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4201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 30, 2012, 05:52:21 PM
"I thought Ryan's speech last night was GREAT!"

That was my reaction as well.  Vision and clarity.  More important might be what a real swing voter thought of it.

I am looking for a home run-grand slam from Romney tonight.  The stage is set for really laying out a contrast and an opposing vision in a very Reaganesque way.  Friendly audience, perfect timing, doesn't need to go through Gwen Eifel or Charlie Gibson or anyone else to talk directly with the American people.

We will see.
4202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: August 28, 2012, 07:23:11 PM
This digressed into just shoot the messenger.  Posts of no substance. How about JDN you post your oponion and best sources and let Obj post his. Refute points of substance if you want, like a discussion, or a forum.

A legitimate question was asked, quite a long ways back in the thread, with no answer forthcoming.
4203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Noonan: 'Ich bin ein Tampon.' on: August 24, 2012, 02:16:02 PM

It is good that Joe Biden is going to the Republican National Convention to hold high the flag of his party. People make fun of his gaffes, of his embarrassing verbal forays, but he's no fool and he knows how to take it to the other guy. The speech he is working on, to be given in the heart of downtown, just across from the convention site, will be stirring and stentorian: "All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Tampa, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, 'Ich bin ein Tampon.'"


Very funny.
4204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races - Sen. candidate Todd Akin, R-Mo on: August 24, 2012, 02:03:32 PM
Big scandal, the woman shuts down conception during a real rape? I've had more radio access than internet this week and this was the only story.  It will hurt Republicans in more than this one race.  It plays perfectly into the war against women false accusation being propagated.

Rounding to the nearest point, abortion that  follow rape make up 0% of total abortions while convenience abortions make up 98%.  If the federal govt issue of 2012 was abortion (it isn't), the focus should be on the latter.

This guy should go just for sloppy research and messaging,  Call it a self-inflicted wound or an unforced error.  Sort of a Bachmann moment.   To take that extreme of a stand, one better have their facts and studies in order, not 'I think I read it somewhere' pass around email? 

A write-in campaign won in Alaska in 2010 with a name Murkowsky way harder to spell than Kit Bond.

GOP doesn't need a loose cannon in a swing state damaging the brand and stepping on the message nationwide in the final stretch of a crucial election.
4205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney - Energy Independence for North America on: August 24, 2012, 12:58:23 PM
It was nice to see candidate Romney in the neighborhood yesterday.  Energy independence for North America.  That makes perfect sense.  It would be good for national security, manufacturing, exports, trade deficit balnace of payments, revenues to the treasury, deficits, debt, the value of the dollar, consumer prices, national income and our standard of living.  Yet the opponent opposes it, with opposition to pipelines and opposition to drilling in ANWR, federal lands and offshore.

http://www.startribune.com/politics/167272555.html?refer=y

John Hinderacker reports for us:

An Evening With Mitt Romney

I didn’t exactly spend the evening with Romney, of course. I spent it driving to the Lafayette Club on Lake Minnetonka for Romney’s only Minnesota appearance of the campaign; waiting in line for a photograph for a considerable time because the candidate ran an hour late; listening to Norm Coleman warm up the crowd, following Congressmen John Kline and Erik Paulsen in that role; and finally hearing Romney speak for 20 minutes or so.

It was great fun. The event was a big success, raising a considerable amount for Romney’s campaign. And how was Romney? Sensational. But let’s go back to the beginning.

Rounding the corner to pull into the Lafayette Club’s parking lot, security was tight. Across the road, a pathetic, ragtag group of left-wing protesters were chanting, as usual, “We are the 99 percent.” There were conservative counter-protesters too; I couldn’t tell which group was more numerous. The largest sign said “Romney Creates Jobs.” I wanted to park my car, get out and confront the leftists, but unfortunately the security arrangements didn’t permit that. Otherwise, I would have approached some of them and taped interviews. The question I always want to ask is, “If you are the 99 percent, why are there only 11 of you?”

Once inside, the size of the crowd was impressive. Staff diverted me to the photograph line, where I spent quite a while, saw a lot of old friends, and made a few new ones. Once Romney arrived the line moved fast, and I only had time to say, “Governor, you and I overlapped at Harvard, but you were more successful in later life.” Which provoked a cordial laugh from the candidate.

When I proceeded to the main hall, Norm Coleman was speaking; he and the others performed heroic service because of the delay. This photo gives you an idea of the size of the crowd: (http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/08/an-evening-with-mitt-romney.php)

Before long the photo line was done and Romney appeared to thunderous applause. Which is, of course, the point of this post: how did Mitt do? The answer is, he was great. He spoke for 20 minutes or so, no notes, no teleprompter, totally comfortable with his material. He tossed in facts and figures here and there, but his themes were generally broader: the power of the individual, the Constitution, entrepreneurship and rewarding success, the importance of American power, and so on. His themes were deeply conservative, yet unifying. At no time did he pit one group of Americans against another. He said, “I don’t want to raise anyone’s taxes!” Even though there was probably not a single Democrat in the audience, he said that there are good Democrats and independents, and he wants to work with them in Washington. He did, really, a beautiful job of weaving together the various strands of conservative thought.

What was most striking was how impassioned Romney was. He was nearing the end of a very long day, but he was not just energetic but passionate. America has obviously gone off the rails under the direction of an incompetent administration, and he wants to restore America’s greatness for the benefit of future generations. The strength of his emotional commitment to this cause was palpable.

As I listened to Romney, I asked myself: what better spokesman for conservative ideas have we had in recent years? I couldn’t think of any. You can go back to Reagan, of course. Reagan’s style was more cerebral, less passionate. He was a great articulator of conservatism, but no better, in my opinion, than Romney. Since Reagan? I can’t think of anyone.

While Romney spoke, I was flanked by two of Minnesota’s most dedicated conservative activists and donors. I asked each in turn, what better spokesman for conservative principles has our movement had in recent years? Like me, they couldn’t come up with any. Romney is as effective on the stump as any conservative I can remember. Of course, most voters will never see him this way. I think the Romney campaign needs to film him before audiences like tonight’s, and edit 30 or 60 second ads of him speaking to a friendly crowd the way he did tonight. Or, as one of my friends suggested, they could emulate Reagan and buy 30 minutes of network time for a more comprehensive speech. One way or another, Romney needs voters to see him unleashed and unedited.

I think Mitt Romney is going to be our next president. I heard tonight that the latest private polling has Obama leading Romney in Minnesota by only one point. This is down from five points a month or two ago. If Romney comes close to winning Minnesota, the election won’t be close. But let’s not take any chances. I dug down a bit to support Romney’s campaign tonight; if you haven’t yet done so, you should. This is the pivotal election of our lives. There is, as Adam Smith wrote, a lot of ruin in a country. But I am not certain that the United States could come back from another four years of the incompetent and foolishly left-wing Barack Obama administration. So if you haven’t already contributed to the Romney campaign, please do so. If, God forbid, Barack Obama is re-elected, it would be hard to look in the mirror and realize that we didn’t do all we could to put America back on the path to prosperity and freedom.  - John Hinderacker,  PowerLine
4206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, economic freedom on: August 21, 2012, 01:28:19 PM
Freedom  or  free stuff (while it lasts)

Choose one.
4207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs, spending, deficit, and budget, lengthen the debt on: August 21, 2012, 01:26:04 PM
Crazy that there are ads every hour on every station that these are the lower rates ever and anyone sane must lock in now for 30 years, but for the world's biggest borrower this is a novel idea.
4208  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: August 21, 2012, 01:22:12 PM
Grateful for seat belt, airbag and guard rail all in good working order.
4209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: August 17, 2012, 11:56:34 AM
Once you admitted you're a liberal it's okay to say "good riddance" to the poor because people know you care.  The real

My 2012 story is from 2009 data, the latest available.  More important is that it is after more tax increases.  Your 2009 story is from pre-crash 2007 data.  One point overlooked is that income disappearing does not mean the people moved, just changed course in terms of career, business or investments, either by choice or by consequence.  Weren't you the one worried about offshore and a Swiss bank account for Romney?  Why? Because it might escape taxation and not create jobs here, whether it would be Massachusetts or California. 

A third of high income earners vanished since your data was collected, if that does not concern you then you are not the intended recipient of that post.  (Is there an emoticon for hands over eyes and ears like the see no evil guy?)

No question California was the best place on earth.  No question Texas for one is kicking their ass in terms of economic growth and has worse weather and fewer idle millionaires.

The poke at MN means nothing; we try to fly under the radar.  MN was the number one state on Gallup's latest ranking on economic confidence and no one is moving their business here.  Native Minnesotans have a work ethic that overcomes high taxes.  The Twin Cities unemployment rate before Pelosi-Reid-Obama was about 2%.  Our incoming poor come from failing midwest cities like Detroit and Chicago; they like the shorter welfare lines and better customer service.  Property values on Lake Minnetonka are just like you described for good areas there.  Summers are glorious and winters are survivable with more indoor tennis courts and hockey arenas per capita than anywhere in the world.  It is easier to work or study late when it is dark and cold.  One of the yellowest states nationally (DBMA banned the red-blue designation) but the people don't trust the DFL (Dem machine) with anything more than divided state government, even tried rule by a wrestler.  The budget is balanced and the streets get plowed before you wake up.  Sky-blue freshwater everywhere you can see. 
------
On a conciliatory note, we will be investigating the regional differences more thoroughly when my daughter comes out to visit the distressed coastal area of Santa Barbara this coming week.  If you want to tell a midwesterner all the greatness of Calif maybe you can drive her there from LAX on Monday, but not on your motorcycle!   )
4210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: August 16, 2012, 03:33:23 PM
The statistic I posted wasn't about the poor leaving and expletive to you for not caring about them.  What the two posts demonstrated is that wealth is leaving and therefore so is leaving your ability to tax it.  Do you have a Plan B?
4211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Top earner group in California shrank by a third on: August 16, 2012, 10:55:14 AM
Searching around to find out why Victor Hanson wrote this:

"2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week"

I found this story below from Bloomberg Jan 2012 with a different measurement covering the years 2007-2009.

