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4551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Michelle Malkin asks: Who failed Chicago? on: February 13, 2013, 09:29:46 AM
Could go under Glibness, failed programs, gun control, ACORN corruption or America's inner city, Michelle Malkin hits it out of the park.  How come the party of science doesn't tie policies to results?

Who Failed Chicago?

By Michelle Malkin - February 13, 2013
On Tuesday, President Obama and the first lady used the State of the Union spotlight to pay tribute to an innocent teenage girl shot and killed by Chicago gang thugs. On Friday, Obama will travel to the Windy City to decry violence and crusade for more gun laws in the town with the strictest gun laws and bloodiest gun-related death tolls in America.

Does the White House really want to open up a national conversation about the state of Chicago? OK, let's talk.

Obama, his wife, his campaign strategists, his closest cronies and his biggest bundlers all hail from Chicago. Senior adviser and former Chicago real estate mogul/city planning commissioner Valerie Jarrett and her old boss Richard Daley presided over a massive "Plan for Transformation" in the mid-1990s to rescue taxpayer-subsidized public housing from its bloody hellhole. How'd that work out for you, Chicago?

Answer: This social justice experiment failed miserably. A Chicago Tribune investigation found that after Daley and Jarrett dumped nearly $500 million of federal funding into crime-ridden housing projects, the housing complexes (including the infamous Altgeld-Murray homes) remained dangerous, drug-infested, racially segregated ghettos. Altgeld is a long-troubled public housing complex on Chicago's South Side, where youth violence has proved immune to "community organizing" solutions and the grand redevelopment schemes championed by Obama and company.

In fact, as I've reported previously, it's the same nightmarish 'hood where Obama cut his teeth as a community activist -- and exaggerated his role in cleaning up asbestos in the neighborhood, according to fellow progressive foot soldiers. As always, Obama's claims to success there were far more aspirational than concrete.

In the meantime, lucrative contracts went to politically connected Daley pals in the developer world to "save" Chicago's youth and families. Another ghetto housing project, the Grove Parc slum, was managed by Jarrett's former real estate empire, Habitat, Co. Jarrett refused to answer questions about the dilapidated housing development after ascending to top consigliere in the Obama administration.

But as the Boston Globe's Binyamin Appelbaum, who visited the slums several years ago, reported: "Federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale -- a score so bad the buildings now face demolition. ... (Jarrett) co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems." Grove Parc and several other monumental housing flops "were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the (federal) subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered."

Democrats poured another $30 million in public money into the city's public schools to curb youth violence over the past three years. The New York Times hailed the big government plan to fund more social workers, community organizers and mentors and create jobs for at-risk youth. But watchdogs on the ground exposed it as a wasteful "makework scheme." One local activist nicknamed the boondoggle "Jobs for Jerks" because "it rewards some of the worst students in the school system with incredibly rare employment opportunities while leaving good students to fend for themselves."

Obama and his ineffectual champions of Chicago's youth will demand more taxpayer "investments" to throw at the problem. But money is no substitute for the soaring fatherlessness, illegitimacy and family disintegration that have characterized Chicago inner-city life since Obama's hero Saul Alinsky pounded the pavement. As Heather Mac Donald noted in a damning indictment of the do-gooders' failures, "Official silence about illegitimacy and its relation to youth violence remains as carefully preserved in today's Chicago as it was during Obama's organizing time there."

Team Obama will find perverted ways to lay blame for Chicago's youth violence crisis on the NRA, Sarah Palin, FOX News, George Bush and the tea party. But as the community organizer-in-chief prepares to evade responsibility again, he should remember: When you point one finger at everyone else, four other fingers point right back at you-know-who.
4552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marco Rubio's SOTU response on: February 13, 2013, 09:13:19 AM
My reaction is mixed.  He hit the right notes but in a venue and situation where it is impossible to hit it out of the park.  The main criticism seems to be that he paused a second to sip water once.

Good comments from Scott Conroy at Real Clear Politics:

"...Rubio's SOTU Response Was No Flop
...was a call for conservatives to govern by their principles and also an appeal to voters who have soured on the GOP in recent years, asking that they give the party another look.

Invoking the language and principles that infused Ronald Reagan’s conservative movement more than three decades ago, Rubio made a broad-based case for a small-government ethos.

“More government isn’t going to help you get ahead,” he said. “It’s going to hold you back. More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them. And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It’s going to create uncertainty.”

Even as he looked forward, Rubio also recycled many of the key arguments Republicans have leveled against Obama since before the 44th president took office in 2009. He accused Obama of believing the free enterprise system is “the cause of our problems” and charged that “his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.”

In responding to the emotional high point of Obama’s State of the Union address, Rubio acknowledged the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., but added a defiant note that echoed boilerplate Republican language on proposed gun control measures.

“We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country,” he said. “But unconstitutionally undermining the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it.”
4553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - SOTU on: February 13, 2013, 08:59:20 AM
"We cannot JUST cut our way to prosperity."

The case that we have gone too far with cutting might have been strengthened by pointing to one thing that actually has been cut.

The lady who waited 6 hours to vote started to get that same feeling again as the speech went on and on.

He got a couple of things right, but that is his way - to take more than one side of an issue before turning sharply left.

His programs and proposals will not add one dime to the deficit.  Really?  They already added six trillion.

NY Times: [speech was] "proudly liberal"

Comments anyone?
4554  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: February 12, 2013, 11:32:09 PM
"The public-duty doctrine holds that the government and its officials owe a legal duty to the public at large but not to any individual citizen....two exceptions... the “danger creation exception” and the “special-relationship exception."

"If a suspect is taken into custody by law enforcement, a duty to protect -be it at the scene, during transport, or at the jail-exists.7 The majority of courts require a person to be in physical custody of police before that person has a special relationship with police."..."One federal district court has held a special relationship between the state and a confidential informant existed, and thus there was a duty to protect."

4555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interesting thought pieces: The man who shot bin Laden on: February 12, 2013, 01:25:41 PM
Long piece on Esquire, March 2013.  Because of secrecy and security, this guy comes back and starts over keeping his claim to fame hushed.

February 11, 2013, 6:00 AM
The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden... Is Screwed  By Phil Bronstein,  former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle

For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but abou3t the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced an skilled warriors carry on with their lives.
4556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Lawrence Summers says growth agenda on: February 12, 2013, 01:10:53 PM
Clinton's Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers says growth agenda.  Then he lays out an agenda that largely skips over taxes and regulations.  Good luck.  His points if they were numbered 3-8 are actually pretty good:
4557  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Please tell Vladimir I will have moire flexibility after my breelection on: February 12, 2013, 12:43:12 PM
"And where is the serious Rep response to this? , , ,"

SOTU Republican response is tonight immediately following the President.  Hopefully opposition to unilateral disarmament is in it.

Nearly all Republicans are strongly pro-defense.  Where is response of sane and responsible Democrats and independents to weakening the United States and making the world more dangerous?
4558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Preview of Rubio's Tuesday evening speech on: February 12, 2013, 10:08:49 AM

Rubio Previews SOTU Response: Says He'll Push Contrast on Policy, Tone
He’ll be broad, upbeat—and preview the coming disaster.
Stephen Hayes, Weekly Standard (excerpt)

From the earliest days of Marco Rubio’s plucky campaign for the U.S. Senate, his diehard supporters spoke of the day that their man would have an opportunity to challenge Barack Obama – his policies, his vision, his rhetoric. They were certain that Rubio was so gifted an orator and possessed such a unique set of political skills that he would be able to make immediate and improbable leaps that most politicians could not execute. And it was obvious to them – this group the Rubio campaign hands called “three-percenters” because they were there in the days when their candidate was at just 3 percent in an early public poll – that the former Florida house speaker would belong on such an elevated platform.

