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4501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 18, 2011, 07:38:02 AM
For all the accusations of no compromise, what if we said no more deficit spending right now.  The recession ended 2 years ago.  The Keynesian flood experiment of stimulus spending failed miserably to stimulate.  The resulting dependency on government is harming our families and destroying our cities.  Make do with what we actually take in is not even on the table.  Too extreme.

We take in about 2.2 trillion a year right now and are already borrowed to the hilt.  What is the correct amount of spending for that level of income?  A do-nothing congress could actually solve this right now.
4502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 18, 2011, 07:01:51 AM
I can pose this under constitutional questions as well, but in terms of health care policy, given the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, why isn't a waiver for one - automatically a waiver for all?
The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction  the equal protection of the laws".[1]  The Equal Protection Clause can be seen as an attempt to secure the promise of the United States' professed commitment to the proposition that "all men are created equal"[2]  by empowering the judiciary to enforce that principle against the states.[3]  As written it applied only to state governments, but it has since been interpreted to apply to the Federal Government of the United States as well.
4503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 17, 2011, 11:20:21 AM
I am not persuaded by the Huffington Post piece that quotes pseudonym authors and political spokesmen as saying that we may or may not have been able to get this same information other ways, while intermingling the terms enhanced and torture as having the same meaning.  Nor am I impressed with the false, straw argument that if [the Bush people] had all the information back then, why didn't they go get him.  No one said they did.

These techniques led to these pieces of a puzzle and no interragatees were injured.  People could instead be thankful, but that doesn't sell books.

Look at what used to happen at Abu Ghraib with electric currents running through basement water with increasing levels of current, or perhaps the story of Dujail for which Saddam was hanged for definitions of real torture.  They weren't using sleep deprivation or trickery.

Who has the author 'built rapport' with that is comparable to the guy who destroyed 4 fully loaded jetairliners, the trade towers at the opening of business, the Pentagon, and personally beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl for the making of a video?  Again, he should be thankful that what was done in questioning had any success.

"But they comprise violations of human dignity, as codified by the United Nations..."

The statement above seems intentionally vague.  In all this discussion, I am not seeing what the international laws are or really who has the jurisdiction.  The attorney general of the United States sought out and published detailed opinions of what constitutes torture and what constitutes enhanced techniques within the bounds of legality and decency.  (Every liberal conveniently disagrees though they enjoy the period of relative safety that has followed.)  No appendages were cut off, no eyes poked out, no beheading.  Seriously, who do these people think we are dealing with?

What laws, what court and what rights of due process was former President Bush going to get if he had traveled to Switzerland and been arrested by 'international police' for performing best efforts to protect the United States of America?

In contract law, an agreement can't bind one party  without binding the other. Treaties and international accords are different? KSM has rights??  I've said earlier, if these organizations' authority supersede US law, let's get out now.
4504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: May 17, 2011, 10:04:53 AM
"I have taught my children never to assume that a person with a badge at the door is a police officer and to call the police..."

I like this advice and the forethought involved.  If it is police with no warrant but worthy reasons, no harm is done with a 911 call.  If it is false and criminal, the earliest alert has been made.

For hot pursuit to the wrong house or imminent destruction of evidence when you are innocent, you know that is not the case, but that does not change the minds of the officers. 

Seems to me there is ground in between granting permission and actively resisting.  In hot pursuit or imminent destruction, misguided or not, they will be coming in whether you open the door or not.  I still like the idea that for kids home alone or for wife and kids with any doubt, you don't open the door. 
4505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California rated worst state for business by CEOs, Wisconsin surges forward on: May 16, 2011, 12:54:08 PM
First a context.  When America was the greatest nation, California was the greatest state.  Calif still is and always I suppose will be the most important state.  There is no perfect fix for the nation that doesn't include turning things around over on the left coast.

This piece is about all states, is titled about Wisconsin surging forward, but if public union reforms in Wisconsin succeed, they can become the road map for Calif and other states...

States of Business
Wisconsin jumps ahead in a new CEO survey.

The verdict is still out on the political staying power of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's collective bargaining and other reforms. But if the opinion of American business counts for anything, he's already helped the Badger State.

Chief Executive magazine recently completed its annual survey of CEOs on the best and worst states for business. The 500 CEOs graded the states on taxes and regulation, the quality of the work force and living environment, among other categories. Wisconsin made the biggest jump of any state, and one of the largest in the history of the survey, rising to 24th from 41st in 2010 and 43rd in 2009. Louisiana continued its rise, moving up 13 spots to 27th on the basis of its improvements in tax climate and deregulation. Indiana moved up 10 spots to sixth.

The Wisconsin jump is especially notable because Mr. Walker and a new GOP legislature only took office in January. This suggests that Big Labor's attempt to make Mr. Walker a national political target had the ironic result of making Wisconsin more appealing to business executives. "Indiana and Wisconsin's governors have been outspoken about wanting to be more business friendly," says Chief Executive director for digital media Michael Bamberger.

CEOs don't make investment decisions based solely on such impressions, but they can get a state a hearing it might not have previously received. Wisconsin still ranked 33rd among all states for taxation, and its grades on other categories didn't change radically. But a company's relationship with employees was also on CEOs' minds. "Rules that make it hard, if not impossible, to separate from a non-productive employee make companies fearful to hire or locate in a state," one CEO wrote.

Texas led the survey for the seventh straight year, followed by North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia. As for the five worst states, you will not be surprised to learn that they are, in descending order, Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois, New York and California. Tax-raising Illinois has dropped 40 places in five years and, as the magazine puts it, "is now in a death spiral."
4506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: NY Times Editorialists - Selective and Self-Serving on: May 16, 2011, 12:41:28 PM
A must read IMO.  This comes from a competitor, an opinion column in the WSJ, but the points he ties together are damning, and cover a lot of ground.

Corporate Turkeys
The birdbrained phony populism of the New York Times Co.


AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, a case the U.S. Supreme Court decided last month, deals with a somewhat obscure question of statutory interpretation--namely, the circumstances under which the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 permits states to supersede provisions in business contracts providing that disputes be settled by arbitration rather than lawsuits. The editors of the New York Times, in an overwrought editorial today, frame the decision as an act of class warfare.

The justices reversed a decision of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that held California state law permitted Vincent and Liza Concepcion to launch a class-action suit against AT&T. The company had offered them two free phones as part of a service contract, then charged them $30.22 in sales tax on the devices. (It's unclear, and tangential to the case, why their grievance is with AT&T and not with the state of California, which presumably mandated the collection of the tax.) By 5-4, the court held that the Concepcions were bound by a provision of the contract in which they agreed to forswear class-action complaints.

That distresses the Times editorialists. They describe the decision as "a devastating blow to consumer rights" that entails "major setbacks for individuals who may not have the resources to challenge big companies." The subheadline reads: "The five conservatives of the Supreme Court chose corporations over everyone else."

At least the New York Times editorialists and the liberals of the Supreme Court can be counted on to choose the little guy over corporations. Except when they don't, of course. Contrast today's editorial with one from June 24, 2005, in which the Times cheered Kelo v. New London, another 5-4 ruling vindicating the interests of corporations against those of individuals.

Kelo was the decision of a liberal majority (including Justice Anthony Kennedy, who also voted with the majority in AT&T Mobility.) It held that the Constitution permits the government to seize private land in the "public interest," then convey the condemned land to a private corporation so that a city "can shore up its tax base and attract badly needed jobs."

In that case, the Times scoffed at individual rights, crowing that Kelo "is a setback to the 'property rights' movement, which is trying to block government from imposing reasonable zoning and environmental regulations."

The Kelo decision prompted a political backlash, which the Times criticized in another editorial, on June 26, 2006:

    The ruling set off talk of "eminent domain abuse." What has been lost in the discussion is the good that eminent domain can do. It has long been a key tool by which cities can upgrade deteriorating neighborhoods and assemble land for affordable housing. (The New York Times benefited from eminent domain in clearing the land for the new building it is constructing opposite the Port Authority Bus Terminal.)

Affordable housing for the New York Times Co. What great news for the little guy!

This is reminiscent of the Times's opposition to free speech in the wake of last year's Citizens United v. FEC decision. In that case, the Times's hatred of corporations led it to the bizarre position that, the First Amendment notwithstanding, government has the power to censor core political speech when corporations engage in it.

