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4051  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / American Creed: Comments on the Rasmussen makers vs takers piece on: April 22, 2013, 11:24:28 AM
The Rasmussen piece is actually good news, that people mostly don't see themselves as dependent on government.  It clears the way for a pro-growth economic argument to gain ground.  As JFK put it, a rising tide lifts all boats.  The pro-growth argument is also the answer to funding the programs that benefit the people in real need.

OTOH, the turnout operation of the 11% who do see themselves dependent on government methodically identified by the Obama campaign was the key to the President's second victory.

Rasmussen:  "If they want to seriously compete for middle-class votes, Republicans need to get over the makers vs. takers mentality. We live in a time when just 35 percent believe the economy is fair to the middle class. Only 41 percent believe it is fair to those who are willing to work hard. Those problems are not created by the poor."

Some of that effect is driven by media and the endless class envy politics.  The message (which I think is mostly false) is pounded into our heads, then we poll that question and make further news with the polls.  The rich are richer than the poor and the middle class.  But: a) these groups change; there is still amazing income mobility in our economy, and b) chopping off big wealth only puts the poor and middle class in a worse situation.

Rasmussen has the ending exactly right.  Because of this widely held perception, Republicans need to be all the more vigilant against supporting any subsidies, credits, deduction or rules that don't apply the same way to everyone.
4052  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Will: Funding the Welfare State - Until the Implosion on: April 21, 2013, 12:44:58 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-f-will-whats-behind-the-funding-of-the-welfare-state/2013/04/17/8686d412-a6bd-11e2-8302-3c7e0ea97057_story.html

What's behind the funding of the welfare state
By George F. Will,

The regulatory, administrative state, which progressives champion, is generally a servant of the strong, for two reasons. It responds to financially powerful and politically sophisticated factions. And it encourages rent-seekers to exploit opportunities for concentrated benefits and dispersed costs (e.g., agriculture subsidies confer sums on large agribusinesses by imposing small costs on 316 million Americans).

Such government inevitably means executive government and the derogation of the legislative branch, both of which produce exploding government debt. By explaining these perverse effects of progressivism, the Hudson Institute’s Christopher DeMuth explains contemporary government’s cascading and reinforcing failures.

Executive growth fuels borrowing growth because of the relationship between what DeMuth, in a recent address at George Mason University, called “regulatory insouciance and freewheeling finance.” Government power is increasingly concentrated in Washington, Washington power is increasingly concentrated in the executive branch, and executive-branch power is increasingly concentrated in agencies that are unconstrained by legislative control. Debt and regulation are, DeMuth discerns, “political kin”: Both are legitimate government functions, but both are now perverted to evade democratic accountability, which is a nuisance, and transparent taxation, which is politically dangerous.

Today’s government uses regulation to achieve policy goals by imposing on the private sector burdens less obvious than taxation would be, burdens that become visible only indirectly, in higher prices. Often the goals government pursues by surreptitious indirection are goals that could not win legislative majorities — e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases following Congress’s refusal to approve such policies. And deficit spending — borrowing — is, DeMuth says, “a complementary means of taxation evasion”: It enables the political class to provide today’s voters with significantly more government benefits than current taxes can finance, leaving the difference to be paid by voters too young to vote or not yet born.

Two developments demonstrate, DeMuth says, how “delegation and debt have become coordinate mechanisms of legislative abnegation.” One is Congress’s anti-constitutional delegation of taxing authority to executive-branch regulatory agencies funded substantially or entirely by taxes the agencies levy, not by congressional appropriations. For example, DeMuth notes, the Federal Communications Commission’s $347 mil­­lion operating expenses “are funded by payments from the firms it regulates,” and its $9 billion program subsidizing certain Internet companies is funded by its own unilateral tax on telecommunication firms. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, another freebooting agency not tethered to the appropriations process, automatically receives a share of the profits of the Federal Reserve banks.

A second development is “the integration of regulation and debt-financed consumption.” Recently, a Post headline announced: “Obama administration pushes banks to make home loans to people with weaker credit.” Here we go again — subprime mortgages as federal policy. Is this because lowering lending requirements and forcing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to securitize the loans worked so well last time? This illustrates DeMuth’s point about how unfettered executive government uses debt-financed consumption and “regulatory conscription of private markets” to force spending “vastly beyond what Congress could have appropriated in the light of day.”

High affluence and new technologies have, DeMuth believes, “led to unhealthy political practices.” Time was, the three basic resources required for effective political action — discretionary time, the ability to acquire and communicate information and persuasion skills — were scarce and possessed only by elites. But in our wealthy and educated society, interest groups can pressure government without being filtered by congressional hierarchies.

Legislative leaders — particularly, committee chairs — have lost power as Congress has become more porous and responsive to importuning factions using new media. Congress, responding to the increased difficulty of legislating, has delegated much lawmaking to specialized agencies that have fewer internal conflicts. Congress’s role has waned as that of autonomous executive agencies has waxed. The executive has driven the expansion of the consumption of benefits that are paid for by automatic entitlement transfer payments, by government-mandated private expenditures and by off-budget and non-transparent taxation imposed by executive agencies.

Government used to spend primarily on the production of things — roads, dams, bridges, military forces. There can be only so many of such goods. Now, DeMuth says, government spends primarily for consumption:

“The possibilities for increasing the kind, level, quality and availability of benefits are practically unlimited. This is the ultimate source of today’s debt predicament. More borrowing for more consumption has no natural stopping point short of imploding on itself.”

Funding the welfare state by vast borrowing and regulatory taxation hides the costs from the public. Hence its political potency. Until the implosion.
4053  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: Rasmussen says drop the makers vs takers argument on: April 21, 2013, 12:38:09 PM
Credible because I find Scott Ramussen to be both conservative and an expert on public opinion.  Usually this type of advise to the Republicans comes from the opponents.

Republicans Need to Get Over the Makers vs. Takers Mindset

By Scott Rasmussen - April 21, 2013

Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded comment that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent on the government” and “believe they are victims” isn’t the only reason he lost the presidential campaign. But the candidate himself acknowledged after the election that the comments were “very harmful.”

He added, “What I said is not what I believe.”

But many Republicans still believe it, and the “makers vs. takers” theme has a deep hold on the party. In private conversations, many in the GOP are whispering that Romney was right and that his only mistake was saying it out loud.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say something like, “Well, the half who favor government programs is the half who don’t pay any taxes.”

This is ridiculous — on many levels.

First, the overwhelming majority of those who don’t pay federal income taxes pay a whole variety of other taxes, including state and local taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, sin taxes and more. They don’t feel excluded from sharing the tax burden just because they don’t pay one particular tax.

It’s also worth noting that these aren’t the people pushing for higher taxes. At Rasmussen Reports, our most recent polling shows that people who make $100,000 or more each year are more supportive of higher taxes than those who make less.

Second, the 47 percent who don’t pay federal income taxes include large chunks of the Republican base. Many senior citizens fall into this category because their primary income is from Social Security. They don’t consider themselves “takers.” They paid money into a Social Security system throughout their working lives and now simply expect the government to honor the promises it made.

Third, low-income Americans aren’t looking for a handout. Among those who are living in poverty, 81 percent agree that work is the best solution to poverty. Most would rather replace welfare programs with a guaranteed minimum-wage job. Sharing the mainstream view, 69 percent of the poor believe that too many Americans are dependent upon the government.

Sixty-five percent of low-income Americans consider it “very important” for an economy to provide everybody with an opportunity to succeed. Interestingly enough, low-income Americans consider that more important than those who earn more.

But if I had to pick just one number to highlight how bad the 47 percent remark was, it would be this. Just 11 percent of Americans today consider themselves dependent upon government. Sure, some receive a Social Security check or an unemployment check, but that’s not dependence upon government. That’s cash received in exchange for premiums paid.

If they want to seriously compete for middle-class votes, Republicans need to get over the makers vs. takers mentality. We live in a time when just 35 percent believe the economy is fair to the middle class. Only 41 percent believe it is fair to those who are willing to work hard. Those problems are not created by the poor.

GOP candidates would be well advised to shift their focus from attacking the poor to going after those who are really dependent upon government — the Political Class, the crony capitalists, the megabanks and other recipients of corporate welfare.

4054  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on Heller on: April 21, 2013, 11:09:41 AM
Responding to the charge that he is ignoring the Heller decision:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNUhWoIdFb4
4055  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, The Smear of Ted Cruz on: April 20, 2013, 08:25:39 PM
Maybe we can move this over to the Ted Cruz thread...  )

John Hinderaker, Powerline

Demonizing Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz has made quite an impression in just three months in the Senate. Like Marco Rubio, he is the son of a Cuban exile. He is a extraordinarily talented guy. Unlike Barack Obama, he had a stellar record both in academia and in the practice of law: he was national debating champion, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, clerked for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America, served as Solicitor General of the State of Texas and authored more than 80 briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court. As a law student, Cruz was described by Professor Alan Dershowitz as “off the charts brilliant.” He was elected to the Senate last year in what the Washington Post called “the biggest upset of 2012 . . . a true grassroots victory against very long odds.” So it is not surprising that, just as Cruz has quickly become a hero on the right, the Democratic Party is out to destroy him.