He’s there now.

Rubio will deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address tonight. It’s a difficult assignment – no one is actually on par with the president of the United States and several recent responders have struggled. But it’s one that certifies Rubio as one of the chief spokesmen for the Republican party – and for good reason. He is the best communicator in the GOP at a time when Republicans have struggled notably to sell their message.

In a thirty-minute interview in his Senate office late last week, I reminded Rubio that several of those who preceded him have failed. “Oh, thanks,” he says, laughing. “I haven’t thought about it that way. I guess if you don’t want the ball in your hands with the last thirty seconds in the game, you probably don’t belong in this game anyway.”

Rubio’s plan to “respond” to the president is rather straightforward. (He’s not actually responding to anything, of course, as his remarks are prepared well in advance of the president’s speech.) He will provide a contrast to the president in ways that are both obvious and subtle. Rubio says he intends to draw on his personal experiences growing up in Florida to explain to the country why Obama’s policies won’t work. The president has focused too much of our national discussion demonizing those who have had success, Rubio says, and paid too little attention to those trying to make it. He seeks to shift that emphasis with his remarks tonight – from a politics of class warfare to policies that elevate the middle class.

“The way I envisioned it is, I kind of went back to the people that I know [back] home,” Rubio explains, “whether it’s my friends from high school, or parents that I know from my kids’ school or kids’ teams, and if I had an opportunity to sit in front of them and if they gave me fifteen minutes to explain to them why it was that what the president wants to do is not a good idea and why what we want to do is a better idea – what would I say to them? And that’s how I’ve approached the speech – is to explain why it is that limited government, free enterprise is the best way to give people the opportunity to achieve a middle class lifestyle or more and leave their kids better off than themselves.”

To that end, Rubio will argue that there are costs to big government that may not seem evident in the lives of every day Americans. Among other things, he will focus on the president’s health care reform and the many failed promises that implementation of those policies will mean. It is not true, Rubio says, that those who want to keep their doctors and their insurance plans will be able to do so. And the tax dollars that are collected to fund Obamacare are dollars that will not be spent elsewhere in the economy. The challenges of Obamacare for business – particularly those small businesses with employees near the magic “50 employee” threshold for Obamacare regulations – will be extraordinary. The goal, Rubio says, is to make clear to Americans that Republicans opposed these policies and to preview the coming disaster.

“I wish we could avoid it,” he says. “But if we can’t, we have to at least have the credibility to say: ‘We told you this wouldn’t work; here’s a better alternative.’”

Rubio will also counter Obama’s anticipated proposals on energy, education, the economy, and debt – offering specific contrasts meant to provide a starkly different policy agenda from the one offered by the president. On debt, one of several areas in which Rubio believes the president is a failed leader, he wants to recast the familiar GOP argument. “The goal is growth,” he says, arguing that with pro-growth policies the federal government could generate an additional $4 trillion in revenues over the next decade, “more than any tax hike” under consideration. Rubio also wants to take arguments about debt from the theoretical and the long-term to the immediate and the short-term. “I think we have to link the debt to their lives. People understand that we have this debt and that their kids are going to get saddled with this in the future. And I think that’s a compelling argument. But I think an even more compelling argument, in conjunction with that one, is to explain to people how the debt is hurting them right now.”

“The debt has a direct impact on unemployment. Ever dollar that is being lent to the government is a dollar that is not being invested in our economy,” he says. “The immediate danger of the debt, and the one that speaks to people in the real world, is the fact that the debt is contributing to the fact that they don’t have a good job.”

Rubio, who has been in the news quite a bit lately talking up immigration reform, will raise the issue in the context of economic growth and opportunity. And while he will mention immigration this evening, it won’t dominate his appearance. Over the past several weeks, Rubio has run the conservative talk radio circuit in an attempt to sell that sizable chunk of the conservative movement on reform. While his principles for reform have been met with mixed reviews, with several pointing out a softening of the position he campaigned on three years ago, he’s mostly won praise even from those who don’t agree with him on the policy.

But Rubio’s remarks will likely provide a contrast to the president in other ways, too – particularly on tone. Rubio’s speech, expected to run between twelve and fifteen minutes, will be broad and upbeat. Leaks from the White House about Obama’s speech suggest it will be “combative” and “aggressive” and “specific.” Rubio’s response won’t be soft – he intends to lay out for the American people exactly how the president attacks his opponents and mischaracterizes their arguments. And Rubio will be blunt about how he views Obama’s idea of America. “On issue after issue – there is virtually no problem in America that he thinks doesn’t have a government answer, from concussions in football to the weather.”

Rubio’s remarks will be personal, sharing stories he’s heard from friends, relatives, and constituents to translate esoteric Washington policy debates into solutions for the day-to-day problems that Americans are having. Rubio will talk in some detail about the American dream – not as an ill-defined concept popular in modern political rhetoric, but in terms of what it means to the parent of a newborn who sees in his child the promise of a great country. He will attempt to speak to those Americans who are concerned about the current state of the union and despondent about its future. And even in a time of despair for his party, Rubio is determined to be optimistic – about the country, about its politics and even about the prospect of agreement with an increasingly intransigent president.

“We’re not just here to block everything the president’s for,” Rubio insists. “We’re not against everything the president’s for, we’re only against the bad ideas.”

4559  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jay Carney, Oops, we do have a spending problem... on: February 12, 2013, 09:55:24 AM
Didn't President Obama and Nancy Pelosi just say we don't have spending problem?  It's almost a false argument.  Now Carney is sent out by the same President's handlers to say we do have a spending problem - but it's all healthcare.

Will they use this in future political science classes to illustrate what we mean by talking out of both sides of your mouth?
4560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nancy Pelosi -"It's almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem" on: February 12, 2013, 09:47:25 AM
Nancy Pelosi with Chris Wallace shows at the link why powerful people like her don't normally do this kind of interview. 

Liberals have their own language and it permeates their thinking.  Sometimes it doesn't even make sense to her. 

"It's almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem"

This bizarre statement begs two questions: 1) We spend a trillion more than the most we have ever been able to figure out how to take in plus 150 trillion of unfunded liabilities.  Nancy, we have a spending problem.  2) What is "almost a false argument"?   Does she not know that in English that is a way of saying something is true?

"Nothing brings more money to the Treasury of the United States than ..." [public spending].

She believes so strongly that increasing the federal government's involvement in every area equals improvement.  She forgets that she never won that argument. The Soviet central control system never did outperform individual freedom and ingenuity.  It imploded.  Ayers, Alinsky, Obama and Pelosi all have this wrong.

4561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Amity Schlaes and Calvin Coolidge on: February 11, 2013, 05:01:52 PM
By Amity Shlaes
Harper, 565 pages

Amity Shlaes built a great credibility IMO with her extensive research and journalism, breaking against conventional thought on the economics of the Great Depression:

The Coolidge story can be added the list of other supply side economic successes in our short, federal income tax history.  Along with evidence that the Kennedy tax rate cuts lifted all vessels, Reagan's tax rate cuts doubled revenues inside a decade, Clinton-Gingrich capital gains rate reductions balanced the budget, and the 50 month hiring surge and 44% revenue surge after the Bush tax rate cuts, this I think closes the argument against the challenge that marginal tax are not as closely tied to economic performance as some of us claimed.   

Abject failure of current policies, opposite of supply side, makes the same case.
4562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing Crisis Explained and Questions Answered on: February 11, 2013, 04:12:08 PM
"The breakdown of the world financial system was not due to faulty rating agencies"

The work was faulty but it is just strange to single them out for missing what everyone missed.

