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4151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 22, 2011, 04:26:07 PM
CCP,  Dick Morris said about Newt today, he is the fighter who is behind on points the whole fight but capable of delivering the knockout at any time, he is such a good debater.  He is wrong on that optimism IMO.  Newt is capable of developing the knockout argument for the eventual nominee, but not capable of winning himself.  Don't we already have a knockout argument?

Fred Barnes wrote a good piece about Jeb in 2006: If only his last name was smith':  (A little reminiscing reading the article, national unemployment was 4.6 as Dems were poised to take over Washington - that's George Bush's fault!  In Florida under Jeb it was 3.0!)

Highly qualified and accomplished like Perry.  More diplomatic, not as much of a lightning rod.   More conservative than W. Bush.  Jeb is too 'liberal' for your tastes on immigration policy.

Maybe not Jeb or his successor Crist, but the one who grew to national prominence and future Presidency out of that time in Florida perhaps was (VP nominee?) Sen. Marco Rubio.
4152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (and South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: August 22, 2011, 04:04:45 PM
Taiwan is in a way the Israel of its region.  Our best natural ally but we aren't supposed to admit we like them or support them.  They aren't even a country on the map of the United Nations, just like Israel is missing from some maps in their region.  We wouldn't want to offend our friends the repressive communists, or Hamas, Hezbollah and the Mullahs.  Did anyone ask Huntsman is he thinks Taiwan should be limited to flying old planes as the world's largest army threatening their shores is building new aircraft carriers?  No.  Evolution policy was more pressing.
4153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Huntsman on: August 22, 2011, 03:28:24 PM
Huntsman, like Jim Webb or Evan Bayh, Kent Conrad or Byron Dorgan and others, would be a pretty good moderate or centrist alternative to consider in place of the more polarizing candidates, Obama, Perry, Bachmann, etc.  I saw him yesterday on ABC's This Week, "Jon Huntsman Comes Out Swinging Against GOP Rivals":

He makes very clear he is different from the other GOP candidates.  He has never made clear, however, why he runs as a Republican.  He gave no sign of trust whatsoever in the economic policies of any GOP rival and gives absolutely no indication that if he fails to win the nomination that he would vote for any one of the R contenders over his old boss President Obama.

Video link:

His rehearsed slap: he doesn't have time to discuss all Romney's position change because it would take all afternoon - lacked any setup.  All he could get was  a question about them agreeing on tax policy but he ran with the stale punchline anyway.  A decade and half ago Romney opposed a flat tax, in a different context, running for a different office.  What was Huntsman's position on the flat tax a decade and a half ago? Nobody knows.  Nobody cares?  They don't even ask him about China policy or what role (none) he played in formulating Pres. Obama's foreign policy.
4154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: war on savers continues on: August 22, 2011, 10:09:04 AM
Yes, but someone living very modestly later in life on the meager interest from their accumulated savings over their lifetime, as well as someone earlier in life trying to tuck away a little from each paycheck to be self-secure in the future... these are just more examples of unprotected classes called the hated-rich who need to eat their peas, while we more importantly need to monetize trillions to fund government dependency programs.

The lesson my grandfather took the time to spell out for me with written examples of the magic of compounding interest if you save and invest does not work with a savings interest rates at 0.2% and a human life expectancy of under 10,000 years.

A google search of "republican proposal to end dual mission of the fed" took me only to stories from Nov. 2010.  sad

The cause of our current stagnation and unemployment is not a shortage of money and the cure is not to print, ease or devalue our currency.
4155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Demographics - Hispanic vote on: August 22, 2011, 09:23:55 AM
Bringing CCP's Michael Barone post from yesterday over here per Crafty's request, with my comments.  

First I detest group politics,but here we go...  I think my statement that Hispanics vote Dem only 60-40 was a rough, best case approximation, from a conservative point of view.  This CCP/Dick Morris post ( says that in 2010 (a best case year) Hispanics voted Democrat by 58-37 From this post:(  Obama won Hispanics by 67% to 31% in 2008, a best case year for him.  Obama's approval rating from Hispanics is (only) 13 points higher than the public at large.

CCP makes a valid point that illegals granted citizenship and voting rights with one party favoring and the other opposing will leaning much further than that (until they start either paying taxes or looking for work).  Also these partial measures like a ban on deportations will affects families, friends and neighborhoods of existing voters.
CCP: "Doug writes Hispanics vote 40/60 Rep/Dem.  I find it hard to believe that most illegals, if had the chance to vote (some I bet do already) would vote Rep at a rate as high as 40% yet this from Barone-Rasmussen:"

 ****GOP Shouldn't Panic If Whites Become a Minority
A Commentary By Michael Barone
Monday, April 04, 2011 Email to a Friend ShareThisAdvertisement
 Are whites on the verge of becoming a minority of the American population? That's what some analysts of the 2010 Census results claim. Many go on, sometimes with relish, to say that this spells electoral doom for the Republican Party.  

I think the picture is more complicated than that. And that the demise of the Republican Party is no more foreordained than it was a century ago when Italian, Jewish and Polish immigrants were pouring into the United States in proportions much greater than the Hispanic and Asian immigration of the past two decades.  

The numbers do appear stark. The Census tells us that 16 percent of U.S. residents are Hispanic, up from 13 percent in 2000 and 9 percent in 1990, and that 5 percent are Asian, up from 4 percent in 2000. The percentage of blacks held steady at 13. Among children, the voters of tomorrow, those percentages are higher.  

But it's a mistake to see blacks, Hispanics and Asians as a single "people of color" voting bloc. The 2010 exit poll shows that the Republican percentages in the vote for the U.S. House were 60 percent among whites, 9 percent among blacks, 38 percent among Hispanics and 40 percent among Asians.  

Simple arithmetic tells you that Hispanics and Asians vote more like whites than like blacks. The picture is similar in the 2008 exit poll.  

Moreover, while blacks vote similarly in just about every state, there is wide variation among Hispanics. In 2010 governor elections, Hispanics voted 31 percent Republican in California, 38 percent Republican in Texas and 50 percent Republican in Florida (where Cubans are no longer a majority of Hispanics).  

As RealClearPolitics senior political analyst Sean Trende has written, Hispanics tend to vote 10 percent to 15 percent less Republican than whites of similar income and education levels. An increasingly Hispanic electorate puts Republicans at a disadvantage, but not an overwhelming one.  

The same is true of Asians. In 2010, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid got 79 percent from Asians in Nevada, where many are Filipinos. But the Asians in Middlesex County, N.J., most of whom are from India, seem to have voted for Republican Gov. Chris Christie in 2009.  

The 2010 Census tells something else that may prove important: There's been a slowdown of immigration since the recession began in 2007 and even some reverse migration. If you look at the Census results for Hispanic immigrant entry points -- East Los Angeles and Santa Ana, Calif., the east side of Houston, the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago -- you find that the Hispanic population has dropped sharply since 2000.  

One reason is the business cycle. The 2000 Census was taken on April 1, 2000, less than a month after the peak of the tech boom. Unemployment was low, immigration was high, and entry-point houses and apartments were crammed with large families.

The 2010 Census was taken after two years of recession, when immigration had slackened off. We simply don't know whether this was just a temporary response to the business cycle or the beginning of a permanent decline in migration.  

Past mass migrations, which most experts expected to continue indefinitely, in fact ended abruptly. Net Puerto Rican migration to New York City stopped in 1961, and the huge movement of Southern blacks to Northern cities ended in 1965. Those who extrapolate current trends far into the future end up being wrong sooner or later.

Finally there is an assumption -- which is particularly strong among those who expect a majority "people of color" electorate to put Democrats in power permanently -- that racial consciousness never changes. But sometimes it does.

American blacks do have common roots in slavery and segregation. But African immigrants don't share that heritage, and Hispanics come from many different countries and cultures (there are big regional differences just within Mexico). The Asian category includes anyone from Japan to Lebanon and in between.

Under the definitions in use in the America of a century ago, when Southern and Eastern European immigrants were not regarded as white, the United States became a majority non-white nation sometime in the 1950s. By today's definitions, we'll become majority non-white a few decades hence.  

But that may not make for the vast cultural and political change some predict. Not if we assimilate newcomers, and if our two political parties adapt, as we and they have done in the past.  

4156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: August 22, 2011, 08:41:05 AM
I had a very short conversation yesterday with an old friend who runs a very large healthcare organization, and what he said startled me.  In reply to 'how's work going' he said we're busy implementing Obamacare.  I said I thought it was getting repealed.  His politics isn't any different than mine, but they believe with certainty that some version of Obamacare is coming.
When Obamacare was passed (deemed), Republicans were open to many reforms to avoid national care: end pre-conditions, open up competition across state lines, limit liability, etc.  After passage the conversation turned to repeal AND replace, pretending the opposition R's will have their own healthcare proposal by election time.  Now the candidates all just (naively) say repeal and go on to the next topic.

All that ignores the fact the it took the perfect storm of winning 59 senate seats plus stealing the 60th, deeming passed what wasn't, budget tricks like taxing gold, lying about costs and using 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of costs to get it passed.  Now Republican candidates think they can just promise repeal and if they win election it all goes away?

The perfect storm for Republicans in 2012 does not include either taking 60 senate seats or having the Democratic party apologize and fold.  With the worst economy in memory we only have about a 50-50 chance right now of even beating Obama and the anti-incumbent mood could actually hurt Republicans in the House.  The Senate seats Dems will lose (best case) are the moderate ones, not the furthest left from blue states.  Even in the storm of 2010 people like Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid held their seats.