Previously in the thread I argued that to raise revenues with higher marginal rates on the rich you would first have to lock the exits.  Even that of course would not work because the phenomenon of income mobility is not limited to people improving their also applies high earners and achievers choosing not to continue their medical practices or pursuing new business enterprises and just move their assets into less productive uses.  For answer on another thread I pose this question on income inequality, are the rest of us really better off when the rich are in decline?
--------------------

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-11/california-s-top-earners-dwindling-as-brown-counts-on-their-higher-taxes

Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to balance the state budget in part with higher taxes on the wealthy depends on a group of top earners that shrank by one-third from 2007 to 2009.

Tax returns with adjusted gross incomes topping $500,000 fell to 98,610 in 2009, the latest year available, from a recent peak of 146,221 two years earlier, according to data from the Franchise Tax Board, the state agency that collects income and corporate taxes.
4212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California? There is no California. - VDH on: August 16, 2012, 09:21:12 AM
"2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week" ??!!

There Is No California

By Victor Davis Hanson - August 16, 2012

Driving across California is like going from Mississippi to Massachusetts without ever crossing a state line.

Consider the disconnects: California's combined income and sales taxes are among the nation's highest, but the state's deficit is still about $16 billion. It's estimated that more than 2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week to flee high taxes and costly regulations, yet California wants to raise taxes even higher; its business climate already ranks near the bottom of most surveys. Its teachers are among the highest paid on average in the nation, but its public school students consistently test near the bottom of the nation in both math and science.

The state's public employees enjoy some of the nation's most generous pensions and benefits, but California's retirement systems are underfunded by about $300 billion. The state's gas taxes -- at over 49 cents per gallon -- are among the highest in the nation, but its once unmatched freeways, like 101 and 99, for long stretches have degenerated into potholed, clogged nightmares unchanged since the early 1960s.

The state wishes to borrow billions of dollars to develop high-speed rail, beginning with a little-traveled link between Fresno and Corcoran -- a corridor already served by money-losing Amtrak. Apparently, coastal residents like the idea of European high-speed rail -- as long as noisy and dirty construction does not begin in their backyards.

As gasoline prices soar, California chooses not to develop millions of barrels of untapped oil and even more natural gas off its shores and beneath its interior. Home to bankrupt green companies like Solyndra, California has mandated that a third of all the energy provided by state utilities soon must come from renewable energy sources -- largely wind and solar, which presently provide about 11 percent of its electricity and almost none of its transportation fuel.

How to explain the seemingly inexplicable? There is no California, which is a misnomer. There is no such state. Instead there are two radically different cultures and landscapes with little in common, each equally dysfunctional in quite different ways. Apart they are unworldly, together a disaster.

A postmodern narrow coastal corridor runs from San Diego to Berkeley, where the weather is ideal, the gentrified affluent make good money, and values are green and left-wing. This Shangri-La is juxtaposed to a vast impoverished interior, from the southern desert to the northern Central Valley, where life is becoming premodern.

On the coast, blue-chip universities like Cal Tech, Berkeley, Stanford and UCLA in pastoral landscapes train the world's doctors, lawyers, engineers and businesspeople. In the hot interior of blue-collar Sacramento, Turlock, Fresno and Bakersfield, well over half the incoming freshman in the California State University system must take remedial math and science classes.

In postmodern Palo Alto or Santa Monica, a small cottage costs more than $1 million. Two hours away, in premodern and now-bankrupt Stockton, a bungalow the same size goes for less than $100,000.

In the interior, unemployment in many areas peaks at over 15 percent. The theft of copper wire is reaching epidemic proportions. Thousands of the shrinking middle class flee the interior for the coast or nearby no-income-tax states. To fathom the state's nearly unbelievable statistics -- as the state population grew by 10 million from the mid-1980s to 2005, its number of Medicaid recipients increased by 7 million during that period; one-third of the nation's welfare recipients now reside in California -- visit the state's hinterlands.

But in the Never-Never Land of Apple, Facebook, Google, Hollywood and the wine country, millions live in an idyllic paradise. Coastal Californians can afford to worry about the state's trivia -- as their legislators seek to outlaw foie gras, shut down irrigation projects to save the 3-inch delta smelt, and allow children to have legally recognized multiple parents.

But in the less feel-good interior, crippling regulations curb timber, gas and oil, and farm production. For the most part, the rules are mandated by coastal utopians who have little idea where the gas for their imported cars comes from, or how the redwood is cut for their decks, or who grows the ingredients for their Mediterranean lunches of arugula, olive oil and pasta.

On the coast, it's politically incorrect to talk of illegal immigration. In the interior, residents see first-hand the bankrupting effects on schools, courts and health care when millions arrive illegally without English-language fluency or a high school diploma -- and send back billions of dollars in remittances to Mexico and other Latin American countries.

The drive from Fresno to Palo Alto takes three hours, but you might as well be rocketing from Earth to the moon.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/08/16/there_is_no_california_115128.html
4213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Klein Bordo, Taylor... on: August 15, 2012, 10:45:31 AM
I found the title disconcerting enough to look into it.  I did not find the distinctions made by the economists to be so.  I posted links and exact quotes.  In the Bordo example the research was the in-depth data about 26 downturns and recoveries collected and presented.  The analysis is what different economists make of that.  That the analysis would come out differently would not be disconcerting, but as quoted it did not seem to be very much different.  I disagree strongly with interview points made by Bordo, that this is not a policy caused downturn for example and the implication that 1.5% growth (economic decline) is all that is possible now because of the static nature of housing.  I agree very strongly with Prof. Taylor that robust growth is possible right now with the right policy mix.  Looked to me like it was Bordo disagreeing with conclusions in his own co-authored study that I quoted verbatim in my post.  Why?  I don't know but it would seem he wanted to distance himself from any implication that he was endorsing Romney's plan.  It is clear that he isn't.  Klein reports that two economists differing with the Romney plan also disagree with each other. Not uncommon, but the data one researched on recoveries and the other on the negative effect of cash for clunkers I still find relevant and helpful.

Constitutional law I think is a perfect analogy.  Wouldn't it be possible that two reasonable and honest Justices could hear and quote the same oral testimony or written argument or empirical study but draw a different conclusion?

In economics the example that comes to my mind is a paper published by Christina Romer in June 2010 "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks" arguably making the case that any significant 'fiscal shock' could push the fragile recovery back into recession just as the administration was fighting to do exactly that with tax rate increases.  I don't think the intent of her work was to give backing to administration opponents but it did and she was out of that job as chief economic adviser to the President in a matter of days.  Later the President backed temporarily away from that policy for the same reasons.  (http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~dromer/papers/RomerandRomerAERJune2010.pdf)

------
Very cool to be cited by the transition team!  If you are willing to send any links to your writings by private message I promise to respect your privacy and anonymity on the board.
4214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2012, 04:18:10 PM
JDN, you crack me up.  Accepting spending at the 4 trillion level and increasing it over 10 years by 5 trillion is not failure to compromise; that is utter hogwash.  It is the other side that failed to compromise to the point of governing by czar, by executive order and by passing transformational legislation without attracting a single crossover vote.  So that can't be your real yardstick.  Like CCP said, you just need to admit it; you are one of them.   wink

[Romney] "during this election he's about to fall off, or maybe he's being pushed, the right wing cliff"

FWIW, the right wing, tea party, fiscal conservative, expanding individual liberty, returning to founding, limited government  principles movement is not the cliff.  Nice try.  We don't want to stop you from driving a Prius, giving to the poor, choosing your doctor, changing your work schedule or eating an organic french fry.  The status quo is the cliff.  Stay on it and the next generation is bankrupt.
4215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Ezra Klein and the case of the disagreeing economists on: August 14, 2012, 04:03:03 PM
"Economists to Romney campaign: That’s not what our research says"

Bigdog, Thanks for posting that.  It is not that uncommon that economists don't like the conclusions that others draw from their research.  The headline is quite clear but the arguments made by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post that follow seem quite convoluted to me, and there were far more than 3 economists quoted in that piece.  

I'm glad we are trying to hold both sides accountable.  The study (Tax Policy Center) currently being cited by Obama regarding the Romney economic plan is one of the most deceptive I have seen in years of watching deception, and the main attack still levied against Paul Ryan on Medicare was awarded Politifact's 2011 Lie of the Year Award, not exactly a right wing organization.  http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2011/dec/20/lie-year-democrats-claims-republicans-voted-end-me/

Ezra Klein:  "Hubbard, Mankiw, Taylor and Hassett make three main points: The first is that this recovery has been terribly slow, even by the standards of post-financial crisis recoveries. The second is that the Obama administration made a grievous error by relying on (spending) stimulus. And the third is that Romney’s tax and economic plans would usher in an era of rapid growth that would both be good for the country and provide the boost to revenues and employment necessary to make their numbers work out."   - So far, so good.  Should have stopped there IMO.

“This recession is really quite different,” Bordo said. But he didn’t see government policy as the obvious cause.    - That is absurd IMHO and not at all studied or proven in the research cited.

"Both Sufi and Bordo agree that the housing market was at the core of this recession..."
   - Nothing about houses, 2x4's, roofs or siding caused or the bubble or the collapse.  It was the government policies toward creation of money and lending on houses without regard to creditworthiness or logic that led to the insanity.  Mortgages were 90% federal and the rest were all under the complete jurisdiction of botched federal regulations.

Klein regarding economist Bordo: But when I probed whether Bordo was implicitly criticizing the Obama administration’s housing policies, he essentially shrugged. “We didn’t have massive government intervention in it anyway,” he says.

What??  90% control of mortgages and moratoriums on foreclosures including the 10% they didn't control along with infusions of trillions and lending based on non-creditworthiness considerations, this is not massive government intervention??  Nonsense, and also NOT IN THE STUDY.

The only quote in the paper from Bordo that I saw is that "a slow growth recovery is not inevitable".  http://www.docstoc.com/docs/125714335/Romney-Tax-Reform-White-Paper  That is fair conclusion one could make looking at 26 cycles studied in the research paper that Bordo co-authored and pretty close to their own conclusion: "Our analysis of the data shows that steep expansions tend to follow deep contractions, though this depends heavily on when the recovery is measured. In contrast to much conventional wisdom, the stylized fact that deep contractions breed strong recoveries is particularly true when there is a financial crisis. In fact, on average, it is cycles without a financial crisis that show the weakest relation between contraction depth and recovery strength."  http://media.hoover.org/sites/default/files/documents/Bordo-Haubrich-Steep-Paper-SNB%209_7.pdf  (This contraction most certainly had a financial crisis!) If Bordo now contends that this slow recovery was inevitable, then maybe he is satisfied with current economic growth.  The rest of us aren't.  Pretending that what is wrong in this economy today is about housing when nearly everyone has a house and houses are arguably still overvalued is absurd, and not demonstrated in the study.  Isn't ousing construction according to Wesbury is growing faster than the rest of the economy anyway?

