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4051  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: The Economist, No Warming Since 1998 on: June 21, 2013, 04:46:37 PM
This is already case closed and well reported, but I will keep going since our President is still gearing up for another big fight against "global warming".  WTF else is 'climate change' if not natural fluctuations or liberal code for slow the economy and 'save the planet'.
 "Since 1998, the warmest year of the twentieth century, temperatures have not kept up with computer models that seemed to project steady warming; they’re perilously close to falling beneath even the lowest projections".

"there's no way around the fact that this reprieve for the planet is bad news for proponents of policies, such as carbon taxes and emissions treaties, meant to slow warming by moderating the release of greenhouse gases. The reality is that the already meagre prospects of these policies, in America at least, will be devastated if temperatures do fall outside the lower bound of the projections that environmentalists have used to create a panicked sense of emergency."
The phony movie 'An Inconvenient Truth' was released in 2006 with cherrypicked data picked by quack scientists to help elect the Pelosi-Reid agenda in congress and elect the Senate's furthest left member to the White House.  At the moment of that trickery, we were 8 years into a no warming plateau, impossible according to their own models.  Now it is 15 years and counting and we still stop pipelines and fight for backward economic movement.

When the data doesn't fit the model, this crowd 'adjusts' the data instead of scrapping the phony model.

Like BBG, I survived 400 PPM.

4052  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: June 21, 2013, 03:52:12 PM
BTW, shouldn't we be rather pleased that the Fed is finally making noise about diminishing its war on savers?

You are right, but the war against savers was successful.  There aren't any savers anymore.  A dollar saved isn't necessary for a dollar to be available for lending in this economy and we have government to turn to on a rainy day or unexpected hardship.  Just like work isn't tied to pay anymore, or fatherhood to responsibility, welfare to stigma, and so on.  If you want a better reward, hire a better lobbyist.

The interest rate was the balance point between borrowers and lenders, a market based, economic equilibrium.  Now interest rates are contrived, artificial and low.  A generation has no idea what the power of compound interest means.  Try compounding 0.01% over 10 years while it loses 3-4% per year in value and show a young person how they benefited by not spending.  Even the (Keynesian mostly) economists tell us saving is bad for the economy - it takes from consumption.  [I don't agree!]

Next we will want to bring back old ideas like reward for hard work, abstinence, delayed gratification, personal responsibility?  Balanced budgets?  Property rights?!  Keeping the fruits of our labor?  Crazy talk!
4053  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH: Abortion at 23 weeks on: June 21, 2013, 02:22:54 PM
Great story. Twins with a catastrophic health defect in one may be one situation where 'abortion' could save the life of an unborn.

All serious abortion bills contain exceptions for things like life and health of the mother, incest rape, etc.  This consideration should be added to those exceptions with the doctor's advice and the wishes of the FAMILY paramount.  More than 98% of abortions, Planned Parenthood's own data, are for convenience reasons, all about killing, not saving human life.  If this woman is so serious in caring for the unborn, she should get involved with crafting exceptions that cover these circumstances, as she has by publishing this story.  That makes more sense than her conclusion that we should oppose any restrictions on reckless killing of viable, mid to late term babies with live heartbeats that can already feel pain.

Her experience and view fits closer into the mindset of people protecting life than it does with those who support the killings.  MHO
4054  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: June 20, 2013, 02:44:21 PM
Is everyone ready for interest rates to go up?
4055  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: June 20, 2013, 02:41:58 PM
Gold and silver are dropping hard and fast.

The crash of the dollar has been cancelled?  Postponed?
4056  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dow plunges on Fed fears on: June 20, 2013, 02:38:59 PM
shocked shocked shocked

Hoping not to mis-characterize Wesbury, Bernancke and others, let's make sure I have this right.

1. The market was not up because of quantitative expansion.
2. All money created so far stays in the market to the tune of trillions of dollars.
3. We will keep expanding the money supply for many more months, 100s of billions more.
4. Yet the mere hint that the excessive creation of new dollars will ever end puts the market in a tailspin.

Did we really not know this artificial injection of dollars would end someday, one way or another?

Murphy's Law must apply when Fed Chiefs talk to the market.  Alan Greenspan tried to talk the market down with his famous "irrational exuberance" speech in 1996 and the market continued up for 5 more years.  Ben Bernancke says that in a half year we may slow this most responsible 'temporary stimulus' and the market implodes. 

Who knew?  wink
4057  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 20, 2013, 01:43:04 PM
"Appeasement is not the way to go."

Appeasement is what we do - on everything - we are just arguing about where to draw those lines. (sad face)  Purity on issues is how we lose.  There is something in between that is good enough and we need to find it. 

On immigration, the idea behind a comprehensive agreement is that both sides win.  Undocumented Democrats get legalization and American citizens get security and sovereignty going forward.  The bill as it stands does not address what went wrong on previous attempts.

The gang is taking legalization without security verification, and that is a move away from a comprehensive agreement, not toward it.  Having McCain and his sidekick on the wrong side is annoying.  Having Rubio on the wrong side is a major problem.

The Cornyn amendment failed, yet it only holds security to a 90% standard.  Ted Cruz seems to have this better:

I favor the concept of negotiating a tough deal.  I favor security first,  I favor a standard for border security that seeks to stop terror threats from crossing our borders, not just innocent workers.  I favor the 10-14 year delay.  I favor some resolution of the family member problem that does not add tens of millions to the numbers.

We are left where we started.  Dems get credit for advancing the plight of the illegals, keep legal Hispanics in their fold, and keep the issue alive by failing to negotiate all the way to a comprehensive deal.  Republicans get blamed for no deal.  The truth should be the opposite.  The Republicans should be out front advancing a fair and tough bill, and expose Dems as the ones who are moving away from a comprehensive solution by refusing to what went wrong when the 1986 and 2006 legislation passed, but required border security did not follow.
4058  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marco, there is someone on television pretending to be you! on: June 19, 2013, 03:51:46 PM
Sen. Jeff Sessions chides Marco Rubio: "Marco, there is somebody on television pretending to be you!"

The gang of 8 on immigration (including Rubio) is voting against amendments to fix the bill, because they believe amendments will kill it.  Rubio thinks it should pass and then get fixed in committee.  Again, why will he have more leverage later?  I wish not to attack Rubio personally but I question this bill and his strategy.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) poked fun at the notion that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) could be publicly saying the Senate immigration bill needs stronger security provisions, while saying in TV ads that the bill has the best border security provisions in history. Sessions has previously called on Rubio and his ally Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to withdraw the advertisements because of their inaccuracies.

Andrea Tantaros asked Sessions on her radio show to respond to reports that Rubio has not been seen with the Gang of Eight in public in over two months. “That’s odd,” Sessions said. “He is the one that’s in everybody’s homes running the ads. Makes you want to say ‘Marco, there’s somebody on the television pretending to be you, saying vote for the bill that you recently said shouldn’t pass in its current form.’”

Earlier in the interview, Tantaros said she thinks Rubio’s comments this weekend that 95 percent of the Gang of Eight bill is “in perfect shape” are not accurate.