The Post’s Dana Milbank contributed to that effort yesterday. Milbank is a bit like Jon Stewart: he often comes across as a clown, but his underlying purpose is deadly serious. This is how Milbank began his hatchet job on Cruz:

    Is there nobody who can tell Ted Cruz to shut up?

    The young senator from Texas has been on the job for about 100 days, but he has already turned the Senate’s ancient seniority system upside down and is dominating his senior Republican colleagues. He’s speaking for them on immigration, guns and any other topic that tickles his fancy; Republican leaders are seething at being outshone yet are terrified of challenging him.

If Milbank had any evidence to support this assertion, it would make for an interesting story of the Washington gossip variety. But Milbank, a notoriously partisan Democrat, is no intimate of Republican leaders of the Senate, and he cites no evidence to back up his claim that “Republican leaders are seething,” but “terrified” of Cruz. Milbank did, however, go to the trouble of counting up words at a recent press conference:

    Consider his news conference this week to promote the Republican alternative to gun control. …

    Cruz took over the lectern and refused to relinquish it. He spoke 2,924 words for the cameras, more than Grassley (904), Graham (1,376) and Coats (360) — combined. Factoring in his dramatic pauses to convey sincerity and deep thought, Cruz’s dominance was even more lopsided. The others shifted uncomfortably and looked awkwardly around the room. At one point, Graham requested a chance to speak. “Can I?” he asked Cruz.

Now, it’s possible that Cruz talked too long. In D.C., it has been known to happen. But I suspect it is more likely that Cruz was delegated to carry the ball at the press conference, and Milbank tells us nothing to the contrary.

But now Milbank gets to the real point:

    Cruz is 42, the same age Joe McCarthy was when he amassed power in the Senate with his allegations of communist infiltration. Tail-gunner Ted debuted in the Senate this year….

This is one of the most ludicrous smears in the history of journalism. It would make as much sense to say “Cruz is 42, the same age as Thomas Jefferson when he was named Ambassador to France.” Or “Cruz, like Abraham Lincoln, is tall.” But Milbank wanted to echo the Democratic Party’s chosen route of attack by linking Cruz, however randomly, with McCarthy.

Why? Because “Tail-gunner Ted debuted in the Senate this year with the insinuation that Chuck Hagel, now the defense secretary, may have been on the payroll of the North Koreans.” In fact, Cruz, along with a number of other Republicans, criticized Hagel for refusing to explain his sources of income during the years after he left the Senate. It is reasonable to suspect, given Hagel’s out of the mainstream foreign policy views, that he may have received honoraria from Middle Eastern countries or groups, in particular. What Cruz said–”We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme or radical groups. It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea”–made perfect sense, given that Hagel was nominated to be Secretary of State.

Milbank goes on to accuse Cruz of lying on various occasions, but in each case, Cruz was right and Milbank is wrong:

    On guns, Cruz’s high profile required Grassley to give the upstart a premium chunk of floor time for his trademark falsehoods. Cruz claimed that his bill was the “result of multiple hearings in the Judiciary Committee.” (It was never brought before the panel.)

But Cruz didn’t say his bill “was brought before the panel,” he said it grew out of the Judiciary Committee’s hearings, like this one. There is no inconsistency at all.

    He claimed the opposing legislation would extend “background checks to private transactions between private individuals.” (The bill applied to only advertised sales. [sic])

This one is mystifying. Under current law, only federally licensed dealers have to run background checks. The whole point of the Democrats’ proposed legislation and the Manchin/Toomey compromise bill was to extend background checks to private transactions between private individuals, specifically over the internet and at gun shows. Cruz obviously was correct.

    Off the floor, he made the patently false claim that the “so-called ‘gun show loophole’” doesn’t exist.

Again, Milbank is simply wrong. There is no “gun show loophole.” Gun shows are treated exactly like everything else: if a licensed dealer sells a firearm at a gun show, he has to run a background check. If a private citizen sells a firearm at a gun show, he doesn’t. Milbank and his fellow liberals may not like the existing law, but Cruz stated it accurately.

If this is the best Milbank and the Democrats can do to illustrate Ted Cruz’s “trademark falsehoods,” they are going to have to come up with a new line of attack.
4056  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rest in Peace: Sean Collier of the MIT Police on: April 20, 2013, 08:16:16 PM
http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/04/19/mit-police-officer-sean-collier-killed-the-line-duty-during-confrontation-with-marathon-bombing-suspects/okOsk0WUnFyGB1yQ6CxuBI/story.html

American flags began to appear on a cordoned-off block of Curtis Street as the news spread that 26-year-old Sean Collier, an MIT police officer who lived in a three-story house there, had been killed in a late-night confrontation with the two suspects in the deadly Boston Marathon bombing.

Through tears, his roommate — who trained with Collier at the police academy and did not provide his name — said Collier was “awesome,” his only fault being that was he was too brave.

“He was the guy who went to help,” his roommate said. “The best guy got shot down by the biggest scumbags.”

In a statement, Collier’s family expressed their grief.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our wonderful and caring son and brother, Sean Collier,” the family wrote. “Our only solace is that Sean died bravely doing what he committed his life to — serving and protecting others. We are thankful for the outpouring of support and condolences offered by so many people.”

Expressions of love for Collier came from all corners of his life. MIT police chief John DiFava called Collier “a home run,” with every quality one could want in a police officer.
4057  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, CBS surprisingly clueless on: April 20, 2013, 08:01:37 PM
Thank God law enforcement killed and caught whoever they've got so far. 

I watched CBS interrupt prime time last night to exploit, I mean, cover this.  The anchor was just puzzled.  Can you think of, he asked every guest, any reason they would do this, even after identifying the accused as being Islamic extremists.  It went on for most of the evening.  Maybe they could have done a re-cap of all the other similar attacks - there is a pattern here, or read the words in the Koran inspiring it, or quoted the promotion of these types of attacks in the Mosques, rather than endlessly ask the question only of people they know won't answer.

Our Obj (and others) could have pointed him to guests that have a theory (see previous post in this thread), if that is what they wanted.
4058  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gabby Giffords's 900-word jeremiad, fallacious reasoning and demagogic appeals on: April 20, 2013, 07:42:25 PM
It's too bad the left is unwilling to have an honest debate on anything, in this case guns.  There is an argument to be made (see 28 internet pages with 162,000 reads in this thread) that the right of law abiding citizens to bear arms makes us safer.  One armed citizen positioned near her might have ended the shooting sooner.  The would be confiscators would do well to read this as well:

"... the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

I didn't shoot Gabby Giffords.  I feel compassion for what she went through.  I don't care less than she does about the other victims.  I was once mowed down by a car.  I didn't see her visit me or run out to ban vehicles, and I don't impugn her humanity for that oversight.  Having our motives constantly impugned is sickening.  Only the people oblivious to the clause above care about the victims and the tragedies, she believes.  I've had it with that brand of self righteous drivel.  Aren't you lucky, Gabby Giffords, to have "every reasonable American" on your side.  Win over some of the unreasonable and uncaring people and you might have a working majority.  James Taranto picks apart her atrocious logic quite well here:. 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324493704578430771447679726.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

Giffords's 900-word jeremiad should be included in every textbook of logic and political rhetoric, so rife is it with examples of fallacious reasoning and demagogic appeals. Let's go through them:

• The argumentum ad passiones, or appeal to emotion. She leads with this one: "Senators say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them."

• The appeal to motives. Giffords claims that the senators who voted against the measures "looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby" and "made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association." She also asserts that "their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest" and on "cowardice." These characterizations are mutually inconsistent--can a senator's decision have been based on both unreasoning fear and a cold (but erroneous!) calculation of self-interest?--and they are also entirely unsubstantiated. So is her assertion that "the status quo" is "desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation."

• Guilt by association. See the references to the "gun lobby" in the preceding paragraph.

• Poisoning the well. She reveals that some of the senators who voted against the amendments "have met with grieving parents" and that some "have also looked into my eyes . . . and expressed sympathy" for her and other Tucson victims. Her purpose in citing these facts is to impugn the senators' sincerity: "And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them." In reality, they didn't "do nothing"; they rejected particular legislative proposals. It does not follow, and indeed it seems unlikely and is boorish to assert, that their expressions of sympathy were not heartfelt.

• Begging the question. Giffords characterizes the proposed amendments as "common-sense legislation" that "could prevent future tragedies." She also describes them as "these most benign and practical of solutions." She pretends that the central matter in dispute--whether the benefits would outweigh the costs or indeed whether the proposals would have yielded the benefits their advocates promised at all--has already been settled in her side's favor.

• The no-true-Scotsman move. "These senators have heard from their constituents--who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks," Giffords writes. She ignores the possibility that those polls are flawed and that the senators are hearing a different message from their constituents. Then she qualifies her claim of public unanimity: "I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth . . ." See what she did there? (The switcheroo to every reasonable American reminds us of a probably apocryphal tale about Adlai Stevenson. A woman is supposed to have said to him, "Governor, you have the support of every thinking American," to which he replied: "But madam, I need a majority.")

