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4301  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, Racism in the Wisconsin teachers union mob? on: February 19, 2011, 12:24:22 PM
First a comment on the previous. "CBS...sat on their own story. For five days, as reporters reveled amid giddy celebrations in Tahrir Square..."

 - That I think is how Matt Drudge got his start; he had insiders tell him the stories networks were holding.
-----
We heard ad nauseum the tea party rallies were racist because attendees were predominantly white.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028403.php

in no MSM coverage I have seen is there ANY note that the crowd is "predominantly white".... Why is that?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re6hcOmHpzs&feature=player_embedded
4302  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam and theocratic politics: Tunisia the microcosm on: February 19, 2011, 11:55:27 AM
Tunisian Microcosm
February 19, 2011 John Hinderacker  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028410.php

Yesterday a Catholic priest from Poland who taught at a school outside Tunis was first beaten and then beheaded, presumably by Muslims. Several thousand normal Tunisians turned out to protest against the murder. The T-shirts in the photo below say "Tunisia secular." The signs say "Tunisia for all" and "Terrorism is not Tunisian."


This is, in microcosm, the battle that is taking place across much of the Arab world.
4303  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: February 19, 2011, 09:00:28 AM
Thanks JDN. Good points.  The reference to those countries that I meant was that IF they were in the same situation, with 10 or 12  countries around them actively committed to their destruction, I would hope our foreign policy would have a focus on helping them.  Obviously we don't blindly support Israel, I think we condemned them this week for peaceful activities that offend people trying to destroy them.  People like you or Obama are not anti-semitic for disagreeing on specific policies.  We just rightfully argue the wisdom of our policies.

Obama wants to be even-handed to settle ancient differences.  I see that like wanting to be even handed with a rapist and a young woman walking down a street.

I drifted to Ron Paul because of previous points in the thread.  I think racism is a form of stupidity, and anti semitism loosely defined is a form of racism.  Ron Paul I would argue isn't stupid, (maybe unwise in some of his positions) certainly inattentive in what got posted on his site.  In the case of Hitler and today's dangerous movements, it may be more a form of empowering themselves by praying off of the stupidity of others.  In the Cairo crowd attacking the reporter, they were hollering 'Jew'.  They were wrong about her but still how other than stupidity would that justify what THEY were doing? No one here, nor Ron Paul nor our President nor any serious or intelligent person would believe that it did. 
4304  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: February 19, 2011, 01:01:37 AM
JDN,  I think CCP did not want to directly say that Jewish people in America are disproportionately successful. So I said it and you said it.  Of course that is not a bad thing but people with small minds resent other people's success.

Hopefully Ron Paul is old enough to stop running for anything and focus on pushing his best issue which is smaller government.  He was also at the forefront of 'end the Fed', a misguided, lost cause (IMHO) and in opposing foreign military operations.  I think he largely opposes our strong commitment to defending Israel for isolationist type non-interventionist reasons, not anti-semitism.  That is where conservatism and libertarianism split.  There is a moral case for defending Israel, freeing Iraq etc. and a strategic reason: Israel is on the front line of our fight.  If you disagree with the strategic reason, there is still a moral reason IMO. 

Attracted to Ron Paul's viewpoint to not defend Israel might be people with anti-semitism.  Like Reagan has said, if they endorse his view it doesn't mean he endorses theirs. 

Jewish people have a connection with defending Judaism in Israel, just like I want golf protected in Scotland (okay I'm bad with analogies).  Given the small proportion of Jews in America, I would explain the interest in defending of Israel by most of the rest of us differently.  We support and defend Israel because they are under attack. In other words the attackers chose the venue and the motive, not those of us defending them. If India or Japan today or Canada was under similar attack, I would hope our foreign policy would put the focus in those places.
4305  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gvmt spending, budget: Paul Ryan, Pro-Growth Case for Spending Cuts on: February 18, 2011, 10:24:55 AM
This was written before Obama's budget came out.  Rove covered that one above just right.  Obama projects wars out 10 years that he already committed to retreat from and then calls it a trillion dollar savings.  Then he locks in the temporary flood of emergency stimulus spending to eternity and calls it a domestic spending freeze, with trillion and a half dollar deficits.  Both claims make sense - if you own our language.

Ryan introduces reasonable cuts and explains the need.

Elsewhere today, Krugman argues that any cut in the waste and egregious excess of our trillion and a half dollar deficit spending will bring down this fragile American economy.

The correct answer of course is that we have proven the ability to collect about $2.5 trillion in federal revenues.  We should all agree then to limit spending to 2.5 trillion dollars in today's dollars and today's economy and argue only about how best to spend that money, not over how much.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/02/13/the_pro-growth_case_for_spending_cuts_108877.html

February 13, 2011
The Pro-Growth Case for Spending Cuts
By Rep. Paul Ryan

When House Republicans pledged to make cutting spending our top priority, we knew it wouldn't be easy. The President and his party remain committed to the notion that the best way to create jobs and prosperity is to raise your taxes, spend your money, and then borrow some more money and spend that.

After two years, all of this borrowing and spending has not only failed to deliver promised jobs, but also plunged us deeper into debt. The problem is simple: Many families and businesses look at the size of our debt and the state of our economy and fear that we are heading for a diminished future.

If America can't pay its debts, then people, institutions and other nations will stop lending us money, or they will demand such a high rate of interest that our government will be effectively cut off from future borrowing. At that point, spiraling interest rates would force painful tax increases and steep, sudden cuts to vital national priorities.

We can avoid this outcome, and we must.

Addressing the spending problem now is the key to restoring prosperity. Right now, businesses are holding back on hiring and investment, partly because they are worried that we are headed for a future of large tax hikes and interest-rate spikes. Washington's spending spree has fueled this uncertainty.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before the House Budget Committee this week that one of the best things Congress can do to get businesses hiring and the economy growing again is to demonstrate that we have a serious plan for tackling our fiscal problems.

Since being entrusted with the Majority only a month ago, we have been taking steps to do just that. One of our first official acts was to cut Congress's own budget by five percent. Next, we voted to cut trillions in future government spending by repealing the irresponsible new health care law. And when it comes to funding the government for the rest of this year, we are engaged in a debate that is refreshingly different by Washington standards. We are debating, not whether to cut spending, but how much spending to cut.

In these debates, we started with a simple goal: reduce the budgets for most government agencies back to where they were before the bailouts, before the stimulus package, and before the spending binge. Over the last two years, many federal bureaucracies received budget increases of 30 percent, 40 percent, or - in one case -100 percent. The numbers grow even larger when the failed stimulus is added in.

Our spending cuts are critical first steps to earn back the trust of a skeptical public - a skepticism that is surely justified. More must be done to restore confidence to a private sector that will remain cautious until it is convinced that we are serious about controlling spending. As House Budget Committee chairman, it will be my job to help chart a new course: a path to prosperity.