“I don’t think 95 percent of it is perfect,” Tantaros said. “I’m looking at some of things that it allows for. I mean, if you commit identity theft twice but not three times you can still get amnesty. If you break the law twice but not three times, you can stay in this country. Let’s see, what else here. If you beat your wife twice but not three times you can still stay in this country. It doesn’t seem very strict on criminals."
4059  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender pay gap - it isn't what you think on: June 19, 2013, 03:35:17 PM
"In a comparison of unmarried and childless men and women between the ages of 35 and 43, women earn more: 108 cents on a man's dollar."

President Glibness: "The day that the bill was signed into law, women earned 59 cents for every dollar a man earned on average. Today, it's about 77 cents," the president said. "Over the course of her career, a working woman with a college degree will earn on average hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who does the same work."
Nonsense. The 77 percent figure is bogus because it averages all full-time women, no matter what education and profession, with all full-time men. Even with such averaging, the latest Labor Department figures show that women working full-time make 81 percent of full-time men's wages. For men and women who work 40 hours weekly, the ratio is 88 percent.

Unmarried childless women's salaries, however, often exceed men's. In a comparison of unmarried and childless men and women between the ages of 35 and 43, women earn more: 108 cents on a man's dollar.
4060  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: VDH: Margin of Error on: June 19, 2013, 01:00:41 PM

Hanson makes an important observation here, one that Wesbury built his workhorse economy theory on, and the premise for all Liberalnomics.  The American culture and the American economy is so strong that it can absorb certain inefficiencies and keep right on ticking, like nothing is wrong.  We can handle a 1% tax rate.  We can handle a 10% tax rate, maybe 20%.  But maybe we can't handle lost economic activity that real rates of taxation now approaching 65% will cause.  We can handle one page of regulations and we can handle a thousand pages of regulations, even excessive ones.  But maybe we can't handle the 80,000 pages of business strangulation now in place.  We can handle the government meddling in 40% of health care.  50% maybe, but not 100% with no private sector remaining.  We can handle $3 gas, but maybe not $10, $20.  Maybe we can afford to put 50 million people on food stamps, but not 51 million.  At some point there will be too many people riding and not enough pulling the wagon to keep it going.  We could probably handle $16 trillion in debt if we removed other chains that are holding us back.  At some point we will have absorbed all of our margin of error and cannot place one more ounce of weight on the load we are carrying without collapsing.  Like the piece about China banking built on a house of cards, we have already had our own brushes with economic meltdown.  Our current failure to address anything that is wrong in our policies will eventually come back to bite us - sooner and worse than all but a few (GM, Peter Shiff, etc.) can imagine.
4061  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Singapore economist: Philippines to lead growth in Southeast Asia region on: June 19, 2013, 11:09:07 AM
Philippines to lead growth among region's investment darlings

The expectations continue to rise for the Philippine economy's growth prospects.

The country is seen to have the highest growth potential in the eight years to 2020 among Southeast Asia's new investment darlings – Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, or the TIP economies, a new report said.

In a June 18 report titled “Road map to 2020: TH, ID, PH,” Singapore-based DBS Ltd. economist Eugene Leow said, “The Philippines has the highest growth potential amongst the TIP economies.”

Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) growth is seen averaging at 5.2 percent until 2020, while both Indonesia and the Philippines' expansion for the eight-year period is projected at 6.3 percent, according to the report.

Leow said the Philippines “can potentially run at trend GDP growth of 7  to 8 percent,” as its healthy fiscal position, manageable inflation and a financial system awash with cash has yet to be fully utilized.  But he said, “A more conservative growth figure of 6 to 6.5 percent is realistic in the coming eight years as we factor in a gradual improvement in investment rates.”

Even as the Philippines' largely consumption-driven economy grew at the fastest rate in Asia at 7.8 percent in the first quarter, foreign direct investments (FDI) remain the region's lowest at $1.3 billion in the period.

Low investments from both domestic and international fronts has seen joblessness at a stubbornly high 7.5 percent of the labor force.

Leow said this forms part of the Philippines transitioning into a more investment driven economy.  Debt-watchers Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services' decision to award the country investment grades are seen fuel much needed foreign and domestic investments.

The report noted that “the Philippines has the strongest external account balance, a banking sector best able to extend credit and a solid fiscal policy that is not threatened by heavy subsidy spending.”
4062  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stratfor: China's banking troubles on: June 19, 2013, 10:54:03 AM
I have been warning of this coming for a few years now , , ,

...China's poor financial fundamentals point to increasing turmoil sooner or later.

Agree.  Rapid growth covered up a multitude of sins.  A slowing of growth exposes weaknesses.  There will be an economic reckoning.  Oddly, if Europe and the US (China's biggest customers) could get their own economic acts together, that would help China stay on track.

I don't think the political apparatus of China can withstand an economic meltdown.  Or as Wesbury might call it when 50% of loans fail, workhorse banking?
4063  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pro-Hillary 'journalist' says Dump Bill Now on: June 19, 2013, 10:45:38 AM

Hillary Has to Dump Bill Now
By Margaret Carlson Jun 18, 2013  Bloomberg
It doesn't get much stranger.  I think Carlson is really arguing for Bill to sit down and shut up, let Hillary step out of his shadow, but she writes it like they should literally break it off for political purposes.  So much for family values.  If he quiets down for even a couple of years, does she think he would stay in her shadow as First Gentleman of the United States, read to children and work on nutritional education in schools?

It is two for the price of one.  Her record without him is to lose to a 2-year Senator of Illinois and totally bungle Benghazi.  She is a highly over-rated politician, most popular when out of the spotlight.  Biggest accomplishment was to win a Senate race in a far left state and burn a record amount of jet fuel as a member - with no access to the President except the 60 Minutes payoff performance.
4064  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / House passes prohibiting Gosnell-like abortions, Glibness responds on: June 19, 2013, 10:30:26 AM
House approves bill banning most abortions after 20-week mark

The bill would affect 1.3 percent of the 1.2 million abortions per year in the US.  20 weeks is an estimate close to viability and of when the little ones begin to feel pain.  [Liberals express more compassion for the elbow room of chickens raised for food.]
Pres. Obama:  "This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women's health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients' health care decisions, and the Constitution."

Ummm, Mr. President, Roe v. Wade is NOT in the constitution, half the abortions are girls killed, no doctor recommends waiting 20 weeks for an abortion, and the reasoning the Justices cited while creating artificial trimesters handled differently was based on some of the same reasoning of the House bill, but they were using medical information from 40 years ago.
4065  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 95% of late term moms, denied abortion, glad they gave birth on: June 19, 2013, 09:44:34 AM

Or as the NY Times buried it:
 “About 5 percent of the women, after they have had the baby, still wish they hadn’t. And the rest of them adjust.”

"S. (name withheld) ended up bonding with her baby."... "women rarely regret having a child"

Who knew?
4066  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Planet Government - The Regulated States of America on: June 19, 2013, 09:24:29 AM
WSJ excerpt,

Niall Ferguson: The Regulated States of America
Tocqueville saw a nation of individuals who were defiant of authority. Today? Welcome to Planet Government.

...On foreign policy, it may still be true that Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus. But when it comes to domestic policy, we all now come from the same place: Planet Government.

