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4501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney - VFW speech lays out foreign policy differences on: July 25, 2012, 02:15:54 PM
Romney to VFW, skipping intro:  ...
Just consider some of the challenges I discussed at your last national convention:

Since then, has the American economy recovered?

Has our ability to shape world events been enhanced, or diminished?

Have we gained greater confidence among our allies, and greater respect from our adversaries?

And, perhaps most importantly, has the most severe security threat facing America and our friends, a nuclear-armed Iran, become more or less likely?

These clear measures are the ultimate tests of American leadership. And, by these standards, we haven’t seen much in the President’s first term that inspires confidence in a second.

The President’s policies have made it harder to recover from the deepest recession in seventy years … exposed the military to cuts that no one can justify … compromised our national-security secrets … and in dealings with other nations, given trust where it is not earned, insult where it is not deserved, and apology where it is not due.

From Berlin to Cairo to the United Nations, President Obama has shared his view of America and its place among nations. I have come here today to share mine.

I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of this country. I am not ashamed of American power. I take pride that throughout history our power has brought justice where there was tyranny, peace where there was conflict, and hope where there was affliction and despair. I do not view America as just one more point on the strategic map, one more power to be balanced. I believe our country is the greatest force for good the world has ever known, and that our influence is needed as much now as ever. And I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century.

In 1941, Henry Luce called on his countrymen – just then realizing their strength – “to create the first great American century.” And they succeeded: together with their allies, they won World War II, they rescued Europe, they defeated Communism, and America took its place as leader of the free world. Across the globe, they fought, they bled, they led. They showed the world the extraordinary courage of the American heart and the generosity of the American spirit.

That courage and generosity remains unchanged today. But sadly, this president has diminished American leadership, and we are reaping the consequences. The world is dangerous, destructive, chaotic. And the two men running to be your commander-in-chief must offer their answers to the challenges we face.

Like a watchman in the night, we must remain at our post – and keep guard of the freedom that defines and ennobles us, and our friends. In an American Century, we have the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, we secure peace through our strength. And if by absolute necessity we must employ it, we must wield our strength with resolve. In an American Century, we lead the free world and the free world leads the entire world.

If we do not have the strength or vision to lead, then other powers will take our place, pulling history in a very different direction. A just and peaceful world depends on a strong and confident America. I pledge to you that if I become commander-in-chief, the United States of America will fulfill its duty, and its destiny.

American leadership depends, as it always has, on our economic strength, on our military strength, and on our moral strength. If any of these falter, no skill of diplomacy or presidential oratory can compensate. Today, the strength of our economy is in jeopardy.

A healthy American economy is what underwrites American power. When growth is missing, government revenue falls, social spending rises, and many in Washington look to cut defense spending as an easy out. That includes our current President.

Today, we are just months away from an arbitrary, across-the-board budget reduction that would saddle the military with a trillion dollars in cuts, severely shrink our force structure, and impair our ability to meet and deter threats. Don’t bother trying to find a serious military rationale behind any of this, unless that rationale is wishful thinking. Strategy is not driving President Obama’s massive defense cuts. In fact, his own Secretary of Defense warned that these reductions would be “devastating.” And he is right.

That devastation starts at home. These cuts would only weaken an already stretched VA system and impair our solemn commitment that every veteran receives care second to none. I will not allow that to happen.

This is not the time for the President’s radical cuts in the military. Look around the globe. Other major powers are rapidly adding to their military capabilities, some with intentions very different from ours. The regime in Tehran is drawing closer to developing a nuclear weapon. The threat of radical Islamic terrorism persists. The threat of weapons of mass destruction proliferation is ever-present. And we are still at war and still have uniformed men and women in conflict.

All this and more is ongoing in the world. And yet the President has chosen this moment for wholesale reductions in the nation’s military capacity. When the biggest announcement in his last State of the Union address on improving our military was that the Pentagon will start using more clean energy – then you know it’s time for a change.

We’re not the first people to observe this. It is reported that Bob Gates, the President’s first secretary of defense, bluntly addressed another security problem within this administration. After secret operational details of the bin Laden raid were given to reporters, Secretary Gates walked into the West Wing and told the Obama team to “shut up.” He added a colorful word for emphasis.

Lives of American servicemen and women are at stake. But astonishingly, the administration failed to change its ways. More top-secret operations were leaked, even some involving covert action in Iran.

This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s a national security crisis. And yesterday, Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, quote, “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks.”

This conduct is contemptible. It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt investigation by a special counsel, with explanation and consequence. Obama appointees, who are accountable to President Obama’s Attorney General, should not be responsible for investigating the leaks coming from the Obama White House.

Whoever provided classified information to the media, seeking political advantage for the administration, must be exposed, dismissed, and punished. The time for stonewalling is over.

It is not enough to say the matter is being looked into, and leave it at that. When the issue is the political use of highly sensitive national security information, it is unacceptable to say, “We’ll report our findings after Election Day.”

Exactly who in the White House betrayed these secrets? Did a superior authorize it? These are things that Americans are entitled to know – and they are entitled to know right now. If the President believes – as he said last week – that the buck stops with him, then he owes all Americans a full and prompt accounting of the facts.

And let me make this very clear: These events make the decision we face in November all the more important. What kind of White House would reveal classified material for political gain? I’ll tell you right now: Mine won’t.

The harm done when national security secrets are betrayed extends, of course, to the trust that allies place in the United States.

The operating principle of American foreign policy has been to work with our allies so that we can deter aggression before it breaks out into open conflict. That policy depends on nurturing our alliances and standing up for our common values.

Yet the President has moved in the opposite direction.

It began with the sudden abandonment of friends in Poland and the Czech Republic. They had courageously agreed to provide sites for our anti-missile systems, only to be told, at the last hour, that the agreement was off. As part of the so-called reset in policy, missile defenses were sacrificed as a unilateral concession to the Russian government.

If that gesture was designed to inspire good will from Russia, it clearly missed the mark. The Russian government defended the dictator in Damascus, arming him as he slaughtered the Syrian people.

We can only guess what Vladimir Putin makes of the Obama administration. He regained the Russian presidency in a corrupt election, and for that, he got a congratulatory call from the Oval Office. And then there was that exchange picked up by a microphone that President Obama didn’t know was on. We heard him asking Dmitry Medvedev to tell Mr. Putin to give him “space.” “This is my last election,” President Obama said, and “After my election I’ll have more flexibility.”

Why is flexibility with Russian leaders more important than transparency to the American people?

President Obama had a moment of candor, however, just the other day. He said that the actions of the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez have not had a serious national security impact on us. In my view, inviting Hezbollah into our hemisphere is severe, serious, and a threat.

But at least he was consistent. After all, this is the president who faltered when the Iranian people were looking for support in their struggle against the ayatollahs. That uprising was treated as an inconvenient problem for the President’s policy of engagement, instead of as a moral and strategic opportunity. That terrible misjudgment should never be repeated. When unarmed women and men in Tehran find the courage to confront their oppressors, at risk of torture and death, they should hear the unequivocal voice of an American president affirming their right to be free.

I will leave Reno this evening on a trip abroad that will take me to England, Poland, and Israel. And since I wouldn’t venture into another country to question American foreign policy, I will tell you right here – before I leave – what I think of this administration’s shabby treatment of one of our finest friends.

President Obama is fond of lecturing Israel’s leaders. He was even caught by a microphone deriding them. He has undermined their position, which was tough enough as it was. And even at the United Nations, to the enthusiastic applause of Israel’s enemies, he spoke as if our closest ally in the Middle East was the problem.

The people of Israel deserve better than what they have received from the leader of the free world. And the chorus of accusations, threats, and insults at the United Nations should never again include the voice of the President of the United States.

There are values, causes, and nations that depend on American strength, on the clarity of our purpose, and on the reliability of our commitments. There is work in this world that only America and our allies can do, hostile powers that only we can deter, and challenges that only we can overcome.

For the past decade, among those challenges has been the war in Afghanistan. As commander-in-chief, I will have a solemn duty to our men and women in uniform. A president owes our troops, their families, and the American people a clear explanation of our mission, and a commitment not to play politics with the decisions of war.

I have been critical of the President’s decision to withdraw the surge troops during the fighting season, against the advice of the commanders on the ground. President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war – and to potential attacks here at home – is a politically timed retreat.

As president, my goal in Afghanistan will be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. I will evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation.

We face another continuing challenge in a rising China. China is attentive to the interests of its government – but it too often disregards the rights of its people. It is selective in the freedoms it allows; and, as with its one-child policy, it can be ruthless in crushing the freedoms it denies. In conducting trade with America, it permits flagrant patent and copyright violations … forestalls American businesses from competing in its market … and manipulates its currency to obtain unfair advantage. It is in our mutual interest for China to be a partner for a stable and secure world, and we welcome its participation in trade. But the cheating must finally be brought to a stop. President Obama hasn’t done it and won’t do it. I will.

We’ll need that same clarity of purpose and resolve in the Middle East. America cannot be neutral in the outcome there. We must clearly stand for the values of representative government, economic opportunity, and human rights. And we must stand against the extension of Iranian or jihadist influence.

Egypt is at the center of this historical drama. In many ways, it has the power to tip the balance in the Arab world toward freedom and modernity. As president, I will not only direct the billions in assistance we give to Egypt toward that goal, but I will also work with partner nations to place conditions on their assistance as well. Unifying our collective influence behind a common purpose will foster the development of a government that represents all Egyptians, maintains peace with Israel, and promotes peace throughout the region. The United States is willing to help Egypt support peace and prosperity, but we will not be complicit in oppression and instability.

