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4251  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: WSJ coverage of ObamaCare 2010 on: April 25, 2011, 12:45:59 PM
I posted on Media Issues that WSJ editorial writer Joseph Rago won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing today. Here are the stories for which he won the award: Hot links for all at the link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703916004576271222668393848.html

1) Back to the ObamaCare Future, March 1, 2010

2) The ObamaCare Crossroads, March 20, 2010

3) ObamaCare and the Constitution, April 2, 2010

4) Farewell, Medicare Advantage, June 11, 2010

5) The Avastin Mugging, August 18, 2010

6) ObamaCare 'Amnesia,' Sept. 10, 2010

7) Big Insurance, Big Medicine, Oct. 26, 2010

8.) Breast Cancer and the FDA, Dec. 17, 2010

9) Sebelius's Price Controls, Dec. 22, 2010

10) PolitiFiction, Dec. 23, 2010


4252  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues - Pulitzser Prize to WSJ for anti-Obamacare series on: April 25, 2011, 12:37:47 PM
On a more positive note (from my perspective) on the media, last week a WSJ editorialist won a Pulitzer for "against the grain" anti-Obamacare coverage.  The consistent downward movement of support for Obamacare since it passed would tend to show these concerns to be right.

"EDITORIAL WRITING: Joseph Rago of The Wall Street Journal.

Rago was honored for his editorials challenging the health care changes advocated by President Barack Obama.

In his "Review & Outlook" columns for the Journal, he deconstructed the results of similar policy in Massachusetts and its implications for Washington, warning that the changes would fail and do Democrats great political harm.

With a degree in American history from Dartmouth, Rago joined the Journal editorial page in 2005 as an intern."

http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2011-Editorial-Writing
http://online.wsj.com/article/AP538c4b030ce8453293b96e42bc648fa2.html

(Looks and sounds like this guy is in his 20s.  You may hear from him again.)
4253  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: April 25, 2011, 12:20:10 PM
"He is obviously hiding something?"

The secret if there is one (just conjecture) is that Barack Sr. was not the father and wasn't the husband, which means the President is not really Barack Jr, though it would appear they used the name with permission.  Also maybe things were tampered or changed to allow for Indonesian citizenship later. 

Nothing that happened with him as a newborn is his fault (obviously), but it is his story and his knowledge of it all would make his best selling autobiographies into a pack of lies, instead of just racist-Marxist drivel.

"Do you think the Republican party can win chasing the "birther" issue?"

No.  He needs to be defeated straight on for his record and for the direction he still wants to lead the nation.  But the media lack of curiosity and lack of follow up is deplorable.  (Imagine if Palin's birth location with a foreign parent and records missing!) Besides his college record I never saw anything controversial dug up from his constitutional law lectures or law review writings while we now see results from his two disastrous high court appointees.

The constitution does not say 'long form' nor does it lay out a burden of proof, it just says 'natural born citizen'.  Arnold Schwartznegger and Madeleine Albright are examples that were passed over for not being born here. 
4254  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF, A Clapper Caper, Jack Web, Johnny Carson on: April 25, 2011, 11:47:31 AM
BBG, Amazing life saving device, but don't get over-confident up there! 
--------------

Switching subjects with no smooth transition...

With Clapper (our limited intelligence director) and Kloppenburg (Wisc supreme court candidate) in the news, it may be time to revisit the Clapper Caper with Jack Webb and Johnny Carson.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4pWBJiW0Xpo
4255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline, Fall, (and Resurrection?) of America on: April 25, 2011, 10:27:29 AM
"According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now. "

  - I will bet that it doesn't.  smiley
4256  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, & the US Dollar on: April 22, 2011, 11:41:51 AM
"The dollar, less almighty: Big investors see possible long-term currency weakness"

 - Another theory I was reading yesterday is that at the end of QE2 interest rates will rise and the dollar will rise.  We'll see.  I see it all as flawed measurement.  The weakness and strength of the dollar is measured against other flawed currencies from other flawed flawed places like Europe and China.  I wouldn't  bet in either direction, on the current direction of our country or on the others to do better. 
-----

Bernanke is AWOL to not be out-front, obnoxiously outspoken against the excessive spending in the economy.  And congress has done nothing to remove the 'dual purpose' of his job.
4257  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Mike Huckabee on: April 22, 2011, 10:56:41 AM
Quite a feud going on between Mike Huckabee and Glen Beck, Beck was addressing it on the radio this morning.  I was going to put it on the Beck thread but Huck is presumably a candidate.

Seemed to begin over Beck criticizing Huck's support for Michelle Obama's campaign against child obesity, a worthy cause, and expanded to calling out Huck's record as progressive.  Huck says he has thus called him a cancer and a Nazi because Beck has used those terms to describe progressive tactics.

Beck explained and responding back with Huck's record as a progressive / non-conservative, this is a fight within the right that for sure Huckabee does not need.  Both have radio shows with unlimited opportunity to respond to each other.

Beck exposes Huck's claim of cutting taxes as Governor.  One of those was to exclude private lawn mowing from the sales tax and another was to exclude symphony tickets from the sales tax.  Overall Huck raised taxes in Arkansas 47% according to Beck.  Then he exposed Huck's illegal immigration stands and then the pardons.

Huck is a Christian and a pastor and giving people a second chance is what they do.  But releasing one criminal every 4 days as Governor didn't work out for him; it led to the slaughter of 4 police officers, as GM has posted here.  He should not have interfered with the justice system in that respect.

Picking a fight with Beck especially while he is down shows bad judgment  for Huckabee IMO if he is a candidate.  Support for the obesity program could have been easily defended and he could have drawn a distinction with Michelle Obama's position which calls for a complete federal takeover of all school nutrition including vending machines - if other means are unsuccessful.

Huckabee, attacking the Beck progressive conspiracy theory, should read Crafty's post today about spending drifting recently from 18% of GDP to 24.4% just or take a closer look at the advisers and czars that Beck has been attacking and exposing and point out where he is wrong.
4258  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 21, 2011, 10:42:27 PM
That's right and he used his long shot status as a strength.  That was from the opposing party, but still, how do you love your country, believe you have what it takes to be President, watch what is happening across the country and around the world right now, and conclude that this is not the time?
-----
Besides my endorsement of Tim Pawlenty who with about 4% support keeps getting mentioned with the serious contenders, I like the idea of Herman Cain and Allen West as a ticket, one served at the Fed, one in Afghanistan and in congress, one a business man and one a military man.  With the older at the top of the ticket, I am looking for the potential of 16 years of continuity leading the country and the free world.  Looking for articulation of unapologetic liberty and conservatism and looking for skill and confidence that will hold up through the campaign and shine through in the debates.  They won't have to fake their tea party or outsider status.  And enough clarity with the agenda that if they win they will know what to do.

I recall that Reagan in 1976 picked his running mate for balance while still contesting the nomination.
4259  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: The purpose of obama re-elction fund raising on: April 21, 2011, 07:53:54 PM
The purpose of Obama re-election fundraising is to scare away other Democrats, not Republicans.  It is having no effect on Republicans, another one, Gary Johnson R-NM, jumped in today.

The early fund raising focus is designed as a war chest message to intimidate any/all challenges from within his own party.

Without listing out his problems again for re-election (unemployment? gas prices? debt?), would anyone like to predict if, who and when Dems will see a challenger from within his own party?

I say the first serious challenger in will change the dynamic of the race.  Many thought leaders on the left have already spoken up against aspects of the Obama Presidency.  Why wouldn't one serious potential candidate step up in defiance to the odds and throw his/her hat into the ring?

Obama could be out with his next big blunder and may very well lose the general election for what he has already done.  Whoever is in the race with a credible candidacy could have a significant chance to be the next President of the United States when this one falls completely off the track.

Recall the audacity of Obama entering the race in 2007 against 'the incumbent' Hillary Clinton.  It worked for him.
4260  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: April 21, 2011, 02:27:19 PM
"If we are not going to go in and stop them all (and I suspect no one here is calling for boots on the ground in Yemen!) then what is the point of going into just one (Afpakia)?

Our strategy is utterly incoherent."
---

I suppose the answer is that we pick our battles to isolate and defeat enemies on our choice of time and location.  All-out war simultaneous in all locations may not fit our strengths and capabilities very well much less fit with our limited attention span.  Problem is a) we are doing the opposite, responding to nuisances in the least strategic areas (Libya), and completely out of the most crucial areas, and b) we have lost confidence in those who make the choices and set the strategies for us.

If we are forcing them to move, our intelligence at some point should be picking up some of those moves.  But that matters only if we take action on the intelligence.

What is strangest about our AfPak strategy is that what is working (allegedly), the tripling of manpower, is what we have pre-decided and declared we won't continue.  What we might need most in the long run is at least a small permanent presence to shut down bases as they pop up.  That is something we gave up completely in Iraq. (see links below)

My central strategy (broken record, and GM just hit this same point) is that we better get our economic house in order and in full gear if we expect to be able to respond later to what is brewing in the world right now.  

Yemen looks like one of those backyard situations for Saudi, just like the Caucasus for Russia, but I have no idea whether Saudi escalation would help or hurt the situation.
------

A nice review(a must read?) at the links below of all our wars and where they stand now, part 1 and part 2:

http://www.businessinsider.com/reviewing-americas-wars-part-1-2011-4
http://www.chrisweigant.com/2011/04/21/reviewing-americas-wars-part-2/
4261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: April 21, 2011, 01:37:26 PM
CCP, I am with you 100% in the proposal to remove all tax credits and all deductions that are direct, legitimate business expenses incurred to produce the revenue, and we should reduce the rates accordingly - personal and corporate.  There should be no social engineering whatsoever in the tax code.  In this time of deficits, debts, dollar crisis and 3 wars, not counting a potential world war with China or Russia, our system raising federal revenues shouldn't look like a grocery store coupon book.  Limit spending to the amount we collect and them let the people argue within a constitutional framework what programs and projects to fund at what level.

