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4101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Use RICO to prosecute IRS targeting and election corruption scandal on: July 25, 2013, 05:15:25 PM
Yes, the IRS targeting scandal road leads to Lerner and Wilkins which ties it to the President, his political handlers andto the campaign.  Sitting out here one might ask how you can tie all these small, illegal acts to swing the election together to expose the wider corruption and criminal enterprise that it embodies.  The answer is RICO, the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act.
----------------------------

http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/23/rico-the-real-way-to-hold-the-irs-accountable/

RICO: The real way to hold the IRS accountable

If you are looking for a political-judicial solution, such as congress, impeachment, or a special prosecutor to hold accountable the unlawful acts coming out of the Obama administration, beginning with the Internal Revenue Service’s abuse and targeting of conservatives, Tea Party groups, and Christians, you are looking in the wrong place. What the IRS did tilted President Barack Obama’s re-election in his favor.

The IRS targeting reportedly began as early as 2010. Three years later, no one has been held accountable and the facts continue to drip out in slow motion.

Last week, for instance, as the Daily Caller reported, retiring IRS lawyer Carter C. Hull testified before California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and implicated Obama appointee, IRS Chief Counsel William J. Wilkin, in addition to the Washington-based head of the IRS’s exempt organizations office, Lois Lerner, in the IRS targeting scandal. Lerner already has pled the Fifth. Hull made it clear that the targeting of conservatives and Tea Party groups started in Washington.
Ads by Google

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department declined to prosecute a government employee who apparently knowingly improperly accessed former Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell tax records.  Does anyone really believe they will see justice from the Obama administration in these cases?

The bottom line is this. You can’t get justice within the political system in America anymore because the politicians own it. What ultimately stopped the mafia? The Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). What can stop the Obama administration, starting with holding corruption at the IRS accountable? RICO.

For years, as documented in The Whistleblower: How the Clinton White House Stayed in Power to Reemerge in the Obama White House & World Stage, Washington’s ruling elite have comprised a protected class, with rules that don’t apply to everyday Americans. If you or I lied before Congress or to federal investigators we would have been charged with perjury long ago.

In Washington, Attorney General Holder and National Security Director James Clapper can lie to Congress and hold onto their powerful positions without consequence.

People forget how the Office of Independent Counsel Special Prosecutor Robert Ray used his prosecutorial discretion when he declined in the 1990’s to charge Hillary Clinton with perjury and obstruction of justice. Others might not know that additional potential crimes were not included in the articles of impeachment during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings which might have prevented the Clintons and the Clintonistas from re-emerging in the Obama administration and on the world stage. People have failed to recall how the Bush administration declined to prosecute quid-pro Pardongate in which Eric Holder was knee deep in.

Aside from the occasional PR-savvy fall-guy resignations the federal justice system has been dead for decades.

This is why RICO — the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act is the solution for Americans to use to see some long overdue justice in Washington. RICO provides a peaceful way to hold corruption accountable.

Successful cases against organized crime have been built around RICO, which was enacted in 1970 to target the mafia. What is needed is to use RICO to specifically hold corrupt politicians and federal officials accountable.

RICO has already held corrupt politicians like former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick, and his childhood friend Bobby Ferguson, accountable. Under the RICO statute, they were convicted on March 11, 2013 of using Kilpatrick’s office to run a criminal organization to extort bribes in exchange for city contracts. It can be done.

According to 18 USC § 1961, crimes under RICO include everything from extortion, obstruction of justice, obstruction of a criminal investigation, and witness tampering, to kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter and financial institution fraud. RICO also permits a private individual harmed by the actions of an enterprise to file a civil suit, and if successful, to collect treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).

In the U.S. the act of engaging in criminal activity as a structured group is referred to as “racketeering.” In short, RICO requires at least two acts of racketeering activity, establishing a pattern which occurred within ten years after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity. It’s clear based on the number of conservatives and Tea Party groups that were targeted by the IRS that a pattern exists. It’s also clear from the testimony before Congress and in the Inspector General report that a number of officials were involved who were following orders from above. The evidence of a pattern and conspiracy already has been established. It’s time to use it.

Americans who have been targeted by the IRS or deprived of their rights by other government agencies should consider filing civil RICO suit under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 – Civil Remedy for Deprivation of Rights and RICO: Civil Remedies for Conspiracies to Deprive Rights. Civil RICO does not rely on the politicized criminal justice system to work. This is especially critical considering those politics appear to have corrupted justice within AG Holder’s own department.

This American University Law Review report called, Using the Master’s Tools: Fighting Persistent Police Misconduct with Civil RICO, by Steven P. Ragland, could serve as a blueprint. This case shows how civil RICO was successfully used to root out corrupt policemen in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and can be applied to corrupt officials at the IRS and other agencies where corruption exists. Substitute the bad cops with the individual corrupt government workers, LAPD with the government agency in question and off you go.

Remember, the beauty of RICO is it can begin at the local and state level, and be brought as a civil RICO action first that doesn’t require the federal government to participate. It “provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.” That means state and local lawyers, sheriffs, attorney generals, and prosecutors can bypass the corrupted Federal justice system. From there, as these civil RICO suits evolve and new potential criminal information is brought to light through the discovery process, these suits can merge and potentially become criminal actions that can be brought before a grand jury and spread to D.C. But victims of IRS targeting can and should start throwing down the gauntlet now.

4102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Boener boning us? on: July 25, 2013, 04:58:09 PM
Mark Levin: Boehner and Obama ‘Cut Some Kind of Deal’ on Benghazi
Mark Levin dropped a bombshell on John Boehner. ...

Levin is an accomplished lawyer who served in the Reagan administration as high as chief of staff to the Attorney General, yet thinks presume guilty and then prove yourself innocent is good enough for flame throwing.  If Boehner 'cut some kind of deal' wouldn't he already know that?  The President and former Secretary must love seeing Benghazi turn into a circus of conservatives blaming Republicans for mis-handling the scandal. 

Wouldn't it suffice to oppose the policy or call on him to do more, instead going after the person?  Speaker Boehner didn't order anyone to stand down or spread a false story afterward.  How about blaming those who did?
---------------
Continuing on Benghazi...

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/24/still-no-benghazi-answers/

Still no Benghazi answers
A promise for action betrayed

Ten months after the horrific tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, when terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate and killed four Americans, the administration has given no credible answer to persistent questioning about why units such as the Foreign Emergency Support Team were not activated to save the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, information officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. 
4103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 25, 2013, 09:41:54 AM
The WSJ gets back into stride after a short, illegal immigration diversion.  First my question and answer key to reading their chart:


What changed in America triggering the economy nosedive in employment and income?  The end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007 marked the election and swearing in of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Hillary-Biden majorities in congress, signaling the end of what few pro-growth policies this nation had left.  The main economic impetus was to end the unfair inequities of a growth economy.  How is that working out?

"If only Mr. Obama (and his voters!) understood that before a government can redistribute wealth, the private economy has to create it."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323610704578626142861572144.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

The Inequality President
The rich have done fine under Obamanomics, not so the middle class.

President Obama made his fourth or fifth, or maybe it's the seventh or eighth, pivot to the economy on Wednesday, and a revealing speech it was. We counted four mentions of "growth" but "inequality" got five. This goes a long way to explaining why Mr. Obama is still bemoaning thestate of the economy five years into his Presidency.

The President summed up his economic priorities close to the top of his hour-long address. "This growing inequality isn't just morally wrong; it's bad economics," he told his Galesburg, Illinois audience. "When middle-class families have less to spend, businesses have fewer customers. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther apart, it undermines the very essence of this country."

Then the heart of the matter: "That's why reversing these trends must be Washington's highest priority. It's certainly my highest priority."

Which is the problem. For four and a half years, Mr. Obama has focused his policies on reducing inequality rather than increasing growth. The predictable result has been more inequality and less growth. As even Mr. Obama conceded in his speech, the rich have done well in the last few years thanks to a rising stock market, but the middle class and poor have not. The President called his speech "A Better Bargain for the Middle Class," but no President has done worse by the middle class in modern times.

By now the lackluster growth figures are well known. The recovery that began four years ago has been one of the weakest on record, averaging a little more than 2%. And it has not gained speed. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2012 was 0.4%. It rose to a still anemic 1.8% in the first quarter but most economists are predicting even slower growth in the second quarter.