There is no greater danger in the world today than the prospect of the ayatollahs in Tehran possessing nuclear weapons capability. Yet for all the talks and conferences, all of the extensions and assurances, can anyone say we are farther from this danger now than four years ago?

The same ayatollahs who each year mark a holiday by leading chants of “Death to America” are not going to be talked out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons. What’s needed is all the firmness, clarity, and moral courage that we and our allies can gather. Sanctions must be enforced without exception, cutting off the regime’s sources of wealth. Negotiations must secure full and unhindered access for inspections. As it is, the Iranian regime claims the right to enrich nuclear material for supposedly peaceful purposes. This claim is discredited by years of deception. A clear line must be drawn: There must be a full suspension of any enrichment, period.

And at every turn, Iran must know that the United States and our allies stand as one in these critical objectives. Only in this way can we successfully counter the catastrophic threat that Iran presents. I pledge to you and to all Americans that if I become commander-in-chief, I will use every means necessary to protect ourselves and the region, and to prevent the worst from happening while there is still time.

It is a mistake – and sometimes a tragic one – to think that firmness in American foreign policy can bring only tension or conflict. The surest path to danger is always weakness and indecision. In the end, it is resolve that moves events in our direction, and strength that keeps the peace.

I will not surrender America’s leadership in the world. We must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose, and resolve in our might.

This is very simple: if you do not want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I am not your President. You have that President today.

The 21st century can and must be an American Century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity.

Fewer members of the Greatest Generation are with us today – and they can’t hold the torch as high as they have in the past. We must now seize the torch they carried so gallantly and at such sacrifice. It is an eternal torch of decency, freedom and hope. It is not America’s torch alone. But it is America’s duty – and honor – to hold it high enough so that all the world can see its light.

Believe in America.

Thank you and God Bless the United States of America.
http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/07/24/transcript-mitt-romneys-remarks-at-vfw-national-convention/
4502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena, Frank Marshall Davis on: July 25, 2012, 10:48:54 AM
I see why they call him a mentor, not his father.  Barack Sr. was an economist I thought, not a goat herder.  Yes, Barack Jr. came to his leftist views through his mother and presumably whomever she was listening to or hanging with in her own activism, including Davis.

Regarding "Soviet Agent", I believe his file includes photographing Hawaiian coastline but not known exchanges with Soviets.

From Wikipedia:
"Frank Marshall Davis knew Barack Obama from as early as 9 or 10, until he left Hawaii for Occidental College in 1978 at the age of 18.

Barack Obama’s 1995 autobiography, Dreams from My Father, included several examples of Obama receiving advice from Frank Marshall Davis:

    Obama’s grandmother (Toot) and Gramps have an argument over whether Gramps should give Toot a ride to work after she had been threatened at a bus stop by a black panhandler. Obama looks to Frank to sort it out in his mind. (p. 89-91)
    When Toot is having difficulty convincing the drug-abusing young Obama to apply for college, it is again Frank who is able to convince Obama that college is necessary. (p. 96-98)
    Frank tells the young Obama “…you may be a well-trained, well-paid nigger, but you’re a nigger just the same.” (p. 97)

Davis told Obama that black people "have a reason to hate [white people)" (Dreams from My Father, p. 91). He also advised the college-bound Obama to "keep your eyes open" and "Stay awake" otherwise he would be "trained" against his own interests. (p. 97) Obama explained how he carried out Davis's advice. "To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets." (p. 100).
------
Reading about Davis, I notice the name Vernon Jarret is prominent among the activists, father in law to Valerie Jarret.  Reading about Valerie Jarret, there is no indication of a connection to Obama before Valerie hired Michelle instantly upon meeting her and wanted to meet her fiance Barack.  Quite a coincidence.
4503  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Women SD issues on: July 24, 2012, 03:45:26 PM
"He said the purpose of the motion had been to enforce the law that protects juveniles and their actions from disclosure."

Subject of a different discussion, but it is the offenders who are protected and future potential victims who are denied disclosure.  Something seems backwards there.  Justice prevailed because they didn't follow the law.

Very interesting post BD.
4504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: July 24, 2012, 03:34:35 PM
"in 18 months Obama himself became the #2 all-time recipient-- who was #1?"

That was my point.  If he became #2 for all-time during that year, he was certainly number one for that year.  (I searched but don't have a link or report to support that.)

"2) I am hearing that snopes is owned by a big Obama donor, but have no citation."

No, I don't think there is a smoking gun on them.

You may be thinking of Factcheck.org, 'a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.  Barack Obama served as Chairman of the Board for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, whatever that means. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Annenberg_Challenge  The bias shows up in which statements they choose to write about and that their conclusions are really just another biased opinion to add to the mix.  Take their coverage of the 'you didn't build that' scandal.  After you parse out the context, the President is still saying that in the larger picture the business did not build the business because the government, and not even his federal $4 trillion government, enabled it.  In the political context, that is complete bullshit.  There isn't a federal program opposed by Republicans or business owners anywhere within sight of the President's misleading straw argument.  There was no serious political point.  He was rambling with his 'Harry, I have a gift' confidence while exposing his own distaste for private enterprise and accomplishment and America saw it, on the long clip or the short clip.  He was also very nearly plagiarizing the plagiarist Elizabeth Warren.  The rant we thought was ridiculous he thought was promising and repeatable. 

It is a lie (IMO) for Obama to say or infer that a job creating, money making business is not paying it's share of everything around them, roads, schools, you name it, and for him to pretend in Presidential fashion that he is having a debate with opponents who want the business to pay nothing and keep everything by keeping federal tax rates the same.  The federal government is much more likely holding back that business than enabling it.  Yet factcheck.org puts it back on the Republicans for twisting his words. http://factcheck.org/2012/07/you-didnt-build-that-uncut-and-unedited/  That is their opinion, but not necessarily the last word.
4505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 24, 2012, 02:46:53 PM
It is said that the candidate dishing out negative ads doesn't take the heat.  Maybe this is different.  This is an incumbent President blanketing airwaves in July, not a summer of recovery, with personal destruction ads on his opponent while he is too busy to meet with his jobs team, too vain to visit Wisconsin during recall, too ideological to listen to the deficit commission and too stubborn to work out a tax deal with Republicans.  Reelection and holding power is job one.  To hell with you people.

Romney ran Bain, whatever each voter is going to think about that.  Bill Clinton got caught lying about Jennifer Flowers before his first election, got caught taking young intern, Oval Office blow jobs in his second term - and voters including soccer moms still wanted to hear about his economic plan.

The smear ads on Romney end (I assume) with a proud, smiling President saying "I'm President Obama and I approve this message".  It must look desperate.  Also it makes you wonder why he isn't busy governing if he wants the job that badly.

Those ads should have been run by the outside groups but that is so hard to coordinate from the Chicago campaign headquarters without breaking federal campaign laws.
---------------------------

*  Latest poll in MN, one of the most yellow states, shows that Romney has cut Obama's lead in half and Dems losing by double digits on two ballot amendments, marriage and voter ID.
4506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Medical Device Tax on: July 24, 2012, 02:03:48 PM
Tax something, get less of it.  Putting an extra excise tax on medical devices as if saving lives needs a sin tax is unbelievably stupid and counter-productive.

“In anticipation of the tax, some manufacturers (of medical devices) have announced plans to lay off workers or reorganize operations.”    - Robert Pear, reporter for The New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/us/politics/bill-to-repeal-tax-on-medical-devices-clears-house.html

The Obamacare excise tax adds insult to injury for any remaining US Device manufacturers:

“The device industry is leaving. According to a summer 2011 survey by the National Venture Capital Association, in the next three years, 85 percent of venture-backed health-care companies expect to seek regulatory approval for their new products outside the U.S. first.”  - WSJ
-------------------

Another idea would be to let innovative Americans who build medical devices to save lives be successful and tax them at the same rate as everyone else!

Instead we watch to see if the manufacturers or the patients in need die first.
4507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: George Friedman on Syria on: July 24, 2012, 11:56:33 AM
Extremely interesting, though it seems he is writing of all the consequences other than the elephant in the room, that Islamic extremists will be controlling another country in the region in addition to whatever problems are to come out of Egypt, Libya etc.

Our only hope can be for these countries now discovering self-rule to turn their attention inward to better their own lives instead of outward to export violence.

4508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: July 24, 2012, 11:44:35 AM
Does Snopes have any correction for the much larger allegation, that the number one recipient in congress of all Fannie Mae political contributions made during the year of the collapse, is still involved in Obama administration economic policy and the reelection effort? 
4509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: July 24, 2012, 11:38:03 AM
Agreed.  There was both a bubble and a pin that popped it.  There was both the economic threat of the incoming administration and also the economic damage of an anti-growth congress in power headed for certain reelection.  (Obama was part of that too.)  


The current fiscal cliff scheduled for year end is estimated to be a two million job killer in 2013, a little less than we lost in 2008-2009.  The other name for this policy feature called fiscal cliff should be recession-guarantee.  Cancelling it at the last moment again does not undo damage already occurring and certain to accelerate.  Somebody (Bill Clinton?) needs to talk to the President (and the Dem Senate) about fixing it right now or this will become a career-ending move for the President.  40 consecutive months of unemployment above 8% and now he has set the table for a standoff that will guarantee a downturn on the home stretch of his one shot at reelection.