Our forthcoming budget is our obligation to you - to show you how we intend to do things differently. We're going to cut spending to get the debt down, help create jobs and prosperity, and reform government programs. We owe you an honest debate about our biggest fiscal challenges. If we act soon, and if we act responsibly, we can gradually phase in reforms to our major entitlement programs to save them from bankruptcy and ensure that people in and near retirement will be protected.

It appears President Obama will present a very different vision in the coming days - and in my view, one that takes the nation even further in the wrong direction. And he recently asked Congress to raise the debt limit to accommodate all of the spending and borrowing that he and his party have already committed us to. But the debt crisis that is currently crippling Europe teaches us that we cannot keep making unaffordable promises without eventually hitting a real debt limit - a limit on our borrowing imposed by credit markets in a state of panic.

We must act responsibly and send a clear message: Endless borrowing is not a strategy. Spending restraint must come first. It won't be easy, but America is an exceptional nation, and Americans have risen to greater challenges and prevailed in the past. To restore prosperity today, leaders must rise to the occasion and demonstrate to families and entrepreneurs that they need no longer fear for tomorrow. Until we accomplish that, our work will not be done.

Paul Ryan represents Wisconsin's First Congressional District and serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee.
4306  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation: 'Biflation' Bernanke, WSJ on: February 18, 2011, 09:52:02 AM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703843004576140762706032294.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_personalfinance

'Biflation' Bernanke

By AL LEWIS         * FEBRUARY 13, 2011

Ben Bernanke remarked last week on one of the few things that is still made here in America.

"Inflation made here in the U.S. is very, very low," the Federal Reserve chairman told Congress on Wednesday.

"Over the 12 months ending in December, prices for all the goods and services consumed by households increased by only 1.2%," he said.

Around the globe, people are rioting in the streets because of skyrocketing food prices. Health-care costs in the U.S. rise annually by double digits. College, insurance, utilities, the fees bailed-out banks charge their customers, various taxes from nearly bankrupt states and municipalities, basic commodities from pork bellies to gold, and, oh, gasoline -- all of this keeps going up.

But don't worry, Mr. Bernanke swears inflation -- at least as the U.S. government measures it -- will remain low because wages are stagnant. See, there's no need to worry about rising prices, because you're not getting a raise.

On the day Mr. Bernanke spoke, The Wall Street Journal's lead headline read "Inflation Worries Spread." But the story was about rampant inflation in other countries.

Mr. Bernanke swore this inflation would not spread here. But then Mr. Bernanke once predicted the subprime mortgage mess would not spread, either. I swear, if he shaved off his white beard, he would not look like an economist at all.

Mr. Bernanke defended the unprecedented actions he has taken to save us from the economic calamity he helped cause. Holding interest rates at zero to prop up the stock market, and buying up Treasurys and worthless paper from banks, seems to be working for now. But what price will we pay when the next bubble pops?

Republicans gave Mr. Bernanke a pretty hard time, challenging his boast that as soon as higher inflation inevitably rears its head, he'll guillotine it with a gentle pull of his interest-rate lever.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), deploying a common Dairy State analogy, said he didn't think the Fed would even notice inflation until "the cow is out of the barn." But it's difficult to believe Mr. Bernanke would ever let a cow out of the barn without first allowing the bankers to milk it dry.

To Mr. Bernanke's point, though, plenty of things have either fallen in price or stayed flat to keep consumer prices from spiking: furniture, appliances, electronics, automobiles and stuff you find at all those going-out-of-business sales.

"It's cheaper to buy a new home today," notes Charles Farrell, author of "Your Money Ratio: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security" and a principal at Northstar Investment Advisors in Denver. "You could benefit from that...if you could sell your old home."

Yeah, if.

A new form of inflation is increasingly described in the blogosphere. It better explains the pricing paradox Mr. Bernanke has failed to embrace.

It's called "biflation."

Everything you already own -- a house, a car, a stock portfolio -- has rapidly declined in value. Everything you actually need to buy -- food, gasoline, medicine, education -- is going up.

Biflation is apparently what happens when the Fed creates trillions of new dollars out of nothing, but mostly just gives it to the banks.
4307  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: February 18, 2011, 09:44:47 AM
More money chasing fewer companies.  The reversing of expansionary monetary policies is a certainty, we just don't know when.  The revitalization of entrepreneurial capitalism is uncertain and unlikely (?)

Do people remember when markets always contracted on inflation news.  Not because of inflation but because of the expectation/fear of the Feds reaction to it.  For the time being, that check and balance is gone.  The longer they wait to respond, the more severe the correction will need to be.
4308  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: Disparity agenda rears its ugly head again on: February 17, 2011, 12:18:36 PM
JDN, Thanks for sharing. IMO that is the worst kind of economic journalism that I know of.  They throw a very limited amount of economic generalizations out there - with partial true, to see how many false inferences they can get the reader to make.  Since they make no economic study themselves, they really just are a reader who also fell for false inferences off of someone else's distorted study.  I have written extensively about this in the past and will be happy to take it up again (but not today). 

A few quick observations:

When they say one group is "stuck in neutral", what percentage of their readers stop to think on their own that is not 'a group' but an ever changing composition where the vast majority have extreme income mobility?  http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/hp673.htm   http://www.house.gov/jec/middle/mobility/mobility.htm  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117988547410811664.html

When they say that one other group benefited more (the rich), I wonder how many draw the intended inference that group was taking winnings that otherwise would have gone to the middle class?  Total falsehood, just not explicitly stated in the article.  Imagine the plunge the middle class would  take if not for the risk investment made by others.  See Republic of the Congo for one example. Instead it is inferred that the middle class are perfectly justified in taking up "warfare" against those who are more productive in this economy than themselves.  Or did I read that wrong?

Here's one of my favorite of the loser arguments: "the wealthiest people continue to eclipse their middle-class counterparts."

If an economic study were to link income to height, weight, age, religion, race, hair color, eye color, marital status or left handedness to income - that would be newsworthy. Instead the disparity alarmists link income disparity to people making more money - am I the only one to see a redundancy in that?  Teams that score more goals than their opponents are winning the most games, the best fighters keep winning fights, it is wettest out on rainy days...

They compare group to group over an extended time period but don't ever disclose that the results measured later are NOT the people from the original group, no matter what time frame is chosen.

In America, no one is branded middle class or any other class.  You can join any class you want to and people do exactly that every day.  You can also move BACKWARDS in income as you enjoy some of your previous years' accomplishments.

Questions: How can we manage or minimize disparity while maximizes wealth creation, revenues to the Treasury, economic growth employment, etc.?  We can't.  Reminds me of the Fed dual mission.  We need to encourage money making, open up opportunities, prohibit unfair roadblocks, and let people run with it.