4 years past Bush we are on a glidepath to never solving our problems without changing leadership and changing direction and making serious governmental reforms.  Meanwhile Ezra Klein with an unhidden agenda writes about shiny objects, over here!

The current policy direction arrow on all major Obama policies is anti-growth.  Other goals, Pres. Obama's quest for 'fairness' and his propensity to give goodies to targeted constituent groups, are paramount to seeking enterprise driven growth in all policy considerations as far as I can see.

The way you recover housing is to allow incomes to grow.  The way you grow incomes is to allow economic freedoms to expand.  These policies are aimed entirely in the opposite direction.  This is Decline by Design no matter how it is spun.  MHO
4216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2012, 02:17:06 PM
"Some years ago I agreed with this supposed compromising strategy."

Yes, Dr. CCP was my formerly favorite moderate on the board.   smiley


We used to argue the merits of smaller government versus bigger government, compromising with big spenders versus not.  Now we argue big government versus going bigger and bigger and bigger with no idea whatsoever how to pay for it.  Can't we get 51% or so to settle for just big government at all levels instead of total control of all aspects of our lives?

As posted, taking a 4 trillion/year out of control spending habit, keeping all of it and increasing it by 5 trillion over 10 years is still considered hard right politics and pushing Granny over the cliff.
4217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2012, 01:45:40 PM
Thank you JDN; that was a very responsive post.  The question was who would you choose today so I have no argument.  That is your choice and those are your reasons.  The point of my question was that I did not understand all the negativity about Romney if you were still going to vote for him, but if after all we've been through you still support Obama, then your negative feelings about Romney are genuine.

"I think Obama inherited many of the current problems from Bush."  - Don't forget the Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden congress.  We had 4.6% unemployment when Dems took congress not 8.3 or 9 or 10%.  It came from Bush.  It came from Dems and it came from Dems in congress and it came most elected Republicans who supported to some degree all the same CRAp:  a federal program for everything, spending beyond our means, straying from all principles, regulations beyond logic and a government that controls markets and centrally tries to pick winners and losers.

"Also, the world's economy is in the doldrums; it's not just us."  - That is a one edged sword?  We used to lead the world but now it is that their demise bringing us down.  Why not a mention that our wrong-headed policy-based failure to recover is bringing down the world economy?

"I...believe it should be combination of cuts and tax increases."  - Just a few weeks ago I thought we agreed to distinguish tax revenue increases and tax rate increases.  As Crafty already posted, there are no spending cuts in anyone's proposal so that half is hot air and the historic correlation is with increasing tax revenues by cutting tax rates rather than by increasing them.  Years of citing data, links, studies and proof can not trump such likable rhetoric from big government ideologues.  Even Obama admits that raising tax rates is about "fairness" not revenues.  Four historic examples AGAIN: JFK's ( a Dem) tax rate cuts had a lasting effect, Reagan tax rate cuts doubled revenues within a decade, Clinton-Gingrich capital gain rate cuts led to a balanced budget and even W Bush's rate cuts caused the static scorers to misunderestimate revenues with forecasting shortfall errors in the HUNDREDS of BILLIONS.  Oh well.  Maybe some else reading these threads got the point.

"I don't think the "rich" will mind nor will it change their lifestyle to pay another 2-3 percent." 

  - They may not mind it or all vote against it but they do invest and employ less at the margin.  "2-3%" is not the increase that is on the table from the Obama administration 2.0.  More like a tripling of cumulative tax rates in some cases.

"Further, I think capital gains, frankly all income should be taxed nearly the same."

   - I think you mean quadruple-taxed the same; most capital gains have already been taxed at least 2 or 3 times before you figure the 15% additional or whatever that rate becomes.  A long term capital gain at anytime in our lifetime has by definition an inflation component to it.  Have you EVER taken the time to read, think, understand and agree that continuous devaluation of the dollar is not income?!?!

"Romney's 12% tax rate, maybe lower in previous years, and even lower under Ryan's
proposal, doesn't seem right to me when others, i.e. middle class are paying over 30%."

   - The top 20% earners in this country make 50% of the income and pay 70% of the taxes.  Any implication that the rich as a group do not pay their share is based on lies and deception.  The group that isn't paying their share is the poor and no one is proposing that they do.  If you could confiscate every penny earned by the rich you still can't pay for spending at these levels.  What perplexes me is your previous support of Huntsman's plan which is markedly to the right of both Romney and Ryan.  Huntsman proposed ELIMINATING all federal taxes on capital gains http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/31/news/la-pn-huntsman-economy-20110831 because the income has already been taxed.

"I don't think Romney really understands the middle class."   - The middle, median, 50th percentile adult in this country pays ZERO federal individual income tax.  The thing that Romney needs to understand, and does, is that killing off investment kills off jobs.  What is to understand about anyone who is working his/her tail off except that they might like the opportunity to make more, keep more and not pass on all that debt to their children.

"He's (McCain) more middle of the road (reasonable) and aligned with my opinion; Romney day by day is going right and further right...."

    - Obama was the leftmost Senator and our leftmost President.  McCain was the most "middle of the road" possible and yet you chose the leftmost over the centrist.  Romney was the RINO-most of the Republicans running.  Did you not see the hate speech on the far right sites towards him.   :wink:He picked a very reasonable and thoughtful running mate (who wants to raise spending by just 5 trillion) and still you prefer the leftmost.  That speaks about you, not much about him.  I seriously appreciate your very candid comments.  No offense but the goal is not to win over people who want the leftmost President to continue to transform, not reform.  The goal over on our side is to defeat you.   wink

4218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 13, 2012, 03:52:50 PM
I don't think you or the daily beast understand that the people who think they can spend more and more and more and get someone else to pay for it or not pay for it are in Governor Romney's target market in the first place.  They already have an app for that!

If you are so certain of the consistency and accuracy of your pushpolling links, then how do you explain the win of Republicans in the most recent election by 7 points nationally with the same choices on the table?

JDN, who would YOU vote for if the election were held today?
4219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paul Ryan on: August 13, 2012, 11:03:41 AM
"The commitment Mitt Romney and I make to you is this," Ryan said at a rally Saturday. " We won't duck the tough issues; we will lead. We won't blame others; we will take responsibility. And we won't replace our founding principles; we will reapply them."

Knowing Paul Ryan as we do, we have no reason to doubt him.  - Milwaukee Journal Sentinal editorial
http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/romneys-inspired-choice-may-spark-a-needed-debate-gr6fdc3-165922726.html
4220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paul Ryan on: August 13, 2012, 10:57:30 AM
I am enjoying the reading and analysis on the Ryan pick.  One oversight in much of it is that is that Romney picked Ryan for the number two slot, not the top of the ticket.  Ryan will be defending the Romney plan and contrasting and attacking the Obama record.  It is not exactly the case that Romney needs to defend the Ryan plan.  Missing in the coverage of the Ryan road map is that he always said he was open to other ideas and other plans; none were  forthcoming from the Dems in congress or the too-busy-with-other-things White House.

The strange timing of the pick missing a big media spotlight came from the fact (reported at Time.com) that the Milwaukee tragedy was in his district and the service was Friday.  Waiting for a bigger media splash opportunity would not have been worth holding up the announcement and getting on with the campaign.

I think we got the pick and the reasons for it right on the board, which is nice, and so did Romney.

Gov. Romney has taken my 16 year plan a step forward.  Instead of two terms each of Romney and Rubio, this allows for a 24 year plan with Romney, Ryan and then Rubio.   This gives Rubio quite a bit more time to prepare to be the best President ever.  24 years of competent, limited government governance could put this country back on the right-track in a way that everyone (except the outgoing first lady) could be proud of.
4221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: August 09, 2012, 09:14:25 PM
"Exports are now at all-time record highs and do not show any clear signs of slowing due to the financial situation in Europe or a slowdown in China."

Hard to criticize that--except to note that it undercuts the argument that the US economy is slowing down because of Europe.

True.  Also undercuts the claim that exports are up because of the President's policies.  The increase according to the original story comes oil and energy production, but that occurred outside of limits the Obama administration placed blocking deep sea drilling, ANWR Alaska still blocked, one pipeline blocked, one closed, and drilling limits on federal lands.

The only sign of economic health came from an industry the President sought to take down.

Like Rush Lombaugh said, "I hope he fails" [to destroy the country].
4222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: August 09, 2012, 08:55:43 PM
"No one seems to care except you Objectionist1"

    - This statement is categorically false.  Read the thread.


"JDN makes absolutely NO attempt to refute anything contained in the Andrew McCarthy piece I posted earlier in this thread, which effectively destroys his laughable claim that this is simply a "witch hunt."  There are plenty of FACTS in that piece.  JDN evidently isn't interested in facts - only in character assassination."

    - This statement is true.


An honest difference of opinion debated passionately would be perfect for the question at hand.  Unfortunately one side of the argument hasn't shown up yet.

Let me help frame an answer for the character assassin.  Inquiry and oversight into the question of how highest level staff with at least indirectly ties to terror organizations were vetted is not warranted because ________________________.
4223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: August 09, 2012, 08:44:08 PM
"If he wins, it's in spite of himself, not because of himself."  - JDN, attached to no position on any issue.

Ad hominem (directed at the person), ad nauseum (unpleasurable to the point of nausea).

Do you troll or post opinions on issues?  You haven't even said you will vote against the guy.  Hundreds of millions are being spent to drive up his negatives and then they poll to ask same people what do you think of his negatives.  Then the poll becomes the news story.  Not anti-growth, anti-employment policies, just at the person BS.