When investors see tax rates rising and job losses in the millions coming (aka recession) the instinct is to sell, with or without a bubble.  
4510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Depends on what the meaning of "that" is... on: July 23, 2012, 05:43:08 PM
Sensing big trouble over the "You Didn't Build That" statement, the left* has decided the attacks on his statement are out of context and wrong, *Rachel Maddow for example.  Before he said you didn't build that, he was talking about roads around your business.  You didn't build that.  Or did you?

Elizabeth Warren was more clear: roads "THAT THE REST OF US PAID FOR", she shouted angrily and repeatedly.

But the rich DO pay their fair share of the taxes and more and they do pay their fair share of the infrastructure and education systems in their towns that made the businesses that hire people possible.

More important though is that by parsing his words it exposes what Obama was really doing, as he always does in the heat of politics, making the straw argument.

He was putting on his opponents the view that if you favor any kind of limit on the continued growth of an obese and wasteful $4 trillion dollar FEDERAL government that is overlapped on most functions at the state and local levels and is already 1.2 trillion/yr in the red, then you must oppose all spending on all functions of government at all levels of government.

Remember what he said about any reform to our overblown regulatory jungle: "my opponents want dirtier water and dirtier air".

He can't argue honestly a political difference with a political opponent; he can only argue straw with a straw man if needs the win.

Yes, maybe he was talking about local government, local roads and local schools, but for the leader of the FEDERAL government talking about differences in federal laws and taxation, that is bunk.  I don't know about where you live but local businesses here pay huge amounts of property taxes, and I mean scary-high amounts.  Besides that he can't honestly say they didn't pay for that, he is the head of the federal government and not building the roads around your business is not a federal issue. 

Federal roads are paid for with usage taxes that are in fact pilfered for liberal purposes like mass transit.  Maybe he meant the airports but those are paid for in usage fees too.  He did mention the internet, but yesterday's WSJ says that the government invented the internet is urban legend:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444464304577539063008406518.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, the Internet's backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.  But full credit goes to the company where Robert Taylor worked after leaving ARPA: Xerox. It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks. Researchers there also developed the first personal computer (the Xerox Alto) and the graphical user interface that still drives computer usage today.

According to a book about Xerox PARC, "Dealers of Lightning" (by Michael Hiltzik), its top researchers realized they couldn't wait for the government to connect different networks, so would have to do it themselves. "We have a more immediate problem than they do," Robert Metcalfe told his colleague John Shoch in 1973. "We have more networks than they do." Mr. Shoch later recalled that ARPA staffers "were working under government funding and university contracts. They had contract administrators . . . and all that slow, lugubrious behavior to contend with."
---------------------

"[We] didn't build that"??  No, Mr. President.  YOU didn't build that.

Whatever the hell "that" is.
4511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Bad news about income inequality on: July 23, 2012, 03:54:19 PM
We are most equal when we are most poor.  New CBO data support what I have trying to argue on these pages.

"...the incomes of the top one percent fell 18 times more than the incomes for the middle class at the start of the recession."

The point of the policy arrow change in Nov 2006 / Jan 2007 was to shift from growth to fairness.  At first it succeeded.  The asset / investment selloff mostly hit the rich - at first.  And anyone who owned anything but disproportionately that hits the rich.  But labor requires capital to be fully employed and productive.  Now the rich have recovered and the employment is way down and stuck.

What most analyses miss is that the rich pay the most taxes in dollars when they are making money, when the economy is growing, not when tax rates are the highest or threatened to be raised and raised.  Government services are paid for in dollars, not in percentages.  Inequality is greatest in times of high growth - because the rich are the most invested in that growth, more so than a poor or middle income person by definition.  That is unfortunate but not reversible.

Please see CNBC from last Friday:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/48257611

The Falling Fortunes of the One Percent
Published: Friday, 20 Jul 2012 | 10:59 AM ET
By: Robert Frank
CNBC Reporter & Editor

The presidential election has given us two myths about the rich. First, that their incomes, and income inequality, are at all-time highs. Second, that the wealthy pay less in taxes than ever, and lower taxes than the rest of us.

A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, however, suggests that both may be false.

Let’s consider income first. Between 2007 and 2009, after-tax earnings by Americans in the top one percent for income fell 37 percent. On a pre-tax basis they fell 36 percent in the same period.

That may sound like a minor haircut for One Percenters compared to people who lost their jobs. But when you take into account federal transfers, assistance and taxes paid, the incomes of the bottom 20 percent grew by 3 percent, while it fell a modest 2 percent for the middle 20 percent.

In other words, the incomes of the top one percent fell 18 times more than the incomes for the middle class at the start of the recession.

The result of this big drop at the top was that their share of the country's total income also fell. In 2007, the top one percent earned 16.7 percent of all after-tax income. In 2009, that portion fell to 11.5 percent.

Inequality, in other words, fell during those years.  We are now in an age of High-Beta Wealth, where the incomes of the One Percent have become far more manic and prone to wild drops than the rest of the country.

And taxes paid? Despite the oft-repeated fact that tax rates for the wealthy are at an all-time low (which is true), it’s also true that the actual amount paid in taxes by the wealthy is higher than before the recession.

The One Percent paid an average effective tax rate of 28.9 percent on their income — far more than any other group, and more than twice the average effective rate of the middle class, who paid 11 percent on average.

So the rich lost more income and paid more of their money in taxes than the rest of the population.

This is not an argument against taxing the wealthy. And the incomes and tax rates of the wealthy may have jumped back since 2009, with the rebound in financial markets.

But when politicians and pundits talk about the rich just getting richer and paying less taxes, they need to pay closer attention to the actual numbers.
4512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science: Fracking lowered our CO2 emissions on: July 23, 2012, 02:30:20 PM
Crafty's previous post:  "Who would have thought that a few fracking innovators in Texas would change the world's carbon footprint far more than did Nobel laureate Al Gore -- while offering a way for the U.S. to be energy-independent." --historian Victor Davis Hanson

Washington Post 7/21/2012:

In the past few years, the shale gas boom has upended the U.S. energy landscape. With large and small companies drilling wells around the country, cheap natural gas is now displacing coal as the nation’s top source of electricity. That, in turn, has helped contribute to a drop in U.S. carbon-dioxide output:  According to the International Energy Agency, the United States has cut its emissions 7.7 percent since 2006, more than any other country or region in the world.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/21/will-the-u-s-export-fracking-to-the-rest-of-the-world/
--------------------

(The other cause of lowered emissions is the Great Recession.)


4513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: July 23, 2012, 02:08:56 PM
Dick Morris is partly right.  Romney needs to answer persuasively.  The problem is that when he does he is on defense instead of on message.

Morris, like Dems, screws up the term outsourcing.  Every company of size has a purchasing department and they outsource, not a bad word.  I outsourced the ingredients of my lunch today.  I think they mean offshore, the verb, to send the jobs outside the US.  Still, nothing bad about that either if you believe the U.S. can compete just fine in a healthy global economy.

The WSJ wrote years ago (paraphrasing), globalization is both a) inevitable and b) beneficial.  If you disagree with b), please see point a).
4514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: July 23, 2012, 01:36:34 PM
I don't follow these tragedies closely but in the hypothetical, if everyone in the front row was a concealed carry holder, the shooting might have stopped sooner.

Still in the hypothetical, if they had a sign saying this establishment bans all guns on the premises, it would prevent defense, not crime.

They didn't have such a sign as far as I know and Colo is a concealed carry state.
4515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: July 23, 2012, 01:20:47 PM
Yes.  I am relieved to find out he is an alleged moderate just to slow the flood of irrationality.  Pointing out the completely obvious, if he were a conservative or tea party member he would be a fraud anyway because shooting innocent life is not to hold other people's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness up as unalienable rights.

I care about the victims and I care about his capital punishment.  I don't care about his politics.
4516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market: The September Surprise on: July 23, 2012, 12:38:34 PM
What caused the crash of September 2008?

Conventional wisdom is that the housing bubble caused the crash.  But we had versions of a housing bubble for a decade leading up that crash.  What caused the crash?  Greed caused the crash?  No. Greed (self interest) is constant, the crash had specific timing.

It was (IMHO) the impending tax increases.  (As I have written before) Investors needed to not only sell their assets before 12/31/2008 to capture gains at the old rate, but they also needed to sell them before the other investors sold off or else there is little or no profit to tax anyway.  And the panic began.

September is when people start paying attention for elections and for year end.  This year we face the same fiscal cliff as 2008, just fewer gains and investments to sell off.  All economists say you don't raise tax rates in a recession because of the damage it will cause, yet for all practical purposes, that is what's coming.

Former NH Gov. and Sen. Judd Gregg spells this out better at:
http://thehill.com/opinion/columnists/judd-gregg/239387-opinion-heading-toward-a-sept-surprise
4517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, dangerous moderates on: July 23, 2012, 12:18:17 PM
There is nothing political about the Colorado shooting that I know of, nonetheless there was a rush to try to tie him to tea party or right wing causes as if supporting defense with a gun is similar to shooting up a crowded theater.  If he were Muslim / Jihad we would draw conclusions quickly too.

But now it is reported that on his match.com profile he is self described "middle of the road" politically.  Those people scare me. 

What's actually scary is that before Friday someone could meet this person with a click and a message.
http://tmz.vo.llnwd.net/o28/newsdesk/tmz_documents/0721_james_holmes_classic_jim_tmz.pdf
4518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: July 23, 2012, 11:57:01 AM
Taking on Wesbury spin, not the messenger. )  I always appreciate his data.  Unbelievable that he still has something positive to say at 0.9% growth.  

FWIW, apartment building construction growth means some construction jobs but also during a foreclosure epidemic means roughly that for each unit or two built a foreclosed home may never be sold.  Homes that are torn down and not replaced destroy the tax base in the most fiscally troubled municipalities.  Translation: worse than a zero sum game because the losing sector still needs a bailout.