What is the correct or optimum level of disparity? Zero? Some reasonable multiple between richest and poorest?  High growth requires high disparity.  Do the disparity alarmists oppose high growth?  In many cases, yes.

Where in the following did God get it wrong regarding disparity and class warfare- (King James version) Deuteronomy 5:21: Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any [thing] that [is] thy neighbour's.
4309  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Reagan recovery growth averaged 7.7% for 6 quarters on: February 16, 2011, 11:40:52 AM
Just for a yardstick of comparison, the economic growth rate during "Reagan's first six recovery quarters: real GDP averaged 7.7 percent annually."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/02/13/reality_check_on_obamas_economic_policies.html

3-4% growth would be normal if we weren't digging out of a hole.

0-2.5% growth is the kind that keeps you in a hole. Negative growth coming out of a bad spell is probably no time to call yourself The Gipper.
4310  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: February 15, 2011, 06:45:08 PM
"Common Cause maintains that Justice Thomas should have disqualified himself from last year’s landmark campaign finance ruling in the Citizens United case, partly because of his ties to the Koch brothers."

Maybe bigdog can elaborate but I think recusal on the highest court is largely a personal decision. The way to put pressure on Thomas would be for Elena Kagan to recuse herself from review of all policies she helped advise, write and enact, like healthcare, which is not likely to happen.  If Thomas took expense money or money for a speech, I still don't think his is a vote that can be bought.  I doubt Common Cause thinks so either. 

I wonder if this public interest group will push NASA's Hansen for disclosure of monies he received for his work on 'An Inconvenient Truth' or is just selectively offended.  Common Cause: "Nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen's lobbying organization promoting open, honest and accountable government."
4311  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 15, 2011, 06:19:25 PM
Crafty: "interesting circles"

More interesting of course if not for him being banned by law from ever saying anything at all about a publicly traded company.  It is a great story. Thanks for having a place to share it.  They were a rumored takeover target for 2 years.

The anti-capitalists will say that his share is more than anyone deserves, but what the economy needs is for him to do it again, this was this 3rd startup success, and for people everywhere to be inspired by success and give it a try.
4312  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential: Allen West on: February 15, 2011, 04:44:36 PM
JDN: "...waiting to hear why his "experience" qualifies him to be President?"

I answered that from my point of view and I would like to elaborate on my answer. First though to help frame my answer, may I ask you what experience is required to be qualified?

George H.W. Bush was the resume President, served in congress, was Ambassador to China. Director of the CIA, Ambassador to the UN, served 2 terms as VP, you don't get much closer to CiC than that.  He won one landslide running for 'Reagan's 3rd term'.  Broke with Reagan policies and on his own he lost to the Governor of Arkansas.

The other with that level of experience was Walter Mondale, 1984.  He served in the army, was elected state attorney general, served 12 years in the senate in the Hubert Humphrey seat, was Vice President of the United States (later was Ambassador to Japan) lost all 49 states other than his home state in 1984, took Wellstone's place in 2002, lost his home state becoming the first and only person in history to lose in all 50 states.

Reagan was a large state governor two terms, W. Bush the same, Clinton a two term (non-continuous) smaller state governor and Carter a one term governor.

Saving Obama for the comparison with Allen West or whoever will run against him.
4313  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 15, 2011, 08:51:42 AM
My favorite economic quote of the last year was that our economy needs to generate x number of (many, many) new start up companies every year that grow to a billion dollars. While I was dithering about whether the economy would go up or down, my tennis partner founded, built from scratch a storage networks company and just announced the sale of his suburban Mpls company to Dell for 960 million.  Part of that economic story is that to build a data storage product for medium sized companies with success and have 140 million in the bank in this economy means that someone out there is making capital investments if you have a product that delivers what they need.
http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=40374%3adell-to-snap-up-compellent&catid=77
These stories are too few and far between, but I am grateful that it is still possible.
4314  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Allen West CPAC on: February 15, 2011, 08:31:05 AM
This video looks like it starts near the beginning of that speech.  The other one (removed)I think cut off with CSPAN near the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo60ZbyZrI0
4315  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 15, 2011, 12:21:33 AM
It is a little early but I am going to make my 2012 prediction right here, right now.

There will be fewer women fainting in the front rows of Obama rallies in 2012.  Mark my words, you heard it here first.    wink

------

Both West and Cain are amazing black conservatives.  Just from what I saw, West spoke out very strongly but with carefully chosen words that he can back up and stand by.  Cain has an amazing business background and a powerful presence at the podium.  Like others in talk radio though, he left himself with a headline less impressive than his speech: 'Cain says we are ruled by stupid people'.  That falls into the trap CCP describes, the media ready to chew up a very successful man on one inartful slogan.  It is our job to make the case that the opponents are wrong on their policies, not stupid.
4316  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending, Wesbury on: February 14, 2011, 11:58:55 PM
Always a worthwhile read.  Yes he is both an avid opponent of the Obama agenda and a predictor of modest growth.  I think just being honest in both cases.  I think he would tell you growth rates coming out of this type of hole should be 4, 5, 6% of more if we implemented bold, pro-growth policies.

"The last time spending grew more slowly than GDP was under President Clinton, when spending fell from over 22% of GDP in 1992 to 18.2% in 2000."

He goes on to give one valid contributor: "The end of the Cold War gave the US a peace dividend, which allowed for defense cuts."  (Put another way, gut intelligence and suffer unprecedented attacks)

Another partial explanation to keep in mind is that the end year 2000 was a bubble economy that was pierced during that year.  If you take a longer look and smoothed out the erratic data of the bubble and trough that followed, the change in that ratio would not be so dramatic.  A chart at this 2002 CBO link http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=3521&type=0 shows how that percentage worsens in 2001 just continuing the path of the same policies.  (Note also how wrong they are within a decade even though they had the confidence to forecast out 75 years.)
-----
We need IMO a budget amendment to cap federal spending at 20% of previous year GDP with a 2/3 supermajority required for every penny above that.  Tell Democrats and independents we just want to lock in the success of what worked for President Clinton.
4317  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 14, 2011, 11:19:07 PM
Ya,  Welcome!  That was a great post - very insightful thinking.   It is strange that the more people don't solve a problem, the more we are willing to pay.

I wonder why the reward for bin Laden doesn't work.  That is an example of at least trying to pay for results.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6898075.stm
4318  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: Time Magazine on: February 13, 2011, 08:17:51 PM
Crafty I don't know specifically what your beef was when you came down so hard on Time magazine recently (mindless liberal drivel?), but they have embarrassed themselves beyond belief on this one - falling for a Sarah Palin spoof and going to press without even clicking on the source, much less having someone listen to it.  The National Enquirer's coverage of John Edwards is Pulitzer material compared to this slop they call journalism.  Most of the past criticisms of what Palin has said came down to quotes of Tina Fey.  This one was a hoax marked COMEDY at the original source and Time bought it hook, line and sinker.  Dan Rather had higher standards.  The correction apologizes to the singer not the character they were trying to assassinate.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028356.php
4319  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, & the US Dollar on: February 13, 2011, 01:33:50 PM
"If I have my zeros correct, that is $200,000 per job?!?"

