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4351  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 15, 2013, 12:50:06 PM
President Obama Monday: "They don't think it's smart to protect endless corporate loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans rather than rebuild our roads and our schools . . ."

But wait. It was President Obama who insisted that the recent tax bill be loaded with tens of billions of dollars worth of additional "corporate loopholes," including for his billionaire buddies in the green-energy business (and Hollywood)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324581504578231721868759336.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Mainstream professional journalists jumped ALL OVER HIM yesterday for this most obvious contradiction.  (Just kidding)
4352  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy of the Left, We need more taxes on: January 15, 2013, 12:45:12 PM
Former Vermont Governor and Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean conceded in December on MSNBC that "this may seem like heresy" but "the truth is, everybody needs to pay more taxes, not just the rich."
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324581504578231721868759336.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Nancy Pelosi declared on January 6 on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the fiscal-cliff deal was "not enough on the revenue side."

Michigan's Sandy Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, recently reassured his liberal colleagues on the House floor that "additional revenues" are sure to come in future budget deals and that "this [tax hike] sets that important precedent."
4353  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - That was then, continued on: January 15, 2013, 12:21:33 PM
Pelosi, Obama et al voted against debt ceiling hikes under Bush to protest further spending on the Iraq war.  Now the President says the debt ceiling has nothing to do with spending.  It is only about paying bills already incurred.

The mainstream professional journalists have jumped ALL OVER HIM for the contradiction.  (Just kidding)
4354  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: January 15, 2013, 12:08:16 PM
Very funny and Goldberg has it about right.  Of course Stewart is not really mocking leftism, just one bizarre idea by a leftist.  Maybe in other shows, but here he is not mocking the idea that 16.4 trillion isn't enough debt and he isn't mocking the fact that the trillion dollar coin in concept is already our policy for financing our deficits; we are only borrowing back a fraction of the money we are printing.

In a different circumstance, can anyone imagine the Stewart type comedy shows if the trillion dollar coin proposal in lieu of honoring our debt limit had been put forward by a VP or Secretary of Treasury Sarah Palin?
4355  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: January 15, 2013, 11:36:54 AM
Honoring the second amendment has two different meanings.  Gun rights are good, important and justified, but that is just part of it.  The larger meaning I think is the second amendment is symbolic of the guarantee that the entire constitutional, limited government framework continues, and is not taken away either by elected majorities, unelected bureaucracy or a foreign aggressor.

It is ironic in the extreme to see that the effort to get us have fewer guns has led to perhaps the biggest peacetime surge in the weapons ownership in world history - enough to arm China or India!

(It could just be more people reading the forum, with GM recommending guns, ammo and canned food throughout the economic crisis.)

Liberal-fascist incompetence is not new or surprising.  The war on poverty accelerated the foundations of poverty and more recently the attempt to take fossil fuels away from us to with high prices led to a huge surge in fossil fuel production.

Post-1812 and since the full settlement of the heartland with all these guns in private ownership we have taken hits like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, but no one other than our own oppressive government has ever really tried to invade or take us over by force.  Not all of our nation's defenses are controlled by Washington.
4356  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: January 12, 2013, 11:43:27 AM
Thanks Crafty, but I am out of new material. 

Harry Reid calls Republicans "obstructionists" generally for sure but doesn't point to a time, place or procedure where the Republican minority prevented him from passing a budget resolution - because it didn't happen.

Durbin made the same argument as Lew, they don't have 60 votes, a known talking point like spontaneous demonstrations in Benghazi, then failed to back it up.  He didn't go from saying they only have 53 votes to pointing to the incident where a Republican member invoked the "Budget Point of Order" and stopped them - because it didn't happen.  Instead he went on to change the subject to deficit commission etc.

Out of 380 named and counted filibusters, none were to stop a budget resolution. (?)

The threat of a filibuster is what stopped them?  But did not stop them on 380 other issues?  

Your link to the Hill tells it pretty well, what Harry Reid calls "show-votes".  The Republicans wanted Senate Democrats to pass a budget to show their hand and they refused, pointing to the continuing resolutions enacted as meeting their legal requirement (but not the procedure laid out in the 1974 law).

The Hill:  "None of the GOP budgets are expected to pass today, as Democrats will vote against them all. One of the five GOP resolutions reflects President Obama's budget, which already went down in a unanimous vote earlier this year."

No filibuster on those.  As 'The Economist' piece 'refuting' the Washington Post most clearly states: "It is true that the Senate can pass a budget resolution with a simple majority vote."  

"See how the Senate may very well need 60 votes even to "pass" a budget?"  No I don't, even repeated.  The bold and underlined sections refer to procedures later in the process for  "legislation that violates the terms of the budget resolution".   How could that have applied in this situation, procedures to prevent any legislation that violates the terms of a passed budget resolution that never existed?

I am out of arguments that don't involve repetition of those that were already unpersuasive, but willing to agree to disagree.   wink
4357  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: January 11, 2013, 06:40:13 PM
Lew was admitting they didn't pass a budget and blaming it on Republicans, not claiming they enacted one.  He could have said the 1974 law isn't binding or that they enacted a continuing resolution at the end having the same effect, but he didn't.  He said "unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed".  After looking at all that is posted on procedure, I still find that statement to be false and a politically motivated, intentionally deceptive response to the question that was asked. Silly you say.  I wouldn't put him in charge of the Treasury.

Bigdog,  Do you think Republicans were blocking Harry Reid from passing a budget, as Lew alleging.  Wouldn't Reid have called them out on that for obstructionism if it were the case?  Instead, Republicans have been calling on Senate Democrats publicly for years to pass one:

This ad is from Heritage a year ago.
4358  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 11, 2013, 01:01:51 PM
"where do we come down on the matter of leaving US troops in Afg?"

Hard to believe that after all the investment in Iraq and Afghanistan that we would not want to negotiate to ability to keep some kind of military base and premise on the ground in both places, slightly over the horizon, from where we can take take actions like taking out future terror training camps etc before they rise again to pre-9/11 levels.

The downside might be our own vulnerability and the resentment a permanent US presence might foster.
4359  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: January 11, 2013, 12:54:10 PM
CCP,  I don't support his proposal but the Stanford professor of economics and health research and policy shows as much wisdom on health care as anyone I have read in a long time.  I especially like the premise that the search for a solution to the affordable health care problem is still on.

The link, one more time:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/health/policy/an-interview-with-victor-fuchs-on-health-care-costs.html?_r=o
4360  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2014 Congressional races on: January 11, 2013, 12:24:06 PM
Yesterday I read that 6 Dem Senators are up in 2014 in states where Pres. Obama got 42% of the vote or less.  (Can't find the article now, but a similar list at the Wash Post link.) One of those was Jay Rockefeller in West Virginia.  Dems currently have 55 in the Senate.

Today's news:  Jay Rockefeller won't seek reelection.  http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/jay-rockefeller-to-retire-86054.html

This Washington Post piece says that of the ten most vulnerable Senators, 9 are Democrats and the other is in Kentucky.  They didn't have Rockefeller in their top ten:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/11/09/senate-democrats-face-a-very-tough-2014-map/

Year 6 is where Bush lost it all and Obama is weakest when he is off the ballot.  Some of these are states where he can't do much to help.  No predictions here after the 2012 fiasco, but the opportunity for Republicans is there once again.
4361  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - Inauguration Day Came and Went without Chavez on: January 11, 2013, 12:00:25 PM
Looking forward to our reports from Denny S.

