to these shootings.  The media coverage plays some role in that.  I don't want an unconstitutional crackdown on our free press, but I do wish for them to be aware of that problem, report responsibly and move on.
3980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics & Science: U.S. CO2 Emissions Hit 20 Year Low on: December 18, 2012, 10:42:47 AM
U.S. CO2 Emissions Hit 20 Year Low

I came across this in an Aug 2012 'American Interest' post while looking for other things.  http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/08/16/us-carbon-emissions-hit-20-year-low-no-thanks-to-carbon-trading-schemes/   

Largely unreported, maybe you saw it in the NY Times - they covered it in a blog:  http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/a-20-year-low-in-u-s-carbon-emissions/

Readers here might know:
"According to the International Energy Agency, the United States has cut its emissions 7.7 percent since 2006, more than any other country or region in the world."
(http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1096.msg64699#msg64699)

That world-saving breakthrough was reported by the Washington Post - posted in a blog!

Why is this happening - the reduced emissions, not the poor media coverage.  Increased production and use of natural gas, for one thing.  We don't need more coal if we allow production and consumption of natural gas which burns far cleaner:

   Fossil Fuel Emission Levels - Pounds per Billion Btu of Energy Input

Pollutant         Natural Gas     Oil      Coal
Carbon Dioxide    117,000    164,000    208,000
Carbon Monoxide        40           33             208
Nitrogen Oxides          92         448             457
Sulfur Dioxide              1       1,122          2,591
Particulates                 7           84          2,744
Mercury                0.000       0.007          0.016
Source: EIA - Natural Gas Issues and Trends 1998

Want even cleaner energy?  Anyone ever heard of nuclear?
3981  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing: Latest is the Reverse Mortgage Crisis on: December 18, 2012, 09:57:02 AM
What is a federal government agency chartered to help people get into home ownership doing helping people get out of their homes?  And then bungling it!

They don't know how far they misunderestimated, by a factor of 10, next we will give them healthcare??
---------------------
Housing and Urban Development Secretary told the Senate that the Federal Housing
Administration's once-modest reverse-mortgage program is the latest drain on taxpayers thanks to gross mismanagement.

FHA will lose $2.8 billion this fiscal year on reverse mortgages, and in the worst case $28.3 billion, with the losses stretching through 2019. The feds have no idea how big the pool of red ink might be.

At least FHA guarantees for home purchases foster Congress's professed goal of homeownership—though we've seen in the housing bust how that misallocates capital. But guarantees for reverse mortgages go to people who are already homeowners who want to cash out of a real-estate asset. That's fine if they want to do it at their own risk. FHA's guarantees are essentially a subsidy for older Americans to spend down their savings. FHA crowded out competitors and now accounts for 90% of outstanding reverse mortgages.

(more at the link) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324640104578165683785829580.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop
3982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 17, 2012, 11:56:55 PM
Good arguments all of you.  I can't resist adding: my answer is yes and yes.

To the comparison of cigarettes and economic success, yes - the tax on success is being sold as a sin tax, and yes we are seeing less of it.  If you reject the idea that being driven to succeed is comparable to smoking two packs a day then welcome to our side!  Tax it and you will get less of it.

I keep posting (unrefuted) that startups are happening now at a record low rate in history.  

I also see regulations as a bigger tax than taxes and corporate taxes in America as highest in the world.  So take regulatory burdens, federal individual taxes, state individual taxes, federal corporate taxes, state corporate taxes, the uncertainty of it and all the other taxes like commercial property taxes and add them all together when you make the calculation of why people aren't starting up new startups and why they aren't expanding the businesses they already have.  When you combine these, Crafty's number of 61% is more like having 30% to keep or re-invest.  And a 70% reason to not reinvest.  Add in the elements of risk, that most of these ventures fail, and you get one mathematical conclusion: don't do it.