CBO missed it the same thing that S&P missed.  SEC missed it, OMB, GAO, Fannie, Freddie, the administration, the Treasury, the Fed, the House committees, the Senate Committees, the Republican party, the Democratic party, every appraiser, every loan officer, every bank examiner, and the entire watchdog financial media all missed it.  But S&P surrounded by all nothing but misinformation and incompetence was supposed to know just when the wheels would fall off. Faulty work, but not exactly unique.

Nothing in defense of S&P's blindness and perhaps complicity, but why doesn't those same government agencies fire their own people first, who made the exact same mistakes, before they come out pointing fingers at a private organization?

S&P's job was to issue an opinion.  

Agencies controlling 90% of mortgages were responsible for running and overseeing the bad loan portfolios.

The government's response to discovering all this incompetence is to turn healthcare over to them next.
4563  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Evil in Connecticut and elsewhere on: February 11, 2013, 09:53:54 AM
The original story: "With almost no public announcement, Gov. Cuomo has put in place a policy that will send the mentally ill out on the street with no regard for public safety."

In the context of these mass shootings, there isn't much that can be said in flippant humor about that kind of public endangerment that is very far over the top, IMHO.

In Graham v. Connor they detained a guy for a short time for suspicious looking behavior an it turned out to be nothing malicious.

This site refers to both cases and lays out specific tests for legitimacy of LE using force:

I don't know of the facts you refer, but if police know a law abiding citizen is minding his own business, posing no threat, and then fire 60+ rounds at him, it is excessive by every test.  One round fired is excessive given only that information. 
4564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi, The Petraeus/Susan Rice affair; and related matters on: February 11, 2013, 09:15:58 AM
The knives are coming out against Brennan.

Rick, Yes, or the facts are coming out against Brennan.  Seems to me this does not insulate the President.  He put himself out of the loop and stayed out, then promoted the guy who bungled it.  His refusals to be briefed in person in a back and forth manner prior, and his quick exit to Las Vegas for campaign demagoguery are looking rather irresponsible in hindsight. 

I am stuck on the coverup, false statements by the President, Carney, Clinton, the sick and twisted performance putting out Susan Rice to buy him time to get past his reelection, right up to the outgoing Secretary shouting down legitimate oversight with her outburst: WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!

Ambassador Stevens may have had little of no knowledge of the (alleged) operation, but he knew of the dangers in general and the absence of security.  This theory doesn't fully explain why he was sitting there in harm's way.
4565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward American Creed: Dr. Ben carson, Johns Hopkins Neurosurgeon on: February 09, 2013, 04:32:07 PM
The Blaze calls this speech Epic Speech Gone Viral.
Click where it says "watch the entire, 26-minute speech below"
Watch the entire video!

WSJ entitled the piece that follows: Ben Carson for President

Amazingly he said these things right in front of the current President.

Excerpted: "...make time to watch the video of Dr. Ben Carson speaking to the White House prayer breakfast this week.

Seated in view to his right are Senator Jeff Sessions and President Obama. One doesn't look happy. ... Raised by a single mother in inner-city Detroit, he was as he tells it "a horrible student with a horrible temper." Today he's director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and probably the most renowned specialist in his field.

Late in his talk he dropped two very un-PC ideas. The first is an unusual case for a flat tax: "What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he's given us a system. It's called a tithe.

"We don't necessarily have to do 10% but it's the principle. He didn't say if your crops fail, don't give me any tithe or if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithe. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in one. Of course you've got to get rid of the loopholes. Some people say, 'Well that's not fair because it doesn't hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made 10.' Where does it say you've got to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs."

Not surprisingly, a practicing physician has un-PC thoughts on health care:

"Here's my solution: When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account to which money can be contributed—pretax—from the time you're born 'til the time you die. If you die, you can pass it on to your family members, and there's nobody talking about death panels. We can make contributions for people who are indigent. Instead of sending all this money to some bureaucracy, let's put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they're gong to learn how to be responsible."

The Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon may not be politically correct, but he's closer to correct than we've heard in years."
4566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: February 09, 2013, 02:09:57 PM
Prof. Laffer analyzes the problem superbly IMO, recognizing that the disincentives are on both sides, the employer and the potential employee. 

It is astounding to know that a small family in ordinary circumstances makes $45,000 (after taxes) without working at all.  You could stop the search for the disincentives right there but that isn't the worst of it.  He gives a specific example where a single mother of two faces marginal tax rates of 67 - 100% as they try to better themselves above that level.  The massive disincentive to improve one's lot ought to catch the attention of everyone who cares about either side of the problem, revenues to the government or the human side of getting people onto a more productive track.  It is the dilemma of these programs that should concern everyone involved, yet seldom is it written or spoken, especially in terms this precise.  (Maybe David Gregory will confront Dick Durbin with this tomorrow, or Steve Kroft will follow up with the President about real failure and solutions.)

Laffer skips one other key component: it is about risk, not just money.  A potential new job especially with a new company involves very high risk.  What if you don't like the work?  What if you aren't good at it?  What if the company goes under? What if the company does fine and you like the job but they let you go for all the wrong reasons?  The answer is that you just gave up your food, housing or healthcare subsidy for a high risk and a very low return.  It isn't happening.  Recipients of section 8 for example know you don't give up your qualification in a program, once you land it.  Far more likely under these perverse disincentives if you are conscientious and responsible is that you learn to live within the guidelines that are housing your family and keep reported income within the requirements. and stay on the program.  If not for yourself, you do it for the children.

If 67% is too high for the Phil Mickelson family, how does a 67-100% rate work for an unworking single mom of two?  We know the empirical answer, people are migrating onto these programs, not off of them.  Baseline thinking acknowledges that and understates it.  People don't need a calculator to see the impact of a marginal tax rate over 50%, sometimes approaching 100%.  They know it isn't worth it.

I have mixed feelings about enterprise zones.  I don't like creating uneven rules for taxation, but he is correct to point out we have virtually no current revenues there to lose and everything to gain. 

A smaller idea is to just waive many of these things, certain taxes and payroll regulations, in the start up of a new business.  Give them a moment to get going before throwing the book at them on most things.  No withholding and limited payroll compliance requirements in the first calendar year of a new business, especially where they are hiring someone who wasn't previously working.  Let the business get started, build a product, perform a service and get some revenues coming in before they have to pay taxes and staff and house a payroll department, human resources, accountants and attorneys. 

With all the compliance requirements, only a rich person can start a business and those very few are the ones we chase away. 

Government will get plenty of forms and revenues from new businesses in the long run if they first launch and survive the startup.
4567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: February 08, 2013, 07:29:17 PM
Correcting my own imprecise writings, I think we need to consider dropping the term U.S. "Dollar", a meaningless designation if the date of value is not specified.   Otherwise dollar would need to be written with a subscript of dollar date for inflation value calculations.  Economists use terms like year specified constant dollars, but really, to which part of the year do they refer?

Past inflation calculator:

"Dollar" sounds like something solid, stable, constant, like a meter, a pound, a pint or a commandment.  Very misleading.

The correct term for the varying value of American paper money is:  "Federal Reserve Note".
4568  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: February 08, 2013, 07:12:37 PM
A currency doing worse than the US$ is in trouble.

How is inauguration going?  No news for almost a month?
4569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: February 08, 2013, 07:09:10 PM
David Gregory host of Meet the Press has announced that due to the snowstorm he will not be confronting President Barack Obama this Sunday about his alleged non-involvement in the rescue not even attempted scandal brought to light this week in the Senate Benghazi hearings.  Nor, with snow falling on the east coast as we speak, will he be questioning Jay Carney about his bald faced lie to the American people about President Obama's continuous involvement in the rescue that never got ordered.  Said Gregory, "this is not just snow, it looks like heavy winds coming too.  I just don't see tough questioning happening in the face of this."