• The argumentum ad baculam, or argument from the club. This consists in attempting to persuade by making threats. Giffords urges "mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You've lost my vote" and in other ways for those who agree with her to work for the lawmakers' defeat--a call to action, not an argument. There is, of course, nothing objectionable about citizens in a democratic republic engaging in such action, but that goes for those on the other side as well. And it's worth recalling that the "civility" hypocrites back in the day proclaimed themselves troubled and outraged by the phenomenon of citizens confronting their elected representatives at public meetings.

• The argumentum ad misericordiam, or appeal to pity. "Speaking is physically difficult for me," she writes. "But my feelings are clear: I'm furious." It should be obvious that this in no way speaks to the merits of the legislation or even the character of its supporters and opponents.

• The false dilemma. This is Giffords's closing gambit: "To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way."

• The appeal to authority. That would be Giffords's own authority as a former lawmaker. "I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress," she writes. "I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither." Perhaps her legislative experience gives her some insight into the senators' state of mind, but if so, she does not share it with readers, whom she expects to accept her conclusion unquestioningly.
(more at the link)
4059  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 19, 2013, 01:00:17 PM
Partial agreement with Obj:

"Here is my frank assessment of Wesbury:  He lives in his own little universe of economic statistics,"

  - true, (they all do)

"most of which are provided by the Federal government,"

  - true

and are severely distorted deliberately in this administration's favor.  

  - No, IMO.  Most important economic statistics like the unemployment rate and the poverty rate are flawed measurements, but there is usually trend information to be learned from the movement in these measures.

"the cold, hard evidence that there NEVER HAS BEEN A RECOVERY"

  - What did Clinton say, it depends on what the meaning of is is.  We've had something like 37 months of job growth since the bottom, a recovery in name only.  We've also lost 20% of our wealth that will never come back under the current stagnation agenda.  I agree with you, that to recover means to fully recover - to at least get back to where we were.  It is spin (BS?) to confuse recovery with pathetic, partial, upward movements.  

My take from Wesbury or reading any of them is to read for the facts only, put the facts in context, and ignore the spin and take the analysis with active skepticism. I don't hold economists accountable for knowing the future.  I judge them by how well they can analyze and explain what has already happened.

The 2009 Wesbury prediction of 5% was absurd, but based on a history of v-shaped 'curves' coming up from a drop that severe.  He seemed to ignore the fact that most of the forces pushes us downward were still acting to push us downward.  He coined the phrase plowhorse economy later to acknowledge the heavy load we are pulling.

Remember this:  At the beginning of 2008, Wesbury, a supply sider, warned Republicans they would not win the election if they relied on a bad economy alone to defeat President Obama.  He was right.  The economy was stalled, but good enough for the incumbent to win all battleground states.
4060  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gold's Plunge [could be] Cause For Optimism on: April 19, 2013, 12:18:09 PM
Interesting piece though I don't fully agree with the optimism.  I think the reason gold fell is because it went up too far, too fast, previously.  The economy went from free fall in crisis to stable stagnation, which is quite an improvement.  The outlook is more stagnation, far better than free fall. The gold to oil ratio pointed out in the piece is quite telling.  In general, gold is how you take money out of productive business investment, so a move away from gold is some reason for optimism.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324485004578427271772508456.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

Gold's Plunge Is Cause For Optimism
It signals strength in the dollar that could reorient investment away from hedges and toward economic growth.

By JOHN TAMNY

In January 1980, the price of gold hit what was then an all-time high, $850 per ounce. Ten years earlier, gold traded at $35. Its stupendous rise in the 1970s neatly correlated with that malaise-riddled decade, as its decline in the 1980s signaled renewed prosperity.

That is why the recent decline in the price of gold—down 16% to $1,387 an ounce from $1,660 when February began—is cause for cautious optimism. Gold's recent weakness points to renewed dollar strength and, if this strength is maintained, may preview reorientation of precious capital away from dollar-devaluation hedges and toward investments in what has been called "the economy of the mind"—that is, new entrepreneurial endeavors and industries.

The precious metal has long been referred to as "the golden constant" for its steady value. An example is the skyrocketing price of gold in the 1970s, which didn't so much signal a spike in gold's value as it showed the decline of the dollar in which it was priced. If gold's constancy as a measure of value is doubted, consider oil: In 1971 an ounce of gold at $35 bought 15 barrels, in 1981 an ounce of gold at $480 similarly bought 15 barrels, and today an ounce once again buys a shade above 15.

There is another way of looking at the 1970s rise in the price of gold and decline in the value of the dollar, which has relevance for today. The weakening dollar marked a massive redistribution of wealth away from savers and equity investors, and with that redistribution a capital deficit for companies eager to grow.

When savers commit capital to new ideas, it is to receive a return in later years. But with the dollar in free fall throughout the 1970s, incentives were seriously distorted, and investments migrated toward classes of hard assets—such as commodities (oil, cotton, wheat, etc.) whose dollar-denominated prices rose and were thus least vulnerable to devaluation. Housing prices also soared. Meanwhile, stock market indexes such as the S&P 500, which represented the nation's most promising companies, nearly flattened.

If you owned a house, or were long in commodities like gold and oil, your dollar wealth rose substantially. If your savings were held in dollars or equities, your nominal wealth position flat-lined and in real terms plummeted.

Happily for investors and the U.S. economy more broadly, the dollar hit a low point in 1980 and reversed course in the next two decades. In the 1980s, gold fell 52%—and the S&P zoomed upward by 222%. In the 1990s, gold declined by another 29%—and the S&P roared, up 314% for the decade.

With the dollar on an upswing, investors had a renewed incentive to migrate out of inflation hedges and into economic sectors where new ideas offered the potential for outsize returns. The technology sector shined. However risky it was to put capital into new companies or an unproven concept, investors at least had more assurance that any returns they reaped would not be eroded by devaluation.

Fast forward to the new millennium. In January 2001, a dollar bought roughly 1/270th of an ounce of gold, but in the ensuing 12 years its value took a severe turn downward to 1/1600th of an ounce two months ago.

By August 2011, gold had soared to $1,900 from $270 in January 2001. When we take into account the greenback's extreme weakness, the alleged mystery about a "lost decade" in economic growth is quickly erased.

As in the 1970s, gold's rise in the past decade once again signaled a painful dollar devaluation that would foster a commodity boom, rising house prices and near flat markets. Though some cheer the market highs of today, it should be remembered that they're merely a return to heights last reached in 2000, when the dollar was much stronger.

All this is to emphasize that the recent fall in gold prices, while surely bad news for investors who are long in hard assets, may be good news for the future.

The unwind in these investors' positions wrought by a stronger dollar will surely be painful, but savers, unemployed workers and the broad economy have suffered long enough from a weak dollar and slow growth. It must be remembered that there are no companies and no jobs without investment first. A strong dollar would energize the savers as it did before, and savings are the economic tonic needed to get Americans working again.

Mr. Tamny is editor of Forbes Opinions and RealClearMarkets.
4061  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues - Pulitzer Prize for Commentary goes to Bret Stephens, WSJ on: April 19, 2013, 11:47:41 AM
The Wall Street Journal won its 34th Pulitzer Prize.  Congratulations to Bret Stephens on winning the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Bret won for a selection of his weekly Global View columns in 2012. Links to columns here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324485004578424973573771056.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTSecond

Readers of the forum already saw excerpts and links to many Stephens columns:
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1718.msg66231#msg66231
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1718.msg66241#msg66241
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1079.msg64179#msg64179
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=962.msg15202#msg15202
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=2177.msg69222#msg69222

Much more WSJ is available with a subscription, highly recommended:
http://couponjet.org/the-wall-street-journal-subscription-discount-coupons-wsj-promo-code.htm

Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot's nominating letter: (Gigot won this award in 2000; his predecessor Robert Bartley won it in 1980.)

To the Judges:
Bret Stephens, the Wall Street Journal’s Global View columnist, is a conservative thinker with a contrarian bent. Though his main focus is foreign policy, he wanders far and wide with an eclectic mind that is impossible to stereotype and forces readers to think.
Millions of column inches were published on the 2012 election, yet readers could have saved themselves much time and effort if they had read only Bret’s bookend pieces in January and November. “The GOP Deserves to Lose” on Jan. 24 lamented the state of the Republican presidential field, including front-runner Mitt Romney: “Thus the core difference between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama: For the governor, the convictions are the veneer. For the president, the pragmatism is. Voters always see through this. They usually prefer the man who stands for something.” After the election he could claim vindication, and he did, in a lacerating column that upset many Journal readers but has contributed to some Republican rethinking on immigration and gay marriage.

In 2012, Bret also dared to challenge the conventional applause for Condoleezza Rice as a potential vice presidential candidate, and he defended his liberal competitor, Fareed Zakaria, against conservatives who wanted to run him out of journalism for a plagiarism slip. In an age when many ideological combatants relish and celebrate the mistakes of their competitors, Bret’s generosity was notable and a contribution to civil discourse.