If the poll is the news story, how about posting the poll internals. How many Dems, how many R's, and now many independents in the "random adult survey"? 
4224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 09, 2012, 08:25:01 PM
Does JDN know what he's posting?

a) Mitts is singular unless you've got two of them, and
b) the 'quote' is from Netanyahu, not Gov. Romney, and the source is unnamed.
c) The reference to Romney's policy is posed with a question mark! 
d) Both the headline writer and the poster did not read the article it appears, yet both found it worth passing on for others, lol.
4225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: August 09, 2012, 03:00:39 PM
"exports are up 7.1% while imports are up 2.2%"

This is measured good news.  Both are up from abysmal levels.  2.2% (flat) imports is a sign of consumptive malaise.  7% growth in exports means we still can compete and sell on the world market so maybe it really still is worth turning around the anti-business climate in this country.

"Two (and a half) years ago, President Obama popped a surprise into his State of the Union address: His administration would double American exports in five years, helping to create two million jobs." http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/21/business/us-on-track-to-meet-goal-of-higher-exports.html

No, we aren't on track to do that.  NY Times said we are growing exports at 16%/yr as of last January.m  That fell to 7% in just 6 months??
4226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney - Ryan budget? on: August 09, 2012, 02:54:12 PM
The negative to Ryan as a choice it is said is that it ties Romney to Ryan's budget and its specifics, except where he has said he differs.

The problem with that thinking though is that the Obama/Dem camp is tying Romney to the Ryan budget anyway.  Might as well run on it as a strength and as an agenda for a mandate and bring on board the person best able to defend it.

That is roughly the point of Stephen Hayes and Bill Kristol here: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/its-romney-ryan-plan-why-not-romney-ryan-ticket_649616.html
4227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: August 08, 2012, 12:39:54 PM
Crafty: "My own in-house marketing survey, my wife, resonated to him very well.  This is a good sign! "

Yes, how they inspire the base and how they received by voters who are more independent are both important.  Picking Ryan means he is serious about solving our economic problems.  Seldom do you see a real congressional leader put on the ticket by either party.  Ryan has been front and center on reform to stand up against the President who has been the antithesis to reform.

It isn't just about winning, but to convey that they know how to govern if they win.  If the House,the Executive Branch and 50+ Senators can get on the same page, we are a few cloture votes away from turning this country around.

46% may like Obama but well over 60% say we are on the wrong track.  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/direction_of_country-902.html
4228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 08, 2012, 11:40:49 AM
Good post and very good point made by obj on govt programs and ending welfare reform.  Pres. Obama seeks to run on Clinton's jobs record yet oppose him on Clinton's jobs agenda.

Speaking of the legs of a stool, with a nudging from Newt and the 1994 electorate, Clinton built some growth success on some solid conservative principles:

a) Capital gains tax rate cuts spurring American investors to invest in America, Obama opposes that, see the Obama-Buffet rule.  After-tax tax rates needs to be higher than regular tax rates.
b) Ending the unpopular quest for national health care.  He got beat up in the mid term, changed the agenda and sidelined his unpopular wife.  Imagine that.
c) "The age of big government is over." Actual quote.  At least in rhetoric, there is not a government program that cures all problems.
d) Free trade to grow jobs and build prosperity.
e) "Ending welfare as we know it."  The timing was perfect.  They messed with comfort of idle welfare at the same time that businesses were begging for workers.

For Obama, he is trying two familiar takes on insanity.  Do more of the same in terms of policies for a second term and expecting a different result, and using the opposite strategies to those that grow jobs but expecting job growth to re-appear anyway.

How that can poll above 45% is beyond me.
4229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney Running mate: Paul Ryan on: August 08, 2012, 11:15:30 AM
This is the time for VEEP choices.  The campaign and media are having some fun with trial balloons, Rubio, Portman, Condaleeza Rice and now Gen. Petraeus.   Take your own shot at it, lay out your preference for running mate and your reasons soon - or else no complaining about the choice later.  wink   The predictions all seem to be based on what Romney thinks he needs and where he sits in the race when he makes the choice, which is right about now. 

They say his favorite surrogate is Pawlenty.  Advantage is that as a 2-term Gov and pretty serious candidate himself he already faced the scrutiny.  He doesn't bring you his home state or any other state with any certainty.  What he brings is a good salesman for Romney and the discussion remains about Romney, not the running mate.

Rubio is my favorite for future President.  He is the best orator and spokesman for the cause.  He is a big picture visionary for a very young man.  Besides wonderfully clear and persuasive explanations, he puts a friendly, non-threatening face on freedom and conservatism.  He offers some help attracting or minimizing the damage with Hispanic voters.  2 years in the senate is his drawback though he has a very accomplished Florida background. 

Maybe Rubio helps with crucial state Florida and gives a more uplifting speech, maybe Portman helps with Ohio, maybe Jindal makes the picture not so white for anti white racists, but Paul Ryan is the heavyweight in the room if this comes done to arguing the agenda, as it most certainly will.

As suggested elsewhere, this election is a one legged stool - upside down; picture the Eifel Tower.  The base is built on economic freedom and the American entrepreneurial spirit connecting throughout a complex grid to the pinnacle which is American strength.  There isn't a foreign policy of strength that comes out of a domestic economy of weakness.

This election is either about the economy and an agenda to bring back its greatness, or it about convoluted discussions of arguing sideways and pointing to shiny objects.  Romney has to make the case that his agenda, the unread 59 point plan, will grow the economy and create opportunity and prosperity available to everyone.  It will, but the question between now and November is whether the sale is made and whether the plan becomes a mandate for real reform.  Enter Paul Ryan...
---------------
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/313326/ryan-rises-robert-costa

These days, you hear it everywhere — from Republican donors and veteran operatives, and at Capitol Hill watering holes. A few weeks ago, it was a wishful rumor floating in the Beltway ether. Now, sources close to the Romney campaign say it’s for real, that the taciturn former Massachusetts governor is quietly warming to the idea.

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the budget king of the GOP, may be Mitt Romney’s veep.

“Ryan is very highly respected not only by the candidate, but by Romney’s policy shop,” says Tom Rath, a Romney adviser. “Beyond the political relationship, he has a good personal relationship with Romney, and he has been a strong and reliable surrogate since the primary.”

For months, Ryan has been considered a dark horse for the number-two spot. At age 42, he has accomplished much, such as winning seven straight congressional races and authoring his party’s blueprint for entitlement reform. But his lack of executive experience, and his criticism of the Bay State’s health-care program, made his chances look relatively remote.

Yet behind the scenes, Ryan’s stock has been steadily rising. Romney, a former Bain Capital consultant who relishes data and metrics, has clicked with the youthful Badger State wonk. They have campaigned together and speak frequently on the phone, comparing notes on policy and strategy. And earlier this year, with Ryan’s blessing, Romney hired three of Ryan’s Budget Committee advisers to help him in Boston.

“Romney has spoken out about how we can’t let ourselves evolve into an entitlement society, so you can see why Ryan is attracted to Romney,” says former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour. “You can also see why Romney likes Ryan: He’s bright, articulate, and courageous. He’s willing to tell the truth to the American people, and he understands entrepreneurship. He’s also from Wisconsin, which is an important state.”

In late June, National Review Online reported that the Romney campaign was seriously vetting Ryan — and that Ryan had shared paperwork detailing his financial and personal records with a handful of Romney’s Boston-based counselors.

Since then, sources say, Ryan has slowly floated to the top of Romney’s vice-presidential shortlist. In conversations with senior advisers and donors — at the campaign’s summer retreat in Park City, Utah, and at his lakefront home in New Hampshire — Romney has repeatedly expressed his admiration for the Wisconsin lawmaker.

“Having observed Romney and Ryan together at some events, it’s clear they have very good chemistry,” says Charlie Black, an outside adviser to the Romney campaign. “They are philosophically in tune, especially on economic and fiscal policy.”

The Romney-Ryan alliance actually began during the early days of the primary, months before Ryan formally endorsed. Romney was struggling against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and Ryan offered candid, private advice on numerous occasions, which Romney reportedly appreciated.

Speaking with NRO in late March, a week before Ryan endorsed him, Romney highlighted their political kinship. “We chat on a regular basis,” he said. And on policy, “we’re very much inclined in the same direction.”

Publicly, Ryan has consistently been a loyal soldier — championing Romney’s positions, especially to skeptical conservatives. “He doesn’t need to lay out new policies,” Ryan told NRO last week, when asked about Romney’s specificity. “It’s simply about getting up there and offering a vision, emphasizing the choice between two futures. It’s a counter-narrative, a myth of sorts, that [Romney] hasn’t been specific enough.”

Romney is a low-key, non-ideological nominee who has found Ryan’s support invaluable in maintaining friendly relations with the base. If he were tapped, Ryan would continue to generate conservative enthusiasm for the ticket, and he’d further reinforce Romney’s aura of number-crunching competency.

“We are big fans of Ryan,” says Sal Russo, a strategist for the Tea Party Express. “Ryan learned a lot from the great Jack Kemp,” the late fiscal hawk and the GOP’s 1996 vice-presidential nominee. “And anyone who shares Kemp’s ideas gets an A from me.”

Ryan worked as a speechwriter for Kemp and former Reagan cabinet member Bill Bennett before becoming a top Republican staffer to a couple of senators during the Clinton years. Born and raised into a large, Irish-Catholic family in Janesville, Wis., he returned there in 1998, after his stint as an aide, to run for the House.

Of course, a Ryan pick would come with some potential problems. National Journal recently dubbed him Romney’s “riskiest running mate,” owing to the Democrats’ eagerness to blast Ryan’s entitlement proposals. Conservative leaders also have some reservations about potentially sending one of the House’s leading reformers to the Naval Observatory.

“If I had my druthers, I would hope Romney would pick one of the other options,” says Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a Ryan supporter. “The most important thing in the first year of a Romney administration would be a U-turn on the road to serfdom, and the way to do that is by passing the Ryan budget, which requires a major mover not just at the White House, but in Congress. It’d be easier to do that with Ryan in the House, since he has walked through it already with every Republican.”

Romney, however, may want Ryan to walk through his plan with the country. It would be a bold pick, but if you have been reading the tea leaves, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
4230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - 'Stimulus' is really a depressant, Arthur Laffer on: August 06, 2012, 10:34:15 AM
Very significant piece today in the WSJ.  Please read, learn and vote.

Arthur Laffer: The Real 'Stimulus' Record
In country after country, increased government spending acted more like a depressant than a stimulant.

