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4101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Privacy & Big Brother: Give me your Social Security number! on: January 05, 2011, 11:07:16 AM
If you have a speeding ticket in our state, I can already look up your birth date.  If you write me a check, I know your bank account number.  This new law could post under housing, tax policy or Glibness, but nobody cares politically about a landlord's paperwork issues, so let's turn it around the other way.  If you want to mow a lawn, shovel a walk, change a light bulb or a faucet washer for me, fine, give me your social security number.

New law effective 5 days ago (who knew?) requires a rental property owner to file a 1099 for anyone everyone that provided $600 of service in a year - that is $50/mo.  The only way to know if it will reach $600 per year is to track it from the first dollar and require a W-9 before the mower sets a wheel on the property and before the first dollar changes hands.  Part I required on the W-9: Exact name and exact matching social security number, not last 4 digits or any effort at privacy protection.

Those my age now look back and see how many people you would have your ss# by now as this new law carries over to every other area of money changing hands.

What could possibly go wrong? Besides bad landlords with info to sell, all the predator would have to do is stand in front of a vacant property, hire out small jobs, collect identity theft info and leave without paying while the work is in process.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/01/new-law-creates-big-tax-headache-rental-property-owners

Write to your new member of congress.
4102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 04, 2011, 07:00:46 AM
BD, There was humor intended that did not come through.  My timing was lousy because of reading along without having the time to post.  I'm sorry for making things worse.  I was sincere in saying I appreciated the original post. - Doug
4103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, Time etc. on: January 04, 2011, 01:27:54 AM
This analogy may not work but... one of my best friends in college, scary to think he became a brain surgeon, use to say of drugs and music, I paraphrase best that I can recall: let them take the acid and the coke and the heroin, bands like the Doors, the Stones, the Dead, Pink Floyd. Then we buy the album for five bucks and enjoy the effects without risking the brain damage and overdoses of taking all those drugs ourselves.

In this case we have (figuratively) sent Bigdog to study Time magazine, the UK Guardian, and institutions of higher learning at very high risk to himself while we can sit back in our easy chairs in secure locations and read just the best of the best of what he finds there.  I, for one, appreciate it and hope that he is able to eventually get out those places unharmed.

He mentioned going there not just for news.  Besides his reasons and cross checking information, we should not lose touch with what other people are reading and thinking even if the motive is just to persuade or defeat them.  We want the diversity of opinion here so (IMO) Let it Be.  Attack or criticize based on specifics in the posts.  Here goes.

It is strange to have Time which I guess is now CNN write about something/anything being under-reported.  It should be the readers telling them what was under-reported. Still I found it interesting.  (Also I want to read the 20 predictions again more closely.)

Point 1 includes the proverb about breaking Iraq so we have to fix it. True, that was our policy but it was BS to me in this sense.  Iraq was broken before we got there, unless you can make the case that rape, torture and gassing your people into submission is normal or functional (unbroken).  GM's take was correct IMO. The fun and profit in the media of harping on Iraq left with Bush.  It made no sense with a new and enlightened Commander in Chief.  With Afghanistan I think the press is mostly blocked from knowing anything helpful.  In war that has some validity.  What the press prints, the enemy knows.

They are right-on regarding the Somali story being a huge, under-reported, also not that far away - I believe there were 24 Somali-based, al Qaida related arrests in Minneapolis this past year.  I suppose that doesn't sell until an airliner turns into fireworks.  Same with tragedies like Congo and Sudan.  People can't find an angle to relate to it or do anything about it; famine, rape and pillage is normal there. If peace or prosperity broke out that might be news.  The Iran power struggle could have been the story of the year.  Our press had nothing to report (no inside scoop) and our country did nothing to help.  I wish Rahm had said never let an uprising against a tyrannical regime go to waste. 

Bias from my point of view pops in on this one: '8. The Rise of Europe's Anti-immigrant Right'.  Seems to me the story missed was the immigrants coming in and revolting against Europe.  I have posted at least three different videos of that on this forum.  Friends elsewhere (readers of Time and Newsweek?) mostly have no clue about what is happening there, where here it was harshly argued.  One was a private grocery store ransacked for made in Israel products in a 'suburb' of Paris, home of the car fires. Another showed riots as Sweden couldn't allow spectators to watch their own national team play a home Davis Cup match because the opponent was Israel and the site was Sweden's 3rd largest city Malmo, an Islamic stronghold where a third of the city is 'foreign born', soon to be an Islamic majority city. Different video, same story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLUBtc1iWvc - I wonder what Time's coverage was.  Watch and imagine there would not be some political backlash.

The oil spill story I thought was the story of the year.  It played no part in the election that followed and hardly a word was written after the fix.  Either it was way overblown while it was happening or horribly neglected by the media in followup.  The lack of domestic drilling to match our consumption is still one of the worst, self-inflicted wounds in our economy and of all geopolitics. I have read nothing worthwhile yet about what we learned from this disaster.

Maybe those criticizing Time knew what they were doing.  BD followed by posting an interview of Justice Scalia.  smiley  It was short, but I love to hear people like that in their own words instead of having their minds read by punditry.
4104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: December 29, 2010, 03:29:55 PM
The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul towed more than 1000 cars on Christmas;  it is hard to keep track not to park on the even side of the street the second day after a snow emergency when snow emergencies are declared roughly every 3 days. 

Good news is that a) we have a whole new diverse group of citizens thinking of joining the anti-government wing of the tea party, and b) we finally have achieved our goal with complete separation of church and state.

For those who did remember and moved their cars on time Christmas day for the 6th time this month, we have bad news.  They can't push the snow far enough to park there again and still let cars drive through.

http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=895983
More than 1,000 vehicles towed in this latest snow emergency in the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
"Yeah it's not a merry Christmas at all," Jennifer said in the line at the St. Paul tow lot Sunday night.
That tow lot was packed Sunday night with people in the bitter cold standing in a single file line to pay upwards of two hundred dollars to get a vehicle back that was parked illegally in the city's snow emergency, declared Saturday.
4105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism: on: December 29, 2010, 03:02:03 PM
In a world where we are not allowed to use the word Christmas in public and especially not Hannakah, punditry happened to notice that an 'After Holiday Sale' began December 26th and comment that we finally learn what holiday they were referring to.  I wonder if Kwanzaa shoppers in the White House and across the fruited plain find the timing of such a sale offensive. 
4106  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF CANCER: Lung Cancer - Lungevity on: December 29, 2010, 02:38:51 PM
$7500 raised in one event is an amazing success!
-----------------------------------------------------------------
I have given all my possible donation money and then some for this year to the following research fund in honor of my good friend fighting lung cancer right now who never smoked a day in his life.  As I gave money I don't have, I explained to my daughter that charitable giving often is stronger later in life when you are more able to give something back.  Cancer research funding is different.  If you want your donation to help save your own life or a family member, you may need to do it now.

Lungevity Foundation,  (Google: 'lungevity')

http://events.lungevity.org/site/PageServer?pagename=v2_DonateNow

Lung cancer kills twice as many women as breast cancer, three times as many men as prostate cancer.  Research funding is slowed by the stigma maybe that smokers today knew what they were getting into, but more than 60% of new diagnosis are with people who quit or never smoked.

Like all cancer, early detection is the key.  They are getting close, I am told. to a breakthrough on an effective pre-screen test that would give lung cancer patients a fighting chance for survival.  Dr. CCP, any comments on this?

Read all the way through this thread.  The previous great causes are still accepting donations too!
4107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Krugman on: December 27, 2010, 10:40:59 AM
They got it right in a Krugman column?  Sounds like he is on vacation and an aide mailed this in.  smiley

"world commodity prices have risen by a quarter in the past six months"

Maybe a sign of global recovery, but not that pronounced. 

It makes sense to me that oil goes up ever day we consume without committing to any new production.  Copper is another unique commodity worthy of further analysis.  Gold is tied to inflation expectations. Crop related commodities are facing record worldwide freezes.

He notes that commodity prices were also high before the last collapse.  Time will tell what this all really means.
4108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Genders and careers on: December 26, 2010, 09:03:56 PM
["Why are Dads given a free pass when they sacrifice family for their job?"
"Free pass" exaggerates it quite a bit, but yes the standard is, and should be, different.  It is built into both the philogeny and the ontogeny of the human species.]

Very interesting and I learned a couple of new words.

Separate from which gender does it, there is a time when a parent must leave the house to earn for the family and each family needs to figure that out how to do that and meet the needs of the children. Now there are times when two parents must leave to make a living.  As that becomes more than full time and local for both I would start to question wisdom and priorities.  As a single parent I quit full time work but I couldn't leave all work.  Besides part time contracting and consulting I made it a point to keep up certain activities and sports that I treasured.  I included my daughter as much as I could and now those activities are hers and as a teenager with colleges starting to contact her, she has no idea where she got those interests and skills from.  I believed it important not to quit doing the things we love, to not let life become a completely child-centric universe, but also to not leave often or for long periods or without the care of a consistent loving family member.  Other important people like grandparents started to also treasure my time away and their own rituals started that benefited everyone.  Hired help of the highest quality still means a very young child is bonding and experiencing their first this and first that with someone who is not in the family and not a permanent bond.  In the COO example, she is married to a CEO so I don't think they are reversing roles.  Two careers are on steroids and neither gives up part of a career for the family (hypothetically, I don't know anything about them).  Maybe that works for them but I don't hold it out as an advancement or breakthrough over more traditional, less ambitious choices.

Now I face the gender reversed career re-enty that moms more often go through.  I am a complete expert in some very old technologies; I just need to find a great leading edge company still selling 1990s technologies.  In other words my old jobs are gone and for the position I would have otherwise have attained, I am not ready or qualified.  I will be fine financially and proud of my parenting work, but my corporate career won't compare evenly with someone who did not take the time off.
4109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: December 26, 2010, 03:13:45 PM
Cold means global warming.  Drought or flood means global warming.  Correction, make all those climate change.

No one where I am since October has been dreaming of a white Christmas as we scramble to keep the roofs from collapsing.  But don't believe your lying eyes, the world is warming out of control. (sarcasm)

CO2 is not a primary determinant of temperature.
4110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: December 26, 2010, 02:13:01 PM
Rachel, Thank you for expanding on that.  I am happy to know your view and I agree wholeheartedly that women deserve fair treatment and opportunity.  I would add my opinion that reaching the "c-level" in a big corporation is not the sweet spot in life or in business. I assume that term comes out of gender studies; I have never heard it in business.  The heart of the economy (IMO) and the sweet spot for movers and shakers, innovators and leaders is entrepreneurship, and I think women measure up much better there.  In that environment your abilities are judged less subjectively and rewards and accomplishments are more directly related to performance.  A c-level executive is still an employee, not an employer. At CIO, CFO, COO, even CEO you still have a boss, the Board of Directors, ask Hayworth at BP about that.  It is impossible to judge that statistic IMO because more of the best women than men work a partial career (by choice).  She seems to respect the other choice but is advocating taking her path.  But her path was not to work her way up the company; she came in the side door: (From Wikipedia)In late 2007, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, met Sandberg at a Christmas party and was impressed. He had no formal search for a COO but thought of Sheryl as "a perfect person for this role." (Only at Facebook is Chief Operating Officer a marketing position. An old boys network with a gender twist, lol.)

Her mentor at Harvard was Larry Summers who might have something to say about the heart of her subject that she skipped.

The best careers I think are obviously where you do something you love, but also where you can make not the most, but a boatload of money and success and still go home at a decent hour every night in my opinion.  The next million has less utility.

I don't trust statistics on likability either. I would like to see the data on measurability first.