His column on “Muslims, Mormons and Liberals” (Sept. 18) highlighted the hypocrisy of people who have no problem mocking one religious group in a Broadway musical but become indignant about other crude religious satires. “It need be said that the whole purpose of free speech is to protect unpopular, heretical, vulgar and stupid views,” Stephens wrote about the administration’s condemnation of the YouTube video on Mohammed. “So far, the Obama administration’s approach to free speech is that it’s fine so long as it’s cheap and exacts no political price. This is free speech as pizza.”

Bret has a particular talent for bringing humanity into his writing about geopolitics. That talent came through movingly in his columns about Sergei Magnitsky in “Russia’s Steve Biko” (March 27) and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in “Who Will Tell the Truth About China?” (Feb. 14).

Bret’s columns are among the most popular at the Journal, and my own reporting suggests they are also among the most influential. That influence showed in his two December columns on Susan Rice, which helped to focus opposition to her possible choice as the next Secretary of State. The pieces were not welcome at the White House but they helped to convince Ms. Rice and President Obama that she would face a withering confirmation fight, and she withdrew from consideration.

As for his prose, my own view is that Mr. Stephens writes as well as any columnist in America. I can’t think of a columnist who had a better year.
Sincerely,
Paul Gigot
4062  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: April 18, 2013, 06:22:12 PM
My fear is that the US govt cannot keep its word, not just on the border security side.  Once proponents get what they want from this bill, why wouldn't they open the issue again and demand basic 'human rights', like free health care, food and voting now?  Will a court rule on these deprived 'rights' of the recently legalized with 'heightened scrutiny'.  Will we again hear that anyone opposed shortening the wait, paying out benefits or giving instant voting privileges is a bigot, xenophobe, hater.

On the plus side according to Rubio today, working, paying taxes, and not receiving federal benefits through the whole process is a requirement.  If true, that is a pretty good applicant group!  Not every illegal is going to sign up for that.

Terrorism this week reminds us that 90% effective border security is not good enough.  It is time to know who is coming and going.
4063  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Marco Rubio! on: April 18, 2013, 05:36:52 PM
To mix my metaphors, Ann Coulter is a drive by spray and pray bomb thrower.  It is what she does.  When she hits the intended target she is great, when she misses she can do so spectacularly, and when she hits the wrong target, she is long gone.

Agree.  She is unfortunately erratic.  She is thought of as far right, but then goes all out for Christy and then Romney.  She can be brilliant with insights and biting humor.  Let's say Rubio is all wrong on this.  If so, he will pay a huge price.  Scorching his intentions and his integrity is not the best way to advance her cause, or the cause of conservatism, or secure borders or anything else.
4064  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Another look at 'global' 'warming' on: April 18, 2013, 05:28:21 PM
Global warming right now looks like a cold, cruel hoax.  From my outpost: 20 inches of ice depth, still, plus another foot of snow falling now.  Last year the lake was clear of ice by March 20.  135 years ago it was clear by March 11.  I took this photo across a snow covered lake in metro Mpls yesterday in sunshine.  The view now is all white-out.  My catamaran and kayak are patiently awaiting the change of season.  The geese look a confused.  Another 2-day 'winter' snowstorm all day today through tomorrow.  In two months the days start getting shorter. 

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/04/16/lake-minnetonka-could-face-historically-late-ice-out/
4065  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dem senator sees train wreck coming on: April 18, 2013, 12:35:33 PM

"A six-term veteran, Baucus expects a tough re-election in 2014. He's still trying to recover from approval ratings that nosedived amid displeasure with the health care law in his home state."

True, the train wreck he sees coming might be his own reelection, Obama lost Montana by 14 points.

"Normally low-key and supportive, Baucus challenged Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at Wednesday's hearing."

I wonder if there was also a wink from the Senator as the author of the bill got tough with the secretary in committee.  She needs him reelected too.  I wonder if she could ever get elected in Kansas again.  Obama lost Kansas by over 20 points.

4066  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marco Rubio! Conservative criticism continued: Ann Coulter calls him a liar on: April 18, 2013, 12:04:16 PM
http://townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/2013/04/17/if-rubios-amnesty-is-so-great-why-is-he-lying-n1571061/page/full/

If Rubio's Amnesty is So Great, Why is He Lying?
---------------

All I see are the same arguments on both sides.  Isn't she lying if she calls a plea bargain with a fine in the thousands of dollars 'amnesty'?  If you did hard time for a crime and were released at the end of your sentence, is that amnesty?

This bill isn't tough enough for me and it may get worse in the amendment process before it gets a vote.  We can argue out the provisions on the immigration thread.  In the meantime, it would be better for the people supposedly on the same team to argue the merits of competing policies rather than name call and mud sling publicly.  What is her plan?  Self deport.  How is that going?  We ran that trial balloon politically with the Romney candidacy.
4067  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Perez, another dishonest appointee on: April 18, 2013, 11:45:46 AM
Tom Perez as Sec of Labor should fit in just fine with the Obama cabinet:
----
Perez gave false testimony to the Civil Rights Commission about the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. Under oath, Perez said that no “political leadership” at DOJ was involved in the decision not to pursue that matter. But a federal district court judge (Reggie Walton) found that internal Justice Department documents “contradict” this testimony.

Perez made false statements to investigators who looked into a deal he orchestrated with the City of St. Paul. Under Perez’s deal, the DOJ caused the dismissal of a suit against the City of St. Paul, one that could have netted $180 million to U.S. taxpayers, in exchange for the City’s agreement to drop a Supreme Court appeal (in the case of Magner v. Gallaher), the outcome of which might have invalidated DOJ’s pet method of proving racial discrimination in housing cases.

The Wall Street Journal describes Perez’s dishonesty over this quid pro quo arrangement:

    Mr. Perez told investigators he hadn’t heard of the Magner case until the Supreme Court agreed to hear it on November 7, 2011. But HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Sara Pratt told investigators that she and Mr. Perez had a discussion about the case well before that.

    Mr. Perez also says he didn’t propose the quid pro quo. But St. Paul’s lawyer, David Lillehaug, testified that Mr. Perez first called him on November 23, 2011 to discuss Magner and on November 29 met him to propose a “potential solution”: the quid pro quo. It defies logic to believe St. Paul wanted to drop a case it had been fighting for nearly a decade and after the High Court had finally agreed to hear it.

Perez has worked in additional ways to cover-up his involvement in the quid pro quo.

    On January 10, 2012, Mr. Perez left a voicemail for Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker, instructing him not to link Magner and Newell in the memo explaining why Justice wouldn’t intervene in Newell.

    Mr. Perez also told investigators he didn’t have “any recollection” of using his personal email to correspond about the quid pro quo. . .Congressional investigators later discovered a personal email Mr. Perez sent to St. Paul’s lawyer, Mr. Lillehaug, on December 10, 2011. They have subpoenaed Mr. Perez for his Verizon email account, but Mr. Perez has not complied with the subpoena.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/04/will-senate-republicans-turn-a-blind-eye-to-tom-perezs-dishonesty.php
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/26/insuring-racial-discrimination/
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/high-ranking-doj-official-gave-false-testimony-about-voter-intimidation-case.php
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/03/how-tom-perez-traded-u-s-money-to-protect-pet-race-discrimination-theory.php
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323346304578426950656708348.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
4068  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Education: Will Columbia hire the Boston bomber? on: April 18, 2013, 11:38:49 AM
Other than the passage of time, one can find no real distinction between the cowardly actions of last Monday’s Boston murderer and the terror carried out by [Columbia Prof.] Boudin and her accomplices.
...
Forty-three years ago last month, Kathy Boudin, now a professor at Columbia but then a member of the Weather Underground, escaped an explosion at a bomb factory operated in a townhouse in Greenwich Village...Three weeks earlier, Boudin’s Weathermen had firebombed a private home in Upper Manhattan with Molotov cocktails.
...
The Web site of Columbia’s School of Social Work sums up Boudin’s past thus: “Dr. Kathy Boudin has been an educator and counselor with experience in program development since 1964, working within communities with limited resources to solve social problems.”

“Since 1964” — that would include the bombing of [the author's] house, it would include the anti-personnel devices intended for Fort Dix and it would include the dead policeman on the side of the Thruway in 1981.
...
Maybe, if he is caught, Monday’s bomber can explain that, like Boudin, he was merely working within the community to solve social problems.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/tale_of_two_terrorists_3WtcmY2p7PwFkbO1NheqNL
4069  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: April 18, 2013, 11:32:39 AM
Arthur Laffer is usually right and always worth reading.  That said, I have mixed feelings about this one.

From the conclusion:  "The principle of levying the lowest possible tax rate on the broadest possible tax base is the way to improve the incentives to work, save and produce—which are necessary to reinvigorate the American economy and cope with the nation's fiscal problems."

Yes.

"The exemption of Internet and out-of-state retailers from collecting state sales taxes reduced state revenues by $23.3 billion in 2012 alone, according to an estimate by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The absence of these revenues has not served to put a lid on state-government spending. Instead, it has led to higher marginal rates in the 43 states that levy income taxes."

This I find less convincing.

"It is overly burdensome to task companies with remitting sales taxes to more than 9,500 such tax jurisdictions."