The Supreme Court will likely do something to the individual mandate similar to what the Appeals court just did.  Best case, Republicans may take the Presidency, House and a 53-54 vote majority, but not close to 60. This legislation already doesn't stand on its own but will be left largely in place, lacking the votes to repeal.  The deadlock will make the debt ceiling stalemate look like a walk in the park.  Any deadlock is victory for national healthcare advocates.  Getting repeal votes or even cloture votes from the remaining liberals is a hell freezing over scenario.  No Republican candidate or anyone else is talking at all about how to solve and settle this either politically or operationally.  Meanwhile we will be 3 years into its implementation.
4157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential- NY Times - Messing with Texas on: August 22, 2011, 07:34:52 AM
The real humor here (media issue) in a sober, fact filled op-ed is the last line that says 'Paul Krugman is off today'.  This columnist is saying to the liberal attack machine and to his GOP rivals, go after Perry personally to get him, don't attack Texas while it is out-performing the other states and the union.  Some of his facts seem to come from reading the forum.  wink

Messing With Texas
Published: August 21, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas hasn’t lost an election in 10 tries. Among his vanquished opponents, this streak has inspired not only the usual mix of resentment and respect, but a touch of supernatural awe. “Running against Perry,” one of them told Texas Monthly, “is like running against God.”

Perry’s 2012 rivals can’t afford to entertain such thoughts. If either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama hopes to snap the Texas governor’s winning streak, the election will need to become a referendum on Perry himself, in all his heat-packing, secession-contemplating glory. If it becomes a referendum on his home state instead, Perry’s 11th campaign will probably turn out like all the others.

Perry’s critics don’t like to admit this. After he launched his campaign with an extended brag about Texas job creation, there was a rush to cut Texas down to size — to dismiss the Lone Star economic miracle as a mirage conjured by population growth, petro-dollars and low-paying McJobs.

But the more the Internet’s hive mind worked through the data, the weaker this critique looked. Yes, Texas’s growing population has contributed to the job boom, but the boom has driven population growth as well. The influx of people has been too extraordinary to just be chalked up to, say, snowbirds seeking 105-degree retirements. More likely, thousands of Americans have responded to hard times in their home states by moving to Texas in search of work.

As the policy blogger Matthias Shapiro pointed out in an exhaustive analysis, the jobs they’re finding aren’t unusually low-paying: the state’s median hourly wage is close to the national average, and since the recession started, Texan wages have increased at the sixth-fastest pace in the country. Nor are the jobs confined to the oil and gas industries: “Take the energy sector completely out of the equation,” Shapiro noted, “and Texas is still growing faster than any other state.”

On Friday, in a Bloomberg Television interview, Education Secretary Arne Duncan tried to open up another anti-Texan front, saying he feels “very, very badly for the children” in Texas’s supposedly underfinanced public schools. But here, too, the evidence doesn’t back up Duncan’s criticism. Texas does have higher high school dropout rates than the average American state. But then again, Texas isn’t an average state: it’s an enormous melting pot that shares a porous, 1,969-mile border with Mexico. Once you control for demographics and compare like with like, the Texan educational record looks much more impressive.

When a 2009 McKinsey study contrasted Perry’s home state to the similarly sized and situated California, it found that Texas students were “one to two years of learning ahead of California students of the same age, even though Texas has less income per capita and spends less per pupil than California.”

When it comes to minority achievement, Texas looks even better: On the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress math exam, black eighth graders in Texas outscored black eighth graders in every other state.

To be sure, the Texas model doesn’t always impress. (Twenty-seven percent of Texans lack health insurance, for instance, compared with 21 percent of Californians.) But Perry can credibly claim that his state delivers on conservative governance’s two most important promises: a private sector that creates jobs at a remarkable clip, and a public sector that seems to get more for the taxpayers’ money than many more profligate state governments.

The question is whether Perry himself deserves any of the credit. Here his critics become much more persuasive. When Perry became governor, taxes were already low, regulations were light, and test scores were on their way up. He didn’t create the zoning rules that keep Texas real estate affordable, or the strict lending requirements that minimized the state’s housing bubble. Over all, the Texas model looks like something he inherited rather than a system he built.

This means that unlike many of his fellow Republican governors, from Mitch Daniels to Chris Christie to Scott Walker — or a Democratic governor like Andrew Cuomo, for that matter — Perry can’t claim to have battled entrenched interest groups, or stemmed a flood tide of red ink. Instead, many of his policy forays have been boondoggles or train wrecks, from the failed attempt to build a $175 billion Trans-Texas Corridor (the kind of project conservatives would mock mercilessly if a Democrat proposed it) to an ill-designed 2006 tax reform that’s undercut the state’s finances.

But of course none of those reforming governors are currently in the race against him. Instead Perry faces an unloved Republican front-runner, with a weakened incumbent president waiting in the wings.

Which bring us back to that 10-election winning streak. Maybe God really is on Rick Perry’s side. Or maybe Perry just knows how to pick his opponents.

Paul Krugman is off today.
4158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 22, 2011, 07:25:08 AM
At this point, I like having the large number of candidates running.  Newt is pulling a Newt, but he also is a historic figure and brings something of substance to the stage.  Bachmann and Cain both add significant substance plus take away the only criticism that we otherwise would be hearing, that it is a party only of white, middle aged males.  Pawlenty, when he was not trying to be something he isn't, brought another leadership style with experience to the equation.  Ryan is the master of just what Crafty said.  He sees the big picture and the inner details of the budget.  Because his own plan is out there he will be easier to demagogue but very convincing in his own defense.  Christy, Palin, who knows, but it does seem to all come down Perry vs. Romney and who is the frontrunner depends on where you are.

One question I have is this: Does the administration fear Perry the most?  Just judging by their actions, but we see a campaign war machine suddenly gear up and trash him like we never saw for Romney or Bachmann or any others so far.
That said, what follows is the WSJ editorial 8/19/11 answering some charges leveled against Texas under Perry:

The Texas Jobs Panic
Liberals try to discredit the Lone Star State's economic success.

Rick Perry is not the subtlest politician, but he looks like Pericles next to the liberals falling over themselves to discredit job creation in Texas. We'd have thought any new jobs would be a blessing when 25 million Americans are looking for full-time work, but apparently new jobs aren't valuable jobs if they're created in a state that rejects Obamanomics.

Let's dissect the Texas record. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported this summer that Texas created 37% of all net new American jobs since the recovery began in June 2009. Texas by far outpaced every other state, including those with large populations like New York and California and those with faster-growing economies, like North Dakota. Other states have lower unemployment rates than Texas's 8.2%, though that is below the national average and the state is also adding jobs faster than any other.

Texas is also among the three states and the District of Columbia that are home to more jobs today than when the recession began in December 2007. Without the Texas gains, according to the Dallas Fed, annual U.S. job growth would have been 0.97% instead of 1.17%. Over the past five years, Texas has added more net new jobs than all other states combined.

The critics claim demography is destiny, and of course jobs and population tend to rise and fall in tandem. The number of Texans is booming: According to the Census Bureau, the population grew 20.6% between 2000 and 2010, behind only Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Arizona. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the seasonally adjusted size of the Texas labor force has increased by 5% since December 2007, faster than any state other than North Carolina at 5.4%, though the Tar Heel State has declined 0.4% over the last year. The labor force has shrunk in 28 states since December 2007.

Some of this Texas growth is due to high birth rates, some to immigration. But it also reflects the flight of people from other states. People and capital are mobile and move where the opportunities are greatest. Texas is attractive to workers and employers alike because of its low costs of living and doing business. The government in Austin is small, taxes are low, regulation is stable, and the litigation system is more predictable after Mr. Perry's tort reforms—all of which is a magnet for private investment and hiring.

As for the critics, well, one of their explanations is that Americans are moving to Texas because of the nice weather. The temperature in Fort Worth this week reached 108 degrees.

The critics also claim that Texas's new jobs somehow don't count because the wages are supposedly low and the benefits stingy. Yet BLS pegs the median hourly wage in Texas at $15.14, 93% of the national average, and wages have increased at a good clip: in fact, the 10th fastest state in 2010 at 3.4%.

The Texas skeptics often invoke high energy prices, as if Texas were some sheikdom next to Mexico. But according to the Dallas Fed study, energy jobs accounted for only 10.6% of the new positions. The state economy today is far more broadly based than it was before the early-1980s oil-and-gas bust. For the last nine years, Texas has led the states in exports.

To put a finer point on it, the energy industry isn't expanding merely because of rising oil prices or new natural resources. Technological innovation is also driving the business, such as the horizontal drilling that has enabled shale oil and gas fracking. New ideas are how an economy expands.

Nearly 31% of the new Texas jobs are in health care, many of which are no doubt the product of federal entitlements that go to every state. But the state is also making progress filling in historical access gaps in west and south Texas and the panhandle, where Mr. Perry's 2003 malpractice caps have led to an influx of doctors, especially high-risk specialists. The Texas Public Policy Foundation estimates that the state has netted 26,000 new physicians in the wake of reform, most from out of state.

Liberals do have a point that Texas avoided the worst of the housing boom and bust, in part because of regulations imposed in the S&L backwash that limit mortgage borrowing to 80% of the appraised value of a home. But isn't this smart regulation? These same liberals promoted rules that kept down payments much lower than 20% at federal agencies, and they're now encouraging the Administration to prop up housing to prevent foreclosures and thus prevent the market from finding a bottom.

Mr. Perry's Texas record is far from perfect, as Charles Dameron recently showed on these pages with his reporting on the Governor's politicized venture-capital fund. But the larger story is that Mr. Perry inherited a well-functioning economy and has managed it well, mainly by avoiding the kind of policy disruptions that his liberal critics favor in the name of this or that social or political goal. This achievement may not earn a Nobel prize in economics, but it does help explain why Texas is outperforming the nation.
4159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Pawlenty v. Franken, 2014 on: August 21, 2011, 10:35:12 AM
If a Republican beats Obama in 2012, Pawlenty is young enough (50) to wait 8 years to run again.  Defeating Sen. Al Franken, the once 60th vote, in a most liberal state would move forward his prominence and experience (and readiness).  This is just me speculating.

