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4401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: March 11, 2011, 02:03:44 PM
Thank you CCP, I read it and I disagree. For example, "most Americans have only one choice of high-speed broadband provider".  I don't believe that.  I have only used my cell carrier for internet since the day that became availaible.  It works almost everywhere and they have competitors.  They paid for their buildout of towers and the network.  They run their network and I have the right to switch carriers.  If they collude, that is anti-trust, already illegal.  I have never given a dime to the monopoly cable carrier, but they also compete with the 'monopoly' phone company DSL and other options, and we are out in the very outskirts of a metro.  In the City of Minneapolis, they have City of Minneapolis WiFi.  For some reason, inside the city you don't see other wifi networks. Government internet makes me think of Tunisian shutdowns and China censorship, not the rampant innovations that used to come out of silicon valley.

For me, oversight? - yes. Government in charge (other than fighting off things like unfair business practices) - no.
4402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: March 11, 2011, 01:33:39 PM
CCP wrote: "first republican party meeting was in Wisconsin"

Very surprising that would be the center of action then, much less now.  Besides the State Capital crisis, today the new national R party leader is out of Wisconsin, it is home of the biggest senate seat shift, a fiscally sound businessman Ron Johnson in for Russ Feingold.  And one of the only conservative influential members of Washington media is from Green Bay, Wisc, WSJ Editorial Page Editor: Paul Gigot.  If not for Packer fans (like Steeler fans clinging to God, guns, gays...), a beautiful part of the country.
4403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: March 11, 2011, 12:06:32 PM
Google deserves scrutiny for its business practices as it becomes nearly a monopoly and the article makes good points about the possibility of unfair practices.  They need to walk a straight line on that.  That is a separate issue from the idea that the government should control the internet - 'net nuetrality'. 

Google's competitors have google-envy.  Bing / Microsoft was caught up recently stealing google search results if not their algorithms.

I'm no fan of google's politics but the fact is Google built a better mousetrap right when we needed it, doing what previously wasn't possible.  Their email is impressive too, and many other products, mostly free to use.  They succeeded, so now we are supposed to take that away.  We went through this with Microsoft just 10 years ago.  The Clinton DOJ charged them and a judge declared they had a monopoly.  He based the product category to include price - in other words it was determined that no one else sold all those capabilities for so low a price, thus the consumer is harmed - by the low cost provider.  huh  Wrong, the consumer was harmed by the slow, inept overpriced competitors not holding the leader to real competition.  Likewise, Google searches and email and many other innovations are free to use, and that harms us.(?)  Others need to make their innovations.  Sometimes that takes a decade for someone else to drive a new innovation through the market to fill a void we don't even know.   These innovations sprang from the idea that, if successful, they would be able to eek out a revenue stream from the traffic they generate for a pretty long time, and maybe even take a profit from their entrepreneurial risk and investment.

If Google (or Comcast etc.) is blocking someone else's ability to open their own site and offer their own searches and products on the internet with their own technology, code, algorithms, then that is another matter.  Anyone can buy placement on google searches, they are called sponsored links.  There has never been a better time for anyone to open n 'e-commerce site' or a better opportunity for a 'video programmer to distribute their programming over the Internet'. The Senator is pandering.  Like Microsoft did before them, Google has made every other business on the planet more efficient and productive.  Someone ask the Senator how that content would be distributednow without the pioneering work of these other companies building out the network that they ride on.
4404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: March 10, 2011, 11:46:56 PM
(Intended in good political humor,) Gov. Scott Walker reportedly did not say this:

We don't mind Unions joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.
4405  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 10, 2011, 11:13:55 PM
"Keep in mind that they are many forms of jihad, not just the bombers/shooters/headcutters. There are those who wage the jihad of the pen and tongue, those that raise money and support the jihad in other ways."

You are correct.  Also the public in areas where they stone a rape victim. How does that happen?  Still, whatever the numbers are, 1.5 billion Muslims. then that is a fact. Roughly 1.5 billion of those are not actively trying to attack us.  Question is - what now?  How do we sort it out, how do we root it out and how do we keep people favoring peaceful Islam, like Kundoz, in the discussion?
4406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 10, 2011, 04:35:03 PM
CCP: "Controversial" hearings. Thanks for that.  One powerful feature of 'right wing radio' is the MSM montage.  It is amazing how so many shows/ newscasts at so many 'different' outlets use the exact same words within minutes to tell one side of a story, with repetition ad nauseum. 

'Controversial' in the Peter King hearings might be to take a closer look at Rep. Keith Ellison's past, calling for violence in the streets of Minneapolis: "We don't get no justice, you don't get no peace."  Not exactly a role model.  http://www.nysun.com/national/historic-primary-takes-shape-in-minnesota/39030/ 
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/194947/re-keith-ellison-where-are-you-andrew-c-mccarthy
""We don't get no justice, you don't get no peace," Mr. Ellison reportedly said at a 1993 rally on behalf of defendants on trial for the murder of a Minneapolis police officer, Jerome Haaf."
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2006/09/015165.php
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/764obcsx.asp

I sympathize with the post in the Afghan topic (Kunduz) pointing out there are many, many, many peaceful Muslims.  I see them about town here harming no one.  Meanwhile, behind what is visible, I see that the FBI had 24 al Qaeda related arrests in Minneapolis last year.  How can anyone especially the peaceful Muslims object to at least the concept of trying to find out where terrorism recruiting and the planning of violence on innocents is taking place - and to get it stopped.

4407  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: March 10, 2011, 04:01:34 PM
Zen G, you inspire me to post wisdom I took from my tenant's bathroom wall yesterday:

In a world where you can be ANYTHING ..............  be yourself.
4408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Herman Cain on: March 10, 2011, 03:51:49 PM
Bigdog, all,

I share the curiosity about Herman Cain as he keeps moving up my list. 

Many people have great business experience. Not many of those are willing to also get involved in politics and take a stand on the issues of the day and the great principles of our country. There is a very limited list of conservative republicans available for leadership, probably none, that have a conventional road paved for them to the nomination or the Presidency, with past electoral success, serious executive level public sector experience, foreign policy experience, etc. at all much less not tainted by failures and mis-steps of the past.  Private sector experience sets up a pretty good contrast to the current administration, especially if one sees the current group's public sector experience as unsuccessful.

Must comment on the journalism at the original link: http://www.theroot.com/buzz/former-godfathers-pizza-ceo-considering-presidential-run - This is the kind of journalism that makes people like me scream:

"It's funny how the GOP likes to suggest black candidates with no experience as a viable replacement for President Obama. One black man in exchange for another, which is the height of racism."

First of all, the man is 65 years old with a WEALTH of real world experience, he grew up poor, has one wife (my snip at Newt), a Masters degree, A mathematician in the U.S. Navy, a successful career at Coca-cola, VP of Pillsbury, led a successful turnaround within Pillsbury's Burger King group, a successful turnaround and buyout of Godfather's Pizza, Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, then a career in issues commentary rising to be recognized as a leading conservative voice seriously considered for the Presidency.  Mark me down as envious; the incumbent would be too if he understood our economic system.