Yes.  Tracking the sales tax to 50 states is burdensome enough for the casual seller or buyer, but it is my county, not my state that is paying a sales tax for the Minnesota Twins stadium for example, and my zip code overlaps the neighboring county that does not pay that tax. 

The "use tax" is bad joke.  For example, Minneapolis has such high property taxes (and extra sales tax) that it has no hope of ever having certain types of large stores locate within the city limits.  But if you go outside the city to buy things and carry them in, you are 'required' to track those purchases and send in the tax, or be in violation of the law.  The compliance rate is zero, leaving otherwise law abiding citizens in perpetual violation of an overly burdensome law.
4070  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Richmond Times editorial- "abhorrent double standard in the establishment media" on: April 18, 2013, 11:01:34 AM
http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/editorial-indefensible/article_3c076fad-04bd-5c00-9598-b0335db62ced.html

We are hardly the first – and will not be the last – to note the abhorrent double standard in the establishment media about the killing of innocent children.
...
Most abortion clinics are nothing like Gosnell’s. But then, most gun owners are nothing like Adam Lanza. And Gosnell might not be quite so isolated as some would like to think. Just recently, whistleblowers stepped forward with accusations about dangerously unsanitary conditions at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Delaware.

What’s more, a few days ago, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist in Florida would not say that a baby born alive at an abortion clinic should receive medical treatment.
(more at link)
4071  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - Timing of terrorism stories on: April 18, 2013, 10:56:32 AM
Remember how the New York Times featured Bill Ayers on September 11, 2001 saying he regretted having not engaged in more domestic terrorist activity?  Well, the Los Angeles Times tried to complete with the NY Times on Monday, with this headline and story: “With Al Qaeda Shattered, U.S. Counter-Terrorism’s Future Unclear.”

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-al-qaeda-20130415,0,748515.story

http://www.powerlineblog.com/
4072  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: We will find out who did this on: April 17, 2013, 01:02:41 PM
Obama's Boston statement would sound sincere and Presidential if he didn't say nearly the same thing about Benghazi before it was swept under the carpet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh6Lc5vmO0o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1gF0I2Ecmw

----

In other news, the Sec. of State on who bombed Boston:  WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE NOW?
4073  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re:Cognitive Dissonance Glibness - Hugo Chavez rates, Margaret Thatcher does not on: April 17, 2013, 12:50:59 PM
At least they didn't send Biden, but did they really send no one to Margaret Thatcher's funeral?  Unbelievable. 

You would think they would be more sensitive after all their other mistakes with our closest ally - even if they don't give a damn.

The decision to send no one was announced before the Boston bombing, so that wasn't it.  It was the gun control momentum that is so easy to lose when it is a top issue for 4% of the American people.

Obama agrees that Thatcher is in a class with Churchill and Reagan, all his ideological opponents. 

His view is shared by the UK protesters who wasted no time getting up a sign saying "The Bitch is Dead" and made “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead,” from The Wizard of Oz the No. 1 download at Amazon U.K.   http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/345435/mrs-thatchers-losing-victory-mark-steyn
4074  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law) - Right to Privacy? on: April 17, 2013, 12:30:27 PM
Does the Right to Privacy apply to gun ownership?

If not, why not?
4075  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Thomas Sowell on the economic empowerment on: April 17, 2013, 10:28:28 AM
From Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics" (2000):

James Cash Penney did not start with a lot of money. He was in fact raised in poverty and began his retail career as just a one-third partner in a store in a little town in Wyoming, at a time when Sears and Montgomery Ward were unchallenged giants of nationwide retailing. Yet his insights into the changing conditions of retailing eventually forced these giants into doing things his way, on pain of extinction. . . . In a later era, a clerk in a J.C. Penney store named Sam Walton would learn retailing from the ground up and then put his knowledge and insights to work in his own store, which would eventually expand to become the Wal-Mart chain, with sales larger than those of Sears and J.C. Penney combined.

One of the great handicaps of economies run by political authorities, whether under medieval mercantilism or modern communism, is that insights which arise among the masses have no such powerful leverage as to force those in authority to change the way they do things.
4076  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media on Abortion, NY Times calls born babies "fetuses"?? on: April 17, 2013, 10:23:06 AM
Media Issues, Abortion and Cognitive Dissonance of the Left all in one...

Is that the proper Latin plural?  And does 'little one' meaning 'little human' not really mean baby in the first place?

NYT runs a second story on Gosnell, on page A12.  Did he kill more people than the Boston Marathon bomber(s) or didn't he?

-----
Today's New York Times story [April 16, 2013], like the one last month, refers to the infants Gosnell is accused of murdering as "fetuses," although it also refers to them as "babies." This is another fascinating slip. Abortion proponents resolutely adhere to the convention of calling unborn children "fetuses" so as to conceal the similarity between (at least late-term) abortion and infanticide. By using the terms interchangeably, the Times unwittingly defeats this pro-abortion obscurantism, revealing what it means to conceal.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324030704578426892205886784.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

Leftist slipups are not uncommon on abortion due to the perverted twisting of logic necessary to endorse it.  Noted previously in this thread is when Justice Breyer refers to the woman having an abortion as a mother.  A mother of WHAT?  Previous children??
4077  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mothers Day Massacre, How 'bout a background check for abortion 'doctors'? on: April 17, 2013, 10:10:41 AM
    A young Philadelphia doctor “offered to perform abortions on 15 poor women who were bused to his clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972, in their second trimester of pregnancy.” The women didn’t know that the doctor “planned to use an experimental device called a ’super coil’ developed by a California man named Harvey Karman.

    A colleague of Karman’s Philadelphia collaborator described the contraption as “basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. . . . They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman’s uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, . . . the gel would melt and these . . . things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus.”

    Nine of the 15 Chicago women suffered serious complications. One of them needed a hysterectomy. The following year, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. It would be 37 more years before the Philadelphia doctor who carried out the Mother’s Day Massacre would go out of business. His name is Kermit Gosnell.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324030704578422883948238160.html
4078  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 15, 2013, 03:54:36 PM
Respectfully, as I stated before - I have zero faith in Wesbury's analysis or predictions for two reasons:
1) He advises the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and therefore has a strong incentive to make that institution look good.
2) He has a horrible track record going back at least to 2009 - as evidenced by the interview from that year I posted earlier.

I take his opinions with a grain of salt, but the Wesbury posts also contain facts in the sense of reported economic figures, and it is good to hear opposing opinions explained. 
4079  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: April 15, 2013, 12:05:04 PM
One point made against 'do something', a.k.a. 'comprehensive reform', is that surrender on this won't win Republicans any votes.  This is true.  But it would potentially begin to allow them to compete for Hispanic votes based on other issues.

To GM's very valid point, some of the blame for illegal immigration goes to the U.S. for having unenforced laws.   We even have a federal government that prevents states from enforcing these laws.

On the positive side, I will be amazed if all these people will be pay taxes and but not be eligible to receive any federal benefits for more than a decade.  If true, that alone would put their votes on fiscal matters in play.

Beware of the slippery slope legislative strategy though.  After a tough, tough, tough bill is passed, the panderers will still say how unfair it is that all these now-legal residents can't vote or receive benefits and will push for more 'reform'.  I don't think you can protect against that in a bill.  It is extremely hard to negotiate with weasels.
4080  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues -Byron York: A look inside the bill and how they will sell it on: April 15, 2013, 09:52:05 AM
A look deep inside the Gang of Eight bill — and how they’ll sell immigration reform to conservatives

April 15, 2013 | 2:46 am
Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
The Washington Examiner

Republican members of the Gang of Eight know they’ll have a tough time selling comprehensive immigration reform to a significant number of conservatives.  Of course some in the GOP are still panicked by last November’s election results and will be inclined to sign on to almost any deal.  But many of the more conservative Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill will have to be convinced that the Gang’s proposal is an acceptable way to go.  It won’t be easy.

Starting this week, with the release of the bill, the Gang will launch an extensive public information campaign — lots of press releases, frequently asked questions, and fact sheets specifically addressing the concerns about reform that conservatives have raised in recent months.

The short version of their case: The Gang proposal will be tough, tough, tough; it will be based on stringent requirements that security measures be in place before many of its provisions take effect; it will avoid the moral danger of rewarding those who entered the country illegally; and it will take care to protect the U.S. economy.  And then there will be a final, mostly whispered, argument: If Congress doesn’t pass the Gang bill, Barack Obama might unilaterally legalize the millions of illegal immigrants in the country today in an adult version of his Dream Act decree, doing so without securing the border in an act that would be impossible for a future president to reverse.
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In sum, what the Gang is planning is a sales job followed by a nightmare scenario.

First the toughness.  The bill will be based on a three-part enforcement scheme. First is a universal E-Verify system, which means that every business in America, even those that have one, two, or three employees, will be required to comply with the federal E-Verify law.  Every person hired in every business will have to produce either a passport or a driver’s license from a state that requires proof of citizenship for a driver’s license.

Second is an entry and exit system at all airports and seaports that will track visa holders to ensure that they do not overstay their allotted time in the country.