"The macro economy is the sum total of all of its micro parts... stimulus spending really doesn't make much sense. In essence, it's when government takes additional resources beyond what it would otherwise take from one group of people (usually the people who produced the resources) and then gives those resources to another group of people (often to non-workers and non-producers)."

"government taxing people more who work and then giving more money to people who don't work is a surefire recipe for less work, less output and more unemployment."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444873204577537244225685010.html

By ARTHUR B. LAFFER

Policy makers in Washington and other capitals around the world are debating whether to implement another round of stimulus spending to combat high unemployment and sputtering growth rates. But before they leap, they should take a good hard look at how that worked the first time around.

It worked miserably, as indicated by the table nearby, which shows increases in government spending from 2007 to 2009 and subsequent changes in GDP growth rates. Of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, those with the largest spending spurts from 2007 to 2009 saw the least growth in GDP rates before and after the stimulus.

The four nations—Estonia, Ireland, the Slovak Republic and Finland—with the biggest stimulus programs had the steepest declines in growth. The United States was no different, with greater spending (up 7.3%) followed by far lower growth rates (down 8.4%).

Still, the debate rages between those who espouse stimulus spending as a remedy for our weak economy and those who argue it is the cause of our current malaise. The numbers at stake aren't small. Federal government spending as a share of GDP rose to a high of 27.3% in 2009 from 21.4% in late 2007. This increase is virtually all stimulus spending, including add-ons to the agricultural and housing bills in 2007, the $600 per capita tax rebate in 2008, the TARP and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, "cash for clunkers," additional mortgage relief subsidies and, of course, President Obama's $860 billion stimulus plan that promised to deliver unemployment rates below 6% by now. Stimulus spending over the past five years totaled more than $4 trillion.

If you believe, as I do, that the macro economy is the sum total of all of its micro parts, then stimulus spending really doesn't make much sense. In essence, it's when government takes additional resources beyond what it would otherwise take from one group of people (usually the people who produced the resources) and then gives those resources to another group of people (often to non-workers and non-producers).

Often as not, the qualification for receiving stimulus funds is the absence of work or income—such as banks and companies that fail, solar energy companies that can't make it on their own, unemployment benefits and the like. Quite simply, government taxing people more who work and then giving more money to people who don't work is a surefire recipe for less work, less output and more unemployment.

Yet the notion that additional spending is a "stimulus" and less spending is "austerity" is the norm just about everywhere. Without ever thinking where the money comes from, politicians and many economists believe additional government spending adds to aggregate demand. You'd think that single-entry accounting were the God's truth and that, for the government at least, every check written has no offsetting debit.

Well, the truth is that government spending does come with debits. For every additional government dollar spent there is an additional private dollar taken. All the stimulus to the spending recipients is matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis every minute of every day by a depressant placed on the people who pay for these transfers. Or as a student of the dismal science might say, the total income effects of additional government spending always sum to zero.

Meanwhile, what economists call the substitution or price effects of stimulus spending are negative for all parties. In other words, the transfer recipient has found a way to get paid without working, which makes not working more attractive, and the transfer payer gets paid less for working, again lowering incentives to work.

But all of this is just old-timey price theory, the stuff that used to be taught in graduate economics departments. Today, even stimulus spending advocates have their Ph.D. defenders. But there's no arguing with the data in the nearby table, and the fact that greater stimulus spending was followed by lower growth rates. Stimulus advocates have a lot of explaining to do. Their massive spending programs have hurt the economy and left us with huge bills to pay. Not a very nice combination.

Sorry, Keynesians. There was no discernible two or three dollar multiplier effect from every dollar the government spent and borrowed. In reality, every dollar of public-sector spending on stimulus simply wiped out a dollar of private investment and output, resulting in an overall decline in GDP. This is an even more astonishing result because government spending is counted in official GDP numbers. In other words, the spending was more like a valium for lethargic economies than a stimulant.

In many countries, an economic downturn, no matter how it's caused or the degree of change in the rate of growth, will trigger increases in public spending and therefore the appearance of a negative relationship between stimulus spending and economic growth. That is why the table focuses on changes in the rate of GDP growth, which helps isolate the effects of additional spending.

The evidence here is extremely damaging to the case made by Mr. Obama and others that there is economic value to spending more money on infrastructure, education, unemployment insurance, food stamps, windmills and bailouts. Mr. Obama keeps saying that if only Congress would pass his second stimulus plan, unemployment would finally start to fall. That's an expensive leap of faith with no evidence to confirm it.

Mr. Laffer, chairman of Laffer Associates and the Laffer Center for Supply-Side Economics, is co-author, with Stephen Moore, of "Return to Prosperity: How America Can Regain Its Economic Superpower Status" (Threshold, 2010).


4231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 04, 2012, 10:32:52 AM
With 3 months to go the election is coming down to a choice between President Obama's view that someone else broke it and he can't fix it and his opponents' view that the movement toward the policies of Obama that preceded his presidency brought the economy down and he can't fix it.  At least we all agree that he can't fix it.
4232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 04, 2012, 09:14:22 AM
BD,  Very exciting! 

Beware of exit poll history, 2004 comes to mind. 

"Throughout election night, the national exit poll showed the Massachusetts senator leading President Bush by 51 percent to 48 percent. But when all the votes were counted, it was Bush who won by slightly less than three percentage points. Larger discrepancies between the exit poll estimates and the actual vote were found in exit polls conducted in several states. At the request of the media sponsors, Mitofsky and Lenski are continuing to examine exit polling in Ohio and Pennsylvania, two critical battleground states where the poll results were off."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22188-2005Jan19.html
4233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 04, 2012, 12:45:29 AM
"Following up on Doug's work:"   - I appreciate knowing they (the WSJ) read and follow up on our posts here, and occasionally give credit.

“Indeed, if the participation rate were at 66%, which is around where it hovered for many years ahead of the recession, the headline unemployment rate would be a little more than 3pp higher than currently reported,”

Missing in the projections is that if we put an aggressive pro-growth mandate put in place, a turnaround that includes abundant opportunity and potential for real prosperity and economic freedom that counts entrepreneurs in the mix, a workforce participation rate higher than the past is possible. 

There is some math to do, but if you put in place an array of positive incentives (Romney's 59 point plan comes to mind), a return of productive investment and enterprise could grow the workforce a couple of points above historic averages instead of a couple of points below historic averages.  By the time we return the unemployment rate to near a pre-Dem-rule rates of 4.6% and elevate business start rates to new record highs, amazing amounts of income and wealth are possible if we quit fighting against it.  This budget would be in balance in my estimation at that point and the world recession would be over.

Is that worth changing horses in mid-drowning.
4234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: August 03, 2012, 05:31:26 PM
"Has she done anything secretive or wrong?"...
"And so far the answer is a resounding "NO".  

   - Uh, we don't know that.  The question that was raised is how well was she vetted.  I assume Sec State Clinton has extremely high security clearance.  Huma I assume is in the room when the most secret of secrets is being revealed and discussed.  She very innocently could be talking with these relatives in question about bithdays and graduations in the family from her cell phone in a car immediately after a high clearance meeting.  She may very well be doing nothing wrong.  But SOMEONE IS LEAKING.  The point of the Bachmann et al letter is to pose the question, not the answer, about how well she was vetted and where is the firewall between her exposure to national secrets and her exposure one or two steps removed to national enemies.  That is a rational and appropriate national security question.

Some of those who find this line of inquiry out of bounds publicly and repeatedly accused the Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney of having more loyalty to his former employer Haliburton than to his country that he was sworn to serve.

The question of how well she was vetted was asked in private.  It was the opponents of the inquiry who made it public, as I understand it.  Get back behind closed doors with congressional oversight and find out how well she was vetted.  Go after the sources of the other leaks and stop the illegal and deceitful blockage of information to congressional oversight on other issues and maybe the clouds of suspicion would not be so thick.
------------
"Yeah, I bet Maj. Hussan in Texas was vetted too , , ,"

Yes.  We are making mistakes in security and intelligence all the time, long before Obama.  We should be re-visiting and re-checking these kinds of decisions all the time.

Who knew that a military base was a gun free zone.  Everyone, especially Wikileaks and the NY Times, knows the State Dept. leaks like a sieve.  Check it and check it again.

My guess (already posted) is that it is extreme liberalism, not ties to Islamic radicalism, that has caused us to side with our enemies instead of our allies on major foreign policy decisions of the last 3 1/2 years.  We can only fix that at the ballot box.
4235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: August 02, 2012, 04:38:42 PM
That was quite a scary video!

Step one is repeal the 'dual mandate'.  That would simplify their mission.

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

A couple of money quotes:

"Inflation is taxation without legislation."

"Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless."

    - Milton Friedman
4236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics - Milton Friedman on: August 02, 2012, 02:43:37 PM
Milton Friedman would be 100 this week, so a number of articles are circulating to honor him.

Thomas Sowell: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/07/31/milton_friedmans_centenary_114960.html

Stephen Moore:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444226904577558882802335216.html

Donald J. Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University  http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/164326876.html?refer=y

'Free to Choose' television series:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3N2sNnGwa4&feature=player_embedded

Greed smackdown:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWsx1X8PV_A&feature=player_embedded
--------------------------------------------

Reagan biographer and Powerline contributor Steven Hayward:
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/milton-friedman-at-100.php

Posted on July 31, 2012 by Steven Hayward in Conservatism, Economy
Milton Friedman at 100

Today is Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday.  It is one of the great privileges of my life to have known him some, and to have spent some time with him in San Francisco back in the 1990s.  Driving with him up and down the hills of San Francisco was not for the faint of heart.  All of his rational calculations of risk seemed to go out the window when he was behind the wheel of his Lexus.  And one of my cherished possessions is the very kind note Milton sent to tell me how much he enjoyed the first volume of my Age of Reagan books, where he makes several appearances.

Thomas Sowell, a student of Milton’s at Chicago, recalls him here.  My pal Steve Moore also recalls his importance in the Wall Street Journal today, calling him “The Man Who Saved Capitalism.”

    In the 1960s, Friedman famously explained that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If the government spends a dollar, that dollar has to come from producers and workers in the private economy. There is no magical “multiplier effect” by taking from productive Peter and giving to unproductive Paul. As obvious as that insight seems, it keeps being put to the test. Obamanomics may be the most expensive failed experiment in free-lunch economics in American history.