He says Plow Horse Economy, I say a 'you reap what you sew' economy.

Actually his plow horse characterization matches my 'wagon' analogy.  Some people pull the wagon and some people ride.  Some of the very poorest, some of the handicapped and some of the elderly can't pay all of their own way and some some who are capable need a hand up for a short time.  When we started accepting that 50% can ride and half of the rest are kids, the load got too heavy what is left of private enterprise to pull.  The Dem answer to that: let 99% ride; 1% can pull.

Regarding the US economy and investments, sell.
4519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california, Republican death spiral on: July 23, 2012, 11:30:29 AM
I read through that without seeing the source, NY Times.  It looked like pretty good reporting except for having the main story line upside down.  For all I can tell reading through, the R. party may have its policies just right and it is the voters choosing the death spiral.  Or as I was calling it 'Decline by Design'.  The implication is that the last 30% should surrender.  More likely they will leave.

Yes, the 1994 Prop 187 effort drove a big wedge between Hispanics and Republicans, but remember that a California Republican President (Reagan) already signed a 'comprehensive' bill establishing both amnesty and border security (lol) in 1986.  If those kinds of policies worked, why would there be a serious issue with illegals using too many public services in 1994?

The article keeps making R's sound extreme yet they keep offering up moderates for office as I see it.  Whitman and Fiorina the latest, but look at that fiscal wuss Arnold.  Didn't he cave on every fiscal and reform issue like a good moderate while he already agreed with liberals on every social issue?  What good did that do for the state or the party?

California needs pro-growth policies that they aren't about to vote for.

This isn't unique to California, all the large decaying cities have the same political problem, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis come to mind.  How are the Republican parties doing within those city limits?  Mpls city council has 12 Dem and 1 green.  There were no Republican candidates for either Mayor or any City Council post in a recent election, with one Republican running for Library Board, according to Wikipedia.  Minneapolis has shrunk 25% from its peak down to its size of 90 years ago; fewer than 1 in 8 in the metro choose Minneapolis.  It would be bankrupt if not held up by an otherwise prosperous county and state.  Detroit lost 25% in a decade.  About that loss , Detroit's Republican Mayor said ....  just kidding, Dems have run Detroit since the (other) Great depression.  HuffPost says Obama won Detroit by 97-3%?! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/michigan-primary-unlikely-detroit-voters_n_1294624.html  Now the 'real' unemployment rate is around 45%.  But the unemployed make good Dem voters - if they stay - and if someone else will pay for the services.
4520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America, Bachmann letter, Huma Abedin, MB infiltration, etc. on: July 22, 2012, 03:19:44 PM
Andy McCarthy of National Review defends Bachmann's line of inquiry:
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/310198/questions-about-huma-abedin-andrew-c-mccarthy?pg=1
-----------------
Paul Mirengoff of Powerline has a pretty good take on this, it is liberal infiltration more than Muslim Brotherhood infiltration that has led to the slant of State Dept. policy decisions in favor of Islamic extremist groups.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/the-problem-with-michele-bachmanns-letter-to-the-state-department.php

"I would speculate that the State Department’s tilt towards the Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with Abedin. The State Department is prone to want to hitch U.S. policy to anti-Western extremists, claiming they aren’t as bad as they look (and talk). This tendency predates the Obama administration. Once Mubarak fell in Egypt, it was probably inevitable that an Obama State Department would follow this tradition in dealing with the Brotherhood. The policy, then, appears to be the product of the liberal imagination, not Brotherhood infiltration.

Of course, this is just speculation. But so is the thrust of the opening portion of Bachmann’s letter. To that extent, the language of the letter is unfortunate, and has tended to undermine its worthy goal of raising legitimate and serious concerns about the substance of State Department policy."

4521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Monetary Policy & other currencies: ECB and negative interest rates on: July 22, 2012, 12:46:06 PM
Unbelievable.  Like treating a failed car ignition system by continuously overflowing the gas tank.

No more than one in three adults in Europe have a full time job in the private sector in Europe.  They aren't starting new businesses and there's no incentive to expand an existing one.  You are taxed heavily if you earn, taxed heavily if you spend, taxed if you save and regulated to death.  Economic growth is done and instead of fix any of all of what is broken, they increase the money supply.

We not only copy their insanity, we back it.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-15/ecb-coordinates-with-federal-reserve-in-lending-dollars-to-euro-area-banks.html
ECB Coordinates With Federal Reserve to Provide Dollars to Euro-Area Banks
Sep 15, 2011 Bloomberg

The Frankfurt-based ECB said it will coordinate with the Federal Reserve and other central banks to conduct three separate dollar liquidity operations to ensure banks have enough of the currency through the end of the year (2011).
-----

This is not a crisis.  It is a you-reap-what-you sew economy.  Decline by design.
4522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 21, 2012, 07:56:32 PM
Abe Lincoln:
"and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Brockster:
"and that people of the government, by the government, for the government, shall not perish from the earth because of the government".

ccp, "Your no Lincoln!"

Great line CCP!  Isn't that the truth.
4523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: welfare reform law changed by HHS? on: July 21, 2012, 01:48:00 PM
For all the negotiations and struggles with welfare reform that went with getting a Dem President and an R congress to finally agree on specifics after two vetoes and many re-writes (http://nwcitizen.us/oldsite/usa/welfare-reform.html), now one side can unilaterally change the law?  Because of what, our the new government by Czar?  Which article authorizes that?
4524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 21, 2012, 12:56:59 PM
On the debunk continued, Obama Sr. didn't leave the US in 1961, Stanley Ann wouldn't go meet his family alone - pregnant, and nothing is anywhere near Hawaii for travel by air, land or sea.  Looks like you could get a flight today for about $2600 with 2-3 stops and 35 hours fly time each way.  Quite a bit longer in 1961. The certificate, BTW, was for one generic US baby born in Africa-other, not an Obama born in the Kenyan region .

I'm not saying HRC would win at either position, just that they are the ones in need of changing the dynamic of the race.

Not to pile on, but while 1 more term of Obama is unthinkable, Hillary is eligible for 2 more terms, don't get that started.  " Aaaaccckkk!!!  "

Defeat this man the old fashioned way and let Hillary age gracefully on the sidelines.
4525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Need to stop birthing ) on: July 21, 2012, 02:42:40 AM
The only news story I could find in Google News about 'Kenyan Birth Records Found' was a 2009 Huffington Post story about a Kenyan forgery.

Looks to me like they blur the image - I can't read it it.  And no link.

After they say it is proved they go on with a different argument, Barack Sr. didn't declare he had a son.  That isn't conclusive of anything.

We need Barack Obama on the ballot in order to defeat him and his policies.  There is no shortcut.

If Democrats had to replace him on the ticket between now and the election, it would be the perfect storm, wet dream, shiny object extravaganza for them.  They could put a new name on the ballot not directly tied to the current economic record - and you know who she would be...   (
4526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IBD Editorials: Syria's Chemical Weapons Came From Saddam's Iraq on: July 20, 2012, 12:55:44 PM
IBD Editorials
 
Syria's Chemical Weapons Came From Saddam's Iraq
Posted 07/19/2012 07:02 PM ET

War On Terror: As the regime of Bashar Assad disintegrates, the security of his chemical arsenal is in jeopardy. The No. 2 general in Saddam Hussein's air force says they were the WMDs we didn't find in Iraq.

King Abdullah of neighboring Jordan warned that a disintegrating Syria on the verge of civil war puts Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons at risk of falling into the hands of al-Qaida.

"One of the worst-case scenarios as we are obviously trying to look for a political solution would be if some of those chemical stockpiles were to fall into unfriendly hands," he said.

The irony here is that the chemical weapons stockpile of Syrian thug Assad may in large part be the legacy of weapons moved from Hussein's Iraq into Syria before Operation Iraqi Freedom.

If so, this may be the reason not much was found in the way of WMD by victorious U.S. forces in 2003.

In 2006, former Iraqi general Georges Sada, second in command of the Iraqi Air Force who served under Saddam Hussein before he defected, wrote a comprehensive book, "Saddam's Secrets."

It details how the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria in advance of the U.S.-led action to eliminate Hussein's WMD threat.

As Sada told the New York Sun, two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials.
mp3Subscribe to the IBD Editorials Podcast

There were 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a 2002 Syrian dam collapse.

There were also truck convoys into Syria. Sada's comments came more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."

Both Israeli and U.S. intelligence observed large truck convoys leaving Iraq and entering Syria in the weeks and months before Operation Iraqi Freedom, John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, told a private conference of former weapons inspectors and intelligence experts held in Arlington, Va., in 2006.

According to Shaw, ex-Russian intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov, a KGB general with long-standing ties to Saddam, went to Iraq in December 2002 and stayed until just before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

Anticipating the invasion, his job was to supervise the removal of such weapons and erase as much evidence of Russian involvement as possible.

http://news.investors.com/article/618875/201207191902/syria-chemical-weapons-came-from-iraq-.htm
4527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Income Mobility: 70% of children did not end up in their parent's quintile on: July 20, 2012, 11:19:39 AM
Romney needs to answer the leftist income inequality obsession with the inspiration and reality of income mobility optimism.  The latest study from Pew actually shows all kinds of progress even though they continue to exclude the primary sources of income for lower incomes, "does not include the value of Medicare, Medicaid, the EITC, Section 8 housing vouchers nor SNAP (food stamps)" which exaggerates inequality.  Making dollar errors in the multi-trillions for the poorest and then publishing results as if you covered it all.  Buyer beware! 
-----------------

Movement across class lines has been reasonably robust. 60 percent of children born to the richest fifth of Americans in the late 1960s fell out of that category, with 8 percent landing in the bottom fifth. 57 percent of children born into the bottom fifth moved up, and more than half of them moved into the middle fifth or higher. Overall, 70 percent of children didn’t end up in their parents’ quintile.