Third is border security, which the Gang will define as 100 percent “situational awareness” — that is, surveillance of the entire border — plus the ability to catch 90 percent of the people who try to cross it illegally.

The GOP Gang members know full well that the federal government has promised all those measures and more over the years, and the border is still not secure and businesses still hire illegal immigrants.  For example, Congress has passed multiple laws requiring entry-exit systems similar to what the Gang will propose, and the system has never been built.  So Gang members know that conservatives, at least, will be skeptical.

The answer the Gang hopes will reassure those skeptics is the concept of triggers.  They’ve set up three points at which the bill’s requirements will have to be met before the process can continue.

The first, and by far the weakest, trigger is for the legalization of the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.  In addition to requiring that immigrants pass a background check, be fingerprinted, pay taxes and a fine (which will be in the thousands of dollars), and prove they have been in the U.S. continuously at least since December 2011, the Gang bill will require that the Department of Homeland Security issue a “notice of commencement” confirming that it has prepared a plan for border security, including fencing and surveillance, that will meet the 100/90 percent requirements.  In addition, the Department will have to confirm that it has the funding to begin implementing the plan.  When that notice is made, then an illegal immigrant who has fulfilled the other requirements becomes what the bureaucracy will refer to as an RPI — a Restricted Provisional Immigrant.

Trigger number two will come five years after Homeland Security’s notice of commencement.  If the Department has not met the 100/90 percent requirement by then, the border commission that was created in the original bill — made up of the governors and attorneys general of the four states bordering Mexico — will no longer be simply an advisory panel but will become a policy-making panel, charged with creating and implementing a border security plan that must meet the 100/90 percent requirement.  The commission will have five more years to get the job done. How a commission of governors and state officials can be given the authority that constitutionally belongs to the Congress and the executive branch is not entirely clear, but that is what the bill will call for.

Once the 100/90 percent requirement is met, however it is done, then the Restricted Provisional Immigrants will be within sight, although a long sight, of a path to citizenship.  The Gang plan calls for RPI status to last six years.  After those six years, the RPI must re-apply for the same status, for an additional four years.  To have his RPI status renewed, he must pay an application fee and an additional fine, on top of the one he paid six years earlier when he first became an RPI.  He cannot have been convicted of any crime during those six years, or he will no longer be ineligible.  And he will have to prove that he has been gainfully employed during those six years, earning at least 125 percent of the federal poverty level.  (The figure will be higher for RPI’s with families to support.)

After an initial six-year term, and then four more years, the immigrant will have been in RPI status for ten years.  That is when the final trigger comes in. After that decade-long period, the Gang plan will say, if E-Verify has been fully implemented, and if an entry-exit system has been fully implemented, and if the border security plan has been implemented, then the RPI will be eligible to apply — not receive, but just to apply — for a green card.  The immigrant won’t be required to do so; he can remain an RPI for as long as he likes at that point.  But if he does apply for a green card, then he will face another multi-year wait for eventual citizenship.  The Gang stresses that green cards will be given out on a staggered basis, not all at one time, so no more than, say, two million immigrants will receive them in any single year.  (That number is still under negotiation.)  If any key part of the security requirements remain undone, the Gang says, then there will be no green cards.

In all, Gang members estimate the entire process, from illegal immigrant to citizen, could take at least 18, and as many as 22, years.  At the same time, the Gang hopes to have wiped out the backlog of people waiting to enter the United States legally.  Gang members want the RPI process to be slow in part to make sure that anyone who applied legally to enter the U.S. at roughly the same time as the new reform went into effect would be virtually guaranteed of receiving a green card before anyone who came here illegally.

During the long waiting period, the Gang stresses, the RPI will receive no need-based federal benefits, and specifically, no Obamacare coverage.  Since Congress specifically made Obamacare available to anyone who is in the country legally — not just citizens — the Gang believes it must repeal that portion of the Affordable Care Act in order to exempt newly-legalized immigrants with RPI status.  To do otherwise — to make the formerly illegal immigrants eligible for Obamacare — would bust the federal budget, the Gang says.

As complicated as all that is, there is still much, much more to the Gang proposal; immigration reform is an enormously complex subject.  But Gang members will argue that something has to be done, given the fact that so many illegal immigrants are already in the country.  The Gang’s goal was to come up with a plan that deals with those illegal immigrants while not encouraging further immigration or punishing those who are trying to come here legally.

Even if lawmakers agreed with the proposals, or amended them to their liking, there will remain the fundamental, unavoidable question of whether the Obama administration, or the next presidential administration, will enforce the law.  Gang members will try to convince skeptics that the provisions are iron-clad.  The skeptics will likely remain skeptical.  And that’s before considering the onslaught of lawsuits that pro-immigration activist groups will file to try to undo key provisions of the law.

But GOP gang members will have one final argument, one they will most likely use privately with fellow Republicans.  If the Gang plan goes down in defeat, the argument goes, Barack Obama will be a lame-duck president who has promised key Democratic constituencies that he will take action on immigration reform.  He has already used his executive power to unilaterally enact a version of the Dream Act.  If Congress denies him immigration reform, according to the argument, he will essentially do for the entire illegal immigrant population what the Dream Act did for young illegal immigrants: legalize them by declining to enforce current law.  With the stroke of Obama’s pen, millions of illegal immigrants will become legal.

And it could all happen, the Gang members will argue, without any of the strict enforcement measures — E-Verify, entry-exit, border security and more — that are in the Gang bill.  And Obama’s unilateral legalization would be virtually impossible for a future president, Republican or Democrat, to reverse.

In other words, after all the provisions and requirements and triggers, the ultimate Gang argument to conservatives and Republicans will be: Pass our bill, or face utter disaster.

The debate begins this week.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/a-look-deep-inside-the-gang-of-eight-bill-and-how-theyll-sell-immigration-reform-to-conservatives/article/2527162
4081  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Marco Rubio! on: April 15, 2013, 09:48:31 AM
Marco Rubio has put his future on the line with the immigration bill deal.  The debate and amendment process is next, so the details discussed are not necessarily the final details.

"Rubio’s television appearances Sunday mean he is in for the long haul. But Rubio hasn’t committed to voting with the Gang of Eight on every amendment that comes to the floor, underscoring the narrow line he will likely walk throughout the legislative process. Rubio said Sunday he would stand against poison pill amendments but would also walk away if the final bill violated his principles."
...

Rubio also used his Sunday media blitz to hone a conservative message for a party rebranding itself. “We are the party of upward mobility; we are not the party of the people who have made it,” he told “Meet the Press.” The GOP is the party “of people who are trying to make it.”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/04/15/with_immigration_push_rubio_puts_a_lot_on_the_line-2.html#ixzz2QXjKSrmF

Conservatives pundits are already fuming at the stupidity: 
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/04/rubio-embraces-schumers-non-sequitur-or-is-it-the-other-way-around.php
4082  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: April 15, 2013, 09:28:52 AM
The ignored Gosnell trial also begs the question, what if he had used a gun?  Would they cover it then?

http://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2013/04/14/what-is-news-n1566883
4083  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness and Gosnell on: April 15, 2013, 09:26:34 AM
The ignored trial of Gosnell puts images to the beyond far left policies that State Senator Barack Obama from Illinois sponsored.  If the intent was to kill the baby, kill the baby.  Who knew that abortion rights could get ugly?

OTOH, Wouldn't it be more liberal and caring to protect those who are most vulnerable?
4084  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 15, 2013, 09:10:39 AM
Very sad and disappointing.  

"One electoral board member suggested a physical recount of the ballot. They would not be doing that if they had to fudge the results, I don't think."

A recount would be nice anyway to establish trust in the vote count and put would-be cheaters on notice for the future.

"Miguel calls it a huge victory for the opposition. How is losing a victory if it means 6 more years of the same crap?"  ... " The next step is hoping Maduro implodes."

Doesn't seem important now, but margin of victory matters in governing, and so does the approval rating after the election.

Interesting that opposition to socialism/fascism wins 49% support in Venezuela but only 27% support of Latin Americans in the US:  http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/09/politics/latino-vote-key-election
4085  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 14, 2013, 05:22:38 PM
Good luck Denny.  The free world could really use a win right now.
4086  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Anti-growth policies on: April 14, 2013, 05:15:27 PM
Victor Davis Hanson offered a good list of current policies that is causing stagnation and undermining growth.  We should be doing the opposite:

a) Have the government absorb health care, one-sixth of the economy.
 
b) Ensure that a correct Federal Reserve establishes near-zero interest rates.
 
c) Vastly expand the numbers on food stamps, unemployment, and disability insurance.
 
d) Raise taxes on the upper incomes, so that in many states the suspect pay 55% of their incomes in federal income, payroll, Medicare, Obamacare, and state income taxes.
 
e) Exempt half the U.S. households from federal income tax, so that for many April 15 is a day of credit reimbursement.
 
f) In matters of bankruptcy, seek to elevate pension holders over creditors and contractors.
 
g) Promote programs that seek to offer redress payouts to supposedly discriminated constituents and seek to excuse mortgage and credit card debt.
 
h) Vastly grow the number of federal employees.
 
i) Run chronic budget deficits to ensure redistributive growth.
 
j) Plan to double the national debt in eight years.
 
l) Cut the defense budget.
 
m) Keep entitlement payouts sacrosanct.
 
n) Conduct psychological warfare against the job-hiring classes (pay your fair share, you didn’t build that, no time to profit, fat cat, etc.).
 
o) Establish crony capitalism so that particular capitalists (e.g., Solyndra, GE, Chrysler, etc.) understand that anti-capitalist mandates do not apply to politically correct policies.
 
p) Discourage new gas and oil production that might undercut green energy and prevent gas from going “to European levels” or electricity to “skyrocket.”