The best economic indicator I ever read I can't find right now, goes something like this.  We need to start in this country every year at least 130 companies that will someday grow to become billion dollar companies employing at least a thousand people.  One man companies like myself are great but they sadly never amount to much and don't turn around national economies.  We aren't starting real companies right now which means we are looking at a generation of economic disappointment ahead.

In a good economic climate, success of a startup is a leap of faith, the deck is stacked against you with a myriad of risks that can go wrong.  In this climate it goes from improbable to you've got to be kidding.  Odds of failure are near 100%.  If you succeed you will be demagogued and your winnings will be confiscated.  Explain that to the wife or husband, why you are going to work 16 hour days 7 days a week in the early years to get it all going and walk away with nothing more than what a good civil servant makes.

I posted a while back that one of my buddies did that, started a company from scratch in 2002, built it up, it took 6 years to show any profit.  That's a lot of perseverance - believing that it's worth it.  They took the company public, made it the best in the world in their product segment, and sold it for a billion dollars in 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dell_Compellent  Try doing that now.  What is he doing now?  Not another startup!  His politics may be JK Rowling but his action is - I'm not going through that again.

Instead of demagoguing and punishing success, the best thing we could do for our economy is treat the successful with some semblance of equal protection under the law and hope they keep doing what they do for as long as they can!  

How many people like that are there in the country?  Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc. I know one guy with that capability and most people know no one who can do that.  Pres. Obama calls them the wealthiest among us and say get them stopped.  We need enough great entrepreneurs to step forward every year and dedicate themselves to innovation on a new idea and are committed to building it up to make one more American success story.  It takes thousands trying to get a hundred to succeed.  But why should they?

If your whole focus in life is the public sector, public spending and giving to those in need, we still need a vibrant private sector to fund that.

The problem isn't just in America.  In Japan they had Canon and Honda and Toyota and a few others that became phenomenal companies.  What would their economy be without them and where are the new Hondas and Toyotas building new empires in new industries?  Few and far between.  I'm sorry but an economy that cannot replicate success is a failure.

High marginal tax rates don't kill off wealth already accumulated, they kill off the spirit of building new wealth.  The evidence is all around us.  Why are we so willing to shoot down entrepreneurs before they get started?  I will never understand.

3983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Soledad O'brien vs. John Lott on: December 17, 2012, 04:54:44 PM
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/12/17/cnns_soledad_obrien_vs_gun_advocate_john_lott_on_gun_control.html

(Professional Journalist?  Did she hear a word he said?)
3984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, etc) Japan's 7th leader in 6 years on: December 17, 2012, 04:38:12 PM
Election yesterday, Shinzo Abe was elected Prime Minister.  (Pronounced Ah-bi)

“Japan is currently in a crisis in terms of the economy, diplomacy, education and recovery from the catastrophe in the northeast,” Abe said at a press conference in Tokyo. “The job we have been given is to break out of this crisis.”

"This result doesn’t mean that public support for the LDP has 100 percent recovered,” Mr Abe told NHK. “It’s a rejection of the last three years of political confusion. Now it’s up to the LDP to live up to people’s expectations.”

Japan is the world's 3rd largest economy, faces deflation, recession and an island dispute with China.  LDP was the ruling party for a half century, lost power 3 years ago.  Abe was Prime Minister 2006-2007, left with a stomach ailment.

"Abe’s platform had three main planks: massive public spending, “unlimited” monetary easing, and reform of Japan’s pacifist constitution."  http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/12/16/abe-ldp-take-japanese-elections/
3985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillary Faint Fall on: December 17, 2012, 03:42:08 PM
I regret having this thought, but there is something fishy about having an unreported fall on an unspecified day at an undisclosed location, not being hospitalized, doing just fine, but unable to testify at public hearings, more than a week later, on Benghazi.  They didn't request the hearings moved a day or a week, instead they will provide some other 'senior official' in her place to say things like "I don't know" and "we will have to wait until the investigation is complete."

As the Clintons used to say after blocking, stonewalling and stalling:  That old issue?  Those questions were all asked and answered a LONG time ago.'

It was often said about the Clintons -They lie with such ease.