"But in a telling sign of the severity of his illness, Mr. Chávez apparently sent no greeting to the crowds wishing him well. There was no message from him read to the tens of thousands of followers who attended the rally in front of the presidential palace. There was no video or recording from the once-omnipresent president, who has not been seen or heard from directly in a month.  There was not even any mention that Mr. Chávez might be watching the televised broadcast of the huge get-well rally held in his honor."  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/world/americas/a-celebration-that-accentuated-chavezs-absence.html

They had their celebration anyway - with a cardboard cutout of Chavez.

NY Times continued: "On Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Chávez could be sworn in at a later date — but set no time limit." ...  "The opposition has called for a team of medical experts to go to Havana to evaluate his condition."

Venezuela does not have a President, the old term is over and the new term didn't start.  The constitution requires a new election in less than a month.  Both sides should get busy with their campaigns. 
4362  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: January 11, 2013, 11:37:19 AM
PP, great post as usual.  Let's make borrowers less able to handle their debt instead of letting prices fall to real affordability.   

One sidenote:   In your example property taxes at <100/mo. would be a dream come true (or put you in tax foreclosure) in some places.  Your 'TI' would approach 3 times that in Minneapolis.  http://www.lmc.org/page/1/property-tax-calc-iframe.jsp 

Makes you wonder why we set national standards for local phenomenon.

4363  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: January 11, 2013, 11:10:14 AM
Re-posting this across to Congress thread by request.  We are discussing rules of congress but my starting point was alleging that nominee Lew of the Glibness branch was misleading the people.
--------------
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=155

Step Three: Enforcing the Terms of the Budget Resolution
...
However, the budget point of order is important in the Senate, where any legislation that exceeds a committee's spending allocation — or cuts taxes below the level allowed in the budget resolution — is vulnerable to a budget point of order on the floor that requires 60 votes to waive.
...

Yes, BD, but a Budget Point of Order is a rule defined in the 3rd step, to apply to changes after a budget is passed.  The second step (same link) says this:

"Once the committees are done, their budget resolutions go to the House and Senate floors, where they can be amended (by a majority vote)...It also requires only a majority vote to pass, and its consideration is one of the few actions that cannot be filibustered in the Senate."

We never got past Step 2, to pass a budget by April 15.  Step 3 controls the process after there is a budget resolution passed.  It defines rules they must follow to change what was passed.  But there wasn't one passed in the Senate in the 3 years in question.  Right?


The original point about Lew and a lying White House is that the threat of a filibuster was not the reason the Senate had not passed a budget.  Lew said it was.  This was a Susan Rice moment.  He was sent up to create a false impression of what happened and what didn't happen.  Republicans wanted Senate Democrats to pass a budget - to show their hand; they were not trying to stop them, nor could they.  Republicans with control of the House in 2 of those years had no need to stop a budget in the Senate and no power to stop it.  This is a matter of political gamesmanship and they deserve to be called out.  Republicans wanted Democrats to 'show us your spending' as required under the 1974 law.   Show us your cuts, show us your spending and we will use that either get cuts done or for other political advantage:  'Senator so-and-so voted to cut Medicare, here is the record', or he/she refused to make any cuts at all to close a trillion dollar gap. 

But there was no need for a Dem majority Senate to follow the law and pass a budget because there is no penalty defined in the 1974 law.  They just kept the spending going without real cuts for years with continuing resolutions, blamed the Republicans, and using the cover provided by willing accomplices in the media like professional journalist Candy Crowley in the clip.
4364  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: January 11, 2013, 11:04:29 AM
Likewise, welcome!  After your first post a little while back I took the time to read a good number of your writings both at your site and at the newspaper.  Very impressive and insightful, covering a lot of the same topics of the forum.  I hope you jump into the discussion here on a wide range or things.
4365  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 11, 2013, 10:45:01 AM
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=155

Step Three: Enforcing the Terms of the Budget Resolution
...
However, the budget point of order is important in the Senate, where any legislation that exceeds a committee's spending allocation — or cuts taxes below the level allowed in the budget resolution — is vulnerable to a budget point of order on the floor that requires 60 votes to waive.
...

Yes, BD, but a Budget Point of Order is a rule defined in the 3rd step, to apply to changes after a budget is passed.  The second step (same link) says this:

"Once the committees are done, their budget resolutions go to the House and Senate floors, where they can be amended (by a majority vote)...It also requires only a majority vote to pass, and its consideration is one of the few actions that cannot be filibustered in the Senate."

We never got past Step 2, to pass a budget by April 15.  Step 3 controls the process after there is a budget resolution passed.  It defines rules they must follow to change what was passed.  But there wasn't one passed in the Senate in the 3 years in question.  Right?


The original point about Lew and a lying White House is that the threat of a filibuster was not the reason the Senate had not passed a budget.  Lew said it was.  This was a Susan Rice moment.  He was sent up to create a false impression of what happened and what didn't happen.  Republicans wanted Senate Democrats to pass a budget - to show their hand; they were not trying to stop them, nor could they.  Republicans with control of the House in 2 of those years had no need to stop a budget in the Senate and no power to stop it.  This is a matter of political gamesmanship and they deserve to be called out.  Republicans wanted Democrats to 'show us your spending' as required under the 1974 law.   Show us your cuts, show us your spending and we will use that either get cuts done or for other political advantage:  'Senator so-and-so voted to cut Medicare, here is the record', or he/she refused to make any cuts at all to close a trillion dollar gap. 

But there was no need for a Dem majority Senate to follow the law and pass a budget because there is no penalty defined in the 1974 law.  They just kept the spending going without real cuts for years with continuing resolutions, blamed the Republicans, and using the cover provided by willing accomplices in the media like professional journalist Candy Crowley in the clip.
4366  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 10, 2013, 05:20:32 PM
, , , the fact is that under the Constitution the Congress must pass spending that originates in the House...

All the Senate needs to do is pick up a House bill, change the amounts until they can pass it in good faith under the terms of the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act that created CBO and most of the current process.  The House has passed a budget every year.  The Senate has not passed a budget other than "continuing resolutions" since April 2009, roughly 5 trillion dollars of debt ago.  It cannot be filibustered under  Senate rules in effect since 1974.

Crafty, yours is not the reason that Lew gave.  He gave a false reason for why they haven't passed a budget, putting blame on Republicans in the Democratic controlled chamber.  It is a lie and a deception.  As an expert on the process (OMB Director under two Presidents!), he knew that was false.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/145259-house-passes-republican-budget-for-fy-2011-in-x-y-vote
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/us/politics/house-passes-ryan-budget-blueprint-along-party-lines.html?_r=0
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-02/u-s-house-passes-budget-bill-averts-most-tax-increases.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/jack-lews-misleading-claim-about-the-senates-failure-to-pass-a-budget-resolution/2012/02/12/gIQAs11z8Q_blog.html?wprss=fact-checker
http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/021012-600854-democrats-refusal-to-pass-budget-is-illegal.htm
http://www.dailypaul.com/269094/the-law-requires-congress-to-pass-a-budget-every-america-hasnt-had-since-2009

It's true that you cannot filibuster a budget resolution in the Senate, because the Budget Act provides special rules for consideration of a budget resolution, including a time limit on debate. So the Senate can pass a resolution with only a majority vote. 
http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/02/parliamentary-procedure

Budget resolutions are not subject to a filibuster.
http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/206309-gop-well-pass-budget-every-year-#ixzz2HcHcSPvT

“But we also need to be honest. You can’t pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes and you can’t get 60 votes without bipartisan support. So unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed. And I think he was reflecting the reality of that that could be a challenge.”