Like hearing that brutally cold winters are caused by global warming, someone please help me here.  The GOP is racist huh for excitement at the possibility of finding a black man (or Alaskan woman, Mormon or white midwest Governor) worthy of the Presidency to defeat this incumbent?  Good grief.  If so-called white tea party types wish for an authentic black conservative to defeat a duplicitous, wishy-washy, 'transformational progressive' Marxist, Leftist, Statist, doesn't that mean that the goal is to change the direction and quality, not the color, of the leadership??  What am I missing?

Telling that the author/accuser has a focus all about race while her target called racist, tea party type conservatism, has none.

4409  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending, budget process: How big are the cuts? on: March 09, 2011, 12:15:15 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IelJNgPoX-Q

Simple video from the Cato Institute that brings 60 billion down to the context of the deficit and the total spending.  We are talking about cutting 1.6% off of spending that we just grew 100% in ten years. 
--------
Federal Spending has grown 8 times faster than median income.  http://www.heritage.org/BudgetChartbook/growth-federal-spending
4410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - NPR on: March 09, 2011, 11:50:31 AM
Yesterday it was NPR VP Ron Schiller out, the guy in the video.  Last night I heard James O'Keefe (the film director) on Hugh Hewitt radio say there is more material coming.  Today it is NPR CEO Vivian Schiller out (no relation). http://www.npr.org/2011/03/09/134389342/vivian-schiller-ceo-of-npr-steps-down?ps=cprs Isn't government bias media a little creepy in free economy?  Which article authorizes that power of congress?  I love the part where he says we would be better off without federal funding.  Take him at his word. 

From the NPR link: "...Vivian Schiller's resignation. I'm told by sources that she was forced out — that this was, I guess, the final shoe dropping, you could say."  - No, there is more material coming that they know and we don't.  The final shoe is total government divestiture.

In the information disclosed about the group to NPR, they are working to spread Sharia Law across the globe.  What could go wrong with that, can we count on your donation??
4411  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing Crisis Explained and Questions Answered on: March 09, 2011, 10:21:34 AM
MERS is Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (?)  "simplifies the way mortgage ownership and servicing rights are originated, sold and tracked. Created by the real estate finance industry, MERS eliminates the need to prepare and record assignments when trading residential and commercial mortgage loans."  http://www.mersinc.org/

------

I am blown away by the (correct) answer to the 1099 question regarding debt cancellation.  (There are exceptions always with the IRS and in the Debt Relief Act.)  My (wrong) answer would have been no, you are also canceling the ownership of that asset and not writing off that offsetting loss.  If I needed more deductions I think I would try to declare my losses in values as theft by swindle from the governing bodies of our economy - also not allowed. 
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=174034,00.html
http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=179414,00.html
How does the IRS expect to collect from people not able to make a house payment?
4412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics/Science: Hydraulic Fracturing (Natural Gas) Water Contamination? on: March 08, 2011, 10:51:03 PM
(Long answer to a long post.  Read the state summarizes at the end if the rest gets too long.)

If true, the NY Times piece posted by Crafty 2/27/2011 is very significant because natural gas is the cleaner with substitute, has U.S. and North American origins, and solves a big part of the energy challenge.  If false the allegations are significant as well because it will still become talking points for anti-energy types, stall exploration and extraction back into a climate change style cultural conflict.

Plenty of sources are responding to the story, I'm sure each will be attacked for motives.  
--------
WSJ has a nice story on natural gas expansion yesterday: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703752404576178740650203046.html?KEYWORDS=ohio%20and%20gas
--------
API site: http://www.api.org/policy/exploration/hydraulicfracturing/
Hydraulic fracturing is a technology used in the United States to help produce more than 7 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The technology has been used since the 1940s in more than 1 million wells in the United States.  Its continued use is critically important to producing at home more of the oil and natural gas the nation will be consuming in the decades ahead. Even though America has abundant natural gas resources, most cannot be produced without this technology. Studies estimate that up to 80 percent of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing.

Groundwater Protection through Proper Well Construction
 
Hydraulic fracturing makes it possible to produce oil and natural gas in places where conventional technologies are ineffective. It uses water pressure, under tight controls, to create fractures in rock that allow the oil and natural gas it contains to escape and flow out of a well. Hydraulic fracturing is well-regulated and safe, and it has a proven track record.

In 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded, “the injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids into coal-bed methane wells pose little or no threat to (underground drinking water).” The agency, in a review of incidents of drinking water well contamination, found “no confirmed cases linked to fracturing fluid injection of CBM (coalbed methane) wells or subsequent underground movement of fracturing fluid.”  See EPA's Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing. http://www.epa.gov/safewater/uic/pdfs/cbmstudy_attach_uic_exec_summ.pdf  On average, 99.5% of the fluids used in hydraulic fracturing are a combination of freshwater and compounds, which are injected into deep shale gas formations and then confined by thousands of feet of rock.
---------
http://marcelluscoalition.org/2011/02/drilling-down-into-ny-times-story-on-wastewater/

Drilling Down into NY Times Story on Wastewater    February 28, 2011

Five areas report fails to provide proper context, information on Pa.’s regulatory oversight

Yesterday’s New York Times included a story highly critical of the regulatory framework governing waste water treatment and disposal from natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania. While raising some valid questions about water monitoring, this article – seven months in the making – lacks context, offers misleading comparisons and in some cases put forth information that is not supported by the facts.

NY Times Myth: “[Pennsylvania] is the only state that has allowed drillers to discharge much of their waste through sewage treatment plants into rivers.”

    * Pennsylvania leads the nation in waste water recycling; vast majority of produced water reused in drilling operations: “State environmental regulators say that nearly 70 percent of the wastewater produced by Marcellus Shale wells is being reused or recycled. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, puts the number higher, saying that on average 90 percent of the water that returns to the surface is recycled.” (Scranton Times-Tribune, 2/27/11)

    * Industry moving towards 100 percent recycling, zero discharge: “It makes sense to reuse this water,” said Ron Schlicher, an engineer consulting for the treatment company. “The goal here is to strive for 100-percent reuse, so we don’t have to discharge.” (Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, 10/28/10)

    * Marcellus operators recycling majority of waste water: “…all of the state’s biggest drillers say they are now recycling a majority of the wastewater produced by their wells in new fracturing jobs, rather than sending it to treatment plants. Hanger said about 70 percent of the wastewater is now being recycled …” (Associated Press, 1/4/11)

    * Recycling of waste water to be norm for Marcellus Shale gas wells (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 10/20/09)

NY Times Myth: “Gas producers are generally left to police themselves when it comes to spills. In Pennsylvania, regulators do not perform unannounced inspections to check for signs of spills. Gas producers report their own spills, write their own spill response plans and lead their own cleanup efforts.”