3986  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rahm Emanuel: Ban guns already banned in CN on: December 17, 2012, 02:42:12 PM
Don't let this get political...

Rahm Emanuel calls for nationwide assault-weapons ban

  - of weapons already banned in Connecticut?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-emanuel-calls-for-assault-weapons-bans-in-illinois-nationwide-20121217,0,629612.story?track=rss

3987  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Stronger mental health bill defeated in Connecticut months ago on: December 17, 2012, 02:38:45 PM
In February 2012, Connecticut Senate Bill 452 (SB452) was put forward to remedy the fact that Connecticut was one of less than ten states in the U.S. to lack an "assisted outpatient treatment" (AOT) law.  (also known as 'involuntary treatment')

AOT laws allow a state to institutionalize a mentally ill person for treatment if the state has reason to suspect such institutionalization will prevent the individual from doing harm to self or others.

The ACLU said [the bill] would "infringe on patients' privacy rights by expanding [the circle of] who can medicate individuals without their consent." They also said it infringed on patient rights by reducing the number of doctors' opinions necessary to commit someone to institutionalization.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2012/JUDdata/Tmy/2012SB-00452-R000329-David%20McGuire-%20ACLU-TMY.PDF

... What rights of kindergartners were infringed?
3988  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / They aren't the Bush Tax Cuts on: December 17, 2012, 02:12:43 PM
Note: This is aimed at the partisans in the White House, not in response to reasonable posts made here.

The tax cuts in debate now are the law of the land because of a bill that President Obama signed in compromise with a Democrat majority House and a Democrat majority Senate in December 2010.

The Bush tax cuts are way past their expiration date now.  

These so-called tax cuts for the rich and for everyone else who pays taxes were passed by a Democrat majority House, a Democrat majority Senate and signed into law by Democrat President Barack Obama.  They were nervous about putting the fragile economy back into recession and did not have the Democratic votes, even among the people who passed healthcare, to make this any worse.  The growth rate then was slightly better than the growth rate now.

This was nearly 2 years after George Bush left Washington and a month before Republicans assumed majorities in congress.

The President announced his reasons for signing the tax cut bill:  "My number one priority is to do what's right for the American people, for jobs, and for economic growth."  President Obama said [these tax cuts] "will make a real difference in the pace of job creation and economic growth. In other words, it's a good deal for the American people."
http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/transcript-of-obamas-remarks-on-tax-cut-deal.php


That was true then.  But not true now?
3989  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gun rights stuff: Gun Store Owner Offers Teacher Discount on: December 17, 2012, 01:57:05 PM
http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2012/12/17/austin-gun-store-owner-offers-teachers-a-discount/

Austin Gun Store Owner Offers Teachers A Discount

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – An Austin-area gun store owner is joining the gun rights debate with a controversial offer for teachers in light of the tragic shooting in Connecticut.

Crocket Keller of Kellers Riverside Gun Store says if educators want to get a concealed handgun license, he’ll give them a discount.
3990  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hagel for Sec Defense and we stand with Israel? on: December 17, 2012, 12:56:23 PM
Is anyone following this?  

http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2012/12/chuck-hagel-for-defense-secret.php

http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/search?q=hagel

http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/chuck-hagels-record-on-israel-draws-scrutiny-85123.html

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/12/my-thesis-about-hagel.php

Glick:  "Obama wants to fundamentally transform the US relationship with Israel."

Hagel's record rom the 2nd link:

# In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

# In October 2000, Hagel was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.

# In November 2001, Hagel was one of only 11 Senators who refused to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yassir Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel.

# In December 2005, Hagel was one of only 27 who refused to sign a letter to President Bush to pressure the Palestinian Authority to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections.