We hope the predictions of a faster growth in the second half will be right, but the Obama Treasury and Federal Reserve have been predicting for four years that takeoff was just around the corner. Stocks are doing great, and housing prices are rising, but job growth remains lackluster. What has never arrived is the 3%-4% growth spurt during typical expansions.

The official excuse is that recoveries coming out of recessions caused by financial crises are always slow. But then why have we been told every few months for five years that faster growth would soon be coming? Perhaps readers recall former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's famous 2010 op-ed, "Welcome to the Recovery." Mr. Obama wants it both ways: Take credit for recovering from recession, but blame that recession ad infinitum for the slow pace of the recovery.

What about the middle class that is the focus of Mr. Obama's rhetoric? Each month the consultants at Sentier Research crunch the numbers from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and estimate the trend in median annual household income adjusted for inflation. In its May 2013 report, Sentier put the figure at $51,500, essentially unchanged from $51,671 a year earlier.

And that's the good news. The bad news is that median real household income is $2,718, or 5%, lower than the $54,218 median in June 2009 when the recession officially ended. Median incomes typically fall during recessions. But the striking fact of the Obama economy is that median real household income has fallen even during the recovery.

While the declines have stabilized over the last two years, incomes are still far below the previous peak located by Sentier of $56,280 in January 2008. No wonder Mr. Obama is now turning once again to his familiar political narrative assailing inequality and blaming everyone else for it. He wants to change the subject from the results on his watch.

The core problem has been Mr. Obama's focus on spreading the wealth rather than creating it. ObamaCare will soon hook more Americans on government subsidies, but its mandates and taxes have hurt job creation, especially at small businesses. Mr. Obama's record tax increases have grabbed a bigger chunk of affluent incomes, but they created uncertainty for business throughout 2012 and have dampened growth so far this year.

The food stamp and disability rolls have exploded, which reduces inequality but also reduces the incentive to work and rise on the economic ladder. This has contributed to a plunge in the share of Americans who are working—the labor participation rate—to 63.5% in June from 65.7% in June 2009. And don't forget the Fed's extraordinary monetary policy, which has done well by the rich who have assets but left the thrifty middle class and retirees earning pennies on their savings.

Mr. Obama would have done far better by the poor, the middle class and the wealthy if he had focused on growing the economy first. The difference between the Obama 2% recovery and the Reagan-Clinton 3%-4% growth rates is rising incomes for nearly everybody.

House Republicans have put a check on Mr. Obama's most destructive economic policies, but the President could do more to help growth if he crossed party lines to pass tax reform the way Reagan did in his second term, or to work out a budget deal as Bill Clinton did in his fifth year.

Mr. Obama's only pro-growth proposal is immigration reform, and we're not sure he wants even that to pass. Judging by the partisan tenor of his Wednesday speech, he may be setting it up to use as a campaign wedge in 2014. If only Mr. Obama understood that before a government can redistribute wealth, the private economy has to create it.
4104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: July 25, 2013, 09:22:37 AM
I very much appreciate Marc bringing in these discussions and I have learned to value the wisdom and knowledge that pp is bringing us on housing.  One important point I would make that Pat already nailed:

"Existing Home Sales is much more important than New Home Sales."

When new home construction rebounds it is a positive factor in employment, in the the context that these increases come from a level of near zero during the crisis.  In housing values, more new homes means more supply so it is actually a negative factor for existing home values.  If construction is up based on artificially and temporarily low interest rates, that makes the so-called general recovery even more suspect.


A key point both Rick and Pat agree on: foreclosure blockage is a bad thing for the market. Posted by Pat previously, "If government would get out of the way and let "natural actions" clear the market, housing recovery would be shortened considerably."

Politically, it sounds so caring for the government to step in and stop the big bank lender from taking back the collateral that was offered as security on a defaulted loan.  But for a free market to exist for housing, intervention tears down the foundation.  Lending on housing happens because the loan is 'secured'.  But when we demonstrate willingness to void the terms of a valid, private contract using a boldly, interventionist government based on economic conditions and political whim, up goes the risk and down goes the desirability of making those loans in the future.

Ask yourself, what was the difference between the US economy in its greatness and a third world country with no investment and zero growth and I think the answer is consistency in the rule of law.  People could enter into long term contracts and investments with the expectation that money will still be money years later, and contracts will be enforceable.  We keep chipping away at the cornerstones of our success without noticing the consequences.
4105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness speaks on economics, The Inequality President on: July 25, 2013, 08:42:31 AM
Forbes writes today,'The President Doubles Down on Moving Left - More of the Same':
http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougschoen/2013/07/24/more-of-the-same/
-------

I like this from the WSJ this morning:

"before a government can redistribute wealth, the private economy has to create it"

Too bad the Romney campaign, with a billion in the bank, couldn't resonate one sentence of economics to a suffering nation.
4106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Japan - Deregulation? WSJ on: July 25, 2013, 08:34:00 AM
I recall the same publication, WSJ editorial page, writing at the beginning of this 20 year funk that what Japan needed was bold economic reforms and what Japan's political system was totally incapable of was bold reform, hence the 20 years of stagnation.  One thing that makes the current situation more interesting is the trouble in China, since China only very recently surpassed Japan as the world's second largest economy (using cooked books).  Also interesting to me is that Japan lowered its corporate income tax rate, a pro-growth move, making the US rate the highest in the developed world.

The Prime Minister's party and allies just won a majority in the upper house, in addition to the lower house, now they need to carry out unspecified reforms that he promised.  They already are doing the easy part, more spending and monetary devaluation - dubious strategies.

The third leg is deregulation.  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323829104578620142466558934.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop

"Now the question is how strongly Mr. Abe will move on what he calls the "third arrow" of Japanese reform. These include deregulatory changes that go beyond the free-lunch appeal of more spending and easy money. That means opening up Japan's economy to more competition with free trade, making it easier to fire and thus also hire workers, busting up domestic cartels such as in retailing, reforming laws on land use to allow more development, and cutting corporate taxes.  Mr. Abe was circumspect on most of these fronts during the campaign, no doubt because they challenge powerful domestic constituencies. One exception was Mr. Abe's endorsement of Japan's entry into the trans-Pacific free trade talks, for which he now has a clear mandate. Such a trade opening could be precisely the foreign shock Japan needs to stimulate more domestic animal spirits. That assumes Mr. Abe won't now try to limit how far the pact goes on agriculture, among other protected parts of Japan's economy. He should consider trade to be his political ally in driving reform."
4107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 24, 2013, 02:35:11 PM
"Seeing Krugman's take on China must be a big relief to the Chinese leadership. The fact that GF treats Krugman with anything but contempt makes me question GF."

"As good/great as Stratfor often is on geo-politics in equal measure it can be quite the Keynesian mediocrity on economics."
-----------------

That was my reaction too.  I assume there is a serious, Princeton economist / Nobel Laureate residing somewhere in Krugman's brain, not just the partisan shill, caricature of a columnist that he plays over at the NYTimes.  I just haven't seen any evidence of it.  It detracts from the piece to quote Krugman but what Friedman is saying - Crafty had it in his title - is that even these people are now admitting what we have been saying for quite a while.
4108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obamacare losing support - with Democrats on: July 23, 2013, 10:45:30 PM
Moderate Democrats are quitting on Obamacare

By Scott Clement, Published: July 23 2013  Washington Post:

The landmark health-reform law passed in 2010 has never been very popular and always highly partisan, but a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that a group of once loyal Democrats has been steadily turning against Obamacare: Democrats who are ideologically moderate  or conservative.

74 percent of moderate and conservative Democrats supported the federal law making changes to the health-care system. But just 46 percent express support in the new poll. 

Just 58 percent of Democrats now support the law

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/07/23/moderate-democrats-are-quitting-on-obamacare/
---------

Stated the other way, 42% of Democrats don't support the agenda.


4109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 23, 2013, 04:27:21 PM
Part of China is 3rd. world, part of it is first world, kind of like California.

You are right of course, but the number of people living a third world existence there is astounding. 