    * Flashback — DEP Inspector visits drilling site, unannounced, finds leaky valve on storage tank: “A DEP inspector discovered the spill while inspecting the well pad. The inspector found that the bottom valve on a 21,000-gallon fracking fluid tank was open and discharging fluid off the well pad. No one else was present at the pad, which has one producing Marcellus well.” (DEP press release, 11/22/10)

    * In 2010 alone, DEP oversight staff performed nearly 5,000 inspections at Marcellus Shale drilling locations, a more than 100 percent increase over the previous year. (DEP Year End Workload Report, accessed 2/27/11)

    * Pennsylvania recognized for having “well managed” hydraulic fracturing regulatory program: “A targeted review of the Pennsylvania program regulating the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells has been completed by a multi-stakeholder group, which has concluded that the program is, over all, well-managed, professional and meeting its program objectives.” (STRONGER press release, 9/24/10)

    * Pennsylvania hired more than 110 new inspectors, oversight personnel in last two years: “DEP was hit with layoffs after the overdue state budget was enacted in October, but the agency’s oil and gas division is considered exempt from layoffs or hiring freezes, added Mr. Hanger. All told, 193 agency employees work full time on oil and gas regulatory issues.” (Scranton Times-Tribune,1/29/11)

    * Former PA Sec. of Environmental Protection details strong regulatory oversight and enforcement: “[The DEP] hired in 2009 and twice in 2010. We opened a new drilling staff office in Williamsport in 2009 and another in Scranton during 2010. Pennsylvania is the only state that has hired substantial or any staff for its drilling operation. The NYT does not say that, because it does not fit its narrative of lax Pennsylvania regulation. Indeed, the reporter deliberately did not include a long list of actions by DEP that represented strong enforcement.” (John Hanger blog, 2/27/11)

NY Times Myth: “But the relatively new drilling method — known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressures to break up rock formations and release the gas.

    * Does The Times Read The Times? According to an NY Times fact-check, from last week: “The method of drilling is not called ‘hydraulic fracturing.’ Fracturing, or ‘fracking’ is a process that is one part of drilling a well and producing oil or gas. Fracturing has been used by drillers for around 60 years.” (New York Times, 2/24/11)

NY Times fails to provide proper context: “Drilling companies were issued roughly 3,300 Marcellus gas-well permits in Pennsylvania last year, up from just 117 in 2007.”

    * Like most information, without context, readers can and will be lead to think something that is not entirely accurate. While the reporter is correct in stating 3,300 Marcellus permits were issued, he fails to state that less than half that number of wells were actually drilled. According to state data, between January 1 and December 31, 2010, 1,446 Marcellus wells were drilled. (DEP Year End Workload Report, accessed 2/27/11)

NY Times fails to provide proper context, again: “The risks are particularly severe in Pennsylvania, which has seen a sharp increase in drilling, with roughly 71,000 active gas wells, up from about 36,000 in 2000.”

    * Of those 71,000 active natural gas wells in Pennsylvania wells, only 2,498 are horizontal Marcellus wells – or 3.5 percent of all wells in Pennsylvania.  (DEP Year End Workload Report, accessed 2/27/11)

Bonus Fact Check

NY Times quotes former Pa. DEP secretary…

… But the reporter never actually interviewed top environmental regulator for story about environmental regulations in Pennsylvania: “[T]hough I am quoted in the piece, this reporter never interviewed me prior to the publication of the Sunday article… As Secretary, I was interviewed hundreds and probably thousands of times.  I made myself totally accessible to reporters.  My staff knew that I was available to reporters. This reporter today says he asked Governor Corbett’s administration at DEP on January 21st, three days after Governor Rendell and I left office, to confirm the quotation that the reporter strung together (sic) from some other source.” (John Hanger blog, 2/27/11)
----------
Hydraulic Fracturing –15 Statements from Regulatory Officials
http://www.hydraulicfracturing.com/Documents/Hydraulic_Fracturing_SGEIS_comments.pdf

"In recent months, the states have become aware of press reports and websites alleging
that six states have documented over one thousand incidents of ground water
contamination resulting from the practice of hydraulic fracturing. Such reports are not
accurate." - President of the Ground Water Protection Council

"After 25 years of investigating dtizen complainls of contamination, DMRM geologists
have not documented a single inddent involVing contamination of ground water
attributed to hydraulic fracturing."  - Ohio Department of Natural Resources

After review of DEP's complaint database and interviews with regional staff that
investigate groundwater contamination related to oil and gas activities, no groundwater pollution
or disruption of underground sources of drinking water has been attributed to hydraulic
fracturing of deep gas fonnations.  - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

"we have found no example of contamination of usable water where the cause was claimed to. be hydraUlic fracturing."  - New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department

"I can state with authority that there have been no documented cases of drinking water
contamination caused by such hydraulic fracturing operations in our State."  - STATE OIL AND GAS BOARD OF ALABAMA

"Though hydraulic fracturing has becn
used for over 50 years in Texas, our records do not indicate a single documented contamination case
associated with hydraulic fracturing."  - chief regulatory agency over oil and gas activities in Texas

"There have been no verified cases of harm to ground water in the State of Alaska as a result of
hydraulic fracturing."  - Commissioner Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

"To the knowledge of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff, there has been
no verified instance of harm to groundwater caused by hydraulic fracturing in Colorado."

"There have been no instances where the Division of Oil and Gas has verified that harm to
groundwater has ever been found to be the result of hydraulic fracturing in Indiana."  - Director
Indiana Department of Natural Resources

"The Louisiana Office of Conservation is unaware of any instance of harm to groundwater in the
State of Louisiana caused by the practice of hydraulic fracturing."

"My agency, the Office of Geological Survey (OGS) of the Department of Environmental
Quality, regulates oil and gas exploration and production in Michigan. Hydraulic fracturing has been utilized extensively for many years in Michigan, in both deep formations and in the relatively shallow Antrim Shale formation. There are about 9,900 Antrim wells in Michigan producing natural gas at depths of 500 to 2000 feet. Hydraulic fracturing has been used in virtually every Antrim well.
There is no indication that hydraulic fracturing has ever caused damage to ground water or other
resources in Michigan."

"No documented cases of groundwater contamination from fracture stimulations in
Wyoming."

Link again: Hydraulic Fracturing –15 Statements from Regulatory Officials
http://www.hydraulicfracturing.com/Documents/Hydraulic_Fracturing_SGEIS_comments.pdf
4413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals on: March 08, 2011, 10:07:55 PM
A book out of print but often referred to with regard to Ayers and Obama, I came across the list today FWIW:

RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)

RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)

RULE 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)
http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2009/01/strategies-and-tactics-for-radical-activists-by-saul-alinsky/
4414  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Boxing Thread: Ali-Frazier, 40 years ago today on: March 08, 2011, 12:45:00 PM
Bring back any memories?
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/the_fight_of_the_century_eK4J5gf5ZqZdlQ6UlwQdOP

4415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: March 08, 2011, 12:31:56 PM
Crafty, You make a great point regarding margin.  On stocks I believe it is currently 25% overall http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/margin.htm, stricter depending on brokerage account rules.  My belief in the right to offer 140 for a barrel in a month means that you in fact contractually have to pay 140 for a barrel in a month, beg, borrow or steal.