# In June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran's nuclear program at the G-8 summit.

Here's what the National Review wrote about Hagel's stance on Israel in 2002:

"There's nothing Hagel likes less than talking about right and wrong in the context of foreign policy. Pro-Israeli groups view him almost uniformly as a problem. 'He doesn't always cast bad votes, but he always says the wrong thing,' comments an Israel supporter who watches Congress. An April speech is a case in point. 'We will need a wider lens to grasp the complex nature and consequences of terrorism,' said Hagel. He went on to cite a few examples of terrorism: FARC in Colombia, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, and the Palestinian suicide bombers. Then he continued, 'Arabs and Palestinians view the civilian casualties resulting from Israeli military occupation as terrorism.' He didn't exactly say he shares this view - but he also failed to reject it."

And here's what the anti-Israel group, CAIR, wrote in praise of Hagel:

"Potential presidential candidates for 2008, like Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich, were falling all over themselves to express their support for Israel. The only exception to that rule was Senator Chuck Hagel ?" [Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/28/06]
3991  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Evil in Connecticut - deinstitutionalization on: December 17, 2012, 10:46:04 AM
A fair point made about tone, but in his own succinct, biting way he entered into the discussion the unmentionable.  The article was scary and the mother was crying our for help.  Parenting as we know it doesn't work in her situation.  Being firm, loving and consistent doesn't address real mental illness.

I had the experience of seeing these warning signs including talk of murder-suicide.  I called the woman's doctor who said bring her to the emergency room.  I did, partially by tricking, against the will of an adult.  The doctor checked out the situation, prescribed a narcotic, decided she was no threat to herself or anyone else and released her.  She had one more incident (manic episode) that night resulting in a police call, was driven home by the police, then killed someone the next day. (Not with a gun.)  Less than 24 hours after pleading for help and denied I was proven right about the danger and was face to face with the same doctor who had determined otherwise.  He operates under an accepted set of laws and guidelines and probably followed them correctly.

Perhaps every family has some connection to mental illness and most (99.9%?) pose no threat.  I don't propose any change and I am a big advocate of individual liberty, but for as long as we extend total freedom to the troubled among us, saying things like "never again" or "can't tolerate this anymore" is either sheer ignorance or political duplicity.
3992  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Supply Side is not tax cuts alone, see the Bush years on: December 16, 2012, 06:20:23 PM
Guilty as charged on morphing the conversation - with seamless transitions.  smiley   

With another morph I take off from a good point Bigdog made on the tax policy discussion: "the effectiveness of the positions you extol [tax rate cuts determine prosperity] is not as cut and dry as you believe".  True!  Tax rate cutting alone is not supply side economics and does not in itself equal a positive, productive climate.

Mentioned in a previous discussion, I think it was George Will who said:

"George Bush gave Supply Side Economics a bad name - without ever trying it."

Looking at why tax policy isn't the whole answer requires a look at the other factors.  George Bush implemented two rounds of tax rate cuts that inspired enormous growth in the economy.  That growth included 52 consecutive months of job growth and almost balanced the budget, but it did not sustain itself beyond that.  Why not?  Bush got everything else wrong:

1) Government spending is in itself a tax on the economy.  To the extent that it is excessive, it is taking resources including people away from their most productive use.  Spending went way up under Bush.  The need for government spending should have been going down in an environment where almost anyone who wants a private sector job could get one.  That opportunity was squandered.

2) Programs that last forever and keep growing.  Bush made a try at major reform of social security.  For better or worse he failed.  He also failed to seek or win any minor reforms.  Meanwhile he started another major new entitlement and other big programs without ending or curtailing any existing ones.  His predecessor said "the era of big government is over."  Not so, not even with a Republican President, House and Senate.  Programs have value but again the excesses are a load acting to slow the economy.

3) Regulatory climate:  Democrats primarily were the builders of the vastly exploding regulatory climate in this country.  Republicans were the willing co-conspirators, repealed essentially none of it when given the chance, then kept adding regulations at roughly the same pace.  (Obama has been even worse.)  Regulations today are perhaps a bigger 'tax' on the economy than all taxes combined. 