From the Stratfor link, "more than a billion people live in deep poverty"

"the overwhelming poverty of China, where 900 million people have an annual per capita income around the same level as Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia or Mongolia ($3,000-$3,500 a year), while around 500 million of those have an annual per capita income around the same level as India, Nicaragua, Ghana, Uzbekistan or Nigeria ($1,500-$1,700). China's overall per capita GDP is around the same level as the Dominican Republic, Serbia, Thailand or Jamaica.
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/recognizing-end-chinese-economic-miracle

Median household income in the US, pre-Obama, was $55,438.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/29/chart-median-household-incomes-have-collapsed-during-the-recession/
4110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rand Paul’s dangerous demagoguery, By Jennifer Rubin on: July 23, 2013, 04:17:24 PM
Rand Paul is the anti-neo-con of our time and he has made some good points in that regard.  One point he made that I liked was pointing out that Reagan saying 'Peace through Strength' meant peace through deterrence, not (necessarily) peace through war. 

This tough critique of Rand Paul, link below, is from the Washington Post, but it is written by Jennifer Rubin who is their resident conservative.  She brings up quite a few points, one is his use of Eisenhower as a model:

"Ironically, Paul cites President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a model. His knowledge must be tissue-paper thin. Let’s skip over Ike’s leadership in WWII and NATO for the moment. (I don’t know whether Paul was in favor of WWII, but someone should ask.) Eisenhower wasn’t shy about using the CIA to further our national interests, including attempting to subvert governments. He kept the defense budget at about half of the federal budget. He funded Middle East allies as part of his Cold War strategy. He sent troops to Lebanon.  He maintained our defense of Taiwan and amply funded NATO. If this is Paul’s model, perhaps he isn’t so bad, you say. But in fact Eisenhower is good for a quote, as far as Paul is concerned, but the strategy that kept the peace and advanced U.S. interests is of little interest to him."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/07/22/rand-pauls-dangerous-demagoguery/
4111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 23, 2013, 03:39:41 PM
GM's point [Don't underestimate China] has considerable merit in our mix.  War is a common solution for fascist regimes to their problems and the reality and perception of American military decline makes for mighty temptations, e.g. as has been well-covered in this forum, in the South China Sea.

Absolutely.  My interest in the fall of China, as a human and a libertarian, is that I would like to see the people freed from the regime.  I receive no pleasure or benefit from having them remain a poor, smoggy, polluted third world country.
4112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: July 23, 2013, 12:10:07 PM
McLame would still be a better president than Buraq. The key factor being that McLame doesn't hate this country.

A Middle of the Road friend told me Hillary would have been better than Obama.  My opinion is that better than Obama is not the standard to judge Presidential excellence.

Yes, McCain better than Buraq, I voted for him, but having another failed Republican presidency in some ways is worse than watching your opponents prove that their ideology doesn't work.  For one thing we wouldn't have won back the House; the resurgence of 2010 would have been the occupy-left.  And who knows what Pelosi-Reid writings McCain would have signed.
4113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: No Sh*t Sherlock on: July 23, 2013, 11:56:09 AM

Very funny title.  Fox News should read the forum and they wouldn't be so surprised.
----

News at the link below from the global warming crowd, they are now explaining the lack of warming over the last 15 years before they have admitted the lack of warming over the last 15 years.  The explanation was that it all went into the oceans.  But the models said warming is LINKED to CO2.  The 'scientists' said the earth has no mechanism to handle 400 ppm or more and warming would spiral upward until civilization was flooded over.  Oh well.  Keep the research money coming nonetheless.  Lack of global warming means we have even more to fear.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/has-global-warming-stopped-no--its-just-on-pause-insist-scientists-and-its-down-to-the-oceans-8726893.html
4114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Vote fraud, corruption etc.: Getting ballots to Obamacare recipients on: July 23, 2013, 11:47:39 AM
I have been arguing lately that the magic 'data mining - turnout operation' of the Obama reelection effort was focused on sharing government program recipient data with campaign targeting, while shutting down tea party opposition.

John Fund exposes the connection between program recipients and ballots:

Obamacare’s Branch of the NSA
Community organizers will use a Federal Data Hub to sign up people for subsidies — and even ballots.
By John Fund

President Obama has had a poor record of job creation, but at least one small economic sector is doing well: community organizing.

The Department of Health and Human Services is about to hire an army of “patient navigators” to inform Americans about the subsidized insurance promised by Obamacare and assist them in enrolling. These organizers will be guided by the new Federal Data Hub, which will give them access to reams of personal information compiled by federal agencies ranging from the IRS to the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. “The federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic,” Paul Howard of the Manhattan Institute and Stephen T. Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor, wrote in USA Today. No wonder that there are concerns about everything from identity theft to the ability of navigators to use the system to register Obamacare participants to vote.
...
Indeed, voter registration is among the goals of the folks hawking Obamacare. The People’s World newspaper reports: “California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen is designating the state’s new Health Benefit Exchange, Covered California, as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act. That means Covered California will be incorporating voter registration into every transaction — online, in-person and by phone — it has with consumers.” It seems as if some Obama supporters have found a new way to fill the void left by the bankruptcy of ACORN, the notorious left-wing voter-registration group that saw dozens of its employees in multiple states convicted of fraud.

...if Obamacare isn’t repealed, the government can, with enough effort and money, get the Data Hub up and running. That concerns many members of Congress.

“Giving community organizers access to the Federal Data Hub is bad policy and potentially a danger to civil liberties,” House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan told me recently. “But it’s one of the most under-reported stories I’ve seen. If people only knew about this Data Hub program, it would touch off a huge public outcry.”
4115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The End of the Chinese Economic Miracle By George Friedman Stratfor on: July 23, 2013, 11:38:53 AM
About a minute ago we were discussing when the Chinese currency would take over the dollar and euro and the global standard.  The answer is no time soon.  China's problems are well covered in the forum.  George Friedman does a nice job of putting them in historical and global context.

http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2013/07/23/the_end_of_the_chinese_economic_miracle.html
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/recognizing-end-chinese-economic-miracle

 "Many have asked when China would find itself in an economic crisis, to which we have answered that China has been there for awhile..."

"the vast majority of Chinese cannot afford the products produced in China, and therefore, stimulus will not increase consumption of those products.  ...Stimulating demand so that inefficient factories can sell products is not only inflationary, it is suicidal. The task is to increase consumption, not to subsidize inefficiency."

"The Chinese are thus in a trap. If they continue aggressive lending to failing businesses, they get inflation. That increases costs and makes the Chinese less competitive in exports, which are also falling due to the recession in Europe and weakness in the United States. Allowing businesses to fail brings unemployment, a massive social and political problem. The Chinese have zigzagged from cracking down on lending by regulating informal lending and raising interbank rates to loosening restrictions on lending by removing the floor on the benchmark lending rate and by increasing lending to small- and medium-sized businesses. Both policies are problematic."
...
"[China will] no longer be the low-wage, high-growth center of the world. Like Japan before it, it will play a different role."
4116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Feinstein writes Crafty Dog on: July 23, 2013, 11:02:29 AM
"I understand your concern that these bills could lead to increased voter fraud..." [Yet I support the bills and the heroic efforts of these newly enfranchised, fraudulent, Democratic voters.  Thanks for writing.]
  Dianne Feinstein
         United States Senator
4117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Glibness, racial stirring and hate on: July 23, 2013, 10:56:48 AM
Every once in a long while someone uses 'tweeting' for what it was designed - to send out a profound thought in a concise, repeatable format.  This one is from 'Kathy in SC':

The most famous white Hispanic helped rescue 4 Americans. The most famous black Caucasian refused to rescue 4 Americans! Who’s A HATER?

------------------------------

George Zimmerman grabs fire extinguisher, pulls family from overturned SUV
http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/22/george-zimmerman-grabs-fire-extinguisher-pulls-family-from-overturned-suv/#ixzz2ZstMVG9X

Pres. Obama for the first time in American history ordered rescue efforts to "Stand Down" while Americans were under siege in Benghazi.

If President Obama had a son, he would not look like Ambassador Chris Stevens.  After freeing the slaves 150 years ago and empowering women to vote nearly 100 years ago, when did we start caring, aloud from the bully pulpit, what Americans look like?
4118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: July 23, 2013, 10:45:02 AM
Just a quick yip to express the notion that McCain would have been a rather poor president in his own right.
Most recently, I gather he has joined the president in calling for dialing back Stand Your Ground laws.
Then there is the matter of his wanting full intervention in Syria.  Anybody here up for that?
Etc, etc.