If we had responsible supply strategies IMO the natural market spike from turmoil in Libya would take oil maybe from $27 to $28 dollars and we would be begging private companies in Alaska, Florida or California to increase production to cover the shortage instead of the dictatorship/Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - and 'ugo Chavez.

http://futures.tradingcharts.com/charts/COW.GIF
4416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Mitt Romney on: March 08, 2011, 11:38:17 AM
In my own slanted political view I have come to believe I can generally find a core falsehood in the first sentence or first premise of almost any liberal attack piece.  However, in the story that GM covered about Huckabee that liberals would run hard with, it is true.  The story of Newt's personal failings is true.  The story of Palin quitting the her highest post is true.  And this piece by Michael Kinsley, as liberal as they come, about Mitt Romney flip flopping and lacking core convictions is true.  We need to put a little more pressure on our opponents than that to win.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-kinsley-romney-20110308,0,3857595.story
4417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: March 08, 2011, 11:20:14 AM
JDN, Thank you.  The crime deserves punishment, but the attacks on pursuing profits only muddle that issue.  It is moral absence, not greed or desire to make a good living, that 'begets illegal activity'.  

"Frankly, in my opinion "white collar crime" is not nearly punished as severely as it should be; it is difficult to prove..."

It gets punished when convicted but financial law enforcement seems inept.  Also the 'watchdog media' is a thing of the past, all chasing the same false stories, it seems to me.  No one in the financial press for example uncovered anything about Enron except their own political hatred until after it was spiraling downward.

Agreed, insider trading is no joke, it undermines markets which is/was our economic system, I would call it akin to treason.  Like Hillary's corrupt commodity futures.  It undermines everyone who trusts the market and places a trade.  I posted a personal friend story of taking a company from scratch to going public to selling for an amazing price.  No real player like him, even with a great sense of humor, cracks so much as a joke about how things are going in the company outside of what goes out to everyone in a conference call.  For 2 years as a rumored takeover target we tried to tease him for information.  I have a first cousin managing one of the market's largest mutual fund companies for decades.  You will get more of his view by googling him than he would tell his own mother in a private phone call.  

But a lot of these publicized cases about making or losing a lot of money don't involve a real, underlying crime.  The facts determine that.
4418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing Crisis Explained and Questions Answered on: March 08, 2011, 10:42:48 AM
My view (recapping) is that foreclosure is quite a good thing.  It allows a financial mistake to get corrected. Hinder that and you hinder the process in the first place - of home ownership.  Without mortgage what is the largest deduction, mortgage interest.  Without foreclosure, what is the meaning of a lien against the property in the event of default.

Foreclosure (please correct me if I am wrong) involves a choice of remedies.  When the lender successfully forecloses, takes title to the property, the borrower is released from the obligation they were unable/unwilling to pay.  They may get a blemish on their record, but they no longer owe the money that they contractually agreed to pay.  The lender gets back what is left from their mistake and the property gets a new family to move in and call home.

As a buyer of foreclosures, my bias in the value rollercoaster is mixed.  100% of my life savings is in R.E. so the runaway value episode was interesting like a fairy tale reminiscent of runaway tech stocks that had no revenues or profits.  I would tell people who asked that rental homes were not 30% overvalued, they were 3 fold too high for their economic value.  Unfortunately I was right.  My average in Minneapolis foreclosures now is to pay 15 cents on the dollar of what the 2005-2007 buyer paid.

That said, I witnessed rundown properties bought at inflated peak prices where no one made any attempt after closing at renovation or move-in.  If there was any investigation or law enforcement I believe we would find a criminal trail tying the players involved to a string of heists that landed on the taxpayer of the future.

As a landlord I get to hear the personal financial story of the applicants.  One in particular touched me with sincerity.  She was blaming no one for her foreclosure.  She said she should have known her house payment would go from the $1100 to $1700 at the end of the end of the year, during a time of completely flat interest rates.  She said it was probably in there (the loan document) somewhere and she should have read it more carefully.  As anti-government as I am, I would say yes it should have been required on the top half of the first page in print as large as her name.  Especially so considering that we find out that we are the guarantor of all these loans. I believe in the right of private companies to make promotions, but not to hide real costs, take their full compensation and leave us with garbage disguised as home ownership.  - Comments?
4419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glen Beck and related matters - oil speculation on: March 08, 2011, 10:03:01 AM
Not Glen Beck directly, but I have a bone to pick with his radio show guest host Joe "Pags" Pagliarulo yesterday who if understood correctly advocated a ban on speculators making a market for oil futures. 

That type of economic illiteracy sets us back centuries, I hope the real host is setting the record straight.

The last time gasoline spiked like this was the Katrina aftermath.  By allowing gas prices to adjust upward during a supply interruption, no American went to a gas station unable to buy gas.  Instead what they found was no waiting.  The scarce resource was allocated to its most valuable use.

My judgment is that a gallon of gas is worth about a dollar including our excessive taxation.  The rest is the electoral penalty for allowing these buffoons for all of these years to prevent us from producing quantities of energy similar to what we use.  Distorting that argument, blaming the market, to such a vast audience does quite a disservice .
4420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: March 08, 2011, 09:47:03 AM
JDN, Your post is in quotes but no source, author, link. I usually find it through google - don't make us work that hard. Your title says "Crime does pay...." but the post doesn't mention a crime.  Please clarify. Thank you.

From the piece "Prosecutors are coming to the conclusion that it's difficult, maybe impossible, to put people in jail for greed and irrational exuberance."  - I hope so.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/dailybeast/20110307/ts_dailybeast/12789_rajrajaratnamandwallstreetscourtroomshowdown_1
4421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, Michele Bachmann on Meet the Press on: March 07, 2011, 05:40:13 PM
CCP,  I watched most of that segment.  Quite a standoff.  I thought she was daring him to take her off the air for not answering his questions.  She was determined to make a point (quoted below) and repeat that point, and in a way her point was relevant to every question that he asked.  Bachmann has gone through this before, I think it was with Chris Matthews who was determined to get her to say un-American with reference to anything to do with candidate Barack Obama.  Once she said the word, they chopped off all chance for context or explanation and the media ran full speed in all directions with their sound bite.  Here she did the opposite, walked in with a smile and a script and gave them only one sound bite to play no matter how bizarre the questions.

I defend her plenty but she is not going to be the next President; she doesn't have crossover appeal. More likely would just split conservative vote.  If she feels she has broad enough appeal she can run uphill for senate in MN against little Amy, a Hillary clone who is Al Franken's senior senator.

This is the point she was repeating: "We discovered that secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the Obamacare legislation to fund the implementation of Obamacare." This is something that wasn't known. This money was broken up, hidden in various parts of the bill." - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/06/michele-bachmann-obama-ne_n_831986.html
4422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 06, 2011, 11:33:51 PM
Also enjoying and benefiting from Ya's contributions.  The name Mr.10% is for Zardari's bribery/corruption reputation and conviction. He did well financially while his wife Benazir Bhutto was Prime Minister. http://middleeast.about.com/b/2008/08/24/mr-10-percent-president-of-pakistan-meet-asif-ali-zardari.htme

"shameless begging"  - That is a regular feature in the paper with rotating leaders for authors. That is a good title for the page.  Tomorrow it will be Chairman of General Motors or head of the Wisconsin Teachers Union.
4423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: March 06, 2011, 09:16:15 PM
"Given the Natural Rights basis for our Constitution, how do we articulate that in a way that can fly on the international stage, especially viz the Muslim world?"