Well, most corporations. As we noted back then, the Times editorial did not mention that one class of corporations was exempt from the "campaign finance" law in question: media corporations such as the New York Times Co. Indeed, were it not for this special privilege, the Times would have been in violation of the law it championed every time it endorsed a candidate for federal office.

The Times editorialists pose as class warriors against corporations, but in fact are selective and self-serving. Never get into a foxhole with the Old Gray Lady; you will find she is an unfaithful ally.
4507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: May 16, 2011, 12:27:00 PM
Weaknesses and errors from Newt are sad because of his amazing accomplishments and amazing upside potential. 

Newt is called by so many the smartest guy in the room but his brain keeps working outward to what else can we do, instead of like Reagan, narrowing and simplifying things down to 2 or 3 essential causes and focusing tirelessly on getting them accomplished.

Besides the why he did it, what was he lobbying for when he sat down with Nancy Pelosi?  More restrictions on energy production and use, right as we were shooting our private economy in the foot from several directions creating government induced misery.  Besides misjudging the problem, there was a government-based solution?  And Nancy Pelosi could be the partner to get us there?  I don't believe that.

How do we fight Obama over an unconstitutional mandate by backing a mandate? 

How do we win with the Ryan plan while sabotaging the Ryan plan?  For one thing, Ryan is extremely open to comment and better ideas.  That criticism could have happened in private and a much improved plan could have come out of it in a nation changing press conference.

If Newt had soared to frontrunner, how was the media supposed to diplomatically ask the new wife about how this beautiful romance and partnership began.  Newt should know better than anyone, conservatives are held to a higher standard.  We are all human but you can not live your life less moral than your liberal opponent.

And the McCain experience should have told Newt, you don't bring conservatism to the mainstream by first pissing off all the conservatives.

Smarts includes both book smarts and street smarts/common sense.  Lacking of either is a lacking in smarts.
4508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues, Powerline Blog: Free Speech? on: May 16, 2011, 11:47:50 AM
One media story went by this winter without hardly a word, especially at the source.

Powerline blog is a very influential conservative new media outlet (they brought down Dan Rather for one thing), run by 3 guys, friends from college out of Dartmouth, 2 in Minneapolis and one in Washington, all attorneys sidelining in political commentary since about the beginning of new media, but the names changed a few months ago.

Paul Mirengoff wrote an off-the cuff reaction to the Tucson service for the fatalities of the shooting.  He wrote something like that he didn't personally care for the music at the service, lengthy and of some native American origin and didn't see how it fit - none of the victims were native American. 

The next day he apologized and very shortly after that the post was removed and he was out.  I read that post, found his music observation odd or unnecessary, but certainly an apology or retraction would have sufficed for those who were offended, if that was truly the issue.

Hardly an explanation and no public good byes were posted.  Apparently he works for a very influential law firm working some huge case and some client insisted him off of Powerline or the firm loses the mega-client.  He decided to keep his day job for now.  At about that same time Steven Hayward, formerly of Reason, AEI, Weekly Standard, National Review, quietly joined the group and started posting very ably.

I think Mirengoff will be back on Powerline at some point, when he is done with that law firm or when they are done with that client, and the rotten details of wrongful oppression of free speech in America will be told.
4509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues, Krugman/NY Times: Hostage Taking?? on: May 16, 2011, 11:18:37 AM
Any genocidal analogy to the holocaust is off-limits, but tying spending or budget reform to new debt authorization is Hostage Taking??
4510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential, George Will narrows the field on: May 16, 2011, 11:12:43 AM

“This is the most open scramble on the Republican side since 1940 when Wendell Willkie came out of the woodwork and swept the field,” Will said. “I think — people are complaining this is not off to a brisk start. I think that’s wrong. I think we know with reasonable certainty that standing up there on the West front of the Capitol on Jan. 20, 2013 will be one of three people: Obama, [former Minnesota Gov. Tim] Pawlenty and [Indiana Gov. Mitch] Daniels. I think that’s it.”
4511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 16, 2011, 11:08:04 AM
Good Presidents persuade the middle and bad ones dupe them.  Today one side is fixated on persuasion the other is re-sharpening their skills on the dupe.
The capture of Saddam had a 7 week bump.  OBL is bigger and the mission was more impressive.  Let a couple months and a couple of new policy fights go by.  Let's see what polls are saying at the end of the summer.

The one who "assembled the team" and "directed the mission" is the same one who hasn't even started to dither on Syria - or private sector U.S. investment and jobs.  Even a Middle East on fire won't hit home like the new, record levels of the broader Misery Index measures. 

HW Bush still had good likability when the voters decided they were done with him as President.
4512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: May 16, 2011, 10:38:51 AM
Newt is in... and getting some bad publicity regarding his Sunday show appearance on Meet the Press.

"By transparently running to the middle and sabotaging the Ryan budget, by implicitly accepting the single most offensive piece of policy of the Obama presidency, Gingrich has mortally wounded his presidential aspirations; unfortunately, he's done great damage to the GOP brand at the same time. But perhaps that's no surprise from a man who did an ad sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi to warn us all about the dangers of man-made climate change."

(That wasn't the worst of what they said about his candidacy.)

Meet the Press link.
If not for new problems he starts for himself every day, relating to experience he is one guy who would have known how to get positive legislation through congress.
4513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Ohio State Univ. study on Jobs created or saved on: May 16, 2011, 09:54:13 AM
"Charlie Brown as the kicker and Lucy as the football holder"

Lucy representing Leftist policies and Charlie Brown representing a trusting nation.

 A Verdict on Obama's "Stimulus" Plan
May 15, 2011 John Hinderacker

Economists Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor have studied (36 page pdf)
the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the purported stimulus bill) with great rigor. Earlier this week, they reported their findings in a paper titled "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Public Sector Jobs Saved, Private Sector Jobs Forestalled." The paper is dense and rather lengthy, and requires considerable study. Here, however, is the bottom line:

    Our benchmark results suggest that the ARRA created/saved approximately 450 thousand state and local government jobs and destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs. State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment. The majority of destroyed/forestalled jobs were in growth industries including health, education, professional and business services.

So the American people borrowed and spent close to a trillion dollars to destroy a net of more than one-half million jobs. Does President Obama understand this? I very much doubt it. When he expressed puzzlement at the idea that the stimulus money may not have been well-spent, and said that "spending equals stimulus," a shocking level of economic ignorance.

4514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 15, 2011, 12:35:50 PM
Cain raises the bar for everyone. 

Why didn't people say Obama was unelectable?

The flaw I have seen is his support for the Fair Tax which I think is a bad idea.  I have just tried defend him against charges that are false.  He is capable and plenty qualified.  Zogby has him running first among those who are in the race:

Huckebee is out and I think out Palin likely out.  Huntsman probably in.  Daniels?  The field is almost set.  There aren't many others hovering in superhero costumes that I can see.
4515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 15, 2011, 10:41:04 AM
On the 4th try or so, if we can't identify a position that is too extreme I will just assume it is a color that is too black.
4516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: May 15, 2011, 09:33:09 AM
Mundell:  On the first point, that surprised me too.  Brilliant guy, I will look into what he was saying.  On the second point , no more than 2% growth which is horrible, he was right on the money so far.  Q1 was 1.8%, surprising everyone else.
4517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Herman Cain on: May 15, 2011, 09:25:47 AM
Chosen head of the law review (school paper) counts (without ever writing).  Chosen head of the Federal Reserve for a 7 state region doesn't.  Losing one election makes you a loser (politically), having your opponent pulled off the ballot with information you learned working for your opponent, and winning unopposed makes you slime, uh a winner.

I'll never get all these rules down.  

McCain was unelectable, BTW, and he won about a dozen US Senate terms.  Bush won the nomination and election twice but couldn't articulate what he stood for.  A guy speaks out passionately from the heart for a decade on what this country needs to get going again and they call it - entertainment.  Maybe they should have him on the black entertainment awards, I didn't see him there.  You say his show ran 10 years.  The Dick van Dyke show only ran for 5.  10 is a pretty good run in entertainment.  Why was he canceled?  (He wasn't) You still missed his career at Coca Cola, btw.  They understand profits in business where elected officials understand taxes and contributions from business.  He doesn't understand pizza, he understands business and he understands America and what needs to be brought back.  Running a major market radio show is a business.  Reagan came from an entertainment background and spoke out on the issues of the nation for decades.  In hindsight at least, the serious presidential historians called it - preparation!