Agree.  He is a good and decent man who went through an amazing ordeal during his military service.  His political career, however, was a net negative for the country.

Within the conservative, libertarian, tea party, limited government movement, broadly named Republicans, there are a certain number of people who would rather stand with the other side than stand on principle.  RINO became the term and McCain became the face of it.  Sitting in Barry Goldwater's seat for parts of 4 decades, what has he done to make government smaller or individual liberty greater?  Did he build and lead a limited government movement in his home state or in the Senate over that time?  No, no.  Instead his siding with Democrats on key issues over the years helped to give Democrats cover for their votes and secure their own reelections so they all could continue to grow government, grow their own power, and erode our liberty.  MHO.
4119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / America's Inner City: If President Obama Had A City, It Would Look like Detroit on: July 21, 2013, 08:50:16 PM
If Obama Had A City, It Would Look like Detroit

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/07/if_obama_had_a_city_it_would_look_like_detroit.html#ixzz2ZjcVBWX1

    40% of its street lamps don't work.

    210 of its 317 public parks have been closed.

    It takes an hour for police to respond to a 911 call.

    Only a third of its ambulances are drivable.

    One-third of the city has been abandoned.

    Forty-seven percent of adults are functionally illiterate

Evidently 50 years of governance by compassionate Obama community organizer types have driven out the business class and now there is no one left to rail against.

To top it off, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina declared Detroit's bankruptcy "unconstitutional." Evidently, as Mark Stein puts it, in Michigan," reality is unconstitutional."
4120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Michael Yon: 'Danger Close', Bill Whittle: 'the lynching' on: July 21, 2013, 03:27:46 PM
Perhaps the best thing he's ever written. I say that having greatly appreciated his work.

Yes.  That was a great read.  Also Chapter One of his own book describing his own incident:
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/danger-close-chapter-one.htm

A link to the Bill Whittle piece referred to by Michael Yon:

http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-lynching/
4121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 21, 2013, 03:11:55 PM
"China has two things going for it.
Their leadership knows Marxism doesn't work, and it has a greater tolerance for political dissent than ours."
   
"I get the attitude behind the second half of what you say, but I really would not want to be posting this forum in China.   You and I would never be seen again."
----------------------

True, but the differences between the country pursuing Marxism while shutting down political dissent and China are subtle.
4122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: FEd study: no contamination from fracking in PA on: July 21, 2013, 03:09:06 PM

I will be waiting on Letterman's apology.

Readers of the forum knew this 2 1/2 years sooner:
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1096.msg46669#msg46669

DOE, CBS, AP now picking it up the story:
A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57594498/study-finds-fracking-chemicals-didnt-pollute-water-ap/

What would the result of the study be if the nation followed NY or Calif law?  Result inconclusive. Insufficient data.  Leave clean burning natural gas in the ground.  Meanwhile China and India are building 4 new coal plants per week:  http://www.thegwpf.org/china-india-building-4-coal-power-plants-week/

Forget about natural gas, the US govt restricts the use of unpowered sailboats while India and China are building 4 new coal plants per week.  http://www.bwca.cc/tripplanning/rules.htm
4123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The war on the rule of law - Noonan on IRS targeting scandal on: July 21, 2013, 02:50:03 PM
I like that Peggy Noonan is keeping a light on this.  Her credibility reaches a little wider than some of the more conservative voices.

This scandal is Nixonian or worse, more like Soviet power.  Ruled appointees/operatives delayed and prevented the political association, fundraising and free speech group rights of political opponents for the purpose of staying in power and pleasing their bosses.  We now know it reaches to the top political appointees and yet there is no consequence.  Give Peggy Noonan credit for expressing outrage.
4124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Not black on black crime, white on white crime, it's just crime on: July 20, 2013, 08:50:22 PM
"Be gentle with him GM.  Not only is he a nice guy, he engages with reason."
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/15/the-trayvon-martin-killing-and-the-myth-of-black-on-black-crime.html
--------------------------
From the article:  "There’s no such thing as “black-on-black” crime. Yes, from 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders, but that racial exclusivity was also true for white victims of violent crime—86 percent were killed by white offenders."

He is making a point, but the point isn't the one stated.  Of course there is black on black crime.  94% of crime on blacks is black on black, his own stat, and there is WAY too much crime on blacks.  I think the point he is making is that America is not as racial as we may think it is and the crime is not racial.  Conservatives I think are pointing out the same thing, that this crime is not born out of racial difference.  People don't steal a bike or wallet from someone because of the victim's race.  They steal because they want what the other person has, don't care about right from wrong.  They see the opportunity and give it a shot.  Murder is more personal, hence the familiarity.  Drug, gang and turf wars and love gone bad probably explain most of it.  Random shootings are the exception.


Back to the article:  "it’s hard to disentangle this from the stew of hyper-segregation (often a result of deliberate policies), entrenched poverty, and nonexistent economic opportunities that characterizes a substantial number of black communities. Hence the countless inner-city anti-violence groups that focus on creating opportunity for young, disadvantaged African-Americans, through education, mentoring, and community programs."

FYI to the 'mentors':  One thing has lifted more people out of poverty more than all other forces combined in the history of human civilization, economic freedom.  These mentors and program designers ought to give that a shot in the predominantly black portions of America's inner cities to which this author refers.  Whites living in that culture have the same problems; it's not racial.  Our current policy and message is the exact opposite, teach people to demand and take more.  See the Obama re-election for example, selling 'welfare rights' to welfare recipients, along with the scare message that the opponents want to 'take' these great programs away from you.
4125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Polio vaccination causing cancer? Their own link says No. on: July 20, 2013, 08:10:56 PM

Some of the anti-vaccine hype in our culture is over-zealous (or misleading) on facts.  Polio vaccine succeeded on eliminating a horrible disease.  The alleged contamination of the virus occurred before the virus was discovered. From the link, the majority of the studies determined that virus did not cause cancer.  All of the current evidence indicates that polio vaccines have been free of SV40 since 1963.

It's good to do your homework ... and to always be skeptical of government, but - on this one - they did not show a reason to decline a vaccination, as one might think is implied by those sending this out.
4126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / War on the rule of law, IRS targeting trail leads right where we thought on: July 18, 2013, 12:02:40 PM
It wasn't a rogue Cincinnati office.  It leads to Washington.  It leads to political appointees within shouting distance of the President and the campaign.

http://nationalreview.com/article/353729/targeting-top-irs-eliana-johnson

 July 18, 2013
Targeting from the Top of the IRS
High-ranking IRS lawyers, possibly including an Obama appointee, delayed tea-party applications.
By Eliana Johnson

The congressional investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea-party groups inched closer to the White House yesterday as testimony from three IRS attorneys indicated lawyers in the agency’s chief counsel’s office were involved in reviewing the applications of tea-party groups for tax exemption. The office is led by William Wilkins, one of two IRS officials appointed by President Obama.

A source tells National Review Online that Judith Kindell, a senior adviser to Lois Lerner, also held up the processing of tea-party cases by demanding to review them herself. Lerner, who has become emblematic of the scandal that continues to roil the tax-collection agency, is the embattled former director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations division who remains on paid administrative leave, refusing to testify about the targeting unless lawmakers grant her blanket immunity.

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Wilkins, who, according to the IRS, heads an office of 1,600 attorneys, has been involved in Democratic politics for over three decades. He joined the Democratic staff on the Senate Finance Committee in 1981 and became the committee’s staff director and chief counsel in 1987, before going on to a career in private practice at the white-shoe law firm WilmerHale. There, he defended pro bono Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s United Church of Christ when the IRS investigated potential violations of its 501(c)(3) status after then-senator Barack Obama delivered a speech there. Wilkins has also donated generously to Democratic causes, contributing over $35,000 to Democratic politicians and party affiliates since 1990, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He has also contributed to Republican politicians, including Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, but not nearly as generously.

His involvement in the targeting of tea-party groups is a matter of dispute. The IRS has denied it, saying in a statement that he is “not involved in the 501(c)(4) application process” and “did not learn about specific groups being singled out by name until earlier this year.” A senior GOP aide, however, tells National Review Online that witnesses interviewed by congressional investigators claim Wilkins became aware of the targeting at some point in 2012. According to White House press secretary Jay Carney, Wilkins informed neither his boss — the Treasury Department’s chief counsel — nor the White House when he learned of it. Whether he personally helped to develop the guidelines for reviewing tea-party applications remains unknown.