I hear you when you complain about rich having disproportionate power with certain things.  The only solution I know is to simply move the system away from being for sale and negotiable toward dispensing special favors, and toward a system of equal protection where all private enterprises in all industries are treated evenly by a limited government.  We aren't exactly headed in that direction.

Where I don't follow you and where you don't follow the left and won't vote with them is that there is no way prevent obscene amounts of income and obscene uses of wealth at the top without messing up the system, the incentives and mechanisms for producing wealth.  Instead  am willing to concede that what they make is none of my business as long as it is all legally earned and taxed the same as mine and I see you as still struggling to find a harmless way of 'solving' that.

I understand that my descriptions of the mechanisms of a free market are difficult to write and clumsy to read. Very few have the ability to articulate economic freedom with a broad brush.  Reagan had that ability and Marco Rubio seems to have it.  Whether we follow it completely or are not able to articulate it, there is a central denial on the other side that individual freedom is not preferable to central planning and control, even though it works every time and every place that it is tried.  When we hear from the bully pulpit that we need to do something, people need to remember where in our system things get done.  The great advances don't come from congressional staffers or the bowels of the bureaucracies.
---

Another attempt at an example: Let's say you are a family physician in a private market (I know, it's purely hypothetical!).  Maybe you make more in income than many of your patients or maybe you don't, but let's say we implement a set of policies that benefits all of your patients financially.  My point is that  helps your business, by far more than just the change to your own tax rate. You will be better able to sell your services, more people can afford you and your collection rate should improve etc.  From the boost in business and income and take home earnings, you buy better equipment etc. for the office and invest and spend more on your own, energizing back the population that energized your practice - the great, interconnected circle of economic life.  That is not trickle down; it is more like trickle up and back and all the way through in every direction touching everyone whose economic activities touch yours.  The lying left contend that only the rich benefit from across the board improvements, but increased activity and prosperity benefits everyone who is participating.  I don't know how to explain it any better, but will keep trying.

You aren't worth a fixed value as a service provider, it depends on the economic health of the people who need and procure your services.  If your patients are average typical in the Republic of the Congo (the worst business climate and poorest country), your income for servicing that market with the same training, skills and hard work would likely be 1/1000th of what it is where you are now based on their ability to pay, and your tax contribution to the Treasury would be roughly a thousand times lower as well, no matter the rate.

It is not tax rates alone, it is the whole package of unleashing the freedom to conduct and expand a business and to pursue and keep a reward for doing that.
4262  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Yemen on: April 21, 2011, 12:30:13 PM
Thanks to Strat - and Crafty - for keeping watch on the turmoil in Yemen, a key location for al Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula.  See if this map comes through, but Yemen shares a 'sea border' with Somalia / the horn of Africa, a home al Qaida, Blackhawk down, and base for the ruthless pirate sea war operation that is stealing, killing and taking over anything everything up to the size of oil tankers that tries to pass through.
4263  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: re. Crossing Trump off the list on: April 21, 2011, 11:50:08 AM
Thanks to GM for Trumps view on Kelo, the 'right' to have your property taken for preferred private uses.

a) It means he shares no respect for founding or limiting principles on government, as I see them,

b) unscrupulous past business practices

c) Could not trust him to appoint Supreme Court Justices, in fact the opposite.  I would trust him to appoint justices opposed to my own view of the constitution

d) and in keeping with nearly all liberal argument, he rests his rationalization on a false premise:

"...wants to build a tremendous economic development, where a lot of people are going to be put to work and make area that’s not good into a good area, and move the person that’s living there into a better place..."

'area that's not good'  - Kelo was specifically NOT about removing blight which is already recognized as public purpose.

'move the person that’s living there into a better place'  - NO!  It is the opposite.  A consensual, private purchase of the property is what moves a person into a better place.  The Kelo decision along with a willing city council removes that requirement.  Valuation law in taking prohibits putting a person in a better place.  It puts you only in the same circumstance and worse because it takes away the real value of what you had which was ownership of a demanded location.  Trump says he is smart so I say he knows this.  As one who has been a victim of a private taking, I say as politely as I know how, he is a G*d d*amned f*cking liar and I will sit out  or cast a third party vote rather than vote for a leading advocate of big, all-knowing government taking away private properties for their donors and constituents' preferred private purposes.  What limits on government would you recognize if you couldn't see this one in front of your face?
4264  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: April 21, 2011, 11:06:18 AM
JDN: "It's a zero sum game."

Of course that is not true. From the example it assumes a producer would produce the same amount in the high tax state as he would under lower disincentive conditions.  Simply not true.

One consideration you might add to your thinking also is velocity of money and the affect increasing it has on GDP, employment, revenues, etc.  Right now is the model for an economy producing at a standstill.  Companies already laid off everyone they can do without and look at uncertainty in every direction and just freeze on the idea of new expansions.  Change that to an environment where optimism and confidence In the case of capital gains, lower taxation per gain or per transaction allows capital to move more freely to its most valuable use.  That makes labor more productive, not just capital.  It also increases tax revenues.

For CCP and JDN, I would replace 'trickle down' visualization of the economy with a vision or model of 'interconnectness'.  Not quite as catchy for a straw man, but far more accurate.  Let's say we are a small business selling a piece of productivity enhancing business equipment and have identified 5000 customers and prospects in my area where we are trying to make inroads.  Now let's say pro-growth business conditions improve as greater optimism, incentive and confidence sets in  for all the companies buying from us or that we are trying to sell to, the rising tide.  How does that affect our business?  The answer is that it helps us far more than just the minor change in our own tax rate, and that is because of the interconnectedness with all the other players now performing better.  It isn't trickle down, which is a mockery for the false idea that money will just fall on your head in a better economy.  You still have to hustle and innovate, persuade and produce and win sales and keep delivery promises etc, but the point is that if we will be selling to a more active and prosperous customer population.  There is a multiplier effect that goes far beyond our own tax rate.

Or take the opposite direction.  We promise all investors that any gains made in the future will be taxed at a higher rate tomorrow and we won't tell you what that rate is so that you can't make plans or best/worst case analysis with any confidence.  We ban production of energy etc, over-regulate, and watch everything from manufacturing to tourism to beer prices suffer.  If the policies hurt our customer base, they hurt us.  Disincentives and uncertainty slow the movement of money, hurt sales and diminish the  revenues to the Treasury.
-----

Looking forward to those examples of pro-growth policies failing to grow the economy.  

I think you have the tax rate vs. revenue argument exactly upside down.  What economists have said is that we seem to take in the same percentage of revenues to the Treasury (something like 18% of GDP) no matter what the marginal rates are.  If that is true, why shouldn't we choose the lowest marginal rates that can still get us to that same percentage, and maximize GDP and revenues to the Treasury?  Meanwhile, we could pass a constitutional amendment limiting all federal spending to the known limitations of the taxation people will pay and end the deficits, if that was what anybody wanted.
-----

Crafty,  Japan lowered its corporate tax rate on April 1, 2011 to 36%, and corporations in the US also get taxed at the state level for a combined average of 40%.  If the argument is that everyone gets around the high rate, why the mindset of keeping the highest rate, forcing businesses to dodge and dance instead of produce full speed ahead and pay a reasonable and certain tax.

I wonder what portion of the smartest brainpower in GE much less America as a whole are dedicated to weaving a business plan through our ever-changing and worsening tax and regulatory schemes?  The defensive strategies are a huge cost on the economy not measured in the actual tax collected.  I wonder what amazing things would be accomplished if those resources were turned toward innovative and productive purposes.
4265  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 20, 2011, 04:36:50 PM
"That's voodoo economics that no one really believes anymore....."

What are your examples of significant rate cuts that didn't grow revenues? 

The voodoo line BTW was abandoned by its author, revenues to the Treasury doubled in the 1980s.  US Budget History, see page 26: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy11/pdf/hist.pdf

GM gave the 2003 example.  Look also at the Clinton capital gains cuts of 1995 or the Kennedy cuts, 'rising tide lifts all boats'.

Let's take a look at the opposing examples...
4266  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 20, 2011, 02:52:16 PM
CCP: " I don't see most Republicans saying anything but the same misleading message... Selling trickle down economics alone will not win over the middle."

 - Trickle down is a label put on the policies by the people who oppose them.  I don't know what part of across the board they never understand. The main effect of supply side or 'pro-growth' policies is on the people who potentially want to go forth and achieve rather than to those who already have.  Simpler, more evenly applied policies with slightly lower disincentives for all productive activities regardless of who does them, that's all it is.  Not what Bush did for example.  That involved lower rates, but moving everything else in the wrong direction in terms of the burden imposed by a growing public sector.

You are correct that we need better messaging, but constantly denying a negative is not how to stay on message.  Repeatedly answering the charge, 'when did you quit beating your wife,' doesn't make for the best press conference.  For the whole disparity thing, ask yourself which disparity study you've ever read that adjusted for things like what you did to get where you are, a 4 year degree, medical school, residency, sleepless weeks in training, giving up a good part of a decade in training, taking/passing boards, risk taking, possibility of being sued or losing license or small judgments made every day, carrying the pager, carrying the malpractice policy, paying the student loans back, accepting delayed benefits, etc etc.  Other people didn't do all that and many did none of it.  Which study adjusts for that? Nothing I've ever seen.  Shouldn't we have that freedom and that choice - to jump all in, or part way in with more leisure, less responsibility - especially at different points in our lives?? Outcomes are going to differ; that is a fact, not an issue.  Maybe the super rich of the moment are doing something right economically in terms of providing something that a large global market needs and maybe the middle class is sitting on its laurels, doing things the same year after year.  As you say with messaging, the bully pulpit needs to join with the policies and inspire more people to go out and achieve. 