--White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, on CNN, Feb. 12. 2012 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/jack-lews-misleading-claim-about-the-senates-failure-to-pass-a-budget-resolution/2012/02/12/gIQAs11z8Q_blog.html?wprss=fact-checker
"Four Pinocchios"

"We wavered between three and four Pinocchios, in part because the budget resolution is only a blueprint, not a law, but ultimately decided a two-time budget director really should know better."  - The hard-right Washington Post

4367  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - The Personal Pronoun President on: January 10, 2013, 01:56:55 PM
Total first person pronouns used in his eulogy of Sen Inouye: 63.  So we know he knows how to use them.

"... will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up through the laws that they passed."
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324081704578231542240171394.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLESecond


What did Harry Truman say?  The buck stops ... ... over there!?
4368  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: January 10, 2013, 01:48:38 PM
I am listening and reading all this the best that I can, but I don't see anything in rules that keeps a Senate Democratic majority from passing a budget.  They can and Lew lied; that is still my opinion.

Of course it's not binding.  Nothing the Senate alone passes is.

Keeping my mind open for what I am missing here ...


Big
http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/02/parliamentary-procedure


"It's true that you cannot filibuster a budget resolution in the Senate, because the Budget Act provides special rules for consideration of a budget resolution, including a time limit on debate. So the Senate can pass a resolution with only a majority vote.  However, the resolution does not take effect when the Senate passes it.  It takes effect in one of two ways: if the House and Senate pass an identical resolution, usually in the form of a conference report; or if the Senate passes a separate Senate Resolution (as opposed to a concurrent resolution, which is what a budget resolution is) that says the House is “deemed” to have agreed to the budget resolution passed by the Senate.
But there are no special procedures for the simple Senate Resolution required by this second, “deeming” process, so it is subject to the unlimited debate allowed on almost everything in the Senate.  If you do not have the support of 60 Senators to invoke cloture and end a filibuster, or prevent a filibuster from even starting (because everyone knows  60 Senators support cloture), you cannot pass such a deeming resolution in the Senate.
Because its rules are different, the House with a simple majority can pass a resolution deeming that the House and Senate have agreed to the House resolution so that it can take effect. This means the allocations in the resolution, such as for appropriations, are in effect in the House and anybody can raise a point-of-order against legislation that would cause a committee to exceed its allocation.
But this is for purposes of enforcement in the House only. What the House does has no effect whatsoever on the Senate or its budget enforcement.  And vice versa, if the Senate deems that its budget resolution has been agreed to."


The point is cloture. The implicit assumption is that GOP senator(s) will filibuster.

I believe you cannot filibuster a budget bill under current Senate rules.


"Budget bills are governed under special rules called "reconciliation" which do not allow filibusters."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_Rules_of_the_United_States_Senate

Under reconciliation, bills cannot be filibustered and can thus pass the Senate by majority vote.
http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2009/04/20-budget-mann

The reconciliation process, by contrast, limits debate to 20 hours and bypasses the filibuster altogether. It was instituted to ensure that minority obstruction couldn't block important business like passing a budget or reducing the deficit.
http://prospect.org/article/50-vote-senate

Budget reconciliation is a procedure created in 1974 as a way of making changes in federal policy to meet fiscal guidelines set by  Congress. Because the process includes a limit of 20 hours of debate, reconciliation bills cannot be blocked by filibuster in the Senate and need only a simple majority to pass.
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/congress/budget_reconciliation/index.html
4369  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: January 10, 2013, 01:40:09 PM

"Pelosi’s more inclusive approach" and "willingness to include Republicans"... 

Seriously?  Did anyone watch healthcare get passed?

4370  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 10, 2013, 01:18:30 PM
The point is cloture. The implicit assumption is that GOP senator(s) will filibuster.

I believe you cannot filibuster a budget bill under current Senate rules.


"Budget bills are governed under special rules called "reconciliation" which do not allow filibusters."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_Rules_of_the_United_States_Senate

Under reconciliation, bills cannot be filibustered and can thus pass the Senate by majority vote.
http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2009/04/20-budget-mann

The reconciliation process, by contrast, limits debate to 20 hours and bypasses the filibuster altogether. It was instituted to ensure that minority obstruction couldn't block important business like passing a budget or reducing the deficit.
http://prospect.org/article/50-vote-senate

Budget reconciliation is a procedure created in 1974 as a way of making changes in federal policy to meet fiscal guidelines set by  Congress. Because the process includes a limit of 20 hours of debate, reconciliation bills cannot be blocked by filibuster in the Senate and need only a simple majority to pass.
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/congress/budget_reconciliation/index.html
4371  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: January 10, 2013, 12:57:16 PM
It has always been true, as far as I know, that the majority party has complete control of the House including what gets through committee and what goes to a vote.  Maybe it was only Hastert or Boehner who said it aloud or in public that bills will be passed with a majority of the majority or it won't come to a vote - except for the exceptions.  Tip O'Neill didn't have to say it; people knew who was in charge.

They gave one example of an exception with Pelosi and one with Boehner.  Not much difference.  Democrats didn't want responsibility for failure in Iraq and Republicans didn't want blame for tax rates going up.

The majority DID approve of the Speaker's handling of it, proven by reelecting him within hours.  They just wanted their 'No' vote recorded.
4372  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters, stop the drugs war on: January 10, 2013, 10:40:10 AM
"...there aren’t really many other alternatives. Why not legalise drugs? It wouldn’t be giving up, it would be winning without fighting — the best, cleverest way. The cartels would be forced above ground; the big money would be in legitimate business. "

Yes, we would have legal cartels of big hemp with lawyers and lobbyists in Washington and state capitals instead of the gun war.  Truckloads of drugs would be coming in on a trade scale the size of oil.  We will see shortly what the effects of legalization in certain states.  Probably no big change since it was essentially legal there before.

On a scale smaller than international trade, couldn't we legalize the right to grow your own and the right to transport or sell one ounce or one pound and knock down the price that way, and squeeze out the profits?

My conservative and libertarian sides are conflicted, but the war in Mexico is unacceptable for both countries.
4373  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness (and Media): Lew's Leftist Lie on: January 10, 2013, 10:09:52 AM


Do you believe that the former Director of OMB / Office of Management and Budget, Chief of staff, graduate of Harvard and Georgetown, does not know that passing a budget in the Senate requires only 51 votes?

Does Candy Crowley not know that either?
4374  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Michigan Abortion Clinic Shut Down, "dangerous to human life" on: January 10, 2013, 09:23:43 AM
A Michigan abortion clinic has been shut down by the fire marshal over conditions the city described as potentially “dangerous to human life or the public welfare.”
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/graphic-the-conditions-at-this-mi-abortion-clinic-were-so-dangerous-disgusting-it-was-shut-down/

What next?  Cattle slaughterhouse dangerous to cattle?