Just breaking, Steve Kroft of the CBS program 30 minutes said, "me neither".  "This is a big storm", said Kroft.  "I don't see how we can get to it this week."

Both professional journalists said they are committed, weather and other delays permitting, to get to the bottom of this no matter what it takes before the November 6, 2012 election or as soon as is professionally possible after that. 
4570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 08, 2013, 04:07:39 PM
Crafty, Your point is valid.  Looking backward is necessary in the search for lessons to learn.  But the rear view mirror is not the best consideration moving forward.  Those who are in stocks right now, in the face of so many negative factors, should have a strategy to get out quickly as well.

I recall laughing in Jan 2000 and showing charts around of the phenomenal returns from 1999, wondering why I didn't have more in Qualcomm that went up 2400% and JDSU that went up over 1000% and had a billion in the bank.  This was real and nothing could stop it - we thought - even without real earnings.  Looking backward did not tell you what was in front of you.  Harsh, unbiased analysis might have.  NASDAQ crashed in March 2000.  The best companies in the best technologies crashed, not just dot-coms.  America's most widely held stock Lucent lost 99% of its value.  The total loss in that crash was about $5 trillion.

I don't know what today's stocks are worth or what to do with information that doesn't make sense to me, except to warn that it doesn't make sense to me.

Not many good investment options available that I know of for the very few who have money.  Sitting on money is a sure loss.  Gold is already sky-high.  I would only say invest in funds that have good defensive strategies for the next correction.

4571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: February 08, 2013, 01:20:33 PM
Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday found 83% of those surveyed support stricter border control while 55% favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Which should we do first?
4572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: February 08, 2013, 01:15:40 PM
"Too bad we don't have a ton of natural gas to export to those who want Iranian energy , , ,"

As quoted in 'energy', our fascist Sen. committee chair is contemplating whether American suppliers should be able to export at all.

Follow the Kerry Doctrine.  Figure out what is right and makes sense and do the opposite - every time.
4573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 08, 2013, 01:04:48 PM
Great clip GM. ...

Yes, these shows invite him on as a contrary opinion and shout him down, right while it was going on.  I was trying to ask what economic theory supports the idea that what we are doing now leads to anything but collapse. Stomp out savings, stomp out investment, stop out employment, stomp out work. Dilute the dollar, limit revenues, explode expenses and liabilities, then ask: what could possibly go wrong?

I don't think Shiff is an optimist now (understatement).  But also he is no expert on the timing and magnitudes of collapses.  No one is.
4574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghaziaffair; fish stinks from the head? on: February 08, 2013, 12:49:09 PM
Obama skips intel briefing after 9/11/12 attacks and murder of US diplomats, goes to Vegas fundraising party instead

Washington Post  September 13:

How long had it been since President Obama attended his daily intelligence meeting in the lead-up to the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Egypt and Libya? After all, our adversaries are known to use the anniversary of 9/11 to target the United States.

According to the public schedule of the president, the last time the Obama attended his daily intelligence meeting was Sept. 5 — a week before Islamist radicals stormed our embassy in Cairo and terrorists killed our ambassador to Tripoli. The president was scheduled to hold the intelligence meeting at 10:50 a.m. Wednesday, the day after the attacks, but it was canceled so that he could comfort grieving employees at the State Department — as well he should. But instead of rescheduling the intelligence briefing for later in the day, Obama apparently chose to skip it altogether and attend a Las Vegas fundraiser for his re-election campaign. One day after a terrorist attack.

When I asked National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor if the president had attended any meetings to discuss the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) since Sept. 5, he repeatedly refused to answer. He noted that Obama had attended a principals meeting of the National Security Council on Sept. 10 and reiterated that he reads the PDB.
4575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi; covering up our cheating on Putin on: February 08, 2013, 12:30:27 PM
Update: Are they denying this in the WSJ post today on the Syria thread?

Mind boggling that the President and Secretary of State were in the White House that day and not involved. Didn't get informed at the start and didn't check back later.  Same guy cut his golf short to "direct" the bin laden kill operation.  The photo in this case, 9/11/12, was from a routine military meeting, not a crisis response room.  

What was Ambassador Stevens doing there, at that house?  Who was he meeting with?  What were the topics and results of those meetings?  We didn't have an embassy or real consulate with security there.  Something was going on that was pressing.  We get denial, a story about a video, and screamed at: "what difference does it make now?"

We know Benghazi was the ship-from place for weapons to rebels in Syria, as reported in the Times of London:
(quoted below)

With ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the NY Times reports. (further below)

If we were involved in that supply line, perhaps our top officials were advised to distance themselves from knowledge or involvement with the operation, kept their distance, told people with no authority to act to "handle it", they did nothing and four are dead.  

If we were secretly helping supply arms to rebels in Syria, why is that wrong?  

Cheating on Putin.  The alleged operation was allegedly going on in direct defiance to our peace through disarmament partner, Vladimir Putin, former Lt. Col. of the KGB.

Times of London report:  (link above)

    A Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria since the uprising began has docked in Turkey and most of its cargo is making its way to rebels on the front lines, The Times has learnt.

    Among more than 400 tonnes of cargo the vessel was carrying were SAM 7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which Syrian sources said could be a game-changer for the rebels.

    “This is the largest single delivery of assistance to the rebel fighting units we have received,” said Abu Muhammed, a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who helped to move the shipment from warehouses to the border. “These are things that could change the tide — if they are used correctly.”

    The Times was shown the Libyan ship, the Intisaar or the Victory, in the Turkish port of Iskenderun and papers stamped by the port authority by the ship’s captain, Omar Mousaeeb, a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organisation called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support, which is supporting the Syrian uprising. …

    Rebel commanders interviewed by the Times said that organisers of the ship conferred with their Libyan counterparts to ensure that the cargo would be split evenly within various Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. But when the ship arrived, the consignment was registered to individuals from the Turkish IHH group, a charity with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
NYTimes:  C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition

    A Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria since the uprising began has docked in Turkey and most of its cargo is making its way to rebels on the front lines, The Times has learnt.

    Among more than 400 tonnes of cargo the vessel was carrying were SAM 7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which Syrian sources said could be a game-changer for the rebels.

    “This is the largest single delivery of assistance to the rebel fighting units we have received,” said Abu Muhammed, a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who helped to move the shipment from warehouses to the border. “These are things that could change the tide — if they are used correctly.”

    The Times was shown the Libyan ship, the Intisaar or the Victory, in the Turkish port of Iskenderun and papers stamped by the port authority by the ship’s captain, Omar Mousaeeb, a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organisation called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support, which is supporting the Syrian uprising. …

    Rebel commanders interviewed by the Times said that organisers of the ship conferred with their Libyan counterparts to ensure that the cargo would be split evenly within various Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. But when the ship arrived, the consignment was registered to individuals from the Turkish IHH group, a charity with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
4576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Senator Marco Rubio on: February 07, 2013, 06:02:59 PM
Is Marco Rubio worthy of his own thread?  We'll see what the host moderator says.) Marco Antonio Rubio, 'tea party' Republican Senator from Florida has become a leading spokesman for conservative, freedom loving principles.  He could be a short lived phenomenon, but he has all the potential to become an important, transformative figure in a very positive way.

He is at the forefront of a number of key issues, most recently taking a controversial stand on immigration, and was chosen to give the Republican response next week to Pres. Obama's State of the Union message.

Time magazine chose him for their current cover story:

WSJ columnist Dan Henninger critiques some past State of the Union responses and then says he expects Rubio to hit it out of the park.!11406B49-1CC3-4A3E-9C31-82790C90AD55

So much for keeping expectations low.