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Clyde Wayne Crews shows in his invaluable annual survey of the federal regulatory state, we have become the regulation nation almost imperceptibly. Excluding blank pages, the 2012 Federal Register—the official directory of regulation—today runs to 78,961 pages. Back in 1986 it was 44,812 pages. In 1936 it was just 2,620.

True, our economy today is much larger than it was in 1936—around 12 times larger, allowing for inflation. But the Federal Register has grown by a factor of 30 in the same period.

The last time regulation was cut was under Ronald Reagan, when the number of pages in the Federal Register fell by 31%. Surprise: Real GDP grew by 30% in that same period. But Leviathan's diet lasted just eight years. Since 1993, 81,883 new rules have been issued. In the past 10 years, the "final rules" issued by our 63 federal departments, agencies and commissions have outnumbered laws passed by Congress 223 to 1.

Right now there are 4,062 new regulations at various stages of implementation, of which 224 are deemed "economically significant," i.e., their economic impact will exceed $100 million.

The cost of all this, Mr. Crews estimates, is $1.8 trillion annually—that's on top of the federal government's $3.5 trillion in outlays, so it is equivalent to an invisible 65% surcharge on your federal taxes, or nearly 12% of GDP. Especially invidious is the fact that the costs of regulation for small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) are 36% higher per employee than they are for bigger firms.

Next year's big treat will be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, something every small business in the country must be looking forward to with eager anticipation. Then, as Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) warned readers on this page 10 months ago, there's also the Labor Department's new fiduciary rule, which will increase the cost of retirement planning for middle-class workers; the EPA's new Ozone Rule, which will impose up to $90 billion in yearly costs on American manufacturers; and the Department of Transportation's Rear-View Camera Rule. That's so you never have to turn your head around when backing up.

President Obama occasionally pays lip service to the idea of tax reform. But nothing actually gets done and the Internal Revenue Service code (plus associated regulations) just keeps growing—it passed the nine-million-word mark back in 2005, according to the Tax Foundation, meaning nearly 19% more verbiage than 10 years before. While some taxes may have been cut in the intervening years, the tax code just kept growing.

I wonder if all this could have anything to do with the fact that we still have nearly 12 million people out of work, plus eight million working part-time jobs, five long years after the financial crisis began. ...
4067  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fall of the Glibness, from +8 to -9 in one month - CNN poll on: June 19, 2013, 09:20:21 AM
Note: All of the problems confronting the President today happened before the election and were investigated and reported after the election.
In overall approval, the President was +8 in May's (CNN) poll, 53-45. But in the most recent poll the President's approval rating has dropped to 45-54 or -9.

That's a negative shift of 17 percentage points in one month.

Every Democrat who has been pointing to the President's fairly steady approval numbers as evidence that his goodwill among his base has an insulating property to protect him against the NSA snooping, the IRS, the Benghazi problem, the DoJ collecting reporters' phone records and targeting Fox's James Rosen, Syria, Turkey, and maybe a Kryptonite asteroid that might have the Earth in its sights.

On what are known as the "issue handling" questions (Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling:

The Economy - 42-57 (-15)
Foreign Affairs - 44-54 (-10)
Deficit/budget - 34-64 (-30)
Immigration - 40-56 (-16)
NSA/Surveillance - 35-61 (-26)

I didn't leave out the good issues. That's the whole list.

On the "Do you consider the President to be honest & trustworthy" question the result was 49-50.
That is only minus one so it doesn't look so bad. But a month ago that result was 58-41 (+17). So, it represents an 18 percentage point drop.

Pres. Obama drew 200,000 in Berlin, 2009.  Today 6000.
4068  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: June 18, 2013, 04:02:01 PM
It isn't whether Keynesians are right or wrong that matters determining economic policy. We know they are wrong. The question in Washington is how does it poll.

That was an excellent Wesbury.  Still he predicts good results from bad policies.
4069  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: June 18, 2013, 03:55:36 PM
"I cannot find an acceptable reason for Snowden to be divulging our/British spying on foreign leaders at a G8 conference to the Chinese.  Apparently he is giving more to the Chinese as well.  This sure seems like treason to me."


It's treason, and it ought to be against the law.

But first, let's poll the 16-35 demographic.
4070  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: SCOTUS: In effect, aliens can vote on: June 18, 2013, 03:50:17 PM
I was disappointed to see a 7-2 decision penned by Scalia banning AZ from requiring proof of citizenship to vote on the basis of federal pre-emption.

[Silver lining aside, addressing the point lost], yes, this seems terrible!  Analysis is saying that Scalia and the others are throwing it back on congress to correct the standard. Arizona should sue the Feds to fix the problem?  

"Justice Thomas’s dissent was mainly devoted to arguing that the Constitution gives Congress no role in judging who may register to vote, and that this is a power given exclusively to the states."

If true, does this tend to support my contention that we are down to about one conservative/originalist on the Court.  Okay, add Justice Alito to the very short list in this case.  Alito's dissent is separate.  Who has time to do the Court's work for them, and finding the right answer in the dissent doesn't solve anything.

The Constitution "authorizes states to determine the qualifications of voters in federal elections, which necessarily includes the related power to determine whether those qualifications are satisfied," Thomas said in his dissent.

Is it not part of equal protection that my right to one vote cannot be diluted by liberals facilitating the vote of undocumented Dems?  Where is our protection?

Arizona law goes further than a 1993 federal law to address a serious problem.  But how does Arizona law violate the constitution?  Unequal protection?

I don't know if the Scalia-Ginsburg coalition gets out much, but a driver's license is not proof of citizenship in a state that issues licenses to non-citizens.  It is also not proof of citizenship in the state does not require proof of citizenship to check the citizen box on the driver's license application.

The remedy for a wrongly decided Supreme Court question is to elect a new President, new Senate and wait for current Justices to die.  How does that work when the issue is election fraud?  A different remedy, overlooked by Scalia, for the total malfeasance of the federal government to do its job is secession.

Right now we have government of the Washington DC, by the Washington DC, and for the Washington DC, IMHO.
4071  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons: WSJ, Huma Abedin, Moonlight Serenade on: June 17, 2013, 06:53:31 PM
If I may continue Huma Abedin coverage in the Clinton thread, did she really not take her husbands last name?  This also goes under the category of famous people reading the forum, James Tarato, online editor for the WSJ jumps in on our coverage:

Weiner "defended his wife" during a Saturday campaign appearance. "I'm proud of my wife and I'm proud of the work she's done," he said, adding that "she has done everything completely above-board with approval of the State Department."

  - Approval of the State Dept?  Approval of a Clinton is not exactly the gold standard of ethics, even in Washington.

Moonlight Serenade
Whom does Mrs. Weiner work for?


Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress two years ago this Friday in a side-splitting social-media scandal, is running for mayor of New York? We don't know why, but we're now pretty sure it's not for the money. The New York Post reports that Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, "hauled in as much as $350,000 in outside income on top of Abedin's $135,000 government salary."

Far be it from this columnist to begrudge the Weiners their financial success. What's eyebrow-raising about this, though, is that Abedin, who works for the State Department, is the source of some of that outside income:

    Abedin, who served as [Hillary] Clinton's deputy chief of staff when Clinton was secretary of state, later became a 'special government employee' who was able to haul in cash as a private contractor. . . .

    One of the clients she did consulting work for while on the government payroll was Teneo Holdings, a firm founded by longtime Bill Clinton aide Doug Band.