Where we are now is the opposite, we oppose producing energy, propose higher disincentives and tell everyone to leave the car in the garage and be a blockworker agent for redistributive justice.  How is that working out, is what I would ask.
---
"...the rich are 399% richer since around 1980 and the rest of us around 15%."

Each year they measure a different group.  The top 400 for example changes every year. It isn't the same people in what they call the rich.  These measures are highly misleading.  Still, what should the disparity outcome be between one person who is all in, in terms of pursuing wealth through productive enterprise, and someone else who is not?  How much of the reward for all that wealth creation can we take away and still get the same amount of it to tax at all? GM already answered it but the answer is no, disincentives matter.  There isn't some clever way to target this and tweak that and have it all work out without screwing up our badly needed economic growth.
---
"...when they see 400 top earners in the US pay 16% income tax?"

They take the SS as a tax but defend it as an insurance policy.  Then they take the taxation of long term gains earned with after-tax dollars,including the inflation component (not a gain at all) and compare it with taxes on earned income.  I have 2 solutions for that. One is re-define SS as general welfare since that is what that comparison infers.  The other is to remove the inflation component of gains before you tax them as ordinary income. States BTW already tax capital gains as ordinary income, even inflationary gains - a small point always left out of all the disparity hysteria, all state and local plus the corporate tax was already taxed before the distribution gets to the owner.  They include the SS, which is capped on BOTH paying in and paying out, and exclude things like state taxes, property taxes and corporate taxes, then point to how unfair the difference is.  I know you don't put up with that level of analysis in a medical study, but I agree it is hard to keep going back to answer every charge.

We need to remove loopholes, these were the genius, social engineering ideas of the previous congresses and administrations.  Just like spending programs, each has a constituency, but the theme is that everything is negotiable.  As Clinton used to say, "we can do more...' or the other CLinton said, 'you can't afford all of my ideas'. How many of the working poor went out and took thousands in the cash for clunkers 'tax credit', to get a $45000 car and 'save money' on gas.  That's one loophole, also wind and solar. How many homeless got the insulation credit?  Electric vehicle credits went to golf cart purchases, how many of the recently foreclosed got the tax credit for one of those.  The same jerks who did all of that who now point to the loopholes.  End them, fine, an lower the rates.  But a loophole is not to take actual costs that oil companies incurred to produce oil and disallow the expense in the year it was incurred.  I wasn't a conservative policy of taxing all income equally that caused GE (with the CEO on the Obama board) to hit the zero mark.

This really shouldn't be that hard to build a persuasive case against Obama's policies and to put forth a better alternative.
4267  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Mr. President, The huge deficits were intentional on: April 20, 2011, 12:57:08 PM
Economics, President Barack Obama: "If we keep spending more than we take in, we are going to do some damage to our economy."

  - He acts like the excess spending was an accident, an act of God - like a tsunami - that hit the nation and his budget.  (Same goes for gas prices, an global phenomenon that really he had nothing to do with.)

Everyone including the President, please re-read every Krugman column since before his election and review every Obama speech he has made and every policy they have put out including his most recent budget proposal.  THE DEFICIT SPENDING WAS INTENTIONAL (sorry for the shouting); it is the heart of the failed Keynesian philosophy they were ramming down our throat with our own dollars and some new ones that look like ours, with Krugman, the economic spiritual leader still calling on him to double the ante.  Excess public spending IS the stimulus, in their mind, and we are lucky to have 1% nominal growth and U6 at 16%?  Deficits are what supposedly saved millions of jobs, ('created or saved').  And when they said temporary, they meant permanent.  Like those great magic shows - what they tell us changes right in front of our eyes and know one can see it happen.  They are so used to playing with words and labeling things the opposite of what they are, they didn't even notice themselves telling a patent falsehood.  We know how to start a spending program, but we don't know how to end one.  Everybody knew that.  Nothing was put in to make things temporary.  The exact opposite is true - they made it so it is a cut to end things that were 'temporary'. 

How are you supposed to know when you are wrong if you are Obama, Jarrett, Krugman, Biden, Reich et al, and when are you supposed to know? How are you supposed to gracefully turn 180 degrees, save face, and start undoing what you did and start doing things that really work, and bring along all the people with you that you recently and repeatedly told the opposite - as recently as last Wednesday.  In sports (or in war with generals), you don't change the coach's mind; they get fired for results like these.   You hire someone else to run the organization in a better direction. 
4268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 18, 2011, 11:52:34 AM
The Republican nominee MUST win the base AND reach to the middle.  McCain (for example) was the exact opposite.  He appealed during his career to the middle and then reached during the final stretch to the base, which is backwards.  2008 was a known Dem year.  2012 will either lean R or best case for the Dems will be fought on equal footing IMO.

These early head to head polls ask the judges to score before they see the contest. 

The seven point win of Obama is not going to happen again. He has lost independents and is no longer a blank slate.  He has also done several things to undermine the energy from his base.  The Republican candidates look weak now but one will rise and win by showing political and persuasive strength across different parts of the country.

Trump's 35% now could work in a 3 way contest but probably only as spoiler, like Perot.  I doubt in the end that he will run.
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Political contributions are pretty easy to verify (see BD post).  The second link has a list compiled over a long period, including: Schumer, Rangel, Gillebrand, Anthony Weiner, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Erskine Bowles, John Kerry, Frank Lautenberg, Torricelli, Ted Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy, Harry Reid, Arlen Specter, Dick Durbin, Rahm, Harry Reid, Chris Dodd, Charlie Crist, Bill Nelson (FL) etc. JIMMY CARTER 1979, and also Republicans to a lesser degree: Tom Coburn, McCain, George Allen, Giuliani, RNC...
http://michellemalkin.com/2011/02/20/is-donald-trump-a-conservative/
http://www.newsmeat.com/billionaire_political_donations/Donald_Trump.php
4269  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Budget process- Put a Cap on Spending, Not a Balanced Budget Amentment on: April 17, 2011, 04:35:43 PM
On a Sunday show I heard another tea party type, Sen. Mike Lee from Utah, call for a balanced budget amendment.

I want a balanced budget, but a proportionally smaller public sector spending burden is more important than the exact balance.  I would support one of these proposals to cap spending at 20% of GDP, 19%, or if government were defined closer to its constitutional role maybe about half of that rate.

It is Obama's side who want automatic adjustments (tax increases) to kick in if spending restraints do not realize.  That is NOT budgeting.  A budget would be to say here is GDP, you can spend no more than 20% of it, or here is $2.6 trillion, you can only argue over how to spend it, not how much to spend, until the economy grows further.
4270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Walter Mondale tells how to raise taxes without losing votes on: April 17, 2011, 04:21:52 PM
He is a friend of a friend and a true blue great American, so how do I say this nicely... Walter Mondale became the only human in earth's history to lose a statewide contest in all 50 states when he lost the senate race in his home state, the only state he carried against Reagan.  Ironically he has never lost though in the District of Columbia.  Mondale economically has learned nothing since serving with Jimmy Carter and then running to his left.  Government is too small; taxes are too low.  There is never a bad time to raise them back up, at least on the rich: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/walter-mondale-as-in-1984-we-again-need-the-courage-to-raise-taxes/2011/04/14/AFxVSSkD_story.html

BTW, I disagree with him.
4271  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Fukushima: Likelihood of widespread health effects remains low. - The Economist on: April 17, 2011, 03:58:21 PM
"likelihood of widespread health effects remains low... in terms of becquerels (radioactivity) things are already a lot better than they were."

"does not seem, in public health terms, to have turned out too bad."
-----
The news cycle moved on and the facts aren't all in.  I'm trying to keep following this; there is a lot to be learned.  Here are a couple more excerpts from what seems to be a balanced and objective piece in The Economist April 12, 2011 (read it all):
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http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2011/04/japans_nuclear_crisis
[The release at Fukushima]"does not seem, in public health terms, to have turned out too bad."

"Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency  estimates that the emission of radioactive iodine and caesium from the Fukushima plant totals, to date, something equivalent to 370 petabecquerels." (one becquerel represents one nuclear decay per second)

"...because of those countermeasures the likelihood of widespread health effects remains low. (It is also worth remembering that in terms of becquerels things are already a lot better than they were, as iodine-131 has a half-life of only eight days. This means that iodine emitted thirty two days ago has by now lost fifteen-sixteenths of its radioactivity.)

"The contaminants that fell on to the land did so mostly but not entirely in nearby places that had already been evacuated."

"the cumulative releases from Fukushima add up to a major release”

"None of this makes Fukushima trivial; it is a grave crisis."
4272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Mike and Big Bird on: April 17, 2011, 11:19:19 AM
Triple digit flaws  wink recognized in Big Mike youtube on Presidential 2012:

Programs that are popular on PBS will survive fine without subsidy.  Also for Planned Parenthood, if its cause is so noble and it needs only a thousandth of what tax rates 'cost' it could easily solicit left wing, free will support from just the leftist rich keeping too much of their own money.  What kind of religion are we establishing BTW by forcing the support of these practices, killing the unborn by the millions, onto the half of the populace who abhor that practice?

The '$70 billion cost' of tax cuts coincided with revenue SURGES that closed the deficits to one tenth of what they are now.  (That is the opposite of a 'cost'.)  Growth stopped when the opposing agenda took power in Washington.

By the end of his little chalk talk, he had it down to the 'cuts that the GOP are trying to make'.  FYI, the GOP people are not trying to make cuts,  they are trying to balance things and make our government and society healthy and sustainable which cannot happen without economic growth.  The status quo he advocates (higher taxes) precludes growth and thus precludes sustainability.
4273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - not Trump on: April 17, 2011, 10:31:56 AM
CCP: "Marc Levin states Trump is not the real deal or a serious candidate."