Noteworthy is that after rising to become Florida's Speaker of the House at a relatively young age, Rubio won a major, swing state, Senate race by a million votes.  Since then he has been one of the leading, articulate and persuasive voices on conservative principles and how they apply to the issues today.  

He declined to run in 2012 because he had barely started in the Senate.  

Of Cuban descent, he will deliver the address in both English and Spanish.  Some see that as pandering (or un-American?) but I assume the message will be exactly the same to both audiences.  We can judge his message by its content soon enough.
4577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 07, 2013, 01:22:22 PM
Interesting to hear of isolated improvements.  This 'turnaround' comes is the context of zero net appreciation in the past 13 years.  Source:  Scott Grannis.  These nominal gains, if they are gains, are (also) in the context of trillions of dollars injected, as mentioned with oil and stocks.  We don't know right now what nominal gain in real estate you will need to break even with dollar dilution going forward.

Real estate is a hard asset.  Instead of comparing with an ever-changing dollar, how is it doing compared with other hard assets?
4578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 07, 2013, 01:01:31 PM
Thanks Crafty.  These other offshore locations involve different risks.  Hopefully we have learned lessons from the gulf deepwater disaster that can make these operations even safer.  The major objection to near shore drilling is that our oil consuming electorate does not want to look out and see oil produced.  Like liberal Cape residents and visual windfarm 'pollution'.

The costs, lawsuits and bad publicity against BP, and Exxon previously, are quite a strong deterrence to having environmental screwups.  Regulators unfortunately are always behind the curve and not always working with the right interests in mind. 

The main arguments against ANWR were that oil is bad for us and that it would have taken 10 years to benefit from the vast new production, 16 years ago.  The new surge in American oil would have on line to help us at about the time we chose economic collapse instead.

If government has a role in this, it would seem to me that the main effort would be to ease the migration to domestic natural gas usage for individual transportation with 30% lower CO2 emission per unit of energy.  Right now it is only practical for fleet owners in most locations.  Instead the administration is planning its war against natural gas.
4579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 07, 2013, 12:33:01 PM
"The simple fact of the matter is that most of us have missed a move of well over 100% in the DOW and Wesbury did not.  Indeed, Wesbury pretty much called it and we did not."

As with oil, there is also a dollar inflation component of these increases as well.  These indices went up in nominal dollar levels in the context of trillions of dollars injected.  Reminds me of housing in 2006.  Those who predicted a shoarp correction in that case, saying this couldn't keep going up forever, were wrong for a long time before they were right. 

The DOW is not a US index.  The stocks of McDonalds, Coca-cola, 3M, Qualcomm, GE, Ford, Dow Chemical, Intel, HP, Merck, T.I., Colgate, Apple all get majority of revenues and revenue growth from overseas.  Measure that index with US operations and tell me about the increase.  sad  For the wider S&P measure, the foreign component is around 40%.  Still these are existing company indices, not showing the failure of this economy to produce new startups.  Investing globally has been better than sitting on a declining dollar with zero percent interest at home.  To take from that the US is fine (I know you didn't say that) is wrong.  That Wesbury (or the gold guys) can show you how to invest around a US stagnation/collapse does not mean US political economy is not faltering badly. 

Your freedom to invest in companies from here that can get around US taxes and regulations by freely moving operations overseas is also under assault.

I wish the optimists the best of luck.  We are still allowed to keep and reinvest some of the fruits of our labor, about 33% in some cases.  The plowhorse will live and plow a little longer eating 33-50%% of its food requirement, but not at full speed and not long without more food coming. 

No one knows the future but I say that shifting the car from neutral to reverse means we are likely to move backwards.

Related links:
4580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 07, 2013, 11:27:48 AM
Yes , , , but:

The Arctic Sea is a REALLY hostile environment, FAR more so than the Gulf of Mexico.  Look at how long it took to straighten out the BP mess.  Imagine trying to solve a similar problem with 20-30 foot seas on the surface in temperatures of 40 below zero with winds of 40+MPH.   NOT my idea of low hanging fruit!

Agreed re the relation between gold and oil.

Crafty, you are of the belief that the oil production in ANWR would be offshore?  My understanding is that the drilling platforms would be located safely on land.  

The opposition materials I read were based (intentionally) on old drilling technologies, not what can or would be built today.  No one is talking about drilling 5000 feet beneath the sea in the Arctic.  Temperatures of 40 below zero, 40mpg winds?  You guys think that's cold?  wink   Sea water freezes at 28 degrees, 68 degrees warmer than that.  It's those pesky in-between seasons where the cold breezes hits open water.  Not a big factor if the platforms proposed in ANWR are on land.  The cold frozen tundra may actually help contain a potential spill.  The deep water site was built in the ocean in a hurricane zone, and that wasn't what went wrong.  The explosion in the gulf was not with light, sweet crude.  The asphalt-like qualities of the heavier oil contributed to the risk of explosion and difficulty of cleanup in the gulf.  

If not ANWR, the easiest to refine oil sitting under US voter controlled land, which US oil sources are the 'low hanging fruit'?

More surprising is the impression that concerns out of LA or DC should override the opinion of the locals that the operation can be constructed and operated safely, which is exactly what happened.  States' rights don't apply in this case because ........... .

The damage in the gulf (also Valdez) was horrendous, perhaps unprecedented at the time.  What is the lasting effect of those?  Is the environmental damage less when the Chinese, Russians, Brazilians or Mexicans do our drilling?  When we leave the money (our energy demand) on the table, then what happens?  Someone else does it, and not with better environmental protections.

Is the expected environmental damage more destructive than the current policy of leaving American oil in the ground and shipping dollars to enemies for our oil.  Example: With consumption demand quite strong and stable, the supply choice, in part, is between supporting Chavez' support for Iran's planned destruction of Israel versus building well constructed facilities in the US.  Spills avoided in the Arctic by not producing oil there means other risks elsewhere are increased.  Right?

$4 and $5 gas in a stagnant economy ( is not the stopping point for rising energy costs.  If you don't drive much, think of proportional increases in jet fuel and airline travel.  Not producing oil with the strictest precautions at this point in time is a move against prosperity and freedom IMHO.

Similar dilemma for nuclear.  There was stupidity in the location of some facilities, but there also the largest, safest, cleanest energy supply ever produced, see charts in this thread.

I favor applying mathematical analysis to all honestly measured environmental risks from all sources and then making positive choices.    
4581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: February 06, 2013, 10:35:12 PM
Off the top of my head, I can't say that S&P did not fall well short of a due standard of care, but yes this looks like economic fascist payback.

Agree on both counts.  They went after no one who appraised the homes wrong and no one who fleeced the GSEs but oddly they go after the agency that downgraded Obama's America when, as S&P said in its own defense, the government itself didn't see the collapse coming either.
4582  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 06, 2013, 10:31:25 PM
Frankly, ANWR drilling makes me nervous.  Look at what a clusterfcuk was created by BP in the placid, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.    Now imagine that same mess in the exceedingly hostile environment of the Arctic Sea. 

Respectfully disagree.  ANWR I think is the low hanging fruit of oil.  The Alaskans favor it.  The caribou want it.  The drilling is the easiest.  Transport by pipeline I think is the safest.  Refining is far easier.  The deep water operation was confounded by - deep water.  They went deep because the cheaper, easier, safer sources closer to shore were blocked.  MHO.
4583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 06, 2013, 10:25:50 PM
Could the loss of value for the dollar be a factor here?

Excellent observation.  Middle East oil tends to follow gold, not the dollar.  After the whole 1971 monetary crisis and the oil embargo of the 1970s it turned out that the price of oil, measured in gold, had remained largely unchanged.