Even then, 3 million jobs saved meant unchanged 10.3% unemployment, so there is no multiple of $200,000 investments that would brings the rate down to 4-5% where it started.

I hate to one-up Bernanke but while he was saving 3 million jobs and record unemployment remained unchanged, I was helping to keep the sky blue and making sure the sun rose;I have similar proof of results.  Good grief.
4320  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 13, 2011, 01:22:46 PM
Not quite that simple, depends on which assets, when, and if indirectly on the hook has the same legal meaning as a direct guarantee.  A lot has changed since the fall 2008, huge amounts I believe, were brought in and directly guaranteed. Pose this to Scott G...
4321  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 13, 2011, 12:36:37 PM
Crafty: "Is the US government obligated as a matter of law to cover the FMs debts?"

IIRC, during the collapse of 2008 the answer to that question was 'no' for most of those assets as a strict, direct, legal obligation, but 'yes' as a practical matter that the full faith and credit of the USA was being used to sell the securities.  In other words the guarantee was with the GSE, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, but everyone knew that the GSE is the US Government.

That was then, I don't know what changes are in the latest 'financial reform' or other new laws.  My understanding is that from 90% of mortgages going through the federal government (citation needed for article authorizing that) we are moving toward 100%.
4322  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fed Monetary Policyr: Paul Ryan, Bernanke: QE2 will be reversed on: February 13, 2011, 11:55:30 AM
A couple key points:  Ryan has called for the end of the 'dual mission' (again, more famous people caught reading the forum).

Bernanke said: "Bernanke said a Federal Reserve study found that the QE policy has created or saved as many as 3 million jobs."  - Right out of the Krugman Obama school of economics.  A Nobel Prize coming?

(Next is inspired by Clapper calling the MB secular), Bernanke said that the QE policy did not represent “a permanent increase in the money supply,” calling it a “temporary measure that will be reversed.”

Either that statement is true and a relief to know we worried for no reason, or he should be tried (and hanged) for treason. I'm not seeing middle ground here.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/02/09/ryan-confronts-bernanke-over-feds-purchases-of-u-s-debt-raises-concerns-about-the-dollar/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbbhS8zPIOU
Warning, Federal Reserve hearings aren't like seeing Allen West speeches.
4323  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Allen West on: February 13, 2011, 11:49:08 AM
Wow. I will be happy to have him lead this country.  Sharing our values is one thing, but choose for President the one who best articulates them. 

On Meet the Press he was soft spoken and humble, so they showed a video of his passion at the rallies making a strong claim about the administration.  West calmly stood by what he said and gave specifics to demonstrate that it was true.

Allen West is President Obama's worst nightmare.  He won't walk into a Presidential debate unsure about what he believes or how to express it.  Let's see the one with the community background or ordinary Republicans question his experience or readiness to serve and to lead, 20 years in the U.S. Army he served in Operation Desert Storm, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, was battalion commander for the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, and in Afghanistan, where he trained Afghan officers to take on the responsibility of securing their own country.

2 Masters degrees I see, West is 'an avid distance runner, a PADI Master certified SCUBA diver, motorcyclist, ...His wife, Angela, holds an MBA and PhD. and works as a financial planner.'

So many points in the speech (the constitution is a restraining order is against big government) I hate to single any out, but West picked up the point that cash for clunkers is a symbol of our current, failed leadership (famous people read this forum).

Allen West, Take your own advice, "the time is now". Good leaders don't come around very often. 
4324  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Unemployment 10.3%, U6 almost 20% on: February 12, 2011, 08:14:33 PM
GM posts the Gallup data, unemployment at 10.3% and so-called U6 the larger measure at 19.7% and asks: "**Whom to believe?"

The government publishes two main measures, the unemployment rate from BLS and another figure measured completely differently the household survey from the Census Bureau.  The Gallup figure gives you a third source.

Serious answer on economic data is trust none of them precisely.  More practical is to use all of them for trends from previous measurements, commonalities, differences, being careful to know how they measure and what the weaknesses or flaws are.  A good opportunity to remember that all economic data is loaded with measurement errors.  Best follow up is to read economists you learn to trust who watch this closer than we do and see how they analyze what comes in.  On this board those have become Brian Wesbury and Scott Grannis who are honest about numbers published, separate from having their own take on the future.  Other sources of analysis: look at the Fed's own analysis or look to other economists.

Simple answer to unemployment numbers is that they are too damn high by more than two-fold;  tenths of a point are not significant.  U6 is an interesting measure including underemployment, or to measure by sub-group like black teenagers, or by state: MN is in the 6% range and ND is 3.5,  meaning the colder it is the harder people work, or just some states lure in fewer lazy, confused workers than others.
4325  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 12, 2011, 07:45:43 PM
First off for JDN, I asked for your views and you elaborated nicely so I thank you! Secondly we have areas of agreement and disagreement we can followup on.

I have to brush up on my history, off hand I would say I'm no fan of T.R. but would be happy to return to the tax, spend and regulatory levels were during his Presidency 1901-1909.  I like that you picked a period prior to the 1913 16th amendment authorizing income taxes.  I may be to the left of you; I favor keeping the income tax. but limiting it to a high single digit percentage.

To just pick a year of his progressive Presidency, 1906 revenues were 595million, spending  570million and surplus 25million. http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy11/pdf/hist.pdf (p.25)

Spending and taxes were roughly 8% of GDP which is about right to me.  http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_20th_century_chart.html I would go up to about 9.9% today but would fight to keep it in single digits.   In 2011 the numbers are roughly spending $4 Trillion, revenues $2.5 Trillion and deficit $1.5 Trillion, about 27% of GDP for spending not counting state, local etc.  Note we skipped over billions unit somewhere in there. We jumped form millions to trillions.  A trillion is a million million, so spending jumped roughly 2000-fold since then.
4326  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Egypt - Freedom and Democracy / consent of the governed on: February 12, 2011, 11:37:15 AM
Buzzwords like democracy can be easliy mis-used.  I don't know how it translates in Arabic.  To us, democracy is shorthand for consent of the governed.  Rule by the majority (mob rule, MB rule) is  the exact opposite.  When Reagan discussed the subject, it was "freedom and democracy" and spelled out that freedom includes religious freedom along with the other freedoms.  Religious freedom includes in this case the right to be Muslim, the right to not be Muslim, the right to practice Christianity, even to be Jewish??, the right to be of no religion at all, and the right to NOT be ruled by someone else's religion.  When that does not happen, you do not have consent of the governed, which was the point of removing the dictator.
4327  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Intel Matters: single most foolish statement ever on: February 12, 2011, 11:15:36 AM
Mark Steyn has it right.
-----
John Bolton: "It's a sad day for the intelligence community.  That statement made by Clapper I think is the single most foolish statement ever made by a senior intelligence official." time stamp 6:40 on this interview. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1iIVsOEJFQ
----
Surprised to find out Clapper is an 'idiot'?  Obama also picked Joe Biden.