I was listening to that same show.  It wasn't Levin's opinion but the evidence he presented that was persuasive.  I enjoy what Trump is saying now; it fits with the tea party message.  2 years ago Obama supporters loved what he was saying.

He explains his Dem/leftist contributions as giving to both sides is a cost of doing business.  Yet his contributions were 80% to the left so any reaching across would be the rare occasions he supported conservatives.  Plenty of business people have taken a principled position in politics.  He hasn't.  What he calls a cost of doing business is now baggage for pursuing public office.  He had every right to promote Chuck Schumer's agenda, but he doesn't have the power or charisma to make that go away.

Along with no electoral experience, from a conservative point of view he would seem to also have no principled voting experience either or pattern of showing conviction.

Earlier in my real estate investing career and earlier in Trump's career, I bought his book 'Art of the Deal', sold as a how-to book and quickly learned that it was an egotist writing  'aren't I great' and 'don't I hang around with important and famous people' with nothing of value for the reader.  The message was that if you're him, don't bother.  People who run for President need a healthy ego but I prefer the outlook that this is about we the people not he the leader.
4274  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: April 16, 2011, 09:50:06 PM
Speaking of the legal issues of war - in Iraq, I was wondering if anyone is able to obtain a copy or link to the Saddam surrender agreement of 1991: 3 March 1991—Iraq accepted the conditions of the UN resolutions in exchange for a cease fire.  Assuming he did not live up to his agreement, what were supposed to be the consequences in 'international law'?  Resume firing?
4275  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 16, 2011, 01:19:15 PM
These special privileges need to be treated or ended in a package: ethanol in Iowa, charitable giving over at the churches (etc) and the mortgage deduction everywhere.  Each agrees to give up your own to lock in the package - or it can't happen.  The Iowa farmer loses his ethanol subsidy for example but the policy package will bring diesel costs down by a third along with inheritance tax reform.  Deductions phase out but rates come down.  There has to be a bright side - besides saving the republic!

Sometimes the compromise can be right down the middle (not so much for abortion).  With business meals they start allowing half the expense.  Ending the deduction entirely and you kill restaurants and lose those jobs.  Allow 50% of charitable to be deducted would seem like a fairer outcome.  Or end all deductions for the lower rate, both are okay with me. But we don't save money by killing off cancer research and turning all charitable work into functions of government.  In general I prefer that social functions handled more by charities, versus more to government.

From JDN: "You can't eliminate the mortgage deduction for everyone the first year. Or all charitable contributions. It is political suicide.  That gets back to my point earlier about principles and electability.  Step by step."

I agree.  Find the right policy and phase it in.  If the end point is 50% of mortgage interest and 50% of charitable giving is to be deductible, then phase it in with a 10% change per year until you hit the new policy.

Phasing in tax rate cuts however doesn't work because of the incentive to delay the gains for the lowest rate.  The corporate tax rate should be cut instantly to the average of OECD, taking away part of the incentive to capture income offshore.  That will not cost us revenue.  Capital gains tax rates should be either lowered or locked in where they are without expiration.  How can anyone advise for or against a major investment decision with detailed analysis without knowing the tax rate? They can't and most major expansions are either on hold or built elsewhere.
4276  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 16, 2011, 12:44:27 AM
Continuing the coverage and criticism of the incumbent:

1) For his budget speech this week (where Biden snoozed) touted to be serious and news making (turns out it was a speech, not a plan), he invited and Paul Ryan among others came and sat in the front row, only to be personally trashed by the President in a Presidential address, in a partisan rant, without getting his facts correct. 

2) Recall that he did that to the Supreme Court Justices at a State of the Union, got them all invited in and seated and then trashed them in front of the nation, their colleagues and the other branches of government, without getting his facts right.

3) Already covered, but his insensitivity to the questioner about gas prices means he is out of touch to the declining standard of living under his watch and flippant about it.  He says buy a hybrid (he used to say inflate your tires).  They need more vehicle so he says buy an SUV hybrid.  He has no idea how old their car is or what they drive or what their income or employment status is, but if they had bought a hybrid at the start of his Presidency based on the gas cost savings, with or without a subsidy, that savings was already swallowed up by the price increases from failed energy policies under his watch.  Specifically, this ignorant jerk's refusal to allow real domestic energy production commensurate with our consumption.  JMHO.
4277  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Wesbury, Alan Reynolds on: April 16, 2011, 12:22:00 AM
I listened to Brian Wesbury on the radio this evening; he has been ripped pretty hard here lately for his positive forecasts.  His politics are diametrically opposite to Obama's, similar to mine.  Given that, his optimism under Obama's policies is puzzling.  I picked up a couple of points he made.  Our total assets are 155 Trillion, he says, not counting infrastructure.  Our income (GDP) is 15 T.  Our deficit is 1.5T/yr, presumably shrinking.  Debt is 14T going to 16, etc.  He asks in simple terms: If you had the opportunity to inherit 155 million (or thousand or hundred) but it had liabilities of 16 million, would you take it?  He basically thinks we face the same debt doom and gloom that GM and others warn; he just thinks we are a few years further from the precipice and more likely to break out and solve this.  He thinks equity investors should be long (invested) because stocks are undervalued and you will miss the takeoff if you are out.  I take the last part with a grain a salt a) because he works for an investment company and b) because it relates to the future which is a known unknown.  Personally I am 100% neutral on the question of whether other people should have their money in or out of the market. 
-----------------------------
Economist Alan Reynolds has perhaps been reading the forum: "Both individual income taxes and overall federal taxes have long been a surprisingly constant percentage of GDP—8% and 18%, respectively— regardless of top tax rates on salaries, small business and investors. It follows that the only reliable way to raise real federal revenues over time is to raise real GDP."

"Mr. Obama's hope that raising only the highest tax rates could keep individual tax receipts well above 9% of GDP has been repeatedly tested for more than six decades. It has always failed."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704529204576257261171406994.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop&_nocache=1302921140735&mg=com-wsj

Obama's Soak-the-Rich Tax Hikes Won't Work
Income tax revenues have been remarkably stable at 8% of GDP, regardless of tax rates. The way to increase revenue is to grow the economy.

By ALAN REYNOLDS

President Obama's response to congressional efforts to curb runaway federal spending is to emphasize, once again, his resolve to greatly increase tax rates on married couples whose joint incomes are above $250,000. This insistent desire to raise taxes—which he repeated in a speech yesterday while complaining about "trillions of dollars in . . . tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country"—is a distraction. It won't solve our nation's fiscal problem.

Preliminary estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) project that federal spending under the president's 2012 budget plan would average 23.3% over the coming decade—up from 19.7% in 2007 and 18.2% in 2001.

Even if the president could persuade Congress to enact all of his proposed tax increases, in addition to surtaxes already included in ObamaCare, the CBO finds we would still face endless budget deficits averaging 4.8% of GDP.
The Deficit Speech

"Federal debt held by the public would double under the President's budget," says the CBO, "growing from $10.4 trillion (69% of GDP) at the end of 2011 to $20.8 trillion (87% of GDP) at the end of 2021, adding $9.5 trillion to the nation's debt from 2012 to 2021."

And yet, enormous as they are, these deficit and debt estimates assume that the higher tax rates called for under the president's 2012 budget plan do no harm to the economy, that interest rates stay unusually low, and that the economy avoids recession for a dozen years. Those assumptions require taxpayers to behave much differently than they ever have before.

The revenue estimates are even more unbelievable. According to the Office of Management and Budget, total revenues would supposedly exceed 19% of GDP after 2015, rising to 20% by 2021—a level briefly reached only at the height of World War II (1944-45) and the pinnacle of the tech-stock boom (2000). Moreover, these unprecedented revenues would supposedly come from the individual income tax, which is even less plausible.

It is not as though we have never tried high tax rates before. From 1951 to 1963, the lowest tax rate was 20% to 22% and the highest was 91% to 92%. The top capital gains tax rate approached 40% in 1976-77. Aside from cyclical swings, however, the ratio of individual income tax receipts to GDP has always remained about 8% of GDP.

The individual income tax brought in 7.8% of GDP from 1952 to 1979 when the top tax rate ranged from 70% to 92%, 8% of GDP from 1993 to 1996 when the top tax rate was 39.6%, and 8.1% from 1988 to 1990 when the highest individual income tax rate was 28%. Mr. Obama's hope that raising only the highest tax rates could keep individual tax receipts well above 9% of GDP has been repeatedly tested for more than six decades. It has always failed.

Federal revenue from the individual income tax exceeded 9% of GDP only eight times in U.S. history—during World War II (9.4% in 1944), the recessions of 1969-70, 1981-82 and 1991-92, and the tech-stock boom-bust of 1998-2001. Revenues were a high share of GDP during the three recessions because GDP fell.

The situation of 1997-2000 was unique. Individual income tax revenues reached an unprecedented 9.6% of GDP from 1997 to 2000 for reasons quite unlikely to be repeated. An astonishing quintupling of Nasdaq stock prices coincided with an extraordinary proliferation of stock options, which the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances found were granted to 11% of U.S. families by 2001, and with a reduction in the capital gains tax to 20% from 28%, which encouraged much greater realization of taxable gains through stock sales. Revenues from the capital gains tax rose to 10.8% of all individual income tax receipts in 1997 and 13% by 2000. The unexpected revenue windfalls in President Bill Clinton's second term were largely a consequence of lower tax rates on capital gains.

Using IRS data, Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley have estimated that realized capital gains accounted for just 13%-22% of reported income among the top 1% of taxpayers from 1988 to 2006, when gains were taxed at 28%—but that fraction swiftly reached 29%-32% in 1998-2000, when the capital gains tax fell to 20%.