Your story (Rachel) of someone else being a better self-promoter is interesting as well as her advice to be a bigger self promoter.  That is a very subtle skill or assignment.  I remember how terrible I have been at that in job interviews.  I rarely have been hired by someone who didn't already know my capabilities.  I clam up and get humble while someone else with fewer or smaller accomplishments is in there telling them a great story. I am visualizing most of those successful people with the likability problem, any gender, as being excessive self promoters. 

CCP wrote: "And in any case who in the world is stopping any female from becoming a mathematician, a civil engineer..."

That was my Mom's reaction when people see only one female in her I.T. class photo from 60 years ago.  She claims no one then kept women out of aeronautical engineering, and she got hired right away after graduation without any preference program.  It just wasn't something most women wanted to do.
4111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Alan Reynolds, Tax Rates and the Top 1% Myth on: December 26, 2010, 12:47:33 PM
Assuming we have Wesbury run the Fed, I would like to have Alan Reynolds as chief economic adviser.  More from Reynolds at Cato or find his book 'Income and Wealth': http://books.google.com/books?id=3l_Et2sJm8IC&printsec=frontcover&dq=income+wealth&hl=en&ei=i14XTenAEMO78gaF7f2BDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

People like Krugman and others he names here lie with economic data.  Then people like Obama and Schumer and Franken and your local leftist politician and 'neutral' media outlet repeat and spread it.  Then we set policy to correct a problem that didn't exist as we make the economy worse for everyone. Our strategy through this whole downturn has been to take what is already wrong (taxes, healthcare, housing, you name it) and make things worse.  This debate did not end with the new tax deal according to Pres. Obama or to Valerie Jarrett a couple of hours ago on Meet the Press.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703581204576033861522959234.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

(You will need to see the charts to follow this.  Read it from the WSJ link.)

Taxes and the Top Percentile Myth

by Alan Reynolds

When President Obama announced a two-year stay of execution for taxpayers on Dec. 7, he made it clear that he intends to spend those two years campaigning for higher marginal tax rates on dividends, capital gains and salaries for couples earning more than $250,000. "I don't see how the Republicans win that argument," said the president.

Despite the deficit commission's call for tax reform with fewer tax credits and lower marginal tax rates, the left wing of the Democratic Party remains passionate about making the U.S. tax system more and more progressive. They claim this is all about payback—that raising the highest tax rates is the fair thing to do because top income groups supposedly received huge windfalls from the Bush tax cuts. As the headline of a Robert Creamer column in the Huffington Post put it: "The Crowd that Had the Party Should Pick up the Tab."

Arguments for these retaliatory tax penalties invariably begin with estimates by economists Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Emmanuel Saez of U.C. Berkeley that the wealthiest 1% of U.S. households now take home more than 20% of all household income.

This estimate suffers two obvious and fatal flaws. The first is that the "more than 20%" figure does not refer to "take home" income at all. It refers to income before taxes (including capital gains) as a share of income before transfers. Such figures tell us nothing about whether the top percentile pays too much or too little in income taxes.

In The Journal of Economic Perspectives (Winter 2007), Messrs. Piketty and Saez estimated that "the upper 1% of the income distribution earned 19.6% of total income before tax [in 2004], and paid 41% of the individual federal income tax." No other major country is so dependent on so few taxpayers.

A 2008 study of 24 leading economies by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) concludes that, "Taxation is most progressively distributed in the United States, probably reflecting the greater role played there by refundable tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. . . . Taxes tend to be least progressive in the Nordic countries (notably, Sweden), France and Switzerland."

The OECD study—titled "Growing Unequal?"—also found that the ratio of taxes paid to income received by the top 10% was by far the highest in the U.S., at 1.35, compared to 1.1 for France, 1.07 for Germany, 1.01 for Japan and 1.0 for Sweden (i.e., the top decile's share of Swedish taxes is the same as their share of income).

A second fatal flaw is that the large share of income reported by the upper 1% is largely a consequence of lower tax rates. In a 2010 paper on top incomes co-authored with Anthony Atkinson of Nuffield College, Messrs. Piketty and Saez note that "higher top marginal tax rates can reduce top reported earnings." They say "all studies" agree that higher "top marginal tax rates do seem to negatively affect top income shares."

What appears to be an increase in top incomes reported on individual tax returns is often just a predictable taxpayer reaction to lower tax rates. That should be readily apparent from the nearby table, which uses data from Messrs. Piketty and Saez to break down the real incomes of the top 1% by source (excluding interest income and rent).

The first column ("salaries") shows average labor income among the top 1% reported on W2 forms—from salaries, bonuses and exercised stock options. A Dec. 13 New York Times article, citing Messrs. Piketty and Saez, claims, "A big reason for the huge gains at the top is the outsize pay of executives, bankers and traders." On the contrary, the table shows that average real pay among the top 1% was no higher at the 2007 peak than it had been in 1999.

In a January 2008 New York Times article, Austan Goolsbee (now chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers) claimed that "average real salaries (subtracting inflation) for the top 1% of earners . . . have been growing rapidly regardless of what happened to tax rates." On the contrary, the top 1% did report higher salaries after the mid-2003 reduction in top tax rates, but not by enough to offset losses of the previous three years. By examining the sources of income Mr. Goolsbee chose to ignore—dividends, capital gains and business income—a powerful taxpayer response to changing tax rates becomes quite clear.
Income chart

The second column, for example, shows real capital gains reported in taxable accounts. President Obama proposes raising the capital gains tax to 20% on top incomes after the two-year reprieve is over. Yet the chart shows that the top 1% reported fewer capital gains in the tech-stock euphoria of 1999-2000 (when the tax rate was 20%) than during the middling market of 2006-2007. It is doubtful so many gains would have been reported in 2006-2007 if the tax rate had been 20%. Lower tax rates on capital gains increase the frequency of asset sales and thus result in more taxable capital gains on tax returns.

The third column shows a near tripling of average dividend income from 2002 to 2007. That can only be explained as a behavioral response to the sharp reduction in top tax rates on dividends, to 15% from 38.6%. Raising the dividend tax to 20% could easily yield no additional revenue if it resulted in high-income investors holding fewer dividend- paying stocks and more corporations using stock buybacks rather than dividends to reward stockholders.

The last column of the table shows average business income reported on the top 1% of individual tax returns by subchapter S corporations, partnerships, proprietorships and many limited liability companies. After the individual tax rate was brought down to the level of the corporate tax rate in 2003, business income reported on individual tax returns became quite large. For the Obama team to argue that higher taxes on individual incomes would have little impact on business denies these facts.

If individual tax rates were once again pushed above corporate rates, some firms, farms and professionals would switch to reporting income on corporate tax forms to shelter retained earnings. As with dividends and capital gains, this is another reason that estimated revenues from higher tax rates are unbelievable.

The Piketty and Saez estimates are irrelevant to questions about income distribution because they exclude taxes and transfers. What those figures do show, however, is that if tax rates on high incomes, capital gains and dividends were increased in 2013, the top 1%'s reported share of before-tax income would indeed go way down. That would be partly because of reduced effort, investment and entrepreneurship. Yet simpler ways of reducing reported income can leave the after-tax income about the same (switching from dividend-paying stocks to tax-exempt bonds, or holding stocks for years).

Once higher tax rates cause the top 1% to report less income, then top taxpayers would likely pay a much smaller share of taxes, just as they do in, say, France or Sweden. That would be an ironic consequence of listening to economists and journalists who form strong opinions about tax policy on the basis of an essentially irrelevant statistic about what the top 1%'s share might be if there were not taxes or transfers.
4112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Palins to AZ? on: December 26, 2010, 12:06:52 PM
They are sitting on some money and this is a small investment.  Bristol I assume will keep riding her own career wave to see where it leads.  Short plane ride or a 6 hour drive to LA. (What does a 4000 sq.ft. house in a nice part of L.A. cost?)  For sure they needed a landing point in the lower 48 for the family.  The Southwest makes sense, you don't dream of coming down from the tundra in winter to land in Iowa or the Dakotas and then hope for movie cameos and television appearances or whatever she has her eye on.

The house itself is a very frugal investment for big celebrities.  Nothing at all like the McCains, or Kerry or even Obama's empty million dollar shack in Chicago.  Probably a true investment of Bristol's new money with the father Todd being the main family financial adviser on it.  For the exact median price of a home in America they got 4000 square feet, recently built, recently remodeled.  Room for the whole family - I assume that is much bigger than the home in Wasilla.  Property taxes a little over a hundred a month, I don't think you can't get an association fee at a condo for that, or one night in a hotel room.

Palin running for the McCain seat rumor made sense if it was coming up but he just won a 6 year term.  He could step down and the R. Gov. could appoint Palin, but those pre-arranged deals sour quickly with voters.

Long story short, they bought a house - and it is not in an early primary state.
4113  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: December 25, 2010, 01:35:40 PM
I am grateful to again experience the change of seasons, the beautiful music of Christmas and the welcoming message of peace, love, gratefulness and optimism that comes with Christmas and the new year.  Joy to the world.  Let heaven and nature sing.
4114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues: Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook on: December 24, 2010, 02:13:53 PM
I had my own reaction to some of her points, but also wondering if Rachel might expand on: "I don't agree with everything she has to say", and Crafty's rather non-applauding reaction: "What this woman doesn't know is a lot."

Two people I know that would disagree with the thrust of her remarks are my mother and my daughter, both high achievers. Nothing holds either of them back, 70 years apart.  One that might disagree that "women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world" is Margaret Thatcher.

This point is interesting: "success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. And everyone's nodding, because we all know this to be true."

What is the converse of that, women who are dull plain and going nowhere are more likable than those achieving, leading and accomplishing.  I don't think so and perpetuating that stereotype doesn't seem helpful.  I see it as very individual and personal more so than a gender matter.  Certainly she sees herself as both, a 'c-level' exec and extremely likable - they invented 'friending', didn't they?  I also think she wrote the 'everyone is nodding' in agreement line before seeing the reaction.  I recall hard driving career women I've run across who seem to lack likability, but that is a choice or a personality, not something crucial or helpful to their success.  In the world of girls sports where I spent a lot of my parenting time I run across up and coming players driving to be the best at their craft, in the state, or in the world.  When they step out of the intensity of the competition, some are likable, some are not. 

Her thrust seems to be that the numbers ought to be identical to men, even though she admits that is not the priority of most women.  Her story of a tiny daughter who she 'drops off' at day care pulling on her leg and begging her not to go away on a plane makes you wonder if she is the one making the right choice and the other women putting family ahead of career at least for that part of their life, never reaching COO, made the wrong choice?
4115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 24, 2010, 12:28:37 PM
"No infrastructure to gas up" [Natural gas into cars or 18 wheelers]

I love the idea of using natural gas of north American origin that burns significantly cleaner into cars and trucks in place of foreign oil.  The infrastructure is one problem, also the tanks are bulkier. The demand just isn't there right now, but natural gas is far readier to be an expanded fuel source than the other snake oil investments politicians are putting us into.  Honda made a home compressor that was taken off the market.  Utah has stations statewide.  Our state has just one - with limited hours.  If you had a compressor at home that re-fuels overnight and a certain number of stations along your drive, it would work.  Every building in our area has natural gas already connected.  It is just a matter of investing in dispensing and compressing equipment - ahead of the demand.  A battery powered car won't produce major amounts of heat or air conditioning for your drive or take a large load on the long haul.  Natural gas can. Some bus companies and fleets are switching.
http://www.altfuelprices.com/stations/CNG/Utah/
4116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Obama OPPOSED the individual mandate on: December 24, 2010, 12:08:15 PM
"Once upon a time, Barack Obama seemed to understand the kind of opposition a personal mandate would generate. That’s why when he ran for president, he was against it — and criticized Hillary Clinton for proposing such a thing."