We weren't seeing the loss of value so much yet but they certainly have noticed the diluting or our shares.
4584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Plow Horse Enters Quicksand on: February 06, 2013, 10:21:07 PM
Maybe we have no Krugman types on the Board to engage, but can someone please explain or point to a link to a coherent economic theory that purporting to explain how our current policy and path leads to prosperity.

Trillion a year deficits combined with a no-growth projections forever.  Unfunded future liabilities that dwarf the the first 17 trillion of debt.  Increases in spending that never end (without total collapse).  A commitment from both parties to increase spending and guarantee that the lower 98% will never have to pay for spending they support, including basic life expenses like healthcare for people who make up to 70k.  Zero percent interest on savings.  Highest corporate taxes on the planet.  All encompassing regulations up to the point of requiring a permit to exhale.  Investment taxes approaching 100%.  Birth rates below replacement levels.  An aging population.  Men marrying men, women marrying their government for security, families obsolete.  Work unnecessary.  Disability rates doubling.  Food stamp recipients inflating into an obesity epidemic.  Pension/retirement funds empty,  backed by a bankrupt federal government, which is backed by the QE printing press, backed by nothing but a house of cards.  Extreme fiscal stimulus has became status quo, not stimulating anymore, if it ever did.  Long term real un/underemployment stuck at 20%.  All new policies anti-employment.  Lowest business start up rate in history.

The law of holes in 2012-2013 went from 'stop digging' to 'four more years'.

What kind of a load can a plowhorse pull, 200% of its weight? 400% of its weight?  Uphill?  Into "headwinds"?

"Plow Horse Enters Quicksand" was a Zerohedge headline in June 2012
4585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics: Why are gas prices high right now? on: February 06, 2013, 07:49:14 PM
Anyone want to take a stab at it?

G M, I know, George Bush's fault.  No really, why?

My first thought is that the new oil increases from private lands are being offset by the lost production on public lands.  Our net increase in production is not enough to make a dent in the global market or price.

My second thought is that oil/gas up is an indicator of economic health in the global economy.  This one seems unlikely looking at the US and Europe, but there is growth in some developing countries.

Last is to recognize the distinction between new oil produced and refinery output of gasoline.  Asking this question through google brings up a string of stories from about a year ago warning of refinery closings, lost capacity and higher prices coming.  Who knew?

I thought the Cheney plan called for the permitting of new refineries.  Where are they?

What screws up the business of the refineries?  50 sets of rules for winter and summer gasoline blends for one (hundred) thing(s).  What are the Feds doing with all their new powers to fix this?  Why isn't CNG more available if we are awash in natural gas and if they want us to emit less carbon? 

What new refineries has Obama supported?

Another problem for refineries is that the new oil is heavy, of tar sands origin.  Where is the sweet, light crude?  We are leaving it in the ground up in ANWR.  Who opposes drilling for the sweet light crude?  The people who wanted these prices high. 

In spite of the brave capitalists in North Dakota, Mission Accomplished.

4586  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Foreign Policy: The Reagan Doctrine on: February 06, 2013, 07:15:17 PM
Once upon a time we had a President who supported freedom.  On this day in 1985 Pres. Reagan made clear that we support freedom across the globe, we believe in peace through strength, that a strong defense save lives, that supporting freedom fighters around the globe is self-defense, and his unflinching belief in the benefits of free trade.

"Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few; it is the universal right of all God's children." America's "mission" was to "nourish and defend freedom and democracy." More specifically, Reagan declared that, "We must stand by our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives—on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua—to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth." He concluded, "Support for freedom fighters is self-defense."

4587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics, Sen, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on: February 06, 2013, 12:18:58 PM
I'll stick this under Energy but really it is liberal fascism running wild.  Combine this with healthcare and they have pretty much every aspect of your life under control.

This Senator, incoming chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, isn't just going to regulate the safety of the energy business, he is going to give deep thought to whether you should be using the energy at all. 

And if you produce natural gas legally and safely, and even though we already have a pipeline of it to almost every home, he is going to give deep thought to the question of who you should be able to sell it to.

I find this kind of extremism scary beyond words.

"The committee’s first order of business will be natural gas: how it’s produced, how it’s used and how much of it the U.S. should use it here or send abroad."

This is the government talking about what private business should be able to do.  Stopping one of our safest and cleanest sources of energy.  Based on what authority?
4588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 03, 2013, 10:11:16 AM
Christina Romer, Timothy Giethner and President Barack Obama told us that if we "invested" these hundreds of billions in "recovery" unemployment would be about 5% by now.

They didn't know the consequences of their own policies, as they broke new leftist, anti-employment ground.

Unemployment ticked up to 7.9% nominal.  That translates into 10.8% at the old workforce participation rate.  That is the key number to judge the policies, implied by the fact that we were never told these policies would chase 8.5 million out of the workforce altogether. 

When things are this bad, you need to look to U6 for a better reading which has been holding steady at 14.4% and includes the underemployed.  Translating that for the workforce participation disappearance under Obama, this economy is under-employing this workforce by 19.7%, on a glide path to NEVER recover.

Plowhorse THAT, Brian Wesbury et al.
4589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: February 03, 2013, 09:59:01 AM
"Don't think the immigrants will vote for Rubio."

Good point.  We are look for some kind of a bend in the curve, some kind a break in the 100% negative story line being taught to every generation, not total victory.  Also as GM backs into, we are looking for some kind of a law we might actually enforce, instead of the farce that is federal law and (lack of) enforcement right now.

I can't remember if Rubio had this note (Federal law) in his principles:

It is an explicit and unambiguous tenet in federal law that those granted entry into the U.S. must be able to support themselves financially.

Currently I think 36% of immigrant families get a check from the federal government, slightly below the U.S. average.(?)  For those eventually getting citizenship, that number should be closer to zero structurally, except for the unexpected things they might run into down the road like any other one of us.

If the new citizens were by definition not government dependent and paying in their own fair share, their voting ratios might not be quite as statist as it is predicted right now.

"The Immigration and Nationality Act specifically states: “An alien who…is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.” "
4590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: February 01, 2013, 10:57:39 AM
"More competition equals lower prices for one's labor/services."

Yes, for the stagnant supplier who refuses to change, improve, expand.

"Of course the low wage worker from elsewhere benefits, but exactly how does a lawyer who has to compete with Indian lawyers for reading depositions benefit?  Yes the partners of the firm benefit, and to the extent that the cost to the clients decreases, they benefit, but my point at the moment is addressed to, for example,  the young associates in the firm who have lost this work."

I wrote that the able-minded people in a dynamic economy will adapt - and you bring me lawyers helping people sue and be sued as the test of that?  (so many emoticons...)  With sarcasm, how could they possibly change or grow in the face of low cost competition?  They are only lawyers capable of one thing.  Reminds me of the Michael Moore movie out of Flint Michigan where no one has done anything else but work (overpaid) for General Motors for four generations.  There is nothing else they could do.  (Especially if we pay them to do nothing else.)

How about put energy into something that has a bright future instead of dying one?  If that part of their job wasn't going away today, it was going away tomorrow.  I gave the example of 8 track tape manufacturers.  Disruption was going to occur, what then?  Move on, move forward, innovate.  Use these new tools to YOUR advantage.

Let's say the young lawyers were getting $200 an hour for a task, reading the deposition, that can be done just as well by lawyers(?) not even in the room, in the country...

It is beyond my pay scale to write everyone's innovation by here are a few ideas.  Let's start with acknowledging that they didn't deserve that money if they weren't adding value and were so easily replaced.  They could do what other professionals have to do, sell the idea that their service is worth it, their knowledge and experience is unique and valuable. 