I also predict Michele Bachmann will run for her own congressional seat in 2012.
4160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Romney v. Romney, WSJ on: August 20, 2011, 11:31:37 AM
Sounds to me like McCain, or just a little weaker.

WSJ 8/19/2011 Political Diary

Romney vs. Romney
Mitt Romney is campaigning against tax cuts for "the rich." But if he believes that, shouldn't he also support lower taxes on more productive segments of society?


Mitt Romney continues to be labeled a weak presidential front-runner who has failed to excite the GOP base, and his comments on tax reform this week help to explain why.

"I'm not for tax cuts for the rich. The rich can take care of themselves," he told an audience in Plymouth, N.H., on Monday. "I want to make sure that whatever we do in the tax code, we're not giving a windfall to the very wealthy."

It appears that Mr. Romney and President Obama don't just have health-care reform in common. Both are also campaigning against tax cuts for "the rich." Mr. Romney of course wouldn't want to sound like the president, which is probably why he added that raising taxes on the wealthy hurts job growth and that the government is "taking too much already." But if he believes that, shouldn't he also support lower taxes on more productive segments of society?

Mr. Romney's position on the Bush tax cuts, which reduced the top marginal rate for the wealthiest Americans to 35% from 39.6%, is likewise unclear. During his a stop in Berlin, N.H., on Tuesday, he spoke favorably of the Bush tax cuts. But as governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney refused to endorse them. As the Boston Globe reported in 2003, Mr. Romney told the state's congressional delegation that he didn't support tax cuts for the wealthy and wouldn't be a "cheerleader." By the time Mr. Romney was running for president four years later, he'd come around to supporting the tax cuts.

His stance on reforming the tax code to make it flatter and more efficient is also murky. In 1996, he took out a full-page newspaper ad slamming Steve Forbes's proposed 17% flat tax as a "tax cut for fat cats." Yet this week he said that he planned to announce a tax proposal that would bring "our tax rates down, both at the corporate level and the individual level, simplifying the tax code, perhaps with fewer brackets. The idea of one bracket alone would be even better, in some respects."

Here's hoping that Mr. Romney's newest rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, will help the Bay Stater settle on some core convictions.
4161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Did the Preesident use the bus trip to defend public unions and healthcare? No. on: August 20, 2011, 11:24:20 AM
Two observations from the recent bus trip:

Wisconsin was the battleground of all battlegrounds this year - the preview to the political fights we are going to be having all over the country.  3 years ago as the Senate's no. 1 liberal candidate Obama won Wisconsin over the Senate's most moderate Republican by 14 points.  Since then the Republicans swept the Governor's office,  the state House and the state Senate, and put a Tea Party businessman in Sen. Russ Feingold's seat.  The spending restraint crowd allegedly overstepped on the public union powers and the big recalls were called.  $30 million spent for a few August special elections and the result is roughly the same.  Madison was the scene of all the energy.  Try planning a bus trip from the Twin Cities to destinations in Illinois that doesn't go through Madison where all this was fought, where Republicans so egregiously overstepped. Copy 'St. Paul MN to Chicago IL' into google maps and see where you go (right through Madison no matter which freeway you take).  But instead they drove around Wisconsin went though Iowa, not Ames or Des Moines, and ended in Peoria IL (no events there) and flew back to Washington from there (to get Bo the dog, grant some amnesty and head out to the Cape.  My point I guess is that Mr. Tough Guy-Make my day, don't call my bluff, ready for battle President drove to great lengths to avoid all of Wisc.  Illinois is not a swing state.  Missouri is - right across the border.  Nothing there either.

If you take the detour around Wisc ( and you have this historic Healthcare President heading right through Rochester MN, a healthcare town like no other, home of the Mayo Clinic, where people come from everywhere for high quality care, from King Hussein of Jordan to President Reagan to Billy Graham, Johnny Carson, Mohammed Ali, etc. The whole town is built around the healthcare industry.  He stopped nearby at a park in Cannon Falls for a talk. What did the President's agenda say for Rochester? "No events scheduled".  Local paper reports that they didn't even slow down.

How can he stop there when he has 30 people waiting for him in Atkinson IL?

Googling the bus trip I find stops added early August in swing state Pennsylvania.  Oops, that was 2008!
4162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - charting unemployment on: August 20, 2011, 12:33:34 AM
JDN, You have a very smart wife. 

This is a chart of Calif. unemployment, please take a look:

As with other social democracies, the rate of unemployment tends to be higher than freer states, about 3 points currently above the national average, but the trend lines look remarkably familiar and predictable:

Calif. unemployment hit some of its worst levels in the time after Paul Volcker tightened money and while congress was passing, but weakening, delaying and phasing in the Reagan tax rate cuts.  Those two policy changes were supposed to be simultaneous.

Jan 1, 1983 when the Reagan tax cuts fully kicked in across the country - Calif. unemployment heads down continuously for the rest of the decade.

In 1990-1991 when Bush-I broke his read my lips pledge - unemployment headed back up.

In 1993 that recession ends but growth sputters, and unemployment barely heads down and then back up.  When the capital gains rates were slashed, the recovery picked up steam and continued robustly until 2001.  Unemployment worsened until the bush tax cut fully kicked in - 2003.  Then Calif. had the same 50 months of job growth as the rest of the nation, ending exactly with the election of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden-HRC majority congress who promised to let the tax rate cuts expire.  At that exact point, Calif unemployment heads steeply up until roughly the certainty of a Republican House taking over, and with divided government and policy direction stalled, unemployment has stayed relatively constant at these very high levels - waiting for an economic change of direction.

Can anybody else read a different explanation into these numbers and unnecessary human costs?

3 points of California unemployment is about mis-management and botched incentives inside the state and the other 9% is about incompetent, counter-productive economic management nationwide.

The only thing strange about the unemployment problem is that we know how to fix it and yet we don't do it.
4163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 19, 2011, 11:05:57 AM
Nope, not at all. Just clarifying for historians in case I face the scrutiny Glen Beck faced someday. wink Also taking the opportunity to ride all the groups for the hypocrisy that I perceive.  Who knows whom(?) one might reach.  
4164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 19, 2011, 10:49:43 AM
"Net I think it gets Baraq more votes.  I doubt the Reps will draw much attention to this-- the cases that meet the criteria are precisely those most susceptible to heart strings."

I disagree with only the middle part of this.  At least some of the R. candidates will try to run with this as a) symbolic of his soft on borders stance - mocking people who wanted moats?, and b) symbolic of his czar style of governance where big moves (like regulating carbon emissions) don't need to go through any other branch.

Presumably he did it out of the compassion in his heart - but if so why wait nearly 1000 days.  Maybe he did it to energize Bachmann as Perry is a little soft on the issue and Romney neutral(?) and stir up some divisive passions in his opponents while he is gone.

He is also flaunting the (unlimited?) powers of incumbency to any would-be challengers in his own party, as his economic approval dips to 26%.

What I don't like is that he knew and planned this big secret for the perfect everyone-is-leaving-Washington moment.  So if listen carefully to him daily to find out what he is thinking and planning for our country you will know less than the people who don't.
4165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: August 19, 2011, 10:24:18 AM
Obamas reportedly flying separate his and hers jets to Martha's Vineyard (, is air force one not safe enough for the family or too noisy for the first lady?  No intent to nitpick, but I am curious - given that the earth has a fever and we have a very short opportunity, that we may have already gone past, to curb our emissions and save this man-made planet.  They keep changing their pattern, last year  the dog "Bo" reportedly flew on the separate jet with virtually no concern for the impact of his carbon paw print. 

Secondly, will the 28 acre Obama compound on the vineyard have border security?  If so, why? (Can't we all just get along?)  Will they give amnesty to those who storm the compound and take up illegal residence?  If not, why not?  Just curious.

4166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 19, 2011, 10:05:26 AM
I better not let the strangeness of that one observation sit alone without pointing out the oddities of other groups.  U.S. Catholics had a clear choice in Bush-Kerry between pro-life and abortion-rights and split in the exact same percentages as the general electorate.  Gays in arguably 'America's gayest city' ( vote consistently for Keith Ellison, famous for choosing the religion of stoning gays to death.  (Keith Ellison grew up Catholic, now Muslim, supports 'gay rights'. huh) Black Americans with almost unanimity still support the economic system that doubled their unemployment rate.  White Americans (how come there is no white congressional caucus?) at least in one election supported the guy who found Reverend Wright to bring him closer to white hatred and blame America politics. 

I didn't mean to single out any particular group.  wink
4167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 18, 2011, 11:03:49 PM
CCP,  Good news - Ron Paul won't be the nominee though he is more popular than ever.  We've been through this before, but isn't it strange that a Republican soft on support for Israel can't be nominated, but an arguably anti-Israel Democrat became President, and Jewish people in majority supported him.

I recall that Israel was at one point about the only place where George Bush had a positive approval rating.  He did everything he could do to protect Israel.  And American Jews opposed him.  sad
4168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: August 18, 2011, 10:43:15 PM
The only positive side of the continued housing debacle is that I am extremely thankful that pp gave us a headsup that it was going down for (at least) another year.  I got some mileage out of that information helping others and it turned out to be true.

It is all tied together.  The economy doesn't come back without housing and housing doesn't come back without a positive turn in the economy.
4169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 18, 2011, 10:12:12 PM
"Way to win over the swing voters who are concerned about illegal aliens."

"Yeah, but he locks up the Hispanic and immigrant vote.  Probably a good political move."
The Hispanic vote is something like this 60-40 Dem.  This may energize the 60 somewhat who may have relatives/friends with an issue.  The other 40 lean R for other reasons, economic, pro-life, pro-family, pro-business, who knows.