Politico points out bipartisan opposition to the Clapper appointment, PeterHoekstra was the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee related the existence of "bipartisan opposition" to Clapper's nomination, and complained that Clapper failed to brief Congress on "an extraordinarily sensitive program." http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/38158.html#ixzz0q4kreu2l

Powerline suggested that the American intelligence community badly needs The Muslim Brotherhood for Dummies, unfortunately, the book doesn't exist.
4328  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 12, 2011, 10:49:59 AM
[The Gipper] "is an expression I've heard long before (I'm old)Reagan was President"

True, but the point wasn't that Reagan claimed authorship; it is an association that everyone our age has with Reagan that Obama who recently studied up on Reagan intentionally co-opted for himself.

"I don't think any disrespect was meant to President Reagan."

True, it was just the opposite.  Again the point was to falsely self-compare, something Dan Quayle would have been well-advised to have avoided.

The parallel in a nutshell is this.  Both were elected in a mess.  Both took on transformation - in polar opposite directions.  Both had popularity issues at this point in their Presidency.  In Obama's case his main problem is popularity with his policies.  At Reagan's low point, his policies that would set off a quarter century of economic growth, bring down the Soviet empire and end inflation were already in place.  He had the confidence of knowing the American economic engine was going to roar and it did at growth rates almost never seen before and went from popularity in the 30s to winning 49 states.  President Obama has none of that going for him, talks out of both sides of his mouth, and would like to win 49 states.

I'm not a crook was a far more memorable moment but equally false.  In the age of youtube and a billion(?) to be spent on reelection, don't think we are done seeing whatever turn out to be symbols of his failures.  See GM youtube post for an example.  His longing to be like Reagan I am saying could very easily and likely backfire on him.

Nixon was multi-faceted. With hindsight on past Presidents and their stewardship of economies, I can't get past something he did called the price-wage freeze by government on the entire private economy (Fascism, no?) to squeeze out 7% inflation that continued in spite of that up to 14% by the end of the decade.  Add Gerald Ford's program (in Nixon's second term) of wearing buttons called Whip Inflation Now, the idea that inflation is caused by citizen's greed and solved by talking people out of acting in their own self interest or by tying their hands.  These are(IMO) dunce level understandings of economics and examples of why I draw a distinction between supporting conservative policies and supporting people who place an R by their name to get elected.
4329  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - The Gipper??? on: February 11, 2011, 11:16:47 PM
Any one of these slips is the downfall for ordinary politicians.  It takes a little more to bring down a religious figure.  You recall he starting biting his lower lip to show compassion after studying predecessor game films.  I mentioned on the other thread that the 'cadence' was developed sometime after 1995 tape.  His whole oratory style is learned or contrived.

Calling himself The Gipper, coincidentally with this Reagan birthday - unbelievable.  Like Dukakis on the tank, Nixon I'm not a crook, Dan Quayle called out on comparing himself to JFK, Clinton I did not have sexual relations with that woman Ms. Lewinsky, George Herbert Walker Bush amazed to see grocery checkout.  I don't know which of these personal stories or political mis-steps will become the symbol for his failure.  I thought it would be "Cash for Clunkers - The Documentary of a Disappointing One Term Presidency".
4330  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - backwards thinking on: February 11, 2011, 11:00:40 PM
GM,  That youtube is quite revealing.  Side note is that we hear the same voice before he learned the cadence that makes him sound like... Obama impersonators.

FYI to the CiC, White executives out in suburbs actually do pay taxers that pay for inner city youth, even in the dark ages of 1995.  It is the other way around.  Fathers and mothers of the poorest inner city youth that aren't paying for the white executives kids to go to school - or for their own.  Or paying for their own housing, food or healthcare.  The wealthy who wouldn't pay their fair share he put in the cabinet.

The theme of inner city community organizing was welfare advocacy and welfare rights, not self sufficiency or individual excellence.  If you succeed, then he cuts you down - or does that depend on your race.

The healthcare law is 2000 pages about redistributionism and zero pages about new surgical procedures or life saving drug advancement.

I like what JDN wrote about creativity and entrepreneurship.  That is how you judge tax rates, regulating schemes and welfare dependency.  Do the policies in total leave the people across the whole spectrum wanting to innovate, create, build something, start something, risk, borrow, invest, hire, expand etc, etc or more like now - fight with each other and mostly sit on the sidelines and argue over who gets what.  The answer at this point in time is mostly negative.

4331  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty on: February 11, 2011, 12:47:53 PM
Exactly assbackwards.  The UN should be kept, downsized and de-emphasized.  If America hosts it, these dignitaries like Ahmadinejad and Chavez should visit Peoria or Sioux Falls instead of NYC with all its distractions.  If the US gets one seat and one vote, then the US pays one share - whatever Djibouti is paying. It should exist as a discussion and networking hall, not a voting or governing body, or a taxing authority.

We should know now if not sooner that we don't have friends or reliable allies and neither do they.  We sometimes have other nations who at the moment share a common interest on a particular matter.  We need open communications with all these players.  Skype is more cost effective.
4332  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 11, 2011, 12:14:05 PM
JDN, That was good but what I was trying to draw out was what about Obama's governance gives you inclination to vote against him, if an acceptable alternative emerges.  
-----

Cap and trade, and 'smart growth' advocacy were concerns that your good post about his conservatism made me forget about Huntsman.

On the positive side, what caught my attention to Huntsman was his leadership on CNG in cars.  Much of the population of Utah is in a valley where the air gets trapped in by a wall of mountains.  For each cloud to get through, it must first drop its weight - to the tune of 500 inches/yr. of snow at Alta.  CNG (compressed natural gas) burns much cleaner, 20-25% less CO2 is emitted, better cost and mostly north American origins. (Hardly should need subsidizing) Great idea with a cart before the horse problem - if there are no stations, there are no vehicle sales.  Leadership made sense and the cause is a good one, but huge subsidies to the tune of getting other taxpayers to buy a big part of your ride does not.

Cap and trade is up there with Romney care in importance.  With the Climate gate exposure being only a year or so old and plenty of new reports to refute alarmist urgency, people like Newt and Huntsman may get a chance to reconsider proposals to turn our economy upside down.