    Equally illogical is the superstition that government can create prosperity by having Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke print more dollars. In the very short term, Friedman proved, excess money fools people with an illusion of prosperity. But the market quickly catches on, and there is no boost in output, just higher prices.

I might (but might not) quarrel slightly with Steve’ second paragraph here, as it seems velocity—one of the key terms of Friedman’s basic equation of monetarism (MV=PQ) fell sharply during the recession and may still be off, though it is hard for the layman to tell.  We visited this subject once before, and it brings vividly to mind a dinner I once enjoyed with Milton and the president of a regional Fed bank in the early 1990s in San Francisco, and I was immediately in way over my head as they argued the virtues and defects of the M1, M2, and M3 measures of the money supply.  Even among monetarist economists, there are serious and honest differences in evaluating the economy and prescribing the right monetary course.  (Though one thing Milton was absolutely against was the gold standard.  I learned that in my very first conversation with him way back in the 1980s.)

Easier to grasp is Milton’s piercing of the pretentions of things like Obama’s stimulus.  My all time favorite Milton story involves the time he was motoring in Europe, and noticed a large group of men digging in a field with shovels.  Milton asked someone why they didn’t use a steam shovel or earth mover, and was told that digging with shovels was an employment measure, and if they used an earth mover it would put people out of work.  To which Milton naturally followed up: “Then why don’t you give them spoons?”

There are lots of good videos of Milton on YouTube, many of them drawn from his fabulous “Free to Choose” television series.  But my favorite for today is this very short smackdown of Phil Donahue on the subject of “greed.”  Enjoy!  (UPDATE: A faithful correspondent reminds me about the Milton Friedman Choir, singing about the corporation, so I’ve added this one, too.)
4237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, not humor on: August 02, 2012, 02:19:50 PM
Received in the email:

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid...

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me
to my doom...'

When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago
4238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney's Recovery Plan on: August 02, 2012, 12:26:40 PM
Glenn Hubbard: The Romney Plan for Economic Recovery
Tax cuts, spending restraint and repeal of Obama's regulatory excesses would mean 12 million new jobs in his first term alone.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443687504577562842656362660.html

By GLENN HUBBARD  (Romney adviser, Dean of Columbia Business School)

We are currently in the most anemic economic recovery in the memory of most Americans. Declining consumer sentiment and business concerns over policy uncertainty weigh on the minds of all of us. We must fix our economy's growth and jobs machine.

We can do this. The U.S. economy has the talent, ideas, energy and capital for the robust economic growth that has characterized much of America's experience in our lifetimes. Our standard of living and the nation's standing as a world power depend on restoring that growth.

But to do so we must have vastly different policies aimed at stopping runaway federal spending and debt, reforming our tax code and entitlement programs, and scaling back costly regulations. Those policies cannot be found in the president's proposals. They are, however, the core of Gov. Mitt Romney's plan for economic recovery and renewal.

In response to the recession, the Obama administration chose to emphasize costly, short-term fixes—ineffective stimulus programs, myriad housing programs that went nowhere, and a rush to invest in "green" companies.

As a consequence, uncertainty over policy—particularly over tax and regulatory policy—slowed the recovery and limited job creation. One recent study by Scott Baker and Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven Davis of the University of Chicago found that this uncertainty reduced GDP by 1.4% in 2011 alone, and that returning to pre-crisis levels of uncertainty would add about 2.3 million jobs in just 18 months.

The Obama administration's attempted short-term fixes, even with unprecedented monetary easing by the Federal Reserve, produced average GDP growth of just 2.2% over the past three years, and the consensus outlook appears no better for the year ahead.

Moreover, the Obama administration's large and sustained increases in debt raise the specter of another financial crisis and large future tax increases, further chilling business investment and job creation. A recent study by Ernst & Young finds that the administration's proposal to increase marginal tax rates on the wage, dividend and capital-gain income of upper-income Americans would reduce GDP by 1.3% (or $200 billion per year), kill 710,000 jobs, depress investment by 2.4%, and reduce wages and living standards by 1.8%. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, the large deficits codified in the president's budget would reduce GDP during 2018-2022 by between 0.5% and 2.2% compared to what would occur under current law.

President Obama has ignored or dismissed proposals that would address our anti-competitive tax code and unsustainable trajectory of federal debt—including his own bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—and submitted no plan for entitlement reform. In February, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner famously told congressional Republicans that this administration was putting forth no plan, but "we know we don't like yours."

Other needed reforms would emphasize opening global markets for U.S. goods and services—but the president has made no contribution to the global trade agenda, while being dragged to the support of individual trade agreements only recently.

The president's choices cannot be ascribed to a political tug of war with Republicans in Congress. He and Democratic congressional majorities had two years to tackle any priority they chose. They chose not growth and jobs but regulatory expansion. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act raised taxes, unleashed significant new spending, and raised hiring costs for workers. The Dodd-Frank Act missed the mark on housing and "too-big-to-fail" financial institutions but raised financing costs for households and small and mid-size businesses.

These economic errors and policy choices have consequences—record high long-term unemployment and growing ranks of discouraged workers. Sadly, at the present rate of job creation and projected labor-force growth, the nation will never return to full employment.

It doesn't have to be this way. The Romney economic plan would fundamentally change the direction of policy to increase GDP and job creation now and going forward. The governor's plan puts growth and recovery first, and it stands on four main pillars:

• Stop runaway federal spending and debt. The governor's plan would reduce federal spending as a share of GDP to 20%—its pre-crisis average—by 2016. This would dramatically reduce policy uncertainty over the need for future tax increases, thus increasing business and consumer confidence.

• Reform the nation's tax code to increase growth and job creation. The Romney plan would reduce individual marginal income tax rates across the board by 20%, while keeping current low tax rates on dividends and capital gains. The governor would also reduce the corporate income tax rate—the highest in the world—to 25%. In addition, he would broaden the tax base to ensure that tax reform is revenue-neutral.

• Reform entitlement programs to ensure their viability. The Romney plan would gradually reduce growth in Social Security and Medicare benefits for more affluent seniors and give more choice in Medicare programs and benefits to improve value in health-care spending. It would also block grant the Medicaid program to states to enable experimentation that might better serve recipients.

• Make growth and cost-benefit analysis important features of regulation. The governor's plan would remove regulatory impediments to energy production and innovation that raise costs to consumers and limit new job creation. He would also work with Congress toward repealing and replacing the costly and burdensome Dodd–Frank legislation and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Romney alternatives will emphasize better financial regulation and market-oriented, patient-centered health-care reform.

In contrast to the sclerosis and joblessness of the past three years, the Romney plan offers an economic U-turn in ideas and choices. When bolstered by sound trade, education, energy and monetary policy, the Romney reform program is expected by the governor's economic advisers to increase GDP growth by between 0.5% and 1% per year over the next decade. It should also speed up the current recovery, enabling the private sector to create 200,000 to 300,000 jobs per month, or about 12 million new jobs in a Romney first term, and millions more after that due to the plan's long-run growth effects.

But these gains aren't just about numbers, as important as those numbers are. The Romney approach will restore confidence in America's economic future and make America once again a place to invest and grow.
4239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Obama Wins The Gold For Worst Economic Recovery Ever on: August 02, 2012, 12:08:58 PM
You might recall, a claim similar to this was the centerpiece of Washington Post Dana Milbank's tirade that Mitt Romney was a liar http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/article_6c1810a0-71f7-5614-9cbb-8d0a63bd0a3f.html, repeated ad nauseum by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and the like.  The number one 'lie' in his "The Facts vs. Mitt Romney" column was this: "He blamed President Barack Obama for the "weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression."..."That Romney resorts to such gratuitous falsehoods discredits his leadership more than his opponent's."

Turns out it was true??
------------------------
Forbes Magazine:  "Obama Wins The Gold For Worst Economic Recovery Ever"

http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2012/08/01/obama-wins-the-gold-for-worst-economic-recovery-ever/

If mismanaging an economic recovery were an Olympic event, President Obama would be standing on the middle platform right now, accepting the gold medal.

Deep recessions are supposed to be followed by strong recoveries, but, under Obama, the worst recession since the 1930s has been followed by the slowest economic recovery in the history of the republic.  In a very real sense, there has been no recovery at all—things are still getting worse.

To win the gold for economic mismanagement, Obama had to beat out some very tough competitors, including the previous Olympic record holder, George W. Bush.  Let’s look at how Obama pulled it off.

For those not familiar with the sport, the Olympic “Worst First Three Years of Economic Recovery” event is a pentathlon—it’s composed of five individual trials.

The trials making up this pentathlon are as follows: 1) total employment growth; 2) unemployment rate reduction; 3) per capita GDP growth; 4) change in the Real Dow; and 5) change in real produced assets.

Because the goal is economic mismanagement, in the total employment growth event, the lowest number wins.

Obama was victorious in this trial by producing an increase in jobs during the first 36 months of his economic recovery of only 1.72%.  This handily beat out Bush 43, who turned in a jobs gain of 2.93% during his recovery, and the team of Bush 41 and Bill Clinton, who delivered 3.64% more jobs during theirs.  And, Obama absolutely creamed Ronald Reagan, who produced an increase in total jobs of 8.97% during the first three years of the economic recovery that he oversaw.

Obama struggled in the “reducing the unemployment rate” event.  It was easy for Obama to do worse than Reagan, who had reduced the “headline” (U-3) unemployment rate by a massive 3.8 percentage points during the first three years of his recovery.  However, in terms of turning in a bad unemployment performance, both the Bush 41 – Clinton team and Bush 43 had started with an unfair advantage.

Obama’s recovery came out of the blocks with an unemployment rate of 9.5%, which was far higher than where either the Bush 41 – Clinton team started (6.8%) or where Bush 43 began (5.5%).  Accordingly, it was much harder for Obama to do worse than those two, because he would have to produce a smaller reduction in the unemployment rate than they did.

When the scores were first totaled, Obama (at 1.3 percentage points of reduction in the unemployment rate) was far behind both the Bush 41 – Clinton team (at 0.3 percentage points), and Bush 43 (at 0.1 percentage points).