For the non-Hispanic, it probably leans the other way.  Some have had it with the illegals especially depending on where you live, some see the other side of it.  I would guess that 'typical white people' are 60-40 anti-illegal-immigration.

Where I live the border issue has more to do with those pesky Canadians infiltrating our hockey leagues.  

Things get really complicated when the law comes to mean nothing.

The anti-deportation move is Obama flexing the powers of incumbency.  If it was good policy, he would have done it 2 1/2 years ago.  Like most desperate moves by desperate people, it is most likely to backfire.
4170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 18, 2011, 06:03:26 PM
CCP, funny.  The part I though odd was to fly the most expensive plane to MN so you can go busing to IL - to be closer to the people.  And while busing you are hidden completely from public view.  Could have just flown.  $2 million for 2 buses.  Use them 2 days, then fly to the vineyard.  What happens to the taxpayer buses? Bus barn now at the White House or did they buy more property?

I support whatever part of that operation is really necessary to protect him from assassination.  Somehow that highway full of civilian vehicles doesn't seem like the best way to do that.

I recall that Clarence Thomas, with his wife, drives his own motorhome to the campgrounds and diners across the country and actually does meet the people on his time off.  I'm not visualizing an entourage with that.  He may not be leader of the free world, but he plays a role in it.

The reason given by Carney that the trip is business not campaign, as he touts the success of his own policies (?) and slams his opponents, is that the President isn't facing a primary challenge.  That is convenient.
4171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: AP = DNC alarmism mouthpiece? on: August 18, 2011, 04:34:18 PM
CO2 is the chief greenhouse gas??

"But Perry's opinion runs counter to the view held by an overwhelming majority of scientists that pollution released from the burning of fossil fuels is heating up the planet. Perry's home state of Texas releases more heat-trapping pollution carbon dioxide -- the chief greenhouse gas -- than any other state in the country, according to government data."

Carbon dioxide IS NOT the chief greenhouse gas.  Water vapor is.  By far!

Carbon dioxide is not pollution.  It is what plants breathe and animals exhale.

Carbon dioxide releases by humans in 2011 is a sign of ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.  Is that what they meant to say?
4172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Downgrade speech inspired by Belushi? on: August 18, 2011, 03:49:40 PM
4173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics: Ethanol now no. 1 use of corn on: August 18, 2011, 03:38:39 PM

For first time, more corn used for ethanol than livestock

15 August 2011 (Cedar RAPIDS, Iowa)
For the first time ever, more of the corn crop may go into gas tanks than into the stomachs of cattle and poultry destined for kitchen tables.

That fuel now tops livestock as the primary user of corn struck at least one observer as noteworthy.

“That’s a first-time-ever type of change,”  University of Missouri Extension economist Ron Plain said in a statement released by the university.

“For forever,” Plain said, “ feed was the largest single use of corn.”
4174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Perry on: August 18, 2011, 12:31:28 PM
This link lists "Ten things about Rick Perry that may worry some conservatives".

And they are in addition to the 'crony capitalism' question raised earlier and the ties to Islam question just posed.  Summarized, 1. His strong 10th amendment support means opposing some conservatives on some issues, 2. Immigration, fairly lax on illegals and did not join with Arizona on that controversy, 3. toll roads = back door tax increases, 4. Trans-Texas Corridor, a planned toll road would have resulted in the government seizing through its “eminent domain” powers about 81,000 acres of land, 5. Forced immunization controversy, 6. state debt doubled, 7. some taxes went up (I suppose so, they have no income tax), 8. He endorsed Rudy Giuliani in 2008, 9. He once was a (Texas) Democrat, 10. He endorsed Al Gore, Perry was 1988 Texas presidential campaign chair. (Gore was then considered the most conservative of the Dems running.)

Personally I will not commit to a candidate until after I hear the President's new economic plan after his vacation.
4175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 18, 2011, 11:48:38 AM
Studies at the L.A. Times show that putting the words Ronald Reagan in the title increase readership significantly regardless of the lack of a connection demonstrated in the text.

a) Reagan lowered the top rate from 70% to 28%.  What similar proposal does Buffet have for our time?

b) The 'payroll tax' is code for your social security (insurance) account, and Medicare.  Premiums are capped because benefits are capped.  Does Buffet accept then that if one person pays in 100 times more each year than the cap today his 'benefits' would also grow to be 100 times higher.  If not, it becomes a generic, means tested, on-budget welfare program (as it should be) ready for the chopping block.  Sure tax it all the way up, but then slash the payouts and reduce the tax rate to something that won't kill off investment,  production and employment any further, maybe 3% across the board instead of 15.3%, and more than offset by larger cuts simultaneously in the other reforms.  Reagan didn't show any interest in restructuring social security in spite of the false editorial title.

c) "...lowering the tax burden for wealthy people who make money through investments rather than labor"

Dividends are earned with after-tax investment capital and are already quadruple taxed.  To simplify that is to deceive.  How can a corp pay out dividends on earnings without first declaring earnings and pay a federal and state corporate tax on that, plus the next 15%.  So what he calls 15% is, in our state, 35% + 10% + 15% +8% = 68% combined quadruple tax on the  return on investment dollars. that were already taxed as ordinary income.  Want to go higher and see if the economy grows??  You are better off in Communist China, and that's where much of those investment dollars went.

Long term capital gains are also being taxed at the state level as ORDINARY INCOME.  15% is bullshit because you are taxed on the nominal gain when by definition (long term) it includes a significant inflationary component.  Why does a smart man like that need to deceive and inflame class warfare in order to make a cheap, political point?  Because the point on its merits falls on its face.

d) Missing in the broken logic string is that after Reagan, under a Democratic President, we lowered the capital gains rate and the economy boomed, revenues surges and the budget balanced.  A move in the opposite direction is based on class envy, not revenue collections.  That the lower incomes are being punished is BS under the same logic.  The lower half of workers pay zero in federal income tax and they are the ones who cling to the broken social security Ponzi scheme and will rely the heaviest on Medicare.  The absence of honesty is glaring.

e) News to L.A.Time editorialists: We no longer compete in a 1980s global economy.  Republicans have tried to drop all the obsession with Reagan and his policies and circumstances from 30 years ago.  People who opposed his policies might consider the same.

f) "After the billionaire chairman of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway wrote an op-ed in the New York Times complaining that the mega-rich are undertaxed in comparison to the middle class, conservatives urged him to voluntarily send more of his own money to the Internal Revenue Service"

Did he?  I think not.  He still wants someone else to pay.  BTW, it is conservatives who want to reform the code.  What reform other than tax rate increases on job creators has the LA Times supported?  Just curious.
Arthur Laffer just might understand Reagan's thinking a little better than the leftists who opposed him at every turn.  Laffer suggests:

Obama Must Use Reaganomics to Save Economy,  Wednesday, 10 Aug 2011

The only way President Barack Obama can solve the nation’s economic woes is to adopt “common-sense” Reaganomics, the policy’s architect Arthur Laffer claims in an exclusive Newsmax interview.

Laffer said the White House called him in the spring and asked him to speak to Obama’s former Council of Economic Advisors’ chairman Austen Goolsbee – and he had told him exactly the same thing.

“Reaganomics would fix any economy that’s in the doldrums,” Laffer said. “It’s not a magic sauce, it’s common sense.

“You’ve got to get rid of all federal taxes in the extreme and replace them with a low-rate flat tax on business net sales, and on personal unadjusted gross income. That’s number one.

“Number two, you have to have spending restraint. Government spending causes unemployment, it does not cure unemployment.

“Number three, you need sound money. Ben Bernanke is running the least sound monetary policy I’ve ever heard of," Laffer said.

“Number four you need regulations, but you don’t need those regulations to go beyond the purpose at hand and create collateral damage. The regulatory policies are really way off here.

“And lastly you need free trade," Laffer said. "Foreigners produce some things better than we do and we produce some things better than foreigners. It would be foolish in the extreme if we didn’t sell them those things we produce better than they do in exchange for those things they produce better than we do.”

In the interview the veteran economist said Standard & Poor’s was quite right in downgrading the U.S. credit rating – in fact it should have done so far earlier.

The agency had no choice and if the other agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, don’t do the same they won’t be doing their jobs, said Laffer, who gave his name to the Laffer Curve which demonstrates that the maximum amount of government revenue does not come at the point of maximum taxes.

“If you had a company that had revenues of $2˝ million and expenses of $4 million, with no change in sight, $1˝ million in losses each year as far as the eye can see and it had already borrowed $10 million, what would you rate that company? I surely wouldn’t rate it AAA.

“That is the U.S. situation today," Laffer said. "Taxes are about $2˝ trillion, government spending is about $4 trillion and we have about $10 trillion in net national debt. I don’t see that as being a AAA country.

“If the S&P and the others were doing their jobs correctly, they should have downgraded a long time ago.”

Laffer said he has no doubt the country will win its top rating back, but only when economic policies are completely turned around. He said President Barack Obama’s administration’s only economic plan seemed to be to expand government ownership of the means of production.

“They have nationalized the health care industry pretty extensively. They’ve done that with home building as well. They’ve tried it with the auto industry as well. So they have moved very, very deliberatively and purposefully toward extending the government ownership of the means of production.

“That to me, if you read the tealeaves, is what they are doing. It is not what they are saying they are doing, but that is what they actually are doing.

“People don’t work to pay taxes, people work to get what they can after taxes. It’s that very private incentive that motivates them to work. If you pay people not to work and tax them if they do work, don’t be surprised if you find a lot of people not working.”

Laffer said the current economic woes started to form under President George W. Bush but have been made worse by Obama’s policies.

“There’s a wedge driven between wages paid and wages received and that wedge is the tax/government spending wedge,” he said.