4375  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: January 10, 2013, 09:09:48 AM
4 things we know about the Tucson shooting IMHO

1) The shooter's problem had to do with mental health

2) There is a copycat aspect to mass shootings

3) The shooting would only have stopped sooner if someone closer had a gun and a trained response

4) At the time of the shooting, the other 299,999,999 guns in America were not shooting at crowds


So what is the reaction?  Mark the anniversary (encouraging copycats) with a new organization that doesn't address the problem but could threaten to prevent the solution.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/gabrielle-giffords-mark-kelly-launch-gun-control-initiative-in-effort-to-combat-gun-lobby/

Gabrielle Giffords & Mark Kelly Launch Gun Control Initiative in Effort to Combat ‘Gun Lobby’
4376  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: January 09, 2013, 05:50:13 PM
Correction:  Credit for the Krugman trillion dollar coin idea may go back to Homer Simpson in a 1998 Simpsons episode called 'The Trouble with Trillions': 
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324581504578231812006460892.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion
4377  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Hagel choice continued on: January 09, 2013, 05:35:41 PM
Hagel until this process began agreed with extremists Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin on the question that cost them Senate seats this past year:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/09/is-there-anything-chuck-hagel-won-t-say.html
Senate-candidate Hagel said that he "tightened" his position on abortion after he said he discovered that abortion in the case of rape and incest are "rare"...

Assuming that isn't what attracted the President to this 'Republican', it must have been his anti-Israel views.
4378  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness -Gay Rights and the Hagel nomination on: January 09, 2013, 05:28:22 PM
Omaha World Herald July 3 1998:

Openly gay nominee won't get Hagel vote

By Jake Thompson for The World-Herald   July 3, 1998
http://www.omaha.com/article/19980703/NEWS/121229971/1685

One day last month, Bob Kerrey asked his Senate colleague and fellow Nebraskan, Chuck Hagel, a favor: Could Kerrey stop by with a controversial ambassadorial nominee who wanted to make a personal pitch to Hagel?

Sure, Hagel said, bring him over.

The meeting didn't turn out as Kerrey wished.

As a courtesy to Kerrey, Hagel said, he would listen to the man - James C. Hormel, 64, a Democratic donor, lawyer and philanthropist - whose nomination to become ambassador to Luxembourg has been blocked in the Senate, his backers say, simply because he is gay.

Perhaps Kerrey had hoped Hormel's Nebraska tie might help. The nominee's grandfather, George A. Hormel, founded the giant Hormel Foods, which opened a meatpacking plant in Fremont in 1947.

Perhaps Kerrey had hoped Hormel's philanthropic record would impress. The National Society of Fundraising Executives named him its outstanding philanthropist for 1996.

"We would love to have somebody like James Hormel as part of the Omaha community," Kerrey said recently. "He's actively involved, he gives generously to very important civic efforts."

Hormel, trying to move his nomination forward, had contacted Kerrey, who turned to Hagel. On June 3 Kerrey escorted Hormel and a State Department official to a meeting in Hagel's office. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, which is overseeing the nomination, Hagel could play a helpful role.

"We had a good conversation," Hagel, a Republican, recalled last week. "He's a nice fellow."

Kerrey, a Democrat, called Hormel "as well - qualified a nominee as I've seen" and said the meeting led him to think Hagel would support Hormel for the job.

Not so.

Ambassadorial posts are sensitive, Hagel explained.

"They are representing America," he said. "They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay - openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel - to do an effective job."

Hagel noted a documentary, filmed with money Hormel donated, that showed teachers how they could teach children about homosexuality. He said he had seen another video clip that showed Hormel at what Hagel called an anti - Catholic event in San Francisco, featuring the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence," a group of male drag queens.

"It is very clear on this tape that he's laughing and enjoying the antics of an anti - Catholic gay group in this gay parade," Hagel said. "I think it's wise for the president not to go forward with this nomination."

Luxembourg, he noted, is about 95 percent Roman Catholic.

Hagel thus became the latest of a group of Senate conservatives to come out against Hormel's nomination. Critics say the group is discriminating against a qualified nominee.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D - Calif., has defended Hormel, saying he opposes all forms of discrimination.

Over the years Hormel, a former dean of the Chicago Law School, has given money to civil - rights groups, colleges, symphonies, and to groups fighting autism, breast cancer and AIDS. Hormel listed the contributions in a letter to a supporter, Sen. Gordon Smith, R - Ore. In the letter, Hormel said he provided "minor" support for the teacher documentary and had no control over its content.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group, says the videotape from the San Francisco event resulted when men dressed as nuns walked past a broadcast booth where Hormel, a well - known civic leader in the city, was giving an interview to a local reporter.

Hormel's homosexuality is not the problem, say Hagel and other opponents of the nomination. It's his openness about being gay and his advocacy of some causes, they say.

The Senate's majority leader, Trent Lott, R - Miss., heated the issue recently when he said homosexuality was a problem that should be treated "just like alcohol or sex addiction or kleptomania."

Fellow Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato of New York took him to task: "On a personal level, I am embarrassed that our Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, is seen to be the force behind this injustice," D'Amato wrote to Lott, calling for the nomination to be brought to a vote.

Then Sen. Jesse Helms, R - N.C., weighed in against D'Amato, accusing the New Yorker of using the issue to boost his re - election bid.

Helms, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has vowed to continue blocking a vote on Hormel. The committee on a voice vote last October recommended Hormel's nomination to the full Senate. It has been held up since.

Hormel's supporters say they have the 60 votes needed to break the hold on the nomination - if Lott will allow it to come to the floor.

Hagel, meanwhile, said a homosexual should not necessarily be disqualified from all ambassadorships.

His approach to nominees, he said, has been to examine the person's qualifications first. The United States has had gay ambassadors in the past and gays in the military, who have done well by quietly adopting the Pentagon's current "don't ask, don't tell" attitude.

Hormel, however, has gone beyond that, Hagel said.

He "very aggressively told the world of his gayness and the funding and all the things he's been involved in. I think you do go beyond common sense there, and reason and a certain amount of decorum," Hagel said.

"If you send an ambassador abroad with a cloud of controversy hanging over him, then I think it's unfair to our country, it's unfair to the host country and it's unfair to the ambassador because the effectiveness of that individual is going to be seriously curtailed. That's just a fact of life. And I believe Hormel's situation is one of those."
4379  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: January 09, 2013, 05:15:08 PM
I wonder if Biden is referring to the most common thread running through these violent episodes, these shootings are by people either taking psychiatric medications or who recently stopped taking them without sufficient monitoring by our failed mental health system.  http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/the-giant-gaping-hole-in-sandy-hook-reporting/

More like he is talking about "infringing" further on the right of responsible, law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.
4380  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: January 09, 2013, 05:02:48 PM
Gingrich is mostly right.  Of course there are probably only 4 people in the country who could accurately tell you the difference between the debt ceiling, the sequester and the continuing resolution.  The accusation will be the same if they only hold out on the last two, and no default has to occur with the first; it's just that everyone knows they are totally unserious about cutting spending by the full 1.1 trillion up front.

How much SHOULD spending be when we are taking in at the rate of $2.9 trillion per year?

One key fact with all the spending, deficit and debt:  Republicans controlled the House during 14 of the last 18 years.  During the Gingrich-Clinton years, as Newt describes, they negotiated democratic and baseline increases down pretty aggressively.  During the first 6 years of Bush it was a blank check; they mostly deferred to the president of their own party who equated "compassion" with spending.  Then were four enormously costly years of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama disaster.  Then the takeback of Nov 2010.   Then Republicans only fought again to slow the future increases, never to reverse the trillion a year in additional "temporary, emergency" spending.  That is where we are now:  making a trillion a year gap permanent - best case.