"The concept of natural rights is utterly incompatible with islamic theology."
---------------

How you win that argument in the Middle East is what they call above my pay grade, what I am saying is that, win or lose, you start making that argument, like Williams did, clearly, loudly and consistently - to everyone that will listen.

If the leader of the free world believed in the American principles - it would start there.  It should come from the Vice President too, it should come from the Secretary of State.  It should come in a Cairo-2 speech and it should come from the leader of the opposition party in the United States / next President of the United States - whoever wants to step forward and take on that role.  It should come from the General Secretary of the United Nations and from every member of the Security Council.  Communist China like Obama may have a problem with hypocrisy, but give it a try - let's proclaim some principles larger than the false choice of mob-rule or dictatorship.

Crafty wrote 'natural rights' rather than God-given rights. Call them common sense or human rights if we want, we don't need to know or agree on the origin (IMO). Use logic for persuasion.  Freedom to be Muslim inside your being and to associate with like minded and to not have to hide your beliefs comes from the same freedom of religion that an atheist, a Jew and a Christian also need to be free. Either you have that freedom or you don't. You don't take a majority vote religion and then force what can't be forced on all, you allow it's free expression in all its forms - universally, in order to secure your own.   Someone should make these arguments, we used to call that role 'leader of the free world' - cf. "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!"

I wrote previously about Egypt that we had a team that helped draft a constitution in other difficult places, Iraq and in Afghanistan, with some success and I'm sure some failure and some lessons learned.  We could be offering expertise to all sides behind scenes while laying out the broad principles publicly.

Maybe we lose these argument and all hell breaks loose.  That is different than not trying. 
4424  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Foreign Policy, Important linguistic error: spread Liberty not 'democracy' on: March 06, 2011, 11:09:03 AM
On a recent cross country drive I had a nice 3 hour opportunity to be lectured on the radio by Prof. Walter E. Williams of George Mason University who made the point that nearly everything good about the American system has to do with preventing rule by democracy i.e. the majority.  We are a constitutional Republic and all the little intricacies of our Republic like the electoral college, different branches of government, the bill of rights, independent judiciary, the bicameral legislature, the limits on congressional powers, individual rights, states rights, due process, etc. etc are all intended to be protections against rule by democracy.  The word democracy is not found in our constitution where the key provisions start with the phrase "Congress shall make no law..."

Bush never could articulate the value of tax cuts, but world peace rests on ability of someone to start articulating the difference between mob rule 'spreading democracy across the Middle East' and advancing liberty with true consent of the governed.  Case in point, if majorities emerge in Egypt to authorize the burning of Coptic churches, is that consent of the governed - for the Coptic Christians??

This looks like Libertarian Issues, but he is talking directly how what we have learned here applies to our American foreign policy toward change in the Middle East.  We keep saying it wrong and then hope they get it right.  Instead we lead falsely by example.  Obama opposes limits on government at every turn, for example by forcing health care change on everyone because 50.1% want that (really about 44%).
------

http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/11/DemocracyVersusLiberty

                          Democracy Versus Liberty  

              BY WALTER WILLIAMS, FEBRUARY 23, 2011

            It is truly disgusting for me to hear politicians, national and international talking heads and pseudo-academics praising the Middle East stirrings as democracy movements. We also hear democracy as the description of our own political system. Like the founders of our nation, I find democracy and majority rule a contemptible form of government.

            You say, "Whoa, Williams, you really have to explain yourself this time!"

            I'll begin by quoting our founders on democracy. James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 10, said that in a pure democracy, "there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual." At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Virginia Gov. Edmund Randolph said, "... that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy." John Adams said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." Alexander Hamilton said, "We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real Liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of dictatorship."

            The word “democracy” appears nowhere in the two most fundamental documents of our nation -- the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Our Constitution's Article IV, Section 4, guarantees "to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government." If you don't want to bother reading our founding documents, just ask yourself: Does our pledge of allegiance to the flag say to "the democracy for which it stands," or to "the Republic for which it stands"? Or, did Julia Ward Howe make a mistake in titling her Civil War song "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"? Should she have titled it "The Battle Hymn of the Democracy"?

            What's the difference between republican and democratic forms of government? John Adams captured the essence when he said, "You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe." That means Congress does not grant us rights; their (Marc: sic) job is to protect our natural or God-given rights.

            For example, the Constitution's First Amendment doesn't say Congress shall grant us freedom of speech, the press and religion. It says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..."

            Contrast the framers' vision of a republic with that of a democracy. Webster defines a democracy as "government by the people; especially: rule of the majority." In a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. As in a monarchy, the law is whatever the government determines it to be. Laws do not represent reason. They represent force. The restraint is upon the individual instead of government. Unlike that envisioned under a republican form of government, rights are seen as privileges and permissions that are granted by government and can be rescinded by government.

            To highlight the offensiveness to liberty that democracy and majority rule is, just ask yourself how many decisions in your life would you like to be made democratically. How about what car you drive, where you live, whom you marry, whether you have turkey or ham for Thanksgiving dinner? If those decisions were made through a democratic process, the average person would see it as tyranny and not personal liberty. Is it no less tyranny for the democratic process to determine whether you purchase health insurance or set aside money for retirement? Both for ourselves, and our fellow man around the globe, we should be advocating liberty, not the democracy that we've become where a roguish Congress does anything upon which they can muster a majority vote.
4425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Huckabee on: March 05, 2011, 07:33:28 PM
Hey CCP, (from  Decline, Fall, and Resurrection? of America thread) Just to clarify, I'm not a Huckabee fan in terms of the nomination, just taking his side for the right to speak the truth on cultural issues and anything else.  Interestingly, I have a sister who lived in his state when he became Governor, knows him better than we do, and she would LOVE to see him become President. To her Huckabee was a breath of fresh air in Ark following Clinton and the convicted Gov. Jim Guy Tucker. 

I don't see Fox News channel but heard him speak recently.  I was surprised that he had no southern/Arkansas accent to my ear.  I think that can be a big deal.  I think Sarah Palin's accent is a big deal to her detractors and her negatives, maybe for others too, Hayley Barbor, Herman Cain?  Depends on your ear.  I don't know what Tim Pawlenty sounds like to people from other regions.  Some like JFK, maybe Bill Clinton, used a regional sound to their advantage, also the contrived Obama cadence.  The worst was Chicagoan Hillary Clinton returning to the south and faking a southern accent.

Huckabee to me is the wrong combination of not conservative enough on important things like illegal immigration and spending, but too conservative (unelectable?) in the perception of independents and swing votes because of his affiliation with the so-called Christian-Right.
4426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline and Fall of America? on: March 05, 2011, 11:40:57 AM
CCP, Huckabee's statement looked like a slip up but I think it was very calculated for the reasons that you state.  You aren't get to get 70-80 million voters emotionally involved and motivated with concepts like millions, billions, trillions, unfunded liabilities, deficits and continuing resolutions.  It has to be tied to what we can see and touch.
4427  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China (Libertarian Issues?): Beijing to Track People via Cell Phones on: March 04, 2011, 09:52:24 AM
"anytime data like this is collected, there is a potential for misuse,"  - No!?!?!?!