That line came from a post I just made over on 'constitutional issues', by Tom McClanahan of McClatchy newspapers.

Sad and amazing that I care more about where Obama stood then than he does. I will dig out the quote because I remember watching the debate with interest, and fear.  People like that take a stand on either side of a crucial constitutional issue based on pollsters and personal political advantage.  Then change sides without acknowledging or explaining what changed.  And we reward them by trusting them with not just our healthcare, but nuclear disarmament treaties too!

Here is an example of Obama's position stated in an early Democratic debate:

"I do provide universal health care. The only difference between Clinton’s plan and mine is that she thinks the problem for people without health care is that nobody has mandated, forced them to get health care. What I see are people who would love to have health care & can’t afford it. My plan that makes sure that it is affordable to get health care as good as the health care that I have as a member of Congress. That’s what the American people are looking for & what I intend to provide as president."
Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada Nov 15, 2007
http://www.ontheissues.org/Archive/2007_Dems_Las_Vegas_Health_Care.htm

My question today, does anybody think he actually changed his mind, that this Harvard educated Alinsky liberal did not know then that if he ever got the shot at it, the mandate would be necessary to expect healthy people buy a government-crafted policy that they don't want, or was he (obviously) lying then for tactical, political advantage, to differentiate himself from her, and Edwards and Dodd and Richardson and Kucinich?

In other words, he burst on the national stage as a new kind of politician, looked America in the eye and lied to our face on all the major issues, healthcare, war, tax cuts, you name it.

When he appointed Hillary he said Americans should not take too seriously some of the things said during “the heat of a campaign.”

They say they want people to engage, learn the issues, watch the debates, etc.  But if and when we do engage, we keep getting snowed over with bullshit like this.  People who disengage and say all politicians are alike have it just about as right as those of us who try to tune in and pay attention.
4117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues in Constitutional Law: Positive Rights vs. Negative Rights on: December 24, 2010, 11:11:05 AM
Is there a constitutional right of having someone provide services to you?  If it is a good idea that everyone have a right to free this or affordable that, is that right already in the constitution or is that a change requiring amendment?  Does congress have the power to compel you to buy a private contract?  Is it an unenumerated power?
-------------------------------------------------------
Obamacare and the risk of ‘positive rights’
By E. THOMAS McCLANAHAN
The Kansas City Star

Last week’s court decision striking down the linchpin provision of the health care bill is a reminder that what’s at stake is larger than the future of Obamacare. If this law passes constitutional muster, the question is whether the federal government can be constrained by any limits at all.

At issue is the personal mandate, the part of the law that says everyone must buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The implications were aptly captured by U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, ruling in Virginia vs. Sebelius — one of several lawsuits challenging Obamacare.

Two other federal judges have upheld the personal mandate, but Hudson saw the law differently. He pointed out that neither the Supreme Court nor any federal court of appeals has held that Congress’ power to regulate commerce means people can be compelled to buy a product from a private company.

If that provision is upheld, the implications are deeply troubling.

Up to now, defenders of the health care law have airily dismissed such concerns. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asked to name the constitutional provision on which the personal mandate was based, famously replied in an outraged tone: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

During the health care debate, it was common to hear people piously assert that health care should be a right, perhaps unaware of the full implications. The ongoing strikes and riots in Europe, however, represent the long-term risks of the progressive vision, in which government-delivered social benefits are portrayed as personal rights.

No wonder they’re rioting in Europe. They believe their personal rights are being violated by budget cuts brought on by the sovereign debt crisis.

Government benefits expressed in this way are known to political scientists as positive rights, which differ from the negative rights with which we’re more familiar. Negative rights generally describe things the government cannot do — take your stuff without due process, stifle your right to express your point of view, lock you up without cause, etc.

Positive rights describe things the government says it will do for you. A good example was the Second Bill of Rights pushed by President Roosevelt. Everyone, he said, should have the right “to a useful and remunerative job … to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing … to adequate medical care … to a good education” and more.

Worthy goals, all. Who’s against such things?

Certainly a highly developed economy should not be without social welfare programs — pensions and health care for seniors, aid to the indigent and the like. The problem is that elevating benefits to the level of rights confers an unlimited grant of power to the government. In the legislative process, laudable sentiments too often emerge as programs with unconstrained costs — or, in the case of the personal mandate in Obamacare, policies that rely on coercion.

As federal lawyers told Judge Hudson, the personal insurance requirement is the “vital kinetic link that animates Congress’s overall regulatory reform of interstate health care.”

From government’s point of view, positive rights are marching orders. Heaven and earth must be moved to deliver the promises. The state grows rapidly and ultimately it outruns the capacity of the tax base to pay for it all, endangering the financial security of everyone.

Thirty years ago, Portugal’s government cost its taxpayers about 20 percent of GDP. Then a new constitution was written, chock full of positive rights — the right to housing, education, health, social security. The size of government doubled. Portugal’s borrowing costs, like that of Greece and Ireland, have ballooned.

It’s no coincidence that those who believe health care is a “right” were, like Pelosi, initially flummoxed by the notion that a serious constitutional challenge was even possible. Who could worry about legal niceties when the noble goal of universal health care is within reach?

Once upon a time, Barack Obama seemed to understand the kind of opposition a personal mandate would generate. That’s why when he ran for president, he was against it — and criticized Hillary Clinton for proposing such a thing.

http://www.kansascity.com/2010/12/18/2529544/obamacare-and-the-risk-of-positive.html#ixzz1937oHwrO
4118  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Asset Protection strategies (Trusts, Family Partnerships, Charitable Trusts etc) on: December 24, 2010, 09:45:35 AM
Canis, good questions. What type of assets are you looking to protect? I looked into Living Trust rules recently to help my parents with their estate planning and realized I should have had one for myself all along.

For real estate, my strategy for limiting liability has been to set up a separate LLC for each property, the idea being to offer some personal protection and limit the damage of one lawsuit to the asset of that property, not a portfolio. The more difficult you can make it look to collect, the less likely you will be sued, at least frivolously. So far I have only done this with new purchases, not gone back and transferred titles yet for earlier holdings. I assume the same strategy would apply for assets other than real estate.  Transferring title though doesn't make all liabilities go away.  Some like environmental liability can pass through the chain of title.

The ownership of each LLC needs to be transferred to the trust.  The Living Trust set up correctly will keep the assets that are in it out of probate, but has no affect of limiting liability.  I don't know of any vehicle that offers both.

I don't know the state you are in, but most people should not need an attorney to set up a Living Trust.  Just start googling and reading; they have fairly straightforward forms.  The key is the followup.  You need to transfer the title legally of each asset to be in the name of the trust, not in the name of you or your wife.  Not just a transfer document in your file, but listed in the name of the trust at the brokerage or at the county records.  There may be reason to set up 2 trusts, one for each of you.  If you have a trust but a property or asset is not transferred to it, that asset goes to probate.  Others can tell you what a nightmare that is.  If the asset is in the trust, then whoever you designate to run it can make decisions, moves, buys, sells immediately without years of court system delays.  The ability to move money around may be necessary just to pay expenses.

I am no expert on this and hope that others jump in with good information or to correct any of mine.
4119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: State with no income tax had the highest growth - Census on: December 22, 2010, 12:10:58 PM
http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2010/12/census-fast-growth-states-no-income-tax

Census: Fast growth in states with no income tax

"...growth tends to be stronger where taxes are lower. Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average. The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England.

Altogether, 35 percent of the nation's total population growth occurred in these nine non-taxing states, which accounted for just 19 percent of total population at the beginning of the decade."
4120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: 10,000 new Homeless Missing in Oregon, All Millionaires on: December 22, 2010, 12:03:09 PM
One Third of the projected revenue windfall from the Oregon Millionaires Tax did not materialize! I can't believe these Alinsky technocrats LIED to us.

"...unlike...Cuba, its citizens can still easily vote with their feet"

If these were poor people affected or missing, we would have a new government program to locate, counsel and re-train them.  Maybe free housing or healthcare to get them to stay.

Minnesota's new Governor had the same proposal on his platform.  He didn't know then that he would be governing with a new Republican state House and state Senate.

http://blog.oregonlive.com/myoregon/2010/12/the_case_of_the_missing_oregon.html

The Case of The Missing Oregon Millionaires
Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Like the plot line straight from an old Agatha Christie novel, about 10,000 Oregon millionaires seem to have gone missing since 2009. And no one, least of all the state, knows where they are.

However, despite the absence of Mssr. Hercule Poirot to investigate, some facts surrounding this case are known. In June 2009, the state legislature enacted Measures 66 & 67 retroactively, effectively raising the tax rate to 10.8% on joint filer income between $250K to $500K and to 11% on income over $500K per year, including capital gains. The only place in the USA with a higher tax rate is New York City.

So when the tax revenues rolled in for 2009, the state expected to collect $180 million on 38,000 high income filers. Alas, only $130 million was collected on 28,000 tax filers. Where did the missing 10,000 Oregon millionaires go with their fifty million in lost tax revenues? I'd start looking as far away as Texas, whose capital gains tax is 0%, and other low tax states.

Of course the legislators in Salem blame the bad economy with its high unemployment, conveniently overlooking the fact that Oregon is one socialist system that can fail, unlike for example Cuba, because its citizens can still easily "vote with their feet".

Kitzhaber can continue this failed socialist scheme, and end up seeing even lower tax revenues collected in 2010 and 2011, or he can wake-up, smell the coffee, and revoke Measures 66 & 67.

The only way Oregon is going to get out of this recession is by encouraging wealthy people and private businesses to move to the state...not leave it.
4121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Congress of Glibness - leaving in a storm on: December 22, 2010, 10:38:49 AM
Does anyone remember the scramble of news as the Clintons were exiting the White House.  Besides stealing things from the walls and desks of the White House, we had the flurry of pardons. Pardons plotted for four years were all sprung at once. Everyone and their brother wanted one, literally, with Hugh Rodham selling them like magazine subscriptions.  The administration and the media were oblivious to the tanking economy and the rising terror threat beneath the headlines that would soon explode on us as they all rushed to get their last pet project pushed through with unaccountable, shameless, lame duck power.

Here we go again.  This congress exiting is the group Obama rode in with and he along with his compadres of the last 4 years, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, are still setting the bold, leftist, activist agenda as the least popular congress in history prepares to leave town, hopefully forever.

The focus is to pass things now that can't be undone by the next congress; that is the opposite of a founding principle we used to refer to as consent of the governed.

We can discuss the issues separately and we have, but I just want to make sure this wider Alinsky strategy is pointed out right now, as it is happening.

First the tax dilemma and the tax deal was everything. They left it all to the end against the advice of ALL economists.  Republicans weren't going to discuss anything else until a tax package was set so that became the fight of our time, even though everyone presumably knew Obama wasn't going to raise tax rates on everyone coming into his last 2 years and an uphill reelection fight.

Crafty wrote about RINOs on START who cannot hold a line - shame on them, but shame should go mainly to the exiting leaders and their followers who ram all this BS right in the face of an electorate who just gave them a 3-part answer to their agenda: no, NO and Hell No!

Tax rates only got a temporary settlement continuing the exact same uncertainty problem we faced the last two years.  Then it was amnesty for illegals, barely a win for sanity and sovereignty making centrist R's look bad to a growing constituency.  With their guard down and thinking they owed Obama a favor, in comes the surrender treaty to the Russians.   Simultaneous as a diversion, we have the FCC, as if that was not an operating arm of the Obama administration, sliding through a new fatwa proclaiming federal regulatory of the internet with rules that are not made public.  The news that the DEBT went up 2 TRILLION in one year goes nearly unnoticed.