“That wedge has grown dramatically in the last 4 ˝ years…under W and a Republican administration and…under Obama. Bipartisan ignorance has led us to this very disastrously desolate state.”
4176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Churchill on tax rates, tax cuts and and unemployment on: August 17, 2011, 10:16:28 PM
"Our favorite holding period is forever
You only pay income taxes at any rate on realized appreciation.  An investment with a holding period of forever incurs a capital gains tax of 0%"

Thank you PC, excellent points.  It is actually that tax rate being too high that causes tax revenue to be unrealized.
Winston Churchill on tax cuts:
The hon. Gentleman spoke about the relation of the rate of Income Tax to unemployment.  He said, “How foolish it is to imagine that by reducing Income Tax you improve employment.”  The fact, however, is that the country with the highest rate of direct taxation is also the country with the highest unemployment.  That is the fact.  It may be a coincidence.  But when the Income Tax was reduced by 1 shilling and then by 6d., there was a great improvement.  When the Income Tax was 6 shillings in the Pound there were over 2-1/4 million persons unemployed.  Now that the Income Tax has been reduced to 4 shillings 6d. in the Pound that figure has fallen to 1-1/4 million people unemployed.
4177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: August 17, 2011, 10:06:56 PM
I hadn't thought of racism.  I just thought it was Glen Beck's fault.

Speaking of unexpected racists, Black Unemployment was 7.9% when Obama (and Pelosi-Reid-Hillary-Biden et al) took the majority, and 16% now, more then DOUBLE what it was just 5 years ago under Republicans.  Who are the racists?

Like President Obama says, elections have consequences.
4178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance: Economic Disapproval=71% on: August 17, 2011, 08:01:09 PM
4179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: LA Times rips Obama? on: August 17, 2011, 05:03:05 PM
How did this get into the L.A.Times??  This would never happen in our liberal paper.

On Day 938 of his presidency, Obama says he'll have a jobs plan in a month or so

They go on to criticize the bus tour:  "Because Obama wanted to hear from regular Americans, he's encased in an armored Darth Vader bus with heavily-tinted windows so no one can see him looking out at regular Americans.

And as the commander-in-chief meanders through the Heartland in this black vehicle, the entire road in both directions is cleared of regular Americans for the president's entourage and motorcade to pass by safely." [Picture is supposed to be a two-way street. Welcome to the motorcade.]

[The Pres. flew Air Force One to St. Paul MN to get to the Canadian-built bus.]
4180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Texas not just no. 1 in job growth, wage growth 6th highest in the nation on: August 17, 2011, 04:54:13 PM
This is a pretty good economic analysis of the Texas record addressing some of the accusations made recently against Texas, that it was all government jobs, energy jobs or minimum wage jobs.  This is not specifically about Perry, just analyzes the numbers in his time, particularly during the current downturn.  Too long and full of charts to do in full but here are a few excerpts.

Texas job growth under Perry:

Population Growth:  Texas isn't just the fastest growing... it's growing over twice as fast as the second fastest state and three times as fast as the third. Given that Texas is...huge, this growth is incredible.

People are flocking to Texas in massive numbers. This is speculative, but it *seems* that people are moving to Texas looking for jobs rather than moving to Texas for a job they already have lined up. This would explain why Texas is adding jobs faster than any other state but still has a relatively high unemployment rate.
Texas has lots of jobs, but they're mostly low-paying/minimum wage jobs??

Let's look at the data. Here's a link: Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

Texas median hourly wage is $15.14...  almost exactly in the middle of the pack (28th out of 51 regions). Given that they've seen exceptional job growth (and these other states have not) this does not seem exceptionally low.

But the implication here is that the new jobs in Texas, the jobs that Texas seems to stand alone in creating at such a remarkable pace, are low paying jobs and don't really count.

If this were true, all these new low-paying jobs should be dragging down the wages data, right? But if we look at the wages data since the beginning of the turns out that the opposite is true. Since the recession started hourly wages in Texas have increased at a 6th fastest pace in the nation.
Texas is oil country and the recent energy boom is responsible for the incredible jobs increase??

"...take the energy sector completely out of the equation and Texas is still growing faster than any other state."
Texas has 100,000 unsustainable public sector jobs that inflate the growth numbers??

" the last year the Texas public sector lost 31,300 federal employees, trimmed 3,800 state jobs..."

[Those Census jobs of 2010 are already gone and were not unique to Texas.]
[Final chart] illustrates the effect of population growth on job growth and unemployment numbers, this is what the unemployment rate would be if population numbers had held constant.  The job growth in Texas without figuring in the migration of workers to Texas, a largely positive phenomenon, would make Texas unemployment lowest in the nation at 2.3%.

The author does not support Perry for President but closes with this: "My advice to anti-Perry advocates is this: Give up talking about Texas jobs. Texas is an incredible outlier among the states when it comes to jobs. Not only are they creating them, they're creating ones with higher wages."
4181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: August 17, 2011, 01:20:17 PM
"Inflation is a clear and present danger and the Fed is behind the curve."

Inflation of the US$ already occurred and Bernancke was the architect.  My 2 cents is that the inflation which was quantitative expansion of the total dollars in circulation that already occurred - big time.  Price increases or what he is calling 'price inflation' are mere symptoms, unavoidable consequences, of the monetary arson that already occurred.  Price increases aren't a danger, they are a certainty - assuming that normal or healthy demand ever returns to the economy.

Can anyone imagine what oil and gas prices alone would be today if not for the nearly 20% stall of idle, productive capacity of labor and capital, and what skyrocketing energy costs will do to all other prices and to our delicate recovery if it ever begins...
4182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Nobel fact check on: August 16, 2011, 09:10:17 PM
"Euro GDP ... increased 0.2 percent" - Q2 2011

Flashback: "...Europe is actually the opposite of what conservatives claim: Europe is an economic success, and that success shows that social democracy works." - Paul Krugman, Jan. 10, 2010
4183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Recession - how bad is it? on: August 16, 2011, 08:39:23 PM
The recession has hit everybody really hard...
(Maybe this could have gone under Economics)

My neighbor got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

Wives are having sex with their husbands because they can't afford batteries.

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

A stripper was killed when her audience showered her with rolls of pennies while she danced.

I saw a Mormon with only one wife.

If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

McDonald's is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

My cousin had an exorcism but couldn't afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.

I was so depressed last night thinking about the debt ceiling, the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.
4184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: August 16, 2011, 03:22:16 PM
Thanks Crafty. I didn't mean to post that without the explanation that M2 would not be the widest measure of money supply that Scott G or Brian W would use.  It goes something like this, M-zero is to count up the physical money. M1 is that plus checking accounts, M2 is that plus savings accounts, M3 includes largerr money funds and MZM (money with zero maturity) includes all money market funds.  M2 is going nuts right now means that people are moving resources out of riskier assets  into FDIC insured savings accounts (safe but almost zero yield), at an alarming rate.  Asylum in an insured savings account, like gold, is the opposite of putting your available investment money into risk-based, economy-driving factory constructions or hiring expansions that we so badly need.
4185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Copying Europe's economy: 0.2% economic growth on: August 16, 2011, 08:57:16 AM
While the talk on the forum and around the country might be about a Republican contest to try to change direction, the reality in the U.S. is that we are currently on an economic course of largely copying the European economic model and abandoning the American one.  In that light, we should also check in with their results:

Euro Zone Second Quarter GDP Growth Slows to 0.2 Percent
Published: Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011 By: Reuters
The Eurostat agency estimated gross domestic product (GDP) for the 17-country euro zone increased 0.2 percent in the three months to end-June from the previous quarter, compared with economists' forecasts of growth of 0.3 percent.

That was sharply off the rate of 0.8 percent in the first three months of the year.
4186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Challenging Krugman's data against Perry on: August 16, 2011, 07:58:23 AM
Kevin Williamson of National Review puts numbers to an argument I was trying to make yesterday back to Paul Krugman disparaging Texas.  If housing costs 4 times more in Brooklyn than in Houston, wouldn't you expect incomes to be close to 4 times higher too?  No, they are slightly lower.

I would add that the only healthcare stat Krugman finds to bolster his case is percentage of people insured.  I prefer comparing survival rates to the terrible things we are most likely to face, to comparing financial schemes.  Uninsured does not mean refused treatment.  Insured rates are highest where it is compulsory so it is as much an indicator of loss of freedoms it is of quality of care.

Unmentioned in both pieces is whether the influx of illegals is Perry's fault or Obama's?
Paul Krugman Is Still Wrong about Texas
August 15, 2011
By Kevin D. Williamson

Paul Krugman continues his campaign to discredit the economic success of Texas, and, as usual, he is none too particular about the facts. Let’s allow Professor K. to lay out his case:

    [Texas] has, for many decades, had much faster population growth than the rest of America — about twice as fast since 1990. Several factors underlie this rapid population growth: a high birth rate, immigration from Mexico, and inward migration of Americans from other states, who are attracted to Texas by its warm weather and low cost of living, low housing costs in particular.

    . . . But what does population growth have to do with job growth? Well, the high rate of population growth translates into above-average job growth through a couple of channels. Many of the people moving to Texas — retirees in search of warm winters, middle-class Mexicans in search of a safer life — bring purchasing power that leads to greater local employment. At the same time, the rapid growth in the Texas work force keeps wages low — almost 10 percent of Texan workers earn the minimum wage or less, well above the national average — and these low wages give corporations an incentive to move production to the Lone Star State.