'Smart growth' is an innocent sounding phrase meaning that elitist leaders know better where your family should live than you freedom seekers do.  Utah has unique geography for some justification, but the nationwide movement is the antithesis to conservative values or a red state map.  Often liberal Utopians want us all to live in high density near light rail stations that they will locate for us at the mercy of government services provided, instead of further out, on our own, in Republican 'xurbs' where you can have a driveway, a yard and a distance to your nearest neighbor, not a shared wall.  I don't mean a yard with one chair in the shade of a high rise, I mean room to hit a pitching wedge, set up a soccer game, have a horse if you want, in our case a boat, a dock and a skating rink. Perhaps not a national issue, but his affinity to the cause of the moment could be an indicator of governing philosophy.
4333  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 11, 2011, 12:20:11 AM
True, Mandarin is important because of our friendship and common interests with ... Taiwan.   smiley

JDN, Great post.  Now can I ask it the other way, if Republicans can come up with a good candidate, still what would motivate you want to vote against Pres. Obama?
4334  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - John Thune on: February 10, 2011, 02:52:43 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJnuoq20d6Y&feature=player_embedded

Something like 8 times the experience that candidate Obama had. Served both in the House and Senate. Knocked off (electorally) a sitting Senate Majority Leader.  Married to his (first) wife.  Never socialized medicine.

Watch for conservatives to speak at CPAC this week.
4335  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 10, 2011, 01:28:35 PM
Good news today from our intelligence, Muslim Brotherhood is secular.  Who knew?    huh

Close the thread.  We worried for no reason.
4336  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: February 10, 2011, 01:23:39 PM
Very funny work their by our moderator! 

JDN, Huntsman, why? "He seems trustworthy and capable." You base that on ...
(maybe answer over on Pres. 2012)
4337  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People - Tucson continued on: February 10, 2011, 01:02:23 PM
Ann Coulter has one thing right.  The Tucson shooting needed one conceal carry citizen to emerge sooner.  Concealed carry was legal there which is why the shooter was saying good bye before he started.  A suicidal, certifiable nut, whatever the medical or legal term may be. 

Concealed carry resurgence has been a great trend both for safety and a symbol of retaining one founding right and a seriousness about keeping the rest.
---
PC wrote previously: "It's already illegal for a confirmed nut to buy or own a gun."

What I want is for that one safeguard only to happen. If you qualify for the insanity plea for example, we need to know that sooner whenever possible.

I oppose fetal thumb or trigger finger removal.  smiley
4338  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Education - Parent choice, Local control on: February 10, 2011, 12:21:40 PM
Home school works like this for us:  My daughter loves school so I just threaten home school with Dad all day and any problem is solved.  smiley

My nephew began home school this year.  Bright kid with some learning 'differences' was being left behind by a big public school and testing below grade level.  We will see how that goes.  He hated school so has to get his work done or he goes back.  Choice, competition, alternatives.

The name home schooling understates the resources, curricula and networking that these highly organized moms have in place, as I'm sure the documentary will show.

The education dollar here is about 10k per kid per year, 30 to a classroom and the teacher supposedly makes on average 52k - an almost negligible part of that 300k. If the dollar followed the kid with school choice, two things would happen, marvelous alternatives get funded and the public school sees real incentive to improve.

I remember Jesse Jackson arguing with George Will on 'This Week' against vouchers and how bad that would be for the already failing DC public schools.  Will closed with: we will just have to agree to disagree - see you tomorrow at school.  Their kids were in the same elite Washington private school, same as Sasha and Malia now, as their parents fight against opening up parent choice.  http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2009/04/22/obama-wrong-on-dc-school-vouchers-and-hypocritical-just-like-congress

Innovation in the public sector, government or education, will begin IMHO the day that public unions are disbanded. http://articles.ocregister.com/2010-03-02/opinion/24643100_1_unions-health-care-public-safety
4339  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 10, 2011, 09:49:54 AM
"Know how the Saudis could afford to bankroll Egypt?"

We drove up the world price of oil from $20 to $100 with our failure to produce or use our own energy?  http://www.wtrg.com/oil_graphs/oilprice1947.gif
---

Woolsey makes perfect sense, but how other than 'benevolent' military rule do you accomplish that? Parties must renounce non-democratic governance to participate, but falsely renounce is what they do. He gave examples from across the planet and across the last century, not just MB.  What then?  No freedom or real vote for others ever because no one can sort out who really supports freedom and democracy?
4340  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Science vs. God on: February 09, 2011, 08:04:01 PM
Just teasin' a little for fun.  I am very appreciative of fact corrections (as well as other opinions).  I remember a pass around email about Oliver North in the 1980s needing security because of threat from Osama bin Laden that was false and I hated that I had retold that false story.  This format is great for the opportunity to get a quick correction before we get headed too far in the wrong direction.  Crafty's story stands fine on its own as a story without the name drop at the end.

Regarding the Science v.God question, if God as a concept is a being far beyond our intelligence or comprehension, why do both sides keep claiming knowledge or definition.  To the most intelligent of the disbelieving scientists I would like to hand them a bucket or basket of molecules and say make me a mammal or a reptile or an ecosystem if it's so easy. 

Science at any point IMO is a very, very primitive human attempt to understand very, very little about God's creation.  But our curiosity and intelligence came from our Creator so we keep on trying.
4341  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Science vs. God on: February 09, 2011, 04:22:37 PM
That is a great post.  Don't let GM or Snopes spoil a great story.  I kept checking to see if I was in the humor thread.

Continuing to the science of economics:

There is wealth.  You can see it, touch it, feel it, smell it and hear it.

There is no such thing as poverty.  Poverty is an absence of wealth.

You can study wealth.  You can study all the factors that contribute to earning wealth, creating wealth, accumulating wealth, protecting wealth.

You cannot study poverty, it is the absence of something.  You can't study the absence of something.  You can only study wealth and then look at its absence to figure out what else regarding wealth creation is missing to cause its absence.
----
The roughly is my memory of how the book Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder begins.  Before snopes nails me, I picked up a copy to try to get it right and  oops, that isn't how it starts. (30 years slipped by.)  Anyway, something like that I think is in there somewhere.  His last chapter studying wealth is called The Necessity for Faith.
4342  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Hike Damage without tax rate increases, Mr. President on: February 08, 2011, 04:15:19 PM
A few of us have been pointing this out here, but it bears repeating in the face of our President's economic ignorance.

From Nov. 2006 on, the economy faced the promise of increased tax rates on new investment.  Returns follow investment years later so the tax rate facing investment decisions (build a plant, hire people etc) is the future rate, not the present one.  As the Obama Presidency became a reality to join the Pelosi-Reid majorities in congress and pass the tax rate hikes they promised, that impending increase played a big role in the asset and investment selloff of 2008 that tanked this economy.  In order to sell for value, sellers had to get ahead of those increases and ahead of the other sellers and acceleration (if not panic) set in. The selloff, collapse in value and doubling of unemployment delayed the tax hikes for 2 years and the shift back of congress created even more uncertainty with no settlement reached until the final hour temporary deal was struck with the outgoing congress.  That temporary deal means two more years of uncertainty continuing to put the brakes on new investment.  Obama's point is that the rates never went up, but his continuing promise to  raise them does the same economic damage or worse adding in the uncertainty.