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/221349/beijing_to_track_peoples_movements_via_their_mobile_phones.html

Beijing to Track People's Movements via Their Mobile Phones

By Michael Kan, IDG News

China plans on tracking the movements of people in Beijing using their mobile phones, a measure that while aimed at relieving traffic congestion, could set off concerns over misuse.
   
China announced the plans in an article posted on a government website earlier this week. The system would work by tracking the movements of the 17 million users in Beijing currently signed on with the telecommunications carrier China Mobile. Once the users turned on their phone, the system could pinpoint their location and what direction they were heading.

The plan would tackle Beijing's growing traffic problem, which has resulted in highway jams that have lasted as long as nine days. But China has also gained a reputation for using technology to squelch dissent. The government has allegedly hacked the email accounts of human rights activists and launched cyberattacks against websites carrying online protest calls.

The new system would use mobile phone information to monitor traffic flows in different areas of the city, and see how residents are using the subway and bus systems. The article did not say when or exactly how the system will be implemented, only that it has passed expert review.

Users will be able to sign up and receive data from the system, the notice said. But it's unclear whether or not residents of Beijing can voluntarily bow out of the system to protect their privacy. The Beijing Science & Technology Commission behind the project could not be reached for comment.

Although the Chinese government intends to use the data for traffic purposes, "anytime data like this is collected, there is a potential for misuse," said Mark Natkin, managing director for Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting.

China has also made previous efforts to collect data on mobile phone users. Last year, the government began requiring people to use their real identities when setting up mobile phone accounts. China has more than 850 million mobile phone users, many of whom bought their numbers without using their actual ID.

Experts have said these past moves could be a part of a larger agenda by the Chinese government to reduce anonymity among the populace. In the case of China's plan for a tracking system in Beijing, it could potentially monitor an individual's movement, Natkin added.

"By U.S. standards, European standards, that would be considered a violation of a person's privacy, but not necessarily here (in China)," he said.

Not everyone sees a problem with the planned tracking system.

"The project seems like it will look at the data on a large scale. The data they are dealing with is so big, I don't think it will result with any privacy problems," said Zhao Wei, CEO of Chinese security company Knownsec. "I think it could actually be effective in solving traffic problems."
4428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Libertarian Issues: Ten Consequences of Economic Freedom on: March 03, 2011, 11:35:09 PM
http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st268?pg=3

Ten Consequences of Economic Freedom
...
4. Economic freedom helps reduce poverty.
...
7. Economic freedom improves the lives of children.

(read it all smiley)
4429  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: March 03, 2011, 11:11:08 PM
GM's Iowahawk post is spot-on.  My daughter's huge, lilly-white, suburban public high school has a graduation rate of 99% and an on-to-college rate of 93%.  That tells you who lives in the district, not how good the teaching is.  You correctly measure schools and teaching by distance traveled.  How far did you take each kid in the last year, not how smart was that kid before he walked into the classroom.
4430  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 03, 2011, 11:01:09 PM
In the age of youtube, GM's point about Mitt is provable. 

I heard some commentator or guest say the number one quality people look for in a leader is 'unquestionable integrity'.  No policy acumen or camera presence gets anyone past that question. 

The question for conservatives I think goes something like this, who among these top 10 or 15 possible candidates is consistently principled conservative to their core with unquestionable integrity that you could visualize right now as President best articulating American principles directly to the American people on the whole realm of economic, budget and security issues we face.

In other words, not who could beat Obama, but who would lead best if he/she did beat Obama.  Who would handle the cameras and the issues and the media and the crises and the questioning and the teachable moments.  Who would cause a good number of independents and in-betweeners to recognize core principles with persuasion and conviction rather than compromise and poll watching.

There is no easy answer, but I say if they are not consistently conservative with unquestionable integrity and compelling and persuasive in their presence and delivery, rule them out and keep searching up and down the list.
4431  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: WHAT ABOUT THE ELEVENTH YEAR?!!!! on: March 03, 2011, 09:39:29 PM
This is the most obvious mathematical question ever to NOT be asked aloud by so many people for so long.  This question has gone through my mind every time I have heard the fact that Pelosi-Obama Care has to use 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits in order to keep the 'cost' to the Treasury (almost) under a trillion dollars.  Is there not one person trained in mathematical progressions bold enough and smart enough to ask the most obvious question on earth: 

WHAT ABOUT THE ELEVENTH YEAR?!!!!

I don't believe I ever wrote it or asked or heard or read anyone else ask it until I heard this.  I am not familiar with Sam Zell, but i nearly fell off my chair to hear him ask this.

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/cnbc-22844419/24401227#video=24399404

"What about the eleventh year?  You guys have constructed this with ten year of revenues and six years of costs, what about the eleventh year?"
4432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 03, 2011, 08:38:09 AM
Mitch Daniels is the one I know the least about right now.  He was George Bush's Budget Director(OMB).  He explains that as well as honesty and politically possible here with Wolf Blitzer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x93UsezYvrE  Fair enough, but doesn't stir the excitement and break with the past needed todayIMO.
-----

Dick Morris is politically astute, personal issues of his own aside, I heard him on the radio yesterday give a re-cap of candidates that pretty much lays out conventional wisdom at this point.  Mitt is probably the leader but no one knows how he unties himself from Romneycare while the central fight is Obamacare.  There is a distinction between state and federal but big government is big government.

Then Palin, Huckabee and Newt make up the first team each with the big question of getting down their own big negatives down.

For the second tier he mentioned Mitch Daniels and Rick Santorum.  I noticed he skipped Pawlenty but didn't pretend to cover them all.  Said something particularly strong about Herman Cain. Since he isn't a Governor, Representative or Senator, Morris said they will have to call him Mister! - meaning I guess the outsider / private sector candidate as a distinguishing positive. I would add that maybe they have to call him Mister Chairman, as in former Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.  (Like Obama on the Law Review, I would like to read Cain's writings at the Fed.)

I think it was Laura Ingraham- she asked who Morris would most like to work for and Morris said Newt because he would eat Obama up in the debates (words to that effect).  He made that point more than once, but then went back to the central question - wondering if Newt could overcome his negatives.  (He can't)

I say both Morris and Gingrich if they are like-minded need to get together and figure out which of these others is the right leader and start handing him or her all the best ideas, policies and strategies they can for the good of the Republic.
---
Morris' latest strategy idea is targeted govt shutdown's: Cut the funds for specific enforcement of the the health care bill, in the IRS.  When that fails, shut down only the IRS.  Cut the funds for specific enforcement of the CO2 enforcement arm of the EPA, when that fails, shut down the the EPA.  Etc.  I will cut and paste this idea over to the budget-spend  topic.
4433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re:Constitutional Law: Snyder v. Phelps on: March 02, 2011, 05:10:59 PM
We joke about famous people reading the forum but apparently no Justices were moved by the armchair dissent I posted regarding Rev. Phelps.  Justice Alito's dissent is interesting and worth reading IMO:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/09-751.ZD.html

His concern was the intentional infliction of emotional distress (or IIED) onto the plaintiff which I find persuasive.  Rights end where they start to harm others IMO.  My point previously was that the point of these demonstrations is to recruit and incite more killings, in this case the celebration of killing Catholics and military personnel, but that was not the standing of Snyder or the issue in this case.