Lawyer friends of mine have taken hot topics of the moment, asbestoes and mold defense are examples, they assembled the research, wrote the papers, set up the seminars across the country that other lawyers need to be up to speed, for a considerable fee I presume.  A room full of paid seminar attendees pays more and provides more value than one lawyer taking one deposition.

Innovation in every industry is possible, or resources move elsewhere - to their most productive use.

Lawyers, like people, can do things other than law.  (A worldwide martial arts operation comes to mind.)  Back to the others, take the years of accumulated $200 shakedowns and invest in a new idea, hire people, build a product, offer a service that is in demand and can't be done just as well someone less qualified 8000 miles away.

I did not say (or mean to say) a dynamic economic has no dislocations in the short run.  I said everyone is better off with the competition and with the dynamic aspect of it.  For the lawyer, maybe he loses a low end task but gains more clients, bigger clients, from the increased success from Freidmanesque connectnedness running wild in other sectors.

Back to inevitable, what is the alternative to letting the low cost competitor compete and force the high lost provider to adapt and innovate.  Legislate away the freedom of the client to transact a better deal and enable the high cost supplier to stagnate, to collect those fees another year?  Then look at those protected economies putting up those barriers and tell me they are more prosperous with lower unemployment than the free zones I mentioned.  They aren't. 

Does it mean the people don't have to constantly innovate and sharpen their skills, change and improve their product or service in a dynamic situation, and constantly question and tweak their business plan to survive and prosper?  No, it means precisely that they must, and that it is a very good thing.

(I'm enjoying this Crafty, but on vacation, won't be very timely in a back and forth.)

4591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: January 31, 2013, 12:50:08 PM
No math, that should read and JMHO.
4592  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: January 31, 2013, 09:50:29 AM
Forced to adapt in an open, dynamic economy, but not worse off.  Actually worse off when artificially sheltered from real competition. It's not a fixed pie and someone else working does not take from yours/ours. Someone else working means one more potential customer, supplier or employer

When able minded people fail to adapt  it is because we pay them not to.  Then the problem is with that program, not the increased comnectedness.

Freidman showed no mstj, no graph and no inflectiom point. All fiction and cliche.
4593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: January 31, 2013, 04:21:15 AM
I get your point but at the same time I confess to having a similar notion to TF's e.g. when I read of outsourcing reading depositions to lawyers in India.

Global trade increases employment at both ends just like local trade does.  Comparative advantage.  As Rbt Bartley, former WSJ editor put it, it is both a) beneficial and b) inevitable.  If you don't like a) see b).  Examples, the traders of the exploring eras, Denmark, Netherlands etc. increased wealth.  See Hong Kong.  See Germany.  West Germany I think used to be the leading exporter in the world.  Why wasn't it East Germany with lower wagers?  Germany even after absorbing the East is still the strongest economy in Europe.  Dubai in the Middle East.  The alternative I used to call the Albania plan. I forget the details, let's say a hundred years of closed borders and a dollar and per capita GDP the worst around.  See North Korea, their not outsoursing jobs to China or anyone else and have no wealth.  How to convince people who aren't convinced of this is another matter.  Singapore, already mentioned, perfect example.  They aren't lower wage than Vietnam, India, China or anyone around them, but they are a free trade port.  1.9% unemployment.  Show me the exception, the free trade port that is losing out to cheap labor.  

If you limit a study to one thing at a time, let's say hand stenographers or 8-track tape manufacturing, then maybe we lose.  We do not lose with open trade in a dynamic economy, not with India, nor do they lose trading with us.  It is by definition mutually beneficial on every consensual transaction.
4594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics - Freidman Inflection Points on: January 30, 2013, 10:17:15 PM
"what do you make of his point about a fundamental economic change due to "the great inflection"?"

Like GM says, Friedman from the old neighborhood sees very profound things in his own thinking and writing.  The inflection point is where the curve begins to turn a different direction, where concavity changes sign.  From or to where did it turn?  

What is the fundamental economic change due to the great inflection?

He is saying (I think) that because of globalization, technological advancement and hyper connectedness that a few can get extremely wealthy (Bill Gates, Apple, Qualcomm, google, etc) because when you invent something you can sell it to a zillion people instead of a thousand like a local butcher or a million like a good regional supplier.  The corollary is that the rest of us get left behind and for that we get no evidence.

The middle class did not get left behind in the last 2-3 expansions, that was false math and measurements exposed recently.  If people around me get richer in a global market and I mow lawns, paint houses or remodel kitchens, then more people around me can better afford to do those things and pay well.  It also means that if I want to follow them I can find niches and do apps that run on google, apple, microsoft or innovate with other product and service ideas that a richer world can now better afford to buy.

"In 2004, I wrote a book, called “The World Is Flat,” (Freidman said for the five thousandth time) about how the world was getting digitally connected so more people could compete, connect and collaborate from anywhere".   - Nothing in that or his other random sentences about the world changing more quickly leads to his big conclusion:  "This is exacerbating our unemployment problem."

Obama says the ATM caused unemployment too and it is complete bunk.

Freidman you blockhead (I reply with all due respect), the unemployment is caused by the policy war against business, investment, expansion and innovation that you seem to support and is caused by nothing else.  Are things less connected, technologized or globalized in Singapore at 1.9% unemployment and at less than half the rate of taxation, with a culture that says you work instead of ride?  These amazing developments help us to employ people; they don't keep us from employing people.  Where in his empty logic string did he even think he made that case?  

These super successful, hyper-connected companies, here it is 3M for example, turn down business opportunities everyday that don't meet their corporate requirements for expected IRR, internal rate or return, leaving millions to be made by others because the big guys can only think in billions.  Again, I just don't follow how everything getting more productive leads to bad economic outcomes.  It is our political, policy choices, stupid.

There is an emerging new middle class numbering in the billions in India, China and Brazil wanting to buy your products.  You will need an eBay and Paypal account to sell there.  That takes 10 minutes and costs nothing.  Crafty's seminars the world over are a great example of connectness leading to business opportunities.  When I started in export you needed telex, hundreds of dollars an hour for phone service, plus export licenses, letters of credit, sight drafts and translators.  Good grief, it's not getting harder to make a living, there are just too many people taking from your income, and when did you NOT have to keep your skills up with the times to be considered a professional of any kind?  
4595  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: January 30, 2013, 09:00:44 PM
But why give citizenship instead of a green card?  A key variable here is how many family members will get brought in via the new legal status; it's not just 11 million but a multiple thereof.

I think I heard Rubio say back of the line for citizenship and up to a 16 year process.  Having some path to citizenship for people we all know are living here permanently I think has to do with the 3/5ths thing in our history, getting the right to vote at some point if America is your permanent home.  It has to do with not being able to move forward politically on other things while they hold this over our head and we keep losing national elections.  It follows from Tom Tancredo and Mitt Romney not winning the Presidency and it follows from George Bush as President and Gingrich, Hastert, Boehner as Speakers not closing the border.  And obviously it follows from electing Democrats.  There is some path, some penalty and some contract to be kept in the principles.  That should be better than the status quo, having laws we don't respect.

"Didn't it used to be a bad thing to reward criminal behavior? "    - Yes.

Maybe you mean jail the Feds, Census workers and LE who didn't report and send them home all these years.  Joking, but what do you do when you encounter an illegal?  Do you get a team out of Washington to track down the source and extent of it and prosecute to the full extent of the law.? Still joking.

The law breaking that is settled and plea bargained away might be seen in the context that other laws have statutes of limitations 3 years to 7 years except for murder.  This is mostly about the fact that the status quo is a losing standoff.  The law isn't enforced.  The violators don't face a consequence.  As Reagan believed, their wanting to come here (when it was the greatest nation in the world) is their fault? 