The fact check articles list 2 dozen tax hikes under Obama from the healthcare bill, but the real ws damage done by this mismanaged sequence of events, and was largely unreported.  

Government revenues got the worst of both worlds: income lowered by the (impending) increases, but taxed only at the old, lower rate, leaving us trillions short, compounding the uncertainty of the policies going forward.

Uncertainty and unpredictability is what makes third world countries poor.  We gave it a try, suffered badly and learned nothing from it.
4343  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 08, 2011, 01:14:25 PM
Bigdog,  Thank you and I respect that. I understand from a citizen and layman's point of view the importance of stare decisis, a higher standard required to overturn what was wrongly decided, and I believe this case  gives ample wiggle room to each Justice to either say as Prof. Tribe did, that this is no different than what they have always done, as well as to very reasonably say this goes considerably further than we have ever read that ever-expanding power to go. (Same newspaper predicting precedents will fall unpredictably in this Court: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/21/washington/21memo.html)

Having read Prof. Tribe on many occasions, I find him to be more effective as an advocate for one side of interpretation than as a predictor of how others will reason and decide a case.  You disagree?  In this piece I read him to be taunting or leading the so-called other side to see this as a continuation of past decisions rather than a serious prediction that Scalia and Kennedy are "open and shut" with him because of the established power to regulate and that no rights of any value are violated in the process.

The Florida judge said (something like) if this power isn't limited, what power would be?  I posted the food insurance question and Obama when opposing the mandate suggested facetiously that we could mandate home purchases to end homelessness. I can't say whether he thought that was unconstitutional or just a stupid idea, but unlimited power certainly was not the intent or language used to define central government power.

I agree Scalia (or any of those 5) would vote against his presumed political position to be consistent in his constitutional interpretation. I don't find Tribe persuasive though.  As I pointed out, he started with a false premise (that is a big deal to me in logic) and then trivialized a right of private affairs to not have terms and choices of private contracts coerced and tracked by central authorities. Even auto insurance is a state mandate and avoidable by choosing other OR NO transportation. Kennedy I find unpredictable but people say he is strong on states' rights.  Regulating commerce across state lines has not meant in most other industries that there can only be one set of rules.  There were state based solutions available to address this issue that disappear with a federal mandate. Separate from merit, 26 states suing is a pretty strong indicator that states' interests are being tromped on, at least in their view.
-----
Prof. Tribe: "Since the New Deal, the court has consistently held that Congress has broad constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce." - True.

Synonyms of 'regulate' http://thesaurus.com/browse/regulate :
manage, organize
adapt, adjust, administer, allocate, arrange, balance, classify, conduct, control, coordinate, correct, determine, direct, dispose, fit, fix, govern, guide, handle, improve, legislate, measure, methodize, moderate, modulate, monitor, order, oversee, pull things together, put in order, readjust, reconcile, rectify, rule, run, set, settle, shape up, square, standardize, straighten up, superintend, supervise, systematize, temper, time, true, tune, tune up
* Thesaurus ran through the whole alphabet without hitting 'mandate', 'coerce', or 'participate'.
-----
Synonyms  of verb 'mandate':
delegate, designate, depute, assign
order, prescribe, dictate
* Accepted interpretations of the English language include the root word of 'dictatorship' but not 'regulation'.
4344  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: Lawrence Tribe, a house of cards on: February 08, 2011, 08:43:20 AM
BD, Okay interesting. Surprisingly, I disagree with his reasoning and conclusion. 

Usually I stop reading commentary when I reach the first falsehood:

"Individuals who don’t purchase insurance they can afford have made a choice to take a free ride on the health care system."

Bullsh*t.

There is also the possibility of fee for service, pay on the spot or mail me a bill, which has worked in almost every other industry since founding of the Republic, and then some.  Fee for service worked fine in health care until government meddling (and other factors) drove costs beyond normal reach.  Insurance does not bring down cost, it smooths out variable costs - at a higher level than they would otherwise be to pay for administration of the insurance and to pay for how the coverage increases usage. Under a nationwide program, more people, not fewer will be taking a free or subsidized ride on the health care system. Is there not any way to arrive at constitutionality without starting with a false premise??

"...confused assertion that what is at stake here is a matter of personal liberty — the right not to purchase what one wishes not to purchase... "

Is that not clearly spelled out in the 9th amendment, almost word for word?  smiley  ...competing with the unenumerated power of government to PARTICIPATE in interstate commerce.

Just as the Professor dismisses the view of two judges so far, he will disagree with the Court when this is decided. Delusional IMO to think this is a 9-0 uphold certainty because: "Since the New Deal, the court has consistently held that Congress has broad constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce."

There are plenty of people on and off the Court that think that power has already been read too broadly.  Trivialize it as political or "a misunderstanding of the court and the Constitution" if that is expedient, better yet call it a fundamental disagreement in principles.

BD or LT, do you support the constitutionality of mandatory national food insurance, food crossed state lines, and then what is next after that?
4345  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 07, 2011, 11:43:07 PM
"Are you saying every single individual in Egypt wants a totalitarian theocracy?"

I was going to pose something similar.  The Pew research numbers are scary, but they can be read to different conclusions.  If 100% of the people want barbaric rules, what do we do, what CAN we do... but it isn't 100% and we know that. Let's say it's 40% and I think that will drop more toward 20%. Not a majority, but if it is a 51% that want to go back to the dark ages, how can we keep them from dominating the others, stoning and mutilating the women etc? 

These were questions we luckily faced recently in Iraq and in Afghanistan.  Not that we're great at steering the process, but we have some people with some knowledge and some experience.  Mistakes to learn from.

Like GM says, we need skill, agility, persuasion, Arabic mastery of language, culture, religion, thinking and subtleties. Not to fall for false statements and translations. If I am Obama, I need the smartest guy in the room on our side and on this mission, authentic Egyptian, and he doesn't need a coat full of rank and medals.

We won't get a seat at the table, but we hopefully have enough pull to get a set of eyes and ears in the room, and access to whatever parties to the discussion will give us access. 

The first part of this process up to elections in August is 6 months. How it's all structured is crucial.  Someone has to have a vision of how this all ends in order to know how it needs to start.  From what we've learned elsewhere, after the first election is where the process of writing a constitution and forming a government begins.

Some of our leverage comes from Mubarek, assuming he stays until the elections.  Too bad he is under the bus.  On that note, too bad the CIA Director is a political hack, but maybe I underestimate and maybe we have a workup already in place on each of the players and groups as thorough as the Steelers know Green Bay (bad example) - with levers and access points.