The biggest conservative convention - this year - for their keynote speaker chose Herman Cain.

We've had one debate.  Most thought the winner was - Herman Cain.  Is that still just entertainment, it doesn't matter who wins the debates?

"Don't chase windmills."  Huh

Let's go back to the old way.  You get to choose who you like and say why.  And we get to choose who we like.  I am looking for a leader who says what he means and means what he(or she) says.  Cain for one presents himself as a very serious man.

Did anyone mention a mathematics degree, masters at Purdue in computer science (11 years before MS-DOS 1.0), ballistics in the US Navy, head of the national restaurant association, 4 years at the fed, Coca cola, Pillsbury, Burger King, Godfathers.  From big corporations to entrepreneur.  From the most profitable companies to turning around one that was not, to public service to 10 years in communications, to running for President, to having some poster put you and your admirers down for chasing at windmills.

'Saying the right things' (and doing the right things), that is what I'm looking for.  If you can show me evidence of insincerity, that is another matter.  On the other side (Obama) I can show you plenty.

Unelectable is a term we can use after the election.  Someone is going to set themselves apart from a very crowded field in the new majority party and he or she will be taken seriously, win or lose.

One thing both Pawlenty and Cain are doing right is stepping forward and running.  Others are looking for someone who is not running, not forming the committees, not doing the groundwork, not at the debates, but come sweep them off their feet.  

Funny that no one wrote off Trump because his experience was only private sector, and nothing close to the background described above.  They finally wrote him off for being a nut.  
4518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 14, 2011, 10:32:39 PM
Herman Cain: Why trivialize his amazing business career or post about it if you have no idea.  Working his way to the top tier up of 2 large, prestigious, American companies.  Arranging a buyout and turnaround of a major division.  Who else do you know that has done that?  Why list his experience and skip over the fact that he was also chair of the Kansas City Fed.  (Did you really not know that?)  So you call him a radio announcer...  Why dwell on losing once?  Who didn't? Maybe he fits more as an executive than as a legislator.  Let's at least have an adult conversation.  He is a serious man and has every right to run, even with very dark colored skin.  Obama and all his administration lacked private sector experience to an extreme.  Cain has it.  Lacks other things.  No one in this contest has a perfect resume, especially the incumbent.

GM: "What was Obama's experience again?"

Even with 4 years in office, what is his experience.  That is answered something like this, I succeeded at ... and ...  For the most part he had led us incompetently in the wrong direction.  Thank God for the incompetent part or he would have led us further - in the wrong direction.
4519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 14, 2011, 10:15:49 PM
"Take away my deductions, and in essence you have raised taxes"

I think George W Bush put it this way: "You keep more of your own money."

In both cases, people ignore the effects of marginal rates and incentives and disincentives, that is... the amount you would keep of what you make on the next dollar of income, instead talk about divvying up the slices of a fixed pie. 

It isn't a zero-sum, fixed pie economy.  Income, in the aggregate, is not a fixed amount to divide.  If you can't see that in decades of looking at varying policies tied to widely ranging results, I don't know how to make you see it.

To those who deny the role that incentives play in policy and in the economy, I have no way (beyond the hundreds and hundreds of posts) of trying to persuade you.   sad

Reagan's domestic spending, BTW, was his compromise.  You write and link about his spending without acknowledging that all that spending came out of a Dem congress and that he sold 1/3 of his soul to get what he needed on tax rate reductions, economic turnaround and military readiness to compete with and bring down an existence threatening enemy.

JDN, you are roughly my age and lived through those same times.  If you think Reagan wanted to grow the size and power of government over people's lives or are willing to make that false inference, I once again do not know how to make you see it differently.
4520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 14, 2011, 12:53:24 PM
I am humbled and heartened by JDN's move to the right, from Huntsman to Pawlenty.  In that spirit, I will match and raise you one by moving myself further to the right, from Tim Pawlenty to Herman Cain.   wink
No offense meant to BBG's post, but to those who always say there are no good choices, I say: jump in.
Pawlenty has been the beneficiary of mostly great press for a second tier candidate.  Real Clear Politics found an obscure liberal site (Washington Post) today that compares him with Dukakis  competing with me to be the master of botched analogies.

Yes, similarities and Dukakis did win his endorsement.  Small differences.  Dukakis was running to end the Reagan era of economic growth on a Mondale-lite anti-growth platform.  Pawlenty is running to end the stagnation of Carter-Mondale-Obama with a pro-growth agenda.  Just stay on message.

Pawlenty needs to avoid jumping in the Dukakis tank, whatever the equivalent is for him.  He is not Reagan, so don't try to be Reagan, or anyone or anything else.  My favorite line, posted elsewhere and adapted here: In a world where you can be anything  ... even President of the United States  ...  Be yourself.
4521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 14, 2011, 12:35:59 PM
Back to Jdn's reply to me recently, repeating and clarifying: HW Bush did not compromise.  He was duped.  The Tefra Reagan example witht eh wikipedia description of it is not an example of raising tax rates similar to what Dems want now.  After and including Tefra, rates under Reagan dropped from 70% to 28% and revenues exploded.  To discuss this intelligently, we will need to obsessively distinguish between the following:

a) tax rates applied to income earned

b) tax revenues - actual, and

c) the BS static analysis calculations made by idiots in high places who use super computers to assess policy impact but put in the false assumption that incentives and disincentives have no affect on economic behavior.
4522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 14, 2011, 12:24:28 PM
"I don't understand how the end of QE2 can not mean the beginning of strong increases in interest rates."

Agree- if that meant an impending tightening of money.  I believe he is saying/predicting that quantitative expansion, no matter what it is called, or if it is hidden or denied, will continue.

Paul Volcker in 81-82 tightened money before the productive incentives of Reagan-Kemp-Roth kicked in and the economy tanked.  Bernanke has shown no inclination of heading down that path.  In fact he said the opposite.  The dual mandate to him means that unemployment is of equal importance to the value of the dollar.
4523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: May 14, 2011, 11:12:09 AM
Yes, the horrific earthquake/tsunami experience in Japan gives us an amazing opportunity to check, learn, update and improve the safety of nuclear power.  Real information is just starting to come in.  Let's keep this debate / discussion alive beyond the crisis.  We still need electricity, one way or another.
4524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: May 14, 2011, 11:08:00 AM
The observation Stiglitz made was that "We are all Keynesians now" at the financial crisis point of roughly Sept 2008.

That meant Bush the outgoing President, McCain and Obama which means the incoming President no matter who wins, the entire Pelosi-Reid congress that was destined for one reelection and all the columnists and Ivy league economists that he knows.

My point was that before that and after that they were all proven wrong, no matter who they cocktail with.

Making money available during a financial contraction (Monetary policy) is different than running multiple trillions of dollars of deficits for multiple years (Keynesian fiscal policy) with no measurable positive affect.  It is hitting the wrong problem with the wrong solution.

FYI for JDN, Stiglitz colleague at Columbia Robert Mundell has a Nobel prize in Economics as well and holds a very different policy view, unless he has done an about face since designing the Reagan-Volcker two pronged solution to the two-pronged problems of stagflation last time we went down this road.

Mundell Sees U.S. Growing 2% at Most in 2011 After Confidence `Devastated'
Dec 27, 2010 3:51 PM CT

Robert Mundell, Nobel Prize winning economist and Columbia University professor.

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Mundell of Columbia University and Bloomberg Businessweek's Peter Coy talk about the outlook for the U.S. economy. They speak with Carol Massar on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)

The U.S. economy will probably grow no more than 2 percent in 2011, less than what’s needed to lower unemployment, Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Mundell said.

“I don’t see economic growth as being any better than 2 percent,” the Columbia University economics professor said in an interview today on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smarts” with Carol Massar. “You had this financial shock to the economy which devastated confidence, and there is nothing around the corner that looks like it’s going to be a strong push for the economy.”

The economy grew at an average 2.9 percent annual rate in the five quarters since the worst recession in seven decades ended in June 2009. That pace of recovery has lowered unemployment from a peak of 10.1 percent in October 2009 to 9.8 percent last month.

Mundell, 78, said the Fed’s unconventional monetary policy actions, known as quantitative easing, had the undesired effect of strengthening the dollar.