The people mostly want to wind up some business of their own, put this rotten year behind us, listen to sleigh bells, go see Christmas lights, dream of sugar plum fairies, relax spiritually or whatever others do over a winter solstice break, and pray for better (meaning less) governance in the new year.  This leftist flurry makes sure that the next two years will be all about arguing and undoing the damage of the last two years, not moving the country forward, advancing freedom, innovation or enterprise.

God Bless America.  We could use a little help here right now.
4122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: December 22, 2010, 09:42:03 AM
Maybe the missed translation of Hillary's Russian Reset button actually came out as 'kowtow'. (credit below) I would note that this week the Polish government has issued a deep distrust of the Russian report on the crash that killed all their leaders while the Obamaites and RINOs like Dick Lugar are saying trust this adversary in a treaty where the preamble doesn't even match the contents of the document.

Nothing should prevent missile defense.

Funny they would rush this while at least the public doesn't even know who just launched a missile off the coast of California?
--------------------
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100069140/new-start-treaty-the-obama-administration-is-dancing-to-moscow%E2%80%99s-tune/

New START Treaty: The Obama Administration is dancing to Moscow’s tune

By Nile Gardiner World Last updated: December 21st, 2010

Russia likes the new START treaty (Photo: Reuters)

When Hillary Clinton famously announced Washington’s new “reset” policy towards Russia, she really meant to say “kowtow”. Because whenever Moscow makes a demand the Obama Administration obediently follows. The Russians hated the Bush Administration’s plans for Third Site missile defences in Poland and the Czech Republic, and the Obama team dutifully dropped them last year in what can only be described as an appalling surrender to a major strategic adversary. Now with the New START Treaty, the Obama presidency is pushing an agreement that the increasingly repressive regime in Russia thinks is absolutely wonderful.

And Moscow has every reason to like it. As I noted in a previous post, the treaty fundamentally undercuts US national security by giving Russia a huge say over American plans for a global missile defence system:

    Simply put, the New START Treaty is a staggeringly bad deal for the United States, and an extraordinarily good one for Vladimir Putin’s increasingly hostile and authoritarian Russia. President Obama needs to respect the will of the American electorate and allow the new Senate to vote on the Treaty, and fully scrutinise and debate the details of an agreement which, if ratified in its current form, will dramatically undercut America’s global missile defences. The White House is pressing for another monumental surrender to Moscow which will only strengthen the hand of a key US adversary.

Further confirmation that the Russians are clearly in the driving seat, and can’t wait to get this agreement ratified, was provided in astonishing fashion yesterday by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who warned the US Senate to fall in line and drop any talk of amending the treaty. The last time I checked, Lavrov wasn’t elected by the American people, but he clearly thinks he can tell them what to do. According to the BBC:

    Russia has warned US lawmakers that any change to the new nuclear arms disarmament treaty between the two countries could destroy the pact. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the New Start treaty “cannot be reopened, becoming the subject of new negotiations” according to remarks reported by Interfax news agency. Republicans in the US Senate have recently pushed to change its wording. Two-thirds of the 100 US senators must back the treaty for it to be ratified.

    “The Start agreement, which was drafted on the basis of strict parity, completely meets the national interests of both Russia and the United States,” Mr Lavrov told Interfax. “It cannot be reopened, becoming the subject of new negotiations,” he added.

The White House’s response should be to tell the Russian government to mind its own business, and be prepared to renegotiate the treaty, but unfortunately the Obama presidency is simply content to move its feet to Moscow’s tune like a dancing bear at a St. Petersburg circus. This is all deeply humiliating for the most powerful nation on earth. US lawmakers should recognise this farce for what it is: the humiliating appeasement of a deeply unpleasant and hostile regime that is actively working against US interests and security on the world stage.
4123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: December 22, 2010, 09:27:22 AM
If we were talking 380 parts per thousand I would be more concerned.  It is 380 parts per Million.  If CO2 levels this low were DECREASING I would be more concerned as all plant life relies on a continuous supply of this trace atmospheric molecule.

From the story: "The greatest question in climate science is: What will that do to the temperature of the earth?"

Also true that warmer air holds more CO2, so we don't even know cause and affect.

Sometimes best to view this steep curve increase on a graph to see where it is headed.  This only goes up to 1% of atmospheric concentration.  The y-axis would need to be 100 times taller to graphically show the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere as it has increased over the last 50-some years.

If you assume this increase is either cyclical or fossil fuel based or both, then the likely extension of the curve would be to maybe go further up and then come gradually back down as fossil fuel use has likely already peaked and offsetting factors like plant growth also increase to absorb these fluctuations.

As the NY Times calls the above, "rising relentlessly".

4124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 21, 2010, 12:59:54 PM
I enjoyed the Levinson article though I see it differently.

The theme seems to be the disproportionality aka checks and balances(?).Every few election cycles there seems to be major talk (mostly out of New York and California) to end the electoral college and elect the President by direct popular vote.  There is a fear that the one who wins the popular vote (like Al Gore) may not win in the electoral college.  Like saying the football team with the best time of possession or total yards needs to win even though the rules say we only count points on the board.  Regardless of the merits I always laugh it off because all it will to take to change that is to ask more than half the states to voluntarily give up their 'disproportional' power.  Same argument would go for the senate.  Why abandon the electoral college when, until Levinson(?), I never hear a proposal to end the Senate and go to a strictly proportional (unicameral?) legislative branch.  I have never found the House to be a better governing body than the Senate and don't find the argument that a proportional body would not have confirmed to Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court to be at all helpful.  

The details of the 12th amendment and the story of 1824 are both quite interesting.  Maybe electoral tiebreakers are quirky or unfair, but then it reinforces something I have come to know since Gore-Bush Florida and the crazy Al Franken recount here: margin of victory matters.  A party or potential coalition can't run 3 candidates or be still fighting amongst themselves on election day and expect their views to prevail.  The Gore Bush contest in Florida mattered because the country was also evenly divided across the other 49 states.  Even if that had ended in a tie to be decided in the House of Representatives with each state getting just one vote, that would only happen after each candidate had every opportunity to win outright in the conventional manner.  Because margin of victory matters, every vote really matters.  I didn't use to know that.  

Levinson alleges (if I read him correctly) one sign of the constitutional stupidity is that mountain states, sparsely populated but fully represented in the Senate, take in far more federal funding than they pay in.  I assume that includes Alaska with their majestic mountains and notoriety for bridges and spending to nowhere.  

I would reply emphatically that those spending bills originate in the fully proportional House of Representatives and end with the mostly proportional chief executive.  The remedy is easily available within the current framework: STOP DOING THAT. Like the cornhusker kickback to bring us healthcare, draw up a bill we honestly support instead of buying off small state Senators. We don't want coercion by the majority or from the east or west coast anymore than we wanted it from the King.  What we want is limited government and consent of the governed.

Ideas like life, liberty and pursuit of happiness were also Jeffersonian.

There is a longer story in these states in my opinion.  The federal government owns the beautiful forests at the Top of the Rockies and a majority of the land in many regions of the west.  Like the Clinton takeover of a coal region, Grand Staircase - Escalante in Utah, I don't think these federal ownerships were the choice of the state or the people in and around the land.  The federal government after the takeover chooses to leave resources in the ground, restricts what Utah or Alaska can do for revenues, operates its own land at a loss, while keeping industrious, private sector, taxpaying Americans from building and living there.  (Then complain about the loss.) That is a choice that comes out of places like New York, Washington, California etc. IMO, not so much from the states affected.  In the Boundary Waters of Minnesota - Superior National Forest , not just non-motorized and very limited access, it is illegal to operate a sailboat on a lake or construct a canoe rest on a portage for fear of ... damage to the environment?  Separate from the merits, these are not laws that are set by the locals nor are they laws that lead to bringing in revenues or covering the federal operating costs of a million acre park, as an example.

Life tenure of Federal judges is easily amended because it doesn't a have a state against state component to it.  Supreme Court Justices or any federal judgeship could be limited to one 20 year term or any other number as easy as passing the 22nd amendment limiting the President to two terms  - if that is what people want.  It is not a structural problem in the constitution, IMO.

The 3 examples of amendments failing, balanced budget, flag burning and equal gender rights were all (well intended, but) flawed proposals IMO. There are amendments now I would support that also lack the votes.  I noted recently that proponents of granting the federal government new powers never first seek to amend the constitution.  That is not because of no constitutional need IMO; it is because they know they lack the votes, and then proceed with the legislation anyway.

Constitutional conventions: beware, IMO.  These are for those like this author/scholar who want major changes and you cannot predict the result when you call one.  These are not for those of us who 'venerate' the original document.
4125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Humor/WTF - Rare Coincidence on: December 21, 2010, 10:30:33 AM
Both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address will occur
on the same day. As Air America Radio has pointed out, It is an ironic
juxtaposition of events; one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look
to a creature of limited intelligence for prognostication while the other
involves a groundhog.
4126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: December 19, 2010, 08:40:39 PM
There was a prediction out of cell phone use in Japan that by now cell phones and cell phone usage including all internet would be free at least to a decent consumer because the advertisers would pay your way to get access.  This is the opposite.  If you were a train passenger in Tokyo and consented to the service, you could be alerted to what movies were playing or what the restaurant specials are at the next stop.  Advertisers could hit consumers with precision instead of paying for broadcast to the whole metro and the subscriber of the service could benefit from timely, relevant, carefully placed info as well receiving a free service for particpating in the program.  Key to that scenario (in a free society) is that you could opt-in but you could also opt out.

My older cell phone had a software switch where you could switch your GPS off and hide it except for emergency services like a 911 call.  I can't find that option on my current 'smartphone' (treo, not iphone or android) meaning I assume that a GPS of me is running and sending all the time for anyone clever enough to track me, like a freeware or paidware app writer.  I notice that google searches from my cell phone tend to know where I am and give me local results first.  Nice feature up to a point.  When they decide to sell off the complete record of everywhere I've been to the highest bidder or every bidder, then it is not such a nice feature.

Opting out of privacy surrenders and unwanted advertising should always be a choice at a fair market price.  Bad business behavior like this by an unregulated market gives the over-regulators another generation of life and energy, and gives the Democrats and RINOs who yearn for a more government-centric, fully-regulated society the winning side of another consumer issue.  Free market conservatives and libertarians should get out in front of these privacy loss and disclosure issues.  Like the Do Not Call list concept, some government protection can be a good thing.  Give us the easy option of not being tracked or recorded.
4127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Emasculation of Men In Contempory Society on: December 19, 2010, 04:12:27 PM
"Wrestling coaches say that while grabbing the backs of the legs and buttocks during a match could lead to accidental groping"  - That does not sound the same as groping.

A crime during a sport is possible though IMO.  I recall a more extreme example.  I was at an NHL hockey game watching Boston vs, Minnesota.  Boston Bruin star/thug Dave Forbes came out of the penalty box, away from and oblivious to the play, and assaulted opposing player Henry Boucha with his stick and stayed at until there was a pool of blood perhaps 6 feet in diameter, an opponent lying still on the ice and people in our section throwing up at what they witnessed.  Boucha of native American origin who rose from Minnesota's iron range hockey and northwest corner up near Canada to play for the USA in the Olympics received an eye injury and never played hockey again.  The county attorney, later my attorney, tried to press criminal assault charges that died out with a hung grand jury. 

The anger sprang out of a hockey game and the norm in a hockey game is to fight, so if there was any doubt then whatever happened goes with the sport.  But if it barks like a duck - an assault, from behind, away from the game, in front of our eyes, inflicting major injury, then it was an assault.  Just like Sharia Law and fraternity hazings, hockey customs are not the law of the land.
4128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 19, 2010, 03:37:24 PM
I thought the ACLU conference opened with the Pledge of Allegiance ... to the U.N.
-----

I thought the organizing idea of the tea party, 1773 or 2010, was a return to founding principles.  Who better than Justice Antonin Scalia (or any of 8 other justices) to speak?  Just like the tea party, they have it in their job description (I thought) to return us to our founding principles.