What, indeed, does population growth have to do with job growth? Professor Krugman is half correct here — but intentionally only half correct: A booming population leads to growth in jobs. But there is another half to that equation: A booming economy, and the jobs that go with it, leads to population growth. Texas has added millions of people and millions of jobs in the past decade; New York, and many other struggling states, added virtually none of either. And it is not about the weather or other non-economic factors: People are not leaving California for Texas because Houston has a more pleasant climate (try it in August), or leaving New York because of the superior cultural amenities to be found in Nacogdoches and Lubbock. People are moving from the collapsing states into the expanding states because there is work to be had, and opportunity. I’ll set aside, for the moment, these “middle-class Mexicans” immigrating to Texas other than to note that “middle-class” does not broadly comport with the data we have on the economic characteristics of Mexican immigrants. To say the least.

Krugman points out that New York and Massachusetts both have lower unemployment rates than does Texas, and he goes on to parrot the “McJobs” myth: Sure, Texas has lots of jobs, but they’re crappy jobs at low wages. (My summary.) Or, as Professor Krugman puts it, “low wages give corporations an incentive to move production to the Lone Star State.” Are wages low in Texas? There is one question one must always ask when dealing with Paul Krugman’s statements of fact, at least when he’s writing in the New York Times: Is this true? Since he cites New York and Massachusetts, let’s do some comparison shopping between relevant U.S. metros: Harris County (that’s Houston and environs to you), Kings County (Brooklyn), and Suffolk County (Boston).

Houston, like Brooklyn and Boston, is a mixed bag: wealthy enclaves, immigrant communities rich and poor, students, government workers — your usual big urban confluence. In Harris County, the median household income is $50,577. In Brooklyn, it is $42,932, and in Suffolk County (which includes Boston and some nearby communities) it was $53,751. So, Boston has a median household income about 6 percent higher than Houston’s, while Brooklyn’s is about 15 percent lower than Houston’s.

Brooklyn is not the poorest part of New York, by a long shot (the Bronx is), and, looking at those income numbers above, you may think of something Professor Krugman mentions but does not really take properly into account: New York and Boston have a significantly higher cost of living than does Houston, or the rest of Texas. Even though Houston has a higher median income than does Brooklyn, and nearly equals that of Boston, comparing money wages does not tell us anything like the whole story: $50,000 a year in Houston is a very different thing from $50,000 a year in Boston or Brooklyn.

How different? Let’s look at the data: In spite of the fact that Texas did not have a housing crash like the rest of the country, housing remains quite inexpensive there. The typical owner-occupied home in Brooklyn costs well over a half-million dollars. In Suffolk County it’s nearly $400,000. In Houston? A whopping $130,100. Put another way: In Houston, the median household income is 39 percent of the cost of a typical house. In Brooklyn, the median household income is 8 percent of the cost of the median home, and in Boston it’s only 14 percent. When it comes to homeownership, $1 in earnings in Houston is worth a lot more than $1 in Brooklyn or Boston. But even that doesn’t really tell the story, because the typical house in Houston doesn’t look much like the typical house in Brooklyn: Some 64 percent of the homes in Houston are single-family units, i.e., houses. In Brooklyn, 85 percent are multi-family units, i.e. apartments and condos.

Professor Krugman knows that these variables are significant when comparing real standards of living, but he takes scant account of them. That is misleading, and he knows it is misleading.

Likewise, he knows that the rest of the picture is much more complicated than is his claim: “By the way, one in four Texans lacks health insurance, the highest proportion in the nation, thanks largely to the state’s small-government approach.” Is small government really the reason a relatively large number of Texans lack health insurance? Or might there be another explanation?

Houston, as it turns out, is a less white place than Boston (no surprise) and also less white than Brooklyn. All three cities have large foreign-born populations, but Houston is unusual in one regard: It is 41 percent Hispanic, many of those Hispanics are immigrants, and many of those immigrants are illegals. Texas is home to 1.77 million illegal immigrants; New York is home to about one-fourth that number, according to the Department of Homeland Security, and Massachusetts doesn’t make the top-25 list. Despite Professor Krugman’s invocation of “middle-class Mexicans” moving to Texas, the great majority of Mexican and Latin American immigrants to Texas are far from middle class. The fact is that, in the words of a Fed study, “Mexican immigrants are highly occupationally clustered (disproportionately work in distinctive “very low wage” occupations).” Nationally, Hispanic households’ median income is barely more than half that of non-Hispanic whites. And low-wage occupations also tend to be low-benefit occupations, meaning no health insurance. (That is, incidentally, one more good reason to break the link between employment and health insurance.)

Further, some 28 percent of Texans are 18 years old or younger, higher than either New York or Massachusetts. Younger people are more likely to work in low-wage/low-benefit jobs, less likely to have health insurance — and less likely to need it.

The issues of immigration and age also touch on Professor Krugman’s point about the number of minimum-wage workers in Texas vs. other states. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which seems to be his source for this claim, puts the average hourly wage in Texas at 90 percent of the national average, which suggests that wages are not wildly out of line in Texas compared with other states. (And, again, it is important to keep those cost-of-living differences in mind.) In general, I’m skeptical of this particular BLS data, because it is based on questionnaire responses, rather than some firmer source of data such as tax returns. People may not know their actual wages in some cases (you’d be surprised), and in many more cases might not be inclined to tell the truth about it when the government is on the other end of the line.

Interestingly, the BLS results find that, nationwide, the number of people being paid less than minimum wage — i.e., those being paid an illegal wage — was 40 percent higher than those being paid the minimum wage. What sort of workers are likely to earn minimum wage or less than minimum wage? Disproportionately, teenagers and illegal immigrants. You will not be surprised to learn that just as Texas has many times as many illegals as New York or Massachusetts, and it also has significantly more 16-to-19-year-old workers than either state.

Another important fact that escapes Krugman: The fact that a large number of workers make minimum wage, combined with a young and immigrant-heavy population and millions of new jobs, may very well mean that teens and others who otherwise would not be working at all have found employment. That is a sign of economic strength, not of stagnation. New York and Massachusetts would be better off with millions of new minimum-wage workers — if that meant millions fewer unemployed people.

All of this is too obvious for Paul Krugman to have overlooked it. And I expect he didn’t. I believe that he is presenting willfully incomplete and misleading information to the public, and using his academic credentials to prop up his shoddy journalism.


Also, Professor Krugman owes his readers a correction, having written: “almost 10 percent of Texan workers earn the minimum wage or less, well above the national average.” Unless I am mistaken, that is an undeniable factual error: The number of Texas workers earning minimum wage is about half that, just over 5 percent. The number of hourly workers earning minimum wage in Texas is nearly 10 percent, but hourly workers are, in Texas as everywhere, generally paid less than salaries workers. But hourly workers are only about 56 percent of the Texas work force. Can we get a correction, New York Times?
4187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: August 15, 2011, 08:44:30 PM
M2 money supply is growing this summer at a rate of $60 billion per week.

Scott Grannis:  "This is a follow up to some posts from last month, in which I noted the surprising jump in M2 growth. As this chart of the M2 measure of money supply shows, it has gone on to experience a gigantic surge in the past seven weeks. M2 has risen almost $420 billion since the week of June 13th, on average almost 60 billion per week. To put this in perspective, annual M2 growth has averaged about 6% per year since 1995, and growth at this rate would translate into about $10 billion per week. In other words, M2 normally would have grown by $10 billion a week, but instead has grown six times faster. M2 has never grown this fast in a seven week period for at least the past 50 years. No matter how you look at it, this is a major event."

4188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: August 15, 2011, 08:02:36 PM
Translating to the language developed by the incumbent, Gallup is now reporting that President Obama has created or saved nearly 39 approval points.
4189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 15, 2011, 09:34:45 AM
On Pawlenty's exit: He didn't want to go into debt, he called a conference call with supporters and contributors, withdrew from the race.  He asked his campaign manager if he could borrow his car and he drove his wife and two daughters home to Minnesota.
Krugman, "I'd like to encourage us to keep snide reminders of what a terrible economist and raging progressive (a redundancy I know) to a minimum"

 - These grounds rules are very restrictive!   smiley

In a way it reminds me of trying to compare Japan or Sweden of old with the USA, Texas is a very different place than New York, than California, than MN, than DC, than Hawaii etc.  The differences are a reminder of why we don't want centralized economic decisions on everything from wages to industrial policy.  Krugman is mostly just starting the anti-Texas theme.  If a significant portion of the population is comprised of recent immigrants from Mexico, you would logically compare their employment and healthcare status with what they had before, not compare with a 3rd generation Ivy League professor from Cambridge with tenure.  But if you are Krugman, deception is the vehicle - whoops, those damn ground rules.

How do you answer logic that says Americans move into Texas for the weather "inward migration of Americans from other states, who are attracted to Texas by its warm weather" when Dallas just had 40 days over 100 (this is not dry heat!) and he closes with mention to the 'crippling drought'.  Midwesterners and young adults move to Dallas because it is a vibrant city with a vibrant economy.  3M moved divisions and expansions to Austin for a number of reasons, but the defining one was the tax climate opposite of where they were driven from.  Richardson TX and Plano are silicon valleys of their own outside of the tax jurisdiction of Sacramento.

Posted previously: "Between January 2001 and June 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates, Texas’s non-farm employment grew... an increase of 853,400 or 8.9 percent. California simultaneously lost 827,800 jobs. Employment in Texas grew more than in the other 49 states combined."

It seems we always have the harder argument to make, but here it is Krugman swimming fiercely upstream.  He argues - all that Texas job growth, what the rest of the country so desperately needs, is not meaningful or relevant because... why?  By the end of reading the piece once, no memorable answer sticks in my mind, just that Texas isn't that great of a place - to an ivy league northeasterner.  The economy grew jobs because of migration??  Wouldn't every 'real' economist tell you that is ass-backwards.  Migration goes to the jobs - or else to the welfare.