The average tax rate of such top taxpayers was mechanically diluted by the greatly increased realizations of capital gains after 1997 and 2003, since a larger share of reported income consisted of capital gains. Yet the amount of taxes paid by top taxpayers reached record highs for the same reason—there was more revenue to be had from taxing many gains at a low rate than from taxing fewer gains a high rate. Nobody can be forced to sell assets in taxable accounts. To complain that a low tax on realized capital gains is "unfair" is to suggest it would be fairer for affluent investors to sit on unrealized gains, as though an unpaid tax is morally superior to one that collects billions.

As a result of the conventional confusion between tax rates and revenues, some stories in the media have abetted the delusion that the huge gap between spending and likely revenues could be narrowed by simply increasing the highest tax rates on capital gains and/or dividends.

A recent cover story in Bloomberg Businessweek by Jesse Drucker, "The More You Make, the Less You Pay," reported that, "For the well-off, this could be the best tax day since the early 1930s. . . . For the 400 U.S. taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross income, the effective federal income tax rate—what they actually pay—fell from almost 30% in 1995 to just under 17% in 2007, according to the IRS."

Among the top 400 taxpayers (rarely the same people from one year to the next), the average tax rate fell to 22.3% in 2000, when the capital gains tax was 20%, from 29.9% in 1995 when the capital gains tax was 28%. But that same IRS report also shows that real tax revenues from the top 400 more than doubled after the capital gains tax fell, rising to $11.8 billion in 2000 from $5.2 billion in 1995, measured in 1990 dollars.

The same thing happened after 2003, when the capital gains tax was further reduced to 15%. The average tax rate of the top 400 fell to 16.6% in 2007 from 22.9% in 2002. Even though there was no stock market boom as in 1997-2000, real revenues of the top 400 nevertheless doubled again—to $14.5 billion in 2007 from $6.9 billion in 2002. Instead of paying less when the capital gains tax rate went down in 1997 and 2003, the top 400 instead paid much, much more.

The trendy talking point of blaming projected deficits on "tax cuts for the rich" is flatly absurd.

Both individual income taxes and overall federal taxes have long been a surprisingly constant percentage of GDP—8% and 18%, respectively— regardless of top tax rates on salaries, small business and investors. It follows that the only reliable way to raise real federal revenues over time is to raise real GDP.

Mr. Reynolds is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and the author of "Income and Wealth" (Greenwood Press 2006).
4278  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Internet regulation - Net Neutrality, WSJ on: April 15, 2011, 10:37:29 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704529204576257153583865300.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop

Net Neutrality Override
The House votes to stop the FCC's Internet power grab.

The Obama Administration continues to ignore court decisions on Internet regulation and use agencies like the Federal Communications Commission to circumvent Congress. We're happy to see House Republicans vote to overrule this behavior.

Two days before Christmas, the FCC issued "net neutrality" rules on a partisan 3-2 vote that restrict how Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon can manage their network traffic and serve customers. The regulation is a favorite of big Web content companies and Naderite consumerists who want more political sway over the Internet.

James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation on White House efforts to regulate the Web.

Congress has never given the FCC authority to regulate the Internet, which is why the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the agency last year when it tried to enforce net neutrality rules against Comcast. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski nonetheless pressed ahead, despite the absence of any market failure or consumer harm that might justify new rules.

Last week the House voted 240 to 179 to reverse the rule-making. Representative Greg Walden of Oregon introduced the measure under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn agency rules with a simple majority in the House and Senate.

On the House floor, Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton said the FCC had "overstepped its authority and is attempting to seize control of one of the nation's greatest technological success stories." He's right. By the FCC's own reckoning, 95% of the country has access to broadband, and inside of a decade the number of Internet users has grown to 200 million from eight million. Meanwhile, prices are falling and choices are expanding. Almost no mobile applications were available to consumers in 2007. Today there are more than a half-million, and they're growing at an annual rate of 92%.

The resolution now moves to the Senate, where only 51 votes are needed. But President Obama has promised to veto the measure if it reaches his desk, and 67 Senate votes would be needed to override the veto. Whether enough Democrats would vote with the GOP to do that is an open question, though we wouldn't dismiss the possibility of some bipartisan support given the number of Senate Democrats up for re-election next year.

The exercise is still useful in reminding the White House that the Constitution delegates lawmaking to Congress, not political appointees at the FCC. It also might have a chastening effect on the Administration, which has turned to rule-making agencies like the FCC and the Environmental Protection Agency to push an agenda that it can't get through Congress.

Mr. Obama insists that he's focused on economic growth and innovation. He could do that goal a favor by letting Congress override his politically-driven FCC.
4279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 15, 2011, 04:27:42 PM
"As for the rich, nothing wrong with being rich, but get rid of the special "rich" loopholes and deductions.  I suggest taxing all mortgages
above 1million.  And eliminate second home deductions. The middle class doesn't live in million dollar homes or have second homes.  And if you are rich enough to own one, why should you get a deduction, when the middle class guy living in an apartment gets nothing.  And scale back charitable
contribution deductions; I donate my appreciated art collection or stocks to my alma mater and never pay tax; is that right?  The middle class
doesn't have that option."
-----

Another set of new laws targeting this and targeting that so it applies to one group and not to another.  I am fighting for the opposite - one set of rules.  If you want, lower the rates and eliminate the deductions for everyone IMO.  Eliminating the charitable deduction at these rates will eliminate plenty of charities, making government even more in charge of our every need, just what they want.

You are right IMO on this: reforming Social Security IS touchable.  I say adjust FDR's ratios to today's realities (1% tax?).  The alternative for those who want to remove the income cap is to: lower the rate, apply it to ALL earned income evenly, make it transparent - consolidate the employer hidden half so people see what is taken, raise the retirement age way up to the point of unable to work, means test every benefit, and let it become the smaller welfare net that people seem to want instead of the insurance enhancement product that it once was.

SS has been solvent up until now but at 15+% it is eating up the taxable income potential from the rest of our needs.  It is a brutal tax on the middle class and the thriving self-employed.  Let's downsize it. 
4280  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: April 15, 2011, 04:00:46 PM
We could move the discussion move away from stark extremes and see what small, incremental changes right now might work better toward drug use and abuse, lower our costs and enhance our liberty a little without hurting others.    Any ideas?

Full legalization of even just pot will quickly make it a government controlled, heavily sin-taxed business in this climate, still in need of an underworld market, with crime enforced territories and distribution.  (That is why I favor limited decriminalization instead.)  If we had a coherent Supreme COurt, what is grown and consumed personally on your own property without harming others would already be a protected activity. We already have taxation before legalization in our state (and 18 other states): "Minnesota assesses a tax of $3.50 per gram ($100 per ounce, $1600 per pound) of marijuana. Though the law is largely unobserved by marijuana purchasers (do ya think?), failure to comply could result in additional fines of up to $14,000 and jail time of up to seven years. Ultimately, the stamp law allows for the additional charge of tax evasion to be assessed to individuals purchasing marijuana." http://www.ehow.com/list_7289139_minnesota-marijuana-laws.html  I'm sure 'legalized' drug traffickers won't forget to buy and affix the stamp and avoid the 7 year imprisonment.

We need in my opinion legalization of things like lemonade stands before legalizing of the hardest narcotics.  Also I don't see how the pharmacy industry continues in a libertarian scheme where we are all empowered to buy and sell all product, OxyContin for example.  Legalization of the most dangerous drugs simply isn't going to happen at this point, though the discussion is interesting. Rightsizing penalties and reassigning some law enforcement priorities seems more realistic to me.

I see the point that laws against drugs drive up the price and drive up the crime to protect those profits but I don't believe that under so-called legalization our all-controlling government will actually allow the price to fall below current market price and be readily available.  I also don't that people willing to murder over drug issues will then move into productive work (accountants and school teachers?) with any realistic law change.
4281  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 15, 2011, 03:01:58 PM
"The only reason I brought up the national sales tax idea was to get the freeloaders to start to contribute."

Doc, Please be careful about mentioning new taxes out loud.  There is a very old song by Pink Floyd called 'Careful with that Axe Eugene'.  I am looking for the emoticon to symbolize that 8 minute scream for my reaction to giving congress one more way to tax us. 

Remember we don't need to persuade every militant free loader, just pick up a certain number who care about the future of the country and the future of their own children and grandchildren. We need to get the policies right, get them sold and passed and bring in the results.  We need a candidate stronger and more consistent than McCain, while Dems seem stuck with the one who has already failed, flip flopped and floundered, not to mention disengaged from the job.  Obama as an empty canvas won by 7 points in a total Dem year.  Many of those latched on to the excitement, not the agenda.  Those 7 points are gone.  Now only 35% support Obamacare and Gallup today has Obama at 41%, that is before his big fall IMO.  Everyone by now knows that you don't raise taxes in a recession.  But when you keep bringing the tax hikes forward, you just get perpetual recession/stagnation as investors keep seeing that prospect and uncertainty.  The opponents magic is gone.  As you suggest, this will be a right vs. left campaign with both sides fighting to convince the middle of where the answers lie.  One side said big government stimulus and control is the answer and they failed.  I say the answer is (competent) limited government with pro-growth policies aimed at growing the private sector. (With specifics, not yadda yadda!)  I am more worried about getting the agenda right than winning at this point.  Winning will come if we deserve it, but governing after victory is the real question.  The excitement needs to shift from welfare rights, equalization and activism to the expanding job and business opportunities presented with a high growth economy.  Accomplish that and enough frustrated centrists will jump on board.