Problem with Pravda / NY Times is that they were told the tea party meant something else - starve the poor, return blacks to slavery, make gays learn hetero, and kick Grannny off her meds - that kind of thing.
4129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 19, 2010, 03:16:24 PM
Effective advocacy does not mean you don't need to get your facts right.  Calling your self non-partisan and unbiased doesn't in my experience (with Snopes or anyone else) make it so.

The cost of illegal aliens to federal, state and local governments is IMO a symptom, not the central problem.  If the new people all came here fully employed as rocket scientists would there still not be an issue of enforcing our borders in order to remain a sovereign nation with borders, citizenship and a rule of law?
4130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghanistan war ending date strategy with politcs on: December 19, 2010, 03:04:25 PM
My recollection during the dither over the strategy of an Afghan surge was that the withdrawal was set for July 2011, date certain.  That date was chosen for American political reasons, not for future facts on the ground which were by definition unknown when the date was set.  Now I understand we are out in 2014, date certain.  That date, again, was chosen for American political purposes because, again,  conditions and circumstances on the ground in 2014 can't be known now as that date is set - with certainty.

Under Obama, we escalated the war in terms of numbers of troops committed, cost. civilian deaths, enemy attacks, drone attacks, kills and captures and especially increasing is the number and rate of Americans dying in Afghanistan to the point of more deaths now than under 8 years of Bush.  Also less press coverage so I write the above with no judgment whatsoever about how it is going.

The Afghan war had the potential of splitting the Democrat party, but it was off the political radar in 2010 because we are already committed to be out in 2011, date certain (I am not the one over-using that phrase).  Switching now to 2014, date certain, allows the incumbent Commander in Chief to run just one more time as the true anti-war candidate because of his firm commitment to bring our troops home, a 'commitment' that a conservative Republican likely nominee will be unable to make.
4131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 19, 2010, 09:38:00 AM
"protect your social security number until the government finds a better way to track citizens."

Good luck getting mandatory car or health insurance without giving your ss no. out to private cos.
4132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 17, 2010, 10:31:55 PM
""Undocumented Americans" Harry Reid calls them."

  - Control of the terminology has been the weapon ever since people tolerated calling the convenience killing of an unborn child a 'choice'.  Now government takeover of healthcare is the 'Affordability Act', and whether you sneak over the border or kill a border agent to get in, you are document-challenged.  Granting citizenship to trespassers is to 'DREAM'.

"Why not break EVERY law?"

  - Perfectly logical to break laws we don't enforce.  The Feds won't enforce and won't let states enforce.  So why not a) crack down on the crimes around the crime, and b) have states put pocketbook pressure back on the Feds.

Illegals tend to have false ID, don't they? Why not elevate and prosecute laws for displaying false identification to an officer, an employer, an aid worker as a version of felony identity theft?  The financial component of the crime alone often reaches felony levels.  Then perhaps going home could be an option offered in lieu of jail time.

When the states fail to follow a federal guideline like drinking age 21 or a federal freeway speed limit standard, the Feds cut off federal funds.  Don't states have similar financial leverage?  Revoke the property tax exemption on federal properties for malfeasance.  Require border enforcement for preferential treatment on property taxation. Foreclose and sell off those properties in sheriff auctions, just as the taxing authority would for anyone else?  Why are local property taxes zero for federal office buildings? Who pays for the teachers and the schools if property taxes are at zero? The local streets in front of Federal buildings cost money to build and maintain. Post Office property taxes are zero.  How much do their competitors pay? Even it up.

Revoke their state sales tax exemption for malfeasance - not operating as a federal government, failure to perform a basic function: border enforcement. No?
4133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues in the American Creed: A moderate defender of individual liberties on: December 16, 2010, 01:01:40 PM
"“Apparently Republicans are now for judicial activism after they were against it.”"

I was trying to make the same point from the other direction.  One judge or one court far away strikes down the age-old and majority approved idea that marriage means a man and woman become husband and wife or that Sharia Law law foreign law should not be considered in state court and the action receives pundit and scholar applause.  Now we have one instance of a conservative judge saying the constitution doesn't give the federal government a power that the constitution certainly didn't give in any clear or direct way anywhere in its articles or amendments - and those who applauded earlier receive back a taste of the judicial review they were applauding.  Activist? Yes, he over-ruled out elected representatives.  The question to me though is whether he got it right upholding constitutional limits on federal government powers.

"it will likely be decided by one bizarre, unpredictable judge in Washington, Anthony Kennedy."

Bizarre and unpredictable would be from my point of view; I'm sure it all makes sense from his....  I will read the links posted and come back better informed.  (Learning more about Anthony Kennedy though will be hours of my life I can never get back.)  In the meantime I accept this description from Knowles (bigdog post) as better worded: Kennedy is a “moderate libertarian” and I agree to make no wisecracks about that sounding like a very clever oxymoron...

If in 1988 Reagan's top constitutional advisers had reassured the President, even in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's, that this man Kennedy will be a moderate for in the defense of individual liberties for this nation for the rest of his life, I am wondering if he would have gotten that job. (sad face)

Forgive me as I go nuts over Kelo again: Knowles on Kennedy in Lawrence (from bigdog post): "His reasoning for this is that “Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private place. . . ."  But Kelo (the taking of your private property on a government whim for other private ownership) is not an "unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private place"??!! It is a warranted intrusion (in Kennedy's opinion) for the government to force out private property owners to accommodate a different private owners whose purpose is at that moment is believed to be preferable to the [all-knowing, all-caring, with sarcasm] City government.  We should all go right now to the New London site and see how warranted that intrusion and displacement turned out to be and how great a city can become with greater central government powers.  It is vacant land, they never broke ground on the residential site and Pfiser left New London in 2009.  

FYI to Kennedy and other Kelo supporters from one who has had his property taken by a city to transfer ownership to politically connected private ownership:  We didn't need a new government power to transfer private ownership of private property.  We already have something - it's called a purchase agreement and it gets signed by consenting parties, with an agreed price [in a free society].  Seller's consent is one liberty that this 'moderate libertarian' Justice Kennedy failed to recognize, and now the legitimate power of government to acquire property necessary to build needed public facilities and right-of-ways can now run wild across the municipalities buying and selling access to government power for preferred private ownership.

If Kennedy is not "bizarre and unpredictable" as I wrote, and some thread runs through his logic and values, and if the different sides of the issue of individual mandate are already known, then maybe one of the scholars linked will already know how Kennedy will come down on the healthcare mandate.

In the meantime, someone please tell me what is wrong with having the 2/3rds and 3/4th majorities required to amend the constitution to grant the federal government a new power - do so - before exercising that power against unwilling Americans.
4134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Legal issues: Judge strikes down individual mandate on: December 15, 2010, 09:27:19 AM
Plenty of coverage everywhere, see blog linked by Bigdog in the previous post on this thread.

Seems to me this makes it more likely it will rise to the Supreme Court, though it could stop first in the 4th District as other challenges proceed elsewhere.  Instead of this crucial question being decided by one conservative judge in Virginia, it will likely be decided by one bizarre, unpredictable judge in Washington, Anthony Kennedy.

The Obama administration says the mandate is no different than a tax.  Obama also went on national television a year ago during the heated policy debates to tell us this is not a tax.  Go figure.

Minds smarter than mine will tell you how this is merely a logical extension of the commerce clause or the income tax amendment.  But the framers didn't envision a healthcare mandate.  They envisioned future desires to expand federal government powers and put in a very specific AMENDMENT CLAUSE so people later could easily (or not so easily) expand the powers to those needed later that they didn't envision or enumerate a couple of hundred years ago.

Try this at home, fill in the blank: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are ... what??   .................................................................
----------------------
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703727804576017672495623838.html
December 14, 2010
ObamaCare Loses in Court
A victory for liberty and the Constitution in Virginia.

Only a few months ago, the White House and its allies on the legal left dismissed the constitutional challenges to ObamaCare as frivolous, futile and politically motived. So much for that. Yesterday, a federal district court judge in Virginia ruled that the health law breaches the Constitution's limits on government power.

In a careful 42-page ruling, Judge Henry Hudson declared that ObamaCare's core enforcement mechanism known as the individual mandate—the regulation that requires everyone to purchase health insurance or else pay a penalty—exceeds Congress's authority to regulate the lives of Americans.

"The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision [the individual mandate] would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers," Judge Hudson writes. "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."

So the issue is joined, and no doubt with historic consequences for American liberty. For most of the last century, the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution's Commerce Clause as so elastic as to allow any regulation desired by a Congressional majority. Only with the William Rehnquist Court did the Justices begin to rediscover that the Commerce Clause has some limits, as in the Lopez (1995) and Morrison (2000) cases.

The courts up through the Supremes will now decide if government can order individuals to buy a private product or be penalized for not doing so. If government can punish citizens for in essence doing nothing, then what is left of the core Constitutional principle of limited and enumerated government powers?

Judge Hudson's opinion is particularly valuable because it dispatches the White House's carousel of rationalizations for its unprecedented intrusions. The Justice Department argued that the mandate is justified by the Commerce Clause because the decision not to purchase insurance has a substantial effect on interstate commerce because everybody needs medical care eventually. And if not that, then it's permissible under the broader taxing power for the general welfare; and if not that, then it's viable under the Necessary and Proper clause; and if not that, well, it's needed to make the overall regulatory scheme function.

But as Judge Hudson argues, the nut of the case is the Commerce Clause. Justice can't now claim that the mandate is "really" a tax when the bill itself imposes what it calls a "penalty" for failing to buy insurance and says the power to impose the mandate is vested in interstate commerce. Recall that President Obama went on national television during the ObamaCare debate to angrily assert that the mandate "is absolutely not a tax increase."

Moreover, Judge Hudson says that no court has ever "extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market."

Liberals are attacking Judge Hudson because he was appointed by George W. Bush, but his ruling is relatively narrow. He didn't strike down the rest of ObamaCare even though it lacked a severability clause, and he didn't enjoin the law's implementation pending appeal. His opinion also doesn't touch Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's long-shot claim that his state's "health freedom" law can nullify an act of Congress. In fact, federal laws that are constitutional are supreme under the 10th Amendment.

Yesterday liberals were crowing that even if the mandate is eventually declared illegal, it's no big deal because the rest of ObamaCare's new system would remain intact. Yet they've argued for years that the mandate is essential to health reform, because the mandate is at the heart of the regulatory machine. ObamaCare without a mandate would mean individuals wouldn't have to pay into a system until they were sick, driving up costs even faster and ruining what's left of health insurance markets.

While Judge Hudson's ruling is the first to declare part of the law unconstitutional, more than 20 state attorneys general and the National Federation of Independent Business are also suing in Florida. Oral arguments will be heard on Thursday in that case, which we think is the strongest constitutional challenge to the law.

As the Virginia case shows, ObamaCare really does stretch the Commerce Clause to the breaking point. The core issue is whether the federal government can order individuals to do anything the political class decides it wants them to do. The stakes couldn't be higher for our constitutional order.
4135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: December 14, 2010, 10:49:29 AM
Andrew,  I will leave religion mostly for you and GM.  I would only add that I see a distinction between the religion and the book with the religion being what people are preaching, taking from the writings today, or at whatever point in time we are discussing.  GM said he studied Islam after 9/11.  That point I find important.  We didn't go out of our way to find or have an opinion about any other religion.  It was brought to us in brutal fashion, over and over and over, so people went to the religion to see if that was inspiring these worldwide actions causing us to fondle ourselves at airports and worry about training camps far away.  Far away is now close to home as Zacarias Moussaoui was trained in our town here, we had 24 al Qaida related arrests in Minneapolis this year and I have rental property in a town where 9/11 hijackers lived among us prior to the attacks - with laws you can't discriminate whatsoever about ethnicity religion etc.