4) Energy policy, overlaps regulatory climate.  Bush Directed Cheney to come up with a comprehensive plan.  Criticism of the secretive nature of his hearings probably destroyed all the possible positive perceptions of the plans but essentially none of it got done.  We can update the details on the energy threads, but no new nuclear plants, no new refineries, federal lands and offshore not really opened, never won the case for ANWR and no big improvements to the grid (to my knowledge).  Energy became a bigger cost and uncertainty holding back growth.

5) Healthcare.  Not bringing back any economic freedom or market sense into healthcare set the table for the argument that government should takeover.

6) Housing! There were some Republicans sounding the alarm, but Republicans in congress and Bush in the White House in particular let a runaway train wreck keep rolling with no awareness that what they were doing was fundamentally wrong and dangerous.  Allowing federal control to reach 90% is a violation of common sense and all free market, conservative, and supply side principles.  Not everyone was financially ready to own a house and subsidized is the opposite of affordable.  Screwing up private markets and resource allocation is the opposite of what a growth policy should be.

7) Monetary policy.  It was a tightening of money, not easing that accompanied the Reagan years.  The easing that grew out of the 2001 recession and the 9/11/2001 aftermath had no business continuing into a multi-decade blunder where we don't even pretend to hold up our currency or allow interest rates to reach equilibrium levels.  Not all Bush's fault but they got their way with the Fed and it backfired.

8 )  State and local taxes.  Not Bush's fault but as the states and locals ate up the difference on taxes, the tax rate cut advantage slipped away.  For one thing, states tax capital gains as ordinary income so the low federal rate is not low in total if you live most of America.

9)  Corporate tax rate becoming highest in the world.  These embedded taxes don't show in the individual rates and they still have not been reformed.

10)  mis-Communications.  For the things that Bush was able to do right economically he was always unable or unwilling to communicate them to the people.  Since he didn't understand what he was doing right, he was not likely to notice that what he was saying was wrong.  Of tax rates cuts, all he could say was that you get to keep more, missing the whole supply side point of improving the incentives to produce and improved competitiveness will increase national income and revenues to the Treasury.  Just keeping more money out of a fixed paycheck is what a demand side tax cut will do.  A Keynesian stimulus like dropping dollars from the sky does not stimulate production here if the goods are made in China.

Between all these factors, easy money mortgages with equity lines up to zero equity ownership at bubble level housing prices with financial institutions at risk and taxpayers holding the tab, while becoming a nation of zero savings, unable to withstand a downturn, and never having a sense of purpose communicated of how economic freedom makes us more innovative and competitive in a dynamic world and tax incre3ases coming led to bubble and collapse.  All these factors except for tax rate cuts were anti-supply-side policies.  Failure on the Republican side led to us voting in the policies of decline, setting the stage for the collapse and stagnation that erased of the gains. 

After all that failure, we get to hear forever that we tried the Bush tax cuts (the only thing we did right) and look where it got us.

If our proposals and our record included real progress on all of the above, then I would disagree with the point, "the effectiveness of the positions you extol is not as cut and dry as you believe." 
3993  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Laffer, Hungerford / CRS on: December 16, 2012, 02:49:09 PM
Good points already made.  Of course costs affect behavior, and when you tax something you get less of it - to varying degrees.  With half the country favoring tax increases, the burden is not on one poster to defend the merits of high taxes...

What did this study measure and how did they manage to miss basic truths - finding no link between disincentive and output??  And how is this study being mis-used by people like Paul Krugman, Chris Van Hollen and President Barack Obama to draw conclusions not studies or demonstrated?

First a reply to the Laughing at the Laffer curve series.  It is a straw argument, Laffer did not say all tax rate cuts lead to higher revenues.  They chart the opinions of 40 economists on a different question than we face today.  The question today is tax increases, not tax cuts.  But go to the source of the data and see that for 'Question A', only 8% of the same respondents disagree with the statement that tax cuts made today will grow the economy.  That is the conclusion purportedly refuted in the Hungerford / CRS study, a pretty big contradiction, assuming the opinions of these economists is of significance.