One important thing we learned this week: the Speaker of the House does not have to be a member of the House.

Boehner, who "needs this job like a hole in the head', missed an opportunity to really shake things up.  He could have made Newt the new Speaker.  He could have done it expressly for the purpose of closing the deficit trajectory, the unfunded liabilities and restoring our credit.  It would have been President Obama's worst nightmare - at first, only for him to take credit later like Clinton did.  Put the President on notice there is a new (old) Sheriff is in town.  Let the hearings begin on every aspect of spending, waste and unintended consequences of programs.  As Newt says, bring in the Republican governors and start passing reforms that give major functions of government back to the states.  Let the reckless statements like we don't have spending problem get answered in real time.  Interrupt proceedings on the floor of the House and answer him.  We would get the debates some of us wanted and it would be focused only on policy outcomes, not on popularity, swing states or electoral votes. 
4381  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Govt spending, deficit, budget process: Balanced Budget Amendment on: January 09, 2013, 11:03:46 AM
Thanks Crafty.  I wonder if anyone will address it.
-------------------
I opposed balanced budget amendment proposals for decades because balancing the budget with high spending and high taxes was potentially worse IMO than the smaller imbalances we had back then.  I still oppose all versions of it that have no limits on spending and taxation.

Previous Republican proposals limit federal spending to 18% of GDP and require a super majority to raise taxes.
http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/index.cfm/floor-speech-on-gop-balanced-budget-amendment-december-13-2011#1

I would go as high as 20% for the spending limit and require supermajorities to raise taxes or raise the debt ceiling.

Passage with 2/3rds in both chambers of a balanced budget, spending limit amendment should be a requirement for Republican consent for any major debt ceiling increase.  We need an endgame to the madness.

Obama and the Dems in Washington DC have nothing to worry about because after passage in Washington because it still would require ratification by 3/4ths of the state legislatures.  Taking a reasonable and realistic proposal to the states and to the peole would be a very positive step.

Senator Barack Obama, in all his years in the Senate, never voted for a debt ceiling increase.  He called the deficits and debt during the Bush economic boom "unpatriotic".  His characterization is far more true now than it was then.  Increasing borrowing that is maxed out already without a plan to increase income is beyond unpatriotic, more like treason - if escalating the rhetoric is the game being played.
4382  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Govt spending, deficit, and budget process: Krugman and the Trillion Dollar Coin on: January 09, 2013, 10:09:18 AM
Is anyone/everyone following the uproar over the Paul Krugman proposal that we mint the trillion dollar coin, by executive order to get around congressional aversion to raising the debt ceiling?
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/be-ready-to-mint-that-coin/

Krugman's proposal points to the elephant in the room:  If we aren't really borrowing to pay for our unprecedented spending deficits, if we are in fact buying 70-90% of our own debt which is not really borrowing at all, is it really debt restricted by a debt ceiling?  If QE is what it is, inflation and devaluation of our currency instead of debt, why are we calling it debt?  People like Bernancke and Geithner are well aware of this question IMHO and keeping their mouths shut about it. 
4383  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People (Gun rights) - David Gregory referred for prosecution on: January 09, 2013, 09:47:02 AM
Alex Jones: That video was my first awareness of him.  Glenn Beck is distancing himself even further from him today on the radio.  Glenn refuses to accept rudeness.  In this video, Jones' mistake was to go rude first.  As Obj I think suggests, that type of strong response is what some of these hosts deserve after they refuse to let the guest talk.  Even then it doesn't advance the cause of drawing more people to your viewpoint. 
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/dc-attorney-generals-office-to-investigate-display-of-ammunition-magazine-on-tv/2013/01/08/84f86a1c-598c-11e2-beee-6e38f5215402_story.html?hpid=z2

The decision on whether anyone should be prosecuted after “Meet the Press” host David Gregory appeared to hold a high-capacity ammunition magazine on national television now belongs to the District’s Office of the Attorney General, authorities said Tuesday.

In an e-mail, a spokeswoman for D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said her department has “completed the investigation into this matter, and the case has been presented to the OAG for a determination of the prosecutorial merit of the case.”
--------

The NRA as well as WSJ editorial board and some otherson the right  think prosecution is a bad idea because it is a silly law.  The reaction on the left is mostly silence - what can you say to stupidity.  The President's reaction was to be Gregory's star guest on the very next show, while the 'investigation' was proceeding.

What it really illustrates is what a worthless argument Gregory was putting forward, that we might reduce shootings by disarming law-abiding citizens - while demonstrating on national television how easy it is for everyone not concerned with the carefully legislated details of the laws to get any gun, ammo or magazine that they want.

4384  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bureaucracy and Regulations in action: Steven Hayward - Politicize the EPA! on: January 09, 2013, 09:25:52 AM
Seems like a strange idea until you admit it is all political already.  Replace a sole administrator with a commission that argues policy, rulings and regulations openly and registers the minority dissent publicly.  I love the ending, if you think this is a small change, try proposing it and watch the uproar.

In today's WSJ, excerpt from Powerline:
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/01/politicize-the-epa.php

    There is a reason Congress has adopted the commission model. While a bipartisan consensus exists for regulating some parts of the economy by independent agencies that harness specialized expertise, there remains an underlying partisan disagreement about the means and ends of policy. The commission model recognizes and accommodates these disagreements, with a process that emphasizes public debate and is more transparent and accountable.

    The EPA’s single-administrator model, on the other hand, is based on what amounts to a conceit that some policy matters are beyond politics or meaningful controversy. This is the apotheosis of the Progressive Era ideal, or rather myth, of enlightened administration by neutral experts. It is also a tactic to deny that what are deeply political administrative decisions are in fact political. The single-administrator model makes it much easier for an ideologue like Ms. Jackson to use the regulatory process as a steamroller to achieve policy goals.

    A bipartisan commission would change this dynamic. The president would, as is customary, still appoint a majority of the commissioners, including the chairman. But the minority would have their dissent on policy matters on the record.
...
    If you think reforming the EPA into a five-member commission is a modest reform of little consequence, here’s a suggestion. Have House Republicans introduce a bill to do this, and watch how ferociously the environmental establishment fights it.
4385  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California: Living the Turquoise (Yellow/Red) Dream - by Walter Russell Mead on: January 09, 2013, 08:51:20 AM
My favorite alleged Democrat pundit and at least one-time Obama voter has been critical of the blue social model (red/yellow/orange - we don't accept the msm red-blue designations here).

"California is a few years ahead of America as a whole; those who think it is on the wrong road need to think very hard about what is happening and why, because unless something changes, this is where we could all be headed in the not so distant future."
--------------------
California: Living the Turquoise (Yellow/Red) Dream - by Walter Russell Mead

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/01/06/california-tumbles-deeper-into-economic-abyss/

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about California’s return to fiscal solvency thanks to a round of tax hikes; the ‘one percent’ of Californians are, we have been told, happy to pay their fair share and to participate in the rescue of the Golden State.