I would hope that if 8 Justices can protect speech this vile, harmful, they could also get a little stronger and stricter at interpreting the rest of the constitution as a restraining order against big and intrusive government that I believe it was intended to be.
----

Alito's powerful conclusion:

"Respondents’ outrageous conduct caused petitioner great injury, and the Court now compounds that injury by depriving petitioner of a judgment that acknowledges the wrong he suffered.

In order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and vigorously debated, it is not necessary to allow the brutalization of innocent victims like petitioner. I therefore respectfully dissent. "
4434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 02, 2011, 01:18:33 PM
Bigdog makes good points in rebuttal of Fay's piece. Perhaps I should have posted this as political criticism of the President rather than here in issues of constitutional law. The article I thought introduced questions in both areas. 

The constitutional questions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act have not changed since the campaign of 2007-2008.  Obama knew full well how he felt about it then (unless he was 'pretending or ignorant' smiley). He gave a political wink to one side, told the rest of us a lie about his position, then proceeded with the playbook of revealing his real views incrementally.  Contention between these two branches is normal and intended; his view just doesn't happen to be the one he told us to get the job.  He also strongly opposed and ridiculed the individual mandate, lying directly into the camera in a Nov 2007 debate I remember watching with a room full of largely independent voters.  He made similar points then to those in Judge Vincent's decision.  (Fay correctly refers to him as Judge Vincent later in the article.)  Obama believed (IMO) that if he had told the truth then about his views  he wouldn't be President now, pushing this question as slowly as he can through the judicial process.

Your point 3 (hypocrisy) has definite validity and DOMA is a pretty good example.  The criticism works just as well aimed at the other end of the political spectrum.  Privacy unenumerated is gospel when killing the unborn, but meaningless for other personal choices like two centuries of pay as you go healthcare.

Point 4 "the elected branches often ignore decisions handed down by the judiciary" -  isn't that the central thesis of Fay's piece, a warning to readers that this President may press on with Obamacare even if struck down by the Supreme Court.  I don't agree with her on that but we may find out soon enough.
4435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Constitutional Law and related matters: Courting Disaster by Fay Voshell on: March 02, 2011, 01:55:05 AM
Crafty (and others) I think will recognize the author of this piece published today at the American Thinker.  (I see other writings by Fay at: http://simplyfayth.blogspot.com/)  Fay is pointing out correctly I think that this President does not respect the judiciary as a co-equal branch.  It remains to be seen whether the Obama administration would continue to implement 'Obama Care' if the Supreme Court strikes it down.

It is quite a contradiction to me that DOMA Defense of Marriage Act signed by a previous President is not binding on this administration, but healthcare should be binding on this congress because it was passed by a previous congress.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/courting_disaster.html

March 01, 2011
Courting Disaster
By Fay Voshell
There is a malodorous wind wafting its way from the White House.  It bodes ill for the fate of the US judiciary and the Republic of these United States.

The whiff of gunfire was obvious when President Obama publically dressed down the Justices of the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address, saying to his captive audience, "With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the supreme court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations-to spend without limit in our elections...I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.  They should be decided by the American people.  And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems."

The fight between Obama and the courts was on. Much more was to follow.

This would not be the first time an American president found himself at odds with the judiciary, including the Supreme Court.  In fact, the august Supreme Court may be in jeopardy in a way it has not been since Franklin Roosevelt, whom Obama deeply admires and seeks to imitate, tried to pack the court in 1937.

At that time, angered over its decisions vitiating his favorite programs, FDR threatened to completely remake the Court's image and its constitutional mandate in order it become more amenable to his legislative agenda. The President's fireside chat on the subject left no doubt in his listeners mind he was impatient with the judiciary.

He said, "Last Thursday I described the American form of government as a three-horse team provided by the Constitution to the American people so that their field might be plowed. The three horses are, of course, the three branches of government - the Congress, the executive, and the courts. Two of the horses, the Congress and the executive, are pulling in unison today; the third is not."

The howls of rage that met his attempt to get the "third horse" in tandem with the other two branches of government eventually forced FDR to back down.

A similar assault on the judiciary would wait until another day.

That day has come.

Obama has already indicated his hostility toward court decisions he doesn't like, but more than verbal hostility has transpired since Obama's State of the Union speech, which found an obviously roiled Judge Alito mouthing responses to the president's antagonistic and historically unprecedented dress down of the high court.

Indications are the high court, along with the entirety of the judicial branch of government, may be facing more than a verbal showdown as the Obama administration is determined by any and every means to salvage its end goals, particularly its health care plan, from the counterattacks of the judiciary.

As the whole world knows, recently Justice Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court in Pensacola ruled the individual mandate central to the implementation of Obama Care is illegal. If Justice Vinson's ruling stands, it would make the 2,700 page, $938 billion health reform bill null and void.

Vinson wrote:

    "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications."

Vinson's ruling, along with one which was delivered by Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia, means it is probable that the U.S. Supreme Court will make the final decision about the constitutionality of ObamaCare. So far the auguries do not bode well for its fate.

Regardless, it has been noticeable that the Obama administration has paid no particular mind to the Vinson decision.  On the contrary, the WH has ignored the ruling, proceeding as if it never happened, hell bent on continuing the implementation of Obama Care.  As Mark Levin and others have noted, the president is in contempt of court by continuing to implement a law declared unconstitutional.  In fact, while the rest of the real estate market languishes, the boom in Washington, D.C. continues unabated, due in a large part to the need for office space for the multitudinous agencies, some 159 in number, mandated by the health care bill.

It's worth noting the disregard for judicial rulings concerning the Health Care bill has been paralleled by the Obama administration's quiet ignoring of the judicial decisions overturning the moratoriums on drilling for oil.

But perhaps the most ominous sign the judicial branch of our government may be in danger of being entirely overridden by the executive branch of our government is the recent decision by the Department of Justice not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that part of the act is unconstitutional.

In one fell swoop, the Obama administration has abrogated to itself the role of the judiciary and has thereby announced to the judiciary the executive branch will decide whether or not to uphold the decisions of the courts, including the Supreme Court.

The Obama administration has basically executed a coup against the judiciary and due process of law by taking to itself the duties of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.  For if the administration can decree a given law as unconstitutional without the evaluation of its constitutionality or non-constitutionality residing in the hands of the judiciary, the process of judicial review is unnecessary.  Worse, the entire system of governmental checks and balances is completely wrecked.  The executive branch would reign as supreme arbiter of law. Law would be what the executive branch deems law: law by decree, by fiat.