Paul Krugman (former Economist?) writes a column called Conscious of a [Lying] Liberal where he gloats about the Hungerford revelation.  When I read liberals, I look for two things, a lie or deception in the first statement and then a logic string where they build further on the foundation that was false in the first place.  Krugman, referring to CRS, begins: "a report showing no connection between tax cuts for the rich and economic growth...".  I read the entire study.  It did not study tax cuts.  It studied output as it correlates to the top, published marginal tax rate over very different times.  When you study the most significant tax rate cuts, you get a very different conclusion.

Politico writes:  "At the crux of the debate is the question of whether to increase tax rates for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans."  Really the question is whether you can raise taxes on only the wealthiest without hitting the rest of the people and without tanking the economy.  Democrats in speeches claim with confidence that you can.  Rep. Chris Van Hollen says the CRS report “put a stake in the heart of the Republican argument that small increases in the marginal tax rate for wealthy individuals somehow hurt economic growth.  No it didn't say that at all.   Another quote: "...a tax ONLY on the wealthiest among us.  Folks like me", says Barack Obama who privately employs only his mother in law, implying it won't hurt anyone but the rich who can afford it.  Democrats in peer reviewed work argue quite differently, see Romer and Romer (Christina Romer was chief economic adviser to Pres. Obama until this was published): http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~dromer/papers/RomerandRomerAERJune210.pdf  "Our results indicate that tax changes have very large effects on output.  Our baseline specification implies that an exogenous tax increase of one percent of GDP lowers real GDP by almost three percent."

So what are the flaws in Obama campaign donor, Thomas L. Hungerford's report, released right before the election?  Asked more precisely, what exactly did it study?  Did it study or demonstrate that if we raise the top tax rate today to 1950s levels, we will experience the growth rates of the 1950s, as inferred by former Enron adviser Paul Krugman?  No.

From the report:  "Data is analyzed to illustrate the association between the
tax rates of the highest income taxpayers and measures of economic growth. ...
Throughout the late-1940s and 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was typically above 90%; today it is 35%. Additionally, the top capital gains tax rate was 25% in the 1950s and 1960s, 35% in the 1970s; today it is 15%. The real GDP growth rate averaged 4.2% and real per capita GDP increased annually by 2.4% in the 1950s. In the 2000s, the average real GDP growth rate was 1.7% and real per capita GDP increased annually by less than 1%. There is not conclusive evidence, however, to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth. ... The evidence does not suggest necessarily a relationship between tax policy with regard to the top tax rates and the size of the economic pie, but there may be a relationship to how the economic pie is sliced."

The report does not look at causation whatsoever, the "65-year steady reduction" in tax rates is a falsehood, they did not study tax cuts and they made no study of tax rate increases, the question we face today.  Instead they run a series of regression analyses looking for and not finding correlation between top published tax rate at different times and other measures like output.

Another way to do that would to study years that start with 195x and to compare with years that start with 197x.  What would be wrong with that comparison?  The obvious answer is that the top tax was lower but MANY other things changed.  The data would show a better economy in the 1950s (with a higher top tax rate).  It would not demonstrate, as Hungerford does not and cannot demonstrate, that output in the 1970s would be the same if top rates were 90% (1950s levels) instead of 70%, or if they were 35% (mid 2000s levels) instead of 70%.  Why not?  Different times and MANY different factors.

Bigdog acknowledged what Hungerford does not about different times, the 1950s for example: "Of course I can think of differences."   But what was different economically about the 1950s that is not true today.  My thoughts off the cuff: 1) The top tax rate then applied to almost no one so it is not a good measure of the burden of government.  The top rate today hits the owners of the businesses that employ more than 50% of the people who work for small businesses, the sector that in good times creates most new job growth. 2) The overall burden of taxation was a LOT smaller then.   3) Businesses did not face anywhere near the same regulatory burden as today.  4) U.S. manufacturers faced very little foreign competition.  5) There was much less mobility of capital.  Your choice was how to invest in America, not where to invest.  Today investment is global.  6) Investors did not face the same uncertainty of tax rates, not shown in the numbers.  The 1950s were relatively stable times.  7) State tax rates were lower, the combined burden of all taxation was much lower. And 8 ) Workers did not have the same options not to work in the 1950s as they had after the war on poverty began and expanded.  If you built a business, workers would come.  Today you face the competition of workers not taking work for pretty good pay and workers leaving the workforce in record numbers.  Again not shown or measured in the study.