That’s what the politicians say; some of the actual taxpayers dissent. As Robert Cristiano laments over at the New Geography website, when the new taxes, the old taxes and the ever-increasing regulatory barrage all come together, life in California loses its charm:


    "What is my fair share? Under existing Federal and State income tax rates, I will pay 50% of my income in taxes. In California alone, my “fair share” on a million dollars of income is $133,000 each year. In exchange for my taxes, I receive little from the state. In addition, I pay gasoline taxes that pay for the upkeep of the highways. I pay airline taxes that maintain the airports I use. I pay among the highest in the nation sales tax on what I consume. I pay property taxes for the schools my grown children no longer use (they have already left California). I pay utility taxes for the upgrade of infrastructure. I pay higher health insurance rates. I already pay more than my own way.

    I used to develop new homes in California and paid development fees, school fees, park fees, bridge & thoroughfare fees, endangered species fees, utility hook up fees, and processing fees to employ the city workers who reviewed my plans. Such fees totaled $40,000 to $75,000 for each new home built in California. I more than paid my own way. Such new homes are no longer feasible in California considering that home prices have fallen between 20-40% since 2008. And with the new regulations to be imposed in 2013 with the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, housing and energy will cost even more making new houses even less attractive than they are now."


Mr. Cristiano’s problem is that he is a target for all three pillars of California’s progressive coalition. To the Democrats who represent lower income people and to those who represent state and city workers, he is a source of revenue to be milked. To the anti-development greens, he is an enemy to be destroyed—the human equivalent of crabgrass. People who become rich by developing suburban housing tracts were the heroes of post World War Two California; for progressives they have become villains who get rich by destroying the earth.

If he made movies or computer software, Mr. Cristiano would only be sheared; that is, California’s blue coalition would treat him like a sheep, stripping him of wool but otherwise leaving him to go about his business. But because he makes real stuff, they treat him like a mink: they want the whole pelt. In the same way they go after construction, California’s greens heavily tax and regulate manufacturing—again, a mainstay of the post World War Two boom in the state.

The conceptual one percenters in California (Hollywood and Silicon Valley) may well stick around. They can—and do—outsource increasing amounts of their production to escape the state’s cost structure, but an increase in state income taxes is more like a mosquito bite than a visit from Count Dracula for information tycoons in both places.  But for one percenters whose wealth is based on production and construction in the state itself, the picture is much darker. As Cristiano puts it:

  
 “So many of the 1% are quietly leaving. The exodus has already begun. Spectrum Location Solutions reported that 254 companies left California in 2011. Despite claims of an upturn, a press release by the State Controller’s office last week revealed tax revenues from both personal income taxes and corporate taxes fell during the month of this November. Revenue from personal income dropped 19 percent below projections while corporate tax revenue was down a whopping 213.4 percent. Such declines will continue unabated for years to come as the California brain drain proceeds.”


It’s unclear what Governor Jerry Brown and his fellow policy-makers are thinking. California is the sixth most expensive state to live in, with a top individual tax rate that is the second highest in the nation. One would think that with all this incoming revenue the state’s public services would be sparkling with quality, yet the opposite is true. California public schools rate as some of the most expensive and poorest performing in the country.  In 2011 the Supreme Court ordered that California release 30,000 inmates, deeming the prisons so overcrowded that their conditions qualify as “cruel and unusual punishment.” This shocking move reflects two vital points. First, that with all its wealth, California doesn’t have the funds necessary to build more prisons. Second, that the state is producing too many prisoners—another failure of California civil institutions. Even with its enormous taxes and public institutions that show no sign of benefiting from them, the Golden State still boasts one of the largest budget deficits in the nation.

As regular readers know, Via Meadia doesn’t have a lot of confidence in California’s political and economic management. The confluence of union power with a green hatred of construction forces the state into such cockamamie boondoggles as a $60 billion plus high speed rail. (Unions want jobs, but greens block any kind of construction that doesn’t fit their vision of a low carbon economy.) Call it a turquoise governing philosophy: the mix of green and blue that wants to carry forward 20th century policies like a large civil service and a mass welfare state even as it manages the shift to a post-industrial, low carbon economy.

This strategic vision blends the priorities of three constituencies that are essential for the contemporary Democratic Party in California: rich greens (strong in Hollywood and Silicon Valley), public sector unions (vital statewide political organizations that Democratic candidates can’t win without), and low income Californians (a growing number) who depend on public services.

This is the coalition that nationally the Democratic Party is increasingly coming to resemble as well. The danger to the state and the country is that while this can be a short term majority coalition, it leads to incoherent policy that in the end frustrates at least one of the groups and crimps growth overall.

In California, the bulk of the sacrifices are falling on the low income people who need state and local government services. First, because the green-driven opposition to everything from real estate development to manufacturing kills the blue collar jobs that would facilitate the rise of immigrants and other low income Californians into the middle class. Second, because in order to preserve the position of union workers and retirees, the public sector is so expensive and unwieldy that the interests of consumers of government services are systematically sacrificed in the interests of the producers. Bad schools, tenured teachers. Crowded prisons, happy guards. Cities and counties cutting back on necessary services from trash collection to law enforcement; civil servants doing well.

Via Meadia‘s quarrel with California isn’t really about the goal.  We are as turquoise as Jerry Brown in our own way: we think that a low carbon, post-industrial economy can ultimately provide an abundance that will help everyone. When the turquoise tide rolls in, it really will lift all the boats in the harbor.

But how do you get from Point A to Point B? The California path seems unrealistic in two ways. In the first place, it insists on trying to do all this with the methods and cost structure of the Prussian bureaucratic government model. A big, low-productivity, life-tenured civil service workforce cannot meet the needs of the 21st century, and the more you want this kind of government to do, the less will it will do it and the more it will cost.

Then, partly to raise the revenue for this outsized and unwieldy behemoth, California is both crushing the old economy before the new one is really ready to take its place and it is inhibiting the growth of the new service oriented businesses that could provide jobs for its army of unemployed and unskilled workers. The transition between a manufacturing economy and an information one is going to be tough, especially on blue collar and unskilled workers. California hasn’t really thought through the problem of transitional employment and in California’s case the high local population of unskilled immigrants makes the issue more urgent. California needs to be encouraging manufacturing and real estate development rather than squashing them, and it needs to develop tax, regulatory and zoning policies that favor small business start ups rather than entangling them in red tape.

California and its governor are right to be hopeful about the future. They are right to believe that the 21st century can offer people at all income levels a richer, more dignified life than was ever seen in the past. But the interlocking requirements of their governing coalition lock them into a set of policies that doom them to frustration.

It’s easy for those who worry about the future of America’s most important state (the biggest population, the largest economy, the leader in both the information and entertainment industries) to blame a bunch of misguided Democrats for the state’s predicament. There is some truth to that, but it would be very wrong to let the GOP off the hook. If the governing party is making such a mess, why hasn’t the opposition been able to come up with a coherent and popular counter-plan?

California’s failure is the result of failures of leadership on both sides of the aisle. The GOP needs to study its long running decline and current collapse in California if it is to have any hope of being relevant long term across the country. California is a few years ahead of America as a whole; those who think it is on the wrong road need to think very hard about what is happening and why, because unless something changes, this is where we could all be headed in the not so distant future.

4386  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - Diversity? on: January 08, 2013, 09:04:48 PM
Obama actually passed up a qualified candidate to be the first woman Sec of Defense in history.  Hagel was more convincingly anti-Israel.

The Republican debates had more diversity than this:

Dems made big fun of Romney's successful search for competent women to fill his top posts as Governor.