This is a more difficult argument to articulate, but please recall this educational piece from the Iowahawk that applies to economic outcomes and healthcare outcomes just as much as it does to education: 'Longhorns 17, Badgers 1'  The 50 states have unique situations and demographics. If you are going to compare rural, compare rural.  If you are going to compare urban black, compare urban black, if you want to study Hispanic-American outcomes, compare Hispanic-American outcomes. If you want to compare  college educated white suburbanites (no one does), then do that.  But that is not at all what agenda driven pretend-economists like Krugman ever do, unless it would somehow support his pre-ordained conclusion, that to a New Yorker, Texas is a rotten, rotten place, in his mind, badly in need of more taxes and regulations, against their will, from Washington.
4190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Budget process: Thomas Sowell very negative on budget deal on: August 14, 2011, 05:18:18 PM
Thomas Sowell, I respect very much, says budget deal is a bad deal, boxes the GOP into a corner. (Pyrrhic is a 'victory' costly to the point of negating or outweighing expected benefits)

A Pyrrhic ‘Victory’

By Thomas Sowell

In Don Marquis' classic satirical book, "Archy and Mehitabel," Mehitabel the alley cat asks plaintively, "What have I done to deserve all these kittens?"

That seems to be the pained reaction of the Obama administration to the financial woes that led to the downgrading of America's credit rating, for the first time in history.

There are people who see no connection between what they have done and the consequences that follow. But Barack Obama is not likely to be one of them. He is a savvy politician who will undoubtedly be satisfied if enough voters fail to see a connection between what he has done and the consequences that followed.

To a remarkable extent, he has succeeded, with the help of his friends in the media and the Republicans' failure to articulate their case. Polls find more people blaming the Republicans for the financial crisis than are blaming the President.

Why was there a financial crisis in the first place? Because of runaway spending that sent the national debt up against the legal limit. But when all the big spending bills were being rushed through Congress, the Democrats had such an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress that nothing the Republicans could do made the slightest difference.

Yet polls show that many people today are blaming the Republicans for the country's financial problems. But, by the time Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, and thus became involved in negotiations over raising the national debt ceiling, the spending which caused that crisis in the first place had already been done — and done by Democrats.

Had the Republicans gone along with President Obama's original request for a "clean" bill — one simply raising the debt ceiling without any provisions about controlling federal spending — would that have spared the country the embarrassment of having its government bonds downgraded by Standard & Poor's credit-rating agency?

To believe that would be to believe that it was the debt ceiling, rather than the runaway spending, that made Standard & Poor's think that we were no longer as good a credit risk for buyers of U.S. government bonds. In other words, to believe that is to believe that a Congressional blank check for continued record spending would have made Standard & Poor's think that we were a better credit risk.

If that is true, then why is Standard & Poor's still warning that it might have to downgrade America's credit rating yet again? Is that because of the national debt ceiling or because of the likelihood of continued runaway spending?

The national debt ceiling is just one of the many false assurances that the government gives the voting public. The national debt ceiling has never actually stopped the spending that causes the national debt to rise to the point where it is getting near that ceiling. The ceiling simply gets raised when that happens.

Just a week before the budget deal was made at the eleventh hour, it looked like the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives had scored a victory by getting the President and the Congressional Democrats to give up the idea of raising the tax rates — and to cut spending instead. But now that the details are coming out, that "victory" looks very temporary, if not illusory.

The price of getting that deal has been having the Republicans agree to sitting on a special bipartisan Congressional committee that will either come to an agreement on spending cuts before Thanksgiving or have the budgets of both the Defense Department and Medicare cut drastically.

Since neither side can afford to be blamed for a disaster like that, this virtually guarantees that the Republicans will have to either go along with whatever new spending and taxing that the Democrats demand or risk losing the 2012 election by sharing the blame for another financial disaster.

In short, the Republicans have now been maneuvered into being held responsible for the spending orgy that Democrats alone had the votes to create. Republicans have been had — and so has the country. The recent, short-lived budget deal turns out to be not even a Pyrrhic victory for the Republicans. It has the earmarks of a Pyrrhic defeat.
4191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2011, 05:07:19 PM
"We need to not just beat him, we need someone who can start undoing the damage from the first day in office."

That's right.  We better start looking seriously at making a difference in the house and senate too.
4192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2011, 10:15:24 AM
"Yeah, the current president will beat him up over that topic ['crony capitalism']".

GM's sarcasm flies over even my highly trained ear sometimes.  Okay, Obama is 100,000 times worse in that category but what part of doubled standard don't people get.  The cheap shot artists in the mainstream and the huffpost/kos type stream and colbert/stewart stream will get plenty of mileage, innuendo and accusations out of it.  Political gifts tied to taxpayer handouts is the gift that just keeps giving - so don't do the handouts!  All the candidates that have actually governed have RINO (non-conservative, unequal treatment under the law) government programs in their past.  I hate that part of this process where our message gets diluted and our criticism gets muted because our people did or expressed support for the same things we are trying to stop. 
4193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Pawlenty dropping out on: August 14, 2011, 08:58:01 AM

I didn't want to say it, but the debate last Thursday was strike two and this isn't baseball where you get 3 swings.

He did a whole lot of things right in his campaign, but he made a few glaring errors that he could not overcome. 
4194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Rick Perry's Crony Capitalism Problem on: August 14, 2011, 08:43:02 AM
Of the people who have the background, character, experience and disposition to be a great President, who can 'who can best highlight the contrast between bigger government and smaller government with greater personal freedoms etc.'?
(restating the longer form of the question)

Every one of these candidates has flaws.  We get to choose through them and argue it out, then using Murphy' law we pick the wrong one.
Here is the WSJ raining on Gov. Rick Perry's debut.  He sounded like the perfect conservative candidate.  This story however tells about the opposite of chasing the government out of business and special interests out of government.

Rick Perry's Crony Capitalism Problem

The presidential candidate's signature economic development initiative has raised questions among conservatives.


Gov. Rick Perry's presidential pitch goes something like this: During one of the worst recessions in American history, he's kept his state "open for business." In the last two years, Texas created over a quarter of a million jobs, meaning that the state's 8% unemployment rate is substantially lower than the rest of the nation's. The governor credits this exceptional growth to things like low taxes and tort reform.

It's a strong message. But one of the governor's signature economic development initiatives—the Texas Emerging Technology Fund—has lately raised serious questions among some conservatives.

The Emerging Technology Fund was created at Mr. Perry's behest in 2005 to act as a kind of public-sector venture capital firm, largely to provide funding for tech start-ups in Texas. Since then, the fund has committed nearly $200 million of taxpayer money to fund 133 companies. Mr. Perry told a group of CEOs in May that the fund's "strategic investments are what's helping us keep groundbreaking innovations in the state." The governor, together with the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the Texas House, enjoys ultimate decision-making power over the fund's investments.

National Review correspondent Robert Costa on last night's GOP presidential debate and Saturday's Iowa straw poll.

Among the companies that the Emerging Technology Fund has invested in is Convergen LifeSciences, Inc. It received a $4.5 million grant last year—the second largest grant in the history of the fund. The founder and executive chairman of Convergen is David G. Nance.

In 2009, when Mr. Nance submitted his application for a $4.5 million Emerging Technology Fund grant for Convergen, he and his partners had invested only $1,000 of their own money into their new company, according to documentation prepared by the governor's office in February 2010. But over the years, Mr. Nance managed to invest a lot more than $1,000 in Mr. Perry. Texas Ethics Commission records show that Mr. Nance donated $75,000 to Mr. Perry's campaigns between 2001 and 2006.

The regional panel that reviewed Convergen's application turned down the company's $4.5 million request when it presented its proposal on Oct. 7, 2009. But Mr. Nance appealed that decision directly to a statewide advisory committee (of which Mr. Nance was once a member) appointed by Mr. Perry. Just eight days later, on Oct. 15, a subcommittee unanimously recommended approval by the full statewide committee. On Oct. 29, the full advisory committee unanimously recommended the approval of Convergen's application. When asked why the advisory committee felt comfortable recommending Convergen's grant, Lucy Nashed, a spokesperson for Mr. Perry, said that the committee "thoroughly vetted the company."

Starting in 2008, Mr. Perry also appropriated approximately $2 million in federal taxpayer money through the auspices of the Wagner-Peyser Act—a federal works program founded during the New Deal and overseen in Texas by Mr. Perry's office—to a nonprofit launched by Mr. Nance called Innovate Texas. The nonprofit was meant to help entrepreneurs by linking them to investors. It began receiving funding on Dec. 31, 2008, soon after Mr. Nance's previous company, Introgen Therapeutics, declared bankruptcy on Dec. 3. According to state records, Mr. Nance paid himself $250,000 for the two years he ran Innovate Texas. Innovate Texas, whose listed phone number is not a working number, could not be reached for comment. (Two phone calls left for Mr. Nance at Convergen's offices went unreturned.)

ThromboVision, Inc., a medical imaging company, was also the recipient of an award from the Emerging Technology Fund: It received $1.5 million in 2007. Charles Tate, a major Perry contributor, served as the chairman of a state committee that reviewed ThromboVision's application for state funding, and Mr. Tate voted to give ThromboVision the public money. One month after ThromboVision received notification that it would receive a $1.5 million state grant in April 2007, Mr. Tate invested his own money in ThromboVision, according to the Dallas Morning News. The Texas paper later found that by 2010 Mr. Tate owned a total of 200,000 preferred shares in ThromboVision.

According to a Texas state auditor's report, ThromboVision failed to submit required annual reports to the fund from 2008 through 2010, when the company went bankrupt. The report noted the tech fund's managers were "unaware of ThromboVision, Inc.'s bankruptcy until after the bankruptcy had been reported in a newspaper." ThromboVision's bankruptcy filing revealed not only that Mr. Tate had been a preferred shareholder in ThromboVision, but so had prominent Perry supporter Charles Miller, who owned 250,000 preferred shares in the company and has donated $125,000 to the governor's campaigns. Three phone calls and an email seeking Mr. Tate's side of the story went unreturned.