The Post reports that Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican the paper describes as "one of the Senate's most aggressive investigators," is looking into the matter. In a letter to Abedin and now-Secretary John Kerry, Grassley "wrote that he was concerned Abedin's status 'blurs the line between public- and private-sector employees, especially when employees receive full-time salaries for what appears to be part-time work.' " Grassley also "suggested Abedin was providing clients 'political intelligence,' " a claim denied by an unnamed "person close to Abedin."

New York's Daily News reports that white-knight Weiner "defended his wife" during a Saturday campaign appearance. "I'm proud of my wife and I'm proud of the work she's done," he said, adding that "she has done everything completely above-board with approval of the State Department."

That may well be true--in which case the scandal here may be what's above board rather than what's below it. The Post reports that an unnamed State Department official "noted there were 100 such consultants at the agency."

A hundred Abedin-size salaries would add up to $13.5 million--presumably not counting benefits--being paid to people whose work for the department has to compete with their outside gigs for their time and attention. Are they thoroughly screened for conflicts of interest? If so, that's an additional expense for the taxpayers. If not, we can't rule out the possibility that some State Department workers are trading on their access to what Grassley calls "political intelligence."
4072  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs: Cash is the biggest crop in the farm bill on: June 17, 2013, 12:06:48 PM
Editorial: Cash the biggest crop in this farm bill

Most of $955 billion approved by Senate goes for food stamps and crop subsidies.


We find remarkable that the Senate approved Monday a so-called "farm bill" that calls for nearly $1 trillion in questionable spending and hardly a discouraging word has been heard on Capitol Hill.

Chalk that up to still-fresh outrage over revelations of the Obama administration's monitoring of Americans' phone records, Internet accounts and credit card transactions, and still-simmering concerns about Internal Revenue Service abuses and Justice Department abrogation of press freedom.
Article Tab: Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, speaks to reporters as the Senate votes on a farm bill that sets policy for farm subsidies, food stamps and other farm and food aid programs for the next five years, at the Capitol in Washington, June 10. At rear is Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND. Officially known as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, the agriculture policy measure would cost taxpayers $100 billion annually with the bulk of that amount allocated to the federal food stamp program.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, speaks to reporters as the Senate votes on a farm bill that sets policy for farm subsidies, food stamps and other farm and food aid programs for the next five years, at the Capitol in Washington, June 10. At rear is Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND. Officially known as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, the agriculture policy measure would cost taxpayers $100 billion annually with the bulk of that amount allocated to the federal food stamp program.

Anyway, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs of Act of 2013 cleared the Senate floor by a comfortable 66-27 vote. The spending bill will cost the taxpayers $955 billion. That's 60 percent more than the previous farm bill, in 2008.

Most of the outlays in the bill actually have nothing to do with crops. In fact, 80 percent of spending goes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps.

The welfare program – the "Food" part of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act – has grown 70 percent over five years, with a record 23.1 million households currently enrolled.
More at link:
4073  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rasmussen: Distrust of Government is the theme running through the scandals on: June 17, 2013, 11:56:40 AM
Distrust of Government Is What It's All About

By Scott Rasmussen - June 14, 2013

Only 24 percent now are confident that the federal government does the right thing most of the time.

(That number seems high to me.  24% might be misunderstanding the question.)
4074  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics & Science: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised on: June 17, 2013, 11:52:46 AM

Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised
The wind-power industry is expensive, passes costs on to the consumer and does not create many jobs in return

Today, The Sunday Telegraph reveals how many ''green jobs’’ the wind-power industry really generates in exchange for its generous subsidies. The figures show that for 12 months until February 2013, a little over £1.2  billion was paid out to wind farms through a consumer subsidy financed by a supplement on electricity bills. During that period, the industry employed just 12,000 people, which means that each wind-farm job cost consumers £100,000 [US$ 157,000] – an astonishing figure.
Wind farms can end up being surprisingly environmentally unfriendly, too. When the wind does not blow and the turbines fail to do their job, consumers have to fall back on the very fossil fuels that they were designed to replace. The result is that we come to rely on foreign imports of oil and gas that hit the household budget hard (domestic coal stations that ought to supply more of the demand have been closed in order to meet carbon-emission reduction targets). Moreover, wind farms can be a blot on the landscape: the dormant turbines take up large tracts of land and kill wildlife; it is the visual pollution of our beautiful countryside that has led some communities to protest against their presence.

The Government has shown recognition of public concern by announcing that residents will be able to stop the construction of wind farms.  (more at link above)
4075  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Asian Geopolitics, Asia's New Power Brokers By Robert Kaplan on: June 17, 2013, 11:29:31 AM
This may overlap recent post from Strat...

Asia's New Power Brokers
By Robert Kaplan

As Asian countries -- from India to Vietnam to Indonesia to Malaysia to Japan and so on -- arise out of poverty, guerrilla war and stagnation, they are forging robust relationships with each other, providing a whole new security dynamic to go alongside the U.S.-China rivalry. The Asian power web is also an offshoot of the emergence of midlevel powers, which are now forging deeper links with each other -- thus "widening the analytical aperture," in the words of the report, through which international relations must be viewed.
The question now becomes: Will China continue to rise? Or, will it falter domestically in the face of an excruciatingly complex economic transition? And how might that affect regional power dynamics? The last place to look for such gradual developments may be in the newspapers.
4076  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - Mrs. Glib on: June 17, 2013, 11:23:28 AM
I don't want to be anti-Michelle, but here she comes, getting all political, with all of the same glibness.
Is There Another Elected Obama In Our Future?
"she would likely embrace virtually all of her husband’s economic policies — and could be even further to the left."
4077  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - The obamacare tanning bed tax on: June 17, 2013, 11:18:49 AM
The obamacare tanning bed tax will put all tanning bed businesses out of business.  There is one exception.  If such beds are offered as part of a gym or fitness center at no extra charge, no tax will be imposed.   Of course they did not want the huge conglomerate 'health' clubs to jump on the anti-Obamacare bandwagon.  So indoor tanning is bad for you if you pay for it, not so much if part of a larger fitness program.  Good grief.   

"...the absurd has become the accepted norm..."

How about just a tax rate and a tax, instead of a 10,000 bill, just one of many, replacing the market, picking winners and losers.
4078  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, often criminal history - Huma on: June 17, 2013, 10:59:54 AM
Copying this over to the Clinton thread.  Huma's outside payers are most certainly part of the Clinton circle.
From ccp post, Govt programs:

ccp,  Thanks for finding this.  Huma is pretty close to the center of the political universe.  Huma is/was Hillary's closest confident.  The right wing nuts (anyone to the right of me) were sure she was Hillary's lesbian lover; Huma accompanied Hillary everywhere.  Then she was the 'Muslim' in the inner circle affecting our diplomatic policies.  She has relatives with ties to CAIR etc.(?)  Then she was set up to be Anthony Weiner's wife, a powerful and outspoken congressman - before his bizarre weiner scandal.  They had Muslim-Jewish wedding??  Then she was the wife standing by him, sort of.  Clintons did not endorse Weiner for mayor - yet.   A soft spot for sex scandals?  Huma is still with Hillary? Still with Weiner.  Now this scandal breaks.  Yes, she takes full time pay, sells access or whatever it is she is selling on the side, and we don't get to know who is involved or how this operation works.