The rise in incomes holds across the economic spectrum. Among the poorest fifth, inflation-adjusted income grew by 74 percent, from $11,064 to $19,202. It grew even more substantially in the highest quintile but the Pew study may well understate growth in the real income of the poor.

Even with the exclusions that cause incomes of the poor to be understated, these incomes have risen considerably, as have incomes across the economic board.

Pew: http://www.pewstates.org/uploadedFiles/PCS_Assets/2012/Pursuing_American_Dream.pdf

Powerline: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/the-rising-tide-has-lifted-most-boats.php

Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/07/11/sad-ignorance-in-the-pew-economic-mobility-project-their-data-is-worthless/
4528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krauthammer: Obama's Vision Places Government, Not People, First on: July 20, 2012, 10:30:17 AM
Obama's Vision Places Government, Not People, First

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
 Posted 07/19/2012

"If you've got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Barack Obama, Roanoke, Va., July 13

And who might that somebody be? Government, says Obama. It built the roads you drive on. It provided the teacher who inspired you. It "created the Internet." It represents the embodiment of "we're in this together" social solidarity that, in his view, is the essential origin of individual and national achievement.

To say all individuals are embedded in and the product of society is banal. Obama rises above banality by means of fallacy: equating society with government, collectivity with the state.

Of course we are shaped by our milieu. But the most formative, most important influence on the individual is not government. It's civil society, those elements of the collectivity that lie outside government: family, neighborhood, church, Rotary Club, PTA, the voluntary associations that Tocqueville saw as the genius of America and source of its energy and freedom.

Moreover, the greatest threat to a robust, autonomous civil society is the ever-growing Leviathan state and those like Obama who see it as the ultimate expression of the collective.

Obama compounds the fallacy by declaring the state to be the font of entrepreneurial success. It created the infrastructure — roads, bridges, schools, Internet — off which we all thrive.

Absurd. We don't credit the Swiss postal service with the Special Theory of Relativity because it transmitted Einstein's manuscript to the Annalen der Physik. Everyone drives the roads, goes to school, uses the mails. So did Steve Jobs. Yet only he conceived and built the Mac and the iPad.

Obama's infrastructure argument is easily refuted by what is essentially a controlled social experiment. Roads and schools are the constant. What's variable is the energy, enterprise, risk-taking, hard work and genius of the individual. It is therefore precisely those individual characteristics, not the communal utilities, that account for the different outcomes.

But the ultimate Obama fallacy is the conceit that belief in the value of infrastructure, and willingness to invest in its creation and maintenance, is what divides liberals from conservatives.

More nonsense. Infrastructure is not a liberal idea, nor is it particularly new. The Via Appia was built 2,300 years ago. The Romans built aqueducts too. And sewers. Since forever, infrastructure has been understood to be a core function of government.

The argument between left and right is about what you do beyond infrastructure. It's about transfer payments and redistributionist taxation, about geometrically expanding entitlements, about tax breaks and subsidies to induce actions pleasing to planners.

It's about free contraceptives for privileged students and welfare without work — the latest Obama entitlement-by-decree that would fatally undermine the great bipartisan welfare reform of 1996. It's about endless government handouts that, ironically, are crowding out necessary spending on, yes, infrastructure.

What divides liberals and conservatives is not roads and bridges but Julia's world, an Obama campaign creation that may be the most self-revealing parody of liberalism ever.

It's a series of cartoon illustrations in which a fictional Julia is swaddled and subsidized throughout her life by an all-giving government of bottomless pockets and "Queen for a Day" magnanimity. At every stage, the state is there to provide — preschool classes and cut-rate college loans, birth control and maternity care, business loans and retirement. The only time she's on her own is at her gravesite.

Julia's world is totally atomized. It contains no friends, no community and, of course, no spouse. Who needs one? She's married to the provider state. Or to put it slightly differently, the "Life of Julia" represents the paradigmatic Obama political philosophy: citizen as orphan child. For the conservative, providing for every need is the duty that government owes to actual orphan children. Not to supposedly autonomous adults.

Beyond infrastructure, the conservative sees the proper role of government as providing not European-style universal entitlements but a firm safety net, meaning Julia-like treatment for those who really cannot make it on their own — those too young or too old, too mentally or physically impaired, to provide for themselves.

Limited government so conceived has two indispensable advantages. It avoids inexorable European-style national insolvency. And it avoids breeding debilitating individual dependence. It encourages and celebrates character, independence, energy and hard work as the foundations of a free society and a thriving economy — precisely the virtues Obama discounts and devalues in his accounting.
4529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left - Trashing achievement on: July 20, 2012, 10:24:50 AM
This is a theme running through both Presidential and congressional threads.  Thomas Sowell spells it out quite well:  "Personal responsibility, whether for achievement or failure, is a threat to the whole vision of the left, and a threat the left goes all-out to combat, using rhetoric uninhibited by reality."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/07/20/trashing_achievements_114842.html

Trashing Achievements

By Thomas Sowell - July 20, 2012
   
There was a time, within living memory, when the achievements of others were not only admired but were often taken as an inspiration for imitation of the same qualities that had served these achievers well, even if we were not in the same field of endeavor and were not expecting to achieve on the same scale.

The perseverance of Thomas Edison, as he tried scores of materials for the filament of the light bulb he was inventing; the dedication of Abraham Lincoln as he studied law on his own while struggling to make a living -- these were things young people were taught to admire, even if they had no intention of becoming inventors or lawyers, much less President of the United States.

Somewhere along the way, all that changed. Today, the very concept of achievement is de-emphasized and sometimes attacked. Following in the footsteps of Barack Obama, Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard has made the downgrading of high achievers the centerpiece of her election campaign against Senator Scott Brown.

To cheering audiences, Professor Warren says, "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You build a factory out there, good for you, but I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate."

Do the people who cheer this kind of talk bother to stop and think through what she is saying? Or is heady rhetoric enough for them?

People who run businesses are benefitting from things paid for by others? Since when are people in business, or high-income earners in general, exempt from paying taxes like everybody else?

At a time when a small fraction of high-income taxpayers pay the vast majority of all the taxes collected, it is sheer chutzpah to depict high-income earners as somehow being subsidized by "the rest of us," whether in paying for the building of roads or the educating of the young.

Since everybody else uses the roads and the schools, why should high achievers be expected to feel like free loaders who owe still more to the government, because schools and roads are among the things that facilitate their work? According to Elizabeth Warren, because it is part of an "underlying social contract."

Conjuring up some mythical agreement that nobody saw, much less signed, is an old ploy on the left -- one that goes back at least a century, when Herbert Croly, the first editor of The New Republic magazine, wrote a book titled "The Promise of American Life."

Whatever policy Herbert Croly happened to favor was magically transformed by rhetoric into a "promise" that American society was supposed to have made -- and, implicitly, that American taxpayers should be forced to pay for. This pious hokum was so successful politically that all sorts of "social contracts" began to appear magically in the rhetoric of the left.

If talking in this mystical way is enough to get you control of billions of dollars of the taxpayers' hard-earned money, why not?

Certainly someone who claimed to be part Indian, as Elizabeth Warren did when applying for academic appointments in an affirmative action environment, is unlikely to be squeamish about using imaginative words during a political election campaign.

Sadly, this kind of cute use of words is not confined to one political candidate or to this election year. The very concept of achievement is a threat to the vision of the left, and has long been attacked by those on the left.

People who succeed -- whether in business or anywhere else -- are often said to be "privileged," even if they started out poor and worked their way up the hard way.

Outcome differences are called "class" differences. Thus when two white women, who came from families in very similar social and economic circumstances, made different decisions and got different results, this was the basis for a front-page story titled "Two Classes, Divided by 'I Do'" in the July 15th issue of the N.Y Times. Personal responsibility, whether for achievement or failure, is a threat to the whole vision of the left, and a threat the left goes all-out to combat, using rhetoric uninhibited by reality.
4530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 20, 2012, 10:11:40 AM
Crafty, a couple of days ago:  "Discretionary spending is an insufficient target for serious deficit reduction.  Serious debt reduction requires going after the obligations defined by entitlements-- and in this race no on is talking about that."

Yes.  Most of what we call government is not governing functions at all but transfer payments to individuals.  That isn't going to end but as competent economists have suggested, pass reforms that roll the costs back to 2007 levels, when this economy was last close to functional.
4531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 20, 2012, 10:05:50 AM
Crafty:  "I just don't get the Condi Rice for VP boomlet"... (among other things) "absolutely ZERO background in economics"

John Podhoretz writes today: "The issue today is the economy. Not to mention the economy. Also, the economy." 
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/why_bam_losing_6hphTPplSqc4KPBJcKn4nO

For 8 years I tried to like the work product of Condi Rice and I struggled, kept thinking there is more going on behind the scenes than what we know.  If he wants, Romney can try to bring her back as Secretary of State, or keep Hillary Clinton for that matter to offset diplomatically a re-energized Defense department.  This election is the economy.  Rubio is the visionary and skilled orator who might make a great President someday and Paul Ryan is the current policy heavyweight.  We will see.
4532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney drumbeat? on: July 20, 2012, 02:02:24 AM
The 'drumbeat' looks like it's the same three people.  I still don't see where Romney acquired the July 19 deadline that he allegedly missed, lol.  The drumbeat line JDN took from my Elizabeth Warren post, but the analogy fails.  Her deadline is everyday to correct her outright lie.  Romney, as far as we know, did nothing wrong.