Is the top tax rate today the same as it was in 2003-2004?  The Hungerford data says yes, but it's not true.  For the rich it is the future tax rate that applies to business and investment decisions.  Early in the full implementation of the Bush tax cuts, tax rates would stay at that level for as far as the eye could see and investors could rely on that.  With the changeover of congress, then a new President committed to repeal coming, then the expiration date impending every two years for four years, investors and business owners have faced higher future rates for investments not shown in current rate data.  For 2003 Hungerford takes the output out of recession in higher tax years, with no context or weight to the fact that investments being made at that time in response to the policy change would lead to revenues growing 44% in 4 years.  Instead 2003 was just another dismal year to average out the peak years that followed.  

A more useful study would be to isolate similar policy changes the best you can and study their effects.  
3994  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: December 15, 2012, 03:37:22 PM
So, if we say we suspect she is lying, then we are wishing her good health? evil cheesy

Those of us who followed the White Water saga during the Clinton years in the WSJ (which did an OUTSTANDING job of not letting go of it-- a pit bull would have been impressed) will remember how again and again the Clintons moved key witnesses out of reach of investigators by assigning them overseas etc.

If wish her at least 50 years of good health - and hope she invests all her book money in the American private sector, hiring thousands of people under all the new tax and regulatory rules, particularly as they relate to healthcare, employee leave and all the rest.

Hillary in her prime as First Lady came on a local conservative talk show called Garage Logic, set in a fictional town where they believe most good ideas start out in the garage.  The banter got a little awkward when it turned out this woman had never owned a car, a house that she lived in, or a garage.

Yes, the WSJ was all over the Whitewater scandal with all its corruption, especially before reelection, and the exposed guilt and shiftiness made no difference at all in their popularity.
3995  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: December 15, 2012, 03:17:41 PM
Excellent find Doug.  Maybe some of our lurkers will put it to good use , , ,

The chart is excellent visually, but the percentages on the 2012 side should be a percentage of the 2001 number, and since the Fed's accommodation of the fiscal mess is the cause of most dollar dilution, the dollars should be in dollars, not 2005 'adjusted' dollars.  When time permits, I will take a try at my own chart.
3996  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: December 15, 2012, 03:11:03 PM
I confess to being surprised that Pravda on the Beach (a.ka. The Left Angeles Times) actually noted the ambiguities underlying the headlined numbers.

Yes, pretty good journalism.  If this were a more partisan issue, I would ask why the headline is one thing and the important qualifiers are buried deeper.

On another thread, still looking for their coverage of that other story...
3997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Noted economist asks ... Why not return to Clintonian levels of spending? on: December 15, 2012, 01:59:31 PM
Why not return to Clinton levels of SPENDING?



http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2515887#.UMzUvVKIggD

Veronique de Rugy: Let's return to Clinton spending levels, too
December 13, 2012    The Washington Examiner

President Obama has been fixated on returning the top marginal income tax rates on higher income earners to their Clinton-era levels. Increasing these rates is troubling because even if the president got his way, it wouldn't make a dent in our deficit, and it would pose negative consequences for our economy in the long term. Moreover, our problem is a spending one, not a revenue one. So how about we return to Clinton-era spending levels?

However, aggregate labor supply data, such as the differences in hours worked among countries with different levels of taxes, suggest a very different conclusion. Nobel laureate Ed Prescott, in his famous 2004 paper "Why Do Americans Work So Much More Than Europeans?" shows that workers spend considerably more hours working when marginal tax rates on their incomes are lower. So basically, over time people will reduce the number of hours of work, economic growth slows down, and less revenue is collected.