If I were Obama I would be meeting with Petreus and Crocker yesterday morning to find out who they know that knows how best to do this. Talk to Allawi,. Maliki, Karzai, whoever else might have insight.  The parties don't know how to do this either.  If you build their trust maybe you become the moderator, what is Arabic for facilitator? 

Then I would turn to the Rumsfeld doctrine and focus on what we don't know that we don't know. 
4346  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 07, 2011, 04:27:28 PM
GM,  Good questions and I don't have answers or solutions.  That's why I am in the armchair position - available for comment.  8 million Christians are at risk and 80 million Egyptians overall, and no, I don't trust the Obama administration to make sure true consent of the governed happens.  I also don't see a path backwards.  Mubarek is leaving.  We aren't going to install or control a new strong man.  Like leaving Iraq in a fragile democracy, we can have some influence but we have to hope that given the opportunity the people will rise up and keep the extremists in a minority position, busy trying to convince their countrymen that they will be peaceful and inward focused - worthy of the seats they win in the assembly.  We can try to influence that positively and we have to prepare for the other possibility.

I hear your valid concerns, but I also hear people like Ragui Assaad, professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs from Cairo that tear at the idea of freedom back home the way we do thinking about our Founders' Declaration.  He is a liberal academic with many friends and family back home including his 80 year old mother who says she would join the protest if she were able.  I don't trust his wisdom, or hers, but I trust their honesty.  Everybody deserves a shot at freedom.  I hate cliches but this toothpaste isn't going back into the tube.  Change is coming in Egypt and we have a Commander in Chief who is an expert on having opponents removed from ballots to represent us to make sure ordinary Egyptians get their say.  Pray for us.  Pray for them, and prepare for war.

From my business background  I understand that risk and uncertainty run in multiple directions.  You have been articulate and correct on the downside risk, which is quite probable and truly catastrophic.  There is upside risk here as well.  Put these people and I mean the peaceful ones in charge of making their own economy function, jobs, food, apartments affordable, and the trains (or camels) running on time.  As they experience their own landmarks and people blown up, sympathy for radicals may diminish and we could find a reasonably good, self governed partner in our own fight against the extremists.

Besides security interests, we need these horribly run third world countries to break out of oppression and poverty.  If achieved, that will have a global security benefit.

A story from my export past: my strongest area  was the Middle East mostly because of the knowledge of the owner who was of Middle East origin, secular, but with one of the those common religious first names.  I had 12 distributors in Kuwait when it fell to Saddam, many in UAE, a distributor in Bahrain that sold throughout the region, etc, even sold to Bin Laden Telecom in the Kingdom.  When Kuwait was rescued we had great successes including the supply contract for a nationwide fiber optic network.  For all the times my boss and I went over country lists and strategies to represent several American manufacturers, every time I brought up selling in Egypt he said don't waste your time.  Business-wise, I'm sure he was right: 80 million people - don't waste your time.

For a shot at freedom though, 80 million people deserve a chance.

(Sounds like Netanyahu is saying something similar.  Like it or not, this spinning ship is going to end up aimed in one of a number of directions.)
4347  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran: Hikers on trial on: February 07, 2011, 02:35:55 PM
I previously mentioned friendship with the family of one of the hikers going on 'trial' this week in Iran.  Even Ahmadinejad seemed to admit they were nothing more than hikers upon confrontation while in America and promised to push for 'leniency'.  My first reaction was something like what on earth were they thinking; they deserve what they get. That was 18 MONTHS ago.  They DON'T deserve this. Young American adults living in Damascas, traveling in Iraq - during a war - and probably looking over a hillside saying wow, that is Iran - right there. Not dressed, trained or equipped for 'espionage'. It was a COMPLIMENT to the regime for them to underestimate the savagery of the regime.  They have been held in isolation for a significant part of their young adult lives strictly as pawns for other prisoners of which they have absolutely no knowledge or control.  Please pray for release and don't fall for the humanitarian, worldwide photo opp if they are lucky enough to be released. This has been a humanitarian nightmare for the captured and for their families.

Big wars start over small issues.  There should be large consequences to the regime if they do further harm to innocent Americans.
4348  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in Europe: David Cameron Bold Speech on: February 07, 2011, 02:12:42 PM
Very rarely it seems that a leader tells the truth, straight on.  I did not want to let the U.K Prime Minister's speech of last week go by without mention:  http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/speeches-and-transcripts/2011/02/pms-speech-at-munich-security-conference-60293
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100074881/david-cameron-versus-the-islamists-the-prime-minister-throws-down-the-gauntlet-to-a-deadly-enemy/

    We will not defeat terrorism simply by the action we take outside our borders. Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries… We have got to get to the root of the problem, and we need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of where these terrorist attacks lie. That is the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism.

    … And if we are to defeat this threat, I believe it is time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past. So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we – as governments and as societies – have got to confront it, in all its forms. And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone.
...

    Governments must also be shrewder in dealing with those that, while not violent, are in some cases part of the problem. We need to think much harder about who it’s in the public interest to work with. Some organisations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money despite doing little to combat extremism. As others have observed, this is like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement.

    So we should properly judge these organisations: do they believe in universal human rights – including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separation? These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organisations – so, no public money, no sharing of platforms with ministers at home.
4349  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: New Civility? on: February 07, 2011, 01:24:53 PM
Going back a couple of days to the white Common Cause progressives calling for the lynching Clarence Thomas, the issue (not mentioned I think) they were so upset about was the Citizens United decision.  I would have thought it was war, torture or Roe v. Wade fears, not opposition to freedom of political speech. 

The media aspect of this is that these comments (largely unreported) are somewhat consistent and documented on video, whereas the racist allegations at a Tea Party rally were widely reported, totally unverified and likely untrue.

Lynching, tie them up, and torture them ideas are beyond racist and likely apply to Scalia and others as well as Thomas.  Racism as more like saying you won't play with someone or work with them because of skin color.  These comments strike me more as terroristic, and the incitement trail (for anger, not violence) leads directly to publicly made falsehoods uttered by the chief in the 2010 SOTU.  http://blog.heritage.org/2010/01/28/the-truth-about-president-obama-and-citizens-united/  (Please correct me if I am wrong.)

Disclosure to be consistent: I cannot guarantee that I would not make similar utterances at a far-right-wing-hate-rally regarding Kelo, if I was the rallying type.
4350  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 07, 2011, 12:44:30 PM
I hedge to write this every time I see a riot video, but in spite of all that is posted, I say we err on the side of trying and supporting democracy in this pathetic third world country. (I think that means i support President Obama on this important question - mark that down!)  If they turn out to be anti-American - so be it.  If they begin to export terrorism, we can start planning now for an effective response to that. 

Everyone seems to agree that foreign oversight will be required to pull off free and fair elections.  Can we please learn from the failed Venezuelan experience and take democratic authentication seriously this time.
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