I really don't want to spend another decade studying Clinton scandals! 
4079  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: June 17, 2013, 10:55:13 AM
Muslim women are forbidden from marrying non-muslims, so it's suspected Weiner has said the shahada.

As with Bill-Hillary, it could just be a sham marriage.  Who knows and who has time to care...  Ughh.

But still, if and when Huma becomes first lady, after her husband survives his scandal to become NYC Mayor and then the first Jewish President, and after our Attorney General survives his scandal to become the first African American VP as his just reward for not investigating IRS, Benghazi or anything else, Huma will be one of the most powerful people in the Weiner-Holder administration.
4080  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Huma Abedin: Paid as full time government employee AND side consultant. on: June 17, 2013, 10:45:12 AM
This is legal?
What is this? huh
****Weiner wife Abedin being probed over employment status   ...

ccp,  Thanks for finding this.  Huma is pretty close to the center of the political universe.  Huma is/was Hillary's closest confident.  The right wing nuts (anyone to the right of me) were sure she was Hillary's lesbian lover; Huma accompanied Hillary everywhere.  Then she was the 'Muslim' in the inner circle affecting our diplomatic policies.  She has relatives with ties to CAIR etc.(?)  Then she was set up to be Anthony Weiner's wife, a powerful and outspoken congressman - before his bizarre weiner scandal.  They had Muslim-Jewish wedding??  Then she was the wife standing by him, sort of.  Clintons did not endorse Weiner for mayor - yet.   A soft spot for sex scandals?  Huma is still with Hillary? Still with Weiner.  Now this scandal breaks.  Yes, she takes full time pay, sells access or whatever it is she is selling on the side, and we don't get to know who is involved or how this operation works. 

I really don't want to spend another decade studying Clinton scandals! 
4081  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Books, George Gilder: Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism on: June 17, 2013, 10:14:31 AM

Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How It Is Revolutionizing Our World

We’ve tried a government spending spree and learned it doesn’t work. Now is the time to rededicate our country to the pursuit of free market capitalism, before we’re buried under a mound of debt and unfunded entitlements. But how do we navigate between government spending that's too big to sustain and financial institutions that are "too big to fail?" In his new book, George Gilder proposes a bold new theory on how capitalism produces wealth and how our economy can regain its vitality and its growth.

In Knowledge and Power, Gilder reflects on entrepreneurship in its most successful contemporary examples – the tech and digital industries. Having seen firsthand the beneficial effect of a large grouping of individuals left to innovate and grow their businesses unmolested, he argues for the positive results of knowledge left to evolve without the restricting hand of government oversight. The astounding growth of upstart companies both big and small in Silicon Valley was made possible by the freedom they had to wager and risk as they saw fit. Now, in an era where encroaching regulations threaten to stymie further growth, Gilder makes the case why government involvement should be limited.

George F. Gilder is a journalist, New York Times bestselling author, and preeminent economic thinker who is credited with helping to develop the supply-side economic theory. He has served as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute's Economic Roundtable, was Program Director for the Manhattan Institute, and is the Co-Founder of the Discovery Institute. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, National Review, Forbes, and other publications. His previous books include Men and Marriage, Visible Man, and Wealth and Poverty.
4082  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The war on the rule of law on: June 15, 2013, 11:34:53 AM
Before this IRS scandal (though that word certainly does not do justice to
the injustice at work here) gets swept under the rug, this was an
interesting interview in the Journal last weekend.

Yes, it is more than an IRS scandal, more than election interference, and more than an attack on the rule of law.  The tax law itself is what armed the IRS to wage their war - against free speech, against free assembly and against equal protection for targeted groups.
4083  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: CBS confirms Benghazi reporter's computer tampered with on: June 15, 2013, 11:26:27 AM
CBS confirms Benhazi reporter's computer tampered with

No worry when it was Fox.  Now that it is AP and CBS, they have crossed an ethical line, not just the legal one.
4084  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Red line reaction by Baraq on: June 15, 2013, 11:23:52 AM

Whose side should we be on when there is no good side to take?  Neither.  No help, no arms, no troops, no involvement, with the exception of keeping a keen eye on containment. 

More than a million people died in the Iran-Iraq war that Saddam caused.  A massive human tragedy and it didn't even receive a mention in the 23 justifications for removing him from power.

It is dry powder and elevated readiness for the U.S. on this one.  We should be building up our economy for deterrence and to withstand big wars.  We need to re-think and re-build our arsenal to handle desert, jungle, mountain, air, sea and space in the coming turmoil.  We have lessons still to learn from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Gaza, West Bank, Somalia, the pirates on the Horn, China seas, N. K., Kashmir, Boston, al qaida arrests in Minneapolis, expired Visas, our southern border, the Arctic conflict brewing with Russia, among others.

In the case of Syria, we can side with a genocidal dictator or help the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaida expand and legitimize their power. Afterward, they will still be sworn to destroy us.
4085  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 'Why Didn't NSA Catch The Tsarnaev Brothers?' on: June 14, 2013, 12:54:57 PM
"Why Didn't NSA Catch The Tsarnaev Brothers?"

I am working on an answer to IBD's question.  11% of adults admit to sexting, while our government is giving 29 year old single males who live in their mother's basements access to all our 'data'.  These un-screened, unsupervised, surveillance 'professionals' (making a quarter million a year) are finding material more interesting than Islamist extremists visiting training camps, meeting in Mosques with known terrorists and studying the art of kitchen bomb building.
4086  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / National Debt Could Skyrocket As Interest Rates Rise, Wesbury shocked on: June 14, 2013, 10:35:14 AM
Interest costs up 32% in one month.  Much more to come.  We all know that.  If we are comparing to Paul Volcker's time, there is a potential for interest rates to go up 10 points (or more) with interest on the debt consuming more over half of all revenues.  I would call that a 'workhorse economy'.  Did ANYONE see this coming?
National Debt Could Skyrocket As Interest Rates Rise

Paying off the national debt just got a bit more dangerous, and potentially a lot more expensive.

The interest rates on federal debt began climbing last month, jumping from 1.66 percent on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note at the start of May to a stunning 2.2 percent on Tuesday.

That 54-basis point increase looks small to the casual eye. But if it continues, the higher yield could increase by billions of dollars how much money the federal government spends to service the $16.7 trillion national debt.
4087  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama Tells Keystone Foes He Will Unveil Climate Measures on: June 14, 2013, 10:19:57 AM
As the scientific ties between CO2 and warming get weaker and weaker, our glib President tells his closed door, fund raising audiences he is getting ready to double down:

Obama Tells Keystone Foes He Will Unveil Climate Measures

The actions will focus on governing from the executive branch alone, without a check or balance with the legislative branch.

And this guy used to teach constitutional law...
4088  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Corruption: FBI Director Doesn't Know Who's Leading Investigation in IRS Case on: June 14, 2013, 10:12:44 AM
FBI Director Testifies He Doesn't Know Who's Leading Investigation in IRS Case

Good luck America.
4089  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / RALPH NADER: Has there been a bigger con man in the White House on: June 14, 2013, 10:07:48 AM
RALPH NADER: Yeah, has there—has there been a bigger con man in the White House than Barack Obama?