You mentioned argumentative structure (to GM) but on the part where you said you were replying to me, you mixed quotations of mine in with bizarre, selective utterances from former President Bush in the same paragraph, even the same sentence, and I did not follow at all on those points.  You then re-asked the question, why Iraq, without acknowledging or refuting the partial answers that I gave.  If your point is that Bush was not a great communicator on this subject, I don't think anyone here or Bush himself would disagree. (straw argument? Karzai and Bernanke read here, Bush doesn't) You went on to clumsiness in the Balkans, but that was a different President, a different war, for a different reason, though another example of where 'allies' of Europe were of little help and then you mention trouble in Mozambique and elsewhere.  But I wrote that "Saddam attacked four of his neighbors" and I hope to make additional points from my point of view regarding security threat.

It was not Bush but every intelligence agency in the world including the Iraqis who thought they had WMDs prior to the invasion.  What was not found were stockpiles of WMDs.  Not finding stockpiles or biochem labs in full operation is tied to the timetable of war, in effect telling him in September that we will be there in April.  That they vanished is worrisome but not telling (to me).  You quote the discredited words from the State of the Union speech of some botched or phony Uranium purchase in Niger that became a media storm. The Iraq Study Group, a commission that I think is respected, concluded Saddam was not an immediate threat with nuclear weapons; his program was 5-7 years away from nuclear weapons, meaning an eternity, but 5-7 years has since expired.  As we judge now the value of the Iraq effort with Bush long gone, we must judge it versus the reality (with the best information available) that today the world's problems would include an emboldened Saddam Hussein in complete power with nuclear arms.  I think you infer that is not frightening to you (or at least with Iran) but it is to me. 

Regarding both Iran and Iraq and in the perspective of Hitler and Chamberlain or whoever inside or outside of Germany i would like to make a different point than I read GM to make.  The historical issues over WWII to me for today are how could we have acted in a smaller way sooner so that we would not have had what we had - a full blown world war barely won in order to survive.  In the context of the intelligence required today, I say we needed to know who/what Hitler was and where he was going before he crossed his first border and if there was no justification to act before, then we needed to act then, with or without allies, as he crossed his first border or his second or his third invasion if the conflict was to be kept smaller.  With Iraq they have already crossed that line - repeatedly.  With Iran it may be a more subtle question but there are very troubling aspects.  They support terrorism outside their borders, the oppress inside their borders and they support the destruction of an ally (Israel) in a way I think is different, more serious and threatening than the position of all the so-called moderate Arab states who also fail to recognize Israel.

The question 'why Iraq' is posed, not to George Bush's utterances, but for those here on this forum.  I ask a serious historian challenge of you.  Please find and post Saddam Hussein's surrender statement from 1991.  I would like to tie a point of mine to that which I read at the time and saved but am unable to locate now to link or quote.

Saddam we all know invaded two of his neighbors and sent bombs into two others, and paid huge huge sums to the families of suicide bombers.  The first world trade center bombers were here with Iraqi passports.  I think we all agree (?) he had WMD prior to the invasion, he did gas the kurds (?) and mass graves were found(?).  The straw issue was whether he cooperated in the 911 attacks. We were not trying to prevent attacks that already occurred (or avenge them); we were trying to prevent the next ones, and he gave plenty of justification, again IMO . 

Saddam's ties to al Qaeda were determined ( by the Iraq Study Group) to not be a 'collaborative, operational relationship'.  The media and the political opponents, even those who supported the invasion ran opportunistically hogwild with that.  But it means only exactly what it says.  It does not mean they didn't have cooperation, have a relationship, share a common enemy or plan future cooperation.  A year after 9/11 a Democrat, Sen. Fritz Hollings, justifying his pro-war vote entered a chilling Iraqi state newspaper editorial into the congressional record.  It speaks in flowery terms and people can deny its meaning, but in affect it names Bin Laden, praises Bin Laden and names the targets of the 9/11/2001 attacks in official Iraqi press two months before the attacks. http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbname=2002_record&page=S8525&position=all  http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbname=2002_record&page=S8526&position=all

"America says, admitting just like a bird in the midst of a tornado, that Bin Ladin is behind the bombing of its destroyer in Aden. The fearful series of events continues for America and the terror within America gets to the point that the Governor of Texas increases the amount of the award, just as the stubbornness of the other man and his challenge increases. This challenge makes it such that one of his grandchildren comes from Jeddah traveling on the official Saudi Arabia airlines and celebrates with him the marriage of one of the daughters of his companions. Bin Ladin has become a puzzle and a proof also, of the inability of the American federalism and the C.I.A. to uncover the man and uncover his nest. The most advanced organizations of the world cannot find the man and continues to go in cycles in illusion and presuppositions. They still hope that he could come out from his nest one day, they hope that he would come out from his hiding hole and one day they will point at him their missiles and he will join Guevara, Hassan Abu Salama, Kamal Nasser, Kanafani and others. The man responds with a thin smile and replies to the correspondent from Al Jazeera that he will continue to be the obsession and worry of America and the Jews, and that even that night he will practice and work on an exercise called ``How Do You Bomb the White House.'' And because they know that he can get there, they have started to go through their nightmares on their beds and the leaders have had to wear their bulletproof vests.

Meanwhile America has started to pressure the Taliban movement so that it would hand them Bin Ladin, while he continues to smile and still thinks seriously, with the seriousness of the Bedouin of the desert about the way he will try to bomb the Pentagon after he destroys the White House .....

The phenomenon of Bin Ladin is a healthy phenomenon in the Arab spirit. It is a decision and a determination that the stolen Arab self has come to realize after it got bored with promises of its rulers: After it disgusted itself from their abomination and their corruption, the man had to carry the book of God and the Kalashnikov and write on some off white paper ``If you are unable to drive off the Marines from the Kaaba, I will do so.'' It seems that they will be going away because the revolutionary Bin Ladin is insisting very convincingly that he will strike America on the arm that is already hurting. That the man will not be swayed by the plant leaves of Whitman nor by the ``Adventures of Indiana Jones'' and will curse the memory of Frank Sinatra every time he hears his songs."

I assume you know but I point out anyway, the "curse the memory of Frank Sinatra...his songs" means "New York, New York", the other target in addition to naming the White House and the Pentagon attacks with prescient timing.  (pre·scient/ˈpreSH(ē)ənt/  Adjective: Having or showing knowledge of events before they take place)   smiley  With all the self righteousness I can muster, we said after 9/11 that you are with us or you are against us at rooting this out.  Everyone in that operation was on only a need to know basis, so prior knowledge of an attack on that scale is very close to evidence of cooperation from my point of view. 

Andrew wrote:"The way the UN/US incursion was portrayed in the western media almost made me vomit in contrast to what it has effectively achieved. This portrayal of war like it is an entertainment blockbuster, like a game of Risk, or a Real Time Strategy video game. Like a John Wayne movie, after he kills all the baddies and rides off in the sunset. Wearing a mission accomplished tag on his back. This is the reason the USA gets so much bad mouthing and enemies."

This was true, they had a theme lines and they competed for coverage, you could make popcorn during the commercials, but the U.S. does not control western media (or the clumsiness of Bush's ability to articulate) or the duplicity of political opponents and those attacks were aimed at toppling an oppressor and helping Iraqi Arab Muslim people while Saddam and bin Laden both rejoice at destroying civilians.  Bin Laden will point to American acts perceived to be against Islamic nations, omit bloodshed to save Islamic nations or people and the same media gives him a free pass to mis-communicate and build a positive following in Muslim countries and with sympathizers in the west.  That is an unfortunate fact of the world we try to be safe in.

" is what is really intriguing me. This self righteous condescending aura of the invasion. Like you did a noble deed. Well you did, I guess, but what bothers me, is why did you choose Iraq ? Because it was a totalitarian fascistic regime ? Suffocating prison, which people had to be freed from ? Hm, here are a few numbers for potential, more suitable candidates to save. And it would entail NOT loosing your own men and NOT gaining as much new enemies."

You make a condescending, sarcastic point I think with "self righteous"..."noble cause", then agreed with it(!) "I guess", list some reasons but importantly leave out all those that involve a security threat, then go on with other possible targets like Mozambique.  So I add there needs to be a threat and a justification for others to accept our actions.  Then others don't accept it anyway or accept facts as they stroll in like your reaction to reading of WMDs evidence discovered: "if that were true..."

I stated partly in jest during the Iraq debate that there are so many tyrants and so little time to topple them. Note that Khadafi also came clean in that time and had the effort gone better, other bad actors might have re-thought their positions.  I joked after Saddam invaded Kuwait that if it is okay to invade neighbors, we should take over Canada, not fight in the Middle East.  You make fun of being righteous because of maybe Bush swagger?  I take finding the right think to do more seriously?  What was the right thing to do about Saddam, then, and Iran, NPRK etc. today?

As we nitpick our definitions, I will point out that "right wing conservative" is an unnecessary redundancy and I plea guilty.  In the spirit of writing "without gibberish" I offer in good fun my take from your positions articulated so far that you are studying to be a partisan historian.   smiley  - Doug  - still friends!
4136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 13, 2010, 12:02:24 AM
"No comments on the previous post?  I thought it quite significant"

  - I loved your title: "Karzai reading this thread".  It's surprising who you bump into here!

"...natural gas pipeline whose proposed route cuts through the heartland of the Taliban insurgency..."

  - What could possibly go wrong with that??  If this is possible it is the beginning of finding a revenue stream other than poppies for this wasteland.  I forget why we favor legalization here but not poppy exports for the Afghans...

"Gates told reporters he would return to Washington believing that Afghanistan will be ready for a U.S. troop drawdown by 2014, as set out by President Obama"

  - I thought Obama said 2011(?)  Do you still think there will be no challenge to Obama from his own (anti-war) party?
4137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 12, 2010, 11:13:58 PM
Very funny!  The only thing stranger than the Palin Phenomenon is the obsession of her detractors.  On my snowed-in day yesterday I wandered into a scary place called the Huffington Post.  Their number one lead category was 'Palin'. Google 'Huffington Post' and Sarah Palin is the only person with a direct category link.  Just like the last 2 years of Letterman, Palin is what sells on both sides of the aisle, like her or not.

4138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: December 12, 2010, 10:46:48 PM
Andrew wrote: "I know I am going to regret this ..."

I hope you don't regret it.  I'm glad you posted - (as I go on to disagree...)

As a friend to a family of one of the hikers held in Iran as a political pawn to be tried for 'espionage' after solitary confinement for a year and a half, I would say at least that the term Islamic Fascism fits the regime in Iran just fine and that those fighting to spread Islam seek to duplicate that type of regime elsewhere.

In my daughter's Catholic Church the priest was recently arrested for bad behavior, immediately removed from his post, and we know other priests have behaved far worse.  But those are NOT the teachings of the Church, those are individuals who violated the teachings of the church.  The Bible may also have verses we find objectionable, but my (limited) knowledge of churches and synagogues says that what is taught and preached is peace, love and acceptance.  You might recall that the Pope also opposed the war in Iraq for reasons similar to what you cite.  I can't say the same for the Muslim clerics in Iraq and Iran preaching and inciting violence.