“The Fed policy was working three or four times before, but then it was cut off because the dollar soared and that’s what really broke the back of the economy,” he said. The Fed has been “negligent” in not taking into account the influence a rising dollar would have on the economy, he said.
4525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - The lost years of Obamanomics on: May 14, 2011, 10:50:04 AM
Reading between the lines, Malpass is saying (IMO) that QE1 and QE2 will be followed by QE-unspecified.  We aren't changing Fed Chairmen and we aren't changing directions: "We expect the U.S. to continue very loose monetary and fiscal policy – meaning a near-zero Fed funds rate and over $3.7 trillion per year in federal spending."  The Fed still thinks its half-mission is to manage/cure unemployment.

Our economy has a fine 8 cylinder engine with maybe 4 or 5 cylinders firing and partly bald tires.  It is making noises and bellowing out smoke (unemployment, deficits, govt. dependency, etc.)  Malpass is saying it should keep on sputtering up to the next exit, not purr down the freeway coast to coast on cruise control.  We are not even ahead of breakeven 'growth' or in any condition to withstand an unforeseen storm.

This economy IMO with all this idle capacity is capable of probably 8+% sustained growth right now if the full range of pro-private-sector-growth policies were implemented.  (I think Malpass would agree with that.)  The recession technically ended June 2009, two years ago, and nothing resembling a recovery (growth significantly above about 3.1% breakeven growth) has begun to occur.  This stagnation presents an amazing opportunity for the next President and the next election cycle if people can get their thinking straight and survive the next 1 1/2 years.

My prediction past QE2 in June is neutral.  I have no idea what a car running on half its cylinders and refusing a tune up will do next.

My brother knows cars better than me.  If I tell him that I felt the sputtering, heard the noises and saw the smoke but kept driving, hoping it would get better on its own, he gives me the stupid look and asks: Really?? When did that work for you?
4526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: May 13, 2011, 12:56:07 PM
I wasted the time experiencing both clips.  This is the issue we face?  The Beck clip at the link was a RADIO show, the image shown is not from the radio show!  The vomiting attempt at humor was the sidekick.  The stated reason was his middle east trip, just getting off the plane, changing diet, he was queezy earlier before viewing the commercial etc.  The Burqa comment was to PREVENT SKIN CANCER. 

The central criticism was he called her "fat" and that was never said!  WHY DO THEY LIE?

The biggest insult articulated was:  imagine John McCain naked, with long blond hair.  Take that any way you want, it's her father - and he's NOT FAT!

Seems to me that in a world of free speech, in a world where a woman wonders what people will think if they expose themselves, people who see it and may have a thought when they do see you expose yourself.  Then someone says compliments with sarcasm.  Should we pass a law?

The point of the commercial was skin cancer, put some clothes on.  They were agreeing with her, put some clothes on, ha ha.

It was a radio bit, a bunch of sarcasm. They called her luscious, too luscious.  Not flattering if you detect sarcasm.   Seductive, they wondered if they should even show it.  (It was a radio bit!)  Not funny, not helpful and not newsworthy, but maybe it explains to me why the McCains don't like him.

There is a rule that you don't attack the kid of a candidate.  She isn't a kid and he isn't a candidate.  She is trying to ride her 10 minutes of fame into being a pundit on her own and activist of sort.  She puts her opinions out there, attacks others.  In this case, she puts her not x-rated nakedness out there, draws attention and comment, helps a charity cause and also definitely self-promoting, and she gets unwanted feedback.  Big deal.

I have read and heard endless vile comments the other direction, aimed at Beck and many other hosts.  Staying with the off limit topic of women's looks, comments that Ann Coulter has an adams apple, used to be a man, are all over liberal media. And Condoleezza Rice disgustingly caricatured instead of respected as America's Secretary of State. 

Selective outrage is what this is.  Show me where JDN or Meghan McCain or Cindy McCain wrote, tweated, spoke out or objected when any of the rest of it happened.  Sen. McCain's "friend" and colleague Al Franken wrote a best selling book about Rush Limbaugh calling him "Fat" in the title, and he is a RADIO host - didn't do any naked commercials.  That would have been a good opportunity to nip this in the bud.  Show me where these two-faced, lying phonies tried to do that then.  Did they attack Sen. Franken for his vile work or welcome him to the US Senate?  It was the latter.

Glenn Beck is not running for senate, he is accountable to his audience, and the radio show is generally far less serious than what I hear he does on television.  I'd rather see him stay on-topic.  Radio shows move too slowly already because of endless commercial interruptions.
4527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Reagan raised taxes? on: May 13, 2011, 12:46:25 PM
Reagan raised taxes by 100% in the 1980s.  Those were REVENUES not rates.

I know that liberal punditry is full of accusations that he raised taxes many times - many more times than he cut them, but they were all examples of closing loopholes to get and keep marginal rates lower.  (Please show me an example of where that was not true!)

After all the "raising", tax rates went from 70% to 28%.  What a bunch of BS.  JDN, as our valued centrist, we want you to sniff out when either side is lying, not just be our devil's advocate.   wink

In George H.W. Bush famous break of his promise that cost him his job, he was talked into only $1 of tax hike for every $2 of spending cuts.  Pretty good compromise with a DEMOCRATIC congress, don't ya think?  Guess what?  The tax hikes kicked in like clockwork, virtually irreversible, and the spending cuts never happened.  Who knew?!? Sort of like what Obama and company want to do now.

Let's say Republicans cave today on their promises and principles and go along with a similar, so-called compromise. How much lower will spending be, in dollars, in total, in future years, after tax rates go up on the wealthy, on employers and on investments?

I think we all know the answer.  Tax hikes, if approved, will happen.  Spending cuts won't.
4528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 12, 2011, 01:34:09 PM
Interesting legal opinion/decisions on the school searches.  In our case it is deterrence, not reasonable suspicion, because I have a series of these emails without any significant find or arrest.

"...such detection is not a search because the dogs merely sniff the air around the property and that students do not have an expectation of privacy in the air around their belongings."  - Is that like having some super listening device outside of homes and saying no expectation of privacy in your home?  I would stay with the idea that these are kids in schools and we get to make the rules.

In my case, I approve of the program in the sense that I have pre-consented  when I bought the parking pass. I have the option of sending my kid elsewhere and the option of not sending my car to school.  I want the school to be drug free.

I am mostly puzzled by the 'off-campus' search.  As the legal decisions say, they do that because they can. 
4529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar, & Gold/Silver on: May 12, 2011, 12:56:09 PM
"The point I don't agree with is the idea that a stronger dollar would hurt the US"

My point came out wrong.  I only meant that along with the good effects, there will also be negatives.  Neither a strong or weak dollar solves the other problems - a bloated public sector anchor and the regulations that prevent hiring or production from coming back.  If we fix those other things that are wrong, the dollar find its own level of strength.

QE needs to end.  Money can only increase at the same pace as production, and maybe we need to send that to them in a constitutional amendment. 

The inflation we already put in motion will be extremely harmful.
4530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues: Drug search on: May 12, 2011, 12:20:47 PM
A school notice received in the email follows.  Context: only the timing is unknown; all parents and students already know this is going to happen.  Includes cars on public streets.  Comments or objections?

"Hello Parents of ## High School students,

This is [principal] with an announcement.

Today we conducted a drug search of our parking lots and student traffic/gathering areas outside of school. Three dogs were used and they alerted us to five points of interest, four of which were in our student parking lot. Upon further search no drugs were found in any of the on campus autos. As always if a student vehicle drew attention during the dog search parents were contacted and the vehicle was searched.

The dogs alerted us to one vehicle parked off campus in a parking area typically frequented by students. A further search of that vehicle turned up paraphernalia, but no drugs. Again parents were contacted.

Our searches are conducted several times during the year and focus on different areas inside and outside of the building."
4531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar, & Gold/Silver on: May 12, 2011, 11:08:03 AM
The 'what will happen at the end of quantitative easing' story is interesting.  Of course in economics they always mean 'if all other things remained constant'.

A 'weak' dollar (now) and a 'strong' dollar later (again) are just 2 misnomers for 2 different sets of problems.  I agree we probably have high interest rates coming and a 'stronger' dollar, if monetary dilution ever stops.  That will hurt manufacturing, exporting and jobs, houses and tax revenues from people in those sectors even further.

My way of thinking of this is that all these problems are inextricably linked. The fiscal budget debt mess is linked to the monetary irresponsibility.  Both are linked to the anti-production regulatory environment, linked to the anti-incentive productive investment environment and that is all linked to the political uncertainty of heading into another fork in the road having no idea which way this country or the global economy will turn.