The witch hunt from Bachmann is offensive but a witch hunt serves the right political purposes, well that is different.  Romney is presumed guilty until proven innocent.  The charge sounds like a dictionary definition of un-American.
4533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 20, 2012, 01:12:10 AM
Russ,  Wow, great writing and analysis!  Nice to have you on board.

It's been 23 years since the Tiananmen protests and the regime's use of force against them.  I believe freedom will prevail but I've been wrong about the timing for a very long time.
4534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy - Hillary CLinton Smart Power on: July 19, 2012, 04:51:06 PM
Significant piece published yesterday in the New Statesman by Hillary Clinton, explaining policy, bragging about her efforts and their record etc.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2012/07/hillary-clinton-art-smart-power

The art of smart power

As the balance of world power shifts, the US is developing a novel range of diplomatic, social, economic, political and security tools to fix the world’s complex new geopolitical problems.
By Hillary Clinton Published 18 July 2012

I haven't read it all yet.  Will come back and post the text after I have.
4535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: You Didn't Build That! on: July 19, 2012, 04:46:03 PM
Must see.  Keep clicking on next page at the bottom of each page at the link, it continues...

http://didntbuildthat.com/

I like this one:

4536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 18, 2012, 06:27:37 PM
Nicely put. That is exactly the question being called in Nov. now that the President so gracefully proclaimed that he is on the opposite side. 

Of the things that government does best (a short list), other than defending our shores shorter list yet), are there really $3-4 trillion worth of services that the federal government is uniquely able to perform and is authorized to do so in the constitution?  Do you want the decisions about road building around your home and business to go through Washington?  Really? Local schools, bridges and rail lines, that is federal and authorized in what article of the constitution, by what stretch of the imagination??  It is a complete straw argument to think you couldn't make cuts close to the immediate trillion a year Ron Paul was proposing and still have all those things that are both authorized in the constitution and are of value to all of us.
4537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, pjmedia: The President is right! (Read it all) on: July 18, 2012, 01:24:06 PM
President Obama’s instantly infamous “You didn’t build that” speech is a major turning point of the 2012 election not because it was a gaffe but because it was an accurate and concise summary of core progressive fiscal dogma. It was also a political blunder of epic proportions because in his speech Obama unintentionally proved the conservatives’ case for limited government.

When Obama implied at the Roanoke, Virginia rally that some businessmen refuse to pay for public works from which they benefit, he presented a thesis which, like a three-legged stool, relies on three assumptions that must all be true for the argument to remain standing:

1. That the public programs he mentioned in his speech constitute a significant portion of the federal budget;
2. That business owners don’t already pay far more than their fair share of these expenses; and
3. That these specific public benefits are a federal issue, rather than a local issue.

If any of these legs fails, then the whole argument collapses.

For good measure, we won’t just kick out one, we’ll kick out all three.

“Small Government” Is Not the Same as “No Government”

Progressives critique the fiscal conservative/Tea Party/libertarian position by purposely misrepresenting it as anarchy. When fiscal conservatives say “We want smaller government,” progressives reply, “Oh, so you want no government?”

“Government” in this particular discussion is shorthand for “communal pooling of resources for mutual benefit.”

Fiscal conservatives have never called for no government — that’s the anarchist position, and contemporary anarchism is actually dominated by extreme leftists, not extreme conservatives. Instead, fiscal conservatives clearly and consistently call for limited government, or for smaller government — but not for the absence of government altogether.

So when President Obama and his mentor Elizabeth Warren justify their call for tax hikes by pointing out that all entrepreneurs benefit from communal infrastructure, they’re committing the classic Straw Man Fallacy by arguing against anarchy — a position that their opponents do not hold.

Here’s the shocking truth: President Obama and Elizabeth Warren are correct — we all benefit from certain taxpayer-funded collectivist government infrastructure projects and programs. And here’s the other shocking truth: Therefore, we should limit government expenditures to just those programs.
4538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Congressional races: Elizabeth Warren, You didn't build that on: July 18, 2012, 01:18:37 PM
I had not seen the real video of Elizabeth Warren when I posted the parody.  OMG.

Actual Warren:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=htX2usfqMEs

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own!  Nobody!  You built a factory out there?  Good for you!  But I want to be clear.  You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for!"

(Not to be confused with the parody:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu61aU4N8mM&feature=related)
4539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: You Didn't Build That! on: July 18, 2012, 01:02:24 PM
Taking over from tax returns, "You didn't build that" seems to be the defining statement of the campaign.

If the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, etc. didn't build that, then why the hell are the rest of you, the unwashed, trying to build something?

Meanwhile we advertise with taxpayer dollars for more food stamp recipients: it's easy, it's healthy and it's fun!  And we add more to permanent disability than we add to full time employment.

It was really a Freudian slip for the 11 million dollar book writing President because we can say with certainty Mr. President: You didn't write that!

Punditry caught the President's new line and their collective jaw dropped.  It took a few days for it to really sink in.

John Podhoretz, Commentary magazine:  "The Biggest Mistake of Campaign 2012 is not Mitt Romney’s handling of Bain Capital, or anything Mitt Romney has done. The biggest mistake was the one made by Barack Obama on Friday, when what you might call his now-familiar “Declaration of Interdependence” went completely off the rails. Obama’s “we’re all in this together” bit has been a feature of his speeches during the past year, as he cites the government-led activities that have made this country better—land-grant colleges and infrastructure and the social safety net. It sounds kind of uplifting, which is why he likes to say it, and it fits his general message of a country in which government plays a central role for the good of all.  But when he extended it to personal and private endeavor, the president revealed the danger of this message—to him. ...This statement is a colossal opportunity for Mitt Romney and will prove a suppurating wound for the president, who revealed a degree not only of condescension but of contempt for the very people who are going to decide this election.  And if there’s one thing people recognize, it’s when they are being viewed with contempt."
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/07/17/the-biggest-mistake-of-campaign-2012/
---------------------------


Rich Lowry, National Review:  Obama against the Self-Made Man

If Bartlett’s ever puts together a collection of insultingly deflating quotations, it should include President Barack Obama’s take on business success before a crowd in Virginia the other day: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”

Obama was explaining — as is his wont — why the rich should pay more taxes. They might have had a great teacher. Or they drive on public roads and bridges. “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that,” the president explained, apparently in the serene confidence that he wasn’t speaking to an audience bristling with proud business owners. “Somebody else made that happen.”

The Obama theory of entrepreneurship is that behind every successful businessman, there is a successful government. Everyone is helpless without the state, the great protector, builder, and innovator. Everything is ultimately a collective enterprise. Individual initiative is only an ingredient in the more important work when “we do things together.”

The Obama riff is a direct steal from Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts who sent liberal hearts aflutter by throwing the same wet towel on the notion of individual success a few months ago. The Obama/Warren view is a warrant for socialization of the proceeds of success. Behind its faux sophistication is a faculty-lounge disdain for business, and all those who make more than tenured professors by excelling at it. Behind its smiley we’re-all-in-it-together façade is a frank demand: You owe us. ...
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/309606/obama-against-self-made-man-rich-lowry
-----------------------------------------

WSJ today:
The Presidential election has a long way to go, but the line of the year so far is President Obama's on Friday: "You didn't build that." Rarely do politicians so clearly reveal their core beliefs.

Speaking in Roanoke, Virginia, Mr. Obama delivered another paean to the virtues of higher taxes on the people he believes deserve to pay even more to the government. "There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans," he observed, and many of them attribute their wealth and success to their own intelligence and hard work. But the self-made man is an illusion: "There are a lot of smart people out there," he explained. "Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hard-working people out there.

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," he continued. "There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

This burst of ideological candor is already resonating like nothing else Mr. Obama's said in years. The Internet is awash with images of the President telling the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and other innovators they didn't build that. Kevin Costner's famous line in "Field of Dreams," as adapted for Mr. Obama: "If you build it, we'll still say you didn't really build it."

Beneath the satire is the serious point that Mr. Obama's homily is the soul of his campaign message. The President who says he wants to be transformational may be succeeding—and subordinating to government the individual enterprise and risk-taking that underlies prosperity. The question is whether this is the America that most Americans want to build.
---------------------

Paul Ryan:

    Every now and then, he pierces the veil. He’s usually pretty coy about his ideology, but he lets the veil slip from time to time. … His straw man argument is this ridiculous caricature where he’s trying to say if you want any security in life, you stick with me. If you go with these Republicans, they’re going to feed you to the wolves because they believe in some Hobbesian state of nature, and it’s one or the other which is complete bunk, absolutely ridiculous. But it seems to be the only way he thinks he can make his case. He’s deluded himself into thinking that his so-called enemies are these crazy individualists who believe in some dog-eat-dog society when what he’s really doing is basically attacking people like entrepreneurs and stacking up a list of scapegoats to blame for his failures.

    His comments seem to derive from a naive vision of a government-centered society and a government-directed economy. It stems from an idea that the nucleus of society and the economy is government not the people. … It is antithetical to the American idea. We believe in free communities, and this is a statist attack on free communities. … As all of his big government spending programs fail to restore jobs and growth, he seems to be retreating into a statist vision of government direction and control of a free society that looks backward to the failed ideologies of the 20th century.