In interviews with congressional investigators, three IRS lawyers involved in the processing of tea-party cases — Carter Hull, Ronald Shoemaker, and Michael Seto — said that lawyers in Wilkins’s office, as well as Lerner’s adviser, Kindell, put the applications of conservative groups through a complex, multi-layered review process that delayed their processing. An IRS source says that Kindell is considered the “political guru” in the Exempt Organizations division as well as “the definitive expert” on “political activities in exempt organizations tax law.” She is the author of Revenue Ruling 2007-41, which provides that tax-exempt organizations “may not participate in, or intervene in . . . any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office” and provides several examples of impermissible political activities among exempt organizations.

According to Hull, a recently retired lawyer with the Exempt Organizations Technical Unit who was providing guidance to the Cincinnati agent processing tea-party cases, Kindell told him the chief counsel’s office would need to review the applications. That, he said, was unprecedented. It also caused lengthy delays in the processing of tea-party applications during the 2010 election season. The applications elevated to Washington, D.C. were “test” applications whose treatment was to provide guidance for the Cincinnati agents processing the bulk of the tea-party cases; lacking a determination on their status, Cincinnati was unable to process any other tea-party applications while agents there waited for word from Washington.

Though he was instructed to make determinations on the applications, Hull explained, “I couldn’t do it because I had no idea which way we were going.” Elizabeth Hofacre, the Cincinnati agent charged with processing tea-party applications, told investigators, “I never got any feedback from [Hull] at all” during that period. The head of the Determinations Unit in Cincinnati, Cindy Thomas, said that for nearly a year, between October 2010 and September 2011, tea-party applications languished while agents waited for guidance from top lawyers in Washington.

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Hull’s superiors, Michael Seto and Ronald Shoemaker, confirmed his account. Seto, the manager of the Exempt Organizations Technical Unit, told investigators that applications were sent to the chief counsel’s office after Lerner “sent me an e-mail saying that . . . these cases need to go through multi-tier review and they will eventually have to go [through her staff] and the chief counsel’s office.” If Seto’s testimony is to be believed, Lerner appears at best to have withheld information from, and at worst to have misled, Congress about her knowledge of the scrutiny to which tea-party applications were being subjected. When the Oversight Committee in March 2012 expressed concern that the organizations were the subject of “heightened scrutiny,” Lerner said only that some applications required “further development” and, in cases with “no established public precedent,” agents sought guidance from lawyers in the Exempt Organizations Technical Unit. She did not tell the committee that her senior adviser and lawyers in the chief counsel’s office had worked to craft guidelines for reviewing the applications about which the committee had inquired.

Though Hull began processing tea-party applications in April 2010, it was not until August 2011 that the chief counsel’s office held a meeting with Hull and Kindell about them. Because the applications had sat dormant for so long, lawyers from the chief counsel’s office indicated they needed updated information from the tea-party groups before they could make a determination. In particular, they sought information about the groups’ political activity “right before the [2010] election period,” according to Hull’s supervisor, Ronald Shoemaker. Shockingly, Shoemaker told investigators that to his knowledge, in the three years since one of the tea-party applications elevated to Washington, D.C., was filed, Kindell and the chief counsel’s office have yet to make a determination on it. “That’s a very long time period,” he said.

Four Republican congressmen disclosed the explosive testimony on Wednesday in a letter to the IRS’s acting administrator, Danny Werfel, who was appointed by President Obama in the wake of the targeting scandal. The disclosures amount to a counterpunch to a 36-page memo from Democratic committee staff released Monday accusing the GOP of engaging in a “sustained and coordinated campaign” to politicize the investigation. Democrats denounced Republicans for alleging that the targeting was politically motivated, calling the allegations “unsubstantiated” and declaring there was “no political motivation or White House involvement in this process.”

Despite the partisan grudge match taking place beneath the surface, we continue, slowly, to get closer to the truth.

— Eliana Johnson is media editor of National Review Online.
4127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Powerline 100 - Best 100 college professors in America on: July 15, 2013, 03:42:05 PM
It is my expectation that the name of one of our own will find its way onto this list.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/02/introducing-the-power-line-100.php
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/07/the-power-line-100-alan-jacobs.php
4128  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Self-Defense and other law related to martial arts on: July 15, 2013, 10:22:59 AM
First, I would point out the legal advice given in this thread is extremely valuable.  If someone is choosing to carry a gun (or any else of deadly potential), the question of exactly how things will play out if you use it needs they to be contemplated, in advance, to its conclusion. 

In all legal situations, don't screw things up any worse than they are before your lawyer can begin his or her work.  The discharge of your weapon in your hand for any reason outside of a gun range is most certainly a serious legal situation.
-----------------------------
Please help me understand the idea of a DA being able to change the charges after testimony has been given.  Intuitively this seems unfair.

Bringing this excellent question forward.  Mark Steyn made the same point prior to the verdict:

In real justice systems, the state decides what crime has been committed and charges somebody with it. In the Zimmerman trial, the state's "theory of the case" is that it has no theory of the case: Might be murder, might be manslaughter, might be aggravated assault, might be a zillion other things, but it's something. If you're a juror, feel free to convict George Zimmerman of whatever floats your boat.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/case-516709-zimmerman-child.html

This is not right.  As Alan Deshowitz argues, for various reasons (child abuse?), this prosecutor should be disbarred.  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/07/14/alan_dershowitz_zimmerman_special_prosecutor_angela_corey_should_be_disbarred.html
4129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jay Leno unbound, and Bill Maher? on: July 15, 2013, 09:43:33 AM
While it is known that Leno is a registered Democrat, unlike his mindless liberal competitor, he attempts to be a comedian first, and this administration is leaving at least as many openings for humor as previous Presidents did.

"Did you hear about this? The IRS has admitted they were targeting conservative groups. President Obama called it outrageous and said he would immediately have his Benghazi investigators look into it."

Ouch.

And Bill Maher:

President Obama was in Germany and spoke at the Brandenburg Gate, which divided that city during the Cold War. Obama said: “It’s taught me a lot. When I was a kid, West Germany taught me the importance of standing tall, and East Germany taught me the importance of reading everyone’s mail.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/353313/leno-unbound-michael-walsh/page/0/1?splash=
4130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas heading to New Hampshire on: July 15, 2013, 09:29:26 AM
Houston Chronicle reports he will headline a fundraiser for the New Hampshire GOP.
(This is not how one hides Presidential ambitions!)
http://www.chron.com/news/article/Sen-Ted-Cruz-of-Texas-heading-to-New-Hampshire-4664315.php?cmpid=hpts
4131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Trayvon Martin, burglar- 2 on: July 15, 2013, 09:25:04 AM

Perhaps it is good in our system that this information was covered up from the jury in their deliberations, and perhaps good that juveniles have some protection against public and permanent records of their youthful indiscretions.  However, it would be nice if the public and community agitators were more aware that this victim did not just look like the people who committed the burglaries but had himself done so and was very possibly scoping out new targets, just as it allegedly looked to Zimmerman.
4132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: WSJ: Benefits on: July 15, 2013, 09:14:31 AM
Social Security Benefits Now Available to Same-Sex Couples

Yes.  This was always about money since pursuit of happiness was already decidedly legal.  We of course don't have more money to pay more benefits, so the reporting should have included that the US dollar will be devalued by an amount exactly equal to the new payout.

The legislative meaning of spouse and family in federal law was changed by judicial action.  That should make those old discriminatory laws of marriage and family null and void until the legislative branch goes back and revisits those definitions and formulas.  Instead 5 people can re-write law and in effect change our fiscal and monetary policies, not just social policy.  To hell with consent of the governed.
4133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: July 14, 2013, 11:58:33 AM
My understanding is that we already have equal pay and that the measures being pushed now under the guess of equal pay are actually "comparable worth".  Do I have this right?