In other words, this is all easier to fix than most people think.  
4532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: May 12, 2011, 10:12:55 AM
JDN, You are white but speak midwest/west coast English fluently (though some of it makes no sense  smiley).  If you were just as white and spoke Tajik or Russian in your first month in the country and understood nothing the officer said trying to engage you in conversation or obtain information, then the comparison might be more apt.  That is not race nor something you can profile before pulling someone over for a traffic stop.

Close friends can say only part of an old joke or story to share another laugh.  McCain, to conservatives, is such a joke and he is the one who started that fight on many fronts on many occasions.  Beck calls McCain "not a real conservative" and I suppose uses his name as a lesson of how not to move conservatism forward. The wife strikes back with vitriol that she accuses.  If free speech is so great, may I say - goods riddance to her too, off the national stage, unlike Beck who has not left (18 hours a week on radio if not TV) and will most certainly return.

Why do we say Cindy McCain is a Republican, a self designation?  Arizona-Republican used to be a term used before RINO to mean something of the opposite to a core-values conservative.  (Example: Sandra Day O'Connor!)  CM I think is more of a Beltway Republican where the core value is to be invited and liked at all the best DC cocktail events.  I am not aware of any conservative cause she ever advanced.  GB is just the opposite, day after day.

Ratings "trend"? or ratings?  Beck has huge ratings by cable standards and Fox did not fire him or distance themselves from him to my knowledge.  (Is he still on?)  After that show is gone Fox has said they plan to use him again in other ways.  People took offense or did they just take an opportunity to attack him personally and try to silence him? Looked to me like the latter.  

JDN may not be anti-Semitic, a wife beater, or other false slur, but how would you like being named, having the allegations broadcast and then have others without any evidence or example chime in publicly, repeat it, spread it and call it accurate!

The AZ legal issue arises out of the Fed's shirking their responsibility.  If the Feds have the right to take that responsibility back from a border state then they should do so.
4533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 10, 2011, 01:18:33 PM
How is waterboarding illegal, without doing physical harm or inflicting permanent injury, but bullets through the eyeballs without resistance is legal and heroic?  Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday nailed guest Tom Donilon, national security adviser, with this contradiction.  (Looking forward to BD returning to these questions of law in war.)

Wallace To Donilon: If Shooting Bin Laden Is OK, 'Why Can't You Do Waterboarding?'

Wallace: We'll stipulate -- I think we'll all stipulate -- that bin Laden was a monster, but why is shooting an unarmed man in the face legal and proper while enhanced interrogation, including waterboarding of a detainee under very strict controls and limits -- why is that over the line?

Donilon: Well, let me talk first about the first half of the statement that you made. Again, the president met with the operators yesterday at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and here are the facts. We are at war with al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden is the emir or commander, indeed the only leader of al-Qaeda in its 22 year history. This was his residence and operational compound. Our forces entered that compound and were fired upon in the pitch black. It's an organization that uses IEDs and suicide vests and booby traps and all manner of other kinds of destructive capabilities.

Wallace: Mr. Donilon, let me just make my point. I’m not asking you why it was OK to shoot Osama bin Laden. I fully understand the threat. And I’m not second-guessing the SEALs. What I am second guessing is, if that’s OK, why can’t you do waterboarding? Why can’t you do enhanced interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was just as bad an operator as Osama bin Laden?

Donilon: Because, well, our judgment is that it’s not consistent with our values, not consistent and not necessary in terms of getting the kind of intelligence that we need.

Wallace: But shooting bin Laden in the head is consistent with our values?

Donilon: We are at war with Osama bin Laden.

Wallace: We’re at war with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Donilon: It was a military operation, right? It was absolutely appropriate for the SEALs to take the action -- for the forces to take the action that they took in this military operation against a military target.

Wallace: But why is it inappropriate to get information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

Donilon: I didn’t say it was inappropriate to get information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Wallace: You said it was against our values.

Donilon: I think that the techniques are something that there’s been a policy debate about, and our administration has made our views known on that.
4534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward... The Powerline Prize $100,000 on: May 10, 2011, 12:59:44 PM
There were videos posted that reached out to younger people with music and video that supported liberal causes and some envy and questioning from the conservative side asking how can we reach out with the best of today' communications and technology capabilities.

Rather than answer that, Powerline blog has posed it as a contest.  Mentioned as an example is the highly informative Keynes-Hayek video posted on Economics, but the subject here is federal spending and debt which is also hard to put to song or entertainment but is costing young people every hour of every day for the rest of their lives.  Stay tuned for the many great entries that are expected.

 Announcing the Power Line Prize

May 8, 2011  John Hinderacker

Our nation faces an unprecedented financial crisis. Every knowledgeable citizen understands that the fiscal path we are on is unsustainable. Indefinite continuation of the status quo is not an option. There are only two possibilities: reform and collapse.

The massive federal debt that is now being incurred represents an existential threat to America's future. In a best-case scenario, it will saddle our children with financial obligations that will cripple their ability to prosper over the remainder of this century.

What to do? Federal spending must be gotten under control, obviously. The problem is ultimately a political one. Approximately one-third of Americans understand the threat posed by the federal debt crisis, and are prepared to act to meet it. Another one-third may or may not understand the threat, but either have skin in the game--i.e., their personal financial interests in government spending outweigh concern about the national welfare--or are so blinded by ideology that they are hopeless cases.

That leaves the critical one-third, many of them young, who for whatever reason do not yet understand the threat that federal spending and debt pose to them and to the country. Data have been collected; charts and graphs have been prepared; op-eds have been written. But many millions of Americans have not yet been reached or persuaded by these sober economic analyses. We need a marketing campaign: a sustained effort to use the tools of modern communication to reach and educate every American, and to mobilize popular opinion to demand reform from the politicians in Washington.

Toward that end, we are proud to announce the Power Line Prize. Power Line, in conjunction with the Freedom Club, is offering a grand prize of $100,000.00 to whoever can most effectively and creatively dramatize the seriousness of the federal debt crisis. Any medium of communication is eligible: video, song, screenplay, television commercial, painting, Power Point, essay, performance art, or anything else. The runner-up will receive a $15,000.00 prize, and two third-place finishers will receive $5,000.00 each. Entries must be submitted by midnight on July 15, 2011. Judges' decisions are final. All submissions become the property of Power Line and the Freedom Club. Entries must be original and unique to the Power Line Prize competition; i.e., they must not have been published or made public in any form prior to the time when contest winners are announced.

The contest web site is here. You can find much more information about the contest there, including complete contest rules. You can also get there by clicking on this graphic:

We will have much more to say about the Power Line Prize over the weeks to come. In the meantime, if you are a creative sort, this is your chance to make a difference on the most critical issue of our time. (Spread the word!)
4535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 10, 2011, 12:44:36 PM
It is better to be in than to wonder forever if he should have been in.  He is the best thinker and visionary in some ways and will elevate the debate.  I don't predict he will go far.  There are some negative points already discussed I don't think he can overcome, but we will see.
No commentary here from the candidate debate last week.  I didn't see it, did anyone?  Many say Herman Cain won it.  Rush L. said that Tim Pawlenty looked presidential and spoke highly of all of them.  With Obama below 50%, there is no one holding back on criticism.  They need to all quit participating in the show of hands questioning.  Raising your hand without opportunity to explain your view is not Presidential.  Juan Williams for balance asked some idiotic questions, do you believe in creationism, for example.  Do we have a religious litmus test in this country?  Does the President set policy in that area?  What we should be arguing is what can we all agree on, not just find the differences.
4536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 10, 2011, 12:25:01 PM
"The world's most important terrorist safe haven is visibly not Afghanistan, but instead next-door Pakistan."

 - True, but if nation building in Afghan is beyond our capability, nation building in Pakistan would be exponentially harder.  At least we are taking some war to enemies inside Pakistan with the drone warfare and OBL kill.  Our presence in Afghanistan puts some containment on Pakistan.

There are plenty of inconsistencies in our policies in the region and plenty of people here from all political stripes are losing interest in continuing our major presence.  A lesson from Iraq, we should not go from a presence of 100,000 plus to not even keeping the right to a couple of permanent bases for future operations.  The OBL kill came partly form our ability to stage, support and fly in from next door rather than from Virginia or Carolina.  We kept a presence in the Japan and in Germany and peace broke out.  Winding down a surge I would think should be coupled with maintaining our ability to go back in and put out future fires.