What existed in Iraq before the invasion was not peace.  It was another version of fascism, a totalitarian prison.  The Saddam regime was supposedly secular but he was praising Allah in almost every sentence that I read, while oppressing his own people in every way and attacking four of his neighbors prior to the American invasion.  The story of Dujail that Saddam was hanged for was an illustration of what Iraqi people faced.  I have posted it here as told by a survivor.  Mass graves elsewhere make the same point.  There would have been nothing moral about having the might to depose Saddam and then pass on it as none of our business IMO, just as there was no easy way to depose him and then leave a power vacuum on his place.  Toppling that regime was not violent behavior, quite the opposite; we were also heavily criticized for not toppling it the first time we were there - rescuing a Islamic country.  They may think we are the enemy and they may think we came to take the oil (or to manipulate our currency?), but we aren't and we didn't.  We shed a lot of our own blood trying hard not to shed theirs.  We spent hundreds of billions and took nothing.  We tried and tried and tried to set up self rule and leave in peace.  We were not the ones fighting AGAINST that.  I don't accept that blame.

I also don't accept moral relativism such as stoning a rape victim to death because a religion calls for it.  Wrong is wrong.  (I know you didn't say otherwise, just posting my viewpoint.) If I can't do anything to stop it, then that is something I have to live with.  If I have the opportunity to intervene successfully no matter what neighborhood, then that is what is right to do, whether I do it or not.  People can reference KKK or slavery here but those are also behaviors we have shed blood to stop.

Ahmadinejad's Letter to Bush is referenced.  The Washington Post translation lacks the ending I read elsewhere, "Wasalam Ala Man Ataba'al hoda".  Experts argue the meaning, one translation is: "peace only unto those who follow the true path".  The true path is jihad so I take it to mean as Death to America because we are infidels, not on their true path, whereas apologists take it to mean something more like 'have a nice day'.  You see Ahmadinejad as an honest broker of peace(?), worthy of nuclear weapons to deter an attack, a legitimate leader of the Iranian people? And Bush as one who turned his back on an opportunity to settle our differences if only we could sit down and discuss?  I disagree.

"be friends at the end of the day"  - Likewise!  smiley
4139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Christopher Hitchens Rips Tea Party and Glen Beck on: December 12, 2010, 02:37:22 PM
The lack of political diversity on the forum leads me to sometimes post an opposing opinion even though I thoroughly disagree with it.  Maybe I have Christopher Hitchens confused with someone else but I thought he was a intelligent conservative who I just happen to disagree with on a few issues.  In this case he totally rips everything he thinks the tea party stands for and Glen Beck by name.  I can't find an ounce of validity in it but maybe someone else make sense of it or at least be aware what the critics are saying.

His main point seems to be that without the wackos, R's should have taken both chambers.  I don't see how we would be better off had we won 50 or 51 seats in the senate with RINOs who would then give Obama bipartisan cover for a leftist agenda.  The stronger more experienced tea party candidates won and the weaker candidates lost.  That means it takes two election cycles to take majority in the senate.  Control of the senate is 60 seats and veto override is 67, so whether you have 47 good ones or 50 with divisions is all part of a process of assembling a stronger team with a coherent and persuasive message.

I have found Glen Beck to be far from hateful and videos of Tea Party events to be Right on the Money in terms of issues, priorities and direction.  Not so for this columnist:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/01/hitchens-201101
Tea’d Off
Forfeiting a both-houses Republican victory, rational conservatives ignored or excused the most hateful kind of populist claptrap (e.g., the fetid weirdness of Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project). The poison they’ve helped disseminate will still be in the American bloodstream when the country needs it least.
By Christopher Hitchens
4140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science - Global Warming update on: December 11, 2010, 03:33:37 PM
Grateful for no house fire while the snow drifts blocked the doors to our house. (wrong thread?)  Deaths in Europe, the Eiffel Tower closed, 100 year lows in Cancun - during the global warming conference!

People I know from here who still believe in global warming spend their winters elsewhere. Thanksgiving this year was the coldest in 20 years and freezing ever since. Lead story of the local paper right now: MSP Airport closed after blizzard warning extended; metro bus service suspended http://www.startribune.com/  Forecast: more snow, more wind, 20 degrees colder.

I'm not complaining, we love the subtle change of seasons, it was near 70 in early Nov.  My next door neighbor back from south Florida for the holidays has a smile on his face as he takes a great big snowblower where the snowplow can't go.  I'm just saying winter is still on after a hundred and fifty years of fossil fuel use.
4141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: December 11, 2010, 01:40:35 PM
Besides new strategies and new policies, the movement toward constitutional conservatism or common sense conservatism needs new 'spokesmen'.  Here's one.  Too bad that people like Marco Rubio and Kristi Noem will have essentially zero experience this coming Presidential cycle, but we need all the help and talent we can get in the House and Senate as well.
4142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: December 11, 2010, 01:30:39 PM
The message from the last election more so than the rejection of the healthcare takeover and growth of big government is that people just hated the way it was done - with backroom deals and political earmark payoffs.  Enter the new lameduck deal for tax rate extensions, now filled with ethanol subsidies, solar, wind, unemployment and who knows what else since the deal is not yet in writing.

That aside, Paul Krugman, they only pretend economist to the left of the President hates the tax rate extensions but gets one timing point correct (for the wrong reasons):
----
"This political reality makes the tax deal a bad bargain for Democrats. Think of it this way: The deal essentially sets up 2011-2012 to be a repeat of 2009-2010. " http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/opinion/10krugman.html?_r=1
----
Under the deal, if not extended before the next election cycle, investors will again be paralyzed in uncertain about future rates, the economy will show it, the Democrats will be blamed for it, and it will be a hugely important Presidential and possible Senate changeover election year.

P.S. If the Ryan roadmap could be passed and signed, all of this would be moot, Obama's economy would surge, he could keep his nice residence with the putting green and the organic garden, keep his Spanish vacation perks and keep his unlimited aircraft privileges.  He could do it for the children. I wonder if Bill Clinton told him that yesterday...
4143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: The Paul Ryan Roadmap. on: December 11, 2010, 01:07:00 PM
This could go under Palin or under 2012 Presidential as well.  I post it here for substance, not personalities. I see it as the way forward, economically and politically.  These are bold proposals.  Ryan isn't some wild extremist anymore; he is the incoming chairman of the committee, and Palin is a frontrunner putting heat on other potential candidates to say more precisely where they stand on spending and deficits, the Ryan roadmap and the deficit commission.  I would like to see a couple of Democrats endorse the 'Roadmap' or publish a comprehensive plan of their own.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703766704576009322838245628.html

Why I Support the Ryan Roadmap
Let's not settle for the big-government status quo, which is what the president's deficit commission offers.

By SARAH PALIN

The publication of the findings of the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was indeed, as the report was titled, "A Moment of Truth." The report shows we're much closer to the budgetary breaking point than previously assumed. The Medicare Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2017. As early as 2025, federal revenue will barely be enough to pay for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on our national debt. With spending structurally outpacing revenue, something clearly needs to be done to avert national bankruptcy.

Speaking with WSJ's Jerry Seib, Congressman Paul Ryan (R, WI) insisted that the deal between Republicans and the White House on the Bush Tax Cuts was not a second stimulus and that the agreement would promote growth despite adding to the deficit.

The commission itself calculates that, even if all of its recommendations are implemented, the federal budget will continue to balloon—to an estimated $5 trillion in 2020, from an already unprecedented $3.5 trillion today. The commission makes only a limited effort to cut spending below the current trend set by the Obama administration.

Among the few areas of spending it does single out for cuts is defense—the one area where we shouldn't be cutting corners at a time of war. Worst of all, the commission's proposals institutionalize the current administration's new big spending commitments, including ObamaCare. Not only does it leave ObamaCare intact, but its proposals would lead to a public option being introduced by the backdoor, with the chairmen's report suggesting a second look at a government-run health-care program if costs continue to soar.

It also implicitly endorses the use of "death panel"-like rationing by way of the new Independent Payments Advisory Board—making bureaucrats, not medical professionals, the ultimate arbiters of what types of treatment will (and especially will not) be reimbursed under Medicare.

The commission's recommendations are a disappointment. That doesn't mean, though, that the commission's work was a wasted effort. For one thing, it has exposed the large and unsustainable deficits that the Obama administration has created through its reckless "spend now, tax later" policies. It also establishes a clear bipartisan consensus on the need to fundamentally reform our entitlement programs. We need a better plan to build on these conclusions with common-sense reforms to tackle our long-term funding crisis in a sustainable way.

In my view, a better plan is the Roadmap for America's Future produced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.). The Roadmap offers a reliable path to long-term solvency for our entitlement programs, and it does so by encouraging personal responsibility and independence.

On health care, it would replace ObamaCare with a new system in which people are given greater control over their own health-care spending. It achieves this partly through creating medical savings accounts and a new health-care tax credit—the only tax credit that would be left in a radically simplified new income tax system that people can opt into if they wish.

The Roadmap would also replace our high and anticompetitive corporate income tax with a business consumption tax of just 8.5%. The overall tax burden would be limited to 19% of GDP (compared to 21% under the deficit commission's proposals). Beyond that, Rep. Ryan proposes fundamental reform of Medicare for those under 55 by turning the current benefit into a voucher with which people can purchase their own care.

On Social Security, as with Medicare, the Roadmap honors our commitments to those who are already receiving benefits by guaranteeing all existing rights to people over the age of 55. Those below that age are offered a choice: They can remain in the traditional government-run system or direct a portion of their payroll taxes to personal accounts, owned by them, managed by the Social Security Administration and guaranteed by the federal government. Under the Roadmap's proposals, they can pass these savings onto their heirs. The current Medicaid system, the majority of which is paid for by the federal government but administered by the states, would be replaced by a block-grant system that would reward economizing states.

Together these reforms help to secure our entitlement programs for the 21st century. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Roadmap would lead to lower deficits and a much lower federal debt. The CBO estimates that under current spending plans, our federal debt would rise to 87% of GDP by 2020, to 223% by 2040, and to 433% by 2060. Under Rep. Ryan's Roadmap, the CBO estimates that debt would rise much more slowly, peaking at 99% in 2040 and then dropping back to 77% by 2060.

Put simply: Our country is on the path toward bankruptcy. We must turn around before it's too late, and the Roadmap offers a clear plan for doing so. But it does more than just fend off disaster. CBO calculations show that the Roadmap would also help create a "much more favorable macroeconomic outlook" for the next half-century. The CBO estimates that under the Roadmap, by 2058 per-person GDP would be around 70% higher than the current trend.


4144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: December 11, 2010, 12:38:34 PM
Last several posts in this thread are excellent.  Where else can you go and find a good conversation about monetary policy? Smiley

Sad, not funny, to see Jon Stewart more honest and with a better understanding of monetary affairs than ... Ben Bernanke!

GM, I don't know the number either, no one knows the exact number because our money supply has multiple measures M1, M2, M3 etc.  and all are mere estimates, but the toothpaste is not going back in the tube!

Freki, amazing piece by Greenspan.  Greenspan is a subject in himself. He was chosen by Reagan as an opponent of so-called Reaganomics, a 'root canal' Republican, as a check and balance on Reaganomics.  (He probably wrote or inspired the voodoo line for Bush Sr.)  He was always the skeptic of the Clinton- Gingrich boom he called 'irrational exuberance' which in the end did crash and then I think his friendship with Cheney tainted his expansionary policies during Bush where he should have come down harder on the Republican spending as the check and balance on that power.  The immediate post-911 emergency expansionary policies perhaps made sense but not for a decade or permanent without an exit strategy.  I am not surprised to find changes in his thinking, besides that the world is quite different and the 'mission' of the Fed is different than in 1967.  The Peter Principle comes to mind.  Greenspan and Bernanke I'm sure were very accomplished mortals whose responsibilities rose past to their level of competence - and now seem reduced to babbling idiots. (Crafty nailed that while I was typing: Greenspan 'lost his way')

It's the dual mission, that's the problem, and eliminating it is the monetary component of the solution.  Paul Volcker did not let employment concerns stop him when he began tightening down monetary policy to save the nation's currency.  Yes those should have coincided with the stimulative effect of the tax cuts, but that was the fault of congress for downsizing them, delaying them and implementing them piecemeal when any economist should have known the stimulative effect does not kick in during the early years when everyone knows their tax rate will be lower the next year.  But Volcker's job was to stabilize a runaway dollar right then, not let another decade of inflation continue.  The people through their elected officials had the power to fix the other side of the economic mess and avoid catastrophic unemployment if they wanted to or understood it.  Same thing goes for today.