Correct.  You of course cannot pay males and females at different rates for performing the same job under current law.  The push for more legislation is about setting up government panels, instead of markets, to determine private sector compensation for different jobs, creating the artificial standard of 'comparable worth'.  They can do studies on things like what percentage of your time do you spend on the phone and what percentage talking to clients in person and determine that the receptionist and the CEO are performing comparable tasks and deserving the same pay.  The fact is that these jobs are no longer gender stereotyped.  Secretaries are obsolete, men are nurses, and women are rising to the highest levels.  Women in their late 30s to early 40s in equal circumstance are now making 108 cents on a man's dollar. http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=490.msg73090#msg73090  (Where else have you read that?) Nothing in the Republican or conservative movement supports gender discrimination or holding back the earnings of women.  The facts are exactly the opposite.

A 20 week limit on late term abortions is not a war against women or even against so-called reproductive choice.  There is no Republican or conservative movement to prohibit abortion for rape victims; we just keep finding morons who provide a new quote to perpetuate that myth.

The biggest war against women in the world today is the reality of gender selection abortion, in the hundreds of millions, of which American liberals obsessed with convenience abortion rights do not condemn.
4134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Congressional races, Sweitzer out, Senate up for grabs in 2014 on: July 14, 2013, 11:01:43 AM
 'stupid short sighted idea' ..."there will come a time when Dems will regret the change, if it comes to pass. And then complain about it. The time horizon that politicians are able to see is remarkably short."


In 2014, Republicans again have opportunity knocking to take back the Senate, having blown the chance in 2010 and 2012 with a few lousy candidates in a few states running lousy campaigns. 

Former Montana Gov. (Dem) Brian Schweitzer announced he will not run for that open seat, greatly helping Republicans chances to win that open seat.  Romney won that state by 14 points. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/07/13/former-montana-governor-schweitzer-wont-run-for-senate/

One analyst predicts Republicans will win all three, the House, Senate and Presidency in 2016, then lose the Senate back in 2018.  (Hence the tap dance of both parties in the Senate over rules.)  http://meganmcardle.com/2013/07/12/why-i-think-the-gop-will-have-control-in-2017/


National Journal: Why Republicans Think They've Got the Math for a Senate Majority
Brian Schweitzer's decision not to run for the Senate greatly increases the odds of a GOP takeover in 2014.
http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/why-republicans-think-they-ve-got-the-math-for-a-senate-majority-20130713

For the first time this year, Republican strategists believe they're within striking distance of taking back control of the Senate, thanks to untimely Democratic Senate retirements and red-state Democratic recruits deciding not to run for Congress. The latest blow to Democrats: former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer's surprising decision Saturday to pass up a campaign.

Republican recognize that they only need to win three Senate seats in the most of conservative of states -- Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska -- and Mitch McConnell could be a Majority Leader in 2015. (That is, if McConnell can hold onto his own Kentucky seat.) The latest developments underline how punishing the map is for Democrats for 2014, and little margin for error they have.

Democrats can afford to lose up to five Senate seats and still maintain their majority, but they already risk conceding over half that number before campaigning even gets underway.

...Schweitzer's backing out is illustrative to a mounting recruiting problem for Senate Democrats in conservative states, which make up a disproportionate share of the battleground matchups in 2014. The party has failed to persuade any of its top choices in West Virginia, where Rep. Nick Rahall and attorney Nick Preservati passed on bids. In South Dakota, the party missed out on former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and the son of retiring Sen. Tim Johnson. In Georgia, Rep. John Barrow decided not to run, but the party rallied behind Michelle Nunn, daughter of former senator Sam Nunn. The party's biggest red-state recruit is Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, whose campaign against McConnell has gotten off to a rocky start.

...Republicans have struggled to recruit top candidates in the traditional battlegrounds -- against Sen. Al Franken in Minnesota, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado and for open seats in Iowa and Michigan.

But if Democrats struggle to put Montana in play without Schweitzer, that means the path to a majority will run through Louisiana and Alaska, not the more Obama-friendly confines of the Midwest and Northeast. That's an unnerving proposition for Democrats, given how badly the party has struggled outside their comfort zone lately.

4135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Speak softly … and carry a nuclear stick on: July 14, 2013, 10:06:51 AM

Interesting commentary.  Meet the Press just had both Harry Reid and then Mitch McConnell on this morning.  Both were rather cautious and evasive on the rules point.  Reid making that point that it is only about this and not that, etc. Both had served as minority leader under the other and majority leader over the other.  Both were caught up with their own opposing positions made previously.  Neither knows which one will be in the majority after the Senate elections in 2014 and 2016 nor under which party's President they will serve after 2016.  

Bottom line seems to be that the Senate can make its own rules (other than treaties, veto overrides etc.) at anytime but has to live with the public perception of that and the aftermath of it in the pendulum swings of power.
4136  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Self-Defense and other law related to martial arts on: July 13, 2013, 10:56:58 AM
GM, BD, anyone:
Please help me understand the idea of a DA being able to change the charges after testimony has been given.  Intuitively this seems unfair.
TIA, Marc

Mark Steyn today: "In real justice systems, the state decides what crime has been committed and charges somebody with it. In the Zimmerman trial, the state's "theory of the case" is that it has no theory of the case: Might be murder, might be manslaughter, might be aggravated assault, might be a zillion other things, but it's something. If you're a juror, feel free to convict George Zimmerman of whatever floats your boat."


Marc,  I cannot answer the question legally but agree with you it seems totally unfair to ask a jury to convict on a change not made by the police or prosecutor PRIOR to the trial.

Meanwhile the first half of 2013 shootings map in just one neighborhood of Chicago goes mostly unnoticed:


4137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The coming women's infatada on: July 13, 2013, 10:11:55 AM
With Hillary as their point woman we will be barraged with the feminism infatada, like the gay one we have been subjected to over the next couple of yrs.

CNN, and the rest of the liberal media will be waging propaganda campaigns like we have never seen.   It will be NOW style feminism on steroids.  It will use the gay infatada mass media tactics as a template.   "shame", "bullying", "disgrace", "sexist", "civil rights", will all be part of it.  Every single thing a woman does will be celebrated.  Like the woman UFC fighter.   Like the woman nascar racers.  They are the first this the first that.   All to coincide with the sudden need for the first woman president;  guess who.   There was never a peep when Sarah was a VP candidate.   Why?  Because it could not be a Republican.  It has to be a liberal staunch believer in the Democrat party and the socialist elite taking over the world.   For all our own good, of course.

ccp,  Yes, and they won't see the hypocrisy that the year of the woman needs to follow the year we ended all gender distinctions, eliminating terms like wife, bride and motherhood.

Hillary fatigue will set in about 3 minutes after she re-takes the stage.  She does not have the magnetism of Bill and Barack.  She is no Maggie Thatcher to be sure.  McCain was (allegedly) too old people to relate to young people and Dems follow the lessons learned with Obama by putting forward one of their old fossils?  My view is don't worry, 2016 will get interesting on both sides and she won't be a nominee.  Frontrunner status will be a curse.  Benghazi is unanswerable.  She has no accomplishments, no plan, can't run against the status quo nor differentiate herself from Obama.   Most important for a very long campaign, she has no charm.
4138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / UK Telegraph: China's Great Leap Forward Hits the Wall on: July 13, 2013, 09:12:16 AM
Readers of the forum saw this coming.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10173773/Chinas-great-economic-leap-forward-hits-the-wall.html

China’s great economic leap forward hits the wall
This was supposed to be the Asian century, but the Eastern boom is dying of exhaustion



 So here’s how it looks. Years of unsustainable, credit-fuelled growth are brought to a halt by a crushing financial crisis which exposes deep structural flaws at the heart of the economy. Rarely has the assumption of ever-rising living standards looked so vulnerable, with younger generations forced to pay not just for the crippling legacy of debt their parents leave behind, but for the mounting costs of an ageing population and the consequences of decades-long environmental degradation. Economic decline, austerity and inter-generational recrimination seem to beckon as populations adjust to the true mediocrity of their circumstances.

I’m referring to the tired old “developed” economies of the West, right? Actually, no: it’s China where these observations seem more appropriate, and perhaps other emerging market economies said to be about to eclipse the hegemony of the old world, with its lazy ways and sense of entitlement.

Western “declinism” of the sort described by Dambisa Moyo in her book How the West was Lost, and more recently by Stephen King, chief economist at HSBC, in When the Money Runs Out, is still the narrative of our times. But sometimes a sense of perspective is demanded; compared with the challenges faced by China and the rest of the developing world, the relatively minor adjustment to expectations that needs to be made in the West is a stroll in the park.