The consequence for harboring bin Laden under our nose while taking our money to fight terrorism should be another reason to strengthen our strategic partnership with India, we need an ally in the region, and to shift any future Pak aid to 100% non-cash support.  If we say the money is for building a hospital for example, then we build a hospital, not hand out throw-around money.  If we say it is for an anti-terrorism force, then our people join with that force and bring intelligence and weaponry.

Ya's posts beg the elephant in the room question, what is the consequence to China for helping Pakistan build nuclear arms.  (Nothing so far, I know Hillary just said China poses no threat while the home of our biggest threat just went nuclear with their help.) The answer I think is an information war, like radio free Europe.  Fight off the regime's efforts at censorship and weaken their hold over their own people, as it was the ruling party not the people who proliferated nuclear weapons to our enemy.
4537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 10, 2011, 11:21:15 AM
Those numbers are very interesting but too bad they are year 2000, more than a decade old, telling us everything except recent and current trends.  I am guessing that the 2010 did not differentiate illegals, counting them same as citizens for representation, and therefore we will never have an update with similar accuracy or undercount.

Note how quickly the numbers drop from the problem areas in 2000.  By 2010 I would guess that many of those migrated further in to other states for jobs (or welfare and public services) while many many new ones were entering Calif, TX, AZ, etc.
4538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Worst RECOVERY since the Great Depression on: May 06, 2011, 09:06:20 AM
Peter Ferrara / Forbes makes a familiar point about the current, failed policy mix, with great summary, analysis, comparison and extensive facts and figures.  Obama like to compare himself with Reagan.  I think that will backfire.

Reaganomics Vs. Obamanomics: Facts And Figures
May. 5 2011

In February 2009 I wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal entitled “Reaganomics v Obamanomics,” which argued that the emerging outlines of President Obama’s economic policies were following in close detail exactly the opposite of President Reagan’s economic policies.  As a result, I predicted that Obamanomics would have the opposite results of Reaganomics.  That prediction seems to be on track.

When President Reagan entered office in 1981, he faced actually much worse economic problems than President Obama faced in 2009.  Three worsening recessions starting in 1969 were about to culminate in the worst of all in 1981-1982, with unemployment soaring into double digits at a peak of 10.8%.  At the same time America suffered roaring double-digit inflation, with the CPI registering at 11.3% in 1979 and 13.5% in 1980 (25% in two years).  The Washington establishment at the time argued that this inflation was now endemic to the American economy, and could not be stopped, at least not without a calamitous economic collapse.

All of the above was accompanied by double -igit interest rates, with the prime rate peaking at 21.5% in 1980.  The poverty rate started increasing in 1978, eventually climbing by an astounding 33%, from 11.4% to 15.2%.  A fall in real median family income that began in 1978 snowballed to a decline of almost 10% by 1982.  In addition, from 1968 to 1982, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 70% of its real value, reflecting an overall collapse of stocks.

President Reagan campaigned on an explicitly articulated, four-point economic program to reverse this slow motion collapse of the American economy:

1.  Cut tax rates to restore incentives for economic growth, which was implemented first with a reduction in the top income tax rate of 70% down to 50%, and then a 25% across-the-board reduction in income tax rates for everyone.  The 1986 tax reform then reduced tax rates further, leaving just two rates, 28% and 15%.

2.  Spending reductions, including a $31 billion cut in spending in 1981, close to 5% of the federal budget then, or the equivalent of about $175 billion in spending cuts for the year today.  In constant dollars, nondefense discretionary spending declined by 14.4% from 1981 to 1982, and by 16.8% from 1981 to 1983.  Moreover, in constant dollars, this nondefense discretionary spending never returned to its 1981 level for the rest of Reagan’s two terms!  Even with the Reagan defense buildup, which won the Cold War without firing a shot, total federal spending declined from a high of 23.5% of GDP in 1983 to 21.3% in 1988 and 21.2% in 1989.  That’s a real reduction in the size of government relative to the economy of 10%.

3.  Anti-inflation monetary policy restraining money supply growth compared to demand, to maintain a stronger, more stable dollar value.

4.  Deregulation, which saved consumers an estimated $100 billion per year in lower prices.  Reagan’s first executive order, in fact, eliminated price controls on oil and natural gas.  Production soared, and aided by a strong dollar the price of oil declined by more than 50%.

These economic policies amounted to the most successful economic experiment in world history.  The Reagan recovery started in official records in November 1982, and lasted 92 months without a recession until July 1990, when the tax increases of the 1990 budget deal killed it.  This set a new record for the longest peacetime expansion ever, the previous high in peacetime being 58 months.

During this seven-year recovery, the economy grew by almost one-third, the equivalent of adding the entire economy of West Germany, the third-largest in the world at the time, to the U.S. economy.  In 1984 alone real economic growth boomed by 6.8%, the highest in 50 years.  Nearly 20 million new jobs were created during the recovery, increasing U.S. civilian employment by almost 20%.  Unemployment fell to 5.3% by 1989.

The shocking rise in inflation during the Nixon and Carter years was reversed.  Astoundingly, inflation from 1980 was reduced by more than half by 1982, to 6.2%.  It was cut in half again for 1983, to 3.2%, never to be heard from again until recently.  The contractionary, tight-money policies needed to kill this inflation inexorably created the steep recession of 1981 to 1982, which is why Reagan did not suffer politically catastrophic blame for that recession.

Real per-capita disposable income increased by 18% from 1982 to 1989, meaning the American standard of living increased by almost 20% in just seven years.  The poverty rate declined every year from 1984 to 1989, dropping by one-sixth from its peak.  The stock market more than tripled in value from 1980 to 1990, a larger increase than in any previous decade.

In The End of Prosperity, supply side guru Art Laffer and Wall Street Journal chief financial writer Steve Moore point out that this Reagan recovery grew into a 25-year boom, with just slight interruptions by shallow, short recessions in 1990 and 2001.  They wrote:

    We call this period, 1982-2007, the twenty-five year boom–the greatest period of wealth creation in the history of the planet.  In 1980, the net worth–assets minus liabilities–of all U.S. households and business … was $25 trillion in today’s dollars.  By 2007, … net worth was just shy of $57 trillion.  Adjusting for inflation, more wealth was created in America in the twenty-five year boom than in the previous two hundred years.

What is so striking about Obamanomics is how it so doggedly pursues the opposite of every one of these planks of Reaganomics.  Instead of reducing tax rates, President Obama is committed to raising the top tax rates of virtually every major federal tax.  As already enacted into current law, in 2013 the top two income tax rates will rise by nearly 20%, counting as well Obama’s proposed deduction phase-outs.

The capital gains tax rate will soar by nearly 60%, counting the new Obamacare taxes going into effect that year.  The total tax rate on corporate dividends would increase by nearly three times.  The Medicare payroll tax would increase by 62% for the nation’s job creators and investors.  The death tax rate would go back up to 55%.  In his 2012 budget and his recent national budget speech, President Obama proposes still more tax increases.

Instead of coming into office with spending cuts, President Obama’s first act was a nearly $1 trillion stimulus bill.  In his first two years in office he has already increased federal spending by 28%, and his 2012 budget proposes to increase federal spending by another 57% by 2021.

His monetary policy is just the opposite as well.  Instead of restraining the money supply to match money demand for a stable dollar, slaying an historic inflation, we have QE1 and QE2 and a steadily collapsing dollar, arguably creating a historic reflation.

And instead of deregulation we have across-the-board re-regulation, from health care to finance to energy, and elsewhere.  While Reagan used to say that his energy policy was to “unleash the private sector,” Obama’s energy policy can be described as precisely to leash the private sector in service to Obama’s central planning “green energy” dictates.

As a result, while the Reagan recovery averaged 7.1% economic growth over the first seven quarters, the Obama recovery has produced less than half that at 2.8%, with the last quarter at a dismal 1.8%.  After seven quarters of the Reagan recovery, unemployment had fallen 3.3 percentage points from its peak to 7.5%, with only 18% unemployed long-term for 27 weeks or more.  After seven quarters of the Obama recovery, unemployment has fallen only 1.3 percentage points from its peak, with a postwar record 45% long-term unemployed.