I still say they cannot make incomes look stagnant in a high growth economy without distorting what they measure and report.  Answering the negative is okay for a moment but off-message in the fight to move forward.  Designing a high growth system that micro-manages outcomes simply is not going to happen and slow to medium growth means the debt elephant dominates us forever or until full collapse and default.

Politics goes in pendulum swings.  ACORN activism and redistribution sold because people took growth and prosperity for granted before we ever fully achieved it.  Now people can see that stagnation sucks, and fighting over the shares of a fixed or declining pie will get us nowhere.
4282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 15, 2011, 12:08:08 PM
CCP ,  With you except in the idea of a national sales tax and the offshore comment.  Offshore or don't invest at all are options that come from making it lousy to invest here.  Look at the money going into gold.  What does that produce? Nothing.  The opposite of building plants, expanding and hiring - but it was the best investment of the Obama era.

"I do not want to tax the rich more at all.  They already pay the lion share."  - true.  They don't need to pay a higher rate, but they will pay more in total as they also grow their incomes.

"But we have to change the tax code."  - Yes! (Easier said than done.)

"No more loop holes."  - Corporate welfare should be combined with the other reforms of welfare and get a wider group to support reform.

"No more deductions" - No phony ones.  You still need to subtract real business expenses in order to calculate income.

"Get rid of the ridiculous cottage industry of tax lawyers and accountants who basically are siphoning off billions just because the tax codes are absurdly complicated, corrupt, and too much with the social engineering crap."  - YES!  Too much of our national brainpower and productive capacity is devoted to these government caused activities that produce nothing.

"We should have a national sales tax - even those who are poor will have to contribute to the Fed treasury.  Either a flat tax for all except maybe those in poverty."

  - Ryan proposed a two rate system, 10% up to a certain amount (I'm sure nothing at the low end) and 25% above that.  I would tweak that by starting with zero rate at zero income, ending at 25% cap and making rates continuously variable up to the cap.  Lower the rate at the cap and you lower everyone's rate.  Raise the rate at the cap and you raise everyone's rate. 

National sales tax is a non-starter for me.  You trust the feds with another huge way to tax us on everything?  I don't:

a) More taxes have not proven to close deficits.
b) Sales tax is regressive.  If we were willing to reduce progressivity (for the most part we aren't), a straight flat tax would set off tremendous growth.
c) replacing income taxes with consumption taxes requires a constitutional amendment repealing the income tax authority and that isn't politically possible.  If we could get 70+% of the people and representatives to agree on any responsible course of action we wouldn't have a problem.
d) A national sales tax would step on a main funding source of our bankrupt states - who will then turn to the Feds for their bailout.

We need a zero deficit at full employment, that necessarily means firsst we need to move toward full employment.  Full employment requires capital and labor.  The idea that we can fully employ labor while walking all over capital is socialist fallacy.  The idea that workers benefited from 5 year campaign against the rich and fighting disparity is exactly upside down.  The Pelosi-Obama agenda took Washington by storm in Nov. 2006, see 1/2007 on Obama BLS unemployment chart:

In the election of 2012, we will have one incumbent (presumably) running on the words of Wednesday's speech, which is to accuse, deny, blow hot air, and pledge to continue stomping out new investment, running against one ordinary, mortal Republican of medium charisma and experience proposing something on the order of the Ryan plan, and they will perhaps be joined by one famous egotistical independent (Trump? Bloomberg?) either confusing the choices or adding one, depending on your point of view.

Investors need a fair, competitive and CONSISTENT set of rules.  There is plenty of idle capacity dying to be set free in our economy (yadda, yadda  smiley ) None of this spending cut talk or revenue enhancement talk will get us anywhere with our engine missing on nearly all cylinders.
4283  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Inflation, & the US Dollar: re. gas prices up 40% this summer on: April 14, 2011, 08:53:16 PM
"Retail prices for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline will average $3.86 from April through September, up from $2.76 for the comparable period last year, said the Energy Information Administration, the statistics arm of the Department of Energy."

Elsewhere: "Feb 14, 2011 ... Obama seeks to raise DOE fiscal 2012 budget 12% to $29.5 billion"
-----
F^ckheads, excuse me, but I don't need a $30 billion agency to tell me gas price are going up.  Their job was supposed to be - DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Close the department.  Only the EPA with good cause or the local protection authorities should have the power to slow down production of America's energy.  Energy production should be allowed up to the amount that we are using.
4284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, & the US Dollar on: April 14, 2011, 12:21:44 PM
QE3 coming soon:  True, what choice do they have.  We spend more than we take in by 40%, ran out of buyers for new debt and just like the deepwater rig, we don't know how to turn off the spigot.  Interest rates stay artificially low because the monetary circle never gets completed.  We are calling something debt without finding a consenting lender. 
4285  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 14, 2011, 01:58:08 AM
JDN: "Tim Pawlenty is just fine; I would vote for him, but most wouldn't."

Reaching to the middle far enough to reach you is enough to win.  Any further and we lose direction, purpose and energy.  The middle always says we need the middle to win and we do, but frankly conservatives run better as principled than as Dem-lite type candidates.

The charisma issue gets judged over time and in context.  My opinion is that Obama lowered the bar by losing his.  Mere competence could defeat him along with a clearly articulated change in direction.

I see some positive in Huntsman, but I think we are discussing an empty canvas to paint our own picture on until he lays out where he stands on everything crucial.  Much of what was here on him was the wikipedia record mostly his own press accounts.  This would be a good time for him to announce and to face scrutiny like the others if he is running.  Maybe he stood up to Obama some behind the scenes and he stood up to the Chinese at least slightly while leaving that job.  Still I would ask if and how our relationship with China improved under his watch - I think it didn't.

Defeating Obama if it means (not aimed at you or any moderate candidate in particular) getting a spineless, uncommitted, unpredictable, unprincipled, poll following centrist is not any goal I intend to work hard for or care much about.  If failure is to be the result I would rather have voted against it.  Nothing short of a no apologies, pro-growth, comprehensive agenda is going to turn this ship round at this point in time IMHO.

We have defeating leftism previously only to fall into our own mediocrity and lose it all back.  Doing that again doesn't appeal to me at all.  How about we make the guy at the top of the ticket solid and competent and have the VP nominee be charismatic.  Govern wisely, communicate well and you could put a 16 year positive glide path in motion. 
4286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, The Obama Mess on: April 14, 2011, 12:59:02 AM
In my opinion GM is sugarcoating the Obama results (liberal media ?)  wink.  I contend that this bunch rode into power in Nov. 2006, not Jan. 2009.  That is the inflection point on the curve for all things economic; coincidentally, that is when power in Washington changed hands.  The difference involves trillions and trillions of dollars of additional damage.  The only thing that happened the last 2 years of Bush with the Pelosi-Obama congress that was not the liberals doing was the surge in Iraq, and that was the only thing that went right during that time.
4287  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dylan lyrics in China: Make a different set of rules...So much oppression on: April 13, 2011, 05:17:34 PM
Interesting read on a story about censorship in China, where Google was helping the Chinese censor and Hillary removed the section of her book that bragged about her confronting China about women's rights in order to sell her book in China.

Bob Dylan went through all the Chinese censors screening his work to play there last week and still slipped through some protest messages according to this story,
http://www.getreligion.org/2011/04/dylan-works-around-chinas-bosses/ Opening with these words:
Gonna change my way of thinking, make myself a different set of rules
Gonna put my good foot forward, and stop being influenced by fools.
So much oppression, can’t keep track of it no more...
4288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues: Texas at 85 MPG? on: April 13, 2011, 04:32:47 PM
First note that the previous post in this thread by BBG slipped by without  discussion -how to get conservatives and libertarians more on the same page, at least on the empirical side of things.  That point deserves serious follow up...
----

Speed of vehicles costs lives in a crash, but so does the same government mandating smaller vehicles, so I stick this under libertarian issues.  (High speed rail and light rail and going out to get the mail also cost lives.)  Two complaints with the journalism here (WSJ), they include an crowded urban freeway photo with the proposal does not apply to urban freeways.  Second, it takes them until the end to admit their NY journalism from afar viewpoint and admit what the drivers there already know, have you seen how far apart things are in Texas - with flat, empty roads?

http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2011/04/12/texas-at-85-mph-would-it-cause-more-deaths/
Texas At 85 MPH: Would It Cause More Deaths?   - WSJ 4/12/2011

Texas is in the process of possibly raising its speed limit from 80 to 85 miles per hour on certain stretches of highway. The move, if approved by the state senate (it already passed the Texas House), would give the Lone Star State the highest speed limit in the U.S.

A spokeswoman with the Texas Department of Transportation said the change probably wouldn’t come quickly, in part because of an amendment in the bill that says the higher limit will apply only to new road construction. Then again, the vast state currently has about 3,000 miles of road under construction, more than 600 of which is interstate highway.

Still, it is hard to say how many miles of 85-mph driving will eventually emerge from the political process. Whatever the amount, safety groups say it will almost certainly lead to more fatal car wrecks.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says there is historical link between higher speed limits and rising highway fatality rates. The safety-research group, which is funded by the insurance industry, says its studies have shown that deaths on rural interstates increased 25-30 percent when states began increasing speed limits from 55 to 65 mph in 1987. In 1989, about two-thirds of this increase — 19 percent, or 400 deaths — was attributed to increased speed, the rest to increased travel, the Insurance Institute says.

The group says a 1999 study of the effects of the 1995 repeal of the national maximum speed limit suggests the trend continued. A 2009 study of the long-term effects of the 1995 speed-limit repeal found a 3 percent increase in road fatalities attributable to higher speed limits on all road types, with the highest increase of 9 percent on rural interstates. In all, an estimated 12,545 deaths were attributed to increased speed limits in the U.S. from 1995 to 2005.