Bernanke admits he is working on employment in America instead of sanity for the dollar.  But everything that is wrong with employment in America has NOTHING to do with monetary problems or policy so he is off winging it on his own.

The new congress needs to re-write the mission of the Fed.  The sole primary mission is stability and predictability of the currency - over periods of decades and centuries, not through business cycles, election cycles, fiscal cycles, policy cycles, government failures or terms of congresses or administrations.  After stability of the dollar, then the Fed can have secondary goals, first of those IMO is stability and rightsizing of interest rates across the economy, still monetary policy.  Then can come a look at coordinating and cooperating with other economic concerns like employment, growth, trade, etc.

We don't need a return to a true gold standard, there isn't enough gold to do that.  Re-writing the Fed mission can do exactly what is needed.  They already know how to look at the price of gold, follow gold, tie policies to the price of gold, as well as to other commodities, price points and the proverbial basket of goods that includes gold front and center.  They know how to do it, they are already tracking it, but then they just go off barking up the wrong tree because their mission statement put them in charge of something where they have no control.  Why would printing more money improve long term employment??

We did not fire or dismantle the Supreme Court when they wrongly decided Dred Scott, Roe v. Wade or Kelo.  There is no better apparatus ready to take its place if we end the Fed.  We already separate it from the political branches the best we can with terms out of cycle with election cycles.  We already confiscate all Fed profits to the Treasury - oops, those are now losses.  We already bring these people back for oversight and re-appointment and re-confirmation.  But we need to clarify and unify the mission of the Fed. (MHO)
4145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness - Hillary Bet on the Wrong Horse on: December 09, 2010, 11:10:58 AM
Adding a couple of names to the people thrown under the bus by Obama or whose careers got sidetracked.  One is Jon Huntsman, the next moderate to compete for the Republican nomination now serving quietly as Obama's Ambassador to China.  He will have to return soon to oppose his boss...

And then there is Hillary.  First must mention briefly why her misfortune is humorous.  She is a crook and politician of the worst kind.  Devised Whitewater and let all her friends go to jail protecting her.  The cattle futures lie.  The travel office firings destroying careers to install one of her own.  The bouncer doing FBI checks on political foes.  And the cling to power of with her sham marriage by blaming the Monica Lewinski affair on the vast right wing conspiracy.  What does the Democrat party call a crook like that? Frontrunner, but she lost to Obama and in all the excitement attached her future to his.  What she didn't notice was that Obama's winning formula was called 'anyone but Hillary'.

Now if she leave to challenge Obama and wins, she will be a back stabber, lose all black support and lose the general election.  If she had ignored her loss and moved on, she would still be a relevant, highly regarded Senator from New York, not serving a sham and failed political appointment where all the hot spots of the world were pulled out of her watch, and she still bungled it.

Ironically it was Rush L who called the Obama administration presciently: 'I hope he fails...[to transform America in his vision].

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/she_like_do_over_gBndkHKPPmC2WZRZNRlHsL

Hillary Bet on the Wrong Horse with Obama

She'd like a do-over

Last Updated: 4:16 AM, December 8, 2010

It's that magical time of the year, so let's play political pretend. Let's imagine Hillary turned down the secretary-of-state job two years ago.

Imagine where she would be now. A leader in the Senate, thinking seriously about challenging a damaged President Obama in 2012, that's where.

And she'd be getting tons of encouragement. She'd be free to join and even lead the chorus of outraged Dems and turned-off independents.

Instead, she's checkmated herself. By hitching her wagon to the shooting star Obama was in 2008, she effectively took herself out of the next presidential election.

It seemed like the smart thing to do at the time. Obama's smashing victory and huge popularity sparked talk of a generational realignment in favor of Democrats.

She'd come so close in the primaries that State was the only job that didn't seem like a demotion. Besides, signing on to his team wasn't viewed as giving up anything in 2012 because there was no hope of challenging him. And 2016 was too far off to game.

But the demigod turns out to have clay feet, and Clinton is now stuck to him. He's fallen and she can't get up.

The WikiLeaks fiasco puts an exclamation point on her predicament. The White House is hanging her out to dry -- Obama still has said nothing about the largest security breach in American history -- but she can hardly protest the leading role because the latest batch was mostly State Department cables. It happened on her watch.

Her appearance says it all. Plump and robotic, she looks miserable and thoroughly exhausted.

In a perverse way, Obama's myriad failures actually hurt her more than they hurt him. He could still find redemption through re-election, while she's left with two unappealing choices. Both smack of political dead ends.

She can stay in her job and hope he wins a second term. If he decided to keep her on, and she said yes again, it would mean four more years of flying around the world while the real policy decisions are made in the White House.

Or she can leave at the end of the term, whether he wins or not, and carve out a new role for herself. There would be a book, windfall speaking fees and international celebrity status, much like her husband, only without having achieved the presidency.

The one thing she can't do is probably the thing she would like most -- resign and challenge him for the nomination. One sign is that she keeps in close touch with a tight circle of political confidants who haven't stopped fantasizing about a comeback.

In theory, it's easy to see how she would run against him -- by picking up where she left off in the late 2008 primaries, when she finally found her voice in appealing to working-class Democrats. Many have abandoned Obama, as the midterms proved.

In the real world, it's too late for that. Resigning to challenge Obama would be seen as a monumental act of betrayal. It would repolarize the party and she'd forfeit the black vote, which could kill her in a general election.

As for 2016, it's still too distant to be an active option. While it's always dangerous to count out a Clinton, there is no obvious move that gets her to the White House.

Checkmate.
4146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon - NY Times on: December 09, 2010, 10:51:16 AM
NY Times: "And as long as she remains more provocative than substantive, her strategy works."

She was out in front of that newspaper on MONETARY POLICY, not fashion trends.  What a bunch of continuing BS.  Crafty said, they struggle to deal with her.  They also struggle with truth when it doesn't fit their storyline.
4147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: December 09, 2010, 10:44:36 AM
The accusation that GM changed his mind has turned out to be unfounded.   wink
4148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: December 08, 2010, 12:05:12 PM
"Wikileaks: There WERE WMD in Iraq"

It was always the case that the endless chorus singing "Bush Lied" was further from the truth than Bush.  That was a miserable period in American politics.  It launched the career of Obama the most credible and consisten of the anti-war candidates, now commander of 2 wars (while signing the extension of the Bush tax cuts).  I wonder how many fewer lives would have been lost if the enemy wasn't constantly told we were right on the verge of quitting - because of no WMD threat.
4149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / American Economic Decline, but with good intentions on: December 08, 2010, 12:00:58 PM
I appreciate Crafty's comment to kick off the discussion: "I post this not because I agree with the inevitability of American decline, but because IMHO this is a serious piece deserving serious conversation."

Decline of America is a policy choice.  Each political issue has some role in it.  Today it is the unemployment extension.  It sounds good, but if you are long term unemployed and your unemployment insurance benefits ran out, then the rest is welfare, not unemployment insurance benefits, and we already have a myriad of programs.  It does not take a new act of congress to enroll the new people, if necessary. Tax rates under the deal will now hold mostly steady.  That's better than huge increases, but there is no excuse except totally inept mis-management for not knowing next year's tax rates up through early to mid-December.  Unmeasurable economic damage was already done.  People didn't know if they could afford to die much less hire someone.  

Regulations are up there with tax rates for damage, probably worse.  When Clinton added Family Leave legislation to OSHA, workman's comp, unemployment insurance, payroll witholding, IRS filings, ICS issues, EEOC compliance, new healthcare mandates, zoning, EPA and every other regulation, it looked like a freebie.  How can anyone oppose spending time with your newborn or elderly parent in need?  And who could oppose making a great big fat rich employer pay for it.  Except that you can't.  They don't HAVE to hire people or build a new plant in this country.  Family Leave alone didn't kill us economically but the combination of all of them did, more so than even corporate double taxation and unbelievable commercial property tax rates. It killed the competitive advantage of the companies that were already providing that benefit and it killed the potential expansion for companies who can't yet afford that commitment.  Now employers are afraid to hire because not only of higher overhead, but also the cost of firing.  Hiring is a decision with huge costs that is very hard to reverse in a regulatory jungle if it doesn't work out because of either the employee or the economy.  

97% of our oil is still off limits.  We don't produce it.  We ship it in from far away, enrich others and then we tax it to death.  Great policy. (sarc.)  Besides oil production and needed pipelines, we refuse to get going with new clean coal and new nuclear plant, which have lead times up to 10 years.   Having the lights on consistently used to be one reason you didn't move all your manufacturing to a low wage country.  Instead of building on our great strength, we emulated the third world countries that lack reliable power, grid or other infrastructure.

The pictures from Detroit are fact, not a fictional horror movie. 33,000 abandoned homes, Wow!  If you could buy one, what is the value? Zero, until someone else buys or tears down the other 32,999 homes also available for nothing, and then an employer moves in. What could save Detroit, some great new industry?  What is the main industry of Detroit, or the south side of Chicago, north Minneapolis or east L.A.?  Government.  As posted elsewhere, even if taxes were zero, government is stealing the resources from the private economy on the spending side, not just with taxes and regulations.  What employer can compete for a day's work at low wages with a public sector that will pay you same or better without a day's work and not judge your performance or lack of productivity?  How many laws does a lemonade stand violate?  In Minneapolis we had a church-based free clothing outlet closed down around Christmas time a few years back for a zoning violation (you die quickly outside here in December without warm clothing).  Maybe the 'regulation' out of the city hall to its enforcement division should have been 'use common sense'!

Clever comment in my election day email from a politically 'moderate' friend mocking conservatism, he wrote: "I thought the ' keep fear alive' slogan would appeal to you."  In return, I offer no denial.  Decline isn't some exaggerated scare tactic, it is happening in front of our eyes.  Detroit today is a fact and so are state government bankruptcies and national U6 unemployment at 17%. For black teenagers, that is close to 50% (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t02.htm) - high enough to make people pursue other options!  Coming are higher interest rates and who knows what for inflation.  This will spiral out of control if we don't change course.  Decline is a choice.  Every policy decision has pro-growth vs. economic decline with good intentions aspects.  It takes courage to put trust in the people, private enterprise and private charities and to turn away from a nanny state mentality, but it is exactly the government guarantee us everything mentality that makes us incapable of guaranteeing anything.  Nanny state government is the antithesis of a vibrant economy.
4150  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: December 7th, 1941 on: December 08, 2010, 08:49:20 AM
Thank you guys for marking the day that shall live in infamy.  It means a great deal to the people who lived through that time when America was attacked.  The lessons of readiness and peace through strength need to be passed forward.  My grandpa served in Pearl Harbor (after the attack) and my Dad in Europe.  I can't know what it was like for them.  I never thought of them as war heroes but they all were for their part of what was accomplished for their families at home and for all of us who came later.

Punks like Obama and Greenpeace or whoever want to question the value of ending that war with 1940s Japan in brutal victory.  Every lesson since then indicates that readiness and willingness to end a war in victory is what prevents the attacks and the wars.  If Japan had known the ending, that attack would never have happened. (MHO)
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