Previously the average recession since World War II lasted 10 months, with the longest at 16 months.  Yet today, 40 months after the last recession started, unemployment is still 8.8%, with America suffering the longest period of unemployment that high since the Great Depression.  Based on the historic precedents America should be enjoying the second year of a roaring economic recovery by now, especially since, historically, the worse the downturn, the stronger the recovery.  Yet while in the Reagan recovery the economy soared past the previous GDP peak after six months, in the Obama recovery that didn’t happen for three years.  Last year the Census Bureau reported that the total number of Americans in poverty was the highest in the 51 years that Census has been recording the data.

Moreover, the Reagan recovery was achieved while taming a historic inflation, for a period that continued for more than 25 years.  By contrast, the less-than-half-hearted Obama recovery seems to be recreating inflation, with the latest Producer Price Index data showing double-digit inflation again, and the latest CPI growing already half as much.

These are the reasons why economist John Lott has rightly said, “For the last couple of years, President Obama keeps claiming that the recession was the worst economy since the Great Depression.  But this is not correct.  This is the worst “recovery” since the Great Depression.”

However, the Reagan Recovery took off once the tax rate cuts were fully phased in.  Similarly, the full results of Obamanomics won’t be in until his historic, comprehensive tax rate increases of 2013 become effective.  While the Reagan Recovery kicked off a historic 25-year economic boom, will the opposite policies of Obamanomics, once fully phased in, kick off 25 years of economic stagnation, unless reversed?
4539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: May 06, 2011, 08:57:00 AM
CCP,  Everybody has an agenda I suppose.  At the time Bush said what he said, we had put OBL into hiding and largely cut off his finances, communications and ability to operate.  I doubt if his view is any different about that today.  I notice that he didn't want to go to ground zero and celebrate.

At the time Pelosi made her first statement, she was following up on the John Kerry story that we let him get away, incompetent administration was her point, even if they find him now they are still a complete failure, etc. talking America's efforts down while troops are in harm's way for political advantage.  In her current statement the message is the opposite, it is all about the greatness of President Obama, his team, a mention to other nations but not to his predecessors who made this possible. 

The truth I think is that the demise of bin Laden is symbolic of American strength but not strategic.  His own ability to operate had already been mostly cut off, and as you point out, the threat we face is still out there.  The flip side of the symbolism is that our inability to get him was a symbol of American weakness/impotence and that perception in terms of our military was proven to be wrong.

Obama has one advantage in foreign policy over any Republican: his administration has people who put country before politics in the opposition party.
4540  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The cognitive dissonance of the left: then and now on: May 05, 2011, 11:44:47 AM
Here’s Nancy Pelosi from a press conference on September 7, 2006:

    [E]ven if [Osama bin Laden] is caught tomorrow, it is five years too late. He has done more damage the longer he has been out there. But, in fact, the damage that he has done . . . is done. And even to capture him now I don’t think makes us any safer.

And here’s Nancy Pelosi yesterday:

    The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaida. . . . I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment. . . . [T]he death of Osama bin Laden is historic. . . .

This devastating then-and-now comparison comes to us courtesy of John Hinderaker of Power Line.
 - Peter Wehner, Commentary Magazine
4541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 05, 2011, 10:33:35 AM
When this thread got heated up, this was the post I most agreed with: Crafty wrote, "I am enjoying being a fly on the wall for this one".

Imagine the 'legal' reaction to the case of bin Laden if it was Bush instead of Obama.  As I wrote earlier, isn't 'breaking and entering already a crime, and kidnapping!  The kill is just an additional charge if the whole operation is 'illegal'.  Where were the legalists when the 50 million dead or alive was issued?  What happened to the American opponents of the death penalty during the celebration?

My question earlier about disproportional response still stands, but this was this opposite.  One guilty man shot for 3000 innocent killed.

The point about right to answer the charges is ludicrous.  He had 10 years and did nothing but take credit and issue more killing orders.  Had he denied, surrendered and asked for a civilian trial with all rights extended as a condition of his surrender - that is another way this could have come down, and probably avoided 10 years of war in Afghanistan, among other things.

The question to me (in war law) comes down more to jurisdiction rather than law.  Water boarding is a terrible thing to apply indiscriminately, but it wasn't.  It is NOT torture in the extreme sense of term and the word in terms of war crimes is being used in the extreme sense.  There are arguments on both sides of that so the question is who decides.

The European seculars point out the 5th Commandment, but on the forum we decided that means Thou shalt not murder, not thou shalt not kill.  One obvious distinction is self defense, and there are arguably other differences between killing and murder such as justifiable, self defense war and a legal and justifiable criminal death penalty.

Self defense of a nation, Israel and US for examples here, requires deterrence and consequence.  This was an attempt at both.  It is not revenge, it is just tying all attacks against the United States to a consequence for the purpose of preventing / deterring future attacks.

Reading someone his rights, speedy trial, hiding across a foreign border, right to confront your accusers - these don't apply in war. 

My knowledge of the Geneva convention, like most Americans, comes mostly from hearing Col. Hogan win arguments with Col. Klink, as if the regime of Hitler was striving in all ways to comply with international law. 

What exactly have we agreed to as it applies to this band of terrorism and who is the judge?

If we have signed treaties or agreed to laws that prevent us from defending our nation, that prevent former President from traveling to Europe because he acted to defend and secure our country, we need to go back and start rescinding treaties.  Article 2 of the UN Charter is mentioned in the Europe piece.  Seriously, if there is a contradiction there with defending the United States of America against all attackers, we need to get out of that organization and start over.

If laws govern war, let's get the laws updated to match the threats we face.
4542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead on: May 04, 2011, 02:57:34 PM
Andrew posted:

Andrew, That was very funny!
4543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead on: May 04, 2011, 12:14:37 PM
Picture from outside the compound and a very strange story in The Economist ( about the lack of curiosity about who resided within.  I was wondering what a million dollar shack looks like in Pakistan.  "Local residents say that police regularly swept the area, roughly once a week, checking residents' IDs and sometimes looking inside homes." (but not this house)

A video from the inside.  You would think the guy had time to clean his room.

Bib Laden's daughter claims he was captured alive and shot dead:

Will they be able to claim he is still alive AND prosecute the special forces for wrongful death??
4544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 04, 2011, 11:55:48 AM
George W Bush had a 7 week bounce after the capture of Saddam Hussein.  This will be smaller and shorter.  Obama deserves permanent credit for what he did right.  Hopefully he won't waste that by overplaying his hand.

JDN: "...overall, it can only be good for him."

My teenage daughter (non-political) watched the Sunday night speech separately and commented to me the next day that he was very 'I' and 'me' oriented.  I took Obama's side for the moment and explained that he needed to make clear to Pakistan that the mission was authorized by the President of the United States.  When it turns out that he was not 'the director' nor the one who 'assembled the team' and later touts this as one of his big foreign policy achievements when in fact all the pieces of the puzzle were put in place by his predecessor (, yes it could backfire politically, just as the mission accomplished banner certainly did.
4545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 04, 2011, 11:35:58 AM
Besides shooting an unarmed man, we were already guilty of breaking and entering.

Does this tie the current administration into a conspiracy after the fact of the original hate crime of waterboarding?

Were proportional numbers of Chistians, Jews and atheists among the 3 people waterboarded, or was this a deliberate targeting of Muslims?
I don't know the laws of war, but is the concept of a disproportionate response, used to deter continued and future attacks, is that illegal as well?
When you codify the limits of war, you are also publishing a handbook for the enemy to know your limits. 

I don't know of a concept in contract law that can bind one party to the contract and not the other.
4546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 04, 2011, 11:21:41 AM
CCP, It seems to me the celebrations of this, like 'mission accomplished' for a returning ship and crew, should be held in private.  A victory parade at ground zero sounds highly inappropriate to me.  Bringing OBL to justice / room temperature doesn't reverse any of the destruction he caused.  Risking our best people and equipment to kill him was a job we did not ask or wish for. 

We should act like winning battles and wars is what we do when attacked, not gloat, taunt for more or act surprised.  If extracting ourselves from the Middle East is what we seek, the President's next trip should be to ANWR.