Ignoring race and gender and picking competence is the Obama story line.  Two thoughts on that:  1) We could have done that at the top of the ticket, and 2) what large agency has Chuck Hagel run where he demonstrated competence beyond that of all American blacks, Hispanics, gays and women?
4387  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: January 08, 2013, 08:40:05 PM
Denny S. post already states this but CNN also reporting Chavez will not be coming to inauguration.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/08/world/americas/venezuela-chavez/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

Looks to me like it is all over midnight Thursday and the 30 day campaign begins.
-----------

IBD opins, among others regarding Chavez and the Cuban cancer treatments, that "it didn't have to happen this way."  The cancer may have been treatable at the Sirio-Libanese Hospital in Sao Paulo in Brazil.  (Chavez could have swallowed his socialist, anti-American pride and visited the Mayo clinic where other world leaders go.)
http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/010713-639640-castrocare-in-cuba-responsible-for-chavez-demise.htm
Hugo Chavez Hit By Cuba's Surgical Strike
4388  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Welfare recipients using cash for booze and strippers in NYC on: January 07, 2013, 01:24:40 PM
True and perfectly legal within our misguided programs.  They send buses to the neighborhoods around welfare payday with free transportation to the casinos.  Also the drug trade and weapons to support it as well expressed recently.  In-kind payments like food stamps are converted to cash everyday in places like North Minneapolis and Southside Chicago for 50 cents on the dollar for things like booze, cigarettes and lottery or gambling.  The loser is the American taxpayer.  Everyone else is a willing participant.

Money should only be given out within the confines of a written and monitored plan - for all spending and getting off of assistance if possible.
4389  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending, deficit, budget: Boehner, McConnell, Sequester, Ceiling on: January 07, 2013, 01:13:16 PM
McConnell was on the Sunday shows yesterday saying:  "The Tax Issue Is Finished, Over, Completed".
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/01/06/sen_mitch_mcconnell_the_tax_issue_is_finished_over_completed.html

Boehner was re-elected Speaker.  Boehner says I need this job like a hole in the head.  Chosen for what members hope he has learned in the previous deals, not for the results.  Boehner is interviewed here today: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323482504578225620234902106.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop    Boehner says the President denies there is any spending problem,  just a healthcare problem all solved by Obamacare.  Boehner explains the context of saying go f*** yourself to Harry Reid.  Boehner who never loses his temper probably showed members that his heart is in the right place with that outburst.  

Failure to raise the Debt Ceiling does not (necessarily mean default on the debt.  Those who say it does contend that you cannot replace existing debt as it comes due without additional borrowing authority.  Not true according to others, such as incoming Senator Ted Cruz.  Upon a failure to raise the debt ceiling, the federal government still has the tax revenues  cash register open collecting money at the rate of $2.9T/yr.  Interest on the debt is currently just under $0.4T/yr.  The spending budget is $3.8T/yr. including the interest on the debt.  No additional borrowing ever would empower the President to allocate the 2.9T across our most critical expenses of  approved spending and cut the rest.  That is actually quite logical.  We raised "emergency spending" "temporarily" by a trillion dollars.  We chose this economy and growth rate as the new normal.  Mr. President, you got the tax deal you wanted, now spend it any way that you want - and not a penny more.  

Higher debt requires higher income to pay for it.  At the very least, Republicans should require significant pro-growth initiatives passed, not just spending cuts, in exchange for more borrowing.

The Sequester is now the real lever.  With Obama in office for another 4 years and Hagel or other anti-war,  type coming to the Pentagon, there is no need for Republicans to fear defense cuts; they are coming anyway.  Dems thought the Republicans would force the sequester fix into the last deal and they didn't.  We get total cuts of '$1.2T over 10 years' (in CBOspeak) through the sequester and that far more anyone can through 'negotiations' with the President who has no ability, experience or inclination to do that.

4390  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the market - Scott Grannis at Real Clear Markets on: January 07, 2013, 11:43:29 AM
'Our own' Scott Grannis is one of the top links over at Real Clear Markets "Off the Street" today, Jan 7 2013. 
Give him a click.

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/off_the_street/

10 things growing rapidly

10 charts that show growth in spite of the Obama assault on the economy.  Much of it has already been posted on the board.  Give credit to Scott who takes the time to explain how much better things would be with pro-growth policies.  His charts are more honest than most in that they show current growth within the context of greater growth in earlier years.
4391  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 06, 2013, 11:18:04 PM
Laws are for the little people. Ask David Gregory.

David Gregory is a gun criminal.  How will he ever look Eric Holder in the eye again?
4392  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Most open administration in history, hiding official business behind psuedonyms on: January 06, 2013, 05:38:59 PM
All government employees are required by federal law to use official email accounts to conduct government business.  You wouldn't want any Freedom of Information Requests to miss any correspondence/.  Or would you?

Lisa Jackson, aka Richard Windsor, abruptly resigned from EPA last week.  Another scandal brewing?

http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/12/epa-chiefs-secret-alias-email-account-revealed/#ixzz2HF1pXGo2

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/12/28/richard-windsor-drove-lisa-jackson-from-the-epa/

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/hide_sneak_aKyvy71WIkHfG3q1CcVmqM
4393  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kevin Williamson, What conservatives must know about progressivism to defeat it on: January 06, 2013, 04:35:34 PM
reposted here by request:

I was listening to the Hinderacker Ward virtual radio show http://ricochet.com/podcast-episode-popup/content/view/popup/579456 and heard Kevin Williamson interviewed about his quite interesting article at National Review.
We must understand the successful attraction of the liberal/Democrat message better than they do to defeat it.

1. In general, people who vote with the progressives are economically more risk-averse compared with conservatives.  "The Democratic party is in fact a coalition of financially risk-averse groups: Women, blacks, and Hispanics all exhibit a high degree of financial risk-aversion when compared with whites and men."

2.  "economic inequality matters much more to Americans than conservatives like to admit."  In poorer countries, people look see things in more absolute terms.  As we get richer and basic needs are met, people look more at how are they doing compared to someone else.

3. "Conservatives see people as assets, and progressives see people as liabilities."  This is a huge difference.  He gives the GM bailout as example.  Liberals see the bailout as keeping those people from all being unemployed and on assistance.  Conservatives see the bailout as keeping them from moving to far more productive activities elsewhere.  Same for abortion.  Liberals see the 'unwanted' as just more mouths to feed, conservatives see the loss of tremendous human talent.

Williamson closes with the conservative turnaround in Sweden.  "Sweden’s reform-oriented conservatives have been able to achieve a great deal not because they are moderate — they are quite radical by Swedish standards — but in part because they took the time to really understand their rivals’ motives and, unlike unsuccessful conservatives before them, did not treat their opponents’ concerns as illegitimate. Conservative reformers took into account Sweden’s egalitarian culture and its consensus-oriented politics rather than wage a Newt Gingrich–style armored assault."
-----------------

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336481/risk-relativism-and-resources-kevin-d-williamson

December 31, 2012 4:00 A.M.
Risk, Relativism, and Resources
Three things conservatives must know about progressivism in order to defeat it
By Kevin D. Williamson, National Review

(5 internet pages long at the link.)
4394  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Kevin Williamson - Risk, Relativism and Resources on: January 06, 2013, 02:31:31 PM
I reposted this with a better description in: 'The Way Forward'.  As a political matter, I would just say it is a great description of the difference between the way liberals and conservatives look at things.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336481/risk-relativism-and-resources-kevin-d-williamson

Risk, Relativism, and Resources
Three things conservatives must know about progressivism in order to defeat it
By Kevin D. Williamson, National Review

(5 internet pages long at the link.)
4395  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: China Experiencing Coldest Winter in Decades on: January 06, 2013, 12:23:21 PM
Brrr! China's coldest winter in decades at new low

BEIJING (AP) Jan. 5 2013 -- China is experiencing unusual chills this winter with its national average temperature hitting the lowest in 28 years, and snow and ice have closed highways, canceled flights, stranded tourists and knocked out power in several provinces.