However, Obama appealed to the judges, pointing out that, when measured by the more comprehensive “SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate” published by Shadow Government Statistics, he had actually managed to increase unemployment by 2.0 percentage points during his economic recovery.  Meanwhile, the other three competitors had reduced their jobless rates, no matter how you measured them.  The judges agreed, and they awarded first place in this event to Obama.

The officials then studied the replay tapes, and gave Obama extra credit for managing to push the U.S. 2.5 million jobs farther away from full employment during his economic recovery.  The other three contestants could not match that.

Next up was the “real per capita GDP growth” event.  Obama won this one decisively.

The total increase in real GDP per capita during the first three years of Obama’s recovery was only 4.34%.  This was worse than Bush 43 (5.98%) and the Bush 41 – Clinton team (5.61%).  Once again, Ronald Reagan brought up the rear in this important area of economic mismanagement.  He produced a stunning 15.36% gain in real per capita GDP during the first three years of his economic recovery.

The last two trials in the Olympic “Worst First Three Years of Economic Recovery” pentathlon relate to building a prosperous future for the U.S. economy.

The Real Dow is the Dow Jones Industrial Average divided by the price of gold.  It is a proxy for the driving force to invest in economic growth, rather than to park capital in “safe” investments like gold and government bonds.

In the Real Dow event, Obama had to settle for second place.  Bush 43 beat him soundly by managing to depress the Real Dow by a massive 35.6% during the first three years of the economic recovery that he oversaw.  However, in terms of economic destruction, Obama turned in a creditable performance, pushing the Real Dow down by 11.6% during his first three years of economic recovery.

In this event, the Bush 41 – Clinton team did not seem to be clear on the concept.  The Real Dow rose by 13.5% during their watch.  And, once again, Ronald Reagan came in dead last, producing a massive 89.9% increase in the Real Dow during the first three years of his powerful economic recovery.

Obama finished strong by blowing away the competition in the “change in real produced assets” trial.  Produced assets comprise the physical infrastructure of our economy, and economic progress depends upon building up our stock of produced assets.

During the first full year of Obama’s economic recovery (2010), real produced assets actually fell by 1.41%.  This is the biggest drop during the 60 years for which data is available.  It is also the only decline ever observed during an economic recovery.

Ronald Reagan finished second in this trial with a 0.16% increase in fixed assets during 1983.  The Bush 41 – Clinton team and Bush 43 tied in this event.  They both produced a 3.42% gain in real produced assets, in 1992 and 2002, respectively.

We should all be proud that Barack Obama has won the Olympic gold medal in the “Worst First Three Years of Economic Recovery” event, and reward him accordingly in November.
4240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy - Cancel missile defense for active unbalancing? on: August 02, 2012, 10:49:21 AM
Interesting Strat as usual.  Missing it seems in the summary of the Obama record was the decision to cancel missile defense installations in Eastern Europe where it appeared that appeasement of the Russians trumped the commitments made to Czech, Poland, Belarus and our own security.  Isn't that active regional unbalancing?

We were left to wonder what we received back for this major turnaround in strategy.  The answer it appears was nothing.  Just that he will have more flexibility to make even deeper disarmament concessions after the election.
4241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Volunteer "Pravda" network of "reporters" on: August 01, 2012, 02:03:11 PM
Good question Obj (corrupt media comments on Pres 2012 thread) and I'm sure there is no great answer.  I resent having to go to right wing sites to get basic news and analysis that should be more widely available.  The market is making it's own correction but it's happening too slow and not in the way we might have expected.  As you mention, the huge successes of Rush L and Fox News are examples of movement, yet the so-called mainstream seem unchanged in spite of market share they surrender..  Obviously the circulation of stories and facts, opinions and analyses through sites like this is our way of getting the information out.

A Russian immigrant observed that it is worse, in a way, here than in the old Soviet Union with the real Pravda.  They have one state run media while we have a whole near-monopoly conspiracy of them, repeating and amplifying a message the rest of us find biased and deceitful.

One of the most insightful feature of the Rush L show now copied by others is the media montage.  They aren't just telling the same story, they are using the same words.  One of the first I picked up "gravitas" with the Cheney choice for VP.  The point of course to them is that is what George Bush lacked at the top of the ticket.  That word went from never used to in almost every sentence on every media outlet covering the choice.  Since then there have been dozens and dozens more examples.  Even Fox News on the radio is a parrot of the other networks IMO.  The choice of words covering an issue can be crucial.

Places like Powerline and others take on institutions like the NY Times regularly.  They got them today on the flaws in their poll and they've exposed them big time on a host of badly covered topics.  Still their readership is small compared to the bankrupting newspaper.  They also played a big part in taking down Dan Rather on his 'fake but true' story, but they did not take down the liberal bias of SeeBS.  Microsoft pulled back from MSNBC.com but that didn't change the bias on cable.  My thought was that these exposures of bias caused errors would lead to a shake up and a correction.  Instead they take pride in their niche while their importance is diminishing.

I used to write opposition pieces for the local paper; my counterpoint ran across from the Mpls StarTribune (star and sickle) endorsement of Bill Clinton in 92.  In their editing, they cut a key paragraph that tied in with other points I was making.  After that I wrote 'no editing without my permission' on subsequent submissions and was never published there again.

Other conservatives advise not to write for them at all.  Don't help them improve their product.  Let it die and the best way to make them go away is to ignore them completely and get news from better sources.

I like to search for stories of interest from the accumulator sites, Real Clear Politics is one of the best, also Drudge, The Blaze, Free Republic and DBMA. )  Google News allows you to choose which outlet to read a current story.  Powerlineblog keeps a running referral to about 6 picks of noteworthy stories current on the web.  WSJ's James Taranto writes a Best of the Web piece every business afternoon, no subscription required, with excellent insights and humor.  Add in the Huffington Post, might as well turn to left instead of pretend mainstream to know what they are thinking and reading.  It is important to see and read the opponents in their own words, so don't leave those out no matter your view.

Seriously this forum is an excellent antidote because the posters here all share from their own unique reading lists on a wide range of topics and issues.  
4242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music - Aaron Copland, Fanfare on: August 01, 2012, 12:44:57 PM
As much as I like Dick Morris, his lunch alert viewers deserve a longer version of the spectacular intro music, American composer Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.  Enjoy:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVgs38tpMhs
4243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / First Amendment Freedom of Speech, It's Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day! on: August 01, 2012, 12:19:36 PM
In celebration of the First Amendment, today is Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day

Restaurant Locator:  http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Locations/Locator

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/08/its-chick-fil-a-appreciation-day.php

Enjoy a little lunch or dinner with your freedom of speech.
4244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Foreign Policy of David Axelrod on: August 01, 2012, 12:08:11 PM
Who runs US foreign policy?  A Stanford Senior Fellow says political implications come first.

http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/124041

The Foreign Policy of David Axelrod
by Fouad Ajami (Senior Fellow and cochair, Working Group on Islamism and the International Order)
In the Obama administration, politics trumps grand strategy.

By latest count, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has logged 843,448 miles on the job: She is officially now the most traveled Secretary of State in U.S. history, 102 countries have seen her come and go. In one dispatch, it was breakfast in Vietnam, lunch in Laos, and dinner in Cambodia for our chief diplomat.

In the interim, campaign strategist David Axelrod has stayed close to home, Chicago and Washington, with one notable stop in Boston, where he sought to besmirch the gubernatorial record of Mitt Romney. But the foreign policy of Barack Obama is the foreign policy of David Axelrod. Gone is that hallowed past when the legendary George Marshall observed a strict separation between foreign policy and the political play at home: He had refused to cast a vote in presidential elections and he had bristled when the “political people” in President Truman’s circle of advisors intruded into the foreign policy domain.

We needn’t exalt the past—presidents always worried about the impact of foreign crises on their standing at home. Still, the subordination of foreign policy to the electoral needs of the Obama campaign stands apart in recent American history. Foreign policy has been masterfully neutralized in the Obamian world, taken off the board in this campaign.

Strategic Abdication in Afghanistan & Iraq

The meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the adoring crowds in Paris and Berlin, and the early dispatches from an Islamic world that looked upon him as a kindred spirit, concealed a political man with scant interest in foreign lands. Mr. Obama left the devotees to their own imagination; they read into him what they wished. He had come into office in the aftermath of an uncompromising American nationalist; he held aloft symbols of cosmopolitanism, and a supra-national elite took to him. But the animating drive of his foreign policy was his own quest for power.

Right from the start, he would play the foreign world safe. He had trumpeted Afghanistan as the “good war of necessity,” but he never gave the war his all. This was not Lyndon Johnson haunted by Vietnam, or George W. Bush pressing on in Iraq when all appeared lost in 2006–2007, defying the popular mood, launching a surge in the teeth of a hostile Congress, and a Republican party that had grown uncertain about Iraq.

Barack Obama came up with his own surge in Afghanistan, but he undercut the effort there by announcing a set date for American withdrawal in 2014—two safe years after his bid for reelection. There would be no “heat,” no soaring poetry about Afghanistan.

Early on, President Obama had talked of a “civilian surge” to go along with the additional military force he had dispatched—agricultural specialists, educators, engineers, and lawyers who would tackle the problems of the country from the bottom up in the provinces. By the second year of his presidency, Mr. Obama would say little if anything about the reform of Afghanistan. The early dream of “nation-building” was abandoned. It was well understood that this commander-in-chief was marking time in Afghanistan.

He had his Republican rivals on the horns of a dilemma: They could neither outflank him from the right by calling for more troops and a deeper commitment, nor urge writing off the entire venture as a doomed enterprise. Mission Accomplished, Mr. Obama had inoculated himself on Afghanistan.

The success of Mr. Obama’s (read: Axelrod’s) approach was made manifestly clear in the speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Governor Romney made on July 24. Hitherto, Mr. Romney had made the obligatory challenge to the Obama deadline. But he, too, now accepted 2014 as a set date for an American withdrawal. The Taliban needn’t worry: The electoral verdict in November 2012 is of no consequence to them. They could wait out the American presence. The Hamid Karzai reign of plunder and extortion would be ready for the plucking by then.