What is to celebrate for closure when KSM is still held, fed and being presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Later I expect it to be a point of historic trivia that it was Obama not Bush who presided over the actual OBL kill operation.
4547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghanistan-Pak: Treasure Trove of Intelligernce seized at the OBL compound on: May 04, 2011, 10:53:21 AM
GM wrote: "If we are to act on the intel seized at OBL's safehouse, we need to act quickly. We should go after anyone and everyone implicated. Will we with this president? Probably not.  What will probably happen is we'll let the momentum die, leaving the potential for the Pakistan collapse and the birth of a nuclear jihadistan."
Chicago Tribune editorial makes a similar point below.  It doesn't seems to me we would brag publicly about the intel seized if we were really racing to act on it.  More likely IMO older info that will help to piece together how previous acts of terror were accomplished.  If this were the communication center for current and future ops I think we would have found him sooner.

The real terror coup
Bin Laden raid may yield treasure trove of intel

6:53 p.m. CDT, May 3, 2011

Clustering at their predetermined departure site, the two dozen American commandos juggled one heavy piece of carry-on baggage, a souvenir from their lightning visit to Pakistan. It was the lanky cadaver of a much-wanted global terrorist. But the two helicopters — the healthy Sikorsky Black Hawk and the backup Boeing Chinook — that choppered the raiders to Afghanistan also carried a delicious trove of electronic booty that may prove more valuable.

Tantalizing reports suggest that Osama bin Laden, one more baby boomer who liked digital toys, unwittingly bequeathed to his killers oodles of secret information.

CNN reports that Navy SEAL Team Six escaped with 10 hard drives, five computers and more than 100 storage devices such as DVDs, disks and thumb drives. Politico, meanwhile, quotes U.S. officials as saying the data devices hold "the mother lode of intelligence." One unnamed source says, "They (the commandos) cleaned it out. Can you imagine what's on Osama bin Laden's hard drive?" Another delightful-to-read boast from an intel source: "Hundreds of people are going through (the data devices) now," reportedly in Afghanistan and at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

Think about the implications. We don't know whether bin Laden was a hoarder — one of those clutter-hugging people who can't part with old sandals. But he apparently has spent six years inside what's now the world's most notorious hideout. If Saddam Hussein had to kill time in that dark little spider hole, bin Laden has had the run of a house packed with computer gear.

What are the odds that bin Laden's impromptu estate included lots of intriguing info about his associates, their locations and their plans? We'd like to think those odds are excellent. So it wasn't surprising to read a Time magazine interview Tuesday in which CIA Director Leon Panetta acknowledges capturing an "impressive amount" of fresh intelligence.
Check out our crossword, sudoku and Jumble puzzles >>

Imagine you're one of bin Laden's most-wanted associates. Some of those folks are capable of executing deadly retaliations. All of them, though, have to be scared. They recall better than most of us that, when U.S. and Pakistani operatives rolled up al-Qaida mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed in 2003, his computer hard drive reportedly included a wealth of carelessly stored data — including a list of bin Laden's safe houses. And that was one computer.

How satisfying it would be to find in bin Laden's files some clue to the whereabouts of his top aide, Egyptian physician Ayman al-Zawahri, or another of the senior al-Qaida terrorists who remain on the loose.

The faster that happens, the better. The death of bin Laden has done more than behead al-Qaida. More important, perhaps, the early repose of his soul is a crushing embarrassment for a group whose brand of Shariah-driven religious fanaticism has been falling from whatever favor it held in the Arab world. The motivation for bin Laden's survivors to strike is strong. Surely they are mulling whatever assets they possess or dream they can procure — maybe a stray Russian nuke, a less sophisticated dirty bomb, or the viral makings of a smallpox epidemic.

This long-lasting threat of retribution from al-Qaida makes us all the more appreciative of the commandos who lit up bin Laden's lair on Sunday morning. Panetta says the U.S. also considered flattening the compound with a high-altitude run by B-2 bombers, or launching a "direct shot" with cruise missiles. Those options, he says, were ruled out because they would cause too much collateral damage.

Obliterating the compound also would have denied U.S. warriors whatever intel they now glean from bin Laden's gear. Here's hoping that gear — and not that carry-on corpse — proves to be the raiders' real terror coup.
4548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 03, 2011, 11:42:06 PM
I would just like to join with the appreciation of ya's posts.  The OBL kill operation indicates that ya has had it right all along regarding Pakistan - not being a trusted partner, likely harboring and enabling, walking a fine line with terror, keeping the U.S money flowing, but not doing all they can do.  Especially vivid was the 'game preserve' post, quite a way of looking at it, and that's what this operation was.  Maybe we went in without express permission, but we have already prepaid for our shooting season - and they accepted our money.

Except for specific actionable intell that came out of this, I doubt we will be going back into Pakistan anytime soon, not for invasion and not for nation building.  Maybe we can just grow our business and security relationship with India that much stronger.

I'm very surprised that Obama kept up and increased the drone attacks in the border region and that it went on as long as it did with very little uproar here or there.  People seemed to know those were terror camps and weren't very surprised by the attacks.
4549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - 16 hours to decide on: May 03, 2011, 11:12:33 PM
Sleep on it? That's one hell of a sleep for a Commander in Chief.  It tells me that whoever he wanted to run this past, a crucial foreign policy question, was not in the room of most trusted foreign policy advisers.  When he left, he didn't know.  When he returned, he knew his answer. No follow up questions, no  He also knew that OBL had eluded capture/kill many times before.

Another question is VP Biden.  He didn't know, did he?  He is Mr. foreign policy to the President, but someone in the inner circle, maybe the President, knew not to trust his foot in mouth habit while this progressed since last August.  Just conjecture on my part, but I am curious.

Here is Biden's first statement  about the event, 2 days later.  No mention of being part of the planning or the team.  Unlike the President.  For Obama, it was all about him: "I assembled the team." "I directed the operation".
4550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics - Stiglitz Dec 2008, We are all Keynsians now? on: May 03, 2011, 02:04:40 PM
Where do you start and where do you end with Keynesian thinking?  Let's see, savings is bad, deficits are good.  Unearned money falling to people is good, increasing the incentives to not produce is inconsequential.  Temporary is permanent and permanent is temporary.  And Obama is another market fundamentalist, lol, I fell off my chair on that one.  Assuming Prof. Stiglitz stands by his '08 analysis, we now have at least 3 Nobel winners favoring interventionism over markets with this guy, Krugman and Obama.  Sounds to me like written from the George Orwell Chair of economics over at Columbia.  I noticed that he didn't get his co-worker Robert Mundell, a Nobel winner with a different view, to sign on with this piece.

Keynes own works do not contemplate conditions like we have today.  Would he really give a 'tax cut' further to the poor in a place where the lower 51% already are at zero or lower?  What is the capability of the government to inject fiscal stimulus further when we are already printing 200 million an hour?  Keynes contemplated THAT?  What is the capability of the central bank to inject further monetary stimulus when real interest rates are already NEGATIVE?

If fiscal stimulus is the Keynes answer, but we are already at a trillion a year, do another trillion a year, for how long, then what?  How do you withdraw temporary spending in today's political scheme?? I guess we will see. Keynes died in 1946.  It is crazy to think we know what his view would be now with 65 years of new data.

I did not see from Stiglitz and have not ever seen elsewhere anything to show that this situation was the failure of a free market.  Quite the opposite.  I know people make that statement, but the failure and breakdowns always happen in the most intervened of all markets already, today it is healthcare, banking, energy, housing, higher education and manufacturing.  Government is the largest force in all the problem sectors.

The trade off between unemployment and inflation was proven false during the stagflation of the Jimmy Carter years when both worsened simultaneously, and proven false again when both were cured nearly simultaneously.  That was why Keynesianism was 'shunned' 3 decades ago.

If the problem isn't a nail, the answer isn't always a hammer...

The problem is whole plethora of screwed up incentives, roadblocks and uncertainties for potential producers in the economy in every direction that they turn.  What good does turn on another faucet do when we face all these other hurdles.  

What collapsed in 2008 was an unsustainable imbalance propped up by a series of misguided government policies.  The worst was the inducements and covering of financial institutions to make housing loans based on criteria other than creditworthyness and likelihood of paying back.  When it collapsed it took down housing and banking in a free fall.  End of housing value meant end of construction and the loss of jobs feeds back into more houses lost and banks in jeopardy.  Who knew? True that both parties favored the initial government intervention to stop the free fall of the consequences of our previous failed government interventions, but the larger question remains:  What have we learned and what do we do now?  

The answer is real, pro-growth policies, aka supply side economics, the exact opposite mindset from the elite interventionists who failed us, IMHO.

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