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=58.msg71436#msg71436
4087  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: April 14, 2013, 01:27:38 PM
"I fail to see how direct currency convertibility between Aussie dollars and Chinese yuan will hurt the dollar in any meaningful fashion."

Agree.  It is what we are doing to the US Dollar that is potentially hurting it.

4088  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Scott Grannis: on: April 13, 2013, 09:40:33 AM
This is a great post.  Thanks to Scott and to Crafty. 

Where he loses me starts with this:  "the Republicans are going to pick up seats next year", and to presume Republicans or at least responsible economic and fiscal views will do reasonably well thereafter.

There is plenty in history to support that prediction, unless one believes there is a major political shift going on.

If you substitute 50-50 in place of that certainty, the outlook is quite a bit scarier.

While the trillion dollar deficits are narrowing, that permanent debt accumulated all that time and continues to grow, as do the unfunded liabilities.  Also accumulating is the number of people who permanently left work and the number of years since this economy has generated healthy start-up businesses, hungry to grow output and employment.

What is different with this catastrophe as opposed to say WWII or 9/11 is that we deliberately chose this train wreck and for the most part just voted again to keep it going.  If not for the political art of re-districting (Republicans lost the House election nationally by 1%), the forces of stagnation and decline would already control all branches of government.
4089  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues: An alien likely to become a public charge is inadmissable on: April 12, 2013, 10:28:14 PM
Soon things will heat up over immigration again.  Two comments on writing an acceptable bill:

1)  Borders secured first, everyone on the right says, but how will we measure that?  It has been suggested that success will be when 90% of illegal crossings are stopped.  In this day of known terrorists attempting to carry out planned missions, stopping the amateurs from crossing is not good enough.  Stopping 90% still means hundreds of thousands are entering.

2) Not mentioned yet to my knowledge (except on the forum) is this concept in immigration law:  Federal law requires that those granted entry into the U.S. must be able to support themselves financially. The Immigration and Nationality Act specifically states: “An alien who…is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”  How about if we make sure we honor this tradition in law in any new law!
4090  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Scott Grannis says Obj. is wrong on: April 12, 2013, 10:10:06 PM
Scott appears to have been reading my mind and today provides the chart I wished for in my previous post.
http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/

With the logarithmic scale, they make a 500% increase look rather modest.  I wonder how the DOW does on this scale.  Also wonder how other investments do in 'constant dollars'.




It should be the other way around, gold on a flat line and productive investments going steadily up.

Gold doesn't change.  It's the confidence in the dollar we measure it with that is wavering.
4091  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: April 12, 2013, 09:11:29 PM
Yes.

At the same time something we here need to include more in our analysis of BO's deficits in the unusually low percentage of tax revenues.  What is our sound bite answer to somone who says that if revenues were 19.5% then the deficit would be "only" $xxx and "only "x& of GDP?

How does a retailer with anemic sales increase revenues?  Raise the price?  Never. 

The amount of capital gains taxes the government is collecting from me is zero, same as it would be at the 100% tax rate.  The transactions that don't happen because of high tax rates are impossible to measure.  In a healthy, low tax rate economy, these same investments could have been sold and captured a new gain every 2 or 3 years.  I made a point earlier about velocity.  When things are moving, that same dollar can be paid to and earned and invested by many people and taxed many times in a year instead of once, or sitting still, or sitting on the sidelines.

Spending should be capped as percent of the economy.  But with taxes, we need to maximize the dollars to pay for the expenses, not increase or maximize the percentage.  When we try to maximize the percentage, we get the stagnation instead of revenue growth.

The other 'tax' is over-regulation.  Also hard to estimate the amount of revenue that is killing.

4092  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: April 12, 2013, 08:38:19 PM

"a) I'm not see any drop at all in the gold line for the year 2013 and in point of fact it has dropped over $250"

True.  I realize the chart is not updated for 2013.  Still in that time frame, gold is still miles above the S&P line.  If gold had gone to 1500 from 1200 instead of from 1700, this story line would be different.

b) more to the point, how about a chart that goes back to 1973, when Nixon-Connally took the dollar off gold and by so doing set off world-wide inflation?
What I am raising here and now is the question of the applicability vel non of the late '70s to now.  Gold went from $38 to over $800.  Percentage wise that is some 2100%!!!(double check my math someone please) 
Then look at what happened when Carter had to appoint Volcker to the Fed and V. raised interest rates?  Gold crashed.  If you bought at 800 and held, how many decades did you have to wait, interest free btw, to return to 800?
Right now we have negative real interest rates.  Can that continue?  What happens to gold when it does not?

I agree.  Time frames picked to demonstrate a point are always selective.  Same goes for stocks.  The peaks and troughs seem obvious in hindsight but not so much in real time.  Why didn't we buy more of anything at the bottom or sell more at the top?  To do so you have to turn against the thinking of the masses and the experts.

Gold is the anti-investment.  It is what you buy when things, especially monetary, are about to go to hell.  It is the opposite of investing in the economy, investing in plant and equipment for hiring and producing.  When gold makes sense it means the other choices suck, such as anything based in the US dollars or other currencies.  That is the debate we are having.  These are in-between times where we see slight growth but also stupidity and stagnation. 

The people who pulled money out of other investments to buy gold already did that.  These fundamentals have looked the same for a long time now.  In order to buy more now, you first need to make more money in the productive sector, pay taxes on it, and then move it to gold.  But gold buyers were pulling their money out of the productive economy so making more there that just keeps getting harder.  It is very hard to drive the price up further from such lofty levels.

The comparison to the 1970s is only partly valid. That same day in 1973 Nixon enacted fascist price-wage controls because the inflation scare was already so severe and then inflation went on to double again by the end of the decade.  Today there is denial of inflation and we have a Fed that can barely remember that the value of the dollar is part of its mission. 
4093  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gosnell trial coverage on: April 12, 2013, 04:14:52 PM
Reserved Press seating at the Gosnell trial:


Dead babies. Exploited women. Racism. Governmental failures. This should be a front page story!  
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/04/why-dr-kermit-gosnells-trial-should-be-a-front-page-story/274944/

Even the journalist who showed up (and took this picture) had his story pulled:

Philly.com
    What I saw at the Gosnell trial
    phillyBurbs.com (blog) ‎- 16 minutes ago
    By J.D. Mullane ... “Big enough to walk me home,” joked Gosnell when he saw the child's remains, testified Ashly Baldwin, a clinic employee.
    404 error  Sorry, the page you requested could not be found.

"This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy - and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors," it states. "The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels - and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths."
http://redflagnews.com/headlines/pic-empty-reserved-media-seating-section-at-trial-for-abortion-doctor-kermitt-gosnell
----
Hard to prosecute one flagrant killer when the whole aim is to kill.  Hardly newsworthy after reporting constantly on the killing of 40+ million in American alone since Roe-Wade, with or without this disgusting abuse.
4094  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs, spending, deficit, and budget process on: April 12, 2013, 03:55:42 PM
This chart is from Scott G (and BEA):


Looking at the past 45 years we should constitutionally set federal spending limits at 19.5% of the economy.  Below that is wishful thinking and spending above that is generational theft.
4095  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Miami Herald: Venezuela's chance to move forward on: April 12, 2013, 03:34:54 PM
Good luck Denny S. !

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/11/3339119/venezuelas-chance-to-move-forward.html

The Miami Herald | EDITORIAL
Venezuela’s chance to move forward

Sunday’s election in Venezuela promises to open a tumultuous new chapter in the history of that South American country. For the first time in 15 years, Hugo Chávez’s name is not on the ballot, but his presence is everywhere. This election is all about him and the legacy of a decade-and-a-half of misrule.

Under normal circumstances, in any democratic country, the electorate would be ripe for a change after 15 years of upheaval that have brought misery for many and created an exodus among those who could leave, many settling in South Florida.

Chronic power outages, food shortages, devaluations, rampant crime, corrupt government aided by communist Cuba — this is the legacy of Hugo Chávez.

For Venezuelans, the choice is clear: They can move forward, restoring the democracy that Venezuela once was, or they can watch their country continue to deteriorate under a Chávez apprentice like the official candidate, Nicolás Maduro, the hand-picked political heir and current vice president.

Not surprisingly, the betting is that Mr. Maduro will win, and for that the candidate can thank his late mentor. Over the course of prolonged tenure, Mr. Chávez created a political machine that sharply curtailed the possibility that the official presidential candidate could lose.