All told, the Dallas Morning News has found that some $16 million from the tech fund has gone to firms in which major Perry contributors were either investors or officers, and $27 million from the fund has gone to companies founded or advised by six advisory board members. The tangle of interests surrounding the fund has raised eyebrows throughout the state, especially among conservatives who think the fund is a misplaced use of taxpayer dollars to start with.

"It is fundamentally immoral and arrogant," says state representative David Simpson, a tea party-backed freshman from Longview, two hours east of Dallas. The fund "opened the door to the appearance of impropriety, if not actual impropriety."

In April, the state auditor's office called for greater transparency in the fund's management, and some legislators began looking for ways that the fund might be reformed. With the state facing a $27 billion budget shortfall in the last legislative session, Mr. Simpson filed a motion in the Texas House in May to shutter the fund and redirect the money to other portions of the budget. That measure passed 89-37 to cheers from the chamber. But the fund was kept alive by the legislature's conference committee. The fund currently has $140 million to spend, according to the governor's office.

Michael Quinn Sullivan, the president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, sees in the Emerging Technology Fund a classic example of the perils of government pork. "The problem with these kinds of funds is that even when they're used with the best of intentions, it looks bad," says Mr. Sullivan. "You're taking from the average taxpayer and giving to someone who has a connection with government officials."

Mr. Dameron is a Robert L. Bartley Fellow at the Journal.
4195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: August 13, 2011, 05:50:26 PM
A couple of points were made over on the UK riot thread, US having lax gun legislation and murder rates higher in gun owning societies.

First, just the constitutional requirement gets ignored when we start to talk about laws or statistics.  Different people read different meanings into the second amendment, but for sure it includes a) the right to bear arms because it's constitutional, it is above the laws written to restrict it, and b) that it's really really hard to change the constitution.

Second, we discuss different murder rates with guns or not as if there is a switch we could flip, if not for right wing extremists, that makes the guns go away.

Other than using The Giant Magnet Theory, passing a law now restricting guns affects only the abiding people.  Only an amazingly powerful, giant magnet could actually take guns from bad guys at the same rate as taking them from the law abiding and law enforcement.

The question is... knowing the bad guys are armed, what do you want to have with you, ready, when you encounter them?
4196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israel and its neighbors: Top Hamas engineer tells all on: August 13, 2011, 12:50:21 PM,7340,L-4107803,00.html

Top Hamas engineer tells all

Nabbed engineer Abu Sisi provides Israel with invaluable information about Hamas' operations, newly released documents reveal; terror group's military academy operated in Gaza mosques, he says

By Ilana Curiel  08.11.11, Israel News

Hamas engineer Dirar Abu Sisi, nabbed by Israeli security forces earlier this year, provided interrogators with priceless information on Hamas' modus operandi, the terror group's readiness for a clash with Israel and attempts to improve its rocket range.

According to interrogation excerpts, cleared for publication Thursday by the Beersheba District Court following Ynet's appeal, the Hamas engineer described the terror group as an orderly hierarchical organization that aims to learn from its mistakes and adapt to changing regional realities.

The engineer told interrogators that following Operation Cast Lead Gaza, top Hamas terrorist Mohammed Deif and the group's military wing commander Ahmed Jabari found Hamas' operations to be lacking and decided to make Abu Sisi in charge of establishing the organization's new military academy.

"An analysis of the war with Israel was undertaken. It found that a large number of Hamas activists ran away from their positions. A failure occurred in decision-making coupled with an inability to use arms during the battle – because of fear," he said. "A program of study had to be created, in order to improve the situation."

The new academy was tasked with imparting combat methods and tactics to Hamas terrorists, Abu Sisi said. Hamas men were undertaking their studies at mosques, while passing their final exams in known Gaza universities or in mosques.

"The books and academic materials did not bear the Hamas name or logo," he said. Instructors include university lecturers, education ministry officials, merchants and others.
Abu Sisi is believed to be Hamas' rocket expert. He joined the terror group in 2002, despite working for the Palestinian Electric Company, which forbade its employees from joining any group.

"I assisted Hamas in developing their missile capabilities, by identifying and handing over mathematical equations that improve the metal pipe's ability to withstand pressure and heat," he said. "I was present when a missile was test-fired at the sea in Khan Younis."

The terror group was lacking materials that could improve their rocket range and later smuggled it in from Egypt through tunnels, he said.

Abu Sisi's interrogation revealed that he acquired plenty of information on improving rocket range via the Internet, including the YouTube website.

 "I know nothing about explosives. I only calculated the pressure and heat…I downloaded the formula from the Internet," he said, adding that he also downloaded software pertaining to the rocket's structure.

Hamas would send its activists for further instruction overseas, Abu Sisi said. Selected graduates of the academy reached military academies in foreign countries, he said, including Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Iran.

During his interrogation, Abu Sisi expressed his regret for joining Hamas.

"I greatly regret my affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas Movement, my work to develop the missile range, my part in establishing Hamas' military academy, and all the information I handed over to Hamas that can threaten the security of Israel and its citizens," he said.

"I know the missiles are lethal and take the lives of others, without distinguishing between Arabs and Jews," he said.

Abu Sisi was kidnapped in Kiev and brought to Israel in February. His indictment sheet comprises nine counts, including membership in a terror organization, murder, attempted murder and arms production.
4197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 13, 2011, 12:02:44 PM
David Axelrod is in Iowa, out front on this.  He already explained that the growth in Texas is from oil and war, not from the leadership of the governor "down there".

Who knew that legalizing energy production could grow jobs?  This could have national implications!

Barack Obama and Rick Perry share something in common.  They both inherited an economy from George W. Bush.  Only one of them has whined constantly about it since then.

Texas has a GDP comparable to Russia and Perry is the longest serving Governor in Texas history.  Texas under Perry according to BLS had more job growth than the other 49 states combined.  This is attributable to luck, not policies.

Barack Obama was a noted community activist at the time of his elevation to high office, published nothing as editor at Harvard or as lecturer at Univ. of Chicago, got his opponent removed the ballot and voted 'present' 130 times in the Illinois state senate to avoid a record of controversial positions.  He served a third of a term in the US Senate before declaring his candidacy for President and was ranked no.1 as the Senate's most liberal member.  As President he developed a new leadership style applied to both economic and military command called leading from behind.
Between January 2001 and June 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates, Texas’s non-farm employment grew from 9,542,400 in January 2001, when Perry took office, to 10,395,800 in June 2010 — an increase of 853,400 or 8.9 percent. California simultaneously lost 827,800 jobs. Employment in Texas grew more than in the other 49 states combined.
4198  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with Social Breakdown (The UK riots) on: August 13, 2011, 11:32:41 AM
"The way I read this statue, a neighborhood kid could come on to your property at night, steal your bicycle (theft during the nighttime)  and you could shoot him in the back as he pedaled (fleeing away) away to stop him from escaping with your property."

I don't know if the Texas law is being properly interpreted in the example but people reading that in other states should know you would face possible murder charges elsewhere in that situation.  The self defense laws of the 50 states were linked recently by Crafty.  Recovering the property by other means might include following him home in your car and call the police, if you had time to get your gun and shoot him. 

My view is that entering your premises day or night is more than a property crime.  An intruder with that kind of nerve can be presumed to be dangerous.

It is purely hypothetical anyway because if that it is the right of the homeowner to shoot the burglar, no one is likely to take the bike. 

The question posed is how to deal with property protection if guns/knives etc are not an option.  The hated camera surveillance after the fact seems to be one of the key tools. 
4199  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with Social Breakdown (The UK riots) on: August 13, 2011, 10:46:45 AM
"The majority of posters here seem to be of the die-hard republican variety..."
  - taken as a compliment. wink I know the policy here is that thoughtful opposing views are always welcome, seeking the truth, and yours is certainly a thoughtful and informative post.

"...those of us who live outside of the US as generally we are ignored or looked down upon."
  - I hope not!  We get bogged down in US politics but the global reach of the forum is certainly a strength.  

"...US have too relaxed firearms legislation."
  - It's that darn constitution.  Besides protection, the firearm is symbolic of keeping our other rights unless given back freely and legally through the constitutional process.  I don't own any guns.  I also think the strong views here about gun rights come from the martial arts / self defense orientation of the forum as much as from the political leanings.  The desirability of having an armed society is a separate question from the specific 'right' in the U.S.

"Gardiner...right wing and a throwback to the Thatcher years"
  - To me, a compliment for him, though I get the distinction that quoting Gardner from the Telegraph is a counter-indicator of UK mainstream political thought.

Speaking only for myself, the headlines of this unrest reminds me of other problems elsewhere, the car fires of Villiers-le-Bel (Paris) and riots in Rosengard (Malmo Sweden) but that does not mean there are similarities.  As you point out we are learning about the participants and motivations of these in the UK.

I have not posted on this because I don't know anything yet, (except for one post in satire that Libya is recognizing the rioters as the official government of the UK.  No offense intended!)  My personal right wing view is that young people in general would riot less and destroy less if they were busy studying, working and responsible for providing for themselves.
Topic for another thread and I may be reading this wrong, but why would people be pro-war in Libya but anti-war elsewhere like in Iraq?
4200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: August 12, 2011, 08:29:28 PM
IIRC, Obamacare was allowed to be deemed passed as a reconciliation item because it was at zero net cost as a budget item.

Besides funny math, 10 years of taxes matched against 6 years for benefits and plenty of other tricks, the reason it was rated at zero net cost was because of the individual mandate.

The individual mandate was struck down.

The deemed passed procedure is now null and void.

Obamacare is thus repealed effective August 12, 2011.   (?)

  - Doug
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