Of course, if you have ever driven across Texas, you may be torn over this debate even if you consider yourself a stickler for safety. Driving the state’s vast expanses of arrow-straight rural highways where other cars appear only occasionally, one can quickly come to appreciate the ability to cruise along between 80 and 90 mph without much risk of a ticket.
4289  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions, Opting Out of Unionization on: April 13, 2011, 03:52:35 PM
Easy to see now why certain partisans were up in arms about worker choice.

Right to assemble, speak freely, even negotiate as a group is fundamental, but so is the right of another person to work without joining and the employer's right to hire anyone qualified who wants the job with market wage and benefits.

I continue to assert that the evil capitalist in the case of a public union is the 'consent of the governed'.  When someone explains to me how the right to be overpaid and under-worked rises above consent of the governed I will consider changing my view.
4290  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: April 13, 2011, 03:29:27 PM
"if we can only get some decent mouthpieces to convince just enough of the 50% who pay no Fed income tax to go along with this"

You appeal to them through their children, not through their current status, the key is income mobility.  In the inner city some people grow up believing we are welfare, we will always be welfare people.  You never win their vote unless they change their outlook.  Turns out the party of welfare didn't have much of a solution for them either.  With the few Hispanic immigrants for example that I have gotten to know, they are beaming with pride in their children.  You need to ask them if their children will likely be pulling the wagon or riding on it.  Will they be producers or dependents of all this mess that won't even be there for them anyway if we keep going like this.  It was free money only as long as somebody else paid for it.  No one is paying for it all now.  This is not free money for you if your own children and grandchildren are the ones left holding the tab.

There is an optimism (missing) that goes with getting this country going again.  Conversely there needs to be a shame put on accepting the status quo and letting everything we believed in and worked for go down the drain on our watch.
4291  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 13, 2011, 03:09:28 PM
"If I was a Republican I would be disappointed in my choices..."
"If I was someone who voted for Obama, i'd be very embarrassed in my choice."
-----
Isn't this where we are every 4 years? Review the Dems first: I say it goes back to 1984 when they picked a seasoned party leader, former VP with plenty of experience and credentials - Walter Mondale.  He lost 49 states.  In 1988 they called them the 7 dwarfs but really all since have been political dwarfs: Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry and Obama.  Bush Sr was a senior statesman equal to Mondale (and a mediocre President), but since then on the Rs, Dole was no leader and W. Bush can go in with that group of Dems.  McCain was a maverick, not a leader.  JDN, we aren't choosing superstars on either side, and vice versa, the superstars aren't choosing this rotten profession that we have made it.

I like the timing of this comment, "2012 will be here sooner than you think".  Agree!  You pointed out Huntsman.  Is he the savior of the movement (is he even in the movement?) or who, out of 300 million people, should it be, before our choices are down to one or two?  Before we narrow the list, we need to expand and make sure we didn't miss the best choice.  Note the excitement on the board every time a new face becomes a possibility: Rubio, West, Cain... Trump?

One problem with JDN as the judge our choices  smiley is that I'm not sure you share the goals of the movement.  That is for you to decide.  There are people we want to persuade and there are people we want to defeat.  One suggestion is that if you lean more to the center than others here you have both sides to pick from.  I recently listed a pack of qualified Dems more moderate and experienced than Obama, mostly retiring senators.  Who do YOU think should be President in Jan 2013?  Wouldn't it be great if both sides picked someone where I could say wow, that candidate would make a great President. Highly unlikely.

What are the qualities required, what are the top 3-5 issues and what are the direction on those issues that we need to turn?

For me:
1) Security, that means peace through strength, not necessarily firing a lot of missiles but allies and enemies all have a clear idea about where we stand.  Also means securing our own border.

2) Grow the damn economy, which means the private economy, which means abandon the petty little games being played with the tax code and regulatory schemes and pretending the bloated bureaucracy can micromanage every aspect of the private economy.  Let freedom ring like we've never seen.  Healthcare, entitlements, energy and budget/debt issues fit in here.

3) Appoint Justices who will cherish and protect our founding principles.

Is that too much to ask?

I would like to actually see these potential candidates come out with mutually signed letters of agreement on positions and issues instead of looking for differences.  Groups of economists or environmental scientists do this from time to time.  Let's get clarity and agreement on the agenda and then see who is best fit to lead, articulate it and .

JDN, I came out with support for Tim Pawlenty.  What is your 'disappointment' with him? Not flashy enough? Too small a state? Too right, too left, too center? Two term governorship, considered for VP and preparing for the Presidency best he knows how for at least 4 years, is that not good enough preparation (compared with first term partial term Senator with one failed term as President for the incumbent)?

Just like Dems didn't have anyone with executive experience on a national level at most points in our life, R's by definition don't have anyone not tied to Bush that has served anything significant in the executive branch over the past two decades.  If we are trying to head in a new direction, why would we want the senior leadership that led us in the old direction?  You say lousy choices, I say learn everything we can and pick one.  It isn't going to be the incumbent.

4292  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Government on: April 13, 2011, 10:01:47 AM
Crafty, No doubt BD is correct, but this episode was about politics IMO.  The Senate and the Executive were openly admitting (taunting) that the House had the power to shut the government down.  I agree with your take that it would be the bigger spenders not accepting the lower levels of funding that would be the ones shutting the government down, but perceptions are what count politically.   

There is valid conservative outrage that these cuts are 1% of a year budget (2% of the remaining half year).  But shutting down over a margin of another 1% is still a capital punishment equivalent for table scraps / rounding errors.  In other words, this wasn't the budget war, these are warm up skirmishes.  If republicans were ready and if the people were ready, we could could shut it down over the principle of spending only what we are taking in - a trillion dollar immediate cut.  What principle is involved holding at 3.79 instead of 3.81 when the right number is something like 2.6, all in trillions.   In reality you phase things out over time and need to bring the electorate with you.  This is a multi-election war and we don't even have a spokesman.

Better timing is at the debt limit vote, but it won't happen there either.  Obama and Hoyer are scrambling to apologize for past irresponsible votes where they refused to raise it previously because of not liking the President and for political gain, when in fact they wanted to run deficits 10 times as large and now need support for that.

All parties seem scared to death at the thought of being perceived as irresponsible, as they continue to govern in the most irresponsible way imaginable.

Tonight the President will try to shift the message back to tax the rich.  But if you taxed the rich at the 100% rate you would not begin to close this gap, nor would you grow the economy or put people back to work.
4293  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: April 12, 2011, 12:54:43 PM
CCP, Very funny. They ran into that brick wall of socialism, eventually you run out of other people's money.  (m. thatcher)
4294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: April 12, 2011, 12:46:52 PM
"I hear you and don't disagree.  Yet most Americans might."

IMO we aren't trying to cut out another trillion (root canal politics) to close trillion dollar gap.  We only need to cap, freeze and control spending.  You close the gap by growing the economy full speed ahead and that is the supply side.  You raise 1 trillion by growing by 5 trillion.  You can't grow $5 trillion while fretting disparity and micromanaging it.  As you say, the laws need to apply evenly.  Someone needs to point out that opportunity for everyone expands in a robust economy.  As JFK put it: a rising tide lifts all boats.
4295  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: April 12, 2011, 11:39:23 AM
"What role the absence of economic opportunity?  And why is it absent?"

"Depends on the location of the reservation. Many are very rural, and often were placed in locations where the land was seen as having little or no value."
--------

Reservations around here have some extremely beautiful and valuable lands AND they are rural, isolated away from the economic centers - so they are mostly blighted and dependent on either the government or dependent on the check from the tribe if they are lucky enough to be a member of one of the few that make a fortune in gambling.  There was an opportunity missed to build, sell and develop vacation properties in just parts of these beautiful lakes and forests for huge sums, if they were so inclined.  They were not. Could have employed everyone available and put the proceeds into other properties and wider growth businesses.  That just isn't their culture.

Time on their hands is one factor (alcohol and drug problems), but heredity/genetics plays a role too.   Also, everyone has a different propensity to become alcoholic or other addiction/abuse.  The higher your family history, the more one needs to shy away from it.  Point in this debate I think is that passing a law against it, alone, doesn't stop it.
----

GM,  Thank you for the post about the meth houses.  That is an amazing property crime to inflict that type of environmental damage to a property, a total loss in cases, huge, huge financial damage to the landlord who may have done nothing wrong.  Now a legal requirement for disclosure (state law), you may never be able to sell the house again without a full teardown, and that would require the cost of environmental hazardous waste disposal, which is probably higher than land value.  So it will just sit there.  If you legalize the meth we are still looking at the felony level arson IMO equal to firebombing the house, and restitution in any deal should include reimbursement of the whole cost.  Or as MPD (Mpls) says to felony level property damage, 'sounds like you just have a landlord-tenant issue there'.
4296  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: April 11, 2011, 09:33:38 PM
"But we cannot have governments offering breaks to some and not others.  That is discrimination and unfair."

Thank you for that CCP!  That is the central point of my objections to our entire 'targeted' tax and spend system.  Lower the rates until you don't need exemptions.  Nothing is a mandate that requires a thousand organizations exempt.  Lower the burden to the point that you would apply it to anyone, even yourself.  Stop trying to keep everyone else for driving when you golf with a ten SUV motorcade.


An attempt, CCP, at answering your point about our opponents' spending/wealth transfer and disparity arguments:  

Economic freedom, like democracy appears ugly as you look too closely at it.  People bought pet rocks with their prosperity and someone got rich off of it.  People on wall street appear to sit, appear to make a few phone calls and investments and make absurd amounts.)  It is just better than all the alternatives where nobody makes any money or serious production or innovation.

People should note that the Republicans of 2012 like Paul Ryan are not proposing an unregulated, untaxed, undistributed private economy.  They are proposing 3.5 trillion a year of federal moving of money around instead of 3.8 or so and rising more rapidly.  R's actually are proposing to make the welfare state permanent and sustainable instead of headed off the cliff.