And then there's the long run. In recent years, economists have shown that higher taxes may not dissuade current rich people from working, but they will hurt incentives for younger people to invest in education and career choices that would have made them the rich people of tomorrow. That too does not benefit future economic growth and tax revenue.

So overall, increasing taxes on the rich isn't a good idea. Yet, it is true that the Clinton years saw economic growth, increasing median income, vanishing deficits and relative peace. Why doesn't the president try to copy all Clinton-era policies? Because that would mean seriously cutting spending.

On Jan. 27, 1996, President Clinton proclaimed that "the era of big government is over, but we can't go back to a time when our citizens were just left to fend for themselves." He added, "So, again, last Tuesday, I asked Congress to join with me to make the cuts we agree on. Let's give the American people the balanced budget they deserve with a modest tax cut and the lower interest rates and brighter hope for the future it will bring." And they came through on that promise.

During his two terms in office, Clinton reduced spending as a share of gross domestic product from 21 percent in fiscal year 1994 to 18.2 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2001. Today, spending stands at 24.3 of GDP. According to the Office of Management and Budget, Obama's two-term average spending level is projected at 23.4 percent of GDP as opposed to 19.9 percent for Clinton. During his two terms, Clinton grew spending by 12.3 percent in real terms -- a sharp contrast with the Reagan years and the Bush years. When he left office, total spending was close to $2 trillion, and the federal government registered a surplus of $142 billion (all numbers are adjusted for inflation). In fiscal 2012, federal spending was $3.2 trillion, and our deficit was $1.1 trillion.

For all the talk about returning to Clinton-era policies, the president is sadly silent about his predecessor's spending levels. To be fair, the only way that we could go back to these spending levels is if Congress finally reforms Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And reforming those programs is also the only way to put this country back on a sustainable financial path. So what are we waiting for?

Dr. de Rugy is a senior research fellow of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
3998  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Keeping up with the Clintons on: December 15, 2012, 01:38:59 PM
"Hillary Clinton Faints, Sustains Concussion"
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323297104578181403963869018.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LatestHeadlines

I don't wish injury or ill health to anyone - except maybe Hugo Chavez - so this is a sad story and I wish her truly a full and speedy recovery.

That said and no reason to doubt anything, but there is this: they didn't say when it happened, and "Mrs. Clinton's illness appears likely to delay her planned testimony Thursday before a congressional body investigating the September terrorist attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi..."
3999  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: December 15, 2012, 01:21:07 PM
LA Times: "The California housing recovery boomed forward in November, with home prices reaching levels high enough to trigger questions about whether speculators are overdoing a spending spree."

Good news, maybe...  Deeper in the story: "a big factor in the rising median price is increased sales of high-end homes, which skew the results to the upside. Indexes that track specific home resales show far lower price appreciation."

  - Where have we heard that. Median over a short duration tells you which homes are selling, not price appreciation.  No comparison to the peak, only to the trough.
 
"Homes purchased for all cash remained at extremely high levels..."

  - Does this mean interest rates are too high, lol?  Buying houses, especially at the high end, is a way to keep cash idle and unproductive in hard assets.  It is the opposite of building or expanding a business and hire workers.  High end cash sales, by nature, are unsustainable - all speculators have finite purchasing power.  And sold off other assets (forestalling capital gains?) to buy these.
 
“It’s a good thing for professionals to be putting a floor under home prices.”

  - Yes, get the correction stopped before working people raising families can afford them.

I am surprised calif doesn't pass a law to stop this sort of thing.

4000  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: December 15, 2012, 12:51:36 PM
Real deficit $11 trillion, real fiscal gap at $222 trillion, and we have a Presidential election based on likeability, and news coverage that the President's daughter got a cell phone, how exciting.  Yes it would be nice to get a real auditing firm to look that operation over, top to bottom, and tell us honestly the real cost of every rule and program.

GM, I was surprised to see that story published in the NY Times - front page with big headlines - before the election.  Oh, it wasn't?
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