Ralph, I feel your pain.
4090  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Obama's Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers on: June 14, 2013, 10:01:24 AM

If we are going after all data of all people, 'Why Didn't NSA Catch The Tsarnaev Brothers?'

My theory on supporting the Patriot Act was that if my number turned up in a terrorist's call history, for any reason - even by misdial, then I should expect that in these times of fighting to prevent more terrorist attacks I will be looked at until cleared.

These guys traveled to training camps and made multiple web visits to bomb making websites.

Instead we used our scarce resources to scrutinize west suburban tea party members for anti-socialism rhetoric.

So Why Didn't NSA Catch The Tsarnaev Brothers?

One person whose privacy was not invaded by U.S. intelligence was Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as he repeatedly visited the al-Qaida online magazine Inspire for its recipe "Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

The NSA's blanket surveillance did not detect Tsarnaev's interest in building the pressure cooker bombs he would use to devastating effect at the Boston Marathon. The massive databases that we are building a massive facility in Utah to store also failed to uncover the online communications that Tsarnaev had with a known Muslim extremist in Dagestan.
4091  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 13, 2013, 03:47:42 PM
CCP, good stuff. 

The status quo combines complex laws with almost no enforcement.  That and negotiating with weasels makes finding a solution next to impossible.

"we can put this bill on a single page or two and burn in effigy the present 1000 page boondoggle of a bill with all sorts or payoffs hidden in it"

When it started looking like Obamacare, I knew they had it wrong.  All those pages and it doesn't include guaranteed border security?  Back to the drawing board.  Don't pretend you will negotiate better later after giving up all leverage.

"Doug do you let anyone rent from you without their name, maybe previous address, or their employer?"

If 50% don't work, isn't asking where you work discriminatory?  wink  By law, unlike the government, I have to treat everyone equally so I try to get a consistent and thorough amount of information from each person.  We ask for a 5 year history of where they have lived and worked, or other information to back up who they are and verify income.  I look to see if the landlord reference actually owns the property.  (Unlike state voting law that requires nothing.)  The worst people come in without putting their names on the application or lease. Then, laws that make eviction nearly impossible make enforcement of the lease nearly impossible too.  In the case of non-citizens, will the same government who approves and pays non-citizens public assistance back me up when I deny them housing?  I don't think so.  Non-citizens easily get drivers licenses in MN, by either disclosing their status or by simply checking the citizen box and getting it on their license.

"The 40 million is a number from surveys done of Mexicans who would like to come to the US."

40 million is also within the range of what some predict is the total that would get in under reform, mostly by way of the friends and family plan.  Reform must include a closing of that opening, starting perhaps with an amendment to clarify  that no rights are created just by giving birth while visiting.  If most of your family is in, uh, Canada, let's say, and uniting your family is the top priority, then go home and be with your family.  If you left your family by choice then so be it.  We didn't split your family and we don't owe you more tickets.
4092  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues: Dr. Sowell, Economics vs. 'Need' on: June 13, 2013, 07:53:27 AM
Thomas Sowell addresses a question brought up here regarding hiring and immigration.  My view, mentioned often, is that our worker 'shortage' is completely intertwined with the reality that we pay more than 100 million not to work.

Regarding getting tough on employers, simply require employers to inform the government who they are hiring along with copies of whatever documents one is required to present.  Law enforcement is government's job.  With notification of hiring, they will know where to find them.  A similar question comes to landlords.  Am I supposed to rent to illegals or discriminate against them and risk a far greater penalty from government?  What I know is that I am not qualified to discern the difference between legal and false documents and should not and cannot ask Hispanics for documents that I don't require of Scandinavian-Americans.
Economics vs. 'Need'

By Thomas Sowell - June 11, 2013

One of the most common arguments for allowing more immigration is that there is a "need" for foreign workers to do "jobs that Americans won't do," especially in agriculture.

One of my most vivid memories of the late Armen Alchian, an internationally renowned economist at UCLA, involved a lunch at which one of the younger members of the economics department got up to go get some more coffee. Being a considerate sort, the young man asked, "Does anyone else need more coffee?"

"Need?" Alchian said loudly, in a cutting tone that clearly conveyed his dismay and disgust at hearing an economist using such a word.

A recent editorial on immigration in the Wall Street Journal brought back the memory of Alchian's response, when I read the editorial's statement about "the needs of an industry in which labor shortages can run as high as 20 percent" -- namely agriculture.

Although "need" is a word often used in politics and in the media, from an economic standpoint there is no such thing as an objective and quantifiable "need."

You might think that we all obviously need food to live. But however urgent it may be to have some food, nevertheless beyond some point food becomes not only unnecessary but even counterproductive and dangerous. Widespread obesity among Americans shows that many have already gone too far with food.

This is not just a matter of semantics, but of economics. In the real world, employers compete for workers, just as they compete for customers for their output. And workers go where there is more demand for them, as expressed by what employers offer to pay.

Farmers may wish for more farm workers, just as any of us may wish for anything we would like to have. But that is wholly different from thinking that some third party should define what we desire as a "need," much less expect government policy to meet that "need."

In a market economy, when farmers are seeking more farm workers, the most obvious way to get them is to raise the wage rate until they attract enough people away from alternative occupations -- or from unemployment.

With the higher labor costs that this would entail, the number of workers that farmers "need" would undoubtedly be less than what it would have been if there were more workers available at lower wage rates, such as immigrants from Mexico.

It is no doubt more convenient and profitable to the farmers to import workers at lower pay than to pay American workers more. But bringing in more immigrants is not without costs to other Americans, including both financial costs in a welfare state and social costs, of which increased crime rates are just one.

Some advocates of increased immigration have raised the specter of higher food prices without foreign farm workers. But the price that farmers receive for their produce is usually a fraction of what the consumers pay at the supermarket. And what the farmers pay the farm workers is a fraction of what the farmer gets for the produce.

In other words, even if labor costs doubled, the rise in prices at the supermarket might be barely noticeable.

What are called "jobs that Americans will not do" are in fact jobs at which not enough Americans will work at the current wage rate that some employers are offering. This is not an uncommon situation. That is why labor "shortages" lead to higher wage rates. A "shortage" is no more quantifiable than a "need," when you ignore prices, which are crucial in a market economy. To discuss "need" and "shortage" while ignoring prices -- in this case, wages -- is especially remarkable in a usually market-savvy publication like the Wall Street Journal.

Often shortages have been predicted in various occupations -- and yet never materialized. Why? Because the pay in those occupations rose, causing more people to go into those occupations and causing employers to reduce how many people they "need" at the higher pay rates.

Virtually every kind of "work that Americans will not do" is in fact work that Americans have done for generations. In many cases, most of the people doing that work today are Americans. And there are certainly many unemployed Americans available today, without bringing in more foreign workers to meet farmers' "needs."

4093  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 13, 2013, 07:24:45 AM
Coulter makes good points, especially the one CCP points out, that amnesty last time did not increase vote share for Republicans and does not work for McCain. Other factors abound, but a very strong point.  That said, the choice isn't court Hispanic versus court blacks who went 98% for Obama.  It is more like, IMHO, do what is right and start messaging better to all of them.