What is the best deal that can put this behind us.  Hardline conservatives like myself are not going to win enough elections to ever have the power or guts to send them all home.  It isn't happening no matter how tough we talk.  Taking no acceptance whatsoever on illegals is costing us the legals.   I know they vote other factors, but this is a major standoff affecting legals and illegals.  Meanwhile we are two-faced, house them, feed them, educate them, healthcare them all anyway and sue states that interfere with the current lawlessness. At some point in time there isn't home somewhere else to go back to.  The undesirable terms in the deal are a cost of getting the the good terms.  If border security or any other requirement going forward is a sham and its just an instant voter plan for Democrats, then Rubio, me, WSJ and all the other turncoats hopefully reject a bad deal and won't get fooled again.

Somebody with credibility (Rubio) has stepped forward and tried to hammer out the framework for a very tough deal.  Reagan's mistake was that the deal was false, no problem was solved.  More recently we've had no new net migration for quite a while now, the entire Pelosi-Obama depression, a chance to catch a breath.  McCarthy attacks specifics in the proposal, but there isn't a bill, only a set of principles.

I have two Canadian buddies who live, work and raised their kids here for 20 years.  Send them home.  If you are Hispanic, you have at least one friend or family member affected every time a Republican says send them all home.  There is no gain in saying it when it isn't being done.  Obama sent back more than his predecessors, but thosse are felon-type, law enforcement situations.

If we adhered to other principles, like that you can't vote to have someone else pay your living expenses, I wouldn't worry so much about how other people were going to vote.

What BTW is the other solution, seriously?  Have Republicans see who is the toughest again in the long primary season and then scratch our heads again the second week of November with still no one sent home?
4596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO's The Second Bill of Rights comes from the Soviet Constitution on: January 30, 2013, 05:47:51 PM
The Second Bill of Rights of which Obama, Sunstein et al speak has been sourced:

"guaranteed employment and pay in accordance wit the quantity and quality of their work, and not below the state-established minimum"

"the right to education. This right is ensured by free provision of all forms of education, by the institution of universal, compulsory secondary education, and higher education - free vocational and professional training, improvement of skills, training in new trades or professions, and development of the systems of vocational guidance and job placement"

"the right to rest and leisure... a working week not exceeding 41 hours"

"the right to health protection. This right is ensured by free, qualified medical care provided by state health institutions; by extension of the network of therapeutic and health-building institutions; by the development and improvement of safety and hygiene in industry..."

"the rights to housing...well-appointed dwellings, and by low rents and low charges for utility services."

"the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church"

"It is the internationalist duty of citizens to promote friendship and co-operation with peoples of other lands and help maintain and strengthen world peace."

A more perfect union has been found.  (All quotes from USSR Constitution linked above.)
4597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury replies on: January 30, 2013, 05:27:31 PM
So other than the offsetting factors that brought it to zero, we had 3.4% growth.  In a mixed results, zero growth quarter, Wesbury is able to point to things that went up.  Sounds like cherry picking.  Next quarter I expect good growth too, except for all those one-time things that keep bringing it back to zero.

If we would start by admitting the 1.1% expectation is essentially nothing, then the zero result might not be so shocking.
4598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: January 30, 2013, 05:27:10 PM
Rubio makes far more sense on this than McCarthy, to me.  By getting out front on it, setting hard conditions, getting leaders of the other party to accept them, he is potentially putting the shoe on the foot, leaving Obama as the one who hasn't come to the table.  Rubio will accept terms on the principles he laid out.  I think he won't accept a deal where enforcement isn't in it or when amnesty replaces the long process he describes.  OTOH, if Rubio can bring House Republicans along to accept the same tough deal that he and the Senators would and this deal lands on the President's desk, that is leadership and getting things done.  If the President just jawbones and demands voting citizenship with no negotiations, debate, proving ground, process or waiting period and loses Rubio, nothing gets done.  Sure the President might prefer to keep the issue, but for what?  Reelection??  To win the House?  But he doesn't for sure win that way, it is a gamble when everyone know his opponents were sitting at the table ready to deal.

The do-nothing idea of 2012 still works if you are a right wing pundit, but not for a major state or national politician.  Enforce the law, round 'em up, send them all home.  Sounds good and the far right keeps buying your publication.  As Rubio said, conservatism means having some tie to reality.  We aren't sending them home.  They aren't self-deporting except to the extent that our economy sucks and we aren't competing for the entire nation in our elections. 

Figure out what is the toughest deal you can get that satisfies all the conditions laid out and get it done.  If it ends up with Democrats backing out of real enforcement or a good bill sits on the President's desk vetoed, fine.  Take that to the next election. 
4599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: America's Inner City on: January 30, 2013, 01:50:48 PM
(from gun related)
Well, at least the victims of the government policies that destroyed the black family reject the political party responsible for this nightmare,  right?

Failure creates more dependency and more votes ironically for big government with better turnout because not in spite of the downward spiral.  The inner city got tragically worse under the first black President and all he could think of was reelection turnout operations.  He said to these people, "I need your help".  "I can't do it without you!"   Do WHAT??!! 

If he had turned around America's inner city alone, he would have a falling unemployment rate (for real), a falling deficit, a rejuvenated economy and reelection without needing all the data mining tricks.

What a wasted opportunity to motivate and inspire.  Now what? We expect him to change course after winning?  This all goes on for another generation if not forever.
4600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics Thomas Friedman on: January 30, 2013, 01:18:53 PM
Whenever I get ready to rip Friedman for his emptyness, I read closer that you already did: "the fascist public-private partnership horsefeathers nonsense".

Yes, he intermixes truth and insight in with his distortions to stay relevant.

The reason a growing economy with foundations in technological advancements does not help everyone is because we pay half the people to NOT participate in our productive economy and put ropes, weights and anchors on all the rest.

"if we’re to sustain the kind of public institutions and safety nets that we’re used to, it will require a lot more growth by the private side (not just more taxes), a lot more entrepreneurship, a lot more start-ups and a lot more individual risk-taking "

Every policy out of the current power structure is about thwarting all this and it has succeeded.  As visionary Rush L famously and controversially said, I hope he fails (to kill off entrepreneurship, start-ups, individual risk-taking, and private sector growth).

"things the president rarely speaks about"

He spoke about it to Joe the Plumber.  He said fuck you Joe. He said I'm going a different direction and I got bigger fish to fry.  He said you are not my problem and you are not my voter. 

It isn't that the President rarely speaks, it is that the President rarely listens.  I continue my unrefuted contention that this Ivy-League President has not read a book on economics that was not about opposing and dismantling the world's most successful system.

"The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime."

This President is about taking down winners, not finding and motivating more of them.  You can succeed if you want in spite of him and his government but the deck is stacked against you.  It is mostly insiders only who can win now.  To take private initiative you need to fight off 9 layers of government working against you and still have the time and resources left that Edison and Bell had to invent, reinvent, set up shop, mass produce, market and sell your goods.  Those guys were few and far between enough.  Today your first ten million need to all go toward lawyers, lobbyists and accountants, good luck paying enough software engineers to stay ahead of your foreign competition before revenues come in.  Who has that kind of money?  Far less than one percent of us.

This doesn't get solved by pressing Obama to do more.  Friedman thinks Obama could change a couple words, just say yes you can, or whip inflation now, lol.  Good f'ing grief.  If he thinks America could stand to slant a little more toward private initiative, how about taking that unpopular NYT stand PRE-election?! 
(My frustrations are aimed at the author, not the poster. wink )
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