    This is not a Bill Clinton Democrat. He’s got this very government-centric, old 20th century collectivist philosophy which negates the American experiment which is people living in communities, supporting one another, having government stick to its limits so it can do its job really well … Those of us who are conservative believe in government, we just believe government has limits. We want government to do what it does well and respect its limits so civil society and families can flourish on their own and do well and achieve their potential.

    How does building roads and bridge justify Obamacare? If you like the GI Bill therefore we must go along with socialized medicine. It’s a strange leap that he takes. … To me it’s the laziest form of a debate to affix views to your opponent that they do not have so you can demonize them and defeat them and win the debate by default

    I think he believes America was on the right path until Reagan came along, and Reagan got us going in the wrong direction. And and he wants to be as transformational as Reagan by undoing the entire Reagan revolution. … I think he sees himself as bringing about this wave of progressivism, and the only thing stopping him are these meddling conservatives who believe in these founding principles so he has to caricature them in the ugliest light possible to win the argument.

http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/07/paul-ryan-rips-obamas-comment-that-if-youve-got-a-business-you-didnt-build-that-somebody-else-made-that-happen/
4540  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races: Charlie Rangel on: July 17, 2012, 10:56:39 PM
"whatever happened in Charlie Rangel's race?  I remember reading it was very close and that the results were not immediately available"


He won his primary with a thin margin. They didn't call the winner right away.

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2012/07/rep-charles-rangel-had-heavy-financial-advantage-over-adriano-espaillat-for-de


4541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline, Fall, and Resurrection of America on: July 17, 2012, 10:07:04 PM
"it is not unreasonable for the oil/gas industry to spend a relatively small amount to monitor and study the situation rather than go in full bore"

Agreed 100%!!!
-----------------------------

Absolutely.  Note that many who are most skeptical of shale also don't want to allow use of light, sweet crude out of Alaska either.  There isn't a plan for prosperity that doesn't include the energy to power it.  If not oil or coal, then natural gas.  If not any fossil fuel, then nuclear.  But you must legalize and produce something or get used to the idea of becoming a third world economy.

Isn't it interesting that the war against energy production that drove prices up actually caused the shale oil and fracking revolutions.

4542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, serial cheater on: July 17, 2012, 09:52:29 PM
Writes it singular again, 3 times after having the plural nature of the serial mistakes over an extended period on a multitude of problems pointed out.  I posted 3 sources detailing more than 10 major tax law compliance errors cited.  They didn't fall randomly either; all were on the side of TAX EVASION.  You and I can't get away with that, don't kid yourself.  The context was a historic financial crisis and the opposition looked the other way to give the popular new President a good start.  So they put him in charge of the guy who is in charge of tax law compliance.  In hindsight that was stupid.  He is a buffoon and we should have known.  Doesn't know Treasury, doesn't know tax law and doesn't know or care about the constitution. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-Fz35Ra1spk)
Good luck to you - it's fun having our own internet troll.
4543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: July 17, 2012, 08:13:50 PM
A mistake? Can you STILL not grasp the errors was not SINGULAR??!??!??!
4544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 17, 2012, 07:52:30 PM
Double standard etc, yes.  I jumped categories (cog diss of the left) to refresh memories.  Yes, how many Dem votes would a Republican tax cheat get on the committee? 

JDN, He didn't think he had to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years (source WSJ) because ...................................... .

a) diplomatic immunity
b) he gave at the office
c) dog ate his homework
d) by taxing the rich, I meant the other guy
e) hey, look at that shiny object - over THERE!!

Besides re-filing 6 other years when he found out he was entering new scrutiny...  Employing domestics formerly known as illegals, etc.

He made "a" mistake.

For Romney, all they want is more clarity on the "filthy" part of rich.

Meanwhile, more have gone on food stamps and disability under Obama than have found new jobs, and the blind enablers keep looking every time he says hey, shiny object.

Pathetic.
4545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Geithner, He made a mistake, lol. on: July 17, 2012, 07:38:48 PM
Yeah, he made a mistake (depends on what the word 'a' means) and it was a DOOZY.  Keep in mind, the Treasury Secretary is the cabinet official responsible for the IRS.  Having Geithner in that position would be like having Eric Holder at DOJ oversee the ATF.  Oh, never mind, I forgot about the double standard.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123187503629378119.html
Geithner's Tax History Muddles Confirmation
Timothy Geithner didn't pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years
(Imagine the uproar if they find that on Romney; a leftist wet dream!)
----------------------------------------------

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/18/AR2009011802070.html
Timothy Geithner's Tax Problems
Monday, January 19, 2009
At a time when the nation needs a reliable, respected voice on financial issues at the Treasury Department, is an admitted tax cheat the best we can do [front page, Jan. 14]
----------------------------------------------------
http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/13/treasury-geithner-obama-biz-beltway-cx_bw_0113geithner2.html
Geithner's Tax Troubles Are Serious
Brian Wingfield, 01.13.09, 07:22 PM EST
The issues surrounding Obama's choice for Treasury secretary may be worse than Democrats are letting on.     

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Timothy Geithner has just run into a potentially serious obstacle on the road to his confirmation as Barack Obama's Treasury secretary.

Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee made public concerns about Geithner's tax obligations, which resulted in his recent payment of $42,702 in additional taxes and interest for tax years 2001 to 2004. In addition, the committee's report on the matter says that in 2005 Geithner employed a housekeeper for about three and a half months after her ability to work in the U.S. had lapsed. (Maybe we can let the states handle immigration enforcement.)

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., described Geithner's errors as "serious," but he said they were "honest mistakes" that "do not rise to the level of disqualification." Baucus also said Geithner corrected the problems as soon as he learned of them. The Montana Democrat wants to have a confirmation hearing on Friday because he says it's important to have a Treasury secretary on "day one." Obama's inauguration takes place Jan. 20.

But Geithner's tax troubles are more worrisome for his confirmation than Baucus lets on--and not just because the Internal Revenue Service is part of the Treasury Department.

According to the Senate committee's report, Geithner "recently filed amended tax returns" for each tax year from 2001 through 2006. (3 strikes and you're out??  I guess not.) However, the report doesn't specify when these returns were filed, leaving open the question about how long Geithner knew about the improprieties before he fixed them.

On Dec. 5, Obama's transition team told Finance Committee staff that Geithner hadn't paid social security or self-employment taxes on income received from the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004, the report says. Three years ago, the IRS audited Geithner for tax years 2003 and 2004, which resulted in him paying back taxes and interest--but no penalties--totaling $16,732.  (I guess he didn't make a mistake.  More like a series of mistakes, all in his favor.)

However, Geithner voluntarily amended his 2001 and 2002 returns only after Obama expressed interest in nominating him to the Treasury post. The total bill this time: $25,970.

Income taxes for U.S. citizens who work for the IMF can be tricky. The IMF doesn't withhold an employee's share of social security taxes, and all of the organization's employees are responsible for meeting their own tax obligations. The IMF gives its employees--Geithner included--direction on how to pay self-employment taxes. And Geithner, a former Treasury official who is now president of the New York Fed, has dealt with complicated tax issues before, the report notes.

Was Geithner previously aware of irregularities on his 2001 and 2002? Did he only correct them when it became evident that a congressional committee would likely scrub his tax records in anticipation of confirmation hearings? The report doesn't say. Officials from Obama's transition team were not immediately available to comment.

But there's another concern, related to three people who have worked for him as household help since 2004. "He did not obtain the required Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, from these persons at the time they were hired to verify their legal work status," the Finance Committee's report says.

Nonetheless, Geithner was apparently aware of their legal status--someone entered into an address book owned by the Geithners, the report says. The Geithners apparently made a record that one employee's legal work status expired in July 2005, though she "did not renew her legal work status and the Geithners did not follow up with the employee to confirm whether she had done so." The person remained on the family's payroll until October 2005.

For now at least, Obama is standing by Geithner...  Obama has pledged to make addressing the economic crisis his top priority. The timing for this couldn't be worse.
Forbes Jan 13, 2009

4546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance His Glibness: 20 reasons it's great to be Barack Obama on: July 17, 2012, 12:15:59 PM
1) It's all the golf you can play and as many free vacations as you want. The teleprompter tells you what to say to the crowd and if anybody makes a joke about you, someone calls him a racist!

2) You get a Nobel Peace Prize just for showing up.

3) No matter how much worse black Americans do under you than George W. Bush, Kanye West is never going to say, "Barack Obama doesn't care about black people."

4) You can eat a dog and PETA will still love you.

5) No one seems to find it odd that you simultaneously repeat Harry Truman's famous line, "The buck stops here" -- as you blame George Bush, Republicans in Congress, greedy corporations, the European economy, and even ATM machines for your many, many failures.

6) The Occupy Movement still loves you despite the fact that you've shoveled billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to Wall Street firms via bailouts and loan programs.

7) You can have a net worth of 11 million dollars, go on multiple 6 figure vacations per year, and hobnob with the wealthiest Americans at swanky 40k a plate fundraisers; yet no one bats an eye when you criticize Mitt Romney for being rich.

8 ) The press doesn't incessantly repeat the body count in Afghanistan in every article about the war, like it did when George Bush was in Iraq.

9) You get to keep Gitmo open, sign on to the Patriot Act, fight in Afghanistan and kill terrorists with drone attacks while leftists complain that you haven't tried to go after Bush for committing "war crimes" because he did the same things.

10) The mainstream press judges you not on what you've done, but on whatever you happen to be saying right this moment, even if it's different from what you were saying yesterday.