Coulter and others, Mirengoff at Powerline who has become obsessed with ripping Marco Rubio, are great dividers.  Yet the work of writing a good bill where the gang of 8 failed still remains.  The House needs to write a good bill and let the Obama and Harry Reid be the obstructors.  Take some of what gang of 8 came up with like a 14 year delay with no federal benefits and then cut out the BS and add border security, real border security.  Answer the family ties question too, where the numbers seem to jump from 11 to 40 million.  If half the 11 million take the pathway, work and don't take federal benefits (or state), we are in good shape as a country.  If a third world country floods us, we are not.

Let a good bill from the House live or die on the obstruction or cooperation of Democrats, then move on with Hispanics and talk about empowering an entrepreneur economy and educate people on how economic freedom is world's only successful welfare system.

A successful Republican Presidential candidate in 2016 needs to gain ground in ALL these groups and will need to point how he was both fair and tough on immigration to both sides of the debate.  To the extent that Rubio is wrong on details, I am not seeing the critics step forward with better plans, just do more of the same and expect a better result.
An earlier point was stop the hiring and they will stop coming.  My clarification would be to stop the compensation for not working and they will stop coming for the wrong reasons. 
4094  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Benghazi precedent? Benghazi arrests on: June 11, 2013, 12:28:13 PM
As the administration strives to accelerate scandal-fatigue, (thousands of) questions remain.

The first one here was posed by Allen West: When in our history did we ever leave Americans behind to die?

The second wave attacks and the last two to die were the guys who disobeyed the "stand down" order.  Will Carney, Obama, Hillary or any General on duty at the time step up to the plate and admit that they think these two deserved to die or at least deserved no support?

Did lying about what happened to the American people put egg on the face of the Libyan leaders and impede the slow-to-start investigation?

Where are the arrests?

Benghazi killers still on the lam after 9 months, may have sought to ‘smoke out’ CIA
4095  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: June 11, 2013, 11:36:49 AM
I have said from the beginning, Hillary will lose to Hickenlooper.   Jobs   Fracking

A good friend of mine says the R ticket will most certainly be Jeb Bush and Chris Christy.

I will save people the trouble of typing:

4096  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 11, 2013, 11:22:09 AM
$100,000 is not very much money in politics or national advertising.  The Obama campaign just spent something approaching a billion on reelection. That is not a very impressive endorsement list IMHO.  Someone has been running radio ads promoting a conservative pro-immigration agenda on conservative radio, Americans for a Conservative Direction.  Wouldn't you know they are actually liberals who are paying for the message to divide conservatives:  Maybe I will start the group, Liberals calling on Obama and Biden to step down and go away or Liberals for a low, across the board, flat tax.

The current Senate Republican reform strategy of Rubio and others is to vote for the bad bill, shift the focus to a Republican bill in the House and hope to fix it in conference.  I think the House will pass a pretty good bill.  Can anyone imagine Schumer, Durbin and Harry Reid caving in conference?  The issue ends somewhere near it started with nothing passed and both sides saying the other is blocking the road to reform.  The point from the beginning was simply that is a slightly better visual for the election than refusing to deal with it at all.

In the 2014 elections, not in Washington but in places like Montana where the Max Baucus open seat will be contested, we will find out what the people think.
4097  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / America's Inner City: Richmond VA, 86% of black households are single-parent on: June 10, 2013, 11:02:35 AM
This is cultural, not racial.  The trend extends across all races.

"60 percent of all families in the city of Richmond are single-parent households. Within the African-American demographic, that number spikes up to 86 percent"
4098  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / American History - Movie: Lincoln, Spielberg, 2012 on: June 10, 2013, 10:50:47 AM
I am not a movie buff and I am almost a year late on this; I just saw it yesterday.  Good movie.  Portrays Lincoln as sharp and persuasive, but makes the implication he has the ethical principles of an ordinary, scoundrel politician.  The movie picked a very narrow timeframe and focused only on one issue, House passage of the 13th amendment to abolish slavery.  I am surprised Hollywood showed so many people that it was Republicans who were hellbent on ending slavery.  Do any black voters today know that?  Lousy ending. (Assassination)

My parting thought from the movie "Lincoln" is that some up and coming, conservative filmmaker (oxymoron?) had better step up with great acting, writing, cinematography and financing and do the definitive "Reagan" movie before someone like Spielberg gets to it.
4099  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: June 10, 2013, 10:23:11 AM
"Reducing a 26 volume tax code to a single page will mostly dis-empower the IRS, no matter what rates we choose"
Also will dis-empower some of the political corruption in DC.
Of course we would still have state taxes, county taxes, and so forth....

That's right.  Eliminating preferences and pursuing 'equal protection' brings all special interests down to just free speech power like everyone else.  There is no point in a zero federal income tax because a) it will never happen (again), and b) the states and everyone else will just tax the hell out of your income anyway.  The real gain from a fair tax, national sales etc would have been to not have to calculate your income.  In all but a few states, you have to do that anyway.

The focus of the new federal tax system must be to tax all income, but do it wider, lower, flatter, and simpler.  The reason to do it is to re-empower the American private sector to grow wealth for all who join in.
4100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / (VDH) Unvetted Rezko land recipient asks, 'who changed the rules?' on: June 10, 2013, 10:07:03 AM
Historian Victor Davis Hanson puts context on the current mess. Obama is just being Obama, 'who changed the rules?'  June 9, 2013

Suddenly, half the country is upset with Obama for the recent flurry of scandals. Even some in the media are perplexed. Why the sudden angst, given that Obama is simply being Obama? We, not he, changed the rules.

Once Barack Obama was elected to the Illinois legislature, his career as a statesman was mostly an afterthought — either voting “present” on controversial legislation (cf. Hillary’s 2008 complaint) or simply showing up to sign off on a straight left-wing agenda. Even his supporters can cite no lasting legislative achievement other than his controversial votes to allow babies born alive from botched abortions to be liquidated. As a political unknown, he got elected and defined his tenure as a legislator into a perpetual effort to find higher office.

Ditto the U.S. Senate.  Obama was noted in his brief career mostly for compiling the most partisan record among a diverse group of 100 senators, while making the argument that he worked “across the aisle” and was a model of “bipartisanship.” Because newly elected Senator Obama swore that he would not run for the presidency, we inferred that he would certainly do just that. (Yes, it is axiomatic that when Obama swears ["make no mistake about it"/"let me be perfectly clear"], then we expect what will follow will prove to be the very opposite.)

In the Senate, there was no signature legislation, no principled opposition, not much of anything, except a vote against Justice Alito and some similarly failed efforts at other filibusters to deny nominees an up-or-down vote.  He spent most of his brief sojourn attacking George W. Bush for the very protocols that he as president would later embrace. The only thing important was getting elected in the first place as a left-wing senator, and Obama accomplished that in brilliant, if not Machiavellian, fashion — with the help of the leaked divorced records of both his primary and general opponents.

The Man Who Never Was

The saga of Obama is marked by the uncanny ability to soar through the academic and government cursus honorum without ever being held too accountable for what followed. Obama’s selection as editor of the Harvard Law Review broke new ground. But to this day, no one cares much that his record was mediocre with no scholarly work to show for his tenure.