Forecasts that China will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy over the coming years already look like yesterday’s story as once-explosive development in the East slows to a stall amid growing fears of a Chinese credit crunch. The Asian boom is dying of exhaustion.

As ever, public perceptions trail the reality. For the first time in more than a decade, international investors and business leaders are regularly heard referring to the US as a more attractive proposition than China. Investment flows are going into reverse, and while the US banking system is reviving fast, China’s is heading in the other direction after a period of credit expansion that makes our own look positively pedestrian.

Nor is it just the economics of unbridled, politically directed development that are beginning to fracture; for many Chinese the promise of industrialisation and prosperity is turning into a nightmare of ill health and curtailed life expectancy. The social deprivations of China’s one-child policy meanwhile threaten a demographic time-bomb of far worse proportions than that of the supposedly bankrupt West. There is now every likelihood that China will indeed grow old before it gets rich. One shocking story from the past week vividly demonstrates the massive costs that China’s centrally directed dash for growth is fermenting for the future. According to a study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, air pollution has caused an average five-and-a-half year reduction in life expectancy for the 500 million people living north of the Huai River, where use of coal in the home and for electricity generation is most prevalent.

The latest study, pretty much undisputed by the Chinese authorities, adds to mounting evidence of industrial poisoning on a hitherto unimaginable scale. The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study found that outdoor air pollution caused 1.2 million premature Chinese deaths in 2010, or nearly half the global total.

The fumes are so bad that a growing number of Chinese emigrate, setting in train a potentially devastating brain drain. In a recent interview in the New York Times, the mother of a child made sick by the smog refers to the difference between Britain, where she had studied as a student, and China as heaven and hell.

All industrialisation exacts a heavy human toll in its early years. The miseries of Britain’s industrial revolution are well chronicled. But the speed and scope of China’s attempted catch-up are in a league of their own.

There is also a world of difference between the market-determined development that drove the British and American economic miracles and the state-directed variety of China’s great leap forward.

Politically sponsored advancement rarely occurs without gross misallocation of capital, and in China it seems to be happening on an epic scale. The latest example of China’s capacity overhang is Rongsheng Heavy Industries, the world’s largest private shipbuilder. The collapse in the market for new ships has forced Rongsheng to go cap in hand to the government for a bail-out. It’s said to be an important test of China’s resolve to move from the old, unsustainable, investment-led model of economic development to a more balanced form of advancement, but it is almost certainly one that China will fail. Political connections will ensure Rongsheng survives, and the resulting capacity glut will, in time-honoured fashion, simply be dumped on the rest of the world.

On a global scale, the resulting imbalances require that the deficit nations of the West keep spending to absorb the Chinese surpluses, even though they can no longer afford it. The tragedy for China is that when countries and individuals spend beyond their means, it is always the creditor, and not the debtor, that ends up paying. China’s vast, accumulated surplus of foreign exchange reserves will simply be devalued to oblivion.

By relentlessly pursuing the goal of industrial supremacy, China has made itself into the world’s environmental waste dump, and a hostage to back-door default by Western debtors to boot. Once admired for its dynamism, state-directed capitalism is turning out to be a monstrous anomaly. Chances are that this will be another American century, not the much-predicted Asian one.
4139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 12 percent support implementing individual mandate on: July 11, 2013, 02:40:11 PM
12 percent support implementing ObamaCare’s individual mandate

http://www.healthpocket.com/healthcare-research/surveys/people-wanting-obamacare-penalty-waived-outnumber-supporters-three-to-one#.Ud8J_6xHddj
4140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: July 11, 2013, 02:34:41 PM
Interesting stories at the link, CCP.  If I unplug a freezer (global warming), I don't find that some ice cube trays freeze and some thaw.  Everything gets warmer.  The earth's systems and patterns are more complicated.  We are talking about tenths and hundredths of a degree of alleged change over an entire planet, a far smaller change than our ability to measure. 

Some say a glacier may increase as it warms because of more snowfall.  But they tell you that any loss of glacial ice is due to global warming, because of humans, even if the trend line precedes human industrialization.  Winter here was 2 months longer this year than last year, proof of nothing more than natural fluctuation.  The ocean level goes up more in a day with tide than in a century due to global warming.

I love the examples of counter-trends just as an answer to the naive people, such as our President, who give 2 or 3 anecdotal examples as proof of global warming.  Anecdotal examples, such as noticeably warmer now than when you were a kid, are false.  You can't feel a rate of warmer of a half a degree a century.  Your body adjusts faster than that.

Headlines from CCP's link:
British press acknowledg​es Antarctic ice at record high levels
Antarctic sea-ice extent 193,000 sq miles higher than average
Sweden’s Kebnekaise glacier now growing
Many Himalayan glaciers advancing rather than melting, study finds
Glaciers on Asia’s largest mountain range getting BIGGER
Arctic Ice Extent Shatters More Records
Himalayas have lost no ice in past 10 years, study shows
Glaciers are growing on Kilimanjaro, guide insists
4141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Race and race baiters, Thomas Sowell on: July 11, 2013, 01:47:29 PM
"I am so old that I can remember when most of the people promoting race hate were white."  - Thomas Sowell
...
Column concludes:  "The time is long overdue to stop looking for progress through racial or ethnic leaders. Such leaders have too many incentives to promote polarizing attitudes and actions that are counterproductive for minorities and disastrous for the country."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/07/09/who_is_racist_119139.html#ixzz2YlQAh5cJ



4142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: July 11, 2013, 10:49:23 AM
Rep. Tom Cotton is a rising star and has this about right.  The House needs to pass a very good bill and stand by it.  After borders are secured, legalization and new immigration policy can stand on its own merits and political will.  The Senate should recognize that as a good bill but they won't.  The standoff will no doubt go into the 2014 congressional races. 

"what's to stop President Obama from refusing to enforce this law? After all, he just announced he won't enforce ObamaCare's employer mandate because of complaints from big business."

That is an inescapable point made here yesterday.  [More famous people caught reading the forum?]


George Will: "the Obama administration’s approach to the rule of law is pertinent to the immigration bill, which at last count had 222 instances of a discretionary “may” and 153 of “waive.” Such language means that were the Senate bill to become law, the executive branch would be able to do pretty much as it pleases, even to the point of saying about almost anything"
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-07-05/opinions/40390063_1_senate-republicans-house-republicans-border-security

4143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Reform, Phil Gramm on: July 11, 2013, 10:17:14 AM
A rare politician who is actually an economist, Phil Gramm shares good wisdom about the criteria required to make tax reform successful.

Phil Gramm: A GOP Game Plan for Tax Reform  WSJ July 10, 2013
If the special deals that create crony capitalism are allowed to survive, Republican efforts will have failed.

Thanks to the efforts of Democrat Sen. Max Baucus and Republican Rep. Dave Camp, Congress will take up tax reform this year. Before the debate begins, however, Republicans need to set out the principles that represent our values. In my 24 years in the House and Senate, I never wrote a bill that represented a 100% statement of my values, but I always found it important to know where the North Star was as I tried to navigate through the swamp.

First, under no circumstances should Republicans agree to make the tax system even more progressive than it already is, or to increase the number of people who do not pay income taxes. In 1980, the top 1% and 5% of income earners in America paid 19.1% and 36.9% of total federal income taxes. Today, the top 1% and 5% pay 37.4% and 59.1%. Meanwhile, 41.6% of American earners now pay no federal income taxes.

The more progressive the tax system becomes the more unstable the country's public finances get. High-income Americans earn a large share of their income in bonuses, dividends and capital gains, all of which are highly sensitive to the business cycle. This means wide swings in tax collections that play havoc with government budgets. The removal of large numbers of people from the tax rolls makes the political system more unstable. Individuals and households that pay no income taxes have a diminished stake in limited government.

Second, government should collect the minimum revenues needed to support and protect a free society and do so in a way that is, as far as possible, neutral in its effect on individual behavior. In its purest form, this means no individual deductions, credits or tax expenditures. No matter how committed Americans may be individually to charitable giving or home ownership, the government should not promote those values through special provisions in the tax code.