Further, the administration's refusal to defend an established law which has not yet been decreed unconstitutional by the courts means it may also refuse to obey the courts when and if it upholds Judge Vinson's decision, declaring Obama Care unconstitutional. It is not hard to see an administration which has declared one law unconstitutional; regardless of the fact the courts have not ruled it to be so, declaring the Health Care bill as constitutional regardless of what the Supreme Court rules.

And that may be the end game.  Declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and refusing to defend it may well be the presage for further defiance of the courts, as the Obama administration is determined not to allow its crowning achievement to be gutted by anyone or any entity, including the Supreme Court.

We have seen the Obama administration's defiance of the courts from the inception of his administration.  From day one the president has ignored or openly opposed the restraints of the judiciary.

The ultimate battle will be enjoined should the Supreme Court declare Obama Care unconstitutional.  When and if the administration chooses to defy the ruling of our most august judicial body, FDR's attempt to pack the court will seem a picayune maneuver compared to what will be an all out assault on the Republic, an assault which could conceivably send it to the graveyard of history.
4436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: March 01, 2011, 10:58:59 PM
One tip and one song:

Any music in the Youtube public domain can downloaded and converted to MP3 free for home, car or workout using http://www.vidtomp3.com/index.php

A classic song for your playlist, try this brief masterpiece that just keeps getting better with familiarity - and volume.  Jupiter is the centerpiece of The Planets by Gustav Holst from almost a hundred years ago. Over a million hits on youtube for this version by Osaka Philharmonica. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B49N46I39Y
4437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: February 27, 2011, 10:40:42 PM
To those who support Newt or are tempted, what do you make of the past personal issues? a. Does any of it offend you, b. does any of it make you think these things will hurt his chances in the general election, c. does any of it show character issues that could detract from his ability to govern?

From my point of view, Yes I will vote for him if nominated, but that doesn't count because I will vote for any of the named Republicans over Barack Obama based on vast policy differences.

Yes it offends me.  I don't see why the R. candidate has to run a nearly 2 year campaign with the apparent lesser of the moral character, and R's are traditionally hald to a higher standard IMO.  Obama's family situation is almost too perfect.  Maybe something else breaks on a guy this fond of himself and high on power, but as far as I can see he is clean as a whistle in his marriage and family life.

Forgiveness sucks and behavior matters from my point of view.  As clear as I keep hearing Newt say 'Calista and I' today, I remember him not very long ago always saying 'Marianne and I'.  3 wives is too many without a couple of real good excuses.  Lots of people will be offended.  These politicians parade their wives and children in front of us to for political gain, to demonstrate character.  Husband infidelity hits married women hard IMO; that is a key demographic Republicans need; R's who do terribly with single women and are challenged with women overall.  Making it worse, Newt's timing was bad - to be screwing around during Clinton's impeachment.  How can that story die and how can that not be a distraction for him and an obsession with validity for the angry left? A recent conversion to Catholic faith, during his preparation for a run, looks opportunistic to me.  God can judge his soul but I say that here among mortals you get judged as the man that you were and all that criticism is fair game. 

I honor his previous historic accomplishments, but 1994 was 18 years before 2012, and his feat of sweeping congress has now been repeated.  I honestly see him as a policy developer, spokesman and strategist,  not the nominee or the President.

There is no correct analogy for Newt, but look at the implosion of Rudy Giuliani who was an American icon before facing a little scrutiny.  Looking forward to other points of view on this.  For those who support him, tell us what your wife thinks about it all.
4438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 23, 2011, 09:38:54 AM
Famous people caught reading the forum: Something I have been trying to say for a long ime picked up by Joe Klen, Time magazine!

"DougMacG   Re: Unions   June 11, 2010
There was a time I suppose when organizing workers made sense because the greedy capitalist had too much power as perhaps the only employer within commuting distance of a town and whatever paltry sum they paid is what you had to accept or not work.  For one thing, that is NEVER the case with a public employees union.  There is no greedy capitalist involved - just the will of the people / consent of the governed."
---------------
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2011/02/20/in_wisconsin_protesting_the_greed_of_the_public_250813.html
February 20, 2011   Joe Klein  TIME.com
In Wisconsin, Protesting the Greed... of the Public?
"...far too many state legislatures, of both parties, that have been cowed by the political power of the unions and enacted contracts that force state and city governments to be run for the benefit of their employees, rather than for their citizens. This situation is most egregious in far too many school districts across the nation. The events in Wisconsin are a rebalancing of power that, after decades of flush times and lax negotiating, had become imbalanced. That is also something that, from time to time, happens in a democracy."
4439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How to cut government spending: re. Sell, Sell Sell on: February 23, 2011, 09:02:58 AM
Selling off from our federal government assets is IMO the right answer to the wrong question.  It is what do we do next when we finish reducing the size and scope of government, balancing the budget, and find ourselves sitting on a mountian of debt - and a mountain of assets, literally.  Regulate the forest, not own all of it.

Also for government's role is so called in so-called global warming, pull every non-emergency government vehicle off the road before you curtails ours.  Fewer and smaller buildings with fewer employees less heat and air conditioning.  Sell the building, lease back only the space required, scaled back  - at all levels of government. Smaller foot print, smaller carbon footprint.
4440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: February 21, 2011, 10:31:38 AM
"Eloquent piece there by Ryan, but , , , where are the cuts?"

I share that frustration.  To be fair, I think they voted to defund PelosiObamaCare, a 100 Trillion Dollar value just to put a number on it. 
4441  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: February 19, 2011, 12:49:02 PM
"the market is generally considered to be a leading indicator"
 - Amazingly the market has predicted 13 of the last 4 recessions.

200k per (imaginary) job saved?   - I can't find the total numbers, but I believe Bernanke was referring to the entire QE (trillion and a half, more ?) and 3 million jobs saved of course is pure fabrication.  What economic theory believes that devaluing our currency makes us wealthier?

"To call the market's wild government induced ride a doubling from the bottom, as JDN does, while mathematically correct, IMHO misses most of the picture."

 - Right, you can't buy only at the exact trough or sell only at the exact peak.  One would not meaningfully measure ocean level at the top or bottom of a tidal wave.  'Smoothing' the data is an imperfect science, otherwise pick points in time where policy or events changed to judge how the markets responded (as Crafty did).  
-----

Wesbury is empirically optimistic.  These are modest predictions of growth.  Then they compare their predictions with actual results.  Sometimes they are wrong.  He will still tell you I believe that we are missing out on half the growth available with our excessively anti-growth policies.  I posted Kudlow recently saying that average growth when Reagan's policies took effect was 7.7% for 6 quarters, then he won 49 states.  Wesbury is not saying anything like that.  He is telling his investors that his analysis says to stay invested.  Predicting the future has (obvious) risks.  That's why I judge these economists by how well they can explain the past.  I hadn't seen Wesbury in a video before.  He speaks well.  Instead of Fed chair, I think I would like him to be VP.  I wonder if he could hold his own debating Joe Biden on economic policy.

There is an honesty there for a supply-sider to predict growth under the opponent's regime.  I think he just tells you wherever his analysis takes him, although there may be a bias in his business of wanting investors to stay in.




4442  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
4443  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.
4444  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. 
4445  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.
4446  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.
4447  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.
4448  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.
4449  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.
4450  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.
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