China Meteorological Administration on Friday said the national average was -3.8 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) since late November, the coldest in nearly three decades.

The average temperature in northeast China dipped to -15.3 degrees C (4.5 degrees F), the coldest in 43 years

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_CHINA_COLDEST_WINTER?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-01-05-07-52-05
4396  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Path Science: New Study Finds No Significant Human-Induced Warming on: January 06, 2013, 12:06:12 PM
"there is no relationship between temperature and the anthropogenic anomaly, once the warming effect of solar irradiance is taken into consideration"

"greenhouse gas forcing, aerosols, solar irradiance and global temperature are not polynomially cointegrated, and the perceived relationship between these variables is a spurious regression phenomenon"

New Study Finds No Significant Human-Induced Warming

At the journal Earth System Dynamics, M. Beenstock, Y. Reingewertz, and N. Paldor have published a paper titled “Polynomial cointegration tests of anthropogenic impact on global warming” which Anthony Watts describes as a potential bombshell. The authors conducted an exhaustive statistical analysis of data from 1850 through 2007, applying the technique of cointegration, which the authors describe as follows:

    Cointegration theory is based on the simple notion that time series might be highly correlated even though there is no causal relation between them. For the relation to be genuine, the residuals from a regression between these time series must be stationary, in which case the time series are “cointegrated”. Since stationary residuals mean-revert to zero, there must be a genuine long-term relationship between the series, which move together over time because they share a common trend. If on the other hand, the residuals are nonstationary, the residuals do not mean-revert to zero, the time series do not share a common trend, and the relationship between them is spurious because the time series are not cointegrated.

You can follow the link for the statistical details, but here is the authors’ conclusion:

    We have shown that anthropogenic forcings do not polynomially cointegrate with global temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, data for 1880–2007 do not support the anthropogenic interpretation of global warming during this period. This key result is shown graphically in Fig. 3 where the vertical axis measures the component of global temperature that is unexplained by solar irradiance according to our estimates. In panel a the horizontal axis measures the anomaly in the anthropogenic trend when the latter is derived from forcings of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. In panel b the horizontal axis measures this anthropogenic anomaly when apart from these greenhouse gas forcings, it includes tropospheric aerosols and black carbon. Panels a and b both show that there is no relationship between temperature and the anthropogenic anomaly, once the warming effect of solar irradiance is taken into consideration.

This is Fig. 3a:



Interestingly, the authors also conclude that the data admit the possibility that CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” could contribute to to a temporary increase in global temperatures:

    However, we find that greenhouse gas forcings might have a temporary effect on global temperature. This result is illustrated in panel c of Fig. 3 in which the horizontal axis measures the change in the estimated anthropogenic trend. Panel c clearly shows that there is a positive relationship between temperature and the change in the anthropogenic anomaly once the warming effect of solar irradiance is taken into consideration.

Other scientists will weigh in on these findings, as the debate over climate continues to rage. Still, it is increasingly clear that the most reliable and sophisticated scientific work tends to show that the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is wrong. In that sense, it is fair to say that a consensus is emerging.

http://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/3/173/2012/esd-3-173-2012.html

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/01/new-study-finds-no-significant-human-induced-warming.php

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/03/agw-bombshell-a-new-paper-shows-statistical-tests-for-global-warming-fails-to-find-statistically-significantly-anthropogenic-forcing/
4397  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues American Creed (Constitutional Law): Right of Privacy on: January 06, 2013, 11:53:04 AM
The publishing of the names and addresses of the gun owners makes me come back to this question, what is the right of privacy?

Confirming what Crafty posted about Robert Bork is this: "Many originalists, including most famously Judge Robert Bork in his ill-fated Supreme Court confirmation hearings, have argued that no such general right of privacy exists."
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/rightofprivacy.html

Bork was extreme in this view and was not confirmed.  My question to any and all: put to words the best we can, what is our right of privacy? 

Answered two ways, what right of privacy is protected now by at least 5 and maybe 9 Justices.  Reaching further, how should it be defined for those of us inclined to support an even greater protection of our privacy?

Is there a right to not tell the government about your gun purchases and holdings?  Is there a right that if you do tell them that the information can only be used for law enforcement investigations, and beyond that is protected as private?  Is there a right to not tell the government about your healthcare finance choices?  (Guess not.)  Is there a right to tell the U.S. Census Bureau nothing more than how many live in your household?  Is there right to not carry and show ID on the street if you are not buying liquor or doing anything wrong?  Is there a right to not be filmed or if filmed to not have your image used for anything more than the security purposes of the filming either in private establishment or public place?  The questions go on and on with no definition.

Seems to me that the 'right of privacy' is something we all step on quite freely whenever it doesn't fit with our other objectives.
4398  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: January 05, 2013, 12:28:18 PM
Chavez cronies addressing the inauguration question make the coma rumor look true.  I know nothing but it seems to me that cancer in the very late stages is a one way street.  The one saying otherwise is VP Maduro, as his one big shot at the Presidency may be slipping away.  "Chavez was conscious and fighting to recover", said Maduro.  If so, then what is the question about inauguration on schedule as required?

I would hope the opposition start right in with their campaign on Jan. 11 no matter what 'ruling' comes down.
4399  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - new election by Feb. 10? on: January 04, 2013, 12:01:57 PM
If coma reports reports are true, then?

The constitution says Chávez, who in October won re-election to a new six-year term, is supposed to be sworn in a week from today, on Jan. 10. But his condition would appear to preclude that happening. So here’s what Article 233 says:

"When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election … shall be held within 30 consecutive days.”

http://world.time.com/2013/01/03/hugo-chavezs-constitution-is-a-muddled-map-out-of-venezuelas-crisis/#ixzz2H1wp6xrq
4400  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Fiscal Cliff Worries on: January 04, 2013, 11:39:14 AM
I wish the President all the time with his family he can muster, and a little time out of the office.  Commuting to and from and to and from Hawaii for a false crisis he created however seems wasteful.  The cost of flying Air Force One from Andrews AFB, Washington DC to Hawaii is $1,800,000 - one way - slightly more than four years salary of being Commander in Chief.  He took four of those flights, ($7.2 million?) hopefully 'carpooling' with family on two of them, unlike the trips to Martha's Vineyard where they flew separately.  That money could have bought a lot of free birth control for the homeless.

Some complain of the cost.  Not me, my worry is with the CO2 emissions.  While he is playing little gotcha games with political opponents for a deal tht still leaves trillion dollar deficits, the Arctic is melting.

With fiscal issues still burning we can expect a fossil fuel excise tax soon that applies to ... the rest of us.

Washington Post photo, the President drains an expensive putt while the east coast Sandy victims wait for relief
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