Third, Republicans should require all similarly structured firms be treated the same. If sweat equity is taxed as a capital gain for a mechanic who opens a garage with a financial partner, it should be treated the same for a hedge fund or private-equity manager who shares in the gains of his investors.

Fourth, business subsidies and credits should be eliminated. Ending subsidies to fund lower tax rates improves the efficiency of capital allocation. The sine qua non of tax reform is a more efficient allocation of investment capital. If the tax breaks that create crony capitalism are allowed to survive, then tax reform failed.

Fifth, all costs of production should be equally deductible when they are actually incurred, and all income should be recognized at the time it is actually earned and taxed only once. President Obama's repeated proposal to force large Subchapter S corporations and limited liability entities to be taxed as C corporations is a movement in the wrong direction. Revenues flowing from those changes would come almost exclusively from the double taxation of corporate income: first on corporate profits, and again when individuals pay taxes on dividends and capital gains.

Other things being equal, the efficiency of a nation's corporate tax system can be measured by the lack of special-interest provisions in the code and how low the tax rate is. But things are never equal—and a fixation with achieving a given corporate tax rate is dangerous. That's because you can, within limits, make the tax rate whatever you want it to be by changing the definition of what is a deductible business expense.

For example, by limiting or eliminating the deductibility of interest cost—a perfectly legitimate cost of doing business—the "savings" could be used to lower the corporate tax rate. But such changes would further distort the cost of capital relative to the cost of labor and almost certainly be detrimental.

Similarly, you could eliminate the deductibility of wages and other costs of doing business and simply tax gross receipts instead of net profit. The tax rate would be low, but would economic efficiency be increased? No.

Sixth, tax reform should move toward the elimination of taxes on the foreign earnings of American companies, whose profits are already taxed abroad. Other countries recognize that the competitiveness of their companies would be severely damaged if they had to pay higher taxes than their competitors in foreign markets and do not impose domestic taxes on foreign earnings.

By attempting to tax foreign earnings when they are repatriated, the United States has incentivized companies not to repatriate earnings. As a result, U.S. companies hold huge hoards of cash abroad while domestic investment lags.

Since America is now the worst place in the world to earn corporate profits, we might be better off ending all business subsidies and using the savings to eliminate the dual taxation of corporate income and the taxation on foreign earnings—and to lower the corporate tax rate as much as is consistent with revenue neutrality, using static scoring. We could then write a provision into the law that if the improved code collects more taxes than the static revenue estimates, the rate would automatically be lowered over time by the amount of over-performance, down to 25%.

Some final advice: Compromise is fine if it moves you in the right direction. But don't compromise on things that will only make rational reform harder in the future. If you can improve the tax code and help the economy now, do it. But remember, the Obama administration too shall pass, and a poor deal now will make a good one harder to achieve in the future.

Mr. Gramm, a former Republican senator from Texas, is a senior partner of US Policy Metrics and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
4144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Colorado Marijuana tax to be 35%? on: July 11, 2013, 10:08:24 AM
Colorado makes a distinction between medical and recreational use.  For taxation there will be 3 categories, medical with zero tax, recreational taxed to the hilt, and old fashioned black market, just like it used to be.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2013/07/10/taxes-on-recreational-pot-sales-could-top-35-percent/

DENVER (CBS4)- The taxes on recreational marijuana might go a lot higher than first thought. Smokers buying at shops in Denver may pay up to 35 percent in taxes.

Colorado voters will be asked to approve two state taxes totaling 25 percent on all retail marijuana sales in the November election. They may be asked to approve an additional city tax for Denver.  Denver Mayor Michael Hancock wants to add an additional five to 10 percent city tax on top of that.  Hancock said the money is needed to pay the costs of regulating the drug.
4145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: As mentioned before... on: July 10, 2013, 04:11:43 PM
"Of all the stretches of executive power Americans have seen in the past few years, the president's unilateral suspension of statutes may have the most disturbing long-term effects."
 "As the Supreme Court said long ago (Kendall v. United States, 1838), allowing the president to refuse to enforce statutes passed by Congress 'would be clothing the president with a power to control the legislation of congress, and paralyze the administration of justice.'"

Other examples of this were not enforcing borders, not building the fence, and not deporting.  The justification is that Bush wouldn't do it either, or Clinton, etc.

I don't remember the campaign mantra that we will take the violations and abuse of our predecessor and build on them in ways you can't imagine.
4146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Electoral process fraud, SEIU, corruption, Lois Lerner: "A Behavior Changer" on: July 10, 2013, 02:34:39 PM
Lois Lerner, the IRS’s director of tax-exempt organizations who is overseeing the investigation, says many schools are rethinking how and what they report to the government. Receiving a thick questionnaire from the IRS, she says, is a “behavior changer.”

  - November 17, 2011 Business Week,  article about business operations of non-profits

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/the-irs-takes-a-closer-look-at-colleges-11172011.html
4147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: July 10, 2013, 02:25:42 PM
Obvious question:  If Obamacare implementation is taking longer than expected, isn't it also costing more than expected?  Isn't that against the law?  lol

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2013/07/09/report-white-house-has-known-obamacare-implementation-would-collapse-for-months-n1637123
4148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Abort for sexual orientation? Yes you may. on: July 10, 2013, 02:18:36 PM
Watch this be the end of liberal support for legal abortion.  If gayness is born and innate, not learned, eventually we will be able to test for it and give women their choice as is now the case with Down Syndrome.  When then abort, will it be a hate crime?

...everything looks good, the doctor asks the beaming couple, “Now, would you like to know what you’re having?”  When they say they would, the doctor replies, “You’re having a lesbian”
http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2013/07/10/is-it-alright-to-abort-a-lesbian-baby-n1636769
4149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bret Stephens: Think of the Keystone pipeline as an IQ test for greens on: July 10, 2013, 02:09:08 PM
As environmental disasters go, the explosion Saturday of a runaway train that destroyed much of the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic, about 20 miles from the Maine border, will probably go down the memory hole.

It lacks the correct moral and contains an inconvenient truth.

Not that the disaster lacks the usual ingredients of such a moral. The derailed 72-car train belonged to a subsidiary of Illinois-based multinational Rail World, whose self-declared aim is to "promote rail industry privatization." The train was carrying North Dakota shale oil (likely extracted by fracking) to the massive Irving Oil refinery in the port city of Saint John, to be shipped to the global market. At least five people were killed in the blast (a number that's likely to rise) and 1,000 people were forced to evacuate. Quebec's environment minister reports that some 100,000 liters (26,000 gallons) of crude have spilled into the Chaudière River, meaning it could reach Quebec City and the St. Lawrence River before too long.

Environmentalists should be howling. But this brings us to the inconvenient truth.

The reason oil is moved on trains from places like North Dakota and Alberta is because there aren't enough pipelines to carry it.
...
Pipelines account for about half as much spillage as railways on a gallon-per-mile basis. Pipelines also tend not to go straight through exposed population centers like Lac-Mégantic. Nobody suggests that pipelines are perfectly reliable or safe, but what is? To think is to weigh alternatives. The habit of too many environmentalists is to evade them.
...
In 2001, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change insisted that "global average surface temperatures [will rise] at rates very likely without precedent during the last 10,000 years," and that they would rise sharply and continuously.

Yet in the 15 years since 1998, surface air temperatures have held flat, a fact now grudgingly conceded by the climate-science establishment, despite more than 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide having been pumped into the atmosphere over the same period.
...
The world needs a credible environmental movement. Conservation matters. So does the quality of water and air.
...
The first application for a Keystone XL pipeline permit was filed with the U.S. State Department in 2008. Since then, the amount of oil being shipped on rails has risen 24-fold. Environmentalists enraged by this column should look at the photo of Lac-Mégantic that goes with it, and think it over.

Read it all at the link:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323368704578593562819939112.html
4150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, NYC politics, Spitzer v Davis on: July 10, 2013, 01:58:43 PM
"Ironically, Kristin Davis, the madam infamous for her role in the Spitzer scandal, is also running for comptroller (only in New York!). But unlike Spitzer's, Davis' candidacy is not being taken seriously, despite the fact that she has performed well in debates in her previous runs for office. Instead Davis is laughed off, in part because she is a convicted felon. What was she convicted for? She served time for her role in Spitzer's prostitution scandal. He never did. --Keli Goff, TheRoot.com, July 8
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