The way Mr. Chávez won election three times and consolidated his grip on Venezuela is no secret. He controlled all the levers of political power, including the council that makes the electoral rules, counts the votes and settles disputes. He used the government’s money and power to promote his candidacy in a way that no opposition political figure could possibly match.

He stifled the independent news media and systematically dismantled the independent institutions that could restrain his power, including the judiciary.

A onetime paratrooper and frustrated coup-plotter, Mr. Chávez stacked the military leadership with loyalists and carefully watched over the ranks to ensure that no one would try to topple him from power by force of arms, as he once tried to overthrow a democratic government in 1992.

Finally, he made sure to woo the country’s large underclass by inducements such as free housing and by lavishing political attention on them, though he failed to create a path to prosperity for anyone except his political cronies, who got rich off government contracts.

All of this poses a virtually insurmountable challenge for Henrique Capriles Radonski, an opposition governor and leader of the political front arrayed against the forces of the government. Hundreds of thousands have shown up at his rallies, attesting to the underlying hunger for change.

Clearly, the playing field is slanted in favor of the Maduro ticket. In an implicit admission of potential ballot chicanery, the government has pointedly rejected any role for international election observers, such as the OAS.

But even if he wins, success promises to be short-lived.

The 50-year-old former bus driver and union leader does not possess Mr. Chávez’s rhetorical gifts, wit or political skills. His limited ability will be put to the test as the economy continues to deteriorate and Venezuelans of all stripes become more restless.

Under this scenario, the political situation could degenerate swiftly. The United States and other democratic countries in the region should stand ready to denounce government abuses and support the advocates of democracy as Venezuela enters a dangerous period.
4096  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: gold plunges on: April 12, 2013, 03:31:20 PM

A longer look at that:

4097  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 11, 2013, 01:44:10 PM
"Ah, but what is the title of this thread? , , , the stock market and other investment/savings strategies."

I find myself co-mingling these topics - as does Wesbury.  We now know that the market can go up dramatically during the worst recovery in history, and yes, we missed it.

The lesson from the rear view mirror is that (assuming one had money available) we should have been buying at 6500 and any other point along that path - had we known.  But looking backward does not mean we should be buying at 15,000. 

Each investor can assess for themselves when it has all gone up too far too fast, or when it is the day before a real correction.

Last evening I asked a friend who manages investments at a major institution what they are advising at this point.  He said they are emphasizing "balance" in the portfolios, and saying hold (versus buy or sell).  Beyond his words my sense was extreme caution and certainly not exuberance as this market surpasses all expectations.
----

Following link is an interesting piece addressing the question of what you should have done at DOW 6500 or even half way down from its previous peak: http://www.rbcwm-usa.com/resources/file-686836.pdf  The answer was to buy in a bear market, using a case study of 1973-1974, and now 2008-2009.  Is the corollary of that wisdom to sell in a bull market, or as we thought in 1999, is this time different?
4098  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH on gold's decline; Bitcoin crashes on: April 11, 2013, 12:28:25 PM
I would love to buy and own gold today - but not at 1500 or 1700/oz.  Maybe if the price was 1/3 of that (and if I had money).  The article is mostly negative about gold but all that really happened is that it already went up way too far too fast for too long prior to the 2 year, relatively small drop that is the focus here.  In total it went up about 4 times what stocks did over the last 12 years.

"Analysts say gold is losing its allure after an astonishing 650 percent rally from August 1999 to August 2011." ... "Even after the recent decline, gold is still up 515 percent. "

The lesson I see with gold (to apply to stocks now) is that waiting to buy until after a huge, unexplainable rise and after it is all the hype in the media is the opposite of buying low or selling high.  When something is overbought and over-hyped, stay away.  What goes up too far too fast eventually goes down.  I think they call it the law of gravity.

Those who predicted that total, global financial collapse would happen by now had their timing wrong.
4099  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and animal abuse on: April 10, 2013, 03:07:26 PM
G M,  I wonder what the life expectancy is for a plow horse that works year-round, around the clock, pulls more than 2X its OSHA rated load, and replenishes only a fraction of the calories it consumes. 

Lucky for the Obama economic team the expression is only a metaphor referring to people.  Abuse far milder than this of an animal would be prosecuted.
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/hp/
---

The 5% growth prediction in 2009 is bizarre in the context of Wesbury opposing the policies of Pelosi-Reid-Obama as the opposite of what is conducive to growth.  A "V-shaped recovery", it was not.
---
Meanwhile the Dow just closed at a new record high.
4100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Freedom of the Press, Aurora killer's notebook and a reporter's rights on: April 10, 2013, 12:00:22 PM
Imagine if we honored the other clauses of the constitution (like the second amendment) with this kind of no-exceptions consistency.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/opinion/in-the-jana-winter-case-a-debate-over-protecting-news-sources.html?_r=1&

A Killer’s Notebook, a Reporter’s Rights
By THEODORE J. BOUTROUS Jr.
Published: April 9, 2013

SHOULD a journalist be punished for revealing a murderer’s secrets?

Jana Winter, a reporter at Fox News, covered the shooting rampage that killed 12 people and injured 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., on July 20, 2012. Five days after the attack, she reported that James E. Holmes, who has been charged with committing the massacre, had sent a notebook to a psychiatrist before the attack.

On July 25, Ms. Winter quoted two unnamed law enforcement sources as saying that Mr. Holmes had “mailed a notebook ‘full of details about how he was going to kill people’ to a University of Colorado psychiatrist before the attack.” According to her reporting, the notebook contained “drawings of what he was going to do,” including sketches of “gun-wielding stick figures blowing away other stick figures.”

Mr. Holmes’s lawyers are now trying to compel Ms. Winter to disclose her sources, who spoke to her on a confidential basis and possibly violated a court-imposed order that was intended to restrict public access to materials in the case so as to ensure a fair trial. The defense lawyers say the information is relevant because it speaks to the credibility of law enforcement officers who, under oath, have denied leaking the information.

Lawyers for Ms. Winter and Fox News have moved to quash the subpoena, asserting that under the First Amendment and Colorado’s “shield law,” which protects reporters, she is not required to disclose her sources. On Monday, the judge in the Holmes case, Carlos A. Samour Jr., put off a decision on the motion, saying he needed to first decide whether the notebook was even relevant to the criminal proceeding.

But the case is clear-cut.

If Ms. Winter were compelled to reveal her sources — or found in contempt of court and fined or jailed for refusing to do so — it would have a chilling effect on journalists and their ability to gather information in the public interest. This should be an open-and-shut case, but it comes at a time when the Obama administration, despite its commitment to transparency, has pursued a record number of criminal prosecutions against whistle-blowers for leaking information to the press, even if the disclosures were done out of an honest desire to serve the public interest.

Colorado, like 39 other states and the District of Columbia, has a “shield law” specifically designed to protect journalists from having to disclose their sources. In Colorado, before requiring a reporter to testify about confidential sources, a court must be convinced that the information is “directly relevant to a substantial issue in the proceedings.” In this case, the identity of Ms. Winter’s sources has no bearing on whether Mr. Holmes is guilty or innocent in the movie-theater massacre. It seems like nothing more than a sideshow, a tactic by the defense lawyers to intimidate the leakers and divert attention from the criminal trial.

Over the last 40 years, courts around the nation have repeatedly recognized the strong First Amendment interest in protecting confidential news sources. One federal appellate court ruled that jeopardizing a journalist’s ability to protect the confidentiality of sources would “seriously erode the essential role played by the press in the dissemination of information and matters of interest and concern to the public.”

There is no question that Ms. Winter’s article was of public interest and concern: By reporting on the mental health of an alleged mass murderer and his apparent statements to a psychiatrist, she shed light on the dilemma mental health professionals often face in balancing confidentiality obligations and public safety concerns. (In this case, the notebook did not ever reach the psychiatrist to whom it was sent; its existence was only uncovered after the attack.)

Mr. Holmes’s lawyers argue that his notebook cannot be used as evidence against him because it is protected by Colorado’s psychotherapist-patient privilege, which prohibits the disclosure of “knowledge gained” from patients without their consent. (While Colorado law recognizes that a psychotherapist may have a duty to disclose a “threat of imminent physical violence against a specific person or persons,” it is not clear whether that duty would have applied in this case.)

This form of privilege is recognized nationally and the implications go well beyond Aurora; these issues are also central to the ongoing national debate over gun control since the elementary school shootings last December in Newtown, Conn.

If a litigant’s mere desire to punish a confidential source were enough to force a reporter to disclose the source’s identity, then journalism would be seriously jeopardized and laws protecting it would be gutted.

This seems to already be happening to Ms. Winter. “Because my sources have been intimidated by the specter of the Holmes subpoena,” she wrote in an affidavit, “reports have gone unwritten and I have been thwarted in my news-gathering.”

The case of Ms. Winter, a young reporter, has not gotten as much attention as battles over confidential sources that involve national security matters, but, given the increasing prominence of mass shootings in America and the complicated role that mental illness has played in many of these cases, her case is a pivotal one for journalists and for any American who cares about freedom of the press.

Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. is a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, focusing on appellate and constitutional law.
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