In the same vein, there were strategic gains secured in Iraq, but Mr. Obama headed for the exits. Politics clashed with strategic interests, and politics prevailed. It was well understood that the Iraqi government was eager for a residual American presence that would give it sufficient time to make its way in the region. Further, it was known that the Iraqis and the American military commanders on the scene had in mind an American force of roughly 20,000 military personnel, or close to it.

But Mr. Obama made the Iraqis an offer they were meant to refuse; a token force of less than 5,000, hardly enough to fend for itself, let alone offer the Iraqis any meaningful protection. Mr. Obama got the result he wanted. His surest applause line, in his acceptance speech this summer, will be the boast that he kept the promise to his base of bringing to an end the American campaign in Iraq.

A Fluke in Libya

Admittedly, Libya was the one exception to this foreign policy of strategic abdication. The Libyans were lucky: This was a solar-lunar eclipse. Mr. Obama had done his best to keep the struggle against Moammar Gaddafi at bay, but David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy had taken the plunge into Libya, and American power—decisive in the end—destroyed the Gaddafi dictatorship. Gaddafi had been particularly obtuse: He had stated for the world to hear his intention of bringing death and slaughter to the rebellious city of Benghazi.

Mr. Obama’s reputation was in the scales of history, a mini-Rwanda appeared to be in the offing. Mr. Obama did right by the Libyans. But he tipped his hand. The Obama administration steadfastly refused to celebrate or claim the victory in Libya. That country would be kept at arm’s length, even as a parliamentary election handed a defeat to the Islamists, and went the way of a big secular/tribal coalition headed by a technocrat with an American doctorate. Libya would not be repeated elsewhere, it was a fluke, not a template. No Obama doctrine at work here.

Syria: “We Miss Bush’s Audacity”

The Syrians would come to envy the luck of the Libyans. For seventeen remorseless months, the Syrian people would be subjected to all kinds of cruelties. More than two dozen “torture centers” would mete out to a suffering population unspeakable barbarisms. Over 1,200 children have perished in this pitiless war of a regime against its own population; young children would be brutalized, used as human shields by the convoys of the security forces; benign farming villages would become code names for heartlessness.

“Massacres have become like breakfast to us,” a political activist recently observed. In the face of all this, the Obama policy has been one of total abdication. The Secretary of State has carried out her president’s brief: She has been running out the clock, seeking cover behind the arcane doings of the United Nations Security Council, making it appear as though deliverance hinged on a change in the attitude of Russia at the United Nations. Any “Model UN” high school team would have foreseen the vetoes of Russia—and China—at the Security Council. Truth is that Russian diplomacy has been a convenient alibi for a quiescent American policy.

The sophistry that has gone into arguing that “Syria is not Libya” is unworthy of a great liberal power. Nor can the exquisitely tortured discussions of the “difficult” borders of Syria stand any scrutiny. If anything, those sensitive borders and the spillover of Syria’s troubles and pathologies into Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey, should have long tipped the scales in favor of an interventionist Syria policy. There is will—and there are resources—in the region to upend the Syrian dictatorship, for Bashar al-Assad has unleashed a full-scale sectarian war that has unnerved and antagonized his neighbors.

But the world is what it is, and the regional powers await an American green light that has never come. Plainly, an American president boastful that he had quit Iraq can not stand before his “progressive” base and proclaim the assumption of a new burden in Syria.

“The tide of war is receding” is one of the favorite mantras of this administration and its leaders. But what is receding before our eyes is the American influence in the world order. Mr. Obama has narrowed the horizons of a country with historically wide vistas. In the Obamian world, that which can’t be done with drones and the daring of our SEALs is left untended. In a note of exquisite irony, Barack Obama had made much of his predecessor’s poor standing in Islamic lands. Trumpet the polls, fall to them: Mr. Obama’s standing in Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Survey, is now lower than George W. Bush’s standing. A placard carried by a group of Syrian protesters tells it all: “We miss Bush’s audacity.”  

Now it could be that the American people have been made weary by foreign engagements, and that the economic distress—our debt, our deficits, an anemic recovery, persisting high levels of unemployment—has made us reticent in the face of burdens abroad. That would be an irony all its own—a president who mismanaged the economy being rewarded for the lack of confidence his presidency itself has generated.

From the very beginning, Mr. Obama has been a herald of a “declinist” reading of America. We can’t aid the Syrians, our touch would sully them. We can’t identity ourselves with the democratic aspirations of the Iranians, for we must conciliate their rulers. We can’t defend the cause of liberty and freedom, for in that Obamian worldview, freedom is a fragile, uncertain bet the world over.

So our Secretary of State circles the globe, nine countries in thirteen days in one recent expedition. The bet of this president is that the American people will neither notice, nor care about, the erosion of the American ascendency that enabled this country to do good and to do well in the order of nations. Come November, the country will deliver its verdict on this stunted vision of its place in the world.
4245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Polling for a News Story on: August 01, 2012, 12:03:29 PM
(Should be a Media Issue...)  At a time when Pres. Obama couldn't buy a good news story, he didn't need to.  The useful idiots in the biased polling business have stepped up to the plate to declare Obama with big leads in key states.  The poll becomes the news story hopefully in their mind giving the President a lift.  No .;can prove them wrong in July.  By late October they have to shape up their numbers to protect their rotten reputations.  Meanwhile these outliars will linger and figure into the most respected polling averages for some time to come.

Poll internals:  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/08/01/us/politics/01quinnipiac-new-york-times-cbs-poll.html?ref=politics

What they do in Florida for example is oversample Dems by 13 points.  In a best case year or 2008, Obama won Fla by 4.  In the most recent statewide contest wide nationwide implications, Republican Marco Rubio won Florida by a million votes and second place was a Republican.  So much for polling Dems at +13 to get a result of the Dem leading by 6.


4246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: August 01, 2012, 11:11:44 AM
"Romney is a buffoon.  Too bad the Republicans couldn't find someone better.  Romney may still win, but it will be in spite of himself, not because of himself."

Is ad hominem - against the person - the best that you've got?  Notghing about governing philosophy or policy? Bob Shrum, a Dem operative, doesn't like him either.  And we were counting on his vote.

Gaffes that aren't gaffes and not a mention of the 2 things that did happened on the trip, the stand with Israel  speech in Jerusalem and the Reagan-like pro-freedom speech in Poland.

On the Olympics, they asked someone who ran them once and he gave an honest answer.  They'll get through it.

If you don't get the culture difference, maybe I can help you.  The GDP per capita of Israel is $32,300.http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Middle-East/Israel/gdp-per-capita  The GDP of West Bank - Gaza Strip is 1/11th of that, $2900.  One is a true Silicon Valley, they other is a third world country in the most negative ways, illiteracy, poverty, terrorism.  You don't know there is a cultural difference?  What a joke.  You ought to go read George Gilder's book 'The Israel Test' http://www.amazon.com/The-Israel-Test-George-Gilder/dp/0980076358

"...Israel...a leader of human civilization, technological progress, and scientific advance. Tiny Israel stands behind only the United States in its contributions to the hi-tech economy. Israel has become the world's paramount example of the blessings of freedom."  Then he backs it up with data and examples.

To JDN and Mr. Shrum, there IS a cultural difference. 

I'll post the two excellent Romney speeches separately.

Must admit Shrum knows his losing Presidential campaigns though.  He holds the all time record for running them.  Pres. Gephart, Dukakis, Bob Kerrey, Al Gore, John Kerry, critics often point out a "curse" associated with the presidential campaigns that Shrum has worked on, since he has yet to claim victory for any of his candidates in eight presidential elections.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9895-2004Sep9.html




4247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - Hugo Chávez ruthlessly consolidates his power on: July 31, 2012, 06:05:51 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/facing-election-hugo-chavez-ruthlessly-consolidates-his-power/2012/07/26/gJQA7YPKCX_story.html

The Post’s View
Facing election, Hugo Chávez ruthlessly consolidates his power

By Editorial Board, Published: July 26  Washington Post

Having the caudillo at the top of the ticket makes a big difference: While most polls show Mr. Chávez leading opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, they also indicate that the opposition would trounce any of Mr. Chávez’s potential successors. The president’s personal popularity lingers with some Venezuelans, who do not fault him for the soaring inflation, power and food shortages and world-beating murder rate that have emerged during his 13 years in office.

Mr. Chávez, however, is leaving little to chance. He is pouring tens of billions of dollars, much of it borrowed from China, into the economy, producing a preelection boomlet. More significantly, he is employing all the leverage of a legal system and mass media that he has politicized and subordinated to his personal control. Just how far that process of corruption has advanced is illuminated in a report by Human Rights Watch, which concludes that “the accumulation of power in the executive, the removal of institutional safeguards, and the erosion of human rights guarantees have given the Chávez government free rein to intimidate, censor and prosecute Venezuelans who criticize the president or thwart his political agenda.”


4248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Running on Bill Clinton's Record, "Our Plan" created 23 million jobs on: July 31, 2012, 05:58:14 PM
In Oakland, California, the president said "I’m also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton, back when our economy created 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history and everybody did well.”

ABC News:  "This pitch on occasion has meant that President Obama at times sounds as if he’s claiming some ownership of the Clinton economy – referring to “our plan” "

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/07/obama-now-partly-running-on-bill-clintons-record-our-plan/
--------------------
Bill Clinton cut capital gains taxes, declared that the era of big government is over, ended welfare as we knew it, worked with Republicans co-opting much of their agenda, passed the Reagan-inspired hemisphere-wide free trade agreement, backed away from healthcare when the people rejected it, grew the economy and balanced the budget.  What part of that reminds anyone of the Obama agenda or record?

Mitt Romney is not Bush and Obama is no Bill Clinton.

4249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 31, 2012, 04:02:13 PM
"Israel was the aggressor in '67?!?"

For that to be true you would have to believe that all opposing air raids must complete their missions and all bombs must land and explode before it is "legal" to defend yourself.

FYI to JDN, if you wait until you are dead to respond, you did not act in self defense.  To the contrary, you failed to act in self defense.
4250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 31, 2012, 01:32:37 PM
And it wasn't hate speech for a certain chancellor if all of Germany agreed with him...  What a bizarre criteria for distinguishing between right and wrong.

While you were driveling around I think you forgot to answer the question, are they our best ally in the region?

Or are they a rogue nation ready to make more unprovoked attacks on neighbors as you suggest?

How can they be both?
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