For that matter, ditto also his law career at the University of Chicago: an impressive appointment, but no scholarly book as promised, not even an article, and no distinguished record of teaching. Not much of anything. The point of the Nobel Prize was winning it — not doing anything that might have earned it. Just as there was no foreign policy achievement that preceded the prize, so there was naturally none following it. Why expect anything different now?

The Mind of the Liberal Elite

Obama always has a unique insight into a disturbing pathology among wealthy white liberal elites, who often seek, in condescending fashion, to promote particular aspiring minority candidates into positions of power and influence by virtue of their profile rather than past record. Hence the prep-schooled Barry Dunham returned to the more exotic Barack Obama, an authentic enough “other” fresh out of Rev. Wright’s Church, but also the pet of the Ivy League. Had he been born in Chicago to a Daily ward boss, it would have been a bit much to win statewide office. Had Obama been named Reggie Davis I don’t think the liberal resonance would have been there. Had he intoned like Jesse Jackson — all the time — he would have worried big-money liberals. Had his mannerisms been Al Sharpton-like, that would have been a bridge too far. There is something in the liberal mind that ignores the anti-constitutional transgressions of a smooth Eric Holder, but goes berserk over the comparatively minor obfuscations of a twangy Texan Alberto Gonzalez, perhaps along the lines of “how dare he?”  Politics aside, liberal elites would always prefer to hear a Barack Obama fudge than a Clarence Thomas tell the truth.

Obama brilliantly threaded the multicultural, Ivy-League, prep-school, affirmative action, just like us-sorta, yuppie needle. I’ll let you decide whether wealthy liberals practice such racialist paternalism because of feelings of guilt, because of their intrinsic dislike of the NASCAR/Sarah Palin working and middle classes, or as a sort of medieval exemption — the huge “Obama for President” sign on the lawn of the Palo Alto professor means never having to put your kids in schools where some are bused in from East Palo Alto. But what is absolutely non-controversial is that Obama’s prior record as a university undergraduate, a Harvard Law Review editor, a Chicago law lecturer, an Illinois legislator, and a U.S. senator was as undistinguished as his efforts to obtain those posts were absolutely dazzling.

The presidency followed the same earlier script. Obama ran a brilliant campaign both in 2008 and 2012, more inspired even than Richard Nixon’s 1972 CREEP run, or Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” 1984 touchy-feely pastel effort. In 2008, Obama offered cadences of something known as “hope and change” that were supposed to cure the evils of George Bush — and left everything else to the media. The second time around, he turned a decent Mitt Romney into a veritable greedy ogre from the Utah nuthouse, who did everything from ignoring his African-American garbage man to torturing his poor dog to buying pricey horses for his wife who was found guilty of being an equestrian.

But Obama’s record as president? There is pretty much nothing other than ramming through an unpopular takeover of health care, leveraged by political bribes and deemed unworkable even before it is enacted. A “train wreck” is how its author in the Senate dubbed his own legislative offspring.  Otherwise it was golf, down time, and free rein for zealous subordinates to “fundamentally transform America” by any means necessary, usually through administrative fiat and subversions of the vast and always growing bureaucracy.

Obama is now somewhat shocked that a few in the media hold him responsible for lots of bad things that his administration did: destroyed the reputation of the IRS; had a rogue EPA director invent a phony persona; let the HHS secretary shake down PR money from corporations to sell Obamacare; turned the Justice Department into a veritable Stasi enterprise going after the phone records of reporters; reduced the State Department into an arm of the 2012 Obama reelection effort; and helped erode the reputations of both Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, who advanced campaign narratives about Benghazi that were not just untrue, but were demonstrably false the moment they were presented.

So What?

So where’s the beef? Obama, who was given a pass from Rev. Wright to Tony Rezko, is justifiably confused: who now changed the rules? Why should he suddenly be held accountable in a way he never was prior? He signed up to be a transformational president who was above politics, not someone subject to the vagaries of Washington scandals.

The result of the serial dishonesty is that Obama almost immediately reverted to his natural campaign mode, the soaring rhetoric and non-traditional persona that won him everything on the guarantee that there would be no audit, no assessment, no final appraisal. In other words, Obama never really became president of the United States. He simply kept running for the office against “them” even when he is now “them” holding the highest office. So Pavlovian was his campaign mode that he never quite stopped to wonder why he was running against himself — now damning the very abuses of power that he committed, upset only that someone might be disturbed about a record in a manner that they never were at Harvard, in the Senate, or during his first term.

Quo Vadimus?

Where do the scandals lead? To about three more months of Washington inaction. At some point soon, the Democrats will accept that the novelty of Obama in opposition to the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments has worn off. Who cares to hound out our first black president, our first northern liberal commander in chief in a half-century? Likewise the media will strut a bit to show it is not entirely reptilian, but then will revert to the usual hagiography. Why endanger Obamacare, or “lead from behind,” or the apology tours, or the new 50 million on food stamps by cannibalizing your own?

There are lots of metaphors for Obama. Some cite King Henry II, who dreams out loud for advantageous things to follow, only to shed alligator tears when toadies reify his deadly desires (Becket dead? That was a bit much, wasn’t it?). Others cite the clueless Jimmy Carter, whose agendas proved unworkable and ended up as caricatures of a presidency. I still prefer Chauncey Gardiner of Being There. In January 2012, I wrote the following on these pages:

    What got Obama to the presidency was being a man without a past or present, Chauncey Gardiner of Being There — without a college record, a medical record, a scholarly record, or much of a legislative record, the “smartest” president in history without having to say or do anything smart, who “busted hump” his entire life without any proof that he ever did any such thing, who proclaimed himself a greater president than all but three, but left nothing great in his wake, now or in the past. Obama had forgotten that winning non-persona for a time, and so after 2009 fooled himself into thinking out loud that at times he would play a real Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy, or Reagan.

    But now Obama accepts what he was and always will be — Chauncey Gardiner.

    And just being there is apparently the way to being president a bit longer.

Nothing has changed in the last 18 months, and the Obama presidency remains what it has been since 2009:  a path-breaking candidate who was elected America’s first African-American president; a gifted teleprompted speaker who is as accomplished from a script as he flounders ex tempore; and an opportunist haunted by George Bush and the post-2010 Republican House that are supposed to be responsible for most of what he gets caught for.

Otherwise there is not a lot there—mostly a carnival of McCarthyite (AttackWatch, JournoList, IRS) henchmen and left-wing extremists trying to push through an agenda by any means necessary that the majority of America probably does not welcome.

Obama is perturbed that we question any of this malfeasance. I think he is right to be angry. In his case, we made up the Obama rules that symbolism (not performance) and amnesty (not accountability) count. So why break our covenant with him, and now start asking for concrete and honest accomplishment when the teleprompter was always enough? In 2008, did we ask for the specifics of “the audacity of hope,” or ponder how someone who did not miss a service at Trinity Church (“Yep. Every week. 11 o’clock service”) somehow missed Rev. Wright’s serial racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-American rants? That we now want to know the president’s role in Benghazi, or in the IRS, AP, and Fox scandals is something that was just not part of the smartest-president-in-history bargain—as if once upon a time America ever demanded, “What the hell is your hope and change?”

So as they say here in Selma, “Get over it”.
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