When a company like Walmart finds a better way of doing things, there is an economic shift and dislocation.  No one small can compete with head-on with a company that large, like an auto maker, but anyone who wants to can put any part of their savings into publicly traded shares of a retailer or automaker or start a business that benefits from having a major retail outlet in town.  Michael Moore in the movie 'Roger and Me' documented how GM had provided all paychecks to all these family members in Flint Michigan for all these generations and implyied that should go on forever.  But GM was building lousy cars that people didn't want and labor was part of the problem.  People needed to figure out quickly something else they can do that adds value to the economy, just like others adapting people have learned to do for tens of thousands of years of economic survival.  The bigger and stronger the social programs, the longer that process takes and the more people learn instead to survive off of someone else.  Every law, regulation, program and tax that I know of acts to slow or prevent the process of the transition that needs to happen like innovating, changing, to provide for your family.

Retail selling of ordinary household goods to compete with Walmart is a lousy business these days.  But what is supposed to be our reaction to that? Prohibit and limit the Walmarts or prop up competitors with failed programs that fight against market forces?  Pay people to not work?  That's not facetious, we are doing these things all over the place.  What is the failed result?  People are slower to respond to changing circumstances, or never do.  The programs ultimately hurt the 'beneficiary' of the program (IMHO), besides hurting all the other businesses and producers with the tax burden.

Show me a persuasive argument about the dangers of disparity in a growing economy and I will show you flawed and deceptive analysis.  Income mobility is the answer.  At different points in your life it goes income moves in different directions.  

Dems, as you suggest, will point back at disparity questions during the good times past, characterized with false analysis, but those times were far better than what has happened since.  They need to also answer to their own failed results.  Certainly no one can say we are better off since Nov. 2006/Jan. 2007 when Pelosi Reid Obama won and took the power and majorities in Washington.  The disparity challenges during 50 consecutive months of job growth during Bush (that ended with the Dem, elections) or during a quarter century since Reagan pale in comparison IMO to the fact of doubling unemployment, the foreclosure mess, $5 gasoline, bankrupt states, etc.  They are going to run on THAT record and at some point they will look petty and hopeless as they still blame Bush.

As far as this thread goes, greater government spending has not been the solution to any of our problems.  Disparity was 'improved' with the tens of trillions in destruction in wealth.  How did that help working people on a budget?
4297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: April 11, 2011, 02:39:38 PM
More and more data is coming in from Japan, most of it is bad news except that in this real world, worst case scenario, the deaths outside of the plant I think are still at zero and the health risks outside the plant seem to be smaller than publicized, we will see.

Crafty made a good point about distrusting the engineers.  That thought reminds me of driving across the interstate bridge that fell into the Mississippi River a few years ago, a couple of hours before it fell - and driving across it since.  There are other routes except those face the same risks. Driving across now brings that same feeling a new or infrequent flier gets sitting aboard a jetliner before takeoff.  Logically when you fly, you don't say it is risk-free, you tell yourself this is safer than driving.  As you  forget about the danger, you hope the mechanics haven't.  Nuclear power after the worst of the worst scenarios keeps proving itself cleaner and safer than all the alternatives.

A couple of articles in the news addressing some of the radiation coverage stories since the earthquake:

http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/miller11/English
Interesting discussion of the health risks by a Stanford fellow, addressing claims that very low level exposures actually make one more resistant to cancer, while high exposures most certainly cause cancer, he concludes: "stay tuned, learn from the experts, and don’t jump to conclusions.
----

Second article (my first citation to the LA Times?) is written by a global warming author.  He concludes that each closed nuclear plant adds 11 million tons of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere and closing all of them will add one degree Celsius man made global warming in one century to the two degrees he alleges we would have otherwise.  I am skeptical of his math, but coal plants powering cities like Tokyo or the economies of are extremely large scale (and unnecessary?) emitters.  There is no easier, safer, larger way to reduce emissions than to expand not contract our reliance on nuclear power. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-lynas-nukes-20110410,0,3424093.story

Part of my global warming skepticism comes from my belief that we will innovate and discover our way out of excess emissions with or without excessive regulations in a blip of time in the context of the planet.  After this horrific catastrophe, I think we will know how to built a reactor to withstand an earthquake a hundred times more powerful than the one that dropped the Bay Bridge, we will hopefully know not to build them in bad earthquake zones and we will know better from experience how to do an emergency cool down and evacuation if that ever again becomes necessary.  That makes the cleanest, safest source far more safe than it was before.  OTOH, if our reaction to the tragedy is zero acceptance of radiation risk, then the production of energy will necessarily be for more deadly and the predictions of the alarmists (to the tune of a hundred billion tons of CO2 per century) contain slightly more truth.
4298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues Constitutional Law: Kagan dissent on school choice on: April 11, 2011, 09:33:46 AM
In the Kennedy opinion I found this explanation:

"Like contributions that lead to charitable tax deductions, contributions yielding STO tax credits are not owed to the State and, in fact, pass directly from taxpayers to private organizations. Respondents’ contrary position assumes that income should be treated as if it were government property even if it has not come into the tax collector’s hands. That premise finds no basis in standing jurisprudence."
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-987.pdf

NY Times: "Justice Kennedy, in an opinion clearly intended to overturn legal precedent..."
But Scalia wrote exactly that and Kennedy did not sign on with him:  "Flast is an anomaly in our jurisprudence, irreconcilable with the Article III restrictions on federal judicial power that our opinions have established. I would repudiate that misguided decision and enforce the Constitution.


Kagan: In five cases where taxpayers challenged tax expenditures, the court has dealt with the merits “without questioning the plaintiffs’ standing.”

Yet in Hein 2007: "It has long been established, however, that the payment of taxes is generally not enough to establish standing..."
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/06-157.ZO.html


The first sentence from the NY Times makes me wonder if the editorialists all went to Hogwarts; they think school choice means the school chooses the student.  "...state funds, most of it to schools choosing students on the basis of religion".


I recall looking up that the despicable Phelps church celebrating fallen soldiers pays zero property taxes, a state/local tax credit of sorts?


On the merits, it seems to me that accreditation should be the question, not the money.  If the state accepts the quality of the education, allows choice, and takes the responsibility of paying for K-12, has measured the cost to educate one child for one year separate from religious training, and wants that money to go with the student to the school chosen, where is the problem?  

A bit of a stretch to say that a program constitutes establishment if it treats all religions along with no religion at all exactly the same under the law, all are eligible for the exact same benefits of the same program.  Sounds more like establishment to me if they required all kids to go to the state school system for a different kind of indoctrination and teach things reprehensible to my religious beliefs.  
4299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: April 09, 2011, 10:57:47 PM
Mark Steyn has it right on the money.  How do you go about spending 4 trillion a year when you're already 14 trillion behind - just throwing money around, not pay for 40% of it, not be able to even borrow that part anymore, just print 70% of what you were pretending to borrow, devaluing what is already borrowed - and owned, propose continuing these trends out forever - only to get worse, and look us in the eye and say crisis? What crisis? Then they criticize Glen Beck and the tea party for getting all negative about it.  Good grief.

BTW, isn't "death trap for seniors" for a third of a french fry from the head of the DNC a little further over the top than anything about calling end of life consultations death panels? I am shocked at the lack of outrage.
4300  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH Gail Collins vs. Donald Trump on: April 09, 2011, 03:38:32 PM
She gets a couple of things wrong.  When Obama's popularity fell and when Donald joined the fray, being a birther moved from the fringe slightly back to the conversation.  Also now that the fight against Obama is engaged on all the real issues, the 'birther' question is a distraction for him not his opponents.  Trump isn't even a candidate much less running for the wrong reasons.

Collins starts with the Kenya story.  Fine.  But she gives it credibility by bringing it up again - in the NY Times!  Stanley Ann never went to Kenya, she never had a relationship with Barack Sr. IMO but that story sits out there stewing because Barack Obama decided to spend $2 million dollars in legal fees instead of tell us whatever the true story is about his origins.

The accusation about Ayers writing the first book is very likely true.  Collins can scoff at that but scholars have loked at sotry lines and wording comparisons - it makes perfect sense.  It isn't that it is the first autobiography to have a ghost writer, it is that his real story is still very much unknown, he is the the leader of the free world (actually Sarchozy currently holds that position) and totally missed by POTH thinking, Ayers is not just a writer - he is an admitted terrorist and (IMO) an enemy of the United States.  That is a small deal to leftist journalism but a firestorm that Obama has left still smoldering near the kindling pile.

Collins who I've never heard of doesn't understand media focus like Trump.  Obama was born in the U.S. but there is something false about his story and something he is intentionally covering.  Trump is attacking because the door was left open.  He makes it clear his reasons IF he runs are those other things, then continues the attack.

Obama will either have to clear this up or let it go on with his defenders getting mopre and more obscure.  If he clears it up, then someone like Trump will start asking for his college records, and his medical records.  He is an admitted coke addict, cigarette addict, if he was new to the scene and not owning the media, there are some other questions inquiring minds would want to know before trusting him with the 3am phone call.

This is hardball politics.  Obama got where he is knocking opponents off of ballots.  Giuliani had his troubles.  Edwards is in hiding.  Hillary survived felony level commodity non-tradings, Gingrich faces mean scrutiny, Huckabee pardoned a mass murderer, etc. Nixon gone, Reagan ended his Presidency under the cloud of a controversy.  Cheney lost all power after he shot the lawyer.  The exception was for Obama to get a free pass, but the rule at that level is strict scrutiny.  He wasn't born in Kenya but he will have to start answering some questions or keep facing the music.

If he prefers a more private life, I prefer that for him as well.

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