11) After creating jobs overseas with stimulus money, you can criticize Mitt Romney for having a Swiss bank account without being laughed at despite the fact you're holding fundraisers in Switzerland, Sweden, Paris and China.

12) The same press that was utterly uninterested in your background when you ran for office in 2008 considers Mitt Romney's religion, what date he left Bain Capital, and how hard his wife worked when she was taking care of their kids much more important than anything you did over the last 3 1/2 years as President.

13) You can simultaneously block the keystone pipeline and ANWR while you hold up offshore drilling in the Gulf and demonize oil companies, yet claim with a straight face that you're trying to reduce gas prices.

14) Despite the fact that you're conducting war across the globe and have never served in the military, nobody calls you a chickenhawk.

15) Even though your administration helped kill 300 people with guns, including an American citizen, gun control advocates have zero interest in getting to the bottom of it.

16) You have the single most important job on earth and yet, most people seem to be thrilled that you're spending more time campaigning for reelection than you do working.

17) The mainstream media is much more concerned with the possible racism or bad motives of anyone questioning you than it is with whether your policies actually work.

18) No matter how much of an utter failure you are, most black Americans feel compelled to pretend you're not a disaster because they're afraid everyone will judge them by how incompetent you turned out to be.

19) You have a National Debt Charge Card with a limit of "Infinity" and you're not scared to use it.

20) Your biggest accomplishments so far after killing Osama Bin Laden are ending the manned space program, having the longest string of over 8% unemployment of any President since WWII, putting more Americans for food stamps than any other President in history, killing the work requirements in welfare, giving up on stopping illegal aliens, adding more debt in three and a half years than Bush did in eight, and decimating America's health care system with the least popular entitlement program in history. Yet, you still have a chance to be reelected. It doesn't get any better than that.

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2012/07/17/20_reasons_why_its_great_to_be_barack_obama/page/full/
4547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Productivity, innovation, capital and jobs,Andy Kessler WSJ on: July 17, 2012, 12:11:15 PM
The Incredible Bain Jobs Machine

By ANDY KESSLER

Did Mitt Romney and Bain Capital help office-supply retailer Staples create 88,000 jobs? 43,000? 252? Actually, Staples probably destroyed 100,000 jobs while creating millions of new ones.

Since 1986, Staples has opened 2,000 stores, eliminating the jobs of distributors and brokers who charged nasty markups for paper and office supplies. But it enabled hundreds of thousands of small (and not so small) businesses to stock themselves cheaply and conveniently and expand their operations.

It's the same story elsewhere. Apple employs just 47,000 people, and Google under 25,000. Like Staples, they have destroyed many old jobs, like making paper maps and pink "While You Were Out" notepads. But by lowering the cost of doing business they've enabled innumerable entrepreneurs to start new businesses and employ hundreds of thousands, even millions, of workers world-wide—all while capital gets redeployed more effectively.

This process happens during every business cycle and always, always creates jobs. Yet is ignored by policy mavens.

It is now four years after the wheels fell off our financial system. The government has tried every gimmick to revive the economy: fiscal stimulus, monetary easing, loan write-downs, foreclosure modifications—all duds. It seems like no one remembers how an economy creates jobs anymore. The right answer, in fact the only answer, for jobs and better living standards, is productivity.

Economists define productivity as output per worker hour. But ramping up the output of trolleys or 8-track tapes won't increase living standards. It is not just technical efficiency that matters, it is also effectiveness—that is, producing what the economy really needs and consumers will pay for.

And so, in a broader sense, productivity is really about doing the right things the right way. Using modern construction equipment, we could build a pyramid on the National Mall in Washington with amazing efficiency, but it would not be effective.

So how does productivity result in more employment?

Three ways. First, some new technology comes along that allows something never before possible. Cash from an ATM, stock trading from an airplane's aisle seat, ads next to Google search results.

The inventor or entrepreneur who uses the invention benefits from sales and wealth and hires people to produce the good or service. We don't hear about this. Instead we hear about the layoffs of bank tellers, stockbrokers and media salesmen. So productivity becomes the boogeyman for job losses. And many economic cranks would prefer that we just hire back the tellers and toll collectors.

This is a big mistake because new, cheaper technology becomes a platform for others to create or expand businesses that never before made economic sense. Adobe software killed typesetters, but allowed millions cheaply to get into the publishing business. Millions of individuals and micro-size businesses now reach a national, not just local, retail market thanks to eBay. Amazon allows thousands upon thousands of new vendors to thrive and hire.

Consider Uber, a 20-month-old start-up, whose smartphone app knows where you are and with a simple click arranges a private car pickup to take you where you want. It doesn't exist without iPhones or Androids. Taxi and limousine dispatchers lose. Customers win. We'll all be surprised by new tablet applications being dreamed up in garages and basements everywhere.

The third way productivity results in more employment is by attracting capital to satisfy new consumer demands. In a competitive economy, productivity—doing more with less—always lowers the cost of products or services: $5,000 computers become $500 tablets. Consumers get to spend the difference elsewhere in the economy, and entrepreneurs will be happy to sell them what they want or create new things they never heard of, but will want. And those with capital will be eager to fund these entrepreneurs. Win, win.

The mechanism to decide the most effective use for this capital is profits. The stock market bundles profits and is the divining rod of productivity, allocating capital in cycle after cycle toward the economy's most productive companies and best-compensated jobs. And it does so better than any elite economist or politician picking pork-barrel projects and relabeling them as "investments."

The productive use of capital is not an automatic process, of course. It is all about constant experimentation. And it is never permanent: Railroads were once tremendously productive, so were steamships and even Kodachrome. It takes work, year in and year out—update, test, tweak, kill off. Staples is under fire from Amazon and other productive online retailers. Its stock has halved since its 2010 peak and is almost at a 10-year low. So be it.

With all the iPads and Facebook and cloud-computing growth, why is unemployment still 8.2% and job creation stalled? My theory is that productivity is always happening but swims upstream against those that fight it. Unions, regulations and a bizarre tax code that locks in the status quo.

In good times, no one notices. But in slow-growth economies, especially in the last 10 years, regulations and hiring rules and employer mandates and environmental anchors have had a cumulative dampening effect on productivity.

How can government do the right thing to help productivity and the employment it fosters? Get out of the way. Every government-mandated low-flow toilet, phosphorous-free dishwasher detergent, CFL light bulb, and carbon-emission regulation is another obstacle on the way to a productive, job-creating economy that produces things consumers really want.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303740704577527200796292034.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop 
4548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Dept Unable to Locate $500,000 in Equipment Bought With Stimulus Money on: July 17, 2012, 12:02:50 PM
I'll put this under government programs, but really the category is information I would like disclosed more relevant than another year of tax returns from Mitt Romney.

Energy Dept. 'Unable to Locate' $500,000 in Equipment Bought With Stimulus Money
By Penny Starr
July 16, 2012
   
Department of Energy

(CNSNews.com) – An audit conducted by the Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General was "unable to locate" $500,000 worth of equipment purchased with stimulus money by a recipient of funds distributed through the deparment's “Advanced Batteries and Hybrid Components Program,” according to an audit report published by the OIG.

The DOE said it would not be "appropriate" to release the name of stimulus-money recipient where the $500,000 worth of equipment could not be located.

The program was given nearly $2 billion in stimulus funds "to support the construction of U.S. based battery and electric drive component
manufacturing plants...   More at the links:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/energy-dept-unable-locate-500000-equipment-bought-stimulus-money
http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/OAS-RA-L-12-05.pdf
4549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 17, 2012, 11:53:45 AM
I'm sorry that as usual you missed my point and that the points you make are unresponsive to the questions I posed.  Another approach to an exchange would be to try to answer the questions posed and in doing so you might stumble into the point made.  Yes he will probably disclose more information.  The July 17 deadline is the shiny object.  It MUST be answered NOW because 3 more people are clamoring for it.  You already called his wealth filthy and in pure moderate partisanship you posted no objection I know of to the sitting Treasury Secretary's tax evasion.  Nothing in Romney's background indicates anything other than squeaky clean and he already disclosed that he was successful and paid all the taxes that he owes.  But still we need shiny objects.  Who would want to face ISSUES?

Romney's income is interesting because he was in business you say?  Well, Obama's academics are interesting because he was in academics.  One sided clamoring won't get that information out - ever.  In spite of you repeatedly repeatedly repeatedly saying otherwise, that is relevant.

They keep the storyline going that Barack Obama is smarter than all of us, yet serving in his current position, he is stuck on stupid, reduced to looking for shiny objects from his competitor.  He hasn't even told us what involvement he had in Fast and Furious that would require an executive privilege assertion to take the scandal IN HIS ADMINISTRATION past the election.  Why hasn't he fired his attorney general yet for not prosecuting his own contempt of congress citation and where is THAT clamoring?  The Sound of Silence: Hello Darkness my old friend...

Meanwhile, we must know, where does Mitt Romney bank anyway?
4550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Look at this shiny object, over HERE! on: July 17, 2012, 10:57:07 AM
"your private life becomes public"

No. Candidates pick and choose what they make public and what they don't, including FAST AND FURIOUS documents, don't they?  Why won't you post all your tax returns, what do you have to hide?

"Romney should release his returns."

He did and he will.  That's not enough.  What number of them is enough, exactly?  What number is required to run for public office?  

My understanding, please correct me if I'm wrong, is that you have to release your tax returns on a timely basis - to the IRS, and that's it.

When exactly did candidate Barack Obama release any information he didn't want to because of the clamoring?  And I don't mean 1040EZ tax returns for a guy who never ran a business.

If Romney releases all tax returns back to age 16, how will that change President Obama's job killing record?
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